They Sent us Up the Bomb

May 24, 2017:

Batman shakes Sid Cancer down for more information.



NPCs: Joe Shoes



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Maxwell Sidney was stuck in an unsavory but probable position. On one hand, Batman had grown wise to his games in Gotham City, and forced to be an inside man on a job with numerous criminal elements. On the other hand, his employer was the Red Hood, in bed with the Shanghai Syndicate and a fixer in the Russian Mob with former ties to Russian counter-intelligence, perhaps still active in the Russian intelligence game (although Maxwell couldn't tell for certain). This required Maxwell to grease his way out of this bind, and to do it, he'd have to give both parties what they wanted. He had promised Batman the source of the deal. He had promised Red Hood that the explosives would be returned with cash.

Magic, anyone?

After getting the Italian mobster to raise his fee with the promise of the betrayal of the Russian fixer, and then transfering the cash via a bankline that the Bat could monitor, to Red Hood in New York City, via the covert account used by the Triad's banking apparatus, Maxwell had convened a meeting with the Russian and some of his gangsters, with an important warning that could only be said person to person mentioned, over a phoneline that Sid could tell was being tapped, since it was the only trace Batman had used to track him to the original meet in the first place.

Four blocks over, there was a classy restaurant at the top of an office tower, a 'reservation only' place owned by the most powerful international syndicate in the city, the Sicilians, the ACTUAL Sicilians, not just the bloodline or the culture. This is where the most important mobsters on the East Coast dined. Even the Penguin could scarely dream of ordering a veal medallion here. And right next door was a parking garage specifically set aside for them, tonight with several black sedans and limosuines full of international Mafia thugs and bodyguards present. The best of them were on the top floor of the restaurant, eating and discussing business.

Save the associates of the Italian Mafia boss involved in the arms transaction that Sid was a closer for. That man has been left out of the loop, hence quiet traffic and rumors about him and this standard sitdown event.


Batman is one who owns the night. It's not that he has mystic powers, contrary to the rumors of Gotham's underbelly— or that he's a mutant or a monster or a shadow of some kind.

No, mortal though he is, Batman owns the night like a predator in the jungle owns their terrain. All the back alleys, and rooftop access— the verticality of high city walls means little to him, the depths of the subterranean are as cozy as the streets.

Perhaps more so, because the streets are lined with lights.

Batman prefers the roofs, but there are times when the subterranean ways are more useful. Gotham is not just one city— it's multiple cities, all built atop one another in an attempt to stay ahead of the ravages of Gotham Harbor and the sinking, murky swamp. It's in these tunnels that Batman finds himself, moving through long abandoned houses and disturbing only the rats and a few homeless refugees too drug-addled to be afraid of the dark figure stalking through them.

Nearing a set of water drainage slits, Batman quiets his steps and paces forward a little. Just enough for his sharp hearing to pick up a conversation through the drain gate near him.


"Mr. Sidney," comes the accent of the Russian fixer as he looms out of the dark, a bodyguard beside him. They are in the maze of cobblestone alleys, Alleytown, Sid standing against a building with a cigarette in hand, three on the ground beside him, spent, from Max waiting for his contact. The Russian has already done an extensive sweep and clear of all the surrounding alleys, and has his other minions waiting at several points, in case Batman should appear again. Little does the Russian suspect that Sid Cancer is the traitor. Atop the roofs over the site, three ex-convicts wait, all of them with no qualms about going back to prison, the Shanghai Syndicate having promised payment to loved ones should they be arrested and convicted of murder. Three men with nothing to lose, broken by systemic injustices. Not born evil, just bred that way.

"Dmitri," Maxwell replies, looking at the Russian with an eerie grin. "It is a pleasure to see you." Dmitri has already been sold out, the revelation that the fixer is former counter-intelligence, the designation made by Batman, enough to convince the Italian boss that Dmitri isn't working in anyone's best interests. "We have a problem with a mole in the unit." He takes a drag on his cigarette. "The Italians let a Chechnyan know about the plastique deal, and someone's been saying you're Russian intelligence."

In the sewer beneath the international Mafiaso confederation's tower complex's adjoining parking garage, meanwhile, a massive amount of plastique has been arrayed to the parking garage's support structures, wired into place and controlled by a switch accessed by an Italian Mafia hitter controlled by the two-bit Don that was being muscled out. The plan suggested personally by Maxwell Sidney.


Batman's head tilts minutely at the word 'plastique'. Explosives in the hands of someone like Dmitri were a game changer. Plastique was a popular tool for controlled, direct demolition— a pound in the right location could destroy a construction site, render a building uninhabitable, or just cause tremendous chaos. Easy to transport, safe to handle, simple to detonate.

