Owl Moon: Robinson Park
Roleplaying Log: Owl Moon: Robinson Park
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

As the Owl Moon shines its light on Robinson Park, Red Robin, Batgirl, and Zatanna Zatara battle against a group of Talons.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: August 20, 2019
IC Location: Robinson Park, Gotham City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 20 Aug 2019 21:39
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
NPC & GM Credits: Barbara Gordon
Associated Plots

High above Gotham City, a full moon washes the city in monochrome. It has been a quiet night, almost like a lull. Robison Park — usually an active patrol for those who watch over Gotham from the shadows — sits in dark silence save for the quiet late summer thrum of crickets and mosquitos. The reservoir is almost mirror smooth, reflecting only the moon. After all, in Gotham City, there's very few stars to see.

Batgirl is perched in a tree, leaning her back into the rough trunk with her cape draped around her knees. She has her eyes moving over the park, trying to spot the usual traffic of brave citizens and the skulking shadows that track after them. But, there's almost no one.

"Yeah, this isn't creepy or anything," she says more or less to herself despite the Bat Family comms being open. She shifts slightly on the branch, her boots keeping her neatly balanced. She keeps her eyes open as she scans over the dark lawn.

It has been almost an hour since the alert went out — there had been movements in the underground around the Owl Nest that Impulse had found while running around the sewers. Something triggered the sensors — in fact, almost three dozen things did. ALTHENE tracked their movements as best the AI could, and at least ten of those blips were headed north from Old Gotham — and Robinson Park seemed to be the terrain they chose to transverse toward Uptown.

"I'm not seeing anything yet," she says on her comms to Red Robin and Zatanna Zatara. "But these things move fast."

* * *

Gotham being Gotham, there's really only one kind of summer weather: Muggy.

The air was thick and cloying with humidity, unpleasant even at night, though at least with the sun down the temperature was something approaching tolerable. It wasn't the kind of night you'd actually want to be out in, but of course that didn't stop some people. Some people had extremely pressing reasons to be out and about, after all. Things to do, places to be. The occasional literal or metaphorical gun to their head to get things accomplished.

And other people had hi-tech superhero costumes that were climate controlled.

That's probably the only reason Red Robin can stand to be out dressed the way he is, in that heavy cape and cowl. It's all leather and kevlar, far more fearsome-looking than anything he wore as the Boy Wonder, or even the more lightweight suit he uses as part of the Titans: Black and red and those featureless white lenses over his eyes, systematically blunting all signs of humanity except for his mouth and the space around it. The profile is, of course, rather like that of the Bat Himself, just minus the ears.

This might be intentional.

Though not intentional by the young man wearing the suit: He didn't design it in the first place.

With the cape draped around him, all the red and yellow colouring is swallowed by black, making it easier to hide, to skulk.

"Little late for them to be looking to cool down at the reservoir," the Red Knight comments, though of course he's keeping an eye out himself, his suit's onboard systems cycling through different visual enhancements to try and pick anything out.

* * *

Zatanna Zatara is cheating.

When it comes to operations, she normally does; as Tim had told her before, only fools fight fair and the only reason why either of her companions can determine that she is present is due to the quiet breath that filters through her comm now and then, and the infrared capabilities of their masks - because being part of the Bat Family, of course they have those. She's somewhere near Red Robin - always behind and to the side of him and camouflaged by magic, in case she needs to reach him, or the other way around.

For one who can alter the fabric of reality to her very whim, the latter happens more often than she would like, especially against the weirdness of Gotham.

Underneath the rippling film of magic in which she has encased herself, she's dressed in her own costume - an overlarge cowl that pulls over her masked features, violet piping the predominantly black outfit over the split ends of the belted tunic and thigh-high boots. A little skimpier than she would like - Kory had a hand in it after all - but against Gotham's unforgiving humidity, it's almost a comfort.

"Now that you've said that, something's definitely happening now," she quips through her earpiece. "Not even I can alter Murphy's Law."

* * *

"Never too late for the last swim of the summer," Batgirl offers up as she keeps to her perch. She folds an arm lazily across her knee as one leg drapes out of the branch, but not far enough down to escape the canopy. Her yellow boot sways slowly. ALTHENE does her part, keeping the Bat in-the-know as the night lulls on. The AI doesn't interrupt the not-quite-banter of the not-quite-siblings.

When Zatanna joins in, Batgirl huffs out a short laugh. "How does Murphy's Law work when you invoke Murphy's Law? Double-negative?" There would be more to say, but then —

"We have sightings," ALTHENE reports in that soft, maternal voice. "There are twelve individual reports coming in throughout Downtown and Midtown. Birds and Knights are being dispatched."

Batgirl is starting to draw out of her lazy lean against the trunk, pulling herself into a crouch on the branch, just as something goes darting under her tree, dressed in a thick body suit. "I have one," she reports under her breath.

