It was a regular day in the Gotham suburbs: the sky was overcast, the birds were ominously quiet, and a couple of GCPD detectives were investigating a bizarre crime. The one unusual thing was the pond the detectives were eying suspiciously.
“So, as far as the locals know, Adams Pond has never spontaneously turned into blood,” Detective Bette Kane said. “We got the results from the lab techs back yet?”
Her partner and senior officer Lisa Drake nodded. “It’s human.”
“Fuck. Is it all from one person? Do we know who?”
“We need to do a lot more tests. We don’t even know if it’s all blood or mostly water.”
Bette scooped up a small, flat stone from the shore.
“What are you--?”
Bette wound back her arm and sent the stone into the pond. It skipped once and sank.
“Kane!” Lisa said, a warning creeping into her surprise as Bette leaned down to collect more stones.
“I’m doing something.” Bette said. “Trust me.”
She sent a second stone skipping. This one also bounced only once. So did the third and fourth.
Bette handed Lisa the final stone. “You try.”
“Kane, this is not the time to skip rocks!”
“Come on. I’m testing something out.”
Lisa sighed and tossed the final stone, which dropped immediately to the bottom of the pond.
“Your point?” Lisa said, turning back to her partner.
“Normally I can get a few skips. Blood’s mostly water, so it dissolves in it, but it’s also got a lower surface tension. Therefore, in my expert opinion…” Bette paused dramatically. “...that’s a lot of blood. Mostly blood.”
Lisa briefly reconsidered every decision she had ever made that had led her to this point.
“Come on. We should get samples from around the pond, maybe check the locals again,” Bette continued.
“I’m the primary on this case, Kane,” Lisa warned.
“Right. Sorry. Got excited.”
“Here,” Bette said about an hour later, holding up a cooler. “Got samples from the middle and other edges of the lake at different depths. Labelled, obviously.”
“Good. Let’s get back to the lab,” Lisa said, holding her own cooler.
In the car, Bette let almost two whole minutes go by before speaking. “Hey, Drake, you ever seen Prince of Egypt?”
“Heard the story of Passover?”
Lisa shrugged. “I got kicked out of Catholic school when I was 9.”
Bette raised her eyebrows. “Dang, remind me to hear that story. Anyway, Pharaoh wouldn’t let the Jews out of slavery in Egypt, so Moses brought down ten plagues. First one was turning the Nile River and all of the rest of the water in Egypt into blood.”
“Sounds vaguely familiar.”
“Pharaoh’s magicians tried to do the same thing and pulled it off, but they were a lot less powerful and they couldn’t reverse it. In the movie, they just dumped some powder in to make it seem like they could turn water to blood too. Faking divine abilities with sleight of hand to give Pharaoh confidence.”
“Are you going somewhere with this?”
“Well...we need to figure out if we’re dealing with the genuine article, or just some kooks playing with dehydrated blood. And why exactly. What is their goal? And will they strike again? Nobody is relying on Adams Pond for water or food or tourism. That makes me think it’s a demonstration.”
“Possibly. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions yet,” Lisa cautioned, making a sharp right.
Bette nodded. “Of course.”
“I still think your surface tension thing was full of shit,” Lisa said.
“Hey, it’s more accurate than reading blood splatter patterns, and we still use that.”
“‘The police force does dumber things’ is not a valid argument, Kane!” Lisa said, rolling her eyes.
“Right, yeah, of course.” Bette said. “It was just to back up my hunch. Wasn’t going to go on it without the evidence from the lab anyway.”
Lisa nodded, taking a left down a street that was barely more than an alleyway. “We’re here,” she said. “State of the art crime lab.”
Lisa could swear that Bette subtly frowned for a moment. “Is D--is Wayne here? Or Grayson?” the rookie asked.
Lisa shrugged. “Dunno. Probably not.”
Bette grinned, her cheery demeanor immediately returning. Lisa began to think she’d only imagined its brief absence. “Right then.” She hopped out of the car and grabbed the cooler, then slammed the door shut and waved cheerily at Lisa.
Lisa sighed, grabbed her own cooler, and followed Bette inside the Wayne-funded crime lab.