Damien: Being transported to St Roch was .. interesting. It was a sensation he’d never felt before and something he didn’t wish to experience again. The feeling of not having control was a big one. Adjusting his jacket, he looks around a moment. The city was small, but just as dark and gloomy as Gotham was. It’s architecture a mix of spanish gothic and early english gothic. Two very different cultures that once held. Pulling his phone out, he finds the address that he was looking for. Where one Kendra lived. A part of a duo named Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The tricky part is to wait when Hawkman was away as he could be a bit … temperamental when anyone but him talked to Kendra.
Though, she’s been working on him.
Damien didn’t know what to expect. But if anything he gained from his conversation with Superboy, er, man, was that Nth metal was being used. If that was the case, then Damien needed information right from one the sources. Kendra and Carter. Though, once again, it was easier to approach Kendra about this, rather than Carter. What he didn’t expect was to find another lurking figure as he approached the Hall Residence where the pair lived. The house wasn’t big, but with it being just a couple blocks from the Stonechant museum, it was perfect for the pair.
Right now, Damien was tracking a figure that was using the shadows of the night to skulk around the dwelling. This couldn’t be a coincidence. Nothing that the Son of the Bat couldn’t take care of. Using his training, Damien followed the other figure, waiting for the perfect time to strike. Then suddenly, the young man sprung into action, going to tackle the figure from behind. Except, this person wasn’t just anybody. The figure twisted his body while in the air, to then flip Damien off of him. The figure hits the ground in a roll as Damien also turns, landing on his feet about ten yards away. Now facing the other man.
Pausing, Damien scrunches his face slightly in confusion and thought.
Dick : You wouldn’t think that tracking down two people with enormous wings on their back would be a problem for just about anyone. Much less two people with the deductive tracking ability and resources of the Wayne Family. Apparently no one gave these Hawk-People the memo. Because Dick Grayson has been all over the globe in search of them. From San Luca, to Cairo, to Athens… one jet ride to the next has taken him around the globe and away from Gotham at a time when it was most inconvenient. As it turns out though, the pair seem to be able to completely hide their wings. Otherwise they’d found some other manner of travel, because they weren’t showing up on any sort of Airport Security. It might be a bit on the nose to jump to the conclusion that the pair would use those same fancy wings for travel, but by all accounts and scientific extrapolation those wings didn’t provide them with the speed needed to manage some of the Museum Robberies they’d pulled. At least not in the time they had managed it.
Finding out that one of those Dick had needed to be on the ground in Gotham, keeping the city safe in his absence, was actually following much the same trail? Surprising, but not nearly as much as you might think. Damien has always had a habit of showing up where he’s least expected. Or wanted. Depending on your view point. Being attacked by your kid-brother, from out of nowhere? That’s where the surprise levels kick up.
It might be one of the rare times in Damien’s life that he too gets surprised, because Dick doesn’t just get tackled. No sooner has he rolled through the attack from behind, but he comes up ready to attack. The last few months wearing Bruce Wayne’s costume, being the Batman in a City that has been teeming with a new level of violence, had left Grayson more than a little on edge. Damien is sure to notice that his ‘Brother’ wasn’t just ready to try to disarm, but was clearly about to go on the offense with razor-bats in each knuckle.
The coat doesn’t conceal much of the Nightwing costume and it surely doesn’t prevent movement. Dick was ready for a fight, but didn’t come dressed as the Bat. “…Jesus! What the hell are you doing here…? You have the worst timing… get down.”
Even as Dick is barking instructions he’s moving. It happens so fast you might liken it to a professional quarterback’s throw, the way his arm cocks and unleashes those razor bats. Not at Damien, but above him. Three of them thrown, but the sound of only one of them making metallic contact is the reward. Until the next sound is a razor-sharp Boomerang implanting itself in the solid stone near Damien tells the guy what Dick was doing.
All of this, just seconds before “Kendra’s” front door explodes and the squad of armored insurgents start to pile in through every entrance.
Shiera: There could be some argument of semantics when it comes to categorizing what’s been going on lately as ‘robberies.’ My own solo ‘expedition’ had been more along the lines of grave robbing, or as Carter would maybe call it ‘liberating the past and bringing it to light.’ I don’t know that I entirely see the difference, because the only line seems to be whether or not the grave in question is clearly marked, and perhaps different layers of dirt over the top of it. My trip to London, cracking the mausoleum, and walking out with what I’d thought was an amulet could maybe have been dubbed either. I don’t consider it stealing, if only because what I took from those damp stone walls was mine.
Or it had been mine, in 1943. The end date stamped on that life, and that crypt. It wasn’t a point I was going to argue with anyone when it came to going in ‘legally’ though. Which brings us back to robbery. Something that we’ve been planning to do again, more liberation, more reclamation of things rightfully ours. Not because of greed, or pride, or heritage. But because somehow, everything gets less crazy the more of our pasts we find.
Actually. It gets more crazy by the same measure. This is Carter’s home. Since we found each other again, I stay here. Most of the time. The truth is, I hadn’t had much to leave behind. This time I had been born as Kendra Saunders. This time, there wasn’t anything especially heroic, or daring about me. Cello isn’t exactly an exciting pastime to devote oneself to, and it was the way I’d set up to spend what I’d hoped was a relaxing, quiet part of my day to, since Carter’s out of the house. He probably would have noticed something coming. I’m not exactly the hair trigger that he is however, and so the detonation of the downstairs entry, along with what sounds to be the back door as well certainly takes me by surprise.
The instrument is rather unceremoniously dumped over as I jerk to my feet, I have no idea who or what is coming, but it sounds like a lot more people than I would have thought I’d made angry. Probably can blame Carter for that. The closest thing I can lay claim to as a weapon is the baseball bat in the bedroom, and that’s two doors down the hallway. An easy enough sprint to make, as well as the closest one with an ‘exit’ in the form of a window if I have to take it.
Damien: Damien was about to counter Dick’s comment about him being here. But decided to drop it. Instead, pulling out a domino mask and applying it after the explosions rocked the front and back doors of this home. Looking over his shoulder, he lifts a brow at his brother. “We have much to discuss. But, clearly it looks like our friend inside may need assistance first.” It seemed NOWHERE was here first, at least it’s who he could only assume whom it was. Moving around to the front of the house. Damien didn’t have any of his normal things on him. That didn’t make him any less dangerous though.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.
Once all the men are in the house that were at the front door, Damien goes in behind one of them, keeping his stance low. The art of surprise doesn’t last long as one of the men coming from the otherside of the house and spot Damien about to bring down one of the men. Usually Damien is equipped for whatever the situation is, but this time he was completely unequipped. No armor, no sensors. Just him.
Honestly, he liked it this way. Made the pain feel real.
“Nightwing. I count fourteen. Apparently they have the same idea we did.” commenting as the man Damien was about to take out turned around, swinging his weapon to clock Damien. But, the young heir was better than that. Leaning back enough for the weapon to miss him. Damien’s able to bounce back easily enough to push him back into his compatriots. Then, they decide to open fire.
Carter was not going to be happy.
Dick: The response that Damien gets? Is in the form of a baton going past him through the door. He was following Damien, although keeping his distance in order to not cause exactly what was happening with Damien’s friends. They’ve made the mistake of coming in from two sides and that puts them at cross-fire to one another. They can’t shoot or they’ll take out their own people. That’s the good news, because neither Damien or Dick have to worry about friendly fire from their particular arsenals.
“That Boomrang came from the roof of the building. That makes fifteen accounted for. There was also a suspicious looking van circling the block.” Which, as Dick’s tone says, he only knows about because he was casing the place. Instead of being quite so abrupt as Damien in his approach. “Too late for subtle.”
Even as Dick speaks he’s in motion. Entering the home through the ruined door behind Damien, but where the little brother goes low Dick Grayson goes high. Using his brother’s back to run right up and spring over him, in to the throng of armed men. Nightwing makes a very brilliant target. An armed and armored target, as opposed to Damien who’s running a little light today.
Boomerang: As the Bats are working on the men in the front, Shiera is getting an eye-full of the men from the back. Despite moving like trained professionals they’re not quite so organized as to be S.W.A.T. for the Police. They’re not clearing rooms, which is why she’s able to dart for that baseball bat. Albeit with a trail of ‘Paft-paft-paft’ that follows her along. Those are not bullet holes in the wall behind her as she moves. They’re darts and those men aren’t bothering to clear the rest of the home, she’s presented herself as a target and they’re swarming towards her.
“Wot have we got ‘ere then? Buncha wankas breakin up me barbeque? Listen mates, e’re not takin interviews t’day.”
There’s number fifteen. His voice is booming all around them, even if he’s not yet in sight. It almost sounds like he’s speaking the lot of them through the comm-units of the men breaching the House.
Shiera: I hadn’t really needed encouragement to run quickly in the first place, but the sound of air that doesn’t usually accompany a bullet so much as something else goads me along even more quickly. As well as making me instantly rethink the plan of going out the bedroom window.
It’s no less clear, and much lacking in cover out back. Shouldering open the ajar doorway, and fumbling inside for the aluminum baseball bat. No, it’s not nearly as effective as my other half’s choice of weaponry, but it’s also a great deal more subtle and less questionable to have out in the open. The stairwell makes a decent enough cover for me to lean my head around and confirm what I suspected. There’s far too much noise for this to be one potentially random sort of break in. There’s also a lot more than I might have expected, and to add another element? They appear to be fighting each other. Or at least part of them are. Two groups at the same time? Argument among the same that’s devolved to violence? Either way, I guess it’s as good a time as any.
There’s really nothing about me that screams superhuman of any sort at first glance, other than the fact that all redheads are technically superhumans. No wings, no costume, just a tank top and a pair of yoga pants as I come barreling down the stairs barefooted and improvised weapon raised in hand, in a posture that isn’t exactly batting stance so much as someone who’s ready to attack or defend as necessary.
I wasn’t prepared for this. Or really for the way this is making my pulse surge and blood roar. ‘Kendra Saunders’ might not have been born for this sort of thing, but that hardly seems to matter much anymore. The real me, under this form, takes great offense at the intrusion into my home, and doesn’t hesitate for even a second before cracking the closest head I can reach as I vault over the last bit of bannister.
Damien: Damien feels Dick vault over him and into the other men. It’s funny how well the two men operate together with effortless efficiency. No matter the circumstances. The way Damien takes on the men is more with fast and fluid movements. A different style than what he usually uses. It was meant to be mobile, attack while moving. Disarm and disable. Then he sees Shiera vault over the staircase and join them on the ground floor. A metal bat in her hand. A smirk crosses his lips.
“For as long as you have known me, would you have ever considered me subtle?” asking as one of the men attempts to take him on in a one on one match. Damien is too quick for the man. Instead of clocking him, Damien uses the man’s armor against him. Unbuckling and unstrapping him, then rebuckling so that he couldn’t move. Once he was done with that man, Damien moved in tandem with Nightwing. Then that voice goes over the comms and Damien exhales through his nostrils.
“I like her style.” gesturing to the man who was rolling down unconscious on the stairwell. His helmet nearly cracked in half from the impact of Shiera’s bat. These men didn’t have a chance between the three of them. But, someone like Digger Harkness. He could tip the scale. “This was far too easy.” while the men had the numbers advantage at the moment, their numbers were quickly thinning.
“I apologize about the intrusion, Shiera. Once this encounter is over. We need to have a discussion.” after all, Damien was on a time crunch.
Dick: Subtle? No. But Dick also never imagined Damien as the type of traipse half-way around the world following him either. If that is, as it seems. Saying that to Damien only seems to court even further discussion when they really need to work on getting this situation under control. While they’re on the topic of ‘Having known Damien’ for something, the idea spawns that perhaps the real question is… ‘Since when are you apologetic about anything?’ But that too is going to have to wait for another time.
The herd of men may be thinning in the front, but that’s only half of the man-power they knew for a fact was here. Just as Shiera’s man rolls to a thug at the bottom of the stairs, Dick is evading a series of darts flying all around him by once more vaulting over one man. Turning that same man in to a living shield and a weapon all at once. The captive thug takes the blast of darts in his armor from behind Dick, then becomes a projectile as he is hurled down the hallway in to the path of the men coming from the back of the house.
“What my miniature, unintended, companion means, is that these men are part of a larger group. They’re here for you and/or the items you and your cohort have been procuring. You have a bounty on your head that is large than the gross national product of most small countries right now.”
“You can come with us or…”
Really, Dick Grayson of all people should know better than to ape Arnold in times like this. Nothing good has ever come from it. This is just one more example of it, because as Dick, Damien and Shiera look around at the fallen seven men from the front of the house? A second boomerang of the night makes it’s appearance. This one sails in through the front window, curves through Carter Hall’s living room, before strategically impaling itself with precision on the staircase right next to where Shiera descended.
Unlike the first, that Dick had deflected away from Damien’s back, this one is beeping. Beep. Beep. Beepbeep beepbeep. Beepbeepbeepbeep. Beeeeeeee….
Shiera: Intrusion? That seems to be putting it very, very mildly. Comically so. Also, words that come loaded with so many additional questions. Does that mean that they’re on my side? Are they trying to play this good cop, bad cop? Is it just a swerve to get me to stop fighting them, and then allow for an easier fight? All in all, I’m not entirely inclined to discuss much of anything. Unintended companion. More words, that paint more contextual blanks for me to fill in. It makes me grateful for the things that my body seems to know how to do on its own now, without requiring a whole lot of thought from me. While the motions I make may be those of someone who seems accustomed to a level of violence that nothing in my own personal ‘biography’ might suggest, it’s more savage accuracy than practiced finesse.
“That sounds like the beginning of an ulti-…”
The crash of breaking glass is much softer than the other explosions that have rocked the house in the last minutes, but still present. Maybe if only because of the momentary lull in the room, like the eye of a storm, and my head whips around to where the boomerang has sunk into the wall. I’d moved some small distance from it naturally, but not nearly far enough. Especially once it starts beeping. Faster, and faster, and there’s really only one thing that can ever mean. Most people would probably run. I don’t think I’ve got enough time to get far enough for it to be any better than my alternative.
Dropping to a knee, in the shattered remnants of my front door and entryway, I turn a shoulder into the direction that explosion is surely about to come from and press a hand to my chest. Metal exploding, with more grace than violence, out of my back. Up and out, curving around me in a pair of enormous wings that change color, fading from silver to glossy hues of brown until they look for all the world like ordinary feathers. They’re a great deal sturdier than what they appear, though.
Damien: Damien doesn’t have the luck of having armor to absorb most of the blast. Instead, Damien attempts to clear distance between himself and the bomb. While, he escapes the initial blast, the shockwave does enough to propel him through the house and into a wooden bookshelf. With the shelf then creaking over and falling onto him. His ears are ringing, pain is shooting through his body as he attempts to crawl out from under. It’s hard at first, Damien can feel blood trickling from his nose.
Is this why they couldn’t have nice things?
He was having trouble thinking clearly. When this is all over, he’s going to have strong words with Conner and his Suicide Squad. Right now, he had to ignore the pain and get up. Thankfully the blast, while strong, wasn’t enough to break any bones. “Ri….Night…Nightwing. Are you well?” asking as he finally gets out from under the bookcase. This needs to end now. Before the house before the supports of the house. Captain Boomerang. The man might be a laugh because he throws Boomerangs, but just like Green Arrow and his arrows. Digger has a boomerang for every occasion.
The one occasion he can’t rely on is Damien needing to take things into his own hands and end this now. Instead of relying on mental preparation, he fights through the pain and switches to instincts as he swoops up a large shard of glass, wielding it like a dagger as he charges towards the window… or rather what’s left of it. Leaping through it, he lands with a roll. If Digger is out there, Damien is intending on charging him and stabbing him with the shard of glass. No matter the cost.
Dick: Much like Damien, there is nothing to really protect you from a bomb in the old Nightwing kit. The one damned time that he would have truly used that damn cape and he left it on the plane. Leaving him with a terrible choice of standing his ground or doing something stupid. Since standing his ground is only helpful if he’s taking the brunt of the blast to protect one of the other people in the room? It’s really just a series of stupid choices, leaving you to pick between the worst ones. As Damien is being thrown one way, Shiera is covering herself with… ah… there are those wings. Leaving Dick to be propelled, because he’s turned to hurdle down the hallway as the bomb goes off.
Stupid choices? Damien is going for the band leader. Dick is smashing through Carter Hall’s surprisingly solid dining room table. At least the maneuver has a touch of grace to it, because of throwing himself in that direction it was much more of a controlled fall than what Damien took. The landing was still bone-jarring and leaves him momentarily propping himself up to look at the pool of blood escaping his lips.
Hey! But he doesn’t have Damien’s ringing ears and the Nightwing armor mostly took the lethality of that fall. It’s the little things that lift you up, especially when the Backdoor Thugs opt to press their advantage. Right then. Pumping the Boy Wonder full of darts right then and there.
Shiera is the least bothered of the three and she’s the target. Funny how life works, huh? She’s in far better shape than Damien who’s charging out on the the lawn to confront…. The man who Dick told him was on the roof. Don’t worry though. The next Boomerang doesn’t hit Damien as soon as he’s in sight. It hits the grass in front of him. This time he can’t hear the beeping as it winds up to shoot electrical taser wire at the other Boy Wonder’s chest. Zzaaaap!
“…Multiplex. Get cher arse up and finish this Mate. We need the bird alive.”
Oh. Right. Those thugs? No one really took the time to notice they’re all identical copies of each other did they? The not so useless thugs are showing exactly none of the effects of the bomb. Unless you count the fact that the concussive force of the explosion just created about a whole new set of 14 more of them.
Shiera: Maybe later I’ll marvel about how well that actually worked. I’d spent so much of the last few years overthinking it all of this, convinced that I was crazy. When I managed to embrace what I was thinking, and feeling, those foreign things that I hadn’t thought were mine floating around my mind, it had all gotten better. Maybe that’s something a crazy person would say. Or maybe I can simply chalk it up to following Carter’s… impetuous is the kind way to put it… example. Either way, there’d been danger, and I’d let myself react. Everyone else runs from the blast, and the only real damage I suffer is the way my ears are ringing in the aftermath. Maybe worse than the others would have been, had they stayed so close, proving the only real downside of having hearing as sharp as I do. One hand rubbing at the side of my head, while the other discards the bat that I was only half holding anyway. End over end like a blunted tomahawk at one of the men in the room with me, who.. I hadn’t heard come in and I’m fairly sure were not there a moment ago.
