Little Gold Men
“… aww what the hell…?”
::Do not worry, Sir. That’s just the sound Mr. Hunter’s time sphere makes when ejecting unwanted…::
“.. are you saying the time machine flushed us…”
::… like proverbial fec–..::
“…if you finish that statement, I’m going to flush you, Skeets.”
::Ah. Yes. Very good, sir.::
“Well. Where the hell are we?”
::Judging by the diameter of the room. In combination with the amount of discarded bottles of booze. Underlying stench of sweat. Along side of the multi-layers of soot, that is alternatively scrubbed clean and yet building up all over again.::
“You’re making all of this up to sound important, aren’t you?”
::Buying time to correlate date, Sir. I’ve learned from the best. Also. Photo-Identifying the woman behind you. I believe this is the apartment of Dinah Lance aka Black Canary.::
“…the time capsule dropped us in a B-Lister’s apartment? Well. Call it back. We’re going to have to… wait… did you say behind me?”
::Oh, sir. Don’t turn around. It will hurt less this way.::
Dinah : My home isn’t exactly a great secret, nor is it all that hidden. It’s my name on the building’s title, and a riff of of it adorning the neon sign of the Pretty Bird Bar. I may not take part in any of the day to day running of the business, or even do much in the way of oversight at all, but I own it. Another legacy from my grandparents, that I take living expenses out of, and the rest goes to the folks doing the work. For the last few years my apartment over top of it had sat vacant and collecting dust. It’d still probably be doing that, even though I’m living here once more, if I hadn’t acquired an OCD roommate basically the same day I’d come back to Gotham. Who cleaned it for me. And continues to clean it. Whatever floats his little genius boat.
He just hasn’t been doing it this weekend or there wouldn’t be the assorted collection of empty bottles. The sweat comment I might have maybe taken offense to, as I stand barefooted with a beer dangling from my fingers, except that it’s probably coming from downstairs. Along with the soot. I haven’t attempted to cook anything in my kitchen that only actually has foodstuffs in it because someone else bought them, so it’s not me burning anything into vaguely edible state.
Unexpected ‘guests’ popping up in my home? When it’s the bar portion I have to roll with it. When it’s up here? Well, it just doesn’t normally happen. I was happy enough to stay put, silent after my initial moment of confusion and alarm, and let whomever this jackass is continue to feed me information. And his little… robot? Too? Then he called me B-Lister, and started to move, signaling the wait is over. It starts with a heel delivered into the back of one knee, not so much a kick as a step off that’s intended to begin a stumble so that my knee roughly kidney height will finish the toppling momentum.
I haven’t dropped my beer, but still leaves me a hand free to grab a handful of hair and help with face meeting …well… Tim hasn’t been here in a couple days. It’s probably not that clean… floor.
“Different kind of hurt, maybe. Who the hell are you and why the hell are you in my apartment?”
Booster: There comes a series of sounds. They sound a lot like: Urk! Oof! Thud! Pretty much in that order too. Blink, Blink. What the hell was that?! Ooomph.That last one was improvised. Let’s call it my ad-lib for the camera.
::This is the illustrious, peerless hero of the ages. Who’s Tale of Good Deeds is matched only by his endless string mostly successful dates with all twelve calendar girls. If you measure success by the virtue of times he managed not to be…::
“Skeeeeeets! Not helping!”
::Really sir? I thought this one was going quite well. You’ve managed not to tap out …::
::Ooooh. Ma’am. Be careful. Rug Burn is very difficult to account for in photo shoots.::
“…S k e e t s…”
::Yes, right. Most sincere apologies Madame. This is Booster Gold. The Greatest Hero of the Modern Age! Circa 2242. Cast in to the past in search of anomalies great and small.::
“…we don’t know why we’re here.. we just got dropped here!”
::Ejected, technically. Prior to crashing. Fear not. It was only statistically Booster’s fault. Could have happened to anyone. You’re certainly not to blame, Sir. Turn that frown upside down, Sir. Think of the photo op we’ve been presented. You took that fall like a champ, sir. I’m certain you will only need marginal dental work.::
Dinah: You know, on a regular evening I might chalk this one up to some sort of prison break in Arkham, because that’s where you get your typical whack jobs with delusions of grandeur. Or sometimes at Wayne Manor but that’s another set of problems. Someone who is… or rather whose robot is claiming they’re from two hundred plus years in the future, probably belongs there on a good, normal night in Gotham City. Except I’m not drunk enough, I’m not drunk at all despite the look of my home, to have imagined that sudden appearance right in front of me, which means…
“Time travel now? Well, that’s just what we need.”
