Another Night of Dancing
Roleplaying Log: Another Night of Dancing
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Another night for folks to dance their cares away at The Punchline, Gotham's new premier nightclub!

Other Characters Referenced: Tony Stark, Lincoln March, Pepper Potts, Owen Mercer
IC Date: July 11, 2019
IC Location: The Punchline, Gotham
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 12 Jul 2019 22:18
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits: Ambiance by Harley Quinn
Associated Plots

Another Thursday night, another night full of promise.

(Or, at the very least, the promise of just a little bit of mischief. But that's what the bouncers collecting the cover charge at the door are for, right?)

Tonight, the dance floor is already in full swing… literally! The band tonight is back for an encore performance, and they've got a rollicking tune blasting merrily as their front man belts his upbeat tune about a beloved fictitious gangster.

…Because, you know. Gangsters. Such a lovable bunch.

The bar's open. Drinks are being slung with abandon to a myriad of open tabs, and a blackboard boasts a drink du soir: a grinning green martini. (An appletini with red gummy lips sunk at the bottom.)


Frank Castle is nowhere near The Punchline. In fact, he's nowhere near Gotham. Pete Castiglione, however, is in attendance. No grand entrance for him, he just slipped the bouncer a couple of twenties to cut the line. It's part of his staking out of a suspicious area, really. This isn't the sort of thing that Frank — or Pete — usually does for fun. But he's dressed for the venue, at least, his olive green jacket a four-pocket design with high, wide lapels and little epaulet loops, his pants the same shade and with a neat crease down the center of each line, a paler tie and brown dress shoes — it's not a bad replica of a World War II-era US Army dress uniform, but without medals on his breast or the peaked cap on his head, it doesn't look so different from other Big Band-inspired outfits. He's seated at the bar, his back to the bartender and looking vaguely grumpy about the growing crush of people, a pint of beer gathered in his left hand.


Bruce lately has let his society side slip a bit lately and getting an invite to a upcoming club like this is not hard for a Wayne to get an invite to. Not only that, this club has come up on his radar as a place to check out. Never say that Bruce 'Batman' Wayne does not multitask. One can keep up his image while also doing reconnaissance.

He's dressed up in a proper tux - tailored as one may expect of a Gotham elite - complete with bowtie and fedora and black and white leather wingtips. He's in theme, but the tux puts him over into Fred Astaire category and less Big Band. Stepping inside, the music washes over the pair and he glances toward the woman next to him with a smirk. "I hope you're not expecting me to dance. You know I have two left feet and what will everyone think if the only dance I can get is from family? My reputation would be ruined." Adjusting his cufflinks, they glint a little. Are they gems?

Immediately, his eyes move around the dance floor, the bar, the exits, the ceiling, the points where someone may be watching. It's cursory, like a trained FBI agent might do. Then, his hands tuck into his pockets and moves toward one of the tables by the dance floor as he's not one for the bar.


Tonight, Barbara Gordon is flying solo. She is already at the bar in a fashionable green railene dress made of a lovely green that matches well with her red hair, and accents the green in her eyes. The dress is rather fitted through the bodice and upper skirt, but at the knees it flares out in a lovely sash-shay of fabric. Her red leather pumps are simple with a little ankle strap, and there's a vintage seam up the back of her stockings. Peggy Carter is not here to give her pointers on pincurls, but she manages alright to pin up that long red hair into neat little coils and curls that draw everything back, and emphasized with a simple comb.

From her chosen point at the bar, she can see most of the Punchline. She's half-distracted with a young man in a not-quite authentic 1940s suit who is trying to convince her to let him buy her a drink while she already has a Manhattan in her graceful grip. So, when someone murmurs that Bruce Wayne is here, she's turning away from the man — who rolls his eyes and mumbles something about 'old rich men' — and looks at Bruce.

The only person who could tighten her lips more and make her look more exasperated would be if Jim Gordon himself walked in. Give it time, maybe he will.


Karen Starr is, for lack of a better term, putting in appearances. After all, Power Girl appears in Metropolis- which means that since Karen Starr was just recently in Gotham, she needs to -remain- in Gotham. What better way to do that than appear to be social at the club in which she last appeared? This means that, almost depressingly, the CEO of Starrware Enterprises is present at The Punchline.

Coming through the door is, almost certainly, perhaps horrifically, the least apt human being to enter the building. Sure, she's nearly six feet tall, but with long blonde hair, thick rimmed glasses, and just… The suit. It's well tailored, of course- everything about it had to be ordered bespoke. The fabric is a form of silk, for sure… But nobody is going to have a feel to really -test- whether it's real or synthetic, or some sort of blend- because this pantsuit, businesswear of course, though it -technically- borders on formalwear and therefore can be -used- as formalwear, is absolutely hideous. Unless you like not entirely fashionable businesswear, in a somehow more grotesque than normal shade of -salmon-pink-. Why it's always salmon is anyone's guess. They'd probably have to first notice that it's usually that shade.

They're probably more interested in how much she had to pay to get in, because unlike more or less anyone else, Karen Starr does not look the part of the societal elite… But she has money. Green means go.


Mari's work often takes her away from New York. Hopping a flight or being driven someplace like say, Gotham, or Metropolis, for a shoot is just part of an almost famous fashion model's job. So here she finds herself, on the evening of a two day shoot, enjoying a night out on the town and taking advantage of the opportunity to relax a little bit.

Conventional fashion is so not her style, and instead of a dress, Vixen is in a backless, sleeveless jumpsuit, knotted halter style at the back of her neck. The fabric is a gleaming metallic bronze, and her makeup matches without falling into drag queen territory. The heels and the hair braided at the top of her head add to her height, and the whole thing has just enough 70's vibe to look vintage without looking like a cheesy costume.

And of course, the Tantu Totem with its fox head amulet is worn around her neck.

She's unaccompanied, but that doesn't seem to bother her. Mari moves with the confidence of a woman who will leave the club either by herself or with someone's arm in hers and it's entirely her choice.


Harley Quinn, were she here and fully aware of this evening's guest list and the less public aspects of their hobbies, might be nervous.

How fortunate is it, then, that she's not.

Rather, one LENA ZELLE is here instead, her luscious sepia waves cascading over her shoulders as she emerges from a back hallway on the other side of the club from the kitchen. She's got her hair half swept up in a pair of hairpins with little twinkling stars dangling from them, and her thick-strapped gown hits mid-calf and sports a pattern of silver bugle beads that twist and turn just so as to give the illusion of a corset and the curves it gives. Her heels are a platform monstrosity of clear vinyl and silver ribbon, giving yet another illusion that the silver ribbon is all she wears.

Naturally, the first thing she goes for is the bar in order to fetch one of the drink specials before they run out of gummy lips.

Naturally.

As Zelle waits for it, she gives Pete Castiglione on the other side from her a smile of the Mona Lisa kind.


Responsible people ? people with jobs to go to in the morning ? are certainly not going to be out for a night on the town on Thursday night. But though Warren Worthington has become slightly more responsible than he used to be a decade ago, he certainly still doesn't have a day job per se, so nine o'clock on a Thursday night is still when the evening really starts for him. In fact, it might be a little early, by his usual standards.

That might be why he arrives a shade late, a familiar blonde in tow on his arm. Owing to the weather, he's in light grey linen, the suit set off by a tie in a dark shade of maroon; though really, anywhere he goes and however he's dressed, his main and most striking accessory will always be the pair of white wings, impeccably preened, folded neatly at his back.

