|Good Mark - Huntress calls in a favor|
|What: Huntress calls Lois Lane in hopes of finding an ally that can help, then takes an unaccustomed leap of faith and opts to trust Robin.|
Night at the Daily Planet. It's nice and quiet, and Lois is working late. Most of the lights are off save for the desk lap at Lois' cubicle. The reporter's work station is on and lit as well, but Lois herself is by the coffee machines making herself a cup of joe. It's what happens when you work until one in the morning on a Saturday.
The phone on Lois's desk rings, the caller ID displaying an ambiguous cell phone number with a Gotham area code.
Perched warily on a building across the street from the Daily Planet, Huntress listens to the ringing on her burner phone impatiently. "Come on, come on. Answer."
What? Lois turns to look at her phone. Yes. It /is/ ringing. Lois looks at a clock on the wall. The phone rings again. Lois looks at the phone again. Still ringing. Setting her coffee cup down, Lois hastens to her desk and almost hesitantly brings the reciever to her ear.
"Daily Planet; this is Lane..." The look on her face carries into her voice: Who is calling at the butt crack of midnight?
"Lane. Huntress. Look, I know this is a crappy time to call, but I'm hoping I can ask for a favor." Yeah, not exactly the best phone etiquette there, but at least she admitted she chose a horrid time to call. Though, really, when would have been a better time? She's got obnoxious accountant types blackmailing her, the friend of a friend nearly being killed, and Guilder to frame for it.
Lois blinks a few times, looking incredulous.
"Huntress? Favor? Ah, sure..? What's wrong?" A tiny voice in her head says: this is how bad mobster movies start.
"Shit has gone down. I'm not gonna tell you more so you don't get dragged in. I just need some way to contact the Bat or anyone associated with him. Thought you might know of a way to reach one of them." Huntress stares at the one window with a light still on, mentally willing Lois to have the contact info she's needing.
"Oh, sure. Let me just open my rolodex, and I'll get right on that, Rose," Lois quips, the late hour and the interrupted coffee break souring her mood slightly. But, the fact that Huntress has called her for help... Lois sits down at her computer and tucks the phone against her shoulder.
"Well, we're not facebook friends, but I think Robin's mucked with my computer. I might be able to get him a message, but... there's no telling how long it will take," Lois states with a bit more 'helpful' in her tone.
"That's fine. I appreciate your help." More than Oracle's done, anyway. "Give him this burner number. I don't trust any other lines." Huntress checks the skyline again, knowing this /isn't/ Gotham, but that doesn't mean there aren't still other costumed types potentially lurking about. And, unlike Gotham, anyone she runs afoul of HERE will have a distinct advantage in the superhuman powers department.
"Burner num- oh. The phone." Lois ponders a moment, tapping her nose with a finger before she reaches for her messenger bag. "Yeah, I think I can get something to him. But like I said, I'm not sure what he did or if this will even get to him. Is there... anything else... I can do? I mean..."
Huntress says, "No. Like I said, I don't want you dragged in. Maybe if it gets resolved quickly I'll share the dirt with you." And if no one who /doesn't/ deserve it ends up dead. "Better go." Staying in one place for too long is starting to make her twitchy, and for that alone she wants to get back at these jerks. "Thanks again."
"Umm... right. Okay. Take care. Let me know if this works?" Lois replies, eyes slightly wide still. She looks at the hand set again, then reaches forward to hang up the phone. Sighing faintly, the reporter gets to work. Using her paint program, Lois mouse draws the phone number onto a saved copy of the photo that ran of Robin several weeks back. The word Urgent is scrawled on the bottom.
"If this works, I'm going to have a serious bone to pick with him...."
"Yeah. I'll let you know." Huntress hangs up the phone as well and stows it in her belt before looking around again for any other costumes about, then starts back toward where she left the rest of her belongings. Now it's time to hurry up and wait. GOD she hates waiting."
A short time later...
- unknown number* Ring Ring
Huntress hastily snatches up the phone from where it was sitting on the passenger's seat of the rental car and looks at the caller id. With a frown, she answers the phone. "Yeah."