He checks his suit's indicator. Equipment and vehicles on standby. A drone, silently buzzing on modified wings, starts a canvas of the area from overhead with an IR camera relaying information down to Batman's suit. In moments, he'll know the location of everyone within fifty meters of his location, with tiny red *pings* indicating body heat against the cool building stone underfoot.


Dmitri grows steely hard at Maxwell, his hands clenching into fists as he reaches inside his leather jacket for his pistol. At the signal, his bodyguard also goes for his. "What do you know of Russian intelligence, Sid /Cancer/?" he spits. Confirming Maxwell's suspicions, he merely stands in place, taking a long drag on his cigarette. The Russian calling Sid 'Cancer' was the signal for his thugs on the rooftops above.

Bullets lance out from three stories up, as Maxwell quickly backpedals into the night. The three thugs, two on the building Sid is beside, and the other on the building at the triangle of the three way intersection that forms the space between the allies, open fire on Dmitri and his bodyguard with their American-made pistols. Shouts in Russian are heard in the distance, as Dmitri stumbles backwards, taking a wound to the shoulder. The body guard fires back upwards, but he's clearly outmatched, being sniped from above.

Batman can detect, besides those living in these houses, five people rushing to the position of the meet through the alleys, and they're moving quick and decisively, knowing the territory from beforehand. Four of them are moving from Dmitri's flanks and rear, and one of them is moving in near where Maxwell just faded backwards into a side alley. Maxwell, for his part, has entered a building via an old rusted door, the building devoid of human inhabitation, but cold, indicating that its a storage facility of some sort for refrigerated goods. It's not quite cold enough for frozen goods - probably dairy or meat.


The Russian is probably a dead man. Already wounded, with several highly motivated men closing on him to seal the deal. Sid Cancer clearly planned for this contingency.

While it bothers Batman to leave a man to die in Gotham— even a Russian agent— priorities have to be considered. Abandon everything to save the Russian, or push after Sid Cancer and get the whole story.

Superman might have tried to save both men, but Batman has shades of grey. Maybe if the Russian didn't have hands as bloodied as he did, he might have benefitted from some divine intervention.

Batman breaks into an explosive sprint through the tunnels, keeping an eye on Cancer's location. He gets half a block over (easy in the tunnels) and leaps up through a manhole cover into a side alley, then flickers down the alley with his cloak flowing behind him. Up he goes, bounding to a second story ledge, and with a quick flickering pushes a windowpane quietly out of place and slips into the warehouse after Cancer.


Sid Cancer walks through the meatlocker warehouse, his the sound of breath palpable beneath the dull hum of the refrigerators. The oddly earthy, salty, and to some, faintly disturbing smell of meat hangs in the air, steers hanging from hooks along the sides of freezers. Sid finds the smell disturbing, a mild wretch coming up from his throat, his family's tradition of banking and business and merchantry indicative of a background in animal husbandry. Batman might not be disturbed, the trade of the surgeon once the trade of the butcher, the trade sometimes said to be genetic in the talented. It would explain Batman's art with the human form, at least.

Sid's cigarette clenched between his lips, the odor giving him away as he quickly but softly shuffles through the warehouse, he has no idea that Batman is in the same warehouse. He's listening, of course, but not for a window, instead for Dmitri's friends tracking him down. The firefight outside dies down briefly, as the bodyguard is shot dead, before it flares to life again, more pops of gunshots echoing through the night, Dmitri's retainers coming to rescue him and shooting at the three lonely boys on the rooftops above.


Batman times his approach deliberately, looking for a blind spot in Sid's movements. A step, two, three, check over the shoulder, then two steps, full turn… it doesn't take long to get a sense for how Sidney moves. Batman even catalogues a number of minor maladies as he takes the time to evaluate how Sidney walks and holds himself.

A blind spot when he steps in a certain fashion, there, on his left— Batman surges through the warehouse, ghosting between blinks and using storage containers as cover between steps. Silent as a shadow stepping.

Just as Sidney turns and takes two backwards steps, sure he's not being followed, Batman steps out and into Sidney's path, so Cancer would run right into that thick, Bat-emblazoned armored chest.

"Sid Cancer. You've been busy," Batman says, in a voice so cold the already tomb-cool air drops a few more degrees.


