Robert Stirling was an orderly present during the Joker's takeover of Arkham Island.
Stirling has been an orderly at Arkham Asylum for an undisclosed length of time. Although he initially helped with patient and equipment transfers in Arkham's Intensive Treatment facility, he was soon promoted to higher duties. His first large project came when Dr. Penelope Young, head of research at the asylum, gave Stirling work on the classified Arkham 'Titan' project. The Titan project was originally developed to provide mental patients with medication in order to allow them to go through the more 'strenuous' therapies. However, the project was, in reality, research to create a formula that mutated men into hulking, maddened, beasts.
Robert Stirling was heavily involved in the project, working shifts from the secret Titan production lab in the Arkham Botanical Gardens. His level of access was such that he was always buzzed into the lab, via a special ID card pinned to his uniform. Unknown to all, even Dr. Young, the benefactor of the project, Jack White, was in reality the Joker, who planned to use Young's formula to create an army of monsters. When Young deduced White's identity and tried to back out, the Joker allowed himself to be captured by Batman, and bought to Arkham Asylum so he could escape and seize the formula himself. Meanwhile, while Dr. Young tried to stall for time, Robert Stirling continued aiding in the development of the Titan formula, although he only managed to produce an incomplete version, he succeeded in making it highly effective and only loosely resembling the old Venom drug.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Robert Stirling was among the many orderlies and medical staff present during the Joker's takeover of Arkham Asylum. The incomplete version of Titan, which Stirling had helped produce, was tested on a convict, one of the many prisoners transferred from Gotham City's Blackgate Penitentiary after a fire there. Quincy Sharp, the administrator of Arkham, authorized this by informing the Arkham staff that medication dosages were to be increased by 80 percent on Blackgate convicts. The convict mutated, and Dr. Young had him locked up in an isolation cell and kept under guard. Meanwhile, Robert Stirling was carrying out his regular duties in the Botanical Gardens as Harley Quinn and an army of escaped Arkham inmates loosed from the Intensive Treatment Center in Arkham North invaded Arkham East.
Originally, Arkham East was one of the safest zones on Arkham Island, being heavily-defended by a team of armed and armored security guards, led personally by Officer Louie Green. But the Joker cared little for Arkham East initially. He instead took control of the Intensive Treatment Center, eliminating almost the entire security force by loosing all of the Blackgate prisoners, which heavily outweighed the number of security personnel who could deal with them. The Joker immediately turned his attention to the western part of the island. After massacring the guards, the Joker dispatched his henchmen to take control of the Medical Facility, one of his very first targets, because he knew Dr. Young worked there.
The thugs, armed with assault rifles taken from defeated guards, rounded up all the doctors in the Medical building and hunted down Dr. Young in the X-Ray facility. They held her at gunpoint, but Batman arrived in Arkham West to liberate the overrun Medical Facility. He saved Dr. Young and the other doctors, but Young insisted on being allowed to return to the old Arkham Mansion, where her office was located, to retrieve her Titan research notes. Escorted by senior security officer Aaron Cash, Young made it safely to Arkham East. She entered the mansion, but the Joker was not to be beaten so easily. He ordered every available henchman to attack Arkham East, and they managed to overwhelm the security guards, taking Louie Green himself prisoner.
The armed inmates then invaded the Arkham Mansion. While they captured Aaron Cash, Dr. Young was pursued over the entire mansion, without success. Meanwhile, the Botanical Gardens were cut off in Arkham East, but still relatively secure. The Joker's thugs, led by serial killer Victor Zsasz, had killed the two guards at the Glasshouse entrance, stripped both of their weapons, and posed their corpses around a nearby park bench. Yet, the remainder of the gardens remained more or less intact, with most of its security force preserved and staff safe from harm. Although trapped within the gardens, Robert Stirling remained safe. He continued working late in the Titan production lab, in the company of five armed security guards with orders to hold the lab.
