Post by Admin on May 4, 2018 23:43:17 GMT -5
Issue #28: “High Road”
Story by Ellen Fleischer
Beta Read by Kathy, Debbie, and PJ
Edited by Mark Bowers
Story by Ellen Fleischer
Beta Read by Kathy, Debbie, and PJ
Edited by Mark Bowers
Let another law-abiding slob take the high road.
There's no way you can thrive and keep honesty alive
Try to scale the moral peak and never backslide
Those with all the power in their hands
Get the law to bow to their demands
—Jill Santoriello, “No Honest Way”
Batman smiled as the metal cuff opened with a faint click. As usual, the goons had taken his belt and patted him down for weapons, but missed the lockpicks in the lining of his gloves.
Bruce had taught him a valuable lesson: never keep all your valuables in the same place. On business trips, Bruce carried no fewer than three wallets: one for credit cards, one for traveler’s checks, and one for cash. The first was always kept in an outer pocket, the second in an inner, and the third in some secret compartment where most pickpockets would never dream of looking. Similarly, he stored his equipment in various pockets, pouches, and hidden compartments within his suit, boots, cowl, gloves, and cape—and he’d ensured that Dick learned do the same.
So, once the taser shock had worn off, it had only taken Dick about a minute to get the cuff off. He was still stuffed in a sleeping bag, ropes encircling it and holding his arms to his sides, but the outer bag fabric was slippery and Dick found that he could wriggle about just fine inside the bag as the ropes slid around on its surface. The bag smelled musty, as though it had been lying in storage for a while and never aired, but it wasn’t that bad. He rubbed at his wrist to restore circulation faster and, once the pins-and-needles feeling was gone, worked a batarang out of a concealed pocket and began sawing away at the fleece inner-lining of the bag. Truth be told, he wasn’t anxious to escape his captors. He wanted to locate the Mad Hatter and if he stuck with these goons, it seemed like he was going to get his wish. He just needed to be certain that he ended the meeting without getting hatted in the process...
Oswald Cobblepot, known to some as the Penguin, allowed himself a small smile. Normally, he preferred to play his cards much closer to the chest; if his informants realized how important their intelligence was, they tended to haggle more closely. That always left him with two choices: pay the higher price and let them think that they could extort more from him on a regular basis, or make examples of them, and know that he would be blocking one of his better sources for intel.
However, he was currently in the middle of one of the best nights in recent memory. Batman had been neutralized and was on his way toward becoming one of the Mad Hatter’s new thralls. His minions had recently delivered the week’s take from his shakedown and protection rackets. And now, one of his most recently-employed informants had just handed him the kind of tip that he was lucky to procure once in two years. “A child?” he inquired, feeling only the slightest annoyance at the realization that his poker face had slipped badly. “His?”
Mr. Fixx hesitated. “Not yet verified. What has been confirmed has been that Selina Kyle left Wayne Manor, ostensibly on an errand, and returned there some two hours later. While we can’t ascertain how long she was at the manor prior to leaving it, I’ve been watching her apartment and she hasn’t been there in several weeks. Her mail is piling up. Her voice mail is empty, but all that proves is that she’s been checking it. We should also keep in mind that Wayne legally adopted a circus orphan and a street kid. Made them both his heirs. I’d say that under the circumstances, it may not matter whether the girl is his biological daughter, so long as he regards her as part of his family.”
Cobblepot grunted agreement. “He does have a penchant for picking up strays, doesn’t he?” He fixed sharp eyes on his companion. “Has he redrafted his will?”
“Unknown,” Fixx admitted. “Wayne’s known legal dealings have been with Rachel Green and Associates. She represented him several years ago, during the Fairchild matter. I was able to enlist one of my... contacts to check her office files after hours. She turned up a copy of an old will which divided Wayne’s estate equally between the two youths. After his younger son died, Wayne drew up a new will, naming the elder as his sole heir. To date, that is the most recent version in her files, however, we can’t discount the possibility that Wayne has filed a later will with a different firm. Or she may be working on a new will with him at this very moment. Or he’s deliberately avoiding the issue in hopes of keeping the child’s existence secret. Recall that when he drew up the earlier documents, his activities were not so well-publicized.”
“True, true,” Cobblepot said, stroking his chin. His expression grew calculating. “So, you’d like my assistance in corroborating your theory.”
Fixx shrugged. “It crossed my mind.”
