2019-08-22 - A Hand J--- Operation


Investigation goes a long way and brings unlikely types together. The Bats, a Ninja and a Ren-Faire escapee all meet up.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Aug 22 04:31:05 2019
Location: Staten Island

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Theme Song




Staten Island has in many ways become what Hell's Kitchen was a few generations back. It's the bad part of town. The wrong side of the tracks. It's the place in New York where the divide between the haves and the have nots has become the starkest. Where luxury apartment towers and high powered businesses exist side by side with soul crushing poverty, addiction and epidemic levels of crime.

It's the drugs that have been making the news of late. A spate of mysterious overdose deaths have ripped through the poor and homeless communities. The police are investigating but the conventional wisdom says it's a bad batch of heroin or something that recently hit the streets. Some well connected individuals - or just those who happen to be in the right place at the right time - might know better though. There IS a new drug on the streets. But it isn't Heroin.

The Terminus Pier hasn't been used in several years. It used to be for ferry operations but the ferry got moved further north and now it sits abandoned but not empty. Every night lights show in the old terminal baggage handling building. It's a large building, relatively open and well behind the chain link fence and 'keep out' signs that ring the property. And it is here that several people have gone missing recently. One of them was Cheryl Bennett, a former employee of one of the pharma tech companies who had put some rather unflattering things about her employers on social media and been canned. Her last post said she was coming here to 'prove what was going on'. She hasn't been heard from since, and that was three days ago.

She's not the only one who went missing though. 'Verun', a mutant - and morlock - with albino-pale skin and stark white hair was known to hang out in the area and pan handle. He'd always had a few problems but he seemed like a decent guy. Word on the street for anyone listening is that he went up that way too on the rumor that there might be some food stashed around the property. No one's seen or heard from HIM in a couple of days either.

Red Robin is a well-connected individual who has also been in the right place at the right time. One of those places was on the control end of a high-powered computer with a serious intrusion software suite. Probably overkill for just digging into social media commentors, but it's given him the deleted, suppressed posts — including a few from Cheryl Bennett, and from there the trail has brought him here.

He stands on the edge of a rooftop, a docks wareohuse with a view of the Terminus Pier. The shadow he stands him casts him all in darkness, hiding the more vivid colours of his costume. Communicator on, he speaks: "Oracle, can you get me blueprints of the old baggage building? And do you detect any signs of electronic activity there tonight?" It's meant to be abandoned; if it's active anyway, then it's smart to look before leaping.

One moment, Red Robin. Oracle answers. Retrieving and sending that information now. The retrieval is going to take a few minutes, even for one of Oracles capabilities, but Tim knows that and he knows the Oracle will send it as soon as it comes through.

There's a soft thud of boots on the rooftop behind Jimmy, the rustle of a cape as it settles against the wearers calves. "Red Robin." The voice is feminine but modulated. The only splash of colour on Batgirls costume is the bat emblem on her chest and the lining of the cape. The light catches the cascade of red hair that falls down her back - the original Batgirl is back on the streets.

"Oracle will have that information for you momentarily." beat "I've got the surveillance feeds already. They're being sent to your wearable." She's good. "No police patrols that I can see. The security patrol is on a thirteen minute rotation. A group of youths to the east. That's what I've noted so far."

It was the news about Verun that got Avery's attention, one of her friends at the clinic mentioned his worry about the man. They weren't close, but they were friendly, and being as the Clinic is in Mutant Town, yeah, it makes sense that a Morlock would be known there, And of course, Avery, being Avery couldn't just leave well enough alone! The girl has a great big heart, packed in a fairly itty-bitty body and very little in the way of the professionalism the others on the scene exhibit.

Once off shift she immediately ported home, then got changed, her costume being carried along with her. A few minutes using The Google on her phone (Yes! She actually thinks of it as THE Google), and then she is en route to the area using the Thieves' Highway.

Now, with no support system, allies, onsite intel or contacts, she has few options, so she simply makes herself a target! Walking along with a faintly unsteady step, she shuffles apparently aimlessly along the areas where her friend told her the Morlock frequented. That should be PERFECTLY safe for her, right? Golly - she sure hopes not!

