Rise of the New Warriors, Part 1

Summary:
July 25, 2014: As Nightwing and Tempest reminisce and fall into old patterns, Garth presents Nightwing with a New offer.

East End Gotham

The first impression of Gotham for many is East End, a district notorious for it's poverty, crime, prostitutes and drugs. The lit up central strip at night is colorful, bright and looks like something out of Las Vegas with its innumerable gentleman's clubs, casinos, bars and strip clubs. The downtrodden feel of East End has been glossed over by these glowing lights and brilliant signs along with the towering cityscape of surrounding districts, such as Otisburg, Burnley and to the north the Robert Kane Memorial Bridge.

Along the East End's southern region the streets begin to be overtaken by cobblestone alleyways, alleyways that webwork through out a rundown slumcity of shacks, sheds, makeshift homes and decrepit apartments called Alleytown. A heavily populated district many immigrants and their descendants call home.

Park Row aka Crime Alley rests upon the other side of the main strip, dominated by an underdeveloped housing project called Scurvy City by the locals (it's actual name being the Skirley Apartments). The Old Gotham Cathedral, East End Free Clinic, Monarch Theatre, Ace Chemical's building and the Solomon Wayne Courthouse can all be found here as well.


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music:


Garth stands atop an old red brick apartment building, 32 Dorfold Drive to be exact, where he had arranged to meet his old friend. He's dressed casually, blue jeans, black jacket, and a red t-shirt. He doesn't have a fancy smancy secret identity, so it makes little difference what he wears. Looking out, he admires the view of the older part of the city. Sure, this area's economically depressed, there's probably several crimes going on in the area as he thinks, not that he can see any, but the cobblestone, the old architecture, it has a certain beauty when viewed in the right light, and by moonlight, the gothic architecture speaks to him.

*

It's really one of the main reasons why Gotham hasn't been evacuated, nuked, and rebuilt. There's a charm and deep history of the place that can, on the rare occasion, redeem the massive flaws the city has collected over the decades.

The call to meet up with Tempest was rather surprising as he hadn't heard from his old teammate in a while — years, perhaps. He made sure to make the rendezvous before going out on his regular patrol of the evening. Off went the cadet uniform, on went the vigilante costume, and he arrives, pretty much on time (give or take a couple of minutes) at the agreed-upon location. Landing easily from swinging over from another rooftop, he grins and steps up to the other, gloved hand held out, "Here I was, thinking you were somewhere off the coast of Australia!"

*

With a an odd look in his violet eye, "Denver, strangely enough," comes back the reply. The way his face scrunches, it obviously wasn't his idea, but he must have had a good reason to be there, though would possess an Atlantean to travel to the mile high city. "But I'm back on the East Coast now. Still haven't decided where I'm going to settle, New York, Metropolis, Boston, Gotham, maybe Florida. There's not much going on in Florida, but the weather's nice." He likes it warm and humid. But he's needed in these colder climates. There's so much more that he can do up north. "I had a run in with some of your old friends last night, the Joker, Harley Quinn, and some kind of albino ninja girl who has really expensive weapons." The contract was 300,000 for the Joker, but he mistakenly thought her gun was some kind of super expensive custom design.

*

"Denver? Why would you go to a landlocked state? Wait…how did you get there? Did you just go by rivers?" Nightwing seems to find that rather odd as well. "The Gotham sea-board isn't the cleanest, I'll warn you. A lot of the younger folks are working to change that, but…just a head's up." New York's might even be better, for that matter.

At the mention of the Joker and Harley, he cants his head some, "Did you?" Blue eyes look over the other briefly from behind his mask's lenses, "You came out relatively unscathed. Consider that a win."

*

Dismissing it with a wave of my hand. "It's a long story, but," he chuckles, "no, not by rivers. I flew British Airways." At the mention of the seaboard, Garth narrows his eyes, "they're all bad. Well, except for Vancouver, Barcelona, and Melbourne. It can be done responsibly, but not often." But then a smile returns. He doesn't want to dwell on water pollution, not with his old friend.

"Yeah, there's a shrapnel filled jacket in the bin at Robinson Zoo to prove it. The trail's probably cold, but if you want to investigate, just look for the recently molten asphalt and the hyena hairs. I think their 'pets' got hurt, not by me, but they had a vet. I tried to stop them, but they got away. I still don't know how. Wish you had been with me. They probably went down some kind of secret lever, leading to a lair or something." He chuckles, remembering some of the intricate stories about Batman's villains and how much time, effort, and money they sometimes put into their lairs.

*

"I thought you preferred to stay around water?" Have things changed that drastically in these few years? Nightwing allows the discussion about pollution slide by as well for now — that's a conversation unto itself. "You left a jacket with evidence…and why were you at the zoo? They had a vet with them or were taking the vet hostage to look at their pets?"

