Exploding Heads.

July 01, 2019:

Spoiler Alert - no one's head ACTUALLY explodes. But there is some mouth melting curry, a violent sneeze, and talk of death-touch pay-per-view matches.

Habitation Level - Titans Tower - New York City

The topmost level of Titans Tower is where the living and
recreation facilities are found, giving the Titans someplace to stay and
relax while they're at the base.
Much of the level is taken up by the large common room area, which
takes advantage of the large windows giving excellent views of the river and
the city beyond, and the balconies outside are a popular spot when the
weather is nice. The common room has plenty of seating available, with
couches and chairs arranged in groups for better socialization; a large
section of sofa makes for a sunken area in front of a very large flat screen
television, which has an excellent sound system and pretty much all the home
theater touches anyone might want. Of course, it can also be overridden as a
communication screen in an emergency.
The common area also has a substantial, well-stocked kitchen and
dining room, available at all hours. Since the Tower doesn't have any
civilian support staff, though, it falls to the Titans themselves to prepare
meals if they're so inclined, and to clean up after themselves.
Steps to either side of the common room lead the short distance up
to the residential wings, in the arms of the tower's T-shape. These wings
have a number of rooms available for the Titans, each one a small suite
about the size of a college dormitory room: Essentially, a glorified bedroom
with an attached bathroom. Each Titan's room is decorated according to their
taste and discretion, and some seem definitely more 'lived in' than others.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Dinnertime in the Titan Tower.

Caitlin's a strong believe in a hot meal. The team trains a lot— constantly, sometimes. Everyone's in their own world of superhero action and pursuing their own abilities.

What makes a team a team is a sense of community, and Caitlin understands that implicitly. So dinnertime comes and she signals the attending residents of the Tower that the meal's being slung onto plates.

The kitchen smells of curry. Good, rich, real curry, and simmering chicken. Always conscientious of some tastes, there's also a bed of braised and roasted mixed vegetables on a hot platter. "Hey, come eat before it's cold!" Caitlin shouts, redundantly. She starts untying her daisy-yellow apron to hang it up, leaving her in low sneakers, jean shorts, and a loose-fitting aubergine tee with a faded Justice League graphic on it.


When one cooks hot food - especially hot food with meaty bits - one must remain vigilant of pets. An extra-woolly calico cat has hopped up onto a chair, ducked stealthily low until Caitlin's back is turned. Then his head leers up from the edge of the table to survey the dining opportunities, or perhaps more to the point, what he may secret away. It's not like the Titans need /all/ this food, right?

Katsumi comes into the room, left fist rubbing at the remaining fatigue in her eye. Her power cycle has her schedule a bit off, and attempting to get into the groove of things has thrown her a bit. This may well constitute breakfast for her. The Punkette is dressed in a pair of glossy purple short-shorts and black tanktop, barefoot. Her normally somewhat luxurious silky black hair is a bit clumpy and slept-in. Behold: how a hot lil' diva looks before a shower.

"Smells good. But shouldn't there be like a more official way to call everyone? Can we get like a ram horn? A conch shell?," Katsumi asks as she toddles to the table wearing a lopsided grin.


This sense of community is starting to grow on Spoiler. It's not really how things get done all the time in Gotham, and even though she's on the roster for two other super hero teams, she's more like a consultant than a full member. But as the number of training sessions have been growing, Spoiler's finding more and more reasons to trust the others over the jitters in her stomach that tell her that doing ANYTHING in superhero-landia without a mask was a Bad Idea (TM). Still… It has her nervous.

She'd gotten the alert, even though she wasn't a resident, and it made the batling smile. Out of every group, since Caitlin took the reigns away from the Other Batling, this one had always taken pains to see she was alerted anytime anything was happening, even the most mundane of things like dinner. That Caitlin had given her a heads up an hour or so before dinner was ready meant that the batling had more than enough time to not only commute but decide what she was going to wear. She went back and forth, only to end up chickening out at the last minute and just staying in uniform. She'll just state that she'll go on patrol afterwards.

Ghosting into the room as Caitlin's calling out, Spoiler watches in silence as Katsumi and the feline make their way in. Silent, she regarding the calico hop up onto a chair, and she studies how he studies the food. Coolly, and without drawing much attention to the fact that she'd been standing there for a full five minutes, the batling has only a few words for the cat.

"Please ask for a serving," she says, voice modulator on, arms folded over the sigil on her chest, and hip leaned on the counter. Her chin's tipped down to regard the feline. "Because I'm not afraid to find out how you react to getting water sprayed into your face." Spoiler alert: She's got a water gun in her hand. Yes. It's purple.


