Protection Detail

October 18, 2014:

Calling in a favor, Babs asks Robin to give her some advice and receives a surprise visit from Fenris.

Clocktower - Gotham City

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.

Mainframes and back-up generators line most of the walls in rooms of clear glass kept from overheating with with high-tech coolant systems. In front of one clock face is an enormous computer system laid out on a long, custom desk, lower than average, just the right height for Oracle's wheelchair. There is a command chair for use when needed, which slides on rails along the length of the desk. A huge bank of monitors are arrayed in a horseshoe shape around the desk, with the ability to form one large picture or individual smaller ones.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: I See Fire


Fade In…

Since being invited to help Jim Reha at 'Stark Industries', Babs has been concerned about how she will maintain her own safety. Not that she doesn't trust Stark Industries security, Jason Lucky's briefing has gone a long way to allaying her fears but, there is the Thanagarian threat and her secret identity to protect. The good people at Stark Industries only know her as Babs so rolling in there in her state of the art wheel chair and, ahem, aresenal will certainly raise a few eyebrows.

So Babs has asked Tim to come visit so she can discuss the issue.

She's expecting Tim anytime now and heads to the Kitchen to put the jug on.

***

The very familiar security code is punched, probably alerting the monitors in the clock tower, and Tim Drake gives a wave to the camera. There's an ordinariness about Tim's appearance between his blue jeans, peacoat, and Robin red scarf, he looks like anyone else. Babs' invitation has him coming as himself, not Robin, especially as he'd ducked out of class just before the professor wrapped up.

Not that the prof noticed.

There's no extra bags or gifts this time aside from the messenger book bag Tim has slung haphazardly over his shoulder, digging uncomfortably into it as he moves. He should've just stuck to the backpack. At least it'd be better for his posture.

When the door unlocks, he takes the stairs, two at a time, and doesn't bother knocking on the control room door this time, not when he knows he's expected. Instead, he just turns the handle and treads in. "Hey Babs," he says with a flicker of a boyish grin despite the fact that he can't see her from the door. The bag is dug out from his muscles, with no small amount of relief, and dropped to the ground beside the door as he unbuttons his coat. The coat and scarf are then left on top of the bag — Tim has never been known for being the most orderly of the Robins — and he treads into the kitchen.

He glances at the kettle and then back to Babs before moving to the fridge, "Do you have anything to eat? I'm starved. I didn't think Prof Jones was going to stop today. It was actually painful." There's a pause as he glances at the clock on the wall, "Am I late?"

***

Waving a hand at the Fridge, Babs replies "Help yourself, no idea what's in there." Babs is not known for her regular shopping habits, so it's going to be a bit hit and miss for Tim. "Tea or Coffee" she asks, setting out two mugs on the side just as the jug starts boiling. Putting instant coffee in one, she pauses to wait for Tims response

"What? Oh no, you're right on time. Just thought I'd be ready for you." Babs looks a little distracted.

***

Regular shopping habits or not, teenaged Tim isn't about to complain. He inspects the fridge and squints, finally coming out with nothing other a jar of peanut butter. He reaches for a spoon, noting how incredibly disgusted Alfred would be, and silently thanking himself that the butler isn't here to watch him snack on a jar of peanut butter. The only way he could score worse on the food scale is if he'd made Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Oh well.

"Coffee please," he replies. "No cream or sugar. Please." And then with a lopsided grin, he nods, "Good. I'm glad. Don't like being late if I can help it." Pause. "So. What's up?"

***

Before Babs can answer, a Way opens behind Tim. It's a white tear in space and time about six feet tall and half again as wide. Through it steps a tall, lean, predatory looking man in a long coat and a red scarf. There's an oak rod belted at his side. He glances around looking vaguely amused. "Good afternoon, Barbara." He says quietly before looking at the one that some call… Tim.

Meet Jeremiah Wolfson. 'Park Ranger'.

***

Glancing at the man who has just appeared in her kitchen, Babs continues making the coffee. Scooping instant coffee into the 2nd mug, Babs adds boiling water and then puts Tims coffee on the table. Moving to the fridge, she gets the milk out, adds it to her cup and returns it to the fridge.

After looking intently inside the fridge for a few minutes, she casts a disgusted look at Tim "And that's the best you can find to eat?" gesturing to the Peanut Butter.

