A month earlier, as things were settling down in Gotham after the Invasion of Earth, Duela Dent sat at a metal table in a small room. Her rain coat, stillMessage 1 of 24 , May 3, 2003View SourceA month earlier, as things were settling down in Gotham after the
Invasion of Earth, Duela Dent sat at a metal table in a small room.
Her rain coat, still covered with droplets from the rain storm
outside, sat at the table patiently. She wore a pink blouse with
matching earrings and a dark purple skirt. She looked up as the
door at the far end opened.
An armed guard escorted a man in prison grays into the room. "No
funny stuff!" the guard said firmly to the prisoner before closing
"Yeah, yeah," the man replied. "Funny stuff? Do I look like the
Joker to you?" The hair on the right side of his face was brown and
well kept. As he turned to the room, the wild mane and the green
scarred flesh of the left side of his face came into view. With a
piercing eye and a snarling mouth, he looked at his visitor. "Oh
no! Not you again!"
"Yes, daddy," Duela Dent said. "I have something to discuss with
Two-Face grabbed one of the chairs, spun it around and sat down in
it with his arms crossed on the high back before him. "Look, lady,
I've told you before and I'm telling you again: you aren't my
"Oh really?" Duela said with a determined look.
"Honey, come on!" Two-Face said. "What are you? Twenty two?"
"See?" the villain remarked. "No way you could be my kid. My ex-
wife Gilda and I weren't married back then. I know you tried to
convince me once before that I was your old man. Heck, for some
weird reason I actually believed it too, but I came to my senses and
did the math! In this case, two plus two don't equal four."
"I know you believed," Duela said. Antithesis had worked his mental-
mumbo-jumbo on the criminal too to help convince Robin of the
truth. "Know why? Because it was true."
"Is it?" Duela asked. She reached into her purse and drew out a
folder. She slid it across the table to him.
"What's this?" he asked, not touching it.
"DNA test results," she explained. "I pulled quite a few strings to
get a sample of yours to compare to my own. If you look in there,
you'll see that there's a match."
Two-Face shook his head. "Tests can be faked."
"Would you like to see my birth certificate?" Duela asked, reaching
for her purse again.
"No," Two-Face said. "Those can be faked too. Just need some
official looking paper and a notary who can be bribed."
"What would I have to gain by that?" Duela asked.
"You tell me!" Two-Face retorted. "Maybe you need to be locked up
in a mental institute as well, 'cause your story is a crazy one!"
Duela bit her lip. "Look, I know all about your past. How you were
a rising prominent lawyer, fresh on the Gotham City scene when you
were appointed district attorney at such a young age. The press
called you 'Apollo' due to your handsome features. You traveled in
many of the high society circles about town and were even engaged to
a talented sculptress.
"But that all came crashing down when you were prosecuting the trial
of notorious gangster Boss Maroni. Maroni tried hurling a vial of
acid at David Davis, the arresting officer in the case, but the acid
struck the left side of your face instead. Not even the best
plastic surgeons on the planet could restore your former looks."
"Ancient history, sweetie!" Two-Face sneered. "And something you
could pull up from any library archives."
"Perhaps," Duela continued, "but how about the fact that you were
the son of a very wealthy man and his wife, who wanted nothing
better than for their only son to attend the best Ivy League
university in the nation in order to study law. They wanted the
best for you. It was expected of you."
"Again, ancient history," Two-Face said. "If you're going to waste
my time with stuff I already know, I'm out of here!" He started to
rise from his seat to call the guard.
"Wait!" Duela called out.
He hesitated and turned to her with his left side. "Why?" His look
was menacing, but it didn't phase her.
It was time for Duela to play her hidden card. She took a breath,
looked him straight in the eye and said, "What about Sarah Childs?"
Two-Face stood frozen, his face staying expressionless for a
moment. Then, finally, he said "You're barking up the wrong tree,
Duela glared at him. She didn't buy it. "Am I?" she asked. "Am I
"That's what I said."
"Then put it to the test!" Duela reached into her purse and pulled
out something. "Catch!"
Instinctively, Two-Face caught the shiny object in his hand. He
opened it, revealing a two headed silver dollar. "Cute," he said as
he examined it. One side had even been scratched up, scarred. "The
girl brings her own props."
"Not a prop," Duela said. "Convince me you're not lying to me about
knowing who Sarah Childs was! Flip the coin."
"Flip the coin?" he repeated after her.
"Yes," Duela said with determination. "Flip it and let fate
decide. That's how you work, isn't it? Scarred side, lie to me all
you want. Clean side, you tell me the truth."
