2019-09-05 - Facing Fear


Phobos and Batgirl infiltrate the offices of Labyrinth Incorporated. The God of Fear meets … fear.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Sep 5 01:07:57 2019
Location: Staten Island

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Theme Song



Batgirl had told Alex Aaron to meet her on the roof of a building in Staten Island. Again. The female Bat seems to like her high perches. This building is taller than most, getting up there might be a challenge for a youth but somehow the redhead doesn't suspect so.

When he gets there, she's lurking in the shadows, the sound of airconditioning and other machinery humming somewhat loudly in the night air. There's a door not far from her - rooftop access to the building below.

If Alex has done any homework before meeting Batgirl - he'll know this building houses some of the offices that Labyrinth Incorporated uses.

The fealty he had granted to both Fenris and Batgirl was no idle thing. Alexander had received their words and taken them to heart, already embarking on an effort to make himself known to Ms. Pesha Kallope who had the fortune to be the professor's assistant in his English Lit class that he took on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He had made initial contact, informed Oracle through the application as to such… and then ran off to pursue other matters.
But when word had gotten back, a time, an address. He had made sure he had changed into his suitable attire. Black boots, grey form-fitting jeans, a black t-shirt and an overjacket with pockets. Since he realized pockets were terribly important if he was going to be rushing around rooftops at the behest of others.
His backpack, however, was almost always with him and this time was no different. Slung over his shoulder he had taken the train across the river and to Staten Island itself, exiting at the needed stop and then making his way across the several blocks needed to close the distance with the rendezvous.
Of course business hours were over, so there was no taking the elevator. He had stood at the base of the building, frowning to himself for a moment… but then shrugging and starting the ascent as quickly and as smoothly as he could. Though the overriding decision for him was to most of all… do it stealthily.
So it might be a few moments before Batgirl would realize which side he was approaching from lest she had infrared drones scanning the area. Which she well might. Even then, however, the way he ascended did not expose his approach for very long. Eventually he would plant a hand upon the ledge and draw himself up, easing into a crouch so he can surveil his surroundings.

Batgirl doesn't have drones out at the moment, that might change, but she does the all seeing eye known as Oracle. The camera's have caught glimpses of the shadows that move - though that could be anything, as the redhead knows - so she's alert as as the youth hits the rooftop.

"Thank you for coming." Her modulated voice sounds out over the roof, Batgirl moving from the shadows to reveal herself. The only splashes of colour - the yellow bat on her chest and the lining of her cape.

"Don't worry about the camera's, Oracle has them looped, we're assured of our privacy up her. We're going to go in here and I'm not sure what we're expecting. Hopefully nothing, but you never know …"

Holding her hand out, Alex will see some devices "Flash-bangs. You might them, if you don't have anything of your own. What type of weapons do you have?" She might have seen some but she's asking. "The Labyrinth offices are on the eighteenth floor. Which means we'll have take the stairs down two flights to get there. Oracle has the blueprints for the building, check your Oracle App she's loaded them for you and she'll take care of the locks and surveillance."

Currently the security guards for the building are in their office watching the latest rerun of I Dream Of Jeannie. Comes the overwatches voice.

The blond youth gives her a nod as he tilts his head to observe her while she speaks. No greeting given beyond that for now as she offers her insight. When she speaks about going into the building he pulls a strip of torn cloth and ties it around the lower half of his features, hiding them from view but not as thoroughly as her own efforts.
The flash-bangs are given and he tucks them away one in each jacket pocket. "18th floor," He replies, repeating the information with a nod as he commits it to memory. Then the Oracle app is mentioned and he withdraws the phone from its place in his pocket and he unzips an upper sleeve pocket on the jacket, placing it within the clear plastic guard and then zipping it back up, creating a small monitor on his bicep that he can refer to.
However, it's when she asks him of weapons that he tells her, "I only have one at the moment." And then he gestures with one hand to the side, causing a silver-handled and crimson bladed katana to manifest from the air as if composed of subtle glowing motes of energy. The mystical blade hangs there in his hand, perfectly balanced and gleaming with ill portent as he then murmurs, "Though I believe it will not be suitable for our task."

