A Gotham Dance Off

March 11, 2017:

Batgirl and Nightwing arrive to investigate the fighting of Ravager and Spoiler. They discover the unexpected and have a party crasher.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Ravager, Spoiler, Deathstroke, Batman, Flash

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Red Hook.

Irish Mafia turf for the most part and the just moments ago scene of a possibly fatal confrontation between the "Fifth" Ravager; Rose Wilson, a member of the Bat-Family vigilantes of Gotham: Spoiler and the Justice League's very own speedster, the Flash.

What went down happened too recently to require any sort of detective work. The ground where a grenade went off is still a smoking mess, a beast of a motorcycle lay on it's side a snapped cable protruding from it? A skycyle elsewhere nose down, laid there or dropped. In one piece or not? Closer inspection required there. There is blood in sprays in areas, glossy in the darkness but some light does hit it. The smell? Unmistakable, there is burnt flesh in the air, no one forgets that smell. No one. It's a primal thing and humans don't forget these things. A car alarm is blaring on and off, it's close proximity to the blast radius of the grenade causing it to fire up. No sirens though.

The only gawkers are two lit up windows and a small gathered crowd on the corner, snapshots being taken. No one seen what went down though, if they did they won't say a word. This is Gotham. Gothamites keep their noses out of anything that doesn't involve them. They share that in common with much of New York.

Cops are not here yet. The GCPD zeppelins above haven't cycled this way yet and this is one of the hot zones, police are not allowed to mobilize here without authorization and they are usually paid to stay away by the local gangsters. Even with all the work of the Batcrowd and Commissioner Gordon this city is riddled with a cancer, a cancer called corruption. It's a curse ye old Goat Town has long since suffered since before the"White People" ever arrived and it was just the lands of the Deer People, the Miagani.
Where are those who had been involved in this skirmish? Where is Spoiler? The Flash? Ravager?

—-

Nightwing has been looking for Ravager the last couple days. He had hoped to steer the young mercenary away from Spoiler, but he had no luck at finding her. Finally, about an hour ago, he called Oracle for help.

Too late, it was too late. But Spoiler's call for help came in a few minutes ago, and he is close enough he can reach the battlefield before the cops. He fully expects to find a badly injured Stephanie. But no, only her Avenger bike, and Ravager's sci-fi one. But where are the women?

—-

DELPHI alerted Babs the moment Spoiler went down. She just doesn't have Flash's speed at arriving. So, she arrives on her bike while the wind is still kicking up flyers off the street. Her HUD is actually still tracking both Flash and Spoiler, since DELPHI has tech on both of them, between one team and another.

She slides off her bike, however, instead of immediately pursuing, confident Flash will see Stephanie safe and taken to some sort of medical facility. This way, she can get a better sense of what went down.

She pauses when she notices Dick arrive. "Hey," she says softly, stepping further into the light. "Long time, no see. Glad you made it."

Has she told Dick about the surgery that's allowed her to resume her previous extracurricular activities? She probably should have…

—-

*-"We have motion. Target is live and in motion. Do your job."-*
"Just been waiting." Taskmaster confirms. "You heard the lady, Briscoe. Follow the blinky light and get us in there.' The Sheba, a specialized 'stealth' helicopter made by Ferris Aircraft whistles through the night skies of Gotham, blanketed by high tech anti-detection sensory systems it keys in on the feeds allowing confirmation of Batgirl's travel. Old intrusive Stormwatch security systems being channeled to allow this tracking of the redheaded vigilante. It will follow from a distance and then peel away only once she has confirmed stopped long enough to ensure a drop off is possible.

Taskmaster in full tac gear descends to a rooftop adjacent the street level Nightwing and Batgirl are currently inspecting. Alone now the mercenary drops to a crouch, advanced binos lifted to the mask where they seal to his eyes, one zoom and he is watching the two waiting for the direction audio to start picking up their conversation. "Hello hello."

