The DCFuture Underground Fan Fiction Group acknowledges that DC Comics owns Batman and ALL related characters and retains complete rights to said characters. These concepts are used WITHOUT PERMISSION for NO PROFIT, but rather a strong desire to peer into the future of the DC Universe. However, the stories themselves and all elements contained within them are our intellectual property and we came up with them all on our own. Don'tcha just hate this legal stuff?

"It's Either Cherry Red... Or Midnight Blue"

Written by Daniel Ben-Zvi

Edited by Erik Burnham
Batman:DCF created and written by Erik Burnham

It wasn't so much that James Marshall had been beaten. The network of bruises and scars that lay under the evidence of more recent trauma was indicative of the fact that beatings tended to be a fact of life for the man. As the reigning No Rules Combat champion (NRC to the fans, of course), it was something of an occupational hazard. No, what was getting to the woman standing over Marshall's currently very deceased body was the way in which he had been beaten. This hadn't been the typical pounding once would associate with a robbery or a contract attack. Those tended to be random, unfocused collection of bruises and gashes, with no particular pattern or rhythm. No, this was way too organized, too methodical. Like the objective had been to see how much Marshall could be hurt. Or to see how much pain he could stand?

"What've we got, Montoya?" asked a gruff voice from behind her.

Alicia Montoya jumped, using all her will power to keep her lunch from joining the evidentiary remains of James Marshall's murder. "A homicide, Detective."

"That much is obvious," cracked Detective Jon Isaacs. "Any more details you can offer?"

"Subject was beaten to death. Brutally. For example, look at the right arm," said Montoya, pointing to what would once have been recognized as an arm, had it not been splayed out at angles a human arm was not designed to obtain. "Each finger broken in four separate places. The bone in the arm itself broken in six separate places. The damage is similar all over the body. Looks like someone took their time doing this, like they were enjoying their work. And for someone to be able to hit the bone through all that muscle," added Montoya, pointing to Marshall's large right bicep, "he had to have been immensely strong. Not only that, check out the bruising on his knuckles," said Montoya, pointing to his right hand. "The pattern of injury is consistent with combat. Looks like whoever killed Marshall wanted Marshall to fight him first."

"So we're looking for another one of these bloodsporters?" asked Detective Isaacs. "Someone looking to avenge a loss in the ring, pay Marshall back for turning their face into dog food?"

"I'm not sure," replied Montoya. "There's something else which makes me wonder."

"Oh great. Now what?"

"Marshall's covered in cuts and gashes all over his body. Fresh wounds."


"So, Detective Isaacs, why is there no blood on the floor?"


"Hey, hey, it's five o'clock in Gotham City, and you're listening to WGHT-FM with yours truly, Melissa Bloom. Time to get your fannies away from those 'puter screens that you've been staring vacantly into for the past eight hours, hop into those overpriced hovercars that you have mortgaged off your souls to pay and get yourself the sheol home! While you're doing that, I'll be playing something to try and make you forget about the drudgery of your dead-end job. So, just switch your brains off and listen to something light, fluffy, and totally vacuous."

I put on, well... some song or other by the latest disposable pop group of the moment. The name? Who cares, right? Some little fantasy group of young men for prepubescent girls (and boys, don't kid yourselves, folks) to drool over, never suspecting that they have three junkies, two alkies, and one same-sex relationship between them. Not to mention the little encounter with the lead singer and the 12-year-old groupie. Damn, but that had been a masterful job of spin control...

"Bloom! Can I see you in my office for a second?"

Shit! It's the station manager, Jason Cole. This cannot be good if he actually wants to talk.

I step into his office, fearing the worst. Cole has one of those offices filled with expensive furnishings, fancy paintings, and state of the art toys. It's a little psychological ploy, designed to make a guy with a small penis and a frigid wife feel like he has some sort of psychological advantage over the rest of us. I play nice, simple because I want to keep this job. "Yes, sir?"

"You remember the benefit for the Drake Industries urban renewal project. You know the one, low-cost housing for the poor, all the typical bleeding-heart liberal bullshit?"

Yeah, I do, a bunch of pompous, full-of-shit rich folks telling each other how wonderful they are for helping those "poor people" while they swill down caviar and imported champagne. "What about it?"

"Well, Sentech is asking that someone represent us at the benefit. On-air talent specifically."

Sentech Communications owns all our sorry asses. This is looking worse by the second. "I thought Morales was gonna be attending?"

"Unfortunately, Morales isn't going to be able to make it. He's had a personal emergency..." Finally figured out your wife was fucking the next-door neighbor, huh? Good for you, Carlos. "That's why I want you to go in his place."

