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megalomaniac (meg-low-may-nee-ack)
n- 1. An individual who is supremely convinced of his/her own infallibility and of the general incapability of others to do things well.
n- 2. The Bat.

November 17th, Patrolling Gotham City

The vermin frustrated me at first. When all they suffer is a sudden, unseen ambush and a trip to a police officer with no evidence as Manny did on Halloween, then I am merely a nuisance to be thwarted if possible. If I up my game, which I have done, and they are left conspicuously with damning evidence, they claim they were framed. I changed my strategy again two weeks ago.

They know they are being attacked now. They are aware that something is going wrong with their plans, but they still can’t do anything effective about it. They get glimpses of a shadowy form interfering with their efforts, sometimes they get to meet me face to face – just before I end their night. I still set the stage for their capture and arrest if possible, but that is a secondary concern for now. I have a higher priority to meet.

I’ve taken stock of several other poisoning survivors, directly observing them in action or watching newscasts after the fact. While I have greater perceptive abilities and far greater mental capacity than any I’ve observed to date, I lack any offensive powers; I have nothing inherent to deal with a Rock Crusher, a Shocker, or a Blue Banshee other than superior combat skills. To correct this, I’ve been developing small, highly potent weapons and equipment to carry with me. While this has proven useful by itself, it will be far more important as a lever to develop an offensive “power” to give me an advantage over anyone I might face, in any situation.

A very powerful weapon in my arsenal is swing-line and a grapple that I can throw great distances. This gives me the ability to cross battlefields in new ways with a previously unattainable rapidity. It also gives me a ranged attack I didn’t have before. Where criminals once were able to determine my approximate location and begin an encirclement forcing my tactics faster than I would like, I can now appear from virtually any direction – I have gained a strong appreciation for aerial attacks. A target forced to defend itself while looking up is much less stable and much more easily disoriented.

Sudden changes in visibility are further upsetting to my targets. When no amount of lights can counteract a thick smoke cloud, or when a flash attack causes temporary blindness, a target on the fighting defensive suddenly wants nothing more than to beat a hasty retreat. That is how I want them thinking. I want them to be looking for exits the moment they realize it’s me, whoever they think “me” is. If they are thinking about exits, they are easier to manipulate, ambush, and eliminate.

Finally, I find that clear and evident pain is useful. When dealing with a number of pests, sudden, unexpected, severe pain in one arouses panic in the rest.

The common element in all of these is that, over time, I am teaching them all that any encounter with me will be characterized by a steady, fast-paced diet of the unfamiliar. The unfamiliar is unwelcome, something to be avoided. Once they learn to actively try to avoid me, they themselves will have opened the door and released their own worst enemy; the power of fear.

The world and its ills require my attention. I hear the unmistakable scream of terrified people without hope. I break my arc by landing a one-hand throw to a gargoyle on the corner of a 10 story to my left, where the scream came from. If there had been any more traffic, I might not have heard it at all. I execute the transfer to the new line. It holds. My new path takes me around to the far side of this building by which time I am in a sharp descent. The scene below horrifies me. A young couple is clinging to each other as a gang of self-centered hoodlums menaces their way in an ever-shrinking circle around their victims. Meanwhile, dozens of people skirt past pretending they do not notice. I am outraged. They can’t just ignore what is going on.

I release my grip on my line and grab the corners of my cape in my hands; the parachute effect gives me just enough control that I can pick who I will land on. Those passers-by are as guilty as the Hoodlums. But I can’t just stop them all. Only the evil must fear me. The undecided need a reason to make a decision, a good one.

I change tactics. I make another throw, back up the now six floors to the roof. I need to be able to make a fast exit, with cargo. The passers-by want to ignore things, they can suffer the consequences.

I have to get this distance right. Too high and one of these two victims stays to take a beating. To low and I join them. I don’t like working tied off. I can change the plan faster if I have the line in my hands, but I need two free hands now. I tie off to the back of my belt. My cape snaps in the wind. BLAST! They’ll hear me coming – time for some chaff. I drop a magnesium pellet from my belt into the air; it ignites into a brilliant, beyond day-bright light. Everyone who looks up is blinded, including the young couple. Have to do this all on my own. Par for the course.

Arms out, feet as rudders, swoop between the couple and catch one in each arm. I am only going to make the first balcony with the remaining momentum. Below, the rabble will be regrouping, and mad. I have to get this couple and myself out of site quick. On the balcony, I push the couple to the deck and join them, all of us covered by my cape. We are hardly noticeable one floor up from the street, and they don’t know where to look.

Mad as they are, and without their prey, they turn on the passers-by. They are vastly out-numbered, but they lash out anyway, taking out their aggressions. They must flee, they are too badly out-numbered and they are not working together anymore. They are forced to leave. In the excitement, I usher the young couple inside through a window and out of the building. They are safe.

And the passers-by now have a reason to get involved. Maybe they’ll decide to get involved more often. A good decision.