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The daughter of a dysfunctional alcoholic who eventually abandoned her to an orphanage, Harleen Quinzel was a free-spirited and strong-willed young woman, moving past a tough upbringing and countless heartbreaks to earn a PhD in psychology, leading to her being transferred to Arkham Asylum, where she was assigned to analyze the twisted mind of the Joker, who manipulated her into falling in love with him and freeing him, at which point he tortured her further before taking her to ACE Chemicals, where she was leapt into the vat of chemicals that created, leading to the birth of Harley Quinn.
Harley and the Joker embarked on a reign of terror, with Harley's manic behavior tolerated by the criminal underworld out of fear, culminating in their brutal murder of Robin and Harley's capture by Batman, at which point she was transferred to Belle Reeve supermax prison by order of Amanda Waller. In Belle Reeve, Harley was one of several criminals drafted into the Suicide Squad, a team designed to accomplish high-risk missions too dangerous for military personnel, and sent into Midway City to extract a high-value asset in the midst of the attack by Enchantress.
In reality, Harley was in communication with the Joker and attempted to use the mission to escape, but the plan is ruined when his chopper crashes, seemingly killing him. Mourning the loss, Harley reunites with the squad, forming a close bond with them and facing off with Enchantress, foiling her plans, with Joker breaking her out of Belle Reeve later thanks to his connections in the prison.
Of course, Joker soon grew tired of her, throwing her out into the streets and leaving her at the mercy of her numerous enemies. Down on her luck, Harley was given a lucky break when she was forced by Roman Sionis to find a valuable diamond stolen by young pickpocket Cassandra Cain, only to decide to take the diamond for herself. Pursued by Sionis's men, Harley joined an uneasy alliance with Renee Montoya, Helena Bertenelli, and Dinah Lance to protect Cass, leading to a climactic battle in which Sionis's men are wiped out and he himself is killed when Cass planted a grenade on him. While the others formed the group the Birds of Prey, Harley and Cass took the diamond, setting out on their own to form a new criminal group and take Gotham for themselves.
Battle vs. Ramona Flowers (by BeastMan14)
The rain poured onto the streets of DFederal, and the unlucky few without umbrellas or covering cursed to themselves as they quickened their pace, trying to avoid the downpour. On the roads, a few stragglers quickly stepped off the crosswalk, narrowly avoiding three armored trucks as they sped through town. Inside the middle truck, Johnny Rico laid back, eyes closed as his hands rested on his rifle. They had a few minutes until they reached the unloading zone, and it wasn’t exactly like he could keep alert in a truck with no windows, so he’d earned a little shut eye, at least for a moment.
That is, until a Roughneck woke him from his quick nap with an inquiry. Eyes fluttering awake, Johnny nodded for the trooper to speak. The man nervously eyed their package, a small silver box, no larger than a suitcase, as it lay behind Johnny’s legs, a small red glow emanating from him.
“Any idea what the hell we’re carrying?”
Johnny shrugged, smiling as he coldly replied, “Roughnecks don’t question orders. So, if the boss needs something moved, we move it, no ifs, ands, or buts. Understood?”
The man contemplated a response, then nodded, muttering, “Don’t know why that Beast creep even needs security anyway.”
The lead truck kept moving, the driver briefly looking away from the road to confirm the GPS was taking him towards the proper coordinates. But in that brief moment, he failed to ID a small, pink baby doll, moving like clockwork as it stepped into the road. The doll turned it’s head, joints in it’s neck clicking as it waited patiently for the truck to reach its minimum range, then chirped a shrill, “Mama.” before exploding, tearing the front tires off the truck and sending it flying into the air before unceremoniously rolling onto the sidewalk. Most pedestrians moved to avoid it, but one, a ninja in cybernetic black armor who was too focused on eating some hastily stolen food, could only say a quick, “Oh you’ve got to be-“ before being crushed, then disintegrated as the truck explodes.
Looking through the windshield at the commotion, Johnny yelled a shocked “Christ!”, then barked a frantic, “Back up!” as the other Roughnecks quickly locked and loaded. The driver attempted to reverse, only to be hampered as the back truck was knocked on it’s side by a large, scaly figure in orange prison pants bursting from the underground. With a roar, Croc tore open the backdoors and climbed inside the truck, Rico sweating nervously as he heard screams and gunfire, accompanied by the spray of blood from inside.
As gunfire pinged off the outside of the truck, he surveyed his surroundings, then glanced at the GPS to get directions before lifting his rifle, grabbing the case, and forcing a grin to his troops.
“Alright, you apes. Drop-off point is two klicks away. Straight shot. So, you gonna cower in here, or we gonna show these freaks whose boss?”
