Checkmate Is Not A Secret

September 6, 2014: A small reunion with a long-absent friend means Gar can tell him some news.

The Russian Tearoom — New York City

A fancy FANCY little tea room. With cakes and booze. Actually it's a bar, part of the time. And serves food. But is very Russian. Sorta.



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Mood Music:

After leaving the lunch he had with some other Titans, Gar was struck by a rather large thought-brick, enough to penetrate the pigeon bird-brain he currently had. He flew to ESU, and landed in the stairwell, going into the lab by the usual side door, and after he pushed the button (push the button, Gar) to start the next sequence, he pulled out a laptop and began searching. And after a few minutes, tops, he had some interesting answers.

A quick phone call to a number that was right there in a public directory — "This is Gar Logan. Hey, Roy, if this is your number, come by the Russian Tearoom at 6:30 tonight, I'm in town again and I'd like to see what you're up to."

And then a similar but less stealthy call to Keith and then maybe Kate if that number works…

And here he is. Table for four? Sure.


It would be a cold day in Hell before Keith passed up an invitation from Gar. Even when it was a Work Meeting, or something like that.
He shows up in a long-sleeved shirt, because one thing was sitting in a deli with bandaged arm in front of everybody… but a tea room? Yeah, no. It's not fancy clothing, but it's functional.

"Sorry, I had to go back and change," Keith says, taking a seat next to Gar.


Kate had some time to kill. Things to take care of, sure, but not until Clint gets off work, which means she has time to come somewhere nice. Of course, she's possibly a little bit overdressed for it. The slinky number she's wearing is blue silk, and looks like it could have come from the golden age of movies. Keith might remember her picking it up at a vintage place down the street from where he got his things for the mixer.

"So…I'm guessing it was decided that Wally might be a little too close to this to try the intervention himself?" she asks as she arrives, sliding into a chair.


The fancy clothes… well. Gar is green. That is never going to be inconspicuous in a place like this. But he's got a rather futuristic-cut dinner jacket and a turtleneck and black slacks. The thing with the Russian Tea Room, early seating, is that people are going to be mixed. Some of them are actors, some are not, some are in evening clothes, others are in decent but not formal street attire. As long as the maitre d' is properly greased, all is fine.

"I think Wally might've caught a brick, yeah. No intervention needed," Gar says. "But we'll know for sure when Roy shows up.


That Gar offered to buy Roy a meal at the Russian Tea Room was a generous offer, and Roy was prepared to take advantage of it. Even if he had to pull out the suit out of the closet. Hadn't used it in quite a while.

So showing up in a white suit, black shirt ensemble, with a white tie tucked in his pocket in case he absolutely -had- to wear a tie, Roy rather stands out dressed in white.

Seeing Gar (and who wouldn't be able to find him?), Roy approaches, only to slow down as he eyes the woman in the slinky dress. "Gar. Kate. And… I'm not sure who you are, but hey. Name's Roy Harper. Friends of Gar's? Kate, you look stunning. What's the occasion…?" he asks as he slides into a seat. Let's see. Salad fork here, and… outside-in utensil use, right? Whipping the napkin out, Roy places it in his lap. Yeah, someone remembered those high society lessons.


"I'm Keef— Keith." He shakes Roy's hand, "I'm Gar with friends, yes." Pause. "The other way around."

It was all the fancyfulness. The last time he was anywhere fancy, he ended up completely destroying it. That, and there were more forks and spoons and knives than he has ever seen in his entire life. The table felt like some strange battlefield, or maybe that old game where you got zapped if you grabbed the wrong handle. Nothing could forge friendships than safely electrocuting each other through a parent-approved board game.

The point is, Keith's out of his element- his clothes are clearly Makclemored, even if they are all black and simple… Roy's Miami Nice ensemble looks much better by comparison.

Vorpal wouldn't care. He'd just grin, even put his elbows on the table and he'd still look dignified… but he was a human now and bereft of the singlemindedness and mild solipsism of cats. "It's a pleasure."


