Surprise!
Roleplaying Log: Surprise!
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

One burning hospital, a mystery illness, several overturned emergency vehicles and a whole tractor trailer of missing patients and guns equals a good time down south.

The Joker gets back at a few people who have deeply crossed him, and he does so with characteristic bombast.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: December 07, 2019
IC Location: Belle Reve Penitentiary, Louisiana
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 10 Dec 2019 02:43
Rating & Warnings: PG (Violence)
Scene Soundtrack: Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus
NPC & GM Credits: Amanda Waller, Killer Croc, Copperhead, and Other NPCs by Ursa; Attacking Crazy Sick Army by Joker
Associated Plots

It is probably the only time someone has pulled a Say Anything on a whole prison.
Especially not Belle Reve.

To the organizer of the impromptu flash mob's own merit, this particular prison is special, despite the ghastly L-shaped building looking something like two dismal bridges of the stripe that trolls are fond of hiding under. More appropriately, it looks like those two depressing bridges decided to skip the marriage, go straight to the honeymoon, and now are stuck together in the sort of awful mid-romantic's accident that would prompt a very embarrassed drive and several inobvious excuses at the local ER. You know the sort of excuse. The one that never fools the nurses.

They know what those helium balloons were for.

Luckily enough, that's what the paramedics are here for! All seventy-someodd of them! Wait, what? That's a lot of paramedics. Just how many helium balloons got lodged in there? And why are all of the paramedics carrying shotguns? Well, that's not fair. Not all of them are carrying shotguns. Some of them are carrying submachine guns. Or baseball bats. Or fire axes. Or assault rifles. I think there was one guy in there who had a genuine samurai sword from the Meiji Restoration era Japan. Those are rare. Or at least that's what the guy said. I mean. You're not going to not let the guy in with the samurai sword, right?

Anyway, there seems to be one very short fellow standing outside of the prison, just out of range of the dogs and the guards and probably in a difficult spot for the snipers. This short guy with the mustache, his whole job is to hold the boombox and make the whole bit work, playing the latest bit by Jessi Jandrey. Or one of those Gotham pop starlets or something. While the entire prison erupts into mayhem.

Because SOMEONE shot a god's honest rocket into the side of the building. Maybe even two. This is granting paramedical access from multiple entry locales. Which, honestly, shouldn't have even been needed, if you were to ask the Joker. They're paramedics, for God's sake. Why isn't there any trust in this world?

A paramedic howls with laughter, as he jumps past a makeshift barricade inside the building, and kicks in a guard's face. I wonder how they bill that procedure on the insurance? Oh well.
I CAME IN LIKE A WRECKING BALL!! >:O


"They're what?"

The words come out of Amanda Waller's mouth, and enough venom to poison Los Angeles comes out with it. As chaos erupts in the prison, the woman shoves herself up onto her feet and then slides her sidearm into its holster as she goes marching towards the command center for her operations.

Already the building is going into lockdown with emergency lights coming on and extra security doors rolling into place, and Waller is sliding her earpiece into place en route.

Her favorite team of the moment is out on assignment, meaning that they're not here. But that doesn't mean that she's without defenses, of course. She's got her ex-mil moving into place, their semi-automatic rifles locked and loaded for action to secure her more sensitive upper floors.

"Get eyes on whoever the hell this is and perforate them until they can strain spaghetti! I don't care how many there are! Take them out."

Her orders create what might be very honestly called a 'target-rich environment', but they're ready to fire upon sight, and shoot to kill.

Meanwhile, in her little cage on the 4th floor, one Harleen Quinzel—once more trying to see if she can make herself pass out from hanging upside down from her cot—finds a very large boom catches her attention. Her eyes, wild and wide, turn to look towards the door. And then she backwards-somersaults herself to a stand and walk towards the bars curiously.


Sitting at her desk in her office at Starrware, Incorporated, the inobvious form of Karen Starr is signing a number of forms that idly make her contemplate that, even if she were capable of doing this at super-speed (She is,) she still wouldn't want to. Postmen have nifty gadgets so that nobody signs anything on paper anymore, like peasants. Why is she doing it?

There is nobody else in the office at this time of day. Occasionally, her secretary will stay behind, but everyone else has left for the time being for meetings or other business- meaning that while the rest of the building is bustling with the activity of Making Things, Karen is alone in her office.

Which is why it's just so -strange- when she starts speaking to nobody.

"Yes, I heard it. Louisiana. Probably Bell Reve, if I'm going to make bets." she states, sliding some papers aside. She looks at them, then, stacked neatly upon her desk. Like criminals.

"No no, it's fine, I'll go."

She sounds so very put-upon.

Karen makes her way calmly to a nearby balcony. Along the way, she's reaching up to the tie around her neck. She idly starts pulling its windsor apart, her fingers delicately undoing the first few buttons of her blouse, to reveal a plaster-white suit underneath.

When the door slides closed, she presses her index finger to a small black pad beneath the handle. In that moment, there is a thrumming hum that lasts for a few seconds and can be heard all throughout the building. Not loud, but pervasive. Easily, and definitively, mistaken for the noise of lights or something similar.

When Power Girl takes off from the balcony, she accelerates to six times the speed of sound in an instant, so as to obscure her starting point. The building's windows shudder slightly, but so do most of the windows on that street. It's a common occurrence in Metropolis.

Up, up, and away is right: The distance between the balcony and space is shorter than the distance between Metropolis and Louisiana. That means that the quickest route between where she is, and where she has to be is a little roundabout.

Power Girl is out of the atmosphere before a minute has passed. Once the void of space surrounds her, and the danger of her colliding with any stray matter has passed, she takes one spare moment to bask in the rays of the sun- spare moment is right, of course- she lingers there for only the length of a second, and yet to her it almost seems an eternity.

Then, she goes superluminal.

She arrives at the prison in a time that is calculable only to people with a stupid amount of time on their hands and scientific calculators at the ready. Instead of coming at it from the sides, there is just a sudden sound of thunder in the air. The Paramedics and other thugs involved in this incident that might just look up will see the blazing streak of an angry blonde upon reentry.

