|Gosh, Gotham sure has gone to the Gods...|
|What: Oracle directs Dragnet on what should be a simple bag-'em-and-tag-em run... until the ancient Celtic God Balor shows up.|
It's late at night, the moon high, though partially obscured by clouds. Oracle tracked down rumours of a smuggling ring in South Gotham, and sent word out to her operatives to discover who was close at hand. That turned out to be Dragnet.
Given what she now knows about his suit, and her greater understanding of how it works, she is able to patch some of her feeds into his HUD, narrating to the images he's seeing. "'Bookie' Ghent is one of the best fences out there," she's telling him, now, an image of a thin, bug-eyed man with thinning hair that looks like he'd be right at home amidst the cast of Boardwalk Empire appearing in the corner of his HUD. "He's supposed to be meeting a buyer, tonight, for a very unique piece stolen three days ago from the Gotham Museum. We need to intercept the buy and grab both him and the buyer, if we can. The building directly across from your position," which happens to be a pawn shop, "is where the deal is supposed to go down. But, it'll happen up in the apartment above the shop. Bookie is very precise about separating his fencing business from his pawnbrokerage..."
Dragnet does the perching over the gargoyle thing. Because you know, thats what vigilantes do. There have been some improvements already, and while hardly at any scale the creators no doubt intended, the AIDOS is at least somewhat street capable again. He checks each gauntlet, as if to check for the 'ghost'/ai/whatever thing. In his armor, in his nervous system...where was it? What was it capable of? In any case, the power draws are far more reasonable. "Got it." He responds. "How do you want it done? 'Negotation'? Snatch and grab?" He queries. Honestly, if its one thing the AIDOS seems designed for, its stealt blitzes and extractions....or killing. One could easily imagine it being an assassins or bounty hunters prized tool. Shadow Warrior indeed.
Oracle isn't the only one running an op in the area...no, there's someone else transmitting too, though the dialogue going over this particular trasmission is quite a bit less...important. "I'm after reachin' level 50, Aiden. Level 50. Y'know what that means?" a young voice with an Irish accent is saying...the owner of said voice is standing on a rooftop on the /other/ side of the pawn shop, arms crossed. "I was finally goin' after the Trimechadrake."
"The Trimechadrake will still be there when you get back," an older voice replies over the kid's earbud. It has an Irish accent as well, though not quite so strong as the boy's.
"You're buyin' me the expansion pack for this."
"You would have had me buy it for you anyway. This won't take you long. Just go in, get the spirit, and get out."
Vigilantes in Gotham aren't permitted to kill. Batman's rules. Oracle's rules. (Partly because of Batman. Partly because of her own experience.) So, the mysterious cyberhacker's not about to authorize any assassinations anytime soon. That's not how she gets justice done... no matter the preferences of some of her operatives.
"You've got great stealth capabilities, D," she says to Dragnet, now. "I can't get eyes into that apartment, except via you. I want you to infiltrate, record the buy, and then apprehend." Not so much a smash and grab as a sting operation, then.
She gets mildly distracted, however, as her systems pick up unexpected comchatter in the area via her constant wide-frequency scan. At first, she dismisses it as wireless chatter from a pair of gamers... except something suggests to her it may be more than that.
Get what spirit?
Stealth and a sensor suite to kill for. Cycling through wavelengths as he activates the maximum range and potency of the auditory enhancement as he moves closer. Really, there are armors that are tougher, armors that provide more weapons, but for infiltration, the AIDOS seems to be in a class apart. A suit, an armor that seems to defy any attempt at detection. Its only limitations? That its operator is not in fact a super ninja assassin. He continues to move closer, auditory dampeners creating a cushion of silence around his steps, his very motions. Slipping into the pawn shop and taking a position to follow the buyer and the pawnbroker the moment the sale begins. "Know anything about what they are trying to sell?"
"This /really/ couldn'a waited another ni..." the young voice says again.
