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

The Talons strike all over Old Gotham.

Other Characters Referenced: Red Robin, Zatanna Zatara
IC Date: August 20, 2019
IC Location: Cathedral Square, Gotham City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 21 Aug 2019 05:21
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
NPC & GM Credits: Barbara Gordon
Associated Plots

"And now we go to Willard Taft for tonight's weather," says a cheerful blonde, smiling into the camera just before she pivots, glancing toward the other side of the studio. The camera changes over to an aging man with a laurel of white hair crowning his head and an easy, grandfatherly smile.

"Thanks, Cat." He steps aside, gesturing to the weather map of the East Coast behind him. "I have good news for Gotham City — the last of the storm-clouds have finally passed and we're expecting picture perfect skies tonight. Cloudcover will be minimal, giving all of Gotham's lovable luna-tics a clear view of the full moon."


The night had started with a lull — no sirens, no cries for help, no sounds of violence. Darkness fell, and the moon had been a strong beacon of light against the night. That quiet disquiet stretched on for hours until it broke with the first warning that the Talons had woken. ALTHENE had picked up the Talons on the motion-sensitive cameras the Birds had put in place after finding the Owl's Nest in the sewers. Two dozen Talons were on the move, and the Gotham Knights and Birds of Prey were alerted.

They moved quickly, spreading out throughout Old Gotham with another half-dozen heading north into Midtown through the Narrows. If Lincoln March had been individual who connected the targets a week ago, March is just one of the threads in the tapestry tonight as the Talons strike out against the pillars of Gotham City, setting their sights on places of law, order and economy — the courthouse, GCPD headquarters, and the stock exchange. Already, a half-dozen dead, but they feel like afterthoughts to the attack — collateral damage, not targets themselves.

Just as the city began to reel by the Talon's strike, a beacon ignited into the skies, originating at the rooftops of GCPD headquarters. For years, that beacon was the signal to the city that the Bats were protecting them. But, tonight, instead of the silhouette of a bat cast against the wisps of clouds, the visage of an owl looks down over the city.

Now, the Talons are on the move, withdrawing from their fights to begin their flight back into the heart of the city, toward where the condemned Gotham Cathedrals stands just on the outskirts of the graveyard. The vigilantes of Gotham City are on their heels, chasing them to their nests, and all converging into the pedestrian courtyard outside the cathedral.

* * *

For someone who had been looking for something tangible to sink proverbial teeth into it's hard to go wrong with Gotham City at night. It's been one hell of a week for Domino and she had been looking to cut loose in a somewhat more self-destructive measure than the usual affair. Having bumped into one of the Talons had been just the ticket.

That was until she discovered that this Talon was practicing the Buddy System.

She had exchanged some hits with the first one, a couple blunt impacts and some bullet wounds versus some solid claw slashes which ate right through the albino's lighter armor. Then the second had come out of nowhere and driven some more of those claws deep into her left shoulder and upper arm before throwing her into the side of a car.

It had only been a matter of luck that a street light came crashing down and smacked the second one a good hit on their escape. Now all three of them are injured as the pursuit heads deeper into the city.

"On the asses of two of these freaks..are they runnin' a full amphetamine diet or something?!"

As the two Talons nimbly leap over a chainlink fence Domino snap-shoots the lock off of the gate and shoulder-checks her way on past, stumbling with a grunt. "They're..Rrgh! They're losin' me. -Damn- I really hate these guys…"

* * *

When one has wings, real or constructed, the preferred mode of travel is all about the flight.

That's where Kendra Saunders aka Hawkgirl can be found.

With the moon as bright as it is her winged silhouette might be seen for a few seconds as the woman flies high, before she begins to bleed altitude.

"Hey." Comes her voice over the BoP channel, "I don't know if you guys can see it -" They probably can, "- But there's some crazy owl symbol being flashed in the sky."

And while her gaze turns curiously to that image of an owl it's only momentarily, as below her query still runs.

There's two of them, both Talon agents look rough around the edges and if Hawkgirl was on the ground she too would look a little worse for wear.

The armored portions of her costume have many dings and dents, and even her wings look a little ruffled. There are definitely some primaries that are going to need straightened after all of this is said and done.

"Chasing two across the rooftops." Comes her final update as she tucks her wings close and wings her way quickly above the rooftops.

It's only as Domino's voice echoes back at her that Kendra says, "Yeah can't say I'm feeling the love with them. Do you need a lift? I can come grab you."

* * *

Gotham traffic is the worst. After GAARD informed him that their motion sensors in the sewers had caught traces of Talons, Frank geared up and started driving south. He's been following the fights that erupted next as best as he can through the vOS comm system, his hands tightening on the wheel of the van as drivers just do not get that he needs to be in Gotham two hours ago. That was bad enough, but actually in the city? When mysterious figures are attacking targets scattered around the city? Frank spent several precious minutes at a dead stop before he pulled the van under a bridge, secured it, and stole a motorcycle. It's still slower than he would like, but at least it's not the kind of slow that turns the anger flickering in his belly into a roaring inferno. At least the police are all busy, so there's no one to stop The Punisher as he rides between stopped cars, the skull-painted vest blatantly shown beneath the flapping trenchcoat and a shotgun slung across his back. It's not subtle, but at least it's relatively fast. His 'borrowed' white helmet keeps the wind noise from his transmission as he trusts GAARD and ALTHENE to distribute the words to Birds and Knights as needed, "Castle closing on Cathedral Square. Pretty sure that's supposed to be a Bat," he responds to Kendra. Tires chirp as he cuts around a stationary panel van, eyeing it suspiciously as he whips past, "Call it one minute out. Where can I catch 'em, Patch?"

