ByMalice Dahustlah, writer at Creators.co
We focus on the origins and processes that make the bad guys so villainous throughout the multiple universes of comics, films and novels.
Malice Dahustlah

Eddie sighed as he sat in class, barely able to pay attention to the professor talking about…whatever it was he was talking about. Classes seemed to go on forever. All he wanted was to have the class end. He checked his phone, watching the time go by second by second until class ended.

Without hesitation, he ran across the campus to the dorms. Unlike Eddie, Amara lived on campus and since she broke up with him, she had not answered his phone calls or text messages, leaving him with no other option but to confront her in person.

He headed up the stairs of the women’s dormitory to the fourth floor and knocked on the door. Eddie got no answer. “Amara, I know you’re in there. You don’t have class until 1.”

The door opened in front of him, and Eddie smiled at the sight of Amara in her pajamas. “I asked you to leave me alone.”

“I want to make it up to you.” Eddie answered.

“Eddie, there is nothing you can say or do that would make up for what you did last week.” Amara replied. “I asked you to please let it go. Not only did you not listen to me, you went and did your whole E. Nygma routine to show the whole school what I asked you to leave alone!” She huffed. “Eddie, I can’t.”

“Can’t what?” Eddie asked, confused.

“I can’t. Don’t bother me ever again.” Amara said before nearly slamming the door in Eddie’s face.

As much as Eddie wanted to, he did not knock on the door again. A depression hit him hard and he slowly walked down the stairs. He snapped out of it when he heard a few girls talking. He stopped at the bottom of stairs and listened.

“I can’t believe that was posted.” One girl said. “It’s a follow-up from last week’s posting.”

“Who would have thought that several of the sorority girls work at Pandora’s Box?” her friend said.

What’s Pandora’s Box? Eddie wondered to himself.

“There are pictures and everything! It’s all on GreenLight.” The first girl said.

GreenLight? Eddie thought. Huh. Nygma may need to investigate. He shook off the sound of his own internal voice and left the dorm to go straight to his favorite computer lab.

Once there, he sat down in the farthest corner of the lab—where no one would bother him and no one could pass behind him and see what was on his computer screen. Eddie clicked open the internet browser and typed in GreenLight. It showed no results.

“Huh?” Eddie whispered to himself. How could the site exist if there was no way it could be found through the internet? Maybe it’s not supposed to be easy to find. The voice in his head told him. “That makes sense.” He said to himself. He typed on the keyboard, opening up a window and maximized it to a terminal screen, to try and locate any information he can on the universities intranet. “Come on, come on.” Eddie continued to whisper. He peered over the top of the computer monitor, making sure no one was trying to snoop. He smiled when caught sight of a few lines of computer code. Ah, so it’s a subroutine within the campus login system. That’s ingenious! Eddie clicked out of the window and logged off, finding himself typing in the code he saw just seconds before. “Here goes.” Eddie pressed enter. His smile could not get any bigger when he saw the code went through.

The screen was a rich purple with white letters reading GREENLIGHT in the upper left hand corner. Eddie scoured the site, clicking on various links, all of which seemed to link to various events that took place across campus, but the one thing that bothered him most was that none of the articles mentioned E. Nygma or the things he had done in his time at Gotham University. Eddie went back to the home page to see a new article posted less than a minute ago.

What’s this about? Asked the curious voice in Eddie’s head; and the urge to click the link was too overwhelming to ignore.

CONFIRMED G.U. PROFS. FREQUENT PANDORA’S BOX by Query

“Last week, I posted that several of the female population of our home to higher education had taken jobs at Pandora’s Box, a uniquely designed underground fetish club in order to pay for the ever-rising tuition. However, that knowledge has now become the college’s worst kept secret, which has found its way to the attention of numerous male professors.

Last night, after corresponding with a most credible source, I can say with definitive proof; that those professors now go to Pandora’s Box, with the intention of seeing their potential students in action. Pandora’s Box management has refused to even acknowledge the existence of a client list, which, as any investigator worth their salt, means that it does.

As I delved deeper into the possibility of classmates making some extra cash this way, I went to Pandora’s Box myself to see if I could recognize anyone. Unfortunately, Pandora’s Box denied me entrance, which says just how exclusive their clientele is. More to come soon.”

Eddie sighed and relaxed into his chair. Someone does what I do, but through the anonymity of the web? That’s just plain rude! Those you’re against should know who’s beating them. Eddie nodded, agreeing with the voice in his head. “So who is this…Query?” He typed on the keyboard once more. The only thing he could find on the author of the article was a brief profile on GreenLight’s list of contributors. Query was at the top of the list with the heading of Admin. The profile photo was the familiar sight of a question mark above the silhouette of a person’s head. “Founder of GreenLight in freshman year, built the site from scratch.” Eddie muttered. So this Query has computer skills. “Decent computer skills if they can bury an entire webpage into the login program with the IP address as the password.” But why would Query be denied entrance to the club? Surely they would allow anyone willing to pay to go in. “The article said exclusive clientele.” He gave it some thought. “Would that mean gender-exclusive?” Ah, yes. That makes sense. Which would make Query… “A woman.”

