Authors note: The Bible Code is not a creation of my imagination and does seem to actually exist. Dr. Eliyahu Rips is also a real person and the true genius who discovered the Bible Code as documented in the book "The Bible Code" by Michael Drosnin from Simon & Schuster. It is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read and no matter what your beliefs are it will send a shiver up your spine and make you wonder who (or what) is responsible for the code.
What Kane/Judas is doing with the code is quite impossible.
Kane sat in his lounging chair with his book open before him. Angelica walked into the room carrying two glasses of wine on a tray. As usual, she was barely clothed in a tiny red negligee that was cut very short to reveal as much leg as possible. Kane had to admit he liked her that way. She was his most loyal personal bodyguard and his lover. Kane, much like his strength, reflexes and intellect, had the sexual appetite of at least 10 men and Angelica did her best to make sure Kane had access to as many women as he needed. Few of the women were strong enough to survive his sexual tastes however. Only Angelica was strong enough to be his lover on a nightly basis. She was the best the human race had to offer he often thought. She had survived many death match tournaments with barely a scratch and she killed all her opponents (most of them men) with extreme prejudice while she barely received a scratch. He knew then that she would be his choice to be his closest aide and together they would build an army, and together they had.
"I wish I could read the code as easily as you do my love." She said as she bent over to place the glass of wine next to him, the tiny negligee falling in just the right places to let him see her well endowed body in all its glory. He smiled knowingly at her and she returned the smile.
"One day when I have the time I will show you how to read the code. It is not easy and I myself didn't even discover it. It was actually a mere human, admittedly a brilliant human, who first realized the code existed." He said as she sat on his lap and looked at the book with him.
"It would help if I read Hebrew I suppose." She said.
"It only took me a few minutes to learn Hebrew, I will teach it to you eventually."
Kane thumbed the pages of the most sacred Torah as he read. To millions worldwide the Torah was the word of God as told to Moses. To Kane and a handful of others, though, it was the key to the future. Early in his existence Kane was instructed by his creators to learn as much as possible from all possible sources. That was when he came across information about Dr. Eliyahu Rips and The "Bible Code". Dr. Rips was one of the world's leading experts in group theory, a field of mathematics related to quantum physics. He found that using computers to develop a sophisticated mathematical model confirmed that the text of The Torah was encoded with information, the code also seemed to exist only in the original Hebrew version.
"The entire idea has to do with equidistant letter sequences basically," Kane explained. He went on to tell her of a Rabbi in Prague who, over 50 years ago, discovered that if he skipped 50 letters, then another 50, and then another fifty and so on, the word "Torah" was spelled at the beginning of The Book Of Genesis. The same effect was found in The Book Of Numbers and in The Book of Deuteronomy. Digging into the past, it was discovered that Sir Issac Newton also suspected a hidden code in the Bible and spent half his life searching for it, only to fail.
Dr. Rips had found coded information in the equidistant letter sequences foretelling the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, which Rips and his colleagues tried to warn Rabin about, and failed. The code in the Bible foretold both Kennedy assassinations, the Oklahoma City bombing, the assassination of President Lincoln (and the name of his assassin... Booth), World War II and Watergate. It also foretold of the Shoemaker-Levy Comet colliding with Jupiter BEFORE it actually happened. It was suspected that there were endless layers of coded information in The Torah and that it contained the names and fates of everyone that was ever born or will be born, this of course, remained unproven. Similar attempts to find the code in secular books like the Hebrew version of War and Peace had failed. The code was indeed real and existed only in the Hebrew Bible. Who had encoded it 2000 years ago with this information? Religious scholars said the author was obviously God. Secular scholars suggested it was proof of alien life influencing our own history. Kane did not know who had encoded it nor did he particularly care. He saw the code as a tool and nothing more. A mean to an end.
"Basically my dear," He continued, "A computer divides the entire Bible into a giant crossword puzzle. One strand of 304, 805 letters into 64 rows of 4772 letters. If the skip sequence for the letters is 10. Then each row would be 10 letters long, if the skip was 100, then each row would be 100 letters long and so forth."
Angelica listened intently as she ran her fingernail seductively across his broad, hairless chest. Kane stopped for a moment and sighed with annoyance, her sex drive was almost as strong as his.
"Each time the rows are re-arranged a new set of interlocking words, which appear much as a crossword puzzle, can be seen. It is said that the code can only show a possible future, not one set in stone, but it hasn't failed me yet."
It was then that Angelica finally spoke as she whispered in his ear as if she was whispering sweet nothings, "I take it my love that you have taken this code further than those who discovered it."
