2019-08-04 - Radio Free Ninja


Penny Two and Nightwing intercept a transmission.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Aug 4 21:54:38 2019
Location: Staten Island, Chinatown

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Theme Song



Dick Grayson has a ninja problem. Or rather, is it that ninjas have a Dick Grayson problem? Either way the two have run into each other more frequently than is usual as of late, including one in particular with a sweet bike that Dick managed to disable and have impounded by the police.

The disadvantage to that is that Dick had attached a tracker to that cycle and now that it's impounded it isn't tracking anything but the police station. Which… hasn't gone anywhere.

And that's that for tracking the ninja it belongs to, it seems. Or it is until…

Day, uh… what is it? Day seven hundred and sixty one. Begin mission log recording. Broadcasting on the ELF emergency contact frequency. Recording on the… uh, hell. I'm not real sure if this is recording anywhere but my suit.

The Bats have all kind of communications and communications monitoring gear. It helps them keep an eye on what's going on in the island. They've got all kinds of tags for standard frequencies and encryptions. This? This is neither. But it won't be toooo hard for the Bat's gear to detect and get into it.

The transmission is coming from near the waterfront. Hard to say where but it looks like it's in the Chinatown area along the Hudson side of the island. Probably transmitting from a rooftop, all the buildings around there are fairly low.

Julia Pennyworth is in the Cave, sitting in the command chair that, honestly, is hers more than it is Batman's. He just gets priority when he's around. Of course, if he's around it means Julia gets a break, right?

Well, Batman isn't around at the moment, so yeah. It's Julia. Off to the side, one of her monitors starts to flash and it takes a moment for her to move her attention over that way, frowning. A few clicks of her keyboard to turn in to the frequency and clean up the static and the voice fills the room through the cave's speakers. She frowns, murmuring to herself in that British accent. "'ELF'? One of Santa's get lost?"

Julia looks out over the map, finding Nightwing's icon, which is closest at the moment and patches through to the eldest Wayne son. "Oi. Nightwing. You free?"

Impounded? Oh yeah. He also added a less obvious tracking device to the bike as well, after about eighteen hours of debriefing and paperwork filing. He left the original tag on the bike, both as a primary tracker and as an easy red herring should it be discovered when the ninja recovers his bike (and Dick is /ceratin/ he'll recover it), but he imbedded a small passive GPS tracker wired into the machine's own power supply. Completely harmless, almost invisible, only draws power when activated, it's his failsafe in the case of things going wonky. And he's a Bat. Things /always/ go wonky.

Aaaaaaaand in the process of doing this, he saw 'under the hood' so to speak. What. The. Fuck. Then came an hour or more of scanning, tracing, trying assertain how the damned bike functions without leaving a trace of said investigation. At some point, he had to go home, catch a nap. Sleepless nights are all well and good, but he's been stacking up a few atop one another and there are limits to how far one can push the human body.

The coms chirp rouses him from a dead sleep, his eyes flashing open and his fingers reflexively curling around the shaft of the promethium weapon beneath the pillow. He taps his ear, "Just sleeping." he says, his voice clear if a bit deeper then usual. "'Sup?"

It's possible that Nightwing filed a report with the bats that's in the system somewhere. But that's neither here nor there at the moment. When Julia patches in the audio he gets another voice. Male. Tired. Slight accent though it's hard to place other than 'probably asian'.

Still working on figuring out how they got inside. I know they were after the tech. Hell, why wouldn't they be. Implants that unlock the untapped potential of humanity? Everyone would want these if they knew they existed. I'm positive that the kill order came out from New York City, somewhere, which is why I'm here, but there are WAY too many Hand and Order in the city for this to just be a command hub. They're up to something and I'm not sure what yet.

There's a sigh and Julia might notice that there's a video feed too. Operating on a similar frequency but with a really weird data compression.

Anyway I've got some hard drives that I need to slice. They're encrypted with the usual set of tricks but I've still got some people. So we'll see what happens there.

There's another long pause. I miss you guys, you know. I keep hoping that I'll hear someone on this frequency. Some sign that you are still out there. Still alive. That maybe someone else got away.

