The Vanishing Hitchhiker

May 28, 2016:

Claire is approached by the Vanishing Hitchhiker - Arrow is on the scene to assist but is waylaid by The Bat

The Narrows - Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

If one knows where to look, there is another side to the underground in Gotham. It's not mundane, but it is still crime and Oracle knows that part of the underworld is being organised. Molded into something more. And whilst her attention is centred on the going on's in Steel City, because she and The Fox believe that whatever is going on there is related to Gotham, she still watches her beloved city and assists those 'independant' crime fighters as she can.

Lately, there have been rumours of 'legends' plauging the populace. Deaths related to a man with a hook for a hand; a tall slender figure that seems to frighten people to death; a woman who appears and drowns people. Over the last few days there have been reports across social media and the police channels that people are being stopped in their vehicles, near The Narrows, and asked for a lift by a woman. When offered a lift, the woman then disappears from the car whilst it's moving. Strange. Last night, though, two couples were found dead in their car and tonight there's been a third - and it's early. Does that mean there will be more?


Claire knows only too well about these 'Legends'. She's had groups of these things chasing after her. It's to the point that she's voluntarily moved herself and her cats BACK to a friend's where the things can't get at her. Even so, she doesn't sleep well, and it's starting to affect her job. Like right now. Driving back to her friend's house after work, her little generic sedan stops at a traffic light and she lets her eyes drift closed. Only for a second, honest.


After having been absent in the city for a week or so, The Arrow has been back and listening to reports that have been sweeping across Gotham. This has pulled him out of his day job to hit the streets as vigilantes so often do, living the life of patrolling and looking for trouble to disrupt. The old days of sitting on a roof top listening to a police scanner have gone away, rather he sits on the seat of a motorcycle … listening to a police scanner. Well technically someone else does the listening and just points him in the right direction. Coincidence has brought him to sitting there, looking across the street as a sedan pulls up.


There's a knock on the window of Claires car, and when she looks she'll see a very pale woman knocking on the window. Where she came from, who knows? She certainly wasn't there when Claire closed her eyes just a split second ago. "Please, please." The womans voice can be heard through the window "Could you give me a lift?"

From Green Arrows perspective, the woman just seems to appear. The only information he's being fed is on the earlier homicide - it seems the couple in the car were sanguinated - and his information will be telling him that this seems to be a pattern. Whenever a legend appears, a death like this occurs. Strange, right?


Claire Fontaine startles and gasps at the knock on her window. She looks at the woman there, and because of past (bad) experience, she gives the woman's clothing a quick look. Anything particularly outdated, or waterlogged, or just not right?


The Arrow looks up, eyes narrowing at what just appeared before him, some old woman he must have missed coming out of nowhere and approaching a car. It is rather odd but he just sits and watches for the moment, not having made the connection of oddities to this point. In fact he sighs as he reaches down and taps a button to connect his earset to a new frequency and listens, the night proving to be too quiet which is never a good thing.


The woman is dressed regularly, not damp, modernish - not the height of fashion, but not out of date. But she is very pale. As Claire hesitates, the woman becomes frantic. Knocking on the window, trying the door handles, trying to get into the car. "Please, let me in." Green Arrow can hear this.

There's a screech in the night. Claire, if she can hear it, might recognise it. It's like drawinging fingernails down a blackboard and a shadow floats over the street, obscuring street lights. One might be forgiven, if they didn't know better, to think it was Batman arriving - that's the shape the shadow implies - except for that blood curdling screech.

Whatever it is though, lands with a thud several feet in front of Claires car… a tall muscled, bipedal creature … with coarse hair dusting it's arms, bat ears perched on its head and wrapped in a long black cloak.


Claire Fontaine knows that screech. She knows it only too well. And when the Bat-thing lands in front of her car, the panicking woman at her door is pretty much forgotten. She throws her car into reverse and tries to back away from the intersection.


The screech immediately draws the Arrow's attention, his eyes lifting upwards but it is not until the creature lands that he is able to fully get a look at what has caused the noise. There is the momentary look of surprise that naturally accompanies any sane person looking at a Bat-thing landing, but after that surprise it is pushed aside and he hops off the motorcycle to run forward, pulling an arrow and letting it fly in a smooth motion towards the legs of the creature.


The woman, who Claire has forgotten, blinks out of existence and ends up on the backseat of the Librarians car. Leaning forward, the pale woman breathes near Claires ear "I asked for a lift." as she wraps her fingers around Claires shoulders. She's … very strong, Claire can tell.

The Bat, had been advancing on Claires car uttering a sibilant hiss "Blood. Blood of the wicked…" but now turns to face the oncoming motorcycle, letting the arrow bounce off its hide. Starting at a run towards Green Arrow, the creature side steps and sticks an arm out intent on knocking the rider to the ground in 'coathanger' motion. "Blood!!"


Claire Fontaine screams when the woman's hands snare her by the shoulders. She slams on her brakes, and even as she does so, the stack of paper recycling on the back floorboards explodes up and around the woman like a paper tornado. And somehow they stay confined to the back of the car.


A steel arrow bouncing off anything surprises the Arrow, but the charging of Batthing is the more pressing concern, especially when it clotheslines him off of the motorcycle causing him to flip up and land on the concrete with a heavy thud. The quick grunt of pain is pushed aside and he rolls away, pulling another arrow out, this one designed to send out wires to wrap up a target upon impact. The screaming of the car nearby draws his attention and he begins moving that way, doing so slowly however since his eyes are tryign to keep the batcreature in view.


