Batman: A New World

Chapter 38: Many A Cross Word

Many a Cross Word

by Brian Bower

Wayne Enterprises is hosting a Charity Gala in Wayne Tower. The party is already in full swing, when Bruce Wayne and Alfred arrive. As they enter the main suite, Bruce stops and briefly glances over a mobile notice board. One of the advertisements displays a picture of Doctor William Norris, with the date of an approaching lecture he will deliver, entitled 'World Population and the Dangers of Urban Overcrowding'. Bruce thinks to himself,' yeah, that's a problem I have often thought about, I might give that one a bit of a go' !

On the way in, they say hello to Lincoln Oakleaves, the rather old C.E.O. of Gotham's First National Bank.

Then, Bruce catches sight of a very familiar face, as it rapidly makes it's way toward him, that of Victoria Bross ! She calls out to Bruce:

- ( Grabbing Bruce's arm, and placing it in hers !) Well, at last, I get to accompany Bruce Wayne, the international jetsetter playboy ! ... And, who is this, again ?

- (A little embarrassed) Mm, .. this is my Butler, Alfred.

- You bring your Butler to parties ?

- He's also my personal chauffeur. ... (As they flirt and carouse a little) ... I have been known to have a little too much to drink at parties ! (Both laugh.)

Alfred feels a little put out at this, as he casts an admiring eye in the direction of Mrs. Bross. Then she casts a glance back in his direction. He quickly looks away.

In the background, you can hear the most incredible jazz music playing, provided by a live band, and one member in particular, at the piano !

- Aren't you a little old for me ?

- Why, hell no. .. I don't think I'll ever be too old ! ... But if YOU'RE not interested, what about your Butler over there?

- Alfred ?

Just then, Warner Bross steps up to introduce himself.

- Mr. Wayne, I believe, Warner Bross. I see you already know my mother. ... Great music. ... Who's the guy at the piano ?

- I have absolutely no idea. ... You own the Gotham News Network, Mr. Bross ? Any news ?

Both laugh.

- Actually yes. .. You know that Batman angle we covered the other day ?

- Batman ? I think that guy is a bit of a self-publicist myself. ...

- Surely, you can't mean that ? Batman's the best thing that has happened to Gotham in years, maybe ever !

- Well, I don't happen to think so. ... Anyway, you were saying ?

- Yeah, something he said about the helicopter crew set me thinking. ... I've instructed our crews to stop and land, the next time they are in the same situation. From now on, they will help people when they are in trouble.

- I'm glad to hear it. ... And I'm sure Batman is too. ( Smiling to himself. )

- Yeah, if he knew. .. I haven't made the formal announcement yet.

Also numbered among the evening's guests are Salina Kyle and Lucius Fox. For some curious reason, we find them talking together:

- I don't believe it, Lucius. ... Why, that Bross woman must be twice Brucie Wucie's age !

- Sounds as if you might be ever so slightly jealous, Miss Kyle.

- Me jealous of Mr Bruce Wayne ? ... A career in Law Enforcement indeed !

- Sorry, ... I don't quite follow.

- (Feeling really awkward) Well, maybe I AM a little jealous. .. Okay, ... can you keep a secret, Lucius?

- (Smiling) I've been known to keep one or two.

- Do you promise, Lucius, do you promise ?

- If there's one thing about Lucius Fox, Miss Kyle, it's that he doesn't need to promise to keep a secret.

- (Abruptly) I kind of blind-dated Bruce Wayne on the Internet ! ... I blind-dated your Boss on the Internet. ... He told me that he was in Law Enforcement. Can you believe that ?

- ( Laughing a mischievous laugh ) Oh, this just gets better and better. ...

- I'm sorry ?

Bruce is just starting to begin his regular drunken revelry routine, when Alfred gets an alert message through on a hidden ear-piece.

- Ah, apologies, Mr. Bross, would you excuse me ?

Alfred disappears for a moment, then returns, and whispers in Bruce's ear.

- Begging your pardon, Master Bruce, but there is a situation over at the Waterfall Plaza. .. Two armed men have broken into the Lounge area, and have started a blaze. ... It could be our arsonist friends, Sir.

