The Kryptonian Epic: The Incident At Ace Chemicals

Max Landis
66 min readOct 23, 2022

5 MONTHS AFTER AMERICAN ALIEN ISSUE 6

FULL ACE CHEMICALS INCIDENT TIMELINE VIDEO. SECURITY LEVEL BLUE CLASSIFIED TOP SECRET AS PART OF PROJECT SLE. NOT FOR INTERNAL RELEASE PENDING ONGOING INVESTIGATION.

PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE FROM THE DESK OF GEN. ARMAND HARDCASTLE TO SECRETARY OF DEFENSE GEN. AMANDA WALLER :::

Manders,

We’re now 72 hours out from the incident at ACE Chemicals. The Gotham City Fire Department managed to find one intact server in the rubble, and we had NSA pull the drive before anyone else could get their eyes on it. The footage has been, put lightly, a nightmare to organize; a lot of these folks had figured out Luthor was doing illegal surveillance in bathrooms, offices, etc, and dug them out or sabotaged them somehow. We’ve got zero footage from the inside of Victor Fries’ office.

Same is true for about half the private offices; they had cameras in there, but it looks like a few of the scientists tore them out. On top of that, we were only able to recover footage from the primary security network. All the blueprints for the ACE Chemical Factory we have are clearly out of date, or outright fakes or forgeries; there are just too many sections, especially in the lower levels, that we don’t have any record of, or any visual access to.

People keep popping up in the building, and it gets hard to track where they’re actually coming from. That implies Luthor had some kind of separate monitoring system for the areas we can’t see. What happened to that footage, we might never know.

That’s not the only anomaly in the operations at ACE, either. As near as we can tell he was employing three different sets of security contractors for the same building, two of them off book. It doesn’t even look like they were operationally aware of each other, and that’s part of what led to things going the way they did.

In essence, Secretary Waller, what I’m trying to tell you is there things we’re not going to be able to figure out from this, things only Luthor is going to know until it all cracks wide-open eventually. That said:

There are a couple of moments here I found a little startling as someone outside the PSLE. There are more than five things in this footage I’m not sure have ever been captured on film before, and a few incidents that might stretch or even snap the public imagination if this were all to be dumped on them at once. What Luthor had built in there is, lightly, staggering, and the intersection of individuals in that building on this day was terrifying, moving and humbling to watch.

This footage, in any other another era, would perhaps be an important be a historical document.

For now though, I say lock and key, and no one peeks but us. I’m not sure what’s classified and what isn’t, but I’m thinking you and me and some Intern Analysts might need to be the only ones who ever see this. At least for a while, until the public narrative clears up.

I think right now we have about one quarter of the amount of information we need to understand what happened at ACE, and why things happened the way they did.

I had an intern with me up til five AM trying to sketch this up; you asked for a full timeline, so I did my best, and took into account events before and after the incident itself. If we ever go fully internal with this we’ll polish it of course. This is the rough, near as we can tell, documenting all relevant incidents. Until then we activate everyone on this to try to piece it together backwards.

Thank you for choosing me for this. I was honored to receive your call, and am still recovering from viewing the footage. I hope you’ll forgive the occasional editorial note. We live in a strange time, and it appears things are only going to get stranger.

87 confirmed dead now. That number might still grow.

— — — — BEGIN LOG

3:14 PM
At Ace Chemicals’ East rear loading dock, a delivery is made. A large wooden box, shaped roughly like a coffin, is offloaded from a white van by three individuals. Two are ACE Chemicals service workers, dressed in simple jumpsuits, but the third, notable for deformities to his face and hands, we positively ID’d as rogue polymath Dr. Gerard Shugal.

Shugal has a laundry list of science related crimes the world over, starting of course with the poisoning of the entire medical faculty at Harvard eight years ago after he was denied a research grant. Known for experimenting on himself, Dr. Shugal has mutated significantly since he was last photographed, and now has thin blue hair growing on his face and arms. His presence in Gotham is inexplicable, as all official records I can find say he is serving a life sentence in Argentina following dozens of experiment-related charges of murder, assault, conspiracy and grand theft.

The workers seem to be familiar with him, and are not alarmed by his presence. In fact, Shugal appears to be celebratory, laughing and talking animatedly to those around him, jumping on the top of the box and posing in a rigid manner like a corpse. He kicks the box several times, and then it is lifted by a forklift. The group proceeds to an elevator door west of the main cargo elevators. This elevator is not, as we can tell, on any of the old schematics, but physical geography would place it under Tower 1. They load the into the elevator and disappear from sight.

5:21
An individual we can identify as Austrian physicist Victor Fries arrives at ACE Chemicals internal underground parking lot. His arrival is notable in the number of ways. He is driving a LexCorp company sedan with no license plate, and crashes directly through the security arm barrier at the check-in booth. Dr. Fries immediately exits his vehicle after stopping illegally, just beyond the security gate. Fries does not engage the car’s parking brake, and it begins to roll further into the lot as he rapidly walks towards the elevators. The scientist appears disheveled, wearing sweatpants without shoes, and a Vienna University Of Technology sweater. He also appears to be undergoing some kind of medical event, sweating profusely, his eyes red and swollen, and his skin pale.

He is confronted by two traditional level one security officers, and reacts immediately with hostility, appearing agitated and aggressive, gesticulating and shouting. They attempt to detain him, but in the struggle Fries abruptly produces a snub nose revolver from his sweatpants pocket, and appears to accidentally or intentionally shoot one of the men in the foot. He then fires several shots into the ceiling, shattering a lighting fixture, continuing to shout and gesticulate as security officers and the parking attendant are seen running for cover.

Driverless, Fries’ car rolls out of control into the glass partition by the elevators, and shatters it, sending several people waiting for the elevators running in fear.

Fries, walking with singular focus, ignores the chaos, steps through the shattered partition and heads to the elevators. Guards can be seen on garage cameras calling in to command.

5:23
As Fries waits for the elevators to the executive floor, Level 8 Tower 1, panic erupts in the security command room. Cellphone towers show multiple abruptly ended outgoing cell phone calls to 911 in this period. For unknown reasons none of them go through, and the one call that did connect was immediately ended. From what we can see, this has to do with Luthor’s Chief Of Security, Mercedes Graves, who appears in the security command room and takes charge, addressing the employees.

It is, at best, alarming to note that we have no surveillance within 24 hours of Graves ever entering the building. This confirms our theorized “intentional gap” in Luthor’s own surveillance, but possibly, even more concerningly, furthers the idea of a whole secret architecture of tunnels, passages, stairwells, and elevators within the ACE Chemical Complex that aren’t on any of the official maps. Whether Luthor built these himself during the refurbishing or they were put in by one of the factory’s previous owners, we can’t be sure. Graves is visible entering the room, but both hallways outside the room, headed in two different directions appear to have no cameras of any kind, and only one of them is even on the floor-plans.

Graves addresses the security management staff, seeming to urge calm, and then indicates the screens.

5:25
In the rising elevator, Fries appears to undergo some kind of seizure, staggering but not falling, leaning heavily on the railing and vomiting blood. His skin appears to have grown even more pale, and tears of blood now streak down his cheeks. The elevator arrives at Level 8 Tower 1, and Victor Fries exits into the executive lobby, walking unsteadily. He is immediately confronted by several startled executives; I’ve attached a list of everyone we can ID, but there are a lot of missing pieces. They all appear startled by his appearance, but it’s unclear if it’s due to his agitated manner, medical symptoms, or some other reason. It’s clear they know him personally, and a woman approaches fries, trying to reason with him, before Fries begins again shouting and gesticulating, drawing the gun.

Eric Cristenson, an executive level assistant, can be seen dialing 911 from a landline. Fries notices and begins thrusting his gun at Cristenson, who cowers back, dropping the phone. GCPD Dispatch in Somerset takes the call, but the phone is left on the ground. We had NSA recover the audio log of the call via the Quaid Act; much of it is inaudible, but Fries can clearly be heard yelling “Where is my wife” and “you sick bastards” again and again, as well as the word “liars.”

Lex Luthor appears from a door at the end of the hallway. I’m sure you’ve seen Luthor’s statement by now, but let me say the obvious: it is shocking to see him here. There is no evidence of Luthor ever entering ACE, and publicly at this point he was thought to be on an overseas trip. Stranger still is the nature of the door he emerged from; the blue prints don’t even show a room there. This doesn’t seem possible; to do that Lex would’ve had to build into the old smokestack, and there’s zero official record of any such construction.

Yet again, we are confronted with an obvious contradiction: Luthor’s official story and statement on the incident say that he had never visited Ace Chemicals, despite being instrumental in the biography furbishing of the factory 4 1/2 years ago. His publicity team have him out of country during this period.

Even more strange, Luthor seems remarkably unmoved by Victor’s continued shouting, and speaks calmly, unintimidated by the gun, repeatedly indicating something in the room behind him. Victor moves down the hallway with the gun raised, as the executives can be seen fleeing into the elevators and stairwells.

Luthor again indicates the room he emerged from, and Fries seems to calm slightly slightly, and proceeds into the doorway. Luthor welcomes him in, and shuts the door behind him.

5:27
Gotham City SWAT is mobilized in Burnley Station. They are briefed that there is possibly a potentially a shooter loose at a pharmaceutical company, suspected to be a disgruntled employee. Due to the recent rollovers from Mayor Linseed, they are armed with only bullet proof vests and semi-automatic submachine guns. They deploy immediately.

5:35
The executives who fled the offices upstairs begin to arrive in the main lobby. This space is big so it’s hard to keep track of everyone; the lobby of ACE is a massive open chamber, with reception at the front, and several large gardens opening up into the center of the building, each floor having its own tiered balcony.

All but one of the executives rushes towards the entrance, attempting to warn others present. However, a security gate rapidly lowers over the glass front of the building, casting the lobby into a tangle of shadows and confused people. The receptionists and active security staff seem surprised by the the gate that now blocks the exit, and work to calm the people in the lobby. A security officer tries to use his ID to open the gate, but the automated system denies him.

Several of the executives break off in frustration, clearly looking for other exits. You can track their movements across the lower levels; they’re totally fruitless, with several alternate exits also now blocked by descending steel gates. The lone executive who does not seem panicked separates from the others, instead heading instead to an area on the mezzanine that appears host the entrance to a large elevator.

This man can be positively ID’d as Sebastian Mallory. We pulled as much as we could’ve on him; Oxford grad, climbed up the ranks at LexCorp. He got moved into a senior position after his decision to cut prices on the revolutionary cancer treatment Peraquin led to great PR and higher sales.

Mallory enters the elevator and disappears from view. Again, this mezzanine elevator is slated to go nowhere. On the blueprints, there is no record of a basement at Ace Chemicals.

