Workshop talk

December 16, 2017:

Batman is interrupted by members of the Justice League while working on new components for the Watchtower.

Watchtower workshop

The laboratory and workship zone of the ship. This part of the
station has sectioned off portions to allow for isolation and containment.
It allows work on foreign and dangerous experiments or projects. There is
also a Transmatter Cube located here that is used to bridge the gap between
dimensions, it has it's own dedicated lab that can be ejected from the
Watchtower safely if needed (as can most of the workshop rooms).

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Red Hood

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

He's been busy in Gotham the last week, but has started to take the time to do some upgrade work. There are a number of advancements from the sciences already integrated into his suit, and Batman is now working on building the modules to slot those advancements into the Watchtower itself. His Batsuit is on, but the headpiece has been replaced with a full on helmet and breather, for safety concerns. Using some advanced tools, Batman is building microcircuits manually. Custom hardware.

Next to him on the workbench is one of the Watchtower terminals; direct access to the mainframe, and it has a holographic display of the galaxy above it… with some seriously advanced looking math calculations around that same sector he had confirmed was the Red Lantern home region. Looks like Batman is killing two birds with one stone.

*

Superman has been busy of late, and he's mostly been in Metropolis making sure that none of the scum that tend to rise there stay down. Though of course he never kills, only tosses in a cold cell to rethink their lives.

Regardless, the Man of Steel is on the Watchtower today, looking for a Bat, and lo and behold, he finds him exactly where he expected to find him: The Laboratory. Batman was always here in the early days of the League…and Batman is easily able to hear the swoosh of Superman's arrival, stopping his floating to land a few feet behind Batman. "Batman." he greets.

"Looking to upgrade your armor? simultaneously watching Red Lantern sectors?" he ponders to his old friend. "It's good to have you back."

*

"My suit is fine. This is for the Watchtower itself." Batman corrects distractedly as his hands rummage about on the controls of an electronic containment unit. His head has the look of someone seeing something only he sees, "This is delicate work, and the augmented reality microscope is being glitchy. There a lot of maintenance work that needs to be done around here before I'm satisfied. Need to add a port for a neural interface connection to this machine as well, but that'll take longer." A few seconds later, he pulls his gloved hands from the slots, and he shakes his head. "Transitioning from micro-vision to real time on the Watchtower is an interesting experience, at least. The subtle gravity changes from Earth itself are disorienting." Batman notes, before he turns to the terminal, walking over and typing into it, some more calculations being inputted.

"This is my triangulation simulation. This is more a matter of trial and error than anything with the high number of stellar objects and anomalies to account for. It doesn't look like it, but light year based calculations are notoriously prone to error, even with Lantern Corp star charts."

He looks like he's finished with that for now, though, and turns around, giving Superman an up and down visual inspection. "How's Metropolis? I haven't heard about the city being ripped apart lately." Batman inquires, almost casually.

*

Superman nods a few times as Batman -very- delicately describes what exactly he is doing. From developing technology for the Watchtower while also simultaneously triangulating Red Lantern activities. It's so much information that even Superman has a hard time keeping up! "Wow…busy much?" he chuckles then, approaching his basically brother in arms. The Worlds Finest standing across from each other.

He does happen to laugh though when Metropolis is brought up. "Heh, well, thankfully, it hasn't ripped apart. I've been keeping a close eye on it, as usual. It's good, it's good. How's Gotham? Far as I can see it's still standing, so hopefully that's a good thing?" he teases the Bat, knowing full well he may get a hostile response.

"But more importantly, how are -you- Batman? It's been some time. You sure you're alright?" he asks with a concern for his dear friend.

*

"Building it in a planet based component factory will just mean logs to modify. I do most small scale Watchtower components in here, or the micro-factory in the Batcave." Batman explains as he turns around to type more into the terminal. "The regional calculation are mostly done by computer. trajectory analysis is more about eliminating possibilities with current stellar positioning or guesswork to that regard." Batman continues…

*

Superman nods a few times to Batman as he continues to talk and talk and talk. "Bruce." he says to get his attention, though it's soft enough for only them to hear. "Are you alright?" he asks, blue eyes looking into his own as the Man of Steel speaks to Batman as a friend, not a comrade.