Eddie sighed as he took his hands off the keyboard. He interlocked his fingers and pondered, wondering how he had never heard of this site or Query before. In the soon to be three years Eddie has attended Gotham University, this was a first…and it was exciting. With no hesitation, he copied the photo attachments to the article and sent them to his phone. He double-checked to make sure he got them, and shut the computer off.

═════

Eddie’s focus was never as sharp before today. While trying to look like his normal self, he eyed every female teacher and student that crossed his path, wondering, hoping he would spot Query and not realize it. After all, she could be anyone.

You’re reaching, Eddie. Just seeing them doesn’t mean you’ll find her. “Nygma, be quiet.” Eddie whispered to himself. You can find her. You know how. Eddie shook his head, in no way wanting to play Nygma’s games. Come on, Eddie. What do you call something that cannot be done, but begs to be? Eddie stopped in his tracks, feeling that overwhelming excitement he gets. Eddie smiled. “Fun.”

“Excuse me.” A voice called out.

Eddie turned around, surprised to see who was only a few feet away. “Sergeant Gordon?”

“Yeah, Eddie, right? Eddie Nashton?” Gordon asked. Eddie nodded. “I wanted to say thank you for your help with the incident last week.”

“Oh. Of course.” Eddie answered with a smile.

“That being said, I was wondering if I could pick your brain.”

“What about, Sergeant?” Eddie asked.

“After we arrested Hastings, the kid kept saying over and over that he taken by a campus prankster.” Gordon said. Eddie did his best not to react. “Went by the name of Nygma—E. Nygma?”

“Yeah, I’ve heard of him.” Eddie answered with a defeated tone of voice.

“I did some of my own research in the last couple of days. It seems this Nygma character has a habit of using pranks and riddles to…expose wrongdoings that happen here on campus?” Gordon speculated.

“I’m aware of a few times he’s done that. In fact, the time before he took Hastings, Nygma actually stink-bombed the whole cafeteria by cutting the power to the freezers. It wasn’t until the Health Department came that they saw the kitchen staff was using expired foods for the last two months.”

“Really?” Gordon asked. “I don’t understand why.”

“It was expired. They shouldn’t be—”

“No, I mean, why would this…Nygma, be so interested in exposing campus scandals through these methods. Surely there are better ways.”

“Sergeant Gordon, if I may?” Eddie asked. Gordon nodded. “In my own opinion, there are just some people who can’t understand anything other than the extreme. There aren’t many…good people left in Gotham.” He swallowed the lump in his throat. “I was raised to be honest, Sergeant. Dad made sure of that. I think this Nygma guy is only doing what he does because he feels it’s the only way people can see what’s happening right under their noses.”

Sergeant Gordon nodded. “You’ve any idea on who Nygma could be?”

Eddie shrugged. “I admittedly did some digging into Nygma back when he first started out.”

“So it is a man?” Gordon asked.

“As far as I know, But, hey, I could be wrong.” Eddie answered. “But as far as I’ve found, it looks like Nygma is just a name.”

“No student here has that last name?” Gordon asked.

“I wouldn’t know, Sergeant. It’s a big campus, and I don’t have access to those kinds of records. You’d need permission from the bursar’s office to look at those.”

Gordon nodded again. “Thanks for the help, Eddie.”

“Anytime Sergeant.” Eddie answered with a smile and watched Gordon walk away. “Just a name…” he repeated. Eddie smiled. “I know how to get to Query now.” Eddie turned back and silently walked back to his favorite place.

═════

With his back against the wall and his screen slightly turned, Eddie double-checked to make sure that no one was nearby or curious enough to come over. He swirled the mouse over the pad until the screen came back on to the login page. Without hesitation he typed in the command code he found earlier and made his way back into the GreenLight site. He scanned the screen until he found the search bar. He typed in Nygma and it again showed zero results. Whoever ran GreenLight, apparently they thought his own exploits were not newsworthy.

Nygma nodded and sighed, clicking on the tab for open posts. He typed in ?Nygma? for his username and began typing.

“Guess who found what? Here I am in your little site, Query. I enjoy reading your posts, but curious to know why you’re not a little more like me. Want to really out campus secrets? Show the whole world and not just those who read your blog.”

-Nygma

Eddie smiled, and waited. A post came up only seconds later.

“Holy crap, you’re real?! I always thought that Nygma was a campus myth that random students did every so often to keep each other on their toes.”

-Query

Eddie snickered and typed.

“I am quite real, I assure you. I read the last post you put up on GreenLight about Pandora’s Box. You’re positive about it all?”

-Nygma

Eddie, waited but received no reply. He logged out of the site after several minutes and sighed. “So much for that. At least Nygma’s real to her now.” What were you thinking? “Query wants her truth out there, I saw we give it to her.” He went into his smart phone and looked at the picture. “This…Pandora’s Box…” He continued to look at the photos he had saved. “It looks like an old storage facility.” He examined the photos closer. “I know where this is.”

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