Friday, September 14, 2007

The Detective (Touch the Sun) Part 6 of 12

"Hello, Venerable Father," Bruce Wayne said, bowing low and kissing the priest's hand.

The priest was shorter than Wayne. He had some oriental features, but was not from the local area.

"Welcome, young man," the priest answered. Looking at Wayne closely, he added, "You are not feeling well."

Wayne looked at the priest.

"You should rest."

Having finished his burritos, Bruce Wayne drank his glass of milk, and began on his fruit and yogurt. Meanwhile, Alfred continued to sip his tea and look at the computer console.

"To understand the motivation of this riddler and this cat-woman, it might help to review what we know about the case, and then re-read the riddles in that context, Master Bruce."

"Nygma seems to think the fires in the Gotham Towers were a diversion. While everyone was responding to the fires, the computers in the Gotham Trade Center were left unattended. Billions of dollars of stock trades were run through the computers. Afterwards, the Gotham Towers and Gotham Trade Center Building No. 7 were explosively demolished." Wayne looked at Alfred; somewhere, in the back of his mind, Wayne knew he was missing something.

Alfred nodded. "By destroying the buildings, the criminals cover up evidence of the stock trades," he thought aloud.

"And they deal a powerful setback to the agencies who investigate white collar crime and shady financial deals," added Wayne. "Those agencies were housed in Building 7, which, if you will recall, was not attacked. Somehow, the fire spread to Building 7."

"And brought it down, too," added Alfred. Alfred gazed at the photos of the Gotham Towers, and the picture of the organized crime figure who claimed responsibility for the attack, Aladdin. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, Alfred knew he was missing something.

"Well, that's the punchline. No steel-framed skyscraper had ever before or since collapsed due to a fire. Yet, here we had three skyscrapers collapse due to fires, all at the same place on the same day," Wayne commented.

Pausing, Wayne looked at the tray on which breakfast and tea had arrived. The orange juice! He knew he had been missing something!

Alfred looked at three of the riddles: the second one from the riddler, and the first two from the cat-woman.

Bought new and thrown out unread,
What once was news is trash instead.
Found by another and read for good measure,
One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Detectives listened to an illegal bug,
But didn't report the criminal plan.
Crime covers up crime, swept under the rug,
All merely for wont of an honest man.
The truth is hidden by towers of lies,
But the crime of the towers is exposed in riddles.
What really happened is quite a surprise!
Dirty cops, a deal with the devil,... the man in the middle.

Judging by the tap,
The judge foolishly ruled,
But judging by its wrap,
The judge had been fooled.
A bad tap may violate the rules,
But fooling a judge is a game for fools.
Crime can come in many wraps,
And crime can be exposed by many taps.
The real criminal here is the tapper,
But none suspect because of his wrapper.
The day will come when the judge sees the fools:
Interesting to see how the judge rules!
Harsh is the verdict for fooling a judge,
And only a fool thinks that verdict will budge.

Alfred read the riddler's second riddle aloud. "Bought new and thrown out unread, What once was news is trash instead. Found by another and read for good measure, One man's trash is another man's treasure." He paused, staring at the picture of the Gotham Towers, then turned to Bruce Wayne. "What ever happened to the hard drives from the computers that had been in the buildings? The ones that the stock trades were run through?"

"Interesting you should bring that up. When I first heard that riddle, I thought it was about a newspaper. But, when Nygma showed up at Wayne Enterprises, he mentioned that some of the drives had been found, and then sent off to see if anything could be recovered from them."

"And...." prompted Alfred.

"That's where the evidence of the stock trades that were pushed through during the fire came from."

"But no details? Nothing more?"

"No," answered Wayne. "Not yet, anyway."

Alfred looked back down at the first two riddles from the cat-woman. Law enforcement! He knew he had been missing something!

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