The Ankle Breakers Are A Nice Touch

March 27, 2016:

During a rehab session, Batman drops in.

Hamilton's Gym - Gotham


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

"I'm telling you, Kane, I am trying." Babs is in the 'gym' portion of the building she nows calls home and judging by the slightly acerbic tone she's just employed, that's not the first time she's said that today.

Sitting in her chair, glaring balefully at her legs and at the man trying to help her. "And yes… I know it's been days since I got sensation back."

"Try harder?" Kane says. For once the roles are reversed, Babs going through her rounds of physical therapy and Kane looking over a tablet. He's not wearing his costume at the moment. He doesn't need it here and it's hours yet before he heads off for his 'night job'. "So this report you put together is looking pretty bleak. Someone, likely our 'Medusa' group hidden in the shadows, is pouring an immense amount of money into Steel City's underworld and the crime has absolutely spiked. The only place in the entire country that's more dangerous at the moment is probably the Narrows…"

The Fox is leaning on a table, watching Babs and the tablet at the same time.

As Batman arrives in the gym portion where Babs and Kane are located it's almost as though the shadows envelope more of the room, a darkening of it and he is just there. A neat trick; smoke and mirrrors with a possible small application of mystical martial arts.

The alarms should have gone off, will go off but no doubt Babs can manual override them. "The ankle breaker was a nice touch." Armor saved him. "Good evening." A simple offering, a quiet and tired one before he glances around once to make sure it's only them, though he watched Hamiltons before entering and then he slowly peels back the cowl to rest it around his shoulders.

"Steel City's crime isn't known to be exactly monitored. Even it's defenders tend towards corrupt. You'll have a hard time tracking anything there without being hands on."

Kanes … encouragement gets a flat look from the green eyed redhead. "Sure, why don't I do that." It's unusual for her to be this snippy. Fortunately, he gives her a distraction and she nods slowly "That's what it's looking like, at any rate. I've made the connection to most of those businesses and your 'Circe' although there's one or two new players there too."

The alarms do off, just as Batman greets them and he becomes the recipient of a tired, frustrated look. Disabling them and resetting the system, Babs sighs "I'd have said you could have come in normally, but I suppose you wanted to test the systems. Glad you like you like the ankle breakers." she nods in Kanes direction "His idea, with a few mods to allow for the chair."

"The Fox has to take a road trip to Steel City. We've done about as much as we can remotely."

Batman's arrival without any warning has the druid tensing but only until he hears the voice. So he's a little paranoid. Comes with the territory.

"Ninja houses. They're fun. Not that I've ever been to one. Just read." The advice about Steel City's criminal element gets a wry look of agreement and a nod. He's running into that very experience. "Yeah, I'm off tonight to go look into it. Someone's putting a lot of effort into it and it's just not adding up."

The druid sighs and shakes his head. "Nice to see you though." How many people say that and mean it, too. Alfred doesn't count. "What brings you by?"

Bruce is bulkier in this armor type. If it was his traditional gear he would have fallen through the floorboards and who knows what they have down there. His last time encountering ankle breakers or shifting floorboards was dealing with Tongs in Kingston.
Bruce looks Babs over studying her legs, "Allow for the chair? Doctor Ohler told me your body took to the treatments well. You shouldn't be working to accommodate the chair, Barbara. Not anymore."
"What interest would anyone having filtering money in to Steel City? There is little to be had from that. The violence there will only grow, the bloodshed involved will be.. it'll be like Gotham 10 years ago and the people of Steel City have no symbols to give them hope of any kind."
Easing himself to sit Bruce's weight is considerable on the small stool.
"What brings me by?" Good question. Bruce really doesn't have an answer maybe just human connection. Alfred is still in a coma and the others, well…

"Given I moved in here before that treatment… " Babs fixes Bruce with a look. "… and I still have to maintain the pretence for Barbara, right?" He's correct and if she'd had the surgery sooner, the layout would be a little different. But no one knew if she would do it and, if she did, if it would have an effect.

"Tea, then." She's picked up the nuance in Bruces last statement. She's been there herself a number of times, particularly when the Bats have been busy. Kanes company over the last few weeks has certainly been welcome. It won't take her long to prepare the tea, either.

"That's what we're trying to find out." the redhead answers the question about Steel City. "But you've hit the nail on the head. Whatever is going on, they, we think Medusa, want to sow and increase discord in the city." Kane can explain more about that.