Heading for them. Some might think to run, or brace for impact. Now's the time.


What transpires before Power Girl is possibly one of the larger and more rowdy messes in the history of prisons. It's a little bit of a bizarre situation, because usually, the paramilitaries are for keeping the criminals from breaking out of prison, not keeping them from breaking in. You know, honestly, it's not really that hard to tell who's in charge of the mayhem: The 'Gotham Freight Line - Your Life On The Move' tractor trailer crumpled into one side of Belle Reve has been defaced to read "GOTHAM FRIGHT LINE - YOUR LIFE ON THE MAUL" along with a pastiche of laughing faces across the side in bright purple and green. The paramedics are all, to a certain extent, wearing clown masks or sloppy makeup like so much war paint. You know. It's almost like someone wants you to know what's going on.

So there is absolutely zero chance that the irony of criminals breaking into prison was lost in the moment.

Things transpire relatively quickly in the halls of Belle Reve, and radio reports occur very quickly, peppered and interspersed with gunfire, which may be audible to people with superhuman hearing, or just really good hacking equipment: the people flooding into the facilities are almost to a man failing in mental faculties, and honestly are chewing on bullets like so much Pez candy before going down. That's fact number one, which would, theoretically, make this thing rather easy to contain. Save for the facts that follow.

Fact number two, which may be relevant to people who pay attention to news footage, is that an entire hospital full of ailing patients with very similar behaviors just disappeared a few days ago from Gotham.

Of course, there is fact number three involved as well.

There are quite a few people in the invading group that are quite, quite skilled with demolitions.
Seriously, from the gunfire, the explosions, the mayhem, and the clownface, it's kind of like someone upended the entirety of 4chan on the diminutive little prison. All throughout it all, the world's hardest working man, Mustache Shortstack Boombox, holds his trumpet/boombox high. A an explosion curls from the side of Belle Reve, he weeps a proud, valiant tear, to the soundtrack of powerful dramatic pop music. It's so beautiful.


Among the clown-faced criminal invading forces, one female shape wearing a bat style costume spray-painted purple and green with a finely detailed grin on the helmet is moving unlike the others. Namely in how she isn't picking her targets based on how close she is to them, but instead based on the competence and tactical advantage that they pose. She moves faster than the others she resembles, she evades gunfire pointed at her on her way to the guards. She performs single-hit knockouts when she reaches the ground forces when she gets among them and makes shooting a non-option, and engaging her with melee weapons is not quite as effective as they hope. Whatever line the guards were holding at the front, it's being destroyed.

Meet Batgirl. Something has directed her to make sure the fight goes terribly awry for the uniformed officers.


As hell itself descends on Belle Reve, Waller makes it to her safe room and locks herself inside with a few members of her ops team. She hisses a blasphemy as she watches as the scene unfold on multiple cameras that are still operational.

"Get our team back here. We can pull them in from outside, get behind them."

There's a narrowing of her eyes as she squints at the side of the van. "What the hell is he doing out here?" Another blasphemy escapes, and her thick finger pushes a button, activating the comm systems for her team. Belle Reve's standard guards and inmates will need to fend for themselves, Waller's folk are scrambling according to a different emergency protocol, as they have a different sort of weapon available. The living kind. "Keep them off the fourth floor! And get someone down there to activate the team that's still here. Except Quinn. She stays put!"

For now.

Amanda Waller's thumb taps in agitation against the steel frame of a sea of keys. And buttons. Important buttons.


Terribly awry is a hell of a phrase.

Luckily, the cavalry is burning down from post-atmosphere and decelerating comfortably from ten times the speed of sound to a relatively (relativistically?) safe speed to operate in while such dangerous things as Air Molecules are rather omnipresent.

She moves to encircle the prison- for a moment relying on the guards to, well, guard, in order to take stock of the situation.

She immediately regrets this delay. She doesn't reside in Gotham- so the news story isn't exactly local to her- but she has, as it were, friends in the area. She pays attention. At a distance, because SOMEBODY gets EVEN MORE SCOWL when you just show up in Gotham, but… She pays attention.

There are alarms going off, for sure. Power Girl is not Amanda Waller's favorite person. They've never met, but most people outside of Metropolis are a little on-edge when any of the super-folk not named Kal-El show up, because you never know when they're just going to throw the building into the sun.

For a moment, she considers it. It would be /much/ easier. However, as soon as she "over"hears Waller mention that Quinn is in the building, she reconsiders.

She doesn't need to know what happens to the sun when it uses Harley as fuel.

Instead, she starts running damage control. Flinging herself into the building in order to pacify the former patients before they run face first into gunfire. It helps that she can -catch- the bullets, but she'd rather not have to multi-task quite -that- much.

Clearing out a hallway isn't especially hard- but these mental patients are something she has to guage. She starts at the level just above Normal Thug and hopes that she's able to knock them unconscious.


It has taken Oracle a while to figure out just what has been going on. Batgirl never checked back in after patrol, and ALTHENE had lost track of the young trainee. For a while, she just assumed that Cass had purposefully gone off the grid, and let that sit for as long as she could.

Then, the tracking started. She utilized all resources she could, but it was that little ping on a signal from Cassandra's suit that told her where the girl was. Pieces clicked together, and she hisses something crude under her breath. "ALTHENE, we've found her. Create link."

Barely five seconds later, the warm and maternal voice replies, "Linked."

And then, "Batgirl." The word echoes softly in Cassandra's ear through the earpiece inbedded in the cowl. "You've been offgrid. I'm having ALTHENE run through your diagnostics."

Even while she speaks, the monitors in front of her start scrolling with information on Cassandra's location. Her lips thin. "ALTHENE, I need access to the facility's security system. I need eyes in there."


The ground shudders under the cream-costumed vigilante's feet as another explosion goes off. The scene is developing rapidly, and people are getting hurt. More, really, would be getting hurt, if it weren't for the efforts of Power Girl in one section of the prison. It turns out, mental patients don't take a whole lot of effort to knock out, and people in clown masks go down in the halls like sacks of wet potatoes. It's not really hard, even for Waller's ex-military, to deal with the clowns as they vault into every crack and every crevice, like lice.

