Know Thyself, Know Thy Enemy

October 13, 2015:

Catwoman retaliates against Cain's brutality.

East End, Gotham


NPCs: David Cain


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

A meeting arranged through a third party. The third party in question a now dead guy with a knife sticking out of his back and a piece of paper stapled in place. Nothing but an address on it. His final spasms and words in life had nothing to do with anything other than, "Help".

Hours later, just past midnight. East End, Catwoman's stomping grounds. Whoever sent the invite had a lot of confidence or didn't want the woman to feel she was without the upper hand. The location was just on the opposing side of Skirley Apartments or to the locals "Scurvy City" it's a refuse riddled section of the city even for the East End. Abandoned buildings, quake damaged roads, split telephone poles, rubble that was never cleaned, burn barrels some lit some not, homeless or poverty stricken street dwellers scattered here and there. The GCPD rarely patrols this area and when they do it isn't without backup.

The Alley Cats at Tin Roof were the recipients of the message. But considering the delivery style they knew who and what it was for. With the message relayed over a small flip phone used as a burner, Selina exited the Egyptian and got into the limo…

The large sunroof opens with a silent whir, the driver easily placated with a dark plate of glass between him and the backseat. He was given a destination and was one with her long enough to go and not ask questions or see anything. Though while cutting through the streets of Midtown and skirting East End but not entering that dark feminine figure climbs out of the sunroof and leaps off in silence, escaping into East End and down and alley headed into Scurvy City.

The method, the message. There is no way Catwoman was going in blind, and from a neighboring rooftop the fitted leather of attire moans out its cadence to the crouch in form while the goggles are brought down from atop her crown to seat over her face - lenses flickering from clear to that of thermal sense all the while she watches any entries and exits she can see.

What you see is what you're getting with Scurvy City and the thermal imaging lights up the same only now Selina can see the smaller creatures of the night. The pests and the strays. What sounds like the rustle of leathery wings and a blast of air brings that sensation someone else is near. A boot grinding in to brickwork is the tell that whoever it is is large.

"Catwoman. Don't follow up on that message." The familiar strong voice of Batman from behind her."Anyone who kills a DEO informant is not anyone you want to tangle yourself with. Wickey wasn't a clean individual but he didn't deserve death."

From her crouch, Catwoman is scanning, but that does not mean her other senses down to the common are not set. The sound that comes before the voice has her hand setting down upon the eave of old deco in the stonework, those claws flashing and scraping over the lip as leverage in case the follow up is that of attack - but some people get more chances then others with Catwoman. Always -Him-.

Not completely diverting her gaze from the targeted address she looks back towards him, her chin lowered and at the angle it almost appears as if those spires of goggles were lain back ears, even the purse to thinning of lips shows the irritation at his words, or was it /more/?

"They're in East End, he was in East End and he came to my place for help." Her words were strong but something wavered in the final word, Wickey's same final word so she was told. "I have told you this before. These people are my promise, and I keep my promises." She exhales and looks back from him to the complex. "Even if it has a neon sign of 'set-up' blinking all over it."

"Obvious set up. You follow that lead and you're going to end up the same way." Batman says in his usual stoic manner. He isn't crouched or obscuring himself in any fashion other than their height above the streets and dark garments.

"Trust me. You don't want involved in this." A thoughtful pause, "You aware of any movement in the East End that is… new or unfamiliar to you? Specifically weapons or decrease in gang violence that isn't your doing, less police on patrol… less than usual?" Odd question as a decrease in gang violence doesn't coincide with less officers on patrol; the 14th GCPD Precinct as corrupt as it is remains predictably lazy. Same faces, same routines.

"I am going to end up that way no matter what I do. At least that's the threats lately." Catwoman steps back and released the anchor that would send her sailing away from him and into the streets below. This was not the blow she was expecting, at least not to open with. Despite the words a wry smile curls one corner of Catwoman's lips when she comes to a stand, though looking out over the complex it fades.

The look towards Batman is now suspicious, though the curiosity ever innate to her being is burning behind those emerald eyes. "What do you know about this? What is it you are looking for that /I/ have overlooked." Though after that question her hand snaps up and one clawed index finger seeks interjection before he can likely feed her anothe rof his lines of warning. "I won't stop, so you can either help me or leave me to my inevitable here." Beating around the bush with Catwoman is going to do no good.