"Oh, look at that...you didn't remember to save. You know, the power's been a little on the fritz around here recently," the older voice says.
"Don't you /touch/ that switch, Aiden. I'm goin'."
A moment later, there's a loud crash as the boy on the rooftop leaps off of it and crashes through the second story window...to be greeted by the sight of what looks like some people prepping for a rather shady deal. For a moment, the boy stares at the guards, and the guards stare at the boy...then the predictable happens, as the guards pull pistols and start firing, while the boy dives sideways out of the way. "Y'forget to mention the ****in' guys with /guns/, Aiden?"
"An Ancient Norse torc of considerable value," Oracle answers Dragnet. "It's unusual for the carvings on it and imported gems that prove earlier trade than expected between the Vikings and Mediterranean peoples." She watches her monitors as Dragnet approaches... and then swears as someone smashes through the windows of Bookie's apartment. "What the hell? Looks like we've got competition, D..."
Indeed, in the apartment, Bookie and the buyer are considerably surprised by the intrusion. Bookie, however, ensured that his cousin, one 'Gunny' Ghent, was on hand in case the buyer tried anything. While his cousin ducks behind a nearby table, Gunny immediately turns toward the crash, his pistols raised as he automatically begins firing. The buyer, however, who came alone, backpedals away from all of them -- but not before he snatches the torc out of Bookie's hands.
"Isn't there always? Change of tactics I presume..." He's not quite ready to assume the person coming down from the roof is a friendly, but along with 'do not kill' is a pretty resounding corollary not to let others get killed, or so Dragnet has come to believe. Gas canisters fire in an arc to place them for maximum effectiveness, partly by Dragnet's growing familiarity with the suit but one might assume Saifullah, or whatever it is that is within, has something to do with it. Amidst the fusillade of grenades comes the deployment of the dazzler's, attempting to blind those that do not succumb or are simply not in range of the opioids dispersal. He does however make sure to get visual contact with their party crasher as soon as possible while simultaneously trying to find out whence the artifact has gone. Multitasking powers, yo. "Any idea who our new uh...friend is?"
"It's Gotham, Balor. Drug deals, fences, mob hits, could be anything. You can handle it. Do you have your eye on the torc?"
"I /did/," the boy, Balor, says. "Some ****in' *** grabbed it. Goin' now!" He vaults over the couch, takes a deep breath, and charges into the smoke, aiming to follow the buyer who absconded with the torc--noting that the number of bullets coming his way /has/ reduced, thanks to the confusion and the drugged smoke cloud. Good, that. Though there is one enterprising fellow who got a kerchief up as a makeshift--and very temporary--mask when the smoke came out. He points his gun at the kid as the kid runs by...only for Balor to knock his gun aside with one arm (accompanied by a snapping sound), and land a hard kick to his shin at the same time (with another snapping sound). The man screams, going down and getting a mouthful of the gas he was trying to avoid.
So, Gunny Ghent goes down with a busted leg, broken arm, and lung full of Dragnet's tear gas. Bookie has also collapsed under the weight of the fracas -- but he wasn't much made for a fight to begin with.
The buyer, however, is surrounded by a flash of dark blue light for a moment, before he leaps past both vigilantes trying to intercept him, breaking Bookie's other window. He's moving fast -- not speedster fast, but meta fast. And he lands on his feet two storeys below.
"No idea," Oracle says to Dragnet. "But, I'm running him through facial rec, now." That eye patch of his is fairly distinctive. Between her own sources and her full access to the JLA database (given she's now a card carrying member -- which is funny, since she doesn't actually carry the card anywhere), she soon gets a hit. "Hang on," she tells Dragnet, now. "Yeah. There's a hit. It's buried under a metric tonne of crap -- " Metric tonnes are bigger than regular tons -- "but he's called Balor. Some sort of..." Her brows rise. "Spirit hunter?"
She rubs her temples. Oh, God...
