|Silence Isn't Golden|
|What: A late night meeting|
East Side - Bowery
Unlike most of Gotham, this area has never had any glory days to have slipped by. Instead, it is exactly the same unsavory place it has been since Revolutionary times. Those who dwell here often have little hope or little else, prey for the many predators which openly walk the streets in broad daylight. Just on the north end of this area is a small pocket of what was once an affluent area, surrounding the old Monarch Theatre. It enjoyed a short-lived era of being fashionable about twenty years ago, but high crime rates and frequent muggings soon sent most of the decent citizens fleeing for safer parts of town.
The buildings here are run down and drab, brick apartment buildings and empty storefronts or heavily vandalized coin-op laundromats. Abandoned cars often line the streets, and homeless folk gathered around trash can fires are a common sight.
In one of the worst parts of Gotham, the sound of crime is as common as the sound of sirens are in other parts of the city. Here? Not so much. More common are the sounds of crime being stopped. Shouts, thuds, cries of pain. A gunshot. What the with the various Bats, Birds and Arrows, who knows which is stepping in at the moment. The answer is none. This time it's a guy in black body armor wielding a staff who's bringing it crashing down on the arm of the gunman who just fired at him. Another is on the ground unconscious and a third has a knife but seems hesitant to move in close enough to use it.
The hesitant thug isn't the only one watching the black-clad man, though the other half of his audience isn't so worried. The outline of the sharp points of Batgirl's cowl can be made out were one inclined to look up as the young crimefighter peers over the edge of one of the buildings that surround the current tussle. To her, the fight's already won even if there is a man still standing and so instead of dropping down she watches the vigilante. How he moves. How he fights.
He fights well. Maybe not as well as some of the people Batgirl hangs out with - maybe not nearly that well - but he's more than a match for these three. As the gun drops, Orion steps to the side enough to bring the staff around to sweep behind the gunman's knees and take him down. A second strike to the side of his head takes him out and then he turns to the knife wielder. There's a brief pause and then the thug turns and runs. Orion gives his staff a little shake and then it collapses down to a foot long baton. Holding it overhand, a blue beam flashes out and the thug twitches and falls over. The baton gets twirled and slipped into a holster.
A staff Batgirl knows how to use. It wasn't a favorite of Cain's, given the non-lethal nature of it but she's still familiar with it. The energy blast? That's certainly new. She moves forward in an easy spill of movement, tumbling down the face of the three-story building. Fingers and toes catch ledges and cracks, controlling the descent before she hits the ground, head bent forward but eyes on the stranger behind the featureless mask.
Orion turns at the sound and the baton's in his hand again. While he automatically shifted into a defensive stance, he visibly relaxes a little at seeing the costume. Masked vigilantes are more reassuring than thugs with guns. As he's being studied, he does some studying of his own and then nods a small greeting. "Evening." Though the upper half of his face is behind a visor, the lower half is visible.
Batgirl's head tilts over to the side a bit as he greets her. It's a long, silent moment before one of her hands emerges from the fall of her cape. Fingers pressed together, she gives a short sweep of her hand in a small wave. Guess that's a 'hello' back at him. She moves then, starting to move around Orion in a circle, still giving him a fairly wide berth. For her own piece of mind or his isn't entirely sure. The spill of her cape is long enough that the weighted edges of it whisper against the pavement.
Orion slowly turns in place to keep facing her as she circles him. Though the weapon's not pointed at her, it's not put away either. After about half a circle, he says "Going by the costume, I'm guessing you know Batman and his friends." Or is one of them. Who can keep track considering how they stay out of the public eye if they can help it.
There are lots of people that have claimed to see one of the Bat-folk. But most of those are criminals. So really, who can trust them? Batgirl pauses as Orion speaks to her, head canting over to the side just a bit until he finishes. Then she gives a small forward tilt of her head. That's it. It's almost eerie how quiet she is. Even her footsteps. Aside from the whisper of her cape, she's silent as a Christmas mouse. She ceases her perusing of him now, instead heading over towards the criminal that Orion shot with the energy weapon. She drops down into a crouch, checking to see how hurt he is.
The thug's pulse is strong and regular. He's just unconscious. Orion watches Batgirl curiously as she takes the whole 'silent stalker of the night' thing a bit far. "He'll be fine except for a major headache when he wakes up." Worse than the ones the other two will have but they'll have other pains to make up for it. "Call me Orion. What should I call you?"
Batgirl pushes back up to her feet as she turns back towards him. The silence after he asks for her name starts to stretch and become uncomfortable without her answer. Then, she shrugs the cape back as one hand comes up to fingerspell in ASL. B-
Batgirl pushes back up to her feet as she turns back towards him. The silence after he asks for her name starts to stretch and become uncomfortable without her answer. Then, she shrugs the cape back as one hand comes up to fingerspell in ASL. B-A-T-G-I-R-L. There's not really a pause between the letters, as if all of them were a fluid single movement.
"Oh, you're deaf." Orion shakes his head. "I'm sorry, I don't sign." Well, that's going to make communicating a problem. And not a notepad or laptop in sight. He considers her a moment, then says "If you agree, I can lightly read your thoughts. I promise not to go deeper than the surface." Not that he knows how to do that but it should be reassuring anyway and she doesn't need to know his limits.
