Located South of the 553 in Southern New Jersey, Gotham City was located on the northern end of the Metro Narrows Bridge across from Metropolis, Delaware. It had been founded on swampland where its Colonial settlers were aware of several legends and local superstitions. The local street gangs were first developed during the Industrial Revolution, but the skyline was developed post World War Two by the wealthy Wayne, Kane, Elliot and Cobblepot families. They built huge buildings reaching to the skies while criminals of every sort festered in the forgotten slums of the city. Many of these criminals had gimmicks to baffle and astound the police who remained unable or unwilling to capture them, but in recent years, Commissioner James Gordon had replaced crooked Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb in debt to the local mobs and had replaced much of the police force with decent cops from the surrounding cities. A family man, the descendant of law-abiding judges and lawyers, he was helped along by one stalwart Police Chief named James O'Hara, an Irish man from New York City and a deputized agent of the law in a cape that excised Gordon's will where it could not reach.
Young, brunette and pretty, his daughter Barbara Gordon said hello to one of her father's men as she entered police headquarters at the Gothan City Courthouse. She fumbled with her purse as she strided down the hall and caught the elevator. A few lady officers also acknowledged her as they passed greetings. Barbara was a frequent civilian visitor here as she headed to her father's fourth floor office.
"Hi, daddy," She still acted like a little girl in his presence. The proud white-haired visage of her father the commissioner was not alone. His police chief, James O'Hara was present as was the caped crusader himself. A deputized special agent of the police, Batman turned his head to Barbara as they pondered a wooden staff with a steel point. Batman's partner, Robin, seemed to check out Barbara as she came close.
"What's going on?" Barbara asked.
"Someone hurled this in through the window." Gordon admitted. "Along with this..."
"Catch me if you can?" Barbara read the note.
"What a riddle!" Robin pounded his fist into his other hand. "And the Riddler's still in Gotham City Penitentiary."
"Along with the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman and all the rest," O'Hara added. "They've all got markings on this."
"Their names and their symbols in a roll..." Batman pointed out. "But someone tossed it. The question is who?"
"Is Warden Crichton sure?" Barbara asked. It wasn't unusual for her to get involved with cases like this. "Could someone have escaped?"
"We checked them all!" O'Hara insisted.
"Mr. Freeze, Riddler, Penguin, Egghead..." Batman read out the names on the wooden rod.
"Maybe there's a clue in the way their names are spread out." Barbara saw the names were unevenly wrapped around the handle.
"That's it!" Batman snapped to attention in his zest to solve the mystery. "They've been lined up so the names will make a clue. F-I-N-E-A..."
"The Fine Arts Lady League!" Robin exclaimed. "It's full of all the most wealthy and affluent ladies of Gotham City's most wealthy families. They're together today to choose a charity for the Gotham City Charity Benefit being held by Bruce Wayne! Those ladies would be easy mark for some lowly crook!"
"Well done, Robin!" Batman handed the staff to Gordon. "Quick to the Batmobile!" They rushed out with their capes waving behind them as Barbara watched eager to join and observe them in action.
"O'Hara," Her father handed the staff to his Police Chief. "Put this in the evidence locker." He turned to his daughter. "And you, young lady. We have a lunch date."
"Oh, well, that's just it, daddy," Barbara heard the roar of the Batmobile take off outside. "I came by to cancel. Something came up and I've just got enough time to make my appointment. I will make dinner for you tonight." She grinned with a glint of the proud daughter in her eye.
"Of course," Gordon kissed his only child. "You make your appointment. I'll see you tonight at...seven?"
"Perfect." She kissed him good-bye and rushed off herself. Her apartment was only two blocks away and if she hurried, she might just make it!