No Teeth

January 21, 2016:

Bruce Wayne, James Gordon and Barbara Gordon have some face time.

Rose Cafe, Old Gotham

Characters

NPCs: James Gordon

Mentions: Batgirl, David Cain, Fox, Ra's al Ghul, Talia al Ghul

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Rose Cafe, Old Gotham

"Read this headline… Law in Gotham No Longer Has Teeth." James Gordon swats the open news paper in front of him causing it to ruffle noisily. "Is that a knock on my age… "

"I doubt that, Mr.Gordon." Bruce Wayne seated across from the man says pleasantly. His hair a bit loose and wild, dress shirt open at the collar. Extra wrinkles here and there. A trained eye can recognize a man without a butler and Barbara Gordon knows exactly why that is.

"I know, Bruce and how many times do I have to tell you to call me Jim?" A sigh escapes the Commissioner as he reads on mumbling outloud, "When law isn't feared it becomes nothing more than a polite suggestion? They're saying this about the GCPD. I just… after everything we've been through, everything last year with that crackpot Hugo Strange and his SRD thugs… "

"They just need reminded. You're still getting back in to the swing and many of these new reporters are fresh faced kids taking stabs out there to make a name for themselves. You know this. You know better than letting them get to you."

"Sorry, Bruce. It's been a rough week… I see they have the accident reports about Alfred and turnpike 63 in here. He doing okay? I mean, lucky you that tractor was stationary… "

"Yeah. Alfred's doing alright. Better than I can say for his driving."
"I'm not going to laugh at that. I mean, I kind of want to but this was serious and I'm concerned about you. You don't look well, Bruce."

Babs does know why and it's one of the reasons she's looking at her current accommodations. Sitting quietly, between the two men at the table, the wheelchair bound redhead sips from a mug of tea and taps at her tablet.

Such a dichotomy - her father with his newspaper and her with her news feeds.

"Mr Wayne is correct, Dad." she murmurs "Headlines sell papers and the more controversial, the better. Just do what you…" As her father mentions Alfred's accident and Bruce responds, she lets out a sigh of relief "I'm so glad to hear that, Mr Wayne."

As far as the public know, Bruce and Babs know each in passing - the connection being her father.

A sound of annoyance and Gordon pushes the paper away from him and proceeds to click his spoon around in his coffee cup. Babs knows the brief conversations with her father lately he's not in as bad a spot as he pretends. He is back to doing what he loves - cleaning up Gotham and helping it's people go to bed at night feeling safe and secure.
"Babs, hows work been?" Gordon Sr. inquires offhandedly in an attempt to steer the conversation towards something more pleasant.

Bruce leans back in his seat and motions the waitress over, "I'll have another, please."

"Just black again?"

"Of course, thank you." A practiced smile from Gotham's most eligible sends the woman blushing and back behind the counter.
"She is old enough to be… " Gordon stares at his daughter then looks at Bruce. "Your daughter."

"Oh I know. I just like to make people smile, Jim."

"I've seen the way you tip. She'll be happy even if you told her that her mother wore combat boots."

"You know, I never quite got that joke."

Jim chuckles now and looks back at Babs, a hand reaching over to pat her hand.

Turning her hand to lightly squeeze her fathers, Babs chuckles at his chagrin. "It means, Mr Wayne, that you could say nearly anything and she'd still be happy because of the tips that you give."

At Jims question, the redhead lets out a sigh "It's been busy. Lots of people wanting their computer systems protected … lots of new attack vectors to consider." She expects her father to start glazing over as she talks tech, but really, she's fighting in a similar way to him.

"I'm thinking about moving out of the Clocktower, though." That's going to raise a few questions she's sure.

"Oh no, I get that. I meant the combat boots thing… I seriously just… " A cheeky smile is gifted to the father and daughter before Bruce just shrugs helplessly.

"Moving out of the Clocktower? But you love it there and one of the first reasons you moved in was because it kept you close to my work. I'm working again." Gordon asserts.

"Oh, you're the one who rented that out. I always wondered. I thought maybe it was some artist shut in. It's a beautiful location all things considered. I think I own it… I think… " Bruce feigns confusion and turns his wrist over thumbing through the touch screen on his watch-phone-mini-computer.

"Where do you plan on living then? I got two spare rooms if you want to come home." Jim almost sounds excited. Almost but he is restraining himself and trying to appear his normal gruff and stoic.

"I do love it there, but it's time to move on." She'll avoid the reasons for now. "I don't know yet, Dad. There's a few locations I'm considering." One really, but that's a discussion for later. "There's an old gymnasium complex that seems ideal. It will take a little renovating but I've ideas there."

