A Deli Undone

September 05, 2018:

Damian's workday is interrupted by a very lame message.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

John Zepetto, age 32, runs the small deli on the corner. It’s a family business. His grandfather opened it. His father ran it. Now, John is in charge. The family has always assured they were up to date on their “dues” to the local mercantile association. This protected them from acts of petty vandalism and other such troubles.

John was always a dreamer. When the mercantile association approached him about investing in the business he was too-quick to accept. A new awning. A new deli slicer. Tables. Chairs. A little bit of laundering here a little bit of laundering there …


John got a text from a familiar number. ‘Alley. 20 Mins.’


Rain pours from the heavens drenching the squalid streets of Red Hook.

A man screams from the alleyway behind Zepetto’s deli. John Zepetto dangles like a worm on a hook upside down four stories above the ground. The steel snare around his ankle runs upward to an eye-hook in the roof of the building and then back down to a grapnel gun.

A wraith has coalesced upon the fire-escape. Black hood pulled up over his head a voluminous cloak consumes the form in a blanket of shadows. Except at the front, where the fold is pushed partway open and the tip of a grapnel gun exudes.


John Zepetto shrieks. Plummeting to just inches above the ground.


A fricative sound. Zepetto is pulled back up to face the living shadow once more.

“I’ve told you everything I know!” John Zepetto is gagging on his own words. He’s beyond terrified. Upside down and suspended the blood has trouble escaping his head. It’s making him woozy. Adrenaline and pounding heart sounding like a steady snare drum pounding in his inner ear, “What else do you want to know?”

“Nothing,” the shadow’s voice is deep, callous, like that of a demon pulled from the basest fears of primordial man.

*CLICK* Scream. *WHRRR*

A Robin toying with its worm.


"If you're gonna' drop him, do it already. This is getting annoying to watch."

The Red Hood has arrived. Or rather he's been here for a couple minutes. He's been doing his stealthy thing but he's pretty much just watching from the fire escape that's across from the other fire escape from which there is things happening. Because he wants to be noticed. Or he just wants to watch what's going down.

Probably all of the above.

"Or. We can speed things up." Red Hood gives a bit of a wave with the pistol that he's carrying right now and motions towards the foolish one that's being interrogated. "I can even do the honors if you want."

Looks like this dude is definitely ready to kill this dude and move on to the next step in this process.


The shadow stirs vaguely when addressed. A shift of the head beneath the hood a dead-tell for Jason that he has Damian’s attention.

*CLICK* Scream. The cord goes taught and John bounces slightly before listing somewhat to the right. *CLICK*

The gun releases the cord. Zepetto falls into a heap the steel cable still taught about his ankle. He tugs at it for a moment, fat fingers furiously unable to pry it off, and so then he begins to scramble away. The opposite end of the steel cable rattles against the fire escape and brick as it climbs the building, travels through the eye-hook, and then falls over the side of the building into the alley. Zepetto is gone by now but the steel cable follows like a dog’s leash with no owner.

As this occurred the grapnel gun disappeared beneath the cloak leaving only a mass of shrouded in shadow.

“I don’t bother /you/ when /you’re/ working,” the artificially distorted voice retorts as John gets out of earshot and then the next words are in Damian’s own voice, “This is why nobody likes you. One minute you’re crying about how you just want to be left alone and then the next you’re trying to make sure I pay you some attention.”

“Go hug it out with Nightwing. I’m busy.”


"That's fair."

Red Hood's got his own audio distortion going on. So this is just going to be one of those distort offs or something. It's interesting to do this when there's so much violence that could be happening instead. Either way, though, the Red Hood just shrugs and puts his pistol away.

"But I do have Annoy Nightwing on the schedule for next week. So don't worry too much about that."

Red Hood leans back against the fire escape he's on, getting more comfortable. Maybe to show that he's not here for a fight. Or maybe just to try and keep things civil for as long as possible.

"Listen. There's a good chance we're gonna' be fightin' in about three minutes. But there's another option. One where I don't have to kick your ass and we both can get back to work."

Hood looks over at the other Bat Brat. "Interested?"


Robin shifts slightly as the pistol is holstered. In doing so he lifts his head slightly allowing the bottom of his chin to protrude from shadow. Even mostly hidden his smirk is palatable.

