Walking To Mordor Is Preferred

Summary:
October 10, 2014: Robin drops in on Oracle to talk about the MetaHuman trafficking ring and…. surprise, surprise …. Spoiler.

Clocktower - Gotham City

A locally famous landmark, the Gotham Clock Tower is located in the Central Business District. Tours haven't run in years, though, since the building was bought out by a group of bird-lovers known as the Nightingale Society. Still, it's a well-known part of the Downtown skyline. From the outside it looks unused, but the clock is clearly maintained as it still runs on time, and now and again people can be seen coming and going. The bottom floor looks mostly disused, with a long hallway ending in a bookshelf full of coffee table books about birds. To either side of the hall are sparsely furnished rooms. The walls show illustrations of local Gotham feathery sorts, and charts on bird migrations. Cabinets store various bits of bird-watching equipment.

The doors to the stairs require a key card to access, probably to deter vandalism. The upper floors are only accessible by a secret elevator. The doorways to access it them the stairs have been bricked over and drywalled. On the living quarters floor, each door requires a keycard and voice recognition, except for the door to the training facility at the end of the hall, which requires palm, optical, and voice recognition. The top floor, however, is the most secure of all.

The pale glow of the four massive translucent clock-faces dominate the four compass points of the lair, casting everything in a warm light by night, and cool light by day. the natural brick walls of the buildings exterior are left visible on one wall while the others are painted a pristine white. The ceilings have recessed and track lighting, and the floors are smooth pale wood. There is a lounge area and even a kitchen, as well as other facilities here. The insulation around the top floor is meant to keep scanners and eavesdropping equipment from being able to image what's inside.

Mainframes and back-up generators line most of the walls in rooms of clear glass kept from overheating with with high-tech coolant systems. In front of one clock face is an enormous computer system laid out on a long, custom desk, lower than average, just the right height for Oracle's wheelchair. There is a command chair for use when needed, which slides on rails along the length of the desk. A huge bank of monitors are arrayed in a horseshoe shape around the desk, with the ability to form one large picture or individual smaller ones.


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music:
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsHb_6zTQwo]


It's the middle of the day. Normal people have jobs. Normal people have lives. Normal people probably don't get up at two in the afternoon on Thursday. But Tim had an 8 am class. Which meant he didn't get to bed until 9:30 am. And he doesn't have another class today. Just homework. And patrol later.

A familiar code is punched into the clock tower and Tim Drake, Not-Robin, can be seen on the monitors as he strides inside. He even gives a tow fingered wave, albeit somewhat sheepishly as he feels eternally awkward on camera.

A few moments later there's a light knock on the door of the monitor room. "Hey — " unlike her last visitor, he doesn't have take out, but he does have a bag in hand which is thrust through the door before he peeks in officially.

Oracle can be found sitting, in her command chair in the monitoring room, watching the video feeds and data streams as they flicker across her screens. People bustling here and there could be a good cover for someone with more…. devious… intent. Her attention is caught partially by the video feed of the young man who is currently entering a code to enter the building and she smiles as he waves self consciously at the camera.

By the time Tim knocks on the door of the monitoring room, Oracle is already facing the door "Hey yourself, a surprise to see you here, a pleasant one I hope?" Her face is serious, but there is a hint of warm welcome.

Oracle earns a bright boyish grin and a nod. "Pleasant-ish?" Tim answers with a shrug of his shoulders. He shuffles in and passes her the bag, "I totally preordered this and really don't have time to play." His copy of Shadow of Mordor for PC is inside. "I thought I would, but — barely have time to sleep. College is really not good for anything but." He actually smirks at the last. Of course, that's not the only reason he's here.

He shuffles inside and issues her another smile as he glances at the monitors. "Anything nefarious going down today?"

Taking the bag, Oracle looks inside. "Thanks, if you're sure? College can be like that, I'd say it got better but with our … line … of extra curricular activities…." she lets the thought fade. Narrowing her green eyes as he enters the room and glances at the screens, in a mild tone she responds "There is always something nefarious, just the degree varies. Spill, what's up?"

