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"One of the Guys"
Featuring Razorsharp

by Louise Freeman Davis

PAGE 1

Tim Drake sits in front of a computer screen in his father's penthouse in downtown Gotham city. On the screen in from of him are what look like "blueprints" of the Batcave. He's wearing a set of headphones with an attached microphone.

Voice: (elec.) It's simply not possible, Robin.

Tim: There has to be some way, Oracle. You designed most of the security systems…

Voice: (elec.) Yes. And I designed them especially to withstand exactly what you're suggesting here. You simply can't tap into the Batcave computers via modem.

Tim: I have to keep tabs on him some way, Oracle, with Bruce and Alfred away. This new Batman..

Voice: (elec.) Jean-Paul Valley. I know the name, Robin.

Tim: You would. I'm worried about him, Oracle… He's changing. Robin isn't welcome in the cave anymore…

Voice: (elec.) He told you that?

Panel inset: Robin, in Batcave tunnel, discovering his secret entry passage sealed off with bricks.

Tim: (caption) Well, not in so many words, but I kinda got the message.

Voice: (elec.) Hmmmm… Sorry, I don't see any way, other than to tap into the cable itself. High tech stuff. You think you're up for it?

Panel scene shifts to Robin's hands, busily typing a keyboard.

Tim:(caption) No, I'm not. But I know some kids who might be, for the right price.

Tim: (caption 2) No idea how to contact her, of course, but I can always try a personal ad on the local hacker's newsgroups

Message on computer screen: Boy Wonder seeks Girl Scout. From the moment my eyes met yours, I knew it was destiny. Meet me at midnight, tonight, sharp. You know where.

Tim: (caption) I'll have several hundred rude "don't post personals here!" emails flooding my box in the morning, but who knows, I just might just…

PAGE 2

Splash page, Robin and Razorsharp atop the Wayne Foundation Tower. He's standing there waiting for her as she climbs up.

Robin (caption) …get lucky!

Razorsharp: So, do what do I owe this pleasure, Mask-boy?

Robin:Let's just say I have a proposition for you.

PAGE 3

Scene cuts to Channel and Hackratin the van. Hackrat sits in the driver's seat, impatiently drumming the steering wheel. Channel is visible on the screen of a small video monitor mounted on the dashboard.

Hackrat: So how long's she gonna be?

Channel: Relax, it's only been a few minutes.

Hackrat: Why wouldn't she at least let us go with her?

Channel: You puke on Ferris Wheels, remember…

Hackrat: I do not! I went with her after ControllerÐ

Channel: I remember. So does Rae. That's why you're driving the van now. Man, you're actually worried about her.

Hackrat: I just don't like her out there alone.

Channel: Dammit, I miss Mega as much as you do! But he's dead! I'm stuck here in TVLand, and, like it or not, Razor can make it up the side of a zillion-story skyscraper faster if she isn't toting a Sony Watchman! But she can take care of herself, Hacker. Better than ever, now.

Hackrat: Because of her powers, you mean?

Channel: Because she's the best.

Hackrat: Yeah…

Channel: (morphing into Ginsu knife commercial spokesman) And as an added bonus: 'The hands can be used like a knife! Hoooo-Wooop!

Hackrat: Very funny.

Channel: Look, we're both coping as best we can. Things are, like, different, now.

Hackrat: I thought we were giving up this cloak-and-dagger thing. Then one message from Spandex-Kid and she's off God knowsÐ

Channel: (morphing into image of Oprah Winfrey) Sounds to me like you're jealous, bro.

Hackrat: Don't talk crazy. Mega was the one she had the hots for.

Channel: You mean Mega had the hots for her. You think he was the only one?

Hackrat: You?

Channel: Open your eyes, man, she's a girl, isn't she? She's cool, she's tough, but she has a great pair of…. X chromosomes.

Hackrat: Yeah, yeah, I know, but I dunno… I always thought of her as, y'know, just one of the guys.

Channel: Then, my friend, I suggest you get new glasses.

Hackrat: You mean, you'd seriously consider, y'know, asking her out?

Channel: Well, I don't think she's into video dating, if you know what I mean.

