And for a change Gotham is quiet

July 15, 2018:

While out on patrol Nightwing runs into Flamebird and they catch up.

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: None.

Mentions: Alfred, Batman

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Gotham City still swelters. The summer heat has not yet broken, the unrelenting humidity enough to sap the energy out of most. Even with the coming of dusk the unpleasant weather only eases up a little, the midday heat lingering well into the night with that sticky feel that makes it unpleasant to be out and about. Still, a hint of relief haunts this particular evening, a breeze blowing in off the Atlantic offering at least the illusion of a respite. Dark, billowy clouds blot out the moon and stars overhead, leaving the city lit only in that artificial orange glow of street lights though in the distance those overcast skies ripple with flashes of lightning rolling through those cloud banks that creep nearer and nearer to the city.

While this might be a good night to stick close to home, to curl up inside, not everyone has that option. And some choose not to give themselves that option. A dark shadow flits across the rooftops of Gotham's old city core, leaping from building to building where he can, the densely packed buildings mostly making that easily — or otherwise taking to the sky on grapnel and glider wings where he can not. A murderer still haunts Gotham's streets after all and Nightwing is no closer to finding her — them — then he was when first made aware of the threat. And of course he has other outstanding issues to pursue as well. But so far tonight the city is oddly quiet — very unlike his home, though something of a relief. That headlong flight across the rooftops pauses and the darkly-clad young man perches on the corner on a building overlooking one of the usually busy intersection, looking down on the slumbering city below.

*

It's not the hunt for a killer that brings Flamebird out amongst the Gotham rooftops and, thankfully, her mission for the evening requires a lot less movement. Despite being dressed in bright reds and yellows Bette is, surprisingly, on a stake-out. This particular intersection has a combination of a great view of the Gotham Stock Exchange, enough distance from said Stock Exchange that Flamebirds costume isn't immediately obvious and relatively comfortable rooftops. Oh and there's an all night cafe five minutes away that doesn't ask questions when people come in wearing full costume. Ideal for restocking on bottled water.

Between the bright costume and the portable telescope Flamebird has set up she's not exactly discreet. At least not to anyone else up on the roof. As she sits and makes notes on a pad of paper, occasionally pausing to check the telescope settings or grab a mouthful of water. Dehydration is a serious foe after all!

*

In a few hours anyone out and about Gotham is likely to have all the water that they could want and quite a bit more. But in a few hours in will be closer to dawn then to dusk and few people with any sense will be out and about in the city. Of course no one ever accused those who travel more by rooftop then by road of having any great deal of sense. Sometimes you just do as you need to do.

The starlite lens inserts in his mask light up Gotham as if it were day, though admittedly casting everything in a glow with a greenish tinge. Still, it makes piercing the darkness of Gotham by night child's play and Nightwing lets his gaze roam over the quiet streets and alleys below before lifting back to the surrounding rooftops. Which is exactly when he spots a familiar figure. A grin splits his features and the dark-haired young man takes to the air once more, landing lightly on the rooftop where Flamebird has taken up residence, falling at once into a crouch before straightening and padding over. It is with some difficulty that Nightwing resists the urge to sneak over and cover her eyes — but startling fellow vigilantes is not terribly nice… though chances are it might be good for a smile. Instead he deepens his voice and strikes a pose a short distance away, shrouded in the shadows that play over the roof. "I am the Night," he intones, voice deep and raspy.

*

Bette Kane remains largely motionless as Nightwing approaches. Shifting a little on the fold up chair she's using to comfortable use her telescope. "The Night sounds like it's taken up whiskey and cigars," she teases without turning round. "I never get why criminals find that sort of voice scary. My first thought was always 'That poor guy must have really bad lung capacity.'"

Flamebird waves her hand to the side, where a tiny little mirror is set up. "I didn't forget to keep an eye on my surroundings. Not after the last time you snuck up behind me while I was on a stake-out! I almost fell off the roof, it was mortifying."

*

He might not be as impetuous as some of their friends and associates — and he has certainly matured with age from the days when he delighted in peppering Gotham's villains with terribly puns — but at least he has mostly avoided the tendancy to brood that seems so inherent in the Gotham crowd. At least these days. So while his efforts to startle her might have been in vain, Nightwing just chuckles quietly and pads across the rooftop over towards her corner. "It was worth a shot," he notes wryly. "A good thing I didn't try to sneak any closer afterall. I had a feeling I might not get away with it this time," he admits.

His own costume blends much more naturally with the shadows of the rooftop, allowing him to approach the ledge with ease. A far cry from the days of red, yellow and green to be sure. Stopping beside her, Nightwing flashes a grin towards Flamebird. "Nice to see you about these parts. It's been awhile," he notes quietly. "Looks like you've found yourself a spot of trouble. Or at least you're expecting some."

