Coffee Interrupted

April 25, 2016:

A gang shootout gets a civilian killed, and Claire pissed at a certain gang later. Later that night, Miss Moreau visits the Night Nurse. Claire now has a super dog.

New York City


NPCs: Mafioso and Hannah's goons



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Two days ago, Miss Moreau and her White Roses was hired by a local mafia boss to kill a member of a rival organization. One day ago, task done and the evidence consumed by one of Moreau's pets, the group of thieves and killers saw little need to go home just yet. So, they scattered to relax.

Today, Miss Moreau is enjoying the lovely weather, sitting at an outdoor Starkbucks. The long haired, becoated woman gets a few looks. Mostly for the odd style choices and hard Gotham accent mixed with aching politeness.

There's far stranger beings that call New York their home, and so, she's yet to be harassed. Legs crossed, cane leaned against her chair, it's looking to be a relaxing time as she sips her coffee.

Too bad that mafia boss doesn't want to pony up the cash to pay the rather expensive service of the Roses. A black sedan pulls up, five men with assault rifles unload on the somewhat populated cafe. Two baristas, a grandmother, and a homeless man go down. Moreau ducked behind a convenient dumpster in an alleyway. Her right arm stings, thanks to the bullet now embedded in it, and another shot to the side. Damnit. She taps her earpiece.

"Backup, now!" It'll take a while for her own henchmen to get here. For the moment, she's waiting until they run out of ammo that's now plinking off of the dumpster she's taken refuge behind.

Even nurses need coffee. In fact, nurses might need coffee worse than most of the rest of the world. Claire is inside, in her scrubs, so she must be going to or coming from work. Still being in the process of waiting for her drink to be made, and so behind a tall counter, saves her from being in the initial hail of bullets, but she's very quickly forgetting her latte as her dark eyes shoot wide, staring at the wash of chaos and violence suddenly around her. She hits the deck, not running like most of the cafe` now, and her cellphone is out immediately.

9-1-1-. "Hullo, my name is Claire Temple, I'm a nurse at Metro General. We have an active shooter situation at the Starbucks at 128th and 8th. We need at least three ambulances too. At least 4 people down. I'm going to help now, I'll leave the cellphone on." And, sure enough, she drops her cellphone on the floor, running, as she crawls towards the grandmother. Age wise, this is the first person she needs to triage. She doesn't care that it gets her closer to the shattered glass and the threat from the street, "Ma'am, do you know your name? Can you speak to me?" She asks quickly as she starts doing a fast examination of how bad the wound is.

Bullets, thankfully, are winging by Claire and the victims far less. The mafioso are heavily distracted by trying to kill their real target. Claire /does/ almost get a metal haircut as one goes zipping by /far/ too close.

Already, the cops and ambulances are preparing a response. It'll take a good ten minutes to get there though!

Grandma isn't looking good. There's blood out the mouth, and her chest is soaked in blood. Her breathing is sucking. That inspection? Even worse. Bullets across both lungs.

But this is a tough old woman, and she fights through the pain. A bloody hand points to one of the Baristas. "Help…grand…daughter…" Her hand shakes, and her eyes start to close as shock sets in.

The mafioso call out. "Your services aren't needed anymore Moreau! So lay down and die!"

Moreau already has her book. "I am afraid, gentlemen, that I have no desire to die today. And really? Did you /have/ to go and mow down all of those lovely people? So messy! And you call yourselves mafia! For shame!" Chides the woman. Notably, Claire might remember that voice.

All of this banter has a purpose. With a chill of power, something skitters under the car that three of the mafia men are firing from. A second later, it blows sky high, two men caught aflame, and then the car lands on a third. A big white truck pulls up, and a black-suited, white-rose wearing thug lifts a shotgun. BLAM! One less mafia man. The last one starts to make tracks down the opposite alleyway.

As Claire realizes just how bad the woman is beneath her, her dark eyes go just a bit wider. These are the worst moments of triage, when the right call is 'Move on, can't be saved, help others with a better chance.' It's not a call she has to often make, but she stares down into the woman's features, trying to keep pressure on those wounds which are just bleeding internally too damn quickly. She swallows tight and looks up to another by stander who *isn't* running or in shock, probably someone with some emergency training to have the same calm look Claire does. "I want you to keep pressure here, and keep her on her side so she doesn't choke on her own blood. And… pray." SHe instructs firmly, before reaching back to the little girl, "Honey, you need to come and play hide and seek with me so the bad man don't hurt you, okay? Come on, behind the bar." And she quickly ushers the little girl into the smallest, darkest corner she can find. "Stay there and hide *real* good. Promise." A finger to her lips to indicate being quiet, and then Claire is moving again. She half winces at the bullet, but it doesn't stop her.

