2019-10-22 - What Should Be Remembered?


Tim drops in to see Babs about Jacyn

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Oct 22 08:44:52 2019
Location: Clocktower

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Theme Song



It's getting towards evening and in the Staten Island Clocktower, Barbara Gordon is starting her preparations for the evening patrol. "Oracle report on the gang activity in Staten Island please." she says to the VI, as she moves around the monitoring room at the top of the structure.

It's about this time of night she often expects visitors. The rest of the Bats dropping by to check in. All of the family have access to these floors - incredibly secure and only for 'family'.

A young man enters the lower levels. He's a shifty-looking sort, with a big hoodie hiding much of his appearance, and a large bag slung over his shoulder. He's middling in height, and you can glimpse coppery red hair, but it's hard to tell much more than that. He does have a keycard, though, and he knows where to find the elevator. At the door, his voice print identifies him as Tim 'Red Robin' Drake, and the door comes open.

Once he's inside and the door's closed behind him, he pushes his hood back. It looks like Tim, but also not like time: a wig makes his hair look red, makeup provides him with freckles, and contacts turn his eyes green. Good thing he hadn't needed to go into the training area; that would have messed with the optical recognition. "Batgirl. Is this an alright time?"

"Tim… " Unsurprisingly, Barbara is waiting as the elevator doors open. Of course she had seen the youth approaching the building. "It's always a good time. We're alone, you can call me Babs…"

Given the way the family keeps secrets, it's not surprising that they use code names until they know who is there.

"Let me look at you. That's a good job you've done of the disguise. Are you on a job or just avoiding suspicion in general?"

"There's soda, tea and coffee in the fridge."

Tim lifts his chin. On closer inspection, she can tell he's done something with the nose, too, to make it look a little longer and pointier. His chin, though, is completely unchanged. That's been visible within his costume for years anyway, so it'd be downright suspicious if Red Robin's chin suddenly gained a cleft or something. "Just sticking to a habit," he says. "Working on a third ID, so the face straight under the mask isn't Tim Drake. Got one of those holo-masks from Helena, but that's for a last resort, or when I just don't have the time to set the disguise right."

Looking so much at his face, she might also notice signs that his lips have been getting chewed. His hands fidget with agitation. "Jacyn. 95% chance, huh? And you couldn't get a tissue sample to check a DNA match?" Not for lack of trying.

"It's a good habit. An even better habit is not getting into situations where you might be revealed." The redhead winks to show that she's teasing. Seeing the agitation, Babs takes a minute to get a soda from the fridge and make herself tea. "Oracle, play JT-091901a please." she says.

While they're waiting, the large display flares to life and the video of her encounter the other day plays. "You've probably already watched in a hundred times, I know. But no, I couldn't get a tissue sample." the soda is pressed into Tims hand as she takes a seat.

"Oracle gave the match as 95% given the lighting conditions they had to work with and the fact that it's been some time. She wouldn't come near me, once she took that hood off and she knew good forensic process - there wasn't anything left behind."

"It's … bothering you, isn't it?"

"There can be good reasons to risk the mask," Tim says. "During a stakeout, it's often less conspicuous to be a face in the crowd than a mask in an alleyway. Or when working with other crusaders, this gives me an option for 'taking the mask off' and forming social connections without risking the kind of cascading deduction that got me into the secret to begin with." He well knows how the logic can chain. Figure out one Bat, and you figure out all of them.

He's wrapped up enough in his thoughts that it actually takes a few seconds for him to register the offered soda. He gives an awkward smile of thanks as he takes it and pulls the tab. "Yeah. I mean, I never met her. She never met me. But when she died, I felt almost as involved as the rest of you. It's why I came to Bruce in the first place." He takes a small sip. "What if it's not a reconstruction? What if, one way or another, it actually is her?"

"Social connections?" Barbara quirks an eyebrow. "When do Bats get time to be social?" It's been different for her, this last six years. Now, it's changing but being social isn't something she truly considers. "But you're right and it's why we're so strict on the 'no revealing yourself' rule."

There's a look that passes over her expression at that statement though she quickly looks back to the screen.

"I try not to think on it. When she died. We all failed her in one way or another." The redhead shakes herself, stirring to look back at Tim. "With The Hand having been active here, we know it's possible - but I've never seen them bring anyone back so … completely. If it isn't a reconstruction, I'd say we could have a problem. A big one."

"You never know," Tim says. "You might find that you've finished saving the city from an alien threat, and you have time to go get some shawarma. Plus… where it's possible, forging those connections is important. Do you think we'd be half as effective if we weren't the Bat Family? We have each other's backs." He's too wrapped up in his own head to notice that look on Barbara's face. He's good at reading people when he remembers to pay attention, and this isn't one of those times.

