Not For Sale: Waves Crash In

Summary:
October 5, 2014: North Point delivers more than anyone bargained for.

North Point — Gotham

North Point was once roughly analagous to the seaside resort-like
neighborhoods around New York's Cony Island. It's… not that nice anymore.
The general decay of the area had set in decades before the earthquake in
2009 shattered what infrastructure was left. These days North Point as less
seaside resort than coastal ruin. Even the buildings that have been repaired
seem to have become run down unnaturally quickly and the criminal element is
very, very comfortable here.


Characters

NPCs

  • Thug1
  • Thug2
  • Woman
  • Man

Mood Music:
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMReZPsk9WM]


North Point of Gotham City isn't a nice place. No one would argue otherwise. Regardless of the time of day, the air feels thick and heavy here — weighing in lungs like a bad case of pneumonia. Its scent is somewhere between the salty crispness expected from seawater and the smog that has descended on Gotham itself.

It also happens to be where some of the seedier of Gotham's characters hang out. Which could be why the city installed traffic cameras on virtually every corner. Not that the deterrent stopped anything.

One particularly decrepit building has devoted its time to some even seedier than usual dealings.

Drug deals and the drug trade are common in the area — ever since the earthquake in 2009. But evidence suggests that the smugglers in this decrepit building aren't smuggling drugs.

But then what could it be?

The derelict wooden building, complete with beams popping each direction haphazardly, has seen better days. Its once brown exterior now bleeds an ugly grey. The windows are long gone — boarded up with even more now-moulding wooden planks.

Two large, very burly, men lug a single very large crate from a nearby shipping boat. But the work only happens in the dark underneath the cloud of Gotham haze. The crate says FISH on the side, but things about the situation smell a very different kind of fishy…

It's getting cold enough now that coats are required for people who are not Bobby Drake. He's wearing one anyway so as not to call attention to himself. Ordinarily Gotham isn't his scene. He does most of his living and working up in New York, but DCI business had him checking up with a Gotham affiliate and then headed out to a test site a bit past North Point. Now he's walking back because parking in this city is murder just like in New York. Well… okay, it's a bit more likely to actually be murder in Gotham, but hey, thems the breaks. Gotham has a reputation and Bobby isn't so cocky that he's not a bit nervous. Still, could be worsse right?

There are rumours. No confirmed facts, just rumours, about this place. One of his sources led him here, if sources they can be called. A smarter thug who realized that there are worse things than being killed and he should be more scared of Midnighter than of anyone else. So far, the information seems promising if what he sees from the shadows is any indication. Fish isn't generally unloaded in the middle of the night and not to condemned buildings.

In the Clocktower, Babs sits in the darkened room, her face lit by the data and video feeds that flicker across her screens. Her hands rest lightly on the arms of her chair, the fingers of her right hand drumming gently. She may be physically still, but her eyes scan the screens, watching.

Her attention is caught by one of the video feeds and narrowing her eyes she watches the two big guys unloading fish into an abandoned building. Pressing her lips into a grim line, she sits forward, picks up the headset that is laying on the console and places it on her head. Pressing one of the buttons in the arm of her chair, she says "Robin, We have a situation in North Point that needs your attention." She doesn't say WHO she is, he should know by now.

Not too far away, thanks to his regular patrols, Robin adjusts his position on one of Gotham's many rooftops. The bird boy reaches to his utility belt and gives his new grapple gun (Spoiler stole the last one) a tug. Even before he's actually acknowledging the voice, he's moving. With a soft clink metal meets the top of the building and Robin is picking his way back towards North Point. "Any details? What kind of situation?" There's a pause. "Is it like a Joker is gonna kill someone kind of situation — " he releases the grappling hook and sprints down the centre of the building's rooftop, and then repeats the motion " — or a cat stuck in a tree kind of situation?" he actually smirks. "If it's the latter, maybe you should call the other Robin — " Because Damian is obviously more equipped to deal with cats in trees.

"Investigation or fight-y?" he asks back, his voice just a little belaboured thanks to the movement and his need for speed.

Down at the dock, the thugs agonize as they lug the large crate into the derelict house. A few moments pass and then they're treading back towards the boat again, only to grasp another large crate.

The boat itself is large and assuming. A close inspection might see a few letters on the side. But in the dark, this is challenging to read at a cursory glance.

