Welcome to Gotham

September 22, 2018:

Barbara and Rictor meet, and Babs gives Rictor some helpful intel on his Gotham job.

A Gotham Club

See RP.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Rictor is no stranger to the roughest streets in the roughest cities. He doesn't tend to get hassled because he walks like he belongs there. What gets him hassled is sticking his nose into dangerous people's business.

"You tell Cooper that I know what he is up to!"

A couple of goons shove him back out into the street from the side door of a nightclub. He makes a run back to the door, but is rebuffed by the bouncers. "Your sister is not going to forgive you!" What follows is obviously a very colourful curse in Spanish.

He's making a bit of a scene. There are people lined up to get into the main door of the nightclub a short distance away. It's one of those slightly dodgy clubs where the edgy college kids go to make themselves feel tough, but is also populated by some truly unsavory types.

*

Barbara Gordon has been back in Gotham for now five days, and she is resolute in staying this time — no matter what comes out of New York City. Not even literal Hell could convince her to go back, no matter how much her unconscious thoughts drift to worry about what's happening in a city that isn't even hers to worry about. All heart, this one.

Her friend and roommate, sensing a rare opportunity to get time with the always-busy Babs, pitched the simple idea: a girls' night out. This is what brings Barbara to the front entrance of a nightclub, dressed in leggings, boots, and a cropped top that would make her father frown at her.

She hears the commotion from the alley, and with Alysia distracted with another pair of women just ahead of them, she can sidestep a bit to spot Rictor getting colorful with the bouncers.

In another universe where Barbara Gordon never became Batgirl, she would have ignored such a scene. But here, and now, the un-costumed vigilante can't help but take notice. She drifts further from Alysia who hasn't noticed that Barbara is no longer behind her, and instead stands just at the mouth of the alley.

"What did Cooper do?"

*

Rictor tugs the collar of his leather jacket up around his face. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a joint. He's just about to light it when he catches sight of Barbara. "It's a long and unsavory story. But the short of it is, that pendajo of a club manager has sold out his own blood. I was hired to find out who has been stealing from her, and it turns out it was him." He nods towards it. "You should find another club to buy cheap drinks in."

*

The redhead peeks around Rictor briefly before she arches her brows at him. "You're new to Gotham, aren't you?" Her words are a bit too dry, and perhaps a bit jaded. Someone selling out their own blood? That happens two out of three families. She glances over her shoulder toward Alysia, who is arching her brows at Barbara now that she's noticed the woman isn't with her. She shrugs slightly and then gestures. "I'll catch up! Get us a table, okay?" Then she looks back to Rictor, stepping forward on the flat, sensible heels of her boots. She's given up on higher heels lately, perhaps because she's been having to do quick costume changes as tensions uptick all across the city. "Hired? You're a private investigator?"

*

"I don't actually live here, but I follow the leads where the case takes me. My client is in Manhattan." Rictor looks around and sniffs lightly. "It seems many of my cases take me to Gotham these days. I am slowly starting to learn it." He looks at her, then looks at the joint. He slides it away. "Go back and join your friend. This isn't your concern." He says that in a way that suggests concern rather than dismissiveness.

*

Goddamnit. Manhattan. Barbara breathes out a slow exhale, and then she chuckles. "And so you've managed to avoid the demons by coming here." Then she looks slightly beyond him to the club back doors, and then back to Rictor. She worries at her inner cheek a moment, and then gestures. "It's Saturday. He'll be here until about 1 AM, and then he goes to an underground poker game at Cobblepots club… the Iceberg Lounge. He usually only takes one or two pals with him." She quaintly ignores the isn't your concern comment.

*

"I don't know about that. Gotham's type might not breathe fire, but you have your fair share of demons." Rictor chuckles and rubs his cheek. But her comment, and knowledge of his quarry makes his eyes narrow a little. "Who are you? Are you here for Cooper too?"

*

"Only from a psychological perspective." Barbara frowns slightly at the PI. This time around, she has a good excuse to know the ins and outs of what's happening with Cooper. After all, Rictor isn't the only one who has figured out that Cooper is bad news. So has GCPD. She steps forward toward him, and offers out her hand to him. "Barbara. Barbara Gordon. I'm not here for Cooper, but I know that GCPD would like a lead or two on them. My dad is the commissioner." Because that's a convenient excuse, and she's going to use it.

*

"The cops in Gotham aren't too fond of me. They think I'm a New Yorker out of bounds," Rictor smirks a little. "They are the only ones who would call me a New Yorker." He shuffles forward and checks movement at the side door. "My concern is my client, Miss Gordon. Cooper stole from her several items of personal significance. She wants them back." And then, as an afterthought, he says, "Rictor."

*

"The cops in Gotham aren't too fond of most anyone who isn't a Gotham cop." Barbara's voice is a bit acidic there. But then she shuffles away that bitter emotion with a small smile. "And you are. You're in more than just Gotham PD's territory. You do know you're in Batland, too?" She drops her hand back to her side, wishing she had pockets in this outfit. "Rictor. Well, welcome to Gotham." She hesitates. "Does he have the… 'items of personal significance' on him? Does your client know where he keeps them?"

*

"I am aware, yes. For a place so out of control, you would think the bat people would welcome a little assistance." Rictor chuckles and shrugs. "I mean, no offense. I do not envy your father's job. It can't be easy to keep control when the vigilantes and the criminals play their own game." He takes a moment to examine her, as if trying to determine how much to tell her. "She suspects he wishes to sell these things, so he would perhaps take them to an appraiser."

