The Near Future
Rachael frowns at her reflection in the doors of the elevator. She rubs her hands over the wrinkles of the skirt of the business suit sheís wearing and then starts fiddling with the blonde wig on her head.
Rachael: I look ridiculous.
The Question stands beside Rachael looking up at the roof of the elevator.
Question: Keep looking ahead, weíre being watched.
Rachael sighs and does as sheís told as she loosens the designer watch on her wrist.
Rachael: you think Iíd be used to this by now.
Question: Glad I still keep you on your toes.
Rachael: You can sure say that again.
Both Rachael and The Question fall into a silence as Rachael watches the numbers go up and up on the elevator.
Question: Interesting isnít it?
Rachael: What is?
Question: When in an elevator suddenly the roof becomes the most interesting thing on the planet.
Rachael: Thatís funny.
Question: I try.
Rachael: So why are we here again?
Rachael: For what?
Question: Will know it when we find it.
Rachael: Well thatís helpful. I almost wish I could go back to the days when I was being chased by my father and a psychopath wearing bandages.
Question: No you donít.
Rachael: No, I donít.
The elevator stops and Rachael puts on her best fake smile as the doors open. Since thereís no one around but she still knows cameras will be watching her Rachael speaks through her teeth at her faceless companion.
Rachael: Just so you know I really hate you sometimes.
Rachael walks out of the elevator as The Question stays behind watching her walk along.
Question: I remember Rachael Thorn; I trust Iíll never forget.
Rachael: You liar! Your nothing but scum! I thought you were my friend! I hate you! I HATE YOU!
The Question is unable to speak as he watches Rachael Thorn run away as she begins to cry.
Billy: Was it something I said?
Question: Well that went worse than expected.
The Question goes after Rachael walking right though the closed door of Billyís workshop in the process. He looks both ways until he sees her in the distance and he starts to run after her.
Rachael doesnít seem to hear or she doesnít care as she continues to walk as it starts to rain in Gotham. The Question eventually manages to catch up to Rachael and walks along side her as she seemingly ignores him.
Question: Rachael please let me explain.
Rachael: Go away.
Question: Itís dangerous, youíll catch cold.
Rachael: Oh yeah? What do you care? Your not even here.
Question: I am.
Rachael: How come then itís only me that can see you then? Huh? Answer me that smart guy. For all I know Iíve totally flipped my lid.
Question: You havenít.
Rachael: Well since your part of my delusion you would say that wouldnít you?
Question: Am not a delusion.
Rachael: Oh I know why donít I go with the mysterious man without a face! Man Iím such an idiot, first my father and now you.
Question: Nothing like your father.
Rachael turns and faces The Question staring at him with anger blazing in her eyes.
Rachael: You lied to me. Instead of answering my questions you just said stupid things to distract me. All along you kept this from me, you know I had been hurt and lied to before and you still did it.
Rachael: NO! No excuses. Why me? Am I just the biggest sap there is? Huh is that it? Do I have sucker tattooed on my forehead? What is it that made all this happen to me huh?!
Rachael breathes heavily as she notices the rain isnít getting The Question wet at all while she stands soaking.
Rachael: What are you?
Question: It all began roughly 21 months agoÖ.
21 Months Ago
The Question sits cross legged surrounded by candles dressed only in a pair of blue slacks. His mask, shirt, coat and other items rest on a table in the corner of the otherwise dark room. For a few moments The Question remains alone until a flash of light makes him open his eyes and he sees Dr. Fate floating above him.
Fate: You are ready Vic Sage.
Vic looks at Fate with hope in his eyes.
Vic: Am I cured?
Fate: No Iím afraid you are still very much going to die.
Vic: Glad I wasted my time sitting here for 3 days strait then.
Fate: You didnít waste your time Vic Sage, your body is now ready for the spell.
Vic: What spell?