5:40
Luthor’s Chief Security Officer Graves arrives in the lobby with a small contingent of level one security forces, and succeeds in calming the remaining executives present, giving some sort of speech or announcement. People seem frustrated, but several of the executives sit on the benches in the lobby and begin making cell phone calls. Downstairs in the garage, an on-site medical

team arrives to treat the injured foot of the security officer. Several executives are seen sprinting from the elevators towards the ramp up to the gate, past the small curious crowd gathered at the site of Fries’ crashed car.

However, just as they begin up the ramp, a heavy steel gate drops down, blocking it. The executives are seen to shout and argue with one another. One of them attempts to trigger a fire alarm. It does nothing. in calming things down. And she urges the employees to return to their post, and though several of them do, the larger group remains, talking among themselves.

Graves leaves, heading outside and across the courtyard north of the lobby, before leaving the range of our footage.

5:54
After roughly an hour and twenty minutes, Victor Fries exits the mystery room on the executive level, Level 8 Tower 1 in the mystery room. The blood on his face has dried, and he appears calmer, nodding and speaking placidly back to someone inside the room, before heading down the hallway to the elevator. Luthor also exits the office, pursuing Fries, smiling broadly, speaking animatedly, looking pleased. Person Of Interest One (white male, early forties, black hair) can briefly be seen through the open door, standing in the private office, but then abruptly slips out of view after seemingly noticing the camera. Who this person is, so far, we don’t know, but he appears to be a high level security officer of some kind for Luthor.

Again, we’re in a situation where with the information we have, there is no evidence that Person Of Interest One ever entered that room.

After Fries rings for the elevator, Luther appears to offer him a handshake. Fries stares at Luthor’s outstretched hand for several seconds until the elevator arrives, and then enters and departs without speaking. Gerard Shugel appears from the room at the end of the hallway, and he and Luthor confer briefly, laughing, before returning to the mystery room.

5:56
Victor Fries first goes to a bathroom on Floor 2A, and emerges having washed his face and taken off his hoodie, leaving him bare-chested. His skin has grown

even paler, and has begun to take on a bluish hue. He proceeds to his office in Green Wing, Floor 2A, and we lose sight of him. An outgoing call is made from his landline to the office of reporter Jimmy Olsen at the Daily Planet, which is then forwarded immediately to the office of Perry White, Chief Executive Media Officer. The call lasts thirty seconds.

Fries then emerges from his office and heads directly to what appears to have been his primary workspace: LAB 6, a large warehouse style room filled with catwalks and large scale fusion machinery. I can’t identify almost anything in here; most of it looks half constructed, or home-made. It’s clear that much of the technology arrived in one state, and has since been modified or reassembled into new configurations. Upon seeing him shirtless, all but one his lab assistants quietly leave.

Victor confers with this remaining lab assistant, who seems shocked, but then quickly begins interacting with control panels all around the room. Victor goes over to a white board, and writes something that can’t be seen from any of the angles the cameras in the lab provide. He proceeds over to a shelf of bulky devices, priming them, and then begins interfacing with a large tubular structure near the center of the room.

6:00
The GCPD arrives out front of ACE Chemicals, flooding into the guest lot with fifteen cruisers, six SUVs, and two SWAT APCs. GCPD air support is now visible approaching on the cameras, with two choppers swooping low to get an angle on the side of the complex that faces Gotham Bay. All cruisers have their lights and sirens on, but the gates blocking all the entrances to the building remain shuttered. GCPD Lieutenant Harvey Bullock is put in touch with security inside the building, and demands entry.

Graves responds, and is on record responding that they are undergoing potentially toxic chemical event. Bullock argues with her about the 911 call, asking after the shooter. Graves explains that the building’s automatic lockdowns are in effect, and that they are working to open them. Bullock again asks after the shooter, and threatens to breach the building, but Graves urges patience. In the lobby, security staff, employees, lab technicians and executive officers all seem equally confused and alarmed by the arrival of the police.

More people gather, drawn by the sound of the sirens and the lights, coming from all departments in the building.

6:01
Person of Interest 2 (white male, early 40s, blonde hair), apparently spurned on by the sound of the helicopters and police sirens, is seen exiting his office on Level 2 adjacent to LAB 4, and heads for the lobby, before seeming to rethink and heading back towards LAB 6.

Let’s pause here for me to say: I am almost one hundred percent certain that Person Of Interest 2 is Dr. Barry Allen. Allen is a physicist we tried to recruit back when I was still at DARPA; some of his work was brilliant, groundbreaking even, but the other stuff was just way out there, and Allen’s megalomaniacal attitude and erratic behavior made him damn near impossible to work with. Allen is currently wanted by ten different law enforcement agencies, having fled Europe and disappeared over three years ago. I’ll get you numbers on that, and details on him, but as I understand it, it’s all financial crimes; embezzlement, fraud, misappropriation.

The issue with IDing him here is I’ve had the NSA working since 2 AM and they can’t find a picture of the guy. Not even a mugshot, nothing, and that to me isn’t an accident. Fries was a social outcast in Europe, sure, but Allen is an actual criminal. There should be photos. The fact that there aren’t means someone has been sweeping them up. It’s a guess, but I’d wager all the photos of him disappeared right around the time he joined ACE. I’m going to keep him as a POI until we can get a confirmation.

6:04
The police presence outside intensifies, with a firm barrier and command being established. The adjacent Hudson County Expressway is shutdown by highway patrol.

6:05
Person of Interest 2 arrives at LAB 6, and seems alarmed by Victor’s condition, appearing to warn him about the increasing police presence outside. Fries and Person of Interest 2 converse, with Person of Interest 2 seemingly become increasingly alarmed and frustrated by Victor’s responses, culminating in Fries saying something that draws an explosion of anger from Person Of Interest 2.

Person Of Interest 2 crosses the entire laboratory, gesticulating and shouting, and stands between Victor and the tubular structure.

In response, Victor Fries also becomes increasingly animated, aggressively posturing towards Person Of Interest 2 and getting in his face. Fries can be seen repeatedly yelling what appears to be the word “coward” at Person of Interest 2, until Person of Interest 2 becomes emotional and appears to be begging Fries for something…or rather, not to do something. The lone lab technician notifies Fries of a light on a machine, and Fries without hesitation stops speaking to Person of Interest 2, goes and steps inside of the tubular device, pieces of which can be seen moving and articulating, before a window on it closes, obscuring him completely.

Person of Interest 2 stands with his fists clenched in front of the device, then turns and runs, exiting the lab, making a left down the hallway and disappearing from camera.

6:08
The lobby is now rapidly filling with staff and scientists. Police vehicles and officers are clearly visible through the glass front of the building. Several large groups of ACE employees arrive from the interior at once, and among them are some surprisingly familiar faces.

Pamela Isley, a geneticist and botanist who is currently supposed to be in solitary confinement in Vermont, is among them, dressed in lab clothes. Isley was convicted of double murder; her presence here is inexplicable; hell, I only remember her for the insane speech she made at her sentencing about the power of love, I must’ve seen two dozen online remixes. Also present is Jervis Tetch; Tetch is a neurologist and engineer who is primarily notable for his research in hard-wired brain interfaces and mind control. He’s not an outright criminal, but he’s been banned from most major scientific institutions and repeatedly sued over ethics violations.

Lastly is Dr. Jonathan Crane. Crane and his brother were of course responsible for the Long Halloween Bombing and the Federal Building Disaster, incidents that left dozens dead and hundreds more injured, traumatized, or driven insane. The elder Crane brother was thought to have been killed in a catastrophic car

accident two years ago after fleeing a conflict with Gotham’s supposed Vigilante “The Batman.”

Evidently, that was not the case. Here he seems very much alive, and like the others, to be actively employed at ACE Chemicals.

Isley, Crane, and Tetch are visible at the front entrance with more senior staff, demanding to be released, all looking visibly distressed, but as police begin to try to breach the security gates, they move to the back of the group.

It is here that Dr. Kirk Langstrom first appears, emerging from the large mezzanine elevator, along with Sebastian Mallory.

Langstrom was formerly the lead scientist on the Cadmus Project, an international effort to cure gene-based diseases through frontier transfigurative therapy. However, after it was revealed that many of Langstrom’s patients had other, strange, adverse effects and mutations, the program was shut down, and Langstrom himself was prosecuted. The issue being, it was Langstrom who had blown the whistle on Cadmus. He’d effectively turned himself in for other people’s crimes, and the San Francisco District Attorney prosecuted like he was the ring leader, while the majority of the executive staff at Cadmus, at the time including Gerard Shugel, were never formally charged.

His presence here is, like the others, baffling. Langstrom is supposed to be in a white collar prison on the West Coast.

Langstrom proceeds directly to Isley, and he, Mallory and Dr. Crane appear to get into some kind of disagreement. Mercedes Graves is seen separating from the group, and making a phone call.

6:10
Lex Luthor exits the mystery room on Level 8 Tower 1, pursued by Shugel and Person of Interest 1, speaking fervently on his cell phone. All three men stop briefly at a scenic window, looking down at the lights of the police cars, as a police helicopter can be seen swooping low past the tower. Luthor says

something to Shugel, and Shugel heads off back down the hallway, into the room. Luthor and Person of Interest 1 head for the elevators.

6:13
Three private security teams, all of Luthor’s off-book second tier, can be seen rapidly moving through the building, startling scientists and clerical employees. They wear body armor, face obscuring masks, and carry high powered assault weaponry. They look like soldiers; all these guys are tatted to shit, and most of them aren’t wearing formal security uniforms. Their barracks appear to be in the Blue Wing, on the east side of the building, but they disperse rapidly to attempt to triangulate on LAB 6.

6:14
Luthor, Graves, Person of Interest 1 all arrive to LAB 6 simultaneously, heading quickly through the exterior hallway.

They find the lab empty, except for the assistant, who approaches them apologetically, indicating the white board and the tubular machine. Luthor can be seen reading whatever is written on the white board, and finally loses his calm demeanor.

He seems to realize something, and begins speaking fervently to Graves and Person of Interest 1. Before he can finish, there’s some kind of loud sound, and Fries reemerges from the large upright tubular machine, with jets of smoke and steam flooding out around him. Fries now is now clad in some kind of exosuit or- I hesitate to call it armor, as it looks fragile and perhaps only half completed. This is like nothing I’ve seen, ever. We had to pause the tape to confirm it was Fries, as his face is now mostly obscured by a domed helmet, filled with a thick, opaque gas. The exosuit brings him to a height of roughly two meters tall, and he now stands between Luthor and the room’s only exit.