Well, there's another one for Oracle to mark and report to Batgirl and Robin. One that just seemingly 'appeared' on the scene. Of course being actually BEHIND the fence puts Avery in a perfect location to notice someone else arrive. A man in what looks like some kind of armor and a hooded leather overcoat jumps the fence with a HELL of a jump. All the way over in a single leap without ever touching the thing. Batgirl and Robin have seen that before. Shiranui.

Not too much further on Avery finds a knitted scarf. That HAS to belong to Verun. It was mentioned by her friend as a way to identify him. It's trod on in the mud. That's probably not a good sign. Tracks head toward the building.

As for the building itself, Robin and Batgirl can see on the feeds that there ARE people there. There's at least two at each of the four entrances and all are armed. It's hard to say what's inside the building, there's no good camera angles, but there are almost CERTAINLY more people.

It's just hard to say who, or how many. Or whether they're friendly.

"Thank you," Red Robin answers. "And when there's time, remind me. There's a paper trail I should talk with you about." Finding and following, creating, or erasing? Such a vague inquiry, but it'd be enough to remind him later on if need be. He hears the thud, but he'd almost expected it, so he just gives Batgirl a nod of greeting. "Good work. And yes, it's hard enough to get a police patrol in a populated area of Staten. They're not going to worry about a place which should be abandoned…" His eyes catch on Avery and Shiranui, down below. "…even if it obviously isn't." Neither of them are local, sure, but it makes the point: there's more going on here than the police would like to believe.

People already approaching steps up their time frame. Red Robin steps back from the rooftop's edge. "Got a good wind going, with gusts…" He nods. "You go low; I'll go high." He takes a sprinting start and jumps into the air, letting the wind catch his cape — which then goes stiff, turning into a glider to bring him towards one of the warehouse's windows.

The blueprints for the building are downloaded to Red Robin, Oracle adding as they do I've access to the building management system. Ready to disarm entries as you move. You've got a visi Shirnaui joins their little party -tor. I'll loop security cameras as well.

Oracle is good. They've been doing this for *years* after all.

"Shiranui…" Batgirl greets the ninja, the dry tone disguised by the modulation. "We've another party approaching the south entry, I'll take that one." She agrees as Red Robin takes off. For herself, it's a rappel gun that lets her lower herself to the street. She's just coming around the corner to that entry as Avery draws near. The yellow lining of cape hard to miss.

Avery hunkers down by the scarf, fingers plucking at it a moment, before she sees the tracks. Eyes narrow as she pauses, very very still at the arrival of the obviously preternatural jumping skill. Softly. "Impressive." Man, she hopes that armored guy is not a bad guy, either way, definitely something to see here!

Once she's got a feel for the approximate numbers of the tracks she found, "Four or five…indeed, a fight worth having." Avery gives up any pretense of being drunk or drugged. In fact she dons her costume - a dime store domino mask.

CLEARLY a well funded professional right there!

And then as she approaches, Avery sees the rather obvious yellow lined cape, and pauses. Oh, another person in a costume, probably light or medium armor - not that she knows about modern composites or the like. "Hello." She says softly, softly - not a whisper, whispers draw attention. "Be you friend or foe, caped miss?"

Red Robin is the one with the highest vantage point now and thus HE is the one who will see the shapes moving in the darkness beyond the building lights. They're closing in on the area that Batgirl and Avery have converged on. Shiranui hasn't followed Batgirl though he does greet her.

"You're following me, I swear…" It's not MUCH of a greeting but it IS a greeting.

It's genuinely difficult to make out much more than humanoid shapes even with the optics in Red Robin's visor but he does see when one of the figures pause and catches a glint of metal being withdrawn from a pouch.

Shuriken. He has half a second to warn the others before they're in flight, whistling toward Batgirl and Avery.

Seconds later Robin can see Shiranui produce a weapon and begin firing some kind of pulses of purple light into the building on what definitely looks like full auto.

