Batman: A New World

Chapter 35: Cold Comfort ( Part Two )

Cold Comfort ( Part Two )

by Brian Mark

- ( Salina ) What ? ... This is crazy ! ... Are you out of your mind ?

- ( Lucius has to answer his mobile ) Ah, excuse me for one moment. .. Hello, Miss Cooper, ... are you alright ? ... You sound a little dazed.

- More than a little. Why, Mr Fox, I've just had the fright of my life. .. Is there a fire ? I heard the alarm.

- Actually, Miss Cooper, it was a false alarm.

- A false alarm ? One moment I was pressing the descend button in my elevator, and woosh ! ! ! I was dropping like a stone. The doors opened, and, well, I must have been imagining things, cause I could have sworn, I was in a cave ! I must have passed out, or something. When I came round, I was back upstairs. The elevator brought me back up again.

- Why, yes, Miss Cooper, it definitely does sound as if you were imagining things. The sudden rush of blood to the head isn't good for your blood pressure. ... Tell me, Miss Cooper, did Mr. Wayne not tell you, never to press more than one button ?

- Why, yes. Mr Fox. As a matter of fact he did.

- Well, in my humble estimation, that is exactly what you must have done, Miss Cooper. Can I be of any assistance ? Perhaps I should call the Doctor.

- Oh, I don't think that will be necessary, Mr Fox, I think I'll be just fine. ... Come to think of it, I do think I pressed more than one button.

- Well, there you are, Miss Cooper.

- Well, bless my soul ! ( Giggling to herself ) ... Silly old me. ... Well, goodnight, Mr. Fox.

- Goodnight, Miss Cooper. ... Sorry about that, Miss Kyle, ... you were saying ? ... Ah yes, .. no, I can assure you, I am entirely inside my mind. ... You see, the sort of individuals, you are, quite rightly, aggrieved at, are precisely the kind of individuals, that have caused me significant grief in the past. ... You would, indeed, be doing me a great service, if you could help me track down the people, who were responsible for some of MY woes, Miss Kyle, and not just your own.

- Were you expecting me, Mr. Fox ?

- In a manner of speaking, Miss Kyle. ... You see, every bit of the sensitive search equipment, I produce, carries with it a tracing mechanism. ... I could track back all your recent moves over the last few months, and could see that, every time you intruded into an individual's files, you followed it up immediately with a personal call ! ... And here you are !

- Well, in answer to your question, if I can call it a question, the answer is yes, Mr. Fox, ... and, by the way, ... can I have more of that sort of equipment ?

- Why, indeed you may, Miss Kyle, indeed you may. ... Perhaps I can show you to the door.

They go to leave, when out comes Aunt Harriot.

- ( Aunt Harriot ) Why, Mr. Fox. I didn't think you were actually here, when I was talking to you. .. Well, bless my soul, is that you, Salina ? … My, my, .. I haven't seen you since you were twelve years old. But, of course, you phoned me earlier on. You were asking about Bruce. What are you doing here ?

- I was giving Miss Kyle a lift to a Fancy Dress Ball, in Gotham, when my pager registered the alarm here in the Manor.

- Ah, I was wondering why you were dressed up like a cat, Salina. Actually, it kind of suits you. ... Do you know, when you dress in that suit, the Police could mistake you for that Catwoman, or whatever she's called.

- ( Talking almost under her breath ) Yes, ( clearing her throat ) Catwoman. That's who she is, ... mm ,... Catwoman.

- ( Lucius ) Well, I think we had better bid you Goodnight, Miss Cooper. ... Are you sure that you don't want to see the doctor ?

- Quite sure, Mr. Fox. ... Now, you two go on, and enjoy your evening, Salina.

Just then, Doodles, the Wayne Manor dog, comes into the hallway, barking at something.

- Why, thank you, Miss Cooper... ( The barking stops, and up pops Salina's cat into her arms ) ... Ah, Cleopatra, I was wondering where you had got to ! ... And who is this ? ( As she gives the dog a cuddle.) What sort of a dog are you, fella ?

- ( Lucius ) Actually, Miss Kyle, he is a Labradoodle.

- Really ? ... My boyfriend ... ( beginning to wonder ) .. has one of those.

- ( Aunt Harriot ) Bruce calls him Doodles. Actually, it was Doodles who helped to bring me round. ... I'm looking after him, while Bruce is away. He really is great company for me. ... Do you like dogs, Salina ?

- Well, if I'm being strictly honest, Miss Cooper, not really. I'm more into cats.

- But, of course, you worked with all those big lions and tigers and things, in your Father's zoo, all those years ago.

- It was a Safari Park, actually.

- ( Not really thinking ) Yes.

- ( Lucius ) We better be going. ... Goodnight, Miss Cooper.

- Goodnight.

They leave.

- I'll drive you to your car, Miss Kyle.

- ( Deep in thought about the significance of the dog, she says to herself ) No, it couldn't be, .. could it ? Surely, it's just a coincidence. Yes, that's what it is. ... But, mind you, ... Dwayne Brood, ...Bruce Wayne. ... Oh my God, I've been internet dating Bruce Wayne !

- ( Lucius, as they get into his car ) Salina ? .. You seem a little more pre-occupied than before.

- Oh no, it is nothing. ... This has all been quite a shock for me, that 's all.

- ( Driving ) Quite, ... of course. But, there is one key proviso, that I must add, if we are to co-operate in the way that I am suggesting.

- Ok. Go ahead. Shoot.

- That you leave my employer well alone. ... Do you understand me, Miss Kyle ?

