|The Bat Seal of Approval|
|What: The Batman brings the new Bat to The Cave and Batgirl gets her own costume.|
The Batcave was originally a system of caverns that ran beneath Wayne Manor. The entrance leading down into this spacious domain of the Bat is through a secret passage behind an old bookcase in the library of the mansion itself. Upon entering, the steel platforms provide most of the infra-structure and support for the uneven ground. This gives it far more 'useable' room than would have otherwise been available. Steel stairs and gurneys connect the various platforms, each of which seems to serve a very specific function.
The largest platform is that which contains the laboratory. State of the art medical and scientific equipment reside in the closed off section of the cavern. Everything from the very mundane, to the most expensive can be found here to assist the occupants in their "job."
Another section serves a dual purpose as the garage for the various vehicles, as well as all the service equipment to maintain them. Like the lab, no price has been spared to bring in the very best that money can buy. A long staircase leads down deeper into the cavern, to the waters that lead out into the bay where a high speed stealth boat is moored.
Finally is the main platform off from the entrance where a towering computer mainframe is housed. Protected by water resistant glass from the constant moisture dripping from the ceiling, this intricate piece of technological hardware is the home of one of the most in-depth, comprehensive databases on the planet. Profiles for every known criminal in Gotham, and quite a few outside it, are only the tip of what sits waiting for the right keystrokes.
It's been several nonstop nights, with Cassandra mostly relegated to recon and recovery, freed to engage sparingly-- and always under Batman's watchful eye. She's collected several more pieces of gear in that time, but sometimes there's just not an opportunity to return to home base to reload and rearm-- or properly assess a new apprentice. Of course, sometimes care becomes a matter of necessity, and when those moments of crisis hit.. the unusual Ms. Cain has certainly proven capable of pulling her weight.
It's already a job that would sound startling on just about any resume, and it doesn't exactly scream towards normality in the cockpit of the armored supercar as its turbines scream and it jets down a long, back highway that rapidly leaves Gotham City behind as the sunrise creeps higher in the east, a vast array of colors tracing through the clouds along the skyline as the city is rapidly replaced by dense, temperate rainforest. "I could get used to this level of conversation." Batman asides to Cassandra, surprisingly conversational for perhaps the first time in a string of unending calls and crises. It's calmly deadpan, as a hand grazes across a sensor in the cockpit, and a retinal scan and code connects through the car and the cowl.
The Dark Knight turns off the road onto a more poorly kept access road snaking back towards the cliffs along the shoreline. "Robin says you're good." The Bat notes with pensive consideration, his masked eyes still on the road. "Robin doesn't think anyone is good." There's another pause, "You were trained by the League of Assassins. To serve the Society. I know I recognize your style." She probably has seen it in his, these past nights; even reined in, the brutal efficiency of one trained to be a ninja assassin by Ra's al Ghul and his elite is unmistakable. Once upon a time, Bruce Wayne was his star pupil.
Though Batgirl doesn't speak, and thus can't complain, nothing in her manner is grouchy or grumbly or whiny despite the long nights. Though she hasn't had the luxury of a proper diet in years, or the time and equipment to train, she is nonetheless relentless. She goes until the Batman calls an end, each day. She never begs off tired. Never asks for a day off. And she has a hell of a lot more interest in taking down the scum of Gotham than trying to converse like a normal person.
As the drive starts to stretch out, and it's close to dawn, her eyes do slip almost-closed. She's as safe as she's going to be in the armored car and she's used to Batman's silence. The way he doesn't feel the need to explain things, like she needs the signs to tell what he wants or needs of her. So when he speaks, her eyes open immediately and she turns towards him. If she can't see him, it makes her 'deaf' to his words.
Batgirl's head tilts to the side a bit as Batman repeats Robin's observation, but it wasn't a question so she doesn't offer comment. The observation on the League gets a small, almost hesitant nod. With a heartbeat of hesitation, she lifts gloved hands to make her own comment. 'You, also. ‘He wouldn't make her go away when she's seen the same in his and Robin's own styles, would he? 'Father is League of Assassins.' There's a name that most people don't have to learn for their sign language vocabulary.