While Titans Tower isn't as fully equipped for scientific pursuits as her lab back at G.I.R.L there are still plenty of projects Nadia can pursue while she's stopping over. Some of them are even interesting enough that she's reluctant to tear herself away from them.

Which might be why the notification alarms in the lab are set to go off twice. Once when triggered and again five minutes later and at five times the volume.

Which is probably why Nadia Van Dyne eventually ambles into the dining area, still in her lab coat and protective goggles, last of all and yawning as if she's been awake for a very long time and is only noticing now she's lost the razor focus of her studies. "What is that smell? It seems very… spicy?"


Caitlin serves up a few plates for people as they shuffle past the kitchen. There's only four of them; only the big crews need buffet style. Everyone gets a bright and welcoming smile when they shuffle past. And she even serves up a little bowl for Katsumi's familiar.

"Good timing, Spoiler," Caitlin tells the purple-hooded batling. "Tonight I wanted to try something different. It's tiki marsala curry, over chicken," she explains. "It's all fresh from the Indian district. A friend recommended it. There's milk if it's too spicy for people," she apologizes. "Spice doesn't hit me much anymore so please say something if it's too strong."

Caitlin serves herself last, with a salad bowl instead of a soup bowl, and sits down with an oversized spoon in hand. She curls her hands together and bows her head while the others dig in, lips moving in a quiet and quick prayer before she digs into her meal with abandon.


The feline's bright gaze snaps hard to Spoiler, ears pinned back. He straightens his posture and uptilts his nosepad. "I am a cat," he reports in his typical Darth Vader-esque voice. His eyes close, affecting an air of haughty and utterly feline superiority. "Cats do not ask for food. They hunt-"

A serving is set before him, immediately bringing him out of his assertion. Leaning over the food, his tongue begins dabbing over it, picking up a bit, squishing the savor food in his mouth - and promptly freezing, eyes wide. Without another word, he darts from the table.

"Cats don't do spice," Katsumi giggles. She seats herself and props an elbow over the table, her cheek coming to rest in her palm, posture slouched. "Mnh. Doesn't bug me, though. Japan'n'spices mix well. So, like.. good morning," she offers in a drawl. She takes up the eating utensil and nudges the food around a little, trying to mentally brace for eating this 'early'. Those inhumanly magenta eyes turn to Nadia first, a little uncertain about why she'd look groggy. But Spoiler winds up stealing her attention. "Hi, St- oiler." She crinkles her button nose. There's her new name. Stoiler. "Isn't that gonna be stiff to sit in and stuff?"


Her plate taken with gloved hands, Spoiler slips the water gun away, and smirks as the cat makes a run for it. She does stopped by the fridge for some milk, because with cait's warning the blonde knows this is going to be far too spicy for her to enjoy completely but… these are friends, teammates. She can deal with some spice to sit and eat with them. The tension in her shoulders really doesn't leave, especially as Katsumi points out that yes, nomex is a pain to sit and relax in.

Spoiler levels a flat look at Kat even as she sits down next to her. It's like she's wordlessly hoping to convey that no, the armor is not stiff to sit in and stuff. Or maybe she's annoyed at the name slip?

"Thank you for cooking," says the batling politely, head turning to Caitlin then. Because Spoiler's not about to risk Katsumi noticing just how much that look was BS and then calling her on it.


It's only when Nadia is sitting down and taking a moment to inspect the meal when her goggles slide forward and she seems to remember she's even wearing them. "Anything is spicy compared with the cuisine of the Red Room," she admits. "But I've been trying food from all around the world and I think I should be able to cope."

"Once I'm finished with my current project I could try think up some new meta-materials that'd make more flexible protective wear. I've had this idea about genetically modifying limpets so they grow teeth long enough to weave into fibres."

She tucks the protective eyewear into the top pocket of her labcoat. "But that could take a while. I'm trying to…" She frowns. "It's probably not a dinner table conversation."


"No bioengineering in the Tower," Caitlin reminds Nadia, firmly. "Not until you can guarantee me 100% you're not going into nutty supervillain mode. All it takes is one loose recombinant DNA virus and boom— Cronenburg world," she says, tapping her spoon pointedly on the table.

"But go easy on the curry, if you're not used to it," she mutters, aside. "It can hit some people kinda hard."

Caitlin digs in with abandon, though. "G'morning, Kat. Sorry you're still getting on the new schedule. There's some energy drinks in the fridge, I stocked up on the last shopping run," she explains.