—-

It is a bit sad Nightwing heard about Barbara's return to action through Alfred. But it is also his fault for not visiting enough, he figures. "Too long. But you look great," he replies with a thin smile. He came through the rooftops, so he is traveling light. Hopefully Barbara has supplies on her bike.

And there is one of the young women. White hair… Ravager. "Holy…" Nightwing loses his smile and runs to check if the mercenary is still alive. She looks very badly wounded, indeed. "Batgirl, do you have medical supplies, I am…" he looks up at the voice, eyes narrowing behind his mask. Not a familiar face in Gotham, but he knows the rogues from New York. "Taskmaster," he comments quietly, just for Barbara. Instead of medical supplies, he reaches for his fighting staves.

—-

"Yeah, hang on." First aid takes priority over catch-up chitchat. Batgirl steps back to her bike and pulls out the med kit, jogging back over to Dick. She looks up as Nightwing identifies Taskmaster and a grimace touches her lips. She's kept up on rogues all over the grid, thanks to being Oracle. "Oh, that's bad news," she replies as quietly. "Can you hold him? I'll get Ravager out of the way." Yeah. She knows her; they've met.

—-

Spotted? "The hell gave me away?" Taskmaster drops the binos down from his eyes, he isn't even that close. The directional audio didn't even get to kick in and pick up any conversation they may be having or could have.
"So much for my career as a spy." The man chuckles and straightens up, talking to no one but himself.

"Well hello down there!" The mercenary shouts so he can be heard, "You have some eagle eyes on you, boy." The skull has built in scramblers that distort the man's voice, they make it sound electronic and garbled but it is still very clear. "I wasn't actually even going to interfere but now that you seen me well… I suppose this calls for me to come on down and say hello face to face. One moment."

A spring forward and Taskmaster's long armored body twists in the air in an acrobatic display, bouncing off the highest rung of the catwalk nearby to fire out a grapnel line that acts like a webshot, it hits the lamppost near them (slightly bent from the explosion) and guides him from that aerial spin to a swinging land on top of that car that has the alarm going off. His body weight and gear causing it to crunch in.

Swiftly a gun is drawn out, whipped up in a Gunslinger twirl and aims down at the automobile he is standing on. One eye closing as he takes a shot and fires, *BLAMBLAM* the alarm speaker near the front left of the car is blown to bits. "Annoying that." He adds. "How about real introductions now that we can hear one another?"

—-

One learns to watch the rooftops when around Batman. Otherwise you get a scowling. A level two scowling, which is 30% more scowl-ish than the regular scowling. Also, if he was watching the scene he would have picked up the same spot.

But yeah, lets go with eagle eyes. That is cooler. "You are not a ninja, skull face," he shouts back. His expression darkens when he sees him coming down. Those are some good acrobatics. And thus bad news. "Of course I can hold him, no problem," he directs to Batgirl. Moving to stand between the killer and the women.

"Nightwing. Hello. How about you drop your weapons and we wait for the cops?" He offers with another smile. Beat. No? Then throws a batrang to the other man. Not a regular one, but one carrying a smoke charge. Taskmaster has guns and Dick would prefer to avoid a ranged fight. The batrang goes straight to the mercenary's head, but it would explode a yard of so from him.

—-

Batgirl doesn't waste time with a response to Nightwing. She dashes over to Ravager and immediately begins checking her over. Of greatest priority is whether or not the woman's body can be moved safely. While she suspects the woman to be a mutant, not all mutants have fast or regenerative healing. She can bind the worst of the wounds, quickly enough. But, getting her to her bike will be problematic. And, if there's another gun toting madman here, they don't need to be putting EMTs at risk.

