Everybody Wants Gordo

September 07, 2018:

A mutant PI stalks a contact to Gotham and makes an unlikely bat-shaped ally.

A Warehouse in Gotham

Characters

NPCs: Gordo the Goatman

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Queens. Brooklyn. Even Manhattan. Gordo wasn't to sure of many things in life, but he knew where he wasn't safe anymore. That's why he went to Gotham. That's why he was running now. A long time informant of Rictor's who had his ear to the ground when it came to the local, discarded mutant populations, he was a man who knew every kid with green skin or cat claws from here to Metropolis. The homeless, the tossed aside, they were his bread and butter, and he traded on information much as anyone might, paying with sandwiches and hotel keycards over cash. As much as some might consider him using his own people for benefit, they all couldn't turn down the payday.

Well, until getting paid by him meant going missing.

And that's when Gordo himself went missing, running from those who had noticed that the last three mutant kids he had spoken to had all vanished in his wake. Now he was charging through a run-down warehouse door, panting his breath into the air as his hooved feet and had long ago shed the special shoes that made him pass.

Here in the dark, away from prying eyes and well past midnight, he pressed against a wall between two stacks of pallets among a maze of other stacks, and tries to slow his breathin to keep himself hidden from a man he might once have called friend, if not acquaintance.

Now, he hid from Rictor like a man might try to hide from the devil - with prayers and a barely held hope.

*

Around the mutant circles, the man known as Rictor was known to be principled, but in an old world sort of way. That is, the rule of law matters less than true justice - and that sometimes the rule itself gets in the way. That actually gives him more respect in certain circles. He's not someone who will turn you in for shoplifting or fencing if you're a mutant who can't hold down a job because of prejudice. He knows that a certain amount of illegality is just a fact of life when the system is stacked against you.

In a similarly old-world justice sort of way, he's not very quick to forgive betrayal - either personal or ones against the community. He caught on to Gordo's potential culpability too late to save the latest batch of mutant kids, and that's on him. But he'll be damned if he's going to let this sort of thing continue.

He stalks between the palettes. He's not particularly tall, nor does he cut a superheroic figure, but there's something about his stride that suggests someone dangerous and confident. He's nondescript in the beat-up jeans, well-worn leather shoes and the long-sleeved gray shirt. Normally he wears a leather jacket, but it's still too early in the fall and the weather has been too humid to need that particular accessory.

"A guilty man does not run, Gordo. If someone has something on you, if that is why you are helping them, I can help you. Maybe you didn't know," a shrug. He's moving away from the hiding mutant's position. "Maybe you did not want to know. I don't want to make you my enemy." He flexes his hand into a fist. There's a strange, low-frequency whine in the air. The various bits and pieces in the warehouse rattle in place.

*

Wood rattles and tumbles, and Gordo's heart leaps in his chest. He thinks to run, but as the palettes fall over to reveal the stalking form of Rictor, Gordo freezes in place. His hands shoot out, perhaps to use some power against Rictor, but it seems he's just hoping to keep the man's wrath at bay, cowering downward, choking back goatly sobs that spill into his billy-goat beard.

"I ain't… I ain't… I tried to warn'em. Told'm they were comin'. Even when they forced me to find'em, I tried to do right but they wouldn't listen!"

This is a man in over his head, faced with someone who clearly has real power beyond his astute nature. And so Rictor will have before him the long eared goat-man, cowering in his army jacket, his strange eyes leaking tears between a choked baying, and shifting blame to anywhere but his currently endangered hide.

"Please!! You gotta believe me! They made me! THEY MADE ME!!"

*

Rictor flexes his fingers. The high whine ends, but not all at once. There's a wave of energy that extends from him and rattles the pallets a little more before everything settles. He walks towards the goat-man, chin lifting.

"But you are afraid of what I will do to you. This suggests to me a guilty conscience. Consider me your priest. Confess to me your sins." He stops a few steps from the scared man, fingers curled under just enough to suggest he's prepared to make the fist again.

"How did they make you lead these children away? What did you offer them? What did they offer you?"

*

Gordo looks up as Rictor piles on his questions, and offers himself as ready to receive his confession. In the goat-man's face, a new terror dawns, one that ratches upwards with the tilt of his eyes, until he's looking far above Rictor's serious expression.

