August 28, 2016:

Spoiler falls for a lured trap set on her Twitter feed. Batman helps her out and then issues a challenge.


A warehouse in the docks district of Gotham.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It really did start out pretty well for Stephanie before it… all kinda went downhill. Very quickly. The four muggers she'd stopped cold earlier had been taken to central booking, and because Gotham PD was overbooked and they'd been 'chastened' by the Spoiler, they were released on their own recognizance. So with four angry, humiliated men on the streets looking for a particular woman to vent their anger at, it'd be dangerous enough. But as it turns out… they worked for Brian Falcone. Scion of the notorious Falcone crime family.

So there was a call at the docks, a few hours later, someone tagging #spoileralert— four men robbing a guard station, or breaking or entering— hard to say.

Those four had turned out to be more like fourteen, and there was someone on a distant second floor balcony with a semi-auto rifle, a suppressor, and enough overlook to keep Stephanie from making good a second-story escape.

In a word, she had stumbled flat into a trap, and the Falcone syndicate were keen on catching an erstwhile member of the Bat Family.

Spoiler responded. How could she not? Her first bit of reconnaiscene went well. Four men, just like the tweet said, so down she went for a closer look. Right into the jaws of the Falcone syndicate, and the ten other men waiting for her. She was surrounded before she knew up from down. Her staff with pulled forth and brandished as she set up and flicked her glance around for something to help her out.

"Well, someone needs to learn to count. This is totally not four guys," she says as she spots that second story for an escape. No idea that they have some overwatch on her. She should have learned to expect it by now, but she hadn't. Overconfidence does that. She starts edging herself toward her planned escape, tense and ready for the fight she has a feeling is coming. She hasn't ever faced this many before, but she's sure she can make it out.

There's a sound of violent confrontation just ahead of her departure point. When Spoiler rounds the corner, there are four men on the ground— two of them armed with shotguns, and one of them quite cunningly concealed behind a stack of barrels. It's a sure bet she'd be testing how bulletproof her gear might be at that point.

"Sloppy," comes a familiar, rasping growl. Batman. Perched on a stack of flatpack crates, just outside of her peripheral vision. He scowls down at Spoiler, shaking his head.

"Told you. Not ready for Gotham. There are ten men in the yard still with guns and ammo. Falcone had a dozen more a half-block away on pursuit bikes. And your plan is… what. Take them all on at a once? Hand to hand?"

Spoiler looks up at Batman from the men on the ground.

"That's what you'd do. Hand to hand, in small groups," Spoiler retorts back, lips pressing into a line behind her mask. Her heart is pounding, she can feel it. Matman is so COOL!!!

"I'm not here for Gotham. I wasn't even here to come back, but last night, he got loose. On your watch. And he's out again. So, it's back on me," she says, glancing over her shoulder then back toward her escape route and then Batman.

"I don't have a plan. I have a goal. I'll make up the rest from here to there. It's all I've got," she says, chin inclining slightly. Oh, boy. Time to recall all those lessons she hated from Tim. The first one she already failed: check all entry and exit points before moving in. Oh well. Gotta find a new one. Steph is sure she can!

Batman shakes his cowl, dropping off the stack and moving towards Spoiler, bulling her back by dint of presence and personality. "A goal and some half-baked ideas are not a battle plan," he gravels at her, voice icy cold. "You do that, you're gambling— and this is not a game that rewards high-stakes play. The odds aren't in your favor." He leans closer to Stephanie, his eyeless lenses glaring at her. "Do the math."

He steps away and gestures curtly for her to keep up. "The sniper's dug in pretty well. Hard to drop him. So we play the numbers game. Isolate, separate— fear and misdirection."

"You chase them off, and I'll corral them. I don't want them seeing me— they'll panic and hole up. Ready?"

