A Laugh at the HArbor

December 18, 2017:

The Joker Gang is met by The Red Hood and a few members of the Shanghai Syndicate in what is a meeting of fate.

Old Gotham - Gotham

Old Gotham is the 'hub' of the City it's here that the City Hall
District is located, the Cotham City Police department headquarters,
Cathedral Square, the Clocktower and the Financial District. A sprawl of low
buildings to high this area is heavily populated one can ssee Wayne Towers
in it's dominating skyward spire, the Buford Building, Port Adam's Plaza,
the Victorian-era Crystal Palace and Gotham Stock Exchange.
The residential areas of Old Gotham are Neville where the mid to
upperclass live, expensive lofts in Central Heights, squalid homes around
East Park Side and South Hook where many blue-collar workers and a good
portion of the GCPD called home until the Apokolips Invasion of 2016.
To the far south, across a bridge on a narrow isle (which there are
several out there) upon the Atlantic one can even see Blackgate
Penitentiary. Where some of the world's most dangerous men and women are
held.

Characters

NPCs: Various thugs

Mentions: Batman, Nightwing, Red Robin, Harley Quinn

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

/ I'm Chiquita Banana and I've come to say /
/ Bananas have to ripen in a certain way /
/ When they are fleck'd with brown and have a golden hue /
/ Bananas taste the best and are best for you.. /

The tune plays on an old time Gotham radio, jacked right from the 1950s. It sets on an old rickety table at the side of the captain's bridge while a crew of men labor with stacked crates, rolling dollies full of them up the gangplank onto the boat. "Do we really gotta listen to this the whole job?" one complains, just barely audible, before he's the victim of a well-timed punch in the arm, and a sidelong glare. Both have been painted with the same garish white and red makeup, their fur lined coats spraypainted a ragged shade of green. 'HA HA' in various iterations have been spraypainted across their jackets. It sort of makes the point for the man.
'Ey, keep your voice down. He's watchin. Says it's for the ambiance..'

With a real crew that has ostensibly been tied up in the hold, the banana boat song is playing over the PA in the sort of depressed way that only a rinny radio rerecording could command while a gang of clowns load the genuine banana boat with …. slightly overripe bananas. Oh, it's not the only thing. Cheap t-shirts and golf balls are also on the docket, and crates of both are interlaced with the open baskets of bright mottled yellow.

All the while, a very well-dressed man stands at the captain's wheel, watching his crew labor behind a field of glass. He is quiet only for as long as it takes for a funny thought to come to mind. "You know," he remarks conversationally as if to no one in particular, "People rarely appreciate a guy until he's gone… attention spans are so short nowadays, with all of the twitting and the texting. The art of conversation is fast becoming lost these days."

The Joker's bleach-white face appears under a band of light from the overhead docklamps, as he turns to face his conversation partner, the captain. He's been bound to the captain's chair, a filthy t-shirt tied across his mouth to gag him. Consequently, he is unable to answer when called upon. It's actually very rude, when you think about it.

"Ah, what do you know, anyway," the clown prince muses.
"You're just too tied up in your work."
The clown grins.

Jason's been meaning to get a hand on the clown.

The music doesn't do much to cover Joker's operation. Maybe he was hoping for the Bat? But instead, he was oing to get the Hood. He sneaks up behind one of the watching guards that is generally out of sight of everyone, and promptly proceeds to stealthily break his neck, dropping his body without a sound in the corner of one of the already set crates.

After? he proceeds to systematically take down every single one of the Joker's goons. Though it'd take him a minute to do so, stealth is of importance….even if a bullet to the joker's head from a snipers nest would be nice, it's personal. He wants to make the Clown suffer. added reason? Joker's gang was getting out of hand, and the Shanghai syndicate (the gang that Jason runs) doesn't like the competition. It's their city, according to them.

Eventually, Jason gets eyes on the Joker from a long distance away with the use of a tactical scope. "Damn Clown….found you."

He growled lightly as he loaded his pistols. This was gonna get loud.

For a minute, all you can see in the scope is the Joker's rictus grin.

