Tim: Those gathered in attendance range from political dignitaries to press box sweet hearts. When the Wayne Enterprises called a Press Conference the world tuned in. As one of the founding members of Gotham City the Wayne Family has a long history in the United States. In olden times they were among the front to come to the New World. One of the first to stake a claim in the Americas. The first brick ever laid in Gotham City was put in place by a direct Ancestor of Bruce Wayne. While in more modern times the Wayne Foundation has been a world-wide leader in charitable organizations. The Applied Sciences division of Wayne Tech has patent on well over a thousand different advances in the fields of medicine, electronics, technologies. Not to mention that with the divesting of Luthor Corp’s holdings by Lex Luthor, the Wayne Industries division now supplies more than fifty percent of the U.S. Militaries drone, flight, radar and anti-missile defense systems.
At the podium is Lucius Fox. Under Bruce Wayne he was the Chief Executive Officer of the company and has continued in that role with the three Sons inheriting the majority share of the publicly traded Wayne Enterprises. With the public accounting for a mere fifteen percent of the company, the will of Bruce Wayne was specific. In that it gave a slight majority of the company to Timothy Wayne. With the allowance that if his brothers were united against him, it would prevent the youngest, albeit more business oriented, son from running roughshod. Today marks the first time since the ‘Death of Bruce Wayne’ that any of the sons have spoken publicly. Another tick in the counter for why this would be a news worthy moment.
“Welcome, Ladies and Gentlemen. I won’t keep you in suspense this morning. Allow me to Introduce, Timothy Wayne.”
It’s easy to see as I step in to the podium and the microphone that I’m the youngest. Dick certainly cuts a far more handsome figure and Damien is far more imposing. What I’ve got going for me is a brash smile and a whole boat load of charm. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I’m standing in front of the mirror reciting my lines. At one point Dinah had offered me a drink, that I’d made it as far as bringing it to my lips before I detect a not-to-faint hint of scotch in the glass. She’d been intended to settle my nerves and prod me for information. Neither of which really worked. A rare failure on the part of the Black Canary.
“Hello,” the slight cricket of silence, other than a flashing bulb is enough to make me re-think my original pod-cast intentions, but I press forward. “As many of you know my Adoptive Father was an avid supporter of peace and justice. Like his Father before him, Bruce Wayne took to the streets in order to fight crime in the City of Gotham. He campaigned relentlessly for those he believed could help our city. He donated, held fund raisers and brought volunteers in to the field. Many of his initiatives are in place today to give those effected by the criminal element of our city a second chance. It gives homes to the homeless, food to the hungry. His anti-drug initiative is one of the many reasons Gotham was able to reclaim the Narrows from No-Man’s Land.”
“It is for those reasons and in his honor, that I would like to announce a new initiative to Wayne Enterprises. In time we hope to make it a global initiative, but for now we felt that it was time to take Gotham’s Strength and lend it first to the place that needs it most. The reclamation of Coast City. A project that has long been on hold. Held up in Senate Appropriations. Funding. And political agendas. This past week, with the assistance of Lucius Fox, Wayne Enterprises has begun buying much of the land in the former great city of our nation. With no intention of profiting from these purchases. We will begin the rebuilding and it will start first with a memorial garden.”
“Then it will take the shape of a single building. A monument to Hope.”
“I’m sure many of you have seen the News lately. A new generation of heroes has started to rise and if we ever hope to help them out perform their predecessors, we need to give them a foundation to build up. It is with that in mind, that I would like to announce in contingent with the memorial to the Heroes lost defending Coast City and in the Hope of teaching our new Heroes how to be better than those that came before? Tonight marks Day One of the first building in Coast City.”
“Tomorrow we will break ground on a new beginning. The first stone put in place, to provide the foundation for the future of our country and the healing these new Heroes can help us with. Tomorrow, Coast City will be the new home to a memorial Tower.”
Steph: You know, I bet there’s some classrooms out there somewhere that would actually have stopped with their usual scheduled function in order to share important news in the making. They just aren’t my school. First off, they would have to kick a couple sardine packed teenagers out of the room to make room to wheel in a television. No small, nimble little flat screen, oh no. We’re talking hulking CRT, with fuzzy off color picture that doesn’t get reception anymore, since the time the whole thing tipped on account of the wheel that’s been sticking since 1973 and no one cares to fix. It’d waste of a lot of valuable time, and effort, that could be used instead for yelling at all those sardine teenagers that are too irritable and hormonal to really pay attention anyway.
I pay attention. Because I’m no genius, but I’m smart enough to figure out that where I am now? Is not where I want to spend my life. I mean. We upgraded out of the Narrows a couple years back and all, but what can I say. I’m a dreamer, picturing myself somewhere that only has one drug dealer per block (down from one per corner like I’ve got now), and slightly less cramped quarters. My options for upgrading my situation are either working hard, or working the wrong side of the law. Option B is more attractive to most people I know, but I happen to know better. I’m not spending my life like my Dad. Or my Mom.
I don’t see or hear about the announcement until the 8th or so replay of the day. When they get done rehashing the 80 bad things that happened in the area since the morning news, and wind down into something good. I used to just turn on the news because it happened to be on right before the night’s Game Shows. Which I watch because I view it as a personal middle finger to my failure of a Dad, and because…learning things. It’s about the closest I’m getting to educational television on our channel selection. We do actually have a flat screen. I suspect my mom picked it up from someone skeezy, at a ‘Looter’s Special Discount Price’ sale. At least she didn’t steal it herself, I guess. Larceny wasn’t ever really her vice, though.
Working my way through my Math homework, with my head propped in the palm of one hand, I bounce back and forth between two papers. One with the assigned problems. One with the rest. We’re only supposed to do every third. Less for the teacher to grade. I need to do every one to make sure that I get it. I’m only half listening to what they’re talking about, the newscaster talking about one of the Wayne heirs and blahblahblah. Something about rebuilding and an example of getting stuff donecoming out of Gotham, to show the world that not everything that comes out of here is a giant garbage fire. Finished with the next problem, I lean back in my chair at the small kitchen table. Tipping it onto its back two legs, so that I can reach for the coffee pot that I’d whunked a few times to get going when I’d gotten home. Still balanced there as I refill my mug, replace the pot, and then start to take a sip.