Dr. Young was finally cornered by the Joker in the Arkham Mansion Library, where a guard and an orderly tried to defend her, to no avail. The Joker then caught up with Victor Zsasz at the Glasshouse Entrance in the gardens and brought him to the mansion to torture the Titan formula out of Dr. Young. At the same time, Batman began to fight his way through the mansion to find Young's research notes so he could destroy them. He finally burned the notes with explosive gel to prevent from falling into the Joker's hands, but Zsasz managed to torture the Titan formula out of her. Having no further use for Young, the Joker killed her with a bomb in the Warden's Office. Before she died, she admitted to having a secret Titan lab in the Botanical Gardens, which ignited the Joker's interest in the area. He ordered his hordes of armed henchmen to take the gardens by storm.
The Glasshouse Entrance fell without a fight, but the Flooded Corridor held out longer, where the Arkham guards, led by Thomas Armbruster, resisted and shot three of the Joker's men in a brief gunfight. Although the guards were hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned, they held out long enough to give the other Arkham staff time to hide. Two janitors, Luke Curtis and Jordan Fraser, took cover in the Aviary, while an oblivious Robert Stirling continued reviewing research in the Titan Production Facility. The Joker and his henchmen came soon enough, entering the Aviary and signaling their arrival with gunshots. The thugs took Luke Curtis and Jordan Fraser captive, then searched until finding the secret entrance to the Titan lab. The goons burst in, firing into the security guards with automatic weapons and taking them down before they could draw their weapons. Robert Stirling was cornered by the Joker's men and held at gunpoint.
The Joker took a special interest in Stirling, but found him annoying. With his knowledge in general of Titan and the project, Stirling deduced that the Clown Prince of Crime must have been involved in the project from the start. He then realized the truth behind 'Jack White'. Stirling had always assumed he was working completely for Dr. Young, but came to the conclusion that in reality, he was helping develop Titan indirectly for the Joker, all along. While the Joker experimented with the Titan and developed it into a much stronger formula, he sent his henchgirl Harley Quinn to keep Batman occupied by causing a diversion in the Penitentiary.
In the meantime, the Joker began lining up forced test subjects of Blackgate prisoners, injecting each one with a version of Titan before coming up with a perfected formula. As he worked in the lab, the Joker's henchmen dragged Robert Stirling out of the Titan Production Facility and into the Aviary. Here, they loaded Stirling, along with Luke Curtis, into giant birdcages and suspended them over a deadly chasm to prevent escape. The second janitor, Jordan Fraser, managed to slip away, but two of the Arkham inmates caught up with him in the Flooded Corridor. Meanwhile, Joker continued working on the formula. When he was satisfied, he injected a convict with it. The man proved too weak for the sudden change, and fell dead. After throwing the convict's body into a drainpipe that emptied into an abandoned chamber, the Joker tested the formula on the second convict, who mutated successfully.
Now sure of what he had in his hands, the Joker and two of his henchmen worked feverishly in the Titan Production Facility, loading gallons and gallons of the completed Titan formula into oil drums and placing them on the lab's hidden elevator, which came out near the Aviary. Unfortunately for the villain, Batman showed up in the Flooded Corridor, having tracked the Joker's goons to the gardens and heard from a slip of tongue by a defeated Harley Quinn about the secret lab. After freeing Jordan Fraser from his two captors, Batman learned from the frightened janitor that Stirling and Luke Curtis were being held in the Aviary. His two captors had been planning to drag Fraser back into the Aviary and throw him into the chasm, forcing Curtis and Stirling to watch in horror.
But now, Stirling had been liberated, and he begged Batman to save the others: "We were in the Aviary, hiding out, and they came in with Joker, shooting up the place, and loading us into cages." The Dark Knight then asked, "Are they still in there?" To which Fraser responded, "No, man. No one's come out since. You've got to help them!" After warning Fraser to stay where he was, Batman continued to the Aviary. As he entered the large, cavernous, chamber, he could clearly see Robert Stirling and Luke Curtis in the giant birdcages, suspended over the drop. Both were clutching at the bars of their cage and staring out at the expanse of the chasm below them. Curtis panicked, screaming for help and shouting, "Help me! Someone! Get me out of this thing!" Fortunately for Curtis, the Joker's henchmen chose to only mock him, since they believed no one could hear.
