|What: The 6pm Gotham News Network broadcasts an unusual story, and then...|
The teaser was given over the course of the business day. GNN had more than hinted that a message would be given to the Dark Knight during the course of its nightly news broadcast, enough time to get the word out, or so was the plan. It was also two-fold, to make certain that the public knew the events that were to take place, to see for themselves exactly what their elected officials were going to do when confronted with ... a certain situation.
GNN itself was abuzz with activity, no doubt on the sudden, surprising move by a select individual in management to change the lineup at no notice at all. When he had told them why, more than one individual had burst out with objections. It was not a good day to be an employee at GNN, even after Jeremy Ritter had told them he'd give the broadcast himself, that he wouldn't force anyone to do that particular "story", such as it was.
And soon enough, it became 5pm, and the minutes began to tick towards the fateful hour.
6pm - GNN
The introductory GNN logo displays, the music blares, and when the beginning segment ends, it is neither the face of Alicia Moren, her back-up Monica Lawrence, or Greg Farnstead that greets viewers tonight, but that of a middle-aged man who left the anchor position several years prior. Below, the prompt displays the text "Jeremy Vitter, GNN Executive Producer of Daily News." Despite the hint of bloodshot to his eyes from binging the night before, his expression and tone retain that cool, detached recounting of events. If he is reading from a teleprompter, his eyes never once flicker towards it; they focus completely on the camera.
"Good evening, Gotham. This is a special broadcast tonight. Most of you haven't seen my face behind this desk for some years now since I moved up from anchor. We at Gotham News pride ourselves on the information we deliver to you, our viewers, but we also take pride in the very people here who make that possible, for each one is invaluable to both our daily workings and in providing you the quality news you expect from us. It is for that reason, our commitment to our staff, that I am personally directing this controversial broadcast tonight, one delivered to me earlier in the day, and one addressed to the supposed Batman, who I pray is actually within the audience tonight, watching." There he pauses, his eyes shutting for a fraction of a second before opening again and speaking the words: "Roll the footage."
Across televisions tuned in throughout Gotham, the scene suddenly changes from the newsroom, to that of a woman who most certainly would look familiar to those who regularly watch GNN in the evening hours. Gotham News anchor Alicia Moren has a slightly haggard appearance to her, unkempt from lack of personal grooming, but she appears unharmed if otherwise exhausted and unwashed, her clothes wrinkled. Behind her, a cement wall, and light is shining on her from behind the hand-camera that pre-recorded her words before their public appearance now. Her words come out with the anxiety present on her features, yet she does not stutter or pause.
"Good evening. I am here tonight to deliver a request. I, along with several others including GCPD officers, have been taken into custody. We are all currently well, and none of us are dead or in any condition that requires emergency medical attention. So long as the demand laid out in this message is met in good faith, we will remain hale, and we will be released without any additional harm or mistreatment to us.
"The demand is the unconditional release of Jonas Carr, also known as "The Identity Thief", who was recently sent to trial by District Attorney van Dorn this past March. He is to be brought, unharmed and uncompromised, and without any surveillance or monitoring devices attached or implanted, to the Gotham Cathedral, after which we will be released elsewhere, once Carr has been verified and secured.
"Additionally, GCPD is to clear away and blocade the area before hand, to allow for a smoother exchange to take place, and arrange for paramedics to arrive so that Officers Blake, Frederick, and Kirke can have their injuries treated. The exchange is to take place at 8pm tonight. In no way is the vehicle that will be used to transport Carr to be followed or monitored. Our release is based solely on GCPD's cooperation, and the lack of other intervention by third parties. Do not be late, or it will be construed as a breach of this demand, and our fates will become... uncertain." The recording abruptly ends there, and the GNN logo displays for a moment of silence before going to a commercial break.
Elsewhere in Gotham.
"Hey boss!" A man's voice. "It's starting!"
"Good," comes the deep-voiced reply. "Start preparing our guests for transport. Let them see we intend to be serious. Repeat your other instructions."
There does not come a reply from the man, which only earns the semblance of a smile from the masked face regarding him. "Very good," Bane tells him, before offering one word of dismissal. "Go."
Two different vehicles are making their way from two different locations towards two also different locations, one of which the Cathedral, as broadcast on the news. Both are vans, identical, enough to house multiple individuals within their backs; one contains the hostages and their 'escort', the other a group of armed men. All wear balaclavas and non-descript clothing. Traffic at this hour was planned for; they'll uphold their end of the bargain, it seems, the one meant for Carr's transport arriving at Gotham Cathedral exactly the right time at its current rate of progression, or soon enough as to make very little difference.
Normally Selina has no interest in such events but tonight is different, somehow. Probably a case of curiosity getting to the cat or something similar. Costumed donned, she headed towards where the exchange is supposed to take place, sticking to the shadows while the sunlight starts to dwindle. By the time she arrives it should be just dark enough to make staying concealed easy.
Pearched atop a building not too far from the old Cathedral, Catwoman perches upon a ledge, waiting, watching.
Oh Peter. You find yourself in the darndest situations.