Luthor begins to address Fries, but Fries cuts him off, shouting and gesticulating, towering over the group. Luthor, Graves, Person of Interest 1 and Victor’s lab assistant find themselves cornered by the hulking figure, among large pieces of machinery and equipment, and Victor pulls one of the devices he was priming earlier down out of its charging station. The device can now be seen more clearly; it’s a blue and white oblong shape with a smooth fiberglass

exterior, and several bits of wire and circuitry poking out. Victor then proceeds to raise this device, and point it like a gun at the assembled group.

The reaction from the group is to cower in fear, with the exclusion of Graves, who does not react. Victor advances further, causing them to be very literally backed against the wall.

Again, Fries and Luthor enter a verbal exchange, with Luthor now seeming increasingly panicked.

6:16
Daily Planet’s Sky-Eye helicopter is seen approaching at high speed from the south over Gotham Bay, and makes a dangerous combat landing just north of the police barrier. Jimmy Olsen, renowned photojournalist and on-air personality for DPN, as well as Clark Kent, a mid-level investigative reporter and staff writer, can be seen exiting the helicopter and running towards the police command point, where they’re confronted by Lieutenant Bullock. Both engage him, but Bullock ignores Kent, and focuses instead on Olsen, entering some kind of heated verbal debate.

6:17
In LAB 6, Victor repeatedly commands his lab assistant to leave the room. But the assistant is confused, frightened by his erratic behavior, and instead backs up, moving closer to Luthor, Graves, and Person of Interest 1. From an alternate angle, Person of Interest 1 can be seen moving slightly out of Victor’s sight-line, fidgeting with some kind of device that fits around his left arm.

Fries has a final shouted exchange with Luthor, and then takes a step back, aims and fires the device he is holding in Luthor’s direction.

The device glows bright blue, and then activates, which causes a powerful targeted stream of freezing air to burst out of it, decimating machinery in the lab. The instantaneous drop in temperature in the lab causes several monitors and devices to spontaneously explode, along with shattering the overhead lighting, lowering visibility to zero briefly before the green emergency lights flicker back on. As the group scrambles for cover, Fries activates the device repeatedly, and again what appear to be hurricane force freezing winds erupt from it, cutting more paths of destruction through the lab. Luthor dives aside, shoving Victor’s lab assistant into the path of the weapon’s effects, which freezes him solid, killing him instantly.

Fries continues to fire unabated, seeming to want to destroy his own lab, causing many of the structures in the LAB 6 to buckle and come apart under the blasts of extreme cold. The three identical “ice guns” on the shelf are the next target; Victor fires and destroys them, still shouting and gesticulating, as Luthor and Graves flee the room. The white board, knocked free from the wall and laying on the floor, can now be read clearly on camera. On it are written two words:

NO DEAL.

Person of Interest 1, instead of fleeing, proceeds to move at great speed from cover point to cover point in the lab towards Fries. The technique here is see-it- to-believe-it. This guy is clearly former special forces, elite something from somewhere. Fries does not notice Person Of Interest 1 advancing, but stops firing when he sees the corpse of his lab assistant.

Even within the exosuit, Fries can be seen to be shaken, lowering the device, and reaches out to touch the corpse, kneeling next to it. Person of Interest 1 immediately goes in for the kill, but fails to noticed that a thin sheet of ice has begun to build on the ground in the lab, and slips while moving to ambush Fries, falling over a desk.

Even so, Person of 1 begins to fire the device on his left wrist, causing a spray of high velocity automatic fire that mostly impacts off the back of the exosuit.

Fries turns, unharmed, and does something to his…Again, let’s just call it a “Ice Gun,” that appears to activate a second, more powerful functionality of the weapon. The weapon glows brightly, and Fries aims it at Person Of Interest 1, who slips and slides on the ice as he scrambles away. Fries activates the weapon’s second functionality and the room’s interior cameras are all destroyed simultaneously, presumably from an extreme temperature drop.

6:19
A massive blast of what appears to be rapidly forming ice violently erupts out of a large portion of the exterior of ACE’s Green Wing, showering the GCPD barricade with debris, an enormous blue explosion that freezes into a solid mass instead of dissipating. The effect is instant chaos, with police and civilians alike sent scattering. What at first appears to be a blue laser, or shaft of light bursts out of the building several times going in several directions.

One of the errant blasts cleaves through a GCPD SUV. For a moment, everything it hits is seemingly transformed into bright blue ice, before shattering, bisecting the vehicle and crushing the leg of the officer hiding behind it. Another blue beam blasts out of the side of the building, this one haphazardly cutting a line of ice along the main entrance gates to the lobby, which immediately shatters, causing the entire security gate, along with a significant portion of the building’s facade, to collapse down onto the entrance way, fully blocking entrance or exit from the lobby.

The building erupts into pandemonium; this part is going to take days to parse, as there’s so much movement on so many cameras. Any ACE employees still working begin frantically moving hear the sound of the disruption, and begin moving through the building, looking for a way out, and the group in the lobby, some of whom now have injuries from the collapse of the entry, are in total panic.

Outside, both Olsen and Kent take the opportunity to jump the police line and and run towards the building, with Bullock shouting after them, and then screaming something into a walkie-talkie.

6:20
The newly installed so-called “Bat Symbol” activates at GCPD Headquarters. The image of a stylized bat is projected out onto the low lying cloud cover over Cape Carmine, achieving startling visibility all over the city, and very clearly visible through the shattered front of the ACE Chemicals lobby.

The assembled group react to the Bat-Symbol. Dr. Crane appears to become hysterical, shouting and pointing at the windows, yelling about the symbol in the sky. If anything confirms his side as Jonathan Crane, this is it; two of Crane’s three deadly terrorist attacks are said to have been thwarted by Gotham’s bat vigilante, even though I know the FBI is the official story. Crane begins shoving through the panicked crowd, though it’s not clear on visual alone if he’s scared…or excited.

Crane grabs at Pamela Isley’s arm roughly, speaking passionately, indicating the police outside and the symbol in the sky. Isley looks scared, and Langstrom attempts to gently pull her away, only for Crane’s focus to abruptly shift to him. Before Langstrom can react, Crane grabs him by the side of the head and violently drives his face into marble wall. This draws a shocked reaction from Isley, and Langstrom staggers, bleeding badly from the mouth and nose. Crane again pulls at Isley, but she can be seen to rebuke him, shouting something, and he slaps her in the face, causing her to drop to the ground.

Sebastian Mallory steps between Crane and Langstrom, and seems to try to reason with Crane, but Crane proceeds to draw a large hooked knife from his jacket and stabs Mallory in the chest dozens of times, killing him. This causes even more disorder and chaos in the crowd around them, and Crane, covered in blood, gets away in the anarchy. Isley helps up Langstrom, and the two of them head for the mezzanine elevator.

Jervis Tetch has vanished into the crowd.

6:21
FBI and Homeland Security have both received notification about the ongoing incident, and report units en route.

Olsen and Kent can be seen entering ACE Chemicals, helping each other over an exterior gap they find rubble, and jumping down into the lobby. Kent attempts to give medical attention to Sebastian Mallory, while Olsen guides people back towards the safe path out, which revealed to be inaccessible from this side. Seeing that Mallory is dead, Kent rises, and appears to suggest splitting up to Olsen. Olsen expresses horrified disbelief at the suggestion, but the conversation is halted by the emergence of Person Of Interest 1 on a tiered balcony above them in the lobby, running and shooting backwards with the wrist device.

Another blue shaft of light from Fries’ device crosses from behind him, effectively cutting the balcony in half and causing it to collapse. Person Of Interest 1 is seen diving off the collapsing balcony onto a lower level, and again moves out of sight just as Fries, in the exosuit, enters the lobby, abandoning his chase of Person of Interest 1, and instead confronting Olsen and Kent.

Shockingly, neither man seems surprised to see him. Both men can be seen speaking to Fries and making pleading motions, indicating the rubble and the dead man, as well as the police outside and the Bat Symbol in the sky.

Fries, seeing Mallory’s bloody corpse, seems confused, lowering his weapon and entering into dialogue with Olsen. Their conversation is cut off by the arrival of two of Luthor’s special security teams, at either end of the lobby.

Without hesitation, with no regard for the safety of Kent, Olsen, or any remaining ACE Employees, both security teams open fire on Fries with their assault weapons. Kent and Olsen scramble to cover, while two Level One security employees and three lab technicians are gunned down accidentally.

The majority of the gunfire ricochets off the exosuit, but then a portion of the domed helmet can be seen to crack, and Fries becomes aware that Person Of Interest 1 is again firing on him from above, on one of the tiered balconies. Fries immediately responds by opening fire with the Ice Gun’s first functionality, sending blasts of freezing wind up at Person Of Interest 1, showering the lobby with ice, glass, and debris, and then turns his attention to the Advanced Security teams, advancing and firing on them repeatedly, killing four of his attackers with the ice blasts.

It is at this point that GCPD Swat breaches the building through the shattered gate, and the situation, already bad, intensifies. For reasons that aren’t immediately clear, maybe confusion, maybe panic, maybe something else, Luthor’s teams open fire on the police, and the lobby becomes a space so fraught with gunfire and blasts of ice that visually we’ll have a much easier time piecing it together if we can use the Hampton Act to pull the body cam footage.

Clark Kent is cowering on the ground, crawling for cover, but Olsen rushes to help him and the two of them are able to escape the lobby.

6:23
As GCPD and Luthor’s Security teams take cover, the third and final team arrives on a balcony on the second story overlooking the lobby, leaving the GCPD SWAT team surrounded. There is shouted communication, here, as Fries continues to fire and be fired upon, blowing apart and freezing large portions of the interior of the lobby and mezzanine as he makes his way to the elevator leading to the building’s pharmaceutical division.

But no sooner has he reached the elevator than the doors suddenly explode outward, sending Fries’ exosuit smashing into the wall. A hooded figure can momentarily be seen stepping forward, before a bright orange gas floods out of the elevators, rapidly filling the lobby and bringing visibility on the cameras down to near zero.

6:24
In the parking lot, the GCPD rushes to retreat as gas floods out of the building. Blue flashes of light and gunfire continue to light up the clouds of orange gas, implying more combat inside. The groups inside appear to be firing wildly, as several police vehicles and once officer are struck by sprays of automatic gunfire from the interior of the building. At this point the front of the building looks like a war zone, with officers running in all directions. A SWAT member is seen staggering out of the building, and an officer rushes to his aid, only for the SWAT member to abruptly shoot himself in the head. The officer who had come to aid him appears to have ventured close enough to inhale some of the gas, and suddenly draws his pistol, screaming, shooting himself in the groin and legs several times, before shooting himself in the head.

