Midnight Sale - 80% Off

June 25, 2016:

A store in Gotham announces a midnight sale. After the Mall riot recently, The Bats attend, as does a SHIELD agent, and … things go wrong. Go figure.

Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Batman's allies have had an interesting week since the riot at the mall. Oracle was the one who pulled a lynchpin of commonality out of the disaster— it turned out that the recovered cell phone had an app installed that had some peculiar audio code to it. Unfortunately, the phone's security prevented Oracle from accessing the full functionality of the app, so it's hard to say precisely what the cause of the riot was.

Now, a week later, there seems to be more tension gathering. This time, it's anticipated— a tag-slashing sale at the local mass electronics store. The sale was nominally a fairly normal one until an announcement the day prior— the sale went from 10 off to a whopping 80 off, and on major items like televisions and gaming consoles. The media had picked up the story and run with it, and despite pleas from the local cops, the owner had decided to press on rather than back off.

So Batman's perched on a balcony across the street from the retailer, cloaked by the night as the clock threatens to strike midnight nearby. His opaque white lenses feed data back to Oracle's computers, the only visible feature aside from his jutting jaw.

"I'm counting at least two hundred civilians on the ground," Batman rasps into the communicator. "They're getting angry. We'll have a riot for sure if those doors don't open. Any unusual cellular traffic?" he asks, surveilling the area.


"It's Gotham and a midnight sale. Whether they open the doors or not, there'll be a riot." Oracle had considered joining the team as 'Batgirl' but had opted to remain in the Gym playing overwatch. The function that is, not the game. "The cellular network is congested, as much I suspect to the fact that there are that many people there as anything, but I'm checking to see if I can 'hear' anything unusual."

Along with the feeds from the Batfamily suits, she's got access to all of the cameras in the area. Tapping the security and CCTV networks has been something she's been doing for a very long time, this is second nature to her.


Slow paces drive Red Robin to a building on the opposite side of the electronic store as Batman. With a slow, steady exhalation of breath Red Robin shakes his head. "Sales and Gotham. An easy recipe for chaos." Tim taps on the side of his cowl, causing an echo back in the communicator as a test of sorts. "Makes a person wonder if the owner had a naive expectation people would line up in an orderly fashion — "

He squints behind his own cowl and slides to the very edge of the building, and inspects the crowd gathered.


Cassandra has been quiet lately—well. Quieter than usual. More absent than usual, too. Recent events affected her not all that well. But she's never not on call, and hopefully this will be relatively low key. Crowd control isn't her very strongest suit, but if someone tries to disrupt things…

She's been slinking around the rooftops here as Oracle's eyes, scouting and hunting for anything suspicious. As her comrades talk, she hesitates at the corner of one building. "Trap," she says simply. Why else would there be an 80 off sale?


"Trap," Batman agrees. His eyes narrow behind the white lenses, spotting the owner in his second-story office window— the man seems to be chatting on his cell phone and gesticulating wildly, and looks more than a little out of control.

"Owner's having a bad night." He dials up a scanning tool and adjusts the frequency, and after a few seconds, taps into the man's cellular signal. It takes some time to hack.

~"-'t call it off!" the man exclaims over the community net. "They'll break down the doors, at this point! I know, I know, we're going to lose a fortune, but think of… yes, we'll get good advertising, it's free, right? I mean… yeah… about… Hang on, I'm getting a notification on my phone."

He blinks at his screen, swiping something, and then stiffens.

Though none of them can quite hear it, something in the low frequency range echoes across their communal net. He winces and touches his temple, though the Batman can't quite figure out the source of his sudden headache.

Abruptly, the manager hangs up his phone and moves to the intercome for the building. "Open the doors! The eighty percent off sale begins NOW!" he shouts. "Remind everyone to use your barcode scanners on our new shopping app to make sure you're getting the best possible deal!"

There's a roar of approval from the doors, and almost before they're open, a Black Friday level mass of humanity crashes into them and floods the building.