Kane smiled proudly at her remark, "Using my superior intellect I have been able to train myself to read the code without benefit of a computer. I can read it right off the pages as an average worm would read the Sunday Times. It warns that the word of God cannot be used for evil, but it hasn't failed me yet."
"And what does it tell you now lover?" She asked as she slipped out of her negligee, revealing some healing cuts and bruises from their past encounters.
He eyed her hungrily as she undressed for him, "It tells me that Walker's newest recruit, this Nightwing, will be brought before me very soon, masquerading as someone or something else. He won't live long enough to realize I knew every move he was going to make before he did."
"Well Dorothy, you're not in Kansas any more...." Nightwing muttered to himself. Barely two days ago he was Nightwing, self-appointed vigilante to the city of Bludhaven. Now he was in the Indian Ocean not far from the coast of Antarctica on a small island known as The Kerguelen Archipelago preparing to fight in a death match. The island lay between 48 and 50 degrees south and 68 and 70 degrees east. There were actually over 300 islands, islets and reefs in the group but the largest island by far was Ile Kerguelen. The weather on the tiny island seemingly matched the souls of the small crowd of people he saw there in the shadow of the glaciated Mount Ross. Grey and dismal. According to most travel guides, rain, sleet or snow falls on over 300 days a year and strong westerly gales are common on the bleak uninhabited island, making it an undesirable place for anyone in their right minds to visit for any reason. This made the sight perfect for it's current inhabitants. A small crowd of approximately 50 or 60 people gathered around a small staging area placing bets and shouting odds on who would be killed in the upcoming fight. This was where the lawless men and women gathered from every nation on Earth to witness the tournaments of death matches that were illegal in most corners of the world. The fighters, their managers, and the people who bet (sometimes millions of dollars) on the outcomes of the fights made their way to Kerguelen Island on a regular basis to compete and make money. It was no wonder, Nightwing thought, that this place was nicknamed "Desolation Island".
He stood on the makeshift staging with Colonel Young by his side. Nightwing had shed his costume and mask and wore a simple pair of blue jeans and sneakers. Despite the cold winds and roiling mists he wore no shirt, as were the rules of the fight. General Walker had given him access to a variety of disguises so that he could remove his mask and still maintain his anonymity. He decided that the simple approach was best and he slicked back his hair with gel, inserted contact lenses that changed the color of his eyes to brown, applied a false goatee and moustache, a false tatoo of an eagle on his right arm, and a false scar on his left arm. No one would know that the adopted son of Gotham Cities wealthiest man stood in their midst. Young had also adopted something of a disguise. Acting as Nightwing's manager, he was dressed in a thick (and warm looking) black leather jacket, grey sweat pants and wore a patch over one eye. Across the stage from them was a very deadly looking combination of fighter and manager. The fighter was a black man about 6 foot 4. He was lean and well muscled, he had no bulk whatsoever and Nightwing guessed that he could move as quickly and quietly as the wind that whipped around them even now. His face was expressionless as he stared straight at Dick. Dick realized that his opponent was actually looking through him as if he wasn't even there, perhaps not worth his attention. His knuckles were taped up, as were Dick's and he wore similar denim jeans and sneakers with no top. Beads of sweat dripped off his body despite the temperature. His manager was a short, greasy looking man with a long, wiry beard. Despite his diminutive size the small man had a look in his eyes that indicated he would easily cut his own mothers throat if it meant that there was a dollar in it for him.
Walker's words from 48 hours ago were still ringing in Nightwing's ears, "What do you know of the underground death match circuit?" Within fifteen minutes of asking the question the entire Squadron had boarded a plane and were winging their way southward. As they took off Nightwing realized that Walker and his cronies had been housed in a large forgotten 1950's era atomic bomb shelter just 10 miles outside of Bludhaven. Their small plane took off almost noiselessly with very little of a runway to speak of. Two hours into the flight, Nightwing took Walker aside and confronted him.
"You don't have any intention of letting me contact my loved ones do you?" He asked.
Walker took him aside and spoke in a hushed tone, "To be honest...... no. I can't risk Batman tracking you down and trying to liberate you so to speak."
At first Nightwing didn't react to such an honest answer from a man with such a permanently forked tongue. He expected at least some non-committal misinformation or some kind of runaround. Instead he got the truth.
"Come with me Nightwing, I told you that when I was done explaining everything to you that you would stay with us of your own free will. Now is as good a time as any." The two retreated to the aft cabin of the plane and shut the door, they were alone. They sat down around a small table facing one another. Walker steepled his fingers and began to speak matter of factly. He explained the threat of Judas in detail. He explained how Judas regards the human race as we would regard a cold virus. An annoyance that is to be wiped out as quickly as possible.