Peter Parker is now dressed as Spider-Man as he prowls the night in a strange, slightly unsettling city. Under his mask, his face wrinkles at the dilapidation, the gothic spires, and the smell of the place. He'd been here to do some photography for the Bugle regarding the kidnapping. Special Assignment is right. Once he'd kind of put one and one and one together and done the math, he was out and about, doing what he does. Trying to help. He watches the streets below.
This is Gotham City, his city, so it was obvious he would respond. Dispite the demand that third parties stay clear, he is there anyways. Keeping his distance as the two vans pull out front of the Cathedral. Watching from the darkness of an over hanging statuary with the length of black cape draped down around him like a fluid shadow.
As soon as the vehicles stop, the lenses of his cowl zoom in on the tail plates, shifting to a night optic spectrum to read the license plates quietly into the communicator linked back to Alfred in the Batcave.
"Run registration against GCPD database. Bring up the file on Carr and upload it to my wrist computer."
"Of course, sir." Says Alfred with his deligent tone spoken right into the Bat's ear.
For now, the Dark Knight watches. No need for rush... They're not going to get away from him anytime soon.
She was agog when she heard the news. Outraged. Infuriated. And she argued with the Mayor immediately when she got the call.
"I have no idea if it's related. But yes, his records are on my laptop and the drive they stole."
"...No. NO! We can't do this. We're not just going to surrender to the gangs, Mayor. This is not twenty years ago. We do not back down. You're the mayor; you know how this is going to look to the city! To every other city! Like we can't fix our own problems..."
"A SWAT team. The FBI. Something. Anything. Not giving in."
But despite her power and despite her pleas, there are some people she can't move. And in the end, Janet van Dorn is forced to sign the prisoner away. She sits at her desk rubbing her temples, listening to the radio because the laptop she'd watch the live feed on is currently in someone else's hands. So frustrated. So beyond frustrated. Everything they've worked for, and as much as she prays for the lives of those captured, it just feels ike a gigantic step back.
With one foot already perched precariously on the roof and the other steady on her bedroom windowsill, Stephanie Brown hesitates. A backpack bulging with the finest crime fighting gear that babysitting savings and random lawnmowing jobs could buy her is slung over one shoulder; one leather glove flops a ways out of the top, waving lazily at nothing. "Bye, mom!" she calls with a hand cupped around her mouth. "Back later!" Beat. "Much later!" Beat. "You know what, don't even wait up! I'm gonna go to one of those new twenty-four hour libraries!"
With that, she climbs the rest of the way outside, scampers down to the ground and boards her motorcycle.
Downstairs, in the living room, Mrs. Brown looks numbly to the stairs at the sound of her daughter's voice for a little while, then looks down at her watch, grabs a handful of pulls, and tosses them into her mouth.
Flat white eyes peek down at the Cathedral from the rooftop of a restaurant across the street; ever since she arrived, Spoiler has been doing a careful dance of inching up further and further from behind the edge of the roof, only to scurry back down into cover the moment anyone or anything even looks as though it might be noticing.
So far, she's let a random car, a can rattling in the alleyway, and an absolutely embarassing number of pigeons startle her.
As the time draws nearer - and her resolve to steel herself against being frightened by any more goddamned birds grows - she begins alternating between sticking her head up and sliding her phone to snap pictures of what's going on down there; some of them are even in focus.
Jonas Carr, indicted for presumably multiple counts of forgery, and fraud. His nickname as "The Identity Thief" came about largely due to the testimony against him; an underground name, largely, one brought about publically when he was arrested and charged. Presumably believed to have given false identity - and damn good ones - to multiple individuals over the years, for hefty prices each. A number of criminals had gone into hiding in other locations, in plain sight, on account of Carr's supposedly thorough and precise masquerades of an individual's dossier. He was the go-to guy when one needed to disappear.
The vehicle arriving at the Cathedral is registered to a rental service on the east side of town. Paid for in cash just today, the name given for the lease holder rather well known to GCPD's databases for flirting a bit too much with assault and battery in the past. Your typical thug, in other words.
And as the van approaches, the driver's masked face and that of his associates are intent on the situation. The van opens up, and one steps out, face obscured, holding up his hands and what appears to be a cell in one open palm. (The others inside still have semi-automatics, just in case.) A prime camera shot, that would be. The man does not speak a word, merely points to the phone while casting his eyes about, clearly searching for someone: the prisoner in question.
Being more than several stories above the action makes for lots in the way of difficulty when it comes to catching details. It's something Selina has always known yet is reminded of tonight as she can see the vans and not much more. Frowning deeply, she considers staying put. There's little she can do to help, if anything, and she just might wind up getting in the way if she gets too close. But there's something driving her own and soon she's swinging from the roof, looking for purchase upon a windowsill or something similar on one building over that will hopefully afford a better view.
Similarly, Spider-Man is perched. He lowers his makeshift police scanner and stuff it in his backpack and breathes heavily, mentally preparing himself for what might occur. He watches what goes on silently, hoping things go smoothly but fearing things will not.
Batman brings up his wrist computer, quickly plugging at keys on the dim lit screen partially hidden in the folds of his draping cape. The police channel is already fed directly to his cowl, but if he can find the individual signal for that phone... or, more precisely, and far better, the channel the group is using to communicate amongst themself, he'll be in a far better position to coordinate his attack.
