"Good evening, Gotham City." The words that cut into every television across Gotham this night, and reveal the familiar and incredibly creepy masked face of the Scarecrow on every screen, dead centre, and utterly void of emotion.
"First of all, allow me to apologise for interrupting your viewing pleasure this evening. I'm sure it must be sheer terror to not get your fix of Desperate Housewives, or the Simpsons, or whatever it is people watch these days, but I promise I will make it worth it. In fact, it will have to be worth it, because to interrupt these signals I had to spend an awful lot of money. I'm doing this for you. For your benefit." He leans towards the camera. "Be grateful."
There's something strange about the Scarecrow's voice tonight. Almost like it's through a synthesiser to make it deeper and more ominous. "So now the why. Over the past few months I have ostensibly been living a legitimate life, investigating potential embezzlements, scaring off blackmailers, and looking into tawdry affairs. Oh, and Mr. Joseph Freeman? Your wife is cheating on you. With a midget. I laughed, anyway." He leans back now, and puts the tips of his fingers together in an arch.
"But yes, the why. I... Am not going to tell you. You can all reach your own conclusions to be honest, and putting it down to a persistent psychopathy would probably be the soundest opinion. But I am not wasting my hard stolen cash just to appear on television, oh no. I have also been hiring over twenty lunatics, most of them former patients of mine, and all of whom have successfully just kidnapped every baby from every maternity ward across Gotham, and brought them to me as I started this little show. A little misdirection goes a long way, in show business." He chuckles, and the mask visibly goes in as he inhales, his eyes dark pits through the burlap.
"I can feel the panic now. The worry of every mother, father, doctor, nurse, hospital trustee who is wondering "How do I explain the hiring of these former gang members on my staff!" and so on, but also the fear. Oh, yes, the fear. If I told you the feelings I feel when I think of the delightful outpouring of shock and awe, our two favourite words in this great nation, all directed at me... I would be taken off your televisions. I love the idea of you screaming, you crying, you wondering what this evil man is going to do to your poor children, and here's the dealbreaker-"
He removes his hat, and places it on one finger, twirling it around. "- I can do whatever I want with them. Dump them in the river? Sure. Feed them to Killer Croc? Why not. Help Zsasz with his scores? Almost certainly. All I ask of you is a simple thing. Every name of every baby will flash up on the screen once I'm done, with a value underneath it. I'm a fair man, and every ransom is meetable for each of the family involved. For instance," he picks up an identity tag, that was once on a baby's leg, "young Vincent Shore, $800,000. His parents are lawyers. And young Julie Angel Ramone?" He moves this tag closer to his eyeline. "I should really wear my glasses... $23,000. Her mother is single, and works as a waitress when she gets an opportunity. And Angel is an ridiculous middle name. I can't stand all of that new-age nonsense."
"Paying these ransoms couldn't be simpler. Call the number at the bottom of the screen, and you'll get through to one of my polite and well-trained operators, who will take your bank details and link them up to one of my offshore Oolong Island accounts. Your baby will be delivered safe and sound, and with a copy of my book, "Why the world needs Batman", which really sold quite well. All of you who bought it, helped fund this show, so thank you most heartily." He puts his hat back on.
"Finally, to Batman, Robin, the GCPD etcetera. You can try and find me. I would love to see you try. This is of course a recorded message, as I wouldn't be stupid enough to have your infamous Oracle figure track my location through this broadcast. I'm off for a stroll personally, but calls can be put through to me if you beg long and hard. I'm Dr. Crane, Gotham City, and I'm listening."
The broadcast cuts off, showing the names of babies, to the sounds of their crying.