Checking In

November 19, 2014:

Oracle checks in with Vorpal after his Joker takedown

Clocktower - Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

What a night. Vorpal got caught trying to sneak back into the castle by Gar… admittedly, it wasn't that hard. They slept on the same bed. And there had been… well, words.

Three A.M. and Keith was in his human form and pajamas, having a late night bowl of cereal because the adrenaline was still pumping. He's got his starkpad set in front of him and he's reading an e-book while he eats, trying to be sleepy enough to go to bed so as not to toss and keep Gar awake.

He's trying not to think too hard about the spot of crazy he pulled tonight. Without much success…

***

Whilst Vorpal was pulling that stunt with The Joker, Oracle had been organising Robins transport to the Batcave. She had seen the fight on her monitors, but the priority had been Robin and anyone fool enough to tangle with The Joker on their own, let alone seek him out… However, Robin is now secure and it's time Oracle has a heart to heart with Vorpal.

Checking the status of Vorpals phone and tablet, Oracle activates the app on the tablet. Her Avatar will appear on the screen and today, it locks access to the device, Vorpal will be listening to her. "Good morning Vorpal, I trust I'm not interrupting anything important."

***

Keith blinks as the text to 'The Once And Future King' is replced by the familiar electronic construct. The young man sits back on the table and blinks again, putting down the spoon with milk and lucky charms that he had had halfway to his mouth.

"Um… hello, Oracle. What's up?" He grins.

It's a hopeless, desperate kind of grin. He can hazard a guess as to why Oracle is calling him here.

***

The redheaded woman in the Clocktower smirks as she see's Vorpals response. His grin, says everything. "I think you know why I'm contacting you, Vorpal. Please, do keep eating." Pulling up the recorded video she'd sorted out just before this call, she plays it back… the screen on Vorpals Starkpad will show highlights of his fight with The Joker. "Well done on capturing The Joker, Vorpal" a pause "Now, would you like to explain why you went after him alone?"

***

A pause. One heartbeat, two heartbeats, "… because, uh, well, you see…" The redhead isn't eating, mostly because he's afraid he'll choke on his own tongue, so having milk extra with it is not a goodidea.

***

The video stops playing and the avatar reappears on Vorpals screen. "No, I'm afraid I don't see… that's why I'm asking" Oracles' human tone is sharp but the mixing for the digital disguise removes that. "Is it not enough that I've one asset down? You took a chance to make it two… and it could have gone a whole different way." In the Clocktower, Oracle looks tired and leans with her arms on her desk.

***

A pause, and Keith's green eyes narrow just barely.

"Is that what I am? An 'asset'?" he repeats the term carefully, with a pensive attitude.

***

"A term, Vorpal. Don't take offence. You're part of my team, I value you." The woman sits upright, it's not often she slouches, and clears her head. "What would you prefer I call you?" Oracles voice will filter through unemotionally.

***

"I'm Vorpal, that's what I am, Oracle." Keith sits back and resumes eating his cereal. "And as for why I did it… I did it for Robin. It wasn't the best of plans, it wasn't even much of a plan."

***

"Vorpal then, and my apologies… It's been … a long day" Oracle shifts slightly in her chair before continuing "For Robin without much of a plan. You're loyal, Vorpal. But that was incredibly dangerous. What have your teammates had to say about all this?"

***

A long, long pause.

"Gar squirted me with a water bottle."

Keith tries to say that without looking directly at the tablet. Oh look, Lucky Charms got that more interesting!

***

In the Clocktower, Oracle laughs "Gar did what? A water bottle? Did it have citronella in it, or just plain water?"

Sobering, Oracle returns to business "What you did was extremely brave but extremely dangerous. It worked this time, next time it might not. And you know how Batman feels about other heroes in his territory. Next time, would you at least, speak to me first?" Vorpal should note, that Oracle used the term 'next time'.

***

Keith frowns, "Well, I know how Batman feels, but I also know how I feel with how he treats the people with whom he works…" grumble grumble.

"Yes, I'll speak to you first, I do not expect the same trick to work on the Joker again. I caught him by surprise."

***

"I only mention Batman to ensure you don't fall on his wrong side, Vorpal." Oracle rubs her temples. "And whether you can contact me or not, take your team mates. The power of the pack and all that. Please…" Oracle replays the video, on her screens and the Starkpad "Now tell me about this trick and you caught him by surprise, maybe there's something we can use there"

***

"I just tried to use my powers to frustrate him at first without him catching on to something. Then I tried to play with him by making him think Batman was there… and then, well, I tried to make his goons turn on him and vice versa. By that point the cat was out of the bag, and I came in taunting him. He fired an RPG at me and I redirected at his van using the Rabbit Hole… after that? Well, I just used my chaos wave to send debris at him enough to weaken him and beat him up a little so I could Rabbit Hole us to Arkham. I wanted him injured enough that he wouldn't be able to put up much of a fight on the way there…" Keith shrugs.

***

Oracle smiles at Vorpals recitation. "You think on your feet, that's good. For someone who just told me they didn't have much of a plan, that turned into a good one." She pauses "Misdirection and using his own resources against him…. I like it. As you say, that exact trick won't work again but there's elements you can reuse."

"How does it feel, to have put The Joker away?"

***

"Like I got extremely lucky at amateur hour," Keith says truthfully. At least he wasn't in any danger of suffering from Joxer The Mighty Syndrome. "The Joker's one of the top madmen in the world. I got lucky because he wasn't expecting me, and by the time he realized who I was, I had wiped out his dozen goons to only three."

