It was a pretty normal night for Robin. He was swinging through the air from rooftop to rooftop watching out for any crimes that he might be able to stop. Batman was currently fighting the Joker and wanted him to set off on his own to protect the rest of Gotham while he was busy. Dick Grayson, Robin, was overjoyed to be able to go off on his own. He wasn't a child anymore after all.
He swooped down to stop a mugging. He tied up the muggers and checked to see if the girl that was mugged was alright. Then he shot his grappling hook in the air and launched back in to the rooftops.
Things were going rather normal for awhile till he came across an alleyway that was...glowing. Certain that one of Gotham's more colorful villains was up to something he repelled into the alleyway and went to take a look.
He didn't know what he was looking at. He stared at the anomaly for awhile trying to make sense of it. It looked as if it were a tear in the fabric of reality. There was the same alleyway on the other side of the anomaly but it looked dingier and more run down than it already was. It was like a portal. Robin stepped closer to the portal and instantly got sucked in.
He came to on the ground in the alley. But when he got up he saw that the alley was a lot more dingy and broken then it had been. And it was quiet. Too quiet for the middle of town. There were no sounds of cars going by. No honking horns. No sounds of people. Now and then there was the sounds of some explosions in the distance but other than that it was quiet.
Robin turned around to go back through the portal but the portal was gone! He got really scared. If only Batman were here he thought. He wandered out of the alleyway onto a street. Everything looked half destroyed. Nothing looked familiar to him.
Suddenly some huge insect-like creatures appear in front of Robin! He dodged out of the way when one shot a acid-like substance at him.
He ran away, not knowing how to deal with these things.
As he was running, he nearly got run over by a car that came barreling forward towards the monsters. Several rather rusty armored cars shot towards the creatures. The cars were full of people shooting guns at the insect-like monsters. One of the peopl, in an interesting looking red gas mask covering his whole face was lobbing explosives at the creatures.
"Get out of the way if you don't want to be in pieces kiddo!" The red masked man yelled at Robin.
Robin ran out of the way as one of the creatures swallowed an explosive. The explosive went off and showered the area in chunks of insect flesh. The other creatures were taken down by gunfire.
When they were finished taking care of the creatures they got out of the cars and raided a nearby abandoned pharmacy.
"Woo! Did you see that? It fucking swallowed it! That was classic!" The red masked man said as he walked up to Robin.
"Who are you? What happened to Gotham?" Robin said as he backed into a wall.
"The better question is who you are? And how you survived this long wearing something that stands out so much? If you have a death wish you certainly dressed well for it."
Robin glared at the man. "My name is Robin. I'm a crimefighter."
The man laughed. "That's a good one! Not really that much crime to fight nowadays though is there? Not since the city went to shit. Anyway, people call me Red Hood. Nice to meetcha, birdie."
"What happened here? Why is everything so destroyed?" Robin said.
"Where you been kid? Under a rock? The aliens happened. When the aliens attacked everything went to shit. A few of us managed to survive though. And now that's all we do. Survive. The aliens mostly leave us alone now. They were here for our resources not us. It's the rival gangs and the bugs you got to watch out for now. How come you don't know all this kid?"
"I'm not from here. I saw a portal or something and went through it and arrived here. I think I'm from a different version of Gotham." Robin said thoughtfully.
"A portal? Damn...that's how the aliens got to us the first time. If you had a portal in your world...well sorry to say this kid but your world is screwed." said Red Hood.
"Oh no! I've got to warn them! I've got to tell Batman!" Robin said. "Can you help me get back? Please!"
"Who's Batman? Sounds like a weird name to me." Red Hood said. Then he saw how desperate the kid seemed. "Ok ok. I'm not sure how we'll get you back but I have a few connections I can try. Come back to our hideout with us in the meantime and we'll get you some less conspicuous clothes."
Red Hood led Robin to his car. Robin reluctantly followed. Red Hood's lackeys all seemed like thugs to him and it made him nervous. Plus he had the suspicion that these people were this world's version of the Red Hood mob. He wasn't used to trusting criminals. But here there was no law. So there were no real criminals. And he had no one else to trust.
