The Smooth: Gotham Dance

September 24, 2014:

Midnighter and Damian dance around the issue of the Smooth and about the Batman. If he exists.

Gotham City East End

The first impression of Gotham for many is East End, a district notorious for
it's poverty, crime, prostitutes and drugs. The lit up central strip at night
is colorful, bright and looks like something out of Las Vegas with its
innumerable gentleman's clubs, casinos, bars and strip clubs. The downtrodden
feel of East End has been glossed over by these glowing lights and brilliant
signs along with the towering cityscape of surrounding districts, such as
Otisburg, Burnley and to the north the Robert Kane Memorial Bridge.

Along the East End's southern region the streets begin to be overtaken by
cobblestone alleyways, alleyways that web work throughout a rundown slum city
of shacks, sheds, makeshift homes and decrepit apartments called Alleytown. A
heavily populated district many immigrants and their descendants call home.

Park Row aka Crime Alley rests upon the other side of the main strip,
dominated by an underdeveloped housing project called Scurvy City by the
locals (it's actual name being the Skirley Apartments), East End Free Clinic,
the Bowery, Tin Roof Club, Sheldon Park, Robbinsville and the GCPD's 9th
Precinct.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Night in Gotham City means different things to different people. To the rich, it means a nightlife in the good parts of town with private security and police who actually show up. To the middle class, it means watching over your shoulder as you do what you need to do. To the poor? The smart stay inside because the predators are hunting. Fortunately for the predators, lots of people aren't smart. Unfortunately for the predators, they aren't on top of the food chain. Two of them found that out and are lying unconscious in the alley. They were lucky in that their crimes didn't merit a more permanent solution. Instead, they each got a warning in the form of a broken leg and two dislocated shoulders as well as a promise that it would be the only warning they'll get. Normally they wouldn't even get one but Midnighter was looking for information and they were able to provide just enough of it to keep them alive. Above them, he's standing on the roof of the building bordering the alley, one foot on the ledge as he watches the city.

"You're new around here," comes a voice from the shadows. Ibn al Xu'ffasch emerges from the shadows slightly, with no idea about the gifts of this particular stranger. His voice has a strong accent and the white lenses of his eyes stare at the stranger warily.

"I was wondering when one of you would show up." Midnighter says, appearing to be completely unsurprised by the sudden voice. "I'll admit I wasn't expecting you, however. Don't you make Manhattan your home?" He turns enough to be able to watch the bat scion.

"I frequent many locations," Robin says mysteriously. "I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage. You seem to know me, but not the other way around."

"Know you? Know of you would be more accurate." Midnighter says, now turning to face the boy. "To a degree. I saw you once there from a distance." A close distance but still, a distance. "I don't know what you call yourself. You can call me the Midnighter."

"I go by many names. Here, I'm known as Robin," the young man mutters, his hood drawn over his head. He looks very different than the other Robin's other have run into, albeit with a similar costume. "Others call me Ibn al Xu'ffasch."

"What do you call yourself." It's not a question that Midnighter asks, despite the phrasing. "I'm not concerned with what others do. Am I correct in assuming that you are one of the ones trained by the Batman?"

"Death, to those who request it. To those who invite it," Robin responds, remaining still in the shadows. "I've heard the Batman doesn't exist," he responds cryptically.

"I've heard the Earth is flat." Midnighter counters. There's a dry amusement to his tone, either at the claim about Batman or the boy's presumption to being called death. "I'm not going to call you Death so Robin it is." It's less of a mouthful than an Arabic patronymic.

"Robin will be fine," Damian responds. Inwardly he wants to mock the West for taking so long. Those of his race knew the Earth was round for a very, very long time before Western scientists. But Batman has warned him that his tongue would cause problem. He stays quiet for now. At least about that topic. "What are you doing here?"

"Waiting to see how long it would take for one of you to show up." Midnighter answers. Perhaps he's curious to find out if Batman is a myth. "Rumor has it someone would and it's always good to know who else is working in town."

"Reconnaissance, then," Robin responds, pacing slowly but keeping Midnighter within his sights. "Your handiwork? Below?" he motions towards the screams that still echo up from below.

Gotham predators must be sturdy sorts; they wake up quickly. "Yes, there was information I wanted. They ended up having some of it." Midnighter doesn't bother glancing down into the alley. "Too many people think they can use Gotham as a hub for their crimes."

"What sort of information?" Damian asks, turning the questions back on the questioner for once. "And why is it important to meet one of 'us'…whatever you mean by that."

"Drugs. And a particularly bad one. They're spreading to other cities." Midnighter provides the answer freely. Maybe they'll want to take down some drug dealers too. "It wasn't important. I wanted to see if anyone showed up to investigate a new face." And who. Urban myth gives a lot more information than the news does. Some of it might actually be correct.

"You mean the Smooth," Damian says knowingly. "It's movement to Gotham is recent. I have no doubts it will be eradicated sometime soon." He certainly sounds confident.

"It will be." Of that, Midnighter is sure. It's just a matter of time now that he's involved. "What can you tell me about it and those who might be involved?"

"Not much, at this point," Damian says. Is it because he doesn't know or he doesn't trust this Midnighter? It could be both. "As you know, the effects of the drug are rather severe. What information do you have?"

"Just that it seems to be being distributed form here." Midnighter's quite willing to set some dogs on the trail if it means stopping it. He'll go after the source.

"Any idea who's pushing it? Or what runners they are going through?" Yep, it's clear that Robin doesn't know much either. Two peas in a pod, here.

Shaking his head, Midnighter turns to look over the city. "Not yet. But once I find the right person, I will." Now he does glance down into the alley. "If you give me the name of someone who can be persuaded to talk, even to make guesses about who might be involved, it will save my having to work my way upward to him."

"Could be one of a hundred. Cobblepot, Beldon, and Thorne would all be good places to start," Robin says with a tilt of the head. "We have our share here, in this city." He pauses, "I could tell the rest of us about you. There'd be rules."

"Rules." Midnighter repeats, turning to look at Robin. "I'm listening." There's no hiding the amusement. Rules obviously don't apply to him.

"I'd suggest you do," Robin replies with a shake of his head, as if to say that it's something that Midnighter will have to deal with—not him. He's verbally washing his hands of it. "It'd probably be in your best interest. They're not fond of killing."

"Then I won't ask them to kill anyone." Midnighter replies. "Even though it should be obvious that ridding the city of unneeded garbage can only benefit the victims they'll end up preying on. Tell them or not as you choose. You don't need my permission to do what you want. And I'm not asking for any either."

Damian snorts as he turns to leave, "What you ask and don't ask for is of little importance. We'll be in touch." He disappears into the shadows, making his way towards the edge of the ledge.

"That should be fun." is Midnighter's only response as he watches Robin slip away. Though not till after he fixes the smooth problem. He doesn't need any annoyances while he's tracking down the drug. He runs for the ledge then sails over the alley to the next building before he too disappears into the shadows.

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