1422: Arkham Asylum – Chapter TwoPosted: May 22, 2016
Title: Arkham Asylum
URL: Chapter 3
Critiqued by batjamags and Security Chief McCarthy
Counters as of last chapter:
Gary Stu Count: 2
Hello once again, patrons! I’m your guest host (seriously, just don’t think about that) BatJamags, and we’re back for more of the creatively-named Arkham Asylum. Kane, handle the previous chapters.
Kane: *Voice reverberating from an unknown location* Previously, on Arkham Asylum. Our esteemed author vomited a pretentious sequence of words onto a page, forming what could generously be termed a poem. This poem’s primary purpose was to emphasize the TRAJEDY of our hairy friend’s life. Despite the man’s total inaction, the Joker then took an immediate interest in him, and helped him to escape from the titular institution in a fit of character derailment on the clown’s part and one of Stuness on the hair blob’s part.
Thanks Kane! Now, get in here and help me riff.
Fine, Supercilious, lend me a hand with this.
SUPERCILIOUS THE SORCERER!: YOU CANNOT COMMAND ME, MORTAL!
Great, well maybe I can bring in someone who can actually keep the DRD out worth a damn.
?: DRD …? Sounds like communism.
Ladies and gentlemen, Terran League Sector 32 Chief of Security and Intelligence Operations Walter J. McCarthy.
Chief McCarthy: I’m afraid all of you will have to report to your nearest Security Examination Center for evaluation. You’re probably all corporate spies, so we’ll need to lock you all up.
OK, the Chief here warrants a bit more explanation than the last two guys. There’s a project that I’d be outlining if I had any time, but I have created the setting for. Basically, in the future, humanity has developed space travel, but interstellar governments are a VERY new phenomenon.
The three with more than two or three planets are Galacticorp, a rather shady corporation that offers governmental services for a price; the Terran League, an Earth-based police state created to prevent the other two factions from taking over (which rapidly got out of hand); and the Red Legion, a poorly-funded communist alliance that relies on widespread indoctrination and aggressive expansion to fuel its survival.
Chief McCarthy is from the Terran League’s Security and Intelligence Operations (SIO), which is basically an intelligence agency and secret police all rolled into one. As you might be able to tell from the historical reference with his last name, they’re a bit of a parody of Cold War-era CIA, but since there’s a third faction of extreme capitalists, they work against both communist and corporate spies.
Chief McCarthy: It’s all the same.
No, it really isn’t.
Chief McCarthy: They’re both direct threats to the security of the Terran people!
You keep telling yourself that, Chief.
Chief McCarthy: They’re both direct threats to the security of the Terran people!
Chief McCarthy: :(
Right, let’s just start the fic.
I’m not making anymore disclaimers. There was one in Chapter One, and that combined with the fact that this story is being posted on a fanfiction website in the first place should be enough to prove I don’t own this.
Well, maybe you should’ve considered that the disclaimers aren’t worth a damn in the first place.
Chief McCarthy: Only a communist would use something he doesn’t own!
Well, that’s one way of looking at it.
Chief McCarthy: It’s the Terran people’s way of looking at it. Are you disagreeing with the Terran people?
I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me.
Chief McCarthy: What kind of communism is that?
Heh. You’re in Amer- Actually, you’re in some kind of used volcano base that’s connected by portal to the Library, which is some kind of pocket dimension. I wonder why they built half this place out of glass, anyway. Seems impractical.
Chief McCarthy: It’s a good way to keep tabs on corporate activities.
That or we borrowed it from a badfic. Volcano bases don’t come cheap. Anyway, we need to get going or we’ll never get through this riff.
Chief McCarthy: It’s my duty to delay your communist plots.
This story’s plot isn’t communist, it’s just dumb.
This chapter will be like the last chapter, but from Batman’s POV. Next chapter marks the true beginning of the story.
Chief McCarthy: That’s because the lines have been indoctrinated by communist subversives!
There isn’t much that escapes Batman’s notice.
Batman: *Appears from the shadows while nobody’s looking* The fact that this fic sucks is not one of those things.
*Batman disappears while nobody’s looking*
Well, there you have it, folks.
The first time the person catches his eye, he’s dragging two-face in.
He’s dragging two faces into the Formless Void!
Chief McCarthy: Sounds like some kind of corporate satanic ritual.
I’ve got enough stupid in this fic to deal with as it is. Can you try not to add to the pile?
