Methods
Roleplaying Log: Methods
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Barbara Gordon and Batman talk about recent happenings.

Other Characters Referenced: Zatanna Zatara, John Constantine, The Joker
IC Date: December 10, 2018
IC Location: The BatCave
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 11 Dec 2018 05:38
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The Batcave is just as many may expect it to be. It's well organized, it's dark, there is the soft fluttering of bat wings occasionally that the man who took his moniker from these small creatures has long since tuned out. As this is a meeting that involve their secret identities, Bruce has told Barbara to meet him in the cave.

Though not in his Bat-gear, there is a difference to the Bruce that handles himself in this cave as opposed to the Bruce in public and even the Bruce above the stairs. Sitting at a chair in front of a large desk with multiple screens with readouts of security cameras, of random data, of many other things that is hard to discern at a sudden glance, the man looks almost relaxed. Who knows if that is just another facet of a man used to being secretive in front of everyone.

Despite the fact that he seems to be patiently waiting, fingers rap against the table as he watches a screen and takes a long drink of water.

* * *

There's many entrances into the cave through the various underground inlets around the Palisades. Barbara chooses the one that doesn't threaten the entire structural integrity of her bike, zooming along the strangely smooth pathways through the stone-enclosed tunnels toward the open cavern of the Bat Cave. When she arrives, she parks in a spotlight that is designated hers, kicks the stand down, and slides her helmet off. Recently, Batgirl has seen an upgrade to her suit — she looks different, in dark purple motocross leathers, yellow boots that sport serious laces and zip-up sides, and a cowl that actually keeps her ears clear with far tinier sensors that greatly reduce the bulk. The cape is still long and scalloped, and yellow on its interior. It looks strikingly more her, and strikingly less Bruce. Which may have been its point — some late-blooming need to find individuality while still being a Bat.

She crosses easily along the bridgeway to Bruce's computer center, eared helmet tucked under her arm. When she gets to the top of the stairs, she pauses just a moment before she steps forward. "It's quiet out there," she says as an opening greeting, and it is. Red Hook felt like it was asleep during her patrol.

* * *

The noise of Barbara's bike is, of course, not a surprise to Bruce. Instead, he straightens and looks toward the place he knows the woman will dismount and waits, again. He's been expecting her and more than that, he's not surprised by the change in her outfit. Most of the Bats tend to develop their own style and their own way of working within and without the system after they leave his 'tutelage' whatever that may mean.

"Some people seem to take the anti-vigilante laws very seriously. And I tend to think this is simply like prohibition. It's driving things out of the public eye in a very palatable way, but it still seethes beneath the surface." His observation is dry and gravelly.

Then, he adds, "So, nothing to report?"

* * *

"How long do you think until they are trying to figure out if we should be registered or not?" The question is asked in a casual, thoughtful note. It's something she has been seriously considering, trying to decide if GCPD — should it take the same stance of NYC — might have a new reason to hunt the Bats. "I don't know if Dad could really stop it… if it comes to that."

The mention of Jim Gordon sets a bit of nerves through Barbara. One day, Jim is going to find out about Barbara. And on that day, it will be hard to convince him this is not Batman's fault.

She steps in closer toward Bruce when he asks about nothing to report, and she crosses her arms, shifting her weight into her hip as she does. "The Whisper Gang has a few new tricks." The words are spoken softly, and she begins to retell the events of the last few days. "I got a lead on a kid who was a possible new recruit for the Whispers… cornered him, tried to get him to back out of the initiation. Guess I was convincing enough — " Intimidation is something they all learn to do well. "But, instead of just high-tailing it, he started telling me about something big going down." Her mouth tightens. "So, I asked Jessica Jones, Black Canary and this new girl that Jess knows — Red Sparrow — if they wouldn't mind coming down into the sewers with me, see if we could suss out what was going on."

She rubs slightly at the back of her neck as she steps forward another step until she could sit slowly into a seat that is sometimes occupied by another member of the family. "They have magic, Bruce. Serious magic. Like all-encompassing blackness. We got three steps in and couldn't see, hear, smell… we got hit hard."

She gestures slightly. "I pulled in John Constantine to help figure out the magic, and tracked the Whispers to Atlantic City. Pulled in a few more vigilantes, and we managed to take out the summoners. But, John seems to think that this is just the tip of the ice berg, that something bigger might be at play."

She is very casual with how she mentions John Constantine, but using his first name instead of his last name is perhaps more of a give-away than she intended. She catches it, but a bit too late. She keeps going, hoping to skate on pass. "I'm going to see if the rest of the team can do some legwork, see if we can figure out where the magic came from."

