Dark Revelations

January 29, 2018:

Batman has spent the tedious amount of time required to hard tap the cell towers and phone company proxies the kidnappers are using with tracers; now he follows up and gets a location.

Abandoned Warehouse

Characters

NPCs: Kendra, Nuke

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It is late. Autumn is asleep upstairs, finally dozing off with her sudoku under the covers, while her mother lounges in PJs on the couch. The lamp by Alice's head is on and she has a book in one hand and the other is currently holding a wine glass. She sips from it and sets it down absently as she turns a page.

*

A phone is tossed onto the couch next to Alice.

No, really.

When she looked behind to the source, Batman is there, his cape furled all about his body as to cloak it, with those red eye lenses fixed on her. "The next time the kidnappers call, use that phone. It's specialized for tracing without making it obvious, and is a clone of the phone you use right now."

There are no windows or doors open. How did he get in there so silently?

*

Alice reacts by flinging the book at Batman and rolling with catlike reflexes over the back of the couch. She lands in a defensive stance and then stands as she sees who it is. The look on her face is less than amused as she goes back around and picks up the phone, looking it over and then back at him. "Thank you," She says, not bothering to really question it right now. He has a reputation and she is not going to question it right now. "All right, well another one is due any day now," There is a weariness in her voice. Slumping onto the couch she burries her face in her hands. "Mmph…Do you have any clues yet?" She asks after a quiet moment.

*

The book is caught deftly with a hand, and replaced on the table nearby without looking away from Alice. "I have a few ideas of what you're dealing with. For one thing, these people bounce their calls all over the place… and since GCPD doesn't have too much of a technology presence yet, I'm unsurprised they can't crack the web. I've hard tapped all their known bouncing points, so next time they call, I can get a location and go right for them." Batman replies.

*

"I was afraid of that. You donate a million, and then got to wonder where the department spends it all," Alice says with a dry chuckle as she leans back on the couch. She eyes Batman thoughtfully in this much more private setting. He is quite a bit taller than her. Of course most everyone is. "Do you wa-" She starts to say and then the phone in her hand rings.

Her already pale face goes even paler and her eyes turns to Batman. "I am going with you!" She says fiercely as she answers the phone. She doesn't say anything and then a computer generated message begins to speak.

"Wee Hearts Gala," The instructions begin mechanically, mentioning the upcoming fundraiser for premies. It was supposed to be filled with very well off and well connected people. "Sodium barbitol in the ice. Bring a voice recorder and record. Retrieval of recorder will be detailed in a later call. Have a nice day." And there is a click. The whole time Alice did not take her eyes off Batman. Vanishing tricks she knows he can pull, and he is not going alone!

*

"No, you're not. I don't deal with hotheads in the field, and a mother going after her child is the epitome of that." Batman speaks, but he isn't looking at Alice. Instead, his right hand is doing something with his wrist-comp. First, he's silently alerting Alfred to get everything he can on that warehouse… then, he keys one of his Batdrones to head over to the warehouse itself; it can be there in about a minute.

*

"Yes, I am. I am a mother, yes, but I've been a mother dozens of times over the centuries. I think I've got a pretty good idea how to keep a cool head," Alices says, her lips thinning as she stands. Stalking right up to him and glaring up into his face she pokes a slim finger into his chest. She's surprisingly strong for such a little thing. "My daughter is going to need her mother, not some scary guy in a batsuit. She's been captive for two months! And her powers -are- dangerous," She says, fierce but surprisingly focused and calm.

*

"Right now, a 'scary guy in a batsuit' is exactly what your daughter needs." Batman gives back, unfazed by her reaction. The man goes up against the worst insanity Gotham -and the world- offers daily. This is a footnote, "The only way you get to come along on this is if you give me your word you will obey /every/ instruction I give you. I do mean every one." Those red eyes stare back at her, and his jaw hasn't set at all in a grimace.

*

Alice frowns up into that masked face and is quiet for only a moment before she nods once. "All right. I'll grab my suit," She says and dashes for a door that seems to blend with the wall. It leads down dark stairs. She is only a couple of minutes before she emerges wearing the same black suit with it's purple holographic starbursts. Luckily they weren't reflective. A double bandelere of simple glass vials goes across both shoulders. At her hips modified paintball pistols and extra clips around her belt. And then slung on a strap is her tephlon coated super soaker. "Let's go," She says as she settles the helmet in place with a soft click.

*

Not saying a word, Batman walks right out of the front door. Almost on cue, the Batwing descends overhead just above the manor, and transport lines up into the cockpit are lowered for Alice.

Batman? He fires his forearm grapnel up into the pilot cabin and zip right up, before he starts to mess with some controls… and brings up a remote view from the drones. First, doing a sweep of the perimeter, then going into the warehouse proper in silent mode. He takes a look while the Batwing is set to autopilot and starts to fly over.

