Gotham Mists

February 16, 2017:

A random college rave turns dangerous when some of the Mists from Metropolis blows onto Gotham's shores.

Sheldon Park, Gotham

South Point consists of the trendy yet dangerous attraction of Sheldon
Park, the upscale and relatively secluded Robbinsville it's desolate Cape
Carmine and the Lighthouse there and the poverty stricken crime overburdend
Park Row.

Characters

NPCs: Joker, Clownz, Agents, College Kids, DJ Food Truck

Mentions: Batman

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The word had gotten out around Gotham U. There was going to be a rave at Sheldon Park tonight, and that there were going to be some 'goodies' involved. Which for college students, usually means alcohol and drugs. Someone has driven out a large food truck that has been converted into a mobile DJ stand, and there's hastily hung Christmas lights and several kids in the park already dressed up like their favorite heroes, enjoying the music, and the aforementioned alcohol and drugs.

Stephanie Brown happened to be sent one of those fliers by one of her classmates, a boy who thought that if he invited her, he'd be able to show her a good time.

As the party's getting started, there's a swirling of the wind as a localized cold front is starting to make it's way in from the harbor, the gathering fog showing a distinct greenish tinge to it as it mixes with the foam at the party.

At various organizations, the warning goes out that a Mists wind is blowing across the harbor from Suicide Slums and directly into the South Bend area. There won't be time for an evacuation, but agencies are starting to be mobilized, either to help those that are about to be directly affected by the coming weaponized gas, or those.. like the two dark helicopters in the sky filled with unmarked soldiers, that have more nafarious designs.

Gotham isn't Rachel's favourite place. (A beach in Fiji would be nice.) Aside from the city's rep as a crime haven, even the reputations of its so-called 'heroes' are dark and gritty. And the Airforce Captain's one of these poor souls who, while fully understanding first hand the dark and compromising reality of the world, still believes in the Greater Good and classic Heroism — the type that would make Captain America proud.

But, the think tank that's been tracking the Mists has sophisticated weather prediction systems, which means the low front drifting across the harbour from Suicide Slums to South Point are anticipated.

As, perhaps, are the incoming opportunists.

Using her imager to project the image of a college kid around herself, she blends in to the crowd hanging out around the DJ stand. Bionic hearing, however, detects those incoming choppers way before they arrive, and bionic sight gives her the telescopic vision to track them incoming… not to mention take a gander at their payloads.

Subvocalizing through her network uplink, she transmits to her current bosses, "Oh, yeah. We definitely got incoming. And I doubt they're friendly. They make the SWAT Team look friendly. You don't think Superman or someone could be called in to suck up the fog, do you? Like before it makes complete landfall?"

'Cause that'd sure make her job easier.

Not, mind, that she's entirely certain her current boss is as interested in stopping the soldiers for altruistic reasons as they are beating them to the punch… Which is deeply concerning.

Letting her body bounce faintly to the music, so as not to blow her cover, she closes her eyes for a moment and concentrates on reaching out towards the comms and computer systems on the helicopters to get a better bead on their occupants' point of origin and capabilities.

.oO(Oh, I hate surprises.)

A rave? Seriously? Stephanie took the flyer with a soft thanks while tucking it into her backpack for later. She'd spent the day debating what to do. South Bend was a little far from her usual patrol. Not that she couldn't work it in. Raves were usually a hot spot for drug pushers. It was definitely worth the look-see. So, texting it into the Bat Computer before her nap, Stephanie suited up and drove out.

Super heros. The rave was filled with superheros.

Spoiler settled herself on a rooftop, in a shadow, over looking the party. From her utility belt, she pulled out her binoculars to have a closer look at a few things. There was that boy. #NotHappening

The usual drug scene. Nothing that would attract any of the big players. Not even anything that would attract the Z-List. Or Dad. Spoiler pressed her plum colored lips together as she pulls the binoculars from her eyes to survey the party again. With all the costumes, she could probably blend in. But that would be just asking for… green… mist? Eyes narrowing, Spoiler pulled her cape over her, like a teenaged girl hiding her cell phone under her blankets at night, and checks for alerts.

"Dammit," Spoiler whispers as she looks back over the bay. She sends two quick alerts. One to the Bat Computer, knowing that whomever is around to check will when they can, but since she called this area, this was her baby. Unless she was in trouble, He wasn't going to just show up and save her day. The other was to her JL contact, The Flash: 'Mists. South Bend, Gotham. Will advise details ASAP. Stay put.' Messages setn, Spoiler tucks her phone away and grapples into the DJ booth.

