|eddie atwood (riddlethem) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-06-11 20:05:00
|Entry tags:||door: dc comics, riddler, scarecrow|
Who: Riddler and Scarecrow
What: Two bros escaping. look out ladies
When: Late monday night
Warnings: Nothing really!
The last thing Riddler remembered doing in his Gotham was sitting in an Arkham therapy circle, lamenting with Jarvis over their mutual loss of hats. Truth be told, Jarvis had more reason to be upset given his title, but did his hat light up with a green question mark? No. No it did not. And, as Edward sat in this cold cell of his new Gotham, he wondered if he’d ever get his hat back. If he’d ever see what the Gotham out there looked like with a fresh coat of green paint. At least now his cell matched Riddler’s love for a certain colored punctuation. When he materialized out of thin air inside of a cell with a thick, plastic door with little tiny air holes for close observation, the Arkham staff barely knew what to make of him. Edward asked kindly for a big green marker and, curious to see what he would do with it, they cautiously obliged. In a manner of minutes his entire cell was covered in question marks, riddles and sloppy bat signals. No amount of cleaning or scrubbing could save the marked cell now and it was his. If ever Batman managed to throw him back in this hellhole, at least they’d put him in this cell.
But, Arkham was growing tiresome and news of other villain exploits felt grating. He wanted to be out there leaving clues under the pillows of Gotham. He wanted them to fear his intellect. Be awed by its magnitude and chilled by its fierceness. Riddler wasn’t here to be the most sadistic or brutal, he was here to be too smart for average human comprehension. Gotham needed him because no one else could possibly take his place.
Like all criminals in Gotham, Riddler knew that one day he’d find a way to escape. He had heard Crane ran the place before arrival, but had recently been demoted by a certain pointy-eared rodent. And, it wasn’t until a couple days later while he pretended to nap did he hear one of the guards call Crane for supper. Well, well. The Riddler’s luck was turning around after all. Surely he could have escaped on his own with more time, but it was so much easier with a fellow intellect that knew his way around this new Arkham.
Riddler waited for the guard to wander off and thunked his forehead against the protective glass. “Riddle me this. Who is outstanding in his field?” He smiled sweetly at the simple wordplay, eyes wide with mischief. His breath fogged up the glass into a lopsided circle where he drew a messy question mark. He watched the little fingerprint vanish. No matter. If they steamed the whole glass, they’d find more riddles. More questions.
The high security cells at Arkham were hardly meant for comfort, Crane had observed, and several weeks ago, he would have made silent plans on improvement, but now, the state of Arkham was something he didn’t care to even think on. He would leave this place, he would turn his back upon it, and he would find people that appreciated his gifts. He was sure they existed someplace in Gotham, and he would turn over as many rocks as needed to get them to scurry out from their hiding places.
But for now, there was here, there was now, and there was this cell that his entire world consisted of. Even in here he was allowed very little freedom, the institutional straitjacket that bound his arms making any sort of escape all but impossible. They had been nice enough to mind his broken wrist, so lovingly casted by the doctor’s Alex had seen, but very little mercy had been left to his free, healthy arm. Most of time was spent on the bed that was bolted to the floor, his leg propped up, a silent, sulking presence in the cell. The jeers from the guards and other staff were ignored with the sort of ego that came from a life putting others down, and frankly, it was making Crane bored enough to cry.
But then the voice came from the cell beside his. It was familiar, long ago, it seemed, and it was the first interesting thing that had happened to him during his stay in Arkham. “The Scarecrow,” Jonathan answered with a hint of a smile pulling at his lips. It was the only answer to the riddle posed to him, and only the Riddler would ask such a question. “The Scarecrow is outstanding in his field,” he repeated, head pressed against the wall, glasses knocked askew.
Riddler gave an approving sound that was almost like a high pitched whine mixed with a throaty murmur. “I missed your reign over this castle by only a hair.” He said woefully, as if he were actually looking forward to the harsh treatments and nightmare gas. “I’ll save you the trouble. My biggest fear is becoming dumber than Batgirl.” He audibly shuddered against the clear door, his face smashed against it like a child making funny faces in the backseat of a car. He watched for guards, nurses and doctors. They probably had camera set up where Riddler couldn’t see, but he was more concerned with how well they could hear.
“The good news is that you and I have similar interests now.” He continued, voice a little lower with a playful secret. “One more minute in this place and I’ll suffocate of boredom. I swear I will.” That’s why everyone wanted to get out of Arkham, wasn’t? Except for maybe Jarvis or that dastardly plant lady. They had hobbies and obsessions. Scarecrow and Riddler had games to play.
There was amusement in his voice when he spoke next, his smile visible even with the walls that separated them. “Is it possible to become dumber than Batgirl?” Crane asked, and then he let out a laugh, almost able to pick up on what his neighbor was doing next door. Closing his eyes, Crane let his shoulders slump slightly, his posture something close to relaxed, or at least as close as the good doctor ever got. “There are no microphones,” Crane called out to him. “And half of the cameras don’t work. Now that that mystery has been put to rest, let us talk seriously.”
