Intel (AKA Vacation)
Roleplaying Log: Intel (AKA Vacation)
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Babs and Frank take a "vacation" to Atlantic City to track one of the traffickers dealing in metahumans.

Other Characters Referenced: The Birds of Prey
IC Date: July 07, 2019
IC Location: Atlantic City, New Jersey
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 10 Jul 2019 05:15
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
NPC & GM Credits: Barbara Gordon and Frank Castle
Associated Plots

It's Atlantic City.

The sun set hours ago, leaving the city to its glitz and glamor that does not quite compare to Las Vegas, but is definitely rivaling Time Square. At the corner of South Iowa Avenue and Boardwalk is a rooftop bar and pool that overlooks the beach, a bus stop, and dozens of people in various states of dress. Speaking of various states of dress, there's a redhead leaning against the banister that overlooks the intersection, dressed in a long sleeve rash-guard, bikini bottoms, and a sarong tied around her waist — all done in white and shades of blue. She has her arms folded on the railing, looking down at the boardwalk. She has an empty cocktail glass in her hand, its cute little umbrella an accent to the general tropical theme of the Blue Parrot bar. She takes an ineffectual slurp from the straw, listening to the sound of air and a couple last droplets of melting ice and rum being drained from the bottom curve of the glass.

What happens in Atlantic City usually comes home with you from Atlantic City. Or what happens at home comes with you to Atlantic City. Frank Castle doesn't do vacation very well. He does 'pleasant drive from investigation spot to killing' very well, but not so much with the vacation. So he's been sitting on the edge of a lounge chair a lot of the time, nursing a now-very-warm whiskey-and-what-was-once-ice and sweating a little in a dark t-shirt and jeans. His attention never stays in one place, but it often comes back to the woman watching the world in the attire that shows off just how much work she puts into her health. Pushing out of his seat, he crosses to the railing, leaning forward alongside her, his shoulder just brushing against hers. "You seem pretty intent, Red. You got a target down there?"

Now she has a Punisher at her side, and the redhead turns her head toward him with a small tug of a smile at her lips. "I told you, you would be wanting that pair of trunks we saw in the gift shop." She gives her head a little toss to keep her hair out of the way, and she looks out across the boardwalk below again. Another bus comes through, and Babs takes interest of the number and route name. Then she's shaking about the ice in the bottom of her cocktail. "You would have at least three to five more girls looking at you. All the ones right now are girls looking for a bad boy and wondering if I'm a goody-two-shoes or not." The playfulness is easy, content. Then she's looking back down at the street.

Frank looks over his shoulder at the teasing, blinking once. His brows furrow, and he looks back to her, "We supposed to be collecting pairs of eyes?" His shoulders roll slightly, and he looks back down to the street below, "Pretty sure I'm gonna lose that one. Same with the goody-two-shoes." He flicks his eyes here and there, his shoulders rolling, and then he adds, "That still a thing after high school? Thought people grew outta that." There might be a little smile behind that last statement. "Whatcha got down there, Red?"

"I don't know, are we?" Barbara's teasing lilt continues even as she keeps her eyes on the street below. She takes another sip from the glass, and now she glances slightly over her shoulder. "You mean good girls liking bad boys?" That's when she turns her chin back to looking at him, and there's something meaningful in that look. After all, what would an onlooker think of the Commissioner's daughter being seen with someone like Pete Castiglione? Then she looks back down at the street. "You remember that tip you gave me? About the building? Spoiler and I staked it out. We got something." She turns casually, leaning back into the bannister with her hip cocked toward him, and she sets the glass down at a side table. Both hands then settle on the bannister while she rests her back against it. "His name is Tyler Milligan. He has a home address in New York City, but has been moving between New York and Gotham over the last few months. He's one of ten guys seen coming in and out of that tenement building you and GAARD identified. One of ten… in a building that houses upwards of sixty people."

Frank smirks faintly, brushing his thumb across his oft-broken nose, "Hey, Pete's not such a bad guy. He's another vet on civvie street, workin' where he can. I mean, he doesn't got the clout to date the Commissioner's daughter, and he can't be seen in public with her, but… you know, he's still a good guy." There's amusement behind the words, although it fades as she continues, and he looks out again, leaning out so he can look beneath them, then back over to her, "Tyler Milligan. Ten guys who come in and go out, fifty people who don't." His fingers drum on the railing, "Five to one's a good guard ratio." There's a pause, and he frowns slightly, "Or I don't know, maybe it's a guy from each family gettin' food and shit for his family." Watching her, he grunts thoughtfully, "So whatcha want to do? Find him, hang him off a railing 'till he tells us what kind of illegal operation is goin' on in there? That's the right way, right?"

"Pete's not a bad guy," Babs agrees with a little lilt to her words. To every outsider, it's easy to see the coy flirting — the way that she bites slightly at her lip while she smiles at him. "Aren't you being seen in public with me right now?" Her blue eyes meet his easily before she pushes off the railing so she can turn back to look at the street below. "He stops through Atlantic City every few weeks. This is his week. He usually arrives late Saturday and stays through late Sunday. So, there's a twenty-four-hour window. He likes to get a lobster roll from Chickie and Pete's." Which just so happens to be downstairs and a bit up Boardwalk. Now she folds her arms together as she leans into the railing. "Did you have other ideas?"