—-

"I am no weeb but I have to kinda disagree there, I am a ninja. I mean, I've mastered so many Ninjitsu techniques I could write a book. If I had the patience." Taskmaster's head turns just enough to watch Batgirl run towards Ravager, a low whistle escapes him and then he is looking once more at Nightwing, "Make me? Wait no that sounded childish, I mean why should I?" Then the batarang is coming at him. Unfortunately for Taskmaster he isn't used to the tactics and tricks of the Batclan, his information on them is all second hand and limited, this crowd is good at remaining mysterious and obscure somehow and Waller refuses to give him much about them. He isn't trusted and hes just a tool. That is fine.
The batarang is about to be deflected by a shield when it suddenly goes off, a cloud of smoke covering the Taskmaster and his immediate vicinity.

He doesn't exit the smoke right away, his filtration systems of his mask kick in.

From inside that smoke wall three sharpened blades are thrown at where Nightwing was before he had tossed the batarang. They are perfectly thrown, one will strike for the forehead, another the throat and the last the groin. That is of course if Nightwing is careless enough not to move.

"Tricky little critters aren't you!" As the smoke clears in streams Taskmaster is walking still towards them, a shield held on one arm. A thematic and stylized T upon it.

"I was talking before you got rude, I tend to talk a lot but besides the point… that girl, the one on the ground is important-ish to a colleague of mine, I'll ask nicely you back away and let me take her."

—-

Nightwing was moving the instant the batrang explodes, of course. First racing to the right, then moving to intercept, avoiding the shield side and hopefully coming with a good deal of cover from the smoke for a flying kick to the skull mask. This time he is quiet, and grateful Taskmaster keeps chatting. It helps finding him!

The smoke is harmless, not tear gas or a more exotic load. Yes, Bats do not have super-powers, instead they gear up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in gizmos. Tricksy people. Also pretty well trained in martial arts, that kick probably will hurt quite a bit even through the helmet.

—-

Batgirl keeps half an eye on the fight, noting that the smoke doesn't cause an immediate reaction… and the projectiles that sling out of it. But, from what she can tell, Ravager will likely survive… once she comes to. If she comes to. Gently, Batgirl lifts Rose's body and starts to make her way around the fight and the blast zone toward the batcycle.

—-

"Cute jumpkick." Taskmaster says to Nightwing, "Predictable though and I haven't even studied you enough to say I have you mapped." The shield slides upwards, covering his head and angling so that he can actually throw the acrobat away from him. He doesn't outright attack Nightwing though, his attention is divided between talking, the Caped Crusader's 1st son and Batgirl. "You heard of Krabi-krabong? Probably not. Siamese warriors invented it, great with a shield and fighting people who kick in addition to use weapons. Not even Ole' Cap has that down to an art like me."
"Nuh uh!" Taskmaster freeing himself up a little with Nightwing still has that gun in his spare-hand it fires at Batgirl as she starts to lift Ravager. Shooting between her and the batcycle. The batcycle included gets bullets bouncing off of it. "I told you I am here for her." A lie. Hes here for her. They don't need to know that though. Defense mode he keeps the gun leveled on Batgirl and maneuvers himself so he can keep an eye on Dick.

—-

"Krabi-krabong?" He backflips and lands on his feet, smirking. "That is staff and sword fighting, man. Or did they have wood bucklers too?" Nightwing balks when Taskmaster starts shooting instead of bantering, though. He charges against the man at blinding speed. This time with the escrima sticks first. One goes up, easy to block with the shield, but the second one comes low, trying to get through the defense through the mercenary blindspot and hit a knee. Knees are fragile things.

—-

Batgirl backpedals slightly as the bullets hit. "Stop that!" she snaps, without thinking about what she's saying. She sets Rose back down, however, and puts herself between the unconscious woman and the mercenary battling Nightwing. She pulls a pair of taser'rangs out and waits until Taskmaster is more distracted by Nightwing to send them spinning towards that gun. She wants it out of his hand and if that gets the gun out of play, so much the better.

