Awake in the Cave II
Roleplaying Log: Awake in the Cave II
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Cassandra awakens in the Batcave for the second time, faced with new faces.

Other Characters Referenced: Batgirl (Barbara), Alfred Pennyworth
IC Date: November 19, 2019
IC Location: The Batcave
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 20 Nov 2019 06:00
Rating & Warnings: Kind of Violent
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

* OOC Time: Tue Nov 19 19:03:32 2019 *

* * *

A new face has been seen in the Batcave recently. Nightwing and Batgirl met her, brought her in so Alfred could treat a high-caliber gunshot injury and its exit wound in her abdomen, and reportedly she showed some severe skill with unarmed fighting during a short-lived demonstration on the training mats in the cave, immediately following said gunshot treatment when she regained consciousness. It was short-lived because consciousness wasn't kept up for long. She seems to have no 'Off' switch in regards to personal injury. Her voice, that's an entirely different matter. She has not uttered a sound that anyone can recall. Whether she can understand anyone is up for debate but her hearing seems to be working fine.

It wasn't long ago that an attempt on Jim Gordon's life by a hired assassin was made. According to Batgirl, the silent one seemed to know the hitman, a top tier killer by name of David Cain, and the girl seems to think (and somehow communicated) that she is Cain's daughter. Batgirl thought she might make a good protoge, gave her the name Cassandra. Reportedly Cassandra interposed herself between Cain's gun and the commissioner without a second thought. Cain hesitated. Cassandra and Batgirl beat him up but he didn't reveal who called the hit.

Tonight, Cassandra is recovering again, unconscious after a recent lunch that Barbara brought her along so she could better get acquainted with things other than fighting. The lunch was interrupted by mayhem, Cassandra got involved and allegedly slammed into a wall by power armor. She's slowly coming to.

* * *

Nothing happens in the Batcave without Batman's knowledge. Some may say that nothing Gotham happens without Batman knowing, but that is something of a stretch. The Batcave, though? That is entirely his domain. He will invite people into it and will allow a select few to 'crash' as the kids call it. Are the kids even calling it that any more?

So the fact that there is a young woman recovering in the Batcave has certainly not escaped his knowledge. Most likely, all the things that Alfred has moved into the space in order to accommodate a gunshot wound and then what may be a severe concussion was moved with his help. Alfred, while a miracle worker, is also not exactly a heavy lifter.

While he has not made himself known, the Bat has been around. Why he has allowed a newcomer into his private space is another matter entirely and one he has not explained to anyone. Much like the paranoid that he is, the computers and vehicles have had rotating locks and passwords that switch at random times only he knows. It's most likely been a pain for all the other Bat Fam to try and look anything up or take a bike or a car.

As Cassandra slowly comes to, Batman is there, fully cowled. He sits in a chair, going over a paper file. Is he watching her? Who knows. Everyone now and again, he says something to someone else in the room. The last thing he has commented on? "We shouldn't discount the fact that the perpetrators truly do not remember what they did."

* * *

The Batcave is, to be sure, the domain of the Bat Himself, but he's not the only one who's ever called it home.

Take, for example, the succession of young men who found themselves, for one reason or another, walking in the Dark Knight's shadow. When other boys their age would've been going to highschool parties, they were in a cave studying evidence. When other boys their age were practicing for sports, they were practicing to fight armed gangs. All sorts of formative moments spent in the dark underneath Wayne Manor.

Among the Batcave's redundant hidden entrances, there's one that's been sealed up for a few years now. It was, once upon a time, the secret passage that led to an adjacent property, owned by the Drake family. Most of them are gone, now, and the grounds an empty lot, but in more carefree times the third Robin would sneak over when he was needed, when he could slip away from his father, his stepmother, his housekeeper.

Then, after tragedy struck, he'd lived in the manor above.

These days, Red Robin wasn't around a lot; he had his own hidden base (well, bases; he took better to certain lessons from Batman than others had, if not necessarily the ones he might've wanted the boys to) closer to the heart of Gotham than its outskirts. He wasn't a sidekick anymore, though Batman did have a way of making everybody else seem like his sidekick anyway. But the Manor was still his other home, and the Batcave was still his other other home.

And thus, there's a second cowled figure, though the younger vigilante's costume has a lot more red and yellow, and the cowl doesn't have any ears on it; he's only just arrived, walking away from the motorcycle (it's his, it's red and yes it has the yellow bird's head in profile logo on it) he's just driven in through the hidden entrance on. Being as he is a keen observer, the Red Knight notices a few differences immediately: There's more medical equipment than usual. There's an extra person in the Cave. So…

"Taking in strays again?" Red Robin wonders, as though he hadn't stuffed an abandoned mall full of them.