*

Garth smiles, "that's true, but my definition of water has kind of expanded…" to demonstrate this, he moves his right hand, weaving the digits this way and that way. It looks like a dance, but a cloud begins to form above them. "Evidence? Oh, yeah, I guess so. I mean, it doesn't have anything in it, pockets were empty, just had a lot of rips and tears from the grenade they threw at me." It begins to rain as they talk, a light rain, but there is water everywhere, in every living being, in the air, in the ground, and throughout the cities of the world. "I was actually just out for a walk. A friend told me I should visit the park, but it's kind of run down. Don't know about the vet. It was kind of an educated guess. I didn't see him or her, but they left medical supplies, looked like surgery had been performed. Figured that they'd need someone else for that, but I'm no detective, not like you."

*

"Did you do this thing in the airplans?" Nightwing has to ask beforeh holds up a hand, "Ok. You need to give me the story in linear detail…start with 'You were out for a walk and the park was recommended'. There's then a brief frown, "When did this happen, anyhow?"

The rain is currently ignored. He's had years to practice ignoring environmental discomforts.

*

Garth shakes his head in response to the air plane question, "Okay, last night, around 7:30, I was out for a walk in Robinson Park. I went through the gates to the Zoo, which were open, and saw some albino ninja girl fighting with the Joker and Harley Quinn. I think I got there just as the fire fight started." He stops waving his hands, and allows the rain to stop, and the cloud will dissipate back into the atmosphere.

"I don't know guns, but all three had them. The Joker and Quinn also used knives and grenades. The albino girl seemed to be firing some kind of dart. She had a black circle around her left eye. I tried to stop them from killing each other. Heated up a couple of guns, created a fog to distract them, tried to melt the soles of their shoes. The ninja girl used the fog to get close to the Joker and was going to execute him until I stopped her.”

"I know he's bad, but… I just don't believe in killing, not like that. Maybe, after a trial, maybe, but not like that." By the sound of his voice, he's wondering if he made the right decision. The Joker's bad. In a way, he's responsible for everything bad he does from this point onward. "When I stopped the ninja girl, she ran off. The Joker and Harley focused their attention on me, setting off smoke grenades, shrapnel grenades, I think they might have even had a poison gas one, not sure. My lunges hurt like hell."

"When the smoke cleared, they were gone. I looked around, found some blood, medical supplies, hairs from their hyenas. To me it looked like surgery had been performed. I guess even they care about some things."

*

Dick Grayson listens quietly at the events, barely moving. When it's complete, he offers, "Since it was yesterday, any evidence has, most likely, been cleared or is heavily contaminated. It's good that you didn't kill the Joker…or allow the albino woman to do such a thing, but I'll be sure to keep an eye out for her. The last thing we need is another nutcase with guns running around. No doubt they forced a vet to help with the hyenas…they would have needed one familiar with exotic animals and the zoo would have that. Perhaps the other woman followed them or was tracking them…it's hard to say who might have been in the right here. But sounds like you did the appropriate thing." The mention of poison gas causes him to frown, "You should get that checked out. They use a number of gas-grenades…some more deadly than others. It it was truly Smile-Ex, you'd probably be dead. Maybe." Atlanteans might be different.

Garth does have an Atlantean constitution. They're just more hardy than humans, though their lungs aren't as good. They can breathe air, but something in it, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, or the trace amounts of other gasses, something in there causes them issues that only water can solve. "The zoo seemed to be abandoned, but there were a lot of things left behind when it closed. I think I'll be fine. I'm not even sure who I'd go to. No Atlantean doctor's going to know much about gases, and nobody else really knows much about my physiology."

*

Dick Grayson arches an eyebrow under his mask but then shakes his head, "It's your call. All I know is that they use some nasty stuff. There's a reason we carry rebreathers around everywhere." But his friend's an adult and can make his own decisions. "The zoo…was abandoned…"

*

Garth shrugs, "if you know a doctor who you think they might be able to check, I'd be happy to pay them a visit. That's really the kind of thing I'd probably ask your old partner, if you know, I had any idea how to contact him." He laughs softly, and by his tone, it doesn't seem like he was fishing, no pun intended, for a meeting. "But yeah, it was run down, lots of rust, looked like it hadn't been used in a while. No animals or anything, just a couple of structures, buildings, some refuse left behind."

*

"I can recommend a doctor, sure, but I don't know any who are experts in Atlantean physiology. My old partner also knows doctors…and they're the same ones." There's a heavy sigh before Nightwing offers, "We'll keep an eye on the place in case they decide to return. If it's been closed and abandoned, yeah…there's no reason for them to have been there." Although maybe there's an entrance nearby to their current hiding places. Couldn't hurt to investigate.