"I've got a thing to go to later," Kate answers Roy with a flicker of a smile, smoothing a hand over the napkin already in her lap. "But thank you." The nice thing about being an archer, you absolutely have the back and shoulders for a backless number. Not to mention, she has the confidence to carry the whole table. Of course they belong here. "To answer your question, though, it sounds like you and your friends kind of need to have a sit down. I'm, ah. Sort of a neutral party."


"So, Keef is one of my new teamies in the Titans - we aren't letting the press come up with a random new name every time. Kate sometimes deigns to fill in the void where an Archer is supposed to go. And this is kind of about work. See, I didn't know before today that you were working with Checkmate, last I'd heard it was that CBI thing. And I know Checkmate is all about being above-board and public, you're like FBI in spandex for Metas, right?" Gar grins slightly evilly. "So, your new big boss honcha, came by the Tower a couple weeks back, her and some friends and a couple LAW rockets, and when they left, there wasn't a Tower. I wasn't sure if this was something you knew about, because, I figured you'd at least send a 'sorry about my boss, she's really strict' note or something."

Gar looks at the menu. Oh man that looks good. "Pelmeni for four, please," he says to the waiter. "Have the sommelier pick a good wine for us??"


"Hi, Keith," Roy says, deciding that the fellow must have been someone Gar adopted from one of those charity cases he engaged in every so often. Wasn't that adorable?

Kate gets a grin and a wink. "High society. I'm sure you're going to outclass everyone there," he says, before the smile fades as she explains what she's there for, followed by an arched eyebrow at Gar.

There was a curious tilt of his head. "Uh… yeah, FBI in spandex. Don't get me started on the spandex, it's a pain in the ass when I'm on official missions. Let's see… DEA, then CBI… then I transferred into Checkmate after one of the supervisors hauled me in. And… er, new big boss honcha…? What, Waller? Wait, the Wall? You kidding me?"

Frowning, Roy tilts his head. "What're you talking about, blowing up the Tower? What did you guys -do-?"


"Make dinner," Keith says, and reaches for his water. He is on his reallly good behavior right now, because the level of invective and vituperative villainy he has developed as a response to Waller's name has now reached Baroque proportions. He is the Jean-Baptiste Lully of Waller-hating, and in a few weeks his viperine virtriol might achieve the levels of Bach or Buxtehude, who knows? "Then the alarm sounded, and she basically tried to break into the tower, blow up our doors, and ordered 'shoot to kill.'" And then water, to drown the fires of hell.


Kate is doing her best to look innocent, eyes fixed on the menu while the others explain. Because, really, she's the link here to people putting together Roy, Waller, and the whole blowing up of the tower. Just reading the menu over here. Looking pretty.


"See, that's the thing, as far as I know, we did nothing. I mean, we as in the team, because I didn't actually get back on board until a couple days after it happened, or I might be as mad as Wally or Keef here. But yeah, it's viral and everything."

Gar discreetly pulls a small tablet from his pocket, swiping once or twice, and hands it to Roy. It shows the YooToob video (1 million views!) of the woman herself, with a LAW rocket launcher and the tower exploding in slow motion. The sound is muted, as it might annoy other guests. Gar is listening to Roy's voice and heartbeat, his ears ever so slightly shifted.

"There was no warrant, no request to enter, there could've been civilians in that building. So, I'm seriously wondering if this is really the same person. She matches the public pictures, but, could your new uber-boss really be that insane?"


Blinking slowly, Roy frowns as he looks at the view, before slowly tilting his head. "That… that looks like her, but c'mon, that's not what Checkmate -is supposed- to do. At least, not since I've been aboard. We're supposed to be an intelligence agency. Investigate all sorts of domestic federal crimes. For her to make the call on that sort of thing… there had to be something going on here. What…"

Ordinarily, with most people, he'd have just called them a bunch of liars, but this was -Gar-, Roy's buddy from childhood. Tilting his head, Roy frowns. "Why would the head of Checkmate pull that in public? You sure it's not, like, a Durlan or Skrull?"


