Midnight Questions

May 30, 2015:

Oracle touches base with another contact… regarding the metascanner

Giordano Botanical Gardens - Gotham


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

With Oracles reach, she's been asked by Jericho Trent, to help with the investigation of the meta-scanners. The meta-scanners, to the redhead, are an abomination, particularly with no legislative oversight on their use. The fact that the joint task has been set up and the scanners delivered to Metropolis PD, means that Gothams Information Goddess, has been moving as quickly as she can to gather information.

The Question, is one of the people who have boots on the street… he's been asked to keep his ears open and ask questions to track down information on the subcontractors for the project. Oracle passed on that list a few days ago. Now she's asked him to meet another contact of hers… not part of her new team, but someone she's worked with before, Midnighter. Both men have been asked to meet in the Giordano Botanical Gardens…. a place May chose last time and from observation, Oracle knows that it is relatively quiet at this time of day.

With the meeting arranged, she's watching the video feeds from the gardens and The Questions avatar as he approaches. Midnighter… doesn't have one of her communicators, she uses his phone, so tracking him… is a little less precise.

John Constantine is out walking, carrying a bundle of grocery items in his left hand. His trenchcoat flutters around his knees with each step through Gotham's dense streets, the hard look on his face probably deterrant enough to ward off anyone looking for a casual confrontation. He turns through the Gardens as part of a shortcut home, scratching absently at one of the dusky red scars on his cheek, the wound looking like he'd been nicked by a long razor blade.

The Question leans against a tree casually, his faceless visage, of course, revealing nothing. He's slipped into a meditative state, aware of his surroundings, but allowing him to focus his mind on deeper problems - the nature of causality in a non-linear universe, the best method of breaking the thin blue line that's protecting the corrupt cops at the center of the meta scanner investigation, ways to get Iris West to come out and get Chinese with him. You know, important matters.

His awareness of his surroundings, however, is sufficient enough that Midnighter does get detected, albeit relatively closer than most people would have gotten to the zen vigilante. He calls out in a measured, rational voice, his tone even and uninflected, "You must be the Midnighter. Very evocative name. Almost poetic. It makes me think of steamships," he says.

"Any friend of the disembodied voice is a friend of mine, of course. Although I'm sure you're aware that we're not alone in this particular peaceful setting."

Midnighter doesn't generally like being tracked and doesn't carry anything that has a GPS chip in it. Call him silly that way. His burner phone is basic and the communicator he uses is shielded to the best of Stormwatch's ability. But Oracle does have the frequency that she used the last couple times so getting in touch with him isn't difficult. "Poetic. I like that." he answers, rounding the path he's been walking on. He's not hunting so doesn't mind being detected. "There's several people in the garden. Okay, Oracle." he says, looking up at one of the cameras. "What's this about specifically?"

The pitter-patter of booted feet is the first thing that announces Huntress' arrival, Something Constantine would notice as she sprints past him in a woooosh of fluttery cape, exposed flesh, and other costumey goodness. The woman then moves to slide between decorative brushes into the little clearing the Question and Midnighter are meeting up in might be the more obvious announcement of her presence for those two. She rolls to the side a bit and positions herself against some of the greenery as if hiding from someone, and little scuffs and other telltale signs on her costume might suggest a recent scuffle that she's hiding from… though whoever might have been chasing her doesn't seem to have found their way into the botanical gardens. It's a moment of awkardness, that is probably seems a lot longer to the woman then it actually is before she realizes she's intruding and she lets out a little ‘ahh’ followed by, "Heya Boys.." She says, "Sorry for barging in on you.."

"Thank you for joining me. I wanted to see if you've heard about the meta-scanners, Midnighter." Oracle is a little vague and the moment "The Question and I, along with a couple of others, are investigating."

Watching the comings and going, Oracles eyebrows rise as Constantine enters the gardens… she doesn't see the old Magician out and about much. "You've got Constantine coming in from the West. " and then, there's the costumed figure flying by him and ending up in the middle of the conflab.

A quick search through her systems and Oracle nods to herself. "I've been hearing about a new player in the field. I believe this is her." She's got a little information on the woman, but nowhere near enough, this might be a good time to dig for more.

John steps sideways the moment he hears feet rushing him, whipping his head around. Huntress almost gets a faceful of pixie dust until she flies on, once it's clear she's not attacking him. He blinks, eying the woman's derriere, then looks the way she came with a surprised expression. A shrug rolls his shoulders and he starts walking towards the brush she'd vanished into, peering this way and that. "Blimey, love, you're a little underdressed for this place," he murmurs, voice only carrying a few feet at a time.

