The Cat and the Bat

December 06, 2017:

With the Batman back in Gotham, Catwoman is none too pleased to see him when he tracks her down after his hiatus.

An East End Rooftop -- Gotham City - Gotham

One of the many rooftops of Gotham





Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…


As usual, while some parts of Gotham City are quieter by night, others become more active. The East End is an example of this in a couple ways, as the normal, violence-fearing people who are just trying to get by have long since retreated into the relative safety of their homes, many of them with bars over the windows. Meanwhile, seedier elements of the city's dark and dirty underbelly bubble to the surface in hope of a score, be it drugs, money, women, a combination of all three, or something completely different.

One might guess at what Catwoman's doing out here, though it's common for her to be on the move through parts of the city whether she's got a heist in mind or she's simply patrolling in her own way. Some have said she's actually put a stop to some of the trouble going on in places like the East End, or at least making things a little more difficult for some of the gangs that operate in the area. There's definitely truth to that.

Her trusty whip snakes out as she leaps across an alley then latches on to a street light from a low rooftop, carrying her across the street before her momentum swings her up toward a higher spot. Cats do like their perches.


In the months since Batman disappeared, the only real sign of life from the Dark Knight has been an occasional appearance by Bruce at Wayne Enterprises official meetings that he can't skip. Otherwise, he was pretty much off grid.

In the last week, that's changed.

There was a small fleet of Batdrones patrolling the skies above Gotham right now. A program watches the feeds from those stealthed drones for crimes in progress, or for familiar figures. Those, however, don't catch Catwoman doing her rooftop hopping.

No. Batman himself finds Catwoman. The muffled sound of a heavy duty engine can be faintly heard as the Batmobile pulls into the street where Selina is traveling. This is unlike any Batmobile she's seen before… but there's no mistaking it; the thing screams Batman with all the visible toys on it. Black and sleek (and armored) it wouldn't be wrong to call it a light tank now.

As it stops on the street, Batman himself is launched out of the driver seat, his cape going rigid as he glides his way to the rooftop Catwoman is heading towards… and there he lands in one knee. Once Selina laid eyes on him, she can see that his Batsuit, also, has changed. The black and red thing looks unlike any of his older suits… and also sporting plenty of toys and armor. Whatever else had happened in the months he was gone… he had obviously given his entire arsenal an upgrade.

Then, he stands, those red, screened eyes going to Catwoman… and she can hear a voice scrambler as he speaks. "Hello, Catwoman."


The drones were somewhat concerning, though Catwoman hadn't yet figured out what they were for or who they belonged to. She had a guess, but it was no more than that. It's the roar of the vehicle below that draws some of her attention, an obscenity uttered as she nearly loses focus over her path to the rooftop as a certain someone leaves the new Batmobile in dramatic fashion.

By the time she's landing lightly atop the roof, a half-step forward following thanks to her momentum, Catwoman is frowning. "You," she states flatly, her expression not appearing all that pleased with what can be seen of it, the goggles helping mask things just enough.

"I see you've made a few upgrades." Her voice does not have a modulator, scrambler, or anything else. She's just dropped it an octave or two. A hand settles at her side, opposite the one that holds the whip.


"You could say that." Dry humor? From Batman? Definitely a change in attitude. Then, his left forearm comes up, and Batman flips open… something there. A moment later, it becomes obvious its' a wristcomp from the holographic interface that floats in front of it. A few seconds of this, and he flips it back closed, before Batman starts walking over. From the size of his boots, you'd think he'd make noise… but not Batman. That Gear is compensated for with his walk as he heads over to Catwoman.

"I saw you traveling, thought I'd intercept, catch up." A beat, 'I've been gone for a while."


"I just did," Catwoman answers back, just as dryly only without the humor. The whip is coiled around her waist and tied off, the handle at her side appearing almost tail-like as she studies whatever he's doing with his arm..stuff. "You thought you'd intercept, catch up," she repeats, and while it could come off as a doesn't. It's more of an observation, a statement of fact as he moves closer to the spot she remains in.

More repeating of words, only once he's close enough they're accompanied by an open palm directed at the side of his cowl-covered face. "Gone a while? You /think?/" she nearly hisses. Something's suddenly got the cat riled up, and whether the hand is caught or not she fully intends for it to land, though the claws are kept from adding a scratch.


The Cowl is rigid, and well within range once Batman has walked the few feet over to where Catwoman stands. For whatever reason, he doesn't bother to block the blow. He certainly could, with his reflexes… but either he's fine with the anger, or he considers the force a nuisance, not a danger.

Nonetheless, the sound of the slap echoes slightly, half hitting the 'armor', and half hitting the exposed skin. Once that's done, those red eyes narrow slightly, "To what do I owe the anger?" An honest question, it sounds like. There's genuine curiosity in his voice as he stands there, his black cape fluttering in Gotham wind, "I didn't expect any hard feelings from you over it."


Catwoman finds the feeling to be a good one, though she may be fortunate not to come away with any bruising. It might just be a good thing she's got some extra padding in the hands and fingers, along with other areas of the body. The catsuit itself seems a little thicker, probably insulated for the colder weather. A special version that could pass for more of a diving suit.