Shifting my weight grinds that knee a little more firmly into the part of his back I’m using for a pinning point, and the other end I’m holding onto isn’t much more kindly treated as I take another swing of my drink, watching this ‘Skeets’ with more wariness than the person I’m sitting on. Well. Kneeling on. Just in case it starts shooting lasers or doing who knows what. I hate technology.
“Mmm. Well. Since you seem to know everything and do the talking for him… Skeets? Is it? I don’t think this one really needs to be able to speak…”
But I haven’t been peppered with any lasers and no one’s actually making any moves to dislodge me from my perch so they’re not reading as terribly hostile. Doesn’t mean I don’t still use a little more force than necessary to leverage myself up, and it’s more kicking him off his stomach than ‘rolling with my foot’. Slim margin of distinction. My hand planted on my hip now, the other around the neck of the bottle as I look down rather critically, not the least bit concerned by my attire or… more like lack thereof. I’d settled ‘in’ for the evening with no intent of leaving again short of an emergency, which means underwear and an old, stretched out sweatshirt that barely covers those and not much else.
“You probably ought to un-eject him right back up to wherever it is you came from then.”
Booster: ::Thank you ma’am! Your kindly praise is accepted, though I assure you that while Booster’s jawline is handsome, it does often get us in to much trouble.::
“…um.. I’m right here…”
::I would, purely for purpose of branding alone, request that you not permanently damage it overly much. I believe the phrase meal-ticket is appropriate.::
“…you do know that hurts right? I think my spleen has been dislocated.”
::Don’t be silly, Sir. Your spleen is perfectly fine. Your L5 vertebra may need an adjustment. Assuming she does not apply roughly three more pounds of pressu– Oh look! Sir, she’s flipping you over. Time to flash that smile to make the girls swoon, Sir.::
“Ungh…ow ow and ow… that time was my spleen for sure. Gentle! Be Gentle.”
:: Oh. Sir. Premature Quantum Fission again? Don’t worry, Sir. I’m sure Miss Lance will hardly notice the carbon scoring on her floor. Hardly any reason to cry yourself to sleep like last time.::
“… that’s never happened before…”
::Miss July. Miss November. ::
“Does your history banks tell you how much I hate you right this second?”
::No sir, but your spandex tells Miss Lance how much you appreciate her state of dress.::
“… could we please go back to the topic of why we’re here?”
::Of course, Sir. We can’t go back Miss Lance. Not until we’ve corrected the timeline. Could you point us in the direction of Theodore Kord?::
Dinah: “Your spleen’s also not necessary. You should be thanking me for not aiming at something you might need later. Or I can just see if I can rupture it from the outside…”
So I’m a little aggressive. But he is in my home, and I’ve never taken kindly to being surprised or caught off balance. Clearly not so off balance that I hadn’t been able to act but then, his back had been turned and this ‘Booster Gold’ had apparently been an incredibly easy target. I don’t know which I want to scoff more over right now. The name, or the hero of the ages part. Either way, my facial expression isn’t reading anywhere near swooning or impressed. And that’s before he apparently has a fission on my floor.
“That story won’t be punching many meal tickets here. A little free advice to go with playing nice. I’d pick a new line, because that one is going to get you committed or impounded.”
And yeah, I totally look, tilted head shifting slightly as Skeets’ helpful commentary continues. My wrinkled nose is more over the fact that I find my drink empty when I go for another swig than the view, though.
“Ted Kord? What did he… you know what… I don’t actually want to know. This sounds like a migraine in the making.”
God, but I really still kind of do…
“At his house, I’d imagine. Or at Kord Enterprises. Don’t you have the internet in all that….”
There’s a vague hand gesture encompassing the Robot and then Booster and back again.
Booster: ::Which line ma’am?::
“…wait, are we talking about my spleen or my lines?”
::Fear not, Sir, we have your collective best interests at heart in any case.::
“Hey that’s fine with me. We can’t discuss future events with a Civilian anyway.”
::This particular Civilian is currently holding you down with one hand while drinking cheap liquor with the other, Sir. Perhaps we should choose our adjectives with better purpose.::
“…. what is … internet?”
::She is referencing the archaic system of wireless data transfer used in the 20th century. However, it is a potentially viable solution, if madame Canary could direct us to a functional terminal or share her wireless password.::
“She could also. In theory. Take her knee off of my spleen. Unless. She likes what she sees?” Wink. Wink.
::Sir, silence is often the better part of valor.::
Dinah: “Time travel. Hero of the Ages. Both the sort of things that get you all sorts of attention, and probably not the kind you want. Well.”