With all the super-metabolism on hand, it'd almost be worth getting a soda fountain with Red Bull on permanent tap…

"Y'know Nadia, why don't you come to SI with me tomorrow?" she tells the scientist. "If you want to talk to our animal labs division we could investigate it; I'd love to find something more stable than graphite nanostructures for the HexFlex," she says, referring to the uniform material she'd designed and provided to the Titans in need of costuming.

"Kat's pretty bulletproof during the moonlight— Spoiler how's your ballistic fibres looking?" she inquires of the blonde girl. "Is it time for that suit tune-up we talked about?"


Katsumi Oshiro purses her lips and raises her hand to the side to shield herself from Spoiler's creepy blank white stare. "Quiddiiit," she whines. "It's like a pair of headlights. Or the clown from that movie. The 'deadlights'." Blink. "Oh my god, was /that/ what that was supposed to mean? That's so stupid."

Seeming more disappointed by Stephen King's turn of phrase than Spoiler's judgmental stare, Katsumi sinks a little more into her chair. She spoons around in the curry, her gaze landing on Caitlin. "I can't have drinks like that when I get up. I'll get doughy and lethargic." She's not a science girl - in fact, she's the only person at this table who isn't in some degree a science girl - but she's at least health-aware with the mentality of an athletic competitor. With a splash of vanity, perhaps. "'n I'll be alright. I've been jet-lagged before. It'll just take some getting used-to. Besides, if I get hired on with a federation again, the shows are all in the evening. No probs."

She rubs a fist against her eye again, then finally lifts the spoon to try the curry. At first, it seems to have no taste. Odd.

"Nadia, I got a thing I wanna ask you about. Cuz I think it'd be cool. But, like, go on and make your Skull Girls bodysuit thingie first, then we can talk."


Clowns. Katsumi HAD to compare her to clowns. Spoiler's chin dips down very quickly, and as everyone starts to settle in, Spoiler nibbles. Small bites with a larger portion of rice per bite than the curry and frequent sips of her milk to help.

"They look the same as always," she replies to Caitlin's question of her armor. Same as always, in that she hadn't had upgrades since Batman gave her her kit… now two years ago. Super armor is like cell phones and it seems like the aubergine batling is always several generations behind, even if she is potentially capable of so much more.


"You know I've got much more suitable facilities back at G.I.R.L," Nadia points out, stifling a yawn. "And if I need something /really/ secure I'll just use my crystal lab. Even if a virus escaped from there it'd be totally unable to interact with another living organism. It could only be more secure if I fired it into space…"

She begins scooping up spoonfuls of curry and eating. Not with any great enthusiasm but a more mechanical 'forcing herself to eat' pace. "It's good. Thanks Caitlin."

Her brow furrows and she tilts her head at Katsumi "What's a skull girl bodysuit? Some sort of fashion thing? It's going to be a few days before I get chance to even start looking into barnacle genetics. First I have to finish a consult I'm doing for the police. I shouldn't even really be here now, but the tests will be another hour at least before they're done and you can't safely rush biochemistry.. So I thought I could use a break."


The curry's strong, but in fairness it's at least not 'traditional'. Caitlin must have looked up an Anglo-friendly version of the dish. She pushes hers around with another helping of rice, trying to sop up every drop of the sauce.

"No, Spoiler, I meant: how is it holding up," she tells Stephanie. "I keep an eye on your kit, you know," she reminds her. "I don't know about the internal electronics but I can see it's starting to get a bit weathered. Look, why don't you let me and Nadia take a run at it? We don't even need to get into the suit monitors or EW countermeasure system, I know Batman" she looks over her shoulder as if expecting him to manifest, "keeps that on a proprietary system anyway."

"But c'mon, I mean—" she looks to Nadia and Katsumi for support. "I can't imagine he'd object to up-armoring your suit a little. I'm working on my new armor concept, you might as well let Nadia and I kick your gear up a notch. What am I going to do with Katsumi? Give her a harpoon or something?" she asks, rhetorically.

"Whatcha think, Nadia? I've got some ideas for nanocarbon polymers I've been dying to put into real-world use."


Katsumi Oshiro seems to totally miss the unsettling her mention of clowns has caused in Stephanie. Her focus is currently on Nadia. "Skullgirls!," she announces. "None of you know what Skullgirls is?"

There's a quick glance around the table, then back to Nadia.

"It's a game. The gimmick is like there are these girls - and one guy, but forget that - and they get stuck with these parasites that are basically armor or weapons. That's what you made me think of."

