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"Down, Down, Down.": After having discovered the corpses of hundreds of Gothamites floating in the Gotham Bay, Batman enters the system of underground tunnels beneath the city, hoping to find the source. Though he doesn't find it, he does emerge near the location in
- I fear sometimes, dear boy, that if you don't give this up, you'll have nothing. You can't have darkness and light at the same time, Master Bruce...
Appearing in "Down, Down, Down."
- Kane County
Synopsis for "Down, Down, Down."
After having discovered the corpses of hundreds of Gothamites floating in the Gotham Bay, Batman enters the system of underground tunnels beneath the city, hoping to find the source. Though he doesn't find it, he does emerge near the location in Kane County where he spotted a van on the night that he was tracking the Mad Hatter. Alfred determines that the land was probably government-owned, but any documents relating to it have been redacted, requiring him to hack into their system to find out what was hidden - but this will take time.
Despite the Gotham City Police Department's thwarting the Hatter's plans to bring an audience of mind-controlled citizens to watch his final production, he is still confident that he can bring his plan to fruition since he discovered his new Alice the previous night. He collects her at her home, smashing through Natalya Trusevich's window, and kidnapping her.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne begins to doubt just how long he can continue being the Batman, and living with the ghosts of those he lost; his parents and his only real son. Alfred suggests that they have Natalya to thank for opening Bruce up to life again, but it opened him up to death as well. In that respect, Bruce is already worrying that he will lose Natalya like he lost his son Damian. Alfred responds that it wouldn't be Bruce's doing if he lost her - it would be the doing of his vigilante lifestyle; a lifestyle that must come to an end eventually, lest he lose everything.
Later that night, Bruce has a nightmare in which his parents complain that he could have been doing so much more with his life than he has been, but that his clinging to their memory will likely prevent him from ever doing so. Upon waking, he announces that he is going to see Natalya, and tell her that he doesn't intend to be Batman forever. Alfred is surprised with his decision, but Bruce explains that it is not for her sake, but for his own. Once he has put down the Hatter, he will consider his future.
The Hatter drags Natalya through his recreation of the Wonderland themed park he visited as a boy, explaining her role to her. She refuses to cooperate, though, and rakes her nails across his face. Angrily, he realizes that she must not be his Alice, and decides to have her killed - but first, perhaps she will tell him who the Batman is.
Meanwhile, Batman arrives at Natalya's apartment, only to find that the GCPD is already there, investigating the break-in. Desperately, Bruce calls back to Alfred and has him track Natalya with the sensor he put on her earlier.
Natalya takes her beatings as Hatter tries to torture her into revealing Batman's identity. Though she puts up a strong appearance, she is worried for her life, and hopes that Bruce will get there in time to save her. The Hatter gives her a final chance to give up the Batman, but when she refuses, he decides that enough time has been wasted, and prepares to thrust her out the open door of the helicopter they have been hovering over the city in.
Batman locks onto Natalya's signal, realizing that she seems to be falling, and he speeds toward her. He arrives at the GCPD Headquarters just in time to see her make impact, crashing into the Bat-Signal on the roof in a pool of her own blood.
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