Bullied, Spoiler has no option but to backpeddle in teh face of incoming Batman. Beneath her mask, he face pales and her blue eyes widen. In her gloves, her hands go clammy, and she swallows harshly. Do teh math. Do the math. She's been doing the math. The math told her she was horribly out numbered and she had to cut and run. The way she straightens her back to try to face Batman down makes it clear: Stephanie realizes she's in a pickle, and Stephanie is also far too stubborn to not try to get out without a fight.

When Batman lets up on the intimidation, Spoiler takes a quick breath then lets it out. And then she's joggin quickly to keep up. Sniper? There's a sniper? The way Spoiler's visible eyes widen, that very bit of intel was completely new to her. She nods quickly to show her understanding. Fear and misdirection? Oh! Spoiler's not very scary. But… she's got some Sound bites from a halloween party last year that ought to be useful. Screams, and the like. Spoiler tugs out her phone.

"Ready," she says, tapping to the right application, before comfirming where he'd like her to start and then slipping away. Her heart's pounding, worse than the first time she ever did this. Like a rabbit's. She hides, watching the patrols int he night. A rock by her boot. She scoops it up, tosses it along the ground to get the guys to start and look that direction.. and then cue sound effect guy. Well, sound effect Steph. She couldn't get her usual sound effects guy to work nights. It's the laugh from Thriller. That one at the end of the song. And she rushes at the pair, cape spread out to make herself look bigger than she is.

What? It works for cats!

It works. The flare of the cloak, the Joker-esque cackle, the whimpering that ssounds like real, human pain— it startles the men near her into panicked retreat back towards the net of their allies. They don't make it far— a brutal knee to the side of the head, an elbow drop, and a neat pucnh to the temple knock all three of them down in sodden puddles. Batman drags the bodies into the shadows, then beckons Spoiler to move up, bringing up his wrist-mounted display and showing her body-tracking imagery from overhead. Thank you, Oracle.

"Six more down here. Four with rifles, here— the rest scattered with pistols. They're holed up. How do you get them out from their defensive positions?"

It worked?! I mean… of course it worked! It was a perfect plan. Beneath her mask, Spoiler beams while she bounces on her toes. If this were a football game she would be done a jump split. It's not, so she doesn't. Barely.

Moving over, Spoiler peers at the display, leting herself fangirl over it and the proximity for two heartbeats before focusing again. Her lips purse, as she thinks out loud.

"Bait, but it's risky. But give'em glimpses of their target, lead'em out where they're open. Harder sell with for the guys with the rifles. Longer range, more power. They're safer in there… unless they stop feeling safe in there. Back way in?" she asks, reaching out to try to touch the display to rotate it like a damn Pokemon GO map.

Batman eyes Spoiler, and smacks her wristbone with a kung-fu finger strike when she makes grabby hands at the gear. "Do you mind?" he growls at her.

"Stop thinking like a soldier," he chides her. "You were taught better than that. Look at the tools and equipment here. You have two choices when facing a foe in a better tactical position— you convince them to abandon the position, or eliminate the advantage of cover." He points at a heavy cargo-crate forklift parked not far away.

"Do you know how to drive one of those?"

Spoiler yelps quietly when her wrist is struck, and she draws her hand back quickly, rubbing at it with her other hand. Behind her mask is a pout, one that translates to her shoulders and the way she rubs. Her head turns when Batman points out the forklift, and her headtilts.

"No. But I'm a fast learner," she says, ever confident of her abilities. For verything else there's YouTube. And then she wonders if she could get a VR mask thing sleek enough to make it like a HUD in her mask and then she could YouTube for things she needed to know how to do quickly.

'Tank. I need operating instructions for a Toyota Mid IC Pneumatic Forklift.' "Dude, that would be so cool," she murmurs to herself before looking back over at Batman.

"I'm going to play Tetris with cargo containers, aren't I?" she asks. And can't you just HEAR the children glee?

"Don't kill anyone," Batman admonishes her— and then he's gone.

The thugs don't get much in the way of prep— there's a rambling, a rumbling, the sound of an engine kicking over. Stephanie rounds the corner with a Terex cargo-crate transport truck. The cargo box makes a terriffic improvised ram, and the men are stunned by a flashbang and smoke grenades, convincing them the world's exploding as Stephanie runs them down. Thanks, Batman.

