The Case of a Cain

April 15, 2018:

Cassandra Cains case progresses. A new Batgirl suit is designed.

Batcave

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Bronze Tiger, Lady Shiva, Richard Dragon

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

*

It's been a long few weeks for both Bruce and Cassandra.

Between Batman needing to handle protecting Gotham, three distinct investigations, and doing work with bringing Cassandra into modern society… then there's Justice League business. Batmans had a full few weeks.

Without speech, giving Cassandra a phone has no point, so instead Batman built a custom job beacon assigned to the Bat-network of comm satellites; a heavily encrypted communications network maintained in piggyback in Wayne Enterprises satellites… and in such a way to make it almost impossible to differentiate from standard background noise; Of course, owning the network outright also makes it easy to keep the traffic on the downlow.

Tonight though… Cassandra has been called into the Batcave by Batman, who has set off her beacon so she knew to head to their meeting place. The usual hood over her head as she got into the Batmobile kept her from knowing the location of the Batcave still, but she's seen it a few times by now… and once the canopy for the Batmobile opens, and the hood is once again off her head, Cassandra is treated to the familiar sight of the Batcave.

Batman himself wears his usual black and red suit, and stands without a word as he heads for the Batcomputer. Alfred has already placed two meals at the meal table near the Batcomputer -a table that has been used frequently in the last two decades- with Batman gesturing to the table with an obvious 'help yourself' body language to him as he starts to pull up Cassandras' case file.

*

Cassandra wanders over to her plate and begins to eat. She does so both politely and swiftly, moving like she half-expects someone to attack her halfway through from any or every angle. Bruce's reassurances haven't done anything to dissuade her of this. It's a reflex that will be grown out of slowly or not at all.

Amber eyes cast over the Bat Cave again; taking in everything at once as she looks back and forth. She's frowning thoughtfully as she checks what she sees against her fantastic spatial memory and sees that everything is pretty much the same. In the end Cass watches the screen where her file is displaying with rapt attention.

Cass doesn't know what it says but she knows that file is about her. That makes it worth observing.

*

There's been a distinct lack of leads for the investigation so far. Around half a years worth of loose timeline to tie Cassandra to Gotham… and nothing before that. For Batman, it has 'escape' written all over it. He's even considered going to the closest thing to martial peers to himself; Richard Dragon, Bronze Tiger, etc. Owing favors isn't his first choice… but the entire situation Cassandra is in offends him on many levels still. Still, the pictures of Lady Shiva, Richard, and Bronze Tiger are up on the screen, as are all incidents known to be related in Gotham for Cassandra.

Eventually, Batman is at the end of the file, and turns to regard Cassandra. Those red VR eye lenses still betray nothing of his eyes, but the armored cowl is designed for mimicking his expressions via a combination of neural interface and muscle sensory technology. All the better to intimidate thugs with.

Eventually though, Batman moves to sit down with Cassandra on the opposite end, frowning slightly as he watches her.

*

Batman sits across from Cassandra and she watches it. The girl only really indicates it in how she tenses, her eyes more or less unmoving but her body arched slightly. The presence of a person near her always gets those subtle tells. Most people see Cass as relaxed but to Batman's trained eyes she is anything but.

Usually, Cassandra would look at the man across from her and acknowledge him directly. Tonight, however, she is doing something else entirely. She is staring at the screen that Batman has up with wide eyes. Cassandra lifts a finger at points at the images. All three of them, probably. She tilts her head slightly and then leans slightly, taking a deep breath.

Then Cassandra looks at Batman, indicating the screen with a tilt of her head. She knows one of those people at the very least. Bronze Tiger. As for the rest of this…

Cass reaches for her sketch pad. She opens it up to show a picture of Batman, sketched out in detailed relief in full gear. He's starting to lift up his mask.

*

One look at the picture is all Batman needs to get the idea.

An idea that Batman is still not entirely comfortable with… and it 'shows'. Still, he hasn't shaken his head in a 'no', yet.

A minute passes, and Batman looks over to the pictures; to Bronze Tiger especially. Then, he looks back to Cassandra… before he grabs a sheet himself… and starts to draw.

Five minutes later, a fairly decent sketch of Cassandra is made, along with a speech bubble of "Can I see your face?" attributed to her. Then, he turns it around to give to Cassandra. He points to it, then to her drawing, repeating the motion the second time pointing to the speech bubble.

