A message from Timothy McVeigh to his victims.
This recording is from the interviews Lou Michel conducted with
him in prison to write American Terrorist.
I had no hesitation to look right at them and listen to their
story, but I‘d like to say to them, I‘ve heard your story many times
before. The specific details may be unique, but the truth is, you‘re
not the first mother to lose a kid. You‘re not the first grandparent to
lose a granddaughter or a grandson. I‘ll use the phrase, and it sounds
cold, but I‘m sorry, I‘m going to use it, because it‘s the truth—get
Damian had to admit… being on bed rest had its perks.
Don’t misunderstand, he still hated not being out in the field; not
using his talents to keep Jump City clean made him feel lazy, and not
being able to do so made him feel impotent. But at the very least, he
was able to contribute as an extra mind back at home base, and his
father and sister had come to do their part to keep Jump protected
for awhile (leaving Gotham in the hands of Todd, Kelley, and the GCPD
until they returned). And aside from that, Damian did enjoy being
able to spend more downtime with his friends than usual; even though
they kept to their regular schedules, Damian’s regimen had always
been more demanding than those of the other Titans. Now that he
wasn’t constantly training, he was able to enjoy time with his
teammates. A movie with Jon and Jaime, television with Garfield and
Tara… he even found time to talk to Kori and learn a bit more about
Tamaranean culture, which he’d brushed off before rather harshly.
And of course, being stuck at home also came with the added bonus of
spending more time with his fiancée; Raven insisted on being by his
side at almost all times, which he quietly thanked Azar for again and
again. It made his predicament of being stuck in a wheelchair for the
remainder of his recovery much more bearable knowing it was her
wheeling him around. (Damian still couldn’t wrap his head around
the decision to put him in a chair; the doctors specifically said
that he was fine, that there was no serious injury aside from his
concussion. But apparently, walking around the hospital revealed that
he had been damaging the muscles in his back little by little with
each step, so now he wouldn’t be allowed to walk again until the
wounds healed completely and the stitches came out.)
Hands down, though, the best part of the experience of being stuck at
the Tower was getting to FaceTime Grayson and Barbara to see how
Tommy was growing. For the past three days, Damian got a call at
about three in the afternoon, and when he answered his phone, there
on his screen popped up the little five-week-old baby, blinking and
waving his hands around, reaching for his mother’s phone. He and
Raven would sit on the couch or in Damian’s bed and coo into the
camera, and he and Grayson would carry on about whatever cases they
had been working on lately (the debate on the ethics of this had long
since been abandoned, especially considering the fact that both Red X
and Nightwing had been taught by Batman that any information relating
to a crime was to be shared amongst members of the family, so that
they could help one another protect their respective cities). Tommy
was certainly still small; Damian had been told he was on the small
side as an infant, but he never realized just how small that meant.
Tommy was a month old, but he still fit perfectly well into his
newborn clothes… perhaps all babies were like that, but it had
never occurred to Damian before. Damian had held kittens bigger than
his nephew. Still, looking into those bright blue eyes every day made
the frustration of his current lack of mobility much easier to bear.
And then there were days like this one. Days that felt like they were
spent almost entirely in bed, his Beloved curled up next to him, eyes
shut as the afternoon sun cast yellow-orange rays of light in through
his window. Days that felt still, quiet. Days that made the long-term
goal of retiring seem more and more appealing. After all, if he
wasn’t out fighting crime all night, wouldn’t that mean more
quality time he could spend with his Raven? That sounded like a
dream… of course, Damian knew he could never just quit. As much as
it killed to admit it, the Son of Batman knew that the people of his
city depended on him. But perhaps years from now, when things were
better, once the world didn’t need heroes anymore… then he could
rest. But for now, Damian smiled and focused on the woman with her
head on his chest, letting his mind focus on her warmth, on the rise
and fall of her quiet breath. He slowly pulled her closer in his
arms, taking care not to wake her as he held her close to him. This
was good… this made it worth not walking for awhile.