Oracle can see all of this from the views her cameras are giving her but it's the arrival of Batgirl that has her pausing "Welcome back, Batgirl." She knows to keep the communication shot and sweet. More often than not she and the littlest bat don't speak during field ops, Oracle's learned to use symbols and give visual cues.

"That doesn't look good. Owner on the second floor. He's been compromised. I'm dropping the cell network in the area. At the very least, that will remove on of the variables."

It's only a matter of moments before the network goes black. Oracle has a number of backdoors into the most of the city networks and she'll use them at times like this.

"The Gotham PD are going to be hard pressed to control this mob as it is."


The grappling gun from his belt is aimed at the electronics building, and, taking the momentary distraction of doors opening, he swings to the building in question. "Trap or not, " he murmurs " put a hundreds of mice in a small space — " he doesn't finish the thought, instead treading along the rooftop to the fire escape.

But the intercom message gives him pause. "Oracle, the shopping app, can you hack it?" Red Robin's lips part into a o-shape as the crowd begins to flood the store beneath. "Based on the mall incident, anything that has people staring at their phones for an extended period of time seems suspect." He slips down the metallic stairs in the centre of the roof. "I'm heading in from the top."


"Robin, I stored some VX stun gas grenades on the roof," Batman rasps, over the channel. "Get to the main air intake and prep them for detonation. If this starts getting out of control, then we'll need to start effecting crowd control."

He swivels his binocular gaze to the second story. "Batgirl. Secure the manager. There's something going on with him and I want to know what. And get his phone." Mercifully, the headache has faded from their communal net with the cessation of the wiretap, leaving the fellow muttering and wandering around in mute silence.

"Oracle. Keep hacking the phones," he says, fully anticipating that Oracle's already on it. "Be careful. We don't know what's causing this yet. I'll stay in reserve."

He dials up the BatJet on silent standby a few miles away, and it starts flying towards them, arming itself with crowd control measures on remote autopilot.


Any thoughts Cassandra might have about what's happening, what needs to happen, are happily being communicated by all the other immensely clever people on her team. Batgirl's eyes narrow a bit as she perches still on a building across the street from the one with the mob. She's still as a gargoyle and quiet as the grave until she receives orders, and then? She's on the move.

It's harder this way. It's always harder this way. It's easier to destroy than to create. It's easier to kill than to convince. But she's learned about the gentler tactics, ironically enough, in Gotham.

Her little piece of the night detaches itself from the rooftop of one building and leaps across the street, flipping midair and landing on the opposite rooftop. It's down to the fire escape then, if there is one — if not, she's heading to the back and slipping in the back way to head up to the manager's office.


Batgirl receives the 'blip' on her hud that leads her to an entrance that lets into the second floor. There's a door there, that's physically locked tight and will require some convincing to get in. For the moment, that's all the Information Goddess to do aid her young charge.

"Cell network's down. That will alleviate some of the issue." the redhead reports to the team "Trying to access phones now." At the same time she frowns "There's an audio signal again, I'm going to try and rig the store speakers to send out a counter tone." She's a master at multitasking and as her algorithms run, testing the phones in the stores, she's into the stores computers hacking the sound system. That's going to take a few minutes.

As she works, her system beeps "Got access to one phone, accessing the data." Oracles computer systems are second to none and she sets up a sand box that's separate from her main systems "Downloading the code to analyse." Even if this code is malicious, it won't be able to do anything major - that's what sandboxes are for.


"On it," Red Robin intones back towards Batman. Tim draws himself back up the metal staircase to the rooftop. The lines of the roof are simple enough — and the main air intake, a large metallic box in the centre of the rooftop, is unmissable. Crouching down to the ground gives greater protection from potentially wandering eyes as Tim slips further into the shadow provided by tricks and reflections of the light.

The shadow also yields a hiding spot for the stun gas grenades that Batman had stored upon the rooftop.

Tim continues to crouch as he eyes each of the grenades in turn. His eyebrows draw together behind his cowl. He begins prepping the grenades through the measured dispenser Batman provided only to stop in the middle of the action. A voice echoes through Tim's consciousness, and doubt is made to grow.

