Starla sat alone in her room, hiding from the
party downstairs. It wasn't really her room; the
house belonged to Zoe DiGovanni, a friend of
Alaska Del La Rocha, who was a friend and member
of the Gypsy Mafia. Counting in Starla, there
were about 13 Gypsies, and since they all lived
in the same house, noone really "owned"
Loud music blared from the front room. Starla
cringed at the sound of it. During the day, when
Alaska was at home, only oldies music was
played-Alaska hated anything in music that was
new. That meant stuff from 10 years ago way back
to the 1960's, especially 80's and early 90's,
and Starla was used to that.
The reason she was hiding from the party was
because she didn't like any of the people invited.
They all came from bars-regular and kareoke. At
this moment, they were singing along to bad music,
moshing, and completly trashing the house. Alaska
was going to be pissed. So was Zoe. She'd be
coming home from a hard day's work as a paramedic,
expecting dinner and then wanting to go to sleep.
Alaska had some wierd problem with being dirty.
She took 3 or 4 showers a day, folded her clothes
before putting them in the dirty laundry pile,
and washed her hands too many times a day to be
counted, often to the point of making them bleed.
She had a fit if someone didn't use coasters and
left water rings on the table. Starla didn't want
to be around when she saw the mess that the Gypsy
Mafia's latest party had created.
With this in mind, she grabbed her Gypsy Starla
costume-black trenchcoat, black steel toed boots,
and gray steel mask. She went to the window, and
climbed down to the ground. With her costume in a
backpack, she hitchhiked her way to the next town.
After hanging out for a while, she decided it was
time to go home. She'd been in town for 4 or 5
hours, and it was now 1:30 am.
Luck was not on her side. For all her attempts,
she couldn't get a ride home.
"Dammit," she said softly and started
to walk. It was going to be a long way home.
She got back into Gotham at about 2 am. After
coming to a road where there was no sidewalk, and
no place to walk but right in the road, she spied
a dead orchardy-woodsy looking place. It looked
sorta spooky, but Starla would rather be spooked
than roadkill. She crossed the road to it, and
went under an ancient barbed wire fence, the kind
that was three wires held up by a wooden pole.
After crossing it, she set across the property,
noting happily that it was a shortcut that would
get her home faster.
"Cool," she said, not knowing the land
she was walking on was private property.
Although it was an innocent mistake that she was
walking on private property, the property
belonged to Bruce Wayne, and as Starla ventured
closer to the house, Ace the Bathound began
"Hey girlie, want to go for a ride?"
Starla turned around, wondering who was talking
to her. She was now infront of Bruce Wayne's
house, and had been cursing at herself for
walking on someone else's property. They had a
dog, and it had begun barking. She was afraid the
owners would wake up and call the police.
When she saw who was talking to her, a look of
fear came to her face. It was Jokerz, two of them,
but that was one too many for Starla, who had
just turned 13, and didn't know how they fought.
They got off their motorcycles and started
walking towards her, their white face makeup
seeming to glow in the in the dark night.
Don't run, she thought to herself. They would
chase her if she did.
The one with the green hair shoved Starla against
the iron fence of Wayne Manor.
"How much do you charge?" he whispered
Bruce Wayne was not happy to be woken at 2am. His
dog Ace had been barking, and that was what had
woken him up.
"What's the matter, Ace?" he asked. The
dog only whined, scratched at the door, and
started barking again. Bruce looked out a window,
and saw three people in front of his house-a girl
and two guys.
He glared at them, even though they couldn't see
him. He got dressed, and went out to tell them to
get off his property. He didn't like strangers to
be there, especially some trouble making
teenagers who were out after curfew.
"Hiding out from their parents, no doubt,"
he said to himself as he walked towards them.
"But they can't go bringing their
girlfriends here." But that wasn't the case,
he discovered, as he came up to them. Two Jokerz,
and a girl, who looked about 12 or 13 years old.
"What do you want, old man?" one of the
"I've told you before-stay off of my
property," Bruce said. He looked at the girl.
She was obviously here against her will. Her
shirt was torn, and one or both of the guys had
been hitting her. Blood trickled from the corner
of her mouth, and bruises were starting on her
"Let the girl go," he said, "then
"Hey, we found her," the other Joker
said. "Her parents must not care about her
very much, or she wouldn't have been out so late,
She's ours now."
