The Battered Bird

November 02, 2014:

With Oracle's help, May meets up with Robin, mostly to assess his injuries but also to offer him backup if he needs it against the metahuman traffickers that are starting to plague Gotham.

Japanese Rock Garden of the Giordano Botanical Gardens, Gotham


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

On the Batbike instead of the Redbird (because it got totalled), Robin rides up to the Japanese Rock Garden of the Giordano Botanical Gardens. Ordinarily Tim wouldn't dare interrupt the gardens with the bike on the path, but he's not feeling very awesome lately, and his nerves alone prevent him from lingering anywhere too long while costumed. Having an easy getaway is everything.

In this case, it's having an easy, very present getaway.

He stops the bike along the rock garden at one of its many benches.

Tonight, however, thanks to earlier events, Tim's mind isn't on the meeting. He's distracted. Of course, this could easily be written off by Robin's state of being. He hunches more than usual, his shoulders draw together in front of him almost protectively, even while sitting on the bike. Shadows cast from the reflection of the moonlight give a nearly ghostly look to the bruising that's formed along his usually porcelain cheeks.

Otherwise his injuries are covered, but still present to a keen eye. When he steps off the bike, he curls into his side just a little. Just enough. He's full of tells tonight and doesn't want to be caught in a corner with even low level thugs. Or worse.

He strides to the agreed-upon bench and sighs lightly. "I'm here," he declares to the comlink, but there's a nearly exasperated edge to his voice, and he's been weirdly for the majority of the night. He doesn't actually sit on the bench though because he needs to be able to get away fast if necessary.

Back in the Clocktower, Oracle sighs at Robins tone, closes her eyes, counts to 10 and lets out a long deep breath before tapping her own comms unit. "Great. Could you turn your video feed on please?" her voice will filter through altered. Sitting back in her chair, Oracle surveys her screens and pulls the limited video feeds from the gardens to the center. Now, they wait for Agent May to arrive.

With the meet having been arranged by the dismebodied voice known as Oracle, May — against her better judgement — ventures into Gotham again. This time to meet with the kid that got tangled in that mess with Darcy and That Clown. And, because that's how she is, she arrived here WAY earlier, secured the perimeter, and waited in the shadow of a particularly droopy-branched willow tree for the masked kid named Robin. She's already taking mental notes, planning to read him the Riot Act dust cover for bringing that motorcycle into the garden proper, but seeing all of those 'hiding injuries' tells changes her mind. She's used to calling Coulson and Barton to the carpet for hiding injuries, both of whom hide injuries like champs, so seeing the tensely hunched shoulders and the slight curl to one side on this KID is practically like yelling in her mind.

When the kid stops by the pre-selected bench meeting place, she taps at her earpiece once, a signal to the listening Oracle that she's initiating contact with him. And she's actually glad now that she bothered to demand a field medkit to bring along. Though she would have preferred to have Trip here. Or Wilson.

"Sit down before you fall down," May says by way of greeting to Robin as she steps out of the shadows of the tree. Announcing herself this way is clearly meant to be an olive branch. For her, anyway.

The video feed is flicked on and Robin states, "Feed on. Are you receiving this?" But even as the question is posed, May interrupts his thoughts. Knowing very little about the woman, aside front he fact that she's Darcy's boss, he heeds the greeting and slowly sits on the bench. Batman would probably tell him not to let his guard down, but Tim is in no condition to object.

He emits a strained breath when he his weight shifts onto the bench and he slowly lets his hands cross over his chest. "Hello," he says with just a flicker of a smile, but it's put on, and the smile doesn't hit his tone. And then with a drop of his chin, which to Oracle is a move in the camera, indicating one of Tim's more sheepish tendencies, he adds, apologetically, "Sorry. Rough week."

The feed from Robin's camera appears in one of the windows in front of Oracle. "Feed being received" and then "For goodness sake, keep your head up Robin." she notes as his head drops. Tapping the commslink for Agent May, which only May will hear, Oracle nearly grins "Welcome Agent May and good luck with getting him to do anything remotely sensible like that." A final tap on her link and the two in the garden are conferenced in. "Agent May, you had questions regarding Robin and The Joker's gas?" Oracle cuts straight to the point.