"Well, she came for Phobos. She called him by name and said he was the reason for it all. Phobos is under the impression that she was … trying to hire him?" Tongue bite. Tongue bite. Keith hates Phobos, but he's a teammate, and teammates have each other's backs. Even if he'd rather stab it. "… some people send brochures, you know."

The redhead reaches for one of the offered menus and… damnit, Gar. There are no prices here. Frowning, he tries to hone his instinct to look for the least expensive listing. Other than water.


"I'm pretty sure you can't just fire missiles on American soil without some repercussions," Kate chimes in without looking up from her menu. "And while I understand the idea of testing someone for recruitment, doing so by endangering hundreds of lives is a bit beyond the pale for most government agencies. Even SHIELD's less dickish than that."


"I did look her up, online. She's head of Stormwatch, which is, like the NSA or SHIELD, not just Checkmate, and Stormwatch has some pretty spooky un-named divisions, but she's the public face of the agency, so it makes no sense. To me anyway. Just wanted to see if you knew," Gar says.

Apparently, Gar has picked up some of the sneaky from Robin, or something.

He grins at Keith when he can't find prices. "Just get what looks good. This is a celebration. I haven't seen Roy in four and a half years."


"I… believe me, when _I_ got recruited, it wasn't like -that- a single bit… then again, I transferred in from another agency, but still… I'm pretty sure that's not how intelligence agencies normally recruit." Tilting his head, Roy frowns. "Well, I -can- believe she works with spooks, but…"

Rubbing his chin, Roy gives Kate a look. "Wait, -that's- where you mentioned you'd heard the name Waller from, is it?"

Tilting his head, Roy frowns, looking back towards Gar. "It makes no sense to me either," he asks, tilting his head. "None of that strikes me as being in America's greater interests, so either there's some -reason- for it being all in America's interests, or that's not Waller, or else, that is Waller and she's a loon."

Looking back at Kate, Roy narrows his eyes suddenly as a thought strikes him. The whole Ollie thing… By itself, it made sense, but … not in conjunection with -this-.


Keith shoots Gar a look. "… you'll pay for this, Logan." But he smiles anyways. He may or may not have squeezed Gar's knee under the table. The certainty of that will never be known because of what he says next— which is world-shattering for someone who knows his hatred.

"… just a suggestion and all, but what if someone dropped some crazy liquid into her coffee, or is mind controlling her, or whatever?"

Believe him, it gives him no pleasure to consider the possibility of letting the woman off with an extenuating circumstance.


Kate looks up with a sidelong glance for Roy, smile flickering. "Yeah, pretty much," she admits. "Kind of wasn't the time or the place to bring it up, though. Hey, Roy, sorry to tell you this in the middle of what was a lot of fun, but I think your boss might be a psycho killer bitch. That's cool, right?"


Which is kind of what Gar's doing, but oh well.

"Kate, you shouldn't give away my secrets before the big reveal," Gar says, grinning. "So, seriously Roy, in case this IS something messy stupid, I wanted to get together again for old times' sake, right?"

Nothing weird about that. No, Gar's not got any damage at all from his life. Noper.


"Don't worry about it, Kate, finding out my boss -might- be a psycho killer bitch is better than finding out my daughter's mother -is- a psycho killer bitch," Roy sighs, eyeing the tablet, before he pushes forward the tablet and eyes Gar, leaning back. "You -do- realize, Gar, that I'm listening to you because you're an old friend, and I'd want more evidence that she -is- a psycho kill… dammit, Kate, I hate you for putting that term in my head. I need a whole lot more to go on before I start doing that."

Thinking, Roy looks back up. "You say she was trying to recruit -someone-? You mind if I talk to him? Probably safer if I do it with one of you guys around."


Keith frowns. "I was there, Roy. I saw the woman. Heck, I could create a lifelike replica of what she looked like that night…" pauses. "… after I went to the bathroom and did… something."

Oh god, that sounds horrible. "Change something."