Batgirl nods approvingly as Alex hides his features, noting to herself that he might wish to improve his disguise in the future. "Oracle can speak with you, as well, though she'll maintain silence for the most part - not wishing to give us away unnecessarily."

Of course, Batgirl has subvocal communicators, so that's not an issue for her.

"The sword. I doubt that would be appropriate for our purposes. Are you versed in the use of shurikens and the like? If so, you can use Batarangs, but I want them back." Four of the bat shaped devices are handed over.

"We're looking for information. If there are computers, I'll take those and help Oracle hack them - companies like this often ones that aren't connected to the outside world. You'll be looking for anything else that gives us insight into what they're doing and how they tie to Greece and the Nighthawks both. Paperwork, cabinets, anything … Any questions?"

She doesn't wait for the answer though as she moves to the door. "OK Oracle, get us in … "

As quickly as it arrived, Grass Cutter fades from reality as if it have never been there. But the youth nods to her, "I'm competent in their use." So he accepts the four hurled weapons. Those, however, go in his other shoulder pocket. Really if he's going to do this with any regularity… he should give some thought to actually setting himself up properly
But then that might be a mental step too far in some ways.
"Information, intelligence. Roger." Alexander's lip curls up at the end of his words and he gives her a short sharp nod. And with that he'll fall in with her, keeping to her left side and two steps behind as he makes to shadow her approach…
And just like that, Barbara has her own ghost.

"You don't talk much." Batgirls head turns to look at the youth, the ears on her mask emphasising the moment. "I'm not sure that's a relief or not." The younger bats like to chatter. Nightwing likes to quip. It's *almost* like working with Orphan or Batman.

The door opens with the faintest of creaks, the black clad heroine creeping down the stairs, almost soundlessly. One flight, two flights, it's eeirly quiet as one might expect at this time of night.

Looping the camera's on the eighteenth floor. Unlocking the door. Hallway is clear at the moment Comes Oracles voice. Security is starting their sweep. You have eight and half minutes before they make the eighteenth floor.

Batgirl looks to Alex as the door opens. Then she's moving along the hallway, to an office and into there.

The office is quiet, and they can't turn the lights on but Babs operates the light in her hud. "Shut the door and move quickly. They're not likely to check the offices if the doors are closed and there's no sound. Why would they? Check the cupboard over there, they're likely have to their files there." She says as she moves to the computer and starts it up.

The youth smiles and then says quietly, perhaps trusting to the Batgirl's audio receptors to pick up on the details. But he says gently, "I talk plenty. Just…" He catches her eyes in the reflection of the window glass as they slip inside, "Not while on the job." But if she only knew his recent laconic approach to interaction… might well be because of Orphan herself.
He follows along with her, moving silently. If she gets hold of the video from the event she might well realize upon replaying it that he steps /exactly/ where her feet go, following perfectly and only breaking form to stand to the side when she pauses or hesitates.
And then they are in the office proper. His bright blue eyes shift to her mask and he nods whens she gives him the order and he moves to ease that door shut.
Once back before her he gives another nod and then shifts to the side of the office that she designates. That cupboard and the filing cabinets nearby. He'll unsling his backpack with a faint whirr of metal teeth as he unzips it and then begins to peruse the files. Gloved fingers leaving no trace he starts to flick through titles, reading a bit of each initial folders to get an idea as to their formatting and using that to help narrow the search parameters as he goes.

As Alex opens one of the cabinets, something springs out at him. A muddy skinned creature that seems to be naked, with a large nose and pointed ears. Or at least that's what it looks like to Alex until it starts morphing into the shape of Amatsu-Mikaboshi as he appeared in that final battle with the young Alex.

Alex *should* feel fear, but does he now? He had told Batgirl that he was incapable of doing so - but do those memories of that time remain?

Out of the cabinet springs the little creature and Alexander's reaction is almost instantaneous even as it begins shape-shifting. So quickly that it might even be before it fully assumes the shape of the Shinto God of Evil. For the rush of movement, the small creature, the appearance of it springs his muscle memory into motion.
One of those batarangs are drawn with a quick brush of one hand back and then /slashes/ it forward to try and stab the thing into its thr… shoulder. He adjusts at the last second to try and stab it in the shoulder, his concession to that rule of no killing.
But it's a quick /shing/ and _slash_ in the space of a single second.