"What do you think he has biological weapons for? The warheads he has obtained are only for his protection. The biological weapons are designed to infect human flesh only. The effects are basically that of an Ebola virus. They don't effect anything else............. so that when we're all dead......"
"He has a fresh planet to start over with. With infrastructure and animals intact." Nightwing finished the thought for him.
"Exactly. He doesn't have enough yet, but he will soon if we don't stop him." Walker confirmed. He went on to explain that even though he was forced to use his knowledge of Nightwing's secret identity to get him to listen, if Nightwing were to turn away from them now, the possible holocaust Judas could unleash would be just as much Nightwing's responsibility as anyone's, because he turned away from a danger that he could have prevented. At that last remark Nightwing raised a skeptical eyebrow.
"My responsibility?" He asked.
"And mine as well. I have asked for your help to save the entire human race from extinction, how can a man of conscience like yourself turn your back on me?" As much as Nightwing reviled Walker's methods, he had Dick dead to rights. He knew the man Dick Grayson/Nightwing very well, he probably had a file on Dick as thick as a phone book. He used his knowledge of the good man Dick Grayson to appeal to his sense of right. No matter who his current allies were, Dick Grayson/Nightwing could never stand by and do nothing while such a danger existed. For better or worse, he would now work with Walker, Young and Impact Squadron to bring down Judas.
"I won't kill him. I'll help you stop him, but I won't kill him." Nightwing blurted out, the tone of his voice indicated that there was no room for debate on the subject.
"He may not give you a choice Nightwing."
Walker then went on to explain their current goal and Nightwing's role in his plan. They were on their way to The Kerguelen Archipelago where death match tournaments were held regularly. Colonel Young would act as his "manager" and several members of the squadron, mainly Murrant, Sito, Johnson, and Styles would be disguised throughout the crowd. He also informed them that the eleventh member of Impact Squadron would be hidden in the crowd as well. Apparently Major Summers was already there and enrolling Nightwing in the tournament as well as scouting the other contestants. The entire reason for the fights was to get a lead back to Judas.
Apparently Judas always had a trusted agent in the crowd at these tournaments. Judas often recruited the winners into his personal cadre of bodyguards. If Nightwing can win the tournament, he should be approached by Judas' recruiter. Walker admitted that he had entered two of his soldiers in the tournaments before and both were killed before the third round. There was one catch however, to win a death match, one obviously had to kill his opponent.
"I told you already Walker. I don't kill."
"You're resourceful, you'll find a way around that." Walker said as he got up and reentered the main cabin. Behind his back, Nightwing extended his hand and gave Walker the finger.
As Walker passed through the cabin and entered the cockpit Colonel Young stuck his head in the door, catching Nightwing giving Walker the finger. Much to his surprise, Young smiled and suppressed a chuckle. He entered the room and took Walker's seat across the small table from Nightwing.
"I sometimes do that to him myself." Young said. Nightwing had to laugh out loud at that.
"The General and I don't always agree on how to do things, Nightwing," He continued, "I didn't agree with how we recruited you, and I don't know what The General said to you or has on you to make you cooperate with us......." His voice trailed off as he seemed to be choosing his next words carefully. "Whatever he said to you I think you should know that I do believe Judas is a threat to every life on Earth and if what The General says is true, that you may be the man we need to stop him....... then I want you to know that I'm proud to have you as a member of my Squad, and that I will personally watch your back as best I can. You're too important to us. Too important to everyone on Earth." And with that he extended his hand across the table to Nightwing. At first Nightwing didn't know what to make of Impact Squadron's field leader. He scanned the Colonels face for signs of deception. He found none. Young's eyes seemed totally sincere. Finally, he too extended his hand shook Young's firmly. A pact sealed.
"And don't you worry about these death matches, if you can't kill them I'll have a sniper hidden about half a mile away, it'll probably be Romaine as he is the most talented sharpshooter. His ammunition will be small knock out darts. The effect simulates death for at least two hours. More than long enough for you to finish this tournament and for you to make contact with Judas' talent scout."
The rest of the flight went without incident. Most of the other members of the Squad either slept on the flight or were busy outfitting themselves for duty on Desolation Island. Walker allowed Nightwing to use the small rear compartment to remove his mask and costume, which he placed in a small locker. He then took a few minutes to apply the disguise so that no one would recognize his true face when this was all over.
Hours later, here he was. On a tiny island in the Indian Ocean. Preparing to engage in a battle to the death.
"Ok remember," Young whispered to him, "Work this guy around for a bit. When the time is right grab him by the throat and hold him as still as you can. That's when my guy can take him down." Nightwing nodded in affirmation.
