Alfred studied Bruce Wayne.
Bruce Wayne had a habit of putting his frozen burritos in the microwave, programming it, then absent-mindedly hitting "cancel" instead of "start" -- inevitably, he would have to reprogram the microwave, then remember to start it.
Alfred adjusted his glasses as he looked at Wayne: Wayne's mind worked like that microwave oven.
"Master Bruce, are you paying attention to our conversation?"
"Oh, sure, yeah," Wayne answered. "What were you saying?"
"I was not speaking; you were. You were sharing with me Dr. Villanova's thoughts on this War on Crime." Alfred's eyes half-closed as he looked at Wayne. "Really, I get the impression you are still thinking about your breakfast!"
In fact, at that moment, Wayne had just been wondering if there was something sweet in the kitchen that he could have as a kind of dessert after his brunch.
"Oh, no, not at all," Wayne answered unconvincingly. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, another connection was almost made. It was the connection that had been lurking just out of reach ever since he microwaved his frozen burritos earlier. "Sandra was saying..." he began, then paused, remembering how she had said her real name is Cassandra.
"Sorry. She was saying that this War on Crime seems similar. She seems to think the people in authority don't really want to catch Aladdin, they just want to have a War on Crime." Wayne stopped again.
Alfred looked closely at him. Somewhere in the back of Wayne's mind, the microwave oven had been programmed again, and Alfred could sense it.
"She said that some of the same people who were involved in the operations in Gotham's southern suburbs as junior-ranking personnel back then are running this War on Crime from senior-ranking positions now...." Wayne said thoughtfully, looking at the picture of the Gotham Towers.
Almost there, Alfred thought.
"Some corrupt elements in the Gotham Bureau of Investigation knew about the attack on the Gotham Towers before it happened, and deliberately chose to do nothing to stop it." Wayne's voice was changing some. "But, since the attack, someone has been preventing investigators from making the necessary connections by obstructing the investigation."
Batman was a different person from Bruce Wayne. Alfred had long ago noticed the personality transformation that would take place. Both Batman and Bruce Wayne had fallen down a well years ago as a child, and, awaiting rescue, been terrified by bats from a cave at the bottom of the well. Both Batman and Bruce Wayne had had their parents murdered before their eyes a few months later. But now, they were different people. Both were good people, but there were differences: Bruce Wayne was a man, in many ways like a little boy; he spoke in a normal voice, and could be easily distracted by good food or a beautiful woman. Batman, however, was more like a machine; he was focused, determined, and, speaking in a low, raspy whisper, could be very intimidating. Bruce Wayne could be fairly predictable; Batman had a knack for appearing unexpectedly, even when you knew he was coming and were watching for him. Bruce Wayne was a philanthropist, with a reputation as a shallow playboy; Batman could be absolutely terrifying.
Alfred glanced at the statue of the bat and the drawing of the bat that Bruce Wayne had brought back from a trip to Asia: it was when Wayne returned from that trip that Alfred really noticed it. What had happened in Asia on that trip? he wondered, as he glanced at the sun medallion that hung nearby.
"That's my point, Master Bruce," Alfred commented. "It's not just that they knew about it and did nothing...."
"Someone in law enforcement has been in on it since the start." The figure looked at the statue of a bat next to the photos of Aladdin and the Gotham Towers.
There! thought Alfred. The connection was made. That microwave oven in the back of the figure's head had been reprogrammed and, this time, it had been started!
"And there's something else," the figure said. His voice was confident, low and raspy; it was the kind of voice that got someone's attention.
"Yes, Master Bruce?"
"Do you think they have a sweet roll up in the kitchen? I'm still a little hungry."
"I believe I saw them baking some earlier, sir."
There was indeed something else, and a sweet roll was not it. Alfred smiled. The something else that Bruce Wayne was interested in was a sweet roll, but the something else that Batman was interested in was something else indeed!
At the end of the hallway with the statues, there was a door. "Through this doorway is the Hallway of Light. On the other end of the Hallway of Light is another door. Go through that door, and your journey will begin." The priest made a gesture for Bruce Wayne to proceed, alone.
He did as the priest indicated. He walked through the doorway, and found himself in a wide hallway, with two racks of candles on either side -- the Hallway of Light.
He walked through the hallway, and towards the other door. He was wondering about the priest's words, about how his journey would begin. Whatever was behind that door should be the end of his journey, a destination, not the beginning.
Hesitatingly, Wayne opened the door, and looked inside. It was a dark room. It was difficult to tell how big the room was, but it looked like there was enough light to see around once inside.
Bruce Wayne stepped through the door, and was in --
It was not another room, it was another place! He felt like he had stepped off the earth. He looked behind him, but the door was gone. The place he was in was darkish, but he could still see. Intrigued, but surprisingly not frightened, Wayne maintained his sense of humor.
"Did somebody forget to pay the electric bill?" he asked aloud.
In front of him, a light became visible, then grew in magnitude until he was aware only of the presence of the light.
"What makes you think you have a mind so brilliant that you may make jokes in this place?" The voice came from nowhere, as if it had always been just out of reach, somewhere in the back of his mind.
Responding without thinking, Wayne blurted out his answer: "Easy! Because you gave it to me."
"Not only I, but the others around you as well."