Gotham City Juicers

August 14, 2017:

Batman and Spoiler interdict a drug buy.

Gotham

Characters

NPCs: Tom Drake (No Relation), Emilio 'The Dude'

Mentions: Dala Vadim (Emitter)

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Crime takes strange paths, and in many ways, proscribed substances are blood in the veins of the body of corruption. Perhaps the proscription makes them so, or the temptation they present to honest men and women. It's hard to say.

Whatever the way, the road of Crime has traced a battered covered pickup truck from out of the city in to the parking lot adjacent to a converted industrial building, whose dingy exterior conceals a MMA gym and, at the moment, a local event from some league or other. The sort of thing that feeds fighters upstream, and sells tickets through fliers and garish local websites.

That truck has three men with shaved heads in it. One of them is on the Internet right now, typing something that's probably got race words in it. One of them is driving, of course, and the third is fingering a baseball bat underneath the sight-line from the windows. They don't talk much. They know what they're doing and where they're going.

Emilio Dudev, "The Dude," owns the gym next door and is waiting in a loading dock while the parking lot is full and there's a big crowd. He is working his way through a pack of cigarettes, and has little chill. He is in a hoodie; his head is also shaved, if for different reasons.

The truck contains several kilograms of drug precursors as well as a sufficient quantity of performance-enhancing drugs to propel an entire sports team to unearned success for a whole season. "The Dude" retails it to ambitious gym rats. The men in the truck sell it to raise money for even less savory reasons.

The main complication is that the parking lot is rather well lit, despite being in the East End. Emilio can see the pickup pulling into the lot and heading at a leisurely speed towards the loading dock from nearly forty yards away. He relaxes, perhaps expecting no problems.

*

(Clarification for the log: The crowd is inside watching local MMA bouts. Other than Emilio and the skinheads approaching him, nobody else appears to be in the parking lot. Not even a dog left in a car!)

*

Broadwell's Gym has not been owned by a man named Broadwell in over sixty years. Once every few decades, someone sweeps in, cleans it up, and tries to restore some of its former glory and prestige; Broadwell's had trained a few Golden Glove boxers, one regional kickboxing champion, and a pair of twins who'd gone to the Pan-American games in '94 for judo.

But such places have a life cycle of their own; owners die, move away, retire, or get chased off, and Emilio has owned Broadwell's since he arranged to have the prior owner, Saul Giatelli, killed during a drug bust. The gym is in fact a poor training station with lousy facilities and rates through the roof; it discreetly hosts a dozen or more local and regional belt contenders, who show up once a week for a 'training session' that involves steroids and enhancement drugs.

It's a hell of a moneymaker, and played discreetly, it's the sort of thing that traditional cops might not ever notice. A federal task force would need decades to unravel it all— at least, until a spirited young boxer died of a heart attack mid-bout in Bludhaven for absolutely no good reason at all.

It had taken Spoiler and Batman most of half a day to unravel a rash of mysterious heart attacks among athletes of a dozen different stripes, which took them to the rooftop of the adjacent storage facility; both atop individual roosts, silhouettes lost against the decor of the industrial area of the city.

"I've got… three in the car," Batman mutters as he angles on the truck. "The coolers are all triple sealed," he adds, looking to the truckbed. "Dry ice— likely it's a steroidal growth hormone," he mutters.

"Anything from your location?"

*

This was a nice distraction from the tongue lashing she gave the Avengers and then the few hours of SCIENCE in the cave. All her tests where now on hurry up and wait. Wait for colleagues to confirm, deny, or flesh out results. Spoiler crouched in her shadows, eyes narrowing to signal to her lens to give her more information.

"Four in the doorways' alcove. Likely Emilio's back up in case this goes sideways on him. Usual sidearms, likely some knives and a baseball bat," Spoiler reports, keeping track of the rendevous point while Batman tracks the shipment in.

"We tagging and following, or shutting this down here?"

*

The truck pulls up towards the loading dock and backs in. The crowd watching the low-grade local MMA promotion seems largely enraptured, although one guy walks out, heading towards his beat-up Dodge.

The four locals that Spoiler have spotted are lingering near a refrigerator and a beat-up couch. One of them has opened up a protein shake while they wait. The refrigerator, strangely enough, is locked on one side… weird! What could possibly go in there?

Emilio starts waving the skinhead truck in properly, shouting towards the back. The four boys start to get up, in no great haste.

*

"Time to shut this down," Batman tells Spoiler, never taking his eyes off the truck. "That's a new delivery coming in. Emilio's stupid. He wants fast returns on investment but it's burning out his clientele. I want to get this done before some varsity athlete OD's in the locker room."