Several officers are seen to panic and flee on foot, as Harvey Bullock and a second, more heavily armed team with gas-masks and haz-mats mobilize at the rear of the command point.

6:25
I can’t believe I’m typing this, and I hate knowing it’s not the strangest thing I’m going to write, here, but what appears to be a small submarine of some kind can be seen surfacing in the bay behind the building. Only the top is briefly visible, and appears to be dark blue or black. Two…objects then erupt from it. Both are clearly visible on camera…but neither are clearly visible on camera. The larger object is entirely black, either physically coated or digitally encoded with some kind of visual scrambling technique I’ve never seen before. The shape is so black and amorphous as to appear depthless and two dimensional, other than a slight oily sheen visible when it passes under direct light.

The second figure’s visual issues are more obviously digital, potentially created by an emitter or scrambler of some kind; the shape is smaller, but appears as a heavily pixelated swirl of red, yellow, green and black. Both objects are seen to rapidly ascend the side of the building, before vanishing into a window on Level 4 Tower 2.

6:30
Person of Interest 2, now wearing what looks like dark red NASA flight suit with technological elements hanging off of it, reappears on camera, arriving at LAB 4. He attempts to enter, only to find it locked by security contingencies. Panicked, he beats on the door, punching and kicking it, before hearing something up the hallway, and ducking into a bathroom, locking the door behind him. Moments later Person Of Interest 1 appears, frustrated, talking into a headset.

Along with the projectile device on his wrist, he also now wears some kind of electronic gizmo over his left eye. He’s been slightly injured by the fall in the lobby, with blood on the right side of his torso. It’s unclear if this is a gunshot wound from the battle with the police, but if it is, it does not impede his movement and he shows no pain.

Person Of Interest 1 stops by the entrance to LAB 4 to confirm it is locked, and continues to speak on the headset. Inside the bathroom, Person Of Interest 2 can be seen pressing his ear to the door, eavesdropping on Person of Interest 1’s conversation. A female lab assistant turns the corner at the end of the hall, frightened, rushing towards Person of Interest 1, asking for help. Without hesitation, Person of Interest 1 shoots her in the face with the wrist weapon, killing her instantly. Person of Interest 2 contains a horrified reaction in the bathroom, and seems to consider opening the door.

From this angle we can get a better look at the wrist weapon’s function, with the most notable feature being that it doesn’t appear to fire actual projectiles. Instead, the device is some sort of pneumatic or hydraulic pump, and fires what looks like a burst of compressed air or gas. That would explain why we’ve yet to find any unaccounted for bullets in the bodies we’ve pulled out of the wreckage.

I’m not sure if it’s PSLE-related tech, but since you asked for this personally, I’m going to assume all of this is tied into PSLE in one way or another. We’d have killed to get our hands on one of these things in the marines; whoever gave it to this scumbag, I don’t know.

A second lab assistant rounds the corner, also running and shouting, but then stops when he sees his fallen coworker, and not realizing she is dead, attempts to help her up, causing her entire head to fall apart onto the floor. Person of Interest 2, inside the bathroom, suddenly begins shouting, attempting to warn the lab technician.

This ploy works, and the lab technician flees, but Person of Interest 1 shifts his focus to the door. There is a heated discussion through the door, with Person of Interest 1 aiming the device at the door and Person of Interest 2 retreating into a stall, and appearing to stand on one of the toilets.

Person of Interest 1 violently kicks the door, then shoots it with his wrist weapon, then repeatedly tries to ram it open with his shoulder, but then receives a message on his headset, and abandons the door and running the other direction down the hallway. Person Of Interest 2 begins pacing back and forth inside the locked bathroom, lighting a cigarette, obviously too afraid to leave.

6:34
Lex Luthor, alone, is seen entering the security monitoring room, surprising the staff still on hand. He repeatedly commands them to do something, and they express their inability to complete his request. When Luthor himself attempts to operate a terminal, something seems to go wrong, and Luthor becomes angry, hurling the monitor into the wall. He then leaves the room, shouting something, and the remaining security staff abandon their posts.

For the first time, the internal alarms trigger throughout the complex, urging an evacuation. It’s not clear if Luthor did this, but I’d wager it was someone else, and that’s what made him so mad. All the screens now read:

ALL SECURITY CONTINGENCIES OFFLINE. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY. EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY.

6:38
Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent have carefully made their way through to the cafeteria, a large chamber near the west end of the facility, and again confer back and forth about how to proceed. Kent appears to again more forcefully suggest splitting up, but Olsen is adamant they stay together. Seeing a small group headed towards the loading bays, they follow.

6:44
Victor Fries briefly becomes visible, having escaped the violence inside gas cloud in the lobby, moving through hallways, seemingly headed back towards LAB 4. He staggers, and slumps against a wall, the exosuit caving in the plaster. The suit is now stained with blood, and Fries becomes horrified when he notices a severed human ear stuck to the domed helmet.

Fries removes the ear, stands staring at it for a moment before tossing it aside, punches a hole in the wall, collects himself, and continues.

6:46
The orange smoke has now dissipated enough to get a clear view of the lobby. There are no survivors; both the initial GCPD SWAT Team and Luthor’s private security force having been completely annihilated. It’s hard to tell from the state of the bodies, but there at least twenty two people dead, here. The floor is slippery with their blood. The positioning of the corpses implies that several of them died by various gruesome forms of suicide, including gutting themselves or attempting to eat through their own wrists.

A few of the cops and security teams appear to have turned on each other before killing themselves. Some of them are naked, having torn off their own clothes. Others appear to have bitten and torn off portions their own skin.

The hooded figure walks among them, and is now identifiable as Jonathan Crane wearing a more advanced variation of the same gear he wore when he committed the Scarecrow murders, and later his various larger scale attacks.. He’s got a backpack on with a simple sprayer attachment, and is moving rapidly towards the entrance to confront the police barricade, presumably to go on the offensive and attack the men and women outside.

Crane throws a few more canisters of his gas down hallways at a few lab techs who got caught in dead ends, spinning and twirling, appearing to enjoy the experience, when suddenly the black shape from outside silently appears behind him, dropping from the ceiling. Crane is distracted from this by the second, more brightly colored shape, moving rapidly along the tiered balconies of the lobby, and has no time to react before the black shape suddenly attacks him.

The violence here is staggering, but unquestionably human; I’d bet your and my careers that this is Gotham’s Batman Vigilante, captured on camera at last.

But I’m not fucking calling him “Bat man” in an official document, so for now let’s tag him Vigilante 1, and the second…thing, his partner, accomplice, whatever, as Vigilante 2.

Vigilante 1 appears to be a male, between 6”1 and 6”5, clad entirely in a garment that both obscures him visually and functions as a weapon. He’s only recognizable as a human being when standing entirely upright. Vigilante 2 is smaller, more erratic with its movements, and doesn’t generally directly engage in combat.

Vigilante 1 launches a dazzlingly smooth series of strikes at Crane, who is completely physically outmatched and knocked around like a punching bag. This crescendos with a kick that knocks Crane’s mask off his face, and sends him crashing him to the ground. Vigilante 2, meanwhile, quickly kicks away the gas canisters menacing the technicians, and Vigilante 1 uses an advanced high frequency electronic device to destroy Crane’s backpack mounted sprayer, before roughly lifting and flipping Crane through the glass reception desk, shattering it.

I’m editorializing again here, Amanda, but I want to say: The Batman on camera is every bit as frightening as people say. We’re dealing with a high-level martial artist with a near unlimited tech budget. This is not some rogue vigilante or a monster, this is someone with lots of money and lots of time.

The second GCPD SWAT Team, led by Sergeant Harvey Bullock, breaches the lobby, and both Vigilantes launch up into the ceiling and out of sight using some manner of grappling hook or belay device.

Crane, left unarmed and injured, scrambles across the shattered glass to pick up a dropped gas canister. Sergeant Bullock can be seen shouting at Crane to drop it, but Crane ignores him, attempting to throw the canister, and the GCPD open fire, hitting Crane several times in the chest and neck, and causing him to drop the canister.

It detonates, and the police retreat as Crane, maskless, is engulfed in his own gas.

6:48
The West Rear Loading Dock is now filled with people, all frantically trying to find a way to open the heavy steel doors. Many of the executives, lab technicians, janitorial, and bureaucratic staff, as well as the majority of the Level One Security, are now located here, many of them crying or hyperventilating, more than a few of them injured.

Olsen and Kent appear among the group, and join several of the security staff in trying to pry open a locked exit door. Though they had been totally unsuccessful prior, as soon as Kent and Olsen join the door immediately buckles in its frame, and collapses to the ground, offering a way out of the facility.

There is an immediate crowd crush at the exit, and Olsen and Kent are nearly trampled by the people they just helped to save. As the staff flood out onto the rocky jetty into Gotham Bay behind the building, Olsen and Kent instead push through the crowd, moving backwards, attempting to get further inside.

Several people are violently trampled, sustaining serious injuries, but there are no casualties that I can see.

Lex Luthor’s social media posts a picture of Luthor at a Burning Man beach party in Turks and Caicos to social media, with the caption: “And they say I don’t smile! #freebeer #goodpeople #tribe”

6:50
A heavy detachment of seven SWAT APCs, twenty cruisers, fifteen SUVs, ten ambulances, five fire trucks and four sheriffs department Raid Tanks arrive at GCPD On-Site Command in the ACE Chemicals front parking lot. Three GCPD helicopters can be seen approaching from Gotham Proper. Two more news helicopters and several drones can be seen approaching over Gotham bay.

Kirk Langstrom and Pamela Isley briefly appear in subterranean hallway used primarily for maintenance. It’s not clear if this area is somehow connected to the Mezzanine Elevator, but both of them are walking fast and with purpose, Langstrom’s head now bandaged.

Coming to an intersection in the hallways, they appear to get into some kind of conflict, with Isley clearly wanting to go a different direction.

Langstrom appears disturbed by the things Isley is saying. She abruptly grabs him and appears to try to kiss him, and Langstrom gently pushes her away. This causes an explosive, infuriated reaction from Isley, screaming and shoving Langstrom before she stabs him several times in the arm and shoulder with a ball-point pen, trying for his neck.

Langstrom shoves away Isley, who shrieks something at him, and then stalks away. Langstrom, bleeding from multiple injuries, appears to begin to cry, leaning heavily against the wall, examining the injuries from the pen. Once he’s determined they are superficial, he seems to regain purpose, and stands back up, throwing off his lab coat, as he we lose visual on him around a corner.