While Stephanie's carooming around in the Terex, Batman silently and swiftly takes out three armed men— then vaults into the operator's seat, shoving Stephanie's shoulder pointedly. "Take the rest on the ground. I'll take out the observers," he says, reaching for the controls.

Spoiler beams beneath her mask. Forklift Tetris. If only she could get a badge for that!! It takes her a moment to get the engine going, but when she does, she happily careens the machine aorund the corner.

While it's fun to play Tonka Truck, Stephanie is mindful of people, working to ensure she doesn't hit anyone, let alone KILL anyone. When shoved, Spoiler slides out of the way, clinging to the roll cage with a hand.

"You got it," Spoiler says, complete with a two-finger scout salute, before she leaps from the forklift, rolls a neat landing, and sprints into a charge to drop the rest. Bo staff out, Spoiler finally seeks to work quickly. Confidence built by success (ie: Scary Spoiler Moment, check! Drive a Forklift at People without Killing them, CHECK! Nearly get to touch bat-gear, double CHECK!), Spoiler rides the high as she works to take down the rest, as requested. Because he might as well have told her 'please'.

Batman hits the Terex into a handbrake turn— a maneuver the vehicle was NOT designed to do— and the heavy cargo truck flings its payload at the overlook point, smashing through two walls and breaking the stairs. It ruins the nerve of the lone sniper, who drops his weapon with a clatter to the ground and flees for the fire escape in the dust and smoke.

Moments later, Spoiler and Batman are surrounded by enough bodies on the ground to make Jonestown look like a good start. At least they're alive, though some of them won't ever play piano or pro ball again.

"Injured?" Batman rasps at Spoiler, flicking his eyes towards her.

"A few scrapes, I might bruise. Hurt, not injured." A beat. "You?" And Spoiler turns her face to Batman, eyes earnest enough to reveal the innocent seriousness of her question. She's breathing hard from the exertion, but clearly has more fuel for those blue eyes are bright and focused.

Batman just gives Spoiler The Look. Dumb questions get The Look.

"Falcone's coming. Follow me. There's an outlet by the docks that we can use to escape."

And he's off and running with a flicker of his cape, and the two of them vanish into the shadows.

A few minutes later, they're rallied atop a rooftop nearby, and Batman squares up to Spoiler the moment her heels hit the asphalt roof.

"You were sloppy and careless, and you almost got yourself killed," Batman growls at Spoiler, standing six inches from her and forcing her to look /up/ at him. "This isn't a game for amateurs or dilettantes. You can't just drop in and out of the suit. Your mind remembers but your body forgets, and that's the narrow chink in your armor where a single bullet will kill you."

What?! It wasn't a dumb question! Spoiler frowns under her mask, but chases after Batman, tryign to memorize the route… just in case it's needed next time. On the roof, Spoiler straightens up and look up at the Batman. Her head is forced back, and there's no room to fold her arms over her chest. The 'lecture' has her frowning, shoulders tensing and hands curling into fists. Granted, this is easier to take from Batman than from Tim, given 1) the age difference and 2) Batman is like her idol, but it's still hard to hear and defensive anger is the first thing that leaps forward.

BUt then, confession time with a Robin flickers past her mind and Stephanie narrows her eyes to ponder it. (#Gasp! Thinking before speaking! Call the preses!)

"So, how'd Dad get loose?" Spoiler asks. Because that's a sore spot and easier to deal with right now than admitting out loud that Batman has a point about the carelss. That Twitter tip? So not useful! The mental note to case a place better before moving in was made. Now, said mental note has been highlighted in pink. Because… PINK!

"I just put them /in/ Arkham," Batman glowers at Stephanie, showing no evidence she's hit a nerve. "I'm not the judge and jury. Gotham handles people like /your father/ any way the city prefers. If you don't like that, go fight City Hall."