* * *

That moment of involuntary stirring, Cassandra has it just as anyone might. Hers is very short. She feigns unconsciousness for long enough to get a listen at the presence of others, feeling for where she might be by the openness of the air, the echoes. The voices she does not recognize. The rest she does. She opens her eyes and stares upward, sits upright, making just enough sound to give away her status, deliberately. The sound is subtle, but it echoes, and she controls its report, because getting up from the medical bed is utterly silent. She is quick to slide her feet into the shoes she was given, fastening them. A momentary glance around for someone who isn't present comes. Cassandra stretches, or rather, she limbers up to let the time of inactivity slide away and be ready again.

The two figures that are present, Cassandra then regards, and approaches without a sound, but moves in full view of the younger. The older she strongly suspects knows exactly where she is. His body shouts control to those who know how to listen, and she does listen. She recognizes, too. The similar fashion choice between the man in control and the woman she has come to know better. He's different. She studies him a while, fascinated by what she sees. There is a hint of caution to her step, that underlying readiness to leap into action and fight in an instant that is common to many who seem to end up in the cave. She doesn't bother hiding it so much as it's just part of her stride, more subtle because it's just part of who she is.

* * *

Those formerly under his training are generally welcomed back into the Cave no matter where else they may be in life. Batman is truly a father who welcomes his kids back after the graduate whenever they wish. However, instead of family dinners and wine tastings, his welcomes involve more patrolling and crime fighting.

Through the cowl, Batman raises an eyebrow to Tim. "You know how I abhor an empty cave," he retorts dryly in his gravelly tones. "Alfred gets lonely when I'm the only one he has to look after." Standing, he closes the folder and tucks it under his arm as he takes Tim in.

A voice intones over the intercom, British and somehow even drier: "Yes, you are famously low maintenance, sir." It seems that is who Batman has been talking to as he has taken this watch over Cassandra.

Ignoring that dig, he looks to Tim. "Is everything okay?" He wasn't expecting him back in the cave and therefore can't help but wonder.

The question, however is put on pause as he notices Cassandra stirring the first time. He knows a feigned unconsciousness when he sees it. He waits, standing right where he is while Cassandra stands and approaches. He doesn't make sudden movements, instead, he stands almost impossibly still. "Good evening," he greets Cassandra. "I see you're feeling well enough to stand."

* * *

Surely it was empty, once. Once upon a time it was just Batman and Alfred, and the Batcave would've seemed positively spartan in comparison to its current state. Now look at it; if it actually did end up empty now, if all the other members of the Batman's found family scattered to the winds, he'd probably go out and adopt a bunch of orphans out of reflex.
ut despite the banter playing out, including the disembodied voice of Alfred Pennyworth over the intercom, the Dark Knight goes and asks a more direct, genuine question. A reminder of a fact that even those who know him best can sometimes forget: That there was, after all, a person under the cape and the cowl and the scary Batman voice.

Is everything okay? he wonders.

"Well, I—" the younger vigilante starts to say, when it becomes abundantly clear that the mystery visitor is, in fact, awake. He turns to look at Cassandra, the featureless white lenses of his cowl fixed on her as she moves… It's not quite like a deer about to startle, exactly. There's something else there, something dangerous. Something that reminds him, on some level, of the terrible sense of peril he felt whenever he was around Shiva, even when she was teaching him. Especially when she was teaching him.

"Er," he says, which is not a good start to a conversation, you're supposed to be better at this, Tim Drake. "Hey."

* * *

The gaze from Cassandra over the large man who falls quiet in his visible body changes from the fascinated study to outward readiness. Her left hand changes from relatively relaxed to a precision striking surface at the middle knuckle. The right foot pivots just enough to allow her to, were she of mind, send a knockout blow at blinding speed too fast for most to follow. The blow does not happen. Feeling well enough, apparently, to take on the man in control. She mirrors the stillness as her attention turns, from Bat to Bird.

Cassandra approaches the Red Robin, offering nothing readable until she is close enough. It's her facial expression that changes first. Shifting from focused to calm. Gentle. She lifts her fist toward Red Robin, not at a punching pace, but more like one might with a handshake. Her head shifts to a slight leaning incline when she does this.

* * *

Tim starts to speak and Batman tilts his head, and then turns back to Cassandra. Something in his posture underlies that the two will talk later. Tim came here for a reason that does not include Cassandra and he will follow up on that.

As Cassandra moves without speaking, Batman observes. Her recoiling back in a fist causes him to reflexively slip a foot behind him to take the impact. However, he doesn't otherwise move or look like he will act on her posture. It is, instead, a counterpoint to her own offering.