"Yeah, in a town where nobody knows either of us." Frank chuckles briefly, leaning back against her shoulder for a moment before he looks down toward the street again, searching for the restaurant, "Pretty low risk move, Red." Beat pause. "Good idea." His gravelly amusement is clear, "You got your ways, I got my ways. Mine are a little quieter, I think. Don't need a long drop. By they're also messier." He shrugs a little helplessly, and he feels a little bashful all of a sudden, expecting the judgment that comes with how little he cares about making that mess, "If he's tied into something nasty, I mean." There's a pause, then he adds, "That's some good work though. Have I met, uh, what's his name? Spoiler?"

Barbara's shoulder rests gently against his, and she turns her head toward him in what looks like a moment of intimacy — bold intimacy where Frank turns bashful. She tilts her head a bit. "Pretty sure that dangling Milligan off a public building is going to get me all the wrong press. Besides, Dad knows I'm in Atlantic City this weekend — maybe we can avoid having Batgirl here, too." So, she presses a kiss to the ball of his shoulder. She spares him judgement. It's a compromise. Before, Frank would have gotten the info, then killed them. She shakes her head slightly. "She. Don't think so. I've been showing her the vigilante ropes."

To be fair, if the guy wasn't a true scumbag, Frank would have just 'mildly' tortured him and then left him somewhere to be found. Probably. He starts to look down toward the street, then snaps his eyes back to Barbara when she puts in the details on Spoiler, his eyes widening slightly before he shakes his head in amusement, "You franchising or something, Red? How many Capes does Gotham need?" She kissed the ball of his shoulder, he shifts his weight to slip his arm around her waist, draping easily across the rash-guard as they lean on the railing. "So your dad knows you're in Atlantic City, you hope he doesn't know you're spending some time with your boyfriend there, and we're gonna have to do this somewhere between your way and my way, because we don't know if he's even an asshole."Shifting his weight a little so he can scrape at his jawline with his thumbnail, Frank nods, "I can handle that."

At the accusation, Barbara softly laughs the words, "No. But I helped her out when I came back to Gotham, and she needs support. I could have left her to do this on her own, or I could at least make sure she does it smart." Then he's wrapping his arm around her waist and she slinks forward a couple steps so that when she pivots, she's neatly caught between him and the railing. An ocean breeze kicks up, ruffling up their hair, and giving Frank maybe some relief from the sweat. "Frank, he's a detective… and we both know that Jake told him that we were at the diner together. Pretty sure he knows I'm here with some guy named Pete, but he's playing it cool because I'm closer to thirty than twenty and he's trying to respect my boundaries." She hesitates. "For now." She glances slightly over her shoulder. "So. Rooftop?"

Frank straightens up as Barbara slips between him and the railing, his arm following the motion so that it stays wrapped about her waist. He lets out a breath at the breeze playing over the dark stain between his shoulder-blades, and reaches up with his newly freed hand to corral her hair and curl it behind her ear. "And you're gonna keep her way away from me until you got her fully indoctrinated," yes, Frank knows that five-dollar word—he knows what the military does to recruits, "in the Gotham way?" He glances up to the nearest rooftop, then back to her, shaking his head, "I was thinkin' service tunnels under one'a these hotels. Lots of nice quiet rooms there. You can do your scary lurking in the shadows stuff, and if that doesn't work, I can play worse cop." He shifts his weight between between spread boots, his brows knotting again, "I hope he's real cool then. I don't wanna have to duck him. I respect what the guy does. And he raised a pretty awesome daughter."

"You really should have gotten those swim trunks," Babs reminds him again with a quirk of a smile. Then she hooks her thumbs lazily in his belt loops, head tilting to one side as he corrals her red hair and tucks it aside. She snorts slightly at the idea of keeping Spoiler from Frank, and she shakes her head. "No. I've not introduced you to all the Bats and Gotham Knights." Now he's offering an alternative, and she starts to nod. "Alright. Service tunnels. Means we got to grab and secure him and take him there." Her lips twitch. "Think you can punch him out, or should I use a tranquilizer?" Low tech vs. high tech. But, this takes a bit of a backseat as her smile sobers a bit. "I promise… I'll bring you home one day." Though she looks down a bit, because she just doesn't know when that will ever be.

"You just want to see me with a fruit juice brand on my ass." The Tropicana is not associated with the fruit juice company. Probably. As she curls her fingers into his belt-looks, Frank smiles for a moment longer, drawing her hair down her back and then loosing it to the wind, "I'm okay with that." Says the man who knows that the real him is definitely the adult version of a bad boy. And not necessarily in the good, hot way. But there's also an undercurrent of disappointment there — he can't be introduced to everyone in her life. Including her father. "Don't promise that, Red." Weariness filters into his voice, and he glances aside for a moment, checking about the rooftop before he looks back to her, "Don't make promises you don't know if you can keep." He draws in a breath, and settles back into easier topics, "You can go with the tranq. I was just gonna find him somewhere quiet, drag him into an alley and choke him out."