*

"That is something you would need to take up with them," says Barbara Gordon, trying to sound as casual as she can while still sizing up Rictor with those sharp blue eyes. When he mentions her dad, her mouth thins a bit. "I don't know… I think the Commissioner is just trying to play the game, too…" Then she shifts slightly from foot to foot when he mentions an appraiser. Does she help him? What price would that be? She cannot hide the way she tries to work through those thoughts before she sighs, shoulders falling slightly. "You want Pennypincher… Marcus Johnston. He works out of a pawnshop over on Redmond. He doesn't ask questions… even when you take him your dad's old wedding ring to try to get money for a bus ticket back to Dayton." Her smile is ghostly at best.

*

"Well, you would certainly know better than I," says Rictor of the Commissioner. He watches her for a moment as she thinks through everything. He looks pleasantly surprised when she gives up useful information. "The items went missing just last night. I suspect he may try to move these things this evening, especially with my attempt to shake him down tonight." He looks up at the club again. "Is this Pennypincher connected to anyone I should worry about?" IE: is he going to find himself in hot water if he shakes him down?

*

Barbara's mind goes immediately into detective mode, and she can't even catch herself, stop herself from playing that role without her cowl. "He'll want to move them before the poker game tonight so he has cash on hand, then. Pennypincher probably has an appointment with him to make that happen." That's when she starts to smile again, this time with an almost playful edge. "You're new to Gotham," she repeats. "Everyone any shade darker than gray is connected to each other… pretty sure Penny does business for everyone."

*

"Look, I am not concerned with Cooper beyond getting my client's belongings back. But I don't want to make the job of the police in this city more difficult." Rictor sweeps a hand back through his hair. "You obviously know this city and its underworld, so I won't be insulting by saying I'm dragging you into something against your will. If you help me with this, it's more likely I won't give the police and the vigilantes more trouble unintentionally."

*

Barbara considers the P.I. with a half-tilt of her chin and serious line to her mouth. She glances slightly over her shoulder back to where the line into the club continues to move. Alysia is already inside. She breathes out a slow exhale, and digs out her phone. "Alright… I'll help, but you're just a guy I know from New York City who ran into some trouble with a pawnbroker, alright?" Rictor may not know just how close to the truth he is: if the Bats find out that Barbara was helping him, the Family would be less suspicious of the the P.I.'s movements. She starts to text Alysia: SORRY. FRIEND FROM NYC. GOTTA HELP HIM WITH A PROBLEM. SEE YOU LATER.

*

"Heh. Am I like your other friends? Would they believe that?" Rictor nods towards the club. "Ditching your friend? Stone cold." There's a twinkle of amusement in his eyes. "I saw inside that club and you're not missing anything. And I'm pretty sure I saw them watering down the booze.

*

"Depends on who you ask," Barbara mutters more or less to herself, but then she smiles ruefully toward Rictor. "She'll understand." Because she's been doing this to Alysia since early summer, and Alysia would just suspect that Rictor is that New York boyfriend that her roommate and father both believe that Babs is keeping secret. Oddly enough, Rictor is a more convincing match than Frank Castle.

*

At least on paper. In practice, maybe not so much. Rictor inhales. He still looks rather amused by the whole scenario, which is a switch from his yelling fit at Cooper's goons earlier. "So, what do you think then? Do we stake out this Pennypincher, or do we attempt to intersect Cooper before he gets there? I assume this man can be bribed given his business."

*

"I think the answer to that question depends on you, Mr. Rictor… Pennypincher can be bribed, sure… and intersecting Cooper could get violent." And there's the test. What kind of man and P.I. is Rictor? The type to jump a guy and forcefully take something, or to go more strategic route.

*

"It's not Mister, just Rictor," says the mutant PI with a chuckle and a shift of his weight. "Like I said, I don't want to cause more of a problem for the people trying to keep the peace." A beat, then, "If things escalate, I have something that tends to make people who only have guns take a step back." He looks around. There's still a bit of a line outside the club. So he nods to indicate a spot just around the corner. Here's another test: how much does Barbara trust this strange man she just met?

*

"What? Like Cher?" Barbara's mouth twitches at the corners a bit, and then she crosses her arms tighter at her chest, fingers squeezing at her upper arms a moment just above her elbows. Then she nods sharply. "Alright, Mysterious Rictor… I'll take you to Pennypincher. No point in causing Gotham PD to start getting worried about another vigilante popping up on their radar."

*

"No, but it's not uncommon for mutants to choose a single name." Rictor doesn't hide his status, but sometimes it's hard to have it come up in casual conversation. Once they're out of view of the people in line, he flexes his hand. A halo of energy circles his wrist. There's a strange ionic taste to the air that dissipates as he extends his fingers and the halo extinguishes. "It helps that it's a bit flashy. Often people will cooperate on only a demonstration." And then he huffs a breath. "I'm not a vigilante. I'm a PI. I have a license and everything. It's a terrible picture of me so please, don't ask to see it." There's that twinkle again.

*

Ah, that answers that. A Mutant. Barbara does not seem to be threatened by his status. Mutants nor Inhumans have every really given her any discomfort. People are people. Some people are just different from other people. Her brows do arch over her eyes at the sight of his powers, and she advances just one curious step toward him. "Yeah… definitely a bit flashy." She glances up toward him at his huffy response, and she smiles a bit wryly. Jessica says the same thing. She cannot help it, quoting her friend Zane Oldman before she can miss a beat. "A vigilante is just someone who undertakes the law enforcement of their community without legal sanctions." Then she checks the time on her phone. "Midnight. Better go see Penny." She turns to leave the alley, pausing just once to glance Rictor's way. "I can probably look up your license online anyway."

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