Summary: A quiet night on the Waterfront is upset by a sudden invasion of Man-Bats.
Location: The Waterfront
Rating: PG-13 for Horror-Violence, Mild Language and Drug References
It is night, as one would expect for a fantastic scene in Gotham. Nothing interesting ever happens during the daylight hours right? A young woman walks out onto an abandoned pier, one that's been there, slowly decaying over the decades. It creaks and rattles as she moves from precarious wooden board to the next until she's at last made it out to the final post still peeking out of the murky and cloudy waters. It's taken her weeks to get ready for this little jaunt, waiting for the right permits, waiting to have time to take a bus all the way out here and get a hotel too. But now, after seeing a late night Discovery Channel program about a lost merchant ship she's ready to see if she can get herself some salvaged treasures!
Her eyes close as she begins to mentally search the harbor's dark waters. There is a ton of junk down there, lost anchors, trash, lots and lots of trash, but grid by grid she feels it out, identifying things slowly. It could be a very, very long night!
As the mutant sends out her investigational electromagnetic probe a few errant energy waves go awry. It isn't a perfect system. A number of lights flicker, and several burst.
Abandoned Piers are perfect, for people like Karolina. It's a place where the cops won't be snooping around. Where most of the crazies are crazy enough to leave her alone. And, where she might be able to find a few stray coins - or something - to pawn, and make a few bucks to buy her a room at the Y tonight, or - even tomorrow night.
Not that the young blonde woman is exactly worried, despite it all, she tries to smile. Hands shoved into her pockets, she makes her way in well-worn sneakers across the rickety pier, attempting to keep an eye out for something. Eventually, she pulls out a piece of beef jerky out of her pocket, half-eaten and still in the wrapper. Gingerly, she unwraps it, then, gulps it down, greedily.
It's only then she spies Zandra. Curiously, she pads to a halt, watching the blue-haired woman with open curiousity.
"I can't believe I spent that much on a purse," Barbara Gordon is telling her companion as she wheels herself along Gotham's boardwalk, past several little shops and cafes. "Ah, this is the place my dad told me about," she announces as they approach a bakery. "They've been sending free cupcakes and pastries to the station ever since they caught someone who'd broken in a few months ago," she says. "I think I need a cinnamon roll. I think I need to recover from putting that much of a charge on my credit cart, and the calories will help." Then she frowns as things flicker. "That... was odd." She fishes her cell phone (something of an understatement, considering everything she's programmed it to do) out of the bag in her lap, to find it already automatically rebooting and recovering from the low-level EMP burst. "Yeah. Something's going on." She never can have a day off, can she?
"Oh, please. Have you seen how much I spend on fishnets in a year? I could have bought two of those purses." Dinah Lance is strolling alongside her best friend, swinging a bag of her own. "Though, I /did/ kind of splurge on this new jacket." Naturally, she bought a leather jacket when Babs was shopping for a purse.
As the lights flicker, she pauses to glance around, instantly suspicious. The sight of Babs' cell phone is met with an equally suspicious glance. "Maybe it's just, you know... a piece of..." Oops, who is she talking to again? Right. And Babs is within striking distance, and she might have one of those sticks in her fancy new purse, too. "Yeah, it's probably something else going on."
Zandra nearly falls off the post when another bright aura interfers with her own searching of the watery depths. "$#@!" she some how manages to catch herself, by pushing off what seems to be thin air. (gotta love steel toed boots!) She turns around, eyes narrowed as she casts out to see where the new aura is coming from. It's very strong and she's heard that Gotham's got some pretty strange characters about. "Gah, I haven't even done anything yet.." she whispers to herself, or perhaps, accusingly towards the shadows.
The night has been relatively quiet for Gotham, though the Riverside area isn't usually among the more violent districts. A handful of performing artists still attempt to make money under the street lights, the area slowly thinning out as the night starts to drag on. The flickering lights draw a fews attention and murmured whispers about that damn power company and something or other, but it doesn't seem to be anything they aren't used to.