The cops are always trying to catch him, but for whatever reason, the doctors at Arkham have never tried to turn him in, and often make mentions to him about important patients, or even request for him to catch certain people. He knows that some of them think he’s as loony as the people he locks up, but they also respect him.
OK, the doctors at Arkham think that Batman is as dangerous to society (sorry, “loony”) as, say, Two-Face, but they don’t do anything about it because…
Batman: BECAUSE I’M BATMAN!
I was going to say “Blue,” but that works too.
The point is these guys are idiots. That does it. Let’s see, we’ve got the rooms made of bars, the bed made of ice, the lethal injection, the fact that they don’t give their inmates a physical examination, and this.
Running the Asylum count: 5
Chief McCarthy: Damned corporates have no respect for the rule of law.
They’re not even … I don’t even care anymore.
Two-face is unconscious, and he helps the orderlies carry the man to his cell.
How did Two-Face help the orderlies carry himself to his own cell if he was unconscious?
Chief McCarthy: Communism.
That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, and I’ve been reading this fic for two whole chapters!
Chief McCarthy: That’s treasonous speech, sonny.
The doctor in charge of the man obsessed with fate thanks him, and rather than disappear as he often does when speaking to the commissioner, he walks down the hallway to walk out the door.
TWO-FACE. CALL CHARACTERS BY THEIR FUCKING NAMES. *PISTOL-WHIP!*
Chief McCarthy: Wait. Batman disappears when speaking to the commissioner. We saw him disappear earlier. This is a pattern of behavior, but he broke it. Why?
Oh, right, that’s why I bother with you.
Yeah, it is odd, that the author would bring up Batman’s tendency to stealth-exit and then have him not do it.
Those who work at Arkham are accustomed to seeing him, and don’t give him a second glance as he wanders almost silently through the halls.
Almost silently? What sound is he making then? Is he speaking? Is it his footsteps? Is it the ambient [noise] from the Formless Void?
He casts glances into the cells he passes, and connects those he sees with their names. He knows nearly every patient Arkham has, mostly because he put a good portion of them there.
There are a couple murderers, Ivy, a rapist, and…
*Snerk* *As Batman* Oh, I remember your name! You were … You were … that murderer guy, right? And you were… another murderer? You’re Ivy, and that other guy is … that other dude.
Chief McCarthy: Gregory Samson, five counts of murder in the second degree. Andrew Grant, twelve counts of murder in the first degree, Pamela Isely, three counts of domestic terrorism, four counts of murder in the second degree, one count of murder in the first degree, two counts of armed robbery, and Frank Howard, one count of sexual assault.
Did you look that up while I wasn’t looking or did you just know that?
Chief McCarthy: It’s important to keep track of potential subversives.
*Edges away quietly*
Chief McCarthy: What’s odd is that in this supposed mental institution, two of those inmates aren’t insane. Indication of potential subversiveness?
You realize that I just made up what their crimes were, right?
Chief McCarthy: Aha! Then you’re the mastermind!
It is a cell close to the end where he pauses. Within is what looks like a matted ball of grayish colored hair upon one of the tiny beds. It is only the bare feet peeking out from beneath it that lets him know it is actually a person in the cell.
Otherwise, he would’ve assumed that the Arkham staff just kept a giant-ass ball of hair sitting around in one of the cells. Wouldn’t put it past them.
Running the Asylum count: 6
Chief McCarthy: Typical of communist scum.
And then you go right back to being dumb. That takes talent.
He frowns. It is not a patient he had every scene before.
The person who looks more like a great mass of hair shifts, and though he can see no eyes beyond the hair he feels as though the person is looking at him.
First of all, Hairy Stu is hairy. We GET IT. You don’t have to tell us the same thing over and over ag-
Well, at least a company of Terran Troopers that Chief McCarthy brought with him is guarding my compound.
Terran Troopers: *Somewhere outside* WE CAN’T STOP THEM! I DON’T WANT TO DIE! RUN!
Right, under-trained, under-paid conscripts, I forgot.
Chief McCarthy: How dare you insult the glorious soldiers of the Terran League!
Shut your fa-
*DRD agents bust in and headshot me in the head*
He stays in place for a moment, as though meeting that gaze. But then the strange patient shifts and curls downward, appearing to lay down facing the wall away from him. He frowns, but continues on his doesn’t have time to wonder about the mystery-patient, or why his hair has not been cut or cleaned as it should be, he has criminals to catch and a city to look after.
