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"Heart of Steel: Part I" is the thirty-eighth episode of the first season of Batman: The Animated Series, and the first of a two-part episode. It originally aired on Fox Kids in the United States on November 16, 1992.

Synopsis[]

It's closing time at Wayne Enterprises and a woman deliberately leaves her briefcase behind. Security guards find and open it; it seems to be unremarkable and contains only a few papers, with no ID. Deciding the briefcase is ordinary enough, the guards decide to leave and bump into Bruce Wayne who's on his way out. Now alone, the briefcase sprouts metallic legs and a mechanical eye and makes its way into the research and development lab. Once there, it uses a laser cutter to enter the safe and starts stealing microchips setting off the alarm in the process.

Security locks up Bruce in their office and goes to investigate. Bruce, however, has no intention of standing around and enters a secret panel in the wall. Security catches the robot, but it easily knocks them out with gas. It then tries to escape down the elevator but finds that Batman is there waiting for it. Batman tries to capture the robot, but its laser cutter is too much for him and it manages to fly away. Batman goes to a secret compartment and unfolds his glider.

Out by the beach, the woman who left the briefcase waits for the robot to reach her and takes the stolen microchips. She then gets into her car and instructs her to take her home. As she rides, Batman starts to follow but the car's surveillance system spots him and the car shoots at him. Batman's glider is hit, and he falls into the ocean. Though relatively unharmed, he's lost the car.

Batman returns home and leaves his glider in a pair of robot arms. He then receives a call from Lucius Fox who reports that all the "protein-silicon wafer chips" were stolen. Fortunately, the design specs are still safe and without them, the chips can't be duplicated. Alfred Pennyworth asks about the chips and learns that the Chips are the first step to actual thinking machines that have intuition, and a will of their own but can think faster than humans. Alfred notes that if they succeed, humans could become obsolete.

The next day, Commissioner Gordon goes to Wayne Tech to investigate the theft and speaks with Bruce and Lucius. They explain that the only other person working on that kind of project is Karl Rossum, head of Cybertron Industries. Gordon says he thought Rossum had retired; however, Bruce explains that the loss of his daughter sent Rossum into semi-seclusion, but he has recently become much more active. During the talk, Gordon's daughter, Barbara Gordon, arrives carrying a teddy bear, Woobie, who seems to be very important to her father. She talks with Bruce for a bit then she and her father leave to start the investigation.

Bruce heads out to Cybertron Industries to speak with Rossum, another expert on "wetware". He's greeted by a robot that leads him to Rossum. Rossum greets Bruce mentioning he knows what was stolen but no one has tried to sell him the chips. He shows Bruce some of his minor inventions such as a foot massager. Then, he shows him his crowning invention: H.A.R.D.A.C. (Holographic Analytical Reciprocating DigitAl Computer), an artificial intelligence. Rossum's assistant, Randa Duane, comes out of the machine and shakes Bruce's hand. He notes that her hand is cold, but she claims that it's because she was in the cold room. Rossum is reluctant to explain what H.A.R.D.A.C.'s functions are, so Bruce asks Randa for a date so he can get more information. Meanwhile, H.A.R.D.A.C. starts construction on a robot designed to look like a human. When Bruce and Rossum leave, Randa talks to H.A.R.D.A.C. who scolds her for not getting the design specs and points out that some powerful people are getting too curious. H.A.R.D.A.C. then tells Randa to see the placement of his new robot.

Later, there's a knock at Gordon's door and he answers only to discover himself standing outside the door. However, before he can react, he's knocked out with a taser, and his replacement enters the house. Seeing the robot, Barbara asks him who was at the door, but he doesn't respond. Thinking something is wrong, Barbara grabs his arm and discovers that he's cold. Her father, however, claims that he's fine and goes to read the paper, swatting Woobie away before sitting down. Noticing the weird behavior, Barbara becomes suspicious.

Meanwhile, Randa arrives at Wayne Enterprises to go on her date, leaving her makeup kit behind. The makeup kit turns out to be another portable robot. It accesses the computer and takes the information.

Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce and Randa talk about Rossum's inventions but before Bruce can turn the conversation toward how Rossum knew what was stolen, he receives a call from Lucius and has to leave.

While Bruce is investigating the theft, he mentions that the thieves only got to dummy files and the real ones are at his house. Hearing this, H.A.R.D.A.C. calls up Randa who knocks out Alfred and then searches the house. Using specialized goggles, she finds the Batcave and reports that Bruce Wayne is Batman to H.A.R.D.A.C. She then goes to the central computer and takes the design specs of the wetware chips.

Bruce returns home to find Alfred dazed but unharmed. Believing that Randa must have something to do with Alfred's condition, he becomes Batman and searches the Batcave. All seems fine and quiet enough, but when he tells the computer to scan the place, it malfunctions, and the robotic arms used to hold the glider seize him. Batman cries out in fear as the arms pull him upwards.

Cast[]

Gallery[]

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See also[]

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