He's not in theme. But then, this was a bit of an impromptu stop for himself and Alison.

"Now I know you said it would be prudent to start trying to make some inroads on connections in Gotham, and I agree, but I just have to warn you ? the city is absolutely lousy with Waynes and Kanes and et cetera," he tells his companion, "and if you would believe, they're even more stuck-up than my folks."


Frank — let's not fool himself, he might be answering to Pete tonight, but he's still Frank Castle — leans over slightly as a patron gets loud with one of the bartenders, "Hey. Yeah. Can you not?" His voice, pitched to carry over the bouncing big band music, is rough, forty miles of bad road rough. The young, metaphorically-snot-nosed Gotham nouveau riche man sneers at Frank, stops, swallows, and then plasters his sneer back on, making some cutting comment and then leaving with a pair of grinning green martinis — and no tip on the bar. Frank grimaces tightly for a moment, glances to the bartender, and shrugs apologetically, taking a sip of his beer before he looks around. The redhead in the green dress gets a glance, appreciating the effort that went into the hair that hides her face from him from this angle, and then he looks over to the fabulously wealthy and/or famous people making their grand entrances. The effort (or money, or both) that went into the Fred Astaire-ish tux and the bronze jumpsuit get little nods from the broken-nosed man, but even his decidedly unrefined fashion palette flinches from the salmon pants suit, and he swallows down a curse. The person wearing that has to be rich. Only the rich get away with looking to gauche. As he looks away from the (probably intentional) fashion disaster, he spots movement coming out of a back hallway, and he straightens up just a little, studying Lena Zelle as she approaches the bar. The smile as the woman waits for her order is met with a lift of his glass in salute and a momentary upward twist of his lips. Boy, he'd be embarrassed if he knew he was saluting Owen's ex and a known supervillain.


"Warren, I swear. I know that you all have grudges going back to some great Yacht War of 1802," Alison happily sasses back, "but I don't even know where you get all the disdain. I've heard fantastic, philantrophic things about the Waynes. And Kate Kane was an absolute delight."

Her smile is iaijutsu: a heartbeat-quick glimpse of sharpness out to cut Warren Worthington, before it's seamlessly returned to its sheath, and her bearing softens back down to its public warmth. Though the Dazzler officially sings no more — her career destroyed with her outed mutancy — Alison Blaire still wears her iconic white, a tea-length cocktail dress of soft, gauzy lace. She's knotted her yellowy hair into a messy chignon, where its gilded flyaways frame her recognizable face.

She lays her fingertips on Warren's elbow, attention only taken away when she sights among the crowd — one figure who carries a likeness to all the socialite tabloids.

"Speak of the devil. Is that Bruce Wayne?" she asks aside to Warren. "I've never actually met him — you two did the boat parties, right? Might be useful to chat him up. I think we should be aiming to get a satellite office for Aegis in Gotham."


Dinah's biker boots scuff against the hardwood. Old leather ones, calf-high. Denim jeans. Chained wallet. Leather jacket, white tee-shirt. She'd have slicked back her hair, too, but shoulder-length blonde locks don't lend themselves well to looking greased back. So they're tumbled and curled, and add a touch of femininity to the biker outfit.

Not that anyone's going to mistake Dinah as anything less than a blonde bombshell in those jeans, leather jacket or not. Still, it's a good James Dean impression. Jane Dean?

It's not hard to spot the leggy ginger at the bar and Dinah heads right for her, skipping the last two steps totally soundlessly as she makes an oblique approach. She slides to a smooth stop and rests an elbow on the bar in Barbara's blind spot, and grins cheekily at Batgirl.

"Hey good lookin', did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?" she says. Dinah can't even make it through the terrible line before she's sniggering, and laughs even harder at her own ability to deliver the corner one-liner to her roommate. She promptly reaches for Barbara's drink to steal a sip of it, and waves at the bartender to get his attention. "All my dresses suck, but I figured— hey, leather never goes out of style," she explains, tugging her lapels. "Right?"


Did someone say Wayne?

As Bruce surveys the area, he notices Barbara by the bar. For a moment he watches the woman as someone attempts to buy her a drink. Not calling attention to his arrival - the crowd will do that for him - he tips his hat toward the red haired woman with a smile. It's like that exasperated look simply rolled off his shoulders. Then, does a little whirly motion with his finger.

Turning away from her, he looks toward the entrance to see Warren and Alison entering. His attention lingers amongst multiple other newcomers before he decides to make his own presence a little less (or maybe more?) noticeable by making his way to the two other socialites he knows.

As he makes his way up, he pulls apart the expertly done bowtie and lets it dangle, going for a more rakish look as he feels far too dressed up for the occasion already. Winking at Alison he holds out a hand toward Warren to shake. "Warren the Third! It's good to see you. What brings you all the way out here to Gotham?" Then, he reaches out to kiss Alison's hand. "And Miss Blaire, I must say you look amazing. I'm overdressed. My cousin told me to dress up for the occasion and it seems her instructions had me to go a bit overboard on the theme. If your date does not mind, I may ask to steal you for a dance later to save me from paparazzi ridicule."


Between Bruce Wayne and their hostess Lena Zelle, there's plenty to catch Barbara's eye. The latter keeps prickling at her brain. There's something about the face, something that keeps making her think that she's seen Lena before, but she can't quite place it. It bothers her, that eidetic memory of hers deciding that she must have seen Lena around town.

Sights of angel wings and the infamous Dazzler cause her brows to arch and she takes a sip of her manhattan just Dinah comes in and snares it from her. She breathes out a slight sigh but a smile eases into place. "Nice line, Di. But I'm pretty good at falling without getting hurt." Then she spots the smile from Bruce, and she gives him her best smile before the whirly motion confuses her just for a moment, because then she's turning around and her eyes widen when she spots Pete (AKA Frank). She turns back to Dinah quickly. "Oops," is all she says.


Known supervillain.

And really, Owen Mercer's ex? Everyone knows that Harley Quinn is… absolutely both of those things but that she'd absolutely express her outrage at the latter. After all, Owen Mercer is her ex, not the other way around. Because, of course, this is absolutely one of those things to get into a dominance game about.

But FORTUNATELY for Pete, who is not in any way FRANK CASTLE, Lena Zelle is neither Harley Quinn nor a telepath. So, therefore, she is at perfect liberty to take the salute with an impish twist of that mouth of hers, painted bordeaux and nearly black, and then take up her toxic-hued appletini. She lifts it towards him, and then sips. Afterwards, she turns to survey the room at large with a shrewd eye, trimmed though it may be kohl and silvery eyeshadow.

When Barbara comes near — and Dinah, too — there's an airy, rolling wave of fingertips in greeting. And then she's pushing off of the bar in search of new entertainment, and she murmurs as she passes them by in favor of the crowded dance floor: "Don't forget to tip your servers."


"Alison," is Warren's patient reply, "it was the Yacht War of 1902. Please, get it right. As for fantastic philanthropic things — fantastic philanthropy is the absolute baseline expected behavior. That's like complimenting a bird for flying. Or a horse for running. Or…"

Kate Kane was an absolute delight.

"Perhaps to you," Warren says, so scandalized by the notion of a delightful Kate Kane that his feathers stand up. "To me she's always been an absolute terror. Never took to me the way other women do." There's a reason, Warren Worthington.

