"You're choosing to leave?"
His hand clasped tightly on to the small fragile hand. He responded, "No, Mel. I'd never leave you on purpose."
Mel inched closer by him, "What happens if they adopted you, Robin? What if I never see you again?" John glanced over to the only person that wasn't afraid to befriend him when he first came to Swithin's Orphanage sponsored by the Wayne Foundation. Of course, it made him curious that she choose him to talk too, even though she never interacted with no one else.
He said determined, "I promise I'm going to see you again. I'll run away if I have too."
Mel shook her head making a piece of her light red hair fall in front of her sad expression. She responded sadly, "Don't. I don't want you to run away from them. Just promise to visit me." Her hazel green eyes locked onto his and he said, "I promise, Mel."
Mel stuck out her pinky finger and added on, "Pinkie promise?"
His lips pulled into a small smile, "Pinky promise."
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
John's fist slammed into the alarm he set for the day. The dream of Pamela had been haunting him the past months when hearing about her death. The obituary told the public, Pamela had died after a fatal accident in the laboratory facility where she had dedicated seven years of her life too. Dr. Woodrue, her fiancé and leader of the project, had nearly escaped the chemical spill.
John slowly sat up in his bed rubbing his eyes from the sunlight escaping the blinds. 6:30 a.m.
Stretching his arms over his head, he jumped to the floor doing his routine of six sets of twenty push ups.
"John, please remember that the auction is tonight. Daddy won't be impressed if you ditch us again." A blond woman in a tight black dress entered out of the bathroom.
John nodded his head and replied, "I'll be there Sylvia."
She bent down to him and whispered, "On time?"
He smiled a little, "Yes."
Sylvia's recently applied pink lip stick pressed against his cheek pleased with his response. "Alright, I'll be off with the girls. See you at 7."
Sylvia walked out of their apartment and before continuing his reps, John took the remote control and punched a code. Suddenly the ordinary picture of two boring guitars transformed into a map of the city, pin pointing the recent activity on the police scanner. "Welcome back Mr. Blake. What can I do for you today?"
Getting back on the floor, he said, "Loretta, I need something to wear tonight."
His closet doors opened and began to spin his clothes around the rack. "Shall I place out something in style or your horrid of a pick, sir?"
John gave a small chuckle, "Fox really out did himself giving you a sarcastic side. My usual, please."
"Yes, sir. Shall I get your transportation ready too, Mr. Blake?" John got up and wiped the sweat off his brow with a towel.
"Yes, I'll be leaving shortly. Loretta, contact Barbara."
The line connected and his voice was disguised by the system. A woman began to say, "Hello, Nightwing. Up to give me another challenge?" Barbara Gordon is one of the best hackers in the world. Of course, her father pretends not to know what she does in her spare time. And let's just say he gave Barbara the idea to use that time more wisely by helping out Nightwing.
"I need you to pull up any files you can find on Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley and Dr. Jason Woodrue."
The screen started to rapidly display articles that contained anything about their names. Barbara began to inform, "Okay I'm sending over all recorders and articles I can pull up those two."
He heard her rolling chair creak as she said, "Wow this girl had it rough. She had been taken by social services after her father was sentenced to jail for killing his wife." She had add in a low, compassionate whisper, "The poor thing, there must have been all kinds of abuse."
John glanced down at his hands. Mel was a survivor. Her raging drunk of a father would beat up his wife until she was passed out, then it'd be Mel's turn. That continued up until she had turned fourteen, the day she watch her mother die and she nearly escaped.
He unclenched his fist at just the thought of her going into details of the pain she endured in that broken home.
"....She has a juvenile criminal record. She had been sentenced to a youth detention center in Gotham for delinquent acts during her protests. Miss Isley was charged for breaking and entering and destruction of private property on the many manufacturing companies. Uh…."
John asked as he was scanning an article of her father, Victor Carl Isley, "What?"