A male voice, pitched low responds to the female on the other end. "Who is this, and why am I being asked to call this number?"
"You repaired my Ducati. Now I need a bigger favor, and your phone number isn't exactly listed."
Tim Drake falls silent a moment and then replies. "I see. Odd choice in getting in contact with me. How can I be of assistance?"
"How do you feel about doing a little computer work?"
Tim Drake pauses again, and chews his lower lip a moment before answering. "I'm willing to hear you out. Where and when?"
"You tell me. I'm kind of in the wind right now and I don't trust anywhere I normally hang out."
"How soon can you get to New York?"
"A couple of hours. Where in New York?"
"The roof of the theater where the tribeca film festival is held. Three hours."
Huntress frowns faintly at the phone. The Tribeca film festival? She sighs. "Fine. Three hours." Hanging up the phone, she curses that burner phones are usually NOT smart phones. She's on a strict time limit, so puts the rental car in gear and drives. She can drop it off and take public transport, maybe borrow someone's smartphone along the way... or hell, just put on abuela's heavy accent and act the part of the tourist and just ASK. Yeah. That'll work.
Robin waits on the rooftop of the theatre building, arriving a few minutes early to the meeting place to scout things out. He's held other meetings here before, so he's aware of the best places to hide, and where the light sources and darkest shadows are. He picks a shadow, and turns to wait, letting his cape settle around him like a shroud.
This rooftop brings back a few memories a moment. Right over there is where Robin and Supergirl first...the teen shakes his head and pays better attention. Something is up with Huntress, and this is not the time to stroll down memory lane.
Donna was the back up in case something was wrong. A bit away from the theater and in the deepest, darkest shadow, the woman hides herself. She's still close enough that she's able to see and hear everything even in a normal human couldn't. Her empathy is open so she'll be able to feel everything as well. For all intents and purposes, however, she isn't at this meeting.
Huntress is running later than she'd planned on, what with the slow person at the rental car counter, and then finding a good place to stow her motorcycle helmet and duffel bag, and then finding the correct Tribeca building and picking an adjacent building and changing into her costume.... this whole fiasco has been a serious pain in the butt. Those jerks are SO gonna pay for this. She finally makes it to the roof adjacent to where she's supposed to meet Robin and looks around. Again, habit. Too many times having the Bat or one of his ilk looming.
"You're late." the Teen comments after taking a moment to make sure that Huntress is indeed alone. He takes a few steps forward, revealing his location to the woman and waits, giving her a chance to start this all off.
Huntress huffs in annoyance, but it's clearly not at Robin. "I know. Sorry. Didn't realize the subway was THAT big a pain in the ass." She crosses her arms tightly, clearly agitated but trying to not let it make her start pacing. "You sure this area's secure enough?" Yup, healthy bout of paranoia going on there too, but then, she IS a Gothamite.
Robin crosses his arms over his chest as well and raises an eyebrow. "Unless you were followed. What is going on?" he asks, doing his best to keep the concern from his voice, and be as emotionless as his mentor tends to be.
Huntress can't stop herself now, and starts to pace a bit in agitation. "A couple of days ago I was in Lyntown, and this group of suits and one sloppily-dressed jackass were all waiting for me on a rooftop. I know it was me specifically 'cause the one woman amongst them pulled out photos of me." She looks at Robin at this point. "And not just this." She gestures toward her mask.
"So a group of suits found out your secret identity?" Robin asks, leaning agianst the wall and following Huntress with his head as she paces. "Do you know who they are?" he asks quickly.
Huntress shakes her head no, and it REALLY pisses her off that she doesn't know. "No clue. But I noticed this later." She steps toward Robin and holds out her empty right hand, palm up. On the wrist of her glove is an infinity symbol, pressed into the leather there. "Must've happened when I went to choke that bitch for pissing me off."
"So an unknown group has figured out who you are, and one of them wears the infinity symbol. That's terrible to hear, Huntress." Robin says, shaking his head slightly. He'd step forward and offer a comforting hug, but that would likely get the boy shot from his guage of Huntress in the past.