“And if I don’t help you, you’ll run crying to Mannheim and Intergang.” He smiled at Fixx’s shocked face. “I investigated you carefully before allowing you into my office,” he said. “Oh, don’t worry, my good man. I have no problem with Intergang increasing their presence in Gotham... so long as they pay their cut, like all the other business organizations. Be good enough to convey that information to them when you contact them next, won’t you?” His eyes narrowed. “And let me know how they react.”
Fixx returned the smile. “Of course,” he said mildly. “And with regard to the other matter?”
A hostess entered the office, set a plate of hors d’oeuvres down on the desk, and retreated without a word. Penguin paid her no attention. He appeared to be debating something in his head. “I may have a buyer for that information. I’m sure that you’re aware of a price that’s been placed on the current Batman’s head?”
“Oh?” Penguin fussed with his monocle to try to hide his surprise. “Do tell.”
“Let’s just say, I try to fly under the radar when it comes to Bats. That’s why I’ve managed to avoid a criminal record thus far, while so many of my companions haven’t.”
“Ah.” He picked up a piece of prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe and sucked it off the toothpick. “I understand your reasoning,” he said through his mouthful, “though I do think you should reconsider. What you have is precisely the kind of intel that would prove most useful to anyone participating in that particular contest.”
“But you aren’t interested.”
Penguin spread his hands wide. “I’m interested in helping out those parties with a clear shot at winning, my good sir. As for myself, I am but a humble businessman.” He smiled. He knew full well the price that Fixx’s information could command, and the commissions that he could claim for introducing Fixx to the right people were attractive indeed. “Of course,” he added, “if you need to enlist my organization’s help in testing your theory, I’m certain that we can come to an agreement on what would constitute a reasonable fee for services rendered...”
Batman nearly sighed with relief when the van came to a halt. Only the fact that they’d stationed an armed guard in the back with him helped him to maintain silence. No point in making them suspicious, or letting them realize that they were actually getting him precisely where he wanted to go.
He never had liked having to sit still for any length of time. When he really was immobilized, he endured, but he’d been free of the restraints and mostly out of the bag for nearly twenty minutes and he was bored. He tried to distract himself by mentally listing off and visualizing the 12 basic strikes in escrima. He hadn’t been carrying the sticks tonight, and they surely would have been taken when he’d been captured, but somehow, he didn’t think it would be that hard to improvise something.
Finally, the double doors opened and two henchmen in blue derbies stepped inside. Without a word, they lifted the sleeping bag. Batman held the two edges of the torn fabric as close together as best he could and hoped that his cape wasn’t hanging out of the opening he’d sliced.
He kept forgetting how short Tetch was until the two goons holding him actually stooped so that the guy could get a good look at him. The little man smiled. “We meet again, Batman,” he said, rubbing his hands.
“Hatter,” Dick snarled. The little man reeked of a particularly nauseating mix of roses and snuff tobacco. Interesting. He’d always figured Lewis Carroll to be more of an opium user, like Coleridge, but maybe snuff had been involved too.
The Mad Hatter tilted his head quizzically and slowly circled the sleeping bag, surveying his captive with a critical eye. “You used to be much more...” he frowned, “muchier. You’ve lost your muchness.”
Dick rolled his eyes. “Sorry to disappoint you, Jervis,” he replied.
“Oh, no no no,” Jervis Tetch chortled. “It actually makes this so much easier. You see, your... ahem… price tag... is the same whether you be dead or alive, so...” He nodded to the goon at Batman’s shoulders, “Off with his head!”
Batman smiled. He knew a cue when he heard one. The last strand of rope parted and he slid out of the sleeping bag, rolled, surged up and swung out at the goons with his left hand. The cuff was still on his left wrist, the right cuff dangling free as he swung out in a wide arc and caught the closest goon on the cheek.
The goon did not cry out, but he did fall back.
Batman saw an overhead pipe, leaped for it and kicked out, both feet going wide in opposite directions. One struck the first goon in the chin, bloodying it. The other caught the second goon in the solar plexus. After that, dehatting and cuffing them was easy.
He heard running feet, glanced about and realized that he and the goons were the only ones in the room. He sighed and took off in the direction of the rapidly-fading footfalls.