Sleeping? Batfolk sleep? Joking. Julia knows quite well they do. Just… not as much as most people. "I just picked this up on a secure frequency. Ever heard of an 'ELF emergency contact frequency'?" She patches the audio through to Dick and then notes over to him as it runs. "You're the closest to it, but it's not anything critical. I can see if someone else is free." 'not critical' meaning no one's life is in jeopardy. At least, that she can tell.

"Sounds like it may have been an emergency frequency, but it's been dark long enough to be a personal log." Julia continues, starting to bring up cameras in the area so she can try to get an image of the speaker.

Dick Grayson grunts as he rolls out of bed and heads for his suit and gear, talking as he goes, "Extremely low frequency bands, I didn't think anyone used them for coms outside of submarines however. There's issues with the tech, more or less defunct." he starts dressing quickly. "Voice sounds familiar, can't place it though. Can you narrow down the location any?" he starts to gear up the belt with things he thinks might be useful… considers his recent luck… adds a localized EMP emitter to the belt and winces. Them ain't cheap. He also adds two more handfuls of wing-dings when he realizes how low his belt has gotten, jeeeez. Bruce is gonna kill him. At least he rewound the grapple with a fresh line the other night! "Anything else in there get you an idea on the ID? To be fair, this could just be some lonely guy in an apartment playing with some homemade HAM gear or whatever."

The images Julia manage to bring up show a humanoid figure sitting on the edge of a rooftop within a couple of blocks of the river. It's enough for her to get a solid location. The figure is wearing what looks like a leather overcoat with a hood. Another angle shows his face - or rather where his face should be. That is covered by a hexagonal matrix of… something. And a lot of the rest of the way he's dressed screams 'armored'. He's got a sword sheathed over his left shoulder and a device that might be a gun of some kind at his right hip.

Who is this? Well it certainly LOOKS like someone whom the police have had a couple of run ins with. And Dick, actually, though whether Dick uploaded his video is anyone's guess. Maybe he was too busy filling out paperwork.

As usual, if anyone is out there, there's a shelter near the western outflow at these coordinates. What follows is a blast of digital information that comes across as a brief sound of a modem handshake but is a lot more information dense. Cartesian coordinates, though they are encrypted in the same way the comms are. Which means the Bats might be able to get into them.

I check it regularly. If you're out there, and you can make it that far, you'll be safe. I may be in this city for a while. Everything leads here and there is more going on than meets the eye. The Order's Hunters have tracked me here so I need to be careful. Though they get into spats with the Hand sometimes which is amusing, not going to lie…

Julia sees the back of the figure light up slightly. A row of purple lights down the spine that appear to be shining through the thick armored clothing rather than mounted on it.

As Julia gets eyes on their speaker, Dick will hear the chuckle across the comms. "Oh, he might be lonely but definitely not playing around." The image is patched through to Nightwing. "Especially not when he's talking about the Hand." Julia gets a capture on the data, dumping it off to the side so that she can see about decrypting it later. The Bats know all too well about the Hand. "How fast can you be there?"

The mocha-skinned woman worries her lower lip as she considers. Nightwing is still gearing up, and even at rooftop speed he's going to be a bit to get to the monologuing figure. She reaches over and patches into the ELF channel, keeping the other one with Nightwing open so he can hear but not patching the vigilante in. "// Hello? Who is this? //" She doesn't want to scare him off, so she keeps it brief. Hopefully shock, if nothing else, will keep him 'on the line'.

Dick Grayson checks his equipment, the image, and grins. "Oh… I think I can make it in about eight minutes. Six if I ignore all traffic." pause, "So like four." he amends, clipping the belt into place and latching his weapons on his back. He leaps out the window, letting it's security system close it behind him, and plummets through the allyeway before firing the grapple line and swinging to the end of the block where his bike lays in wait.

Moments later he's screaming through the alleys and steets of Staten Island at breakneck speeds and preparing for what he hopes willb e the final show down. Dammit. He forgot avacado. Double dammit. That woulda been funny.

Julia can see the man on her video feeds still when she speaks up. Like, stock still. Going from alive and moving if only slightly and naturally to Batman levels of still. One with the granite gargoyles and all that.

"This is Shiranui. Who is this?"

Shiranui. If Dick hadn't recognized the voice by this point he would now. This is the man he's run into twice now. The one with the slightly insane ninja kit. And the bike that Dick now has impounded.