"It'd be like dangling a reporter from a noose and making you watch the life fade but telling you to stay back because it's a trap. You know it, I know it…. But what starts with one always leads to more. You wouldn't listen. You never do either." That small half-smile returns but quickly fades back to a stoic demeanor as she waits for him to fill her in.

"Listening versus obedience. I hear quite well." Batman says while pulling a batarang out of his pouch unfolding it and flicking a small switch on it's side. A wide throw and it arcs out in a sweep away from them only to sail wide. A new display shows up in his cowl's UI.

"An assassin is targeting my people and I think he is in the process of doing his research. You're part of the cliff notes. He is resourceful enough to know you've probably acted as one of my informants in the past."

A brush over his palm with a thumb and Catwoman can tell the Dark Knight is steering his fancy flying remote batarang around while talking to her. It's acting as a reconnaissance drone.

"David Cain, a member of the League of Assassins and one of the most dangerous men alive. I don't exactly know what his game is but he's not playing it short. He's already killed several GCPD officers as a message and now a DEO informant. Do you see the connection there?"

"As do I." Catwoman speaks back to the Bat in a manner that can only give the blunt meaning of what she intends to do whether he is a willing participant or not.

"He has not done his homework recently then in regards to me. I am not family anymore, we do not /inform/ one another and having a Cat in his grasp is not going to move the local birds and bats of night. This will be a good lesson for him to learn, and I will gladly be the catalyst to teach it." A small sidestep and she is retreating from the shadows, positioning herself into the open and in a manner that will not betray the presence of another, just look like the feline silhouette of East End's personal guardian watcher.

One hand props along scaffolding and the other slides along her waist, loosing the whip that dangles in effigy of a tail from her side. "O get the connection, and he can sever his."
"Cain just recently returned to the states. His last sighting was India and with everything transpiring in Gotham the past several months it is no surprise he is behind on his intel. This is his research and he is testing us. All of us." The Caped Crusader hasn't moved from where he has been standing which is rather open; a usual thing for him when he has others present. If it's not full on stealth mode, himself or a Robin tend to act a decoy. Cain is aware of these tactics and likely thinks Robin, Batgirl or another ally are near.

"I'm here means it is likely he has withdrawn. Just… stay here." He says quietly. A small touch of emotion in his voice. Fleeting as ever. "There are no hostages and no movement." A whistling sound and the remote batarang returns to his hand. "Likely a booby trap."

Catwoman's spine is ramrod straight for a moment though as the seconds tick on she is easing back into the nonchalant actions of the feline on the eternal prowl, even that light hip cock that presses leather clad out-thrust into claw tipped palm, fingers hooked and swinging the whip lazily. Those who know her know, that movement can shift with a blink, and as Batman speaks on her features darken and the goggles flicker from thermal scope to normal, leaving tha kohl lined gaze of up-tilted ends to stare keen edges upon him.

"So in this test he learns I do not respond to the deaths of people under my own promises? What do you want me to do, now? I don't know anything anyway. He'd be bleeding a stone in regards to me." In her pause and the tone of those few words from him, she props herself along an antenna post. "And what I do know is mine to keep. He brought this here, I cannot let it rest. So tell me, if I do not go now, when I -do- go… How do you want it?"

And there it was, the offer…

"…" Batman's silence lingers a moment before he speaks,"Cain is old school but highly intelligent and adaptive. Much of his tactics have a military foundation, his operational procedures are familiar to me. He taught me many of them once upon a time."

A cant of his head and Batman withdraws something else from his belt and begins to swipe a pointed glove tip across it. "Nothing is there to go to Catwoman. Nothing but a trap that will result in your death and possibly more. I've sent a signal to the Batwing, it will run a deeper sweep over the location and mark any possible abnormalities. If you want to help we can clear some of these people out. Just in case." A hand reaches out and grabs her bicep. "Trust me. No action is the best course this time. He wants you to show up down there. He is trying to cripple my network and teach me a lesson."

"Wrong Batman… or shall I say Bruce." A voice cuts in near. "I'm not teaching you or any of them a lesson at all. That would be a waste of time… your little pack is way too stubborn for something that redundant."

"Cain!" Batman snarls and releases Catwoman's arm to sling a batarang across the rooftop in a whistle towards the man across from them on the opposing rooftop. A step to the side and it misses. The white haired older yet very fit gentleman smile, a fully bodysuit of black and several guns attached. He looks rather unremarkable when it comes to gear and general look. More like something out of a spy movie or spec ops flick.

"Don't try it. I picked this spot for a reason and I know exactly what your range is. I will be gone before your feet leave that rooftop."