Now she's on the ground with both barristas, giving them an initial, triaging look with wide eyes and already bloodied hands. In SOME effort to practice clean procedures, she does reach to whatever hand sanitizer they have behind the bar and slathers her hands with it, wiping the old woman's blood off onto a towel as she's looking them over to assess where their wounds are.

The man Claire's found seems tense, but relatively calm. He'd dropped down immediately. Judging from the shirt, and the grey in the hair, former Marine Corp. A no-nonsense nod to the medic, and he crawls over, keeping pressure on the wound. He puts his jacket to it, too.

The little girl shuts her eyes, full of tears, and puts her hand over her mouth. She's sobbing, terrified, but doing what she's told. Brave little girl.

Thankfully, the Baristas are in better shape. The man of the pair was hit in shoulder. Clean through-and-through. He /is/ terrified out of his mind though. The woman has taken a shot to the chest. Her ribs have done what they're there to do, the bullet lodged in there, but nothing to cause instant death.

That explosion doesn't help matters. Glass shards threaten to rain down on the Barista that Claire's gotten to. The medic might even feel several embed themselves in her back.

Two more cars pull up, and more of Hannah's goons step out. They pour fire down an alleyway, and that last mafioso falls. Unlike them, these guys don't turn their guns to the civilians. Moreau is helped over by one of them.

"You okay Boss?"

"Just a bullet or two and a graze, Shoot. They were lucky." A pause. She can smell the blood, that primal sense of death. Senseless death, at that. She might be a criminal, but she's not heartless.

A sigh. "Muscle, Breaker, watch the police scanners for the cops. Snipe, if any more of our friends arrive, kill them. We leave when the police are a minute out."

The voice of Claire and the sounds of people being helped don't miss her superhuman hearing.

"Everyone else, help clean up this mess."

A few seconds later, Moreau is inside the shot-up coffee shop. Her goons are already spreading out. It looks like Claire has three helpers at least.

"Are you a doctor, Miss? We do not have much time, but you have our help for now." A small nod.

It's the answer Claire's become accustomed to giving when people ask if she's a doctor, "Something like that." Her full lips smirk, staring skeptically over those who have come to help. She knows a goon when she sees one, she's seen enough in her life. But people take priority over goons and, despite her hesitance, she nods towards the woman, "Help her keep pressure over the bleeding, when the paramedic gets here, tell him she's got a bullet lodged between her fifth and sixth rib on the right side, alright? It doesn't seem to have hit her lung." Then, to the woman, "You're going to be fine, miss. Just keep breathing slow and deep. Help is on it's way."

Another of the goons is instructed where to help get pressure over the male Barrista's wounds. Claire just has this sense of calm about her, even with that glass in her back, streaking blood down her scrubs there. She just ignores it, adrenaline helping the necessary numbness so she can help other people. She finally moves for the homeless man, he not forgotten either. No judgement in her eyes as she reassures him just the same and looks him over for treatment. However, her dark eyes do flicker up, catching sight of that Moreau, a slightly tighter line to her lips. She says nothing, but she has remarked the woman firmly in her head.

Nate Grey comes into Brooklyn from Queens.

Nate Grey heads out to South Brooklyn.

Miss Moreau smiles as warmly as if she were talking to her best friend over for a cup of tea.

"As you wish."

And so, they all go to work in that same well-oiled manner Moreau expects. Moreau presses down with one hand, book in the other. Something slithers out from her jacket, coils tightly. It's a snake, and it's doing a good job of keeping that wound closed.

Goon number one gives a grunt, and adds plenty of pressure. He's a big guy, and might just have a bit of medical training himself, as he seems to know just where to apply it.

"Tough up, kid! Yer gonna live 'cause the Boss says ya will." He's even giving encouragement.

It doesn't take long for the ambulances to arrive. Moreau and her goons rather pointedly make sure that the civilians get put in first before the mafioso are bagged up. At gunpoint. Then, after nabbing some towels from the store so they can get cleaned up, the woman and her men are already planning. But just before they get off of the scene, Moreau stops, and smiles to Claire.