"Oracle, what the hell is that?" Batgirl turns so the camera of her suit can pick up the thing. She's cautious as her own batarangs spring to her fingers - holding the throw as Alex seems to have this under control.

Or does he?


Alex's slash cuts the Shinto Lord but there's no blood and no cry of pain. Instead it morphs again, into an army of Yakuza, armed with knives, all intent on falling the youth and killing him.

According to my research, that is a Boggart, Batgirl.

"As in Harry Potter?"

Alex is hearing all this, or he should be.

Mostly, though the author romanticised them terribly.

Though the Boggart might be keying in on the youth that it's facing, Alexander Aaron… does not scare well. Oh he likely should be scared, and there are certain conditions that can cause him a moment of hesitation. But these memories, old thoughts and experiences stolen from his past. They don't do anything right now more than make him grumpy.
Since it's almost insulting.
But at least the memory drawn is a silent one, for those Yakuza were bound to strike quietly, lashing out in the dark though the faint light from the drawn shades in the window gives them more illumination than there was in the pitch black room that the Olympian had originally faced them in.
For a moment the Yakuza make ready, karambits swirling in one hand, while their others held thin tanto blades. They take just an instant to bracket him, apparently ignoring Batgirl for now…
And then they charge. Rushing in two at a time to flank him. If she had any doubt as to his abilities in combat, Barbara might rethink them now. For they slash, trying to bury those hooked blades in the youth and hold him for repeated stabbings of the tanto. Only for him to twist and slap at their forearms, pushing the weapons out of line, grasping one's wrist and drawing him in the way. Letting one stab the other as he forces him heavily out of line while catching the other forearm and /snapping/ it with a palm strike.
It lets him steal the weapon from the attacker and for him to make three quick slashes under the arm and the thigh of one of those attackers even as he retreats a step to force the others in a narrow approach.
But true to his word, as he fights, he does not kill. The man is bleeding, and several groups of his muscles no longer works as he lies on the floor. But he will not die for a long time.

The Yakuza are as well trained as Alex's eight year old self remembers them. They're vicious and single minded, falling on the man with blades slashing, not giving any quarter.

Alex's swipes and hits are better than the eight year olds though, he's much better trained. The yakuza dissolve one at a time only to reform and land on him again. And again. And again.

"What's the treatment Oracle?" //It's not unlike the books, Batgirl. Make them ridiculous. Just without the spell."

"Phobos. Can you do that?" Maybe he can use his own innate power to banish them.

"Make them ridiculous?" He says quietly even as another is pulled forwards and his head is /slammed/ hard into one of the desks where the wood cracks and the Yakuza reels with a clearly dazed look.
Alexander's lip twists and he says simply, "They already are pretty ridiculous, they're Yakuza." Since apparently the youth does not have a high opinion of the gangsters from Japan. But he takes the advice to heart as he murmurs, "I'll try."
That said, he does not dig into his own power. Though there is something about the youth that seems to grow stronger with the Boggart being here, as if its powers might well be complementing Alexander's or might even owe some measure of fealty somehow in the greater celestial scheme of things.
Yet he is unaware of all of that. He simply and precisely goes about disarming the weapons from those remaining gangsters and one at a time, with each smooth transition of martial disarm taking the weapons from them and hurling into the high particle board ceiling and out of reach from them, and then tells them, "Your tattoos are pathetic and if your boss could see you right now he'd take all of your fingers since, I mean buddy… really."
And for the first time Babs might actually hear the teenager… being a teenager.

"Ridiculous, yes." Batgirl answers. Not moving yet, Alex seems to have it in hand.

Then he's insulting them and they seem to falter, going insubstantial but strengthening again.

"Sort of like that … Imagine them in their underwear or something. What … would dishonour them?"

"Those guys love running around in their underwear." Sounding nothing like he does during their briefings. But his smile is edged as he exerts a little of his focus and instinctively he seems to have a fair amount of impact on them with his derision as he instead imagines them, "They'd mainly hate it if they had to stay at home, vacuum, and clean up after their loved ones.
And even as he speaks each word seems to come true, causing them to /blup/ and suddenly they're not all wearing black. Another /bloop/ and they all have vacuum cleaners. And then a finally /blorp/ like a bubble bursting and they're wearing aprons. The abrupt lack of machismo seems to cause their severe faces to widen with horror.
"Oh shit, actual responsibility? Ruuun." Alexander tells them and those words actually set them into motion.