The small captain's cabin in which the clown is standing is unremarkable, but for its acoutrements. The small radio is sitting next to the PA, with a cavalcade of comical wires leading from the case to underneath the panel, ostensibly to facilitate the transmission of the Chiquita banana song across the docks. For effect, an old-style belled alarm clock has been duct-taped to the back of the radio.

The captain of the ship is tied to his chair, as noted before, but the situation seems a little different when eyes are placed exactly on the hostage. He's not tied up with sailor's line or thick rigging, as one would expect from the Joker. Somewhat going with the banana theme, he's actually tied up in a very thick yellow cordage of some sort, cinched tightly at all angles around his waist, chest, wrists and ankles. The excess has been thrown loosely around his neck.

The clown himself has his hands behind his back near the wheel of the ship. A cane lays nearby, propped up against the control panels, tipped with a steel sphere. He is grinning right down the barrel of Hood's scope. If you look at it in a certain way, it could almost be like he's welcoming a swift bullet, staring down the sniper's scope.

At least, that's the look of things, until he quietly picks up the PA mike, and snaps into it.
[ Hey! Who said it was lunch time? ] the Joker barks over the PA. [ I don't recall… remind me what happens when a boatful of gangland fairies are caught just… laying around?! Hah! ]

If anything, the Joker's pretty observant. He can count heads with the best of them.

[ This is going to put a damper in my schedule, I bet. Now, I wonder who's out there…. the health inspector? Customs? The coast guard? Not Baywatch, I hope, I hated that show. An introduction wouldn't go amiss. Manners cost nothing, after all… ]
A searchlight sweeps the area.

Jason keeps his eyes on Joker, a scowl forming on his lips as he sees the Clown Prince of Crime stare down at his scope. and for the smallest moment, he thought he was caught. But alas, the Joker isn't that good, or so he thinks. He keeps entirely to the shadows. When that searchlight arrives at his position….he's already gone. Nothing where he used to be.

Then suddenly, when Joker asks who's there, Jason walks out of cover dual handguns in hand, obviously custom made. But when Joker notices him, Jason can't help but grin as he is donned in the mask of the Red Hood, the red bat-symbol painted on his kevlar chestpiece. and the armor on top of the kevlar is pretty impressive in it's own right, a kind of biotriweave mesh. Regardless, he lets himself be noticed as he just starts casually loading his pistols.

"You're fuckin' prom date Clown." says Jason's metallic voice. and when Jokers henchers come to get him or he gives the order for them to fire, a multitude of explosions occur all around, more than capable of taking out the henchers -and- their cargo. Seems he put down the bombs when he was moving about, taking out some of Jokers boys.

That's when it gets loud. two gunshots then, right off the bat, and two of Jokers gang members have holes in their heads. He points at Joker in a 'YOur next' kind of way.

Ah, that armor is always impressive, isn't it? In comparison, the Joker isn't dressed in anything more complicated than a dinner suit in a showman's killer shade of purple and a knock-'em-dead sort of smile. That smile embers a little less than usual. With a waning sort of glower cast across his expression, the Joker straightens his lapel, and adjusts the petals on the flower, watching the Hood's appearance.
"I think," he asides to the captain, "I wear mine better. Ha. ha. ha."

His footsteps resounding across the planks, the Joker makes his appearance in an utterly dignified fashion. Nothing slows his roll, even when explosions throw bananas, peels alternately bouncing off and sticking to the windshield of the ship. With a serious air to embarass most CEOs, the Joker reaches up and unceremoniously plucks a banana peel from his shoulder, throwing it aside rancorously. He waits for the flames to die down. There is quite a bit of cargo built up, too much to blow up with a few placed charges without raising his notice, but the loss is a little disheartening regardless.

Not that you'd know it, as the Joker faces down the Hood.

"Well, if it isn't the Shanghai Copy-Me Kid," the Joker remarks jovially, opening a hand in greeting as he leans on the cane in his other. He knows all about the new gang declaring their turf, after all. "Come now. If you're the date, then I hope you brought a little bit of the bubbly. I'm not just any old Easy Edith, you know," he reminds, breaking into a smile, even as one of his thugs twitches, bleeding from a hole in the head beside him. "But I do so love a good party. And as any good host would," he asides, lifting up his cane and training the sphere on the symbol on his chest. "I supply the party favors."