Within the cowl, eyes shift, following Cassandra's movements on the periphery of his vision-- relying on the electronics of the suit to help capture the specific signs. Despite the smooth throttling down that the car undergoes as it winds up the narrow dirt road, it's important to stay precise and -on- that road. "Mmn." It's about as specific as the Dark Knight gets at the moment, instead too calmly turning off the road just before reaching a small, one-lane bridge, veering up the crossing stream as the rock face flickers and a heavy vault door unseals swiftly to allow the pair passage.
Batman doesn't respond further until the car pulls to a stop at the center of a metal platform supported over the vast darkness of one of the larger caverns below Wayne Manor. Automated systems begin to rotate the vehicle even as the canopy hisses and slides open. 'How long have you been running from them?' Is one of the first queries, followed quickly by, 'Which one is your father?' There's a bit of a grim set to the Bat's jaw with the questions.
He scarcely looks away from Batgirl save for an instant spent stepping smoothly clear of his car. As if the vast, technological internals of the Cave were totally normal.
It isn't often that Batgirl misses something. She can take in a battle royal at full-tilt and move through it like she's on Dancing With the Stars, but this? As she starts to get out of the vehicle being turned around on the platform she's torn between trying to look around and take it all in and still looking over at Batman enough to follow the 'conversation'. 'Your home?' She guesses, instead of answering him immediately. Maybe in part because the questions make her go eerily still, save for the fluid movements of her hands as she signs. 'Long.' Is the only answer that he gets as to how long she's been running. Time is another of those concepts that she's never needed and so giving him a frame of reference? After a moment she adds, 'I small more.' Not just younger, but significantly smaller, and she makes a guess at what her height was. While to most children the world seems so much bigger when they're young, she's fairly accurate, internally gauging it against things like the height of a desk.
But that other question, as to who her father was... That has her glancing down for a long moment. Then she casts her gaze about, finding something to draw with. It's not a name, or a face she gives him. Instead, the girl without a name other than 'Batgirl' draws out a logo that is well known in mercenary and assassin circles. The mark of Cain.
There's a nod to the girl's own question, quiet patience of his own answering those initial moments to adapt to the surroundings. Batman steps smoothly over towards Batgirl and nods once more. There's no surprise at the answers, if a bit of a growing frown that accompanies them. To the rogue who would have perhaps been the League's perfect killer, it's obvious the Dark Knight's enmity is not directed at her-- there's a fair measure of sympathy there, perhaps even familiarity indeed. He doesn't comment on the indicated height, but it's about that point that his frown reaches its largest point of the evening. Bruce can do the math.
The Dark Knight also knows that sigil-- white eyeslits narrow as it's drawn. He turns away from the refugee and murmurs to himself, "Thought the world needed -fewer- nutjobs in it, Ra's." David Cain. The familiarity Wayne has with the man and his master make some of the pieces fall into place immediately. He paces a few steps from Batgirl, then back, and drops to a level height, lifting a hand to unlock and slip the cowl off his face. Ra's knows who he is, where to find him.
Steely eyes lock forward until they have the almost assassin locked in. 'You're safe here.' Batman then indicates smoothly, gesturing to the hardened lair. 'Their turn to run.'
Dark, quiet eyes that peek out from her 'borrowed' costume track the Dark Knight as he paces and frowns. He is 'louder' to her than he normally is, though not in the sloppy way that most people spill thoughts and wants and ideas willy nilly with every movement. But it's still more than she normally gets from the controlled man who rivals her for least words spoken in a night. Batgirl was younger when she left than most children start to learn any form of combat. But it's still with her, the mark of those that trained her still there. She should have forgotten it. Hell, she shouldn't have known it. But the Batman knows about Cain's theories, doesn't he?
