Batgirl Visits

November 13, 2014: Batgirl moves back in to the Clocktower, temporarily, and Batman checks in.

Clocktower - Gotham

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.



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Mood Music:

A few months ago Cassandra stopped coming home some nights. Barbara tracked her down and figured out where (and yelled at a certain Dragon) and eventually she stopped coming back to the Clocktower at dawn alltogether. Of course, the quiet girl didn't do anything so official as 'move out', or really say anything. Typical.

But the past week or so Cassandra has been showing up at dawn when her patrol ends and having breakfast/dinner with Barbara. And occasionally crashing in her old bed. She doesn't seem upset or worried and the information goddess can probably find out that Richard is out of town. And everyone knows Cass doesn't cook. She's using Babs for her food. OK, and the company.

Today was one of those days Cass 'slept over'. It's into that late afternoon/early evening hell-it's-already-dark-because-it's-winter and the petite young woman is walking out of the room that was hers in shorts and tank-top and messy, messy hair.

It's true, Babs doesn't sleep a lot and Babs would normally be ''at work'', but she feels it's time that she and Cass had a chat… Knowing Cass' patterns, she's on the living quarters floor, waiting for the young woman to appear. "Good after Cass, sleep well" the red head in the wheelchair murmurs. Yes, she's waiting right outside Cass' room.

The appearance of someone right outside her door gets a sleepy, narrow-eyed look. Especially since even groggy Cassandra can read the 'we need to talk' like it's in bright, flashing neon. "OK." The dark-haired girl answers in her usual taciturn manner. Her head cocks to the side a bit and, skipping the social pleasantries (does she even know what those are?) she asks, "Something… wrong?"

"Oracle, I have a frequency for you to update on your systems. Encryption along with it." Batman's voice will appear on a monitor within the Clocktower before his cowled face. He's grimacing, there is wreckage behind him and flaming robots? No, armored exoskeletons, more specifically Special Response Division power suits, a couple of them completely demolished, gutted with the men tied up outside of them.
"This is a feed for the SRD probes. Patch it in, it's good until they discover were are piggy backing them."
The man goes quiet as a gunshots goes off, the screen rapidly cycles. Babs and Cass get POV of Batman ducking behind his cloak, catching several bullets on it throwing it back and closing range with two fearful GCPD officers who just arrived on the scene. A punch tosses one in a spin as a kick removes the other of his footing and then theres a white flash of light. A flashbang and Batman's breathing gets labored, he's leaping and running. Heartrate spiked.

The image is still on, apparently the Dark Knight is exiting the scene of violence.
"We still transmitting?"

"Yes, Batman." Another voice chimes in. "You are exactly three meters clear of gunshot range and both men are unable to keep up. Continue half a klick north and you will be within range of the Batmobile."
"Oracle," More running, panting an Bruce slumps behind what looks like a chimney or stonework stack of some sort. "Did you get that data send?"

"I was going to say no, but… Come with me Cass, this needs dealing with and we need to talk." The information has been relayed to Babs tablet and she's already turning the chair to head to her systems. Whilst she's moving, Babs calls over her shoulder "Cass, you better be behind me." as her hands moves over her tablets, screens appearing and disppearing until finally… as she enters the lift for the next floor, "Yes Batman, I have the data send and it's patched in. Do you need further assistance?"

The lift doors open to the monitoring room and Babs can now see the full projection and all her lovely video and data feeds.

Cassandra's head comes up as she recognizes Batman's voice. She doesn't pick up a lot from tone or cadence like most people do. Words are like two-dimensional objects compared to the full-sensory experience of movement and violence. She's grabbing her costume that was tossed rather haphazardly off to the side and then hurries after Barbara. She skips the lift and is half-dressed by the time she joins the older woman at the bank of monitors. Furrowed brow tries to make sense of what she's seeing, glancing to Barbara to pick up what she can by the other woman's body language as much as she looks to her for verbal answers.