There is no sound from the new arrival. Only the slow break of the moonlight streaming in, taking the shape of something almost mythological. Two points that rise above the light at Rictor's back, encasing him and the other in a shadow with a shape that has brought dread to those who thought the shadows belonged to them. For years now, The Batman has brought worse than light to their dark corners. He has brought fear.

Atop a stack of palettes perhaps a dozen feet behind the detective, stands the moonlit form of this interloper, someone who wears the trappings of the Bat, and at first glance, might think this was the Legend himself. But a longer look reveals the truth of her stature, of her gender, unless the stories have been wrong all along.

Bat-Girl?

Batling?

Bat-Robin?!

Whoever she is, she trades on Batman's theatricality, and clearly has some of his flair for the dramatic, allowing her entrance, subtle and escalating until finally from behind a mask that covers her entire face, she speaks with voice that's deeper than one might expect, and with all the force of the man she emulates.

"He's mine."

In this city, for those who know what this particular caped crusader stands for, even if they don't know her name, those two words would be enough.

Cape slides into place around her, hiding away her physicality, a floating mask of pointed darkness, eyeless and mouthless and fixed on Rictor alone.

*

There is power in symbols, yes. But Rictor is not a man easily intimidated. He looks up as the shadow falls, eyebrows arching high. "I have heard that they have the flare for the dramatic here in Gotham. But I did not expect to be treated to such an entrance." He grins a little, a faint twinkle in his eyes despite the seriousness of the situation.

He nods towards Gordo, "He is his own man. And he has crimes to answer for within his own community. A community that crosses lines that vigilantes may have pissed out and claimed as their own." He makes a vague gesture. "And from what I understand, those who wear the clothes of the bat are not mutants."

*

For Cassandra Cain, it is not about Rictor's words, but the intention she might find in breath and posture. The tick of every expression. The earnest nature in his eyes. For all that it might have looked like, one man chasing another - a man she knows - into this dark place, assumptions could well up without time to process or explain. Would Batman have made a move? Been an aggressor? She asks herself, always thinking about what he might of done, while realizing she has abilities he may never have. As much as she tries to process the meaning behind each of Rictor's sounds, so complex beyond the few words she truly understands, she seems to know the truth - Rictor is not here to hurt Gordo without reason.

But she can fill in the blanks in those words that are sometimes hard for her to understand, looking past Rictor to Gordo, also her informant, if not quite so willing as he might have been with Rictor back in the day.

"Kids. Missing. Skullduggers. They t-"

Gunfire sings out from the other end of the warehouse, ripping through the maze of wood that provides little by way of hard cover, three different machine guns all singing a similar toon as they seek to cut through the dark to find their man, asking their own questions, in their own menacing tone, for the very, very popular Gordo.

The Black Bat leaps, even as Gordo tries to run. A batarang finds his ankle, sending him into a skid that is punctuated by lead pelting the wall just about where his head would have been.

"Down!" She cries to Rictor, a man she has come to know in only the briefest of moments, but already prefers to those who the men who shoot at them. Men with skulls painted on their faces, and barbed wire wrapped bats at their backs. They dress in leather. Blood paints them, old and new, the stink of it ripe.

These are the Skullduggers.

They want their goat.

*

When you've been around the dark recesses of humanity as long as he has, you start to grok to the narratives of human bullshit a bit faster than your average schlub. Everybody wants Gordo, ergo, he's in the middle of everything. He's mixed up in something bad and deep, which really was his suspicion but a PI likes to have their instincts confirmed.

Unfortunately, he doesn't have a chance to congratulate himself on character well-read. Because suddenly there's a hail of gunfire. He almost interferes in the batarang-throw, but he puts together why she did it a moment later. That gives him the confidence to turn his back on her without worry she's going to break Gordo's neck when he's not looking.

He drops down, ducking the hail of gunfire. He flings out his hands and sends a blast of energy at the piles of pallets, knocking them between the thugs and their position. It won't stop them, but it should slow them down while providing a bit of cover.

*

There are more of them then just the three.

