Not For Sale: Contact Made In The Non Creepy Way

October 11, 2014: A meet between Bobby, Robin and Oracle to discuss co-operating on the meta-human trafficking ring.

Central Park

Sitting on 843 acres of public land, Central Park is one of the most famous sight-seeing spots in New York, and is considered large enough to have its own police precinct (the Central Park Precinct) dedicated to its protection. The Park boasts several lakes — all of which have been created artificially — extensive walking and bridle paths, two ice skating rinks, a variety of outdoor theatre spaces, several playgrounds, and a considerable collection of whimsical statuary. It is home to Belvedere Castle, the Carousel, the Central Park Zoo, the Conservatory, and Cleopatra's Needle (one of three, 70-foot Egyptian obelisks from the Temple of Ra in Helios, its mates residing in London and Paris).



Mood Music:

Contact had been made through legitimate non-creepy channels. Thanks to Bobby's public profile, it wasn't remotely terrifying to email him. Although, sending an email as Robin had strange influence on Tim. Not that he spent much energy thinking about that. No worries though, he'll overthink it later when on patrol. Or when protecting Harley Quinn lookalikes from the Joker. Whichever.

And so the meeting was made. Here in Central Park. Robin had chosen somewhere public enough without being Cold Stone Creamery because all-night Cold Stone Creameries are things to be avoided.

It's not dark yet, thank goodness, being in the park after dark might be asking for trouble. He shifts on the designated bench with his backpack at his side. In a way its strange — not everything fit in his utility belt for once, and so he's using Tim's old high school backpack that has seen MUCH better days. A pat is given the book bag as a woman speed walks by the Bird Boy. Mostly because he's masked. In the park. With his backpack.

"I think I'm giving off the creepy vibe," he muses into the comlink.

"You probably always give off the creepy vibe" the disembodied voice in his ear responds "except, maybe, to Spoiler. But then again, maybe that that's the attraction. Any visual yet?"

Bobby isn't… hugely worried about this meeting. But he did bring Nancy and text Mike. He's currently walking down a path in Central Park toward the designated bench. Yes, Bench. Whatever. Masked types make him scratch his head. The X-ers do it too and he doesn't get it there either. He can't see that it's really bought them anything, personally but then he doesn't have to flee the police with any regularity so perhaps there's something to be said for it after all.

A google search of Robin got him a lot of cosplayers and some grainy photos and a trending internet topic of how he's dating Harley. So there's an off chance this is an ambush.

Which would be bad.

For someone.

Not too far away, Keith O'Neil is in the process of being completely innocent. This amounted to munching on a weenie (too much mustard, always too much mustard) as he closes in on the Boy Wonder.

"Hey, there, Bird. You're looking a lot less green than last time," the redhead gives his friend a broad grin and joins him on the bench. He's wearing his usual leather jacket and jeans combo. The only concession to the cooler weather is a half-assed scarf. It's more of an afghan kerchief, really, so not that warm. "I'm here now, I hope I'm not late?" he asks his fellow Titan as he sits down on the bench, crossing his legs.

"Okay, so you're meeting this guy, but why bring me? He's not like us, so I'm not gonna do zilch to him," says Nancy as she walks along with Bobby. She then starts to smirk. "Or did you bring me along for the alien tech? Did you want me to zap him?" Nancy may look goth, but she smiles too much to really be the emo type that usually dresses like this. A leather jacket with a green fairy painted on the back hides her holster with a weapon that is not of this world.

Designated… BENCH …in Central Park. Right. Mike is not a little bit skeptical about this. Something flits by in the darkening sky, possibly a swallow, possibly one of those tiny drone devices. It notices the presence of the bubble of nullity and avoids it, while scanning the park bench site. Huh. Kid In Mask. That's gonna go unnoticed, isn't it.

A text arrives on Bobby's phone, I am here, at least partly. Kid is at his station. Being approached by someone who looks familiar but I have insufficient sensors on this drone to tell for sure.

Robin's eyebrows arch upwards comically at Oracle's remark. "Thanks, Oracle!" Tim actually sounds flattered. "I appreciate that," he smirks. "New goal in life is to imitate Batman. Maybe I can talk to the Midnighter — " No. Probably not.

