Interrupting the Hunt

July 31, 2018:

The Killers attacking the people of Gotham are caught in the act and are far more than anyone expected, and far less happy about being interrupted, too.

East End - Papa Julio's Cafe

A small cafe located in a predominately Latin area of the East End owned by Papa Julio, a mysterious man who shows a delightful old man ideal on the surface but has a shadowed past.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Papa Julio's was a well known cafe for those living in the mainly Latin area of the East End. Papa Julio didn't broker any form of violence in the neighborhood and for those who knew of him, they knew why. He was not always such a nice man as he is now. For those who didn't know, they just knew he was highly respected. However, tonight the air around the cafe was dark. The area felt wrong and violence was taking place despite the man's best wishes.

"Hey! Papa Julio!" The man walked in through the front door of the cafe with a cane. He was perhaps 30 or so. Young enough and yet with a lot of age in his eyes. Hector Torres (a man once known as El Diablo) came walking up fairly well to Julio, a man in his fifties or perhaps sixties who took his hand only to pull Hector into a hug. The man embraced him for a long moment before stepping back and smiling.

"Mi hijo, coaching at the local school now, I hear?" He asks and tilts his head, "That's a long way from the streets. Molding minds in the right way." He gestures with a finger at Hector who looks almost embarrassed and smiles.

"Hey, it's the least I can do. You know where I come from. Now I'm going to be helping, ya know, like you do." A small laugh comes from Julio who is about to say more when suddenly Hector gives a small cry and grabs his shoulder. He winces and has to be held up by Julio as he grabs his shoulder and then stares at it. He then looks over at Julio, "Did you hear someone say something?" He asks.

A moment later Hector's shirt sleeve is pulled up to reveal a strange spiral mark, a white spiral chasing a dark spiral into a void in the center. Julio blinks, "Did…you get a new tattoo…" And then the room starts to darken. Julio pushes Hector against the counter and moves in front of him even as darkness slowly invades the usually bright cafe. A couple of customers, at first thinking the power was flickering begin to realize something is very wrong. Then one of the tables jingles as if something hit it. Looking in that direction a figure perches like some great bird upon the table as something large and dark begins to circle underneath like a hungry shark.

"Treasure your final moments," the figure says from behind a wolf like mask that hides her face. Her melodic voice flows through unabated, "For we know your name." Her body covered in a white down that flows down over her to small hoof like feet.

"We have always known it." The darkness beneath, forming a large wolf with a strangely more tame white mask follows the melodic voice. A dark rumble of thunder to her falsato of spring. Even as the two stare at the pair of men, Julio whips out a gun and points it at the pair, placing himself between them and Hector.

"No one does this in my cafe. No one." The trigger is pulled and the gun goes off only for the bullet to connect with the darkness of the wolf who whips up before the strange woman. Then with reflexes likened to such a wolf the mouth of the beast clams down on Julio's arm and twists. Julio screams in pain as he drops to a knee and the gun clatters before him. He is quickly enough released even as the wolf's face invades Julio's.

"How fast can you run?!" The rumbling bass echos into the night even as the softer woman steps around and places a gentle hand atop the wolf's head even as her left hand holds a strange bow.

"Now now, he is not our prey…" That mask slowly turns to Hector and her voice continues to ring, "What will it be? My arrow or…"

The wolf gives a devilish grin, "…the chase!"

*

It has been many years since Grifter crossed paths with Julio, who was the assassin 'El Tranquilo' once upon a time. Quiet Man or not, Grifter has a strong dislike of assassins. Nevermind he was one over twenty years ago.

Or maybe because he was one so long ago, when he was young and stupid and patriotic.

Now he is old and cynic (but still stupid, he has to remind himself) and chasing after a murderer for free (so stupid). And out of clues, so he goes to see a man he despised that has actually lived to retire. Some respect there, indeed. Not likely Julio is clean, though. No, he might be playing nice, but his cynical side tells Cole an assassin is an assassin and assassins are assholes.

But nice or nasty, Julio might know something. And so Cole is a block away from his cafe, heading the way, bike parked. The blonde man wears a trench that is too warm for Gotham's summer but serves to hide some weapons.