* * *

«"Just taking an absolutely wild stab in the dark here—"»

*CRACK*

*CRASH*

"gnuh!"

«"—but I think you found your targets."»

This brief and furious exchange signals the dark silhouette of one Batwoman flying like an inky smear of blacks and reds through the night sky before formally introducing the nearby HVAC unit to her back. She slumps, a little wet line of red decorating the snow white of her jaw. She wipes it away with a snarl at her bloodied scarlet lips.

"Thanks," she offers to the distinctly British voice on the other end of the line. "I think I might have noticed."

The ache of bruised, possibly cracked 6th through 8th ribs means she is employing the fine art of sarcasm here.

Probably.

It hasn't been that long since Kate Kane took to the rooftops of Gotham tonight, looking for a mark that has, until recently, been so elusive to as only be considered a children's tale. She remembers her mother telling her and her sister the nursery rhyme. She'd always get the most menacing kind of voice at the end, like a nasty monster's snarl:

Speak not a whispered word about them, or they'll send the Talon for your head!

It always got her and Elizabeth to eat their vegetables. At least eighty percent of the time. And now?

Now she's fighting the bogeymen who made her eat vegetables.

"What am I even doing with my life?"

The acerbic lament is accompanied by a restrained grunt as Batwoman drags herself back up onto her feet, cape pooling on the rooftop grounds. The exchange was brief, but violent. Two of them. Not great odds. It felt like punching a cement wall. And then getting -punched- by one. Nothing that dense should be that flexible.

She feels making a joke about Nightwing might be appropriate here, but the pain compels her not to.

«"You're fighting the good fight, so I don't have to. Cheers for that, by the way. Absolutely loving sitting at a chair eating Pringles while you find new and exciting ways to get yourself murdered,"» Julia Pennyworth chimes in, helpfully. Despite herself, Kate smiles. It hurts to even do that. But she got in her licks, too. One of them has to have a compromised hamstring, they couldn't get very far very fast. She thinks. She hopes. Are these people even human?

And also…

"Just please tell me you've got those tracers up and running."

«"Yep. Sending the tracking data your way… now."»

"Finally earning those Pringles, Tuxedo-One."

«"Ha. Ha."»

And off bolts Batwoman into the night, hot on the heel of her targets. Trying not to think of nursery rhymes and family.

The pain helps. Thanks, ribs.

* * *

And at Cathedral Square…

omg prof wher r u

A nearly finished can of cola in one hand, phone in the other as his thumb manuevers across the screen, Ronald "Ronnie" Raymond stands over by a lamppost, frowning as he waits for a response, which when it comes to the Professor, always takes forever for the man's insistance in texting with complete sentences. He sighs and takes another swig, shaking the can before crushing it and giving it a glorious toss…that has it sail completely over the waste receptacle. Meh. It's no football.

As if it's the most laborious thing the college student walks over to the clumsy aluminum to properly dispose of it. He blinks as passers-by point skyward and so turns to look as well, brow furrowing at the unusual symbol projected upon the gradually thinning overcast sky. "What the… That…doesn't look right."

Ronnie lifts his phone to snap a picture, then swipes open the text that finally comes through. "Man, he's still at the bookstore? What time does that thing even close?" He gives the nearby trash bin a half-hearted kick with the toe of a sneaker, shoving his hands and phone into the pockets of his hoodie.

* * *

Batman is in none of those places. Places of order, places of law, places of economy, they are all integral too Gotham. Wayne Industries is not exactly like those.. They are certainly a part of the city, though and with the deep dive research, the man in bat has narrowed down what Barbara called a nest on the 13th floor of Wayne Tower. The main thing is to have found it. A fight ensues, of course.

Yada yada yada. Pow! Oof! Boff!

Eventually, the Batman is through the window of Wayne Tower. With a crash of glass and the zip of line to swing him to safety, Batman is across the street just in time to see the Bat Signal light up to turn into…the Owl Signal.

A very tight line of his lips crosses. His main instinct is to head right for the precinct until he hears the chatter about where others are meeting up with others in pursuit.

Two Talons attempt to cross the wire Batman secured and he quickly detaches it. One falls, the other narrows in pursuit as he leaps across rooftops, cape fluttering in the breeze.

* * *

Cathedral Square is a pylon-surrounded pedestrian plaza of old, weathered stone. Trees are carefully enclosed in beds, and therefore a little stunted from their glorious heights. There are scattered benches, and a pathway of darker gray stones that lead to the forsaken cathedral — long ago condemned, but still standing under the longstanding promise of redemption.

The two Talons being chased by Domino sprint in from the west, darting across the open terrain with a gliding gait that could easily be mistaken for flight. One dribbles blood across the cobbles in an easy to track path, while the other has its arm hanging uselessly against its side. Male, female, is impossible to really decide on despite one being more petite than the other. One turns its goggled eyes up to the open skies where the moon with its gossamer-scattering of clouds still reflecting the hard visage of an owl down over the city.

The other begin to amass, some not being chased by vigilantes. One sails right over Ronnie's head, landing in a crouch just ten feet ahead of him. It looks over its shoulder at him, those goggled eyes catching the moonlight briefly before darkening once more as it whips its head back upward. This is in time for two more assassins to vault off the rooftops, flipping to the ground with the silhouette of Hawkgirl arching into sight.

Another, two more, and three, and now the Square is being occupied by a dozen assassins in various states of injury and bloodshed. They are moving toward the center, as if the Bats and Birds are managing to cower them into a tight cluster, but these cornered Owls look more than ready to engage.