***

The woman nods at Vorpals answer. "That's a good answer and mostly true. You did get lucky, but you also used your brain." a pause "And something I like to ask myself: What is the one thing your took from todays fight?"

***

Keith looks down into his milk. "… that I should have gone with my team-mates. I could've gotten killed, no matter how… unique my powers are, being precognitive is not one of them."

His spoon tink-tink-tinks on the edge of the bowl, and he sighs. "… and I hurt Gar by being an idiot and going on impulse and anger."

***

Oracle blinks in surprise. "Well, good things to take away. I was expecting something about which technique worked best or similar, but they are very good takeway points."

Scrubbing her eyes, Oracle rolls her neck "It's late Vorpal. Thank you for the talk and for understanding. Before I go, is there anything you would like to know?"

***

"How is he?" the young man asks quietly. "… how is Robin doing?"

***

Oracle looks grim "I'm surprised it took you this long actually." she sighs, not that Vorpal would know because it doesn't transmit "The Joker did a real number on him. It will take him some time to recover. He's stable and under medical care… I should know more later today. Is there a message you would like me to pass?"

***

"I was afraid to ask… because of the answer you might have given," Keith says, still quiet.

"Joker blew his own goons up, Oracle. I'm a murderer now, you know. It happened because of me."

***

"He's stable, Vorpal" Oracle reiterates for the young man. "You're not a murderer, Vorpal, not at all. Didn't you just tell me that The Joker is one of the top madmen in the world? He blew up his goons… not you. He could have stopped at any time, but he didn't."

***

"He wouldn't have if I had been focused on putting him down immediately, not played with him." Keith answers. The talk Gar had given him… it stung. It hurt the most because it came from someone he loved and whom he felt he had betrayed.

"I shoul've just dropped a bowling ball on his head and taken him away. But I didn't. I wanted him to be angry. I wanted him to feel as helpless and as desperate as he made…"

He stops talking and bites down on the cereal.

***

"You wanted revenge. You wanted him to feel what you think… Robin felt. Am I right?" Oracle leans forward in her chair and stretches her shoulders. "It's always advisable to end the fight fast and as the victor. But that still doesn't make you a murderer, Vorpal"

***

"Maybe. But people died. That's what we're here supposedly to prevent," Keith says, and sighs.

***

"Yes, they did Vorpal and there's nothing I can say that will change how you feel about it. But remember how you feel now, Vorpal" Oracle speaks softly but that doesn't translate as the digitising takes effect. "and remember those lessons. Next time, you should be able to save them. It's all about learning… for all us."

***

He stares at his cereal and exhales, nodding slightly.

"Get him a bouquet and his favorite snacks for me." Since he couldn't exactly visit due to secret identities and all. "… and tell him I'm sorry."

***

"I'll do that for you Vorpal. I really wish you could visit him, but that's just not possible. What are you sorry for? I can't think of one thing, you need to be sorry for." Canting her head, Oracle watches the other redhead on her screen.

***

"I'm sorry the Titans weren't there when he needed them," Keith says. "We shoul've been better at that intervention."

***

"What Robin went to do is something he's done many times, Vorpal. As to the Intervention, you can't force someone to face what they don't want to." Oracle shrugs "The fact you care, is more than enough."

***

"I guess, for all the good we've done. Please let him know we're thinking of him, okay?" he exhales and looks at the stairs. "I should probably go back to bed. I need to do something for Gar… I… he cried. I hate thinking I made him cry." He rests his head in his arms and looks at the StarkPad.

"… which is why I'm leaving to L.A. in a day or two."

***

"I will let Robin know you're thinking of him, Vorpal. Making Gar cry, means he cares a lot for you too… How long will you be in L.A, Vorpal?" Oracle has many questions around this trip, but they're personal and it's not her place to ask.

***

"He had the police band on," Keith says to Oracle, concerning Gar. "They mentioned the explosion… then it was more than twenty minutes before they mentioned me dropping the Joker off. He was afraid I had…"

Keith looks away, "One day. Two days at most. I'm going with Kate Bishop. There's this collector we want to talk to…" he looks at the screen once more. "He collects mementos from Hollywood stars and, well, you know Gar's stepmother? R_ F__? Before she was a superhero she was a movie star. Gar told me a while back that he has nothing left of his parents or step-parents, no memento from his mothers. Except… I found something that she owned that was sold in a studio auction. A necklace."

A look of determination comes across Keith's face. "I'm going to get that for him and give it to him. For Christmas. I don't know how I am going to convince that man to trade it over… but… Kate Bishop is resourceful. She'll help me think of… something."

***

Oracle nods again "That sounds like a lovely gift, Vorpal. I'm sure Kate will have ideas for you too, she strikes me as resourceful." Oracle yawns this time. "Vorpal, I must go. I have to see to Robin in a few hours…. Be well and enjoy L.A"

***

"Here's hoping. And… Oracle? I'm sorry for the headaches. I'm trying to get better," Keith says. It was hard to get better, when an embodyment of chaos was bonded to your soul… but he could at least try harder.

***

"No headaches, Vorpal. I just wanted to make sure you were safe and understood the risks. Keep doing what you're doing… it all helps. Oracle out." and the Avatar will fade from the Starkpad and Vorpal will have full funcationality again.

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