* * *

"Registration is in New York," Bruce tells Barbara firmly. "And even if it comes here? We're not metahumans. Or mutants. Or anything of the sort. I've attempted to make sure none of that spreads too far in this city. It's bad enough with the Joker and the mob. Putting people with superpowers into the mix just makes things more complicated. I think the main thing we have to worry about is the vigilante law. The people of Gotham are more afraid of crime than they are of people with superpowers." He's sort of tried to make sure of that. "Say what you want about the Joker and his psychopathy, he does not have the powers of Superman. Or of Magneto. We can hope Gotham feels similarly."

As for her sojourn into the sewers, Bruce makes note of the people she brought with her into her attempt to bring down the Whisper Gang. He waits until she's finished until he raises an eyebrow. "I would have thought you would have asked Zatanna about that sort of magic before you turned to…John." The name is not said derisively, it is not pointed. What is pointed is the pause. "Did he have a conclusion about how they could have gotten their hands on so much magic so quickly?"

* * *

I've made sure to make sure none of that spreads too far has Barbara's brows up. She perhaps should have expected that, but it does sort of surprise her in the heartbeat after he says it. Then her mouth tightens a bit, and she nods agreeably. "We can hope," she says. In these moments, she trusts Bruce, even if there's a gnawing worry at the back of her mind.

Then at the mention of Zatanna has her frowning slightly, and she rubs at the back of her neck beneath the high collar of the motocross jacket. "Well, I…" There's moments where she wants to be more like her mentor, to edge around the truth, hold back information that isn't important. But that's not Barbara, and she isn't exactly the best at it… particularly not when Bruce is involved. "I never really got to know Zatanna all that well." In fact, she had forgotten that she had been a ward of Bruce until recently. She sighs heavily. "We're entering the soap opera side of this conversation." Those words are breathed out slowly, and she crosses her arms. So, she gets it over with, putting it all together in a quick stream of facts. "Before I came back to Gotham, I met John and we had a thing. Then I came back to the cowl, broke it off with him, and left New York City. I started to hear about him more, about the magic and the demon stuff, and when Alysia Yeoh started acting odd right after the demon invasion of New York subsided, I called him in. She was possessed, he exorcised her. And, well, John and I reconnected." Her frown redoubles suddenly. "I didn't know that Zatanna and John had been a thing… a longterm thing. It isn't like Tim shares these details about his teammates, and I don't even keep up with celebrities' love lives, and they're published in magazines. But Black Canary caught me up afterwards."

She holds up a hand. "I know Zatanna was your ward, and I never needed that from you, Bruce." She was never his ward, never someone he had to look after like he did Dick and Tim. That's a difference that has always been stark. "I'll make amends with Zatanna, try to fix it… but I don't think she really is all that keen on seeing me right now." And she's starting to understand why Bruce doesn't get himself entangled.

Only after all that — all that information that maybe Bruce isn't invested in caring about — does she get to the real question. The important one. She sets her jaw a bit. "Stolen power," she says simply. "Or, worse… bargained power. There's something or someone that gave the Whispers the power. I don't know who yet, nor do I know the cost."

* * *

Bruce puts a hand up. "Barbara, your love life should not effect the cave." It's a firm statement, one of a man who truly does not wish to involve himself in anything like a soap opera. He's a man careful to keep himself out of entanglements exactly like that.

"Zatanna wasn't my ward, she's the daughter of a close family friend. She had no idea about my identity until an unfortunate accident over a year ago. She is a valuable resource and one that should not be tossed aside due to personal problems. John Constantine is a man of dubious morality and loyalty. He certainly lacks any sort of regimen. That is the only thing I will say on the matter."

Pushing himself up, he looks at the cave, up toward the bats that restlessly fold and unfold their wings in a strange sort of sleep, then back to Barbara, "The work is what matters, Barbara. This is where I want your head to be. When we are in this cave, what matters most is what will get that done. Zatanna is someone we may use in the future to solve issues that may arise and I will expect you to work with her professionally. I assume that will not be a problem?"

And then, as if immediately dismissing the subject, now that his piece is said, he focuses on what he said he would: the problem at hand. "Power like that does not come without a price or without someone missing it. The next step should be finding where that sort of power is missing."

* * *

Barbara actually looks surprised at that. She had… expected something else, something more. But Bruce always grounds her back to the work, puts it back into the job. It steadies her, and has her breathe out a slow exhale that is accompanied by a serious nod. "Of course, Bruce. I'm… I'm sorry. I know that." In fact, she's pretty sure that those same words were said to her and Dick when that romance started up early on.