Hackrat: Oh, right. Sorry.

Channel: Comes with the territory. No sweat, man. There's nothing stopping you, though.

Hackrat: Me? I don't know.

Channel: C'mon, you got it for her, bad. That much is obvious!

Hackrat: Homey, you're crazy!

Channel: Am I? Would you be this tense if she was out there with, say Batgirl?

Hackrat: There's no such person as Batgirl.

Channel: Yes, there is. Besides, that's not the poiÑ

They are interrupted by a THWUMP of two figures landing on the roof. Robinand Razorsharpscramble in through the side door of the van.

Razorsharp: Heads up, guys, we got a job!

Hackrat: Says who, Rae? I don't wanna be messing with any more codename clowns. Remember what CollectorÑ

Razorsharp: Collector was small potatoes. Robin here wants us for the greatest hack job of all time. It's the Psyba-Rats versus Batman!

PAGE 4

A deserted rural road, with a rocky mountain visible in the background. Robin is driving the Psyba-Rat's van, with Razorsharpin the front seat beside him, and Hackrat in the back seat. Hackrat holds a small portable TV on his lap, on which Channel's face is visible. However, right now Razorsharp and Hackratare both blindfolded, while Channel's screen is covered with a small towel.

Robin (caption) Bruce would kill me for bring outsiders this close to the cave. Not that he'll get a chance if Jean-Paul finds out I'm doing this.

Voice: (elec., from under towel): I still don't get it. Why would Robin have to break into the Batcave?

Robin: I told you already, it's… complicated. Okay, all clear.

Robin pulls the van to a stop, concealing it behind some trees. Razorsharpand Hackrat take off their blindfolds.

Voice: (elec., from under towel) I mean, did you get grounded or something?

Hackrat pulls off the towel and Channel appears, looking like Ward Cleaver in a Batman shirt and cape, arms folded, brow furrowed.

Channel: I'm verrrrrry disappointed in you, son…

Robin: Batman's not my dad, and I didn't get grounded!

Razorsharp: Put a sock in it, Channel!

Channel: (now appearing as the Beaver) But, Mom, I wanna know what's--

Razorsharp: The Psyba-Rats don't ask questions if the price is right!

Channel: (morphing into Bob Barker) Oh, well, if that's what you want…

Razorsharp: Channel, if you don't stop, I'm going to pull your plug right up to your-

Hackrat: (setting the TV on the seat beside him, screen down, and pulling out his laptop and studying it intently) Ignore him, Rae.

Voice (elec, muffled) Hey, c'mon, guys, lemme up…

Robin: You sure that thing will work?

Hackrat: (fingering small electronic device) It will, if you can wire it directly into his ethernet cable. It'll pick up whatever his computer is processing, and transit a duplicate data copy to you.

Robin: Will I be able to affect what he sees?

Hackrat: It's a multi-purpose filter. Nothing goes in or out without your OK.

Robin: (grim-faced) Good.

Razorsharp: You must have a big-time beef with the guy.

Robin: Razor--

Razorsharp: I know, I know, none of my beeswax

PAGE 5

Robin gathers up climbing gear and climbs out of the van. Razor and Hackrat follow, with Razorsharpalso carrying climbing gear and Hackrattoting Channel's TV set. They follow Robin to a rock formation at the side of the mountain.

Robin: Stop.

Hackrat: Why?

Robin: (pointing) That's why.

Robin quickly climbs up to the top of the boulder, where a smaller rock sits. A camera lens is barely visible, concealed within it.

Robin: This is the first of the security cameras I was telling you about.

Channel: That's my cue!

Robin drops his Batline down to Razorsharp, who ties it onto the TV handle and climbs up to join Robin. Hackrat follows, puffing a bit with exertion. Once on top of the rock, Robin opens a hidden panel on the disguised camera. Razorsharp plugs a cable from Channel's TV into it.

Robin: There are a dozen other cameras in the security network. Razor and I'll be passing numbers 6, 7 and 10. Can you handle that?

Channel (elec) No problem!

Robin: Great! Just make sure the screens keep displaying exactly what they're showing now.