WHAT?! "Um, excuse me?"

"You'll be going in his place."

You can't do this to me! I had plans! Complicated plans that took me a very long time to set up! You can't just spring some last-minute bullshit on me like this! "Isn't there someone else who can go, sir..."

"Now listen, Bloom, that last stunt you pulled on air got us sanctioned by the FCC. You owe me. And if that means you have to attend some boring-ass party, then you have to attend some boring-ass party! Do I make myself clear?"

Yes, sir. Anything I say beyond "yes, sir" will get me fired. "Yes, sir."

"Good. The party's at the Drake Industries headquarters, 8 pm sharp. Oh, and wear something sexy."

Asshole. I wait till I leave the office and his door is closed before flipping him the bird. Great. This just shoots everything to hell. Looks like the job is gonna have to wait.


He flexed his muscles, feeling their power as they bunched and moved underneath his skin. He looked in the mirror, enjoying the sight of the sheer size and power that now hung on his frame. But it wasn't enough. He still felt small inside. Weak. Helpless. He could still hear the voices inside his head, taunting him, screaming at him, "look at the little geekboy! Run home to mommy, geekboy! Go home and cry, geekboy! Come back and we'll do it again!"

No. Think of what is, not what was. Remember last night. Remember Marshall. Remember how he used to strut around the ring, showboating for the crowd, playing like nothing could ever hurt him. Remember how his fists struck you, how he winced in pain like he was hitting steel. Remember how he cried in pain as you broke him, slowly.

The man smiled.


Well, if this isn't just fabulous. Here I am, at the party as ordered, bored out of my skull. Once again, here I am forced to attend *another* boring function listening to sycophantic billionaires kiss each other's asses and tell each other and their wives how great they look. Of course, you know none of them mean a single thing they say. They're all just mentally sizing each other up, wondering whose bankroll is bigger, whose plastic surgeons are better, whose wives are actually faithful.

Ever listened to rich people talking? Really, it's like a kind of code that you have to listen to closely in order to decipher the true hidden meanings. My, is that a new dress? (Bitch, now I'll have to throw out my copy). You look like you lost weight! (Plastic surgery does wonders these days!) I've never felt better (With all the shit I pump into my body, it's a wonder I can actually feel anything at all). My doctor says I have the heart of a 19-year-old (He should now, he harvested it himself).

I check my watch, anxious to know how much longer I actually have to stay here for to keep from pissing Cole off. G-d, has it only been ten minutes? My, how time crawls when you're trapped in hell. That's it, Jason, I am sorry. I don't care if you fine me, fire me, even demote me to the graveyard shift, I cannot stay here one more bloody second. I am leaving right now...

Of course, with the typical luck of the damned, it is at that very moment that I feel the contents of someone's martini glass splash right down the front of the one good slinky black dress that I currently own. I'm trying to formulate some kind of response (halfway between bitching the guy out for being a klutz and thanking him for actually giving me something to remember about this evening) when he beats me to the punch.

"I'm terribly sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going; it was completely my fault," says a criminally sexy voice, all smooth and polished sounding. Okay, so this night may not be a total loss..

"Don't worry about it," I reply. "It's the most exciting thing to happen to me all night. Having to stand here listening to all these boring rich people who are so obsessed with money and wealth and power... if I have to listen to one more person bragging about sending Muffy down to Palm Springs for New Year's, I will lose it."

"I know what you mean," he laughed.
I finally catch his face. G-d, but this guy was cute. We are talking holostar cute, leading man cute, wet dream fantasy of lonely and desperate women everywhere cute. Most likely some stud that one of the old biddies in the crowd rented out for the evening. She got what she paid for. "It can get a bit overwhelming, sometimes. But it's one of the prices we pay for the life we lead, isn't it, Ms. Bloom?"

This is not a good thing. He knows me and I have no idea who he is. I really hate being at a disadvantage like that. "I'm sorry, you know who I am?"

"Very well. I listen to your show every afternoon when I work out." I do an instant scope out of the tuxedo he's wearing. Big jacket, draped around large shoulders and stretched across a big chest. Looks like the pants are cut a little bigger too. Work out to my show, huh? With that body, we are obviously talking working out to every second of it.

"Well," I smile, "it's always nice to meet a fan, Mister..?"

"Drake," he responds. "Tim Drake."

If you blush in public, this will be the ultimate in humiliation. As it is, I can feel the size six Ferragamo pumps that I'm wearing slowly sliding down my throat. "Drake? As in Drake Industries? As in Tim 'I have more money than the supreme deity' Drake?"