So … the patient lay down and faced the wall away from himself, frowned, continued on with no time to wonder about himself, or why his own hair had not been cut or cleaned as it should be, and he had criminals to catch and a city to look after.
Makes sense to me.
Chief McCarthy: That’s what happens when you’re indoctrinated by corporate propaganda!
You mean advertising?
Chief McCarthy: CORPORATE PROPAGANDA!
The second time, he is there because, once again, the Joker has escaped.
I know the Joker escaping every five seconds is canon, but I’ve got to give another count to the Arkham staff for letting the Joker loose.
Running the Asylum count: 7
He is collecting evidence, and the doctors and staff leave him to it.
Ah, he’s collecting [evidence] to prove [conclusion] about [thing].
Chief McCarthy: He’s not actually an investigator. Must be a subversive.
Throughout his investigation, he finds himself in the art room. Only the best patients are allowed here, and the evidence only leads him here because the Joker had passed through it during his escape.
Oh, so the [evidence] left [clue] because Joker must’ve left [thing] behind. I feel like I’m learning how to become a proper detective!
Chief McCarthy: Not even close, citizen.
It was one of those rare escapes where, rather than something flashy, the Joker simply chose to slip away in the dead of night.
Chief McCarthy: Is something wrong? Have you detected subversive activ-
Joker. Did. WHAT.
Chief McCarthy: He escaped from the communists?
This is the Joker we’re talking about. The Clown Prince of Crime. And you expect me to believe that he did ANYTHING quietly?! I have some quibbles with a lot portrayals of the character, but a fairly consistent factor is that there is nothing the Joker craves more than an audience.
Fic, just shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about.
There are a few patients, but he pays them no mind as he knows they would not be in here if they were prone to violence, and also because most of Arkham’s patients fear him.
Wait, I seem to remember a quote from a little bit ago.
the Joker had passed through it during his escape.
Ah, yes. So clearly, other inmates can get in there unnoticed, even if they’re not supposed to. That room may be safer than others, but it’s no Bat-Cave. So really, Batman is just being careless here. Let’s just preemptively drop this counter here.
Out of Character count: 2
One for Batman, and one for the Joker.
He is distracted by some hair he had found, when he feels a tugging on his cape, not unlike a child pulling on their parent’s shirt for attention. He tenses, and turns quickly. He is mildly startled, though not visibly so, to find the mystery hairy patient from several weeks before with a gentle grip on the edge of his cape. They are both still for a moment before the patient drops his cape and lifts up a paper to him.
How small is this guy? I mean, Batman’s usually depicted as pretty tall, but this makes it sound like Hairy Stu is the size of a toddler. Also, please tell me this is not one of those fics where characters act like five-year-olds and we’re supposed to find it endearing/funny/heart-warming.
He takes it, and the patient takes a step back, moving out of his personal space and letting him relax marginally as he inspects the paper.
Yeah, if Batman has a reason to be tense, he’s not going to relax just because nobody’s in his personal space, because unless this Void-y room is a lot bigger than I think it is, anyone who wants to attack can close the distance pretty fast.
His eyes widen at it. It is a drawing of himself, standing in the hallway in Arkham, no doubt a portrait of that day he first saw the patient.
My god, Hairy Stu can DRAW! It’s the apocalypse!
Chief McCarthy: You’re right! Quickly! Send a team to destroy the evidence before he can pollute the minds of the Terran people!
It is remarkably well drawn, and impeccably detailed, and he is surprised that anyone mentally unstable would possess the clarity to draw something so clearly defined.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe I’ve come to my first rant.
Numbers aren’t my strong suit, but they’re as good a place to start as any. I can’t find worldwide numbers, so the United States will have to do. I assume it’s not that far different in other countries. Now, to be fair, I had thought the number was a lot higher than this, but 18.2% of all Americans suffer from a mental illness. That’s about a fifth, if you don’t numbers.
Unless I’m interpreting Uncle Google wrong, the most common mental disorders are clinical depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. Of those, dementia and schizophrenia MIGHT interfere with drawing. Still, with a bit more Google-fu, I could probably turn up solid artists with those particular disorders. And if anything, depressed artists often produce better work than their non-depressed counterparts.