Her fingers slip away from his beltloops, settling against his chest before one draws into a loose fist. She bumps the closed-up blade of her hand gently against his sternum, a quiet display of frustration; she looks away. "I know." Then she looks up at him, repeating a bit more louder and with a hint of disappointment, "I know." She takes in a breath and slips into the other topic — the topic that bothers them both less — beating people up. She tucks a bit of hair behind her ear, looking back up at him. "Tranq him, drag him somewhere quiet, and you can choke him out for good measure. Fair compromise?" She offers him a twitch of a smile.

Frank's smirk is a little sardonic, "I'm a big boy, Babs." But that's all he's going to say as the topic shifts more squarely to violence. "I don't need to double up your work." There's a momentary pause, and then he repeats, "I'm a big boy. I don't need to have a part in everything. Sometimes you run point, sometimes you walk trail. I'll have your back." His hands reach up to stroke along her spine, "I'll even let you take the lead on the interrogation. I'll just hang back and let you do what you do, Red." There's a pause, and he grins momentarily before he leans his brow against hers, "Besides, then I don't have to buy a mask, since I'm sure you brought one."

"I know you are," Babs says quietly, lifting her eyes up to meet his as she tilts back her chin. She smiles up at him quietly as his hands slip up her spine, and she shifts slightly against him and the railing. Her fingers trace the space above his heart, and then she offers his chest another light thump of her first. "I never doubt that you have my back, Frank." Then his forehead is dropping to hers, and she takes a breath to take in his scent — sweat, his usual musk, and the slightest smell of gun oil. "Kiss for good luck?" Her lips twitch with a little smile.

She thumps on his chest again, however lightly, and Frank reaches up to rub at it, "I might not if you keep hitting me," he teases. But at her request, he brushes his nose against hers, urging her lips up so that he can fulfill it. One hand curls around hers at his chest, and the other comes up to her jawline, letting him connect with her, say things that won't trip off his tongue, but come through the play of their lips. He lingers long and close, then straightens up, "I only brought one pistol and my knife. Should I go get more?"

"Wuss," is all she manages to get in before she tips her lips to meet his. The depths of that kiss warm her, excite her, and soothe her to the point where she's comfortably nestled with him there on that rooftop bar. Her fingers are curled into his shirt, and she's got one foot popped up on the ball of her foot. It's a pretty classic pose. Her nose brushes across his as the kiss ends, and she smiles up at him with those content, warm blue eyes. "No. That should be enough to be scary."

Down below, another bus pulls through, and Babs casts her eyes down to watch people disembark. That's when she gives Frank's shirt a little tug as a man in a leather jacket with a duffle bag slung over his shoulder; he has dark hair and a heavy beard. Babs nods to him. "Meet Tyler Milligan." She looks to Frank. "Should we go say hi?"

Frank opens his eyes to meet her gaze, and it leaves a longer-lived smile on his lips, something that doesn't just fade away into craggy neutrality. "I meant more in case he's packing, Red," he teases. "You think I need anythin' to be scary?" When she looks down at the bus, he studies her for a moment longer, then looks down. "Milligan, you look like shit. Beard never looks good on anyone." Says the man who wore a beard for at least half a year. Loosing her hand and dropping his other hand to her hip, he leans over the railing to get a better look at Tyler. "Yeah. You gonna get changed? Or just kick his ass like that to add insult to injury?"

Babs can't help giving Frank an arched look at the beard comment. "Uh huh." She narrows her eyes. "Who was sporting a hipster beard for a few months way back when?" Then she leans back a bit to let him look at Tyler, and only then does she turn a quick peck to his cheek. "You follow him. I'll go change and ALTHENE can give me your location." She nudges him back a bit so she can slip out of his arms. She flashes him a look over her shoulder before she saunters along to the bar exit, and to pick up the backpack she left there with the coat check.

"Dunno. Must be some asshole." Frank pats her hip as she kisses his cheek, and he nods, "Yeah, I got my phone." He murmurs softly, "Get my metal? They're in my old boots in the bottom of my bag." Not that he was planning to wear the old boots, but they make a great transport for weapons, places that most people aren't going to look. Turning in place, he lets her step away and watches her walk away for a moment, but then the smile falls off his face like a dropped mask, a furrow gathering between his eyes as he pushes off the railing and turns toward the stairs. Time to go find the asshole and trail him until Babs catches up. It's not something Frank has experience with, not in a tourist trap like Atlantic City, so he kind of lurks as far away as he can get and still see Tyler.

Babs was pretty serious about not having Batgirl show her face in Atlantic City. So, she chooses the clothes she wears when she's going as Red — it's not that dissimilar to her suit. Black leather, paramilitary pants, laced-up combat boots. It's the half-balaclava and tightly braided red hair that helps mask her, and allows her to keep the mask off until the last minute. She is definitely not dressed for Atlantic City — moreso than Frank — so she keeps to the rooftops. Frank's phone buzzes, and a text in his secure vOS comes through from Red: 'Above you. About to tranq. He'll be out in 15 seconds. Drunk friend?'