—-

"Staff, sword, club, shield. I think they used yak and rhino in addition to bone and wood. Really I dunno. I don't care about the exact specifics, just the parts that help me cripple and kill." Taskmaster carries on, the upward strike from the Escrima stick is ignored entirely, Taskmaster actually drops low and forward, the shield pushing out to attack the low strike, attempting to smash the rim of the rounded metal in to Nightwing's hand holding said cudgel and then he pivots, away disengaging from the former Robin as the tase'rangs hit where he was, the gun wrapped in one of them and discarded. The magazine is empty anyways. "Not bad, you're a bit off in your aim, Batgirl, like the weight of your little throwy toy is unfamiliar. Recently back in the gig or just out of shape? Bad day maybe?" He taunts Batgirl - it is quite possibly none of the above. Sliding back a couple paces to keep both in view. "We're just getting started here. I hope you both have better tricks in there."

—-

"No rhinos in Thailand," points out Nightwing with a smirk. The shield hits solid, but armguard is armored, so Nightwing doesn't pull back, instead he gets even closer, keeping up with Taskmaster and trying to limit the mercenary's movements while striking at the collarbone with a stick. Then sweeping at his legs to see if he can make him fall down.

"You are here for… which of them?"

—-

The worst part? Tazer batarangs have been one of Babs' weapons of choice, lately. She's actually a little alarmed at the observation. Guess what she'll be practicing more later?

As it stands, she's still best using her own escrima sticks — particularly the upperbody work. (Go figure.) If they're going to avoid letting him win, though, she's going to have to engage, too.

"Which of them? Why would he be interested in me?" She moves to flank Taskmaster as Nightwing attempts to sweep him, intending to follow up with a couple of sharp strikes to the same collarbone and back of his skull, if she can.

—-

The question about who he is here for is ignored there is no way Nightwing would know Taskmaster isn't here for Rose. His meeting with the Joker couldn't have been outed right? Maybe. Never know with Clowns. A sigh that is also a hiss escapes Taskmaster as Nightwing's armored limb outstretched as is doesn't seem at all affected by the shield. The man fights guys like Captain America and is being annoyed to matched now by this springy little Gotham vigilante. Unrealistic in his mind but he'll adapt. He always does.
The distance clearance allows for Taskmaster to deflect the collarbone swipe and neatly step around the leg sweep with some evasive footwork. Nightwing's speed is the only thing allowing him to overextend safely and it not be taken advantage of. The merc notes this.
Defensive play has him warding off Dick but the follow up attacks from Batgirl have her in close now as well, his arm actually has to lash up and parry one attack before the other hits the side of his neck, just above the shoulder. "Good short play." He grunts at her before his parrying limb extends a sharp elbow at her face. "Who taught you two? You both have nice form. It just needs more lethality added in."

—-

No response to the question? Weird. Nightwing just wants to keep him talking. Obviously Taskmaster likes to talk. People that talk, talk, talk often become distracted. But no response? He should be here for Ravager or Spoiler. Or both. Or not?

"Taught? Well. Gotham is hard city, you know, plenty of fighting," he comments idly, rolling gracefully to keep the mercenary between Batgirl and himself. Good as he is, he probably doesn't have eyes in his back. Unfortunately it has been years since Nightwing fought alongside Batgirl. They used to be a very good team, now… he is not sure what she will do first. That is bad in close quarters. He feints an attack to the head, but wary. Taskmaster has been mostly defensive so far, but he is armed to the teeth.

—-

Batgirl is fairly good at judging a fight, as well. She's spent a lot of time doing that for others, after all. What she can tell, already, is that Taskmaster could probably give Bruce a run for his money. Both she and Dick are good. Very good, really. But, Batman is still better than each of them. Together, though, they can present a formidable front.

But, yeah. It's been a while since she and Nightwing fought together, but she remembers his moves. If he's gotten a few new ones since then, well, so has she. She doesn't respond to Taskmaster's compliment, however, because she's decided more or less that his talking doesn't actually distract him. It distracts them instead. And, having been confined to the chair for so long, she's learned an awful lot about focus and distraction.

