|Some things never change|
|What: Bruce and Dick discuss business in the Batcave|
The cave is a dark place, by its design it is a very dark place. The high ceilings are home to several native familia of bats that have steadily grown over the seasons. During the day their squeeks add a whole no atmosphere to the depths of the cavernous complex, but at night they're on the hunt.
Alfred busies himself keeping an eye on the lab, where Bruce has several tests running on evidence found in the field a few nights ago. The centrafuge spins to seperate out the plasma from a blood sample and get a better understanding of the new drug being pushed in the Bowery.
Bruce sits at the command console of the cave in a high backed chair, leaning upon the curve of his hand with his elbow resting on the arm of the chair itself. Several green screens glow information at him. His expression is dark, but empty. Shadowed around the eyes where he's resently removed the cowl, but still wears the armor, itself.
As a known entity about the BatCave, Dick easily lets himself in, dressed casually in jeans and a t-shirt. He blinks, his eyes adjusting, before he saunters over to Alfred by the lab and claps him lightly on the shoulder, "Good to see you, Alfred. Things going all right here?" He looks around as nothing has really changed. Once those greetings are exchanged, he goes over to the command console, "I'm guessing you really didn't want to see me about business stuff."
Alfred looks up from his random, and unnecessary, cleaning at the clap on his shoulder, "Good evening Master Richard. So good to see you, well. Can I offer you some hot tea?" The proper gentleman asks with the barest hint of a smile touching the very corners of his mouth. It's the small ticks in the Wayne House. The little greetings that matter.
Regardless of the answer, a fresh cup will be delivered to the council within a few moments, held out to the younger of the two. Bruce has a mug long cooled sitting beside him on the console itself.
"Not at that moment." Bruce says distantly, not looking away from the information he's studying. Shipment routes and payment schedules on the main screen. On several of the others are a detailed, broken down, flow chart of personalities linked to the Salveon crime family. Various sublinks connecting them to various elements of their enterprise. Along with the common names, there are several groups with grayed out boxes; individuals the Batman knows are involved, but has not yet figured out their identity.
Prominent amongst all of them are several city officials.
"You are going to be involved in an operation." He tells Richard without looking up, "Did you speak with Barbara?"
Richard Grayson takes the offered tea with a sincere, "Thank you," before he wraps his hands around the warm mug and looks back out at the monitors. "Didn't think so," is offered with what could be relief. He's not always so keen to talk real business. This stuff, however is different. The tea gets a sip, "An operation? Really? I see you aren't giving me a say in this..." which is met with a grimace. His eyes narrow slightly at the insinuation that he'll just do whatever Bruce wants, but he moves on from there for the moment, "I did speak with her. We had a very nice Thai dinner. Or was I supposed to talk to her about something else?"
Bruce still doesn't seem inclined to give an option in the matter, nor does he seem at all concerned with how the pair spend their evening. Outwardly, he's a machine and he's working, despite not being out on patrol, the Batman is always working.
He extends his hand out and moves his palm over the sensor plate, grabbing an untitled file and pulling it with a closed grip to the front of the screen. Flicking the financial charts away. His hand spreads wide to open it and brings up three seperate identities. Social Security numbers, registrations, and passports.
"I took the liberty of going ahead and having your identifications made for the op." Richards likeness comes on screen. Several seperate pictures, hair slicked back and a black mustache grown just above his upper lip.
"You're Dante Vincetti, first son of Anthony Michael Vincetti. International weapons smuggler." The information, once expanded out, is wrist flicks and tosses it all into a seperate screen. The analyser starts prossessing it, printing out the Pass ports and ids, while collasping the rest into an encrypted flash drive.
"We're going to meet with the Salveon family as soon as Van Dorn closes down their current shipping operations. Look over your new identity, make it work."
That's not the kind of operation he was expecting. "Wait, what? You're having me go undercover?" With a moustache? Dick peers at the screen showing the new identity, "We? Are you playing another part in this besides the 'usual'?" While he gets to be the mole? "Aren't you a little...recognizable? Even with a moustache?"