And then Grifter hears the gunshot. And runs towards the cafe.

Which is the wrong way to run, but he admits he is still stupid.

*

Gotham will always remain Batman's city. His scope may expand, his worries may expound, but Gotham is his. That is most likely why he keeps tabs on old criminals like Julio Hernandez. He checks in on all those that he has either ran afoul of or those who fell into violent crime. Robbers and muggers are generally left to the police to follow up on once taken dispatched.

It is on one of these check ins that Batman finds the attack on Papa Julio's cafe. Not only does it house a man he has kept tabs on, other shady business has been done inside its walls. In Batman's mind, it is a place to check in on those that might start to move onward from drugs to violence. Sending up the equivalent to a Batflare, Batman calls in Nightwing and Batgirl to meet him at the cafe.

The Cowled Crusader makes for the cafe itself, gesturing for whoever is first to track about the cafe. "Check for eyes. They're still here." He isn't focused on those who have come with him. Instead, he is immediately looking for clues: blood stains, foot prints, then to the perpetrators themselves. It's a quick and cursory. His cape drapes over his frame and he studies those inside the cafe with flickers of analysis, sure to be in front of both Nightwing and Batgirl as they enter.

*

For the past several days the East End has practically become Nightwing's second home. It is not that it is that much more dangerous than any other neighborhood in Gotham — certainly there is danger enough to go around no matter the neighborhood it seems at times. But the recent spate of serial killings troubles the dark haired vigilante, troubles him deeply. This particular rash of killings is far from the most virulent the city has seen — heck the Joker kills more in a few hours then this killer has in weeks. It is just all the unexplained questions that linger. The seeming mystical elements at play. The questions around the killer's true identity. How she… they… it… pick their targets. Hours of investigation and it is still not entirely clear.

Which is why Nightwing is in the neighborhood. Well, part of the reason at any rate. His mentor is not unaware of his current obsession of course, they have pooled resources on this one afterall. And if he is going to be spending all his time in the area anyway, there are a laundry list of potential hotspots and troublesome individuals to check up on. And it does give him something else to concentrate on as well. Avoiding brooding is a good thing. He'll leave that to Bruce and Tim.

When the call goes out over the comm that there is some sort of disturbance at Papa Julio's he is mere blocks away. His car has been stashed in an alley not too far away and so he immediately sets out to meet the Dark Knight and Batgirl, racing across the rooftops with the surefooted stride that only a highly trained acrobat could manage. Well, that and someone completely and utterly obsessed with protecting his city maybe. Despite the lack of vehicle he still arrives on the scene only seconds after the pair of vigilantes, perched in a crouch across the street, signalling to his partners and murmuring over the comm. "Everything clear topside. I'm headed to the roof," he murmurs, sub-dermal mic easily picking up his words as he fires off his grapnel with the soft hiss of releasing compressed air.

*

When her phone buzzed with Batman's signal, Barbara Gordon had been engrossed in her preparations to head across the bridge into NYC to hunt for the ever-gaining-in-infamy Punisher. She hadn't expected the call, but years of having to move fast paid off as she arrives in record time to answer the call.

Her motorcycle parked and locked down in the nearest alley, Batgirl taps the side of her helm soon after Nightwing's voice quiets in her ear. "I've got the ground," she reports quietly before she sweeps off to begin a vicinity sweep, aiming to check the perimeter and then enter through the rear entrance.

Her flat-soled boots move quietly across the dingy pavement as she keeps to the cafe's exterior wall. When she comes to the rear door, she drops low alongside it, letting her cape fall about her in a heavy shadow before she reaches to test the doorknob, checking to see if the door is locked.

*

Even as others begin to close in on Papa Julio's, Scandal is already closing in. She had heard the gunshot from a distance and knew the general direction. She knew in that direction, guns meant violence that would normally not be allowed. Something was wrong if someone was firing a gun near Papa Julio's. She hadn't been planning to check on the man but she was out doing her own searching. Even as the gun goes off she hops on her motorcycle, it flares to life and she's flying in that direction, unknowingly being hot on the heels of Batgirl.