This was a person he could get behind, Crane thought. Similar interests, similar goals. “What’s keeping you in here, then? I’ve my excuses, my reasons. What are yours?” His lay around the bones the Batman had broken just as easily as he had been made of stray, and Crane was not going to forget or forgive him that for a very long while.
“I arrived here.” Riddler had the worst luck sometimes. Crane was likely given this place on a silver platter and what did the question marked menace get? A cell with a hard bed, a barely working toilet and no television time to speak of. “My key only brings me to this cell over and over again.” He sighed heavily, his mouth making a pppttthhfffll noise against the glass. “It’s as if they want to drive me insane.” The Riddler wasn’t crazy. That would mean there was something wrong with his perfect, exceptional mind.
“I heard a certain flying rodent has been throwing his weight around.” Menace and annoyance in his voice. The Batman had a tendency to poke his pointy little ears where they did not belong. “When will he learn that breaking bones and trapping men like us just makes the creative juices flow?” Riddler was on the list of Top Five Worst Fighters in Gotham City, especially if he didn’t have his beloved cane. But, no amount of broken bones or lost teeth could turn his brain off.
“The keys take us where we’re meant to be,” Crane responded with carefully measured words. “Or at least that’s what I’ve been told. My key led to my office. Now it leads here and no other place.” The raspberry blown against the glass made him smirk, a soft hum escaping him as he picked through the words he could offer in return. “As for the bat man...” Jonathan trailed off, a certain amount of ire flooded his words then, his anger something that could almost be felt with how deeply it ran. “The bat has become protective over a certain kitty. Hence, my fall from the throne.” The cat was becoming the bane of his existence, Crane felt, and he would make her pay, here or through the doorway, both of them would suffice.
“I do think, however, if we put our heads together, we can find a way out of this place,” he said a moment later. “Though I regret to say that they’ve got me between a rock and a hard place; I’m not mobile, and they’ve been making me hug myself for the past days.”
“Kitty, kitty meow face.” Riddler liked Catwoman the same way a child liked sharp knives. They were dangerous and oh so shiny. He made a mental note of it. The cat enjoyed his little trophy hunt back home, maybe this time wouldn’t be so different? That was just getting ahead of himself, though. Right now he needed to think of a way out of this damp, cold hellhole. Crane knew how to navigate, but moving slowly could pose a problem. “For all the jackets you like putting on others, one would think you’d know how to escape yourself.” Riddler knew the basic trick of it, as did any regular customer of Arkham, but it required a lungful of air and a stupid orderly.
“I can help you with that if you can find us a quiet exit.” He added seriously. “I doubt they were proactive enough to change all the delicious passwords you have set. We just need a little misdirection.” If Crane could get Nigma to a console, he could set chaos to alarms and doors in other sectors while they slipped through the shadows.
“Easier with two functioning arms,” Crane remarked, sharpness in his voice, because he had already been over that, and tested his limits with a casted wrist, and it did not lend to the flexibility required of a swift escape. But the second part of it, Crane could do. There would be no problem finding the doors that could be opened, the places they could slip through nearly unnoticed. Let Edward fire the arrows to draw their attention elsewhere, and he would see them safely out. “Get me out of this jacket, and you’ve got a partner in crime,” Crane said, voice dipped low enough so that it would not carry past the one in the cell beside them. The last thing they needed were birds singing about their plans in hopes of help from the guards.
The sound of Riddler stepping away from the transparent door could be heard, followed by rustling and scratch of a stone being moved. He had a secret. He always had a secret. It was something he was saving for exactly a time like this. Perhaps the universe hated him enough to throw him in Arkham, but it wasn’t completely unfair. In the palm of his hand was a black hacking device that not only could override simple security codes, but contained decades of Riddler programming. It was the tiny seed that would blossom into delicious mayhem.
Hacking the electronic lock on his door was something Riddler could have done all along, but he only had one shot at escaping and if they caught him they’d take this last little piece of him. They can’t have you, sweet Sadie assured her other half, bringing a smile to his lips. She was the one thing that soothed him in this dank asylum. The first to really believe in what he could do.
The natural movement of numbers and lines of code, that savory sound of a lock coming undone was practically orgasmic. This was the first step, the first tip of a domino. He could feel it with every wrinkle in his brain. Giving a wave to Crane, Nigma knelt near his door, quickly forcing the lock to snap open and then slipped inside of his cell.
“I’ve never been inside another man’s cell before.” Riddler whispered with a wink and then stuck the device in his own mouth to free up his hands. There was a small marvel in the way he quickly and gently undid the restraints. The knots were folded on top of each other and had to be pulled in the right order or the whole jacket would be a mess. An intelligent man would take a good ten minutes trying to understand it. Riddler was finished in seconds.
There was something almost magical about listening and watching the Riddler work, Crane thought, as the door to his cell opened with little struggle or fuss. Crane was sitting on the cot in the corner, and as the other man entered, he slipped forward, sitting so it was easier to get to the jacket that restrained him. “And I’ve never invited another man into my cell,” Jonathan said, closing his eyes as he felt the knots and buckles worked open, the tension around his arms loosening bit by bit until he pulled his hands free of the long sleeves. “Come on. Let’s get out of this place,” Crane said as he pushed himself to his feet, unsteady with the use of only one leg and no crutches or cane to assist him. But he didn’t ask for help, just moved towards the door with an exaggerated limp, glancing back towards Edward with a look.
