Batman Family: Spoiler: Back to the Egg, Chapter 2: Eggs and Ham

by Libbylawrence

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That night, as Spoiler waited within the exclusive halls of the Wein Gallery, she tried to make sense of what she had witnessed in her previous battle with Egghead.

That wire that coiled around me melted away after I cut it off, she thought. We couldn’t trace it back to anyone. Egghead didn’t leave prints. He was wearing gloves, as were his men. None of them are known to have criminal records, from what little we could do with the police report. The truck hasn’t been traced, either. No one has tried to sell the chickens on the black market. Lyla’s come up empty so far.

Egghead likes the spotlight, she mused. He stayed around to pose and battle the police when he could have made a quick escape earlier. He must have a big ego. I guess you have to be stuck on yourself to put on a weird costume and prowl around. Oops. My Freudian slip is showing.

Spoiler adjusted her mask and used the infrared feature to scan the gallery. I guess he’ll strike after the place shuts down, but I figured I might as well slip in and get cozy before closing, she thought. It’s a bad TV night, anyway.

She shifted her weight as she crouched in the darkness above the Faberge egg display. A few people were looking at the illuminated display cases below while the curator droned on and on about the priceless eggs.

At that moment, she heard a strange sound as she glanced down and saw a projectile rolled across the floor from beyond the egg exhibit’s room. An egg! she realized. This is it! The ego maniac couldn’t wait for the place to close! He’s striking right now!

The egg broke open, and a green gas filled the air. The guards gasped as they tried to use their communication badges. The patrons reeled unsteadily and then collapsed as the gas filled the room.

Egghead strolled into the area. He was not wearing a gas mask, nor did he appear to be in any discomfort. “What a splendid eggs-hibition!” he cried. “It is truly fit for the czar of crime himself!” He and two white-clad thugs stepped over the stunned gallery crowd and began to smash open the display cases.

As alarms echoed through the gallery, Spoiler shook her head in disbelief. He’s immune to his gas, but he’s also a nutcase, she thought. He doesn’t care about the alarms. He could have waited until the place closed, but he actually likes the attention! She had slipped a small mask over her mouth and nose, and to her relief, the gas didn’t seem to harm her.

She landed gracefully and spun around to kick the nearest thug in a movement that was a combination of balletic grace and martial arts precision. He fell hard, and she connected with a swift punch that left him dazed. As the second thug hurled a heavy case at her, she ducked and caught his leg in her hurled rope. She pulled him down and bound him with an expert twist of the rope.

Dodging a hurled egg with a backflip that enabled her to get closer to Egghead himself, Spoiler elbowed him in the stomach and then belted him with an uppercut. He grunted in pain and clawed at her face until he had ripped her gas mask off.

Spoiler began to choke as she tried to hold her breath, then rammed a knee into his face. Egghead fell backward and smashed two eggs across her chest as she recovered the gas mask.

An electrical burst enveloped her, and she screamed more from surprise than from pain. Her specially insulated costume had shielded her from the electric current, but the power of the blast left her feeling a bit dazed.

Eggs-crutiatingly clever of me, wasn’t it?” he said as he kicked Spoiler away.

He fights well, but he’s not a trained fighter, she thought, hurling one of her knockout vials at him, and as it broke open, Egghead placed a hand across his face and started to flee. He scooped up the Faberge eggs his men had taken and raced deeper into the museum.

Didn’t try to escape! thought Spoiler as she struggled to regain her composure. He’s stalling for time; wants to attract more attention! He must want to fight the cops!

She raced after him and then stopped in her tracks as she realized one of his eggs had ignited the gallery’s curtains. A fire was spreading throughout the complex.

As she heard shouts and glimpsed a blinding flash of light from deeper within the gallery, Spoiler reluctantly made a decision to let Egghead go. I’ve got to get these stunned folks to safety! I hear fire alarms, but I can’t chase after Egghead while innocent people are still passed out from his gas.

Spoiler began to drag some dazed onlookers through the smoke to safety. Minutes passed, and as she saw firemen racing into the now-empty gallery, she swung away herself. She watched from a safe distance as firemen and paramedics worked to put out the blaze and treat the fallen people she had saved.