"Kill the music, and tell everyone the party is over: Go home," Spoiler tells the DJ, really trying to sond growlly, but let's face it. She's blonde, and she's Girl Scout Cheerleader. There's only so much Growl(TM) Stephanie is going to be able to manage. Getting people clear will make her job SO much easier.

Flash is currently on patrol in Brooklyn Heights, New York when he gets the message from Spoiler. Glancing at his phone as he's in a sprint around the park, he sends a response 'Understood, approximately three minutes away'. comes the response as the speedster's blur starts to meander in a more southernly direction. Totally not purpose to put him closer to the water so he can head south quickly and without interuption.

By the time the Mists are truly noticable, it's already among the crowd. Several screams ring out among the crowd as their bodies become encased in the chrysallis of the Mists infecting their systems and overriding them to jumpstart mutations, their bodies shelled in the meantime as they enter the cocooned state.

On Rachel's comm comes several reports of contacts and that SWAT is detained for some reason, this is going to be an interesting night. As the copters touchdown, the soldiers are already disembarking in order to start to collecting the chrysallis, when from out of the shadows comes a low, loud laughter. "Hooohooo, what do we have here? A bounch of precocious party animals that got a little more than they bargained for?" comes the voice - one that would send chills through any Batling out there as the purple suit and green hair is unmistakable. "And here I was just thinking of collecting a little for Uncle Joker's college fund. But a great mutant is a terrible thing to waste! I'll be taking those, boys!" he calls out as he snaps his fingers.

Several figures, dressed in clown costumes make their way out, heading straight towards the troops to engaged them sporadic gunfire mixing with a few explosions to further panic the crowd even more.

The party has just gotten a lot worse.

"Aw, c'mon. Seriously?!" As the clowns arrive Rachel doesn't even try to subvocalize that. She does, though, subvocalize her report to HQ. "Two birds, full squads, kitted up to Armageddon and a buncha kids in hero costumes pumped full of E. Oh. And Joker Clowns. Did I mention those yet? And who the hell authorized the to crash a rave, anyway?" No technology is ever as unidentifiable as anyone hopes. And Quinn's military. She's got insider knowledge. "Nevermind. Is that Bat spotlight thingy I heard read about on that spook site actually a thing? 'Cause, you know, that's all we'd need."

But the additional comm spikes that flare up ever so briefly on channels not related to either the copters, her own uplinks, or typical commercial bandwidths catch her digital attention. .oO(The hell?) She activates a trace daemon to source it, but, after a glance at Goldilocks and her Bear impersonation on the DJ stand, turns her attention to the partycrashers. She sheds her imager disguise, revealed instead in some sort of semi-futuristic power armour. She closes the faceplate, unholsters a futuristic looking sidearm, and looks at the DJ, flashing a badge. "Homeland Security. Do what she says. Shut it down."

Then, she's moving through the teens at a bionanetically accelerated pace, heading for the closest target chrysalises. "Back off, Charlie!"

Hearing the screams, the DJ and Spoiler both look out onto the Mists. She inhales at the first of the party-goers is infected. Spoiler's about to move when a badge is flashed. Blue-green eyes widen faintly before she realizes that Futurama Armor Chick is adding weigh tto her words. Which means DJ makes a break for it, leaving the music blaring and hte lights flashing. Stephanie huffs. Stupid DJ. Spoiler slips out of the converted taco truck and onto the roof to get a better view of things, not noticing the helicopters yet. Nor is she likely too, what with that blood-chilling laughter.

She's seen video of him on the Computer. She knows what he's capable of. What he's done. Not all of it, but to… a cousin. Spoiler turns to look at the Joker, body giving a single shudder of terror.

Focus!

She can't let agents or Joker have the cocooned humans. Seeing the Futurama Chick heading for them and the cloud fading into the wind (mostly), Spoiler leans from the truck roof to make her way through the crowd, hoping beyond hope Joker won't spot her, won't recognize the Robin-like mask on her face or the Nomex of her suit or the utility belt at her hips. Oh this is NOT a good idea. She stays low as the mists seem to be riding high-ish… mostly… Must get closer before calling out to Futurama-mama.

With Clowns and Unmarked Troopers in a fight, the two female heroes are left to their own devices. The music most certainely dies as the Mists Rave is causing more than enough trouble. Rachel's response from Headquarters is curt, Unable to verify identity on DEO. May be unknowns. Engage with prejudice. That was pretty lovely of them, wasn't it?

