Thursday 7 July 2011

The Rani in Arkham, by Matthew Clarke (my fan fiction)

A Doctor Who/ Batman crossover.

Dr. Jeremiah Arkham turned to his secretary. "Have them send that new patient to consulting room 8. I want to see her."

"The one who calls herself 'the Rani?' Her paperwork was a nightmare to complete, doctor. No real name, no date of birth, no past addresses. We don't even know her nationality."

Jeremiah Arkham narrowed his eyes. "She claims to be an alien from another planet. And a time traveller to boot."

"I did see her medical report. I could hardly believe she has two hearts and not a drop of human blood!" said his secretary.

"I would remind you that Pamela Islee has vegetable soup for blood. And our Waylon Jones is barely human. No, Tina, this is just another case of a mutant with a personality complex," he replied.

As Jeremiah made his way through the harshly lit corridors of Arkham Asylum, he looked through glass doors at the many men and women held there. Nearly all of them eccentrics who had put on costumes and committed bizarre crimes. They were becoming so common that psychologists were talking about 'Gotham Syndrome,' a condition that caused people to develop colourful alter egos and to style themselves as super-crooks. It was his thankless task to awaken these deluded freaks to the real world.

Consulting room 8 was a sparse room with a high barred window. It was furnished with just two chairs. There was no table; Jeremiah needed to observe the posture of his patients when he interviewed them.

The Rani was dragged in by two female nurses and placed unceremoniously in a chair. Her arms were bound up in a straitjacket, beneath which she was shaking with rage.

"Get this thing off me," howled the Rani, struggling with her straitjacket.

"I can, if you promise not to give me any trouble," said Jeremiah. At once, one of the nurses cautiously began to unstrap the patient. "If you do give me trouble, the jacket goes on again and you go into a padded cell under heavy sedation. Is that clear?"

The Rani nodded glumly. She was an attractive woman with a heart-shaped face and long brown hair. He guessed she might be in her late thirties, but with her abnormal physiology, it was impossible to say. She had something of a haughty arrogant look in her eyes. Like the other patients at Arkham Asylum, she had been dressed in green pyjamas and soft foam slippers. She had an ID tag on her wrist.

"I understand you claim to be of a race called the Time Lords and to come from the planet Gallifrey. That is quite an extraordinary claim, Ms. Rani," said Jeremiah.

"You put me throught the humiliation of a medical examination. It should be rather obvious to you that I am not human," she replied.

Jeremiah smiled. "We have a lot of patients hear who have physical abnormalities. Mutations, freaks of nature. It's a leading cause of what is known as 'Gotham Syndrome,' by which people develop delusions of grandeur and don costumes to commit bizarre crimes. Might I suggest that being born with this very distinctive cardiovascular system of yours led you to become convinced that you were an alien from another world?"

"Nonsense. I can assure you that I was born on Gallifrey and have travelled to this world through time and space," insisted the Rani.

This was not getting anywhere. Jeremiah was going to have to shift the focus of this interview.

"If you are from another world, another time, what brought you to Gotham City? I'm sure there were a lot of other times and places you could go," he said.

"Not for pleasure, I can assure you. I came because of one of your former patients, Pamela Islee, better known as Poison Ivy."

"Ah, Pamela," said Jeremiah. "And what is your interest in that most unusual lady?"

"I came across historical records referring to her. Somehow this human came to obtain one of the most unusual physiologies I have come across. She is a stable fusion of plant and mammal biology. The crude tinkering that you would call scientific research somehow created this biochemical oddity. Her value to my own research is immense. Such a biological fusion could mean incredible breakthroughs in bio-engineering. Not that those in your time would have any understanding of such possibilities," said the Rani.

"So you are a scientist, then? How interesting," said Jeremiah. He made a mental note of this. Scientists these days were constantly having freak accidents and turning into monsters and supercrooks. If this woman was indeed a scientist, it only confirmed his suspicion that her abnormalities were a mutation.

"So did you contact Miss Islee?" he asked.

The Rani sneered. "I doubt she would have agreed to come onboard my timeship and become a willing subject of my research. No, I needed to capture her. I did some research. I trawled through the squalor of Gotham's filthiest bars, talking to the lowest dregs of your society."

Jeremiah made a sour expression. "That can't have been a pleasant experience."

The Rani continued. "It discovered that the criminal classes of your city were expecting Poison Ivy to make a move. An English artist, Amelia Ducat was holding an exhibition in Gotham City's art gallery."

Jeremiah nodded. "Ah, yes. Amelia Ducat. Renowned for her paintings of flowers. I can imagine that would peak Miss Islee's interest."

"Everyone who knew Poison Ivy expected her to try to steal the paintings. Some of the near-apes I talked to were hoping that Ivy might be looking for hired help. Others were wary. They expected the mysterious vigilante known as the Batman to try and stop Ivy," explained the Rani.

"He does tend to do that," said Jeremiah.

"A plan formed in my mind. I guessed that if this supposedly amazing crime fighter did intervene, Ivy might be vulnerable after the struggle. I decided to lie in wait at Gotham's art gallery every night, until Ivy made her move and the Batman tried to stop her. I have hunted some of my the most fearsome beasts in the cosmos. I know about stealth tactics."

"Did you encounter Ivy?"

The Rani snarled. "That wretched Batman somehow got wind of my night vigils and got to me first. It was incredible. A black shadow just appeared as if from nowhere. Before I could put up a fight, I was handcuffed to the railing with a note for the police left at my side. Then they brought me here."

"It seems to me that they sent you to the right place. While you are here you will receive a course of therapy for your criminally insane delusions."

"I'm not deluded!" wailed the Rani.

Jeremiah ignored her. "In case you are wondering, the Batman had Poison Ivy brought in here as well after he caught her. Perhaps the two of you will get on."

The Rani jumped up and was about to pounce on the doctor, when the two nurses grabbed her and pulled the straitjacket back on.

"Take her to the rubber room," ordered Jeremiah. "Give her a heavy sedation. She needs it." The Rani was duly dragged away.

"How did you get on with the new patient?" asked Jeremiah's secretary when he returned to his office.

"Quite delusional. Turns out she tried to take on both Poison Ivy and the Batman. These supervillains are getting crazier by the dozen," he said. "What was she wearing when they brought her in?"

"Oh, a red tunic with massive shoulder pads, tight red trousers and big spike-heeled boots," replied his secretary.

"Typical super-crook outfit. And 'the Rani?' What a strange pseudonym. She didn't even look Indian. I am quite sure she will be in our care for a very long time."

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