The Question doesn't know Constantine, but presumes he's someone of note to someone. He's certainly got a colorful name, all imperial and Roman and holy. The arrival of Huntress would draw a raised eyebrows, if Q had eyebrows to raise. As it is, he nods to Oracle's words, taking things as they come. Be like water and all that jazz.

"All I know, at this point, is that the police are getting these scanners from some sort of black market source. I'm still tracking down the origin of the corruption but, like most infections, it's spread quite a bit and finding patient zero takes a bit of time and effort," he says.

He takes the fedora from his head, tipping it to Huntress, "Never mind the company of a pretty lady, nor would I ever presume to judge her fashion," he says. "This seems to be the place for all things clandestine tonight."

There's a shuriken in Midnighter's hand as he turns a few seconds before Huntress appears. He studies here a few moments before shifting his gaze briefly to the direction she came from. "Whoever you're running from isn't following." At least not yet. "Want to tell us if it's the police or someone interesting?" So that's Constantine. They've never met but the name's known. "Meta-scanners?" he repeats. "As in scanners that detect metahumans? That kind of tech isn't approved for police agencies yet." None of which makes sense with what else Question says. "Patient Zero? If we're going to play guessing games, I'm leaving, Oracle."

Constantine receives one of those looks as he emerges from the path behind her, then The Question adds in his two cents and she nods her head, "Thank you." She says with a hint of a smile emerging and she shifts a little to start to stand up, hands adjusting her costume a bit, and brushing some of the dirt off her, "Not the police.. and noone real interesting." She says to Midnighter, then looks over the three others, "Meta-Scanners?" she echoes.

"Gentlemen, this is Huntress" Oracle introduces the woman. She's been tracking the womans activities, so knows at least, who she is. "And the gentleman poking his head through the bush is John Constantine, Magician… " from what she's seen and heard, a pretty good one too. "The Question, I'm going to put your communicator on loud speaker. If it's near your ear, you might want to remove it… " she'd done that to May the other day, not again…

Midnighters approach isn't unexpected and the redhead smiles faintly. "Funny you should say the meta-scanners aren't approved for police yet. They're out there, being used."

For Huntress and Constatine, Oracle provides a quick summary "The scanners are a detection technology that's been provided to the Metropolis SRD under the guise of a new Joint Task Force called the K-Squad. Basically, this new task force is aimed at policing metahuman threats. The police will be able to point a scanner at any metahuman and tell what they are."

And there's still more… "The technology being use is reversed engineered alien tech… and we don't know which aliens." beat "What we do have, is a long list of subcontractors who have been working on the development and now, we're going through the process of following the breadcrumbs back to the source."

John's eyebrows go up at the sight of the motley crew he's just stumbled on. The older man fishes for a fresh cigarette and lights up, blinking several times as Oracle's unfamiliar voice plays over the little loudspeaker. "Blimey, who the hell are you lot?" he asks, querulously. "And why are you having a ruddy costume contest in the middle of the bloody botanicals?" says the man in the stained old trenchcoat.

The Question has his comm in his pocket, so Oracle's voice can be heard without defeaning him, "What she said. The cops know they're not supposed to use 'em, but are doing it on the down-low. Sneaky-like. Scandalous. If I hadn't seen such behavior from pretty much every police force I've ever encountered, I'd be shocked. Shocked, I say," he says.

"I don't know anything about the alien stuff, that's really not my purview. I don't hang much with the Roswell crowd. Sorry if my infection metaphor got you lost there, Midnighter, old bean. At least you're not lagging as far behind as Downton Abbey here."

"Alien technology in private corporate hands? That's an even worse idea than it being in government hands." So says the Stormwatch agent. Midnighter puts the shuriken back where they go and he smirks at Constantine's question. "We're the fashion police and you're under arrest for crimes against humanity." So says the man in basic black right down to his own trenchcoat. "Getting them away from the police won't be too difficult. But it won't make a difference if they can keep getting more. More importantly, where'd this tech come from and what else came with it?"

Huntress is suddenly rather intrigued it would seem, moving in closer towards the group and looking down at The Question's pocket, "It sounds like you could use a little help." She says, her hand reaching into one of the pouches to pull out a little compact which she pops open and starts to peer into the mirror on the top of it, "So, what can I do to help?" she asks with a little frown. A moment later she's produced a tube of lipstick, and starts applying a couple of touch-ups. "No smudge my ass." She murmurs, closing everything up and putting it away, "It sounds like you have a lot of leads but nothing solid so far."