Except that they are getting rather far into sections of the facility for a bunch of mental patients. One really wonders why that is.

At least, right until one of the clowns, who thus far have been mostly as oblivious to superheroine punching as they have been to bullets, slips underneath Power Girl's pulled punch, and throws a live acid grenade underneath her for her trouble, seconds from blowing a hole through pretty much everything in the hall. The woman's advanced hearing is going to start to hear the reports filter in from other sections of the facility: Panicked reports from people being rapidly, swiftly sabotaged in the aisles. Not everyone in the group is as crazy as they initially appeared.

However, some are. Batgirl may be in a different section of the facility, but she is clearly on a different level not just geographically, but also physically, than everyone else who is not wearing a tiny red cape here. (And Mustache Boombox outside — he's actually really good too). She could almost be considered a one man army in her own regard, and most of the support she receives is not from psychotics or patients, but people who are very, very dedicated in getting her into the most sensitive areas of Belle Reve, through any means necessary. There is more than one centerpiece to the affair.

However, Waller is kept relatively secured in her safe room, miles away from any of the mayhem that's being sewn below. She is free to control things exactly as far as her thousand miles of fishing line allows her to. From her eye in the sky, she can see everything that's going down, and where the hot spots are where the defense is not quite holding up as expected. She will, in fact, even hear the same lovely telegram that everyone else in the facility hears, as — someone — hijacks the PA, and turns it into a JA. The voice is deadly clear to even the woman who is right now tapping into the prison's systems. A dead giveaway.

Emphasis on the 'dead.'

"Well well well. If it isn't the old blowhard herself all up in her nest," the Joker addresses everyone in the prison in a scintillatingly taunting low. "I hope you all have been enjoying your weekly dose of MAYHEM. I've been having the greatest time, myself. I might not be — SEGREGATED — like some other pistol-toting control freaks I won't name here," he laughs, "but I do so like to be helpful. Such as, just right now, I've found Mama Santa's naughty and nice list, going to all of the good little boys and girls of Belle Reve. But then I noticed that all of the nametags were wrong. So I took out the old Sharpie and — heh, I may have changed a few names, in the process. Once old Saint Nick gets on her sway-backed reindeer, I'm pretty sure SOME of you are going to have an explosive Christmas. I'm just not sure anymore who is going to get the toy train, and who is going to get the spine-mounted killer lump of coal. But I'm sure we'll find out~~"

The Joker titters politely.
"I just love it when I get to open presents early…"


When the Batgirl breaks the line, turning melee weaponry upon unintended targets by manipulating the flow of the fight and directing arms to bash into armored friends, never touching her, delayed enough for the wave behind her to catch up and overtake the uniforms, she presses forward rather than staying. Her surge takes her to a security door, thought to be too far from the action to need immediate attention with forces stretched thin. The two guards stationed there aim weapons and open fire, and lose their target in the muzzle flash and noise. The Batgirl lands from above, reorienting rifles so the butt end is pointed more at chin than at shoulder, cracking jaws, causing uniforms to fall with the unconscious bodies. It won't be pretty for them if they live through the incident. Lifting the keycards, she takes very little time to figure out how to pass when she cannot possibly reach both sliders at once. She throws the cards into the sliders, and pushes her way through the door.

One of the few voices Batgirl recognizes then finds its way into her ear, and that makes her momentarily hesitate. Momentarily. It comes at a bad moment, as more armed and uniformed defenders scramble to meet her, presenting more gunfire. She notices almost too late, and the armor she wears prevents her from being shot down then and there. It still hits, and the impact is considerable, but luckily not enough to stop her. She runs forward rather than sideways, evading again, becoming among them again, and a repeat of the front line incident ensues with fewer uniforms. When they engage her in melee, she starts hitting back, and their armor prevents a number of life-threatening injuries as she knocks the fight out of them.


As the PA crackles to life again, Quinn's head tilts a la confused cocker spaniel. It would look more as such if she hadn't had her rubber bands taken away three weeks ago after trying to snap one into a guard's eye. And then she hears it.

Hears Him.

Her hands drape on her cage bars and her face transforms from confusion to unadulterated glee. The shriek is probably heard a floor above and below. "PUDDIN'!" She bends backwards as she loudly cackles, the sound entirely unhinged. "Yer so screwed," she croons, as though Waller could hear her. Maybe she can.

Of course, in the meantime, Amanda Waller is a little preoccupied, absolutely infuriated that the PA's been commandeered. "GET HIM OFF OF THE SPEAKERS," she bellows to a man who is already frantically trying to do just that. And Quinn, who she sees getting way too excited about the situation, bears the brunt of Waller's mounting frustration and gets shocked off of the bars with a press of a button.

And at least some of her enforcers get to their destination, the fourth floor and the cells with Task Force X's less well-behaved members. "Get moving," one grunts, brandishing a shock stick. "Waller wants eviction notices served immediately."

Copperhead and Killer Croc are the first to emerge, the later angrily lumbering out. "Heh. Guess it's catch as catch can f'r dinner tonight." He looks over his shoulder to his teammate. "C'mon. Let's go." And with that, they're off to join the mix, selfishly obedient.


Cassandra cannot hear her fingers fly over the keyboard, but fly they do. ALTHENE is poking at the defenses of the security system, the AI offering direction to the hacker as she navigates quickly and deftly. She just manages to squeeze in to the camera feeds, and one of her monitor splits into several different screens. "Track Batgirl."

It is another heartbeat before she has eyes on Cassandra, and— "Karen?" The name is murmured, not picked up by the microphone on her headset. She starts to filter out her communication signals until she taps into Karen's, and Oracle's voice echoes now in her ear. "Power Girl?" She hopes she recognizes the voice, because all she offers, "This is Oracle. I have eyes on you."

