What a Game
Roleplaying Log: What a Game
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

With a new candidate in the mayoral race in Gotham, Lena Zelle decides to quietly try her hand at influencing politics.

Other Characters Referenced: Bruce Wayne
IC Date: July 03, 2019
IC Location: Gotham, NJ
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 21 Jul 2019 19:14
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits: Lincoln March by Barbara Gordon.
Associated Plots

It’s a dreary strip mall, really, but it’s in a part of Gotham that’s near enough the government center to be helpful. The campaign of new up-and-comer, Lincoln March, really wouldn’t have had to do much to secure a small space that was once occupied by a police recruiting office but that had sat vacant for nearly two years now.

The space is narrow but deep, and had just enough offices to suit the campaign’s purposes.

The bid for mayor was announced just yesterday, so the campaign workers are likely not expecting any visitors.

And yet… here one comes.

She’s wrapped in an electric blue dress that buttons down the front, and her brunette hair has been wrapped up into a loose chignon at the nape of her neck to reveal the pearl collar around her throat and the pearls that drip from her ears.

Lena Zelle looks around the space and then demurely coos into it with just enough volume to carry, “Hello! Anyone home?”


The windows are emblazoned with basic signs: LINCOLN MARCH, the change Gotham deserves. They are in deep blue and sharp white, making the letters stand out. They will one day get some kind of logo, but for now, it's all simple and straightforward — perhaps like the candidate himself.

Inside, there's a sense this used to be a store of some kind — the open space is occupied by tables and chairs that are being used as desks. The cashier desk has been adapted into a receptionist desk, and there's a bright and peppy brunette there who brightens at Lena Zelle as she comes in. "Oh! Hi!" So much pep. "Um, are you here to — "

"Did we decide on the red tie or the gray tie?" The voice comes from the back of this odd, open room, and there's Lincoln, stepping forward in a suit without a tie, and two options instead dangling from his hands. He looks up, blinks, and then smiles at the sight of Lena Zella. For a moment, he's stymied because both hands are occupied, and then he shifts both ties into one hand so he can step forward and offer Lena his hand.

"Hello, welcome. I'm Lincoln March."


The click-clack of a pair of stiletto spectators, white and navy, marks Lena’s deeper intrusion into the space. She extends her hand to meet his once it’s available, leaning in so as to keep some modicum of the distance between them. “Lena Zelle,” she greets as she patiently ignores the peppy receptionist as though she didn't exist, shaking only long enough to be polite and not long enough to be weird. “And I’ve come down to see what all of the fuss is about.”

She makes no secret of appraising the man before her with an assessor’s gaze of icy blue, only to look around the spartan space. “Latecomer and all,” she continues all the while, “That leaves you a little bit behind in the race, and us a little bit behind in figuring out if you’d fit in the wonderful world of Gotham politics.”

Her eyes return to him, and she bats her eyelashes and smiles. “I suppose you have a pamphlet, yes? With all the shiny parts of your positions highlighted, and all the things that would make us gasp and balk conveniently hidden away.”


The peppy brunette looks between Lincoln and Lena, and then just eases back into her work with the computer. She will occasionally flick a glance their way, but otherwise tries to mind her own business. Really.

For his part, Lincoln flashes a wide smile again. "Late to the race just means I have to make sure I make a good show in the first lap." Then he starts to chuckle, rubbing slightly at the edge of a tie in his hand. "Jess, when are we getting the pamphlet back from the printers?"

"Tomorrow, Mr. March," Jess offers up from her spot at the receptionist desk.

Her answer inspires a simple, almost apologetic smile from Lincoln as he looks back to Lena. "How about we sit down until Jess whisks me off to this press conference, and we can talk, Ms. Zelle. I'll give you the shiny and even the things that might make you balk."


“Oh, that would be lovely,” exclaims Zelle to March, still not looking in the receptionist’s direction or recognizing even her basic existence. Instead, she sets a gaze with a viper’s intensity on the political hopeful and refuses to yield it.

After a moment’s pause, she amends sweetly, “If it isn’t too much trouble.”

Another pause follows, but then also another amendment. “And if, in the end, I like what I hear, perhaps I can redeem the time I’ve stolen from your time to prepare.” It’s a promise made in a murmur as the woman closes in, juuuuust on the inside of ‘a little close’.


That viper's focus does not seem to dissuade March, who's smile remains light and easy as he turns sideways, and invites Ms. Zelle deeper into the office space that they have converted. There's not many people around — some interns that are merrily seeing to the phones which are not ringing yet. There is one young man who is working at the computer console he's at, and when March walks past with Lena, he looks up. "Almost got the social media profiles done," he reports, stopping once he takes in Lena. His throat bobbles a bit, and then he nods politely with an almost sheepish smile.

March just nods. "Good job, Tyler."

Then March sees Lena into what has been turned into his own conference space — a simple table surrounded by equally simple chairs. He invites Lena into one. "I came to Gotham just last year. What interests me is how many want to see something better rise from Gotham, but often are weighed down by what is obviously an on-going corrupt system. I've seen it before, and I'm sure that I'll see it again, but it does not seem to be what most people want for Gotham. I think I can change that."


Lena follows March with her widely swaying step atop her staggering heels, being certain to offer Tyler a secretive little wink and a smile of similar mischief contained as she goes by.

By the time that she gets to the conference space, however, the look has settled back into one of a more professional ilk. She looks around the space that she’s invited into, her pale gaze a shrewd and calculating one. She looks for a place to sit that sets her back towards a corner and her face towards the door, then she settles herself upon it with a crossing of her legs that is just a little more for show than is strictly necessary.

