More Oracle Fic
A work of fiction crafted under the name of Gremalkyn
Author's Note: Gremalkyn is mine, all MINE! "Miss Hunter" is from the public domain. All other characters in this chapter belong to DC Comics. No money made, just for fun, etc..
"It did WHAT!?" Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. the information broker Oracle, adjusted her headset. Had she heard that right?
"It dove into the water." Power Girl presently stood on the roof of a rather large pleasure boat in Gotham Marina. She was wet, the wind was picking up, and she had lost all trace of the limo she had been following.
"After I set Black Canary down in a safe place, I went back to rescue its occupants. No limo. Sorry," she added softly.
"Not your fault, Karen. Where's Canary?"
"Interviewing witnesses. Anything on the ownership of the limo?" Karen paced listlessly. She took the loss of the vehicle as a personal failure.
"It's registered to the Artemis Corporation, an international concern specializing in outdoor sporting goods." Oracle relayed the address.
"I'm looking right at it, then," spoke Power Girl. "The limo was on Artemis Drive when it went into the water."
"Great!" Oracle bounced in her wheelchair. "Okay, get Dinah and let's get cracking!"
There was a pause.
"I'm out," intoned Power Girl. "I was into something when you called, and I really need to get back. I'll give Canary my throat mic, though. Hers was damaged when I yanked her from the Porsche."
Not at all what Oracle wanted to hear. Joker had fired a missile at Dinah's car; no telling what else he had up his purple sleeve. While she trusted Dinah implicitly, and trusted her own abilities as well, she preferred some additional muscle for the job. Still, Karen had come at a moment's notice, and it would be unfair to impose further. Besides, they were friends.
"Okay. Please get Canary, and thank you for helping out."
"Not a problem, Oracle. I just wish I hadn't lost the limo."
Oracle busied herself while she waited. She accessed the corporation's web page and gave it the once-over.
"Interesting," she said to herself. She then hacked into City Hall and pulled up several documents that allowed Artemis Corporation to operate within Gotham. Tax structure, permits, and ownership. Everything was in order, but the dating had to be off. No way such a complex could have been built in the time allotted; and why had she not even heard of such an ambitious project? She added a few notes to her "to do" list and waited for her partner.
"On line," said Dinah a few minutes later. "Talk to me."
The Artemis Corporation complex was comprised of three main structures with interconnecting walkways. The shipping department was located riverside, with both land and water loading docks. The manufacturing department was further inland, and the headquarters building was along Artemis Drive. A simple wire mesh fence surrounded the compound.
The limo-sub cruised towards the sub pen located under the shipping department. The helmsman continued to make minor corrections as they approached. Gremalkyn and Joker, comfortably ensconced in the main cabin, continued their business.
"'Million-six,' you said." Joker stroked the Corinthian leather seat with appreciation. "And it comes with all the trimmin's?"
"Six Stinger missiles, on-board targeting system, sub modifications, and threat three armor."
"I'll take two. Harl will just --"
"Approaching sub pen," reported the helmsman over the intercom.
"Very well," replied Gremalkyn. Then, to Joker, "Once we arrive, I shall arrange the transfer."
The limo-sub entered the sub pen. It hovered in position while a submerged platform rose from beneath; at the appropriate time, the helmsman transformed the vessel back into a land-based vehicle. Dock attendants scurried about.
"We are secured," reported the driver. He exited the vehicle and opened the door for his passengers. Gremalkyn spoke with an attendant while the driver unloaded Joker's luggage.
"Well?" asked Joker excitedly.
Gremalkyn handed him a small electronic data device.
"Just enter your account information and press 'accept.'"
Joker did as he was instructed; a printer nearby busied itself with the receipt.
"As soon as this prints, I shall escort you to your appointment."
"Oh, goody!" Joker wandered around, pushing buttons. The attendants looked to Gremalkyn, who only pointed upward. The attendants nodded and smiled, and let Joker have his way.
He managed to upset most everything in the sub pen, some things even twice. The attendants followed close behind, putting things back where they belonged. Gremalkyn removed the documents from the printer and briefly scanned them. Then he read the second page with earnest.
"What does this one do?"
Gremalkyn looked up.
"No don't, that one..."
The platform under their limousine began to slip beneath the water, land-ready limo and all. They watched the water fill up the compartments.
Oracle had informed Black Canary of what she had found. Canary had looked the place over, detecting no security personnel or devices of any kind. Which either meant that she had missed them due to their sophistication or due to her negligence. Trusting in her abilities, she decided the former, and withdrew a few blocks down the street.
"Maybe I should just try the front door," she mused.
"Don't you dare," chastised Oracle. "let me poke around some more. Sit tight."
"Easy for you to say. I'm getting cold."