The cane POPS audibly, separating the finial from the staff, firing a charged metal sphere on a wire towards the Hood's stomach, just below the emblem which is almost assuredly fairer armored than a flex point. The sphere hits like a small cannonball, but the primary use of the single use toy was the brutal electric discharge associated with the impact.

Red looks up to Joker as the explosions go off and many of his henchmen who survived the explosions are gunned down. With a small chuckle, he can't help but smile behind his hood when he sees the Clown arrive. "You know…I liked the green suit better." knowing full well Joker hates green suites. Regardless, he shrugs a little at the tagline Joker called him.

"Heh..your just jealous I rock it better." he cracks his neck then. But then he sees the cane and he knows the Joker's love of parlor 'tricks'. So when that wire flies at him with an electrical discharge, he spins out of the way of it, a bullet being fired and aimed for Joker's shoulder. Which he realizes that Joker has a bulletproof suit…but so he can know that he was 'that close'.

Hiding behind a crate now as he checks his options, Red Hood taunts him. "Sorry, Bats is a little busy to pay attention to you Clown!"

The exchange is lightning-fast. While the Joker is no fool to take a bullet, his body jerks bonelessly to one side as the gang leader/killer shoots him in the shoulder, momentarily stunning him from his normal line of captivating banter. Of course, that's not the only change over him, and the entire thrust of it is that he has a sore shoulder, and it is very, very far from a reprieve.

The Joker steps over the corpse of his henchman with little to no concern, minding the blood from marring his delicate wingtips. Clipping off the cane's electric leads with a twist and a step of an entirely too-long leg. There is nothing else in his face but wide eyes and a horrific grin, teeth plastered across his face in a savage smile. There is a different light that takes over the Joker when the Bat is brought up, and there is a tone change.

"You see," the Joker explains, rolling his shoulder, "that's where you're wrong."

Suddenly, he surges forward, his limbs flailing chaotically as he feints after Red Hood, the thrust of his cane too slow to hit such a fast target. Even so, the end of that cane and the ablated wires hanging an inch or two off the end crackle ominously. "Bats is never too busy for little old me!!" he cackles, swiping a line of electricity through the air. "In fact, I'm planning the greatest welcome back bash anybody's ever thrown for the old cowl and cape! It's a new world, you know. A brave new world, with such -people- in it!!!"

He punctuates his words by kicking a crate, ostensibly trying to kick a crate of bananas over and through the Hood. All the while set to old Chiquita Banana music, still.
He's never been one to shy away from making an impression.

Jason keeps behind the crates as Joker starts to explain about the Bat, which Jason chuckles a bit. "Really? Never too busy? Heh, tell me, is it me or Bats here dealing with your chicken shit ass right now?" he taunts still, even as he hears that cane whip crackle with electricity. With a crack of his neck and a click of his weapons being fully loaded, Red rolls out of the way when Joker kicks a crate full of bananas over Red Hood. He gets a peel on his shoulder, but otherwise, he leaps over a crate, attempting to shoot the cane in his hand, another bullet aimed for Joker's arm.

Then he stands there confronationally. "You're going to suffer, clown. For two reasons….one…you're on my turf. Second, because it'd feel reeaaallyy satisfying." he growls in that metallic voice as he approaches, more than prepared to deal with the electric cane weapon that Joker has mischievously placed into his possession.

"Just deal with the fact that Bats is too busy with the League to actually give you the time of day." he feigns sadness. "So sad for poor baby Joker."

The crate shatters, scattering bananas in every direction, but the dance continues. Fighting the Joker is a very different experience from any of his thugs, and though the bullets strike home, there's no sense of recoil from the practiced killer. Hitting him is a little bit like hitting a sack of sand. He shifts, and the bullet blooms in red across his arm, but he continues to drag the cane, now cracked and crackling from another expert shot.

"You know, from the way you talk and your somewhat depressing remix of the fashion sense of a bygone era, I might have guessed you figured yourself one of the Batman's endless parade of colored birds and rodents. And last I checked," the Joker crows, "the Bat doesn't think too fondly of losing bullets in the heads of stray thugs!"

