Without hesitation, I fired up the sonar schematic of the GCPD building on my VISR display and coordinated the image to what was in front of me. The evidence room was marked in red on the second floor.
The sonar pulse itself was coming from a device Barbara had planted on the ground floor, so the image on the upper floors was considerably weaker and less defined. It appeared that the most accessible entry point was a fourth-floor bathroom. The window was tiny and much easier to jimmy open than it was to slide through, I snake-cammed it beforehand so I wouldn't land unexpectedly on some poor guy's head while he was relieving himself in the cubicle.
A smell of bleach hung in the air, the bathroom had just been cleaned, and not well. The floor looked to have been mopped only in the centre, and the sinks were still covered in dirty specs and finger marks. The evidently lazy cleaner was still in the hallway, I could see him through the wall, leaning on his mop and flicking through something on his phone.
Annoyingly, the door to the stairwell was right in front of him. I was going to have to create a distraction.
The cleaner was standing just in range of one of the sprinklers on the ceiling, convenient if I could set it off without too much trouble. I braced myself, threw a Batarang at it, and with a ping, it dislodged and started to spray water all over the guy.
"Shit, my phone, shit," He yelled, jumping out of the stream of water and dabbing the phone on his clothes.
Still cursing he ran to the bathroom I was standing in. I hid behind the door and crept out as he bounded past me.
Scooping up the Batarang from the floor, I ran straight into the stairwell and checked below for anyone heading my way. A pair of detectives, a man and a woman, were standing against the railings on the second floor, chatting and drinking coffee.
"That asshole was lucky he wasn't brought in feet first after what he did to those girls," One said, in a voice that caused a familiar feeling of resentment to bubble in the pit of my stomach.
"We don't know he did anything, could be a fit-up," The other said, I recognised her voice, it was Montoya, "How often do we find evidence and a murder weapon like that, it was too easy, Corrigan."
Of course, it was Corrigan, and of course, he was on the wrong side of the argument - rotten to his core.
Anxious to get the job done, I paced impatiently until they finally stopped talking and left the stairwell, Corrigan still sneering at Montoya's continued insistence of Nate's innocence. Luckily no one else had sprung up on me while I was carelessly out in the open.
I had no one to contend with between the stairwell and the evidence lockup. I crouched past the security desk, the officer on duty not breaking eye contact with his phone. Once I bypassed the lock, the phone I was after was waiting for me in the centre of the room all bagged up and ready to go, light shining on it like some Indiana Jones treasure - too easy.
"I've got it, making my way out," I radioed in to Barbara, reaching for the phone. Then, suddenly the door behind me clunked. I darted to one side as quickly as I could and took cover behind the far shelves, two officers strode in, laughing and joking, they obviously weren't looking for me.
"Nightwing?" Barbara's voice said in my ear. I quickly cut her off, focusing myself on not being seen.
The first of the officers, a scrawny and pale young man with sandy blonde hair began running his finger along evidence boxes, "We're looking for Jonathan Crane," he explained, pointing into another corner of the room, the name still gave me chills, "Why don't you check over there."
The other officer, who looked to be of similar age was a stronger build with distinctly patchy stubble and a crew cut, replied, "Crane is under 'C'?"
"We need to check under 'S', for Scarecrow," The first officer explained, rolling his eyes.
"Right." The other officer wandered into the other corner of the room which was thankfully away from where I was hiding.
Then, the blonde officer looked over his shoulder and, to my complete disbelief, grabbed the evidence I was in there to retrieve, and stuffed it in his back pocket, out of view of his colleague. Calmly composing himself, he returned to his position and pulled out another evidence bag, "I got it, let's get this to the Captain."
I quickly snapped a shot of his face through my VISR.
"I still don't know why he couldn't get it himself," The other officer said, and their voices trailed off as they left the room.
"We got a problem," I said again to Barbara.
"What is it?" She replied.
"Someone came and took the phone."
"What? I thought you had it?"
"I'm uploading a picture of an officer for you to check against the police database," I explained, "He just stole our evidence from the lockup right in front of me."
It took a lot longer to get out of the station than it had taken to get in. And by the time I'd reached Nate's place, I was exhausted.
Nate's apartment looked as though it had been taken over by a herd of rampaging elephants. Something told me this wasn't the cops' doing, more likely it was the result of my masked friend throwing him around a little before tying him up.
I cautiously ducked under the crime scene tape and crept into the room, staying on my guard.
The Phantasm, or whatever the hell he was, had told me to look in a drawer for something the cops had missed. Confusing to say the least, if he was one of us, or at least if he saw himself as one of us then why wasn't he following up on the evidence himself?
The only way I could rationalise it in my head was that, aside from his blatant supernatural abilities, he didn't have access to the resources that we did.
Just as he'd told me, the end table by the door, it was open. The cops had clearly been rummaging through it, but all it contained was takeout menus, a matchbook and a spare key.
"Hey, Barb, you there?" I asked.
"I'm here," She replied.
"Any luck with the picture?"
"Still running it through the database, have you found anything?"
"Nothing, I think he was messing with us."
"There's nothing in the drawer? Maybe they took it into evidence?"
"Not nothing. Just junk."
"What kind of junk?"
"Menus for pizza places, spare house key," I explained, shifting through the menus to see if there was anything between the pages, "Hang on, there are some matches here."
"And?" Barb asked.
"The matchbook is from Mount Olympus Bar and Casino, the one..." I began.
"The one on Bleake Island, what the hell was he doing there?"
"I don't know, it could be nothing, anyone could have given this to him."
"He doesn't smoke, why would he even bother taking them?"
"Well, if he was there, there's only one type of cop that hangs out at Maxxie Zeus's Casino," I sighed, trying in my head to give Nate the benefit of the doubt, "The ones in his pocket..."
"Not Nate, someone has to be trying to set him up, maybe one of the other officers put it there. If an officer took the phone, maybe there's something bigger going on here."
"Why would they put it there and not file it as evidence?" I asked, sceptically.
Barbara huffed angrily, "I don't know, Dick, but we have to find out soon, Nate isn't going to get bail if he's a suspected serial killer - and you know what happens to cops when they're locked up."
"I know, I know. See if you can do some digging at the station tomorrow and I'll head to the casino and see what I can find out. We'll get to the bottom of this, Barb, I promise."