The End of Batgirl as We Know Her – “For Her Own Good” (REVISED)

 

By Flamingo Boy flamingoboyfun@gmail.com

 

 

PROLOGUE (3 years earlier)

 

           

Prisoner disarmed and secured!

 

Excellent! Cut off her belt and let her fall.

 

When Police Lieutenant Nadia Hunter heard those words, she knew that her fate was sealed! The madman was actually going to let her fall to her death!

 

She thought that her ten years of experience on the force would prepare her for just about anything… but she was wrong! She was out of her league and way over her head.

 

In her dire situation, it didn’t matter that she was a stellar police officer… a decorated hero… an impeccable service record… no unsolved felonies that she was assigned to investigate… the best shot in her class… a master of hand-to-hand combat. It didn’t matter that she was the youngest woman on the Gotham City Police Force to make detective lieutenant in record time… only eight years… and three days shy of her twenty-eighth birthday.

 

Despite all her training, professionalism, and dedication to law enforcement, it simply wasn’t enough.

 

She was set up… plain and simple. She walked right into a trap and never saw it coming. She let her anger and ego cloud her judgment… and now was going to pay for it.

 

How could she be so vain… and so stupid? Never before in all her illustrious career had any criminal been able to blindside her and get the drop on her so effortlessly.

 

She now knew that her captor and conqueror would soon “skin” his prey and “mount” his trophy. And there was nothing she could do to stop it!

 

 

Nadia Hunter was now… Nadia the hunted!

 

*    *    *    *

 

Ironically, the day had started out promising for Nadia.

 

Normally, with her recent hectic schedule and the shortage of police officers, this was Nadia’s first day off in over two weeks. She should have been using this precious time off to sleep in late and just bum around her apartment.

 

Instead, she got up early to get ready for a job interview.

 

After ten years as one of Gotham’s finest, she was on the verge of telling the police force to go scratch… that is… if she got the job. She wasn’t stupid and she had no intention of handing in her two weeks notice until she scored another gig.

 

The reason why she was leaving the force was account of a Commissioner James Gordon… and he pulled the last straw on her only a week ago.

 

Although he would always deny it in public, Gordon was a sexist chauvinist prick that still maintained his caveman mentality that a woman’s place was in the home. Women had no business being in positions of authority. If he had it his way, the Gotham City Police Department would still consist of only white males. It was only because of political and media pressure and negative publicity that he relented to “allow” women and minorities on the force. The asshole even had the gall to play if off as “he had no idea that these groups had any interest in law enforcement.”

 

Of course, he assigned women to all the shit details like parking meter attending and secretarial duties. The only time he gave out “descent” assignments was when he absolutely had to… such as when he had “police woman” Woundy (it wasn’t until recently that he finally referred all woman as “police officers”) sent in undercover as one of Catwoman’s kittens to infiltrate her organization. When her cover was blown, Commissioner Gordon took no action to rescue her. He took her lose in the same manner as if he misplaced one of his gloves. If it weren’t for Batman, Woundy would have been dead.

 

The kicker of it all was when Woundy was rescued, the prick Gordon actually expected her to report for full active duty the following day… as if the ordeal was just a typical day at work. It didn’t matter to him that the poor woman was mentally and physically tortured and needed to take some time to re-cooperate. She only asked for a few days to get over her ordeal, but Gordon threatened to fire her if she didn’t report to work. Now, if one of his “precious male” officers gets so much as a hangnail, they can kick back for a week.

 

For Nadia, the final straw came when she was passed up for a promotion in which she was more than qualified for… all because she was a woman. She naively believed that Gordon had mellowed out of his macho-shit and would make her his second assistant. Chief O’Hara would still be his right hand man… but she would be Gordon’s “left hand.”

 

The post would mean an automatic promotion to captain and she would be a shoe-in for Police Chief when O’Hara decided to vacate his position… which could be in three years! Apparently, Mayor Linseed announced that he would not run for re-election and would retire when his current term was up. Rumors speculated that the party planned to nominate Gordon for the next Mayor… meaning that O’Hara would be the new commissioner… and she the new chief. In a few years, O’Hara would retire and she would be in line for commissioner.

 

Alas, it was all a dream. The cold hand of reality slapped her across the face when Gordon chose a “man” with less experience. For crying out loud, Lt. John Peabody was in charge of parking enforcement… a glorified chief meter maid that rode a desk for his entire career and never walked a beat or rode in a squad car. He never made a felony arrest. He never even made misdemeanor arrest. He never fired his gun in the line of duty accept at the shooting range. As a matter of fact, the only time his weapon left his holster was when he went to clean it… which wasn’t often… BECAUSE HE NEVER USED IT!

 

Gordon also appointed this dope because he was a distant relative. Nadia knew the game about nepotism and political connections to land city jobs. She accepted that. She even got on the force because her father was a cop… but you would think that Gordon would use nepotism across the board. No way! He only landed well-paying cushy city jobs to his “male” relatives. Even his own daughter, Barbara, got the Royal Screw Job. You think that an asshole father with “connections” could score his “little girl” something better than a librarian post. Even O’Hara remarked to Nadia that the only reason why he was still Chief was because Barbara wasn’t born a son.

 

Good ol’ Chief O’Hara. He was just as useless as Gordon but, at least, he was willing to give everyone a fair shake. He was in her corner all the time. He fought tooth and nail for Gordon to appoint her, but the stubborn prick wouldn’t budge. O’Hara told Nadia he was going to resign when he discovered that she was unfairly passed over. Nadia told O’Hara to do no such thing. There was no reason to blow his career and pension over this. Besides, the whole experienced opened her eyes and she told him that it was time to try a different career.

 

Good news travels fast.

 

It wasn’t long after when Gordon passed her up, when Nadia got the call.

 

It was a recruiter and she wanted to know if Nadia was interested in applying for a position as a personal bodyguard for a high-profile corporate executive. At first, Nadia passed it off and told the recruiter that she didn’t want to waste any more time with dead ends, however, the recruiter was so certain that she would get hired that the placing agency was willing to compensate her $2,000 just to meet with the client… no obligations to even accept the job offer!

 

The recruiter stressed that the client specifically expressed that he wanted a female bodyguard… but there was a small catch… he wanted a very attractive female. Before Nadia could hang up the phone, the recruiter insisted that this was all on the up-and-up and that there would not be any “funny business” of any kind. The client merely likes to be seen in the company of beautiful women and she would be nothing more than platonic arm candy.

 

The position paid over twice her current salary… generous pension plan… totally FREE medical, dental, and vision (no co-pays or deductibles)… four weeks paid vacation. She would have to live on the estate but she would get free room, board, and meals. She wouldn’t have to pay for any of her equipment or uniforms and she would not have to pay for dry cleaning. During her off hours, she had full use of any vehicles on the estate for her own personal use.

 

What the hell did she have to lose? And this time she was going to be ready. This time, she was going to dress the “part.” If putting on a show and giving the client a stiffy was what it took to get a dream job… then so be it!

 

That was another reason why Gordon passed her up. Nadia learned the hard way, that Gordon preferred his female police officers to look like… well… females.

 

Nadia made the mistake of looking too “butch” when she interviewed with Gordon. She didn’t wear make-up. She wore her gorgeous long blonde hair in tight pony-tail rather than hanging it off her shoulders. She wore her loose-fitting blue shirt rather than her tight white blouse. She wore a straight tie rather than the more “femine” crossover tie (similar to the ones worn by female military officers). She wore loose slacks instead of the tight skirt that was just above her knees. She wore her frumpy flat “beat-walking” shoes rather than high heels.

 

If she had dressed to Gordon’s liking, the pig might have hired her.

 

This wasn’t to say that Nadia was not a pretty woman… she was drop-dead gorgeous. She only dolled up and looked glamorous when she was not on duty. This wasn’t to say that she never dolled up for work… as a matter of fact, she did just that when she first started on the force.

 

Unfortunately, all the males on the force would constantly eye-oogle her. Because she looked like a Barbie doll, the other male officers never took her seriously and didn’t give her the respect that she deserved. She was assigned to secretarial duty and always was ordered around to make coffee for the “real cops” (namely the men). That part of the job she could tolerate, but she hated being called “hon, babe, toots, or sweetie.”

 

It wasn’t until she traded her skirt for slacks and her high heels for flat shoes, when she started to be taken seriously. It didn’t take long before Nadia was given better assignments and moved up the ranks. The other officers now saw her as “one of the guys.” She was no longer female. As far as everyone else was concerned, she was another fellow officer and no one gripped when she gave an order.

 

           

That was then… this is now… things are different. There would no mistakes this time… no more being passed over. She would beat all those male pricks at their own game!

 

She put on a subtle shade of lipstick as well as eye-liner, mascara, and blush.

 

With the help of the recruiter, Nadia chose her outfit and ensemble very carefully. She found the right medium between sexy and professional.

 

She wore black underwear. The panties hugged her hips tightly and would not leave any external lines. Her bra pushed her breast up and together to give her full maximum chest and cleavage.

 

While she buttoned-up her tight white short-sleeved blouse and tucked it into her black nylon mid-thigh skirt, she debated about leaving the top two buttons undone to show her bare neck… but decided against it. She didn’t want to appear too eager to get the job.

 

She needed neckwear of some kind but her straight thin black tie just wasn’t cutting it. She cursed herself for not investing in a cute neck scarf or neckerchief. That would have been classy and perfect… but she had no time to shop for one now.

 

She tried on her black cross tie with the pearl snap. It was more feminine… put not quite there. Then she had an idea. She rummaged through her drawer and found her red satin kentucky tie. It was similar to a bow tie but loosely tied and about three inches tangled freely off each end. When she tried it on, she saw that it was attractive and stylish.

 

The next piece of the ensemble, which the recruiter insisted she wear, was a wide thick black leather belt with a big shiny steel buckle. Obviously, the client had a belt fetish… to each his own. She wrapped the belt tightly around her waist, which proved to the perfect contract that separated blouse from skirt.

 

Since she had awesome legs, she opted not to wear nylons. As she put on a pair of high heels that were both sexy and comfortable for walking, she practiced “sitting” down in her skirt. She had to make sure always to cross her legs or keep her knees together and then shift them off slightly to the side.

 

She was told that the client wanted to see her accuracy with a firearm. Since she wanted to get the best accuracy possible, she opted to take her own pistol with her as it was perfectly balanced for her arm. The only problem was that the purse that matched the outfit was too small. Nadia would have worn her gun on her person but wearing it on her hip would be too conspicuous and assuming.

 

She then decided to wear a shoulder holster and conceal her weapon from plain view by covering it up with her pin-striped suit jacket… another classy piece of her dress ensemble. She stuffed a red handkerchief in the breast pocket for good measure. She was also curious to see if her potential employer would have her searched for weapons. It was a good test of his security.

 

Looking into the mirror, Nadia released her long hair from the pony-tail and let it rest loosely on her shoulders. She looked very good… but something was missing.

 

Thinking quickly, she completed her “costume” by placing a wide-brimmed stetson hat on her head and a pair of slightly tinted sunglasses over her eyes. She admired herself as she now looked like a retro-1940s movie detective-ess!

 

 

Not long after, the limo pulled up to the front of her building. The very handsome Hispanic chauffer opened the door and helped her inside the vehicle. He instructed Nadia to help herself and amuse herself with anything in the back as it was going to be a long drive.

 

Nadia discovered that a box lunch had been packed for her. It looked so delicious that she couldn’t resist. The food was also prepared in a way in which there was no danger of spilling anything on herself. Although the driver constantly told her that the boss insisted that she could help herself to “anything” in the fully stocked bar, Nadia chose to quench her thirst with soft drinks and bottled water rather than liquor.

 

The drive took almost three hours, but Nadia was able to entertain herself by watching Titanic, a favorite movie of hers, on the DVD player.

 

The client met Nadia at the gate and personally took her to his mansion on his vast estate via an electric cart.

 

Almost immediately, he offered her the job. The only catch was that he wanted her to start immediately.

 

Even though the client said that he would pay out the rest of her lease on her apartment and take care of all her moving expenses, Nadia didn’t think it right to leave the police department without giving them two weeks notice.

 

The client kept insisting that he needed her right away, and he offered her almost everything under the sun, but Nadia was still reluctant to drop everything and work for someone else. That wasn’t her style. However, the client didn’t seem to want to take ‘no’ for an answer.

 

When Nadia said that she wanted to go home, the client begged for her to stay a few more minutes as he was sure that “something could be worked out.” All he asked of her was for five minutes in his office to convince her otherwise. If he couldn’t convince her to stay after that, she was free to leave the estate. Nadia decided that the best course of action was to humor this insisting prick. If he couldn’t come to terms with starting in two weeks, then that was his problem and she would tell him to go to hell.

 

Just when they were about to enter his private office, the client answered his cell phone. He asked Nadia to step inside and make herself comfortable and he would join her in just a few minutes.

 

Nadia felt uneasy about not having the client follow her inside, but the dummy never searched her. She figured that she was safe if the man tried to strong-arm her into staying as all she had to do was quickly pull out her gun. If he was going to be trouble, it was nothing that she couldn’t handle.

 

It was just after she placed her purse on a coffee table that the lights in the room suddenly dimmed.

 

That’s when the gloved fist shot out of no where and hit her on the chin causing her hat to fly off her head and her sunglasses to fall off her face and shatter on the hard marble floor.

 

The fact that she was wearing high heels didn’t help her balance and she hit the floor hard and momentarily knocked the wind out of herself.

 

Before she could catch her breathe and bearings, something grabbed her by her belt buckle and yanked her off the floor and then suspended her in mid air. To determine how high up she was, Nadia purposely let her shoes slip off her feet. By the time she heard them hit the floor, she was able to surmise that she was about twelve feet up. A fall from this distance on hard marble would seriously injure her… if not kill her!

 

“That recruiter bitch set me up,” Nadia thought to herself. “No wonder she insisted that I wear this belt. Well… I’m not going down without a fight!”

 

Before Nadia could reach under her jacket for her shoulder holster and pull out her gun, she felt a sharp blade pointing into the notch of her neck.

 

“Do not move, prisoner” a mechanical voice said. “If you do not surrender immediately, I will cut your throat like thus….”

 

With a quick and precise flick of the blade, Nadia heard the soft tearing of fabric as she felt the collar of her blouse loosen slightly from her neck. Nadia’s cute little tie and the first top button of her blouse, which kept her collar closed and her neckware in place, were cut off without the blade ever touching her own soft skin. She only watched helplessly as her button flew haphazardly in the air and her severed kentucky red tie slowly floated down and disappeared to the dark floor. Upon seeing this sight, she knew her captor meant business and the next slash would be fatal.

 

“O-okay,” Nadia said before things could get ugly. She decided to see if she could defuse the situation with a bit of polite humor. “Well… I never liked that tie much anyway. It was starting to choke me. Thanks for loosening up my collar and freeing up my neck for me. I feel much more comfortable now. Thank you. Wow… it really looks like you want me take this job and start right away. Look… if you want to talk now… I’m more than willing to hang around and listen to your deal.” Seeing that she got no response and afraid that the blade might make another slash, Nadia shouted, “You got me. I give up. I-I s-surrender. Just take it easy with that blade.”

 

“Are you armed?” the client said on a speaker.

 

“Ummm… no,” Nadia lied.

 

“Sensors indicate presence of weapon right here…” Without warning, Nadia felt her suit jacket being ripped in half and torn away from her body where the fabric fell to the floor as well. Her weapon was now in plain view. Since the blade was still securely pointed at her throat, she would be long dead if she went for it now.

 

“Hey, you ruined my coat,” Nadia protested. “I paid a lot of money for it. You didn’t have to do that. I would have taken it off if you told me to. You didn’t have to tear off my body like that.”

 

“You shouldn’t have lied to me then,” said the client as she felt two metal hands grab hold of each side of her shoulder holster as if to study her firearm. “Well, well, well… little Miss Fibber… what have we here? Standard police issue… with some personal modifications. The pearl handles are a nice touch and so was the shoulder holster. Very clever of you.”

 

“Ummm… thanks,” was all Nadia could think of to reply.

 

“It looks like you were expecting some trouble,” the hands studied her armament a little more “You don’t kid around. My… my… we do like to play rough… don’t we? That’s good. I think to play rough, too. Well… as much as I admire a woman that means business and doesn’t mess around, I’m still going to have to confiscate your sidearm.” Then the blade steadied itself on Nadia’s throat again. “Surrender your weapon immediately… or do you feel lucky?”

 

Feeling the sharp tip of the blade against her throat, Nadia knew that it was not an idle threat. She had no choice but to comply. “No. I don’t feel lucky. Please… take it easy. Take my gun. I don’t want it anymore… really! Take it! You can have it. You can have anything you want… just please put me down and don’t hurt me.  Please… take the gun! Take anything you want. It’s yours.”

 

“And take it, I shall. Disarm her! Rip that holster off… slow and hard. Maybe a little pain will teach her to be more truthful in the future.”

 

“No… wait… please…. Arrgh! Uhhhhhhhh!”

 

Nadia grimaced in pain and tried to contain her screams as the mechanical hands grabbed both straps of her shoulder holster and slowly pulled. She felt the strain of her body as she slowly felt the stitches of the leather gradually give away. She couldn’t wait for it to give away totally so that her pain would cease.

 

When she could take no more, she pleaded, “Please! You’re hurting me. Please, stop! I’ll cooperate from now on. I promise. I’ll do whatever you say.”

 

“Spoke like a true lady. I think you learned your lesson.”

 

When the blade made slices near both the straps, the shoulder holster finally gave away with a loud sinister tear, much to Nadia’s relief.

 

RRRRRRRIIIIIIIIPPPPPPP!!!!

 

She was so glad that the pain was over, that she was no longer concerned that she was now rendered completely weaponless.

 

“Thank you,” Nadia’s temporarily spent body went limp and she tried to catch her breathe. She could only helpless watch as the hand effortless crushed her expensive firearm. This time, she knew better not to make a verbal complaint.

 

“Prisoner disarmed. Sensors no longer indicate presence of weapons.”

 

“Good. Now bind her helpless and bring her to me.”

 

Two arms quickly grabbed Nadia’s wrists and forced her arms behind her back… applying pressure.

 

“Uggghhhh!!” Nadia yelled. “Take it easy! Take it easy. Please!”

 

“Then I suggest you don’t fight. Relax your arms. Don’t resist. You won’t be harmed if you comply.”

 

“O-okay. I won’t resist. I’ll do anything you want.”

 

The client granted her request and the pressure eased off her arms when it appeared that she was allowing her captor to restrain her. With seconds, she felt a series of intricate coils tie and bind her hands securely behind her back.

 

Seconds later, she felt the same coil wrap around her ankles securely binding her feet together. Nadia struggled in her bounds, but to no avail.

 

“Please let me go,” Nadia pleaded. “There’s no need to tie me up. I won’t try to escape or attack you. I promise. Don’t let my civilian garb fool you. I’m still a detective lieutenant. You can get into serious trouble for kidnapping a police officer. People know that I’m here. Please put me down. You’ll never get away with… mmmmm!”

 

Nadia was silenced when a piece of cloth was shoved into her mouth. Before she could spit it out, a cloth gag was tied around her head to keep it in place.

 

“Prisoner disarmed and secured!”

 

“Excellent! Cut off her belt and let her fall.”

 

When Police Lieutenant Nadia Hunter heard those words, she knew that her fate was sealed! The madman was actually going to let her fall to her death!

 

“Mmmmm! Mmmmm!” Nadia pleaded through her gag as a new arm with a spinning circular saw slowly and meticulously cut through her thick leather waist belt… the only thing that was suspending her! And keeping her from hitting the hard floor!

 

“What’s the matter? I’m only complying to your request to be let down. It’s not my fault that you never specified how you wanted to come down. HAHAHAHA!”

 

Her pleas were ignored as the saw kept slowly cutting away. Eventually, the leather gave away entirely and her belt snapped in half.

 

“Mmmmmm!” she screamed through her gag as she fell into the darkness hoping to brace herself when she hit the hard floor.

 

“Ommmppph!” she said as she hit… but hit something soft… she landed on a mattress… on a bed!

 

“So nice of you to drop in, Lt. Hunter, my dear. Make yourself comfortable. You’re going to be here for quite some time… to be more precise… your never going to leave here… ever.”

 

“Oh, Lord… why me?” Nadia thought to herself as she tried to clear her head. “How did I get myself into this? Why didn’t I just stay in bed? I was set up the whole time and I walked right into his trap. This guy is out of his friggin’ mind! Why me? Why… oh shit!”

 

When she got her bearings, her eyes widened in terror as she saw the client sitting on the bed next to her holding a knife-like scalpel.

 

“Mmmmm! Mmmmm!”

 

“Don’t worry, my dear,” mocked the client. “I’m not going to kill you. Haven’t you realized that you’re much more valuable to me alive? You forced me to put you in boundage when you when you refused to start your employment away… and I cannot allow you to leave. You could have avoided this if you accepted my offer initially. As you now see, I don’t take ‘no’ for an answer and I always get whatever I want… and right now… I want you!” The client waved his blade and gave Nadia a wicked smile. “Now then… I think it’s time to get to know one another… more intimately. After all… we are going to work very closely together. And I can’t think of a better start to get to know you more intimately then by taking a closer look at that awesome body of yours.”

 

One by one, the client flicked his wrist against Nadia’s blouse as he slowly cut her buttons off, one by one, and made them pop up into the air. He then turned his blade to the bottom of her nylon skirt and slowly and effortless cut it off. When he was finished, he masterfully cut the reminder of her blouse from her body as well.

 

“I just adore black underwear,” he mocked again. “So kind of you to wear it for me. But since we’ve gone this far, we might as well take it all the way and finish the job. Good God, your body is more luscious than I ever imagined! I must see more. I must see it all… have it all!”

 

Being bound, Nadia could do nothing as the first strap of her bra was cut off… followed by the next. He totally sliced off her bra when the client put the blade between her cleavage and flicked upward. A cut to her left hip followed by a cut to her right had ripped her panties totally off and removed her last line of protection as well as her last vantage of modesty.

 

She was now totally naked before her captor!

 

The client took a few steps back to admire his handiwork as well as look over the gorgeous naked body of his bound beauty that was now totally his for the taking. “My God, you are so damn perfect, beautiful, charming and gorgeous. I just knew that there was a smokin’ hot body that lurked underneath all those loose shirts and baggy pants you wear while on duty! You no have any idea how happy you’ve made me… how long I dreamed and fantasized of this. I’m really going to enjoy the pleasure of your company.”

 

“Oh, by the way… you’re hired,” the client laughed as she fruitlessly struggled. “I know what you’re thinking… why me? Why did I pick you when there are hundreds of other bimbos on the Gotham Police force who would be more than happy to be my over-paid bodyguard and Barbie doll? Because I want the very best Barbie doll.”

 

Nadia began to get frustrated as she desperately struggled and gyrated in her bondage. This freak was actually starting to suck her into his twisted world. She could feel her emotional illogical side begin to take over. She was frustrated because she was actually impressed by her captor for trapping her so effortlessly. She was frustrated because she admired the fact that in mere minutes, he was able to reduce her from armed and dangerous to bound and bare. She was frustrated because she liked his sexual remarks and he found her attractive. She was frustrated because she was flattered that the client went through so such trouble to bag her and tie her up in a neat little inescapable package. She was frustrated because she was getting turned on and aroused by the fact that she was totally stripped down bare and completely vulnerable to the whims of her captor. She was frustrated because she no longer felt inhibited… as if she no longer had to hold back her most secret darkest desires. She was finding the whole experience liberating as well as exhilarating.

 

Nadia wanted to give in her ordeal but her side of logic and reason dictated otherwise.

 

“Mmmmmm!” she screamed in her frustration as it was her last token gesture of defiance. Although she knew that it was pointless, she continued to struggle in her bonds until she grew tired and she finally collapsed from exhaustion.

 

“It’s no use. You’ll never get free. You’re totally mine now. I thought you would be a challenge… but this was so easy. I heard that no one ever got the drop on you… but I sure as hell nailed you good. Here she is…  the great Detective Lieutenant Nadia Hunter… decorated hero… role model… always gets her man… but now the man has got her instead… Here she now lies… bound, gagged, totally naked, totally helpless… totally defeated… and totally at my mercy. Oh, Lordy… life can’t get any better than his… HAHAHAHA!

 

PART 1 (Present Day)

 

 

Batgirl’s motorcycle finally made it the roof top area of the very tall and private parking garage. After she braked her bike to a screeching halt, she quickly cut off the engine and waited for her “appointment” to show up.

 

She didn’t have to wait long.

 

Minutes later, Wonder Woman arrived and walked to Batgirl who was still sitting on her cycle. The caped crusaderess was momentarily startled as she did not even hear the raven-haired Amazon’s approach. It was a good thing that Wonder Woman was a friend. If she were a foe, she could have easily gotten the drop on Batgirl and subdued her... even without having to use her extraordinary strength.

 

 

This wasn’t like Batgirl. She never spooked so easily before nor did she allow herself to get distracted. Earlier in her career, it was a difficult thing to sneak up on Batgirl and blindside her. It seemed that her timing and reactions were a bit off as of late… and slowly getting worse. Batgirl knew that she was losing some of her edge and sharpness. This wouldn’t be a big deal for an ordinary person, but for someone in the crime-fighting business, a split second of reacting sooner than your opponent could mean the difference between life and death.

 

Batgirl found that she was getting fatigued sooner. She didn’t hit as hard as she used to. It was as if her strength, stamina, constitution, dexterity, and alertness were slowly wearing away.

 

 

She began to wonder if she was starting to feel the effects of older age and the wear and tear of crime-fighting on her body. She was far from an old lady, but she wasn’t the spring chicken of her initial crime fighting days when she was fresh out of college.

 

Batgirl had been fighting crime for many years… so many years, in fact, that she wondered why she never graduated to naming herself Batwoman. Perhaps, her body was trying to tell her to slow down and retire from her side-career. How did Batman do it? He’s been bashing loons like the Joker and the Penguin years before Batgirl ever made her debut. He didn’t seem any older or slower. If anything, Batman seemed to be getting sharper with age. Was it because Batman’s body was in better condition because he was a man and she was a woman?

 

All these years, heroines like her had to constantly prove to their male peers and the general public, that they were just as good and effective as they were. Only Wonder Woman and Supergirl always seemed steady and were never shown any disrespect by the likes of power-hitters like Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern.

 

This was something that she had to contemplate at a more convenient time. She had business to attend to with Wonder Woman… whatever it was… and her star-spangled friend always deserved her full, undivided attention.

 

 

“Thanks for coming on such short notice,” said Wonder Woman as she knew that she woke Batgirl out of her distracted gaze.

 

 

She, too, had noticed that her friend was not up to her usual par of peak performance. For now, Wonder Woman decided to pretend that she didn’t notice that she startled Batgirl as she didn’t want to embarrass or make her loyal friend lose face. If Batgirl was having some sort of problem, she would talk about it in due time. Batgirl was Wonder Woman’s most loyal, trusted and valuable friend, and vice-versa. They always talked openly about things and never kept secrets from each other… except if they were sworn by a greater force… such as Diana’s Amazon secrets. Batgirl was a spiritual sister to her in a sense. They were kindred spirits… so much so, that Wonder Woman felt more comfortable and connected in Batgirl’s presence than she did with her own Amazon sisters back on Themyscira (aka Paradise Island).

 

Wonder Woman decided to put that on the side and stick to the business at hand. She knew that Batgirl’s slow decline in physical fitness would soon be rectified.

 

 

“I got here as soon as I got your message, Diana,” Batgirl smiled to her friend.

 

“I’m really sorry to bother you on a Friday afternoon, Barb, and put a damper on your weekend.”

 

“That’s okay.” She noticed that Wonder Woman had a disheveled look on her face as if she wanted to ask something but couldn’t.

 

“I need you to do me a favor,” Wonder Woman bit her lip as it appeared that it was a favor that she wasn’t thrilled to ask a friend to do for her and would rather do it herself than to dump it on someone else.

 

“Sure, what are friends for?” She noticed her comrade’s awkwardness. “What’s the trouble, Diana? Is there a problem? You look as though this favor you’re about to ask could lead me right into the lion’s den. Is that why you’re reluctant to ask? Because there’s danger involved that you would prefer to face on your own… but can’t?”

 

“Well, Barbara.... you see… it’s like this… ummmm….”

 

“Don’t be afraid for me, Diana,” Batgirl said. “Danger is part of the crime-fighting business. I may not be anywhere as strong as Superman or be able to fly or deflect bullets from my bracelets, if I had any, but I can still hold my own. You know that as well as I do.”

 

“Of course, you can,” Wonder Woman made an attempt to smile but it looked contrived. “It’s nothing dangerous at all. That I promise. You can trust me on that. It’s a mundane favor at best… actually more like a pain in the ass and a waste of your time, but I assure you, that it needs to be done. A lot of small children are depending on me. I loath to ask you do this, but I have more important tasks and matters to attend to that only my lone attention can resolve.”

 

“What do you need me to do?” Batgirl remained patient and knew that Wonder Woman would eventually get to the point.

 

Wonder Woman, however, still needed to justify her request. “This favor has a deadline. I have to get back to my mother, Queen Hippolyta on Themyscira as soon as possible. I won’t have time to do both tasks. I can’t be at two places at the same time… you see….” Wonder Woman still found herself torn and stalled some more. “I’d do this myself and I would never ask you to do this for me if the circumstances didn’t warrant it.”

 

“Please ask, Diana. I’d do anything for you and you’d do anything for me.”

 

Wonder Woman knew that Batgirl meant that with all sincerity. Now, it was all the more difficult to ask. She paused for a few more seconds trying to get the words out.

 

“Don’t be embarrassed,” Batgirl spoke before Wonder Woman could open her mouth. “You obviously have family trouble and family is always important… much more important than this favor you want me to do for you. I hope everything is okay. Is there trouble back at home? Do you need me to help you with that?”

 

“I need to take care of my home-trouble alone.” Wonder Woman answered sternly and without emotion before realizing that she was being too aloof and cold to Batgirl. “But thanks for asking… and for your concern. As for trouble, there won’t be any of that… provide I get home soon.”

 

“That’s good to hear, Diana. I’m sure everything will be fine. You always manage to work things out in the end. Remember that time you lost the title of Wonder Woman to someone else… and here you are back in uniform and better than ever.”

 

Batgirl realized that the more she talked to Wonder Woman, the more she made her friend uncomfortable. She decided that enough was enough and she decided to let her friend off the hook. “Nevermind… I’m rambling. Now… what can I do for you?”

 

Wonder Woman took a deep breath. She then handed Batgirl a sealed envelope. She was holding it the whole while, and this was the first time that Batgirl noticed. It wasn’t like her to be so unobservant.

 

“I need you to deliver this for me.” She handed Batgirl the envelope. “The address is on the envelope. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding the place.”

 

Batgirl looked the envelope over and found nothing unusual about it. As a matter of fact, it couldn’t be more ordinary. It was merely a simple and plain white envelope… just like the one everybody else uses to mail a letter, except this envelope didn’t have a stamp. Although it had an address written on it in Wonder Woman’s fine penmanship, there was no name on it. The only thing that she could surmise that was inside the envelope, was a piece of paper.

 

“What’s inside, Diana? Some sort of top secret document or something?”

 

“Nothing that exciting, nor is it anything illegal, I assure you. It’s just a check. I need you to drop it off for me.”

 

“Is that all?” Batgirl laughed. “You just want me to run an errand for you? Is that what the big deal is about?”

 

“Like I said, Barb, a pain-in-the-ass detail. This place is a three hour ride from the city on your batgirl-cycle… and it needs to get there in the next three and a half hours.”

 

“What’s the matter? You need me to pay your water bill before they shut it off? Look… it’s no big deal…. really. I’m not doing anything all weekend. Even the criminal element around here is on a slow down. Actually, I was getting bored and I could use a good distraction.”

 

 “You’ll find this drive just as boring and the delivery to be.…”

 

“I know,” Batgirl finished Wonder Woman’s sentence for her. “A pain in the ass.”

 

“It’s still important that you get there on time,” Wonder Woman continued, “but if you are late, it’s nothing that will threaten the world… but not being late could make it a better place for some children.”

 

“That’s the second time you brought up kids, Diana. What’s the deal?”

 

“The check inside the envelope is the money raised from the Justice League’s fund drive for Operation: Goodwill… the organization that supplies food, clothing, medicine, and education to impoverished children throughout the world.”

 

“I know all about that. I was just as much a part of that drive as you were. Remember? We had a record year… raised more money than all the three previous years combined when the JLA first started the drive. We even made an appearance at that charity dinner together. I thought that it would be boring, but I actually had a good time. Didn’t you?” Batgirl laughed again. “I don’t think that it’s a pain in the ass to go on a mission of mercy. As a matter of fact, I’m flattered that you asked me and trust me enough to do this for you.”

 

“It’s not that simple as you think,” Wonder Woman did feel better about getting the subject out in the open but still had a bit of unease within herself. “You see, that fund gets matched… penny for penny on whatever we raise.”

 

“That’s great!” Batgirl still couldn’t understand why Wonder Woman was so reluctant. “That means we make twice as much money. It’s too bad that we couldn’t get these corporations to match on the first three years.”

 

Now Wonder Woman saw her chance to get her awkward point out, and perhaps, feel better about herself. “It has been matched for three years, Barbara… ever since we first started the drive. It’s not a mass of corporations that match the fund… it’s a single corporation… run by a single individual.”

 

“Really?” Barbara was totally surprised to hear this. “How come I never heard of this match before?”

 

“Because the donor likes his privacy. He wants to donate in secret because he loathes public attention and publicity. He’s an eccentric billionaire that prefers to remain obscure. He never leaves his estate. He’s been a recluse for years.”

 

“Come on, Diana. You’re pulling my leg… aren’t you?”

 

“I wish I was, Barb. What makes this a difficult favor to ask of you is that the reclusive eccentric billionaire in question is… Hugh Howards IV.”

 

“Are you kidding me? Are we talking about the former movie producer turned aeronautics innovator genius? I thought he was dead. Didn’t he disappear off the face of the Earth ten years ago? He’s like some urban legend Boogie Man… all these stories about people seeing him just like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. One time, some truck driver claimed that he picked Howards up while the kook was hitch-hiking. The driver said Howards was dressed like a bum.”

 

“He’s no legend. He’s not dead. He’s very much alive, although only an elite, select few know about that. He did disappear ten years ago… but of his own choice… so people would leave him alone and he could enjoy his solitude. He no longer wishes to be in the public eye and no longer wants the scrutiny of the media.”

 

“That’s crazy.”

 

“I told you that he was eccentric, Barbara. He contacted the JLA three years ago, just after we finished with our first charity drive. The communication was secret from most of the members. Only Superman, Aquaman, and Flash, and myself know about the arrangement we made with him… and now you as well.”

 

“What arrangement?” This was getting stranger and more bizarre to Batgirl with each passing moment, but she felt a strange fascination to wanting to hear more.

 

“Like I said, he would match our funds to the penny, but there was a catch. He would only do so, if and only if, Wonder Woman were to personally come to his estate alone and hand him our check where I would endorse it, and he would transfer our funds along with his own matching funds via electronic transfer to the charity’s bank account. He’s done that for the past three years, provided I show up with a check on a preordained day of the year and at a preordained time. If I fail to show up on time, the deal is null and void and he will never match our funds again in the future. Normally, the JLA won’t comply with such rigid and stringent stipulations… but the amount of money is so substantial that it could make a big difference for those poor children. That’s the only reason I agreed to his strange request in the first place.”

 

Wonder Woman let out another sigh of embarrassment. “You see, Barb, he has this thing for Super-heroines… especially his favorite… that would be me. I think he likes me. He has some sort of major crush on me.”

 

“So does every red-blooded heterosexual male on the planet. Do you know how many times our pictures get downloaded from the internet? There’s no harm in a crush, Diana, so long as it’s only a crush. He’s not a pervert or anything, is he?”

 

“No, “Wonder Woman said confidently. “He’s been nothing but a gentleman. He’s never tried to touch me inappropriately or made a crude comment towards me. It’s just that… well… other than delivering the check, I’m also obligated to spend the afternoon and have lunch with him. Afterwards, we talk for a bit as he shows me around his huge estate… it makes my mother’s palace and Bruce Wayne’s mansion look like a cottages… then he talks of his latest business acquisitions… and then some more small talk. Then, after a few hours, I head home.”

 

“Is that all? That doesn’t sound so bad.”

 

“You don’t understand. All the while that I’m there, he dotes and fawns all over me… but in a nice, polite way, of course. He won’t allow me to do a thing. He opens doors for me. Pulls my chair out for me… he pours my tea for me at the table. All he does is wait on me hand and foot. It’s so embarrassing.”

 

“So he treats you like a queen for a day… poor baby,” Batgirl jokingly mocked. “I wouldn’t mind that kind of attention at all… but I can certainly see it from your point of view. I guess that being an Amazon, you’re not used to being pampered by men on account that men once enslaved your race and when you freed yourselves, you had to learn to be independent.”

 

“It’s more than that,” Wonder Woman’s voice seemed to get nervous. “He’s constantly telling me how beautiful I am… always complimenting me.”

 

“I think that’s sweet”

 

“Then… it’s the way he looks at me,” Wonder Woman continued without acknowledging Batgirl’s last remark. “I know that he’s undressing me with his eyes… picturing me naked… hoping that I’ll ask him to take me into his bed chamber and have his way with me. I’m reluctant to ask you this favor on account that you might be subjected to the same leering.”

 

“Don’t worry about that, Diana. I get looks like that from men every time I go out in public… especially from the likes of villains such as the Riddler and the Mad Hatter. The leering as you call it, gives me the edge… they’re so busy ogling me, that they get distracted, and I get the drop on them. I even get looks from Catwoman. What’s up with that? She must be playing with my head because I know, for a fact, that she and Batman still get it on.”

 

Batgirl gave Wonder Woman a look a confidence. “I’ll be fine. I’m sure that I can handle the old coot.”

 

Wonder Woman gave Batgirl a look of disbelief. “That old coot happens to be very smooth and charming. He’s so kind and descent. He has such charisma. Although he’s never had the nerve to ask, I would go into his bed chamber with him. It takes all my inner fortitude to resist him. If it weren’t for my Amazon discipline, I would have given into my urges a long time ago.”

 

Batgirl started to laugh.

 

“What’s so funny?’

 

Batgirl finally caught her breath. This had taken her completely by surprise. She was intrigued as this was the first time, in many years, that Wonder Woman took any interest in a man. “You like him, don’t you? You really, really like the old coot. Could it be that someone other than Steve Trevor is starting to steal your heart?”

 

“This is serious, Barbara. Sometimes, I just don’t know what to do. It gets worse, too. Every year, he playfully asks me to marry him, and I playfully decline. We both laugh it off as an ongoing private joke between the two of us… but sometimes I wonder if he’s really serious… that he does love me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me.”

 

“Wow, Diana. That is serious. I’m sorry I made light of the situation.”

 

“That’s okay, Barbara, but you know as well as I that if I take a husband, I’ll have to give up being Wonder Woman… and I’m not ready to do that, just yet. The worlds still needs me. It’s just that he’s so sweet and nice, that it breaks my heart to push him away. I don’t want to hurt his feelings. I really do my best not to encourage him… but there’s something about him that I find attractive and irresistible. I just don’t trust myself anymore.”

 

“That is a problem,” Batgirl sympathized.

 

“Well, it’s a problem that I need to resolve on my own. The real problem is that if I don’t show up at the appointed time, he’ll stop matching JLA funds. That’s where I require your help, Barbara. I need you go to in my place.”

 

Batgirl gave Wonder Woman a weird stare, “That won’t work, Diana. I won’t pass for you. Even if I managed to find a black wig and a red, white, and blue costume, he’ll still notice that I’m a good six to eight inches shorter. Even if he falls for it, he may ask me to prove that I’m Wonder Woman by asking me to bend a steel bar or something.”

 

“What are you talking about? I don’t want to trick him. I want you to go as yourself… as Batgirl.”

 

“Ummm… hello? Aren’t you forgetting something, dear?”

 

“Forgetting… what?”

 

“That the agreement calls for Wonder Woman to make the delivery.”

 

“Oh, that,” Wonder Woman finally lightened up and managed a quick laugh. “How silly of me that I forgot to mention… Hugh… I mean Mr. Howards… he may be an eccentric kook but he does understand the existence of extenuating circumstances. There’s a special provision in the agreement that if Wonder Woman cannot appear, then his second favorite super-heroine can step in for her… that’s Batgirl… which happens to be you. So… Barbara… do you think that you can do this for me… now knowing what you’re getting yourself into? Are you still willing to go even after what I just told you?”

 

“No problem!” Batgirl couldn’t see why Wonder Woman was making a federal case out of this mission of mercy. “It’s no big deal… really. Stop looking at me like you’re sending me to my doom.”

 

“Just be careful, Hon.” Wonder Woman went back to being dead serious. “He’s a real smooth talker. Keep your guard up at all times.”

 

“I think I can resist an old man for a few hours.” Then Batgirl had a wicked, but playful thought. “Then again… are you sure that it’s my well-being and virtue that you’re worried about?”

 

“By Hera, Batgirl! What do you mean?”

 

Batgirl had to force herself not to laugh. Wonder Woman had fallen for her little verbal trap. “Maybe, it’s jealousy on your part. Maybe you’re worried that he’ll sweep me off my feet and dump you for me.”

 

“I assure you, Barb. That’s not the case….”

 

“Don’t worry. Why would he settle for Batgirl when he can have Wonder Woman?”

 

Diana stood there dumbfounded for a few seconds before Barbara let her off the hook.

 

“I’m only messing with you, Diana.” Batgirl gave her friend a playful nudge on the shoulder. “What’s with you today? Did you check your sense of humor at the door? Ooops… I forgot… there’s trouble brewing back on Paradise Island… I mean… Themyscira. Sorry about that.”

 

“Don’t be sorry,” Wonder Woman grabbed Batgirl by her shoulders and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “You have no idea what this favor means to me.”

 

“Don’t you fret your pretty little Amazon head, girlfriend,” Batgirl took the envelope and put it into a vacant compartment of her utility belt. I won’t be late for the appointment. I’ll take care of business here and you just take care of your business at home. Just do whatcha’ got to do, Babe.”

 

“Thanks, again.” Wonder Woman walked to the edge of the garage. “I’ll debrief you about everything when we both return.”

 

Before Woman Wonder jumped up to fly away, she turned around one last time to look at Batgirl.

           

 

Was Batgirl seeing things? She could have sworn that Diana had turned back and gave her a weird sort of grin… like the cat the swallowed the canary… or was it a grimace… because Wonder Woman felt guilty about dumping some dirty work on her?

 

As Batgirl watched Wonder Woman fly away, she suddenly remembered back to the first time she met the Champion of the Amazons. It was weird that this thought came into her mind.

 

It was many years ago… and Wonder Woman couldn’t fly on her own. She needed her invisible plane back then to get around. I bet Wonder Woman was glad to get rid of that albatross.

 

Where the devil did she park that thing when not in use? If she forgot where she left it, would Wonder Woman be able to find it? How did she keep other planes and birds from flying into it?

 

 

It was so long ago. Did time really pass that fast?

 

Once again Batgirl contemplated if she was getting old. Was she past her prime? Were her best years left behind? Funny… she didn’t feel old. She still had her looks and her shapely muscular body that still makes many a male head turn… even to this very day.

 

 

Now that Batgirl thought of it, Wonder Woman’s ability to fly was a bit peculiar. Diana never explained her sudden gift of flight. Batgirl had asked her about it once and Wonder Woman nonchalantly replied I’m not at liberty to discuss it at this time… but you may know in due time.

 

It wasn’t like Wonder Woman to keep secrets from her, and vice-versa. Batgirl figured that Diana must have been bound by some sort of Amazon secret. Batgirl couldn’t blame her for that. Wonder Woman couldn’t very well divulge secrets to “outsiders.”

 

           

Speaking of peculiar… this whole situation seemed strange. Batgirl had a weird feeling about this “mission of mercy.” She had a gut instinct that there was more to this than Wonder Woman was willing to tell.

 

“What a ridiculous thought,” Batgirl said to herself.

 

Why would Diana do that? Diana would never lead her astray. She trusted Wonder Woman implicitly. This assignment would be a cake walk. It was Wonder Woman’s Amazon pride and ego that was causing her to make a big deal out of it.

 

 

Batgirl started up her motorcycle and drove down the ramp in order to start her long drive.

 

 

*    *    *    *

 

As Wonder Woman flew out of Batgirl’s sight, she contemplated if she made the right decision.

 

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad for Batgirl. This trip could be the very thing she needs. Wonder Woman managed to ease her conscience by convincing herself that this grandmother-of-all-shit-assignments was to Batgirl’s benefit… not her detriment. Batgirls’ sacrifice would be for the good of those poor children, and perhaps do some good for herself.

 

“It’s for her own good,” Wonder Woman thought to herself. “Yeah, that’s the ticket. She may even thank me for the experience. She’ll be alright. She chose to go. She didn’t have to do it. Just be careful, Barbara, my dear friend. Hugh can be quite a handful.”

 

 

PART 2

 

 

It had been over an hour since Batgirl got off the ramp of the Interstate and took the country road. Ever since she took this back road, she had yet to see a passing car.

 

Wonder Woman was right. It did seem like an endless ride. It wasn’t until the road lead into a vast forest of tall trees that the scenery and ride took a more pleasant turn.

 

Batgirl looked at the clock on her dashboard. She was still on schedule.

 

As Batgirl drove deeper and deeper into the forest, she noticed that the trees were also becoming taller, thicker, and denser. Batman had taught her how to blend in and hide within her surroundings. Batgirl did exceptionally well when it came to using forested trees as her cover. She could easily disappear in such thick trees and easily ambush anyone that was pursuing her. She was also able to hide and escape pursuers even while she while bound and gagged. It was so easy to find sharp rocks or branches to cut her ropes or to break chains or handcuffs.

 

Why did she suddenly get the thought of being tied up in her head? Why did this excite her?

 

 

After a while, it got so dense that the tree tops were actually blocking out the sun and made the road appear darker and darker. Although it was still early afternoon and sundown was many hours away, everything appeared as if she were riding at night.

 

It got so dark that Batgirl actually had to put on her high-beam headlight in order to see where she was going. The road had no lights or even reflectors. Batgirl had to slow her speed down in order to maintain a reasonable degree of safe travel. The road constantly twisted and turned and if Batgirl wasn’t careful, she could easily run off the road and wrap herself around a huge tree.

 

 

If this Hugh Howards wanted privacy and seclusion, he found the right place. The nearest town was, at least, twenty miles away. Because of that, it was very likely that his household staff lived on the estate. They probably arranged for trucks to deliver loads of food and supplies at one time so they could stock up for months. What if someone got injured on the estate and needed medical care? They would either have to be a full-time physician assigned to the grounds and a helicopter readily available for evac. This, however, was not that peculiar even for an eccentric billionaire. Many other rich and powerful folks had the same set up. Bruce Wayne would arrive at board meetings via helicopter… that is when he decided to show up when he wasn’t too busy getting drunk and chasing women.

 

Every rich and powerful person had their quirks, but this Hugh Howards IV made them all look normal and rational. Barbara appreciated her private times just as much as the next person, but even she had to get out and mingle. Why would anyone self-exile themselves from the outside world? In a way, she felt sorry for Howards. He was living in a prison. It may have been a luxurious prison on miles of estate… but still a prison nonetheless.

 

The only things that Batgirl knew about him, was what she saw on TV documentaries, read in papers and magazines, or heard on the radio.

 

 

Hugh Howards IV was a respected businessman and a descendent of a family that owned a company that manufactured farm equipment for many generations. The Howards employed many people and were highly respected family in society.

 

Hugh III became the sudden sole-surviving family blood heir when a terrorist attack bombed a hotel in which all of Hugh’s relatives were in attendance, having their annual family reunion. Everyone in that ballroom was killed. Hugh was able to avoid that fate as he was closing a deal in Fargo, North Dakota. A sudden freak snow storm delayed his plane and he was late for the party. Had the plane left an hour sooner, Hugh III would have died with everyone else.

 

Many years later, Hugh succumbed to the effects of old age. He never married. He never had children. All his blood relatives were dead; therefore, there was no apparent heir to the family business.