“I don’t know that people want it for Gotham,” she concedes, “but I think they certainly accept that has been a price to pay for doing in Gotham for as long as we can remember. Politicians are just thieves of a different kind, and they rob the people of Gotham in their taxes.

Of which Lena has made very certain that her accountant has made look entirely proper.

“So, tell me, Mister March. What do you intend to change? Give me the right answer, and I’ll throw you your first fundraiser if you’d let me. I have a club that I believe would be perfect for it.”


March settles into a chair, but only after he's seen to hers. He carefully sets down his ties, knowing that they are still a looming decision he has to make. He looks over toward Lena now that they've settled in. "When that's been your reality for so long, you assume that's all there is." Lincoln's voice holds a confident, almost fevered edge to it. But then he shakes his head, raising his hand. "That is what I want to see carefully assessed." Which means he believes there should be taxes, but there are plenty of unsavory ways they are defined, collected, and used.

When Lena makes the offer to support his first fundraiser, his brows arch slightly before he straightens up a bit, folding his hands in front of him on the conference table. "Gotham is so deeply-steeped in bowing to the mobs, and gangs, and even the vigilantes, they have lost the ability to put the city's needs first. Now, I do not want to see vigilantes continue to rule the streets of Gotham by night. They use fear to dissuade crime, but often times they are merely stopping a single crime from happening then actually culling crime from the city."

He gestures slightly, and there's a half-shrug there. "But I do not believe that the anti-vigilantism law does anything but turns GCPD and the vigilante into enemies, and one day, that will result in a headline nobody wants to see," as he says this next line, he raises his hand to show each syllable in a quick punch. "'Batman Kills Cop,' or worse, 'Innocents Hurt in Conflict Between Police and Vigilantes.'"

Now March settles back into his forearms, finds still threaded together in front of him. "I want to see that there is no need for these vigilantes to continue to be the fearmongering solution to crime. I want to see that they are restricted, licensed, and monitored. There's no getting rid of them, but they should be law-abiding."


That draws Lena’s eyebrow upwards. “Soooooooo,” she starts, allowing her lips to be drawn into a perfect carmine ‘o’. “What I hear you saying is that you intend to let there be even more vigilantes?”

She leans back in her chair and allows her one arm to drape across a white clutch purse that she sets in her lap as she gestures mildly with the other. “I mean, because that requires tax money, too. Registeringing. Monitoring. And it’s not like they’re not used to breaking the law. Is it really that far of a stretch to think that they… just won’t if they don’t want to? You just have to look at New York, where they can’t even get all of the mutants to register, and they can figure that out with a blood test! Expecting someone to say, ‘oh, yes! I fought the Penguin on Saturday night!’, I would imagine would be a skosh more difficult.” She draws her two fingers up to indicate that miniscule amount.

“Personally,” she continues, “If you’re going to go to all the effort, I say you spend the money making their lives worse. Because a registration card sure as hell isn’t going to keep them from throwing the Riddler through my business’s window or smashing my parked car with their rocket-powered scooter or whatever it is they take out onto the street that night.”

“I don’t think anti-vigilante laws are the problem. I think the problem is that they don’t get enough money behind them. Enough public campaigning to turn Joe the Plumber’s frustration into a war cry.”

“In short,” she says at last, “they don’t work because Gotham hasn’t really wanted them to. Not really.

She studies the manicure of her floating hand. “It seems to me, that you could maybe change that.”


March raises both hands, holding out his palms toward her as his head shakes. "No, Ms. Zelle. The last thing Gotham needs is more vigilante justice, but what it does need is actual justice." Then his head tilts a bit, listening instead of further interrupting. He steeples his fingers together, elbows resting on the arms of his chair. His expression stays thoughtful, opened. Then he rocks forward, gesturing out to Lena Zelle.

"Ms. Zelle, you have good points… good perspectives. And you're right that there is a lot about Gotham that is for show, and most of it is at the expense of many of Gotham's citizens." He offers her an easy smile. "Analyzing the financials of the city is extremely important to knowing how much money can be put into stopping the vigilantes in Gotham. But here's what I challenge you to consider — "

He gestures with both hands a bit wide. "Bounty hunters are not considered to be above the law. They are sanctioned to apprehend those with actual warrants issued by the courts. What the vigilantes are doing is assuming that they are above the entire justice system. Anti-Vigilante laws mean nothing to them because they have already operated above the law. You're right that we must make legislation that actually does something to stop the Batman and his vigilantes from ruling the city with fear."

Lincoln's smile is tight. "And I do not want my citizens to be afraid."


Lena studies her manicure up to the last, until something she hears brings her pale gaze sharply up to pin itself on the political hopeful. She studies him with an intensity as though she would paint him, and then a small, Mona Lisa smile overtakes her lips.

“It's a nice string of words, isn't it? A wonderful feel. My citizens.

A hand stretches out, extending itself towards March once more.

“Well, Mister March, if you can promise to do your best to get rid of those awful vigilantes and not raise the taxes on my bar and sales in the process, you have yourself an official fundraiser in a hurry.” She shrugs, even with her hand still outstretched, leaning in over it a little in order to whisper with her voice seductive and low: “I mean, who doesn't like a party?”


"I want what's best for Gotham," March says in earnest, though he's still wearing a broad smile that she inspired. My Citizens. It does have a nice ring to it. "And making sure that GCPD and the judiciary system of Gotham City is where law and order occurs is the best for Gotham."

When she leans, he does, too. It's instinctive, perhaps even a bit seductive in its own right. She outstretches a hand, and he takes it in his surprisingly immaculate grip. His smile widens a bit more and he nods. "I promise not to disappoint you, Ms. Zelle. You may very well be my first ally in this."

He spins his words well. In just a few short days, he will be telling Bruce Wayne a slightly different story — but that's the game, isn't it? And what a game.

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