*

Garth offers a smile, "thanks, can you text me the details?" He doesn't seem to be suffering any ill effects, but it wouldn't hurt to check. "But that's not the only reason I tried to look you up. Maybe I'm getting sentimental, but lately, I've kind of missed the old days, you, me, Speedy, Kid Flash, and the others," they’ve all since adopted more mature names, "you ever think about doing that again, you know, not a Justice League, but… something like that?"

*

"Text…" there's another blink from behind the mask. "You have a cell phone now? How…the water…" but Nightwing just waves that away. He's not sure he wants to get into that. He does point out, though, "Well, he's now 'Arsenal' and I think he's just going by 'Flash' now." The next question causes him to give a sudden bark of laughter, "You mean, meet in the basements of our homes a couple of nights a week? No, I think I'm probably past that. Besides, my apartment doesn't have a basement." He's mostly moved out of Wayne Manor.

The grin does fade some as he realizes that it was kind of a legit question. "Garth…what we did back then was great and I wouldn't want to forget those years or lose the friendships we made. But I'm a cadet at the Police Academy, maintaining this job," he gestures to his costume, "I couldn't do something like that even if I thought I had it in me to do it again. It was a great time and I learned so much about teamwork, but I just don't think I can. Not on a regular basis. If you need me to help out with anything though, I'll be there."

*

Garth smirks, "You'd be amazed at the advances in waterproof cases. Though I am limited to a certain depth. I can't take it to Atlantis, but, yeah, I have a mobile." As he listens to the new names of his old friends, he also laughs at the reference to the basement, "No, no, not the basement. I kind of had an idea of something a bit grander. Not sure if I'll be able to get the funding from the High Council, I'm a member of it these days, but between Atlantis, maybe your ward, or someone else might chip in, we could have our own H.Q., combine our resources. I know we're stronger together than we are separately. And yeah, we all have lives, okay, everyone else has lives, secret identities to consider, but look, I am so much stronger than I was back then. It looks to me like you've improved, gotten better. I bet the others have to. This wouldn't be an all the time thing, but I'm sure we could do it if we wanted. I'll have to feel out the others, but… I want to do this." He certainly sounds sincere.

*

"And I wish you luck with it," Nightwing offers easily. "Really, I do. But I don't think I can be a part of something like that. Not right now. I have too much that I need to take care of here…myself. If you all get together and you need me for a project or on a mission, I'll be glad to help, but…" he's trying to put this as delicately as he can. "I think I need to be mostly solo for a while."

*

While not exactly the ringing endorsement he had hoped, Garth is undettered by this initial setback. Smiling, he offers his hand, "I know. You gotta do your thing. Dark avenger of the night or whatever. But remember, you're not alone. You've got friends. If I ever do get this thing off the ground, you'll always have a place with us. Though, there is one thing you can do for me." He pauses, and then adds, "if you do run into any of the old gang, let them know that I'm looking for them?"

*

Nightwing smirks a little wryly, "Something like that, I suppose. Although maybe I'm the 'not so dark avenger'…" as compared to Batman. "I'll be sure to remember that. I do appreciate it and I'll pass the word around. Where should they try to find you?"

*

Garth didn't expect that question. "Where? Hmm, I haven't really decided where I'm going to get an apartment. Still have one in New York, but I haven't been there in months. Kind of living out of a hotel room right now. You can feel free to give them my phone number or the address to my place in New York. You do still have the address, right?" There is so much to do. He really is at the beginning of this next chapter, but he already knows it'll be worth it. "

*

"I think I have it somewhere…" no doubt stored on one of the computers. Batman's probably already bugged the place for all he knows. "I'll pass it along and give them your number as well. I know Roy's also pretty busy but…I won't speak for him."

*

Garth nods, "Thanks, I appreciate it. So, a cadet, how's that going for you?" He knows that for now, Dick doesn't want to join his grand ambition, but in time, maybe that'll change. "After spending so many years with Batman, I never thought you'd go legitimate law enforcement. Maybe it's just an outsider point of view, but then, maybe that's why you did? I Know I've set on a different path than Aquaman…"

*

There's another wry grin, "Well, I'm sort of double-dipping but…Criminal Justice was my major in college and it seemed logical. There's a lot I could do from that end that I can't do in a costume, and vice versa. This way, it's sort of the best of both worlds. I want to help Gotham any way I can," since it's his adopted home. "Batman doesn't entirely approve…but neither does he entirely disapprove. The hours are Hell though!"

*

Returning the grin, Garth jokes, "I can imagine, sometimes I wish I had your constitution. Honestly, I don't know how you ordinary guys do it." Of course, he means no disrespect. Nightwing is extraordinary, but in the terms Garth means, he is after all, just a regular, unmodified human. "Mustn't leave much time for socialising, no one special in your life, huh?" And he bumps his shoulder against Nightwing, kind of falling into old habits, playfully teasing the ever serious one.