The one with the green hair had been at this
scene when the Jokerz had ganged up on Terry
McGinnis. "You were lucky that last time.
You had someone to protect you. But now you don't.
What are you going do?" he taunted.
"This," said Bruce, and then he whacked
the Joker over the head with his cane.
Starla saw her chance. Now that the Jokerz's
attention was turned to the old man, she hit the
other on the back with her backpack, which had a
few bricks in it, just for cases like this. He
wasn't expecting it and fell to the ground with a
cry of surprise.
Greenie the Joker looked shocked. "You're
gonna be sorry for that," he warned, and he
and his buddy got on their motorcycles and left.
They left behind a cloud of dust that made Starla
Underneath his cool composure, Bruce was also
surprised. This girl's attack had been too exact,
and planned-looking, to be coincidental. She must
have some experience when it came to self defense.
"Are you alright?" he asked the girl.
She nodded, embarrassed at having been attacked.
If the Gypsy Mafia found out about this, she'd be
kicked out for sure. It was a strict code not to
go our of the house alone. This was for safety
reasons. The Gypsies worked as a team, always.
Starla tried to be optimistic. This man didn't
know her, or know she was a Gypsy. She was
grateful she'd forgotten she had her costume with
her, and left in her bag....
Oh, no. Where was her bag? She looked around, and
saw it on the ground. Her costume was in full
view, the trademark costume of the Gypsies. Bruce
saw it, and his eyes narrowed.
Just when she thought things couldn't get any
worse, they did. Starla remembered those eyes.
Thought shaped differently, Alaska had the same
cold colored eyes.
Starla suddenly realized that this man was Alaska'a
grandfather, and also the original Batman.
"So you're a Gypsy," Bruce said calmly.
"Where's the rest of your gang?"
"Not here," Starla muttered. She hoped
he would let her go without telling anyone what
"Obviously," Bruce said. "Which
one are you?"
Starla looked at him, not knowing what to say.
Her real name, the one she'd been born with, was
one she no longer used. Now she was simply Gypsy
Another code in the Gypsy Mafia was to never tell
your code name. That is, when you were out of
costume. But she'd already broken one rule; would
it really matter to break another?
"Starla," she said finally. "My
name's Gypsy Starla."
Bruce's expression changed. Starla couldn't read
it. Was it disbelief? Contempt?
"A few weeks ago-" he began.
"Yeah, I know," Starla interrupted.
"The Gypsy Mafia tried to rob a store.
Batman then came, and we captured him, and tied
him up, but he got away."
"From what I heard, one of you let him go.
He said it was the youngest. Is that you?"
He gave her a long look, as if by looking at her,
he'd answer all his questions. "Why did you
do that?" he asked, his harsh tone softening
"It was 13 against one. It wasn't a fair
"11 against one," he corrected. "If
you let him go, you weren't really gainst him.
And Onyx obviously wasn't either." As an
asked, "Is she all right?"
"Yeah. She had to get stitches though. And a
shot of some kind, cuz that sword wasn't exactly
"A tetnus shot?"
"Yeah, that's it."
A moment of silence passed, then Bruce said,
"I'll give you a ride home."
As they were driving there, Starla suddenly asked,
"Is it true?"
"Is what true?"
"That Alaska is your granddaughter?"
"Oh, I forgot; you call her Hannah,"
Starla suddenly remembered.
"Yeah, it is true," Bruce said. "Is
that what she goes by now?"
"That and Onyx the Sorceress, when she's out
Starla wanted to ask Bruce more about Alaska. She
didn't really know much about her. They'd gone to
the same boarding school, but Starla was about
four years younger, and in a different grade. And
Alaska had been Zodiac's friend, not hers. But
Bruce didn't seem to want to talk anymore about
it, so she didn't press him.
"What were you doing there all alone?"
he asked her.
"I was hanging out in the next town, and
didn't have a ride home."
"Where are your parents?"
"I live with my older sister, Zodiac. She's
the leader of the Gypsy Mafia."
"And she lets a little kid in a gang?"
Bruce's voice had obvious disapproval in it.