"And don't get myself killed in the process?" He added.
Young smirked and nodded again, "That's the plan my friend. You have to make it through three fights AND make it seem like you killed them all. Good luck."
"Is that all Colonel? I've got two hands you know."
The bell rang cutting off Walker's intended reply. Before Nightwing could even turn his head to face his opponent he felt strong hands grab him by the shoulders and flip him across the stage. He landed hard on the wooden staging and skidded over the mist covered surface. Before he had even stopped skidding he felt a flurry of punches of kicks assault him. This was a death match, he reminded himself. This man wanted to kill him as fast and as he possibly could. Unlike The Bludhaven criminal element, they were not going to be intimidated by a costume or a fright mask. In this world, he was just another fighter who had to be killed so that his opponent might take the prize money. He was not Nightwing any more, he was just another fighter with no reputation and no special weapons. It was a true test of his mettle.
Trying his best to block the devastating blows, Dick did a leg sweep, knocking his opponent off of his feet. Dick back flipped to his feet and somersaulted backwards a few times to put some space between him and his foe. He wasn't a killer, and yet he had to act like he was doing his best to kill this man. How was he going to do this? He had to somehow pretend that he wanted nothing more than to kill this man. That was when the answer came to him. He looked at the face of his opponent, who was charging at him now. He no longer saw the man's face as it really was. Instead he saw Jean Paul Valley, otherwise known as Azreal. The man who Bruce Wayne choose to replace him to face Bane instead of Dick. Valley was a disastrous choice for Batman and for all of Gotham, and he was the one man whom Dick could honestly say he disliked enough to call it hate. He would pretend that his opponent was Azreal. Nightwing kicked the oncoming man straight in the knee and watched as he stumbled and fell. Leaping high in the air, he came down and delivered a series of brutal chops to the man's neck. Nightwing watched as his opponent fell to the ground, dazed. He realized he would have to be careful, thinking about Valley like that could get this man killed, and he didn't want that at all. Dick backed off and back flipped away again, allowing his opponent to regain his senses, much to the chagrin of everyone in the audience who were yelling for blood.
Dick nodded at Young, giving him the signal. Young nodded his understanding and spoke quickly into a button on the collar of his jacket, giving the signal to his sniper. Nightwing's opponent got to his feet and charged once again, enraged by the fact that Dick had not seen him worthy to kill when he had the chance. Much to his surprise, he was not met by the kick that he was expecting. Instead Dick grabbed the man by the throat and stopped him dead. To the blood crazed onlookers it seemed as if Nightwing were about to choke the life out of him. Both men gritted their teeth as one tried to escape and the other tried to hold him still. Beads of sweat burned Nightwing's eyes as he held on to the man's throat with both hands. The crowd around them was going wild with appreciation for the violence.
Dick began to think that he would have to let go of his opponent before he did any serious damage when suddenly a tiny dart only Nightwing could see hit his foe in the neck. Instantly, the man knew something was wrong and he sank to his knees. Inwardly, Nightwing gave thanks to Romaine and his excellent aim. With a quick slight of hand move Dick grabbed the small dart and pocketed it before some anonymous henchmen dragged off the "body" and dropped it just outside the crowd in a heap. Within two hours he would regain consciousness but by then they would all be long out of there. Assuming he wasn't killed first.
There was a 10 minute intermission as the next competitor readied himself. Young took the opportunity to give Nightwing a quick once over to make sure that he was not injured. The man seemed genuinely interested in Dick's well being and he appreciated it.
"Two more buddy, and then you're done." He said.
"Let's hope Judas' talent scout thinks I'm worth recruiting." Dick added.
"Keep up these quick kills and you'll impress everyone in the crowd. Not to mention take all their money."
Opponent number two stepped up on the staging and the bell immediately rang signaling that the fight had begun. Number 2 was a mammoth man of Asian decent. He no doubt had a background in Karate and perhaps Sumo wrestling. He was certainly big enough. Like the first one, he charged Nightwing immediately. His tremendous bulk hit Dick like an oncoming freight train. The impact sent Dick flying off of the stage and into the crowd where he was caught in the arms of several onlookers who promptly threw him back onto the stage again.
"Ok stud... it's show time, time to show em what you got." He muttered to himself as he rubbed his ribs, which he imagined were quite bruised from the blow.