"That," he responds, "would be me. It's rare that someone doesn't recognize me immediately. I'm kind of surprised. And pleased."

"Well," I manage to stutter, "you look considerably... bigger than you do in your press coverage." Shit! Could you be any more obvious?

"The camera does tend to shrink you down a little. I hope you'll stay a little longer. The main course is about to be served, and I know for a fact that the salmon is particularly good tonight."

"Sorry, but I was really only here as a professional obligation. I have somewhere else I need to be tonight."

"I understand. I hope we might bump into each other again sometime, Miss Bloom." He gives me that million-watt smile of his again.

I give him a smile of my own back. "I'll be counting on it, Mister Drake."


Come on! You're supposed to be such a tough guy, get up!

The man lashes out savagely at the leg of the man sprawled out on the ground, giving a grim smile of satisfaction at the snapping of bone, the spray of blood, the cry of agony. The man drives his massive fist into the injured man's chest, pounding away at the rib cage until he hears it shatter, feels the fragments of bone driving into his victim's heart. The victim's head lolls to one side, blood pouring out of the mouth, the life slowly ebbing out of it.

Pathetic, thinks the man. Not even a good fight. He flings the body aside, allowing himself a small smile as he hears the glass of the coffee table shatter under the body's weight.

There is still the prize. Tonight. It will make up for this pitiful lack of sport. Yes, tonight.


Okay, party over and done with, job to get done. Not a problem. G-d, I never realized how cold Gotham got at night. Not that the rooftop of the Gotham Museum is ever the best place to be at night. But in my line of work, nights like these are an occupational hazard. Okay, have I got everything? Work suit, check. Mask, check. Guess that's it.

I look down through the skylight at the prize. The first-ever NRC championship belt, from when the league first got started in 2006. Encrusted with more precious stones than would be found in a royal family's jewel collection. The curator had bitched about actually having to display the belt, griping about how it was emblematic of the "dumbing-down of culture" and how it would bring shame upon the museum. Then he'd been told how much it was worth. He'd shut up after that.

Which is, of course, the reason, I'm here. Normally, this kind of thing would be a little too downmarket for me, but cash is cash, and this a potentially lucrative source of creds. So, it's time to go to work. I gaze at the display case, housing the belt. Absorbing all the details, making sure I can replicate the environment perfectly in my mind's eye. I close my eyes and...

I open them again. Inside the museum now, the display case right in front of me. Yeah, of course the museum installed tons of motion detectors and laser alarms around the case. But not on the case itself. After all, most people would have to go through the alarms to reach the case and would be stopped accordingly. I, however, am not most people. I fish a laser torch out of one of the pockets on my pants, turn it on to medium, and slowly start to cut a large circle in the glass. I'm about halfway through when he decides to make his entrance.

"I'd advise you to stop what you're doing." I turn around, careful not to trip anything. Well, well, it's Batman. Looks like a girl's moved up in the world. Geez, check out the suit. Black and red, mondo color clash? And rubber? Wow, I'm dealing with a drama queen and a fetishist.

"Well, hello, tall, dark, and kinky," I reply. "Although I do wanna tell ya, normally I don't like rubber until at least the fourth date. But in your case, I am more than prepared to make an exception."

"I don't find anything funny about this," he replies, all basso profundo and serious. It's taking all my willpower not to laugh.

"Well, you wouldn't. You walk around in black and red rubber and still manage to keep a straight face, that would require a humor bypass."

It's then that I hear this rumbling. It's kinda faint at first but growing louder with every passing second. Even Bats is starting to notice. "Backup, Bats?" I reply. "Need Blockbuster to come and help you take out one poor little girl?"

"I don't work with Blockbuster," he responds. I do know this. I know it's not Blockbuster because I've interviewed the man, and he doesn't make the ground shake this much. Close, but not this much. "I don't know what that..."

He's interrupted by the sound of every alarm in the place going off at once. Damn, but those things are loud! No longer seeing any point in standing still, I move, jetting off to my right.

And then it comes in. I say "it" because whatever it was was only barely recognizable as a human. Muscles seemed to bulge out of every available inch of surface area, grossly distorting the shape of his body. He didn't walk so much as lumber, pounding the ground beneath him. And he was looking at us. This was bad...

"PRIZE MINE! WANT NOW!" he bellowed. Prize? What the heck was he talking about, the only valuable thing in this room was... he wanted the belt?!