On the ground Batgirl and Avery hear a cry from the building. One that might possibly make them turn at a critical moment.

And this is why it's sometimes a good idea to split up: it makes sure that at least one person has a good vantage point. The moment he sees the figures, Red Robin says, "BG, check your ten, you've got incoming." He shifts his cowl briefly to a thermal mode, to at least get an easier count. "Around a dozen, but… cold bodies. The h—" Then out comes the glinting metal. "Projectile, incoming!" He, for the time being, continues toward the window, but he's open to a change of plans if they need more hands on the fight.

"No, we're just doing our job." The redhead smirks at the ninja before she takes off. Not that he'll see the smirk behind the facemask she wears. "If I wasn't so confident in Oracles systems I'd wonder if you were following us" But she's gone before he can reply.

"I'm going to say friend." The woman answers Avery as she appears to the black clad super hero. "And you shouldn't be here, it's dangerous."

The cry does indeed get the redhead turning just in time to see the incoming projectile. She spins, cape flaring out as she folds herself around Avery. The shuriken hitting the cape and the body armour she wears.

"Well, deflecting star-discs is indeed the act of a friend, methinks." Avery stayed very still when the black armored warrior with the cape swirled about her to deflect the attack, and then she smiles. "Oh, indeed miss, we should not be here, though the danger would seem bent on striking from afar." Apparently unworried about the close proximity Avery's hand briefly touches her guardian's arm. Eyes of hazel glitter with gold as she inhales, and just like that both herself and Batgirl are simply -gone-.

For Batgirl there's a brief moment of disorientation as her mind seeks to make sense of an infinity of nothingness, and then on the exhale they reappear, silently folding out of that otherworldly space, within a few yards of the approaching horde. Eyes still burnished golden, Avery smiles, tapping fingers to her decidedly not super heroine grade chest. "Zeal." She introduces herself, and then turns to face the onrushing attackers in a classic Eskrima stance executed if not flawlessly, with precision. The entire trip took less than a tenth of a second.

The shuriken are thankfully just shuriken. They're not thrown with any particular supernatural force and they bounce off Batgirl's cape but she can feel the impact and she can definitely feel that they're sharp. Now comes the battle cries as near a dozen actual black clad ninja draw swords and rush in on Zeal and Batgirl.

Or they were. They were until Avery teleported them. Now they're rushing at totally the wrong spot and faltering, confused that their targets aren't there.

Red Robin arrives at the window and can finally see in side. There's several long tables lined up in the center of the room and they're being attended by people who are all UNIVERSALLY of asian extraction. The materials on the table look like drug making items but there's a few that are out of place or of questionable use. No time to find out now, really. The noise outside is drawing the attention of the guards. There are six inside. There were eight but two of them were shot by Shiranui.

Speaking of, the Tech Ninja turns that automatic whatever it is on the horde of Ninja now suddenly out of place and opens fire. And THAT should provide just the opening that Batgirl and Zeal need, if they didn't already have one.

Red Robin keeps an eye on the fight below as well as the warehouse, including when Avery and Batgirl travel with such a sharp jump. "…teleporter-type super, got it." The spray of gunfire, though, makes his shoulders tense. It's not a personal trauma trigger, but it's clearly something he dislikes.

The priority, then, is to get to those who'd otherwise be a lethal target, and make sure they aren't. The ninjas — Hand, by the look of things — can deal, in their own… unique way. The guards can't. If Tim neutralises them first, then Shiranui shouldn't have any need to kill them. Time to do this predator-style.

First, he throws a couple of discs — special ones, which curve through the air, each one striking a guard from a different angle. That curving makes it harder to guess the origin, perhaps even makes them think they're being attacked from multiple angles. Red Robin grapnels to another vantage point, tossing a flashbang disc toward another pair of guards. First, scatter and panic them; then, pick them off.

"Uh. Batgirl." The redhead stutters a little "I know Red Robin …" The tone doesn't relay through the modulator but Robin knows her well enough to /hear/ the dry tone. "Code name Zeal. I think."

