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BatGirl vs SuperGirl: The Race for Justice [part Two]

(Hello people, please read the prequel if you have not already. Thanks)

One of the news channels decided to interview Claire, and she was asked why she thought it was a good idea for girls to drive. To this, she replied that unlike the popular notion, driving was not a hard labor. Rather, driving liberated people as it made them independent.

‘Miss Kent, do you think our women folk are physically strong enough to take up driving?’

‘Definitely. Women are not weak, sir. If you could let me race against men on bicycles, I would easily beat most of them.’

‘What’s your stand on other similar issues, like the prohibition on men dancing, or women folk doing farming, business or entering politics?’

‘Personally, I feel that all gender biases should go.’

‘Then why have you decided to focus on the issue of driving alone?’

‘Someone famous once opined that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’

‘Thank You for your time, Claire Kent. May your fight see light.’

Soon after the interview was aired, #LetClaireRace and #GenderNoBar started trending. After lots of discussions, debates, days and nights, the ministry came up with a perplexing proposal. A bicycle race would be organized by the government. Interested men and women would be allowed to take part. If Claire would emerge first beating every other rider, no jobs would remain gender specific. In the case of Claire not finishing first yet beating any other rider, the issue of women being allowed to drive would be legalized. If she were to finish last in the race, everything would remain as it is. Claire Kent agreed. The date was set to twenty-fifth of March.

Though Claire acted cool with it, deep inside she was worried. It had been years since she had ridden the bicycle. She needed to train well, if she had to win at the race. But, she could not practice on road as the unofficial ban was still on. Determined, Claire decided to practice at night. Virtualians were early sleepers.

She started sneaking out at nights with her dad’s bicycle. Claire would ride to desolate lanes and streets so that no prodding eyes would follow her. The day was getting near. She could not afford to lose. One night, she was riding near the central park when she heard the felt another woman was riding somewhere close. The tinkling of the anklets was unmistakable. She stopped and waited. Soon, a cyclist hissed past her.

‘Hello, miss.’

The cyclist did not acknowledge. Claire went on a chase.

‘Miss, please stop. I know you are a woman. Are you too taking part in the race?’ Claire shouted.

The cyclist now turned to a narrow, darker alley.

‘Do not be scared, miss. I just want to chat. My name is Claire Kent. I suppose you have heard my name on TV. Would you care to tell me your name?’

‘Bat!!’

‘What?’

‘Look Out, Claire.’ Shouted the cyclist while pointing north.

Claire had barely looked in the pointed direction when a bat hit her face. She struggled hard to stop her cycle from tripping. The cyclist had stopped. She came running and shooed the bat away.

‘Are you alright, Claire?’

‘Yes. Thank You miss.’ Claire felt the cyclist’s voice vaguely familiar. So was the dancers’ anklets worn by the cyclist. Claire connected the dots, and Brunei Wayne’s face emerged from the dark.

‘Brunei? Oh my, I had no idea. When did you start riding? Are you taking part in the race too?’

‘I did not start riding for the sake of the race, Claire. I have been riding cycles my whole life. I must tell you I concur that our gender notions are a tad outdated.’

‘A tad? Come on! They are a sack of bullshit. It’s great that they had not framed those as hard laws. But Brunei – I had never imagined that you would drive. At school you always seemed reserved and sleepy.’

‘Don’t you think my night life would have a toll on my mood during daytime?’

‘Do you go out all nights?’

‘Most. The chances of people recognizing you are less during night time. I go to parks, beaches, sometimes even for the late night shows at the cinema.’

‘Wow. Look at you, the boring Brunei is actually a night-rider. That reminds me of our little chit chat we had last day. You seemed to be opposing me.’

‘I was not really opposing. It’s just that these people have been living their life a particular way for such a long time, and you are asking for too much change – all at once. Someone famous once said that society only tolerates one change at a time.’

‘You are quoting The Prestige, Brunei.’

‘And Christopher Nolan is famous. My point is I would not let my people descend into chaos, particularly so when the reason for the chaos is someone from outside.’

‘What! Outside? How did you know about it?’

‘Intuition. I always had doubts about you- something about you seemed different. Perhaps it is your skin tone, or your inherent physical strength. When you started making news, I ran a check on the Kents.’

‘Unbelievable. Let me get this straight. Are you going to participate in the race because a foreigner is trying to make things right in your country?’

‘Do not get me wrong, Claire. I have made it clear that I agree with you on the issue. I believe that change must come gradually. Let the issue of female driving be settled for the time being.’

‘Very well. Do you think you would be able to emerge first? Are you strong enough?’

‘Who said anything about coming first? I would be happy if I stop you from finishing first.’

‘That’s easy said than done, Brunei. You just said that “my people are inherently stronger” than the Virtualians.’

‘As I said, I have been riding my whole life. That is something you lack. Practice, Claire. Practice hard. The red letter day is coming.’ 

(whose brand of justice would prevail at the end? Nothing could be said until the race on 25th of March gets over. Incidentally, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice releases on that day. Enjoy.)

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