The thugs' knees buckle beneath the weight and, to those close enough to hear it, a distinct thud can be heard inside the box itself. And then another.

"I thought — " the first bully man begins only to be shushed by his counterpart. "Say nothin'. The boss don't like it when we critique her methods."

The second rolls his eyes, "She ain't my boss. Or your boss. Besides, when did we get to do — "

"Zip it."

More activity can be heard from inside the building, although the lack of side windows, and their very condemned appearance hardly allow much to be seen from the street.

The roof, however, might be more promising. With the building in such a derelict state, it's possible that the roof itself may have cracks with which to spy.

To the back of the building is a very creaky porch. It almost looks like the kind of place that tourists might've gone to before this building got a serious case of OLD and CONDEMNED.

Awwwwwwww hell… Bobby sighs. That looks suspicious as a cat in a kennel over there. He'd love to just pretend it's not his problem and keep walking and really, this is Gotham, so a lot of things look suspicious but… he can't really just let it go. Lord only knows what's in that crate for starters and what these thugs are up to. The ice nerd shifts his path a little. He wants to swing by and get a look. Hopefully while not being seen himself.

As the thugs carry the second crate from the ship, Midnighter steps out of the shadows as they pass by. An elbow takes one in the throat while a foot lashes out at the other's head. Like fish in a barrel. The crate drops to the ground, of course, and if it doesn't break open on its own, he's going to help it.

Oracle smirks at Robins questions and responds into the Com "Yes, maybe I should get the other Robin but it's you I contacted. Investigate first, fight-y, knowing you, is highly likely." Her eyes have not left the video feed "Two guys unloading fish into an abandoned building." She frowns as a figure steps out of the shadows and takes the two guys down "There's a third joined this party - they aren't friendly with the first group… approach with care"

”Thanks Oracle,” Tim replies as he approaches North Point. He skulks in the shadows, as the bats have been taught, enabling him to keep some measure of caution. And stealth. In a way the shadows are more comforting anyways. He reaches out to catch the next rooftop line. “Anything distinctive about the building?” He squints at Midnighter’s efforts and skulks down the pier. “Any schematics on the building? I know it’s old and kind of… toppled, but maybe there’s something in records. An alternate way in could be useful.” Especially if he’s just investigating.

He slinks against the building, letting the light do its work to keep him guarded and shielded. But the assault on the thugs has Robin stepping forward, allowing the moonlight to reflect off his very distinct Robin get-up.

Thug 1 topples with the elbow to his throat. He gasps for air as the movement winds him and causes him to surrender the very large crate to the ground. The second thug takes a foot to the head and has to contend with the weight of the crate all on his lonesome (even if it is for mere seconds). The combination causes him to spin backwards, reeling from the contact. Movement in the crate is accompanied by another thud as the wooden crate hits the deck. This time there’s a very muffled noise that comes from inside the box.

With Midnighter’s help, the crate begins to open, but not before Thug1 shifts behind him. The large knife on his person is held out to contend with the anyone who interferes. He lunges forward, weapon in hand to slice at his assailant.

Creaky boards suggest that these Thugs are about to be joined by some other friends.

Knives in play. Yeah, Bobby doesn't need to see anymore. He throws one hand up and encases the thug's ankles in ice. Should be about enough to to trip the guy up. If he's not done after that, well…

"Hey! Look out!" Bobby calls out, now on alert. He can hear the creaking as well as anyone and knows it means they're about to have company. A pair of foot long rods of ice (escrima sticks, for the learned) simply grow into his hands. And here he was thinking he might actually get back to his car without something untoward happening….

Trying to sneak up on someone who can hear the increased heartbeat and respiration? Pretty futile. Midnighter turns to deal with the attack but it turns out not to be needed given Bobby's assistance. Grabbing the man's wrist, he disarms him of the knife and points out "You should have run." as he shoves it into the man's eye to the hilt. Human trafficing is guaranteed to put him in a bad mood. And the looks he gives the second thug promises the same if he's still here in five seconds. "More are coming from inside." he warns his unplanned assistant.

