Mask Stays On

November 16, 2014: Batwing gets to meet Oracle and Robin….

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:

Night is falling on Gotham and the Bats are on the move. Oracle is on the top floor of the Clocktower, surrounded by her screens watching the goings on. Generally, each of the Bats checks in with her at the start of the night, getting updates on activity and to keep her appraised of their missions. Tonight, when Batwing and Robin checked in, Oracle had a task for each of them.

Batwing was requested, or directed if you like, to wait on the roof of the Clocktower for more instructions. Robin, has been given more information and instructions and Oracle is now waiting for Robin.

It might be a telling fact that in the kitchen, Oracle has set out 3 cups and has milk, creamer and sugar already placed on the table…. Is she expecting guests tonight?

Batwing is trying to sit on a vent on the roof, trying to pull his leg up to cross them, then just kind of gives up. "I can't wait to replace this suit's material. This thing makes me feel like I'm in dire need of a yoga class sometimes."

he seems to assume that Oracle is listening, which is probably why he talks to himself on patrols a lot, even when she's not responding. Perhaps it makes things easier! "What am I even waiting for? Am I about to meet Batman?"

"I'm on site. I'll grab him and head to you. You sure about this?" The sound of the batbike's engine ricochets across the expanse of Gotham's park complex, announcing Robin before he can be seen. The Boy Wonder parks and steps off the bike. A familiar tink sound of metal meeting rooftop followed by the winding of a grappling hook has Robin joining the other superhero on top the clock tower. "Hi," he greets evenly, albeit somewhat awkwardly. "I'm Robin," because that wasn't obvious. "Batwing, right?" the question draws his eyebrows upwards. "Uh." He looks down and points down towards the ground and then points. "We should — " he shrugs.

Having shrugged once, Tim leaps off the building and then allows his cape to catch the air turning into a glider.

"No, not Batman, but the next best thing…Robin. Follow him Batwing." Oracles voice will filter through the comms system. Robin gets an answer as well "No, I'm not sure, but we need to develop trust and quickly. The suit, it's important and he, Batwing, has shown an aptitude." The woman in Clocktower shrugs. Life is full of risks, this one is calculated to some degree.

"Wow, I met Batman when I was a teenager, but Robin is pretty surreal. Like, you always feel like Batman is looming over everything, you never expect to meet Robin." Batwing does follow though, jumping with his arms spread. Wings just pop out under said arms, allowing him to glide down fairly easily.

He lands, wings contracting into the suit again, crouched slightly. "This feels suspiciously like a surprise birthday party."

"Maybe it is one," Robin states with a lopsided boyish grin as he treads up to the entrance to the Clock Tower. Just shy of the entrance he gives a nod to a camera that can't be seen. Maybe Robin is just crazy. Carefully he punches the familiar code into the panel.

The door opens and Robin ticks his head towards the door before disappearing through it. The rows of stairs that present in front of them are taken, ultimately bringing them to the control room. With a gentle wrap of knuckles on the door (quieted by the rubber gloves on Robin's hands), he opens the entrance to the control room and slides inside. "Hey," he greets as he moves beyond the control room towards the Kitchen and the table where three cups have been laid out.

Babs is waiting as Robin walks through the door, her face calm and a small smile on her face, belying the level of concern she is really feeling. "Thank you Robin, would you mind preparing the drinks. Lavendar tea for me please. Batwing, what would you like? Pleasantries first, then, we can get down to business…"

"I know how it usually is with Bat people, but I can't drink tea in this mask." Batwing points out as he taps the covered mouth portion with a single finger. "But wait, I thought you were supposed to just be a third party? This is like… some kind of Bat command center, with tea."

There's a pause, then he holds up a finger. "That's it. That was my other hypothesis. I was right. You're Batwoman, the current one. You both have red hair, come on, it's totally obvious."

Batwing's words have Tim's head turning to stare at Oracle. He shakes his head and grapples Babs' mug to make her a mug of lavender tea and one of his own to make a cup of coffee. "Yeaaaah… she already knows who you are, dude," Tim replies with a shoulder shrug. "So if you want to drink something…" he shrugs again.

The small smile widens "I do, don't I… and if I was Batwoman don't you think I would have met you in costume rather than the way I did?" Looking at Robin, Babs tilts her head and says softly "Play nicely… you don't know who is, can you blame him for the caution?"

Her attention returned to Batwing, she gestures at the monitors and screens that line the room… "Deductive logic, Batwing… was does it really tell you, about me?"

"I'd say I don't know who you are, but if you took your mask off I'd still have no idea who you are, I'm sure." Batwing takes a seat and rests his arms on the table, looking around. "Alright, I guess there is a far more likely conclusion than you using a cybernetic Batwoman costume."