It seems to be flying across the ground, but that is just the graceful way it sprints out of the trees where Batgirl thought she had been hiding, and yet aware, and into the open lawn between the trees and the near-by fountain. Then there are five more shadows, darting and moving into sight. How exactly they just appeared is going to be the mystery of the moment, but there they are — six Talons suddenly flocking across this open patch of Robinson Park.

* * *

"Let's just hope they're not skinny-dipping, or this could get awkward real fast."

It was tempting to deploy some extra bat-drones of his own, Red Robin having inherited some of his mentor's tendency towards not trusting anything he hadn't built and deployed himself, but adding that on top of Batgirl's own information-gathering system might make it easier for one or both to be detected. Instead, he continues to rely on his onboards - including the thermal sensors that let him know where Zatanna is, although knowing him he can probably also tell by her breathing and other minor movements - while letting Barbara handle overwatch, as it were.

Besides, soon enough there's more immediate things to worry about, six dangerous Talons moving… Awfully out in the open, actually.

"Feels like bait," the Red Knight says, eyes narrowing behind those lenses. "Zatanna, Batgirl, stay under cover." Because he is, of course, going to take what he perceives as the bait, with that particular recklessness that seems to run in the Family.

He doesn't just jump out, though. That would be stupid.

No, first he throws a trio of small metallic discs, each about the size of a silver dollar, at the group of Talons. As opening gambits go it doesn't seem like much - until each one lets off an electric charge aimed to stun anyone within ten feet.

And then he jumps out, armed with his staff, which blurs as he swings it at the nearest Talon's head.

* * *

"Good question. Technically I did the invoking though, so you should probably be safe? Just means you're hastening things along for the rest of us trying not to sweat in this weather. You'd think that with all the crazy technology that gets developed here…" Looking at you, Bruce. "…that they'd find some way to aircondition the entire city."

Zatanna falls silent, though, when ALTHENE provides its report. Birds and Knights are being dispatched, it says. There's a glance down at herself with a frown, wondering how she rates. Is she a bird? A knight? She clearly considers herself an entirely different class. Those ponderings end up becoming cut short, though, at the sight of half a dozen Talons running across the park.

"I wonder where they're going," she murmurs. "Should we engage or follow? Following might yield more answers, yeah?"

And then there's Tim, already moving to engage and spring the trap, if there is one.

"…you never let me have any fun," Zatanna grouses at Red Robin, though her tone is decidedly playful.

* * *

Batgirl tumbles backwards off the branch, landing in a low crouch at the roots of the large tree. At Tim's words, she stays low against the base of the tree where she just looks like a lump of shadow under the full moon. "Got it, Red."

She tracks the movements of the Talons. It is impossible not to notice how smooth the six of them move; it is also striking how the identical the six seem. They are all on the smaller size compared to the descriptions of the Talons that hit Jim Gordon's house. They are acrobatic, seemingly bypassing obstacles.

Then there's Red Robin's first play. The charges zap out, and the first three racing across the lawn stumble, collapsing into somersaults across the black lawn; it's the three behind that just leap, vaulting off the curled backs of the first three Talons. Their arms snap open, and the webbing between their wrists and hips are like gliders that cause them to literally soar for several feet before they tuck their arms into a tumble that has all three rising to their feet from a casual crouch; their heads are now turned toward Red Robin and where the two others stay hidden.

Something in that stare prompts Babs to murmur through the comms, "Do they see us?" Her head turns toward Zatanna while staying in the shadows. Thens he's looking back toward the landed Talons.

They all strike a rather owlish pose — masked in thick body suits accented with winged brows above their goggled eyes; their talon-tipped fingers curl into the grass, and one reaches for a knife out of the crisscrossing bandoliers at its chest just as Red Robin attacks the three who had been stunned by the trap.

Robin's staff darts out, and a clawed hand reaches up to grab it several inches above its butt. The Talon is still hunkered low to the ground, and so it turns its face up to Tim just as the moon hits the lenses of its goggled eyes. "Red Robin," its voice intones, and then it yanks hard on the staff, trying to pull Tim off his feet.

* * *

It's certainly eerie to watch, though fascinating in its way. The coordination in action, the sameness as the Talons prove to be birds of a feather rather than looking much like disparate individuals. Though, he supposes that's probably the point: The anonymity makes them useful outside of their current attire. Their uniformity reinforces group cohesion, reduces individuality.

Red Robin has to admit, at least privately, that he kind of admires it. Though maybe that's because leading the Titans is more like herding cats than anything else. Except the cats all have superpowers.

The split in the group of Talons caused by the taser gadgets is a good start, but of course he has to capitalise on it while also not letting the other three get a jump on him. Their sensible caution, leaping forward to create distance, provides a potential opening.

