An Offer He Could Refuse

October 13, 2014:

Running across some more metahuman traffickers, Midnighter and Vorpal have a major difference of opinion.

A Gotham Warehouse

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Ever since Robin mentioned the trafficking problems to Bobby and company last night, Keith's been thinking obsessively about it. Whomever it was that was doing this obviously had some interesting equipment on hand, to deal with metas. That ruled out a certain portion of the underworld in Gotham. But it still left a considerable colony of parasites- people he didn't have direct knowledge of, but only suggestions here and there.

He is in his Vorpal form, reluctantly- every time he transforms, he is broadcasting to the Circle Oroboros "I am here!", making himself ripe for the capturing. But they haven't come, yet, so that means he probably has some more time. They have not yet decided to hunt him.

If they are after metahumans, then the best thing to do is to be the bait as well. He has heard rumors about the warehouse across from him. As he crouches in the shadows, he pulls some extra shadows over himself with his powers of illusion, since he is incapable of casting shadows by himself in his cheshire form, and watches for any activity…

There are times to hide in the shadows and few people are as good at that as the Midnighter. Then there are times when direct action is called for and he's just as good at that. He's spent an hour or so waiting, watching to see who comes and goes. Now he's done waiting. Stepping out of the shadows, he walks to the warehouse door and kicks it in. Maybe it was unlocked, maybe not. This gets the point across. "You all are in very deep shit." he announces just in case they didn't get the point.

"What on Earth-

"What on Earth-" Vorpal's ears twitch as he sees a man walking up to the warehouse and… "Midnighter. Of course," the cheshire mutters to himself. The man who was a walking death wish (often for others) would be the one to just waltz right in, because he knew he was that good… and that probably nobody would be leaving the warehouse alive. Which was something Vorpal did not condone. A few leaps into the air through the Rabbit Hole and he's there-

Of course, in the span of a few seconds, the Warehouse has become a shooting range. What men were in front when Midnighter made his entrance start retreating frantically under the cover of gunfire coming from the higher levels, guards posted to watch the doors from a high vantage point.

The brief moment before Midnighter got a look at who was in the warehouse and when the shooting started was all the time he needed to calculate his plan of attack. As fingers pull triggers, he's diving to the right, pulling out shuriken to throw at the guards above and rolling to come up behind a stack of crates. Super strength isn't his thing but while he can't lift them he can tip them and he sends a few crashing down. "Those who agree to answer my questions, get to live. Those who don't will answer my questions anyway."

Vorpal crashes through the doors, and then quickly pulls back as there are bullets flying. The men seem to have either not heard Midnighter's ultimatum, or choose to ignore it completely. As the crates are tipped over, there are certain muffled cries and thuds coming from them. One of the guards is stuck by a shuriken to the throat and he crumples forward and over the platform he's in, falling to the ground with a disquieting 'thud'.

"Midnighter, what the hell do you think you're doing?" Vorpal calls out, becoming invisible and rolling across the floor so he can take cover behind the crates. Even when you are invisible, it's not a good idea to just run around an area that has become maggoty with bullets.

"Working." is Midnighter's answers as he snaps together his staff. "You can either join me or stop talking." A couple more shuriken are thrown at those up above and he slips off between the crates to work his way around.

The feline lets out an animalistic growl as the shuriken fly true and take care of another set of guards. By this point, it has dawned on the criminals inside that the threat level is astronomical. They haven't even notice the second vigilante because the first vigilante is diligently dwindling their numbers so effectively. Some shouted, quick arguments, and then there is the smell of gasoline, while those who remain in the upper levels keep firing in the hopes of keeping Midnighter right. over. there.

"If by that you mean killing people willy-nilly, you've got that right!" Vorpal hisses. At least now he can speak up, since he is not under someone else's orders. He notices two men siding up along an upper platform. If they move any further, they'll have them in their sights. A Rabbit hole opens behind them and two purple arms reach over to grab them by the heads and smash them together, rather violently.

*sniff* Gasoline. That only has one possible meaning; they're going to try to burn the place down. Midnighter ges up a stack of crates and starts running from one to another, tossing more shuriken when necessary but heading for those with the gasoline. "Slavers deserve nothing more. And I gave them a choice." He doesn't usually even bother with that much.