Channel: (elec) Which is … rocks. Piece of cake. I can do rocks! Hey, we Psyba-Rats rock time!

Razorsharp: This isn't a game, Channel!

Robin: (caption) She's right about that. The inside scoop on Batman's comings and goings is information the Gotham underworld would pay millions for, if these guys decide they want to double-cross me. I have to pray they aren't the type to stab a peer in the back.

Razorsharp: Where to now, Bird-boy?

Robin: The next ledge.

Razorsharp: Gotcha.

Razorsharp transforms her arms into blades and impales her right arm solidly into the grassy side of the mountain. She repeats with her left, using both swords to climb up the hillside, and leaving gaping holes with chunks of crumbling dirt and grass in the side of the mountain. Robin fires his line and climbs up after her, watching her actions with some trepidation.

Robin: (caption) Oh, yeah, there's a safe bet.

Hackrat: (remaining behind, with TV) Just be careful, Rae.

PAGE 6.

Robin and Razorsharp make their way up to the next ledge, where Robin stops at a small crack between two rocks. He pulls out a lighted hardhat which he straps to his head, and hands another one to Razorsharp. Her arms have reverted to normal.

Razorsharp: This is it?

Robin: Yep. How are you at spelunking?

Razorsharp: I never climbed anything without steel-reinforced beams, but I'll try anything once.

Robin and Razorsharp make their way through a dark underground passageway, where the only light comes from their helmets. It's a tight fit, most of the way they're crawling on hands and knees. Robin takes the lead.

Razorsharp: How far?

Robin: About a mile. The Batcave's pretty deep.

Razorsharp: And I'd be willing to bet you aren't taking me the most direct route.

Robin: Do you blame me?

Razorsharp: No, but you're wasting your time. I'm not interested in uncovering any of your secret identity stuff.

Robin: Why not? You're in the business of selling information, aren't you?

Razorsharp: Yeah. But anyone who'd want to know that… That's not the type of client the Psyba-Rats take.

Robin: And I thought you swore you were no kind of hero.

Razorsharp: I'm not. I can't stand heroes. No offense.

Robin: None taken.

They've emerged into a larger , cavernous room. Robin and Razorsharp approach a stone wall.

Razorsharp: Up?

Robin: Up.

They take out rock climbing equipment and start making their way up, using small steel pegs as steps.

Razorsharp: So what got you into the hero game?

Robin: Various circumstances.

Razorsharp: Trouble on the home front?

Robin: Then or now?

Razorsharp: Either.

Robin: Both.

Razorsharp: Ah. Ever think of getting out?

Robin: Sure, all the time. But I can't. Not now.

Razorsharp: I see. Ever the Boy Scout.

Robin: Never say "ever."

Razorsharp: Right.

PAGE 7.

Robin: What?

Razorsharp: Nothing.

Robin: You're looking at me like I'm a complete idiot.

Razorsharp: Heroes usually are. Running around trying to get themselves killed and for what?

Robin: From what I've seen the Psyba-Rats take their share of chances, too.

Razorsharp: For ourselves. For a price. Not for anyone else. And no one was ever supposed to get killed.

Robin: But someone did.

Razorsharp: Mega-biter.

Robin: Michael Wasko.

Razorsharp: How did you--

Robin: Information gathering's part of my business, too. We have that much in common.

Razorsharp: We got nothing in common.
Robin: Were you and him, y'know, more than just teammates?

Razorsharp: Are you kidding?

Robin: It wouldn't be unheard of. I mean, you're the only girl on a whole team of guys….

Razorsharp: Pul-lease. As far as the Psyba-Rats go, I'm just that. One of the guys.

Robin: Uh-huh. Nightwing told me that Wonder Girl used to think the same thing. It didn't last.

Razorsharp: What are you talking about, Masky?

Robin:Never mind. So what happened to Mega-biter?

Razorsharp: He tried to be a hero. My hero

Robin: I see.

A single panel image from RobinAnnual #2, showing Mega-biter being shot as he tries to protect Razorsharp from Collector's hired guns.