Even as the silent female Bat is moving around back, Scandal Savage is getting off her motorcycle and glaring into the windows of the cafe.

Of course, that isn't the whole story. Those outside are circling like sharks and yet the real shark is mere inches from Hector's throat. Hector, for all his life has in a lot of ways run from death but even now he closes his eyes and takes a breath. He has a cane. He has run long enough. He knows a few things that Julio doesn't. He was even afraid to tell the man about a mountain he was preparing to climb. A terrible mountain he might not come back from. Hector Torres slowly stood up and shook his head slowly, "No violence." He swallows, "It is disrespectful to a man I have seen as a father. No violence."

The wolf like shadow chuffs. Seeming to realize what is happening even as the masked, strange white woman with odd hoof feet tilts her head, "You have decided?"

"I have." He states and nods his head, "I will take the arrow."

"NO!" Papa Julio calls and even as he attempts to move, the wolf like shadow is in his face, growling and glaring. The woman pulls a beautiful white bow from her back and seemingly produces a white arrow from no where. It seems to manifest against the string even as she begins to aim, "How one dies, shows how one lived." She then stands up straighter as she pulls the arrow taught, "A fine life…reaches its conclusion."

Slowly, Hector places his cane before him, leans into it a little and closes his eyes. He swallows slowly and says, "Thanks Papa. For everything."

*

And then Grifter kicks the door open. It is all very dramatic, as he stands on with his red mask and trench coat at the door. Well, it would have been better if the arrow was already flying or something, because Cole Cash definitely can shoot arrows in flight.

He has a large automatic in each hand. Twin Desert Eagles. One aimed to the wolf, one aimed to the archer. "So… you are the killers, right?" And there is El Tranquilo. He looks injured and fairly innocent, who would have thunk? "Don't even blink," he adds.

*

Nightwing and Batgirl have both the rooftops and the ground. Batman allows Grifter to enter first and make declarations.
Hiss Nightwing and Batgirl check in, he debriefs, "There is a vigilante engaging at the moment. Scorpion formation. Break on movement or on word 'Sting'."

He is quick behind Grifter, hoping that his distraction and keeping to the shadows that helped elaborate his myth will grant him some form of invisibility.

In moments, hand reaches to his belt. A batarang is procured and immediately tossed to intercept the archer's shot. His aim is right to her wrist, to throw of her shot and spoil whatever victory she might wish. With a leap, he attempts to crash into both Hector and Julio to push them out of the way of what he sees to be a fatal shot.

*

The grapnel sinks into place, titanium tongs embedding themselves into brick and mortar with a solid, reassuring thunk. Not that Nightwing actually waits for that of course. He has already lept from his perch, moments before the grapnel secures its perch, secure in the certainty that they will find their proper place. It's something he has done so many times now that it is just instinctive. In an instant he is airborn, arching across the street towards that rooftop.

He is airborn and while the vantage point is hardly a great one it does let him see that figure, that bow, drawn and nocked. Ready to take another life. They're hear this time, but are the seconds too late? He has only an instant to act, that arc of the swing already threatening to take him past even his bad vantage point to the point where any attempt to intervene would be all but pointless by him. Only an instant, but that is why all the Batfolk train and drill constantly. So when they need to they can react reflexively, without hesitation, uncertainty or doubt.

Reaching back over his shoulder in one, smooth motion, Nightwing draws one of his escrima sticks from that magnet strip that runs down his back. The gesture is smooth, natural, one continuous motion as he hurls it towards that large window out front, hurls it in the direction of that mysterious archer. It is a longshot. In midair, only a moment to act and a bad angle. It doesn't equate to much hope. But even if thrown weapon can't strike home to make her drop the bow or foul her aim maybe the shattering of the glass will be enough of a distraction. He won't see that end — good or bad — that swing carrying him back up, arching towards the rooftop, out of sight of the window entirely as he lands in a crouch, almost immediately rising, ready to spring into action. "Were we in time?" The bystanders first, then they can deal with the monster responsible for all this terror.