On the comms, Batgirl's voice cuts in, "En route from Robinson Park. We've got six down — ish. Down-ish. Red Robin and Z.Z. are holding them at the park. I'm on my way, but I think I've got one on my tail." Which isn't exactly the same arrangement as the others.

* * *

The offer for an aerial retrieval is enough to have Domino reflexively gritting her teeth. She's not had the best of luck in dealing with winged individuals lately, buuut if it's the difference between letting these two get the drop on her then escaping or not, well… No way in Hell they're getting away from her.

"Copy that, up there. Just follow the trail of blood and anger. Let's do this."

Then comes the familiar sound of the Punisher through the earpiece. She's guessing that 'Patch' is a reference to her. It seems like a pretty safe bet. "Alley heading west between Franklin and …dammit what street was that… You know that fro-yo place..with the green and pink neon sign..looks gaudy as hell? Hnnh..hang on, ride's here."

The ever-more-winded pale mercenary jumps up over a dumpster and rebounds off of a window A/C unit before neatly tucking and rolling into the center of the alley right as Hawkgirl swoops in to make the retrieval.

"Watch the shoulder watch th—RRH! Caught the second wire."

Up and out of the alley, then—

"Josephine's! Hey I can see a lot better up here. Heading into some old plaza..thing..outside of a cathedral."

Hesitation.

Dom goes off comms and glances upward toward Hawkgirl. "Please don't drop me."

When Batgirl confirms having six-ish down elsewhere the albino comms back "Ah..I think we've got a whole lot more over here, guys. We might be entering full-on clusterfuck territory."

* * *

As soon as Domino agrees to that pick-up Hawkgirl quickly changes trajectory and wings her way right on over to the mercenary.

The warning about her shoulder earns a slight grunt from Hawkgirl, as she says, "It's either transport you this way or go full-princess-bridal carry." Remarks Kendra with a note of amusement to her voice, "Tell me which you would prefer?"

And with that said, Hawkgirl snaps her wings open and pushes upward with a strong downbeat. It's only once the two are skimming near the rooftops that Kendra turns her gaze back to the Talon agents they're all chasing. "They just need to stay still." Mutters the woman, "So we can just shoot them."

Or, at least, Frank could definitely shoot them all. For a handful of seconds Kendra quiets as the chatter picks up on the BoP channel and it's only as Domino asks not to be dropped, that Hawkgirl flashes her a quick grin. "Promise I won't. Not until you give the word."

With that promise given, Kendra's attention now moves to the full on cluster that's currently happening upon the ground. "Pretty sure it's going to be a busy night."

* * *

The Punisher responds, "Franklin and…" confusion turns to a grimace of mild annoyance, "No, I don't know any fro-yo place." His tone suggests of course he doesn't know any fro-yo place. "I'm at the Square." He spots the clustering of shadowy figures, and turns his 'borrowed' bike straight towards them, "This is gonna suck." That probably wasn't supposed to be transmitted. Kicking one leg free, he half-dismounts, then lays the bike over and sends it skidding toward the cluster of Talons even as he tucks and rolls. It goes great — until he runs into a stunted tree, drawing a grunt. "Hell." He's up quickly enough, whipping off his helmet (it screws with his peripheral vision too much), "Batgirl, come on in by James. I'll cover your tail."

* * *

"Others checking in. Going radio silent."

«"Copy. And try not to do anything more reckless than usual. These aren't like the typical Gotham loonies. You know that, right?"»

"… I've got it."

*click*

The electric hiss of a grappling line firing through the sky fills the warm summer night air of Gotham, hooking onto one of many art deco grotesqueries dotting the city's skyscrapers; Kate Kane feels the ache burn all the way down to her chest as she yanks and ignites the recoil.

Batwoman ignores it as she is sent jetting into the sky, a visage of a wide-winged black shadow that only briefly blots out the shining symbol for the streets below her.

As she glides in pursuit of her targets, that white-lensed gaze turns towards the skies. She stares at what was once the symbol that saved her life, now warped into an unsubtle perversion to assert dominance. Owls, after all, eat bats. Don't they?

"…"

Her lips twist; training keeps Kate from letting her anger get the best of her. For now… she lets those winds carry her, buffeted on outstretched and rigid cape as far as they can take her through the Gotham skyline.

When she lands, it's on the rooftop of a building just adjacent to a fro-yo place with a particularly kitsch neon sign. Listening to Batgirl, that white stare falls on the assembled, organized yet seemingly cornered cluster of Talons. She knows how hard they hit. And according to Batgirl…

"They're on your tail?" Behind her cowl, Kate's eyes narrow. Something about this doesn't seem right. Nothing about this seems right, in fact.

She's debating her options — which is just about when the heretofor dubbed Punishcycle just sort of crashes towards the whole horde of Owls.

"Fuck me," she declares to no one in particular — and with that battlecry, she's moving, -tossing- a batarang to shatter the light bulb of a nearby lamppost to distract at least a couple of those Talons —

— whereupon the goddamn Batwoman just comes crashing wordlessly down on top of one of like a barrel of bricks, intent on delivering a swinging kick meant to separate them from the rest of the parliament.

She could really go for some fro-yo right now, and she has no idea why.

* * *

Movement caught out of the corner of his eye has the young quarterback turning sharply, and then staring up at the shadow that flies right over him. He keeps an eye on it as it lands, hands slipping from his pockets to his sides in a loose position of at-readiness.

"…Batman..?" he starts, uncertain. And then the figure turns, revealing with the reflecting moonlight those strange eyes. "-not Batman," he corrects, taking a step back. "What the hell?"

His pocket chimes from an incoming text, not that Ronnie thinks it's a good time to check it as he warily eyes the …owl…guy. What is even going on here? Were these those guys that were in the local news? Although it's starting to look like some crazy costume party's about to go down here in the Square.