His nose wrinkles as Keith shows up looking completely innocent. There's a flush of Tim's cheeks at the mention of their last meeting and, an obvious change in his posture as he slides down the bench. His shoulders curl towards one another and he shakes his head. "Yeaaaaah." Alfred was none-too-pleased at Tim's rather disoriented state that morning. And then, as if it needs to be said, he adds, "I feel better. Nothing water, Advil, and… skipping the day job couldn't fix." And for a moment it looks like Tim is going to be totally stilted about that last meeting. Even after being forced to hug it out with his team mates. But he shakes it off.

With a lopsided grin he shakes his head at the question. "Not too late. Just waiting."

Robin squints as he stares down the path. "I think I see him. Oracle, confirmation?" he cranes his neck and scrunches his face to bring the occupants into focus.

"I worry if you are flattered by my last Robin" the disembodied voice in his ear says, dryly if that's possible, continuing "Wait, there are more here than just you and that boy with you" the voice crackles to life and dies

Back in the Clocktower, Oracle monitors the frequencies emanating for the area. Her eyes narrow. An incoming signal to the icekids phone … that's not good. Oracle enters a series of commands on her console, effectively dampening all comms but hers for 6oometres. "Update. Iceboy plus one inbound, one extra with you, and something in the sky, be alert, comms dampened except ours. ETA of last the inbound, 3 minutes. Over."

Robin isn't the only one with an eye in the sky and Mike can be counted on to be ever vigilant where his friends are concerned. "That looks like 'Robin'." Bobby murmurs. "And I asked you because you're a kickass Absinthe Fairy. Not becuase you're a nuller. Also because this guy's been seen maybe palling around with Harley Quinn… or a reasonable facismile thereof, so it's possible he's either dirty or a kink. Do you blame me for wanting backup?"

"Who on earth are you talking to?" Keith asks casually, munching down the last of the hot dog. He has not been made aware that Oracle Is A Thing, yet. "And we've gotta talk about this rumor about you and Harley, yaknow. After we're done here," he says with some concern, sotto voce. "I mean, you-know-who will cut your you-know-whats off if there's any truth to that rumor, Bird. You don't want to start singing soprano this late in your career."

Being human is a disadvantage for Keith- he doesn't have his super-acute hearing. But he's trying not to be the Cheshire for now… lest certain someones may be looking for him.

Following Bobby's eyes, Nancy spots the pair on the bench. She nods her head and pulls out a small device out of her pocket. It looks like a bottle of Mio, fitting nicely in the palm of her hand. And she knows what buttons to push now! Yay for finally not beaming herself up at random moments! "Deplo? It's Nan. Stand by for an emergency pick up if it's necessary. Myself and Bobby. Thank." She slips the device back into her pocket and smiles to Bobby. "You always know just what to say to make me smile, don't you? And if he's into insane clown posses, he needs to seriously look at his music choices."

The drone spins and crashes to the ground, and Mike starts cursing to himself. Some people have NO courtesy. What if someone had a pacemaker? Fine. He breaks up into a cloud of small flying insecty things, and swirls into the no-comm zone, and reconstitutes himself as a humanoid gold-skinned robot, just in time for Nancy and Bobby to come walking up from the other direction.

"You know, it's damned rude to shut down public phones like that," Mike says irritatedly in the masked kid's direction. "Not to mention a felony. What the hell?"

Tim's eyes narrow behind his mask and he shifts on the bench again. "We can worry about my mental health later," he mutters back towards Oracle with a smirk. At Oracle's next information drop, Robin's chin lifts just a little. "Thanks. Keep me in the loop." Pause. "Over."

Turning his head to Keith, Robin shoots him a lopsided grin. "Oracle. I'm talking to Oracle. They're my guardian angel." Pause. "Or I'm talking to the voice in my head." He actually grins before shaking his head. "It was the Harley Quinn lookalike from last week. You remember her, right? Well the other Robin already told you-know-who." Tim pinches the bridge of his nose. "Because. He hates me. That was awhile ago. I think it'll be fine. I hope it'll be fine." There's a saccharine quality to Robin's smile after these words.