The Roughnecks cheered and Johnny led the charge out of the van, guns blazing as figures from all sides, some dressed like clowns while others wore stranger masks, opened fire on them. The Roughnecks charge, cutting down as many as they can, but for everyone they shoot, another seems to pop out of nowhere. The fighting is brief and brutal, and soon only Johnny remains, limping to cover as rounds fly past him. If he could just get to the sewer, he could lose these creeps.
He dashed for a grate, then cried out in pain as a bullet tore through his leg, bringing him to the ground and the case skittered out of his hand, sliding across the ground until a high-heel stops it. Grimacing, he looked up to see a girl with pink and blue hair sneering at him, clowns on either side, as she lifted the case and hugged it tightly.
“Mistah J, I got the present for ya!”
Behind Johnny, a figure practically purred, and he craned his neck to see a pale man with green hair, clad in a purple leather jacket with no shirt and blue pants, standing behind him, gun still smoking from taking Johnny to the ground. He cackled, and most of his gang joined in too, before he stepped over Johnny, stopping to drive his heel into his wound and earn a cry of pain, and took the case from the girl, planting an appreciative kiss on her forehead and saying, “Attagirl, Harley. Now, what did I tell ya? The man in my dreams said there was treasure to be found, and we found it!”
Joker looked at the wounded Rico, then crouched down and lifted the man’s face to look into his manic eyes. He looked the soldier over, then asked, “Now, tell me, ya fine hunk of man, how do I open my new toy?”
Rico spit in his face, and Joker laughed.
“Oh, a fighter? I love it. I like you, prettyboy, but I ain’t got any use for ya, so… Harley?”
With a smile, the girl stepped forward, brandishing a bat, and brought it down on Rico’s head, cracking it against his skull over and over until it finally gave way, reducing the Roughneck’s head to a fine paste. A few of the men gave each other squeamish looks, but Joker ignored them, waiting until Harley was finished to step forward and wipe the blood from her chin with his thumb before throwing her into a passionate kiss. Satisfied, he pulled away and whispered, “Let’s go home and see what my new toy can do.”
Harley beamed and nodded excitedly, and the two, arm in arm, strolled off, the gang quickly following, leaving the carnage and bodies in their wake.
“Your own colleague in the leadership said that you could do something, good sir, and yet you refuse to do it! Admit it, you’re owned, pal!”
As her correspondent, calling in from what sounded like a 30’s telephone, snapped at the interviewee, Bayonetta nodded along, writing a few notes to herself before saying, “Doctor Pennyfarthing does have a point, Beast. For someone in such a high position of power, you do complain often of being stymied. Your response?”
As the host blathered on, Farouk massaged his temples in a mix of annoyance and impatience. The one small blessing was that he’d been allowed to do it over the phone, so he could at least stay at his desk rather than waste time at the news station. He swiveled his chair to look out at the city skyline, then responded, “Well, to answer this accusation, it’s not that simple, really. If I could simply wave my hand and make housing appear, I’d do it.”
“But you can do that, you ninny!”
Farouk ignored the outburst and continued.
“But there are rules, protocol one has to follow when it comes to working with the others, who are far more hesitant to pursue progress than I. For instance, earlier this year I proposed housing for those brave enough to serve in our government and law enforcement, but my colleagues killed the bill in it’s infancy. What was proposed instead? The Social Credit Bill. It’s the problem with a democracy, really. Everyone gets a say, whether they deserve it or not. Turns the whole thing into farce.”
Pennyfarthing clicked his tongue in annoyance and snapped, “So what you’re saying is that this system we’re all forced into, this nonsensical parody of a democracy, doesn’t work? And we learned earlier this godforsaken year that revolution doesn’t work, so what’s the point of any OF IT??? There is no hope, no salvation, save for that at the end of the barrel of a gun! My official decree: end your life, and the life of all those-“
His rant is interrupted by commotion on his end, and Bayonetta winced as his call was overtaken by the sound of struggle and muffled profanity. After a few seconds, a new voice, calmer than Pennyfarthing’s, stated, “Yeah, that’s all the time Matt’s got today. Til next time, guys?” before hanging up.
Turning to look at the camera, Bayonetta smiled awkwardly and stammered out, “Err, that was DFNN politics correspondent Matthew Pennyfarthing. To hear more from him, you can hear Capone’s Speakeasy every Tuesday on DF Radio. Now, Chairman Beast, anything you’d like to add?”
Farouk chuckled and said, “No, all I can add is to simply stay safe out there. Strange times we live in, friends.”