"I'm going to make a lot of noise and light … be ready." She tells the young woman beside her. Several flashbangs are sent into the stumbling crowd, quickly followed by a Batarang, aimed at taking legs out. "HEY! YOU! No KILLING!" That's to Shiranui.

Batman would be so proud.

"Honored, Batgirl." Avery — Zeal replies in a positively chipper tone, yes, the prospect of fighting a horde of ninja assassins in the dark, that warms the young lady's heart to the very cockles. A firm nod. "Ah, the bang-flash, yes, I have seen these used on N-C-I-S." Zeal sounds so very happy, hopefully people won't think she's a complete nutter.

Once those detonate, however the girl reaches…into nothing, hands vanishing into thin air up to their elbows, and then damned if she doesn't full out Ninja run like an anime character to the attack. As she runs her arms reappear and she is holding a pair of battle staves, ordinary wooden construction, but well made all the same. "No killing! As you wish, Batgirl!" She carols over a shoulder as she charges to attack the disorganized ninjas.

"Hey you!" The tech-ninja calls back. "Sod off!" No killing. Honestly. Who fights in life or death situations like that?

RR's assault on the interior has the desired effect. The guards scatter, firing blind at places they think the attack might be coming from but utterly missing Red Robin himself. INTERESTINGLY, the workers do not flinch. Do not scatter. They do not even look up. There's just no sign that they either know or care a huge fight is happening around them.

Two of the Ninjas are hit by purple bolts of energy from Shiranui and collapse into literal dust and ashes. Another is hobbled by Barbara and then the concussion grenades go off and send what's left of the group stumbling.

Which is when Avery hits them. She can pretty well do whatever she likes for about 10 seconds. But then someone tries to bring a blade down behind her neck. Fortunately, no one has reckoned with Batgirl.

Red Robin continues with the hit-and-run tactics just a little while longer, using projectiles to thin the herd. A taser-disc here; a solid and concussive hit there; a pellet which breaks and releases expanding, swift-hardening foam. That takes care of three more. One of the two left goes too near a tall shelf while trying to get his back to a wall; a grapnel shot and a good pull brings it crashing down. The last guard fires wildly in the direction of that crashing sound, and Red Robin drops right on top of him, feet first. "All guards neutralised in the building. How are your ninja visitors?" He picks up a couple of spent discs as he approaches the workers. "I am Red Robin. I'm here to help you." To look at them, 'Cheryl Bennett' is an unlikely name for any of them, but that doesn't mean they're not worth rescuing while shutting down the drug operation.

Ten seconds? That's an eternity in combat! And living up to her name, Zeal dives right in. She's very slim, slight even, and yet moves with absolute surety and balance. The first ninja strikes at her, and she simply flicks out of the way to appear behind him while spinning, Rap-Tap - two blows to the head and then she tucks into a roll, vanishing again to reappear between two more, staves smacking with punishing force to one's kneecap, and the others jaw, it is like watching a fight by strobe light — but there's no strobe!

This is not to say she's unhurt, no, she takes glancing blows, minor cuts, but she fights on - eventually, however, her luck and skill must fail. About nine seconds in, she pauses a fraction too long, one ninja binding her staves — and getting kicked in the chin for his efforts, as a second lunges for the kill from behind the young heroine, a strike for unarmored neck. Hell…NOTHING of Avery's is armored, she's wearing a darn hoodie and jeans!

"Wait. What… Zeal…" Batgirl sighs as the young woman heads off. There is no way this is not going to end badly. Who fights like that in a life and death fight? The Bats do. It's like a family motto or something.

"The Hand. Great." The redhead mutters when the ninja's become dust. That just makes them even more dangerous till they give them the Buffy treatment. For now though, Batgirl is cover to cover Zeal and drag the young woman out by ….

The sword flashes. Batgirl draws her escrima sticks from her back and spins in, cape billowing over the domino masked youth and catches the sword in the 'v' she forms with them. "What do we say to the God of Death?" she grunts, twisting the sword to the side as she kicks out.

