The Nest
Roleplaying Log: The Nest
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Impulse leads Batgirl, Dinah, Huntress, and Frank to a Court of Owls nest.

Other Characters Referenced: Various
IC Date: August 16, 2019
IC Location: Underground, Gotham City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 24 Aug 2019 00:58
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits: Barbara Gordon
Associated Plots

The sewers under Gotham City are vast. They twist and turn, double back on themselves, abruptly dead-end, lead to abandoned — or sometimes not abandoned — homeless communities, or just go so deep there's a sense that they are leading down to the bottoms of the Earth.

The Birds have set up camp just beneath Old Gotham, playing the waiting game. There is no way any of them can keep up with Bart, which means that they have sent the speedster off to explore this region of the sewers while they sit around. The aqueduct they've chosen is broad with walkways on either side of the stream of water that pours through the waterway. Batgirl is near where the water cascades down into an open chasm below, looking in the direction where Bart had vanished. Her arms are crossed, one shoulder leaned into curved wall, ankles crossed, and her gaze fixed ahead.

***

Dinah's ditched the biker gear in favor of something more comfortable— blue halter topped tank, cutoff jean shorts, black leggings with white horizontal stripes just below her knees. Her shoes are more akin to slippers than boots, probably to accomodate the galoshes set near the entrance to the sewer walkways. A stab vest that looks like it's seen some real use is hanging from the back of her chair. She's sitting sideways on it, one leg hooked over the arm, and chews bubblegum while playing a silly flash game on her phone.

"Hey," Dinah comments, to get Barbara's attention. "I see that look on your face. I'm fine with the greywater drainage, but if you think I'm going back into the sewage drains, you and I are gonna have a very ugly conversation," she warns the redhead.

***

Frank is back from the edge, sitting with his back against the wall, his feet pulled back from the edge. "Never run when you can walk, never walk when you can stand, never stand when you can sit." It has the sound of a quote oft-repeated — and not even the complete quote at that. Ahh, more Marine 'wisdom.' Where Dinah's playing with her phone, Frank's checking the action on the shotgun cradled across his lap. He's already in his vest, although he's foregone the trench coat — to much chance that it'll drag in something disgusting. "Pretty sure she's goin' wherever the speedster points, no matter how bad it stinks." There's a pause, and then Frank asks idly, "How fast you think this one is, compared to Twitch?"

***

While Dinah lounges, Frank lurks, and Babs … leans, Helena paces. See? She even ruined the alliteration. She's in her usual costume, because that's really all she has that might be appropriate for what they're doing, even if is it rather lacking in actual protective traits.

Then Dinah brings up sewage and she stops. "Wait. You didn't say anything about having to deal with actual sewage." She sounds like she's NOT happy with that prospect.

***

The sewer system is like a maze. Most might not find traipsing through the dark, smelly dankness as very appealing, and truthfully it is pretty gross, but when one's supposed to be doing a job, one makes the best of things. In the case of Impulse, he imagines he's in some ancient, forgotten dungeon beneath a demon fortress. It's just too bad he didn't have a sword or something to haul around for added effect.

The young speedster traces his way through winding passages and dead-ends aplenty, making short work of the section of sewers that he'd been tasked with. Who needs maps when you can gun your way through everything in a handful of seconds? Thankfully he knows how to keep track, crossing out the areas that come up with nothing.

It's when he comes upon something that doesn't quite match up with what was expected, he wonders if he'd somehow gotten turned around. Doubling back and about just to make sure only takes a heartbeat, and his curiosity carries him through the unmapped section he's stumbled across. A secret entrance? A hidden room? Treasure??? He finds… Well, it's weird, really. Old, musty, kind of reminds him of the interior of the Haunted Mansion at the mouse park. Except that place had glowing eyed ravens. This place has…

Bart brings up his phone and snaps a shot of a stuffed owl, half expecting it to leap at him. It doesn't though, and he's only slightly disappointed, but he's got to report in, and in a blink, he's gone.

It's as the others are talking and complaining about the sewers that the speedster in red and white skids back in, arms flailing. Literally skids. Running around some of those scummy areas makes your soles slick! Hopefully he stops off the first rebound before he can pinball off anyone else.

"AaaahIfoundit!!!"

***

Babs shoots a look at Dinah. "I'm not going to make you trudge around in the sewage, Di. I know better." She smirks though. "But if Impulse comes back and we have to go trudging through sewage to get to where he found something, you can save the ugly conversation for when we get home." She quirks up a quick smile toward her friend before she glances back at Frank at his back-up, and then to Helena as she paces. "I don't think we will have to deal with actual sewage. There's enough walkways down here that we can avoid tromping around in the water. Besides, this might be the wrong — " Then there's Bart flashing back like a little pinball. " — place."