Bruce rarely discarded any of his equipment unless it was wrecked beyond repair or obsolete. Even then, he salvaged each piece for useable components, scrapping only what little was truly beyond redemption. All the same, he thought to himself as he lifted out the life-sized, plywood, two-dimensional models of some of his worst foes, he wished that he hadn’t been quite so frugal with these.
He’d constructed them years ago, to test Barbara’s skills and resolve once he decided to train her in his mission. They didn’t look any the worse for wear, now, but he knew that they would.
Trying not to dwell on what he was planning, he hauled the figures into a vacant area of the cave and began to arrange them.
His first exercise was a warm-up, not at all dissimilar to what he’d put Barbara through all those years ago, except that this time, it wouldn’t be the “enemies” firing rubber bullets. He couldn’t ignore the batarangs, even if his proficiency with those would earn him no Academy credit. One day, this was going to be behind him and he needed to keep his skills up.
It went as he’d expected: fifteen plywood adversaries; fifteen batarangs lodged in their gun hands. With a sigh, Bruce went back to the trophy room. It was time to see if he could match that score with the Beretta. Lack of enthusiasm for the exercise was irrelevant. Still, as he loaded the rubber bullets into the gun, he found it hard to quell the rush of disgust, both for the exercise and for how much easier it was getting to handle the Beretta.
Batman chased after Hatter at top speed. This ended tonight, he told himself. Hatter had been out of Arkham for too long and caused too much trouble. It ended tonight. He rounded a bend and found himself in pitch darkness. The normal thing to do, he knew, was engage night-vision lenses on maximum. The thing was, that move almost always backfired. Once his eyes adjusted to near-total darkness, there was always some wise guy to hit a switch and flood the area with bright light, causing temporary—but painful—blindness. He closed his eyes and pulled up one side of his cape to further shield his face.
For several long moments, he stood straining his ears to try to determine if he was alone in the room. He scowled. The cowl was armored. It was waterproof. It had a radio antenna built into one ear and a sonic beacon built into the other. However, since the fabric also covered his own ears, some sounds were muffled. Batman sighed inwardly. This was probably one more reason that Bruce had become an expert lip-reader and insisted that Dick do the same. There was no help for it. He tugged at one edge of the cowl and carefully rolled it up to expose one ear, reflecting that Bruce would probably never have risked this. On the other hand, half of Gotham already suspected who was currently under the cowl. The police commissioner knew. He smiled. Risking the exposure of something that was already generally known was no risk at all.
And now, he could hear breathing, faint and fast. He dropped the cape edge, screwed his eyes shut and flung a batarang low in the direction of the breathing, as a deafening crack shattered the silence. Through his closed eyelids, he registered a bright red field, even as he instinctively clapped both hands to his ears. So, Hatter had decided to get fancy and use a flash-bang grenade instead of just flicking a light switch.
He cracked open his eyes and found himself in total darkness once more. Of course. The light from the grenade was gone now. He pulled a flashlight out of his belt and panned it about the room. A figure in a green frock coat was writhing on the ground, trying to crawl away. Batman sprang forward. “Hello, Tetch,” he snarled. At least, he thought he was snarling. He couldn’t yet hear his own voice, thanks to that sound explosion.
Hatter put up a token resistance as Batman yanked his arms behind his back, but they both knew that the little man wasn’t going anywhere. The batarang had sunk deep into the back of his leg. Batman suspected that it had struck a tendon. He couldn’t tell if Hatter was moaning or playing stoic, but it was obvious that the guy was in pain. Batman couldn’t feel too sorry for him.
He hoisted Tetch over one shoulder and carried him back to his flunkies. Then he texted Oracle to alert GCPD for a pickup.
Bruce pretended not to notice the furtive looks and conversations that rapidly trailed off at his approach. He wasn’t at the academy to be liked. He was here to regain the cowl. Nothing more, nothing less. However, news traveled fast, and his absence from his first two morning classes did not go unnoticed. Chiarello and O’Flaherty had come up with additional questions. They’d been joined by Fawkes, and another officer who had been introduced as Sgt. Joyner.
Bruce had rarely been as grateful for his photographic memory. He was sure that he’d practically recited his report word-for-word several times over the course of two hours.
When the interrogation was over and Chiarello dismissed him, he rejoined his fellow cadets midway through Emergency Response Driving. Sgt. Uminga was going over the theoretical part of the course today, though they were slated to begin working with the driving simulator on Friday. She accepted his written authorization and waved him to his seat wordlessly.
