It's A Gas

September 8, 2014: Vorpal knows better than to go into Gotham looking for the Joker. That doesn't seem to stop fate, though.

Gotham Midtown

Midtown was initially a neighborhood along the edges of Robinson Park but
post-Cataclysm (09' quake) it is considered the entire Robinson Park area and
surrounding burroughs and neighborhoods. Along the southwestern shores of
Midtown lies Miller Harbor and north of that are scattered homes and
businesses in equal trade off. The southern edge of Midtown is one of the
oldest portions of Gotham, the bluebloods simply call, "The City".



Mood Music:
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Shatner Version)

Alarms ring in the night. The Joker has been busy. There isn't really any such thing as 'usual' activity for him. One day he's robbing banks, the next he's stealing nitrates from a fertelizer processing plant. Tonight? Well tonight, oddly he's robbing a hardware store. It's the ninth hardware store he's robbed tonight. Mostly things like steel plates and ball bearings have gone missing. Stuff that seems odd but probably doesn' bode well. Never one to not get his hands dirty, the Clown Prince is in the process of tossing yet another bag of loot into the back of a truck. Going to have to bounce before the GCPD shows up.

Vorpal has been chasing a man some of his contacts have fingered as a suspect in the string of robberies in certain… specialty stores around the area. So far so good- he has been doing the 'sneaking in shadows' bit, the 'jumping across rooftops' bit- though that last one not as much since his ankle is still recovering. He has never been this far into Gotham before… he's been told repeatedly: Leave Gotham to the Batman and his allies.

Vorpal is not an idiot, he has followed that rule. Tonight, however, he got distracted. Tonight he has been more intent on the chase than on where the chase was leading him, and it isn't until now, when his senses are assaulted by the alarms that he realizes that the architecture looks decidedly…

Oh, crap.

He's lost the lead, too. He managed to sneak into one of the buildings while he was distracted by the alarm… an alarm that tells him that while the man he is chasing MIGHT be responsible for something, there is someone who currently IS responsible for whatever is going on, and they are right over there.

The Cheshire cat, with a knot in his stomach as he feels he is trespassing where he should not, nevertheless makes for the rooftop closest to the sound, to peer down below with his night-seeing eyes. From the angle where he is at, he can only see the van, not its driver. Yet.

~Flash really needs to come up with a communicator…~

~Or maybe something to contact local authorities without giving away your phone number~

"Thank you for your generous donation." A chuckling, nasal voice says before a muted thud within the building beneath the Cheshire cat accompaines it belching forth colored, foul smelling smoke. Laughing, someone walks over to the van and opens the door.

Purple ears perk at the sound of the laughter, and the thud. What on earth is going on?

You see… Vorpal has heard of the Joker, of course. Who hasn't? A bit of a boogeyman, a legend. But it simply does not occur to him that the Joker would rob from a … a hardware store, of all places. Although the laughter is strange, it's inconcievable to him to evern contemplate the fact that the Clown Prince himself would be be there.

And that is why Vorpal, talented and brave as he might be, is a rookie. And that is why he's been told to stay away from Gotham until he knows better.

Sometimes life's just a bitch, you know?

The Cheshire narrows his eyes and opens a Rabbit Hole, appearing behind the van as the man opens the door to get inside, in order to get a better look at the store… and perhaps orchestrate a little mayhem to deter the criminal's escape.

Vorpal's first priority, though, is to see whether there is anyone inside that hardware store. At this late at night, he doubted it… but he would prefer to let a criminal escape and save his victims than catch a thief and let his victims die. What on earth -was- that smoke, anyways?

The store is belching odd smelling purple smoke. It doesn't seem to be on fire though. The moment he appears though, the robber - a man with green hair in a purple pinstripe suit stops and stiffens. "Well… I was wondering if anyone was going to show tonight…" In a blur of movement he spins around, whipping a butterfly knife into his fist and slashing.