- Ok, thanks, Alfred. ... Make all my usual excuses. .. I'm on my way. ...

Bruce goes to leave.

- What, ... ALL of them, Master Bruce ?

Bruce heads up to the roof of Wayne Tower, presses some buttons on a pocket remote control device, activates panels, which open, revealing the Batglider and a unit with all the usual attachments for the Batsuit. Soon he is ready for take-off!

Off he heads, out and down towards the nearby Waterfall Plaza. The two 'armed arsonists' are, in fact, two half drunk ex-cons, who have fallen on hard times. They forced their way into the building, and accidentally started a fire ! They are rather frantically trying to escape, and are unarmed !

From above, Batman can see both fire crews and police cars, with a S.W.A.T. team pulling up around the building. Bruce, circling a little, is surprised to see the S.W.A.T. team go in first, into what now is obviously a violent blaze. ... The Officer in charge of the Team talks to his Superior on their comms:

- This is Team Six. No sign of the two hobos, Sir. ... It's getting really hot in here, and we didn't have time to pack our breathers.

- Take them out, Scribbs. ... We've already issued an initial report that they're armed. ... This is the perfect opportunity finally to end the Arson Campaign. ... Do it !

- Roger, ... out.

Batman decides to land on the roof, and look for anyone he can save, thinking that he is up against armed and dangerous men. As he works his way down a burning staircase, he comes across the two poor unfortunates, totally disoriented. He tries to grab one, but he takes a swing at him, and knocks him to the ground. As Batman is in their way, they both launch themselves at him, and there is a short struggle. Suddenly the Team appears.

- That's them, Sergeant, ... Open fire !

Totally shocked, Batman leaps towards the two, and pushes them to the ground. They are both dazed and very frightened. Batman quickly points to the way out upstairs, and says:

- You go that away, I'll draw their fire !

Whereupon, Batman launches a few Batflashes toward the Team, dodges a few bullets, but only just, and makes his way up the stairs after his new-found friends. By now, the fire is way out of control, and Scribbs with his Team have to withdraw. Two members are badly burned, and need urgent paramedic attention. Meanwhile, Batman drags the two men to the Batglider, and, though seriously overweight, it makes a controlled crash landing on the ground, well away from the scene of the fire, and the S.W.A.T. Team.

- Go ! Run ! Get away from here, as fast as you can !... I think it'd be safer for you all round, if you simply disappear.

- Gee, thanks Batman. ... And sorry for ... you know, ... taking a slug at you.

They both run away into the darkness. Batman summons up the Batmobile by remote control, and makes his way home to Wayne Manor.

The next morning, Bruce is having breakfast, reading the paper and chatting to Alfred:

- You know, Alfred, those two guys are lucky to be alive today. That S.W.A.T. Team Leader was ready to shoot first, and ask questions later.

- Perhaps they felt rushed by the heady progress of the fire, Master Bruce.

- Maybe, ... But I've been thinking. ... Don't you find it strange, that we hardly ever find ourselves up against 'regular' criminals ? It's always crazy guys, who don't care if they run the risk of getting shot, or guys like those two, who are too drunk to care ?

- Your Uncle, as you call him, has advocated a 'No Tolerance' approach to Law and Order in the City, Sir.

- Yes he has, Alfred, ... yes he has . ... ( Thinking )

Alfred, too, begins to think about the matter, only with added depth to his thoughts, based on what might be actual memories !

- My God, Alfred !

- What is it, Master Bruce ?

- It's the Crossword ! Look at the clues, Alfred, look at the clues !

Alfred moves and bends down towards the Gotham Times newspaper in Bruce's hands. He reads aloud:

- One across, 'Definitely not indefinite'. ... Three letters. Two across ... 'One who delights in creating conundrums'...Why this is the People's Crossword, Master Bruce, the one that readers of the Paper submit.

- Definitely not indefinite, .. the Definite Article, 'The' !

- Two across ... Riddler !

- Three Down. ...' Intentions '

- Plans !

- Two Down, 'Not to borrow' ... Five letters.

- Steal !... No, it begins with T ...

- To rob !