Except that his staff gets caught. Featureless eyes meet featureless eyes, the white lenses of his cowl reflecting in the moonlit glare of the Talon's goggles.

Red Robin, it says, recognising him. Not really ideal.

"You forgot the 'yum~,'" the Red Knight retorts (it's possible Spider-Man has been a bad influence on him, or is it Nightwing's fault?) as he's yanked forward, pulled what should be off-balance, except that he moves with it, a neural impulse transmitted through his suit giving the staff a simple command.

Lightning dances over the weapon as the internal capacitors deliver another shock, because of course the staff is booby trapped.

The flip, like a no-hands cartwheel, is controlled rather than helpless, the detective reorienting himself in the air, palming something from his utility belt on the way.

"So, what's the deal, you guys just out for a walk in the park? Any, I dunno, evil plans you wanna monologue about?"

* * *

"I don't think so," Zatanna murmurs to Batgirl, leaping off her perch and drifting in a controlled drop from where she has been hiding, to land somewhere in the vicinity of Red Robin and in the shadows of the tree. She remains within the cover of darkness, though her magic is able to hold there, at least - she's still invisible to the naked eye.

"But then again, I've been wrong before."

In many ways, it's like watching a Cirque du Soleil performance, only a touch more sinister. The absolute synchronization that the Talons demonstrate even in a battle situation is so perfect to the point of it being disconcerting. A veteran of many stage performances, she can't help but pick it apart, only to find that the coordination is absolutely flawless. If nothing else, it tells her much about what Red Robin is facing.

And while she trusts him to make fools of a group of half-dozen faceless troublemakers, she doesn't risk anything going wrong either, so she slides into interception distance, a spell already constructed somewhere in the back of her mind, just in case things go terribly wrong.

She isn't ruling anything out, in this case. All the while, she listens intently at what the Talons might deign to reply.

* * *

The Talon tilts its head slightly to one side at Tim's quip, as if trying to understand it in that split second before the staff sparks with that zap. The voltage travels up the staff, clawing its way across the clawed gauntlet. It staggers back, and it tries to let go even while the electric shock causes its joints to lock with the spasm. Even while one limb is locked, the Talon arches onto the balls of its feet as it brings down its other hand in attempt to rake its claws across Robin's arm.

And that's just the one. The other two are slowly getting back to their feet after that first shock, and that gives Red Robin two more to tango with. They leap toward him —

"Crap!" That's right. A year hanging around Frank Castle compounded with a few months of a failed romance with John Constantine, and Babs still uses words like 'crap.' "Zee! I got the other three!" Ha. But, she's on the move, but not toward the three engaged with Tim. She launches past his little friendship group and instead is on a sprinting course for the other three.

Even as she runs, she's loosening a bola from her belt, beginning to spin it up. She gets within thirty feet of the three and lets one loose with whoosh, and it catches up one around the gauntlet. The moment the cord twists twice, the weighted balls explode with sharp, chemical light as the flash bangs explode. It at least staggers the Talon as Barbara charges forward.

* * *

In the past several years, Red Robin has fought goons aplenty. The poor bastards in themed costumes who wind up doing the dirty work of the Joker, or the Riddler, or Two-Face; ninjas, fanatical killers indoctrinated by Ra's al Ghul, Cold Flame cultists, all sorts of things.

But the Talons are different. There's an element of dark reflection there, but maybe it's the shared bird connection. Something he can't quite put a finger on, right now.

But the Talon's talons do bite.

Not deeply, thanks to the layers of armor and the awkwardness of the positioning, but they still shred into the leather outer layer, still pierce slightly through the underlayers of nanoweave armor and the compression layer underneath that.

Batgirl makes her move, which is honestly probably for the best, as Red Robin sees two of the Talons leaping at him. One of his fists clenches, and there's a quiet, nearly imperceptible cracking sound, before he whips that hand out, throwing a yellow disc (it has the Red Robin bird's head logo on it) at one of the assassins. What's very noticeable is that despite the muggy heat, the space around that little disc is cold… And getting colder, as the chemicals inside mix, causing an increasingly fast cryonic reaction that seeks to turn the moisture in the air around the Talon into ice: A little 'borrowed' Fries tech. He's still moving as he throws it, of course, twisting around - letting his cape fan out, flourish, blocking sight - so that he can aim a grapple gun at the foot of the other Talon, to reel that limb in faster than the controlled leap his assailant was intending, so he can catch the Talon with a cheap shot on the way down.

"Zee, anything you've got up your sleeve might be a good idea right now."

* * *

Honestly, all things considering, 'crap' isn't all that bad of a word to bandy around in this situation.