That much is clear when palettes go flying and they're all forced to duck from gunfire. RIctor's shot across their bow forces two machine guns from angry grasps. Another batarang finds the third, sticking to the side of it before flash-banging the three gunmen.

The illumination lights up that side of the warehouse. It also makes clear that FIVE had begun charging just moments after palettes pelted them, slowing them, but not stopping.

But she is there.

The slip of a shadow trails cape to interpose herself, the tips of her costume-ears barely grazed by a swung bat as she ducks, A thrown chain finding looking for her leg but finding and swatting only cape aside. These, she does not engage directly, dancing between these two men like raindrops dance between a walking crowd on a path to the pavement.

The Black Bat goes for the rest. The three gunmen. The two others, half blinded by the flashbang but coming to their senses.

Rictor will get to see what it means to stand tall against Cassandra Cain, and it means much the same here as standing tall against a hurricane. Fists, feet, and elbows, flowing from one eager body to the next, and it all, every bit of it, looks like choreography for the way she moves between them with unbridled, disabling fury.

Bones break, diaphragms spasm in choking coughs. Somewhere a baseball bat meets Cassandra's fist and loses.

But all that becomes a backdrop for the two she left behind, the two stumbling in a running charge towards Rictor. Barbed wire wrapped bat in one man's hand, the other with his whirling chain, and for both of them the stink of rot on their breaths, on their body, and a wild look in their eyes that cannot be natural.

The first man whirls his bat at Rictor, the other, slower, tries the same move he did against the Bat, going low and for his leg.

*

Rictor may not have long to appreciate the deadly acrobatics that Cassandra displays, but with moves like that, it only takes a second or two to grasp the skill with which she moves and engages her enemies. Despite the seriousness of the situation, there's that little twinkle in his eyes again. It's the glimmer of a man who might not always want to fight - but if the fight is righteous? Might as well have a little fun with it.

His power before was invisible and subtle. Now, as the men charge towards him, light flares up until each hand is surrounded by a halo of energy. He dodges backwards. He's no acrobat, but he knows how to brawl and how to avoid a swinging fist. He's only backing up far enough to give enough room to swing those two haloed hands together to clap in front of him.

When the two halos of energy collide, the air all around them shudders with a low frequency wave of energy, like a dramatic bass note in surround sound kicked up to eleven. When his hands come together, two fingers point out in a gun shape that he uses to direct the seismic wave at the two oncoming men. The strength of the wave is enough to lift them up off their feet and shatter any wood palettes in its path. The wave is powerful enough that Cassandra and her foes should feel it as well, though he exercised a fair degree of control to direct it primarily at his attackers.

*

Sometimes it's the little things. Like what Rictor will get to see in the eyes of these clearly drug-drunk men who charge him, as those energy waves come together and the vibrations alone lift them off their feet. Hair lifts upwards. Skin seems to pulsate to the low thrum of overpowering bass. Then, Rictor's fingers point and the both of them go flying, leaving behind their weapons as they tumble end over end and the shockwaves cascades outwards.

PSHT!!

The sound of a grapple fires skyward, and barely pulls Cassandra out of the way as those two fly into what's left of the rest, sending them all into a rolling wave towards the wall.

And when she lands? It is near one who thought to rise from the sidelines. One who looks at her as he performs the same trick she did. Except, it is not a shadow that grows, but the man himself.

Even as Cassandra rises from her crouch to look up and up at him, immobile and unflinching, the man swells as if he means to burst, muscle rippling and growing to obscene proportions as he towers some fifteen feet tall before them both.

"GIVE-"

-US-

"-GOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!"

This new hulk tries to smash, slamming fists left and right as Cassandra tries to dodge and weave between the blows, throwing fists into joints that should be vulnerable, a kick to a pressure point that should disable.

Finally, she she goes for his throat, but not in the way a killer would, driving upward and forward only to meet an impossibly fast reaction that snatches her out of the air and sends her flying through a stack of palettes to land in a rolling tumble near the cowering Gordo.

The throw clearly took alot out of her. One arm hangs at her side, limp. She staggers as she rises, straddling the goat to defend him to her last.

But this threat, it seems, is beyond her.