He lets his cloak billow to the side as wind tugs at it, the fabric unfolding several yards— a reminder that the Batman straddles that line between the inhuman and the superhuman. A long, dark shadow, much bigger than the man casting it.

"Robin said you were a pain in his rear. Oracle said you were stubborn. What that tells me is— you didn't take your training seriously."

He folds his arms over his chest, face implacable. "This is my one time, expires immediately after offer," Batman growls at Spoiler. "You come with me. You start training again— in earnest, this time." (What was she doing with /Tim/ before? He doesn't seem to be exaggerating). "If you're going to wear my symbol, then you're going to do it my way— or get good enough that I can't stop you. But until that time, you follow orders, and you fall in line. Got it?"

Grr! City Hall! Twisted viper's nest of …Spoiler's eyes tighten into a sharp scowl and her shoulders come up indignantly. THe effect of the cape isn't lost on her (OMG that was so cool! Did you see that? I saw that! squee!), but hearing from Batman that Tim said she was a pain in the ass has a trouble of pure frustrated anger flood over her frame. 'And I stood up for that… gah!!' Oracle saying she was stubborn doesn't bother Steph. She knows she's stubborn, though on her resume it's listed as a Determine Goal-Driver Go-Getter. That those two things meant Batman assumed she wasn't being serious is like the last straw ever. Eyes wide with disbelief and shock and mortification, Spoiler turns her face back toward Batman.

"I did t-" she states, cutting herself off as Batman folds his arms over his chest and continues on.. making her an offer. The mortification fades into something like wonder.

"Me? ….Your symbol? As in..?" Her eyes flick toward the emblem on his chest even as one of her hands comes up to set finger tips on a mirroring spot on her chest. Her eyes return to his… white lens-thingies.

Stephanie is quiet, still, for a solid twenty seconds. Follow orders. No different from cheer camp, or Sorority Rush, or Brownies, or… Her hands fall to her sides, almsot slapping her thighs, and her head bobs once in that crisp cheerleader way. She almost belts out a: 'Ready, team. Okay!' Almost, in that she inhales, sharp and quick and deep… only to nod again.

"Ohmygodthisisgonnabecrazyawesome." And her mouth runs off again.

There's something at the corner of his mouth. Just for a glimmer. A smile— and it's not a nice one.

"We'll see if you still feel that way in 24 hours. I won't take it easy on you like Robin and Oracle."

He steps to the side, around her, his cloak flaring around her for a moment in the whipping wind. "Alfred and I have a bet. I don't think you'll make it a month, but Alfred…"

"He's one for lost causes and strays." Batman stares at Stephanie, then soundlessly falls sideways off the roof.

There's a snap-thunk of his grapnel deploying, and Batman swings off into the night.

All he leaves behind, near her feet, is a communicator shaped like a Bat.

"Psht! Bring it on," Spoiler ill-advisedly challenges as she pivots with him as he steps around her. That Alfred believes in her is enough to make her heart soar. Alfred is like the kindest grandfather ever. Letting him down? Not an option. She rushes to the edge as Batman falls, hands gripping the edge ans she watches him swing off into the night.

"See if you feel that way in 12!" she calls after him, grinning behind the mask. His smile? The not nice one? Totally mis-read by Steph. It was a smile. And a smile is a smile and Batman smiled so all is not-completely right with the world but…. She has his permission to do this, to work and get her father back where he's supposed to be or else letting go of his criminal ways, and her eyes fall on the communicator. Like Alice reaching down to collect the tiny key, Spoiler reaches down to collect the artifact. Another grin, and she tugs out her Spoiler Phone. (Batman has a batphone. She has a Spoiler Phone.)

@SpoiledBat: 14+sniper. Big party just 4 me? <3 Aww thx guyz! #SpoilerAlert I won.

He said he didn't want anyone to know he was there, right? Right! Spoiler is totally being helpful right now! She tucks the comm into her belt and takes off. Time to work on that cypher-clue Dad left her. She's so high right now, she could TOTALLY crack it now!

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