Moving her cup to the table, Babs settles in place and wraps her hands around the mug.

"Tim, have you met Mr Wolfson? Mr Wolfson, Tim Drake." Babs is very calm, considering a person has just appeared in the clocktower. Focussing on Tim, she continues "For once, I need some advice and I thought you might have some ideas." Flicking her eyes to Jeremiah, she indicates a chair "And given Mr Wolfson has appeared, I'm sure he will to."

***

Despite having just shovelled a spoonful of peanut butter into his mouth, Tim's lips part. No matter how many metahumans he meets, they all seem to wow him just the same. His blue eyes squint, and he forces the sticky peanut butter down his throat and then runs his tongue over his lips to catch any traces of leftovers.

There's a twitch of a smirk at his food choice, followed by another twitch of a smirk at Mister Wolfson. "Hi," the word is almost as sticky as the peanut butter itself thanks to Tim's chosen snack. He swallows again. His eyes flit towards Babs and then back to Jeremiah.

"I… don't think we've met. I'm Tim. Just like," he points back towards Barbara, "she said — "

His eyes narrow at the thought of being the advice giver, almost like Tim thinks he's being punked, but he doesn't question it further. But he does manage, "If I can help, I will." He shrugs a single shoulder and his eyes train on Babs. "What's up?"

***

"Mmmmmm. Advice?" Jeremiah doesn't look it, but he's over two thousand years old. Advice from him comes from an odd perspective: to wit, that of an ancient predator that has seen the rise and fall of every civilization since Rome. Sometimes, though, that perspective can be quite valuable. It's certainly unique. "Hello Tim. Yes, advice is something I can offer if you like. Does it have anything to do with the odd scent of sea magic on you?"

***

That last from Jeremiah gets a slight widening of her eyes, but Babs directs her next response to Tim. "It's a little complicated, but Mr Wolfson here asked if I could help with a project and I said yes. However, to do the work that's needed, I have to go into a Stark Industries facility and, given the level of security they have, I'm not taking any of my usual assets." Pausing to let that sink in, Babs sips her coffee. After several seconds, she continues "My concern, is that I will be in a Stark Industries facility, on my own."

Turning her gaze to Jeremiah "I know you've offered your time, but I have no idea how long this will take or when I will need to be there. And, you are still a relative stranger to me. I would prefer to consider all my options before to something." Frowning, she adds "Why are you here?"

***

"The Cait Sidhe is loose in this city and causing a great deal of trouble. I'm was looking in on you to ensure your safety." Fenris does not, as a rule, care about humanity at large. Anything he does for large, impersonal groups of people he does out of a sense of wolfish territoriality. They're 'his' on 'his' hunting grounds and no one else gets to screw with them. However, he can and does care about individuals and he can be startlingly considerate and loyal to those he's chosen. "I certainly didn't know you were having visitors over. I would have brought some honey mead."

***

"Wait." Pause. "She smells like magic?" Tim asks skeptically as he arches an eyebrow and shovels another spoonful of peanut butter into his mouth. But then he nods, seeming to buy this thought before wrinkling his nose and asking, "Do a lot of folks in Gotham smell like magic these days?" It seems like a valid question.

There's another pause as Tim's expression changes. His eyes turn up to the ceiling. He vaguely remembers something Gar said about coffee covering scents. He mentally takes note to drink it liberally.

But then Babs is talking about walking through Stark industries, causing Tim's forehead to crease, eyebrows to draw together, and a hand to raise. "Wait. Why would you be on your own?" He looks between the pair and finally sets the peanut butter down on the counter. "And why are you going in without your assets?"

His eyebrows raise at the notion of honey mead and he notes, "I have to go back to class after anyways." And then towards Babs, he raises both of his hands and adds, "And some turning twenty-one to do…"

***

Babs casts Jeremiah a considering glance "I know about the Cait Sidhe, and thank you for your concern." She's not going to debate the benefits of her defenses now.

Sighing, she looks at Tim and takes a deep breath. "I'm going into a facility where the security almost matches what I have here. They know me as Babs Gordon, disabled woman who is a whiz at IT Security and a bit of coding… not" pause "you know." Another sip of the coffee before she continues "If I was to arrive in this" and she gestures to her command chair "or one of the other more appropriate chairs with all of the hidden features, don't you think that would raise questions I would rather not answer? Not to mention, would you let me into your high security facility decked out like that? As to going in on my own, look around, who else is there to accompany me, that wouldn't raise even more questions?"