Bruce didn’t yet know this sergeant well enough to be sure whether this was typical behavior on her part, or whether she shared the seeming resentment that he’d noted on the part of several of his instructors since he’d filed that report.
“There will be a written test on this material tomorrow,” Uminga’s voice interrupted his musings. “If you missed part of the lesson, I remind you that it is your responsibility to learn the material. Dismissed.”
Bruce trotted back to his locker to get the texts for the next class. He pretended not to see Kotsopoulos start to talk to him. He didn’t feel like answering any more questions at the moment, nor having to reiterate once more that he couldn’t discuss the subject. A voice at the back of his mind pointed out that Kotsopoulos might have wanted to talk about something else, but he ignored it. Right at this moment, he wasn’t much in the mood for conversation, period.
Oracle’s systems were programmed to alert their owner whenever certain keywords were typed into a search engine. Most never reached her. The programs registered the keywords but didn’t send out an alert unless three or more were used in combination by the same IP address within a short time span.
When the system sprang to life the next morning and the alarm sounded softly, it took a moment for Oracle to remember what it was there for. When she did, she rolled her eyes as she wheeled over to the monitor. “Probably someone searching to see if Batman and Superman are secretly the same person again,” she muttered. “Or checking out some story in the tabloid press about...” her voice trailed off. Behind her full-frame glasses, green eyes widened. Without looking at the keyboard, she began typing in commands that would send the searcher on a wild goose chase to useless sites and dead links. She debated hacking into the Wiscasset police database. The information—if Dinah and Selina had missed any of it when they’d purged the files months ago—probably wouldn’t be missed if she deleted it now. On the other hand, its disappearance could still arouse suspicion, even at this late date. Frowning, she pulled up the data on their information security systems. Her lips twitched. Their safeguards were strong, but she could make them stronger yet. It wouldn’t take more than an hour or so of programming to rig a few booby traps in their network so that most hackers attempting to gain access would do nothing more than expose themselves.
She felt herself relax as she settled on her course of action. This was close. Too close for comfort by far, and she needed to do some more digging to determine the identity of the person looking for this information. For now, though, she was pretty sure that she could deflect their search.
Oracle sighed. She hated to give Bruce something else to stress about. On the other hand, if this unknown party was better than she thought—if he or she somehow found out about Helena despite her precautions and anything happened, even if Bruce somehow forgave her for keeping him out of the loop—she’d never forgive herself.
She sent a text to his cell phone asking him to call her when he had a moment. Then she set to work on her program.
“I think my muscle cramps have muscle cramps,” Brenner groaned as he slid out of his saddle and staggered on the ground. “I don’t even want to think what I’d feel like without that ointment you recommended.”
“It will pass,” Bruce remarked, trying to sound sympathetic. The truth was, he was feeling a bit of soreness in his own muscles, despite being in far better shape. He rested a hand on Shilling. “Let’s get these boys cleaned and fed,” he continued.
Brenner nodded, but remained standing, even as Bruce took a couple of steps forward.
When Bruce noted that his fellow cadet wasn’t following, he stopped and glanced over his shoulder. “Is something the matter?”
Brenner hesitated. “Yeah,” he said finally, “but I don’t know why. At least, I don’t see how it could have gone differently.”
Bruce frowned. “Clarify?”
“Sir... Squad Leader... the flack you’re getting over Jandt. We’re supposed to report that kind of thing if we witness it. If they find out we didn’t, it’s an expulsion offense. But...”
Bruce shook his head. “That’s my concern, Brenner, not yours.”
“What did they expect you to do? Sir?” Brenner finished, belatedly.
Bruce sighed. “The right thing. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences. In any event, it’s not your headache.”
The cadet frowned. “Except that if I see something similar down the road, I’m not sure how anxious I’ll be to report it if this is the way things are going to go down.”
Bruce closed his eyes and rubbed his temple. Then he opened his eyes and sighed again. “That will be your decision. Whichever one you make. If it helps,” he added, “I didn’t submit my report before examining all of the ramifications.”
“You knew this would happen,” Brenner stated disbelievingly.
“I knew it could. Whistleblowers are rarely looked upon kindly.”
“And you still...”
Bruce was getting tired of the conversation. “As I said, it was the right thing to do. It didn’t suddenly become a mistake just because some people disagreed.”
When Brenner didn’t respond, Bruce gave Shilling’s reins a slight tug and took another step forward. “You remember how to clean your tack?” he asked.