Razorsharp: (caption) He didn't have any metapowers, you know. None of us did… then… Guys like him have no business trying to be heroes. It's just not worth it.

They've reached the top of the wall, and now stand on a rocky ledge.

Razorsharp: Oh, forget it. Someone like you wouldn't understand.

Robin: Actually, in a way, I do.

Here, there is a single panel showing Bane breaking Batman's back.

Robin: Better than you might think.

Razorsharp: Let's just get this job over and get the hell out of here.

Robin: Agreed. (points left) Up that way. We'll need to be quiet from here on. And try not to rouse the bats.

PAGE 8.

Robin and Razorsharp have emerged onto a ledge, high above the main floor of the Batcave. Looking down, they can see Jean-Paul Valley, attired in his souped-up Batman suit, firing shirken at mannequins dressed as various assorted Bat-rogues (Joker, Two-face, etc.)

Robin: (whisper) Good, he's not on the computers now. The cable runs through here.

They kneel beside the insulated wire, and Robin pulls a set of tools from his belt. Razorsharp transforms on of her arms into a blade, and deftly slices through the material.

Robin: (whisper) Can you wire in Hackrat's toy?

Razorsharp: (whisper) I've done it before.

Robin: (whisper) Great. Give me the bug, then.

Razorsharp: (whisper) It'll have to be planted closer than this.

Robin: (whisper) I'll manage.

Robin creeps back over to the ledge overlooking the Batcave. He takes the electronic listening device Razor had given him, and pulls out a tube of adhesive from his utility belt. He slathers glue on one side of it, then assembles his three-part hollow quarterstaff and slips the bug inside it.

Robin: (caption) I have to time this just right. Fire my dart at the same time Jean-Paul fires his, to muffle the noise.

Robin blows into the other end of his staff, sending the bug device sailing down into the Batcave, where the gluey side smacks into the base of a stalactite.

Robin: (caption) Bingo.

Unfortunately, the impact dislodges a small bit of rock, which falls to the Batcave floor to land squarely on top of a sleeping dog.

Robin: (caption) Oops. Make that "Ace."

The dog stands, sniffing the air.

Robin: (thought bubble) Take it easy, boy. You know it's me.

Robin: (caption) But it's not me he smells. Damn.

Ace runs to the cave wall beneath the ledge where Robin and Razorsharp are and begins barking furiously.

Batman: (whirling around) What is it? WHO'S THERE??

Razorsharp: (she has completed the wiring job and sits up) Robin, whatÑ

Robin: (ducking back and grabbing her wrist) Quiet! Come on!

PAGE 9

Together they run a short distance down the stone passageway, until they reach a fork.

Robin: Did you finish the job?

Razorsharp: Yeah. Cripes, kid, what did you do back thereÑ

Robin: Never mind that now! Listen to me!

Robin (caption) No matter what, I have to keep Jean Paul from discovering the rewiring job.

Robin: (seizing her wrist and pulling her communicator out.) Robin to Channel, come in!

Voice: (elec.) Yeah?

Robin: No time for questions. Camera Four, what does its screen show?

Voice: (elec.) Uh. Lessee… Looks like a brick wall.

Robin: Great. Make it show me, sledgehammering my way through it.

Voice: SledgehammerÑ?

Robin: Just do it! (handing Razor the rest of his gear) Razor, take this and get back to the van. I'll try to catch up to you, but if I'm not there in 10 minutes, leave without me!

Razorsharp: Where are you going?

Robin: I told you… it's complicated.

Back in the Batcave, Batman looks at his array of monitors, and sees an image of Robin cracking through a brick barricade on one of them. He roars in fury and smashes one hand on his console. Meanwhile, Robin takes off down one fork of the path, Razorsharp down the other.

Robin: (running) This tunnel connects with the one from my dad's place. Jean-Paul won't like me trying to bust my way in, but I at least have a chance of reasoning with him. If he finds out about the Psyba-Rats, we're all dead.

Robin climbs down a steep, rocky ledge onto into another, more developed passageway, arriving on the other side of the brick blockade. From the Batcave side, Batman is yelling "I told you to STAY AWAY!" Robin looks up at the brick wall and gulps.