With that final note, he hung up, breathing a sigh of relief at being done with the daily PR der unsinn. Now he could properly focus on the true issue at hand: the theft of his possession at the hands of that moronic clown and his gang. He stroked his chin contemplatively. The fact that it was done so sloppily suggested Leo and his little band of secret thugs weren’t responsible, but he’d heard little from them since he had drove that little pet project of his to a halt.
He smiled, thinking of his success. While he enjoyed the mental games with Leo, he and his crew had proved to be just a bit too good at it. If it had continued, he risked graduating from an amusing pest to a serious annoyance. So, if it wasn’t Leo, then perhaps it truly was just a random stroke of bad luck. Unless somehow Beast was sabotaging him.
He laughed at the thought of it, then his mind returned to the issue of how he was going to get the object back. He couldn’t outsource it to the police, for risk of the news landing on the wrong ears, and he didn’t trust Rico’s gang of armored jackboots after their spectacular failure, so that left someone with a certain talent for retrieving and delivering vital objects.
Picking up his phone, he dialed Ramona, making a mental note to apologize for interrupting her day off.
She wore a raspberry beret/The kind you find in a second hand store
As Prince played gently in the background, Ramona smiled serenely and rested her head on Scott’s shoulder, her boyfriend listening intently as his bandmate told his story.
“So, the bloke says, “Hands where I can see ‘em.” And I just give em the ol’ Damien Marcato grin and say, “Can you not see ‘em covering my junk, mate?””
The group erupted in laughter, and Damien leaned back and took a satisfied sip of his martini. When Scott had said they were throwing a small get-together for the band and its various fans, she’d been apprehensive. His place wasn’t exactly sprawling, and she’d heard of Damien and Markus’s antics before. But, now, sitting back and chatting with newfound friends? It was what she needed, thanks to both the rumored challenge to the match that gave her an apartment and her boss getting more…enigmatic as of late. It was nice to take her mind off things.
Her happy thoughts were disturbed by one of the fans, a blonde girl with glasses in a red sweater and blue jeans, drunkenly bumping into the coffee table and swaying to steady herself, face pale and eyes hazy. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, Noodle, distracted by tuning her guitar, looked up and giggled, while Damien eyed her with an amused look as he took another sip of his drink, then quipped, “Bit too much to drink, eh, Kara?”
Kara shook her head and gingerly sat besides her date, who sighed, threw on her jacket, and stood up, saying, “Yeah, I should take her home before she breaks Scott’s windows.”
Scott gulped, flashbacks to having to pay for the windows after a run-in with a Black Dandelion victim running through his head, and gave Lisbeth a grateful nod as she led a swaying, mumbling Kara to the door. She waved as the group shouted their various goodbyes, then closed the door behind her. Taking a swig of his own drink, a young man in a jean vest and a red beanie laughed at the sight.
“Damn, guess she couldn’t handle Damien’s good stuff, huh?”
Damien waggled a finger at him and replied, “Delsin, love, Markus and Faden had to talk you out of a tree after two cups of it, so I’d say avoid any jabs at poor Kara there.”
Delsin frowned in embarrassment and the rest of the group chuckled. As the conversation picked up again, Markus noticed him sitting alone and asked, “Where is Jesse anyway?”
He did a “so-so” motion in response and both Damien and Markus jokingly winced.
“We’re on a break or something. Says she met somebody new and wanted to “expand her horizons” or whatever.”
Scott leaned over and whispered into Ramona’s ear, “Sounds like Stephen.”, causing her to laugh softly, only for her smile to vanish as she felt her phone buzz in her pocket. Flipping it off, she frowned as the caller ID read “Beast”. Sighing, she stood up, pointed to her phone, said, “Gotta take this.”, then stepped into the bathroom before answering with an annoyed, “Hello?”
On his end, Beast apologetically said, “Ah, Ramona. I really am sorry for bugging you but this is fairly urgent. Do you think you could come in the next twenty minutes or so?”
She sighed, facepalming as she heard more laughter from the living room, then replied, “Yeah, I guess. Give me a minute to say goodbye and then I can come by.”
He graciously proclaimed, “Excellent! I promise I’ll make it up to you on this. See you soon.”
He hung up, and she groaned as she stepped out of the bathroom and walked over to Scott, planting a kiss on his cheek before saying, “Gotta go in and fix something for my boss. You guys keep having fun.”
“Ah, a slave to the old 9 to 5.”
Damien’s quip grated on her as she was lacing up her skates, and she replied, “Look, not everyone gets to coast on good looks, Damien.”
She opened the door and he mocked being wounded before snarking, “Well, at least you think I’m pretty.”