Of course, Gotham is never suspect to long bouts of peace, and tonight is no different. Soon the sound of a shrieking woman from one of the abandoned storefronts near Barbara's pastery shop. The screamer, appearing to be a squater judging by the ratty state of her punk-style clothing. She has a tall pink mohawk, held in tall, near-footlong spikes. She might be a rather striking sight, especially with her screaming her head off and the handful of needles she is clutching tightly in her white-knuckled fist. But she is far least interesting than the next sound and sight: breaking glass giving way to the sign of three man-sized nightmare creatures, long leathery skin underneath their arms creating make-shift wings that allows them to take to the air. It appears that the Man-Bat has returned, and he brought some friends.
The largest of the Man-Bats flies towards the screaming squater, reaching down with his clawed feet. After getting the victim in his grasp, the beast begins to take to the air, carrying the victim with him, the needles in her hands dropped to the ground, shattering. The remaining two beasts swoop to-and-fro, snapping their jaws at anyone they dart near to, attempting to scare them off.
In the dim, or almost absent light, Karolina spies off the slightly more moonlight edge of the pier the blue-haired woman looking back in her direction? Odd. But, she remains still, quiet, a fear growing in her heart that someone is looking for her. Did the Pride send someone to trail her? Did they follow her here?
Such thoughts might be paranoia, but, given what she's been through so suddenly, she's entitled.
Then? There's the screams. It sends chills down her spine, and causes her to sharply turn and freeze at the sight of the mutanish creatures. She's never seen anything like them, before. "Holy...," is all she can trail off, finding herself taking a step back.
Bravery isn't exactly one of Karolina's stronger suits. In fact, she's quietly looking for a place to hide, while keeping an eye on the Man-Bats, Zandra momentarily forgotten in the face of this more foulsome force.
Others are already dialing 911, but Barbara has another resource. Immediately, her phone is dialing a number to connect to a secure frequency- directly into Batman's comm link, actually. "We have a situation on the boardwalk," she tells him very, very quietly. "The police have already been alerted. Man-Bats. Several of them." She looks to Dinah. "You wearing your fishnets under that outfit?" Forget the cinnamon bun. After this, she's buying a whole damn cake.
"You even have to ask?" Of course, there's no conveniently placed phone booth. There never is, in Gotham. Maybe she should move to New York. Then again, Dinah's not really the shy sort -- when you spend your nights running around in little more than fishnets and a corset, modesty goes out of the window right quick. Divesting herself of her shirt and pants to reveal the aforementioned fishnets and bodysuit beneath, Dinah pulls her new leather jacket out of the bag and shrugs it on.
"I've got dibs on the runner, hold off the others," she calls to Babs, already sprinting forward to close some of the distance between her and where the bat is attempting to fly off with the squatter. Once she's judged that she's close enough, she skids to a stop. The squatter might be a screamer, but Dinah's is better. Taking a deep breath, she lets loose with her patent Canary Cry, guaranteed to drop thugs, minions, villains, and batty freaks of science.
After a momentary pause on the other end of Oracle line, a familiar, growly voice comes through. "Robin and I are tieing up some loose ends. Will try to get there as soon as I can. Try to keep them distracted, protect innocents. Hope you have some sonars in all those toys of yours." After that, the channel goes dead, though not before something like oil drums being knocked over is heard.
The Man-Bat with the squater flies higher in the air before he is hit by a seering sonic scream. Screeching himself, he spasms for a few seconds. In the process, his claws reflexively let go of the held victim, sending her about five stories down. The other two bat-monsters turn their attention on the one who attacked their boss, each dive-bombing the Black Canary from either side. Will she be quick enough to scream them both of?!? AND WHO WILL SAVE THE FALLING PUNK?!?!
Zandra blinks! Aura girl appearance is brushed aside in favor of the monsters. "..... right.. dang.." Zandra says staring at the bat-like creatures. "I should totally do something.. Um.. Um.. er.. " Guess that makes her Punk Saving Goth. She draws in a deep breath and summons up a EM shield, letting it form about the screaming druggie chick. It crackles and snaps, glowing a bright cyan in the middle of the sky. But at least the girl isn't going to fall into the polluted water or go splat into the streets below.