He felt his opponents strong hands pick him up and throw him threw the air. Utilizing all his aerialist skills Dick managed to twist himself around and land on his feet, much to the chagrin of his opponent, who closed rapidly on him. Dick threw several punches and kicks at number two, snapping his head back and dazing him. Once again Nightwing grabbed the huge man by the throat and gave the signal to Young. Seconds later, a small dart hit the Sumo in the neck. Dick was glad Romaine's reaction time was a little quicker in this fight. Unfortunately, the size of the man kept the serum in the dart from affecting him as quickly as his first opponent. Nightwing let go of him and was rewarded by a straight roundhouse to the jaw, spinning Dick totally around. Using his own momentum Dick came around with a roundhouse kick to the side of the head and knocked his opponent out.
In the crowd, Sito couldn't help but yell, "YES!!!! KICK ASS!!"
The timekeeper came out of the crowd and checked for a pulse on the fallen Sumo. He could find none and it took thirteen men to drag the man's body over to where number 1 lay prone. Nightwing went back to his corner again.
"We have a problem." Young began.
"Just one?" Dick asked as he wiped the blood from his mouth.
Young continued unabated, "Romaine had to move, there was a security patrol coming and they were about to find him. He can't get a clean shot any more."
"Don't tell me that Colonel."
"You may have to kill your last opponent I'm afraid." Young told him with sincere regret in his eyes.
"That's not an option."
"Well, General Walker says you're resourceful. I guess now's the time to pull a rabbit out of your hat.
Just then a shadow fell over them. Dick thought it must have been an eclipse. When he looked up he found it was his final opponent. A man taller than Bane himself, and almost as thick. He bared huge metal capped teeth at Dick and growled. For the final time the bell rang signaling the beginning of the match. Without taking a step the man reached out and grabbed Dick by the neck. His reach was astounding. Dick was pulled off of his feet as he now felt the giant hand squeeze around his neck and cut off his air supply. Repeatedly the huge man hammered Dick in the face as he held him by the throat with the other hand. Much more of this and Dick would pass out, leaving him at the mercy of this man who fully intended to kill him. Despite themselves, the disguised members of Impact Squadron in the audience were impressed by Nightwing's fighting ability and tapped their toes nervously as they watched Nightwing being beaten.
Suddenly, Dick wrapped his hand around the long arm that held him tight. He swung his body up using his opponents own arm as a kind of balance beam and repeatedly began kicking number three in the face. The members of Impact Squadron in the audience all let out a cheer and began a series of high fives, clearly impressed. Young was also impressed. He felt his foe's grip loosen due to the kicks and he dropped to the ground and kicked the giant in the mid section, doubling him over in pain. A leg sweep brought him down to the ground and Dick crawled on top of him. They all watched as Dick took a deep breath and brought his fist down in a horrid punch that made a wet crunching sound. He had driven the man's nose back into his brain. Effectively killing him instantly. Young and the members of Impact Squadron were stunned into silence.
"I thought he never killed." Walker muttered to himself.
The crowd erupted into a wild ovation for the newcomer. He had killed all three of his opponents in record time. The members of Impact Squadron still could not react. From the crowd, yet another set of very calm eyes watched Nightwing as he was brought back to his corner by his manager.
"Yes. He might do nicely." Neil Anderson thought to himself. He was a former bounty hunter who now served as a recruiter of sorts for Kane. He began to work his way through the crowd toward the stage.
"Tell me you didn't just kill that man." Young said under his breath to Nightwing.
"Of course I didn't, it looked like a death blow but he'll regain his senses within the hour.
"Where the hell did you learn that?" Young asked.
"From my own teacher. He fooled me with it once. Let's hope whoever we're looking for makes contact with us before those guys all wake up."
Just then a large bundle of money fell at Nightwing's feet. Both he and Walker looked up to see a rather unsavory looking man smiling through yellowed teeth down at him.
"There's more where that came from. If you and your manager are interested in talking to my employer." The man said.
Before either of them could answer, another voice, a female one this time, broke through the din. "Oh he's interested all right." They all turned their heads in the direction of the newcomer and saw a truly amazing sight. A tall well muscled woman dressed in a skin tight black leather outfit, her hair also as black as night, was down to the middle of her back and tied in a ponytail. She had piercing crystal blue eyes and her body was the shape of an hourglass. She was one of the sexiest women Nightwing had ever laid eyes on. The woman boldly came over to Nightwing and kissed him deeply, she then ran her tongue over the cuts on his face, impressing both the newcomer and Colonel Young. Nightwing was stunned into silence as she turned around to face the recruiter again.
"But you're not brokering any deals for his service without his wife being in on the negotiations. And pal, you're looking at her."
Colonel Young bent down to Dick and pretended to clean the cuts on Nightwing's face as he whispered, "I'd like to introduce my second in command Major Stacy Summers."
Nightwing looked up at the statuesque brunette towering over him, she looked back at him and winked knowingly.