As Caitlin talks, Katsumi is back to taking in the curry. One spoonful after another. No taste, but a tingle. Curious! But a giggle soon bubbles from her. "Who needs a harpoon to drag people over when you've got hips like-"

Oh. Oh god. That's why there was no taste. The burning sensation numbed her. But there it is, in full swing, halting Katsumi's banter flat and making her eyes water.

"-aah," she exhales in a stupor, panic written on her face. In a flash, she's on her feet and raiding the fridge for the milk.


Skullgirls? When looked at, Spoiler's head tilts like she's thinking about it when in reality she actually CHECKED her systems for anything on Skullgirls, and got nothing of any importance.

"It's not a gang in any of the major-" she starts only for Katsumi to be turning away and explaining. Well, okay. A game. The batling listens in while looking over at Caitlin chatting about suit upgrades.

"I know how the Titan's systems work and how to get my suit to talk to the other systems I have access to without anything crossing over that's not supposed to cross," She mentions, a light frown forming at the idea of her suit looking weathered. She refrains from running a gloved hand over the sleek chest piece that was criss crossed with knicks and cuts and furrows from knives and explosions and bullets.

"If you want to redo my suit and the electronics, I can get it to talk to my systems. Don't forget that this building baselines off a system I'm very familiar with…" and likely is already backdoor connected to the Batcomputer anyway, even if Red Robin wanted it to be or not. Because BatDad. More might have been said, but then cat and spices, and Spoiler watches Katsumi rush to the fridge for milk ..while taking another small bite of her mostly rice and curry.


"Games? Oh we never had access to anything like that back in Siberia," Nadia points out with a shrug. "We only had one music CD. Let alone a games console. Although we did have to experiment with ways to implant subliminal suggestion via electronic media for a while. But they only worked with a very specific cocktail of drugs that made it useless for widespread adoption. Too expensive."

She watches when Katsumi dashes for the refrigerator. "Did your powers perhaps give you enhanced senses?" she muses. "Suit upgrades? Oh yes. We could put something together. My own armour uses pym particle treated carbon nanotubes and a synthetic diamond lattice arrangement. It was fun to make but practically it's far weaker than it could be. I am limited in the density I can use for my gear. Too much and when I shrink it could cause complications."


"I told Pol already," Caitlin says, and watches Kat dash for the milk with a concerned expression. "I'm asking Diana for help with my armor concept. I'm not… /totally/ sure where I'm going with it yet," she admits. "I wish Thor was still around. I'd love to get my hands on some exotic star metals. Asgardians use this crazy alloy in their ships, it's amazing. Nth-metal would be pretty legit," she says, thoughtfully, "but I have no idea how I'd get any short of asking Hawkgirl. I'm not asking her," she clarifies.

"But either way, I'm hoping I can make it tough enough to take some bigger hits. I don't want to end up in deep space again wearing a t-shirt and a smile and thinking I can go toe to toe with some of the creatures out there. I've still got scars healing," she says, and lifts up her shirt to reveal a near-invisible rake across her lower rib that looks like it's from a ten-year-old car wreck.


By this point, Katsumi is downing a glass of milk. Her free hand is raised, index finger upwards to ask a moment. When the glass is empty, the Japanese girl lowers her hand and pants a couple breaths. Then she hurriedly refills the glass and starts chugging that one down, hand right back up to ask another moment.

Finally, this time, the glass is lowered and stays down. "Geh.." She clears her throat as delicately as she can manage. "..sorry. I might've gone in too hard, too fast there." She clears her throat a second time. "I think I've not had proper spice in.. like.. a while. How the Hell long have I been in this fish-shaped country now?"

Katsumi sheepishly moves back to her seat, certainly more awake now, but ultimately more wary of the curry and its potential power. "A-anyway. Go on. Don't mind me."


Spoiler, the only one eating daintily, just watches all of the chatter, trying not to grin at it all. Just small bite, chew, swallow, drink of milk, dab at lips with napkin, repeat. Of course, there's the faint lingering glance at then pointedly away from Caitlin's scar.

"Whatever does get put together? I would prefer be made more for mobility and stealth," she says after Katsumi's rejoined them. She did ask for a few moments after all.


Despite having no experience with curry Nadia doesn't seem to be having any issues with the spice level. Then again she could have just been running on empty for so long she doesn't notice any more. "If I was working on armour for Caitlin I'd probably start by just removing the space between the molecules in some thick plates of battleship grade steel. Thin it down to about half an inch. The only concern would be the extra mass it'd add," she ventures, holding her spoon with one hand and doing some calculations on the fingers of the other. "Rough estimate a full suit…" She leans to one side so she can look Caitlin up and down. "Probably about twenty or so tons. Though she'd… erm… probably fall clean through the floor of the average commercial residence."