That said, the elbow smacking up to her face causes her to spin out of the way, throwing up a quick block. The impact on her forearm still hurts, but at least it's not her nose. Continuing her momentum, she looks to press her strike from the side and behind again, strikes sharp and quick.

—-

"What kind of condition is she in anyways? How close was she to the grenade that went off? Casualty producing range of your standard hand grenade is about fifteen meters, full on dead as dead gets range is more like three, we all know because shes her daddies little sprite shes probably tough as nails, meaning she mighta survived even without body armor but how much can she live through without immediate medical attention? She got shrapnel up in her guts? Maybe her brain is swelling from a concussion? You kids ever peeled melted concrete out of your insides?" A lot of talking. He's evaluating, watching their moves, the more they move for him the more he adapts, learns what they can do, starts to map them. His photographic reflexes starting to assimilate their own which turns in to reading their body language and anticipating. This is exactly what he wants, for them to unleash on him. It'll be easier when he comes for /her/ later.
The shield is tucked in and his upperbody swivels like a snake, moving left and right as he blocks hits with it. *PONGPONGPONG* hard sounds, these two are used to punching hard objects, thats also part of training. Hes letting them and just growing swifter in his evasions. Starting to amp it up. They are experienced, they live fighting, its breathing to them. They know what tempo is in combat, it means its beginning to hasten, blood is going to spill soon. Defensive is about to turn offensive.
"Cmon, impress me. Show me something new!" He snarls and then unleashes a sweeping swing, that shield pushes out and goes wide thrown at the end of its arc to bounce off a wall. He ignores it, ducking low with his own momentum and his leg then lashes out at Batgirl's feet. He's determined shes the more grounded of the two, less acrobatic. He'll put her down and press in close on Nightwing, try to corner him where he can't move. Where Taskmaster's superior size and strength will allow him to force the younger man to grapple.

—-

It might be Nightwing is a touch faster and agiler than Batgirl. Definitely he is stronger, which is why when Dick sees Taskmaster is going for Barbara, he is the one that jumps closer to attempt a grapple. Babs can then beat the mercenary if only he can keep him more or less put. Also, Nightwing carries a stun gun in his right gauntlet.

"Don't punch her if you want answers," he remarks. Hey, it is useful advice. He knows Babs wouldn't be here if Ravager was in immediate danger of dying, but keeps that to himself. "Why do you care, anyway?"

—-

Show him something, new? Batgirl folds as Taskmaster sweeps her, rolling away and up to her feet, cape swinging out behind her. "Nightwing!" she snaps, "fall back!" Hopefully Dick's smart enough to recognize that tone as Oracle's 'oh, shit, I just figured something out' voice. "He's mapping us." She still has sticks up, but it should tell Taskmaster something about Batgirl's observation skills that she's changed her stance, now, never mind pegged what he's doing. She spins and darts for Rose's body, standing over it, keeping between it and Taskmaster.

—-

"Brainy Bat. Is that you? You figured it out. My jam is something called Photographic Reflexes, your moves, I learn them instantly. They become mine and the longer we play the more I learn, it doesn't stop there though, I start to translate your body language, it allows me to anticipate before you even realize you're doing it." Satisfaction when his heel connects with hers and she hits the ground, only briefly, saying shes less of an acrobat than Dick is like saying red is a warmer color than orange. Shes gifted. Shes on her feet in less than a heartbeat. It's beautiful really, these Bats and their movements. This is what Taskmaster wanted, maybe he should thank the Joker for this after all.
Grapple. The grapple feint, its exactly what he was setting up, Dick locks with him, they end up where Taskmaster can move just enough to angle to the side and push Nightwing in the way of that soaring shield. The shield? The shield he swung wide and threw, ignored for a half a second so it can hit a wall and rebound back towards them. Captain America showed him that one. That sweeping force wasn't meant to really hit any of them it was just meant to give some *umpfh* behind the weapon.