- But he's one of the creeps, who has been siphoning off my family's funds.

- Ah, yes, the Harrison Futures Account.

- You know about it ?

- I kind of know everything that goes on around here, Miss Kyle. You see, I am now Mr. Wayne's Acting C.E.O. ... You have got it all wrong. .. You see, Mr. Wayne is not 'siphoning off ' all your funds, as you so eloquently put it. He is safeguarding them, tying them up, investing them further, secretly in your name, thwarting all the attempts by Messrs Burns, Stubbs and company from defrauding you of your rightful inheritance. In little more than six months, the period of time, you are liable for your father 's debts, will have lapsed, and the millions will be yours.

- But, why didn't he tell me that ?

- Walls have ears, Miss Kyle, walls have ears. And computer files can leak like sieves. As you well know. No one, not even you, could know, until the time came, when no one other than you could re-appropriate the funds. No one other than Mr. Wayne and myself knew, who the true owner of the Harrison Account is. ... until a week ago, that is. Mr. Wayne discovered Burns ' attempts to uncover the truth. He is empoying his best llegal team, to tie up the funds in your shareholding until your 21st Birthday, should there be any formal dispute with the ' Creeps ', in six months time. ... Well, Miss Kyle, do I have your word ?

- ( Still lost in her thoughts ) Sorry ? ... Oh yes, yes, you have it. I'll never try anything like this on him again.

- Thank you, Miss Kyle. ... I believe this is your car.

- Oh, there is one other thing.

- Yes, Miss Kyle.

- Burns and Stubbs keep referring to their boss, as a guy called H.D. Does that ring any bells ?

- I'm afraid not. ... Finding the someone YOU are looking for will be like finding a needle in a haystack ! The only H.D. I know of is Harvey Dent, the Assistant Police Commissioner. Goodnight, Miss Kyle.

- Goodnight, Mr Fox.

Then, later in the week, as Bruce is drawing near to his period of training.

- ( Hans Anders ) Obviously, Bruce, you don't want to stay in your adversary's domain for very long, where you will inevitably be at such a disadvantage. But, if you are trapped, or caught, or find yourself isolated from YOUR domain for long, you need to make sure that you have been consuming the right nutrition, slow release energy, and that you have a ready supply of the same on you at all times.

But the advantage switches dramatically, if you can draw or drag that adversary into your domain. ... I have been doing some research, and it would seem that Fries and his Team never operate in temperatures warmer than - 7, 8 or 9 degrees centigrade.

- That is what we were thinking.

- My guess is, that this is their temperature sealing, and that this is their 'Achilles heel'. As is their great 'cause celebre'

- And what might that be ?

- Everywhere they operate, and where Fries looks to practise his humanitarian endeavours among the sick and dying, they are hounded by forces sympathetic, or in the pay of a certain unknown individual, who goes by the name of K.P. It is this individual, I believe, who lies behind not only the Arctic Super-soldier programme, but also the whole rotten mess, that forms the web of corruption at the highest levels of Government and Big Business in this country. Fries is becoming increasingly desperate, leaving him and his team more likely to accept the possibility of 'collateral damage.'It is the risk to innocent life. to which you must address yourself.

- (Alfred) My God, Hans. You sure kept that one quiet. I have never heard of a 'K.P.' before.

- Then you must make it your business to get the sort of leads, that Fries will be looking for, and pre-empt his moves. You've got to get one step ahead Then lie in wait, when the cold weather comes !

- Right.

- Then, there is the matter of camouflage. The Arctic Fox dresses not in white, contrary to popular folklore, but in light grey. For two reasons: one, snow, when it has been lying in an urban environment for any time, tends to turn light grey, and two, grey is a better colour when operating at night. It is less conspicuous than white ! Perhaps it is time for Batman to have a style make-over !

But seriously, Bruce, and these are my parting words, to which I urge you to pay great heed. ... Your adversaries have been Special Forces trained. Before they were transformed into Arctic Super-soldiers, they were trained for all conditions and a rich variety of situations. They are, as a consequence, likely to be incredibly resourceful and of like mind to yourself. Never ever take them for granted, or under-estimate them in any way.

- ( Alfred ) It sounds like good advice, Hans, ... as always.

That same day, as they are flying back to Gotham, the pilot gets strange directions from Air Traffic Control, as he prepares to make his approach.

- ( Pilot ) Excuse me, Mr. Wayne, but I have just received rather bizarre instructions from Gotham Air Traffic Control, that would have taken us way off course. It seems as if there is a problem with their Satellite Navigation. I have switched to the Wayne Enterprises Network. It is working entirely normally. Do I have your permission to go ahead and land, Sir ?

- You do indeed, Perkins.

- (The Radio: ) News just in. Early this morning, paramedics were called to the home of Kaufmann Burns, one of Gotham's most prominent up-and-coming tycoons. Mr. Burns was pronounced dead-on-arrival at Gotham General Hospital. The next of kin have been informed. More information on this breaking news story, as we get it.

-( Bruce ) My God, Alfred, he was such a young guy. ... Wow, I sure didn't see that one coming. You don't think that it could be Catwoman, do you ?

- Hardly, Master Bruce, it isn't exactly, .. now, … how would a detective put it, her 'modus operandi' ?

- Perhaps you're right. ... ( Thinking ) You know, Alfred, I have been so caught up in all of this training, that I have totally forgotten to keep up with my emails. ... Will you excuse me for a moment ? ( He keys in his password on his mobile phone and reads: )

' Hi, this is Kitty, I'm sorry to have to do it like this, but, could we, like, take a bit of a break ? '

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