A limb too long whips free of his dinner jacket, producing a detonator with a dead man's switch and more than a few exposed wires and circuits. A click, a light, and a thrust puts the limb of the killer a few inches too close to Red Hood, the whip-thin silhouette of the Joker snapping ever closer. It would be a comical thing if life and death weren't on the line.

In the captain's cabin, the alarm clock rings, and something sparks underneath the boat's control panel, crackling. With the motion, the boat lurches, flames crackling over the banana crates as the engines kick to life, slowly drawing the boat away from the dock. The few thugs still alive get whiplashed by the retreating lines, snapping bones like twigs and throwing them into the water. The radio crackles, slowly falling silent.

"See, if the Bat is too busy for Gotham, then I'll just have to burn it down. And if that's not enough, there's always THE FRANCHISE," the Joker assures, cackling. He's doing so while trying to club Red Hood with the dead man's switch. What's it attached to? The captain, obviously. That cord he wrapped him up in must be Primacord. One wrong move, and the cord will cut the man into pieces. "I wonder how you feel about dads close to retirement?!" he asks, before thrusting again with the dead man's switch.

With the Joker, the life in the balance is just a distraction.

A distraction for his limp, shot arm to come around and bring the cane loosely held down hard over the dome of the Hood's helmet. "Some of them are a little closer to retirement than others, you know!!"

Red Hood already knew there was a hostage…he was taking care of it, but he needed to stall now since Joker finally brought out the deadman's switch. In truth, two Shanghai Syndicate members were already helping get the Captain out of his bonds from the deadman switch. They were making fantastic progress, but now Jason was once again face to face with the man who made his life a living hell. The comment about perhaps being one of the colored birds, he chuckles. "Well, you face off against 'em well enough, you'd think you know he has a flock." he cracks his neck then as he approaches "Do I look like a bird to you?" then he lifts up his gun again only for Joker to pull out a deadman's switch, which Jason figured he had….he never has a bomb without threatening to blow it up unless he dies.

"Damn." he plays the part, putting his guns away. and staring down the Joker. He takes the hit to the helmet, but even Joker can tell it does very little aside from causing Red Hood's head to turn. "Heh….well, no one say the Joker isn't a coward." he shoots that jab at Joker as he keeps hitting him. "I wouldn't know. Wasn't raised with one." he talks. The cane however, Red moves out of the way, rolling backwards because of the swing of momentum.

"You got a little blood on your arm there Clown." he jabs. "THough my question is…no Harley? What? she finally get sick of you?"

The clown's eyes narrow as the pistols retreat. It's certainly telling in more than one way, but the manic battle doesn't end. The Joker circles Red Hood, turning to face Red Hood along a right angle to the captain's cabin, his view treacherously close to seeing trough the very, very open window and revealing the subterfuge. However, instead of noticing, the Joker presses his advantage, moving to drive the Red Hood back, trying to hit him in the middle with the dead man's switch, then with a magician's flourish, switch the device to his injured hand, swapping it with the cane almost seamlessly. "You could say I've gotten good at clubbing pigeons," he explains. "In fact, you ciould say I'm the world's foremost authority on it!!"

"Harley? MY Harley? Red IS my color," he notes, both of his injury and of his harlequin devotee. "And here I thought you were trying to move in on my turf. Turf, I should add, I've had since you were just a gleam in your daddy's eye. But then, you said you didn't have one," the clown muses, scratching into his mottled green scalp. "I guess I can teach you a lesson or two about life."

He grins. The effect is garish. Dangerous. It colors his words.
"Now hold still, so your new Papa J can give you a firm drubbing…"

He strikes again, this time with an electrically charged storm at the end of his club, moving in an attempt to hit Red Hood under the jaw with the cane, using just enough weight to put the gangland boss through a pile of flaming banana boxes, if he isn't quick enough to evade both of daddy's switches. He hums as he works.