- 'Belonging to this city,' ... Gotham's !

- 'No prize for coming second'

- First.

- There ! 'Pertaining to one's country', ... National

- Don't keep your money in a hole by a river !

- Bank.

- 'Trapped between yesterday and tomorrow'. ... Today !

- 'The Riddler plans to rob Gotham's First National Bank today' !

- Should we telephone the police, Master Bruce?

- Not just yet, Alfred. I think the priority is to contact Lincoln Oakleaves at the Bank. .. ( He uses his mobile) ... Hello Mr. Oakleaves ...

- Why, that sounds like Bruce Wayne. ... If you are phoning about the message in this morning's crossword, the Police have already been informed. .. Everything's being taken care of ... Thanks very much for your concern, Mr. Wayne. .. I didn't have time to complete the puzzle myself. .. Honestly, you young intellectual types, ... able to do the Crossword in twenty minutes.

- I usually do it in fifteen. .. Incidentally, Mr. Oakleaves, who was it who contacted the Police ?

- Actually, Commissioner Gordon, himself, uncovered the message at his breakfast table. .. Quite convenient really, ... didn't need to phone for the Police at all. ... Everyone's been alerted. .. Our own Security Staff, the regular Police. ... And, even as we speak, there are S.W.A.T. Teams on their way. .. So you need not concern yourself, Mr. Wayne. ... I'm sure everything's under control.

- I'm very glad to hear it, Mr Oakleaves.

- The thing is, what type of idiot actually tells you when he's going to try to rob your Bank ? ... A crazy one, if you ask me.

- I'm sure you're right. ... Bye.

- Goodbye, Mr. Wayne.

- Well, well, well, Alfred, James Gordon beat us to it. It seems that there is even more to our Commissioner of Police than we thought. Who knows, maybe he IS the sort of man Batman could do business with.

- Perhaps, Master Bruce, perhaps. .. But what of the pressing matter in hand ?.. The Police are taking care of the matter I trust ?

- ( Pondering ) Yes, Alfred, ... yes. .. It all seems very peculiar. ... This guy, whoever he is, is very intelligent, if not ultra-intelligent. He's pitting his wits against Oakleaves, against Commissioner Gordon, against Uncle Harvey and against Batman. ... He has too much at stake, too much to lose if he should fail. .. He's got to feel 100% sure of success, and that he has a fool-proof plan.

- Why, Master Bruce, one does believe you are developing a crime-fighting intellect all of your own, .. well and truly. ... Should one prepare the Batmobile, Sir ?

- No, Alfred. I think I'll drive normally to the Wayne Finance Tower, and operate from the air. I'll observe the situation from buildings around the Bank. You monitor all Police communications, and keep me informed.

- As you wish, Master Bruce, as you wish.

Bruce drives off towards Gotham.

Meanwhile, the whole area around the First National Bank is awash and buzzing with Police vehicles and S.W.A.T. Teams. The Bank is located right at the heart of Gotham in the City Square. Local big business owners have refused to close, and remain open for business. The public are mixing freely. The whole situation is one of chaos.

Not too far away, in Police Headquarters, James Gordon is on the phone. He has assumed full personal control of the Operation:

- On my head be it, Mr. Mayor. ... The only problem is the crowds. ... Perhaps you could use your authority, and close down the Square.

- Are you kidding me, Commissioner ? ... Hawkes, Gutter, Scrape, Spratt and Furey. .. They're all my main Backers, and I'm up for re-election next year ! ... Then, there are the voters ! ... Anyway, ... how can you close off the entire centre of Gotham, for what's bound to be one big hoax ?

- I'm not so sure, Mayor Linseed, I'm not so sure. The word on the street is, that we should take this 'Riddler' very seriously, very seriously indeed. ... Very well then, Mr. Mayor, if you insist. We will do our best in the circumstances, as they pertain. Goodbye Mr. Mayor. ... ( To his secretarial assistant ) Officer Perkins, get me Harvey Dent. ...

- Hello, Mr. Dent ? ... No, I'm afraid the Mayor refused. ... Do the best you can, but nothing heavy-handed, you understand.

He hangs up.