Even Vorpal with his damaged sense of smell can smell the gasoline now. Damn. "Yeah, you're a regular Mother Theresa," he retorts and leaps up after climbing up a steep tower of crates. Bullets zoom past him but that's not as important to him as finding whomever has the gasoline. Or the matches. He lands and rolls, and another bullet gets too close for comfort, so he creates a glowing shield for safety-

The men spraying gasoline around as if they were on a baptismal frenzy are close to the end of the warehouse, but there is a group of thugs standing between Midnighter and them. They've been decimated by the shuriken attacks, and a few also break away and run for their lives. The few that remain, though, spray the air with bullets towards the two vigilantes, causing Vorpal to have to duck behind his shield.

He could, conceivably, open a rabbit hole to send their bullets back at them, but he's not at that desperate a stage, yet.

As he heads for the back of the warehouse, Midnighter lets a couple bullets hit him in the chest. It's a good tradeoff for the more direct route and that's why he wears the armor. The bruises from the impact will heal within minutes. He kicks a crate down onto the gunmen guarding the ones with the gasoline and follows it down into the middle of them. The crate's a good diversion and he rams the end of his staff through the head of one of the ones with the gasoline before leaping to the side and letting the gunmen shoot the second one. "Last chance. In ten seconds, I roll you around the floor and grab some matches."

At that threat, the remaining men quickly yield- except for one who keeps his gun stubbornly trained on Midnighter-

A tiny anvil, though, fixes the issue as the man quickly joins his compatriots on the ground. Vorpal, furious, dismisses his shield. "What… the fuck… is wrong with you? This place is a goddamned massacre!" he points to the guards who have either surrendered the spirit or are in the process of doing so due to shuriken. "Jesus christ, what if one of the bullets killed someone in the crates?"

At this, the last remaining conscious man who was part of the Gasoline Complot stares at Vorpal and then at Midnighter, followed by a "What?"

"I know which ones are occupied." Midnighter answers. The rest of Vorpal's objections? Stating the obvious doesn't require an reply. Idling twirling his staff, he gazes at the sole conscious guard. "Spill it. Everything. Give me what, give me who. And you walk out of here. I can hear your respiration change and your heart beat so don't think about lying."

The cheshire narrows his eyes. "He's walking out, regardless of what threats you make. If you're too incompetent to make him talk, I know plenty of people who'll have him singing like a canary."

Just so the man doesn't decide to flee while the getting is good, several purple bands appear around his legs. The side effect is that it causes the man to topple over- but nobody's objecting.

"Do you want to make an issue of it, Midnighter?" the young man crosses his arms and keeps narrowed eyes on the other vigilante.

Alas, poor Vorpal, because of his unique looks nobody could ever really see him as intimidating. It was the purple. Were he black with red eyes? Perhaps. Outside of a formidable physique, everything else was more unusual than threatening.

Midnighter just looks at Vorpal then slowly grins. "I like you." More or less. But it's more than most people get. Then he looks at the bound gunman. "You heard him. Sing. Or I get a chance to make you talk. You don't actually need arms to walk out." Yep, totally serious.

You do. Otherwise you fall all over the place." Vorpal says, completely serious at that, too. "Something to do with counter-balance. In any case, let's first get these people out of there before someone farts and ignites the gasoline. Interrogations can come later."

"I've got that taken care of." Reaching up, Midnighter taps the comm in his ear. "Midnighter here. No, I don't need to talk to her. I've got more. Current location. I'll wait here." He doesn't bother with good-byes and just shuts it off with another tap.

"Weatherman is on this too?" Vorpal asks with a raised eyebrow, making sure not to mention She Who Must Not Be Mentioned Lest She Castrate You. "So this is pretty huge, then. I haven't had an opportunity to get debriefed by Robin, I've been too busy trying not to get murdered."

"They'll contact the FBI and send them. Kidnapping and trafficking are federal crimes not local. Not to mention the Gotham cops are so dirty, they might be involved. If you want to be useful, go make sure all the others here are dead and can't start any fires." Not that Midnighter left any alive unintentionally but it gives Vorpal something to do and some did run away.

The cheshire hmms and encases the bound man in a construct bubble. Part so that he does not slink away, and part so that Midnighter doesn't get any ideas. he walks along the bodies with disgust. While some did run away, they obviously value loyalty less than their lives, as none of them seem to come back. "You were home sick when they discussed the proportional response thing, weren't you?"