The rest of Red Hood's gang returned with their bags full of medicine. They got back in their cars and follow Red Hood's car back to their hideout.
Red Hood hummed a merry tune as he drove. Robin wondered if the man was entirely sane as he sat in the passenger seat nervously.
After awhile they stopped. They all pulled their vehicles into a hidden underground parking garage. Red Hood then led them to a subway tunnel entrance. They headed down and got to a guard post. Red Hood waved at the guards and they let them through. In the subway station there were people. Normal, yet shabby, looking people. Children played around. Red Hoods lackeys gave the medicine they brought to a tall thin young man that looked barely out of his teens. Then they went off into another room to relax a bit.
A young teenage girl in pigtails came running up to Red Hood and hugged him. "Jack! You're home! I was so worried!"
Red Hood looked a little uncomfortable. "Yep. I'm alive. Why wouldn't I be? Now go do something useful Harley."
"Aw Jack. Why do you have to be so mean?" She ran off through a door labeled greenhouse.
"I swear that girl is going to get on my last nerve." Red Hood took off his mask. "Anyway welcome to my home. Mi Casa es su Casa. Let's get you into some different clothes little bird."
Robin stared at the man that called himself Red Hood as he led i=him into one of the other rooms. He looked rather normal without the mask. His face was long and thin and young looking but looked pretty normal. The man seemed to sport a permanent little smirk on his face.
They get to a room full of beds. Red Hood went over and grabbed some clothes from a drawer in the corner.
"Here you go. They should probably fit you. I suppose you can keep the mask on if you want. Black doesn't pop like the other colors on your costume." He handed Robin some clothes. Then he walked out of the room.
Robin got changed but rolled up his costume and held onto it. He looked pretty drab now. The clothes were mostly grey. He walked out the door and back into the big common area. He searched around for Red Hood but couldn't find him. A sly looking teenage girl popped out of a ventilation vent in front of him as he was searching for Red Hood.
"Oh hi. New guy right? I haven't seen you before so you must be." she said as she coaxed a small black cat out of the ventilation vent after her. She then replaced the vent cover and went over to him. "I'm Selena. But most people just call me Cat."
Robin shook her hand, mind reeling. Her name was Selena? Most people call her Cat? Was this a young Catwoman?
"You don't talk much do you? Good. I prefer action to talking anyway. This here is Iris, my cat." She pointed to the cat currently hissing at him. "Anyway see you later." She walked away.
Robin was trying to wrap his head around seeing a young Catwoman walking around when Red Hood caught up to him.
"Hey there. Why the long face?" Red Hood asked. "Would you like a tour of my abode, litle bird?"
"Um, sure." Robin said as he was led around. "To be honest when you said you had a hideout, I didn't expect there to be so many people here."
"It used to just be me and my gang, true. But I'm not heartless. We kept picking people up here and there that needed somewhere safe to stay. If they earn their keep and do something productive they can stay. We've got a whole big happy family down here now."
He led Robin to the an area that was filled with plants. A few workers worked here and there. There was that pigtailed teenage girl from before, Harley, talking with a red-headed teenaged girl. When she saw Red Hood enter she swooned over him.
"Hey Pam. This here's Robin. He's new. I was just showing him around. How are the plants doing?" Red Hood said.
"My plants are doing as well as can be expected. I really wish I didn't have to use UV lamps instead of sunlight. They really prefer actual sunlight, Hood." The red-headed girl said angrily.
"Hey you know why we can't grow outside. Too dangerous. If you want to stay you follow the rules, Isley." Red Hood said.
Robin stared at the girl in shock. Pamela Isley? Poison Ivy? Things were getting pretty weird. Pam noticed Robin staring at her in shock.
"What's the matter? Never seen a girl before? Why are you gaping at me?" Pam said.
"Sorry. You just look a lot like someone I know." Robin said apologetically.
"Well he is a bit cute, Ivy. No harm done." Harley chirped. Then Robin recognized Harley for who she was. Harley Quinn. He was just done with being surprised at this point.
Red Hood led Robin away and back into the common area.
"Don't let Pam get you down. It's not personal. She just hates everyone. The only person that she seems to get along with is Harley." Red Hood said.