Dragnet cocks his head. "If I remember, isn't there supposed to be sort of an unspoken rule about metas running about in Gotham?" He asks quietly even as the cloak temporarily phases out and he runs through what gunfire remains in pursuit of Balor in pursuit of the buyer. Which seems entirely too comical for this side of Gotham, probably closer to an Acme cartoon than a dark and Gritty Gotham summer night. "I think this city just got more complicated." Ignoring whatever the hell is also riding along in his armor. Still, he aims to keep pursuit, albeit at considerably more mortal speeds.
Balor /almost/ forgets about the gas in his urge to swear, but remembers at the last moment. Swearing as best he can without opening his mouth, he sprints after Dragnet and the buyer, irritation evident on his face. He makes it to the window, looks down at the buyer, and leaps--not down, but out, an impressive horizontal leap that sends him speeding through the air to land a few rooftops away. A blink as he spots Dragnet, finally, in the process, and his eye widens. "Aiden, there's some kinda robot supercop thing chasin' this guy! Where do we get one o'those?"
The only response is a heavy sigh.
Balor continues the chase, leaping multiple rooftops at a time while he keeps an eye on the buyer below. "I don' give a **** 'bout you!" he yells down at the buyer. "Drop the torc! Otherwise I'm gonna /start/ givin' a **** 'bout you, an' y'ain' gonna be sprintin' like that 'till y'put the pieces o'your legs back together!"
"Apparently," Oracle says dryly to Dragnet, "someone didn't get the memo."
The so-called meta is, when the vigilantes pause to look, actually wearing some sort of black armour. So, it's possible that it's not the man that's empowered, but the suit. Which means it must have exoskeletal capabilities to keep him moving so quickly. He looks briefly over his shoulder at the vigilante shouting at him... and flips him the bird. Guess it's on, now.
And he starts parkour'ing his way through the neighborhood, diverting through an alley and doubling back.
Oracle, however, is tracking him. "Dragnet," she says over com, "you can intercept him if you cut through the next alley. He's doubling back. His suit's got a wide EM spread. I suggest EM countermeasures, if you've got 'em. Otherwise..." Well, maybe a good, old fashioned tackle will work.
Dragnet nods thoughtfully, taking to the rooftops and making sure to maintain a sensory bead on at all times. The faceplate reflects nothing but the street below, but Dragnet is subsumed with information. Heat, ultraviolet, spectrums of hearing and light well beyond the human range. Between the strength augmentation and his own attempts at modest self-improvement, he is able to keep pace, sort of. He drops into the alley, one gauntlet firing up the red light of lazer dazzler, which is designed to blind the electronic/sensory side of the spectrum. At the very least, it should throw him off if the suit can't provide him with any data beyond what the human eye can see. He then crosses closer, the Shock System engaged as a series of microfilament wires are fired, electricity arcing along the strands. Without a concern for human flesh they are engaged at full power, relying on the exosuit to prevent the barbecuing of the user inside. It should at least do that much, right? The 'Robocop' breathes heavily as he waits to see if its been effective, cycling through other various options in the event it isn't succesful. "Note to self. Implement temporary gravity reorientation and agility enhancement system as soon as possible." Its one of the many 'upgrades' that was contained within the schematics. Possibly never implemented, or maybe the suit reacting to his needs. His 'Sword' may be more clever and more intelligent than he had initially anticipated, but what the fabrication unit in the omnitool makes up for in verbosity, it makes up for in mechanical ingenuity.
The bad thing about traveling by jump is that once you're airborne, you're kind of stuck with your destination. Balor's midair when the guy does his quick-switch, and he can't do anything about it but swear mightily, landing on a rooftop a fair distance from his quarry. "****!" The good news, though, is that he's got a sort of sense for spirits...and thus, as long as the guy's carrying the torc with the spirit tag-along, no amount of double-backs or clever tricks is going to get Balor off his trail. Looking back, Balor thinks for a few moments, and then leaps high into the air, aiming to come down at the mouth of the alley the man's cutting through--though without Oracle assisting /him/ with timing and directions, Dragnet easily gets there first.