His eyes clamp shut for a moment and he sucks in a sharp breath. The internal debate creates a world of difference and Robin draws the grenades from the dispenser one at a time. They are set on the ground in front of him, and, armed to their maximum potential.


To the door—good, yes, and it's requiring some picking. Luckily it's just a physical lock; then again, Oracle would be able to help if it were anything else. Batgirl flicks the lockpicks from her gauntlet and gets to work. It's fiddly and the lock isn't in the best of shape, but she's decently quick with it. In she goes, and off to the manager's office.

There is this about being Batgirl: she's small and slight, but there's nothing about her appearance that's exactly comforting. She's dressed in advanced black tactical gear with a black cape and a black cowl that hides every facial feature. There's even people who think she's an android or something similar—that she just isn't human. Her presence is probably not going to calm him down, but she's going to try.

She slips a knockout gas pellet into her gauntlet, though. Just for safety.

When Batgirl slips into the room with the manager, she lets out a soft 'sss' to get his attention. She raises her hand as if to say she's not here to hurt him and speaks with her usual halting care: "Come. I'll help."


Batman surveills the scene as it descends into predictable bedlam. It starts off just the same as any other shopping madness- a bit violent, yes, but not terribly out of control.

Then things start getting chaotic. People are scanning barcodes and looking for where the sales kiosks in the area are, and then it goes from rowdy to downright violent— people throwing punches, hitting each other, and beating each other with appliances. It's bedlam.

Red Robin arms the containers quickly enough, and sets them to maximum effect. "Robin, if you're done, get down and help Batgirl. She'll need it," Batman says, grimly, watching the scene unfolding down on the second floor overlook.

She might need the help indeed— the store manager's getting more and more erratic by the moment, pacing back and forth and yelling incoherently. "It's the best deal! It's a great deal! We're just giving it away! People are gonna buy it all and come back for later— for weeks and buying, electronics and stuff! Free advertising!" he says, twitching a bit and gesticualting wildly with his cell phone. The screen flickers as he activates it. "Then we'll make a killing!"

Behind him, the safe door stands open, filled with title paperwork and a fair amount of cash.

In Oracle's domain, the emulator flickers and comes to life. The screen starts blinking with something fairly blaise, an advertisement for the crazy sale and a bit of tinny music playing along with it.


Oracles eyes fix on her screens, watching the teams progression. "Batgirl, destroy the phone." Nice short sentences the little black bat to comprehend. That's all the redhead has time for as the something triggers the sandbox and she stares for a moment at the advertisement and frowns.

"They're not securing their phones well enough." The update goes out to the team. "I'm going to transfer the funds in their digital wallets to offshore account in Antigua until they calm down."

Now, that does not sound the Oracle that any of the team knows and someone might want to try and talk some sense into the Information Avatar.

Still, her motions are slower, not as assured as they usually are. Why would they be? Something is affecting her will.


After the riot at the mall, SHIELD has had their eyes on things. Having fingers in pies and watching everywhere is pretty much what SHIELD could stand for. Much like the others, an 80 percent sale does sound suspicious, but it could also just be Gotham being strange. If they sent out an Agent to Gotham every time it was strange, well, they would certainly spend most of their time there.

Peggy Carter is the one keeping an eye on things. While she doesn't have Oracle's ability to hack into their systems and feeds, she has a good set of eyes and some agency issued equipment. Conscious that riots are involved, her hair is neatly and efficiently pinned about her head to give no handhold, her clothing is dark and rather form fitting in hopes that there is less to grab onto.

Though she holds off while the store is merely rowdy, as the violence starts, Peggy is quick to move in to quell it as best she can. "Sale is over!" She calls, attempting to bodily move people where she can toward the doors. Her eyes scan the walls and she makes her way there in an attempt to find an emergency fire alarm system. Pull down in case of fire? Maybe it's not a fire, but it is certainly an emergency. Maybe a good drenching will set people straight.