She makes a downward gesture with the spoon to emphasize her point. "Not enough surface area on your shoes." She adds apologetically, then glances over at Stephanie "But for Spoiler… I'd probably use something closer to the suit designs I make for myself." She tugs at the sleeve of the costume she's wearing under the labcoat. "Light, durable and stretchy. And with the right treatments it's theoretically graded for use in a space suit." She frowns at all the obvious battle damage. "Some kind of self-healing material based on carbon. You usually operate in Gotham, yes? With the levels of air pollution we could incorporate carbon scrubbers to provide the raw materials. The suit would likely repair from a gunshot faster than you would."


"Why do you think you never see me in high heels?" Caitlin asks with a wry tone, and then a laugh. "I used to have to have them custom built on titanium frames. Thank goodness for my lab, I can 3D print the bones myself now. They still cost a fortune."

"Anyway." She reaches over with a bowl of rice and ladles a bunch into Katsumi's bowl to help blunt the impact of the spicy curry, and winces with an apologetic 'sorry' mouthed at her.

"What about a keratin based plating superimposed on a poly-organic alloy superstructure? Light, flexible, but the strength to weight ratio for cured keratin proteins is just insane. Add in an ultralight epoxy and—"

She looks at Spoiler. "Er, sorry. It'd be like a bug shell," she clarifies. "Same thing your fingernails are made of. It's extremely strong and tough." She furrows her brow. "I should see if Spider-Man left me his notes on his webfluid stuff. He said he might. I think he uses a similar protein in his webs."


Katsumi Oshiro, as previously noted, is in no way scientific. She's a brute. A charismatic brute, but a brute. She really has no place in this conversation. So the voice of Miss Oshiro is lost here. When Caitlin ladles more rice over, the girl's eyes uplid a little and she bobs her spoon in an offhandedly dismissive way. She's not mad! It's cool! But she doesn't want to interrupt proceedings with the obviously educated.


"A …bug shell…" Spoiler retorts, mimicking back in a flat deadpan the only thing of the whole exchange she knew that she understood completely. Well, minus Nadia's questions and the fact that she could make a self-repairing suit. The blonde looks over at the wasp, head canted with interest.

"Yes. I'm usually in Gotham, but travel alot. Would these scrubbers add too much bulk or weight?"


"That's why I was thinking of limpet teeth," Nadia replies, closing her eyes and doing some more counting on her fingers. "Lets see. If I remember the journel article… Yeah So… They basically exploit distinctive composite nanostructures consisting of high volume fractions of reinforcing goethite nanofibres within a softer protein phase to provide mechanical integrity. Best tensile strength out of any natural terrestrial materials so far discovered."

Her eyes flick open and the finger movements stop. "Add bulk? Oh not really. No more than your conditioner adds bulk or weight to your hair. And even then I can. for want of a better term, cheat to some degree." As if to demonstrate she puts the fork down and very briefly shrinks about a foot in size for a few moments.


Whoops, nerdsniped. Caitlin realizes she and Nadia are basically killing the conversation and gives Nadia a 'we'll talk later' look, then turns an apologetic face to Katsumi. "Sorry, Kat. Nerded out there for a second. I promise… it'll happen again," she says with a feigned sigh of melancholy.

"Hey I've been thinking about your job situation. If you want to get off the Titan's stipend, I mean. You ever thought about modelling or doing actress work? I bet you'd be great at promoting stuff. Not sure what all you'd do, but like, I can totally see a kickass Japanese pro-wrestler helping to sell athletic wear or whatever. 'Gymwear by Katsumi' or something," she suggests.


Katsumi Oshiro had a mouthful of rice when Caitlin made her suggestion. Her cheeks puff out, and her hand quickly raises to her lips to keep her laughter from bursting. She quickly chews and swallows before breaking into giggles, sinking back into her chair.

"Me, do commercials! I could totally do that!"

The commercials running in Katsumi's head are almost certainly not ones she'd be asked to do. Katsumi still struggles with language and matters of… 'couthness', shall we say?

"Modelling, maybe." Her giggles subside into a wide, coy smile, and she arches a delicate eyebrow at Caitlin. "You think I look good enough for it~?," she unabashedly teases. Katsumi is /plenty/ confident in her looks, and anyone who has seen her perform should be very aware of this. But playing with her teammates is fun.