He led Robin into another area that seemed to be the medical area. The same tall thin young man that Red Hood's lackeys gave the medicine to was there checking on a patient.
"Hey there Crane. This is the new kid. Just wanted to introduce him to you." Red Hood said cheerfully.
"Great. Another person I need to take care of. Well what are you waiting for boy? Sit down so I can see if you are carrying any diseases in here." Crane said.
Robin reluctantly sat down, not sure he wanted Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow, anywhere near him. Crane gave him a check up.
"Well you are healthier than most of the people here. Odd. Would you mind if I got a blood sample from you?"
"I really rather stay away from needles if that would be ok." Robin said standing up.
Crane scoffed. "Fine. You are free to go. Try to stay that healthy so I don't have to see you again."
Red Hood then showed him the various sleeping areas, the dining area, the area where his lackeys mostly spent their time, and his own private area.
"This is my room. After today, I'd rather you not come in here unless I let you, ok? That's one of the rules." Red Hood said.
There was a dingy looking bed to one side of the room and a full chemistry set sat out on a table on the other side. It looked as if Red Hood made his explosives here as well as other things.
Red Hood noticed him looking. "Yeah that's one of the reasons I don't want anyone in here. I like making my own explosives. Plus I like experimenting with things. I created some gas bombs that really mess with the bugs out there. And a nerve gas that messes with rival gangs. It's hilarious to watch them twitch. Anyway, Let's go back to the main room. I need to contact someone anyway. You know, to help you get back to your world?"
They left his room and Red Hood walked over to where a two way radio was being used. He sat down and contacted someone.
"This is Red Hood trying to contact Enigma. Enigma come in. You there Eddie?" said Red Hood into the radio.
They waited for a few moments before a voice is heard. "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" the voice said. Then there was a scuffle heard and someone yelling "That's not a real riddle! Give me that, Tetch!"
"Sorry about that. That you Red Hood? Finally need my intelligence for something? What do you need?"
"Hey there Eddie. I have a boy here that I found wandering the streets. He said he came through a portal from another version of Gotham. I was wondering if you might have any ideas on how to send him back?"
"Does he have to be all in one piece when he gets back?... If so then it makes things a bit more difficult. Not impossible but difficult. I'll get back to you once I've solved this little riddle." said Eddie. The radio went silent.
"Well that's about all he's going to say until he figures it out. Don't worry. Eddie always did love a challenge. He'll figure it out." Red Hood said turning to Robin. "Until then I suggest you familiarize yourself with the people here. You might be here awhile, little bird. Oh and you can leave your costume with me. I'll look after it for you. Don't want to just carry it around forever do you?"
Robin handed his costume to Red Hood. Red Hood walked away, leaving Robin to fend for himself.
The next few days were hard for Robin, who was missing his version of Gotham terribly. The people around him were nice enough but seemed hardened by struggling to survive day to day. Harley and Cat were chipper enough to him. But Harley was a little annoying and Cat spent most of her time crawling through tunnels to find supplies. He tried to avoid Pamela and Crane as much as possible because quite simply, they scared him.
He was in the dining area eating when someone sat down next to him.
"Hey there. You seemed a bit lonely over here by yourself so I thought I'd come say hi. Red Hood said he found you wandering the streets. Dangerous thing to do. Anyway, my name is Harvey. Harvey Dent. Nice to meet you." He stuck out a hand to shake Robin's hand.
Robin tried not to choke on his food when he heard Harvey's name. He turned and shook Harvey's hand.
"Nice to meet you Harvey. What do you do around here?" Robin asked.
"Well I'm sort of a mediator for people here. Well people that aren't part of Red Hood's gang anyway. I make sure fights don't break out and help people negotiate things. Since I was in law school when the aliens invaded, I have some skill with that sort of stuff." Harvey said. "Red Hood is happy that he doesn't have to deal with any fights from all of us."
"What's up with that guy anyway? Red Hood I mean? Why's he so cheerful when everything is all destroyed?" Robin asked.
"Hey Robin! Hey Harv! Whatcha talking about?" Harley chirped as she sat down with them.
"Red Hood. Why's he so cheerful all of the time?" Robin said.
