|EVENT: The Need Sequence - Pt. 1|
|What: A squadron of Gotham City Fire Department Trucks race through the streets as a longview of the skyline shows smoke billowing upwards. As Gotham's dusk has given way to twilight, people wander wreckage in confusion; a mother is screaming for her child. From above, the stylized logo of Wayne Enterprises falls from its moorings and crashes upon the streets below, bursting into a thousand shards. (Part One of The Need Sequence.)|
Wilson Fisk lights a cigar in a high rise in New York. "Is everything ready," he asks as he puffs out a plume of blue smoke.
"There's a bit of a problem," responds a man of dark fading hair and thin frame. "Well, there's Falcone for sure. But there's also the planning committee. Our fronts aren't able to get what we need past the Gotham's planning committee. There's rumors it's Wayne, blocking it through his contacts on the committee."
"Wayne?" The eyebrows of the large man's face raise slowly up towards the top of his bald head. " What would he want with that land? That's preposterous."
"We're not sure, sir. Our men haven't been able to uncover. . ."
The words our cutoff.
"When we have problems, Mr. Abbene, we work quickly to solve them. Am I clear?"
Gotham City, 8:34 PM, Central Business District
The sun is just setting in the west but the sky is still bathed in an orangish summer hue. It's been hot lately. It's about to get hotter.
A woman is pushing her daughter in a stroller down the Central Business District of Gotham City. She's singing a tune softly to her child. "You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me hap-pee, when skies are grey."
The child, somewhere between an infant and a toddler looks up to her mother and coos while trying to get out of her white blanket.
"You'll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away. Please don't take my sunshine aw--"
A massive fireball erupts from the 20th floor on all sides of Wayne Tower showering the streets below with debris. Girders begin to creak and groan almost immediately and an ash cloud quickly forms below.
Gotham City, 8:35:27 PM, Central Business District
Wayne Tech headquarters is one of the most secure corperate buildings in Gotham. Several redundent systems link it's security profile to both the Batcomputer and Oracle's Network; so the moment something was amiss the Batman was well aware.
The halo-green glow of the Batmobiles tactical screen highlights the dark profile of the cowl and the cold stare of the man hidden beneath it. The turbine engine spouts a large plum of flame out behind the sleek black vehicle as it rips through the streets of Gotham, up onto sidewalks to bypass traffic, and police response to the explosion. "Oracle." The voice of the Bat is unimpressed, unconcerned, and unweavering. "Use the encrypted back door to get me a Heads up display of the interior of WayneTech."
Even if she's already doing so. The mobile turns sharply and slides to a stop at the bottom floor of Wayne Tower, the hatch already sliding open before the vehicle is even at a complete stop. A gauntlet comes out, fires off a grapnel line towards the blown out front face of the building and yanks the driver in the direction of the flaming remnants of his company.
A black smear on the night sky, lit by the flames as he ascends towards the hook 'above' the gaping wound in the buildings side... At about six feet, he cuts the line, opens his cape and catches the rising air off the burning building, now below him. The cape becomes wings with the current applied by his gauntlets, carrying him in a wide arch around and then into the 'front door'. Body turns, twists, and rolls as he comes into the former office buildings in a roll...
An androgynous, computerized voice comes over Batman's comm. ||"Copy that, Batman. Heads-up display coming. I'm calling in back-up."|| Oracle sits in her ivory tower, watching on her various displays, as her systems work to access Wayne Tower. She sends out alerts to the rest of the Bats, and anyone else listening to the police band or EMT frequencies likely get the emergency message as well. It was a big Badaboom.
Zipping along the beginning of his assigned night patrol route, the steady hum of the Redcycle echos through the fading evening as the priorioty alert comes through. The display pops up on Robin's helmet HUD, and the young man whips the bike into a sharp turn, making the exit to downtown in the nick of time.
Seeing the explosion from a few blocks out, Robin floors it, then comes to a screeching halt a short ways away from the building. ***I'm on site.*** he speaks into the communications network, moving closer to the base of the building.
The firestorm sees him look up and towards the conflagration, and he gives a slow, creaking sigh. Dragnet is not a predator. He is not a hunter of the night, some grand totemic incarnation of the darkness. If anything, he is often an incidental scavenger, a collector of cutpurses and a detractor of unruly barroom crowds. In Gotham though, a city that seems to summon shadows and heavy rains and dark pathos from its existence, even he is sometimes expected to do something. The gauntlets are auto-loaded, the dynamic camouflage engaged as soon as he is in a safe place to begin a measured creep through the hallowed hallways of WayneTech. There is no noise made, no unnecessary motion as the face plate feeds him ultraviolet and infrared scans of everything within visual hearing. He taps the side of the helmet and the ocular enhancements kick in. This is not his usual beat.....there IS no usual beat. 'I need to take up knitting.' He thinks morosely to himself, one again checking his gauntlet through the safety of concealment. This just was not a healthy industry to be a part of.