"Not today …"

The people in the building do not respond to Red Robin's greeting. In fact it's not until he thinks to try to touch them that one of them looks up. And that's when he may realize. They're all deaf. Every. Single. One of them. And they're not speaking either so it's possible… something was done to prevent them from doing so.

A door opens from what used to be the 'office' area and out come two people who are NOT asian. One is Cheryl Bennett and the other is Verun. Both of them have sort of a dazed, glassy eyed look. And both are acting just like the other people here. Deaf. Mute. Making drugs. In fact they're carrying what looks like more drug making materials.

Batgirl manages to save Zeal handily and disable two more ninja. Another shower of purple bolts takes care of the remaining ones, leaving no more hostiles around at all. And only a rather small body count. Just the two non-ninja guards that Shiranui got at the beginning of the fight.

"I think that's everyone." Shiranui says as he holsters his weapon and heads inside toward the general area where Tim is.

Yes. Yes it is everyone.

"Wait." Red Robin looks to the side when he hears something from Batgirl. "Are you saying, this was a Hand job? Since when do they care about drug markets?" He tries a few more languages for greeting the workers, until he finally actually lays a hand on one shoulder… and with that realisation, he goes pale. "They've deafened them. Defaened every single one…" He really should have taken sign-language lessons instead of French. Regardless, he has just the thing on his utility belt.

That being, a notepad and a pen. He rewrites his introduction: I AM RED ROBIN. WE ARE HERE TO HELP. This, he holds outwards to show around the room, approaching Cheryl and Verun first.

Batgirl moves well though with as close as Avery is to her, she might detect a slight stiffness to some of the moves. When the last Hand ninja is dusted, the redhead gathers the young woman "Come on. Let's go see what was so important inside." She puts a hand on the young womans shoulder - and Avery might not realise that Batgirl also plants a tiny tracking device on her.

Inside, the redhead arrives not long after Shiranui, just as Red Robin is writing signs. "What's going on? Isn't that Cheryl Bennet?"

It would never in a million lifetimes occur to Avery that her battle companion and savior Batgirl would do anything so base as plant a tracking device on her! That would never, COULD never happen! Nope, not even the tiniest of thoughts of that.

"Ah, many thanks, Batgirl, for sure and certain my life you did save!" Okay, that's some odd word ordering, and the near British accent, also a bit strange. A brief moment to smile, a bit of blood wiped from a cheek, and then she nods. "Indeed, friend, I seek the Morlock known as Verun. Tis what brought you and your heroic compatriots here as well?"

She moves along to the building, and enters along side her.

A glance back outside and she reaches through empty air…her hand appearing by the scarf, snagging it, then pulling it back. Creepy but effective! "What be wrong with them, they seem bewitched by sorcery most foul!"

"Drugged, most likely. And yeah, medically deafened. And probably operated on tto remove their voice box…" Shiranui walks up to one of the people on the drug line and turns their head to check their throat. Yep. Surgical scar. Cheryl and Verun have them too.

Cheryl seems to recognize the writing and after a moment she's nodding her head enthusiastically if a bit dopily. Yes she'd like help even if she can't remember what for anymore.

"A hand j- operation. Yes. Possibly with assistance from the Snakeroot clan." The Tech Ninja glances around.

"I take it you plan to inform the authorities so that the guards can be taken in and the people gotten help?" Beat. "Well, the guards that still CAN be taken in, at any rate."

Red Robin sighs as he sees those surgical scars, shaking his head. "A Hand job this big always causes a huge mess. That demon just wants to use an iron grip and squeeze the life out of everything, doesn't he?" Does he even realise what he's saying?

He manages a smile for Cheryl — and then flips to the next page and writes a similar message in Cantonese, for those among the workers who'd have an easier time with that than English. "Yes, Shiranui, that's the plan. Especially the 'get them help' part." He nods to Batgirl. "That's Cheryl, and the man with her — is that the Morlock you're after, Zeal?" She hadn't introduced herself to Red Robin — hell, this may be her first time even seeing him — but he keeps his ears open.

"How do you know that?" Batgirl glares at Shiranui through her visor. "We need to talk." If he's thinking that she's thinking he's involved in this, he's right. "Hand operation, Red Robin" it's almost absently the way she corrects that.