Oracle has been busy recovering the blueprints for the building, the information is old and whether it is still correct, is hard to tell. From the outside view, it looks like it is but things change. She speaks into the comm again "3 rooms; one main room closest to your end of the building and two smaller rooms (one of which looks to be a bathroom). Main entry to the building is via the porch around the back, which empties into the single large room. A second door is in the room that is closest to your side of the building, you should be able to see it if you move a few feet to your left. How current that information is and structural integrity is unknown." Sitting forward, Oracle zooms into the video feed "The roof may be sound enough to support your weight, and there are cracks that will allow you see the layout." She pans the video feed around, as far as she can "You have 3 more coming from the porch side of the building."

”Thanks Oracle,” Tim murmurs, “I’ll try – “ but the words are interrupted by a very loud sound.

The ice to the ankles freezes Thug1 in place, making it easy for Midnighter to take him down. He yelps as metal meets flesh and he falls into himself, doubling over as his insides scream for some semblance of relief. The noise echoes throughout the area thanks to the amplification of water and the way the sound can ricochet from one surface to the next.

Tim stares at the ordeal, temporarily frozen in place. There’s one rule the bat-family lives by: don’t kill. And while a knife to the gut doesn’t necessarily equal death, it doesn’t exactly inspire life either. Robin swallows hard and treads backwards. “Oracle, you need to call Gotham PD. The situation is more than fluid. It’s downright tenuous.” Batman would never approve of such tactics. “I’ll look through the cracks in the roof. Thanks for the tip.”

As far as Robin is concerned, he looks upwards, uses his grappling gun, and disappears for the roof.

Movement from inside has something very different take over the senses. Noise from behind the heroes at the water is almost whispered. Like a gentle breeze from the wind. But the illusion is short lived. The fellow that comes out isn’t an ordinary thug. His gait, manner of walking, and general being are large and imposing. He’s tag-teamed by a woman, lithe and lean. He lurches forward, his movement far more skilled than the two-rent-a-thugs. He tosses three throwing stars in quick succession towards the duo with the crate. Evidently, they really want whatever, or whoever is inside.

The woman does a quick sprint, spring, and roundhouse kick towards Bobby. She’s obviously had training of some kind.

Bobby has, in fact, trained with these sticks. He's not by aaaaaaaaaany stretch of the imagination a master. Or, comes to that, anywhere even close. He's good enough to outdo your average street thug and rent-a-cop though that's not what's attacking him now. One kick lands on his ribs, knocking him off balance. He responds by encasing himself in a crackling 'suit' of ice and hurling a baseball sized hailstone that just appeared in his hand out of nowhere with the the kind of confidence that comes of having thrown many heavy things back in his track and field days.

Midnighter easily dodges the shuriken by leaping above them, using an edge of the crate as a stepping stone. He pulls three metal rods out of his coat and snaps them together to create one long staff. "You can just give up now. I know what you can do and how you're going to do it. In just the time it took you to throw those, I've ran hundreds of scenarios in my head and beaten you and your friend in every one of them. You've already lost, you just don't know it yet. And wasting my time is just going to piss me off."

Acting on Robins request, Oracle sends an alarm to Gotham PD. Opening another window on her screens, she monitors their response before confirming "Police have been alerted Robin, you have 15 minutes till they arrive." She moves the video feed around and focusses on Midnighter and takes a freeze frame snapshot. Her fingers fly over the keyboard in front of her and a series of windows open, each running a different type of scan. The flickering of the lights reflect on her glasses as she watches the results appear.

"Thanks Oracle. As usual, you're just an average guardian angel — " Tim scales up the roof and peers through the cracks. "It's not…" Robin squints. "I don't know what they're doing. Equipment. Lots of equipment — " His eyes squint more. "Hostages. Or…" he cringes as he squints harder "…the people are the product."

Robin looks over his shoulder, "Oracle, I don't know why — " There's a pause. "Looks like your schematics were pretty well on though," he treads down the expanse of the roof, and he can feel boards creaking beneath each of his steps. He cringes. "I'm not sure how sta — " but the word is eaten as his foot sinks through the board of the roof. "Uh. Evidently the wood is kind of soft," his eyes widen as he becomes incredibly still. His foot has just gone through the roof.

The ice at the very least, sets the woman off, she inhales a sharp breath when Bobby puts on an armour of ice, and, if she were less stoic, she'd probably murmur something about who bloody cool that is and how she wishes she could do that. She twists around, but then she receives a hailstone to the jaw, causing her to stumble backwards; partially because she hadn't anticipated the ice out of nowhere.