As Vorpal goes off on his round, Midnighter just crosses his arms and leans back against a stack of crates. "Strange. I'd say that killing those who are trying to kill you is exactly proportional. Not to mention that it keeps them from ever hurting others again. If it wasn't for my concern for the victims, none of them would have escaped to victimize more people in the future."

"And then the day you make a mistake, who gets to put you down?" Vorpal retorts, coming back around after checking all the bodies. Yep. Dead.

"Deadly force isn't something to be wielded about like a toy. You are far too liberal with it. Innocent men are sent to the electric chair by mistake all the time, and you expect me to believe you're always infallible and always right on whether or not someone deserves death? Bullshit."

"Where did you get the idea that I care what you believe?" Midnighter asks, glancing over at Vorpal. "I need neither your belief nor your approval." He considers the gunman in the bubble. "Is your toy airtight? While suffocation is a good way to start, I don't want him dying before we learn what he knows."

"There are air holes. And you'd better care about what I believe, if you want your career in Gotham to be smooth, Midnighter," Vorpal frowns. "I may not be the Batman, but I have just as much tolerance for this shit as he does. Unlike him, I admit there is some inevitable wiggle room. But you don't do that. You only have one setting: kill or be killed. And quite frankly, it's nowhere near as efficient as you think it is. You think just one bozo is going to give us enough information to get ahead? If you had been thinking strategically instead of bathing in your blood lust, we could have captured this entire warehouse intact, you with your expertise and I with my powers working together. But no!" He waves a hand in anger, "You had to go in and kill everybody! Oh, wait, almost everybody."

"You really don't want to go up against me." Midnighter says mildly. If not for the tone, it might be considered a threat. Instead, it's more a friendly warning. Well, a warning. "You might also recall, I had no idea you were here. Next time, spray paint your name on the side of the building so I know before I go in. As for this one, he knows enough to give me another rung on the ladder which is all any hired gun is likely to do."

"I don't? What are you going to do to me if I do? Kill me, like you do to every convenient inconvenience? Torture me? Break me?" The cheshire leans against the crates, his expression hard and angry. "Grab a fucking number. I'm being hunted by people who make you look like Mary Poppins and, right now? I've kind of stopped giving a fuck all things considered." There was that sword of Damocles hanging over his head, after all. "And spray painting my name—"

The cat rolls his eyes, "You burst into the goddamned place and yelled. If they had had any presence of mind they would have executed the prisoners as soon as you walked in. I'm surprised it took them that long to decide to burn down the fricking place."

Vorpal grows silent and just glares at Midnighter. "But you're not going to change that."

"Only if you decide to make an issue of it." Again that mild tone. "There's too few people trying to make a difference even if they are misguided and irritating. But you're wrong." Midnighter points out. "Every person in a crate is money. Killing them means they lose money and make their bosses mad. Killing one man however is easy. Or so they thought. By the time they learned differently, it was too late."

"Except that that kind of man doesn't sneak around," Vorpal points, "Easy to identify by the fact that they kick in the doors and bellow. And I do make an issue of it, you thoughtless son of a bitch!" he draws his claws across a crate.

"This is my city as much as anyone else's. You walk in and make a bloodbath and then you tell everybody that you kill because the cops are crooked and the crooks will just walk free again?" his eyes widen in fury. "You goddamned idiot, the gall of that… you know, you could fix this, make the difference you talk about so much? It'd just require one little thing." He walks up to Midnighter and points at his face.

"Join the GCPD. That's right, you heard me. Join 'em, ferret out the corruption from inside. Instead of, you know, killing the sheep you would be actually dealing with the shepherds. But that's not convenient, isn't it?" his voice turns into a low growl. "You can't indulge in bloodbaths that way. Actually cleaning up instead of making a mess isn't nearly much animalistic, visceral fun as punching someone's spleen out through their eye socket is, isn't it?"

"Not nearly as much fun." Midnighter agrees easily. He does enjoy his work and makes no pretense otherwise. "And not nearly as long. Whether you want to admit it or not, it makes a very big difference to the victims. The ones who won't get killed or kidnapped when the criminals are back on the street again. Go ahead and work to change it from within. More power to you if you manage to succeed. Meanwhile, I'll do what I was created for and that is not working within a bureaucracy."