While she approaches Robin, Batman straightens. He can read something of her gestures and he looks to Tim to see how he will respond. While he could prompt him, this is something more of a learning moment. Batman tends to be a sink or swim sort of teacher.

* * *

Like most people in the Batman's immediate orbit, Red Robin has spent the past nearly a decade immersed in all sorts of martial arts nonsense, both the wildly esoteric and the almost boringly practical. And yet, still, he's a little bewildered by the moment that passes between Cassandra and the Dark Knight. It was like a little conversation in its own right, told entirely through physicality too subtle and too quick for most people to notice.

It was, he'll piece together later, like something out of an anime, or some old Japanese story about two samurai feeling each other out and coming to a conclusion without even having to fight. Not the sort of thing he ever expected to see in real, actual life, and all things considered his bar for weird is pretty high.

But then she's in front of him, and her behaviour is wildly different. He can see the way that focus eases out of her, the way her posture shifts subtly, as if using the contrast to say 'hey I don't want to throw hands with you'. Which is fair, he didn't come to the 'cave to get beat up. (At least not today: You never know when Batman might decide he needs to quiz you on some obscure martial art by ambushing you with it.)

Behind the unreadable white lenses of his cowl, Tim's dark blue eyes shift from the partially extended fist to the girl's face, and, well.

He moves his own hand with a deliberate slowness, before reaching out to bump knuckles with the mystery girl.

* * *

As Cassandra moves from Red Robin, her hand moves to her abdomen where gunshot had been treated, her other moving to the back where exit wound lay, giving both a quick and firm pat as her face shows a sort of measuredness. Eveluation. A few more pats, a bit of very pointed turning of her hips, slight dismay showing. Her eyes move to Bat again with the slightest hint of what could be seen as apology. Not yet, she conveys. Closing in again upon said Bat, her hand reaches up to touch the logo, her other indicating a height remarkably close to that of Batgirl, and a subtle glance to pan over the entirety of the cave.

* * *

As Cassandra moves and gestures in a language, Batman watches with something like interest. Maybe it is understanding.

He looks to Tim as he fist-bumps the woman who has recently woken up from unconsciousness and can't help but smirk at that. If anything could be a good martial arts gesture of welcome, a fist bump would be it.

After that, he turns his attention back to Cassandra. "Yes, Batgirl brought you here after you were shot. We have seen to your medical needs as best we can. I believe you saved the Commissioner, which is quite a high reference." He pauses. "I take it you do not speak and have been trained under an adept martial artist, to be able to take a bullet for someone else and make it not hit you in any major organs."

* * *

Trained under a highly skilled martial artist, but doesn't speak. Can't speak? Either way, it's… Weird. Again, even by the high threshold of the leader of the Titans.

"Do you speak sign language?" the former Boy Wonder wonders of the mystery girl; it seems apparent that she can understand them, but there's all sorts of reasons why someone might be functionally mute. Of course he knows sign language, you can't get through Batman's terrifying apprenticeship program without learning sign language. Never know when you might need to communicate without being overheard.

Though he was always a bit of an overachiever when it came to those sorts of things.

Although maybe, he thinks to himself, that might not be the right approach, important though the question of communication might be.

"What's your name?" he asks, then. "I'm Red Robin."

* * *

What Cassandra does at both observations, might need interpretation for an observer without some keen deductive skills and experience with her particular instructor. Her hand moves up to hover over her mouth. No speaking, that seems to be accurate. Then the hand closes into a fist. Her face loses all form of expression. The fist snaps out toward the head of Batman. It's not a surprise movement for him, partly because she's not moving fast enough for that to be a factor, but partly because it's also not a new trick. Her teacher used a similar move to get a point across regarding language and violence. A lesson that's hard to really forget. She knows that language. She might not speak another. More impressively, she recognized that he knew the lesson. Just by watching him not move.

* * *

'Do you speak sign language,' Tim asks. And Batman has a half answer. The fact that Tim knows sign language doesn't surprise Batman. Tim was always an overachiever, something he always appreciated.

"Batgirl said she called her Cassandra," Batman replies without even waiting to see if the woman in question will answer his question.

When Cassandra attacks him, Batman brushes the attack off easily. With a perfect countermeasure, he brings a hand up to block the attack and then bring it down to the side. It's almost choreographed, like a dance. At this, the frown turns even more downward. The gesture may have been enough, but then he says softly to the woman in front of him, "I know you."

Yes, she speaks a sign language, but it is a language of violence and not one of communication.

To Tim, he gives a glance, "Yes, Robin, she does speak a sign language, but it is not ASL." He frowns. To Cassandra again, he reaches forward, not in a punch, not in an act of violence. Instead, he reaches out to put a hand on her shoulder. An act, something she will understand. "You are welcome here, Cassandra."

