Bird's-eye View (pt.1)

Summary:
March 22nd, 2015: A downed SRD drone in the Narrows attracts unwanted attention. Batman, Bluebird and Oracle make an appearance.

The Narrows, Gotham
The Narrows is a densely populated, enclosed poverty stricken island
neighborhood within Gotham that appeared during the earthquake of 09' that
tore the city apart. It is situated between Midtown's Robinson Park and the
Downtown's landmasses upon the Finger River.

The monorail runs around or through the Narrows but does not stop here.
There are no stations. The only way to reach the Narrows is by way of
Narrows-borough Bridge in Collgate Heights or Midtown Bridge of the Diamond
District.

The citizens who live within the Narrows are view by the rest of the city as
a lost cause and their plight is quite simply ignored. In the past half a
decade the crime within the Narrows has surpassed that of the Hill and Park
Row in the East End making it the most dangerous place in Gotham. The level
of violence is so bad within the Narrows the GCPD refuses to enter without a
show of force.

Visually the Narrows has been compared to the famous Kowloon Walled City. It
is a crumbling, nest of dilapidated buildings that are have ruined still
from the earthquake. These buildings have fallen an landed in ruined slumps
against one another in which floor upon floor of makeshift housing has been
created by the over-dense population of impoverished. It is here that many
who wish to disappear go, in the Narrows you can vanish from society in one
way or another. Generally it is the less favored route.

Criminals armed with illegal weaponry have a stranglehold on the Narrows,
countless drug dens, gambling parlors, brothels and black market shacks are
set up throughout it's hive-like maze work city structure. It's a nightmare
for the sane.


Characters

NPCs

  • Narrows Thugs

Mood Music:
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSsRt_1l740]


"What was that?" A stifled voice whispers, the bandana around the man's face muffling his words. The MAC-10 in his left hand is swung in a wide arc, aimed at the walls, the ceiling, all around them. What has just transpired? This guy wet himself on sighting the Batman. Opened fire and shot two of his gang banger buddies. They in critical condition at his feet. They are little more than scavengers who shot down an SRD drone, a drone the Dark Knight himself was investigating. The hardware used in question is what has the Batman curious, curious enough he let them see him thinking it would cause them to scatter, instead the regrettable happened and his guilt is fueling his anger right now.

A flutter of cape and wings and a dark shadow races across an upper balcony of the ruined and wrecked old amphitheater, once upon at time this was an attempt to renovate, to bring good publicity to the Narrows, a location of Gotham that from the go has been little more than a nightmare, a cursed and blighted place where the poverty stricken huddle en masse with hopes of surviving. Which, sadly, despite all of the Martha Wayne Foundations revitalization efforts is all they can do here.

The bullets strafe where the Caped Crusader last was and the man drops another magazine fumbling for a reload.
"What the hell!?" The thug whimpers, his eyes bulging in fear as he sweeps the unloaded gun from left to right. "WHAT THE HELl!?!"

"You're right." A voice throws out, bounces off a wall, sounds raspy, growling, dark and almost inhuman, "Gotham is Hell, We are all in Hell and I am the King of Hell! Are you ready for what comes next!?" Superstition, terror, psychological manipulations, this is what the Batman preys upon and this man will feel it but the city's Dark Saviour is not without a heart or mercy and he must hurry so he can save these fallen and misguided children of Gotham before the expire.

A clatter of rubble from above and the gun lights up again, more bullets pound the ruined wall and then there is silence, where the gunman stood now stands the near mythical champion of Gotham, his fists blooded with the man's own life fluids. A tooth picked out of leather over one finger and Batman is already hailing 911 by means of an automated system, an ambulance should hopefully be on it's way soon. Kneeling the grim vigilante begins to pad down each man, checking their wounds seeing where he can help. The probe was not far from here, he has his suspicions who had been tampering with it, the only one with the technical savvy in the Narrows to do such a thing but he still has to investigate.


To say that Harper had kept up on the goings on of The Narrows was an understatement. Every night she took paths that did not lead to her home, escaping from the window out the back was the only constant to keep her and her brother safe as he laid his weary head down to sleep. It was routine. She would make him dinner, make sure his homework had gotten done. Gave him a hug and a kiss atop of his head, and he would tell her to be safe. Of course, add in a few swear words of her calling him a homo and her a bitch and it would be a nice little sitcom meant to be displayed on the networks of CW..