Barbara's brows arch, though the look is hard to spot behind the cowl. Instead, her eyes just widen a bit. "You found it?" She glances at the other three. "What did you find?"

***

"From what I read about him?" Dinah addresses Frank's question. "Stupid fast. Faster than the eye can" Dinah's reflexes are barely fast enough to process Bart's arrival, or only catch the tail end of it at least. She curls reflexively into the chair and puts her feet up as if ready to kick anything surgging at her. Once her brain processes that it's Bart on approach, Dinah exhales wearily and relaxes. "can follow," she concludes to Frank.

"Warn a girl before you just sprint up, willya kid?" she demands of Bart with a peevish tone. She gets to her feet and tugs on the galoshes near her chair; they're thin and lightweight and cling to her calves, perfect for stomping around in the unpleasant Gotham drainage system.

***

Frank smirks at Barbara's response, starting to nod at Dinah's answer. And then there's a blur of white returning, and he gets the shotgun up to his shoulder and the slide racked before he realizes just what's happening. Grunting and lowering the weapon, he hauls himself to his feet, agreeing, "Stupid fast. Jesus kid, there anything you can't outrun?" He nods at Dinah's grumpiness, then tucks the barrel of the shotgun under his arm, "If you weren't wearin' white and red, you'd be a pretty badass scout in the Corps." His left hand checks the pair of grenades at his hip, assuring everyone, "Just smoke."

***

"How'm I supposed to do that?" Impulse blurts, tossing his hands up slightly with a shrug. What did she want him to do, run over to her first, tell her 'hey in 0.02 seconds I'm coming in' and then run back through the main way? He tilts his head over at Frank, not really looking at all startled to find himself nearly targeted by a shotgun. He even grins. "My shadow?" He's probably tried to outrun his own shadow at one point out of boredom.

Right, why's he here again? The speedster looks over at Batgirl and nods as he fishes out his phone. "I— Well I'm not really sure. Looks like either someone didn't realize they'd built their house into the sewer system or they have really strange tastes in romantic getaways. -what's that smell? Ugh, wait is that me? — Aw maaaan."

His fingers flick through screens until he pulls up- oh wait no, that's a close-up of a dragon's face. Ah, there we go. It's. A stuffed owl? "Anyway what was I saying? Oh, the place was like some super retro decor that hasn't been dusted in eons and it has a bunch of owls all over the place. I think they're all dead."

***

Batgirl casts an amused, and almost apologetic look over to the others at the adorableness that is Impulse. There is something eternally endearing about the young genius and now CEO of Allen Industries — hard to believe he was a Stark student.

But now, she steps forward now, leaning forward to look at the photo that Bart captured with his phone. She blinks at it, tilting her head in her own owlish quality before she glances over toward Frank. "Alright." She takes a breath, and then nods.

"Impulse, can you show us where you found it? Maybe at a… more leisurely pace?" She flashes him a quick grin.

***

"God, I'm in the sewers with an old man and three-fifths of the Nerd Brigade," Dinah mutters. Her eyes rake over the assembled group, and she shakes her head in mock despair. The motion reminds her that her blonde mane is still loose and tumbling; she reaches for a scrunchi around her wrist and swiftly binds it up and back in a high ponytail, away from her face. A tendril immediately drifts down to irritate her cheekbone no matter how she tucks it behind her ear.

"I'm gonna assume you weren't made on the way in," Dinah tells Bart. "But keep an ear out for alarms or alerts once we get close. Frank, did you bring your—" she makes a few clumsy gestures, then pulls a monocular thermal lens from her pocket and wiggles it at him. "The thing, for IR lights? Mine's just a shitty Chinese knockoff."

She holds it to her eye and peers at him. "Wow, your ears are *really* red under this thing."

***

Huntress startles visibly when Impulse returns, going so far as pulling her crossbow. But she manages to NOT fire off a bolt, and after a moment lowers it again. He prattles something about finding a place and … "Owls? Seriously?" But, Babs seems unsurprised by it so what the hell. She'll play along.

She can't help but wonder who in the hell they're gonna follow this guy if he moves THAT fast. Is he gonna be like one of those damned terriers that runs forward, runs back to the slowass humans, run forward again, repeat ad nauseum?