Damian slowly opened one eye and peeked down at the girl beside him,
and blushed at the little smile that played on her lips. She shifted
a bit, crawling further up the bed in her sleep and nestling her head
into Damian’s neck.
“Hmmm…” Raven sighed in her sleep as her hand ran up Damian’s
chest before slipping it over his shoulder. Damian just smiled and
planted a quick kiss on her forehead. She looked so happy like this…
he would never forgive himself if he were to accidentally–
… That bastard.
Raven groaned, pulling the covers over her head as Damian reached for
his phone on the nightstand. “Make him go awaaaay…” the
witch-girl whined groggily. Damian’s brow furrowed as he slid his
mask back on and held the phone up to his face.
“What do you want, Riddler?” Red X growled.
“Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry! Did I mistakenly interrupt
anything important?” Nygma’s voice was dripping with sarcasm.
“And please, PLEASE tell me you actually sleep with your mask
on. That is so you.”
“Shut up and get on with your stupid riddle, Nashton,” Damian
“Okay, one? Rude.” Riddler’s voice suddenly became
harsh, angry. “Two, don’t EVER call me that. You call me Nygma
or Riddler. Eddie Nashton is dead. And third, I’ll give you my
riddles on my OWN schedule, when I decide I want you to be stumped.
You’re very lucky that right now happens to be one of those times.”
“Look, I’m in the middle of recovering from surgery right now.
I’m sort of stuck in a wheelchair for the time being, so forward
your stupid game to Red Robin. He’s filling in for me.”
“O-oh. Oh? Well… that’s unfortunate.” His face was
still concealed, but Damian swore he could practically hear Riddler
frowning. “My puzzles require you to be able to move around Jump
City. Given that that’s the case, I have to be able to challenge
you physically in order to challenge you mentally. And if I can’t
properly challenge you physically, then there’s no point to the
challenges I’ve put together for you!”
“Look, just…” Damian rubbed his eyes in frustration, pinching
at the bridge of his nose. “I know you can get into contact with
Red Robin. Just pose all your challenges to him, he’s here subbing
for me. Okay? I need to get back to sleep. The sooner I get healed,
the sooner I can get back to my job…”
“But I wasn’t planning on beating Red Robin until after you!
This is all wrong!!” Damian could detect the panic in Riddler’s
“Look, I’m… sorry? I guess? But I’m not going anywhere for
awhile. Just… deal with it.” Damian hit the end call button,
dropping the phone back onto his nightstand as Raven’s head crept
out from underneath the blanket.
“… being a superhero sucks.”
“… Yeah, it does.”
The witch-girl slowly lifted her head up and stared blankly at the
glass walk at the far end of the room. She raised a lazy hand, and
the curtains pulled themselves shut, blocking out the late-day
sunbeams. Damian grinned as Raven brought herself back down over him,
wrapping her arm back around his neck. She’d best take care, or she
was going to slip out of the hero habit. But one more day of lazing
around in bed wouldn’t hurt anyone, would it? He put his arms
around her waist, and decided to himself that no, it wouldn’t hurt
anyone at all. In fact, Raven could use the break after everything
going on recently with his injury, and helping train Jonathan, and
the false Red X. She’s been working so hard lately, she needed to
rest a bit; she hardly ever took any personal time. Barring his
family, he hadn’t seen someone so dedicated to what they do since…
“… Oh crap, that’s it.”
Tim chuckled as he darted across the training room, narrowly evading
Jon’s heat vision as he ran circles around the fourteen-year-old.
He was happy to help train the new Titans as best he could, but this?