Wait.

But this night was as quiet as any. Cell phone produced to use the hacked probe to scan the Narrows, to keep a watchful eye upon the place where no other save for Batman dares to go. Unlike him, she puts her feet to the street and walks, ski-mask, which was laughable donned as she sticks to the shadows and curves the concrete jungle provides, almost like it was childs play compared to the gangbangers who attempted to rule the roost.

Cameras flitted about inside the probe, picking out the signs of a gun battle, keeping nearby to catch the name of the street and the direction the fire had come from.. and Harper was on the move.

Without the stylistics of Batman and his crew, there were no climbing of roofs and hitches upon fire escape platforms or the sliding down of ladders. She looked like a common criminal running /away/ from the crime instead of in front of it.

The vision of her streaking across the street, phone tucked into her back pocket and electro-guns produced and held aloft was picked out by the camera that fed to her phone as the drone hovers still where Batman tracked it, the body pressed against the wall nearest to where the scene of the fallen had landed due to the hail of bullets, a quick peek around the corner to see the Dark Knight checking over the man gives her faint chills.

He was her hero. And she finally captured the sight of him. But.. no time to play worship today. This.. this was serious business. And yet she didn't need to talk for him to know that she was there. It was probably the inner fan-girl squeal that she did not make that could draw her attention, guns soon hitched upon the side of her wayward belt, the bundle of nerves drawing out which places foot in front of the other to bring herself out into the open and two steps toward the fallen men and kneeling Knight.


With reaction speed so quick his kinematic scanner systems don't have time to reveal the possibility of this being Harper who just crept forward and a batarang is whistling through the air towards the young woman, it's not aimed at her but about a meter above her head where it will release a high-pitched squeal. A reflex and fortunate for her he isn't tossing anything more dangerous, Batarangs have been known to mangle, break limbs and cause all manner of injury criminals not too quickly forget.

"Identify yourself!" The Dark Knight is tight wound right now, he is very close to shutting down Hugo Strange in Gotham and it has him on edge. So. Very. Close.


So Harper expected that, but didn't expect to experience it. Did she catch him unawares? Possibly.. not. For once the Batarang was thrown, Harper, in all of her genius.. just stares. Sure it whizzes past her, and too little, too late is when she reacts.

"WOAH!" She shrieks out, hands finally drawing up, touching upon her head for the quickest of moments, remembering the ski-mask that she's donned which was soon ripped away and tucked into her back pocket with a shaky hand. And then.. just to be sure? She touches her head again.. hair? Okay. Never mind the bruise to her jaw and a black eye from earlier wanna-be vigilante dealings.

"It's me. Harp.. Bluebird." She corrects. But she does not approach.

"What happened?" Which is to more or less say, What the hell did you do, Batman?


"Bluebird." Batman confirms, the batarang then retrieved. One of the gunmen won't make it.

"What did I do? Interesting question I have a better one, what did you do?" A gloved finger flicks towards a drone not too far away, not the one she was remote viewing him with but another. The reason these scavengers where here. Probably black marketers selling SRD equipment or junkies looking to get some drug money out of the downed piece of tech.

"I monitor the SRD drones very closely, the Narrows ones are older, fewer in number and I think they've stopped placing them here but these are sending out the wrong signals. They no longer operate for the Hugo and his goons."


A long pause follows, "Good work." A look around him and he drops his cape over his shoulders, "Recognize any of these? One won't make it. The other I have staunched for now, hopefully he survives until an ambulance arrives."

With no need for her to keep the mask off any longer, she reaches into her back pocket to don it yet again. It was epic in the making.. really. Albeit silly compared to the stylistics of the Bat. Get in where you fit in, right?

"Me? I didn't do.." She pauses, following the finger towards the air, her hand reaching into her other back pocket to retrieve a cell phone which was turned on by the press of a button, fingers dashing across the screen. "..About that.." She was ready to defend herself tooth and nail until he murmured his praises, ready to brag and boast until the fallen one was pointed out.