His demeanor sobers a little as Alison speaks of satellite offices for their charitable foundation in Gotham — and suggests Bruce Wayne, of all people, as a vector to chat up. Warren exhales a sigh. "Too many boat parties, by far. Well — I suppose he'd be the man to talk to, if we were going to make inroads in Gotham," he says, "but I warn you, he's absolutely…"

Bruce starts walking up. The bowtie comes off. The rakish look comes on. Warren's eyes narrow.

"…ridiculous," he finishes, sotto voce.

By the time Bruce has come up, however, he's got a dazzling (heh) smile fixed back in place, meeting Wayne handshake for handshake. "Good to see you, Bruce," he says. "It's been far too long. Just here on a little business, really. The mutant population in Gotham is growing for reasons we all know."

The hand-kiss draws half a glance from Warren's blue eyes, but no more. …outwardly. "If Alison consents to be so used," he says, "then by all means." His smile attains a lofty aspect. "We all do what we need to in order to throw off the media's attentions."


The woman -is- rich, and to be fair, it's a pretty good character to play, that of the rich tech mogul. The image she's portraying is of a nerd gone big. A modern, blonde, six foot tall, female Bill Gates. She's not supposed to be stylish. If she were, she'd be here without whatever's padding out her midriff. The wig was -really- tough to make more-than-believable. She'd probably still be wearing that.

It's probably the lack of makeup that sells it -and- ruins it at the same time. She doesn't -not- have that frustratingly perfect Kryptonian face, after all. She notices Bruce before anyone else, of course- who wouldn't? And part of her pines for back home, when she'd be able to just -talk- to several of these people… But these don't really know her. They know Kara, and that's not her anymore. She doesn't get to be Kara Zor-L. It's not a long period of mourning. She hadn't expected Bruce Wayne, but less… Less, had she expected Barbara Gordon.

She only notices the redhead when she gets to the bar. Her order- as ridiculous as it probably is- "A Manhattan for two. In one glass."

Luckily, her voice isn't shrill.

Then, she turns- and because it'd be aggressively wrong not to notice Barbara, Karen can't help herself. "Hey! Aren't you the uh…" There's a pause, "The Gordon girl! Barbara!"


"Barbara," a warm voice with the very faintest hint of an accent comes into earshot by the bar, and there's Mari McCabe. leaning against it like it ain't no thing. "It's lovely to see you. I'd been hoping we'd bump into each other during my shoot. I don't think there's a shade of green that you don't look fantastic in." There's a pause, as she realizes Karen has approached Barbara a shade faster, and so she simply smiles and indicates to the bartender that she'd like their attention.


Dinah follows the bath of Barbara's gaze, looking at Frank, and making him. Her eyes go wide, but she smiles and wiggles fingers at him. "Oops?" she asks Barbara, lips barely moving. "What's up?" she says through the smile.

"Servers, tipping, got it," Dinah tells Lena, and watches the quixotic Not-Quinn saunter off to make friends on the dance floor.

When Mari makes her approach, Dinah's eyes brighten— but then of course, she tampers that down. Because Dinah Lance has no idea who Mari McCabe is. "Uh, packed house, isn't it?" Dinah asks Mari. Karen's closing in on the group so reflexes kick in and she covers Barbara's back by greeting Mari. "You a friend of Bab- Barbara's? I'm her roommate, Dinah Lance," she says, offering Mari a quick handshake and squeeze.

Ever meet someone and just feel like they're a long-lost friend? It's one of those nice perks about a secret identity: getting to go up and make a friend out of a total stranger!


Frank nods at Lena's salute, taking a sip of his beer and then settling back into his study of the room and its occupants as she swans off — starting with the door Lena came out of. But people who study architecture rather than people draw attention, and so Frank forces a smile onto his lips and starts looking at the people. Starting with… the second pair of wings he's seen in a week. He watches Warren and… isn't that the singer his daughter liked… Frank's eyes tighten for a moment, but he draws in a deep breath, ah yes, and one of the Gotham billionaires. It seems like there's a billion of them. A faint smile touches his lips, but when he glances around again, he misses Barbara's glance, but spots Dinah just as she wiggles her fingers at him, "Huh." He nods a greeting, and then steps aside. It's only then that he realizes that the redhead in the gorgeous green dress is with Dinah, which makes her… he mutters, "We gotta get better at communicating." He starts through the crowd toward the pair, only for two other women to join them before he can get there, both stunning in their own ways.


Norah arrives to the party a bit late. The scientist had gotten dragged out of the lab and all the way to Gotham by her coworkers. Now she is here wandering around trying to figure out where her 'friends' got off to. The blonde is wearing a tight kryptonite green dress with a thin black digital circuit board like pattern on it. The dress stops just past her knees and is paired with sharp four inch shiny black heels that click lightly as she walks around the club. With her hair down for once and makeup to highlight her features she looks rather nice all things considered. Her green gaze wanders, trying to see if there is anyone with talking to.


"I didn't know he would be here," she manages to Dinah with a quick voice. Which also means, Frank probably didn't know Babs was going to be here either, Then, Babs is distracted from the fact that Frank Castle is lurking behind her by the bright greeting from Karen Starr. She widens her eyes briefly before she settles into an easier smile, and she nods. "Guilty as charged," she says, almost demurely. There's a little upward twitch to that smile as her perfect memory drums up Karen's face face — though again, there's something itchy with that memory, like she knows she's seen it somewhere else, in a different context, slightly changed, before. "You're Karen Starr," she brightens then. "Metropolis, right? Tony Stark's mentioned you a couple times." In what context, Stark's lovely assistant and AI researcher does not divulge. There were Monty Python gestures involved.

She pivots a bit, gestures to Dinah. "This is Dinah Lance. Dinah, this is Ms. Starr." Then someone else is saying her name, and she turns just as she brightens back to that lovely, wide smile. "Mari!" Then she laughs as she smooths the skirt. "It's that redhead thing. We all look great in green." Then she invites Mari to join them. In a simple glance, she notices Frank again, and that smile turns a little apologetic.


"Quite the amount of elbows rubbing, yes." Mari agrees, offering, "Mari McCabe." to Dinah by way of introduction. She likewise nods to Karen, as she's kind of introduced herself in a six degrees of Kevin Bacon sort of way, before looking back to Barbara. "That's so true. One of these days I'll be adventurous and try out being a redhead myself, perhaps." Frank gets an incline of her head in greeting, the African woman quite at ease with all the people in this little circle of conversation. "You're juggling a lot of people Barbara, so if you like we can catch up a little later?"


"Yes, Miss Kane is an absolute horror," returns Alison, droll, "saying no to you, and all. Truly terrifying."

Her smile keeps pace with the rest of her, effortlessly amused with the back-and-forth she cultivates with Warren. Ask her, the man does not have enough sass in his life.

Ultimately, however, the ex-Dazzler isn't here for pleasure; beneath the make-up and her breezy one-liners, her blue eyes are sharp and shrewd. It's all business for her — always has been, from the first calculating notes she sang for public consumption — and her mind is on Aegis' growth. The organization won't survive within New York's limits. It needs cultivation in different states, to cross paths with state lobbies… and keep registration from spreading.

At first glimpse of Bruce Wayne, Alison's mind is already churning with possibilities.

Her eyes angle back to Warren, flanking the trajectory of his words — as he of all people declares Bruce Wayne ridiculous.

"What, is this like Highlander?" she can't help but retort, amused. "There can be only one—?"

And then, bow tie in rakish disarray, there is a Bruce.

