Five chimes signalled the hour, and once again Jervis leaned back from his chair, barely stifling the yawn rising from his throat. As usual, he was tired, but today a satisfied smile graced his features.
Today, his first chip had been completed.
It had been tough work, yes, but Jervis was certain it was ready to be tested on a human subject. The rodents he had tried it on had responded remarkably well, acting upon his whims. In one test, he'd even succeeded in frightening the subject to death. Though this was not something he had anticipated, it was nontheless a pleasant surprise for the scientist and a result he filed away for tentative future reference.
Standing from his desk, Jervis crossed to the window of his study. Twilight was approaching quicker as the days grew colder, and already Gotham was starting to light up like a premature Christmas tree. Cars sped busily down on the streets below, the masses rushing from business to pleasure.
"I could use a little pleasure myself," he said aloud to himself, stepping away from the window and towards the grey metal filing cabinet housed in the corner of the room. Opening the middle draw, he danced his fingers over the neat files until he came to the green one labelled 'Wilson'. Opening it, he reviewed the meticulous notes he'd made as to the character and habits of Alice Wilson. For he had not spent the entirity of the period since his sacking working on the chip alone. Oh no, Jervis had kept track of his lovely former secretary too, and in doing so, came to knew about her more than perhaps she knew about herself. A dangerous quandary for her, indeed.
For example, today was Friday. On Fridays, Alice would leave her apartment for work earlier than normal, at approximately thirty-four minutes past seven, and this was because Alice always wanted to have all her paperwork completed by the end of the day, so she could go to her favourite bar in downtown Gotham for a chocolate martini and the occasional catch-up with old friends from college. During his surveillance of her, it was with great satisfaction that Jervis never observed a man with her. It meant he could get close to her without another strong physical presence to threaten him if a situation arose.
Friday was a good day to renew old acquaintances, he thought, and began to dismantle and pack up his makeshift workstation.
As Jervis had predicted, Alice Wilson slipped into the dimly-lit bar at two minutes to seven. Sitting out of her sight, Jervis permitted himself a smile. For practicality's sake, Alice preferred to sweep her curtain of blonde hair back with a butterfly clip most of the time, but tonight, she had worn her hair down. There was no question that she was the most beautiful woman in the room at that moment.
Sipping at his creme de menthe, he watched her for the next half hour. If she was meeting someone, they would usually show up in that space of time. However, thirty minutes passed, and she was still sitting at the bar on her own. For Jervis, it was the perfect scenario. Summoning his courage, he straightened his dress jacket, took his glass and strolled up to the bar. He slipped past Alice quietly and sat one stool down from her, wishing to be as discreet as possible. There, he downed the rest of his drink before staring into the bottom of the glass in mock-contemplation.
Eventually, the bartender, a tanned youth in a tight black t-shirt came over. The night was still young, and the 'Bright Young Things' of Gotham would likely not arrive for another two or so hours. As such, the bar was near-empty, save for a few tired businessmen looking for a pick-me-up on the way home to their wives and a few enthralled couples swapping alcohol and saliva.
"What can I get you, sir?" he asked, flashing a smile of perfect white teeth.
Holding back a sigh, Jervis smiled wearily, the perfect image of the average bar patron who'd had a stressful week. "Another creme de menthe, thanks. And a chocolate martini for the lady sitting down there." he said, jerking his head in the direction of Alice. The bartender followed his patron's gaze. Turning back to him, he gave a small grin. The chick might have been out of his league, but he could sure admire him for trying.
"Sure thing, sir." he replied after a moment, and went to take care of the drinks. Tetch watched him refill his glass, and then make the martini. It was almost as if the bartender's movements were staggered, as though Jervis was watching him in slow motion. It felt like an eternity had passed when the bartender finally poured the brown liquid mixture into a glass and placed it in front of Alice.
He contemplated his mint liquor in silence, not needing to strain his ears to hear the bartender tell the young woman that the drink had come with compliments from the man sitting just near by. In his mind, he could see her sweet heart-shaped face turn in his direction, surprise, and then realization of who it was dawning on her features.
"Mister Tetch?" came the gentle voice, and Jervis at once looked up to see her now sitting on the stool next to his.