He obviously has no intentions of allowing the criminals to get away with the prisoner. It has nothing to do with /who/ Carr is and everything to do with precidence. As soon as the police cooperate, it sets the tone for every other johnny come lately criminal to hit the block.
And that does not happen in Gotham. Not solong as the Bat is watching.
And he is /always/ watching.
Working alone has always made these things easier for him. It's easier to figure for himself without the intervention of outside, potentially uncontrollable, variables that might complicate the matter. Get themselves hurt.
Get in the way.
As Janet listens to the radio, she suddenly and briefly wishes she smoked. She could be having a cigarette right now to calm her nerves. Rising restlessly from her desk, she walks to the window of her office where she fancies that she can just see the Cathedral. It's a good view. The corner of her mouth is twitching as she watches, pulling out her cellular phone and connecting with the VPN to her files. Read everything on the Identity Thief. Again. What could they want him for? It can't be to make a new identity; there's got to be others who can fit the bill. This is so appallingly unsubtle if that's all they need, isn't it?
As the vans pull in, those opaque eyes brief widen, and then they disappear, only to be replaced by the cellphone; a moment later, it too is gone, hidden away in the enshrouding folds of the Spoiler's violet cape. She makes a face at the image - maybe half of the van is in frame - but quickly banishes any thought of trying to line up a better shot. She'll have to make do; maybe Gotham High will start offering Photography For Vigilantes as an elective next year. Backlit screen glaring against her black mask, she types as quickly as her keypad and gloved thumbs will let her; soon enough...
@Spoiler_Alert: twitpic.com/a29gp Worst mass /ever/.
But you see, Dark Knight, that contingency was planned for: the possibility that the phone could be used against them. They've been using the news anchor's personal line for some time, now, and tonight is no exception. It's the phone in the criminal's hands right now. His eyes continue to look about, and then he's suddenly thrusting his free hand out towards an officer in the audience, and the beckoning finger makes it very clear what he wants, holding out the phone meaningfully, still silent. He'll approach closely to an officer, only close enough that he can throw the phone to the member of GCPD without too much risk of him biffing it and dropping it to the ground, and the cell breaking in the process.
It's also dialing, with a contact name of "Lifeline", of all things. The number? Officer Burke's cell, situated at a dilapidated section of town.
"Let them through," the voice says on the other end, after confirmation of human presence on the Cathedral's end is confirmed. "And pay very close attention. 1580 Northern. You'll know where when you see the smoke. Best hurry. And bring a few friends if you want them." Click.
Right after that, Janet herself gets a phone call from that same number. "Are you present at the scene, Ms. District Attorney?" the slightly arrogant, tenor voice on the other end asks. The man on that end lighting fires, literally, as he talks. "Pity; we were going to return something that belongs to you. We do want to thank you for your cooperation with Mr. Carr, though."
And during all this, the people in the van are fully intending to collect their prize and make off with him; they wouldn't have given up the cell otherwise. The fire with the captives, a diversion. They aren't in any /real/ danger... if everyone hurries... but no one needs to know that, right? Police radio and other emergency broadcasts are suddenly going out about reports of a fire at the exact location being discussed.
"Ah yes. Call the number I give you, and tell them everyone is on the third floor. Or will be, if they don't dawdle. Good bye." The number is that of the cell that was just given away, the one now in GCPD hands.
Cut to Spidey, he's obviously grown very comfortable to his new surroundings. Did you know that Spiders are some of the most malleable creatures when it comes to new homes and adaptation? Neither did I. Cuz it's not true. Or maybe it's true, but Peter doesn't know it. Anyways, as he waits for this all to go down, he's leaning back and munching on a granola bar. "Pff," he mutters. "Don't know why everyone says Gotham is so bad."
Batman is patient, it's one of his defining qualities. Never rushing if he doesn't have to, waiting for the exact moment to present itself before he moves. In his experience, every well laid plan has a mistake.
He knows two things for certain: The hostages are, or at least will be shortly, safe. And the individual responsible for this is at the other scene.
If he's not pick up radio chatter between the groups of armmed men, that too is an important detail. They could be on radio silence and he's keeping the possibility of that open.
What he also knows. He is not a fire fighter.
Nor does he intend to rush off after a cellphone that could, and will, be dropped. The person who planned this is not stupid. Too much forethought went into it, entirely too much careful planning.
It's a diversion.
Knowing that, he stays right where he is.. at least until the van loading the prisoner begins to move, the very second those doors close, the Batman takes flight on suddenly extended wings.. gliding like a dark shadow towards the roof and landing in a crunch crouch that 'definately' dents the top.
They'll shoot, but they wont do it imediately. He's got a half second, it's enough. His arm snaps down, grinds the metalic bladed fins on his gauntlet into the joints between rough and side panel and swings down to double kick the rear view mirror, landing on the hood with his fingers curled into the joint hinges.
Glaring into the front glass with hollow white eyes and a deep sneer.
