All in a Memory

August 28, 2015:

The appearance of a dead SWAT team member… messages for the bat family… leads to … interesting results (emits by Batman)



NPCs: David Cain



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

A typical cloud smothered Friday in Gotham's Old Town district.

"Oracle, this is Batman. I've picked up a disturbance closest to your sector. See if you can get someone out there."

That was eight minutes ago give or take.

The location of the source becomes obvious from the pillars of multicolored smoke rising up from behind the Nendo Soda Company building.

Checking the location of the various team members, Oracle notes the one person closest to that sector. The one person who really doesn't require words, just signals, Batgirl.

Sending the signal to Batgirls HUD, with the location, the Clocktower bound redhead watches the Avatars of her team as they move across the screens. "Batgirls closest and notified, Batman." the update goes out even as she's pulling the feeds from the security and CCTV systems in the area to the middle of her screens.

Batgirl is just finishing with a gang of thugs with intent to mug when the notifier comes up on her HUD. She takes the extra few minutes to bat-tie (like zipties, but Bat Approved (TM)) up the would-be-muggers and then she's back up to the rooftops and chasing the bouncing Oracle Indicator. She trusts Babs to forward the cops to pick up the guys she just trounced.

Oracle doesn't bother with the words to tell Batgirl she's needed, and the little black bat doesn't reply to say she's enroute. The redhead can see that on her screens. The wordless communication that Batgirl's more comfortable with is probably why Cass has some of the most 'invasive' Oracle-monitoring of the whole Family. While it might bother others as an invasion of privacy, Batgirl has never seemed to mind.

The travel is the easy part Batgirl like any of the Batclan and their associated are home in Gotham and urban movement. The not being sighted is another trick that generally slows things. Upon reaching the destination the young warrior will find a pile of smoke signals, various colors green, orange, white, generally such things have a meaning; green sometimes is just a location marker, orange distress, and so on; this may not be one of those times.
Several feet from the pile of used smoke canisters is a body wrapped in a black cloak with an arm outstretched.
These hours are early, at least for Batman, generally the man is not up until after 6:00 PM. Where he takes his normal breakfast of which consists a black coffee, an egg and several strong painkillers.

It might be early for Batman, but by 6pm, Oracles normally put in a few hours of research and overwatch. With the extension of her … duties … now encompassing more than just Gotham. Tea, is a staple for Gothams' redheaded Information Goddess.

Sharing the feeds from Batgirls suit through to Batman, Oracle watches from a distance, keeping silent for the time being - her young charge knows how to approach these scenes and anything she might add now will simply be a distraction.

Not having seen the bigger Bat, Cassandra swings a wide perimeter of the area before dropping down and moving in amidst the smoke. The filtration systems on her cowl are engaged as the sharp peaks of her ears mark the slow sweep of her head left and right, taking in the situation. The make of the smoke canisters, to see if they're something she recognizes. The colors. The placement. When she gets to the body, she drops down to a crouch and reaches for the wrist to see if there's a pulse.

First and foremost, the Batgirl is concerned with saving lives. If there's life to save.

No pulse, no warmth. The cloak the body is sheathed in looks like something a Bat would wear but it is not of the same fabric. No immediate threat also no signs of struggle. Body language even when dead still speaks and it's apparent from positioning this man did not die here.

"You just patched me in to Batgirl's suit? How co-Interest/SNGK/." An electronic glitch sound pops through Batman's feed. A momentary hiccup that causes radio frequency distortion.

Taking the images from Batgirls suits of the cannisters, Oracle starts searching for the manufacturer, if she doesn't recognise the branding straight up.

"Of course" Oracle frowns at the glitch on Batman's feed "What was that?" It's unusual for the comms systems to hiccup like that and the redhead starts to run some diagnostics. After the attempt on her systems when the Obelisks went down, Oracle might be a little jumpy about things like that.

There's a slight dip of Batgirl's head at what she finds. That the body's cold means she wasn't even close to saving them, whoever they might be. She starts to reach for the cloak, to pull it back and then pauses. Her head comes up, eyes behind those dark lenses scanning the area around. "Oracle… Isn't Batman… supposed to be here?"

The quick diagnostic scan from Oracle indicates everything is as it should be. Nothing appears to be amiss with her systems. "You cut out a moment, Oracle. What was what?"

The light lift of the cloak reveals the side of a SWAT logo, the 'faux' Bat cape and cowl not able to obscure that much. The briefest glimpse did show a single gunshot wound to the chestplate above the heart.

"I did cut out, so did you. Run diagnostics on your comms, please Batman." Oracle's not surprised her comms systems are in order and then something occurs to her. Conducting a broad spectrum sweep, the Clocktower bound redhead assesses the other signals in the area. The issue of course, with that kind of sweep is that there are so many signals that exist in the ether - finding one that appears out of place is like finding a needle in a haystack, but still she has to try.