In the silence between question an answer both can hear the man mutter. "That was real right? It is way too early for me to be having a psychotic break."

Dick will sight him eventually. He stands out when you're actually AT rooftop level, sitting on the edge and backlit by the lights coming off the riverside streets and apartments. Both will see that row of lights down his back brighten. Considerably. Whatever is going on it's very likely that he's activated… something.

At least he hasn't drawn weapons yet. But then as far as he knows he's just talking to someone on the radio.

With Dick on his way, Julia moves her overwatch on him to a side screen and brings Shiranui up front and center. Her lips quirk in amusement. First that he actually answered the question and then his follow-up conversation. With himself. "// Yeah, I'm real. " The British accent is a bit easier to make out as she speaks more. " Should I be concerned that you've already got a psychotic break scheduled? This town is kinda rife with the crazies you know."

Dick Grayson doesn't come at the ninja from behind, that's just rude, nor does he come in hot. He's analyzed the tactics, he can tell from the load out that if he'd /wanted/ to kill cops he could have. He's been choosing nonlethal attacks, concussion weaponry, and seems to be trying to keep the body count down. Dick can respect that. Instead, he leaves the bike back a bit and scales the side of the building like a spider, slipping onto the roof in the shadows and maximizing acute sight lines and a dozen other stealthy tricks he's learned over two decades of watching Batman up close and personal. And he listens for a bit.

"I'd noticed. Lots of people who like to dress up in circus outfits and offer random swordsmen guacamole." Now 'Shuranui' is standing up. Not in any hurry, just, you know, picking himself up from the edge of the roof. "Less a scheduled break than a will call. I didn't catch who you are, by the way? What's your ID tag? Which facility were you out of?"

The tone is wary. Slightly suspicious. But he's still talking. Maybe it's a relief to talk to someone. Even if that someone has just dodged the question of who they are, which suggests rather strongly that this isn't one of his friends. Or a friend of one of his friends.

There's something about the way he's moving, Dick can see. It's like he's more aware than he should be. He backs up from the ledge and side steps a protrusion without ever looking back at it. Could just be he knew it was there already but most people don't have mental mapping anywhere near that good.

There's no way that Julia knows enough about whatever it is Shiranui's talking about to fake it. "// This is Penny-Two. I caught your chatter. Am I right in hearing you've got a Hand problem? //" Might make him wonder just how long she's been listening in on him.

Julia sends Nightwing a single ping to let him know she's got eyes on him. It helps that he's tied into the Batcomputer's systems, so she's not trying to track the slippery bird through visuals.

Dick Grayson's eyes narrow a bit and he doesn't bother to acknowledge the ping, no need to really. Instead he just holds his place, eaves dropping and waiting. Half for intelt, and half for, lets be honest, the perfect line to enter in on. Bat-Peeps. If it's not dramatic then what's the point? The legend is half the fun! Also, frankly, extremely useful over time.

"Penny-Two. Does that mean you're here to give me your two cents?" The tech-y man says. "Sorry. Sorry. Sense of humor has degraded over time, I think. I have a Hand problem yes. And an Order of Si-Fan problem. And a guy in a blue and black suit who keeps showing up to brag about his guacamole problem. And honestly I'm not sure which of those problems is the worst. The last guy, I think, is probably a bit off his rocker."

He continues backing up and then side steps a cell receiver and then steps over a PV bank. All while walking backwards. And not turning his head. There is no way he could POSSIBLY have known those were there. Even with a photographic memory that kind of thing is really difficult.

"So how long have you been listening, Penny-Two? And what made you decide to speak up now? Was it the mention of the Hand or something else? And… how do you know of them? It's not like they go door to door introducing themselves."

"// Hah! Like I haven't heard that one before. I didn't go choosin' the moniker but yah, you're likely t' get my two cents if you want it or not. " Julia assures the techyninja. She's flagging things on the file she's building for him off to the side, adding the Order if Si-Fan. She smirks at the mention of what's clearly Nightwing. " Oh *that* guy. Hah. I'm familiar with 'im. Not bad t' look at with that tight little suit of his. //" Oh yes. She knows Nightwing is listening. That's what makes it so damned funny.