She also has eyes on a few others, and her jaw sets as familiar villains cycle into view. She's still getting through more of the camera relays, still drawing up feeds as she tries to gain full access to at least this part of an otherwise formidable security system. It takes her just a moment to spot Harley Quinn, and she huffs out a breath, "I hate being right." Because Babs had called it — no way in the whole wide universe would Harley Quinn have left her babies behind. Looks like she's found Momma.


Power Girl is having a hell of a time. Across the facility from anyone important, she is blazing through the hallway as fast as she can- without hurting anyone. The tight quarters make things… Interesting. Power Girl doesn't have trouble with them, but she has to pause between each takedown in order to move on to the next.

She pauses as she hears a familiar voice in her ear. "You're a wonderful voyeur, Oracle, but I need some physical help here. I can't be in four places at once, and I have to sweep the place for explosives. Tell me you've got some -physical- help on the way."

Swooping into the air in the hallway, she starts doing her best to "repair" the damage that had been caused by the explosives. Cutting off ways in and turning the prison from a riot zone into something more resembling a prison. The people inside kept inside, the people outside kept outside. It won't do much with more explosives going off- but it will allow her to change where her attention is… And hopefully there's more help on the way.

—-

"Here comes Johnny Yen again,"
CRASH
"With the liquor and drugs,"
SHOVE
"And the flesh machine—"

Amy hasn't felt this good since the last time she did mushrooms. She got SUPER high at a friend's crash pad, went out to the park, and laid in the grass under the… well, it was Gotham so it's not like she could really see the stars past the light pollution, but she could still pick out a couple. Last Tuesday was great.

Wednesday, though. Wednesday sucked hardcore. She woke up, mouth covered in blood, to find the cops yelling at her. And /then/, after a series of predictable events, she got tazed and dragged to inpatient at some psych ward she's never even /heard/ of. Yeah, Wednesdays are just the worst.

But today is great, because tomorrow she's getting released on her own recognizance which means she can /go the HELL home/, and right now they're throwing her this awesome party.

She slams the Chair Leg of Truth through a television screen and crows with laughter. The clown masks are fucking weird, but whatever. She's adaptable.

It hasn't occurred to Amy, because she is /super drugged/ and doesn't know it, that going-away parties are generally not thrown in 72-hour lockdown facilities, and also they don't usually involve a good riot. She bashes the television's mounting bracket until the whole thing comes off the wall, then moves on.

"Yeah, he's gonna do another striptease—"

——

"Of course, I'd never be so uncivilized so as not to share my own Christmas presence with the small, unwashed orphans of the world," the Joker continues, crooning smoothly into a warbled and crackly mic that does not do well to transmit his voluminous and tender sonnet to the people. Oh, well. We have to use what we can use. "So! I'm going to give someone other than Santa Cruel a chance to deliver some goodwill of their own. Somewhere in this prison, I've also taken the liberty of leaving the cure to —" he starts crackling, as someone begins to horn in on his signal. You hear him clipping in and out.

"NOT FAIR —" krstch krsccchtt ktttsch "technical difficulties" ktstch —
Then the Joker stops wadding up the ball of tinfoil into the mic. "Just kidding!" he crows to every unwilling ear in the facility. "Listen. As much fun as we're having… there comes a time in every child's life when Christmas Eve comes and he has to go to bed. So remember, kids. At the stroke of midnight, Santa Joker takes over. And then I start hitting butt
"

Nope. That time Waller successfully shut him off. That's power you can't buy.


Of course, Power Girl being as she is, she's going to be able to pacify her area quite ably in her own time. Really, she's doing quite a good job in making sure that, supreme hangovers and black eyes aside, there is a surprisingly small amount of real bloodshed on her end of the facility. It does work, to its own extent. Of course. It does some good. Until a single man steps out of the hall ahead of her, having left several others in crushing defeat. A clown. A clown wearing a mask. Not a clown mask. But, an actual ninja mask. Or something. You can almost hear the dramatic horn section as he stares down Power Girl in the aisle, mania and focus reaching a clear balance in his fierce eye. He slowly draws a full length katana from its sheathe as he settles into the ancient stance in the ancient ways, and stares down Karen, his wild green wig sculpted perfectly into the horns of a great and fierce beetle. He stares at her. And in the most dubious Australian accent ever, declares his intent to her.

"Ore wa… Gundam."
Then Ranger Otaku attacks Power Girl, howling. He's not going to be a pushover. You can tell by the size of his energy bar. Or at least, so he mentions before they start to fight.

In Batgirl's (coincidentally Amy's) section of the battle, the riot has merely intensified absent people capable of beating the centerpiece, the proverbial quarterback of Joker's mad run. Her support are doing their level best to not get within line of sight of the woman, because the last few maniacs who did got beat up the same as any of the guards. Instead, they are trying to guide her — via carefully timed munitions — to the main elevators and stairwells that will take up up in levels to level four. In fact, Amy will see several of them run past as she sings, attempting to get charges mounted on an elevator shaft door on a circuitous path ahead before the little hellion shows up and kills them. Or worse. One of them pauses as Amy breaks the TV, staring.
It was a nice TV, okay?
—-

As Oracle's voice stops trying to prod Batgirl, ALTHENE's takes over. The Batgirl hesitates again as she hears things that ALTHENE sends. It's still momentary. The simple musical tones that the AI had been using to condition and direct her during her patrols are recognized, then the moment passes and Batgirl is on the move again. She has a simple directive showing on the HUD, and with the haze of the more chemical influence she obeys that. With elevator doors no longer open following explosive entrance-creation, Batgirl rushes in and begins to ascend with a mix of acrobatic prowess and millisecond perfect timing.

Fourth floor, very secure door. And this is where the Bat Gadgetry comes in handy, for approximately this very situation, albeit not in a maximum plus security prison. A small device is placed on the panel governing the doors' closure, a button is pressed, and the panel conceals electronics that no longer function. The kind that keep the magnetic lockdown in place on the elevator. Then comes the magic trick, as the doors are slid open just enough to allow her through, missed by the camera observer until she passes, then alarm is sounded. More alarm. The fourth floor's occupants, they're much better fighters than the uniforms below, and they take longer to fight. It's like they're fighting a scrawny Batman though.