In the meantime, Joker stands in the midsts of the Mists and breathes in. "Oooh, elements of nutmeg.. and is that cinnamon? How festive!" he says with a cackling laugh. "But I bet…" he says, tapping one of the chryalises with his finger. "..you still can't tell me why Apple Jacks don't taste like Apples. Speaking of Apples. Would you look at the pair on her!" he says, his attention turning the bionic girl as she comes streaking out. "And here I thought Batsy had a 'no metas' rule in place. Goodness, I suppose that means I get my own!"

That is until he squints and the smile that at best, was playful, turns predatory. "Hoo, what do we have here. The purple of Batgirl, the mask of Robin, the utility belt.. oh my goodness, he's adopted again! I must simply let Harley know!" Jumping down from the car that he was on, he moves his hand, flicking out a butterfly knife and spinning it around to bring out the blade. "Well, I suppose I should be downright neighborly and go introduce myself!"

The trouble between the troops and clowns continues to spill, a few of the college students still remaining finally starting to run, leaving only the half-dozen concoons, the Joker and his band, and the agents and his band.

"I can do that," Quinn tells her handler. Generally, she prefers to avoid prejudice, but, in this case, she'll make an exception. She moves in to the first pair of soldier boys and bodily pulls them away from the cocoon. "Who authorized this extraction?" she asks, fully expecting no answer from them. "Seriously. It's a kid, Charlie. You get that?" Of course, with the gun in her hand, she's not exactly 'friendly' as far as they're concerned. And the stylized hawk on her shoulder, while reminiscent of the USAF logo isn't exactly the same.

Respirator! Maybe that'll help? As she's running low, Spoiler tugs out the lower part of the mask and clips it into place. Ten minutes. Ten minutes of heavy activity breathing and the mask will be out of juice. It's an old generation of tech, a Bat-hand-me-down. Joker would know it very well, and exactly what it means. Yes, exactly. Adopted again. And that she was spotted sends a cold butterfly-knife of fear through Stephanie. Not that she lets it slow her down. She's got two trackers. Small, but effective. If she can get one on a chrysalis, without it being noticed? One of the ones she knows she had no chance in Bat-hell in keeping either set of clowns from taking?

Futrama Mama has a soldier? One of the agents… Maybe, just maybe? Should she?

She glances back at Joker once. He'd know the look. The one of a Batling who's young and newish and has HEARD things. A glance of fright.

Spoiler runs for the soldier and Futrama Mama, then baseball slides behind and past him to stick the tracker against his pant leg near a boot. Getting past him, Spoiler rolls to her elbows and knees and pushes herself to her feet, eyes on Joker, back to another chrysallis. Like she thinks she's going to be able to protect it.

9 minutes, 53 second remaining on her respirator.

There is no answer to Quinn as she pulls away the frist soldier. 'We have metas. One looks government.' one of them transmits. The response that comes back is clear, 'They're not to interfer, engage at will.' The soldier nods, ripping around his rifle to open fire at Quinn, giving her only a few moments to dodge the rounds as they start to dance quickly towards her, kicking up dirt and sand.

One of the clowns rushes in, a fat one in a pink tutu and balde head covered in white paint and red clown paint as he uses a large hammer to knock away the soldier on the other side of a chrysallis, dropping it to the ground to harvest it. One of the clowns grabs the DJ to throw him out of the food truck in order to drive over to start to help with the collection of the chrysalises.

In the meantime, Joker watches Spoiler in the bat-respirator and chortles. "Oh, dear me, dear my, did you not want to take a breath?" he sniffs at himself comically. "I took a shower and everything just for you." As a soldier charges him, the criminal turns, bringing his knife up and driving it under the chin of the soldier and smiles into his eyes. "Cat got your tongue?" he asks as he rips the knife down, extracting the solider's own tongue through his throat and sending him sprawling to the ground with a gurgling, gargled death rattle.

His attention returns back to Spoiler. "Now, what do they call /you/?" he asks conversationally, wiping the blood off on a nearby body.

"Batgirl? No, not enough red hair. Batwoman? Nope, not chesty. Robin? Not enough distracting red and green. Wait wait. Is that a hand me down? Are you a /WANNABE/?" he asks with a hoot of laughter. "Oh my goodness, you're not even a Batfake, you're a Batwannabe!" he says with a loud chortle and puts away the knife and takes on a classic boxer's stance from the 1800s, with his knees bent, fists held up at a garish angle. "Come one, come all, I'll even give you one free shot, Batfangirl."

As Flash hits the water, he picks up speed quickly, advancing down the harbor to race along the coast line in excess of Mach 3 to start to close the distance from New York to Gotham. He hits his call button, and speaks quickly into Stephanie's reciever when she answers. "Minute and a half out. What's the situation?" So he's not running in blind.