Alison can ascertain quite a bit between the two billionaires within their first exchange, and it takes years of performance to keep her grin at bay. Definitely a rivalry. She consents to have her hand kissed, and at that, the smile can't help but blossom up, suitably charmed. "Call me Alison, Mr. Wayne. It's lovely to finally meet you."

She glances back at Warren, but her attention pivots, stolen by Bruce's request for a dance. "Me? Being used? I promise it may be the other way around. I'd love to, so long you can keep up."


The band on stage changes to a slower tune, and to a different singer. The man in the striking jazz suit who was behind the mic sings a couple of duetted lines with the blonde who comes up alongside him to transition the tune to something a bit slower, her crooning alto declaring It's Been a Long, Long Time.

And during this time, there's a thinning on the floor.


Have you ever overheard something that you can't reasonably comment on, and probably shouldn't, but can use later for other conversations that may or may not happen? (You know, the Daily Life of Bruce Wayne, Barbara Gordon, et al. vis a vis Bats.) Karen nods along with Barbara's statements, "Oh, yeah, I'm sure he's just been so -inventive- when he has to regard Starrware in any context!" she responds, altogether… Happy, but there's this degree of feigned hurt that infects the phrase.

Power Girl does not expect Tony Stark to compete with the Kryptonian technology she is using to give Starrware its chops in the market. If he does, and she's sure he -can-, it isn't exactly sweat off of her back. Karen does tech uplifting for startups and philanthropic work. She's not -really- here to compete, but she has to look like it. Hence the fake venom.

"And you're… Dinah Lance!" that name is said as if it's supposed to have weight to it, even though it might not. Regardless of that, the frumpy blonde moves to shake Dinah's hand, while the free hand picks up a glass of absolutely aggressive alcoholic beverage from the bar. It's twice the size of a manhattan, is mostly whiskey, and probably isn't pleasant to drink for anybody, but the Kryptonian doesn't seem to have trouble with it.

"I'm Karen Starr. President and CEO of Starrware. Great to meet you, in town for a couple of days and just drinking in the town." That word, drinking, is punctuated by a somewhat cringy swirl of her drink.


And thus begins the quick repartee between Warren and Bruce. Alison very correctly diagnosed the fact that Warren and Bruce have something of a rivalry between them. "Oh yes, it has been too long. I've read quite a bit of that debacle in New York with registration. It's really no surprise that people find refuge in Gotham. For all our quirks, we are still a city who welcomes everyone."

Turning to Alison, his smile widens. "Then please call me Bruce. The people who call me Mr. Wayne are generally asking me for something and I'm the one who has asked you for a favor. It's only fair. It's lovely to meet you, too. I will say, your album covers do not do you justice, but I must confess that I may still have a CD of yours hidden in my car."

As the band picks up a slow song, Bruce offers up his arm. "Then, please, I'll be sure to make this as painless as possible. Though, I fear this will make you look far better than me, I have three left feet." Giving Warren something of a smirk, he leads Alison toward the dance floor.


Mari's concerns has Babs waving her hands slightly as her shoulders lift with those cap-sleeves in a shrug. "It's alright. I was actually just about to go circulate. Mr. Stark has me here to represent Stark Unlimited." Oh, how easy it is to lie. Though, if she tells Tony that's why she's here, he would probably think it was his idea anyway. So, she collects her Manhattan and takes a sip. Luckily she has mastered herself that she doesn't dribble her drink when she smothers out a laugh to Karen's words. "Tony is… Tony. He's inventive when he regards anyone in any context." There's a hint of apology in her own smile.

She lets the others pass along introductions, and her eyes reunite with Frank as the band changes up their song. She offers him a little smile that might be conveyed as two strangers catching each other's eyes for the first time. She looks away to take another sip of her drink. With a tilt of her head, she spots Wayne with Dazzler, and a bit of amusement filters across her lips. Then, she spots the abandoned Warren. She recognizes him by his profile now that she's taken him in, and she sips her Manhattan. "Is that Warren Worthington?" She asks this to the ladies around her. She knows it is. "I'm going to go introduce myself."

And then the redhead is off her stool and starting to weave through the crowds toward Warren.


Norah is still wandering through the crowds. Finally she finds herself at the bar. Ordering a drink for herself she settles in to watch those around her, taking note of any notable faces she might see.

——

"Nice to meet you, Mari McCabe." Dinah grins at the leggy model when Warren is mentioned, and uplifts her chin at the angelic eye candy. "Yeah, good luck with him," she bids Mari. "Looks like you've got your work cut out for ya."

She sounds sincere. Mari's got the look of a cat about to catch a canary— and hey, it's all hoity-toity billionaire celebrity drama, innit? Nothing that concerns a poor kid from Gotham. Her drink's delivered and she promptly gulps back a bit of bourbon.

Dinah turns around to be introduced formally to the towering blonde and her eyes bug. "Holy shit, Karen Starr?" The drink's set hastily aside. She exchanges slightly stunned handshakes with the disguised Kryptonian. Just a little thunderstruck, this one. "I read about you in Time magazine a while back. Tech world superstar," she explains. "The writer was goin' on for a long time about you beatin' the boys at the tech world game, gettin' things a bit more level. Love it. Fight the patriarchy, sister," she says, and pumps a fist in the air. Jane Dean indeed.

Her bourbon's recovered and she retrieves it for an offered click of glass. Then she looks at the glasses, comparing hers to Karen's, and her drink is thrown back. She waves at the bartender before he gets too far.

"Uh, can I get another one?" she calls.

Then Pete's on the approach and she smiles at him wryly. "Uh… hey… buddy," she says, and awkwardly gives Frank a 'hey slugger' punch on the shoulder. It occurs to her she doesn't know what his alias is. "Having a good night so far?"


Vixen grins at Dinah. "I don't discount Barbara's powers of persuasion." Neither her looks nor her charm, nor her ability to apply her heel to someone's face. "I'm actually hoping to meet Mr. Wayne tonight. His foundation has been very generous to the Zambesi Relief Fund." She's got a glass too. Champagne. As if it would be anything but. "What do you do, Dinah?" She asks, then looks at Karen. "To found your own company, as a woman, and at a young age." she lifts her glass in toast. "Commendable."


Frank shakes his head slightly at Barbara's apologetic smile, shrugging a little helplessly. He arrives at the group as Barbara departs, in time to hear Karen identify Dinah, which makes it safe for him to flash a smile to the shorter of the blondes, "Dee." That is, of course, just in time for him to get a punch in the shoulder, and he snorts softly, "Quiet so far. You?" The others get a brief nod as well, and he introduces himself as, "Pete Castiglione." Karen's drink gets a slightly wary look and he chuckles dryly, "Jesus. That's a serious drink, ma'am." So of course Dinah has to order one. Mari's own introduction causes him to raise his eyes and look after the departing redhead, "You work for Stark too, ma'am? Long way from Metropolis. Kind of a nasty commute."

Frank is just relaxing from the punch to his shoulder when he gets jostled by a jock type already developing a gut to go along with his beer habit. Frank's own beer sloshes with the jostling, splashing a bit of foamy hops-water around Norah's shoes. "Shit." He shrugs apologetically, "I'm sorry, ma'am. You okay?"


"I will have you know that being said 'no' to is extremely traumatic," Warren replies Alison. But in between the conversation, his blue eyes are scanning the room with a similar shrewdness, taking in the other attendees of note — and plenty of people who he does not recognize. His gaze crosses Frank briefly, perhaps feeling himself being watched, but his attention is pulled back to Bruce Wayne soon enough by his antics.

