Welcome to the Clown Show
Roleplaying Log: Welcome to the Clown Show
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

I know what you're thinking. How could a show called CLOWN BURLESQUE at the Punchline possibly go wrong? It manages.

Other Characters Referenced: Harley Quinn, The Joker (Not by Name), Batman
IC Date: September 06, 2019
IC Location: The Punchline, Gotham
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 07 Sep 2019 13:33
Rating & Warnings: PG-13 for Suggestive Clowns
NPC & GM Credits: Bud & Lou (Hyenas Extraordinaire) and Joy Boys by the Fantabulous Harley Quinn.
Associated Plots

It's been three weeks since Lena Zelle - who would be mortified to learn if anyone had ever dared believe that she was an alter ego of one Harley Quinn - has been seen hanging around The Punchline. No dancing, no suggestive bar tricks, no hanging around in the back rows of the comedy nights. Just gone. Evaporated into thin air.

Vacation, said some employees by way of excuse when asked. Travels abroad. A visit home to Illinois to see her sick grandmother. The excuses were many, and far too few matched to be at all believable to anyone who asked twice.

Still. For the first two weeks? Things went smoothly enough. Zelle had planned far enough in advance that there were bookings to keep things moving along smoothly and on schedule. Bands came and went. Comedians got their laughs. The bookkeeper worked extra hours and kept everyone paid.

And everyone lays low when the "silent partner" comes through the doors.

But then… then Zelle's plans come to an end, and it hasn't really been the same since. Certainly not when the paying customers aren't around. With no new acts, business lags for a week. Things got worse for everybody.

So the staff gets creative.

Something was needed to keep customers coming. Something new. Something exciting! Something to make that silent partner really smile.

And what did they land on?

"Laaaaaaaaaaaadies and gentlemen," a man in a top hat croons as a piano keys up-all while the bouncer continues to let guests in and the waitresses are seating them in tables when they're not running drinks-looking like he's just walked out of opening night for Cabaret, with the part of The Emcee. …Except that he's also wearing a red rubber nose. He bows - arms spreading wide. "Welcome to The Punchline! And our first night, ever, hosting a show like you cannot see anywhere else in Gotham!"

And off he goes, with the piano playing a brisk and bright tune. He paces from side to side of the wide platform stage, where curtains have been erected to give a proper theater feel.

"An astonishing…" A chord pulses out. "…breath-taking…" Another chord sings. "…captivating collection of acts that will make you laugh, make you sigh, make you dream!"

A hand comes up, to aside behind the back of his hand in a dramatic stage whisper, "And if they don't, take it up with management!" His hands come back out as he sways, pulling out the straps of his suspenders. "Welcome to the first ever CLOWN BURLESQUE!"

And then, on cue, a pair of twisting balloons start inflating from the wings of the stage.

"Uh oh," says the man with his top hat. "I think the girls are getting started without me…" He shrugs, and then dashes off-stage to a comedic strain of the piano tune.


Some rumors, some people just talking about it among the more civilized and artsy crowd in the New York area caught the attention of Starfish. A trending nightclub with fascinating aesthetics, unusual sound, and a promise that tonight would be an extra-special affair. Starfish had never been to a night club. She had heard they were wonderful places with a lot of dancing and music and some other stuff she can't recall. Neither of those things she can recall appeal to her especially, but the uniqueness promised with all the hype draws her to make her way there by riding with the ones who talked it up so much. She does not know them, but they feel like she is a familiar friend. She had to tap into something she does not enjoy reliving to make them feel that way. The hard part was not also imparting a sense of bitterness.

Once past the bouncer, once she gets inside, her look starts to shift, slowly but certainly toward the unusual. Fur vest with nothing beneath, ribbons strewn around her hips as skirt, barefoot. The change from so-called 'normal' fashion is gradual enough that no one really notices it happen.