"// I'm familiar with the Hand. You could say I've worked with organizations that take exception to 'em. " Organizations. Plural. The Bats make number three, but she doesn't mention that yet. " And not long enough to figure out what's got you at odds with them *and* one of Staten Island's self-appointed protectors. Usually it's one or the other, mate. //"

"Protector? That why he keeps showing up to get me killed? I suppose he didn't seem to friendly with the Hand. I figured that just made him one of Si-Fan's hunters but they don't usually talk that much. As for looking at, I'll take your word for it. The last look I got at him he was trying to drag me on my back through the streets in a cloud of smoke." Which is to say, drag him along the ground.

"Organizations though. I only know of two Organizations that have a regular problem of the Hand and one of them isn't a thing anymore. And there was a shortage of Brits in those organizations as I recall. Sort of makes a guy wonder."

"To be fair, you /do/ tend to be caught in open combat in public whilst stealing things." Dick says from the shadows where he's leaning nonchalantly against a vent pipe. "I mean, if you hadn't been stealing or throwing concussion grenades about willy nilly I'd never have paid you a bit of mind. But no. Also there were the hurtful comments about my guac, which I feel were both unfair and uncalled for." he shrugs off of the pipe and steps out of the darkness into the light cast by the city.

"Sorry, couldn't help but zero in on the coms signal, heya P-2, hope you don't mind me hijacking your network for a bit." he happily plays it off as he and the voice on the coms aren't connected to much as aquainted. Barely. "So." he crosses his arms lightly over his chest, "Wanna explain what's going on to me or what? We can keep doing this dance for awhile, but eventually Xena Warrior Ninja is gonna show up and then the option's off the table cause that chick /hates/ you, man. Or. We can slip on down to a joint I know that serves second rate dips on first rate chips and talk like grown ups. Promise I won't try to hit you with anything so long as you promise to /not/ attack anyone. Like cops."

"// Well you're not dead, so I'd say he hasn't gotten you killed. " Julia notes, the comms easily carrying her dry amusement. " You'd be surprised how many people know of the Hand, Not the least of which are some government agencies. Including the good ol' U.K."

As Nightwing joins the conversation, Julia smiles in the cave before speaking to the pair of them now. "// Shiranui, meet Nightwing. Since you've managed to miss his name during your time in the city. I'd lean towards the friendly chat, though I'm not sure how you'd eat with that mask. //" Which means that Penny-Two is doing more than just listening in to Shiranui's frequency.

"Oh yay. A second interruption." Shiranui raises his right arm and makes a fist and both Nightwing and Julia can see a pair of glowing kunai just appear between his fingers. Not like a clever sleight of hand way either. His hand was empty and now there are two things in it. A closer look says they're not solid objects either. They're completely translucent. Like they're just made of light or energy or something like that.

The row of lights on his back brightens. He doesn't THROW the kunai, but he's clearly very, very wary.

"It's Guacamelee. I didn't figure you for the kind that was listening in on comms. He do this a lot, Penny-Two?" Shiranui doesn't have a reason to think that they are working together. But he also doesn't have a reason to think that they're not. Still everyone is still talking and not throwing punches or weirdly bird themed blades so he'll roll with it for the moment.

"You wanna go into a bar or grill dressed like that?" The ninja snorts. He at least could probably take off some of the armor and pass for normal until someone looks under his hood. Well, except for the part where it's July and he's wearing heavy leathers on top of a low profile armored suit.

"Kind of funny then, Penny-Two that they don't do anything about it? Or are you what they ARE doing about it?"

From the way his head moves, his eyes just narrowed. "And you can see my mask. Let me guess, tapping into the local cameras? That's a bit.. next level. Is that how you watch this guy do his thing too? What is it that you DO anyway, Penny-Two?" Because clearly she's seen him. She mentioned as much. That video feed from his suit patches through. He is still not looking directly at Nighwing though there is an interesting HUD he's got, and he's CLEARLY aware of his presence.

"So, Nightwing, mmm? I guess that's better than Guacamelee. We can talk. Chips might be off the table though. I'm not sure you want to take off your mask in front of me. And I'm reasonably sure I don't want to take off mine in front of you."