"…great time to be stuck in line at the bookshop, prof," he mutters.

* * *

She started her evening by dangling a local gang member out a twenty-story window by one ankle (bullwhips are SO useful) until she got what she wanted out of him, which was the name of his supplier and a solemn promise not to raise a hand to his girlfriend anymore unless he wanted to be able to only count to nine. She also made it clear that other parts than fingers could be removed.

All in all, a constructive and prosperous evening.

Catwoman's gaining a grip on her neighborhood. At least, she's shoving out the local crime and reorganizing it. She has rules. You can follow them or you can leave. Or, like Randy, you can get dangled out a window.

It was then that she saw the Talons. As little as she liked anyone muscling in on her territory, she laid low and watched them, keeping an eye out and letting them get some distance ahead before starting to pursue. Dogs chase cars. Cats prowl and stalk and watch and wait.

And when she sees that second big light up in the sky, sees that its shape has changed, her eyes narrow behind her gleaming goggles.

There's going to be some chaos soon. If she were a different kind of Gothamite, she'd pull out a coin and flip it to see whether she would take advantage of the chaos or join in the fight. She's less predictable, though. So she stalks along the outside, leaping from building to building like they're her very natural habitat, and starts hunting for a Talon just a little further from the rest, just a little less capable of calling for aid.

* * *

"Good to know," Batgirl's reply is breathless, suggesting she's hauling ass across Gotham City right now. She's racing onward fast, undoubtedly on foot at the moment. "I'm closing in. Coming through the Fashion District now." Then there's a low huff of laughter. "They probably mistook me for you again, Batwoman. We all know how popular you are. Have you considered going blonde? I think that — hold that thought!"

Back in Cathedral Square—

Frank Castle lets loose his motorcycle, scraping up sparks against the cobbles as it slams into the group of Talons, sending them into a chaotic burst of flips and somersaults. One grabs the motorcycle by its handlebars and — it climbs on it with a flash of its goggled eyes and the blackened and shattered headlight. It twists the throttle and the bike responds flawlessly to the Talon.

A light goes out with a little pop and tinkle of glass just as Batwoman barrels down into one of the scattered Talons. It staggers backwards several steps away from the rest of the Talons, and drops into a low crouch. But then it twists back up to its feet just as it lets something fly out of its hand. It looks like a smooth, brown ball, but within just a couple feet if Kate, it explodes into fire. The Talon holds two more in its hand, the poise of its fingers a bit like a juggler's hold — soft, loose, and quick to respond.

Ronnie is the only apparent civilian here, and that makes him an easy target. One of the Talons who had been driven out of the group barrels toward the young man, ready to grab him with those talon-tipped gauntlets even while its mouth, masked behind fabric, opens in a silent scream.

* * *

"Yeah I'm no princess," Domino grunts back to Kendra. She'll deal with the pain, thank you.

The muttered thought of 'just shooting them' earns Hawkgirl a "Hell yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about!"

Hmm. So it's her call when to be dropped. When, where, and how—nevermind. The moment will find her when it finds her. Instead a muttered "Pretty sure you're right on the money" follows Kendra's thought about it being a busy night.

"Got eyes on ya, Skullcrusher. That's—" She winces as the Punisher slams himself into a tree. "Way to stick the landing."

Eh, he's fine. This is fine. It also helps to give Neena a crazy idea of her own.

Back to Hawkgirl, she suggests "Hey. So I'm probably gonna regret asking this, buuut..how confident would you be in catching me by the ankles? Because I haven't seen these guys fly yet and I'm feelin' a little aerial superiority complex coming on. Flip me around and I'll make with that shooting."

Hmm, and "Hang on, might have an unknown individual down th—ack!" There's the Albino Inversion Maneuver done by Hawkgirl which is only -slightly- terrifying as hell.

However… You know what? This is actually kinda great..! Domino can see everythi—someone just took out one of the lights DAMMIT.

Now dangling upside down all that's left is to wait for proper strafing run alignment then start raining down blood and lead with a "Heads up, bitches!"

Want some excitement in your nightlife? Gotham freaking -delivers.-

* * *

Being in the sky pretty much gives you a view of just about everything.

Well, not everything everything, but enough that Kendra can see that there are a lot of moving parts right about now.

So so many.

Not that it stops her from trying to keep track of them.
Herunisher's position is noted, as well as Batwoman's, and there's movement on other rooftops.

Likewise she spies the kid down there, Ronnie, but before she can say anything to that Domino asks her question.

Can she drop and catch the albino woman with confidence. "How confident am I?" Hawkgirl asks with just a touch of incredulousness to her voice, "I'm way confident. Just saying. Let's do this one three -"

And with that said Hawkgirl lets go of Domino's wrists and lets the woman fall for a few terrifying seconds before she catches her again. This time by the ankles.

"See? Easy."

Now it's time for the two of them to do their best impression of a flying gunship. And so, the two barrel toward the targets and as they move Hawkgirl shouts, "Make sure you shoot the one near the kid." That 'kid' being Ronnie.

* * *

"Oh Jesus Christ." No one should be able to control a careening motorcycle like that, and the disgust is clear in the Punisher's voice. But these things aren't like normal people, clearly. Frank comes up from his half-crash, "I landed. It's fine." He shoulder hurts, but what else is new? The shotgun comes up, and then gunfire starts to rain down from above, "Did someone call in a drone strike?" He's only half joking. "There's a civvie in the Plaza." He's not joking about that, or the way he blasts three slugs from the shotgun straight toward the Talon that claimed the bike. After all, if it wants the bike, it's going to have to pay the price by not being able to dodge as far as usual. Plenty of caped figures around and… oh great, everything's dark. "If you assholes keep turning off the lights all the time, I'm gonna need some NVGs. Call out targets, aerial."