The voice has switched, it’s a sound bite of the all important, not Garbage Fire announcement, made by the Wayne Heir himself (well, one of them), and I go still on my precarious perch, eyes wide as I actually look at the image on the television playing to the side of me in the ‘living room,’ i.e. space between front door and kitchen where the couch sits. Then look at the name on the screen. Timothy Wayne. Then back at the face. The name. The face. The quick parting shot of the entourage leaving afterwards, all suave and put together and in sunglasses before noon…
That, boys and girls, is the sound that one makes when they’re spitting lukewarm coffee in a truly impressive sort of spray, the momentum of the movement sends them into arm windmilling (and flinging more coffee on themselves, the kitchen, and their homework). That doesn’t do much good either, and as the chair topples over backwards, I’m ass over elbows but by golly, I roll with it, coming up on my feet like some sort of semi-stunned gymnast who isn’t sure what just happened to get them where they are. I’ve ruined my homework. Stuck the landing though, so there’s nothing for it but a celebratory fist pump for my smooth moves that no one ever sees.
Less smooth when you bang your funny bone while congratulating yourself. I’m still rubbing it and whining a little while I got change out of my now totally coffee soaked clothes, not proud to admit I’m wondering if I can salvage any of it. No sleep and no coffee makes Stephanie Brown an even easier target for her ‘combat’ teacher. Black Canary isn’t really where my head is as I get to scampering out the fire escape though. Despite the wrecked homework, and the still tingling funny bone, I want to get to the Nest or Roost or…whatever they call it (it seems to change depending on who’s talking). I realize about the time I’ve gotten to where I hide my Spoiler suit, and I’m pulling my hair back to put on the mask that I reek of Corner Store Crappy Coffee. It could be worse.
I could smell like Garbage Fire. Maybe it’ll be a better perfume than sweat, bruises and humiliation. And yes. Those last two things do have scents. It’s not too far of a run from there, to where I’m headed. Yes, run. Not walk. Then I get to say I’m warmed up, and more time is spent training. Which I do actually want to do. When training’s finished, I get to move on to other things.
Tim: Meanwhile at the ‘Bat Cave.’ Formerly known as the Robin’s Nest.
Once the announcement had been made it was time to get to work. There was so much to be done and we’ve only just begun really. The idea for the Tower had not been entirely mine. The location had been something that I worked out through discussions with Cassie and later Dinah, but also came as a revelation after meeting The Flash. Seeing the man at relative peace with demonstrating his abilities had come as an eye-opening experience to me. I’d begun to wonder ‘What if?’ we could come to the point where more of those sort of people could work freely within the United States. I’ve seen the pitfalls first hand, I was taught them by Bruce who wasn’t exactly fond of their kind, but understood the necessity of them.
You see, the world isn’t always a nice place. Good people can and do die for the smallest things. Things that a Superman could save them from. Things that the mere presence of a Batman could dissuade as the boogeyman. Many mundane things would be a worry no more if more people like the Flash could operate in public. The pitfalls are numerous, of course. Not everyone will be as responsible as the young Flash. Nor will they be as inspiring as the Wonder Woman. For every good apple we find there will be ten more that weren’t even considered low hanging fruit. But the alternative is that we are going to live in a world where an entire segment of the people must live in fear. Cower in the shadows and conceal the gifts that could better mankind. That isn’t a world that I want to live in and thankfully, I think a lot of others agree with me.
After the speech, I’d come here. To the make-shift Bat-Cave. Where I’d went to work on the designs for my idea. It would feature a large open-air memorial on the ground floor. Something for people to come and see. A tourist-like sight for people who sought a little inspiration. Then there would be the Tower itself. Built to endure, but not to intimidate. A modern marvel of technology set in the backgrop of a City that needed to be rebuilt. Enough land had been bought so that if this all went as according to plan, the Tower would be set apart from the rest of the rebuilding. Allowing it some comfortable insulation from being a danger to the population.
I’m starting to tackle to theoretical solution to a totally missing population when I notice the arrival of Spoiler on the internal sensors. This is the first I’ve seen her since the ‘Stake Out,’ and the first I’ve seen her since the Batman appeared on the News alongside the Flash and Wonder Woman. Maybe I’m expecting too much, but I’ve come to believe that Stephanie Brown serves a purpose in all of our lives. She is the voice of the voiceless. A spoiler for all those whom we didn’t know their opinion.
“The Canary is visiting a friend. She will not be here for your lesson today,” hopefully she’s not at the Manor breaking Dick’s face right now. “I thought this would afford us an opportunity to check on the trap we laid.”
Steph: I’m all jazzed up like I’ve had too much coffee, which isn’t the case and I’ll probably regret it later. I’ll have to stop on the way home and pick up more cheap, crap grounds to replace all the cheap, crap grounds I already used. Using up all the coffee in the morning? Fine. That’s normal person behavior. I don’t want to answer to why I’m guzzling it after school in an effort to keep myself awake and perky all night long. Perky isn’t usually a problem. Midway through the week, the awake part gets harder though. You can’t let Black Canary smell any weakness on you, either. It isn’t caffeine that has me going though, it’s the buzz of discovery and I’ve been running through ways to phrase it in my head, while physically running here. Part of the way with sensors running, and part of it without.
I’m kind of worried I might break something, but that’s not the real reason why I don’t go full time. They supply trajectories and height, tell me when I should jump and where I should land, and that’s awesome and all. Makes you look like a total badass when you pull it off with no hiccups, because you don’t have to worry about whether or not you can. Except I don’t want to get used to it. I don’t know when they’re going to just decide to take the suit away from me, or if they will.
I come skittering to a halt, for the second time tonight arms windmilling a bit for balance as my feet grip more quickly than I was ready for.
“Uhhhhhhi, Batman. Again. I didn’t …expect to see you here.”
I almost look for all the others anyway, even though he’s just told me Canary isn’t here. Those aren’t the only two though, sometimes Arsenal is here, and then there’s Red Robin. Who is who I really wanted to see.
“Where’s Red Robin, anyway? I wanted to ask him something about my suit and… it’s not important.”
Well. That sucks. All those mental plans, and inner maniacal giggling, all for nothing. But seriously. Where is he? One week he’s intruding on all my nightly activities and badgering/bribing me into coming here for training and then he’s gone. At least I know Batman isn’t a figment of my imagination. And very likely not a ghost anymore, since other people have seen him, in other states even. That part was kind of weird. But filled me with sooooooo many questions.
“That does sound more fun than Blocking Punches with Your Kidneys 101. They moved the van to another spot. Or maybe got a second van, but they look the same. Also over a manhole cover. Half block east and a full block north. I didn’t get close. I did get the plates though! Not that it’ll matter much because it’s probably stolen. Has that whole…vibe going on. You know…like someone at anytime is going to poke their head out and try and do something illegal with or to you? Uh. Anyway. So. Great. That’s a yes.”