"No. Penny-One will handle medical when I get back to base." Batman adds, "Go ahead and re-write the probe's encryption, it was my work, yours will be much more secure. " Might make it last longer than just a week or two. " Batgirl is with you? Good."
A grunt and the man stands up, his run not so fast as it was before as he sort of jog-staggers his way towards the vehicle.
"Make sure everyone is aware Commissioner Yindel is not putting our captives behind bars. The SRD under Strange's orders are collecting them and i am unsure why but we'll find out. I was informed a little late by one of our GCPD contacts any vigilante apprehended subject will not be recognized or prosecuted. They're panicking. Fearful of us and it's getting worse." The transmission cuts out there. Then picks back up and Batman is paused again, hiding from something nearby. But his body language is visible through the projected visuals. "So, now is a good time for small talk. Update me."
Any member of the Bat-Family should be well aware of the recent rough conditions for their activity in Gotham with the promotion of Ellen Yindel and Hugo Strange's involvement with the Special Response. It's made things… tricky to say the least.
"That stolen suit recovered?" Yes, Batman was aware of it. Amongst a handful of other things.

"It's ok Cass, you're not needed. Batmans' just doing his thing. He's sent me some information." Babs is not quite relaxed, but it's close this is really a common thing. "Sure, Batman, I'll have at the encryption tonight and I'll get the word out." Tilting her head at the screen, her eyes narrow slightly "The suit is …. not exactly recovered, but I've found it. We may have another charge to look out for… I'm going to get Robin or Nightwing to bring him to meet Babs first and then I'll know more to tell you." Not exactly evasive, but there's a lot wrapped up in that conversation.

The redhead takes a deep breath "Robin is going off the rails, Nightwing and I are really concerned about him. He's been used as a 'message' for you twice. The first one put him in hospital badly concussed, the second wasn't quite so bad; but it was bad. I could use some assistance there. He's going to end up dead the way things are going."

"And Damian turned up to a job I was monitoring last night and didn't respond. I suspect he considers he is no longer a Bat. Personally, that's fine by me." Babs eyes harden a little at the mention of Damian.

Cassandra's frown is clear enough answer to Barbara about her thoughts on if she is needed or not but the girl stays where she is. Most people would fidget or pace or something if they had the kind of restless energy that Cassandra clearly does. But instead she just goes very, very still. Outwardly patient even as her gaze snaps impatiently.

Cassandra does that slight head-cock thing that usually accompanies questions. "Want me… to follow him?" As one of the most unsocial Bats, she tends to 'work' alone.

"He never was." Is Batman's response about Damian, "He helped himself to the title and when he thrashed Jason's shrine that was his final step. He has yet to prove himself and may not ever at this rate."
A drop and Batman descends to a shorter building's rooftop, closer and closer to the Batmobile.
"Another charge? Who? This is in regards to the suit? Careful. We have a lot of heat on us right now with SHIELD's new involvement in the Justice League and my departure plus their added presence in Gotham. I don't like it." Batman's mistrust for the government and it's spy agencies is well known. SHIELD is a big no go in his book. They're too damned nosy for the likes of vigilante war parties like the Bat-Clan."
"Source of these messages through Robin? If it's the Joker I have leads but nothing solid. He's too sporadic in his movements and activities. His gang isn't even sure where he is hiding. I'll have to go visit Harley at this rate."

"If you need more assistance immediately get Batgirl on it. That is only /if/ you and Nightwing cannot help him. We're spread thin, something is on the horizon and we're going to need everyone alert and fully capable." It pains Batman to hear Tim is going through this but the youth is a soldier, like himself, he's been trained to be one. He knows the risks. Hopefully he can hang in there just a bit more.

"I'll let you know more when I do about the new charge. My first impressions is that he's trustworthy and his background is clean. I've dug really deeply. Babs Gordon will have an opinion as to his character soon. One way or the other, that suit will be back in our hands." Oracle isn't worried, she's run her searches on the young man, now she wants a gauge of his character.

"Robin was the message. Both cases they beat him badly and said 'tell batman'. The first time seems to be related to the meta-human trafficking ring, the second to a russian mob I suspect, I'm following that through. They weren't the Joker, of that I'm sure."

A glance at Batgirl only "No, I would like a quick talk. Please stay" Babs murmurs.

There's the slight shift of Cassandra's shoulders, the press of her lips together. The girl was probably hoping to skip this whole 'talk' thing. Definitely more Action Girl. Her dark eyes are still intent upon the screens and focusing on Batman's words, those slippery things.

