It was just another normal day at The Centre. That is, if you consider torture, murder, kidnapping, extortion, genetic experiments, yadda yadda yadda, as normal activities. Well, in The Centre they were as normal as normal can be. Most of the people working there had no real idea what The Centre really did, but it wasn’t their place to know. Only those on higher places knew the real truth and those who would accidentally bump into something they weren’t supposed to know could only expect a death penalty.

The Centre was a world organization that explored people like guinea pigs. Some knew that. Some suspected that. It was a place where evil ruled. A Hell on earth, some people would say. But, despite the terror it inspired, there was one event that brought fear into the hearts of all those who worked there. An event that happened once every month and affected everyone, from the lowest employee to the chairman himself.

Some people knew that The Centre was controlled by The Triumvirate, a group of three of men with their headquarters in South Africa. They were the real power behind The Centre. Or so everyone thought.

The truth was different than general belief. It was more tenebrous than The Triumvirate and The Centre put together. Forget about surprise visits from members of The Triumvirate. Forget about law enforcement units walking into The Centre and taking everyone into custody. Those were unexpected events and the unexpected could not be predicted. Sure, there were always procedures to follow, in case something unusual happened, but not on a situation like this. This... moment was expected, but, that wasn’t a good thing. No matter how much they would try to deny it, no matter how much they would pray for it to end, it was useless. It would always happen and there was nothing they could about it.

It was about two p.m. when the doorbell rang. Immediately the doors were opened. Everyone looked to the man at the door and instantly recognized his face. They quickly got out from his sight and hid wherever there was a hiding place available.

The man walked through the lobby and went straight to the receptionist desk. He looked to a very frightened secretary and said, “I’m here to collect the rent.”

She swallowed her breath and tried hard to seem calm “I believe the rent has already been paid.”

“It would be, if all your bank accounts weren’t empty.”

“You’ll have to discuss that with Mr. Raines.”

“Fine. Tell him to come down here so that we can clear this out.”

“Certainly, sir.”

She grabbed the phone and dialed to Mr. Raines’ office. From the other side came a recording message. Dance music on the background, with the distinguished wheezing voice of Mr. Raines doing the singing.

“Hey! I’m not here!

But I’ll back! Don’t you fear!

I’ll come back and we’ll sing all day.

And then I’ll dissect your brain.”


“Mr. Raines, this is Sarah, from reception. Mr. Stevenson is here to see you. He wants you to come down here as soon as you can.” Sarah put the phone down and turned to Mr. Stevenson. “He’s not there.”

“What about Mr. Lyle? Isn’t he the second in command?”

“I’ll call him.”

“You do that.”

Sarah grabbed the phone “You can take a seat, if you want to.”

“I prefer to stand, thank you.”

She dialed the extension to Mr. Lyle’s office. He answered, with his mouth full.


“Mr. Lyle, it’s Sarah from reception. Mr. Stevenson is here.”

Mr. Lyle swallowed. “What does he want?”

“He says he’s here to collect the rent.”

“I thought the rent was already paid.”

“That’s not what he says, Mr. Lyle. According to him, all the bank accounts are empty.”

“What d’you mean ‘empty’?! There were more than a hundred million dollars on those accounts!!! Where the hell did all the money go?”

“That I don’t know, Mr. Lyle.”

“Have you talked to Mr. Raines about this?”

“I tried to call his office, but he wasn’t there.”

“OK. I’ll see what I can do. Tell Mr. Stevenson to come up.”

“He says he wants you to come down.”

“Great! Now I have to interrupt lunch! I hate doing that! Okay. Tell him I’ll be down there as soon as I can.”

Sarah heard Mr. Lyle hanging up and put the phone receiver down. “Mr. Lyle will be here shortly.” She said to Mr. Stevenson.

“Tell him to hurry. I’m beginning to get tired of all this waiting.”

“I’m sure that won’t be necessary.” She smiled “Are you sure you don’t want to sit?”

“Yes. I am.”




A few minutes later, Mr. Lyle showed up, accompanied by Mr. Raines. They shook hands.

“What can we do for you, Mr. Stevenson?” Mr. Lyle asked with a plastic smile on his face.

“You can start by paying what you owe me.”

“There has to be some sort of mistake, Mr. Stevenson. The Centre always pays its bills on time.” Mr. Raines said.

“Well, I sure would like to know how is that possible with all your bank accounts empty.”

Mr. Raines turned angrily to Mr. Lyle “Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

“I...” Lyle swallowed “forgot.”

“You forgot?! One hundred and twenty five million dollars and eighty three” He took a small paper from his breast pocket, read it and then put the paper back in the pocket “eighty four cents gone and you forget to mention it?” He was quiet for a few seconds, then something occurred to him “Lyle, tell me something. Have you been ordering mail order brides again?”


“Tell me truth.”

“I may have ordered a few.” He said timidly, and then added “But they were all very cheap!”

Mr. Raines took a deep breath and began to pull Lyle’s ear. “Didn’t I give you a piggy bank for you to buy your things?”