Oracle laughs as Huntress inserts herself into the group. Her voice, digitally disguised, does not transmit the emotion though "To answer your question Mr Constantine, I am Oracle." the voice from the communicator filters through "To answer the other question, information, we need more information, the questions being asked are all good." the redhead in the Clocktower watches the group through the cameras "Midnighters correct, we've got more leads than we can point a stick at, but we need to follow them down."

Considering the audience, Oracle makes a decision "There are two directions we're following. Subcontractors and Government. We've a list of known subcontractors, some of which we're already investigating. The others need following." pausing, Oracle sighs but that doesn't transmit "The Government angle is a little more difficult, but I plan on tracking what I can through the systems." Indeed, she's already written the search algorithms and is now testing system accesses to see how far she can get. "I may need people to infiltrate agencies to find hard copies of information, if the digital searches fail."

"Yer kinda trustin', kinda quickly, luv," John says, unconsciously raising his voice a bit as he hails the loudspeaker. "And this is a wee bit out of my usual purview. I'm not a mutant and I'm not a spy. I'm a bloody magician. What the ruddy hell are you expecting me to do?" he says, looking sidelong at Huntress. "Aside from ogling the cute lass in purple stockings, that is."

The Question considers, "I'm not sure Oracle's expecting anything of you, stranger. You did rather stumble upon this meeting by a matter of circumstance, which might imply some sort of kismet drawing you into the plot or the simple coincidence of those of us who lurk in shadows always seeking the deepest shadows in which to lurk. That or we just like the smell of pretty flowers with our skulking."

"I think she just wants more hands on deck generally. It's obviously a significant problem for meta types, even if I'm not one ofthem, and I'm just generally not very fond of government snooping and secret-stealing. Plus, I get the justification to kick a few cops in the face. I do always like that, when it's justified."

"I can sic Stormwatch on the other government agencies." Midnighter tells Oracle. "If they think the NSA or CIA has alien tech that /they/ don't have, you can bet they're not going to be happy about it. And if it was them who had it, they wouldn't be giving it away to the police. So that's the easiest way to handle the government angle."

Huntress's head turns towards Constantine once more.. delivering another dirty look before her attention returns to the conversation at hand and she nods ever so slightly, "Just tell me what you need, sneaking into places is one of my specialties. The more I know about what I'm after the better, of course." She gives a glance over towards Constantine finally, "Maybe you can magic something useful up? Like a Cappuccino?"

"Trust, Mr Constantine… I know who you and The Huntress are." Oracle responds to John "You might not know me though." Gothams Information Goddess … no one really knows if Oracle is a person or an AI …. Huntresses offer, is appealing, more feet on the streets … "Do you have a smart phone, Huntress?" If so, Oracle will install her OracleApp.

"Thank you The Question, you are correct. Mr Constantine, I'm not sure there is anything you can do however, people hear things through different channels."

Midnighters suggestion is considered, it was one of the reasons she had contacted him "I'm tempted Midnighter, but we need to be careful, I don't want to be trading one for the other or even, tipping our hand that we're looking. That said, Stormwatch could be a nice diversion. What do you need?"

"I'll drink to that, mate," John tells Question with an unoffended grin. "The flowers are helping, though. You smell like a bloody burned bit of leather." He reaches into his jacket pocket for his flask and takes a belt from it, then offers the container to the other detective, perhaps recognizing a kindred spirit. "Nip of the kreacher, mate?" he offers solicitously.

Huntress' death glare just elicits a bawdy wink from the older man, who turns an ear to listen carefully to Oracle's instructions and listens to the back and forth between Gotham's digital guardian and the little squad she's assembled.

The Question cocks his head at Constantine, his featureless visage lacking, of course, a mouth with which to sip, although he also lacks the eyebrows he might otherwise raise at the suggestion, "Sorry, can't while I'm on duty" he says, gesturing to his absence.

He does reach into his pocket, though, and draw out a thermos, "Not cappucino, but I've got coffee. If you'd like a nip of Mr. Constantine's beast, Huntress, I'm sure he wouldn't mind obliging a lady," he says, offering the silver cylinder to anyone who wants some. At Midnighter's words, he turns, "Another secret agent type, Oracle? I'd be starting to feel paranoid, if that weren't my permanent state of mind to begin with. Spending so much time with men and women in black is going to start to ruin my street cred with the Lone Gunmen types," he says.

"Nothing." Midnighter answers. "I just tell the Weatherman that word on the street is that the Metropolis SRD are using alien tech to identify metahumans and that some government agency is supplying them. Then I get out of the way of all those agents urgently trying to find just which agency has it. I also wouldn't be surprised if they go in and confiscate every scanner they can find." That particular cat is out of the bag no matter what happens. Glancing over at The Question, he says "Big Brother is everywhere. So use it to your advantage."