Barbara stated, "Her last attack at Cornels Corporation, Miss Isley had been seriously injured and taken to the hospital after being exposed to a chemical agent they were using to get rid of their plant matter. Six months she had been treated in the hospital and Dr. Kindle was about to pull the plug when she made a miraculous turn around in recovery."
"Did the doctors report anything with health issues?"
"Hold on, let me try to find out," she said with a little bit of clicking on her keyboard.
John clicked onto another article and read on about her choosing to study advance botanical biochemistry at the university and graduated with a PH.D and the highest honors. He could still remember hearing the echo of the stereo speakers repeat her beautiful empowering speech as valedictorian.
"Alright, I've checked and they say she was healthy as a horse." After a few minutes she asked, "Did you read anything on Dr. Woodrue yet?"
John answered, "Not yet."
She sighed and responded sarcastically, "God you're slow."
"I'm taking my time and looking over all the details."
She said, "Well I'll inform you, Dr. Woodrue, he was brought up in Manhattan, N.Y. Wealthy no less and got into Harvard University. Got his doctor's degree in botanical biochemistry and became head of Sidon Facility. Shortly after, Miss Isley got an internship with Dr. Jason Woodrue. She worked at Sidon Facility for seven years until the chemical spill.
"Any details on that? Or the facility?"
Clicking noises were being heard over the speaker phone call. After a few minutes Barbara said frustrated, "There is literally nothing. All I can find is the general information of it being a chemical spill that killed 15 workers. The facility itself has been shut down. Where this place is or who even ran it, I have no clue."
"So the files are being hidden?"
"No, hidden files I can find. These files have to be permanently destroyed."
John glanced down to the last article and read about how after the incident, Dr. Woodrue had won the noble prize for his recent vaccine discovery to fight off cancer.
"I ask, what is the relevance here?"
John thought bitterly as his emptiness was becoming an obsession to know everything about Mel's disappearance. He sighed and added a reasonable excuse, "There have been eight killings the past three weeks. I was wondering if her death could be related."
Barbara replied, "Hmm…I don't think so. The unsub has been only targeting men. Men that are owners of high, rich corporations." Barbara added intrigued, "Though it is strange the one target was David Kinder. He doesn't fit the profile."
"What was his job?"
"He work part time in retail. It was his wife, Jane Kinder that owned the whole retail store and other corporations. Here I'll send the article." An article popped up that Jane had survived with her two children, though the father had been poisoned to death in a hotel.
Barbara yawned and said, "Do you know the reporters have given our murder a name? Poison Ivy."
He said confused, "Poison Ivy?"
She said excited, "Oh, something the mysterious Nightwing doesn't know. Apparently the suspect has been poisoning their victims."
She replied, "Actually digested. They believe the suspect is a woman. She leaves red lipstick on them." John said as he re-bandaged his recent bruise ribs.
"And you can't find any leads as to why she's been choosing these victims?"
Barbara cleared her throat and replied, "Honestly, I haven't a clue. All I know is she's hitting high rich men around Gotham."
"Has any of the victims done business with each other before?"
She laughed as she search. "I can always check babe." After another couple of minutes she muttered, "Interesting. There has been frequent contact."
"Can you do a cross check and see if anyone else that is alive and had that same business interaction?"
"Already on it. Wow. There's only three left that she can hit. I'll send you a list of the residents that fit this connection in Gotham."
"Thank you," John said clicking to another article.
"No problem. I have to go now. Talk to you later?"
"Yeah, I'll call you if I get a lead."
Barbara was disconnected and a list of names began to print. Scanning down, he recognized all the names.
Bruce Wayne Enterprise. "I don't think he's in any danger," John mumbled.
Jason Woodrue. "I know there has to be a connection." He sat down staring at the name, but nothing was clicking.
The last name on the list caught him by surprise. Jack Hixson. "Sylvia's father?"
John said looking up at his suit, "I guess I won't be late for his boring party this time."