Babs settles back into her chair, taking the cup with her and nursing it. At Tims comment about turning 21, she snorts and raises an eyebrow at him.

***

Fenris waves off the underage drinking concerns. Frankly, everyone is a child drinking underage compared to him. "As you say, Tim. To answer your questions: Yes, she does smell like magic and no that is not common, especially when you consider exactly what it is she smells like." Atlantis withdrew from the world over three thousand years ago. Their legacy is something Fenris is familiar with, but it has not been felt in this world for many an age. And that is starting to change.

"She wishes to preserve such screts as she has. It seems to be a common preoccupation these days." SHIELD got all antsy about him being a security risk as well, nevermind that if he really wanted their secrets they have no means to prevent him from scrying them out.

"However, I believe, Barbara, if nothing else they will refrain from asking too many questions. I am known to them, both who and what I am and the full scope of what that means. They tend to take my requests and suggestions seriously. Nevertheless, your caution is understandable. What, exactly, was it you were going to ask advice about?"

***

"Interesting," Tim remarks towards Fenris about Barbara smelling like magic and then stares at Babs longer than he probably should. He shifts to the kitchen table and finally sits down with his cup of coffee.

"So. Basically," Tim's gaze turns upwards as he summarizes Babs' need for advice, "you're going into a highly secured building, not sure what you'll face, with none of the resources that you actually have for reasons unspecified besides a super…" his blue eyes dance between the pair "…secret(?) mission of some import." His lips twist to the side and he hmmms quietly.

"Is your safety a concern here, Babs? I don't really know what's going on, but Stark Industries is generally on the up and up, aren't they?"

***

"Don't stare at me like that Tim." Babs makes no comment as to smelling like magic, she suspects she knows what Fenris has detected but it's not the issue she wants to discuss.

A glance towards Jeremiah before answering the questions "Stark Industries security is top notch. Under normal circumstances I would say it wasn't an issue, but this is not normal. Mr Wolfson, you can't deny that our friends the other day appeared to have little to no idea about the larger threat."

Contemplating her coffee, Babs comes to a decision and sighs "I want to take someone in with me. Someone I trust to have my back. It wouldn't be unheard of, or even beyond belief that I would have assistance. It would perpetuate the cover of the 'disabled woman'. My issue is 'who'. That's what I want advice on, who…"

***

"Given, Barbara, that the threat allegedly comes from an undiscovered world, it does not surprise me at all. The Corvinus has been either unable or unwilling to provide pertinent details beyond 'very dangerous' which isn't exactly helpful. I've been dealing with him for some time as well." Fenris taps his chin as he thinks. "Mmmmmm… I would offer my assistance as 'backup' but you neither know nor trust me and I cannot exactly fault you for that. The question then becomes what you wish to be secured from. If the Thanagarian is your concern then your friend will have to be quite powerful. The Corvinus is no mean combatant, after all. If, however, you simply wish for an advocate and friendly face you could probably do worse than Tim here. What other contacts have you been considering?"

***

"And what is the larger threat?" Tim asks idly before taking a long gulp of his coffee. His eyebrows draw together again and he looks between the pair. He snorts at the notion of being just an advocate and friendly face, not that he considers himself to be of the powerful persuasion. He mutters into his coffee, "I knew I wasn't threatening." There's a pause, "But I'm willing if you need an escort. Not that I know anything about this." He clears his throat, "Yeah… who are you thinking about talking to Babs?"

***

"That's why I wanted your advice Tim. I'm a fairly solitary person and there aren't many that know Babs Gordon." she shrugs "You have school and I wouldn't ask it of you. I had thought maybe Dick, but " and there's a moment of hesistation "that would just get complicated, besides he has the academy. There's no way I'd ask Damian, he'd have people offside in seconds. So I don't know." she trails off. Babs is not used to not having the answers.

***

"What of one of the two women that Tim scents of. Do you know either of them?" Fenris asks helpfully. Well, he thinks it's helpful. He has no idea whether Spoiler or Darcy fit the bill. "They wouldn't necessarily have to be friends, Barbara. Just someone you trust to do right by you. Those aren't always the same thing."