“You are coming, right? Then don’t dawdle. They’ll be here within five minutes since the cells opened. We’ve that much time to make ourselves scarce.”
Riddler spat out the hacking device into his hand and swooped under Crane’s good arm to help him limp a little faster. “This isn’t my first rodeo, cowboy.” When he was just Edward Nigma, code monkey and bootlicker extraordinaire, Crane’s superiority act would have gotten to him. It would have sharpened his harmless little pencil into a deadly, graphite point. Things were a little looser now. The true wonders of self confidence in the workplace.
As they hobbled down the row of cells, criminally insane hooted, hollered and pounded on their cages. Riddler noted that they weren’t just upset that two of their colleagues were escaping, they didn’t seem to like his new partner in crime very much. “Another night here and someone would have stabbed you in the therapy knitting circle.” He said, sticking his tongue out at one of the more rambunctious patients before turning the corner to face one of the main security doors separating their wing from the rest of Arkham. The funny thing about electronic security doors was that they were all strung together. Pull one thread and the whole thing could unravel.
Riddler let Crane go and slid up next to the door’s control panel. It was just a small screen with a simple touch pad, but it was the network inside that Edward was after. Turning his device back on with a glow of green gently illuminating his face, he began to turn the place on its head. Random doors across Arkham swung open, break rooms were locked down, security computers coughed up malware that consisted of jumbled word puzzles and endless question marks. He smiled brightly, like something was jumpstarting his entire being, and pocketed the device. “Lead the way, crow.” Riddler took the man’s arm around his shoulder again like two war buddies making sure no one was left behind.
“All the more reason to make our escape as quick as possible.” Crane didn’t give so much as a glance to the other inmates as they made their way down the corridor, pretending that, for all that it mattered, they did not exist. They were ants beneath his shoe, inconsequential and lacking any qualities that he deemed useful. Unlike his newfound friend Riddler. This one, he could get behind, at least as long as he remained useful to him.
Leaning up against the wall as Riddler saw to the door, Crane watched him from behind the wire-rimmed spectacles, his chin raised slightly, his attention focused more on the man’s face than his hands or the device he manipulated. And then, it happened. The sounds of clicking going on through the asylum, doors opening, locks disengaging. It was enough to draw a smile to his face as the door in front of them gave up its security. He gave a smile to Riddler, a cold, dark smile, before he gave a sharp nod. “I’ll make sure we don’t get lost,” Crane said and it was his turn to lead the way, down the corridor, taking turns at seemingly random, but he was sure in all of his movements. He knew the place like the back of his hand, the corridors as familiar to him as his own residence. Before long, windows were visible, and Crane glanced over towards him with a smile. “One last door, my friend.”
Riddler imagined the look on Arkham employee faces when they saw the green question mark pop up on their screens. The surprise in their sweet little hearts that a man in a cell with a love for silly riddles could shut them down so easily. It put a smile on his face, the kind champions and kings wore when they conquered a castle. This wasn’t all his work, of course. Picking Scarecrow as an ally was a risk, picking anyone in Gotham would be, but they had common goals. That’s what true partnerships would always be built on. He wanted to see what Scarecrow would do now that his throne had been taken by the Bat Man and revenge was in order.
He could hear panic run through Arkham in muffled screams and hurried footsteps. Even if someone saw these two escape, it would be low on the list of priorities. The Riddler hoped other “friends” were here, somewhere. Nothing sent white, cold panic through a man like a killer with a need to keep count or a circus freak shaped like a crocodile. Kneeling at the last door, Riddler took a little longer trying to open it. While his virus had certain control over a majority of the asylum, its power was built specifically to be spotty and random. Now the remaining doors, like this one, were on deeper encrypted programming. “When is a door not a door?” Riddler said aloud after a moment, tasting the possible doubt emitting off Scarecrow.
Moments later, the door’s locks popped and it swung open as if a friendly ghost had been helping them the whole way. “When it’s a jar.” There was no glee in his voice, just pure, unfiltered mischievousness.
The wall was his support as he watched the Riddler again work his own brand of magic on the final door between them and freedom. Crane could only half-watch, however, constantly glancing back down the hallway for any straggling guards that would attempt to thwart their progress, or, on the heels of that, other inmates wanting to join their little party. It was a two-man band, Crane had decided, and no one else would be allowed. The corner of his mouth lifted in a grin at the riddle posed to him, taking that moment to look back at his progress, just in time to see the door swing open freely. Fresh air greeted them, and he wasted little time in pushing away from the wall and back towards his partner in crime.
“I knew I picked the right man to partner up with,” Crane said by way of compliment, his good hand coming to rest on the other’s shoulder for balance, long fingers curled over the ridge of his shoulder. “Let’s go before they sic the dogs on us. I’d be afraid you’d abandon me for dead if that happened.” A crack of a smile as he edged out, drawing in a breath of fresh air, of freedom, and something else even more delightful. Possibilities.