She waits for a reply.

Frank has just turned away from Tyler for the fourth time, and feeling the conspicuous absence of the knife at his back. Stupid casino security. His phone buzzes, and he checks it, thumbing it open and typing in a second passcode. His brows furrow for a moment, then first he looks up at the giant skylights above — then nods his understanding. Right. Drunk friend. He nods sharply, then types a quick response, 'Yeah. He's on the move. I'm his new best buddy.' He hits Send, and then tucks the phone away, waiting another two, three, four seconds as Tyler starts toward the door, and then follows after. Pressing his hands together, he works his fingers, loosening them — just in case.

'It's so cute that you just looked up. Come on, Frank. Do I need to give you lessons in covert ops?'

The text hits his phone, but he might not actually get to see it, because there's a little whoosh sound, and Tyler abruptly staggers, swatting at his neck like he got bitten by a bug. He starts to stagger a bit, blinking blearily as the tranquilizer starts working. He shakes his head groggily, and then slurs something like, "What the fu—?"

Frank's phone chimes again, but he doesn't notice, because Tyler is staggering, and Frank takes two more quick steps, ducking forward to drape one of Tyler's arm's around his shoulders, "Hey, man… you don't look so good." His other hand flicks up to snag out the dart and stab it carefully — sideways — into the back of his belt where it can't poke anyone again. "Let's get you outta here." His left hand settles at the back of Tyler's neck, his right up with Tyler's right on his shoulder. "You look like you've had about three too many, man." He works to walk Tyler out of the entry, turning him left toward the sidewalk in front of the casino — and then the alley beyond. He's actually done the drunk-walk with some of his buddies before, which makes it easier to fake.

There's a sound of a shadow landing beside Frank once he's in the alley, and that redhead in the half-balaclava mask flashes him a smile that is just seen at the curve of her cheeks and corners of her eyes. Then she is helping with Tyler, scooping her arm under his other shoulder, and glancing behind them briefly. Then she lets Frank lead the way, because now Tyler has become limp under the influence of the tranquilizer. "Know the problem with my plan? It's going to take him at least thirty minutes to come-to."

Frank looks up, even as he stops guiding Tyler and starts carrying him. Fwump, there's the descending vigilante making her superhero landing. He hoists Tyler up so that Babs can get under him too, and they start down the alley, coming up in front of a back door to the casino next door. "So what are we gonna do for thirty minutes, Red?" There's a little teasing in his voice, but it fades quickly. "You wanna do the door, or should I just kick it in?" He pauses, then chuckles dryly, "I'm pretty sure I'm just the mule on this one, ain't I?"

"Please tell me that was not you trying to flirt while we're carrying an unconscious body into the service tunnels." Babs has to smile all the same, even if there's a slight crookedness to how it rounds up her cheeks. Then she offers a shake of her head before she tugs out a lockpick kit from her thigh-strapped utility bag. She drops into a low squat as she starts to work at the door. "Atlantic City never took their security seriously — that's why it became the new hot spot for organized crime after things tightened up in Vegas." As she talks, she gets the lock clicked open, and it opens up into a little room that has doors leading off it to the service tunnels.

Frank waits for her to get the door, then starts hauling Tyler into the service tunnels, waiting for Babs once they're inside. When they're both lifting the poor guy again, he digs out the dart from the back of his belt, "Oh yeah, I got this for ya." He waits for her to tuck it away, then starts down the corridors again, stopping to check the doors on his side. "I don't think we're gonna actually have sex while we're waitin' for him. That'd be stupid as shit." He pauses a moment, considering, "Good use of time, but stupid." The first door that opens has boxed dry goods, and he shakes his head, "They'll be coming in there." Three more and he finds a dusty room with extra tables and tablecloths. "This one. And really? Vegas tightened up too much for the Mob? I thought Vegas was the Mob."

Babs pinches the dart between her gloved fingers before its tucked back into her black thigh bag. She looks up toward Frank once she settles her arm under Tyler as they start down the tunnels. At his considering words, she snorts a breath. "Good to know neither of us think that's a good idea." She darts him an amused look before she follows his lead around the tunnels until they find that room with the tables. She glances around it, and then nods. "If only you had zipties." She's teasing him again before she carries Tyler into the room, kicking the door closed. She lets Frank take the man's weight again before she sees to blockading the door with a table. "Smaller Mobs were either getting absorbed or beaten out," she explains. "Dad talked a lot about it, because some of those throwaways ended up in Chicago."

"Look," Frank's voice has a grin behind it again, even if his face is mostly composed, "I got self-control when I need it. You got self-control when you need it." And not so much when they don't. When she laments the lack of zip-ties, he snorts and looks over to her, "You mean you didn't get 'em? They were under the boots, in the inside pocket." He drapes Tyler over a box of tablecloths, then shrugs a little, digging out a small roll of duct tape, "I'll just tape him, unless you got the right shit." He looks around, then just shrugs and drags the mook over to the stack of tables, dragging the guy's arms up high and getting ready to tape him to the table. "So you block off the little mobs, and they go scattering other places, become big mobs. That's what happens when you don't get all the cockroaches."

