165 Different #165

Blackgate Penitentiary

The yard

Bouncing the basketball in his hand on the ground, Floyd Lawton didn't forget to mean mug the inmate defending him as he took a step forward, only to smoothly step back when the man tried to follow his movement.

The defender tried to keep up. However, he lost his balance and fell to the ground, flat on his ass. Deadshot looked down at him for a second before bouncing the ball and sinking it in the net.

Even hardasses like Deadshot would eventually get bored of bench pressing for hours on end every day. He had to find a new, entertaining way to stay in shape, and it was basketball.

Deadshot wasn't particularly picky and would have gone with anything, but basketball was the only sport available in the facility, so he took to it and quickly put other inmates to shame thanks to his incredible physique and athleticism despite having no experience.

"Who's next...?" Deadshot said as he turned to the mass of inmates spectating the one-on-one, and a tall, muscular man appeared from within the crowd, heading towards the ball.

However, he barely took two steps before a pale, ordinary-looking youth with average height stood in his way. The tall inmate didn't seem to appreciate it and tried to swing at the young man.

The young man quickly dodged before kicking the tall inmate in the balls, causing him to fall on the ground, gripping his crotch as he groaned in bitter agony.

The guards looked at this scene and merely chuckled before they resumed patrolling the yard as if nothing had happened. Inmates beating the shit out of each other wasn't a rare sight to behold in Blackgate. It happened on almost a daily basis and was rather entertaining.

The young man picked up the ball and made his way to stand before Deadshot before passing the ball to him. Lawton immediately recognized him and went still for a second.

"Color me impressed, kid," Lawton said as he quickly gathered his bearings and lowered his posture to start dribbling the ball. "Didn't think you had it in you," he added as he watched the young man, fully clad in prison garbs, do the same, spreading his arms to his sides.

"I had to. No visitations allowed until further notice," the young man replied, as he perfectly followed Deadshot's movements, even reacting before the latter made a move.

"I know, you just didn't look the type..." Deadshot said as he slipped to the right and started driving toward the basketball, exploding in a display of speed that would leave most professional NBA players green in envy.

"You mean the type to break into a maximum security prison, or the type to play basketball...?" the young man said, keeping up with Deadshot's speed while following him shoulder to shoulder as they moved towards the basket.

"Didn't think I was either," the young man said with a light chuckle as he jumped a fraction of a second earlier than Deadshot, smacking the ball out of the latter's hand when he tried to sink it with a lay-up.

Deadshot raised an eyebrow at the block before picking up the ball and taking his position as he gestured for the young man to do the same, to which the latter did.

"Play a lot of ball...?" Deadshot asked as he lowered his posture and took a defensive stance, sounding somewhat impressed despite his blank expression.

"No. I'm not too big on sports, but I've seen a couple of videos online here and there," the young man replied with a shrug before moving the ball to his left hand away from Deadshot.

"Looked easy enough," the young man said as he quickly stepped away from Deadshot and sent the ball flying towards the basket before the latter could even react, smiling as it perfectly hit the net.

"Fair enough," Deadshot said with a chuckle as he picked up the ball and threw it toward the inmates. "Come on, kid. I'm not going to sit here and let you one-up me with your super bullshit," he added as he walked away from the court, gesturing for the young man to follow.

"And here I was thinking you'd be a good sport about it," the young man said, carelessly smiling as he followed Deadshot under the gobsmacked gaze of the inmates who had their asses handed to them by the latter.

"I've got a reputation to keep..." Deadshot halfheartedly quipped back as he made to sit on a bench in the yard.

"You won't be maintaining much with this shabby old thing," the young man said as he took a crude shive from his pocket and presented it to Dead shot after the latter sat on a bench.

"You..." Lawton remarked, his eyes briefly widening in shock as he started rummaging through his pockets and found no trace of the shiv he had created for emergency situations.

Deadshot didn't need a weapon as he was confident in his ability to take on any Blackgate inmate bare-handed and come out on top, but it never hurt to be cautious, hence the shiv.

"Here..." the young man said as he closed his palm and quickly opened it, revealing a butterfly that replaced the crude shiv. "Custom made, just for you," he added as he played with the knife before showcasing its handle to Deadshot.

"It only has one shot. But I figured this would be more up your alley," the young man went on, gesturing towards the hole in the handle and the barely visible button near the blade.

"One shot is all I'll ever need," Deadshot said, chuckling as he took the butterfly knife, giving it a brief inspection before pocketing it. "I gotta say, kid, you seem different," he added, looking the young man in the eye with a hard-to-read expression.

"Different is good, but I'm not here to catch up..." the young man replied with a sigh before he smiled and shook his head. "I'm here to tell you the investigation is over. The trial will begin in a month or so..." he added, trailing off at the end of his sentence.

"Or it's supposed to, at least, but I'll pull some strings and make it happen next week," the young man explained, his easy-going expression crumbling, only for a frigid one to take its place.

"Waller got in your head already...?" Deadshot remarked with a strange smile as he noticed the young man's expression. "I thought you planned to stretch it out and take full advantage of it," he added with a careless chuckle.

"I changed my mind. All you need to know is that I'm going to push Waller into a corner sooner than expected," the young man replied, clearly not in the mood to explain his change of heart.

The young man, Gray, had planned to prolong the trial to make as much profit as possible and take full advantage of the free publicity to kick-start his company.

He also considered Waller's reaction and how she would react and concluded that slow and steady was the way to go, slowly and steadily depleting Waller's resources and options through a battle of attrition, one at a time.

In the end, when Waller didn't have much to lean on, Gray planned to deliver the final blow instead of taking everything she had to throw at him head-on by driving her to a corner early in the trial.

Evidently, he couldn't wait any longer. Not anymore.

"She'll be coming for you and the others harder than she ever did, so keep your eyes open," the young man grimly said, the last vestiges of his easy-going expression disappearing as he turned to leave.


Gray's hideout

'Well... that was surprisingly fun...' I mused as I recalled the day's events after sitting behind my work desk, taking out a piece of paper and a pen from my inventory.

I'd intended to visit Lady Vic and Harley after Deadshot before the day ended, but the fact that Blackgate and Arkham Asylum were in lockdown with no one allowed to get in or out made it impossible.

Well, not impossible, but it would take too long, and it wasn't turning dark outside already. I didn't want to give anyone the wrong idea by sneaking into female inmate quarters in the middle of the night.

Especially in Harley's case, since I had no idea how the crazy blonde would react. And honestly, I didn't want to find out either, so I went home to start working on Richard's arm replacement.

I couldn't make it out of regular steel because it wouldn't be energy conductive, and the Amulet Richard gave wasn't enough to even create a single-finger prosthetic finger.

I could be cheap and half-ass it by and attach the amulet to a regular prosthetic arm, but I promised him something much better, and I intend to keep my word.

For that, I would need to experiment on a shit ton of bullshit comic book metals. I didn't doubt my ability to create something that would suit Richard's needs as long as I had the proper materials to work with because of my Metallurgy Intuition.

The hard part was getting the said materials.

"Let's see... there's Nth Metal, Promethium, Inertrom, Quantum Steel..."


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