She eyes the phone as it calls, narrowing her eyes and hesitating before she answers it. She has Burke's number in her phone: he's one of the cops she's needed to speak with before; really, most of the GCPD is in her phone's memory somewhere. Thank God they didn't steal THAT. After listening to the voice on the other end, Janet's voice lowers into something like a growl as she replies: "We'll see how long you keep him. Even I have to jump when the mayor tells me." She grits her teeth, glaring out the window as she adds: "And of course I didn't come with him. Surprisingly, I don't like being shot at or tied up. Not my kind of kink, thanks all the same. So where's my laptop? I liked the picture of my dog on the desktop, so just leave it somewhere given that you've got what you need."
The next time Spoiler pops her head up, something slams into the van so hard that one of its mirrors goes flying. Once the initial moments of wide-eyed shock pass, she fumbles with her phone for a few seconds to try snapping a picture of the scene, but it slips from her hands and goes flying into the space between her building and the next. Cursing her gloves, the young crimefighter clutches the rooftop with one hand and tries to snatch her phone before it crashes into the ground below; it's quite a stretch, but she's ultimately successful.
Unfortunately, as soon as she has the thing in her grasp, her footing slips, and /she/ begins tumbling into the space between the two buildings with a barely suppressed cry; it's only her hand on the roof that saves her. After tossing her phone onto the rooftop, she grabs the ledge with both arms and sloooowly begins pulling herself back up to safety.
Hopefully the van and the--/thing/--that crashed into it won't get too far away while she's trying no to break her neck.
They aren't interested in a prolonged discussion, Madam D.A. The phone call to you is hung up after providing the directive to give Alicia Moren's phone a ring and tell the other end where the hostages are. The one setting the fire has places to be, and right now that's "not at the fire". He and his cohorts are going to take off, once the inferno is ablaze, leaving behind the multiple people that were taken from their daily lives.
Those trying to escape with Mr. Carr, however, are having a bit of trouble. Bat trouble. Orders to stay silent or no orders, at least one of them can't help the, "Holy shit!" that pops out of his mouth at the sudden and dramatic CRUNCH that occurs once the bat lands on their vehicle.
They retaliate against the cowled vigilante, of course, first by flooring it hard and, predictably, trying to stop just as quickly, a clear intent to throw the man from the hood and out of the way. Returning empty-handed is not an option, not for them.
Naturally, the target, Carr, has no idea what the hell is going on; he's freaking out to the point that one of his 'rescuers' has to butt him on the head so he goes unconscious and shuts up. If the go-and-stop method doesn't work to shake off the bat, literally, they'll have to risk close-confines bullets. Not a contingency, but a necessity.
Catwoman is in the wrong position to see anything but she can hear. The thudding, the shouting. It all gets her heart to start pounding. "Damnit." The ascent is halted and her whip is swung out again, this time in a way that puts her at a much lower, slower arc than last time. She wants to get onto street level and see just what the hell is going on.
Aroo!? What's that? Trouble you say? Dandy. Peter pulls the mask back down into place, still swallowing the last morsels of his bar. After an accentuated swallow he just sort of walks off the end of the building like it's no big deal and starts free falling towards whatever it is that crashed into that van. He's about to throw a monkey wrench in the whole works. To SPOIL everyth. . .Wait. What's that? There's someone over there dangling from a ledge!
TWHIP!!! A web is fired and puts Spider-Man on a new course in an attempt to save the gal in purple. He reaches out with one hand to grasp her against his side, "I don't know how many times I've told you, doll. You gotta watch that first step. It's a DOOZIE!" The arc of the web takes the pair off towards another ledge, "Now I know this isn't as nice as your last one, but in this market you really need to take what you can get."
The attempts to dislodge him are partially successful, but not for the reasons one might initially believe. The Bats feet shoot out from beneath him when the breaks are slammed, but his gauntlet is locked in that little grove between windshield and hood.
Holding fast dispite the stop and go, Batman pulls with the locked fist and slams the other clear through the glass, dropping, from his openned hand a couple of small pellets into the front seat of the SUV.
Then he's rolling, releasing the lock on his fist and stabbing straight down with a batarang into the front left tire and reaching for a grapnel, full expecting them to go into a blazing rush when the smoke errupts into the confines of that closely packed can of armed thugs.
Bits of it is escaping, of course, but there's plenty and even if not, the tire is out...
They floor it, as one would expect of such goons. His arm again stabs the forearm blades into the side panel, dragging him along with one hand grabbing for the groove created by his initial swing. Grinding his teeth as he summons a great force of will to keep himself attached.
Grimacing as they disconnect, Janet nevertheless dials up the authorities and starts explaining what she's heard to them: "Third floor of that address. Send out the closest fire trucks; Christ, they're going to //burn// them -- hang on. Hold the phone! I see them down there! That getaway car..." Recklessly as hell, she pushes the window open and steps out onto the small balcony just beyond. Ledge, really; she's hanging onto the windowframe, though, and is reasonably safe. "There's a man trying to break into it. Big guy. Big black cape, if you can believe it. Holy smoke, he's //cutting through the car//. It's that homicidal nutjob!" Yes, Batman, you're still not her favorite.
Before she knows what's happening, Spoiler feels her cape and hood fluttering around herself in the wind; did she somehow lose her grip? She scratches and claws at thin air for a moment; the beginnings of a startled shriek slips from her lips, but it's bitten off once her fingers dig in against spandex and she realizes that she isn't about to die.