Rachel has this nifty tracking feature in her software, not to mention bionic strength and speed. As the soldier is bringing his gun around, she's gathering her legs to jump. She leaps up over him as the bullets riddle the earth, landing behind him and hitting him with enough force to knock him out. She then raises her pistol and starts disabling (not killing) aggressors in an effort to protect the kids in the cocoons.

The strange comm spikes again and the tracer daemon gets a fix on it. Rachel's augmented reality vision highlights its source — the girl facing the King of Clowns. "Well, $#!T…" She swears softly and launches a hack against the weak point that is a simple cell signal, seeking to break in and establish communication.

Then, she raises her pistol again and fires at the wheels of the taco truck. Because, seriously. It's not shielded. And it can't get far on obliterated wheels.

Her second transponder, Spoiler presses into the chrysalis behind her, as she cowers back into it. Just as Flash dials and her phone connects teh call. A call, from her comms to a comm from an outside system. It leaves her system vulnerable to others. Not that she's completely aware of this. She's not the hacker, not the computer genuis. Those are Oracle, Red Robin, Batman. Not outmatched Spoiler. The connection is established just as Spoiler responds outloud to both Flash and Joker at the same time.

"No," Her voice is muffled by the respirator, pitched a little too high for Spoiler-work-mode by fear, and then a huff and she's now NOT talking to Flash, because Joker's taunts are SUPER EFFECTIVE against the batling.

"No I'm not! I am not a wannabe! I'm Spoiler," she retorts, fists closes angrily at her side, leaving the tracker embedded into the shell of the cocoon and hopefully not visible. Of course. The moment the name's out of her mouth, she knows her voice was too high and too tight and far too much like a very too young to be doing this teenaged girl. At least she didn't stomp her foot. She did grab some batarangs though. Because THOSE she was given. Not many, so she'll have to make them count.

"And I'm going to spoiler your plans, Joker. Like I do everyone else's. So leave, Clown. Party's over and no one wants your lame balloon animals," Spoilers says then, pushing away from the cocoon. It's likely a mix of anger and false bravado, but Spoiler is, as usual, recklessly moving to confront a Batman villian she has NO business tangling with… without calling in for back up.

In her defense, she hasn't been given the chance yet.

The taco truck wheels are hit and the vehicle careens out of control. The clown at the wheel tries valiantly to bring it under control, but the truck twists too far and goes over the edge of the curb as it tears through the park and tumbles on it's side. The propane tanks on the back of it explode, sending up an impressive ball of flames, causing Joker to cackle with delight.

The Clown Prince grins at the girl's bravado. "Oooh. I think you just made me pee myself in fear. Spoiler? Are you going to tell me Darth Vader is Luke's father? That the Titanic sinks? Oh, oh, I know, that Solyent Green is people!"

He moves forward quickly, his knife suddenly slashes out to try to cut into the girl's side if she's not quick enough. "I know who you are.." he says as he gets close to Spoiler, a voice for her and her alone. "Cluemaster sends his regards." then he leaps back and hoots again with laughter. "Bats is drafting them younger and younger! Well, after I'm a done whooping ya, I'll make sure to get your diaper changed!"

"Breathe, kid," Rachel says as she breaches the girl's comm. Not that it was an easy in, by any means. Bats and Oracle known their stuff. But the kid's connection to an outside line was the window she needed. Her voice is pitched to be reassuring and lend confidence, just like it'd be with a nugget in a combat sim. Except this is anything but a sim.

She ducks instinctively as the truck explodes. It's an automatic reaction, and it takes her nearly a full second to recover, which, given her speed thus far, is a small eternity.

When she has recovered, however, her expression behind her faceplate is grimmer and she fires a shot in front of Joker's feet. "Back off, clownface," she says, deciding him the greater threat than anyone else. The guys aren't crazy, after all. Just focussed. And most of them are down. The other clowns… well, she's betting if their leader falls so do they.

"That's your one warning."

The explosion was unexpected, and Spoiler flinches slightly. Enough that she's thrown by Joker's grin and the movie and book references. All the references. She's about to retort, when he gets in close. It takes everything Stephanie has to get the flat of a batarang in the way. It blocks most of the slash. Most, not all. the Nomex suit saves Stephanie from the rest, though the slide is visible as a weak-point in the thin armor she's wearing.

The batarang clatters to the ground at her feet.

He knows… The other batarang clatters and beneath the double masks, Stephanie pales. Eyes wide, frame tense, Stephanie Brown, daughter of Arthur Brown the Cluemaster, trembles. The sound of gun fire near her, just in front of her, shocks her back into the moment. Anger fuels the denial: He can't know. He doesn't know. How CAN he know?! Daddy doesn't even know. He can't. Can he?

