Lightest of Nights: A Deck of Minds
Piece to the Puzzle
Could it be any more climatic? The stakes were on the brink of peaking over the edge. One move right or wrong would ultimately decide the outcome to an end for an encounter that had seemingly carried on for a lifetime. Only a distance and the darkness of the shadows that peered stood between him and the chased. And with the gap closing with each moment there was still the fact of the unknown, a path which lead only to that of the faceless.
He was close. A scent came on strong from the surrounding area. A cool breeze blew in the opposite direction, whispering as if to convey a message.. a warning? All seemingly slowed to the mind; feeling as if each step taken was in an eternity in itself. A heart leaped at the excitement of the chase.
Had they truly heard the call of the one they pursued, or was it his own beat that had rung clear to him? A disturbance launched from within, finding his legs depart as he fell forward with the clutch of his chest. There was no stopping the fall to the ground, toppling to his backside with a wail of pain to release. It was here that a wetness fell from above, an obvious drizzle of rain which seemed only there as a means of taunting. The sharpness in his chest only broadened, watching as a dark figure appeared, standing over him with a plain look to express. There was nothing to make out, nothing but those dark eyes that seemed to gaze right into his soul, a stare which sent a shock through his heart which snapped him back into reality.
He pushed up with the open of his eyes, coming to a realization that couldn't be more comforting. "A dream… just another dream." The room was nearly pitch dark, the only lighting coming from the moon that peaked in through the window deeper into the room. It was only at this moment that he found his right hand gripped to his chest just as it had in the dream, lowering it as he took a deep breath of sighing realization. "That's the third one in the last two weeks.."
He closed his eyes for several seconds, reopening them shortly after. He shifted in position to glance over at the digital clock aside the bed.
The day had gone, his time had come. As he stepped out of bed a knock could be heard at the door on the far side of the room. "I'll be there in just a moment." He grabbed hold of a pair of pants and a shirt that had been sitting atop the dresser on his way across. Once the door was reached he opened it to a routine greeting.
"Good evening Master Wayne, I take it your rest was serviceable?"
Pulling the shirt over his head he responded. "Alfred, has there been an update on the situation in the last hour?"
"No," The trusty butler replied. "The investigation is still pending."
His eyes narrowed in contemplating fashion. ".. I see."
"You don't sound surprised."
"When it comes to Crane, there's bound to be a crossroads."
With nothing further to add he turned for the left side, beginning to walk down the long dark hall as his hands found place in his pockets. "Master Wayne, where are you going?" Alfred inquired.
It was now time to clear out all doubts and anything that cluttered the path from the truth itself. There was only one thing that mattered, the mission, one which now found its path tangled with a face a familiarity. It was not only dark but relatively silent as he walked along, hearing only the occasional sound of the wind that soared by from the outsides of the mansion. He slightly leaned forward in position after beginning his ascension down the staircase to the floor below. There was a growing fear of uncertainty to be felt with each passing moment, something he couldn't quite grasp his conscious around for why. Was there any true barring to it?
The main floor was reached with yet another step taken, immediately turning his attention left to a door directly across the way. "Almost there." The door was reached a short time after. He opened the door to find himself in the room the 'family' had come to know as 'The Study'. There would be no stopping there. He made way toward a large Grandfather Clock, one which stood even over him in height. He stopped, taking note of the presence of another in the room.
"Will you be coming down as well, Alfred?" Bruce asked turning back to see him standing in the doorway.
"Not my intent sir," Alfred replied. "There's actually something else I wanted to bring to your attention."
"A business concern," Alfred informed. "A message was left for you from a representative at Wayne Enterprises detailing an incident that they felt should be brought to your attention."
He paused at the thought of it. There was already a lot on his plate, but he had a feeling this was something that should not be ignored. "Come," Bruce said turning back for the clock. "You can tell me all about it down in the cave."
The details had been discussed in full, both were now on the same page pertaining to the situation. All deaths were gone over in full, keeping note of all important details which included; time of death, location, and the age of each of the victims. In each case there was nothing decisive to determine. The time and place for where each of the deceased was discovered was different in all cases, the age range varied on a large scale. He tapped his right index finger upon his left wrist after learning of this. It was frustrating not to have any solid leads; with what they had there wasn't much they could do to counter this current epidemic.
"So that's it," He began after looking up from where he stared. "That's the only information we have on this new drug?"
"Afraid so," Miwako replied from where she sat now in front of his desk. "Based from the results of the autopsies that were done on each of the deceased the only thing that can be determined is that all victims ultimately passed due to heart failure."
"The key element being fear, we can't forget that," Kiyonaga said quick to remind. "You said it yourself, all who died might have experienced severe episodes of an inner fear or phobia which resulted in the heart attacks."
"While that seems to be the case," Miwako agreed. "There's still room for other possibilities. The only certainty is that none of the victims were in the right state of mind leading up to their deaths."
"I'm almost certain you wouldn't have brought all this information to my attention unless you had some plan for action."
"A fair assumption," Miwako replied not denying the claim. "Here's the thing, the first steps taken in this operation will be vital to success."
"Agreed, but first there's something I'd like for you to do Sato," Kiyonaga began with a pause. "As we know this drug came into the light in this past month."
"That is correct."
"With that known fact we have a timetable for when the drug was in all likelihood first being distributed," Kiyonaga continued. "And since we have knowledge of this, we might have an idea for when an appearance was made."