She's still hurtling through the air at speeds far greater than she's ever dared with her grapple line, of course, so her fingers remain taut - perhaps painfully so - against the Wall-Crawler's shoulders until they reach the next rooftop. When her feet are on solid ground again - when she's able to relax enough to disengage from Spider-Man - she slowly brings trembling hands up to tuck a few stray locks of blonde hair back into her hood, panting for air the whole time.
"My phone," she gasps once her adjustments are made; she vaguely gestures towards that other roof. "It's, uh--" She presses her hands over her heart, gulps in a big breath of air, then slowly lets it out. "--god, oh my god--it's over there, the other roof."
Half a beat later, she mumbles, "--but that's not important right now, obviously," once it occurs to her that costumed crimefighters are probably expected to be capable of fetching their own cell phones from the rooftops they almost accidentally fall from. She fidgets with her cape a little to make sure it's actually hanging straight, dusts herself off, then plants her hands on her hips. "So," she says, trying her best to affect non-chalance, "pretty--crazy--about that van, right? We should--you know--" She jerks her head towards where the vehicle and the Bat peeled off.
Smoke caplets exploding in the cab was /definitely/ not part of the planned outcomes. They'd been told there was a good chance the demands would be ignored, that any getaways would be intercepted, but specifically how had not been made clear, as if their employer didn't know.
"Backup!" one croaks out loud through his coughing of the smoke, which is transmitted via short-range radio, the frequency easily intercepted. It's a signal intercepted by those speeding towards them from the scene of the fire. Reinforcements are coming, and soon, men who aren't having trouble shooting the caped crusader on the van on account of spastic coughing.
The van is suddenly slammed to a halt again, the door opened in that classic mistake of everyone trying to get away from what's interfering with their productivity. They leave their prize behind in their haste, but they can't compete with foreign agents in their respiratory systems. Gas masks aren't in the arsenal. All this happens outside City Hall; that particular action has come to a literal stop.
Meanwhile, paramedics and firefighters have begun making their way, spurred on by both that call and existing 911 calls. There's a ton of chatter over police frequency, orders being given to intercept the getaway car as well as clear a path for emergency vehicles to get to the site. Sirens all but erupt from what used to be the site for prisoner exchange, as well as other locales, dispatch planning interception routes." It won't be long before police arrive to surround the getaway car, or for more semi-automatic toting individuals to reinforce their crew and all but drive-by pickup, in stricted Grand Theft Auto tradition.
The smoke is finally noticed by Selina once her feet get on the ground and she runs towards the van, the length of her whip allowed to trail behind her for now as she's not taking the time to bother coiling it back up. Plus, with all that's going on, she'd most likely just wind up having to unclasp it and uncoil it again eventually, if not soon, so why not save a step.
She's not sure where to go now and it's at that particular moment when she wishes she had some way to communicate with at least one of the others who might be here. Would make coordinating efforts all the easier. She eventually shrugs and runs towards where the smoke seems to be coming from.
"Ouch Ouch Ouch that stings," says Spidey as Spoiler's fingers dig into his side. She can feel his body sort of shirk away from her reflexively. As they land on the ledge, Spider - Man looks up on his tippy toes trying to catch a peek of the phone in question. "What? Van. Oh, right. Yeah, I came from that direction. That was kind of the plan all along. You know, but then there was that whole bit about you falling, or being about to fall and me going to save you and. . .you're welcome." Pause. "Oh, right. So /now/. Got it." He laces an arm under Spoiler's. "Here we go again. Watch those nails, sister." The pair, if she be willin', takes flight downward. She's going to want to hold on tight.
Either way, a few moments later, there's a web that snatches the cell phone from its perch and pulls it along off the side of the building.
Batman is off the side in a flash, moving around the back of the van where men slip out in fits of spaztic coughing. He comes around the open door with his thumb held outwards in a throat chop, slamming against the first goons trachae with enough force to put him down in a foot swinging slam against the concrete.
The cape swirls through the smoke as the Dark Knight turns, catching his elbow against the bent knee of the second, putting his body low in position smash the back of his head straight up into the bent over man's jaw, grab him with both hands and throw him straight out into the street jawbone first.
Whoever this dark figure is, he is not in safe mode. Crawling up into the smoke without even a second thought, using the cramped quarters to his benefit.
One hand comes up to block the swing butt of a rifle, with his forearm. His fist fires straight out towards the man's abdomen with his second knuckles pressing in hard against the lower breast bone just beneath the cartilage connecting the sternum.
As the smoke clears, he rolls backwards out of the van, grabs the edge of the hatch and curls himself up onto the roof in a low crouch. Ready to pounce on one of the two that stepped out from the front. Using the vehicle for cover.
Janet presses herself back against the windowframe, narrowing her eyes as she watches. "He's going to try to steal Carr," she says softly. "That must be it. He doesn't want whoever this other guy is to have him; he's trying to get him for himself. Cripes, guys; you've got to get in there!" But she knows every available is going to be rushing to the hostages. That homicidal nutjob down there... oh, the temptation to go to her desk and pull out Dad's Police Special is *intense*.
Spoiler mumbles a few words of thanks when Spider-Man reminds her to, and keeps her blank white eyes from meeting /his/ blank white eyes as she does it. "Don't worry," she dryly offers as she coils an arm around his body for stability, "Just a little post-near-death experience jitters; totally over it now."