"You do, Mr Wayne. Well Wayne Industries does. That's the name on the lease, I signed." Babs explains. "And no artist. Just a not quite starving IT Security Specialist who prefers her privacy more than most." she adds with a smile.

Seeing his excitement about her potential return home, Babs simply shakes her head "I'm a woman grown, Dad. I need my space, just as much as you need yours." Seems they've had this discussion before.

Time to divert the discussion "So apart from reporters that are wet behind the ear, how are you enjoying the job? I saw there was a breakout from Arkham the other day…"

"It's good to be back in the mix again. I have to admit I missed it… this city needs me right now and I've come to grips with that." Gordon replies to Barbara, "You moving though… I know a few places close by to the place I got. Yeah, there was… on top of the cop killers, Arkham breakouts and just typical weird crap going on we're in over our ears." As he says this he is pushing his chair out and slurping down what remains of his coffee. Leaning over he gives Babs a kiss on the forehead and a wave is offered Bruce, "I need to get back out there. Bruce, good seeing you and thanks again for the donation to the MCU. Gonna need it. Babs, we're going to talk about this move more, okay?" Drawing his long duster like coat on he strides for the door leaving behind a twenty to pay for himself and of course his daughter. Not that she needs it.

Bruce smiles, "Always eager to help, Commissioner." A head shake as the man leaves behind cash, "Every time. He is never going to let me pay for a meal is he?"
A recline back in his seat and Wayne glances around then taps a small button the side of his wristwatch, a frequency emits that scrambles outside feeds to an eight foot radius around him. "We're safe to talk." Tone and aura changes. Smile and lazy billionaire look remains.

"Be careful, Dad." Babs responds and kisses the mans cheek before he leave. "And I'm sure we will…" the smile touches her eyes "… talk more about my move." She watches as he leaves before turning back to her mug of tea. "No he won't, Mr Wayne. Just like he'll never let me pay."

When Bruce signals the all clear, she looks at the bachelor "How is Alfred, really?" For anyone watching them, nothings changed in their demeanor… still the playboy millionaire speaking the commissioners daughter. "I'm concerned, Bruce. We've heard nothing from Cain and I suspect that my ward is going to go find him."

"He's stable for now. Leslie is doing what she can." A fingertip rubs along a stubble laden jaw in a moment of thought, Bruce's gaze focuses and he speaks, "She has every right to. Cain isn't our real threat as we're well aware. If anyone can take him down with the lease amount of violence and collateral damage it's her."
"I have something I want to run by you, it is a risky proposition but we're going to need you at a 100%. I have contact with an expert, the same person who is working on my spinal implants, they've developed a nano-chip that can stimulate growth, repair tissues and even minor nerve damage. Minor. It will require you undergo surgery but the odds of your recovery being improved are exponential. There has been great results already in other patients. Think it over. I'm willing to do this for Batgirl… you, as Batgirl. Not Barbara… " His voice lowers as the waitress approaches and sets his drink down, "Thank you, Maria." The woman returns a smile and leaves the table quickly.
"This isn't me saying I want you to replace Cassandra. That isn't it at all, she is too effective, too important. I just mean Babs will have to remain in all appearances wheelchair bound but Oracle… At least for a time. Time enough for any suspicion that may arise to be written off." Bruce talks like he wouldn't have helped her anyways. He would and has offered in the past. The past hasn't been as promising as now though.
"I need everyone. I had an infiltrator in Nanda Parbat and I pressed on them after Cain's arrival, I was right in my hunches. Ra's al Ghul is coming for us again." Bruce doesn't have to explain that Ra's is still alive. This is about the third or fourth time Ra's has seemingly died only to come back. Bruce never once believed he was gone anyways or at least never let on to believing as much. Even over a year ago when Talia insisted.
"Cain is acting out against the League and by his own twisted methods assisting us in preparation."

"Give him my best when you see him." Babs would visit but it's too risky right now. "I know Cass does, Bruce. But I can still worry." It's what sets the two of them apart really.

As he talks, she listens, eyebrows rising, face becoming unreadable. When the waitress arrives, she uses the interruption to get her thoughts in order "May I have another mug of tea, please Maria?" getting the order in before the woman leaves.

It takes many long moments, her considering Bruce, before she even starts to respond to the offer "I've been asked, many times, in the past year why I haven't done anything about it. Particularly with the advances in technology and … magic." which says something about the type of people she speaks with. "… I had come to terms with it. I never really thought on it, anymore. It's just what it was and I adapted." But Cain had changed all that, shown her how much of a liability she was to her family … and she couldn't live with that anymore.