At this, the Joker giggled, the announced over the Arkham intercom system from the Titan Production Facility, "Listen, the Bat is on the way. If you see him, send the annoying doctor to hell. That's the down one, right?" Watching from the Aviary observation nest, the cage operator observed a switch to release the cages and let Robert Stirling plummet to his doom: "Yeah. They're going down!" The Joker then added a new twist to his deadly game: He had several of his henchmen armed with firearms taken from defeated guards patrol the Aviary's twisted walkways, fitted with 'suicide collars', which sound a noisy alarm if the wearer is knocked unconscious. Originally, the collars were developed so if another Arkham inmate tried to kill another, or if one tried to commit suicide, a crash team would be called in. However, the Joker had fixed his game so if an alarm from one of the collars was sounded, the cage operator would pull the switch that would sent the cages containing Robert Stirling and Luke Curtis plummeting into the seemingly bottomless pit: "Remember, if you hear a collar go off, Batman's here." With that, the Joker signed off and his next game had begun.
Batman, hidden behind the Aviary doorway, plotted his next move: "Joker's men are all wearing security collars. I'll need to take out the operator first." His new objective was to rescue the Arkham staff members being held hostage, by taking down the henchmen leader without being detected. Still clutching the bars of his cage, Stirling remained silent, watching hopefully for Batman. The thugs patrolling the Aviary remained confident, laughing among themselves, "Joker wants him stopped. We're gonna do it. Batman better not try and mess with us. He doesn't stand a chance. Not a chance." Unlike the restless Luke Curtis, however, Robert Stirling did his best to remain calm, maintaining a somewhat tranquil expression, although he could not help glancing over the cage at the chasm every few moments. Batman was forced to rely on all of stealth skills to get past the first few henchmen, and although Stirling likely spotted the Dark Knight darting from shadow to shadow, he wisely chose to remain silent. Having sneaked past the other henchmen successfully, Batman climbed onto a ladder leading onto the observation post.
Although the cage operator carried a guard's rifle and stopped to patrol the nest and check the Aviary for himself, he failed to detect Batman until it was too late. The hero quietly sneaked up on the gang leader, knocking him senseless. He then mused to himself, "I've incapacitated the main threat, but the hostages are still in danger!" Hearing the cage operator's collar begin to sound the familiar alarm, the Joker observed over the public address, "So you figured out my puzzle, eh, Bats? Well, good for you. Did you remember about my alarms?" Since the bewildered henchmen still had no idea Batman was even in the Aviary yet, the evil clown shouted at them in his fury, "He's here, you idiots. Stop him from getting to me." Yet, the goons remained mainly idle, allowing for Batman to defeat them with his fists. The heavy chains holding up the birdcages then moved to the side, and shifted downwards, depositing Stirling and Curtis safely on firm ground. Stirling glanced about in alarm, first in disbelief at the chasm, then with relief at the approaching floor.
With a heavy thud, the cage landed, leaving Stirling still gripping the bars for dear life. Having deduced by this point the Titan Production plant must be in the Aviary, Batman mused to himself, "Joker wanted the entrance to the Titan production plant guarded. I should pick up Harley's trail so I can find it." Having calibrated the vision in his cowl to detect Harley Quinn's most recent DNA traces, Batman would be able to track her, but first stopped to check on the hostages and see if either could offer him leads on the location of the Titan Production Facility. Robert Stirling, meanwhile, pulled open the door to his cage and stepped outside. While Luke Curtis walked over to the edge of the nearby rails to regard the drop he had so narrowly escaped from, Stirling remained standing next to the cages, glancing about idly. As Batman arrived, the orderly turned to face him.
Speaking softly, Stirling told the Dark Knight, "I'm sorry. I thought I was working for Dr. Young. I had no idea Joker was involved until he burst into the lab." Batman then asked Robert, "Where is the lab?" Gesturing with his eyes, the orderly replied, "Back over there. I always get buzzed through. There's a hidden door, but well, you know, it's hidden." Batman reassured Stirling, replying, "I'll find it. Stay here." The shaken orderly then walked slowly over to Luke Curtis, leaning on the rails next to him and glancing over at the edge of the deadly chasm. When further approached by Batman, Stirling told the hero as he glanced around nervously, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Joker came through here about twenty minutes ago."