* * *

Blonde. The very idea.

Pushing booted heels off of the far-too-solid chest of that Talon, Batwoman flips backwards, landing on the ground some handful of feet away in a crouch. Her frown is a severe complement to her stoic stance, carving an implacable figure low to the ground and ready to fight.

She would call after Batgirl, but right now, she knows she can't afford to spare a moment. Peripheral vision is her friend here, helping her to keep tabs on everything in her immediate vicinity while Julia keeps tabs on everything not. Talons, all assembled. Someone just drove a bike into them, a bike one of them is using now. That's good. She thought she saw something slinking around in a very cat-like manner from the corner of her line of sight; maybe it was just her imagination. Hopefully it was just her imagination. And the rest —

The rest, she has to table for later, as a smooth ball is unceremoniously chucked her way. Her first instinct is to spring backwards — and that instinct saves her from having to test just how well-insulated this suit of hers really is (though she'd be lying if she said she hadn't already (it's a long story (no it's not; she got set on fire like one time (five times)))). Instead—

"Nngh—!"

Fire BURSTS forth explosively, the rupture of it still enough to knock her off course in mid-air. She hits ground roughly - that solid popping sound tells her if her ribs weren't cracked before, they are now — before rolling to her feet, smoke billowing at her cape, eyes on the Talon. Those are dangerous. She can't get close like this. But she needs to get away, to get to that civilian before he gets injured. And she -really- wants to make this hurt. How should she—

Heads up, bitches!

And just like that, opportunity knocks.

The skies rain bullets like some kind of 90s action movie interpretation of the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah. Kate's reaction is immediate.

1) A note to self: "I can't be that much of a sinner." It definitely doesn't sound like she's trying to convince herself.

2) Produce batarang.

3) Hurl batarang at the hand the Talon is holding its fiery balls in.

4) ???

5) Profit!

If all goes well, Batwoman seeks to capitalize on the confusion by knocking that Talon's armaments out of its grasp so they can fall to the ground and — well —

Something something, big boom.

This, of course, is followed by an immediate and obligatory shout over the Bird's borrowed comms as Batwoman tries to break away towards Ronnie's direction, unsure she can make it in time:

"Batman Rules — no killing!"

Why does she have to be the one shouting about this? She does not like taking point. She's going to blame Bruce for this afterward.

If she's still alive.

* * *

It is totally unfair not being able to vigilante it up with… Batpeople? It's the local Bats, right? But who's shooting and what's exploding— WHY ARE THINGS EXPLODING Wait, who turned out the lights?

"Aw maaan," Ronnie groans, looking around, thankful that at least the moon's out. He doesn't have fancy Batgadgets and stuff! He's…normal, right this minute.

…which apparently doesn't disinterest the creepy Talon in front of him from pinning him as a target.

"AW MAN!"

For a hot second he's only able to stare as the Talon races right for him, because that is super creepy looking. His expression shifts as he realizes that it's not the first time he's been in such a situation. Funky costume aside, just stick a helmet and rival colors on this dude—

He's light on his feet, counting down until that fine line between 'too close' and 'close enough'. Then he pivots, like he's still got the ball and this guy's slipped past the guard but there's no way he's gonna get tackled! Like a seasoned matador with a bull, baybeeee!

* * *

So here's what was supposed to happen.

Catwoman, not generally that much of a hero, saw a kid in distress. All right, a grown adult, but once you get past thirty anyone under thirty is by default a tiny child in need of Protecc. So she will, naturally, attacc. This means lashing her whip to a nearby fire escape and swinging down and out, one arm out to sweep Ronnie off his feet and out of the path of the wicked Talon. Any healthy lad, predilections aside, would be LUCKY to get rescued by Catwoman, right? Especially if she didn't pick his pockets.

She was supposed to catch him up, land him on the balcony of the building opposite, give his cheek a peck, and send him off with a stern warning not to loiter after dark. That's what was supposed to happen.

It would have worked, too, if not for Ronnie's ability to turn on a freaking DIME.

The excellent news. Catwoman is swinging toward the Talon. Specifically, perpendicular to him. She can't change her direction — momentum is like that — but she can pivot herself so that instead of grabbing the air where Ronnie is not, she aims her foot right where Talon helmet meets Talon body armor. Using this as a pivot point, she twists her body to get one knee on either side of the unfortunate Talon's head. Will she have enough momentum to take them both into the air?

* * *

Batman Rules — no killing!

A batarang cuts through the air, and the Talon twists just as it hurls both of those smooth juggler balls at Kate. They explode in midair, blurring the edges of the Talon just as the bladed weapon slices open its shoulder with the smallest spray of blood. It turns its head sharply toward Kate — now disarmed but not dissuaded. It charges her now despite the bullets tearing through the skies.

The bullets rain down on the Talons, the assassins once more scatter. Two of the Talons are charging at Domino and one literally leaps first onto the shoulders of the second, and then into the air at Domino with its talons outstretched to take her at the shoulders.

The Talon on the bike goes whipping toward Frank, barreling toward him with its head ducked low. It moves with a familiar dexterity that Frank might almost confuse for another motorcyclist he's seen on the Gotham streets.

The Talon leaps at Ronnie, talons outstretched and goggled eyes wide. And then there's the Cat, and the Owl twists with what might almost be a shriek as she gets her foot into that sensitive space between shoulder and neck. It twists its head in an attempt to dislodge the pressure only to be yanked right off its feet.