"You do have particularly strong opinions on the work out wear of others," Spoiler murmurs faintly into her next small half-spoonful before chews. This as she's regarding Chibi Nadia.

"Seems fine to me. Is there anything you need from me?" Spoiler asks of Nadia, agreeing to letting the Titans redo her suit.


Nadia Van Dyne pouts when she's given the no-more science talk look. "You'd also be extremely capable if working at the docks at night," she suggests earnestly. "Able to perform the labour of a dozen or more men /and/ you'd be placed in a prime position to respond to numerous criminal enterprises."

"Unless you have contoured the armour to disguise your proportions I should be able to extrapolate your…." She gives Spoiler a look. "On second thought you almost certainly have done that. So you'll need to provide the actual measurements you require and what you wish the measurements to appear like."


Caitlin bursts into titters, trying and failing to cover her face. She's forced to drop her spoon and use both hands, eyes wet with unshed tears. "Oh! Oh my gosh! Nadia!" she says, laughing over and over.

"You… okay, wow, how am /I/ the one having to explain to Nadia what 'working the night shift at the docks' means?" she asks the other two, earnestly.

Caitlin breaks down laughing again and stumbles to her feet so she can try and get the dishes soaking and get her laughter under control.


Katsumi Oshiro squints her eyes amiably at Spoiler. "You looked hot and you know it, betch." Deliberately mis-pronounced the word there.

And then she's promptly blanching at Nadia. "Gross! Doc! No! I'm not gonna- no! And even if you meant actually carrying crates and junk, that's nothing for a girl like /me/ to do! Especially if I don't wanna give away my secrets!"

How much of a secret she can claim to have is anyone's guess. She's not been trying particularly hard to keep her identity under wraps, and she tends to stand out everywhere she goes. Regardless! Dock work is grimey and not at all something an attractive, young athletic punkette should be doing.

"Maybe I'll do more street fights!," she chirps. She's joking. Probably.


Spoiler will not acknowledge the light blush peeking out of the bottom of the cowl at Katsumi's complement. Not acknowledged, not present. Spoiler takes another small bite of rice and curry as Nadia talks about dock work. She was fine until Caitlin broke down and Kat promptly blanches. Spoiler barely manages to get her napkin over her face before the spit-take, but it leaves her coughing… with rice up her nose…. curry rice. Turns away sputtering because the want to yank the cowl off and back so seh can blow her nose until her brain falls out and stops burning because OMG CURRY is so very strong.

All of which keeps Spoiler from answering Nadia's question about her measurements or from saying that she's got 3D scan data of herself, but will allow a new scan be taken. As for what measurements she wants to suit to have? Spoiler's never really thought about suits from a curves stand point. Only just a color stand point.

Which is creepy now that you think about it that way… It means the curves and fit of her bat suit… was dreamed up by a much older single man who very often acts as a father figure to her. At least there are no batnipples.


"What?" Nadia asks innocent, pausing from eating to glance around the table. "The port of New York and New Jersey handle millions of tons of cargo each year. Super strength and endurance would allow you to perform an astonishing amount of work in a single shift. It'd also reduce the dependence on mechanisation and associated pollution."

"And there is nothing wrong with honest hard work." She shrugs. "Have you looked to see if there is a metahuman wrestling association in the United States? Given the high number of mutants, metahumans, aliens and mechanically enhanced beings in the country it stands to reason there might be something of that nature."


Caitlin finally gets her giggles under control and returns with dessert: fruit-glazed mascarpone! Sweet and savoury all at once, and she hands everyone their own little pre-chilled bowl and a dessert spoon to go with it.

"Nadia. 'working the docks' is street slang for being, ah, uh, a prostitute," Caitlin clarifies. "Which makes literally everything you said a thousand times worse and equally funny," she adds.

"Anyway, let's avoid street fighting and underground boxing rings," Caitlin advises, resuming her seat. "They're illegal and high profile and no one here needs that sort of exposure. Katsumi, I'll ask the PR department if they're looking for any models," Caitlin tells her friend. "I can't make any promises, but I'll do what I can there. Meanwhile, Stephanie, let's you an' me and Nadia get some new renders, you've packed some muscle on in the last couple years. It's good to get new measurements and start from a blank slate. We'll build you something /super/ cool."


