The Clock is Ticking

January 03, 2017:

The Cat surfaces and meets the new(er) Bat.

Clocktower - Gotham

A locally famous landmark, the Gotham Clock Tower is located in the
Central Business District. Tours haven't run in years, though, since the
building was bought out by a group of bird-lovers known as the Nightingale
Society. Still, it's a well-known part of the Downtown skyline. From the
outside it looks unused, but the clock is clearly maintained as it still
runs on time, and now and again people can be seen coming and going. The
bottom floor looks mostly disused, with a long hallway ending in a bookshelf
full of coffee table books about birds. To either side of the hall are
sparsely furnished rooms. The walls show illustrations of local Gotham
feathery sorts, and charts on bird migrations. Cabinets store various bits
of bird-watching equipment.

The doors to the stairs require a key card to access, probably to deter
vandalism. The upper floors are only accessible by a secret elevator. The
doorways to access it them the stairs have been bricked over and drywalled.
On the living quarters floor, each door requires a keycard and voice
recognition, except for the door to the training facility at the end of the
hall, which requires palm, optical, and voice recognition. The top floor,
however, is the most secure of all.

The pale glow of the four massive translucent clock-faces dominate the four
compass points of the lair, casting everything in a warm light by night, and
cool light by day. the natural brick walls of the buildings exterior are
left visible on one wall while the others are painted a pristine white. The
ceilings have recessed and track lighting, and the floors are smooth pale
wood. There is a lounge area and even a kitchen, as well as other facilities
here. The insulation around the top floor is meant to keep scanners and
eavesdropping equipment from being able to image what's inside.

Welcome to the home of Barbara Gordon and who she has become.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Nightwing Red Hood

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Catwoman is prideful. Not a creature of Gotham that will come out limping (or showing a weakness), and after one trip of recovery in the batcave. Another in the old Gym of Oracles, and this last on her own due to Black Mask…. Her hiatus was only told of being non-permanent by the slight sightings in East End and among her people.

Nightwing checked in once, a visit from a man in a Red Hat, and nothing more. All the better.

But when the rings of bruises and abrasions finally completely left her neck, wrists, and ankles - as well as the body laden in bruises and lashes was restored the suit was returned fully and she was moving from rooftop to rooftop with the lightning crack that came and went like epiphanies. But what stopped her is the light on in a window that had been abandoned and thought dead despite it's history….
… The Clocktower.

Goggled lenses flash, upper lip drawing back in an unsound hiss, the athletic form clad in a sheen of darkness moving along eaves in a silent serpentine wind to lean and peer within.

Catwoman knew what this place was (is?) temple to, and steps within, not too much applied to the window, followed by a *tick-tap* of claw-tipped hand. Trespass upon trespasser?

"Oracle." The voice sounds in her earpiece and, a couple of floors down in her apartment, Barbara Gordon automatically raises a hand to her ear. "There is an intruder in the Clocktower."

"Who is it?" the woman who has been known as Oracle asks, pushing herself off the couch and moving swiftly towards the elevator leading to the upper floor. "Identify?"

"It appears to be… Catwoman," DELPHI replies.

"Oh, great," Babs grumbles, gingerly running fingers down her bandaged side. "Just what I need. Turn on the lights DELPHI. Let's not keep her waiting entirely in the dark."

"At once, Oracle."

As the AI floods the lower two-thirds of Oracle's Nest with bright light, chasing shadows away, Babs pauses on the floor immediately below to slide into more appropriate attire, complete with a new cowl that incorporates a direct interface to DELPHI… so she can be both Oracle and Batgirl on the go. Then, she takes the emergency exit to the roof, slipping into the clockspace through the recessed skylight hidden by the clocks' overhang. There, in the darkened rafters, she stares down at the interloper.

"Seriously? You just can't resist, can you?"

Half in, half out, Catwoman hears the voice and although her features are cast in criss-crossings of shadows the smile that crooks a corner of lips hitches her cheek up to the base of goggles. At the same time those eyes are set to a narrow and the tail of a whip descends to unfurl along thigh as neck cranes to peer at the other interloper.

"And who might you be to question my ability to resist?" Last Catwoman knew of Oracle or any denizen claiming protector of this tower, was on wheels or bearing a voice more bottomed out and less whiskey over alto.

A quick motion and Catwoman is out of the window, her body rolling up and over it in a gymnasts somersault that has her perched like a gargoyle over the edifice, staring Cat to… Bat?

Batgirl slides down to land softly a few feet away — far enough to be out of immediate range of the whip, and softly enough not to jar the stitches on her side. Damned Slinky. She looks at Catwoman through golden-lensed eyes. "You. Here. Can't resist, can you? Always gotta see what's going on."