"Good luck, Doctor. People like you are more a 'hero' than anyone wearing a mask." Then, they're gone.

Grandma unfortunately doesn't make it. She lives three hours on pure stubborn will. The others, homeless and Barista alike, live thanks to Claire's timely work, and a little help from the Gothamites. But should she return to work? The ER becomes swamped as the day wears on into night. Mafioso arrive, most dying, or with severe wounds. The treacherous local mafia man's operation is shut down through bloody vengeance. Miss Moreau hates betrayers, and hates the unprofessional in her line of work.

The worst patient is by far the boss that started this chaos. He comes in to the hospital alive. Someone, or perhaps some/thing/, had skillfully removed the skin and many muscles from his body. The entire time until someone sedates the poor man he's begging forgiveness and for death.

~Later that Night~

It's one A.M., and the chaos has seemingly ended. A car pulls up just outside the Night Nurse's current place of off the books work. A silver cane taps over to the door, and raps against it. She was busy, and still has that bullet in her arm. Plus, the goon she's currently supporting looks like he's got some lead in him too.

"Good evening! Apologies for calling upon you so late…mmm, early I suppose. May I borrow a bit of your time?" She calls out. Her voice is exhausted, and for all that she tries to give that warm effect in her voice, there's worry she can't quite get rid of now.

20 minutes. Claire had been asleep TWENTY MINUTES. And then there's that tapping, and she's no longer sleeping because she's always on abrupt alert for some hero to collapse in her apartment half dying. Still, this time, it's no hero. IN her booty shorts and an oversized sweat shirt that she swears as pajamas, the woman goes to the dront door and pulls it open. Her eyes widen as she sees the mob boss who was holding up paramedics to get people help. For a panicked heartbeat or two, Claire is looking for a gun to be held on herself.

"…Ah.. I… this…it's not really…legal to treat peple in my home, you know?" She protests, even if there are tell tale stains of blood on her couch and that big trauma bag beneath her coffee table. She just looks a bit overwhelmed and scared that a mafioso is at her door. But then she hears the woman's tone and sighs… "…Don't you have mob doctor's for this?" She grumbles as she nods the pair to the couch, shutting and triple locking the door behind them.

The woman manages a half-hearted chuckle. At least she and her goon aren't eyeing up the poor nurse in those shorts. Moreau's too polite even if she could, and the goon is more concerned about the holes in him.

"Please, do not play coy. You have a reputation, and people like me tend to hear about others with reputations. Miss Night Nurse." Smile.

"Though I did not expect to see you again. I must seem like a black cat that has forced its way into your home."

Her face falls a bit. "Normally, yes. But let us just say after that little…disagreement, my local contacts are either dead, or swiftly distancing themselves from me. Thus, I turn to you. You did wonderfully earlier today. See to my man, and you will be rewarded." No, despite the obvious wound she has, her first thought is the one beside her.

She's already helping the big goon over to a couch.

"But I /am/ being rude. Miss Moreau. But you may call me Hannah."

There is still skepticism in Claire's dusty skinned features. "…If you know my reputation, you know that I told both the Irish and the Russians to take their men elsewhere. I don't treat gangs…" But it's hard to say she doesn't treat criminals, because all those vigilantes are criminals. And killers, well… Super heroes killed. So, drawing lines in the sand was really rather hard, and the wind was constantly blowing them away. Claire sighs and turns back to them, "Put him on the-… yes. There." Since Moreau was already doing that, it seems Claire is doing this.

She steps back to them both, "…I hate that name. Night Nurse. I don't know how I got it." She mutters, those words earnest at least, "I'm Claire, Hannah. And you got a lot of people killed today." There is clear vitroil in her voice, anger and exhaustion, as she pulls out her trauma bag, wipes down her hands with antiseptic, and then pulls on some gloves before starting to open the goon's jacket and get to his wound.

"While I respect a woman with convictions, I must insist. Just him. That is all I ask." Comes Moreau, quiet, but firm. This /is/ a woman who held up the poor ER's just to get her way.

"A bit ridiculous, agreed. It is not even 'night'. Miss A.M.? Crack of Dawn Nurse?" She is, in fact, terrible at coming up with names.

The goon's chest, arm, and shoulder are nice and shot up. Nothing fatal judging by how he's awake and walking, but infection and blood loss are a danger. Plus plenty of bullets to pull out.