Awful lot of people here, thinks Starfish, trying to not look like she has no business being here. Trying and failing. Then the stage starts to make noise. No, occupant of stage. Saying something. "…what's a burlesque.." she murmurs.


EARLIER, ON NICO MINORU ADVENTURES:

'ha ha, if i stayed in gotham I'd probably have become a supervillain!'
'I would have totally lost my mind if I went to Gotham and just stayed there.'
'Yeah, it had a really bad vibe. It was like I was going to go crazy!'

HERE, NOW

Nico Minoru is seated in the second row. She is wearing an elaborate dress that is technically leather armor, with additional lace. It feels really comfortable and she is pleased with how it looks, even if she creaks imposingly whenever she shifts around, and the soles of the boots are thick enough to stop small arms fire.

She does wish she'd put something over the diaphanous stuff that's covering her collarline and shoulders, though. Especially when it is revealed to be… CLOWN burlesque.

Nico's lips form a thin line.

She then turns her head and sees— Starfish! Who she gestures over, pointing with energy at the seat next to her. "PSST" says Nico.


After the incident with all the were-folk… and a long week of classes besides, Tyler needed to get out of the Big Apple. Really, anywhere was a good place, and when a classmate mentioned that there was going to be an interesting show going on in Gotham. The type of thing you'd only ever see once.

It can't be much worse than what he's seen already, right?

Well. Maybe. When the young fellow who's found himself in the third row hears just what the 'once in a lifetime' show is going to be? He can't help but try to sink a bit further into his hoodie. Clown. Burlesque?

Those just aren't the kind of words you hear in the same sentence together, right? As long as they don't turn into the Killer Clowns from Outer Space, it shouldn't be /too/ bad.


There's a low squeaking sound that carries over the crowd, mingling with the sounds of tinkling glasses as waitresses serve up alcohol in abundance. It grows until it's loud and shrill, and then not one - but two! Two women with faces dressed in clown white slide out onto the stage. They wear trench coats swollen to three times what one would expect and oversized galoshes, and they carry bright red umbrellas.

As the man from before walks back out onto stage, he spills rice across it… And they begin a soft shoe routine.

Which is all fine and good and MOSTLY normal. …until they shed the trench coats part way through and reveal costumes made entirely of balloons. Which, naturally, they slowly begin popping one by one with the tip of their umbrellas with much in the way of feigned shock and shenanigans along the way.

There is a pair of men sitting at the table directly behind Nico, and they look wholly uncomfortable as they glance around the room. Halfway through the routine, one asks the other, "Do you think he's gonna show?"

"Of course, he's gonna show!" sharply whispers the other, gesturing towards the pantomime on stage that is slowly revealing more and more alabaster white skin. "I mean, he can't resist this, right?"


It's a couple of seconds before Starfish realizes the young lady with much greater fashion sense than she is directing the gestures toward Starfish herself, rather than someone beside or behind. There are no people that close. The sight line from her eyes is unmistakable. Starfish knows sight lines. This, what she wears, is typical for her normal days. With trepidation, the weirdly dressed girl approaches, and without a word climbs into the seat, tucking her legs in to sit on them rather than letting her feet dangle. She looks awkward, bobbing her head toward Nico and mouthing or speaking a "hi". Girls around Starfish's age, they aren't the type to really… associate with Starfish, in her experience. She puts on a smile, which looks genuine enough, trying to avoid coming off as weird, utterly missing anything about Nico that might make /her/ seem weird.

So of course, Starfish looks weird. Not just her fashion choice. Her body language is off. She looks like a cross between some doe-eyed innocent and a cynic. She doesn't seem to bother with makeup, but upon closer inspection she seems to have sprouted a couple of piercings which one could swear were not there a minute before. Her eyes are drawn to the stage before she can try to feebly voice questions to the mystery girl beside her. A spark of realization as she watches, and the word burlesque, familiar in the very distant memories of some movie she watched years before, now suddenly comes back and reminds her. Now she looks more uncomfortable and tries to hide it.