Two-Face considered for a moment then tossed it back to her. "No
"Why not?" Duela said.
"Nothing in it for me!"
"Okay," Duela said. "I'll up the stakes to your liking. Scarred
side, you can keep up the lies. Clean side, you tell me the truth.
Either way, whatever the outcome, this is the last time you ever
have to see me again! That I will promise you." She tossed the
Two-Face caught it and held the coin tightly in his fist as he
considered. "You're serious?" he asked. "You aren't looking for
anything more than the truth?"
"Not a thing," Duela said. "I've gone all these years without
having someone to do father-daughter things with; I certainly don't
want to start now!"
Two-Face shook the coin in his hand as he considered.
Well? Lilith asked in anticipation. What happened? I got lucky, Duela said. He tossed the coin in the air and let it fall to his open palm. When heMessage 1 of 24 , May 3, 2003View Source"Well?" Lilith asked in anticipation. "What happened?"
"I got lucky," Duela said. "He tossed the coin in the air and let
it fall to his open palm. When he looked down, his face softened.
He then turned his palm to show me the coin."
"And he told me that Sarah Childs was the name of girl he dated once
or twice in high school. In his youth, Harvey was a bit reckless,
rebelling a lot against his parents' strict upbringing. Turns out,
he got Sarah pregnant. When his parents found out, they were
furious. Lectured him to the max about throwing his life away on a
stupid moment of weakness with a town tramp.
"The Dents decided that they needed to keep the whole situation a
secret. They had Harvey give the girl a bit of money so that she
could head out of state to have an abortion. This would keep the
family's good name in tact and not cause a scandal among the country
club set and social circles they belonged to."
"But this Sarah Childs never had the abortion," Lilith deduced.
"Right-o," Duela said. "She moved away but couldn't go through with
it. Instead, she carried the child to term and gave birth to a
little girl. She never put a father's name on the birth certificate
but did give the child the father's last name. She then left the
child on the doorstep of an orphanage, asking them to take care of
the baby that she couldn't afford to keep herself. And that baby
was yours truly."
"So, you're really Two-Face's daughter after all," Lilith said.
"Yes and no," Duela said, shaking her head. "Harvey Dent is my
biological father, but that was long before he became Two-Face. As
for being his daughter, I'm not. A father raises you, gives you
values and traditions. A father is someone who you want to walk you
down the aisle when you get married. Me, I'm just a woman who's
made peace with her past."
Lilith smiled. She could see now that Duela was much more confident
than she had been months ago. The young woman had turned a corner
and was ready to face the future head on.
Stopped at a pay phone not far from the S.T.A.R. Labs facility in San Diego later that evening, Karen gave her husband a call at the club. I just left theMessage 1 of 24 , May 3, 2003View SourceStopped at a pay phone not far from the S.T.A.R. Labs facility in
San Diego later that evening, Karen gave her husband a call at the
club. "I just left the lab, Mal," she told her husband. "I was
thinking I might drive back to L.A. tonight after all."
"Get yourself a hotel room, honey," the man on the other end of the
line advised. "You've had a long day already."
"I suppose," Karen said. "Still hard to believe that Blake willed
me his patent rights."
Suddenly, there was the sound of a loud explosion behind her. "What
was that?" Mal yelled into the receiver.
Karen jerked her head. "Don't know, but it came from S.T.A.R.!"
"You got your bag nearby?" Mal asked.
"Yeah, right in the car," Karen said. "Why?"
"Check inside," he said. "I packed your gear. Call me later on and
let me know what happened?"
"I will!" Karen hung up the phone and headed for the car she'd
borrowed. Sliding into the back seat, she unzipped the back and dug
to the bottom. There was a familiar yellow and black costume along
with her special devices. "Mal, you think of everything!"
Come on! Move it! an armored man yelled from the driver s side of a large truck. From a hole blasted in the side of the S.T.A.R. Labs building came fiveMessage 1 of 24 , May 3, 2003View Source"Come on! Move it!" an armored man yelled from the driver's side of
a large truck.
From a hole blasted in the side of the S.T.A.R. Labs building came
five men, moving a pile of stolen goods on a platform that hovered
a few feet off of the ground. "We're coming! We're coming!" one of
the other agents yelled.
"I think not!" a voice cried out from above as laser blasts danced
about the ground around them.
"We're found out!" another of the armored men yelled.