"I'm sure," Tim replies easily. "I honestly have no time. And I think any extra minutes would be better spent sleeping then," he glances towards the bag and shrugs again. "Not that all I do is sleep on my off ti — oh look a bunny." His cheeks hue a pale pink and he shakes his head.

He clears his throat, whatever distraction the bunny provided has already dissipated and he runs his tongue over his lips. "Well. I thought we should probably talk about the whole metahuman trafficking thing from Sunday. The masked vigilante killer. Hints from the scene." His lips twist to the side thoughtfully.

"I went back on Tuesday, and they'd already cleaned up well enough that there was little to see. I wish I'd managed to buy some more time to look about — even with each of the victims accounted for…" he shrugs. "Seems like the kind of thing that could take over North Point easily."

And then, more sheepishly, Tim turns back towards the monitor and his ears redden just a little as he does so. "Also. There's this girl…" Yup. He didn't just come to talk shop either.

Oracle sits patiently, a mild look on her face as Tim explains why he is there. The 'bunny' distraction doesn't work and she maintains her attention on him. "Oh yes, how is Steph?" the tone is lightly teasing and small grin appears at the corner of her lips. "If you've come for advice, I might not be the right one to speak to …." They'll get to the things that interest her shortly, let's get this out of the way.

When Tim finally turns around, his face is a bright crimson and he shrugs, but the sheepish smile remains. "I really like her," he admits, his face feeling hot, prompting him to clear his throat again. "Like a lot. But." And there's always a but. "She likes Robin, right? I mean. Robin isn't a person. He's an idea. A symbol. I'm not even the first one — heck, I'm not even the best one." He actually sighs at that. "So I've been dating her as Robin. Not me. Which. Bad idea, right? Really genius plan there, Timmy." The smile disappears. "I feel like I deserve the life, not Robin. Not when there's two of us and she could easily mistake Damian for me — "

Oracle laughs softly at Tims discomfit "I'm sorry Tim, what is it you're really asking? Who to date Steph as or whether to date Steph? and I don't think she could mistake Damian for you, you're both so different." she pauses for a little, "Let's go get comfortable, hey?" and she motions to the Kitchenette "If you're going to ask my advice, you can at least make me a cup of tea as well as bring me the game." A slight wink at Tim and Oracle moves the chair forward.

There's a chuckle as Tim runs both of his hands through his hands and treads towards the kitchenette. He treads for the kettle and fills it before plugging it in. "I don't even know what I'm asking," Tim finally manages. His smile turns lopsided as his eyes lid. "And to be fair, I'm worried all people will mistake me for Damian." He shifts in the kitchenette and watches the kettle for a few moments. "I think I love her." The kettle is ridiculously interesting now. "And… I guess I'm asking… if it's a bad idea to tell her who I am. I know it's selfish, but I want her to use my name. I want Tim to have the social life, not Robin. I want her to know all of me — to be able to complain about calculus and Professor Trey's teaching assistants. I want to be able to just sit next to her and watch TV." He holds up a hand, "Not that I'd have time for that anyways," because he wouldn't. "But the option. I want the option. And thinking about this, balancing everything." He sighs. "I want it to stop being complicated and just be simple. Is that even possible?"

Manoeuvring her chair to the table whilst Tim continues to be awkward and shy but goes to make tea, Oracle pulls a tablet out of the arm of her chair. Starting it up, she does a quick review, and then places it on the table beside her.

"I don't think it's meant to be easy, Tim, but you make some good points. You're both still young, and this is still new to you, so don't rush it. Do you trust her? Trust is the key here, don't you think?" She watches his embarrassed actions in the kitchen, she can't help the tiny grin that shows.