"Batman, you've lost a dangerous amount of blood."
"Thank you, Penny-One. I'm aware. I'm almost there." Visual and tracking shows the Caped Crusader is lowering himself to the Batmobile now.
"Odessa recently had a gang war with Lucky Hand and Galante. They shouldn't be too strong unless a new faction is moving in or it's a cover. Find out more if you can, keep me updated. I'll be in touch on the rest." He is in the Batmobile now and the vehicle immediately goes in to remote control mode as Alfred takes over and Batman loses consciousness. Fortunately he is in the safety of an armored automobile and as terrifying as this entire ordeal appears to be, this isn't anything Oracle or Batgirl haven't witnessed in the past. This is what it means to be a member of the Bat-Family. They're warriors for a greater cause. Mortality is a very measured thread for them that can be snipped at any time.
"I'm going to make sure Master Bruce makes it home in one piece. I imagine he looks just like the meatloaf I've prepared. "Alfred's voice takes over the communication feed Batman's had been on. "I do hope all of you have planned to show for Thanksgiving. It will be very late which gives you ample time to go to your fathers beforehand, Oracle."

"I know Alfred, I don't fret when I know you're there. Thanksgiving will be wonderful, it will be nice to see everyone again. Tell Batman, I've got things covered from here." Looking at Cass, Babs casts one more glance at the screens before moving to the Kitchen. "Food and a cup of tea I think. What do you want Cass, a friend gave me some lovely teas recently, want to try one of them?" The jug is put on to boil and at least one mug put out for the tea.

Cassandra gives a little wave to the monitors, though it's unlikely that Alfred can actually see her. Someone's too used to Oracle's all-seeing eyes.

The promise of food definitely gets her attention. Cassandra eats like a horse both in manners and in quantity. "Assam." The dark-haired girl says decisively, padding after Barbara with quite assassin feet.

Alfred finishes with a, "Splendid! Perhaps this Thanksgiving won't be absolutely dreadful. Penny-One out." Transmission ended.

"Well, I'll make the tea then, you check what's in the fridge and help yourself. I've already eaten." Babs busies herself making the tea. Once the tea is steeped while she talks and transferred to the table. "Get milk or cream from the fridge if you think you need it…" and Babs positions her chair at the table, waiting for Cass to join her. Questions come next.

Having lived with Barbara for quite some time, Cass doesn't have any issues just poking around and helping herself. She knows where all the dishes and flatware is, too! Barbara won't have to worry about leftovers mouldering away as Cassandra pretty much clears out all the small dishes here and there of stuff and then nukes the lot of it. She gives a silent shake of her head at the mention of milk. She'll just have hers straight. Finally, she eases into a seat at the table, still wearing the top and bottoms of her costume, but none of the boots, gloves, cape etc. She looks at Barbara through those shaggy bangs as she stuff her mouth and waits for whatever it is the older woman wants to say.

Babs sips her tea, savouring the aroma, as she watches Cass demolish the food. Leaning back in her chair, relaxing, Babs murmurs "So… you're back… what's happened with Richard?" a quirked eyebrow indicates she expects an answer.

Batgirl's reaction is a casual shrug of a shoulder, swallowing before answering. "Busy. Had to go. Tibet?" The name comes out rather stilted. It's new to her vocabulary. She certainly doesn't seem too concerned. It probably helps that she knows how good Dragon is at fighting.

Cassandra's chewing slows, and then she looks back at Barbara with a faintly puzzled expression. "Why?" It's curious, not offended or suspicious. "Need him… for something?" The words take effort. That's probably more the reason why she pauses in her eating than any attempt at manners.

A small smile tugs at the redheads lips. Sitting, sipping her tea, she watches the younger woman and gives a slight shake of her head "No, just concerned about you. You here for as long as he's gone? If so, you should know that I might have visitors… friends visiting… from time to time" Her expression is calm, almost serene.

Cassandra shifts a bit in her chair. Busted! "If it's… okay." If Barbara's too busy with other things, poor Alfred might end up with a stray Bat at his door sniffing around his kitchen.

"Friends?" Cass isn't used to many folks coming by the Clocktower. The Oracle has a history of being quite reclusive. Cass may have teased the workaholic that she's got more of a social life than Babs a time or two. "What kind… of friends?"

