Coffee and Eggs
Roleplaying Log: Coffee and Eggs
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Morning before the attack of the Talons, Barbara catches Bruce up on what they know about the Court of Owls

Other Characters Referenced: Frank Castle, Hawkgirl, Alfred Pennyworth, The Joker
IC Date: August 20, 2019
IC Location: Batcave, Gotham City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 24 Aug 2019 00:52
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits: Batman as Alfred Pennyworth
Associated Plots

If it had been anyone besides Batman, she might have waited until morning. She would have given him time to wake up, have breakfast, read the morning news. But, there is one thing that all the Bats have in common — there is always work. So, she relies on the Batcave's monitoring systems to let her know she's coming in sometime in the early morning hours.

Her cycle slows on one of the platforms where the rest of the Bat vehicles are parked, and she slips off her bat-designed helmet so it can be slung on her handlebars. She swings out of the saddle once the bike is parked. Only in the safety of the Batcave does she peel off her cowl, pulling it over her head where it cinches her slicked back red hair against her neck.

She glances up first to the roof of the cave, and then around the built-up structures of the cave before she calls, "I'm here."

* * *

As all the Batfamily knows, night is generally the best time to catch Batman if there is anything that needs to be discussed. The sound of the cycle powers down, the last echoes careening off the stone walls and the bats that remain chitter a few times before stopping.

On the dais with the main computer is Alfred, with a tray containing a carafe of coffee with various jars for cream, sugar and milk. Cups are neatly arrayed on the silver, simply awaiting Barbara, it would seem. "Mistress Barbara," he greats as the cowl is pulled off. "A pleasure to see you, as always. Please help yourself to the coffee. There's also some scrambled eggs and toast by the desk should you be hungry. Master Bruce will be returning from his own rounds shortly."

Looking about, Barbara will notice that The Car is missing. It seems Batman is out doing his own surveillance. "Might I inquire how long you wish to stay? I can make up a proper breakfast in thirty minutes time."

* * *

It is only after she's offered up her greeting does she notice the total lack of Batmobile, and her shoulders loosen with a low breath of laughter. Of course he's not here. She's climbing up the stairs to the dais to wait for Bruce just as she hears the greeting from who she should have expected all along.

"Hi Alfred." Barbara smiles easily once she's on the main dais. "How are you doing?" She offers this up first and foremost even while she gravitates toward the coffee. She fills a cup almost to the brim, turning to sink into the edge of the table to enjoy first the fragrance of the coffee before she takes a sip.

Her brows arch as she looks up at Alfred, and then she shrugs her shoulders slightly. "I don't want to impose," she offers with a genuine, if not slightly sheepish smile. "Eggs and toast are great. I just came by to catch Bruce up on this Court of Owls business…" And maybe the Joker. Though part of her almost wants to hold that until she knows for sure what's going on.

* * *

"You are never an imposition," Alfred tells Barbara with a warm smile. It's genuine, as are all his greetings for the children Bruce Wayne has gathered into their lives. The sarcasm is generally reserved for Bruce - or when one of them do something particularly worthy of it. "I am as I always am: cleaning and waiting. I am sure Master Bruce will be very glad to hear of your updates."

As if on cue, the sound of the Batmobile and a cacophony of bats returning to their cave. The lights flicker from far away to close up as the car expertly parks onto a dais and then turns over. A door slides backwards and Batman steps out, cape billowing for a moment then settling. The door shuts silently and he makes his way up to where Barbara and Alfred are currently holding their own Court.

Batman looks unsurprised to see the two of them there, getting coffee and discussing breakfast. Of course, he would attempt to look unsurprised even if he were not. "Status, Alfred?" He asks - first things first.

"All normal. The data you sent back is being analyzed. You may wish to send some of it out to Master Tim for a further investigation, however I am not sure that is necessary. And, of course, we do have a visitor."

"Yes, of course." Batman turns toward Barbara, cowl remaining on. "I take it you wish to talk?"

* * *

"Oh, I don't know about that, Alfred," Barbara says, tone taking on a dryness that has really ripened as Batgirl has become one of the oldest of the 'Bat Children.' "There are times I wish my updates included ample good news." She offers the butler a warm, if not slightly wearied smile. Then she takes another sip of her coffee just as The Car breaks through the soft, subdued quiet of the cave. She turns her head toward it, watching it crest and then slow to a stop on its designated dais. She casts a quick glance up to Alfred before she straightens out of her slouch and gently sets down the cup just off her hip.

She crosses her arms loosely at her chest, listening — and perhaps perking up a bit — at the analysis of data and looping in Tim. She shifts slightly on her heels before Batman turns toward her. She bobs her head once.