“Yeah /okay/,” Damian mocks him, “You mean the one where you’re not spending the next week nursing fractured ribs.” Robin asks, “Then to know you’ve got to lick your wounds only to have Nightwing break them all over again next week. Is that what they call the /thug life/?”

He steps backward and reaches out from beneath the cloak. A hand going to the rear railing which he grabs and then springs over it. Kicking off the wall he falls backward for a half-second before the cloak billows open. Catching his momentum and allowing him to connect with the ground.

Cloak now just barely draped over his shoulders his armored form is visible. Lightweight Kevlar and polymers brushed with hints of green and crimson.

“We’re not fighting yet.” Damian observes as if already tired of having to explain the obvious to Jason, “So I’m still listening.”


"It's only been a minute and a half, geez."

Red Hood's movements aren't as ninja-y as the Robin's are. Instead, he rolls towards the edge of the fire escape he was relaxing on and over the railing. It's almost a flat fall before he twists to and land some odd feet away. But still close enough for his bullets to work. He just figures he should be on the ground too.

"Fractured ribs? Again? You guys really gotta' work on somethin' more painful. Just sayin'."

Red Hood adjusts his jacket a bit and regards Robin with a tilted head. His faceless mask makes it hard to do expressions of amused annoyance. So he has to use body language or something.

"Here's the thing. There's a shipment of guns comin' in tonight. And I wanna' be there to do what you idiots don't do. Y'know, take care of the actual problem. So I'm not really feelin' the whole 'pow bang oof' situation right now. So. If you're willin' to take a little message back to Batman, we can call this even."


“I don’t have a blade small enough to cleanly castrate you,” Damian says with irritation as Hood hits the ground, “I’m willing to give it a try though. Just to see if I can do it.”

“Even?” Robin questions with indignation in his voice which curls with a flare of annoyance, “You interrupted /me/. I get to decide when you’ve paid for that transgression.”

“Give me the message, /first/,” he cannot help but be intrigued, ever the curious detective, “and then I’ll decide whether I take it to Batman with or without some other penance.”


"Aw. You're so angry. I love it."

Red Hood moves to lean back against the nearest wall because he's not really looking to get into any scuffles. Not at this exact moment. Even as he leans, though, he's obviously ready for action. He's always ready for action. That's part of his problem.

"Message is simple. Hang up the cowl. Give up his pitiful excuse for dispensing justice. Let someone more willing to do what has to be done take over and I won't keep makin' the lives of all his little 'family' members hell."

Red Hood is likely smiling underneath that weird mask of his. At least that's how the distortion sounds. Amused.


Damian bristles when his anger is noted. His gloved right-hand flexes open and then slowly closes in a conscious display of aggression.

The message is delivered.

“/Really/” Damian leans forward a touch, “That’s /it/?” The younger Wayne cannot conceal his disappointment, “You’re /funny/. No wonder the Joker didn’t finish the job.”

Then it happens …

Right hand unflexes and moves for his belt. Closed left hand pitches outward hurling three small orbs at Hood’s head. They travel the distance between them and crack open igniting in a concussive *CRACK* and a flare of crackling luminescence that momentarily bathes pulses of white light.


The point where his hand earlier met the fire escape earlier explodes. The rusted metal swings downward in a clatter like a jagged pendulum into the alley.

*SIIING* The sound is likely lost to the pops and screeching metal but Damian draws a katana and knowing how the fire escape would fall is able to maneuver forward unharried. He swings once at Red Hood’s waist – no, not in attempt to castrate him. To attempt to sever the pistol he drew earlier from his body.


"… Finally."

Red Hood may have been waiting for a move to be made this entire time. Thus all the stalling and talking and fake message giving. He figured that there was probably some shenanigans going to be afoot and that's what he's been waiting on. Been waiting for the trap to be sprung.

There's a reason why he wears a mask in the style he does. To protect his face and eyes from the various Bat Accessories that he's pretty sure all of Batman's clones carry around. He knows the arsenal well. He's stolen and modified all his gear from the same ideas. So when those orbs come sailing in his direction, he's already pushing off the wall and throwing an arm up to protect his vision. Granted, the helmet-mask is doing that with technology but the arm up makes the sight of that gun even more obvious.

"I always knew I was the funny one."

