Stepping Up

August 27, 2016:

Kane checks in with Babs about some police deaths in Gotham, they discuss the younger Bats and May turns up…

Hamiltons' Gym - Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

After Tim and Steph left, Babs didn't sleep. Instead she went straight back to work, propping Katherines blood soaked teddy bear on the console near her - a reminder of the stakes they find themselves up against.

For most of the family it's not unusual for her to be quiet during the day. Kane might think it odd that she's this quiet, but that might depend on his mood and how busy he is.


There's been media reports about a disturbance in The Narrows that's left six GCPD are dead and another four badly injured but the situation seems to be under control. The only communication Kane's received from the redhead is that she's more information on that.


When Kane said he had to 'clean up some things before he went to work' he really meant 'go to work'. As in his shop. If Babs has looked in on him at all he's been busily working his forge. Absent a communique that says she needs him now, he just keeps going. It's early evening before he can get away from his work and check in on her personally.

He finally does come though. Plainclothes this time. His costume and kit is in his truck probably. There's a knock on her computer room door frame to signal that he's arrived.


If it was important, Babs would have said so and she knows where the Fox was, just as she knows where the others are. Well, except Tim now.

"There's no need to knock, I know when you're here and you weren't trying to hide your approach." she murmurs turning to look at him. "I take it you got my message?" she'll look awful. Not only tired, but careworn and sad, though she'll do a credible job at hiding the latter from most everyone except those who know her best. "The business is a front for the greeks. I've been watching them. This is what happened…"

The video screens start to show the security footage of the area and someone walking into the building. About twenty minutes later, two police vans pulls up and twelve police disembark and surround the entrance. It's not really clear what happens then, the footage is covered with static and when it clears, there are ten officers on the ground and an eleventh body, just in the doorway.

"According to GCPD reports - they were hit with something. The six officers were killed instantly, the other four gravely injured. One of the officers said they got lucky and they were able to shoot perpertrator."


"Did they get a description on the perp?" The druid steps inside the door and peers on the screen. That static bust wasn't that long so whatever hit them was moving fast. He can only think of a few things that dangerous. None of them are good news. None at all.


"I did." A photo of the cadaver appears on the screen. They seem completely human but Kane will know this is one of Medusa's casters. And they just took out ten people in a matter of seconds. "Harriet Phillips is the name we have for. But I suspect you might know her by another. I can play the audio that was captured when all it went down, but basically, she walked out of the building and … they fell."

All the while, Katherines teddy bear stares out over the console, it's light brown fur covered with what now looks like rust.


"Could be a spell. She's a witch, so that would make sense. Could also have been a summoned or controlled beast. I'd have to get to the scene to tell for sure." He doesn't say it, but Kane will do it later tonight.

"Anything else?" He does mean anything. He suspects that Babs and her younger Bats had at least a bit of a talk after he left.


"If you like, I'll come with you when you do." Babs knows the druid will make his way over there, sooner rather than later. "I was thinking just spellcaster, to be honest. The thought of another summoned beast just leaves me cold." Given The Lord of The Feast is still at large and looking for her, that's really not a wonder.

His question gets a sharp green eyed glance "Tim quit. Walked out and left his suit. He and Steph, they just don't understand … " what they're dealing with.


It needn't be 'another' summoned beast. It could be the Lord of the Feast. Kane doesn't mention that though. It doesn't seem particularly likely to him for one reason: There were survivors. Also Babs is worked up enough as it is. No need to be bringing up that, not right now.

"He did huh?" Kane's voice is flat and his look is flat as well. Then he sighs and runs his hand through his hair. "I'm sorry Babs. I want to be more sympathetic, I do. I'm sure it was difficult for him. But after that conversation, his blind unwillingness to accept culpability in anything… he's not cut out for this." 'This' being what Kane is doing, not vigilante-ing in general. Tim may not be cut out for that either, but he'll not make that judgement.


Clearly Babs isn't thinking in the direction that it might be The Lord of The Feast and it's likely good that The Fox doesn't mention that, right at the moment.

"Yeah, he did." Kanes flat look and tone have her recoiling slightly, the sigh helping her regain some equilibrium. It's unusual to see her so rattled. Unless she's just been attacked by The Joker. "I don't think he is, either. This isn't a war The Bats know how to fight."