"Self-control, huh?" Each teasing note is met by her own. Then she is stepping back as Frank hauls their new friend around, and she keeps out of the way. The snort and glance her way is met with a tip of her chin. "You said metal, Frank." Frank goes for the duct tape — ah, the memories. She leans into the wall, arms crossing at her chest. "I get it. The Punisher solution would fix the world's problems." She works her jaw a bit, but says nothing else while Frank secures Tyler. Her eyes flicker to him briefly.

"And you didn't dig into my luggage?" He snorts amusement as he duct tapes poor Tyler's wrists together, and then to the table. After he's done there, he comes around the front, "I don't know if I'm disappointed or flattered." Tyler's feet get strapped up too, and then duct-taped to the floor. He beckons to Babs, "And you got my weapons, because you're the best." Her biting words, however, cause him to shrug a little helplessly, "Not all the problems. Clearly. Or I wouldn't have changed my solution."

"Your underwear is in there." Barbara sinks her shoulders heavily into the wall as she watches him, and her head tilts slightly to one side. Then she pushes off the wall, and she steps toward him at his beckoning. She goes into her bag as she approaches, taking out the weapons and the magazines, and the four are dropped into his hands. "Yeah." She looks at Tyler, and she tries to make a decision — does Tyler fit in Frank's solution? She rubs slightly at her lower back as she shifts her stance a bit.

"No shit. No guy's gonna go diggin' through another guy's underwear if they can avoid it." Frank straps the knife onto the back of his belt, then holsters the pistol at his hip, loads it, and tucks the reload into his pocket. He reaches out to grab her hand, to draw her over to a wall out of Tyler's line of sight where they can lean side-by-side. He can see her consideration, and he shrugs, "I don't know what he's done. He's just an asshole, not a shitbird, as far as I know." That probably means light torture, then the police. Depending on what he talks about. "He's actually in on human trafficking? He can fuck off and die. He's just a goon or a slumlord? Eh."

He takes her hand, and she lets him pull her along to the wall where she takes up a lean, watching Tyler from their vantage in the half-light of the room. She tugs down the balaclava, revealing her face. She flickers a glance up to him. "I don't know. Spoiler and I couldn't confirm if it was trafficking, but the signs point to it — bars on the windows, no way to visually spot anyone." Then she looks over to him. "If he's in on it, he can tell us about the operation — who are they trafficking, and why." She crosses her arms lightly at her chest.

Frank looks over to Babs as she pulls down the facemask, nodding slowly, "So he's just an asshole. Got it." He shrugs his broad shoulders a little, "He'll talk. Whatever he's doing down there, he'll talk." He doesn't brandish the knife, just speaks with quiet confidence. There are two experienced interrogators here. Just waiting for Tyler to wake up. "I liked the pool better. This is doin' more. Doin' somethin' good. But the pool's nicer." Frank shifts so that his shoulder presses against hers, but his eyes keep moving around the room rather than looking at her, and he rubs at his knuckles, massaging their ache.

Babs turns her head toward him as he presses his shoulder against hers; her head doesn't lift from the wall, so this gives her a relaxed angle whens he looks up at him. He speaks of the pool, and she smiles a bit. "Bet we could find some swim trunks that aren't trying to advertise fruit punch." The mischief in her voice is hard to misplace. "And we can lounge around the pool before we head back. Or is that being a bit too 'on vacation' for you, Frank Castle?" She waits for him to look back to her before she smiles.

"You know me. I don't like doin' nothin'." Frank grunts a little sourly. "Even if the tranq's cleaner than draggin' him into an alley and chokin' him out." He finally checks his phone, remembering the message, and snorts again, amused this time, "I was tryin' to figure out how you spotted him. And why you didn't think I knew he was comin' out in 15 seconds. And no, I haven't done a whole lot of Mission Impossible shit." His amusement sobers some, "They didn't usually need us to snag people and bring 'em back. Unless they had intel." He looks back down at his hands, pressing his knuckles into the opposite palm, then releasing them again, "I might swim. But just lounging around sounds like it'd drive me crazy. Even if I'm watchin' you."

There's something there — something that Babs would ask about, nudge around, turn her detective senses on. But she lets it go. Whatever baggage Frank is carrying around from his time in Afghanistan has nothing to do with right now. So, she just takes one of his hands, drawing it close to her to work at the knuckles that are bothering him. "Then we can head back tomorrow morning." She looks up at him. "Got the hotel room for ton — "

Then Tyler groans. He's waking up ahead of schedule. Babs squeezes Frank's hand and then releases it to tug up the half-balaclava back into place. She glances aside to him once, and then nods. Tyler's head rolls a couple times between his arms, and then he blinks in surprise, body jolting as it realizes it is somewhere it is not supposed to be.

Frank nods slightly, giving up his hand quite willingly, his eyes half-lidding — until they snap all the way open again as Tyler groans. He frowns in confusion, then shrugs a little helplessly. Less waiting around time. He returns the squeeze, then moves over behind the table Tyler is taped down to, where he's invisible to the possible human trafficker. Frank tears off another piece of tape, long enough to cover his mouth and then some, and sticks it neatly on the edge of the table, well within his reach from behind the table or Barbara's from in front of it. The tearing noise from somewhere Tyler can't see probably doesn't help much.

