The Price of Justice– by Victor Moore
Disclaimer: DC owns all the characters in this fan-fic, except the dead ones. I consider this a dark-fic. Comments and constructive criticisms are welcome. Flames will be deleted. Three pepsis were brutally devoured in the making of this story. Enjoy!
The night was almost unbearable in its heat. Despite the air conditioning in her apartment, Barbara Gordon could feel the oppressing humidity still hanging in the air. Her glasses caught the lights from the multiple monitors in front of her. Absently tucking her auburn tresses behind her ear, she scanned the lines of data flowing endlessly on the screens. She was hunting, hunting for information, and the prey was turning out to be very elusive.
Fingers flew across the keyboard, trying to keep up with her mental commands. "Where are you?" She asked aloud to no one in particular.
"I'm in the Central City Morgue, Oracle. I thought you knew that?" A voice came over her headset. "Anything yet?"
"No, Dinah. So far nothing. The electronic police reports show that your friend Irene was killed in a botched robbery attempt. Sadly, no leads. I'm sorry." Barbara rubbed the bridge of her nose, ignoring the container of ice cream sitting in front of her. "How about on your end?"
"Well from the written notes I see here, it wasn't that simple an explanation."
"Let's see, it states that there were five small bruises on either side of her head. The skull under each mark was slightly fractured. No other strange marks on the body."
Barbara brought up the coroner's report on one screen. "Weird."
"Well according to the electronic report, that wasn't mentioned. Just that cause of death was by a shotgun blast."
"Yeah, that's strange alright. They also state that her death occurred approximately at 9:19pm last night. Cause of death maybe by shotgun blast fired from inside the victim's mouth"
Looking at a different screen, she searched the police report displayed there. "I smell a cover up, Dinah."
"Yeah. The police report says that neighbor heard the gunshot at about 10:32pm. And the coroner's report states time of death at the same time."
"We'll get these guys, they can't get away with this. Uh oh. Someone's coming."
"They won't. Contact me when you're clear. Oracle out."
After taking a healthy bite of her midnight snack, Barbara looked at the reports again. "Something's missing here, but what?" She activated a trace program that she designed herself, it would track the report entries back to their point of origin. While waiting for the results, she perused through today's police reports for Gotham City. One entry caught her eye. Another woman was murdered in the same exact way as Irene was. Upon comparison both police and coroner's reports from both cities, except for the locations and times, were worded identically. She ran the trace on those entries as well.
Flipping another switch on the panel in front of her, she activated her headset, and typed in some numbers.
"What can I do for you Oracle?"
Even after knowing him for all this time, his voice still sent small shivers up her spine. "I need you to check out a murder scene for me."
"Gotham City towers, room number 2123."
"What am I looking for?"
"Police file states that it was a botched robbery. After investigating a similar occurrence in Central City, I'm not so sure."
"What did Black Canary find out?"
"Only that the coroner's report has been altered. We suspect a cover-up."
"I'll check it out and let you know." Then the line was dead. Barbara knew he wasn't much for small talk so she had already started profile searches on both women.
Minutes later the results from the trace program displayed on a monitor. The origin of the reports came from Metropolis Special Crimes Units Division. She noticed that a copy of each item had been sent to the National Security Agency in Washington D.C.
"I've got a bad feeling about this."
A figure dressed predominately in black swung onto the terrace of the Gotham Towers, his cape trailing behind him. Silently, he approached the sliding glass door, quickly unlocked it, and entered the flat. Taking a small flashlight, he surveyed the room. It was in shambles. At first glance, it looked like a robbery scene, except for the white chalk outline on the floor against the far wall. In his mind he catalogued everything, position of the furniture, the strewn about clothes, everything.
Standing over the outline, the blood trail went from floor and up the wall where it was splattered. Pieces of brain matter where plastered on the spot as well. That's when he heard it, a whistling sound. Faint almost inaudible, but coming from the wall. Taking some light powder that is used for fingerprint dusting from his belt, he blew it on over the spot on the wall. In the light, the dust reacted to weak wind coming through the wall. Upon closer examination the small holes looked like water droplets that had bored through the foot thick concrete. He pulled an ultra-violet scanner from his belt pocket and saw minute traces on the holes.
Going back outside, he mentally projected the trajectory of the unknown objects to a building across the street. After five minutes of through searching, he found what he was looking for. A hardened clear substance embedding in the stone surface of the building. After obtaining a sample, he then headed back to his car parked in an alley many stories below.
Once in the vehicle and speeding back to his lair, he flipped a switch on the dash.
"Oracle here." Barbara's voice sounded over the speakers.
"You were right. This was a cover up. Some sort of biological projectile killed Mrs. Connery, not a shotgun. That was used as camouflage for the police."
"I was afraid of that. Irene, the girl from Century City had five small bruises on either side of her head, and the skull was fractured in those areas."
"Sounds less and less like a weapon, and more like a meta-human."
"What else did you find out?" He asked while taking a sharp turn that led him out of the city.
"First, none of the victims had anything in common, they don't even like the same soda. Second, all the electronic reports came from Metropolis SCU, a Captain Sawyer's desk."
"I don't like where this is headed."
"Then you won't like this, I discovered eighteen reports identical to those two, all from the same person. Plus they're all copied to the NSA."
"I'm going to test this biological sample I found. I can only hope that we're wrong about who, Oracle." He pulled onto an unused dirt road behind a advertisement billboard.
"Me too. We need him." After a moment of silence, Barbara voice once again sounded out. "What do you want me to tell Dinah?"