"Yeah," Starla said defensively. "But
I'm not a little kid! I'm 13 years old."
"Congratulations," Bruce said dryly.
Starla glared at him, but then remembered who she
was talking to. "I'm not really a criminal,"
she insisted. " I only do what the gang
to, so I can stay here. I don't want to go back
to Alaska. If they find out I've been gone
tonight, they'll kick me out for sure. Then I'll
have to go back. So please, don't tell them,"
"I won't," he promised, then started
asking her a bunch of questions. Questions like,
Do you know how to fight, and if so, who taught
you? He asked about the gang, and about her
sister, and if Starla was in school at the moment,
to which she said no.
She didn't know why he was asking all these
questions, but she answered all of them.
He dropped her off a block away from the house,
so noone would see him. She thanked him for the
ride, and was starting to leave, when she heard
him call her.
"What?" she asked, turning around.
"Come to my house tonight, at eight."
"Why?" she asked.
"You'll find out," he told her, then
The house was quiet and dark now. She wasn't sure
if that was a good ign or not.
She snuck back into her room easily enough, but
was surprised to see Alaska sitting on one of the
beds, calmly drinking from a bottle of tequila.
Starla's heart sank. She knows, she thought.
"Out a little late, aren't you?" Alaska
asked, her accent a bit harsh from the booze.
"Who brought you home?"
"Just someone in town," Starla lied.
Alaska looked at her coldly. For a breif instant,
her eyes looked almost exactly like Bruce's, when
he'd been talking to the Jokerz. "Liar,"
she said. "I saw the car, and it was my
grandfather. What were you doing with him?"
"Like you said, he brought me home."
"But why him?" Alaska persisted.
"Leave me alone!" Starla yelled. "It's
none of your business."
"In case you're wondering," Alaska said,
"Noone's here. They all went back to the bar.
The only ones who are here are asleep, so you're
"Thank God for that," Starla said, more
to herself than to Alaska.
But Alaska heard her. "However, I'M awake,"
she continued. "And I'm sober enough to
remember all this. If you still want to be a
Gypsy, you'd better tell me where you've been,
and what's going on."
Starla told her everything that happened that
night, starting with the party, to having to walk
home, to the Jokerz, and finally, ending with
Bruce's parting remark.
"What do you think he meant by that?"
"How should I know?"
"Well, he's your grandfather," Starla
"Probably wouldn't admit to it though."
"Actually, I asked him about it, and he said
you were. He asked about you, and he even sounded
worried about you, you know, about the stabbing."
Alaska truly looked surprised by this. She turned
away, but not before Starla saw a look on her
face, a very strange one, of total bitterness.
"You're on time. I like that in a person."
Starla was at Bruce's house, a few moments early
"So why do you want me here?" she asked.
They were in the Batcave. Starla thought it was
amazing. A huge computer and weapons and stuff,
and the Batmobile. But what interested her the
most was all the memorabilia from when Bruce was
When he'd first learned she was a Gypsy, Bruce
knew that more likely than not, she probably knew
about him being the original Batman, since Onyx
was in that gang. No reason to hide it. Besides,
she was going to have to be there anyway, for
what he was going to have her do.
"If I had called the police, they'd have
thrown you in Juvie for sure," he said.
Starla nodded, grateful that he hadn't. "Very
few Native Americans live in Gotham. They'd have
recognized you right away. You not living with
your parents would only serve as ammunition to
put you there."
"And so?" Starla asked.
"You were out after curfew, and you broke
the rules of your gang. Not to mention all you've
done with the Gypsy Mafia. You're a little kid,
and you SHOULD be punished for that.
"But the police would take it too far, and I
doubt your sister would give you a punishment
that would fit what you've done. So I'm going to
do it for them."
"What are you going to make me do?"
Starla asked suspiciously.
"You're going to counteract all the time you've
spent doing crime by fighting crime. Stopping
muggings, shoplifting, small stuff like that."
"For the same amount of time you've been out
as Gypsy Starla-three weeks." He smirked,
then said, "Call it Community Service."
"How am I suppose to keep this from the
Gypsy Mafia?" Starla asked. Her first
thought had been to refuse to do this, but she
was afraid he might call the cops on her. He knew
who she was, and where she lived.