For some reason or another, Nightwing happened to be in the area, noticing the mother and child as they're making their way down the sidewalk. At the explosion, he immediately leaps into action, diving and flipping to try and shove the mother and stroller out of the way of exploding buildings and falling debris. He aims for the mother, diving at her in the hopes that he can somehow get them both. ***Here*** is managed over the com before there's a series of 'oofs' as he and the mother end up hitting pavement. This is going to hurt tomorrow, but he's hoping it means that a few more live.
She's not a vigilante. She's not a freedom fighter, she's not a hero of the sort that goes leaping into burning buildings. She's a civil servant, an elected official. She didn't sign up for -- all right. She's an elected official in Gotham City. She did sign up for this, to an extent.
Janet van Dorn is actually leaving a coffee shop. Two paper cups are clutched in her hands: one for herself, of course, and one as her weekly bribe for Commissioner Gordon. They have better coffee here than anywhere between here and the precinct, and their weekly conferences always go down better with a hot cup of good brew. But when the explosion happens, both cups go tumbling out of her hands and she begins to run. It seems like an idiotic thing to call the police, but people. People. She may not know a lot of first aid, but as Janet races across the street, she is certain she knows how to push debris out of the way.
Gotham City, 8:39 PM - Atkinson Research Facility, 10 miles away
"Yo, V," a hulking mass of a man watches over a petite feminine looking one. Both are standing outside a white door in a white hallway. It seems the smaller one is looking to get inside a state of the art lock using some state of the art lockpicking device.
"Not now, we're almost there."
"You think she made it through? You think she got the target?"
"Shut your damn mouth. Can't you see I'm trying to work, here?"
"What's up your butt?"
"Lock pickin' aint really my thing. Hand me that," the response is a bewildered sigh.
The giant man leans down and takes an intricate device between his thumb and his forefinger. "Here y'go."
Within a moment, she has it. The door opens up. Inside a soft blue light hangs over thousands of vials.
"Get every one that's listed on the manifest."
People stagger the streets of Gotham and bleary eyed confusion. A man whose jaw is half missing is wandering aimlessly. Sirens can be overheard of the continuing pinging noise that the victims hear in their ears.
Above, the large W that serves as the logo for the World Famous Wayne Enterprises (and subsidiary brands) hangs by a thread, looking as if it will fall menacingly. With a final creeeeeeeeaaaaaak, the descent begins.
Batman will notice that the room is full of smoke and flame. Most of the evidence he must be looking for is covered in angry fire and heavy smoke.
Oracle will find that most of the emergency vehicles are already being sent. As her binary tentacles begin to sweep out, she'll notice a few reported crimes that are going unannounced. A robbery on 45th. A fire on Park. And a break in at Atkinson Research Facility.
Traffic is a real pain, but Robin's expert driving skills bring him closer to the wreckage. People are spilling out into the streets and the cars are bumper to bumper, but that's one of the nice parts about having a motorcycle. Dragnet enters the Wayne Building with little fanfare. Smoke makes it difficult to see.
As Nightwing knocks the woman out of the way, he does so just as some debris nearly lands upon her. The creak will force both of them to look up, the W coming right for them.
Batman reaches for his rebreather and pushes it into place as the smoke begins to grow thick in the blackened interior of WayneTech's office floor. The white lenses housed in the upper portion of his cowl slide down over his eyes and the suction built into the neck closes the atmosphere off completely, effectively locking him in a miniture biosuit.
After a moment, the air pressure within equalizes and he's able to speak, but he's already shifted his visual field to a different spectrum to take into account the blazing flames all around him. "Robin, first floor up. Find out how they got in."
Pushing things out of his way as he moves in towards the fire, looking for any signs of evidence, any source of the explosion, before the flames consume it all. "Nightwing. Fourth floor, entrance Alpha in Research and Developement. Make sure that floor is secure." Not stopping in his hunt to give his orders. And they /are/ orders. These are not suggestions.
"Oracle, stall police but get the EMTs to the site..." Tall order. Plenty of faith. Very little concern. He's working.
Oracle taps keys rapidly, as she alters traffic lights in order to slow down emergency services response times. She knows that Batman and the rest of the family will need more than the usual 10 minutes it takes for the GCPD to arrive to secure the tower and anything in it that needs to disappear before authorities arrive. ||"Estimated arrival time for the boys in blue is 22 minutes. I've clogged up the GCPD's fastest routes to the CBD with some traffic snarls, Batman. Robin, you be careful out there."|| She worries about Tim. He's the closest thing she's ever had to a younger brother.