"Tell her nothing. Until we know for sure." A moss-covered cave loomed ahead and he sped into it with no hesitation.
Maggie Sawyer felt exhausted. Fatigue, from the last couple of sleepless nights, was showing proudly on her body, as she took a sip from her hours old coffee. Her office was a typical police captain's office, complete with a small green couch against the far wall and a mountain of paperwork on the desk.
The wind came through the open window and the blinds rustled. "It's too damn hot," She mumbled and continued to file the reports for that day. Typing her entry into the computer for the next couple of minutes.
Maggie was not sure when she noticed it, but something felt out of place in the room. She looked up and turned towards the window, and jumped from her seat reaching for her gun. Upon realization of the intruder, she calmed herself and sat back down.
"How long has he been doing this? How long have you been covering it up?" The low pitch of his voice was unnerving and terrifying. Upon speculation, she felt that he made the boogie-man sound like a choirboy. His costume was all black and in shadow, and his eyes seemed to bore into the very heart of her soul disapprovingly.
"I should have expected you to show up, especially after that mess last night in your town." She sank bank in her seat. "I answer your questions, if you answer mine, Batman. How much do you know?"
"I know enough. He is a murder. He needs to be brought to justice."
"And can you bring down one of your own?"
"If need be."
"He is the champion, the symbol of truth and justice to so many, and still you would bring him in?"
"I understand that, but he needs to answer for these deaths."
"Look, I agree with you, but is it wise?"
"He's killed twenty women. Twenty! And still you would allow him to roam free?"
Maggie sighed and lowered her eyes from him. "Eighty-three since he came here, that we know about anyway, and I know all of they're names by heart. Some of them were still considered children Batman, the youngest at fifteen years of age." She heard the groaning of leather as he clenched his fists. Looking up, she saw that his jaw was tighter, his lips compressed into an angry thin line. "It's... tragic, I know. But the higher ups deem it a necessary evil, because he's saved, what, thousands times more than that.
"Do you know why he does it?"
"The doctors at Star Labs, have determined that every twenty-eight weeks, his hormones and sexual drive increase dramatically for about ninety-six hours. It's part of his biology. You've seen the results yourself of what happens when he attempts to act out on this impulse."
"Because of his strength, his ejaculation can tear through a normal human like a bullet through paper. That sad part is that he isn't even aware of it. According to the shrinks, he blocks it out of his mind, so his savior complex can remain intact."
"So you're willing to let him be free knowing that he will kill again? That is unacceptable!"
"He is one of this planets greatest heroes. He has helped save this planet many times over. He is crucial for the protection of this city and others from other super-villains."
"It's just a rationalization."
"Yes it is! The government has stated that these... wanton acts are a small price to pay for the services that he provides us."
"And you agree with them?"
Maggie slammed her fist on the desk, spilling her remaining coffee on the keyboard. "Hell no! But they do have a point. He is needed. I hate it, but I cover it up. I pull the trigger myself, so none of my people have to share in this blame!"
She sank into the chair as tears began to form in her eyes. "He left one alive, if you can call it that. His sperm tore up her insides before exiting. She was a vegetable, the doctors said they're was no hope of recovery. I never hated myself more than at that moment, Batman. I told her I was sorry, kissed her on the cheek, then pulled the plug. She was only a little older than my daughter."
After a few moments, he stated, "It's still not right. Nor is your part in this affair."
"Or the governments as well? And now that you know, what will you do?"
"I will see that he answers for his crimes."
"I have to report that you know of these events, you know. The government won't let you have him."
"We'll see." He moved towards the window.
"Batman." Maggie did not look at him but hung her head low, and tears began to run down her cheeks. "Every time it happens, I'm left wondering that it could have been my daughter or my mate. I... I don't want to have to clean up this mess anymore. I want this problem to stop.
"You have forty-eight hours before I report this incident."
"... and recounting our top story today, Earth's mightiest defender died in a devastating battle today. Details are still sketchy at this time, but we know he saved a school bus full of children before he was struck down. Metropolis is planning to erect a giant statue of Superman..." Barbara pressed the mute button on her keyboard and the newscaster's voice quieted. Her eyes were drawn to another monitor, where she saw Captain Sawyer announce her retirement. A light blinked on another monitor.
After flicking the switch into the on position she spoke reservedly into her headset. "Hello Dinah." She has been dreading this conversation for the last two days.
"Did you see the news? I can't believe it. He's gone. Really gone. I always figured he outlive all of us."
"We all did, Dinah. We all did." Barbara felt the tears roll down her cheeks.
"Sorry, Oracle. Do we have any word yet on the perps who killed Irene?"
She thought to herself. "If I tell her the truth, will she be able to handle it? What if she can't? Do I tell her that the man she's mourning killed her friend and all those other women? Superman has been a positive force in this world, and his legacy can still be used for good. Do I cater to the good of the many, or tell the truth and tarnish that legacy?"
"Sorry." She took a deep breath and made up her mind to tell Dinah the truth, just not all of it. "It turns out that Irene's killer also killed a woman in Gotham the next night. Batman... took care of him."
"Oh." A moment of silence hung in the air. "I wanted a piece of him, but if Bats got him first then justice was served in my book. Well I'm off to bed. Night."
"Bye Dinah." Barbara flipped the switch off and laid her headset down on the counter. "Justice was served. But at what cost? Was it truly worth the price?" She put her monitoring station in standby mode and rolled her wheelchair towards the bedroom, so she could catch some sleep.