- ( Gordon ) Damn ! ….. ( Has a thought or two, then reaches for a rather special mobile phone ! ) …. Hello, Batman ?

- ( Answering on his hands-free car phone. ) Yes, Commissioner. I know all about it. I 'm on my way. ( He hangs up. )

Passing Bruce, along the way to Wayne Manor, is none other than Victoria Bross. Why is she on her way there, I hear you ask. She's a woman, who needs no reason, just pretexts. On this occasion, however, the reason is Alfred !

Bruce reaches the Tower, housing Wayne Investments and Finance, a Company founded by his father, soon after the death of Davis Kyle. It offers loans to the small businessman or private individual, who can't acquire a loan elsewhere, or can't afford regular interest rates.

He enters the building discreetly, and climbs into a service shute ! He keys in the name, 'Meatloaf', ascends at the usual lightning speed, and is soon at the top. Just before he exits, there is a costume unit, that allows him to change into Batman ! He dashes to the edge of the building to observe the scene below, through his ultra-powerful binoculars, again, courtesy of Mr. Lucius Fox. He radios in:

- Anything to report, Alfred ?

- No, everything is absolutely quiet on all police bands, Master Bruce. … Oh, hold on, Sir.

- ( With anticipation.) Yes, Alfred ?

- There is someone at the door. … Apologies, Master Bruce.

He opens the door.

- ( Victoria Bross ) Why, hello, Alfred.

- ( With the slightest semblance of choking ! ) Good Morning, Mrs. Bross. And to what does one owe the pleasure ?

- Oh, Alfred, ( Moving into the foyer, rather seductively. ) I never knew, you considered me a source of pleasure !

She moves to embrace Wayne Manor's Butler !

- Mrs. Bross, please. ... You misunderstand. … ( Not exactly unrattled ! ) One was about to inform one, that the Master of the House is presently in the City, engaged in important business. One was unaware, one was expecting one.

- Why, Alfred. That was a bit of a mouthful ! What is it with all this ' one was unaware one was ' malarkey ?

- Alas, Mrs. Bross, one cannot help the way one speaks.

- Nonsense. I bet ' one ', that if I had ' one ' alone here for the next two hours, I would have ' one ' stop using the word, 'one ' in no time !

- Mrs. Bross !

Meanwhile, Batman is anxiously trying to contact his Butler !

- ( Getting angry.) Alfred ! Where the hell are you ?

As he surveys the walkways below, he can see nothing unusual, at all.

- Alfred !

Suddenly, he spies a man in a green suit, down below. .. He leaps, then swoops down, using a Bat Glider, but, just as he is about apprehend the Riddler, he now sees TWO men in green suits ! …. As he lands, however, after a brief scuffle, he has both in his custody. But, of course, neither are the Riddler ! … Yet, he does recognize them. … They are none other than the two down-and-outs he apprehended the night before !

- What on earth are you doing here, and what's with the green suits ?

- ( One of them.) There was this guy, see. He woke us up at around five in the morning, and offered us money, if we would walk around the City in these suits ! And not just us, he has a few of our friends out there as well. He gave us fifty dollars apiece !

At last, back at Wayne Manor, Alfred is able to wrestle himself away from Victoria Bross, maybe a little reluctantly, but, nonetheless dutifully ! He suggests that she watch the news for a while, while he attends to important duties. He moves quickly to his private quarters, and makes contact with Bruce:

- Apologies, Sir, but one has just been entertaining a most demanding visitor. Has Master Bruce anything to report ?

- Yes, … I have just run into my old friends from last night again, dressed as decoys for the Riddler. I have reason to believe there are more.

- Why yes, Master Bruce, one is picking up police calls, coming in from everywhere in the vicinity. Officers are giving chase. Perhaps, if one were to contact the Commissioner.

- ( Victoria shouting. ) Oh, Alfred, where are you, Alfred ?

- Excuse me, Sir, just one moment.

- Ah, Mrs. Bross.

- I've just been watching the News, .. about this Riddler guy robbing First National Bank. … That's my bank ! They 're calling it, ' The Crossword Bank Robbery '. … Why, only last night I saw my Bank Manager, Mr. Oakleaves, waving his keys around.