He nods soberly. "And then I came in, this random pale nerd-boy, and tried to fill her shoes. I can't imagine she'd take kindly to that, even with the name change." There's a reason he was always the Red Robin, and not just plain Robin. Respect for the dead. His look turns more grim at the last bit of Barbara's analysis. "To start with: what has she been doing for all those years? Who brought her back? How many hooks do they have in her? What has she told them about us?" She likely wouldn't know anything about Tim for the telling, but if it threatens the group, it threatens him. "And that message of hers. Oracle, time index 93."

That sets the playback to show the emotionless look on Jacyn?'s face. "I haven't forgotten." Tim must have watched the video a lot to have that time index memorised.

It's a good thing Tim isn't paying attention, Babs would only sidestep any questions there.

"Are we ever finished saving the city, Tim?" Babs asks quietly. "We are the Bat Family and we have each other."

"You didn't try to fill her shoes, Tim." the redhead says firmly. "You took on a job, which was desperately needed. Remember, you didn't take her name, either." Babs wraps an arm around Tims shoulder and gives him a quick hug.

"All very good questions. And I'll one more to that. What does she want now?" It would be so easy to bring them down.

"Forgotten what?" the woman says quietly, staring at Jacyn's face on the screen. "Forgotten what happened? Forgotten us? It was so ambiguous and yet, she didn't try to hurt me."

Tim has that agitated energy buzzing through him. He's probably about two seconds away from starting to pace, when Babs' arm comes around him. He sighs, his eyes closing as he pushes some of the tension out of his own shoulders, rolling them gently. "And making sure we can save the city is part of the job, too. We don't spend all our time out on patrol. We train, we develop and design. And sometimes, we even actually rest. We're no good to anyone if we burn ourselves out with pure obsession."

He chews his tongue, and does start pacing now. Yet, it's more methodical, more a movement to keep the brain flowing rather than to stamp nervous energy out into the floor. "Hasn't forgotten what she saw on the other side, hasn't forgotten whatever has been happening to her in the interim — though she was pretty tight-lipped about that. And like you said, she knows good forensic process. Could be, she knew that a fight would risk ruining that. A sharp batarang spilling some blood, for instance, would give you all the material you needed, and she, for whatever reason, doesn't want to put her identity to the test."

He purses his lips. "Right now… I don't know what there is to do but keep an ear to the ground for any more activity from that red-helmet ID, and be ready to intervene."

Babs arm slips from Tim's shoulder as she feels the youth relax and as he starts pacing again. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you were … lecturing me." It's said with smile but a sad one. Being Oracle and now Batgirl, is her life.

"I got the impression she was following me. It might a gut feeling but … you know? In fact, there are too many things we don't know and my searches are revealing nothing at the moment. She didn't come to fight, of that I'm sure. She came to deliver that message after she had tested me."

It's an intuition but that's part of being an investigator. To look at the clues you have and see what is missing.

"You know Oracle is tracking her. I put them on that the moment that Jacyn left. She can't be followed everywhere, but with what we do get, we can find her easily enough."

Babs lets that sit for a bit before adding. "If you go looking, don't go alone. Take Cass or Damian or Helena with you."

Tim winces, shaking his head. "Sorry. I don't mean to lecture. It's just… thinking aloud, and that's my thought process, you know? That balance, that shared load." He nods, still chewing his tongue. "Hunches are important. Especially your hunches." A hunch, really, is the voice of experience talking before all the logical evidence has had a chance to come together.

"Yeah, I know. Safety in numbers. She may not have come to fight you, but that doesn't mean the rest of us are safe." He sighs, putting his hands in his pockets— and then stops short. "Oh yeah. Reminds me of what I'd wanted to talk with you about, before this all came up."

"I was teasing …" Babs is a chronic workaholic. If she didn't have this she'd have her investigations to work with. She'd just swap one for another. "We shouldn't rely on hunches but it's certainly something that bears remembering."

"I'll talk to Dick too, or you can, and see what he can find about her. See if she's come up on any of his workmates radars. I think we should find her and speak to her, but …" Tims got it, safety in numbers and all that.

"Mmmm, what was that?" The redhead looks over with interest. If they have time before they have to patrol, she'll also bring up what they're seeing on the Island.

Tim wrinkles his nose while he eyes her. He has trouble recognising teasing sometimes. But in any case, she's brought his attention to something else. He digs his hand back out of the pocket, and he's holding an ID card. One with that freckled, green-eyed face on it, and bearing the name Alvin Draper. "This isn't just a face," Tim says. "The idea's to make a whole third identity. Something independent. Good for surveillance, so it's not Millionaire Heir Tim Drake sitting in a coffee shop and listening in on incriminating conversations. And there's nobody I'd trust more than you and Oracle to make sure the paper trail looks good."