One moment there was over a dozen Talons, and now there are just eight — three of which are pulling themselves slowly to their feet after getting strafed with bullets. The missing four are nowhere to be seen.

* * *

"For the record that was not on three!" Domino has to yell back to Hawkgirl amidst the rain of fire.

With 'the kid' called out there's a muttered curse, these Talon guys are FAST! First the one snagged the Punisher's bike mid-wipeout then another escaped the turmoil to go for what sure appears to be the low hanging fruit of this battlefield.

She's doing her damn best to line up two shots with the back of the one attacking Talon when Ronnie of the Unknown Quantity down there exhibits some fancy dodging footwork at the last possible second right as some OTHER shadowy all black (there's a definite theme around this part of town…) figure flings herself out of nowhere and barrels into them both.

"Kid's fine," Dom flatly replies.

Then Castle comms in with 'Call out targets, aerial.' "Aahtwo to your sevewait one coming at yourfucking at your fivethese guys are too damn fast -just shoot everything!-"

'Batman Rules?' Did someone SERIOUSLY just say—nope. Fuck that noise. Neena already has to play nicey-nicey with the X-Men and as far as she's concerned these Talon people are NOT actual people. She can blame it on equipment failure later. 'Sorry, we're flying through a tunnel!'

It all seems to be going so well until two of the Talons team up and try to catch her right out of the air. Neena's eyes snap wide open and she blurts out the first thought that comes to mind: "Drop me drop me drop me!"

Hooked claws catch thin black armored skin but not in the sense that they were expecting to. The mercenary's suddenly doing a medium velocity cannonball square into the chest of the highest of the two Talons.

They also MIGHT be falling right in the Punisher's line of fire. It's hard to tell. Dom certainly can't tell, bloodloss is really starting to take its toll on her.

* * *

'Batman rules.' "You've gotta be shitting me," The Punisher grumps as he's told not to kill the madperson barrelling down on him on the motorcycle he stole fair and square. "Fuck that." He lowers the barrel of the shotgun, aiming to put two rounds into the front wheel of the bike and then throw himself aside. His shoulder aches even more as he rolls, something clipping his ankle as the bike goes by and spinning him around. He grunts in pain, "These things don't feel pain. Put 'em the fuck down." And then there's another Talon falling toward him, and he puts another pair of blasts up toward it. Hope Domino's lucky, or she might get tagged instead. Seven shots fired, just two left. "Hey kid, you know how to shoot?" Because if there's one thing Frank has, it's 'another firearm.'

* * *

"One second - three seconds - it's all the same." Murmurs the winged woman quickly, then her attention is on the battlefield below.

When Frank calls out for the aerial team - which is them - to call out the targets Hawkgirl's sharp eyes focus specifically on the moving Talons below.

However, before she can say anything Domino starts to call them out. There's a slant of her mouth upward at the last part, 'shoot everything'. Not much more can be said on Kendra's part, not when a couple of Talon agents jump right for them!

While some might exclaim 'drop you?!?! are you crazy!', Hawkgirl doesn't.

Instead the winged woman does what's requested of her, "Bombs away!", she shouts and lets go of Domino's ankles.

The albino falls and falls up until her descent is arrested by a quick swoop, dive and another grab by Kendra.

"Gotcha!" Exclaims the woman and with a flick of her wing she sends the two over toward a rooftop, "How's that for three seconds?"

* * *

Aw yeah! Ole' suckah — "Whoa what the-?!"

His internal victory dance hits a speedbump as he feels more than sees Catwoman sweep past where he'd been but a moment ago. If he only knew what he'd missed out on…

Although he's in the clear, the feline femme fatale's thoroughly caught his attention as she pulls off some crazy acrobatics to take out the Talon who tried to blitz him. The coolness of the moment kind of falls apart almost immediately after firearms still ring out and whatever else and here he is unable to transmute or blast a thing!

This must be how it feels like to be in the middle of a warzone. Yep. Never joining the army.

Maybe getting out of here would be the best next wisest course of action, but he can't tell who's shooting where or where said shots are coming from — oh man is that guy talking to hi— Is he seriously asking if he can use a gun?!

"…no!" Ronnie blurts, looking at Frank like he's a madman. "Why would I even- what kind of question is — who asks that kind of thing to a minor?!"

* * *

This was not how Catwoman planned the evening to go, but it could be worse. She wanted to steal a Talon. Now she has. She wanted to knock it out. Knockout gas would work a treat if they had any kind of… face holes… literally at all.

This makes Selina definitely not the first cat who, when it's caught a bird, isn't quite sure what to do with it.

Still, needs must. Because the top thing she really wants to do is question one of these people. They keep running away or dying instead of letting themselves get captured; it's really inconvenient.

No face holes. But their masks have some pretty obvious lenses in them. So, as she swings, keeping her thighs tight around the Talon's neck, she pulls from her belt…

…a blindfold.

No, don't ask why Catwoman carries a blindfold. Just don't.

Now, owls have great vision but they can operate without it; then again, bats have sonar and she's never heard Batman or any of the Bat-brood squeaking for moths, so it's reasonable to find out whether they can fight blind. She should get the blindfold on just about the time she's reaching the balcony. Due to the extra weight of the Talon rather than the nice boy on the ground, she ends up having to use one arm to grab the railing. This leaves her in a bit of an interesting position: hanging from one arm from a balcony, her other arm gripping the handle of her bullwhip, both knees around the Talon's neck. So.

"Don't suppose you feel like giving up, hmm?"

* * *

Explosions of flame ripple past Batwoman's cheek, baking uncomfortably close to pale white skin and singing the tips of her red (wig) hair as she attempts to break off from the Talon she is tangled up with. If she can get there in time, she can peel Ronnie out of the mayhem, deposit him on some rooftop where, presumably, Talons won't try to rush after to kill Joe Random Frat Boy.

