The Birth of Catgirl

May 15, 2018:

Cassandra is presented with a costume as the burglar extraordinaire and Catwoman sidekick, Catgirl! A brief summary of the past couple months.

Catwoman's Flat, Chinatown

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\#https://youtu.be/4rrXR6n0RTY "Everybody Wants to be a Cat"]


Fade In…

Sometime in May…

The safehouse Catwoman had used for Cassandra to stay in while they worked a few things out was quiet, but it was a big to-do. It's not every day you get a sidekick you're not even that sure you're ready for or want, but Cassandra sort of latched on to the catburglar and the wheels started turning. She could be useful, at least in making this part of Gotham a little better, but Selina wasn't sure she'd be involving the young woman in any of her more…illegal pursuits. At least, not yet. Time would tell.

Now, it was a moment of truth. "Are you ready? Come on out and let's see it." They'd been working on some designs for a costume, with Catwoman offering tips and feedback of her own from her point of view, but ultimately the choice lay in Cassandra's hands.


For someone who can't speak Cassandra does have some rather particular specifications for her outfit. It can't restrict movement or leave skin exposed. Practicality and durability are a huge issue for her. Clearly, she knows which materials are more useful and which just shine prettily under a light. Therefore, no PVC and a limit on the amount of latex.

As a result of this, Cassandra strides out in a body suit in black. It's fitted rather than form-fitting, but still shows off her athletic form when she walks, from the slight sway in her step to the confidence she exudes. She's covered from wrist to ankle, for better of worse, in matte black fabric, her own catsuit hiding the front zipper near the neck. She doesn't intend on wearing it lower. The biggest concession to style over function is the hood she's chosen to hide her face. Similar to Catwoman, she wears cat ears on top of it, black hair visible beneath. Her shoes are also boots, but ankle high rather than shin. There are cats claws built into her gloves, released simply by flexing the fingers in the right way.

Function over style brings its own sense of lethal grace with it. Modifications can be made, but Cassandra wears the concept well.


Catwoman would be a liar if she claimed to have no interest in the end result. She had an idea based on the progress so far - after all, she provided everything Cassandra required and spent a fair amount of time making it herself - but it's one thing to plan, another to witness.

As she enters the living room from the bedroom she was sent to in order to change, Cassandra will see Catwoman in her own costume, standing by with a hand resting against a hip. At the sight before her, a small smile creeps into place. "Very nice. I see you went with that for the face. Good. It'll make it harder to identify you, and that's important for some of us." A gesture is made toward the ninja-like mask that covers the lower half of the woman's face. "Now, let me see.."

She makes a show of circling Cassandra, not shy about inspecting a glove here, the fit of the suit around the neck there, and by the time that's done she's back around front again. "Do you like it, Catgirl? You sure you don't want a tail to go with that?" Here, a teasing sort of wink.


Cassandra arches a brow at Catwoman for a moment and then gives her head a faint shake. She stares at the woman down her nose before venturing a faint grin. She turns quickly to show off the suit more completely. No tail in sight, though Catwoman could fix that if she really had that in mind. Afterward the girl leans forward a bit, staring intently at her hapless mentor, watching her for some sign of what she thinks, and what the next move is. As always, they share no words. They hardly need to, of course. Cats don't speak either and somehow they manage to get by.


"Feels good, then? Anything needing changes?" Catwoman checks. There are words, but it's a one-way street from Catwoman only at this point. It does make some communication challenging, but as long as it works…

Once things are settled - Catgirl will end up with a tail somewhere along the way, if only on a short-term basis to see how it goes - Catwoman moves in for a brief embrace. "A part of me feels odd saying it, but I'm actually looking forward to having a partner out there for some things. It's been bad on the streets and I can't count on Batman for much right now. I don't even know what he's really about these days."

Cassandra looks curiously at Catwoman, brows furrowed, when she mentions Batman. Her thoughts, however, are her own. As always.