Barbara works on getting one of her satellites into position overhead, so she can get a top-down view of the area. As it comes into range she continues her reports. ||"I'm rerouting the EMTs so they get there faster. All hands are headed for Wayne Tower. I'm picking up a robbery in progress on 45th, a fire on Park, and a break in at the Atkinson Research Facility. They're being shunted down the order of preced-BATMAN! The W is coming down! There are civilians on the ground. Nightwing is down there!"|| Babs shrieks the last, worried more than she'd care to admit about Dick Grayson's wellbeing.
Robin moves towards the front of the building and spots the giant W falling through the sky towards...Oh crap! Nightwing! He's holding a woman who's holding a baby stroller....The Teen Wonder puts two and two together and pulls an explosive Batarang from his belt and sends it flying at the W, tapping the detonate trigger just before it impacts. Hopefully, it will blow the W just enough off course. No time to calculate the physics. "INCOMING!" he yells as a warning.
He can pick up Oracles initial communication, even if the rest is on a far tighter encryption. To open up his own frequency would be to give himself away, and he is not sure he wants to give that tree a shake. The last time he ran into Batman, he almost put a grenade in his face and had him sucking on oxygen until Dragnet backed up with hands in the air like the valiant coward he is. The smoke does not bother him terribly, having a segregated air supply (handy for those times when you had clouds of knockout gas in the air and didn't want to spend the next few hours in a limited state of awareness) as he continues to hunt around. Ideally, this is it. Hunt around, pick a few people out of the wreckage. It just seems....like overkill. Too much mess if one wanted to extract something of any value. 'Distraction, misdirection. Possibly a feint. But....if not here, where?' He had never been a big fish, he is not one for grand games of larcenous intrigue. It still seems rather off to him. No, he relates it to something he has far experience in. Shell games. Have one hand make the most visible movements so that the other can slip the nut under the table or in the palm and down the sleeve.
There is a heavy breath as he leans against the wall, the smoke giving just the faintest outline of his stealthed form. This was monumentally stupid. An absurd notion. He would have to find a way to change the frequency, or his voice, or something. He didn't want to get housecalls...but. He taps the helmet again, bringing up a list of frequencies used. Oracle's skills are good, obscenely good, so he doesn't even try for obfuscation. The armor doesn't carry any personal identification, and has all the intelligence of a spoiled house cat. "Might want to look into those other crimes you mentioned. This seems like an awful lot of noise just for the sake of it." Time to see how the dice roll.
Nightwing doesn't reply to Batman's orders. He might not even hear them over the pounding of his heart as he sees the 'W' falling down. This is gonna hurt. The woman is pushed even further out of the way, a bit harshly if he must to get her far enough away so that she won't get immediately crushed, as he gets to his feet, watching the 'W'. Gauging. He's intent on that falling shape as he crouches, ready to leap into the air. It's a risk, but if he doesn't take it, he's surely crushed. The explosion from Robin's batarang actually helps and he aims for the 'wider' opening left by that even as the piece comes closer and closer. He finally dives -at- the 'W' with the intent of somehow squeezing through where he can to avoid death.
Run. Run. Runrunrunrun -- Janet's heels, thank goodness, are the sort she expects to have to walk around the city in. Low, thick, built on the inside like a pair of sneakers. She sprints for all that debris, not even conscious that there's something higher creaking but realizing that there must be. She raises her coat over her head to protect herself from a few small pieces of shattering glass, dropping to try and find the --
There's a man without a jaw //don't look at him don't look at him// there's a child in here somewhere. A child. Janet shoves the panic away, pushes away her terror and her rising gorge and the sheer cold running through her veins. Her head snaps up when she hears that INCOMING! and her jaw drops and eyes widen when she sees the Teen Wonder, as she sees *another* figure leaping up at that 'W' and shoving it out of the way. The child. Where on God's green earth is the child?
9:07 PM, Atkinson Research Facility
The last of the cardboard boxes is placed in the black SUV. The hulking mass of a man bops a bit on the back of the vehicle and it starts up almost immediately.
The passenger door swings open quickly, and the man in black tries his best to get in, though it's very difficult. After two turns, he finally just tears out the seat and throws it back into the cabin.
"Hey! You're going to ruin the samples," says the woman.
"Better them than me."
"Shut your mouth. You know what he'll do if we screw this up."
She steps on the gas, and the pair head north with a quick exit onto the express way.