Dick Grayson doesn't even blink at the sudden emmergence of the kunai, "I've been doing this a long time, you help enough people more then a few of them are gonna remember it. I have places all over town I can go dressed however I like and no one asks questions." he says without a hint of irony, "To be fair, they tend to be closed when I do this, but I find food helps keep people from getting stabby, and it's more difficult to kill someone with a chicken tender then it is a handful of sharp metal."

Nightwing reaches up to tap the side of his mask with a fingertip, "That's why I don't have the kind that covers my mouth. Chips and dip man, way more condusive to friendly chats then night time rendevous on rooftops where every shadow can contain-" he pauses, shrugs, and waves the same hand at Shin, "a Nin-Borg with glowy hand powers. You can't tell me that your gear can manifest hardlight projections but /can't/ allow you to munch a chip. Seems like a serious design flaw."

"// Not all of us think with our stomachs, Nightwing. //" Julia's voice comes back with dry Brittish humor. Personally, she'd have suggested tea but y'know. Brit.

When Shiranui asks about what she does? Well, Julia chuckles. "// I've worked for a few organizations, and none of them like their name bandied about. And yes, I am part of what they do about it." Which suggests one of those organizations was under the auspice of the UK government in some manner. "// Local cameras are pretty easy. Everyone's got 'em these days and security is low. So's the image quality most of the time, or I'd have a side gig selling pictures of Nightwing's arse. //"

Julia's eyes narrow as she looks over the ninja's HUD. Her Cantonese and Mandarin is better spoken than written. Too many damned Kanji. She'll have to go through it later to pick up on the finer details.

"Yeah but when someone hucks a CS grenade at you, you're screwed." Shiranui says as the hexagonal matrix around his face ripples and then seems to part just enough to show a hint of mouth and chin. That was… curious. It looked for a moment like he was trying to do something he'd never attempted before.

"But you can't actually mean that chips and dip are the primary reason for protecting your face with a sideways eight. Because if you are… I'm going back to calling you Guac Guy."

Julia, with her background, undoubtedly knows just how unpleasant getting CS gassed is. The HUD is pretty information dense it's true. The basics are interesting though. One definitely measures fuel or something similar. Another is monitoring power output and that seems to be connected to a display that is monitoring his brain function. Why that should be related to power output is something of a mystery but there it is.

"So what you're saying is I should look for pictures of this guy's business end and figure out the people posting them. One of them is probably you." Yes, he can do dry too. "You both seem to have gone to the same school for mysterious, I'll give you that. Though my guess is Nightwing did it as part of a theater degree what with that getup. That still doesn't explain WHY you're listening in on transmissions and hacking cameras and snarking with very hungry vigilantes, though."

There's a short pause. "So, you came to ask questions, I suppose. I gave you a few to consider. Why are the Hand here in such numbers, and why are they suddenly willing to engage in pitched street battles over one guy." He relaxes his fist and those kunai just go away. "How much do either of you know about ninja? Lets start there. At least Penny-Two seems to have heard of the name. You all know they're not the only ninja clan around, right?"

Dick Grayson grins and shakes his head, "Naw. Mostly it's because a lot of the people that end up on the wrong side of the law are ladies, and when you have a weapon this devistating," he flashes a dimpled grin, "it's no use if you hide it. Same reason I don't wear heavy layers of leather and carbon fiber armor plating." he quips. Which is a patent lie, Shin's seen him move, there are entirely /other/ reasons he doesn't wear stiff or unyeilding armor.

Then he's asking about ninja and Nightwing sighs heavily, his hand, without moving the rest of himself so as to remain nonthreatening, makes a complicated claw like rolling palm strike that adapts mid flow into a knife down chop and ends in a stiffened fingered thrusting gouge motion. He doesn't have to say anything, the nonchalant manner in which he moved his arm showed a seamless flow of three different ninjitsu techniques displayed as a single flawless motion. "Passing familiar." he says with the patent dry humor that's starting to coat this entire encounter like a coat of paint. "And yes." he's aware of multiple clans because where else did he get his training? Wasn't /all/ Batman.

