When the Music Stops
All Fall Down
A 1D/Batman Crossover
The Final Concert
The final note of the final song falls before the thundering crowd’s cheers and screams. More than eighty thousand fans had just watched the amazing boy-band 1 Direction end their final show at the Gotham Arena. The lights within the venue sprang to life as they crowd started to make their way to the exits while below them the five lads prepared to exit their own way.
Waiting just outside the big corrugated gate sat their limo complete with blackened windows. Of course everybody knew where they would exit and hundreds of die-hard girls lined the ramp that led from the door all the way out to the street. Most of the police officers who had been assigned to keep things orderly had cotton stuffed in their ears to counter the incessant screaming. The girls wouldn’t have to wait much longer, as evident by the limo driver lifting his cell phone to his ear and then briskly getting in and starting the long, black stretch.
Moments later the elevated screaming of those in front told the rear guard the gate was indeed lifting and the first two people out ran and opened the doors to the limo. Seconds later the boys emerged, flashing those world-famous smiles and waving to the crowd. The screaming fans showered them with scraps of paper with their phone numbers written on them, flowers, candy, and a few articles of clothing best described as intimate. The one named Harry caught such a gift and holding it open for his mates to see allowed his eyes to bulge at the size of them. The other four laughed hard as they entered the limo and the guards shut the doors.
The driver expertly drove through the throng of girls and without running any of the lovely young ladies down, exited onto the street. The plan was to go back to the hotel and meet Simon for a quick night shoot with the lights of Gotham City’s famous Golden Chip Casino as the background. A half-decent night’s sleep and then off to the next spot and last stop of the tour, Madison Square Garden in New York. That was the plan but then again, as the saying goes “the best laid plans…”
As the limo drove along its course two other events where happening. The first even was taking place in the dark catacombs deep in the bowels of Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. A security guard making his hourly rounds found several orderlies huddled in a corner, cringed and weeping. As he approached they began to scream at him, trying to chase him away. He could see the wide-eyed terror in their eyes and quickly sounded an alarm.
The other event was taking place cross town in the office of the newly-appointed police commissioner Jim Gordon. He was looking at a note that had arrived only minutes before.
Riddle me this all you Gotham Paragons of Virtue
North South East or West
None of them can be the best
Within the four we’ll hide the five
If all goes well none survive
Undo the riddle as best you can
And maybe one will sing again
Gordon sighed as he set the note down on his desk and lifted the phone. His fingers dialed the number he had come to know all too well. Moments later his dower face became even more sullen.
“Go light the signal” he said wearily to his chief of police. “We need him now.”
As the dark clouds above Gotham lit up with the bright spotlight that carried the silhouette of a bat on it Bruce Wayne was exiting the very casino the boys were on their way to. His eyes caught the sight but he managed to remain cool and collected so the three ladies he escorted would have no suspicions. He directed them towards the impeccable silver Bentley parked towards the entrance and opened the door. As the last entered showing him a glimpse of much more leg than he wanted to see at the moment he shut the door behind her without getting in.
“Alfred” he said to the driver, “would you bring these ladies to their hotel for me? Something has just come to my attention. I’ll be taking the other car.”
He smiled as the car drove off before he re-entered the casino and got in the elevator to the top floor. He forced the locked door open that said ‘Roof’ on it and opened the briefcase he had taken from the Bentley. Seconds later the sleek, black vehicle that Gotham had come to call the ‘Batmobile’ was streaking towards the casino piloted by a computer that drove better than ninety percent of the human population did. Twenty minutes later Batman stood in Gordon’s office reading the same note.
“Arkham confirms the Riddler has escaped?” he asked.
Jim Gordon lowered his eyes before answering the black suited avenger. The Batman had been suggesting that current containment in Arkham was deficient and this proved it.
“Yes Batman.” he sighed. “Riddler along with the Scarecrow, Two-Face, and Poison Ivy. They think it was the work of the Joker. He managed to fill the wing with Scarecrow’s hallucinogenic gas and got them all out. We’re reviewing the surveillance tapes now.”
Batman considered delivering a well-deserved ‘I-told-you-so’ but decided to hold it for later. He read and re-read the short riddle over and over, trying to decipher it. The Riddler always left these teasing notes and Batman had always been able to figure them out but this one was different. It had to do with directions but he was lost after that. He was lost until the phone rang and Jim Gordon’s face turned an ashen white.
“It’s for you Batman.” he said holding the phone out. “It’s him.”