Once they're in motion, a near-brush with a weather vane leads to the young heroine fighting to keep her cape gathered safely in her free hand; she'll be holding her breath until they're on solid ground again, but she keeps her word and doesn't try to scratch the Wall-Crawler any further--though it gets tougher once he decides to bring her phone along for the ride, and the risk of it bouncing the wrong way and smashing into a wall is introduced to the already stressful evening.
There won't be a need to pull out Dad's Police Special, Janet, because someone else had the same idea. This is to say, there's a very rapid approach by a speeding van. They ran a number of red lights to get here, but the drivers of each car were selected with care: they're good at driving, not shooting. /Good/ at driving. It's why a screech of tires might warn the bat taking out the getaway crew that there are more coming to contend with. Backup is arriving, and not the Gotham Police kind, though they're going to be hot on these heels soon enough. GCPD may be busy with the hostage retrieval, of course, but there are a few units to spare for an armed getaway, armed in the sense of one silent man leaning out the window and offering 'suppressing fire' at the first van as they screech up. Those inside - four total in the 'backup' crew - all offer the same in the direction of the van, but two of the backup with guns are going to make use of those windows to so much as shoot anyone that /looks/ like blinking, while the third is going to risk getting out of the back to retrieve the outcold target. They can see their comrades are having a little problems and don't waste time trying to figure out how; backup would not have been called if it was not dire. Best to bunker down while they get what they came for; the diversion is doing its job at keeping most of the attention there, if not all of it.
At the scene of the inferno, flames steadily billow up, from the first floor as well as higher up. The central floors of the seven-story building appear to be unlit, though that can easily change, to say nothing of the fact that smoke and heat both rise. Ambulances and fire engines are beginning to converge on the scene, as well as a few GCPD cars, just in case. The latter are unnecessary; it's just fire and bound captives in an abandoned building.
Catwoman doesn't give much thought to anything. The same policemen she normally keeps out of the line of sight of are actually ran past, this all in an effort to get to where the victims are. There are undoubtedly shouts of 'hey!' and 'you can't go in there' and maybe even a quickly called out, unintentional-yet-still-horrible pun of 'you crazy cat lady!'. All shouts that fall upon deaf ears.
"Alright! If you can hear me, start yelling," Selina starts to yell as she goes up the stairs, stopping at the second floor entry point first, yelling her directions several times. If it doesn't sound like anyone responds she heads up to the next.
The web is retracted with the cell phone safe in tow. "Here, chica . . .wait, what is your real name anyways?" Pause. "Not your real name, like your fake name. You know what I mean." As they hurtle down towards the ground, Batman-mid-fight in a van gets into clear view. "Kay, this is gonna be tricky. When we hit the truck, you gotta move your legs or you'll go all tumbly tumbly and while normally that would be super funny, now is not the right time. Got it? Okay. 1. 2. Now!" The pair are released from the web just as they reach the SUV. Spider-Man hits the van in stride and in almost one movement, slides to the side grabs that little metal crevice thing and tries to kick in one of the windows. When in Gotham. . .
Batman hear's the screech of tires and throws a quick batarang up towards one of the over hanging street lamps, bathing this section of the road in limited darkness. It's not complete, with other lights positioned a few yards up and down the street, along with across it, but it'll do. Just the occational flashes of weapon fire.
Which actually works in his favor. It ruins their vision between the snap pops into the pitch, but his eyes are shielded behind the white lenses.
On the otherside of the SUV, Batman ducks, rolls beneath the window and pushes his palm flat against the mussle of the rifle, reaching in with the other hand to grab the goon holding it by the scruff the neck and whip him out of the vehicle in a forward flip that leaves him smashing against the concrete.
His foot snaps down into the man's chest, ducking down between each suppression fire on the van, knowing they wont aim too low as long as Carr is still outcold in the back.
One bullet still wings him across the chest, just between his armored arm and chest. It leaves a bloody wound, but nothing the Bat is going to let stop him.
And now he's got support... even if it's unwelcomed support... of the spider variety.
One of the two goons who stepped out of the front is grabbed suddenly and pulled forward into headbutt aimmed at the bridge of his nose and a toss down towards the sidewalk.
Wincing, Janet continues to watch as the firefight goes on. "Damn it, Carr's going to die back there if we don't get some support down here and I am NOT going to be the GCPD sniper. It's been a long time since the Gotham Junior Miss Sharpshooter competition and... he's got company." She hisses, biting back an expletive and peering closer. "What the. Is that... Spider-Man?"
"Spoiler!" she shouts into the wind buffeting them. When Spider-Man begins directing her, she turns her attention beneath them and clenches her teeth. The instructions go in one ear and out the other because she's already sizing up the speeding van and planning out the immediate future: the release, the fall, hitting the van, catching herself before she hits the asphault...
... taking an ice water bath to soothe her aching everything later...
There's a healthy grimace beneath her mask by the time Spider-Man releases her, but she handles the whole sequence - falling, tucking into a ball to bounce (more or less) safely across the van, and scrambling to get a grip on the side opposite the Wall-Crawler - adroitly. Unlike him, she refrains from smashing any glass in and concentrates on trying to work her way back onto the roof so that she can use /his/ entrance once he's done.