He stares at her for a long moment, hand on the side of his mask. "Seriously, though? 'I, super legendary hacker and knower of information, will send an IT professional who I just happen to know who is also Jim Gordon's daughter and would surely have no interest in crime fighting'."

He stares down at the tea, then clears his throat a moment. "Granted, I didn't figure it out, my point still stands!"

Tim squints behind the mask and then lowers the cup of tea in front of Babs and just shakes his head. He sucks on the inside of his cheek and presses his palm to his forehead. "Yeaaaaah," Robin says again about taking his mask off, but the tone doesn't sound terribly convinced. He doesn't push it further.

Pointedly, Robin stares at Babs, however, with Batwing's insistence. "Uh…" he squints. "I." Tim's brain may be melting a little, which could be why he turns his attention to his coffee.

"Firstly, you received a recommendation. Not once did I, Babs, acknowledge knowing the person you mentioned. And seriously, who would think a disabled woman would be teamed with such a legendary figure, even if I do say so myself?" Babs smile slips a little "It was a risk, but one I was willing to take, to get a feel for your character." As Robin places her tea in front of her, the smile is turned to him "Thank you, Robin" is murmured.

"Robin, meet Batwing. Batwing, meet Robin. Now gentleman, I do feel rather exposed… if we're to proceed, we need to reveal our true selves. What do you require of each other for that to occur?" Babs sits back in the chair, seemingly relaxed as she raises the cup to her nose and savouring the aroma closes her eyes in bliss.

"Well, I guess that's a good point. I didn't suspect, even though I entertained my Batwoman suspicions. After the way I even learned that this suit exists, I'm starting to feel like maybe everyone secretly works for Batman or something." Batwing sits back in the chair and crosses his arms, looking between the two of them. "Personally? If he's Robin then that means Batman probably trusts him more than anyone. So I don't have any reason to distrust him. I'd just feel better about things if we just both mutually reveal and introduce ourselves."

"Batman's permission," Tim states blandly. "To be honest, I've already blown this once, I'd rather not do it again." Memories of Stephanie/Spoiler are rather raw for the Boy Wonder. Robin's eyebrows arch higher on his forehead behind the mask. "As always my secrets don't even belong to me," Tim Drake is a making of his mentor. He runs a hand through his hair and rather awkwardly rubs the back of his neck. "I actually don't really mind if you know, but the last time it happened, well. I also recognize trust goes both ways…"

Babs looks at Robin with a look of total disbelief and then quietly, with a touch of ice in her tone "When we discussed this plan, Robin, do you not think this was something you should have mentioned?" An apologetic look to Batwing and then "What exactly were Batmans words, Robin, verbatim if you please." For once, Babs is not impressed with the Boy Wonder and it shows.

"Are you sure you're not Batman's wife?" Batwing asks as he sinks down a little closer to the table, as if to avoid the icy chill of her words. He doesn't comment to Tim yet, he seems to be letting them handle this between themselves. His general body language and tone suggests the general awkwardness one has when they're at an unfamiliar dinner table with a family they just met.

"Look Babs," Tim starts, "It's not about this in particular, it's in general. His secrets, not mine. It's the same reason the Titans don't know who I am. If Batman gives the green light, I have no qualms about anything. But he requires me " Robin's lips twist to the side. "And I hadn't realized that that was your plan or I would've cleared it with him beforehand." Or not showed up, which is left unsaid. And then he rises from his chair. "I can go."

Batwing gets a quelling look "I'm no ones wife, mistress, girlfriend or lover…" Babs looks like she might be going to say more but snaps her lips shut and takes a deep breath. "You heard his answer, it's your call. You can't drink the tea but that would be the only thing affected. There's not much I can do…"

"Robin, sit for a minute, I really need your help… just wait" The womans' tone is exhausted …

"Sorry, sorry, joking, bad time to joke, I say things at the wrong time and make them worse sometimes. Kind of a special gift." Luke apologetically says with a careful nod, then clears his throat. "Well, you know what? This is freaking Robin. Probably saved the world in ways I can't imagine. Probably went back in time and punched Hitler or something. So if anyone here has anything to prove, it's me."

He places his hands on the sides of his helmet, releasing its nearly seemless attachment to the side. Then he pulls it off and sits it on the table. "Luke Fox. Professional handsome guy. Nice to meet you." He offers his hand to Robin, smiling.

When he's instructed to sit, Tim assumes the seat once more. There's an air of apology as he does which could be why he regards the coffee a few beats longer. He fights the smirk at the thought of going back in time and punching Hitler in the face and shakes his head lightly. "I've been lucky to help Batman a lot over the years," he concedes.

But when the hand is offered, he nods and shakes the other fellow's hand, "Good to meet you, Luke." There's a pause as his gaze shifts back towards Babs, "Babs knows what she's doing. I think Batman would agree that if she's vetted you, you're the right guy for the job." His lips quirk into a lopsided very boyish grin.