"Clearly." Where Darcy is witticisms and snark, May is deadpan sarcastic. She walks closer in as close to a non-threatening gait as she is capable of, then sets the portable medkit on the bench next to Robin. She then makes the fact that the kid's letting his head drop become a moot point when she kneels down in front of him, yet another gesture of trust offered. Not that she couldn't still kick his scrawny little butt into next week if need be, but still.

She holds up her hands to indicate that they're empty (not that that really means anything in terms of how dangerous she is with her bare hands) then moves to slowly start opening the medkit. "Oracle, I'm going to start giving you a running assessment."

The first thing she pulls from the kit is a small, sealed packet of military grade ibuprofen, the no-water-needed kind. "Here. You look like you need this. Lewis told me you go by the name Robin." If the kid accepts the packet and allows a minor invasion of his personal space, she starts to give a rundown of the injuries she can see on his face and neck, and guesses as to what his costume is hiding.

There's something disarming about May in front of him. He's seen what she can do with a sash, and thanks to his own training, is fairly certain she could take him down with her bare hands at this moment.

The ibuprofen is accepted and Robin downs the drugs before offering, "I've been to a doctor. Honest. One night in hospital. Spent a few nights not out here," not that he should be out here now. "Just. Gotham has some bad characters." He swallows hard. "This one called me his message boy." There's a pause. "Evidently my face is a message for The Batman."

His eyes squint at May and then he manages to nod, "Yeah. I'm Robin. Lewis… Darcy?" their mutual acquaintance. His jaw tightens a little. "When we met… she called you Ninja Nanny. I'm sorry, but I don't know your real name — "

"You have my thanks Agent May, if he will permit the examination. As he says, he spent a whole night in hospital after this debacle." Oracle pauses as this discussion continues. "Robin, this is Agent May." Watching the woman approach Tim, Oracles estimation of her rises even further. Waiting for the examination to continue, Oracle sits back in her chair, relaxing about Tims well being for the first time in many days.

When did these costumed types start becoming so YOUNG? May simply looks at Tim's explanation — and Oracle's corroboration — about his idea of 'resting' after this level of injuries. If he were SHIELD, he'd still be in medical, chained to the bed if need be to keep him resting. Heaven knowns, they've come close to having to do as much to Barton in the past.

She doesn't have to introduce herself, as the disembodied voice beats her to it, so instead May takes the moment to dig a small device from the medkit that resembles a portable blood glucose meter used by diabetics. "I want to make sure all traces of the gas that clown used are gone. Will you permit a small blood sample?"

There's a small nod of assent and Robin offers his hand to the agent across form him. He shoots her a small, very boyish smile, not wholly convincing, and never meeting his eyes. "Nice to meet you then, Agent May." The smile fades and Robin waits for the test, his shoulders weighted down by his recent defeat once again.

He forces another small smile. "My hands are actually in good shape, so…" pricking them with the diabetic test kit will be no big deal. Absently, however, the palm not offered to May runs lightly over his cheek, and a fresh layer of bruising across his cheek.

Oracle watches the interaction between the two. "I've run extensive blood tests on Robin as well, Agent May. It would be good to ensure my findings are correct. Robin didn't mention to me that he had been in SHIELD medical. That is what your message said?" as a disembodied voice, there is no inflection…

Melinda May reaches to complete the blood test, the whole process very much like a diabetic blood sugar level check. While doing so, she explains to Oracle. "No, never made it that far. Left the scene of the fight before Medical arrived." And left her with a knee that felt like it had been shattered. She's not thirty anymore, an injury of that severity could well have permanently benched her. She owes that Fenris guy. Bigtime. So does this kid, really.

Letting the little device do its thing, she looks at Robin again and lifts her chin toward his torso. "Bruised, fractured, or broken?"

The comment about SHIELD medical has Robin replying, "I couldn't exactly stick around. There are two of me and I try to keep their lives separate." Although his latest escapades have had to bleed some of the edges together. He exhales audibly.

The question has him frowning, "Bruised mostly. One fractured rib. Concussion. No internal bleeding," for that he can be thankful. "Think the suit protected me some there. Maybe. Maybe not." There's a long pause. "He could've done worse. Nothing worked on him." Robin swallows hard. "And I'm not without skill. My taser didn't even down him. Not enough."

