I Saw Your Face

July 01, 2016:

Red Hood goes into Gotham and starts dropping clues…and killing more mafia scum.

East End - Gotham

The first impression of Gotham for many is East End, a district notorious for it's poverty, crime, prostitutes and drugs. The lit up central strip at night is colorful, bright and looks like something out of Las Vegas with its innumerable gentleman's clubs, casinos, bars and strip clubs. The downtrodden feel of East End has been glossed over by these glowing lights and brilliant signs along with the towering cityscape of surrounding districts, such as Otisburg, Burnley and to the north the Robert Kane Memorial Bridge.

Along the East End's southern region the streets begin to be overtaken by cobblestone alleyways, alleyways that web work throughout a rundown slum city of shacks, sheds, makeshift homes and decrepit apartments called Alleytown. A heavily populated district many immigrants and their descendants call home.

Park Row aka Crime Alley rests upon the other side of the main strip, dominated by an underdeveloped housing project called Scurvy City by the locals (it's actual name being the Skirley Apartments), East End Free Clinic, the Bowery, Tin Roof Club, Sheldon Park, Robbinsville and the GCPD's 9th Precinct.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: I'm a Believer


Fade In…

Red Hood isn't often in Gotham and that's intentional. However, occasionally he accepts mercenary jobs or needs to meet with certain members of certain 'families' in the city. It's usually a 'get in/get out' sort of scenario, but just in case, he has established a couple of safehouses. He's leaving one, located in the East End section of the city and, before putting his red helmet on and going about his business, he pauses by one of the street security cameras.

There's actually a deliberate pause to look in the lense before he disappears out of the camera's view. Maybe it's working, maybe it's not, but it's time to get the game started again.

Out of sight, the helmet is put on over his face and he enters one of the 'Casinos' which is a fairly well-known yet unproven mafia hangout.

Facial recognition software is amazing! Babs has a sort of alert system set up that flicks through civic security and traffic cameras periodically and searches for anomalous readings — the same face in two different places, famous actors in sketchy neighborhoods, the walking dead — and it has been used to great effect against characters like Clayface. Probably, in a half hour or so, the system is going to go absolutely bonkers pinging the entire family of Bat-vigilantes — if it's even lucky enough to tap into this particular system.

What doesn't take that kind of time or luck is for a lone figure on a rooftop, watching for trouble in a trouble-prone neighborhood, to spot a lookalike for his dead adoptive brother.

Dick Grayson flicks a pair of microbinoculars to his eyes, and then just gapes for a second or two. Finally, he stows the specs and grits his teeth. "Sick. That is just sick," he mutters to himself. "That is like… 'I drank directly from the Gotham River' level of sick." A few quick, perfectly silent running jumps later, he's standing on the roof of the Casino in question, lurking over the entrance the Red Hood just used, trying to gauge whether he'll be better off waiting the impostor out or going in after him.

There's the sound of firing guns from inside the casino and a couple of suited mooks stagger out, clutching bullet-wounds, and those who weren't targeted run out, screaming. Is it sloppy work? Perhaps. However, the ones who were the actual targets won't be leaving the building alive.

It takes a few moment, probably far too long for those involved, for the sirens of cop cars to be heard and by that time, Red Hood has leapt from one of the upper-floor windows to the fire escape. He then makes a leap to the next building's fire escape (urban blocks are great for Parkour practice) and climbs to the top to continue his way -away- from the growing hubbub.

Not that many people will miss those found dead inside. They were rather vile in their underworld dealings.

How that happened so quickly — too quickly for him to intervene — Dick will never know. He'll have to chalk it up to the Jason impostor's speed and single-mindedness and his shock at seeing the man's stolen face. And why would anyone pretend to be Jason, anyway? Nothing here makes any sense.

At least the official authorities are on their way to deal with the wounded, and Nightwing can do what he does best. Helmet-head is a pretty good mover, no question, but he's no Flying Grayson: Dick takes off after his quarry with speed and stealth few on the planet could match, superpowered or not. At the first opportunity, he takes advantage of a slight pause in the shooter's movement to whip out a bolo launcher and fire it with a soft 'pop.' The snare flies at Red Hood out of the darkness, Nightwing following close behind, feet first.

