Under City Hall

July 04, 2016:

Following up on the lead of monsters moving in under the tunnels of Gotham, The Batfamily move in. (emits by The Fox)

Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Like most cities its age, Gotham is riddled with tunnels and underground passages in the form of everything from smuggling tunnels to disused subway extensions. Many of these are collapsed, flooded or extremely unstable but enough of them are usable that a skilled and well informed spelunker can get from East End to the Chery Hill without ever so much as seeing daylight.

This 'second city' is extremely poorly mapped, but that doesn't make it at all abandoned. Homeless regularly use these tunnels for shelter. Criminals use it to escape notice or hide stolen goods. And Gotham's stranger element uses it for it's own strange purposes.

Recently, Barbara Gordon has been informed that the tunnels under City Hall are being used to stage an attempt to coopt the city government. Exactly how was left unsaid but was one there are certainly plenty of options none of the good for Gotham or the would be victims. The timeline was similarly murky but very soon seemed to be the order of the day.

The Fox - Gotham's sole magical enforcer at the moment - had to take care of a similarly pressing problem across town involving something about the strange ritual that destroyed Steel City. So the preservation of the city government is left to the Bats. Fortunately the Bats are (comparatively) numerous and know the tunnels quite well.


The Bat-Clan is an almost the ideal scout team. Capable of long-range reconnaissance and surveillance, they're completely silent and used to operating individually or in pairs for prolonged periods at a time. They're all, to a man (and woman), exceptionally well trained detectives and masters of observational deduction.

Batman undoes the latches on an abandoned well grate and drops down into it with a kerthumpf of boots on heavily built up dust. He makes some noise, but less than might be expected, and starts padding down a narrow corridor to one of the large, abandoned water overflow tunnels.

"Batman here. I'm in Corridor Twelve and headed… south," the Dark Knight rasps into the communicator. "Oracle. Is video feed coming through?"


"This is not what I had in mind when you said we should meet and discuss the Jason thing," Nightwing says into his own communicator as he picks his way gingerly around a puddle of stagnant hopefully-water that has collected in the bottom of his assigned pipe. "I thought we might, you know… see each other's faces. Coffee? Lunch? I know all the rest of you eat." He pauses, considering the current Batgirl, then amends, "I think all the rest of you eat."


The long echoey pipe that Red Robin occupies yields sludge — lots of messy sludge. He coughs once into his communicator, an indicator of his less than happy gag-reflexes. It's moments like these Tim is thankful for the filter in his cowl; he can only imagine how vile it smells without that piece of tech.

With a frown he responds through the communicator, "How can you think about eating at a time like this?" The smell is enough to ruin anyone's appetite.

One of Red Robin's gloved hands reaches up the tunnel and feels the side. "Watch for inscription. Greek. Snakes. Three snakes," Tim's voice instructs. He hmmms quietly. "It's important." Pause. "Or a crystal." He squints. "Or a box." He coughs again and wrinkles his nose, causing a bubble in his cowl.


Oracle had most certainly informed the Bats there was a mission. She and Tim had had time to discuss it at length. The word had gone out to the others - come prepared. Normal Bat equipment simply wouldn't cut it. Blessed wood, holy oil, silver … to start with. What she didn't know is what they would find there.

The denizens of the dark had grown wise to her ways and the camera's in the tunnels had been disabled. Not hard to do with brute force.

"They are, Batman." the redheaded information avatar of Gotham replies. Her current location is undisclosed.


They aren't all coming in at the same place — spread out, we can do more damage that way. Batgirl, at least, is entering the tunnels via a different entrance: a small drainage pipe covered with a rusted iron grating. It takes some wriggling, but she is one of the wriggliest of the bats.

Cass ends up in a tunnel she can crawl in without both elbows touching the walls, which is much more pleasant than the one she was in a moment ago. There's a lot of silence from her, initially, after Nightwing's offer. Then again, there's typically a lot of silence from Cass.

Silence. Silence. "…Thai?"