"Call it professional courtesy. I want her because, well, I'm almost like her uncle."
"Uncle Tasky. Thats me."

—-

Of course he is 'mapping' them, that is what any fighter does when he has time. He spars, he banters, he studies the rival, he tries to figure out the style. Now, photographic reflexes is a step above it. It sounds more like… what Cassandra Cain does. Bad news indeed!

But Taskmaster is also underestimating Nightwing. Babs is very smart, but Dick is very observant. The shield wasn't 'lost', it was swung. Like a batrang. He knows how that goes. So yes… one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three… Nightwing throws all his weight to a side, hard and suddenly. Now it is Tasky's face in the trajectory of the shield.

—-

Babs moves right next to Rose. She did have a chance to put gauze over the worst of the bleeding, but only loosely bound it. She still believes she needs to get the girl to the hospital. Or some sort of clinic. She watches the shield careen, knows it's heading for Taskmaster, but she's also trying to find some way to thwart skullface's ultimate goal: Retrieving Ravager.

So, she flips her cape back to cover the other young woman. "Y'know," she says in mild complaint more to Rose than anyone, "it'd be really good if you could wake up enough to move on your own."

—-

Taskmaster pushes and Nightwing throws himself? Where is all of that momentum going? Not anywhere expected by either. An awkward dance that. An awkward dance Taskmaster no longer wants any part of.
Rather shocked his shield didn't rebound back and clip Nightwing he just assumes the man is used to fighting someone that has used a shield in similar fashion which is definitely NOT a batarang in any form. Maybe Nightwing has tangled with Captain America or US Agent or one of those others.
Was the move that obvious? Getting predictable is never good in his line of work.

The guard-break on both ends has Taskmaster kicking forward and tumbling away, actually running past his shield and scooping it up. A bit upset he underestimated the Bats this much, though, they did interrupt his surveying mode in which he would gather intel before engaging. "Take her. Tell you this much though, she ends up in any worse shape than she is from you two interfering, there will be HELL to pay." That earlier 'webshot' style grapnel line fires up again and he swings upwards, his ego a tad bruised.

"Taskmaster to the Sheba, I'll be there soon. I need to circle a little in case I get followed but I got enough for now." Some, he would prefer more but he got some and has learned not to engage them while together. Solo acts he can deal with easily. More than one will take preparation and more patience than he has right now.

—-

Nightwing tumbles away, more or less landing on his feet. He expects Taskmaster to pounce on him, so he braces to receive him, but instead the mercenary shoots the grapnel and swings away. That is a weird grapnel design, he notes, but he has to admit it is effective.

He pulls out a batrang and throws it, aiming to cut the line, but it was a very difficult shot and he misses for a couple inches. "Not good, Batman is not going to like knowing that guy is in town," he grumbles, running to join with Barbara. "How is she?"

—-

As Taskmaster swings away, Babs steps backward, over Rose's body, and kneels beside her. "She's taken a lot of lacerations, but I don't think there are internal injuries. She may have a couple of broken bones, maybe a concussion, though. But, I think we can move her." She looks up into Nightwing's face. "Where should we take her? Gotham Memorial?" She's not sure that's a great idea.

"No, nowhere the police can locate her," replies Nightwing. "I have been trying to reach her for a couple months. She is not like Deathstroke and I think she deserves a chance to be better." So if Ravager doesn't need surgery, a safehouse would be best.
Babs nods to that. "I think I know a place. One of my OracleNet places. I'll take her there, then, I'm going to go find Spoiler." And find out what the hell this was all about. She was monitoring DELPHI while the Justice League was in Pennsylvania; she knows Flash went off the reservation to go pick up his girlfriend. And that cannot mean Steph is in one piece. So, she's going to hunt some lighting and put it in a bottle until she can get some answers.

She loads Rose carefully onto the bike and slides on behind her. "I'll send you a text with an address where you can find her, later." That said, she revs the bike and takes off, even as the sirens of approaching Gotham first responders draw near.

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