Disclaimer: I do not own any DC comics characters and am not getting paid for this. Since Scarecrow's face is never show in the games, please visualize Cillian Murphy as Jonathan Crane.
Subject: Adele Chester. Tape 1.
AC: Professor Strange, let me begin by thanking you for taking the time to meet with me today.
Strange: Miss Chester, I would prefer to reserve the social niceties until after I have determined whether or not you are wasting my time.
AC:…very well. I would like to request a change in the proposed districting of the Arkham City facility. Specifically, the Bowery. The Cyrus T. Pinkney Institute of Natural History is a historic structure of great architectural significance, not to mention its importance as an educational resource for the community.
Strange: (snorts) An educational resource? The exhibits, such as they are, are nearly a hundred years old and the place reeks of naphtha and formaldehyde. The scientific information which accompanies the displays has not been updated since the 1970s. I believe there were even references to punch-cards as the cutting edge of modern computer technology.
AC: Then you haven't visited it in the last three years. Most of the curators and conservators who conveyed with the place have retired, and many of the static displays have been replaced with aquariums and vivariums. The accompanying texts to more than half the exhibits have been rewritten to reflect the most recent discoveries. In January, the Dinosaur hall is scheduled to be shut down for two years while it's renovated and modernized.
Strange: I begin to detect less-than-altruistic motives behind your visit here today. You work there, do you not? Naturally you do not want to join the ranks of the unemployed, but there is a greater good to be considered here than the desires of one individual.
AC: It's more than that. Oswald Cobblepot is my father.
AC :Yes. And yes, I do take after my mother more in terms of looks, but not as much as you might think. When my mother was my age, she was very beautiful. With makeup, without it, in any clothes, in any lighting. I get by with good tailoring, capped teeth and the right lipstick.
Strange: Yet you do not use his full name. Adele Chester—Chester from Chesterfield, his middle name, and Adele—were you named after the Adélie penguin?
AC: I was born out of wedlock; I believe the name was a compromise. I have few illusions about my parents or their relationship. It was very brief. He had money and power, she, youth and beauty. The oldest story in the world. I would rather talk about the museum—.
Strange: We can come back to that. Cobblepot's daughter, eh? Who is your mother?
AC: My mother made it known to me that I can publicly identify myself as either her daughter or as his. As he was actually the better parent, I chose him, but as I respect my mother's wishes, I must decline to name her.
Strange: He was the better parent? In what way?
AC: I am not actually your patient, Confessor Strange.
Strange: It's Professor Strange.
AC: I know what I said. Professor originally was a religious title, back when the Church was the only place anyone could get an education. 'One who professes the faith', I believe it meant. 'Confessor' is a more apt term for your role in society. You hear confessions, only instead of prescribing 'Hail Marys' and 'Our Fathers' you dispense lithium and Prozac.
Strange: I concede the comparison. Yet it is you who are the supplicant here, not I. You have piqued my interest in your family. If you expect me to give your redistricting request any serious consideration, it falls to you to be more forthcoming.
AC: Then I'm a poor little rich girl, Professor. My mother had custody of me. My father never contested that or balked at making child support payments, and the payments were substantial. Mother was never abusive or neglectful, but it was Alma, our housekeeper, who mostly brought me up. Her-my mother's main contribution was to continually send the message that a woman's worth is based on her looks and that I didn't measure up.
It might have been by long distance, but my father took more of an interest in me. He was very proud that I was reading on a fourth grade level when I started kindergarten, and he really listened when I had trouble with classmates over the years. For example, in middle school, when I told him I wanted to smash another girl's face in, he didn't try to tell me it was wrong or bad or that I didn't really mean it. He asked what she'd done and then advised me to tuck a roll of coins in my fist when I went to punch her, because it would make for greater impact. It was tremendously validating to have an adult tell me it was okay to be that angry and have violent thoughts.
Strange: And what happened when you 'smashed her face in'?
AC: Oh, I never actually did it. It would have been wrong. Hah, I barely remember why I wanted to hit her. I didn't get invited to her skating party. Kid stuff.