"They'll be desperate." Batman states matter of factly, "You'll have Tim with you as well." Bringing up another identity, Matteo Vincetti. "You're both accomplished craftmen, make it work." Repeated, without inflection, without even the first consideration that this can't (or wont) be done.
"I've set up registration for Anthony Michael Vincetti in one of WayneTech's dock holdings and had a shipment of our latest prototype weaponry 'written off'. They were lost in harbor a few nights ago. All the proper legal channels."
Glancing back Dick, "Use the potential to get access to Vincetti's weapons to bring them into a partnership. Get them to move their operation into our 'families' shipping."
He leans back in his chair and taps his black finger against his stubbled jaw, eyes shifting over the information on the screen. "I want them to bring Vito Salveon to the 'meeting' with Anthony Michael Vincetti.."
"So we're setting them up?" Richard shifts a little uncomfortably in his chair, "I don't know that I like that. Also, how am I to get them to bring Salveon on the meet? If I request it, it's going to look fishy. If it looks fishy, they aren't going to trust Dante or Matteo." They'll probably have to learn Italian now for this. "It's one thing to strike up a 'partnership' with the Vincettis, but another to bring someone unrelated into this."
"Make him an offer you can't refuse, Dick." Bruce says, using a phrase that's rather memorable, "They'll request to meet Anthony Michael." The image of Bruce, heavily made up with a few scars and one white eye, is brought onto the screen. "He operates his business out of Morocco. You will also have ligitimate muscle. Barbara sent out feelers into New York and Metropolis, I've picked out the ones most likely to add validity to your story."
Like everything, this operation has been planned out to the finest detail. All that remains is for Dick and Tim to sell it.
"Falsified prison records for you, Dante, in Blackgate. They'll do their own research, you'll be covered. As will Matteo."
Glancing back and up, "Tell them Anthony Michael /will/ meet with them, when they ask. But Vito must be there as well. That second meeting, we'll finalize the details on our partnership."
Richard Grayson gives a sigh and holds out his hand for the flash drive, "Fine. Vito has to be at the meeting or Anthony Michael won't meet. Got it. How do we know that the muscle is going to be loyal and not get bought out by anyone else to take -us- down? Because the last thing we need is to have a three-way fight." Going undercover is tricky enough.
"You make them loyal." Bruce says flatly, looking back to the screen. "The Vincetti family has a reputation in Europe and South America. We've spent a lot of money and man power making that so. Use it. If someone steps out of line, make an example of them." Batman has been doing it for years. With children, who are naturally rebellious.
No encouraging words. No vote of confidence in Dick's ability to handle this.
That's not Bruce's way. The fact that he's giving this operation to Dick to set up and execute, to his mind, is inspiration enough. "You want to work alone, Dick? Prove you can." In Bruce's mind, Dick isn't solo yet. He's just swimming in deeper waters with less protection.
Whether or not that's true, however...
The various elements of this operation are uploaded to the flash drive, removed, and handed back over his shoulder to his former partner. Then everything is closed and another screen brought over. A news file... Presumably about someone dressed as a 'bat' getting into a gunbattle with the GCPD. Killing two officers.
Richard Grayson scowls at the instructions but pockets the flash drive. "I've already proven that I can," is said matter-of-factly and without any sort of sulking. He watches Bruce a moment before his eyebrows lift at a realization. He then offers, "All right. I'll help you and Tim with this," since that's really what it is, isn't it? Batman -needs- him to do this. "One condition. I need a new bike for Dante. Can't be seen riding around town with a little moustache and still going about as Dick Grayson, can I?"
Bruce perks a brow and half glances back at Dick, "No, you haven't." It's not as cold as usual, but it's not sympathetic either. And it's usually a moment where Alfred would step in to offer some soothing remark that keeps the two from squabling. Predictability is a matter of pride in these regards.