City Hall in Gotham is an ornate, vaugely gothic looking building thankfully sans the usual gargoyles that seem to be on everything in this city. It's also one of the older buildings in Gotham despite having been rennovated and rebuilt several times and that means the underways are a bit layerd in it's immediate vecinity. Just beneath the ground there's the sewer, power and water maintenance tunnels. Below a subway station that never quite took off. The exit was dug but the building that was to be the terminal has since been converted into offices attached to the main City Hall building and the entrence to the tunnels sealed off with concrete. Below that are a network of smugglers and underground railroad tunnels partly built into an existing cave network. All three of these layers converge, however, meet at a single juncture point where the sewege pipes and tunnels split in several directions. From here the department of power and water monitor usage and respond to any pressing emergiencies anywhere in the downtown area. Anything that's not for official use is sealed off behind heavy steel security doors.

When the Bats arrive those doors have been torn off their hinges. The remains of them are dented and crumpled, laying off to the side. The emergency lights are off. Power seems to have been either cut or shut off at the source. Just inside that junction there are… sounds. Low gutteral growls that echo in the darkness of tunnels and caves accompanied by humanoid figures moving in low, hunched gaits.


Batman stops well before exiting the shadows he's hiding in— moving along the largest artery of the access tunnels, he sticks to the darkness like it's second nature to avoid the mischance of being spotted. He is, but once, by a pair of homeless men cooking over a low pile of cardboard— a flicker of shadow in their eyes and gone.

They look at one another and without discussion, start packing their things to find Somewhere Else to be.

"Time for that later," Batman growls into his communication, sub-vocalizing. "We've got work to do." That pretty well cuts the discussion down, and Batman hunkers down to analyze the destroyed doors.

Finally gauging that no enemies are nearby, Batman keys his headset. "Everyone converge on me," Batman gravels. "The security doors are gone— off the hinges. Someone must have blown them apart. Or … torn them down," he remarks, reassessing the situation at a glance.


"I can think about food at a time like this because I've been training, Red," Nightwing answers chidingly. "It builds an appetite. You need to be protein loading. And probably carbs, too, if you're planning anything strenuous for that night, like what we're doing now." There's a short pause, then: "Sorry, slipped into trainer mode for a second."

Batgirl's response elicits a grin from the oldest Robin. "See? I love Thai. Who doesn't love Thai? Great way to load up on all sorts of good stuff, if you don't let the rice soak up the sauce."

Batman's chiding quells his banter, but he does respond with a slow sigh. "Alright. Headed that way." A slight understatement — a grate pops off its hinges a second later, and Nightwing slides silently through the gap it leaves and drops into a ready crouch. With a quick glance to note the state of the doors, he nods to Bruce and slides a pair of his winged boomerangs out.


Red Robin squints at the response from Nightwing, but cuts the chatter as per the directions. Undoubtedly, time away, if anything, has made him more focused. Oddly, when his cohorts see him, he still has May's katana at his side hooked into the utility belt.

Coming to the convergence point, Red Robin peeks over his shoulder. The sound causes goosebumps to trail up his spine, and him to reach towards the condensed bo staff at his belt.


"Stop talking." Oracles voice, sounding different comes over the comms. "Or I'll mute you." the redhead rounds the corner to join the rest of them. Dressed in blue leather, reinforced with metal, and a cowl that covers the top half of her face, her long red hair is in tight braid that falls down her back.

Raising her right arm to look at the device on her arm, she's quiet for a moment. "Cameras are down, but I've access to the building systems. There's no lighting that I can flood the place with." Which is a tactic that she's used with The Fox a couple of times. "I'd suggest flash bangs going in - some of them simply don't like light. And I can always overload the power to make things sizzle."

It will take the offices above them out, but better that then monsters getting out, right?


Cass doesn't have to be told to stop talking. One word and everyone's grumbling. She appears at the central node just a moment behind the others, scudgey water dripping off her knees and ankles.