Fast-forward to a time in June…

It's another night of gang violence, the pair having been scouting a couple blocks from the top of a four-story apartment building that's been more like a place where people either die slowly or quickly depending on how bad their luck is. It's rife with the worst elements of Gotham's normal society, a place one of those gangs calls home. She's already briefed Catgirl, maybe even got a word or two out of her by now in return, but the main thing is busting up the proceedings and bringing a little less danger to people just trying to go about their lives. She's got all her tools readily accessible: the whip, smoke and flashbang pellets, caltrops, marbles, and so on. Catgirl has whatever she prefers, whether it's just those claws or something more.

"Ready? Here they come." A claw of her own is directed down toward half a dozen thugs leaving the building, packing bats, knives, a couple guns, even a sledgehammer. Then, she leads with one of the flashbang pellets tossed into the middle of them and follows with a dive off the roof, using a couple of them to cushion her landing as she pounces!


There have been a few words. Yes. No. Cat. The are infrequent but there's definitely the sense that Catgirl is comprehending words in a way that makes Catwoman's cooperation with her infinitely easier. She is, as always, lightly armed - a small bag with some tools in it, a couple flashbangs of her own, a smoke bomb, a small toolkit, and little else. As people proceed out of the building Catgirl watches intently, her deep eyes wide while she studies the procession in front of her. Catwoman gets a brief nod of acknowledgment from Cassandra. Then the young woman watches as her partner tumbles through the air. Catgirl herself follows soon after.

The landing is cushioned by a large man wearing a sledgehammer, who hits the ground hard enough to send his teeth to the sky and his eyes lolling backward. She ends up in a crouch n the small of his bback, watching as a man with a gun turns toward her. There's nno movement. The frozen frisson of indecision? It doesn't last. He goes to pull the trigger and then Cassandra simply isn't there. The bullet wings haplessly off of a nearby wall, striking sparks and drawing attention as the girl leaps out of the way and then kicks him smoothly to the ground. She uses an armguard to parry an incoming knife and then she's surrounded.

Catwoman should consider feeling sorry for the victims of Catgirl's ensuing rampage. Maybe some flowers would be nice.


Catwoman has established only a couple serious groundrules for stuff like this:

  • No killing, unless absolutely necessary
  • No maiming, unless it's truly deserved

By and large, their opponents haven't been serious enough threats that either thing has come up, though she's dealt with a couple particularly scummy degenerates by leaving them with a few scars others will see. It's hard to hide claw marks down the cheeks.

After landing, a minimal thud felt, she sweeps out with a kick to the knife hand of one ganger, knocking the blade free. She follows up by grabbing the barrel of the other's bat, driving it up under his chin to cut off his air supply until he weakens further. Operating silently, perhaps something she's picked up from Catgirl, there are no jokes, quips, insults. Just action.

Before long, she's dusting her hands off for show, her pair conscious but out of it, hogtied and helpless. The gunshot she heard only caught a glimpse of attention, trusting Catgirl with her own side of the fight.


Catgirl follows the rules as written. The spirit might get bent because she doesn't play games when it comes to martial action. Broken bones aren't /maiming/, right? They'll recover in a few months, and she gives clean breaks so pins and other bone reinforcement shouldn't be necessary. Gunman is one of these, and he ends up screaming before he gets ziptied with the other man and shoved to the ground rather capably.
Catwoman gets a nod from the diminutive ninja when this is done. She's ready to follow the other woman's lead, something she conveys with a strut toward the building. One might be forgiven for thinking Cassandra isn't taking this terribly seriously.


"I know, I know. Pushovers, but not to most of the people around here," Catwoman explains, having seen that body language, the way the fake tail now built into the back of Catgirl's costume just seems to twitch in agitation with that strutting. "Don't forget. Most crime starts from stuff like that. Gangs. People hungry for a little power, some control, making others fear them. I guess the tables turned on them tonight." It might not amount to much in the long run - many of the gang members have been in and out of GCPD already - but it's about making a statement, letting them know they aren't free to run the streets.