 

Or so it seemed.

 

Hugh III’s attorney came forward and presented the will in which Hugh confessed to having a ten year love affair with one of his maids named Grace Harper. Despite his proposals, Grace refused to marry him because she didn’t want to tarnish her lover’s reputation and she didn’t want to live a life where people thought that she was a gold digger and only married her “Boss” for his money.

 

The main reason that Hugh never had children was because his doctor told him that he had a rare disorder in which his sperm cells would immediately die once they left his body, thereby making a woman pregnant was almost impossible. The newspaper somehow got wind of this information and went public. That was why everyone was surprised when the will went public.

 

The term “impossible” and “almost impossible” are two entirely different things. The latter means extremely unlikely… but not dead certain. It is almost impossible for a coin to land on its edge… but it happens. However, it happens so infrequently that the option is never taken into consideration during the coin flip of the Superbowl. It’s either called “heads” or “tails.” No one ever calls “edge.”

 

Many years ago, Hugh III’s sperm did land on its edge.

 

A secret surprise romantic rendezvous in the Bahamas with Grace resulted in the birth of their son… a total billion to one shot!

 

Sadly, the mother died during childbirth. Not wanting his son to grow up with the public knowledge of being an illegitimate bastard son, Hugh III shipped his son off to Switzerland to be raised by a professional governess. Hugh made sure that all the boy’s needs were taken care of. He made sure his son had the finest education. He gave his son every thing except… a father. Hugh refused to see his own son or allowed his son to know who his father was, as the memories of Grace’s death were too painfully, and seeing his son would make those memories emerge.

 

As far as the boy knew, he was Hugh Harper and he was an orphan who was taken pity on by a mysterious rich benefactor.

 

When news of an heir was revealed, the estate attorneys quickly located the son, now thirty-five years old, and took him back to the states, revealing his heritage and his estate.

 

The will was contested, at first, but Hugh III’s personal attorney was able to provide birth certificates and all other legal documentation. There was no dispute that Hugh Harper was Hugh Howard III’s son after a blood and DNA test.

 

Shortly thereafter, Hugh Harper legally changed his name to Hugh Harper Howard IV and took over the family business.

 

Hugh IV proved to be a shrewd businessman and investor as he was able to take a modest family fortune and soon turn it into a mega-fortune billion dollar empire.

 

Hugh took an interest in the motion picture business when a production agent asked if they could borrow some old-fashioned tractors for a movie shot.

 

Howards soon produced many hit films that grossed record sales at the box office. It was rumored that he had many love affairs with various female movie stars.

 

For reasons unknown, Hugh stopped producing films and turned his attention to the aeronautics industry. His company designed and built space shuttle parts. Howards often tested these shuttles himself and was the holder of many space speed records. He even led an all-civilian, non-military expedition to the moon!

 

Some ten years ago, Hugh’s empire almost crumpled when he was called to a Congressional hearing where the U.S. government was going to proceed charges against Howards for being a security risk and a spy. Apparently, these charges stemmed from the fact that he refused to show government officials blue prints of his newest space shuttle to end all space shuttles… a shuttle he was going to use for his company and not for the government.

 

Hugh fought back hard, making the committee look like a bunch of jackasses. The charges were dropped and Howards was vindicated. Even an apology from the President of the United States was too little, too late.

 

Disgusted by the way that the government, press, and media treated him as guilty until proven innocent, especially after what he had done for all three groups in the past, he decided to shut himself off from the rest of the world.

 

From that point on, Howards never made a public appearance. He hired CEOs to run his businesses. He never attended board meetings and sent someone in his stead. Any matter that did require his direct attention was either resolved over the phone or by fax or email. Only a few select people, such as his staff, ever saw him in person.

 

 

What Batgirl found more peculiar that the mysterious Hughes Howard IV was Wonder Woman’s behavior when she asked this favor.

 

Batgirl finally figured out what it was!

 

Wonder Woman was smitten!

 

There was a genuine affection in Diana’s eyes for this man… no doubt about it! Wonder Woman had sworn off finding love when Steve Trevor was killed in that tragic plane crash. She probably told herself that she would never love again. Diana was torn for her feelings for Hugh and her memories of Steve. Batgirl knew that Steve Trevor was the type of man that would want Diana to go on with life and try to pursue loving another.

 

It all made sense to Batgirl now… but there still was one thing wrong. If she did her math correctly, Hugh would have to be a man that was, at least, in his… early to mid-seventies? Why would Diana find a man who appeared old enough to be her father as desirable? Batgirl thought it over and perhaps it wasn’t so strange. Many women marry men that are twenty to thirty years older. In those old movies that Barbara loved so much, Cary Grant was still a dashing leading man well into his early sixties and often scored with ladies half his age.

 

Batgirl had her crushes and attractions, too. In the beginning of her career, it was Batman. It never went anywhere because the Caped Crusader only saw her as a second-class sidekick. Batman was never meant for her, but deep down, she knew that he looked down on her. He never said it, but she also knew that Batman resented the fact that she was wearing his emblem. It also never went anywhere because Batman was too hung up on Catwoman.

 

Batgirl was one to talk about strange attractions. She had a thing for the Joker. There was something about the white face, green hair, dark red lips, wide twisted smile, and purple suit that made her head spin. What was it about this diabolic and demonic laugh that gave her goose bumps? He had all the qualities in a man that Barbara desired. He was intelligent. He was witty and could be quite charming when he put his mind to it. He had a great sense of humor. He wasn’t afraid to laugh. The only draw back was that he was a PSYCHOTIC HOMOCIDAL LUNATIC/MANIAC. How many times had Batgirl secretly wished that the Joker would capture her, tie her up, rip her costume off, and then ravage her body? On the few occasions that she did get captured by the Joker, what does the numb nuts do instead? He puts her in some special secret death trap and then leaves her alone so she can escape without hindrance. What that stupid clown sees in Harley Quinn, she’ll never know. Lucky twit!

 

Then there was Shame. He was a cutie and Batgirl had a thing for Cowboys, too. That Jessie James reject had a golden opportunity and he blew it. Shame actually had her bound and gagged and under the effects of fear gas… and what goes this stupid cowpoke do? Nothing! Shame gave Batgirl up in a lousy hostage exchange for Calamity Jan’s mother, Frontier Fanny. Stupid old cow!

 

Chandell was dreamy and he played the piano so beautifully. Batgirl was glad that Chandell was paroled because he really wasn’t a criminal. His twin brother, Harry, blackmailed him into crime. Chandell was a great entertainer and all the ladies loved and adored him, including Batgirl. It’s a shame that he didn’t love the ladies back. Oh well… the female gender’s loss is the male gender’s gain.

 

How many times had Batgirl locked herself in her bedroom, stripped down to her underwear and tied herself up and then fanaticized of Batman, Joker, George Clooney, Shame, Andy Garcia, or Harvey Dent (before he became Two Face) barging in and taking advantage of her helpless situation.

 

It was good to have a harmless fantasy… because that’s all it was.

 

Batgirl thought it totally sucked that she was pushing thirty and she was still a virgin.

 

 

Batgirl thought again. Maybe Wonder Woman found that she was endeared to Hugh as a father figure and not a lover. That would make sense that she didn’t want to do anything that would hurt his feeling. That had to be it!

 

 

The cycle came to a gentle braking halt as Batgirl found the road in which she was supposed to turn. It was a dirt road which was blocked by an old, wooden, dilapidated fence. It could barely stand and the swinging gate on the fence did not have a lock on it.

 

She spotted something attached to the gate and quickly put her cycle’s headlight on it. The object was a sign as old as the fence. The paint was peeling and the yellow background color had faded. She had a hard time making out the words but after a few minutes of squinting her eyes, she was able to make out the following:

 

 

PRIVATE ROAD!

NO TRESPASSING!

VIOLATORS WILL BE SHOT ON SIGHT!

 

 

“This can’t be right,” Batgirl said as she checked her GPS which indicated that she should turn here. Just to make sure, she pulled her flashlight out of her utility belt so she could check her map book. It, too, confirmed that this was the correct road in which to proceed.

 

“Wonder Woman never told me about this,” Batgirl thought to herself as she rubbed her chin. “I wonder how come?”

 

Batgirl had another feeling that something was wrong. She was almost about to get on her cycle, forget the whole mission, and just go back home. Under any other circumstances, she might have just done that.

 

There were two main reasons that she hesitated. First, the welfare of millions of needy children was at stake and Batgirl didn’t want to be the one to turn her back on them just because of a sign. Second, she promised Diana that she would delver the check on time.

 

Batgirl was not one to break a promise for a friend.

 

 

“I got it,” Batgirl suddenly realized and her bad feelings and doubts soon disappeared. “Wonder Woman wouldn’t know about this sign and gate. She arrives here by air… not by vehicle. She would never see this at all.”

 

Barbara looked at the sign one more time. “I’m not a trespasser. This is the correct road and I am expected. Maybe, the staff leaves by a different road when they run errands. Maybe this entrance was forgotten or so infrequently used that it’s never dawned on them to take the sign down. That must be it. This entrance looks like it hasn’t been used in a decade. It has to be a mistake.”

 

Batgirl’s suspicions were confirmed by the loud squeaking and shaking of the posts as she slowly opened the gate. After moving it about a foot, it started to wobble. She quickly closed it which seemed to keep it stable. She then spotted a section of the fence on the far right side where the wood had rotted away. There was a four foot opening between the edge of the fence and the huge tree that was next to it.

 

Carefully, Batgirl walked her motorcycle through the gap. When she was clear, she gave her motorcycle some throttle and sped off, leaving a cloud of dirt as she traversed the gravel road.

 

 

After about fifteen minutes of riding, Batgirl saw that the trees were slowly thinning out. The darkness began to fade. Eventually, Batgirl could see well enough that she could now turn her headlight off. It didn’t take long before she finally broke out from the trees and now found that she was traveling in an open field. As she drove, the forest, which was on both sides of her, slowly got further and further away from the road. It seemed that this area was once forested but now had been cleared out.

 

It was after Batgirl rode up a hill that her breathe was taken away from a sight to behold.

 

It was just like the “Wizard of Oz,” when Dorothy and friends crossed the poppy fields and spotted the Emerald City for the very first time.

 

The estate was huge! She saw that the road she was on went on for another three miles until it reached a very high wrought iron fence. About a mile behind the fence was the mansion. The biggest and most beautiful palace she had ever seen. The white marbled fortress had a variety of styles to it, from Classical to Modern. The main entrance had high pillars. There were buttresses just like Notre Dame Cathedral. There were dooms and towers and every other piece of architecture imaginable.

 

Batgirl took her binoculars from her belt and took a closer look. Three things caught her attention. First, the top of the mansion seemed to have a penthouse of sorts… almost like it was a separate area from the big house. It was too fancy and ornate to be the servant’s quarters. Second, the forest began to bend in until it totally circled around of the house. It also appeared that the forest was some three or four hundred yards from the back of the house so part of the back yard was the forest. Batgirl figured that the mansion was so close to the trees perhaps because the occupants were into hunting or bird watching. Third, she spotted a little house in front of the main entrance to the gate… the guard house.

 

Batgirl looked at the clock and saw that she had made it with twenty minutes to spare. She took a look around and saw that there was no one patrolling the grounds with shotguns or rifles. Feeling safe that she was not going to be mistaken as a trespasser and got shot, she decided not to delay and risk breaking the agreement. She started up her bike again and proceeded to the guard house.

 

 

As she got closer to the house, there were statues of Greek Gods on both sides of the path… each more finely detailed than the next.

 

Batgirl pulled her cycle up to the side of the guard house, adjacent to the sliding glass window, expecting it to open and reveal a guard requesting her business and probably asking her to sign the visitor’s log. Just in case, Batgirl fumbled into her utility belt and located her JLA ID card and the envelope that contained the check for charity. As she was getting her things together, she could hear a radio playing an old “Moody Blues” tune behind the glass.

 

It was about a minute later, and the glass to the house still did not slide open to acknowledge her.

 

When she turned her head to look at the glass, she finally noticed that it was mirrored… just like a fun house. Batgirl could only see her reflection on her side of the glass but not behind it, while, whoever was on the other side, could see her clearly.

 

“That’s peculiar,” Batgirl thought to herself. “I’ve never seen tinted glass on a guard house before. Then again, almost everything’s been peculiar ever since I agreed to do this job. I don’t like this. Something is fishy.”

 

Again, Batgirl’s instinct told her that something was wrong and that she should turn around and high-tail it out of there. She still stayed because she believed that she was being a little too cautious. Maybe all her years of crime-fighting had finally wound her up too tight to the point where she expected danger around every corner. Perhaps she was subconsciously hoping for a little mystery and danger due to the lack of excitement of this assignment. Life was mostly everyday routine for everyone else that lived in the world and she was going nuts because she had to endure a few hours of boredom.

 

Batgirl rationalized that the reason for the tinted glass was to keep the sun out. The house was in a position which would catch the full blast the rays.

 

She grew annoyed because during her contemplation, no one emerged to greet her.

 

Batgirl honked her horn.

 

She waited. Nobody came.

 

She honked again. Waited. Nothing.

 

She knocked on the glass. No answer.

 

She knocked on the glass even harder and yelled, “Helllllooooo.”

 

Thirty seconds later and there was still no response.

 

“What the hell is going on here? Where’s security? I could climb over that fence and no one would be the wiser.” She contemplated doing just that, but decided not to. Without an official entry, she was technically trespassing and could get shot… if there were guards around.

 

She circled around the guard house with her bike and found a door on the opposite side of the window.

 

She knocked. Still no answer.

 

The door was secured with a door knob and deadbolt. Just for laughs she tried the knob.

 

It turned. It opened!

 

The deadbolt latch wasn’t even thrown into the locked position. That was peculiar, too. The door knob and deadbolt were very expensive commercial heavy duty locks that were designed against, weathering, abuse, wear and tear, and resistant to damage to avoid unwanted entry. The pins were precisioned so that it made picking the lock very difficult and time consuming. She ought to know. Batgirl encountered many of these locks and they slowed down her attempts with her rake pick and tension wrench. She also noticed that the locks were new.

 

She opened the door just enough to stick her head in so that she wouldn’t startle the occupants. She looked around and saw no one. Perhaps they were in the back half of the house where she couldn’t see them from her position. She then opened the door and took only one step inside.

 

“Hello. Anyone here? I’m Batgirl. I have an important meeting with Mr. Howards. He’s expecting me. Do I need to sign in or something?”

 

No answer.

 

“Hello.” She took a few more steps inside. “Any one here?”

 

No answer.

 

“I’m here to see Mr. Howards. Am I at the right place?”

 

Her first thought was that perhaps this was an old guard house that was no longer in use but soon found evidence that contradicted that theory. Why put brand new locks on an obsolete guard station? If this place was no longer used, shouldn’t it be boarded and locked up?

 

Batgirl took a thorough look around and found no one inside. It had been several minutes and the station should not have been left unattended for so long.

 

Looking at the contents of the station, she found nothing out of place or out of the ordinary. There was a panel of TV screens to pick up the security cameras that were set up from different parts of the property. There was one angled at the top of the hill where she surveyed the mansion. The camera would have picked her up. Someone had to have seen her. You would have to be blind not to see her and deaf not to hear the motorcycle.

 

Upon further inspection, she found a cot that looked like someone had rested on it a few hours ago. She found the radio that was the source of the music and next to it was a regular TV set.

 

Geez,” Batgirl grunted in disfavor. “Some security. Where is this guy? Taking a dump in the woods? No need for that because there’s a perfectly functioning bathroom in the back and fully stocked with toilet paper, hand towels, and soap. Maybe the guy drinks and he stopped in the woods for a nip. Maybe he took too big a nip and passed out… but would he risk that? Surely, someone would check in on him from time to time. I mean… any one could come in here and walk out with a free TV or radio. Then again, who would know about it since this place is in the middle of the woods?”

 

Batgirl found the break room (actually, it was more of an “area”) which consisted of a table and two chairs, small refrigerator, a coffee maker, and a microwave. When she opened the refrigerator, she found it stocked with food. She opened a paper bag and found a freshly made sandwich. There was some fruit as well. She examined them and found that nothing was spoiled or was starting to turn brown. Despite all the food, the fridge was immaculately clean. No odors of any kind. The coffee pot was half-filled and still plugged in, keeping the coffee nice and hot.

 

When she went to the desk area behind the tinted glass that she was knocking on just a few minutes before, she found a full coffee mug. The coffee was stone cold, meaning that the owner had abandoned it, at least, ten minutes before it cooled down. Next to the desk she found two phones. One was a direct line to the house and the other was for outside calls. Another peculiar item… they were both old rotary phones rather than touch tone. She picked up the receiver on each and got no dial tone even after she pressed rapidly on the hang-up switch. She checked the cords and they were plugged in. She looked out a window and examined the phone lines. They were still intact.

 

Batgirl looked at her watch. She only had ten minutes to meet the deadline. Batgirl began to wonder if she was at the right house to begin with. Surely, even an eccentric billionaire would not be so lax with security.

 

“Oh, crap. If I blow this, Diana is gonna kill me… not to mention the shit I’ll take from the other Leaguers who look down on me just because I don’t have super-powers. I can hear them now. Whatsa’ matter Bat-chick? Can’t even get a simple delivery right?”

 

Just to be on the safe side and to prove to Wonder Woman that she wasn’t nuts, she took her camera out of her utility belt and took pictures of the vacant house. She went back outside and took pictures of the mansion. Now she had photographic proof that she was at the right house and made an attempt to deliver but one was around to let her in.

 

“Rich people are nuts,” Batgirl muttered to herself. “The old coot probably forgot that I was coming. Well, Diana, I tried. What does she expect me to do? Break in?”

 

Batgirl got on her bike and started it up, ready to leave this annoyance and waste of time behind.

 

Something compelled her to get in one final shot. She was still very pissed off at this point and still needed to vent some more.

 

She turned her head back to the mansion and said, “Thanks for the hospitality, you self-serving prick. Good-bye and good riddance. Wonder Woman may put up with your crap and… Hey, wait a second.” Something caught Batgirl’s eye. “How could I be so stupid?”

 

Batgirl noticed that there was a mail box and intercom stand.

 

Against her better judgment, and having the feeling that she was going to get the runaround, Batgirl decided to give them one more chance. If they gave her crap this time, she was out of here.

 

Wanting more evidence to prove that these people were kooks and had no accountability to the “real” world, Batgirl reached into her belt and pulled out her mini recorder so that she would have a tape of the conversation. She looked over the recorder. Batgirl had this piece of equipment for a long time, but it still worked.

 

 

Although her tools in her belt were no where near the technology and quality to those of Batman and Robin, Batgirl did pretty well with getting her equipment considering her modest salary.

 

It had taken Batgirl years of scrounging to build up her collection. Most of the items were things that Batman discarded or were left behind by Super-Villains as they made their getaways. Batgirl obtained the tape recorder when she “confiscated” it during a capture of Catwoman before she reformed from burglary and became a legitimate and highly paid security consultant. “

 

“How ironic. Catwoman steals for a living… never even graduated from high school and is reward with a great job while I’m keeping the street crime-free while still stamping books at Gotham Public Library. Four years of working my ass off in college and the best job my ‘big shot’ Police-Commissioner-father can get me with all his ‘political connections’ is as a lousy librarian. I could have gotten that gig with a high school diploma. She makes six figures a contact plus bonuses, while I’m only pulling thirty-three g’s a year and I’m only making that much because of that stipend I get for being a reserve member the JLA. I must be the only idiot that keeps the money for herself. Most of the other heroes end up giving it to a family member or to charity. That’s justice for you… and they told me that crime doesn’t pay.”

 

 

Batgirl approached that gate that was adorned with various shields and heads of lions, dragons, and elephants. She pressed the button. She heard the ring.

 

She waited.

 

No answer. What a surprise!

 

She tired again.

 

Nothing.

 

No surprise here either. Time to pack up and go.

 

Once again Batgirl was ready to leave this asylum behind, but before she started up her cycle, she realized that she still left her tape recorder running. Just as she was about to switch it off, she heard a voice from the intercom speaker.

 

“Yes….”

 

Batgirl jumped off the bike and raced back to the intercom and pressed the send button to answer. She made sure that her recorder was still running.

 

“Hello,” she answered. “Is anyone here?”

 

What a stroke of luck… for once Batgirl knew that if she wasn’t delayed those few seconds to find her recorder and shut it off, she would have already sped off on the path and never heard the intercom answer. She almost blew it.

 

There was another long pause.

 

“Blast! I missed him.”

 

Just as Batgirl was about to turn around and leave again, the voice kicked in.

 

“Who is it? Is anyone out there? Hello?”

 

This time Batgirl was right on top of the speaker and answered immediately. “Yes, I’m here. Hello. Can you hear me?”

 

“Yes. Can I help you?”

 

“Is this the Howards Estate?”

 

“I’m sorry. What?”

 

“Is this Mr. Howards’ residence? Do I have the right place? I’m not sure. I may be lost.”

 

“Ummm… Hold on. I’ll check.”

 

There was another long pause before an answer came. It was almost as if the moron on the other side had to process the question and figure out the answer.

 

What the hell does he mean “I’ll check?” Is that so hard a question?

 

Batgirl grew impatient and spoke before the other jerk could respond. “Is this the Howards place or not?”

 

“Why do you want to know?”

 

I’m gonna smack this guy. “I have an appointment. Mr. Howards is expecting me. It’s very important that I get to see him in the next five minutes.”

 

No response.

 

“I need to know. Am I at the right place? Is that so hard to answer? Either Mr. Howards lives here or he doesn’t! It’s that simple.”

 

Another pause to think it over. “Ummm… Mr. Howards lives here. Yes. This is his place of residence. I think you have the right place.”

 

He thinks? Oh, brother!

 

Another pause.

 

“Can I come in, please?” Batgirl tried not to lose her temper.

 

“Your name?”

 

“I just told you… Batgirl.”

 

“What about the cat?”

 

“Not cat! Bat!”

 

“You can’t have our cat. You can adopt one at the shelter in town.”

 

“I don’t want a cat. My name is Batgirl. I’m here….”

 

“Did you say bat? Not cat?”

 

“That’s right. Batgirl.”

 

“We don’t have bat’s here. They don’t have them at the shelter either. I also don’t think the State will let you to keep bats?”

 

“No, you idiot. I’m not here for bats. I’m here to see Mr. Howards.”

 

“Oh… Mr. Howards? Ummm… you came to see him, did you? What’s your name?”

 

“Batgirl!”

 

“Catgirl?”

 

“No! Batgirl!”

 

“Fat girl?”

 

“No! Batgirl! Bat as in… vampire bats.”

 

“There are no vampire bats around here. What was the name again?”

 

“Batgirl?”

 

“Jeri-Curl?”

 

“For crying out loud. I’m going to sock you in the head if I ever find you. The name is Batgirl?”

 

“Cherry Swirl?”

 

“Batgirl. Baaaat giiiiirrrlllll. I’ll spell it out for you, moron. B-A-T-G-I-R-L. Batgirl. Got it?”

 

Another pause.

 

“Let’s see if I got this right. “C-A-B.…”

 

“Not C-A-B… B-A-T…. Look… ‘B’ as in boy… ‘A’ as in apple… ‘T’ as in ‘tango… ‘G’ as in grass… ‘I’ as in ice… ‘R’ as in rabbit… and ‘L’ as in lake.”

 

“Just a moment, please.” Another pause. Then she could actually hear some muttering. “Let me see… B-A-T… Oh, Batgirl! Did you say your name was Batgirl?”

 

Did this guy really have to take a minute to figure out the spelling? “Yes!”

 

“Oh, Batgirl. How can we help you?”

 

“I’m here to see, Mr. Howards.”

 

“Do you have an appointment? Is he expecting you?”

 

“Yes! I just told you that two minutes ago!”

 

“And whom should I say is calling?”

 

“Batgirl!”

 

“Oh, that’s right. And this appointment is regarding.…”

 

“A check.”

 

“What check?”

 

“The check for the JLA charity fund. I need to hand it to him in two minutes or he won’t match our fund.”

 

“Oh, you’re here to drop of the check? Why didn’t you say so in the first place? You must be Wonder Woman.”

 

“No, I’m Batgirl.”

 

“What happened to Wonder Woman?”

 

“She couldn’t make it. I’m here in her place.”

 

“We were expecting Wonder Woman… not Batgirl.”

 

“Mr. Howards knows that I’m filling in for her.”

 

“We’ll wait for Wonder Woman then. You are excused. Please leave the grounds.”

 

“Look, fella, I drove all the way out here to drop off this check. If you don’t let me in, I’ll climb over this fence.”

 

“No,” the voice said nervously. “Don’t do that. One moment, please.”

 

The idiot forgot to turn off the speaker. Batgirl heard some muffled arguing, then some scuffling of feet. More arguing occurred before a different voice spoke.

 

“Yes, can I help you?”

 

Here we go again!

 

“I’m here to see, Mr. Howards. He’s expecting me.”

 

“I’m Mr. Howards. Please forgive my servant. This is his first day on the job and he has a mental disorder. We’re all fine here… uhhh… thank you. How are you?”

 

Batgirl calmed down as she didn’t want to upset the man she was supposed to see. “Mr. Howards, my name is Batgirl. I think there’s been a lack of communication somewhere. I’m here in Wonder Woman’s place. She couldn’t make it today. I was told that you were informed of the situation. I’m here to drop of the JLA charity check so you can match it.”

 

“Oh?” Howards answered nervously. “Is that today? I plum forgot. That won’t do at all. Can you stop by next week?”

 

“Please, Mr. Howards. I drove a long way.”

 

More arguing ensued before Howards got back on the line. “This is a very bad time. Can’t you come back?”

 

“Sir, this will only take a few minutes of your time. I won’t stay. I’ll just hand you the check and I’ll leave as soon as you make the transfer.”

 

“Can’t you leave it in the mail box?”

 

“If that’s what you want, sir. I know I’m supposed to hand it to you personally. I don’t want to break the stipulations of the agreement.”

 

More muttered arguing.

 

“Don’t worry about that, Batgirl. Consider the stipulation waved for this one time. I promise to match the funds. Now leave it in the box and be a good girl and run along.”

 

More muttered arguing.

 

“Is everything alright in there, Mr. Howards? You sound very nervous.”

 

“Just having a crisis here. Ummm… my… ummm… cat is very sick… he’s a male calico and I need to constantly keep on an eye on him.”

 

“Calico, huh? I like cats, too. What colors is he?”

 

“Black, brown, and white… this isn’t a good time, Batgirl. My poor boy may have a urinary tract infection….”

 

“I’m so sorry to hear that. Anything I can do to help?”

 

More muttering arguing.

 

“Yes,” Howards snapped. “Leave me alone. How can I take care of my cat if you keep bugging me? Leave now! Get off my property or else I’ll complain to the Justice League that you’re harassing me and I won’t match the funds anymore… and it will be all your fault. Just tell Wonder Woman to deliver the check when she returns from her mission. Now beat it! Get out of here if you know what’s good for you.”

 

“Fine… be that way!” Batgirl stopped her recorder, replaced it in her belt, and stormed to her bike. “Of all the nerve! It’s a good thing I recorded this… otherwise Wonder Woman would never have believed me.”

 

 

As Batgirl rode down the road away from the estate, she muttered to herself. She was really pissed. “He better not renege on the match. Sick male calico cat… my ass!”

 

Batgirl slammed on her brakes and came to a screeching halt. “Wait a second. There’s no such thing as a male calico. All calicos are female. That’s a fact. Either he’s a liar… an idiot that knows nothing about cats… or… he was trying to tell me something. I had a feeling that something was wrong here. Ha… I know.”

 

Batgirl revved up her bike and rode it over the hill and out of sight of the mansion. She needed to maintain the appearance that she was leaving.

 

She quickly took out her recorder and then her special sound extension. It was a sort of filter used for drowning out background noise or isolating sounds from a single source… namely the muttering and arguing she heard while on the intercom.

 

This little gem of a device she acquired from Batman. He had upgraded his own device and discarded his old one as obsolete. Maybe it was obsolete to Batman and his vast resources, but not to Batgirl’s limited funds.

 

Batgirl loved her little toys, gadgets, tools, and weapons in her utility belt. That belt got her out of many a jam. Thinking again, this began to disturb her. She was depending more and more on the belt and its contents to bail her out and overcome opponents, rather than using her own fighting skills, wits, quickness, physical prowess, and intelligence. How many times had Batman preached to her and Robin that the utility belt was a tool and not a crutch to depend on all the time? It was advice that she was slowly ignoring. Was she really starting to get battle rust? It did seem that other Super-heroes were also bailing her out of sticky situations more and more as well.

 

Going past her prime was a hard pill for Batgirl to swallow.

 

 

It took a few minutes, but she isolated the sounds.

 

This is what she heard just after she initially picked up the intercom and started to walk away.

 

“Someone’s at the gate.”

 

“Is it Wonder Woman?”

 

“It can’t be. She would fly in… not use the gate.”

 

“Better answer it to avoid suspicion.”

 

“Maybe, we’d better not. Let whoever it is at the gate think that we’re not home and maybe they’ll leave.”

 

“We can’t risk it. Answer it.”

 

“Yes.…”

 

 

Then Batgirl heard her own voice.

 

During a pause the muttering went something like this.

 

 

“Holy shit! It’s Batgirl.”

 

“What’s she doing here? It’s supposed to be Wonder Woman.”

 

“What should I do?”

 

“Try to get rid of her, stupid.”

 

“What should I say?”

 

“Just play dumb. Maybe she’ll get annoyed and leave.”

 

“I don’t know how to act dumb.”

 

“It’s easy. Just act like your normal self.”

 

 

The stupid banter between Batgirl and the moron ensued. During another pause, Batgirl was able to pick up the following.

 

 

“She’s not leaving. What do we do?”

 

“What’s with that stubborn twit? It looked like she was going to get up and leave a dozen times and then she suddenly hangs back? I don’t like this.”

 

“Do you think she suspects?”

 

“I don’t think so.”

 

“Should we send some guards out to kill or capture her?”

 

“That could be risky. Keep trying to get rid of her. It would still be better to get her to leave without incident.”

 

 

More stupid banter followed.

 

 

“It’s not working. What do we do?”

 

“Keep acting stupid. Tell her to hold on for a minute. I have an idea.”

 

 

Batgirl heard the scuffling.

 

 

“Unhand me,” Howards’ voice said.

 

“You doubled-crossed us, old man. Wonder Woman isn’t here. They sent that useless Batgirl.”

 

“I never doubled-crossed you,” Hugh barked back. “I told you a dozen times that Wonder Woman wasn’t coming, but you kept calling me a liar.”

 

“I guess he was telling the truth after all.”

 

“Shut up. I’m trying to think. Okay… what happened to Wonder Woman?”

 

“She told me that she couldn’t make it… family obligation or something like that. She asked if Batgirl could come in her place. I said that it was okay.”

 

“When is Wonder Woman due back?”

 

“The day after tomorrow… I think she mentioned that.”

 

“All right then, old man. We’ll just wait right here until she returns.”

 

“The Boss won’t like this delay.”

 

“He’ll be okay with it. He’s waited over twenty years to bag that arrogant Amazon bitch. He can certainly wait a couple more days. That will also give this old fart more than enough time to come up with some bogus excuse to get her sweet star-spangled ass back here. In the mean time, we need to ditch Batgirl.”

 

“Look,” Hugh said calmly. “Whatever your Boss is paying your group, I will double it if you can get everyone to leave. I can double it, you know. Only God has more money than me. I have helicopters that will take you to my private airport and my pilots will take you anywhere you want.”

 

“Shut up, old man. No amount of money is going to keep us safe if we cross the Boss. There’s no place on Earth that we can hide from him. I need you to talk to Batgirl. Get rid of her. If you don’t, we’ll kill her. We may have missed Wonder Woman but the Boss might be satisfied with a consolation prize of the Bat-bimbo. We can use her as a practice tune-up for Wonder Woman.”

 

“Don’t hurt her. I’ll do whatever you want, so long as no one gets hurt.”

 

“Good. Get rid of the tramp.”

 

 

Batgirl heard the conversation between her and Hugh. No wonder the old man was nervous. He wasn’t being rude on purpose. He was only trying to protect her. How sweet!

 

 

“It’s not working. She won’t leave.”

 

“Okay, call out the guards.”

 

“No, wait,” Hugh pleaded. “Give me one more chance. Please. I’ll get her to go away. I swear.”

 

“Alright, old man. But if she isn’t making tracks in the next sixty seconds, I’m going to mount her head in my trophy case.”

 

 

That’s when Hugh really got nasty. That’s when he dropped the male calico cat clue to hopefully tip Batgirl off that something was wrong. Clever Hugh! Batgirl only hoped that the clue went over the heads of the ruffians.

 

 

“It all adds up,” Batgirl turned off the tape. “They’re holding that poor man inside against his will… using him to set up Wonder Woman. That’s why the guard house was empty. That’s why the phones didn’t work.”

 

Batgirl pulled out her radio to contact the Justice League for assistance. Something was blocking the signal. Was it all the trees? How could that be? The JLA uses satellite signals not digital tower signals like a cell phone. The signal should go through but it wasn’t. These kidnappers had it all planned.

 

Batgirl was on her own!

 

 

She was no coward, but storming the castle by herself to rescue Mr. Howards was just plain reckless and suicidal. She had no layout of the property. She had no clue how many henchmen she had to deal with. She didn’t know who this “Boss” was… nor did she know the location of where they were holding their hostage.

 

It was all so logical. Mr. Howards was in no immediate danger. If they wanted to get at Wonder Woman, they would have to keep the kindly old man alive and well for two more days.

 

Seeing that discretion was the better part of valor, she decided to get help. Perhaps if she rode out of here, she might be able to get out of range of whatever was blocking her signal and reach the JLA. If worse came to worse, she could ride into the next town and get to a phone and contact them by their backup emergency secured LAN line. That was the most prudent course of action. No one would frown at her for that. There was no reason to be a lone hero in this case.

 

Batgirl started her engine for, what she believed to be, the last time while on this estate. This time she really was going to leave and when she returned, she wouldn’t be alone.

 

Batgirl was very proud of herself. Whatever it that was that was causing her skills to wane, it didn’t affect her mental process. Unfortunately, it did affect her perception. She was so distracted listening to the recording… distracted in her thoughts… and distracted by her motorcycle engine that she failed to hear the footstep as they crunched on the dried grass. She failed to hear the unsnap of a gun holster. She even failed to notice the emergence of a human shadow.

 

She didn’t react until she heard the sound of a gun being drawn from its holster.

 

Batgirl reached for her utility belt to get her batarang but it was too late. Her hand was, at least, four inches away from her belt when she heard the command.

 

“Freeze, Batgirl!”

 

Batgirls remained still… thinking if she should chance it and go for the batarang anyway. Her decision was made for her.

 

“Don’t even think about it, lady. You so much as budge a fraction of an inch toward that utility belt and I will shot you dead.”

 

The security guard was correct in his assessment. He already had his gun drawn and aimed at her. The guard was a total pro. His body was square and his legs were spread apart the proper distance. Two hands were on his weapon… one to steady the bottom of the butt and the other on the trigger. The barrel was pointing at the biggest target… her chest. That way, at this short distance, he was assured to score a hit. Batgirl knew that the guard could easily squeeze off a round and do damage long before she could whip out her batarang.

 

She was in some serious shit now!

 

“Hands in the air where I can see them. Keep ‘em away from that belt of goodies. Any sudden moves and I will shot you.”

 

Having no other recourse, Batgirl complied with the order. She cursed herself for her sloppiness. The crime- fighter-of-old would have picked up on all the perceived warnings and reacted long before the guard could pull out his weapon. What was wrong with her? She considered herself a seasoned crime-fighter. She should have easily gotten the drop on this flunkey instead of him getting the drop on her.

 

“Not so tough when you can’t reach your paw into that lame utility belt, are you, Bat-chick? You’re going down.”

 

 

PART 3

 

 

“Is there a problem, Officer?” Batgirl flashed a warm, enchanting smile and batted her gorgeous eyes.

 

Even Batgirl had to admit that she was a bit unnerved, but the trick is not to make the opposition aware of that. Although physical weapons were out of her reach. She had other weapons. She still had her wit and charm and she was still appealing to the male eye… provided that this guy was straight. It would just be her luck if he was gay.

 

She had to play it cool. She had to try to talk or bluff her way out of the situation. It also appeared that he was alone which meant she still had a good chance to turn the tables.

 

“You’re my problem, Batgirl,” the guard grunted as he answered her question. “You were told to leave the premises.”

 

“Oh, I’m so sorry, sir,” Batgirl said in a coy voice and made it sound liked there was some sort of misunderstanding. She had to keep up the dumb routine and act unconsidered as if she wasn’t doing anything wrong. “I just stopped for a moment to check my gas line. I thought I smelled a leak but it was a false alarm. Everything is fine now. Thanks for checking up on me, Officer. I’ll be on my way now.”

 

“You’re not going anywhere now,” the guard wasn’t falling for it. “You were home free, but you had to stop one more time. All these times, you couldn’t make up your mind if you were staying or going. We were willing to let you go without causing you distress. We gave you an out and you wouldn’t take it.”

 

“Out?” Batgirl continued her clueless act to buy some time. Already, she spotted a weakness in the guard: he liked to run his mouth off. She had to keep him talking to stall for time and think of a plan to get herself out of this. “I don’t know what you mean.”

 

“You should have left when you had the chance… but you didn’t want to leave. Now, all of a sudden you want to leave? Guess what? Now you can’t leave!”

 

Batgirl played the damsel in distress routine in order to stroke the man’s ego in order to make him overconfident and give herself an opening for attack. So far, this guy was holding his ground.

 

“Y-You’re not going to shot me… are you, Officer? Are you going to kill me now? Please, sir. I don’t want to die. I’ll do anything you say… just don’t hurt me.”

 

“You will not be killed if you do exactly as you’re told. I had a feeling that you would stick around so I decided to check it out. Guess what? You’re still here.”

 

“W-Why are you so mad? What did I do wrong? I was really going to leave this time… I swear. I just stopped to check my gas line. Honest. I promise to leave this time. Please, let me go.”

 

“Too late now, Cutie-pie. You know what’s going on here. I can’t let you leave.”

 

“No, I don’t,” Batgirl believed that she was lying convincingly but this jerk still had his gun steadied on her. This guy was really well-trained… probably a former veteran police officer and not some eight-dollar-an-hour bonehead.

 

“I just came here to deliver the check. That’s all. I mean… how would I know what’s going on inside? You must have me mistaken for Supergirl. She’s the one with the super-hearing.”

 

“You were playing the tape. You heard everything.”

 

“What tape?”

 

“Give it up. I know you like the back of my hand.”

 

“I’m sorry. Have we met before?”

 

“Not formally,” laughed the guard.

 

“Where? When?” It was working, he was talking some more. “You do look familiar.”

 

“I doubt that. Super-bimbos like you never notice us schlubs in the trenches. You chicks think you know everything about law enforcement. You don’t know shit. You think you’re so high and mighty and smart… but you’re not so smart, Batgirl… especially since a mere flunkey got the drop on you. I’m sick of you super-broads making all us real cops look incompetent… but guess who’s incompetent now?”

 

The plan was still working… sort of. The guy was talking, but he was so good at it that he could run his mouth and still keep his eyes glued on her every move. She had to keep trying nonetheless. He would have to drop his guard eventually.

 

“You were a police officer? I’m impressed. That must have been exciting work.”

 

“Bullshit. You heroes get to do all the exciting work, but not the shit parts of it… like filling out all those endless reports. You get to bag the bad guys and go home for the evening… not a care in the world… while the rest of us real cops have to stay past our shift to do all the paperwork. For ten years, I had to ride in a car with a boring beat. I got stuck directing traffic… writing parking tickets… taking fingerprints and mug shots… breaking up fights between drunks… handling domestic disputes… going to loud parties and having to tell those punk kids to keep it down. It took me five years to get off the midnight to 8AM shift and get transferred to nine to five.”

 

“Finally, after ten years, I get my chance. I moved up to vice. Finally, we had a beauty of an assignment. We got to take down a major heroine pusher. For ten months, we worked our asses off… but we thought the end result would be worth it. For ten months, we had a guy undercover. For ten months, I had to stake out the suspect’s house. Do you know how boring it is to sit in a car for eight hours in the middle of the night when nothing much happens?”

 

“Commissioner Gordon finally gives us the green light. We raided their warehouse. We got them dead to rights. Everything is under control. We convinced the suspects to surrender without having to fire a shot.”

 

 “Just when they were about to lay down their weapons… then guess what… you suddenly come swinging in and crashing through the window. They take one look at you and they start to panic. They go for their guns and they start firing. We had no choice put to fire back. Okay, you clobbered the bad guys… I’ll give you that… but three officers were injured in the fire fight… when it didn’t need to happen in the first place because you stuck your unsolicited nose where it didn’t belong.”

 

“When the dust settles, we try to get the leader to give up his supplier. He won’t talk. Starts crying for his high-priced-get-you-off-on-a-technicality lawyer and we can’t interrogate the suspect until the attorney shows up. Unfortunately, even scumbags have civil rights. We have to follow the rules. We can’t beat a confession out of the guy without having Internal Affairs up our ass.”

 

“Rules don’t stop you Super-sluts. You grab the creep and start beating the crap out of him. You take him to the roof and hang him upside down ten stories… holding him only by one ankle. Now that you put the fear of God in him, he starts talking. He confesses to everything. He gives up his supplier… but you never bothered to give us the name.”

 

“Then you swing off… not a care in the world while the legitimate police are stuck behind cleaning the mess that you made. The media arrives and you get all the credit while we get blamed for using excessive force. Not too long after, you, Batman, and Boy Blunder raid the supplier’s hideout and the mayor proclaims you heroes while the rest of us look like useless jackasses. Every time I’m in uniform and pass a crowd, I have to hear, Why should we waste our hard-earned tax money paying you useless cops, when we have Batman and his pals getting the job done? Our captain reamed us all out for the screw-up.”

 

Damn! This guy still had his eyes fixed on her, ready to fire at a moments notice. This guy was very good.

 

“I’m so sorry to hear that. I had no idea….”

 

“It gets even better,” the guard cut her off. “Where were you during the trial? I didn’t see you testify. You couldn’t because then you would have to tell everyone who you are behind that cute little mask of yours… but you don’t care. Everything the suspect told Batgirl was ruled as hearsay because you weren’t in court to testify to what he said and no sworn police officers were present to corroborate what he told you. Even if the court recognized Batgirl as a legal entity and you could keep your secret identity, we still would have lost because his confession was coerced when you hung him off the roof. His attorney would claim that he was only saying what you wanted to hear in order to save his life. He would have confessed to shooting JFK in order to prevent being dropped.”

 

“The creep walked and he’s still out there selling drugs to kids… all thanks to you. Now, I get to even the score. I get to take you in to the Boss all by myself. I get all the credit… a big bonus… and I finally get to be the one the Boss’s good side for a change.”

 

“Take me in? W-What are you going to do to me?” Is this guy going to drop his guard or what?

 

“That’s up to the Boss. You should have thought about that before you insisted on sticking around here. You wouldn’t be in this mess if you left in the first place.”

 

“Look, we can make a deal? If you let me go.…”

 

“No more games, Batgirl!” The guard steadied his aim. He took his thumb and cocked back the hammer. He meant business. Now Batgirl’s reaction time was even more decreased. “Keep your right hand up and use your left hand to turn off the engine.”

 

Batgirl obeyed. She turned the key to cut the engine, but left it in the ignition. The guard didn’t object or notice that. For once, something was in her favor. She still had to hand it to the guy. He was smart enough to realize that she was right-handed and anything done with her left would be a little slower and a little awkward. That way, it would take her longer to make a move for something in her utility belt and pull it out and then get shot down just as dead as when he first got the bead on her. There was no way she could out draw him in this situation. Since the throttle was on the right side of the handlebars, she also wouldn’t be able to jump on her bike and take off right away… not unless she could do it very quickly with her arm clumsily crossed over to the opposite side.

 

“Very good, Batgirl. Get off the bike… slowly. Keep your hands up where I can see them.”

 

Batgirl obeyed again.

 

“Now step away from the bike. Take three steps toward me. Don’t drop those hands. Don’t reach for anything in that belt.”

 

Batgirl obeyed but this was something she could deal with. Her motorcycle was no longer in her way and she was a few feet closer to the guard to attack him when she saw the opportunity to make her move… if her ever gave her one. She was still thinking. She still didn’t have a plan. If only she could get to her utility belt!

 

“So far… so good. Just like before... keep your right arm up and… slowly… bring your left hand down… in front of your chest… not your side. Bring it down nice and slow and rest in on the buckle of your belt. Keep it there and don’t move it anywhere else. Don’t even think of dropping that right arm.”

 

Batgirl gracefully did so… making sure not to do anything to alarm the man and make him shoot.

 

“Very nice. Now I want you to unbuckle that belt and let it fall to the ground.”

 

The guard smiled as he heard the loud unsnap of a buckle and the sound of the utility belt plopping on the dirt road. Victory and the prestige of single-handedly making Batgirl his prisoner was almost within his grasp.

 

“When I say now… Kick your belt off to the side… so that it’s out of your reach. Keep your kick to the side and low. If you kick it straight up in the air and make a grab for it, I’ll fire.”

 

Damn! She was thinking about doing just that. She had no choice and reluctantly kicked it off to the side… out of reach… no time to dive for it… leaving her now totally weaponless.

 

Now the guard slowly released his left arm from his weapon, but his right arm was still stiff, poised and ready to fire his weapon if needed. He wasn’t taking any chances with Batgirl no matter how frightened she looked. She was still tricky and not one to underestimate.

 

“It’s almost over, Batgirl. Just remain calm and you’ll do just fine.” The guard crossed his arm and reached for a small plastic pouch on his right hip. He unsnapped it to pull out the contents… a shiny pair of handcuffs. He purposely let the one end, along with the chain, dangle freely and sway smoothly in the breeze.

 

The guard smiled with delight as Batgirl’s eyes opened wide with terror. He knew that she knew of what to expect next.

 

 

In actuality, the guard misread Batgirl’s reaction. Although she was a little scared of the handcuffs, she was actually more fascinated… even stimulated. She realized that she had an obsession for bondage. She always fanaticized about being tied up and pillaged. The thought of his man handcuffing her… binding her and making her his helpless captive, sexually excited her to no end. She could feel goose pumps forming and the thought of it all was making her head light and her knees weak. She wanted hear the loud click… click… click as they slowly closed on her wrists and rendered them immobile behind her back. She waited to feel the cold steel against her skin.

 

She wanted nothing more but to give in to her desires and fantasies but she had several reasons not to allow herself to be restrained and captured for the time being. First, she needed to get help to rescue Mr. Howards and warn Wonder Woman that visiting his home was a trap. Second, her bondage fantasy was just that… a fantasy. Being bondaged up in her mind and being bondaged up for real were two entirely different things. It was fun to think about the Joker tying her up, but she knew that such an experience in real life would be very unpleasant. Who knows what perverted and humiliating things that Clown Prince of Crime would do to her? It’s a good thing that something like that never dawned on the minds of the costumed villains that she encountered and briefly got the upper hand on her. Third, if she were to get bondaged up for real, she shouldn’t simply allow someone to do it to her on purpose. The man in question needed to conquer her… outwit her… trick her. She owed it to herself to try to resist and escape it for as long as she was able to do so. It was more stimulating to her if she was finally bound after making every honest effort to avoid it. If there was a chance to escape her fate and she didn’t take it, then the experience was useless. If she tried to escape but failed, then all the better for her.

 

If this man wanted her bound, he had to earn that right. She wasn’t just going to give it to him.

 

So far, the guard was earning the right.

 

She got him to talk. She stalled him for too long and she had no idea how to get out of this situation. She tired everything and it wasn’t working. Batgirl needed to prevent those cuffs from going on her but she couldn’t see how. She had no clue what to do.

 

She should be able to take out henchmen, albeit a single henchman at that! If anything, only Super-Villains like the Riddler or King Tut should be able to get the better of her, or, at least, the leader of a gang of ordinary criminals… but not just a lone, single foot soldier.

 

 

Could it be that a mere lackey finally defeated, the once formidable Batgirl?