Tim: There is no cant to the head, no smirk of appreciation for her being obviously off balance. Just a stoic gaze of the Batman that I’ve affixed her with as she babbles. This is something she has no doubt gotten used too, but now it’s all the more useful because I think she knows when this face means she’s babbling. Except that this is Batman’s always face. Ergo, she is always babbling. This time around though she has at least said something mildly interesting, that isn’t case related. She was looking for Red Robin?
“Robin is working a different case currently,” this might normally be all that I would offer, but there is actually something more to it that I think should be spoken of. “He is managing a project. Bringing heroes of youth together. Over the last several years the world has begun to see people of a certain ilk or those with powers as inherently evil. This ‘Wonder Woman’ and her ‘Superman’ have opened a door that we can’t afford for the world to close. We do not know when it might get opened again.”
“I’ve asked Red Robin to put his proverbial foot in the door. To gather potentials together. In many cases. Such as your’s, it’s simply a need of training. But others… others need rescuing. They need to be protected because their powers, without training, make them a target.”
The Batman does not usually spend so much time explaining, but that was Bruce. Keeping everything close to the vest. He didn’t trust people as much as he should. Then again he learned the hard way that sometimes even your most trusted friends betray you. I know why Bruce allowed himself to get so jaded to trusting people, but I’m not the same person as he is. Taking the ability to trust others away from me is akin to losing one of your major senses. I’m already behind the 8-Ball with this gig, I can’t afford any more handicaps. I have to trust people and it always starts at home.
“We spoke about what you would do after you’ve dealt with your Father. This door that the Red Robin is holding open? Will be there for you to step through. If that’s the direction you decide to go in. People like you are why he’s doing it.”
Sweeping past Stephanie as I finish speaking and making my way towards what is now an alcove for the Batmobile. It revolves, turning the car around so that we can exit the ‘Robin’s Nest,’ but also gives the illusion of my having driven it in recently. “Did you tag the van with the tracers from your gauntlets? Or have you not made it to the T-section of your manual.”
She’s a very observant young lady, so I’m also testing something. I changed the profile on the suit. Etching the ‘horns’ to be longer, more pronounced. Using them, in combination with thicker soles to the boots I’m wearing, to enhanced my height. Though it isn’t quite as much as Bruce, it’s as tall as I’m able to account for without sacrificing stability or movement. I’m learning, with help from Dinah, that everything I do to keep the illusion of being -The- Batman, that I’m also lowering my ability to actually survive as Batman. So the changes are cosmetic only, but I’m hoping that they serve some semblance of furthing the illusion.
Steph: “For powered kids? Or just stubborn ones with an axe to grind?”
A different case. Right. Because why would you need Robin on my case, when you have Batman working it and frankly I’m kind of shocked that it’s even getting that much attention at all. Honestly? I’d gotten the impression I was one blip on the condescension scale away from a head pat and a ‘yeah, sure kid, sure your Dad is ‘up’ to something.’ Not that it was going to stop me, I knew something was up, and I was right. They just know it now, too. Also… he’s busy because he’s been doing press conferences. A point of fact that I want to squeal about right now, but lets face it. Batman probably already knows, and I don’t know that I’m enough of an asset (or at least not a liability to their secrecy) to get shanked for letting him know that I know.
I guess that’s the reason for the whole Coast City thing. Which is so far away that it may as well be another country as far as I’m concerned.
“Fortunately for all of us, there’s a passing blip of a reference to them under ‘gauntlets’ so I skipped ahead a little.”
Also. Penny-One’s a lot more flippin’ helpful than the manual. Something they should probably work on if they’re going to continue passing suits out to shmucks like me. I’m flashing a double set of thumbs up as he looms past me, but I cock my head at the back of him as I get into motion so that I don’t get accidentally left behind now that he can find the van without me. I like to think my entrance into the passenger side is a little bit smoother this time, still not nearly as practiced and ‘with it’ as his is though. I mean. It’s his car.
“Soooo, doing a little something different with the cowl today? A little myyy, what big ears you have/the better to hear you with my dear. Or are we just using a little better posture?”
He’s taller. I assume it’s the ears ,though that make him look that way the same way I’d be on the five foot, closer to six if I fluffed up my hair and put it on top of my head. Not that it’d show with the hood. Or maybe heels but Batman clearly doesn’t wear heels I mean. That would be weird. Settling in, and fastening in, I don’t figure he needs me to tell him how to track the tracer on the van. Probably all goes to the same Batcomputer for easy access and information sharing. With the people that they actually want to share information with. The tiny little chip, which I’d barely been able to see on application and had thought at first that I’d done it wrong, or dropped, leading to a lot surrounded by a tall, wire topped fence, that’s filled with vans. All very similar, though some of them have decals for various trades. Legit ones, and a few that don’t match up to anything in the area. Some of them are also riding low in their parking spots, demonstrating weight of some sort inside.
“Soooo. You and Wonder Woman…?”
Yeah, I’ve got my arm propped up on the door, torso twisted towards the Bat like I’m sharing juicy gossip with a friend. What? I saw the news. Everyone saw that news, or read about it I’m pretty sure. The Batman, out of Gotham and working with her. Usually that’s Superman’s gig. Who was nowhere to be seen at the time.
Tim: “Having powers does does not make someone a Hero and it certainly does not make them a superhero.” Nor does it make them a villain, necessarily. “That is more a state of mind and being, than anything else. Heroes do things that make a difference. They come in all shapes and sizes. Super Heroes just do it more frequently. Red Robin is looking to cultivate that ideology.”
This discussion isn’t nearly as strange as you might think for me. Talking about my alt-ego is sort of normal at this point. Timothy Drake had to talk about his hero the Robin for years. Now it’s merely me talking about the Red Robin. Keeping up the charade is normal and I don’t think twice about the ramifications of insanity that it leans toward. None of us do, I’d wager. We have people in our lives that we want to protect. People who’s lives would be in imminent danger if word got out who we are. Dinah walking in unannounced had been unfortunate, but then I compounded it by referencing Tim in a discussion with Stephanie already. But we already trust Stephanie. Perhaps more than we should. Given her relations.
“There is nothing different with the cowl today,” I might just be using a Jedi Mind Trick upon Spoiler, if not for the way the top of the Batmobile’s canopy thumping the elongated ears, since I’m not used to them and forces me to scoot lower in to the seat. I don’t even make a sound, before punching the gas and sending us careening through the Nest’s subway entrance.