"You got yourself into this; you get
yourself out of it. Tell them you got a job or
something." After a moment he added, "And
no Gypsy costume until the three weeks are up."
"Great," she said. "Just great.
How am I suppose to fight crime? Someone will
recognize me if I don't wear a costume."
"I never said don't wear a costume. I only
said not to wear your Gypsy costume."
"Well, that's the only costume I have. What
am I suppose to wear?"
"This," he said, and picked up a bag
that was on the floor. He pulled something out of
it. It was the old Robin costume. "Put this
on," he said, then go downtown.There's
always muggings going on there. Try and stop one,
and we'll see what you can do."
Bruce was right. There were a lot of muggings
downtown. It was easy for her to stop one though,
most of the time the muggers were just people
coming out of bars or clubs. After she'd stopped
one, Bruce told her she could go home, with the
"I'll call you tomorrow," he said, over
the two way radio he'd put with the costume.
After that, he had her downtown stopping muggings
every night. She also stopped fights, shoplifting,
prostitution, and minor problems on the streets.
Copwork. It was actually easy for her to keep her
secret from the rest of the Gypsy Mafia. She
simply told them she had other plans, and they
didn't ask anything else.
He wouldn't let her work with Terry though,
because he didn't want her getting hurt doing the
big time crimes. But that changed, the last night
of her three week stint as Robin, or Robyn, as
she preferred it to be spelled.
"Starla, go to the boatdocks immediately,"
Bruce told her. "Terry's there, and he needs
"I'm there," she told him.
Terry was getting his butt kicked, big time. A
shipload of illegal drugs had come in, and he was
trying to stop it. But the people bringing them
in were too many for him. He'd brought all but
one of them down, and was at the moment, getting
hit over the head with a board.
Suddenly a small figure in a red suit hit the guy
from behind, knocking him on the ground.
"What the....." Terry said, not knowing
what was going on. Bruce had never really thought
it necessary to tell Terry about Starla, as it
was suppose to be only temporary.
"Hi," the figure said to Terry. It was
a girl, a young one, about 13, and to add to his
confusion, she was dressed in the old Robin suit,
the one Mr. Wayne had had up in a case in the
He wasn't able to say anything, because the guy
got up, and went after him again. But this time,
with the girl helping him, he was able to bring
him down right away.
"Who are you?" he asked, once the guy
"I'm an angel of mercy," she cracked,
then said, "I'm the new Robyn."
"That's Robyn with a y," she told him.
Terry's head hurt. "How'd you get the suit?"
he asked, still not sure how all this was working.
"Bruce gave it to me."
"Did he?" Terry asked."Wayne,"
he said, over the radio.
"What?" Bruce asked.
"Is this girl for real?"
"So I've got a sidekick now?"
Robyn looked insulted. "I'm not a sidekick.
I'm my own person."
"What she said," Bruce told Terry.
"Bring her back in the car."
When they'd returned, Terry dropped Starla off
and went back out into town.
"Punishment's over," Bruce told her.
"You can go home now."
Starla was silent for a moment. "Do I have
to?" she asked.
Bruce looked like he'd expected her to say this.
And knowing him, he probably had. "I thought
you didn't want to be Robin," he said.
"Well, yeah, at first. But I don't want to
go back there. There's nothing there for me. I'd
rather stay here, and be Robyn." She then
added, "And by the way, it's Robyn with a y."
"Sure it is," Bruce said. "If you
want, you can stay here. But just remember, you
do what *I* say. That means doing anything I tell
going to school from now on."
"I can handle that," Starla said
She went home and got her stuff. The Gypsy Mafia
was out in the town, and noone was there. She
then went back to Bruce's home and moved into a
room, wondering what her sister was going to say
when she found out Starla was gone.
That night, the TV was on to the news channel. A
commercial was about to be shown, and a list of
what was coming up on the news was shown first.
On the list, one of the topics was called, "The
"Hey!" she said. "How many times
do I have to say, it's Robyn with a y?!?"
She reached into her pocket, and pulled out a
tube of lipstick. In bold letters, she wrote
ROBYN on the TV screen. "That's better,"
she said, admiring her handiwork.
There was a new Robyn in town now, and soon, all
of Gotham would know about it.