 

 

There were some unspoken codes and rules to being a super-hero. It was a minor version of the Samurai code. Some things were basically simple. Never kill an opponent unless you absolutely had to. It was okay to threaten, intimidate, or even rough up a bad guy to get information, but torture was totally taboo. Be very careful about telling people your secret identity. Never swear in public. Always be kind to children and old people. If going into another hero’s territory, do not step on his/her toes. Work with the hero but never tell them how to do their job. Superman would not like it if Batman suddenly left Gotham City and started “moving in” on Metropolis. Never accept rewards of great monetary value. A medal, trophy, or Key to the City was okay, but not a check for one million dollars. Always be humble when talking to the media after successfully rapping up a case, and make sure to give credit to any law enforcement officers or helpful civilians. Always be brave in the face of death and never let people see you cower. Always be optimistic when things look totally bleak. Make sure to give the bad guys a lecture on how crime doesn’t pay when you capture them… and make sure to rub their defeat in their faces.

 

In the Super-hero World, status and gaining the respect and admiration of your fellow heroes is everything. Respect is hard to earn and easy to lose. A violation of the above rules will result in a loss of respect. This is usually not a big deal as the offending hero can usually gain it back. They are usually forgotten in due time or until the next super-hero screws up.

 

There are, however, three major offenses to which it is almost damn near impossible to overcome. It is best to retire after falling victim to one of these infractions because any offending hero that insists on continuing his/her career will suffer mockery and ridicule from fellow heroes. If you are lucky, other heroes may “only” simply ignore you and refuse to acknowledge that you are still one of them. You will never be taken seriously by your peers or the general public.

 

Batgirl was on the very edge of the third most damaging offense. Being beaten by a major Super-Villain is part of the hero game. Heroes always come back to overcome their foes. Getting beaten by a group of henchmen or thugs was frowned upon but not a sin as the hero can always claim that they were overrun by ten goons all at once. Getting defeated or captured by a single, lone criminal, thug, henchman, lackey, or flunkey will make the offending hero a laughing stock! No hero will ever let you live it down. Every time you try to mock your fellow hero, they will always throw this in your face. Don’t ever let it happen to you. Never get embarrassed or humiliated by losing to the hired help or the rank and file.

 

The second worst offense goes way back to the tradition of war. Every platoon had its own symbol, usually a flag, known as their “colors.” Your colors make you what you are. You wave them proudly. It is great dishonor for the enemy to gain possession of your colors. The same thing goes for Super-heroes in the form of their emblem or insignia. Superman has his “S” for example. Letting a villain take away your emblem from you will only give you shame, humiliation and the scorn of your peers. It is even worse if the insignia was captured fully-intact and without damage. It’s even worse still if it was taken with relative ease, or with little effort on the part of the villain. It’s the worst of all if the emblem was surrendered voluntarily by the hero, especially if no attempt was made to fight back. Fortunately, most villains don’t know about this rule of conduct, so they rarely go after your insignia. This is a total disgrace and desecration to the uniform that you are supposed to wear proudly. This rule does not apply if the hero gives up an emblem in order to save the life of an innocent civilian such as when a villain has a gun to a victim’s head and threatens to kill unless they give up the emblem.

 

Of course the ultimate sin is for anyone to unmask you and expose your secret identity to the world at any time regardless of the circumstances. If this ever happens to you, just pack your bags and move to a deserted island. It’s not that bad if an enemy discovers your secret due to some good solid research. Sometimes that can’t be helped. Being unmasked will totally kill your career. It will totally humiliate you. There is no known way to ever get back from this. If there is one thing that you should never allow to happen to you, it should be unmasking. A hero would prefer death to unmasking. Some have even taken their own lives to save face and avoid this fate. Never, never, never, ever let it happen. One time is all it takes!

 

 

The guard also knew that it would be Batgirl’s most humiliating moment to be captured by a mere minion after all her triumphs over super-powered villains.

 

He would go down in bad-guy henchman history for pulling this off. Fortunately, the guard’s scope was limited and it never occurred to him to take her insignia or unmask her. Actually, he was going to save that pleasure for “the Boss.”

 

The best cut of all was that it was so effortless. He did it without any help and without any preconceived planning or some super-weapon or trap. He simply went after her and took her down… almost on a whim. She was so scared shitless. She didn’t even try to resist capture. She didn’t know what to do. She was obeying all his instructions like a trained dog.

 

He licked his lips in anticipation.

 

 

The guard was correct. Batgirl had no idea of how to escape. All she could think of was to get her batarang which was now impossible to reach. No brilliant idea sprang into her mind like in the past. There was no other hero to intervene on her behalf.

 

Her one-sided thinking, along with her dependence on gadgets from her utility belt, would now be her undoing.

 

 

“End of the line for you, Batgirl. Now turn around and put your hands behind your back.”

 

 

 

 

PART 4

 

 

“A weapon,” Batgirl thought to herself. If I only had one lousy weapon. If I could only reach my utility belt. Damn it! How could I have allowed this stooge to render me weaponless… and soon helpless? Weaponless? Wait! No way! Why didn’t I think of that before? Where is your head, Batgirl? I could have gotten out of this a long time ago.”

           

 

“Are you deaf, Batgirl?” The guard snapped her back to reality. “Pretending that this isn’t happening is not going to help you. Now turn around and put your hands behind your back.”

 

Batgirl pretended that she wasn’t paying attention and suddenly snapped back from zoning out. “I’m sorry. What did you say?”

 

“Turn around. Put your hands behind your back.”

 

“Oh,” Batgirl went back to play-dumb mode. She put her hands behind her back but did not turn around. “Do you mean… like this, Officer?”

 

With her own body blocking her hands, she could now reach underneath her gloves without the guard seeing or suspecting what she was doing.

 

“No! Nitwit! I told you to turn around.”

 

“No, you did not, sir. You just told me to put my hands behind my back.” She needed more time to dig something out from that glove.

 

“I said to turn around and put your hands behind your back. Quit stalling. It won’t help.”

 

“You said, Turn around. Put your hands behind your back. You didn’t say and. So, I thought when you said, Put your hands behind your back, I thought it was because you changed your mind about me turning around and wanted me to put my hands behind my back instead. You know… like when you’re driving and someone is reading the road map for you and then you’re told to take a right… but then they didn’t mean to say ‘right’ but really meant to say ‘left.’ Then the map reader says, no, I meant, turn left. See what I mean?”

           

Although Batgirl no longer had her utility belt, she was far from weaponless. She remembered that most of her weapons were in her utility belt… but not all. She kept a few inside special thin compartments within her gloves as well as her boots. It had been such a long time since she last used them that she totally forgot about them. They were also well padded so that Batgirl would not be able to feel them in order to avoid discomfort, awkwardness, and tip an enemy off that something was inside the gloves. That was another reason that she forgot out them. The weapons were so well-hidden within the gloves that no one would be able to feel them or spot them if Batgirl were ever padded down. Only someone who knew that Batgirl had them would ever bother to look there to take them away from her.

 

Inside each of her boots and gloves, she kept an emergency lock pick and tension wrench. That way, if an enemy took her utility belt away and then secured her wrists and/or ankles with handcuffs or padlock and chains, she could pick open the lock and escape. She also had three thin blades, about four inches long and pointed at both ends, within each glove and boot. That way, she could cut herself free if she were bound by ropes. She took this precaution of arming her gloves and boots after she got tied up one too many times in her early adventures.

 

Not only could the blades be used for cutting, but they were balanced for throwing as well.

 

Batgirl finally managed to pull one out and avoid detection because she had her hands behind her back.

 

 

“Stop fooling around. You’re pissing me off.”

 

“I’m not fooling around, Officer,” Batgirl pretended to be scared and shaken. “Please, don’t yell at me. You’re making me nervous. I’ll be glad to do whatever you want, but you’re making me confused. You’re instructions were very unclear. It doesn’t help when you’re yelling at me.”

 

 

This seemed to make some sense to the guard. The stress of being captured by a henchman was unchartered waters for the Girl Wonder. It was obvious that it was a situation she never planned for or was emotionally trained to deal with. The pressure was getting to this over-rated hero and instead of coping with it, she was unraveling.

 

 

“Okay, Missy,” the guard said in a calm, cool, and patient voice. “I’m going to be very clear about this: I’m going to ask you do something one last time. If you fail to do that, I will kill you. I don’t care if bringing you in alive will get me a bigger bonus than bringing you in dead. Do you understand that or am I being vague and confusing? By the way… I’m not yelling.”

 

“Thank you, sir. I understand. What do you want me to do now?”

 

Okay, if Batgirl insisted like being treated like a moron and child, he was glad to oblige. “Now then, Sweetheart. I want you… Batgirl… to turn around… not all the way around as in a three-sixty circle… but in a half circle so that you’re back is facing me. After doing that, I want you to take both of your hands and then place them together against the small of your back… and keep them there until I say otherwise. Do I make myself clear on this as well?”

 

“Yes, sir,” Batgirl gripped her blade in exactly the way she wanted it. “Crystal clear. Thank you for not yelling. Here I go.”

 

 

As Batgirl turned around, she pivoted her foot to give herself a good spin. As she whizzed by the guard, she let go and threw the blade. She turned so fast that the guard never saw it coming.

 

The guard gave a loud sharp shriek as the blade bit deep into the bone of his wrist. The force of the throw jerked his arm back and he released his grip on his gun. The weapon flew over his shoulder behind his back and landed in the dirt. As it hit the ground, the impact caused it to fire off a round, but fortunately, the bullet traveled in the opposite direction of where they were both standing.

 

Now that they were on an even playing field, Batgirl finally attacked. She twisted to her side and landed a straight kick into the guard’s stomach.

 

“Oooof,” the guard went as the wind got knocked out of him before keeling over.

 

When the guard doubled over, Batgirl gave him an uppercut to the chin. The guard did not go down. He only staggered but didn’t attack back because he was still stunned. Without thinking, as if by instinct, like the Batgirl-of-old, she piloted her foot and twisted her body to give him the full force of her left hook.

 

Then the big-mouth guard went down for the count.

 

At first, Batgirl was a little disappointed in herself as when she used that maneuver on previous opponents, the uppercut was enough to take them down. Now she needed two punches… but so what! Batman taught her to adapt to all situations. Batman learned to fight and rely on his other senses if he temporarily lost use of his sight. He learned how to fight with his left hand when his right was broken. The same thing goes for Batgirl, so if one punch couldn’t do it, then why not two… and she did it without hesitation or having to think about it.

 

Maybe she wasn’t losing her edge. Maybe she just needed to learn to use and sharpen that edge in a different way. She needed to clear her mind and be one with her surroundings. Don’t think… go with the flow. Adapt and improvise.

 

Slowly, Batgirl could feel her confidence return. She doubted herself and that was causing her slip ups. She wasn’t eroding at all. It was all in her head.

           

 

 

This time, Batgirl’s perception did not get away from her. She heard the motor… but it was not a car. It was an electric motor… like a golf cart. That was how the guards got around all those acres of land to patrol it.

 

The vehicle stopped and a lone set of footsteps was heading her way. Someone must have heard the gun go off and now that person was investigating.

 

Quickly, Batgirl ran and dived for her utility belt and quickly slipped it back around her waist. She pulled out her batarang just as another guard came running down the hill. His gun was drawn. Batgirl wouldn’t be able to throw her batarang in time, but her quick thinking accounted for that. This time she was ready.

 

She crouched down into a ball and raised up her cape to cover herself up as the first shot ran off. It hit the cape. Batgirl saw the small dimple impression from the other side, but the bullet did not penetrate. Batgirl knew that the caliber of bullet was small enough for her cape to give her protection… unlike Batman’s cape that could just about stop any bullet. It didn’t matter to Batgirl, she could have had a cape with better protection, but it was too heavy for her and it slowed down her movements. Although she could glide with it, her cape didn’t have the same distance or maneuverability.

 

Another shot hit the cape. Batgirl could feel the force and vibration. The cape could only withstand seven or eight shots before giving away but the guard could only fire six shots before going empty.

 

As she hoped, the moron emptied his chamber. As her attacker tried to reload, Batgirl sprung up and let her batarang go. She caught the guard clean on the forehead and knocked him out cold. He fell over and rolled down the hill. She heard another gun hammer cocking back. She didn’t see her next attacker right away but she could tell by the sound as to what direction he was and the distance.

 

She rolled in a tumbling ball as the first bullet whizzed a few feet above her. Landing on her feet, she remained in her squatting position. She reached into her boot and let a blade fly out with a snappy under-hand throw. She was rewarded for her efforts when she heard a painful groan. Without even looking, Batgirl raised here hand and caught her batarang as it returned to her.

 

She looked up at her attacker and saw that he dropped his gun when her blade nailed him in the shoulder. While he was busy trying to pull it out, Batgirl rushed at him and when she got near, she took a jump, twisted her body and hit him on the side of the head with both her feet very much like the kicking flying mare maneuver used in professional wrestling.

 

Batgirl easily landed on her feet. The guard fell flat on his face and didn’t move.

 

Just as she put her batarang back in her belt, still another guard rushed in front off her. He wrapped his arms around her, pinning her arms to her side. He laughed as he squeezed her in his bear hug.

 

“Take that,” the guard mocked her. “Not so tough now are you, Batgiahhhhhh!”

 

The guard paid for his folly as Batgirl leaned in and bit him on the nose hard enough to draw blood. Her opponent was a tough fellow and despite the pain, he didn’t release his grip totally but enough for Batgirl to slip one of her arms out and put a thumb into his eye. The guard screamed again but still held on, but his grip got even looser where Batgirl was able to get her other arm free. She took the flat of her hands and slapped him on his ears. Even with the painful ringing and disorientation, the bastard still hung on. As his face got close to Batgirl, she slammed her forehead down on the bridge of his nose. It was hard enough that the crunching sound of a break followed, along with a river of blood that was pouring out of his nose.

 

Now totally free of the grip, Batgirl spun her entire body around and got the head with the full force of a roundhouse kick.

 

As he went down like a sack of potatoes, she was able to see someone else charge her. She twisted again and caught the attacker flush in the face with a back hand punch. He, too, fell to the ground.

 

No sooner before she could reach her motorcycle, someone grabbed her from behind and pinned her arms down, again, for a reverse bug hug. He managed to lift her up for a moment or two before Batgirl was able to jerk her body forward and get herself to the ground.

 

With her feet firmly planted, she lifted up her right leg and stomped on the man’s foot as hard as she could, making sure it to drive the sharp heel of her boot inside as well. As the attacker loosened his grip and bent over in pain, Batgirl dug her elbow right into the man’s gut. He released her totally and when he bent over low enough, she brought the back of her fist right on his nose. It was the second nose she broke in the last minute. Her back was still turned, so she couldn’t see any blood, but she knew the man was bleeding profusely. To add insult to injury, she quickly spun around and laid a beauty of a kick square between his legs. He would not be getting up for a long, long time.

 

Batgirl hopped on her bike. She was glad that she got away with leaving the keys in the ignition so she could it start up right away. She was able to take off in seconds because she didn’t have to search for the keys. It was still the best course of action to get out of Dodge and summon the Justice League.

 

Even though Howards’ captors knew that Batgirl knew what was going on, she was still certain that the eccentric billionaire was in no immediate danger. They wouldn’t kill their hostage now as they would need him for their ticket out of here. She figured to let the likes of Superman or Batman figure out how to storm the castle to rescue Howards or negotiate for his release. She had done all she could do here. It was time to get out!

 

“Not again,” Batgirl cursed as she heard another guard approaching from the other side of the hill. It seemed that every time she made an attempt to leave, there was always some person, situation, or gut feeling that prevented her from doing so. She had to deal with this guard. If she decided to ride off now, she would have her back to him and the guard would have a target to shoot at which was close and unobstructed. With the exception of the forest that was a couple of miles down the road, there was no natural cover to block her motorcycle.

 

When she believed that she had her timing right, she raced up the hill toward the guard hoping that she was yet to be seen. Just as she planned, Batgirl emerged from the top at about the same time the guard reached the top from his side. The guard was started and totally taken by surprise. Batgirl stiffened her right arm and extended it fully to her side, parallel to the ground and gave the poor soul the full force of a clothes line.

 

She breathed a sigh of relief as she saw no more guards from the other side of the hill. She turned her bike around and sped for freedom down the same road she came from.

 

About half-way between the forest and the clearing, Batgirl slammed on her brakes, twisted her body, turned her motorcycle in the opposite direction and took off again. Three golf carts of guards had emerged from the forest road and cut off her means of escape.

 

“Get her alive if you can,” she heard one of them say. “Whatever you do… don’t let her escape. The Boss will have our heads for this!”

 

Batgirl could hear them shooting at her but she believed that she was safe for the time being. They were too far away and, apparently, they were lousy shots. Batgirl gave her bike more throttle as she put more distance between herself and the carts. They were no match for her enhanced horsepower!

 

Closer and closer Batgirl came to the huge mansion. It seemed that her decision had been made up for her. She had no choice but to go in and rescue Hugh Howards.

 

“All right, boys,” sneered Batgirl. “You want to play with Batgirl. I’ll give you a show you’ll never forget.”

 

 

PART 5

 

 

Batgirl gave her bike all the speed that it could take. She had to time her next maneuver just right.

 

Closer and closer she got to the main gate, picking up speed with each passing yard. Just as she passed the guard house she visited earlier, a guard actually emerged.

 

“Oh, sure,” Batgirl muttered. “When I’m in there and need to see a guard, there’s no guard. Now that I don’t want there to be a guard, there’s a guard. Just my luck!”

 

All Batgirl needed to do to deal with the fat, round guard was to simply kick her foot out to the side. He still rolled along the ground like a log even though it was, at beat, a glancing blow.

 

Batgirl gave the throttle one good rev and then hit a special button on her dashboard. As the nitrous hit the fuel to give it that extra burst of speed, a special, hammer-like device pounded itself into the ground causing the bike to jump up and become temporarily airborne. Batgirl pulled on the handlebars to keep her front tire up and assure a landing on her rear wheel.

 

Batgirl cleared the top of the fence and did a perfect landing, much the same as any seasoned film stunt person.

 

 

Seconds after she landed, a swarm of guards emerged from behind various trees and bushes and were poised to attack.

 

Batgirl smiled and charged at them. Her confidence restored and her belief that her bad luck ended after she escaped capture from the first guard, Batgirl was feeling energized and that, from this point on, she could do no wrong. She was actually happy that she didn’t get a chance to ride off and get help.

 

“This is going to be fun,” Batgirl laughed. “This is going to be the most enjoyable day of my life.”

 

*  *  *  *

 

The mysterious figure that watched the monitors had to hold his breath and close his eyes when he saw Batgirl take that jump. He couldn’t believe that she made it! He should have given her more credit.

 

“My God, Batgirl! That was totally amazing. My hat off to you… but it changes nothing.”

 

The man picked up his pipe from the ash tray and resumed his smoke.

 

“Unfortunately, with that stellar jump… you have also jumped into the jaws of fate as well as my trap. You should have left when you had the chance. You’ve lost this fight the moment you stopped to check your recorder… you just don’t know it, yet. Had you waited until you made into the forest, I would have been none the wiser and would have aborted the operation. Only one more mile of riding your bike would have made the difference in avoiding your fate… but I knew you would turn back. I knew that you would figure it out. I know you very well, Batgirl.”

 

“Only death will save you from my plans. Either you will be an addition to my team or you will suffer a most total, devastating, and humiliating defeat where Batgirl will be no more. What ever three options it goes, I’ll still get what I want… but personally I hope you force me to use the third option. Your courage and integrity will foolishly make you pick the hard way… which will be much more satisfying and delicious… and even fun… at least, for me. I guess the old saying is correct: Before you can rebuild something, you got to take it down first.”

 

“I know you, Batgirl. I knew you’d fall for this. I’ve planned and waited years to bag and nail you. Your nightmare is my dream. Don’t hate me too much for your downfall and humiliating ordeal… it’s for your own good. Enjoy your fleeting moments of victory. Soon Batgirl will be no more.”

 

Then the man remembered where he was and composed himself. “There I go again talking out loud like a mad villain in a comic book. There… I am doing it again. Why am I still talking to myself? Get a grip!”

 

 

Angry with himself, he pressed the communicator. “No guns, men. Take her alive. If you shoot her, you die!”

 

 

The mystery man watched the fight on the screen. Batgirl was faring much better than he anticipated. Some driving force was keeping her from being overcome by the guards. She fought like a warrior and made his men look like clowns and jackasses.

 

The mystery man looked at his watch; things were behind schedule. As much as he was enjoying the fight and admiring Batgirl prowess and battle skills, it was time to give her a handicap to even the playing field.

 

“Way did I hire these idiots? They’re supposed to make Batgirl overconfident… give her false hope and a false sense of victory… but they are making total fools out of themselves. I’ll have to bail them out… again.”

 

He put down his pipe and opened a long box.

 

“Perhaps we can do something about that pesky motor bike….”

 

 

*   *    *   *

 

 

            Batgirl laughed as her long red hair flew in the breeze as she ran down guard after guard with her bike. It almost seemed like an episode of Benny Hill. One minute they rush at her, and then the next she turns around and then they realize that they could get run over.

 

Whoever this “Boss” was, he was a male chauvinist. Batgirl had yet to see any female guards. All the better as it felt more comfortable to hit men rather than women and it was even more fun to make fools out of them.

 

 

It was just after Batgirl chased down a guard and kicked him in the behind which sent him rolling to the ground, that she saw the quick flash of light from on top of the five-story mansion… right from the roof… coming from the penthouse!

 

She immediately recognized what it was and only had a split second to react.

 

“Oh, shit,” said Batgirl as she dove off her bike just before the rocket hit and blew her motorcycle to pieces. She flew and rolled on the soft grass, breaking her fall. She lifted her cape over her head and face to protect herself from the dust and flying debris.

 

Batgirl looked up to see that her motorcycle was now a pile of smoking and burning rubble. It felt like she had lost an old friend.

 

“My bike!” Batgirl screamed. “The only decent thing I own.” She then looked to the penthouse and waved her fist at it. “You’ll pay for this!”

 

Before she could make her way to the penthouse and reap her vengeance on the rocket-firing asshole, two guards ran at her, one on each side, with each taking hold of one of her arms.

 

“You took your last ride, Batgirl,” mocked the first guard. “You’re coming with us now. You’re our prisoner. The Boss wants to look you over. Maybe even subject you to a strip search.”

 

Both guards laughed.

 

“Yeah,” said the second guard. “Poor Batgirl doesn’t have her ride. She’ll have to take the bat-bus… exact change only, please.”

 

This time, when both men laughed, she used the men that were holding her arms as a brace, so she could jump up and gave each man a full bite of her shoe heel. When they let her go, she brought her arms forward, crossed them, and then shot them back, nailing each man in the stomach. As they keeled over from having the wind knocked out of them, Batgirl stuck both men on the back of the neck with good solid hand chops.

 

No sooner did she get away from those two clowns, that another clown charged at her. As she passed the flagpole in the front yard, she grabbed it, spun around and nailed the attacker with both feet to the upper chest. It was enough momentum to send him flat on his back.

 

As she continued to make her way toward the house, another guard took a swing at her. She ducked under it, and countered with a shot to the ribs. She ran some more and heard someone running behind her. She saw the low hanging tree branch just as another guard got in front of her, hoping to cut her off.

 

Running as fast as she could to build the momentum needed, Batgirl jumped, grabbed the branch and swung all the way up and over to the other side like a world class gymnast on the parallel bars. The guard that was behind her didn’t have time to stop. He ran past the branch where Batgirl swung behind him and nailed him in the back with her two feet. The guard flew forward and collided with the guard in front of him.

 

Batgirl hurriedly shimmed up the tree and blended in and out of sight before the two clods could get back on their feet and regain their bearings.

 

“Where did she go?” The guard nervously looked in all directions but saw no sign of the caped heroine.

 

“She’s up in the trees,” said the other guard.

 

“Where? I don’t see anything.”

 

Batgirl opened her cape and held each end in her hands. She jumped from the tree and glided down effortless between the two men giving them the full brunt of her body block. Both men were on their knees but not out. Batgirl kicked one in the head and punched the other one.

 

Batgirl ripped out her batarang and clocked another charging guard in the head. As it returned, she caught it. Then she pulled out her line and attached it to her weapon.

 

 

She spotted the two guards at the front door just as she reached the top of the garage. She threw her batarang at the nearby lamp post and let it loop around the top. Then, she grabbed on to the end and swung down to kick the two guards, taking them both by complete surprise.

 

Two more guards ran at her from opposite directions just as she yanked her line free and put her weapon away. She looked up and saw the over hang of the roof… the very place she wanted to go. It was a nice, big easy target.

 

She took out her grappling hook and shot it straight up, the sharp arrow landing deep into the wood. She pulled on her line to make sure that it would hold. She waited until the goons were almost on top of here before he hit the button and was pulled up to safety.

 

“Going up,” she mocked. When she looked down she couldn’t believe it. Those two idiots actually collided into each other.

 

In a matter of seconds she reached the bottom lip of the roof.

 

“Top floor… general appliances and toiletries.” Batgirl must have been feeling really good about herself. It had been a long time since she cracked jokes and puns in the middle of a fight.

 

 

“Did ya’ hear that?” said a guard. “I think it’s Batgirl. The Boss said to expect her to come up here.”

 

“That was a loose shutter in the wind. Batgirl doesn’t have the guts to come up here. She’s probably half way to town by now.”

 

Another hard bang followed.

 

“There it is again. That ain’t a shutter.”

 

“For crying out loud,” the guard went over to the edge, bent over, and looked down. “See, there’s nobody down there… aaah!”

 

The second guard saw a pair of slender legs dressed in dark material and yellow boots wrap around his friends neck and yank him off the roof. He ran to the edge and breathed a sigh of relief as he saw that his pal was not splattered on the pavement below, but rather unconscious on a terrace that was a non-fatal falling distance away.

 

He looked around and saw no one there. What was going on?

 

“Excuse me,” he was started by a voice that was directly behind him. “Am I on the right floor for hardware?”

 

The guard turned around and Batgirl caught him flush on the jaw with a right hook. Being taken by surprise, he was knocked out cold.

 

Another guard charged at her but this time, instead of hitting him, she grabbed his arm and put her rear end into his stomach. Using the man’s own momentum against him, she bent over slightly, lifted her back, pivoted, turned and gave her attacker a side-hip throw that made him hit the pavement very hard. She made sure not to release his arm after she landed, so she could maintain an arm bar on him. This one she needed to keep conscious as she now wanted some answers.

 

“You know… a girl could really flip over a guy like you.”

 

The man was too stunned and the pun went over his head.

 

“Talk,” Batgirl tightened the grip on the arm. “What’s going on? Why are you attacking me? Where’s Mr. Howards?”

 

“Go to hell, Batgirl!”

 

Apparently, this little weasel had some backbone. She needed to up the ante. She used her free hand to first disarm the revolver and billy club from the man’s holster before taking his handcuffs off his belt. With his arm in a painful hold, he could do nothing as Batgirl slapped his own cuffs on him and restrained his hands behind his back. Batgirl then used both her hands to pick the man up by his shirt collar and put his face right into hers.

 

“Alright,” Batgirl gave him a mean grimace and an intimidating stare. “Talk! Why are you attacking me?”

 

“You still don’t scare me, Batgirl,” the guard still defied her. “I’m not afraid of getting hit.”

 

“Okay,” Batgirl started dragging him off. “Let’s see about this.”

 

The guard was taken aback. How could someone with so small a frame drag him off like a rag doll? He started to get nervous when he realized that she was dragging him toward the edge of the roof.

 

“Hey, wait a second,” he tried to resist but couldn’t. “What are you doing? Wait! Stop! This ain’t funny!”

 

“This isn’t a joke,” Batgirl manhandled him to where his back was to the open air. She tipped him on an angle so that only the tips of his toes were touching the ledge. Just as she figured, this man was afraid of falling… works every time.

 

In order to make the image even scarier, she allowed the guards hat to slip off his head and fall to the ground below. She allowed the guard to see this to get the full effect of how far down it actually was.

 

“Oh, God! No! Please!” the man pleaded. “Don’t let me go, please! Oh, God! I’ll talk! I’ll talk!”

 

“Why did you attack me?” Batgirl was all business.

 

“It wasn’t my idea. The Boss told us to. W-We weren’t supposed to attack you at all, but the Boss said that you were wise to us.”

 

“Wise about what?”

 

The man was surprised that Batgirl really didn’t know what the deal was. It was all he could do not to pee in his pants. “You don’t know? The Boss said you knew.…”

 

“Knew about what? I want to hear it again. I want to hear it from you. Refresh my memory. Remind me!”

 

“W-W-Wonder Woman. We were supposed to trap Wonder Woman… but you showed up instead. The Boss thinks you know about his plan and didn’t want you to get away to warn her.”

 

“Why does your Boss want her?”

 

“I don’t know.”

 

Not satisfied with the answer, Batgirl let her arms relax a little to move him a little further backwards.

 

“Honest. I don’t know. I’m on the bottom of the ladder. They don’t tell us stuff… just do as you’re told and collect your money.”

 

That seemed likely. “Where is Hugh Howards?”

 

“I don’t know.” Before Batgirl could sway him again, he said. “Really.…”

 

Judging by the quickness of his answer, Batgirl determined that the response was truthful.

 

“Who is… the Boss?”

 

“Don’t know… we never see him.”

 

Another truthful response but this guy can’t be that much of a flunky that he takes orders blindly from someone he has no clue about.

 

“Then who do you report to?”

 

“Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Hanohano. They give us the orders.”

 

“Captain Kirk? Hanohano? Are you putting me on?”

 

“No way! I swear. Hanohano is a Hawaiian name… and the Captain’s last name really is Kirk… Jason Kirk… for real. Just don’t make any Star Trek jokes to him. He hates that shit.”

 

“Lieutenant… Hanohano… you said? And this Captain… Kirk… do they report directly to… the Boss?”

 

“Yeah… that’s right. Let me up now?”

 

“Where are they?”

 

“On the grounds somewhere… looking for you… I suppose.”

 

“Do you now where I can find the Boss by chance?”

 

“Oh, he’s in… I mean… I don’t know.”

 

The guard didn’t realize that he just slipped up.

 

“I said… where is he?”

 

“I-I-I just told you. I don’t know.”

 

“You’re lyyyyying,” Batgirl taunted him. “Liar! Liar! Pants on fire.”

 

“I swear. I don’t know.”

 

Batgirl let him go. The guard screamed as he fell backwards. Batgirl let him fall about two feet before she grabbed hold of his tie to prevent him from falling further.

 

“Oh, God! Oh, God!” The guard cried like a little girl. “Don’t let me fall! Don’t let me fall! Please!”

 

“Last chance,” Batgirl said with clenched teeth. In order to put full fear in him, she took out her utility knife from her belt and slowly started to cut his tie in half. “You better start talking before this blade cuts all the way through. Now then… where is the Boss?”

 

“He’s in the penthouse! He’s in the penthouse!” The guard pointed it out. “It’s over there! It’s over there! I swear! I swear! Let me up! Stop cutting! Please! I told you what you want! For God’s sake, please let me up.”

 

Now satisfied, Batgirl took a slice and cut the man’s tie completely in half. He fell a foot before she grabbed hold of his belt and yanked the man back up to safety and threw him to the floor. He immediately took a fetal position and started blubbering.

 

 

Batgirl slowly walked toward the penthouse which was on the other side of the very large roof. No one tried to stop her. If there were guards on the roof, they had taken off. Any that stayed behind, scurried away as she walked past, daring not to touch her.

 

She soon found out the reason when she got within twenty feet of the penthouse. They were ordered not to touch her and clear out by the large figure that stood between her and her goal.

 

 

The Polynesian man was not tall but he was very wide. He took an almost sumo-like stance and started to wave his billy club around menacingly. Batgirl noticed the single silver bar on his collar… a lieutenant’s bar!

 

“Lt. Hanohano, I presume?” she said.

 

“Guilty as charged,” Hanohano answered. “You fought the good fight, Batgirl, but it’s the end of the line. You will get no further. If you try to continue, I’m going to pound you to a pulp.”

 

“That’s a possibility,” Batgirl was not intimated.

 

“There’s no need to find out. The Boss was very impressed with you. He was so impressed that he’s going to give you a chance to get out with your dignity intact.”

 

Batgirl was skeptical. “Like surrender? Allow myself to become your hostage, too? Give up and let you handcuff me so the Boss can give me a strip search? I don’t think so. It’s bad enough I fall into a villain’s clutches after going down fighting, but I’m not just going to lie down and let it happen on purpose.”

 

“No,” the mighty Samoan spoke in a tone the Batgirl found believable. “The Boss was thinking more of free passage off the estate. We’ll just let walk right out of here with no further harm to you.”

 

Batgirl laughed. “Come on. You’re just going to let me walk? Just like that? You’ll shoot me as soon as I turn my back.”

 

“Why would we do that? We could do that right now if we wanted.”

 

“I know too much. Aren’t you worried that I’ll go to the authorities?”

 

“That won’t matter,” Hanohano said confidently. “Without your Batgirl-cycle, it’s a twenty mile walk to the nearest town. By the time you do that, we’ll be packed up and long gone… of course, just to be on the safe side, we’ll have to slow you down a bit to buy more time.”

 

Batgirl knew that there was a catch. “Slow me down… how?”

 

“You’re going to leave your utility belt behind. We can’t risk you using some electronic gizmo in there to signal for help. We’ve already taken care of the possible of micro-trackers?”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“The Boss thinks you might have some micro chips sewn into your custom so your friends at the JLA can track you. Do you see that dish pointed at us?”

 

Batgirl looked above the penthouse to where Hanohano was pointing. It looked like a giant satellite dish. “Very nice. Do you get HBO and Showtime, too?”

 

Hanohano snickered. “It emits a harmless micro-magnetic beam that takes out microchips, so if you have any, they’re toast.”

 

Batgirl shrugged her shoulders. The man was right but there was no reason to make him think that she was considered about it. “I don’t know if I want to give up my utility belt.”

 

“We’re not asking you to give it up. Just drop it on the roof and you can pick it up later, when we’re gone. We don’t want it.”

 

“Okay,” Batgirl was stalling until she could think of a plan. “That sounds reasonable. Any other stipulations?”

 

“I’m afraid so. We know that you are in great condition and can make the trek faster than your Average Joe, so we’ll need to cuff your hands… but only in the front… and then we’ll connect those with a chain to the shackles on your ankles. There will be only two feet of chain on the foot restraints to make sure that you only take short strides.”

 

“What about Mr. Howards?”

 

“We’ll release him once we are safely away.” Hanohano pulled out his billy club and twirled it around like a pro in hopes that this would dissuade Batgirl from moving forward. He did all the moves and fancy tricks including spinning it around his waist and neck. He even threw it in the air and caught it. If this didn’t convince her, then nothing would.

 

“Very nice,” Batgirl was impressed. “You sure now how to use that thing. It must take hours and hours of practice. I ought to know. I used to be a majorette in high school just like you.”

 

Hanohano was not amused by Batgirl’s cut down, but he let it slide for now.

 

“So, what’s it going to be, Batgirl? We have a deal?”

 

Batgirl needed more time to stall and get into position. She rubbed her chin. Again the thought of getting restrained and helpless, started to stimulate her. She had to fight the urge again. She just couldn’t simply allow it to happen without a fight.

 

“How heavy are these restraints?”

 

“Not more than three pounds. The metal is light but very durable. We don’t want to weigh you down, just slow you down.”

 

“What about your men? If I’m chained up, I won’t be able to stop them from copping a feel off me or even throwing crap at me.”

 

“I will escort you personally. No one will throw anything at you. No one will touch you. I give you my word on that.”

 

For some strange reason, Batgirl believed him. Even though he was a bad guy, Batgirl could see in his eyes that he also had a code of honor.

 

“No teasing or taunting as I walk past? No remarks.”

 

“No one will say a word. You have my promise on that, too?”

 

Batgirl believed that as well. “Still… it’s going to be embarrassing for me if the authorities see me arriving in town wearing shackles and with the loss of my utility belt. My fellow JLAers will look down at me. I’ll have to hear their shit about it for weeks until it finally blows over.”

 

“But it will eventually blow over,” Hanohano seemed to have an answer for everything. “A little embarrassment is still better than the disgrace and humiliation you will suffer if you don’t take the deal. Embarrassment is temporary. It will go away eventually and be forgotten. Humiliation, on the other hand, is permanent. You’ll be branded with a badge of shame for the rest of your life.”

 

Batgirl knew that he was totally right about that, yet, thus far, they were the only ones being embarrassed. This deal was nothing more than a last-ditch effort for them to save face.

 

“Come on, Batgirl. Take the deal. We’re being pretty reasonable here. All we’re demanding is that you be front-cuffed which is more dignified… not behind the back. We’re only asking you to temporarily give up your utility belt. It’s not like we’re demanding your emblem or cowl for your freedom. Despite that you’ve been a pain in the ass the second you stepped on the grounds, we still respect you as a warrior and we’re giving you a chance to keep most of that respect.”

 

For a few moments, Batgirl had serious intentions of taking the deal. Her inner voice pleaded with her to accept. She could leave now… almost getting out clean. Yet, something compelled her to see it through to the end. She had confidence now and if she pulled this off, no other hero would ever look down on her again.

 

Was this courage and dedication on Batgirl’s part or just plain ego and arrogance?

 

Batgirl moved a little closer. She had a plan. “If I take this deal… will you look on me as having brains or will you take me for being gutless?”

 

“Brains, of course. Don’t think of it as giving up… rather as a strategic withdraw. It’s a common and honorable tactic employed by many great military leader throughout the ages.”

 

 

Batgirl and Hanohano looked at each other in silence for about a minute. Each was unsure of the other’s motivation.

 

 

“Okay,” Batgirl sighed as she put her hands in front of her toward the buckle of her utility belt.

 

Hanohano smiled as he heard the buckle unpop and the belt slip off her waist until it tangled loose on her side because she was now only holding it on one end with only one hand.

 

“That’s the smartest decision you’ve made all day when you initially decided to leave. Now let it go and let it fall to the floor. Then it will all be over.”

 

She was only holding it on one end. That was a fact. The belt was dangling. That, too, was a fact. What Hanohano didn’t know was that it was the heavy buckle side that she let dangle.

 

 

What followed was the loudest and most painful scream that Hanohano ever uttered. Without warning and with lightning speed, Batgirl thrashed her belt like it was a whip… a trick she learned from Catwoman. The hard metal, along with the sharp edge of the buckle, hit Hanohano on the knuckles of the very same hand that was holding his billy club. The solid impact caused Hanohano to drop his weapon because two of his knuckles were now broken.

 

While Hanohano was too preoccupied with the pain flooding through his hands, he didn’t even see the low kick coming. It caught him flush on the knee. He fell to the ground because Batgirl’s strike had shattered his kneecap.

 

Hanohano could only roll on the ground agonizing in his pain.

 

Batgirl put her belt back on. She swore to herself that it would never leave her waist again. She then walked over to Hanohano in order taunt him. She folded her arms and shook her head in mock disappointment.

 

“Thanks for the offer,” she gloated. “But you know what… No, thanks. I’ll think I’ll pass.”

 

 

As Batgirl walked to the only exterior door to the penthouse, he could still hear Hanohano yell at her.

 

“Cheap shot, Batgirl. We could have fought like honorable warriors. I get you for this, bitch! You’ll be sorry. You should have taken the deal, stupid broad. The Boss is going to fix you so bad.”

 

To Batgirl, it was nothing more than an idle threat. If Hanohano was one of the best that they had, then Batgirl figured that she would have this caper wrapped up within the hour. With the exception of the crap over the intercom and her near capture by an ordinary guard, everything was coming together smoothly. This was now getting so easy that Batgirl now began to wish that it would get a little more challenging and dangerous.

 

“Be careful what you wish for, Batgirl,” said her inner voice. “You just might get it.”

           

 

The door that led to the penthouse was an ordinary wood door… just a keyless door knob and no deadbolt. Batgirl checked the door to make sure that it wasn’t rigged with booby-traps or any other nasty surprises.

 

“Good afternoon, Batgirl,” a sudden voice startled her before she realized that it was coming from another intercom that was mounted off to the side of the door. “I’ve been expected you, although I must admit that your arrival is a little ahead of schedule.”

 

“Oh, great. Not this intercom routine again.”

 

“Please, come in,” the voice on the intercom said. “The door is unlocked. I’m the Boss that you’ve been seeking. Don’t be shy. You’ve declined my offer for an easy out to get this far, so how about coming in a little further?”

 

Batgirl hesitated. She was unsure. Just to be on the safe side, she took out her batarang and put her hand behind her back so that whoever was inside wouldn’t see it. She wanted to be ready if there was trouble… but so far, she was handling it.

 

“Is the mighty Batgirl afraid?” the intercom voice taunted.

 

“No way, creep,” Batgirl fell for his ploy and slowly turned the knob to enter.

 

It was time to make this smug “Boss” that totaled her Batgirl-cycle pay!

 

She was going to enjoy putting this pompous ass in his place.

 

 

PART 5

 

 

Even Batgirl was impressed by the ornate décor as she walked into, what appeared to be, an office.

 

The floors and walls were a beautiful marble with oak trim borders. There was a crystal chandelier on the ceiling. The furniture was modern, tasteful, and very expensive. There was even a fully-stocked wet bar. The only other exit, besides the door was an elevator that was on the far wall to her left.

 

On the right, she saw a desk. One figure was sitting behind it while the second was just to the right.

 

She couldn’t make out the first figure because his face was conveniently covered in shadows. From the outline of the figure, Batgirl could make the person out to be a man who was… smoking a pipe? Batgirl’s observation was confirmed when she saw him blow out a puff of smoke. She also smelled the aroma of fine tobacco.

 

The second figure was a woman that was tall, slender, yet shapely. This strikingly beautiful blonde woman wore a guards uniform but with some major differences. Instead of slacks, she wore a short navy blue skirt that was tight and showed off her posterior. She was not wearing a tie and left her collar opened and a few buttons were down to show a slight amount of cleavage. The shirt was just as tight as the skirt and showed off her well-endowed chest. She did wear a hat but it was tipped upwards and resting on the back of her head instead of straight and level to the floor like the men.

 

 She also opted to wear her long blonde hair loose and over her shoulders. Batgirl knew that most women in the law enforcement or security business wore their long hair in a pony-tail to prevent it from flying into their face. She had a gun belt, but wore it loose so that the weight of her weapon made the belt rest on an angle. The only other thing on her belt was a pair of handcuffs and she didn’t have a billy club like the rest of the guards. Her gun was different, too. It was a smaller, lighter caliber pistol which was only effective for close range. The final difference was her shoes. They were high heels, and although, adequate for walking, there was no way this broad could run in them.

 

Judging by the uniform, Batgirl found it hard to believe that she was an effective guard. Her outfit would be too much of a hindrance. Then again, Batgirl learned that looks can be conceiving. Perhaps she was mere eye-candy for this chauvinist. Legitimate guard or girl-toy, she stood professionally with her shoulders straight, chest out, and remained motionless in her “at ease” stance (legs slightly apart and holding her hands behind her back). She stood there unconcerned and without a care in the world. She didn’t drop her million dollar open-mouth smile that showed off her nearly flawlessly straight, white, non-discolored, teeth. She looked like she just got off the set of toothpaste commercial.

 

Batgirl, who had no lesbian tendencies, found this woman stunning and couldn’t help but stare at her.

 

 

“What do you think of my humble abode, Batgirl?” the male figure in shadows suddenly spoke to break the silence.

 

“I like your decorator,” Batgirl said back.

 

“Would you care for a cocktail?”

 

“No, thank you,” Batgirl played along keeping her batarang handy in the event of trouble.

 

“Do you mind if I smoke?”

 

“Your lungs, pal. Not mine.”

 

Batgirl thought she spotted some trouble brewing. During her little banter with the “mystery villain,” she noticed that the blonde woman no longer had her hands behind her back but where now resting at her sides. Since her hand was still a long way from her gun, Batgirl decided to give her a warning rather than nailing her with the batarang.

 

“Don’t even think of going for that gun, lady.”

 

Slightly surprised, the woman looked over to the man and he gave her a nod. She immediately resumed her “at ease” stance.

 

This was actually a clever distraction so the man could hit a switch on the control panel near his desk.

 

Batgirl turned to her right when he heard the “whooshing” noise. The “ordinary” door that she entered was suddenly replaced with a metal door that horizontally slid over the old door. It slammed shut and the sound of a loud locking mechanism followed. There was no door knob or handle on the door. It was obviously meant to keep people out… or even better… keep people in.

 

This totally surprised Batgirl; however, in a different sort of way. It didn’t surprise her that it happened because she had been in this situation many times, especially in her early crime-fighting days. What surprised her was that, in this day and age, there was some kook that couldn’t come up with anything original. This was nothing more than Mystery Mastermind Villain 101. This “Boss” was just as ordinary as any other Bosses she faced in the past. This must have been a hobby for this clod that obviously had no clue as to what being a criminal mastermind was all about. She couldn’t wait to teach this rube a lesson.

 

“Just want to make sure that we are not disturbed, my lovely fem fatale.”

 

“You’re the one that’s disturbed, fella.” Batgirl couldn’t help herself. If this wannabe “Mastermind” wanted to play old and lame clichés, then she was going to throw them right back in this jackass’s face.

 

The man turned to his “bodyguard” and said, “Nadia, dear, you are excused. I don’t require your services for the remainder of the day.”

 

“Are you sure?” Nadia seemed surprise at this request.

 

“I’m be fine, my dear,” he answered in a reassuring tone. “Run along. Why don’t you take a dip in the pool? It will do you some good. Put on that new hot pink string bikini that I gave you for a bonus last week. I’ll join you in a little bit.”

 

“As you wish, Cupcake,” the woman started to walk away with her hands behind her back to show Batgirl that she had no intention of drawing her weapon. She had a bounce to the way she walked and even moved her hips like those brain-dead sexy secretaries Batgirl had seen in the old movies. This woman was definitely eye candy.

 

Again, she couldn’t help but stare at her… but mostly to make sure that she wouldn’t try anything cute and go for her gun.

 

Just as she past Batgirl, she stopped and looked at her. Batgirl was not sure what this was about. The blonde still had her hands behind her back and was not making any threatening moves.

 

“Can I help you, Miss,” Nadia said to Batgirl.

 

“No,” Batgirl was confused. “Why do you ask?”

 

“You were staring at me. I thought you wanted to ask me something.”

 

Batgirl didn’t want to aggravate the situation by telling this bimbo that she was keeping an eye on her and her gun. She also didn’t want to tell her that she just had a lesbian thought cross her mind.

 

Thinking quick, Batgirl answered. “Your… ummm… Boss. He must pay you well to make you wear that… costume.”

 

“He pays me very well,” Nadia didn’t take offense at first. “And this is not a costume. It’s my uniform… and no… he doesn’t make me wear it.” Then Nadia took offense. “And speaking of costumes… have you looked in the mirror lately?  You’re one to talk. I’m not the one with the bat fetish. Halloween is still a long way off, sister… and for crying out loud… who in their right mind would ever match up yellow gloves, boots, and belt with purple spandex?”

 

Batgirl was still somewhat miffed that this “Mastermind” was wasting her time and cutting into her weekend, and the last thing she wanted was to get negative fashion tips from a lippy dimwit moll. She was now itching to take her frustrations out on someone and this blonde, that sells her dignity out for the right price, was just the outlet to vent on.

 

“If you have a problem with my crime-fighting attire, then maybe we can step outside and discuss it.”

 

“I’d like nothing more, you.…”

 

Nadia stopped dead in her tracks when she heard the Boss clear his throat.

 

“Nadia, please leave us.”

 

Nadia gave Batgirl a look of contempt then looked at the Boss and looked at Batgirl again. Batgirl knew that Nadia wanted a piece of her very badly, but she seemed more concerned not to disobey her Boss.

 

“Yes, sir,” Nadia regained her composer. “Sorry, sir.”

 

Then she reluctantly made her way to the elevator.

 

“Sir?” Batgirl said to Nadia as she walked away. She couldn’t help but give the tart one last zinger. “What happened to Cupcake?”

 

Nadia stopped dead in her tracks. Batgirl could see that Nadia wanted to turn around to do something or say something back. Thinking better of it, she continued on to the elevator.

