This was followed by a rather curiously musical inquiry as to his state of health.
"Golly! Are you all right, Mr. Wayne?"
This use of his real name helped to clear the remaining cobwebs from his mind. He looked up sharply and beheld Josie and the Pussycats. Each one of whom was still wearing her stage costume. And, each one of them apparently twice his present height!
He also noticed that he had been deprived of his utility belt, his gauntlets, and his bat-eared cowl and mask. He then noticed their surroundings: a circular chamber with opaque white walls. Topped by a glass dome with a most peculiar support column.
The latter did not come down all the way to the floor.
"A parabolic microphone to enhance our communication, Talia?"
The daughter of Ra's Al Ghul smiled: "Very good, beloved! It is nice to see your ordeal has not diminshed your observational faculties."
"I take it, then, that Catwoman didn't really steal the Golden Coin of Bast."
Talia shook her head: "Merely a carefully crafted fake that some of Father's genin put in its place. Six months ago!"
"So, basically, this is just another one of his convoluted attempts to coerce me into being his successor?" the Dark Knight demanded.
"Not quite. This scheme is entirely my brain-child! I merely had to get his approval."
"And, this entailed stealing an ancient Egyptian artifact that's been proven to induce a state of suggestibility without inhibition."
"Precisely. That is how I put your youthful ward under my control, three months ago. Followed by Catwoman, herself, two nights ago! When we captured her en route back to Two-face."
Talia then revealed how it was she who impersonated Selina Kyle, in the warden's office at Gotham State Pen. While it was the real (albeit hypnotized) Catwoman who had met up with Alexandra Cabot.
"Alexandra?" echoed Josie: "What's she got to do with this?"
"Her father, Alexander Cabot, Junior, was once better known as...the Dastardly Diamond Dazzler! A high-end jewel thief who used high-tech jeweled rings to commit his crimes. That is; till he was 'forcibly retired' by the superhuman trio called...the Impossibles!"
Only one of the rings had never been recovered, at that time. The 'birthstone' ring Alexandra had gotten as a "Sweet 16" present.
"The so-called piece of 'jade' it was set with was actually a sliver of kryptonite! From the same meteorite as that from which was carved the fabled statue of Chang Lung."
"The green Chinese dragon sculpture once stolen by the Joker and Luthor," commented Batman. Talia nodded again.
"I needed that sliver to power the new version of the micro-wave reducer Dr. Gulliver was building for me. One crafted to resemble the instrument played by Ms. McCoy! You see; that was the only way Ms. Cabot would part with the ring. If I used the reducer to remove her arch-rival for the affections of one Alan Mayberry."
"So, that's why we suddenly shrank!" exclaimed Josie: "I knew Alexandra was jealous of my relationship with Alan. But, to go this far...?"
Valerie, however, was mulling over something else: "You must've stolen Josie's synth-guitar, last night, in order to replace it with your device."
"Correct, Ms. Brown!"
"Then, why did only five of us shrink?" the Dark Knight commented: "Gulliver's original reducer wasn't that selective."
"What Robin injected you with, beloved, was a micro-electronic dart. A subcutaneous receiver, in fact! Tuned to the same frequency as the new reducer. The Boy Wonder was already implanted with his own, three months earlier. And, these young ladies were similarly implanted with theirs, last night. Per Catwoman's post-hypnotic instructions, prior to her meeting with Ms. Cabot!"
"And, I take it Robin was post-hypnotically instructed to mislead me with that 'mosquito bite' ploy when the time came for my capture?"
Talia nodded, once more. Then, she unzipped a carefully camouflaged pocket on the right side of her catsuit. From it, she withdrew the Boy Wonder, himself! Albeit, now small enough to be dangled from her right thumb and forefinger.
Directly over her mouth.
"Adieu, Little Bird. Et, bon appetit por moi!"