Those dreams never actually manifest, however, because two things happen:

First, that telltale cat-like slink she saw turns out -not- to be her imagination as a certain be-catsuited cat burglar with a particularly catty disposition just barrels in straight out of nowhere, jamming her heel into some unfortunate Talon's neck. Batwoman's assessment of this is a very flat,

"Great. Just great."

This is another one of Bruce's problems she shouldn't be dealing with! But maybe she'll be helpful and not — oh, Kate, don't dream. Dreaming always ends poorly.

After all, here comes the second part: the bloodied Talon, not quite blasted away by its own explosions like Kate hoped, barrels through the lingering gout of heat and flame belching through the air. Batwoman barely has time to pivot on her heel to face the man — woman — ninja-like zombie birdhuman —before it is tackling into her bodily. Breath punched from her lungs, Kate feels the strain even more on her already battered ribs. Something shifts a way its not supposed to, and the fluids she coughs up are tinged with scarlet as she soars.

AND. Third. People are giving her the god. Damn. Sass.

And so Batwoman's response is immediate and ruthless. She moves with the Talon's momentum. She knows the impact hurts. She knows it's going to hurt more. But she has every intention of falling -with- that assassin, risking being attacked by sharp claws or sharper weapons for a few brief moments as they fall.

She hits ground. Bends right leg at the knee. Plants it in her assailant's midsection.

And then uses the Talon's momentum against it to try to kick it -right- into the path of that wild, runaway motorcycle so it can see what a head-on collision feels like for its 'every bone in its body' first hand.

"If you're such a piss poor shot you can't take out a couple kneecaps then go ahead, see if I'm shitting you."

She's pretty sure Bruce would be giving stern stares about using guns at all but a) she's not Bruce, and b) dear lord these things are like double zombies or something and she's not sure even taking out their kneecaps would stop them and they fucked with the signal

so

they deserve to get shot a bit.

* * *

Frank's well-aimed shots smack into the wheel, and the bike goes end over end while throwing the Talon into the air just as it ducks and rolls across the cobbles. It's on its feet and immediately moving, almost as if it hadn't just been thrown from its bike without wearing any protective gear. It charges at Frank, ready to throw itself at the Punisher just as it pulls two knives from its belt — long and wicked. It flies at Frank, leaping to meet the Punisher head on.

The one being literally hanged-up by the Cat is thrashing around, trying to get free of the hold from the nimble cat burgler, and there's the sound of a bone snapping — perhaps its neck — and it goes limp. It is a far more heavy weight now that Catwoman bears.

Batwoman is barreled to the ground, and the Owl's terrible face looks down at her for a long moment before Kate kicks it away, and it slams into the skidding motorcycle in a tangle of limbs. It does not get back up again.

The eight assassins are down to four, and only because two of them are out for the count. The other two have abruptly disappeared, as if swallows up by shadows. Through the comms, Batgirl's voice comes through puzzled, "I… lost them." Then her silhouette is spotted at the rooftop of a near-by building, and she's glancing behind her.

* * *

"The kind of guy who just got told — " the Punisher stops as he has to turn on the Talon and fire two more shots toward its torso, " — he's not supposed to kill fucking trick-riding assassins who don't fucking feel pain or care about kneecaps." But he knows those aren't going to stop the Talon, and his shotgun's empty now, so he heads directly toward the charging Talon, one step, two, and then he's running the next three steps before they reach one another, Frank ducking a shoulder to try to slam the assassin off his feet and onto his back with a wordless roar. More likely they're just going to slam into each other and fall to the ground, where Frank can get his own knife out and try to ground-fight the asshole who doesn't feel fear. Normally, he would be very interested in hearing what Batgirl just said, but unfortunately… he's a little busy trying to get an arm around the Talon's shoulder and slash the inside of the assassin's other arm — anything to keep those blades away from him.

* * *

Ronnie continues to flinch at each explosion and crack of a firearm, feeling very much squishy and vulnerable here. As the Punisher lays down more fire even as he casually holds conversation, the dark-haired quarterback drops down, throwing his arms over his head. He's tall so he'd rather not stick out as a target any more than he's been.

Even if he knew how to shoot, he doesn't think he could fire at someone. He casts a desperate look around to see if there's anything to throw, because he does have a damned good throwing arm but little good it does otherwise. But the shots are lessening and so too it seems, the strange figures.

He can feel his phone vibrating in his pocket again, taking brief comfort in a glance at the screen to see it's from Martin Stein. At least he's not here. Okay, that's both good and bad, all things considered, but things were already a mess. Ronnie will be glad just to make sure the poor old guy's still in one piece, wherever he is.

* * *

Tonight really isn't going according to plan.

It's not — okay, it's probably not the first time someone's died when they lost at playing chicken with a Cat. But she didn't… actually intend for it to happen this time. She didn't think — did he break his own neck to avoid being caught? Christ.

So she does what she can. She drops him, for a start, and lets go of the balcony to swing back the direction she came. As she swings back, she whips a set of bolos at the ankles of the assassin Frank's going after. Her heart's not really in it, though. But she does shout "GET OUT OF HERE, KID!" at Ronnie. Not as good as a kiss. Better than a pike in the eye with a sharp stick.

As it happens, the building she's swinging toward is the one that Batgirl's on. So. Some kind of luck?

* * *

"Welcome… khh — welcome to Gotham."