Fourth floor, Task Force X.
Eventually poor Batgirl - scrawny Batman or not - is going to end up pitted against Killer Croc and Copperhead and someone else - a man who is all at once unknown and forgettable and tossing a throwing knife in his hand menacingly - as they emerge from down one of the halls, the former in particular only picking up speed as he moves to engage. He is playing for keeps as he tries to get his teeth sunk into the agile troublemaker.

"//Secure the floor, or - I swear to God - I'm scrubbing you," hisses Waller to her dispatched hostage-team. "No one crosses me," she snarls next, pushing a button and watches the camera with Quinn squarely in it expectantly.

…Nothing happens.

She pushes it again.

Still nothing.

Of course, it's only nothing because she's watching the wrong window.

Batgirl has the first row seat for when Knife Guy's head explodes and splatters all over the corridor's walls.


Oracle can't promise or even deliver on physical back-up, but the Joker has her focused on something else — bombs. She narrows her eyes, and while ALTHENE is running other processes, the hacker turns her focus to something else. "Alright — alright."

She gets back on the communication link with Karen. "Power Girl, I'm on the game board. Hang tight. Taking care of some explosives." Or at least, that's the plan. What is great about explosive triggers is that there are plenty of ways to track their signals, and so that's what Barbara throws herself at.

"Batgirl, I need you to hold on as long as you can, and see if you can get to Harley Quinn. She's the reason all this is going sideways." She hesitates. "She's blonde, and insane." Helpful descriptions.

For now, Barbara hunts the signal of the jammer, which will help her find the signal attached to the spinal-tapped bombs. And then, she will have a whole new game plan.

Even while she works, ALTHENE chimes that she has access to more of the security system, and so Babs's screens start scrolling with even more information.


Power Girl stands there, fingers placed to her ear for a moment as she makes her way through this hallway at a human pace. Over her communicator, she speaks to Oracle, while pinching the bridge of her nose with the other hand. "I'm so much closer to throwing this place into the sun than I think anyone wants me to admit, and ninety percent of that is whomever is playing that song."

A few more steps, and she comes face to face with someone she's going to call Steve. She's going to call him Steve because that name is neither Japanese, nor cool, nor Australian. "Okay. Listen, I can't guarantee this guy's going to live through this."

What follows is a quick chin jab that Power Girl delivers enough power through to completely arrest the momentum of a normal human being.

It -should- be enough to send the Otaku to Tokyo Dreamland.


It was a very nice TV.

Emphasis on 'was'.

One of the Joker's more with-it henchmen strays too close to Amy—and maybe stares a little too forlornly at the death of a perfectly good seventy-two inch hi-def plasma screen (with Netflix). Amy grins behind her mask and clobbers him, completely missing the whoosh of Batwoman passing her up for a more lucrative target.

It's a good thing, too. Amy's got a great set of claws and fangs and a few street fights under her belt. She wouldn't stand a chance against whoever's wearing Batman's outfit.

"Hey man, where'd you get that LO-TIOOOON—"


Right now, the systems on Belle Reve are subject to the world's nerdiest three-way as multiple subsystems change hands with fast relief. Between Joker trying to hog the PA and Oracle trying to commandeer the bomb signals and Waller trying to shut every door in Belle Reve, there is a lot going on in cyberspace. Things only get worse when it becomes an issue of No More Mister Knife Guy. Oracle might be able to get control over the bombs, but probably not soon enough to save — "Hey," the Joker calls over the PA, after having horned in again. "What was his name again? Slap Chop? Sickles? Ginsu? Something something edge. Wasn't it? Well. Let's all have a moment of silence for poor old Simples. Without him, we won't have anyone to carve the Christmas ham. And that's a damn tragedy. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH—"

Nope, he lost connection again. Damn Waller.

Amy successfully smashes one of the thugs, and this causes a bit of a stir, because really, the maniacs were supposed to be on THEIR side! Of course, the point is that Joker's team were really just facilitators. Open the way. Let the crazies in. Blend in. Move on. This lets the team direct efforts where they're needed most. Obviously. Which is also at least one of the reasons why the new Jokergirl's rampage has been directed with laser like precision towards Harley's floor. Of course. Now we get to see how the sausage gets made. The other thug glances at the unconscious clown on the ground, and frowns at Amy. Then he makes a rude gesture with his thumb and his butt at her. Then — and this is the important part of the artistic process — he throws tear gas. Then he runs. It's going to be an uncomfortable elevator ride up if Amy catches up to him.

Which leaves Otaku's battle against the obvious Creamy Dragon of Belle Reve, which is Power Girl. While his first attack leaves pretty much nothing for wear on the woman, the man's attack was — again, if his audible monologue in bad and invented Japanese is to be believed — a clever ploy to sense Power Girl's true intent. And now he is ready to…

At which point Karen simply punches his head right off.

The sound is deafening, a vicious pop that fills the bones with amazing and ominous bass, before the mild jab just sends the masked man's head tumbling across the room and bouncing against the wall, the force so great from the mild<?> punch that the man keeps running for two steps after Power Girl knocks his head off. Certainly unintended. But then again, whatever works ri—
"All according to keikaku!!!" Otaku Master Steve's head bellows.

That is when Ranger Otaku falls on Karen with a speed and quickness that belies his nerdy exterior, bringing his sword down as his neck trails smoke, a cataclysmic force and power ringing throughout the room as his blade crashes down onto her with full and lethal surprise force—yeah, no, it really does nothing. THat sword just straight up bounces off, likely. Not a thing at all. But the important bit is, Power Girl punched off the head of a guy and he didn't die. And it just seemed to make him more uppity. "Such strength…. I will have to use 'that technique,'" Ranger Otaku decides, trying to hold back his decisive snicker, which is probably a side effect of the Joker toxin.

The fact he can throw his FIST at Power Girl independent of his entire body, like the world's worst shuriken? That's probably not Joker at all.
Now we know why Joker absolutely had to bring him, at least.