Sid finds himself face to face with Batman, coughing out his cigarette against Batman's jaw and backing up with a near slip atop the smooth floor. He hacks up a lung, phlegmatic despite his bronchial immunity. He had expected Batman, but not that suddenly. "My faith in Ma Bell has been restored," Sid says as he clears his throat, coughing into his left fist. He smooths out his smoker's jacket tuxedo top, stretching out his executive's posture. Pleasantry is in his voice, despite the clearly treacherous act he just committed. He knows he has the situation in his pocket. "You can check off a Russian spy, a courtesy for the American State Department." He looks to the side, as the gunfire grows lighter, coming from mostly street level. He looks back at Batman, smirking.

"I believe we have an account on the books to settle? You want to know who was selling the plastique, and where it was heading?"


Batman stares at Sid Cancer. It's a hard look, a grim spectre waiting for that knowing smirk to settle out. The hairs on the back of the neck stand up. Something about the Batman, something ephermal, triggers that gut-level animal reaction. That sense of danger, of a preadator's eyes flashing at the edge of the firelight. Base instinct, to run and jump into the nearest tree.

But there are no trees, and Batman's closer to Sid than the security of any fire could bring.

"You can leave faith with a priest and focus on clarivoyance. Tell me about the plastique. Where it is. Where it's going. What it's for."


"Our friend, the Don? All the plastique is rigged to blow beneath the parking garage of the Gaetano Building, four blocks east. It's a front for the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. Every mobster from the East Coast has a representative, or a boss, there right now, in the restaurant near the top of the building. The trigger man is a guy named Joe Shoes. He's waiting for all the Dons to leave their sitdown, and get into their rides, before he blows the entire structure. Our friend the Don is psycho, and has nothing to gain. That Russian spy? He wanted it to disrupt the European drug trade that's tied into the Russian Mafia. The armaments were all stored and shipped here, and the money was fronted and paid to, the Shanghai Syndicate. Gun runner guy."

Sid frowns. "Guy named the Red Hood. New York gangster. Stopped working in Gotham because of you, according to him. He's just like you, you know, Batman. Except he's indecisive, and tunnel sighted."


Batman grabs Sid by the throat and lifts him off the ground. His arm moves like a striking python, and the grip is as strong, and he elevates the gangland member until the fellow's expensive Italian loafers barely scrape on the ground.

"Where is the trigger man?" he snarls at Sid, putting every ounce of vengeful wrath he can muster into his voice. His hand tightens minutely, fingers pressing into Sid's arteries and causing him to see spots. "Tell me where he is. Now," he demands, grating furiously at the man.


Sid squealches out a scream as Batman grabs him by the throat, lifting the old man off the ground, his arms immediately grabbing the arm as he kicks his feet, thrashing briefly. He tips his chin back, sucking in air through his ragged throat, wheezing as his cheeks turn red. "Across the street at Ray's Pizza…Laptop…Posing as a journalist…" He chokes. "Got a camera inside the parking garage…Cat burglar planted it…" He grits his teeth, squeezing his eyes shut as his shallow wind gets to him. "Please…"


There's a *click* around Sid's wrist. A little black bracelet with an incredibly blaise black box on it, looking almost like a smartwatch. "I'm not done with you yet, Cancer," Batman advises the man, finally releasing his throat. There's a throat roar of a massive engine down the block, and rubber squeals against tired asphalt.

"Don't try to take the bracelet off," he adds. "It's tamper proof. Quarter ounce of explosives. Not enough to kill you— but it'll take your hand off."

He moves to the door and with a grunt and a push of his shoulder, knocks the rust-coated portal open with a casual show of strength. Headlights flicker and illuminate him in profile for a moment, and with a surprising amount of braking power, the Batmobile comes to a halt in front of him.

"If you're lying to me, Cancer, I'll crawl out of the wreckage of that building and dedicate my life to destroying yours."

The way he says it— cold, utterly factual— makes it a sincerely beliveable threat. Batman vaults into the Batmobile's open canopy, revs the engine, and the vehicle leaps into motion with just a touch of his fingers to send him hurtling towards the pizzaria.


Sid Cancer drops back to his feet, gasping. He wretches and sucks air back in, glaring at Batman with watered eyes. "Of course not, Batman." He grins savagely. "Why would I want so many potential clients dead? You act like you've never had to work at a highschool job before." He turns away from Batman, stumbling over to the wall of the meat cooler as Batman leaves, putting his hand on it and coughing up a lung.

As the Batmobile goes blazing away, the three ex-convicts slip into the meatlocker, finding Sid. "Bat got ya, huh, Max?"

Max pushes off the wall, not bothering to remove the bracelet. "That's right, Jitt. You three, get out of here. Go back to Marcy," he says, referring to his secretary. "She'll get your pay, and you three disappear. Thanks for be willing to take the fall. Standup work, all three of you." The three ex-convicts disappear into the night down the alleys.