"Them. You mean. Not these." She squats towards the fallen man, gloved hand reaching out to grip his jaw, turning his face in her direction so that she could at least gleam recognition from his 'sleep-like' features. "Yeah. This one is Maxi's brother. I can't remember his name for the life of me though. She and I graduated at the same time and he was there." She lets him go, then glances up towards the bat, finally standing upright as she presses her hands against the small of her back to stretch. She missed the action. That was sad.

"Most of the other SRD drones that went offline are back at my place. I was in the middle of making upgrades until I got called into work for an emergency. Downed grid. Probably your doing. But, not going to place blame where it isn't due.. or at all." Her hands draw up, disarmingly.

"Think we should get out of here before the ambulance arrives. Unless you're into meet and greets now. Which is cool, whatever rocks your co.." A pause. "Stuff."


A silent stare followed by, "Hrm." are the length of what Bluebird gets as a response, "You're still set on this path of being a vigilante? Stubborn." The Batman says quietly, walking past her towards the downed drone. Picking it up he tucks it under one arm, they're heavy. Very heavy. Not exactly something someone just totes around solo for long but the Dark Knight is just shy of being a superhuman and his body has been pushed to the breaking point and beyond.

"Lets go repair this and get it functional again, it's useful. You can show me what you know of them and we can talk a little… I may have just found something you should be able to assist me with. How are you on data encryption and the software these run on?"


Harper shrugs her shoulders faintly. "Stop telling me no." It was as simple as that. Someone tells her no, she won't ever quit. Ever. Though now that she's had a taste, it was hard to keep that adrenaline rush down. "You wouldn't believe the sh-.." Just when she was about to go on a tirade of what she had gotten into, she watches with a little disbelief as he picks up the probe, her jaw dropping, mouthing the words 'What the fuck', only to snap her lips shut yet again.

Usually, her and her brother had to haul the probes inside, with hitches, harnesses and belts. They were whelps, really. But their determination was their strengths.

She was going to follow his lead, at his six, her lips pursing as another lackluster shrug is given. She didn't want to seem /too/ happy with working with the Bats, so she played it cool. "I can assist you with a ton more than the technical stuff. A /ton/. But baby steps. It's all good." But she does give the man a weird look, trying to bite back a grin. "How am I? Let me put it to you this way. I can host a block party and a barbecue with three of these things under my belt. You ain't heard 'Uptown Funk' until it's blasted through one of these babies. Just sayin'."


Batman glances over his shoulder, shifting the probe higher on to his hip, making eye contact with Bluebird he says very firmly, "No." A grunt and he hoists the damaged drone up above his head and tosses it on to a higher slab of cement, leading them from street level to some of the maze-like inner workings of the Narrow's slum structures.

"Can you now?" Once the object is drug out of sight he drops to a kneel over it, peeling the panel open to display it's electronic guts. "I have no idea what Uptown Funk is. It sounds like a disease a badly named super villain would unleash."

"It's open and you've already toyed with this one. That is obvious." It's ghetto painted with graffiti and a lot of color. Not exactly standard SRD or GCPD. Testing her? Yes. Of all of his 'child prodigies' only Tim shows as much knowledge or specific talent in subjects like this that Harper has. Oracle is of course gifted in her own right but invention and hardware? No. She is a software sort. This could prove highly useful and is not exactly the first exhibit of Bluebirds genius.


In the Clocktower, Oracle observes the Dark Knights Avatar on her screens and pulls up the CCTV feeds from the area, as well as activating the A/V feed in his suit. He'll know she's watching through a notification on his HUD. If he needs anything, he just has to speak.


That eye contact would bear a certain irritation that fires off within Harper. Just when she thought she was making headway..

But she keeps her tongue held, she didn't want to blurt out a 'try and stop me', phrase, she was sure her teeth would be on the concrete as soon as 'try' left her lips. Fine. It's whatever, Harper does what she wants!

"Oh my god. Really?" She clicks her tongue beneath her mask, hitching herself up to that hidden concrete slab, her fingers drawn out to scratch along her face beneath the mask until it was torn off and tucked away again. "One of these days, you're going to take me with you. And when you take me with you, I'll let you hear the song. Way catchy. Annoying, but catchy. You're going to dance, my man."

But as he opens the drone, her fingers raise to smooth the purplish blue hair from her face, her eye still watering from being blackened, silence taking her in now as she draws in a breath. Her head tilts faintly, features scrunching as she looks up towards the bat. If he was testing her? That was fine.. but..