*

Alice is silent and grim behind the helmet. She has seen and done so much it is easy for her to adapt to new things. And she's seen that damned Batwing before. Of course from a different compartment.

She looks around the cockpit briefly before settling down and strapping in. "Nice," The speaker says, garbling her voice to that weird blended accents voice. Not touching anything she leans forward, eyeing controls and watching him work.

The warehouse is like any other. A single light seems to be on inside while bright spotlights illuminate the parking lot. All the windows are clouded, letting in light but little else. A rolling truck-loading port stands receded from the main door which is locked. The faint sound of bass can be heard over the drones speakers.

*

"You're to stay in the Batwing until I say you can come down. Am I clear?" Batman gives back to Alice as he watches the feed.

*

Alice turns her head to slowly regard him through the visor of her helmet, raising a brow he can't see. After a heartbeat the speaker says, "All right." She doesn't sound happy about it, but she isn't arguing. Instead she peers in at the screen with a frown. "Wait…who is that?" She asks.

A finger points to a man with numerous grocery bags on his arms getting out of a nearby parked vehicle. Something weird is going on with the feed though, blurring out his face as he moves to the door of the warehouse. He gives it a kick, pauses for two seconds, then kicks it twice, two seconds, then one more time. Almost instantly after the metal door simply folds back as if it were made of paper or fabric, folding on itself impossibly for it's construction.

"No…nonono," Alice says, shaking her head.

*

"I assume you know him." Batman makes it a statement, not a question. "The more information you give me, the better."

*

"I don't know him, I can't even see his face. The door! Kendra can do that," Alice says, pointing at how it fluidly pulls back and cements itself in place once again after the man is through.

*

There's a moment as Batman watches, then… "Stay here." He sets the autopilot, before he dumps out of the cockpit, his cape neurally set to a rigid glider as he quietly lands on the warehouse roof.

Once he finds a window, he places two fingers to it, and neurally activates the sound enhancer.

*

He may not be able to see her face, but there is a tenseness to the mother as she nods and says, "Okay…". There are plenty of skylights, but fogged over like all the rest and sealed against the outside. The sound of loud bass music is more obvious for a moment before it is turned down.

"I SAID…turn it down." A male voice says and there are footsteps crossing a large and mostly empty area by the echoes. The music is still playing.

"Well I did!" A young female voice says, obviously annoyed. "Sooooo?"

"So what?" Bags rustling and the sound of someone putting groceries away.

An annoyed little hrumph of sound from the female. "What is it this time?" She asks as if being horribly put upon.

"Oh…that," The male voice says, obviously teasing her.

*

Then, Batman pulls out a glass cutter from his utility belt, and activates particle vision to get a good look at the inside of the building. Hopefully, finding a new catwalk to drop in on… then a window to open to get there.

*

This is a big warehouse but there are no catwalks. Huge flourescent lights line the ceiling. A gigantic beanbag has a lanky teenager sprawled on her stomach, looking at the man who came in. With his own eyes Batman can see he is young, perhaps twenty, with brown hair and a handsome smile. The girl clenches her fists, "EERRRRRGggggh!" And rolls onto her back, shaking her fist at the ceiling at…She blinks and tilts her head in puzzlement. "OH SHIT! Someone broke the seals and it wasn't me," She rolls off the bean bag. She hadn't seen him but she had sensed someone cutting through her life-empowered objects holding the building sealed.

The other man's head snaps up and he begins looking at the various windows and exits, moving out from behind the kitchen counter in the kitchenette against one wall. He wore a trenchcoat, but under it Batman could see a number of armaments. The mans eyes suddenly seemed to explode with fire. "Where?" He asks and the girl, who looks just like Kendra's picture, points up.

*

Recording all of it, Batman ducks into the warehouse proper, silently, swiftly. Metahumans are always a wrinkle…. and right now, he's more interested in analysing the situation rather than direct confrontation.

Taking photos of the two, Batman gets to a safe place, "Alfred, run these two through all known databases. I need to know what I'm up against." Batman gives in a whisper, before he starts to setup traps in a corner of the warehouse.%rCan't use powers if they're disabled.

*

The database seems to be having trouble, though the same stuff on Kendra and her disappearance comes up. The man is not showing up because the image sent back is blurred and useless. Subsequent pictures appear the same way. And he now sees the intruder and points a finger at him. "I recommend you leave immediately, sir," He says in a very mild, almost gone, British accent.