Almost as soon as he's commenting that she's deaf, she's shaking her head. The peaked ears on her cowl emphasize the movement, making it easy to pick up though she doesn't move much. There's that slight tilting of her head again as he asks about reading her thoughts. She doesn't understand his words, and the concept is a bit vague for his body language to speak to her. She knows he's offering to communicate, somehow. But she can also pick up on that unsurety. It's hard to lie, by word or omission to her. Most people don't know how to control the micromovements she reads to do so.
"No?" Orion asks and he's clearly a bit puzzled. "You're not deaf?" Ah. "Mute? You can hear but not speak." That would account for it. It's also clear she's not really sure what he meant. Head tilting is universal after all. < I can speak with you this way. > he projects and maintains a light touch on her mind. "I won't if you don't want me to but I'll be able to hear and understand you that way."
There's a hint of hesitation. As though 'mute' doesn't quite cover it either but she doesn't tell him 'no' again. When he speaks in her head there's the slight twitch of surprise but nothing as severe as he might have expected. Besides, he's likely much more distracted by trying to touch her thoughts. There aren't any *words* in there. For most people, hell almost everyone, words in one language or another define things. But Batgirl's thoughts are a tumble of color and movement and it's like trying to mentally listen in on a dog hearing outside of the human spectrum of hearing. His words to her are just sound. Like the sirens in the distance or the rumble of a passing truck. It lets her know he's speaking but there's no meaning behind the rise and fall of his tone.
There's silence as Orion has a mental conversation with himself, trying to figure out just what is going on in Batgirl's mind. It's totally outside of Brandon's experience of course. It's even outside of Stokar's as well since he was only able to speak with his hosts. But they all used language of some sort. "I..." Pause. Umm. "Can you think something at me? Anything."
Orion can't see the narrowing of her eyes as he has that internal conversation, but keeping touch with her thoughts it's clear she's confused/suspicious/curious about something about him. When he talks to her, he can 'hear' her 'listening' to him. Her mind picking up on a cascade of movements that he's not even aware he's making. She signs at him again, which of course means nothing to him, but it's the only way she knows of to 'talk' as others think of it. He gets bits of memory, a flash of a face and another voice in her head. No words, just the rise and fall of tone.
Yeah, that's not working. Shaking his head again, Orion says "I'm sorry. I can't understand you that way either. You can write, right? Or type? Can you communicate that way?"
One day, Orion will look back at today as the day he couldn't get anything right. The slight figure slowly shakes her head back and forth. It's not even entirely clear how she knows what he's saying to respond to him. Somehow she seems to be able to infer his meaning through how he moves. Even when he doesn't think he's moving at all.
One day is today. "You can't talk. You can't write. You can only sign but I don't understand signing." And how the hell can she sign if she doesn't use words? How can she spell her name? He's seen enough ASL in movies that he recognized letters even if he has no idea what they were. "Ok, you were telling me your name right? Can you start with letter A each time and then stop at the right letter? I'll keep track as you make each sign."
He can just *feel* her squinting at him through that featureless cowl. There's a sense of frustration, but one that she's familiar with. Luckily for her the Bat Clan all know sign, so she can manage some semblance of communication with them. She doesn't even know her name as letters, just movement. Instead of trying to figure out how he wants her to try to sign, she just points to the yellow symbol on her chest.
Okay, Orion can guess that part easily enough. He sees it in the sky often enough. "The bat symbol, right? So 'bat'?"
Batgirl gives a nod and then there's some confusion before the spark of an idea and pictures slide through her mind of girls. No one in specific, just a series of them. Most are teenaged of all shapes and sizes and they don't seem to have any emotional attachment. Then, a sort of belated thought, a sense of concentration and the sound of a male voice, light enough to bee a teen, too deep to be a child that says, "Batgirl". It's one of the few words that she knows. That holds more than just tone.
"Batgirl? Your name is Batgirl?" Well, that certainly makes sense even if how she conveyed that just makes Orion even more confused. Instead of thinking her name she remembers someone else saying it?
Batgirl gives a short nod of her head with a sense of relief. Heck, even remembering someone else saying the word took concentration.
"Nice to meet you Batgirl." And now what? Orion looks like he's at a loss. Getting her name took longer than taking out those three punks.
It doesn't help that her cowl is featureless, does it? At least he can get some sense of her thoughts and the emotions there. If he doesn't get a headache from the way she thinks. He does pick up on the brief, bright happiness as he greets her, to which she gives another of those small waves. Then she brings her hand up, two fingers pointing at her eyes (or where her eyes should be) and then pointing at him. As that hand drops away the other comes up with some sort of device. There's a *PAFF* as compressed air hurtles a line upwards.
Orion laughs. THAT he gets. "Yeah, yeah. I'm watching you too." Or he'll try to, anyway. "Let the others know I'm around, okay? And I"m here to stay."
Batgirl gives a nod and those two fingers come up to her brow in a jaunty salute as the grapnel line in her hand pulls her up into the dark Gotham night. Now, hopefully she can manage to convey that message to the other Bat-types!
"Yeah, I don't get it either." Brandon says out loud. Talking is still more natural to him than thinking to Stokar. "How can someone not have a language?" Shrugging, he slips the baton back in its holster and then there's a flash of white light and he's gone.