“Yes, Sir.” Brenner fell into step behind him. “It’s still not fair,” he said in an undertone.
“Life rarely is.” As they reached the stables, Bruce glanced back over his shoulder at Brenner. “Thanks.”
Brenner shrugged. “Just saying what a few of us are thinking is all.” Then he turned and stroked his horse’s neck. “Easy, Taupe. Easy...”
Bruce allowed himself a faint smile as he led Shilling to his stall.
She had just wheeled Mrs. O’Hare to her physiotherapy session and was headed back to the front desk when she heard a voice calling, “Cass? Wait up!”
Cassandra Cain turned swiftly, falling immediately into a combat stance. When she recognized her friend from the Volunteer Office, she relaxed. “Doug,” she said with a guarded smile.
Doug Sherman grinned back. “I haven’t seen you around much lately,” he said. “Is everything okay?”
Cass nodded. “Been here,” she said. “As scheduled.” She was no good at small talk, she thought with some irritation. It was one more gift she envied Dick. She knew that this was one more reason that she didn’t have many friends. On the other hand, now that she was intent on keeping her Batgirl identity secret, perhaps not having many friends wasn’t a bad thing. If fewer people knew her, then that meant that fewer people would be asking her questions that she couldn’t answer without lying or wondering where she disappeared to whenever Batgirl had to spring into action. She hated lying. Besides, it was hard enough to summon the right words to give a truthful answer without having to make up some story that would still be believable.
If Doug was put off by her short response, it didn’t show. “I was just wondering if you had a chance to finish that manga I loaned you a few months ago,” he said.
Cass felt her heart plummet. “Oh. I...” she looked down at her shoes. “Doug, I’ve been... studying. For GED. No time for...manga. I... I can bring back tomorrow. Okay?”
“No,” Doug was still smiling, “there’s no rush. I was wondering... do you like classical music?”
She had no idea. “Um... maybe?”
“The GSU orchestra is giving a concert on Thursday night at seven. Would you like to go?”
Cass blinked. Was he asking her out? “A... date?” she ventured, trying to make sure she was understanding properly.
“Well, I hope so.” Doug seemed suddenly unsure. “I mean... if you don’t want to, that’s okay, too. I just thought...”
Cass smiled. “No. I do want to,” she said.
“Are you sure? For a minute there, it looked like you were going to say no. I don’t want you to feel pressured.”
Cass shook her head, still smiling. “I... don’t.” She didn’t know him well, but suddenly, she thought she wanted to fix that.
The phone rang nearly as soon as Bruce entered the manor from the garage. He debated letting it go through to voice mail. On the third ring, he picked up, hoping he wouldn’t regret it.
“Is this Bruce Wayne?” The voice on the other end was deep and sonorous, but there was a quality to it that seemed somewhat ‘off’. The speech was a bit too slow, a bit too careful, as though the speaker was trying to hide something.
“It is,” Bruce confirmed.
“I... wash calling... to talk to you... about my brozz-zzer. Alvin.”
Bruce’s heart sank. “I’m not at liberty to discuss any details, Councilor Jandt,” he replied, reminding himself firmly that slurred speech alone was not necessarily indicative of drunkenness. Just off the top of his head, exhaustion could cause it too, as could certain medications.
“No,” Neal Jandt continued. “You don’t unner-unnershtand. If Alvin wash-es... out of the ’cademy, it’ll kill him. It’ll kill my career. The dishgrashe will—”
“I’m afraid the matter has been taken out of my hands, Councilor,” Bruce said firmly, cutting Jandt off in mid-sentence. “I’m sorry.”
“Well, tell them you were wrong!” Jandt snapped. “You made a mishtake. Everone makes mishtakes!” he wheedled. “Even the wise an’ mighty Batman!”
Bruce sighed. “Councilor. I’m terminating this conversation now. I would suggest that you get some sleep. Good night.”
“DON’T you dare hang up on me, Wayne! I can make things go very well or very badly at that hearing you have next summer! You have to help me!”
“Councilor Jandt,” Bruce rubbed his forehead wearily, “while this conversation does appear to bear out your assertion that you need help, I think you ought to consider approaching a different sort of professional,” he said flatly. “Good night.”
He hung up the phone as Jandt began to bluster again. Then he closed his eyes and let out a long breath. He did not want to deal with this tonight.