Anger is met with a small nod, and a melancholy smile. "That is our fate. We wolves in this world hunger, fight, and tear at each other over the smallest of scraps, to the largest. But a pack of wolves cannot allow insult or death or betrayal to themselves, or they fall apart to be consumed in turn. There is little to be mourned in us, by someone like you."

A pause. "…Did the ones at the coffee shop survive?" There's a twinge of guilt in her question.

"…That coffee shop isn't going to be open for months, lady. They'll be lucky if they ever get business again. You destroy a lot more than lives when you have open gang war fare in the middle of the god damn street." Claire mutters, some genuine anger and protectiveness crossing her husky tone. It gets a bit more Puerto Rican when she's angry, some of her syllables harder than before. She doesn't look up to Hannah, though. She's more focused on the heavily injured man beneath her.

"He really needs blood or plasma. I can get the bullets out and stitch them up but…" If he goes into shock too, there is little Claire can do. Still, she sighs, reaching down and finishing peeling off his clothing. "Help me keep pressure there… and there." She puts gauze over the two wounds she's not working upon, before she starts flushing out the one she is. She'll flush it multiple times before out come the tweezers an she's delicately working on getting the bullet out of his skin. She might just be a nurse, but she has the hands of a surgeon

"Now, now. If you recall, the ones who started that whole mess were the Italians. We simply responded. If I had known that a bunch of armed mafioso were going to double-cross me, I would have paid them a visit instead of enjoying a cafe." She says with a light huff.

She's actually smiling more. If anything, the 'Night Nurse' is quickly earning Miss Moreau's respect. Whether that's good or bad is anyone's guess.

Moreau's already keeping pressure. The bullets come out easily enough. The goon's sobbing a little bit. Pansy.

"Blood? That much I can help with." Her book rests in her lap as she holds down the wounds on the goon, hands already bloody. An arcane chill sweeps through the room, frosting a glass and a window lightly.

"Rise, Zanzara."

The thing that appears and latches onto the goon's unwounded arm is what was once a simple mosquito. Now, it's a bloated monster of an insect with needle-like probiscus coming off of it's mouth. It's wings are feathered, and it's a good two feet long. The bloated flesh bag in its back is cold to the touch. It doesn't yet find a vein.

"How much does he need?" There's at least five quarts of blood in that thing.

Still, she observes Claire's work.

"Why do you risk your life helping people like this, Miss Claire?"

"And I am sure you did NOTHING to piss the Italians off, right? They just came along and decided to have a pissy day?" Claire asks, genuine anger in her voice that she's helping a woman who is to blame for innocents being dead. Claire isn't like one of Moreau's obdeident goons. She's mouthy, smart, and looks way closer at any situation. Unfortunately, she can also do all of that while picking a bullet out of the guy's shoulder.

And then, suddenly, there is a monster mosquito in her living room and Claire actually gives a little scream, "What the F*CK!?" She hisses, jerking back and away from it. Fortunately, she didn't have any tools in the goon's flesh. Her heart is going a mile a minute as she stares at the thing, trying not to be totally creeped out, but she is. "…How.. how do you even know the right blood type? A quart should be fine but… F*ck." She doesn't seem to really want to get near the thing again, but Claire swallows back her fear and creeps lower back to his shoulder. Her fingertips tremble, just a bit, as she opens the sterilized needle and dissolving thread pack so she can stitch that injury.

She also doesn't answer that last question. Maybe she didn't hear it in her panic, or maybe she doesn't think the woman deserves an answer.

* OOC Time: Mon Apr 25 17:52:33 2016 *

"They decided my services were not worth their money, and that I should no longer offer them to anyone." Comes Hannah truthfully enough. If anything, that anger seems to please the gang woman. It's a rare civilian that stands up to her, after all.

That reaction this time from Claire instead gets an almost taunting smirk. "What? Are you afraid of insects, Miss Claire? A nurse being startled by such a thing!"

That massive insect hovers. Only once the stitching and general work is done will it simply plunge a needle-like stinger into the man. A quick telepathic command, and that bloated bloodbag on its body starts to deflate slowly.

No answers? Well, it's not like she's owed one.

"You really should get used to this sort of thing. If you want to continue what you do, anyway. This world is truly amazing. Filled with fantastical people, myths, legends! If you know what street corner or shadow to peer in. Mmm. But do not peer /too/ long. You must just lose your fiery, adorable little soul!" With that proclaimation, she lets out a long giggle.