"Did you see my report that I spotted an old man that matches our records as R'as al Ghul getting on a plane in Hamad International Airport?"

The druid relaxes a bit and rolls his shoulder, nodding to Bruce. He kicks out a chair for the man to take a seat if he wants it. He never actually seen 'Batman' in a social situation. Well… he has, actually, there was that time when they were having holiday dinner in the Batcave and it got bombed. That wasn't the 'Bruce Wayne' act. That was the man behind the mask.

So yeah he might want to sit.

"Financially it doesn't make sense. There's been way more money pumped into the place than they could concievably hope to get back out of it. Rival organizations too. It's like they're encouraging violence, crime and gang wars." Which they may well be. "We keep running into references to Sodom and Gommorah to. And not just sanctimonious ones. Here… have a look."

Kane hands over the tablet, flipping it to another window as he does. This is a text that appears to have been scanned from an older source. A grimoire in .pdf form that they recovered from the lair of an old enemy of Kane's. The text tells an interesting tale, how when King Kedorlaomer was defeated by Abraham after his victory in the Vale of Siddim and the Five Cities of the plains broke free of his dominion his advisors came to him and suggested a way to make a public spectacle of the leaders of the rebellion, Sodom and Gommorah. It tells of how he contacted the wise women of the far West, from the land where the bull riders dwelt, to come to the city and entreat Eris to make her presence known, and of how they pronounced a Curse of Blood upon the lands so that the blood of the oppressed cried out to the heavens and the wrath of the heavens fell down upon them, making them desolate to this day.

Needless to say, this isn't your Sunday School version of this tale.

Kane is quiet, waiting for Bruce to read and digest all that.

"You… you're right. The surgery was after." Bruce's finger and thumb rise up to pinch his nose, he's been dealt a serious blow with Pennyworth's situation. Stubborn as her father though, it's likely psychological on why she isn't walking but Bruce isn't about to breach that, in her time she will start taking steps and soon according to Doctor Ohler, she will be herself or close to herself again. Stubborn Gordons.
"Tea sounds great, thank you and I seen. It's… an issue we're going to address, one I need to investigate further. I know where to start it's just once again, timing."

The tablet is taken and thumbed through quietly, "Are they recreating something or is there a connection to Steel City? Nodes or a relic? I get you're following the money but they're just dumping it on the scum who feed off of one another. If sowing discord and bloodshed is the agenda… what would gain from that?" Bruce is studying it, his mind hunting patterns and connecting what he knows of history, the geography of Steel City, it's criminal element, possible pop culture reference that is vaguely aware of that could illicit any kind of superstitious or mythical draw.

It likely won't be long before she is walking, but there's years of conditioning to overcome and yeah, the redhead is stubborn.

"Alright then. I'll keep my eyes open for anymore signs of him or the League." That's likely a futile effort, but you never know really … what connecting the dots might find you.

"We think the discord and bloodshed is to power a … " Babs shakes her head "…ritual of some sort. We've been discussing it for a bit now. That grimoire seems to detail it."

Returning with tea for the three of them, the balancing act is well practiced, the redhead shakes her again "What we can't determine is /what/ they'll get out of it."

"That I can't say. Something related to this Grimoire though since the organization in question went to a lot of trouble to get it from the witch that had it. Lot of expense too." 'Circe' was paid hansomely for it and does now seem to be in bed with them.

"Wrath of the Heavens' doesn't sound good. Could be allegory though. That's one of the things I'm going to Steel City to find out. The witch whose book that is has a number of cleaning buinsesses. She recently expanded in Steel City. So, I'm going to check those offices out."

If there is a pattern to be apprehended, Bruce can find it. Steel City itself can probably be discarded. City mired in low-to-low middle class struggles. Rumored to have some mystical connections but not more than Gotham. In some ways it's like Gotham Junior. The crime problem isn't as bad - or wasn't until recently - but the city police and city hall are as corrupt if not worse and the good cops have a lot less resources to work with.

The 'Blood of the Oppressed' though. There's an interesting pattern. Bruce may not be a mage but he knows enough pop culture to know that blood is a traditionally very potent magical component and the blood of the innocent is the most prized of all. Thank you years of bad vampire fiction. Hell there's probably been some speculation about that vis a vis Batman himself. And now that he has a monsterous copyright infringer…

In any case, if it is a working, if there were a way to store up the power of all that blood…

"I'll take help if I can. Cass agreed to help me out, just a question of timing. I know you guys don't usually deal with this stuff but it's starting to cross over in weird ways. Monsters like the kind that make up this 'Medusa' group don't usually have a reason to finance regular crime." It's kind of freaking him out.