The young woman, standing on the sidelines is currently quite overwhelmed. There's the sonic-screaming girl in fishnets. And the blue-haired bubble-making girl, who only a moment ago was looking right at her.
And, of course, the man-bat creatures, who are causing all kinds of chaos. Sure, she can stand aside and do nothing ... but, it doesn't look like much will be done, if she doesn't. And in the end, it is always her heart that wins out.
And while little could be more scene-shattering than the appearance of the man-bats -- little else could be more stunning, than the sudden transformation of Karolina. It's like someone lit off a bomb containing the entire Aurora Borealis concentrated on a single point in the pier. And then, the rainbow-shifting-colored-girl-with-starlight-quality-within-the-spectrum-of-her-being is standing, like a huge lamplight of multifaceted, star-struck shifting colors on the pier. Her voice comes sudden, sharp, "Leave her ALONE!"
A blast of concussive energy issues from her hand, colored with a bright orangeish hue of destructive force, aimed straight for the center of the body of both of the Man-Bat creatures going for Dinah.
And out come the eskrima sticks from beneath Barbara's wheelchair arm rests. She's not about to go charging into battle, but she can't exactly make a hasty retreat, either. "Metas on the scene. Black Canary and two unknowns." Her ears are still ringing a little, actually. "You reading me?" Oh, how she wished she still carried batarangs around right about now.
It isn't every day -- or /any/ day, really -- that such a display is seen in Gotham. First, the brightly colored bubble, and then the fireworks. Rainbowy bright lights are /so/ completely out of place, and unexpected, in the drab and dull city that even Dinah is momentarily stunned. "What the --" She holds up a hand to shield her eyes, then blinks a few times to get her eyes to readjust to the darkness.
Crap. There's still a third bat. She recovers with a little shake, and goes into a defensive crouch, arms raised to ward off any attacks from above.
The drifter looks rather scared and confused as she's caught within Zandra's bubble, clawing at the sides as if in an attempt to escape, then shielding her eyes at the suddenly bright flash of rainbow light, breaking into the Gotham's night. She is not alone either, as all of the Man-Bats also cover their eyes, screeching loudly. The attention of the ones that were attacking Black Canary are especially stunned after the pair of blasts that pushed them into two local storefronts. Still, they seem to have some fight in them; blood streams from newly made wounds from glass shards, as the lead boss dives towards Canary, weaving back and forward as if to avoid the cry.
Thankfully, just about then is when the cavalry arrives, with the Batmobile approaching from the south. A speaker is situated on the roof of the roadster, giving off a high-pitched and annoying tone. At least, it is just annoying to normal ears; to the ears of nearby monster men, the sound is unbearable, bringing the aggressive beasts to their knees, attemtping to cover their ears with their hands. After a few moments, their frames seem to change, morph into something more familiar with human forms. Once the metamophises is complete, all three seem to be completely spent, bleeding and passed out.
Zandra barely gets the punk girl's bubble down to the ground when the Brilliant transformation over whelms her EM senses. With no time to brace it's just too much to deal with. Fun with energy! "$#@!" she swears as she looses her balance and plunks into the water. Splash!! "Aguh.. gross! " she sputters and grabs hold of the decaying pier post. The shield bubble bursts about 4 feet from the ground, dropping the punkgirl to the ground. If she's lucky she'll land on her rump.
The Rainbow-Starlight girl just stands on the pier, looking wary, cautious of all that's going on, and has gone on. Her hair leaves a trail of comet-like quality, suddenly far, far longer than what her normal hair would be as her skin shifts, hues of light transposing upon her flesh as if she were living starlight in the cosmos itself like looking into the eye of a galaxy from the Hubble Telescope.
Her eyes narrow, some, realizing the Bats were not monsters, but men. She wonders if they, too, were manipulated, forced, like she almost was, to become something they weren't. But she says nothing. Only watches those around her, ready to take off at the first sign of aggression or force, like a timid mouse despite her recent display of power.