It might be a little reassuring for Batgirl to hear Alex speak so much like a teenager and yet she still doesn't move to help him. It's all moving fairly quickly so there's that.

"Underwear sounds good and I like the domestic touch…" the black clad superheroine quips.

And just like that … the warriors dissolve, leaving the goblin like creature in front of Alex … until it too dissolves into smoke and disappears.

"Well. That's different. Keep looking… We don't have much time before security gets here and we don't want to be making noise when they pass."

In the cabinet, Alex finds documents relating to ancient greek artwork, the sort that shouldn't be leaving greece at all. Mostly things that creatures and mythological related. Which … is interesting.

Everything that fits the search parameters goes into the backpack even as he pushes a few things around to make room. If needs be he'll also claim a nearby valise but hopefully his nature-focused carry pack has enough room as it's deceptively compact.
A few more folders are acquired and then he pulls open the drawer of a desk and asks sidelong, "There's gum here. Want some gum?" Perhaps a small smile is shot sidelong to her then adds, "Big Red.", but then he clears his throat and slips back into his more professional manner.
"Think I have the needed data. Can move to another office if needs be. Or I can knock out the guard and give us more time." He offers each option to her, comfortable with her making the call.

"What do you have?" Batgirl finishes pulling the data off the computer and looks over the paperwork Alex has recovered. "Interesting. Anything on where they're taking these? And why these? These are going to cause problems with the Government, aren't they?"

She shakes her head at the offer of the gum.

Alex can find something. There's a diary on one of the desks with an address in Staten Island and an event. A dinner. Several nights from now with what seems to be the execs of this company. Might be something to look at it?

As he moves from desk to desk, Alexander informs her of the more interesting bits. "Mainly artwork, stolen perhaps or illicit that belongs to the nation of Greece. Aimed towards the fantastic or mythological." He is very quiet as he opens and closes drawers, gloved hand sweeping the contents and searching.
Then that diary makes an appearance and he'll flit through it, frowning to himself he'll extend it towards her for her to peruse in the faint illumination. "A company dinner a few nights from now? Could be worth eavesdropping or putting someone on the inside."
That done, however, he rises up to his full height and says, "Though I think what we have will take some going through to find everything." Since he's taking entire folders and day planners and diaries so long as it has at least something that hits the key intel designators.

"Oracle will need to analyse the data files and we'll need to review these files. Are you able to investigate the items on here? Find out about their history and why they might of interest?"

She's not sure it's his sort of thing, after all.

"And yes, eavesdropping at least is a good idea. Maybe there will be other things to do there too. Like rifle through bags or cars." It's hard to tell if she's amused with the modulator, but Batgirl may be.

The hallway is clear, Batgirl. Next patrol in twenty minutes.

"Shall we then?"

She'll lead them out and up to the roof with their treasures. Whatever is going on here, it's only just begun.

"I know of…" He takes a moment as he zips up his pack and tells her, "Some of the items, but my way to find out more would be to ask my father." Alexander's smile is a little apologetic as he says to her, "Though I think we should perhaps not go to draw water from that well too often."
Since it is not a good idea to bring Ares into matters if one wants to maintain some semblance of control. Though that might well also go for the rest of his family too.
"But we can go somewhere to look over the information?" He asks as they ascend back the way they came. "Though I understand if you do not trust to share aspects of your operation with me."

"Ask at the university. That Pesha Kalliope may be an untapped resource or there may be lecturer there that is an enthusiast." Batgirl mentions as they climb the stairs, to the rooftop.

the request has those ears on the hood emphasising the turn of her head. "We can look over it, once Oracle has deciphered the data we recovered. I will find somewhere to meet." No one knows where Batgirl lives or where she goes to once she disappears into the night.

"You did well, Phobos. I saw your restraint in your fighting. That doesn't come naturally and I appreciate you made the concession." The redhead nods. "Now, we need to depart and Oracle can release the camera's. Be ready to infiltrate that party though."

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