"You ever sit somewhere in silence, and you can just tell that something just.. turned itself on? It sort of feels like there's water in your ears. And this really low frequency beep occurs. But it's a beep that keeps going.." She leans back now, head hung down as she focuses upon the many compartments on her belt. It was a shit-job make, an attempt to copy Bats. But it did well.

"I can probably fix it, but it won't be brand new. I'm suspecting that a bullet cracked the circuit board and a few of the wires were singed in the mean while. I just need to replace the plastic coating and ghetto-rig some jiggily crap in there to make it fly for now. At least until I can get it back to .." A pause. ".. your place."

Sneaky.


"No I haven't and the dancing is very unlikely." A stretch underneath the cape and Batman winces as muscle aches begin to make themselves aware. He needs another dose tonight - Alfred will be irritating about it as usual.

"Welcome to the party, Oracle." The extent of the greeting the man will give Gotham's Data Queen. "If you have not met Bluebird, say hello. She fancies herself a crime fighter, imagine that." Dry. Very dry sounding. Listening further to Bluebird speak Batman continues, "What you are telling me is you just… extemporaneously know machines and wiring? The talents of an electrical or mechanical engineer just don't come to people out of nowhere. Someone had to have taught you."

"Ever heard of Savant Syndrome? Ever in your life suffered neurological damage, more precisely injury to your left anterior temporal lobe to be exact?"

Yes, Batman just asked if she might be mental. "The drone stays where it is. If you cannot get it airborne again salvage the parts make something useful for the Narrows out of it, just make sure it is scrubbed completely or it's a felony." Something he normally wouldn't condone but considering he source of the device, he isn't going to be too judgmental.


Oracle smiles slightly at the Dark Knights greeting and activates the comms device in his suit. "Hello Bluebird. I'm Oracle." The voice filtering through the comm unit is digitally disguised, robotic basically, no way to tell if Oracle is human or male or female.

If Batman is speaking to the woman, Oracle will be keeping tabs on her more closely.


"Eh?" For a moment there, she thought Batman was a loon. He was talking to himself, but introductions were made and Bluebird stops what she's doing to glance around, and then offer a shrug and a nod. "Sup?" She says aloud, a slight sneer posted upon her face but dropped immediately. "You know, I'd be a better one if you'd actually train me. The bills are racking up and people are starting to ask questions." As if anything would come of that. Concerned stares.. and the lot. She hated that. As Oracle speaks through Batmans suit, she gives him a long.. misguided stare. "That dude sounds like Johnny 5."

But his further words? They /would/ have hurt if she hadn't heard the same thing before. "Yes. Someone taught me. Right when I was little. Though this dude was the salt of the earth type of guy. Big hands that looked as if he worked on the railroads all his life. Kind of had that funny old man smell to him too. He really didn't use technical terms, but I picked it up real fast." She didn't skip a beat either, not glossing over any details. "And yeah, maybe I do have neurological damage. Getting knocked upside the head by my dad really did a number on me Bats. To the point where I can't cry because my favorite person in the world.. wait. Third favorite person in the world just called me a flipping retard."

But as the designs on the probe were revealed, she finally hunkers down into work, pulling out a rubber band with a wire attached to a metal clip, which was strapped on to her wrist to ground herself from shocking the poor thing into nothing. Gloves were soon removed as the tweezers were produced, the drone tilted enough for her to hear the ring of the bullet inside of the metal. Her hand was sticked in soon after, kept held upright, fishing the small projectile out to toss it to the side.

"Going to need some wire." Then a pause, and a slight snorting giggle. "Johnny 5 is alive.. wee!" *BZZT!* "Ow.."


"Override code 6." Oracle will be shut out of Batman's suit systems and transferred to a remote device on his belt, one he takes out and flicks the camera on so she can still see and speak without coming directly from his own outfit. It just seems more polite and logical. The remote viewer is then applied to the wall where it sticks.

"Oracle is an actual member of my team. The eyes and ears of Gotham." A tap on the drone with his toe, "Eyes and ears you're tampering with. SRD drone have been something we piggyback off rather frequently as you've already discovered. They had been getting rather advanced with their encryption but recently… not the case." The Dark Knight would like to think the Bat-Family was responsible for the budget cuts Special Response Division is suffering right now but there is a lot of factors at work. More than just his tribe of vigilantes.