We have a few moments to talk during this and normally I would leave it to be done in silence. Silence from me, at least. I’ve yet to find her off-button. For once she’s asked a question that I’m passionate about. It is hard to resist opining. “Wonder Woman came out to the public months ago. We’ve been in contact. I believe her ideals to be sound, her principles to be in line with my own and her intentions are something I’ve been working toward on my own for a long time.”
“She believes in doing the right thing, solely because it is the right thing. That is a view that I’ve seen in very few people. No axe to grind. So far, no skeletons in her closet.” The cowled head never turns in her direction, but it would be hard to miss that my focus is more so on Stephanie than normal. “So. You and the Boy Wonder?”
Steph: “Definitely not a bad goal. I bet the logistics are gonna be a nightmare though.”
I mean. Look at the problems just in Gotham with stepping on each others toes, at least up until we were brought into the fold I guess. Now that I’ve ‘met’ Penny-One I assume there’s some organization among all the Batcrew so that doesn’t happen. Diversifying. Unless it needs to happen. But we don’t have superpowers. Or at least, I don’t think we do. Unless you count all the gadgets. Wrangling that many superegos, with a side of property destruction that comes when metas fight? I can’t really speak to my personal involvement. I’ve got a goal. I don’t know what I’m doing when I done because I was focused on one finish line at a time. I’m not totally sure that I’m a hero of any stripe though. Super or otherwise.
So, what I said about smooth entrances into the Batmobile? Today, I actually win the prize. I end up sitting there, eyeing the Bat sideways because…I think he just hit his head. No. His ears. On the way into the vehicle. So much could be said about that… and instead there’s just the sound of me sucking my teeth for a second.
“Whatever you say, boss.”
The forward acceleration presses me back into my seat, and I’m inclined to just let that one go and enjoy the ride. As I learned last time I spent any amount of time in this seat, his conversation skills are not quite at the same pace and speed as mine. Or alternately he just doesn’t want to talk to me. All business, no pleasure, makes Bats a scary, effective dude. So I’m a little surprised when he actually kicks in again, that gravely voice actually managing to sound excited about something. It’s weird. I kind of want to laugh over the ‘we’ve been in contact’ part because…obviously they have been, and it sounds so formal. I also had no idea that Batman had any ambitions outside of kicking the collective ass of Gotham’s underbelly. I don’t think I’d really ever seen or heard about him turning up outside of the city.
And I’d know. I keep an eye on this kind of stuff. Call it an interest inspired by a childhood experience in my living room.
“Well she sounds. Great. Is she really that sparkly in person?”
Camera can do weird things. I’m in the middle of thinking over what to tease him about to provoke more conversation, there’s the whole enthusiastic about Wonder Woman part (and I mean, every boy in my class is so who can blame him, apparently?), so when he asks about me and Red Robin in the same way I’d prodded about the spangly superblonde? I can’t help the little too loud snort of laughter, that gets to go a few beats before I cut it off.
“Me and Red Robin? Oh. Boy. What about us? I’m pretty sure Waynes don’t date chicks from the Narrows.”
…yeah so much for not spilling those beans Stephanie. Awkward. Ahem. Clearing my throat a little forcefully than really necessary I go back to the tack Batman had taken about Wonder Woman. Just. Less enthusiastically than he had sounded.
“Uh. I think he thinks I’m a pain in the ass, but clearly means well. In that thinks I’m going to get myself killed, and is trying to get me and my imaginary Dad problems out of the way kind of way. I don’t know. I haven’t exactly worked with him outside of one time. Not a lot to make a personal opinion off of, y’know?”
Tim: The logistics of such a thing -are- a nightmare, but that is why I’m doing it as Timothy Wayne and not as Batman or Red Robin. This is something that requires time, energy and money. All of those I have, but the resources of the Wayne name outstrip even those of the venerable Batman. I’m afraid a lot of Batman’s resources died with Bruce. The logistics of it aren’t really the scary part. It is how the U.S. Government is going to react. Luthor has all but embraced his personal Superman for the last year, but then Conner brought out the Wonder Woman. Not only did he unveil her, he said she was the leader of something big. Now you’ve got me out there, on television, legitimizing it for the Heroes all across the Country. This can’t be what Luthor wants. To have all of this spiraling out of his own personal control, after he’s stamped his name on it…
“It is my understanding that she is the Daughter of Zeus,” out of the corner of my eyes I’m awaiting how she reacts to that news before continuing. “Which sort of lends itself to glowing. The sparkles are from her costume. I’ve been meaning to ask her about that, now that you mention it.”
Stephanie’s response to my return query about her and the Red Robin goes about as I had expected. Other than, y’know, the moment when she says the Wayne name and I’m left thankful of my cowl to hide the way in which I’m narrowing my eyes at her. Although the Cowl is expressive, so she may notice that look anyway, but it’s dark and…
“You believe Timothy Wayne is Red Robin?” This is one of the times when I’m as well schooled as anyone else on the planet. I’ve been through conversations like this before. Keeping my focus on driving the car, putting us on the track of the Van’s GPS. “Spoiler. Tim Drake is not the Red Robin. I’m not protecting his identity. I’m telling you this with no reservations. I give you my word, he is not Red Robin. Nor does he have any qualms about dating ‘chicks from the Narrows.'”
“Honestly, your assessment is not that far off from my own. You are a well meaning pain in the ass. That is going to get herself killed if she isn’t careful -and- a good student to one of the best teachers on the planet. Where we differ in our assessments, is that I have seen your theories with my own eyes. You’re on to something. I could take over, exclude you from the investigation, but all that accomplishes is putting you in a position of desperation. You’d take chances that I don’t have the time to monitor and likely couldn’t prevent without putting you on a boat to Mexico.”
“I’ve met other pains in the ass, with something to prove and an axe to grind before. They proved to be invaluable allies, once they were tempered.” As well pull up a few buildings away from the Van’s location, I put the car in to security mode and make to exit. “Also. For the record. Wonder Woman is a goddess, but she’d still date a boy from Gotham. You’re selling yourself far too short. The moment you stop that, is going to be the moment you learn who you really are beneath that Mask.”
Steph: “… like. The Mythological God, Zeus? Huh. Well. Don’t know about all that, but I suppose their powers have to come from somewhere. Nuclear vat. Science experiment.Gods.” There’s finger quotes for that one. I don’t know that I’ve got a lot of stock, or faith, to put into something like that. People can say they’re from a lot of places. “I wouldn’t. I mean. Clearly she can take a hit, and it probably makes her a big distraction while you get to be all loomy and sneaky instead.”