"I'll take off the mask when you can ask me for it, verbally." Batman further associates the speech as a condition.

*

Cassandra tilts her head slightly and looks between Batman and his gestures. He points at his mouth as he speaks, and Cassandra herself. Teaching her speech bubbles refer to those noises was an adventure in itself but she's gotten the idea. The girl looks up at Batman and nods seriously, studying his hidden face with her wide amber eyes.

Cassandra draws a picture of her own now. It takes a bit of time but the sketch is of Batman facing down a number of armed thugs. Cassandra is there as well. She pointedly underlines herself in a way that doubles as shading for the pavement.

*

It takes a minute for Batman to consider the 'question'. Eventually though, he gives a small nod. She's well trained and only really need to learn how he operates after all… so going out on a patrol with Cassandra? Batman gives a nod, pointing to the picture in affirmation to connect the gesture. "You seem capable enough. We'll need a few days to orient you, though… and I'll need to make you a suit." Batman notes, more to himself. Then, he takes a bite of the steak, before he heads back to the Batcomputer.

Once there, he's typing up a storm. Formulae, body measurements, engineering schematics. It's all pulled up, one thing after another. Eventually, the holotable in the center of the main platform lights up, and into existence comes a hologram form of a prototype.

A prototype batgirl suit for Cassandra. Symbol and all.

"Take a look, tell me if you like it." His speech and body language give as he continues to type.

*

Cassandra watches all of this intensely. It's more than her usual attentiveness. She's staring at the costume - her costume - and taking in every detail. Finally, the girl gestures to the style of face mask. She mimics pulling up her collar over her face. A lower face mask? They are certainly available…

*

A number of keys are hit, and a 'construction' module appears around the suit. Red holograms light up and dim down, giving Cassandra various pre-configured pieces to work with… and a small 'station' over in the far corner for building her own pieces. Batman gestures to the lit up portions, before he goes back to typing; Cassandra will find out very quickly they are the portions of the hologram that she can manipulate manually.

*

It's a valuable learning experience. Cassandra is diligently modifying and tweaking. She prefers practical over flashy, armored pieces are restructured to be slightly lighter while still robust. Her face is obscured from below instead of above. It's going to be a bit of work but it's the first time Batman has seen the girl so enraptured by something.

*

After a few moments more, Batman turns around and starts to watch her… having done all the required programming. Now, he has his arms crossed as he waits, standing there, watching the building going on.

*

The biggest modification Cassandra makes is that her Batman decals are removable. Probably because the traditional yellow is like setting off a flare in the wrong location. Still, she seems to like that color over simply going to black. The girl looks up and over at Batman, then nods to the suit in question.

*

Watching the process. It's certainly not the first choice he would have made, and it shows in his body language as Batman steps forward, moving around the projection. "We'll work on it." Batman concludes as he makes some alternations of his own. There's a bit of flash added here and there; things Batman considers necessary, it seems.

"This calling isn't just about the practicality. You need to leave an impression, too." Batman gives in explanation… not that Cassandra understands him. Nonetheless, he seems like he's willing to keep to the main elements of her design, at least, as he works.

*

There will be a war of practicality and flashiness, but Batman's design modifications are taken to heart. Cassandra seems to get the idea of being imposing, at least, if not holding the same intention. She pays attention most of all to how Batman moves and the way he makes his alterations. She's a good listener, this one. Better than many people Batman has worked with who actually understand his speech. In the end they will have something both Cassandra and Batman can appreciate. Once this is done Cassandra walks back over to the food, picks up the other half of her sandwich and crams half of it into her rather petite mouth. Priorities, after all. She looks back at Batman after swallowing, however, and smiles. For the second or third time so far.

*

With the 'fashion' war done, Batman scowls lightly at the projection. It'll need some touching up, but he seems overall pleased with it. Now, he heads over to the table, and sits with Cassandra. He needs to keep up his strength for the next patrol, after all. Batmans tightly controlled expressions make it clear that Batman is very careful about who sees what. Even here, Batman is still keeping that intimating aura he evokes in check, with how second nature it is to use it while in the batsuit. His eyes keep on hers as they eat, following her expressions himself.

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