6:51
A disturbance in the bay is visible, presumably from some kind of pumping system under the building flushing something out. A large, dark shape can briefly be seen moving in the water, rapidly headed away from ACE Chemicals. It’s not clear what this is, but it isn’t the submarine, and my intern insisted I mention it in here. I’m not sure if its some kind of marine life, a whale or something, that got stirred up by the dump. But if it did come from ACE, the question becomes who was flushing this thing out into the ocean in the middle of a blood-soaked disaster.

6:52
All of the water fixtures in the East Wing of the facility abruptly overflow, then run dry. Hiding in the bathroom outside Lab 4, Person of Interest 2 is startled as something resembling sewage or mud begins to flood out of all of the sink faucets, and then the toilets and urinal behind him. Person of Interest 2 falls off the toilet, crawling backwards across the tile floor, shouting in fear, as the mud impossibly rises tocoagulate on the ceiling, continuing to flow out of the faucets, until what can roughly be described as a large face forms, approximating a crude imitation of Person of Interest 2’s own features with round yellow eyes. You’ll see it for yourself when we send over the footage. The face appears to smile and speak to Person Of Interest 2, who shrieks in terror and flees the room, running back out into the facility. The mud entity then collapses into a kind of wave, smashing aside the bathroom door, and flooding out into the hallway.

Two bureaucratic workers enter the hallway, and the mud immediately surges towards them washing up and over them and appearing to suddenly crush down, reducing the two individuals to blood and viscera, which mixes freely with the mud. When it moves, it moves as one large entity; there is no dirty or grime left behind, other than the two crushed bodies, as the mud wave sweeps out of the hallway.

6:55
GCFD and paramedics begin attempting to help both ACE employees and police still trapped in the rubble, but move slowly to avoid the still dissipating gas. More news vans arriving now. Hudson Expressway closed down, and Gotham City officially declares a state of emergency.

The small cloud of fear gas that had consumed Crane has dissipated, revealing his corpse. It appears Crane cut off and ate most of his own face in the final moments of his life.

Good riddance.

7:01
Lex Luthor appears on East Wing Level 3, running from something in a panic. After a moment, the living mud entity becomes visible comes flooding into the hallway behind him, giving chase. Luthor makes several turns, repeatedly disappearing from surveillance, before rushing into the four story atrium of the East Wing. There, he searches for a way down, rushing down several stairwells before running directly into Victor Fries on East Wing Level 1.

Luthor falls, but when trying to get back up the stairwell is blocked by the onrushing of the mud entity. I’m sorry, taxonomically, for not finding a better name for this thing. It could be a swarm of microorganisms or nanites or some totally new tech, but on the tape, it really does look like a self-animating clay or mud. Fries, seeing the mud entity, opens fire on it with the Ice Gun; used in tight confines, it instantaneously destroys the stairwell, coating it in frost and icicles, and the mud entity retreats, a large portion of it seemingly badly damaged or “injured.”

Luthor attempts to get around Fries’ exosuit, but Fries notices him, shoving him roughly against the wall, aiming the device at his head at point blank range and engaging him in shouted conversation as Luthor fruitlessly struggles against the strength of the suit.

After thirty seconds of back and forth, Luthor seems to agree to something, but Fries does not release him. They begin to walk towards the Tower 1 elevators, Fries tightly gripping Luthor’s shoulder, keeping the Ice Gun pointed at his neck,

roughly pushing him forward. Luthor is quiet, but Fries appears to still be ranting and speaking, as Luthor flinches and reacts to things that are said.

7:04
Kent and Olsen move through the first floor hallways, and can be seen shouting a single word, possibly a name, searching for someone. They stop at a plaza with a large skylight, and Kent appears to for a third time suggests they split up. Olsen becomes frustrated, the two heatedly confer as Person Of Interest 2 can be seen sneaking past, darting from column to column in the plaza before heading up a stairwell that heads right off the blueprints. Olsen becomes distracted by the movement of Person Of Interest 2, and moves towards his location as he surreptitiously flees the room.

At this juncture, Kent can be observed looking around, seeming to look at the walls, floor and ceiling pointedly.

When we first saw this, we thought Kent was just nervous. But with the subsequent information on the tapes considered, we went back and looked at this moment a little more closely. It took us a minute to figure out the alignment on the cameras and juxtapose them to relative locations in the building, but I think it’s worth mentioning: the sight-lines of Kent’s little weird lookie-loo match evenly to Victor Fries and Luthor above him, Mercy Graves rushing up a flight of stairs a full building away, and then to the front of the building, where the second GCPD SWAT team.

The camera is low enough here that we can clearly see an alarmed Kent mouth the words “Holy shit, this is crazy.” Olsen reacts, returning to Kent, as the lights flicker above them and several ceiling mounted fire suppression water sprinklers in the room trigger spontaneously, dousing both men.

Kent becomes alarmed, seeming to hear something, looking down at the floor with wide, confused eyes. It’s clear Olsen doesn’t notice what Kent is hearing, instead showing confused interest in the water sprinklers. Kent begins backing up, pulling Jimmy with him, and then the floor beneath them abruptly caves in.

A fucking tree, what appears to be some variety of banyan tree, abruptly grows up from somewhere beneath them, rising so rapidly as it grows that it shatters the overhead skylight, separating the two men as glass showers down around them. Another tree bursts up through the ground, this one colliding with a low concrete ceiling and bending sharply before punching through, causing an avalanche of debris.

A large amount, between twenty and thirty individual trees can be seen sprouting violently up through the ground throughout the first floor of the entire western half of the complex, abruptly rising and growing to heights of more than one hundred feet, smashing through floors and walls and support beams and riddling the entire structure of ACE like a pin cushion. We think this is where the full structural collapse began, but it would take a few more dominos to fall before the heavy shit started falling.

Throughout the complex, the remaining disoriented, lost, frightened or frantic ACE employees react to the sudden tree growth. GCPD SWAT teams react with shock, with Harvey Bullock instinctively shooting the tree nearest to him. It appears to bleed red blood.

Olsen and Kent, now at opposite sides of the plaza, stare up in apparent confusion at the tree, only for it to bisect itself vertically, blossoming like a flower, and revealing an internal tangle of vines with large pods resembling Venus fly-traps, at a scale I’m certain is unheard of in nature. What appear to be beating hearts of some manner are seen pulsating within the tree, and veins or some kind of other mammalian circulatory system is seen running across the interiors, along with the occasional bloodshot human looking eyeball.

Throughout the facility, the rest of the trees do the same; in some cases, where a tree had penetrated a load bearing wall, this causes cave ins and structural collapses, resulting in four more deaths. After a moment, the vines rapidly unfurl and extend aggressively towards all human life in the area, functioning like tentacles. This is hard to watch. It was already hard to watch but this is just grisly.

Had to bring in a second intern; that meant a 40 minute break to have her sworn in at top level, but that was good, psychologically. Watching all this death has been…hard, even with the sound off.

The trees attack, ripping and tearing eight people apart immediately and entangling and injuring at least two dozen others, including both GCPD and remaining security forces.

In the plaza, Olsen screams for Kent as the fanged tentacle mouths of the tree unfurl, but Kent simply turns and runs the other direction.

Olsen looks shocked, continuing to scream for Kent, but then the vines-pods seem to sense him and begin lunging down at him, their jaws rapidly opening and closing like some kind of nightmare Pac-man.

Olsen ducks and clumsily runs, banging into a column and injuring his arm while fleeing an aggressive vine, before leaving the plaza headed south towards the mezzanine.

7:06
Fries, with Luthor as his hostage, arrives back at Level 8 Tower 1, now dimly lit due to ongoing power fluctuations. Fries pushes Luthor towards the door to the mystery room at the end of the hallway, when Vigilante 2 suddenly crosses between offices in front of them. Fries shouts something, but then, again, Vigilante 1 somehow appears in one of the offices behind him, attacking without hesitation.

Fries is hit with what looks like several non-lethal small explosive devices, and Vigilante 1 begins striking the exosuit with such force it leaves dents in the metal; again, whatever type of black bodysuit this “Batman” has, it isn’t fucking around. He must have some kind of brass knuckles built in, and appears to have blades protruding from the arms, which he uses to strike at the exposed circuitry of the suit.

Fries is overwhelmed and nearly falls backwards, but then shoves Luthor at Vigilante 1, who equally violently shoves him aside, sending him crashing through one of the glass partitions between the executive offices.

Apparently, this is not a rescue mission.

Fries blasts Vigilante 1 with the Freeze Gun, but due to the material of Vigilante 1’s armor, or cape, it appears to have little effect beyond knocking him backwards. Vigilante 2 distracts Fries by again darting between hallways, as Fries, seeming distraught or outright frightened, activates the second functionality on the Freeze Weapon.

As he does this, Vigilante 1 flings what look like some kind of bladed throwing weapons at Fries, and they explode into smoke on impact, disorienting him and causing him to blast the gun wildly down into floor.

All the cameras on the executive floor shatter from the temperature drop and lose feed.

7:07
The blue beam of the Ice Gun is visible from as far as New Gotham as it bursts diagonally down out of the side of Tower 1, slicing across a sizable portion of the building, transforming a stripe across integral structural elements into something approximating ice. This lasts for less than two seconds, as the ice immediately buckles and shatters under the weight of the building, and roughly half of Tower 1 breaks free from its support structure and, in an immense cloud of dust and rubble, slides off, going toppling into the bay, nearly crushing several of the still fleeing Lex Corp employees.

A massive cloud of dust and debris rises instantly, and floods some of the interior of the complex. We lose twenty more cameras during this, and power in the whole complex starts turning on and off. The structural damage also destroys a portion of the wall of LAB 4. The tower itself is left open and gutted, cut in half like a layer cake, and Vigilante 1 is visible appearing to use the black cloak or cape to glide away out over the roof, with Fries coming into sight, firing after him.

Fries pauses, standing on the interior of the shattered building, looking down at the ongoing destruction and chaos at ACE beneath him, and sees Person Of Interest 2 running out through an exterior courtyard. He shouts something, and Person of Interest 2 stops, confused, covered in dust and rubble, trying to figure out who is speaking.

He realizes it’s from above him, and Person of Interest 2 and Victor appear to, despite the great physical distance between them, simply stare at each other. Victor shouts something, and Person of Interest 2 screams something back, and then takes off in a flash, running towards an alternate route back to Lab 4.

The Daily Planet chopper banks around the tower, catching Fries’ exosuit in a spotlight. He waves his arm at them, like shooing a bug, but does not raise the weapon. Two GCPD helicopters swoop around as well, and the gust of wind causes a cascade of documents and folders to blow out of the cleaved building, raining down into the bay.

GCPD snipers onboard the helicopters shout orders to Fries, but he simply yells back, indicating the hallway behind him, and the mysterious door. This shouting match continues unabated for nearly 2 minutes.

