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Kick Chicks

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Being held hostage in a fortune cookie factory isn't at all like Dori expected it to be. It involves a lot less forced labor and a lot more standing around in a cage. The grownups are mad as heck but she doesn't mind much. She's right by the bars, with a good view of the fight.

There are four badguys. Two henchmen called Sweet and Sour (they were the ones who herded everyone into the cell; Sour was actually the nice one). A lady in a red and gold dress, who goes by Yum Yum. And the leader, who wears bad makeup and impressive moustaches. He calls himself General Tso.

Batman and Robin are holding their own against the henchmen, attacking with a mixture of punches (SOCK! KAYO! CRUNCH!) and the occasional jiu-jitsu throw onto a surprisingly flimsy table (EE-YOW!). General Tso is holding back, lurking near his elevated throne, and Yum Yum is… where is Yum Yum, anyway?

MINNNG! A bulbous blue-and-white vase descends on Robin's head. Yum Yum has entered the fray.

The staggered Boy Wonder steadies himself and locks eyes with the Caped Crusader. With sudden, appalled amusement Dori realizes what they're thinking: Would you strike a woman, old chum? No? Well, neither would I. The whole room hushes for a moment, as though suspended in time.

Then, in a flurry of glittering purple, Batgirl appears from nowhere to take Yum Yum down with a single kick to the chin.

The henchmen resume tussling with the Dynamic Duo, and General Tso leaps from his daïs to make the numbers even again. He's a clumsy but powerful fighter; Batgirl is in fine form, whirling and flipping, wreaking joyful havoc with her heel-booted feet.

The fight drifts closer to the cageful of hostages. The grownups murmur with fear or annoyance, but Dori grips the bars and presses her face into the gap, straining to catch every detail. So as General Tso backs toward the cage, she's the only one to see him extract a syringe labeled MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE from somewhere in his voluminous robes. As Batgirl makes her acrobatic way toward him, he holds it behind his back, his thumb caressing the plunger.

Dori's instinct is to cringe away from the long needle. She grimaces to make herself brave. The villain is coming closer, closer…

She braces herself on the bars. “Hi-yah!” she hears herself shouting, squeakily, as she kicks hard through the gap. Her tennis shoe catches the syringe at a perfect angle: it flies up in a high, mesmerizing arc.

Across the room, Yum Yum regains consciousness just in time for the needle to land in her thigh. “Hey!” she shouts. The fight grinds to a halt. She plucks out the syringe and waves it accusingly at General Tso. “You said you weren't gonna use this stuff. You know it gives me a headache!”

“It gives everybody a headache,” he replies. “It was meant for this meddling –”

“Hey!” says Dori, because she has a strong intuition that he is about to say a bad word. “There are children present.” General Tso turns toward her with a gimlet eye and a sneer – distracted enough for Batgirl to fall on and restrain him with what look suspiciously like official police handcuffs.

“Nice work, young crimefighter,” she says, stepping forward to ruffle Dori's hair.

Then Batman produces his Bat-Skeleton Key and unlocks the cage. By the time all the prisoners have filed out, Batgirl is gone.

It's a beautiful day in Gotham City; always. And Dori, at nine years old, has found her calling. She's going to grow up. She's going to go someplace crime-ridden (but maybe, just maybe, a little less weird). And when she gets there, she is going to fight.