"A couple of you stop her!" the driver, obviously the leader
ordered. "The rest of you, get that stuff on board! Now!" The men
did as instructed. Three broke off from the others, adjusting the
gauntlets on their wrists, while the other two managed to move the
platform towards the back of the truck with one man on each side.
"Get her!" one of the three yelled as he opened fire with wrist
lasers. The others followed suit.
In the air, the yellow and black costumed Bumblebee darted and
dodged out of the way of the blasts as if she were indeed a fast
moving insect. "Some hi-tech guys for a hi-tech crime!" she thought
to herself. "And I don't like the odds! Hopefully I can hold them
off until some back up arrives!" She hoped the S.T.A.R. security
had called the police.
"Get her from all sides!" one of the firing agents yelled.
"Yeah! We'll cut her off!" another said. The trio scurried about
the lawn for position, sweeping their blasts. Bumblebee's arc was
cut tighter and tighter, until finally she was out of room. One of
the shots nailed her directly, and she fell to the ground.
"Score!" one of the men shouted. He moved closer to examine the
That's when a black booted foot swung up and clipped him upside the
head. "Wrong!" Bumblebee shouted. She sprang to her feet and
elbowed the guy, knocking him down.
"Get her!" one of the other two men shouted. They took aim.
The Bumblebee was faster on the draw! Her wrist stingers nailed one
of the men, the electro-blast more than amble to disrupt his armor
at least temporarily. "Aaaaaah!" the man screamed before falling.
The heroine started to smile. "That's two..."
"And that's all!" the third said. His shot was dead on, knocking
the heroine to the ground again.
"Ooooof!" the Bumblebee grunted. While her costume had been made to
absorb the impact of battle, the shot still hurt.
"Now, I'll finish her off!" the man said as he took aim. Suddenly,
sirens could be heard in the distance. He looked up.
"Forget her!" the truck driver yelled. "We've got to go!"
The man nodded, followed the order and ran to the back of the
truck. Just as he jumped into the open back end, the vehicle pulled
off with a squeal of its tires. Hitting a top speed fast, it
crashed through the remains of the perimeter fence and sped off into
"Oooooh," the Bumblebee groaned as she rose from the ground. As her
vision cleared, she saw that the truck was gone. "Damn!"
A security man rushed over towards her. "Are you okay? Are you
"Just my pride," she said. "They got away, but they left some of
their own behind. Maybe we can get..." The Bumblebee turned to the
fallen men only to be surprised.
The armor on the men started to hum loudly and smoke! The bodies of
the fallen men started to convulse!
"Down!" the Bumblebee cried to the security guard, knocking him to
the ground. There were two small explosions as the armor self-
destructed, taking with it the men inside.
"Whoa!" the guard exclaimed.
The Bumblebee just looked totally disappointed and disgusted.
A couple hours later, after changing, locating a hotel room and taking a quick shower, Karen was on the phone with her husband again. I can t believe I blewMessage 1 of 24 , May 3, 2003View SourceA couple hours later, after changing, locating a hotel room and
taking a quick shower, Karen was on the phone with her husband
again. "I can't believe I blew it," Karen berated herself.
"Honey, there's nothing you could do," he said. "You did all you
"But I didn't stop them from getting away with all that equipment,
and I didn't even end up with anyone to interrogate. Now we have no
clue who they were."
"Not so," Mal said. "I've been running that description of the
armor you gave me through the computers. You said they had blank
blast-plate masks, with a hexagon symbol with lines on the upper
"Right," she said. "So?"
"So, its possible we might at least know who they work for."
"H.I.V.E., the Hierarchy for International Vengeance and
"H.I.V.E.?" Karen repeated. "Didn't our friends back East shut them
down for good a few years ago."
"So we thought," Mal said. "But it looks like they've started back
Karen let out a low hum. "Hmmmm. Why would they be hitting up
S.T.A.R. Labs though?"
"Obviously they were after something," Mal said.
"No doubt," Karen agreed. "But what? What's the connection? And
why this S.T.A.R.?" The question would plague her for awhile that
In a secret, hidden base, an image appeared upon a view screen before a group of seven figures in purple hooded robes. The shadows kept their faces hidden.Message 1 of 24 , May 3, 2003View SourceIn a secret, hidden base, an image appeared upon a view screen
before a group of seven figures in purple hooded robes. The shadows
kept their faces hidden.
"I'm pleased to report we completed the objective," the armored
agent said to the camera that sent the message to his
superiors. "Despite unexpected interference."
"Explain," one of the hood figures said firmly.
"A costumed woman," the armored agent stated. "She managed to take
out two of our men."