——

"Just relax," Nico tells Starfish. "At worst this is going to be funny."

She flinches at the first pop of a balloon! And then laughs, relaxing, gradually, but not completely, her eyes flicking around the room. No, she thinks, no, this is just some kind of… clown thing.

"I'm Nico," she tells Starfish, offering one hand. "You look super anxious. Can you buy drinks? I'll spot you if you can get me one." NICO MINORU: NOTED SCOFFLAW.

Her eyes turn towards her probable fellow criminals, and she seems about to ask something… instead she sees a guy with a hoodie. Lurking there.

She leans closer to Starfish for a moment and gestures past the thugs, towards Tyler. "… uh, I don't want to bug you, but do you know that guy?"


As the show goes on, there's no doubt at all that this is going exactly as advertised. Burlesque, but with clowns. Not just clickbait by any means, this was the real thing… and, well? He'll have to tell Jamie that he was right about this. Definitely not something that he's ever seen before in his life, and… well. Once you get past the element of the strange?

They aren't bad looking women, and of the age where you pay keen attention when skin starts to show. So he's going to take the moment to straighten up a bit. Nope, it definitely isn't normal… but so far it's on the better side of abnormal than the rest of the week has been before. So Tyler's going to take this moment to relax and enjoy.


The pair of women on stage end the routine by slipping on the rice and falling on top of each other… only to be dragged off stage by a pair of what look to be rodeo clowns by the hooks of their own umbrellas. The music swiftly changes tempo and key to something a little more lively.

A waitress comes up an impatiently asks of Nico and Starfish, "Can I get ya gals anythin' ta drink?"

Meanwhile, on stage, a new woman comes out, introduced under the the name of Coco… and dressed as a rubber chicken. Behind her, she drags a red scooter board of the likes that is the bane of school aged children everywhere. She gestures emphatically in Tyler's direction for him to come up and join her, as she dances a step here and there to do tricks over the scooter board and send the latex chicken head bouncing atop her own white face.

The two men continue talking as the music goes on. "But what if he doesn't?"

"Calm down! He's gonna show. And if he doesn't? Maybe this thing'll actually make money, and he'll still… I dunno. Give us a cut or somethin'."

"We shoulda asked him what he thought."

"Calm down," the one man says again, in an unwitting mirror of the conversation nearby. "Everything's goin' swell. Perfectly according to plan."


It's kind of a directive, to relax, to better fit in with the venue. At least it's a seated, audience style venue instead of some forced stage participation and there goes that thought as Tyler is summoned to be up there. "I don't…know anyone here…" she responds to Nico meekly. "Well…you now. Um… Starfish. Is me." She taps her belt buckle, hoping it works out better than the usual reaction.

Waitress. Question. "Uh… yes. Two drinks please." Starfish is not very good at the whole pretending to be of legal age thing. At least she looks less anxious. From between ribbons of the skirt conglomerate, she draws out what looks like a wallet she had somehow stashed there. A man's variety of wallet. One twenty dollar bill is drawn from it, and offered up to the waitress. Starfish looks slightly nervous again.


"I'd like a beer, yeah," Nico says in echo, near Starfish, and smiles. She smiles at her.

"It's good to meet you," she tells Starfish. "Is this thing going to scare you straight? Cuz it's working on me." The figure emerges next, dressed as a rubber chicken… Nico takes a deep breath, lets it out, and says, "She does have some moves."

She is quiet for a moment later.

Then she asks Starfish, more quietly, "I'm kind of worried about the plan guys here. Hold on." She then asks the two guys talking, "Are you like, commedia de arte or whatever it is, or what?"


At the enthusiastic gesturing, Tyler gives a glance to the right, then to the left, before pointing at himself with a bit of a questioning look on his face. Him?

"Get up there, you lucky devil!" encourages the fellow next to him, practically shoving the kid out of his seat and towards the stage.