Up in the cockpit Alice moves over the controls, looking for the comms button after seeing him head down. The only one who is going to know about Kendra, and her abilities, is her mother. Having been in countless different spy craft and hypercraft the world has to offer, she can find it with ease. Even as her own helmet comms begin to scan to try and connect so she can speak to Batman. Can you hear me? She says as she watches the drone feeds.

Batman is focused on his traps. He isn't focused on the building itself or the carpets randomly thrown about the room. So the fact that the rug he kneels on to set his trap literally pulls itself out from under him is probably a surprise. Followed by the surprise of being attacked by a rug…a very strong rug to boot. About the same as any athletic body builder.

*

Animated objects, and she can feel it. "Come down here and flood the roof with acid." Batman barks to Alice as he neurally activate the mini-flamethrower on his right arm gauntlet and toasts the rug.

Well, that's new.

What /isn't/ new is Batman turning around then, and immediately launching his Batclaw at the man… and pulling him right over. "I recommend you surrender, while you still have legs." Batman gives in reply as he prepares a kick directly into the mans torso, trying to knock the wind out of him. Alice will almost certainly be a good distraction.

*

Alice responds with the speed of someone who has trained an entire lifetime, and then some, has. A line of her own leads her down from the Batwing and she thumbs the reservoir and gives a pump before spraying sulphuric acid across the roof. Glass hisses and cracks, windows beginning to shatter and fall down.

There is a girlish scream as Kendra dives under a table and more rugs begin to head for Batman, swirling around his feet trying to trip him up. The man doesn't even bother to duck the grappling hook. Instead he smirks and blazes brightly and there is a small explosion of heat from him, destroying the line and scortching the floor beneath him.

As Alice sees this her eyes grow wide behind her visor, mouth dropping open. **No…he…That's Nuke!* She says into the comms as she moves to anchor for a drop into the warehouse proper. o O (I'm coming Kendra!) She still doesn't quite want to admit what her gut is telling her.

*

When it becomes clear this is a close range combatant and that he's an exploder, the Batclaw is retracted just in time to only have the hook apparatus damaged. Batman launches smoke pellets at both Nuke and the girl… before he tosses batarangs at the lighting, disorienting and blinding the two within seconds as he runs, his flamethrower toasting more rugs when they get close. "Keep to your task." Batman growls into the transceiver as he notices Alice trying to drop in. "The two in here are hostiles."

*

The woman up above glares down and as the lights go out her low-light sensors click on. She stands ready, the gun primed, gritting her teeth as she waits. Be careful! The last time I saw him he had sold his soul to some creature from another realm. I don't know what tricks he could have up his sleeve, She says over the comms.

The table wraps around the girl like a protective coccoon and begins to roll across the floor towards a far wall. As it does the rugs go limp as her attention refocuses. The man, on the other hand, grunts and curses. There is the sound of running feet as he seems to head away from the smoke at the lights shatter. "Bheir a 'Bhan-mhorair cead dhomh dol seachad," The man's voice can be heard, the worlds filled with power, and there is a humming in the air. The temperature drops to winter levels in the previously warm room. The windows on the sides frost over.

*

"Disable the roller." Batman orders, before he turns around, using his particle vision to spot Nuke… and launches a couple electrical batarangs at Nuke, trying to take him out of play. Once done, he launches his grapnel into the roof, launching himself into the air briefly before he lands on a set of crates, ready to launch sleep gas pellets at the man if the laser batarangs don't work.

*

The batarangs fly into the smoke after Nuke. He is running straight for one of the warehouse walls. So Batman perfectly sees the blue slash in space that opens in front of him suddenly. It closes in an eyeblink and another one pops open, swallowing the table. His weapons hit walls harmlessly and the smoke settles on a now empty warehouse.

The only light is that from the open fridge. A low bass beat of a popular pop artist plays in the background. And as the smoke clears Alice descends into the warehouse. She turns slowly, surveying the area, seeing how it is scattered with home comforts. TV, gaming consoles, music, a kitchenette, a hottub even in the corner. Did you see those portals? She asks over the comms, still alert and ready to move.

*

Portals.

Too fast to stop them, unfortunate… but at least he confirmed it.

Batman grapnels up to the roof, pulls out a holoprojector, and keys his wrist-comp to display the two who were in the warehouse side by side. He's pretty sure he already knows the answer… but Batman asks the question anyway, "You recognize these two?"

*

Alice follows after Batman silently. When they get up to the roof and he throws up the display she nods her head. For another second she is silent, "Yes," Her voice is weak. "That's Nuke, the one who betrayed my team and destroyed the town," Another pause and then, obviously hard for her to say, "And Kendra."

*

"The girl was attacking me, and free. The man exploded hard enough to destroy my Batclaw lines." Batman observes, "This has all the classic signs of a runaway blackmail." Batman gives, "I'm sorry."