Perhaps Jung had a point: man hates most those people who are reflections of their own selves, at their deepest cores. Warren Worthington, regarding Bruce Wayne, narrows his eyes.

Alison's returned quip for Bruce does bring Warren to laugh, though. "She'll show you a thing or two out there, Bruce, don't say I didn't warn you," he says. "You'll have the gallantry knocked right out of you. Mind you don't end up on your ass."

Warren leans in to Alison, then, just before she's led off. Under his breath, amused: "Take him for all he's worth."

Then he's letting her go to do her work on the Wayne patriarch. He turns away, with an adjusting flick and ruffle of his wings, only to notice Barbara and her surrounding ladies eyeing him from further down the bar. Because he's Warren, he dashes off a wink, leaning against the counter as Babs quits her stool and comes towards him.

"I don't believe I've had the pleasure," is his greeting, as she draws within speaking range.


Karen Starr pretends, for a moment, that she's not in her mid-30s. Still young for a tech mogul, but. When you -look- like you're in your late twenties dressing down, when Power Girl -isn't- trying to be inconspicuous through conspicuousity, it's a little… Different. "Only so commendable, I mean come on- after we went public a lot of what my company does is just handing out money and getting it back from startups. We're just big enablers, no matter how much coding and soldering I do anymore." She waves that comment off, and then… Then there's DINAH.

Clearing her throat and taking a swig of her drink as if it'll do anything, she meets the woman's appreciation head on, as if it was a truck. "Yeah, I never uh- I never really had any trouble. Turns out it's not really against the law to do the whole creating a company thing or whatever." Karen is kind of down to Earth. When you can fly from the surface to the sun for a quick recharge and back faster than most people can comment on the fact that you flew from the Earth to the Sun, a lot of other things become… Nonchalant. Alien technology also helps her come to the forefront of most business meetings. Not that she -says- it's alien.

Then, Dinah is off towards Pete, and Karen takes a moment to breathe in relaxation. Fans are always rough when you're not in costume. She makes her way to the bar, at that point. Where did the liquor go? Into the Krpytonian. That's where it went. She gets another as easily as she gets the first, and starts nursing on it.


If only Babs had stuck around to hear Mari's wonderful compliments, but at least she knows how to own her own poise and she's already got that warm, easy smile that is always on the verge of a laugh. She's nodding lightly to a woman she passes by, holding her drink high enough aloft to avoid possible collisions. Then she's offering out a hand in greeting, "Mr. Worthington? I'm Barbara Gordon. I'm with Stark Unlimited." Though, a ginger with the name Gordon probably connects her quickly to Commissioner Gordon as well. "It is a pleasure to meet you." She casts a glance toward Dazzler and Wayne, and then back to Warren. "Is this your first time to Gotham?" Easy, frivolous conversation. It's a start.


"Not even a little bit." Mari says good-naturedly to 'Pete'. "But my work does require a great deal of travel." She adds, "Barbara and I enjoy a similar scene when it comes to nightlife." She winces at the booze on the shoes, but remarks to Karen, "I have some hope of starting my own business someday in the future, but nothing as intricate as tech, I'm afraid."


Dinah winces at Frank/Pete and reaches for some napkins to help Norah out of the party foul related predicament they're in. "Cute shoes," she compliments Norah. Dinah shifts and moves a little so there's more room for the people to congregate, made easier when Babs slips off to hobnob.


"Me, Mari?" Dinah points at herself at Mari's question. "I run a flowershop in Gotham. Sherwood Florists. Family thing. I'm, uh, going back to school, actually. College. Criminal Justice," she adds, because that's everyone's automatic next question.

Fangirl reigned in; Dinah looks back at Karen, perhaps sensing she was a bit over-boisterous. "Sorry. Just excited," Dinah says, looking substantially more relaxed. She twists her hips to lean against the bar. "I was just… not expecting you, is all," she clarifies. "How d' you know Babs? Are you like a work friend, or…?"

Later, Black Canary's gonna pigeonhole Vixen on a rooftop, and have a serious laugh about this whole evening.


The music transitions again, into another smooth crooning thing, Am I blue? You'd be too, if your schemes - like your dreams - done fell through…

Lena who seems to be of the opinion to mingle less tonight than other nights finds her way to a back wall where she watches. And drinks.

That is, however, until someone comes up from that selfsame corridor from which she appeared earlier and starts up a conversation with her.

It's a man in dark clothes; one of the drink runners, perhaps, although it's the first he's been on the floor. She listens as he whispers down into her ear, although her eyes never stop watching the churn of people. The commissioner's daughter, and who's she's chosen to talk to. The Son of Gotham, and his choice in colleagues. The different sort of dance altogether as cells collide. Divide.

There's a pattern somewhere, and Lena Zella ponders it with her martini glass hovering ever near her dark lips.

Eventually, the man beside her stops talking, and she shoos him off with a flick of fingers as though a fly.

She kills the martini after that, and lets the booze-soaked gummy lips slip into her mouth to to deal with them. Personally.


"Oh, sorry, ma'am." Frank looks back to Mari, apologizing once again, "I must've misheard." Between the polite address, his (era-appropriate) uniform, and his general bearing, it's easy to spot him as a military — or ex-military — man. The mention of sharing a nightlife scene with Barbara causes Frank's eyes to widen ever-so-slightly before he covers the expression, "It's a nice place." Because clearly that's the type of nightlife Vixen meant. Of course, his response also just acknowledged that he knows Barbara Gordon. He smiles faintly at Dinah's description of herself, although the question about Mari's connection to Babs draws Frank's dark gaze back to the woman in the blazing-bright metallic jumpsuit.


Karen nods a couple of times while fake-struggling through the first few gulps of alcoholic mixture. "Oh, well, I appreciate the appreciation, you know. That's not a terrible thing. I just didn't really expect that- so I guess we both weren't expecting things." there's a pause, then, and she offers this little shrug. "I don't, actually. Recognized her from some of the tabloids, being the Commissioner's daughter and all."

Her attention flits to Mari, 'Pete' and Norah, two of whom she doesn't know. Especially not in this context. Regardless of that, she raises a drink in toast of mourning of the other woman's shoes, and then downs a large portion of the Manhattan as if it weren't almost-half-alcohol. There's another fake-cringe at the end of it, and then she continues on. "Didn't know she worked for Stark, though. That's weird, but I guess it makes sense. Big-time girl needs a bigger roost."


"Quite alright." Mari assures Frank, and sips her champagne. "A few years after I arrived in America, I was approached by a modeling scout. It's been paying my way ever since." She sounds modest about it, but Mari is just shy of being considered a supermodel. "I met Barbara while I was in town for a shoot, much like the one I'm here for now." She clarifies then, more for Karen, "I'd like to have my own fashion line someday."


Acquiring a glass of scotch from a passing bartender, Warren turns the full force of his attention on Babs afterwards, his wings fanning a little before folding back to a sedate rest at his back. Her extended hand is taken languidly, the blond bowing over it in a kiss that does not quite make contact. It's gauche to actually make contact.

Delighted. You're with Tony? I'm amazed how sane you still look, considering." A hint of recognition does spark in his blue eyes as he hears the name Gordon, however. "You wouldn't be the Commissioner's daughter? I didn't think to meet so many luminaries tonight."

He leans back, a smile of his own crooking with frank appreciation for Babs' poise. Few more pleasant sights than a woman on the verge of laughter. "It's not my first time to Gotham, no," he says. "More than enough old friends of the family reside here. I've been coming for some society event or another since I was young. Always a pleasure; the city has a certain elegance to it, if one cares to look." He takes a sip from his glass. "And what trouble has Tony saddled you with, if you don't mind me asking?"