“And how many times have I told you not to order any brides without consulting me? How many? Tell me!!!”

Mr. Lyle started to cry. “I’m sorry! It’s just... I feel so alone sometimes. I only want...”

Mr. Raines let go Mr. Lyle’s ear and pulled him to a tight hug. “That’s alright, son. I understand.”

“Look,” Mr. Stevenson interrupted “I don’t give a damn about your brides. All I want is my money. Now, do you have it or not?”

“How much is it?” Mr. Raines asked.

Mr. Stevenson took a small paper from his breast pocket and handed it to Mr. Raines.

Mr. Raines read the paper and wheezed, “What the hell is this?”

“That is what you owe me. This month’s rent. Without interests.”

“Without interests?”

Mr. Lyle took a quick peak at the paper and whistled.

“The rent is not supposed to be so high!” Mr. Raines wheezed.

“And Blue Cove is not supposed to exist. It’s a fictitious land and I owe it, along with everything in it. You wanna have your secret complex in my property, that’s fine with me, just as long as you pay what I tell you to pay. If not, you can always pack up your stuff and move to Gotham City. It’s your choice.”

“We can’t afford that kind of expense with our bank accounts empty.”

“What’re you talking about? We can’t make any expense with our bank accounts empty.”

“Shut up, Lyle!”

“I don’t have the time to wait, gentlemen. If you don’t have the money, I have no choice but to throw you all out.”

“You can’t be serious!”

“You want to test me, Mr. Raines? I strongly advise you not to, or I promise you’ll regret your actions shortly afterwards.”


“Yes, dad?”

“Go tell everyone to clean their desks. We’re leaving.”

“What do I tell them?”

“Tell them that they are all fired.”

Mr. Lyle thought about this for a second before asking “Does that mean that I have to kill all of them?”

“Not this time, son.”

Suddenly, Mr. Lyle remembered something “Wait! What about The Triumvirate? Can’t we borrow some money from them?”

Mr. Raines smiled. “Yes... We-”

“Can’t.” Mr. Stevenson concluded.

“Why not?”

“I owe their complex too. Their accounts are empty as well.”

“How can that be?” Mr. Lyle questioned.

“If I found out whoever did this, I’m gonna eat him alive!”

“Can I help?”

“It was just an expression, Lyle.”

“Oh... Sorry.”

“Now, hurry up and go tell everyone the news.”

“Sure. I’m just going to finish lunch and then I’ll do it.”

“You can finish your lunch later.”

“But I’m starving!”

“I said you can finish your lunch... later! Now move!”

Mr. Lyle walked away.

Mr. Raines wheezed, “I wonder who’s responsible for this...”




Yes, who was the man responsible for this? The question floated inside Mr. Lyle and Mr. Raines’ brain and the answer could probably be found with this man. Jarod. The man being constantly chased across the country since his escape from The Centre after thirty years imprisoned. A pure genius, most people called him, but, despite his strong intellect, he wasn’t the one responsible for The Centre’s fall.

In fact, after spending years running, it was only now that he had finally come up with a perfect plan to stop The Centre once and for all. Too late now, you could say. It was a very simple plan. So simple that he felt ashamed for not thinking about it earlier.

He was driving his car, listening to some music. The Centre was only a few miles away.

‘Almost there.’ He thought.

After a while, a car rode by. He recognized the driver. Miss Parker. His friend, his huntress, his enemy, his... whatever.

‘That’s strange. She usually doesn’t leave her office before seven p.m.’ He continued driving, then he remembered something else ‘Was she smiling?!’




He arrived to The Centre moments later and was surprised with what he saw. Everyone was leaving The Centre. He got out of his car and scanned the crowd for any know face. He spotted Sydney and walked to him.



“What is going on here? Where is everyone going?”

“The Centre is shutting down.”

“What? How?”

“Apparently someone forgot to pay the rent.”

“That’s just great! Now that I had come up with a plan to...”

Suddenly, Jarod heard a voice coming from behind him.


Jarod recognized the voice and turned around to see Mr. Raines, with his former henchman Willie right next to him.

“You did this!” he turned to Willie “Catch him, Willie!”

“Forget it, bone bag. You’re not my boss anymore. Remember?”

Mr. Raines lost all his... dignity, and started jumping up and down, shrieking like a little girl. “I want my Centre back! I want it! I want it!”

Jarod turned to Sydney, who was shaking his head. They spotted Broots and walked to him.

“What happened to Miss Parker?” Jarod asked. “I saw her on my way here.”

“She said she was going to take a few weeks off.” Sydney responded.

“That’s good. She deserves some rest.”

“So...” Broots began “I guess this is it.”

“Seems to be.”

“There’s no more it to it than this.”

Yes, The Centre was no more. After years of evil doings, The Centre’s reign of terror had finally come to an end. Everyone was now free from its claws, but there was one question left to answer. Not the identity of the person responsible for the fall, but something much more urgent. A common thought that suddenly appeared in the head’s of all those connected to The Centre.

‘What am I going to do now?’