BATlog: January 20, 2004

Evil is ancient. It has been around longer than any living person. It is tenacious. It has a history and a track record. Now it has a fate. I am, now, and I am unyielding.

The last Nuclear Fructosion poisoning happened on October the first 2003, rounding out the list of 914,228 victims, all of them from the eastern seaboard. 913,372 of them died form their mutations. That left 856 survivors, all of whom were permanently mutated to some extent. A very few of them, 117 that I know of now, changed enough to be classified as metaX’s.

None of the publicly known survivors lives went unaffected. A select agency was formed to ‘monitor’ them. They have not identified all of them. Some of us have escaped having our normal identities branded as metaX’s. 59 of us cling to our anonymity jealously, exposing only an alter ego to the scrutiny of official ‘monitors’. Until last night.

A strange and curious thing happened last night. A can of the poison, which escaped the recall, made its way to San Diego and was consumed. Its victim was admitted to San Diego Municipal Hospital. I intend to intervene if at all possible. If this girl survives, she will be subject to investigation all her life for no fault of her own, unless I have something to say about it.

Information is a commodity. It can be bought, sold or hoarded. The initial report filed by the attending physician was not complete. It indicated only that a victim with symptoms indicating a mutagenic poison was admitted. No identity was included. If the ‘monitors’ haven’t yet responded, if she can be moved, if the scraps of identifying information that have been collected so far can all be wiped out, there may be a 60th anonymous survivor, another life with a chance at normalcy.

First she has to survive. Victims who lasted 3 days survived 50% of the time. That gives me time to act. The ‘monitor’ agency will not bother with this, even if they do take an interest, until they think she has a chance to survive. To them, a dead metaX is a safe metaX. Before then, I have to find out how much interest they have taken. I have to be prepared to intervene between her and a major clandestine agency with huge manpower and resources. I will be.

BATlog: January 22, 2004

Besides my interest in giving another person a chance at a normal, unpersecuted life, I want to use this Jane Doe incident to see if it leads to more information about the source of the poisoning. There is the expected Atlanta Poison Control Center interest. The ‘monitor’ agency is piggy-backing off their information stream, so they won’t need to have a presence at her hospital until she shows signs of actual recovery. Good. The more distance between her and them, the more room I have to act, or just observe,...

BATlog: January 30, 2004

She is still alive. None of the victims succumbed to the poison after surviving 10 days. Her name is Jill Malarapa, a local street-kid of 16. Her mother was paraplegic, unable to get around without a wheelchair. Until two days ago, then she was found dead in her squalid house in one of the more run-down slums. According to her neighbors, she was almost totally dependant on Jill. Jill’s father has not been around for as long as anyone can remember, at least two years. She has no family now. She is a drop-out, the school authorities are not going to miss her. The only regular association she has had with any recognizable authority is the Vice Squad. She is an accomplished pick-pocket, and she has ‘other charges’ besides an affinity for drugs. Everyone deserves a chance.

The Poison Control Center doctor has been joined by a privately retained physician who claims to represent "legal guardians" outside her immediate family. It is not the agency. The ‘physician’ is in fact a local heavy-for-hire named Jason Baccus. He does body-guard work by contract since his military retirement a couple years ago. He also does a competent job of setting up a cover story. He seems to know a lot about medicine and specifically toxicology. He is also no slouch as private security. He has made the two teams of agency ‘monitors’, one of whom he knows has already been to hospital administration and duplicated all Jill’s records. He succeeded in deleting his existence from all the records before they were copied. He also has managed to stay out of the Poison Control doctor’s reports. As near as I can tell, the agency doesn’t realize how interested he is. No one has made me yet. No one blinks at custodial staff.

Baccus works for a local jet-setter whose interest I do not yet understand. He is married, wealthy, and un-entangled beyond his private business venture. How is he involved in this?

BATlog: February 14, 2004

Baccus’ employer, Jim and Jacque Somebody, have an agenda. They have been quietly going through the process to begin providing foster-care through North County. They have been quietly having criminal records on Jill Malarapa destroyed. According to the Bureau for Adoption and Foster Care, the Somebodys are highly rated. Both of them are interested in adoption, and they seem to have a history of providing long-term care for children of different ages. But why all the secrecy, and why the focus on Jill?

BATlog: February 22, 2004

Blast me for a fool! Baccus and Somebody were involved in this much earlier than I thought. It was Mr. Somebody who brought Jill in to the hospital! A taxi-cab stopped at the emergency entrance and an "unidentified man wearing a suit" brought in "a girl who reeked of garbage." He stayed only a few seconds, long enough to see that she was being attended to. The taxi took off and he walked away. Only there is no record of this, even on the surveillance tapes. In fact there are several altered documents and computer files surrounding the incident, and the surveillance tapes have numerous gaps in them from a few seconds by the emergency entrance to several minutes in some of the records keeping areas. Whoever altered the documentation of her arrival also removed the surveillance footage of their activities altering the documentation and of her being brought in. They didn’t erase the tapes leaving blank tape (and thus an obvious clue), they physically removed the sections of tape on which the evidence would have been recorded! The agenda is for Jill to disappear! Time to visit the Somebodys.

BATlog: February 23, 2004

If I were limited to a high 6 figure income, I would probably enjoy a place like the Somebodys have. Very nice, all things considered. They will be heading for bed. I need to catch them in their room but before they become ‘indisposed’. I leave their double doors to their balcony open and stand near the rail, facing away.