Stuff like this makes it a little easier to focus on Catwoman's other passion as well: burglary. Less competition, or rather a lower chance of running into a situation made more difficult because of others in the way.

A few more people are holed up inside the building, but they're not much of an issue for them either. "We'll stop by one of your favorite places for a bite to eat once we're finished tonight. You know, the one that's open 24 hours." A reward for a job well done. "I'm finally starting to feel like we're on the same page with all of this." It's taken a little time, but they're acting more as one, a pair in tune with each other. Is that what it's like for Batman and Robin?


Catgirl glances at Catwoman when she speaks of being on the same page. She watches for a seconc, cocks her headto the left, and finally nods. When she turns the tail sways, marking ach motion in a way that lends a lot of purpose to her movement. At least it is alwaysu pturned rather than swaying limply. This is a decisive tail. And also easily detachable, if it comes to that.

The mention of food brings a much more enthusiastic nod, even while Catgirl is moving objects to check behind them for anything of value. She's become veery skilled at searching a joint after watching Catwoman do it on their first severl missions. They really do seem to be in sync, even if Catwoman does end up seeming to talk to herself quite a bit.


Yes, they've come away from these things with a few spoils of their own, most of which ends up in Catgirl's pockets by the time all is said and done. Catwoman certainly doesn't need much of it, though a little extra doesn't hurt. Call it about 75/25 to Catgirl, in general, whether cash itself or things that can be pawned off for more.

The added benefit of the 24-hour place is it offers takeout and nobody there seems to care that a couple costumed cats are picking up a to-go order before zooming off on a motorcycle. Back at the apartment, pizza is chowed down on with the pair gathered around the coffee table in the living room, still in costume. By now, Catwoman has allowed Catgirl to see her face without the cat's cowl covering much of it, the goggles often up against her forehead when not needed. She's not too worried about Cassandra outing her identity, though she's still taken care to keep her real name secret.


Catgirl's options for betrayal are pretty much reduced to a simple ambush at this stage. She's shown no signs of inviting unwanted guests to any of their meetings. The split is 75/25 Catgirl and then most of Catgirl's take goes into the Chinatown community and the people who helped her when she first got to the Gotham, so it becomes an extensive charity project in its own way. Self-perpetuating… After a large cut for Cass to eat everything in sight.

Also, Cass is a great motorcyclist. Who knew? She, of course, has no issue letting Catwoman see her face. Her name is secret to all for now, which takes care of that issue entirely.


Secrets upon secrets. Not always the best way to live, but in this line of work it's necessary. Selina must keep Catwoman separate from Selina. Catwoman must keep Selina separate from Catwoman. It's just safer that way. It's risky enough that Selina's charitable efforts are so focused on big cats in particular, but she has to allow herself something there and it's a good way for her get the attention being a socialite calls for.

"Happy so far?" comes the question while they nom the tasty slices of pizza. The place even does an admirable job of making different styles work: the thin New York, the pie-like Chicago, the more pan/deep dish Detroit. The question, however, is meant to cover more than just their meal. She wants to be sure Cassandra is still content with what she's doing.


Cassandra is caught licking pizza sauce form her fingertips. She blinks and shifts her gaze back to Catwoman. There is a moment of connection there, eyes meeting while they study one another and their intentions. The girl's features remain solemnly and she's perfectly still for a long moment before turning back to the pizza box and snagging another slice with no further ado.


"I'll take that as a yes," the cat burglar deadpans, murmuring to herself, "Maybe you have the right idea." She reaches out for another slice, topped with a few different meats and vegetables. Of course, they've got the garlic bread, the soda, all that. Another successful night, hopefully ending with a few more people in the neighborhood able to sleep without fear of bullets spraying through their windows, or their kids coming home with more drugs. That danger is still around, but little by little, a change is coming.

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