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Multiple crossover; DC Movieverse / NCIS / West Wing / possibly more to come. See the first chapter for disclaimers etc.
by Marcus L. Rowland
Arkham Asylum, Friday 11.00 AM EST
For the last couple of days Pamela Isley, AKA Poison Ivy, had noticed that her thoughts seemed a little sharper and clearer; she suspected that her medication had been reduced, but couldn’t quite work out what to do about it. It was probably the prelude to more questioning; the police had a tedious habit of wanting to know where the bodies were buried, and Pamela preferred them where they were, where they could continue to fertilise her plants.
She wasn’t surprised when her cell door opened. Three guards, all women, were standing outside, and one said “Get dressed, you have a visitor.”
She thought about refusing, but they’d probably drag her anyway, and there was always a faint chance that whoever was waiting wasn’t protected against her pheromones. A few minutes later they delivered her to one of the interview rooms and left her there, alone. After a couple of minutes the door opened again and a stranger came in, a young blonde wearing… Oh. No hope there, she suspected; Kryptonians were probably immune, and they didn’t work on women anyway.
“Thank you for seeing me,” said Kara, shutting the door.
“I’d say it’s a pleasure but it isn’t,” said Pamela. “What do you want?”
“Firstly, I would like a little information about your role in the abduction of Lex Luthor. Also, I’m interested in your concerns for the environment. I’m a stranger to this world, and it seems a shame that it is being damaged so badly.”
“Yeah, right, sure you are. What’s next, you’ll plant a few trees if I cooperate?”
“I don’t know, would that be the best use of my time and powers? I’m going to give you the opportunity to explain your views, and to suggest some ways in which I can help. Let’s say that I’ll listen for ten minutes regardless of the outcome of our discussion, up to an hour if you give me some or all of the information I need, longer if I’m still interested at the end of the hour.”
“That’s the carrot, I assume. What’s the stick?”
“There isn’t one.”
“Tell me something… would you have been happy if Luthor had built his continent and destroyed most of the Earth, and nearly all its plants and animals?” Pamela didn’t answer. “Would you be happy if someone else tried it again? There are still five missing crystals…”
“What do you want to know?”
“What have we got?” Gibbs asked fifty minutes later.
“She does make a surprisingly logical case for exterminating ninety percent of the human race including all males,” said Kara, “but it doesn’t really work outside the terms of her argument. Apart from that, a few good suggestions on minimising my environmental impact, mostly things I was already doing, and some rhetoric which might have made more sense if she wasn’t still partially sedated. I shall have to visit her again in a later state of her treatment and ask her to clarify a few points.”
“What have we actually got concerning the case?” asked Agent Lee.
“She was contacted anonymously, and paid an advance of a hundred thousand dollars to use her pheromones to attract Luthor and leave him unconscious at an agreed location, with another nine hundred thousand on completion. That happened about a month before Luthor was picked up by the police; she couldn’t give us the exact date, but it ties in with the money transfers Batman found on Wednesday, and that’s what led us here in the first place.”
“So what you’re telling me is that Luthor paid for his own abduction?” asked Gibbs.
“That's what Batman said. The money came from Bahamas bank accounts that were probably set up by Luthor, but all that the bank would know is that someone authorised the transfer and used the correct password. We have no way to tell if Luthor knew. Someone may have hacked his accounts.”
“Where exactly was he left?”
“A factory; she thinks the name was Gotham Microfabrication.”
“That we can check,” said Gibbs, picking up the phone book and putting on his reading glasses. “Microbrewery… microelectronics… microfabrication. Here we are.” He dialled the number, putting the phone on speaker, and waited.
“This is Gotham Microfabrication. To assist us in handling your call, please select from one of the following options…” Five minutes later, negotiating an apparently endless series of holds and call options, he still hadn’t spoken to anyone.
“I don’t think that there’s anyone manning the phones.”
“You’re right,” said Kara. “I just flew over the building, there’s nobody inside the parts that I can see, just a lot of machinery. But part of the building has lead sheeting on the roof, and the walls are opaque to my x-ray vision. There are radiation warning signs on the doors leading to it. I have a bad feeling about it.”
“I didn’t feel anything, but I didn’t fly low and lead would stop most of the radiation.”
“We’ll need a warrant,” said Lee. “I’m on it.” She dialled Harvey Dent’s number.
FBI Headquarters, Washington, 11.15 AM
“It’s weird,” said Timothy McGee. “Someone got Dillinger’s prints onto Luthor’s records then somehow hacked a few hundred bytes of the IAFIS code. Any request for Luthor’s record threw out the fake. Any search using Luthor’s real fingerprints found no match, but to be on the safe side false positives were suppressed too. That’s actually a lot harder than the record change, and I really have no idea why it was done.”
“Any idea when?” asked Fornell.
