A Babs-Frank Co-Operation
Roleplaying Log: A Babs-Frank Co-Operation
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Frank gives Babs a heads up on a job he's pulling in Gotham, she tags along.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: November 02, 2018
IC Location: Gotham Docks, Gotham
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 15 Dec 2018 04:43
Rating & Warnings: R for language
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Frank Castle doesn't usually worry about stepping on toes, but when the toes belong to a friend, he tries to go easy on the combat boots. So it starts with a text 'En route Gotham. Qs for criminal. Ride-along?' Of course, it starts with that when he's on a train down to Gotham from newly-demon-free New York. He's also got his skull-painted vest in a duffel with a gnarly-looking revolver and a collection of random clothes and gear. And he's coming early at night. Nothing good can come of that. Then again, he's probably not looking for anything good.

The text hits Barbara's phone while she sits in one of the massive, comfortable chairs in the upper levels of the library. She's curled around a book, and she has to unwind to tug the cell phone out of the long sweater she wears over her tunic and leggings. She hesitates when she realizes that it's been forwarded from her burner phone, and then she tucks herself in deeper into the chair to read the message. Her mouth tightens into a thoughtful frown before she tucks the book against her chest, tapping away at the screen. 'Train station?'

'Arriving 2025' You can take the man out of the Marines, but you can't get him off military time.

When the train pulls in, Frank waits on the platform, his arms crossed over his chest and the duffel over his shoulder. He waits until the train is empty, watching people get off and move further into the station. He's the last one off the platform, looking for faces that he recognizes as he departs. He doesn't see anyone from the train, and he nods to himself, looking next for the shock of red hair. He heads immediately in her direction, "Figured you'd want the heads up."

Barbara doesn't even have to go through the needed calculations to know that's 8:25PM. She sighs out a short breath, and closes the book so she can haul herself up to go pick up Frank — after she changes into her street motocross gear because there's no way she's going to get blood on these clothes. As she assumes he doesn't have Max with him, she takes the bike. He will have to deal.

When he finally trudges off the train, the redhead is one of the last waiting. She's got her helmet under her arm, dressed from head to toe in her motocross leather. She has brushed her red hair into a smooth, soft mane that has the faint leftover waves of her braid. She arches a brow at him at his assertion as he steps forward. "Nice to see you, too, Frank." She arches a brow at him questioningly.

Frank snorts at the greeting — or the tone that accompanies it — but shrugs a little helplessly, "Yeah. Sorry. In my own head on the way over. Hey." He eyes the motorcycle helmet warily, "That's punishment for the late warning, ain't it?" He hefts the duffel onto one shoulder, reaching out to clap Babs on the arm lightly as he continues past. With his eyes on the passing people of the crowd, he keeps his voice low, "Guy down on the docks. Not lookin' to do anything permanent. Tryin' to find the big man."

Barbara pivots on her heel and steps into stride with Frank after the clap to her arm. She smirks at him at his warily protest to her helmet, and she shrugs her shoulders slightly. "You want to ride around Gotham in a four-door sedan, then you better get your own car stashed here." Then she drops her chin, listening to his low-murmured words. She glances aside to him briefly before she shrugs her shoulders. "Alright, and so what do you need from me? Or is this just a courtesy call to let me know you're stalking around my docks?"

"I was just gonna get a cab. I'm not callin' you for transport." Still, Frank chuckles quietly, shaking his head. "Courtesy call. Figured you'd want to know I'm not poachin'." As they clear the train station, he glances around for the bike, "I'm still fine with takin' a cab. I'm thinkin' bruises, blood, but nothin' permanent. If he doesn't know anything, he doesn't know anything." Grimacing hard, he admits, "I'm havin' problems with finding the asshole."

Barbara stands at the edge of the curb, turning toward him with a half-tilt of her head. "You can take a cab if you're scared to ride in the back." Her lips twitch slightly before she straightens up out of her half-slouch into her hip. She nods toward her bike at the far end of a row of cars, stepping off the curb with a soft shush of her leather soles against the rough asphalt. Then she hesitates, tilting her head slightly over her shoulder. "… so you need someone who knows how to gather important information on a high-interest target." She turns to face him, totally indifferent to the fact she's standing in the middle of the parking lot. "I'm trying to decide if you're actually being obtuse on purpose, or you just haven't considered who your allies are."

When he's accused of being scared, Frank turns toward Barbara, flat-eyed over a slight, crooked smirk. "You know a guy has to be insecure for that to work, right?" He follows toward the bike, hitching the duffel onto the center of his back, a strap over each shoulder. When she stops, Frank draws up, shrugging, "Yeah. I know. Don't want to ask you to hack whoever-the-hell is holding him. He ain't in regular lockup. He ain't even in Ryker's. I got that much."