"Come, Mr. Tally Man, tally my bananas…"

Jason's men are almost done defusing the deadman bomb, at the tail-end in fact. Jason hired experts in their field that were available for a price. OF course, money for the Red Hood was no object. Regardless, when the Joker moves forward and even switches bomb hands, Jason is led to think it's just a fake. But never take the Joker lightly, and the Hood dodges the swing from Joker with ease, staring down the Clown with those glowing blue eyes of his helmet. "Yeah. Harley. Last I checked you weren't rollin' with her no more. Bout damn time."

Yep. Stalling big time. only one minute tops until those boys finish the defusing, to Red only needs to hold him off for that long. When Joker swings that electric blow at Jason, he moves out of the way, a right hook aiming for Joker's extremely punchable jaw, before he finds the blunt end of that cane hitting him right in the noggin. thankfully the helmet minimalizes all actual damage from it, but it still hrut like hell. Sends flashbacks as he flies through the fire but lands on his feet. a shuriken would fly out of the fire, attempting to hit Joker right in the knee as Red leaps out of it. Fireproof clothing and armor. Not bad.

"Really? dad jokes? that's all you got?" he cracks his knuckles. "Allow me to finish the score." he starts walking towards Joker then.

The Joker meets the Boy Who Would Have Been The Bat eye-to-eye, and for a moment, it could have been thought that he may have understood who he truly faced. It sort of makes one think exactly how far the Joker likes to think beyond the mask. It's an easy daydream for someone like him, who by all rights should be wearing a mask.

It's a shame that the little things aren't more important to him.

"Come now," the clown prince chastises smoothly. "Don't tell me you're that hard up for a date, Hoodie? Maybe you're a little less Chris Pine and a little more Mickey Rourke behind the mask? A little more beast than beauty, I suppose…?" He suggests. "Have you looked into the dating apps? Surely even a no-account orphan like yourself can twit your way to a good tweet on that ol' world wide web, eh?"

The Joker has no problem talking circles around anyone foolish enough to chat. The battle is hardly over, to that respect, and even someone as physically imposing as the Joker still has to retreat cautiously when the Red Hood comes strolling out of the fire unscathed like that, like some kind of demon! A demon carrying shuriken, one of which he takes in the knee, driving the clown prince further back, further away from him, uneven step backing across the flaming ship's bow as it kites out to sea on a broken control mechanism. He backs towards the ship's rail, where the water courses past furiously. This boat is actually moving at a pretty fast clip. Right now, he's watching everything the Red Hood is doing, even as he struggles, slipping away from his pursuer, teasing the whole way.

"Heh heh. I'm just getting started, short stuff," the Joker assures, the cane held loosely in his arm, hand hovering close to his hip. "I can't waste all my best material in a fistfight with a second banana like you, can I? And that's the joke, isn't it? Hee hee hee. Hoo. Hahaha…."

and it's at that moment that Red Hood's people finish defusing the bomb and get the captain to safety like the Hood ordered. He'll see his retirement party yet! and once Red Hood receives the transmission….a sadistic smile crosses his features under the Red Hood and he walks right up to Joker, even as the latter teasginly plays the role of a coward. with a lunge, Red Hood attempts to kick Joker right in the mouth and pick him up afterwards. "Let's hear a joke." he positions Joker like hes about to kick him into the harbor. "You're not gonna die today…you have to suffer first."

a look then to his gun wounds. "Oh, and stay off -my- turf."
Batman pages: What size boots does Jason wear?
page Batman=he's a size 13.
You paged Batman with 'he's a size 13.'

"You know, one thing really bugs me about you, kid grimace…"

Even though he can't see it, the Joker's grin mirrors Jason's inside the mask.

Even surrounded by reams of his flaming cargo, even with all of his men killed and shot, even with a wounded knee, arm and a welt to the shoulder, even with his hostage rescued by stealthy men he would have sworn was whipped straight from the Hood's where-the-sun-don't-shine, the Joker is still smiling.

Because he knows.
He knows exactly what the Hood is doing.
That's the punchline.

The moment Hood lunges for him, the Joker slips to the side, flicking the remote into the air. "Here, catch!!" Tossing the dead man's switch to the Hood, the light on the arming switch triggers the moment Joker sets it loose, flicking from green to red to green again, signifying that it activated… then activated again? At any rate, the primacord, so defused, doesn't detonate. But when the Joker throws it, it's still just a distraction for Joker to drop what's left of his cane. Because a knife in the side is much, much more effecive than a club to the helmet. But even a thrust to the side is still… just a distraction.