She smirked in spite of herself and flipped Damien off, and he returned the gesture as she closed the door behind her, then skated to the elevator. Pulling out her iPod, Ramona gently tucked the buds into her ears and cued up an old favorite, “Deborah” by Beck, as she waited for the elevator to hit the ground floor. It dinged and the doors slid open, and she skated out of the lobby into the street, looking both ways before crossing towards the alley that contained the nearest star door. She muttered a quiet thanks to Beast for moving his office into the Blue Collar area, which made travel substantially less of a pain in the ass, then leapt down, plummeting through the shadowy abyss before landing on the rainbow road and skating towards the door near his office.
The Subspace door opened and Ramona stepped out into an alleyway directly across from Beast’s office, checking her watch and smiling to see she was right on time. She stepped out of the alley, giving a polite nod to a hulking, helmeted police officer in black, green, and yellow armor, who returned the nod as he leaned against his bike, then crossed the street, ascending the rusty stairs and entering Beast’s office to see him flipping through his notebook. At the “ding” of her entering, he closed the book and smiled.
“Ah, not a moment too soon.”
Ramona looked over the office, frowning at the general state of it. In a bizarre move designed to curry favor, he had moved from his place in the White Collar District to an abandoned warehouse in the Blue Collar District. It made commuting easier, sure, but Ramona missed being able to sit on a properly cushioned chair and not one with strange red stains on it. Slinging her bag over one of the chairs by Beast’s desk, she sat down and greeted him with a frank, “So, why am I here?”
Beast turned to look at the window, resting his chin on his hand, and answered, “I’m afraid Rico and the Roughnecks have failed to secure my property. It’s a shame, since it was the last thing that needed to be moved from the old office.”
Ramona nodded, silently thinking of how it wouldn’t have gotten stolen if he hadn’t moved, but leaned forward to continue listening.
As though he could hear her thoughts, he sighed and said, “Perhaps this move was ill-advised, after all. But, alas, I am a man of the people, and thus I should be near the people. Regardless, the job I have for you is simple: retrieve my property from those who stole it.”
“And who stole it?”
He handed her a case file and a small, gray device with a blinking red dot on it’s screen.
“That…is less simple.”
Flipping through it, Ramona looked back up and raised a concerned eyebrow.
“You want me to steal something from the Joker? Isn’t that, y’know, a great way to get killed?”
He shrugged and replied, “Well, not robbing the Joker, per se. Robbing a location under his command, certainly, but let’s say his attention will be…elsewhere at that moment.”
Ramona sighed and, after a moment’s hesitation, asked, “So, what do I get?”
“On top of my appreciation, let’s say a, hm, week’s vacation? Paid, of course, and it would start as soon as this job was over. Not planning anything too hectic right now, so I wouldn’t need much help around here anyway.”
Ramona’s eyes widened at the offer. Frankly, he should’ve led with that when he called her. Gathering the file, she tucked it into her bag and said, “I’ll do it. So, I assume this silver thing is the tracker?”
Beast nodded, smiling gratefully as she gathered her things and stood up to left. As she skated to the door, he yelled out, “Oh, and Ramona?”
She turned to look at him curiously, and he simply said, “Good luck.”
She nodded, then left, skating down the stairs and heading onto the sidewalk just as a blue and pink truck came to a stop in front of the office. She glanced over her shoulder to see a similarly colored duo exit the truck, then enter the office just as she turned the corner. For someone with not much on his plate, Beast sure was in a lot of meetings.
Joker sighed in annoyance, tossing his prize onto his table and leaning back, a rare scowl crossing his face. The jovial air in his “clubhouse”, thanks to the music and his celebrating men, did nothing to improve his mood. For almost two hours, he had fiddled with the device, trying to work around the hand scanner, but it only answered to one, a detail left out by the figure in his dreams.
Harley’s shrill voice rang out from their shared bedroom, somehow discernable over the music, and Joker turned to see her, clad in a nightie specially picked out by him, descending the stairs with an impatient frown. A few of the men cast lecherous glances, but quickly averted their eyes, knowing the heavy price for a poorly timed glance. Pouting, she threw herself into Joker’s lap and batted her eyelashes at him.
“You said you were gonna come up and play two hours ago, babyyy! Whatsa matter, don’t wanna take your Harley for a ride?”
Joker rolled his eyes and cupped Harley’s face in his hands, cooing reassuringly and saying, “Babydoll, I’d love to, but daddy is working. Soon as Johnny gets back with Gru, I’ll crack our new toy open, then you and I can…hit the open road.”
She giggled, and he leaned in to give her a kiss, only for the door to the clubhouse to fly open and one of his men to stagger in, panicked and breathless. He waved to the Joker, who shoved Harley aside, then stood up and walked over, glaring at him with a mixture of annoyance and impatience.