"Mmhmm." Barbara then turns back to resume her walk toward her bike. She pulls the spare helmet from its secured spot on the bike and passes it toward Frank. "For your thick skull." Then she swings into the saddle, pulling herself forward enough to make room for the big guy on the back of the bike. Then she looks back toward him, and she holds onto her own helmet for a heartbeat, letting him see the frown on her lips. "If I was law enforcement, I wouldn't want him in regular lockup, or Ryker's… he's probably being held somewhere well-outside the normal facility."

Frank pulls on the helmet, buckling it and giving it a little smack with the heel of one hand. The motion has the feel of something done unconsciously, by rote, part of a routine. "Yeah. And that'll make it harder to track him to and from the courthouse. Means I need to know where he is as soon as possible." Settling in behind her, he pats her shoulder, "Without gettin' you picked up by whoever has him." He pulls up his feet, tucking them up out of the way, "Since my shit already got your apartment shot up."

"At least you're taking responsibility for it," Barbara then pulls on her own helmet, pulling her red hair down her back and tying it loosely with a hair-tie kept around her wrist. Then she glances slightly with her bulbous head to look back toward him before she starts up the engine and pulls them out into the lanes of the parking lot, headed for the exit. She glances down the street and then up before she pulls them out into the quiet November night. She takes them toward the docks, heading across a bridge or two to get them south. She is relaxed during the ride, sinking into a familiar comfort of just being on the machine and embracing the speed and turns of the streets she calls home.

There's something a little weary in Frank's voice as he notes, "That's what I do." When she twists the throttle, he grasps her shoulders, then shifts his hands to her waist, his grumbles about 'riding bitch' not making it out of his helmet. As they approach the docks, he gives Barbara's hip a little tap, then reaches past her to flash one finger, three fingers, four fingers. Dock #134. Good thing the numbers were low enough for one hand.

Frank's grip at her waist is reassuring. She would be more worried about him riding bitch if he was holding onto the handles at the bottom of the seat. This way, he leans with her — or at least is encouraged to — with each curve down the corners and bypass through alleyways. When Frank taps and flashes the fingers into her sight, she nods her helmeted head once before she abruptly darts through traffic to get to a small side street that will take them down a narrow thoroughfare toward the hundreds docks. She glances slightly aside, ducking down beside a warehouse near dock #132. She slides into the shadows of the warehouse, kills the engine, and bracing the bike to let Frank get off first.

For all his loner tendencies, Frank is a good team player. Sure, he's used to leading the team, but he can follow too. Or at least, he can lean into corners with her, and he doesn't counter-lean. When she stops the bike, he swings off and unslings the duffel, dropping it down onto the ground and shucking out of his jacket. That lets him draw out the skull-painted bulletproof vest and slip it on. After strapping it tight, the jacket goes on again, and the helmet comes off, secured onto the back of her bike once more. The duffel gets set beside the helmet on the back of the bike, and the big-ass intimidating revolver slipped into the holster sewn into the inside of the jacket. Duct tape goes into one pocket, and he checks the Ka-Bar at his hip with two fingers, "Guy goes by the name of Beezus. New Yorker before, came here when the big guy went down. Supposed to be able to get things to people in the joint."

Barbara dismounts the bike, engaged the kickstand, and then starts to secure and lock the helmet and Frank's duffel. People are snoops, and it's bad around the docks. She makes sure everything is secure before she takes off her own helmet, shaking out her red hair. Then she starts to braid her hair in quick, swift movements so she can tuck it into her collar and then secure the half-face balaclava she tugs up from around her neck. She hesitates, looking at him with a frown building on her lips. "And we're not here to kill him." Her words are steady, firm — and only softly questioning at the edges. She knows that's what he says, but she seeks confirmation. They are here for information, nothing more.

"Nope." Frank rolls his shoulders, adjusts the vest, then nods to himself. "My kill list's down to one." No face covering for him, and Barbara's own identity protection draws a little chuckle from him. "Just intel. He's a criminal and a little shit-bird, but he's just movin' stuff and info." He looks to Babs for confirmation, then heads out the front of the alley, keeping his jacket closed with his left hand and letting his right rest just before his stomach, ready to dive inside for the pistol if he needs it. As he walks the two blocks down to 134, his gaze flicks about, checking parked cars, those driving past, and everything else around him. He's had enough run-ins with masks that he looks up at the roofs too.

The warehouse at Dock 134 has a stained sign out front proclaiming it to be Intercell Imports Incorporated, and although the lights in the front room are out, there is a faint glow to the barred windows, light seeping through the blinds from further into the building. "I was just figuring on lettin' myself in, unless you got another idea." Frank kicks his right foot in a little motion at his side, loosening up his leg, evidently for kicking in the door.