Dragnet's tricks have most of their intended effects on the armoured thief. Certainly, he manages to stop the fellow, though, the electricity coursing through his suit's systems as a result of Dragnet's attack cause his fist to lock around the torc. Which could be a problem for Balor, though that's hard to say.
"Incoming, D," Oracle says, as Balor comes speeding up behind him. "Looks like our pal Balor really wants that trinket."
Well, it certainly covers the E side of EMP. He moves closer, comms active as he studies the scene. "Did you want it, or let Balor have it? Call me crazy, but one eyed eyepatch dudes usually means Kings of Gods or Demons or some other stuff like that. Just my two cents." He utters a bit hurriedly as he turns about. His own augmented strength assisting him in the slow, arduous task of prying the hand away from hthe torc. The faceplate does a marvelous job in not displaying how utterly freaked out he is, and at least he has the /voice/ of a confident adventurer. Got to give it up for voice modifying microphones.
Balor lands quite gracefully, a note of dissatisfaction crossing his face at the sight of his opponent already down before he gets the chance to beat him up. "Ah...too late. Fun's over, so." He starts walking towards Dragnet, smirking. "So...y'got a suit, or are you some kinda weird robot thing? Oh, doesn't matter. Y'look cool, sure. Look. I'm just here t'get that torc. I don't care whatcha do with zippy there." He hmphs, watching the show. "What's, he grabbin' it tight? Let me at it. I'll just rip the ****in' arm off an' take it too, sure."
"Balor," the voice of Aiden says in the kid's earbud. "Have some grace. He'll think /you're/ a villain if you keep talking like that."
Oracle listens in on the various conversations happening. "That torc needs to be returned to the museum," she tells Dragnet staunchly, like the good historian/librarian she is. "But, ask the yahoo if he can deal with the 'spirit problem' without destroying the artefact. If he can, then we're good. If not... we have a problem."
The perp doesn't answer Balor. Either he can't, or he's just being stubborn. Nevertheless, his suit's still locked, thanks to Dragnet's electrical charge.
Dragnet tries to put on his best, responsible hero voice. "So there is some sort of spirit in here. Can you remove it without destroying or taking the torc? Because if not, then we have to have words." Or gas. Or light. Or electricity. Really, the AIDOS is just brimming with options. Perhaps more now that Drag actually has someone proficient and with access to tools to improve it. He is about to give a normal answer, but then...oh, its a certain familiar female voice speaking in Arabic, one that Oracle might recognize. A little concerning then that it seems to have hijacked his audio system. "I am the Sword. He is the Guide. As I am bound by the Guide's moral and ethical constraints, I would advise a revision of your statement, or we will be forced to counter your intentions." The gauntlets of the AIDOS are raised, weapon systems primed.
Balor grins. "Ah, words?" He laughs. "Y'know who I am? I'm Balor. /That/ Balor. Y'wanna **** with me? If I say I'm takin' the torc, I'm..." He blinks, though, at the other voice. "Huh?" He raises his eyebrows. "Y'just keep gettin' weirder. What are..." He touches his eyepatch, pausing, and frowns deeply. "...whatever. I don't know what you're after sayin', but you don't stand in my way or..."
"Balor," the voice of Aiden comes over the earbud again. "Tell them you can handle it here."
"I'm not backin' down from..."
Balor grimaces, and mutters quietly. "I can take care o'the spirit thing here," he says, crossing his arms and looking like he's pouting.
And, that's what Oracle wanted to hear. She smiles behind her keyboard. "I love dealing with prickly gods," she says sourly. She's a historian. She knows her myths. She knows Balor's mythical history -- even if it's not his actual history.
"Let him do what he needs to do, D. Then, let's take this yahoo and the torc back to Bookie's for the cops to pick up." She has a video game she wants to get back to, too.