She's silent when given her orders, too; she just gives a nod of acknowledgement. Her head turns to Oracle too and she pauses, head tilting, looking her over. Whatever she's thinking, of course, she keeps to herself — she just brushes her fingertips over the part of her belt where she keeps the flashbangs.


Charlie was actually managing to be very quiet for once, perhaps it is the fact she is actually on a mission and doesn't want to make everyone mad at her. Maybe she is learning restraint. Maybe she is just loving the hunt right now and some part of her is instinctually falling into line with prowling through the darkness. Whatever it may be she chimes in just a tiny bit «Thai is tasty.» and then is silent before the chiding happens, no one wants to be muted.

Misfit's goggles are tinted red, infra-red turned on but also a bit of a detection enchant on them because.. well Oracle totally did relay that they should bring oddly occulty sounding gear so best be prepared. She sneaks out of one of the tunnels and hunches in the shadows and peeks towards the door. She pauses and then her head tilts to the side cocking like an animals «Does anyone else hear growling?» over the subvocal microphone. She digs around in her utility pouch and pulls out something holding it in her hand clenched.


The room beyond, that control room for the water and power, is a circle about fifty feet across. It is pitch black within, but those with the ability to see in the dark (and hey, these are the Bats after all) can see twenty five or so hunched over, misshapen forms that would probably be just under five feet if they ever manged to stand all the way up. They neither look nor sound human but they are clustered near three fallen forms which probably are.

Body temperature does not give a good prognosis of their present state.

The scent of blood is thick in the air, and while that's off putting it's a good thing since it means the goblin-y things within haven't scented the Bats. Nor have they seen or heard them, so that gives them the element of surprise.

That's the good news. The bad news is two fold. There's a flow of air coming out of the room from the subway section of the tunnels. A flow of fresh air. Someone or something has broken the concrete slab that sealed this portion of the the underways off which means that someone or something is already in City Hall. Which brings the Bats to part two: If someone is already in City Hall, they've got no time to waste at all. Possibly not even time to waste defeating all of these… things.

For an ordinary group it might already be too late. But this is the Bat Family. And they're all here.


Batman lifts his chin and sniffs the air several times. He's not superhuman— just extraordinary. But it's enough to catch the scent of blood and death, the flow of fresh air— a hint of ozone, maybe? And machine and chemical smells…

He flicks his hand at Oracle, signing quietly. ~Contact GPD at City Hall. -Quietly- secure lock up the machine room.~

He glances around, keying his own HUD on his mask, bringing up a map overlay as that remarkable strategic awareness kicks into full gear.

~Batgirl. Robin. Take the bypass corridor to Hall 3-B. Get into City Hall. Evacuate civilians however you have to.~

His white HUD flickers off and the eyemask covers retract, his cold blue eyes focusing on the remaining allies. ~Oracle. Nightwing. Banger-nines,~ Batman orders, palming his own micro flashbang ordnance. ~We'll cover your first approach. Misfit— with me. We move past the first line of attackers and hit their flanks with percussion devices. Sound and light should scare them out the door.~

Batman looks around at everyone as they ready themselves, then activates the microexplosives and in silent unison with the other Bats, hurls a fistful of flashbangs into the room to clear an attack line for Oracle and Nightwing.


"You can't mute me. We're face to face," Nightwing says, turning to Oracle with a raised eyebrow. One corner of his mouth curls downward — Bruce getting on his case about comms discipline is one thing, but Babs? There is a mission to focus on, though. "Understood, Batman," he says with a quick nod. The young man sets himself in a runner's crouch, huffs out a breath, and sends his pair of wangarangs spinning into the group of … undead? ghouls? Who even knows, anymore. Mid-flight, the projectiles go off with bursts of harsh, strobing light.

Nightwing follows at a sprint, battering the nearest targets with what he has privately started to think of as his wizard sticks — similar enough to his usual batons, but enchanted by Fox in some way he doesn't really need to understand. He moves with perfect grace, bounding from target to target acrobatically. Anything to his left will remain an open corridor for Cass and Tim.