*

Alice balls her hands into fists and turns away from him to look down through the shattered skylight. "Yeah," Quiet and tight. Her shoulders sag and her head drops slightly. Just barely he can back out her shoulders shaking, but her control is exquisite, and then she turns back to him. "Can you please take me home?" She asks in a small and tight voice.

*

"I can't do that, yet." Batman looks down into the warehouse, "There may be clues in there that you can find and I can't. Regardless of her status, she was still part of a blackmail scheme, and we don't know their plan yet." Batman points out, before he jumps down into the warehouse… and starts to rummage for clues.

*

Alice stands there for a minute as he leaps back down, sighing to herself. Closing her eyes she focused inward, shifting her bloodstream to have a calming mix of chemicals flowing. As a tranquility settles over her she goes back down into the warehouse after Batman, landing lightly beside him. "You're right. I'll see if she kept a diary here too," She says, heading for what looks like a sleeping area.

A mattress with sheet on the floor, covered in comfortable pillows and blankets. A nightstand with lamp beside it. The bed is covered with shattered glass from the skylights and lights above.

*

Taking samples here and there, Batman uses particle vision to sweep the warehouse. He's especially interested in finding DNA for the two. Once he hits the bedroom, he begins a sweep for DNA there as well. Along with indicators for how long they've been there.

*

There is evidence that this place is used frequently, but only for a few days at a time. As for DNA there sure is, but Kendra's was already available easily. Nuke's, on the other hand, wasn't. Yet it will be found that any electronic scanning of him is blurry and almost impossible to make out any features.

*

"Pretty sure they're hopping around Gotham, but I can't be sure what range those two have." Batman notes, finally. "Do you have any idea why they're doing this?" Batman looks to Alice.

*

Alice squats and pulls a diary from under the mattress, flipping it open and flipping through the pages. "In her cypher, of course," She says and stands, holding it out to Batman. "Good luck. The actual words are hidden in the molecular code or something. And only Kendra can unlock it," She says wearily.

For a moment she is quiet and slowly walks over to the Fridge, looking insde and then at the new supplies. "I think they may have just gotten here earlier today," She says, avoiding the question for the moment. She is trying to think why her daughter would be doing this, and is failing to figure it out.

*

He's seen grief before, and doesn't intrude on Alices. Instead, he takes the diary and puts it in his belt, before he goes to examine the place where Nuke portaled out… and takes out an energy sensor, checking for residue.

*

Alice reaches down and picks up a bottle of what looks like wine. Behind her visor she scowls deeply and clenches her first, putting it down on the counter before she throws it in anger. "I…don't know what is going on. The last time I saw Nuke he said he was going to kill us all, then started charging up. He said he hated us," She shakes her head and sighs, walking back to where the gateway opened.

Magical residue, ectoplasm, is quickly dissipating to nil in both areas. But otherwise no other spectrums can read anything happened there. Alice moves over to scour the couch and entertainment center, but comes up nothing. "Revenge? And Kendra…I…I don't know." There is the pain of betrayal and the confusion that comes with it.

*

"Their move." Batman gives in reply, before he starts to walk over to the hole in the ceiling. "One or both of them are mystics, or at least have mystical or spiritual powers. If they call again, I can trace them, and they know it. They'll likely try for another method." Batman notes as he pulls out his extended grapnel gun from his utility belt, and aims up into the cockpit of the Batwing. "All the previous work you did. With this context, I'll try to find a pattern, if I can." With that, he heads back up, a transport line lowered for Alice again after.

*

"The creature," Alice says quietly once they are away in the Batwing. Having thought things over for a minute or two. "That we went to the town to try and take out. It was mystical in nature and Nuke said he had unbeatable power now." She pauses and leans back, reaching up to pull her helmet off. Blond hair spills out and she rubs at her eyes almost idley, as if tired. A very good ploy and well played by an expert actress to hide her tears. "Stockholm syndrome, perhaps?" There might still be hope. "Or telepathy maybe?"

*

"Only way to find out is to find them again. I'm sure they'll contact you." Batman replies, as the Batwing comes near the gated community, "Your stop." Batman notes.

*

Alice leans her head back and closes her eyes for a minute, looking weary for all she seems barely over twenty. Then she opens her eyes and gets up, slipping to the line. Before she steps onto it, though she puts her helmet back on. "Do you have kids?" She asks, not quite ready to leave.

*

The only answer is silence as Batman adjusts some controls.

*

"Yeah, didn't think so," Alice says wryly as she grabs the line. "Don't be so hesitant to let me get my hands dirty. I know somewhat what I am up against now, and besides I've already dirtied them," Then she lets the line take her to the ground. It's a good walk for her to the estate, but she begins it slowly not even looking back.

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