The fanning and relaxing of Warren's wings draws an appreciative gaze their way, and Babs breaks her focus from their graceful movements before she's caught staring. This is good, because she's got Warren Worthington bowing over her hand, and a little pink rises up into her freckled cheeks as her smile lifts a bit.

"Oh, well… I have a good reserve for the crazy." She does not look toward Bruce Wayne. Instead, she smiles brighter. "I am." Then she laughs, shaking her head a bit. "I'm not sure that Gordons and luminaries really go together. Stubborn, mulish, bespectacled — " Though Babs is without her glasses right this moment. "Better fit."

Talk of Gotham has her tilting her head a bit. "Then you must know Bruce Wayne." She flickers her eyes toward him and back. She would ask more about that but instead Warren is asking a far more pertinent question, and she chuckles almost wryly. "He tries to saddle me with quite a bit… I stepped into Pepper Potts's shoes when she stayed with what was Stark Industries. But, when I'm not chasing Tony down, I'm in AI research."


"She's the smart one," Dinah agrees with Karen, and looks over her shoulder at Barbara. "I was the cheerleader, she was the nerd. Funny how it worked out in high school. Now I'm looking at pounding pavement, and she's gonna go be a robotic-tech-guru for Stark."

Her Manhattan's delivered; Dinah takes a sip, hisses once. Mostly bourbon.

She gulps back more of it, and unlike Karen, doesn't even fake the burning bourbon. Heavy drinker, this one.

Dinah transfers her baby blues to Mari and a puzzled expression furrows her brow. "What was /Babs/ doing at a photo shoot?" she asks, befuddle. "I have to break her arm just to get her to go clothes shoppin' at Ross' with me."
'Pete' looks past his current conversation partners to watch Babs talking with Warren for a heartbeat, and then looks back to Karen and Mari and Dinah, "A model and a librarian-turned-AI researcher? Good thing you like the same kinda nightlife, isn't it, ma'am?" Including Karen in the conversation, Frank works through his natural reserve with strangers, "Seems like every party has a ton of celebrities at it." Dinah's confusion draws a dry chuckle from him, and he shakes his head in amusement, deadpanning, "Persistent photographer?"


"I promise I'll be quite gentle," reassures the ex-Dazzler, who cannot hide a smile against Warren's sharper compliments. This is supposed to be for business — well, Tabby always told her she never lets herself have enough fun.

And it's true. She's liable to turn into the second coming of Scott Summers if she doesn't loosen up — and why not at a party?

Accepting Bruce's proffered arm, Alison turns one last glance back at Warren — long enough for him to catch the crooking of her mouth — before she's whisked off to the dance floor.

Before the nuclear-level destruction of her professional career, anyone to have attended any of the Dazzler's public concerts or watched her videos can attest — she was a triple threat, and the woman could dance. She is decidedly merciful tonight, allowing Bruce Wayne to lead, and malleable to mirror whatever step he imposes on her.

"Please indulge me," she remarks wryly, "how much of that was to irritate Warren?"


Karen -has- to pretend it burns something fierce. Suspicion cannot be raised, and heavy drinkers… Probably don't make a whole lot of money or become tech moguls, unless they're Tony Stark, and he doesn't count because he inherited it. Karen, however, isn't immune to pity, nor sympathy. Not everyone can do… Well, the genuine -shenanigans- she had to do to put together both an identiy and a company.

"Listen, if you need it, I am looking at setting up something in Gotham." It's a lie. FOR NOW. "I'm going to need infrastructure people and I'm sure your resume has applicable skills -somewhere- so if you're interested our HR department is on the site, I'll put in a flag for Dinah Lance. They read stuff that I flag. We all started somewhere, so you just have to find that somewhere." To be fair, she's being nice- but there's that annoying Metropolis Kindness there that you only really -get- out of those weirdos that wear an S. It's too nice to be true, and yet it -feels- genuine enough to be worth a shot. Maybe. Idly, Karen is putting together the logistics in her head of what she's going to need to set up a Gotham office for Starrware. It's not something you do for a stranger, but Karen knew a Dinah once. She can't help it.

Clearing her throat, she addresses Pete, and shrugs at that. "I only just got into it. It's all new to me, but it's not so bad." She takes another swig from her Manhattan… But right now, Bruce Wayne is on the dance floor, and Barbara's interacting with Warren Worthington III. She has to meet a couple people- so her next motivation is to socialize. A little.


The narrowed eyes are met with, again, a smile. Bruce Wayne does not seem to take much seriously and the fact that Warren does seem to be ruffled only makes that smile all the more genuine. "I don't doubt it. I always like learning new things. And being knocked on my ass by Alison Blaire? Well worth it." Then, he escorts Alison away, most likely not hearing Warren's under the breath aside.

While Alison lets him lead, much like he warned her, Bruce Wayne is certainly not up to par with Alison's own dance moves. He spins her and then leads her about, but it's more like he learned his lessons from a ballroom dance class then anything else. His steps are certainly passable, but nothing up to par.

The grin he gives Alison at her question is entirely unlike the one he gave Warren seconds earlier. This one is unguarded, amused. "Honestly? It was about fifty/fifty to start. It turned into about seventy/thirty when I saw how much it bugged him." Conspiratorially, he leans in and says, "The truth of it is, I honestly do have one of your old CDs in my car."


The slight flush to Babs' features at his obeisance does not go unnoticed, though Warren makes a point not to draw too much attention to her momentary fluster. His smiling only graduates to a slight smirk, connoting the self-satisfaction of a beautiful man accustomed to getting reactions… and satisfied that what he's got is still working quite as intended. "A good reserve is necessary when dealing with Tony," is Warren's wry remark. "And I'd insist anyone who takes on the commissioner job in a city like Gotham is quite worthy of being considered a luminary. It's a herculean task."

As for Bruce Wayne? Warren shoots the man a hooded look. "Oh, I know Bruce Wayne," he says, with a ruffle of his feathers, and a rather lofty air. "A good-natured degenerate if ever there was one. One of these days, he may yet amount to something." The tease does not appear to carry any genuine malice.

As far as Tony, and Babs stepping into Pepper's role at Stark Unlimited? "Oh," Warren says. "Oh. Well, he'll certainly keep you busy. I'm sure Pepper's already told you, but you can safely ignore ninety percent of his requests as frivolous. You being in AI research yourself should make it all more bearable, however; there's no one better to work with if that's your interest."

He leans closer, a little conspiratorially. "Speaking of interests… Alison and I are actually in the city on a bit of business," he explains, "thinking of opening a satellite office of our charitable foundation in Gotham. We've been eyeing the mayoral race to that end, trying to suss out the political climate. Not all politicians are very receptive to… our kind. I don't suppose you'd have any advice, given your 'lineage'?" His smile turns wry. "Or do you prefer to fly a bit further from the nest?"


Vixen lets out a laugh. "She wasn't at the photoshoot. I was in town for it. I didn't spend every second of my time on set, and we were here for a couple of days. So I got to know the city, just a little bit - and that's how I met Babs. But I am often in Metropolis as well."


That's when Barbara's own smile takes on a wry, amused little lift. "That's why I let FRIDAY deal with most of it. She's been given some guidance on that." Which also means that the AI Researcher has had a chat with Tony's own AI on how to best dissuade Tony while also letting her work. That's what you get when you hire the woman who hacked Stark Industries to begin with. Knowing Tony though, he's probably figured that out.