The fellow is not deterred by either the Midnighter's words or his staff. He runs forward, and using his momentum rather than his agility, he aims to kick Midnighter's knees, shifting his weight entirely from one side of his body to the next.

Bobby follows up. One stick to the knee, the other across the jaw. Both strikes hard. Bobby tries not to leave fatal injuries and he's accutely aware that his power is dangerous. He accidentally killed a number of Jamie dupes in an unfortunate mutant power cascade incident a while back. That said, he's absolutely okay with leaving people with painful, debilitating injuries. Especially if it keeps them from kicking him again like that. The crack on the roof sets him off and the spins and poins with one of his rods, blind freezing on the - in his mind - reasonable assumption that it's more trouble.

They never listen. One day he's going to get cards made up to hand out and save his breath. Midnighter sidesteps the kick, raising his staff to block and arm and brings a booted foot down against the side of the thug's knee. *CRACK* Moving forward, the staff swings against the back of the man's neck which brings a second, softer crack. As the thug topples, he grabs an edge of the crate and yanks it off to see what - who - is inside.

"Just your average guardian angel huh?" Oracle follows up into the com. Watching the video feed, she tracks Robins progress over the roof, his foot disappearing into the roof and the stream of ice from the Iceboy appear and raises an eyebrow "You have ice incoming Robin" but she know that the warning is probably too late. Noting his dialogue on what he has seen inside, Oracle moves the video back to the woman with Iceboy, another freeze frame; more scans begin; more data gathered.

The woman crumples under the force of the sticks. Her body is utterly and completely limp underneath the force, particularly as her head meets the pier. She won't be getting up.

Neither will her male counterpart. Not for a long time anyways.

The crate itself gives way to a very young woman in the create. Bound and gagged, she is not awake. In fact, the woman is virtually catatonic. But she has all signs of life. A heart-beat. Breath in her lungs.

It's a wonder the thugs struggled to carry the box. Aside from the medical equipment packaged with her. An IV sends a steady stream of some narcotic into her blood. It could be why she's still sleeping.

The warning is heeded and Robin draws his cape around him at the incoming onslaught of ice. "Thanks Oracle." He tugs on his foot again, and mutters, "Foot is definitely… stuck…" his face flushes and he pulls it hard from the roof.

The noise is enough of a warning to those inside. Those outside and the fellow on the rooftop, will hear very quick movement from in the building. Someone (or as it stands), several someones, are in retreat, making way to the porch and main door.

With more force, Robin takes the edge of his grapple and rams it into the boards to loosen his still-stuck foot.

Bobby straightens and brushes the ice off him. His jaw hardens when he sees the contents of the crate. He considers taking off after the retreating group he hears but this is Gotham and he doesn't know the other guy involved. He seems a decent guy but one can't make assumptions here. "Hey… you handled that pretty well."

Another look into the crate draws a long sigh. "Human traffickers." He says it with a force and vehemance that equates to 'scum'. "Gotta get the authorities in on this." Fortunately, off the docks it won't be the GCPD. Crime looks Federal at the very least. Bobby's got nothing but respect for most police officers but one hears things about the GCPD. At the very least, they're severely overstretched.

Midnighter straightens up after getting a look at the woman inside. "Not human trafficing." he informs Bobby, letting the young man know what he's fighting for. "Metahuman trafficing. Call the FBI. The police here might even be in on it." This is all said as he runs into the building, looking for more targets.

Oracle's eyes widen at the sight in the crate and she taps another series of commands into her console. "Robin, medical assistance incoming, estimated arrival 8 minutes." Her camera focusses on the crate that the young woman is in, searching for any visible identifying markers. Glancing at the window monitoring the police, she adds "Police should be there any minute now, have you extracted yourself from the roof yet?"

As her scans on Midnighter begin to complete, Oracle copies the information she has found into her database - time later to analyse and assess it, for now they need to get these people out.

The engine of a car out front revs loudly, signalling that someone is already on the move. Whoever they are, they are presumably important.

Robin's strike to the roof didn't exactly work out the way Tim had envisioned and results in the Boy Wonder falling through the roof. The loud clatter of Robin through roof and whatever is left of the building's ceiling is at least able to stop one of the few thugs left. Tim peels himself off the floor as his eyes take in what's left of the site.