That confirmed, Barbara tugs up her balaclava into place and zips up her jacket to her throat. Then she grabs for her hood, pulling it into place. She looks like a motocross ninja, knows it, and refuses to let Frank make one disparaging comment about it. Settled into herself, she nods to Frank to lead the way.

When they get to the dock, she looks over the sign and then the buildings attached to the III property. She frowns slightly to herself, hesitating at Frank's question. She shrugs her shoulder slightly. "You lead the way, Castle. I'm here as back-up. I'll let you know when you have a stupid idea." The corners of her eyes crease slightly with an unseen smile, and then she's sliding in behind him to let him do the kick to the door without interruption. She glances behind them, checking her surroundings carefully.

"It ain't a stupid idea if it works." Which goes counter to a lot of what Frank's said, but he's defending himself, and that calls for a little hypocrisy now and then. Before he kicks the door, he checks the handle — yup, locked. He would have felt very stupid if it had been unlocked and he'd kicked it. He draws the revolver first, then rears back and gives the door two swift kicks with the heel of his boot. It splinters and cracks under the first one, but when he gets into it with the second one, the lock breaks free of the wood, and he's able to reach down and open it with his free hand. Not wasting any time, he enters, the pistol in two hands and close by his chest as he steps through the reception area, flicking a glance behind the desk and then coming through the door into the main room pistol first.

Inside are two men in their late twenties and one in his early forties, the two facing down the one in the midst of low piles of crates. All three are still in the process of looking up in surprise, the two drawing pistols, one to bear on the intruders and one to bear on the older man opposite them. "What the fuck, Beezus?" That's from the young man drawing on the older.

"Um…" Barbara's voice is smirking at her simple reply to his comment. Then she falls in behind Frank as he kicks through the door. She is weaponless, but that doesn't mean she is not dangerous. Her stance shifts, occupying a fighter's posture as she prepares for what could be a violent response to their violent entrance. She glances slightly toward Frank before she looks toward the three men, and she shifts behind Frank slightly who is wearing body armor. She will use the opportunity when it comes to charge past him, but the sight of one of the men drawing a gun on Beezus has her brows arching slightly.

"Lover's quarrel?"

Looking from one criminal to another, Frank shakes his head a little, broadening his stance and taking his left hand off his pistol to spread his jacket, showing the white skull spray-painted there. "I don't need two of you." Plus, he's only got six rounds in his pistol.

Beezus holds up his hands, "Hey, I don't know what the hell they're… shit! No, no, no! I don't know what these two are doing, Manny."

Manny shakes his head, back-to-back with his fellow thug and facing Beezus, "I didn't have a quarrel with you, man. But you bring masks in?"

His friend tries to cover both Barbara and Frank at the same time, "What the fuck? The fuck is the Punisher doing here in Gotham? Are we on fuckin' Candid Camera?" He's babbling. and his hand shaking. "And is that the Punishette?"

The accusation of being a mask causes Frank to scowl heavily, "I'm loosin' patience here." The 'Punishette' line forces him to smother a grin though.

"Don't even think about it," Barbara breathes to Frank at the 'Punishette' bit. She narrows her eyes slightly at his back before she steps out from behind Frank just slightly. "We just want Beezus. Give him over, and you two can go about your business." For now, because we all know Batgirl is coming back around here later to figure out what these other two are up to. Then she slips her hand behind her back, sliding loose a bollas that she had tucked up under her jacket. The weight falls slightly toward her knee, lengthening the rope.

"Or we can take care of you two first, and then talk to Beezus. Your choice."

Frank shrugs just a little at Barbara's hushed words, his finger tapping idly on the trigger-guard of the revolver. To an exceptionally perceptive person with an eidetic memory and good musical knowledge… that's the Jeopardy theme he's tapping. He probably doesn't even know.

"We got business with Beezus, lady," Manny sounds steadier than his buddy, but then again, he isn't looking down a gun barrel. "And we're not leaving until we've finished it."

Beezus looks from the vigilantes to the criminals and back, "Um…"

Frank notes, "We're not leavin'. So you can do your business here and now if you want. Or you can come back later like the lady," when he says it, there's a good deal more respect there, "suggested." As he speaks, he slowly begins to advance across the warehouse toward the trio. A slight twist of his shoulders telegraphs which way he's going to go around a given crate just before he reaches it, allowing Barbara to keep in cover behind him if he wants.

Manny's friend watches the pair approach, "I don't know, Manny…"

Barbara has just those things, but she doesn't comment on the casual Jeopardy theme. I'll take 'This Serious' for 500, Alex.