"I don't quite understand."
"Let's skip the small talk and get straight to the point, here's what I want you to do," Kiyonaga announced leaning forward in his position. "Pull up all records that you can in the last two months."
"Files detailing information for any outsiders who came to Japan within a two month period, specifically for those who have made several trips back and forth," Kiyonaga replied. "And after you've successfully done that, we'll narrow down the list by process of elimination."
The names had already been chosen and stamped to the front; all that remained was to determine which one was the true beginning for where it had spawned. This was the only thing on his mind, looking further into the matter while his eyes traced from one end of the screen to the other. There wasn't much that could serve as a distraction, one exception being that of the sound of the doorbell.
He immediately put a hold to his searches upon hearing this. "That must be him." He hurried toward the door, not wanting to keep them waiting. One quick move was made to open the door, looking downward to see him standing there with that same inner intensity that always showed when the situation called for it.
"Shinichi," Hiroshi welcomed. He opened the door wide following this. "Come in."
He nodded, accepting the invitation in. "Have you made any progress since the last time we spoke?"
"Unfortunately not," Hiroshi replied closing the door after watching him step through. "At least not yet."
He removed his shoes before surveying the room with an inquiring look forming. "Where is Haibara?" Conan asked looking up at him.
"Still asleep." Hiroshi informed before making a move back for the other end of the room.
"That's the late hours for you," Conan smilingly noted as he followed at his side. "Either way let's get started, we can always get her up to date on any new information gathered."
Once the computer was reached he took a seat in the chair as he had before. "So tell me," Conan asked with the cross of his arms. "What have you been looking into while I was on my way here?"
"Shipments," Hiroshi answered. "All shipments from both Tampa and Gotham; in correlation with Novosibirsk of course."
"And how many companies came up in your cross-reference?"
"Too many," Hiroshi simply put. "We're going to need to substantially narrow the list down if we're going to make any real progress."
"Large cooperation's, ones that have a record for doing overseas business in large," Conan conceptualized uncrossing his arms. "Let's focus on those types of companies first."
"Are you sure?"
He couldn't be any more confident, nodding his head confidently. "If my hunch is correct, we'll have this case closed in no time."
There was only one face to be seen documented on the large screen above. Below the visual was an extended list of successful heists, each detailing the many different tactics used in each case to obtain what was taken. His name sat at the very top of the page, one which he read aloud as if to greet someone for the first time.
"Precisely sir," Alfred said from his position aside the chair. "He's the famous thief of Japan."
"Many claim his actions are run by nothing but the thrill of the chase," Bruce said voicing his knowledge of the Kid thief. He eased back in the seat as he thought deeper on the matter. "Kaitou Kid adventures are typically within the borderlines of Japan."
"He has traveled overseas before in regard to his activities if he sees fit," Alfred quickly noted. "Which reminds me of another night dweller I'm familiar with."
Ignoring the obvious comparison he continued. "I'm aware of Kaitou's out of state travels," Bruce acknowledged. "His latest actions have managed to graze the boarder of my radar due to his infiltration of the Skytale building in Japan."
"Yes, the museum funded heavily by Wayne Enterprises," Alfred pointed out. "Not to mention the buildings surveillance is tied to the company as well."
"Which leaves a big question mark as to how he bypassed security, and escaped for that matter," Bruce said bringing a hand to his chin. "Furthermore the diamond he came to seize was left in the wake of it all, but why... the move makes little sense, why go through all the trouble only not to collect?"
"Perhaps there's more to the story than we know?"
"Maybe… or it could be the police are withholding additional information," Bruce stated. "Information they're still in the process of examining."
"It sounds to me like you've taken an interest in this case?"
"I don't have time to be chasing down thieves, there are immediate matters that are far more important here in Gotham," Bruce relayed in response. "However I will keep an eye on the situation in the case things.. escalate."
"I'd find it hard not to agree," Alfred said. "For starters you've yet to track down Scarecrow, or figure out the reasoning behind his latest moves."
"Tomorrow will make a month and two weeks since he's been on the loose," Bruce reminded. He lowered his hand from his chin. "And already he's taken large strides, globally."
"Yes, from the reports coming in from the international news stations Cranes fear toxin has shown up in South America, a few locations in Europe, and Japan," Alfred detailed. "Unfortunately for most, they have no knowledge on how to combat the toxin."
"I've already put a plan in place to get the vaccine out there, however to truly end this we need to find the source," Bruce declared. "Which means determining the location of where his fear toxin is being produced; and where he is shipping the product out from."
"That would seem to be the inquire of the day, since finding out about the gas's shipment internationally two days ago," Alfred began. "You've searched the city from top to bottom with no leads to gain."
"This is why collaboration is needed." Bruce devised.
"What do you mean?"
It was with that question posed that an alert came upon the computer screen, one which read 'Incoming Transmission'.
"It's him." Bruce said after sighting the number.
"Who is it?" Alfred asked.
"An outside source."
The call was accepted, both watching as a familiar face appeared on the large screen. "Batman," A man in a suit of red and lighting yellow spoke. "It's me, I've got an update for you."
His eyes perked in surprise. "The Flash, well this is unexpected." Alfred voiced.
"It has been two days," Bruce said easing back in the chair once again. "What do you have for me Allen?"
"Something you'll be interested in knowing."
"Alright then," Bruce said handing the floor over to him. "Tell us what you've learned."
To Be Continued