Tyler jerks around again, in fact, twisting and trying to turn his head to see what's behind him. "What the hell? You got any idea who I am? This is a stupid-ass decision. But it'll all be fine if you let me go and walk away." He clearly thinks he's a tough guy.

At Frank's helpless shrug, Red returns the same. There's an explanation there — perhaps it didn't get all the way through the dermis, maybe Frank pulled it out too soon, or maybe there's something about Tyler that neither have figured out yet. That's something to worry about later, because right now, Babs is too centered on what comes next. She casts a glance toward Frank at the threat, and then back to Tyler. "You would be the one to recognize a stupid decision, wouldn't you, Tyler?" She steps forward, letting the light catch her black attire and the strangely darker red hair. Frank is supposed to be the worst cop, but that means Babs is still the bad cop.

So she gets within range and slugs Tyler across the face with a snap of gloved knuckles. Sets the tone.

Frank rolls his eyes at Tyler's threat, lifting up the hand without the duct tape in it and making talk-talking gestures. Tyler's head snaps over, tugging at the duct-tape holding his arms to the table. Frank watches the tug at the binding, shaking his head, but there's a little more wariness to that look. Tyler works his tongue around his mouth, and then spits on the floor, a little blood mixed with the saliva from the new cut inside his lip. "Yeah. I've seen plenty of them. Usually some idiot's second-to-last mistake. Their last is always that they stop running. So you got this one chance, wannabe-ninja-lady. Let me go and walk away." There's a little less assurance behind the words, but they're still strong, forceful.

Red takes a step back, only to drop into a low squat. She casts a glance over her shoulder toward Frank, forelocks sweeping across her brow in the motion. Then she looks back up to Tyler. "You might want to take a closer look at my friend here, Ty. He's lacking his vest, but if you use your imagination, you can see the skull spray painted on his chest. So, here's the deal — you answer this ninja-lady's questions, or you can answer his." Her blue eyes stare seriously over the edge of her half-faced balaclava. Masks do strange things to people, sink them into different shadows. Red's shadow isn't one that Babs visits often.

When he's called out, Frank frowns slightly, but nods and comes around the side of the tilted-over table, the neat round target centered on Tyler Milligan. "Hi." The hand he waves slightly is full of Ka-Bar.

Tyler blinks and frowns, surprised and confused. "No way, the Punisher doesn't work Gotham. That was just a rumor. No way the Bats let you get away with killin' people like that."

Frank actually looks amused for a moment, flipping the knife about to hold it in a reverse grip, then forward again, "We in Gotham, shithead?" He doesn't wait for a response, instead adding in, "Like she said, you can talk to her, or I can ask you some pointed questions." As he walks back behind the table again, he pats Tyler's shoulder, probably a little harder than he needs to.

Tyler looks over his shoulder as best as he can, then focuses in on Red, "Your funeral, ninja-lady. You want to get involved, you're gonna end up floating in Gotham Harbor." He works his jaw where she punched him just a moment ago, his eyes considering on the expressionless mask of the balaclava.

Frank, on the other hand, is watching Barbara's eyes, and his own narrow as he does, his weight shifting on his booted feet.

That might have been a stupid decision — letting Tyler recognize Frank. But, the mook's response does have her rolling her eyes slightly as he goes down his denial list. Then she shakes her head, settling her gaze on him again while she stays in her casual squat. "What's really nice about this deal, Tyler, is if you don't want the Punisher showing up in Gotham, you get to answer my questions. It's like a two-fer: he doesn't stab you and he doesn't get involved in Gotham." So many fibs in those words. She then shifts slightly on her combat boots' soles. "You cleared out of the tenement building in Gotham. Nothing left except for the disgusting mattresses, the chains on the walls, the bars on the windows. You had people in there, Tyler. You're going to tell me why, where they are, and what operation you're running. You give me a couple names to follow-up on, bonus points."

"You want info on that?" Tyler shakes his head, pushing back against the table a little as she shifts in her crouch, the table scooting across the floor a couple of inches until Frank puts a combat boot's toe behind it. Tyler's words come quick, "Nobody wants the Punisher in Gotham. Or anybody working with him. At least the Bats give you a second chance. But you already know more than you should about that place." There's an odd emphasis to the word 'that,' maybe suggesting more than one place she could know about. "I'm not ratting out anybody else. Haven't you heard that snitches get stitches, ninja-lady? You must be new to Gotham." There's a pause, and then he hastens to assure himself, "And I'm no rat."

Frank drives the point of his knife into the back of the table, not hard enough to puncture the wood, but definitely hard enough for Tyler to feel it. "I'm getting bored here." He's not. He's watching Babs very closely indeed. "And like you said, the Bats give you chances. Maybe I should move down to Gotham, set up there. Imagine how many chances they'd give me. How many of your buddies I could put in the Harbor between chances." Not that he would put them in the Harbor on purpose, that's just nasty. Also suggests your ashamed of what you did. Also, he may have just linked himself a little too closely to the supervillains of Gotham. That probably wasn't intentional.