Red Hood isn't known for his monologuing. Occasionally he's willing to converse, but when in Gotham, he tries to get his business done quickly and get out. This one, however, had just that little twist.

The thing is, he's always expecting a Bat to come after him. When one doesn't, it's a surprise, so the fact that one seems to be trailing him now doesn't catch him by surprise. Neither does the bolo launcher. In fact, he turns with just enough time to catch the bolos with a leather-clad arm and -pull-.

Either he gets possession of the launcher or he pulls the handler of said launcher closer faster.

"It took you long enough. How's that pretty little Bat I roughed up a few weeks ago?"

One of the benefits of a bolo is that it doesn't link the attacker to the target; it's just a tangle snare to trip them up. One of the drawbacks is that if your target has the uncanny reflexes to catch it, the worst that happens is that a few heavy metal balls wrap cables around his arm and then smack against his shoulder. Ah, well. Kicking people works, too.

Whether his airborne attack lands or not, Nightwing will rebound with characteristic grace and ease, circling out of range with his escrima sticks up in a practiced guard. "No idea," he answers, his anger at the Jason impersonator impossible to discern from his lighthearted tone. "Nobody at the water cooler mentioned running into a guy wearing a three-ball on his head. What do you call yourself? Pool Boy's taken. Billiard Man?"

With no pause for an answer, Nightwing darts in with a flurry of blows designed to test his opponent's defenses without committing too much to the attack. The sticks' electric prods spark with tasing fury at every impact, though — in many cases, that alone has proven enough to disable a foe.

Red Hood doesn't go into Gotham unless he's prepared to deal with Bats. Or, at least, the Bats he knows about. Using the bolo to his advantage, he swings an arm to try and smack the other with the line before a knife is whipped out to slice the cord holding it to his arm. With the knife in hand still, he works on blocking and evading hits from those charged sticks, "Still playing with twigs, I see. What, you aren't allowed to use real weapons?"

He'll definitely take some slashes with his knife should the opportunity allow. No guns are drawn…yet.

"Says the guy wearing a Party mask. If you need a name, 'Red Hood' will do and lucky for you, I don't spend a lot of time here. You should have looked into that club. Human trafficking and

"Why shouldn't I wear a party mask? This is how I party," Nightwing rejoins with a cocksure grin. He doesn't seem to be having much trouble parrying the knife with his batons, although he still isn't fully committed to the offense. "And yeah, when I show up with 'real' weapons, the party ends too quickly. The Lords of the Batdance had to ban them."

Although they're both extremely skilled, there's a clear contrast between the two men's fighting styles: Nightwing is the more balletic and poised of the pair, constantly in motion from advantageous position to advantageous position. He leans heavily on the parry and the dodge, as well as an occasional acrobatic move to throw his opponent off balance.

"Human trafficking, child porn, and now murder," he adds, continuing his running commentary. "Good thing I was looking into the club. It's amazing what you can catch people doing when they're stupid."

When Red Hood lashes out with the bola line, Nightwing sees an opportunity and seizes it. Parrying with the baton causes the weighted cable to wrap tightly around it; Nightwing yanks backward with that hand to draw his opponent in and aims an upward elbow — his first blow of the fight with real strength behind it — at Hood's chin. Should it land, the blow is calculated to at least shift the helmet, if not knock it clean off.

"I'm not the one doing the trafficking and dealing in the porn, you asshole!" Red Hood counters back, rather vehemently. His style isn't as graceful but it's just as committed and very, very determined. "You're telling me you'd rather put those sorts of men in a ridiculously easy-to-escape prison here than in their graves? Seriously?"

The jacket he wears is lined, so even if he gets smacked by the grounded part of the baton, it doesn't seem to bother him too much. He continues slashing with the knife, trying to gain the advantage.

There's a reason why he was chosen as the first Robin's successor. He's not a slouch. He's also been studying Nightwing since his return to life.