And then a humanoid gold-skinned robot is reconstituting in front of him. Not many can get the drop on Robin. Not even Batman can stealthily sneak up on him anymore, so when it happens that the fellow reconstitutes in front of him, it takes everything in the Boy Wonder to maintain a sense of put-togetherness. He manages better than he'd have expected, lips hitching up on one side as he notes, "Glad you could join us. Guessing you're a friend of Drake's?" It feels really weird to call anyone Drake.

Oracle watches the Robot form and hears it's indignation through Robins comms. "Tell that thing that monitoring communications without a court ordered permit is a federal crime and call it 'Pot', I'll happily play 'Kettle'." again the tone is dry over the digital airways. "Stop flirting and pay attention, the other two are nearly there. Over". On one of her monitors, she notices an interesting energy spike on one of the frequencies. She enters a series of commands on her console and starts the analysis of the spike - there are no coincidences.

"You'd think correctly. Robin had to turn around to face Mike, so Nancy and Bobby came up right behind him. Bobby shifts a bit from Nancy to get out of her Null field. Robin had seemed like a decent guy when he'd run into him in Gotham, but Gotham is an odd town and you can never be sure about much. The news about him palling around with Harley is very worrying if it's even remotely true. Now Robin and Keith are in a triangle. Bobby doesn't ice up. That'd be threatening and he doesn't need to be. He doesn't take a set yet, either, just sticks his hands in his pockets and stares.

"Wait… you look familiar." He says, eyeing Keith. Where has he seen him before?

"So you are not trading batarangs with Harley Quinn— whew, that's good to know, Bird. I'd stay away from that Harley lookalike girl, she was doing The Creep so hard, she made Nikki Minaj Jeal-HOLY SH—" Considering Keith has been waiting for the sky to open and drop green-clad Druids Of Death on him all week, Mike's appearance does startle the hell out of him- to the point of making him jump to his feet… on the bench.

Upon seeing who it is, though, and the company they keep, and getting Bobby's line… Keith grins. It's not a cheshire grin, because his mouth is the wrong shape, but the thought is what counts.

"Oh, Auntie Em!" he exclaims as he sits back down, "I had the most interesting dream, and you were there-" he points at Bobby, "And you-" he points at Nancy "and—" pause. Stare. The last time he saw Mike, he was blue, but the previous time to that, he was totally gold. And on fire. "And you too!" And I will miss you most of all, Scarecrow.

And then he realizes that his introduction makes absolutely no sense because, right now, he's a freckled red-headed human instead of a grinning red-headed cheshire cat, which was his appearance at the mixer.

"Of course I'm familiar. It's me. You know, Vorpal? Sort-of-kind-of the reason Roberto had to redecorate?"

Because, hey, if you're remembered for something, at least you should totally own it, right?

Nancy is used to this, her friends standing away from her when they might have to use their powers. Even though she can keep it fairly snugly to herself, it's always better to be safe then sorry. She shrugs her shoulders, watching the pair as if sizing them up or maybe just internally admonishing their clothing choices. The shrug loosens the jacket about her shoulders so pulling her weapon will be easier if it comes to that.

Vorpal's little speech gets an arched brow. She looks over to Mike and shrugs again. Then the mention of ROberto and redecorating. "Ooooooh! You're that technicolor cat. Did I do that?" She pauses for a moment, feeling her aura. "Nope… so, just furry for special occasions? Or did PETA go and throw paint on your fur coat?"

"If I'm a THING what are YOU? Some new improved Humanity First bigot?" Mike snaps, on the same band as Oracle's communication. "And really I'm not the one endangering anyone with a pacemaker by blanket-jamming the area. Kettle. And the FCC will hear of this."

In his OUTSIDE voice, where normal people can hear and not realize that he's being a pissy jerk, he says, "Vorpal. Red hair, master of non-sequitur, identity confirmed."

"I'm not, and you know it," Robin states towards Oracle without giving indication what she said for reasons. "I'm not even blushing," he mutters. Because he's not. For once. Although with Vorpal's superpower of embarrassing Tim, it's not likely to stay that way.

His chin lifts to watch the gold Robot, "Oracle says… I think he can hear you. And me. And there are way too many voices in my head right now." So Tim doesn't spend any more time translating the message. Instead, turning his head towards Bobby when his thoughts are interrupted by a voice not in his head.