***

"Yeah. Don't take Damian," Tim confirms with an arch of his eyebrows. "There's always Cass? And Dick would be willing to skip the Academy and I -could- skip school. I mean, assuming all of Prof Jones' lectures are so useful as today's."

And then Fenris mentions the two women he scents of and Tim's face begins to flush a deep red. He pushes passed it: "It just depends what you're looking for in an escort. I mean," Tim's eyes turn upwards. "Spoiler would be good. She's got some gumption and can fly under the radar. But she also has school." There's a pause and then he notes, "A lot of the Titans have some pretty fantastic metahuman abilities. Zach and Zatanna are both plugged into magic. I don't know them well, but they seem trustworthy." His lips twist to the side. "Or there's Iceboy. I could ask him to do it third party. He doesn't seem particularly threatening, appears safe enough." His eyes narrow. "But can maybe slow someone down if he needed to. Because, you know, ice."

***

Babs casts a level look at Tim "I know OF one woman, but not a second." Her look is actually quite stern. "I agree Mr Wolfson, someone I trust. I just don't know who I would trust except those I've just mentioned. I'm not taking any of you out of school, Tim. We have no idea how long this will take." As Tim starts cataloguing the Titans, she nods "You know them better than I, it needs to be someone who can blend in and that you would trust Tim. They really need to be able to be non-descript and unremarkable. Iceboy has too much of a public profile, and his own interests. Could we perhaps look at a private security firm and find someone?"

Fenris says, ""I have a couple of friends at SHIELD. I could approach them, if you'd like, and ask if they know of anyone trustworthy and competant." Friend might be a bit of a stretch but he could certainly pop in on Melinda May and ask. Fenris can pop in on a lot of people, it's kind of his thing. Well, it's other people's thing too, but definitely also his.

"Or you could ask Miss Potts to include a neutral third party. She'd understand the desire for that I think."

***

There's no comment about the second woman, probably because Tim has beaten the Harley Quinn lookalike topic to death over the last week, but his cheeks do flush. She had been rather hands-on and the memory has its influence. Instead he focuses: "Nondescript and unremarkable leaves out both Zach and Zatanna. Plus Zach had a tendency to just use magic whenever. He showed me a trick as well, me. Not the other guy."

"Private security is certainly an option. And I bet Wayne Enterprises could vet them for you. Make sure that whoever you get is actually okay to have." His eyes narrow a stitch and he considers, "I bet Bruce would have his own suggestions too…"

***

Considering the conversation of the two men, Babs nods "SHIELD could be an option, if presented as a client. And Wayne Enterprises vetting people would work as well. Don't bother Bruce with this" a small smile tugs at the corner of her mouth "I really don't want to have a discussion about whether I should or shouldn't be doing this in the first place. I'm sure you understand."

"Mr Wolfson, if you could make discrete enquiries that would be appreciated and in the meantime, I'll speak to the security team at Wayne Enterprises. They may have someone they can temporarily assign."

A determined nod and Babs returns to sipping her coffee.

***

"As you wish then." Fenris murmurs. "There may be a SHIELD Agent or… outside asset they consider reliable. The agent in question I will ask certainly prizes reliability." The Old Wolf looks Tim over and then Babs. "Was there anything else?"

***

Tim smirks about not telling Bruce. "That's fine." He then adds, "Sometimes it's better not to tell Bruce things. Only makes him worry unnecessarily." The words are punctuated by a lopsided, very boyish, nearly impish grin. Yes, this may involve a favour of similar nature later, Babs.

He focuses on his own coffee now and takes a few long gulps. "I'll see if I can't think of anyone else too." He glances between Fenris and Oracle and shrugs. "I should get going too — class in another hour — "

***

"I think that's it. I do appreciate it. And don't think this gets you any special consideration…" Babs has seen that smirk and hopes she can play the game. "Off to class, learn lots and make sure you speak to Steph." Her eyes sparkle as she sends him off.

Directing her attention to Jeremiah, she sobers and offers as slight smile "I don't think so, unless there was something that you wanted to discuss?"

***

"No I do not think so, unless you've been having unusual dreams. That may be a matter for some concern." The scent of sea magic on her apparently is not, at least not in Fenris' opinion. There are lots of magical things out there.