Leaving Stirling and Luke Curtis resting near the birdcages, Batman continued towards the direction Stirling had indicated. He found several of Harley Quinn's fingerprints on a wall panel and tore it off, revealing a control box behind it for the hidden door to the Titan Production Facility. As he examined the controls, Stirling watched from a distance. Batman found that the Joker had rigged canisters of poison Joker Toxin gas to the control box to prevent tampering, but Batman was still able to hack it using a Cryptographic Sequencer, Arkham security codes, and a timer. Then, much to Robert Stirling's amazement, part of what appeared to be a solid stone wall slid away in a shower of leaves and dust, revealing a modern security door behind it. The door to the Titan Production Facility had had a pressure lock, but it had been hacked open. Batman hurried through the door, leaving Stirling and Curtis in the Aviary. It would be the last time he, or anyone, would ever see either of them alive again. Once inside the security door, Batman crossed a bridge to the Titan Production Facility, and entered it.
Here, he discovered the bullet-riddled corpses of the facility's guards strewn around amid the Joker and two of his henchmen loading drums of Titan into the lab elevator. The Joker welcomed Batman to his secret lab, then fired two darts dipped in Titan directly at his two henchmen. This caused both thugs to mutate horribly, and with a casual wave, the Joker stepped into the elevator and made his escape, leaving Batman alone with the two enraged beasts. Having lost their sanity to the formula, the two monsters attacked Batman in a rage. They hurled the bodies of dead Arkham guards at Batman and tried to ram him with their hulking bodies. In the ensuing battle, Batman knocked both Titan-enhanced prisoners unconscious and managed to subdue them, destroying the remains of the Titan Production Facility in the process. The bridge leading back to the Aviary was out of order, so Batman was forced to call on the Batwing, summoning his personal plane to the Botanical Gardens and supplying him with the Line Launcher, a zipline device. Using this, Batman returned to the Aviary.
In the Aviary, Batman may have noticed it appeared strangely quiet, and an eerie stillness hung in the air. Hurrying down the stairs to where he had left Robert Stirling and Luke Curtis, he came across a deceased Curtis, slumped against one side of the rails next to the edge of the chasm. Robert Stirling's corpse lay nearby, crumpled atop a pile of dead leaves near the giant birdcages. Narrowing his eyes in fury, Batman realized that instructing Stirling and Curtis to remain where they were may have been an unforeseeable, fatal, error. The Joker had apparently murdered both men in cold blood while backtracking through the Aviary. Looking around in dismay at the bodies, the Dark Knight promised that the Joker would pay dearly for another two murders: "They're all dead. Joker was busy while I fought his monsters. He will pay for this." Robert Stirling died a man with much potential but of little given credit, with a tarnished reputation and simply another nameless victim of the Joker's ruthlessness.
- "I'm sorry. I thought I was working for Dr. Young. I had no idea Joker was involved until he burst into the lab."
- "Back over there. I always get buzzed through. There's a hidden door, but, you know, it's hidden."
- "Joker came through here about twenty minutes ago."
- "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
- "I thought the program was legitimate. I had no idea Joker was involved."
- Robert Stirling appears in the very first trailer preview released for Batman: Arkham Asylum. He, along with two other orderlies, are pushing a stretcher down the Transfer Loop of the Intensive Treatment Center.
- Robert Stirling is mistakenly referred to as a 'doctor' by the Joker. Likewise, both he and Luke Curtis are referred to as orderlies, although Curtis is in fact a member of the janitorial staff.
- Robert Stirling is the only member of Arkham Asylum's medical staff who works frequently in the Botanical Gardens.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum's depiction of orderlies is, as demonstrated through Robert Stirling, more as medical staff than security personnel. In the comic books before, Arkham security guards were usually called in as a last resort, and orderlies were often armed with nightsticks and tranquilizer darts to pacify patients and prevent breakouts.
- Robert Stirling was one of two orderlies to be identified by full name, the other being Kevin Liew.
- If Robert's body is scanned in detective mode it will say identity unknown, which is strange because he is named when alive.