Mission or not, though, there's more he feels the need to get off his chest. And with Barbara and Bruce assigned to his leg of the mission, the people he most feels the need to speak to are still handy. "I mean, do we just not talk to each other anymore?" he asks from the center of a whirling death-tempest of mystical melee attacks. "First somebody with her return to the field, now we're just not going to discuss someone we consider a family member returning from the dead?" One of the humanoids lands a vicious blow to Nightwing's side, and he staggers aside and comments, "That hurts."


The order is given a sharp nod and Red Robin breaks into a run towards the corridor to make his way to City Hall. Nightwing's cleared path makes the first leg of the journey easy, but bodies following the first onslaught permit others entrance in their wake.


"Don't tempt me." Babs teases Nightwing about silencing him even as she nods to Batman as he signs to her. That's easy, really. She's backdoors into the GCPD, has had for years. An alert appears on their systems and with a little more work, tapping at the device on her arm, she tries to the secure the machine room. If it's possible - admittedly, this group hasn't shown much aptitude for the technology side of things, but things change.

Drawing her escrima sticks - walnut capped with rowan, inscribed with mythical sigils and bat iconology (a gift from The Fox) - and palming her own flashbangs, she starts moving "Let's do this."

As the devices go off, she whirls, bringing her sticks down on the first creature she finds. "Really, Nightwing. How many times do I have to say it. I'm a woman grown. I make my own decisions." The next step of steps puts her inline to hit the one that gets Nightwing, leaving her back open to another looms behind her.


There's no time to comfort Nightwing. They have a mission to do; people to save, bad things to beat up. Tea and Thai and sympathy later, perhaps, if they all come back. She falls in alongside Robin, sprinting along with him to join the fray. Save the civilians—not her very best skill, but perhaps one she had better improve at.


At the orders Misfit gives a sharp nod, though she almost misses the call to action due to Nightwing complaining about not talking. I mean.. she knows.. some of the others but not all.. which is why she loots the bunker and not the cave. She jerks startled into motion though and vanishes with a slash of pink and purple smoke from her spot crouched in shadows. A split second later the young redhead is flanking the monster's rear guard… sniff.. whatever they are so much blood here. With a HISSS "Catch this uglies!" she hurls her own flash bat pellets into their ranks. Well it wasn't a cry of Dark Vengeance this time… though she did hisss.. old habits and battle cries sometimes die hard. Her fists and feet follow the flashbangs into battle though moments later as she just leaps into the fray. The fighting style would be called controlled chaos, vanishing and reappearing to punch and kick and knee in the kidneys… they may even have kidneys.. the bad guys. Her weighted gloves and boots have a very faint red glow on them, One sole Asgardian rune etched into the back of each hand and the back of each boot.

Charlie catches one mitt right to the exposed jaw and there is some blood… then she vanishes and reappears behind the monster and cracks him in the back of the skull with a weighted foot pivoting for a kick… her chin with nary a scratch. "Jerk Face!" she growls, its all rumble though not very cursy.


The effect of the flashbangs is immediate. The hobs - for that is what these are, Cass and Oracle may recognize them from earlier times - howl in both pain and fury. There is nothing they hate and fear quite so much as the light. Far from retreating they look for the source of the light, swarming toward where the flashbangs had detonated. By the time they realize their mistake they're already caught out. Oracle and Nighting hit them from one side. Misfit and Batman from another. Twenty becomes fifteen becomes ten in seconds of fighting. The remainder are no less determined though. They thow themselves in twos and threes at the Bats, seeking to leverage their reduced but still superior numbers. In their hands are clubs and blades of bone and bronze. They look like nothing so much as relics from another age. One might almost mistake them for cavemen or something were it not for their inhuman hands and feet and the rows of needle like teeth that catch the light of the flashbangs.

Tim and Cass make it past the melee up the stairs and into City Hall. GCPD will already be scambling they know, but they won't be here for another six minutes at the best and probably more like ten.