The kettle whistles and Tim grasps the tea pot from the top of kitchenette, filling it with hot water and then two tea bags before closing the lid on the pot once again. The issue of trust probably isn't meant to be a trick question: "Yes, I guess." It's more a question than he intends. "Do I trust anyone?" he finally asks with another sigh. "I've been with Batman since I was 13. Playing Robin since I was 14. Trust is… kind of fluid. Point: if some Gotham villain was on my tail, there's no one I would trust more than Batman to deal with that situation." He pauses. "But I haven't told him anything about Steph. They even sort of met once when she was Spoiler. He wasn't happy about her playing a masked vigilante." Tim sighs.

He grabs two mugs and sets them down on the table before glancing at the fridge. "Do you have anything to eat? I just woke up before coming here and breakfast consisted of half a chocolate bar I grabbed last night." And then in his defence, "It had nuts." Alfred never would've approved.

Taking the mug, Oracle smiles her thanks, takes a sip and then waves at the Fridge "Have at it, I don't know what's in there but eat, but you're welcome to whatever there is." She pauses "You have to make your own mind up about Steph, Tim. I can't help you there, just" and other pause as she cants her head slightly "look into your heart and let it balance the mind. It's not easy, but nothing worth having ever is."

Her gaze flicks to the tablet on the table beside her, assessing and is then returned to Tim. Waiting….

The fridge is opened and Tim peeks as he continues to consider everything, "I really like her. And I mean," he twists around to look at Oracle over his shoulder, "I know she's the Cluemaster's daughter but she already put him back in Arkham. She's not working with him." He sighs, closing the fridge again. Evidently talk of love ruins appetites. "But I know why Batman didn't like her. She doesn't listen. Ever. To anyone. Which, ironically, is one of the reasons I like her so much." He shoots Babs a crooked grin. He returns to the table with his own mug and sets it down before sliding to the seat opposite Oracle.

"I asked Dick for advice," he states as he glances towards the tablet. "He seemed to think I could date Steph as me. But I dunno. What if she doesn't even like me? I'm not exactly cool like Robin. I play video games and do calculus homework."

Oracle smiles slightly at the mention of Dick and the fact he's offering relationship advice but shakes her head "Do you think Steph is as cool in her real life as Spoiler is? Maybe Steph does calculus homework too, do you know? Don't rush into it, take a bit of time, with the right intentions things often have a way of working out." She sips on the tea and considers him "Would you mind if we changed the record, I would really like to address this meta humans issue. BUT, if you need to talk more about Steph, do so, I'm just really not sure what more I can add."

"Ye-yeah," Tim is actually affronted by the question. "I. I really like her. As Spoiler. As Steph. I just. I want to see her. I look forward to seeing her no matter what she's doing." His cheeks flush again. "Sorry." As he's said before: "I suck at girls."

He nods, "Yeah of course. We need to think about this meta-human trafficking issue. I'm actually quite concerned about it. I went back to the scene," he reaches into his pocket and takes out his cell-phone, "Admittedly I did see much of anything. No sign of whatever was in those bags. Or the ship. I'm guessing the feds impounded it?" The blush fades from his cheeks. "But I took the photos just the same."

"And I suck at relationship advice obviously" Oracle laughs "I didn't mean to offend Tim, merely to point out that Steph is not Spoiler and may have similar reservations. You don't suck at girls, you have little experience and" a small pause "really liking someone makes it complicated."

Nodding as the subject is changed, Oracle listens to Tim and reaches for the phone to view the pictures. "I'm not sure it was the Feds, Tim. Or not a regular branch at any rate, Iceboy made a call to someone requesting a crew onsite. Speaking of which, do you know either of the two who helped you that day?"

"Yeah, but I'm an adult. Proper. I should know more than I do," Tim counters quietly with a small shake of his head. "Sorry. I shouldn't have asked. I guess I should just be talking to Bruce about it." He actually frowns. "I don't want him to talk me out of this. Life's simpler alone, but — " he frowns just a little.