Ray's Pizza is one of those little joints along a line of buildings, with a kitchen, counter, walkspace, and a line of booths. Joe Shoes sits facing the Gaetano Building across the street in one of the booths, enjoying a pepperoni and ricotta calzone while he watches a laptop. He looks up at the sound of the Batmobile, dropping his jaw. Cursing, he pushes his laptop aside, and turns about, leaving the laptop with the camera view and running into the kitchen. Every business in a city requires a second exit, in case of fire. There's cursing in Greek as Joe Shoes rushes pass chefs and cooks, shoving his way out the back door and into the narrow confines of the long alley behind the row of storefronts. He goes running through puddles of garbage water. He may not be in position to trigger the plastique anymore, but he's a legal link to the renegade Don.


Batman sets the Batmobile into an automatic mode, keying on the signal jammer. A broad-spectrum device invented for bomb squads, it squelches radio, wifi, and bluetooth signals across a fairly wide net. Phones go out in a two block radius and the camera view flickers off with a *connection lost* signal message.

He avoids the restaurant by going up and over, a grappling hook flying sky wards and hauling him to a fire escape. It takes little effort to get the verticality he needs, and once he's up there Batman sprints across the roofs as fast— faster— than even Joe Shoes can move across the muddy, water-filled alleyway.

He takes his time, too. A cop, even an experienced one, might give chase and try to catch Joe early.

Batman bides his time, confident his superior stamina and knowledge of the city will exhaust Joe well before Batman needs to intervene.


Joe Shoes stumbles out into the open, looking left and right as he reaches the street again. The glare of headlights and the sound of people laughing and cheering at the sound of Batmobile adds to his terror, causing him to sweat profusely. He's a man in a tan suit, with a black tie and messy brown hair. A fat paunch belly and muscled arms indicate him as a mobster past his prime, used for low intensity operations like this. He's not ready for a confrontation for Batman. But Max has pulled a trick by picking Joe for this job, via the dead Russian, of course. Joe, despite being a hardened mobster, is afraid of prison. He went to juvenile hall when he was twelve for being a local mule, and was a short kid. He took his fair share of beatings. Joe draws a pistol, and people back off, as he goes running down the street, wildly waving the pistol. Sid Cancer wanted an incident, and he knows Joe Shoes would panic.

Max, meanwhile, is on the phone walking through Alleytown, fresh cigarette hanging from his mouth. He's four blocks away from the site of the Mafia meeting, leaving him outside jammer range. He's talking to Marcy on the phone, arranging for his lawyer to meet him in questioning, a nicotine patch for his medical condition, and a police detective on the Penguin's to drive out and process him rather than risk the Batman questioning him further. After he finishes, he steps out on the other side of Alleytown, having his cigarette and watching traffic, at a street corner.


And via the Bat-tech in Maxwell's jaunty new fashion accessory, Batman hears it all. Sophisticated hacking tools courtesy the Bat-children follow Maxwell's broadcast and hack into his phone, downloading everything and planting software into it to turn the phone into a silent mobile listening device.

All while Batman sprints on the rooftops.

Batman vaults off the building with an acrobatic fearlessness and floats on the wings concealed in his glider-cloak, more like a silent owl dropping in for the kill than a bat hunting insects. Closer, closer— and at the last second he collapses the wings for maximum momentum and aims both his boots for the middle of Joe's upper back, hitting the fellow with a tremendous amount of force.


Joe Shoes screams as he falls to the ground, his poor grip on the gun sending it flying out of his hand as he collapses onto his face. He begins crawling, shivering and shuddering as he crawls across the sidewalk for the gun. He reaches, but he just can't quite reach it, falling forward everytime he creeps up off the ground.

There's a police siren 'wooo' as a car soon approaches Maxwell, and he puts his hands up, grinning. A pair of police officers get out, making a show of cuffing Sid Cancer for the viewing public, and gently escorting him into the back of the car.

The cellphone call was placed to 'Paradigm Shift Solutions Incorporated', the office located in the Financial District, in a flat directly above a tobacco shop.


Batman hooks a grapnel into the back of Joe's belt and hauls him backwards, then fires his launcher skywards. Both men go shooting up into Gotham's night, while Batman makes a covert call to the Gotham bomb squad. Plastique under the hotel— move quickly.

He pushes Joe against the low awning of a building and presses his boot against Joe's sternum, leaning forwards with those glowing, pupil-less eyes staring into the depths of Joe Shoes' soul.

"Let's talk, Joe, about your boss…"

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