Wednesday, October 30, 2013
All Hallows Eve
Fan fiction is a marvelous thing, firat the immediacy of the work, then you can play in the author’s universe, break the rules a little, and not be bound by the rules of strict publishing. A long, long while ago I had an idea for a Halloween story for Halloween means Bats and what is more logical for Bats than Batman, so this tribute to Warren, Richard and of course Bob Kane and all who played the Caped Crusader.
Be safe, be fun and for god’s sake don’t bend your elbow.
P.S. No pumpkins were hurt creating this tale.
The Man-Bat (A tale of young Chiun). An All Hallows Eve Special.
REMO WAS AWAY to get his daughter. Times were changing for Sinanju. Of course times were always changing for Sinanju, Chiun thought to himself.
He had just finished brewing some fresh tea and took a cup outside to sit in the late October air under the full moonlight.
Ths time of year, near All Hallows Eve, brought poignancy to Chiun's thoughts.
Sipping his tea, he looked up at the full moon in a clear cloudless sky.
Suddenly a bat flew across the face of that moon. To Chiun's enhanced sight it was as if in slow motion. When the bat reached the middle of that trajectory, and its wings outspread full against the backdrop of the full moon, old memories came flooding back.
Back, back to a younger Chiun, a different time and his first white pupil...
*** *** ***
HIS NAME WAS Wayne Bruce, or Bruce Wayne in his own barbarian tongue. He was standing before Chiun, Master of Sinanju, who graciously throttles the universe.
It was Budapest and Chiun was working Europe this season. Although he didn't know it, it was in the years leading up to the great depression (called by decadent Europeans WWII), on in shoddy Western numerals, 1930.
An older house, House Pennyworth, had drawn one of the boons that were their due, from Sinanju. Three times in the more modern era, House Pennyworth had saved Sinanju with proper cups of tea, which in the land of barbarians was no mean feat. Sinanju had vowed to repay those unbridled acts of kindness in turn.
The current head of Pennyworth, Pennyworth Alfred, had sent a young man to Chiun, bearing a letter of Introduction.
It seems this young man was the last scion of a House Major himself. His father, Wayne the healer and his wife had been murdered before the boy when he was a mere youth. The family fortune made young Wayne one the wealthiest men in the world. The boy was cared for after the tragedy by Pennyworth Alfred and was being driven by a compulsion to fight all evil.
Pennyworth for all his efforts was unable to dissuade Wayne Bruce to do anything else, and had decided to help him to his fullest to protect the young master.
What he was asking Chiun and Sinanju was to teach the young man defensive arts to protect himself during his quest.
Chiun would have dismissed the request, from Pennyworth or no outright, but as it was he was between employers. In the recent past he had separated from the Emperor known by the Western World as Fu Manchu, and was currently jobbing, going from Emperor to Emperor doing spot work. Not very satisfying or rewarding to the Treasury.
Pennyworth on the other hand, and deposited a large sum of gold, regardless of the answer, into the Bank of Sinju in Geneva, Switzerland. The gold was good; it was very very good. Wayne Bruce had great wealth and he and Pennyworth were willing to spend it.
Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad. He could teach him some of the arts learnt by Young Usehba who was creating something minor called Aikido. Yes, that would be sufficient for this task. It would even be fun to play with a young half-baked boy at that. Well he would see.
Chiun looked up at Wayne Bruce and spoke: "Pennyworth says you are to be taught to defend yourself, is this true."
"Yes, the fight against evil is dangerous and I must prevail."
"Fight against evil, you are to young to know what you speak of. Evil, there is no evil, there is no good there is only correct technique. Why should I teach you."
"Old man, I don't......"
Like a blazing spear, Chiun struck two intertwined fingers into Wayne's shoulder. The youth fell to the floor writhing in agony; his arm stuck up in the air.
"You do not spear to the Master of Sinanju that way. I am no old man, I am in my early prime."
Chiun continued to lecture the young man, as he observed his struggle against the pain. It was a simple nerve attack with no long lasting damage, and the traditional way to test the resolve of a new student in Sinanju. Chiun wasn't intending to give him Sinanju, but the tools would be used as required.
However something unusual occurred. Something new. Young Wayne found a way to struggle to his feet.Somehow Young Wayne was drawing on the Dark Side of the Force to stand. He couldn't move, but even that for a mere lad was impossible.