Babs waves away Lukes apology "You hit a nerve… " and the though trails off. "Thank you, Luke. Robin is, perhaps, my most trusted asset." Certainly, the look she gives Robin though frustrated is warm. Letting the air settle, Babs drinks the tea and then rolling her neck looks around the table "There are a couple of reasons I wanted you two to meet. Luke is convinced he wants to do this, Robin. He's good but needs some field training. Between you and Nightwing, I think we can do that. Would you be prepared to work together for a few nights and assist?" The question is levelled to both the men at her table.

Even with the frustration, the compliment from Babs flushes Robin's normally-pale cheeks. In fact, they become quite rosy in a few beats and prompts the Boy Wonder to stare downwards at his coffee cup. Presumed value and stated value are rather disjoined in Tim's mind it seems. "I just do what I can." A sheepish smile tugs at his lips when he forces his gaze upwards again. "Just obsessive behaviour instilled in me at an early age." Business, however, prompts him to push it away, "I think that would be great. If I can help you settle into things, Luke, I'd be happy to."

"I put my foot in my mouth sometimes, it's a pretty bad habit when you make jokes while nervous." Luke offers a small smile to Babs, then he nods to Robin before taking a small sip of tie, both hands wrapped around it. "I've been training to do this since I was sixteen and first met Batman, and even before that I was really into MMA. I'm pretty good at tactical stuff, but I'm still dealing with learning to think on the field. I'm trying to think of a million things at once, so if I could learn to just be calm out there… you know?"

Robin gets another smile "Obsessive is probably why you are." The responses from both young men get a nod of approval from the redhead "Good, start tonight, when we're finished here." No need to beat around the bush. "The second reason is a little more complex. The suit Luke wears, it needs improvement. He has ideas, as do I and we need a facility for him to work in. I was thinking the auxillery batcave would be appropriate. It's generally empty and should have most of the resources we need. Robin, what do you think?"

Batwing gets a considering look "Foot in mouth is a common complaint amongst those I work with" Babs shrugs "But yes, learning to stay calm is important. Teaming will help that."

"Honestly, managing your own emotions out there is as important as having the skills to be out there. And it's not as much calm as…." Tim squints behind his mask "…channelling them, I guess." He shrugs. "Because things are never going to go how you expect them. But using that to fuel what you're doing is incredibly useful. Or, it can be, anyways." He nods at the thoughts about the auxiliary batcave. "That works. I don't think Batman would object, and to be honest, it's mostly empty save — " his eyebrows draw together. "I've been hanging out there quite a bit lately," read between the lines: mostly living there. "But it doesn't bother me."

"I'm cool with going out tonight and shaking down some gangs." Luke nods when Babs starts talking about the cave, looking to Tim. "As long as I can get some serious nanofabrication done, I'm good. I don't need to touch the other bat toys if you guys like to keep everything in a certain spot or something. My plan is to completely rebuild the suit from the ground up. I finished the formula for the new and improved material, I just need to create enough of it for the suit now, when I have the equipment."

Robin gets a quizzical look "There's spare rooms in the accommodation area, if you want" Babs murmurs and shrugs. Pushing Robin achieves nothing.

Still sipping her tea, Babs looks at Luke. "Go check it out with Robin and let me know what you think." A lift of one shoulder "if things are missing I'm sure we can find them"

"We're pretty resourceful," Robin agrees with Oracle. "I'ms rue we can find you whatever you need. Just let me know if there's anything you need or, I mean, Babs is willing too. And it's not really an issue of organization from my end, although, I'm pretty sure Batman would disagree with me." He smirks. "We should also make sure Batman knows Batwing will be accessing it. He doesn't like surprises."

It's only after the business about the cave is considered that he tries to be reassuring. "Thanks. I think I'm okay. Just looking for an apartment…"

"Well, I've got an apartment, I live alone. I completed my Master's a year early at MIT, so I'm currently taking a year off and things are pretty relaxed at my place. I turned down that offer from Wayne Enterprises, I need a little time to find myself, you know?" Luke explains all of this before sipping his tea, then adding, "I mean, once Batman is fine with you revealing who you are, you can move in and we'll split the rent."

Babs nods at Robin and shrugs "The offer is there." Then an alarm goes off on her systems… Taking her tea with her, Babs moves to her consoles. "You two can sort out the details" she murmurs vaguely… Attention now elsewhere

"Thank you," Robin states to both of them. "I do actually appreciate the offers. And I'll think about them," his smile even finds a dimple as he says this. With the alert on Babs' console, Tim ticks his head back towards the other fellow. "Well, how about we head out then. See what there is to see." With that his coffee his abandoned and he treads back to the door.

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