***

Even the mention of Steph's name has Tim flushing slightly. "I always speak to Steph," he treads back into the monitor room to retrieve his coat, scarf, and bag. "Just promise you'll be nice to her if I bring her over later." There's a pause. "And to me. Please," his hands press against one another and he nods towards her in a silent begging posture. His grin turns sheepish and he waves, "I'll talk to you later." And with that Tim, disappears out the door.

***

Watching Tim as he heads out the door, there's a small affectionate smile on Babs face, but she doesn't respond to his questions.

Blinking slightly at Jeremiah's statement, she replies "I'm sleeping as I normally do, Mr Wolfson." avoiding the direct answer, dreams aren't necessarily unusual for her. "Thank you for dropping by and checking in. Should I expect this type of thing again?"

***

"From time to time, yes." The Old Wolf nods, thoughtfully. Now that Tim is gone Babs has his full attention. "More if I detect unusual magical things happening. Unusual magical things are often benign, I'd go so far as to say most often benign, but I look in on them all the same. Every once in a while I catch something that should not be here."

***

Babs nods as Fenris explains. "Well, your visits are generally welcome but perhaps you should call ahead? I am after all mostly alone here, and … " a small pause "you may arrive at an inopportune moment."

***

"That would require knowing your phone number." The God-Wolf smiles. "Though if you are concerned about secrets I will tell you what I told SHIELD. I do not want them. If I did there would be little that could be done to stop me, but I am for the most part content to let people keep their secrets."

***

Babs laughs "You can open a portal directly to my home, but you don't know my phone number. As to my secrets, you have walked in my dreams and have shown a trust that I'm not sure what I've done to warrant. It is simply my privacy that I wish to protect."

***

"Once I have someone's scent, finding them magically speaking is rather easy. Technology, now that's hard." Fenris is joking a little. The finer points of highly advanced technology are a bit beyond him, but that's only because anything that's developed in the last forty years or so is, so far as he is concerned, brand new. He's got an extremely extensive education on less esoteric matters though.

"However, it is a woman's perogative to have privacy, in my experience." Yes, Fenris is a bit Old World. "So I shall endevour to give warning when I can."

***

"You may find Technology hard, I find magic beyond my understanding Mr Wolfson." Babs inclines her head in response to his last comment "My thanks for that."

"If there was nothing more Mr Wolfson?" Babs asks quietly.

***

"Not unless you wish to ask advice of me on… other matters." The wolf smiles faintly. There's is the matter of scenting magic on her after all.

***

Babs laughs "Well that's a leading statement. Are you suggesting I should ask about the magic you scented?" There's mirth in her eyes…

***

"Not suggesting so much as inviting." Fenris replies with some amusement. "If Tim is a child to you, imagine what it must look like on this end. Two millenia on planet and that's not counting the time I spend tied to a rock in Asgard." Which is not a fond memory, but it is a thing that ahppened.

***

Sighing Babs relents and with a wave of her hand replies "Then do share… " and her eyes get a slight faraway look as she recalls the unusual meeting

***

"What would you have me share?" Fenris chuckles. "If you've no questions there's only so much I can say. I scent magic that is at once very old and very new on you. Creatures that have not walked the earth in many thousands of years are beginning to return. It's rather exciting, I'm sure, for some of your people but also dangerous since most of mankind has forgotten the wisdom it once knew about how to deal with such things. What is remembered is folklore and legend."

Fenris shrugs. "That said, I do not believe you to be in any danger. There are many magical things in the world and if this one did not try to eat, or harm, or kidnap or bind you, then it likely means you no ill."

***

Nodding again at Jeremiah's information, Babs looks directly at him. "I don't ask questions, because I have none, yet. It was a chance meeting and he seemed more curious than anything. I didn't get the sense he meant any harm, to me. And we agreed to meet each other again - I confess, he intrigued me as much as I seem to intrigue him."

***

"Mmmmm." It's more a smile than anything else on Fenris' face as he turns to open a Way. "In that case I shall leave you to it with a thought to consider: There are very few chance meetings in my long experience."

He pauses before he steps though. "Good day, Barbara."

Then he's gone.

***

And so its done. Babs moves around the table to pick up the cups and return the kitchen. Once the kitchen is tidy, she heads back to the monitoring room, to place some calls.

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