“Can’t you see I’m trying to have a nice moment?”
The man nodded, then replied, averting his eyes, “It’s Crowder, boss. He’s hitting our supply trucks again. I barely got outta there.”
“So, you let him take my property?”
The thug winced, recognizing his mistake, then nodded, causing Joker to “tsk-tsk” at him, before taking his head in his hands and grinning, practically snarling as he explained, “Well, looks like you’re gonna need a chance to redeem your little mistake here.”
He turned and yelled, “Load up, boys. Looks like we’re adding another head above the bar.”
The assembled clowns glanced over the bar, where three heads, all previous rivals for territory and the former employer of many of them, were mounted. The first, a bloody black mask, the second, a badly beaten man with an eyepatch, and the third, a supposed impostor, the brutal death doing nothing to remove his rictus grin. The men cheered, then began loading up their gear and heading outside. For his part, Croc, still not finished with his feast for a job well done, groaned, setting down the roast chicken he’d been tearing apart and wiping his hands on his pants before following them as well.
“Mistah Jayyyyyyyyy,” Harley whined, crossing her arms over her chest in an exaggerated fashion as the assembled gang ignored her. Giving her a reassuring smile, Joker walked back over and lifted her chin with his finger, looking down on her and saying, “Listen, I’ll make it up to ya. When I’m done with our buddy Boyd, you and I are gonna go up there-“
He pointed to the room.
“-and when we’re finished, you’re not gonna be able to sit straight.”
One of the men, who had stepped back in to grab a spare magazine, grimaced, the mental image now burnt into his brain, but changed expression as Joker turned back around and gave a yell, “Let’s ride, boys.”
The gang shuffled out, leaving Harley and a handful of spare guards. Giving a disdainful look at the object that had taken so much of her puddin’s attention, Harley huffed and went upstairs to change. No point catching a cold while she waited for her love to return.
Ramona stepped out of the subspace door, squinting as the blinding light shifted to darkness as she found herself on the docks. Looking down at the tracker, she nodded in confirmation. Joker’s gang had brought it here, so here’s hoping Beast’s distraction worked. She skated behind an overturned shipping crate and peeked out, scanning the warehouses until her eyes landed on one, helpfully marked with a giant spraypainted face of the Joker, the door where his laughing mouth should be. Two guards out front, and she could hear music inside, suggesting more.
She sighed and put her goggles on, then made sure her hammer was ready.
It was going to be one of those nights.
They say that if you see if the Joker more than five times in the movie theatres, it changes you
Standing guard by the door, one of the clowns, having raised his goat mask to smoke a cigarette, groaned.
“Christ, this has gotta be the fourth time I’ve heard this fucking song today.”
The other clown, holding a shotgun and brandishing white and black facepaint, chuckled and replied, “Hey. boss has said it’s his anthem. You gonna tell the boss his favorite song is annoying?”
The goat-masked man shook his head vigorously and tossed the cigarette butt to the ground, pulling his mask down and snapping, “Fuck no, man. Far as the boss is concerned, this is my favorite song too.”
It’s called Jokerfication…Look it up!
Their conversation is interrupted by the sound of skates on gravel as a blue-haired girl emerged from the shadows, skidding to a stop in front of them and nodding towards the warehouse. The guards gave each other a confused look, then the goat-masked one said, “You should probably keep moving. This is Joker gang turf.”
The girl rolled her eyes and reached into her satchel, pulling out a small square package and holding it up for them to see.
“Look man, my boss said you ordered a CD delivery and I’m just dropping it off.”
The clowns exchanged skeptical glances, and the painted one stepped forward and said, “Yeah, whatever, we’ll take the package and see if the boss actually-“
Ramona tossed the box into his face, causing him to cry out as it smacked into his face. Using his distraction, Ramona pulled her hammer from her bag and brought it down on his head, sending him crashing to the ground. The goat-masked clown raised his gun, but Ramona used the momentum of the hammer to smack it out of his hands and lunged forward, smashing her skate into his gut. He groaned in pain and staggered back, giving her an opening to plant another skate on his chest and kick him through the door. He tumbled backward with an awkward crash, causing the music to stop and the few assembled clowns to stare in shock.
Ramona skated in, brandishing her hammer, and looked down at her scanner, seeing it flash wildly at a spot a few steps ahead of her, then grinned as she moved to the table and went to pick up the device, only for a cry of “Hey, cotton candy head!”
She paused, trying to interpret if the insult was directed at her, then turned to see Harley descending the stairs, brandishing her bat. She pointed the bat at Ramona and practically snarled, “Didja think ya can just walk in here and steal somethin’ belonging to my puddin’?”