If the pair were wondering how they would find the civillians that question is answered for them when they run into the spacious 'lobby' area - a wide open room that's almost an enclosed courtyard with a balcony running along the outer edges that leads into the offices of various city departments and functionaries. Those are presently empty. All of the building's occupants have been herded onto the ground floor. Most of them are kneeling. There's the Mayor and Assistant Mayor, there's several of the council members. Standing around the room are a number of hobs like the ones they left behind. More importantly there's an asiatic looking man with a sword, a troll with an icy club and…

The Bat. If the Bats haven't met him (some have) they've seen him in the papers. A monsterous fusion of bat and human, beast headed with burning red eyes and gleaming fangs. His chest is armored, his arms well muscled. And he's got the mayor by the collar. Looks like he's right about to take a bite out of him… or more likely a 'sip'.


Batman flickers past two lines of attackers when the hobs converge on Nightwing and Oracle. Even for someone watching precisely how he did it, it's still a remarkable feat— he uses Nightwing by stepping in the man's shadow, matching him pace for pace, and blocking himself from view from the goblins crashing in. When they attack Nightwing, none of them notice he's only got one shadow, not two.

Batman leaps upwards and clings to a series of pipes, then tugs himself atop one. Barely enough room to walk in a hobbled, low crouch, but Batman shuffles along with his cowl scraping the low concrete roof, until he's passed the bulk of the attackers. He fishes under his cloak and comes up with two concussive devices— in less than fifteen seconds, he breaks one apart to access the phosphor inside, and arms a second set of flashbangs with the other hand.

"Pyrotechnics on the floor in two… one." Batman leans off the catwalk and drops the entire shootin' match into the middle of the pack of goblins. The flashbangs had badly stunned and blinded a few of them, but with Nightwing and Oracle taunting them all into a giant growling pack, it makes for easy pickings. The phosphor explodes with eye-searing light and the flashbangs, doubly loud it seems, could wake the dead. The Dark Knight drops right into the middle of the back, phosphor clinging to his cloak, and flings it into a wide flaring arc— it makes it look as if the devil himself is under Gotham, burning with sulferous red light. And just to add to the confusion, he emits a booming, coughing roar, a sound no human should be able to reproduce, and not often seen outside the hunting grounds of the South American jaguar.

Batman seems to be counting on the reflexes of predators encountering a bigger, MEANER predator— when confronted by loud, explosive noises and lots of light, they tend to flee in panic.

"Mop up and move fast," Batman orders Oracle and Nightwing. He snaps his fingers at Misfit to get her attention and pumps his arm, pointing at the entrance to City Hall.

"Thirty seconds to rendezvous," Batman informs Cass and Tim.

Thirty seconds can be a very long time, though.


"I know! I'm not arguing with that," Nightwing tells Oracle as he soundly thrashes the hob (yes! that's what they're called) that dared to hit him. "It's just kind of a big deal! I just want to hear about the important things happening in your life, not make your decisions for you." It's a good thing that his mask covers his eyes, or Bruce might see the significant look Dick just shot at him. It's also a good thing Bruce isn't the sort of obsessive who knows how to pick up on subtle cues that someone just shot him a significant look. Oh, wait.

Idly, Dick wishes he could snap these batons together and extend them into a staff, like his own pair. A whirling bo is better for dealing with these big surrounding crowds, but he doesn't really want to deal with whatever magical resistance these critters have to physical attack, so the slower goon-by-goon onslaught of the dual sticks will just have to do.

When the crowd is decently thinned out, he tosses a cocky smirk at Bruce and says, "Thirty? Bet I can beat that." He's off like a shot before the sentence even ends, swinging from pipes and overleaping stairwells, using his batons as easy grips and leverage points as he goes.


Thanks to the route from the tunnels, the pair come in from a grate alongside the balcony running along the second floor of the building. This, of course, provides a vantage point to see the scene in its entirety. Yet, as usual, there is little time to react, especially with the Bat about to literally take a bite out of the mayor.