Nope, not helping. He sighs and goes back to looking at the menu. Cheap. cheap. What sounds cheap? Lamb … certainly does not. Does this place not carry salads? Damnit.


Kate quirks a brow at Keith. "Dude, however you want to work out that aggression? But, uh. That might not be healthy." She sets her menu aside, leaning back in her chair and shrugging at Roy's complaint. "I can't help it if you've got a type, Roy," she counters with a flash of a smile.


"I'm hoping that it wasn't her, because I don't want the head of the American analogue to SHIELD to be a total nutbar," Gar says. "Especially since nothing at all seems to have happened with any government follow-up investigation or anything. 'Course, there's complications there. One of our magical guys managed to pull a copy of the tower from … somewhere. Else. So it's weird there at the moment."

Gar leans over at whispers at Keef, "If you don't pick something you actually like I will order the golden osetra caviar for you."


Eyeing Keith, Roy jerks a thumb at him, looking at Gar. "He can make a replica, and he's absolutely -sure- it was Amanda Waller herself?" Roy observes, frowning. "I mean, c'mon, which sounds more likely… the head of an agency commits public job suicide, or, I don't know… IT'S A FAKE?!"

There was a brief -look- at Kate as she suggests that maybe he had a type, and Roy considers that, before shrugging. "What, dangerous darkhaired-haired women who could kill me with…" He pauses, going through the list mentally. Cheshire… check. Kate… check. Sara… Baroness… Wait. STARFIRE. Starfire totally wasn't a blackhaired… hm.

"Sooooo, Gar. I could try following up, but if what you say's true, I'm probably going to need backup help on this." Nope, totally not changing the subject here, Kate, not at all. We'll just… talk about it later.


"Well, we have the facts- that she could order a missile strike. That there missiles fired, and— " Keith holds up a finger, "My replicas don't have kill switches. The woman basically popped a switch and downed several of her men who failed. Now, here's the question— is this city so poorly protected by the branches of government that a missile strike would go without investigation? Unless they knew where those missiles came from…" he looks at Gar and sighs a little. Gar wins. He orders the lamb.


"If she was an imitation, she was an imitation who was able to command men and resources," Kate points out. "And that's the sort of thing that the agency itself would probably notice and try to do something about, don't you think?" She reaches for her water, taking a sip with a shake of her head. "I don't know, Roy. Maybe it's all just a big misunderstanding. But it's definitely something that bears looking into, right?"


Time to hammer home the nail.

"Building destroyed by someone with a rocket who brought government-issue ninjas, Roy. If it's NOT a fake we have trouble. If it IS a fake, we need to know who it is because she was impersonating your top-of-org-chart boss, which is not doing anything good at all for public acceptance of the Stormwatch brand name, which could eventually bleed down to your highly respectable and shiny-spandexed division," Gar says, being all reasonable and stuff. "I would be glad to help however I can, but I'm pretty sure the Titans won't be allowed to take part in any investigation, because we're the injured party."

He smiles at Kate, who has scored twice in one place. The waiter comes over and whispers something to Gar, and he nods, "Yes, for all of us please."

A plate arrives with eight dumplings, gleaming in consomme, filled with beef and foie gras and drizzled with a bit of black truffle oil… and there are littler plates to eat it from, onto which two of them are served for each person.


"Damn it," Roy curses as he considers the angles Kate and Gar points out. "Yeah. That -is- trouble. Thing is, I already have some orders from the Wall. And none of it concerned any of -that-. I've been mostly chasing down arms dealers, drugs, and syndicates. This sort of thing… if this is -Waller- herself, then there's no one I can trust inside Stormwatch."


Keith frowns. "What I want to know is how did you miss this whole hullaballoo? Were you sent on assignment?" That would be interesting, if he had been on assignment outside of the country. Convenient. And then he looks at the appetizer and… tries very, very hard not to salivate. But then he panics.

What fork do you use?


Kate clears her throat at that panicked look from Keith, reaching for the appropriate fork at her own place setting. Because she's sure not passing on eating this, that's for sure. She has to meet Barton later. They'll be lucky if they manage to swing through a McDonalds for fries.