The sound of a body being dropped into the water - or something, causes her to hesitantly shift her attention thataway.
Finally, she asks, "You okay?" Perhaps both to the pink-haired punk, and Zandra both at the same time.
Figuring that Babs has tapped their comms into the bat-system -- or that the Batmobile has something fancy in it to pick up whatever is being said outside -- Dinah gestures in the direction of the broken syringes. "Girl dropped some syringes. Not sure what's in them."
Leaving the Bat and tag-along to worry about that, she carefully makes her way to the end of the pier to help fish the blue-haired girl out of the water before she gets brain-eating amoebas or something in her ears.
"Thanks for the heads up, find out what you can about our friends on the pier," growls Batman in Canary's ear, more a command than a request, as he opens the hood of the Batmobile and hops out. He makes his way across towards where the dropped drugs are, bending down. Squinting, he pulls a small baggies out of utility belt (Bat-Baggie?) and slowly scoops up the remains. He hmms softly to himself, putting the baggy away and making his way over towards Oracle. "I'll tell your father that I had to investigate some evidence, he'll understand. Also call for an ambulance before those victims bleed out."
Meanwhile, Pinky on the Pier seems upset. "Oh Jesus, what was in the junk? I must be freaking out, this can't be real." She starts to get to her feet, before her eyes go wide. "Holy $#!@ is that Batman?!" she gasps, before looking for the nearest thing to cling to for protection, which turns out to be Karolina, the girl hanging on for dear life.
Zandra is pulled out of the nasty icky terrible water and she mumbles a quick thanks. "Ah this is so gross.." she says shaking off the muck and water as best she can as she then glances at Black Canary and then back towards the glowy girl and everything else. Whoa. Dark Knight ahoy! ".. They told me Gotham was freaky... dang, what an understatement.." and she then pulls a small fish out of a pocket and tosses it back into the harbor.
And, suddenly Karolina is clinged to, by a pink-haired punk-girl. "Um," she says, suddenly turning a slightly darker color in her cheeks, and trying to push the girl off herself, "Glad you're safe." Yeah. She's still glowing, druggy. You're on one HELL of a trip. Karolina is like a live acid show, to people tripping, most likely.
The aurora borealis gleaming girl, wearing the same clothes she was wearing not too long ago, looks this way and that, her hair trailing behind her in comet fashion, leaving a trail of stardust behind herself. "You. Should ... um, let go now," Karolina says, pushing the girl away at overhearing Batman's 'command'. "I gotta go." Like. Now. Before people start asking questions. But, she can't really take off with a girl clinging to her leg.
"Already on their way," comes Oracle's reply to Batman. She's tucked herself inside that bakery, where the woman operating the register has gone to hide in the kitchen, giving her relative privacy. "And by the looks of things, we've got some seriously tainted drugs on the streets right now. I'm putting in a call to my contacts in the shelters and needle exchanges, letting them know about this. See if we can't get some people into rehab /before/ they take something that turns them into a monster." But then, if the junkies aren't scared enough of the USUAL risks associated with IV drugs, will one more make them reconsider?
Dinah makes a face when she is commanded to play twenty questions with the civvies. As she's helping Zandra out of the water, she consoles herself by thinking of a half-naked Ollie doing his best Batman impression, using the bedsheet as a cape. That, of course, makes her start to snicker.
"Ah, what?" The blue-haired girl is talking. Dinah shakes as much river water as she can off of her hand, before wiping it dry on her bodysuit. "Oh, right. Yeah, every night's a new party around here. So," she glances between the blue-haired girl and the starry-haired girl. "You guys new in town, I take it? I'm Black Canary. Canary for short, is fine. And you are...?"
"My thinking exactly. Going to check this out to see what it was supposed to be, good luck getting a straight answer out of the girl," Batman muses into his com-unit. "Something tells me they may not have even known what they were injecting into them. Just looking for a cheap thrill, and one of our nasty enemies took thrills out of giving them a real trip." Joker? Scarecrow? Possibly even Langstrom himself. "For now, tell the clinics to be on watch. If you have any contacts within actual suppliers, might want to spread the warning that their supply is tainted." The tone in Batman's voice isn't terribly pleased, but he isn't going to judge as long as Oracle gets results.