Vorpal snarls. "Coward. Always taking the easy path." His fists are tight and his arms are shaking slightly. He turns around to walk to the other creates. "Get the fuck out of here before I anvil you in the colon or something like that…" he snarls, his voice sounding guttural and savage. It's obvious that there's more than meets the eye to this, and that Midnighter isn't the sole cause of fury. But he's not exactly in a talkative mood.

"Coward? Who's the one who refuses to make the hard choices and get his hands dirty. I'm willing to take responsibility instead of passing the buck." Midnighter points out. "And I'm going nowhere without hearing what this piece of trash has to say. Not to mention waiting for the FBI and making sure they have things under control. You're welcome to run along."

Vorpal turns around and narrows his eyes.

"Fine" he practically snarls, eyes glowing. The shadows in the warehouse stretch unnaturally until there is very little that is not in shadow in one way or another.

"If you want his answers, you'll get to ask Robin," The cheshire says as he walks up right next to the ball holding the criminal. "Him I can trust not to break his neck." One of them, at least.

"So you're going to steal my prisoner from me?" It's not really a question that Midnighter asks. "And then what? Turn him over to the police? That wasn't part of the deal we had with him. Let him loose? Congratulations. You're making the hard choices now if you're willing to accept the responsibility for anyone he hurts in the future by deciding that his information is more important than any potential victims."

"Nah, I'm rubbing it in your face that if he goes free? It's because people like you had the chance, the resources and the power to clean the PD up, and decided it was more fun to twist some spleens out. Vics' blood is in your hand. HEY, I'm not the guy working for a branch of the government." The cheshire smirks. "I'm poor as dirt-" which was true, even if he was dating a millionaire. "I don't have the ears you've got. So if you want to make a difference? Be a man for once and actually go to the source instead of the symptoms. You can. I can't. I don't even exist, much less have the ability to join a police force."

"That's a fairly decent twisting of the situation to make yourself feel better. Do you believe it more than I do?" Again, it's not really a question. Midnighter considers Vorpal a moment, the hint of a smile visible. "Then join Stormwatch. Consider this an invitation." Granted, he's not sure of Waller will be happy or furious but then, he doesn't really care. Bluff called.

"I'm going to have to decline that invitation. I don't know if you were listening or not… but I'm going to be dead soon." The Cheshire says, his voice sounding suddenly very tired, and very weary. "So in the little time that's left, I need to make sure Robin gets this information. You know how to call the bird, he'll give it to you as well. Maybe he'll let you play with him, under supervision." A rabbit hole opens on the ground, next to Vorpal and the sphere. "As for me, though, don't expect to see me around for too long. Some shit's about to go down and it's not going to be pretty." He could feel it in his bones. Or maybe it was the GOtham weather changing to Autumn. Doom and Gotham felt very similar. "Capisce?"

"In fact, I don't know how to contact Robin unless you mean through the girl and do you really want to get her involved?" Midnighter studies Vorpal then shrugs. "How long you have to live doesn't make much difference as to whether you join Stormwatch or not. You can be effective until someone kills you." That's how it often works, after all. "But you know how to get in touch with me when you need help."

"That'll be a problem." Concerning Robin. He reaches into his suit and takes something out- "This is the burner phone number I use to contact Robin. If you try to contact me to get to him and I don't answer, expect the worst and call him directly." He flicks the card, and it flies towards Midnighter.

"I don't believe in leaving loose ends when you die. I did that once, not again." He pushes the ball into the Rabbit hole.

"You will get the information, Midnighter. That I can promise you." He smirks. "But you'll forgive me if I can't stand the sight of you right at this moment. After all, the people who are coming after me have your exact same attitude about these things. That being said… try to stay alive. Who knows? Maybe I'll come back to haunt you." And at this time, he does grin, because you can't deliver that line without the grin, even as he jumps through the rabbit hole.

Midnighter catches the card and drops it into his pocket. He just shakes his head as Vorpal disappears. He's been threatened by the best of them and not one threatened to haunt him. Crazy cat boy. Breaking off a pipe, he starts marking those crates with someone in them to make things easier for the FBI.

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