"Okay, okay…" Tyler replies, holding his hands up in surrender before walking towards the stage and making his way up. He can't say he knows what on Earth he'll be doing, but there hasn't been a Gould born who was afraid of the spotlight, and he isn't one to buck the trend. So, there's a lazy wave offered in the Coco's direction — he'll play along. Why not? Could be fun!


The definition of fashionably late is to arrive late, but fashionable. Or at least, that's Barbara Gordon's hope when she crosses the threshold into the club at the Punchline. She knows where she's going now, whose territory she's in, so she comes in under the honest air of Jim Gordon's daughter, escaping life for a little while. She's in a mini dress and combat boots to match, a long sweater duster that completes a look that would make Cake proud.

She tucks a bit of red hair back behind her ear, and the loose braid is gathered over one shoulder with a kind of unconscious nervousness. She scouts the room before she starts down the steps, and Nico is recognized first — but she's not Batgirl, so she plays dumb. She scoots into an open seat near Starfish and Nico.


Starfish is lucky! …in that the waitress doesn't really care all that much about legality. "Two beers, yeah," she says to Nico in amendment as she shoves the paper bill into her apron. "Be right back."

As the young woman turns to the men behind her, the one who is certainly the more confident of the two - portly and balding - looks to her and raises one thick eyebrow. "Commodity what now?"

As Tyler comes up onto stage, Coco applauds giddily and gestures for the young man to stand beside her scooter board as she sits down, which looks very strange with her Big Bird-type thigh high stockings, but… there's surely a point.

Except that there's something that surely isn't going according to plan.

Upstairs, unseen, something thuds against one of the doors. And then again. There's scrabbling, too. And then… then, beneath the bright piano music, the inhuman laughing starts as the door frame begins to crack.

The thudding is likely entirely unheard as it picks up in tempo…

…culminating in the door flying open and slamming open against the wall as the frame splinters apart and costs the lock its hold.

Three hundred combined pounds of hyena barrel towards the stairs soon after as Bud and Lou pick up the smell of BAR FOOD. And fresh meat.

Of course, there are two goons positioned by those stairs, and their eyes shoot in that direction as soon as they hear the sound. "D-did you remember to feed them?"

"IT WAS YOUR TURN."

There's a terrified look between them, and they promptly start racing for the nearest exit.

Of course, Coco is completely oblivious. As are all of the people who are presently laughing as she makes balloon shapes. It's a sword! …that's, uh, not really a sword.


"Scare me…?" Starfish echoes, in a little confusion. It's definitely above her usual accepted age rating of entertainment but… nothing she hasn't seen from an anatomy book and a circus from a movie, combined. It's weird. But scary? She sees a sword made out of balloons, for sure. A slightly anxious glance is cast at the woman who takes up the seat beside her, opposite Nico, momentarily worried that she had somehow claimed a seat that might already be claimed by someone else accompanying the redhead. No one else with her. Starfish relaxes. Her eyes catch what look like wild dogs. The not-wild variety don't rush like predators toward things. They playfully approach, sometimes cautiously. "Hey uh… those are loose," she mentions to Nico. She's getting less nervous about just sitting there at least despite what she just noticed.


The man who Nico was worried about gets called up to go on stage… with a better look on him, Nico relaxes. Sadly, she misses the arrival of a redhead, and she is about to say something to Starfish when

HYENA!

"Holy shit," Nico says, eyes going wide. Then she reaches forwards and straightens up. "*I know those hyenas.*"

Nico whirls round to point at the two mumbling thugs, saying in a loud voice, "What are you trying to pull, you ***s?" (Somewhere, no doubt, Starfire gasps at the obscenity.)

"Those are wild animals," she tells Starfish, "*they tried to jump me once,* oh my *god* can I not go out to something ONCE without some happening???"


Tyler, for the most part? Just seems happy to play along for the moment. If Coco wants him to go and stand by the scooter, he'll stand by the scooter — giving it a little tap with a fingertip before moving into a sort of 'magician's assistant' role, making exaggerated gestures as the woman makes her shapes.

