Old town Bludhaven is hell on earth, three steps shy of full-on Dystopia assaulting the senses. Garish neon, crack dens, whorehouses, and sleazy bars besiege the streets. The dregs of society loiter in the shadows. Lightning rips through a vortex of clouds as rain falls in sheets and showers a large ominous metropolis. The city's bleak, thick air carries the sound of car horns, harsh voices, and gunshots followed by sirens, a common occurrence. Police choppers soar above a taped-off Cathedral and a crowd of on-lookers.
An unmarked Dodge Charger pulls up to the crime scene, and behind the wheel is the weary face of Detective Amy Rohrbach. She's a sharp, impartial cop, Asian in her thirties, medium height, slim frame with a pretty face, dark eyes, and dark brown hair. Rohrbach parks the car climbs out dressed in an off-the-rack pants suit, and her weatherworn Peacoat is as wrung out as its owner.
Rohrbach ducks the barrage of on-lookers and picks her way towards the fleet of patrol cars as their lights flash, brightening the calm autumn night sky. Rohrbach makes her way to Detective Pepper. An up-rising detective, who worked his way up the ranks from vice unit to Major crimes, Rohrbach personally recommended for the task force. As a youth who resisted working for drug gangs, the thirty-two-year-old Black American decided to become a cop and, over time, became a junior Detective. He's a good cop, one of the few, an extraordinary detective who initially was skeptical about depending on a vigilante, but he has grown to accept it over time.
Pepper's hands Rohrbach a clear plastic evidence bag containing a package resembling a nicotine patch. Rohrbach turns the box over and sees a Hex bag logo with a crown stamped.
"The Voodoo King.," said Rohrbach.
Pepper, with a puzzling look, said, "Come again?"
"The Jamaican, AKA the Voodoo King," Rohrbach takes out her phone, pulls up a terrifying photo, and turns the screen for Pepper to see. "A Jamaican refugee who arrived here in Bludhaven some years back. He started as a drug distributor for the Kingston family, eventually branching off into a sadistic drug lord. He's responsible for pushing the drug Wonderland on the streets."
"Makes sense now," said Pepper. "A poor refugee making an affordable yet pure drug incredibly popular eliminates much of the competition."
Rohrbach nods and approaches a forensic photographer shooting an unknown body. Rohrbach places on a pair of blue latex gloves and crouches to look at the body. Just as he's thoroughly examining the body, Nightwing emerges like a meaningful phantom from the darkness, and everyone working the scene is in awe. In his time in Bludhaven, only a few cops had heard the stories about Nightwing, and urban stories were all they were. But not tonight, as they get a firsthand look at the vigilante.
The Nightwing suit is a black high-tech suit designed for his high-flying acrobatic style. It blends in perfectly into the darkness, as it's a sophisticated suite comprised of military-grade Kevlar woven with enriched carbon nanotubes braided in an experimental high-tech material unavailable to commercial manufacturers. Like the bat suit, Dicks suit contained gauntlets. A bluebird is emblazoned, its wings expanded on his chest, and he wears a black compartmentalized utility belt. His weapons of choice are two Escrima sticks in a holster that he carries on his back.
Rohrbach approaches Nightwing. "Fancy meeting you here," remarked Rohrbach, somewhat sarcastically.
"Yeah, fancy that," said Nightwing.
That charming sense of humor she has gotten accustomed to from him. Amy proceeded as the uniformed officer lifted the tape for her in awe.
"We found Hex packages at the crime scene. All familiarity's we know too well."
Nightwing knew all too well this was the EMO of the Voodoo King.
"Rohrbach," said Pepper. "We have witnesses who saw the perp flea into the Cathedral before arriving. They gave a description. Five-nine in height, red-headed, stocky, and sported an elaborate mustache."
Rohrbach nodded and turned to see Nightwing crouched next to the body. Nightwing examined it with critical eyes as the drizzling rain beading down his half-cowl, and after carefully studying the body, he noticed a white particle sprinkled on the ground. Anhydrous magnesium, to be precise. A sulfate on the ground. Nightwing stood and faced Rohrbach.
"Bath salts," said Nightwing.