Pursing my lips considerately as I look down at this Booster Gold again. I’d been paying more attention to the talking robot, because I don’t have a whole lot of worry, or faith, that Gold’s going to manage to dislodge me without effort that I can counter even not watching. Which starts the inevitable spin of questions through my brain. Even the things I don’t want to think about for reasons that start with ‘time travel.’ He knew who I was, or why assign me to a ‘list’ at all, and is he really some sort of hero or does he just think he is?
“Maybe it’s the kind of attention this one would think he wants. I know we just met and all, but I’m definitely getting the going to get himself messily murdered doing something for likes vibe.”
Does she like what she sees? ‘She’ is clearly taking a moment to dubiously assess the man pinned to floor again, before planting the flat end of my now empty beer bottle in the middle of his sternum, and using it to leverage myself into a standing position.
“She’s seen better. She also doesn’t have a computer or know the WIFI password. Best bet in here is going to be my cell phone. Unless that’s also too archaic, then you’re just going to have to wait until the public library opens in the morning. I assume they have one.”
Unless it’s been stolen.
“What do you need with Kord?”
Booster: “Look. We know all about this point in History. You don’t have to lecture us about the worries of your little Nobody fiasco. This point in history is infamous for the insanity you people let loose on society.”
::For once, Sir is correct. I fully briefed Booster before embarking upon our journey to this Century. We are fully prepared to evade the legal authorities and not bring attention to ourselves.::
In the unending circle of dialogue, this is the first time that there’s no immediate response to that. Bring no attention to ourselves? Not exactly something that looks to be high on the Golden Boy’s Agenda. However there’s a shrug to those shoulders as she finally gets off of him. Whether that’s because he’s accepting the pronouncement of Skeets or that he can’t help Dinah’s lack of taste is anyone’s guess.
::It isn’t precisely what we need -from- Theodore Kord. So much as what we need him to not do.::
“I thought we weren’t going to talk about the whole ending the world thing with the Civilians.”
::Dinah Lance is not a Civilian. She is rated extremely high on the circle of trust files from The Creator.::
“Stop flirting with the B-Lister.”
::Er. I was not…::
“So,” climbing off the floor is much easier than it might seem, what with the ability to levitate upright in a very ‘showing off’ sort of way. “Listen. They’re not going to detect us. The reason we were ejected out of our time bubble, was specifically to avoid this time period’s ability to track temporal events.”
“We’re also sporting psi-baffles. So we shouldn’t show up on any of the tepe-radars. All we’ve really got to do is avoid crossing paths with anyone that matters and find Kord. Before he destroys the wor–..”
::SIR! We cannot speak of these events. The butterfly effect sir. Anything you tell her might ripple out and cause additional…::
“You said she’s high on the circle of trust list. She at least knew Kord’s name. And she’s kinda hot. I’m sure she’s harmless.”
::As you wish, Sir. Forgive me for forgetting that we measure potential temporal paradox effects by the size of a lady’s bust.::
“Damn, right we do. By my calculations she’s temporally harmless.”
“So. Put the booze down and let’s save the world with the power of WiFi?”
The simple correction made as I step to the side, though I’m still within easy striking distance. Not because I feel like I might need to, but more because I’m very sure I may just want to. I have a small flock of people to take out my aggression on, in the guise of ‘teaching moments’ but no matter how much I may batter and bruise on occasion to get my point across, I only take my aim to hurt so far. As the two intruders go back and forth with their dialogue, I just stand there with my empty. Blonde head cocked to one side as I mentally run through all the ways I could maim and dismantle. If I wasn’t the good guy, of course.
They seem to be yo-yoing back and forth between not waiting to ‘spoiler’ (ugh) things and give me too much information, and between rambling things that… maybe they don’t think are information but are still ticking off on a list in my head like bullet points.
“Just the temporal ones? I’d imagine something like that spits out a fairly large amount of energy though…”
I may loathe nearly all things more technologically advanced than my VCR player and television, but I’m not an idiot. I’ve also gotten a lot more versed lately in exactly what sensors in the area, and out of it, may or may not be able to pick up in preparation to make a move on the aforementioned NOWHERE.
“Boy. You sure seem to know everything.”
See, Oliver Queen and any number of other men could have told you that the simpering sweet tone that just started to come out of my mouth should have also started up a whole series of alarm klaxons. But they’re not here, so there’s really not much warning for me putting down my ‘booze’ in the form of flinging it from the pivot of the long neck, spinning to make contact bottom first with the only other discernible throat in the room. It’s not going to shatter. Too thick. Part of why I like that particular brand of awful beer. Makes a good blunt weapon though.