The Bat is not going to let Green Arrow get away. As the arrow goes out and wraps around it, it's wings and arms strain … snapping the restraints and the wings flick out to their full span. "Blood. Blood. Give me blood." It's seem pretty one track. With a powerful push of its legs, it takes to the air momentarily, landing in front of Arrow, arms reaching out and mouthing gaping to display sharp teeth.

It's at that time that Arrows comm crackles "This is Oracle. I've been watching. Fire seems to affect it. You won't stop it, but it makes it run." Seems Gothams Information Goddess is 'on the scene'.

In the car, the paper swirls around the woman, barely touching her but certainly making her backoff. Claires phone beeps at her and a digitially disguised voice sounds through the speaker "Claire. This is Oracle. Use salt if you have it. It will banish her temporarily."


Claire Fontaine fumbling for her purse, her foot slips off of the clutch and her car lurches and stalls out. And right now, she really couldn't care less. It takes her a moment, but she finds a couple of small restaurant salt packets in the bottom of her purse that she immediately flings at the woman, their paper seals opening as if on their own so the salt splatters the entirety of the back seat.


He is going to need to ask Oracle how it is she's always getting into his com frequencies, but that will come another time. At this moment he's more worried about the batcreature reaching for him. Hopping backwards and away from it, he reaches for the only fire he has available, an exploding arrow which is nocked and launched right at the bat creature to explode on impact. Even while doing that he starts talking with his own digitized voice to the Oracle. "What the hell is this?"


It's Oracle. She has her ways but he should totally ask.

The Bats fingers close around Green Arrows shoulders dragging him closer, still hissing "Blood. Blood of the wicked." Those sharp fangs trying to bite down on Arrows neck. Which is when the arrow hits and explodes in a flash of flames that cause The Bat to catch fire and back off.

"Hit it again." Oracles voice sounds through Green Arrows comms. "We aren't sure what it is. It's related to the current troubles though."

The pale woman is trying to brave the maelstrom of paper to reach for Claire again, only to be showered in salt … and whilst not a lot, it makes the woman falter and flicker … flicker? "Light now, Claire." the digitised voice instructs the Librarian


Claire Fontaine scrambles for a moment, then throws her car door open, causing the cabin's overhead light to turn on. And the car to start binging that the keys are still in the ignition. She flails for a moment longer, then unfastens her seatbelt and almost literally falls out of her car. Wow. Dexterity roll, 3.


"Again? I'm not made out of explosions you know." The Arrow jibes into the com frequency even as he pulls another explosive arrow and fires once more at the bat creature. A third is nocked and loosed as well. "I have three more, how many shots does this thing take. What's the status on the car behind me? Is the driver alright?"


In the gym, standing, dripping with sweat from her workout, Oracle rolls her eyes at Green Arrows jibe. "If you're going to play in Gotham…" Watching the screen and the second arrow explode, she nods with satisfaction.

The flames take and The Bat takes to the air, on fire and with an unholy screech. "That seems to have done it. I wouldn't wait around though." The redhead speaks dryly, not that the tone translates. "Miss Fontaine will require some reassurance that she will be ok and may need assistance getting her car started. Apart from that and maybe a few bruises, she is unharmed."

As the light in Claires car comes on, the 'hitchhiker' blinks out … the combination of light and salt working. "Well done, Claire. It's gone."


Claire Fontaine sits in the middle of the street outside of her car, the driver's side door still open and the binging noise persisting. She flinches at the Bat-thing's screech, but then is glad to see it starting to flee. Kind of. She still looks rather badly shaken as her attention shift to the green-clad man with the bow. Not Kane… who is it?


As he begins his walk towards the car, the Green Arrow speaks over the frequencies. "Alright Oracle, I think it's time we meet." Before he can get a response however, his digitized voice speaks out to Claire as the Arrow approaches. "You're alright." It is more of a statement then a question as he comes nearer. "The creatures are gone, they've fled. But we need to get you out of here and some place safe. Are you in a condition to drive?"


"We're meeting right now, Green Arrow. But we can talk further if you like." The redhead answers. "My offer of assisting you and yours still stands." The one she made a few weeks ago.

"Claire," Oracles voice sounds from Claire's phone "this is Green Arrow. A … colleague of mine." Of course, Claire has never spoken to Oracle but given the shocks of the day, a digitised voice sounding from her phone that seemingly knows her, is likely the least of her shocks. "Don't delay there, though. The Bat may be back and soon."


Claire Fontaine takes a deep breath and pushes to her feet, albeit a bit shakily. "Uh, yeah. I'll be okay. Thanks." Sure the voice from her phone is unnerving, but it was helpful, and she's not about to complain. Not when Kane and Zee weren't here to help. "I'd better get going." Sure, she could just find the nearest parking lot and leave her car there before scramming to her friend's, but getting back to it later would be annoying. At least, she's very much awake now.


The Arrow glances and the nods, "I will follow you if you want, to make sure you're safe until you are home." The digitized voice probably does not make the offer sound any less stalkerish. To Oracle, he changes his tone some and responds, "We are talking right now, not meeting. There is a difference. You cannot know someone unless you are looking them in the eyes."


Oracle just smiles at Arrows change in tone. "Thank you for helping Miss Fontaine. When you wish to talk further, you know how to find me. Oracle out." Arrows comms goes dead as she drops the connection. It doesn't mean she's not watching and listening, though. But meeting with Oracle? Is Oracle even a person? Some say its an extremely advanced AI … and how does one meet with that?

Let's just say that those who know who Oracle is and has met her… are very few.


Claire Fontaine looks at Green Arrow for a long moment. 'Cause it sounds like he's talking to someone other than her. And there isn't a glowing blue elk around here anywhere for him to talk to. "If… you want to." She's not about to say no, though she isn't leading him to her friend's home. She'll lead him to her apartment and go from there.

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