"I'll take the lights," he tells Spoiler. "You get in the roof access. Find out where the drugs are being stored inside. Once we have confirmation of the delivery, we shut this operation down," he says, his orders clipped and terse.

*

"Got it," Spoiler replies tot he directions, moving to switch rooftops.

"I think there's a fridge, locked on one side," she adds as she gets into position. Shutting something down, feeling like a difference was made. This is definiately something Steph needs today.

*

SOON.

"Did you bring the cash, buddy?" says the guy with the Nazi haircut.

"Did you bring the cash," Emilio chortles. "Christ, you sound like you're in a bad movie." The head skinhead's face grows more studied in its neutrality even as two of the guys emerge, pushing a dolly. A fat envelope, probably the sort of place where you could say 'the week's receipts were, officer', gets handed to Emilio, who hands it to the lead skinhead, and then

The lights go out.

"What the hell?" says one of them.

(Over at the place where the MMA event is happening - well, it's stopped happening. There is a ruckus forming but it will take some time to form. That one guy who left starts his car.)

Spoiler makes her way in, past extremely token and mildly used free weights, past a locker room that's definitely a locker room, and to the space in the back. She can tell there's two guys in here and at least one of them has a bat, but they're standing round warily. Covert takedown is an extremely viable option here, one that will lead to almost no concussions for anyone.

Of course, there's two muscular guys, a crook, and three skinheads in the loading dock… and they have a dolly cart too! Slightly worse odds.

*

Batman kills the power with an expert, single throw of a Batarang— it delivers an EMP payload, killing power for a block in every direction.

Inconvenient for a lot of people— but it gives Batman the cover of night. Not just to advance, but to pursue fleeing prey. He flings himself into the air, snapping his cloak wide. Thermals lift him up towards the roof of the MMA gym, bare seconds behind Spoiler's entry, and he lands on the roof with a silent skittering of his boots. Another weapon is flung at the truck below. A snap-hiss of deflation marks the puncture in the tire's sidewall, a sharp-edged batarang sticking out of the worn old rubber. The delivery truck isn't going anywhere.

He jogs silently along the rooftop, a map of the gym playing out in his mind's eye as he takes the longer route to a position that will let him and Spoiler flank their adversaries.

But it leaves her alone for a long few minutes.

*

Covert take downs. Something Steph is getting better with. Mostly because she's learning to curb her habit of announcing herself as she moves in for the first attack.

"Oh. Sorry. Forgot the spoil the ending for you," she comments very softly to their prone bodies.

Alright, so there was one concussion.

But that's all the time she can spare. Batman needs her in position, and so she moves to slide herself back into the shadows where she can give Batman flanking on the gang.

"Ready when you are," she whispers just loud enough to trigger the microphone on the throat of her suit so Batman can hear.

*

The two men in the 'green room' are disabled, one of them stunned and the other one bound up in surplus cable with a couch cushion stuffed in his mouth. The refrigerator sits there - the padlock on the locked side of the door is easily defeated if Batman or Spoiler take the time.

The situation in the loading dock is getting heated. They're arguing over whether or not it's a set-up, and one of the skinheads is now facing the doorway into the building. He's reaching into the waist of his pants. Gun. Nowhere near impossible - but definitely a problem.

Honking and light hollering spreads throughout the area outside, with a couple of motors in the parking lot starting up. Some glass breaks. Nothing terribly out of the ordinary. No screaming or sirens yet.

*

They'll live. The pedestriens and motorists. Cars have lights; emergency becons still work, those that urban entropy and indifference haven't destroyed, anyway.

But it gives Batman and Spoiler the cover of darkness, and for them there is no greater aymmetry in the battlefield. Trained in blind-fighting, they'd have more than a edge on their opponents, but the Bat-gear integrates thermally enhanced optics in their cowls and masks.

The term 'fish in a barrel' comes to mind.

"I've got them pinned at the docks," Batman tells Spoiler. "I'll pull. You sweep to here. Be careful."

That's the last advice Spoiler gets before Batman swoops into action; a shadowy flickering of his cape is the only warning one thug gets before Batman swings through the loading dock, poleaxing the fellow with a kick to the jaw that sends him flipping into the dumpster behind him with a thundering crash.

*

Heh heh heh. I'll pull. Batman's on Main Tank tonight. Spoiler's playing DPS. This looks like a low enough level pack of mobs that they shouldn't need a Healbot. And OMG!! Nerd-moment.