Strange: Do you think your father would have been as forgiving?
AC: No. I said I have very few illusions about my parents.
Strange: Are you very…fond of your father?
AC:…(laugh) I just won a bet with myself. Would you make a creepy Freudian insinuation about my relationship with my father or not? And you did. Your next comment is going to be that you did no such thing, that I was the one who brought it up. No, no Electra complexes here. Isn't that sort of thing determined on imprinting anyhow? If it is, then I would have locked on to one of Mother's boyfriends. I didn't meet my father in person until I was seventeen and deciding where to apply to college. Long story short, I chose Gotham University, took business admin and museum studies, graduated with a dual master's, full honors, and now I work for my father.
Strange: So it is not so much his museum as yours, jointly. Well, no doubt with the compensation he will receive from the city, he will be able to buy you another one somewhere else.
AC: Finally we get back on topic. That's the problem. It doesn't matter how much the city offers. Even if they offer another plot with an equivalent building, he won't take it. He is not as young as he was, but he's just as strong-willed, if not more so. As an example, he had this, this plan, like something out of a mid-Victorian novel, to ruin Bruce Wayne financially and then offer to restore the Wayne fortune if Mr. Wayne married me. It took me two years to convince my father it was a bad idea—the marriage part. Father's still out to ruin him. Anyhow, I don't have that kind of lead time here.
Strange: What do you imagine will happen if he does not relocate?
AC: Nothing good. He won't budge, the city will try to evict him, and then…people will get hurt. I have few illusions about who he is, what he's done. What he's capable of. His business is legitimate, these days. I work very hard to make sure that it is so and that it remains so.
Strange: Because you love your father. Does he know about this little mission of yours?
AC: Do you mean this visit to you today or my crusade to keep him reformed?
Strange: Either. Both.
AC: I told him I was going to ask you nicely to spare the museum and the Lounge, and he thinks the latter is rather sweet, like my efforts to get him to stop smoking and eat healthy.
Strange: What if it were you who was making the decision?
AC: I would let the city buy us out—for proper and just compensation, including improvements made to the property, estimated loss of revenue related to the move projected over the next five years, the cost of moving all the existing displays, insurance against any damages-for example, our Diplodocus skeleton cost nine hundred thousand dollars- and an equivalent building on an equivalent site. After all, it's not just the museum, it's the Iceberg Lounge as well, and the Lounge is extremely profitable. The city might well decide it was simpler and more economical to redraw one small line on the map—as I'm requesting now. That's my mother in me, not my father. Sell, but don't sell cheap.
Strange: So you are not quite the misguided optimist you seem.
AC: Oh, I'm downy enough—if you know British slang. Anyhow, it's not my decision to make. The Arkham City Project is likely to be short-lived anyhow, once Batman gets involved- -.
Strange: Why do you say that?
AC: Because when you drop Mentos into a bottle of soda and screw on the lid, it's foolish not to expect an explosion. This is Gotham City. Batman is everywhere and beating up criminals seems to be what makes him happy. Arkham City'll be like Christmas morning for him.
Strange: Ah. Is that your personal opinion of the Batman, or your father's?
AC: I'm not about to repeat my father's opinion. I was brought up not to use that sort of language. My opinion is that dressing up like a bat in order to go out and fight crime is fundamentally the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of.
Strange: You don't find Batman attractive? Most women do.
AC: No, actually I don't. He's too...perfect. He's muscled like a god, the part of his face that shows is enough to prove that's he's handsome as a movie star, and he's a flawless athlete. People end up with people who are approximately as attractive as they are. Trying to live up to Batman's standard would be exhausting and demoralizing. If I wanted to grow up to be my mother, I would have stayed in Cali-I would not have come to Gotham City.
Strange: 'Be your mother'? How so?
AC: Beauty is a gift you don't get to keep, but that doesn't mean she isn't trying to. Face lifts. Personal trainers. Breast implants, rhinoplasty, Botox, butt lifts, goat placenta treatments... When I go home sometimes I just want to take off my make-up, put on comfy pajamas, and eat a little ice cream out of the carton. With Batman that would be impossible. Can you imagine him sitting around in jeans, watching a movie and drinking a beer? It's not possible. Besides, one woman's dark and brooding is another's grim and joyless. He simply doesn't appeal to me.