Bruce poked his head into the nursery. Helena looked up from her blocks. “Daddy!”
From her place on the sofa, Selina smiled. “Hi, handsome. How’d it go?”
Bruce shook his head. “Don’t ask. Please.” Then he smiled and dropped to one knee, holding his arms wide. “Helena!”
Helena charged toward him. Then, with a giggle, she ducked under his arm and bolted past. Too late, Bruce made an awkward grab for her, but he was badly positioned and would have fallen, were it not for the door frame. Selina burst out laughing. “You really are slipping, you know!” she gasped.
“Literally and figuratively,” Bruce groaned. Brenner wasn’t the only one who needed the topical heat rub. He wasn’t used to riding anymore and his backside was already reminding him of that salient point. That Brenner undoubtedly had it worse was cold comfort at the moment. He struggled painfully to his feet, just as Helena re-entered, clutching a wooden train engine in both chubby hands.
“Choo choo, Daddy!” she beamed, careening into his shin.
Bruce smiled. “So, it is.” He stood aside to let her back into the nursery. She ran into the middle of the room, flopped down on the carpet, and patted the space next to her imperiously. “Daddy. Sit.”
“Um...” He winced. Sitting on the floor was not a wise move in his current condition. “How about I take the sofa?”
Helena shook her head. “No, Daddy. Here.” She patted the floor again. “Here!”
Bruce sighed. Why was it so hard to tell her ‘no’? He’d never had this problem with the others. He knelt gingerly on the carpet. Helena smiled and pushed the train back and forth on the carpet. A moment later, she was shoving a book into his hand. “Read.”
His foot was falling asleep. He looked over his shoulder. “I’ve been riding a horse for the last hour,” he told Selina. “I really can’t sit down here much longer.”
Selina sighed. “All your training to withstand torture... gone in the face of an hour with Toronado.”
“Shilling,” Bruce corrected.
“I like ‘Toronado’ better,” she chuckled. “Okay, get up. Helena, it’s almost bedtime. If you want Daddy to read you a story, it’s going to be on the sofa.”
“Fine. No story. Bed.”
Selina bent down to her daughter’s eye level. “Story on the sofa?”
For a moment, Helena looked as though she was going to protest again. Instead, she nodded slowly. Selina turned to Bruce with a satisfied smile. “Anything else I can do before I stick supper in the microwave?”
Bruce shook his head in bemusement as he struggled to his feet. “No... I think I’m all right.”
“You’re sure. Because, if you need rescuing again, I could...”
Bruce closed his eyes. “You are enjoying this far too much.”
She giggled and wrapped her arms around him quickly. “I don’t think that’s actually possible,” she replied, giving him a quick peck on the cheek. “Come downstairs when you’re done.”
Bruce frowned after her. Then he felt Helena’s hand slip into his and he smiled down at his daughter and led her to the sofa.
“Naturally,” Cobblepot said with an expansive wave of his arms, “I thought that, in the face of such excellent detective work, it behooved me to introduce Messrs. Fixx and Powers to you.”
Hush smiled and extended his right hand to the newcomer. He winced and let out a low hiss of pain when Fixx squeezed it in a firm grip.
“Oh,” Fixx exclaimed, “I am sorry!” The contrite look on his face didn’t quite erase the speculative gleam in his eyes, as he filed the information away. “I don’t always know my own strength.”
Behind his mask of bandages, Hush’s eyes narrowed to slits. “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom,” he said testily. “I would apply that if I were you. What do you have?”
To answer, Powers slid his smart phone across the table to Hush. “My colleague snapped this the other day. The woman is currently residing at Wayne Manor. The child appears to be hers, and may or may not be his. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to confirm it, as yet.”
“The thing is,” Fixx interjected, “when we were trying to ascertain whether there was a connection between the child and Wayne, we also attempted to pull data on Wayne himself. Initially, Giggle turned up several thousand hits. However, after we clicked the first two links, the browser crashed. We were working on separate computers and both encountered the problem at the same time. When we rebooted, not only were there fewer hits, but they appeared to be far less relevant.”
“In other words,” Powers stated, “there is reason to believe that Wayne, or someone in his camp, is trying to prevent us from connecting certain dots... which would almost have to imply that we’re on to something.”
Hush’s lips parted slightly and he let out a harsh breath. Then a smile spread slowly across his face. “You don’t say,” he answered in a low whisper. “You don’t say...”
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