- Excuse me, Mrs. Bross ?

- Yes, it was a Magical Act, at the Gala last night. Surely you must have seen it, Alfred. You were there, remember, … the man in the green suit, playing the piano ? … He stepped up, and began his act with Mr. Oakleaves. He made his keys disappear ! Then, two minutes later, after all the panic looking for them, there they were again, in his back pocket, after all. You don't suppose, they could have been the Bank's keys, do you ? Surely, no one could be that stupid !

- Ah, yes, Mrs. Bross. ( Smiling at her ). You really are a most remarkable woman. ...

- Why, thank you, Alfred. ( She reckons, she has chalked up a bit of a success ! ) You aren't too bad yourself !

- Now, if one doesn't mind, I must take my leave, and attend to the preparation of the Master's lunch !

- Why, Alfred. You just employed the First Person Singular, rather than the word, ' One ' !

- Ah, .. so one did. Apologies, a slip of one's tongue. … ( Hurrying her to the door. ) Perhaps another time, Mrs. Bross.

He gets back to his controls.

- Yes, Master Bruce.

- ( Bruce, again angry on his comms.) Alfred, I don't believe this ! … Boy, are you going to have some explaining to do, when I get back. … What do I say to the Commissioner about the Riddler ?

- ( Still a little rattled. ) I am, I mean, one is just running a check on his identity now, Master Bruce. It seems, that the master jazz pianist at the Gala last night may have made copies of some very important keys. I believe the man in question to be … ( As photos from the gala's CCTV footage come up on his personal computer screen, and various files. ) .. none other than a Mr. Edouard Nikma, or Edward Nigma ! … One is sending you a photograph of the suspect now.

- Good work, Alfred. .. That's more like it ! ... E. Nigma, huh ? ... Well, what a coincidence !

Meanwhile, just before she goes to leave in her car, Victoria Bross takes an admiring stroll through the Manor's greenhouses and gardens. She gets a call on her mobile:

- Oh, hi, ma Darlin' ! How are you, and where are you phoning from ? … Really, how wonderful ! You'll never believe where I am, Dear. You would just love to be where I am standing right now !

Meanwhile, Batman makes contact with Commissioner Gordon:

- Commissioner, yes, it's me. I'm sorry, but we have no time to lose. Perhaps it is lost already. Do not pursue any more men dressed in green. They are all decoys. If anything, I fear the Bank has already been robbed, and the Riddler gone. He may well have had copies of the keys.

- Good grief, Batman. What are you saying ? We have had a cordon round that bank, so tight, water couldn't pass through it !

- I fear the Riddler was already there, in the Bank, as the cordon formed, and he has just walked through it and escaped, while we were chasing shadows. I suggest you check the Bank Vaults immediately, Commissioner. And, one other thing, here is a photograph of the man, one Edouard Nikma, I believe.

- Right away. ( And, lifting his more regular phone, he talks to Chief O'Hara. ) Hello, Pat ? I need you to go to the bank vaults immediately. That's an order. I'm also circulating a photo of the suspect to all units.

When O'Hara enters the vaults, accompanied by Oakleaves, the scene greeting them beggars belief ! The Bank has, indeed been robbed. .. Only three boxes have been opened, one belonging to Harvey Dent ! One belongs to Oakleaves, himself, and the other to Cadbury Hawkes ! ... Inside that belonging to Oakleaves, there is a handwritten note, reading:

'Thank you very much, Mr. Oakleaves ( Only the 's' is inverted.), signed, Robin Hood.'

Chief O'Hara reports in immediately: ( Alfred is listening in, using his sophisticated equipment, and relays the information to Batman.)

- ( With a beautiful Irish accent !) Aw now Sir, you're never goin' to believe this, to be sure, but, with all the boxes the man could have opened, he only chose three, and one belongs to the Assistant Commissioner. Now, he thinks he's Robin Hood !

- My God ! ( On the phone again. ) Give me Harvey Dent.

- Mr. Dent ? ... I'm afraid I am the bearer of bad news.

- What kind of bad news ?

- I'm afraid you have been robbed.