Purple was totally my compromise. Doesn’t really show up in the dark, but I wasn’t going full Goth. As for his expression over my little revelation there, I was already looking away and out the window, covering up my own expression which isn’t nearly as hidden by my face mask and cloak.
“…uh huh, sure. He’s not the Red Robin. Gotcha.”
I’ve turned back for the exaggerated wink that’s going along with that. I don’t believe Timothy Wayne is Red Robin. ‘Belief’ implies some measure of faith and a lack of proof. I know that Timothy Wayne is Red Robin. I’m not going to get insistent about it, though, because again. Don’t want to be shanked and dumped in the harbor. Also because Batman in part gave it away, and I don’t want him to feel guilty, or shank me. Truth is, though? The name had just been kind of secondary confirmation. I recognized the voice, I’ve heard it enough in the Robin’s Nest, or when I ran into him on the street. This is also the reason why I’ve mentally mocked every hero I’ve ever seen with those little face masks on. They don’t cover anything that sunglasses don’t. And Red Robin/Tim Wayne has a pretty distinctive jaw. And a dimple. Right in the middle of that sculpted…ahem.
“What, you’ll discuss dating preferences on missions with the guys? I see how it is.”
I’m joking. Mostly. Seems kind of unfair. Not that I actually want to do so with Batman right now, or really. Any time. There’s more important things going on, it had just been so…absurd a thought to me that I couldn’t resist making the comment. The way Bruce Wayne behaved was pretty notorious, so it’s not real hard to guess about the same was true of his sons. Though who knows. Sometimes the apple doesn’t like the tree it dropped out of. As for being told I’m a pain in the ass, and all the rest. Well. I just shrug my shoulders. It’s not really defensive, or even dismissive. Not that I like hearing it. I’m trying. Even though trying mostly has consisted of some humiliation and a whole lot of bruises and very little sleep.
“Plus I don’t have a passport. Sounds like you’re making the right choice here all around.”
Allies? I mean. That sounds nice. I didn’t get into this looking for any, because I figured it’d just be me. I needed proof to give it off to the cops, and like most kids who grew up where I did? Knew they weren’t likely to be a whole lot of help anyway. Not unless I had something really solid, and that meant wrecking the plans myself. I’ve got much better tools now though, that’s for sure. So maybe a hand up isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Climbing out of the Batmobile, I make a much better hop this time than last time. See? I just need practice!
“Batman, anyone ever tell you you’re weirdly good at this whole fortune cookie of inspiration thing? I mean. You temper it with a dose of kid, you suck so my ego doesn’t get all big or something. Not really what I expected. But I mean. Admittedly I just had rumors to go off before. And that time when I was like. Six. But beeeeelieve me. What some boy, filthy rich or not, thinks of me and my dating potential has got basically less than zero effect of what I think about myself.”
Tim: “Yes. Zeus. Whether he is truly a god or just a being of such immense power and advance that he is akin to one? I think the point is moot. She is partially Divine Host. Deity. Whatever the case may be.”
Truthfully? Doesn’t matter to me. Like Stephanie, I’m not big on faith. Even less on omnipotent creatures claiming to have created the heaven and stars. I’ve written the code for entire Virtual Reality worlds, but that does not make me a god for creating it. I’m still pondering this when the comments about my alter ego are once again spoken of. It makes me pause long enough to turn to her, stiffly, but for one of the few times I’m not even trying to be ominous.
“Tim Drake is not any sort of Robin,” there’s no defiance or anger, it is simply a statement of fact. “Think this through. Why would I encourage you at every step, only to break you down here. You know Dinah’s secret. I even told you that there is a Tim in the Nest. Why would I lie about this to a woman trained to sniff out clues and spoil them? He is not the Robin, in any way. In fact you’re out on the town. Working a case with me. In the Batmobile. Right now, you are more Robin than Timothy Wayne is.”
“Typically, I don’t discuss dating preferences on missions with anyone. But given the circumstances. I’m willing to answer questions. If only to prove to you that I’m making no effort to deceive you. Because I know that I’m making the right choice, Spoiler. You deserve this chance and I’ve got no reason to deny it to you. You’ve trained with Canary as well as you can. You’re trying to learn the suit’s capabilities.”
“As long as you don’t continue to over do it, you’ll continue to work on this with me so long as it’s what you want as well.” Halting at the edge of the building we’ve hidden the Batmobile behind, I’m drawing out the grappling hook and taking aim. “You are, however, over doing it. We’re going to need to discuss that. Later. I won’t lose a partner, Spoiler. Especially not from their own lack of self-control and maintenance.”
There is a crook to my head that says I’ve listened to her thank you, but I’m not immediately rising to the bait of such an offering. I’m trying to inspire her, but also to inspire others. It’s gratifying to know that it is, at least seemingly, working out on some levels. There is just more to it than that. So before Stephanie reaches for her own grappling hook, I put my hand out to slow her for one more moment.
“You took the part about your self-worth slightly wrong, you know? Whether a rich boy would date you or not isn’t really the point. It’s that you don’t see the tools you actually do bring to the table. For every moment of humiliation at the hand of Canary, that you endure? You give yourself two others, because you don’t yet believe in yourself. Look at how you fell the first time you climbed out of the car, to just now. Look at how tagged the Van, when you wouldn’t have even thought to do so before. We all fail, it’s how we respond to failure that defines us. The Rich Boy and his dating preferences don’t define you, Spoiler. But. You suggesting that being from the Narrows makes you something less? Means that you’re not thinking about the advantages being from the Narrows gives you.”
“Now. Engage your suit’s stealth protocol. We’ll speak via comms only from here on.”
Steph: It’s true. Doesn’t really matter where her powers came from, she clearly has them. A lot of them. She can fly, hit like a truck, she’s strong and durable and fast, and has gravity control which may or may not be limited to keeping her costume up. Maybe that’s where the flight comes from, too. All I know is it’s superhuman. I’ve worn strapless tops enough to know damn well that it’s a feat to keep them in place just walking, let alone doing all the …other things she does while wearing it. At least from what I’ve seen on the internet and TV. Batman’s sharp insistence, his continued explanation, makes my bring my hands up, palms towards him to ward off the words, or maybe just a body language equivalent of a ‘woah, woah, down tiger, cool your jets.’ And quickly becomes a ‘woah, woah, no thank you!’ about the Robin part.
“I’m not swapping uniforms. I like this one. No offense, but skimpy boy shorts are kind of summer only wear for me.”