"I know you need everyone. I need everyone. You know my work extends well past the Bats." speaking quietly, dropping her eyes to hands for the moment "Tell me more about the surgery. The odds and how many other patients there have been." As to Batgirl "I'll not return as Batgirl, Bruce. That mantle was passed to one far more deserving." Cass had worn the name well for all these years, she deserved it. "If I return to field, it will be in another guise entirely." She saws nothing about the ruse that he wants her to play, that's a given … at least for a while.

At the news of Ra's she lets out a sigh. "That all starts to make sense then … but I still want Cain taken out of play."

"It's largely based off nanites. I can give you a dossier on the research it's been helpful, without it I likely wouldn't be moving right now. I only have a couple years left at this rate." His back, his spine, ever since Bane broke it Batman has never been quite the same. He's had to add armor to compensate for a loss of mobility. Part of that is also age. He began doing this while in his early twenties and he is now pushing well past that. Professional athletes hardly last as long as he has in the game; genetics, advanced technology, stimulants, it helps.
"The other alternative is earning favor with the Amazons of Themyscira, I have had conversations with Diana about their miracle technology in medicine. She doesn't say whether it is magic or not but if it is I wouldn't suggest that route. Magic is the easy road and it can't be trusted. You know this."

"All of our work extends beyond the Bats, Oracle." Bruce corrects, "And Cass isn't more deserving than you are. She is simply a different kind of predator than you were as Batgirl."
"Ra's hasn't been sighted but their actions are his. I don't believe this has anything to do with Talia possibly not even her sister. This is Ra's himself." Three topics at once. This is a typical routine for Babs and Bruce. It only gets worse if there is a Tim involved .

Three topics at once isn't unusual, at all. "Not Magic, no." Babs murmurs. She'd had offers from others to try. They could do it, she's no doubt of that but it did just seem too easy. "There's also cybernetics, Bruce." she points out. Having met several individuals who have used them, it was something she had already been considering. "Though I admit that nanites sound better."

At his admission that he's been using the technology, her green eyes fix on him, considering quietly. "I'd like the dossier, please." that was a given, research is one of her strengths "How long have you been using it?" No comment on how long he has left. They all do what they feel they must.

Chastened by his correction, the redhead nods slowly "You're correct, our work extends beyond the Bats." As to Cass? "Perhaps, but I feel she is far more effective. I will consider the name, Bruce … but that's not important, just yet." She's agreed she'll return to field, if they go they go down this route. "I must still move. /If/ I decide to do this, I'm still vulnerable where I am. Cass and Kane think I should go mobile, so that I can get away when needed." Clearly, they all think she'll be targeted again.

"Talia has been quiet. I've not seen her active for a while." Babs agrees again "What does your intel on Ra's suggest he's trying to do? You've clearly seen something occurring."

"What I have right now is more cybernetic than nanites. I just recently started the third phase which is the nanites, the cybernetics was fine up until a year ago. It's been three now with no improvement but I'm also not exactly looking to heal myself only hold together what is already broken for as long as feasible." An exhale and Bruce takes a drink.
"I'll upload it to you tonight so you can see for yourself and how it compares to what I have implanted. Yours is largely nerve damage and what little I let them look at it is believed it won't require extensive cybernetic modification. Just the nanites and a lot of discipline on your end. You won't be the same as you used to be, it has been a long time since… " He lightens up considering the subject and lets it drop there for now.

"If you believe the Clocktower is compromised then do so. Move on. I can assist you with reestablishing a base of operations or you can take up one of the auxilliary locations. That isn't a large concern… as long as it remains hidden."

"Mobilizing a small army." Bruce says grimly. "This isn't on top of their sleeper cells already instituted inside of Gotham. Ra's is going for blood this time. Our blood. Cain's ruse will only hold up so long so we need to act fast, Batgirl needs to get Cain to talk to us more about what he knows and we need to try and hit them before they hit us." A sliding sound and his chair pushes back, "It's late." By late he means after twelve noon. These are hours he is normally asleep when on schedule.
"We'll be in touch more tonight. I'll contact you when I start my patrol sweep."

"It was only a matter of time before Ra's took that type of action." Cains actions now start to make a little more sense, but still… she won't let it go that he put a gun to her head. "I'll speak to Cass, see how far she has got in locating him. She had some preparation to do for that."

"I know how long it has been since I was that active." the redhead doesn't shy from the topic. "I want to look at this, Bruce. If you feel the odds are worth it and I do too… " yeah, she'll do it. At his offer of assistance, she nods slowly "Away from the auxiliary locations, I think is best. But I've a location in mind already."

Not making a move, she'll wait till Bruce has gone before she continues on her on her own way. "Till tonight then."

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