*

"I'll be fine. Going back to Gotham after I went off grid for so long was rougher than I expected, is all." Batman replies to Superman, "There are some new players in the city I didn't account for, and there was a massacre at a dockyard because of it." Batman continues right on typing away. "Playing catch up with information when you were out of contact for months. It happens, but I need to be better." Batman says, in a resigned tone. "I had no way of knowing before, I know that… but I still don't like unknowns inserted into my plans."

*

A small nod then from Superman as Batman reasserts himself as being perfectly alright. "Alright. You know if you ever need help, simply say the word." he smiles warmly to Batman then. "Unknowns is part of the job. But you'll know what to do, you always do." he puts a friendly hand on Bruce's shoulder.

*

"It would have been a lot worse if I hadn't shown up." Batman agrees, "But the delay in my arrival that I planned cost lives." As Superman puts a hand on his shoulder, he turns around, looking the Kryptonian in the eyes. "This new player in Gotham is a lot more near league in martial arts. He isn't quite as good, but he was good enough to keep me occupied for a minute. He gave the runners time to escape, and was very proficient with his pistols. I'm sure more than a few of the kills in the fight were from him. I've never seen him before though. Ever heard of a man wearing a red helmet in Metropolis?" Batman inquires.

*

Superman frowns then a moment when he hears about this mysterious person murdering more than a few people. Regardless, a sigh from Superman before the question even comes out of Batman's mouth. Then a brow is raised. "A red helmet? I mean…I've seen guys in full body-red armor, but those were mainly from Luthor. Guy with a red helmet? never seen anyone like that in Metropolis. Maybe he just operates in Gotham?

*

"There's that." Batman notes, before he starts to walk over to one of the other terminals. He plugs in his wrist-comp, types a few things, and a holo-projection of a man wearing a red helmet. (https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/injusticefanon/images/2/20/Arkham_knight_red_hood.png/revision/latest?cb=20160625043044). "His vocal patterns and techniques suggest training from the League, or one of my old mentors." Batman observes, before he unplugs… but the man remains. "You can probably guess why this is very concerning to me." A joke. From Batman.

*

Caitlin, once shy and withdrawn, is something of a social critter. She's good about not being underfoot, but it's not uncommon for her to rattle around the Watchtower at loose ends to see if anyone's doing anything interesting— or just wants some company.

The Lab's always an interesting place; plenty of techies and inventors make use of the super-state-of-the-art equipment. It's easy for someone to absorb a few engineering degrees just by sitting and quietly observing.

"Oh! Hey Superman!" Caitlin says, brightening at the sight of the Man of Steel. She's dressed informally, grey yoga pants and a loose pink hoodie. She smiles brightly and heads towards Kal-El, but her next words die on her lips at the sight of the glowering figure of Batman standing near the holo-projector.

"O-oh, sorry," she stammers, trying to slow her pace without blatantly reversing course. "I didn't realize you guys were busy," she says, apologizing lamely.

*

Superman narrows his eyes when he sees the official holo-projection, though he just shakes his head. "Never seen him before, that's for certain. Well…how many old mentors do you have again?" a small, but no less friendly smile to the Dark Knight. He does smile at Batman's joke, but he takes him seriously. "I can only imagine. Very few people can keep up with you in martial combat, Batman."

Though then Caitlin arrives and says his name with that upbeat spirit of hers, and with a turn of his head, he gives her the warmest smile. "Fairchild, good to see you! Come here, come here, I promise you're not interrupting." possibly the friendliest member of the League other than Diana invites Fairchild with a warmth in his tone. He looks then to Batman.