I don’t need it anymore, because it’s unlikely I’m going to be fighting off the whole pack of them with just a bat. The wings serve as weapon enough for my needs. Part of me thinks the best move here is out that destroyed front entryway and up into the sky. The garbled words of ‘arse’ and ‘alive’ are enough to put more pieces together. I’d been hearing darts, which means they’re not just here to take what I have. We have, I suppose. Maybe that also means that they know it won’t be so simple to take it from me. If I’d realized what a target that Amulet would have made me, perhaps I would simply have hidden it again. Left it stashed in what protection the walls of the Museum had seemed to offer the rest of the pieces for so long.
Moving once more, I bolt through the front door. Wings curved around front both to make it through the opening and to protect me from any more darts. Then it’s up into the air, a leap to send me skyward as I look for the source of that booming voice. My eyes still function, even if my ears are a little iffy. And if I can spot the one that seems to be giving the orders here, I’m intent on taking him for a little ride.
Damien: Normally, Damien would be more than prepared for something like this. But, when he was abducted by Conner. He couldn’t be prepared. So, he was currently fighting a concussion and now the ringing in his ears had stopped…. Just in time to feel the electricity from the taser coarse through his body. Falling to the ground again, he’s not quite down. Smoke rising off his body as he struggles for control over his body. “..Sh..On..Roof.” he could barely speak, but he hoped the girl with wings could hear him.
This just wasn’t Damien’s day, or even Dick’s as he watches him get pumped full of darts. The Son of the Bat collapses to the ground in a feint attempt to draw attention off himself. The guy said Multiplex. Usually a Flash villain, it was clear, that Flash wasn’t here to assist with this. From what Damien knew was that there’s one guy that controls all his dupes. Find him, and you find the source.
Damien focuses on his breath. Pushing air out, pulling air in. Concentrating on pushing out all the pain. Techniques used by the monks he was trained and raised by. Control your heart, control your blood. He could still feel the metal prongs connected to his shirt. The heir of the demon would look into the house. Letting his eyes study his targets, look for that one. That one that stood out from the rest in a sea of identical twins. While twins looked like each other, they were near carbon copies of themselves.
Except for little things here and there. One could be just a inch taller, so on and so forth. Damien needed to find that one to help Dick. but running in and taking care of fourteen dups didn’t sound all that delightful.
Boomerang: It isn’t difficult to see Digger Harkness once you’re above him. The trouble Shiera has with that is getting out that front door. While those original insurgents are still down, the ones born of the kinetic energy of that bomb are all looking to be in pretty tip-top physical health. The way she wields the wings though, is enough to keep her from any true harm. They’re all between her and the door, so none of them get a real chance to shoot her in the back. Not when they’re too busy being bowled over so effectively.
That doesn’t stop them from trying though and take-off is going to prove difficult when all seven of the newly made duploids pile on to her. Seven fully armed, fully capable, men who take to any means of stopping her. Close quarters darts meant specifically to pierce thick skin. Electric batons meant to stun people just like her. Hands that seek to choke. Feet that last out with kicks. No, Multiplex is not in himself stronger than your top-level Olympian, but when you start dealing with the strength, speed and effectiveness of seven men the numbers game does have some advantages.
Oh and let’s not forget that the man she was looking for? Is standing up there on the adjacent roof taking his time to line up every throw. As if it couldn’t get any worse for Damien and Shiera. Another set of boomerangs is raining down on them. As the rangs near both targets they spring open, propelling large nets at the two of them, clearly not caring if he catches the duploids in the process.
Shiera: There’s been an awful lot of upsides to this Amulet and what it had done to my body. The notable and large downside being this particular situation that I’ve found myself in just now, but I’m stronger, tougher, with keen senses. The whole flying thing is my obvious favorite, and the wings that go with it as well. All usually packaged into a neat, glittering adornment that I have to keep hidden because it’s fused itself to my body. Not hidden well enough, clearly, but all it takes is a thought to call it up. Like I had to shield myself. The metal is mine to command, and when it becomes clear that no matter how strong I might be compared to these men individually, their pack methodology is proving to be a bit too much for me.
Hands clawing at my throat, glances with those stun batons that don’t hit home well enough to put me down, but do offer up more than a comfortable level of electric jolt. It’s become very clear, very fast, that a little more forceful defense of my life might be necessary. Even if they do, seemingly, want me alive. As my fighting and wriggling becomes more desperate, and flying elbows, fists and gouging fingers aren’t enough anymore, the edges of my feathered wings grow sharper and sharper. No longer buffeting and blocking alone so much as slicing and shredding, a whirling dervish splattered with blood that’s not mine, and that I don’t spare an instant to feel badly over. The rising feeling of a victory cut short with a high pitched, angry shriek as the net tangles me. Leaving me frantically trying to cut with more purpose and shred the material so that I can get free.
Damien: Damien’s feeling a little better. But the net is a problem. Then he sees Sheira plummet to the ground as she thrashes, working on cutting the net. Meanwhile, Damien stays calm. Batman put all the boys through various kinds of net training. This one was a poly-mesh kind. So, his glass shard wasn’t going to cut through it. Grabbing the boomerang wasn’t going to help, it was the only thing not killing Damien. Slowly, he uses the glass shard to cut the taser lines to the boomerang. Once those were cut, he’d work on finding the edge of the net and tug it off. Doing this was going to expose him to the tranq darts.
The bat that Sheira used was laying on the front steps. If he could just reach it, there might be a chance of him using it to find the one Mutliplex. From what Damien could tell, he didn’t see a unique figure amongst the fourteen dupes that were in the house. So, that must mean either he was somewhere else. Or he was ontop of the roof. Where Digger was. Damien would run towards the bat to pick it up mid stride as he kept close to the house. Wanting to use it for cover. To keep himself from being potentially shot at by the tranq darts. It’d also buy him time for the dupes to get out of the house. If Damien’s ever out of sight, he’d use this opportunity to “vanish” in plain sight. Much like how Batman would do.
Neither of the men had any kind of jumping ability, and if you were going to get ontop of a house. You needed a ladder. Assuming the van was too far for them to use to jump from one to the other. So, this is what Damien is doing. Searching for a way to get onto the roof as quietly as he could. Learning the ways of stealth was beat into him shortly after he learned to walk.
Boomerang: “This lil’ bugger just won’ quit, will ‘e mate?”
Digger’s a little boggled by the manner in which Damien struggles. But there’s a very key aspect to this that Damien isn’t accounting for, for once he isn’t the target. Hell, as far as Digger is concerned he’s worth exactly nothing. Dead or Alive. So once Shiera is actually netted, Damien’s where abouts are only a cursory problem for Boomerang. For once it has absolutely nothing to do with under-estimating his opponents and everything to do with getting out while the getting is good.
“Bird’s down. Wrap ‘er up boys. Let’s get a move on.”
While Damien has been through more than his fair share of training in how to escape all manner of traps? Shiera’s multi-lifetimes are not preparing her for a group that are hunting her very specifically. Slashing at the net is accomplishing nothing. The blood (and gore) from the duploids she slices and dices only makes it that much more slippery. Even if the netting wasn’t specifically designed to bring her down, it’d lose a lot of traction with the lack of friction it can generate to slice anything.
That doesn’t mean she makes it easy for anyone. Duploids are having a terrible time getting to her, even from outside of the net. Forcing them to wait for backup, in the form of the Squad that was coming in the rear of the House. Just as they’re rounding to the front, toting a near unconscious Nightwing, the Van that Dick pointed out before rolls up to the curb. As Damien is working his way around the building? Digger and the previously unseen Multiplex are starting to leave their perch. It’s all done but the wrap-up.
“…put cher backs in ta it, lads. Hawk-One is putting up an even better fight downtown.”
Dick’s one and only contribution to the fight at this point? That shifting his finger to the small, hidden, little link-up on his gauntlet. “Z, pleh rouy deen eW.”
Zatanna: Dick had an ace up his sleeve, a little trick to pull him out of a really awful situation. She always said she was a whisper away and she only gave such a favor to good friends that she could trust. There was no hesitation in the flurry of speech and movements it took to get into ‘work clothes’ and transport herself right into the scene in a plume of white smoke that radiated out. She arrived right beside Dick, expecting to see him standing there but was immediately concerned when she looked over her shoulder and then had to look downwards to find him face down on the ground.
“Yekaw yekaw, Yob Rednow. Tell me where the bad men are.”
He said ‘we’. Her pale eyes were already searching through the cloud that gave them a slight amount of cover and a distraction. Who were the others? She’d rather have a good idea of where her allies were before she began waving the wand without a thought to any bystanders.
Shiera: Boomerang isn’t the only one not paying much attention to what Damien Wayne is up to. In my defense, however, I’m a lot more preoccupied with my immediate plight. The more I struggle, the more clear it becomes that the razor sharp edges of my feathers are a lot more likely to shred me than they are the net that’s pinning me down. A fact that is both boggling and infuriating, and leads to no small amount of my continuing to try regardless because… why on earth would it not cut? Because they’re prepared for you, or I suppose for anyone who might have a bladed weapon on them.
At this point, the incidental carnage I’m causing with my thrashing? Becomes a lot more intentional. I hadn’t been trying to kill anyone. I may not have the rage fueled tendencies of Carter, but I’m also not a pacifist by any stretch of the imagination. They started this, not me, and if I inflict a lot of damage in the process of defending myself, that’s just simply my right. So I switch tactics. I may not be able to fly, but I can still jump. Flexing the wings, I send them out against the confines of the netting. Forcing the razor sharp pinions out, jabbing no differently than someone would with a spear as I gather my legs beneath me and try to launch myself upwards. Worst case, I give them hell when it comes to actually getting a handle on me, and taking me anywhere.
Damien: Damien is quiet as he finds a way onto the roof via a ladder on the backside. Once he’s on the roof, he pushes the ladder away. No need for them to get down. Using whatever stealth advantage he can get, he finally sees his targets. Digger and Multiplex. When he crests over the middle of roof, where it peaks together, Damien smirks as he starts down the roof, and towards this. Now he wasn’t being completely stealthy, because by the time he reaches Multiplex, Damien’s going to use that bat and strike it as hard as he can against his back. Not caring what damage he’s inflicting to the man.
“Give up, Digger.” Damien says, twirling the aluminum bat with one hand as if it was an extension of his hand. His ears are still ringing, but nowhere near what they were before. If Digger tries anything, he’s going to get met with a bat on forearms followed up with a hard job to his stomach with the top of the bat. They had their fun, and it seemed Sheira was having a hell of a time. Hopefully with his attack on Mutliplex and Digger, it’ll sever the connection to his dupes and make them vanish.
This was the only thing Damien really could do. If he’s too late, then he’ll have to figure something else out. Maybe hurl the bat like a spear at one of them. Right now, he was looking to end this fight before any of them can get away. And maybe help Carter wherever he is. They mentioned Hawk-One, he could only assume that Carter was putting up a hell of a fight against a couple other members of the Suicide Squad. There were a lot of questions, but it’s not like they could just throw them all into jail and let courts settle it.
Dick: With those words a gasp sounds from Nightwing, who was until that incantation barely lucid. Knowing only what was going on, but being out of his ability to do anything to influence it. Such was the state of a normal person being pumped full of narcotics meant to bring down one of the Hawks. As quickly as the words spill from beautiful lips though, Zatanna cleanses the body. Magic, who would have thought that would be saving the Boy Wonder’s butt?
She did not, however, heal him of all that ailed him, leaving him to recover the physical injuries that come with the pummeling of seven duploids. That may mean he’s not ready to charge off, to save the world on his own, but he can put his eyes, ears and mouth to use. “Suicide Squad. Captain Boomerang is the house across the street. Robin,…. the other Robin… is working his way to them.”
“Those soldiers aren’t real people. They’re digitized copies of one another and they seem to be able to replicate at will, I’m not sure how their power works.” Lastly he points at the Hawk-Girl, who’s struggling with the net but seems to be making quite the mess of Digger’s efforts to have the duplicants put her in a Van. “They’re here for her. Well. Her wings. They’re made of the metal we talked about before, Z.”
Boomerang : “Aww y’ got me Mate. No tricks now.. I’ ain’ gonn’ move a muscle…”
Any time a man like Digger says that, you know something is wrong. For once though, it’s not because -he- is the one pulling a fast one. Captain Boomerang kinda gestures with his chin for Damien to look at Multiplex. Oh, sure. He did a number on the one that was controlling the rest. Took him out like a right proper ninja, he did. And sure enough, all the duploids that Multiplex was controlling disperse.
Except that Damien hit Multiplex with so much force that kinetic energy sends more duplicants in every direction. It’s like Damien was playing whack-a-mole and when he hit the first Mole, it splintered in to five more. The difference now? Is that -these- duplicants were created without someone controlling them. And boy are the mad at Damien.
Harkness simply backs away, until he can leap off the roof.
Zatanna: She nods quickly. Injuries she could work with later but she knew even injured, he was capable of taking care of himself as long as he wasn’t in the drugged state he was in before. She was already taking little notes as she strode to exit the building in the direction that Nightwing had directed. More mental notes quickly taken with every step. Ultimately, the mission was very clear. They were not to get the woman or her wings.
The quickest way to the where all the action was up. Not up the stairs and through whatever bodies may be waiting along the way. Up, bending the laws of reality around mystic energy and sheer force of will. The words were whispered and she floated right to the top. Perhaps it was poor luck, or great luck that she would come to that edge right where Boomerang was attempting to make his exit.
She reached to the brim of her hat, tilting it downwards as she scowled. She was not happy with this situation. The fact Dick was in such a state that he needed to call her was more than enough to piss her off. And anger sometimes led to unpleasant thoughts on how to twist his spell, how to render him incapable of causing any harm ever again. All things that she sought to work against but there was always that taste of darkness at the tip of her tongue.
““S’hes ton eht tegart. llac meht ffo”
She knew the consequences of getting involved in this. There would be ripples. They would come back. It didn’t appear like anyone was up for a longer fight and she wasn’t about to hold them all off on her own. As easy as it would have been to tell him to just fall, it wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.
Shiera: This time, when I come down, I find myself without any suitable targets to try and land on. As abruptly as they’d appeared in the house in the first place, in the wake of the explosion, they have now disappeared. I’d question the way they went about it, but I have giant wings, which look like feathers but are really made out of mind-controlled metal. There’s a great degree of just accepting the weird and inexplicable, rolling with, and then coping with it to my life right now. I may not be able to take off truly, but my wings slow my descent at least a degree. Allowing me to land with slightly more grace than a sack of wet towels.
Apparently whatever, or whomever, had been driving that van was now no longer there either. I’d scarcely hit blood splattered lawn, and begun to try to find the bottom edge of this net, before I realize the exact trajectory of the now rogue vehicle. Battlefields are treacherous and require sure footing on the best of days, and this? Is not me at my best. I’ve managed to foul myself even more and a foot slipping out from beneath me stops another skyward jump from going quite as smoothly. Instead, I end up doing my best bird into a car windshield impression, wings destroying the glass more than the impact. It wasn’t going nearly fast enough to really do any threatening amount of harm to me. It’s more insulting, scratches from shattered glass the worst injury. Except maybe my pride as I roll over the top of the windshield, a terrible screech of metal on metal.
Damien: Damien had his own host of problems. Watching Digger get away, he muttered to himself. Falling from a two story house wasn’t an issue. It was the five dupes that were now glaring at him. Taking a couple steps back. They were too spread apart for him to take them off all at once. But, Damien didn’t mind these odds. Nothing new, really. Only problem was that he couldn’t hit them with any kind of force. So, improvisation was the only thing he had. Dodging and weaving their attacks, Damien would then unbuckle his belt capture one dupes hands between then, cinched it closed.
One down. Four to go. Using the bad to deflect punches, he needed to maneuver himself so he could backflip off the roof. That meant dodging, jumping over and sliding out of the way. It was hard, but once he got to the roof, Damien would do a perfect launch. Arms out, feet straight as his back arched slightly as he then tucked into a roll once he hit the ground. If he had his sword, he wouldn’t feel so bad taking these things down.
Hopefully they won’t follow him, Damien landed a little weird on his feet. But, nothing a day or so could fix. Moving over to Sheira, he starts helping her with the netting as fast he could. Maybe later he’ll train her how to successfully get out of a net. Though, more on Damien’s death wish, later. “Are you okay, Sheira?” asking, wanting and hoping she was.
Boomerang: You just know the level of person you’re dealing with when they’re faced with a levitating woman, speaking magical words and the only thing their eyes meet are the breasts that costume puts on display. Hell, that trumps just about any amount of fear you might otherwise merit from one Digger Harkness when he’s spun around in the midst of making his escape. Zatanna’s actually getting a smirk from the old Australian. He never does actually make eye-contact though. Sizing her up and down, then up and down again.
“…blimey, look at ‘t’e norks on this’un…”
His face screws up for a moment as he finally realizes that she’s speaking to him. Or is she? The expression on his face says that he is registering that Zatanna has spoken to him, but hasn’t a bloody clue what she’s said. Whatever magic it is that weaves itself all around the brain waves of one Digger Harkness, they just don’t manage to take root anywhere. Other than that look of momentary confusion, which followed that look of appreciation, Digger just simply continues on his merry way. Dropping off the side of the building.
The difference is that he knows Zatanna said something. She was clearly waiting for those words to mean something to him, even if he hasn’t a clue what foreign language she was speaking at the time. Doesn’t matter, she wasn’t helping with the procurement of the package. That’s why the moment his feet touch the ground and he’s done rolling through the two-story drop, those hands of his are each tossing a boomerang. One in each direction.
Each boomerang has a different target. The first goes in through the open window of Carter Hall’s home. The second goes through the front window of the house Damien and the duploids are fighting. Remember the beeping? Those who can actually hear the noise probably remember what the hell that sound is for sure. With that Captain Boomerang makes off in the direction that Carter Hall had gone earlier in the morning. Not even bothering to call of Multiplex.