***

Frank's index finger taps idly on the receiver of the shotgun, nodding slightly at Impulse's response, "At least six claymores." The words sound like they're for himself, and he shakes them off, stepping over to look at the picture over Batgirl's shoulder. He nods slightly, "The owls are dead, or there are dead people, kid?" He nods to Batgirl, a short, even abrupt gesture, intended to be encouraging. Dinah's question gets a blink, and he shakes his head, "Naw. I just open my eyes real wide." He reaches out to the end of his shotgun, snorting, "Or use a flashlight." When he flicks it on, the diffuse beam is red, so as to not obliterate night vision. "Seriously though, last couple of guys I ran into who had IR goggles, they didn't make it." The goggles. And the guys. His left hand comes off the slide of his shotgun, touching his ears and scowling at Dinah, then looking back to Huntress and shrugging, "You haven't noticed that assholes in Gotham are seriously literally?"

***

It's not even been that long after he's given his report and the others have started to talk that Impulse seems raring to go already, rocking back and forth on his heels as he looks between each of the others present.

"Yeah, no problem! Um. Leisurely? — Nope, didn't see anyone around and didn't stay that long. — Dead-? Oh, the owls, didn't see any people, didn't go that far in."

His responses are one after the other as the questions are passed his way, and with them gearing up he starts dancing towards the passage he'd barreled through. "Okay I'll try really hard not to get too far ahead of you guys, just lemmee know when you're all ready."

Hopefully he won't have to double back too much.

***

Yeah, that's totally excited terrier mode she's seeing there. Helena huffs near-silently to herself and moves to follow. She can already anticipate how NOT-PLEASANT this it going to be. She doesn't want to be in the lead, but she's getting the feeling that she's going to be whether she likes it or not.
"You get too far ahead, Speedy Gonzalez, and we're leaving you down here." Likely a completely empty threat. Especially since she's fully expecting Babs to scold her for it.

***

"Canary," Babs chides as Dinah teases Frank. Then she rolls her eyes slightly before she glances back to Frank. "Taxidermy owls," she explains even as Bart does the same. Her frown settles into place, thinking even while Helena asks about Owls. That's when she frowns slightly, rubbing at the back of her arm with one hand.

"The assassins that hit March, the Commissioner and Wayne were all connected to that old nursery rhyme — the one about the Court of Owls. 'They'll send a Talon,'" she quotes, ignoring Frank's jab at Gotham's preference toward themes. Just wait until he runs across the Mad Hatter.

Now she takes a breath and straightens up a bit. "Alright, 'Pulse. Lead the way." She casts a glance to the other Birds and Frank. Huntress does get a look, but no verbal scolding beyond that.

* * *

Dinah eyes Frank. "Seriously? You Special Forces guys. God, I'm glad I was with a PMC," she mutters. It's good natured ribbing, hardly meant to really dig at Frank's sore spots. "'I just keep my eyes open'. Is that the Boomer way of saying 'git gud noob?'"

The team falls into step, single-file; despite her casual tone, Dinah's as alert as anyone else, using her knockoff optic periodically to check for invisible triplasers or people lurking in ambush. She moves with an eerie silence, too, despite the rubber booties and the water on old metal. Biker girl or not, Dinah knows how to move stealthily, taking up the second spot behind Impulse in their little column.

She holds a hand up to alert the people behind her, points at a half-inch shelf where the moorings have shifted the pathway. "Frank, be careful— don't break a hip," she whispers, the words barely loud enough to carry back to him.

With a wickedly self-amused grin, she turns back to her path in Bart's wake.

* * *

Look, the Mad Hatter isn't a threat if you're just willing to blow the hat off his mad head. Frank nods at Impulse's response and Barbara's normal-speed details. "Empty until they send a Talon. Got it." There's a reason he's packing slugs instead of buckshot or beanbags in his shotgun. He snorts at Dinah, "I dunno. What the hell does 'git gud noob' even mean?" He drops easily to the back of the group, keeping the shotgun and its attached red flashlight pointed down at the floor in front of his feet and his eyes up and out, occasionally checking their tail. The whisper from Dinah causes him to snort again, "Careful, or I'll break my foot off in your ass." It's good natured ribbing.

* * *

Inwardly VERY glad that Dinah took point, Huntress follows the blonde cautiously. Unlike the Canary, she has exactly ZERO fancy bells and whistles, so if there isn't any ambient light to be had in these tunnels, she's blind. And because of that, she's taking Honda's words VERY seriously, even to the point of studying the hitch in the walkway and stepping past it with exaggerated care.

While Dinah moves with practiced silence, Helena LOOKS like she's trying to be quiet and she… just isn't. She's not stomping about super noisy, she's just not ninja-silent. And the harder she tries to be quiet, the worse she is at it.