The reply to Janet is that backup is on its way. Also requests a confirmation of both the presence of Spider-Man and the situation. 'Confirm status of the hostage', is the exact phrasing used to describe Carr.
As for the action in the first van, they're really no match for two individuals - one with extensive combat technique, the other with spider-enhanced capabilities and web-shooters - and they're certainly not going to put up a real resistance should they get disarmed. This does not mean they're not going to go near suicidal. Exactly why that is will be the subject of another time; take it on faith that they have /very/ good reasons why they, the backup, are all going to pile out and fire at the van in the direction of the new arrivals. Probably not a good idea, with their target in the back lying down, but this is pure desperation. They /need/ him, as had been made clear during the... debriefing, so long ago. Semi-automatics are engaged at the trio of Batman, Spider-Man, and even Spoiler, bullets flung heedless of even their peers; that, too, had been made clear from the start: no man left behind. If any of the others is fatally injured, they knew the risks. The only thing that mattered was acquisition, and nothing more.
For Ms. Kyle, she won't get much of an answer. Duct tape gags are a problem, but she won't have to search for very long before she comes across the five - yes, five, not four - individuals bound up, some squirming in the open room in which they were placed. The heat is steadily rising, as is the smoke, but aside from obvious battery to the three GCPD that were violently subdued before the job at the D.A.'s office, the other two, one clearly the GNN anchor, the other a civilian by her dress, are more or less unhurt.
Not as easy as it could have been but it was not as bad at the same time. Catwoman will thank her lucky stars later. Right now she has to get these people out of here which means zero time to count blessings. The claw upon the tip of her right index finger is used to cut away whatever has the hostages bound and then she carefully removes their gags, mindful not to accidentally gouge anyone. Once done she gets those who are alright up on their feet and then she points towards those who are apparently injured.
"Help me get these guys out of here." She tries to heft one up while the others do their part to help, hopefully in a manner which will be speedy enough to get them out of here before they die.
THWIP THWIP! Spidey sends two shots of webbing towards the face of one of the gunmen, "Now now, Charlie. You remember what mamma said right around Christmas time. You'll shoot your eye out, kid!" Spider-Man tries to wrest the gun away. "So...just...give me...this...and...."
Batman hears the doors popping open, dispite the intensity of the combat around the outside of the first SUV, and knows that could mean only one thing... A firing squad.
Something round is flung over the otherside of vehicular cover, something that sprouts little blades and stabs into the side of the second vehicle a few seconds before errupting in a BANG-FLASH!
It wont stop them... but it'll be enough. His arm wraps around the throat of one of the goons he was working over and a grapnel line is fired up above himself, quickly pulling the pair upwards into the increasing darkness amidst saturating firearm flashes and increasing darkness along the side of the street.
Attacking armed men is suicidal.
He'll find them.
There's a cry from Janet when the flashbang goes off and she flings her arm over his face. "I think so. He's -- they're still fighting over him awful hard if he's not alive in there. And you know, I'm not a vigilante //expert//, but there's a guy dressed in red and blue and he's squirting this sticky stuff at people so I'm going to guess he's either Spider-Man or the crazy kind of fan. And a... kid? Or a girl? Someone small. Purple cloak. Can't make it out..."
The first time Spoiler pops her head down to see how the armed men are doing, she's greeted by a gun barrel; yelping, she yanks herself up to safety moments before a spray of bullets lights up the night, and decides that maybe trying the other side /would/ be wise. She braces herself against the roof, unhooks her grappling hook, and several seconds of inching across the speeding vehicle later, she's using the thing to bash in the van's other window. Once she's done, she plays with her belt for a moment, then sticks something /else/ down there, level with the window:
A can of pepper spray, which she tries to liberally apply to the thugs inside.
BANG-FLASH! The world explodes in white for a brief moment. Enough to stop the gunfire. The backup crew staggers from it, of course, no longer trigger happy. Sudden ocular impairments - and /not risking hitting the target/ - do that. But even with that, and the sudden departure of one very dangerous vigilante, there's still two running interference.
It seems very clear, now, that to stay is to risk worse than failure: capture.
Another word is muttered out loud by the driver of the backup crew: "Turncoat!" What it means, though...
Either way, between pepper spray, crazy-fan-stickyness, and more, they're going to bail, on foot if necessary, splitting up three ways. One has webbing in his face, a second staggering away while trying to recover from /pepper spray/, and the third just running. They're leaving the target behind, who is starting to stir during all this.
During all this time, though, the Cat's efforts are paying off. Unbinding the conscious certainly helped, and despite being scared, they're willing to help get the hell out of there. Quick enough to be in time, with the fire crew running point on controlling the blaze down below.
Slow and steady wins the race but not when it comes to being inside the building which is truly beginning to get too hot for comfort. She takes the hand of one of her 'helpers' who then tries to take the hand of the other, creating what looks like a small gaggle of baby geese following their mother. She backtracks once assured everyone is ready to go, the stairwell entered and the trip down started in earnest.
"Hello, got people here," she yells again, this time trying to get the attention of a firefighter. "We could use some help!"
