We begin with Gotham City being in a state of chaos. Gunfire can be heard from afar, the docks are on fire. The Batsignal can be seen through the haze. On top of this is snow.
Nightwing: *narrating* This is bad. You think you can watch something on the news or hear something from a friend about Gotham City and think its bad. You don't know even HOW bad it really is.
In the smog over the city, we can see a small dark figure.
Nightwing: *narrating* This isn't as bad as the quake, or when the Clench ran through the city, or the Zero Year,or the Night of the Owls; but it's close.
We see Nightwing is the speck, he's on a hang-glider.
Nightwing: *narrating* A gang war has broken out. A big one. Penguin, Black Mask, and the Falcones are at each other's throats; each one blaming the others for inciting it. The Gotham Police can barely keep order, or protect the civilians.
The hang-glider goes over a bridge, armed thugs can be seen below.
Nightwing: *narrating* What's worse, the gangs have pretty much cut Gotham off from the rest of the country and have been firing upon those trying to flee, and those trying to aid.
Nightwing lands in the woods near Wayne Manor.
Nightwing: *narrating* Hence my borrowing a hang-glider from the Palisades Recreation Area; can't even get to Wayne Manor without needing to cross through Gotham. Shame I had to hide my bike there. Hopefully the sooner I help Bruce wrap this up, the sooner I can get it.
A little while later, Nightwing enters a sewer near the Batcave. He approaches a gate and looks around
Nightwing: Now where is that....
A shotgun is pointed at his face.
Alfred: *off panel* Halt! Identify yourself!
Nightwing: It's me, Alfred.
Alfred lowers the gun.
Alfred: Master Dick, I wish you told me you would be coming through this entrance.
Nightwing: Every other entrance was a bit tricky to use.
Alfred: Indeed, with the city in a panic and under martial law it's hard to get anywhere. I've actually been raiding the spare cupboard for supplies.
Nightwing: How stocked is the spare cupboard?
Alfred: Twenty years worth, though I tend to switch out the perishables as needed. Plus Bat-Cow has graciously provided us with milk.
Damian: *off panel* Pennyworth! What's going on!?
Alfred: Oh right, come on in.
Nightwing follows Alfred into the Batcave. Seated on top of a medical examination table, with a cross expression on his face, is Damian. He's in a black t-shirt and shorts. He has a bandage around his head, one across his nose, and one on his cheek.
Nightwing: Hey little D.
Damian: Don't call me that!
Nightwing: What happened?
Damian puts on an air of bravado.
Damian: Some Black Mask punks thought they could take me. They were wrong.
Alfred: Yes, and yet you were still puking from internal injuries up until about a couple hours ago.
Nightwing: Wonder what Sam has had to say about that.
Damian suddenly looks downcast.
Nightwing: *narrating* He looks sad, he hardly ever shows emotion. *beat, narrates while looking around* Then again, I don't see Joseph here either. Normally he'd be teasing Damian, or working the computer and poking his head out to say hello. It's too quiet in here. *speaks* Damian, where's Joseph and Sam?
Batman enters on a bike. He gets off and removes his cowl. There are tears in his costume, not to mention stains of smoke, blood, oil, etc.
Batman: Joseph and Sam are trapped in Gotham.
Nightwing: Don't tell me Joseph decided to be a civic minded citizen and attend to the people being hurt by this conflict; and he dragged Sam with him.
Batman: Something more simple than that; he took Sam to the Pinkney Museum just hours before the gang war began.
Nightwing: That was three days ago. He should have called by now. *narrating* Unless the worse has happened.
Batman: The various gangs have disrupted communications throughout Gotham. It's hard to use a cellphone there, let alone a land line. They've probably gone to ground somewhere.
Nightwing: Well aren't you optimistic.
Batman: Joseph may not have our level of skill, but he learned survival training from some of the best. Plus he usually has a level head.
Joseph: *on comms* Hello, can anyone hear me? 'Allo 'allo, this is Kane calling Fleidermaus!
Nightwing: What the--
Batman: Joseph, we can hear you.
Joseph: *on comms* Oh thank God! I thought I'd never get this ham radio to work; took me two days to scrounge the parts needed.
Batman: Where are you?
Joseph: *on comm* Trapped in the Bowery; kinda set up a temporary base in the subbasement of a department store. Been dodging thugs, press gangs, turf battles, and shakedowns for three days.
Batman: There is a Bat-bunker on Market Street and Adams Avenue you can use; it's about 2.5 miles from your position. We'll pick you up there.
Joseph: *on comms, audibly sighing* Can't do that, Batman; there's a problem.
Nightwing: Are you or Sam hurt?
Joseph: *on comm* Oh, you're there, Nightwing? What kept you?
Nightwing: Couldn't get a good flight.
Damian: I don't blame the airlines, the Penguin has rocket launchers pointed at all planes and travel routes.
Joseph: *on comm* We're not hurt; but Sam is definitely sick. Flu or something he caught our first night as we were looking to hide. He's got a bad fever; I can't move him that far.