Katsumi Oshiro giggles and shrugs. "There might be a superhuman league!" Her own merriment subsides a little. "But that's.. kind'a scary, isn't it? I mean, what if their powers are like.. death-touches or something. I dunno. Mine's pretty straightforward, and I know /I/ know how to not really hurt someone…"

Her wheels are turning at least. And Caitlin's admonishing seems to help bring her mood back with a smile. The dessert doesn't hurt, either. She lifts the spoon. "Okay, fiiine, I'll play it nice and patient. No underground fighting for m- ghk!"

Katsumi's spoon drops to the table, staring wide-eyed at Caitlin. Her eyes rapidly flit from the redhead to the cowled blonde, back and forth, repeatedly. Oh crap.


Spoiler had gotten most of the rice out, but have you TRIED blowing your nose in a cowl that had armor plating over said bit of anatomy? It's impossible! It's made her eyes water under her cowl, another thing that's horrible in this suit. Over all, she's just uncomfortable.

Cue the little voice in her head that admonishes her with a 'and think, you could have walked in wearing t-shirt and jeans and been able to blow your nose'. A cough, and Spoiler forces herself to just stop fussing about the rice still in a sinus cavity when Caitlin returns with dessert. Spoiler tries to clear her throat, then sniffles once before moving to accept the sweet treat.

Everything's fine until she hears her name. Not her codename. Her real name. Stephanie. At the name, Spoiler freezes, dessert in hand. She wasn't even going to react beyond that. Spoiler was just going to pretend like Caitlin hadn't slipped and then mention it later, a gentel reminder that codenames are a must when she's in the mask, when Katsumi's spoon clatters to the table. Unde the cowl, vision still blurry, Spoiler tries to look at Katsumi. She inhales for a soft sigh, only for that stupid bit of rice to turn it into a sneeze. A full body sneeze. The kind you can hear in China and flings your head forward so fast that it leaves you dizzy.

And in Spoiler's case, given she was holding a small pre-chilled bowl in front of her, has you straightening up with mascarpone on your face and tiny bits of rice in your fruit.

Spoiler just sets the bowl down, her optics coated just enough to be annoying - bat eye shield wipers on suit 5.0 please? - and just pulls her mask back and away.

"Codenames, Caitlin. Codenames… They are a thing. We've talked about this… Can you pass me a napkin now, please?" she says, all very softly, very calmly, and very resigned. How is this her life again?


"I'll make some time in my schedule once my current work wraps up. I should hopefully have an idea what the police need to test for in the next hour or two. When you talk about renders I assume you mean full motion range capture? Because I am fairly sure I could make a ninety eight percent accurate fit by eye. And then manually adjust the measurements as needed afterwards." Nadia asks, glancing between Caitlin and Spoiler. "If it makes you feel any better Spoiler it's a name shared by roughly one in eight hundred and fifty Americans."

"I highly doubt they would allow instant death touch in a wrestling competition," Nadia points out, tilting her head at Katsumi. "It wouldn't make good pay-per-view."


The color drains out of Caitlin's face, making her freckles stand out even more. "Oh. Oh no. Sp- St" She drops her bowl and spoon with a clatter and steeples fingers over mouth, eyes wide with horrified self-realization. "Oh I am so sorry. Oh I'm so so sorry," she whimpers, and gets to her feet as he instincts tell her to fetch a damp cloth for Stephanie. One's given to the Batling and Caitlin uses the other to start trying to clean up the mess on the table so Stephanie doesn't have to worry about it. "It slipped out. I'm sorry, gaaah, please, I'll I'll tell Batman it was me, I know how neurotic he is about this. Oh, crapsackles," she moans, with a hangdog expression.


Katsumi Oshiro can't process death-touch Pay-per-View, though she's pretty sure that's /exactly/ the kind of thing a promotion would want. Think of the thrills! The chills! Everything on the line, for one night only! Just think about it!

Because Katsumi isn't right now.

The violent sneeze steals her attention. Then Caitlin's fussing over the mess. And suddenly?

"PfffHAHAHAH!," Katsumi erupts into riotous laughter. She falls back against her chair, enough so that it rocks a little on its back legs before settling again. Her hands cover her face as her cheeks redden, unable to do anything but relish the moment of pure absurdity - and its sudden release of tension.

"L-.. look what you did!," she manages breathlessly to scold Caitlin. She blindly points towards Stephanie's facial area. "You made her head explode!" It's all she can manage before falling overwhelmed to laughter again.


Nadia Van Dyne waves her hand dismissively. "She would have needed to remove the mask and armour for a proper render anyway," she points out matter-of-factly. "And even if she didn't I could make a very accurate guess based off the x-rays we'll need to take. Besides if Batman objected to our being here I imagine he would have spoken up. Or loomed at us in a dark alleyway."

