Once again he came home, exhausted by a long hard night.
One night, apparently, had only consisted of maneuvering Archie from one end of town to the other, just because his partner, who had muttered somewhere in the back of the ship, had noticed that there were criminals, extortionists, rapists, pimps they did not.
It seemed to him as if he had torn the wheel all night long, just to take a new direction, which his masked partner pretended.
Fly, land, fight, liberate the city from its succumbents of society-only one of the many descriptions that his mate had left for the part-man against whom they were triumphant, back to Archie.
The same course, seemingly no pauses-which he had often needed a long time-was a perpetual race with the time, with the evil to which his partner, who evidently had no problem, had his body at the limits of his efficiency drive.
“Evil must be exterminated, Daniel.” His premise, his motive, his goal. Again and again he heard this sentence, as if an old record was on a player. An old wavy vinyl plate, so bent by the heat and the tooth of time, that the needle could not properly grasp the grooves, overturned them, and always returned to the same point.
Evil must be eradicated.
Evil must be eradicated.
Evil must be eradicated.
Evil must be exterminated, Daniel.
Daniel Daniel heard these words drone in his head. He heard this monotonous, dark, scratchy voice, which had just been created to force the light-believing and the anxious to kneel the criminals. To be afraid of what this voice harbored.
To be afraid of the black ink blots dancing around like crazy on white cloth. Reflections of the anxieties of the person she was looking at.
Symmetry to be feared. Feared Symmetry.
A symmetry, in which he too had seen much too much things lately, which did not please him, pushed him mad.
It was kind of strange, but he seemed glad that Rorschach had not decided this time to accompany him to Archie home, then disappear through the tunnel system, after they had once again discussed the coup of the day Mistakes in the cover, in the attack and the sweet taste of success.
No, Rorschach left him rather, wanted to be left at the corner of the fortieth and seventh, directly opposite the Gunga Diner, which Daniel liked to visit in his spare time.
The masked Vigilant did not take leave of him, climbed only through the floor hatch, put his hands in the pockets of his trench coat, and disappeared into the slowly darkness of the dusk.
Since Rorschach had taken this case alone a few months ago, this Roche case, which Daniel only learned through the media, ended there, and it was no longer there between Rorschach and him.
Previously they had together, as Team Nite Owl II and Rorschach, for justice and order ensured, worst pack into the flight or – even better – into the jail beaten.
More than ten years ago, both of them were still trying to make way for justice in New York, so that they could finally develop freely. Well, you had to remember that Rorschach had always been a bit stronger than the consciousness of many criminals could have endured. But at the very least Rorschach knew the limits.
In the meantime, Rorschach had drastically changed his views and goals. His fists cried out for retribution, for violence, for murder and manslaughter. His strength and perseverance seemed to have forgotten not only their natural, but also their moral limits, and thrown overboard.
If Daniel did not stop him, he would be happy to beat his opponents.
Nite Owl II still fought for his principles.
Rorschach fought for the destruction of evil. Without compromises.
Depression occurred to him when he thought alone of these developments of Rorschach’s personality.
Slowly poking out of his costume, Daniel thought further about his friend, about his behavior and peculiarities. It was frightening how quickly a person could change, which had been known for so long.
Rorschach, no longer put any value on his appearance except for the fact that it continued to be frightening. In the meantime, in two respects, the torn buttons, shoulder parts, and seams on his trenchcoat were no longer ignored, as were the spots of sweat and dirt that accumulated on his fabric. The Fedora seemed to be held not only by its steam treatment in its form. The pants showed more and more holes, the shawl strong Gilb. The gloves were completely dull with dirt.
Before, his partner had opened his trench coat many a time, whether it was to make himself more comfortable or to give his heat-stained body a little more air.
Nowadays, he was only holding him tightly, his coat girded tightly to his hips.
His armor, his second skin, his refuge, his protection from the world around him.
Rorschach no longer voiced this voice when he spoke privately to him. If they talked before, between and after their orders, they exchanged plans, ideas, or just kill the time that was inevitably accumulated in the flights between two areas.
During her early days, after long nights, Rorschach had always let out how rough and sore his vocal cords seemed to him, as if he had swallowed sandpaper. Now he seemed to be fused with this voice, no longer distinguished between friend and foe when he used it. For him all men were now equal, so they also earned the same treatment. That made Daniel’s stomach grumble every time anew: He could, just did not want to make friends with him that he was apparently treated by Rorschach just like the last muck. An evil, unfortunately, to make it a little more convenient for his little witch-hunt against the New York underworld. With such thoughts, it was no wonder that Daniel felt decent.