"I think our business is probably a bit more important than yours." Those words escape her without thinking twice, though she does hesitate a moment when she hears the respect in Frank's own words. Castle, you old chauvinist. Then she looks back to the threesome, moving with Frank and guided by his steps. She keeps just behind him, but the crate gives her more freedom to move with the bollas still draped in her fingers.

"I'm a lot more patient than my friend here, so how about we give you to the count of ten?" Barbara's voice has taken on the rougher, deeper tones of her Batgirl persona — as well as some of the playfulness. "One… two…"

"nine… ten." There's no way that Frank is going to leave that one hanging. Plus, he is less patient than Barbara. His thumb shifts to cock the heavy hammer of the revolver, thankful that the double-action weapon allows for the menacing motion — and the attendant sound.

Between Barbara's words and Frank's, Manny's friend decides that discretion is the better part of valor, and lifts his hands to his sides, "No problem, man, no problem." Manny shoots his buddy a shocked, disappointed glance, then starts to retreat himself, the two headed for the apparent location of a side door.

Beezus lowers his hands and crosses his arms over his chest in a subtle threat posture — and to keep his hands from shaking. "You got a lotta nerve comin' here, skull-man. All it'd take is one squeal to the GCPD, and I'm pretty sure they'd be here to pick you up in seconds. And now you're drivin' off my business, you're makin' me a whole lot more likely to feel… civic-minded."

There's a subtle shift in Barbara's posture behind the crate, and she's thumbing something in the pocket of her motocross jacket. A dull, almost inaudible hum emanates from her pocket before it quiets back out again. She shrugs toward Frank casually. "Jammer. Cell phones won't work for about a twenty meter radius." She glances toward Beezus. "You'll have to squeal really loud."

Then she shifts slightly in her stance, starting to step out from behind both the crate and the Punisher. "He's not here to kill you, Beezus… we want some information. Give it freely, and you'll go freely once we're done… make us work for it, and… well, I had him promise not to kill you, but we both know there are worse punishments than death. I think you're civic-minded-self will see that being quick with what we need without much fuss is going to be good for your business."

Until the Bats arrive.

Manny and his buddy continue their retreat, Manny not-so-subtly listening in to the discussion between Beezus and the vigilantes. Frank bristles under Beezus's words, the revolver coming up again after it had started its descent. Barbara's jamming draws a little nod, but he keeps his attention on Beezus, closing the distance quickly and thumbing the hammer safely down — only to slam the butt of the pistol into Beezus's cheek. The smuggler yelps and fall son his ass, both hands going up to his face, Manny and his buddy hurry their retreat, and Frank looms over Beezus. "I got six rounds here, shithead." His raspy growl deepens even further, "And now I don't need two for your friends. Lots of non-fatal places to shoot you, like the lady said."

Holding back tears at the cracked cheekbone, Beezus protests, "What the fuck? I'm a businessman, man. You want somethin', you gotta give me something." He flinches as Frank leans forward, and then looks to Barbara, "You gotta help me here, lady."

The pistol-whip incites a forward step from Barbara, but then she steadies herself. Her expression is lost behind the balaclava and hood, and she ducks her head a bit to look thoughtful. She then starts forward once more, this time in a calm and eased gait. She comes up beside Frank, and her fingers touch his forearm ever so lightly. Then she looks at Beezus. "I'll give you thirty-six hours. You tell Castle what he needs to know, and I'll give you thirty-six hours before I make you my unending focus, before I make you the one thing in all the world that I intend to bring down." She steps closer to Beezus, and her voice drops into a low whisper. "You don't know who my friends are, so I'm going to guess you don't find my threat very substantial. But, you got to ask yourself… do you take the risk? I know the kind of business men like you are in, and it is ruining my city." This talk would be a hundred times more intimidating if she was in the cowl, but to place a Bat with the Punisher would send the wrong message. Babs the Red will just have to bank on her own intimidation.

Frank looks over at Barbara when she touches his forearm, but if she's expecting apology or chastisement in his features, there's none.

Beezus starts to protest, "Thirty-six hours…" but he cuts off as Barbara continues.

Frank crouches down alongside Beezus, and as Barbara says 'very substantial,' he sets the barrel of his revolver against the smuggler's knee and thumbs back the hammer again. He doesn't bother to reinforce the threat verbally. Instead, he follows the paired threats up with a growled, "Nastiest prison you can get into. Most off-the grid one you work." There's a pause, and then he adds, "And the one that's worse than that. The one you can't get into."