A classy wooden door opens slightly, "Sir?"
Wilson Fisk looks up from the files on his desk. "Come in."
"There's an issue. In Gotham."
"Oh? What sort of issue?"
"Terrorist attack of some sort. Second one in a week. Not anyone we know."
"Are you sure about that?" the Kingpin sits back at his chair and puts out the end of his cigar. He fondles the remote control, turning on the news and proceeds to open a small box.
The attendant purses his lips, waiting for a response.
Fisk pulls out another cigar. "Interesting. You may go."
From his knowledge of blast and damage patterns Batman will notice that the blaze started in two separate places simultaneously. Most likely suitcase bombs. Detonated by remote.
Speaking of, images begin scrolling across Oracle's screen. Saved images from Wayne Security cameras. There are two boxes that are placed by two men in suits. There was a handoff from a shipping worker. Also, in keeping up on the other crimes, Oracle will see a black SUV departing from Atkinson Research Facilities.
Robin's act of intelligent desperation is just what is needed. His explosive batarangs destroy the W at a high enough trajectory where the fireball explosion in the sky blows the wreckage out and away from the pair keeping Nightwing and the woman safe.
Suddenly, amongst the wreckage below, the Janet removes a piece of debris to see a white blanket.
Batman turns towards the open gap in the wall just in time to see the W falling past his view... But from his position, crouched down near one of the two blast points, he's in no way going to be able to do much to stop it... But he can slow it down.
The bat moves quickly, planting a hand on a flaming table and leaping over the top of it in a roll, coming up with a grapnel already hooked between his fingers ready to fire and an extended line runing out from his armor to snag hold of the metal struts outside the building itself.
He leaps out over the city, fires the grapnal towards the tumbling W when he's in the open and is immediately snapped back into the office by the line attached to the wall.
His gauntlets lock into place around the wire and he grinds his teeth hard together, cording his forearms in a way to take tension off his palms for when that massive piece of metal pulls it tight...
One.. "Oracle, who is that?" The voice suggesting they investigate the other crimes, "Find them."
"Priority. Poli- Hold on." The line goes tight and he's pulled off his feet, sliding towards the open gap... Another grapnel fires pulling him along the floor so that a huge sliver over wall catches the cord he's holding and dangles them both for.. maybe an extra six seconds... before it snaps.
Hopefully, it's enough.
Hanging out in the air, Batman breaths heavily.. Growling at the pain in his shoulder, but otherwise not letting on that he's hurt, "Police to the Research Facility.. priority. This is a diversion."
Oracle makes sure to snap stills of the SUV at the other crime scene for follow-up research. She plays back the stored footage from Wayne Tower and scowls. ||"I have visuals from the offsite camera feed storage, boys. Two boxes placed by men in suits. They took the handoff from a shipping worker."||
As Babs monitors all her channels, she picks up the stray transmission and frowns. Someone picked up the frequency use, even if they couldn't crack the encryption, and it sounds like they want in. ||"I have an unidentified communication coming in from somewhere in the tower, Batman. Going to isolate and see if I can get them to identify themselves."|| At least she's trying that before sending in the hounds. She toggles over to a different secure channel, opening communication between herself and the unknown. ||"You've got 30 seconds to tell me who you are, before I send someone to ask that question face-to face."|| It's part-request, part-threat, all business of course. Even as she does this, she's typing in a change of orders for the GCPD, sending their patrol cars to the research facility break-in.
The Teen Wonder grins at Nightwing a second, giving him a thumbs up. What a dork. Robin raises a hand to his ear and starts moving towards the front door. ***First floor, copy.*** he comms, moving through the front doors. ***How old is the intel? Are they still in the building?*** When the report of someone picking up their comm chatter comes in, Robin smirks. Big Sis will handle that one.
Robin steps inside the lobby and flips his visor view, switching to low-light vision as he steps to the side and into the shadows, looking around with that keen eye of his.
One would think for a piece of stealth armor the communications would be encrypted. Or maybe the designers didn't think an AIDOS user would be stupid enough to poke a private LAN party in the eye with their opinions. Still, he exhales heavily as he...leaves the link on. Being dark and mysterious tends to excite even more attention, especially from big scary hacker dudes. At least he doesn't think that this particular fellow is quite as much of a jerk as your usual teenager insisting on his l44t skills. "Just another guy in a funny costume on a cold night finding himself unexpectedly drawn to a burning building." Okay, so that took less than thirty seconds, giving how fast he rattled that out, even if the voice change does a superb job at transferring that into clipped, professional tones. As he heads out of the building to try and catch a ride on passing traffic. Follow the pouncing boys in blue, Dragnet. "Guess you can call me Dragnet. S'what...a few people call me." On the internet. Often making rude memes about him. 4chan bastards. Its really just a level of suffering that he's used to by now. "I'd rather ask how I can put myself to good use than tell my terrible origin story and how my parents never hugged me. Because they did hug me. A lot. And its really a boring story. No, unspeakably so."