*

The door swings open, and Batgirl's silhouette slinks into sight while staying in a low squat. Then she pulls herself up to her feet, stepping into the rear of the cafe's kitchen. She can just hear the vague sounds of talking, and she tilts her head slightly with one of those tall ears tilting toward the sound. There's a soft sound of feedback before her enhanced directional microphones pick up the last…

'A fine life… reaches its conclusion.'

'Thanks Papa. For everything.'

Barbara advances forward quicker now, detecting the ending salutation that might close out a life rather than a correspondence. She releases the coil of her bolas from her belt, letting the reinforced cord slip through her fingers until she has a trained, confident grip. She had expected to hear Batman's voice cutting through the chaos, but it's not that familiar voice she hears. It's something else. Her jaw sets, and she taps off her microphones as she darts down the kitchen toward the exit that will lead out into the dining room. When she enters, it is only moments after Batman's own leaping arrival and the shattering of the window from Nightwing.

She sights the archer. "I'm on the archer," she announces in a low note. When Batman goes for the arrow, she goes for the creature's knees, dodging aside to clear Julio and Hector before flinging the bolas with a twist of the weighted ends.

*

The entire situation is like a dance. Time slows down for everyone, or at least seems like it. Everything happens near simultaneously. The batarang flies, the hand holding the string releases. The trigger on Grifter's right gun pulls tight. The hammer begins to fall. An escrima stick flies through the air. Bolas whir. Everything flying in some perfectly orchestrated chaos.

Papa Julio and Hector are pulled down and away by Batman. The archer's hand moves inward from the batarang's impact but the arrow is flying. It is halfway through the air and a bullet intercepts its flight, shattering it. Bola's catch a single leg as she leaps up, glaring eyes from within a mask turning to stare at Batgirl. A stick splinters in the jaws of a moving wolf. The archer lands on a knee as the bola took the leaping leg out from under her. A hand catching her as she kneels. A wolf moves about her in a protective manner as she holds on to the bow with a bleeding hand. A moment later sound returns and glass tinkles to the ground even as shards of arrow fade against the ground a bullet slams into the far wall.

Everyone is alive and safe. Then the cafe itself shudders and the air dims as a growl, deep and furious rings out.

"What folly it is…to snatch our marks." The voice rings out true toward Batman even as the wolf glares at Grifter, "No! THat was ours!" And slowly the woman stands upon her hoofed feet and the wolf looks up at her carefully. She looks then to Batman laying there and Hector gasps out slowly.

"My shoulder…it feels. Better?" He asks as he looks it. Those who might be looking in the Ultraviolet spectrum might see a strange swirling pattern fade from Hector.

Then the woman looks at Batman directly and says "You steal from us…" And the wolf echos, "…we steal from you." A deep growl coming from him. She then looks down, "Go wolf…" And the growling creature laughs and within a second sinks into the ground and the shadow zips out the front of the shop through the broken window. The woman simply leaps backward right through the window. Laughter following. https://tinyurl.com/y7nde6tn

Up on the roof, where Nightwing landed, he'll feel an immense pain briefly on his shoulder. Then a sense of dread will flow through him. As if someone somewhere grabbed the cord of his life…and gave it a flick.

*

And suddenly it is raining vigilantes. Bat-shaped ones.

Grifter is rarely surprised and never for long. Still, Batman and Batgirl's entrances make him flinch half a second. The arrow flies, and he fires by raw instinct, shattering it mid-flight. Then he dives out of the way, rolling quickly and jumping up. Archer and wolf are moving fast too. He still has time to shoot at the wolf as the monster snarls at him. Bullet aimed to the snout. So maybe he is a werewolf, and those are not silver. But Cole is of the opinion that if bullets didn't work it was because one didn't use enough bullets.

On 'go wolf' he is emptying a clip aiming to the furry critter's back.