*

"I learned to function well on four hours of sleep…that and a lot of coffee." But Nightwing loves what he does, so that's also a key part of it. "Oh, I've gone out with the guys a few times…Roy and Wally, even. No real prospects on the dating front, but that's not a focus right now. Why, want to be set up with someone's friend?"

*

"Coffee, never touch the stuff. Though I have gotten addicted to those little flavoured bottles of water. I just wish there were an environmentally sound way to get them. I've tried to the little things you squirt into them, but it's just not the same." Garth listens to talk of Roy and Wally, "And how are they? Is Roy still brooding and Wally still a comedian, or did they switch roles? Sorry to hear about that other thing, but sure, I could have a think about it. I might actually know someone, though I'd have to check and see if she's seeing anyone right now. Of course, I'd have to warn her that she can't hog the covers. A man's gotta stay warm if he's going on four hours of sleep." He winks and smirks.

*

"No, I meant are -you- looking to be set up!" Nightwing holds his hands up and takes a step back, "I'm not looking…but thanks." There's a pause, "Is she cute?" But that's not really answering the question, "Roy's not too brooding. I don't think he has time for that. Wally is…Wally. He hasn't changed all that much." At the mention of the flavored waters, there's another pause before he offers, "Fresh fruit. Cut up fresh fruit…stick it in your reusable water-bottle."

*

"Oh, sorry," Garth chuckles at the mixup, especially when Nightwing asks if she's cute after saying he's not looking to be set up. "Yeah, she is, dark hair, blue eyes, cute nose, nice smile, athletic physique, bit of a wild child, but she might go for a guy like you. Probably out of your league though." He can't help but tease. "Good idea on the water. I'll give that a try. I really got to start youtubing that sort of thing." He doesn't mention whether or not he's looking to be hooked up. Kind of hard being an Atlantean. Who wants to get close to a guy who spends that much time underwater, and there aren't many Atlantean girls who hang out on the surface world.

*

Swimmers or surfers. Sadly, the latter doesn't tend to hang out in Gotham. "Out of my league, huh? Yeah, we'll see about that. What's her name?" As for 'Wild', Nightwing isn't sure he quite fits the bill, but his background is certainly colorful! "Do you really need to go onto Youtube to see how to cut up fruit and stick it in your water bottle with water?"

*

"Oh no, I know how obsessive you can be, using the batcomputer to check on dates," he laughs, joking, but Garth may have hit closer to home than Nightwing would care to admit, "let me check it out first, see the lay of the land, and if she's still single, I'll let you know. But at least I know you're interested." To the fruit thing, he continues to laugh, "No, I'm not that bad, but I might have gotten the idea if I had searched for flavoured water or something like that."

*

Nightwing would roll his eyes, but the effect would be lost, thanks to the mask. "Sure, check it all out and let me know." Because he might just be doing that exact sort of checking…although it's more likely that Batman or Robin is the one doing the actual research. Nightwing isn't -quite- that bad. "I only check to see if they have a criminal record…"

*

Garth holds his hands up, "I'm sure she doesn't have a criminal record, at least, nothing too serious." Is he serious, or was that another joke? Nightwing will find out in time, but probably not today. "Certainly, she hasn't done anything worse than what you've probably done."

*

"And just what have I done? Technically, I haven't broken a single law…except maybe speeding." And maybe some breaking and entering. And assault. But they were all bad guys and it was all in self-defense of…something.

*

"Speeding? That's all? No breaking and entering, no assault, no espionage, no theft, need I go on?" Garth shakes his head, still smiling, "You're a model citizen, Nightwing. Besides, cadet, you're standing next to someone who's probably an illegal alien. Aren't you going to do something about that?" Of course, he's teasing.

*

Nightwing snorts, "Theft? Not a chance. Anything that's been taken was taken and returned to its rightful owners… unless they were put in Arkham." He's not going to mention Batman's collection. "I'm rather liberal in regards to that. Besides, if I called you out, I'd have to call out some other hero-types and I don't think that's a good idea. I'm not in Immigration."

*

"I'm sure they were. I still remember you telling me about that giant penny. It belonged to Highball, Egghead, Two-Face, somebody, can't remember who, but you never did explain how you got it into the batcave?" And he probably won't find out today either. "But that'll have to wait. It's been fun, but I don't want to keep you from your patrol, and besides, I could use a dip in the water. Plus, I have to set you up with my friend…" He holds out his hand again.

*

"Well, I mean…we fit the car in there…" somehow. Nightwing will just leave it at that. "It was good seeing you again, Garth, and if you ever run across Joker and Harley again…call me." He takes the offered hand and gives it a firm clasp, "Don't be a stranger…but be careful when you come to Gotham." He surely knows the drill. There's another grin then before he readies his grapple-line, "Sounds like you have a busy night ahead of you."


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