Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

To Conquer Fear

To Conquer Fear

by Mara

Summary: Batman, Gil Grissom, and their teams must catch a villain before people

Author’s Chapter Notes:

As usual, I blame Medie. She posted a cute crossover ficlet and I *had*
to borrow the idea (with permission). Her ficlet can be found at
http://www.livejournal.com/users/medie/662017.html. This is also Fanfic100 #51,
Water, and Psych_30 #8, Phobia. Thanks to the folks of FanficPen for reading an
early partial draft and reassuring me and 6beforelunch for doing the final beta.

Continuity: Not on your life, buster.


To: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
From: bbb@secure.oracle.net
Subject: Re: donacia vulgaris

Thanks for the tip on that beetle. You were right and I was able to track where
Ivy got the new plant before she was able to manufacture her newest poison.

So your former DNA tech *was* the one who didn’t duck when the shooting started?
Good guess on your part. Well, you can tell him I saw him, if that would be
helpful. Subordinates seem to like that kind of thing.

Oh, and to answer your question, my e-mail username is courtesy of a colleague
who found it amusing. BBB…stands for Big Bad Bat. Don’t even think about
laughing.

Remember to give me the dates for your next class in forensic entomology, since
Robin might be interested in attending.

* * * * *

To: bbb@secure.oracle.net
From: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
Subject: Re: donacia vulgaris

I wouldn’t dream of laughing at your e-mail address. I can only be thankful that
I haven’t done anything to offend our IT department. Yet.

In any case, I’d be happy to have Robin in the class, as I’m sure he’ll be more
attentive than most of my students. My only concern is his ability to fit in. My
understanding was that he is high school age and most of the students will be
post-college.

* * * * *

To: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
From: bbb@secure.oracle.net
Subject: No problem

I taught Robin about disguises. He’ll be fine.

* * * * *

To: bbb@secure.oracle.net
From: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
Subject: Re: No problem

Of course.

On another topic, I’m hoping you have some suggestions on one of our cases. I’m
not ashamed to admit (to you) that I’m stumped. Every lead has come to a dead
end and we’re left with several odd chemical traces found at the scene. I’ve
attached our analyses.

Damn, I’ve just been paged for another case. I hope your night was quieter than
ours has been.

* * * * *

To: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
From: bbb@secure.oracle.net
Subject: The case

I apologize if I was curt on the phone, but there was no time to waste. I know
Nightwing will explain in greater detail upon his arrival, but let me repeat the
most important thing: You must *not* deal with the Scarecrow without backup. I
would be there myself, but I still have several crises here to deal with first.

Make it absolutely clear to your staff that they must handle *everything* at or
near the scene with the utmost care, no matter how harmless it may seem.

* * * * *

To: bbb@secure.oracle.net
From: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
Subject: We appreciate the help

Considering that there are already three patrolmen in the hospital under
treatment, we appreciate Nightwing’s assistance. He’s…impressive. At least,
Sara certainly seems impressed.

I can assure you we’re treating this case as hazmat. We’ve already had one close
call, when the aforementioned new CSI nearly dosed himself while fooling around
in the lab. Sometimes I wonder if Greg will ever learn.

So far, we’re chasing around behind this lunatic. To catch him, we’ll need to
figure out what he wants in Las Vegas.

* * * * *

To: birdboy@tt.secure.net
From: wingster@bludhaven.net
Subject: Bright lights, weird city

Hey, Boy Wonder! I’ve had quite an interesting introduction to Las Vegas. I
wouldn’t have wished Scarecrow on *anyone*, but I have to admit I’m glad to have
the chance to meet this Grissom that B is so enamored of.

He’s…not entirely describable, to be honest. He’s so closed and private, he
almost makes B look like a font of personal information. He’s brilliant,
although we’d guessed that, and eccentric (also not a big shock), but not any
more so than most of the people we know.

He’s got a rather attractive young woman chasing him, although he seems entirely
oblivious to the fact. Lucky me, she’s decided to make him jealous by chasing
*me*. (O, if you’re reading, I swear I didn’t encourage her.)

Okay, I’ve got to get a few hours of sleep, so I’m outta here. You and B be
careful, okay?