I still just don’t believe him. He’s trying too hard to prove to me something isn’t so. Why would Batman lie to me about who Timothy Wayne is or isn’t? Because he’s protecting him. Something I understand, and admire. Dinah’s identity getting ‘spoiled’ might have been a bigger deal but…honestly she actually doesn’t seem to care, like she’s got nothing to lose or gain in it. I also know fully well that trust comes in layers and levels. They all clearly know who I am under here, but the information was never offered in reverse. I’m kind of in the same boat as the Black Canary though. I don’t exactly have much to lose if someone finds out who I am, more than I’d lose any night something goes wrong out here with the mask on. Someone like that? With a big name and a known face? That’s a bigger deal.
“Is it. What I want, I mean.”
Overdoing it? Of course I’m over-doing it! How do you not when you’re doing the whole double life thing? Especially when you’re in high school, and there’s limited hours in the night where you can sneak out to pursue this brand of extra-curricular in the first place. I basically get a nap before I have to go to school in the morning, and maybe I can sneak in another one after Mom goes to work. If I came home straight away from class and snoozed she’d realize something was up. She did live with my father. She’s no genius, but she’s suspicious, and observant. When Batman lines up with his grapple, I’m getting ready to do the same. I mean, time to show off the practice I’ve been doing! Until he stops me.
“I am a bit of a learn by doing-er. And, thanks to the Narrows, what amounts to a bi-pedal cockroach. Takes a lickin’, keeps on tickin’. I’m pretty sure that’s why I still have my teeth after Canary Class yesterday.”
I can also thank that particular upbringing for the wide variety of ‘street smarts’ skills I’ve actually got to my name, and my left hook. The don’t know when to quit attitude. Also, emergency planning and food hoarding! Basically, it means I’m set for any future Apcocalypses’. I’ve already basically survived a couple mini ones.
God. I don’t miss that neighborhood.
“Roger that, Bat-leader.”
Snapping a half-assed salute, before I go to engage my…I have a stealth protocol? Stealth….stealth…stealth… fortunately my learn by doing-ness has kicked in enough that I know how to navigate the suit’s computer for the most part. A tap of the finger engages my HUD, and from there it just takes a little hunting. While I sing the Jeopardy theme in my head. Gotta find it before the jingle runs out…hah. There. Now. Grapple time. Honestly…this is the fun part. When it doesn’t lead to falling on my face, anyway. And climbing combined with daredevil acts of idiocy was something I already had going for me in the practical experience category.
It’s already here, the van. Obviously or we would have followed the helpful blip of the tracker elsewhere, and there’s a lot of them. More than I’d think would be hidden in a place like this. I guess it’s not hiding, the lot itself looks legit. A rental place, or just a paid parking/storage facility? Seems like an awful lot of vans to belong to one fleet, and from too many different businesses. Once I’ve scaled the building and scrambled up over the edge, I can hunker down and see it. Where the tracker leads. Squinting, and letting the suit give me a little vision ‘boost’ also says there’s not any plates on that van anymore.
Tim: Allowing her to go up first is strategic. It means that if she falls I’m able to catch her. Not to mention, it allows me to watch how she handles this. I’m judging everything about her. Filming it too. This will all be something that Dinah gets to see later, so that she can use it against Spoiler in training. Emphasizing any weak points, so that they get better quickly. I wasn’t kidding about not wanting to lose a partner. I’m going to keep Stephanie from getting herself killed at the very least. By hook or crook.
She’s right about one thing. This is the fun part. It is also the part of being Batman that I can’t screw up, even if I did change my own aerodynamics. I’ve done this too much, too often, to not be able to account for some additional weight and height. Often I’m doing this with someone else in my arms. Saving them from burning building or gunfire or… when they’ve fallen on their faces from grapplehook failure.
“I never said anything about changing uniforms. Nor did I suggest that you were Robin.”
::Though you would most assuredly look quite fetching in spanks and pan-boots, Ms. Brown.::
“Penny-One. We’re in position. Are the drones ready?”
Looking over the roof to the Van and it’s occupants. A hand is placed upon Stephanie’s shoulder, I want her to look where I point her. Not to the van, but to the nearest manhole cover, slightly down the street from the Van. Then to the storm drain at the corner intersection. “Send the Drones down the drain, PennyOne. Give us a visual on what they see down there.”
“The drones can go low, but we need to take one of the Van’s occupants for… interrogation.”
Steph: It probably also lets him look at my butt. I’d make a smart comment about that if this were Red Robin, or Arsenal. Not to Batman though. There’s a limit, clearly, where my filter kicks in just enough to not imply he’s doing such a thing. I mean. It’s about the only opportunity, since I’m all about the cape, but really not the point. Also? The grapple makes this so much easier than it used to be when I used a fully manual one. So much less work for your upper body. I can do it, and judging by the visible muscles so cat Batman, but why waste the effort when you might need those for…I don’t know. Punching people later?
“Not yet you didn’t. I figured I better throw it out there before you started getting ideas though. Cause I’m betting disappointment isn’t a great look on the Batface. Aw. Thanks, Penny-One, sounds kind of cold though.”
And way less effective at protecting me from mishaps, while simultaneously taking away a lot of pocket space. Neither of which are points I’d be excited about. Canary doesn’t need pants. I don’t want to copy her shtick. It wouldn’t be nearly as impressive of a show if I wore the corset, either. Not without a lot of extra help. … I guess that could be an area for replacement storage, and… head in the game, Brown. Down in the sewer there’s been some clear activity lately, judging by the pile of equipment. Most of it disassembled, likely because it had to be brought down through the manhole’s opening and that restricted the size. A metal drum, and what looks to be the rest of the parts for a small concrete mixer. Boxes of sealant, and Quikcrete bags. Or maybe this wasn’t recent activity, going by the condensation on the drum itself.
“Aw. It’s nice when they cooperate…Dibs on front!”
The sound of a door opening on the van heralds the cargo door on the back swinging wide, dislodging a man in nondescript coveralls from the back section of the vehicle. The driver still in place in the cab. Elevator, going down! Just as quickly as the grapple can bring you up? You can go down a whole lot faster. Mix of free fall, with stopping at the right time. I’m not up high enough to get going that quickly though. Plus, the suit starts telling me I’m being dumb about the time I engage the brakes.