Nightwing somehow manages to land on his feet. And they're both still attached. He still has all of his limbs and, it seems, his life. He doesn't take too long to revel in that, since the attack is still going on. *** Fourth floor did you say? *** is offered over the comm channel as he gets out his grappel-gun to make his way up there. *** Sorry, was a little distracted there. *** He's all right now, if anyone cared. Once he gets to the fourth floor, he gets inside however he can and looks around quickly to assess the situation.
Down on the ground, Janet is pulling debris out of the way with her not-quite bare hands. The silk weave of her jacket is getting cut up quite badly by glass and twisted metal, but it prevents most of the worst of the cuts from getting to her skin. Still, her hands are smeared as she pulls that last piece of debris aside, letting out a cry of something too premature to be relief. She reaches for the white blanket, grateful that it seems to be *just* white. She's hearing a lot of noise. Can she believe that she hears a baby's cry, too?
"Took you long enough."
That voice. It's a voice that is probably very familiar to most everyone on the Securest Frequency in Gotham City right now. It's a voice that some may not have heard in a very long time. A voice that has probably been stuck in the minds of those that have tried to forget. A voice that belongs to none other than the best damn Robin that Batman ever had: Jason Todd.
Over the comm, Jason's voice is clearly a deep mixture of annoyed sarcasm and boredom. "Greatest Detective, my ass." is the next statement that comes over the secure frequency as the Red Hood is perched on his Jaybird and watches as the Black SUV hits the expressway. And then he's screeching his tires to head off after it. Not that any of his Ex Family Members know that. Well, considering how long he's been listening in to this comm, he's pretty sure the Oracle has already located him and can see he's en route. And way ahead of the police that're supposed to be headed this direction.
"Now. Here's how this can work. I could do what I do, fuck these dudes up and save your pitiful heroic asses or I can turn around and head to DiMaggio's for a bite. I'm more than willing to do the first, as long as /someone/ says the magic word!"
Jason smiles beneath his red helmet, loving just being a total asshole to his family all the while zipping around this car and that car and turning up the speed to close in on the SUV. Like he wasn't going to help anyway.
U.S. Route 9, 9:17 PM
The jockey on the radio is doing her best to maintain her composure as she goes through the details of the attack.
"Looks like she got to him."
"Would you shut up? Man. Y'makin' me nervous."
"Aint nothing to be nervous about. We're golden."
"Yeah that's what they all say."
The SUV continues northward up US 9. Careful to follow all rules and regulations and drive one mile below the speed limit. The woman grips the wheel extra tightly.
Jan turns the baby over in her hands.
Her face is contorted in what looks like a cry. A little smudge on the face but otherwise fine. Her mother approaches and begins to cry. She can see the face, but cannot hear the voice. Nevertheless she holds the baby tight as Fire and Police arrive on the scene and the red swirling lights turn all around in the background haze. The fuzz will be here soon. And though this woman will now be deaf, there's a sense that she'll be okay with that.
In the rearview mirror of the SUV, they have no idea that the motorcycle approaching them so fast is the Red Hood.
Batman throws his hand over the side of the open wall and claws himself back up into the offices. His right arm hangs slightly, but is kept in place by the armor worn across his chest, keeping him from further injuring his dislocated shoulder until he's got a moment to put it back into place...
A moment he makes for himself while returning to those flash points near the back of the wall. "Route the images to the Batcomputer, Oracle." On a secure channel linked directly to the tower.
His shoulder... He steps towards a filing cabinet and slams his chest just to the right of his clavical into the corner hard enough for it to pop audible... and bites back the pain with a crane of his neck..
No time to worry about it.
He kneels down over one of the darker sections of wall and sifts through the rubble looking for any clue to the make of the explosions. His visor records everything, every angle.. every dark corner. If he doesn't see it now, he /will/ see it later. ...
Batman lifts his head and glances towards the firey hole in the wall.
"Jason." It could be four decades and two trips to hell and his voice wouldn't show any emotion. "If you have eyes, tag them.. but /do not/ engage. Do you hear me? I /want/ them to get away." There's that no nonsense voice.
Jason... "Oracle, voice analysis, confirm, locate, and route his position to the batmobile." Back to that privat channel.
"Robin, Nightwing, report. Do either of you have eyes on the unknown?" Dragnet.