Johnny 5 is a reference he does get. He watched the film while younger with Alfred and later with Dick. Watching Bluebird still the man's arms settle easily across his chest. There has been zero indication of Oracle's gender. He tries his best to leave that a mystery, EVERYTHING about his people is a mystery to those not affiliated. It's in the Bat-Manual.

"Not retarded. Just curious to the source, mutant gene, extraterrestrial, cybernetic component, a possible neurological fluke or simply just one of nature's grand designs. It's a gift whatever it is, that much is obvious."

"You're not ready to be trained by me. It would be a mistake at this point, you would probably just get yourself killed."


Oracle smirks a little at the override, Batman is of course correct and she should know slightly better. "Tampering with our surveillance drones earned our attention." Gothams Information Goddess confirms. As to training the young vigilante, she'll remain silent for now, but she may have options to assist the other woman.


Since Batman didn't offer her up any wire, she fishes out her gun from her belt, laying it upon her lap as she quickly dismantles it as such. It was one of those guns that were found discarded in the Narrows, possibly used in a murder, tossed aside and left forgotten and rusted. Harper made good use of it, naturally.

She cracks the frame of it, peeling the top aside, drawing out a small switchblade to shear the wire from it's roll. The gun itself was deemed useless now, but still held on, put back together, and placed upon her hip.

"I wouldn't have to tamper if you'd just let me in.." She mutters beneath her breath, still focused on working. The nudge of his foot to the probe got her to stop for a second, and then she's back, digging into it. She doesn't say much at this point, focusing upon looping the thin wire within the holes of the circuit board to lace and weave it so that it's held together. And /then/ she speaks. After knotting it, of course.

"Highly doubt I'm either of those. Don't really care to find out. My life is as messed up as is without that hanging over my head."

"As for me getting killed? I'm well on the fast track without help. I'm electrocuting hydras in the sewers and even went toe to toe with one of those big burly guys in Two-Face's crew. Still here, Batman. Still here." She pulls her hands out of the probe, then looks around upon the ground, only to find her switch blade to get back to work. The plastic coating was sheared away, her head popping upright as she hears Oracle.

"I'm going to assume Johnny 5 had some affection in his voice. Affection that means.. hey! Don't let her die because she took on the wrong dude at the wrong time." The switchblade was lifted and pointed towards Batman. "You're going to be so sad if I just so happen to eat it one day. So sad.." A smirk, and she's back to work. "Almost done."


"Guilt tripping me. Cute." Batman remarks. The wire he made no move for, this was her task, not his own and he is acting the role of spectator to see just how resourceful the girl is.

Sirens can be heard incoming, they'll be nearby an collecting up the injured men. Batman is content with where they're located and doesn't imagine they will be found out. Therefor no real mind is paid to the incoming first responders.

"Why not college? What if I spoke to a contact of mine and found you a job that would keep you busy enough you wouldn't have time for placing yourself in constant danger. Which brings me back to my previous question about the brain damage." More wit. The Dark Knight is apparently not without some small shred of humor.

"Oracle, do you think she is as quick as Robin at this?" He speaks of the probe hi-jacking and re-wiring of course. It's almost become a game and tradition for the Bat-Family to tinker with the drones, the Batman actually times some of them once they've been taught.


"I think she can be. She shows promise. Sometimes she is and sometimes she's not." Oracle shrugs as she settles in her chair "With a little more practice, she'll outstrip Robin by far." Read between the lines, she'll be useful on the team.

Checking the dispatch from GCPD, the redhead ensures the two she's talking with are free from detection.


"Cold hard truth. You're going to be sad." Harper mutters, drawing back now to toss away the plastic that coated the wires, reaching into one of her many pockets to feel and search for her gaffer tape. She settles back for a moment now, not rushing, but taking her time to shear bits of the black tape into strips that would easily hold the wires together.

"I'd love to go to college one day. But I have a little brother to take care of. It's just us. And if I can at least clean up the Narrows or clear a path for him to be safe going home from school then I'm going to do it." She shrugs her shoulders. "Plus, if your handouts don't include some awesome kung-fu fighting then I don't want it. Or.. put me in touch with your seamstress or something cause this ski-mask isn't working for me at all. It itches. I think it's the fabric softener."