* * * * *

To: wingster@bludhaven.net
From: birdboy@tt.secure.net
Subject: Re: Bright lights, weird city

Don’t worry about us, we’re holding steady. So far, things have been quieter
than I’d expect with Ivy on the loose. Of course, that means she’s saving up for
something *really* awful, but we’ve still got some leads to track down.

You be careful too. Scarecrow’s no walk in the park.

* * * * *

To: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
From: bbb@secure.oracle.net
Subject: Scarecrow

Gil, I can assure you, I’ve been considering the same question. Whatever
Scarecrow is up to, it will be broad in scale, and will involve mass casualties.
He rarely thinks small and his fear toxin has only become more potent over the
years. It wasn’t pleasant to begin with.

What I haven’t been able to determine is why Las Vegas. Scarecrow may be insane,
but his “logic” is usually fairly predictable. However I can find no connection
between his Las Vegas victims so far.

* * * * *

To: birdboy@tt.secure.net
From: wingster@bludhaven.net
Subject: Re: Bright lights, weird city

I’m impressed by how unflappable most of these CSIs are. I mean, even in Gotham
or Bludhaven, I can usually make someone jump with that trick of appearing
behind them with no warning. The only one it works on here is Greg. (He’s the
guy that was in Gotham.) The rest just give me the kind of look B gives us when
we’ve been fooling around on patrol. Makes me wonder about what these guys see.

Anyway, we’re still looking for some clue to what S might be planning here and
it makes me nervous that we don’t seem to be any closer to an answer. The team
here has been working around the clock. Catherine and Grissom periodically send
people home to get some sleep, but I had to force *them* to rest.

Time to go undercover and get a look at the convention center in daylight. My
current theory is that S is planning to attack something huge like the consumer
electronics show. Why else pick Las Vegas?

* * * * *

To: birdboy@tt.secure.net
From: gsanders@lvmpd.com
Subject: Hi

Hi, I’ve never written to a superhero before, so I’m not sure quite how this
goes, but…Nightwing said I should get in touch with you directly. He’s off
with Grissom investigating, but they sent me back with the latest chemical.
Nightwing wants you to take a look at it to see if we can find any clues. But my
job doesn’t call for a lot of experience with fear toxin. I mean, what does the
stuff *do* anyway?

* * * * *

To: gsanders@lvmpd.com
From: birdboy@tt.secure.net
Subject: Re: Hi

What it does depends on the specific formulation being used. It can make you see
your worst fear or become afraid of something specific. Both options can be
dangerous, uncomfortable, or deadly. Be extremely careful.

Nightwing is right. This is a formulation we haven’t seen before. I’ve got the
computer working on possibilities, but I’ve attached the information we have so
far.

* * * * *

To: birdboy@tt.secure.net
From: gsanders@lvmpd.com
Subject: Re: Hi

Have you ever been exposed to this stuff? I mean, I can’t imagine that you guys
are scared of *anything*.

* * * * *

To: gsanders@lvmpd.com
From: birdboy@tt.secure.net
Subject: Re: Hi

Yes, I have. We all have. However, it’s not an experience any of us cares to
discuss.

* * * * *

To: birdboy@tt.secure.net
From: gsanders@lvmpd.com
Subject: Re: Hi

Right. Sorry. Anyway, my system has found some weird ingredients to this stuff
and I’m working the computer to see if any of them can be pinpointed to a
specific company or location.

* * * * *

To: wingster@bludhaven.net
From: birdboy@tt.secure.net
Subject: Where are you?

Nightwing, where are you? Greg’s got some info on the toxin and I want you to
follow up. Did you melt your comm again? O’s still teasing you about the last
time, so I can’t wait to hear her *this* time.

* * * * *

To: wingster@bludhaven.net
From: birdboy@tt.secure.net
Subject: Okay, this isn’t funny

Where the hell are you? B’s on Ivy’s trail, but if you don’t respond soon, he’ll
leave him to the GCPD.

* * * * *

To: gsanders@lvmpd.com; ggrissom@lvmpd.com
From: birdboy@tt.secure.net
Subject: Nightwing

Have you seen Nightwing in the last few hours?