Now I'm going to share with you something I've never told anyone before, Professor Strange. My first four years in Gotham were spent incognito. It wasn't until I turned twenty-one that Dad came out and introduced me as his daughter. He threw a big birthday party for me in the Lounge, and at midnight he had me stand up with him, and he said 'I have a big announcement to make. Tonight this becomes a family business...'
That's public knowledge, of course. Gothamite Magazine ran pictures. No, what I have to tell you about happened in my freshman year. I took Psych one semester, and the TA was Jonathan Crane.
Strange: The same Jonathan Crane who went on to become the Scarecrow, I take it, for otherwise this anecdote seems pointless.
AC: Yes, that same one. He was on the verge of getting his doctorate. I didn't need any tutoring, but we'd at least met and the next semester, I bumped into him in the museum. I was starting up the Gift Shop then-my second major project for the Pinkney. The first was the website. He was there to do visual comparisons on skull capacity versus spinal cord length, as I recall. We said 'Hi,' and got to talking. The next week, he came by again, and it became a regular thing. We weren't dating or anything like it, just hanging out, always in public places. We didn't even exchange e-mails or phone numbers.
One day I noticed the nose-piece on one side of his glasses had been replaced by a lump of poster adhesive, that blue stuff that's like putty. I said 'Come on, Jonathan. Your glasses are broken and they're all wrong for your face anyway. I'm buying you a new pair.' So I dragged him out of the museum and down to the ready-in-an-hour opticians, helped him pick out new frames, and then took him for coffee while the glasses were being made.
Yes, I knew I was being terribly bossy, but he seemed all right with it. Yet the next week he didn't turn up at all. The week after, he came by-wearing the glasses I bought him, by the way-to inform me 'As you know, Miss Chester, I will be matriculating soon, and as I plan to pursue a career in academia, I am afraid I cannot afford even the slightest appearance of wrong doing. You are nearly ten years my junior, and so, as pleasant as these meetings have been, I'm afraid, that for the sake of my future, they must stop.'
Since then-especially in light of what became of him afterward-I have often wondered what I should have said. Something like 'Anybody who sees impropriety in our meeting like this is a prize chowderhead, and you can send them to me so I can tell them so. Sit down and tell me if you think this is too intellectual to go in a general audience museum guide.'
Instead I blurted out, 'But we're not dating!'
'Correct. And no one must ever think that.' he replied.
'I thought we were friends.'
'A p-pretty college student and a nearly thirty year old instructor cannot be friends in this day and age. Goodbye, Miss Chester.' He really did stammer when he said that.
Honestly, between the part of my brain that was going 'He thinks I'm pretty?' and the part which was outraged, I was left speechless. I didn't even say goodbye when he left. I've wondered-if I had not accepted his rejection, if I had insisted on staying friends -could I have influenced his life for the better? So you see, Professor Strange, I am determined not to lose my father as well, and given his past- I ask this: Please redraw the border of Arkham City to exclude the museum and the Iceberg Lounge.
Strange: Interesting. You mentioned there was a housekeeper who essentially raised you-.
AC: Yes, Alma. Alma Hernandez.
Strange: Would you say she was a good person, a moral person?
Strange: And she clearly imparted her values to you.
AC: I suppose she did.
Strange: Given your mother as you describe her, and your father as I know him to be, I would say you represent the triumph of nurture over nature. I shall take your request under consideration. Good day.
AC: Goodbye, and thank you.
Strange: It is far too soon for you to thank me.
Notes: Internet searches confirm Miss Chester's story, to a point. Given her age, it should not be difficult to guess the identity of her mother, given how publicly Cobblepot flaunted his affairs. It will be interesting to see how quickly and thoroughly the world chews her up and spits her out once her father's protection is gone-as it will be, when he is safely immured in Arkham City.