There's thankfulness over the discussion of the meta human issue, even if it's morbid material. "No?" Tim arches an eyebrow. "Well it definitely wasn't Gotham PD. I know I would've seen something left behind. They're not nearly as neat as these folks." There's a small shake of his head, "I've met the masked fellow before. With Spoiler. He knows who she is — she thought she owed it to him or something?" His eyebrows draw together. This evidently is one of the reasons trust is so fluid. "Helped her take down her dad. Midnighter I think she called him."

"Don't beat yourself up, all of us 'adults' have similar issues and you're always welcome to ask, I just may not be able to answer. Give me a computer any day" Her hand touches the tablet beside her to emphasise the point.

"Mmmm, Midnighter is his name and I've got some interesting information on him. He was effective, but lethal, and that's going to cause problems. He belongs to a faction called Stormwatch and his alignment seems fluid. He'll bear watching."

"What about Iceboy? Not worked with him before?" A thought comes to Oracle and she picks up her tablet and starts tapping at the screen. "Just looking up something, won't be too long."

"I seriously feel like everyone else has all of their stuff together and I'm alone in my… questions," Tim admits with another arch of his eyebrows. "And she's so smooth about it. There's no baggage about whether to trust me. No questions about who I am. She doesn't force the issue…" he does. But he doesn't say as much.

Refocusing has him frowning. "Midnighter is bad news then," Tim repeats. "So I need to be leery. I was when I saw him dispense of that thug. Is there any way I can keep him from doing that? Maybe Batman can have a conversation — I doubt I'm threatening enough to straighten out someone like that."

"No… I don't know anything about Iceboy. Besides the fact that he can freeze things. Which, by the way, totally cool. Some of these meta-humans make me feel downright ordinary."

"Mmmmmm," Oracle is momentarily distracted by her research, she blinks "So be cool like her, she seems like she's happy to lead for a while."

"I'll let Batman know about Midnighter but I suspect he already does, he can have 'the talk' but I don't think it's going to make much difference. As to what you can do? I would suggest the next time you get the drop on the thugs, make sure the ones behind you are out cold, and for a long time, before moving forward. You left your back completely open by just dropping them that night and when the thug came at you, Midnighter did his thing." There's no angst or reprimand in the statement, it's an observation only and Oracle hopes the small smile softens it.

Pulling herself out of analytical mode, momentarily, Oracle frowns again - "You aren't ordinary Tim, you and the rest of the team are really quite extraordinary, remember that."

Oracle continues to review the data on her tablet "I'll have something very soon."

"He beat me there," Tim reminds. "I guess I need to get the drop on him then. Being ahead of him is everything." He actually frowns. "Batman is at least scarier. If someone is going to work, it'll be him, won't it?" It definitely won't be Tim. Especially if Spoiler looks his way. Teenage blushing hardly threatens anyone. "But I'll remember that. You know anything about Iceboy? He didn't seem as bent on killing folks…" His eyebrows arch upwards. "Seemed invested too."

The last has him frowning a stitch more, "Just hard to remember that when there are truly extraordinary folks out there."

Oracle grins at Tim as she gets the information she's been searching for on the tablet "I've done a little digging on Iceboy and have some details. That's not his name of course but it fits for now. He did seem to know his stuff and was careful." Looking back to the screen, Oracle frowns "There were two units called in that night, the first was to DCI, though Iceboys phone, requesting FBI involvement. The 2nd was via a communicator from Midnighter. Couldn't get a full lock on it in the time I had but I suspect it's Stormwatch. So we have two potential places to look for clean up - DCI/FBI and Stormwatch. I can dig further on that"

"You seem comfortable with Iceboy how about we try to have a conversation with Iceboy? What do you think?"

"Please dig further," Tim implores with a sharp nod of his head. "Let's see who cleaned the scene and see if we can't get our hands on some of their labs' evidence." He sighs softly. "I feel like it would've been useful to have time to sweep the scene, but I didn't want that guy finishing off anyone else." Tim rolls his eyes.

He nods at the last. "Yeah, let's chat with this Iceboy. See what we can do and whether we can use him in this. This Midnighter fellow could be valuable, but killing — " he cringes. "It's not what we do. Let the courts do their work and all that."