 

“Yeah,” Batgirl mocked. “You’d better keep walking, bitch”

 

Nadia ignored that remark. She slipped her ID card in a slot so that the elevator doors could open. She stepped inside and disappeared as the doors closed.

 

 

Batgirl then turned her attention back to the Boss. If he wanted cliché, he was going to get cliché right up his butt. Batgirl took her stance, where she stood on a slight angle, rested her fist on her hips, and slightly tilted her head up.

 

“And as for you… ‘Boss.’ The game is over. You’re finished. Give yourself up and hand over Hugh Howards.”

 

“How drool,” the Boss casually took a puff of his pipe. “I expected a better line. I’m disappointed.”

 

“Look who’s talking, Bozo. Sliding metal doors… sidekick bimbo… hiding in shadows… all you need to complete the picture is a Persian cat on your lap. Brother, you are the lamest criminal mastermind that I have ever seen.”

 

The Boss began to laugh. “Now that’s the fiery-tongued vixen that I grew to love. I knew that you would fire back at me with venom. I know how much you hate not to get in the last word. You are so predictable, Batgirl.”

 

“Think I’m predictable, huh? You like surprises? Well, I got one for you. Who are you trying to fool with that man in the shadows ploy? I already know who you are. I didn’t want to say anything until now because I didn’t want to embarrass you in front you your little blonde. There is no kidnapping. This was just a set-up for someone like me to storm in here half-cocked. It didn’t work. So why don’t you show yourself… Mr. Hugh Howards IV.”

 

“Very Good, Batgirl.”

 

The Boss flicked a switch which turned on a light so that Batgirl could get a full view. He calmly stepped away from behind his desk and walked around it to sit down on the front of it and continued to smoke his pipe allowing Batgirl the pleasure of soaking in his presence.

 

 

Batgirl couldn’t believe her eyes! This man with wavy black hair appeared to be somewhere in his mid-thirties! He was the most handsome… absolutely stunning man she had ever seen. He made Bruce Wayne look… ordinary. It was all Batgirl could do to keep her tongue from hanging out of her mouth… to get weak in the knees and sworn… she had to put her hand over her chest to help catch her breathe.

 

She never believed in love at first sight (or maybe it was lust) until she saw this beautiful man. Ever since she was a little girl, Barbara Gordon had a ‘type’ of man… the one she always dreamed about… and this was it!

 

He looked very dapper and smooth in his red smoking jacket, white ascot around his neck, and black slacks. The outfit seemed to suit him perfectly… and the way he was smoking his pipe… it was so damn masculine and sexy. She wanted this man!

 

“Oh my God,” Batgirl didn’t realize that she was thinking out loud. “You are absolutely gorgeous.”

 

“Well, thank you, Batgirl. I fancy you as well… especially those eyes. I bet there’s an equally beautiful face underneath that cowl to go with them.”

 

“Oh, stop,” Batgirl got a little giddy. “Hey… wait a second. Did you just try to put me under some hypnotic trace or something?”

 

“I did not.”

 

“Who the devil are you?”

 

“Hugh Harper Howards IV… just like you deduced.”

 

“No… who are you… really?” Batgirl finally shook the spell that he put her under.

 

“I just told you. Hugh.…”

 

“Cut the crap,” Batgirl was pissed but managed to keep her cool. “Well, let’s deduce this: Hugh Howards has to be, at least, seventy years old.”

 

“That’s correct,” the Boss didn’t seem concerned that he was getting caught in a lie.

 

“Yet, you don’t look a day over thirty five.”

 

“Why, thank you. I do look rather young for my age.”

 

“Really?” Batgirl knew that he was so full of crap. “And how do maintain this youthful look?”

 

A good diet… plenty of exercise… eight hours of sleep every night… and lots and lots of make-up and plastic surgery.”

 

“There’s no make-up or plastic surgeon that can be that good.”

 

“I was only jesting. I really am Hugh Howards. I can prove it and you will learn why I look so young. You will know everything very soon… after I defeat you. We’ll have plenty of time to talk after that.”

 

“Defeat me? You sound so sure of yourself.”

 

“I always win, Batgirl. I win by knowing my enemies. I know you because you are predictable. Then again… maybe not. It surprised me when you made that jump over that fence… very dangerous and daring. I didn’t think you would have the nerve to make it. Then you took out Hanohano so quickly. I thought he’d give you some trouble. I must congratulate you, Batgirl. So far, you have passed the test. Are you willing to take the final exam?”

 

The Boss waited for a reply but got none.

 

“Batgirl… don’t you have something to say?”

 

“What… likeyou’re a worthy opponent and you’ve given me a run for my money… or something like that? I’m not a member of your Mutual Admiration Society. Let’s cut the crap and stop patronizing each other. It’s getting old. If you want to be a villain, at least, get some fresh material.”

 

Batgirl gave the Boss a mean stare.

 

“Not too long ago you were almost captured by a single guard… now you come strutting in here all cocky and arrogant after I’ve made attempts to let you go and tried to treat you like a lady? It will be a pleasure to knock you off your pedestal.”

 

“Oooooo. I’m soooo scared.”

 

“I should take offense to that remark, but I won’t. I should be enraged at you for ruining my plan. Three years of hard work and clever planning went down the drain because of you.”

 

Batgirl rolled her eyes. She wanted to hear it anyway before she made him into a crying simpering fool. “What plan was that? To have me kick the crap out of your lame guards?”

 

“No!” The Boss slammed his fist on the desk but immediately got a hold of himself. “The plan to capture Wonder Woman.”

 

Batgirl started to laugh so hard that it took her almost a minute to catch her breath. “It’s a good thing Wonder Woman didn’t show up. You call this a trap? If little old ‘no super-powers’ me could get to you… then can you imagine what Wonder Woman could do? She’d turn this place into rubble. If I were you, I’d stick to picking pockets or snatching purses from old ladies. Now, any more last words or deals you want to make before I go over there and beat you to a pulp? You are handsome and I hate to mess you up.”

 

“As a matter of fact, I do have an offer despite everything you’ve done to me.”

 

“What? Another free pass to turn back and walk away from this mess?”

 

“You really have no clue as to the mess you are in. I knew that you wouldn’t accept any offers to leave… but I gave you a clean way out to ease my conscious. Now that you’ve stepped in here, leaving is out of the question. There are three alternatives now. The first is that I kill you… but I find that unacceptable. You are much too beautiful and skilled and it would be a total waste.”

 

“This guy sure likes to hear myself talk,” Batgirl thought to herself. “I’ll indulge the prick. I’m having fun anyway.”

 

“The second option is to get you to join us… the easy way… voluntarily. Based on your performance, Batgirl, I’d like to hire your services.”

 

“I’m not for hire.”

 

“You don’t even know what the job is.”

 

“After what I’ve seen, it looks like you could use a real bodyguard.”

 

“That would be one of your duties, but what I had in mind was.…”

 

“I know what you have in mind. I’m not interested in turning into another Nadia.”

 

“Nadia is not a slave. She’s here of her own free will. She was wise enough to come on board. She chose to be an honored ally rather than a disgraced slave… even if it took some time to convince of  that fact.”

 

“I don’t care.”

 

“I’ll make it worth your while. The compensation will be quite considerable.”

 

“I’m not interested in money… okay… maybe I am. Let me rephrase that: I’m not interested in your money, Mr. Howards.”

 

“Oh, call me, Hugh. Money is only one way to compensate you. I have other things I can offer you that is even better than money. I know that you’re not as young as you use to be. I know your losing your edge. I can help you with that. In return, you’ll help me. You would be a great asset to our next project.”

 

“Well, I still have enough of an edge to make a jackass out of you. Even if what you say is true, I’m not making any deals with the Devil… Hugh!” Then Batgirl figured it out. “I know what you’re trying to do. You botched your chance to get Wonder Woman and you want to try again… with my help. I knew it.”

 

“Correct again, Batgirl. You know her very well… her strengths… her weaknesses.…”

 

“Forget it. I’m not betraying my friends… not for any amount of money or miracles.” Batgirl decided to give this demented, but gorgeous man a chance. “Look… you really don’t have want it takes to be a villain and I don’t want to hurt you. Why don’t you just let me take you to JLA headquarters and get you some help? Since your scheme to kidnap Wonder Woman failed and I didn’t get hurt, you won’t face any jail time if you cooperate.”

 

Howards got up from his desk and laughed. He slowly made his way back behind it. Batgirl knew that he was up to something, but stayed her hand. She wouldn’t do anything until he tried to go for a button on the control panel on his desk.

 

“Wonder Woman wasn’t our target today. It was you, Batgirl! I knew all along that you were coming. Wonder Woman told me, remember?”

 

Batgirl realized that she slipped, once again. “Darn! That’s right! How could I be so stupid?”

 

“You’ve seen for yourself. We’re not ready for Wonder Woman. That should be obvious to you. We get you this year and the Amazon the next. We have to work our way up. Wonder Woman is a lion and I’m still new to this hunting game. You know the old saying Batgirl. Before going after the loins, tigers, and bears you to graduate from….”

 

“Rabbits and squirrels,” Batgirl clenched her fists. “You think I’m a squirrel? You….”

 

“No,” Howards jumped back slightly. “You are somewhere above that… like bobcats, coyotes, and wolves. Yes… that’s it. You’re a wolf. I already bagged my rabbit three years ago… so then I could work up to you…the wolf… and then Wonder Woman… the lion… or actually… lioness.”

 

Batgirl put her urge to clobber this man on hold because her curiosity got the better of her. “Who was your rabbit?”

 

“Nadia, of course. We had to start with a non-hero… a normal human. She did very well until she tangled with me. She used to be a police officer… and a feisty one at that… but she eventually saw the light and so will you. Join me now, Batgirl… while you still have the chance.”

 

“Forget it,” Batgirl slowly walked to Howards’ desk. It seemed to Howards that he didn’t expect this. Perhaps because he was a wealthy man, he was use to people cowering to him rather than standing up to him.

 

“If you don’t stop, Batgirl, then I’m forced to use the third option… the hard way.” Howards’ voice now didn’t seem to have the arrogance and confidence of before. He was starting to sweat. “Willing or unwilling… you will be on my team.”

 

“You forgot the fourth option, creep,” Batgirl got close enough to the desk in order to pounce. “You open this door and let me out and I walk out of here. No more of your lame tricks. Open that door or I’ll beat the hell out of you.” She then stopped to give Howards one more chance. “You have three seconds… two….”

 

“Okay,” Howards reached for his panel. “You win. Don’t hurt me. I’ll open the door… now!” As he said “now”, he slammed on a button.

 

Just as Batgirl predicted, it was not the button to open the door. Anticipating a trap, she easily jumped to the side as three darts shot out from the desk… probably tipped with some kind of knockout drug.

 

Batgirl rolled and landed in a crouched position as the darts harmlessly hit the marble wall on the other side which broke off the tips. She was hoping Howards would try something so she would have a legitimate reason to hit him.

 

“Damn,” Howards cursed. He hit another button on the panel.

 

Batgirl heard something drop from the ceiling. She easily rolled out of the way to avoid the falling net.

 

“Shit!” Howards cursed again and hit another button.

 

Batgirl heard a noise to her right. She saw an opening form in the wall. She rolled forward toward the desk. This time she would be close enough to the desk and she still had her batarang in her hand. Howards never noticed.

 

As the harpoon shot behind her and impaled itself into the opposite wall. Batgirl jumped up and struck with lightning speed. Her batarang hit the control box.

 

“Son of a bitch,” Howards jumped back and put his arms over his face to avoid the sparks that were flying from the box. With his traps now neutralized, he had no other recourse but to reach into his desk drawer and put out his revolver.

 

Just as he pulled it out and tried to point it in Batgirl’s direction, he heard a swirling noise and then saw a black blur. He felt a sharp pain in his hand when another one of Batgirl’s batarangs dislodged the weapon from his hand.

 

“Oh, no,” his face turned white as he saw an angry Batgirl run toward him and leap over the desk.

 

“Lucky bastard,” Batgirl muttered as Howards was somehow able to, just barely, run out of the way to avoid her impact. Batgirl didn’t know how he managed that, but he only bought himself a few more seconds.

 

Batgirl effortlessly landed on her feet on the other side of the desk. She spotted Howards running toward the metal door that she just entered. He had his back to her.

 

Batgirl smiled. She had the prick now. She reached into her belt and took out her bolo. She could take her time and aim carefully. She swung it over her hand until the balls gave her the proper momentum. She let it go and it flew toward Howards.

 

For the first time in his life, Hugh Howards was in a panic. He couldn’t get to the door fast enough to suit him. He hoped that he had enough of a head start. If he could get outside, he could still get away and avoid an ass-whipping. He had to get away! He couldn’t let Batgirl catch him! A few more steps and he would be at the door. He prayed that he could punch in the security code to unlock the door and then the release button to make it slide open.

 

He was a little further than arms reach of the control panel when he felt something wrap around his lower legs. Almost immediately, his ankles become entwined and then it was as if his feet were tied together. Howards fell forward on the hard marble floor. Only the fact that the held his arms out to break his fall was the only thing that prevented his face from hitting the hard floor and knocking his teeth out or even breaking his jaw.

 

“No!” Hugh desperately tried to get the entangled bolo off his ankles, but in his panic he couldn’t. His eyes opened in terror as she saw Batgirl slowly approach him… her fists tightly clenched.

 

“Why is this happening to me?” Hugh struggled to get up but fell again. He decided to crawl to the door. This was his last desperate act… somehow hoping he could still get away.

 

Batgirl snickered at his stupid attempt. Why do these idiots keep trying? He know he can’t get away now, but desperation makes them try and fail.

 

Hugh made it to the door. He could hear Batgirl’s boot heels slowly “clip-clop” on the marble. The steps were slow and deliberate. She wanted Hugh to think about was going to happen to him. She wanted him to experience his terror for every few extra seconds that she could possibly squeeze in.

 

“It’s not supposed to be like this!” Somehow Hugh’s fear gave an extra boost of adrenaline to give him the strength and the willpower to use his hands to grab on to the walls and pull himself to a standing position.

 

Batgirl again laughed at the futilely. So what if he was back on his feet? It wasn’t going to help him now.

 

“I had anything planned so well,” Hugh was so scared that it took a few seconds to remember the code to unlock the door that, under non-stressful circumstances, he could punch in without thinking about it. “It went so smooth at practice.” Hugh frantically punched in the code hoping that he didn’t screw it up and have to start again… which he didn’t have time. “Why couldn’t it have been just like Nadia?” Hugh breathed a sigh of relief when the screen on the control pad read, ‘Door Unlocked.’ He was almost home free. “Why did everything go wrong? Why is this happening to me?”

 

Just as he was about it press the green button that would make the door slide open, he felt something grab his wrist. It was a yellow glove. Batgirl’s glove!

 

Batgirl could have stopped him sooner but timed her approach just right so that she would catch him a mere moment before he could escape. That was always a good way to mess with a villain’s head… make them think they’re home free and then yank the carpet right out from under him at the last second.

 

“Game’s over, Hugh,” Batgirl gave him a punch. Even though it wasn’t a hard or very painful blow, Hugh still flew backwards and fell to the floor because his feet were still tied up. For some reason Batgirl didn’t hit him hard on purpose as she didn’t want to disfigure his gorgeous face. Bruises heal… but humiliation stays forever. She opted to put the Fear of God in this poor misguided soul. He wasn’t really evil… just a man with so much money that he was bored. She needed to teach him a lesson so that he wouldn’t pull this stunt again on someone else.

 

Although Batgirl had no intention of battering Hugh, she didn’t want him to know that. Sometimes the threat or anticipation of a beating was worse than the actual beating itself. She stayed her hand because he was going to have a lot of fun screwing with his mind.

 

As she predicted, Hugh was crawling backwards. He was making a stop gesture with his hand.

 

“Please, Batgirl. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it! Don’t hit me! Don’t….”

 

His words were interrupted when Batgirl grabbed him by the labels of his smoking jacket, yanked him up to his feet and slammed him face first in the wall.

 

“Thought you try to kidnap me, huh?” Batgirl twisted Hugh’s arm behind his back. “Thought you’d tie me up and make me your helpless little prisoner of love? Your little damsel in distress to play with?” Batgirl reached into her utility belt and pulled out her handcuffs. “Batgirl don’t play that game!”

 

Wait ,Batgirl,” Hugh pleaded. “Please not behind my back. Cuff me from the front if you have to… please. I was planning to do the same to you… bind your hands from the front. I swear.”

 

“Sure you were, pal,” Batgirl slammed the cuffs on the first wrist and locked them in hard.

 

“Not the back,” Hugh still pleaded. “I can’t stand that! Please.”

 

“Tough,” Batgirl ignored his appeal and took his other wrist and pulled it behind his back and locked that one into place. She then turned him around so that he was looking right in her face. She grabbed him again and slammed his back into the wall. She gave him a menacing look.

 

“Now you’ll know what it’s like. How does it feel to be bound helpless and be at someone else’s mercy? Not too good does it?”

 

“Please, Batgirl. I quit! I give up. No more! No more!”

 

“Pretty humbling to be made to beg and grovel, huh? Bet you wanted to hear that from me? I bet you wouldn’t have stopped if I begged you.”

 

“Yes, I would.”

 

“Sure!” Batgirl looked into his eyes. She felt that strange feeling of attraction again. This man was so beautiful… so charming… and now totally at her mercy. “Probably make me do something like this.” Batgirl couldn’t hold herself back. She leaned in and gave Hugh a passionate tongue kiss on the mouth.

 

Hugh responded in kind. It was the best kiss that she ever had. Batgirl couldn’t hide the fact that she was deeply attracted to this man. She wanted him. She then began to have thoughts of taking her nicely tied-up little man-package behind the desk to ‘open him up’ and ride on top of him.

 

It was the sound of her cuffs clicking and locking into place that caused Batgirl to get excited. She then began to wish that it was her on the receiving end… it was her being bound helpless and at Hugh’s mercy.

 

 

“What am I doing?” Batgirl regained her senses and pushed herself away. It took her a few seconds to catch her breath and get her fluttering heart to beat normally.

 

“That was wonderful, Batgirl. We are meant for each other.”

 

“Oh, God, Hugh… Mr. Howards. I didn’t mean to do that. I’m sorry. That was out of line.”

 

“Don’t be sorry. There’s a lot more where that came from. Join me, Batgirl. Let’s go to my bed chamber and consummate our partnership.”

 

“Damn you,” Batgirl pushed him away. “I hope you enjoyed that kiss. That’s the only taste you’ll have of me.”

 

“I was right,” Hugh smiled and some of his apprehension had faded. “You have to be conquered then… just as I figured.”

 

“You’ll never know,” Batgirl raised her fist then stopped. “Look Hugh. I’ll admit that you are a very handsome and charming fellow when you’re not trying to bag super-heroines, but you’re also vain and controlling. You think people can be bought. You need to be taught a lesson in humility.”

 

“What are you going to do, Batgirl?” Hugh seemed to get braver despite his predicament.

 

“You’ve probably bragged to all your men that you would have me at your mercy and humiliate me. They’re going to see that ‘their high and mighty Boss’ doesn’t always deliver. You and I are going to walk the grounds together, in full view of all your guards to prove that you failed. That ought to knock you down a few pegs so that you won’t try this stunt again in the future. Once I’m safely off these grounds, I don’t care what happens… so long as I don’t see you again.”

 

Hugh seemed unfazed. “You are correct. That would be humiliating, but you have forgotten two things. You don’t have transportation and you can’t get out off this room without me. You need a code to open that door. Do you plan to beat it out of me, dear?”

 

Batgirl smiled like the cat the swallowed that canary. She was always one step ahead of this poor soul. She almost felt sorry for him. “And have you forgotten, dear, that you already punched in the code. All I need to do is hit the green button.

 

Hugh’s smile dropped. “Oh, shit. I forgot about that. L-Look, Batgirl. You wouldn’t really display my failure to my men like that. I’ll be a laughing stock. No one will ever take me seriously again.”

 

“You bet I will. You have two choices. I can untie you and you can walk me out of here like a gentleman or I can drag you out of here tied up. That would really go over well, wouldn’t it?”

 

“There’s the third option,” Hugh said hopefully. “We can forget the whole thing. You can leave in secret. I’ll gladly compensate you most generously for that.”

 

Batgirl made another fist. “Don’t push your luck. I told you that I don’t want your money.”

 

“Your bike,” Hugh had a quick thought. “I’ll replace your bike with a nice new one.”

 

Batgirl calmed down. “That’s right. You do owe me a bike. That I accept.”

 

“Just name your amount. It’ll only take my bank a few seconds….”

 

“Oh, sure. Like I’m going to be able to go to the bank and cash a check made out to ‘Batgirl’. Don’t insult my intelligence. You’re walking on thin ice with me as it is. It’s taking all my willpower not to hit you.”

 

This time, Hugh actually knew something that Batgirl didn’t. “I’m talking about a transfer into the JLA account. Even as a reserve member, you still get a stipend. You can get your money through that channel… plus any bonus amount to make up for your aggravation.”

 

Batgirl grabbed him by his labels again. “Don’t start that crap again, buddy. All I want from you is the money to replace my bike… nothing more. I made it perfectly clear that I will not take your money otherwise. Got it?”

 

Again, Hugh had one up on Batgirl. “But you have been taking it, my dear. You’ve been accepting it gracefully for years.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“You’ve taken it every time you’ve taken money out of your stipend account. You know very well that the JLA will not take government funds to operate because they don’t want to be obligated by any government. Where do you think that the JLA gets all their money? Who paid for that satellite base that they have orbiting the Earth? Who paid for that transit tube to get members up there? All that high-tech equipment and their operating expenses cost a lot of money. Who do you think pays for it?”

 

“Donations from the general public, of course,” Batgirl was confident in her answer.

 

“Only a fraction, Batgirl. Do you actually think that all those average working schmucks can pool together hundreds of millions of dollars or even a billion dollars to keep things going? You’re a college graduate, Batgirl. Do the math. It’s impossible.

 

Hugh was right. It would be impossible. How did he know that she was a college graduate? Lucky guess? Or did he just assume that she did because he found her very intelligent and had to have gone to an institute of higher learning.

 

“I’ve been bankrolling the JLA ever since it’s inception,” Hugh continued. “I’m a major contributor.”

 

“That’s a lie!”

 

“I can prove it. I just need access to my terminal at my desk.”

 

“Okay, but no funny business.”

 

“You have my word, Batgirl. There is nothing at that desk that I will use to hurt you. However, if you wish to search my desk, please feel free to do so.”

 

“I’m going to do just that,” Batgirl threw him to the ground, grabbed him by the back color of his smoking jacket and pulled him toward his desk.

 

 

PART 6

 

 

Even though Batgirl believed that Hugh was truthful about there being no more traps in his desk, she searched it anyway… just to be on the safe side. When she was satisfied that he wasn’t going to pull a fast one, she untie his feet and removed her bat-cuffs.

 

With no effort, Hugh was able to access the JLA database. The fingerprint and eye retina scan, along with voice recognition positively verified the identity of the handsome young man as Hugh Howards IV.  This also got him passed all the security checks. He knew all the appropriate passwords and had access to things that very few people had access to. Within minutes, he had a hook-up to one of his bank accounts and to that of the JLA.

 

“Holy shit,” exclaimed Batgirl. “You weren’t lying. You really are Hugh Howards IV. I guess I owe you an apology for that part.”

 

“Not necessary,” Hugh answered pleasantly. “I just don’t understand why you doubted me in the first place.”

 

“Like I said… your physical looks don’t coincide with your actual age.”

 

“And like I said… a good diet, plenty of….”

 

“Oh, come on! Don’t give me that bull. How do you really do it?”

 

“I told you before that it’s a long story and a secret I share with only those that work close to me. If you really want to know, you’ll have to join my team.”

 

“Don’t start that again. Forget I asked.”

 

“Very, well,” Hugh sighed in a mocking manner. “I did give you a chance. Remember that. Ahha… here we go. I found your stipend account. Now how much to compensate for your bike?”

 

Batgirl named a figure.

 

“Is that all?” Hugh seemed surprised. “You should upgrade. How about I give you an extra….”

 

“No way, buster,” Batgirl reached into her belt and took out the check that Wonder Woman had given to her and shoved it into Hugh’s hand. “If you want to make it up to me, you can do so by transferring the funds of this check AND your matching pledge to the charity.” Batgirl had an afterthought. “You really want to make it up to me? You know something, Hugh? I think today you’re feeling very generous. You’re going to double the amount of your matching pledge. That oughta’ make a few more kids happy.”

 

“Oh, you’re no fun.”

 

“That’s what all the guys say after my dates with them,” Batgirl said sternly. “Now… show me the money.”

 

 

About five minutes later, all the money was given to charity and everything was put in order just as Batgirl ordered.

 

“Anything else?” asked Hugh as he put his terminal in standby mode.

 

“Nope,” Batgirl started walking toward the door. “I’m leaving. See you around, Hugh. It’s been fun.”

 

“Don’t you want a ride?”

 

“I’d rather walk, thank you.”

 

“But it’s too far to the next town to walk.”

 

“Don’t worry, Hugh. I’m in shape.”

 

Hugh rushed out from his desk and ran in front of Batgirl, blocking her path. “Please, don’t leave. Have lunch with me.”

 

“No!”

 

“I can’t let you leave, Batgirl. There’s so much more that I need to do to you… I mean… that means to be done.”

 

“Get out of my way, Hugh. I’m through playing games.”

 

“You’ll have to get past me, first.”

 

“Move, Hugh! I mean it!”

 

“You’re not going anywhere until I’ve tamed you. You need to learn what it’s like to be domesticated.”

 

Batgirl rolled her eyes. He was going into villain mode again. She didn’t have time for this.

 

When she walked past Hugh and tired to use her arm to brush him away, he suddenly grabbed it. He twisted his body so that she flew over his hip and on to the hard floor.

 

Although Batgirl didn’t expect this, she wasn’t taken totally by surprise either. Her battle instincts made her hold on to Hugh’s arm after the fall, and instead of letting it go like most people do, she rolled with the throw and stuck her foot just right of his groan area and rolled back, making sure to hold on to her attacker. As she rolled, she extended her leg for maximum lift and air time. When she completed her roll, she let Hugh go and he went sailing right over her. She heard Hugh make an “ooof” noise when he landed on the hard floor.

 

Batgirl immediately jumped to her feet and assumed defensive martial arts poise. She was surprised that Hugh had gotten up at the same time and took a martial arts poise of his own.

 

“Why did you do that?” Batgirl was more annoyed than angry.

 

Hugh’s tone seemed different when he answered. He was no longer whiny and cowardly. He now seemed confident and in control, but not arrogant. “I wanted to prove to you that I’m not the coward and weakling that I pretended to be a while back. I am an accomplished martial artist. I’ve trained for years. I’ve studied your moves, Batgirl and I know that I am a match for you. Why do you think I choose you? I could never go toe-to-toe with Wonder Woman… unless… of course… I managed to strip that magic Amazon belt of strength off her waist.”

 

How did he know about Wonder Woman’s weakness? It was something to ponder later.

 

Batgirl looked behind her to see the door. Hugh was no longer blocking her way and she could easily make a dash for the door and get outside long before Hugh could do anything about it… but Batgirl decided to stay. Batgirl had pride and she was not about to run to the door from a would-be villain that had no clue as to how the game was really played. Batgirl was going to leave, but by walking out without hindrance and maintaining her pride and dignity.

 

Hugh smiled as she saw that Batgirl was going to remain behind.

 

“You broke your word, Hugh. You promised not to attack me anymore. Don’t deny it. I heard you say it.”

 

“I did no such thing. I only promised that nothing from my desk would harm you. You are slipping already. Any other second-rate crime-fighter would have picked up on that. Care to dance?”

 

“Okay, Hugh,” Batgirl started to approach him. “You want to play in the major leagues? I’ll be happy to oblige.”

 

Batgirl decided to end it mercifully quick by throwing a fast, three-punch combination to Hugh.

 

Hugh didn’t go down. He blocked all of Batgirl’s strikes, much to her chagrin.

 

“What the… how did you do that?”

 

“I told you that I was a fighter.”

 

Batgirl recomposed herself. It was beginner’s luck. She was merely taking it easy on him. No more.

 

“Let’s dance!”

 

Again Batgirl was surprised that Hugh was able to block the fast three punches and duck under the kick to the head.

 

Still surprised by Hugh’s sudden prowess, she was barely able to block the two punches when Hugh attacked. Batgirl countered with a punch, and Hugh slipped it. Then Hugh fired back with a series of punches and kicks of his own, which Batgirl blocked or dodged herself.

 

“Okay, you can handle yourself. I’ll give you that.”

 

“I am your equal, Batgirl. You can’t deny that.”

 

The two began to circle each other but they didn’t attack. Each was seeing what the other would do.

 

“If you could fight, Hugh, then why did you wait until now? Why the wimp act?”

 

“To make you over confident… to make you under-estimate me. I purposely hit the escape code so all you have to do to leave is hit the green button. I did that so you will anguish on that fact after I capture and disgrace, shame, and humiliate you. All the time, while you are being tamed and ready for domestication, it will always be in your mind: I was so close. Why didn’t I just take the time to press a simple, green button? If I did that I wouldn’t be in this torment that I am in now. Your defeat from this point on will be yours and yours alone. You can only blame yourself.”

 

“I’ve heard that line so many times before, and no one’s made good on their promise. Judging by those lame traps of yours, I have nothing to worry about.”

 

 

*    *    *    *

           

 

It was only ten minutes, but for the two combatants, it was an eternity. When Batgirl attacked Hugh, he was able to block, parry, slip, and duck. When Hugh attacked Batgirl, it was the same thing. Any blows that landed were infrequent and the other person was able to score right back. They were an even match. They were so even that it was getting monotonous.

 

They were both starting to get tired and they soon converted to wrestling and grappling.

 

Batgirl and Hugh had thrown each other and landed on a sofa. She didn’t see Hugh reach under a cushion and pull out a remote control box that he had stashed away earlier for an emergency such as this. He hid it behind his back.

 

Their eyes meet and locked on to each other. They began to kiss again, and Batgirl didn’t care this time.

 

“It looks like we’re both down for the count,” Batgirl finally had a moment to speak.

 

“It looks that way,” Hugh answered with a devilish smile on his face. “And speaking of count? Do you like numbers?”

 

“What?” Batgirl had no clue to where this conversation was going.

 

“Do you have a favorite number, Batgirl, my love?” Hugh pressed a button on the control from behind his back.

 

“No,” Batgirl was still clueless. What is this idiot talking about? “I guess one number is just as good as any other.”

 

“I have three favorite numbers.” This was the moment Hugh was waiting for. The moment he dreamed and planned for a long time. He was hoping that there was no sinister inflection in his voice to give him away.

 

“I like five, four, and seven.”

 

Batgirl was totally doomed and she doesn’t see it coming. All this time, she believed that she had controlled the situation.

 

“I like five… because that is the amount of time that it would take a fit girl like you to dash across the long width of this room to reach the door. Four… that’s the delay in seconds before the door opens when exiting to the outside. I rigged it that way. And seven… that’s how many seconds it takes for the elevator door to open and for my men to be in position to gun you down. Do the math, sweetheart.”

 

Just then Batgirl heard the dinging of an elevator signaling to open. It only took a fraction of a second to figure it out. Hugh Howards IV was certifiably insane! If he couldn’t get her to join willingly or if he couldn’t capture her, there was the only option left… to kill her!

 

“You Bastard!” Batgirl pushed away from Hugh and made a beeline for the door as fast as her legs would take her. This was going to be a narrow escape. She had to do this just right or she was dead.

 

“You won’t make it, Batgirl,” Hugh laughed. “Surrender while you still can.” Hugh laughed even harder. It wasn’t only just the time difference, but the fact that Batgirl had another lapse in judgment. Instead of trying to make a quick getaway, she could have grabbed him and threw him in front of her to use as a human shield, keeping the guards at bay until she got to a place of safety and dumped him.

 

Hugh was clever. Batgirl gave him that. His only problem was that he was thinking too linearly and separate. It was quite true that she couldn’t reach the door and press the button in time… if she did them one after the other… but at the same time… it was a different case.

 

Batgirl reached into her utility belt and pulled out a batarang that had saved her skin on more than one occasion for the day. Hopefully, it would be the last time she would depend on this wonderful little tool.

 

She aimed carefully and threw it at the control panel next to the door. Bullseye! She hit the green button and the door started to slowly open.

 

“No!” Hugh screamed. “There’s no way she could make that shot. You cheated. Doesn’t matter.” Hugh hit another button. “You won’t make this jump.”

 

About three steps away, jagged spikes popped up from the floor, obstructing Batgirl’s path. She wouldn’t have time to run around them. Hugh was right. She was physically incapable of making a leap over them and out the door. Her only option was to stop in her tracks, avoid the spikes, and either get gun downed or captured. It seemed that there was no escape… or was there?

 

Thinking quickly Batgirl leaped forward as high as she could and when she reached the pinnacle of her ascent. She took her cape by both ends and opened it.

 

“Shit,” Hugh cursed as Batgirl glided over the spikes and toward the, now fully-opened door to freedom. “Damn those wings of hers. I’m going to rip your wings off for that, Batgirl. I swear to that. You’ll never fly again.”

 

Batgirl smiled. She would be out the door and safe from bullets with seconds to spare. She couldn’t help but to rub it in Hugh’s face one last time as he was waving his fist at her.

 

“So long, suckers, and thanks for all the… ugggggh!”

 

Batgirl, in her disoriented state, could hear Hugh laugh when she slammed into something hard. She couldn’t have missed the opening and have flown into the wall… and the door didn’t close on her! Just before she fell backwards and landed flat on her back, she sat up and reached out for the doorway and felt something solid… glass! There was a thick sheet of glass so transparent that Batgirl failed to see it.

 

Her heart sank as she desperately tried to get to up or, at least, get to her knees. The cold reality sunk in. Hugh had set her up the whole time. The lame guard and the lame traps were to get her so cocky and arrogant that she would never see the “real” trap until she dived right in and sprung it.

 

Hugh Howards IV had outsmarted the caped crusaderette! An enemy had finally caught up with Batgirl’s formidability and knocked the mighty heroine off her perch.

 

“Game over for you, my lovely, but my fun has just started. You’re in for a long weekend, Batgirl. Now to introduce you to my pet, Rex, who will be your tour guide on your road to your total and devastating defeat! It’s for your own good, my sweet capture.”

 

Batgirl somehow got to her knees as Hugh pulled a lever on the wall.

 

The floor underneath her opened up and she haplessly fell into the darkness below.

 

 

 

PART 7

 

 

Hugh ran to an empty corner of his office and pressed his hand held control. The wall opened and a huge display made up of various TV monitors rolled out on a platform. He took a seat in the middle of the panel of controls and started turning things on.

 

He went to the bar and took a hard shot of scotch to calm his nerves. He was so excited that he was having trouble thinking and a bit of scotch was what he needed to calm his nerves. The anticipation of the upcoming show was too much for him to bear.

 

Hugh couldn’t believe it! He actually had Batgirl in his clutches! She was now his play thing. He was going to defeat her in ways that she could never imagine or that any other villains dared to contemplate in their narrow little minds.  Batgirl had no idea what total defeat was.  She was going to be humbled.

 

The end of Batgirl was near!

 

*    *    *    *

 

 

When the floor opened up beneath her, Batgirl felt herself fall for about six or seven feet before hitting a hard metal surface where she stunned herself again.

 

Before she could contemplate her situation, she began to slide down. It almost seemed like she was going down a water slide except there was no water. The surface was so slick that she was picking up speed and going faster and faster with each passing second. She couldn’t grab on to anything to stop herself. The tunnel slide would constantly twist, turn, and drop. Batgirl’s body was constantly twisting and spinning in different directions so that it was often difficult to determine which way was up. Her arms and legs were flaying about like a rag doll.

 

It didn’t help that the tunnel was dark and that the twists, turns, and drops would take Batgirl by surprise. If she could see a twist or drop coming, she could mentally and physically brace herself for it. As it was, the twists and turns came so unexpectedly that Batgirl could not control the movements of her own body. Every few seconds she would get thrown into some hard metal that would constantly disorient her. She was rolling so fast that she couldn’t even pull anything out of her utility belt, such as a grappling line that she could use to break her fall. Even if she could, she would probably reach into the wrong pouch. Everything was going so fast that she had no bearing… and she couldn’t even think straight. There was so much turbulence and chaos, that it almost felt like she was caught in the heart of a tornado or whirlpool.

 

After what seemed like an eternity, Batgirl felt her body press against the end of a slide tube to be dumped off to her final destination. She felt herself plummet some ten or twelve feet.

 

As she dropped, she could hear Hugh’s voice on a speaker taunting her. “I can’t believe that you fell for this one.” Then some laughter followed.

 

Batgirl landed flat on a gym mat. It was enough to break her fall so that she wouldn’t fracture any bones, but not enough to cushion the hard concussive force that knocked the wind out of her… not to mention that it hurt like hell.

 

Batgirl wheezed as she tired to catch her lost breath. She had to get her bearings before it was too late.

 

“Why, Batgirl. I simply take your breath away. How sweet.”

 

Batgirl ignored Hugh’s mockery and concentrated on using all her inner strength and fortitude to get to her feet. Somehow, she found it. She was on her feet albeit staggering… hoping to fight off whatever was in store for her next. Batgirl was unaware that this would be one of only a few morale victories considering her predicament.

 

“Amazing,” Hugh said with all sincerity. “No one has been able to stand up after that for, at least, five minutes. Time to meet Rex, Batgirl. Rex, we can’t let her get her bearings! Now!”

 

 

Batgirl was so disorientated that she didn’t she it coming even though there was some light. A long metallic arm, looking almost like that of belong to the villainous, Dr. Octopus, shot straight out and nailed Batgirl cleanly on the chin. Only the padding on the edge of the arm prevented a fractured chin or a broken neck.

 

            So hard was the force of the blow it jarred Batgirl’s cowl lose and she felt it completely fly off her head… but for some reason, the loss of her cowl didn’t concern her or make her panic despite her disorientation.

 

The force of the heavy blow also dropped Batgirl like a sack of potatoes. She flew back about three feet and, once again, hit the mat hard, right on the flat of her back. She was so stunned and dazed from the sucker punch that it would be some time before she could clear the cobwebs despite her amazing damage recovery.

 

Hugh gasped as her saw Batgirl’s cowl roll across the floor before disappearing into the darkness. For a brief second, he thought that it was her head and that he inadvertently decapitated her.

 

When he panned the camera back to Batgirl, he discovered that although she was de-cowled, she was not unmasked and her secretly identity was still intact for the time being. Apparently, Batgirl took the precaution of wearing a secondary, back-up, emergency mask under her cowl. It was a simple purple eye-mask held on with spirit gum, similar to the one worn by Robin the Boy Wonder. Obviously, the mask was enough to prevent immediate identification should Batgirl’s cowl ever get accidentally or forcibly removed in a scuffle until she could retrieve it and put it back on.

 

 “Very clever,” Hugh said. “The bird loses were crown but still hides her face. For that, I’ll let you keep your little mask on… for the time being.”

 

Hugh got turned on as he saw Batgirl lying on her back, so helpless that she was only able to move her head from side to side. She was moaning loudly which got Hugh even more off. She looked so peaceful in her distress and helplessness… almost comfortable… unaware of the humiliations to come.

 

“You’ll have to forgive, Rex. He just loves to hit on all the young, beautiful ladies that come to visit, and you, Batgirl, are by far, the loveliest. It will be my honor to tame you and knock you off your pedestal. So sorry about the loss of your cowl, my lovely prize… but I’m happy to see that you really are a red-head underneath that head-dress. One of my stupid guards bet me five dollars that you wore a wig. His loss. My gain.”

 

Two more arms moved toward Batgirl, slithering with anticipation.

 

“Don’t be fooled, Rex, ol’ boy. She may look like a helpless damsel in distress but she’s very dangerous, so we must take precautions to domesticate our pet-Batgirl so that she doesn’t hurt us as well as herself. We need to strip away all her defenses to make her helpless. You see, once she’s rendered helpless and without her weapons, she won’t be so brave and arrogant. She’ll be just like any other woman… cowardly and weak. Let’s teach this bitch a lesson, shall we?”

 

Each one of the tentacles moved toward Batgirl’s hands.

 

“First, we need to trim those awful claws. She has a lot of little nasty throwing blades inside those gloves of hers as well as some lock picks that she could use for escaping… but never fear… without them she is quite ineffective. Please remove them, Rex.”

 

The two tentacles wrapped around her wrist and yanked her gloves off her hands and dropped them somewhere on the floor, far out of her reach. Batgirl felt them slip off, but she was too stunned to do anything but helplessly let Rex remove them.

 

“Then we need to pluck her talons. They’re just as nasty as her claws. She has blades and picks in there, too. She thinks that we don’t know about that. She’s in for a rude awakening. Be so kind as to confiscate her boots, Rex.”

 

Again Batgirl could do nothing as her boots were yanked off her feet. She felt the breeze on her toes.

 

Hugh saw that the bottom of her leggings were actually stirrups that went around her ankles rather that covering her entire feet like long underwear.

 

“That is so 80s, Batgirl. Get with the times.”

 

 

Batgirls head was starting to clear a little bit… faster than Hugh anticipated. She was trying to use her elbows to lift herself up to a sitting position but still lacked the strength to do so. Rex’s blow had sapped a lot of her strength and endurance away.

 

“It seems that Batgirl could use a little boost, Rex. Help her out, would you? I’m sure that she’ll get a rise out of this. Hahaha.”

 

Batgirl felt a metal hand reach under her utility belt. She heard a loud clang as the mechanical hand clamped on to her buckle.

 

Before Batgirl knew it, she was yanked up and suspended about twelve feet in the air with Rex’s hand only hanging on to her belt. Somehow Hugh knew that Batgirl’s utility belt and buckle could support her own weight. That was what it was doing… lifting and holding her by her belt!

 

Batgirl gasped at what she saw next.

 

It was a robot… a giant robot… like something out of a cartoon. It seemed to be made of a series of blocks with each block getting progressive smaller to form a head with an evil grimace. It had rollers, similar to the bottom of a grocery cart for “feet.” The arms were long metallic tentacles that seemed like they could stretch out to infinity.

 

Batgirl kept her head, trying to find some kind of weakness or chink in the armor of this metal giant that stood some twenty feet tall. It didn’t take long to find it… a power box off to the side of its head.

 

Batgirl put her hands to her chest and feigned like she was a Southern Belle so that she could nonchalantly grab a throwing blade from out of her glove, throw it at the control box, and short out this mechanical beast. She thought that this tactic was less risky than going for a weapon in her utility belt.

 

Much to Batgirls’ shock, her gloves were gone! She looked down and so where her boots! And so was her cowl! She gasped immediately relief because she could still feel her back-up eye mask on her face.

 

She then remembered the initial blow she took. It hit her so hard that she forgot that they were removed. She frantically looked around and saw her cowl, gloves and boots scattered on the floor twelve feet below… well out of her reach.

 

“Lose something?” Hugh knew exactly what she was trying to do. “Yellow wasn’t your color anyway.”

 

“Who’s your friend?” Batgirl asked hoping to stall for time and distract Hugh’s attention to take the more risky move of dropping her hands to reach inside her belt to grab a batarang.

 

“This is Rex,” answered Hugh. “He’s just delighted that you could drop in to see him. He regrets to inform you that your license to be a crime-fighter has been permanently suspended. Get it? You’ll just have to keep you on… hold for a while. Hahahaa.”

 

It was working. Hugh didn’t notice a thing. He was too busy laughing over Batgirl’s plight and patting himself on the back with his ingenious puns. She slowly inched her hand closer to her belt. She reached into a pouch and managed to grab hold of her weapon. She just needed a few more seconds to get a firm grip so she could pull it out, throw, and hit her target before Hugh knew what was going on. This guys wasn’t so smart. For a few minutes she really thought Hugh had her… he made a fatal mistake.

 

“Well, as much as I appreciate the lift,” Batgirl decided to fire back at Hugh’s bad puns with even worse puns. “But I’m afraid that I’ll have to insist that you drop me off.”

 

With lightning speed, Batgirl ripped out her batarang and was ready to throw it. She caught Hugh totally off guard. Unfortunately, she didn’t catch Rex off guard. As fast as she could move and react, a machine could still react and move faster. She only got her weapon over her shoulder and wasn’t even starting her backward motion to get ready to throw it when Rex had already beaten her to the punch.

 

Apparently, from out of nowhere, another tentacle emerged from the robot. The opening that it came out of was covered up and could not actually be seen until the tentacle arm came out. With speed too fast to comprehend, a tentacle shot out. This one was not a clamp-like hand, but rather a tentacle that extended out to a sharp blade on the end. It stopped a fraction of an inch before it hit Batgirl’s neck. She could, however, feel the sharp tip touching the “v” notch of her throat.

 

To Batgirl’s terror, she realized the truth. Hugh was not actually controlling Rex in the same way an engineer would control mechanical arms to handle radioactive material while he was safely behind thick glass. Rex was capable of reacting independent of its owner.

 

“Do not move, prisoner,” Rex said in a mechanical voice. “Drop your weapon. Do not attempt to put your hands near your weapon belt again.”

 

“I’d do as he says, Batgirl,” said Hugh. “That blade can punch itself through a steel girder. I guarantee that it will be most fatal and painful going into the lovely neck of yours.”

 

Batgirl had no choice but to comply and think of something else. She decided to keep using humor to help defuse this hostile situation. She had to bid her time some more and look for another opportunity to get herself out of this jam.

 

“Well, now that you mention it,” Batgirl pretended to giggle as she reluctantly let her batarang drop to the floor, “maybe I will hang around here for a little while longer.”

 

“You’ll be hanging around here a lot while longer, Batgirl. You think that if you humor me, that you will find a way to overcome your situation of distress? I guarantee that you will not. You stupid heroines talk so brave when the cameras are on you and when you are safe and sound, but not in dire straits.”

 

Batgirl saw Rex steady the blade, awaiting the order to strike from its master.

 

“I remember, not too long ago, Batgirl, that you appeared on Oprah. You were running your mouth off about how heroes like you would prefer death to capture. Let’s put that theory to the test. Are you as brave as you boost, you arrogant twit? Put your money where your mouth is. Will you be a prisoner or a casualty?”

 

Batgirl looked around and saw no way out her plight. There would be no super-hero Calvary to her rescue. Her options were limited. Her death would be heroic and honorable, but irreversible. She couldn’t survive death, but she could survive an embarrassing abduction. She figured that if she complied with her captor’s demands, she could live to fight another day and turn the tables on Hugh when the time was right. Villains like him always like to brag. If she kept him talking long enough, she could come up with a plan. Villains always make mistakes.

 

There was another thing hanging over Batgirl’s mind; she realized that she was afraid to die. The thought of the blade going into her throat was too horrifying to imagine!

 

“You have exactly five seconds to surrender to me unconditional, Batgirl, or Rex with give you a fatal tracheotomy.”

 

Batgirl didn’t know what to do. She didn’t want to surrender especially after being trapped so easily. It was way too soon for her to be groveling for mercy. On the other hand, she didn’t want to die either. She knew that Hugh wasn’t bluffing. If she didn’t give up, Hugh would kill her. She began to sweat as she agonized over her decision.

 

“Five… four….”

 

“O-o-okay,” Batgirl spit the words out. Her fear made her vocal cords work for her.

 

“Okay… what, Batgirl?” Hugh wasn’t going to let her off so easily and Batgirl knew it. “Say it! Say it now or die!”

 

“I surrender,” Batgirl blurted out the words that Hugh wanted to here, “I give up. You win. I’m captured. I’m your prisoner. Is that what you want to hear?”

 

Hugh laughed in his triumph. He actually got the mighty, brave, and arrogant Batgirl to yield to him… and with very little effort. He didn’t think it would be so soon. He really thought that he’d have to torture her a little bit… but not too badly. He didn’t want to noticeably scar up that awesome body of hers.

 

“The news of your unconditional capitulation is bittersweet to my ears. I have this whole session video and audio taped to prove that you conceded defeat at my hands so that you can’t deny or recant the fact that I conquered you.”