The mook grunts, and rolls his eyes.

"Don't take what the boss says too seriously. Ya might go mad like Bigs."

After the initial gulp of shock, Claire has forced herself to resteady and focus on finishing cleaning/stitching those wounds. She still seems tense, that insect far larger and unnatural than anything she's seen before. "Nurses generally aren't wildlife survivalists. ANd that is no natural insect. But, I'm serious about his blood type. I don't know how you do matching but… hopefully that inset drinks O alone, or there could be a bad reaction without the proper type." Claire's words are firm and respectful, if still rather shaken by everything. She's finally moving onto the last bullet hole and getting that out of his chest.

"I… I don't have any plans on losing my soul, and I will continue to take care of those who *protect* this city and aren't being helped elsewhere. The cops certainly aren't always doing it. But… I advise you to get your personal mob doctor, because this isn't the way I operate. Bring him somewhere else next time." She seems dead serious about that, even if she's finishing the work now. SHe's not comfortable with gang leaders in her apartment. "I'm not taking sides in any gang war. That's a good way to get myself killed."

'Unnatural'. Moreau laughs.

"An expert on what is 'natural', hmm? You would be surprised what results when you give an animal the slightest of pushes in the right direction." She sounds /far/ too proud of that monstrosity.

She grows far more serious, and nods. "The only kind that I feed them. Cheaper on Gotham's market, if you would believe it. I have no intention of finding out those 'reactions' firsthand."

With his wounds sewed up finally, the man reaches for Hannah, and the pair slowly lever him up.

"Nor would I expect you to. But if you think you can continue to do this, and one day someone like me /won't/ come knocking on your door with the intent to get revenge for helping those you do? Learn to defend yourself. Buy a gun if you have to. A bodyguard, a pe…"

She pauses, her eyes close just as they're at the door. With her insect's job done, it fades.

She flips to another page, speaks a few words, and a dog shimmers into existance. It's seemingly a normal husky, if not for six eyes on its head. She leans down, rubs the dog's ears, and mutters 'stay'. A final shimmer of magic, and then, she closes the book. The dog doesn't go anywhere.

"Consider her your new companion. Name her. She will only harm those you say she will. Feed her fresh meat once a week. And do not bother with the vet, you might give them a heart attack if they do any testing. Diseases are not something to worry about. She should be enough to stop anyone trying to break in. Goodnight, Miss Claire." A nod, and with that, the gangsters are gone.

Claire has now a dog.

The suddenly appearing dog makes Claire's eyes widen. She jumps back, giving almost a yelp, "Uh… nono! No, this… it's fine. I… I really don't need… this… I mean, he's… she's cute but… not… Necessary. I work too long hours to have a dog!" How does one even HOUSE train a demon dog? She has no clue. She stands up, not reaching for the strangely cute, fuzzy creature yet.

In fact, she's moving to clean her own hands and put on a fresh set of gloves as she looks Hannah over, "And you're hurt too. If you're here, you might as well let me look at that. You don't want to risk infection yourself, do you?" Claire cannot, in good conscience, let someone leave her apartment bleeding.

Miss Moreau comes to a stop, her cane slamming down, and she turns to regard the room, and Claire by proxy, almost imperiously. Her smile is gone, a scowl replacing it.

"Miss Claire, have you not been listening? Do you truly think I would raise a wonderful dog like this, and /not/ housebreak, obedience train her, and make sure she knows the difference between owner and assailant? I am insulted." Huff.

"She can take care of herself as long as you remember to feed her once a week. She will be loyal, protective, and she will love you with all of her heart. Trust me. I know animals very well."

But, she does pause, and that scowl recedes. "…Are you certain?" Her voice is oddly timid for a moment, before she pushes the door closed.

"I suppose I would be a fool to argue with a woman of your calibre. Make tea for Miss Claire." She orders her goon, who's off to do just that. She pulls off her jacket, and offers her arm that's nice and shot up.

"I almost envy you, caring for other people this much."

The dog, meanwhile, walks over and sits near Claire. She gives a big ol' whine and puppy dog eyes.

Werewolf By Night comes into Lower Manhattan from IC Nexus.

Werewolf By Night heads out to Mutant Town.

Puppydog eyes. Six puppy dog eyes. Claire doesn't quite look at the creature yet, "Yes… and possibly use her to spy on me? I don't appreciate someone having outside influence in my apartment, no offense." Claire isn't just fiery, she's smart. But she does lean over to pull on a fresh set of gloves and grab new antiseptic wipes as she settles on the couch next to Hannah, nodding or the woman to sit. "It'll be easier if you sit."