Huntress reaches into another pocket on her utility belt and produces a phone. It's black, and glittery purple, and she waits for The Question to be looking towards her before tossing the device in a little underhand to him. She sighs and shakes her head, "No, I'll manage without." She exclaims, "And you don't know who's giving the police these devices or why, so maybe it's premature to start calling in the cavalry, because the Cavalry may be backing the police yeah?"

"As Midnighter says, The Question, I'm not above using the channels I can to garner information. The scanner is connected with Government, I will use various agencies to combat them." Again, she sighs "The word is out there. The devices are on the street and there's riots occuring around them." Oracle's aware that Pepper Potts got caught in one and other metahumans are worried about being targetted.

"Right now, Midnighter, we need to follow the trails back to whoever is creating the tech. If we can hold the Weatherman off for a while longer, let us dig a bit deeper, I can point you in some specific directions, I'm sure."

As Huntress sends her phone to The Question, Oracle uses device triangulation to access it and the OracleApp is installed. "Hand the phone back, The Question. Huntress, theres an app on there now… my own. I can use it to contact you and vice versa. Let's work together on this and if this pans out… I might have other assignments for your talents."

"Mr Constantine, if you hear anything, do you need a secure channel of communication?" Oracle can provide a way for the mage to contact her.

"Sure, just text me," John says with a nod he forgets she can't see through the speaker, talking to the device. "My number's…" he rattles off the digits. "I'm not always available, mind. I check it once or twice a day." He jiggles the grocery bag, finishing his liquor and recapping it.

"Is your first name actually 'The'?" John asks The Question, arching an eyebrow at the other detective.

"They're not the cavalry, they're tools." Midnighter explains patiently. She's obviously new to this. "They can investigate other government agencies better than anyone else, even those Oracle might not know exist. And they're in no hurry to give away technology to anyone whether it's the police or the rest of the government." No one does selfish, paranoid secrecy like Stormwatch. "And once they get their hands on it, we'll at least know who has it and maybe Oracle can find out more. And if it's not the government…" he continues to Oracle her/itself. Give me a few names and I'll get them to talk."

The Question hands the phone back to the Huntress, shrugging a bit in response to Midnighter's remark, "I'm always aware of the ubiquitous nature of the grasping eyes of the powerful and the unchecked. I just tend to like to be on the side of the little guy," he says.

To Constantine's remark, he allows a small chuckle, "I'm a definite article, one of a kind, so to speak, but you can simply call me "Question" or "Hey you", as you like. More colorful epithets have I been called, but usually by those on the receiving end of my boots."

"One man's tool is another man's cavalry." Huntress replies, "But this is your gig. So if you wanna involve them who'm I to say otherwise?" she asks with a shoulder shrug. She accepts the phone back and moves to tuck it away once more, not checking the app yet. "So.." She asks, looking around a little, "Anything else we need to chat with in this little pow wow? Sorry for party-crashing again, by the way!"

"I'll send you the details, Midnighter. " Oracle is noting Johns details down, he'll be getting information on how to communicate with her securely. "Thank you, Mr Constantine. As with anyone that I work with, I appreciate that many have other calls on their time." she'll be passing the contact on to The Fox, the druid of Gotham, as potential backup for the magical side of things.

"Well, Huntress, it's nice to finally meet you. I've been tracking your activities for some time now. At some point, I would like to talk further." like now… if she wants. "Other than that, if there are no further questions, my purpose here is achieved. Information disseminated… a more of the plan is emerging."

"Well then. I guess I'll be larking home, then." He nods at Question and Midnighter. "Nice meeting you blokes." He looks to Huntress and flashes another wink at her. "You, too, luv. Nice outfit. Maybe I'll see you around again sometime," he suggests. Whistling tunelessly he wanders off, trailing cigarette smoke over his head.

"Very well. Keep me informed." Midnighter tells Oracle. "For the moment, I'll wait to involve Stormwatch. Once that card is played, there's no putting it back in the deck." He starts to leave but pauses to look back at the others. "When you need a hand, get Oracle to contact me." Giving them a nod, he slips out in the same direction he came.

Huntress rolls her eyes just a bit as Constantine takes his leave, and she shakes her head just a bit, "Pig." She mutters, "Ahh.. Gimme a bit and I'll get in touch and we can have that chat yeah?" she says, "I need to go follow up something I'm working on, and get that coffee."

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