"Hey." He reaches into the book bag and takes out a comlink which he hands to Bobby. "Look. I thought we should get in touch because of North Point. My ally Oracle and I want to get to bottom what happened with the metahumans there — I think it needs further investigation — "

And then Vorpal is going into a long drawn out greeting which causes Robin's eyebrows to lift. And he finally lands on, "What."

Oracle's eyebrows raise and she enters some commands on her console. Sighing "Apologies, video is such an imperfect medium. Judging by the response, I'll assume you identify as male and that probably means you're probably thinking with the little head rather than the big one." a pause "I have the details on Vorpal, thank you for the visual confirmation." Watching the traces run on her system she says to Robin "This channel is compromised. Oracle going to radio silence. Will monitor your negotiations and only intervene if required. You know the game plan. Oracle out." The trace from Nancy's comms is still running.

Bobby snaps his fingers. "Right. Berto's mixer. You were the guy throwing the furniture around." At least Bobby's not mad. "You know the Clown Lover, then?" His tone is more teasing than accusatory. There's a smile on Bobby's face now. He's fairly sure there's no danger but it's best to be certain of these things. Robin gets a careful looking over before the Ice Nerd glances over to Nan.

"Clown Lover?" Keith smirks. "Please. No, my dear Bird doesn't go for the greasepaint." He puts an arm around Robin and pats his shoulder, smirking.

"I was indeed, the guy throwing the furniture around. And the anvils. Oh, Robs, you missed one heck of a party. We fought, and there were these two Nazi brother and sister, I made them cry- it was …" pause. "Oh, right, that was before you joined the Titans. The X-men Red and the Titans are supposed to be on friendly terms, 'cause 'Berto is a total sweetie. He even came by the tower with fruit basket gifts. 'cept they were Starkpads and playstations and all that."

Once Keith: Master Of Exposition slips that in, he looks at Nancy with a grin. "You can call me Keith. Keith O'Neil. And the reason I'm currently like this is that there is a cult of incredibly-powerful magic-wielding antedilluvian Death Druids who is out to murderize me. I think they can only find me when I'm in my Cheshire form, so for now the fur coat stays at the cleaners'." With a smirk to Mike, he says "Good to know my reputation purrrcedes me."

There is a beeping coming from Nancy's jacket pocket. She pulls out that metal device and looks down at it. Looking apologetically at the others, she holds it up for a moment. "Gotta take this. Sorry." She shifts her stance to give her at least a semblance of privacy. "Nan here. Oh… it's likely the other team trying to figure you out. No.. don't do that. I'll see if they're willing to stop first." She looks over to Robin and Vorpal. "Mind having your technowiz not looking into my communication feed? I have an alien with an itchy trigger finger wanting to send feedback loop down his pipe that would likely frag his entire system."

She shrugs and looks to Bobby, still leaving the hand she draws her gun with free. "O'Neil? Really? If not for the fact that this is New York and the Irish population here is huge, I'd ask if we were related."

Mike starts to retort to the Oracle, and reconsiders. She — 78 chance of female because of the slighting remark about 'thinking with little head' — seems unable to recognize how painful and crippling it is to have parts of one's body rendered dead like that. Arguing is wasting time.

So he shakes his head and steps back away from Nancy's aura… there's still no cellular, which is really REALLY annoying, so he sends a wasp out, keeping his awareness attached to it, so he can use it to search the newspaper and photo archives of the alleged 'clown loving' until he learns there's not a good enough shot to identify it … but the leg shape isn't right for Harley Quinn. That much is ovbious to anyone who can model the body from the image and reconstruct it as a 3D image…

"Whoever that was, it wasn't Harley Quinn, so even if Robin was into clowns, he's not into the crazy one," Mike says, looking over at Bobby.

The notion of being a clown lover has Robin's eyebrows drawing together. "I have a girlfriend. Who isn't Harley Quinn and doesn't dress like her." ABecause he does. And Spoiler is totally his girlfriend. And then, for Mike's benefit, he adds, "And I'm not into clowns — " not that it's worth arguing about at length. He turns back towards Vorpal finally, "So Harley lookalike seemed like a creep to you? I really think she just liked the Redbird." And then for everyone else's benefit while Tim's cheeks redden, he clarifies, "My car. The Redbird is my car!"