7:09
GCPD SWAT, the remaining ACE Security teams, and individual uniformed police officers are now engaged in full-scale warfare with the carnivorous trees, several of which have been crushed or destroyed by the increasingly unstable structure of the 200 year old factory crumbling in on them.

Pamela Isley is seen emerging into the central courtyard beyond the lobby, now fully nude, holding a syringe. She walks calmly towards one of the trees, but is intercepted when Vigilante 1 drops down from above her, shaking off a layer of dust and frost onto the ground.

Isley is startled and frightened, but then smiles and approaches Vigilante 1, who may or may not be speaking to her. She leans forward to attempt to embrace or perhaps even kiss Vigilante 1, but he violently elbows her in the face and takes the syringe, before being attacked by vines from behind him.

Isley, now with a visibly broken nose, rushes to get the dropped syringe, and moves again towards the tree. This time she successfully injects it, causing it to rapidly grow further, sprouting more vines. These vines attack and ensnare Harvey Bullock and several approaching GCPD Officers, killing two of them immediately, as the rest fight for their lives.

Isley watches, and appears to begin to pleasure herself.

What the fuck was this place?

7:10
Clark Kent runs alone through Level 3 Tower 2, repeatedly appearing to somehow look upthrough the building at Victor Fries confronting the helicopters, which is, if it’s not too obvious to say, functionally impossible from where he’s standing.

Intercepted by several of the attacking vine pods, Kent simply rips them apart with his bare hands. This is madness to watch, as these things are nearly bulletproof, but will make sense shorty.

Kent attempts to enter the elevator on Level 3, but since it was destroyed by Crane’s initial gas bomb, it appears to be locked shut. Kent then displays a shocking amount of physical strength as he easily pries open the heavy steel elevator doors, and then steps into the shaft forty feet above the ground, an act that should by all reasonable metrics constitute suicide.

7:11
Fries refuses to comply, and three GCPD snipers open fire on him. The bullets further crack the helmet and break down the exosuit, but Fries raises his gun, firing it under the second functionality out at the helicopter. The shot appears to be intended as a warning, as it goes wide, but strikes a cloud in the sky two and a half miles away. The cloud can be seen to violently contract and a frozen portion of it falls out of the sky, crashing into the beach on amusement mile and damaging the Bill Haley Carousel.

This has the opposite of what appeared to be the intended “warning” effect, and the GCPD Special Air Division Sikorsky H-34 helicopter lowers into view from above, firing a M134 minigun. The stream of fire impacts the building and causes major damage, and Luthor can briefly be seen running down a partially destroyed stairwell as bullets ricochet around him, before the officer operating the minigun reorients and fires directly on Fries.

The impact of dozens of bullets in seconds critically damages the exosuit and knocks Fries backwards, and causes Fries to accidentally fire the Ice Gun.

The blue shaft of light again goes wild, traveling three miles over the bay and striking the Trigate Bridge, causing a portion near the west end of the bridge to freeze, then contract, shatter and collapse, causing two fatalities, dozens of injuries, forty nine separate traffic accidents and twenty million dollars in damage to the historic landmark. The helicopters briefly retreat, and Fries can be seen rising to his knees, hands clutching at his helmet, staring out at the bridge.

Though radio and comms transcripts from FBI and GCPD show that a cease-fire was ordered, the officer operating the minigun again ignores the commands and again fires on Fries, knocking him backwards, when there is an eruption of debris atop Level 8 Tower Two, and Metropolis Vigilante “Superman” bursts out of roof, exploding from the top of the elevator shaft.

I don’t know what the read is on Superman at PSLE. I know he’s involved with this somehow, I know that the symbol on his chest is important.

And I know another thing, now: Superman is Clark Kent. Why a demigod would choose to live as a journalist, beats me, but it’s on the cameras plain as day. On top of that, Superman’s face is not scrambled on this footage. I know there’s been issues getting a clear professional picture of the guy, and there’s all sorts of conspiracies about face scrambling algorithms of the same kind we see on the two Vigilantes, but here, it’s clear as crystal.

It’s just Kent in what looks like spray painted BMX gear and a red cape made of some laminated material.

Kent, Superman, what have you, rockets about seventy feet into the air, before sharply reversing and swooping diagonally into the path of the minigun fire, protecting Fries. The bullets can be seen not ricocheting, but simply falling after impact, bouncing harmlessly off of him as though having lost all momentum. Kent lands briefly in front of Fries, then launches at the attacking helicopter, flying directly to the minigun operator as he continues firing.

Kent slaps the minigun so hard it essentially disintegrates, dislodges from the helicopter and falls onto the roof of ACE, then is seen to briefly shout at the officer and gently shove him in the shoulder before launching off the side of the vehicle, making a wide banked glide around the entire building, looping up and around the helicopters, which are forced to retreat or risk collision.

Kent lands in front of Fries. Our footage here, since we lost cameras on the floor, is mainly from an FBI drone. Kent appears to notice the drone before landing, but seems too focused on Fries to care. At this point the exosuit is falling apart, bleeding steam and various fluids, and Fries has not looked away from the distant chaos on the Trigate Bridge.

Kent seems emotionally distraught, pacing and yelling, indicating the destruction and anarchy of the complex around them, then gazing at the bridge and appearing to consider leaving to help the civilians on it. When Fries still doesn’t respond, Kent becomes angry, roughly shoving the exosuit and shouting into the domed helmet, which now bleeds fog.

Fries raises the Ice Gun, aiming it at Kent.

Kent angrily raises a finger to Fries, and very visibly says the word “Don’t.”

Fries immediately fires the weapon, but Kent flips feet first onto the remaining portion of the ceiling, then corkscrews through the air, crashing into the ceilings and walls and floors to avoid the blasts, as Fries fires wildly. Kent takes one direct hit from the weapon, and is momentarily frozen, before EXPLODING FREE OF THE ICE and moving blur-fast to land directly in front of Victor.

A single punch from Superman impacts the chest plate of Fries exosuit like a truck hit it.

Fries is launched across the the entire remaining section of the executive level of the building, crashing through three walls and shattering through several glass dividers before smashing through a conference table, where he briefly lies prone as Kent floats towards him, speaking the whole time.

Kent appears to be crying, visibly frustrated and angry.

Fries screams something, and raises the weapon, but Superman stops him with a single phrase, which he repeats three times. Fries seems to calm, and seems to recognize Kent. He tosses aside the Ice Gun, which Kent immediately stomps on. Despite the size and sturdy construction of the device, it is immediately crushed and reduced to fragments.

Kent appears to try to help Fries by removing the exosuit, but Fries stops him, motioning to the door at the end of the hall that leads to the mystery room he began his night in. Both Kent and Fries, who leans on Kent heavily, injured, steam leaking from his helmet, proceed in that direction, and then disappear beyond the door.

7:13
Isley, still nude, having lost interest in the officers, most of whom are still fighting the vines, several of whom have been eaten or torn limb from limb, begins to walk back towards the Mezzanine Elevator to return to down below, wherever her and Langstrom originally came from.

She now holds some kind of…I guess you would call it a plant, but it clearly has sophisticated technological function, and pulsates in her arms.

Warning lights abruptly go off all over the complex; these are red and yellow. The significance of these lights in relation to the other alarms appears to be unknown, as Isley looks confused, unaware that Vigilante 1, having freed himself from the vines somehow, is approaching rapidly behind her.

The police presence around the building in the parking lot now comprises over two thirds of Gotham’s entire Metropolitan Police Force, along with New York State Highway Patrol, the entire active Hudson County Sheriff’s department, over half of the emergency response vehicles in the county, seventeen FBI vehicles, and three arriving APCs and a Breach Tank courtesy of the National Guard. Seven more helicopters can be seen approaching rapidly on the horizon, some media, some police, some military.

Multiple columns of different colored smoke are rising from the collapsed areas of the complex, indicating chemical fires, and between one hundred and two hundred ACE employees in various states of injury can be seen fleeing the building. One of the monstrous trees has broken through the roof on the west facing entrance to the complex, and appears to be preparing to attack police.

This is when things get complicated.

7:14
Power in the entire building seems to fluctuate, and then something exits the south end of the building at what can be assumed to be nearly or perhaps even above Mach 10.

I know you were airforce, General Waller, so I hope you won’t feel condescended to when I state as a matter of fact: there is nothing on earth that can even safely fly seven and a half thousand miles per hour, much less spontaneously accelerate to it from a dead stop at ground level.

When the object exits it brings the entire southern side of the structure down, spraying debris out into the bay, and onto the law enforcement, military and paramedics in the parking lot.

The object rockets North across Gotham Bay, appearing to travel inside of a…I guess you’d call it a ball of electricity, or- can electricity burn? Because the electrical currents briefly visible on the object appear to be on fire, and we can have our best minds look at that, but…I’m not going to lie:

There’s a very likely chance l, along with all of of DARPA, NASA, MIT, A*STAR, CNRS, and the Chinese Academy of Science owe Dr. Barry Allen an apology.

There’ve been sightings of a “blur” in Keystone City over the last few months. Whatever that was, I’m thinking it was a prototype for this.

The effects of the object’s launch are instantaneous and catastrophic. A 130 decibel sonic boom rocks the entire building at point blank range. Every unreinforced window and monitor in the entire complex shatters violently, along with the windshields and windows of many of the vehicles in the lot.

The helicopters all swerve violently, narrowly avoiding collision with each other and Towers 1 and 2. Inside the building, many are thrown off their feet, and several of the already weakened pieces of the structure abruptly collapse, crushing and killing the massive hostile trees, and showering the interior of ACE with rubble.

At this point we lose 2/3s of the remaining cameras to collapse, damage from the sonic boom, or complete power failure, with a forty one second gap before the cameras continue rolling.

7:15
A massive dust cloud of debris, black smoke and various gasses chokes the entire area around ACE, spilling out onto the already shut-down Hudson County Highway. Law enforcement, military, and civilians can be seen fleeing the building.

In the mezzanine, above the mostly destroyed lobby, Pamela Isley is down on the ground; she’s been struck in the face and is now missing several teeth, holding her jaw as blood streams from her mouth. The organic device she was carrying has been destroyed, and she cradles it like an infant. Vigilante 1 is nowhere to be seen.

Harvey Bullock, freed from the attacking vines due to the collapse of part of the building destroyingn the massive aggressive tree, enters the lobby and raises his gun, shouting something at Isley. Isley looks at him, and says something, then spits blood at him. Bullock lowers his gun and approaches Isley slowly, but she abruptly tosses aside the destroyed plant thing and scrambles naked through the debris to pick up a dropped MP7 submachine gun from the corpse of one of the ACE Security Team.