"That would be Robin," Oracle remarks through the comms. "Agent May, I have the hospital report from Robins admission if you would like me to transmit it to you." and then Robin speaks and in the Clocktower, the woman herself sighs and looks stricken. But Oracle is made of sterner stuff "Robin, you are alive, we have the message, and we will work this through and bring this person down."

May's eyebrows draw together in her version of a frown as she listens to Robin and then Oracle. "Don't need the transcript, but thanks." She can see with her own eyes what's wrong with this kid, and she does NOT like what she sees. "Who is this person you keep referring to?" Whoever it is, it sounds like someone she would want to see put down. With extreme prejudice.

The question is something Tim has been exploring ever since that night. He's supposed to be resting. He's supposed to be sleeping. But he's expending a painful amount of energy trying to figure out who his assailant was. "I don't know," Robin finally admits. "No name. No one I'd met before. I've tried to do some digging, but he was wearing a mask. Red lenses. Huge. About a foot taller than me."

Tim's jaw tightens. "I wasn't going to try, you know. Not alone. There were others with him… four of them at least. I…" his face whitens underneath the bruising while angrily his nostrils flare. "They had some kind of operation. They were harvesting something from some kids. I couldn't leave." He pinches the bridge of his nose. "Not when that was going on."

"Agent May, have you heard of the Meta-human trafficking that has been going on? I'm not sure if it has reached outside Gotham, but it's not pleasant." Oracles voice filters through the commslink. "Robin was following a lead and ended up in a comms deadzone… and this person made sure a message got through. It's fortunate we have our contact protocols, I was able to despatch extra assets but too late to save Robin this beating." Oracle doesn't mention the research already in hand or the fact she's requested assistance from Jericho in identifying the person involved.

Melinda May nods at that, as she would not have done any less. Hell, that's somewhat similar to what happened in Bahrain. But don't ever ask her about it, if you value your kneecaps. She looks at the little blood monitor's tiny LCD screen when it chirps completion, then nods and holds it up for Robin (and Oracle) to see. "Bloodwork's clean. That spike there is the ibuprofen." She then pushes a few things around inside the medkit before pulling what looks like the tranquilizer cartridge for a zookeeper's tranq rifle. Technically, it's one of the ones designed to fit in an arrowhead, but she doesn't have to admit to that aloud.

"Here. See if this helps against Red-Eyes if you run across him again." It's one of the more successful of Simmons's experiments with dendrotoxin, if Oracle has the contents tested. "I'll get more for you if you want, but you can't tell anyone where you got the stuff. It's … not yet approved for field use." In other words, Lewis trusted you, kid. So now May has to make sure your hide stays in once piece.

"I've heard a bit, Oracle. You're at least fairly sure this person is involved?" This is additional information to share with Fury. Tangentally worrying, though, is how in the heck does a hacker of Oracle's level hit a communication deadzone? That seems very highly unlikely.

"Good," Robin says abruptly. "Thanks. At least there's something to be thankful for," small graces.

The cartridge is accepted, with a rather grateful parting of Tim's lips and a nod of his head. "Thank you. More would be great. I'm not the only one out there. He took my bo staff. He was immune to the smoke and the gas pellets. I wouldn't even know what else to try."

May's question is something Tim has considered a lot over the last few days. "I think it's his op," Robin states as he takes the tranquilizer cartridge and adds it to his utility belt. "What I saw from the skylight — the others were listening to his orders. I couldn't hear everything, but he was definitely in charge of the plant. Whether the operation is bigger than that," Robin shrugs. "And then, when he tried to get me off the roof, he kept talking about war and soldiers, and even asked if I was one of Batman's soldiers…. I think he's deranged somehow into believing that we're in an epic battle for Gotham."

Listening and watching the conversation between the two on the ground, Oracle considers. "I would like to see that doodad please Robin." Phrased as a request, it was a fairly strong instruction. and then "Agent May has been kind enough to refrain from asking the obvious Robin. How were our comms jammed? And that fits with the war and soldier commentary… this person knows us and unless we act intelligently, an epic battle is likely in order." the line goes dead for several seconds, before Oracles voice can be heard again "we need to review our protocols Robin, so you are never placed in this situation again."