"Well…I hope you find him." Superman knows Batman doesn't like asking for help. and probably would refuse him if it was offered. After all, Bats needs to get back into the swing of things.

*

"My stellar calculations are running as projected, and my microcircuit needs time to cool down before I can do more itching." Batman assures Caitlin as he turns to her, walking over to the exit, "I have some components to get from storage. You two can chat." And he exits.

*

"We—" Caitlin summons up her words to speak to Batman, but he's already brushing through with his peremptory, uninterruptible manner. Her voice falters and her mouth works soundlessly, and she looks at Superman with a little hurt confusion in her expression.

"Sheesh! Was it something I said?" she asks, once Batman's out of earshot. She glances uneasily at the door, and her voice stays low. Just in case. "I just wanted to say hi," she says, a little despair on her face. "I didn't mean to interrupt what y'all were doing." She glances at the holo-image in a rotating display, but seems more interested at the micro-circuitry in operation. Her fingers twitch with interest but she refrains from messing with the project-in-progress.

*

Superman sighs a moment when Batman walks off, before he looks to Caitlin with the warmest smile. "He's just getting something done. He'll be back in a few minutes." he chuckles then to her as he turns to fully face her. "How have you been? Well I hope?" he asks kindly.

Though his ears were preened for anyone else deciding to come their way, that way he never gets startled!

Caitlin shrugs at Superman, looking down at him with an air of perplexed hurt. "I guess," she says, dubiously. She frets at her inner cheek, glancing after Batman again, then Superman's question gets her attention.

"Huh? Oh! I'm great," she promises him. "Things have been pretty chill since we got back. Karen's got me working a lot, we're really close to another big product pre-release, so— well, you know how she gets," she says, with a wrinkle of her nose and a laugh. "We'll hit the release date and she'll go back to normal. How about you? Everything okay?"

*

Superman smiles softly to Caitlin, though he puts a hand on her shoulder when it's clear that her feelings were a little hurt. "Hey, don't worry about him…he's always on a one track mind alright? You didn't do anything wrong. When he returns, you can even ask him yourself." he says with the warmest encouragement. Though when he hears that she's been good, and Karen's been working with her on a product, he smiles.

"I do miss my cousin. I'm glad she's doing good, but yes, I know all to well how stressed she can be when a product is near it's completion. I'm happy you're good as well." a warmness there.

*

A few moments later, and Batman is walking in with a small container under his right armpit. He gives a brief glance to both occupants of the lab, before he's in front of the microcircuit etching machine again, the small keypad on it getting commands typed into it, "I don't have too much work to do on this. Some components for the station are just too customized for standard bulk circuit boards." Batman gives in out loud musing, "A necessary consequence of integrating non-standard technology from Mars."

*

"Yeah, /right/ I'll ask him," Caitlin snorts, squashing a giggle. She covers her smile with one hand, but thankfully Superman glances at the door well before Batman arrives, and she's mostly comported by the time the Dark Knight enters the room.

Well. Not composed enough to conceal her reaction to Batman's keen vision, anyway. She's acting like a teenager who got caught laughing at a joke while the teacher was out of the room.

She can't keep her eyes off of the device, though, hands behind her back as she tries to look at it without interrupting Batman.

Her silent non-observation pretty rapidly turns into something somehow even more obtrusive than if she had just stuck her head into the workspace.

"Um is— is that the, uh, one of those—" she trails off, withdrawing the finger that's gesturing vaguely towards the device. "those, um… micro-impulse relays…?" she says, voice weakening as she realizes she's gone and not only got Batman's attention, but /interrupted/ him!

*

Superman seems more than amused at Caitlin who tries her absolute best not to laugh or chuckle as Batman re-enters the room. Though Superman's attention now falls on the container that Batman brings with him…which is revealed to be tools to help work on the Watchtower tech. "Curious." he smiles then, before his attention falls on Caitlin as she mentions a micro-impulse relay.