Bullock yells for her to stop, but Isley shouts something back, and then raises the weapon. Bullock fires twice: the first shot hits Isley just above the left clavicle, and the second hits her cheek under the right eye, exploding out the back of her head and killing her instantly. Her corpse falls backwards, tumbling violently down the flight of marble stairs to the lobby. Her submachine gun discharges into the ceiling as she begins to fall, with a ricochet striking Bullock in stomach and causing him to collapse.

As more of the building begins to destabilize and collapse, a massive sinkhole opens beneath Tower 2, causing the entire thing to collapse downward into what appears to be a large lab complex hidden beneath ACE Chemicals. This complex is barely visible and entirely destroyed by the collapsing tower.

7:17
Jimmy Olsen, who has spent much of the last ten minutes avoiding structural collapses and carnivorous plants, crosses into the West Executive garage, pausing to help rescue two injured employees trapped in a malfunctioning elevator, extracting them moments before the shaft collapses and the elevator plunges downward.

When Olsen resumes his movement across the garage, a portion of the roof collapses under the weight of a falling tree, knocking him down. Lex Luthor becomes visible running across the garage, parallel to Olsen, but stops when he hears Olsen cry out during the collapse. He pauses, staring back into the dust and the flickering lights. Mercedes Graves appears at the top of the entrance to what appears to be a hidden stairwell or elevator nearby, and shouts to Luthor.

Luthor shouts something to Graves, and then peers back into the dust, and when Olsen shouts in pain again, sprints towards him. More structural collapses crush cars around Luthor, but he manages to reach Olsen uninjured, and with some struggle, frees him from the debris. Though Olsen is visibly bewildered to see Luthor, Luthor leads him towards the garage exit, which has fallen apart completely, allowing for safe passage to the parking lot.

Olsen yells back to Luthor, and Luthor just nods, and then the space between them collapses down wards due to impacts from the Tower 2 collapse on the roof above. Olsen falls out into the parking lot, and takes a few steps backwards, for the first time lifting the camera that has been hanging around his neck. From his vantage point near the tip of the archipelago ACE sits on, he has a perfect view of the entirety of the ACE complex. He snaps a few pictures, and then appears to attempt to head back into the building, but firefighters hold him back as he struggles and screams.

Inside the garage, Luthor takes one last look back at the facility, and then follows Mercedes Graves into the secret stairwell. Roughly ten seconds later, the entire Executive Garage collapses into rubble.

7:20

The final outgoing call made from the facility is tracked; it’s to a company called SNART REFRIGERATION, operating in Mapleville, Delaware, outside of Metropolis. Snart is part of a franchise of coolant and cryogenics factories in the United States, which were purchased by StoneCrafter, a division of QUEEN PHARMA, in 1996 as part of the Big Buy.

The call lasts less than one minute.

7:22
A full retreat order is given to all law enforcement and rescue staff on site.

As the few remaining survivors inside flee through the now massive structural holes in the various areas of the complex, Harvey Bullock can be observed dragging himself to the top of the stairs in the mezzanine, which he falls down, into the lobby.

Bullock, unable to stand and bleeding profusely from his stomach wound, yells to one of the GCPD Swat officers he can see fleeing. The man either ignores him, or cannot hear him over the sound of the increasing noise of the structural collapses.

Bullock draws out a carton of cigarettes and lights one, observing the building falling apart around him, and then looks over at Pamela Isley’s corpse and appears to say something. At this juncture Vigilante 2 appears, dropping directly in front of Bullock, who is visibly startled and wide eyed as the red, yellow and green blur approaches him. We’ll need a lip reader, but Bullock appears to say some variation “But I got killed” or possibly “but you’re just a kid.”

Neither make much sense in context, but I’m sure we can have Langley scrub it up.

Vigilante 2 kneels over Bullock, applying some kind of black compress to his gut wound, and then, despite being physically smaller than Bullock, drags him to his feet. Bullock still appears to be more in disbelief than in pain. Vigilante 2 fires one of the grappling devices into a support beam high above, takes hold of Bullock, and both launch into the air, going off camera.

7:24
The entirety of Green Wing collapses, with the massive ice structure losing integrity and collapsing backwards into the building. All but ten of the remaining cameras on sight lose function. The building appears to be completely evacuated. The entirety of the Labs 7–10 are also lost in this collapse, and the dust cloud consuming the area increase, turning it into a washed out hell of police lights, and the shapes of running people lit by burning fires.

7:25
We only have one angle on this, but Superman- Kent, whatever you want to call him, smashes through a wall in the hidden area of Level 8 Tower 1, then launches out at low altitude, carrying both Fries in the exosuit, as well as what appears to be a large block of glass or some form of transparent ice. We haven’t seen this thing yet, and it looks like this is whatever Luthor was keeping in that room.

The object is roughly the same shape and size as the wooden box Shugel was dancing on. We’ve been going frame by frame and it’s hard to tell, but it looks like there…There could be a person, in there. A woman.

On that note, it’s worth saying that we’ve yet to locate Victor Fries wife, Nora. We figured out they were staying in the city under an assumed name, in a luxury apartment in a Luthor-owned building. We have units searching the apartment now, but it looks like the place has already been wiped clean. No furniture or personal effects are in the apartment, with the official registry already having been changed to show it vacant for the last three and a half years.

Kent, carrying Fries and the ice block, flies at high speed Southwest over Delaware Bay, and we lose visual almost immediately.

7:27
The incident at ACE is now trending on social media. Somehow, and we need digital to track this, the narrative is that Fries, Isley and Crane all simultaneously attacked the facility.

LexCorp is denying any knowledge of why Crane or Isley would be present. GCPD has yet to publicly acknowledge that they came under fire by ACE Security. Isley is being referred to on social media and mainstream news as “Poison Ivy,” the nickname the media originally gave her when she committed the double murder that put her in jail.

Olsen’s presence at the site is being used narratively to enforce the idea that this was a coordinated strike by “Super Villains,” and Olsen’s affiliation with Aaron Scott in the media sphere has already spawned rampant conspiracy theories that the Joker is somehow involved.

7:30
Harvey Bullock is discovered by paramedics at the far end of the parking lot, barely conscious but alive, and loaded into an ambulance, one of twenty two departing for Gotham General Hospital.

The majority of the people involved in the incident have now flooded out into disorganized groups and triage on the Hudson County Highway. Multiple reporters are live, with Olsen coming on air first, describing the chaos within Ace.

Olsen worries on air that “we have a reporter still inside,” and seems distraught and distracted during the broadcast until Chief Anchor Percy Bratton takes over the story, whereupon Olsen again leaves the camera crew and tries to push back towards the increasing inferno that used to be The ACE Chemicals Complex, arguing with police.

8:01 PM
A picture emerges online, confirmed to be authentic, of domestic terrorist and mass murderer Aaron Scott in his “Joker” persona, clad in an ACE CHEMICALS T-shirt, posed shrugging, with the caption “YOU JUST NEVER KNOW! AND YOU’LL JUST NEVER KNOW!”, seeming to confirm his involvement.

Though locating the current whereabouts of Aaron Scott has been a global law enforcement priority since the Somerset Massacre, I should say on record that I see zero evidence of his involvement in this footage. I can’t speak to what happened prior to Fries’ arrival at ACE, but nothing about this reads “Joker” to me.

8:03
Vigilante 2 briefly becomes visible on top of the last standing structure in the ACE Complex, the pump tower at the back of the property, on the bay. Vigilante 1 appears from darkness behind Vigilante 2, and the two indistinct shapes have some kind of indeterminate interaction. This culminates in Vigilante 1 abruptly diving off the roof, using the black cape to again kind of hang-glide down to the water, where he lands on the surfacing submarine seen earlier.

Vigilante 2 remains for a moment on the roof, and then abruptly strikes an air conditioning unit several times, before performing a kind of running front flip off the edge of the building, free falling down to the water.

The submarine, if that’s what it is, vanishes from view, and Vigilante 2 does not resurface.

Five seconds later, the pump tower collapses into the growing sinkhole beneath ACE, which is now burning brightly from hundreds of structural fires in the rubble. It takes what remains of Blue Wing with it.

The cloud of smoke and debris has spread across all of North Gotham, and citizens are visible on the roofs of skyscrapers and brownstones from Miagani to Burnly, filming with smart phones and speculating on the attack.

GCFD begins to formally respond to the fire threat, with helicopters dumping water and fire suppressants and multiple fire fighting teams advancing on the rubble.

8:05
The picture of Aaron Scott shrugging has already been recirculated and reposted more than eight hundred thousand times in under ten minutes; despite mainstream media coverage largely staying objective on the event, the social media narrative is now that The Joker was responsible for coordinating the attack.

Fire suppression at the wreckage of ACE fully underway.

8:08
Person of Interest 1 is visible amongst the hundreds of people gathered on the Hudson County Highway, now clad in a bloodstained police uniform. He quickly moves through the crowd, brushing off a paramedic attempting to help him, climbs into the driver’s seat of an FBI SUV, and calmly drives away, headed west.

We don’t see him again, but I’ve already added images of him to every criminal database I can find. We need to locate this guy. When we get them, I’d like to talk to him personally about that one and I saw him shoot in the face. Guantánamo is too clean for this prick.

Also notable: a woman we positively ID’d as Cindy Pryor, an ACE employee, is seen walking off down the Hudson County Highway 27th Street offramp, towards Gotham.

This is worthy of comment not only because Pryor has escaped the police round-up of employees, but also primarily because Pryor was one of the two people violently crushed to death on camera by the…mud thing.

I don’t know how this is possible or what the hell it means. This to me was the most disturbing part of the footage. We just kept playing both sequences back. The mud creature descends on and completely crushes Cindy in the hallway. And then, an hour and ten minutes later, she’s walking up the freeway like nothing’s wrong.

I’ve forwarded her information to the GCPD, and they’ve got an APB out, but something tells me we’re not going to find her.

8:30

Firefighting teams must retreat as more of the superstructure of the complex collapses into the sinkhole formed by the destruction of the hidden area beneath it. Another dust cloud blossoms up.

This to me looks like a controlled detonation of whatever was beneath Ace. Don’t quote me on that till we have our experts give it a closer look, if we ever get to that point.

Out on the Hudson County Highway, police have corralled all uninjured ACE Employees for questioning, but they’re now in a jurisdictional argument with the FBI and Homeland security. Police Captain James Gordon can be seen arguing with FBI agents in a streetlight on the far side of the highway.

8:31
Fifteen firefighters, two police officers and a single civilian survivor report seeing something fly up out of the ruins of ACE, obscured by the cloud of smoke and dust. The only unifying element of their descriptions is that it appears to be flapping a large set of wings, and carrying two indistinct objects with its feet.