*

For her part, Scandal is about to dive in after the others when she watches the dance inside. She slides her blades free from their gauntlets, the blades sliding out over her hands and she is prepared to strike when the action starts coming outside. The shadow sliding about her feet and she stabs into the ground, jsut missing it only to look up in time to see the woman, with her downy covering and hoof like legs land beside her, with a laugh and she then is heading upward as well. Scandal looks up with wide eyes and then instead of chasing, rushes inside to check on Papa Julio, "Julio?! Julio!"

*

Almost like bifocal lenses, Batman has had ultraviolet scanners going when he can, filtered to store back at the batcave. For now, he is more interested in the people and how they act - that is not something that can be digitally recorded for later.

Hoofed feet, arrows, wolves. This seems like folktale things. Scanners are reading the details for later analysis, but for now he is focused on the people. While Julio seems fine, he leaps into action. The woman focused entirely on him and his eyes narrow. If she wishes to make tis personal? Then he can do the same. He studies her and tosses a tracker. It hits against the wall behind them, but still he follows. Shadows are still trackable as long as he can see them.

"Watch him," Batman orders Batgirl, pointing at Grifter. He may not be a part of this attack, but he arrived and therefore has information that can be gleaned.

Following the shadow, he is quick onto the roof, landing and scanning for the enemy. "Nightwing, one of them passed through here, did you see them?"

*

While he can not see what is going on below he would hardly be much of a detective if he hadn't learned to use his other senses. He can hear the glass clattering, smashed by his toss, he can hear the sound of gunfire — no doubt the other vigilante that Batman mentioned. The sound of heavy bodies hitting the floor hard tells him that someone has been tackled — probably more than one. The only question is if it was in time, he has no doubt that it was this mysterious archer's target. And then there is that laughter, that same laughter from back in the alleyway. The same laughter that seemed to emerge from nowhere at all, that foiled the Bat Computer's efforts to triangulate exactly where it was coming from.

He could race down there, join the frey but there is little that he can add, not with Batman, Batgirl and Grifter already there. Indeed, in tight quarters his presence might only detract, making it more likely that they will be working at cross purposes. So he takes up position, hopping up on the ledge, ready to throw himself down to the sidewalk below should anyone emerge.

But he is barely in position when he suddenly gasps aloud, reaching back over his shoulder, gripping it as if it were suddenly on fire. The pain is momentary, but his gaze flicks around wildly for a moment, glancing all around him, seeking out… something… and finding nothing. "I may have a problem here. What's going on down there?" he asks, no panic in his voice. Just an… edge. "Wait, I see… something. I'm on it," he adds as he leaps from his perch without hesitation, this time spreading arms to let the glider flaps slow his descent, those words, ones he is certain were only for him, only in his head pushed to the back of his mind. 'We know your name… we have always known it'. He'll dwell on that later.

*

The glare from the archer is met with a half-shadowed smirk from Batgirl. She is reaching for her own batarangs in some vain attempt to try to slow down the archer again when the cafe darkens on the heels of that low growl. Her heart catches in her chest as her hindbrain reels at the sound, and she clamps down on her own sudden and unexpected fear.

When she advances, it's just after the wolf melts into the floor and the shadow whips free. She turns her head toward the window in some vain attempt to track it.

The order from Batman sets Batgirl's blue eyes on Grifter, and she demonstrates her purpose by pulling free another bolas from her belt. She gives the weighted ends a casual flick, sending the balls spinning in a tight circumference, but she doesn't loose them. Not yet. It's just a mild threat before her eyes dart to Julio and Hector, the bolas no longer spinning. "I need answers," she says, voice pitched low.

When Scandal enters, the Batgirl advances a step with her free hand coming up to slow the woman. "We don't know what happened here." Not entirely.

*

Grifters bullets part fur a moment and then hit ground and nothing more. Whether he hurt the wolf or not is unclear as it had slipped into a shadow and the bullets could not reach it at that point. Then it is gone and so is the woman in white.

"We're fine, Chica!" Julio calls out even as Scandal glares at Batgirl. Her claws are still out and she looks on edge, ready to strike at the woman. Hero or not, Scandal will feel whomever. Julio's words stop her though, calm her even as she sees him sit up holding his arm and Hector looking shaken but alive. Julio continues, "The critter and his girl went that way. You should get after them." Scandal frowns and nods a little even as she eyes Grifter a moment but then takes a breath and nods to him.