With a sharp suck of breath, a grapple hooks is aimed at the other side of the balcony and Robin soars above. His legs extend in front of him, and he, quite purposely releases his grip mid-flight with the intention of kicking the Bat squarely in the chest with the full extent of whatever momentum he's garnered. As he releases, his hand clasps his condensed bo staff.


"Hobs…" Babs calls out as she makes the forms out. "Light and Ir…." she blinks for a moment as Batman makes the spectacle, taking advantage of that to bring her sticks down on another creature. "Stop boasting and prove it." she calls to Nightwing, moving not as lightly as she once did through the melee.

With the Hobs distracted, things are far easier now and fingers dip into her utility and withdraws a small packet of iron filings. The content of which is flung into the air over the Hobs as she blocks another.


Batgirl narrows her eyes at the threatening few — the Bat, the sword-holding man, the troll. She focuses in, sending the image to Oracle's network. Partly to show what she's up to, partly for posterity. A snowflake appears over the image of the troll, a pair of fangs over the bat, and… an emoji of a magician's wand over the man with the sword. Don't judge Cass for communicating in emoji.

She's up in the ceiling in an instant, using her grapple to get as high as she can, then again to dangle right above the sword-wielding sorceror. Dropping upside-down like a spider from above, she reaches out to grab him with arms and legs and pull him into the air.


There is a second good kick to the base of the skull of the downed hob who clawed her. She catches the movement and then nods to Batman. She snaps a salute then squints at the image over the oracle network. "Oh crap that jerk… and friends…" and the girl runs and leaps hard … totaly a running start and vanishes with a slash of pink and purple smoke gone like she was never there. It is sort of like the ninja smokebomb but way more effective means of locomotion. Rapid response indeed.

On the other end of her leap she reappears out of thin air, with another slash of smoke, her chaos inscribed boot aimed at the trolls neck from side. Trolls. guh… like rocks…


The echoing booms of the flashbangs and pyrotechics going off in the chamber under the City Hall reverberate like an underground artillery duel in the lobby above. Batman's trick focuses all attention on him and much of that attention is now goggle eyed fear. The hobs start to flee but don't get far. Not with Nightwing and Oracle still working.

Tim hits the Bat mid bite. He's solid, and heavy, but he gets knocked over as both go down in a heap. The mayor is flung aside and impacts hard on one of the decorative columns.

In less than a second that Bat is back up, though. Unlike the hobs the Bat is superhumanly strong and fast. It shrieks literal bloody murder and goes right at Tim, aiming to try to grab him and drink him dry. "BLOOD! BLOOD OF THE WICKED!"

The asian sorceror drops his blade the instant Cass grabs him. Then he's suddenly in the air with a cry of surprise. So focused had he been on Tim that he'd missed the littlest Bat. "Grinder!" He calls out to the troll.

That's apparently the Troll's name and it cocks it's arm back to throw that club at Batgirl when Misfit kicks him. It's enough, just enough, to throw his aim off. The club goes wide though it does knock a nice hole in the roof very, very close to where Cass is anchored. The hobs, unlike the ones below, begin to scatter now that there's real resistance and all the civillians start to scramble for whatever cover they can find. By the time the rest of the Bats arrive the 'dance floor' should be cleared of all but combatants.


With only 23 seconds elapsed, Nightwing bursts into the lobby flying horizontally off of a grapple-assisted swing. "Score!" he says with a grin, landing at a perfectly balanced dash. "I win, so I pick the restaurant for the next weekly get-together. Hope you all like Thai." There is no weekly get-together. Even if there were, technically, Misfit beat him here.

Fortunately, that'll all there's time to say before he enters the melee. Quick to use the Bat's focus on Tim as a distraction, Dick leaps into the air, grabs some of the monster's armor for leverage, and swings in with one of his enchanted escrima sticks, aiming a devastating blow at the beastie's temple. "Wicked? Really? He's barely even mischievous." His legs swing in for purchase on the creature's side and he continues his attempted browbeating. Stupid vampires.