It is alternatively described as a large piece of debris, a giant moth, a giant bird, an angel, a demon, a “flying monkey,” and from those directly under the object, a giant bat. The object appears to deliberately fly within the column of smoke, ascending rapidly before disappearing.

8:34
Kent, in his Superman guise, returns, descending vertically at great speed into the disaster area. He puts out several large fires simply by flinging rubble and dirt onto them, then assists firefighters to quickly locate and rescue thirteen survivors trapped under the rubble. Some of these people were more than forty feet deep; if Kent hadn’t returned, they would’ve baked, boiled, or buried alive. After the last rescue, Kent floats into the air above the still-working firefighters and EMTs and appears to scan the ruins visually, before plunging into the rubble.

The distant helicopter footage of Superman’s confrontation with Victor Fries, and the subsequent punch, are being played across most major news networks.

It is being widely reported that Superman killed Fries. The footage is being used to corroborate this.

8:39
Clark Kent, now back in his civilian clothes, appears, dazed and covered in dust and ash on the Hudson County Highway. Jimmy Olsen sees him, and the two rush to each other, with Olsen weeping and embracing Kent. Kent seems as exhausted and disoriented as everyone else, and slumps down, also beginning to cry, staring at the wreckage.

Kent appears to be profusely apologizing to Olsen. After some time, the two men sit and watch the emergency services work, talking, and drinking bottled water.

9:01
GBS airs an exclusive message from Lex Luthor, who appears to be in a hotel room in Turks and Caicos. Luthor expresses his shock and horror at the “attack on ACE,” expresses regret that he never “personally got to visit the complex,” and gives condolences for the lives lost, as well as thanking the GCPD and various agencies involved for their bravery.

He personally blames Sebastian Mallory, a “rogue executive“ responsible for reaching out to Victor Fries.

During his 2 minute message, Luthor uses the phrase “super villains” four times, mentions the Joker as a possible mastermind, and blames “thugs like Superman” for creating an “environment of violence, chaos and disorder unheard of in human history.”

I know, Amanda, that Luthor has ties to PSLE. I don’t care. I hope you get this motherfucker one day, whatever it even means to “get” the richest man on Earth.

On social media, Luthor is applauded for his bravery and for taking accountability and showing real emotion for his lost employees.

Daily Planet breaks that two of the bodies pulled from the rubble are known former mercenaries, having participated in atrocities across several continents. This is spun into the narrative that Fries descended on ACE with teams of armed thugs. In actuality, both recovered corpses can easily be identified on our footage as members of Luthor’s off-book security team.

Despite all major news platforms telling the public to wait for more details, the narrative online, and now coming from pundits on every channel but DPN, is furthering the supervillain theory.

Victor Fries is being called “Mr. Freeze,” and his history of being difficult to work with in European labs is being brought up consistently. He is repeatedly referred to as a “pedophile” and a “groomer” online; this is completely erroneous, and seems to further itself on high follower accounts spontaneously.

For clarity, Fries’ marriage to Nora Wagner was indeed the subject of scandal and gossip in European Academia. But Fries married Nora when she was 24 years old after dating for three years; the 30 year age gap is somehow being treated contextually as proof of predatory mental illness.

Luthor’s official social media describes Fries as a “sick, sick person,” a “con artist” and a “vicious murderer.” Nora’s absence leads to rampant speculation that Fries murdered her as well.

Anchors Percy Bratton and Lois Lane make a Special Statement on DPN, with Bratton urging the public to wait until more details about what happened at ACE emerge.

10:06
People have been mostly cleared out from the Hudson County Highway, and dozens of vehicles have departed the ACE lot. Nearly thirty still remain, too damaged to move for various reasons. More EMTs and disaster relief responders work to contain and stabilize the area.

10:09

Leaked body cam footage of one of the giant carnivorous trees, as well as Crane’s gas attack in the lobby appear online from unknown sources.

This is used in conjunction with the Daily Planet’s own footage of Fries’ confrontation with the police helicopters and Superman to solidify the narrative that these three worked together to destroy ACE. On WGBS, Chief Anchor Morgan Edge calls Victor Fries “a delusional, perverted psychopath who became one of the most deadly domestic terrorists in American History.”

Fries, along with Isley and Crane, are now all officially reported as dead. Incidents are being reported wildly out of order. Jervis Tetch is also confirmed dead publicly by GBS, and subsequently MSN and Fox News.

Where they pulled that, I don’t know. Daily Planet doesn’t report it.

10:20
A “music video” emerges online and spreads rapidly, featuring the song “R.I.P” by the artist Young Jeezy.

The video shows Aaron Scott exiting a refrigerator into a studio space, dressed in a kind of eskimo outfit approximating Fries’ exosuit; in it, he performs various actions, dancing, drinking champagne, and pantomiming shivers.

A scarecrow is shown appearing to operate a DJ booth, spraying a fog machine. At the climax of the video, a slim woman woman with her face mostly obscured enters in a red wig, a green unitard and green fishnet leggings, enters and gives Aaron Scott a prolonged lap dance.

The woman is obviously meant to represent Isley, but looks nothing like her; Pamela Isley was a stout woman in her mid-30s, while this impersonator appears to be a professional ballerina, or other dancer or gymnast of some kind.

The video ends with Scott and the unidentified woman sexually dancing on the inanimate Scarecrow, throwing money as a Halloween Store artificial snow machine rains down on them.

10:23
The music video is aired on all major news networks. Both Young Jeezy and 2 Chainz, the artists featured on the song in the video, publicly denounce it, with 2 Chainz posting that the video is “reprehensible and disgusting” and “deliberately stealing the attention from the victims.”

Young Jeezy at first says he “refuses to speak on it,” but when interviewed on Daily Planet shortly thereafter he becomes impassioned, and describes Aaron Scott as a “a coward bitch literal clout chasing with someone else’s art on a motherfucking terrorist attack.”

This does nothing to slow the spread of the video. Public response is deafening, with posts from bereaved family members of victims at ACE and the Trigate Bridge mixed in among posts enthusiastically speculating on the identity of the “sexy woman in the Joker video.”

It is now widely accepted that Joker was behind the attack, and all news networks except the Daily Planet begin running major features on Aaron Scott’s history and previous crimes.

Lois Lane visibly expresses frustration on the air, and begins her closing monologue regarding “letting some loser in clown make-up twerk over a pile of dead bodies.” Lane’s speech refocuses attention not only on the tragedy, but the scale of the technology involved, describing the irony of clearly world- changing technologies being destroyed in a bloody disaster.

Within this, Lois Lane is the first to mention Barry Allen by name in reference to the incident, saying that the electrical explosion and sonic boom mirrored Allen’s ill-fated Zero-Point test in Poland five years ago. She then points out that the Joker’s video has several minor editing mistakes, implying it was made hastily, and notes that Aaron Scott’s videos only included information after it was made public.

Lane insists that “there is more happening here than three psychotic civilians attacking a pharmaceutical lab for no reason” and implores the public to “stop, think, and notice the world changing around you.”

Lane then throws to Olsen and Kent, both now at Gotham General, where they are interviewing law enforcement and survivors. Unfortunately, a team of fifty one LexCorp Corporate lawyers have arrived, and most of the subsequent accounts do seem to further the idea that Fries launched an unprovoked attack on the ACE Chemicals complex.

11:43
The home of Sebastian Mallory‘s parents in Hartford Connecticut is vandalized, with windows being broken and human feces being thrown into the interior of the home.

Cambridge University posts on social media that it has cut all ties with a Sebastian Mallory‘s father, Professor Scott Mallory, who had been integral in antiviral AIDS research in the 1980s. His professor profile is deleted from the universities website.

Within the same 10 minutes, Mallory is officially reported as among the dead. Social media calls him a terrorist collaborator and celebrates his demise.

12:44 AM
Cell phone footage titled “MONKEY GUY FREAKS OUT AT GAS STATION” emerges online.

The footage shows Gerard Shugel, dressed casually and seeming jovial and friendly, outside of a gas station eleven miles northwest of ACE Chemicals, in the Hudson River Valley.

Seen smoking a clove cigarette, Shugel purchases a six pack of beer and Taki chips, before exiting into the parking lot and pleasantly addressing the person filming him. Shugel ignores the man’s questions, monologues to himself and the people at the gas pumps about the chaotic nature of life, and then launches into a brief acappella rendition of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones. He offers the man filming a beer.

When the man declines, Shugel very casually steals the motorcycle of another gas station patron, who shouts and chases after him as he disappears up the road, headed southbound.

The video gets less than four thousand views, with most comments on it simply reading “fake” with others reading variations of “great make up!”

Within two hours, it is taken down, and the account that posted it is deleted.

3:15 AM
Our last piece of footage for the night, sourced from a 911 call reporting a man crawling out of Sprang River onto Loeb Beach, and then collapsing.

He’s relevant to us because he had an ACE Chemicals security clearance badge on him at the time. Since the city’s emergency services are still entirely overwhelmed, he’s brought to the Saint Mary’s Medical Center in Otisburg.

He is treated for exhaustion, smoke inhalation, hypothermia and second degree burns. When the nurses leave him briefly, the man escapes through the window, and it’s here where our footage begins, from a security camera in the alley.

We can see the man fall ten feet from the window, landing violently on a dumpster before crashing to the ground. He lays still for a moment, then stands, shakes himself off, and walks off headed towards Gotham Heights. We lose him shortly thereafter, and never get a good look at the man’s face due to the quality of the camera. But we had two NSA old-heads collect eye witness reports, and of the sketches, it appears that the subject in question, our final Person Of Interest, is a dead ringer for Jervis Tetch.

— — —

The footage from Ace is like peeking through a keyhole into a locked room. It’s a jigsaw puzzle where more than half the pieces are blank, a little fragment of an epic story we don’t have access to. Superman, Batman, these two separate cultural phenomenons just participated in one of the most historic tragedies in American history.

The rumors that Kent was in any way responsible for this are disgraceful. His path through the incident is just as chaotic as everyone else’s, and I’m not sure he even ever saw Batman, or even knew he was there. He looks absolutely terrified in the footage, even when he’s got the ridiculous Superman costume on.

Thank you for welcoming me into the PSLE, Secretary Waller. I’m on board jet transit to Area 51 now to get a look at the Emperor himself, and I intend to use this opportunity to do the most important work of my career.

It appears those who are most responsible for this incident have, for now, completely escaped justice. I will spend as much time as necessary working to change that.

You and I are 20 years strong now, and I hope for 20 years more. Yours faithfully,
General Armand Hardcastle

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Max Landis

I am a writer who is pretty tall but not very tall.