*

"Well…that is a new trick," says Rictor as he stands there, stance ready, as the man turns giant before their eyes. He shifts his stance to make sure he's between the man and Gordo, still wearing halos on his hands. "See, this is why we tell the kids to not do the drugs. This one is on steroids and look what he's become." The smile flits again.

He watches as Cassandra tries her counterstrike - movements that would have certainly incapacitated an ordinary (albeit, large) man. When she goes flying, he tries to throw a wave in just the right way to slow her descent, but she goes too fast and too hard. His is a blunt instrument, not a scalpel.

He moves and dodges, barely missing being smashed by the beast of a man. "Get him out of here!" And then the halos around his hands start to glow brighter and brighter, licks of energy dancing between both like a plasma globe. He gathers the energy between both hands, then slams the gathered orb into the ground. He has enough control to send the bulk of the wave out at the hulking beast rather than back at Cassandra and Gordo, but they're definitely going to feel the rumble - especially since the wave cracks support beams and the concrete floor. The energy wave with its ear-popping bass note is strong enough to taste and to vibrate everyone around to their core. The earth below them shudders as his energy finds some latent cracks in Gotham's bedrock.

*

FA-TOOOOM!!!

The seismic blast powers into the great beast of a man even as Cassandra works to fire another grapple and pulls Gordo away to safety. The other Skullduggers begin to hobble and run for their lives, save for one, who fires a parting shot. And another. And another. Not a gun though. A dart gun. Each shot hits the Massive Man's back. Each one makes his eyes bulge and his muscles ripple. Until he begins to scream. Until he begins to grow bigger and bigger as the building threatens to come down around them all.

"No!!"

The cry from Cassandra is for this man, even so monstrous, so dangerous, a person she wishes she could save. From her vantage above, she shouts to Rictor, before popping her dislocated arm back into the socket to take Gordo and dive through a high, side window near a metal crossbeam. "Run!"

She honors Rictor's choice, that she save Gordo. That she swing him to safety, but the moment he's on the ground and safe, if unconscious, she turns to look at the shuddering building.

She watches on in horror knowing there's no time for her to get back towards Rictor, as the living man-bomb prepares to explode.

*

Rictor mutters a curse in Spanish - one of those ones so particular and crass that it resists easy translation. Also, likely sacrilegious as most good curses are. He doesn't like turning tail and running, but when a man is bloating and expanding inside a building he's made unstable, there's little choice.

He turns on a dime and drops into a dead run for the exit. He uses his ability to pull a wooden palette down in front of him. Then he drops to his knees on it and skids it forward, while reaching back to charge up a burst of seismic energy. His eyes go wide as he sees the bloating man expanding his gooey mass to fill the building, no doubt splintering the beams that he weakened. It's all he can do in the chaos to let out a burst of energy behind him, rocketing him forward on the palette.

He goes careening out of the warehouse on the piece of wood like a kid on a toboggan. Just like said kid, he's a little out of control. He tries to direct himself, but ends up slamming against a wall. The wood shatters beneath him, sending out a spray of splinters. He bounces hard off the wall, pieces of wood embedded in his knees and his hands. He groans, bruised but conscious - and maybe with a broken rib or two.

*

The sight of Rictor SURFING a palette brings her two notions: That looks beyond fun. That is not likely to end well.

She is probably right on both counts. With Gordo on the rooftop of the next building, she dives downward, a gloved hand finding brick to slow her fall and her cape doing the rest as she lands, letting it billow around Rictor and mantle over him just as the Massive Man gives his last scream and explodes outward. It's enough to set off the building, and bits of brick and mortar skip outward, dust flying towards them both, but her cape weathers it all, made of stronger stuff than it looks.

Finally, looking over this man who stood between a killer and an innocent, who stood and refused to move when Cassandra was unable to, she reaches down and offers her hand.

"Black Bat."

In the aftermath of it all, though her vocabulary is short and to the point, they can communicate well enough. The Skullduggers gave Gordo that drug. Told him to go to his mutant friends. Show the Duggers where they lived, so they could Harvest. Said they'd shoot him over and over until HE exploded if he didn't help. But Gordo knows too, where they took them, and with tears and shame in his eyes, he will tell them both where, perhaps, they may find these kids alive.

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