Drop cloths line the great room. Poly for easy clean up. Five gurneys line one far wall — mostly empty, save one. A young man, with his eyes glazed over, is hooked up to an IV. Much like the girl in the crate. Other medical equipment monitors his heart rate. The man's pallor is pale — nearly yellow — and he twitches as contraption beside him moves back and forth, literally harvesting fluid from his veins. At least one of the empty gurneys suggests that someone had been lying there. The imprint of a body, a few stray hairs, and wrinkled sheets all suggest someone may have been there for awhile.

Bags of different coloured fluids like a third wall and are accompanied by various beakers, syringes, and other chemicals.

Tim stares and he asks, "Oracle… are you seeing any of this?" Now that there's a hole cracked in the roof (a rather large one too), it's possible she can take a gander.

He twitches.

Bobby is already dealing his cell as he jogs over to the building to see what that sudden noise was. He'll need to keep an eye on the girl out front but… "Hey…" The phone is picked up by one of the DCI support staff helping handle X-Red stuff. "I need a call over to the FBI. Human/Metahuman trafficking. My location. Great, thanks. Bye."

He looks in the door, a tousled looking, sandy haired young man and sees the caped Boy Wonder. It's not super likely that he's here to cause more trouble. All the thugs had been in street clothes buuuuuut…

His hand comes up and he points it right at Robin. "Don't move." He'd say 'freeze' but… not applicable here.

Midnighter doesn't pause inside once he sees it abandoned. Kicking down the front door is easier than opening it but the vehicle is already halfway down the street and he's not /that/ fast. Heading back inside, he says "He's not one of them." as he continues toward the back. It was a brief encounter but he remembers Robin from Spoiler's house. "There may be more on the ship."

Panning her cameras back to see what Robin is talking about, Oracle sees the car leaving and she taps a few more commands through her console. The details that she could get from the vehicle are fed to the Gotham PD, with a few serious traffic violations added for good measure.

As the cameras focus through the roof, Oracle blanches slightly "Yeah, I'm seeing it Robin. If Iceboy over there has finished threatening you, can you check on the guy out on the gurney? Police should just about be there according to my systems."

Bobby's words have Robin's hands held up in the air. He freezes as per the ice fellow's instructions. And then Midnighter is vouching for him, drawing a lopsided grin that fades moments later. This is not something he'd expected to stumble into tonight.

As per Oracle's instructions, he strides up to the man on the gurney and studies the other man's face. They're probably about the same age, Tim decides as he reaches out to check the man's pulse and study the contraptions to which he's hooked.

Tim's gloved fingers reach out and train down the cord and his eyes focus on what's coming out of the hong man. "This isn't blood — " he squints. He's seen these devices at blood banks. Anyone who donates would recognize it as a standard among blood drives. But the liquid, as Tim observed, isn't blood. It's something else. "I'm afraid to do much," he replies to Oracle. "He doesn't look good, but I don't…" he frowns and taps at the contraption harvesting whatever it seems to be harvesting. "Maybe we can freeze it somehow? Cutting the power looks like a bad idea — failsafe isn't useful, but he's not looking good… maybe we can pause it?"

On the ship, Midnighter will find one last crate guarded by a sparse crew of two more thugs. The ship itself, however, may be of more interest, particularly the bridge. The bridge itself has a table lined with three large maps, all with three different charted courses per map. But more than that, a series of numbers is scribbled on the side of each, followed by either a 1 or 0.

"Freezing is my specialty." Bobby reaches out and begins to ceate ice around the moving parts of the contraption. Whatever this is it's captial B bad. Fortunately, he doesn't have to bug out when the cops come, so he can at least help stick around and make sure the proper authorities are behaving er… properly.

Mercy is not a word commonly found in Midnighter's vocabulary. And when it comes to slavers, it's unheard of. The rest of the ship's crew are dispatched - permanently - and he opens the crate to verify that it's another metahuman. Once he's certain there's only one more captive and no more crewmembers, he returns to shore. "One more on board." Bobby's experiment gets a small frown but he's no scientist to say just how bad an idea it is. "It might be best to wait for the Feds to show up. They can call in some scientists."