"Were they disposed of?"
"As per the protocols state," the armored agent said.
"Good!" the hooded figure said. "Make sure the goods are delivered
securely to the pick up point."
The agent nodded. "Understood. Out." The screen went blank.
There was some murmuring among the robed council members but most of
it was in a pleased tone.
One robed figure turned to another. "Good news, Dr. Mansfield,"
this one, a woman with a deep voice, said. "We were able to recover
the last of your work. And with the world believing that you are
dead, a cloned body of yourself charred beyond recognition in the
faked car accident, no one will ever suspect the crime was
accomplished thanks to inside information."
The robed figure she was talking to nodded. There was no turning
back for Blake Mansfield now.
Nice touch. The HIVE is back. How very appropriate. I wonder if their Queen survived the Titans issue with Aqualad, Aquagirl etc.? I hope so.Message 1 of 24 , May 3, 2003View SourceNice touch. The HIVE is back. How very appropriate. I wonder if their
Queen survived the Titans issue with Aqualad, Aquagirl etc.? I hope
... their ... hope so. This is an all new H.I.V.E., built off the ashes of the old. No queen in sight. MartinMessage 1 of 24 , May 3, 2003View Source--- In Earth1AftertheCrisis@yahoogroups.com, libbylawrence
> Nice touch. The HIVE is back. How very appropriate. I wonder iftheir
> Queen survived the Titans issue with Aqualad, Aquagirl etc.? Ihope so.
This is an all new H.I.V.E., built off the ashes of the old. No
queen in sight.
... This just begs the question - did he leave those patents to Karen as a way of backstabbing his new allies? Only time will tell, I guess, but this is aMessage 1 of 24 , May 3, 2003View Source--- In Earth1AftertheCrisis@yahoogroups.com, mcmaenza
> The robed figure she was talking to nodded. There was no turningThis just begs the question - did he leave those patents to Karen as
> back for Blake Mansfield now.
a way of backstabbing his new allies?
Only time will tell, I guess, but this is a really nice twist.
Titans West should remain interesting for some time to come.
I also liked the explanation for Duela's parentage. When they cut
off the connection to Harvey Dent, I wondered if she couldn't be a
daughter by an earlier lover.
... as ... Cat, thanks for this. I appreciate that. I do have a few balls juggling in the air for this series. That s one thing I like about doing a seriesMessage 1 of 24 , May 3, 2003View Source--- In Earth1AftertheCrisis@yahoogroups.com, immortalwildcat
> This just begs the question - did he leave those patents to Karenas
> a way of backstabbing his new allies?'Cat, thanks for this. I appreciate that. I do have a few balls
> Only time will tell, I guess, but this is a really nice twist.
> Titans West should remain interesting for some time to come.
juggling in the air for this series. That's one thing I like about
doing a series - gives me time to work out plots without rushing the
through to a speedy conclusion. Time will tell, as you said.
>I actually based a lot of this on discussion we were having on the
> I also liked the explanation for Duela's parentage. When they cut
> off the connection to Harvey Dent, I wondered if she couldn't be a
> daughter by an earlier lover.
writers' group about two years back now. It was just after I
started writing for the group and started the TW series (among
others). I wasn't ready to use Duela at the time, but I kept her in
mind. I recently went back and reviewed that discussion, along with
Libby's tale. I tried a way to reconcile the best of both worlds
and still get her back to what was originally posed in the comics oh
those many years ago. Bob Rozakis has always said he preferred she
remain Harvey's daughter - I merely found a way to honor that
preference while keeping in mind all that had come and gone since
her debut. Glad you approved.
I thought Martin did a wonderful job with this tale. We learned a lot more about Duela and Karen. I hope we learn more soon about the reconstituted HIVE.Message 1 of 24 , May 7, 2003View SourceI thought Martin did a wonderful job with this tale. We learned a
lot more about Duela and Karen. I hope we learn more soon about the
... the ... Goose, thank you very much. The comments are always appreciated. Stay tuned for more on this series - I try my best to keep an issue coming toMessage 1 of 24 , May 7, 2003View Source--- In Earth1AftertheCrisis@yahoogroups.com, "goosegansler"
> I thought Martin did a wonderful job with this tale. We learned athe
> lot more about Duela and Karen. I hope we learn more soon about
> reconstituted HIVE.Goose, thank you very much. The comments are always appreciated.
Stay tuned for more on this series - I try my best to keep
an "issue" coming to you guys per month (as schedule allows). Think
of me as an ongoing comic book fix. ;)