Of course, since he's on the stage it's easier to see the commotion going on in the crowd. Two fellas running for the door — were they scared of a balloon sword or something? He's got to hold in the urge to snark about it. At least until he's not part of the act anymore!

Unfortunately, he's also not seen the hyenas just yet. It'll be a moment before he looks in the right direction, probably!
Hyenas. That's all she needs to see to know that Rocket is dead-on with his intelligence. Barbara joins the crowd in their surprise at the sight of the beasts, but she's almost shifting in her newly claimed seat to look for their Momma.

"Where are you," she says under her breath, trying to spot the pigtails. Harley Quinn. "Goddamnit."

She hears Nico's words, and she casts her another quick glance. "Welcome to Gotham." Then she's pushing out her seat, glancing up toward Tyler on the stage.


Bud and Lou have not been having a great time of it these past few weeks. And they don't take it well when they get locked up endlessly, or when people forget to feed them.

Harley Quinn, were she here, would say that it's because no one likes to be forgotten. No one likes to have their power taken away from them. No one likes to starve. Why, then, should her beloved fur babies be any different?

But Harley Quinn isn't here.

Bud and Lou are, and they're hungry and angry.

Their cackles grow louder as they frantically race for the nearest table, teeth bared and ready to take their frustration out whoever they can get to first.

The two men Nico is addressing look to her, and then the bolder of the two makes a face and promptly pulls a pistol. "I don't have to tell ya anythin', ya dumb broad!"

As the hyenas become more obvious to the room at large, the screaming starts. First just the table they're running towards. Then others start to join in as a stampede begins scrambling for the fire exits.


"Oh. Hyena," Starfish echoes, as though she were being deliberately educated rather than spur of the moment effort to warn her of the danger. She's heard the word hyena but never saw a real one before. They do look very sharp of tooth and dangerous. Starfish remains…oddly calm. Even as the screaming begins around her, as the call to action tugs at the strings of both of her adjacents. Something similar stirs within Starfish, but it's less compelling. More of a fancy. She wants to help with something. Just a matter of which side. On one, dogs. She relates better to them. Dogs don't expect her to know what to say. On the other, new friend. Probably new friend. And probably less screaming and blood by the end of it. She mulls over this choice, remaining in the seat, huddled with her chin resting on the back of the chair, kneeling.


Fortunately for Nico, the thing to do when a gun is pointed at you is pretty clear. Her hands come up and she shrinks back, shoulders tightening — too far away to run. "get down," she mumbles to Starfish without moving her hands down.

If he nicks me, Nico thinks, I can -

Yeah, but what if he doesn't nick me, Nico thinks further.

WORST BURLESQUE EVER


Of course, a commotion in the crowd is exactly the kind of thing Tyler needs to realize what's going on. First, there's the sight of the gun in the crowd — but that doesn't seem to be what everyone's reacting to. A swivel in of his head later and…

…what /is/ it with this week and the oversized animals? First the kid that turns into a wolf (or possibly wolf that turns into a kid). Then werecreatures. Now this!

There really isn't a difficulty in the decision. He's had his share of becoming a scooby snack, "Hey, Coco — you might wanna get out of here!" Hand into pocket. Out comes… someone's keys? Not his. Just another random item he found laying around somewhere. "Girls, GET DOWN!" is shouted in the direction of Nico and Starfish, and the keys are chucked towards the dude with the gun. Assuming they follow that instruction? A moment later those keys are replaced by the chair he was sitting in earlier, as a set of keys newly sits motionless in a row of other chairs.


There is one thing that a Bat needs to make an entrance — a commotion in a crowd that makes everyone look this way so no one is looking that way. One moment there's a redhead getting out of her chair and being swept up with some of the panic, the next there's a cape-wearing vigilante suddenly appearing out of nowhere at the back of the room. She's not in her usual suit — in fact, that suit is a good six years old. It's all gray with black accents and that well-known yellow symbol across the chest. Now all she needs is Dick to show up in his old Robin costume to really complete the look.