Beep beep beep. Beepbeep beepbeep. Beepbeepbeepbeepbeep…
Shiera: Among all the possibilities for ways my day could have gone? This was not really one I could have picked out. Sprawled on a van, having to stop the gut reaction to skewer someone who’s trying to untangle me from a giant net. It’s only the obvious fact that he’s not trying to hurt me, and is clearly trying to get me out that stops more blood from being added to what’s made a rather horrific splatter painting of my face and arms and… well. All of me.
It’s a rather terse response, and one I might feel badly about in any other situation. But I don’t know these two. No, three now from the view I had during my first jump. They turned up just as unexpectedly, and uninvited as the other group, with words like ‘come with us or…’ Anything else I might have wanted to say is cut off by the escalating sound of beeping coming from far, far too close. The van had glided/crashed to a halt into what remained of the front entry to Carter’s house, and that put us once again all too near to the exploding boomerang. This time I don’t just cover myself, though. Wings losing their razor edges as I come up out of the loosened netting, bowling Damien over and shielding him at the same time.
Only there’s no explosion. I’m braced for the detonation, for the way the boom will surely disorient my senses for a few moments and instead there’s… the smell of cotton candy overwhelming even the metallic tang of blood in my nose. I don’t even question it. Not out loud anyway, in my head there’s a litany of confused curse words, as I unfurl my wings from around the prone man, gather my legs under me and launch skyward. A different kind of adrenaline mixing with the other that was already fueling me, and this time I actually manage to get up into the sky. Downtown, the Australian had said…
Maybe I should have offered a thank you. I wasn’t going to stick around for the ‘or else’ I heard in the opening conversation, even if it wasn’t said out loud. Not when Carter might need help.
Gotham during summer was hot, muggy and generally miserable. The night didn’t give much leeway from this. And being in a full costume didn’t make things any better. While Damien didn’t complain, he was far from comfortable. But if his father could do it, then he could do it. Even if it meant that he was ten pounds lighter at the end of the night. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make. Timothy did his best to make the suits lightweight and breathable, there was only so much he could do without compromising the safety and integrity of the suit.
Be as it may, Damien continued moving through the city. Needing to keep his mind occupied while his mother recovered in a hospital nearby. Though she was under heavy security thanks to Timothy’s drones and regular patrols in the area by the others. He was on edge, and needed to take it off, which meant most of Gotham’s criminals were his target. While he wouldn’t kill them… once they recover. They would most likely rethink their stance on doing crime in his city.
Damien made it his business to know what was going on in the city, to know what was coming in and going out. What gangs were up to. He knew that he couldn’t completely eliminate crime, but like his father, he could use it as a tool to keep things tempered. Which is what he was doing now, there’d been reports of a rise in gang violence. Especially since Cobblepot’s downfall … again. One of the gangs, the Yakuza were rising quickly.
It was time to curb that growth.
Damien stalked towards the edge of their territory. Maybe if he can follow a few of them. He can find the lead and … convince them to knock it off.
That’s how it worked, right?
Her encounter with Katana had left Eiko with a new scar on her neck, just a little reminder of how close she’d come to death. The injury had been a necessity, to convince her father that she had tried her best but simply been completely outmatched by the masked vigilante. In return he’d graciously allowed her to keep all of her fingers, and she’s been convalescing in her room ever since.
Or at least, that’s what he thinks.
Her neck’s still bandaged, but the hood of her costume conceals it for the most part. It’s hot and uncomfortable in the thick material but she’s invigorated by it all the same, the sense of freedom that comes with being incognito. The voyeuristic thrill of seeing people she knows and knowing they don’t recognize her. And more than that, she can act differently, without the constraints of her station as the heiress-apparent of the Hasigawa Family. The first time she’d put this thing on was the first time in her life that she’d been able to act her age.
That high still hits her like a shot of heroin. Which, incidentally, is something her current project relates to. The Yakuza has been getting into the trade, shipping in the black tar from overseas through their control of the docks. Privately, Eiko had disagreed with her father that this was a good move but as Catwoman she can actually do something about it. So, Damien isn’t the only one stalking the Japanese mafia tonight.
From atop a roof, quiet as a cat, she observes an unassuming warehouse. While she already knows the schedules, the amount of guards at any given time, how much product is on hand, she’s working backwards from that knowledge to identify a way to take it down without tipping her hand. It could be as simple as placing a call to the police, but she doesn’t much trust the police; they have people there, too. Her fingers gently touch the handle of the coiled bullwhip hanging from her hip. Yes, maybe it’ll come to that. Criminals ought to be flogged.
Following the Yakuza was easy enough. Coming up onto a warehouse. It seems tonight he was in company. Though, he was unaware of this company for a moment. There was -something- in the warehouse, that much was for sure. The number of guards, and how the Yakuza soldiers had to present some sort of identification before getting in was another tip off that there was something in there that they wanted controlled.
Standing at the edge of the building, he’s not hiding. But he knows there not going to look at the rooftop of an abandoned building near Crime Alley. The police in this city were all but useless, If only Damien had his way….
Moving from the building easily, he’s able to get around to the other side of the street quick and easily enough. Being trained by both the League of Assassins and Batman had quite the number of perks. Damien watches the guards on the ground for a few minutes before deciding that the roof was a much more feasible idea. There were only four guards on the rooftop, compared to the eight or more on the ground.
When the time was right, Damien easily crossed the gap between buildings and lands on the roof near one of the Yakuza he’s able to deflect the gun meanwhile throwing out a shower of knives at the other Yakuza on the top. The knives were tipped with a paralyzing poison. It won’t kill them…unfortunately. But they won’t enjoy it. Now, it was time to deal with the man in front of him.
The two of them would trade blows, though Damien more or less powered through them. Enough to deliver a palm strike to the mans chin, then circles around for a strong roundhouse kick sending the man flying over the edge. Damien would normally be content on letting the man fall to his death, Bue Damien is able to catch the man with the grappler and tie him off on the roof.
Now, to see what was inside…
He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
There will be a shift change soon, and she’ll hit them just after. It wouldn’t do to get caught up by a second wave of thugs. One spread is more than enough for her; her leather catsuit is laced with Tarwon, a para-aramid fiber from the Teishi zaibatsu that is comparable to Kevlar, but not enough that she’s confident of surviving sustained gunfire. That is an aspect of this whole super-vigilante business that she’s not yet grown accustomed to. Maybe if she’s good enough, she’ll never have to. That’s the ideal, anyways.
Her script is flipped entirely by the arrival of someone else, another hood but from this far away it’s unclear whether he’s a vigilante or a rival’s hitter out to steal the goods for himself. She mutters a curse and frees her whip, lashing at the post of a billboard bolted to the side of the next building over and swinging onto the fire escape, which she nimbly descends. Landing in a three-point stance on the concrete below, nimbly as her namesake, she slips across the street under the cover of night. There had been streetlights here, once upon a time, but those that hadn’t been destroyed by ambient thuggery had been systematically shot out with pellet guns by the Yakuza so as to keep their own operation in the dark.
Inside the warehouse, unsurprisingly there are more men, most with guns but a few with swords as well. Her father trains his men himself as a kind of bonding exercise, and they tend to be decent but her father is not Tatsu and so the skills he imparts are of a lower caliber; she does not train with him, and has rarely even visited the grounds he uses. Past the rows of crates filled with fake oriental pottery, a table lined with bricks of heroin is being rapidly cleaned off by a gaggle of prostitutes stuffing it into colorful cartoon animals. They’d gotten ever more creative with their smuggling tactics but sometimes these toys fall into the hands of children.
Eiko hops onto a dumpster next to the warehouse and mantles onto the roof, stalking behind Damien with the intent of figuring out his motive here. She is as an individual very sneaky, but she is no Selina Kyle regardless of the ears she wears.
Damien knew the footfalls of his brothers. And the ones behind him were not them. They were quiet, and if it was someone else. They might not hear them at all. But this wasn’t just anyone. For now, he lets them think that Damien didn’t hear them and continues deeper inside. Once the stairway down opens up enough, he slips off it and onto the rafters. Quiet as a well, as a cat, in this case.
Moving along with them effortlessly, he’s able to able to get a better vantage point in a especially shadowed area between the skylights and the darker shadows cast by the other rafter beams. As he stands still, the shadows seem to almost wrap around him making him nearly invisible to the naked eye. If she was watching him, she’d even have a hard time spotting him in the darkness. Even if he wasn’t wearing black. Thanks to Timothy, he’s able to blend better into the shadows.
Behind her, there’d be a rustle as a pair of pigeons land next to her, cooing softly as they started cleaning themselves and generally being well… pigeons. Not caring, Damien continues staring down as armed men watched as prostitutes in their underwear work to take the heroin out of childrens toys. Narrowing his eyes, he’s on the move again. Silent, as if he wasn’t even touching the rafters. Whoever was tailing him was going to have quite the fright of their lives as Damien vanishes from sight, only to appear behind the leather clad woman.
Damien didn’t have quite the imposing figure that his father had, but it didn’t make him any less intimidating as he simply reaches out and taps her shoulder. If he could just do things his way, this would be so much easier…
“Who are you?” his voice modulated through his helmet as he stood there crossing his arms narrowing his eyes at her. They were high enough that as long as they don’t shout, the heavily armed men below won’t start unloading their weapons in the direct of Damien and Eiko.
She’s at least stealthy enough not to disturb the pigeons, though she silently curses their inconvenient appearance. Having some insider knowledge of what’s going on inside of the warehouse allows her to proceed with confidence, knowing that neither she nor the one she is tailing will be blundering into an ambush. It’s that level of tactical awareness that gives her an edge, rather than the violent sort of reconnaissance employed by Red Hood.
Of course, there’s a time and a place for that as well; one has to keep one’s options open.
Creeping along the rafters, she has her bullwhip in hand still, coiled in loops. With the flick of her wrist the leather will move faster than the speed of sound, the cause of that famous crack, and it’s thick enough that it gives quite a whollop as well. Long, which gives her the advantage of reach and tactical flexibility in that it can be used to incapacitate without causing wounds. She is highly skilled in all types of weaponry, but the foundation of that skill remains the bladework she had learned under her first sensei.
Suddenly, the masculine figure in front of her goes from being just barely visible to vanishing entirely. It’s a trick she’s capable of as well, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant to be on the receiving end. She goes stock-still as she feels him standing behind her, aware of his presence before he touches and making no sudden movements until she can ascertain his hostility. Thankfully, all he does is tap her. Perhaps he’d been meaning to startle her, but she seems unphased. Deep down though, she’s perfectly terrified.
Moving very slowly, she turns to face Damien, still in a crouch and so much smaller than the imposing vigilante. “…Catwoman?” she says, very nearly more of a question than an actual response. There’s a bandage just barely visible beneath her cat-pendant necklace, perhaps the reason her voice sounds more than a little rough and gravelly.
Damien’s posture doesn’t change, and he’s annoyed by her answer to his question. He keeps his arms crossed and glances down at the operation. It wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. “No. You are not.” saying as looks back towards her. “I would suggest you leave. The gang here are not to be for novices. The Yakuza are quite malicious, and I do not wish to find your body in the gutter because you decided to cross the Yakuza.” his voice, though modulated was even. It didn’t rise or fall, it was just very even. Turning to the side, he gestures towards the door. “You may have ten minutes before the men on the roof start to awaken and sounding the guards off, which will then trigger these men below us to leave.” and then they wouldn’t be able to destroy any of the product.
Without a sound, he drops from the rafters onto the floor below them. Landing easily enough, he runs along the side of the giant crates until he’s close enough to get a better look as to what was going on. The men while heavily armed, weren’t looking in his direction. Reaching into his belt, he pulls out a couple of small metal balls and then rolls them out towards the men. After a couple of seconds, a loud concussive sound would shatter the quietness as thick black smoke filled the immediate area.
There was no hesitation in Damien’s actions as he runs into the cloud. If she’s watching, she’d hear gunfire go off, followed by screams of fear and anguish. Some of the men crying out in Japanese that a red faced demon had come to kill them all. Why must they always think that Damien was out to kill them? Sigh! These were some of the things Damien had to deal with as he made quick work of the men. The prostitutes stopped working and had ran off to behind a van to cower in fear.
When the smoke cleared, Damien would be standing in the middle, four or five Yakuza laid on the floor in various agonizing poses. Mostly with limbs facing the way they shouldn’t. Holding up one of the men, Damien questions him in perfect Japanese.
”When is the boat due?!?!”
Eiko has, in her career as a criminal thus far, had the fortune to not run across any of the city’s host of vigilantes but in this instance that proves to be a detriment. She only knows the most vague of rumors about them, from conflicting whispers on the streets. They’ve never been a primary focus of her own investigations or maneuvering but perhaps that’s time to change. By adopting the persona of a legendary criminal she’d made herself into a figure that they could easily turn on, even while it had given her free license to hamper the criminal organizations of the city under mysterious auspices.
“I’ll decide what’s too dangerous for me,” she replies evenly, betraying none of her anxiety. Her accent is tamed, might as well be American; though she’d been born in Tokyo she had been schooled in the West, had for the most part assimilated their manneurisms while in their company. It makes it easy enough to play off her ethnicity, and as for looks most thugs are too busy staring at her chest to think too hard about the color of her skin.
Despite her protest, she lingers a moment after he descends, watching Damien act decisively from above. It’s hard to see much through the smoke but the sounds of a battle can often tell quite a vivid story as well. Just as the cloud is beginning to clear, she drops down to the floor nimbly, her boots not even a whisper as she slips toward the fallen gangsters. While the man in the Red Hood‘s grasp stammers out his defiance, indicating perhaps that he has not been beaten quite enough, another stands up and runs for the exit. Her whip slashes through the air, taking him out at the shins and sending him face-first to the floor in a quivering heap.
“You’re wasting your time. He won’t talk, and besides, I already know all that stuff,” she mentions casually. “What you really should be worried about is-” There’s the sound of motorcycles outside, car doors being slammed. “…the graveyard shift.” Crap. The claw-tipped fingers of her free hand tense, clenching and unclenching from a scratching pose. “Looks like our date just got a lot more interesting.”
Damien isn’t interested in her chest, voice, or what she looks like under the mask. All he cares about is that she just told him the information he needed. Dropping the Yakuza member, the man slowly starts to drag himself away from the Red Faced Demon. “If you have the information. Then why are you here?” asking, gesturing as he heard motorcycles and car doors opening and slamming. “And we are not on a date. I do not know you, despite what legacy you seem to be wearing.” indicating her outfit, it wasn’t the same as the one Selina Kyle wore. The stitching was different, the zipper and boots she wore were also different.
It was safe to say Eiko was playing up to the memory of being Catwoman. For now, it will have to do, and hopefully she doesn’t get killed by the Yakuza. That was the last thing he needed tonight. Damien moved from the men to hide behind some crates before the others busted the doors down and started flooding the warehouse floor with men. Stealthily moving around the crates, he tries to see how many of them there were exactly.
But, he needed it to be darker. Turning around, he squats down leaning back against one of the crates as turns his wrist over to reveal a small display on it. Damiens fingers scrawled across the display as he worked at finding the electrical grid. After a minute, Damien pulls his jacket sleeve back down and then the lights shut off. Darkening the entire warehouse.
Now, it was time for the fun to begin.
Eiko tilts her head at Damien, the closest she can approximate to a raised eyebrow given her nearly-opaque red goggles. “I’m here to keep this garbage off the street. Unlike you, I get all the info I need before I get in fights,” she asserts, with no small amount of sass. She’s not really allowed to talk like that to anyone without the mask on. Not her father, nor even her subordinates. Being middle management in the Yakuza is harder than one might imagine; truly it is better to be the King.
She sniffs when he rejects the notion of a date; it had been a joke anyways, but at least he’s acknowledging her gimmick here. Accepting it. She has no idea where Selina Kyle had gotten off to but her absence had left a void, and as good as left her mask just laying on the ground for some young woman to pick up. She hurries over to the huddled prostitutes, mostly brought in from Taiwan and not especially fluent in English but they know Japanese well enough and she instructs them in that language, directing them to a corner of the warehouse with no nearby exits before she runs back to rejoin Red Hood.
Taking up a spot on the opposite side of the same aisle, her shoulder barely hits the side of a crate before the power goes out. The doors are thrown open and the graveyard shift begin to pour in. ‘Catwoman’ allows her bullwhip to uncoil and fall to the ground, holding only the thick handle. She doesn’t have the same array of high-tech toys that Damien does but her nightvision is keen enough to operate in the scant moonlight that filters in from the smoked-over windows lining the top of the building.
The tech “toys” that Damien had were provided. He didn’t need them, but they made things so much easier. When ‘Catwoman’ rejoins him, he gives her a look. She’d feel how dirty of a look he was giving, even though she couldn’t actually see his face through the helmet. But, then again, Damien gave that look to everyone at one point or another. Hearing the men talk to each other in Japanese as they moved through the warehouse, Damien leans up a little and moves along the crate of boxes as he pulls out a sword of his own.
This would be much easier than dealing with guns at the moment. Shifting through the night, he takes out a couple of men easily enough. Maiming them…but not killing them. Richard and Dinah should be happy. While, as good as Damien was, he couldn’t take on a full squad of armed Yakuza. The prostitutes should be fine, the Yakuza didn’t want to deal with them. They wanted to deal with the Red Faced Demon. They didn’t know about Catwoman, at least, not yet.
But, first, he needed to burn the product before running around. Getting close, he could see a couple Yakuza with uzi’s just waiting to spray someone with the small automatic weapons. Before they could get the drop on him, Damien would ambush them. As the muzzle flash from the uzi’s lit up the immediate area, Catwoman would see a few men sneaking around to come up behind Damien and make him sorry they messed with the Yakuza.
Catwoman shrugs at the glowering vigilante, putting both hands up as if to question the nature of his beef. But she’s smart enough to stay silent, among other things, and when he draws his sword she stops paying attention to him and focuses on the gunmen coming in. She’s waiting for Red Hood to take the lead, to see how he wants to handle this so that she doesn’t get in his way. Although she wouldn’t admit it even if pressed, she knows that she could probably learn a thing or two from watching.