At Nancy's request, however, Robin redirects his attention to Oracle, "Oracle did you get that about this gal here?" because Robin doesn't know her name. "And her phone?" His eyes narrow behind his mask. Considering she's monitoring the situation, he's pretty confident she did and so he refocuses on the task at hand.

"Look," he says back towards Bobby, "someone took those metahumans for a very particular reason, and right now we don't know what that is." Because the who will give some indication of where to dig for the evidence. Again he offers the comlink to Bobby, "This is a link to my ally Oracle. They can do some hacking once we determine who is doing what and maybe help us piece this together if we can get the files on whatever federal body packed up the evidence. Gotham is an ideal place for a big crime syndicate."

And with that said, the comlink left, and Tim having managed to blush at least once, Robin presses his palms to the bench. "Anyways. Think about it. You seemed like someone who cared about whatever's going on in Gotham. Even if it's not your city." And with that, Robin reaches out and grabs his bag before rising to his feet to head home.

Oracle considers the request from the girl and her fingers fly over her console. The trace dies, but all data is saved for later assessment. As Robin passes the comlink to Iceboy, Oracle waits to see the next steps. No comms are sent to the team on the ground - silence is generally untraceable.

Bobby takes it. "Oracle huh? Helloooooooo Delphi. You can track me all you like but take my advice, some of my buddies get really jumpy about anyone trying to do the same. Even when they mean well. They're an… insular bunch."

He nods to Nancy. "Thanks for coming sweetheart. See you soon?"

He turns back to Robin. "We're coming off the hells of a horrible metahuman targeting virus and a horrible metahuman targeting drug. I'm going to investigate and the people who are doing it are going to stop one way or another. If you know something I'd love to help. I'll see you 'round eh?"

That leaves Mike, Keith and… whomever the mysterious woman on the comm is.

"Bye, Bird! Hey, don't—" but Keith stops. Nah, it wouldn't do to embarrass his friend in front of his other allies. Keith was mischievous, but he wasn't cruel.

"Ah yeah, the virus stuff. I was there for that… fighting demons in Greenland. Good times! I like fighting demons. They have no sense of humor…" thank goodness Garfield wasn't around to hear him say that. Now that Robin is gone, he leans back on the bench.

"Actually, we may be related. I know my great-grandfather had fourteen children. And only two with his wife," He says, a glimpse into the sordid past of the O'Neil family mangrove thicket, "Mom told me that he used to raise rabbits. They would stare at him in awe."

The grin fades, though, and Keith says, "This meta-human thing… I know you guys don't come into Gotham too often, but I live there. If I can be of any help at all to you, and I am not murderized by then, all you have to do is call me up. What are allies for, right?"

Nancy nods to Bobby and closes the distance to give him a light peck on the lips. PDA, yes, but not too bad. She smirks over to Vorpal and shrugs. "Who knows. You look about the right sort of crazy to be related." She starts to back away. "I should go before Deplo decides he wants to beam up Vorp here to see how he works." The small device is brought to her mouth, spoken into it. "Hey, this is Nan. One up please. Bobby is staying." There is a shimmer of light around the goth and then she dematerializes. No evidence that she was previously there.

"We didn't see any demons in the virus room. Just monsters. We were meaner than them," Mike says to Keith. He glares at the comm-link that Bobby accepted; if it's active, he can no doubt 'hear' it spitting its photons, but they're not likely to be highly directional, and Mike doesn't have the hardware needed to force past the interdict to talk in overriding ways to satellites… yet. He looks over at Bobby and Vanishing Nancy.

"Bobby, if you will fill me in on the situation, I can do some research. I have business in Gotham anyway, I could send out some scanners. Assuming they don't get shut down by random jammers. That reminds me, I need to work on …" Further mumbling is not audible.

Oracle has the comm unit turned on and can hear the conversation. Flicking a comms channel open she says "Good day…. Gentlemen. I believe we have a common cause." The unit should be audible to all within the group.

"Aha. It speaks." Bobby grins. "I think we do. So you're the Mysterious Oracle. Tell me: Should we make war against the Persians?" Another joke. Bobby does those though they tend to be nerd jokes. In this case, the question was asked of Delphi by Croesus of Lydia. In this case the response was that if he did, he would destroy a might empire. The Oracles could be so maddeningly nonspecific about such things as whose empire, though.

