Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Demon, Part 4 of 5

The master looked at Bruce Wayne. "Each of us faces our own demons. Although two people may share some of the same demons, I believe each person's demons are as individual as the person himself."

Wayne looked up from the path they were walking on, and toward the village.

Wayne listened as the master continued. "Most people find their demons frightening, so they flee from them."

"Ra's al Ghul," the figure announced. "He is the 'Head of the Demon'; that's how his name translates," the figure explained. "'The Demon' is an umbrella organization, a sort of organized crime conglomerate, with many cartels more or less associated with it. Included among organizations that have at some point been on that list are the League of Shadows, the League of Assassins, the Asian Deep State... and now Aladdin's Mujahideen and Carmine Falcone's Roman Empire."

"And this young lady, Talia al Ghul, is daughter to this man, the 'Head of the Demon'," Alfred added.

"And Vasilissa is Talia's half sister, daughter of Ra's al Ghul. Her real name is Nyssa Raatko, reported missing in Russia several years back. She was kidnapped and forced into a life of prostitution, and has now worked her way up in Gotham's underworld, having key connections in Gotham City, including in Falcone's Roman Empire."

Sasha looked at the images on the Batcomputer's multifunction displays. "She's beautiful. So is Talia," Sasha admitted, with a degree of newfound confidence that Alfred was pleased to note in her voice.

"Is your interest in these ladies purely professional, sir?" Alfred asked.

The figure shot him a glance in response, then refocused his attention on the Batcomputer.

"Ra's al Ghul's organization is manipulating Gotham City, both directly and indirectly, via Falcone's organization, to keep Gotham from responding to the threat posed by Aladdin's Mujahideen, and their nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Ra's al Ghul is maneuvering Aladdin into using those weapons to destroy Gotham City."

"Why the delay? Aladdin has the weapons in place," Sasha asked, looking at Alfred and Bruce Wayne.

"Ra's al Ghul has two daughters here in Gotham. One he is trying to rescue from her life as a high-priced 'escort'. But," Wayne turned from the computer, "with Ra's al Ghul, it has gotten personal. He wants to personally destroy the man who is responsible for his daughter being forced into a life of prostitution; then Gotham can perish at Aladdin's hand."

"And the other daughter has a love interest here in Gotham, an interest that Ra's al Ghul approves of. He's waiting to see how that develops, if that relationship will develop into something, so he can spare that talented man and perhaps recruit him into his organization. That failing, he at least wants his other daughter's rejection of this man, and acquiescence in his death," Alfred explained.

"So your interest in Talia is professional," Sasha concluded, as Bruce Wayne turned and looked at her.

"Not exclusively," added Alfred, as he and Wayne exchanged glances.

"Ra's al Ghul's wife – Talia's mother – was killed by criminals when Talia was young," Wayne continued, changing the subject as he looked back at the Batcomputer. "This incident drove Ra's al Ghul to seek revenge not just on his wife's killers, but on all criminals in general."

"Not unlike other stories with which I am familiar," dryly commented Alfred.

"But, Ra's al Ghul, taking the law into his own hands, immediately began to break the law, and became a criminal himself," Wayne continued.

"Vigilantism is against the law," interjected Alfred.

"Correct," Wayne retorted, turning to Alfred. "Vigilantism is against the law. Collecting and analyzing information, investigating criminal activities, and turning one's information over to honest police officers and dedicated investigative journalists is not."

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