Tim: It is probably for the best that Spoiler keeps her commentary to herself. It saves her from being coldly denied, as I would be honor bound to do in this particular suit. Oddly, the suit has impacted me in more ways than I’d ever thought. Because I actually haven’t scoped Spoiler out, not even once, since putting this on. Nor have I really made any sort of smarmy commentary to any of the others either. Maybe I’m starting to fit in to the role? Or maybe I’m doing exactly what Dinah said and I’m allowing it to define who I am. That’s a good way of getting myself killed, because I’m not the Batman despite the fact I’m wearing the suit. I’m Tim Drake, advocate of the little guy and the smarmiest smarmer in smarmville.
My only confirmation over whether I’m still me? Is when I spent half a second considering whether to cut her repel line when she leaps off to get in front of me. Lucky for her, I’m equally fast in deciding that would be a waste of resources, more so than a good lesson. I’m trying to empower this girl, but doing so is going to result in some situations like this. When she’s too confident. Now my only real choice is to make sure she doesn’t get herself killed. Hopefully while doing the same for myself too.
No repel line for me. I’m over the edge of the rooftop and in to the air. Extending my arms, unfurling the cape so that it catches the wind. Those same micro-fillament muscle fibers that enhance my speed and strength, also give the cape a sort of skeleton that allow it to temporarily become a glider. Spoiler and I arrive at the ground level at about the same time, but my descent is controlled, timed and tactical. Two booted feet will collide with the man exiting the back of the truck nearly in time with him trying to step out.
The recoil from that sends me backwards. If I weren’t in this suit, the effect would be this spectacular backflip that leaves me poising heroically. As it is I’m lucky not to land on my backside, because the cape is longer and ends up under my feet. Preventing me from sticking the landing. But. I’m at least moderately sure no one saw that slight stumble.
“Taser the engine, Spoiler. We don’t want them getting away.”
Steph: Gravity is both useful, and a cruel bitch. Fickle, too. She’s more on Batman’s side than the man exiting the back of the van, though. He gets a double helping, applied force and momentum transferred through the Bat-boots, and being off of his own center of gravity unable to really resist being kicked wholesale right back into the van. Halfway towards the ground as one leg was, his knee catches on the van’s floor lip. Serves nicely to shorten the distance he travels by sending him down, instead of back, with a van rattling whump as head hits metal.
Sadly? I miss the show. Both the kick, and Batman tripping over his own cape. Probably a good thing. I’d have to comment. True to my ‘dibs’ I was going straight for the front though. I wasn’t exactly worried about the man actually getting out of the van, so much as the one still in it. If the first saw me heading for the latter? Well. Batman was here, and I assumed he’d do what Batman does. The ass kicking. Not the tripping.
“..does that actually work?”
Okay. So I am questioning the Batman, but I’ve also already actually started to do it. It just wasn’t what I wanted to do. I’d been intending to demonstrate my super mastery of the knock out gas pellets that come in the suit by deploying one in the cab. I didn’t even accidentally get myself the first time I used it! (Yes, yes I did.) Instead of reaching for the handle of the cab, to open it and flick one in, I sidestep, aiming the taser.
And promptly get knocked off my feet as the door’s thrown open. Jokes on you, asshole. Now I’ve got an even better angle, firing up under the wheel well with a satisfying sound of electricity. Victory that’s not exactly long lived as I get hauled bodily backwards by one foot, towards the driver who was apparently getting out when the door came open. Clearly, no one taught him about all the many reasons why that’s a bad idea. Like how he’s only got old of one of my feet. Which means that one is free to do a lot of kicking still. And that bending down to try to get hold of it only puts his chin in range a whole lot more easily for said other kicking foot.
Batman: A cursory glance inside the van will tell me that my target isn’t getting up immediately. While that might be a wasted effort judging by the initial attack, there are a lot of odd happenings in this city. The two seconds it takes me to get a cowl-scan of life-signs is well worth not having some cyborg jumping out of the van to kill us both while we least expect it moments later. Once that’s done I’m free to step around the side of the Van.
Frankly, Stephanie does far better than I would have anticipated. Of course I missed her being struck by the cab door, but she missed me stumbling on my own cape. That means we’re both alive and neither the wiser about the other’s miss-steps. Well, sort of. I’m getting a pretty good visual on her being drug across the ground by the driver. She is in no real danger, yet, but I’m unwilling to wait long.
The moment that her boot connects with the man’s jaw? I bring a heel down on the back of one of his knees. Then it’s time for the Batman to do what the Batman actually does. Another strike, this one is surgical and would likely make even Black Canary proud, to his C-6 vertebrae. Rendering his arms as useless as his broken knee. Leaving me to hope Spoiler didn’t break his jaw.
“The faster you talk, the less likely I am to break something else…” Hey, this is the Batman. I’m playing on the simple math here. People like this cheese their pants at the presence of Bruce’s Batman. So far I’ve done nothing to give anyone the impression that I’m -not- that same sort of Batman. Maybe I’ve been studying my brother Damien too much? “… why are you here? Who do you work for? Give me a contact name or I start with your other knee.”
Steph: There’s no one else in the van, at least not anyone with a heartbeat and the only movement is the swaying of some of the interior contents. By now gentle, since things have settled a bit from both the kick, the fall, and the other passenger jumping out. Rules out a killer robot making a leap at him, too. For the moment. As for the other poor shmuck, if I did break his jaw, I didn’t break it well enough to prevent him screaming like…um…well someone who has just had his knee kicked in and broken, followed up with the special kind of gurgle that comes from damage to your back and the realization that nothing’s really working like it ought to anymore.
I don’t really get to see the violence in full detail. I’m at the wrong angle, but I definitely see and hear the effect. Damn, Bats. Clearly I wasn’t blowing things out of proportion from my childhood memories with time, and darkness to inflate them. Hopefully they’re both distracted by each other, and not by me, because when I sit up I do so right into the bottom edge of the door that had knocked me over in the first place. The thunk, and the mewled ‘owie..’ not as quiet as I might have liked. I correct and roll over a few times. With one more for extra measure, before I try to get up again. A doubly good idea I see, and quickly yank my cape the rest of the way from the crumpled man who probably would love to clutch his broken knee. Or face. And can’t, and lacking those options has, in fact, pissed himself.
It’s a little pathetic, honestly. Or it would be if he didn’t have Batman looming over him. Can’t say I really blame the dude who apparently has no compunctions against sharing. Maybe a little unintelligible from fear and …well, I didn’t break his jaw but it looks like his dentist is going to have a lot of work in front of him. Through the slurring and stammering and begging, he definitely seems to be trying to be helpful. Insisting that he was just paid to put up a wall, given a place and a time.