Batman will find Dick not on the roof but on the ground. He having descended after his little situation. Strangely, while Nightwing might notice the light shifting slightly around him it is subtle. What isn't subtle is what Batman can see. The very area behind Nightwing seems to darken even as the wolf like creature seems to very literaly step out of that growing darkness with the silence only a true hunter can produce.

"All things, great and small…" The words flow melodically from the woman now perched on a street light directly across from and above Nightwing are followed by perhaps the only warning Nightwing might receive, "..DIE!" A roar of rage from the wolf as it attempts to sink its jaws right into Nightwing's shoulder.

*

"Ugh, magic critter," grumps Grifter when the wolf shadowsteps out of the way. He will have silver bullet next time for sure. Watch him? Watch him? He glances at Batman, then to Batgirl.

Okay. Batgirl can watch him. Fine.

Watch him leaving, that is. Because the blond man is not going to chase after the shadowy hunters, believing they are fleeing. He did manage to save a couple not-very-innocent folks, and that is fine for tonight in his book. He is going to ask questions to Julio and Hector, but not now, since the cops should be here in a minute.

Scandal gets a nod as greeting. He saw her the other day, too. Maybe they could compare notes later. "Watch me leaving, red," he offers Batgirl, holstering his guns and using the backdoor.

*

The movement of Nightwing gripping his shoulder is met and immediately catalogued. His eyes narrow. "Nightwing." His voice is low, commanding, gravelly. If he has a problem, he shouldn't leap out by himself.

As he leaps forward, Bruce is quick behind him. He does not stop him by cable or batarang just, yet, curious to see where it will lead. That curiosity lasts for only a moment until he grabs a flashbang from his belt. Leaping forward, he snaps the bead of light downward, timing it so that it will explode right as he reaches his apprentice.

In a practiced attack, he attempts to blind both archer and wolf as he knocks Nightwing out of the dangerous bite.

*

With the aide of those glider wings Nightwing settles onto the ground, those starlite lense inserts in his mask lighting up the night as if it were day, though casting the world in a greenish glow. He seeks out that anomaly that he caught just a glimpse of, that flicker of motion that convinced him to descend from his perch. In an instant his remaining escrima stick is in his hand, held defensively, ready to lash out or defend at need.

The Dark Knight's call catches his attention for just a moment. But just a moment is all that these hunters need apparently, the wolf emerging from behind him, seemingly impossibly from the wall behind him. And then again, there is a rush of activty, a flurry of actions. It is amazing how time seems to slow at instants like this, letting one respond despite such chaos all arounds. The benefits of trianing once more.

Of course the bigger benefit is the hours spent training together and the anticipation it brings. Even as Batman races forward, tossing that flashbang, Nightwing springs into action. The threat is not obvious, but it doesn't have to be. While he might occasionally differ with his mentor, they work well together, anticipate each other and the Dark Knight's actions tell Dick all he needs to know. He lunges forward, moving to meet Batman's efforts to jerk him away, to facilitate it. Even still he lets out a pained grunt as tooth and claw tear at his uniform, racking at his back. Eyes tightly shut against the explosion of light he knows is coming, he lashes out with that escrima stick blindly, swinging for where the wolf was an instant earlier.

*

The glare from Scandal is met with a tilt of her head and slight flex along her jawline, and then Batgirl flicks her bolas into a tight coil and rehooks it to her belt. She turns her head slightly toward where Bruce had gone, and then back to Scandal. "I — " Then her head whips around as she hears the call from outside, and her jaw sets.

It's that distraction Grifter needs for him to slip out. When she looks back, it's to see his back disappearing out the door.

She advances a step only to be stalled by Julio's directions to Scandal. She glances toward the woman, glancing her over once before she nods. "If you're hunting her, I want in."