Due to an experience with cancer and chemotherapy, my father is struggling with post-traumatic stress and some kind of memory disorder (he remembers concepts, but calling names to mind is difficult for him sometimes), and he’s at least as good at drawing as he ever was. To be fair, he was never very good, but that’s not the damned point.
The point is that mental illness is a real thing that real people struggle with, and that if this author wants to talk about it, he needs to learn his shit. So, have some bullet points:
FIRST: Not all criminals are mentally ill. Summarizing someone’s presence in Arkham as “a rapist” manages to trivialize rape, mental illness, and mental institutions, and both real life and canon will tell you about this, so there’s no excuse for that.
SECOND: Not all mentally ill people are dangerously unstable to the point that they lack fine motor skills. In fact, mentally ill people are much more likely to be victims of crimes than perpetrators, partially because of this stereotype.
This author did say “unstable” and not “ill,” but we have no indication that Hairy Stu is unstable in that sense, so I can only assume the author meant it in the general sense of having any disorder.
Long story short, this author can go fuck himself.
Chief McCarthy: I’m sorry sir, but you’re acting disorderly, you’ll have to-
I AM NOT IN THE GODDAMN MOOD.
He stares at it for a few moments before it occurs to him that the patient is still standing there.
Gotta love Batman’s sense of situational awareness.
Out of Character count: 3
He looks up at the person, only now conscious of the fact that he doesn’t even know the patient’s gender and he pauses.
OK, so this guy clearly has no idea what he’s doing. I dub you Namtab.
Out of Character count: 4
Y’know, I try to avoid the “Batman is an invincible badass who can do anything” trap, but I think the world’s greatest detective can keep track of his own surroundings without much difficulty.
“Thank you.” He decides to say, and the mass of hair bobs in what he believes must be a nod before it turns away and wanders out of the room, no doubt heading back towards it’s cell or the cafeteria. He looks at the drawing one more time, and carefully folds it up and places it within one of his many hidden pockets.
Pronoun Sickness Bags are under your chairs if you need them.
Chief McCarthy: BLARGHGKHBAHGAJBGAJKEJBFJGHHAEJKVNJHGBSJAF
I could’ve gone my whole life without seeing that.
He goes back to his investigation, and pushes thought of the strange mystery patient to the back of his mind.
So he’s a mystery patient because Batman doesn’t know his name? So, Batman knows every patient in Arkham except for this one random Hairy Stu because MISSTEERYUS?
Gary Stu count: 3
I’m running out of ways to snark this line. Encountering it is becoming less funny and more …
Dull and grim.
Chief McCarthy: Stop being Canadian. That’s communism.
I hate you so much.
It is a few weeks later and he is going through his equipment.
Yes, [number] weeks after [time], [male] is performing [activity] on [equipment].
He is replacing some things and restocking others and he empties a pocket to find the drawing from a month before.
Oh, OK. So he’s replacing [things] and restocking [items]. Really clears up what the hell is going on, y’know?
He frowns, having forgotten about it, and realizes that he never did search into the records to find out who that patient was.
Why would he care?
Chief McCarthy: It’s important to watch potential subversives.
He sets the drawing to the side and doesn’t pick it up again until he is done with his task.
Yes, you wouldn’t want to interrupt [task]. Is this a story or a mad lib?
Then he lifts it gently and moves to the computer to hack into Arkham’s system.
Whoa there! Doesn’t hacking Arkham’s system because you’re curious about one guy seem a little extreme? Also, depending on what the timeline is like, shouldn’t this be Oracle or Alfred’s job? Batman tends to do more fieldwork and less computer stuff.
It takes him a little while to find what he’s looking for but eventually a picture pops up.
Ah, glad he figured it out by doing [thing], especially after [time] of doing [other thing]. If he hadn’t done [thing], he might never have found [picture]!
Chief McCarthy: You’re confusing me. That’s treason.
It is the same as what he saw, a blob of hair with no sign of a face and he frowns as he looks through the file. The patient has only a number and is named as John Doe. Clearly, not even Arkham knows who the patient is, and according to the notes, they are only aware of his gender because the doctors have viewed him choosing the male bathroom over the female one.
Running the Asylum count: 8
I shouldn’t have to explain why this count is here.
The file claims he has never spoken to them, but has a very mild demeanor and doesn’t cause trouble. The doctor seems to have a soft spot for the patient though and makes a note that the patient sometimes draws pictures for him and the other staff. He seems to try to go outside as often as possible, and sometimes the guards allow him into the yard outside of his timeslot because they too seem to have taken a liking to him.