"Forgive me for being blunt, but what is it you want from me? You mentioned computer work?" Robin asks, already holding up his arm and flipping his wrist computer on. He quickly takes a picture of the infinity symbol and plugs it into the bat computer. Any known baddies that use that symbol should be returned rather quickly.
Huntress says, "Yeah. I have the file that they gave me." She reaches behind her back and pulls it from where it had been tucked into her belt and offers it to Robin as well. "These are copies, though. I have the originals in safe keeping if you want to see them." Oh thank god. Maybe NOW she might be able to get somewhere with this and NOT have to kill Phantom's tophat-wearing pal.
Robin pulls a hand scanner from the side of the wrist computer and starts imputting all the information from the file into a secure digital format. Any pictures get run through facial recognition, and text strings get plugged into search engines automatically. Bat detective 101 stuff that gets handled fairly automatically by the batcomputer now. "Why did they give you a file?" Robin asks, looking through the information in the file as he scans them into the computer.
Huntress says, "Maybe they didn't realize I'd already met the guy, I don't know." She shrugs slightly at that, letting Robin scan everything in. "All I know is they hand me the file, tell me I have to kill that guy or they'll do worse than make my identity public. And," she looks down at the rooftop, pushing at some little bit of detritus or other with the toe of one boot. "I don't know if it's something they did or what, but I lost communication with Oracle just about the time I approached those jackasses, and I haven't been able to reach that damned computer-person since."
Robin stops and looks up a moment, and then shakes his head. "Maybe you should start again from the beginning. So you stumble upon this group, or did they contact you and arrange a meeting? They tell you that they know who you are and show you the pictures to prove it, and then hand you this file and tell you to kill this guy or they do worse than make your identity public. And right when they contact you, you lose touch with Oracle?"
Robin waits, hoping his summarization is correct.
Huntress rubs the back of one hand across her mouth. Her mask -- unlike what she's seen other Bat-ilk wear -- doesn't conceal her eyes and she looks more tired than when she arrived. "Yeah. Sorry. Getting everything out of order. I kind of stumbled across them. They were all standing on a roof near where I pass by every now and again, like they knew I'd be going by there."
Robin nods his head. "Thats good. It means they know your habits, but haven't been able to tail you or bug you. Now the file they handed you. Have you dusted it for prints, or DNA? And the pictures. Do they have a digital barcode, or where they taken with an old style camera? And the man...your target. Know anything about him?"
Robin pauses, realizing that he's peppering Huntress with questions. "Sorry. One thing at a time."
Huntress scoffs. "What do you think I am? CSI? If I could've done any of that, I wouldn't have gone to ground." She paces a bit more. "I don't know a whole lot about Mandrake, honestly." But she DOES know him by name. Interesting. "Just that he's kind of like a street magician, rabbit in the hat, disappearing scarves, stuff like that. I don't even know why these jackasses would want him dead. He seems harmless."
Robin shakes his head and grins. "CSI doesn't have a thing on me." Robin jokes lightly. "Get me the original file as soon as you can, so I can check it over." the teen says, holding the file back out to Huntress. "In the mean time, I'm not sure how else I can help. I don't have any place to hide you that wouldn't reveal yourself to me as well. I can give you some cash if that would make it easier. And a communicator so we can talk without going through Lois Lane's computer system."
Robin seems to want to ask about that for a second, but shakes his head again and lets it slide. "In the meantime, I'll start digging on this Mandrake and the infinity symbol."
Huntress takes the folder back. "Okay. Oh, and I haven't got to the best part yet. Apparently, these jackasses, whoever they are, have already tried to take Mandrake out. Sent someone masquerading as me to take potshots at him. I heard about it from a mutual acquaintance." And she is NOT happy about it.
"These people must really want to make sure that someone else thinks you are killing this guy." Robin muses outloud. "I'll let you know what I figure out."
Robin flips back his cape and pulls one of the sleek communicators from the back of his belt and holds it out. "Fair warning, I can track you with this, so don't take it home if you don't want me to know."
"Are you willing to take the risk, Huntress, that in finding out who these people are, I may find out who you are too?"