With the charges set, Red Robin takes a few steps back from the air intake and then treads to the side of the building. The directive to help Batgirl has Tim slipping away, back towards the metallic staircase he had originally planned his descent to.

Getting down to the second floor with a rowdy crowd, however, dictates just a modicum of creativity. He shoots the grapple gun, and, with a vibrant PING, it makes purchase on its target. He kicks off, and swings down towards the manager's office. Behind his cowl, he scans the office and catches sight of the manager's phone.

When he lands, Tim eyes Batgirl for several beats before warning, "Back up." There's an unusual edge in his voice that echoes through the communicator as well as in the office itself. His eyes remain on Cass as he slides into the seat at the manager's computer. There's a quick, sporadic, and downright robotic quality to his movement as his fingers know what they're doing.

There comes a point when, after some deliberation, Tim has to peel his eyes away from Batgirl, "This moron left his entire system vulnerable." The explanation is grim, and even with the interruptions away from the screen, Robin steals looks over his shoulder towards Batgirl, "I'm getting into the employee files and…" he doesn't quite finish the thought, instead letting it disappear into the ether. "Look, whoever set this up - the money will attract them. It always," he looks back towards Cass, "does." He continues with his keystrokes, downloading employee information.


There's not a twitch on that cowl. It's impossible to see Cass's face, impossible to see what her face does. But she's stiff for a good few seconds, turning her head slightly to regard Tim. Staring at him. Turning her head just a few degree sto the right to observe the manager. Listening to Oracle. Her hand strays toward a Batarang, but it hesitates. No.

"Wrong," she says. The word is low and dull in the comm. Again: "Wrong. Wrong. Wrong."

With a sharp and decisive motion, she flings the knockout pellet to the ground. Her own cowl will filter it out. The manager will surely pass out, and Tim? Well. He'll forgive her.


The sudden whoop of a fire alarm and the cascading spray of dank, stale water shocks most everyone into a panicked retreat from their battle. Several less well tended phones short out immediately, and the building lights dim and flicker off— then emergency lights come on, directing people to the entrances. It seems to be cooling heads and tempers, and people shamble to the exits like confused zombies as the raging melee turns into less focused fistfights and shoving. Some even drop their unpurchased goods where they stand, though most are still trying to rob the place. Good thing GCPD is there to make sure people don't just rush out with a bunch of stolen merchandise, though the property damage is nothing to sneeze at.

Batman jerks in surprise, stiffening at Batgirl's attack on Tim. "Batgirl, stop what you're doing," the Dark Knight orders across the radio, in his harshest tone of voice. "That's Robin, you're attacking a friendly."

He keys his radio mic, finally processing Oracle's words. "Oracle, say again— all after 'phones'." Antigua? What does Antigua have to do with anything.

What the hell is happening down there? Batman fiddles with the detonator for the nerve gas… but Peggy's unorthodox solution seems to be quelching the rising flames.


"The only way to keep them safe is to transfer the funds of their digital wallets to Antigua." The Information Goddess responds to Batman. "I… " Why Antigua indeed? That makes the logical redhead pause in what's she doing, slowing the progress of the hacking even further, before she slowly continues.

Something in Cass's words have her pausing again and she shakes her head. Eyes cutting to the screen at Cass's and Tim's words she finally manages to grate out "Cut the power…" It might stop Red Robin and whatever else is going on down there. It likely won't help the hapless hacker.


Now drenched in the gross, smelly water spraying out of the fire sprinklers, Peggy returns to crowd control and pushing people toward the exits. As she does so, she starts to make her way up toward the second floor. While here to ensure that the rioting is quelled, she is also an agent and investigator. With hopefully the worst of the riots over and the sirens indicating the police are here to help with the mob mentality, her focus shifts. She wants to find out what is going on and why this is the second time it is happening so soon after the mall. That means she has to keep moving forward. Or up, as the case may be.