Yet even as she says it, she knows the Robin she's come to adore will do his own thing, to his own detriment if there are lives at risk.

Melinda May nods in response to both Robin and Oracle, pulling two more packets of ibuprofen to offer to Robin — for later — before closing up the medkit and shouldering it again. "Well, if this person knows your tactics well enough to predict them, it might be time to change the tune." She can think of at least one or two people she could tap to help out in this cesspit of a city who would also have a vested interest in seeing this metahuman trafficking to stop. Of course, tapping the ones that aren't kill-happy might be the real challenge. Pushing back to her feet and dusting off the knees of her trousers, she asks of the Gothamites, "Would you be okay with me asking for backup on this situation? It sounds like you could use it, and a different perspective/tactical skill set might come in handy."

"I'll come visit you later to check it out, Oracle." But then there's a lot of silence around Oracle's question. "I don't know." He chews on his bottom lip. "Well. I have a theory. And I have no idea if it's true. One of the lackies was metahuman of some kind. She basically zapped me off the roof when I refused to get down into the brute's beatzone." He frowns. "It's possible one of the others could jam it. I have no idea. Honestly, I don't think I was conscious long enough to get a feel for anyone but RedEyes."

The packets of ibuprofen are accepted in Robin's palm and put into the utility belt wit a flicker of a rather put-on smile. His head cants to the side at the question, "I don't mind, and would actually appreciate, backup, but I'm pretty sure Batman would say we have it in hand," a comment that inspires a rather ironic smile on Tim's part. "Because I clearly had it in hand." His eyes lid lightly. And then he puts the ball in someone else's court, "Oracle?"

Oracle lets the silence draw as she considers the questions posed. "I would like to speak to you further about it Agent May. I most certainly agree that a different perspective is required. My issue is that we aren't the only people investigating this, and at times" the comms goes dead, as the real Oracle actually sighs in the Clocktower "the different groups are at counterpoint. I think Robin here, has learned a big lesson… and will be more ammenable to other approaches and procedures. But yes, we would appreciate the assistance - in creating a combined approach and a different tactical solution."

"Agreed," May replies to Oracle. "I will stay in touch so we can coordinate our efforts." She looks at Robin again. "You okay to get home?" She tilts her head toward the motorcycle, knowing that bruised ribs are likely to NOT appreciate that sort of transportation.

There's a smirk at the lesson learned, but Robin doesn't remark on it, mostly because even given what happened and how he could've -not- walked away, Tim wouldn't do anything differently. He still would've stuck around for the kids, talked to Bane, and ultimately been zapped off the roof and beaten repeatedly. "And no one dies," Robin finally says quietly. "We don't do that."

He slides off the bench and then nods. "I'll be okay. It's not too far. But thanks." And then with a faint sigh, he offers towards the comlink, "Oracle, I'm calling it a night," it's early by Robin's standards. "Thanks for checking me out, Agent May. And any help we can coordinate… Please let me know if you need anything from me." He shoots her a lopsided smile before trailing back towards the Batbike.

"Robin, report in to me in person tonight please." Oracle requests. "Agent May, I look forward to working with you further. As a word of prewarning, an individual called Midnighter seems to have taken lead on this and his" there's a pause "methods are not those the Batfamily approves. It's caused some issues with the ongoing investigation. If you know him or of him, your assistance would be appreciated."

Watching the Boy Wonder move towards the Batbike, Oracle kills his comms channel. "Thank you, for everything, Agent May."

Midnighter. May can run that handle through the SHIELD database and see what it spits out. Either way, it sounds like he's a piece of work. "Just glad I didn't end up chasing after a corpse, Oracle." She says this quietly enough that hopefully Robin won't hear. "Keep me in the loop also." Because it honestly worries her knowing that children are out there fighting the big bad guys of the world. Yes, she knows that Robin isn't truly a child, but just looking at him makes her feel every inch of her fifty years, especially her decades working for SHIELD. "I'm heading back to New York now, before something happens to add another reason to my list."

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