"Micro-impulse relay?" he asks her curiously, perhaps more impressed that she has knowledge of that than anything else. Regardless, he lets Batman answer questions meant for Batman.

*

As it becomes clear Caitlin is trying to 'socialize' with Batman, the black and red suited man glances over his shoulder to her. Those red screens over his eyes betray nothing of his expression… and the breather over his mouth makes it next to impossible to see the lower half of his face… but that unnerving presence Batman tends to have around him is definitely there.

"No." The one word not betraying annoyance, but definitely flat. "This isn't a routing circuit, it's a bridge. The non-standard technology can only be converted so much to Earth based power sources. This is a converter. I do these manually to visually make sure the Watchtower doesn't go into emergency power shutdown."

*

Caitlin manages not to wince when Batman looks at her, but she does swallow. She very carefully backs away six inches, making it very clear she's not going to touch the delicate project. "Oh. I'm sorry, it just— it looked a lot like, the uh… well, the relays that… um… gosh…"

She glances at Superman apprehensively. "Er, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to, uh.. both you," she says, clearly very unnerved by the glowering lambent hue of Batman's armored cowl.

"So, hey! Superman. Are you uh, have you heard anything from the Metropolis crew lately? I've been on the patrol there for almost a year now, y'know," she says, desperately trying to avoid Batman's harsh, emotionless gaze.

*

J'onn arrives from Watchtower Station : JLA.

*

Superman looks between Batman and Caitlin as they both seem to speak with each other. Though when Batman flatly denies and begins to correct Caitlin, he seems to frown when Caitlin starts to back away from possibly the most intimidating person in the League. Maybe the world.

regardless, he keeps his eyes on Caitlin when she starts to become a nervous wreck. When spoken to, he can't help but chuckle. "Oh? well, they haven't really told me anything, but I'm sure they'll come up with something for you to help with." a warm smile then as he helps her out.

*

It's been a long couple of days for J'onn since the conversation on the moon. He has been mentally preparing himself for what he will need to do, and so he comes down to the Laboratory to work on a few projects to clear his mind. Upon arrival in the Lab, though, he finds a small grouping of friends… two of which already know about the burden that J'onn has volunteered to carry.

"Hello Batman, Superman, Caitlin…" those red orbs taking in the small group of friends, a bit more solemn than normal, "…I hope I am not interrupting anything?" He asks, the deep voice carrying through the Lab, "I had hoped to continue to work on a tracking device for when I go looking for the Red Lanterns, so it is fortunate that you are here, Batman."

*

"It looks like a relay because the converter needs to shunt somewhere." Batman informs Caitlin, before he turns back to the etcher and starts to use the controls again to work on the converter. The slides in either side drop down again to contain the smell, and his eyes glow, reflecting off the windows. "I'm working on a converter replacement for the station right now, but I can discuss that as a next project after. Right now, I'm in an augmented reality window." Batman informs J'onn.

*

"Oh, hey J'onn," Caitlin says, flashing a dimple-cheeked smile at the Manhunter. J'onn's weird, but alien as he is, he's less flatly intimidating than the Dark Knight. Maybe it's that dry sense of humor.

"Woah, you're— you're going out after the Reds?" Caitlin stammers, looking nervous at the prospect. "Those guys were scary when we hit them from their blind spot. Aren't you worried they'll be ready for us this time?"

*

Superman turns his head to J'onn when he arrives, the biggest smile coming from the Man of Steel. "J'onn! good to see you." though he appears to sigh softly when Jonn brings up going against the reds…something he still doesn't like at all. But! when Batman speaks on already working on something for now, but will look into it, Superman smiles again. "Good to see you two working together." knowing they were together really the brains of the league.

Then he looks to Caitlin "He is…he's going to go undercover to help us undermine their operation." a small sigh then as he looks to Manhunter, an apologetic look still there as he didn't want J'onn to do it at all. He wanted to make the sacrifice so no one else had to. Regardless, he stands back, looking between them.

"Red Lanterns are a little scary..but hey, we'll be ready for them."