Babs narrows her eyes at the thug. "At this point, rats are going to get stitches. Tell me what I need to know, Tyler. Who are you trafficking? Where are they coming from? And, where are they going?" She drops her chin just a bit, blue eyes bright and narrowed over the edge of her balaclava. Her eyes flicker up to Frank where he threatens with the knife, and then back to Tyler. "This is me giving you a second chance, Tyler. Answer my questions. I'm not going to ask a third time."

Tyler's head rocks forward with the thump of the knife, his eyes widening as he looks between the darkness behind the table and the vigilante in front of him. "Look, it's not me. I'm just muscle. I start rolling over on my bosses, I never work again. You've gotta give me something." He doesn't have much hope for that, because he doesn't wait more than a moment or two, tugging at the duct tape bindings. They start to loosen, just a little, although it's hard to tell with the usual sounds of straining duct tape, especially when he's continuing to talk, "I'll talk, I'll tell you what you want to know. Like I said, I'm just muscle. I don't know where they're going," his eyes flick up and left, inventing false information rather than relaying facts, "they don't tell me anything. But they moved the whole collection. Something about problems in Jersey City made it hard to move more in."

The mention of Jersey City has Red flickering her gaze up toward Frank briefly before she's back to centering her focus on Tyler. "You want something? A one-way train ticket to Metropolis. Start a new life there. Supes and his friends are pretty forgiving to those who try to start over. Right now, I need info. Who did you work for?" Notice the sly shift of tense. "What I know about you Tyler is that you're a native New Yorker, and you even still hold an address, which means you don't live in Gotham. So. Tell me about your bosses and tell me when the next," her jaw tightens, "'shipment' is coming in." Her eyes narrow. "Looks like I'm asking a third time. Count it as a blessing."

Frank works his jaw at the mention of Jersey City, flipping the knife around and back forward again. "If that's not far enough, they've got real nice connecting buses to anywhere you wanna go. California. Mississippi. Alaska. Whatever you think's far enough." From his bosses, from them, whatever. He can hear the anger in her voice, and his lips tighten with it.

Tyler notices the anger too, and he draws his duct-taped legs up closer to his body. "Look, you don't want to get involved with these people. The people we're keeping, they're not good people. They were moved up to New York. He might want to go up there, but you don't. I'm a New Yorker, and I know they're crazy up there. The guy in charge for di Palo is seriously nuts. That's all I can tell you. That's way more than I should tell you. I don't want to end up dead. Or in Arkansas."

There's that name again. Red looks up toward Frank briefly, and then she starts to slowly roll up from her squat. "What makes them not good people?" She crosses her arms at her chest. When Tyler suggests that Frank would want to go up there, but she shouldn't, she snorts and flashes a bit of a smile that can only be seen sharp at her eyes. "They should be so lucky that I don't come up there." Then she rolls up to her feet, and she glances back to Frank. She offers him a half-shoulder shrug and she steps aside so she can slip into the shadows behind Tyler with Frank.

Her arms cross, and she just holds Frank's eye contact. It is almost like she's waiting to read his mind.

"They're all muties." Says the metahuman himself, whether he knows it or not. Tyler flinches at the sharpness in Red's eyes, clearly recognizing that he misstepped with suggesting she might be the lesser partner. When she disappears behind the table, he starts to struggle, trying to follow her and keep an eye on both of them.

The Punisher leans over the front of the table and gives Tyler a sharp rap on the head with the hilt of his Ka-Bar, "Knock it off." He fades back again, looking to Babs and frowning thoughtfully. He sheathes the blade and — recognizing that she might be able to read his mind, he's not up to the return task — pulls out his phone. Thumbprint and code unlocks it, and he types out a quick message to her, actually going for the high-tech route rather than the low-tech one, 'Metahuman slavery? Trafficking? Probably Trafficking if Palo's in. Gotta know where, right?'

If Frank hadn't retaliated at Tyler, Babs was about to — she was shifting forward, looking like she's about to roundhouse kick him across the head with how her stance shifts. Then Frank gets to it, and she relaxes even if her breath is coming tight through her nose. She looks over toward Frank again, shifting in her hips. Then she takes out her own phone, and glances over the message. She takes in a breath, and types a reply back, fingers moving silently over the keyboard. 'Both, I'd guess. Traffic them, but also take some of the higher power ones as potential weapons. It would be a good tactic to be a PITA in Gotham. We need to know where they've moved them.' She lifts her eyes to Frank, and then she gives him a slow, almost sobered nod.

Frank's phone is on silent, so the message just appears without any fanfare. He studies it, then nods once and tucks the phone away. He steps past Babs, keeping his eyes on hers as he squeezes her shoulder. The knife comes out again as he rounds the table. Tyler looks up — straight into the pommel of the knife, the metal knob slamming into Tyler's temple. The Punisher is going to do things a little differently. He squats alongside Tyler's taped-up legs and flips the weapon back around point forward, "So here's the thing." The curved blade touches Tyler's jawline, short of the pressure needed to draw blood, but definitely enough to force the mobster to turn his head toward the Punisher, "I need to know where they're keepin' the people. And I don't need you." He nods upward, past the table, toward Red, "She'd rather you end up on a bus. I'm fine leavin' you here for homicide. You get to choose which end you get. Or somewhere in the middle. I can leave some bits here when you head for the bus. No skin off my nose. Sooner you talk, the more of you goes to your new life."