Batman stops just inside the entryway, letting the young BatClan go after the monster and his allies. It's for Batman to search and see what he can— he looks around with his heightened senses and enhanced vision. Looking for every nuance, every clue, anything out of place beyond the obviously out of place.

Then he snaps into motion, almost before his cloak had settled in the air, and goes to work. Even in a crowded team of five, there's rhythm and harmony, a deadly dance troupe at work. Batman flicks his cloak to cover Tim's blindside when he dodges away, and ducks behind one of Cass' parries to harry and harass her target. He lines up on the big troll and whips a bolo at his squatty ankles to try and trip up the best.


As he clatters to the ground, the bo staff is released from Red Robin's grip. The small condensed canister rolls on the floor just out of reach.
It's instinctive the way Red Robin's hand goes to the hilt of the katana and draws the weapon, even as he crumbles to the ground. Less instinctive are the two voices that echo in his head like the devil and angel on his shoulders. And, for once, the shoulder devil is louder. Much louder. The feel of the weapon in his hand is light and as the Bat aims to pick him up, Red Robin, with whatever leverage he's got while being hoisted in the air, aims to slice the man-beast with urgency rather than skill.

But with the moment bought from both the thrown cloak and Nightwing's aid, he slides backwards, buying a bit of space before more effectively brandishing the weapon, and getting a more secure grasp of the hilt. "not today," he mutters quietly. He steps forward to slice one of the Bat's rather beasty looking arms.


Oracles not far behind Nightwing, but she works slightly differently. Letting the others melee and stab at the beast - maybe they'll never be able to leave - the redhead surveys the room and taps at the device on her wrist, turning the sprinkler system on.

"Everyone else out." she says to any civilians left, this might be about to get flashy.

//Electricity overload. Move the Bat towards the junction box. In three, two … //

Better hope they're wearing rubber soles.


Good news: they weren't both crushed by a huge club. Bad news: the ceiling that's supporting them was. They aren't falling just yet, but Batgirl is not giving much faith to the structural integrity of Gotham civic infrastructure. She pushes the button to retract the grapple, drawing the both of them even higher. With the few seconds they have left, she wraps the cable around the man's ankles, releases the grapple, and fires it toward a more stable part of the ceiling. As they swing, she pivots, dangling upside-down as well to face him. Her blank, expressionless mask stares directly into his face and her hand… clenches rather than opening, and instead of snapping his neck, which her training would have suggested, sends the blow for his jaw instead.


Oh course Misfit cheats, horribly, though she would probably pick Thai so Charlie let's it slide this time. She vanished as soon as she kicked the monster and then is back on the other side landing kind of bucking bronco style on it's shoulders. "Eat this." she slams a runestone down on top of it's head with a flash of red light. She is liable to be thrown too because she clings and starts punching the beast in it's temples as she rides it like the Pony that Oracle just won't let her get. Sadness… .. "Giddyup!… ride em Vengeance!" or well maybe not too much sadness. Punch!


Batman is one of the world's premier observers. Give him a moment in a room and there's little he won't notice, even if the room in question happens to be on fire. This room is, fortunately, not on fire. Yet. The interior doors that he can see don't seem to have any damage on them and it's hard to imagine this lot being very gentle with the furnishings so odds are good the civilians were lured out or there's a traitor in their midst.

The other thing he notices is that troll has a slight but distinct limp on it's right leg. And since they're not particularly known for their agility and balance anyway, it makes sense to target that one. Misfit's best rodeo impression (complete with a runestone that leaves a pitted mark in it's stony skin) has it thrashing dangerously before it stumbles, pitches off to the right and goes down hard enough to take out two of those columns on the way.

Cass just… cold cocks the sorceror. For all the supernatural beasties in the room, he's not one of them and he can't take a punch any better than any other man. And if there's one thing Cass can do, it's punch. Oh can she punch. It makes the man sway like a piece of boxing equipment, but he seems to be done.