"No Batman, Batgirl." At least not yet "You're there on his request." Trying to keep her updates as short and succinct as possible, to make it easy for her young ward to understand.

Now the scene is starting to unfold, Oracle is getting a bigger picture. The body, that of a male, mid to late 30's … the hand that had been visible when the little black bat got to the scene, had a finger pointing to the West.

It's telling that the search for the man yields results so quickly. "That's Tristan Redmon, GCPD SWAT team." At least the uniform doesn't seem fake "Reported missing 2 days ago." But what about that cape and cowl… was he wearing them when he died or were they added afterwards and the body placed there - because placed it certainly seems to be. "Search the body, Batgirl. See what he's carrying." She won't tell the young woman to becareful - that there maybe traps.

Batgirl turns her head, looking to the West as the hand is pointing. "Smoke… How long?" Her already brief, broken English gets clipped down to bare minimum. She doesn't have the attention to spare for it right now. Not when there could still be danger about. She rises and steps around the body, pulling the wrap back completely before she starts to check the body. Not only for what he might be carrying, but to see how long he's been dead if he's been missing for two days.

"Oracle… Was he… on duty? When he… went missing?" Because she's learned that people don't tend to wear their work clothes when they're not at work. Which would mean someone would have had him dress.

"No issues on my end. All of my systems are tops." Batman's quick response. Fast enough he may not have checked them or was already in the process.
As Oracle does a quick perimeter scan a multitude of signals light up for her. Most of them she is familiar with, transients and mobiles are also, however, a factor she must sort through on the day-to-day. Several of these she recognizes but a handful she does not. This is not completely unusual she is after all in one of the largest cities on the eastern seaboard.
The smoke Batgirl's sensors can gauge and estimate the heat signatures that it has been lit for around thirty minutes perhaps a little more. Standard police issue gear for a SWAT member, his wallet is missing, his ammunition and firearms; everything else is there.
A quick visual sweep and looking the direction the man's hand is extended does show through squinting another tendriling coil of smoke trails, though from this distance they're very faint. Easy to miss without actively looking. Gotham's business district direction obvious by the monolithic skyscrapers in the distance, most notable of course Wayne Tower.

Frowning at the rapid response from Batman, Oracles eyes focus on her screens for a moment. At least her scan reveals something she can work with, and she starts separating that handful and analysing them. This might take a while to do…

"He was on duty, Batgirl." The report, accessed directly from the GCPD systems, is displayed on her screens. Batman will be getting the information and hearing the conversation. "In Conventry, investigating reports of a gunman." Which given the shot to the chest, starts to paint a gruesome picture. "The other members of the team are still missing."

"That shot to the heart. It's clean." Professional even, not an easy shot to make, considering that Redmon was SWAT. When this is finally handed over to the police, Oracle will make sure the she gets the details of the bullet (if it's found). Another clue in this now, mystery.

As good as the systems are in Batgirls suit, Oracle resorts to electronic mapping… "Batman, the body was placed pointing to the business district… it looks like directly at Wayne Tower." She's not paranoid,, but the cape and cowl are concerning her.

"Look around, Batgirl. Any tyre tracks or indication how the body got there?"

When Oracle points out the gunshot? Batgirl's usual almost-monotone is exceptionally flat. "I know." She may not know that a rose needs water, but bodily trauma? Yeah, she Speaks that.

The question of tire tracks, that gets left behind through, as the little bat fires off her swingline and moves towards that second curl of smoke. Someone's gone to some lengths to leave a trail and she doesn't want it to go cold.

"Have her check it out." Batman states. Though, if patched through he is already aware that Batgirl is already in motion.

The quick pace carries Batgirl to the next obvious location the garden rooftop of a diner. A wealthy one but one that obviously hasn't watered it's plants today.
Lying on her back is a red headed woman with her throat slit. No uniform but a GCPD badge is visible at her waist attached to the belt. No firearm, ammunition or wallet contents. She is wearing a short cape and cowl. Eerily similar to Barbara's own when she was the 1st Batgirl. A hand, like Redmon's directed off towards the west, yet again fingers crushed in to a point.

Given Batgirls left the first victim, Oracle sends the request to the GCPD despatch. They need the area cordoned off and she wants information from the body. Not just the bullet, but details on the cape and cowl - materials, manufacture. Anything that can aid them in who might have done this. The inclusion of Bat apparel on the bodies, makes this family related - and no one threatens her family.

Given that the redhead has the report open on her screen, makes identification of this body much easier. "Sharon Barnes. The officer that called the incident in." It's obvious from the wound on the throat, that she was killed more recently. That she's pointing to the Business District … the message is being received. "If there's nothing there, Batgirl, head to the Business District, aim for Wayne Tower."