John and Bruce's way of speaking about each other is fascinating on its own. John is all obscenity and harsh comparisons. Bruce is firm and almost dismissive. That is the only thing I will say on the matter.
5rHer eyes flicker up to meet his when he looks away from the bats. She stands slowly, stepping forward. It brings her out of the slight slump she's taken, the slight change in her demeanor. The cowl settles back into place, her expression a bit more thoughtful. A bit more serious. "It won't be a problem."

When Bruce gets them back on topic, she nods steadily. "Yes, I agree."

* * *

Bruce gives Barbara a bit of a look, perhaps knowing or expecting that she thought there would be more to say about the subject. "There is no need to be sorry. We have work to do."

Meeting her eyes, he doesn't seem mad, nor does he seem upset. For him, as always, as he has said, is the work. "Good," he nods as she confirms that her personal life will not effect the Cave and its runnings. "Because, from what you've been reporting, it certainly does seem as if we have something on our hands. A gang getting this much power this suddenly certainly means that either they or a powerful being has a pointed look at Gotham. I would like to nip that in the bud before it comes to a place where it hits the papers. The Anti-Vigilante law is bad enough without the spreading worry from New York. What is your next step?"

* * *

"I did have a thought about that," Barbara says, bypassing any apologies for apologies or other oddities that sometimes affect the sensitive nature of Barbara Gordon. She steps forward, gesturing slightly. "I was down in the Underground, following a lead on these kids that have gone missing… just, walking off into the gloom and disappearing." She crosses her arms, but it isn't a defensive posture, but instead one of thoughtfulness.

"Crossed some shadow demon that had been luring them. I think that someone is down there, Bruce… I think someone is calling up magic down there, and I think it's connected to a serious force… like we're talking something that might not be human in nature at all." She drops her arms just so she can hook her hands at her hips.

"I think I might need someone to track it, and see if we can find the source. But I'm sure that it's in Gotham."

* * *

A being of this sort being in Gotham makes Bruce narrow his eyes. That's something Barbara could probably have guessed even before moving into the darkness. Sitting down, he starts to make some keystrokes on the keyboard in front of him. "I have certain checkpoints set up should that be the case. I can check what they might come up with, see if their activity has either shut them off or told them differently."

After those few taps at the keyboard, he shifts his chair again to Barbara. "Then we'll find them." He's firm in that. There is no quarter, no waver in his thoughts. He is absolute in his search for justice and his belief that he will find it. "If this thing is in Gotham, we will stop him. I will reach out to who I think may best serve the cause. If you know others, we should find all that we can on the matter."

He pauses. "When was your next meeting or foray into the sewers planned?"

* * *

Something strange just happened, and she can almost feel it. In fact, she rewinds it back in her mind a couple times before it hits her. Bruce just deferred to her, asked her opinion, and then made a choice that supported her chosen course. Surely he's done it before, but this was almost casual — quiet acceptance. A small smile twitches at her lips, and then she nods as she steps closer to Bruce at his computer.

"Or her. You really need to be more gender-neutral, Bruce."

Then she glances to him at his question, and that catches her for just a moment. The next words she says are firm, confident. "I'm getting a team together for the end of the week."

* * *

A look is given to Barbara. Perhaps he knows what she has discerned, perhaps he does not. Either way, it is met with absolutely and utterly no acknowledgement. Instead, in proper Bruce fashion, he continues as if nothing has changed. In his mind, it is likely it has not.

"Fine. Make sure you have someone on the team that knows how to deal with the problems this gang has already provided. And then assume they will be prepared for you. Your back ups need back ups." This is a thing he has been hammering home into Barbara's psyche for awhile.

"Just because you want to trust people doesn't mean that you can. Remember that." Because, really, Bruce is very good at the emotional pep talks. "Be prepared for the worst."

* * *

She catches the look, and just meets it with a stoic expression of her own. She can play this game, and have. There's no Robin to make her giggle at the way Bruce looks because Dick could never take a moment like this seriously — until he did, and then they were all being serious.

"Of course, Bruce. I will." Then she adjusts her stance a bit. "I want this to be a recon mission… I don't want to engage. They can prepare for we're, but I don't want them to know we're there. They move, Bruce… and quickly. If we don't get them this time, they'll go deeper."

She crosses her arms at her chest. "I want to gather intel and then strike after a perfected plan is in place."

* * *

As Barbara tells him about her plan, he nods.

He's not only looking at how Barbara is putting together this op, he is seeing what it means for Gotham. He looks to her. "We'll see." He looks to the screens and then back to her. "Reach out to the people you think will help you best. Build a team. Talk to the people you think will give you the best intel."

Sitting back down, he takes a breath. "Stop this the way you want to, or I will in the way that I do."

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