But now the conversation takes an odd little turn, and Babs leans into the conspiratorial whisper with her brows arched. "Lineage?" That word it trips her brain a bit. So does the analogy that goes with it. "Oh. You mean, because my father is the Commissioner." Right. That. "Gotham is a bit of an odd duck. Most everyone is too focused on the vigilantes that run around — you know, The Batman and his family." And others. "I have heard promising things from Lincoln March, and Dad has rumbled positively about him, but he's not really one to publicly endorse anyone. His job is to do what he can to protect Gotham City, not get into politics." She takes a sip of her Manhattan, rubbing at its glass thoughtfully. "Truthfully, Mr. Worthington… if you're here to help Gotham, you will be welcomed by some… and targeted by others. Some thrive off the corruption that edges its way into everything."

And there is the jaded side of the Commissioner's daughter — and Batgirl.


For all her sharp retorts and wry teasing, Alison Blaire is a soft-hearted thing — soft-hearted enough that her more complex steps and small flourishes are slipped in for Bruce Wayne's benefit. Little touches to help the photo spreads that will be hitting the celebrity blogs in the next few hours, and make the billionaire playboy look as if he's in calculated command of the entire dance.

She doesn't like anyone looking bad within her proximity.

"As I thought," she answers with a teasing laugh. "You rich boys and your rivalries. Warren refuses to say a single charitable thing about you."

But the confession to owning one of her old albums — oh how the ex-Dazzler misses singing — softens some of the wicked play out of her smile. "Do you know? You're a dangerous man, Bruce Wayne. Saying all the right things." And, with that, some of the formality drops out of her, giving a first glimpse of an actual person beneath all her careful bravado. "Still, it's nice to meet a fan. I don't have too many of those, these days."

Alison's gaze is searching, weighing. "Have you heard of the organization I co-own? Aegis?"


Frank watches Karen offer Dinah a job with an amused smirk, shaking his head. She's definitely from Metropolis. Amusement smooths his rough voice, "You and Babs could both work for Metropolis tech companies and live in Gotham." He keeps from snorting, however, by taking a sip of his pint, shifting the glass from one hand to the other as he nods to Karen, then looks back to Vixen as she explains, "Too bad. Good person to show you 'round the city though. She did that for me too." His accent makes it pretty clear that he's a New Yorker himself.


"Uh."

Dinah's usually urbane. Confident. Forward-spoken. You don't come up as a cop's daughter in Gotham without being able to own the room, any room. But Karen's offer takes Dinah a little off-balance.

"Well, that's… very generous of you. I'unno what good I could do ya," Dinah says, honestly, and shrugs her shoulders. "I run a one-woman company out of my house and I'm working on a BS in Criminal Justice. You need a private investigator or something, I'm your gal."

She chugs down her bourbon and rattles empty ice cubes at the bartender. Refill, please. Dinah's eyes flicker to Mari. "Not skinny enough to do any modeling," she says, trying to lighten the mood with a bit of levity.

Dinah's attention bobbles around to Frank. "Wait, why can't I work in Gotham and live in Metropolis?" the blonde girl demands, bellicose. "I mean, aside from the fact I couldn't afford to rent a shoebox in Metropolis," Dinah allows, a beat later.


Warren chuckles at Babs' rejoinder. "Tony may yet have met his match," he says. "Someone who can program his own AIs to handle him."

The conversation takes a more sober turn, however, as Warren nudges it into the matter of politics. Specifically, the politics of Gotham right at this moment. Warren listens with a surprising attentiveness to what she has to say in answer. "Of course," he says, his voice dry. "Gotham does crawl with vigilantes. Such oddly-themed ones, too. Who would ever credit so many men and women dressing as bats, in one place?" His wings ruffle, as if shuddering at the very thought of their leathery, featherless counterparts.

The fact that some old X-Men uniforms aren't anything to look at either will not be spoken of.

He does nod to her assessment however, especially of this 'Lincoln March.' Her cynicism does not appear to offput him in the least; if anything, there's a glimmer of kindred spirit in his eyes. "The disadvantaged and displaced by New York's registration laws are everywhere," he says, quite honestly. "Helping Gotham helps them. And I can promise you… I'm already quite accustomed to being welcomed and targeted in equal measure." His eyes half-lid. "Also to corruption. I have an unsettlingly close viewpoint to observe just how corrupt people can be."


Frank adds to Dinah, "Hey, Babs does it. I'm not saying you can't. Just that it'd be funny if you were both doin' it."
Now that's what it takes to get Barbara Gordon to smile broadly. "We'll see."


As the conversation shifts, it takes all of Barbara's will to not actually let the conversation of the Bats really impact her expression. Though, there's plenty of thought bubbles and internal monologuing. "Well, at least they have a cooperative theme."

Mention of the registration has her thinking back to the metahumans they got out of that trafficking facility in Brooklyn, and she's nodding slowly. "I worry that Gotham is not far behind New York, but any positive impact that can come through to stop that from happening is something that I will back." And here it comes, Babs's first step into Gotham politics. "And I'm sure my father would, too." Let's hope so. "Gotham deserves to be a safe place for everyone."


"I've been coached rather extensively on how to come off as a man of prestige and how to say all the right things," Bruce tells Alison with a smirk. "I am sure those professors will be glad to know their tutelage was not in vain, no matter how many classes I skipped."

As for Warren Worthington? His eyes glance over to where he is chatting up Barbara and those gathered about her. A bit of study is given there, a study in placement and body language. And then, he turns his attention back to his dancing partner. "Yes, it's all something like the Hatfields and McCoys but with prestige rather than shotguns."

Then, his smile returns to its precise position, genuine as it is. "I think you'll find you have many fans still, they're just like me, waiting for the right moment."

The questions about Aegis is met with a slow nod. "The foundation for metahuman outreach? Yes, I have. You and Warren have certainly been doing your part in combating the perception of metahumans being violent and dangerous."


Vixen finishes her champagne. "Not at all." she replies to Dinah. "Models don't look like androgynous heroin chic mannequins anymore." Then, to Barbara, "What nonsense, of course you can. It's not as if Stark doesn't have the transportation to spare." Go Team Sisterhood! Setting the champagne glass down, she looks to Pete. "And how did you meet Babs?"

Karen holds up her hands. "Just… Think about it, you know. If things aren't going well, or something." Then, she's off. She is not the clever social hunter that many people here might be, so instead, she just has to be… Obvious about it. Not that she isn't going to -look- like she's not trying to be obvious about it.

She strolls towards Warren and Barbara, with a mild sway that she is hoping people will attribute to what amounts to, technically, four Manhattans. "Is that Warren Worthington the Third?" she remarks, not too loud- but just enough to be over the din of the club proper. Not that the music right now is especially aggressive. Despite that, Karen's arms are wide and inviting, even if her sleeves are weirdly loose. As is everything else. Not enough to be 'baggy' necessarily, but when she opens her arms like that, it really illustrates that apparently, the suit she's wearing is almost designed to show off nothing about her figure other than that it isn't worth writing home about.

Eventually, she swoops in, and moves to shake Warren's hand, if he'll let her. "Karen Starr. Owner and CEO of Starrware in Metropolis."


"Cooperative, yes," Warren muses absently. "It's almost as if they coordinate…"

At that very moment, he appears unaware of Bruce's eyes on his winged back.