Oracle runs facial recognition against the footage as she chats with the mysterious new vigilante. ||"All right, Dragnet, you do realize you're operating on the Bat's turf, right? You can call me Oracle. And I'd rather not call you an idiot so I'm going to give you the run down. You do as the Bat says. No killing. No maiming. I'm linking you in for this mission. If you do good, I'll contact you again on this frequency and give you instructions on how to be in the loop more permanently, capiche?"||
The computer bleeps at Babs as the search ends, and she forwards the results to the various heads-up displays on the Bats. ||"The intel is from earlier this afternoon. I have IDs on Salvatore Gambino and Ignazio de Rossi as the bomb planters. Those two not-gentlemen are in the employ of our dear friend Carmine Falcone, aka the Roman. Looks like they didn't stay long enough to watch the boom. Dragnet, this is the Batman and company. Batman and company, this is Dragnet. I'm sure he'll introduce himself properly and abide by our rules."||
Babs pulls up her map, hacking into their cell phones to trace their position and bringing up the colored blips of various operatives nearby. ||"I have them heading north on 9, three miles outside the city limits."|| When Jason breaks in, she goes pale. She never deactivated his old comm frequency. Because he was DEAD. With a capital CROWBAR dead. Her stomach clenches in a knot. ||"I read you, Artist Formerly Known as Robin. Been a while. We'll need to catch up and chat. What should I be calling you these days? I think Zombie Jesus is already taken."|| That is completely deadpan, though everything in the computerized voice tends to be. ||"Can you run them down?"|| She zooms a camera in on the Bat, to see his reaction.
Robin looks baffled as the new voice cuts into the channel. ***Artist Formerly Known...who is heck is that?*** he asks, a hint of confusion coming through despite his training to keep the emotion out of his voice. ***Negative on the unknown...both of them*** he replies, doing an about face and heading back outside. Oh no, no upstart is gonna come and claim his Robin title without a fight. The teen is moving towards his bike again, already thumbing the remote start switch.
Dragnet is...suitably cowed by her....his....the scary it on his com frequency. Unfortunately, this does little but reveal the fact that he is a nervous talker. A nervous talker with a very thick Germanic voice, very full of authority and gravitas. Except its running through lines of a fellow that has good reason to be afraid of the dark, everything in it, and the people who hide in it to scare the people who hide in it. Its a vicious cycle of nervousness and terror that would make Dr. Crane squee like a fangirl. "Oh don't mince words, Sir. I am very much the village idiot. It runs in my family! My father was the Idiot of Metropolis. My grandfather's grandfather was the idiot to Kaiser Wilhelm!" Shit, babbling. He tries to reroute as he pursues the truck. How? Well, it turns out you get very fast when you manage to sneak yourself onto the hoods of moving cars whilst holding on for dear life. She might be able to trace the communication, but fortunately he is rather on the difficult to detect side at the moment. He thinks. Unfortunately, his armor decided to unstealth for him to vent his waste heat, and he is unaware that he is visible, exposed, and looking like an utter moron. "Hi guys. Love the whole secret LAN party thing. Gotta say, your networker sounds very big and very scary, like he should have big hands. Is he by any chance a handsome doctor man? I bet he is!" Its not homerotic tendencies, its blatant Beta Male Behavior. Praise the big scary voice on the intercom, and it might not make things kill you. Uh. Babbling again. "So, right. Thou Shalt not kill, thou shalt not make a mess. Also, thou shalt try to....oh fuck, you really are Batman aren't you?" AND THERE GOES HIS COMPLEX! "Uh. Um....what did you need me to do exactly?"
Peering over the window, Nightwing looks out over the traffic, either for the voice from the past that suddenly came up over the comm or the new voice. *** Confirmed visual on...the new one, ** he hesitates some as he tries to figure out what to call Jason as well. Not that he knew the kid all that well since he was in college when he was around, but still. *** Climbing over cars...wearing some weird armor. *** He actually quickly pulls out his phone to snap a picture of the 'visual' before he just starts helping with the evacuation. He'll carry whomever he can and he'll help guide folks to the safer areas to wait for the EMTs. It's not exactly glamorous, but someone has to do it -- and in doing this, it means he doesn't have to acknowledge Jason's quips. Not now.
Gratitude. Glory be. She's going to have to light a candle somewhere, recite a Novena, at the very least cradle a startled little child. Gently Janet wipes the smudge off the little one's forehead as she staggers toward the woman, her smile slightly crazed but growing wider. She doesn't know all of what's going on above her. She just knows that she was, at least, able to help *someone*. As the crews start careening up she looks up in nervous horror. Bruce. Where the hell was Bruce Wayne when that went off?