Batman would be so disappointed, seeing how those words get under Stephanie's skin, how the fear that HE KNOWS… both 'he's in this context… rips assunder her otherwise calmer head, and Stephanie pulls out the collapseable bo-staff her 'mentor' trained her with, because it was the weapon he used. A yell of anger and fright, Spoiler charges Joker.

And that's when Stephanie comes charging in on the Joker. That could end up being a fatal mistake for the young woman as she swings her bo-staff, he steps aside. "Whoops, a swing and a miss!" As she's blind with rage, he draws up his knee suddenly to bring it up into Stephanie's stomach as hard as he can as he bends her over and grins down at her. "I have a spoiler for you. You mess with me, you end up dead. #JustADeadBat." he flicks the knife out, ready to cut Stephanie's neck from ear to ear when the gunshot rings out and he's forced to release Stephanie.

"Awww! Mommy's come to take you home, Spoiler!" Joker says with a hoot as he leaps backwards again, moving away from Rachel and around the cocoon. "She even gave me a warning, I'm shuddering!" There's a grin, dark and devilish, as he speaks to Spoiler again. "It's good to have a mother figure.. Daddy Bat has such a /hard/ time with his female charges. Maybe he just likes the boys better?" there's a laugh at that, but it's not jovial. It's low. Dangerous, downright fearful.

With most of his clowns down, Joker frowns, well, as best he can with that perpetual smile. "Good help is just so hard to find. Maybe I'll go find someone just like Batsy does!" he says as he skips away, his part in all of this done, because..

Two of the chrysalises are missing, in the hands of the Clown Prince's goons as Joker provided a nice long distraction.

The unmarked troopers, hear of a new contact, a red blur racing along the water as Flash gets closer to the scene.

'Withdraw.' comes the order, as the troopers start to load into their copters to retreat back in the direction of Metropolis as Flash races on land, sliding to a stop and kicking up dirt and sand as he vibrates with the dangerous speeds he built up in his run down here.

"Command," Quinn says as the agents and Joker's forces retreat and she takes quick stock, "We've got two missing kids." Not cocoons, as far as she's concerned. Kids. That's likely telling. "Permission to follow up. I think the Clown took 'em."

She moves closer to Spoiler, making her reholstering of her weapon clear. If the girl's really observant, she may also notice that none of the people the odd commando shot are actually dead.

"You okay, kid?" A beat. "At least… will you be okay?" She doesn't put her hand on the girl's shoulder, but, as she opens her faceplate so her face becomes visible again, it looks like she might want to. There's empathy in her eyes.

She glances over to Flash when he arrives and starts a network scan to track the retreat as best she can. It's not nearly as comprehensive as someone like Oracle might achieve. She always has to do a whole lot more legwork.

Joker's warning is a cold knife in the gut and down her spine. She was already dead to someone she cared about once. She saw how badly that hurt him. She also knows now how deeply Joker's killing of Jason scarred everyone, especially Batman. She has her own mentee to care for. The young Dark Devil. She can't help the girl learn to fight past the rage if… if she's… dead. Letting Joker taunt her into those same blind rages. Air forced from her lungs, Stephanie's helpless in Joker's grasp and falls harshly to the ground when the Clown Prince lets her go and retreats.

For a moment, Spoiler doesn't answer Futrama Mama. She can't. She's struggling to get her lungs to work. Her arms are shaking, body trembling, as she forces herself to her feet. She collects her weapons, yanks off the respirator, and looks up at Quinn only to spot Flash. Stephnie forces herself straight. Her eyes water with the effort of not gasping like a beached fish.

"Go away," she says to the blur of red. There's the growl! It's in the tension of not being able to breathe. The empathy from Quinn was noted, but Stephanie was hurting too much, humiliated in herself too much to even think of it as anything other than her own self-loathing at this failure. She turns, one trembling hand to her side where Joker's knee had connected far too roughly and she had not tensed to absorb any of the impact. She knows he can follow her. Part of her wants him to follow her. Another part, the visible part, just wants to curl up in a corner of the Bat Cave and hide from everyone until… New Year's. Shoulder's up in pain and defeat, Spoiler walks away, toward her bike hidden in the shadows.

Flash stands there as Stephanie growlies at him. What did he do? He was late. He should have headed south immediately. As he looks around, he glances towards the government looking woman. "You got this?" he asks, but it's only for a moment, because just as quick?

He moves suddenly, a blur of red and yellow that snags up Stephanie in his arms.

"No."

She doesn't get to push him away this time as he takes off with her. Heading? Due north. They're going to have a /talk/.

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