So everyone just loves him for no particular reason?
Gary Stu count: 4
The only note of any violence is when they try to cut his hair. According to the doctor’s notes he seemed to have a panic attack and would hit anyone who came near him with scissors. There is no note of him causing any real injury, as he seemed to be too weak to cause any damage, but the doctors chose to leave his hair be so as not to antagonize him.
So they use lethal injection on random patients and can’t be bothered to conduct a physical examination on new arrivals, but the doctors are smart enough not to try to antagonize this guy?
*Headdesks onto buzzer*
Running the Asylum count: 9
There is also a note of the patient eating very little, and the doctor’s belief that he may be malnourished and underweight, though he was unable to determine this fully as they don’t know how much of his weight is his hair and how much is him.
That might not be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard (I try to keep up with American politics, you see), but it’s up there.
IF HE’S MALNOURISHED AND UNDERWEIGHT, SEND HIM TO A REGULAR HOSPITAL!
This should be a MEDICAL EMERGENCY, not TRAJEK fodder.
Running the Asylum count: 10
His eyes narrow as he moves on and discovers that the file is incomplete. There is no records as to how the patient came to be sentenced to Arkham, and as he looks into the police database he finds no record of the him at all.
Running the Asylum count: 11
*Weakly* Why …
Chief McCarthy: Because of corporate spies! They must’ve bought off the police to cover up their treacherous actions.
Before he can look further into this anomaly, an alarm sounds.
Oh, shit, it’s the DRD!
Chief McCarthy: There wasn’t a redundancy.
I’ll go explain that there was a misunderstanding.
*Walks out door*
*Roughly a minute passes*
*Respawns in a tutu*
Chief McCarthy: *Snort*
Shut up. I make this tutu look great.
He looks up and begins typing furiously.
Sort of like me right now?
It seems the Joker has escaped yet again. He knows it is already too late for him to stop him, even driving there now in the tumbler would do no good, and so he looks into the Arkham security system.
1: Say, fic, maybe you should establish that the Joker got caught again before you say he escaped again.
2: I really hate the “tumbler” name. Not only does it make me think of Tumblr, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with “Batmobile,” and if you think bat-prefixes aren’t “realistic” enough for you, then you’re in the wrong fucking franchise, NOLAN.
Chief McCarthy: I need to check with my superiors to see if speech about those films is restricted, but you should shut up about it regardless. No one cares.
There is no sound, but he watched as Poison Ivy breaks into the facility with her plants and several criminals find their way out. He follows the Joker’s movements, when suddenly the clown prince of crime stops and seems to be distracted by something. He taps into the different feeds and stares in mild shock at the very patient he was just researching.
How does he follow his movements? Is he moving one camera, switching cameras, or is it just BLUE?
The vines are not attacking him and he pats one gently. The Joker walks up to him and grins before saying something. After a bobbing nod from the John Doe, Joker lifts up the mass of hair and swings him over his shoulders; carrying him away with him as he makes his escape.
Yeah, we saw this.
Batman rubs his forhead and glances down at the drawing still on his desk with a sigh.
I know, Batman, the fic is stupid, but you just have to weather the storm and hope you make it through fairly unscathed.
Things have suddenly become so much more complicated.
Not really. The Joker grabbed some hairy John Doe as a new henchman.
So there we are, Batman has also discovered out hair-blob, albeit after the Joker already has.
Yes, we just read that.
And the gender is revealed! Ha!
Yes, we also read that.
Anyways, that’s all for now. Once again I feel compelled to tell you that this story is more or less just an experiment on my part and so it may or may not be abandoned at anytime.
Chief McCarthy: A COMMUNIST experiment, no doubt!
There are at least a couple more chapters plan to write, but after that it’s anybody’s guess.
Hey, buddy. *Leans in close and acts like I’m going whisper in hathanhate’s ear*
OUTLINE YOUR STORY BEFORE YOU WRITE IT, SHITLORD!
This is High School English right here. GOD! I’m sick of this.
Next time, we’ll get the actual plot moving for once. And I’ll be right there to tear into it. *Cracks knuckles ominously*
Chief McCarthy: Your intimidation skills are not up to regul-
Chief McCarthy: OH GOD IT HURTS!
See you guys next time.
*Storms out of door*
Final counts for this chapter:
Gary Stu count: 4
Running the Asylum count: 11
Out of Character count: 4