When the Batman reaches up to slip the cowl down, there's a flicker of surprise and then an intense sort of attention to the man revealed. While the mystery of the Bat has kept Gothamites atwitter for years, there was never that in her. No need to see him without the mask. With or without it, he is still Batman. The firm statement gets a slight tilt of her head, emphasized by the peaked ears of the cowl she still has on herself. While she signs in her usual grammar-butchering way, the Dark Knight is familiar enough to get the meaning. 'You're going to hunt them?'
Contrary to popular belief, Gotham's silent guardian is not particularly emotionless. He's careful what he demonstrates in most situations.. but even, perhaps particularly so, the Bat is left with certain rather profound triggers. That Cain apparently trained a prodigy within single digit years, and scared or scarred her enough to proactively abandon him when she couldn't even open her own bank account.. well. 'I already hunt them.' It comes back in a rather more forceful echo of the same signs, perhaps demonstrative.. perhaps simply passionate.
'I'm going to teach you how to beat them. You and Robin.' The name is indicated with a simple extended index finger, clad in that remarkably flexible gauntlet, pointing at the younger Wayne's motorcycle helmet. 'You need to get back in shape.' There are rules involved in this transaction, but he'll get to that-- there's purpose to his grim efficiency, after all.
'You don't have to run anymore.' In the larger scheme of things, of course; the Dark Knight is not a moron, tactically speaking.
There's a flicker of something in her eyes. Maybe the way they dart away and back so quickly. Even if she hasn't been actively running, since while Cain might be looking he's never chased, she has kept moving so she wouldn't be found. The last few months, here in Gotham, have been the closest thing she's had to a home since she lived with Cain. Nights spent in the same place, instead of just the same city or neighborhood. A room to come back to, and not just one she happens to occupy long enough to sleep.
She doesn't argue that she needs to get back into shape. The past month or so of a steady diet has taken some of the hollowness out of her features, but she's still far too thin. Even though she can run longer, hit harder and jump higher than most physically fit Americans, she does it on genetics and a will that doesn't quit. After a moment of hesitation, she gives a slight nod. 'No more killing.' She says, presumably about hunting the League, her gestures carrying an echo of that forcefulness, the slight widening of haunted eyes.
A hand is offered to Batgirl's shoulder, perhaps surprisingly light, steady but gentle. "There's been enough killing." Batman offers up softly and sincerely. It's a blanket statement-- human history has proven him right, time and time again. It's why he's so unwavering on the point. "We can't stop a madman like Ra's al Ghul with more death." Does she know that name? 'Do /you/ have a name?'
Part of Bruce already doubts it. Part of him was also lost, long ago, learning those aspects to his art, those jutsus that belonged to Cain. To say nothing of the Head of the Demon. 'How wide are your weapon proficiencies?' It's an interesting family.
There isn't any flicker of recognition at the name, but then the Bat has probably figured out that words mean nothing to the new Batgirl. And Barbara started teaching her ASL, so no one would have finger-spelled then name out for her.
When he asks if she has a name, there's something that touches her expression, something close to a smile. Something that hints at happiness and she nods, signing out with familiarity, 'Batgirl'. That's the only identity that she has that she has any awareness of.
When Bruce questions her about weapons, there's a hint of pride, and maybe an edge of challenge to the way she signs back to him. 'All I have seen.'
'Fair enough.' Bruce smiles, if slightly sadly, just a moment at the proud answer. Then he stands and appends, 'Come with me.' Thoroughly trusting her ability to do just that, he sweeps his cape behind himself with a flourish and stalks gracefully towards the hardened heart of the caverns, a metal vault designed to withstand the kind of direct assault most military bases would never conceive of. Within? Well.
A myriad of security checks lead through double sets of doors and into an expansive set of corridors that seem to be literally wall to wall with weapons, electronics, and survival gear of all shapes and sizes-- all custom creations designed from bleeding edge military and civilian prototypes. 'Make a belt.' He instructs. 'Not too heavy.' A gesture to the corridors containing weapons, first aid, and electronics gear. 'Make your own suit.' Another is a workbench where Damian sat only a short while earlier, reinventing himself as the newest Robin.