Tyler's got the gunman, and so Batgirl is here for the hyenas. She lands on a table, and gives a little whistle at the doggies. "Babies!" She waves both hands. "C'mere, babies!" She takes a step back, then another, but also stays on the tabletop.


Coco, in her rubber chicken costume, can't immediately decide what to do, where to go. So when Tyler says get down, she collapses immediately into a quivering, yellow-latex-covered pile and yellow gloves come up over her head.

Keys—no, a chair goes flying and collides with the gunman a moment later. The gun goes off, but the aim flies high. The bullet strikes one of the stage lights, sending sparks flying everywhere and filling the room with the echo of the shot.

More screaming, and people begin to crush each other in the rush to get to safety.

Bud, the larger of the two hyenas, has already sunk his teeth down into a bystander to the sound of much screaming and is rapidly shaking his head to tear a small chunk free, and Lou is about to catch an arm on the other side when a Bat whistles and calls to them. His head immediately lifts and his ears prick forward hopefully. But then he sees… a Bat. The smell is all wrong. His disappointment is immediate.

His head lowers between his shoulders and the fur starts to stand up on his shoulders as he cackles and laughs, the sound is almost tentative as his ears flick back and forth uncertain of where to rest. And it's that particular laugh that catches his big brother's attention, and Bud lets go and comes to stand shoulder to shoulder with him, blood dripping from his mouth. A moment later, they begin to separate and move to get to opposite sides of Batgirl.

Because that… is not Harley.

Meanwhile, the man who just got a chunk taken out of his leg whimpers and curls around it as it bleeds profusely.

The man beside the first gunman draws now, but he's uncertain where to point his pistol. At Tyler? At Nico? He alternates his targets. "Yer all dead."

—-

Chair collision. Starfish first notices the pistol it seems at that moment, even after Nico added another warning. Already down, in a sense, the chair had easily missed her on its way to its meeting. Then a new gun is out and trying to decide which of its many victims it will claim now. But the gun does not desire victims. It can only do what it is told to do. By the man who holds it. The man who Starfish does not like very much now that she's conscious of the weapon's nearest target.

The man waving the gun hears Starfish speak, even though no one else does amidst the chaos, because she has her attention on him, and she dictates what he perceives at this moment. "If you live through this, never threaten my friends again." Vague, a bit cryptic, and probably won't be really something he can comply with for certain. As Starfish stares at him with her chin on the back of the seat, he begins to experience more… adjustments to his environment. His gun bites his hand for one. A really sharp, needle-toothed bite as though a kitten had attacked. The confusion he feels intensifies, branches out to fear and dread. Emotions he knows, and influenced, encouraged to be felt right now. Just as the gunman is ready, Starfish estimates, that's when the absolute worst of his terrors strikes, plucked from the deepest reaches of his imagination, brought out to each of his senses.


Am I going to get shot to death at a random event?? Is Red Robin going to avenge me?? Nico thinks, staring at the gun being gestured towards her even as she sinks downwards, trying to hunch over and be a smaller target. Is this why everyone gets on their computer and stays home??

Why is Starfish biting him???

These are the thoughts that come to Nico Minoru.

"He isn't coming," Nico finds herself saying. (oh my god shut up nico, she tells herself.) "He doesn't care."

Whoever he is. BATMAN PLEASE SHOW UP AND BREAK THEIR LEGS, Nico prays.


"Time to exit stage left, Coco." Tyler offers, reaching down to try and tap the woman's shoulder. If he's successful, a moment later she's where those keys were in the row of chairs — probably safer than the stage right now — and he's snatching them out of the space she was ducking in.

"Dead doesn't work for me, chum!" Tyler yells in the gunman's direction, hoping to draw the attention of the weapon back to the stage before he teleports to where the chair had been laid out, letting it go onto the stage in his place. Then?