His attention returns fully to Babs as she speaks earnestly about her concerns with regard to Gotham. "I know Alison and I would welcome that backing, Miss Gordon," he says. "The both of us make it our mission to be that kind of positive impact — an example for people to see that coexistence with the metahuman isn't just possible, but is vastly preferable to stigmatization and fear. Gotham does deserve to be safe… and I've found over the years that safety comes when you reduce the unknown for people, as much as possible."

He spreads his wings slightly. "I figure if people get more used to seeing these around, in the open, without the world dissolving into brimstone and hellfire, perhaps they'll calm down."

His attention diverts a bit when Karen steps into the conversation, however. The businesslike approach garners a businesslike answer, her extended handshake clasped firmly. "It is, in fact, Warren Worthington the Third, and that I haven't been thrown out yet is clear evidence no one here remembers what I was like years ago." A slight smile accompanies the gentle self-directed jab. "A pleasure, Ms. Starr. A lot of fresh new faces in Metropolis as of late."


Coordinate. That's one way to put it. But, for her part, Barbara Gordon — beloved daughter of the Commissioner, researcher at Stark Unlimited, and volunteer at the library she once headed up — just shrugs helplessly. "Maybe. I've never had the chance to ask."

Smoothing sidestepping that more, her smile lightens a bit and Babs offers a simple nod of her chin. "They are lovely wings," she compliments easily. Then she ducks her chin with a smile. "Please let me know if you need any help here in Gotham, Mr. Worthington. You'd be surprised who steps up to help those who are here to help Gotham find the right footing." And there's Karen, so she slips a business card from her pocket — look, all dresses should have pockets, even 1930s replicas — and she offers Warren her business card with all the sleek shine of Stark Unlimited. "Let me know," she repeats. "It was a pleasure meeting you."

Then she smiles to Karen, and with a wink, she starts to move off to circulate and socialize more. She casts Dinah and Frank a glance, and both are given a little smile.


"I don't know about prestige," teases Alison, because this seems to be her duty now, her role — giving the old money boys a rough time. "But you know the steps. Interest without patronization. Compliments withut flattery. You are far more clever than you let on, Bruce."

In her own right, she does not need to glance Warren's way to guess what he may be doing — parties like these are the man's food and water. He knows well to go and charm every creature that crosses his path. She's hoping for that. Hoping for a formidable first splash into Gotham.

The smile she allows when he speaks of still having fans — it's far more muted than those bright, hundred-watt grins of before, but it's also far more sincere. A bit of hope there, and some deeper well of sadness.

But one she does not let affect her — especially not on this crowded dance floor. Alison's blue eyes lid with approval on Bruce's answer. "We try. We're only one limb on a greater body, and it's fighting a current to stay afloat. I have had eyes here for some time. Registration has been passed in one state, yes, but it will soon inspire more to follow. I know of your work, Bruce, but not so much of your values — your opinions in these things. Would you be interested in working with us?"


Karen shakes Warren's hand for, what she figures, is enough to play up the alcohol.

"Yeah, a lot of us kicking up dust over in Metropolis, -but-, I might be looking to open up a satellite here in Gotham soon. I know the guy to talk to about 'joint ventures' and things like that is currently, well, over there, but…" she offers this shrug, and slips a hand into her pocket. Warren probably knows what's coming.

"Not going to compete with Stark necessarily, but if you're ever looking to get some funding for anything philanthropical, I can tell you for certain that we at Starrware approve of the measures you're taking and the nature of your cause." It's a pretty rehearsed speech and even though Aegis is likely nothing -but- community outreach and philanthropy, she still feels its important to specify.

In her hand is a business card, for his definitely ever-growing inventory of them. Her name is in those big, bold letters: Karen Starr, CEO.

"I'm not going to be in Gotham much longer this time, but I'll be back soon. If you're ever in Metropolis, though, you should definitely come by Starrware."


'Pete' gives Karen a nod as she departs, looking about the room once more with a trained flick of his eyes. Vixen's question causes him to shrug, "She was up in New York during the troubles up there." Which is the official line about the demonic infestation. "Ran into her and helped out. She returned the favor by helpin' me through a dark place." It's… I mean, it's true, but wildly short of the truth of fighting, life or death combined op — team-ups, and everything else that's happened over the last year. When Vixen departs, he lifts his now-nearly-empty beer, "Have a good evenin', ma'am." Barbara's smile is returned with a nod and a flicker of a grin, and then he gives Dinah a clap on the shoulder and heads out to keep checking up on the place. No way he's getting into the kitchens now though.


"It's a good time to be expanding, I think," is Warren's opinion on the matter. If he took any particular note of Karen's display of 'having had too much,' he is too well-bred to make any indication of it. "Registration's got a lot of people moving between the three cities." His voice turns sly. "And I'd even dare to say nobody has any particular exclusive claim to any territory, so we needn't wait on the mercies of Prince Wayne to discuss ventures in Gotham."

Warren may have a reason to be particularly arch about Bruce Wayne at the moment.

His manner turns more serious at the offer, and the business card is taken and shuffled away. "Well, we are always looking for affiliates and sponsors for Aegis, to be certain," he says. "We don't want it to be an organization exclusively about mutant interests. We'll look you up next time we're in the city." His gaze rests briefly on her in a rather considering fashion, that suggests he knows just how suddenly Starrware popped up onto the radar — and that there's a few unanswered questions in his mind about that. Not anything he feels alarming enough to close any doors right now, though; in Metropolis, perhaps more than any other city, odd things happen.

And it's no competition," he says lightly. "Tony is lovely, but he gets it in his mind to build a satellite and then he's off the grid for the next few months. I'd look forward to meeting some new faces based in Metropolis." He inclines his head. "Again — a pleasure. Now, unless I am mistaken, there is a Kane over there I must greet on pain of death…"

And with that he is moving off through the crowd. Eventually, perhaps, he will liberate Alison from Bruce's clutches.


That Karen is somewhat bothered that someone seems to actively dislike Bruce Wayne is not a thing she etches on her features. Instead, she just gives this knowing nod in response to the Prince Wayne comment. The sympathy is faked, but it's also the kind of gesture that'd be common from someone in Karen's position.

She waves her hand a bit, setting the glass back on the bar. Paying is pretty simple- it comes from some bangle on her wrist that probably holds her credit card information, like a cellphone app. No screen, though. Odd that it's so small, but regardless, it's just a nifty trinket. With that altogether problematic task done, something she couldn't bear not to do, she seems to be making her way for the door.

"That all sounds good- but there's only so much we can discuss right now. I've got to get back to Metropolis."

The night gets- perhaps only slightly- strange at that point. Karen leaves, of course, saying her goodbyes to 'Pete' and Dinah wordlessly, just giving the two a polite nod and a wave. Then, very shortly after she leaves the door, there is this… Sound of thunder that echoes over the city, almost as if it will rain, on a cloudless night. Yet, it doesn't- maybe, in fact, it isn't heard over the din of the music, but it is there… And at that point, Karen Starr is no longer in Gotham.


"I'm interested in making Gotham better," Bruce tells Alison in the very stock answer to the future of Gotham and his own values. "I certainly don't wish registration in New Jersey. And I do believe Aegis is in line with the Wayne Foundation."

Twirling her and as the song ends, he attempts a dip. It's not very well done, but at least he does not drop her. "I certainly would be interested in helping. It's the least I can do for making me look competent on the dance floor." Once again, he moves to kiss her on the hand. "Thank you for the dance, Alison."

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