"Jack? Jack's not really all that cheerful. He just acts that way. I think something bad happened to him shortly after the alien stuff happened. He uses humor to not think about all the bad things I think." Harley said.
"Why do you call him Jack?" Robin said.
"Because that's his real name. I heard one of his minions call him that one time. Boy was Jack mad at him for using his name. But he lets me use his name! I think he likes me." Harley said beaming.
"I am not sure he actually likes you calling him that Harley. He doesn't seem to like thinking about his past." Harvey said.
"Shut up Harv! He likes me!" Harley said as she stormed away.
"Well that's Harley for you. I'm not really sure why she's so obsessed with Red Hood, but I do know it annoys him to no end." Harvey said snorting. "Anyway, if you have any questions feel free to come ask me. I like to be helpful to all our newcomers."
"I do have a question. Are there any other settlements like this in Gotham? Or are you all that is left?" Robin asked.
"Of course there are more settlements. Are you not from one of those? There is Oswald's little group of former rich people. There's Nigma's little hideout of really smart people. There's a Jim Gorden's bunch of former police officers. Those are the most notable ones. There are plenty of others scattered around." Harvey said. "Honestly, Oswald's bunch are rather pretentious and rude. They try to ignore the fact that the world has pretty much ended and that being rich doesn't matter anymore. Nigma's group isn't much better. They only accept really smart people. The only reason Crane isn't over there is because he got annoyed that someone as young as Nigma was running things. As for Gorden's bunch, well I like them. Don't let Red Hood know I said that though. He dislikes Gorden's bunch."
"Of course I don't like them. They still believe law exists in this world. This is a post-apocalyptic world we live in. Why would there still be unified laws? My laws are simple. Do what I say and stay alive." Red Hood appeared behind them. "Anyway, hiya Harv. Keeping our little bird company?"
"Oh hello Red Hood. I was just informing Robin here about the different settlements in Gotham. How is it that he doesn't know about them? Is he from somewhere other than Gotham?" Harvey said.
"Yep. In way. Robin here is apparently from a whole other dimension!" A whole other Gotham!" Red Hood said dramatically. Harvey looked at him confused. "Mind if I borrow you for a bit little bird? There's someone here that you'll definitely want to meet."
"Uh, ok. Who is it?" Robin asked as he got to his feet and let Red Hood lead him away.
"You'll find out." Red Hood said as they got to the main room.
There was a red headed teenaged boy in a green jacket having a chat with Crane in the middle of the room.
"How do you stand it here Jonathan? There's no one with your level of intellect here. I don't see why you prefer it here." the red headed boy said.
"Oh I wouldn't say stuff like that around here. You wouldn't want Pamela hearing that you think she is intellectually inferior." Red Hood said to the red headed teen. "Hey there Eddie! This here's the boy I mentioned over the radio. His name's Robin."
"Hmm. Well he looks at least semi intelligent." Eddie said snobbily. "Hello I am Edward Nigma. The reason I'm in this...wonderful place, is that I found out a way to get you back to your own world."
"That's great! When do we leave?" Robin said excited.
"Hold on there. I can't send you back just like that. It will take some work. Some very dangerous work at that. You have to get your hands on an alien device. How do I say this in a way you could understand?...To put it simply, it opens a hole in the fabric of the universe. It makes a portal." Eddie said condescendingly. "You all have to go into one of those alien facilities and grab it. I will be able to get it working. You just need to get it for me. Here are some notes about what to look for." He handed Red Hood some notes.
"Well this'll be fun. I guess I get to use some of my more experimental stuff. I made a gas that might affect the aliens. Or it might just make them angry. I haven't really tested it." Red Hood said. "I'll get my boys ready to go."
"Can I come with you? I'd like to help." Robin said as he walked away.
"Well, can you help, little bird? I don't want to have to look after you if you go out there with us." Red Hood said.
"I was an acrobat in a circus, and then I fought criminals with Batman. I can do this." Robin said determined.
"Ok then. If you die than don't blame me." Red Hood said.
Red Hood got his gang together and loaded up with weapons and explosives. He put his red mask on and they headed out to the vehicles. Robin got in Red Hood's car and sat in the passenger seat. Red Hood revved the engine and peeled off into the city.