 

“On one hand, I’m glad that you submitted. The intent of this game is not to kill you… although I will, if you don’t cooperate. On the other, I am a little disappointed. I didn’t think that the valiant Batgirl would throw in the towel so soon. I only had to count down to four. I thought you would have a little dignity and waited until the count went down to the wire at one, or two before relinquishing your self-respect. Any other hero with even an ounce of self-esteem would have let the count get down to that. You’ve only proven my point, Batgirl. You’re all talk and glory when you have the upper hand, but when the chips are down, you cave in like any other person. It wasn’t like I forced your hand to save a hostage. You humbled yourself before me to save your own worthless hide… a hide I plan to get to know very well.”

 

Hugh was right! She could have waited a few more seconds… and all this was being recorded. How embarrassing!

 

 “Nothing to say now, Batgirl? No clever excuses for your cowardly action? What would Batman think?”

 

Batgirl hid her nervousness as the blade waved menacingly near her throat… daring her to try something. Perhaps a little more humor was needed to tone down the situation.

 

“All right! All right! You got me but you don’t have to rub it in.” Then the blade moved closer to her throat to remind her of her situation. She pretended not to be intimidated. “No need to gloat. I get your point.”

 

Hugh laughed. “That’s a good one, Batgirl. I’m surprised that you can come up with those stupid little quips and still find humor in this situation. You still have no idea how much shit you are in. You still believe that, somewhere, in the back of your mind, that you can win and resolve the situation like it never happened before embarking on your next tiresome adventure. Your flippancy has only proved to me that you still don’t comprehend your dilemma. You need a reminder.”

 

“Ummm….” Batgirl knew that she shouldn’t have spoken out of turn. “I don’t think that will be necessary.”

 

Hugh ignored her plea.

 

 “I see that you doubt the claim of the effectiveness of Rex’s blade. You think it’s dull and just a ruse to scare you? Perhaps a little demonstration will convince you.”

 

The blade got closer, hovering around her face. Batgirl knew that Hugh was going to cut her in a non-lethal area just to prove that he wasn’t bluffing and to keep her in line. Batgirl didn’t want to be disfigured. She didn’t want an ugly scar on her face.

 

“No,” Batgirl blurted out in desperation. “That won’t be necessary. I believe you! I believe you! I swear.”

 

Her plea, once again, fell on deaf ears.

 

“You must be punished for your cavalier attitudes and remarks so that you may learn your lesson in obedience.”

 

“No. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.”

 

“What should I do to get the message through to you? Ahhh… I got it.” Hugh knew from the very start that he was going to do what he was about to do. He would have done it even if Batgirl didn’t make her remarks… but there was no need for her to know that. What better way than to make his prisoner believe that this part of her ordeal was her fault.

 

“W-W-What are you going to do to me?”

 

Hugh got a hard-on seeing Batgirl in her distress and starting to beg for leniency.

 

“You need to be tamed some more to learn humility, Batgirl. I already domesticated you by trimming your claws and plucking your talons. Now it’s time for me to clip your wings.”

 

“Clip my wings?” Batgirl’s pulse raced and she tried to fight the panic that was starting to brew inside her. “What do you mean?”

 

“Rex… cut off her cape!”

 

“No! Wait!”

 

Rex placed his blade under her chin and gave it a quick upward flick. The sound of fabric tearing soon followed. Batgirl felt her back get a little lighter as her beloved cape slowly slip off her shoulders and floated down to the floor. As it fell further and further away, she felt some of her pride fade away. She couldn’t believe it. She just stood idly by and let this evil man strip her of her cape.

 

Many times in the past, villains temporary had the upper hand and captured her. They had removed various items from her person to hamper her escape… but she was unconscious and had a legitimate mental excuse for allowing them to be appropriated. This time it was different. This time she was helplessly forced to watch it and could nothing to prevent it.

 

There was something different about this predicament than the ones she faced before. The villains always gave her a sporting chance. They always left her alone so she could escape the trap. Everything was going wrong. It seemed as if her tormentor was always two steps ahead of her.

 

“And thus,” Hugh interrupted her thoughts. “Batgirl flies no more. I wouldn’t ponder about the loss of your cape for too long. You won’t be using it ever again. Its suffering is over. You should forget it and ponder about yourself.

 

“That can’t happen,” Batgirl muttered. “You cut it off so easily. That’s impossible.”

 

“Impossible for a typical blade, Batgirl,” mocked Hugh. “I’m aware that the fibers in the cape are reinforced to withstand tearing and cutting… but did you actually think that your cape could hold up against a blade that can punch through solid steal?”

 

Reality sunk in. Hugh had shamed her… stained her pride. That made her angry.

 

“My cape! You had no right! Damn you, Hugh! What are you trying to prove? What have I ever done to you? Why are you doing this to me?”

 

“To prove that the good guys don’t always win, my dear.”

 

“I won’t let you get away with this. Let me down, or so help me… when I get my hands on you….”

 

Rex moved the blade toward her throat ready to give her a slice for her offhanded remarks.

 

“Let her vent, Rex. She knows that she can’t make good on her threats. It’s her pathetic way of trying to deal with the situation.”

 

Batgirl shot a glare of contempt in the camera for Hugh to see. She was totally flustered. So far, Hugh had thwarted all her attempts to gain the upper hand and it was starting to make her unravel. She knew she couldn’t do that and give Hugh the satisfaction.

 

“Starting to feel frustrated and humiliated already, Batgirl? I’ve only just begun. Wait until I get warmed up.”

 

“This isn’t fair,” Batgirl said to herself. “I’m the heroine. I don’t deserve this treatment.”

 

“No, Batgirl, you don’t deserve it… but then again you walked into this. How many countless opportunities did you pass up to leave quietly? I see that you haven’t suffered enough humiliation to stop your mouth from running. Perhaps a little more might soften your tongue? Let’s turn it up a notch, shall we?”

 

“No, stop. I didn’t mean….”

 

Two more tentacles shot out from Rex as if out of nowhere and firmly grabbed her wrists.

 

“Restrain her, Rex. Bind her nice and helpless. Bind her securely. I want her make her experience every thing that’s coming to her… and make her powerless to do anything about it. Humble her and put her at my total mercy.”

 

“Should I bind her wrists in the front or the back, Master?”

 

Batgirl froze. She knew the answer even before Hugh spoke.

 

“The back, please, Rex.”

 

“No!” Batgirl steadied her arms as Rex tried to force them behind her back. “Is this is your way of getting back at me, Hugh?”

 

“Let this be a lesson, Batgirl. Never let an enemy off the hook when you have them against the ropes. Regretting letting me go and dismissing me as a harmless loon, aren’t you, my dear?”

 

Rex steadied his arms to keep Batgirl from struggling.

 

“Let her be, Rex. I like the sport of this. Let’s see how long she lasts. I must admit, Batgirl, you are very strong and holding off well, but resistance is futile. You’re only tiring yourself out. You’ll need all your strength for the ordeal yet to come.”

 

“Hugh… Mr. Howards, sir,” Batgirl said in desperation as she was losing ground and her hands her slowly being forced behind her back… centimeter by centimeter. “You don’t need to do this. You don’t need to tie me up. I’m willing to talk about joining up with you now. Let’s sit down and.…”

 

“It’s too late for negotiations now, Batgirl. You had your chance to gracefully hop aboard, but you blew it! I warned you that you would be my helpless prisoner… but you laughed at me. I don’t hear you laughing now, Batgirl.”

 

“My God,” Batgirl still continued to fight but Rex was still slowly, but steadily giving ground. “This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening!”

 

Hugh was right. Resisting the tentacles was a losing battle for Batgirl. Her arms were now forced behind her back and it wouldn’t be long before her wrists would be pressed together and forcefully bound.

 

Batgirl wouldn’t give up. She wanted to go down with a fight.

 

Second by second, her strength was leaving her. Her muscles were getting tired and started to shake from the strain.

 

It wouldn’t be long now. It was hopeless. Batgirl was starting to get light headed and horny over the thought of her eventual bondage… but she had to fight back. She couldn’t quit. She couldn’t give up.

 

It was hopeless….

 

Or was it….

 

Batgirl was so consumed in her humiliation that she forgot that she was a decent escape artist. It was simple. All she had to do was tense and expand the muscles in her arms as she was being tied. Then she could relax them and have a little gap and leeway to wiggle her hands free, escape, and teach Hugh a lesson.

 

Even with this plan, Batgirl still resisted and fought back. One reason was to make it look legitimate. If she gave in too easy, Hugh would get suspicious and check her ropes and reinforce her restraints. The other reason was her fear of humiliation. Even if she did manage to escape, she still had to suffer her bondage for the duration.

 

 

When she could endure no more pain and strain, she moaned loudly and exhaled her breath as she let her arms relax.

 

 

Seconds later, Rex clamped her wrists together and held them fast. Rex forced her wrists into a position so that her forearms were parallel to the floor. Her wrists were going to be tied in a straight line rather than crossed. Rex pushed her arms up slightly causing Batgirl a little pain for her earlier resistance.

 

“Take it easy, Hugh,” Batgirl grimace in pain. “Take it easy! I give. Please!”

 

“Take it down a notch, Rex. You’ll break her arms.” Hugh took a little mercy.

 

Rex let up a bit to make the threshold of pain more tolerable but just enough to remind Batgirl that he could reapply it at any time.

 

Batgirl nervously waited for a tentacle to emerge with rope or handcuffs or something like that. To her surprise, she felt some metal coil starting to wrap around her wrists. The coil was coming out from the end of the tentacle!

 

Batgirl flexed her muscles and hoped that she reacted in time as the coil began to fasten her hands together with lighting speed. It wrapped around her wrists in an accurate, intricate pattern. It felt as if a spider were spinning an inescapable web around her arms.

 

Batgirl had to fight the euphoria of being bound and helpless before the gorgeous Hugh… waiting to be violated.

 

“Ugghhh,” the pain woke Batgirl up and Rex wrapped too tightly. “Please, stop. Don’t hurt me. I won’t fight you.”

 

“Easy, Rex.” There seemed to be a hint of sympathy in Hugh’s voice. “No need to break her wrists. Let the coil do its job.”

 

Seconds later, Rex had finished binding Batgirl’s arm immobile and helpless. “Prisoner secured, Master.”

 

“I’ve really fallen in a trap this time,” Batgirl thought. “I never saw it coming. I hope that I can slip out of these coils or else I will be truly trapped and helpless. If that happens, I don’t know what to do.”

 

Satisfied with Rex’s results, Hugh turned his attention to Batgirl and said, “It took me years to perfect that special binding coil. It’s strong enough to withstand two elephants pulling on each end. No one can break it… no human… so unless you’re Superman or Wonder Woman, you’re totally screwed. Nothing can cut it either… not a diamond… not even Rex’s blade. The only way you can be released is if I deactivated it. You should be honored, Batgirl. You are the first hero to fall victim to the most perfect instrument of bondage known to man.”

 

“We’ll see about that,” Batgirl thought to herself. She let her muscles loosen so she could get an idea of her gap for later escape. She never felt it. The coil sensed the gap and compensated for the slack by tightening itself. The coil was actually moving by itself!

 

Batgirl now found herself totally trapped… totally bound and helpless just as Hugh boasted. Hugh was making good of everything he bragged about doing to Batgirl back in the office.

 

“What the… the damn rope is alive. This can’t be! It’s not supposed to turn out like this! It’s not supposed to be this way. Ahhhhhhhhh….”

 

Batgirl began to panic and unexpectedly started to struggle. When that happened, the coils painfully tightened around her wrists. It was more than she could endure.

 

Even Hugh was concerned. “Batgirl! Stop! Don’t fight it!”

 

“Ahhhhhh….” Batgirl screamed even louder. “It hurts. The pain… make it stop, Hugh. Please, make it stop. I beg you! Please! Please! I can’t take it much longer. Ahhhhhh….”

 

“Relax your arms,” shouted Hugh. “Don’t fight it, Batgirl! Don’t struggle and it will stop. I promise.”

 

Somehow, a bit a rationality caught Batgirl and she stopped struggling. The minute she stopped, the coils loosened until he hands were bound normally. Her pain and exhaustion caused her body to go limp and her head fell forward.

 

“Thank you, Hugh,” she muttered. “I can’t believe you’re beating me. No escape… can’t end like this.”

 

“I don’t recommend you doing that again, Batgirl,” Hugh seemed a little concerned for his captive’s safety. “You didn’t give me time to mention that the coil have sensors that can read nerve impulses and react to muscle movement. I knew you would tense your muscles to make gaps if I tied you with everyday rope so I had to compensate for that.”

 

“How did you know about that?” Batgirl mutter with her head still slumped forward. “You shouldn’t know that. Why are you always two steps ahead?”

 

“I have to be in order to beat you, Batgirl. The coils are perfect, wouldn’t you agree? I can keep you secured and helpless virtually forever. I never have to worry about tying you up too loose for you to escape or too tight where I could cut off your blood circulation and permanently damage your limps. The coils will compensate for that. That way, I can leave you bound for long periods of time but still keep the blood flowing in those magnificent arms of yours… and I promise you that you will be bound and helpless for a long time. How do you like your bondage so far, Batgirl? Are you enjoying it? I know you are!”

 

Batgirl amazing constitution and resilience made her recover to the point that she had the strength to lift her head. She breathed loud and grunted in defiance. She was more embarrassed than hurt. She was still having a hard time accepting her defeat and helplessness. She sneered at the camera before dropping her head in fatigue hoping to regain her strength later.

 

Hugh knew that Batgirl knew that even though she felt defeated, she still wasn’t totally conquered… all in due time.

 

“I must warn you again, Batgirl. They cannot be cut and you can only be released if I deactivate the coils. Get use to it, because you won’t be released for a long time. The more you struggle, the more they will squeeze… until your wrists are broken. If you try to cut them… which would be useless… they will break your wrists. If you try to slip your hands over your cute little butt and feed your legs through so that your bound hands are in front of you, they WILL sense that and break your wrists. You had a sample already. The maximum pain level can be quite excruciating. If I were you, I would accept my bondage and keep your arms relaxed and make no attempts to struggle or escape. You do that, and you’ll live through your captivity most painlessly. After all… I’m not doing this to hurt you, Batgirl. I’m doing this for your own good. Do you understand?”

 

Batgirl refused to comply. She still kept her head down despite that she had regained the strength to raise it up again.

 

Hugh knew this and Rex placed his blade under her chin to make her lift her head to acknowledge. Batgirl could do nothing but comply or have her chin sliced off.

 

“Do you understand, Batgirl? You cannot get free unless I free you. You cannot escape. It will be painful if you do. I want you to understand and experience every aspect of your ordeal. Do you understand? Answer me!”

 

“Yes, Hugh,” Batgirl said softy. “I understand. I understand loud and clear.”

 

“That’s the most intelligent thing you’ve said all day, my lovely. Ready to continue?”

 

 

Batgirl started to feel the seed of hopelessness growing in her stomach. She could now see that unless someone came to her rescue, she was never leaving this place.

 

Batgirl feared that this was her last stand and her torment was only just beginning.

 

 

PART 8

 

 

Batgirl’s head was getting light again and was spinning. Her whole body was tingling. Her adrenaline was flowing and her heart was racing. She had to cross her legs hoping that this would stop her from getting wet. It was a dream come true! She was bound and helpless and totally at a gorgeous man’s mercy. Hugh could do anything he wanted to her and Batgirl could do nothing to stop him. She imagined being taken to his bed and being stripped down to nothing… and then feeling Hugh inside her… violating her. Pure heaven!

 

 

Batgirl’s thoughts were interrupted when Rex gave her a shake. She was not dreaming. The robot was still holding her up only by her belt. She was still stripped of her claws… gloves, boots, cowl and cape. Her hands were still secured behind her back and totally immobile… and totally useless.

 

What was she thinking? This was no joke!

 

This was serious. Hugh didn’t remove parts of her costume and truss her up to indulge a secret fantasy of hers (although she wished it was), he did it for some more sinister purpose.

 

 

“Wake up, Batgirl,” Hugh teased. “Stop daydreaming about me.”

 

If he only knew.

 

“Shall we continue?”

 

“Do I have a choice Mr. Howards?” Batgirl thought better of her remark and quickly added the “Mr. Howards” at the end to show that she was being respectful and to avoid any backlash. She was in enough trouble as it was and the last thing she need to do was aggravate the situation.

 

Batgirl needed to maintain her composure. Calmness was the key. Hugh obviously was getting off when she begged and pleaded. He must be getting hard and really going nuts now that he actually had her hands bound behind her back with no apparent way of getting free.

 

“Not really. It was more of a rhetorical question. You can still call me, Hugh, Batgirl, although I am happy that you are wise enough to learn to show me respect. Wisdom is an admirable quality. You are very wise to accept your bondage. I am pleased that you have not bothered to struggle in your coils anymore. That’s why I love you, Batgirl.”

 

Hugh’s knew very well that Batgirl didn’t dare struggle unless she wanted a crushed wrist.

 

“Well, if this is how you show that you love me, I’d shutter to imagine what you’d do to me if you hated me.”

 

Hugh laughed. He actually found it amusing.

 

“I see that you still have your wit, grace and charm when only a few mere minutes ago, I had you begging for my mercy. You might just live through this, Batgirl. You’re off to a good start.”

 

“You have me helpless. What more can you do to me now?” Batgirl had some ideas but it would be better to pretend that she was ignorant. A part of Batgirl was delighted that she was trapped and secured as this would give her a good reason not to fight her attacker off if he did something to her. A strange, twisted part of her was enjoying and welcoming the ordeal.

 

“Helpless… yes… but not totally powerless. You see, now that your hands are secure. We can proceed to safely striping you of all your little weapons, gizmos, equipment, and toys. We need to totally disarm you. We need to make you weaponless and helpless… in order to make you powerless. I enjoy taking my prey down nice and slow.” Hugh had to stop to take another drink of scotch as he was starting to get excited again.

 

“Rex, would you kindly empty the contents of Batgirl’s utility belt. We can’t have a missed weapon coming back to haunt us.”

 

 

Batgirl could only watch in helpless dismay as many thin little multi-tentacles came out from the main tentacle and immediately opened and rummaged through her belt compartments. Batgirl felt violated as the tiny tentacles emptied her belt of all items and let them fall to the floor. Batgirl needed to control her rage. It had taken her years to collect and acquire all these things and the little hands were tossing them aside like someone cleaning out their garage and throwing all their junk in a dumpster. The items in her belt were hardly junk. They were necessary tools in her war against crime. She had to fight back the tears at the thought of losing these beloved items forever. She couldn’t bare the thought of starting her collection over again from scratch.

 

And out her items went… from her belt and on to the floor. It actually took several minutes to totally empty the contents of her belt. She couldn’t help but look down and watch her tools drop. She saw them all. She witnessed the loss of her batarangs, lock picks, throwing blades, her finger print kit, flashlight, radio, flares, gas mask, tape recorder, grapping hook, climbing line, bola, binoculars, camera, and smoke grenades… even her special marble! Batgirl never realized that she had so much stuff!

 

It would have been much easier if Hugh just took her belt to begin with but wanted to add to her mental anguish by removing each piece, one item at a time.

 

Not being able to take it anymore, Batgirl gave out an “AHHHHHH!” in frustration.

 

“Don’t be sad, Batgirl. It only hurts for a little while. Soon you won’t miss your little toys at all. If you wanted to keep them so badly, you should have stopped me.

 

Batgirl growled again. He knew damn well that she couldn’t do anything about it.

 

Hugh didn’t let up. He wanted to extend Batgirl’s torment.

 

Batgirl turned her head when she heard the ‘whoosh’ of a door sliding open. Nadia walked in carrying a garbage can on wheels. She immediately began to pick up the items that were removed from Batgirl’s belt and was throwing them in the can like they were common pieces of junk and garbage.

 

“Make sure that you get everything, Nadia, dear. Then throw everything in the incinerator. Don’t forget her cowl, gloves, boots, and cape.”

 

Batgirl’s face turned beet red.

 

“I knew you’d clip the bitch’s wings,” Nadia picked up the cape and tossed it in the trash.

 

“Get it all, Nadia. I don’t want any vestiges of Batgirl remaining. I want it all burned and destroyed.”

 

Nadia picked up one of Batgirl’s gloves. “I still say that yellow is a stupid color to go with purple.”

 

Batgirl could not hold her temper. “You, bitch! If I ever get my hands on you.…”

 

“Watch your mouth, Batgirl,” Hugh said like a father scolding his child.

 

“If you have a problem with me, Batgirl, why don’t we step outside? Oh, but you can’t because… you’re all tied up.”

 

Hugh started to laugh.

 

Batgirl was boiling. Who did this bitch think she was? It was bad enough that Hugh was mocking her. At least, he captured her, but Nadia did nothing of the kind. It was easy to call out Batgirl when she was tied up and suspend in the air and only hanging by her belt.

 

 

A few minutes later, Nadia had everything collected. She decided to have more fun at Batgirl’s expense.

 

“I can’t believe that you gave up all this stuff without a fight, Bat-bitch. If someone tried to take the stuff out of my gun belt, I’d fight them tooth and nail. You just stood there and let Hugh do it. I thought you had guts.”

 

Just as Nadia hoped, Batgirl temporarily forgot her dilemma and lashed out at Nadia. “Hey, bitch! You know very well that my hands are tied. How could I stop him? Let me down from here and you’ll see how gutless I am. I could kick your ass with both hands tied behind my back. I’m not kidding, tramp.”

 

“Hugh, Darling,” Nadia put her hands on her hips and smiled at the camera. “You’re not going to let this prisoner talk to me that way, are you?”

 

“Of course not, turtle dove,” said Hugh in a sickeningly sweet voice. “Rex, gag her!”

 

“No!” Batgirl cried. “I didn’t mean… Mmmmmphhh!”

 

Batgirl’s words were cut short when a tentacle stuffed a rag in her mouth and then secured it in place with a strap that locked in place.

 

“Mmmmphhh! Mmmmmphhh!” Batgirl moaned in frustration. She felt more humiliated then ever.

 

That gag strap works on the same principle as your wrist bonds. Only I can remove it. If you try to take it off by rubbing it against your shoulders, it will tighten and crush your skull. If you don’t believe me, try it.”

 

Batgirl calmed down. She knew that Hugh wasn’t lying. Once again, the billionaire had thwarted her and humiliated her in front of an audience.

 

“Hey, Batgirl,” said Nadia. “Are you sure you want me to incinerate this stuff. Just say the word and I’ll give it all back.”

 

“Mmmmphhh!”

 

“What’s that? Cat got your tongue?”

 

“Mmmmmpppphhhh!”

 

“No answer? I guess you do want it all destroyed?”

 

“Grrrr!” A growl was all Batgirl could get out from her gag.

 

“It’s a shame, though. Hey, Cupcake, are you sure that you want everything destroyed? Don’t you want proof that you conquered Batgirl? How about a keepsake or something to add to your trophy case as a reminder that you totally defeated her?”

 

“You’re right, my dear. What should we use?”

 

“How about her mask, Master?” Rex reached for her face and was ready to pull it off her last means of concealment.

 

Batgirl was in a panic. If she was unmasked, it was all over. She might as well be dead. Batgirl realized that no other villain bothered to do that to her in the past despite their many opportunities.

 

“No, Rex! Not her mask. She must keep it. Her cowl removal was a premature accident.”

 

Batgirl breathed a sigh of relief but it was short lived as Hugh continued.

 

“Taking it now would end her torment. It’s a symbol of honor. Only I have the right to unmask her… which I will do in the privacy of my chamber… when I totally strip her down.”

 

Batgirl didn’t like the sound of that… but at least she had a stay of execution… a little more time to think of a plan. She had to escape more that ever! She had to! She couldn’t be unmasked.

 

“Alright then,” Nadia smirked an evil smirk. “How about her emblem? That’s a badge of honor. That will humiliate the shit out of her and take a little wind out of her sails. She’ll be so shamed and disgraced that all the other super-heroes will belittle or ignore her.”

 

Oh my God! Not my emblem. Batman will hate me for this! He gave it to me. It took years for him to finally give his blessing to wear his symbol. I promised to take care of it. If that bitch takes it, Batman will be disgraced somewhat, too. I never imagined Hugh to be so evil a fiend. I never thought that this could happen.

 

“What do you say, Bat-bitch? Ready to give up your pride and dignity?”

 

Batgirl shot Nadia the meanest, dirtiest look that she could muster. “GRRRRRR!”

 

“Whoa!” Nadia pretended that she was intimidated. If looks could kill.”

 

“Nadia, would you do the honors?”

 

“I’d be delighted, Hugh, Darling.”

 

 

Within minutes, Nadia was sitting in an elevated chair with Batgirl’s back in her lap. She was still being suspended in the air by her belt but Nadia need to brace Hugh’s captive so she could perform her task neat and cleanly. Rex steadied the blade at Batgirl’s throat, ready to strike if she made any resistance to the removal of her emblem… the symbol of her dignity and pride as a crime-fighter.

 

“Keep still and it’ll be over before you know it, Sweetie,” said Nadia. “Make this difficult for me and I’ll cut your damn nipples off. Understand?”

 

Seeing no other out but to get stabbed in the throat, Batgirl nodded. Nadia was about to violate her by removing and desecrating a respected symbol of justice and badge of honor… and there was nothing Batgirl dared do to stop her.

 

“I knew that you were reasonable.”

 

“Take your time, Nadia, dear,” said Hugh in a cold calculating voice. “Cut her emblem off very carefully. Do your best to get it off clean and undamaged. Don’t tear her costume underneath. That way, if her other crime-fighters see her undamaged costume on her chest, they’ll see that she gave it up without a fight.”

 

“Mmmmmppphhh!”

 

Nadia had no sympathy for Batgirl’s plea. “I won’t let you down, Cupcake.”

 

Nadia took off her hat and threw it to the floor and then put her long blond hair in a pony-tail so that it wouldn’t fall in her face and mess her up while performing her procedure.

 

She reached into her shirt pocket and pulled out, what, at first, appeared to be, a pen about four or five inches long. When Nadia removed the safety cap, Batgirl didn’t see a point of a pen. It was a small blade no longer than a half inch. It started wide at the bottom and slowly narrowed to a sharp tip. The blade was shaped like a right triangle. Batgirl recognized the instrument as a trimming knife. Her neighbor, who was a photography buff, used something like that… in order to finely trim the edges of photos, so that they would perfectly fit in albums or picture frames. Batgirl also remembered that hobbyist that make plastic scale models of ships or planes would use them to cut a small piece off the tray that it was attached to rather than twisting it off and risk breaking it.

 

 

Contrary to popular belief, Batgirl’s logo was not painted on her costume or material that was woven as part of the costume. It was actually finely threaded and stitched into the chest of her costume material. It is so finely done that, unless you’re only a few inches away, it looked like a part of the costume. A hero with an emblem that couldn’t be removed was not taken seriously in the super-hero community or not even considered a super-hero. Any moron can wear a symbol of honor that cannot be removed. The mentality was that if a hero’s symbol could be removed, they would take more care not to be defeated in combat where an enemy could remove it. It made a hero more responsible and protective. Letting it fall into an enemy’s hands was disgraceful.

 

Batgirl humbled many villains by taking their emblems… but now it was her turn!

 

 

“I bet Batman’s going to get a lot of flack for this,” Nadia taunted.

 

Like a fine surgeon, Nadia slowly and meticulously cut away at the threads, millimeter by millimeter, and, so far, was making a flawless removal. Every time Batgirl heard a thread tear, she knew that she was one step closer to being permanently stripped of her insignia of reverence.

 

The only way that she could maintain her honor after removal without getting it back was to die. It would be very easy. All Batgirl needed to do was move suddenly and Rex would react by plunging his blade into her throat. That’s all it would take for her humiliation to be over and still retain her honor, respect, and dignity. Since Hugh had forgotten to bind her feet, Batgirl could easy kick up and knock Nadia off the chair, head first. The impact from a head-first fall would break Nadia’s neck and kill her or leave her permanently paralyzed. At least, Batgirl would have the satisfaction of taking out someone before succumbing to a heroic death.

 

There was one problem.

 

Batgirl didn’t want to die.

 

The fear of that blade going into her throat was too horrifying to imagine. Could she deal with the pain as she chocked out blood trying to get her last breath? Batgirl could see in Nadia’s eyes that she knew that the helpless heroine could take her out at any time… the cost of which would be Batgirl’s life. Although Nadia didn’t say it, she mocked Batgirl with her facial expression… daring her to try it.

 

There was another reason that Batgirl didn’t act; she was enjoying her captivity.

 

She didn’t want to admit to it until now that her career as Batgirl had gone past its course. She realized that Batgirl was obsolete and ineffective. This shame and disgrace would force her into retirement. She didn’t mind that, but Batgirl still had to get away because she believed that Hugh would eventually torture information out of her to do the same to Wonder Woman. She couldn’t allow that to happen. Whatever happened and only affected herself was one thing, but endangering another because of her callous acts of carelessness was quite another.

 

Batgirl vowed that she would retire for good if she ever got away from Hugh.

 

 

Batgirl’s breathing got heavier and heavier and so was her anxiety with every little bit of progress that Nadia was making. It seemed that she was taking her time to make Batgirl languish in her mental agony.

 

 

After what seemed like hours (actually ten minutes), Nadia cut the last thread. Batgirl was now stripped of her emblem of pride. She had allowed it to be confiscated and fall into the hands of her enemies. Nadia carefully peeled the insignia off her chest and saw that she left no mark on Batgirl’s costume. She then held it up as she proudly as she inspected her handiwork.

 

“Perfect removal,” Nadia laughed.

 

Batgirl could feel the lump in her throat. The feelings of shame and humiliation were overwhelming. She fought not to cry, and so far, was able to hold off. This was the most heart-retching experience in Batgirl’s life. It made the feeling of heartbreak when her first boyfriend dumped her for someone else, mild in comparison. Batgirl knew that the feeling of inadequacy would get worse when Hugh would eventually unmask her. The thought of that was too much to bear.

 

She needed to escape! She had to escape! Hugh must not seize her mask no matter what the cost. She still had time to stop that… hopefully.

 

“Thank you, my dear,” Hugh pressed a button which lowered a transparent tube near Nadia. “You have done well… as always. You will be well rewarded for this. I have very special plans for this tribute that Batgirl paid to us.”

 

“You’re so welcome, Cupcake,” Nadia took a cylinder out of the tube and placed Batgirl’s emblem inside. She then put the cylinder back in the tube where air suction lifted it up to Hugh’s location. “It was an honor and a pleasure to help you knock this uppity bitch off her high-horse.”

 

“Ahhhhhhhhhhmmmm!” Batgirl screamed through her gag as she saw her emblem disappear from sight… disappear forever. Any chance she had to take it back was now gone for good.

 

“Oh, my,” Nadia made a mock gasp. “She looks really pissed. What’s she so mad about? She just sits there and lets me take her badge… does nothing… and she has the nerve to give me dirty looks? You’re a bad sport, Batgirl. You need to learn how to share.”

 

Oh, you bitch! You lousy bitch! Are you going to get yours!

 

The chair was lowered as Rex offered a tentacle for her to brace as she stepped off, much in the same way a gentleman would offer his hand to a lady stepping out of a car or down from a high place.

 

“Thank you, Rex. You are such a gentleman.”

 

“You are most welcome, Miss Nadia,” answered Rex.

 

“Please return to your duties, Nadia,” said Hugh. “I can take of Batgirl from here.”

 

Nadia let her hair out of the ponytail and picked up her hat before blowing a kiss to the camera before exiting the room.

 

“And now, Batgirl, our time with Rex is almost over. He really enjoyed the pleasure of your company. All that’s left for him to do is render you helpless by binding your ankles together… thought I forgot about that, didn’t you? I did that on purpose to see if you had the nerve to kick out at Nadia and save a smaller sliver of your pride. Since you have none, you remained passive while she stripped off your logo. I’m afraid that we really need to get those ankles nice and secured so that way you can’t break away and run from my guards as they escort you to my chamber where I while slowly peel off your uniform and unmask you. Unlike most villains you’ve encountered, I don’t take chances. I’ve seen you run.”

 

When Batgirl heard this she froze with terror as a cold chill shot down her spine.

 

This was the beginning of the end!

 

“Bind her ankles, Rex, so we can render her totally helpless,” Batgirl could hear the drool coming out of Hugh’s move. “Do it nice of slow, Rex. Take your time. I want Batgirl to savor what little time of limited freedom she has… and then agonize over it.

 

“Mmmmm,” Batgirl breathed heavy and moaned… part in fear and part in exhilaration… as Rex’s tentacle slowly approached her feet. Soon he would wrap the coil around her ankles in the same manner as her bound hands. Perhaps he would tie her by the knees and thighs as well.

 

“I told you that I didn’t want to be disturbed,” Batgirl had determined that Hugh was talking to someone else, apparently an unwelcome intruder. “What? I see. I’ll take the call. Get me the voice replicator, will you?” Then Hugh spoke directly into the microphone. “Halt, Rex. Don’t do anything, yet. I have to take this call and I don’t want to miss a second of this. Let Batgirl ponder her fate for a little while longer. Looks like you have a stay of execution, my dear. Superman is on the phone to check up on you. I’ll let you listen while I handle this naïve boy scout. You’re going to love this.”

 

 

Batgirl wasn’t sure if this was fate or just a coincidence. Was this the break she needed to make her escape? Batgirl still had nothing in mind. She knew that once her feet were tied, she was totally screwed and totally at Hugh’s mercy for good.

 

 

“Superman, old boy,” said Hugh as he picked up the receiver. “How the hell are you, sport?”

 

“As good as can be expected, Hugh,” Superman’s voice answered.

 

“And how is that lovely and charming wife, Lois, doing?”

 

“She’s good, too. She just got the anchor position for the national news. The official announcement is tomorrow. She’s visiting her folks this weekend and… blah… blah… blah.”

 

 

As Batgirl heard Superman blather, she looked nervously around. A small ray of hope emerged when she noticed that the door that Nadia entered and exited through was still open. The stupid bitch left it open! This was Batgirl’s window of escape. The only problem now was how to get down and reach it.

 

 

“You and Lois should stay at my chateau on the Rivera for the weekend again. I don’t know about you, Superman, but I had a blast. At least you don’t have to waste money on airfare… if you know what I mean.”

 

“That would be nice. I’ll ask Lois about it when she gets back. The last time she was there she really loved… blah… blah… blah.”

           

 

Only her utility belt separated Batgirl for her escape route. Even now, she was still trapped in the air and at mercy to Rex who was still only holding her by the belt buckle. Why did Rex grab her by the belt to lift her? Why didn’t he wrap a tentacle around her waste instead? Those tentacles were very strong. When Rex effortless bound her hands behind her back, it really hurt. Rex grabbed hard and Hugh had to tell him on two occasions not too break any bones.

 

Perhaps, Rex didn’t know his own strength. Perhaps, he wasn’t sophisticated enough to adjust pressure and ease off on his touch on his own. That’s why Hugh had Rex lift her up using her belt. He was afraid that Rex might accidentally crush her. Of course, that had to be it! Hugh wanted to capture and bind her, not kill her… at least, not yet. Hanging her by her belt was another way in which Hugh could humiliate and mock her.

 

Another question: How the hell did Hugh know that her belt could support her weight?

 

 

“Actually, Hugh, I’ll just called to make sure that Batgirl arrived safely. I hope you’re showing her a good time. Is she behaving herself? That little red-haired firecracker can be a handful at times.”

 

“Batgirl has been a most charming guest. She is as intelligent as she is beautiful. I might just keep her here forever.”

 

 

In order to get to the door, she would have to get her belt off. But how? Even if she could, she still had mixed feelings about it. Batgirl hated when villains stripped her of her belt and now she was going to give it up on purpose. Even though her belt was empty and useless, she still loathed to sacrifice it. On top of her Batgirl-cycle, cowl, gloves, boots, cape, gadgets, and her much-prized emblem, Hugh would now deprive her of another item of the uniform that she once proudly wore. He would have another prize to throw in the incinerator.

 

Then again, her belt was nothing more than dead weight. Even without equipment, it weighed over a pound. If she were to shed her belt, she would also shed an extra pound. Even a single pound to weigh you down could make a difference when running. Without the weight, she could run that much faster, which could mean the difference between escape or a continued captivity of humiliation.

 

 

“Is she available, Hugh? I’d like to speak to her for a minute.”

 

“I’m afraid she’s indisposed, Superman. She’s in my dungeon bound and gagged.”

 

“Very funny, Hugh. I like your sense of humor… although, at times, I can’t tell when you’re joking and when you’re serious.”

 

 

How could she get her belt off with her arms bound behind her back? There was no way to reach the buckle. Even if she could, Rex’s hand was clamped over it. Even if she could somehow shift her weight to cause the buckle to open, Rex’s hand was still clamped over it to prevent it from opening. There was no possible way to access that damn buckle.

 

In an indirect way, Batgirl had to blame herself and her preventive care for being caught in her own belt. Only a month ago, she reinforced the belt and buckle to take more weight and strain and prevent it from being cut. She did that because, not long ago, she was thrown of a building and saved herself with her grappling hook. Help was on the way but her arms were starting to ache, so she took off her belt and made a makeshift safety chair to sit on until she was rescued. It occurred to her that her weight might have weakened the belt and if she ever had to pull that trick again, she didn’t want her belt to break. She also did that because she was tired of villains ripping or cutting her belt off in combat.

 

Those two problems never gave her issues again. No one was able to rip her belt off in a pinch, and now that she needed to, she couldn’t.

 

Batgirl cursed herself. She was so close, yet so far!

 

 

“Actually, we’ve been splashing around the pool and sitting in the hot tub with a few margaritas.”

 

 “I bet she really looks hot in a bikini, Hugh.”

 

“Who said anything about her wearing a bathing suit, Supes? Batgirl suggested skinny-dipping. Awesome body. No tan lines at all.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Much to my delight… Oh, wait a second. Here she is now. Oh, Batgirl, Superman wants to say hello.”

 

If Batgirl had a loose jaw, it would have fallen to the floor. She actually heard her own voice.

 

“Hiya, Doll,” Batgirl’s voice giggled. “You’ll have to excuse me if I’m talking funny. I think I had a little too much to drink.”

 

“It looks like he’s treating you well. I hope you don’t plan on riding that motorcycle home in your condition. I can arrange for someone to pick you up.”

 

“I am having such a ball, Supie. I won’t need a ride home. I’m sleeping over. Hughie-pie has invited me to stay for the weekend. I might even stay the whole week.”

 

 

“How was he able to replicate my voice?” thought Batgirl. “It doesn’t matter. I got to concentrate on getting out of here.”

 

 

“Stay as long as you like. Crime’s been pretty light lately. I’m sure that we can manage without you for a while.”

 

“Thanks, Supie. You’re the best.”

 

“By the way, Batgirl. Are you really swimming in the buff for Hugh?”

 

“Sure. The only thing I have on right now is a towel. Is it so unusual for a girl to take a swim without being encumbered with a swimsuit or bikini?”

 

“Only a towel? What about your cowl?”

 

“I took it off.”

 

“He’s seen your face? He knows your identity?”

 

 “Hugh is a man of honor. I felt that the moment I first walked in the door. I trust him implicitly.”

 

“Well, it’s your call, Batgirl. I wouldn’t worry about Hugh spilling your secrets. He’s a stand-up guy.”

 

“You can sure say that again.”

 

“Say,” Superman said in a teasing voice. “How come you never let me see what you look like under that little cowl of yours?”

 

“Because you’re not my type, Superman.”

 

“What type is that? Wealthy?”

 

“No, silly. Single. Just between you and me… I think I’d really like to get to know him… more intimately.”

 

“You little minx. Put Hugh back on for me, please.”

 

“Take care. Here you go, Hugh-baby. Meet me back at the pool and… Ohooooo… Huuuugh… you are such a devil. Give me my towel back. Oh… just keep it then! Nothing you haven’t seen already….”

 

“Hey, Superman. She can’t hear us now. What do you think? Do I have a chance to score?”

 

“I think someone’s finally melted the heart of the ice queen. I’ve always wondered why she never talks about men. I’m glad that girl is getting out more. You see…blah… blah… blah.”

 

 

“Ice queen? What an asshole! There he is talking about me behind my back while I’m stuck with… behind my back? What a minute! Why didn’t I think of that before? How could I be so stupid?”

 

Batgirl had a revelation! Just like she forgot about the throwing blades in her boots and gloves because she hadn’t used them in a long time, there was also a special feature in her utility belt that she forgot about due to lack of use.

 

There was a special emergency release catch in the back of her belt. Batman had installed it for her in the event that her belt ever got caught in something and she couldn’t access the front buckle. For example, if part of her belt got caught in a conveyor and if it started to drag her in and she couldn’t get to the front buckle, she could release it from the back and avoid fatal injury.

 

 

“Well, thanks for calling, Superman. Not to worry… Batgirl is in good hands. Goodbye.”

 

“Oh, wait, Hugh… just one more brief thing… blah… blah… blah.”

 

 

Batgirl needed to make her move now.

 

 

She tried to get her body as straight as she could. Since she was stripped of her boots, she needed to roll and absorb the energy so that she wouldn’t fracture her feet when she landed. She got her finger around the latch and pressed the secret button.

 

Even Rex was surprised when Batgirls belt suddenly opened from the back, releasing her from his clutches and falling to the floor. As planned, she rolled with the landing to break her fall. Her feet stung a little bit but it was a small amount of pain that she could block out.

 

Like a bolt of lightning, she ran to the door as fast as she could. She hoped that she was fast enough. She would never get another chance again.

 

“Keep the belt, creep,” thought Batgirl. “It’s the last souvenir you ever you’ll snatch off of me.” All she had left of her that Hugh could take away now was her costume and her mask. She swore that Hugh would have neither.

 

 

“Well, Batgirl. Sorry for the interruption. Now where were…. Arrrrgggh!” Hugh screamed in frustration as he saw Rex holding Batgirl’s split open utility belt… with no Batgirl inside! “How did she…? That’s impossible! That scheming bitch! I won’t let her get away with this. She won’t make a fool out of me.”

 

By the time, Hugh was able to pick Batgirl up on the camera, she was almost three quarters of the way to the door.

 

“Stop her, Rex! Use your bola!”

 

Another appendage popped out from Rex, seemingly out of nowhere. It wasn’t a tentacle but a hollow tube. It aimed for Batgirl’s legs and fired his spinning bola.

 

Batgirl heard the order and was ready to react. She didn’t dare turn around to look and lose time but she could judge when it was coming just by the sound it was making as it flew across the air. Batgirl prayed that her timing was correct.

 

“Now!” she thought as she suddenly jumped up and the bola wheezed safely beneath her feet.

 

“Damn,” cursed Hugh. “Somebody close the door! Quick!” Hugh hit a button on the control panel but the door wouldn’t close. “What’s the matter with this thing,” he screamed on he rapidly hit the button in desperation. “What’s the matter this stupid thing? Oh… shit! I’m pressing the wrong damn button!”

 

Batgirl knew that Hugh had hit the correct button when she started to see the door closing. She was only three steps away. This was going to be close!

 

Like an Olympic broad jumper, Batgirl took a flying leap and got on the other side just before the door slammed shut behind her.

 

“Damn,” she could still hear Hugh curse from the other side of the door. “Someone stop her. Don’t let her get away!”

 

Batgirl chose the direction of the dark corridor and ran like a bat out of hell. After about thirty feet, the corridor lead to a well lit room… a control room… but not the same control room that Hugh was tormenting her from.

 

“Hey,” Nadia suddenly appeared and started to reach for her gun. “Hold it! Where….”

 

This time, it was Batgirl that got the drop on Nadia. Batgirl didn’t stop. She ran even faster and had momentum as her edge. Before Nadia could draw her weapon, Batgirl bent down slightly and gave her a full force running shoulder block right into her chest… just like a forward linebacker.

 

The impact was so hard and sudden, that Nadia felt like she was hit by a car. Her stupid hat flew off her head like a cock popping off a champagne bottle. The force knocked her flat on her back and her weapon went sailing out of her hand and under a table and out of reach.

 

Even though Batgirl had rung her bell and knocked the wind out of her, Nadia still managed to wheeze out, “Karl!”

 

Obviously, she was calling to a fellow guard for help. Batgirl looked around the room for a way out. She saw a flight out stairs leading up. She decided to try her luck with that.

 

Before she could move, a guard jumped in front of her. “Well, what do we have here? A cute little Batgirl wrapped in a nice, neat and tight little package. I’m gonna have some fun with… Ugghhh!”

 

While the guard was busy fantasizing about the nasty things he could do with the bondaged-up toy that fate had delivered right on his doorstep, Batgirl did a forward leaping jump kick and caught the creep on the chin. He fell to the floor… out cold. Batgirl may not have had use of her arms, but her legs and feet where still formidable weapons.

 

When Batgirl attempted to move toward the stairs, someone grabbed hold of both ankles… but weakly. Batgirl looked down to see that Nadia had crawled on the floor to grab her.

 

Since the hold was weak, Batgirl was able to get out of her grasp by simply jumping up. Then she headed up the stairs.

 

 

What Batgirl didn’t realize that the purpose of Nadia’s ankle grabbing was not for the purpose of trying to stop her from running away. Batgirl never noticed that Nadia had managed to place the two very light-weight metal ankle bracelets, about four inches wide, on each one of her ankles. They were so light and smooth-fitting, that Batgirl would never even know they were there unless she actually looked down. Because she was too busy trying to escape, she would probably not notice.

 

It took a few minutes for Nadia to clear her head before she was able to get to her feet. She never bothered to retrieve her hat and instead stumbled to her control panel.

 

“Damn, that bitch can hit hard,” Nadia rubbed her aching head. “Oh, shit!” Her jaw almost dropped to the ground when she looked at the monitor that displayed Rex’s lair and saw that the door was open.

 

She frantically hit the communications switch to contact Hugh. Since it might be heard on the radio of the other guards, Nadia had to keep her demeanor professional. “Mr. Howards. I’m sorry, sir. Batgirl got past me.”

 

“I saw what happened, my dear.” To Nadia’s surprise Hugh wasn’t angry. “Are you alright?”

 

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. I don’t know how this happened. I could have sworn that I closed the door when I left.”

 

“You did,” Hugh reassured her. “I reviewed the surveillance tape. There was some kind of short in the wiring and it opened on its own when you were out of eyesight. It’s not your fault.”

 

“I managed to get the bracelets on her ankles before she ran off again. I didn’t want to activate them while she was running up the stairs because she could fall and break her neck. I’ll sure that she’s on level ground now.”

 

“Don’t!” Hugh stopped Nadia from pressing a button on her control panel. “This is an interesting development. This will make our game even more interesting. Let’s see how she fares.”

 

“How far should we let her get before I hit the button?”

 

“As far as she is capable of getting, my dear.” Hugh now seemed unconcerned. “Her belt shouldn’t have snapped open like that. It should have easily have held her weight. I know that for a fact. There was no way that she could reach her buckle with her hands tied behind her back. Rex would have sensed that and stabbed her in the neck long before she could reach it. I thought I had her figured out and then she takes me by surprise. There must be something in her belt that I must have missed… but what? Go fetch it, please, when your head clears. I want to examine it.”

 

“I see your point, sir. You want to test the guards… for real this time.”

 

“That’s right. I want to see if they’re worth the money I’m paying them. Nadia, under no circumstances are you to press the button to activate those bracelets. That’s a direct order, my dear.”

 

“I would never disobey you, sir. You know that; however, if I fail to act and the guards fail as well, Batgirl could escape. Even bound and gagged, she’s still dangerous, clever, and resourceful.”

 

“It’s that resourcefulness that has outsmarted me, Nadia. For that, she deserves something. She’s earned a sporting chance. Whether she escapes or gets caught is up to her. Let’s see how she does.”

 

“This could backfire on us, sir.”

 

“Don’t worry, Nadia. I will not hold you responsible if she gets away. The decision is mine and mine alone. Now let’s sit back and watch the show.”

 

Feeling better, Nadia went to get Batgirl’s abandoned utility belt.

 

 

Batgirl reached the top of the stairs and saw a maze of hallways and corridors. She navigated through them as quickly and as quietly as she could. She ducked around the corner before two guards could spot her.

 

“Where the hell did she go?” said one guard. “If she gets away, the Boss will have our hides.”

 

“How far could she get with her hands tied behind her back and gagged?” asked the other.

 

“It’s Batgirl. Nothing she does ever surprises me.”

 

Batgirl took a quick left and found herself at a door. She turned around so that she could turn the knob with her tied hands.

 

It opened!