"// I've an interest in keeping people safe. " There's no humor in *that* line from Julia. " This is one of the ways I do it. And I'm aware. The Hand gets attention less because it's a group of Ninja and more because they're a major organized crime group. " Julia doesn't have the up-close-and-personal knowledge of ninja that either of them do, but between SRR and SHIELD, she's got info on a fair number of them. " Priorities and all that. //"

"Fair enough there, Penny, I suppose." Comes the response over the radio. Finally the ninja turns to look at Dick and when he does, oh does his HUD light up. A targeting reticule comes up and pinpoints several spots on him for varying degrees of lethality. That function might be automatic, because it certainly doesn't seem like Shiranui is actively targeting Nightwing but it's aggressive as hell all the same.

"Alright then, Bruce Lee. So there's a few of them out there and most of them are kind of awful. Mercifully, they don't tend to play well together. But that seems to have changed. When I came to this city I was looking for something very, very specific. I was looking for someone who had infiltrated a group I had belonged to." Belonged, past tense.

"What I found was that there are no fewer than three ninja groups operating in the city. The Hand, the Order of Si-Fan and the Snakeroot Clan. And despite not being that friendly in the streets, what I've gotten so far suggests that they're working together at least in a broad sense. What for I don't know yet, but I have some ideas where to find that data. Hence the burglaries, Guac." He pauses for a moment, considering how much to say.

"I'm not sure if you saw those, Penny-Two. But if you were listening earlier, I've gotten some hard drives that I need decrypted. I'm pretty sure they've got data and communications that can shed some light on the situation. And believe me, if you're not familiar, the fact that all three are in the city should be worrisome by itself, to say nothing of them cooperating on any level at all."

Dick Grayson shakes his head, "Naw, Bruce was a different guy." he holds his hand out about chest high, "I'm taller." grin. "Fair enough, communicating much less colaborating ninja clans are very likely to be the sort of problem I would be interesting in beating into unconsciousness with a stick. You know, you coulda just /said/ as much the first time we crossed paths. Not sure how much clearer I could have made it that I wasn't interested in fighting either one of you." To be fair, most of that fight he was working to save cops and get them to stop with the attempted murder (mostly Xena), but still. "Any idea what the drives contain?" he asks curiously, "Or willingness to part with them? I can decrypt them without much trouble if needed."

"Eh. Men. You like to punch first, ask questions later. I figure it's how you boys establish a pecking order." Julia says, the sarcasm back in her tone in nothing flat.

Julia takes note of the shift on Shiranui's HUD, but it's also conveniently giving her his vitals and it looks like everything's OK so she doesn't send Nightwing any alerts. "I think for the moment, we're all on the same page. Wanting to know what's up and how it's gonna affect the city. You need help with the drives, let us know. Nightwing can get me a drop." Julia might even attempt to make Alfred's hot cocoa for him if he does. No promises on how good it'll be. It's a work in progress. "But we're obviously still on the keeping the lights out during sex part of this relationship so let's share."

Shiranui should be able to find some information on Staten Island's Nightwing, but he's not likely to find much on Penny-Two. Julia already has some searchs up on Shiranui and stuff he's dropped to try to get more background on him. The enemy of my enemy isn't always my friend.

"How incredibly conveniently helpful of you." says Shiranui in a dry and somewhat suspicious kind of way. Nightwing's offer may be genuine but so far the only interaction he's had is clashing with him in the streets twice and having his bike sabotaged by the man. This does not breed immediate trust.

"I was a bit busy both times avoiding the Hand, the police, a psychopath with mentally controlled chakrams and you. Mister Nightwing-who-drags-people-through-the-streets-as-they're-trying-to-escape. How the hell do you keep finding me anyway?"

The ninja sighs, mostly to himself. He'll have to research these two later and oh boy is he going to try that. As for Julia? The name Shiranui is japanese, and it corresponds to both seaborne ghost lights during a certain part of the year and also a wolf character from a video game in 2006. More usefully, there's a number of sightings and incidents she can pull up in other cities that may match this guy and his MO. He's shown up in places as far afield as Tokyo and Bejing but more recently he seems to have been working his way from San Fran, up into Canada, down to Chicago and then up from the more southerly parts of New England. There's a pretty clear trail that says he's been doing this for a little bit.

Seven hundred and sixty plus days if she heard right.

"Howeeeeever… it's not like I'm exactly drowning in options at the moment. I've got two drives. I might be convinced to give you one. We'll see how it works out, but I'm going to want some kind of assurance from you folks. A gesture of good faith, let's call it."

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