quiet_tiger: (DC is Crack)
quiet_tiger ([personal profile] quiet_tiger) wrote2012-06-25 08:49 pm

Ficlet: Lay Out

Title: Lay Out
Author: Quiet Tiger
Universe: Nolanverse
Genre: Contemplative? Is that a genre?
Rating: PG
Characters: Batman
Word Count: 717
Warnings: None, story takes place soon after Batman Begins
Summary: Before the hard work, there's the even harder work.

Note: For the second Nolanverse Challenge at [livejournal.com profile] batfic_contest, theme "The Narrows."


~*~

Cleaning up the Narrows after Ra’s’ plan was going to be an arduous nightmare. All of those Arkham inmates and city residents tripping on Crane’s chemical, the tight confines, the new myth of the Batman making people wary, no one trusting the cops anyway…

Utter chaos and entropy.

As much as Bruce wanted to go in immediately and help/save/organize, Batman knew the only way to save the Narrows was to learn the Narrows.

Both what it had been and what it had become.

Using aerial maps and his own memories, Bruce created a mural on one wall of his new “cave.” By hacking into the police database, he augmented other parts of his knowledge. Using all the sources at his disposal—police feeds, gossip, quiet interrogations with criminals he could “encourage” to give him information—he made his own key to organize the map.

With green pins he indicated what he knew were safe areas—stores and businesses without mob ties, residences of people without criminal records, well-lit corners protected by well-intentioned militia—on which he wouldn’t need to perform much damage control.

With red pins he indicated known mob hangouts and establishments with backrooms in which mysterious transactions occurred. He’d explore and demystify them all in time.

Black roses symbolized known murder scenes. It would be far too gruesome to use a more conventional depiction, considering the sheer number of roses dotting the map.

Using the Chinese character for comrade, he marked in blue places where he’d interacted with residents, including the little boy who told him no one would believe him, and the homeless man still wearing Bruce’s jacket. Whether to return to those areas more frequently, or avoid them and thus keep his interactions minimal, he wasn’t yet sure.

Orange string for regions where he could traverse multiple buildings without touching the ground.

Purple string for alleys and passageways through which he couldn’t fit the Tumbler.

Lime string for known routes of armored cars.

The first Japanese character for last resort, in magenta, indicated entrances to the sewer through which he could fit and were also accessible without excessive force.

Yellow flags for known criminals without connections to the mob. He’d have to rank them in order of most important at a later date.

Black flags pointed out areas he needed to investigate first, where there was no talk or information at all about a certain building or corner.

There were a lot of those. He could only hope he could swap out the flags for pins soon enough.

First swap the black flags for green pins, then red pins for green pins, and add more comrades and last resorts in case he needed an advantage one night.

Then he’d add the symbol for Mars at locations where he apprehended an enemy. He didn’t want to view the Narrows or Gotham as a battlefield, but Ra’s had made it into one. Batman was going to defend and reclaim his territory from those trying to soil it.

But before all that—before he could make this map in front of him look like the one he envisioned—he had to learn it. Memorize it. Know where he could move quickly and what targets were most important. Escape routes and friendly faces if he needed them.

The difference between one block or a left versus right could mean life or death.

He took pictures from different angles and edges so he could more easily absorb rotations to any given location. While in a fight or on a case he couldn’t afford to get disoriented by being turned around in his mental map.

No doubt once he started on his campaign to take back the Narrows, he’d have to incorporate more symbols, more colors. What he had now was just the very beginning. There would be subsets and new categories. His map would look more and more like a Pollock every night.

And perhaps one day, he wouldn’t need it anymore. The Narrows might cease to be an area of crime and hardship.

But until then, he’d do his best to make it better.

Street by street, building by building, floor by floor if necessary.

It was the only way to take it back.

The Narrows wouldn’t be lost if he had any say in the matter.

[identity profile] mithen.livejournal.com 2012-06-28 05:30 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, I really love the imagery in this one, Bruce standing in front of this amazing, Byzantine map covered with symbols. It shows how Bruce's mind works on so many levels about so many things at once, his ease with other languages...and the black roses made me shiver, it's just the right touch of pragmatic and romantic, very Bruce.

[identity profile] quiet--tiger.livejournal.com 2012-06-28 12:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Aww, wee little Brucie in your icon. Poor thing.

I wanted to write a story about the Narrows without having to go in them, because I don't know them that well, and obviously he wouldn't yet either, not the way he *needs* to to actually accomplish his goals without getting killed.

A map littered with pins and flags seemed so boring and not enough, so Bruce got a little creative. The thought of a map covered in little skull stickers was too gruesome, so the flowers work nicely to tie things together with his parents and thus his crusade.

I had a lot of fun with this one, so I'm glad you liked it! Thanks for reading and commenting!