Nightwing and Robin (or should we say Robin 1 and Robin 3) discover two very important things about the Bat. Firstly, it's not really trained to fight. It's fast. It's strong. But it does not know Kung Fu. Hell it doesn't even know Tae Bo. This lets them get several telling hits in as they first force it to back off Tim and then buy some space to maneuver and flank.

Second: It can turn into smoke. Just when it seems like they have it backed into a corner where they can deliver a pummelling it just 'puff' disintigrates into smoke and flows behind them to deliver a pummeling of it's own.

And that's when Babs electrocutes everything. The troll screams. The Bat screams. The troll passes out (and catches fire), the Bat turns into smoke again and flows upward, toward the hole in the cieling/ It passes over Cass's swing line and when it's gone, so is Batgirls erstwhile prisoner.

And then the fire suppression system activates and drenches everything.


Dancing around the Bat's first few retaliatory strikes, Nightwing taunts, "Were you this slow before I hit you in the head or is it a new development?" It's said more to keep the vampire off balance than as a statement of fact; several of those smoke-assisted swipes came a lot closer than Dick would have liked. Barbara's time limit is a nice excuse not to put his cocky declaration to the test.

He drops a smoke pellet and leaps backward in an arc, as though to start a chain of back handsprings, but once concealed, launches one of his wrist grapples to sail upward alongside Cass instead. That … doesn't prove to be as neat an escape from the Bat as he expected. "Smoke! Smoke! Who's got something in their utility belt that can catch smoke?!" He starts furiously rifling through his own compartments, and ends up sprinkling an entire canister of garlic powder into the Bat-cloud.


Batman turns around, quickly, scowling mightily— then points at the air conditioners. "Oracle. Turn those vents on internal circulation and overload the intake fans," Batman orders the woman, quickly. He doesn't say any more than that— he just waits to see if they can catch the vampire menace.


Nightwing had recently told Babs that she performs a vital function as 'Oracle'. What he likely didn't realise is just how much of her systems she had made remote and today he gets to see that first hand. The airconditioning is changed and the fans reverse, with little effort from the masked redhead. It's unlikely they'll catch it - she suspects its long gone.

As to the Troll, it's being doused by fire and Gothams Information Goddess frowns as she moves to restrain it. "The Fox has modified a cell in the Auxilliary Batcave to restrain magical types. Take it there. I doubt it will give anything useful, but we can try."

Even with this nest cleaned out, they've still got their work cut out for them if they wish to avoid a reoccurance of Steel City.


Batman growls under his breath when Bat disappears, but it's hardly Oracle's fault— and it was likely wounded by the garlic powder. He looks around at his allies and students and nods, once. That's all anyone ever gets— a silent 'you did adequately'.

"Secure the troll and the sorceror. Full restraints and hit them with thorazine to keep them pacified. Fallback routes by the numbers and we'll rendezvous at the alternate cave."

He examines Batgirl and Tim with a furrowing of his cowl, suggesting a frown. "Why are you two covered in sewage?"


Charlie/Misfit toppled with the Troll as it toppled but she rolls and ends up on her feet dusting off. "The bat actually took the sorceror with it…. vampire tricks.. well whatever it is…" she adjusts a glove and looks to Oracle-Batgirl. "I want a batpony."


Batgirl has precisely nothing to put a vampire in; the best she can do is try to wave her cape at it, but to no avail. Annoyance is clear in her body language as she drops to the ground, recovering her grapple and looking over herself as Batman accosts her.

Shrugging, she replies: "Back door."


Everything is drenched. There's a troll that the crew might want to drag out of here (that thing is heavy) and there are sirens blaring in the background. GCPD is riiiiight on time. Time for the Bats to make one of their famous exits.

There's a lot of questions of course. Hopefully some answers will be forthcoming. Either way it's a good thing they were here tonight. City Hall has enough problems without adding a vampiric infestation to the list.

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