Batman's grab has Catwoman stiffening again, the evident tremor of the muscle beneath his grip shows the desire to react differently, just as the look is conflicted but steadfast. She wanted to help but not hang herself. She was the one in the gallows, and she knows how this game plays out in the end, perhaps they could throw a wrench…

The voice and Batman's sudden movement has her eyes clenching shut in a gesture of inward cursing. He heard how much? Enough. The hand that never left her hip now snaps out with the other. A launch of loaded caltrops to detonate enough as more of a distraction, but if close enough the burn on impact upon skin will leave a long-lasting mark. Not enough to do damage to the building or those who may be within or nearby, but what follows through is that whip, lashing out and only making a sound on impact upon the adjacent buildings post, using that tension to fling herself across and towards Cain.

He did not say for her not to move.

Catwoman's reactions to seeing Cain are just about the same as Batman's; instant hostility. Not unexpected as the woman has an odd claim on all the people in East End. Even the lost causes. The Batman can sympathize there.

"Predictable lunatics." Cain taunts as Selina makes her move. A combat roll and he has come up shielding himself from her caltrops but not running away.

"Catwoman, no!" Batman shouts and lunges after the swift feline but his fingers only rake down her backside along the leather catsuit.

Adrenaline and immediate danger has that sometimes slow motion effect where awareness spans out and takes in more than it usually would. Catwoman should be experiencing that right about now as she closes that gap from rooftop A to rooftop B.

A memory from years ago…
"Nuisance role, Wayne. That is what it's called when we do this. You see that route?"
"Yes, Mr. Cain."
"It's a one of two possible enemy routes that will allow them to cross over here. They would expect forward mines, booby traps and resistance from that direction but not here. Not going back. It's all about positioning and using terrain."
"And knowing your enemy."
"Yes, knowing your enemy is key. Know thyself, know your enemy…"
"A thousand battles, a thousand victories."
"Exactly. And if you're good at drawing your enemy out… "

The explosive boom resounds in a cacophonous bark from what could be all directions. From below, before and behind Catwoman. The vague shadow of Batman vanishing in a rupture of fire is fairly clear amidst the chaos but the launch she has thrown herself in to has her descending further than the rooftop as it spills towards her in a pillar of flame and debris.

Cain's smiling face is the last visage she sees before the ground swallows her up and she is in a rough downward tumble through brick, wood, floor smoke and flame. The the target buildings caving in upon the falling master thief.

Catwoman did not know this enemy, but he did know her as Batman had warned. Heed his warning? No. She did not trust him just as much as he did not trust her anymore. A lot has changed, but what has remained is the brashness in which Catwoman acts and reacts. Cain's appearance and bold display only incited a further rage in the woman and she took the bait without so much as that further planning. Her arm wrenched from Batman's grip with the catapult forward at a force that only left a bare brush of contact in Batman's scramble to regain it, and that quick of motion set her up for what happened after.

The reflection in goggles sees Cain's movement to dodge her caltrops, but not move away, for a moment the indignant smile of expecting a fight comes and is swallowed by the sudden widening of revelation and mid-air epiphany..

"CATWOMAN!" A deep voice roars in to the light and dark that surrounds Selina Kyle.
He had pursued her to the edge, and the gap between two buildings was large, but the speed and rapidity of movements in their sparring flurry on the abandoned scaffolding had gone from trained to unpredictable. A game but one they took seriously none the less, or at least he did while she filled the passing beats of impacting punches and deflected blows with that purring prod of words ever goading in play. One kick Batman pressed with landed, sending Catwoman backpedaling and kicking off a ledge to try and twist and grab the other, but the pinwheel of arms and the scrape of claws had her missing and falling.
Sometimes the distance of a couple dozen stories to the ground can seem like eternity and when the whip blindly fires out to capture a piece of the rapidly passing surroundings it catches and with a sudden jerk she is brought back in, hitting a wall and being drug up the half-deteriorated surface and set on feet in front of him. "You should know better, never let your guard down and keep your surroundings always in check."
"I did. I knew you'd catch me."

The world around Catwoman rocked then and what she knew of her surroundings was shifted to a force she did not suspect. Before her, beside her, behind her, and beneath her… Everything blew and all she could feel was the heat that erupted and engulfed her in a cloud of fire and smoke while the concussive force thrusts her forward and then to the side, pitching her into surfaces that did not belong… That were only there for the same reason as her…

Her world just exploded.

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