*

"Awh, it's almost like you're saying I'm not irresistible!" Flamebird teases, finally looking up from her vigil and holding a hand to her temple in mock dismay. "I took a little bit of time off the vigilante stuff but… it's hard just sitting in class all day learning about how to solve crimes and knowing I could be out here /doing it/."

"I would have given you a heads up but my source wasn't very… reliable? So I figured I'd go check it out, besides my apartments aircon is playing up and it was this or a family visit." Bette rolls her eyes. "The rumor was someone was intending on fitting a device that adds a tiny delay to all the trades in the exchange. No sign so far. Could be they saw the security and decided against it. Or the intel was bad. What brings you out to the rooftops?"

*

That draws a chuckle from him and Nightwing offers an apologetic sort of shrug of his shoulders. "Next time I promise to follow through on my original plan and cover your eyes before asking you to guess who. At least if you'll promise not to elbow me in the gut. Being bent over double and trying to not lose the contents of one's stomach is so hard on one's dignity," he counters in turn.

At her words, the dark haired vigilante turns his attention out across the streets below towards the nearby stock exchange, a small frown slipping over his features. "Can't say I've heard anything about that but I'll check around with the rest of the crew and let you know," he admits before flashing another smile her way. "You don't have to alert me when you get back in town. Batman might appreciate it, but I'm more magnanimous about sharing the rooftops," he teases, nudging her in the side. "But I'm always happy to help. As for me, well, there's been a string of murders lately. One with a… supernatural bent. It's got everyone a bit on edge. I'm just keeping an eye out. That and a few other things. It's always something right?" he admits with a slow shake of his head.

*

"I'd never make anyone throw up when they're leaning over me," Bette assures. "Unless it was a life and death thing. The costume is fairly easy to clean but I'd rather not have to spend a stakeout smelling gross!" She grins and motions for Nightwing to come over and take a seat. There's only one chair but it's a pretty comfortable rooftop as far as Gotham goes. "I know I don't /have/ to. But it's nice to catch up. Supernatural murders eh? Magic stuff is always a chore. At least when aliens invade they're generally polite enough to follow the laws of physics even if they don't care about the actual laws."

"Is there anything I can do to help? I'm in New York more than Gotham lately, but it never hurts to have more eyes on something. Right?" Flamebird sighs. "It's been pretty shocking with the recent bombings. I guess I expect things like that to happen here but not in New York. Maybe I've got a little too complacent in my time away from the costume. We should do a little training thing sometime, spar a little, I could use a challenge and for you a few hours sparring will practically be a vacation."

*

"A very sensible plan," he agrees wryly. "Now I just have to find a way to catch you off-guard. It is, after-all, half the fun," he asserts lightly before sinking down, taking a seat at least for the moment, the breeze picking up, racing across the rooftops with the scent of the forthcoming thunderstorm heavy in the air. "If you're going to be in town for a few days, just keep your eyes open and let me know if you see anything unusual. It might be all some sort of scam, the supernatural part of it, if not the murders themselves, but either way they have to end," he notes, tone turning serious for the moment.

Mention of New York brings another grave nod. "Yeah, I had my own odd run-in last time I was over that way. Sometimes it seems like the craziness is spreading everywhere," he admits quietly before that half-grin returns to his features and he gives a shake of his head. "And don't sell yourself short. But yes, if you feel the need for a refresher I'm happy to help out. It'll be like old times."

*

"Even if you do the mask'll stop you properly covering my eyes," Flamebird points out, patting the visor-like portion covering her face. "And if you get it wrong you'll activate the… I never thought up a name for it. Flamebird flash sounds a bit…" She frowns. "Lewd. But anyway the blinding lights. Last thing either of us want is you playing a trick, ending up half blind and falling off the roof. Batman would never let you hear the end of it."

"I'll do that. I /suppose/ I have to drop in on my family while I'm over. But that shouldn't take up all my time," Flamebird muses thoughtfully. "Gotham High society always seems unusual after being away from the city. Probably won't be talking about murders either but who knows. Not been able to work out a specific victim profile? Or do the killings seem random?" She winks. "Maybe I'm just trying to lull you into a false sense of security! Besides I don't mind /you/ kicking my butt. Better a friend who'll point out the flaws in my technique than finding out on the street and getting stabbed."

