Lightest of Nights: A Deck of Minds
A Trip to Take
He was attentive to the one who took center stage, ready to hear what it was he had to share.
"It's just as I had expected," Flash began. "Central City is the location for where your guy has been getting his stuff produced."
He was surprised to learn this, but didn't allow it to be expressed in the least. "Is that right?"
"I infiltrated the place ten minutes ago, it was all there," Flash added. "From the supplies they were using to produce the toxin, along with a list of all upcoming shipments."
He lightly chuckled for what he was to be conveyed next. "Now here is the funny part.. depending what you consider humorous this might not be funny at all," Flash continued with a sudden pause. "Crane was nowhere to be found, or anyone for that matter."
There was an awkward shift in his eyes to see in light of receiving this news. "What?"
"It is just as it sounds."
He was finding this hard to believe. "Are you certain of this?"
"I searched the lab up and down, and then some."
"I see," Bruce said. Silence fell between the two for seconds to come. He took the time to process everything collected to this point before speaking further. "Tell me about the scheduled shipments you obtained."
"Yea, about that," Flash replied laughing softly. "There's just one problem."
"I've tried, but haven't been able to open any of the files as of yet."
"Then how did you come to conclude that they have a set schedule for shipments for Crane's toxin?"
"There are names on each folder that were found on the hard drive I took from the facility, each folder is encrypted with a password," Flash informed. "And since that is the case we won't be able to open any of the files until the."
"Security lock is bypassed." Bruce interjected.
"The detective marks his spot."
"Send me all files now," Bruce instructed. "I'll have everything decoded before."
"Already did," Flash noted. "The second I made contact with you was the moment all collected data was forwarded to you."
"Is there anything else I should know?"
"Besides the files and the chemicals discovered there was something else I came across," Flash conveyed. "Something that not only pertains to Central City but Gotham as well, this whole thing is a lot deeper than just the selling and shipping of Dr. Crane's fear toxin."
"I can't confirm anything at this exact moment," Flash said in response. "But if I wind up with something concrete on my hunch you can be rest assured you'll be the first one to hear from me."
"If you have nothing more, I'd like to focus my efforts on getting these files open."
The man in a suit of gold and red nodded. "Good luck."
"Wait.." Bruce said with another thought coming to mind.
"What is it?"
"Have you alerted the police about your findings?"
"No, you're the first to learn of the situation," Flash answered. "I'm going to call and inform them as soon as."
"Don't," Bruce interrupted. "If the police are to learn of this matter all details are bound to be released to the public, that would give Crane the chance to adjust any further plans he may have."
"You're right," Flash said coming to the same realization. "This also in affect gives us the advantage, we could plan an approach f surprise."
There was now a clear understanding between them. "Keep me informed, Flash out."
The transmission between the two ended, leaving the large monitor above blank. He immediately opened a new window which showed he had a newly received message.
"There it is," Bruce said opening the message to find the content inside. "Here are the files Barry sent."
"I find this all to be rather intriguing, don't you sir."
His comments led to him shifting in position, slightly turning in the chair to glimpse back at him. "What do you mean?"
"You and Mr. Allen," Alfred clarified. "Outside of your work with the League you both rarely find yourselves intertwined in a mission that calls for a correlation between you two."
"That may be true, but when a situation arises such as this I'm open collaborating with Barry," Bruce said in response to this. "He's a detective in his own right, and is excellent in his studied field of forensics."
"As are you."
"Time is our greatest challenge," Bruce said turning back for the computer. "I need to decode these files as soon as possible."
The search had been launched. They waited patiently with an anticipation that could clearly be felt among them. The amount of time that passed since beginning was uncertain. His hands were now down at his side, all attention on the screen as the given search seemingly came to an end with a small list of results coming in.
"Is this it?"
"Yes," Hiroshi replied as he looked over the listed names. "From what you diagnosed earlier the list has now been narrowed down to four companies, three in Tampa with only one registering from Gotham."
"An improvement," Conan acknowledged as he crossed of his arms over his chest. "But we've still got a ways to go, finding out which company is behind the shipments is our ultimate goal."
He couldn't agree anymore. "Which would you prefer we start with?" Hiroshi asked.
"The obvious is Gotham, being that only one result came up in its corner we may be able to eliminate that city from the equation completely pending what we learn about the company in question," Conan replied. "That would then lead us with only Tampa Florida to focus on."
"Excellent decision Shinichi, I'm inclined to agree."
With the decision made he clicked on the link which resided under the line which read 'Gotham'. After doing so a new page appeared, one which revealed the title of the company.
"Wayne Enterprises," Conan read as he uncrossed his arms. There was an immediate familiarity, one which he voiced. "I've heard of some of their services they have to offer, particularly with their technology and aerospace programs."
"There is a full list of all services here," Hiroshi pointed out with a move of the computer mouse. "Why don't we take a look?"
There was no reason not to, standing there as a new window popped up with a list to show. "Wow, this list is longer than I had been expecting." Conan admitted. What was at the top was the two branches that had already been mentioned.
"So we have Wayne Industries, Electronics, a medical department," Hiroshi began as his eyes traced down the list. "Then there's a research institute, there is even a couple running foundations."
The broad list brought much to consider. He looked over each titled branch individually, mentally subjecting them in line with the case they now found themselves intertwined with.
"Wayne Chemicals," Conan pointed. This was definitely one that caught his interest. "Take us to that page."
"As you wish." Hiroshi said complying with what was asked of him.