"Trackstars!" Spider-Man exclaims in mock excitement. He wriggles out of the vehicle and fires two webs at the back-heads of the runners. "It's almost time for the Olympics. But London is ....*grunt*.... that way." Spider-Man tries to pull the baddies down.
Batman leaves the goon to hang from the tensil line and drops back down onto the roof of the SUV in a low crouch. Tthe cape catches the air current with just enough space to break the fall without breaking his knees, then fans out around him spilling over the sides before he moves. Swinging down and into the back of the vehicle with a hand slamming down into Carr's chest and pulling him free of the vehicle with a growl.
He'd leave the man for the police, but with them over fighting to save the hostages from the blaze, it wouldn't be the smartest of choices.. Instead waiting for the few remaining cruisers to pull up and half throw, drop the formally escaped prisoner down on their hood.
Sure, they level guns at him, sure they shout things like 'Freeze'... but he doesn't. And let's be entirely realistic, would you want to shoot at Batman and miss? Or just not kill him?
Neither do they.
His head turns, glancing up at the window above him where he traced one of the phonecalls and matches stares with the woman standing in her office.
Then turns towards the 'whooshing' sound of the Batmobile as it screeches to a stop infront of the bullet riddled vans...
Over the side, into the seat, without speaking too and /certainly/ without thanking the two who came to help him..
Spoiler draws up to a crouch atop the van as the men begin piling out of it. She starts to stand, to hope down and chase after the guy who's running, but the shocks of pain shooting from her ankles up through her hips and spine tell her that maybe she should let the guy who apparently ziplines around tall buildings for funsies take care of it.
The staggerer, /he's/ more her speed; as soon as he comes into view, she sucks in a breath, moves a couple of painful steps to the edge of the roof, and leaps juuuuust far enough to maybe - hopefully - land gracelessly atop him. Compared to another rough landing on another unyielding surface, using an armed thug as a crash pad would be downright luxurious.
Nevermind the sticky stream of webbing poised to fall over her should she actually stick the landing; there'll be plenty of time to fret over figuring out how to wash it out of her costume later.
Janet stares down, shouting into the phone as Batman pulls Carr out of the vehicle: "He's alive! He's moving, but Batman's got him; he's..."
And then Carr gets tossed on the hood of a cruiser and Janet's voice goes dead quiet. Her jaw clenches when she looks back down at the Bat, the lights from below -- street lamps, the red and blues -- reflecting from the lenses in her glasses. Her lips purse very slightly. She nods, incrementally.
"He tossed the guppy back," she says softly. "Carr's in custody. Carr's in custody." And then she ends the call on her phone, her lips thinning as she watches the Batmobile screech away.
How much of this, she wonders, is she going to be asked to deny?
It won't take much for the Cat to get help in her endeavor to play the heroine for the night. She has people with her to prove the validity of her claim, and some of them are working to get out of there, while firefighters converge on the lower blaze first, another truck and its crew devoted towards the upper levels. For the attempted "hostage exchangers"? They're going to have a very bad week. Very. Very. Bad. Week. And that's before their employer gets to them. They've been outmaneuvered in this endeavor - they /were/ only using semi-automatics, after all - but even the two groups that were on the Carr job aren't alone. The third group had a separate mission, related and yet not at the same time. One of them, a man who really is an actual GCPD officer, if under two payrolls, is calmly relaying across that same radio frequency, that the extraction team and backup are both down, using the cover of sirens, shouts, groans, and more to convey his brief message.
"Target in police hands," he's murmuring, "rest down." There's no reply from the other end. "Intercept?"
"No," the voice replies from the other end. "The guests?"
"Cleaning." Which is to say, likely to depart, with the perceived threat passed.
"Good. Maintain silence for now. Payment soon."
"Good work is always rewarded."
And elsewhere in Gotham, a masked man turns from his contemplation of the hooded individual who was brought to him during all of that ruckus that he contrived. He glances out in the direction of his informant, distantly, before suddenly reaching out to pull off the hood and stare harshly into the face it reveals. "You and I," he says to the man with a faint smile that doesn't reach his eyes, "have a lot of work to do."
Hopefully no one's expecting Selina to stick around to give a statement because she is not going to have anything to do with it, hence the sudden, rather fleet-footed disappearing act.
Spider-Man bends at the knees, clasping his hands together in a sort of curtsey. "Well, Gotham. It's been fun. With the fumes and the gaslights and the, you know...the /crimes/ and stuff, but this trip has kind of taught me..." He's sliding towards the alleyway for an exit. "That really a spider doesnt choose it's home. It's home chooses him. And I've always been a New York sort of guy. So if you'll all just excuse me I'm going to ..." He doesn't finish, but disappears into an alleyway.
It takes Spoiler a few seconds of weathering her larger opponent's attempts to free himself while struggling to keep an arm locked around his throat, but eventually she manages to bring him to the ground. When it's all over, she just slumps atop the guy, content to catch her breath rather than invite the agony of further movement. She does try to offer some parting words of thanks to the fleeing arachnid, but they're mostly muffled.
Eventually, she'll muster up the strength to sit up straight and snap the guy's picture into her phone before rolling off to hobble back to her motorcycle.
"Jerks," she sullenly mutters along the way.