- What do you mean, I've been robbed ?

- It looks like the Riddler has been and gone, and he wanted the contents of your safety deposit box, together with those of Oakleaves, himself, and Cadbury Hawkes. It seems, as if he had copies of the keys. … Hello, … Mr. Dent ? … Mr. Dent, are you there ?

Dent is absolutely numb at first, then breaks a pen in his hand, in rage ! He phones Oakleaves:

- What the hell do you think you're playing at ? Call yourself a banker ? I wouldn't trust you with a child's allowance ! !

- Why, Mr. Dent, … I .. I am so sorry. … I had money stolen too, you know.

Dent hangs up, and phones someone, whose identity must, as yet, remain anonymous !

- Hello, it's me. … We have a real problem. .. ( Reconsidering ) I have a real problem. Vital documents have been stolen, ... sensitive files, … and the money has gone too, all $500,000. … ( Dent's voice falters.) Yes, … the money I needed to make the deal, …. all gone. This Riddler has it, … He has it all.

Later on, at Wayne Manor, Bruce is talking with Alfred:

- ( Bruce ) Robin Hood ay? Another guy in green, robbing the rich to give to the poor, while humiliating the Sheriff of Nottingham, and various buffoons, under him, in the process ! Why would he want into Uncle Harvey's Box ?

- Why, indeed, Master Bruce ?

Just then, the News comes on:

Major embarrassment all round today for Lincoln Oakleaves, Commissioner James Gordon and the entire Gotham P.D., after the self-styled Riddler revealed today, in advance, that he was going to rob Gotham's First National Bank, and then proceeded to do it, under their very noses. Oakleaves, it has just been announced, has resigned, and there are now question marks about James Gordon's position, as Commissioner of Police.

- ( Bruce ) Lincoln Oakleaves, I can understand. He was probably due for retirement anyway, but Commissioner Gordon? ... Why, Gotham needs a man like him, always has, and always will.

- One couldn't agree more, Master Bruce.

Just then, Alfred's alarm sounds, indicating a major crisis emerging across Police wave bands. 'Major crisis' happen to be the words that, when used over their radios, triggers his alarm !

- ( Police Radio ) Bomb alert in Gotham City centre, bomb alert ! Evacuate all buildings immediately !

Alfred informs Bruce of the emergency.

- I'm on my way. … This hasn't exactly been a slow day !

Bruce heads into the Library, presses the button on William Shakespeare, drops down the Bat Pole, is costumed up, braces himself, before squeezing his way into the Bat Cave, then drops down the pole to the Bat Rocket, ... Zoom ! !

- ( Alfred on comms. ) According to the Police, someone phoned an anonymous warning about a bomb in the Shopping Mall, the precise whereabouts conveniently undisclosed.

- Maybe it would be an idea to run a security check on all the stores in the Mall on the ' Q ', and run everything by me, when I get there.

- Very well, Master Bruce.

The Rocket takes Batman to an area right below the basement of the Mall. He climbs some sheer rocks that lead up to a manhole cover. The strong hands he developed under Alfred's tutelage, as a boy, are invaluable ! With great stealth, he lifts the cover, and he is in !

- ( Batman ) Hello, Alfred, any word on the security arrangements here ? Just in case the bomb is wired to a security alarm, or something crazy like that. I wouldn't put it passed whoever planted the thing, to be watching from somewhere.

- If there actually is a bomb, Sir.

- Indeed.

- One has been able to ascertain, that all alarms in the building have been disabled, as have all cameras. …. Ah, now that is very interesting, very interesting indeed. .. But Sir is not going to like it. Mm, ... one is not going to like it.

- What is Sir not going to like ?

- In situations like this one, if one finds an odd one out, then that is a good place to start. All the stores in the shopping complex have security contracts with Dentsec, with one exception.

- And that is,

- Nimble Toes, the independent retailer.

- Yes, I know who you mean. Wayne Finances granted them a loan last year. …. Well, much as I hate to cast any aspersions on Uncle Harvey, but here goes. It sure is worth a try. Nimble Toes, here I come. ( He makes his way quickly towards the store. )

The Police have not yet re-entered the complex, after the evacuation.