Huntress looks at the communicator for a longish moment. Is it worth it to her to risk THE BAT knowing who she really is to get her name out of these people's hands? "Just you, or the Bat also?" Just Robin, she thinks she can handle. He's only ever helped.
"If Batman wanted to know who you were, he wouldn't need to track you using one of my communicators." Robin explains, grinning lightly. "But I won't give you up without a good reason. I'm not asking you to trust Batman. I'm asking you to trust me."
Huntress looks at Robin a moment longer then nods and takes the communicator. Of course, all Robin has to discover is her knowledge of Latin and her cover is blown. One of them, anyway. But these jerks knew about her parents too. That serious deep-research crap. This is a HUGE gamble, but if it pays off, she'll be WAY better off than before.
"Do you have someplace safe you can stay?" Robin asks, flipping his wrist computer closed to let the machine run it's scans. It will ping the image link in his face mask when it's complete. Robin smiles warmly at Huntress, doing his best to let the woman know that he will do everything he can to get her to the other side of this, without saying anything at all.
Huntress is still a bit agitation-frenetic. Or maybe it's that 'I'm tired enough that I can't stop or I'll STOP' thing, so she misses the smile. She does answer his question about a place to stay. "I've been hitting a different hotel every night so far, using a prepaid Visa I loaded with cash a while back. I'm hoping it's enough to stay under the radar." Especially now that she's turned in the rental and will have to rely on public transport in this damned town.
"Soho Abbey Apartments, room 212. It's an empty apartment, but the lights and water heater work. It's two blocks from here." Robin starts, reaching into his belt again and pulling a money clip. He holds out a thosand in cash to the woman. "And give me the prepaid card. If they've gotton ahold of the number they can still track you that way when you make purchases. I'll scan it and backtrack it. See if they've made you."
"Get a good nights sleep. I'll be nearby and watch over things for tonight. If things get hairy, press the red button on the comm unit and I'll come running. Tomorrow, go get the original file and call me when you have it. I can arrange for us to get back to Gotham if need be." Robin says, using that calm and comforting tone, trying to get through the agitation in Huntress.
Huntress stops and looks at Robin for another longish moment. This is WAY more help than she was expecting, and she's a little irrationally leery of so much generosity. But, she forces back that paranoid part of her mind and accepts the cash, then pulls the card from her belt and thanks whatever powers that be that she didn't leave it behind with her duffle and other belongings in that gym locker. "212. Okay. I..." she looks at the cash in her hands. "I wasn't expecting this. At best I was hoping you'd look into it, but, well, I was surprised enough that you even called back."
"You're asking for help. If I can, I will." Robin says, giving a warm smile. "It takes a certain level of trust to do that, and I'm going to do what I can to be worthy of that trust. It's just the type of person I am."
"You can trust me to help, or not. It's your call. But you've helped me in the past, and I'm willing to repay the favor. Trust me as much or as little as you will. I won't let you down either way." the teen says, pocketing the prepaid card and pulling his grapple gun. "If you come by the apartment, I'll be by in an hour or so with some sleeping bags and some food. Hamburgers okay?"
Huntress blinks. Yeah. Way above and beyond. "Sounds great." An hour to change AGAIN, get her stuff from that gym, find Soho... what the hell kind of name IS Soho, anyway? and make it to that apartment. "Um... where IS Soho?"
Robin grins and points to the street below. "Soho stands for South Houston." he says. "Take this street, head two blocks west, and the apartments will be on your right hand side. Use Christmas to get access to the building. Code 1 2 2 5. Or twelve, twenty-five. Christmas day. The apartment key will be on top of the door jamb if you go in the front door, but the balcony on the west side will be open if you want to get in that way and not show your real face."
"I'll see you in a hour." Robin explains, turning to head for the edge of the bulding and pulling his grapple gun.
Huntress leans to look down at the street and ohs softly. Yeah, that's another clue. Even non-New York native Americans know about Soho. She mentally replays the directions a few times to make sure she has them right and nods to Robin. "Got it. See you then." Hopefully. Damned subway system.