"Hello, Alice." he said pleasantly, smiling. "Long time no see."
His former secretary was quiet for a moment, assessing the awkward situation of seeing her boss for the first time since his sacking months ago.
"Yeah...." she began, uncertain of what to say. "....I didn't know that you came here."
"I felt like going out on the town tonight, and it so happened that this looked like the place for me." he replied, before adding jokingly "Of all the bars in Gotham City, I had to walk into yours."
Alice chuckled weakly, tucking a few stray strands of hair behind her ear. Months of not having her in close proximity hadn't changed a thing, he thought. She was still as endearing as ever. However, he knew that as charming as he could be towards her, she would still put up a fight.
As well as buying his opium in the Narrows, on his most recent trip, the scientist had also been able to get his hands on some Rohypnol, otherwise known as the 'date rape' drug. Jervis had no intention of comitting such a brutality to his beautiful, pure, Alice though. No, he just required her to doze off long enough to apply his chip, slide it just under the skin on the back of her head. When it was in place, the chip would emit waves that would correspond to the different functions of the human brain. In order to control the mind, Jervis had spent a good month taking apart his cellphone and re-wiring it so that it might act as his way of communicating to the brain. In time, he hoped, the phone would act as the chief control device for all his victims, who would be assigned codes, to be stored in the phone's address book.
"Listen Alice," he said slowly, leaning forward just a little. "why don't we go and catch up at one of the tables. In a platonic way, of course." he said, assuming a position on the stool that he hoped would convey friendship as opposed to attraction.
He could see Alice thinking it over, debating on whether she should be polite and stay or make an excuse and leave. In the end, she nodded, but said "Well, I really need to get home....but I guess ten minutes to finish the drink couldn't hurt."
The scientist nodded in return, before slipping off his stool. Alice moved to take her drink, but his hand slipped in before she could grasp the stem of the glass.
"Allow me," he said gallantly, before gesturing for her to go before him and find somewhere to sit. Quickly slipping his hand into his tweed sportscoat, he extracted the small white pill and was able to drop it into the glass without anyone seeing. Then, taking his own glass in his other hand, he went to join his former employee.
"There we go," he said, placing the drink in front of her before seating himself opposite. "now, why don't you tell me what you've been up to?"
Ten minutes passed, and the effects of the drug were kicking in, much to Jervis' pleasure. Alice's speech was slurred, and her movements were getting sloppy, much to the point where he had to take the martini glass from her hands and place it on his side of the table to prevent her from dropping it on the floor. Deciding that it was time to get her out before the evening crowd arrived, he got up from his seat to help her up.
"We'd better get you home, young lady," he said, loud enough for the bartender to hear. He tossed a concern look in Tetch's direction at the girl's state, but Tetch merely gave an apologetic smile and a "I think she might have had a little too much. I'll get her a taxi home."
The procedure was fairly simple. Ensuring that his human test subject was out cold, the scientist had laid Alice down in his bath (the bathroom was not where he had wished to undertake this procedure, but considering he had no access to a sterile laboratory at the present time, it would suffice) and donning gloves, he tilted her head downwards. Then, after cutting a few locks of hair to ensure clear sight (and as a keepsake, he thought later), he made a small square incision in the skin on the back of her head with a scalpel, just beneath the dermis. This was where the chip was planted.
After stitching the wound, Jervis called a taxi for his sleeping patient and sent her on home. As much as he would've liked to have tested the chip's abilities that night, it simply was not workable in the physical state she was in currently. Instead, he would wait. Patience was a virtue, after all.
The next morning, Alice woke up feeling little more than a pounding headache and a need to empty her stomach contents.
Later that same day, after a morning's pratice at the shooting range (for in Gotham, one always needed some way of protecting themselves), Jervis returned home to a message on his answering machine.
"Um, Mister Tetch, this is Alice. Look....I don't know what happened last night, but could you give me a call? I just need to know something....thanks."
Jervis smiled fondly and took out his cell phone. Flipping it open, the screen presented one option on the call list.
Human Test Subject #1, CIC 1865
It was time to give to begin work.