Her whip is quickly coiled back up once it becomes clear they aren’t going for a nearside ambush, which would’ve been a dicey gamble anyways, and then she slips between the crates, tracking Damien’s movements as he engages the Yakuza. She knows most of them, their names, their habits. How cruel or nice they are to the girls that are trafficked. Some of them she really isn’t sorry to see getting carved up, especially since nobody dies.
She slinks around the flanks of the battle, quietly guarding Damien’s blindside and waiting for her own moment to engage. It comes when a trio of men sneak past her own hiding spot, a pool of shadows she’s melded into almost perfectly, and she lets them get a good ten foot head start before she slips out and catches the one in the lead about the ankle with her whip, knocking him into the gangster beside him and sending both to the ground. She sprints at the remaining thug, jumping to run the last few feet along the side of a shipping crate before springing off and leveling him with a crushing elbow that sends him sprawling atop the two on the ground.
The one on the bottom of the pile struggles to lift his submachine gun from the ground and she crushes his hand beneath her bootheel until he lets go, turning toward Damien to flash him a V for victory and a cheeky grin.
Damien isn’t impressed by her save, or her grin, or her victory symbol. Instead, he moves past her to the drugs. Before he could pull his flare out, they’d both be instantly surrounded by a number of guards. This was trouble. Moving towards the center of the circle, Damien is suddenly engulfed in a spotlight as the van starts shaking and moving. The rear doors open as a large man steps out. One. Large. Meaty. Foot at a time.
Stepping out from behind the van doors, he stands taller than Damien, and it four times his size in width. He’d seen sumo wrestlers before, but it’s always amazing to see them fight… though, fighting them was a problem. The layer of fat protected them, and this large specimen of a man wasn’t any different. His hair was tightly pulled back in a bun on the top of his head as he stepped closer to Damien. Causing Damien to back up… only to be greeted by a gun to his back.
“You wish to fight.” Damien said as he stepped forward, tugging his jacket off and tossing it onto the floor. Clasping both of his hands together, he bows before the sumo wrestler. The two circle each other as Damien then goes in for a series of kicks and punches, with the last punch hitting the wrestler straight in the chest.
Normally, this would strike down any other man.
But, this wasn’t any other man.
This was a sumo wrestler.
The large man grabs Damien and throws him like a rag doll, the vigilante’s body skipping across the concrete floor like stone on water. This… wasn’t going to end well.
Eiko feels she can afford to be cocky because she has insider knowledge, she more or less knows the strength of the force they’d just dealt with but in the end it’s that arrogance that is punished as it takes her focus off of her surroundings long enough for a nasty surprise. Her father had changed things up without letting her know, sent a bigger response. Perhaps they’d planned to move the product out early. Organizing the minutia here was supposed to be her responsibility but perhaps her repeated, intentional failures and feigned incompetence had finally begun to outweigh her successes.
The old man is making moves without her. Does he know? No, she’d already be dead if he did; he would kill her without hesitation if he knew that she was working against him. But it speaks to deeper currents, and she doesn’t have the time at present to analyze what all of this means. Not once Konishiki makes his appearance. She groans and drops her whip, holding her hands up. She won’t let herself be captured because that would be as good as suicide but she’ll play pretend long enough for someone to get close and fight her way out even if it means killing a few of them, a prospect she finds distasteful but it’s not like she’d never taken a life.
However, Damien is the first to rise to the challenge, squaring off with the sumo champion and she reverts to observation, forcing herself to ignore the guns pointed at her for the time being. It looks like Red Hood is outmatched, though, and if she’s to be round two she won’t fare much better. So, fighting clean is right out, then.
Pursuing her lips, she steps forward to join the two, coming in from the flank and dropping into a sweep of her boot into the big guy’s right shin right as he’s stepping off with that foot. He’s much larger than she is, and obviously stronger as well but by utilizing leverage, fighting smarter (not to mention a little dirty) she can put him on the ground hopefully long enough to give her ersatz partner the edge he needs to turn this around before Konishiki beats her right into a black and red smear on the concrete floor.
Damien slowly got up as he saw Catwoman’s attack on his shin as Konishiki takes a step. This surprises him as he’s stepping to grab her by leaning over just a little with his big meaty hands. Seeing an advantage here, Damien scrambles up and charges at the large man. Before the wrestler can grab Damien, the vigilante jumps enough to grab Konishiki head and drive his knee into the man’s face, breaking his nose in the process. This causes the man to stagger with a bit of a limp.
“Get his knees! I will strike his sola-” The sumo wasn’t going to have none of this as he grabs Damien and pulls him into a strong hug like grapple. Then the sumo wrestler started twisting his body, shaking Damien like a Lion killing its prey. It takes Damien a couple of shakes to get his hands free, but once they are he has a pair of small metal rods in each fist as he starts to slam them hard into Konishiki solar plexuses.
When Eiko delivers her strong kicks to the sumo’s knees, the heavy wrestler would start swaying like a tree in a breeze before finally falling back with a loud thump. The Yakuza look at each other, surprised that these two took down the mighty Konishiki. Damien would grab his jacket and pull it on with a groan as he stepped over to Eiko, his back to hers as he looked at the challenge ahead.
Though, Damien wasn’t about to play fair at all. “Cover your ears and eyes.” saying to her quietly as several metal balls rolled out of his hand. A moment later, the entire warehouse would be lit up brightly, along with several loud concussive pops. If she didn’t do what he said, she’d be stunned like if a flash bang grenade just went off infront of her. Taking the opportunity, Damien drops enough fire flares onto the drugs to burn it all as he makes a hasty retreat up a pair of stairs on the other side of the warehouse.
This would lead them out, with very angry Yakuza yelling at them in all sort of angry, angry words. Hopefully if Eiko continues to follow him, Damien makes sure to get a few buildings away from the Yakuza warehouse before stopping. “Who are you?” asking again as he turned around to look at her.
“You acted on more information than what was available. I ask again. Who. Are. You?”
Fighting along others isn’t a new concept to her, nor is taking orders. This is another way in which she contrasts when held against her predecessor. With Damien calling out shots, she’s quick to adapt and do as instructed without protest, lashing out with her foot and trusting in her partner to handle his end. The second part takes practice, to just have total faith in the competence of someone else, but it’s necessary for teamwork.
Thankfully, following his orders also spares her from the bang and the flash of his little orbs of doom. She’s more than a little jealous of his toolkit but there’s no source that she could dip into to get the same without it leaving a trail back to her. It had been risky enough putting together the outfit, which she’d done one piece at a time through various tailors. The mask had been especially difficult, but it was also the most important piece.
She rolls to retrieve her whip, sweeping the legs out from under another dazed gangster on her way out mostly out of pique as she tails Damien out of the hotzone. She’s fast and nimble, able to clear fences and keep pace with the stronger vigilante, her athleticism honed well enough that she’s not even out of breath once they’re outside the immediate danger.
Her most obvious weapon is once more coiled at her hip, though she’s never without her claws and after seeing Damien fight she’s marginally less frightened of him. Still reasonably certain she’d lose a straight-up fight but not entirely convinced she wouldn’t be able to flee if she committed to it. Thusly armed, she looks up at him defiantly.
“I already told you, I’m Catwoman. If you get to wear a mask, then so do I.” The knowledge of her identity is dangerous. To herself, to others. There’s only two people in the world she’d trust with it, and one of them is dead.
Now that he had a chance to really listen and get a better look. “You are Japanese. You hide your accent well.” telling her as he narrowed his eyes at her once again. “Tokyo born, Though you studied here.” meaning the US. “Your father has money. Enough to let you study abroad.” tilting his head at her, he turns to start walking away. “If I were you. I would stop playing dress up. It is a life that swallows you up.” honestly, it’s not a life he would suggest on anyone. Even if he does tease Stephanie about being his next Robin. He wouldn’t actually take her.
Walking to the edge of the building, he looks down at all the comotion of what was going on. “Whatever game you are playing, I would highly suggest you be careful. The Yakuza are not a gang to play around with.” now talking to her in perfect Japanese, to the untrained ear, it was perfect. But, to Eiko’s ears. It wasn’t perfect, good, but still trained and not completely natural. “And I suspect you know of Catwoman’s activities within this city? She did not make many friends. I would suggest extreme caution while wearing that outfit. While I can not approve of your actions. I also do not wish to see you dead.”
Damien’s read on her is dead on but it’s not complete. Eiko has to bite back the things she wants to say, which is something she’s well-practiced at but unpleasant in the current circumstance. This costume is all about freedom for her, freedom of action, of choice. The freedom to be who she really wants to be and not just some gangster pressed from a hollow mold of her father.
She follows him to the ledge, but keeps out of arm’s reach, still uncertain as to whether or not he’ll lash out at her. Particularly since she’d been so defiant, and plans to continue that way. Given his fluency in the language, she speaks Japanese as well. “I know exactly how dangerous they are,” she begins. “I became Catwoman because she has no friends, no one to become accountable for my actions.
“That she has many enemies has not been lost on me either.” In point of fact, Eiko is herself an enemy of Selina Kyle, someone who had been caught up in one of the original Cat’s little pranks. Sent to jail, if only temporarily, until her father’s expensive lawyers manifested in a puff of brimstone-scented smoke to get all the charges dropped. She doesn’t really hold a grudge over that, but it had led to something of an obsession for a time as she’d been assigned the task of tracking the woman down.
And that had led here. “You can work with me or not but you won’t change my course,” she cautions him.
Damien watched her for a long while. She certainly was defiant, while he’d like nothing more than to strangle her at the moment, he turns away pulling out his grapple launcher. “I will be watching you.” telling her as he launches the grapple to the building across the way and jumps off. Leaving her to own devices. He could get the information he needed easily enough from some other poor Yakuza that crosses his path. But, for now, it seemed this new Catwoman was picking up right where the original left off.
Deep down, Damien liked her attitude. But, he couldn’t show that to her. He wanted to hear her heartfelt reaction, her defiance to not back down. If she was going to be Catwoman, then she was going to have some big shoes to fill. If she looked down, she would see a small pager like device with ‘911’ written on the back. It was for her incase she needed help and got over her head into some kind of trouble she couldn’t get her way out of.
It wasn’t quite an approval, more of a ‘I don’t want to see you dead’ type of thing. The family honestly could use the help. And if she can control the Yakuza, then that was one less thing the family had to worry about with the potential looming gang war. Cobblepot’s spot was gone, which left a void. The question was, Who was going to claim that void?
Catwoman nods at his assertion, letting him slip away via grappling gun before saying “I expect nothing less.” She watches him until he disappears, then begins to make her own exit before the tip of her boot finds the little electronic device he’d left behind. Smirking, she picks it up, turning it over. It could’ve been a trap, but from what she’d gathered if he wanted her gone he would’ve just done it, come at her directly. No, this is something else entirely.
She clips it to her belt, deciding to take it with her as she heads in the opposite direction of Red Hood. The Yakuza princess can think of a dozen safe places to stash it until she can be sure to the best of her ability it isn’t emitting some kind of signal, but as far as the offer it represents she appreciates it. In the coming days she’ll need help, far more perhaps than even Tatsu might provide.
Especially once she makes her play to usurp her father, and take over Gotham’s underworld in the process.
ST: Ra’s al Ghul had not mislead Damien when he provided the boy with the location of his Mother. Sandy Hook: Admiral Docks. This isn’t your average Warehouse district sort of Boat Dock. Considered to be one of the wealthier areas in all of Gotham, Sandy Hooks is most notably home to Gotham Stadium. It is the tourist district of the otherwise gloomy Gotham skyline. You won’t find any homeless people here. No dark alleys. Very little crime.
What you will find is the Admiral Docks, where the wealthiest members of Gotham’s Elite harbor their boats. We’re not talking about an industrial district. This is a well lit harbor, with Yachts ranging from personal pleasure boats to Bruce Wayne’s own super-liner that hosts the New Years Eve celebration each year.
Security for the Admiral Docks is a mixture of personal security provided by the society members who bring their boats in to port and Port Authority, which is the naval portion of Gotham’s Police Department.
Each Yacht in the Port is more elaborate than the next. With every rich family in the City seemingly out to establish their own personal stature in the community, by making their water-bound homes more and more lavish than the next. Searching them all would take days, if not months given how difficult it would be to acquire the proper search warrants.
Luckily Ra’s al Ghul didn’t need to worry about red tape. He provided Damien with the exact Vessel. Destiny. A super-yacht. The 174 meter Luursen-class yacht can accommodate a whopping 75 people comfortably for a six month cruise. Three times that number can come aboard for an evenings party. Even in the dark of night the Destiny can be seen from all angles for miles due to the halo-lighting that serves as both ego-massage and security because the illumination makes it impossible to approve even from -beneath the boat- without being seen even by the naked eye. In fact this miracle liner is known for that very feature, as it actually causes the water for nearly 100 yards to illuminate in such a way that passengers can see the bottom as if it were pristine coastal waters.
Nothing about the boat is amiss, to the naked eye. Though neighboring Yachts have been complaining of late about the loud music and party that has seemed non-stop for almost two weeks straight.
Damien: The harbor wasn’t exactly Damien had in mind when his grandfather told him where his mother was being held. And on board the Destiny, nonetheless. It wasn’t going to be easy, there was no real way to approach the luxury yacht stealthy. If he was going to get in at all, he was going to need help. First, he needed Timothy to get him a layout of the yacht. If they were going to go in, they needed to know exactly where everything was. Everything was going to have to be figured out on the spot. Damien wasn’t going to wait to see what happened with his mother.
Second, He was going to need backup. As confident as Damien was in his own abilities, he knew this was going to require help. Calling Dinah and Richard to come help him was … hard. Damien was much like his father in this regard, not liking to have to ask for help. And when he did, he despised it. It wasn’t going to take long to get towards the docks, going in by air, ground or water wasn’t going to matter. “Timothy.” saying all too calmly as he brought his younger brother on the comm. “Will you be able to turn off the halo?” asking as he started coming up onto the harbor.
“Also. I will require information about this yacht. And do make it quick. I will be onto harbor grounds in approximately fifteen minutes. You will be our eyes and ears, Timothy. The Oracle, if you will.”
Dinah: Normally? There’d be some razzing about the phone call. Maybe more than a little but the tone of voice made it clear enough that I should save the pushing for after this is finished. I don’t want Damien, or any of them, to think that I won’t help. Especially when I’m asked. Because lets face it, normally I’m much more the in your business whether you want me to be or not kind of woman. This isn’t exactly a private matter anymore. Not once the League turned up in the city. Now it’s all hands on deck, or at least all hands that are functional and capable, and I’m still wishing there were a few more to be counted among that number.
Good thing I never let myself get totally drunk. It’s not the night to be off your game in even the slightest.
“Is the Batplane still potentially in kamikaze mode? Air’d be the closest thing to a surprise entrance you can hope for with those lights, and that’s still not going to be a lot.”
Explains so much though. We’ve been over the rest of Gotham, so has the League I assume, and no one had found hide nor hair (Ugh, both have strong potentials with who has her) of Talia al’Ghul. No one thought to check the one part of Gotham that’s usually off limits, and so… of course the Joker would have selected it for his hideout. Insanity doesn’t equal stupidity, unfortunately.
ST: “The ‘Halo’ is unfortunately a hard wired feature. Someone will need to disable it from onsite. Giving you a layout of the Destiny isn’t a problem though. There are essentially six decks. With the upper most deck being a helicopter pad, deck two is the bridge. Deck five and six are maintenance and engine rooms. Deck two is where you’ll find the security system’s main controls, including the hard line for the Halo. Once you’re on the boat, if someone can jack me in I’ll be able to do more but for now I’m essentially your eyes in the sky.”
Timothy Drake-Wayne has been sidelined for the evening due to injury. He’s been incommunicado for most of the last two days recuperating from the brutal beating he received at the Iceberg lounge. Along with his own physical injuries, the hijacking of the BatCave systems have left the Bat-Family with only one functional computer system. The Nest, which isn’t something the rest of them can actually operate in the first place. Leaving him the nature one to play the role of Oracle for the evening.
On the flip-side of this is Dick Grayson, the man currently sporting the Batsuit, “We’re essentially down one Bat-Plane. While we were chasing down a certain Red Hood and stopping him from killing anyone else. The League assaulted Wayne Manor. They ransacked the entire place. PennyOne was controlling the plane remotely when they attacked. He was forced to leave it on auto-pilot. Giving our mysterious Hacker a timely opportunity to seize control of it and attempt to kill us all.”
“There is more than one way to go airborn though,” Grayson is quick then to gesture the two of them to his Cape. “It isn’t just for show… I’d be willing to bet that Damien’s cape still fits too. Maybe he’d like to trade the Hood in for a R, tonight?”
Catman: What has Thomas Blake been doing since everything went to shit? Retracing steps. Checking out old haunts and probably if he did not know any better, contaminating crime scenes, but luckily for the over worked, stressed out men and women of the law especially the CSI techs Thomas knew a thing thing or two about not contaminating crime scenes. For Thomas it was about getting what he needed references, deconstructing what happened, but what was in front of him.
Whether it was a broken table, skylight or anything else that was out of place. Scents that blended together that made for a nightmare for most could be pulled apart by Thomas. It was like looking at after images. He didn’t see people, his brain could fill in the images, but his sense of smell, his olfactory senses were on fire. Things that were familiar and those that were.
Birds of a feather and who flocked and didn’t flocked together could be made out. As could ninjas (he was being kind, because in the beginning it was kung fu mutha #$@%ers.) Those were new, but he was becoming familiar with them and their arsenal of weapons. They certainly liked their smoke bombs. If anything he was looking for clues, clues to help him piece together where to go next, what questions to asks.
The Joker was involved. It was evident by his pirate broadcasts. Word on the street is this is where it happened. He needed to be able to distinguish scents not to go running out into the city, but to add them to a growing and never ending repository of information, but these quiet moments of the lone cat slinking through the night allowed Thomas to organize information in a way that allowed him to ask simple questions. Questions that some would overlook, but others might go hmm.
Of the scents there were some that were unfamiliar. One that was expensive, yet exotic. The fragrance wasn’t anything you would find stateside, it was definitely outside the United States. It had to be the dame. Then there were others that were local could be Joker, but another, this one that was neither ninja, goon or Cobblepot made Thomas wrinkle his nose.