It happens suddenly. Her desperate reaching and tugging for threads finally gives her purchase, and she gasps out a surprised, "Got you!" Then she's snaring the signal, and typing out her own code that will snare the signals for herself, stealing it from The Joker and Waller alike. "All mine." For now, at least. She knows she can't control the feeds forever, but it takes a hazard off the board.

Cassandra hasn't responded to her nor ALTHENE, but that doesn't mean silence from her mentor. "Batgirl. If you don't give me some indication that you're still with me, I'm going to resort to some unfair means of contact." Now or later is hard to say. But what is clear, she's going to be talking to Cassandra about communication protocols. To Power Girl's feed, she swaps fast to offer Karen some good news. "Bombs are now in my control. I've also gained access to the rest of the security system. It's temporary, Power Girl. You're going to need to move fast, but I can clear the way for you."


Task Force X gives Batgirl pause. The weird snake motif on the costume of the one isn't really much to her. She's faced a few weird ones in Gotham, paying homage to some of the more frightening things that lurk in Gotham's shadows. The head exploding is a new tactic. She would definitely be broken up about that if she were in her right mind. The giant reptile man, larger than life compared to her tiny frame, that's something new for her. In a correctly functioning state, she might take the ensuing fight carefully, to learn more about her opponents.

Batgirl is far out of her correctly functioning state, and she engages the three that soon become two because exploding head man is not conscious. She's fast, she's a skilled fighter, and she's trained to take down any human she meets in short order with lethal force. Copperhead suffers a kick that connects with his throat, making it hard to breathe, but it's not fatal. Killer Croc has sixteen punches land on him as he dives for the little costumed freak that dares face him. She ends up at his back, having hit a dozen spots that would render a man unable to move for a week.

Killer Croc though, he's a lot less susceptible to what Batgirl does to people, and she does not expect the backhand that sends her hard into a wall, face first. She's down for all of half a second, getting back up as Croc leaps to finish her, rolling away, standing, and then moving in again! It's quite the spectacle as Batgirl adapts to Killer Croc's movements, homing in, dodging him.

Still, no response for Oracle.


Today has been a day. An interesting day, in fact. Karen is stopping a break-IN at a jail. That break-in involves the Joker and a bunch of mental patients that aren't necessarily aware of their surroundings.

Then there's this guy. His head pops -clean- off and PG is momentarily bothered. She -knows- she didn't punch him -that- hard. His blow bounces off of her body- specifically, one -part- of her body, because of -course- it does.

Then the guy throws his hand at her. The words she utters are not suitable for audiences of all ages- and her response is to -swiftly- do her best to "contain" Otaku Steve…

By -throwing- his Shurikhand out of the nearest aperture with maybe a little -too- much strength. If he can see out of it, he might be a danger to someone a mile or two away, but PG isn't really considering that right now. She's angry, and she needs to actually -hit- somebody… Which she can't do to this guy.

The best she can do is make him a Pythonian Black Knight by scattering his seemingly-sentient-limbs several miles from his torso.

Doing so isn't the easiest thing she's ever done, but she charges him to get the job done… The arms are the most important- because once he's missing his hands and arms, she can throw the head into the trashcan and be done with it.


This is what happens when you fly too close to the sun!! Er, stray too close to somebody with a system full of Joker drugs. It's not like it was /personal/.

Not like Goon B just made it.

Amy shrills a laugh and rips her mask off, because it's starting to cramp her style, and barrels after him. She's got a fun idea for a brand new game, and it even still involves that guy's ass but she's going to improvise some New Rules with the Chair Leg of Truth—


"BRING ME JOKER'S HEAD," Waller demands from her safe distance, and soon after the last guard watching Quinn leaves that post in order to lay supporting fire for Batgirl. If she can just get free and past him, she'll find the door behind the crowd hangs haphazardly open, courtesy of the knife-wielding pawn's arm left hanging fortuitously in the doorway.

Killer Croc considers the dead team member on the floor, and then he reaches out to try to snag Batgirl's leg. And if he gets hold of it, she can prepare to go flying into a wall.

Meanwhile, that cracked open door means that Harley's nasally, lovesick voice warbles down the hall and underneath the rounds of gunfire. "HelloooOOOOOoOOOOOOOOOO? Mistah J? YoohooooOOOOOooooo? Is that you, puddin'? I KNEW you'd come fer me!" If she had anything left in her cell, she might try to pry open the door. But she doesn't. So she waits, patiently, with her hands folded gleefully behind her back as she rolls up onto the balls of her feet.

Well, then she pauses to quickly rake her fingers through her hair and straighten her orange jumpsuit. And THEN she goes back to folding her hands gleefully behind her back and rolling up and down on the balls of her feet.

——

Yeah, uh, that guy wants no part of whatever the maniac with the table leg wants to show him. So, um, he's getting up those stairs in pretty fast order. Luckily, he's smart enough not to use the elevator, because … well. Part of that's been blown up, for one. And for two, it would be extremely awkward to be caught in an elevator with one of Joker's Very Special Episode folk. He's got a job to do, and by god — oh lord she's gaining on him. Time to run!

For Power Girl's own measure, Steve is dealt with with extreme prejudice. Which is really a bit of a shame, because he really could have made more use of that guy in the future on his crew. I mean. Can you imagine what that guy could get done around the Hacienda? Ranger Otaku is torn apart in extremely non-gruesome fashion and you could absolutely swear you can hear velcro tearing as Karen does it, with all joking aside. Which really, once the man finishes swearing a blood oath against her, leaves only a trash can lid between her and a set of mysteriously open doors leading upstairs. All along the way are defeated guards, and bleeding maniacs. There is a distinct — a distinct difference between the areas Karen left and the areas that were left more or less to fend for themselves. Generally, walking through an area that has been compromised is like walking through a third world country, with open flames, and people laying on the ground in varying states of death or disrepair. For whatever trouble Karen runs into, the horror really is in what happens when the Joker strikes up a band.

To a grand old party, Harley's voice doesn't really register as very important at all. Well… not exactly, anyway. Because there is one last thing to do before the party is over. And that's meet the Host.