Putting the costume into the locker, once again testing Archimedes’ functions by remote control, Dan sneaked up the stairs from the cellar to his apartment, the attitude slightly stooped and tired, his head surrounded by dark clouds and filled with still dark thoughts.
If he had had the opportunity, he would have liked to ask someone omniscient what had happened in Rorschach’s head lately, which had pushed him into such behavior. But even someone as intelligent as Adrian Veidt could not have given him a satisfactory answer.
Maybe it was really this case. It was highly probable.
Psychology, and human knowledge had never been Daniel’s strength, but from the news and news in television and the press, he had a good picture of what had happened to the little girl and his tormentor, his murderer.
Blaire Roche, a six-year-old girl who had been caught up in a terrible crime because of a simple name change. Murdered, as the kidnapper evidently had nothing more to do with her than to see her as the possible traitor of his person, his corruption, his death.
It had to be eliminated.
It was eliminated.
In the most cruel and perverted way a person could be done.
Even now he was bad when he thought of it. Just as Rorschach had learned when he heard of it, he was alone in the house of the murderer, alone, on the hunt for such a monster.
But Blaire Roche was to get her revenge.
Rorschach took the place of her revenge, letting the monster suffer, to become a victim of the flames. The police could only get the charred corpse of Gerald Grice, chained to a cast-iron stove, from whose apartment, burned to the ground. This meant that the case had been laid down, settled, eliminated.
Thus a monster was destroyed, the world had been somewhat improved, cleaned.
If she had known what monsters you were being inflicted with this act.
In the meantime, Daniel had been instinctively looking for the sugar cane and the bag of sugar cubes – extra individually packaged cubes of the brand Sweet Chariot – and filled up again lost in thought what Rorschach had emptied.
Daniel had tried to address Rorschach to the Roche incident, to talk to him about first-hand experience of what had happened there.
The police had not only found Grice, but also the dead, charred skeletons of two shepherd dogs, whose skull plates were split in the forehead by a large, sharp object, as a result of the investigations, both in the immediate vicinity of their owner.
Someone had to kill her and get back into the apartment. Perhaps as a deterrent, as a warning to Grice to show that it was serious with him.
This someone could only be Rorschach.
But as much as Daniel was looking for a conversation, his partner always stepped back, withdrew.
“Is dead. No more matter,” were the grumbled words that he heard from him over the last few months when he tried to address this subject.
Rorschach withdrew from him, withdrew from his influence, scorched, filthy, had only one thing in his head, the merciless struggle against all evil in this world and its total extermination, by whatever means. No negotiations. No compromise. No mercy.
No more ways to help him.
The sound of sugar cubes falling on the table, which could no longer be found in the can and were now pushed out, ripped him from his thoughts and back into reality, the here and now. He quickly raised the bag, held his hand protectively before its opening, wanted to prevent more cubes from escaping.
If only he could have done it at Rorschach. To give him a helping hand, to protect him from himself and his development, serving his hands as a shelter, holding them to the opening, from which his morality and original character ran out, drove him out of him without intermission.
But unlike the sugar cubes he had picked up from the table to put them back into the bag, he could not give Rorschach back what he had lost.
It was no longer possible to ignore the fact that there was no way to help Rorschach save him.
No longer possible for him, to return to his former, less drastic nature.
Depressed, thoughtful, almost nostalgic, Daniel took the last sugar cubes, which was still lying on the table, into his hand and studied him closely with his gaze. A smile stole at his facial features, the first for months.
He had always wondered what Rorschach found to taste and feel that pure, raw sweetness in his mouth. After all, this was a peculiarity which had been preserved even after its alteration.
Cautiously, he draped the dice from his wrapping, took it between thumb and middle finger, sighed as he watched him again.
That would not be enough to continue working with him. A small peculiarity would not suffice to be able to compensate for his new, more brutal personality, to be able to continue to work with him. Daniel knew that, Daniel knew this too well.
Nevertheless, it hurt to admit something like that. It was the end of a successful era. The end of a successful team. The end of a friendship?
Slowly he brought the sugar to his mouth, put it on his tongue, his taste buds drank of pure sweetness.
The taste of a bittersweet defeat. So she would have to feel, so she had to taste.
Once again grief slipped into his mind as he came to this realization.
Daniel would have to inform Rorschach of the separation, explain why he could not take it all over, could no longer control him.
I have to explain it to him.
With this last thought he threw the sugar paper into the rubbish, went out of the kitchen, extinguished the light, and went to his bedroom, full of fear of what was ahead.
Explain and hope that he will understand it and will not be palpable.