She can't help but roll her eyes at all the fuss.


Nadia Van Dyne waves her hand dismissively. "She would have needed to remove the mask and armour for a proper render anyway," she points out matter-of-factly. "And even if she didn't I could make a very accurate guess based off the x-rays we'll need to take. Besides if Batman objected to our being here I imagine he would have spoken up. Or loomed at us in a dark alleyway."

She can't help but roll her eyes at all the fuss. - RE


"It's fine, Cait," Stephanie says as she wipes her face and finally gets her nose properly cleared. She goes ahead and wipes of the purpler lipstick while she's at it. Because purple lips alone just looks weird. Eyes dried and face cleaned, Stephanie looks up at everyone, trying to look calmer than she was inside.

"Yes. Thanks Nadia. It's fine everyone. If anyone's telling Him, it will be me," she states. Because she could have found another way to handle it all and have preserved her identity and… Stephanie's just going to stop thinking about it for the moment. Her lips are pressed a little too tightly together.


"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm just— I'm gonna go. I'll do the dishes," Caitlin says, midway to her room, and turns on her heel. "Later. Just get them soaking. Oh gosh. I'll— yeah. I'll see you later Steph," the redhead says, and turns again to escape the situation and (presumably) hide in her room forever and hopefully die there of sheer embarrassment.


Katsumi Oshiro is still laughing. At this point, she's moving a hand to wipe away at her eyes. She's definitely awake /now/! "Eeheehee!," she giggles. Her face hurts from so much smiling. "You guys, oh my god! It's not like it's such a huge deal! Stephanie gets to chill now! Caitliiiin! You don't gotta- Cait!," she yells after her, still with beaming smile.


Her attention turns to Stephanie, and her smile shifts from merriment to the cat who ate the canary. After nudging her about relaxing her secret identity, it seems that choice has been made for her! She scooches her chair closer to the blonde and tilts a leg to nudge her knee against hers. "Bet that stress knot's a little looser. Or will be! Right now, you're probably freaking. But seriously, you trust these goobers, right? I mean, Caitlin /did/ just totally blurt, but that's because she trusts /us/, so she was more relaxed."


"Cait," Stephanie starts before just leaving it off, sighing, and making a note to deal with it later. The batling looks back to the table, and the dishes, silent and yes seeming to bit on that edge of the path that leads to brooding when Katsumi scoots over and nudges her knee. Stephanie looks up, brows lifting. It comes with a faint tilt of her head, hinting thta this is the faintly puzzled appearance she has under the cowl when she tilts her head like this.

"Right," is all she says, voice flat, but modulator off. Only works when the cowl's up it seems. Stephanie will not freak out any more. Just play it cool. No one will notice. Her face turns away and she moves to push herself up.

"You'll let me know when a good time for the scan is, Nadia?" Yup. Just hide it work! That's the ticket. Always worked perfectly for everything else, right!? Right….


Nadia Van Dyne nods. "I'll have to work out what sort of scans Caitlin has in mind," she points out. "And I'll make sure to include what suitable attire you'll need for the scan. Ideally, as I mentioned earlier, I'll also want to take some X-rays so we can make sure the armour doesn't impede your range of motion at all." She bites her lip. "And we'll have to catch up soon regarding that matter you mentioned Katsumi."


Katsumi Oshiro is disappointed as Stephanie seems intent on taking her leave. With a pout, she turns to her dessert and lifts her spoon, not really caring that it hit the table. Stephanie's going to go brood somewhere, she's quite certain. But Katsumi is going to start her day off right(/wrong) with curry and.. whatever this thing is. She's not familiar with it, but screw it. Someone is going to eat it!

Nadia suddenly gets her attention. "What I mentioned?," she asks, unsure.


Stephanie is going to brood. In the kitchen, by picking up all the dirty dishes, putting them in the sink, and starting to put food away into the fridge for later. This is how a batling broods… by doing chores.


"The cool thing?" Nadia reminds, finishing up the last of her meal. "You mentioned it before I accidentally suggested you take up sex work?" She shrugs. "Anyway. I probably should get back to my tests. The police will no doubt be calling me for a progress update soon."


Katsumi Oshiro quietly 'oh's and nods. "Right. That. Yeah, I can bug you about it some other time. It's nothing major," dismisses Katsumi. "You do whatever you've gotta do, and I'm gonna use my /real/ superpower."

She turns a critical eye to the untouched desserts.

"Eat all of these and not gain a pound."

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