Batman: Which department store?
Joseph: *on comms* The old Abraham and Strauss on Franklin.
Batman: There is an old shopping arcade by the monorail, on Lower Bowery Way; I'll send Nightwing there to meet you in one hour. Wait 50 minutes and then head over there, and be careful.
Joseph: *on comms* Roger. Over and out.
In the subbasement, Joseph walks over to Sam who is shivering under a blanket. Using a towel, Joseph wipes Sam's brow with water he has put in a fancy bowl.
Sam: Were you able to reach them?
Joseph: Yeah, we're leaving in 50 minutes.
Sam: I feel awful.
Joseph: I know, hang in there Sammy.
50 minutes later, Joseph pokes his head out of the subbasement exit. He then takes Sam, who has a backpack on his back, by the hand.
Joseph: Come on, Sam, walk as quickly and quietly as you can.
Sam: And when I get tired?
Joseph: I'll carry you.
They walk through the snow. The streets are abandoned, but windows have been broken and stores have been ransacked. Soon, Joseph is carrying Sam. As he walks, Joseph hears a whistle. He turns around and sees a group of ten guys coming towards him. They obviously scream gangster. Joseph does what any big brother with a sick little brother in his arms would do. He runs.
Joseph: Crap. Crap. Crap.
Sam: *weakly* Language....
Joseph: I'm an adult. When you are older and being chased by thugs, you can curse too!
Joseph dashes down the stairs to the glass roofed Lower Bowery Way to the abandoned shopping arcade, the thugs in pursuit. Unfortunately, that arcade is in a dead end. Joseph clutches Sam as the six thugs approach, wielding knives, chains, a baseball bat and a crowbar. Joseph holds Sam close as he closes his eyes
Joseph: *whispering* I'm so sorry, Sam.
Suddenly, there is a crash, and the sound of falling glass. A black and red motorcycle takes out one of the men as it falls from the sky and through the glass roof over the shopping area. An acrobatic figure follows, kicking another thug in the face.
Nightwing: Looks like I got here in time; and people say I have no sense in timing.
He flips over to where Joseph is and gets into a defensive position between the Kanes and the gangsters.
Nightwing: You okay?
Nightwing: *narrating* Like hell he is; he's worried about Sam, he's obviously been running himself ragged trying to survive the last few days. If he was rested and not worrying about Sam's health, he might have been able to take down half these guys himself. Then again, he's not at my level of skill, let alone Bruce's. *speaking* Take care of Sam, leave these guys to me.
Nightwing blocks a knife with one of his eskrima sticks and headbutts the man holding it. Another thug launches a chain at Nightwing. Nightwing has it wrap around one of his eskrima sticks before pulling and kicking the man into another one holding the bat. The bat goes flying, landing by Joseph. Nightwing punches another thug before flipping back and kicking another crook in the back.
Nightwing: You guys are picking on a sick kid and his big brother, not a cool move.
The guy with the crowbar goes to brain Nightwing, only to be hit by a somewhat angry Joseph with the baseball bat.
Joseph: Especially when said big brother is pretty protective.
Nightwing smirks as he punches out the next thug. Both young men, the vigilante and the doctor, take down the gangsters, with the vigilante doing most of the work. Soon the thugs are on the floor around them.
Nightwing: Nice job, Batb--
Joseph: *points bat in Nightwing's face* Call me "Batboy" and I swear the next swing hits you where the sun doesn't shine.
Nightwing: You'd miss.
Sam, who was sitting by the wall, coughs and speaks up.
Sam: Can we go home now?
Joseph: You kinda crashed your ride, and it's not like all three of us can fit.
Nightwing: That bike? Took it from them. I got a car nearby; used the old tunnels to get here. Now *looks over the thugs* who are you working for?
Joseph: Penguin, probably.
Nightwing: You want it to be him.
Joseph: Hey, he shot me when I was a kid. Not easy to get over that.
Nightwing: I got shot at every night.
Joseph picks up Sam
Joseph: I was a civilian.
Nightwing sees a tattoo; a geometric Greek Key patten interspersed with lightning bolts.
Nightwing: This tattoo doesn't belong to any of the three gangs.
Joseph kneels down and looks at another.
Joseph: More lightning bolts here...and Greek letters. Definitely not one of the three gangs.
Nightwing: I think there's a fourth party that's taking advantage of this. Someone who might be behind this whole thing.
Nightwing: Maxie Zeus.
Joseph: Maxie Zeus? But he's considered a joke, a B-lister at best!
Nightwing: He's also smarter than most people give him credit for; and he can be vicious. Batman needs to know, and Sam needs medical attention.
Joseph: Right, that first; and then we should take a look into Maxie Zeus--
A nearby building explodes into flame as Black Mask and Falcone thugs attack each other.
Joseph: --Before this war gets worse.
The trio sneak off in the chaos to Nightwing's hidden car, and soon they are heading out of Gotham.