"Fancy table setting is fancy," Gar says to himself. "Outside to inside, always the rule." He picks up the appropriate fork and begins, but pauses.

He looks over to Keith and says, "Checkmate is several thousand people, Keef. They'd keep Roy away from the investigation because he's already tied to the team, if they're working like the FBI does. Prevents conflict of interest."

Still doesn't explain why he wouldn't hear about it at all, but at an agency like that, if you're not doing your own job they give you MORE to do until you are.


"You kidding me…? I was busy investigating something else…!" Roy's eyes shift towards Kate, before he amends, "A couple of something else. Kate can tell you about one. The other… well, I'm not sure I want to discuss -that-."


Keith shoots Gar and Kate a grateful look. There's still a slight blush of embarrassment, but he manages. The stuff is fricking delicious, he closes his eyes for a moment to savor it.

Thank heavens his mother had drilled some eating manners into him. The eating was never fancy, at Chez O'Neil, but manners were important to his mother. Especially towards the end.

"My only concern is that if something dodgy is going on… that you might be in danger if you're seeing fraternizing with your old friends after that debacle. Though if nothing shady is going on, you might be in danger because you might be the one person that could blow the cover on a fakery."


"Good thing we're all superheroes," Kate murmurs to Keith's concerns, looking up with a faint smirk. "I mean, seriously, guys. If things get really out of control, I can ask Clint to bring SHIELD in. We're not exactly out here on our own in the cold. Not totally, at least." She's not saying anything about any investigations.


"So, with that out of the way," Gar says, "We can be done with the unpleasant part and get on to the reunion. Have you decided what you want for dinner? I'm going for the stroganoff. Anything cool happen in your life in the last four years?"


"Probably not for the best, Bishop," Roy grimaces. "The only problem would be how well American politicians and such take to an international investigation. I would be realllllly careful about that part."

Roy sits back, as he considers. There -was- that curious incident where Baroness interrupted a conversation with Amanda Waller. "There's a lot of possibilities, really, and not a lot of good ones. I'll need time to think about it…"

Pausing to consider, Roy arches an eyebrow. "Other than Lian growing up and driving me crazy, Gar? Checkmate, getting caught up with an alien Princess, meeting -her-…" Roy jerks a thumb at Kate. "… you caught up with Dick yet?"


Keith's face is simply priceless at that. Keith does not have a dirty mind. No more than usual. But come on. Considering what is currently going on between him and Gar?

So he coughs. Hard, because there's a piece of appetizer stuck down his throat the moment Roy finished that question. Water. Water.

Gulp. Glubglubglub.

"Hey, if they don't act like terrorists, they don't get treated like terrorists," Kate shrugs to Roy's caution, putting in her own order and continuing with the appetizers.


Gar makes his saving throw against poison and doesn't laugh. He does smile broadly though, and after a sip of his own water, says, "Nope, I'm waiting for the perfect time."

As in when he's in Gotham; the guy doesn't seem to spend time in Manhattan.


"If you want to tell the Wall she's a terrorist…" Roy shakes his head, before eyebrows raise at Gar. "For what, protection? If you want protection from Dick, call Daddy."


Water? Bad idea. Now Keith's coughing hard because water just went the wrong way. He slams his fist on his chest, trying to get it to go down. When it finally does, he's basically leaning on Gar, tears streaking down his face from all the coughing, throat burning and breathing heavily.


"Hey, if the show fits," Kate shrugs to Roy, before falling quiet to let the boys catch up.


Gar looks over at Roy, and says, "You …" and smirks, and starts suppressing laughter. Changeling has never ever been good at that. At least he manages not to turn into a hyena this time. He finally manages to stop, drying his eyes, the waiter looking concerned at the duo. Keith is given a new glass of water, of course.


"No water!" Keith waves, still sounding hoarse, "Don't… stop talking!" he croaks, and just hides his face in his hands trying to not laugh his ass off, and cough his lungs out.

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