*

"Whenever you have time, Batman. I will continue on what I am working on, I have already given you access to the hardware and software project on the Justice League systems." J'onn responds with a quick nod, he understands finishing the project you are on before starting another.

Looking over to Caitiln, J'onn realizes that she may not know the current plan in dealing with the Reds, "In a manner of speaking, Caitlin." J'onn replies, careful consideration of his next words plays across his features, "As Superman has said, I will do what is necessary to gather the attention of a Ring, and infiltrate the Reds." As he crosses the distance, he places a friendly hand on Kal's shoulder, sensing and understanding his friends concern, "You all will be ready to remind me Who I Am when the time is right." He nods to Batman, "You all will further develop the plan once I am away. It is best that way, but I have every faith that you all will be successful."

*

"He's the best equipped to get pulled out of their ranks once the mission is over." Batman comments as he works. "If their rings didn't replace parts of the anatomy, I would have insisted on myself to make countering their strategy easier. It's a risk either way, but I already have plans for if his embedding attempt fails."

*

"Pl-plans?" Mild alarm crosses Caitlin's face, and she looks uneasily at the other, more senior members of the team. "Undercover? Sheesh, I mean— J'onn, you're not exactly a lightweight," she says, her tone turning to dismay. "Those Reds, they get into people's heads. I know I wasn't totally in the game when we were planetside. Going undercover with them… gee whiz, it just seems… really risky."

*

Superman nods once as he looks between Batman and J'onn's opinion. "A vote was cast between the leading members of the Justice League." ah yes, the famous round table leadership that Superman put back into place with the agremeent of Wonder Woman. So he was happy that at least it was a fair vote. Regardless, Superman isn't happy with the idea itself. "It is. We won't lie about it. But that is wat the league is for. J'onn is the best qualified mentaly and physically."

*

"Yes, the replacement of the Heart, as I understand it, is quite fatal for everyone here except myself…" J'onn replies in agreement with Bruce, his tone remains even but it is obvious he is not taking the event lightly, "…Martians are exceptionally resilient when it comes to sustaining damage." However, there is always the off-chance the damage can't be repaired, but he doesn't dwell on that particular problem for now.

"I have a few tricks, Martian type, up my sleeve for protecting certain portions of my personality, Caitlin." Some of his serious attitude disappearing in a warm smile that he sends her way, again sensing the unease in his fellow League Teammate, "It is an incredibly risky plan…" His tone and attitude displaying how bad this could go, "…but I trust the Green Lanterns, and I do not believe they would talk about such a risk if we had time or information for a better solution."

"It is our choice to put ourselves at Risk for the protection of the people here." J'onn agrees whole heartedly with Kal, "It never means we take that risk lightly, but we understand and accept it when it is needed." It was something any of the leadership was prepared to do, and yet another reason why J'onn feels at home with the Family he has in the League. "I do not mean to derail your discussion, though, what is it that you were working on?"

*

"Welcome to the big Leagues, kid." Batman mumbles into his rebreather, "We put our lives on the line on a daily to week basis to keep that planet below us from any number of horrible fates. It's our home, and we defend it, with as little cost to ourselves as possible." A moment, and he continues, 'Make no mistake though, we fight a war on many fronts, because no one else can fight the battles we do. This isn't a game."

*

Caitlin's brow furrows a little and she shifts her feet defensively. It's a young person's gesture of mild defiance— but it's hard to forget that she's strong enough to give even Superman and J'onn some pause. Height isn't everything, but she draws herself up to her full half-head over six feet.

"I'm not a /kid/," she reminds Batman. "I was on Apokalips. I'm not some scrub rookie. J'onn is— J'onn," she says, glancing at the green-skinned alien. "It's one thing to wear a disguise. But those Red Rings are just… they're dangerous. Didn't any of you read the Lord of the Rings? 'And over me the Ring would gain a power greater and more deadly'?" she reminds them.