That's Jason's response to each and every one on the comm, including the new guy. If that's a new guy. Whatever it is... there's too many damn robotic voice changed tones to be listening to at once. And besides, he's got a job to do. "I expect to be compensated for cleaning up this mess. Don't bother hacking my accounts, you'll never find them. I'll just be by later to grab a spare Bat Cycle or somethin'.
The Upstart Robin now known as Red Hood is directly behind the SUV at this point and he's -standing- on the Jaybird to do exactly what Batman has told him to do.
"It's done." is said to Batman.
"Fuck Off." is said to Oracle.
"I'm kinda' glad I came home. Now you all owe me a favor. Best. Reunion. Ever." is said to everyone, with oodles and oodles of sarcasm!
Jason falls back down onto the Jaybird and pulls away, riding up along side the SUV driver and he proceeds to hurl something at the window. It's not thrown hard enough to bust the glass, but it does smack and fall off, as Jason tears off ahead of it.
What was it anyway? An aerosol can. Of red spray paint? What the hell?
The back of the SUV now reads: "FUCK BATMAN" on it.
What? He said tag it.
"Shit! Look out!" yells the big oaf in the passenger side. "What the hell was that?"
"I dunno! I dunno!" She struggles to remain calm. "Looks like it's just some drunk. Musta through a bottle at us or something. You think we should stop?"
"Oh hell naw, man. Keep on going."
Carmine Falcone hangs up the telephone gingerly and smiles to himself. On his desk he sips a light red drink. Maybe a daiquiri. Odd for the man who prefers red wine or hard alcohol.
"Sir, the mission is complete."
"Goooood." Falcone says as he rises to his feet slowly. His voice elongates to show his pleasure. He clasps the man roughly on the neck a few times. "Then I really must be going. . ."
Falcone drops to the floor motionless. The servant man turns around and grins, a small necklace wound tightly over his adam's apple.
This is emotional. This should be emotional... Even Batman knows it should. Deep down inside himself, he realizes that he should be relieved that Jason isn't dead.
Unfortunately, that deep part of him has no voice in the matters at hand. Already he's ticking off a list of individuals with the power to reserrect the deceased. Cross linking them to possible connection with himself and a knowledge of Jason Todd or Robin.
The list is small.
It includes only one person, honestly: Ra's.
His expression remains impassive, even if the cowl weren't hiding most of it. Nothing cross the small portion revealed, even less with the rebreather in place, as he stalks towards the open wall. "Oracle, is it really him?" Cold, impassive.
Batman doesn't have time for emotions. Doesn't have the inclination to fake it for the sake of those who might hear him.
He's busy. Robin is on the move... without being told to do so.
Jason always had a way of causing things to become chaotic. Batman has the cure for it. "Robin, stand down until my order. "
That voice... the one rambling... it's grating his nerves. "Dragnet. Shut. Up." Pause. "Help the EMTs clear debree from survivors." Giving him something to focus on, hopefully something to focus on that will keep him from talking.
Jason is alive... WayneTech is in flames... and the individuals responsible are on their way to New York...
Part of him wants to reach out to the upstart Robin... but he doesn't. Shaking his head as he leaps from the open hole in the wall and decends on clothe wings towards the open hatch of the batmobile. He lands in a crouch beside it and leaps over the edge, "Did you pick up the signal Oracle?"
Oracle blinks a few times at her screen. She takes off her glasses, wipes them with a microfiber cloth, then slides them back on and peers at her screen again. Yep, it wasn't the glasses. She has a traceable IR blip on her screen, in the shape of "FUCK BATMAN." ||"I think I can track the SUV."|| Ahem. No need to elaborate just now. Jason's words get a soft snort. ||"So, you want me to call you Fuck Off? Is your hero symbol a middle finger? That'll be a pain to embroider on your tights,"|| she quips. Her teeth are grinding in her skull, however. She's already typing in heavy calc searches for anything, anything that could indicate this is actually Jason Todd on the line and not some imposter playing the Dead Boy Wonder. ||"Not sure yet, Batman. I'm digging, but it'll take time. Coordinates coming your way on the SUV."|| She sends the GPS info to his heads up display, then opens up the traffic snarls so the GCPD can get to the scene.
Robin practiaclly growls ***Copy.*** into the comm channel as he stops again, thumbing the off switch on his bike remote. ***Somebody has some serious explain.....* comes over the mic as he grumbles to himself before cutting the pickup. The Teen Wonder starts helping the EMT's clear debris, knowing that the order to do so wasn't really for him. Beats standing around doing nothing.