He knew that scent. He smelled it before. He tucked that away. The scent had no name attached to it, but the nose never forgets. Still, this is where the dame was snatched. It’s what he was thinking about as he left one crime scene for the next. There were people to talk to. This was normal. Insurance rates would go out for Oswald, but he’d reopen.
He always did. Why was he involved? Why did it matter? Firefly wasn’t anyone to him, not really.
Perhaps it was the nagging feeling of…where was the justice? If it had been him he’d be in jail, being told what a harm he was to society. Ninjas were in the streets menacing anyone that was caught in their path that happened to have some interaction with those that had been classified as the enemy, because they might know something. Bat’s was an asshole, but he was their asshole and there was something. This…this bullshit was something….Gotham was hitting new lows, even for Gotham and given that he was from Gotham Thomas Blake could say that.
In the middle of all that something stuck out.
Damien: Damien had chosen to gloss over the fact that he had killed Killer Moth, but it wasn’t something he regretted all that much. The man was useless. Hardly a match for Damien’s viciousness. But, that wasn’t the others appreciated so much.
“You are not funny, Richard. Besides, I believe Dinah wore it better than I ever had.” Damien said with a complete straight face and deadpan delivery. Did he just make a joke? Gunning it towards the docks, Damien didn’t stop for anything. Dodging between cars, surprising old ladies crossing the crosswalk. You know, what he normally would have done. “The League attacked Wayne Manor? Hmm. Interesting.” pressing his lips together as he continued zooming towards the harbor.
Storing that bit of information for later, Damien concentrates on the operation at hand. “Dinah. I will need you to take care of the lights. If we cannot shut off the lights, then the night will be much more difficult than it will need to be. What about lifesigns, Timothy? Can your eyes tell us how many guards we are expected to encounter? And maybe where Joker is holding my mother hostage?”
ST: “That is where I give you the Bad News,” as if the rest of what Tim had reported was Good News! “There are nearly one hundred life signs on the boat. Scattered pretty randomly, from what I can see. I can’t risk the drones going in close, with the Halo on, or they’ll blow the element of surprise. So I’m dealing with what I can give you from range. More than half of the life-signs are also pinging on the metal detectors, suggesting that they’re armed. But…
“I’m afraid that’s not the worst of the news. My drones are reading high levels of thermite, which isn’t necessarily an explosive of it’s own, but is a catalyst used to ignite explosives,” Timothy’s voice is actually shaky when he finishes speaking. “What I’m saying is. I can’t tell you who is an enemy or an innocent but what I can tell you is that Joker has rigged nearly everyone on that boat with dead man explosives.”
Dinah: “Sounds like a job for someone not named Canary, you lost me at hard wired…”
In reality, I’d followed the rundown of the yacht itself of course, layout and what’s where committed to memory as easily as anything else is. Except the operation, or use, of anything more complicated technology wise than my VCR. I can use computers, we just have a hate-hate relationship and when it comes to ‘jacking’ anything, especially something important, it’s not a job best left to me even if there’s no other options. I’d probably find a way to get his system herpes at a distance. Or just break whatever I was supposed to be linking. But I’m glad Red Robin’s not here. I’d tried ‘grounding’ him to the house that he’s bunking in with me, which had lasted until I’d left myself, and he’d only been briefly back since. As long as he’s not in the thick of the fight though, he can do his thing.
“Ttch. I was hoping to see you in the booties, Hood. I’m sure they make them in your color. And I wore it better than any of you did. But who wouldn’t want to get all up close and cuddly with Bats, here. You drop me in the bay and you’re getting another tally on your sheet…”
Any further comment or commentary about Damien’s plan gets cut off by Tim’s additional sunny information about our situation here, and the corner of my mouth pulls tighter, and tighter to the side in a grimace as he goes on.
“So. We need to get in and out, with minimal side trips for vengeance…” Yes, I’m making side eyes at you, Hood, “In as short an amount of time as possible. I’m assuming if I destroy in true me fashion the controls and lights then Red Robin’s not going to be able to help…?”
Catman: Thomas had been to the Iceberg a few times, it was usually for upscale clientele. He was familiar with most of the female staff in one way or another. He rather not go into how he knew them, but he was familiar with most of their scents and the clothing that Cobblepot had them wear. It was familiar. However, there was something that didn’t stand out, something that was more along the lines Joker’s people.
Quinn. Not that he didn’t have a frame of reference, but anyone that was there that talked said nothing about her. Despite all her problems, Quinn was not a shrinking violet. She was loud, obnoxious and usually draped over the Joker like a cheap suit. At least that’s what Thomas had observed and heard. However, this time there was no mention of her…at all.
Even more, he couldn’t recall seeing her during the Joker’s broadcasts. That didn’t add up. Not one bit. What’s a guy to do? Ask questions. Questions that could get him in trouble if he asked the wrong people, but there were people he could ask. Had they seen the Joker’s best gal. True they had their differences, and they sometimes went on the outs, but there was nothing on the street said that they were on the outs. What he had a was a peculiarity. One ne needed to uncover.
Here’s the thing. He was working at the deductive reasoning business. If the Joker and Harley weren’t on the outs then where was she? There was nothing from the regulars about her being seen or brought into the police department and she’s not someone you would overlook on the street. She stood out just like the clown.
However, everything about what happened at everyone looking at the Joker focused on what he was doing. Their attention was to the left, but what was happening to the right? What was she up to? Why wasn’t she noticed? Because she didn’t want to be. Took of her face and put on a mask.
She blended in. Change of pace. Less asking about Harley and more about Harleen.
Damien: “I will hardwire him into the boat, then.” offering as he listened to Tim. Though, that didn’t discourage him from coming in hot on the harbor. “Oracle. If I am to give you a up close look at these dead man explosives, will you be able to determine if you can disable them, or give us a way to disable them?” the information was bleak, but it wasn’t going to stop Damien from going in. Though, it wasn’t going to be in the usual way.
Getting through the harbor gate wasn’t hard, that was probably the easiest thing he’d done tonight. Coming within sight of the yacht, Damien would narrow his eyes. It was obvious which boat it was. “Do not worry, Canary. There is only one trip of vengeance, And that is ending when I bash my fist against Joker’s skull.” explaining. “And here, We were comrades at one point. Tch. I was thinking of inviting him to Thanksgiving Dinner.” Obviously Damien was suffering from some kind of head trauma to make such a terrible joke.
Or, maybe he was trying to be like them? It was hard to tell. Damien was hard to read at times. “Okay, Oracle. I will be on the boarding ramp to the vessel in…3 …. 2 …. 1” stopping the cycle hard when he gets just inside the halo light, Damien launches himself at the first guard. Hoping to draw the surprise of some the guards to him. “Patch yourself to my helmet to see what I see and advise.”
ST: “Alright, hang on tight then Canary,” Dick’s voice is not nearly so stern as Bruce’s, but there’s a timber to it when he’s wearing the cowl. “Let’s be clear about this, Hood. We’re here to get your Mother out, Damien. That has to be the priority. Saving Gotham for tonight means getting Ra’s his daughter back.”
Bruce would have never agreed to this plan. Not with so many variables. Especially not with Damien in such a strange place as he has been mentally of late. Bringing in help with explosives on every level would have just invited carnage. All but asking the Joker to set them off for no other reason than to take people away from the Batman. The trouble with Bruce’s method, tonight, would have been a failure to recognize that all of this isn’t about the Batman and his eternal fight with the Joker. It’s about Damien confronting his Demon. Maybe tonight that Demon wears the face of a clown, but it’s still the young man’s demons at risk here. The loss of his Father has the Hood going down a rabbit hole and this might be the last chance to pull him out of it.
The Batman’s arms enclose around the lithe waist of the Black Canary only moments before the two of them take in to the air. They were in a lofty spot, across the Docks at the Lighthouse Tower. It was not merely a point of vantage to see the scene before them, but offered an opportunity to take the high ground. With his cowl in place, Dick was able to track the Red Hood’s transit from afar. Making it an issue of timing, that put them in the air only seconds after Damien begins his count down. Their arrival cannot be before the Hood causes a distraction. True to his words the Cape that Dick wears is fully functional, with hardened spines that look to be seams snapping in to place. With the cape then employed as a glider it will allow Black Canary to choose her point of entry.
In all of their ears is Timothy Drake, “You’re on my main screen Hood. I’m going to use your helmet line a sonar. As you move through the boat I’ll ping and then cross reference with the blue prints. Your mother has to be on level three or four. Deck four is mostly bed rooms. The films that Joker was sending to the local news showed your mother on a stage. That means deck three. Near the aft of the boat. There’s a theater room there. They have live bands perform for parties.”
Now the Boat itself isn’t that difficult to board. Not for the Batman, Black Canary and especially not the Red Hood on his motorcycle. What might be surprising though is the lack of defense put up by the ‘armed guards.’ Even when the engine of the Red Hood’s bike garners their attention? They seem rather flat-footed about mowing him down with a spray of bullets.
Which is a mystery that gets solve in rather quick fashion, when the Halo goes out and the disco lights take it’s place. If you though the Halo effect was bright? This is taking that effect and adding crack cocaine to it. The Admiral Harbor lights up like New Years, in the middle of June. The party music that had been reported to the police as noise pollution before only cranks it up that much worse.
Oh, but that is not the strangest little bit of information that our ‘Heroes’ get once arriving on scene. One has to wonder: How did Ra’s al Ghul know where the Joker was holding Talia? That answer comes quickly. In the form of League of Shadows bowmen laying face down in the olympic sized pool on the main deck. Their blood has turned the pool a sickly shade of brown. The chlorine does very little to cleanse the stench of death from the air. It’s difficult to count how many of the Assassins have died, because their bodies are quite literally piling up in the pool.
Catman: Thomas would not go as far as to say that he cracked the case, but he had something he could work with. It’s not that he didn’t have other resources, but he rather not tip his hand if he didn’t have to. He also was unsure about where he stood. Could this be contained? If so, what then? If not, what then? Gotham hadn’t grinded to a halt, but it felt like a city had seized a bit with everything that happened. The wheels of progress were once again off the track in the worst way.
Even if this had the best possible outcome and Talia al Ghul was rescued there were individuals who weren’t too keen about the way things went down. If the ninjas had been acting alone at the command of their master it would be one thing, but there had been too many reports that the Hood had been at the front. The same Hood who was galivanting around with the Joker.
Everyone saw how long that lasted, in the progress someone last their life and yes everyone knew the Joker was insane, not excuse a fact and he may find his way to Arkham again to repeat that cycle, but what about the Hood? Is this the Justice people should expect now? Are the rules being rewritten? A new order.
The Bat had been seen, but…Thomas told himself to focus. He needed to take a step at a time. Rather than asking if anyone had seen Harleen Quinzel he asked if anyone had seen this woman. If they didn’t think about or she would be a random person.
Anywhere. Somewhere. Someone had to have seen the woman. He was hoping. Whether Gothamites wanted to believe all of Gotham was touched by crime. Some violent, some not so violent some that used the upper echelons of population to bring their operations into the light. They went legitimate , we as legitimate as they could. Others had understandings, which is why he spoke with everyone showing the picture of Harleen from an old newspaper article. They didn’t need to know that she now went about as Harley Quinn.
It was a simple, “Have you seen this woman.” Type of situation. She was running a scam, and someone got burned and Thomas was doing work to track her down, for a friend. It took a little time, because he slow walked it, he didn’t want to tip off the wrong people. If word got around that he was looking for Harley it could quickly get back to the Joker and he wanted to avoid that.
However, he got what he needed eventually. She had been spotted, in Sandy Hook of all places.
Dinah: “So help me God, if you taze me again right now…”
I know he’s not going to, so it’s a hollow and trailed off threat as I wrap my arms around Grayson’s suited form. Up close, it’s very easy to tell the difference between him and when Tim wore the suit, even though he was ‘enhancing’ a lot when he did, and certainly from their father. They’re all built very differently, which could be attributed to what they’re each individually good at I suppose. His ‘fun’ little prank while we were sparring was one thing, none of these guys are going to put down a comrade in the field, especially not when there’s only three of us. It might amount to suicide.
And speaking of which…
There’s a harsh noise not exactly under my breath as we glide over the pool, lit up like a psychedelic murder disco that says ‘Welcome! Party’s Right Here and We’ve Been Waiting for You!’
“So we’re doing Ra’s’ dirty work, in the name of family loyalty and Gotham. Just #$&*ing great. I don’t know if this is a compliment, or a convenient ploy…”
And in the end it doesn’t really matter which one, because clearly the League can’t get this done with the forces he was willing to commit, and the current state of the city just can’t continue. As we approach the helicopter pad, and the inevitable staircase downwards to the floor below, I jerk my head with a suggestive waggle of blonde brows.
When I’m close enough to make the jump, I just let go and do, tumbling into a booted run across the top deck to make my way towards a whole lot of surely delicate electronics that I’m going to play not so nicely with.
Damien: Damien’s response well, wasn’t a response as Dick told him they were there for his mother, and his mother only. Vengeance will have to wait. That simple fact made Damien’s blood boil. Once again, having to choose. It was the right decision, Damien recognized that, but it didn’t mean that he had to like it. Once he’s on the boat, he’s surprised to see the League of Assassin bowmen laying face down in the pool, upon piles of their own corpses in the pool. It was a disturbing sight, but didn’t faze Damien.
All this would bring Damien down to one knee within the bridge as he reached up to touch the side of his helmet to turn the sound dampeners on. Then something in his lenses to filter out the extra light. Though, it would take him several seconds for the light blindness to slowly fade away. Whatever Joker was doing, it was definitely slowing them down. “Oracle. Can you hear me?” asking, unsure if Tim would be able to overcome the additional sound and light at the origin. When his blindness faded, Damien’s vision would still be hampered. Though, he could only hope that Batman was able to overcome this.
“If you can hear me, Oracle. Can you turn the power off to the vessel? Maybe that will be sufficient enough to turn off the lights and additional music. I am unsure how much longer the sound dampeners in the helmet will be able to suppress the sound before overloading.” It was becoming clear as to why his father had such a hard time defeating Joker. There was no rhyme or reason to his methods. No pattern, just pure chaos. While even chaos had patterns, Joker seemed to defy those laws.
“Batman, Canary. Are you well?” asking as Damien worked on patching a stronger connection for Oracle.
ST: Now our group makes Three. Batman. Black Canary. Red Hood. Gone is the sound of Timothy Drake in their ears. Gone is the sound of one another in their ears. While there are three of them, they are now each very much alone.
The Red Hood has taken to the bridge, that was the plan. He’d volunteered to handle deploying Timothy’s technology that should have given the Boy Wonder access to the Vessel. However none of them had accounted for the instant radio silence that descends upon them at their arrival. Damien most of all was relying on Tim to give him information. Cut off from that he has only his own senses and those of his Red Hood helmet to rely upon. Immediately beneath the Helicopter Pad, the Bridge Deck is actually the smallest area where crew or passengers actually inhabit. Damien can literally see from one side of the deck to the next, with the only impediment to his vision being the singular ‘Room’ where the crew would go to take control of the boat. That’s where the Captain and Crew would be, if the boat was out of the Harbor sailing the ocean blue. Right now the Bridge itself has a myriad of crew members. Each one dressed in their uniforms. Though they’re each showing signs of abuse. Their faces painted, marred with makeup that has made each of their faces a mocking tribute to the Joker.
What’s more immediately recognizable is that Tim was right. They’re all armed. Each of the five man crew that inhabit the bridge is armed with some manner of firearm. And each of them are turning those weapons on the Red Hood.
The Black Canary’s roost upon the Helipad is actually the one place on the vessel with the least amount of eyes on it. But that is actually by design. As the Boat ‘Lights Up’ the Helipad is transformed in to a stage. With the biggest and brightest of the lights turned upon it. Colors of all sort wash over the pad, as blinding as the sounds are deafening. The purpose of chaos is often confusion, but the lights upon the Helipad do not remain all that confusing for once. Their swirling nature last only until each of the lights come to rest upon a single point. A spotlight, such as it is. With a single person standing in the middle of it. A woman. Who’s arrival seems all too timely, especially once Dinah realizes that this woman has put herself right in the path of the staircase off the Helicopter Pad. The red, purple and green tassels that waft in the wind have a similar effect to Batman’s pretty cape obscuring most of the visible sight of what armor and weapons the creature might be carrying.
To those not yet on the boat the sight of the Yacht has drastically changed. It’s ordinary white wash finish has taken on a purple and green hue. The soundscoming from the Destiny can reach as much as a mile away. Circus Music is certainly a way to rouse many a high profile millionaire in the surrounding boats. Anyone within range of line of sight might also notice, strangely, that the other guards are almost motionless all along the exterior of the Boat.
Catman: This was the last place that he thought he would find himself. When people came to visit Gotham it was usually this area that they visited. It is where Gotham Stadium was located. It was the part of Gotham that people wanted to have showcase across the world and it got its fair share of television time sadly Crime Alley and the like also got their fair share. If Crime Alley was the hideous child that you wanted to keep hidden under the steps then Sandy Hook was the one you wanted to show.
In other words, Sandy Hook was Marcia Brady, while Crime Alley didn’t even rate Jan, it was Cousin Oliver.
If Thomas had more to go on he might know where to start in this area of the city, but while he had something he didn’t know exactly what it was. There could have been a number of reasons why Harley had come to his part of town. He could ask around, but that would take time and time had been running out. Though when one thought about it despite the fact that Talia al Ghul had been snatched in the Iceberg, Sandy Hook would definitely be an area she might have been residing in.
It was a leap, but one thing that Thomas knew was that no one had heard anything about the Joker setting up shop in the usual areas. Maybe there was a reason for that. Perhaps to disappear they needed to hide in plan sight in the last place anyone would look for them. It was possible. Anything was possible. It could explain why Harley had been in the area.
Perhaps it was as simple as that. Not only had she removed the armor to appear as a regular person they needed something innocuous and wouldn’t draw attention to themselves. So many assumptions, but now that he had an area there were different questions that he could ask.