Red Hood makes sure that quips is sent out in response to Robin's own words and he braces for the impact of the sword that's headed in his direction. Red Hood doesn't seem to want to dodge the sword. Not really. In fact, the only thing he does when that sword slices at his waist is spin. He spins quickly to dip around the sword and Robin's body, extending a hand in the direction of the Assassin Wonder's cloak but that's about it. He's fine letting one of many guns get lost in the battle.

Post-Spin, Red Hood takes a dive to make sure he's not in the way of any falling jagged metal and also out of the range of blinking light that should be on the back of Robin's cloak. Which is blinking even faster since whatever's in the Red Hood's hand has been pressed with the quickness.

Pistol for Mini-Explosive that's about to go boom? That's a fair trade, right?


The Red Hood weaves around his blade. They spin around each other each having an almost preternatural sense for the subtle movements of the other. Damian had hoped that Hood was going to ‘hang out’ on the fire escape when he dismounted but the Batman’s outcast did not disappoint by allowing himself to be out maneuvered in a faux social setting.

There’s an exhilaration to combat with a well-trained opponent. The nights zinging across the rooftops of Gotham pulverizing criminals and dangling henchmen from a line tantamount to the fast-food of vigilantism. Momentarily satisfying but working against a strict regimen long term.

As Jason dives, Damian pivots. His cloak flares outward and to his left and the mnemonic cloth goes rigid as if he were hurtling through the air instead of pivoting on the ground. The change in structure disrupts the explosive’s seating and as the cloth moves he tosses his sword into his other hand and just barely spears beneath it with the tip of his blade, before it the cloak moves fully to his rear and out of reaching, cutting it out.

Unwilling to accept Jason’s trade. He flicks the device back towards the hood. Then jukes forward in preparation to match-and-counter Jason’s countering of his counter.


Anticipation is half the battle when dealing with Bat Brats and the Red Hood has definitely planned ahead. It's just not time to let those plans come to fruition. Not yet. This is the fun part and he's going to enjoy doing battle with the Robin.

It's always fun to beat up on the people that Batman chooses to continue to care about.

Red Hood has a lot of guns so the pistol that's drawn is not the one that's probably on the ground somewhere. A single bullet takes out the soaring explosive device while its in the air and on its way back towards him.

Not much more witty banter to give as Jason decides there's more at stake here than just talking shit. This one's a lot more violent and a lot more effective to fight. Surveillance shows that keeping his distance is probably a better bet than up close and personal. So, he just keeps shooting while backing the hell up. Bullets not intent to really kill or anything. More to allow them to get sword-chopped since he's pretty sure that's next on the battle agenda. Just a slight distraction because he's kicking another small explosive device in the direction of Robin's feet. It's kind of like a Roomba Styled Land-Mine or something.

With proximity sensors for explosion activation. Boom?


That’s a heck of a shot. One that impresses Damian although he doesn’t have the time or inclination to actually communicate that. What transpires next is an exchange of fire. The expertise of Jason’s gunfire is harried by razor-sharp ‘R’ styled shurikens. They zing outward with incredible speed and masterful accuracy. Damian’s violence is evident in that of the series that is tossed more than one is aimed at the Hood’s hood and those are the ones carrying a charge of electricity.

The Roomba-mine skitters across the alleyway. Damian stutter-steps vaulting briefly to one side, hurling another electric ‘R’ at the Hood’s face, and then …


The Roomba pings an bounces into the side of one of the structures. The crumbling masonry is blown apart sending a spray of shrapnel outward. Then the exterior wall collapses. Four stories of bricks collapse into the alleyway sending up a thick crowd of dust.

There is a beat. Silence. Then screaming. The collapse of the wall laying upper-floor apartments bare. It’s not immediately clear what is injury and what is surprise.

The dust and particulate hangs in the alley for a good half-minute before beginning to dissipate. At this point lights are going on all over the area. Windows are open. People are shouting. Sirens can be heard.

There is no further sign of Damian. Buried beneath the bricks? Unlikely, but time will tell.


Red Hood snarls beneath his mask. And his hood. Because he does wear a hood, dammit. It's part of this whole thing.


With that said, Red Hood ignores whatever pain and anguish somebody's feeling and turns to head off in a direction that will take him to his bike so he can get the heck out of here.

Soon as he's around a corner or two, he hits the button on his detonator and that entire deli goes kaboom.

Because Fuck Batman's Informants.

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