Batgirl receives a little bit of help as Croc crosses in front of an interrogation room, the differences in lighting in the hall interfering in the one-way mirror. Instead of being able to view the room, it's almost entirely dark as the safety lighting flares to either side of the glass. In fact, the glass is almost entirely opaque. In fact, the only thing you can see is the rocket exhaust as it twirls through the air, right towards the glass as Croc reaches for —

The explosion is deafening.

Whatever you thought was happening before, it probably isn't now, as the Joker's personal crew unloads an RPG right into the middle of a tight hall in the midst of a battle. The entire wall that was there before simply isn't anymore. Instead, there's the team, in heavy riot gear, all done up in splotched paint and bright colors to offset the dreary uniforms they wear, along with the ghost-white man standing at the center, eerily tall, and wearing a helmet that's seen at least one or two headshots.

"BELLE REVE CORRUPTIONAL FACILITY," the man's jumpsuit reads.

Breathing a long, lazy breath as he discards the unloaded rocket launcher into the hands of some guy standing next to him, he picks a long, delicate chain back up from his belt. Some of his team are giggling, no doubt from the explosion, but the chain is attached to one of them. "Oh, good, we've made it," the Joker notes. "I do hope we're not late."

He grins.

To the little hellion who's been terrorizing the entire world, he grins, whistling long and low. "What a good girl." He snaps his fingers, pointing into the next room. "Boys. Help her fetch me what's missing in life. I've got a few words I'd like to say." He looks up, and off to one side. A tablet is hanging from his belt. "But first… papa has to attend to some business."


The Batgirl finds herself amidst an explosive, separating her and the reptile man, sending her into the wall for the second time within a few minutes. Combined with the glancing hits that Croc managed to get in because she has never taken on anyone like him before, and it renders her down for the count. A beating she can take and keep going. Too much and she just stops. She puts up no resistance or co-operation to the goons that collect her, like a lightly armoured maniacally grinning doll. The armour that has seen much better days, torn in places but more or less staying in one piece.


Power Girl has -had- it.

Steve was the straw that broke the camel's back. She does not stroll through these joyous halls for very long. Barbara had opened the way, but by now, the prison was ruined. The sheer number of explosions that -had- gone off meant that it wasn't going to be a prison for a while. Not until the holes were patched.

The explosion, the fight against Croc. She'd been listening, and puzzling. It didn't take long for her to hone in on Cassandra's position, and through walls of foot-thick concrete, Power Girl sees that Batgirl is being fetched, and that all the while she's been painted purple and looking altogether not Batgirl-like, to some degree.

What follows next is a series of noises that most criminals wake up to in a cold sweat. The sound of heavy thuds and buckling stone, of walls collapsing in a manner that is not the result of explosions. Calculated in so much as she won't bring the roof of the prison down onto them. To her, this is a cardboard box, that has outlived its usefulness. The riot is dying down. The major players are primarily unconscious. It's time to do what she can to wrap up, and her first stop, tearing through the walls like paper unless they have some -serious- armor to them, will be the goons carrying Batgirl off.

If she has anything to say about it, they won't make it very far before Power Girl tears through a wall to get at them.

Who could plan for an angry Kryptonian?


He'd better hurry up, because the second Amy reaches the foot of the stairs she jams the Chair Leg of Truth into her mouth for safekeeping, serrated teeth crunching casually into the oak, and scrambles after him on all fours. What, it's way faster!

Her laughter chases him all the way up, muffled by the chair leg and distorted by the concrete walls. There's a span of just a few seconds where it seems like he /just might/ make it to the top, and the dubious safety of the Joker—!!

A wet /thud/ echoes from the top of the stairs, and a few moments later Amy Only steps out into the smoke, breathing hard. There's a rim of red smeared around her lips, blood and deep tooth marks on the Chair Leg of Truth, and she's grinning from ear to ear. The whites are visible all the way around her pink irises.


He grins.

The manic eyes of the clown prince with the rictus kiss widen in cattish satisfaction as his men rush in, taking control of the situation with swift aplomb. His latest pet project is gathered up by the shoulders as she abruptly loses all strength to fight back. Probably for the best — these particulars, while top notch for the moment, are not of the sort he'd expect to stand toe to toe or mano e mano against the Dark Knight or any of his pugilist proteges for very long. Even so, the Joker can't help but feel a profound sense of warmth and accomplishment when he thinks about what was achieved here. And yet there's just a little bit more to go.

"Well, it's been a pleasure," the Joker asides, holding up the tablet in ungainly fashion and one hand, swiping the screen on with one black-nailed finger. On it, an app is already open, with a comically big button in the middle. It's literally just the "clown" emoji, smiling happily, and ringed with a lot of Christmas lights. He holds it up, pointing the tablet ominously on an otherwise incapacitated Killer Croc. "But do forgive my trespass, Croc old chap. You know I'd love to set you loose to — bite turds or whatever it is you do down there in the sewers. But, and I can't be too apologetic when I say this, but it's the Christmas season. And it's really all about sending a message to the people in your lives who matter."

The Joker grins ominously.
"Nobody plays with my things but me. Bye-bye."

He hits the button. It flashes, and the Christmas lights come on.
And then it does nothing.

A tense second passes. The Joker hits the button again. The lights on the screen don't even come on this time. His smile growing to encompass that ever angrier, punchier grin that manics are known for, the Joker hits the button on-screen at least four or five more times. Then he hits the tablet, causing the chain he's holding to rattle. Joker is completely oblivious to the rumbling of the walls beneath them while he's messing with this. "Ugh, maybe I— blew out a bulb or something.." he mutters. Damn — must be — urgh.

"Well! That changes things a little!"

At that point, Power Girl bursts through the walls, promptly flattening one or two of his men in the process, in the open room beyond. The Joker licks his lips absently, as an alien bursts in and starts wreaking havoc, and one of his maniacs arrives as well, having apparently eaten one of his gang members, for all appearances. Well. Maybe she ate one of the guards on the way, too. Look on the bright side. The Joker sighs.
"I really hate partycrashers."