* * *

The secret doorway that Impulse had found is hidden at the end of a tunnel marked DEAD END. The only way that Bart could have even found it is because of the crack in the boards that had sealed the tunnel, and the slight whispers of air from that crack. Now fully opened, the room just beyond the tunnel befits some kind of posh parlor from the late 30s or early 40s — long forgotten.

There's water-stained wood beneath dusty, moldering rugs. The walls are done in peeling wallpaper, and there's an enormous fireplace at the head of a long table. The chairs pulled up to the table are elegant, but simple. Dusty picture frames are hung on a wall in meticulous order. And as already discovered by Bart Allen, there's several well-done taxidermy owls of various species adding a particular dark note to the decor.

* * *

Being able to vibrate through walls and solid objects is a handy thing. It does however kind of makes things awkward when you lead everyone to a wall you'd otherwise just stepped right on through without a second thought.

Impulse proves he hasn't made the whole thing up and hasn't lost any of his party- two very good points to be proud of! All that is quickly forgotten in favor of the new-old area to explore. It's so weird and fascinating, especially all the stuffed birds, which seem to interest Bart more than the rest of room. And really, what's so interesting about old, moldy furniture?

* * *

"Impulse, wa—"

Well, too late. Dinah watches kid just… walk through the wall again, and she stares at the spot where he'd gone.

"Well, that's a fucking cool trick, but…" She flops her hands helplessly. Dinah tucks the camera into her pocket and moves to examine the boards. There's enough of a gap she can look between two; dust shifts and it rattles at a touch of her fingers.

"C'mere Italy, give me a hand," Dinah says, beckoning Huntress up. A piece of rebar is found nearby; some poking and prodding finds her a spot where she can get some proper leverage, and she nods at Helena once they're both in place and ready to go.

The blonde sets her shoulders and hips and twists hard, putting her not-inconsiderable core strength to work to try and break loose an entrance into the closed off room.

* * *

Helena does indeed step forward to help Dinah pry those boards loose. At least her gloves are proving to be useful now, as she can grasp the boards and yank on them without worrying about getting splinters.

Between the two of them the boards are peeled away in short order, and Helena gets a glimpse of the weird, old-timey luxury hidden down here in these tunnels. "Okay, this is like Myst levels of creepy."

* * *

One moment, Frank is looking back down the storm drains the way they came, the next he looks ahead again… and Impulse is gone. He blinks, muttering, "What the f — " but there go Dinah and Helena, prying at the boards. He shifts in his stance, pausing a moment as if he might step forward to help — or just to kick the boards in — and then settles back into place, glancing over to Babs and smirking just a little in amusement. He snorts at Helena's reference, "Hey, I know that one." Here are now two things in common between Frank Castle and Steve Rogers: being veterans and getting old references. "I used to shove a kid who loved that game into lockers in school."

* * *

At first, Babs just casts Frank an almost amused, if not slightly withering look. But then she's caught up by the sights of the space once they are inside. "Whoa," Barbara breathes as they step into the parlor. She is just behind Frank, the last to enter. Her eyes rove over the area, taking in each of the oddities of this little stolen place beneath Gotham. She turns slowly around now that she's entirely inside. She spots a lamp, and she drags her flashlight over it, looking around. She twists the knob on the side and the light suddenly flares. She didn't expect it, so Babs jumps back a bit. But it washes the room in a globe of golden light that blooms just about six feet in diameter out.

"Okay, so… what is this place?" She asks seriously to the others around her. She edges in toward the table, finding another lamp there that she twists the knob, and again it lights up, too.

* * *

Oh hey, light. Flashlights are better than one from a phone, but as Batgirl tries one of the lamps, Impulse looks more surprised that anything turned on at all, having taken the old fixtures for granted. The technical overlay within his goggles readjust with the addition of light to the room, and he resumes looking around at all the old stuff. The furniture doesn't interest him nearly so much as the taxidermy pieces, and that's where his attention has returned to once the others have joined him in the strange old room.

"Huh," he muses as he peers at the plaques that apparently accompany the stuffed owls. "…they have names?" Why would you name a dead bird? "-oh wow, this one is like, prehistoric almost." Of course the 1900s is prehistoric to someone from the 30th century.

* * *

The first thing Frank does is check for other exits. He crosses the room, checking on the stairwell on the other side. Before he can report on anything up the stairs, however, the light blossoms behind him, and he spins around, squinting into what feels like a sudden glare. He nods slightly to Babs, "Huh. Built well, I guess." And then he looks up the stairs once more, peering around a corner and then coming back to report, "Boarded up at the top." The picture nearest the stairs gets a long look, and he shakes his head, "Jesus. I think that's a fuckin' percussion-cap rifle. And Gotham was still fucked up then. Masks. Seriously."

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