Oracle nods "True, he was there first but it's something you should consider. Check on your way in, leave nothing that can bite you back."

Looking at her tablet, Oracle considers for a few minutes "Alright, I can tell you where to find Iceboy and I can give you a comms package to deliver to him anonymously, but he might not use it; or you can set up a discrete meet and we can both talk to him, what's your preference?"

Tim allows his lips to twist to the side. "I'll try to set up a meet. He and I had a face to face already — well he and Robin did. There's no reason he won't have another face-to-face with the Boy Wonder. I like the idea of us both talking to him and tracking him down." He nods once.

"Alright then. So we try to arrange a meet. How do we get in touch with him to set up the meet?"

Oracle smiles at Tims determination. "Wait here a sec" and she moves her chair back into the monitoring room returning soon with a package. "This is a comms package, if, after we speak to him I tell you to give this to him, do so. But only if I tell you to. I'll give you the contact details before you go." A small frown crosses her forehead "What's this I hear about Vorpal on the grid, him and the Iceguy? Not you and him."

"Vorpal and the Iceguy?" Tim asks with creases forming in his forehead. "Vorpal is pretty cool. He's with Gar though if that's what you mean?" his eyebrow arches at that. "They're sort of a stable couple int he Titans." He shrugs. "And yeah, thanks." His lips turn to the side thoughtfully, "Could you help us? The Titans needs some comms… and you're a good hook up there… I can always figure it out on my own too…"

Oracle sighs "Why must it always boil down to relationships or who's into who? That's not what I meant but I'll do more research, confirm what I heard, before asking further." At the mention of the Titans, Oracle frowns "A good hook up, huh? I would be willing to help with some Ops Tim, but I have an awful lot to do as it is. But check in with me and if I can't help, maybe I can rig up something you can use."

Tim's eyebrows draw together and he nods a little. "I don't think I understand, but okay. And as far as the comms are concerned, honestly, I can figure it out. I'm not without some tech ability." He smirks. He knows his skills don't rival Oracles, but he has his some skills. He nods a little, "And I'm not suggesting you have to monitor, but just the tech to rig things even could be useful. Again, I can do it myself if I have to. Or I'll make Damian do it with me. Or something."

Oracle sighs "Tim, I'm happy to help when I can but I'm just flagging sometimes I can't, and if I can help others way I will. How does that sound? And I would never dream of making you work with the other Robin" she grins at that.

There's a chuckle at the thought of working with the other Robin. "I don't try to broadcast it too loudly, but I'm not a fan. He's also trying to steal my girlfriend. So. There is that." His cheeks redden a little as he realizes he just called Spoiler his girlfriend. "Huh. Well that's new," he mutters to himself.

And then he nods. "Deal. let me know if you need anything from me too, okay? I'd be happy to kick in anywhere I can…"

Watching the young man across the table from redden, again, at the thought of Spoiler, Oracle chuckles. "Sure I will. To start with, you can clean up the dishes and then you can get back to school." She winks as she says that, green eyes sparkling. "Thanks for visiting to, I don't like many people coming up here but it's nice occassionally." Looking at the tablet, she moves her hand across the screen and looks back to him "Iceboys details have been sent to you, let me know when you set up the meet." She looks back in the direction of her control room "Are you right to let yourself out?"

There's another crisp nod at Oracle, "'Course. Sorry to drop in. I just thought talking in person might be better for some of — " Tim shrugs. "You can also come to visit, you know. I'm sure Alfred would love to see you." He shoots her a lopsided grin. "Plus it's a big house. More people for dinner is always a delight for him." He begins gathering the tea cups. "Thanks, and yeah, I'm good. I know my way out." He winks.

As Oracle heads back towards the monitoring room, tablet laid across her lap, she calls back "I said it was welcome, no need to apologise for that. Oh, and Tim, if you are serious about Spoilier, maybe it's time Oracle met her properly." She doesn't stop as she disappears into the room.


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