Purple is a fine color, Vorpal will be the first person to say it- but in smoke, it was worrysome. Not as worrysome as the pinstripe suit- dapper though it was - when it is combined with green hair. The cat's blood turns to ice for a moment, an all too inconvenient moment as his surprise is exploited by that butterfly knife. Vorpal steps back with his arm raised- said arm gets sliced by the knife, and blood drips onto the pavement.

"Augh—- what the … "

~It's the Joker! It's the Joker! Run! Run!~

~You can't run, there may be people trapped inside~

~They won't get any help if you die! Run and call the police~

~And let him go?~

Inside him, the Cait Sidhe and Keith, respectively, blared at him.

The Joker. The Joker has him at a disadvantage- he needs to regroup and get the higher ground, or he will not survive the night. He's too surprised to invoke his powers, which require the focus of his will.

~Calm down. Focus. Center.~

"I know there's already a Catwoman…" The grinning clown cackles as he steps forward and follows up with another swipe, this one delivered with the other hand clutching what appears to be a straight razor. "But that's taking things a bit far, don't you think? You can't be a Bat, you're too colorful. They like black too much. So, before I kill you, who might you be?"

~Think fast!~

~What do you say to a homicidal clown who is hell bent on killing you no matter what?~

~Remember the sphynx~

He begins to step back, falling into the familiar Black Tiger Fist stance, trying to conquer his fear so that his will can come to focus.

"I might be just about anyone or anything… Whereas you, clearly, must be the Batman…"

That makes the Joker laugh. It's a wild, manic laugh, but one that oddly holds some genuine amusement though whether at the joke or the situation who could say? "That's a good one Kitty Cat." The amusement hasn't done anything to halt the bladed assault. He moves up again, slashing like a madman. Which he is.

Focus. Focus. FOCUS or you'll DIE!

As the blades close in, Vorpal realizes that with his wounded ankle he cannot move fast enough to evade him. Normally, he could- he is a cat, after all, and has all of the advantages of his nature. Unfortunately, he is also bipedal, which means that while a quadrupedal feline could count on three limbs to get him the hell out of there and dodge, he only had one reliable one. That realization is what finally brings his will into focus.

Not fast enough, though, as the razor manages to cut him— and it's a bad cut across his chest. His band jacket takes the worst of it, or surely he would be bleeding out- but it causes him to yowl out in pain. He leaps back… but, again, bad ankle, and he ends up landing wrong, on his butt, one arm raised.

But at least he has a fighting chance now. Or, at least, a chance at survival— he is focused… now he just needs to think of something

The Joker pauses in his frenzied assault and drops into almost a conversational stance. Or, he would be anyway if he didn't have two bloody knives in his hands. He clucks, looking disappointed and disapproving. "This? This is what passes for a hero in Gotham these days? Really, you'd think that Batsy would have better taste. But then, you're not with him, are you? You should be glad. He'd have been all frowny and given you a lecture about his town. With me, at least, you get to have an exhillerating fight to the death."

"That's enough, Joker."

The voice of the Batman. Or, rather, the guttural raspy whisper of the Batman comes from behind the Joker. The stygian silhouette of the Dark Knight stands in the middle of the street, behind the Joker and mostly cloaked in shadows.

It had been the Joker's own conversation that had inspired the illusion. Vorpal does his best to look surprised, even terrified, of what looms behind the Joker.

Joker spins and hurls the butterfly knife right at Batsy's neck. "Hah! It's about time you showed up. Tardiness to the party, while fashionable, is most unhelpful." The illusion seems to have completely taken the clown in. It doesn't seem to have run him out of knives. Another one is in his hands in an instnat.

The Bat dodges the knife with surprising ease, stepping back into the shadows—-

And then, he's impossible to spot. Where did he go?

This is the chance that Vorpal takes for some more duplicity- becoming invisible himself… but leaving an illusory copy of himself behind, still quivering on the ground. He crawls away to the side of the van, invisible, hoping that the missing Batman and the cowering illusion will buy him a little time, as he crouches next to one of the tires and wills a construct knife to appear in his hand.