Sleek armored materials, nomex and carbon plating sit adjacent to customized sound suppressors and voice modulators, to say nothing of vision enhancements and Oracle-onboard. It's possible the technology is rather outside her area of expertise-- it's also possible the Bat is keenly aware of that. There are no shortage of bolos, charges, gels, and batarangs in all shapes and sizes, after all. To say nothing of blades and bos and everything between. 'Clean that suit up.'
Batgirl grew up in a bunker, and so the *feel* of the place has some similarity. But whereas that was stripped down to bare essentials, this... is something else. Batgirl follows after the Dark Knight, occasionally turning about as she does so to take everything in. So much she doesn't recognize or understand, but she makes note of it. Some, she might be able to figure out with some time. Others... well, not knowing how to read will make some of the gear that gives the Bats their edge pretty much useless to her. But instruments of violence? Those she is intimately familiar with.
The instructions get a nod in reply, a reflexive thing to acknowledge that she's heard and the bit about not making the belt too heavy gets a hint of amusement, but another nod. She comes to a slow stop as he gives her those further instructions, and she smooths a hand down the front of the costume she's been wearing. While nothing has been said, the perceptive girl has picked up the edge of *something* in his manner, but he is too 'quiet' for her to get more beyond that.
Finally she lifts her head, her own hands coming up to push back her own cowl as she looks up at the much taller Bat. Her hands move in quick, graceful motions, signs bleeding one into the other. 'We hunt the darkness with fear.' It's almost question, almost observation. Why else the costumes and the symbols. She's seen him work, and it hasn't gone unnoticed.
'We turn the fear on those who prey on others.' Batman confirms, nodding once with emphatic agreement. There is one more thing that may help Cassandra make her way, a small PDA handed over to her. It's more advanced than the comm device she's been using, but already loaded to scan and display schematics on almost every gadget and gizmo and component located in the vault. She may not be able to read, but he's certainly noticed how swiftly she learns by context.
It's in rather odd opposition set against Cain's mentorship indeed, though despite the dark parallels, David Cain stripped the new Batgirl of all her choices, along with chunks of innocence. Batman's more interested in assuring she survives making the choice she's already made. Past a certain point, telling someone to stand down just doesn't work; with this one? The Dark Knight doesn't even bother. The hard part runs in the other direction.
There's a degree of familiarity already built in the stance and steady eye contact Batman offers the alert operative-- perhaps it's her story tonight, perhaps it's the things he's observed working with her in the field. Maybe he's been at this long enough to know. 'Englishman will bring you food, clothes, so forth.' "Alfred." Bruce notes while signing for the accomplished butler.
Batgirl accepts the PDA, turning it over and taking it in to figure out its function. She's prone to quiet moments, which sounds funny given that she doesn't talk, to give something more of her usual attention. Given its function, and the vast array of options, she's likely to be here for some time. It's a good thing that someone's going to bring her food! Batgirl looks back up to him and nods, copying the name she's given in sign, to make sure that she's got it right. Her gaze meets his, steady and set as she nods and he knows that nod isn't about the food. Or even making her costume or cleaning Barbara's. It's to the mission. To hunt the League, and to save the lives of those in Gotham. So much said, without words. With such a small gesture.
The blood sample and bioscan can wait; even if Batman -does- need to know if this deadly waif came with the same built-in override control as his own son. Just the lingering concern draws a deep furrow in the Caped Crusader's brow, a distant and intently thoughtful look etched all over his face as he, too, ponders the League. The dangers posed by Ra's and his ilk are seldom far from his mind, even before Batgirl's nod.
It's returned without hesitation, however, seemingly snapping him from his own reverie as his jaw sets and he answers the gesture smoothly. To say there's a great deal of faith placed in her skill and purpose leaving her here to learn yet another craft would be a tremendous understatement, as the Dark Knight turns and slips away. For some, the work is never -really- done.