"Because you deserved it," she answers past a clenched jaw, turning to stride away from him and hide the momentary grimace from the slap. "Oh, I wasn't upset that I didn't have you hovering over me half the time I set foot in Gotham, like you were waiting for the chance to catch me doing something I shouldn't."

She pauses, looking back toward him over a shoulder. "And for the record, your trainees aren't as good at that as you are. Thought you should know." Now she faces him again, crossing her arms in a show of defiance.

"But you deserved it because you just up and disappeared. You bailed on the city you apparently care so much about without so much as a single word about it, and now you show back up like..that, and you think everything's just going to fit neatly back into place like nothing happened? Are you serious?" Catwoman explains, "I know we had this sort of /thing/ where you chase after me and I give you the slip, and that's a fun little game, but a lot of people thought you were dead. Do you know how much shit has been going on around here?"


"To be able to protect the city, I have to be able to protect myself, first." The only insight he's willing to give to her at this point, it seems. "I have some idea, and would like to hear from you about the rest. I had my reasons for taking a break, but I'm back now, and getting involved again. I would appreciate the notice." Batman still doesn't move from where he is.


"And tell me, what were you expecting me to do? You don't even look the same. Most of the details are right, but.." Catwoman gestures at the entirety of his new look. "You don't even /sound/ the same. How am I supposed to know you're the real Batman and not some fancy fake loaded up on gadgets and toys?" Makes sense on some level, doesn't it? She hasn't seen Batman around for months, so it's fair to be distrustful at first.


"Pro bono bullet extraction doesn't buy much goodwill." Batman notes, before he shrugs, "Would it matter if I'm not the original Batman? The Dark Knight is a symbol, and will leave a legacy, eventually. I only have my actions to show who I am. As for the voice scrambler… with recording devices everywhere and voice recognition software evolving, this was bound to happen eventually."

"Now, I am the original Batman… but if you can't take my word for it, I can go find out what I need to know the old fashioned way." Batman continues.


Catwoman huffs, just once, but it's clearly audible. She's listened to his explanation, now that he's been prompted into giving more of one, and she levels a general glare in his direction. "Yeah, I guess you're the real one after all, and it matters because you may think Batman is a symbol, but there's still a person behind the mask. I had to know if that person was the same or not."

The glare lingers. Someone must be feeling scorned. "But now that we've established that, I found that little tracer you snuck in there when you were cleaning out the bullet. Did you think I'd never notice it?" Her chin tilts upward in a show of defiance. "If anything, you deserved the slap for that alone. Don't do it again."


"You're not stupid. I knew you'd eventually find it. Having a method to find you if I needed it was too good of an opportunity to pass over." Batman explains, unapologetically. "I'd do it again." Then, reaches into that red and black utility belt, pulling out the old bullet extraction device… and offers it. "So you can do your own."


"You know what else you could have done? Ask me for a way to contact me," Catwoman retorts flatly, going so far as to roll her eyes behind the tinted lenses of the goggles. "Normal people do that, you know. We have these things called phones, and there's texting too. There's even e-mail!" She's laying the sarcasm on very heavily, isn't she?

If he'd do it again, she might just turn down an offer to help. Or, she'd know better next time. Either way, she holds out a hand for the tool. "How thoughtful," the cat burglar murmurs, still sounding miffed. "I'm going to need to process all of this."


He gives Catwoman a flat look briefly, then, he shrugs. "You could ignore those… but I'm working on my trust issues." Batman notes. The admission obviously paining him, "People disappoint, disappear, or otherwise have bad things happen to them… and having plans to intervene if things go wrong is how my world works. I've been burned a lot over the years, Selina. People made mistakes, or broke my trust. It's taken me a long time to realize that keeping the world at arms length even if protecting myself with the best of intentions… will only lead to losing touch with it."

Then, he walks by her on the rooftop, over to the edge. "For what it's worth." His right hand drops a smartphone on the rooftop. "An encrypted way of getting in contact with me. The passcode is programmable the first time you boot it. If you get the passcode wrong the first time, built in nanotech bricks the technology, making it useless. It piggy backs onto known networks, and it routes through a dozen proxies around the world so there's little chance of a trace on either end."

Then, his right arm extends to the other side of the street, and a wrist mounted grapnel launcher attaches to the underside of a portruding rooftop. "It was good to see you again. I'll be in touch." And he drops down off the roof.


"No kidding," is all Catwoman has to say about the 'working on trust issues' part. She tucks the device away in her shoulder bag, crossing her arms as she stands her ground. "You probably shouldn't trust me," she warns. "You know the things I do." Whether it's bad or good, for that matter. Yet, he's not taken her to jail before, and he isn't trying to now. Why? She's made her escapes before, but he's had a few chances aside from that.

As he passes by, she looks down at the phone he describes for her. "Nanotech? You /are/ taking this stuff up to a whole new level of technology. Someone must be working overtime for you. I hope he's paid well."

Watching him make his departure, she thinks she's figured out the drones as she looks up toward them. "Yeah, I guess you will!" she calls out after him, only waiting for him to be out of sight before she crouches to pick up that phone, tucking it away in the bag as well without turning it on yet.

"I guess he /can/ be taught after all," she muses to herself before the whip cracks, in her hand again as she swings off in the direction of home.

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