 

 

She then found herself outside at the back of the estate. About five hundred yards in the distance she saw the thick forest… the dark forest… a place that she could easily blend into the shadows, hide, and disappear. If she got to those trees, the guards would never find her… bound and gagged or not.

 

Batgirl figured that she could use the cover of the trees to make it to the next town, contact the authorities who could contact the JLA. It would be a long walk. It would be too dangerous to get to a main road and try to get a car or truck to give her a ride to town. For one, the guards could be patrolling the road and spot her. For another, she was bound and gagged and at the total mercy of anyone that picked her up. Knowing her luck, the car that stopped for her would belong to a serial killer, rapist, or pervert. Being bound and gagged would be an open invitation to even a normal person with a sex drive.

 

Then Batgirl had second thoughts about escaping. Hugh was probably infuriated by now and whatever dastardly things he planned for her would now be ten fold if she were recaptured; however, perhaps if she voluntarily turned herself in, Hugh might have a little mercy… might!

 

Then there was the issue of shame and humiliation. There was no way that she could get free of her coils and gag without the help of the technology of the JLA. There was no way to hide her situation. Even before she could get to the JLA, she would have to get to the authorities and then the public would see her in her humiliating situation. How could she explain to the Justice League that she it was her own stupidity that got her captured as well as bound and gagged with devices that she couldn’t even get free of on her own? She would be humiliated by the entire membership when they saw how helpless she really was. How could she explain that a billionaire goof effortlessly managed to strip her of gloves, boots, weapons, cowl, cape, and utility belt with hardly any resistance on her part? How could she face them with her chest bare of her emblem… and cleanly removed!

 

Batgirl figured that either way, she was finished as a crime-fighter.

 

If she escaped, Batgirl would suffer public humiliation but she would still get to live life as a private citizen. That would also mean a lifetime of boring drudgery as a librarian. Now she had no legitimate excuse to ignore her father’s nagging of getting married and having kids.

 

If she didn’t escape, Hugh would either kill her or she would remain his captive for the rest of her life to be at his total mercy with even more on-going humiliation. If she remain, Batgirl’s humiliation would be her own and not shared by the public. If she died and her body was found, she would be an honored hero even with the loss of her sacred emblem. That led to the vicious circle that in order to regain her honor, she had to die, and Batgirl didn’t want to die.

 

Only five hundred yards separated her from freedom and ridicule or silent torment or death.

 

Should she make a break for it?

 

She didn’t know what to do.

 

 

PART 9

 

 

Batgirl’s mind was made up for her when two guards from her left and one from her right approached.

 

“We got her, Captain,” one of the guards said into his radio. “Let’s just get this over with. Let’s rip off her mask and shoot the bitch in the head.”

 

That was a harsh reminder of why Batgirl chose to escape… to prevent Hugh from unmasking her! She had no choice but to try to escape. They were going to kill her now!

 

The threat of being unmask and put to death gave Batgirl the energy rush that she needed to attack. She had nothing to lose now.

 

Before anyone could react, Batgirl lowered her head and ran a full speed charge at the guard to her right. Seconds later, she heard the loud “Ommmppphhh” of the guard as she buried her head into his stomach like a battering ram. He fell to the ground gasping for his lost wind.

 

When Batgirl tried to take off, a guard wrapped his arms around her from behind.

 

“Where ya’ going, hot stuff?” the other guard approached her front. “The party is only getting started. What’s the big deal? We just want a peek.”

 

When the guard got close enough, Batgirl kicked out her legs and the guard caught a foot square in the mouth. Blood gushed out as he keeled over to the ground. This got the other guard distracted and he loosened his grip on Batgirl who bent down and shoot her head up into the guards jaw. Batgirl saw same teeth flying as the guard let her go and she took off.

 

Batgirl ran toward the trees as fast as her slender legs could take her.

 

“What’s wrong with you idiots?” Captain Kirk’s voice shouted on the radio. “I gave no orders to shoot Batgirl or unmask her. All patrol guards to sector three… on the double! Batgirl’s heading for the trees. If she gets there, she’ll blend right in and we’ll lose her for sure!”

 

 

Batgirl ran as she never ran before! She was doing quite well considering that she was barefoot and was unable to pump her arms in such a motion as to give her body that extra speed. The loss of the weight of the utility belt around her waist seemed to make up for the difference. She also tried to keep her head down to cut on the wind resistance. Batgirl was glad that she constantly trained her body for long distance sprints.

 

“Get her!” she could here the guards yell. Judging by their footsteps, Batgirl figured that she might have enough of a head start to pull it off.

 

She looked up and saw that she had four hundred yards to go.

 

“I want Batgirl alive!” she could hear Hugh’s voice on the loudspeakers. “Don’t let her get to the forest! Don’t fire on her until she’s within ten yards of the trees. I will personally castrate anyone that violates or tries to unmask her. I want her back. Don’t let her escape. Come on! Can’t you outrun a girl?”

 

The sound of that was both good news and bad to her. It was good that Hugh didn’t want her killed. It was bad because a part of Batgirl was hoping that a bullet in her back would be a quick end to her suffering and humiliation. Hugh wanted her alive for now… perhaps to kill her in a more gruesome way.

 

Batgirl forced her legs to move faster. She was running like the wind and was sacrificing safety for speed. If she tripped, her bound arms would prevent her from getting up quickly or even seriously injuring herself. Batgirl had to take that chance. It was working! She could actually hear the guards yelling from behind her getting softer and softer.

 

Only three hundred yards to go! She might just make it if she doesn’t run out of stream.

 

*    *    *    *

 

“My God!” Hugh said as he watched Batgirl on the screen. “She’s magnificent. Look at her run. She has all the speed and grace of a gazelle. Look at those beautiful legs. I must have her now more than ever.”

 

“That might not happen, sir,” Nadia answered on her end. “She’s almost three quarters of the way there. I think she’s either going to make it or end up getting shot. You could lose her for good, sir. Cancel your order about activating the bracelets before it’s too late and she’s out of range. We can still get her.”

 

“Stay your hand, Nadia. I want to see if my guard’s fear of failing me is greater than her desire to escape.”

 

*    *   *   *

 

“I must just make it,” Batgirl thought to herself!

 

Only one hundred yards left!

 

Batgirl swore to whatever Higher Power that was listening, that if He/She continued to let her maintain her speed and escape from her predicament cleanly, she would give up being Batgirl and retire for good. She would keep her mouth shut and work in the library until she was an old maid. She would never complain that an ex-felon like Catwoman was reaping the rewards of capitalism while she couldn’t even afford a car. She didn’t care about public humiliation. It no longer mattered that she lost her gloves, boots, utility belt, cape, cowl and emblem. It was the cost of her escape!

 

“Please God! Please let me get away!” Batgirl pleaded in her mind. “Let me get home and I’ll never ask anything of you again. Batgirl will be put to rest. I swear.”

 

*    *    *    *

 

“Fifty yards, sir,” said Nadia. “Kiss Batgirl, goodbye”

 

“Have a little faith,” said Hugh.

 

*    *    *   *

 

 

Fifteen yards away! Batgirl smiled. She was going to make it! That still didn’t stop her from slowing down. Then remembering that the guards were ordered to fire, Batgirl began to run in a zigzag pattern. This tactic would make her take longer to get to the trees, but the shots fired were no where close to her. Hitting a moving target was more difficult than the guards expected.

 

Nine more yards and Batgirl was home free! Eight! Seven! Six! Five! Four! Three!

 

Then it happened.

 

Just when freedom was with her reach, Batgirl felt something pull her legs together. She fell to the grass and started to roll.

 

 

*    *    *    *

 

 

“Hold your fire men,” commanded Hugh. “She’s down. She won’t be able to run. Seize her.”

 

“What happened, sir?” Nadia said with surprise. “It looked like the bracelets were activated. I didn’t do it, sir. I swear!”

 

“I know you didn’t. I did.”

 

“You said that you were going to let fate decide her escape or recapture.”

 

“I lied, Nadia,” Hugh laughed. “I’m a cad after all. I’m not going to let such a prize escape me. I just wanted to make her to suffer more by having her freedom seized just when it was within her grasp. That was so much fun. Would you take a cart out there and fetch her, please? ”

 

“With pleasure,” Nadia smiled with delight. It gave her a chance to be near Captain Kirk.

 

 

*    *    *    *

 

 

Batgirl couldn’t understand it. Nothing had wrapped around her legs. She was certain that she didn’t trip on anything. Then she saw the bracelets around her ankles. She tried to break them apart and couldn’t. Some sort of strong electro-magnetic field was holding them together. She couldn’t budge them.

 

How did they get there? Nadia! That bitch!

 

“NOOOOMMMMPPH!” Batgirl screamed over her frustration within her gag. She was too close to be denied. She wasn’t going to give up now.

 

Batgirl’s pulse raced as the first of the guards reached her. The others were still a bit back.

 

The guard mocked Batgirl as he walked toward her. “Did the poor dippy Batgirl fall down? Oh, poor babiiiieeeee….”

 

Despite that her ankles were now bound together, Batgirl could still kick them out. She hit the guard on the side of the knee cap. If she were wearing her boots, she would have broken his leg just like she did to Lt. Hanohano. It was enough to greatly pain the guard who fell to the grass clutching his knee.

 

Despite her new predicament, Batgirl was determined. Somehow she miraculously kept her balance (thanks to gymnastics training) and managed to get to her feet. Since she no longer had use of her legs, she got so desperate that she did the only thing she could do. She hopped.

 

Batgirl wouldn’t give up. She was so damn close!

 

“Hold it, Batgirl!” a deep authoritative voice said.

 

Batgirl ignored it. She kept hopping. She was so close.

 

“I said hold it or I’ll shot!”

 

Batgirl risked it and kept hopping.

 

Two well placed warning shot right in front of Batgirl’s feet made her stop in her tracks. This guy was a crack shot. Batgirl’s fear of death made her stop and not go for the next few hops to freedom.

 

She had no choice but to stop or else the next shot would be in her back. Apparently, she didn’t want that easy way out. She wanted to live.

 

“That’s it, Batgirl. Stay right there. Take one more hop and you’re dead.”

 

Batgirl didn’t move.

 

“It’s over, Batgirl. You can’t get away now. You gave us a good run, but bad luck was on your side. Now turn around nice and slow.”

 

Batgirl obeyed her instructions by pivoting on her foot and facing her captor. He had his gun centered right on her ready to shoot. He had her dead to rights.

 

“You were very smart to stop, Batgirl. If you kept moving, I would have shot you dead.” He holstered his weapon and slowly approached Batgirl. “I’m Captain Kirk. Despite your situation, I still have the utmost respect for you. I’ve followed your exploits for a long time.”

 

It was then that Batgirl got a good look at the man that caught her. He was a tall man with broad shoulders, probably a former college football player. She could see that under his hat, he wore his hair in a military style buzz cut. Obviously, he was also a former service man. His sculpted chin was the best feature of this incredibly handsome man. Even Batgirl caught herself starting at him. He wasn’t as gorgeous as Hugh but he was still extremely handsome.

 

“I’d shake your hand, Batgirl, but…”

 

Batgirl rolled her eyes.

 

“I’m sorry that you are being put through this… but we did try to persuade you to leave. I was really happy when I thought you were leaving because I knew that the Boss would have you bondaged up in no time.”

 

The rest of the men where gathering around.

 

“Hey, nice hopping there, Bat-frog.”

 

“Look at her. I never thought I’d see Batgirl wrapped up like a Christmas present. Now that she’s all helpless, we should take advantage of the situation. How about we draw straws to see who gets her first.”

 

“Don’t listen to them, Batgirl,” said Kirk before turning his attention to his men. “Don’t get any bright ideas, lunkheads. The Boss doesn’t want her touched. So hands off.”

 

“He never lets us have any have fun.”

 

“Let the Boss have her. The bitch deserves it.”

 

“Hey, Bat-broad. You’re chest looks a little bare. What happened to your little bat?”

 

“Probably got sick of hearing her bitching and moaning and flew off.”

 

A roar of laughter followed.”

 

“Holy shit! The Boss really did get her emblem. Just like her said he would.”

 

A roar of cheers followed.

 

Kirk saw that Batgirl was holding her chin up high despite the ridicule, but even he knew that there was only so much that she could take and he did want his favorite hero to break down in front of his men.

 

“All right. You had your fun. Break it up. Back to your posts. I’ll take it from here. Fall out!”

 

The men left reluctantly. As much as they wanted to stay and jeer Batgirl, they thought better than to cross Captain Kirk.

 

Batgirl smiled to the Captain under her gag. It was her way of thanking him for the first decent treatment she received since falling prey to Hugh Howards IV.

 

It wasn’t until his men mentioned it, that her saw that her emblem had be taken from her… the ultimate embarrassment to any super-hero.

 

“Oh, shit. I’m really sorry about that. Don’t be too ashamed. The cards were stacked against you the moment you stepped on this estate.”

 

 

Just then, a cart driven by Nadia pulled up, and two other guards jumped out ahead and ran toward Batgirl. Kirk was confused as she drove the cart directly behind Batgirl but backed in the rear part of the vehicle. What the hell was this broad doing?

 

“Hold her still gentlemen,” Nadia put the vehicle in park as two goons grabbed hold of each of Batgirl’s arms and prevented her from squirming her body.

 

“No need to manhandle her like that, men,” Kirk gave them a stern look. “She’s hardly dangerous being totally disarmed, hands securely bound behind her back, gagged, key items of uniformed removed and now her ankles are secured. She can hardly move as it is, and she’s in no position to attack anyone. She’s a super-heroine, not a terrorist. I can handle her.”

 

“Of course you can, sir,” Nadia stepped behind Batgirl. “The Boss knows that you are more than capable of performing your duties. I just need to have Batgirl still so I can put on an additional item of bondage… her punishment for her attempted escape.”

 

Everything went dark as Nadia put the special blindfold over Batgirl’s eyes. A chill went down Batgirl’s spine as she heard the clicking of a fastener to hold it in place and felt it tighten securely around her head.

 

“Mmmmphhh! Grrrph!” Batgirl growled in protest.

 

“This blindfold works in the same manner as the gag and the coils binding your wrists. Unless you want your head to crack like a walnut, I don’t suggest you try to get it off.”

 

“Is that really necessary, Ms. Hunter?”

 

Nadia smiled. Captain Kirk was the only one on the estate that called her by her surname. Even the servants or any other guards underneath her always referred to her by her first name only or by Ms. Nadia.

 

“Boss’s orders, Captain. Let her go, guys.”

 

The guards laughed as Batgirl swayed a little bit in order to get use to balancing without the use of her eyes. Batgirl couldn’t see a thing… not even the light from the sun.

 

“You needn’t worry, Captain,” Nadia walked around Batgirl so she could stand in front of her. “Don’t you know that bats can see very well in the dark? Look. I’ll show you.”

 

Nadia gave Batgirl a good shove. Since Batgirl was blindfolded, she never saw it coming and she couldn’t brace herself. Since her ankles were locked together, she couldn’t spread her legs apart to adjust. Since her arms where bound, she couldn’t use them to regain her balance. All she could was to haplessly fall backwards, trip over the end of the car, and land in a laying down position in the cargo holding area of the cart.

 

“Ooops,” Nadia feigned concern as she saw Batgirl’s totally bound and gagged body in a fetal-like position. “I guess they can’t see in the dark after all. Well, I can’t be right all of the time.”

 

The guards had another giggle over Nadia joke at Batgirl’s expense. Now the two guards were fascinated by Batgirl’s bound body and her ineptness for getting herself in such a precarious situation.

 

“I’ll tell ya,” said a guard. “That Batgirl really knows how to wear them ropes. She looks totally hot.”

 

“Yeah,” said the other. “Looks like our little bat got herself caught in a spider web that she finally can’t get out.”

 

“She thought she would just stroll in here and make fools out of us, but we showed her. Who’s the fool now, Bat-chick?”

 

“Grrrmmmpph!” was all Batgirl could do to reply to her scorn.

 

“Don’t cope on attitude, Batgirl. We’re not the ones all tied up.”

 

“The Boss really did a number on her. He takes her cowl… then her gloves… then her boots… then her cape… then her belt… and then her emblem.”

 

“The only thing left to take… is her mask.”

 

Batgirl froze in terror when that was mentioned. That possibility was starting to become very real with each passing minute.

 

“Do you think he’ll do it in private or will it be a public unveiling?”

 

“I wonder if he’s going to whack her before or after he rips her mask off?”

 

“Stop trying to scare her, you clowns,” Kirk pushed them away. “It’s bad enough that she’s bound helpless without you guys rubbing it in her face. Nobody’s getting killed here. The Boss would have told me. She’s been re-captured and secured. Isn’t that enough for you imbeciles?”

 

Death… that was another very real possibility. Did this nice Captain mean what he said about Hugh not informing anyone about killing her… or was it just something he said to pacify her which would make her an easier prisoner to handle?

 

“Come on, Captain. It was just a bit a harmless teasing. Lighten up.”

 

Kirk gave the two men a mean stare. “Get out of here. Go to the shooting range and practice for a while. After what I’ve seen today, you’ll need plenty of it.”

 

“But, sir, Nadia wanted us to help her take Batgirl to the Boss’s chamber.”

 

“I’ll do it. Ms. Hunter and I can handle this. Dismissed!”

 

The guards took off not wanting to get on the Captain’s bad side.

 

“You show so much authority and gain so much respect from your men, Captain,” Nadia walked closer to the Captain. She had been flirting with him for over two years but he wasn’t biting. “I think that’s a very admirable quality.”

 

“Thank you, Ms. Hunter,” Kirk took the driver’s seat and pretended that he didn’t notice that Nadia wanted to drive. She took the passenger seat. Even though she was Hugh’s favorite, technically, Captain Kirk was her superior.

 

“Please, call me Nadia,” she folded her legs in the passenger seat so Kirk could at a good view. She was delighted that he nonchalantly took a peek.

 

“I wish that I could inspire leadership amongst these useless buffons like you can.”

 

“It’s not that difficult, Ms. Hunt… I mean… Nadia.” Kirk started up the cart and started driving. “It’s a matter of focus and organization. The trick is to get people to listen to you because they want to and not because you intimidate them.”

 

“That’s very interesting, sir. Perhaps we could discuss it… over a cup of coffee?”

 

“That would be fine. I’m due for a break in an hour. I’ll be in the employee’s lounge.”

 

“I’m sorry, Captain,” she started to rub his thigh. “I was thinking of someplace more… private.”

 

“You’re a very attractive woman, Nadia… but I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“There’s this rule about getting ‘involved’ with co-workers.”

 

“There is not, sir,” Nadia was quick to correct him. “You’re just saying that because you don’t want to get on Hughie’s bad side. You needn’t worry about that. Hugh is not the jealous type. He shares. He always tells me that whoever anyone sees on their own time is their own business. If you don’t believe me, I’ll have the Boss tell it to you myself.” She put her hand on Kirk’s thigh.

 

“I wasn’t talking about the Boss’s rules. I was talking about my rules.”

 

Kirk gave her a look and Nadia immediately removed her hand.

 

 

“That certainly shut that bitch up,” Batgirl thought to herself as she tried to steady herself in the back of the cart so she wouldn’t feel all the bumps. It was the only thing she found to smile about ever since she hit the unseeable glass door and took a plunge down the slide. “Turned you down flat! Ah-ha! I guess your not God’s gift to men after all.”

 

 

“Why are we going this way?” Nadia changed the subject.

 

“I want to enter through one of the back ways of the house… away from most of the guards. I want to take Batgirl in quietly. I’m sick of hearing the guard’s remarks. I want them alert… not staring and drooling over Batgirl’s bondage.”

 

“Orrrrrr,” Nadia gave Kirk a wicked smile. “Maybe you would rather have Batgirl to yourself.”

 

“Nothing of the sort,” Kirk had made it a point to get his response out quickly. “I admire Batgirl and all she’s done for Gotham City. Without her, we’d all be working for crackpots like the Penguin and the Joker.” Kirk then rubbed his chin. “I just don’t get it. She’s been able to take down power hitters like Mr. Freeze, Bane, and Two-face, and walk away unscathed. Now… this isn’t a slam against the Boss… I mean… he is a highly intelligent guy and all… but he’s still new to taking on Super-heroes. How is that he can accomplish something that career criminals couldn’t… namely stripping her down and tying her up to total helplessness? Is that even the real Batgirl back there?”

 

“Of course it is. You’re remembering the Batgirl of old. The one we have at our mercy is over the hill.”

 

“Come on,” Kirk argued. “No way. Do the math. Batgirl can’t be any older than thirty-two… and that’s a stretch. I’m pushing thirty-five and I’m still keeping up with the young guys. She’s not old at all.”

 

“Not old for a civilian, but old for athletes and crime-fighters. I’m not talking about physical age anyway, Captain, I’m talking about career age. She’s been crime fighting for over ten years. She’s past her prime and taken on one adventure too many.”

 

“Okay, she have lost a little of her edge, but Batgirl’s still one of the all-time best. Even a little rusty, she should have been able to clubber us.”

 

Nadia knew that the Captain was an intelligent man, but sometimes he could be so naïve. “Sometimes great is not enough. You’re a boxing fan… look at Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis. They could have retired with undefeated championship reigns and with all their losses avenged, but they had to come back. Did you ever see each of their last two professional fights? Pretty sad, wouldn’t you say? Batgirl is Ali but after he fought Trevor Berbick. With the exception of Rocky Marciano, fighters and super-heroes don’t know when to hang it up. They got to fight one more fight… make that comeback to feed their ego and get back a taste of their former glory. They think that they can hold on to the title forever. They think they can return and still have the same stuff as their younger days. It’s after some young up-and-comer runs circles around them and embarrasses them… or even a good ass kicking… only then do the come to terms with their mortality and quit for good. I’ve seen it happen. Look at Sugar Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes, Roy Jones, and Benny Leonard.”

 

“Wow! You sure know you’re boxing history. I’m definitely going to invite you over with the guys when I host my next pay-per-view.”

 

Was he listening? Did he get the point? “Face it, Captain. Today is Batgirl’s wake-up, ass-kicking call. Now Hugh is going to put her out to pasture… the hard way.”

 

“I guess you’re right,” the Captain said. “Still… it is a waste and a shame. Too bad we couldn’t convince her to join us. She would have been a valuable asset to the team.”

 

 

“Mmmmmpphhh! Mmmmphhh!” Batgirl was desperate. If only she didn’t have the gag. If she could talk, she would say, I’m in, now. I want to join the team. Really!

 

As much as she wanted to get her hands around Nadia neck, Batgirl knew that every word she said made sense. Batgirl felt her decline for a while but refused to see it. Now it took this humiliating experience to see the truth.

 

 

“Still… what could the Boss accomplish by conquering a washed-up hero?”

 

“We’re a lot alike, sir. The Boss tells us what to do, and we try to do it to the best of our abilities.”

 

 

The cart pulled up to an isolated back door that was infrequently used. Only a single guard was in the area as he came here to have a cigarette by himself while he was on his break.

 

“Great going, Captain,” he said. “I heard you re-bagged the Bat-babe all by yourself… even had to fire a couple of warning shots by her feet. They told me that she got so scared that she peed in her panties. I bet she’ll think twice before trying to run away again. Do you need a hand?”

 

“Not, really.…”

 

The guard pretended he didn’t hear that as he ran to the back of the cart. He wanted to try to cop a feel off Batgirl as he was helping the Captain to lift her out of the vehicle. Since he was already there and determined, Kirk decided to let him grab her legs and then he would grab her top half.

 

One again, Captain Kirk could not find anywhere on the estate where one of his men had to open his mouth about something. “The Boss got real pissed when this bat tried to fly the coop. I heard from Eddie who heard from Joey who heard from Frank that he heard the Boss say that he was going to skin her alive.”

 

“Skin me alive?” Batgirl began to panic. “They are going to kill me. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die like that.”

 

Seeing now that she had nothing to lose, Batgirl kicked out with her bound legs. Since the guard talked a lot, she was able to zero in on his location and catch him in the chest. As she heard him fall to the floor, she got up to a sitting position and she knew that she was on the edge of the cart. She slipped down and started to hop away.

 

She had no clue to where she was going. She knew that she couldn’t get away, but her survival instinct compelled her to try.

 

“Why did you spook her, idiot?” Kirk yelled at the guard while he was still down from the pain. “Now you got her so wound up that I may not be able to calm her down again. I wanted to bring her in quietly… not kicking and screaming.”

 

“I got her,” Nadia tossed her hat in the cart and took off after Batgirl.

 

Kicking and screaming. That’s exactly how Batgirl planned on going out now.

 

She got in three more hops before Nadia did a perfect dive tackle from behind. The second Batgirl fell to the floor she started screaming a muffled scream through her gag and started to violently thrash her legs out, hoping to catch someone by blind luck.

 

“Try not to hit her,” Kirk told Nadia. “I don’t think the Boss wants that.”


“I know. I know.” It was all Nadia could do to hold on to Batgirl’s twisting and rolling body. It was difficult to keep this bound-up petrified woman under control without having to hit her.

 

The wrestling match lasted for about a minute. Nadia was trying to stay on Batgirl who was throwing her around like a mechanical bull. Nadia tried to reason with Batgirl to get her to calm down, but it was difficult for someone to listen when they believed that they were going to their death.

 

A sudden roll threw Nadia off Batgirl. Now free from her attacker’s weight, but not able to get to her feet, the caped crime fighter did the only thing she could to continue her flight. She got on her side and started to crawl away. It was totally hopeless, but Batgirl tried it anyway.

 

Nadia got up, composed herself and drew out her firearm. She calmly walked up to Batgirl.

 

When Batgirl heard the sound of a hammer cocking back and felt a gun barrel to her head. She stopped dead in her tracks.

 

“Calm down, Batgirl,” Nadia was not mad but she did use a tone that showed that she was all business. “Don’t make me shoot you. Hugh is NOT going to skin you alive. The idiot you heard is full of shit. The Boss is into some twisted stuff… that I admit… I’ve taken part many times… but he’s not that sick, twisted, and barbaric. If you cooperate, Batgirl, there is a chance… a slim one… that you may live. You have my word that if you are to die, I’ll personally see to it that it’s quick, clean, and painless… even if I have to do it myself.”

 

Batgirl was still breathing heavy but she had calmed down considerable. Something told her that Nadia was being truthful.

 

“We can end it here and now if you like. One shot to your head and it will be over… but a part of me tells me that you don’t want to die. I think you’re willing to take a chance just so you can live that much longer. If I’m wrong, then make a sound and I’ll end your torment right now.”

 

Batgirl froze. She believed that if she didn’t move, she wouldn’t accidentally make a noise. This was her chance, again, to die cleanly and with some honor. She just couldn’t do it.

 

After a few seconds of silence, Nadia said, “Can I take your quietness as a sign that you don’t want to get shot?”

 

Batgirl nodded in the affirmative.

 

“Glad to hear it, Batgirl,” Nadia holstered her weapon. “You may find this hard to believe, but I really don’t want to kill you… but I will if I have to. Understand?”

 

Batgirl nodded again.

 

“Nicely handled, Nadia,” Kirk picked up Batgirl and placed her on her shoulder with her feet to his front and her head in his back.

 

Nadia opened the door for Kirk that lead from the outside and into the mansion. She never went back to the cart to retrieve her hat and didn’t wear it again for the remainder of the day.

 

 

Kirk made sure to take a route to Hugh’s room via areas that were thin with guards. To his relief, they encountered no one on the way.

 

Although this route took a little longer, Nadia was glad. It gave her time to fantasize about Captain Kirk. Every time she looked at Batgirl, she envied her. Nadia wished that it was her that was bound and gagged and being carried by Captain Kirk so he could violate her in the privacy of his private quarters.

 

Even Captain Kirk had to admit to himself that this whole thing was stimulating. Like many men, Kirk was not immune to the secret thoughts of the imagination of seeing a beautiful super-heroine tied up, gagged, and helpless… struggling in her ropes and moaning.

 

He liked the feel of Batgirl’s red hair as it occasionally brushed against the skin of his neck. He liked the smell of her hair and he liked how her tight costume felt against his body. He could feel her muscle tone. Even if she was washed-up, she was still in awesome shape. She was so light and easy to carry. He could walk with her bound and gagged on his shoulder for hours… and he would do just that if he had the liberty.

 

 

Kirk woke up from his daydreaming when Nadia knocked on Hugh’s chamber door.

 

“Yes,” Hugh voice resonated from the other side of the finely ornate oak door.

 

“It’s Nadia and Captain Kirk, sir. Special Delivery.”

 

“Enter.”

 

Nadia turned the brass knob and opened the door to a bedroom that could be described as being larger than most people’s houses.

 

The back half was a plush sleeping area with a large canopy bed with silk sheets and pillow cases and large enough to accommodate four slumberers if needed. On the opposite wall was a huge fireplace with an actual working fire. Although the heating system was more than efficient to keep the room warm, Hugh still insisted on a fire.

 

Near the bed area was a full size bathroom with jacuzzi. The area also had a desk, wide screen TV and audio/visual equipment.

 

The front half was full of exercise equipment including an elliptical running machine, stair climber, heavy punching bag, speed punching bag, adjustable stomach crunch table, and a weight machine which could be adjusted for various lifting exercises.

 

There was a strange looking table and a harness hanging from the ceiling and Kirk dared not ask or contemplate what they were for.

 

 

Hugh was holding Batgirl’s abandoned utility belt and looking it over thoroughly before he directed his attention back to Captain Kirk and Nadia.

 

“Have a seat, Batgirl,” Hugh pointed Kirk to a simple wooden chair indicated that he wanted his re-captured prize placed in it.

 

With great care and delicacy, Kirk put Batgirl in the chair. When it appeared that no one was looking, he whispered in her ear. “Brave heart, Batgirl. It’s not over until it’s over. I know that you have faith and courage. Don’t give up. I’m very proud of you.”

 

As much as Batgirl appreciated the sentiment of the message, she couldn’t take it to heart. It was easy for him to say. He wasn’t bound, gagged and helpless. He wasn’t humiliated. He wasn’t the one overcome with feelings of defeat and hopelessness.

 

“Very ingenious,” Hugh approached Batgirl still holding her belt. “The old emergency-release-latch-from-behind-trick. Very impressive. I can’t believe I missed that. Even I make mistakes. Congratulations, Batgirl. You just made the short list of people who were able to pull one over on me. It is a fact, however, that no one has done it twice. To the few that managed to do it once, I was able to get one over on them at a future date. As much as I admire your initiative and determination, Batgirl, you must learn that there is nothing from you that I cannot take. I snatched your freedom away right when it was within your grasp. I have taken so much away from you already, and I plan to take more. The sooner you accept defeat, the easier you’ll make it for yourself. Soon the Batgirl that everyone knows will no longer exist.”

 

Batgirl had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach that Hugh could be right.

 

“Nadia,” Hugh handed her Batgirl’s belt. “Would you be so kind as to throw this in the fire?”

 

“Of course,” Nadia answered with delight.

 

About a minute later, Batgirl could hear her belt popping away as it burned in the fireplace.

 

 

“Captain, I heard a ruckus out there,” said Hugh as he turned his attention back to Kirk. “What was the trouble?”

 

“One of my idiot guards told Batgirl that you were going to skin her alive… then she started to freak out but Ms. Nadia got her back under control without harming the girl. Don’t be hard on Batgirl, Boss. It wasn’t her fault. Considering the trauma she’s been through and her mental and emotional state, I can’t blame her for that.”

 

“Skin her alive, you say?” Hugh chuckled. “It seems like we have a considerable lack of communications when it comes to relaying messages. All I did was causally mention that the next phase of taming and domesticating my Batgirl is to shed her old skin.”

 

 

Batgirl did a nervous gulp. She avoided the shark, but did she swim into the barracuda instead?

 

 

PART 10

 

 

“Shed her skin?” Kirk said nervously. “Is that going to hurt her?”

 

“Only her pride,” Hugh smiled back.

 

“Are you really going to unmask her?”

 

Hugh wickedly smiled. “As per the tradition of the masquerade, the unveiling will be at midnight. Now be so kind as to give me a hand….”

 

 

Minutes later, Hugh and Kirk had put Batgirl in the special harness that hung from chains that appeared to be attached to the ceiling. Hugh unhooked the harness from the chains and placed the wooden board between Batgirl’s back and her bound hands. From each side, he took a vertical strap which her looped under her armpit and over her shoulder and attached each strap to the top of the board. He took out a remote control and pressed a button. The chains began to react and Batgirl was raised into the air just so that the tips of her toes could no longer touch the floor. The chains kept shaking and it felt to Batgirl that she was still moving up. With her blindfold, she believed that she was many feet above the floor rather than an inch or two.

 

“Mmmmpphh!” Batgirl swayed her legs hoping that she could fell some solid ground.

 

“Is there anything else you need, sir?” Kirk asked. “If not, I’d like to be excused.”

 

“Not staying for the show, Captain?”

 

“If you don’t mind, Mr. Howards, there is some paperwork that needs my attention, and I’d like to check in on Lt. Hanohano. Batgirl really did a number on him.”

 

“Very well, Captain. That is all for now.”

 

 

Nadia approached Hugh after she was certain that Captain Kirk exited and was out of hearing range. “I think he might be trouble, Cupcake.”

 

“Why do you say that, Nadia darling?”

 

“I think he’s a little sweet on Batgirl.”

 

“Of course he would be. Everyone loves Batgirl.”

 

“He’s such an irritating Dudley Do-right at times… but a very gorgeous Dudley Do-right… but not as gorgeous as you, Cupcake. I can’t make up my mind whether I want to kill him or have his children.”

 

Hugh showed no signs of jealousy over that remark. “You needn’t worry about him doing anything noble. His loyalty to me is absolute. He is a man of honor, Nadia. He may seem like a stuffed shirt, but he is the most courageous man I have ever known. He took three bullets so he could save his comrades when he served in Dessert Storm.”

 

“Really?” this seemed to turn Nadia on. “He never mentioned that to anyone.”

 

“That’s because he is humble and modest. He believed that he was only doing his duty as a soldier and nothing more. He also never mentioned that he was raised by his grandparents when his father abandoned him at birth and his mother died of a brain tumor shortly after. Ten years ago, his beloved Grandfather collapsed. He needed a new heart, but his advanced age and his long years of smoking put him on the bottom of the donors list. I was able to give his grandfather something better… an artificial heart. I’m the only one that could afford to have one made but the investment was well worth it. Kirk’s loyalty to me is unquestionable. Even now, his grandparents retired to San Diego. The old man quit smoking. He’s in his eighties now and jogs five miles every morning on the beach with his wife of fifty-six years. God bless him.”

 

Now Nadia wanted Kirk more than ever.

 

 

All Batgirl could do was sit and listen as she let her body go limp and her head slump down to her chest just like a scarecrow. She was now so physically and mentally spent, that she hardly had any energy to do anything but accept her present situation.

 

Batgirl couldn’t believe that they were talking as if she wasn’t there at all… as if she were just a side of beef taken from the frozen meat locker… waiting for it to thaw enough so that they could cut it up into smaller pieces. Even in her predicament, she couldn’t help but send her heart to Captain Kirk… an honorable man working for ignoble man for a noble purpose.

 

Speaking of purposes, Batgirl wondered what “purpose” Hugh Howards had for her and her thoughts began to race again.

 

What does he want of me? Why is he doing this? What have I done to him? Perhaps he is right about me not quitting while I was ahead… yet I don’t feel old for a crime-fighter. Batman is older than me and he’s been in the business before I even started, yet, he shows no signs of fading away. If anything, he’s stronger than ever. I didn’t take on one adventure too many. This was supposed to be a simple mission of mercy errand and I’m the one that ends up at someone else’s mercy. Poor Diana. When she learns what happened to me, she’ll feel responsible for sending me here in her place. The guilt will just consume her. I know it! Oh, no… here we go, again. What’s wrong with me? Why is this shit turning me on?

 

As Batgirl heard Hugh walk behind her, she had to fight the feeling of ecstasy as she, once again, started to get sexual stimulated in her bondage and helplessness. Perhaps, it was the feeling that she didn’t have to worry about anything… that her needs were being taken care of by someone else. Crime-fighting was a stressful job… all those life and death decisions… but here… there was no responsibility.

 

 

“Now, Batgirl,” Hugh finally turned his attention to her. “You were very bad to escape and make me look like the fool. Here is a little something to remind you. It is, after all, for your own good.”

 

Hugh took his riding crop and gave Batgirl a swat on her fine, firm ass. He was careful not to hit hard enough to leave a cut, scar, or welt, but still hard enough to make his point. He didn’t want to mark up, Batgirl.

 

“Ughhhh!” Batgirl wiggled in her harness. Since she was still blinded, she never expected the snap to her behind and it hurt a little more than usual. She tensed her cheeks to alleviate some of the pain as she knew that a few more were coming.

 

Hugh hit Batgirl nine more times as Nadia licked her lips and quivered at the sight.

 

With each strike, Batgirl got more excited. It hurt… but it was a good hurt. She felt her crotch getting moist with each progressing strike. She even relaxed her cheeks after the fourth strike so that she could feel the full affect. Her ass felt so tingly and she was actually starting to feel affection for Hugh as she started to believe that only a man that would go through so much trouble to teach her a lesson must truly care for her.

 

If she was not gagged, she would have said the words, “Thank you, sir. May I please have another,” after every taste of the crop.

           

 

When Hugh finished, Batgirl was actually disappointed. She wanted more!

 

“Mmm-oooh,” she managed to moan in her gag, hoping that Hugh would accommodate her request.

 

Hugh knew that she wanted more, but declined because he didn’t want to risk marking Batgirl up. She was much too valuable a prize to damage.

 

“Now watch, my dear,” Hugh said to the highly aroused Nadia. “This is how you properly shed a Batgirl’s skin.”

 

“Mmmmmppph!” This sudden wave of fear gave Batgirl a sudden rush of energy. Oh, Lord, what is he going to do?

 

Hugh pulled out a small instrument that had a spinning disc at the end, just like a small pizza cutter. To Nadia, it looked just like the tool used to install the spline onto a screen window or door… except this roller had a much finer edge.

 

“Watch careful, Nadia. This is how you can get it all off with but one simple pull.”

 

Before Hugh started, he went up to each of Batgirl’s feet and took the stirrup off each ankle and then pulled it through her ankle restraints so that the material would now be free.

 

He then took the tool and started near Batgirl’s neck where the material of her costume started. He smoothly rolled the tool on her arm until he reached the end of the material at her hand. Nadia was puzzled. Batgirl’s costume did not even rip or cut. The tool merely left a thin, barely visible white line.

 

“Why the hell is he trying to trace a circle around her?” Nadia thought.

 

Hugh continued with the material under Batgirl’s right arm just past the coils that still bound her hands helpless. He rolled his instrument down the bottom of her arm, under her arm pit, down her side, then to her hips, past her thighs and finished by her right foot. He then continued on the other side of her leg, up to her knee, past her thigh, carefully going past her crotch area before continuing down the length or her entire left leg. As with the other side, Hugh rolled his instrument on Batgirl’s outer leg, past her hips, past her left side, under her armpit and to the end by her bound hand. Hugh finished by traveling along the upper part of the left arm, past the elbow, and ending at the other side of Batgirl’s next from which Hugh originally started.

 

To Batgirl the whole thing tickled. It felt like someone was tracing her outside form with a pizza cutter. If only she could see what Hugh was up to.

 

 

“Now, Nadia,” Hugh made a motion to her to stand behind Batgirl. “Now take both your hands and grab of firm hold of her costume by her neckline. Hugh did the same but on the front of the neck.

 

“Now, when I say three… pull down firmly but don’t yank. Let’s take a look at the awesome body of hers. One…”

 

Batgirl held her breath. She now understood what the roller was. It wasn’t to cut material but rather to score it so that Hugh wouldn’t slice her skin off in the “tracing” process. It was just like Batgirl’s glass cutter which would weaken the glass so then she could use a suction-plunger to remove the cut-out glass, but still leave a hole with clean smooth edges… except Hugh was scoring material… not glass!

 

“Two… Three!”

 

Hugh and Nadia pulled in unison and the sound of tearing fabric could be heard as Batgirl costume ripped apart from her body in two cleanly cut pieces.

 

Batgirl shivered as she suddenly felt a cold breeze hit her bare body as she felt her outer “skin” being shed off. Besides her emergency mask, Batgirl was now only down to being clad in her black bra and panties.

 

 

“MMMMMMPPPPPHHHHH!” Batgirl screamed in anger and frustration to keep her mad enough that she wouldn’t start crying so that Hugh and Nadia wouldn’t have the satisfaction of witnessing her tears of shame, humiliation and defeat.”

 

 

“Holy shit!” Hugh drooled as he paced around his opened present. “She’s even more magnificent than I ever imagined. Look at the fine muscle tone… the tight ass… her washboard abs. She’s about as perfect a specimen for a non-super-powered human being while still remaining human. I’m sure that Wonder Woman wouldn’t hold a candle Batgirl if she didn’t have the advantage of being an Amazon that’s almost immortal.”

 

“I don’t believe this!” Nadia snapped one of Batgirl’s black bra straps. “She’s actually wearing a Victoria Secret water bra under her costume.”

 

“I’m sure that most heroines do,” Hugh seemed taken aback by Nadia’s comment. “Don’t they need support under their costumes so that their breasts don’t bounce around out of control when they fight? Even Wonder Woman wears that corset/bustier thing or else she could give herself a concussion if she runs too fast.”

 

“That’s not what I mean, Hugh,” Nadia kept touching Batgirl’s bra and she heard a slight moan of pleasure. “If I were a super-heroine, I, too, would wear underwear beneath my costume… but I would wear a sports bra and panties, not this. Who is she trying to fool? This bra pushes her boobs together and then lifts them up to make her look fuller than she actually is. Is she trying to play the part of Batgirl or Erin Brockovitch?”

 

Hugh cupped one of Batgirl’s breasts and she moaned again. “She may use a bit of illusion, my dear, but this beautiful rack is very much real. No plastic. No implants. She looks very fetching in this lingerie. I’ll think I’ll let her keep it on for a while… let her have a little dignity until the final unveiling.”

 

As Hugh stepped away, Nadia turned her back on Batgirl so she could mock her a little more. She didn’t like the fact that she might have to contend with, yet, another woman to vie for Hugh’s attention.

 

“For crying out load, Hugh… she’s supposed to be a virgin but she wears underwear with the subconscious thought of getting laid. She has the mind of a slut but lacks the courage to act on it. In the back of her mind, she’s hoping that Batman will dump Catwoman and pursue her. Even if the Dark Knight did give her the time of day, this “child” doesn’t have want it takes to satisfy a real man. Perhaps that new teenaged Robin might be more to her level.”

 

Once again, Batgirl forgot her situation and struck out in anger. Although still blindfolded, she still had ears and could center in on Nadia’s location. Batgirl could also tell by how the voice was traveling that Nadia’s back was to her. Using her harness as a brace, Batgirl lifted her legs and kicked forward, catching Nadia right on her behind. The blow wasn’t enough to hurt, by the sudden force threw Nadia forward and she would have fallen flat on her face if she hadn’t used her hands to break the fall.

 

Hugh laughed at the sight of this.

 

“You bitch,” Nadia shot up. “You rotten bitch. I’ll show you.…”

 

Hugh grabbed hold of Nadia and held her back. “Calm down, my dear. You can only blame yourself for that. You let your guard drop.”

 

“You can’t let her get away with that.”

 

Nadia immediately calmed down when Hugh pointed to an object that was heating up in the fire place. Nadia smiled as she went to retrieve it for Hugh. She also smiled as she threw Batgirl’s torn costume in the fire as well. If Batgirl was laughing at her from the inside, she wouldn’t be laughing now.

 

“Very good, Batgirl,” Hugh said to her in a tone that sounded like he was impressed. “I’m afraid that was your last hurrah. Now I must mark you to show everyone else that your cute little ass now belongs to me.”

 

Nadia smiled as she handed Hugh the branding iron.

 

Batgirl could smell the heated metal and knew what was coming next. She tried to brace herself for the upcoming pain.

 

“UGGGGMMMHHHHAHHHHHH!” Batgirl screamed her loudest scream as she felt the hot poker burn into her flesh. Nadia was starting to touch herself. She was really starting to get turned on.

 

*    *    *    *

 

Captain Kirk was not immune to hearing Batgirl’s screams. Hugh had put a microphone near Batgirl so that she could be heard through the sound system. He had hoped loud radio playing would drown her out. He hated himself for doing nothing, yet, he was honor bound not to interfere. Kirk could hear his guards cheering and giving each other high fives as they knew that their beloved employer was slowly beating down Batgirl.

 

Hugh had done this before, but this time it was different. For years, Batgirl had defended Gotham City from crime but now the general public was slowly starting to laugh at her because she was starting to lose her effectiveness. Did these ungrateful wretches have so short a memory of what Batgirl did for them in the past?

 

Although, he knew that this was for Batgirl’s own good, Kirk still hated what Hugh was putting her through. Was it admiration for Batgirl… or did he want her for himself?

 

Kirk couldn’t interfere directly but his honor would not be stained by making a phone call.

 

*    *    *    *

 

As soon as Hugh was finished burning his mark into Batgirl’s flesh, he quickly applied the ointment to the middle of her left breast. The wound cauterized immediately and turned Batgirl’s screams of pain into moans of relief. The pain killer absorbed through the skin and activated almost immediately.

 

Hugh admired the overlapping double H’s that he permanently tattooed on Batgirl’s breast.

 

Batgirl went limp again, totally spent. She knew that she had been branded like a heifer. She knew that Hugh intended to make her his property. This should have horrified her… but it really didn’t. Something inside her was actually relieved of being lifted of the burden of being responsible for herself. Hugh would see to her needs now.

 

“Help me get her to the table,” Hugh said to Nadia as he started to release her from the harness. “We mustn’t dawdle. We may have taken the fight out her now, but she recovers very quickly.”

 

“You don’t have to remind me about that, Cupcake,” Nadia grabbed Batgirl’s arm and started to drag her along with Hugh. “I’ve seen it myself. The sooner we strap this bitch down and start readjustment and clean that crap out of her head, the better.”

 

They carried her to, what appeared to be, a weight lifting bench, but there were no weights in sight. It was the very same thing that Captain Kirk shuddered about not too long ago.

 

The bench was in two pieces and the leg/stand was attached to a track that was bolted down to the floor. Each piece was about three feet long and a little over a foot wide. Both pieces had leather straps with buckles tangling off the sides. Just like they did with the harness, they placed her on the open end of the bench and slipped her body toward the other end so that the bench was between her back and her bound hands. Since the leg of the bench was at the far end, it wouldn’t get in the way. They did this so they could lay Batgirl flat on her back without having to release her hand coils. That way she wouldn’t be laying down on her bound hands on the hard surface. Nadia held up Batgirl’s legs so that Hugh could slide the other piece of bench into the first, now making it one long bench. Hugh went underneath the bench and pushed up a lever that locked the two pieces together. It was very much the same principle as a fancy dining room table in which the table could be extended for extra guests. You would unlock the table, pull it apart, fill in the gap with leaves (extra wooden blanks), close the table, and lock it into place.

 

Hugh quickly took the two ends of the straps and buckled them just above Batgirl’s chest. Nadia did the same except she did so with the set near the ankles and one at mid-thigh. Although the straps provided extra restraint and to prevent her from kicking her bound legs, that was not their main purpose as Batgirl’s bound hands under the table prevented her escape. The straps were actually served the purpose of preventing Batgirl from sliding or rolling off the narrow bench which had to be narrow to slip Batgirl’s bound hands underneath.

 

Almost immediately when Batgirl felt the straps being tighten down on her, she instinctively struggled. In her panic she forgot about the coils and started to move her wrists. The coils responded by giving her a “warning squeeze.”

 

“YAAAAYYYYMMMMPPPHHH!” Batgirl gave another loud scream even through her gag. She then suspected what they were up to.

 

“Oh my God!” Her thoughts ran wild. “Clean my head… or brainwash me? They want to recondition me… make me one of them. They wanted to control me so that they can get Wonder Woman in the future because I have knowledge that could be used against her.”

 

Batgirl could feel the small globs of gel being applied to her skin in order to hold small metal probe sensors. She could feel them being placed all over her body as well as her forehead.

 

After what seemed like putting hundreds of sensors on her body, she heard her captors move something by her head by not touching it.