Ramona took on a steely expression and raised her hammer, and the various goons all stepped aside, letting the two women circle each other. Gripping her weapon, Ramona silently considered demanding an extra week of vacation from Beast just off the back of this.
Harley grinned wickedly and lunged forward, swinging her bat, and Ramona quickly raised her hammer, using the hilt to block the strike, then twisted down, pulling Harley forward and kneeing her in the gut. Harley staggered back, breath knocked out of her, then swung the bat, pulling back at the last second to spin on her heel and land a kick to the hilt, sending Ramona tumbling over the table. Ramona pulled herself to her feet as Harley leapt onto the table, following up her kick with a strike to her foe’s shoulder. Ramona hissed in pain, feeling the bat collide with bone, and kicked the table, staggering Harley long enough to grab her hammer and sweep Harley’s legs, sending her crashing onto the table and bringing it to the ground.
Ramona watched as the package slid across the warehouse floor and scrambled for it, grabbing it just as Harley leapt to her feet and followed after her, trying to swat at her with her bat, only for Ramona to narrowly roll out of the way of a blow aimed straight for her head. As she used the momentum of her skates to stand, a few of the clowns moved to grab her, but Harley pointed her bat at them and yelled, “Any of ya clowns tries to interrupt me and the thief here, I’m tellin’ Mistah J ya tried puttin’ the moves on me!”
Taking the warning, the gang stayed back, giving each other wary glances. Eying the door for a quick escape, Ramona swung her hammer, ending up trapped in it’s pull as Harley ducked under it and smashed her bat into her stomach, knocking the wind out of her and bringing her to the floor. Harley follows up the hit, swinging the bat down, but Ramona weakly lifts her hammer, blocking the strike, and pushes her back. She tries to use the momentary distraction to bolt for the door, only for Harley to somersault over the table, blocking the path.
“Gotta be quicker than that, sweetheart.”
Ramona took a cautious step back, gripping the hammer in one hand and the box in the other, and frowned. If she stuck around, this chick was gonna kill her. With a cry, she hurled her hammer, earning a chuckle as Harley sidestepped it, then used the momentary distraction to charge forward, connecting her shoulder with Harley’s chest and knocking her back. As the clown quickly recovered, Ramona stooped down, grabbing her hammer without stopping, then rolled out the door, heading back to the Subspace Portal.
Harley scowled and gave chase, shouting, “Ya ain’t getting outta here that easy, bitch!” as she chased after the thief, ignoring the onset of pouring rain. Following her around a corner, Harley grinned to see her back was turned as she opened some weird door with a star. With a shout, Harley connected her bat with Ramona’s head, sending her tumbling into the void inside the door. Her triumphant grin was replaced with a quizzical head tilt as Harley stepped towards the still-open door and peeked down into the black nothingness beyond it. With a shrug, she held her nose and cannonballed in.
Head throbbing after the surprise hit, Ramona hit the rainbow bridge hard, taking a second to recover and check to make sure she wasn’t bleeding, only to be interrupted by another thump as Harley landed feet first. Looking at the clown, Ramona groaned.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Harley ignored her, looking at the strange, colorful world around her in awe. Stars littered the black space, and numbers and letters randomly flew by, occasionally accompanied by large flying piggy banks.
“Man, this has gotta be one bad trip.”
Stuffing the package into her bag, Ramona got to her feet and took another fighting stance. She needed to get this chick off her back, and if she had to leave her in subspace, so be it. Boosting off her skates, Ramona swept forward, swinging her hammer at Harley and hitting her square in the chest, sending her flying, only for her to recover in mid-air and land deftly on her feet, ignoring the pain in her chest to quip, “Yowch! Didn’t anybody ever tell ya it’s rude to hit a lady when she ain’t lookin’?”
Ramona didn’t respond, eyes narrowing as she gripped her hammer, and Harley frowned, yelling, “Not a talker, eh, dyejob? Whateva. You’ll make plenty of noise when I KILL YA!”
Harley rushed forward, leaping over Ramona’s hammer and landing a kick to her jaw before rolling behind her and hitting her in the back. Ramona used her skates to quickly swivel and kick behind her, but Harley grabbed her leg and swung her forward, leaving her sprawled on the ground. She leapt up, hoping to crush Ramona’s head with her heels, but Ramona rolled out of the way and kicked her in the side. Harley grunted as skates collided with her ribs, holding her side and giving Ramona time to stand back up and fall back, skating towards a nearby door.