Emergency Services incoming. Estimated time of arrival, 10 minutes Oracles digitised voice sounds on Batgirls suit speaker.

"I'm going to check the office and get whatever we can from there. I'll be quick." That includes imaging any paperwork and maybe stealing the harddrives. "Zeal, I'll want to talk to you … later."

Avery's expression darkens as the Tech Ninja speaks. "Your pardon, sir. The drugs, those be plain enow, but did you say they were riven of the power f speech…" She motions to all the people. "…one and all by perverted application of a chiurgeon's arts?" Once she has her confirmation, she nods tersely. "Well, needs must we apply ourselves most assiduously to prevention of further hand jobs of this magnitude, yes?" She really does not seem to have a clue what she just said, nope, maybe she and Red Robin know each other after all, or have gone to the same schools or something? She looks to him. "Aye." A nod. "This be the Morlock." She offers the poor injured man his scarf, okay, it's a little muddy, still — it is HIS. She doesn't seem to find it odd though that Red Robin knows her name, she just figures they're all sorcerers, honestly.

"Can we help Verun speak again, Batgirl?" She asks, and then nods. "Certes, shouldst wish it of me, I shall do whatever I may. Still, these handoperationsmay I be of some small assistance?"

"What's with the Ren Faire dialogue?" Shiranui asks, quite perplexed by that part of it, more than anything else. Other than possibly Tim's 'joke.'

"I… you're… don't call them that…" He says face palming. Which is impressive because none of his face is visible right now.

"I know this because it's standard HAND operating procedure when they do this kind of thing. Which they DO regularly enough back east. I might know a thing or two about ninja clans, since you know I am a ninja."

Be he an ever so techy one.

"We can talk later Batgirl. You've got my frequency after all. In the mean time though…"

He snags a sample of the drugs. "I'm going to have these looked at."

"Be careful with those guards by the way. They tend to hold grudges." And with that he's bounding off into the night. Literally bounding.

Red Robin grabs a pack of the drugs, too; they'll need to analyse things, and that leaves plenty for the police to work with as evidence. He gives Avery a perplexed look of his own; he doesn't have any more of an idea the reason for the, as Shiranui put it, 'ren-faire dialogue'. He does flash her the first note he'd written; only fair he introduce himself to her, too. "To hold a grudge, they'd have to know what hit them. They didn't get the chance." He nods to Batgirl and Zeal. "You heard the Oracle; we should get out of here before we get detained." They have an ally called Oracle. This is not going to dissuade Avery from thinking they're a bunch of sorcerors.

"I don't know, Zeal. Maybe? I'll have Oracle reach out to some contacts and make enquiries and maybe the files I'm about to retrieve will tell us more." Batgirl shoots Shiranui a look at his snark. "At least you seem to know something. And is that what you are?" beat "Yeah, I have your number. Don't get into trouble."

That's the the bounding ninja's back.

"Red Robin, anything you want to collect? We've got six minutes." Zeal might want to scarper as well. If not, Batgirl will go looking for her. Later.

A frown at the facepalming ninja-magus. "Why—" She shakes her head, and then nods. "Of course, my pardon if any insult were given, sir." She watches the man bound away. "His artifice puissant be." She murmurs, and then looks to Red Robin. "Ah, Red Robin…my honor, sir." A half bow, hand to chest, before she straightens. "Oh, there be an Oracle providing guidance! So much the better, it is good to have prophecy to guide one's efforts."

She sighs at Batgirl's sounding unsure. "Very well. I will do what little I can, I thank you all for the joyous joining of battle beside you!" She looks to Babs then. "Oh, forgive me, ere I depart, did you wish to exchange digits?" Yes, she actually takes out a cellphone, at least it is a crappy one, probably a burner. Once she's gotten a number, or given one, she will move to the Morlock. Offering her hand and writing a note on the table in drug residue. 'Home'. Should Verun agree she smiles sunnily to all assembled and then takes his hand — and just like that, they vanish between one breath and the next.

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