That has the smuggler looking confused as all hell. He looks from Barbara to Frank and back, "I don't know who you think you…" he cuts off as Frank increases the pressure of pistol barrel to knee just a little, and then he holds up his hands in a gesture of surrender, "Let's see… I don't know… thirty-six hours ain't very long…" he glances to Barbara again, and then changes tack, "I don't hurt nobody. Just get people what they need on the inside." Or on the outside, if they're inside. "But I don't know… Blackgate's a piece of cake. So's Ryker's Island." Which is actually saying something. "Stryker's Island," Metropolis, demonstrating his reach, "The Slab? I could probably get in there. Maybe? I don't know. I heard of this place worse than that, but man, all I've heard is that people disappear into the system and they don't come out."

Barbara straightens up, standing tall over Frank and Beezus. She crosses her arms as she looks down at the man, her blue eyes sharp in the shadow of her hood and above the mask of her balaclava. Then she glances toward Frank briefly as the man begins to help get them the information they are looking for. So, Beezus gets things inside prisons. She frowns as Beezus inadvertently brags about his reach, and it's noted. Then she tilts her head slightly as he starts to give them something, something about something worse than that, somewhere where people disappear. She narrows her eyes. "A name, Beezus. Cut the narrative and give us a name… because now the offer is down to twenty-four hours."

Frank frowns thoughtfully, tapping his finger on the outside of the revolver's trigger guard as he considers the information. When Barbara pushes harder, he glances up at her, then lifts the barrel of the pistol up from Beezus's knee to point between the man's legs.

Beezus yelps a little and tries to squirm back, but pretty quick his back is up against a crate and Frank's still pointing the big revolver at the man's junk. "I don't know! I haven't heard a name." As his cheek swells, his words are getting a little less distinct. "I just heard you gotta charter your own boat or chopper out there, so I, well, I call it in The Island in my head. Or sometimes The Hole." He hastens to add, "But that's not the real name, just what I call it to myself."

The glance from Frank is met with those steady blue eyes, and then she's looking back at Beezus once more. The yelping reply to Frank's new target causes an unseen quirk from her lips, but then she sobers with a duck of her chin. She stares down at her feet for a long moment, thoughtful in the dark shadows of her hood. Then she nods, glancing to Frank.

"It's enough." Then she steps forward, drawing herself down into a low squat. "Thirty hours… then I expect you gone from Gotham. And if you aren't, I cannot emphasize enough how much you'll regret that decision. Find somewhere else to operate." Then she starts to rise, stepping back from Frank. She glances to him, waiting to see if he's satisfied.

Frank can almost feel the glance back to him, and he nods slightly, pushing up from his crouch and letting the hammer of the revolver down. He doesn't feel the need to add to Barbara's threat, and so he takes three steps back before he holsters the weapon and turns his back on Beezus. He can feel the smuggler's considering eyes on his back, and feel the moment when Beezus glances at Barbara and decides not to go for his hidden piece. Frank smirks just a little on his way to the reception room.

By the time he gets to the front door, he can feel that something's off. It's not anything metahuman, just exceptional situational awareness. His left hand is holding the door open, which clears his right to go for his gun — which is good, because Manny and his friend step around the door just then, pistols leveled. Manny is covering Frank and his buddy, a lot less certainly, is covering Barbara.

"You're not welcome in Gotham, Punisher. The Bat's bad enough, but you're not wanted." Manny's words are a snarl in the dark fall night, his features lit by the harsh yellow of the sodium light overhead. They're far too close, really, but they don't know any better.

Barbara backsteps several strides before she turns. She has no worries showing her back to Beezus, calculating that he might know better. Which says nothing of the two that are waiting for them outside. The hooded woman slows to a stop, bollas still in her hand like a constant weight. It is a comfort, particularly when they meet the pair.

The words from Manny incite a low chuckle in the back of her throat, and then she glances toward Frank. "I like how they say that like social rejection is the leading cause of vigilantes to stop being vigilantes. 'Darn, you don't like me? Why am I even doing this if they don't like me?'" Then she fixes her gaze on Manny's compatriot, and she advances a slow step with her bollas starting to sway in her grip. Her expression is hard to read beneath the balaclava, but there's no misinterpreting the way her stance changes into a low, balanced fighter's pose.

The moment Manny's buddy makes any move, Barbara is moving faster. She lashes out, spinning up the bollas and releasing one side of it to lash out to twist around the guy's gun hand. It knots quickly, giving Barbara the leverage to spin, yanking him forward and off balance so he can be taken to the ground.

As someone very smart on TV once said, guns have a certain range of efficacy. These two are inside theirs. Frank glances side-long at Manny, weighing how close the man is, and then lets his right hand drop away from the grip of his pistol. The glance goes past Manny to Babs, and he shrugs slightly, "Yeah, I think I'm crushed." The pistol pointed at Barbara cause Frank to draw in a long, slow breath, the inhalation expanding his ribs, broadening his shoulders, and lowering his head. Like a bull about to charge.