One swing tosses the keys as hard as he can towards a wall, and the same motion tries to smack the second gunman who he doesn't realize is likely being distracted by Starfish.

If Tyler's able to lay a hand on the guy? You guessed it. It's gonna be a gunman flying through the air, and the keys safely on the ground again.


The screaming gets louder, and Batgirl has to keep her focus on the beasts instead of everything else. She has the attention of the laughing creatures, and she puts up both hands at the hyenas as start to circle. She glances at one, and then the other. "Now, now… I know you're hungry… let's get you something to eat, huh?" She slowly slips the grapple gun off her belt — again, an older model.

"Where's your momma at, huh? She usually doesn't like you two getting out of sight." She cannot believe she's attempting to have a normal conversation with these beasts who are starting to circle her like chum in the water.

She casts a glance toward Nico and the gunman, as if trying to gauge if that's all going alright over there. So, with the hyenas closing in, she offers a little singsong call, "How's everything going over there?"

She lifts her arm up above her head, because the moment one of those hyenas jumps at her, she's grappling for the ceiling to get out of the way. She tries to keep her eyes on both of them, turning her head this way and that. "Harley, where in the hell are you?" She never thought she'd wish to see Harley Quinn right now, but here she is.


"WHAT DO YOU KNOW?" howls the man on the floor who was just hit by a chair. "BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?! IT FIGURES. YOU TRY TO DO SOMETHING NICE FOR YER BOSS AND HE DOESN'T EVEN SHOW UP TO APPRECIATE IT." He turns to his co-worker, and bellows some more. "SHOOT THEM ALREADY."

The other man drops the gun instead and starts screaming. He gets smacked by Tyler in a hurry. Fortunately for the pair, there are more people coming out of the kitchen! ….Oh, wait. No, no. They're just here for the cash box behind the bar. They grab it and run for the back door.

And then there is a lot of things changing position real fast. Coco swaps with the keys, screaming, and then takes off running with her little rubber chicken head bobbing all the while.

Which leaves Batgirl and the hyenas. She keeps hoping and praying for Harley… and Harley simply doesn't come.

Also, Nico, neither does Batman. Lots of disappointment, all around.

The Batling has one thing right, though. It's not like the Clown Princess at all to leave Bud and Lou to their own devices, to protect themselves. Bud really doesn't act like he needs much protection, though… as he gets close enough to Batgirl to nip at her ankle and try to grab ahold of her boot.

Pull her down. Tear her apart.

Lou isn't quite as bold, and he lets out another uncertain cackle.


Fascination takes over Starfish's barely perceptible expression, the hints of it playing out here and there. Wondering what horrible thing the gunman must be going through. Her imagination likes to run rampant when they just stop interacting with reality. A little fun with the second, the one that was first chair-clobbered. His little play scenario: The gun that lands, spins around just at the right angle, going off and he feels an impact. Not a bullet impact. More like a punch. But it's timed as the gun makes that awful bang sound and has a flash of the muzzle that looks just a bit too close to what Hollywood thinks guns should work like. Starfish bounces just a little in her kneeling spot, amusing herself thoroughly.

Of course, the gun doesn't really even fire. To everyone else, it just lands and does nothing special, nothing dangerous.


The 'shoot them already' makes Tyler look around for any other gunman — seeing none? It doesn't strike him as being too much of a concern. Other than, you know, the guns being on the ground and all. You guessed it, those are the next things that Tyler's going for — hopefully they don't have backups, but if nothing else? He'll certainly be able to look more threatening with a pistol or two in hand!

As long as nobody tells them that he wouldn't realize if the safety were on all or.

"All good over here, uh, whoever you are! It's all part of the show, really!" Tyler calls back towards the lady in a non-clown themed costume!


Damnit, Harley!