Thanks Tim!

"You too," Spoiler replies into her comms, waiting for her cue. Waiting, waiting…

CRASH!

That's her cue.

Spoiler sweeps out, staff extending as she moves low and fast. Like Batman, darkness is her ally. Darkness and her thermvision AR lens in her cowl. How on Earth did she even halfway keep up with Batman and the Robins when all she was wearing was a spray painted Hobby Lobby mask? The world may never know.

*

Batman smashes into one of the thugs - the one with a baseball bat. (Of course.) He's poleaxed hard enough to fly into a dumpster full of empty tubs of protein powder, which are, at least, relatively soft landing spots.

Spoiler lunges in fast and low. The guy with the gun pulls it just in time to get his legs swept out from underneath him, the gun flying out and rolling underneath the truck. In the dark, they don't get a good look at it. "Shit!" says that one.

"What the hell is going on!" Emilio says, but the guy with the car has him covered.

Guy with the car?

Yes.

Headlights briefly illuminate the loading dock completely and a moment later, a sedan worth less than four figures smashes directly into the front of the backed-in trunk in a screaming clash of metal and glass. The windshield doesn't break because there IS no windshield, something not immediately obvious. A shortish guy in a gray hoody comes flying out of it, shouting as he flies, "EMILIO YOU SON OF A -"

He bounces his knee off the top of the truck and tumbles, skidding out on the cover on the truck's back, but he gets to his feet afterwards and leaps off, aiming to smash both feet into Emilio, who is not reacting to this, probably stunned by the car wreck a couple of yards away from him. "Yahhh!!" says the Gray Hoody. Good vertical leap, at least.

THUG-DOWN: Emilio, 2x "guys from the gym," 1x "probably a skinhead," Gray Hoody (??)

*

Batman never stops moving. This more than anything is a key componet of how the Bats fight; never be a target. Hug the shadows. Move fast through the light. To stand and deliver is a surefire way to collect spare bullets, so Batman and his cohorts are never in the line of fire for more than a moment.

It'd look almost like a trapeeze act, were the illumination better, as he swings on his grapnel line.
Spotting Grey Hood on top of the sedan, Batman flickers a batarang from his belt and marries to another with a *clack* of magnets activating; the two are flung through the air with a thin, almost invisible silk line forming them into a pair of bolas, aimed right for Grey Hood's knees.

"New player on the field," Batman says, trying to get a better eye on the newcomer. "I don't recognize him."

*

"Nor I. I'll finish up these guys," Spoiler retorts, dancing through the gang members, never staying still long enough to be tracked. The flash of illumination is compensated for by her lenses, a feature she's grateful for. Her offer though was to work on protecting Batman's flank while he went after the add raid boss that just appeared in the room.

*

The Grey Hood is caught midair and his stomp is thrown on. What would have probably been lethal instead turns into a half-assed tackle that takes down Emilio as well as him; the envelope of money goes flying up into the air, portraits of Grant and Franklin filling the air as they both swear and curse.

The remaining two men are cornered and comprehensively taken apart by Spoiler. They're strong, and kind of quick, but they were not given good fighting training.

"Shit! It's the Bat, shit!" Emilio says. Then he howls, because even downed, Grey Hood seems to be willing to punch him. In the kidney. Twice! He's unarmed but his punches are good; someone may need to stop him from carrying out his vendetta on the perp.

Probably. Eventually. — A little blood just flew out of Emilio's mouth; maybe not so eventually.

*

Batman trusts Spoiler to cover his flank. Because that's how a team functions. She moves with swift, graceful efficiency, cutting down the lingering brutes as they try to rally for defense or a counterattack— or retreat.

No one's walking out of here. Limping, maybe.

Batman lands atop the crashed car and one hand emerges from his cloak, clutching a stuncaster. He fires the air-driven pistol twice; with soft *whipfts* it flings a pair of micro-tasers at Hood, then Emilio, the pellets crackling with some marvel of self-contained electricity.

*

For Emilio's part, he screams, thrashes, and experiences what could be called a bladder spasm if one were cruel.

For Grey Hood's part, he rolls backwards, twitching like a landed fish and raises his hands, which are jittering visibly. "Y-yo, hey, I give! Don't - I'm on your side, man, I'm like you! I love you, you're awesome! Bust this scumbag!" He sounds surprisingly coherent for a stunned man. His body temperature is on the low end, and the hood is falling away to reveal an acned face, early twenties, wide eyes, Caucasian, untended brown hair…

A guy with something to prove, perhaps. One of the thugs groans, "Is that Drake?"