 

The device was a giant ring, similar to an open MRI which he positioned in the middle of Batgirls head with a gap of about two inches from the head to the edge of the inner ring of the device.

 

Not too long after that, six devices that looked like small spotlights were placed, three each, near Batgirl’s sides. When activated they emitted an orange light. Batgirl could feel the heat from the lights but was not uncomfortable. It was almost like a tanning booth.

 

She felt her right arm being swabbed by what she smelled as alcohol. Then she felt a quick stinging in her right arm. Someone had inserted an IV into her.

 

“When you wake up, Batgirl,” Hugh snickered. “You’ll be a whole new woman.”

 

“Don’t worry, Sweetie,” Nadia said in a soft voice. “It won’t hurt unless you try to resist. You know… the more I think about it… the less I mind sharing Hugh with you. I like you Batgirl. I really do. I’m looking forward to having another sister to play with.”

 

“Mmmmmppphhh!” Batgirl gave one last protest. “They’re going to fry my brain. Make me some kind of zombie slave and help them do this to other heroines. I can’t let that happen. I got to fight this, even if it turns me into a vegetable.”

 

“Don’t be afraid,” Nadia comforted Batgirl by stroking her long red hair. Nadia didn’t even mind that there was a bit ofsweat within it. “I was afraid, too… but not anymore. I was afraid to be glamorous. I thought I had to be ‘butch’ to work my way up when I was on the police force. Hugh showed me the light. He made me so that I can be beautiful all the time but still get what I want out of life and still be respected by my co-workers. Don’t resist, Batgirl. It won’t hurt unless you try to fight it.”

 

 

Hugh threw the switch and activated the equipment.

 

Batgirl arched her back and every muscle and nerve in her body constricted as she felt powerful waves of energy, almost like electricity shocks through her. Already she could feel her body changing… restructuring itself… but into what?

 

The ring device shot a bolt of energy in Batgirl’s brain waves. It felt as if thousands of hot needles were being shoved into her head. She could feel them try to borrow into her thoughts and gain a foothold into her mind. The more she tried to resist, the sharper and hotter the needles felt.

 

Batgirl was holding off the invasion, but it was very painful and the “needles” were slowly gaining ground. It was like trying to hold your breathe underwater indefinitely.

 

“Too painful,” Batgirl managed one final surge to hold it off. “I can’t hold it off. I’m sorry, Diana. I can’t get loose. I can’t stop the needles. They’re coming for you next! I’m sorry, Diana. Please, forgive me. I tried. I’m so, so, sorry. I’m….”

 

Just in the same manner as someone finally lets go after no longer being able to hold their breath, Batgirl let her mental barriers down and allowed them to engulf her mind. The shock was also the same as a drowning person taking in the first bit of water into the lungs.

 

Almost immediately, the pain went away. It was peaceful. She was being forced to sleep. Batgirl wanted to sleep. It felt so good. She succumbed to the cloud that was numbing her mind and let unconsciousness take her.

 

 

Then nothing….

 

 

Hugh couldn’t believe that Batgirl was able to hold out for over a minute. He was relieved when he saw her tightly clenched fist in her bound wrists slowly start to loosen and then go limp. Her ached back flattened on the bench. He saw her entire body go limp and then he smiled.

 

“Now what?” said Nadia.

 

“We wait,” answered Hugh. “The cleansing will take, at least, a few hours.”

 

“In that case… how about a little distraction to help pass the time?” Nadia took her handcuffs out of her gun belt before undoing the buckle and letting it drop to the floor. She then took her handcuffs and used them to lock her own wrists securely behind her back.

 

“What’s going on here?” Hugh played coy as he unbuttoned Nadia shirt.

 

“I’ve been a bad girl. I’m turning myself in.”

 

“You have?” Hugh finished with the buttons and yanked the shirt off her shoulder and down to her waist.

 

“I put a gun to Batgirl’s head and offered to kill her and end it all if she gave me the word. I would have done it, too, if she didn’t indicate that she wanted to be spared.”

 

“Why did you do that?” Hugh led her to the harness that he recently placed Batgirl in.

 

“I didn’t want an extra hen in my rooster’s house. I’m not jealous anymore and I know there’s enough love to go around for everybody… but just to be on the safe side… a need a reminder to stay in line.”

 

“Very well,” Hugh started to place her in the harness. “You’ve worked extra hard today and you deserve a reward.”

 

“Thank you, Cupcake.”

 

 

It didn’t take long for Hugh to truss up Nadia and raise her off the floor. He put his riding crop aside and got out his cat o’ nine tails. Nadia quivered in anticipation when she saw it.

 

“Yesss!” Nadia screamed in joy as she was whacked on the behind.

 

Whack!

 

“Ohhhh! More! More!”

 

Whack!

 

“Yessssss! Ohhhhhhoooo. Thank you. OOoooooh!”

 

 

Hugh whacked her ass as many times as he believed that Nadia’s body could take the punishment. He could tell that she was already getting wet.

 

He wasn’t done, though. He took a scalpel and cut a small notch on the bottom front center of Nadia’s skirt. Using the starter cut, Hugh grabbed two ends and pulled which caused the skirt to rip up to her crotch.

 

“What are you going to do?” Nadia moaned. “I can’t stop you. I’m sooooo helpless.”

 

Hugh only responded by roughly yanking Nadia panties down to her knees. He then got his special vibrating dildo and immediately stuck it up Nadia’s wet crotch.

 

“Yesssss! Yesss!” Nadia screamed. She didn’t care if the entire staff heard her. “Make me cum! Please! Please!”

 

 

Hugh warmed her up for a few minutes and then found her special spot.

 

“Ohhhhhoooooooooo,” Nadia began to feel the pleasure spasms. Then like a tidal wave, she came… long and hard. “Oh, damn! I love you, Hugh. I love you so freakin; much… I lov… Oooo! OHHHHH! Ahhhhhh-mmmmmm-ahhhhh-ohhhhhh!”

 

 

The experience was so draining that Nadia went limp in the harness for exhaustion.

 

“Thank you. Thank you,” Nadia murmured. “God I love you!”

 

“What’s makes you think I’m done with you?” Hugh turned the vibrating dildo back own.

 

“No, wait,” Nadia began to panic. “I’ve never done two sessions. I’m not up for that, yet.”

 

A wry smiled crossed Hugh’s lips. “You should have thought about that before you put a gun to my Batgirl’s head.

 

“Nooooo!” Nadia screamed as the dildo was shoved into her again and the pleasure waves engulf her body. She tried to wiggle her wrists free of the hands she cuffed herself but found that she restrained herself too securely.

 

“Oh, my God! Too much! I can’t take it! Please, Hugh! Stop! Oh my God! Oh-oh-oh!

 

OOHHOHOHOHOHHOOHHOooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!”

 

 

Hugh continued his session with Nadia until she was just as unconscious as Batgirl.

 

 

PART 11

 

 

When Batgirl finally regained consciousness, she opened her eyes and saw nothing. It took a few seconds for her disorientation to clear before she realized that she was still blindfolded and did not lose her sense of sight. Her hands where still bound behind her back with the inescapable “living” coil and her ankles were still bound with the magnetic clamps; however, she no longer felt the hard bench beneath her or the leather straps around her chest, thighs and ankles. She no longer felt the probes and sensors that were attached to her.

 

As a matter of fact she felt comfortable. She was lying on… silk sheets? A bed? Her head was resting on a soft pillow.

 

She collected her thoughts and they still felt as if they were her own. Her brain wasn’t fried after all. She wasn’t a mindless zombie, but was that just until Hugh decided he needed to control her? Hugh might have implanted something in her head to compel her to obey him when the time was right.

 

From a slightly opened window, she could hear the chirps of crickets and the soft croaking of frogs. It was night time… which meant that she had been unconscious for many hours.

 

Despite still being bound for hours, her hands and ankles didn’t feel numb or sore. It didn’t even feel uncomfortable that she was lying flat on her back, on top of her bound hands. Hugh was right about keeping her bound for a long time without discomfort or bodily damage. He was a maniac but he was a genius… a gorgeous genius. Again, she started to get excited and aroused the more she thought about her bondage. She had been secretly dreaming about being in this very predicament for years.

 

No… she had to concentrate. This was a serious situation… not sexual role-playing. Why did she feel so comfortable? Why didn’t her wrists hurt?

 

As a matter of fact, no part of her body ached or felt sore at all. She didn’t feel hungry or thirsty. She didn’t even feel any urges to go to the bathroom. Funny… she could never hold her pee this long.

 

The more she thought out it, the more her body felt different. She felt stronger… more durable. She couldn’t see but somehow she knew that her muscles were firmer and more tone. How could this be? She felt that if she were bound with regular rope or even handcuffs, she could easily break them. If it weren’t for the danger of her wrists getting crushed, she truly believed that she could break the coils.

 

Just to end her curiosity, she twisted her arms and pretended that she was trying to struggle free. The coils still tightened. It still hurt her arms when she refused to relax her muscles, but she found that she could endure the pain longer before giving in.

 

Hugh had altered her in some way. Was it for the better… or for the worse?

 

 

She could still feel her mask on her face so it was safe to assume that Hugh did not do his official unveiling just yet. The spirit gum was still unaltered, so it was highly unlikely that Hugh took a premature peek. Perhaps there was still time to prevent that. Perhaps she could talk him out of it. She would have to reason, bribe, or plead with him, but she had to try. To do that, she would need her speech.

 

 

She tired to speak to see if she was still gagged.

 

“Mmmmppfff.”

 

Yep, she was still gagged.

 

 

Seconds later, she left a pair of soft hands reach around the back of her head.

 

Where ever she was, she wasn’t alone!

 

She felt the hands unlock the strap to her blindfold. It loosened from her head.

 

She could now see but the images were blurry. She didn’t panic as she knew it would take about a minute or so for her eyes to adjust after being deprived of sight for so many hours.

 

 

The images slowly began to sharpen. She looked above and saw a canopy… a canopy for a large bed that she was laying on. The sheets were silk… and red… and very expensive. She looked to her left and saw, what she believed to be, the harness that she was tied to when Hugh cleverly stripped her of her costume. She believed that she heard Nadia mention something about throwing it in the fire with her belt when Nadia went to get the branding iron. In some ways, it was a relief as now there was no costume and no bare chest to show her stolen emblem. If Hugh showed it to anyone, there was a good chance that she could deny that it even belonged to her.

 

She got a chill when she saw the bench and the equipment which was used in whatever diabolical experiment that they performed on her. To see if it was a dream, she looked at her arm for a band-aid for the IV that was shoved in her arm. There was a small scar, but no bandage. It appeared that it had been healed for a few days. She couldn’t have been out for that long!

 

She smelled the scent of burning hickory and the crackling of logs on the fire. When she looked forward, she found the source… an old fashioned fire place… with a real fire! Or was it some elaborate fake like Bruce Wayne has strewn about in his plush mansion?

 

It was hard to tell, at first, as she had to lift her head up slightly to get a better look at the fireplace as her breasts were partially blocking her view. It was a real fireplace with chimney. It must have cost a fortune to put this in and maintain it… but then, Hugh is a billionaire with more money than he knows to do with.

 

 

Her boobs were in the way?

 

 

That never happened before. Batgirl never remembered her breast blocking out so much of her forward vision while she was lying down? She looked again at her chest. She saw the small double “H” brand mark on her left breast and sneered, but, at least, the pervert had the decency of leaving her underwear on and didn’t take it off while she was sleeping.

 

“Is it my imagination?” Batgirl thought to herself. “Or did my boobs get bigger? They seem firmer than before. What’s happened to me?”

 

Batgirl confirmed her suspicion as her bra did feel a little tighter on her chest and the material looked like it was being stretched out a bit. Actually, her bra straps seemed to be digging into her shoulders and there was some extra pressure on her chest… so much that she actually wanted to take her bra off to relive that pressure. It was as if her bra was a size or two too small for her chest.

 

She looked over the rest of her body and it seemed that she had finer muscle tone… her tummy seemed even flatter… her waist, hips, and legs for shapely. She even seemed to have a better tan, too!

 

 

“What do you think of your new body?” a familiar voice startled Batgirl and made her jump. Hugh had been sitting on her right side but behind her. Batgirl never bothered to look in that direction as she was too distracted by the change in her physical form. She totally forgot that someone had to be in the room to remove her blindfold and she never bothered to look.

 

“You can’t stop looking at yourself, can you? Yes, I did alter your body… as it was meant to be. You have a disease, Batgirl. All women have it, too. It’s called femininity. I’m not being a smart-alec. It’s true. And in your case, the disease has seriously infected you more than normal.”

 

At first, Batgirl crawled to the other side of the bed in fear. Shortly after hearing the “disease” remark, a bit of pent up rage consumed her. She growled at Hugh as she crawled back to get to him. All she wanted to do was get her hands around his neck and choke the life out of him. It wasn’t like Batgirl to react in such a way, but she never realized it at the moment.

 

First this asshole kidnaps her… ties her up… slowly strips her away of her costume… and now he’s referring to her as a disease! This creep has got a real face-bashing due!

 

In her absent-minded rage, Batgirl forgot about the coils and moved her hands. They quickly constricted and Batgirl rolled on the bed in agony. She could really feel the coils clamp down, almost hard enough to break her wrists… but they didn’t break… but it still hurt.

 

The sudden pain awoke her from her “berserker” state.

 

“Mmmmphhh,” Batgirl moaned as she collapsed on the bed, happy to be relieved of her pain.

 

“Easy now, my love,” Hugh grabbed her by the shoulders and straightened out her position, making sure the she was on her back and resting her head on the pillows.

 

Batgirl noticed that Hugh had to use all his weight to keep her pinned down… and he didn’t even feel that heavy. As much as she hated to admit it, he liked the feel of Hugh’s soft, smooth hands against her bare shoulder.

 

“You’re going to be here for quite some time, so you might as well relax. I still need you bound as both a safety measure to protect you from harm as well as my self.”

 

When Batgirl calmed down, Hugh continued.

 

“I saw that look in your eyes. You wanted to rip my head off… and you might have just done that if you weren’t restrained. I had to recalibrate the coils. At your previous body level, they would have crushed your wrists instead of merely causing you pain. Your body has been altered. You are stronger and faster than before. You have more endurance and a higher threshold for pain. You body will requite less food, water, and air, yet, you will get more energy than before and your body will produce less waste. That is why you feel no urges to go to the bathroom. You can go without food and water for twice as long. You can hold your breath for four minutes with little effort… perhaps longer, with training. You will only need half the required amount of rest and sleep.”

 

“I have also cleaned your brain. Your mental processes of learning, remembering, analyzing, and preventing mental control or attacks on you have increased significantly. You’ll be able to react faster to situations. Unfortunately, your mental processes have not quite synced in yet with your new body. I also need to keep you secure so that you don’t accidentally run into a wall or jump out a window. You’ll be a little confused and overwhelmed for a time, but that will pass by morning.”

 

Hugh purposely didn’t mention the fact that the third reason that he kept Batgirl bound was to prevent her from preventing him from removing her mask.

 

“That is your payment for services you will soon render to me. I told you that there are other ways to compensate other than money. I always compensate. I may take things I want by force or litigation but the other party always benefits as well, although sometimes they’re too stupid to realize it.”

 

“You think that I made you a freak… but that is not the case. I only corrected the course of altered evolution to its natural course. You are as a woman should be if the natural flow of things were not interrupted.”

 

Batgirl looked at him as if he were nuts.

 

“Perhaps a few explanations are in order.” Hugh looked at his watch. There was still plenty of time before Batgirl’s unveiling. “The phrase that women are the weaker sex is a misnomer. Believe or not, the universe is sexist and chauvinistic. Most intelligent species, with the exception of a few, believe that males should be superior to females. The thought of any male losing to ‘a girl’ is a common universal embarrassment. Earth was supposed to be the exception. Females were supposed to be the dominant gender.”

 

“It was million of years ago that an alien scientist came to Earth to study its life forms. He discovered that the ape-like creatures he so dearly loved would evolve into a race of intelligent beings that would end up conquering half the known universe. The problem was that he had an ego and he couldn’t deal with the fact that males would be subservient to females. Against the laws of non-interference, the alien scientist released a virus into the air which would alter the genetics of the female ape-creature and effect evolution. Males were born larger… females smaller. Males developed greater upper body strength. They have greater endurance and could run faster. The virus instilled a greater sense of nurturing for the female so that they lacked the desire to keep up the same physical virtues as the men. The males were given the ‘male ego’ to assure that they were to keep the females down if they started to move up to the same level.”

 

“Holy shit,” Batgirl thought, “not only have I been kidnapped by a pervert but he’s also a mad scientologist.”

 

“All I did to you, Batgirl, is correct the course of nature on you. There’s more to this story… there’s the meta-human factor, too. Everyone’s beloved hero, Superman, is indirectly involved in the reason why male super-heroes are always more powerful their female counterpart heroes.”

 

Batgirl gave him another weird stare but she couldn’t help but listen. Crazy or not, there was some conviction in Hugh’s voice in which he truly believed what he was telling Batgirl.

 

“Superman’s father, Jor-el, was a sexist prick as well. He knew that the yellow sun of Earth would grant his boy super powers, but he also saw the potential of the Amazon women. Somehow they missed the evolutionary alteration. Jor-el couldn’t stand that there could be female humans that could be more powerful than his own son. He infected his son to give off a virus… the same one as the alien scientist… which would spread to all females of Earth… particularly any of the mindset of being a super-hero… whether they are normal human or super-powered human. Every time the Man of Steel flies around the planet, he spreads the disease that affects all women… assuring that no female hero is ever anymore powerful than Superman. That is why Wonder Woman and Supergirl are not as strong as Superman. His ego wouldn’t be able to handle it. Green Arrow would throw himself off a building if Black Canary was a better crime-fighter. It’s always the female hero that gets in trouble and the male has to bail them out. That is why, no matter how hard you try, you will never be as good as Batman. Now female heroes are becoming more popular… especially with young teen-age boys. That drives the male heroes even more nuts… makes them more threatened. Now they take more direct action… going out of their way to sabotage the careers of female heroes. That’s what’s been done to you, Batgirl. You’ve been betrayed by….”

 

Batgirl froze in horror as her heard the striking gong of a Grandfather clock. To her terror, she counted twelve strikes. It was midnight! The unveiling!

 

“Well,” Hugh seemed surprised that the time crept up on him so soon. “It looks like that part of the story will have to be delayed for a little bit. We have more pressing matters to attend to first.”

 

Before she could do anything, Hugh sprayed something on her mask. Within seconds, she could feel the spirit gum harmlessly evaporating off her skin.

 

Batgirl could do nothing as Hugh got on top of her. “This is all part of your treatment, Batgirl. Some of it is psychological. In order for the alteration to be complete, the old Batgirl must die. Do you have any friends that have served in the armed forces? I’m sure you have. I’m sure you’ve heard the nightmare tales of the recruit’s basic training in boot camp. A friend of mine said, ‘For eight weeks, I thought I was in Hell!’ Ever see Full Metal Jacket? Remember Gunnery Sergeant Hartman? Pretty much sums up boot camp.”

 

“Why do they haze those poor recruits? Why do they shave their heads? Why do they get on their case if something is out of place? Why do drill instructors get right in the recruit’s face and yell at them even for the smallest and most insignificant of infractions? Why did Hartman always refer to the men in his squad as ‘ladies?’ It seems so cruel… but it’s for the recruits own good. They need to learn discipline… to survive in a fight… to give them that killer instinct. The reason why they go out of their way to humiliate raw recruits is because they need to be re-built in soldiers… fighting machines. The only way to re-build someone is to break them down, start from scratch, and re-build them again. In order for you, Batgirl, to overcome your illness, you need to be totally broken down, humiliated, and conquered first.”

 

Hugh cupped her chin as Batgirl’s eyes widened. “That is way I must give you your final taming. Once that happens… the Batgirl that everyone knows will be dead… and a new Batgirl will rise from the ashes.”

 

“Oh, Lord!” Batgirl knew what he was getting at. He was going to unmask her! “He’s crazy! He knows he can’t get away with this. After he exposes me, he’ll kill my career and kill me, too, or blackmail me into submission. He knows that it would kill my father if he discovered that his sweet, innocent, daughter was Batgirl. If Hugh takes my mask, it’s all over. Over!”

 

“It is time for the unveiling, my love,” Hugh taunted. “Be brave. It’ll all be over before you know it.”

 

“Nmmmmppphh! PLMMMMPHH!” Batgirl tried to say “No” and “Please” but like all her previous words, they were a muffled mess.

 

She kept moving her head back and forth so that Hugh couldn’t get a good hold of her mask.

 

The ploy seemed to be working. At first, Hugh played along and laughed. After a while, however, he was starting to get tired of it. Finally, he reached into his robe pocket and pulled out, what appeared to be a scalpel. Batgirl stopped the second she felt the sharp tip against her throat.

 

“One more false move, Batgirl, and I’ll slit your throat from ear to ear.”

 

All Batgirl had to do was make that sudden move and get her throat slit. It was, yet another, opportunity to avoid her fate with honor. There was no glory for unmasking a dead hero.

 

Batgirl couldn’t do it! Her fear of death and instinct for survival made her freeze. Another opportunity was blown.

 

She could only stare back at Hugh with wide eyes, hoping that he would, miraculously, change his mind. Joker and others had her bound and gagged. How come they never went for her mask?

 

“Very smart,” Hugh actually seemed relieved. “For a second there, I thought my instincts were wrong and you would prefer death. Masks hide nothing, Batgirl. Removing your mask is nothing more than a formality. There will be no dishonor for you when you are unveiled… because I already know who you are… Barbara Gordon!”

 

“What the…” this took Batgirl by surprise. “How did he.…”

 

It was too late!

 

While Batgirl was contemplating, she was too distracted to notice that Hugh now had a good grip on her eye mask and ripped it off her face!

 

 

Batgirl’s worst nightmare came to fruition.

 

She was unmasked!

 

 

Batgirl screamed louder than she ever did before and even through her gag it could be heard. She collapsed on the bed and tears started falling from her eyes. She could do little to stop her crying… some of it out of anger… some out of fear… some out of sadness… and some out of frustration.

 

“There, there, Batgirl,” Hugh stroked her hair and was actually making a genuine and sincere effort to console her. “The worst is over now. It only gets easier from this point on. The initial pain will pass, I assure you.”

 

Batgirl calmed down and soon reduced her anguish and anxiety to heavy breathing and then light moans. She was somewhat in a state of shock and disorientation… dazed was more like it. She should have been terrified, but a part of her was relieved.

 

Batgirl was dead! No more stress. No more danger. No more trying to live up to Batman’s expectations.

 

Hugh made Batgirl’s death official by throwing her mask in the flames of the fireplace. Batgirl felt a momentary lump in her throat as she watched the flames consume her mask. She now knew that there was only the ordinary woman left behind the custom… Barbara Gordon.

 

“Now that we’ve gone this far,” Hugh pulled out his scalpel and walked back toward Barbara. “How about we go a little further?”

 

Barbara grew a little nervous. She wasn’t so sure if this was something good or bad. The fact that she was now getting sexually excited made her forget her fear.

 

“It’s a common thing for Super-heroines to want to be captured and tied up. That’s why they become heroines in the first place. Everyone has that urge to be made helpless… even Wonder Woman. In your case, it’s even more intense. You’ve been trying to get yourself captured for years. Now I’m going to take you apart piece by piece until there’s nothing left.”

 

Barbara had to admit to herself that it was true. Her deepest darkest fantasies were coming true. The only thing that bothered her was how Hugh knew that. How did he know that Barbara Gordon was Batgirl even before being unmasked? He seemed to know a lot about her.

 

For now, she was going to give into her desire. She didn’t move or recoil as Hugh got closer. A part of her was frightened while the other part was fascinated. What was he going to do with that blade?

 

 

“Since I plan to get to know you body, mind, and soul, let’s start with seeing the entire body, shall we?”

 

Barbara arched her back as Hugh took the blade and placed it under her left bra strap. Already she was starting to feel light-headed… she felt goose bumps… and she started to feel a sensation in her crotch area.

 

“You look a little warm… and that bra looks a little tight on you. How about we alleviate some of the stress?

 

Hugh gently flicked his wrist.

 

Snap!

 

Barbara’s bra strap went sailing over her shoulder. She started to feel the quivers between her legs. It felt good to have her shoulder bare and not have the strap biting into her skin.

 

“Mmmmm,” Batgirl moaned softly in her gag. Her helplessness was turning her on with every passing second.

 

“One down.”

 

Snap!

 

Hugh cut the other strap. “Two down. One to go.”

 

Barbara moaned even louder. She started to move her back up and down rapidly. She didn’t want Hugh to stop. The sensations were building up in her loins and it felt so damn good!

 

Hugh placed his blade between her cleavage and hesitated… teasing.

 

“Mmmmmppph!” Barbara moaned in pleasure and protest. “Keep going! Dear God! Please keep going!”

 

Snaaappp!

 

Hugh flicked his blade and the bra went flying off her body. Her fabulous breast jumped out, grateful to be finally released of their restraint.

 

Hugh wasn’t finished. Her placed his blade on one side of her hip and cut one side of her panty off. Then, the next.

 

When Barbara realized that she was totally naked and helpless before Hugh, she could no longer hold back her ecstasy.

 

She let herself cum!

 

“OOoooooohhhhh-ooooooooooooo!” Barbara came long and hard. It hurt a little… burned a little… but it was a good hurt… a good burn.

 

Barbara collapsed on the bed. She expended more energy than she thought and she needed to catch her breath. She pleasured herself in the shower many times, but this sensation was like comparing a splash to a tidal wave.

 

Hugh laughed as Batgirl moaned. He needed to get in his final gloat to officially declare his victory.

 

“So here she is… the mighty Batgirl… now here she lies before me  bound, gagged, unmasked... and totally naked… and totally helpless before me… and totally at my mercy. Life can’t get any better than this! HAHAHA!”

 

Batgirl moaned loudly again.

 

The unthinkable had happened; Batgirl was totally defeated!

 

Batgirl cam again! Hugh’s last taunt of mockery was actually turning her on!

 

She was totally at Hugh’s mercy… and she couldn’t be happier.

 

As Hugh laughed, the sensations were starting to become too much for Barbara to handle. She felt like she was going to faint. Before she lost consciousness, she cam once more… long and hard. She left out an equally loud scream of pleasure before she finally blacked out.

 

She hoped that if Hugh planned to kill her, she hoped that he would do it now so that she could die a happy woman.

 

 

 

PART 12

 

 

Barbara felt her nose tingle and immediately regained consciousness as Hugh carefully waved the smelling salts under her nose.

 

“Oh no, my, lovely,” Hugh said quietly and tenderly. “You’re not going to get off that easy. There is still more to do and discuss.”

 

Because of her “improved” brain, Barbara was able to clear her head within seconds.

 

She also realized what she had just done. What was she thinking? Now Hugh had her tied up… and totally naked! She let him do it to her! She could have moaned in objection and Hugh might have not cut off her underwear… her last and only means of modesty… her final layer of protection. She actually encouraged him to do it. She wanted him to do it! God help her!

 

Hugh reached behind her head and started to unlock her gag strap. “Since you’ve been such a good sport, I don’t think you’ll need this anymore; however, it’s still too soon to untie you… and I like the look of you now… totally naked, bound and helpless.”

 

When the securing strap was removed, Barbara immediately spit out the rag which was stuffed in her mouth. She thought that, after all this time, her mouth and throat would be dried out and that she would have trouble speaking at first… but it wasn’t. She knew that she could speak now without difficulty.

 

She was pissed off and she wanted to finally give Hugh a tongue lashing.

 

“You crazy son-of-bitch,” Barbara screamed. It was good to be finally able to talk. “I can’t believe I just did what I did. You have me under some kind of mind control.”

 

“I assure you that I don’t,” Hugh answered innocently. “I don’t believe in mind control. I get people to do what I want simply by convincing them. Your will is your own and always will be your own. You just indulged in a fantasy that you’ve had for a long time… and I know that you want more. There’s no shame in that. It’s simply between the two of us now and no one else is getting hurt.”

 

“Speaking of getting hurt,” somehow Barbara found the courage to ask the next question. “How do you plan to do it?”

 

“Do what?”

 

“Do me in. Come on, Hugh. You owe me that much.”

 

“Do you in?” Hugh seemed shocked. “Why would I do that after all the trouble I went through to capture you and re-build you? That would defeat the purpose. You are much too valuable to me alive.”

 

“If you’re trying to hold me for ransom, the JLA will not pay a red cent… or is it my father’s money you want? You know he’d give all the money he has and even get more from the Gotham City treasury for my safe return.” Then Barbara’s brain started to work again. “It can’t be about ransom. You have all the money you want. Anything that the JLA or Gotham would provide would be a drip in the bucket.”

 

“Quite, correct. I am not interested in money.” Hugh liked this guessing game. He wanted to see if Batgirl could figure it out.

 

“You’re holding me hostage to make the JLA or my father do something for you. They won’t go for that. Or you want to blackmail me into joining your team or else you’ll tell my father that I’m Batgirl. You know that would kill him.”

 

“I’m not an extortionist either… although the reason why you are here has to do with your father… indirectly. It is true that I want you on my team, but you will do so of your own free will, Batgirl.”

 

“Don’t call me, Batgirl,” Barbara got adamant. “You just ended my career when you unmasked me. You destroyed my uniform. All there is now is plain ol’ Barbara Gordon. Batgirl is dead. You said so yourself. Look… you got me. I’ll do whatever you want but not anything illegal or that will hurt anyone else. Isn’t that enough for you?”

 

Hugh shook his head. Batgirl really didn’t know what it was about. “It is enough. I would never ask you to do anything you didn’t want to do… Batgirl! That’s right. I said Batgirl. When I send that she was dead, I was only talking metaphorically and figuratively. You misunderstood. The Batgirl of old… the one that everyone knew is dead. Now a new Batgirl… better and improved will rise from her ashes.”

 

“But you know my secret identity and so does everyone else here,” Barbara argued.

 

“Only I know thus far,” Hugh reassured her. “My staff is totally loyal to me. If you decided to share your secret with anyone here, they will tell no one and take it to their graves. And what difference is it that I know your secret identity? A lot of people know… Wonder Woman… Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler.”

 

“No way!” Barbara interrupted. “Alfred wouldn’t. He gave me his word as a gentleman’s gentleman.”

 

“Alfred didn’t.” Hugh came back. “I could torture you him for hours and he would die before revealing your secret. That’s a man of honor. If he ever leaves Bruce Wayne’s employ, I will hire him immediately. As a matter of fact, no one betrayed you. I knew that you were Barbara Gordon all along.”

 

Barbara looked into Hugh’s eyes and something clicked. “You aren’t from around here are you? How could you know so much about me? You’re some sort of alien or extra-dimensional being.”

 

“Very good, Batgirl. I knew you’d come around.”

 

Hugh sat down and began his tale.

 

 

“I’m from a world like your own in most ways… except there are no super-heroes. They only exist in comic books. You, too, Batgirl, exist only as a comic book character. I was a nineteen-year-old virgin geek. Instead of going out to socialize and meet girls, I was either reading comic books or playing fantasy role playing games… I’ve done that ever since I learned to read.”

 

“My knowledge of comic books and trivia was second to none. I knew just about everything that could be known about the Marvel and DC universe. I had thousand upon thousands of comic books… many of them priceless… but I refused to sell them.”

 

“My favorites were the heroines, of course. They were always drawn so shapely and buxom… so perfect. I may have been afraid of girls, but I still had sexual urges and many times I would take a Wonder Woman or Batgirl girl comic with me into the bathroom to help me whack off. Oh… did I mention that you two were my very favorites?”

 

“I specifically like your books because you two had a tendency to get captured by the bad guys and tied up. I’ve lived for those issues… and there was one particular issue that you got bound up and you twisted and squirmed around. That one kept me bathroom-happy for weeks. Every month, I would pace the comic book store… waiting for it to open… and thinking… does Wonder Woman get tied up with her own lasso this month? Does Batgirl get bound and gagged? Pure heaven!”

 

Barbara found it incredible… but somehow credible, too. “If what you say is true, then that’s how you knew who I am… how you knew so much about me… how you learned about the anti-female virus. You would also know the identities of every other super-hero in existence.”

 

“True. Very true. I do, you know. I can tell you who Superman really is.”

 

“No,” Barbara wished her hands still weren’t bound behind her back so she could cover her ears. “I don’t want to know. If Superman wanted me to know, he would have told me.”

 

“Very, well,” Hugh complied. “I always respect people that respect the secrets of others. I am an exception. I had no idea that this alternate reality existed.”

 

Then Barbara had an after-thought. “Comic books can be a little risqué but even they have a code to follow. They would never reveal my… bondage fantasy. Was that a guess on your part?”

 

“No. I had to learn that through another source… but that’s getting ahead of myself.”

 

“How did you get here?”

 

“Oh, yes… then there was the internet… a wild west… free from copyright infringement. There was that wonderful sight of all the comic book bondage covers in existence. Best of all, were those sights where demented writers would author stories of heroines being in distress… tied up… and sexually assaulted. I spent every waking minute of my free time reading those sick stories. It was like eating a bag of potato chips… once you have one taste, you can’t stop.”

 

“I dreamed that it was me as the villain in the story tying up the poor hapless heroine… that Mr. X was an artistic genius! Of course now… with my vast resources… I can make my fantasies into reality. The proof is on my bed, naked and all tied up in a neat little package with no escape until I choose to let her go.”

 

“All right,” Barbara rolled her eyes. “You don’t have to rub it in.”

 

“One day, while I was surfing and getting off on a really great story where Wonder Woman gets in a real jam… a freak bolt of lightning hits my house. The current traveled through the wires and blew out from my PC and into my face. I was killed instantly… or so I thought.”

 

“I could feel my soul leave my body. When I looked down, I actually saw myself lying on the floor with what remained of my head. I was ascending upwards, when an arm came from my shattered monitor and pulled me inside. I was in Cyber-space.”

 

“It was some old man that grabbed me. He claimed to be a millionaire named Hugh Howards III. In my world, there was a famous eccentric millionaire name Howard Hughes… an interesting parallel… don’t you think? In his world, Mr. Howards was believed to be nothing more than a crazy loon and a quack. Only his money, high-priced lawyers, and paid-off doctors had kept him out of the mental institution.”

 

“He may have been nuts, but he was smart enough to realize that his world was a comic book… a result of someone else’s imagination… and he wanted no part of it. He so desperately wanted to leave ‘cartoon land’ that, at great expense, managed to have a world renowned Lama teach him how to channel his spirit out of his body so he could leave this miserable plane of existence and roam freely across all eternity.”

 

“Howards mastered the art, but there was something that no one counted on. The Lama never left this plane when he went out of his own body. Howards could not leave this plane unless his physical body was dead or some other soul entered the body in its place. Somehow, Howards was able to access Cyber-space… a sort of connection between all known universes. He was searching for the perfect person to take his place… and he found me.”

 

“Since I was dead and couldn’t return to my own body, a new life in the comic book world was more than I could dream. I could meet Superman, Batman… Wonder Woman… Supergirl… and Batgirl. The only drawback was that I would be in the body of a seventy-eight year old man… but an old man with millions of dollars and a big house with a full staff of loyal servants.”

 

“It was both a good and bad experience. Ever see the movie Heaven Can Wait? That’s exactly what I did but with a little twist. I thought my body would be old when I entered it… no one knew that my young nineteen year old soul would alter that body. When you mix black and white, you get grey… hot and cold gets you warm… young and old gets you middle age. I was in Howard’s body, but as a thirty-five year old man. That was the good part. The bad part was that the old fart didn’t tell me that I would be thirty years in the past… before the arrival of Superman or Wonder Woman.”

 

“Also how would Hugh Howards III explain that he was now thirty-five years old? I would not be able to prove who I was and have access to the Howards’ fortune. Luckily, Howards’ servants were very loyal to him and they totally believed that I was Howards but in a younger body. The family attorney believed me, too. We used Howards' affair with his maid as our set-up. She didn’t die in childbirth. She died of brain cancer. So, we set up some fake papers and a few bribes and we were able to fake Howards III's deaths and I became his ‘son’ Hugh Howards IV. Since I had Howards III DNA, tests proved that I was his son. Funny, the alternate Earth of my time didn’t have DNA testing thirty years ago… but almost everything else was practically the same.”

 

“While I waited for the arrival of Batgirl and Wonder Woman, I used the next thirty years to take a small fortune and make it into a huge fortune. I knew which investments to make… like IBM… McDonalds. With all my billions, I could afford to create machines and technology where I could virtually rule this world without anyone even knowing that I was pulling the strings.”

 

“What was the greatest gift of all was that my body didn’t age. I remained thirty-five for the next thirty years. I’ll die eventually… the ‘battery’ of my life force will run out and I will simply and painlessly fall asleep forever. Until that happens, I will not know the indignities of growing old… and you will not grow old either, Batgirl… my alteration of your body saw to that.”

 

“Are you shitting me?” This was the best news she heard all day… extended youth!

 

“I kid you not. Because of my knowledge of comic book history, I knew of events that were going to happen before they happened. I was able to alter the outcomes of events… such as yours, Batgirl.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Remember that one time when you were visiting your father and Chief O’Hara nabbed the Joker right in front of the building. I tipped O’Hara off. Otherwise, the Joker would have knocked on the door, you would have opened it up and found a bullet in your spine… crippling you for life.”

 

Barbara was stunned. “My God! I had a nightmare about that! You knew it all along and stopped it from happening. But it still doesn’t explain how you know about my fantasies. I never told a soul about them.”

 

“I had an informant that told me. I swore never to reveal that person; however, that person will be here in the morning and I’m sure with all that’s been explained to you, I’ll be released from my word and all will be told. When I had this knowledge, I knew it would be just the way to break you and then rebuild you.”

 

Barbara understood and she let it go for the time being. “It looks like you’ve done more for me than anyone in my life. These ‘gifts’ you’ve given me. I don’t know how I could ever re-pay you for them.”

 

“I do,” Hugh gave a wicked smile and undid the sash to his robe. “All I ask of you is for one night to give all of yourself to me.”

 

“Hugh,” Barbara got nervous again. “You’re not suggesting… Oh, my God!”

 

Barbara felt a burning in her loins when Hugh dropped his robe and saw his awesome body… fine muscle tone… hardly an ounce of fat. He was drop-dead gorgeous and Barbara wanted the maniac more than ever. She never felt her hormones so out of control. And that cock… that fine, perfect cock… not too big… not too small. All her mind could think about was being impaled on it all night long!

 

“You like?” Hugh smiled.

 

“Oh, Lord, yes,” Barbara tried not to salivate when she spoke. “Hugh… it’s just that… I don’t have very much experience at this… none at all… I’m… I’m a…”

 

“I know,” Hugh got on the bed, laid on top of her and cupped her chin. “I won’t force myself on you. Do you want me to stop right now?”

 

“No,” Barbara answered softly.

 

“Oh,” Hugh looked around. “I can’t untie your wrists just yet. It’s still too dangerous.”

 

“That’s okay. Take me anyway. I want to be seduced while helpless and bound.”

 

Hugh was hoping that she would say that… although he would have to temporary deactivate her ankle restraints when the time was right.

 

 

They started off their moment of desire and passion by softly kissing checks and lips, caressing… playful licking and softly biting earlobes, chin and neck. Then the kissing got deeper… using more tongue. The fire ignited within both of them.

 

Barbara moaned softly as Hugh slowly ran his hands down her new and improved body that was now smooth and toned. He started by running his fingers through her long, beautiful red hair… then softly touching her face and then stroking the neck. He continued to run his soft, smooth hands on her chest and then her breasts which he softly cupped and fondled. She arched her back in pleasure as few started to touch the tops of her pert nipples… barely touching them with his index finger.

 

Barbara was starting to get aroused already. It tickled when Hugh started to run his tongue on them… barely touching the tips just like her did with his fingers. She was glad that her wrists were still bound fast. She wasn’t use to such pleasure and she might have instinctively pushed him off.

 

He slowly ran his tongue and hands down to her tummy and then to her twat. He gently opened her legs and found the piece of skin just above her hole. Then Hugh went to work, deciding it was better to pleasure and take care of Barbara first, just so she would get nice and wet.

 

Hugh licked away… rolling his tongue gently at first and then getting more vigorous as Batgirl back began to arch and she started to twist.

 

“Oh, my God, Hugh!” The tremors where starting again. “What are you doing toooo me? I never thought it be like this.” The quivers and the tremors got more intense. “Oh, shit! This feels sooooo gooood! Please don’t stop! I beg you! Plleeeeease.” Barbara could really feel it building up now. “Oh, Lord! It’s happening again! Son of a bitch! Oh… Oh….”

 

Hugh moved his head out of the way just before Barbara stiffened her legs together. He could smell her love juice oozing out.

 

Barbara froze as her whole body stiffened. “Oooh God! OOoOOOOOOOOOOOOooooo oooooHHHH oooooooHHHHHHHhhhhhhhh!”

 

That organism was better than the last one. Barbara could barely get her words out because of her heavy breathing. “Oh, God! You made me cum again… and it felt so damn good. I love you for that, Hugh. I want to be yours. I want you to make me cum all the time… I want you to cum, too.”

 

Hugh looked at her and smiled. He didn’t think that she would be so accepting so quickly.

 

“Come up here, Hugh. I want to suck your cock. Give me that beautiful, manly, studly cock. I want to suck it until it falls off. Please! Please!”

 

Hugh happily complied with her request.

 

He stuck his stern manhood by her face, and Barbara, playfully and teasingly, licked the tip of his cock’s head. Hugh immediately got harder than before. He couldn’t believe that he was feeling the sensations so soon. She licked more vigorously on the shaft before starting to put his whole cock in her mouth.

 

Slowly she went up and down occasionally and carefully letting the tops of her teeth touch his cock and stimulate it more. She would suck the head and tickle it by rolling her tongue on it in a circular motion.

 

Hugh’s moans were getting louder and longer by the second. When she saw that his cock was aching and could take no more, she gave him the green light.

 

“Take me, Hugh,” she sighed. “Impale with your glorious manhood!”

 

 

And that’s exactly what Hugh did!

 

He had no problem penetrating Batgirl as she was thoroughly wet. Still… he put himself inside her gently. He started pumping her slowly and gently, and then gradually getting more vigorous with each passing stroke. Each time, he would take two short thrusts followed up on long, entire thrust, giving her the full length of his shaft. With each progressing series, Hugh would pump harder and faster.

 

“Oh, my God,” Barbara felt another climax starting. “Again? I don’t believe it. Keep going, Hugh. Harder! Deeper!”

 

Like a sexual dynamo, Hugh’s love-jackhammer went to town with no restraints. With Batgirl’s altered body, he didn’t have the fear of holding back. She could take it!

 

“Ahhhhhh-ohhhhh-ooooooooooooo!” Batgirl let her next climax go. Now her body was almost spent. She waited in anticipation for Hugh to finish.

 

Hugh kept pumping and thrusting way… holding out for as long as he could… letting the pressure build up until he could no longer keep it at bay.

 

With on final, mighty thrust, Hugh let himself go and let his love-cannon fire and explode inside of Batgirl. As per usual, Hugh came long and hard like any other sexual tyrannosaurus.

 

Barbara moaned in pleasure as she could feel the warm cum that was invading her body which she welcomed. It almost seemed to fill her up entirely and some of it might have oozed out from where it came in.

 

Even though, so far, it was the only sexual experience of her life, she knew that it would be her greatest.

           

 

“I thought you said you didn’t have any experience,” Hugh found the control box and finally released Batgirl’s bound hands. She figured that it was safe to release her. “You were a lioness!”

 

“I swear that it’s my first time,” Barbara was so spent that she didn’t even rub her wrists. She simply collapsed on the bed with her arms by her sides. Funny… her arms didn’t feel sore and there were no marks or rope burns. “You wore me out. I don’t think that I’ll be able to get up until morning. If you feel the need to kick me out, you’ll have to ask for your guards to help carry me.”

 

“You’ll be fine in the morning, Hugh said confidently. “I promise. Tomorrow, when the sun rises… so will a new and improved Batgirl. You’ll be just as strong as Batman… just as fast… just as wise, intelligent, and quick witted. You’ll be his equal in every physical, mental, and spiritual way… and it’ll annoy the shit out of him. I’ll have a few surprises as well and all will be made known. For now, you need to sleep.”

 

“You promise, Hugh?”

 

“Indeed.” Then Hugh took a more serious tone. “I will need you to trust me on more time. This is the last part of the service rendered. As I said before, all will be revealed tomorrow.”

 

Hugh put his robe back on and then went to a desk where he pulled out a syringe. “This will put you to sleep. It is imperative that you remain unconscious for the next eight hours.”

 

Barbara… no… the new Batgirl had no more self-doubts. She held out her arm.

 

Hugh swapped the upper bend of her arm with alcohol and gave her the injection.

 

Within seconds, Batgirls eyes were getting heavy. Not too long after that, she slumped into semi-consciousness.

 

Hugh easily lifted up Batgirl’s limp, totally naked and vulnerable body and carried her toward the table that he had strapped her down before. Time was of the essence.

 

Batgirl’s mind was still semi-conscious as Hugh was carrying her. She wondered if Hugh tricked her, and now that he tasted her flesh, he was finally going to do away with her.

 

It didn’t matter anymore. If this was the end, then it would be the happiest moment of her life… no better way to go out than on a high point.

 

Batgirl smiled as he let the blackness take her mind.

 

 

PART 13

 

 

 

Batgirl woke up fully rested. It was the best slumber she ever had.

 

She found herself alone in Hugh’s large bed, still naked, and wrapped up in the sheets like a contented baby. She also knew that she needed to get up.

 

She heard the door open.

 

“Hugh?” she said with a breath of excitement.

 

“Afraid not,” a familiar female voice answered. Wonder Woman walked to the bed and smiled at her friend. “Had a good night’s sleep, I see.”

 

“Diana,” Batgirl jumped up to a sitting position and covered herself in the sheets to avoid her naked body being seen. She wasn’t considered with Diana seeing her in the nude. She just felt a little awkward considering the situation. How would she explain this? Would Wonder Woman report Batgirl’s sexual misconduct to the JLA?”

 

For some reason, Batgirl didn’t feel the need to justify the situation.

 

“Not that I’m unhappy to see you, but what are you doing here? Is your business on Themyscira finished already?”

 

“It took care of itself before I even left,” Diana answered. She seemed totally unfazed that her friend was in a strange man’s bed. “Your friend, Captain Kirk, called me. He was very concerned about you. I thought I’d stop here to see if you were okay.”

 

“Captain Kirk? How sweet. He thought I was in trouble. Well… I was at first… or so I thought. Everything turned out for the best. Did you come here to rescue me? Oh, Lord… Hugh. Is he alright? You didn’t hurt him, did you?”

 

“Nothing of the sort… but I see that you succumbed to his charms.” Diana found a short length silk robe with a flowered design and threw it to her friend.

 

“I couldn’t help it,” Batgirl slipped on the robe and tied the sash so she could now get up and show herself with some degree of modesty. “He’s so gorgeous and charismatic. He did all these things to humiliate me… so he could break me down and re-build me. God, help me… I loved it. He totally trapped and dominated me. I couldn’t fight back because he was always three steps ahead of me. He knew all about me. He knew that I was Barbara Gordon even before he unmasked me. He told me of this crazy story that we are nothing but images in a comic book world. Then there is this virus designed to keep the female population in check. I know it sounds crazy, but I totally believe him.”

 

“I know all about that, and I believe him, too. That’s what makes him unique and potentially the most powerful mortal being in the DC universe.”

 

“You’re right, Diana,” Batgirl started to hug herself. “He made me feel so special. He made my deepest darkest sexual desires come true.”

 

“Like being bound helpless… then being slowly being stripped apart before having sex?”

 

“How did you know that? I never told anyone… not even you, Diana.”

 

“Yes, you did, Barb,” Wonder Woman took a seat by the desk. “Remember that bachelorette party we threw for Lois Lane? You were too drunk to drive home so you crashed at my place since it was within walking distance of the bar. We had a little party of our own… just the two of us, remember? We were drinking, talking, and giggling until all hours of the night. You were so giddy that you let yourself slip and told me all about your bondage fetish. When I put you to bed, I used my lasso on you to make you forget that you told me.”

 

“Funny,” Batgirl scratched her head. “I don’t remember drinking that much. Wow! But why did you make me forget that I told you.”