She glances up towards the Bats, hanging the tape from each of her fingers. "I'm just as retarded as you.."

Diving back into the drone, she carefully fits the tape over the wires, muttering quietly. "I mean.. if you ever stop to talk to one of the cops, do they be like.. 'Hey Bats. Good job. Now go get one.' Do they? Nope." Yeah. Harper just told Batman to get a job. In jest of course!

Surely, as they speak about her while she was there, she looks up towards the little camera, and then towards Batman, shaking her head and finishing off the taping to close the top. "Let's see if this sucker still flies.."

Her hand lifts, waving in front of the camera. "Johnny 5, you got this or shall I?" Cause she was already reaching for her phone.


"Oracle, erase the drone and run the takeover program. It's ours again." By that Batman means it will give the SRD only the visuals they want it to.

"The guns, explain them to me." The Dark Knight insists. Guns are as always a no go. If she has the right answers he might very well consider phase one training for her. Maybe she'll last longer than Spoiler. Maybe. Eager, headstrong, stubborn, usable talents, Spoiler was at least athletic, this one is technically inclined and bred of Gotham's hardest Burroughs, she at least knows how Gotham works, it's one giant meat grinder, meat goes in meat and comes back out… meat.


"I have it." Oracle is already entering the codes for the probe, her green eyes assessing the diagnostic information as it flashes on her screen. "Erased, Batman. Takeover successfully." One final command sent to the probe and it lifts in the air.

Leaning forward, the wheel chair bound woman leans her arms on her console, she's interested in the answer about guns.


Goddamn it. All that work and they steal it. Which was fine, she had other drones.. and she could try to piggy back off of their networks again. All it takes is a little time..

She stands as the probe itself begins to take off, leaning her head back as her hand reaches down for the gun that was dismantled, fingers popping the top so that the side of it falls to the ground to produce the inner workings of her creation.

"Typical taser gun. Battery compartment was built into the handle.." Which she points at, showing the two double A batteries on the inside. "Small compressed gas cartridge, voltage amplifier circuit with electrodes and conductive wire." She points all of this out, as if he didn't know, teaching him for the first time. "Trigger is pressed as such which sends the hammer down to knock against the cartridge to fire off a small bit of pressure so that the wires and pins can eject and pierce through the skin. Once contact is made.." She fumbles with it for a moment, pulling the small needles out, holding it close so that the little hook of barbs could be seen. ".. electricity travels through the wires to deliver a voltage to the persons nervous system. Phasers set to stun."

She wrinkles her nose a bit, then shrugs. "I suppose the only drawback that I continue to face is the fact that I have to flip this switch here.." She turns the gun over, tapping her finger against the small button installed upon the side of the pistol.. "..just to retract. And there's only so many times I can use it in a week before the cartridge itself gives out."

She leaves out the fact that she has to steal most of her stuff, no one needed to know that.

"And AIDS. I'm sure one of these silly suckers out here have aids. May have spread it around a bit." A pause.

"I'm kidding." Maybe.


Batman watches the drone lift up and take flight. It's back online and the ambulance is approaching now from across the bridge and in to the Narrows. No police escort - there almost never is when it comes to the Narrows, it's amazing enough that these brave EMTs are making the venture themselves and not just letting these poor men bleed out. Another reason Batman has been hanging around, he was going to give it three more minutes before he was mobilized and aiding the criminals who have been downed.

"Very crass, Bluebird." Batman says in his typical candid manner. Not unexpected from a girl who grew up in the Narrows. It's a horrible place and the outlook of those raised there is usually bleak.

"I'm not entirely convinced this is a suitable direction for you." Yet, perhaps. The Dark Knight is a hard earn. He's harder on himself than he is anyone else but that still doesn't make things easy for those close to him. It's a grueling, regimented and very cold path. "A stun gun." Impressed. He won't show it or admit it but he is and relieved.


A stun gun is a far better prospect and effective too, and Oracle allows the relief to show on her face. Not that anyone will see it. The Dark Knights comments about suitable direction has the redhead sighing, if she knows anything of these teen vigilantes it's that telling them you don't approve, will just make them more keen. For now, she holds her counsel, she wants to see how Bluebird responds.


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