"That's right mo-m - m - mgh - ugh, shit, I got tazed, can't believe -"

*

"Then sit down and hold still," Batman glowers at Grey. His eyes are all white, without pupil; a trick of the AR projectors in his hood, making him look like some dark, soulless monster of the night. Inhuman.

Batman prefers to be feared, rather than admired, and he gives Drake a look as if he's not yet decided to spare the boy's life.

"Emilio," Batman rasps, turning to look at the drug dealer. He disappears behind his cloak, looming too tall, too grim. Only those horrible eyes and disapproving slash of his lips. He doesn't walk, but he somehow approaches Emilio's prone position all the same. Like he's moving on bearings.

Or how a cobra slithers across the sands, head periscoped and black eyes promising death to anyone who crosses it. "You have ten seconds to impress me with your knowledge of your supplier. Or I don't stop with putting you out of business."

*

Grey Hood twitches but doesn't resist. He lays there, instead of sitting, but it's the same idea.

Emilio splutters, flecks of bloody spit on his lips, but he finally gets out, "I - I order it off the Internet, these guys been giving it to me three months now, good shit, s, so I ain't gotten it from anywhere else, right? Uh, uh… s'in those uh, the jars of protein powder, one of em's got a bunch of it in there, plus the stuff they froze…"

The thugs are at least silent, other than one guy muttering, "Phil Drake, /shit/." Phil Drake, aka the Gray Hoody, tells Emilio, "You're screwed, dude. Hope you got good soap handling skills." ("Jeez, over the line," mumbles the same guy who identified him, who's babbling out of anxiety, due to the presence of the Bat.)

*

Batman turns those dead eyes on Phil until he's silent, then turns back to Emilio. Batman's reputation carries a fair amount of weight in Gotham, but there's something positively /discordant/ about his presence. Like a looming spectre, rising from the sepulchur of Gotham's dead industrial corpse; straddling the uncanny valley between machine and man. Neither and both.

He grips Emilio's shirtfront and starts to lift him with casual ease. "Internet. Right," Batman echoes, a little scornfully. "I haven't hung anyone from Gotham Tower recently. Tonight might be your lucky night to be an example for the rest of the criminals," he tells the crook. "Start talking or we play amateur acrobat."

*

Phil grins at Batman, happily. He really seems to feel like he's on the good guys' side here. For whatever reason.

It fades.

Emilio is hoisted up and he raises his hands, babbling. "I give you my computer, I swear to you, all of it's true. I give you my passwords, I put in the passwords for you, oh god, I'm just giving them what they want, man, it wasn't me it would be someone else!"

*

Batman starts to rise, and grabs Emilio's face by sticking his thumb into the man's mouth. He grabs the drug peddler's jaw for a convenient handle, eliciting gurling *hacks* and *aughs* as he pulls Emilio along with him, making the man stumble along in an awkward, stooped over posture.

"Let's go look at your computers, Emilio. Maybe I won't need to break all your fingers before you turn the passwords over," he suggests— and turns a pointed, sweeping gaze on the thugs still on the ground in various degrees of agonized disability.

"Cops will be here soon. There had better still be five of you laying here when they arrive," Batman says. Nevermind that Spoiler's lurking in the wings; all it would take is one of them to question the Bat and a silent shadow would knock him out cold again as a lesson for the others.

The crooks aren't too bright, but there doesn't appear to be a surplus of backbone either, as Batman hauls Emilio to his back offices to get the lowdown on his entire drug dealing operation.

*

Emilio sings like a canary. Sometimes you just have to know where to hit. He probably doesn't even need his fingers broken. The darknet records are in some cases old, but it's a set of leads. He attempts to give the damn thing to Batman. Maybe so it can't be admitted as evidence? But a USB drive can mirror all the necessary files. Fortunately for him, there isn't worse on it.

As for the thugs and riff-raff: Everybody gets in trouble.

Phil Drake doesn't stay that way. (No relation to Tim. If there's a connection it's regional, ancestral.) He eagerly gives a statement on the place. Reading between the lines, the statement suggests that Phil came here hoping to get some juice but was considered a bad prospect by Emilio, but it's evidence anyway. He agrees to testify, which means his vehicle offense - which the cops do not know what to make of, anyway; dude should have broken his neck - gets quietly ignored.

Phil declines medical treatment and walks out into the dawntide sun, scratching his neck. When asked if he needs a taxi to return to his residence, Phil's last statement to the police station receptionist is, "Nah, I'll just call her." Then he walks out.

After this he vanishes from the face of the Earth.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License