You know what's even better than a knife? Acid.

In just one second, everything can change. After all of his years dealing with Batmen, the Joker knows a distraction when he sees it. And for all of the money the Hood threw at them, the guys the Hood are relying on are still not exactly the stealthiest, compared to a Bat. But he is perfectly content to let the Hood play the game. Because when he does, the Joker makes his move. He's still smiling.
And in less than a second, he tries to slip a knife between the Hood's armor plates and spray acid on him — produced by the aforementioned flower on his jacket — to distract him. 'You know, one thing really bugs me about you, kid grimace…'

If the Red Hood lets himself slip and think he's in charge, even for a second, the Joker will have stabbed him six inches deep and coated him with a liberal applique of vicious acid. Then, while he's trying to keep from losing more than a few layers of armor to the specialty chemical cocktail, the Joker will kick /him/ into the Harbor instead.
"You have just the most *abominable* sense of humor…"

When the bomb switch flies at Red Hood, he sees the lighting that it activated….then activated again? leading him to believe this was a fake, but better safe than sorry. Joker is known for pulling 'pranks' to pull your leg. Regardless, the Joker manages to put the knife hard into his side, though ot as deep as he would like it, making it only about three inches deep…thankfully, Red Hood's hand caught it before he could stick him all the way through.

Jason's a tough bastard.

Jason moves just a little bit out of the way of the acid, turning Joker's body so that only really his shoulder gets acid on it. Though he's well protected, he has a few minutes before it really starts to be a bothersome experience. Police sirens can be heard in the distance as they approach, as such? Jason kets kicked over the railing…

But he swings back around to kick Joker right back in return. "I learn from the best." he says as he pulls the knife out of his side and tosses it aside. Regardless, the police are -close- and after one transmission, Red Hood growls, drawing a pistol and shooting right next to Joker's head. "There's your warning clown."

A smoke bomb is thrown to the ground then…when it cleared? Jason was long gone.

The Joker is both pleasantly surprised and disappointed by the Red Hood's moxie when he fails to fold up in a pile of crying do-gooder and instead responds with a swift boot in the middle, pulling the Joker off of his wingtips and causing the clown to skid like a doe on ice into the wall, laughing the entire while, his haunting cackle only broken by impact.

The dead man's switch clatters to the ground between them, right before a bullet drills into the deck cabin right by the Joker's skull. He glances at it, somewhat curiously. As he comprehends what's happened, his disappointment grows over his impression, a somewhat dichotomous frown creeping across the clown's face. It takes more muscles and all that. Or at least, that's how he would explain why his face never seems to convey the true depth of his disappointment in Junior.

"A warning? What a killjoy. I bet you're one of those types who warns the police about bombs too, aren't you…"

And then, the Hood is gone. As another explosion rips across the side of the ship, the clown gets up, making a great show of adjusting his coat so it hangs just right. He takes out a handkerchief, his coat being lit by the approach of a police ship as he dabs a bit of blood from the corner of his mouth and takes a short comb to his hair. He goes in the back, and gets a fire extinguisher, absently putting out the flaming bananas and T-shirts, a white cloud spraying over the deck. He does this quietly, and unceremoniously, kicking aside piles of burnt shirts to reveal golf balls, whose half-melted shells reveal … well, those look a lot like grenades. Were grenades burning on board the ship while the Joker played around??

By the time the police board the ship, the Joker grins at them, holding his dead man's switch again.
"Freeze!!"
"You boys aren't the Uber I ordered. And it's already cold enough out here! Instead, how about…. burn?! HAHAHAHAHA…"

He depresses the switch one last time, and drops it in the pile.
"… DAAA Ha HA hA Ah Ha HA HA HA HA!!!"

Luckily the Red Hood didn't catch the switch out of the air, or he could have lost an arm when it blew. Oh, there was nothing wrong with the detonator. It just did more than one thing. Leave it to the Joker to engineer a dead man's switch that can also kill the dead man. The resulting chain of explosions is deafening.

- End -

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