She pulled the door open, recognizing a closet of some sort, and prepared to step through, only for Harley to tackle her, pushing them both out the door and into the hallway of a train car. The two collapsed into an awkward heap directly in front of a baffled ticket agent. Getting over the initial shock, the man quipped, “I presume you ladies don’t have tickets? This is first class, after all.”
Harley looked at the man’s badge, labelled “K. Stryker”, and put on her best smile, standing up and pinning Ramona to the ground with her foot. Playing with a pigtail, she giggled and replied, “Sorry, officah, but I left my train card in my other shorts.” She gestured to her hot pants and added, “These don’t really got pockets, y’know?”
Flustered, Stryker prepared to explain how she’d have to get off at the next stop and go get her card, but didn’t get a chance to as she used her momentary distraction to headbutt him, knocking him out cold. With a hiss, Ramona managed to push Harley off of her and stand back up, grabbing her hammer and swinging, only for Harley to duck, causing it to smash out a window. Grabbing her bat, Harley stumbled back, blocking each successive strike and countering in turn. The two stayed locked in their duel, ducking, blocking, and striking, as they worked through the car, several passengers stepping out of their rooms to check the commotion and then quickly stepping back inside to avoid the chaos. Harley frowned as Ramona shoved her back, leaving her with her back to the door. Ramona grimaced and pointed her hammer at Harley’s head, saying, “End of the line, bitch. So, back. Off.”
Harley smiled sweetly, then threw her bat into the air, Ramona briefly glancing up at it long enough for her to sidestep towards the wall, push her feet against it, then leap forward, using her momentum to dropkick Ramona through the window. Cursing, Ramona flailed, managing to grab onto a railing on the top of the train and hang on for dear life as her hammer tumbled to the street below. She heard a door open, then the sound of someone climbing the ladder on the car, and looked up to see Harley standing over her, the rushing wind doing nothing to sway her from her spot on top of the car.
She grinned, bringing her heel down on Ramona’s finger and twisting, causing her to cry out in pain. Sighing in contentment as the bone in Ramona’s finger snapped, Harley leaned down, applying more pressure and asked, “Gonna give ya one chance, sweetie: gimme the back or I’ll pull it offa what’s left when you hit the pavement.”
Ramona stared back, eyes full of spite, and opened her mouth to reply with a mixture of defiance and profanity, only for a loud roar and a thunderous shaking to cut her off. Both Harley and Ramona looked in confusion at the sound, and Ramona felt her phone vibrate. Using her other hand, she managed to pull it out of her sweatshirt, seeing an alert that read “ATTENTION DFEDERAL CITIZEN: A KAIJU HAS BROKEN CONTAINMENT AND IS CURRENTLY WITHIN THE WHITE COLLAR DISTRICT. PLEASE RETURN TO YOUR HOME UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. MONSTER CONTAINMENT IS HANDLING THE BREAK-OUT.”
The roar got closer, and Ramona turned to watch in shock as an enormous ape, locked in combat with a towering green and purple robot, crashed through the side of a building. The robot, the DFPD brand on it’s shoulder, drew a knife and repeatedly drove it into the ape’s chest and stomach, causing it to roar in pain and loosen it’s grip, enabling the robot to lift and throw it directly through the train tracks. Ramona’s eyes widened in shock, and she grumbled, “Of course.” as the train hurtled towards the newly made cliff.
Using the distraction to take her foot off of Ramona’s hand and pull her bag off of her, Harley shrugged and said, “Sucks to be you right now, smurfette,” then leapt from the train, grabbing a nearby lamppost and using it as a bar to swing herself onto a nearby rooftop, landing cleanly on her feet then blowing Ramona a mocking kiss as the train rushed past her. Cursing, Ramona squeezed her eyes shut as she felt the train plunge over the edge…
…Only to confusedly open them as she felt the train’s sharp fall turn into a slow, easy descent. She watched in awe as a man, clad in a blue suit with a red cape and a yellow and red “S” across his chest, gently lowered the front end of the train down to the street, then waved to another man, this one wearing a bodysuit resembling a Union Jack, who was lifting the back half. Ramona leapt off the train, taking a moment to catch her breath as her rescuer put a reassuring hand on her shoulder and asked, “You okay, miss? That would’ve been a nasty fall.”
Looking up, Ramona stammered and nodded, and the man frowned, looking her over with quiet concern.
“You don’t appear to have any injuries. Something else the matter?”
Ramona shook her head and managed to finally say, “It’s nothing. You just…look like an ex of mine, I think.”
The man seemed chuckled and replied, “Well, I’ll take that as a compliment. Now if you excuse me, miss, I’ve got a monster to help catch.”