Robin: (caption) Y'know, it might have helped if I had thought to bring a sledgehammer with me.

Azbat's armored boot smashes through the brick wall.

Robin: (caption) Fortunately, Jean-Paul's a bit too worked up to notice.

Batman: (bursting through to seize Robin by the front of his costume) I TOLD you, THIS Batman doesn't NEED a ROBIN!!!!

Robin: Jean-Paul, I just want to talkÑ

Batman: SILENCE, INSECT!!!

Robin: (caption) What's that I was just saying about "fortunately"?

Razorsharp: (swooping down from overhead, blades crossed above her head) Back off, mister, before I call the Sidekick Abuse Hotline!

PAGE 10

Batman slams Robin against the stone wall, and Robin slumps to the floor, dazed. Batmanthen and whirls around to face Razorsharp, who takes a defensive posture.

Batman: Who are YOU?

Razorsharp: My friends call me Razorsharp!

Batman: HOW have you COME to this place?

Razorsharp: Just dropped in, you might say.

Batman: (turning back on Robin ) This is YOUR doing, betrayer!

Robin: (standing up cautiously) Batman, listenÑ

Batman dives toward Robin, clearly with lethal fury, but is stopped as Razorsharp leaps between them, slashing at him with both her blades, They strike against his armored arms, slicing partially through his protective gear and drawing a bit of blood. Batman roars in fury and backhands Razorsharp , knocking her backwards into the passageway wall.

Batman: (firing blades at Razorsharp from his gauntlets) Know that men call you defiler! Know that men call you corruptor!

Robin: (caption) Oh, jeez, she's triggered "the system!"

Razorsharp: (deflecting the blades with her metallic arms) Hey, I've been called worse, buddy.

Batman: It is the DUTY of the ANGEL AZREAL to BRING YOU PUNISHMENT!

Razorsharp: Oh, am I grounded, now, too?

Batman scoops up a chunk of the broken brick wall and lunges towards Razorsharp, clearly intending to bash her head with it. Robin pulls a gas bomb out and throws it, exploding it squarely in Batman's face. He drops the concrete and reels backwards.. Robin covers his nose and mouth with one and yanks Razorsharp's shoulder with the other.

Robin: Hurry! That won't hold him back for long.

PAGE 11

Together, Robin and Razorsharp scramble up the bank and into the upper passageway, kicking as many rocks down on Batman as they can before disappearing. Batman quickly recovers, and pursues them, bellowing with rage. Robin and Razorsharp hurry to the stone wall they had climbed earlier. By this time, Razor's arms have reverted to normal. They get to the ledge, with Batman about twenty yards behind.

Robin: We can't rappel down… He'd slice our ropes.

Razorsharp: Hang on!

She snatches up Robin in the fireman's carry and jumps off the ledge, out of reach, just as Batman reaches them.

Batman: Nooooooo!!!

Robin: Are you crazy?

Razorsharp: S'OK, I got my chute! (Deploys her parachute)

Robin: You packed a parachute for a cave trip?

Razorsharp: I never leave home without it.

Robin: Whatever.

Razorsharp: There's gratitude for you.

A few of Batman's blades cut the chute as they descend, making their landing a bit rough, but they make it, discard their packs and wiggle their way through the narrow passageway that leads outside.

Robin: This way!

Razorsharp: Direct route, this time, I assume?

Robin: Most defintitely!

Razorsharp: What about him?

Robin: He'll go back to the cave to try to track us when we exit. If Channel can just keep those security cameras tied up a few more minutesÑ

Razorsharp: He will.

Robin: Ñthat should buy us the time we need! (Pause) Why did you come back for me, anyway, Miss I'm-Not-A-Hero?

Razorsharp: I'm not! But you're an honorary Psyba-Rat, remember? That means we go in, and out, together.

Robin and Razorsharp emerge into daylight and, using Robin's Batline, slide down the mountainside to the rock where Channel and Hackrat are waiting. Once there, Robin smashes the lens of this security camera, as Razorsharp swiftly unplugs Channel's TV set.