“Egghead won again,” she muttered to herself. “For a laughing man who acts like a joke, he’s becoming increasingly dangerous. He could have killed all of those people. I’m sure of one thing. He isn’t after the egg-themed loot. He’s after attention. He soaked it up like a shiny, bald-headed sponge!”

A young man in a dark blue costume dropped down to place one hand on her shoulder. “Spoiler, are you hurt?” said Nightwing. “I received word from Batwoman and hurried over. I got here in time to see you saving the last victim. You can be proud of yourself. Saving lives is always more important than catching the crook.”

Spoiler looked up at the hero and shook her head. “I know,” she said. “I really do. I still feel like a loser, though.”

Nightwing smiled grimly. “I was captured by more than one super-villain when I was Robin,” he told her. “There’s no shame in an occasional defeat. The important thing is to keep going until you finally win. Batman and I didn’t end up in our share of weird death traps because we always won right at the start. We also had setbacks, but we always were victorious at the end of the case. You will be, too.”

Spoiler smiled ruefully. “Thanks. It’s nice of you to say that. I’m going to capture Egghead once and for all — you can bet on it!”

***

Later, as Stephanie Brown tossed and turned in her bedroom, she continued to ponder the enigma that was Egghead.

Egghead did steal valuable egg-related items. He clearly wants to advertise who he is and what his gimmick is. He likes attention more than he likes riches. His henchmen refused to talk, and Oracle says she has found nothing on Egghead. Who is he? He must have considerable scientific skill to whip up those weapons.

She sat up suddenly and clutched her childhood teddy bear to her chest as she thought over the events of the last two days. If he wants attention paid to him, then just maybe he also wants to draw attention away from someone else! she considered. Could the whole Egghead persona be a ruse to distract the cops and people like me and Babs away from a real crime?

Tugging on her earring, she began to whisper a series of requests to a sleepy-sounding Oracle. After hearing several hushed answers from Oracle, she smiled broadly.

“At the exact moment Egghead was committing his colorful, attention-grabbing crimes, two more mundane crimes occurred in the city,” she said. “Two labs were robbed by some very nondescript crooks who took exactly what they wanted and made their escape as quickly as possible! I think Egghead is more of a showman than a master plotter! He’s trying to attract attention away from other crimes that may be more important than a bunch of fancy jeweled eggs or costly chickens!”

She swung her legs off the bed and made a vow. “Egghead, I’m going to scramble you before long!”

***

Several days later, as Stephanie was working as a library page at Gotham City Public Library, she frowned as a patron requested an address. “You want Daphne Dean’s address?” she said. “I don’t think I can find an address for a famous actress like that. If she was on a TV show, we could give you a network address.”

A gaunt man approached her from the shadows of the stacks and cleared his throat. Stephanie saw Jonathan Crane and said, “Yes, sir, did you need something?”

The former super-villain known as the Scarecrow said, “Miss Brown, the management addresses for most celebrities are found within the useful reference publication known as the Academy Players Directory. You may find it in reference in the appropriate section.”

Stephanie thanked him and quickly ushered the patron to the correct place in the reference department. After a quick search of the five-volume set, she located Daphne Dean’s photo, and below the photo she saw the listed management contact for the celebrated actress.

After the patron thanked her and departed, Stephanie looked up to see Jonathan Crane hesitantly approaching her once more. “Thanks for your help,” she said. “I guess I should have been familiar with the set. Miss Gordon says she might want me to fill in at reference when we’re short on staff.”

Crane nodded and said, “You must learn all about the reference sources we own. They will help you in many ways. You’ll never regret the time spent perusing a valuable book. “

She smiled winningly at him and said, “Thanks again! I’ll study the set for a bit.” He smiled slightly and walked away.

Stephanie started to return the set to the shelf when an idea occurred to her. Egghead was strutting around like an actor, she realized. That Egghead is a ham! I don’t suppose he might be a former actor. Let’s just take a look. She began thumbing through the set.

Around an hour and half later, she squealed with delight. I’ve got him — Egbert Vincent! she thought excitedly. His management phone number is here and everything! If I can have Oracle use her skills to get the home address from his agency, I’ll be ready to pay him a visit. He may not have had a criminal record Oracle could find, but he’s got a photo and entry in the Players Directory from his time as an actor. Mr. Crane was right about how useful a book can be!

She smiled eagerly as she put the books up and prepared for her next move.

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