Five or six trucks down the line he gets his...orders, and he realizes his stealth field is down and he is backside out in the wind. It takes a few moments, but the thing eventually performs its assigned task and obscures him from sight. 'Someones having a rough night.' He muses, rolling his neck as he stops hopping cars and goes to...help, he supposes. His strength isn't all that impressive, but human maximums are at least enough to allow him to poke around, make sure people are okay. The rebuke is just enough to get him to focus, and his eyes narrow beneath the faceplate. He's not terribly competent at this, but its busywork at least, and he really doesn't want the Batman to yell at him again. He ponders shutting off the communication, but for now he just holds it open. "Yeah. Yeah...sorry." He then shuts off the comm channel, resolutely going about the task. He'll be gone hopefully before the Teen Wonder starts noticing debris moving itself, or the eminently gruff and terribly imposing incarnation of Night itself decides to go looking for him again.
Maybe he'll be in a better mood next time. The whisper he utters into his helmet is far less convinced, words for himself. There wasn't even the payoff of really having done anything tonight. "Course you pissed him off. Can't shut up, can't even control your words, let alone your emotions..." Also, the stealth function apparently. There isn't exactly any kind of return or warranty policy on armor, so he'll have to fix it himself. Again. There is a heavy sigh, a grunt of exertion as he moves away rubble at the higher echelon of his strength capability. "Some of us don't have a Bat arsenal or teen apprentices like flying monkeys." Its not self. Oh hell, who are we kidding, of course it is self pity. Sort of like Ben & Jerry's for the soul.
Nightwing also moves to help Robin with clearing the debris and getting people out of the building. Only once he's sure that the EMTs have everything in order does he start off in search of Batman himself. Only when he's within earshot of the man does he ask, earnestly, off-com "Hey. You all right? That...-was- Jason, wasn't it?"
She's got her cell phone out in a moment, already beginning to sort through her list. B is near the top, but as she looks at it... no. No, if he's not alive, he's not going to answer. If he is alive, he's probably a little upset about his building blowing up. But she sends a text to the number she has: //Hope to God you're all right.// Not expecting an answer, but. Well.
Most of the vigilante business is lost on Janet -- except, that is, when as she walks through the smoke and the debris she sees Robin come down and start helping the paramedics. Janet stares his way, momentarily dumbfounded. The Batman is barely more than a legend in Gotham to anyone who isn't a cop or a criminal, and there the boy is. Bold as brass. As she passes by him -- one of the few people here shorter than Tim Drake -- she reaches out to grasp his arm briefly and tightly. "I don't know who you are, kid," she says softly, "but with that sense of responsibility there's a lot better things you could wear than a costume." She nods toward one of the paramedics, adding: "That would be a good start."
Favor can be assumed by the fact that, instead of shouting for the police to apprehend the good Samaritan, she moves to pass him by.
Emotion. The one thing that Batman is devoid of. The one thing that Red Hood is full of.
He's already cutting the comm off so that he doesn't find himself responding to Oracle or Batman or any of the rest of the losers. He's much too busy zipping in and out to get back to wherever he's going to be staying for the night. He only stopped in Gotham to spy and now he's gotten himself involved in something that he probably shouldn't have. But he couldn't just stand by and watch somebody else make a fool out of his Father.
Fuck That. If anyone's going to make a fool out of Batman, it's going to be him. Or, y'know, maybe the Joker.
Red Hood is gone. Long gone. Putting as much distance between him and the SUV as possible, before he slows down and just cruises along. Sighing to himself, there's only one thing to say, since nobody's around to hear it.
Red Hood. Forever Alone.
||"ETA 45 seconds until the GCPD arrive in force, folks. Time to vamoose if you aren't on good terms with the badge-holders,"|| Oracle warns. ||"Oracle out."|| She cuts off the mic part of her comm, because her throat is too tight to speak any more. She presses a fist against her mouth as she stares hard at her computer screen, willing it to confirm that Jason Todd is alive and well.
The Next Day, Wayne Manor
As the dust has begun to settle on the worst terrorist event in Gotham history, Alfred Pennyworth has not known exactly what to say to the boy he's seen grow up into a man. The television networks are everywhere. Batman hasn't slept, nor has he come out of the cave.
The clacking of dress shoes down a long stairwell echo throughout the dwelling. He stops a good deal from Batman and waits for long moments, only imagining how Bruce Wayne must feel.
Quietly, though the voice carries mighty well down here, the butler begins. "There's nothing you could have done, Master Bruce." Another long pause. "They've raised the stakes. Perhaps it's time to get help. You can't do this on your own anymore. Perhaps it's time to expand the team in some manner, sir."