* * *

And there's a downside to not spending a lot of time in the Batcave anymore: You miss the memo on what the mystery girl's name is.

"Why do I know so many Cassandras?" Red Robin wonders quietly, and it's really more of a rhetorical question, asked of himself in exasperation. Sure, it's only two, but two is a lot in this case. It's not an especially common name!

And there they go, fight-communicating. The idea of somebody 'speaking' wholly through body language isn't really the weirdest one, since most people do it without really thinking about it anyway… It's the application that stands out. The way she uses it to keep up with the Batman despite being relatively waifish while he's built like a surprisingly agile tank.

"Okay, well, that's super weird," he declares, of the way the two of them come to an understanding. He'd make a reference, but he's pretty sure neither Batman nor Cassandra would actually get it. Not exactly pop culture connoisseurs, here. "Maybe we could work on it a bit, some hand signals that aren't gonna collapse anybody's trachea." Now, the younger vigilante is joking. Or, half joking, anyway. "'Cassandra' is kind of a mouthful, though, is it okay if I call you 'Cass'?"

* * *

With hand on shoulder, the silent Cassandra actually looks at it, her face showing genuine surprise, and if she hears the question from the Red Robin, she doesn't reply to it. She didn't expect that from the Bat. She expects everything. She's "quiet" for a long moment. Nothing at all seems to play out on her by posture or expression, processing something. The message? She's had it expressed once before, same general location, different bat. She wasn't the bat that was completely in control. It's different again. There are mixed feelings. She has to know something first. Her face twists to a torrent of anger, sorrow, pain, as she recalls training she loathes, mustering what she learned, throwing a deadly blow toward the Bat's throat. It's fast. Distressingly fast. But again, it's nothing new. It's an attack that would be lethal if it lands, but it's telegraphed because it's part of a routine they both learned. It's followed by more, similar attacks of lethality, in the same training sequence. Batman could deflect this all in his sleep, if he slept in fast motion. It's still ridiculously quick.
It's a weird way of asking questions, for certian…

* * *

"You know too many women," Batman tells Tim dryly, also with a smirk, when he says he knows too many Cassandras.

"If she's to work here, yes, we'll have to find a less combative way for her to speak." She gives him a look at calling her communication super weird. While the Bats are not exactly polite, there is something about how they deal with people in their particular set that means something.

The attack that comes straight for his throat is telegraphed enough for him to take her wrist and twist it. Much like her own attack, it is down with enough force to completely toss her to the ground. However, there is no follow through, no attempt to attack her beyond that first jab at his throat. She's testing him, trying to see what he is capable and willing to do and he is showing her.

The hand holds her at the twisted wrist. There is no pressure to break it, no attempt to push her beyond making sure she doesn't attempt to attack him lethally again.

"I don't think that was a retaliation to being called Cass, but we'll have to make sure." After a few moments, he releases her. "Do you mind if we call you Cass?"

* * *

In fairness, he more meant it was weird that both of them were doing it.

Though yeah, that would seem to include Cassandra by herself fight-communicating as being weird.

"You're telling me that?" the vigilante in red and black replies, with as much genuine surprise as amusement, when Batman says he knows too many women. "Now I'm glad Nightwing changed the Bat-computer wallpaper to Justin Bieber." As though he had nothing to do with it, instead of absolutely everything to do with it.

If you leave the two of them alone in the Batcave, you're liable to get some sort of mischief.

"Okay, well… How about we have something to eat instead? I dunno about you, Cass, but whenever I get shot it always makes me hungry afterwards." The worst part is that isn't even untrue. Getting shot at is a natural consequence of the Work, and getting shot is a natural consequence of getting shot at. "How are you on pancakes?"

* * *

Suddenly reoriented on the ground, Cassandra watches Batman not follow through with the move she was expecting. Or rather, thought might have happened. She left him the opportunity to show her, even just enough to stop before it did any actual harm, but he shows her something else instead. Tears are showing, as she relaxes. She picks herself up, watching the Red Robin again as she has learned everything she needs to about the Bat. Right on cue, stomach growls.
Nothing at all seems to come as a response to what she prefers between Cass and Cassandra.

* * *

"You mean, you're glad that you did," Batman tells Tim with a raised eyebrow. As if he didn't know.

While Tim has quite a secure rein on things outside the Batcave, again, the Batcave is his and he knows when people attempt to mess with it.

As Cassandra picks herself up again, Batman takes a cue from the rumbling stomach. "I am sure Alfred has made quite a bit of food upstairs for our growing stomachs. You both should explore what he's cooked."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License