Not, mind, that she's much better. She just uses different means of snooping.

"Like my new digs?"

There is hesitation there. Caution as lenses flicker on those goggles and they go clear to show a true view. In fact, clarified when claw tipped fingers bring them to unencumber her eyes and perch atop her head, tilting "ears" back and away in shadowed alignment. A brief up-down of the fellows stature and her posture realigns.

From bowed spine of a predator to pounce to that of aligned and erect, Catwoman slides down along side the window and comes to the same level as Batgirl, a sweep of finger beneath her left eye and the "sizing up" is done. Aside from the prowl, that comes with a light circle of the other femme. "Since when?" A whisper of words that bore a concern with a manner of trained indifference. Oh, Catwoman cared, but it was worn upon her sleeve, tightly, with many other things. Life and death to name the one.

"A while," Batgirl says evasively. In fact, she has done a recent overhaul of the Nest. It's not quite the same as it once was. She's been able to retrofit it to accommodate her more active lifestyle. "Oracle sends her regards, though." Bats are highly unlikely to have taken Oracle out. Which means it was likely some sort of 'fair' deal. But, then… who really knows but Oracle? And, apparently, she's not talking, at the moment.

"I'm sure she does." Catwoman states, just as pensive to her evasive. All the while the assessment is given and the prowl around her batly prey is passed.

"Does this mean my Cat-cycle is released?" The query coming with a stroke of barbed fingertips along hip, capturing her whip and drawing the fettered tips into fingers to dance, but not in a threat - in a withdrawal as it is tucked away to slap along said hips without threat. It appears they have both changed.

Back when, when Catwoman waged war, Oracle had disabled her re-commissioned (Bat)Cat-cycle and ceased her recoup in one manner but not another. That bike still rests within the dwellings of an underbelly, and is still pined over.

…Oh the accessories!

"I intend to use it better this time." That single word purred from lips as she seeks to close the gap slowly between herself and this other femme fatale..

"Define better," Batgirl says, noting that the whip has been sheathed. She's totally willing to keep Cats talking, because, really, she's not at her best for a fight. And Catwoman and she are fairly evenly matched when neither are injured. "You ready to reform?"

That'd be… interesting.

A crack comes with the laugh, one that bows Catwoman's spine and comes with laughter aside the trail of lashing tips while fingers fall from the leather appendages. Those eyes flash towards Batgirl while they narrow in a reflective green on the backdrop of shadows, as if goggles shifted visual without the need of tech.

"I only have but 6 lives left," A pause and fingers flicker in a count… one wavering in a near-beckoning curl to tap on lower lip.

"Maybe five." Tap-tap. "But I saw who stood beside me every fall. All bearing fettered wings and the same…" A draw of nostrils along Batgirl's shoulder. "Familial smell."

"Only way for a girl to go is up. My only stipulation stands." A single index rises. "East End remains mine. The rest," A flickering wave of hand. "Yours and yours. But it has to stop."

A pause beside Batgirl now and it is no longer a prowl, it is standing shadow to shadow, looking upon the Clocktower with a small faint smile.

"Make these lights bright, will you?"

Batgirl steps away from Catwoman with a shrug to push her face away from hunched shoulders. That woman is so creepy. "I make no promises about the East End," she says stalking away, keying a signal beneath her cape. Lights grow brighter and she drops down into the Clocktower proper and strides towards one of the computers. Her fingers dance over the keyboard. She pulls up a map of the city on a large screen. The streets glow and wards are outlined, landmarks starred.

"But, you better damn well promise me your tactics will be non-lethal from here on out or you can kiss that bike goodbye for good."

In other words, she might be willing to make a trade, despite their prickly relationship thus far.

"If so, I can prioritize other districts over the East." It's as close to a truce as she's willing to concede. At the least, it might be a détente.

Maybe.

Creepy?

Maybe.

Shrug. A roll of shoulder and the smile returns while she watched Batgirl walk off and the lights flare to life.

"I can promise that as much as any can promise life for life." The final words depthening her tenor of play held thus far with Batgirl. %R "We both know better. Wish in one hand," One hand extends as criss-cross corset laced back faces Batgirl, the other hand then extending. "….the other…" A curl of fingers and claws flash, but within the cusp is a gem, plucked 'tween and brought to lips.

"I promise all I can. But tell me you would not do the same for your family?" Her words softened somewhere in there, in that flash of gaze once more dropped away behind goggles going night-vision green on lenses.

"We do what we must. Call me." And in a flick that gem is aimed towards Batgirl, the clink of nail on polished surface shattering it, leaving a small device flying through the air for her…

… The one from the Cat-cycle that let Oracle comm in.

Gone.

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