Fate: As I said before it is beyond my power to cure you but it is within my power to give you life beyond death. Take note Vic Sage that if you choose this path it may cause you only heartache and loneliness. Only those with the power such as myself and Zatanna will be aware of your presence. You will be nothing more than a ghost, unable to touch or feel or interact with the world.
Vic: Being around but not being able to make a difference may be worse than death.
Fate: Exactly however there is another possibility. If you can find one that possesses the sightÖ..
Vic: The sight?
Fate: One who can see and hear you and will be willing to help you in your quests. It may take you year or decades to find such a person Vic Sage so I advice you carry out research before your demise and make other arrangements.
Vic: Already working on a few ideas.
Fate: Excellent then perhaps this course of action is not needed?
Vic: No do it. I need to get my work done.
Fate: You understand that once your task is done you will not be able to cross over? It is either one or the other Vic Sage.
Vic: Will find something to do.
Fate: Very well then.
Vic: Will I be able to do anything other than talk to those with Ďthe sightí?
Fate: You may be able to cast simple illusions that you are interacting with objects as to not alarm them at first. However that is all, you will be able to do little else.
Vic: Letís do it then.
Fate: As you wish Vic Sage.
A green smoke surrounds Vic at Dr. Fate chants some words in Latin that his guess does not recognise. More than once Vic begins to regret his choice and wants to stop but he remains quiet until the smoke disappears.
Fate: May your afterlife be as eventful and fulfilling as your current form Vic Sage. Know you are always welcome at my tower.
Vic nods as Dr. Fate disappears leaving his guest alone.
Vic: Best start making preparations then.
Rachael stands in disbelief as The Question finishes telling his story. By this point she has backed into a small doorway shielding her from the rain but she canít help but hold herself against the growing cold of the skin.
Question: Must admit was surprised that you by chance where one with the sight. You possibly inherited it from your mother who perhaps was tooÖpreoccupied to use her gift.
Rachael: Drunk, my mother was a drunk.
Question: Not her fault, nor yours.
Rachael: So only I can see you?
Rachael: Back in the coffee shop all those months ago, seeing you writing in a notebook and having coffee in front of youÖ.
Question: All tricks of the mind. The money was left by an informant of mine who was supposed to be in and out before you could notice him. Made sure he got full details before my death.
Rachael: I think Iím going to be sickÖ.
Question: Told you bad idea to stay out in rain.
Rachael: Itís not that itís Iím talking toÖ.Vic Sage the friendly ghost.
Question: At least you know my name.
Rachael: You still lied to me.
Question: Iím sorry. Truly am.
Rachael: So Iím what your link to this world? What if I donít want to help? What if I tell you to leave me alone?
Question: That is your choice. For your help so far you are welcome to the money in my hideaway. Did some research on you before I died; youíre a good person and thought you would want to help people. Am happy to find someone else but thereís the death of a little girl that needs to be answered among other matters. Your going to need my help avoiding your father and his associates as well.
Rachael: I wouldnít be in this situation with my dad if it wasnít for you.
Question: Would have rather remained ignorant of the fact then?
Question: Then what are you angry about?
Rachael: Thatís the question.
Rachael: I try.
Rachael leans her head against the door and closes her eyes as she sighs and looks at the Question.
Rachael: Alright if weíre going to do this no more lies understood?
Rachael: Also since no one else can see you your going to be coming with me a lot more agreed?
Rachael: Oh and no more history lessons, I donít want to turn into you. I doubt you want a female version of you wondering around.
Question: Never jump to conclusions.
Rachael raises her eyebrow and after a few silent moments extends her hand.
Question: I canít shake that.
Rachael: Itís the gesture that counts.
The Question eventually extends his hand and indeed as expected it passes through Rachaelís.
Rachael: Itís fine. Weíll just start over. Hereís to a bright future. So what next?
Question: Now we find whatever happened to Stephanie Brown.
Rachael nods as she begins to think of possible leads despite being soaking wet and it is in this moment that Vic Sage knows he made the right choice so many months ago at Fate Tower.
His name is Vic Sage, heís been dead over a year and heís just starting to learn to live.