On that note, he flew away, towards the sound of continued fighting, and the second hero followed close behind. Ramona took a deep breath, then ran back down the street, towards the building Harley had landed on, praying she wasn’t too late.
Harley sighed as she pulled another CD out of the purse, tossing it aside onto a growing pile of junk that had been amassing. She’d been digging for almost ten minutes, and hadn’t had any luck in finding Mr. J’s package. Her fruitless search was interrupted as a door slammed open, and a breathless Ramona stood in the doorway, scowling. Harley beamed and said, “Ya made it! I was hopin’ ya’d come back because, girl, your bag is a capital m MESS!”
Ramona rolled up her sleeves and stepped forward, not taking her eyes off Harley, who shrugged and tossed the bag aside, taking a fighting stance of her own. They cautiously circled each other, then Ramona moved first, throwing a punch that Harley easily avoided and countered with a strike to the face. Ramona swept her leg forward, with Harley easily leaping up to dodge, then bringing her heel down, smashing them into Ramona’s leg and causing her to yelp in pain.
Rolling aside, Ramona kicked upwards, connecting with Harley’s chin and sending her to the ground, only to catch herself with her hands, then quickly vault back up. Ramona leapt to her feet and swung her fist, only for Harley to catch it, pulling her against her and hissing, “Here’s yer warning, sweetie: tell me how to get the package or this ain’t gonna end well.”
Struggling against her, Ramona replied, “Screw you.”
Harley shrugged and shoved Ramona aside, sending her tumbling over the side of the building. She let out a cry of shock seconds before she hit the ground, sending the crowd scattering as she exploded into a pile of coins. Watching as people came to investigate, then complained as they realized the coins were Canadian, Harley raised an eyebrow in surprise, then went bag to digging through the bag, finally mumbling, “Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease be the box,” as her hand gripped something, then pulled the package free.
She squealed in delight, then tossed the bag over the edge, listening as it fell into the coin pile before heading off the roof. The star looked tacky, and besides, she had everything she needed. Mistah J was gonna be so proud.
Farouk drummed his fingers on his desk, doing his best to hide his frustration and disappointment as Ramona ran him through the details of her failure. It was certainly going to put a hamper on his plans, and he made a mental note of doing what he could to slow down Leo in the meantime while he worked on an alternative.
For her part, Ramona shifted uncomfortably in her seat, unused to her employer having such a displeased attitude towards her.
“So, I take it the paid time off isn’t happening?”
“Beast” laughed merrily, catching her off guard, then replied, “No, no. There was certainly an attempt on your part, but I suppose you were under-equipped for it. It was my mistake, really, entrusting you with this one. The time-off is yours, though I’d advise not taking it for a little while.”
Ramona nodded, contemplating what she’d do with her time-off, when her boss leaned forward and added, “Plus, we can officially take care of that homelessness threat that’s been hanging over your heads. Hope you and the boyfriend hadn’t already moved in.”
Ramona laughed, the knowledge that she wouldn’t come home to a surprise eviction notice doing a lot to boost her spirits, and she watched as Beast pulled out a piece of paper and quickly signed it before sliding it to her and saying, “You know where to send one of these by this point. Now, hope to it. I’ve got calls to make.”
As she stood up to leave, walking to the door of his office, she paused and turned back to him, smiling graciously, and said, “Thanks, boss.”
He smiled back and shrugged, adding a simple, “Don’t mention it. It’s part of the system.”
She nodded and left, closing the door behind her to sit at her desk, and the smile vanished from Farouk’s face as he turned in his chair, staring out the window as he contemplated his next move. He wasn’t sure why he’d rewarded such a resounding failure on his assistant’s part. Perhaps it was some fragile remnant of Beast’s mind still lurking in there, or perhaps it was simply Farouk recognizing and rewarding loyalty, a largely foolish, if useful, trait to have. It didn’t matter.
What matters was how he’d get his package.
Only one real option remained, but it would have to do for now. With a sigh, he opened Beast’s notebook, a mishmash of plans, concepts, and contact info, and flipped through it, tracing his finger until he stopped upon one specific name.
He read out the address and phone number and nodded. Snow and his little team of explorers would do nicely, though he’d have to give them something in return. But, hey, it’s a strange world. Surely, there’d be a worthwhile piece of intel to keep them sated until he truly needed them.
Harley Quinn was a cut above Ramona Flowers in almost every regard. A more experienced, substantially more skilled fighter with much more combat experience under her belt was more than a match for a courier whose only real edges were her marginally better training and more versatile powers. Even deeply disturbed mental health, which should be Harley's biggest flaw, made her a more dangerous, unpredictable foe, enabling her to handily take the win against Ramona here.