A Signal in the Sky

July 08, 2016:

The Black Widow reaches out to The Batman for help.

Gotham PD Roofs

Characters

NPCs: none

Mentions: Commissioner Gordon

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Black Widow had her game plan set, but until she could execute it along with Falcon, she needed to broaden the scope of the search, see if she could get another set of eyes on the target. After all, there's no telling if the Winter Soldier may have had some targets or safehouse about Gotham.

As there was one authority for such things in Gotham more reliable than all others, she actually made her way here, to the rooftop of the Gotham PD and activating the Bat Signal. Sure, it would be noticeable by all, which is why she used her connections with SHIELD to get permission to contact Batman on a classified matter.

It doesn't take long for Batman to respond. A few minutes, it seems. His voice simply echoes in the shadows near the edge of the rooftop, and he steps a half-pace forward until his boots just barely touch the corona of the powerful spotlight. Like a shadow— suddenly, he simply appears, defying even Natasha's supremely honed senses.

"Where is Gordon?" Batman says. His voice is a harsh monotone— gravelly, utterly lacking inflection or any hint of human warmth. He steps forward one more pace, featureless white eyelenses in his cowl facing the woman. His cloak stays bound close, barely revealing his knees when he walks and keeping his entire body and body language utterly impossible to read. There's something about him that is profoundly unsettling, as if he were something nearly human masquerading as a person.

Whether caught off guard or not is tough to say, because Natasha remains quite cool and collected, simply turning off the signal the moment Batman speaks, as she turns her head to look up at him, "quite an entrance," she remarks, not immediately answering the question as she holds up an envelope towards Batman.

"I'm afraid I lack Gordon's good looks and charm, but I come here with his knowledge, to ask for a favor…you've a reputation, Batman, you like to keep the people safe, yes?" She stalls a moment, studying what she can from Batman's demeanor, he strikes quite an imposing figure, though no emotion reflects on Black Widow's visage.

Batman doesn't respond to her commentary. He doesn't in fact, say anything at all— his head tilts down to look at the envelope in her hands, and then pans back to focus on her fine Slavic features.

And there he stands, looking for all the world like a gargoyle come to life. He barely appears to even be breathing, save for the tell-tale drift of his nostrils. The wind conspires to tug at the tips of his long cloak but it never moves more than an inch or two as he states at Natasha, waiting for her to clarify her statement.

"Not a big talker, are you?" Natasha says, not a trace of Russian accent in her words, though her features there's not much she can do about, at least not when she intentionally did not disguise herself. "So…do you want me to climb up there? Or are you going to come have a look? I honestly don't bite," she offers glibly with a playful wink.

Keeping her right hand holding the envelope towards Batman, she adds, "there's someone who is quite dangerous, he's on the loose, and he's been put under the control of Hydra, an organization far too much in love with death. Can SHIELD count on you to help spot him if he comes by your city?" Yes, there's the police, there's the Government, but it seems SHIELD holds to the notion that Batman is the guy that really gets things done in Gotham.

Batman stares at Natasha a bit longer. Just long enough to let her know he's not in a hurry to respond— trying to make her question if she should volunteer more.

He finally takes a step and drops down off the spotlight shed, putting him on the same level as Natasha. He's not a superhumanly tall or big man, but even wrapped in shadow and darkness, he still somehow manages to look like a giant— something more than human.

Finally, he plucks the envelope from Natasha's fingers, but he doesn't immediately open it, glancing down at the envelope to examine it quickly.

"Who?" he asks, in another grating monosyllable.

Regardless of looks, his 6'2 compared to her 5'7" makes difference enough all on its own. "You like to play psychological games," Natasha comments off handedly, not really expecting anything in reply, as she waits for Batman to take the envelope from her, within is a picture of the Winter Soldier, his cybernatic arm with the Red Star emblazoned on his upper arm quite notable. "Goes by codename Winter Soldier, ex-KGB, currently works for Hydra, by no choosing of his own according to my intel. He's a world class sniper, extremely well trained agent, and a big threat. He has a hit list, and so far SHIELD was able to save 2, we want to make sure there won't be any others in need of saving."

Looking at the white lens' of Batman's mask, Natasha asks direct and to the point, "if he sets foot in Gotham, whether to seek a target, or for an unknown safehouse, can we count on you to report a sighting? You will be doing your country a great service."

Batman doesn't respond to the accusation. He flicks a fingertip along the envelope and dumps the contents partially out, then pulls out a photograph and examines it with a flickering glance. It goes back in the envelope and he looks back to Natasha, holding the envelope in his gloved fingertips.

"I don't 'do' favors," Batman tells Natasha in those gravelly tones. "Not for strangers and not for the government." It almost looks like he's glowering at the woman for her temerity in hijacking the Bat Signal in order to flag him down for this meeting.

"There are some reports in the envelope as well, if you like some light reading about Winter Soldier's handy work." Natasha offers, still keeping a frozen visage as Batman makes a whole show about being anti. To be honest, she was a bit surprised by his show of refusal, even though it doesn't mean he won't actually be keeping an eye for Winter Soldier activity around Gotham.

"Try for your city…word about you is you do what you do to keep the people of Gotham safe, where the police are left helpless," Natasha recites as if from a file she read about the Batman, "Winter Soldier will reduce the population if he stops by, I would say by your own M.O. this is more 'duty' than 'favor'."

"That's my business. Not a favor." Batman's voice barely rises from that surly rasp, his voice yet a level monotone. Down below in Gotham, a dog starts barking, to be cut off by a drunken shout and a sharp kick that is heard more in a pained yelp than anything else. The city's coming to life again after midnight— barflies staggering home, drug dealers emerging from their den. Even on the roof of Gotham PD, gunshots can be heard popping in the distance. A city in perpetual turmoil.

"Who are you?" Batman demands of Natasha. His words are a hash inquisition, thrown at her like rocks to pelt her sense of awareness— there's nothing supernatural behind the demand. Just a remarkable sense of authority married to a chillingly, ultimately authoritarian presence.

As the darkness falls and the city's soundtrack shows it's true colors, Natasha turns to look around at the view, a smirk appearing on her face, "nice city, I think I should consider moving." It could be a remark made in jest, perhaps a serious one, or maybe just an attempt to get some kind of reaction out of the Bat, he's been disappointingly monotone throughout thus far. Aside for the psychological intimidation games.

Turning her back rather casually on Batman, Natasha starts to walk towards the edge of the roof, "who I am really doesn't matter if you don't care to assist. I'll find him even without your help." She does turn to offer a playful salute to Batman, "thanks for considering my request, big guy."

Except when she turns away, Batman's not there. In the space between her turning away insouciently and that tossed salute, the Dark Knight had faded into shadowy obscurity— simply vanishing without sound or trace. Save for the faintest suggestions of overturned gravel on the roof where he'd been standing, one might be almost willing to question if in fact he'd been there or not, if he was just an apparition—

But, Natasha's envelope is gone, too.

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