Pizza Robbery

December 21, 2018:

In which Casandra Cain, the Black Bat, meets Spider-Man

A robbery at Guiseppe's Pizza in Midtown.

Characters

NPCs: Hapless robbers, Mr. Guisseppe

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

*

This other city across the river is so different from Gotham. Oh there are shared similarities assuredly. The skyscrapers that reach so high. The steady flow of those red and white lights during the late night hour traffic. The way the clouds hang low and obscure the moon at this time of night.

But it's there the similarities end. For Gotham and Manhattan are city's born of old blood, yet it's as if the architects of each city too inspiration from different eras. Gotham is dark, and long shadows, and the past. Manhattan was touched by the World's Fair and never seemed to recover, its skyline seeming like it is forever looking to the future.

Yet the most telling difference is perhaps the people. For during the holiday season, there's still a hint of fear for the people in Gotham City. Manhattan seems to embrace the holidays. The decor, the bright lights, the large Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center. Not even to mention the ice skating.

It's all beautiful when viewed from on high, which one particular New Yorker seems to be doing, even if he doesn't have much time to look down on that beauty. Dashing across the skyline, feet sliding along the curved windows of the skyscraper under his step. The Spectacular Spider-Man slides off and into the abyss, reaching out with one arm and firing a web-line to snare the building's corner and convert his fall into a long swing that thrusts him forwards into a flip.

*

Manhattan is certainly different from Gotham. A brighter city, with people who aren't afraid to look to the sky and dream. There's still hope here. the biggest difference between Manhattan and Gotham (aside from wealth and general socioeconomic status) is the presence of superheroes. Ubiquitous, seemingly invincible champions of the people. Gotham has struggled to deal with its own gallery of criminals and violent psychopaths. In the worst parts of Gotham, it's impossible to pick out a single cry for help in the sea of desperate people. Manhattan… Is a little different. Still, the city that never sleeps hides its own share of inequities.

With his enhanced hearing Peter would have no trouble making out a shout of alarm. Bated breath, a scream. Signs of a scuffle. A robbery, perhaps? There are several people involved. The scene is taking place in the eaves of a tall building just outside a shop known for its speedy pizza delivery. A slender young woman in a hoodie and dark jeans is faced with several people of varying description who carry with them several pizzas and a large bag with cash and several wallets or purses inside.
They seem to be agitated. A couple of the men produce knives. "Get out of our way! What do you think you're doing? We'll kill you! Step off!"

The small figure can't be heard to respond.

*

The way Peter senses the world is different than for most people. That distant cry, the shout fromafar is enough to turn his head as he's on the downswing. But it's that tell-tale jangle at the back of his neck that has him letting go of the webline and flipping through the air. He turns, another arm lashing out the other way and the webline fires with a /thwip!/ snaring a flag pole and helping him change the direction with a sharp /swoosh/ as he swings, legs scissoring forwards as he hurls himself into the sky, then lets go to fly in that direction.

But there, before the youth in the hoodie, that gang of rough men stand there, some with knives drawn, some holding their pizzas as if they were more precious than the bags of loot. "The hell is he, Joey!?"

"I told you man, don't use my name!"

"But where is he! Yer cousin pussed out!"

"Somethin' musta happened!"

Each of them wear make shift masks. Two have balaclavas or ski masks, while three others have just twisted up t-shirts that make them look like ninjas of some kind of flavor.

One of them brandishes the knife towards the young woman in the hoodie and the dark jeans, shouting as he holds the weapon. "The hell are you lookin' at, get outta here, you didn't see nothin!" His eyes behind that makeshift mask are wild, the fabric soaked through with sweat from his brow, and his grip on the weapon is slippery.

She can likely tell he doesn't have any intention at first to slash at her. No desire to hurt someone. But then his stance subtly changes as desperation mounts. His brow furrowing. And it's just in the moment when she can sense in that nanosecond he's about to actually make the decision to hurt another person…

Another voice is heard, "She's probably looking at the guy wearing a shirt on his head." And in that moment he whirls, only for a gob of webbing to hit the man right in between the eyes and then for the knife to be yoinked out of his hand with another /thwip/.

"Easy there, fellas."

*

Spider-Man's shout causes confusion to break out among the small gang of thugs. One of them drops several pizzas in order to whirl about leading to a chorus of shouts from the people beisde him. "Damn it, Ralph!"

"It's *Spider-Man! Forget the food!"

"That was my lunch!"

Several of them- one in balaclava, two with their shirts pulled up in odd angles are facing spider-man now with wide eyes. "W-whoa. Is this even real…?! Uh oh. Um, um. Wait, guys. We can take him if we work to- *gurk*!"

Ralph 's eyes roll up into his skull and he slides to the ground with a dazed expression. The tiny Asian girl with the short black hair and nondescript street clothes dropped a man nearly three times her size with a single sharp kick. "That was my lunch," the girl notes coldly in a soft, clipped tone. Her voice has a stark finality to it, a minimalism borne of the rarity of its use and the purpose with which she chooses words.

"Oh my god. You *killed Ralph*!"

"He's still breathing."

The young blonde woman gesticulates wildly and then lunges at Cassandra, flailing, arms spread wide. She's got a significant height and weight advantage. Not that it matters. Cass hardly shifts her weight and then the blonde is *flying*, careening into the nearby brick shop wall before sliding to the ground with a dull thump. Cass walks over to the stack of fallen pizzas and bends down to open the top box. She stares at the food solemnly.

*

Spider-Man lands with a light thip-thap, crouched then rising to stand up, "Hey, brand recognition!" Behind the mask he might actually seem to smile a bit.

But then one of them shouts, "Menace!" While still looking at Spider-Man even as behind him, Cassandra is handily meting out a good measure of punishment to his accomplices.