"Yes. I've got some new information about that Talon attack last week." Alfred is cast a thankful smile before she picks up her coffee, bracing the bottom of the cup against the forearm of the arm still crossed along her ribs.

* * *

Alfred raises a singular eyebrow at Barbara's dry response. "If you say so," he replies with a bit of a smirk. Gathering his tray, he leaves the things on the desk for them to pick at and pour at their own leisure.

"Thank you Alfred," Batman replies, gratefully gravelly.

Then, his attention is turned toward Barbara. Deftly, he pulls off his gloves and then his cowl. With care, he places them in their designated shelves, but keeps the rest of his costume on. Then, he moves toward the coffee tray, cape still moving along with the wind as he does so. Pouring himself a liberal cup, he takes a sip, not minding the heat.

Once that is all taken care of, he nods at Barbara. "Go on," he tells her.

* * *

Barbara offers Alfred a quick smile before her focus falls back to Bruce. She steps aside as he approaches the table, and she watches him with a studious eye. Then she clears her throat with a slight nod. "Hawkgirl managed to stun and captured one of the Talons that night. It took him a couple days to regain consciousness. We waited it out, kept him secure in the Clocktower." She taps her fingers against her cup as she speaks.

"During that downtime, we ran tests on blood and tissue samples… they must have some kind of regenerative serum or something. Genetically, all human — nothing odd. But his blood had some traces in it that we've not been able to isolate yet."

She takes in a breath as she shifts in her stance again, glancing up at Bruce. "We got an ID though… or at least, ALTHENE is 95% sure. His name is Thaddeus Wright. He was born in 1862. I've run it down as far as I can, and it looks like this guy is over 150 years old." Her lips press together. "We tried to interrogate him, but he doesn't have much to say… nothing, in fact. Interrogation didn't work." She hesitates before she offers, quietly, "Even Castle tried."

* * *

Bruce settles in as Barbara talks, sitting down at the swivel chair that's in front of the computers. His hands keep the coffee perfectly steady, sipping from it every now and again as he listens to Barbara's debrief. Perhaps he should be surprised by the fact that Thaddeus is over 150 years old, but that doesn't even seem to register a raised eyebrow.

"I see." Continuing on his coffee he thinks for a few moments. "What do you have on the organization itself: their mode of operation, their motives?" Why does it sound like he's quizzing Barbara along with getting this debriefing? It is Batman, however. That part is not surprising.

As for Castle's methods, he gives a subtle shift in his expression. "Unsurprising. Torture is unproven in bringing about truthful answers."

* * *

Now Barbara sets down her cup of coffee, crossing both arms at her chest as she leans into one hip. The quizzing questions causes her lips to press together, and then she slowly starts to nod. "There's not much to go off of," she admits. "Impulse found what we're calling a Nest down in the sewers while he was looking for ways the Talons are getting around. It looked like some old fashioned parlor." She has to smirk now. "Something you would have in the manor." She steps forward, drawing her vOS phone from her belt and tapping through the security. She pulls up the photographs that were taken from the Nest, and then hands the device to Bruce.

Indeed, the photographs feature a parlor in what can only be described as high class fashion — or at least was. Now covered in dust and cobwebs, it's definitely been forgotten about. There's photos of the furniture and layout — couches, chairs, a long table. But the majority of pictures look like group photographs of people ranging from the Civil War era to the 1940s, all wearing fine clothing; their faces were all hidden behind white masks fashioned after the face of a barn owl.

"At first, we thought that they were just cashing on on the fear that the Court of Owls nursery rhyme inspires, but… I don't know, Bruce… maybe the rhyme is based on some truths." She steps back. "They have been targeting Lincoln March's supporters. That's all we have so far."

* * *

"The manor is not old fashioned, it's historical," Bruce tells Barbara with a smirk, his tone dry. Taking the phone, he places it on a circuit pad that starts to automatically download the photos to his own drive.

"Yes, politics come into play at some point. They always do with societies like this." Once the download is finished, he hands the phone back to her. "Do not let hearsay guide your analysis. The rhyme is a rhyme, but it is just as likely that they took their name and their demeanor from the rhyme as it is that the rhyme came from them. Where in the sewers did Impulse find this lair of theirs?"

Quickly, he starts to run analyses on the furniture and clothing found in the pictures, attempting to find writs of sale, of ways to date each individual piece, find other pictures with those same pieces of furniture and clothing. Such finery would generally be used more than once, even if they tailored it or altered them slightly. Furniture would be even harder to mask.