It is Red's turn in the shadows, and she watches Frank with a half-tilt of her head. Her breath tightens a moment in her chest when he throws that knife's butt into Tyler's temple, and then turns its blade on the man. The metahuman groans as he shakes his head out, looking up at Frank blearily, but all it sobers fast when he feels the blade tip against his jawline. He gasps and tries to scramble backwards, and he starts to shake his head but then that just presses the knife closer against his skin. He stares up into that serious face, that dangerous face, and his breath tightens. "Look, man! I don't know what to tell you! I gave you all I know! I was there for the transfer! I was just guarding them. Cm'on, man… you can cut me up but I'm not going to have anything for you!" His eyes keep moving though, darting away from Frank, trying to find Red. "Let me go! I'll take the bus!"

Frank watches the changes in expression in Tyler's features, and then he shakes his head, "Give her what she wants, and I go away." He pauses a moment, rocking back onto his heels and flipping the knife around again with smooth, fluid gestures. "Hey… don't the yakuza cut off a finger joint when someone screws up?" He shifts forward, reaching for one of Tyler's fingers, "Think his bosses would be totally understanding if he showed up short a finger joint? Me, I just think he should tell you where they're going to be."

Tyler's hand leaps back, but it is stymied by the duct tape bindings. He starts to jibber, "Look, man. I don't… cm'on, man. You don't need to… I got…" Then he screams out sharper as it seems like Frank is really going to take his finger. "BROOKLYN! They're in Brooklyn! YMCA on 9th, by Prospect Park. We've been using it as a transit facility! You'll find them there!"

Red looks up to Frank. It takes her just a heartbeat before she's nodding her head. It's good enough. They can at least investigate that. "Alright, Tyler. That wasn't so hard."

Indeed, Frank puts the knife to Tyler's finger, watching the guy's face instead of what he's doing. The answer draws his brows up a moment, "That — " Look, Red's saying it already. It really wasn't so hard. There's a bit of him, far beneath the hard, sharp exterior, that is amused that their reactions were exactly the same. Still, he leaves the blade at Tyler's hand a moment longer, then he responds to Red's nod, standing up and away from the former mook. "We leave you here, I figure you get outta that duct tape in… fifteen, twenty minutes of you try real hard. Bet there's a train down to Metropolis pretty quick after that." The knife is sheathed, and instead Frank pulls out a roll of bills, peeling a couple of tens off the outside and dropping them on the floor outside of Tyler's reach. "For the ticket."

Red doesn't let herself slide back into view. She waits like a quiet shadow behind Tyler as Frank finishes up the transaction — two tens and no help with the duct tape. She ducks her head a bit, hooking her thumbs into the belt loops of her paramilitary pants. She waits until Frank starts to slip into the shadows with her, listening to Tyler's complaint, "Just leave me something, man! Anything! Cm'on, twenty minutes?"

Nothing more is said from the redhead as she slips back out the door into the service tunnels, and she glances over her shoulder to Frank silently.

The bills are tucked away, and Frank steps close to the table again, waiting a moment — and then draws the knife and puts a little nick in the edge of the tape. Most people, that would let them get out in more like 10 or 12 minutes. Tyler'll be out in 5-6, but Frank doesn't know that. He tucks the knife away again, "Pretty sure you want to keep quiet. Don't want security to find you back here." And then he's gone, following Red out. Making sure the door is closed, he touches her shoulder lightly, dragging his t-shirt around his knife and pistol, then reaching up to touch her cheek as well, above the obscuring mask, "Let's go, Red." The words are quiet, even soft.

The touch to her cheek draws her eyes to his, and she presses his hand against her cheek so it conforms to the soft curves of her face. She nods gently before she starts for the exit to the service tunnels. Her fingers trace down his for a heartbeat before she is tugs down the mask and shoulders her way through the door she had jimmied before. They slip out into the alley and she feels the summer night beat down on her in her black garb. She turns to him. "Meet you in the hotel room?"

Frank smiles a little tightly as she leans into his hand, then follows after her, letting his hand trail down her shoulder and back. Once they're outside he nods, leaning in to press a kiss against her forehead, "Yeah. Have fun up there, Red." He actually turns the opposite direction down the alley, circling around the building before he comes back through a side door. Of course Babs gets back to the hotel room before him, especially since he has to avoid the relatively ever-present casino security. He pops open the door, closes it behind him, and starts to disarm himself again. "So whaddya think, Red?"

It is obvious that Frank hasn't turned to face her yet, because when he does, he finds Red standing there in a fluffy bathrobe from the pair that were hanging in the closet. Her hair is down from its braid in light waves, and she has her arms crossed at her chest. The robe makes an interest cut along her legs. Her head is resting against the corner of the plastered wall. "I think that we're getting the Birds together and heading to Brooklyn."

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