Batman: Times Past: Sketches of the Caped Crusader, Chapter 2: 1945: The Debriefing

by Nadra Enzi

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TO: Control

FROM: Capt. Mark Bailey, OSS

DATE: March 3, 1945

RE: Debriefing the Batman Regarding His Conduct In European Theatre Covert Operations.

Look, how I pulled this straw only God and the Allied High Command know.

I’ve seen my share of action, but never in my wildest dreams did I think they’d drop a hot potato like this in my lap: debriefing Batman on his conduct during missions undertaken on behalf of the Office of Strategic Services.

“Cigarette?” I offered the big guy seated before me, trying not to stare at his world-famous costume too hard.

“No thanks. Don’t smoke,” Batman answered with a nod of his hooded head and a friendly smile.

Deciding to dive right in, I told him, “Batman, my superiors are concerned whether you are using… uh… appropriate levels of force in the field during your missions for us. It’s well known that you don’t kill, but it was explained to you repeatedly that we have authorized you to kill in the line of duty. This authorization has nothing to do with your stateside activities or Gotham City Police commission, as you well know.”

His cowl-covered eyes hardened a bit, and I felt a little uncomfortable. I’ve shot and fought with the best of ’em, but even the best of ’em (myself included) can’t measure up to Batman.

“Captain, I know the rules of engagement quite well, and I used the appropriate amount of force to secure both myself and those I was sent to rescue.”

I interjected, “Did you kill any enemy personnel who offered resistance?”

Batman looked me dead in the eyes, and I suddenly felt five inches tall. You think I wanted to give an honest-to-God hero a hard time? Orders were orders; you didn’t have to like them, you just had to obey them.

“Captain, forgive me for sounding arrogant, but I’m someone whose hand-to-hand combat training dates back to childhood,” Batman answered, making even a combat veteran like myself feel intimidated. “I literally have hundreds of methods at my disposal for subduing a man without killing him. I promise you that any Nazi I came up against would have wished he were dead after waking up. You know my record, and you know what I can do.”

Trying to save face, I said, “I see.” I added, “Can we get your assurance that you will use lethal force if and when it means the mission will fail without it?”

Batman’s gloved hand shot out to shake my hand as he stood and said, “Captain, I won’t let my country down. That’s why you boys call me to crack a tough nut or two from time to time.”

We shook hands, and that’s when I felt a grip that could break a man’s neck or back like a toothpick. “There’s no need to become like the enemy to beat the enemy, Captain,” he said with a wide grin.

While he didn’t quite say he’d use lethal force, his success record on secret missions was more than enough to justify using him when necessary.

The rest of the debriefing continued as usual, with observations and strategic information discussed at length and included in the ultra top secret folder attached to this report.

This officer found Batman to be an unusually alert and capable operative well deserving of his reputation and can recommend him for further special duties without hesitation.

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