"Nonononono, you can't leave me!" the pink-haired junkie complains, clawing at the air before her as Karolina starts to pull away, falling to her knees on the edge of the pier and rocking back and forth. Most likely, even if she's a lovely swimmer, right now she won't be able to so much as doggy-paddle.
Zandra stares um. Canary? Black Canary? In fishnets and a corset. Okay. "... I'm... just visitin'.." she says, nodding as she wrings out her hair and clothes. "So ah.. are there.. normally.. bat.. people..things.. flying around here?"
Taking a few steps back, away from the druggie, Karolina warns Black Canary in a tone that Dinah may or may not - but, Batman likely will - notate as defensive and fear, "I'm not anyone important. Just - leave me alone. I just wanted to help."
Her glowing arms move out to her sides, on either side of her, while her heels rest against the pier, towards the water. "You just looked like you needed help. I'm sorry if I interefered."
She sounds slightly nervous. Apologetic, even. Flighty. But then, she's got good reasons to be. You would too, if your parents were part of a crime syndicate beholden to ancient diety god-like beings who wanted to consume the entire world.
"I don't generally talk to any dealers, but I think the people at the shelters and clinics should be able to get the word out," Barbara says to Bruce. "The rainbow girl looks a little nervous," she notes, watching from the window. "Is Bats doing his Scare The Newcomer thing again?" she asks Canary. She loves the man like a second father, but he /can/ be very offputting on a first meeting.
Dinah holds up her hands in an I'm-totally-unarmed-and-harmless gesture when Rainbow Brite gets all twitchy. "I appreciate the assist. Not going to try to detain you, feel free to run off into the night if you want. But, helpful bit of advice, turn down the laser light spectacular first, or else you're going to attract a lot of unwanted attention around here."
A brow arches at the bat-question. "Define 'normal'? Normal for here? Sure. There's a six-footish one over there, he was driving the awesome car. Normal for the rest of the country? Yes, we have those here, too."
After investigating the area around the original storehouse that the Man-Bats burst out from, Batman emerges and starts to stalk back towards his car. He keeps his vision on the group talking near the pier as he moves. "She saved Canary, I say we let her walk. Whatever has her jumpy, it has her wanting out of this area; as long as she keeps her nose clean, we don't have a problem. Make sure the blue-haired one doesn't know anything about this, and then she's free to walk as well. Just make sure she knows to watch her step in my city. Get the junkie to the police, Gordon fill me in on the details." After that final instruction, he's off, possibly to meet up with the Boy Wonder again, the Batmobile roadster roaring to life.
Pinky, finding her balance but sitting down on the side of the pier and sobbing openly. "I-I-I just wanted to have a good time...is that so wrong?"
Zandra urs.. as she looks towards the rainbow glaring lights gal, and then towards tall man in bat uniform. "Ah.. er..yea right.. mmm.." massive headache. She frowns before looking at the Batmobile. The Canary is right. Nice ride! "So.. are..there going to be.. more.. bat-monsters.. I guess I should be more specific on the type of weirdness going on.." When the punk speaks up she smirks. "...Apparently it is."
At Canary's words, Karolina seems to pause - then, perhaps rightly assessing that nobody here is working for the Pride, ... or otherwise trying to snatch her, the 'rainbow effect' suddenly is drawn within, again. And, she's just a normal, flesh-and-blood young woman, again. There's something skittish, yet hard in her eyes, now, though, now that one can read them.
"Right," says she, under her breath, perhaps not even realizing she's speaking aloud. "Can't be what I am. Don't know who I am." She gives a frown, looking, momentarily, at the chaos strewn about the street, the people - the ominious Batman, barking orders and, brooding in a way that makes her uncomfortable. Louder, she speaks to Canary, "Seeya." No answer is given, as to her name. Or, explination to whatever it was she just did. Or who, or what, she is. She starts pushing her feet towards dry land. Slowly, at first. Too scared to hotfoot it out.