This is the Batwoman's eloquent summation of the situation vis a vis horrible monster assassins and killing as she props herself up into a slightly shaky crouch. The Talons numbers have dwindled. But it doesn't seem like it's — entirely — because of their efforts. Kate spots it outright. She can't not. Two of them are simply -gone-. The one she dealt with isn't moving. Catwoman's, is…

"What the hell are these things," Batwoman mumbles under her breath as she rises back up onto her feet, black and scarlet cape pooling at her heels. Their team is outmatched, at least in persistence. She's no stranger to enemies who don't go down easily — you don't have someone like Clayface rampaging around Gotham without not — but something about these people seems peculiar. Not right.

She thinks back to the nursery rhyme despite herself, and shakes her head to try to rid herself of the memories. Bogeymen. Bogeymen aren't real. And yet…

She might have more choice words — but it is Batgirl's voice that cuts her off. Past Frank tangling with the remaining assassins, Kate's gaze tilts in the direction of that silhouette.

"Batgirl? What's your situation—?" Her lips crease into a thin line. And as she sees Catwoman flinging herself in that direction, so too does does Kate, shooting off a grappling line to send herself hurtling through the air towards that rooftop silhouette.

* * *

Frank's shotgun empties, and there's no emptying click because Frank Castle counts his shots. The Talon continues its charge, but it barrels into Frank just as he roars and the two become a ball of fury and rage — one carefully contained behind a mask and the other raw and bare. The two twist, and the Talon barely manages to cut at Frank before its all tangled up in a twist of the Marine's arm. Caught-up in that wicked embrace, the Talon curls its shoulders, flexing beneath Frank in hopes of sending him to the ground, loosening him of that hold.

Catwoman drops her dead bird, and the body lands with a terrible thud on the ground. If he wasn't dead before — the Talon's arm moves, claws scraping across the cobbles as it gets its arm under it. The left side of its body is dead weight, but it hauls the right up with a twitch. It starts to pull itself forward only to collapse again. That should, at least, make Selina feel a bit better… Right?

Four assassins are down to three as another seems to disappear, and that three is about to become two as the half-paralyzed one collapses underneath the shadows of the cathedral's wall. On the rooftop where Batgirl looks over the square below. She glances toward Catwoman as she swings toward her rooftop, and then she glances back over her shoulder again as if she's trying to track where her tails went, but like the other Talons, they appear to have disappeared. Now she catches Kate's question, and she sighs out a quick breath, "Seemingly immortal super assassins that don't age, have high pain tolerance, and no visible leadership?" Now Kate is asking for a sitrep, and she shakes her head. "I had three on my tail from the Park, and they followed me almost all the way here. They're gone. I have no idea when I lost them. Red Robin and Z.Z. are securing the others in the Park."

* * *

The application of the bolos to the Talon's ankles just as Frank reaches it helps him get to a secure enough place, although he takes a cut across the cheek, half an inch below his left eye. "I'll fucking kill you!" Thankfully, GAARD doesn't transmit that. Unfortunately, it's another roar of raw rage, so it's easily audible across the darkened plaza. It's also beyond Frank's capabilities at the moment. The flex of the Talon's shoulders shifts Frank, and he twists, letting himself fall to the ground but struggling to try and keep the Talon grasped tight, the blade of his ka-bar probing for the bottom of the assassin's arm, and then he drops the weapon, trying to grasp the creature around both shoulders and slam its head back into the cobbles as often and as hard as he can.

* * *

Catwoman's shout doesn't fall on deaf ears. He has no idea where the lady is to even give her a wave, but he takes her shout as an all clear, or as clear as things can be expected at the moment. The lack of any more guns going off is at least a small plus, and Ronnie steals but a quick look back as he books it.

"Professor Stein? Yeah it's me- I'm okay, yeah, oh man it was crazy look where are you?

"—you're locked in the bookstore?!"

* * *

Of all things, Catwoman isn't going to apologize for breaking a Talon's neck. Especially, MOST especially, not to anyone wearing bat ears. You run around Gotham making trouble, this sort of thing happens.

She's somehow not entirely comforted to see the Should Have Stayed Dead Guy moving. The Talon's alive, but probably not thrilled to be.

"If you want to try interrogating one," she says, waving a hand down to the one whose neck she thought she broke, "that one's not going anywhere fast. I don't need to tell you to check their gear for comms, tech, what have you. I don't know if they're zombies, immortal, whatever, but either someone's really obsessed with nursery rhymes and immortality or these guys have been around for ages."

Catwoman waves a hand dismissively. "Like I need to tell any of you any of this. You're the heroes. It's your department."

And off she springs. She doesn't have TIME to deal with a league of immortal assassins. What's it come to when thieves have to beat up Gotham villains?

* * *

Frank unleashes trauma, slamming the head down over and over again onto the cobbles until there's not much left but the wet head-covering of the dead — newly dead — Talon. It doesn't so much as twitch once it goes still beneath Frank's fury.

Now there are no Talons left in Cathedral Square.

Batgirl is looking back down at the square below, and she catches sight of Ronnie booking it. In the dark, beneath the full moon, she doesn't recognize him. But that will surely come back around eventually. Instead, she is looking back toward Catwoman with those alert blue eyes. There is at least three times were Babs almost interrupts her, but then she delivers that final throw away line You're the heroes, and the redheaded Bat calls after the Cat, "You should really conisder the hero business, Catwoman. You have a knack for it!"

Now it's just Frank and Batgirl standing in — or over — the square, and she presses her hand against her ear, speaking on the Birds channel, "You need a lift?" Now she smirks slightly, glancing down at the wrecked motorcycle.

Beyond the square, sirens wail and a slither of smoke wafts up into the sky. Reports come in — the spotlight on the roof of GCPD is ablaze. Perhaps just a faulty bulb — perhaps…

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