Zatanna nearly cries out Red Robin's actual name in warning, but manages to catch herself before she says it. With the jig up and Batgirl joining the fray, she is forced to unravel the camouflage spell leaving her out of sight, melting out of the shadows like some kind of beautiful, but terrible nightmare with her oversized cowl and her featureless, masked eyes peering out from underneath its shadow. Pale hands and black-lacquered fingernails extend forward even as the call to assist comes through her earpiece.

With one Talon flashbanged by the red-haired Bat, and the other lasso'd by the bird, she turns her attention to the third. The whispered spell shoots through the ether, reality bending to her whims; the Talon's boots are suddenly transmuted to heavy blocks of concrete, which, if successful, will savagely drag him back down to the ground and pin him in place if he tries to leap further into the fight.

"Everyone gets a free shot," she jests through the earpiece, leaving for either ninja to clock the third Talon into unconsciousness, should they choose. But there are three more and she turns her attention to the other ones, just in case they have any grand ideas that she'd happily stomp over.

* * *

The talons catch, and that's enough to twist the nimble assassin toward Red Robin in an effort to drive forward with another fistful of metal. But then that flying disk is launched, and the closest Talon ducks as if anticipating it. This just means that it catches into the chest of the second of the three Talons amassing on Tim. It imbeds itself just enough. It does its job, and the Talon slows before it tumbles. The cold has a strange effect, and the acrobatic body collapses down onto the lawn.

The aimed grapple gun hits its mark, and the assassin screams out a cry that sounds far too feral for the assumed human beneath the cloaked garb. It stumbles forward, grabbing for Tim even as it hits the ground, forced to the ground with the punch.

Goggled eyes turn toward Zatanna of the third still standing, and is prepared to make a leaping move only to find itself weighed to the ground with perfectly poured cement boots. It looks down, and then up at Zatanna; even masked, the frustration radiates from its body just before it twists, then launches knives at the Magician that cut through the air with shocking precision, even while it can no longer move.

In the blackness, Batgirl is sweeping her leg under the feet of the stunned Talon, only to sweep at air as it leaps over her limb. She twists sharply, getting herself to her feet to take a foot to the chest, hitting the ground on her back with a whoosh of breath. It takes her just a heartbeat to kip-up, only to almost take a knife to the chest. She grabs its wrist, and the bladed batarang is imbedded in the Talon's left side before she can think twice.

To the south, there's the sounds of sirens and smoke begins to pass over the moon from what must be a fire in Old Gotham's own center.

* * *

The second set of claws are less successful than the first; sparks fly as they scrape against the short 'fins' on Red Robin's wrist, which prove as useful against these smaller blades as they do against swords and knives. There's no time to really consider the effectiveness of the freezing ice on the second Talon, as Red Robin is kept otherwise preoccupied for the moment, bringing the third assailant down out of the air. That Talon makes another grab for the vigilante as he goes down, and the never-still figure in red and black slips around to instead reach for the Talon's wrist, to give it a sharp, arm-wrenching twist before bringing his boot down in a rough stomp at that shoulder.

Most people, even super assassins, tend to stop fighting once you pull their arm out of its socket, after all. Even if they stay conscious!

But he picks up the sound of the sirens immediately. The Nest's own base computer, hooked into Gotham City's emergency services, intrudes into his augmented reality HUD with the dispatch information.

"What's going on?" he demands of the first, electrified Talon. "Start talking."

Honestly, he's not as good at this part as Batman is.

* * *

As knives fly out of the Talon she's tangoing with, Zatanna's eyes widen. One of them manages to slice into her arm just as she calls up a magical barrier to deflect the rest, but with the half-dozen Talons neutralized, she is left wincing, closing her pale fingers over her limb to staunch the bleeding. She then fires another spell in an attempt to knock the concreted Talon unconscious.

"All in night's work," the magician murmurs quietly. "You alright, Batgirl? Red?" Concern fills her ice-blue eyes as they gravitate to both, but linger on the young man who is proceeding to quickly interrogate the Talon in his grasp.

Moving over, she twirls a finger in the air and points towards the electrified person in Red Robin's grasp. "Gninnalp si puorg ruoy tahw Nibor Der llet!"

Tell Red Robin what your group is planning!

Zatanna Zatara cheats. After all, only fools fight fair.

* * *

The twist is concluded with a crunching pop, and the Talon's whole body spasms before it goes limp. If Red Robin lets it fall, it collapses onto the lawn to join the frozen first. Its claws curl into the dirt, dragging marks down along the grass as if it might pull itself upright again, only to collapse back.

Batgirl is looking down at the Talon at her feet, and she looks puzzled almost. Something is worrying her brows, tightening her mouth. But then she is looking up just in time to hear the magic, and see the electrified Talon at Red Robin's feet. "They don't talk mu—"

This one seethes out a cold, rattling breath, "To take this city down… pillar by pillar. Pillar… by… pillar. We are already striking. This… was just the first step."

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