It's the sound of air coming out of the tires that gives the game away. The Joker isn't used to illusions, per se, but he's well familiar with theatricality. It's one of Batman's primary weapons after all. From the other side of the van there's a sound like a pistol being racked. "Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty. I've got a nice saucer of milk for you." Footsteps approach.

Vorpal dismisses the construct immediately so that its glow will not give his invisible presence away.

Do not underestimate him, the Joker is dangerous.

Do not laugh at him, the Joker is serious.

Do not lose focus, or you will die.

He has no powers, but that doesn't matter.

Vorpal narrows his eyes. He's only got one shot at this- no pun intended. Slowly, he materializes his illusory double, while stepping several feet to the side. Inside his double, who seems to be busy tampering with the tire, he opens up two small Rabbit Holes…

If he shoots his illusion, Vorpal hopes, the bullet will be redirected to the other tire.

The illusion is just like Vorpal in every way… even to the point that it looks up, panicked, when the Joker rounds the corner of the van

Rather than shoot the cat the Joker goes to kick him in the ribs. His foot ends up in one rabbit hole and abruptly he's on his back, with one foot jammed up against the tire. "Hey…" He looks upset at first and then grins. "That's quite a trick." Slowly the murderous clown picks himself up looking around for the actual Vorpal. Wait. There's an easy way to do this. Pulling another smoke grenade, the Joker chucks it back under the van and waits, listening for the telltale sound of coughing.

F#@!#!—- Vorpal has very little time to act. He holds his breath, but manages to inhale some of the smoke. A cough, as he is running, just to the Joker's left…

"THERE YOU ARE" The Joker swwings his hand out and a fine mist issues from under his wrist. It smells funny, tastes funy and if Vorpal is coughing, a fair bit of it prooooobably gets into the cat's mouth.

"Hehehehehe. Did you get a bit wet Kitty Cat. Oh you'll like that, I think."

Vorpal rolls on the ground, coughing and becomingg visible.

His brain goes into overdrive.

~This is it. He's poisoned you. You are going to die.~


~He can't get away. He can't win.~

There was something strange happening to him, his thought acquiring… color.

~He's… not… going… to get… away…~

As a last effort of his Will, he focuses for what he believes to be the last time to summon a gigantic, purple anvil that falls out of the sky and flattens the front of the van, ideally completely obliterating the engine.

~What's happening to me?~

Around him, the streets are melting away into the horizon and the moon begins to burn with a bright flame…

In the real world… well, things get weird very, very quickly, as the entire area of the street becomes a mirror of Vorpal's hallucinations. The world, in effect, goes mad. Nothing seems to stay anywhere for long, buildings appear and reappear, the sun and the moon race each other across the sky…. and Rabbit Holes open and close everywhere at a vertiginous speed. As for Vorpal himself? Well… he's a chair. And then he's a tower. And then he's a small group of singing elves dancing around a maypole. Wonderland has been unleashed.

~Oh God. What… who…~ his thoughts become streaks of light dancing across a multicolored landscape. Keith, Vorpal, the Cait Sidhe all melt into a stream of consciousness that varies from shallow to deep, but that never ceases to race.

Everything except the Rabbit Holes, of course, are pure illusion. But that doesn't help much for anyone who is in the area, until they manage to get out.

There are also constructs, glowing purple constructs that fall from the sky at random intervals- impossible, Escherian shapes that do not last long— shudders of a Will disturbed rather than focused.

"Hehehe. You're fun. Run a long now before I decide to follow it up with lead poisoning." The Joker grins and makes his way over to the van. It has a flat, but so what? He'll just steal another in a few blocks.

And Vorpal does run along… though he's not exactly paying attention to the strange little man who gives him the order. At this point, he might believe he has dreamt him up. And so Vorpal goes, wandering aimlessly through the Gotham streets, and bringing a complete maelstrom of chaos in his wake. Without really intending to, his mayhem will put a stop to at least three muggings and two assaults. The downside is that everybody involved will need heavy counseling afterwards. For the next few hours, Wonderland has come to Gotham.

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