Following the distribution of the pellet, Robin's typing seems to slow. Nearly groggily. But anyone who understands Red Robin's cowl knows that it filters his air. Slowly, after hitting one more key, Tim's hands drop towards his sides, towards the bottom of the chair. Despite appearances, the anaesthesia has a rather small effect on Robin.

Tim's hands grasp the bottom of the seat of the wheeled chair beneath him, and in one movement, he slides off the seat and flings it towards Batgirl. He jumps up to a stand and shakes his head once, literally shaking off the pellet's limited effect on him.

He bounces back to his feet and following the chair push, tosses a batarang towards Batgirl as hard as he can manage.


"WRONG!" The tone of Cass's voice is anguished, but it's not enough of a distraction to stop her defending herself. It'a automatic the way she pivots away and catches the flying chair that Tim hurls at her. She uses it as a shield against the batarang and flings both aside, raising both hands and circling away from him. She never lets her back face the windows or Tim, never lets him out of her sight.

It's smoothly and without warning that she leaps toward him. There's no more than an instant where she crouches back to give herself the power to do it, aiming to pivot him over his center of gravity and knock Robin down.


The water pours down over the unconscious manager, getting into his phone rather quickly. It's not waterproof, so it starts to flicker and the sound coming from the speakers is squelched by water soaking the emitter coils. It turns into a meaningless low buzz, barely audible.

Abruptly, the glass in the window explodes inwards, and Batman flicks his cloak out to arrest his momentum. It's a hell of a trick, moving fast enough to break the glass but slow enough to land on ones feet.

"Stop. Both of you," Batman growls, in a voice that might literally have frozen a few drops of water in midair. It brooks absolutely no argument. It's helped by the fact that the barely audible ringing noise in their ears is receding to nothing, replaced by a dull and painful headache. His cloak drapes around his shoulders, concealing his hands and body from view. "You're out of control. Find your focus," he orders them, in the cold tones of the ultimate disciplinarian, hearkening back to emotional triggers buried deep in their psyches by their endless training under him.

"Oracle. Turn off all your computers. You've been hacked," Batman says into the communicator. "Do it now."

When Peggy bursts onto the scene, she's presented with a bizarre tableu— the manager on the ground unconscious, and Batman, Batgirl, and Red Robin all at three points of a triangle and clearly right on the verge of bloody combat. Batman turns those featureless white lenses towards the agent of SHIELD and one would be hard pressed to swear he didn't growl subvocally.

"Get. Out."


Batmans growl in her ear does the trick and the redheaded hacker recovers enough to kill the sandbox. Next time that goes on, she'll wear protection … when she works out what type of protection will work.

It still takes the woman a moment to recover and she stares at the screen. "Hello Agent Carter." She appropriates a SHIELD channel, one that she's used before. "Just a spot of bother. I'm sure it will be under control in a moment."


The last thing Peggy is expecting to see when she enters the room is this strange stand off. While her tranquilizer gun is unholstered, it is not pointed at anyone, instead the barrel decidedly aimed at the ground. The soaking wet agent glances at the scene, dripping slightly. While she's certainly heard about the Batman, she had yet to come into contact with him until just this moment and she has little reason to believe that he hasn't been compromised, either. The only member of his team she had any real interaction with before this night was Oracle. And now it looks like she's crashed into some strange family feud.

Her eyes narrow at the command from the vigilante, saying nothing. Instead, she remains exactly where she is, right in the doorway. Her muscles tense in anticipation of what may be combat. Then, there's Oracle's voice in her ear. There's little change in expression, however her eyebrows knit together just slightly. "A spot of bother?" she replies dryly to Oracle's comment, more receptive to the friendly hacker. "This is more of a mess than that. What the hell happened?"


Even as he'd released the chair, Red Robin had drawn the condensed bo staff at his belt and with a solid shake had extended it to its full length. The kick delivered to his chest does, indeed, cause his centre of gravity to be disrupted, while the bo staff sweeps across the air in front of him. The collapse to the ground is followed by shattered glass and Batman's entrance. The sound of breaking glass, the changing feel in his head, and the command of Batman's voice bring Tim to a very different mental place. In the pit of his stomach he can feel it, and he can almost taste it on the tip of his tongue. His expression turns downright stoic.