Robin: To the van, people, and step on it!

They scramble down the rock, and into the van.

Robin: (starting the motor and speeding off) Quick! Everybody down!

The Psyba-Rats dive for the floor, including Channel, whose TV set is dropped in the confusion. The vehicle roars away.

PAGE 12
The van has pulled into another deserted rural drive, this one with no mountains around. Robin stops the vehicle near the place where his Redbird is parked, behind some bushes. Robin, Razorsharp and Hackrat get out of the van.

Robin: OK, you can get up now.

Razorsharp: What gives? Was he shooting at us?

Robin: No, I just didn't want to take the time to blindfold you three again.

Razorsharp: You jerk! Why, I oughtaÑ

Robin: Hey, what's the big deal, I thought you weren't interested in the secret identity stuff anyway…

Hackrat: Settle down, Rae. The job's over.

Razorsharp: See if I ever try to save your butt again.

Robin: Speaking of our collective butts… (He pulls out an envelope of money) Here's the rest of your payment.

Razorsharp: (thumbing through it, then handing it back to Robin ) This is more than you said.

Robin: I know. It's enough to get you out of Gotham. Take it.

Razorsharp: The Psyba-Rats aren't running!

Robin: Be sensible! Batman knows who you are, now, and it won't take him long to track down the rest of you. You're on his hit list now. And that's a complication the Psyba-Rats don't need.

Razorsharp: He'll be gunning for your hide, too. Come with us.

Robin: I can't. You know I can't. Ever the Boy Scout, remember.

Razorsharp: He'll kill you.

Robin: He may try. But I know Batman. You don't. I'll be fine.

Razorsharp: I don't know.

Robin: (Turning to Hackrat and handing him the envelope) Please, you, at least, be reasonable.

Hackrat: (taking it, then shaking Robin's hand) He makes sense, Rae.

Robin: Please, Rae. For all our sakes, don't be a hero.

Razorsharp: (hesitates, then gives Robin a quick hug) Take care of yourself, Boy Wonder.

Robin: I will.

Hackrat looks slightly jealous, but smiles as Razorsharp releases Robin and climbs into the passenger's side of the van. He gets into the driver's seat and starts the engine. Channel's TV sits between them and he appears as Roy Rogers.

Channel: Happy Traaaailsssss…. To yooooouuuuuu…. Un-tellll, we meeet, a-gaaaainnnn….

The van departs and Robin watches it disappear.Epilogue
One month later.

Page 1.

Top 1/3 page shot of San Francisco, CA. Familiar landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, etc. are visible. Next panel shows shot of Razorsharpand Hackrat,coming out of Curran Theater, where they have just seen a performance of Les Miserables. Both are dressed considerably differently than we've seen of them before, Hackrat in a dark jacket with a collarless shirt, Razorsharpin a short cocktail dress with spaghetti straps. Notably, Razorsharp is wearing a rhinestone necklace and earrings. They walk up the street arm in arm, as cablecars pass them., until they enter an apartment building.

Hackrat: So, cool play, huh?

Razorsharp: I loved it. The music was awesome.

Hackrat: Yeah, awesome. So, catch you in the morning?

Razorsharp: Bright and early, as in 3 AM. We've got a job up at Lawrence Livermore Labs.

Hackrat: Yeah, I know…

Razorsharp: We oughta get a few hours shut-eye at least, if we're going to get the info the Antinuke Coalition needs toÑmmmmph

Hackrat pulls her to him and kisses her swiftly, and she responds for several panels, then they reluctantly pull away from each other, both red-faced.

Razorsharp: (blushing bright red) Uh, like I said, we need to rest up for the job….

Hackrat: (flustered as well) Right, catch you later.

Hackrat turns and hurries down the hall, to his own room a few doors down. Razor pulls a key out of a small purse she's carrying, enters her own room and fastens several locks on the door before leaning against it and sighing. Then she crosses the room to her dresser, regarding herself in the mirror for a moment before removing her earrings and setting each down on the dresser. She's smiling softly, almost demurely.