“…did he say Drury Walker or … Darry? Barry? I can’t understand him…”
Tim: “Penny-One. Search the GCPD database for Drury Walker. Known alias, co-workers, friends, family. Everything.”
Even as I’m saying this, I take the man’s ankle in the same way he’d done to Spoiler. He can’t fight right now and that’s going to add to his humiliation while being pulled to the back of the Van. Once there, I’m able to take the other unconscious man’s other leg to pull him out of the Van like a sack of potatoes. One unconscious, one paralyzed, both of them are bound together with a zip ties. Neutralizing their hands and with one of them unable to walk they’re not going anywhere.
“Alert GCPD to pick these two up. They’ll find the crime scene once they arrive. The drones do not detect any booby traps. Have the computer begin to analyze the sewer images and recall the drones.”
True to my word I’m not interested in torture. Both men will live to fight another day. Even if that’s a day in the Police Holding or the Hospital at this point. Leaving only the mystery of whether I’d seen Spoiler’s thunking herself on the door. The answer to which is, whether I did or not, I’m not going to draw attention to it. She did what she was supposed too. Plus she defended herself amiably. Unlike the two mooks, I have no reason to humiliate her. Especially when I almost fell over my own cape a few moments ago.
“Drury Walker,” whether I heard the name properly or interpreted what was said through missing teeth, it seems that I’ve at least recognized the name. “Small time crook, with big aspirations that never pan out. We have a date on Drury lane, Spoiler.”
The Batmobile is actually already pulling up. No need for us to hike back to it or make some sort of dramatic disappearing act. “You will brief Commissioner Gordon enroute. Put your gameface on.”
Steph: “…huh, that’s an actual person? What kind of dumb name is Drury?”
I actually assumed I had to be misunderstanding the guy. It happens. Without your front teeth it’s clearly pretty hard to enunciate much of anything. It only got worse the more he tried to make himself clear, too. Probably fearing for his other knee. Or his life. He’s still babbling as Batman drags him around the back of the van, he just can’t kick like I could. Poor sap. No, actually I don’t feel bad. I just watch for a moment, before climbing into the cab myself. Kneeling on the seat and hanging upside down as I rummage around underneath it. It’s amazing how much junk ends up underneath the seats in a car and totally forgotten about.
“Sounds like someone else I know. Okay. Listen, Batman. I can’t even with …all of that. Like, do I riff off the Muffin Man thing because…God that was totally going to be my line and one of us has to be the straight man.”
Also. Date? I mean. Again. If this was Red Robin I’d be all over that, but it’s Batman. Batman was Batman when I was eight. And before that, too. Which means that dating? Yuck. No thanks. Leaning out of the cab door, I thrust out a hand with the spoils that I’ve found. Then cock my head, realize it’s not the hand I wanted and crumple up the fast food receipt and toss it back in behind me. Swapping to the other hand as I bounce out again, skipping gingerly to avoid the…general mess that was the area right outside the driver’s side door.
“Cell phone. Not even a burner. Talk about dumb. Or just really new at this. What’s company policy on trading up, cause…this is like. Two gens newer than mine…”
I’m kidding. Mostly. I’m also shooting him a blank look that goes basically completely unseen because my visor’s up.
“…wait. What? Why me? I dont’ have a gameface!”
Tim: Instead of answering her immediately, I’m waiting for her to slip in to the batmobile. This time there’s no screw up on my part and Spoiler has been getting better at this each time as well. Assuming no further misshaps that I’m going to have to hear about later, I’m going to put us in motion towards our next destination.
“We don’t steal from the criminals,” actually some of us do, Catwoman to be specific, but she’s something of a different animal. “For a lot of reasons. The most important at the moment has nothing to do with ethics. There is a serial number for that phone. Currently it is attached to his account. If you took it for your own, when the Cops get to looking in to him. They would discover a connection to you. Given your Father’s past…”
She likely wouldn’t want someone connecting her to organized crime. Not to mention it would also put her name out there. With the corruption in the GCPD, there’s no doubt in my mind that someone would connect Stephanie Brown to the account that was using the Cell Phone. Which would in turn tell them who the rookie was that stole it from them. She already lost her ‘Secret Identity’ to me when she let me get too many details after our first meeting. That took some effort on my part. This is as much about teaching her to protect herself, her family and friends, as it is about ethics.
The grim smile on my face tells of the pleasure that is garnered from stealing her line though. Straight man? God this kid has no idea what I’ve been doing for the last ten years of my life. All of my teen years. Being the wise-ass sidekick was my life. Whether being Robin or Red Robin. It’s taken a lot of effort not to give in to that old role. But like with my staves and fighting style, I’m working to keep the myth of Batman intact until Damien or Dick take it from it. One more step out of my comfort zone isn’t going to kill me…
“You’re making the call because this is your case,” there’s no hint of punishment to this, apparently what I’m saying is actually meant as some sort of reward. “Besides. If you’re talking to the Commission, it means you won’t be talking to me while I’m driving. Make sure to say something funny. He likes jokes. It breaks the ice.”
Steph: “…yeah, I was totes kidding. The whole Powerman5000 suit may be taking me a bit to get used to, but I know cell phones.”
And I know what’s likely to get confiscated by police who don’t care where you bought it from, or from who, just that it’s been stolen. Hasn’t happened to me, but I’ve seen it enough times. Leaves a lot of kids out the money, and double screwed because chances are they don’t want to rat out the person that sold it to them in the first place. That’s how you get your ass beat, or dead. You just learn step by step who not to buy from, and how to not fall victim to the next scheme. At least, if you’re smart.
I actually go to the effort of putting the visor down once more so that I can scowl at him just a little bit. Dude looks pleased with himself, and hell if I know what I’m supposed to do with that. Goes right in the bank of faces that I didn’t think could ever show up on Batman’s face. Expressions and my face are best buddies though. Eyebrows and eyes give away a lot, so even though my mouth is covered it’s pretty easy to guess I just went from grumpy at the line theft, to surprise at the reason why I have to talk to the Commissioner, and then right back into a little bit deeper of a scowl. So. Rude.
“…you just have to rely on your looks for that part, huh? Fine. I’ll call.”
Hi, Commish! Friendly Neighborhood Spoiler here. No. Not the car part like…Spoiler Alert! You don’t know me, but I know you and… there’s no way this is going to be humiliating or weird at all. Nope. I guess it’s just going to have to be time to play ‘professional.’ I think I’d rather go back to the kicking people in the teeth part. Maybe that’ll be what we get to after the phone call, and we run down the list of information that Penny-One gets us.