There's that tilt of the head and Babs forehead furrows slightly "Of course it's ok… why wouldn't it be. I just didn't want you surprised if they're here when you are." Sipping her tea, the cup covers a small self satisfied grin "well maybe 2. Rowan and Jay. Jay will be cleaning the windows up here… she has a talent, I want to get to know her more… I think she could be good for some of our clean up work." Babs shrugs…

Barbara's answers has Cassandra squinting at her a bit again, her chewing slow and measured. If only Babs could have gotten Cass to slow down and eat like this as a normal thing! "Do they… know?" While Cass has never cared as much about her secret identity as some, she is aware that others guard them jealously and exposing herself can put those she knows at risk.

Shaking her head, "Neither of them do. I'll just make sure the screens are dark when Jay is here. She's given me a very tight contract… she doesn't know much about the Heroes at all, wouldn't have even heard of Oracle." shrugging again Babs sips her tea "Most people know Babs, they don't know Oracle at all… I prefer it that way." More tea, more thought "How's the food?"

Does Cass even taste it the way she eats? Either way, it gets a fairly vigorous nod. She's not terribly picky about what she eats. "I'll make sure… to bring some normal clothes." Barbara is given a lopsided sort of smile. The pint-size would-be-assassin could probably manage to go unseen if she needed to, but she has learned that's not exactly normal. "No… punching the strangers." Cassandra says with a nod. "Got it."

Babs laughs at Cass' comment. "No punching my guests" she corrects. "Sometimes you might need to punch strangers. And normal clothes, that would be good. Rowan, he's different… he's not from this world. Comes from Earth, just a different version of it." Babs put the cup on the table and wraps her hands around it. Oh dear… Fenris… she'll have to explain him … and get a message to him somehow.

Again, Babs has Cass squinting at her. Her world is pretty meta-free. Let alone aliens, time travellers and dimensional refugees. "Different… version?" She gives a soft huff of 'whatever' and doesn't try to wrap her head around it. As long as she can punch a problem, she's good. And this 'Rowan' apparently doesn't need punching and so really, if she understands it or not is irrelevant.

Babs nods… and gives Cass a 'sorry' look "Version, yes. Do you want me to try and explain? I haven't understood it, just accepted it. All I meant is that Rowan is different…" The cup is picked up and Bab drinks some of her tea "There's a third person who may, quite literally, /just appear/ here. Fenris. He's a friend, he's been… watching out for me I suppose." Babs now throws Batgirl a lopsided grin "I seem to have collected some strange friends whilst you've been gone. Those are the only three people outside the Batfamily that come here…"

Batgirl gives a wave of her hand, letting Barbara know not to worry about it. She'll keep in mind that the man might be odd if she meets him. It's not like she's prone to conversations anyhow.

The 'just appear' part though? That gets a worried frown. "Poof?" Most of the magic Cass is familiar with is slight of hand and misdirection. And like Batman she herself is pretty damned good at the sudden appearances and disappearances so for Barbara to bring it up…

"Mmmmmhmmmm, like 'poof'. Like we could be talking like this and he'll just appear. He doesn't do that often and he's getting much better at letting me know he's coming. But when it's important he does. He's good too, Cass. but like 'poof'." Smiling fondly at the other woman, Babs puts her tea-cup down and leans forward. "It's good to have you here Cass, for however long. Now… what are you going to do tonight on patrol?"

With the gusto that Cassandra eats with, even though she had a heaping plate she's done now. Rather amazingly, she takes her plate to the sink and rinses it off instead of leaving on the table like she normally does. Maybe Dragon's being a good influence.

"Narrows." Comes the reply, her brow a bit furrowed as she continues to mull over this whole 'poof' bit. It's not a fun assignment. The place is a rat's nest of building and wires and everything else. "Need me? Somewhere?"

"Thank you for taking your plate out, it makes life easier." Babs smile grows bigger. "I don't need you anywhere yet… I'll know where to find you." Babs picks up the cups from the table and moves to the kitchen where she rinses them and leaves them to dry. Turning to face Cass "Just ask if you want to know anything, right? And please Cass, this time, let me know when go back to Dragons…"

Faint amusement touches Cassandra's features as Barbara's thank you, and she gives a slight nod of her head. The request gets one of those tilts of her head but then she nods. "OK." Then a slow smile curves her lips and she steps over and leans down to hug Barbara, if a bit awkwardly given the sitting position of the older woman. "Thanks."

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