Was there anything out of the ordinary. Anything, nothing was too big or small. Was it business as usual in Sandy Hook or was something out of place? That was the question and while there had been no explosions, no terrible threatening people roaming the streets, there had been something.
Noise complaint. Nuisance. Noise pollution. Apparently, all was not well in Sandy Hook. Neighbors weren’t getting along. Perhaps they were having a bit of spat, but as Thomas dug into it apparently this had been going on for quite some time. Two weeks. Two weeks and nothing, but then again, the wealthy tended to handle certain matters amongst themselves. At least that what he was told, but two weeks. It was true that al Ghul had been missing for a week, but perhaps he should.
It’s what brought Thomas to the Admiral Docks in Sandy Hook. The source of the noise pollution. Thomas had seen it before they all had. It was a jewel of Gotham, but by the time he arrived it had gone from jewel to something out of a nightmare. If there was any doubt about where the Joker had set up shop it had vanished. Apparently, the murder circus had set up shop on the water.
Despite what this meant the first thought that Thomas had was, property values are about to hit the basement.
Dinah: The lack of communication and tech feeds? Not actually all that problematic for me. I know what kind of gadget suites most of the other suits run, heads up displays, data feeds, streamed access to the Batputers. Just because I avoid implementing them like the plague doesn’t mean I don’t have a general idea of what they’re all working with. The only thing I’ve used, and probably ever will use, is the earpiece for communicating with my partners, and on occasion some low light/no light lenses. I’ve heard enough bitching and moaning from Tim that I wouldn’t let him ‘set me up’ with something more efficient and top end when he did the latest iteration of my Canary ‘suit,’ not to mention the serious threats of bodily harm he got when eyeballing my bike, but in moments like this? I kind of thing it’s a good thing. I don’t feel crippled, or even that off, when the banter and insight cuts off.
Plus, I have a bit of a distraction in front of me. The lights, and the figure at least. The sound doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Being immune to the concussive force of my own powers doesn’t mean I don’t hear them.
They were waiting for us. Tonight, in fact, because I don’t buy that this one, of all people, was conveniently waiting just so for more than about five minutes. I doubt she has the attention span for it, really. That’s not even factoring in the lovely stage lighting, but I only spend so long wondering exactly how much of our system has been compromised, and where it starts. Or maybe someone just told them we were coming.
“Well, gotta say I’m a little surprised. I figured you’d be all for us offloading your boss’ distraction…”
Damien: When his vision came back, Damien turned around to see five men pointing their weapons at him. This wasn’t good. When they started firing on him, Damien did his best dance to dodge the incoming bullets. They were marred in Joker makeup, which means they might be doing this against their will. Which means non-lethal methods. Unfortunately, that didn’t apply to them against him. Though, he couldn’t kill them. Didn’t mean he could disable him. Diving behind one of the consoles in the bridge, he used it to take cover from the fire.
They were jamming all the equipment. Which meant that Damien had no idea what was going on. But, he had faith in his brother and Dinah to get the job done. There was a hope that maybe Tim could do something. But for now, he had to assume there was going to be no way in contacting his younger brother. It was a slight setback. Right now, Damien had to deal with five armed men, looking to make swiss cheese out of him. Sure, Damien’s armor was bullet proof. It didn’t mean he wanted to rush them and test just how bullet proof it was.
When there was enough of a pause, Damien would make his move. Getting onto his feet and staying low, he pulls out a small blade and runs around the edge of the console. Making sure to make it as hard as possible for the men to tag him. To keep them alive, he was going to have to slice the side of their knees in an attempt to get them to falter. It was the best he could do right now, because if any of them get a good shot in, things were going to become much… much different.
Helena: She couldn’t decide if she was more frustrated or embarrassed over the end of the evening. Frustration she could deal with, the other, not quite so easily. It left a lot of lingering questions she was prepared to answer, or could even answer. It also posed some larger problems and that on top of everything just soured her mood. Being reminded of to many things from her past made a seed of doubt dig its way into her brain, imbedding and growing. To many what ifs were running through her head as she unlocked the door to her dead father’s house and slammed it behind her. Leaning back against it she rubbed the but of her palm into one eye, her head was throbbing again in that knife through the back of the skull kind of way.
Dropping her purse on the entryway table she dug into it, pulling out her bottle of pills. Her hand was shaking, never a good sign, as she opened it and tapped out two of the contents and tossed them into her mouth. Dry swallowing the pills she tossed the bottle back inside her purse, taking it upstairs to her old bedroom to leave among the pile of her things that she’d still yet to go through. Which made her eyes slowly turn to the large locked storage box that she’d shipped over with the rest of her things.
Gotham was off limits. She wasn’t here in any official capacity. She wasn’t here to work. Yet she’d still packed her suit and gear. She hadn’t expected to need it but coming back here with what information she had been given she had planned on gathering more information about the vigilantes in the city. And Dick had left her to go deal with a problem at the docks, which lead to the possibility that those very same vigilanties would be showing up.
An hour later she was perched on the edge of a roof looking down over the harbor, googles down over her eyes as she zoomed in on the yacht just as the lights lit up in clashing colors. A frown tugged across her face and with a thought the air around her shimmered and she vanished from sight. Jumping down off the roof she caught the edge of the fire escape, swinging her around, slowing her descent before hitting the pavement silently. The police radio in her ear buzzing.
Moving further toward the docks she found a new perch on the roof of another yacht, the lack of chatter in her ear making her frown. The silent pop of the radio the telltale sign of a jammer. She drummed her fingers against her knee, the unsetlings sixth sense in the back of her head setting off more than a few warning signs.
ST: “Gee wizz, Mista Jay ain’t so distracticated as ya might think.”
The Cheshire smile is right at home on her sweet face. Dinah’s taller. Seemingly in better shape. Nothing about the heart-shaped face or the even heartier shaped bottom suggests that she might put up a fight against someone like the Canary. Yet there she is. In all of her grandeur. Posing, more or less. Directly in the path of the blonde vigilante. Making no effort to hide or simper. She’s bold and the mallet in her hand, trailing upon the helipad behind her? Is even bolder.
“Listen Tweety, what we have here is a stand-off. Not even the fun Mexican variety. What say we skip town. Couple gurls out on the town. Leave the boys to their toys and games? Maybe we can stop and watch the fireworks. Mista Jay does the best fireworks.”
Just below the Helicopter Pad is the Bridge and that is where Damien is encountering a whole new world of psychotic. He’s right to dive for the nearest console. He’s also right that there’s no way of knowing whether or not the bridge crew are acting upon their own volition or not. What he does know, right away, is that they’re trying to kill him. Gunfire erupts immediately.
Now when he emerges from behind the console there’s a selection of targets. The five of them have not spread out like professions. They’re huddling closer to the console than they should and when Damien takes the fight to them he’s quick to take one out at the knee. Immediately he gets a little more information about the crew, because they don’t hesitate. The remaining four simply shoot at whatever is moving. Including each other. He might not be employing lethal force, but the first person he takes out? Is dead shortly there after by the other men not caring who they shoot in their rush to hit Damien.
His helmet is filtering all of the insanity around him, but it isn’t blocking it off entirely. Now that he’s engaged directly, he’ll hear the men. Screaming. Not in rage, but in terror. They’re terrified. Of -Him-. They’re not attacking him out of rage or intention, they’re attacking him out of unbridled fear. Like he was a demon among their midst.
Not too far below them comes yet more sounds of carnage. After dropping Canary at the point she wished, Dick Grayson descended upon the boat as Batman. Neither of them can see what is happening, but there is no mistaking the sounds of combat below.
Nor can either of them mistake the sound of the first explosion for what it is either. Easily seen from -off- the boat. Something or someone just went up like the forth of July.
In the relative silence that follows the first explosion comes the maniacal cackle of the Clown Prince.
Damien: Damien can see it in their faces, though he can’t let emotion get the best of him. Did he want this man to die? No. He didn’t deserve this, he didn’t deserve to die like this.In complete terror and being shot down by his friends. As much as Damien wanted to save the man, he knew he couldn’t. It was something he’ll have to figure out later. But, right now, he couldn’t be distracted. Taking them down close wasn’t going to do it. Instead, he ops to use the console again as a shield, but he knows it wasn’t going to take long before their weapons completely tore through the already bullet riddled console.
When Damien heard the explosion, hopefully that would catch the men’s attention just long enough for him to throw over some gas pellets as he ran from the console as it wasn’t providing him with any kind of cover. He’d use anything as cover at this point, hoping the gas pellets would be enough to knock the men out. Damien was a man of order, He liked to do things in a certain way. Much like how Bruce did. There was a method to his madness. The Clown Prince threw all that into the air.
“I do not suppose you men are done shooting at me?” asking, waiting for the sounds of the men falling to the ground before slowly creeping up behind a sofa.
Hopefully Dinah and Richard were having a better time than he was.
Dinah: Here’s the thing about looking curvy and sweet and mostly just female: it gets you underestimated. A lot. Even when you’re carrying a Loony Tune-esque mallet in your hands. It’s one of the reasons that I walk around in glorified fetishwear, or maybe just underwear like I do. Being underestimated is a real, solid, and fairly dependable fighting tactic, especially when you’re aggressive enough to seize upon any and all openings that gives you. I’m not going to underestimate Harley Quinn.
“I suppose not, seems like he’s had plenty of time to plan a real party…”
Cocking my head towards the starboard side of the boat, I sweep a half gloved hand out in an inviting gesture.
“Pick up some margaritas on the way? Sounds great, after you…”
The gunfire erupting below isn’t unexpected, we knew most of them were armed coming in, and it means that someone’s engaged. From how close it sounds it could be either one. Then comes the explosion, that you don’t have to be able to see to hear, and maybe even feel. I don’t have time to stand around playing a waiting game here, so I sigh, and the hand returns to my fist.
“No? Alright then.”
I don’t normally like to give up ground. It’s always better to force your opponent to act so that you can react, and set the terms of an engagement but she’s already called it what it could be. A stand-off. And so I move, charging in on the side of the mallet so there’s less time for a wind up, and more opportunity to dodge its’ inevitable path.
ST: The fight in the bridge room ends up being short, if not sweet. Though the gas pellets do not have 100% effectiveness, they do take the proverbial heat off of Damien. One by one the crew men succumb to the toxic gas they inhale. But once the Red Hood emerges from behind the cover he sought, he’ll see that knocking them out did not save them from a gruesome ending.
One by one as the crewmen began to lose focus and consciousness, they took their own lives. Of the fives that were there when he entered three of them died from wounds inflicted upon themselves. One shot himself, to avoid the ‘Demonic Creature’ that would sure surface from the toxic cloud to eat him. Another slit his own throat in some sort of gruesome attempt to keep himself from inhaling the acidic cloud that Damien unleashed upon them. A third simply died, choking and wheezing upon the gas itself. He lays at Damien’s feet gurgling his last breathe in utter terror of the Red Hood.
Only one remains and he, the Captain of Yacht in fact, lays curled at the base of the doorway. Huddled around his firearm. Rocking back and forth, muttering some strange prayer for the help of God to protect him from these unearthed sea demons.
In any sort of real fight between Harley Quinn and Dinah Lance, the Canary wins. The only mistake that Dinah makes is in thinking that this is such a thing. She charges. Quinn ducks backwards, making no effort to truly engage. Instead as she dances back, a hidden switch on the mallet is touched and the floodlights rush to her co-star. The Black Canary gets the lights from all sides. All at once. The sudden unmistakable focus of those ultra high beams, meant to guide aircraft in from thousands of feet away.
She doesn’t attack Canary at all at first. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Blinding the Canary is just step one. Step two comes in the form of a string of fire crackers. Tossed at the pretty bird’s feet. Not just any fire crackers. I mean, they do read “BOOM” on the side.
Her giggling is pretty obnoxious.
Once Damien emerges from the Bridge area he’s going to be greeted with those lights and sounds. The circus is in town and it’s apparently right here on the boat. Below him, just a single deck down. Batman is facing an eerily similar situation to what Damien had faced. It’s nearly impossible to discern the difference between Joker’s actual goons and the hapless souls who just happened to be here innocently when Joker took over the boat.
Which has left Dick Grayson fighting a battle from all sides. Bouncing between upturned chairs, that once upon a time had been for use in the art of sunbathing. He fights an ever growing battle. Similar to Damien’s results, Dick has discovered that disabling the innocents merely causes the thermite that Tim pointed out, to ignite.
“They’re all wired! If they lose consciousness, they blow up. We can’t knock the civilians out! It’ll kill them.”
Which means the Batman is bound in a dance between the ones actively trying to kill him and the ones who can’t help themselves. The Chaos has them turning even on one another. Which is clearly what caused the explosion before.
“… they’ve all been juices… I think it’s Scarecrow’s fear toxins…”
Dinah: So we’re back to the crazytown stand-off it seems, and even though my eyes have started to adjust to the bright strobe effect that’s been bouncing and dancing all over the ship, I wasn’t entirely prepared for the intensity of all of those floodlights, all at the same time. A defensive arm isn’t nearly enough, or fast enough, to fully block them from robbing me of the full range of vision. Who needs all their senses in a fight… It’s definitely preferable but you just have to learn to use the other ones to compensate.
Speaking of seizing advantages, Harley wastes little time in an attack of her own, or what looks like one anyway. They could be nothing. They could also be enough C4 to blast me to Bludhaven in bits, regardless of what happens to the boat along with me. Naval safety doesn’t seem to be their concern, if the amount of thermite Tim had spoken of was any indicator.
I just don’t let them slow me down, after the stutter that blinding lights had caused in my gait, I pick up steam again, breaking into a sprint, orienting myself on that awful, grating giggling. That I know how to stop once I get my fists on her.
Damien: This was insanity in its most pure form. Thankfully Damien’s helmet was able to at least filter out the extra noise and strobing lights. “I noticed.” saying as Damien descended onto pool deck to help Batman try and contain and incapacitate them. “Then maybe we should not incapacitate them. Instead, may I suggest rounding them up like cattle in order to stop hurting themselves?” asking. Damien’s blood was boiling on high. But he was trying to keep his cool so that he could go confront Joker and end this lunacy once and for all.
Pulling out some rope, he hands Batman one end and hopefully they’re able to maneuver around the masses enough to try and tie them up without knocking them out. “Do you have any Fear-Toxin Antidote on you?” Damien wasn’t sure what Batman had exactly. Hopefully their plan worked. “Do you think you can get to the engine room, Batman? The bridge is out of commission and the only way to disable the vessel now is through a power switch in the engine room. Though. I have a feeling you may find more of these lunatics on your way.” commenting, Damien would then start towards where the theatre was. It was time to end this, and end it now.
ST: It might seem like a mad dash, but Dinah’s got a lot of things working in her favor. The rush of adrenaline, the sound of Harley’s laughter. Motivation in the form of Fire Crackers that are even now going off with the thunderous sounds of rifle fire.
What she lacks though, is premeditation. Harley has that in spades. Our Heroes have seemingly forgotten that Joker and Harley are each more than insane, they’re also brilliant in their own little ways. Harley, also known as Harleen Quinzel, happens to be a world class psychologist. Knowing for getting in to her client’s headspace in a way that most couldn’t even understand. Right now she seems to know, intuitively, that the Canary wouldn’t just let someone like her win without giving it her all. Why else would Harley be playing a game of keep away.
Which is working, if only because Harley is dancing away unencumbered by the light that threatens to take away Dinah’s vision. Unfortunately for Harley that only works for so long, before Dinah’s almost upon her and the giggling stops.
“Hey! Hands offa da merchandise!”
Dinah manages a single handful of one of those tassels. Now she just has to hold on to it when that Hammer’s handle thuds against Canary’s stomach.
Batman and Robin, by way of the Red Hood, are squaring off with a sizeable amount of terror-filled people. As Damien gets in close, he’ll see what Dick was talking about. These Civilians are scared, they’re lashing out at anything and anyone who gets close. No skill involved, but that’s where the actual trained goons are failing as well. They’re frightened as well, terrified just the same. Causing them to surrender their own training to that fear, giving in to it. Putting the entirety of that third deck in to complete chaos.
And the Batman’s already scary appearance is only making it worse. He amounts to a literal demon in their midst, not just ones their imagination conjure up.
Damien’s plan is one that Dick sees some sense in, but there happens to be a whole lot of downside in it. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be a lot of choice though. Bringing the Grappling hook in to play, he sets about assisting Damien in that very thing. Tying up as many of them as he can. At the very least it thins their numbers.
“Standard issue in any utility belt, but I don’t have enough for all of these people. That helmet of your’s should keep it out of your system, I’ve got the re-breather from my cowl. Canary’s unprotected though…”
Leaving Damien here sounds like a terrible idea, but neutralizing the boat’s power is an optimal plan. There’s little doubt that it’s not the best option, but nothing in this mad house is optimal. Finally Dick gives him a nod, he’ll get the power turned off.
“Hood, as hard as this is to accept. We have to get Talia off of this boat. There’s maybe fifty civilians here, but if Talia dies Ra’s will unleash the League on the whole City. Ten times is many people die if that happens.”
Damien: “Turn off the power and attempt to get to Canary. I will get Talia and take her off this boat. I know what Ra’s is capable of Batman. His blood runs within me. Also, maybe call PennyOne after you have turned the power off. Have him drop enough on everybody here.” Watching Batman for just a moment, Richard is Batman. There was no doubt that the cowl belonged to the right person. It was never for Damien to wear, but he would if Richard didn’t want to wear it.
Purging the thoughts from his mind, Damien turns and runs towards where the theatre is. Using their fear against them to create a path.
Talia had to be rescued. In his mind, Damien was working on an idea. An idea he didn’t like, He couldn’t fight the Joker and rescue Talia at the same time. So, he was going to have to go in guns blazing, if you will, to create enough of a distraction to grab Talia and then somehow blow out a section of the vessel to escape with her.
But, honestly. The idea was shakey enough.
If Joker killed Talia? That would probably be the straw that broke the camel’s back. It would be more than enough to drive Damien onto that path and never look back. Maybe even participate in the razing of Gotham. When he reaches the theatre doors, he doesn’t stop, instead he leaps into the air and kicks the door down tucking into a roll before popping back up, sword in hand.