Looking at the ID card, Babs green eyes sparkle. This is the sort of thing she enjoys and yes, she and Oracle are very good at creating those paper trails. "You know I can and will. Give me a few days to get things in place."

She turns the ID over in her hand. "How deep do you want the cover? Phone number, answering service, the whole hog? I'll need to know Alvins story, then."

She's already working on it, he can tell. Getting the process in order in her mind, working out what they'll need to do this.

"Phone number, driver license in the system, and employment history — desk-jockey work, mostly." If Tim could pass for a labourer, he'd probably go with that, but he has to stick with what's believable from everything else he's bringing to the table. "He's from out of state, broke with the family because of romance drama, and then it didn't end up working out after all, leaving him here in New York and on his own. I'm thinking I'll even rent an apartment in his name, and have it as a backup safehouse." Can never have too many of those… and this will be a safehouse all his own. Tim has never had what you would call a 'bachelor pad', has he?

"Got it. I'll set up some social media feeds too. Make them look realistic, like he's just surfacing again after the break with the family." It's a lot work to maintain the fiction, but with Oracle things are little simpler.

"A few days and I'll have the basics in place." The idea of Tim having a place of his own, even if it's just a safehouse, has her smiling. "Are you staying on campus, by the way?"

Tim nods. "And the first posts could have some melodramatic rambling about how he's starting with a clean slate and making sure his family doesn't find his account this time, hence having such a recent start and short friend list." Some kinds of 'fiction' are helpful when inventing paper trails. He shakes his head. "Since I got back, I've been splitting my time between Wayne Manor and the family home. Though I, uh, think Dad got used to having the place to himself." He tries to say it casually, but look at the eyes. Those eyes are haunted by things they were never meant to see.

"I'm not sure it's much better at the mansion either, hmmm? Maybe Alvin should make use of that bachelor pad…" Barbara laughs and doesn't ask anymore. She and Dick had managed to 'ick' Damian out just by alluding to their romantic past.

"I might need some help, at some point. I've agreed to help a … friend … with a problem their having with Yakuza." That should get a yelp and a look. It normally does. "I need to retrieve some information from what I think are girlfriends houses but before I do, I need to work out the physical security measures they've taken. I'm assured they'll be 'ninja houses'."

Tim doesn't yelp, but he does give her a look of Concern. "A 'friend', huh. This Shiranui, the guy we worked with extracting that psi?" He tilts his head. "Ninja houses, huh? We'd better make sure to bring mosquito repellant." And he smiles like he's made a joke which he expects her to get. It's probably some obscure bit of trivia which only Tim or Bruce would actually remember off-hand.

"Shiranui? No. Not him." Barbara is able to miss the look of Concern by turning her attention to the screen. "Keniuchio Harada, The Silver Samurai, in fact." Tims met him once, perhaps? The guy with the half demon mask.

"I'll be sure to pack mosquito repellant." Yes, she's heard the story but she's thinking. "I'm going to check which Japanese construction contrators are in town and check their systems. They'll have been contracted to make the changes to the houses these women occupy. Then, I'm going to try and social engineer the information from them. They won't have records of the jobs, of course."

Tim pouts. Aw, the joke didn't get any laughter. Not that his jokes usually do, but hey, hope springs eternal. He nods slowly. "Been a long time." He smiles. "Of course. Keeping digital or paper records would be insecure. Instead, they keep them in meat brains, which are totally secure and not at all vulnerable to rubber hose cryptography. I'm down for this. Want me in on the planning, or just to follow your lead?"

"I might like some help with the planning, if you've the time." Babs answers. "I'm working on several things of course but this is a Gordon Investigations special. Babs contracted with Ken to help him out." How on earth did that happen? "Batgirl spoke with him last night and got the information she'd need to infiltrate the places."

"Why don't you come around for dinner in a couple nights. I'll get take out and we can go through the types of things we'll need to ask. Ken thinks 'question of face' will do the trick. We just need to work them out …"

Seeing the pout, the redhead sighs. "Sorry. I'm thinking… It was funny but you might not be so wrong, either."

Tim smiles. "Sounds like we're making a family outing of it. I'd like that. And I'll brush up on my Japanese culture — I don't know the language like you do, but I can work on identifying some psychological pressure points, to figure out just what would most threaten these people's face, and thus what we could leverage for them." He shakes his head. "Nah, it's okay. We'll want to be careful of the floorboards, too." Now he's pacing again, but not in the agitated kind of way; more thinking ahead. "Show me what you have so far? Let's get our heads together." He can at least get a look before patrol time.

"Which is exactly what Ken told me as well. Floorboards that squeak and stairs that collapse."

The paused video on the screen disappears as Babs speaks to Oracle. "Bring up what you have on Case BG-1001b to date, Oracle. Show me the research on the womens homes."

It's all laid out. They'll spend time on this before they part to patrol the streets of Staten Island.

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