Rohrbach seems puzzled and yet intrigued.
"Bath salts as in the Miami Zombie?" said Rohrbach.
Pepper joins the conversation, "Rohrbach, this is officer Chance. He had the encounter with the VIC."
"Detective," said officer Chance as he glanced at Nightwing. He shifts his eyes to Rohrbach but can't help but peek at Nightwing. "I told him to desist from attacking the homeless man. He ignored my warning and, instead, growled at me. It took four shots to take him down, which was unreal, sir."
Rohrbach nodded. "Thank you, officer, that is all."
"Will canvas the area, sir," said Pepper. "See if we can discover new leads."
Rohrbach nods, and Pepper leaves as Rohrbach and Nightwing walk to the front entrance of the Cathedral. They both look across the parking lot and notice the attacked homeless man getting tended to by the EMTs. Nightwing takes in the old building built in 1870; amid the chrome and glass sits a dark and ornate Gothic anomaly. Once grand, the ancient city Cathedral is now abandoned and has long since been boarded up and scheduled for demolition.
The interior ceiling above is stone angles that gaze down from their shadowy, windswept
perches, keeping monstrous watch over the pews and sightless guardians of the Cathedral. The Cathedral is dark, sweating with darkness, light seeping through gaps in the roof. They reach for their flashlights and shine them through the Cathedral.
Rohrbach turned to Nightwing and said, "What exactly are we looking for?"
Nightwing scans the room, craning his neck before finally. "Any type of hidden entrance that leads underground."
Rohrbach flashes his flashlight down the long vast hallway. The doorknobs glitter from the light of the flashlight. Rohrbach pats Nightwing on his shoulders and points at the door leading to the study. After scrummaging through the office, they entered moments later, and Nightwing notices a placed book on a bookshelf using his high detective skills. Rohrbach cocks her head, and she detects that Nightwing has found something.
"I know that look all too well," said Rohrbach. "What did you find?"
"Every book on the shelf is either Catholic or Greek Mythology, except for one book, which is the Art of War," Nightwing steps towards the shelf and pulls the black book back, causing the secret panel to swing open, revealing an underground tunnel.
Nightwing looked over his shoulder at Rohrbach. "The Shanghai tunnels, commonly known as the Asbestos underground, primarily run underneath the city to the central downtown section of Bludhaven."
"I'm familiar with the history," said Rohrbach. "The tunnels connected the basements of many downtown hotels and businesses in the late '40s and '50s. Some historians say they incorporated prostitution and the opium trade- but there is no evidence that the tunnels were used. Is that your theory on how Voodoo King has moved his product throughout the city? We've been figuring out how he's moving the shipments in and out."
"The tunnels don't completely run underneath the city, mostly Northwest Kane, Finger, and Everett streets. Due to businesses' growth, many tunnels have caved in: "Nightwing hands Rohrbach an encrypted earbud. "I'll follow the trail to see if I can keep up with the Voodoo King. Once I find something, I'll activate the tracking signal for you and your team to pursue. In the meantime, station some of your men at the nearest drain tunnels."
Rohrbach said, "You know there are rumors about a monster living underground. Do you think he's real?"
Without missing a stride, Nightwing said, "There's an urban myth circulating, but then again, I once fought an eight feet tall Crocodile. Talking about having the Jeepers creepers."
Nightwing descends into the passageway like a phantom, leaving Rohrbach alone in the darkness. The passage is small, surrounded by darkness. Nightwing activates the starlight night vision lenses in his mask, and green eyepiece slits slip down over Nightwing's eye holes. His surroundings turn green, providing enough light to pass through the passage. As he continues his travel through the passage, he hears the roar of water. He then remembers there's an underground canal built beneath the Cathedral.
The flowing water gets louder as Nightwing continues his journey; he approaches a vast opening with a floor made of old wooden boards. As Nightwing steps forward, he hears the boards beneath him crack, and the unexpected happens. The panels give way, and he plummets into an old well. Nightwing drops thirty feet, landing hard on the rubble-strewn bottom of the shaft. He lifts his head from the damp, dirty rocks, groaning. He shook it off and said, "I'm never going to live that down!"