"Batgirl is a good choice and it will keep her away from Cain. He's here still hiding out. He'll probably remain that way until she seeks him out." Bruce says pausing in his reading of the tablet to hand it over to Kane again while looking at Barbara, "Within the next couple days I'll need your help with Ra's, I also need if Damian asks or inquires for you to misdirect him, I doubt he will and it won't be throughout this ordeal just long enough for me to grasp it first."
The tea is accepted and a half-smile is there and gone, "Wrath of Heaven, Wrath of God perhaps… " Sorting through memory, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord… hrmpfh, this group though Hellenistic more so than Christians unless it ties to some sort of mockery or use of symbolism. Predomina… "
Bruce trails off then just shakes his head releasing a weary sigh. "Monsters and men, not much difference is there. Look in a mirror and they're just looking at themselves. I'll inform Nightwing Cassandra will be out of town with you, he can cover her routes and Damian can take over Dicks."

"Of course." Babs agrees readily to Bruces request for help. "And I'll misdirect Damian as required." All in a days work, really.

There's one more thing though and she takes the tablet from Kane, tapping at the screen to bring up the scan of the scrap of paper that looks to be torn from a book or a full page. "Kane found this in the fingers of dead man, I found the reference, interesting"

On the page, that has been cleaned up through Babs systems are the words "The only thing you need co- —rself with is th- -e -h- -s ALL."

"I'm not sure if it refers to our current Medusa problems or … if it's something else." Her green eyes fall on Bruce. He should know that over time she might have worked that out.

"It's like playing infernal hangman." Kane mutters about that particular scrap of paper. Unlike the other two in the room there is absolutely no chance that he has figured out what it says nor even if he had would he have any inkling as to it's meaning. "A dead man that the Bat had exanguinated. Oh, slight side note. I got a report that he had Hook Hand Man had been sighted outside Gotham. No points for guessing where."

Bruce's train of thought gets Kane thinking. "Vengeance is mine…" Hrm… "A lot of magic is about reciprocity. It's kind of like physics. Do X and get Y reaction. You have to add power to the system in the right way but some people I know really do view it like that." He drums his fingers. "It's in there. That's the right track, I know." What's suitable revenge for a city that has oppressed and killed it's citizens?

Bruce would know, at least, what R'as al'Ghul thinks it is. The answer might make Kane shudder.

Bruce's brows knit, "What dead man?" One Who is All Batgirl again; the perfect weapon. A child that turns action and motion in to music and she herself is a Mozart. A composer of absolute beautiful destruction and death in the wrong hands or the wrong guidance. Of course Batman is just a little protective and guarded there, but then, when isn't he.
"Hrm." A grunt from Bruce, "Keep a close eye on Cassandra, Kane. Both of you need to. This is in reference to her."
The Dark Knight doesn't explain further instead standing up to pull the cowl back on, "Vengence on an entire people? Where has that led at any point in the past but one… genocide. A city this time? The judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah. Maybe two cities. Kane, you need to stop this, you need to be in Steel City. I need to track down Ra's. It is doubtful that he is involved with MEDUSA but, I've been surprised in the past."

"I need to go, we'll be in contact soon." Batman stops before leaving up through one of the entryways shes hidden, "These people, if this is even true a little are relying on you Fox. Babs, make sure he has full access to my arsenal for this… should it be required." A single rustling sound and he's gone.

Babs glances to Kane at Bruces question. "I did some digging in the Gotham Morgue database. You would think finding details on an exsanguanated corpse would be easy but with The Bat around, there's a few." she shakes her head. "This man was Wallace Tinker and there's nothing special at the first look. I'm digging deeper to see whether there's anything more." Now that Bruce has confirmed the connection to Cass, it gives her a direction in which to guide her search.

"I will, Bruce." the redhead uses his name, not the figure, as he departs.

Blowing out a breath and looking to Kane "You need to get on the road and soon."

Babs is giving the details. The only thing that Kane could add is the man was a drug dealer but that's hardly relevant. "I'm on it." He sounds tired. Bruce may well relate.

"I'll be-" He's gone. "-in touch." The Fox turns to Babs. "How does he do that?"

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