* * * * *

To: birdboy@tt.secure.net
From: gsanders@lvmpd.com
Subject: Re: Nightwing

No, I haven’t. Last I heard, he and Grissom were tracking down a lead in
Henderson, something to do with a sighting. Should I put out an APB?

* * * * *

To: gsanders@lvmpd.com
From: birdboy@tt.secure.net
Subject: Re: Nightwing

Not yet. Let me try to reach him for a little longer.

* * * * *

To: wingster@bludhaven.net
From: birdboy@tt.secure.net
Subject: Last chance

Damn it, if you don’t answer us soon, the jet and I are on our way. If B doesn’t
beat me to it.

* * * * *

To: bbb@secure.oracle.net; birdboy@tt.secure.net
From: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
Subject: Nightwing

I know Nightwing has contacted you, but I suspect that he downplayed the
severity of the situation. When I found him, he was unconscious. Unfortunately
(in my view) he awoke before we reached the hospital. He convinced me, against
my better judgement, to take him to my house instead. I called in some favors to
get him confidential medical care, and I’m assured he will recover, but it was
most certainly touch and go for a few hours.

He let me take away his communicator on the condition that I sent a report to
you. The full report is attached, but the short form is that Scarecrow’s new
toxin causes a fear of money in all forms. Then it is fatal without treatment,
as far as we can tell.

* * * * *

To: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
From: bbb@secure.oracle.net
Subject: Re: Nightwing

Thank you. I can’t leave Gotham, but Robin is on his way.

* * * * *

To: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
From: birdboy@tt.secure.net
Subject: Re: Nightwing

Thanks for taking care of Nightwing. He can be remarkably difficult to treat, I
know.

I’ll be there in a few hours, but I’ve attached what I’ve learned so far. The
question is, why fear of money? Sure, Las Vegas=gambling, but money is
everywhere. He could just as easily have caused a fear of neon. Why Las Vegas?
What’s special?

* * * * *

To: bbb@secure.oracle.net
From: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
Subject: Target

I’ve got my team and the police tracking down those suppliers, but it’s still a
long shot. I hope you’re having a better night. Robin suggested I run some ideas
by you.

We’ve been brainstorming what might have brought Scarecrow here, based on what
will happen within the week in Las Vegas.

–There will be visits from several low-ranking UN officials and the US
Secretary of State. The city is always filled with major and minor celebrities
so it’s difficult to determine exactly who else will be here, unless they’re
requested a police presence.

–Upcoming conventions of over 10,000 individuals: Global Gaming Expo,
International Pool and Spa Expo, the International Consumer Electronics Show
(150,000 visitors), the National Automobile Dealers Association, and the World
Shoe Association.

–Nearby attractions include (besides the obvious casinos and hotels): Lake
Mead, the Hoover Dam, the Natural History Museum, the Lost City Museum of
Archaeology, Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort Historic Park, several ghost towns…

* * * * *

To: bbb@secure.oracle.net
From: gsanders@lvmpd.com
Subject: Nightwing went after them

I don’t know what you can do, but I don’t know who else to contact. After you
called, Grissom and Robin took off for Lake Mead along with every spare officer
they could find. I was supposed to stay with Nightwing, but as soon as he
realized what was happening, he went after them. I couldn’t stop him, even
though he’s still pretty sick.

Grissom and Detective Brass aren’t answering their cells, and I get the feeling
you guys don’t want me to put out an APB on Nightwing. I’m going after him
myself. From what he said, I think he’s heading up toward the Bluffs Trail and
working his way south from there.

I just figured someone should know where I’m going.

* * * * *

To: gsanders@lvmpd.com
From: bbb@secure.oracle.net
Subject: Re: Nightwing went after them

Do *not* attempt to follow Nightwing. The Scarecrow is too dangerous. Respond
immediately.

* * * * *

To: gsanders@lvmpd.com
From: bbb@secure.oracle.net
Subject: Re: Nightwing went after them

Are you there? Respond *immediately*.

