"Trail of the Gun, Part Two": Batman continued his investigation into the whereabouts of the smart gun, whose heat-seeking bullets would wreak havoc on the streets. His investigation took him to the brother of one of the gun's victims. The boy explained that while pla
- Okay, so I had the jones in my bones so bad I mighta gotten a little blind.
- -- Catwoman
Appearing in "Trail of the Gun, Part Two"
- Chase Marino
- Zipperhead Malloy
- Brickhead Pete
- Pike Peavy
- Rob Leaver
- Tyler Royce
- Sam Royce
Synopsis for "Trail of the Gun, Part Two"
Batman continued his investigation into the whereabouts of the smart gun, whose heat-seeking bullets would wreak havoc on the streets. His investigation took him to the brother of one of the gun's victims. The boy explained that while playing hide and seek with his brother and sister, they had found a gun under their father's bed with a clip next to it. His older brother had shoved the clip inside the gun, frightening their sister, who began crying. The boy warned his brother to take the clip out, because the gun was too dangerous.
The elder boy did take the clip out, but refused to put the gun down, despite his brother's warning that he never knows what damage could be done. To prove that the gun was safe, the brother fired the gun at their sister - only the clip had forced one bullet into the chamber, and that bullet killed her. Despite this, the boy had since found his brother's gun, and decided that it made him feel good to have it.
Despite the fact that she should have distrusted his intel, Catwoman learned from her partner Chase Marino that the smart gun was being kept in a toy store. They did day surveillance on the mall, and had then to wait for midnight to break into the building's tight security. This would have been easy for her to do alone, but she was saddled with Chase, arms dealer Tyler Royce, and Trip, a white supremacist and gun-happy dunce. Unfortunately, Trip would have to come, otherwise, she would not win her two million.
This was also a problem for Chase, as Trip kept trying to force the young man to take a gun. Coldly, Chase stated that he disliked guns because they are racist. The second amendment, he claimed, was designed by slave-owners as a control method. Current gun laws, though, prohibited the sale of cheap guns, resulting in guns only for the rich. This exchange resulted in the two men coming to blows, and Chase easily subdued Trip, stealing one of his guns and turning it on him. The altercation is brought to an end when Tyler's father Sam - the man who designed most of the guns that Tyler sells, despite having recently reversed his position on guns to one of pacifism - pulls a gun on Trip too. Annoyed at all of this, Catwoman disarmed all three men with her whip.
Batman meanwhile had discovered that two of those killed by the smart gun had purchased guns from the address of master thief Pike Peavy - who was Catwoman's main competition. Pike claimed to have no plans to seek out the smart gun, despite Batman's knowledge that he was forming a crew. Before Batman left, Peavy showed him an item that he stole from Bruce Wayne's house, hinting that he had seen something to link Wayne with Batman when he was inside.
After some stealthy sneaking past security, Catwoman and her team made it into the elevator shaft of the mall, knowing that it was the one security hole in the building. Unfortunately, she spotted a grappling hook inside, indicating that someone had got ahead of her in the search. They had to catch up.
Their rivals were equipped with high-end technology, but they had other rivals too, apparently. Pike Peavy, Zipperhead Malloy, and Brickhead Pete's team had tried to use brute force to break a hole through a wall. While it was a crude method, it had got them inside. Eventually, all three teams came face to face in the toy store, with the gun somewhere in the room. Catwoman had urged everyone not to reach for their weapons. There was a pause, and that was the last thing she remembered.
The room became a frenzy of bullets. Catwoman and Chase took cover behind a shelf, and formed a plan. Catwoman created a distraction while Chase went for the gun rack, in hopes of finding the smart gun. While the distraction worked, Catwoman still had to rescue Chase's life from Trip, who tried to take advantage of the gun fight to put a permanent end to their rivalry.
In the confusion, Catwoman spotted Pike Peavy go straight for the smart gun. He had known where it was, because he had planted it there, for some reason. Worse, he was in cahoots with Chase. She saw him for what he really was, then, an elite thief who had been trained by a master. Chase had played her. Things got worse when Trip took the gun from Peavy.
The others advanced on him, and Catwoman desperately leapt to prevent him from meeting his mark as he fired the automatic weapon. Then, she stood transfixed with horror as the bullets all stopped in mid-air, as if deciding which target to hit. Then, they turned on them. The bullets riddled everyone in the room, regardless of where they had been aimed.
Only Pike's crew managed to escape unscathed, while Catwoman shielded herself with Trip's body. Pike's men passed under a run of hot lights, drawing the bullets away from them, while all the remaining bullets - at least fifty - pounded into trip's corpse as it lay on top of Catwoman. She opened her eyes at last to find the room full of death. She tried to wipe the images from her mind, and then pried the gun from Trip's cold, dead fingers. In her traumatized state, though, someone had taken the gun, and returned her to the crime scene to take the rap.
Though reporter Rob Leaver doesn't exactly trust the story she gave him, he agrees to print it, to at buy her some time, at least. Catwoman does not tell him about the fact that after she got home, she returned to the pawnshop to collect on the bet she put on herself. Even though she hadn't collected the gun, the news was printing it all over the place, so they paid up. The bookie revealed that Chase had also placed a bet on Peavy. That sealed it. She had been played.
She caught Chase at Peavy's place, where he explained that Pike Peavy was his father. He had joined Catwoman's crew to impress him, but later found out that his father had already created his own crew - that he had planned the whole thing to win his own contest. He claimed innocence to the charge of having framed her, so Catwoman demanded to be taken to Peavy. On the way, Chase mentioned that he thought Tyler Royce might have been involved in the plan.
Peavy was dying from a gunshot wound, and he promised he'd call the police to clear her name before offering her the title of king of thieves. Seeing him there, dying in a room full of his prizes, she couldn't help but feel like her potential was wasted on this life path.
She instead went to the Royce's household, finding Tyler planning to shoot his father, after realizing that Sam had used the smart gun to create anti-gun fervour, and bring down the family business. Sam admits, with his son's gun to his head, that he had invented the smart gun with the intent for it to be the "gun to end all guns." It was a mistake. He and Peavy conspired together to undo the damage he had done with his previous work, and so that Peavy could die a winner. He noted the irony of the fact that the smart gun would always end up killing its owner - just as all normal guns seem to do.
Another story lay behind all this. When Sam was younger, he and his son Tyler had built a rope swing. Sam had tied a perfect knot, to hold the swing together, but what he couldn't know, was that the branch he'd tied it to was dead. The branch broke, and Tyler ended up with several broken limbs. Tyler and his mother had blamed him for what happened, and their relationship was never the same. Catwoman left the two men to repair what had been broken.
The next day, the papers print Peavy's statements clearing Catwoman's name. What she never told anyone was that the person who had stolen the smart gun from her was Batman. Though she had never wanted to give it up, the realization that she was on the wrong path convinced her that his way was more right than hers.
- This book was first published on September 1, 2004.
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