Manny's buddy makes a critical mistake. He doesn't need to cock the semi-automatic in his grasp, but he does, the barrel dipping as his thumb comes up to pull the hammer back. He's just opened his mouth to say something angry when there's a set of bollas wrapping around his wrist and pulling him forward.

Frank slaps the gun away from his face with his left hand, and then powers straight into Manny, giving a roar as he does. His right hand comes up, and his arm catches Manny across the chest and throat, clotheslining the Gotham punk neatly and sending him onto his back, driving the breath from Manny's lungs even as Frank lashes out with a combat boot, an almost-casual threat to cave in Manny's nose as he looks over to make sure Babs is alright.

There's the sound of gunfire, but it's an ill-aimed shot that buries itself in the wall of the warehouse. He couldn't keep his focus when Barbara yanked him forward, and he was destined for absolute failure the moment she hooked her leg around his knee and took him to the ground in a practiced move. She stands over him, motocross boot standing firmly on the guy's neck — the threat to crush the windpipe is just as casual as Frank's to break the other guy's nose. Her hood has come off, hair bright in the sodium light. It looks like a bob with the way her jacket collar cinches the hair at her neck.

With the balaclava still in place, she looks up toward Frank through the sharp fall of forelocks. "I guess they never heard about the range of efficacy." While not the Punishette, she has a cop for a dad. She has been to the gun range. She knows the basics.

Manny gets off a shot somewhere in that flurry of action, before his head is snapped over to one side by the application of a size 12 combat boot. Frank watches Babs put a literal boot on the guy's neck, just as Frank stomps on Manny's gun-hand, drawing a yelp and causing the criminal to drop his gun. "Fucking idiots." Drawing his pistol, he points it down at Manny's face, "Don't move." Castle nods to Babs, "And if they were better at bein' assholes, they'd have learned by now not to shove a gun in someone's face unless you're gonna pull the trigger. So what do you do with criminal assholes in Gotham?"

There's no hesitation from Barbara as she puts just enough pressure on the guy's neck to make him gurgle a moment. "Think of it this way, I've saved you from having to learn how to shoot someone if you got a gun in someone's face." Then she glances toward Frank, shifting her foot slightly. She reaches behind her, unzipping the pocket at her lower back so she can tug out a pair of zip-ties. She passes him one. "Secure them and then we will put in a call into GCPD. I know the right ones to call." That is the ones who can't be easily bribed, and are loyal to her dad. It's the only way to guarantee these two end up in lock-up within the next hour.

Frank holsters the pistol again, shifting his weight onto Manny's hand as he reaches out for the zip-tie. Manny whines in pain, and Frank looks down at him with faux innocence. "And when they get out?" He doesn't seem particularly worried that Manny and his buddy are listening in. "What do they get back to doin'?" Even as he asks Barbara those questions, he kneels down and twists the criminal's arms behind his back to zip-tie the man's wrists. Leaning close, he inquires of Manny, "What the hell do you guys do, anyhow?"

Manny struggles a little, but it's mostly pro-forma, and his buddy doesn't even do that. He even offers out his wrists to Barbara to be zip-tied. Granted, he offers them out in front of himself, but maybe he's hoping she'll go a little easy if he doesn't struggle. "Nothin'!" Manny protests, "We don't do nothin'." They're small-time burglers.

Barbara shoots Frank a look at the whine from Manny, and she chides him with the look alone before she secures her own thug. His willingness is noted mentally, perhaps because he's far smarter than Manny is proving to be. She gives the ties a tug, and then meets the eyes of Manny's friend. "Make better friends," she hisses out to him. Then Barbara straightens up with a slow exhale, frowning now at the two. Frank's words are ones she doesn't really enjoy thinking about, and she shifts slightly on her soles.

"Then they will make better life choices, or face the consequences." She leans back from them, and then looks to Frank. "Satisfied?"

Frank shrugs a little helplessly at Barbara's chiding look. He thinks about the question for a long moment, then nods, "Yeah. I can always add them to the list if I hear they've gone back to their old tricks." He stands and nuzzles the toe of one boot up close under Manny's cheek, "Which I'm pretty sure ain't 'nothin'.'" Manny wriggles back from the boot, but Frank doesn't do anything more with it. There's a moment where he eyes Manny's pockets, perhaps considering how his bankroll is getting smaller with no more gang warchests to appropriate, but he collects the man's pistol and turns away, "Don't make me come back." The pistol's magazine and chamber are checked as he heads off, and he murmurs once Barbara catches up, "Hey look, no one's dead."