Maybe he lets the punch gets through, maybe he slipped a little. The fist hits, tilting his head back and shifting the hood some, but it also gives him that split second of an opportunity to draw his gun. He jumps back just out of reach, the gun ready and aimed even as he uses his other hand to put the helmet back into place, "See, I never liked having to obey rules."

"Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm telling you," Nightwing answers. "Thanks for noticing!" The words have barely escaped his lips when one of the most drilled-in instincts of his entire combat repertoire takes over: a brace of winged boomerangs goes flying at the drawn pistol before it can track him.

He's moving, too: a diving roll, toward Hood and to the right, forcing the shooter to cross his own body with the gun hand and moving the pair back toward hand-to-hand range. At the end of his roll, Dick springs upward with the intent to come up under the gun arm and knock Hood's aim skyward with one arm and batter at his opponent's side with the other.

He doesn't seem to be playing around anymore, which means his attacks are more dangerous, but his defense won't be as solid, either. Still, he thinks he might have a psychological trump card: "I saw your face," he says through gritted teeth.

This guy is slippery as F$#&. He knew that, but even as he improved over the years, so did Nightwing. There's a growl from under his helmet as they go back to hand-to-hand. He's still holding the pistol, however, and seems more than willing to use it as an extension of his hand. Guns can be useful for punching with as well.

"Yeah, I figured someone would. I -do- have one, you know. Just like you do," is snarled out. Of course, the fact that he's getting frustrated just makes him want to shoot the Bat even more if he can get a solid shot.

"I'm sure you do, but that one's not yours. It belongs to —"

It's the pistol whip that does it. Dick's got enough leverage to prevent a stunning blow to his temple, but the crack of the grip against his shoulder and neck rattles his brain just enough to shake a few observations into a different arrangement. His opponent's comments. The fighting style. The prepared countermeasures against the Bats' classic tricks.

With a burst of renewed energy and a heedless abandon brought on by punch-drunkenness, Nightwing whirls under Hood's grip, turning his back to his opponent, and jams his body backward. It's like an inverted tackle; they should hit a wall or fall onto the rooftop, Hood's front to Nightwing's back, the former's weapons easily if temporarily held at bay by the latter's arms.

"I swear, if you're pretending to be Jason Todd, I will follow you to the ends of the Earth to make you pay for disrespecting his memory," Dick growls. "But if, somehow, you are Jason…" There's a moment as his voice transitions away from the viciousness of a moment ago. "How? And why didn't you let us know you survived?"

It's not like he can even headbutt the other from this position. Note to self: figure this out for next time. It's an attack he's not used to countering as it's so rarely used. He can't shoot, he can't kick…frustrating!

Red Hood gets knocked back against the wall with another grunt and tries to twist himself free of the other's grip.

"Jason Todd is dead," is snarled and he does try the headbutt, even if it's the front of his helmet to the back of Nightwing's head.

"Like you'd care anyhow."

The headbutt doesn't properly connect — or, rather, it starts off connected, so there's no moment of impact, it just shoves the two men apart. Dick whirls, batons up but more in a placating gesture than a defensive stance. He's staring at the impassive surface of the helmet in shock, and with seemingly no interest in renewing his attack. "Jason…what are you saying? How could I not care…?"

Red Hood is still holding his pistol and, once they're separated, it's back to being aimed at Nightwing's face. "Oh, quit pretending. None of you gave a damn when Jason lived and none of you gave a damn when he died." Yet he doesn't pull the trigger.

This isn't right. This isn't how it should go down. There needs to be more…something.

Another gun is pulled out, but this one doesn't hold bullets, but a very familiar-looking grappel line. He shoots it off towards another building and zips himself over. Should Nightwing look like he's going to follow, he will cut the wire whether or not it's in use.

"Hasta la Vista, baby!" is called.

Dick doesn't make any aggressive moves, even when Jason draws on him again, and he's either too stunned to follow or willing to give his brother the space he obviously wants. Only once this 'Red Hood' is out of sight does Nightwing whisper, "Jason? What the hell, man?"

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