- Alfred, why are there no police checking the premises ?

- They are waiting for the Bomb Squad, Master Bruce.

- And the Bomb Squad is part of S.W.A.T., and S.W.A.T. is run by Mr. Harvey Dent. This doesn't look good for him, Alfred.

- One thinks not, Master Bruce. It rather grieves one's heart to say.

As he enters the store, he stops in utter amazement, … for there in front of him is the Riddler, in a nice green suit and mask, … and, what is more, he is rather nonchalantly examining a bomb !

- Ah, welcome Batman. Please come in.

- Nikma !

- Oh, very good, Batman. You figured out who I am, and you had the courtesy, to call me by my real name, thank you.

- What are you doing here ? I thought YOU would be long gone by now.

- Well, shall we say, it just so happens, that I discovered from the old bank haul, that a major bomb explosion was scheduled for this evening. The information didn't specify where, but I figured out that it must be here. It's the only store, that doesn't have a security arrangement with Harvey Dent.

Bruce thinks to himself: 'But, it took a quantum computer 3000 times faster than normal computers to provide me with that information, and he worked it out on his own' !

- ( Batman ) Shouldn't we get out of here ? This is a bomb, after all, and, if I'm not mistaken, that little clock under there suggests it is timed to go off sometime soon ! And I for one have never diffused a bomb before.

- Neither have I, but I have read about it. .. Do you have a screwdriver ?

- This is crazy !

- Now, let me see, ... detonator, timer, primer and explosive. ( He pulls out a pair of cutters ! ). Look, if it's too hot for you, you can always scram. I won't hold it against you.

- No, it's okay, ... what the hell ! .. ( Just then, Alfred comes through on his comms. Bruce replies:) .. It's okay, it's okay, everything's under control here. … Will get back to you in five.

- ( While feeling and examining all around the bomb. ) Ah, so even Batman has a Mission Control, huh ?

- You could say that. .. But, what about earlier today, what was that all about ? That was some job, by the way, not that I can condone it in any way.

- Call it killing four birds with the one stone. … I get rid of two incompetent fools like Oakleaves and Gordon, get the low down on Dent, and cream off an obscene amount of money from shifty old Hawkes, for the treatment of kids with special needs, minus a small discount for myself, of course ! I didn't expect to find Five Hundred Grand in Dent's Deposit Box, though.

- James Gordon is nobody's fool. He was the first in Gotham to complete your crossword.

- Really ? … I under-estimated him, then.

- You might say that.

- Ah ha ! ! ! ( As he tests the consistency of the explosives. ) Very interesting, very interesting indeed.

- What is it ?

- Dent is employing some bomb-maker now ! Usually the primer charge is way smaller than the big one, but this is the other way round. .. This is E5, activated by extreme heat, but, when it goes, it GOES ! The big charge is mainly Napalm-based. It will provide the heat !

- So what do we do ?

- We slip the smaller charge, that's the E5, off the big one, throw the rest into the street outside, and run like crazy !

- But we warn the Officers and Fire Crews waiting down there first, right.

- Right

Just then, Batman gets a call on his Hotline:

- Hello, Commissioner. … Yes, I am aware of the situation. … I think I have it well under control. … Have everyone evacuated from the lane behind Nimble Toes. .. There's going to be quite a display !

- ( The Riddler ) Ah, I see what you mean about Gordon. … Privately enlisting the help of Gotham's most trusted protector ! … You're right. I was wrong about him. But I WAS right about Dent.

- But, there have never been any bombs like this before. This is the first one. … Up until now, it has always .. (Beginning to realize.) .. been … fires. ….Oh my God, Harvey Dent, the Assistant Commissioner of Police, is the Incendiary of Gotham !

- Very good, Batman. … The money I found must have been for the Bomb-Maker, for a new contract. ... ( Taking a deep breath. ) …. Well, Batman, .. are we all okay down below ?

- ( Opening the window, and looking out.) We're okay !

- Then, here goes !

The Riddler lifts away the smaller charge, and hurls the rest of the bomb out the window ! They both run like crazy !

Booooooom ! ! ! ! !

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