Barbara lets Frank intimidate them just a bit more before she joins him in turning away. She has her cell phone out, taps some weird combination of touches on the screen, and it opens to a blank screen. She taps in some code, and sends an encoded message to one of her GCPD contacts to come pick up Manny and his friend. Then she is looking to Frank, brows arched slightly. "I'm not sure if you want me to tell you how proud of you I am or not." She smirks slightly before they are heading around the corner, only then does she pull down the balaclava.

Frank arches an eyebrow at the complicated method to use the phone, glancing down to the inside pocket where the burner phone without a passcode sits. He shrugs infinitesimally to himself, and then he chuckles at her comment, "I don't need pats on the head, Red." He safes the pistol, then tucks it into a jacket pocket before zipping the jacket up over his iconography. As they approach the bike, Frank glances around again, checking for anyone watching the vehicle. "So whaddya think? Super-scary island prison that's like a boogieman for criminals? Sounds like something The Big Bad Bat would set up. Even if it didn't exist."

"Need, perhaps not… want? Everyone wants the occasional pat on the head." Barbara smiles lightly toward Frank before she adjusts her hair and draws out the long mane of red so it falls down her back in a smooth collection of waves. She then tucks away the phone in her pocket. She glances to Frank as he zips up the jacket. "I like that." Her words are soft, almost bashful as she looks back down at the bike. "The white skull. It fits." Then she unlocks the duffel, handing it off to Frank, and grabs the spare helmet to also hand off to him. Her own helmet is unsecured and set on the saddle. His commentary draws a frown and she shakes her head. "Batman doesn't operate his own prison. This is something probably government sanctioned." Then she hesitates. "Or maybe SHIELD sanctioned. I could see SHIELD having a big bad prison." She pauses, looking up at his darker eyes with a half-tilt of her head. "Want me to look into it?"

Frank glances down, patting his chest a little, "They want to make me a boogeyman, I'll use it." He takes the duffel and slings it over his shoulders, then takes the helmet and pulls it on, giving it that light bonk with the heel of his hand. "Naw, I figure he puts people in Arkham. I just meant, seems like his M.O. — something criminals are too scared to find out more about. Probably works to keep all but the biggest idiots from doing things that might get them thrown in there." There's a pause as he waits at the back of the bike, frowning slowly below the open visor, "Naw. Let me shake some more trees. We'll know when he goes on trial, then I'll start havin' to take some risks to find out where he is."

"Alright." Barbara sounds a bit reproachful at that, but she doesn't push. She slips onto the saddle, righting the bike so that Frank can easily astride the bike at the back. She kicks back the kickstand and balances the bike between her legs while she gets her own helmet on. She gathers her hair again, tying it back so it doesn't fly about Frank's face. She hesitates, glancing behind her. "Back to the train station, or do you need a place to crash before you head back?"

Frank climbs aboard the motorcycle, straddling the seat and leaning back so that Barbara can get her hair settled. "Hey, if you want to dig around too, I ain't gonna stop you. I'm just sayin', don't get yourself in trouble unless we need it." He considers the question for a moment, then leans in to get a hold on her waist, "Train station I think. Thanks for the offer though." There's a pause, "Hey, you hear back from the derby folks yet?"

Barbara's helmet bobs with the confirmation of where he wants to go. Then she stops, leaning up slightly from her grip on the handlebars. He can't see her smile, but its audible in her words. "Oh, I'm in. I'm now Belle Icose of the Lit Chicks. We have our first bout tomorrow night."

"Of course the Lit Chicks picked you up." He reaches up with one hand to give her a pat on the helmet, "Nice get, Red." Frank's hand goes back to its grip to keep him from falling off the bike whenever she gooses the throttle, "You tell your dad yet? He comin' to the bout?"

The pat to her helmet actually causes a muffled chuckle to build behind the visor of her helmet. What did she say about some people like pats on the head? Then she breathes out a slow exhale, shifting slightly in her saddle. She shakes her head. "Not his thing. He wished me luck, was glad I was finding something to do with my time, but he won't be there." Then she twists the throttle, and they jump out onto the narrow alleyway before she guns them toward the streets that will take them back to the train station.

Frank nods slightly at her response, holding on as she accelerates out of the alley. Inside his helmet, he frowns darkly, his lips moving in silence, 'One batch, two batch, penny and dime.' Stuck inside his own head as they roar through the streets, he's grim and hard when they come to a halt. "That's bullshit, Red. He should be there. There's only so many chances." He swings off the bike, pulling off his helmet and handing it over to her, his gaze dropping down toward his boots.