Now, the final phase of this whole ordeal was about to end.
One way, Or another.
Dinah: Here’s the thing. You don’t stay in this line of ‘work’ without learning how to take a good bit of punishment, and being able to muscle on through it. I happen to prefer avoiding getting hit, while doing the brunt of the hitting myself, but there’s moments where things don’t go quite as I like. For instance, when I’m charging more than half blind at an opponent that I can only hear, and even that you can’t entirely trust because… these whack-os are all about show-biz tonight and I wouldn’t have been that surprised if it meant mics and speakers.
However, the handful of whatever this is, and the sharp ram to my midsection tells me I actually was heading the right direction. Hanging onto that tassel? Not a problem, if for no other reason than it’s getting a sharp yank as I fold forward over the handle of the mallet. Other hand going forward with the momentum of my run, following the ‘lead’ of the weapon down to the inevitable: one of the hands that is wielding it in the first place, and then a wrist so that when I twist around to that side, I’ve got a sensitive body part to torque along with me.
ST: While they weren’t able to secure everyone on the main deck, Damien and Dick did their best to secure as many as they could. There was only so much tether line between the two of them. It made for a slightly less chaotic venture for the two of them through different parts of the ship.
Dick’s path was less certain than Damien’s. Tasked with the unenviable task of getting all the way to the engine room, Dick understands that he doing the exact opposite of what Bruce would do. Bruce would -need- to go face the Joker. He would rationalize that this always going to be about Batman and Joker. Maybe he’d even be right, but the Joker knows. Somehow through all of his insanity? He knows that Batman is dead. Maybe not -the- Batman, but his Batman. He didn’t believe Timothy’s act as Batman and he’s unlikely to believe Dick’s anymore than that.
Damien on the other hand has a personal stake in this. One that will play out whether he’s involved or not. Losing Talia, without factoring in to the result would destroy him. Leaving only one choice, Dick has to trust his younger ‘Brother’ to do what is right. Because that’s really the only hope he has for the man’s sanity when all of this settles down.
So the Batman goes, not to fight to the Joker, but to find the power system that drives all of this insanity. Damien’s last sight of his brother is the cape and cowl descending a flight of boatsman steps. Sending a clown faced goon down before him, with a kick that jars the man to his very core.
“Tee hee. Holdin mah hand? Are we goin steady Tweety? How ’bout you give Momma a little sugar?”
Does that sound like a woman that is being twisted up like a pretzel? No, that sounds like a woman who enjoys being twisted up like a pretzel. Someone who’s had her arm twisted like that for kicks.
And Dinah was right. Sometimes it’s about muscling through the pain, other times it’s about enjoying it. Harley sounds almost happy to finally be in on some of the action. Dinah’s just getting warmed up too, when she undoubtedly hears the click.
That’s about all the warning she gets when the blunt end of mallet fires off like a rocket. Well, not -like- a rocket. It is an actual rocket. Having already been against Canary’s stomach, when the rocket fires it seeks to take Canary. Up up and away.
Oh and that arm? Yeah, well judging by the high piercing shriek of laughter Harley thinks of this like a Roller Coaster. If Canary hands on she gets to go for a ride.
Up until now Red Hood has managed to get through the majority of this Mad House unscathed. He got through the bridge somehow without being shot. He made it through with the Batman’s aide, what might amount to nearly a hundred fear-crazed people with knives, guns and explosives. All the way to the theater room, where he makes this super awesome kung-fun style entrance.
This, folks, is Red Hood. Damien Wayne. In all of his glory.
Right up until the Titanium Baseball bat hits the back of that red hood with a ‘ting‘ that sounds like a grand slam hit.
One to the ribs.
That one hits a knee.
One for the pistol arm.
“…stupid… fucking brat… don’t you get it? We are the same! He meant something to us… we needed answers. Who killed the Bat! Who took him from us?!”
Not so far in the distance? Damien can see his mother. Maybe not in the way he’s ever wanted to see her. She’s mostly naked by this point. Still hung to what looks like an over-sized dart-board. Which has been the obvious target of a game of throwing knives. Let’s just say more than few of them found the mark. If, between smacks of the baseball bat, he’s able to focus even a little? He’ll see that she’s actually still breathing. That may in fact be a bigger dishonor than anything else, because she’ll have to eventually awaken to see and feel what -all- has been done to her.
“Well. I know now. I know the truth … it’s the biggest Joke of them all…”
Dinah: Mother *%$&ing rockets.
When this is over, I’m going to go hunt down whomever it is that’s supplying these things to the city, and we’re going to have some words. And by words I mean I’m going to introduce them to every sharp, bony part of my body in rapid succession, and then do it a second, and possibly a third time afterwards. I wasn’t actually out to hurt Harley with the wrist lock. That had been to set her up for the hurt that was about to come when I put her down on our helipad dance floor.
Sorry Harls. No ride-a-long for you. At least not with me on this rocket-mallet. I let go of her wrist, and give the tassel in my other hand a yank, mostly to try to pull myself around and off of the forward movement of the rocket.
It’s short, but with my weight already back and off center, the force of that short burst ought to be enough to not only tilt me downwards, but the face-full of sonic energy might rock my opponent back, too, and maybe with some luck send her aim and her mallet up up and away. Prone isn’t exactly a great place to be, but I’m more than ready to kick anything that comes in range before I can kip back up again.
Damien: Joker didn’t have much in the way of strength that Damien, or even his father had. But, he wasn’t weak. So when the bat struck the back of Damien’s head, it nearly knocked off the helmet, but it also drove Damien down onto the floor where his ribs, knee and one of his pistol hands became greeted by the bat. The pain coursed through his body. Travelling at light speed, incapacitating him. But, every time Damien saw his nearly nude mother, he grew stronger. Grew angrier.
“Kill…” saying as blood dripped down out of his helmet. “Going … to kill you” growling under his mask. His head felt like it was on fire. Whatever was going to happen now, was going to happen on auto pilot now. When Joker stops his beatdown, Damien rolls away. But not before leaving a few exploding beads in his wake. Not enough kill him, but certainly surprise the living hell out of him. If they go off, the small force is enough to push Damien away even further from the psychotic clown.
Damien probably had a dislocated knee by this point, probably a cracked rib or two and a broken hand. But none of this was going to stop him from rescuing his mother. “Torturing the daughter of the demon would never get the answer you wanted, you psychotic lunatic.” pulling himself up, Damien can’t focus with the helmet on, so he tugs it off to see clearly. “You do not know the family you are trifling with, Joker. You do not realize the bounty that is on your head. The Demon will not stop for anything if you kill her.” slowly stalking towards the white skinned man.
“If you think Batman frightened you. Then you have no idea what true fear is. The Demon would kill you, Bring you back. Then do it again, for all eternity. Until your mind is so fractured, You will not even remember Batman. He will be just a memory that has lapsed.” stalking towards the Joker. “I will give you this opportunity to run, Joker. My fight is not with you tonight. Though, I will not hesitate to show you what real fear is.” saying as he changed direction to reach his mother.
“Come, Mother. It is time for you to return home.” Damien would keep his back towards Joker, knowing that Joker might strike him. Or run like the coward that he was. This scuffle with Joker was not over. He will pay his dues. Either by Damien’s hand, or by the League’s hand. This was his choice though. To rescue his mother and to take her home.
ST: What kind of world do we live in where a Rocket-Hammer doesn’t actually win in a game of one upsmanship between a couple of girls? A world full of crazy people, that’s what.
There’s this start of something truly beautiful. A little cheerful laughter, that turns almost mournful as the Canary is about to be sent in to outer space. Then a hiccup of, “…oh shit…” That comes just before the clowned smirk of Harley Quinn is turned in to a scowl of something akin to remorse.
Seconds later the Mallet of Mayhem is spiraling off in to the wild blue yonder. Leaving Harley’s dimpled face twisting in to a pout, that results in a foot stamp of petulance.
“That was mah favrit one! I clobbered Batgirl with that one… now you’re in for it…”
Then those wild, angry, blue eyes flicker to the wavering tassel. To the way Dinah twisted it as she rolled away. To the end that now tapers in a little loop around the …
“….but I didn’t wear mah parachooooootttt…”
The Joker might be unaware that his girlfriend is even now taking a short flight over Gotham Harbor, but he has other things to worry about. Beating the piss out of the Boy Wonder for one thing. Right now he’s too busy ranting to have immediately noticed the little beads or even care about what they do.
“… you think Ra’s al Ghul scares me?” His laughter is only interrupted by the beads exploding. Flinging the Joker away from Damien, much as it carries the Hood away from the baseball bat that was coming for him.
Coughing, wiping the blood from his chin, and using the bat as a cane to pick himself up from the wreckage of an overturned television filming stage. The Joker isn’t nearly done. He’s taken more than that in bathroom brawls for the soap. The dry laugh coming from his lungs is serious, not nearly so mocking as before.
“Ra’s is nothing, he lives off of fear. Fear that is over-stated. Look around you Hood. Look at the pool outside. Ra’s is over-rated. He couldn’t save his daughter. He had to send you. You and your second rate bat-knock-off and the blonde hooker. You’re a a regular justice league out there.”
“The only reason you’re even alive is because I need someone to know the punchline.” Twisting the handle of that bat, the fat end drops off revealing it to be a sort of mechanized shot gun. “It’s a joke. Don’t you even see it? Haha. This is why I need him. He’s my only equal. None of you even see it and it’s right in front of your faces.”
“Ra’s doesn’t care about his daughter. He already knew where she was. If was half as scary as you seem to think, why didn’t he bring the full League to rip her away?” Stalking toward the Red Hood, shotgun bat in hand. “He came to Gotham to get back what she stole. The Lazarus Pit you threaten me with. She stole it to raise the Bat.”
“But it didn’t work. Because there was no body. Ask her yourself ‘Red Hood,’ you clod. We’ve all been duped. Batman isn’t dead.”
The shotgun? Blasts a hole in the side of the boat. Big enough for Damien to take his mother and leap in to the Harbor. “… Talia had so much to tell me. I’m afraid I can’t let your friends take me back to Arkham yet. Not when I’ve got so much to do. Go. Carry on my Legacy, as the Red Hood.”
After all of this? The insanity of it all. Damien made it clear that he was letting the Joker leave and the Joker? If what he’s said is true, then he has no reason to stand and have one big last hurrah.
Damien really doesn’t have a choice after all. His back is to the Joker, brazenly. So all he really gets is to feel the Joker’s boot kicking him through the hole out in to the Harbor. He gets to hear the insane laughter. And watch from the Hudson River as the Joker sets the switch. Detonating any of the remaining bombs that can still go off.
How better to cover his exit?
Dinah: On the downside, apparently Harley wasn’t packing a parachute. Seems unwise if you’re going to walk around with a rocket mallet, but that’s just me. The upside? Her trip up, up and away has officially spared her from feeling the brunt of my irritation, and thwarted my plans of ending all that giggling with a couple well placed finger jabs. At least, it’s an upside if she knows how to swim, but that’s not as high a worry on my priority list right now as you might like to think.
Namely because the entire ship is now, apparently, exploding. The usual elegance of me rising to my feet gone all to hell because the vessel rocks, and roils, and moves beneath me. There’s no more attempts at getting to any controls, or lights, there’s just getting off this ship. And hoping that my companions are doing the same. Booted feet beat across the helipad, picking up as much speed as I can get, before launching myself over, and into the awaiting frigid water.
I can swim. Eat that, clowns.
The trouble with revenge is that is never truly accomplishes anything. It is a dish best served cold and continuously and it is dish that will never satisfy or satiate. The act of seeking it occupies the mind between the drawing of blades and the emotion of it pushes you to slay all who stand before you when on the path. Tatsu Yamashiro had been on this path for longer The she cared to remember. Each footfall past the one that had brought her through the front door of her burning home in the wilds of Alaska and over the rapidly cooling corpse of her husband had been taken in an effort to further her finding his killer. Such as the one she takes now to bring her to the edge of a Gotham rooftop. Looking down she slowly moves her eyes searching for any detail that will ease her assault upon the Yakuza establishment below. The last had been a gambling den posing as a mere laundry mat and it had provided her with no answers. So she had located another target and again the dance would begin and the Soultaker would be fed, already the blade hummed with anticipation or perhaps memory as the voice of Maseo as distinct as the day he still lived pulled her mind back.
Takeo Yamashiro had been her first love and her first husband but he had not been her last love. He had been so confident and handsome then, only his chosen profession gave her slight pause. A lieutenant among the Yakuza the two had met shortly after her father forever changed the direction of her life. Tatsu had only ever wished to compete as a martial artist and to perhaps marry the handsome man who visited her home before every tournament.
His visits had always been cordial, at least until the night before the last when their true nature became clear. Takeo served the Yakuza and had been the man to collect losses or to distribute winnings and Her father had lost, and significantly. When asked just what he had placed such a large wager on he pointed to Tatsu herself. He had been betting on her competitions and had grown to confident in her skills.
She had lost that day and her father had placed all he had and some he didn’t on the outcome. What happened next Tatsu would not be given the opportunity to Reminisce upon this dark and stormy night in Gotham. A feint sound almost indistinguishable from a light breeze caught her ear and she turned bringing her blade up to strike against the swiftly sung blade of a man in garb she did not recognize.
His origin might be vague his intent was not.
“You are not Sword Clan…or Yakuza…”
Her ears heard the sound again as he was not along, others moved to surround her. Katana considered fleeing, Soul Taker would not hear of it. The blade demanded it be given what it required, a worthy soul. The man did not answer her but rather he moved low and brought the blade around to strike her along the neck.
Unfortunately for her opponent Katana was faster and possessed of a mind for swordplay that made her seem psychic to some. Soul Taker caught the sword and knocked it away as her hand thrust forward to send her palm hard into his throat. Staggered undeterred he moved in position again as his friends continued to circle.
“My business here is not with you…leave me in peace or leave in them.”
No sooner had the words left her gritted teeth then the sky flashed with a dramatically timed lighting strike in the distance. With its light came revelation and a small prayer for salvation as the truth had been laid bare. Katana had believed herself to face three opponents, in truth their number could best be described as legion.
it occurred to her now that perhaps she had only detected them because they had wished it to be so. She had been effectively surrounded and had only sensed it at the last second.
it mattered little to katana how many gathered, she had a path and none would push her from it. So she would plant her feet and grip her blade and she would become the goddess of the sword incarnate if she must…she would not be moved.
But just as the fight was set to begin an explosion rocked a building not far from Katana. Whatever had happened the event shook the rooftop she stood on and loosened the brick her foot rested on at the edge of the roof.
Breaking her stance the ninja she had staggered quickly brought up his leg to collide his foot with her chin. Off her feet and desperately trying not to fall to the street below he managed to connect and cause just that.
Katana fell back and into the open air toward the alley below, her path now only seemed destined to involve pavement and a chalk outline.
Despite this she spares a glance back to the gathering army, they were fleeing. The man who had faced her seemed to be the leader and he gathered his men and hey fled. Toward the explosion.
Should she survive this she would have to discern why.
Dinah: At some point, my movie had come to an end. Not really a problem, but it wasn’t one of those ‘new fangled’ DVDs, which meant that when the honest to god tape ran out of the VHS that I’d had literally forever, the whole thing clicked over to what few channels I actually get up here in my apartment. I learned very quickly exactly how fast it takes me to sober up from a bottle of cheap whiskey. The answer is: in the amount of time it takes for the Joker to complete one of his sick, twisted routines. What the #$&* happened? It’s Gotham, so you expect a degree of escalation but….that escalated quickly. The only flippant thought I really have a chance to have is that I’m glad we hadn’t dug into the good liquor that Tim had brought to help me wind down for the night.
“Go. Find your brother, and then point me where to go.”
Tim’s not dressed for this. I’ve at least got my suit here in my apartment, and for once I don’t really have to even boss the kid twice. He’ll be able to find where Damien is, far faster than I could the old fashioned way and time spent suiting up is going to be time in the way of that. Unless he’s got a robot that does it for him, which isn’t really outside the realm of possibility. I feel sick, and I know it’s got nothing to do with the alcohol I’ve had. Probably not the fancy French cookies either. I feel sick for Damien. I feel sick thinking about what Damien is probably out there doing right this second, too.
I’ve had years, and years of practice at high speed costume change, and this time I’m moving faster than most others. Out the door of my apartment, that Tim’s already left through, and down the stairs. I skip the last half flight and vault over the railing, on my bike and back out the door before the thing has even fully opened. Guess we’re not down out here for the night after all, only this time? I’ve got an entirely different sort of problem to tackle. Probably literally. This one’s just going to put up more of a fight than that entire room of mafia had earlier.
“What’s our status?”
Communicator on now, and I’m regretting missing the alerts that had been going earlier. We should have been more ready for something like this, but it was completely outside the pattern. Pattern. Joker. There’s the first problem…
Tim: Finding out what happened with Oliver Queen had taken me ‘Home.’ If by home you were to mean the couch at Dinah Lance’s House. I’ve been staying there since returning to Gotham, because it’s easier than living at Home. The Manor no longer seems like home-sweet-home to me, now that Dick and Barbara moved in. I feel like an intruder in my own Home and nothing seems to cure that. Even Alfred’s crepes are a wash. Dinah’s place is utilitarian. Providing me with a place to sleep and be seen coming to and going from as ‘Timothy Drake.’ With that acceptance of it being my ‘Home,’ for now, also comes certain knowledge that my housemate is hurting. Like all of the extended family, I’ve taken to keeping tabs on them through a network of drones known as Brother Eye. It might be a little big-brother-ish, but the fact is that with Bruce gone? I’m not willing to lose anyone else.
Comforting Dinah? Hah! That’s a misnomer. Showing up with a better booze, lending a comforting ear and offering her very detailed, intimate plans for extracting her friend. Not to mention making certain of the culprits paying for it? That was how you comfort Dinah Lance. Well, that and a half eaten box of macaroons, along with the entire bottle of terrible whiskey. Lucky for me, I keep some detox pills in my utility belt to mute the effects of such things. Otherwise I’d be under the couch, instead of on top of it when the V.H.S. player rolls over and the news plays. ( Honestly, this might be the first time we’ve ever been lucky Dinah wouldn’t let me upgrade her to free-cable. )
“On it,” is my response to Dinah before she’s even off the couch herself. “My gear comes with me.”