They enter their room and all the lights blaze to life. They sweep into their sanctuary and notice the doors are open. Jim moves to close them and stops short after reaching outside to grab the first door handle.

"Honey, we have a guest," Jim says.

I turn around. Jim is standing in the open doorway, smiling and affable, as if there is nothing unusual about coming home and finding the BAT standing on your bedroom balcony. That appearance is purely superficial. He is on guard, and his voice has a discernable edge to it. No weapons, all he has in his hand is a palm-top computer. Strange.

"Who is it?" His wife approaches the open doors pulling her shawl around her. She starts visibly when she see me, but recovers, "Can we help you?"

I take control of the situation. By little more than shifting my weight on my feet and adopting a mental posture, I change the atmosphere of the encounter. They become purely defensive, she clearly depending on him for protection, he visibly mustering his courage to hold his ground and not betray his sudden, inexplicable (to him) alarm.

"Why is it so important to you that Jill disappear?" They are visibly moved again. She looks to him for assurance that he is still all there, still protecting her, and still has a handle on the situation. He registers that I am aware of his involvement in Jill Malarapa’s affairs.

"What business is it of yours?" He is surprisingly calm given the effect I usually have on people.

"I am always interested when things are done in secret, especially when they affect a girl who can’t lookout for herself."

"Jill hasn’t got anyone to lookout for her," Jim stated flatly. "She needs someone who cares." His courage is gathering. He is sincerely on high ground, at least in his estimation. His wife is steadying herself at his side. She has picked up on it too, and she believes him to be genuine. A valuable endorsement, she has been married to him for 18 years. She knows him, she’d know if he were posing.

"You have cleared all the obstacles with the foster-care agencies. You have removed her criminal records. You have altered the records at the hospital. You are set to separate her from her past. I want to know why!" My conclusions are accurate, both of them tell me so by their openly astonished expressions. She tells me something more. It was his doing, but she knew about it all. She wasn’t surprised by any of it, only that I knew about it. They are acting in secret, but they are acting together.

He struggles to assume control of the conversation. He is at a disadvantage and he doesn’t like it. I don’t blame him.

His wife catches me completely off guard. In an instant, she goes from feminine and dependant to bold and assertive. She strides toward me like an offended mother. With her finger wagging in my face, she launches her assault. "Who do you think you are barging into our house like this? You think you are the police? Here you are asking us about what we are doing when you yourself have some explaining to do! You sneak around nosing into our business, checking up on us as if we are criminals! That poor girl is alone in the world! Her mother died and she has nowhere to go!

"They are gonna put her in the foster-care system to rot, if the metaX agency lets them! They will probably kidnap her when she gets well and she’ll never be heard from again! Who knows what they’ll do to her! And what are you doing for her, mister ‘I’m such a big deal!’ Are you doing anything help her or are you just proving how high and mighty you are? Who else is actually doing anything to give her a life? Who else is gonna protect her from the persecution all the other metaXs are going through?

"You should know what I’m talking about! You of all people ought to be doing something for her rather than harassing people who are! My husband pulled her out of that dumpster and took her to the hospital himself! If he hadn’t, she’d be dead! Get out of my house! Go terrify someone who’s afraid of you, you hoodlum!" She lunged at me, pushed me with everything she had.

She actually knocked me off balance. I could have recovered, kept my feet and pushed her back at her husband. But there was another issue, he had rescued her from a garbage dumpster. He was personally vested in saving her life. That explained why they focused on her. They also knew she was a metaX poison victim. They understood the persecution metaXs were going through. They realized Jill would have to be separated from her past completely if she was to have any chance at a normal life. They realized all this and were committed to her in spite of the difficulties they knew they were in for.

I let her push me. I carried the momentum into a back flip over the balcony rail and disappeared. He actually jumped over the rail down to the patio below to see that I was indeed gone. Impressive. No lone individual has ever pursued me before. And he had the personal bearing not to yell at the shadows when he couldn’t find me. They really mean everything she said.

BATlog: March 10, 2004

Jill recovered consciousness for the first time yesterday. This morning she was declared fit to travel under pressure from agency personnel. I knew they intended to take her from the state just as soon as she was clear of the hospital. So did Baccus. He didn’t look worried. Interesting.

Jill was loaded into a sedan from the foster-care agency and driven away from the hospital. Baccus stood on the sidewalk and watched. Three sedans and an SUV started their motors to go after her. He stood and watched. All four vehicles moved away from the curb. He stood and watched. The four vehicles all began to hesitate, they were having engine trouble of some sort. He stood and watched. All four vehicles at once had the same sort of trouble, hesitant acceleration. Then, in rapid succession, all four vehicles coughed to a halt, their motors dead. Baccus stood and watched.

Repeated attempts to restart the vehicles all met with the same results, increased difficulty making the motors turn over and fire. Baccus smiled and left.

There didn’t seem to be any reason for me to remain on my roof-top except for someone in a brightly colored costume standing on the hospital roof, looking directly across at me. That’s the trouble with broad daylight on an open roof-top with nothing to distract the other fellow. It is very hard to just disappear when they have an unobstructed, undistracted view of you.

The look of astonishment on his face when I did was, I admit, very satisfying.