The analysis of the communications signals that aren't recognised starts yielding results that are displayed in another window on Oracles screens. She'll get to them in a minute.

Cops. Bats. It's clearly a message, but Batgirl's not the detective Batman is. She does take some time though, trying to pick up the clues that she can recognize. Anything distinctive about the blade used, the angle of the cut that would say how it was used, the strength, size, and position of the attacker. She takes a moment to brush a gloved hand over that crushed hand, feeling for the particular bones that might have been broken to get it to stay in that position.

She follows Oracle's direction, but keeps an eye out for more smoke. The canisters have been going for a while now, and later there will be nothing to find.

The stroke and size of the attacker indicates it was someone taller than the woman with a capable hand. The slice effortless, the blade used no doubt sharp as one can imagine and the death, like the previous victim, quick, painless almost. A true professional.
No words of wisdom or encouragment from Batman. The signals Oracle weaves through like a spider spinning a web, masterfully and she finds something, a tick, a tuck, something dangles in her network. The vibration felt and no doubt causing alarm.
Wayne Towers is close, close enough Batgirl can see the smoke is strong, the plumes are thick and vibrant in color compared to the previous two locations. The smoke location is being emitted from three tiers up, high enough ground level you almost cannot see them but the Batsquad are not normal individuals and heights is one thing they do well.

Oracle can see that smoke, how vibrant it is and it causes her a moment of pause, those are quite clearly more newly set and the way they're being lured in, has all the feel of a trap. She doesn't need to tell Batgirl that - they've all be trained to expect the worst. "Approach carefully, Batgirl. I'm getting the feeds up…" meaning she'll give the young woman as much of an unfair advantage as she can.

This is Wayne Towers though… which should give the Bats an unfair advantage to start with. Deftly, Gothams Information Goddess accesses the buildings management system. Eyes widening as she realises, they've all missed this, the security systems are disabled - nothings being monitored. Working as quickly as possible, she tries to re-enable them - later, she'll be having words with management there. "No feeds, Batgirl. You're going in blind." Again, she won't say 'be careful', no matter how much she wants too.

Those commands entered, eyes scanning quickly, her attention turns to the unknown comms signals in the town… somethings not right - is it trying to disrupt their comms, or is it comms that are simply disrupting the Batfamily's (bad luck if that's the case, because it drew her attention)?

Batgirl gives a harder jerk on the decel cable, sending her arc higher than the level that the smoke pours out of. She catches hold of the window mullions, her weight held by the precarious placement of toes and fingers as the costume's materials help her hold the grip that lets her seemingly cling to the sheer surface.

Batgirl's gone quiet now, even her motions and mannerisms seemingly more subdued as she slinks down towards the openings, senses alert. Yes, this screams trap. But more, it screams message. Anyone that knows the Bats know they'd be careful, wary in this situation.

"Somebody HELP!!!" A scream is audible. Loud and coming from one of the executive office terraces. "HELP me! Oh god help me!"
Closer and closer the Batgirl ascends only to clear the ledge and find herself viewing a laid out scene, two men; one unconscious or dead on the ground. Nothing outstanding about his appearance or posture other than having been stripped down to just the black undersuit of his GCPD SWAT gear and a blue signature bird stripe painted across his chest.
The second still lives and is wearing SWAT gear as well but instead of a blue stripe he has a yellow and red one with a small green cape tied around his shoulders. Sobbing the hostage sees Batgirl, "He said pull the flares at exactly 6:35 and I did, I did what he said and now what? I'm still going to die. So are you… so is everyone else…? Please stop it! Please! Fast enough, fast enough! "
The hysterics are starting up. Stop what exactly though?
The man's right arm is broken, shattered from the elbow down and twisted in to a useless crook but in his left hand the smoke cannisters are extended out and gripped in another crushed up useless mess of what was once a fist. A ziptie has them tethered in place and that limb is neatly extended out above a pressure plate. Shakily the man continues to hold, sweat beading down his brow mingling with tears. "He swore one of you wast fast enough, I'm trying, I'm really trying but I'm not strong enough… I'm going to drop this and kill everyone… I can't hold it up much longe…. " Beneath the pressure plate is a set up of wiring all encased and twined around military grade explosives. The man himself seems to be rendered immovable as well by the multiple wounds his body has suffered, breaks, many of them, only his arm and head are operable. Someone very precisely disabled him yet managed to keep him alive.
"Please hurry… "

A memory is Cassandras and hers alone at this point, a man staring at her with a stopwatch in hand, grim featured and dissapointed looking.
"Faster. 2.3 is safety but 2.1 is your ultimate target. Any slower than 2.4 and you're dead. Understand? Dead is dead. There is nothing in death but disappointment and failure. Are you a failure? I hope not. I have no time for failures. Do it again."