*

A look back briefly and Scandal nods to Batgirl. She isn't really in the mood to argue until she looks back out at the sight ahead of her. Her eyes go wide as she watches Nightwing nearly get ripped in two. The beast seemed to have something like htat in mind. Then Batman is moving him, Nightwing is being pulled away. A flash bomb is going off. The night lights up like the sun briefly. The world is white.

A fierce roar comes out. The beast disappears in the bright light. Lamb is sure to follow.

Even as the light fades and Nightwing swings at nothing, something echoes through the night and a melodic voice comes through. The voice of the woman in white with the cloven feet.

"Are you there, dear Wolf?"

"I am, little Lamb."

"Are you sad?"

"I am."

"What does it feel like?"

"A long hunt…with no kill."

And then the voices fade away into the night. Though Nightwing still feels a soft ache in his shoulder and if someone looks under that Ultraviolet light that Batman has learned about, a strange purple and white swirls about Nightwing's shoulder, slowly swirling into a pin point of light. A light at the end of a swirling tunnel.

Scandal growls softly to herself and then slips back inside to see about Julio for the moment.

*

The anticipation that Nightwing holds in Batman's action is well met. It's like the Winged Avenger knew exactly how Nightwing would react as he tackled. Perhaps this is one of the many scenarios he has put all his trainees through. Or, perhaps, Nightwing has know Batman long enough to know many of his movements in times of danger. Either way, they land not in a pile, but in almost an acrobatic tumble.

"Follow," Batman tells into his com. It's not loud, it's not a yelped instruction, it is a very distinct command to Batgirl. They don't need more elaborate commands, or at least, Batman doesn't seem to think that she does. If Barbara cannot figure out who he wishes her to follow? Well, that will certainly be a lecture for later.

Without asking, Batman is pulling at Nightwing's costume at the shoulder. "I think you're infected with something," he tells him very matter-of-factly. "You have a mark only visible by Ultraviolet lenses. I haven't seen someone alive with this marking." He assumes that Dick didn't have it before this meeting. "We need to study it." The underlying message is also so that they can save him. He doesn't need to say that does he?

*

Truthfully, Nightwing has no doubt that they will find a way to put a stop to these most elusive of killers before he can become the next victim. It doesn't even occur to him that there is any other possible outcome. Blind faith? Perhaps. But then he has been through a great deal. He has been in worse situations then this. Though admittedly not against a wolf who can seem to emerge from shadows to strike or creepy little archers who zip about with inhuman ease.

As the unnatural killers make their customary disappearance, Nightwing clambers back to his feet, grimacing slightly and reaching back over his shoulder to feel just how bad it might be. No more then scratches, it seems like, though he will have to ask Alfred to do a bit of a patch job on his uniform. "Lets get back to the Cave," he agrees. They can do some preliminary study on the way, surely, but the Cave will be better equipped for this sort of thing. "I think it might have happened when she issued that threat to you. When she laughed, it suddenly felt like my shoulder was on fire. And I heard them speak, both wolf and archer. But I think it was in my head. "It said 'We know your name' and she followed it up with 'we have always known it'. I imagine this is some sort of… marker. A tracker, signalling their next victim," he offers, following into step with his mentor. "I think I better ride with you," he adds drily. Going off on his own might be a bad idea right now. "If we can have Red Robin pick up my ride."

*

The command through the comms sets Barbara's teeth together behind her lips. She advances out several steps, though her cowled head follows Scandal as she goes back into the cafe. It's a passing glance, as she knows she's actually looking for that shadowy ghost. Planting her foot on the bumper of a parked sedan, she advances up the hood and windshield to the roof to give herself a higher vantage point. She flicks her cowl lenses through multiple spectrums with a touch of her fingers to her temple. Information scrolls through her projected heads-up display, and when she hits the ultraviolet… there are just the faintest wisps of dissipating energy.

"Nothing," she breathes in a low note through comms. "Trail's already faded out."

Then she drops her eyes down to Batman and Nightwing, only dropping off the car once Dick is back on his feet. She glances toward Bruce, and… while ordinarily she would have waited for the next instruction, Batgirl simply nods. "I'll meet you both back at the Cave. I'm going to do a sweep around the block just to be sure there's no trail."

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