Once that is done, Claire does lean up and begin to clean out that wound as gentle as her hand possibly can, trying not to sting the woman too much but the stinging is cleaning. "Sorry. It always stings. And… I just care about my city. People like you hurt it more than you help it." Yet, she's still making certain the woman doesn't die of infection or worse.

"If I wanted to spy on you, Miss Claire, I would use something small. A rat. A fly. An ant. The dog is a bit obvious, hmm? Give me more credit. Besides." Flipt flipt flipt. She turns to a blank page. The opposite shows lots of braille, and a picture of a komodo dragon. With a belly made of teeth.

"I need a spell to do anything with her. When I undid her magic and placed her in your care? It is permanent. I must create another spell to regain control and my link. And that takes time."

Sit she does, wincing at the sting.

A sigh. "You know, for /this/ city, I can believe that. It is different in Gotham. You people…'good' 'normal' people…are a rarity by comparison. We hungry wolves are set to war for lack of sheep. This was simply an overnight visit."

Eyes close, and she calls out the obvious. "Although, I think, if you really thought us that worthy of death, you would have allowed me to walk out of here as I was."

"…I don't think anyone worthy of death. That's not my work." Claire admits quietly, not protesting about the dog any more but that might just be because she's focusing on getting the woman's arm cleaned out. "You're lucky, this is clean through. Bleeding's mostly under control already." She murmurs, finishing the flushing, and then she's grabbing for another sealed, dissolving stitches needle.

The stitches sting a bit, but nothing like the wound being flushed. She has the precise, expert hands of a surgeon — even if she's just a nurse. "..Gotham can't be that bad… it's people who give up on it that make it bad."

"I have met many of those who you help that would say the opposite. You are a very interesting woman." She's smiling more. Oh, that's not a good sign.

Her smiles falters for a second. "Another close one? I really wish I could give some of my luck to my men. Poor Jeffries. He pushed me out of the way not a few hours ago. It was a beautiful dodge. If that idiot mafioso hadn't missed me, he'd be…"


Wince. A small breath. "Do you think so? We have psychopaths and criminal fools alike." She taps her chin. Ford Benett comes to mind.

"Though I suppose not /everyone/ has given up on us. I met a man not long ago who thinks people like me can be reformed. Poor idealistic fool. Even that 'bat'. He thinks he can stop us. He does not understand the fundamental difference between a normal person and a born criminal. It's all about blood lust and hunger, after all."

There is no response for a few moments, Claire trying to join muscle tissue inside before she puts the final stitches on the outside. Those stitches hurt more, the internal ones mainly just feel weird, not the same kind of nerves there. Finally, though, she's done and pulls back, grabbing for a pressure bandage to wrap around the woman's arm, "Keep the bandage in place for a few days. Don't get it wet. You can change it after two days, showers, no baths. Tell your buddy too." She nods in the goon's direction.

"And I think so. All cities have psychopaths and criminals. It's just having enough to fight them and, even more important, support and protection to get them out of the messes they've been in. Maybe consider starting a few charities. Community outreach. A clinic or two. You'd see how far it could go." With that strangely idealist comment, Claire then stands, pulling off her second set of gloves for the night.

By now, Mister Goon is back with tea. Only when Claire's done, does Moreau let out a sigh of relief. She might be a supervillain, but surgery is just unpleasant. She manages to resist the urge to rub her arm.

And then she downs that tea like liquor. Claire has her own steaming cup. It's green tea. Decent stuff, too.

"Understood." Then she just glares for a moment at her goon until he nods several times.

"Gotham lacks the force to fight us. We are a city at war, Miss Claire. Mmm? I tried that once. A charity. We had a building and everything. Then one of the same gangs we tried to help 'legitimately' decided to rob the building and gun down my friends and the people I hired."

She's up, and she gives one more half-bow.

"In the end, Gotham trades on one thing alone. Power. If you have that, you rule. Anything else is pointless, be you hero or villain. Good evening, Miss Claire. Good luck, hmm?" A genuine smile, and then? Out they go.

Claire is left with two things. A small card with an unmarked number. And a rather large six-eyed dog that's curled up near her, running her fluffy muzzle against Claire's ankles.

Woof! A wag of a tail. Poor, poor Claire.

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