"Mike?" Bobby's really asking what he thinks. Tech is kind of Mike's thing and anyone who does things remotely should interest him. A lot.

Keith watches Nance vanish and says, rather wistfully, "I wouldn't mind getting beamed up, at least once. It looks cool." He hasn't really had any alien encounters. That he knows of. "There were demons in the generator room," He tells Mike, "We took care of them. Nobody expects my Rabbit Hole." He grins, "Not even demons. I managed to suck a whole axe that was going to cut that Logan guy into my hole. He owes me for that."

The redhead shifts as Bobby gets Homeric with Oracle. "… So that's Oracle. Um, hello, Oracle. I really don't know exactly who you are, what you do, or what your stake is in this, but Bird is a Titan, and an ally of my ally is… not necessarily a friend but at least I should hope I don't have to worry about them staring at me sleeping from my window. So as long as we know where we stand…"

"I don't think making war against the Persians is going to work right now," Mike says drily, having had plenty of practice deflecting Bobby's nerd-jokes, "since Iran hasn't actually got anything that actionable going on."

He looks at the Oracle Comm, as a piece of technology, and it's very … stand-offish … for a machine. Almost like it was made by someone who had a strong desire for privacy. Well, that's understandable.

Then he parses what Keith said. So very many triple-entendres, it's almost like art.

"Uhm. Yeah. We're listening, despite obvious issues."

The comm comes to life "I'll assume the Oracle jokes are now dispensed with. The reason I asked Robin to reach out to you is so to discuss the opportunity for our organisations to combine our knowledge and resources to investigate and break this meta-human trafficking ring. You impressed me onsite the other day, managing to leave the site with minimal casulties. Unlike some."

"There wasn't anyone there tough enough to need a serious cooling down." Bobby shrugs. Thugs generally don't stand a chance. There's just no defense against being iced if you don't have some kind of edge. "I can't promise it'll stay that way if we start working together though. I live and work publically and when I act I carry the names of my friends with me. I have a vested interest in staying above board. Not everyone I've ever worked with feels the same way." Beat. "And when dealing with stuff like this I can't exactly blame them."

"Well, Robin is part of the team. If he's working on this, consider the team in. We're good at keeping people from dying, so if you need help on that front," Keith grins at Bobby, "We're good. Besides, most people are too scared of Raven to die in front of her. They usually fear she will eat their souls after they've kicked the bucket."

Which may, or may not, be true. Keith loves to hyperbolize about Raven's scariness factor… even though she did almost scare him half to death when she used her own magic to divert the curse. The only thing he could think about was 'Thank goodness she's on our side,' because if Raven were to ever turn traitor, Keith would sleep with the lights on, a teddy bear, and he'd ask people to check under the bed and in the closet before sleeping.

"I've been doing catch-up with my civilian life," Mike says. "I haven't been following the news about this. Once I have more information, I'll have a better idea of what I can do to assist, but consider: I designed and provided the scanners that located the Hydra virus and the Smooth detectors used by police and others."

He's pretty good at zerg-style scanning, in other words.

Oracles voice filters though "If that's agreed, I'll be in touch to arrange a more convenient place to meet to discuss the issues and what we each have. Keep the comm-unit, you can use it to get in touch with me and I you. Oracle out."

"Well that's done with then." Bobby stows the comm unit in his pack. He's not real worried about such things. If Oracle wants to spy on him at DCI labs, let her. "Well Mike, sounds like you'll be headed home then? Or are you still doing the workaholic thing. Vorpal, are you bouncing yourself or do you wanna stick around and discuss your friend's weird clown fetish?"

Keith smirks. "I've got nowhere to go. Until we figure out this whole 'Cult Wants Me Dead' thing, I'm not Vorpalizing. Unless I have to… so for the time being, I'm off-duty. I've got time to chew the fat."

"Sleep is for meatbags. But I'm heading home to defrag and do some repairs," Mike answers. The fallen drone rises, not on its motor but because Mike is levitating it, and comes apart in the air as he pulls it to himself."

"I'll see you later. Be careful with the cults, Keith."

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