The bike is parked almost where she had been waiting for him, and she is already taking off his helmet when he starts in on Jim. It catches her off-guard, and she blinks within her own helmet in her lap and her spare being held out without being taken from Frank. Hesitating, she takes the helmet from him, feeling its weight in her hand. The drop of Frank's eyes to his boots causes her frown to deepen. "Frank… it isn't a big deal. He's been there for me other times…"

Tightening his hands into fists, Frank shrugs and looks up again, "It ain't right." He looks up again, his features hard, "A dad should be there for his kids." The hardest things crumble the easiest when they go, and he rubs the heel of his hand across his face, covering his eyes for a moment as he tries to cover those cracks. His features are tight now, rather than hard, shifting here and there as he struggles with the emotions twisting inside him.

Guided by her heart — and Barbara has one of those hearts that will one day be the death of her — the redhead is off her bike with her helmets being set down on the ground beside the bike. She steps to him, reaching out to grasp at his hand with her warm, firm grip. "Frank, look at me." She ducks her head a bit to meet her blue eyes with his. She touches a hand to his cheek, brushing along the shadow of stubble at his skin. "He's always there for me when I need him to be." She bites softly at her lower lip before she relaxes into a small smile. "Besides… I'm not sure I need my dad to be cheering me on while the other team tries to break in the new girl."

Frank's free hand rises up to his face again, night after night of bad sleep and worse awakenings having chipped away at his usual stoicism. He rubs at his eyes, his other hand tightening on her fingers for a moment before he lets it go. "It'd let him know who needs a broken taillight stop." That's just chauvinism, frustrated paternal protective instincts, and oft-hidden snark layering atop one another. Finally, he looks up from his boots to meet her eyes. "I wasn't there for her, Red." After the almost-smirking statement previous, those words are a bare whisper. "All she wanted was for me to read her a story, but I was too tired." They may be out in the middle of the train station parking lot, but he just doesn't seem to care.

Barbara's smile warms gently, and she returns the tightening to her fingers when he squeezes. Then she's up on her toes, arching high to plant a soft kiss to his temple as a way to just convey a bit more her fondness for the broken man. She meets his eyes, hearing the heartache that he carries, and she smiles a bit watery. "You were there for her, Frank… and you have to remember that, too. There were other times." She shakes her head. "Frank, you need to take care of yourself. My heart aches seeing you like this… you look like you haven't had a good night's sleep in…" Months. In fact, Barbara wonders if his last good night sleep was that night he was too tired, the night before Central Park.

Frank dips his head as she rises up on her toes, his lips tightening as he continues to try to get himself under control. In deference to the location, he keeps his voice quiet, but it is tight and sharp, "Except I wasn't there for her." His right hand works at his left elbow, and then his left hand at his right, "I saw her between tours." The concerns, of course, wash off his back, and he shakes his head, "I'm functional." Which is enough, from his tone. He changes the topic quickly enough, "Workin' my way through the book."

Barbara knows better than to argue that line with him. To Frank, he wasn't there. To Barbara, she knows that if Lisa could tell Frank, she'd tell him he was there enough. She takes a step back, accepting with rebuff with just a small compress of her lips. She steps back, slides her hands down into her pockets slowly and feeling her shoulders tighten slightly. The topic of the book lifts her eyes to meet his and she nods slightly. "Good. Do you like it?"

"Mostly. Yeah." Frank considers for a long moment, "There's a lot of talk about whaling. Almost feel like I could do it myself." He seems on slightly firmer ground with the literary critique, "Too many songs and poems for my taste though." There's a pause as he goes from high to low to high again, "The writing's good though. I get Starbuck, and Queequeg." There's a moment's pause, and he shrugs, "What'd you think?"

Barbara lets him go through his own roller coaster, standing back a bit to let him go through the tides. She shifts slightly in her boots, glancing up at his critique. She tilts her head slightly. "The songs and poems were common in writing." Then she slides her hands deeper into her pockets, feeling the interior of the slick liner. "It's good… timeless, I guess. Whaling and songs aside. It isn't my favorite, but I thought it would be a good book for you to start with."

"You aren't even gonna give me Ahab shit?" Frank's humor is pale as all hell, but it's there. Smiling a little tightly, he adds, "I know how it looks from the outside, Red." He pats his zipped-up jacket, "I should get this vest off and find out when the next train back is. Thanks for ridin' herd."

Babs's smile thins a bit, compressed into a tired line. "Why should I? I think you already see the parallels without my help, Frank." Then she shifts slightly on her minimalist soles, looking down slightly. She nods at his farewell. "Yup," she says quietly. Then she looks up. "See you next time, Frank." She turns to grab her helmet, turning it over a couple times in her hands.

"Doesn't look like that from the inside." Frank reaches out to clasp Barbara's upper arm, then turns to head out, "See you next time."

The clasp draws her eyes up briefly, and then she watches him walk away. She sinks down against her bike, balancing the helmet in her lap. Then she shakes her head, pulls on her helmet, and wearily heads back onto the Gotham streets.

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