"Something in March's platform riles them. Either that, or it is March himself attempting to garner sympathy."

* * *

"Historical," Babs repeats dutifully.

Now she sighs out a breath, leaning back into the table with her arms crossed. She nods slowly. "I know." She does, but that doesn't stop her from squinting slightly aside. "A rhyme is a rhyme." Now she takes a breath and nods slightly. "Downtown, basement — well, subbasement, really — of what's now an apartment building over in the Fashion District."

Once Bruce starts to run analysis, she's up on her feet, edging in closer toward him to watch his system run through the photographs. She keeps her arms crossed, watching the computer cycle through. The furniture is all from varying dates, though nothing is older than 1890 and nothing newer than 1945. The writs of sale will take time, but Bruce gets a hit a bit sooner than expected — the chaise lounge appears to be part of a twin set that was purchased Alan Wayne and Edward Elliot — the same Elliots who just recently suffered the loss of their patriarch Arthur Elliot at the hands of the Talons.

"You would think he would find other ways to get the public sympathetic besides killing his own campaign manager," Babs breathes out. Then she rubs slightly at the back of her arm. "It's been hard to track down who would have beef with March… I mean, besides Hedy." The incumbent Mayor, that is. "March's numbers are solid so far, he's doing well… but this doesn't sound like an idea Hedy would come up with."

* * *

"The people who turn toward killing will make any number of rationalizations for their own behavior, Barbara." Bruce is firm in that statement. "If this is the work of March, he has his own reasons for what he is doing. Rare is the villain who thinks himself the villain. I doubt even The Joker believes himself truly a villain, despite his claims and actions." Another lecture, but one that he feels necessary.

As the ping hits, Bruce frowns. Alan Wayne, his great-great-grandfather. And Elliot, another old money family of Gotham. Looking through the furniture, the wealth, the masks, Bruce frowns.

"No, this isn't Hedy's style." Setting his coffee down, he leans forward and types again, looking into the historical files of Gotham, figuring out what the building was before it was an apartment building. "This is Old Gotham."

* * *

Mention of The Joker has Barbara looking away a bit, and her shoulders tighten in and loosen in something like a shrug. She glances back toward what Bruce has found so far. She misses the writ of purchase connected to the Waynes, and instead nods slightly. "Hedy is a pretty standard corrupt scum." She sips at her own coffee before her hands close around the cup, fingers tracing the ceramic.

Old Gotham, indeed. The building was one of Bradley Gates's designs — the first real apartment building in Gotham that featured ground-level shops to satisfy the needs of its residents. It gave the wealthy an easy way to live — close to comfort. Gates was also one of the chief architects on Wayne Tower along side Nicholas Anders.

"If March is behind this, then I guess we would just be trading one crazy mayor for another." Barbara sounds disappointed, but she doesn't linger in that disappointment. "Before we left the parlor, we set up sensors around the building so we can track movements around it and through the Old Gotham tunnels. Impulse is pretty sure that's how they are getting around."

* * *

"If Hedy put out a hit, it would be on March himself, not his campaign manager. Nor would he orchestrate more attacks to cover his tracks."

Looking at the search results, Bruce frowns. Most of the break ins and murders have something in common. The murder that doesn't? Cassandra Duly. "Good instincts," he replies to putting up sensors around the building and tunnels. "This extends beyond the tunnels, however. It's the architects. They're using old plans. If Thaddeus truly is over 150 years old, he's using his memory of how things used to be."

Frowning, he starts to pull up more information on Cassandra Duly and March to try and find out why they are different from everything else. Was it a crime of opportunity? Or was it a ruse? Or was everything else done to cover this up?

"If this deal with the old tunnels, the person they truly wished to murder was Elliot. Our next step is to look into the old families and the buildings designed by Gates and Anders. They're using their old and forgotten knowledge in an attempt to evade us."

* * *

Barbara starts to nod, straightening up from her lean as she finishes off her coffee. "So, someone smarter than Hedy." Now she smirks. "Doesn't really eliminate possible suspects, does it?" Jim Gordon doesn't like Hedy, so it is only natural that Barbara doesn't either.

She looks over toward Bruce. "Old plans — memories." These things are said quietly as she observers her mentor as he gets sucked into the case, the mystery of it. She gently places her hand on Bruce's shoulder in a passing gesture. "I'm heading back to the Clocktower. I'll let you know if I get anything new."

Information starts to flood in on Cassandra Duly and March, and again there's just enough information for there to be no information at all. Just ordinary people — right?

Babs starts to retreat back toward the dais where she parked her bike.

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