But there's clearly more to it than just Tim quitting. "For the first time, in a very long time Kane, I drew a line. A line that differs to the overall Bat Philosophy, but … I'm not sure we've thought about it in these terms. And that line, I feel will distance me from them." Her family, so to speak.


Kane blows out another long sigh and nods at Babs explanation. "This is why, by the way, I don't usually involve 'normals' in these things. The temptation to apply the rules of the life they understand is too great. Most wind up doing it and it gets someone killed. If I'm lucky, it's just the person in question. This time, not so lucky."

"How you handle your friends is up to you Babs, but I can tell you now they don't understand and they don't want to understand, so I need to go back to doing this solo." Or, you know, with the help Babs can provide. He's seriously thinking of calling in SHIELD on this one, since Babs floated it as an option.

"What do you want to do? It's not too late for you to back out of this fight."


"I know they don't understand." Babs sighs as well, eyes settling on the teddy bear for a moment. Kane had meant that as a lesson for Tim but it served as a lesson for her as well. Underscoring her failure on Steel City to boot. "And I feel they'll villify me for supporting you. But with the monsters, I can't see another way …" she gestures to the screen where the footage still displays "… and our police force, our civilians are paying the price."

And by monsters she doesn't mean the regular run of Bat criminals that end up in Arkham either. She might not like the Bat catch and release program but at least that game is played on a more level playing field.

Standing, still looking rattled, she shakes her head and places a hand to his shoulder "You're my friend too, Kane and I don't want to see you do this alone. I've watched from the sidelines enough already. I don't want to back out, you know that but thank you for asking."


"We, the unappreciated, must do the impossible and see the unthinkable to protect the ungrateful." Kane quotes. "Unofficial motto of my circle. I don't do this to make friends Babs. If they want to villify me they can. They can say whatever they like so long as they stay out of the way." Which is safer for them if they're not going to heed his expertise and safer for him because he won't have to babysit them… or fight them.

"It's going to get back to Bruce, you know. That Tim quit. How are you going to handle that?"


"I know you don't." Babs hadn't meant Kane. She'd meant that her family would distance themselves from her. Which she'll come to terms with but still hurts.

"It probably already has." For once the redhead shrugs at the question "If he asks, I'll tell him what happened. I might even tell him that The Bats just simply aren't prepared for this. Although, after our discussion with him a few months ago, I believe he knows. He gave me the directive to help you and focus on it."

If Bruce calls her on it, she'll have the discussion. If he doesn't, then that's good too.

Her comms systems beeps just at that moment and a message from May appears on the screen Just spoke with a mutual friend. Can we meet?

"She was meeting with Tim, of that I'm sure. And I think you'll want to talk her about backup." Without waiting for an answer the message goes back:

Come on over. I've another mutual friend who may need help.

When May gets there, she can go straight in and will find Kane and Babs standing in the comms centre. Babs hand on Kanes shoulder and the redhead looking tired and heartworn. On her console, looking out over the proceedings is a blood stained teddybear.


May arrives and lets herself in, moving like she's got important intel to share. Which, if we're being honest, is likely very true. She does hesitate, though, when she sees the teddybear. Because it brings back thoughts of Bahrain, and that is NOT something she needs in her head right now. Both Babs and Kane get nods hello.


Gotham's druid looks surprisingly normal out of costume, and he is out of costume. Just a grey tee shirt, jeans and workboots. He's very, very fit. Comes of quite literally being a blacksmith. When May comes in he glances over from where he's standing next to Babs. "Agent May."

After the conversation the druid had with Tim he's not feeling too kindly toward the young Bat, but he's quite curious to know what kind of things he might have told May.


"May…" Babs greets the woman, noting the look at the teddybear and wincing. Not that she knows it elicits thoughts of Bahrain, it's just that reminder of the redheads own failure.

"You said you wanted to meet? I take it you met with Red Robin?" that should be enough for Kane to know that May doesn't know the young bats identity.

Finally realising how long she's been at things today, Gothams Information Goddess sighs "I could use a cup of tea, do you both have time? I think Kane wants to speak to you about helping out here, May. Things … aren't going well."


May nods at her acceptance of the tea, and keeps her report about RRobin short and to the point. "He told me about a fight that turned fatal. If he were a SHIELD agent I'd take him to Medical to be evaluated for PTSD." It's left unsaid that she clearly can't do that. "If you have anyone you can recommend for him, maybe he'll actually listen." Then she turns to the currently non-Fox Kane. "What's going on?"