As Karen starts the beginning of what is almost assuredly a rampage, she may not be paying enough attention to realize several things. And if she is still connected to Oracle, she is probably extolling the one truth of Gotham. The Joker is not the kind of criminal a lot of the Metropolis dandies seem to think. Karen will be made swiftly — and somewhat inconveniently — aware of this fact, when she may find herself unceremoniously coated from heel-to-nape in fine molten iron slurry. Well. Thermite, to be specific, and a liberal spray of it, jetted with explosive aplomb from the Joker's novelty shotgun. It was almost assuredly meant to melt through a lock or two. But in the end, 4000 degrees worth of molten metal is probably enough to get the woman's attention. At least, for long enough to notice the Joker.

He steps forward, stepping on the tablet with an audible crunch with his boot and wielding the short one-handed double-barreled candy cane shotgun in his off-hand. In his main hand, he carries a long chain. The chain is attached to a pin in a collar. The collar is attached to a very, very sick girl in a wheelchair. She's wearing a mask, but the mask has bright LED lights on it, spelling out INFAMOUS in harsh, uneven and colored letters. It's very Yoko Ono, if Yoko Ono were in her twenties. Unfortunately, the anonymous woman might not make it to her thirties, with the ominous beep that addresses the room when the Joker walks away from her, violently pulling the pin loose.

In a fraction of a second, Karen is going to have many, many more problems. The threat of being covered in highly inconvenient thermite, and the threat of watching what is almost assuredly an innocent bystander get blown to kingdom come. The threat of losing Batgirl, and the threat of even more bloodshed amongst innocents. The world is sick. And the Joker is leaving.
"Our little tete-a-tete," the Joker opines, "will have to wait until next year." He throws the gun and it's remaining charge into the hands of one of his remaining thugs, nodding after the other two with Harley and Batgirl. It's a little impersonal for his taste, but.. "Consider it a New Year's resolution!" he decides on a whim. His men are going to recover what they can, and the Joker is going to trailblaze his own exit, laughing all the way. "HO HO HO," the Joker howls, theatrically. "HA HA HA." Then, really, he just laughs, cackling madly as he steps out into a convenient hole in the floor, making aforementioned exit.
Well. To be fair, it's Karen's entrance.
She did in fact make holes through half the facility trying to get to them.
Damned convenient of her.
Oh, by the way: Tick tock…


More sounds reach Batgirl's ear, but don't make it past and into her awareness. Between the chemical putting her into overdrive and the physical punishment, her body shut down on her. It wasn't just the fight that was taken from her. She's thoroughly unconscious.


All at once, Karen has a number of priorities. She takes a moment to round on the Joker, just as the man peppers her back with Thermite. While getting it to light at all is a chemical wonder when fired from a shotgun, what's altogether marvelous is how little it does.

Power Girl can sunbathe in a more literal fashion. Considering that's about sixty times the heat of Thermite, the shot does exactly what it's intended to. Ignite her back, and get her attention. It also makes her sweat, physically, a little. But that's just because she's used to Metropolis air conditioning.

Karen's eyes narrow, and if she had any more than a couple of seconds to make her decision, she'd probably have made use of those scary laser eyes of hers.

In order to make it safe for her to be near anyone, what Karen has to do at this point has to be done at super speed. She accelerates and decelerates to and from several hundred miles per hour in the space of time it takes her to cross the room- this does little other than move air around, but it proves to be a substantial enough force to fling the thermite off of her back, allowing it to chew through the floor of the room with the exactly appropriate amount of reckless, molten abandon.

When she arrives at the hostage, the Joker is allowed to see that Karen's eyes are flitting from him, to the hostage, and then lingering there for a moment. He doesn't have a whole lot of time to ruminate on it- but it's very clear that she's assessing whether she can let this hostage die.

After that second-long glance is finished, Karen hasn't much time left- but what she has to do doesn't take a long time at all. There's no flashy disarming a bomb. There's no picking a lock or getting the collar off in the nick of time.

Instead, Karen just wraps her hands around the portion in the front where she can see the explosive charges, and she holds them there. When it goes off, the worst that the hostage will feel from any of her senses will be the little -pop- from within Karen's fists.

All the while, there is a more than angry sigh. When done, Power Girl brings one hand up to ear, pressing the fingers in. "Oracle. I need you to play a specific tone over Batgirl's helmet, and then make sure that everything in a straight line from me to her is clear. I don't care how you do it."

——

And just like that, the Joker's gone. Disappeared down a hole, quicker than the rabbit.
This normally wouldn't be a problem, save for the other tasks to which Karen must attend, chief of which being the hostage that Joker's own callous dismissal has condemned to death. It takes a certain person to save a stranger over exacting revenge on the man who has done so much to hurt so many. That sort of choice is one that's plague Batman, time and time again, over whether to protect or avenge the innocent. The choice made is almost the same, every time. It is the choice of a hero.

In the meantime, the clowns have set each other free, beginning to escape, or at least, such is the idea. The time's come for the last present under the tree, as the Joker makes a hasty retreat deep below. "Pfeh, kids these days and their powers," he grouses when he doesn't hear an explosion that was meant to be strong enough to throw Waller's escape room far into the swamp.

"No sense of climactic endings. Really," the Joker thinks aloud, "Geisha Dave should have taught you whippersnaps a thing or two. Oh, well."
He produces an innocuous bag of marbles.

That's about when sections of the floor begin to give way up there on the fourth level, as chains of explosions begin to resonate deep inside the prison. Unlike a certain blonde superheroine, the Joker has no interest in keeping the prison structurally sound, and the results are explosive. Entire rents in the floor are opened up as explosions chew through support pillars below, causing an awful general untidiness. That is, in the form of 'holes, and a lot of them.' This, while not only serving to over Joker's break for freedom in the mayhem, is also allowing several thugs and toughs to escape, though most of the toxin maniac squad has been effectively neutralized.

Except for that one that you could swear ate somebody.
Pretty sure she's still on the loose somewhere.

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