She reaches behind her neck to unclasp her necklace. Without warning, there comes a soft fwoosh as both of her forearms transform into blades and each blade swiftly impales her, straight through the neck. We see her reflection in the mirror, her expression one of shocked disbelief as the blades quietly slit her throat. The next panels shows only the necklace falling to the floor, with several big droplets of blood above it, in midair.

Voice (elec.) Earth to Rae Sharp. Come in, Rae Sharp!

The last panel of this page shows a view of Razor's room, with her lifeless body slumped on the floor and a puddle of blood spreading out to one side. On her dresser, a small TV is flickering to life, with Channel's wild-haired form half visible beneath the static.

Channel: So, Razor… What happened? Didja get lucky? Hey, Razor! C'mon, talk to me, woman! Razor?

Panel inset: Channel's face in full view as he comes in and reacts in shock to what he sees.

Channel: RAE!!!!!!!!

PAGE 2

STAR Labs. A white-coated Dr. Sarah Charles stands in a tiled hallway, holding a clipboard. Hackrat stands beside her, subdued and grieved.

Dr. Charles: The autopsy showed no signs of a struggle… No injuries at all except the blade marks in her throat. And the police are convinced no one else was in her apartment at the time of her death.

Hackrat: Someone had to do that to her! It couldn't have just happened for no reason!

Dr. Charles: These metapowers, had she had them long?

Hackrat: A few months.

Dr. Charles: Did she have full control over the blades?

Hackrat: Yeah, I think… Mostly. I never saw them unless she was fighting, or really worked up about something.

Dr. Charles: Did she have any reason to be upset that night?

Hackrat: No! We were just in from a date! She was feeling great!

Dr. Charles: Had she been depressed at all, lately? Any reason she might want to hurt herself?

Hackrat: Not Rae! Never!

Dr. Charles: I know it's hard to accept, but this transformation, the death of your friend, the move from Gotham… Maybe it was all too much for her?

Hackrat: Lady, you don't know Rae! She was happy! Happier than she'd been for a long time! There's no way she would have killed herself! Someone did this to her!

Dr. Charles: Well, no one ever found a suicide note. But they're no evidence of any foul play, either. In the absence of anything else, I'm going to have to rule this an accidental death.

Hackrat: A freak accident? That's what you're saying it is?

Dr. Charles: Well, I don't like to use that term, but yes. We're only beginning to understand part of what happens when a metagene is activated. And with powers like hers… Well, sometimes, metahumans, especially new ones, simply lose control.

Hackrat: Rae had never lost control of anything in her life.

Dr. Charles: I'm sorry for your loss. I wish I could say something to make it easier.

Hackrat: Yeah. Thanks.

Dr. Charles: Does she have any family? Other than your gang…

Hackrat: The Psyba-Rats aren't a gang! We're… We were… Oh, never mind, you wouldn't understand! But Rae was one of us. One of the… guys.

Dr. Charles: I see.

Hackrat: What about Channel?

Dr. Charles: We've taken him to the ICU, and we have our best cyber-engineers working on his case. We're fairly sure we can sustain his body indefinitely, and we'll work on getting his consciousness back into it. He isn't exactly cooperating, though… He's pretty despondent.

Hackrat: And probably pretty P.O 'ed at me for turning him over to you people.

Dr. Charles: We specialize in metahumans here; he'll have the best care possible. You did the right thing.

Hackrat: Maybe if I had insisted she come here, too… If I had just talked her into seeing someone….

Dr. Charles: Don't blame yourself. You had no way of knowing there was any danger of something like this.

Hackrat: C-can I see her?

Dr. Charlesnods, and leads him into an adjoining examination room, where Razorsharp's body lies on a table, covered with a white sheet She leaves him alone. The outline of the blades are visible at her sides, underneath the cloth. Hackrat folds back the sheet to expose her face, pale, eyes closed and peaceful-looking. Hackrat regards Razorsharp as tears streak his face. Final panel is a silhouette of him standing at her bedside, one hand on her shoulder, with his head bowed.

All characters are ™ DC Comics
"alt.showcase.94" concept by Joel Ellis Rea.
This story is © 1999 by Louise Freeman Davis.


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