The snort from Kane gives his opinion about Tim actually listening to anyone. "I've got a gang war of the supernatural versus mortal type brewing in Gotham and a syndicate operating that may be trying to pull the same trick here that they pulled in Steel City. The locals…" He gestures in Babs direction. "Aren't any help except for her and the one the call Misfit. In fact they're worse than no help, they're the opposite of help. And frankly I need the help. There's only one of me and an awful lot of ground to cover."


"He said it turned fatal?" That has Babs' eyebrows rising. "He sliced open a blood mage and didn't follow through. They got away and killed a family of three to recover." The bear gets a gesture and Babs repeats Kanes words "Her name was Katherine and she was eight." Realising how she must be sounding, the redhead takes a breath, calming herself before continuing "This isn't the type of war The Bats are used to fighting, May. I know our philosophy but with the monsters - it just can't apply. Look at Steel City."

May might also notice on Babs screens, the footage of the police officers being killed by … something. The moment of the strike is affected by static - when the static is gone, there are ten officers down. Four clearly badly wounded, the others? Dead.

"I doubt our bird will listen to me at the moment. He thinks I'm compromised and not thinking straight. But I will try. We have someone who can help him, I believe."


May says to Kane, "I'll mobilize WAND for this, so long as the Batman knows that that is why we're coming into his city. We've stayed out thus far because it's been made abundantly clear in the past that outside assistance was NOT wanted." Then Babs explains what Tim meant by his story — and she knows she likely paraphrased it incorrectly, but she did promise not to share the details.

"Maybe that's what he meant by it turned fatal. And if you want, I can relay the contact information to him. Beyone that, it'll have to be up to him to get help." Because having him talk him down from a minor panic attack? May should have recorded THAT to shove in the Batman's face. Children. He's built an army of CHILDREN.


Kane looks to Babs. She can communicate to the Bats that WAND is coming in and why. "I don't think Batman will give you trouble but if he does it's because he doesn't understand the magnitude of what's going on here." Frankly, after Steel City everyone should understand the magnitude of the threat or at least Kane thinks so but some people apparently want to keep playing with the kid gloves on.

"How can I best be in touch with your people? I can relay through Babs here and I've got an ear to the local supernatural scene and some of the organizations that haven't been turned by them." The druid pauses and sighs. "A lot of them are criminals. Violent criminals at that. But they're better than the alternative." So he works with them. Doesn't mean WAND has to, though. He can keep them in separate boxes.


"I'll tell him." Babs sighs. That will be so much fun.

"Comms is easy. I've set the OracleNet up, just for this type of thing." Kane and May aren't aware that handled interstellar communications when the JL:A went to visit Apokolypse.

It's a few minutes work and both Mays and Kanes comms units have a separate frequency programmed "Just select that frequency when you need to talk. I'll hear it, of course." There's … not a lot that escapes Gothams Information Goddess.

Considering Mays suggestion for an address, Babs hesistates for a very long moment. Giving out that information brings the Agent one step closer to the Bat Family. "Tell… no… suggest Robin go speak with Leslie. She's been helping us for years." That should be enough. Though she sincerely doubts that Tim will do that. If she knows her 'little brother' at all, he'll hold onto the guilt till it consumes him.


Or until May gives him a cognitive recalibration and drags him by the scruff to this Leslie person. She nods to Babs, then checks her phone and her comm earpiece to confirm that the new channel is working. "I can have a team in here as early as tomorrow, and I'll make sure you're both points of contact."


"I'll get you some information then. I've got absolutely no shortage of things that need taken care of." That is sadly not an exaggeration.

The druid turned blacksmith glances at the time. "I should go get something to eat before tonight starts. You two staying here or…?"


"If you don't mind company, I wouldn't mind getting out…" Babs answers Kane as she nods to May. She doesn't have a regular patrol route - not an official one. "I wouldn't mind getting a look at where those police died, either."

"May, if you need anything, you know where to find me." It's getting on evening and time for all good Bats to be out and about.


May nods to them both and moves to leave when they do. She needs to get back to the Triskelion and set up the teams to be in Gotham tomorrow, after all.

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