No master in recorded Sinanju History had ever done that. As H'si T'ang had trained him (as well as Chiun his father) the use of pain to observe in crisis always succeeded. But somehow Wayne Bruce was beyond that.
[Sinanju used the Sun Source. Of interest to Scholars, was that many times and places this force was found. In a different universe, in a different time, vast energies of the Force and the Dark Side did compete. Chiun himself once became friends with a Yhoda, in one of those contests. The Bene Gesseret in a different time and place drew on some of the force in their bag of tricks. But in all creation and beyond only sinanju drew fully upon the force itself, both good and bad. They tapped its energies and controlled it with their will. All of those stories are open to Sinanju through the Great Wang in the void.]
Chiun could not say where he found the resources to draw on the dark side. He would have to use great care to see that the dark side did not possess him.
Chiun reached out, grabbed Wayne's wrist between his thumb and middle finger and wrenched his wrist counter-clockwise. The pain stopped and Wayne Bruce stood there in silence.
"That was pain and this is no pain. Do not trifle with the Master of Sinanju. Now sit down and let us begin with breathing. Fill your lungs to their fullest and draw on your center."
*** *** ***
YOUNG WAYNE BRUCE progressed through the training quickly. Chiun kept wondering how someone not from the village could do this. It occured to him that the tragedy which fell his parents must have been driving him as Pennyworth indicated.
He did not receive full Sinanju, but he was not missing much. His breathing was centered. His balance exceptional. Once he lost the raw western inspired muscle mass from his earlier training, his speed became adequate.
Of course Wayne Bruce was possessed with a white mind. When he wasn't training with Chiun he pursued other studies at European Universities, in Philosophy, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Engineering. He had a never ending knack with things mechanical. Of that Chiun was sure it would hold him back from the advanced studies.
The day came for the floater stroke. He had already purchased a large group of Yak Skulls at Chiun's request. After receiving admonition not to let anger interfere with the stroke, he simply placed his hand through the Yak Skull. He did not bend his elbow and was quite devoted to Chiun, bringing him the best teas.
He readily took to the Sinanju diet, and with few exceptions was a good student. He could not receive the full training, but in some senses he wasn't far off.
Training like the perfect zones of fire became second nature to him. When he learned the targeting and release techniques of Sinanju, he playfully began to make small odd shaped boomerangs and practice throwing them unendingly.
One day Chiun noticed the oncoming of the Night of Salt. This of course was unheard of for anyone outside of Sinanju.
The next day Wayne Bruce disappeared.
As the story played out, he took a Clipper back to the United States, in New York, and used his family fortune to buy a tryout with the New York Yankees. After pitching 3 perfect innings, and hitting 36 home runs in batting practice, they were ecstatic trying to sign him. But the salt had run its course and he walked away from the training. Chiun always felt there was something strange in the Western Mind to pursue silly games like that.
Towards the end of their training time, after about 6 years, Chiun was considering approaching him to move onto Sinanju itself. He had no pupil since Nuhic had left, and none from the village were worthy. It was unheard of to have a White Night Tiger, but there was that pesky legend that the greatest of them would be a dead white night tiger, made whole by the Master of Sinanju.
Chiun requested Wayne Bruce to travel to a seedy part of Berlin to deliver a package for him. While there, on a dark forbidding street, he found himself attacked by a gang of Brown Shirts. Armed with blood in their minds. From a distant vantage point Chiun saw Remo attacked by savage attacker after savage attacker. Guns, knives, clubs all flying in his direction. A variation of the three times three times three.
Into the thick of the crowd Chiun watched his young protege move into high speed. He floated, twisted and turned. The result was remarkably similar to the Scarlet Ribbon (which Wayne had not studied) but the difference was grating. When he finished the entire group was lying on the ground writhing in agony. He had dislocated or broken their legs and arms, instead of completing each stroke. They were being left to be remanded to the authorities. It was pure heresy. Wayne Bruce would not Kill! What an efront to the Dark Side of the Force
Obviously a hidden flaw in his white character. But no matter, sad or not for Sinanju, the letter of the contract was fulfilled. He had repaid Pennyworth by training Wayne.
Shortly they said their farewells and life moved on.