“That’s where we got lucky, a little anyway. No more than twelve days before Luthor was arrested; that’s when the last major update of the IAFIS system code was rolled out, and the hack isn’t on the master tapes. Somehow the time stamp for the file itself was faked to make it look like the record hasn’t been changed since it was last updated, when the BOLO for Luthor was sent out a year or so ago.”
“How hard would it be to trace the changes back to their source?”
“Very very difficult. There are around fifty-five million records, any given day tens of thousands have to be amended for one reason or another. Some of the changes come in from agencies that routinely cover their tracks; CIA, NSA, Witness Protection, and so forth. Cybercrimes are working on it, but I don’t expect to see much in the way of results any time soon. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but unless we get a break it’ll be old news by the time we get a result. Theoretically tracking the code change should be a lot easier, but we haven’t found any records. Someone was very careful to cover their tracks.”
“Any sign of any other code changes?”
“Nothing. The master tapes and the current system tapes are identical, apart from a couple of dozen authorised patches, and none of them do anything like this.”
“So someone was targeting Luthor, and Luthor alone.”
“I guess,” said McGee.
“Well, Luthor’s dead, and provided that it really is him I’m happy for it to stay that way. You’re disrupting the work of the computer centre, and there are other cases that need Cybercrimes a lot more urgently. I’m pulling the plug on this unless you can find more to go on.”
“I guess I see your point. Okay, I’ll let Gibbs know.”
The White House, Washington, 11.35 AM
“Let me see if I’ve got this straight,” said Josh Lyman. “You want to shut down eleven bank accounts that may belong to Lex Luthor, eight of them overseas? Your source for this is NCIS, who got it from Supergirl, who may or may not have gotten it from Batman?”
“That’s correct,” said Karen Browning, the Secretary of the Treasury. “The records NCIS supplied show a pattern of automated money transfers characteristic of money laundering and tax evasion. Even if the accounts don’t belong to Luthor, there’s definitely something fishy about them.”
“How much money are we talking here?” asked President Santos.
“Between a hundred and eighty and two hundred million dollars. Gertrude Vanderworth was a very wealthy woman, and Luthor inherited her entire estate.”
“What happens to the money if it does turn out to be Luthor’s?”
“About twenty million is owed in back taxes, unpaid estate duties and so forth. The Vanderworth estate probably has the best claim on the remainder.”
“Do it, but try to reduce the impact on the Vanderworths.”
“You know the family?” asked Josh.
“I’m pretty sure that they’ve made major donations to the Republicans, but they shouldn’t have to suffer more than they have to because the old lady trusted a monster.”
NCIS Headquarters, Washington, Noon
“This is the one all right,” said Abby. “It looks pretty much like the other pieces of plastic, but it’s just that bit thicker, and there’s a complicated internal structure.”
“If you look at this X-ray,” said Ducky, “it was located over the saggital suture, the junction between the bones that form the sides of the skull. One of the surgical screws penetrates the skull there, and I suspect that it may have been modified with a microscopic hole. Minute quantities of the drug flowed out of the plastic and down the screw into the brain.”
Abby checked the X-ray, and said “that’s screw eleven. Let’s see.” She put it under the microscope, focused, and said “I think you’re right. It’s really hard to see, it just looks like a little pitting of the metal, but I think it goes all the way through.” She clamped the screw to a holder on the microscope stage, found a thin wire, and began to probe the hole.
Gotham City, 3.15 PM
The door to the Gotham Microfabrication plant opened to the third pick Gibbs tried. Inside the building the air was stale, with a faint electrical smell. SWAT police and NCIS agents fanned out to search the building.
“Computers are on standby,” said Gibbs, looking around the room, and noticing winking blue lights on several PCs. “Keep your eyes open for cameras, anything that might be a booby trap. And don’t go in to the radiation lab!” He noticed that there was dust everywhere.
One of the police officers brushed against a desk, jogging the mouse a little, and after a few seconds the screen began to display camera views in and around the outside of the building. There were cameras in every room, set up so that all areas were monitored.
“There’s nobody here,” said Lee. “Want to hit the radiation lab?”
“No,” said Gibbs, “but I guess we’ll have to. Anyone know if the bomb squad here has a robot?”
“It’s on its way,” said one of the SWAT officers, after a brief radio message.
“What should I do?” Kara asked from the doorway.
“Get back outside and wait until we’ve checked the radiation lab. If you want to make yourself useful, there are some antennae and satellite dishes on the roof, see if you can figure out where they’re aimed.”
A few minutes later the bomb disposal team arrived, and moved their robot into position to open the door. Gibbs taped a kryptonite detector to its handling arm and switched it on.
“Okay,” shouted Gibbs, “We’re going to crack the lab. Everyone outside; Kara, get well clear of the building.”
Two minutes later the robot used its built-in shotgun to shoot the lock off the door. As it swung open a foetid smell filled the factory, and the detector began to beep.
To Be Continued.
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