“Except where to find the linchpin of your plans. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself. I’m just so temporally harmless. I think someone in the neighborhood has an unsecured network. My roommate bitches about it at least twice a week.”
Booster: ::Rip Hunter’s time-sphere internalizes it’s energy combustion. There is no metaphorical tailpipe that might exude stray energy particles to be traced. It’s part of the time-stream-pollution counter-measures.::
“She’s not really as interested as you may think, Skeets. I’ve seen that thousand yard stare more than once in my days.”
::Oh, I’ll bet you have sir.::
“It’s not that I or we know everything, but we know enough. Not only was I briefed but there’s also Skeets. He’s here specifically to fill in any blanks that I may have mi–”
::… sir …::
“–issed. He’s actually quite handy to have arou–… ack…”
::I was going to tell you to activate your force field sir, but… then I remembered the ‘Never Interrupt Booster Protofol.’::
Skeets would probably move to render medical assistance, if it were not for the fact that one hand managed to deflect the bottle from truly impacting with a clear throat-shot. Leaving one incredulous, sputtering, Booster Gold and a very pleasant android who’s hovering closer to Dinah Lance now that Booster has been silenced.
::While you’ve been conversing with the Intrepid Hero of the Age, I’ve been navigating your so-called wireless networks nearby. It would seem that Mr. Kord is actually in Gotham City for a visit. How fortuitous! As if, by some miracle, Rip Hunter deposited us exactly where we were meant to be.::
“…agh.. kak…roffle.. glomp…”
::Booster would like me to communicate to you that, that was a lucky shot. I implore you not to harm Booster further until we’ve completed our mission. All of Space and Time depends upon it.::
::No, sir. That is not how they flirt in this time period. Nor was that a ‘love tap.’::
Dinah: “Well, doesn’t that sound fancy…”
So there’s probably no actual alarms and/or indicators blaring anywhere else, Batcave, NOWHERE lair, or otherwise to bring attention down on my apartment. For a moment of brief, mental amusement I wonder whether or not one Superman could hear me wolf-whistling from here. Booster would probably think it was at him, and be thoroughly startled when a mostly-invited guest turned up as well. My little game of imagination is truly brought to a halt by Skeets’ ‘apology’ for the lack of warning, because I let out a laugh that may seem a little cruelly timed but then.. I suppose no one that knows me would be surprised either. It takes a moment of rubbing the bridge of my nose between two fingers to really bring my amusement to a halt.
I wasn’t trying to hit him that hard, after all. If I were, I would have just used my hand.
“Miracle. Calculated time travel science. Who knows, am I right? And Booster should know that there was nothing lucky about it. For someone who wants to supposedly save the world, he’s not very good at paying attention. Monologue-ing is supposed to be a bad guy thing. And for the record, it had a lot more to do with calculated weight and spin of the bottle than luck.”
I don’t do luck. I do skill, intuition, and instinct. Squinting up one eye, I waggle a hand back and forth in front of Skeets.
“Eh. In the vaguest sense he might be right on that one. I mean. He can still breathe. So. Off to see the Scientist, then?”
Booster: ::Does that mean you’ll be accompanying us?::
There’s a distinct shake of the head, emphatically ‘No’ from the Golden Wonder, but that doesn’t seem to derail Skeets for once. If anything he seems delighted at the momentary break he’s getting from the constant interruptions of his own.
::I calculate a twenty seven percent increase in our changes, with you by our side Miss Lance. It is truly a boon for us that we happened upon your moody brooding here in the Lap of Luxury. At a time when your current partner in crime fighting is unavailable and your former partner is… equally unavailable. Leaving us with prime ‘Team Up’ opportunity!::
Grumbling at the two of them. Mostly because Skeets is actually inviting the B-Lister to come along! Ugh. Just when it was going to be Booster’s opportunity to be the big damned Hero!
::Most fortuitous, Booster. I’ve re-evaluated our chances of success. We now have a twenty nine percent chance of success!::
One last cough, all the while fixing Dinah with a wary look that isn’t half about what she’s wearing as it was before. Now though? The blue hue engulfing Booster is all too telling of that force field Skeets spoke about. “We had best get moving. There’s no telling when he’ll make the decision and once he does it’s.. well… the end of everything.”
Oh and he’s also very shiny now. Bright even. The glow is just about everything wrong with a costume to be worn in Gotham City. And it’s currently heading for the open window of Dinah’s apartment.
::Twenty eight percent.::