After navigating to another page a description was given about Wayne Chemicals. He raised a hand to his chin as he began reading through the information.
He watched him the entire time as he did. "So what do you think?" Hiroshi asked looking back at him.
"It appears Wayne Chemicals is primarily a development and research firm, and not what I was expecting initially."
"And what do you make of that?"
"Even so Wayne Enterprises can't be eliminated from consideration," Conan responded. "Let's shift our focus on those who run and operate the company."
"In the case of that don't you think we should begin from the top?"
"That would be a good start, yes." Conan replied in agreement.
"There's none higher on that list than the owner of the company himself, Bruce Wayne," Hiroshi noted. "Whether he's someone we should suspecting in the spread of this new drug is another question in itself."
"Until further notice everyone in high position will be in consideration," Conan declared. "That goes for the other three companies as well."
"I expected that much."
"We know he owns the company in name, but is it also true he runs the daily operations?" Conan asked.
He navigated once more, heading back to the main page which featured the sought information. Once there it didn't take long for a name to be spotted with the listed position. "It says here the company's operations are mainly handled by a man named Lucius Fox," Hiroshi pointed. "Which isn't all that surprising, it is common that owners of large corporations leave the running of their business to others."
".. I see."
"So, what do you think?"
"Wayne Enterprises is definitely worth looking into," Conan concluded. "But before we go any further with our investigation I would first like to have a look at the other companies, the sooner we can get the list narrowed down the better."
"Then let us continue."
The decision was anonymous.
"I'll find out what's going on, the reveal of the truth is inevitable."
For most a task such as this would be considered a top end difficulty, a skill which required a substantial amount of time to master. To his credit this was something he had put much time into. It was due to this fact that an ending was reached within a short period. He opened the sitting folder with the click of a button.
"It's all here," Bruce announced. "The Scarecrow's toxin has been being distributed in high quantities throughout several regions of the world just as I had predicted."
"How soon until the next load is shipped out?" Alfred asked upon hearing this.
He continued to the next line of information to find out just that.
"Less than two hours from now," Bruce informed. "Lucky for us they're shipping the toxin from the Gotham airport which means I'll be able to get there in time to intercept the load."
"What airline is being used to ship the gas?"
He clutched his right fist after reading over the next bit of information, keeping his eyes to the screen as he conveyed the information to him with a subtle bitterness in tone. "They're using a private plane, one from Wayne Electronics."
His eyes widened after learning this. "What?!"
"I for one didn't authorize this," Bruce stated. He stood up from the chair with an added motivation. "That's a question in itself, one which I don't have the time to dwell on momentarily."
"What now Master Bruce?"
"What needs to be done, I'm going to board that plane," Bruce declared. "I need to know who is receiving the toxin and who's buying, above all I need to confirm that what was decoded from those files is true."
"You have your doubts?"
"Flash said Crane nor anyone else was at the site when he infiltrated the place," Bruce reminded. "Something isn't adding up."
"What about the plane, how do you plan on entering without being seen?"
"I've got an idea or two," Bruce assured. He faced him with intent now burning in his eyes. "Alfred, I want you to call Wayne Enterprises to schedule a meeting for tomorrow evening."
"For what reason?"
"I need an alibi."
He was confused now more than ever. "I don't understand?"
"I'll explain later," Bruce promised. "If they ask for what reason, tell them it's to address the incident that occurred at Skytale."
"Understood sir," Alfred said with the nod of his head. "I do have one final question."
"What is it?"
"Where is the fear toxin being shipped," Alfred asked. "Where will your travels be taking you?"
He turned to face him with two words to give. "Novosibirsk, Russia."
There was nothing to see or predict. And how could there be? As it stood there was only a blank board that sat atop the table in front of him, not a single piece had yet to be set in place. It wasn't a matter of when it would begin, because it already had. The only thing to remain was to stamp everything to where it was in their favor, no.. to where victory was guaranteed. The silence of this very thought was broken by the crack of the door on the far end of the room, bringing in a small streak of light in its wake. There was no denying the presence of another, tilting his head with an obvious irritation with the first words to give.
"I see you've returned, how did your... presentation go?" He inquired.
"I have been accepted," A voice of another spoke pleased to announce. "I did what was required, the Organization was nothing short of impressed."
"Outstanding Tia.." They began only to be cut off.
"It is Horilka now."
Nothing was spoken for many seconds. "With this our plan can now move forward."
"My base of operation requires a presence in Japan, will that be a problem?" Horilka asked.
"No, not at all," He answered. "We will do what we must to see our vision through."
"Even so we must remain weary; it will only be a matter of time before he suspects."
Moments passed following the spoken. "I've already accounted for the, Sleeping Kogoro," He insisted. "When the green light hits, him nor anyone else will have a clue as to what is going on; not with all eight phases that have been put into play."
"So what's our plan once I've taken out the visionary, will we spring our entrance then?"
"Your comprehension of my words fall short, it only begins there," He continued. "When all hits the entire world will feel the affects of the change to come, and when that occurs not even the Earth's so called defenders will be able to stop the chain reaction; in short laying seed for another symbol in the form of our cause."
"We do not have the means to take on the League, or even a nations army for that matter," Horilka quickly reminded. "We are in no position to allow arrogance to cloud."
"Patience," He interrupted. "While the structure of your mind might be primitive in nature, you too will come to understand that no matter what they do they won't be able to fight us.. for my dear, we will be one of them."
To Be Continued