How fast can Batgirl clear the distance from herself and this helpless man rigged to explode?

Oracle should have paid more attention to the extra signals. Especially the one that is now almost immediately ontop of her; a sound behind her and a hatchway explodes and a something heavy hits the Clocktower floor behind her.
"A cripple? Didn't expect that."

The two people are the last two GCPD SWAT officers. That's not suprise by now. Just as she's about to relay the information, her visitor arrives.

Unhhh, she got complaisant… and she should have known better. There'll be a few team members who'll have words to say to her, she's sure.

It hits her in flash - this isn't Batman she's talking to, the language is all wrong. She could blame the fact that Batmans been uncommunicative for a long time, but really, this is all on her. Time to review her communications protocols, if she gets out of this alive.

"I'm compromised. You're on your own." That's the last words she can spare for the little black bat, as she kills the displays, comms routed to the earpiece she wears, and spins her chair to face the intruder "Cripple, such a harsh term." Green eyes fix on the visitor, outwardly calm. She's not making an attempt for her escrima sticks, but she's got the codes to trash the Clocktower and its systems ready to go.

Batgirl's eyes grow wide behind her mask, shadows shifting subtly over the faceless cowl. "Oracle?"

Back at the Clocktower, the closest thing that Cassandra's ever had to a mother is under some kind of attack. But here, right here, is a life about to be lost. And, if his fear is right, a hell of a lot more as well. A batarang whines through the air, a throw that others would second-guess, to hit that narrow target of binding that's keeping 'Robin's' mangled hand over the pressure plate. That's followed up by the Bat herself, worry about a trap coming second to saving this man's life. First, get him safely away from the plate. Then, deal with the damned bomb.

Thought, worry, indecision, it all falls away. There is no thinking, only action.

The batarang was a tricky call. Risky and absolutely dangerous but a skilled shot, the right amount of impact and some small measure of luck has the cord snapping. The objects in hand still dropped as the 'Robin' withdraws - Batgirl herself is there, narrowly, almost a split millisecond slower and she would have missed the grip. A hairs width above the plate.
"My hand! My… hand… I'm alive, I'm ali… " Shock sets in and the man slumps backwards in to a sprawl an exhale escaping him that sounds almost animalistic. He will need medical attention but will likely live if they all survive the bomb.

The Clocktower. "No boom? She still has it."
Static and Batman's voice whines through the coms, "Don't kill her. Please…"
"Kill the chatter." All the response the white haired man in front of Oracle gives. "This has all been an exercise. I could, quite simply kill you right here, right now." A gun is drawn and aimed at Oracle. "But there is no fun in that. No long term. This needs to go as planned. It isn't your time yet…" A quick glance around and the man looks back at her, "Barbara Gordon. I wonder what your daddy would think if he knew about you… about this?" A shrug and a grin, "Remember this moment in time. You live by my grace." Two fingers extend and he tosses a gold medallion with thick gaudy chains that form a necklace. It lands in to Bab's lap; taped to the inside of the medallion is a drive. "Give that to Batgirl and share the disc with the rest of the Batsquad. Consider it a gift."
Batman's voice releases a "Whew" sound and distorts briefly, from strong and deep sounding to lighter, smoother, a familiar voice of another hacker. The Birdwatcher. "We're done right? She lives?"
"I said kill the chatter." Quite simply turning around walking back to the entrance now a blasted hole Cain nods to Babs, "Be seeing you and yours very soon. Next time we play for keeps."
Snap, zip, the elderly fellow whisks back out the top of the clocktower.

Hands clench in Oracles lap as the gun is pointed at her. Of all the things that could have been done, that one is the one that has the most impact. Paling, the redhead just looks at Cain, not offering any words … none at all. As the medallion lands in her lap, her fingers unclench and curl around it, drawing it closer…

After Cain departs, once she's sure he's gone, she blows out a long shaky breath "Batgirl. Status please." thank goodness for the digital disguise, it will hide the tremor and fear in her voice. Turning back to her systems, she looks at the drive… and connects it to an isolated segment of her network, running diagnostics to make sure it's clean before even looking at the data on it.

Batgirl takes a moment to help ease the man down so as not to further aggravate his injuries before she turns back to the bomb. This is familiar. This is something she knows. She strips off her gloves so she can work more easily, and there's only the quiet sound of breathing as she works through the puzzle that's been left for her. The familiarity of the movements is better than a recording for Batgirl. The movements take her back… The fact that she really only learned the assembly, and now she's doing it in reverse… rewinding…

There's a pause in her movements, before she pushes it away and completes the task even as Oracle's voice comes back to her. "Done." The flat, clipped word is all for a long moment. "One survivor. Needs help."

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