Batgirl wrenches back her boot quick from the nip, and then she's glancing back toward Lou. She holds up both hands to both hyenas. "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Come on, now… I've been nothing but nice to you guys. Think of all those great adventures we've had." She looks around her briefly, trying to see if there's been enough people cleared from the club. Then she looks back down at the two hyenas. "C'mon, babies… let's get you back where you're supposed to be… like perhaps the African Savannah."

Her grappler goes off with a zzzzzt of batline, and she swings from the table she's on to another, this one closer to the bar so she can maybe get the doggies to the kitchen… where maybe she can lock them up again. She turns toward the hyenas and whistles again.

Here, babies!


The hyenas take the bait, racing after Batgirl towards the kitchen as she swings away.

And as the club has nearly completely emptied… that leaves our heroes of the evening with two incapacitated goon balls on the floor, the casualties of the crush who had been knocked to the floor and subsequently trampled, Bud's bleeding and sobbing pre-kitchen snack, and the cowering remnant of the clown revue.

…not bad for a night out, right?

Sirens sound in the distance, and will begin to come into the range of human hearing.


Moving to the side of Nico, the almost alarmingly calm Starfish gently takes hold of the more worldly girl's hand, smiling to her. She genuinely had fun. "Is um… is a night club always like this?" She bounces in place on her heels, eyes wide with wonder.


"Well… normally there's music," Nico says, not quite looking at Starfish because she is trying to steady and center herself, breathing deeply as she goes. "And dancing, and there's a vibe, and that vibe has way less clowns and nobody whipping out a gun. I'd like, invite you to somewhere for an afterparty but I don't know the scene in Gotham, and it's probably all murdering clowns all the way down."

Nico Minoru will now always hate and fear clowns. But it's injust! The clowns did nothing to her (directly).


"Not where I'm from. 'course, not much out this way is." Tyler remarks towards Starfish. Tucking the pistols away in his hoodie — because giving them back to the owners seems like a bad idea, and maybe he can pawn them before they show up as stolen or something! — Tyler glances down to the two girls. "So, uh, sorry the show didn't go on quite as planned." Pause. "You girls mind dealing with that?" A motion over towards the poor bystander who's still bleeding.

"I don't really feel like bein' here when the red and blues show up." Because frankly, cops make him nervous. If your last name was Gould, they'd probably make you nervous, too!


"Dealing with…" Starfish looks at what Tyler indicates. "uh…what…do I…?" Her excitement has faded. Real person with real blood seeping out, and she's utterly lost. The hyenas, the gunmen, the clown burlesque, all of that does not remotely bother her once she got used to the clown part. Her grip on Nico's hand tightens, though the most she could possibly do is maybe cut off circulation to the fingers. Maybe.


"It's okay," Nico answers Tyler, a little hollowly. "I'm not looking at you on purpose. Thanks tho."

To Starfish, she says, "Hey. Hey, you're OK, right? You should sit down. It, uh. This gets easier after the first couple of times. Do you want to talk to the cops?"

god i don't want to talk to the cops, Nico thinks.

and yet

AND YET

"If you need to scoot, just… scoot, okay?"


Nico answers Starfish, which is good because other than 'run the other way', Ty really hasn't the slightest idea what to do here. A little ruckus? He can deal with that. Injured people, witness statements, the whole 'aftercare' of the situation? Yeah. Not really his wheelhouse in the slightest.

"Appreciated — and hey, what kinda guy would I be if I stood around letting pretty ladies get shot, huh? See you girls around!" With that taken care of? Tyler's on his way towards the exit. Already digging through his pockets in case he's got to make a faster getaway than planned.


"Um…nothing to say… to them…" Starfish replies. She's really not keen on the idea. Less worry about being caught than something deeper. "I'm fine. Nothing bad happened…to me…" She's very reluctant to let go. She does ask quietly, though her voice is crystal clear to Nico somehow despite the lowered volume, and once Tyler moves out of her peripheral vision she no longer even registers someone was there at all. "Can I go where you go?"

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