* * * * *

E-MAIL DELETED BEFORE SENDING
To: gsanders@lvmpd.com
From: bbb@secure.oracle.net
Subject: Re: Nightwing went after them

Damnit, answer me. If you get killed going after him, Grissom won’t forgive me.

* * * * *

To: bbb@secure.oracle.net
From: goddess@secure.oracle.net
Subject: What the hell did you do with them?

B, I’m sending you an e-mail because now *you’re* not answering your goddamn
comm. What the hell are N and R doing? Both of their comm signals have
disappeared, last seen somewhere near Lake Mead. I thought N was supposed to be
convalescing.

Before he was cut off, N said something about fish? I see two fish hatcheries on
the map, but there’s nothing I can do from here. I have no contacts on the LVPD.

What’s going on?

* * * * *

To: goddess@secure.oracle.net
From: bbb@secure.oracle.net
Subject: Re: What the hell did you do with them?

You’ll know as soon as I know anything.

* * * * *

To: bbb@secure.oracle.net
From: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
Subject: It’s over

I know you’ve heard from both Nightwing and Robin already, but I wanted to send
this before I became tangled in wrapping up the case.

Thank you for your help. Thank you for sending your two able assistants. Without
their help, I doubt any of us would have survived the night. As it is, several
of my team had near-misses, including myself. Only Robin’s intervention
prevented me from taking a headlong fall into the fish hatchery tank filled with
fear toxin.

I’ve attached the most current analysis of the fear toxin, which Robin tells me
is different than normal. Apparently it generally stimulates the amygdala, but
this batch instead confuses the prefrontal cortex, causing it to misinterpret
specific incoming data as a danger–in this case, money.

(Nightwing said rather dryly that it was an unpleasant sensation. I would assume
that was an understatement.)

It seems Scarecrow planned to use Lake Mead to distribute his toxin, allowing it
to rush through the Hoover Dam to Nevada, Arizona, California, and Mexico. In
addition, when his toxin shut down the Dam’s electricity generating plant, it
would have caused significant difficulties in Arizona, Nevada, and California.

* * * * *

To: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
From: bbb@secure.oracle.net
Subject: Re: It’s over

I’m glad the Scarecrow is in custody again, and glad Nightwing and Robin were
able to assist you.

Nightwing was reticent about his physical state, but he was quite voluble
concerning the bravery of your one of your CSIs. It was foolhardy of him to take
off by himself, but I am grateful, as is Nightwing.

Apparently Greg helped him escape from a close encounter with another dose of
fear toxin, showing up quite literally in the nick of time and holding back
Scarecrow with his weapon until Nightwing could act.

Perhaps there’s hope for Greg yet.

* * * * *

To: bbb@secure.oracle.net
From: ggrissom@lvmpd.com
Subject: Re: It’s over

I’ve always thought there was hope for Greg, and he’s finally proven it to
himself. We’ll see what happens next. Of course, at some point he and I will
have a chat about his going after Nightwing alone…

* * * * *

Gil hit “send” and leaned back in his chair, looking at his team, exhausted but
triumphant as they filed into the room and found somewhere to lean.

“Fear is the main source of superstition,” he said, “and one of the main sources
of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom, in the pursuit of truth
as in the endeavor after a worthy manner of life.”

Sara’s eyebrows shot up. “Um…George Bernard Shaw?”

Nick leaned over and smacked her shoulder. “Brown-noser,” he said with a grin.

Gil smiled at both of them. “Not a bad guess, Sara. But no, that was Bertrand
Russell. A philosopher and mathematician.”

“And your point was…?” Catherine asked, tilting her head from one side to the
other until she got a crack.

“Hmm?”

“Gil, we’re all too tired for games.”

“No games.” Gil glanced at his computer. “I was just thinking about the
different ways of leading a worthy life.”

“I wouldn’t have expected you to support vigilantes,” Warrick said.

“I don’t,” Gil said. “But I do support the pursuit of truth.”

Catherine rubbed her temples and Sara snickered. “Sure, Grissom,” Nick said,
stretching his arms over his head. “Whatever you say.”

“Oh, and Greg?” Gil said.

Greg, who’d been trying to hide behind Warrick, froze in place. “Uh…yeah?”

“Nice work.”

–end–

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