Bats was already striding towards our mystery monster, being all tough and macho. What the hell is it with men, thinking that every problem can be solved by the application of testosterone? The thing lurched, its fist making contact with Bats' chest.

Bats flew. I do *not* use this term as some sort of dramatic turn of phrase, he literally flew through the air, landing ten feet away from the thing with a sickening thud. I could hear a groan coming from Bats. Okay, so he was still conscious...

It was at this point that I suddenly decided to do something monumentally stupid. I ran for the case, desperately fishing in the pocket of my pants. Where was it, where was it... ah, there they were. I grabbed the ear plugs and shoved them into my ears. I plunged my hand back into my pants pocket, looking for the matching part of this little setup. Got em! I ran for the case holding the belt. I punched out the pane of glass I had managed to saw through, dragging the belt out through the resultant hole. Belt, little surprise... this should work. I hope.

"Hey baggy eyes!" I yelled. "Why don't you try picking on someone *not* your own size for a change!" I booked for the center of the room, reckoning on being fast enough to make it there before steroid boy. I ran behind Bats' still prone body and kept running till I was about twenty feet away. "Hey, big boy! Is this what you want?" I yell, waving the belt around in front of me. He's looking at me like he wants to kill me. I'll take that as a yes.

I throw the belt as far as I can to my left. It hits the ground and skids to a halt. G-d, I hope this next bit works...

I throw the mini-sound bombs after the belt. Upon hitting the floor, they activate, sending out waves of multi-decibel range frequency sound. Steroid boy is clutching his head in pain, roaring in agony. Thank g-d this seems to be working...

I watch steroid boy stumble around until he's just inches in front of Bats. Perfect. I break into a run, propelling myself faster and faster with each step. I use Bats' body as a springboard, launching myself into the air. I angle myself so I begin my downward curve just past freak boy's head, wrapping my legs around it as I go. You may have mass, sucker, but I have momentum. He's not resisting, so I use my forward momentum to flip him over. Steroidal freak, meet floor. And lights out!

He doesn't seem to be moving. Good, I could *not* repeat that. I just lie there, breathing heavy. It takes me about five seconds to get back on my feet. By that point, Bats is already up, looking at me. Time to go bye-bye.

"This isn't over," he says. Yes, it is, hunky.

"Sorry, but taking on steroid cases kinda wears a girl out. And you know how much a growing girl like me needs her beauty sleep. But, since you were such a nice little masked man, I'll give you a prize. Two chances to guess my name. Ready? It's one of two: It's either Cherry Red... or Midnight Blue." I blow him a kiss, close my eyes, and...


She was gone. Tim cursed, lecturing himself for not accounting for the possibility that the thief might be a super. 'Well,' Tim thought, 'I won't make that mistake again.'

And what was with that riddle she had given him before she had left? It's either Cherry Red or...

Tim smiled to himself, remembering the dark blue of the thief's clothing and mask. It even fit with the rhyme.

"Midnight Blue, huh," he said to himself. "I'll have to remember that."

And with that, he escaped away into the night, to avoid the inevitable encounter with the rapidly approaching Gotham PD.


The prisoner hadn't put up much of a struggle. That is, until he'd woken up. They'd been halfway to the precinct house when the cops escorting the prisoner to jail heard loud pounding sounds coming from the rear of the prisoner transport. They smiled to themselves, amused at the big man's attempts to break through two solid inches of plastisteel. Blockbuster couldn't break through that stuff, they thought, what chance did some over juiced muscle jock have?

Two seconds later, the prisoner managed to blow a hole through the side of the transport.

The shock of the impact caused the cop driving to lose his control over the transport, sending it into a sharp skid. It turned over twice, landing on its roof.

The cop in the passenger side managed to make his way out of the car, crawling through the window, wincing in pain. He slowly made his way around to the front of the transport. The prisoner was standing there... how the hell was he standing? He didn't look like he had a scratch on him. And was he... smiling?

In the few short seconds that it took the cop to think these thoughts, the prisoner slowly lumbered his way towards him. The prisoner smiled. Then he picked the cop up by the head and spun his head 180 degrees, shattering his neck in the process.


The man looked at the broken body beneath him. Fat. Pathetic. Worthless. This body would not be able to do him any good.

The two who stopped him, however. They were worthy. The one in black, the big one, he had hit the big one and not broken him immediately. That was special.

And the little one... the little one had hurt him. No one had ever been able to hurt him since he changed. That was even more special.

Yes, they would do nicely. He would have to find them. And he would have to deal with them.

It didn't matter how long.

He knew this for certain.

He would break them.