"I believe what the young sir is trying to say, Master Bruce; is that he is willing to assist in this indeavour. Is that not what you wished?" Standing off to one side like a phantom gentleman, collecting the cool mug that Bruce has not touched, and moving it towards the small area that acts as a kitchen for the various snacks and drinks the butler provides.
With a scowl, Bruce looks back to the screen. "Alright. The Miata has already been put in Dante's name. If you need to be 'bribed' to assist, then pick a motorcycle from the garage." Looking over the news reports, returning his jaw to the little curve of his thumb and index finger.
Richard Grayson's jaw tics as Bruce mentions the 'bribe' but he manages to keep his temper in check...this time. With a deep breath, he stands, "The Miata will be fine." He needed a way to get around, of course, since he now has to basically cancel anything he had planned...at least once the moustache starts growing in. A glance is given to Alfred as a 'thanks' for stepping in. He finally focuses some on the screens, "You sure that isn't the crossbow-girl?"
Bruce doesn't offer a sudden apology. An apology that would almost assuredly be too confusing even if he were to give one. Alfred lays a hand upon Richard's shoulder as he moves off, but says nothing further either. "It is possible. The police have a witness in protective custody, I'm going to speak with them." The witness, not the police, though he likely will go through Gordon to get to whoever that individual is. His eyes tick back and forth over the lines, looking for something between the words.. The very tip of his thumb rubs along his lip thoughtfully.
At least Alfred 'gets it'. There's a soft sigh before Dick just turns to go, "Fine. We'll be in touch, 'Tony'. I have stuff I need to do." He'll have to come back for the Miata once he's ready to assume the persona of 'Dante'. "Thanks for the tea, Alfred. Let me know if you ever want to hang out...outside of here."
Bruce nods slowly, bringing his hand away from his mouth to hover a curled finger near his chin. "Dick." He heard the turn of his name and he certainly gets the implications of what it meant. He also knows exactly what it is he apparently did not 'get'. He's just not the sentimental apologetic type. Things need doing and Bruce... Batman.. Does them.
Alfred offers a soft smile to Richard as he begins to depart, "Ofcourse, young master." Bowing his head, offering the young man a stiff, though affectionate, hug before he can get to far away. "You need only let me know and I would be most enthusiastic to do so." Though, whether he actually /would/. Bruce does need tending after.
Richard Grayson returns the hug and gives the elder butler a light clap on the back, "Any time, Afred. Any time." He'd even drop what he was doing if Alfred actually -did- call to get together and hang out. "I'll see you later then." Bruce just gets more of a glare before he offers, "I can see myself out."
It's a dozen minutes, closer to half an hour than not, before Alfred finally returns to the console where Bruce is still sitting staring at the information on the screen. It is not a distant, hollow, expression. It is an intent one, of a man who is genuinly regarding the details, rather than using it as a distraction to not look somewhere else.
"Master Bruce, are you certain you are not being to hard on the young masters?" One of the few individuals who is willing to vertly question Bruce on what he does, how he treats the charges under his command (whether they wish to admit they are or not). "They are removed from boys, sir."
Bruce shakes his head, "No, Alfred, they are not boys. They are men. Strong men, both of them." Pushing up from his chair after closing down the files, he moves purposefully towards the coded locker pad where the Batsuits are kept. "If I am hard on them, it's because I have to be. I expect more from them than anyone else..." Tapping his personal identitification into the console, the metalic bolts turn and slide away to reveal various generations of the Batsuit, Robin armor, both Dick's and Tim's.
"My expectations for them are set higher than anyone else, I give them far more credit than they give themselves. Because of that, I do not congradulate them for what I already knew they could do... and I do not console them when they can't do what I know they should be able to."
He reaches in and grabs a cowl. It's slide down over his face and the weighted cape hooked around his shoulders. "One day, Dick will replace me as Batman, Alfred." His head turns, eyes narrowed behind that grafite/lead mask. "He isn't ready for that yet."
"Of course, master Bruce... Be safe.." Unsure exactly what else to say, the gentleman moves off to take up the abandoned position at the batcomputer.