The spectral voice considers the speech from both Balor and Oracle. Dragnet meanwhile is starting to wonder just how much power Saifullah has, or why 'she' is more active. "Do not attempt to intimidate me or my Guide, infidel God." Still, it releases control to Fred, and he backs away. "Do what you need to know, then I take the idiot and the torc back. And I wouldn't piss...her...off. She may not be /That/ anything, but whatever she is, she has mass drivers." And even Gods tend to frown on concussion weaponry autoloaded on them. Stepping aside to let the God-boy work.
"I'll **** off who I want," Balor says with a smirk, and steps towards the locked-up armored man holding the torc. "Mass drivers...I like it. Aiden, I want some of those."
"Buy them in one of your games," Aiden says over the earbud. "Just take care of the spirit. Authorization granted."
There's a sort of shimmer from the symbol on the boy's eyepatch, and then he reaches up and removes it. His lidless, blood-red eye revealed, a change comes over him--his skin reddens slightly, as his hair darkens to blood-red and lengthens, and a faint but deep red collection of glowing lines spread from his evil eye across his body as a mist-like energy surrounds the eye itself. There's a strange, sickening feeling to being within the sight of that eye--nothing /major/, but just enough to be noticed. "You've mass drivers.../I'm/ Balor of the Evil Eye. We can see what wins 'nother time." He looks down at the torc, and a beam of blood-red, misty energy streams forth from the eye, passing through the torc without any sense of force--but there's a horrible, wailing scream, as a spectral form, illuminated by the energy, sprays out of the torc. Balor grins. "Time to eat." Once more, the blood-red energy lashes out...but this time, it wraps around the spectral form, and begins to pull it closer. The blood-red color of the eye seems to fade away as an inky, endless blackness replaces it...and the soon, the spirit is drawn in. The boy gives a grunt of pain, putting a hand to his evil eye. "Shut up and /stay put/. There's no 'scapin', an' you know it."
Oracle's feeds record the boy/god's process of dealing with the spirit. "Huhn..." she says, sitting back with a thump in her chair. After it's all over, however, she gives a mild shrug. "Nice trick," she says softly. Though, really... she's seen similar special effects at the movies. And, let's face it, for her, everything she sees on her monitors is effectively a type of movie.
"Okay, D. Thank the crazy kid for his help, and let's pack this mook up nice and pretty for Daddy's boys." She can say that to him. He knows who she really is.
Won't the cops just love this one...?
Dragnet nods. "Thanks I guess." Thankfully, his own spectral AI is silent. That perhaps is the most effective way to put an end in this conversation. Yes, lets just be happy the AI which is considerably more militant and /several/ touches more creepy than JARVIS has decided other things are important. Like dragging the mook and the torc home. "Strange night, huh O?" He asks. Since clearly its just a weird night for all involved. "Uh...and please don't provoke my hitchhiker." More an entreaty than a threat.
Balor hmphs a bit, shaking his head a little. "Sure, sure," he says, shrugging. "Don' care /what/ you do with him now. I'd /like/ t'break his legs for you, but my watcher's already plannin' enough of a lecture, so." He sighs, taking a couple steps back. "Your suit's cool. Your hitchhiker...y'ever wanna test those mass drivers an' see who wins, I'm for it." He grins. "I'd win, though." He flips the frozen suited guy the bird in return for earlier, and leaps far into the air and off into the distance.
"I'll say," Oracle agrees with Dragnet. "Looks like you're in for a very interesting adjustment period, while we figure everything out, huh?" She'll try not to provoke Swordlady, but... really? Who knows what sets the warrior princess off?
She watches Balor retreat with her monitors for a few moments but then leaves him to his own devices. God willing, their paths won't cross too often. Damian Wayne's bad enough as an ill-tempered brat.
As it is, by the time Dragnet has the armoured mook bound up and returned to Bookie's apartment, the GCPD sirens can be heard.
"Time to make yourself scarce, D," the hacker says lightly. "And good work." A beat. "To both of you."