Watching the Iceboy freeze the equipment, Oracle asks "Slowing the equipment may not work, perhaps trying slow the guys metabolic rate down. Can Iceboy there do that?" Her surveillance does not allow her to see what was on the ship, but she does see Midnighter leave it rather more quickly than anticipated "Ask him if he did a full sweep of the ship, Robin, he was a lot quicker than I expected."

"So cool," Tim murmurs as the ice is put around the machine. Yeah, he's got just a little bit of envy. The contraption at least slows as its parts begin to freeze. Robin holds up a hand, "Oracles thinks that slowing the equipment might not be the most effective. Can you slow down," Robin looks pointedly towards the fellow hooked up to the machines, "his metabolic rate?"

Robin turns towards Midnighter now, once again following Oracle's instructions, "Did you manage to complete a full sweep of the ship? Another body — " Robin looks over at the gurneys. "So. Five beds. One accounted for on ship. One on a bed. One obviously previously occupied…" he frowns as he looks towards the bed with its imprint. "And one empty?" He arches a wry eyebrow as his hand rubs his chin.

"Yes…" Bobby answers slowly. "But getting him back from it alive is a trick and a half. There's a reason that kind of thing's still more sci-fi than science. If he's in immediate danger I'll do it, but otherwise it may be wise to wait."

"There is no one on board left to pilot the ship away if that is your concern." Midnighter answers. Four scents accounted for, no extra heartbeats. Except for rats. "Either they drove off with two of them or they might be expecting another delivery."

An alarm is displayed on one of Oracles screens and she turns her attention to that. Into the com "Wait Robin… that car that left has been intercepted by the Police and they've found" a slight pause as she waits for an update "a body, but not a dead body. I think that's your 5th. We need to get one of you over there to confirm that" and she relays the coordinates of the car and police.

"Makes sense," Tim replies to Bobby. "ETA on the EMS?" Robin asks Oracle, wholly prepared to jet in short order. He can't be here when the police come. Such is the life of a vigilante. There's a nod at Midnighter's answer, "Good. So basically things are secure."

Oracle's words have him relaying, "Oracle put a trace on the car that took off from here and the vehicle was intercepted by the Police. Evidently there's another body. Someone needs to go to confirm that it's our 5th… I've got coordinates — " His head turns back towards the young man. "Otherwise, it looks like Gotham PD can probably take over here…" He sighs lightly.

"I hope not. I'm kind of with the other goy on that one. Too much chance someone there's in on it or paid off." Bobby shakes his head. "You go. I'll stay. I haven't done anything illegal and I'm not wanted. Looks like you might not wanna be around when they show up though." He gives a kind of half smirk and makes a 'shoo' motion. "Well? What are you waiting for?"

"I'll stay and make sure they do nothing but secure the site." The bat kid obviously wants nothing to do with the police which means the ice guy needs to go identify the captive. And either going or staying means Midnighter needs to pull some rank so it might as well be here where he can kill anyone who tries to cover up anything. Pulling an earpiece out of his pocket, he puts it in and taps it. "Midnighter. Bite me, put her on." He points at Bobby and points. Go. "Yes, get in touch with the Gotham police and let them know they need to secure my location without touching anything until the FBI arrive. Metahuman trafficing." Pause. "Yes, tomorrow." He pulls out the communicator and drops it in a pocket again.

Bobby frowns but nods. He's not got Oracle in his ear. He pauses long enough to get a rough location and then takes off in a hurry, which in this case means stepping outside and ice ramping up, up and away. Car isn't that far thankfully though he hopes the police who intercepted it aren't twitchy types. He'd hate to get shot at.

Oracle notes Iceboy leaving the scene. "EMS and police will be there momentarily Robin. If you think the site is secured, you need to leave now and you can brief me as you go."

Frowning, Oracle pulls up the data she's been collating on Midnighter.

There's a smirk at the instructions to head out. "Depends on the day as to how much they like me," Robin replies with a lopsided grin. But even with that said, he's on his way out with a wave of his hand. He frequently leaves crooks for the police, but rarely sees officers face to face. "Thanks Oracle. I think there's plenty to discuss."

He skulks back into the shadow, and then the Boy Wonder climbs back to the rooftops, running along the sharp edges of buildings, using his grappling hooks as he goes to move from one rooftop to the next.


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