*

"The Flamebird Flash does suggest the wrong sort of result yes, but I'll be sure to keep it in mind. I'm sure I can come up with something else," he agrees with a smirk before shaking his head. "Not yet. The murders are alternating. First someone is shot through the heart with an arrow, pinned to a wall though the arrow just seems to… dissolve. And then the next results in someone savaged by an animal, the throat ripped out. Then the cycle repeats," he explains quietly, going through some of the grisly details of the current rash of killings. "The killer even verbally taunted us. When Batman tried to triangulate where the voice was coming from the analysis came back as inconclusive," he explains with another slow shake of his head.

"Yeah, I'm lucky that way. Bruce isn't all that demanding — not on that side of things and I like visiting with Alfred," he notes with a brief smile before arching a brow. "Is that it then? Well, I guess I had better watch myself. And I'll do my best to be tough but fair. And if I do have to boot you in the backside, I'll try to take it easy," he promises with a quiet chuckle.

*

"Arrows and animals huh? I'll keep that in mind. I'm guessing the bites aren't consistent with a particular animal?" Flamebird wonders aloud, shifting on her chair to face Nightwing. Ignoring the telescope for now. It's a quiet night after all. "Dissolving arrows sounds odd too. I remember reading about someone trying to use ice arrows to 'beat' forensics. Probably not how they're doing it, they'd shatter if they hit bone never mind the wall." She holds her hands up and shrugs. "Nothing jumps out anyway."

"I saw Bruce recently," Bette admits. "We didn't really talk. It was a charity thing and he was schmoozing. Month or two back. I envy you that much, I love my family but… they can be a pain to deal with. Especially when someone gets a notion they're a matchmaker and want to introduce me to a friends 'delightful stockbroker son'. I've always wondered, does Alfred ever ask if you plan on settling down? I can't imagine it's something Bruce suggests."

*

"It seems canine. I'm sure Batman is having it looked into for more specifics. The GCPD was content to just write them off as dog attacks, maybe a coyote. It's why no one put the different M.O.'s together at first. And the arrows don't melt. Apparently they literally dissolve when touched so that there is nothing left behind except maybe dust. Hence the whole supernatural bent," he admits. "Which is why, for the moment at least, there isn't a lot to do except just keep up the patrols and stay vigilante. More the pity," Nightwing admits with a quiet sigh of frustration.

"Mmmmm, sounds like Bruce yes," he admits wryly before falling quiet and listening, nodding his head in understanding even if he doesn't have the same issues to deal with. "Bruce doesn't really pry no. Alfred does, a little, but he's more discrete. Interested. He just wants to know if I'm seeing anyone, if I'm doing okay. There's no… pressure."

*

Bette Kane frowns. "That all sounds oddly thematic. Maybe I'll find time to visit a few museums and see if there's any leads there. Probably a long shot but when a killer is going to all that effort to maintain a 'style' they usually have some sort of connection. Besides I'm pretty sure my family is overdue a donation to something art or history related. Should open a few doors and let me poke around."

"Don't mind me complaining, it's not really as bad as I make out. I'll take rich girl troubles over the problems someone'd get growing up in the bad part of Gotham any day of the week."

*

Nightwing says, "Very thematic. Of course most of the murders have been in the poorer neighborhoods and they do seem to have disproportionately targeted the Latino community. The locals have taken to calling the killer Santa Muerta," he explains quietly. "Our Lady of Holy Death," he adds with a small frown. "It can't hurt to see if you can dig anything up there, no. Again, just let me know if you come across anything or if you need a hand," he adds once more.

Laying a hand on her shoulder, Nightwing shakes his head. "Hey, no judgement here. All families have their issues. I know what you mean. They might not be world shaking problems but that doesn't mean they aren't important — or annoying — in their own way," he assures her with a smile."

*

"That's odd too. I'll be sure to let you know if I hear anything, but if not I'll give you a call anyway. Maybe we can do lunch or something," Bette suggests with a smile. "But I probably shouldn't keep you from your patrol any longer. I don't even want to imagine what it must be like if Batman decides someone working with him is slacking!"

"But if you get lonely I'll be available on comms and you've got my number right? I'm pretty sure I'll be staring at absolutely nothing until the day shift security starts. And even then I'll probably just be staring at a very mundane and totally uneventful something."

*

Standing once more, Nightwing gives a nod and stretches casually as in the distance a low rumble of thunder echoes across the city, deep and still distant. Though not for too much longer by the sounds of it. "Sounds like a plan. I mean I'm sure I can catch you in New York one of these days, but why not take advantage while you're in town," he agrees with a smile, dipping his head in her direction before turning for the far side of the roof. "I'll check in on comms in a few hours, make sure that the boredom hasn't driven you to nap. Your mirror trick won't do you much good if your eyes are closed," he teases. "Talk to you soon," he offers before those easy, loping strides carry him off across Gotham's rooftops and into the dark night.

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