Alfred looked at the training room. From it emanated a terrible noise, the clash of resounding arms – it was a sword fight! But it was terrible, violent – not like in the movies.
He walked over and looked in the room. In the dim light, he could make out two figures, a large one, with a cape, cowl and gauntlets visible in outline, attacking a smaller, feminine-looking figure, who was obviously having all she could do to defend herself.
He watched as the big, dark figure attacked, again and again. He had an oriental-style sword, like the kind they used in martial arts movies – what was it called? a katana? – and he struck at her repeatedly.
The smaller figure was parrying, dodging, blocking, but still seemed to be in a desperate battle for her very survival.
Alfred studied the tall, malevolent figure. At over six-and-a-half feet tall, dressed in flowing black, wearing a cowl with tall, pointed ears, the figure was rampaging in the training room. Alfred thought back to his own service, when he did his duty years ago for Her Majesty's government; he and the others he served with had been highly trained, heavily armed, supported by the best an entire kingdom had to offer. Yet, he thought, under absolutely no circumstances would he have felt comfortable battling the looming, menacing figure that was now raging against poor Sasha in the training room. Even though this was just a training session, the figure was terrifying.
The figure struck again and again with his sword; he struck with speed and cunning, but also with anger, fury – a frightening power, carefully channeled. Sasha was obviously getting tired, but her attacker was like a machine, coming at her over and over.
Sasha let out a yelp as the figure landed a powerful blow on her right arm. The body armor and protective equipment she was wearing kept her from being seriously injured, but the blow still hurt her, knocking her own sword out of her hand as she tumbled and fell to the ground. Alfred winced, knowing she would have a bruise on her arm. Why, he wondered, was this figure battling her so furiously?
Exhausted, she seemed pathetic on the floor, looking up as the figure lunged to within feet of her, stopping his last blow a foot away from her, then glaring down at her sprawled outline.
"Your enemy imploded two skyscrapers full of people, killing thousands of innocent victims, as well as the firefighters who were trying to save those victims."
The figure's voice was a low, raspy whisper; unnerving, unforgettable.
"The reason was to cover up a money-laundering scheme, and to justify this 'War on Crime' that would provide an opportunity to profiteer even as they took over Gotham City's heroin trade. The people they are dealing with have their weapons in-place, and are planning to destroy Gotham City outright, just as the Gotham Trade Center was destroyed."
He paused to let his words sink in, then moved his weapon closer to her head.
"Just as Gotham City will get no mercy from them, so will you get no mercy from me. You must be ready."
At these words, the referee stepped in. "Defender, sword down, move to Polygon Delta."
The giant, menacing figure turned to the referee, bowed and placed his sword on the floor, then hurried to another area nearby, as the referee walked quickly several steps behind him.
In Polygon Delta, three large, armed men stood ready, as the giant figure approached them. Facing the referee, they bowed to him, then the three men and the giant figure exchanged quick bows. The referee stepped between them, raising his right hand. "Ready," he lowered his right hand and stepped back quickly as he said "Fight!"
Meanwhile, Sasha was getting up, as an attendant recovered the weapons that were on the floor of Polygon Gamma.
Sasha and Alfred exchanged glances. Alfred smiled a reassuring smile, but Sasha looked miserable.
Alfred turned and walked back out of the training room, pausing to look around the Batcave.
Nestled inside Wayne Manor, with its security system and guards, the Batcave was itself defended by a state-of-the-art surveillance and defense system, designed by Wayne Enterprises technicians, incorporating cutting edge technology unavailable even to government clients. Wayne Manor was like a castle, but dug down deep inside it, the Batcave was like a castle within a castle. The Batcave even had its own army, professional martial artists, employees of Wayne Enterprises Corporate Security, who trained and exercised full-time, practicing constantly, training with the Batcave's master to keep him in tip-top condition.
But, the Batcave had another, more powerful defender.
Dwelling deep in its depths, like a powerful spring ready at a moment's notice to be released on a terrifying rampage, the Batcave was also home to Gotham City's Dark Knight.