 

“So that when I told your secret to Hugh, he would have a psychological edge when he broke you. It worked, didn’t it? I bet it drove you crazy wondering how he knew… and here are the results.”

 

Batgirl started laughing. “That’s a good one, Diana. The next thing, you’ll be telling me that pigs can fly.”

 

Silence followed. Diana looked at Barbara and in a serious tone said, “I’m not kidding, Barbara. I told Hugh everything.”

 

“Jokes over, Diana,” Batgirl got serious, too. “I like a gag as much as the next person, but you’re going way too far. It’s not funny.”

 

Diana looked at her friend in silence. She did not crack a smile as Batgirl had hoped.

 

“You are serious,” Batgirl’s voice got nervous and she started to back away from Wonder Woman. “That can’t be. Why would you tell Hugh information that could be used against me?”

 

“Because he’s my husband, Barb.” Diana was dead serious. “I never keep secrets from my husband. You see, three years ago. He got me, too.”

 

To Batgirl’s shock, Wonder Woman pulled down on part of her bustier to reveal a part of her breast that was hidden underneath. It was a brand… just like Batgirl’s… two overlapping hs.

 

The truth hit Barbara like a ton of bricks. “There was no emergency on Themyscira. You sent me here on purpose. You set me up. You betrayed me. It’s a conspiracy. I should have known….”

 

Seeing that she was in trouble, Batgirl ran to the door to escape this mad plot. She got within three steps before Wonder Woman’s magic lasso wrapped around her shoulders. Batgirl fell to the floor and then to her knees as her will was being dominated.

 

“It’s not a conspiracy. You see, Barbara, Hugh swept me off my feet. He was so charming. He ingeniously stripped me of my magic belt, bracelets, and tiara… used my own lasso against me… made me totally powerless and at his mercy… then he made love to me.”

 

“It’s quite true, my love,” Hugh walked in the room accompanied by Nadia who was wearing a martial arts gi. A black belt was wrapped proudly around her waist.

 

“Oh, God,” Batgirl cried. “He made love to me, too. I swear, Diana. I didn’t know he was your husband. I wouldn’t betray you like that on purpose. It’s the truth. I swear. You must believe me.”

 

“Of course, I believe you, Hon. My lasso compels you to tell the truth… Duh! If I take my lasso off will you run away again?”

 

“No,” Batgirl honestly answered back. The lasso didn’t have a need to force her to answer truthfully.

 

“Good,” Wonder Woman put the lasso back on her hip. “I’m not the jealous type, Barb. I share with friends like you. Unlike other men, Hugh understands that the world still needs Wonder Woman and I can’t be there for him all the time… even with Nadia’s help. He’s too much man for me, so I figured that another hen would help.”

 

“But why me? Why not Supergirl or Black Canary?”

 

“Because you were the one in need of the most help… and Batgirl is his second favorite woman. I’ve noticed your skills declining for weeks. When I found out the real cause, I asked Hugh to help you, because, in return, you can help us. In exchange for your service, he would alter your body to get rid of your affliction and make you better than ever. Hugh is sympathetic to our plight and eventually he wants to help ALL Super-heroines reach their full potential… even me.”

 

Batgirl looked at her friend bewildered. “How could you be any better? You’re Wonder Woman.”

 

“How do you think my strength increased so much that I’m almost as strong as Superman? How do you think I managed to fly on my own and ditch that stupid invisible plane? Hugh alteration of my body cells was responsible for that. I was so grateful, that when he asked me to marry him, I could hardly refuse.”

 

Diana walked up to Hugh and gave him a big kiss.

 

“What a minute,” Batgirl made a sudden realization. “This can’t be right. You told me so yourself: if you have sex or get married, you lose your powers.”

 

“I got around that,” Hugh said proudly. “Knowing everything about this universe has its advantages. Wonder Woman’s mother, the Queen-bitch herself, Hippolyta, lied to Diana and all Amazons.”

 

“I wasn’t born from the clay of the Earth and the dead spirit of my pregnant mother,” Diana continued. “I was born like everyone else. My father was Hercules. My mother got him drunk and seduced him. She thought that if she was knocked up, she could force Hercules to marry her. Well, he didn’t go for it. My mother is such a shrill, cold-hearted bitch that he wanted nothing to do with her… and no other man wanted my mother either for that matter. She couldn’t come back to her subjects pregnant and unmarried, so she made up this cock and bull story about the Gods creating me when the Amazons were reborn after being killed. No one had the guts to call the Queen a liar so no one questioned it. My mother was so bitter that she couldn’t get a man, that she wanted everyone else to suffer with her. For centuries, she scared us with tales of Amazon women losing their strength and growing old if we slept with a man. We all bought her crap, too, and we eventually turned into an island of man-haters… while the rest of the world thinks we’re nothing but a bunch of lesbians. My mother has done nothing but sabotage me my whole life… because she’s jealous. My mother forbid me in participating in the tournament to decide which Amazon had the right to represent the world as Wonder Woman, so I had to disguise myself to get in. The only reason she let me be Wonder Woman is because I won the contest and her back was against the wall… but all this time she was looking for ways to keep me down. She plotted against me to lose my title to that bitch, Artemis, when she wanted to have a new Wonder Woman crowned.”

 

“That’s incredible,” Batgirl exclaimed. “I had no idea.”

 

“But Hugh set me straight,” Diana continued. “For the first time in centuries, I have finally found love and with a man who won’t grow old before my eyes while I stay young. And, unlike most men, Hugh doesn’t expect me to give up being Wonder Woman and trade in my magic belt for an apron. Now, I am happy. I have everything I desire… except one thing.”

 

“We can’t have children together,” Hugh sighed. “Well… we could but we don’t want to wait until….”

 

“Amazons can only get pregnant once in a blue moon,” Diana finished his sentence. “Like once every fifty years… and the next window won’t be available for another forty-one years… but we don’t want to wait that long. That’s where you come in. In exchange for your new body, all we wanted was for you to act as a surrogate mother for Hugh’s seed… and that was taken care of last night.”

 

“You used me to have your child? How could you Diana? I fell in love with Hugh… and I thought he loved me, too… but it was all a lie to knock me up?”

 

“It’s not a lie,” Hugh insisted. “I love you both.”

 

“It’s true, Barbara,” said Wonder Woman. “There’s plenty of love and Hugh to go around for the both of us… and Nadia as well… and a few more if necessary.”

 

“But your wasted your time. I already had my cycle last week.”

 

“I took care of that, too,” Hugh smiled.

 

“Oh, my God,” Batgirl instinctively put her hand over her tummy. “I’m pregnant? I’m not ready to have a baby now. What would my father say? I don’t want to be an unwed mother walking around with a big belly while other people talk about me behind my back.”

 

“And I would never put you through that, my love,” Hugh walked up to Batgirl and pointed to a very small scar on her tummy. “Last night, when I put you to sleep, I removed the embryo. Don’t worry about the scar. It will heal in a few days and it will be totally unnoticeable.”

 

“Then you plan to put it inside Diana’s womb?”

 

“Heavens, no!” Hugh laughed as if Barbara had told him that the sky was red. “I would never disfigure any woman’s beautiful body by letting them get pregnant. Besides, we don’t want a baby right now… in a few more years. The embryo is cryogenically frozen until we are ready to put it in an artificial womb. I also fixed it so that it would be a boy… Diana insisted on that. I would be just as happy for a girl. Anyway… when we are ready… there will be a Hugh V.”

 

“Well,” Batgirl was relieved but bewildered. “I guess congratulations are in order.”

 

“You have no idea the service you have rendered for me, Barbara,” Diana took hold of Batgirl’s hands. “I’ll always be grateful. You’re new altered body is but one small way to thank you… and of, course, when the baby is born, you can see him as often as you wish. You can even tell him that you’re his real birth mother. We can share maternal duties if you like.”

 

“Since that’s a ways down the road, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” Barbara got serious again. “What I really want to know now is what you said about my old body and skills declining… as if it was done on purpose. What villain is responsible for that?”

 

“Your father,” Wonder Woman said somberly. “He knows you’re Batgirl. He’s known for a long time.”

 

“What?” Barbara was truly stunned again. “That can’t be. If he did know, he would have confronted me.”

 

“I can explain that, too.”

 

“I don’t believe this. How did he find out?” Despite all the other incredible things that Batgirl accepted as the truth, this was the hardest to swallow. She was hoping that this was one issue that was inaccurate.

 

“He has a key to your apartment, Barbara.”

 

“I know that,” Batgirl was still in denial. She couldn’t believe that her loving father would betray her. “I gave him a key… for emergencies.”

 

“Well… he’s been visiting your place on a regular basis while you’re at work or out as Batgirl. He snoops around your apartment looking for evidence to use against you.”

 

“Why would he do that? I never gave him reason.”

 

Diana sighed. She knew that this would be the most difficult thing to explain to her friend. That’s why she saved it for last.

 

“You know how you’re father is… old fashioned… from the old school… women should get married, quit their jobs, stay home, and take care of the kids. How many times has he harped on you? Barbara, how come you don’t find yourself a nice young man and get married so I can have some grandkids? I’m not getting any younger and neither are you. He’s like a broken record.”

 

“I’ve been hearing that crap since I graduated from college. I’m use to it. I tuned it out. Come on, Diana. My dad may be from the old school, but he still loves me and I still love him. He would never stoop so low as to….”

 

“You’d be surprised,” Diana interrupted. “Being Batgirl doesn’t give you a lot of time for a social life. That’s the price we heroes pay. Your father was getting concerned about you never having a serious boyfriend and dating infrequently. Being a secret crime-fighter was the real reason for your lack of suitors… but your father didn’t know that at the time. Instead, he got it in his head that you were a closeted lesbian and was having secret love affairs with women. He’s been snooping around your apartment looking for evidence to confront you. Being from the old school, he believes that homosexuality is a mental disorder and he planned to have you committed to a mental hospital so you could be cured.”

 

“That’s why I always found things out of place from time to time,” Batgirl scratched her head. “I thought I was going nuts… all those long hours at the library and crime-fighting.”

 

“He’s been doing it for years. He never found anything, but he was convinced that you were a lesbian. A few months ago, he finally discovered the switch to your revolving wall and found all your Batgirl stuff.”

 

Which still doesn’t make sense, Diana. If he knew for months, he would have confronted me and forbad me from being Batgirl from the very moment he found out.”

 

“Which was exactly what he planned to do, but he wanted to talk to Batman first. He thought he owed it to the Caped Crusader to explain why one of his Bat-team members was suddenly put on the shelf. Batman told Commission Gordon not to confront you because you would resent him for the rest of your life. That sneaky Bat-cowled bastard had another idea to get rid of you without you being upset with your father and without Batman tarnishing his own image. You see… Barbara… he always hated the fact that you where his logo.”

 

“Why would he do that? He gave me his logo to wear with his blessing.”

 

“Which he gave grudgingly. Don’t get me wrong. Batman is a very brave and a top-notch crime fighter and a detective that makes Sherlock Holmes look like an imbecile, but he’s also a chauvinist. Why do you think we don’t get along? He hates the fact that I’m his physical superior in every way. He only puts up with Batgirl because of public sentiment. The public adores you and if he renounced you, it would give him a negative public image and his PR would be shot to hell. He feels threatened that your popularity was starting to rank up there with his. He didn’t dare purposely send you on a suicide mission because, then you would become a martyr. It wasn’t a good idea for him to set you to make you look bad and disgrace you because he was afraid it would disgrace him as well… considering you wear his logo. The best course of action would be if Batgirl just quit… but he had to make it look like it was your idea to quit.”

 

“Now that he had your father’s blessing, he gave you a concentrated dose of the anti-woman virus. He slipped it in your punch cup at Green Arrow’s surprise birthday party.”

 

“And that’s about when, I started to slip.” It all made sense to Batgirl.

 

“And you slipped gradually. It would look suspicious if you suddenly became obsolete overnight. Batman figured that when you saw yourself starting to lose your edge, you would retire on your own. That way, he gets rid of you and keeps his image clean, and your father gets his obedient little girl back.”

 

“Those sons-of-bitches!” Batgirl slammed her fist in her hands and then calmed down. “How did you find out? Batman is very careful about these things. You were spying on him?”

 

“No,” Wonder Woman smiled like the cat that swallowed the canary. “I have a very reliable source.”

 

“Then your knowledge isn’t first hand,” Batgirl was still hopeful. “Second hand knowledge can be inaccurate and distorted.”

 

 “He’s just outside this room and you can hear it from his own mouth so that you’ll be totally convinced. He even insisted that I put the lasso on him so that you know what you hear from him is the truth. He knows that Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, but you needn’t worry. Your secret is safe with him. While he was under my lasso, he swore on the souls of his dead parents that he would never tell anyone of your secret identity… even without it, I still would have believed him because he’s a noble man of his word. Is it okay to ask him to come in?”

 

“Please,” Barbara was anxious to be convinced of her father’s part in this sordid business.

 

Wonder Woman looked to Hugh who, in turn, nodded to Nadia to open the door and let their guest inside.

 

 

A man in his mid-fifties entered the room. He had a head of red hair under his policeman’s hat that he wore proudly. His blue uniform did not have a wrinkle and his official badge and coat buttons were finely polished.

 

The man simply stepped up to Barbara Gordon and tipped his hat to her and said with an Irish brogue, “Top o’ the mornin’ to ye’, Batgirl. Tis’ always a pleasure to see ye’, although I wished it where under wee better circumstances.”

 

 

Barbara’s jaw dropped. She couldn’t believe who it was.

 

 

“Chief O’Hara?” Batgirl exclaimed.

 

 

PART 14

 

 

“T’is true, Batgirl,” Chief O’Hara said with Wonder Woman’s lasso applied comfortably around his waist. “I was in the office, in open view, when your father and Batman hatched their devious plot. I wouldn’t have believed it me’self if’n I had not heard it with me own ears.”

 

Obviously, the Chief must be telling the truth.

 

“If you were there,” said Batgirl, “my father and Batman would have made you swear to secrecy. That’s not like you at all, Chief. I appreciate your coming forward, but you never break your word.”

 

“T’is true also, Batgirl… if’n I had given me word… which I didn’t. Most of time, the Commissioner and Batman ignore me and forget that I’m in the very same room with them. They treat me as insignificant… but ye’ve always treated me with respect, Batgirl… always listened to what I had to say even if you didn’t agree with me or thought it was stupid. Batman never listens to a word I have to say… and even when I come up with something brilliant, he or your father takes all the credit for it, and pats me on the head like a wee little boy and offers me a cookie. I guess that Batman and your father are so used to ignoring me… that they forgot or didn’t realize that I was in the room hearing every word. At first, I didn’t know what to do. If I told ye… well… ye wouldn’t have believed me… and then I would have lost ye respect as well. That was something I couldn’t bear… so I decided to go to Wonder Woman and see if she could help. If’n Batman thought I were’n a snitch, I could always get the fine lass here to use that magic rope on me to make me forget that I told… and I could deny any charges with all due honesty. Pretty clever of me, wouldn’t ye say?”

 

“You did the right thing, Chief,” Batgirl kissed him on the cheek. “I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I’m sorry that you had to go through all this trouble.’

 

“Tis no trouble a’tall, Lass.”

 

“Be assured that you will not be on my shit list with my father. I can expect something like this from Batman… but my father? That asshole! Of all the dirty underhanded tricks.”

 

“And ye’ needn’t be worrying about me spilling the beans on ye. Ye have me word that if’n anyone learns ye secret, it won’t be’in from me. However, if ye’d feel a wee bit more at ease, I kin have Wonder Woman make me forget wha’tever ye want.”

 

“Not necessary, Chief,” Batgirl motioned for Wonder Woman to take the lasso of him. “I trust you. I just want to know one more thing… Why? How come you decided to put your loyalty to me rather than Batman and my father… and after all those years you’ve served under him?”

 

“Well, Batgirl, as much as I hate to bash ye father… all those ‘years’ of serving under him is the reason I threw in with ye lot. I’ve served under him as Chief of Police… fer too long. He’s always looked down on me and I’m tired of being his second banana. It never occurred to that narrow-minded horse’s arse that I might be stagnating at me’ current rank and might want to move up to Police Commissioner. After all me’ years of service and watching ye father, I have all the experience and knowledge to do the job. But that daft prick won’t step-aside, retire, or even move up himself. Two years ago, he was approached to run for Mayor after his Honor, Linseed, had the good sense to retire. He was a shoe-in to get elected cause’n no one wanted to run again’ him. What does that bleedin’ backstabber do? He declines because he doesn’t want to give up being Commissioner… leaving me stuck at a dead end.”

 

“Batman is an arse, too. He always makes me police force look like a bunch of Keystone cops. He gets all the credit while we look like a bunch o’ dopes. He fights the bad guys and then we have to clean up his mess. Ever wonder why me men and I always show up after the fight is over and round everyone up to haul them away in the paddy wagon? Batman sees to that… as if’n hauling away the garbage is the only thing we be good fer.”

 

“I guess I can’t blame you for that, Chief,” Batgirl sighed, “now that I know what a two-face asshole he really is.”

 

Chief O’Hara looked to everyone in the room. “If there tisn’t anything else ye need, I best be on me way.”

 

“Are you sure you can’t stay for brunch, Chief O’Hara?” asked Hugh.

 

“I’ll be taking a rain check, if’n you don’t mind, Mr. Howards. I promise me grand-children that I would take them to the park.”

 

“Please forgive us for not escorting you out, Chief,” Hugh said. “I’m afraid that we all have important business to discuss. Captain Kirk will escort you safely off the estate.”

 

“That’ll be fine,” Chief O’Hara tipped his hat to everyone. “G’day to ye all.” Then he turned to Bargirl one last time. “Ye can rest assured, lass, that if’n I’m ever Commissioner, Batgirl will get the full respect and credit what’n she deserves.”

 

 

“You’re darn right, we have important business, Hugh,” Batgirl waited until the Chief was safely out of the room. “First, we need to deal with my father….”

 

“All in due time, my love,” Hugh gestured to Nadia to get something. “First things, first. Try on your new uniform.”

 

Nadia returned with a rack that contained a costume that was very much similar to Batgirls own.

 

“Unlike your old costume,” Hugh said. “All material is totally resistant to harm. No wear and tear. Stain resistant. Never needs to be cleaned. Doesn’t collect sweat or body odor. Totally bullet proof and impervious to fire and chemicals. It should last forever.”

 

 

First, Batgirl tried on the black sports bra and panties. It actually conformed to her body like a second skin. It almost felt like she had nothing on.

 

“These undergarments will give you full support and maintain your lovely figure,” Hugh said as if he were a proud fashion designer showing off his new line. “There will be no strap marks to be seen from under your costume and they won’t leave lines on your body.

 

 

Then Batgirl tried on her body-leotard which also hugged her body as a second skin… as if she had nothing on. She was delighted to see that her emblem that Nadia had removed from her old costume was on the breast of her new costume. He didn’t put it in his trophy case after all.

 

“Your emblem is sewed on with reinforced thread so it will be most difficult for anyone to rip it off your chest. The leotard is fully insulated to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer… regardless of temperature. You can keep your costume on under your civilian clothes indefinitely if need be.”

 

 

Next she tried on her new boots. Perfect fit!

 

“Those boots have friction sensors to adjust for surfaces so you can walk on a sheet of ice without slipping and as effortlessly as walking on a regular floor. With practice you can adjust the fiction any way you want so that you can slide on rough concrete like it were ice… if you needed to. If you set it right, you can actually walk on walls and on ceilings… but not as graceful as Spider-man, I’m afraid. The boots are steel-toed but light to prevent your foot from being crushed and to give someone a nasty kick in the face. Now click on the very back heel twice, rapidly….”

 

Batgirl did so and a blade popped out from the front tip of the boot… straight out… not from the side like a switch blade.

 

“Cool!” she said. “Just like the infamous Colonel Rosa Klebb in that James Bond movie.”

 

“Quite correct, my dear. There’s a special compartment that Nadia can show you later where you can coat the blade with poison or knockout drugs. Just tap twice like you did before and it will retract.”

 

 

Batgirl easily retracted the blade.

 

 

Next were the gloves, which fit… like a glove. It didn’t even feel like she had them on.

 

“Those gloves are fitted with kinetic energy absorbers. You can catch anything thrown at you, including spinning blades, without damaging your hand. If you’re fast enough, you can even catch bullets.”

 

 

Batgirl then buckled on her new utility belt. It was less cumbersome than her old one and very light weight.

 

 

“That buckle is programmed to read your body heat pattern so only you can remove it. There will be no more worrying about any opponent ripping it off your waist or cutting it off. Inside the compartment are all up-to-date versions of your previous weapons, equipment, and gadgets… plus a few more goodies added on. You’ll find your batarang and the throwing blades in your gloves and boots to be more aerodynamic and more accurate from further distances. Nadia will brief you on all the equipment and their uses later on.”

 

Then Batgirl put her new cape on. It was light… but sturdier than her old one.

 

“You will find that your gliding capabilities will be much greater. If you have a good wind, you can take off like a kite from a standing position rather than having to get a good run.”

 

Then she tried on her eye mask.

 

“No spirit gun needed for application. It actually grafts with your skin and adheres to your face. Touch it. You feel no edges around the mask… almost like it a part of your face. Everyone else will think it’s a tattoo. It can’t be removed until you “will it” to come off. Give it a try.”

 

Last… and certainly not least… was the cowl.

 

“Your new headgear blocks out psionic attacks and makes you invulnerable to mental control. It will protect you from physical blows to your head. It can pick up all radio and police bands. There are sensors that will drop lenses over your eyes to protect them from blowing dirt… knocking out the glare of bright light. You can look directly into the sun or an eclipse without harming your eyes or seeing those nasty spots afterwards. They will drop infra red lenses so that you can see in total darkness. A special guard will drop over your mouth area in case you find yourself in an area that doesn’t have air… such as underwater… inside an air-tight vault… it will prevent you from breathing in smoke or if someone tries to gas you. There’s enough air to be recycled for forty-eight hours.”

 

 

Batgirl looked in the mirror and marveled at her new costume. She twirled her cape like a fashion show model. She loved it. She loved Hugh.

 

“Now let’s test you out,” Hugh motioned for Nadia to bring a thick board over to Batgirl. “Can you break this board?”

 

“No way,” Batgirl shook her head. “Too thick.”

 

“Well, you can now. Your strength is enhanced. You are the equivalent of a two-hundred twenty pound professional boxer. Just focus and give it a try. Even if you fail, the kinetic absorbers in your gloves will prevent your hand from breaking.”

 

“Go ahead, Miss,” Nadia reassured here. “Just focus. You can do it.”

 

Batgirl did just that. She concentrated and put all her focus into her right hand.

 

“Ye-aaaah!” Batgirl yelled as she exhaled and broke the board.

 

“I knew you could do it, Miss.”

 

“What’s with this Miss crap? Only yesterday you were calling me Bat-bitch.”

 

“That was before you passed your trials and Hugh improved you.” Nadia bowed her head in shame. “You are my superior now and I must obey you. I will also help you in your training to adjust to your new body and show you how to use your new equipment and cape properly. If you would rather have someone else, I will understand considering my poor treatment of you. Please understand that I needed every advantage I could get. After all, Miss, you are Batgirl. I idolized you for years. I could never measure up to you. I was terrified of you the whole time, even when you were tied up.”

 

“Get the hell out of here,” Batgirl gave Nadia a playful shove. “You had nerves of steel.”

 

“Are you kidding me, Miss? You didn’t see my knees shaking? That first time you told me not to go for my gun… I nearly pissed in my skirt.”

 

“And stop calling me Miss. Either call me Batgirl or Barbara.”

 

“That’s very gracious of you, Miss… I mean… Batgirl. I do hope we can be friends.”

 

           

“Let’s continue this meeting of the Mutual Admiration Society later. Nadia, test Batgirl’s reflexes and combat prowess just like at practice. Don’t pull your punches. Full out! Don’t worry. You won’t hurt her. Attack!”

 

“Wait, Hugh,” Batgirl said, “If I’m altered, I could hurt Nadi…. Ahhhh!”

 

“Eyes front, Batgirl,” Nadia attacked her distracted opponent and nailed her on the chin with the full force of a right hand. “Never let your guard down. Didn’t Batman teach you that?”

 

Batgirl staggered back. She was only stunned for, not even, a second, before her head cleared and she took a defensive poise. “I hardly felt that. You hit me cleanly and as hard as you could. I know you didn’t pull that punch. It should have taken my head off.”


“I didn’t pull it, Miss… ummm… Batgirl,” Nadia circled around her opponent ready to attack again. “You may have more constitution, endurance, and recovery, but don’t always depend on that.”

 

Nadia closed in, at what seemed, lightning speed. She trusted a very fast punch, and Batgirl blocked it with relative ease. It was as if she didn’t have to think about defense, her response just came automatically.

 

Nadia threw more fast kicks and punches. She was an outstanding martial artist! Batgirl instinctively blocked, feinted, parried, side-stepped, ducked and twisted. The attacks were coming very fast but Batgirl was able to defend. She knew that in her “previous state,” Nadia’s rapid attacks would have her backing up… perhaps even catching her with a few blows. Batgirl knew that Nadia was going full out and not holding back. She was really trying to hit Batgirl… and hit her hard. She had to give Nadia credit, despite that Batgirl was now avoiding every attack thrown at her, Nadia didn’t lose her focus or get frustrated. She remained disciplined as she continued her attack.

 

Batgirl side-stepped a punch, and saw her opening. She let out a forward strike to Nadia’s exposed shoulder. Not wanting to injury Nadia, she hit with on open palm rather than a closed fist.

 

“Oooof,” Nadia grimaced a bit as she backed off and rubbed her shoulder.

 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hit you so hard.”

 

“Very good, Batgirl. See… you were patient and found your opening. At last, you’re showing signs of the old Batgirl that I grew to admire.”

 

“You’re no slouch yourself, Nadia,” Batgirl still retained her defense even though her opponent was hurt. “I see that you really earned that black belt you’re wearing… and it’s not just for show.”

 

“I placed third in the state championships in college,” Nadia charged in with a series of punches followed by a spinning kick.

 

Reacting at a speed that Batgirl never knew she had, she caught Nadia’s foot. Normally she wouldn’t be able to do this against so skilled a martial artist, but the kinetic absorber in her glove nullified the shock of her hand getting struck. She wrapped her other arm around Nadia’s leg, twisted it and brought Nadia down, slamming her hard on the floor. Batgirl then twisted Nadia’s leg and maintained pressure.

 

“Ahhhhh!” Nadia screamed in pain as she took the flat of her hand and starting to slap the floor.

 

Realizing that this was a “tap out” submission, she immediately let released Nadia.

 

“Excellent, Barbara,” said Wonder Woman, “You’re back to your old form… and then some!”

 

“Good to be back,” Batgirl helped Nadia get to her feet as she saw that her opponent had trouble getting to a standing position.

 

As Batgirl supported her, Nadia whispered in her ear. “Let’s have some fun with Wonder Woman. How about a little payback for her setting you up? Distract her so I can snag that lasso away from her. Trust me! You’re going to love what Hugh has planned for her.”

 

Not wanting to give anything away, Batgirl gave Nadia a mischievous smile. Turnabout was fair play, after all. Although, in the end, Wonder Woman did her a great service, the Amazon did make her suffer some humiliation… and payback can be a bitch!

 

 

“Okay, Wonder Woman,” Batgirl took a battle poise as Nadia sneaked away to get into position. “That was a warm up. Let’s see how I do against the power hitter.”

 

“Be careful what you ask for, Barb,” Wonder Woman slowly walked toward Batgirl. “Unlike Nadia, you will feel my punches… enhanced or not.”

 

“If… you can hit me,” Batgirl started to do a series of back flips and cartwheels toward the star-spangled vixen.

 

Wonder Woman took an easy swing as not to hurt her friend, but Batgirl jumped over it and kicked the Amazon in the chest. Diana felt no pain but the force did make her stagger backwards a step or two… just enough to trip and fall over Nadia who had gotten behind Wonder Woman on all fours.

 

“Very funny,” Wonder Woman got up more embarrassed than hurt. Nadia had scurried away as fast as she appeared.

 

Batgirl smiled as she saw Nadia waved Wonder Woman’s lasso in her hand as the Amazon had her back to the thief. It was obvious that Nadia nimbleness with her fingers (as she demonstrated when she removed Batgirl’s emblem cleanly) also made her a master of sleight of hand and pick-pocketing. Wonder Woman never noticed that it was lifted off her belt. Wonder Woman charged at Batgirl while Nadia threw the coiled lasso to Hugh.

 

Batgirl threw a series of punches at Wonder Woman who blocked them with ease. Wonder Woman threw a punch of her own and Batgirl caught the fist in her hand. Even with the kinetic absorbers, Batgirl could feel the impact, but, unlike before, Wonder Woman would have broken her hand.

 

Before Batgirl could launch another attack, Wonder Woman used her other arm to grab Batgirl’s arm and throw the caped crusaderess over her shoulder. Batgirl landed flat on the floor and got the wind knocked out of her.

 

“Haha!” Wonder Woman stood arrogantly over Batgirl in her traditional poise of putting her hands on her hips. “Pretty nice try, Barb, but you still have quite a bit of training to go before… ugghhhhh!”

 

Wonder Woman dropped to her knees as she felt her lasso wrap around her shoulders and pin her arms to her sides. She could feel the ropes will-sapping power starting to take an immediate hold. She looked around to see Hugh holding the other end. Why was he doing this? He didn’t need to bondage her to take her into his bed anymore. He knew that she would freely do this now.

 

“Hugh… what’s going on?” With get inner strength, Wonder Woman managed to get her fingers under the rope and slowly start to inch it up so she could get it off. She could break the hold her own lasso if she used all her strength. She could do it! She knew she could! She was a proud Amazon… a princess… Wonder Woman!

 

A few more seconds was all she needed to free herself. She was almost to her feet.

 

“Her belt, Nadia,” yelled Hugh. “Remove it quick. It’s giving her the strength to fight off the lasso’s effects.”

 

Riiiiipppppp!

 

Knowing exactly where to pull, Nadia yanked off Wonder Woman’s Magic Belt of Strength. With her strength and mental fortitude now reduced to a normal mortal, Wonder Woman easily succumbed to the lasso’s power. She dropped her hands and fell down to her knees.

 

“Batgirl! Nadia!” Hugh ordered. “Seize her. Bind her helpless. Strip her of her garments of pride. She must be rendered totally at my mercy for my plan to work.”

 

“Barbara… please,” Wonder Woman pleaded. “Whatever Hugh has planned… don’t let him do it. I can’t go through this humiliation again. I’m afraid.”

 

“Too bad, bitch,” Diana’s pleas fell on deaf ears as Batgirl quickly removed Wonder Woman’s bracelets and tore her tiara off her forehead.

 

That action was about the same equivalent of shame as when Batgirl was stripped of her emblem. “Let’s see how you like it. Let’s see if you remember what it feels like. Whatever Hugh has in store for you… I’m sure it’s for your own good.”

 

“Barbara… Please stop… mmmmpppphhh!” Wonder Woman’s words were cut short when Nadia shoved a piece of cloth in her mouth and secured it in place with the same type of locking strap that was used on Batgirl.

 

Nadia pushed Wonder Woman down so that she was lying down with her face to the floor.

 

“Quick, Batgirl. Force her arms behind her back. Cross her wrists. Hold them in place.”

 

Like a world-class rodeo roper, Nadia wrapped the rest of the magic lasso around Wonder Woman’s shoulders and then pulled.

 

“Mmmmpphhh!” Wonder Woman grimaced in pain.

 

“Tighter, Nadia,” yelled Hugh. “We must make sure that she can’t escape. She must be rendered totally immobile and helpless.”

 

After Nadia made the first few loops around Wonder Woman’s wrist, Batgirl didn’t have to hold them in place. Hugh threw Batgirl a pair of metal bracelets and she knew exactly what he wanted. As Nadia finished binding Diana’s hands in a nice, tight, neat, little package, Batgirl pulled off Wonder Woman’s boots and snapped the restraints in place. Seconds later, they were magnetized and Wonder Woman’s feet were now helplessly locked together.

 

They rolled Wonder Woman so that she was now lying on her back. Although she was totally bound and helpless, and stripped of her belt, bracelets, and tiara, she still had some fight in her.

 

For almost a minute, she struggled and gyrated in her bondage before succumbing to the will-breaking power of the lasso.

 

“Mmmmmm,” she gave a soft moan to concede her defeat.

 

“Just like busting a bronco at the rodeo,” Batgirl mocked.

 

“You were right, Cupcake,” Nadia straightened herself out. “You were right not to take chances with her. For a second there, I thought she was going to get out. That’s one tough broad.”

 

“That’s why I love her. Never underestimate the will and pride of an Amazon.” Hugh then signaled for Batgirl and Nadia to put their new captive in a chair for the time being.

 

“What’s this all about, Hugh?” Batgirl asked.

 

“I decided that when my son is born that he should also have a sister to play with. I’ve always wanted one of each and Diana will provide the second one.”

 

“But I thought she couldn’t get pregnant for a long time.”

 

“I had a visit from Diana’s mother last week along with a few of her goon-bodyguard bitches. If Darren Stevens ever had to have that ice-queen for a mother-in-law, he’d be kissing Andorra’s butt for the rest of his life. Her Majesty tried to strong-arm me into divorcing her daughter and threatened to turn my estate to rubble if I didn’t release my demonic hold that I had on Diana. Needless to say, I arranged for the bitch to meet Rex and she sang a different tune. Before I sent that Royal twat home with her tail between her legs, I learned a few things about Amazon lore and culture. It seems her dear mother fibbed, yet again, about the rules of procreation… or actually, only told part of the truth. The fifty year rule is the only time an Amazon can bear a child… willingly. There is an exception to the rule for Amazons of royal blood… particularly Queen Hippolyta and her daughters, Princess Diana and Drusilla.”

 

“Remember when Diana said in jest that she could only get pregnant ‘once in a blue moon?’ That is not an expressing that is thrown out. There really is such a thing as a Blue moon. Do you know what that is, Barbara?”

 

Barbara scratched her head. “I’m not really sure… something special about a full moon… a special eclipse or something like that?”

 

“Sort of,” Hugh answered. “For the most part, a full moon only occurs once in a calendar month. One some rare occasions, it is possible to have a second full moon within the same calendar month. That second moon is known as a Blue moon. It’s an infrequent occurrence, but it happens… henceforth the phrase… once in a blue moon. We had a full moon on the first of this month and we will have another on the thirty-first or last day of this month… tonight at sundown.”

 

“On those days, Amazons of royal blood can conceive; however, their natural instinct is to fight any attempts to impregnate them as they must be conquered and are honor-bound to do all within their power to prevent it… even going into that legendary berserker rage. Since I don’t want my darling wife to rip my head off, we had to blindside her in order to conquer her. Now I must use my special sexual foreplay techniques throughout the day to calm her down, so I can take her at sundown. Would you be so kind as her strip her down and put her on my bed? Don’t worry, Diana darling, I’m making the same arrangements as I did for Batgirl. You’re glorious figure will not be ruined.”

 

Before Diana could mutter any objections through her gag, Nadia unloosened the hooks to Wonder Woman’s bustier while Batgirl used one of her blades to cut off her star-spangled shorts. Batgirl wasn’t worried about damaging her friend’s costume, as all Diana would need to do is spin around and reform her uniform later.

 

 

After they dumped Wonder Woman’s bound and beautifully naked body on the bed, Hugh told them, “Don’t worry about Diana. I’ll take very good care of her. Don’t worry about retaliation on her part. Once it’s over, she’s honor bound not to take revenge… and she’ll thank us all in the long run. Now, way don’t you two run along and play with those new toys in your utility belt? I’ll be busy for the rest of the day. I’m sure you’ll have plenty to amuse yourselves with. Perhaps, you can plan on our next conquest… the Huntress? There are so many heroines that will need our help against that dreaded disease.”

 

Batgirl and Nadia nodded to Hugh as they happily walked out the bedroom.

 

 

Wonder Woman’s eyes opened to total fear as Hugh slowly started walking toward her. She struggled one more time, but to no avail.

 

“Now, my dear,” Hugh smiled as he rubbed his hands. “What part of your body should I massage and tickle first? Once again… here lies the invincible Wonder Woman… bound, gagged, totally naked… totally defeated and conquerered… totally helpless… and totally at my mercy. It doesn’t get any better than this… HAHAHAHA!”

 

 

EPLILOGUE 1

 

 

After their training session, Nadia and Batgirl showered, even though it wasn’t necessary as neither of them were sweaty and grimy.

 

Nadia elected to dress back in her uniform (she had plenty of spares as they had a tendency to get torn or cut) but didn’t wear her hat. She had just styled her hair just like she wanted and didn’t want to smash it down. Batgirl put her costume back on as she did not have any other clothes to wear. Hugh had ordered some for her but they wouldn’t be delivered for a few hours. Nadia offered to let Batgirl borrow some of her clothes but they were much too big for Barbara petite frame.

 

“Wow,” Nadia said, “That was the best workout and training session I ever took part in… and it was so much fun, too. I’ve never seen anyone pick up so fast on my instruction before… and you ride your new Batgirl-cycle like a pro. I thought it would take you days to learn everything.”

 

“It’s easy when you have a great teacher,” Batgirl smiled. She found that she really liked Nadia and had a feeling that they might be good friends.

 

“Why thank you… B-B-Barbara,” the name almost stuck in Nadia’s throat. Although Batgirl gave Nadia the green light to call her by her first name, the blonde bombshell felt funny about slipping and using it… not feeling that she earned that right, just yet. Since Batgirl didn’t object to the use of her first name, Nadia continued talking.

 

“What would you like to do now? Just name it. Horseback riding? Golf range? Tennis?”

 

“I don’t know about you, Nadia,” Batgirl had a strange look in her eye, “but all this working out has made me really horny. I seriously need to get laid or find a private spot to pleasure myself.”

 

“Me, too,” Nadia was happy that she wasn’t the only one feeling frisky. “It’s too bad that Hugh is going to be busy for a while. All the other guys on this estate are kinda… dorky. That’s the one side effect of our enhanced body… a greater sexual libido. Of course, with our improved bodies we can have unprotected sex without fear of getting a disease or getiing pregnant… unless we ‘will’ ourselves to conceive.”

 

“What about the gorgeous hunk of man… Captain Kirk? That’s one wild stallion that I could ride for days. I want to show him a little appreciation of his concern for me. Don’t tell me he’s gay.”

 

“He’s all man, Barbara. That I guarantee. The only problem is that he claims that he doesn’t get involved with co-workers.”

 

“We’ll see about that,” Batgirl straightened out her gloves. “I’m going to pleasure that bull whether he likes it or not. How about we blindside and tie him up? Let’s flip a coin to see who gets him first… and third.”

 

“No need for that,” Nadia suddenly remembered. “His identical twin brother visits him on Saturdays. They’re both likely to be at Captain Kirk’s private quarters. And get a load of this, Barbara…. Captain Jason Kirk’s brother is a captain, too, but an airline pilot. He’s name is Jim… and his middle name is Thomas… get it?”

 

“His twin brother’s name is Captain James T. Kirk? That’s a trip!”

 

 

“May we come in?” Batgirl said to Captain Kirk as she and Nadia walked into his quarters before the man could answer. She casually pulled off her gloves.

 

“Batgirl,” James Kirk, who was just a gorgeous as his twin brother, stood up. “This is a surprise. You sure keep some interesting company, Jason. Nice to see you as always… Nadia… isn’t it?”

 

“Guilty as charged,” Nadia moved closer to Jim Kirk. It appeared that she decided which man she was going to have.

 

Jason Kirk gave Batgirl a strange look as she took off her cowl and undid her cape and let them fall to the floor like she did with her gloves.

 

“Is there something that we can do for you ladies?” Jason Kirk asked.

 

“Actually, Gentleman,” Batgirl undid her utility belt buckle with a loud click and let to fall to the floor. Nadia did the same with her gun belt. “It’s what we can do for you.…”

 

 

EPILOGUE 2 (Three months later)

 

 

 

Supergirl landed on the roof top area of the very tall and private parking garage. She looked around and waited for her “appointment” to arrive.

 

“Thanks for coming on such short notice,” said Wonder Woman as she, too, landed on the roof.

 

“I got here as soon as I got your message, Wonder Woman,” Supergirl smiled to her fellow super-heroine.

 

“I’m really sorry to bother you on a Friday afternoon, Supergirl, and put a damper on your weekend… but I need a favor.”

 

Supergirl looked confused as Wonder Woman pulled out an envelope.

 

 

From about a mile away from the building, Batgirl lowered her binoculars as she saw Wonder Woman fly off one way, and Supergirl fly off in the opposite direction… toward Hugh’s mansion.

 

“She’s on her way, Darling,” Batgirl said into her radio. “I’ll join you and Diana up there later on tonight. I promised to have lunch with the Joker.”

 

“You two have been seeing a lot of each other lately,” Hugh voice answered. “I can’t believe you got him to reform. Only three months ago he was a homicidal maniac, now he’s cured of his insanity and a beloved late night talk show host. I guess when you kidnapped and seduced him, you convinced him that there are some advantages to walking the straight and narrow.”

 

“Your conditioning helped, too. It wasn’t really his fault that he turned out bad. He was dragged into crime when a bunch of thugs forced him to be the Red Hood and a scapegoat should the law come after them. The poor man only wanted to steal the money from that playing card company because he wanted to help his impoverished wife who was with child. Then the poor woman dies tragically and those rotten thugs make him go through with the robbery anyway. Then Batman shows up, and believing the Red Hood dupe to be the gang leader, goes after him. I think the death of a spouse and falling into a vat of chemicals that turns your skin white, lips dark red, and your hair green would drive anyone insane. Poor Joker never wanted to be a villain in the first place… he just wanted to make people laugh.”

 

“I guess so,” Hugh answered before changing the subject. “Are you sure that we made the right choice to help Supergirl and delay out treatment for the Huntress?”

 

“We’ll get the Huntress next time. I promise. She’s a tricky one and we’re not ready for her yet. Supergirl may have super-powers, but she’s much more naïve. She won’t be any trouble once you give her a splash of that Kryptonite gas and Rex’s Kryptonite coated tentacles. Just make sure to break her down easy. Because she has invulnerability, she’s not used to taking pain if she’s knocked down to normal. She may be more susceptible to it.”

 

“I’ll handle her kit gloves, Barbara, dear. I promise. It will only be a matter of time before all heroines are free of the disease… and they will all be so grateful to me.”

 

“And you deserve all their gratitude and affection, Hugh. Just think… Huntress next… then Black Canary… then Zatanna… then Doctor Light… and then….”

 

EPILOGUE 3 (Ten years later)

 

 

It had been seven years to the day, since Barbara Gordon went public and let the world know that she was Batgirl.

 

It was the greatest move of her career.

 

She was a media darling and every talk show wanted her… and every company wanted to hire her to endorse their products. At this point, she didn’t care that she was using her crime fighting career for personal gain. She was tired of being a librarian. She was tired of Batman’s petty jealousy because she was now just an effective crime-fighter as he was. She had left the JLA when she discovered that they had no intention of making her a full time member. The promise of full membership was just a carrot to tangle in front of her to keep her in line and giving her all the crummy duties that the other members didn’t want.

 

Batgirl didn’t want carrots. She wanted the whole garden!

 

 

She told her father that she knew what he tried to do to her. She told him that she now disowned him. A few days later, Commissioner Gordon was sent to a mental institution when he attempted to commit suicide. Commissioner O’Hara soon took over and did an even better job than his predecessor.

 

With the money she earned doing special appearances and public speaking, she used it to buy a health club facility and self-defense studio. She even opened up a school to train female bodyguards. Her best client was Catwoman’s security company. Nadia had become as good a friend to her as Wonder Woman. She left Hugh’s employ to become Barbara’s vice president of operations. Soon Batgirl had a line of exercise attire and wrote books on health and nutrition. It was an easy sell considering that her actual age was thirty eight… but she still looked like she was in here late twenties!

 

It was also a time for Barbara to move on. As much as she loved and adored Hugh, she decided to let him go. This was because Wonder Woman told her that she was taking time off from crime-fighting so she could give motherhood her full attention. With children in the picture, Barbara didn’t feel right about sharing Hugh. She wanted a man of her own and found just the one for her.

 

 

Tonight was a special night. She and her friends were invited to join Commissioner O’Hara in his private box at the Gotham Opera House. Chandell had come out of hiding to do a concert for charity. It was a black tie event. All of Gotham’s important big wigs, like Bruce Wayne would be in attendance.

 

Barbara was a sight to behold in her long white designer evening gown with her long white gloves. Her gorgeous red hair was done up in marvelous french twist that made her look like a member of the Royal Family. With grace and elegance, she strolled out of her office and to the lobby to meet her party for the limo that would soon pick them up.

 

Much to Barbara’s surprise, only Nadia was there waiting. She looked just as stunning her own black evening gown.

 

“Where is everybody, Nadia?”

 

“Hugh and Diana will meet us at the concert. My husband, Jim, sends his regrets. His plane got snowed in at Denver. Your boyfriend just stepped out to use the rest room.”

 

“Well, looks like it’s just going to be the three of us in the limo… more room and champaign for us.”

 

“Honey-pie,” Joker suddenly appeared and gave Barbara a kiss on the cheek. “You look divine… as always.”

 

“And so do you, Sweetheart,” Barbara eyed up her love. He looked so handsome and dapper with his green hair slicked back and wearing a black tuxedo rather than his traditional purple.

 

“Did you hear the news, Barb?” said Nadia. “They finally let your father out of the mental hospital… says he’s cured. I thought he lost his mind for sure when he found out that you and Joker were dating.”

 

Barbara grabbed on to Joker’s arm. “Everyone calls us Beauty and the Beast… but remember, Joker, Darling, that if anyone calls me Beast again, I expect you to punch their lights out.”

 

“Ahhhaaaahoooohhoo,” Joker laughed. “Oh, Babs, Honey. You simply kill me. And speaking of flipping out, wait until your daddy finds out some more good news. HEEEEEHOOOOHHEEE.”

 

“What’s that?” Nadia’s curiosity was peaked.

 

“Should I tell her now, Honey?” Barbara asked Joker who simply smiled and nodded. “I was going to make the official announcement at the concert… so Daddy Dear can read it on the front page when he gets the paper from the front porch… but I know you can keep quite until then…” Barbara slipped off her evening glove to reveal a beautiful diamond ring. “We’re engaged. Joker proposed last night.”

 

“That’s the first piece of jewelry that I actually paid for and didn’t have to throw a brick through a window,” Joker laughed and everyone joined in. “Let’s just hope, Barbara, my love, that if there are any children, they take after their mother.”

 

After everyone finished laughing, Nadia hugged and kissed the happy couple.

 

“Congrats, you two. I couldn’t be more happy.”

 

“You’ll be a bridesmaid, of course?” she asked Nadia. “I really wanted to ask you to be Matron of Honor but I was torn between you and Diana. I picked her over you because we’ve been friends longer.”

 

“That’s okay, Honey. As long as I’m in the wedding party.”

 

“Blast,” Joker looked at his watch. “The limo should have been here by now. I’ll just step outside and make sure that he didn’t drive up to the wrong door by mistake. I’ll just be a moment, ladies. Don’t disappear or I’ll have to hunt you down. HeeeeHoooooHEEEEHahahahah!”

 

 

“Well, Barbara,” Nadia said after making sure that her friend’s fiancée was out of sight. “It looks like it took a former super-villain and Batman’s greatest nemesis to make an honest woman out of you.”

 

“You can sure say that again, Nadia. I thought for sure that I would be a member of the Old Maid’s Club.”

 

“Barbara,” Nadia took a serious tone. “Can I ask a personal question? You don’t have to answer it but….”

 

“Go ahead, Nadia. There are no secrets between you and me.”

 

“Don’t get me wrong, Dear. The Joker is a heck of a guy. But I mean… you are Gotham’s most eligible bachelorette. Every man wants you and you can get any man you want. You could have married George Clooney, Bruce Wayne, or Andy Garcia… you could have had any gorgeous hunk on the planet… but why are you settling for… the Joker?”

 

“Because,” Barbara gave her friend a wink and a smile, “he makes me laugh.”

 

 

 

THE END.

Flamingo Boy 12-25-06