Barbara ignored this and set to work. This is what she lived for -- deep research.
Gremalkyn led Joker through Shipping, through Manufacturing, and into the Headquarters building. The lobby was enormous. Crafted from Athenian white marble, the floor and reception area shone like sunlight on snow. The solid gold trim glittered, and the blue accents sparkled like the precious stones that they were. Located in the center was the fountain; rising from the center of it was a thirty-foot marble and gold statue of Artemis the Hunter, bow drawn at an unseen target. The fountain shot synchronized water jets some twenty feet into the air around the statue. Shops, closed for the night, lined the north and south walls; the east was fully windowed and contained the main entrance. The west held the entryway to the upper floors.
"No security?" Joker was surprised at how abandoned the place seemed.
"Seeing but unseen," Gremalkyn supplied. 'We have been watched since exiting the vehicle."
"If you say so." Joker leapt onto the marble counter of the receptionist's area and struck a pose as if he were riding a surf board.
They paused before the statue of Artemis. She was magnificent. Her pose was majestic. Her features were the most beautiful either man had ever seen.
"Wow," confessed Joker.
"True to life. This way, please."
Not quite sure what Gremalkyn had meant, Joker nevertheless followed his companion down the corridor of the west wall. They passed several elevators before stopping. Located within the wall was a curious crystal orb with a small blue light. The gold plaque beneath the orb identified this as the "Executive Express." Gremalkyn stepped up to the orb and peered into it. The blue light flickered.
Oracle reviewed the corporation's public information posted on the internet, studied the documents allowing the corporation to operate within the city, and then attempted to probe the corporation's mainframe.
She got in on the first try. Odd, that. She looked around, finding all kinds of company information: payroll, inventory, and contracts. She took some notes and continued.
Hmm. International markets, corporate headquarters on the Greek isle of Delos, ventures into animal preserves and... orphanages? Sporting goods for hunting animals, maybe, but orphanages?
"Identify for retina scan," instructed a pleasant female voice.
Gremalkyn leaned in close, hands behind his back. He smiled pleasantly.
"Lionmane, Avatar Gremalkyn A."
"Identity confirmed." The doors opened, and the pair entered the elevator.
"'Avatar?'" Gremalkyn merely nodded.
There was a plush cushioned seat, so Joker sat. As he looked around, something seemed strange, even to him. The elevator was of the same white/gold/blue, but something...
Gremalkyn pressed the desired button.
"Yes, the interior is larger than the exterior," Gremalkyn offered when he saw Joker's curious expression. Before Joker could respond, however...
"Ah, the Executive Floor," supplied Gremalkyn. The doors opened and he stepped outside. Joker followed.
"Very funny. No time for a nap; we may have a problem. I found all kinds of company information --"
"Good girl!" Dinah rubbed her hands together for warmth. It must be, what, low 60's? Not too bad, when she stayed out of the wind.
"Not so fast. Call it 'Oracle's Law of Penetration: If it's easy, it's junk.'"
Dinah leaned against the wall of a shop that was closed for the night.
"What do you want to do?" she asked.
"Still want to try the front door?"
"Not at night. A girl could get hurt."
"You have an appointment for thirteen-hundred hours tomorrow. Get some sleep. Want me to call for a ride?"
"Yeah. I don't feel like walking home."
They had been deposited in the waiting area for Miss Diana Hunter, President and CEO of the Artemis Corporation. Gremalkyn led Joker past the vacant receptionist's area and right up to Miss Hunter's door. Just as he was about to knock, the door opened slightly. They entered.
"Mistress," spoke Gremalkyn in a reverent tone as he made to kneel; she motioned for him to remain standing. "The gentleman in question."
Joker beamed. Miss Hunter nodded ever so slightly; Gremalkyn departed, ensuring that the door was securely closed. It was, and faded into the wall, which then also faded away.
Joker wandered through Miss Hunter's office, ignoring her completely. Such nice things! A mounted stag. He had the urge to sit on it and "ride" it, but something else caught his attention. A silver bow in a glass case, mounted on the wall behind Miss Hunter's desk. He finally wound up in front of Miss Hunter.
"My dear girl," he began.
Something was not right here. She seemed familiar somehow. Joker took a good look at her.
The statue! Miss Hunter smiled. Not a pleasant smile, either.
The sleek, black Pantera pulled up to the shop where Dinah had been waiting. She cautiously came curbside and peered in the passenger's window as it slid down. Hard to see the driver.
"Waiting for a ride?"
"Yeah. Did my sister send you?"
"No, your mother."
"Sometimes," mumbled Dinah as she climbed into the car. "Thanks for the lift," she said.
"Any time," offered Gremalkyn.
To Be continued...
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