"I told you man, never Midtown!"

In the next moment it's all chaos, as the remaining robbers break into motion shouting to each other. "You hit him low, I got high, Joey!" Even as he leaps forwards.

Assuredly, to Cassandra, this conflict is worth little interest. Three attackers? If the cape can't handle that then he shouldn't be out and about doing what he's doing. But if she looks upon the movements, the silent language of violence shared between the combatants she might sense something… surprising.
The robbers are what she expects. Desperation, violence, fear. It's all short sharp jerking movements, with at the most some training for boxing which is utterly useless in the moment. But her eye might be more drawn to the lithe young man in the red and blue even as he seems to move with an uncanny liquid grace.

It's not the speed of him. Assuredly she's seen faster. Nor is it the agility, though she might be hard-pressed to consider one that is better. It's the way he moves, when he leaps upwards, one hand planting on the shoulder of an attacker as he twists upwards, one leg lashing out to catch the side of the jaw of another.

The way he flips over and lands in the back, sweeping the legs from another. How he rises up, slipping his head to the side as a fist flies past the side of his head only for him to reach up and twist the guy around… only to web him to a parked car with a quick /thwip/ of webbing.

The movements are interesting on some level. But it's more how his mind, the 'voice' of his body, speaks to her. As if there were no filters from thought to action, just clean lines. Precision.

And an utter and complete lack of training. Somehow.

*

"…They messsed up my order." This remark is muttered relaly, more of a self-admmonishment as the girl goes through the recovery process of her meal and finds that the food is ultimately lacking. She straightens slowly then, her gaze lifting slowly from the box to Spider-Man as he darts nimbly back and forth. She stares, as if transfixed.

Cass is always analyzing. She notes every movement and every action with a great deal of interest. He's faster than she is, of course. Fighting superhumans is something that she does on a regular basis. But not all of them are htis… Fluid?

It's enough to have Cass simply stare as a group of men and women attempt to beat on Spider-Man with anything thatcomes to hand. One o them throws a hot pizza in his face. Ralph tries to get up and Cass takes him by his hair and slams his face into the pavement without even looking down.

*

It might almost be mesmerizing. It is so fast, so pure in its execution. Only after a moment or two can she perhaps key to how his body displays what could be the hints to his thoughts that she sees in others. There is a hint of fear there, exhiliration, but not for himself. When he fights, he seems to be taking such care for his opponent. Control between striking too hard, but not hard enough. Restraint.

The pizza is avoided as he seems to lean back and back and back, almost as if limboing underneath it, one hand lightly stretching out with fingers splayed as if to brace himself but stops just an inch from the ground.

The pizza splats against the wall, and he lifts his voice, "You must be from out of town, buddy. Wasting Giuseppe's finest cheese slices that way? Harsh."

He almost instantly vaults back up, running partially up along the side of the wall and then executing a clean slicing kick to the man's jaw sending him twisting and down to the ground only for another glob of webbing to bind him there.

The last, he's had enough and starts to beat feet. Leaving the knife, leaving the bags, leaving the 'za. He's running down the sidewalk until a webline catches him in the back and then yoinks him up into the air where he's left to dangle from the lamp post.

It's all done in a matter of moments. Yet Cassandra can piece it all together in her mind and see the crazed meld of precision and impromptu nature to it all.

It's perhaps then, intruding upon her reverie that she'll hear his voice from on high, perched up on that lamp post with the last crook slowly swinging from it.

"Hey, are you okay?"

"Thanks for the, uh, assist?" Those eyelets widen slightly with a faint whir.

*

Cassandra slowly looks up when Peter addresses her. She doesn 't nod or shift. Indee,d it isn't even immediatelyu obvious that she heard aything until those amber eyes latch onto his and she simply watches for a moment. There's a nod. It's almost imperceptible, but present. Cass does not seem tobe particularl yinclined to speak. At least not right away.

After a second the girl asks, "No one taught you how to fight?" It isn't really a question, despite being phrased in an inquisitive way. Beside her, Ralph is groaning but he doesn't make the mistake of attempting to stand up beside Cassandra for a second time. As a result she ignores him completely. A victory in his case, no doubt.

Cassandra moves with careful precision. Everything she does, from how she straightens her legs or extends her torso to how she turns is carefully and meticulously trained. She makes up for speed with an economy of motion most people are incapable of following. Spider-Man, however, is not most people. "You must be very sore after your fights."

*

"Who me?" Spidey's voice is young, perhaps her age, and she can hear the subtle attempt to make himself sound a little older. "I get by." He holds up a webbed hand as if to stay off any disagreement. "I mean, hey. Handled these guys." Which, to be fair, he did. Not that that's a big accomplishment.

He's watching her, closely. There's a very subtle jangle in the back of his mind for some reason as he tilts his head to the side. Those eyelets whir again as they widen, his hands resting upon the lamp post between his feet, making him look like some costumed vulture perched there.

Easier to read him now that he is not reliant on that gift of instinct. She can read the curiosity in his posture. Can read the wariness in that slight tilt of his head to the side. Then that subtle hint of surprise at her last statement as he rocks back fractionally.

"Well," He says as he eyes her. "Sometimes. I get a lot of cardio. You know."

Of course that's the moment when out of the pizzeria emerges Giuseppe himself, yelling loudly, "That's what you get!" He looks at Cass, but then his attention is snared by Spider-Man. "Hey, Spidey! I called the cops! You better get outta here!"

"Thanks, Mr. Giuseppe." He waves towards the pizza maker, that manifestation of normalcy perhaps giving her the last piece of the puzzle. He's definitely her age. Definitely… normal? Except for that grace of movement.

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