This was just fun. Apparently, Superman’s son trains by getting
really mad. And if there was anything Dick taught him about being a
Robin, it was how to piss people off. The kid was fast, sure, maybe
even faster than a speeding bullet. But Tim knew how to distract,
keep Jon’s eyes off him, even in the open space of the training
room. He was getting better, almost managed to slice through Tim’s
cape a minute ago, but he still had a lot to learn; Jon let his heat
control his actions, affect his judgment. He needed to learn to use
“STAND STILL SO I CAN BLAST YOU, YA DUMB BIRD!!” Jon
yelled as he whipped his head around, firing another burst of heat
from his eyes that just barely singed Red Robin’s hair. Tim’s
eyes widened as he arced through the air, and he almost hesitated as
he lighted on the floormat. But Tim was nothing if not a quick
thinker, and he realized it was probably time to go on the offensive.
“Come on, short stack! You’re getting carried away, that’s
dangerous!” the former Titan jeered as he began to serpentine his
way closer to Jon. He reached into his belt and quickly equipped his
set of red knuckles–he knew Kryptonite was going to be the only way
he’d be able to turn this around without those bulky suits of armor
Bruce had designed, but Tim had no intention of killing the kid.
After a quick front flip over Jon’s head (for style points; Steph
was watching, after all), Tim dropped into stance and threw a jab at
the boy’s face. Jon quickly shifted out of the way, throwing his
own hands up and moving into the offensive. He fought like a boxer
once his powers were gone–Damian had no doubt been teaching him a
thing or two. The kid was quick, bobbing and weaving in and out of
Tim’s range like a moth dancing around a candle. But Red Robin just
smirked and closed the gap, throwing a few more shots Jon’s way.
One punch caught the little guy right in the side, and he dropped for
just a second. Tim saw the opportunity, and raised his hands over his
head to bring the hammer down and wrap this fight up, but Jon
recovered just in time, and a loud CRACK sounded through the room as
Superboy connected a fierce uppercut to Tim’s jaw, sending the
human flying across the room and leaving a sizable crack in the wall.
At this point Starfire, who was observing from the sidelines, decided
that was enough for today, and moved in to calm Jon down.
“That’s enough, Jonathan!!” Kori shouted, locking her arms
around the hybrid alien. Jonathan struggled in her arms for a moment
before sucking in several heated breaths through grit teeth. “Calm
down, it’s alright! You’re okay, Jonny…”
“Don’t call me Jonny…” Jon hissed. “Don’t call me… hah…
“Sorry…” Kori whispered, stroking the youngest Titan’s hair.
“I won’t do it again, okay?”
Jon nodded as the red glow faded from his eyes, and his body relaxed.
“Mm… M'kay, I… I’m good…”
“There you are, little one…” the Tamaranean cooed as she
squeezed Jon gently. “You’re okay now.”
Tim wiped the sweat from his brow, and grinned up at the camera where
he knew Stephanie was looking back at him. “How’d we do, babe?”
“Not bad T, but don’t get cocky!” Spoiler’s voice
crackled over the intercom. “You did pretty good to, Jonno! Real
crash stuff there!”
Jon slowly sank to the floor in exhaustion. “Thanks Ms. Stephanie…
I’m doin’ my best…”
“Whoa… Tim, you better get up here. Bruce is back, and… you
just need to get up here.”
Tim paused for a brief moment before walking out of the Training Room
and heading for the Security Office. Steph seemed really worried over
the intercom, which worried Tim. Was it about Damian’s recovery, or
As Tim stepped into the Security Office, he was greeted by Bruce’s
grimacing face… and Talia’s. Tim wasn’t expecting, but his
brother’s mother stood there looking back at him. And… oh crap,
she was wearing a new uniform. Black suit, grey cloak, claws… some
kind of blade on her right hand? What is this??
“… Bruce, what is this?”
Bruce let out a growl under his breath. “Damian thinks he’s
figured out who the fake X is. Turns out, she’s got incredibly
close ties to the al Ghuls… so we’re bringing in Talia to hunt
Tim nodded slowly. “Okay… so what do we call her?”
Talia pulled on her mask and hood. “You may call me…”
she hissed through her voice modulator. “… Phantasm.”