Red Robin swallows hard, still tucked behind the safety of that cowl. He lays on the ground for a moment, pressing a gloved hand to the side of his head before shaking it once over. He turns over onto all fours and reaches for the manager's phone. Whether useful or not, he pockets it to give to Oracle later. As he stands, he shakes his head hard and inhales a slow, deep breath, allowing the air to draw him back to his centre. He peels himself off the office floor and joggles the staff, causing it to collapse to its condensed size.

His chin drops and his eyes linger on Batgirl. He finally looks towards the door, "We — " his eyebrows draw together "… offshore account," he murmurs quietly.


The voice of command is at least as important as the lack of that whining high-pitched mind-melting tone. She's staggering backward from Tim at Batman's word; frankly, if she could have frozen midair and dropped to the ground, she'd have done it.

Batgirl drops to one knee. She doesn't have to say it. As her mind clears, as she focuses, as she comes back to herself, her stance changes, shifts, curls in on herself. Every inch of her exudes shame. Remorse.

"Betrayal," she says by way of attempting to explain herself. No excuses, just explanations. "Money," she adds with disgust, waving one hand toward the open safe. "Wrong," she concludes again. These words encompass everything she has to say about this horrible night.

Her head cants slightly toward the SHIELD agent as she stands in the doorway. She studies the woman, straightening into her usual not-quite-relaxed stance, but anything anyone has to say isn't going to be said by the taciturn Batgirl.


"Surprise," Batman corrects Batgirl. That one word contains a world of subtext to it— sometimes surprises happen, no matter how well one prepares for them. And it's something she's not thinking of yet.

"Get focused. We need to leave. GCPD is ninety seconds from sweeping," he growls at Tim and Batgirl alike. "Fastrope pickup on the roof, the jet's on the way."

"Oracle. We're headed your way. We need to debrief face to face." Batman cues off his mike and turns back to Peggy, just in time to hear her talk to someone he's not privy to. She gets another flashing examination, and Batman starts walking purposefully towards her. "It's done. Please move," he growls at her, obstructing the exit as she is.


"I wish I knew, Agent Carter." Oracles digitally disguised voice sounds in the womans ear. "When I know more, I'll be in touch though." She'll deal with the fallout much later, Peggy's proven to be good people and forms part of Oracles extended network.

"I'll be waiting, Batman." She responds. There's nothing more to be done here.


The tensions starts to dissipate from the room as Red Robin and Batgirl turn their attention from nearly tearing each other apart and she and Batman turn their concentrated attention to Peggy. It's more than a little disconcerting, even for her. The gun remains lowered as she studies the various Bat People. They don't look like they're going to start beating on each other any more. There's the thought of having them stay for the police to make a statement, but a fight of three Bats and her is not good odds. She's feisty, not an idiot. After a moment, she holsters her tranq gun and then takes a step to the side, allowing them free access to the door. "I'll have questions," she tells Batman. He's not the only one who can be terse and commanding. Agent Carter has the old drill sergeant tone to her voice.

Then, she moves to the manager. As she passes by the Bats, she nods at each of them, eyes clearly studying them. If Red Robin hadn't already picked up the manager's phone, she most likely would have. As it is, she kneels down and checks for a pulse. "Please do," she tells Oracle. "This all smells fishy and I doubt it's the sprinklers."


Batman doesn't even deign to respond to Peggy. He moves forward with his cloak hiding him from view, almost seeming to be gliding, the motion is so smooth. With Robin and Batgirl in tow behind him, the Bat Family exits out the manager's office and heads to the rooftop high overhead. Once there, they deploy a helium rescue balloon and clip into it with carabiners— the Bat Jet swoops past on silent wings, barely audible, and snatches the balloon— and a trio of Bats— off into the night, leaving behind the utter bedlam and a very confused bunch of shoppers.

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