She was barely back in to the Costume she’d been wearing for a certain amount of Mafia beating by the point that I’ve turned her coffee table in to a make-shift desk. Pulling things from my backback, connecting them to the breastplate of my uniform. Streaming data through the Wayne Enterprises satellites and down in to the portable dish that is erecting itself on the floor next to the couch. Furious typing is Dinah’s only answer to the parting ‘Stay safe,’ that we exchange before she’s off in to the night. Leaving me to work, all the more furiously on lines to our target.
“He’s disabled the tracking software in his uniform, same with the Red Hood helmet. Jesus. He’s even disabled the redundancy… and the redundancy’s redundancy. Standby,” it isn’t often that someone put the Black Canary ‘on hold’ but I need a moment to tap in the Nest’s server. Watch the last few moments before Damien left. Stephanie was still there. Good, I was worried she’d try to keep an eye on him. “Okay. Hold on. Drones had him, but… someone’s attacking them! Oh. Shitfuckballs. The League is already here. Er. There. Everywhere, I mean. They’re disabling the Drones.”
“I need a minute, he stole the prototype bike I was working on for you. Damnit, he disabled that tracker too. Boy. He’s really good at breaking my things. It’s a little disheartening. Still working. I’m triangulating the direction of the destroyed drones, in correlation to the fourth redundancy tracking system in the Canary-Cycle. I know, I know. But I’ve already lost one partner this year, call me a little paranoid about losing another one. Let’s focus on how lucky I am that I put four layers of tracking systems in to a bike, without you noticing the hardware shall we?”
“Okay. Got him. Sending you the coordinates,” there’s another hitch, a pause, then a low, low whistle. “This is strange. Someone has been monitoring my work… Canary, you need to hurry. Someone’s tapped in to my secure servers for the Nest. They know where Damien is too.”
Dinah: Should have known, really. Because I know Tim Drake-Wayne, and because I’ve seen it in action enough times. Guy’s more prepared than a whole jamboree of boy scouts on a bad day, and borderline precognizant on a good one. Today’s not really a good day. My bike’s taking me through the alleyway and out onto the street. Without a definitely direction to go, I start first in the direction of the Nest, because that’s where Damien had been. There’s this helpless feeling of spinning my wheels as I wait for a destination. I don’t like being dependent upon technology of any sort, because if it fails or you don’t have it with you, you’re lost. Good ol’ fashioned groundwork is more my style, but even I’ve gotten used to drones. And while there’s signs of a set of tires peeling out of the chute that we use for small vehicle/personal entry to Red Robin’s personal hideout?
Once they hit a certain point, I can’t really follow them. You can no longer tell which way they went, and I’m left one more with just a general direction in which to head.
“I had no idea he was such a tech wizard. That’s really inconvenient.”
All those boys are going to be, to a degree. They were trained by their father, after all, but finding all the work arounds and disabling them? I’m not used to hearing my friend and partner stymied. He gets to hear me do something that they’re all very used to though. Swearing. A literal colorful parade of foul diatribe when he says the League’s ‘already’ here.
“They were probably already here. And now Joker’s kicked the damn hornet’s nest.”
They must have been. It only makes sense. If Talia al Ghul was here to be nabbed in the first place, she was surely not alone. What were they doing? Probably the same thing we are, especially with Ra’s advice to Bruce before his murder that he would be best served by running. Whether they were digging on their own, or waiting for those of us left to fall? I couldn’t really say.
“I’ll bitch at you about it tomorrow. Tonight we’ve got bigger worries.”
I can still mentally grouse for a half second about how many times I’d told him to keep his hands off my bike. Bikes. I could admire his, but I still prefer mine. There’s the audible sound of brakes and tires complaining about the speed with which I’ve stopped, wheeled around, and then kicked back into gear again to head in a different direction, because my heading had been off.
“Not far. Three minutes tops.”
Someone’s already tapped into Tim’s stuff? Again, not something you hear him say terrible often, and I lean lower to my handlebars as I roar through another alley.
“What are the chances that someone is Penny-One or our newest Batman?”
Or the person who broke into the real Batcave, as Dick had told me earlier today. Jesus that feels like a long time ago. The someone that could maybe be a Ghost, and was the only simple explanation at all. My arrival is probably easy enough for him to discern. Between damn trackers, and the noise of my bike cutting off. I only get part way into the building before my boots skid to a halt. And skid they do, because the floor is blood soaked. Death? Is a feeling as much as it’s a smell or a site, and I almost audibly grind my teeth.
“Not in here. They’ve moved on or…”
Then I hear the scream. Up in the air getting higher and thinner, changing in pitch as the distance grows and grows. I get back outside the door in enough time to watch in momentary confusion, before the screaming stops with a spectacular, firey bang. The trajectory? Started from near here. The bodies are still warm. They’re here, or were a minute ago.
“Hood! I know you’re up there.”
I don’t chase him up to the roof. I’m not stupid. I just back my way out of the building, to where I’ve got another wall at my back, and a better view if they choose to simply ninja-run off the roof to somewhere else.
Damien: Damien was ready to jump when he heard the familiar voice from the other side of building. ”Stay here.” telling his group of League of Shadow Ninjas. Walking to the other side of the roof, he stops at the edge of the roof, then takes a step back, knowing full well what Dinah’s capabilities are.
Storm clouds start to converge overhead, with a strike of thunder, and a flash of lightning. Looking at her just over the edge, he yells down to her. “Do not stop me, Canary. I do not wish to hurt you. I assume you know what is going on. Tell Red Robin to stay where he is. And you as well.” but he knows Dinah, she’s not going to stop. Her method of tough love was literal. Turning around, he steps away fully from the edge and starts running towards the other side of the roof.
”Come. We are heading to the Iceburg Lounge.”
Dick: Red Robin was fast at work, already, tracking down the leak in his system. Checking, then re-checking to see who had accessed his ‘Private Server’ and how had they done it? Only a few possibilities presented themselves immediately. One of those scared the absolute crap out of Tim to even consider. He worked furiously for long enough that Canary was able to clear the building. She’d managed to find Damien, even engage him before she once again had a blurting of sound from her commlink.
“Canary, I’ve got a lock on who got in to my system, I think. It looks like Bruce left a backdoor in to my mainframe. So that he and Alfred. Ugh. I swear to god, if Bruce was alive I’d kill him. It’s actually called ‘Baby Monitor Protocols.’ I think you’ve got company inbo-..”
Though the sky has darkened and the storm is playing dramatically across the sky. It is perhaps only giving further cover to the moon, which blots out the sight of the sleek, black super-sonic craft. The crescent shape of the wings seem to give highlight to the canopy. Which isn’t normally open, as it is right now. In this case it’s open, because the passenger has already evacuated. Cape unfurled, giving a wide angle to the approach. Even as the Bat-shaped shadow descends toward Damien his hands unload a payload plasti-gel grenades at the feet of the League of Shadows.
“I’m not here to fight them,” landing in a perch at the edge of the building in full sight of Dinah Lance below. One by one those grenades explode, spraying the Ninja with high-tensil gelatin which will solidify almost instantly, to trap them in place. “But you’re not going down this path, Damien.”
Damien: Turning to look at Batman. Too tall to be Tim, must be Dick. Damien doesn’t even respond to the ninjas being enveloped in the gelatin. Slowly turning around, he stares at Dick through the helmet. Unstrapping it, he pulls it off as rain starts sprinkling down for a few minutes, then it starts absolutely pouring down.
“No. It needs to end. This all needs to end, Richard. Penguin has information on why my mother was at his lounge. And with the Joker giving his deadline, we do not have time to dawdle. You are either with me, or you are against me, Richard. And I hope for your sake, that you are with me.” telling him, hoping that by Dick seeing his face, Dick lets him go.
“The choice is yours, my brother. I do not wish to fight. But, I am in no mood to dawdle anymore.”
Dinah: Well, that’s definitely ominous and it’s hard to say if that’s just Gotham being helpfully thematic, or if somehow Damien’s mood has reached levels that allow weather manipulation. Mind. I understand. I really do. If I’d had the opportunity to save the life of either one of my parents, I would probably have been going berserk through the city as well. But I lost most of my family to the bitch that is life, and my father was murdered before I entered this life. He’s why I did. But I didn’t know it was going to happen. We just found out with a knock on the door. My chest hurts for Damien, but… that’s also why I’m not about to do what he says. We spoke to him about this line before. He’s already over it. And no matter how bad he hurts or how justified someone might say he is? This can’t stand.
He’s smart to back off, but the truth is if I wanted to scream him off that roof? I could do it whether I can see him or not.
“Well, that’s insulting.”
Whether that’s to Red Robin over the comms, or Damien himself is iffy. It works for both. The company inbound I have to assume is going to be whomever got in through his …whateverwalls. Which means I’m tensing for either potential. Fortunately? It’s the friendly sort, at least friendly to me. Usually. Unless you count what he did this afternoon with his damn escrima sticks. Batplane, at 3’clo…
I take the opportunity of Dick up on the roof already and engaged, to turn around and run. Not away, but around. Finding my way to the other side of the building, before I launch and kick myself off one wall, twisting and grabbing hold of a railing on the other side to make my way up and head off any fleeing attempts. Ninjas or Damien but frankly…I only care about one of the two. The other’s are just worries by necessity.
Dick: “You’re right, Damien. It needs to end,” rising to my full height in order to let the storm frame the Batman, instead of Dick Grayson. “This can’t continue. What have you done?”
Down from the roof’s ledge, to the gravelly substance lining the roof. There’s simply no doubt about this. I’m not here as Nightwing. This isn’t some Halloween Costume Party, where I’ve come half-naked for entertainment value. My voice lends itself to seriousness, because this is just about as serious as I’ve ever been.
“Stop it. Stop the condescending. Stop the passive-aggressive, ‘I do not wish to fight’ garbage. Who do you think you’re talking to? I’ve been here. Right here, where you are right now Damien. Except I’ve been here twice. I’ve lost my parents twice. So I’m not going to stand here and lecture you about right and wrong. Because you damned well know the difference. Our Father showed you the difference.”
All of this talking, brings me closer to the other Man. My brother. The true son of the Bat, Heir to the Cowl. “No. I’m not going to lecture you. I’m going to play your game, Damien. I’m going to call your bluff. Go on. Walk away. Let your Anger keep controlling you. Go find the Penguin. Beat answers out of him. Because that’s a lot of time you can waste, Junior. Of course, you’d know that. If you stopped letting the emotions rule you.”
“Have you even asked them?” Gesturing a single gloved hand at the trapped Ninja. “Did you even think to ask the League of Shadows members you’ve been commanding, why their Leader’s Daughter was at the Iceberg Lounge? Or why -they- are here in Gotham? You think they have a super-sonic Troop Carrier in Nanda Parbat?”
That other hand reaches up and gently thumps the ‘Red Hood’ helmet that he’s taken off. “You’re not thinking, you’re feeling. Which way gets your Mother back faster, Robin?”
Over the comlink in Black Canary’s ear comes a hushed little voice. “ I’ve been running a triple diagnostic on my firewall. Something isn’t right. Alfred wasn’t the only one monitoring my systems.”
Dinah: It doesn’t take me long to get up to the rooftop, though it’s still longer than I might have really liked. Grappling hooks are a bat-thing, not a Canary thing. At least in ‘standard issue gear,’ though I know how to use one well enough. I can catch snatches of conversation, or argument perhaps, on the wind. The inevitable declaration that someone doesn’t want to fight, the answer that comes back to it, the rain starting to kick up in earnest and really, truly provide mood lighting and atmosphere that we really don’t need right now. We all can provide our own angst and noir, thanks very much. Still. When I get up there, the situation isn’t nearly as bad as it could have been.
For one, Damien’s taken off his helmet. Not immediately gone to attack Batman. I’m not entirely sure I agree with the challenge that’s being laid down because I know how I would have taken it, if this were me six or seven years ago. And that was before I’d even lost everything. I still had my grandfather, but I would have probably walked away and made a poor choice. I could pretend like the Shadows were responsible for everything that I just saw downstairs? But I’m not an optimistic idiot, no matter what my taste in movies might say to you.
“The Bat makes a great point. And I say that as someone who’s not real happy with him right now. They got here awful fast. Were you guys already having a Gotham family reunion, and they just happened to forget to invite you? I’d like to know how they beat those of us that live here to the scene, personally…”
Swinging my arms back and forth like I’m warming up my shoulder joints and getting ready to do some physical ‘asking’ of my own, of the good and stuck ninjas. I don’t, though, and there’s only one reason that I don’t. Damien. Not because I think he’d stop me, but because these should be his questions to get answered. And because I’m listening to the little Redbird chirping in my ear. Firewall. Right. That’s what it’s called. Alfred patched in and likely sent Dick here. So who else was in there? The mystery man from the Cave or something else? It leaves me shifting my stance. No longer facing Damien’s back, but twisting to the side, trying to get an opposite view of what either of the Wayne boys has. Is something coming..?
Damien: Looking at them both, and listening to Richard. Damien looks to the ninjas by his side, then back to Richard, shifting his gaze to Dinah as she speaks. They all have a point here. Grinding his teeth together, he steps up to Richard. Almost as if sizing him up, looking him dead in the eye. There’s a whirlwind of emotion in Damien’s eyes as he tries to figure out the best path for all of this. Damien isn’t aware there *was* an intruder into the Batcave, but for now, he didn’t care.
“The soldiers would know nothing. They are only taking orders. And they only take orders from very few. Me, My mother….” trailing off as he steps away from Dick, looking out over the city. Seeing various dark dots jumping through the city.
“And my Grandfather. Ra’s Al Ghul.” taking a deep breath.
“He’s here.” staring out over the city, rain pouring down over all of them.
“I will come with you. I will do it your way. But, Once I confront Joker? I cannot allow him to live. I do not care what you say. I will do what our father could never do. I will make sure Joker, and his band of misfits, no longer walk this Earth. Do you hear me?”
Damien may cut ties and leave. It wasn’t that didn’t feel like he belonged. Maybe it was that this city just had too much memories, to much emotion.
“I will kill The Joker.”
Dick: Do the grunts know why Talia was here? Doubtful. What they likely do know is where to meet up with the senior leadership of whichever Leader is here in Gotham. Whether that be Rhas or Talia, or whomever would take Talia’s place should something happen. The League has a hierarchy, I know because I’ve worked with them before. Before I even knew Damien existed, in fact. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll get immediate answers out of them. It it is however a start.
“Your Grandfather was here, I’m not sure he still is. He was here to talk with your Father, before he was killed. I just told Canary about it earlier, I came to talk with Tim, then I was going to hunt you down to tell you, but there was a crisis in Metropolis.” I’m not discussing, at least not yet, why I’m the one wearing the suit. This isn’t the right place to talk about Tim asking me to take it, before he got himself killed. Nor is it the place to talk about what we’ve found out about Bruce. There are too many eyes. “Just because you’re thinking with your heart, doesn’t mean you weren’t on -a- trail. Canary can follow the Penguin lead. We’ll meet with your Grandfather.”
“Oh and Damien. There was never a question of whether your Father could kill the Joker, so much as if he would do it. There’s a question about whether you should do something, just because you can and the answer isn’t always ‘Yes.’ It’s especially not the answer, when it involves taking someone’s life.”
Reaching out to put my hand on Damien’s shoulder, I want to give him a hug but there just seems like something wrong about doing that in front of these League of Shadow goons. Which reminds me. “I can’t have these guys running around the City. My City. I’ve signaled the Commission to send the Special Crimes division over to pick them up.”
“Canary, can you escort Damien back to Robin’s Nest? I’ll stay to insure GCPD doesn’t have a pro–…” Just as I’m giving out ‘marching orders,’ something changes. There’s a shrill whine in the background, that has nothing to do with the rain and storm all around us. I’ve heard that sound before and it has me grabbing Damien, to bring him with me off the side of the building.
Even as I’m reacting, Dinah’s changed her footing. She can see the steady hovering Bat-Wing, as it suddenly veers. Then accelerates. At the roof we’re all standing on. It’s twin jet engines going in to full thrust. In her ear, a little bird chirps once more. “…Dinah, someone’s jacking in to the Batcave’s mainframe now… they’re locking Alfred out of… sweet baby jebus…. get the &^%$ out of there…”
Dinah: “Ra’s is here? Well, today just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? I hope Batman’s right and he’s not any more.”
Because even if in the loosest definition of the words he might be working on the same side as us? He’s still Ra’s al Ghul. I don’t even like that Talia is in town, or any of the rest of them. If anything, I think it enables Damien to give in to that side, and if they weren’t here in the first place? I highly doubt that Joker would have gotten his hands on her to begin with. Averting everything that is happening right this second. He would have found another target, but maybe it wouldn’t have been so personal of one.
“You continue to make the same thinking error. Over and over. It nothing to do with ‘could’ or ‘could not.'”
He could have ended Joker’s life at any point. I could have. We are not god, or judge and jury, to decide who lives and who dies. And you do that? You’re no better than he is. I held my father’s killer’s life in my hands once. Literally, throat in my hands, a far more painful death than what my father suffered. Damien’s killed. The more he does it? The easier it gets, the less he’s going to remember the other way he was shown. Those are all things I want to say to him but. Not here. And not while I’ve got an itchy paranoia creeping up my spine.
“Cobblepot does like Birds. I’ll make sure he’s doing the singing, though.”
I’m not going to just let this go. No. Not what Damien’s doing. What’s happening to someone important to Damien. His mother, no matter what else she might be. If for no other reason than her life might be worth keeping him from losing himself further. Maybe I can actually have this discussion with him, much as I hate opening up on principle, on the way to the Nest. Then there’s sound. That whine in the air, and Dick moving and taking Damien before I even really get moving.
“Go! Something’s hacked the Cave!”
I’m sure I can be heard. I’m not quiet, even when my voice isn’t vibrating with sonic force I can make it carry. It’s carrying as I throw myself off that edge that I arrived over. Sprinting and diving, in a way that’s probably going to hurt but not nearly as much as getting crusehd by the Batplane.