"Gosh, it's like none of you still read fantasy novels."

*

Superman seems to nod in agreement with Batman and gives the biggest smile to J'onn as he speaks, both of them offering Caitlin the magnitude of which they serve the planet and beyond. Though when Caitlin speaks to him of Lord of the Rings. "Actually, it's one of my favorite books. Don't mistake us, we dont want this to happen either, but we are out of options." he states sadly, but the resolve is still there.

"J'onn knows what he's doing, as well as the Lanterns who help us. Everything will be fine. I promise."

*

Taking a few steps towards Caitlin, bringing him within easy reach of her, J'onn will place his large hands on either one of her shoulds, "You are a member of this League, Caitlin." J'onn tells her in a serious tone, "You have earned every right to be on it. Never take any of our words as counter to that simple fact."

A quick glance in Batman's direction, J'onn continues speaking to Caitlin, "You are absolutely correct. The Rings are dangerous, powerful, and capable of corrupting even the strongest of us. I will do everything within my power to separate it's influence from the rest of my mind…"

Letting them all in on a bit of his plan, "But it will be /you/, Caitlin, and the others that will bring me back." Pausing, thinking about her reference, "Was it not the main protagonist of the novel you speak of that carried that burden to see the Ring destroyed?" Speaking of Frodo and his friend Samwise's trek to destroy the One Ring, "The burden was heavy, cost him much in the carrying of it, but in the end it was the work of All of the Heroes that defeated the Evil." Perhaps her analogy is more apt than even she realized.

Lowing his hands, taking a step back, J'onn will glance over his shoulder at Kal to offer him a grin, "It is about Trust, in the League, and I would find no other group to trust my life with as much as I do you all."

*

"You've earned your keep in the League, but if you're balking at this plan, you're saying you don't trust the rest of us to protect J'onn if the worst happens." Batman continues without hesitation. "A head on confrontation has too many variables with the way they're masking their numbers, and the Green Lanterns themselves don't have all the information. This is the most cost effective method to build a strategy beyond 'punch them in the face until they go home'."

The sound of circuit etching is heard, "There's a reason we went with this strategy. Deal with it."

*

Caitlin nods at Superman and J'onn, bolstered by their reassurances. She even manages a smile, straightening her shoulders a bit.

Then, Batman's cutting barb lands, and she manages a withering glare at the back of his armored cowl. She deflates a little.

"You deal with it," she mumbles, eyes narrowing. But not loudly enough to be heard, anyway.

"I should go eat, it's past lunchtime," Caitlin sighs. "J'onn, be careful, huh?" she says, impulsively hugging the Manhunter. "Let me know if I can help though, okay?"

*

Superman smiles to Caitlin as she hugs j'onn, and Superman had the same wishes that she did. Regardless, he nods to all present. "I also need to run I'm afraid. Batman, J'onn, Fairchild….you three stay safe alright?" he looks to all of them then with the warmest smile, then he turns his head, hearing danger below. Plane was falling to the surface, and he gives everyone a quick smile. "See you all soon." and off he goes to save the day!

*

While J'onn agrees with the content of what Bruce is saying, his delivery is as subtle as a wrecking ball with Miley Cyrus, "We all agree that you belong here, Caitlin." Is where the Martian decides to leave it for now. The last bit added by Bruce, though, draws a "We all deal with it in our own way." No reproach on J'onn's end, but a simple statement that each member has their own methods to handle their part.

When Caitlin hugs him, J'onn will return the embrace in kind, his voice low for her to hear, "I will do all in my power to return as I am today." There is a pause, and he adds "Thank you, Caitlin."

Then, a bit louder, he adds "Food sounds good. I believe there is a certain kitchen staff that has some of my favorite cookies waiting."

*

"I'll be here for a while, if anyone needs anything. Manhunter, I'll get back to you once I'm finished here. I'll probably be about ten hours." Batman continues a bit absentmindedly, until he's alone in the lab once more.

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