*** *** ***
IT WAS 1948 in the Western manner of counting. The great depression was finished, but as a result of such great turmoil, there was little work for the House of Sinanju. At home were the rumblings of War and talk that Korea had become divided (as if anyone could divide Sinanju). But there was little prospect for employment. Most of the kings were gone or powerless. The war had sapped the will of too many. There was no prospect for a new student of Sinanju, Nuhic was causing trouble in the world, and Chiun was realizing he was into middle age.
He found one assignment for a remaining member of House Borgas that would also carry with it a return flight home to Sinanju. A problem to address in an American City, Gotham.
A former employee of the Borgas had struck out on his own and was no longer returning tribute to Italy. the assignment was to wipe out he and his compound by way of an example of theirs.
Chiun traveled across the Atlantic Ocean (for the first time) in an Ocean Liner, which took him to the Grand Docks of Gotham. Leaving his trunks on the Ship, which would sale in 24 hours, he took a taxicab to the home of his assigned target.
Striding up to the door, he knocked. When answered, he announced loudly, "I have come form Italia bearing a message from Lord Borgas for Dominique Sebastian. Would you announce my personage? I am simply Chiun, Master of Sinanju."
When the doorman did not answer, Chiun simply spun by him and entered the foyer.
Through the foyer and onto the main hall, there Dominique Sebastian was discussing business with a number of associates.
Chiun thundered forth, "Dominique Sebastian, Caesar Borgas send 'GREETINGS' and best wishes on your DEMISE!"
Then he simply stood there.
Sebastian looked up startled, as did his associates. But quickly he gathered his thoughts and roared, "Men, Kill the intruder!"
"I am no intruder, I am Chiun."
Guns appeared in all their hands, blasting in Chiun's direction. Unfortunately to no effect.
Instead a neat pile of spent bullets appeared at his feet as the guns kept firing. Then he moved. Guns flying one way, arms, legs, heads and torso's the other.
The gunfire was still reverberating in the foyer but the gunmen were in pieces for the effrontery of attacking Chiun.
Only Dominique Sebastian was left standing.
"Am I to beg for forgiveness, or offer great reward for my life?"
"No, I have already been paid, you are to die."
But suddenly the skylight burst open and a dark shadow flew down into the room.
"Stop, this is my city! I do not permit executions for any reason."
But before he finished speaking or even had his feet touch the ground, the head of Dominique Sebastian was rolling on the floor.
With grand flourish, cape billowing, the Dark Knight, Batman, entered the scene, landing in front of Chiun.
"That was foolish. I am going to have to take you to the Police. Murder is not tolerated in Gotham. As I said this is my city!"
"You can do your worst, but I am going no where."
Batman immediately kicked out toward the head of Chiun. Chiun on the other hand simply spun wide. They both went into attack and counter after attack and counter, to no avail.
Chiun's razor sharp fingers seeking the Batman's eyes. Batman hooking Chiun's knee and spinning him away. A duet in moves and counter-move.
Chiun drawing consciously on the Sun Source. Batman drawing unconsciously but with great effect on the Dark Force.
Finally Chiun Spoke, "You move quite well for damaged goods Wayne Bruce."
Batman stepped back involuntarily amazed that he was recognized.
"You no longer remember your teacher?" Chiun questioned as he stepped into the light.
"Master, I had no idea you were about in Gotham. I normally sense the trouble of the Riddler, or the Joker or their ilk. But for your presence nothing. How is this?
"Wayne Bruce, your work with the Dark Force, unwittingly. I am in control of the Sun Source. The power flows in both cases. Simply I am the Master, and you, what are you?"
"Vengeance for Justice, Master Chiun. Vengeance for Justice."
"This I see, but you still do not recognize Justice does not exist, only technique. But you have technique, would that you had been Sinanju. In my case I leave for my home. There is none to replace me and I must see to the defense of the village. I will be sailing on the morning."
"Master, I only wish you inform me when you enter Gotham. Professional courtesy perhaps as the reason. I do not desire to contest with Sinanju unnecessarily. Before you go, perhaps you could come visit my home. I know Alfred Pennyworth would be happy to prepare some tea for you.
"At last an offer I cannot refuse."
Into the dark night, the Dark Night and the Master went.
--- The End ---
PPSS Lest I forget thanks too to Frank Herbert for the Dune Universe 'Bene Gisseret' and George Lucas and Stay Wars.
May you have a joyous All Hallows Eve, and if in the middle of the night a knock is heard on the door, don't be surprised if you hear, "I am Chiun and I have your Number!"