2020-03-22 - Who Are You


Samurai asks Batgirl some telling questions

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Mar 22 04:18:20 2020
Location: Clocktower

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Theme Song



Batgirl had come to, sometime after arriving at SHIELD. Her costume had transformed from the sleek, black rangers outfit to her … sleek black Batsuit. Naturally she hadn't wanted to stay around SHIELD medical and had refused any medical attention.

Her identity couldn't be compromised and anything the medical team did there would discover too much about her.

So it was off to a safe house to … talk. One of the apartments in Staten Island that Oracle maintains. Batgirl would have rather gone back to her Clocktower and taken a shower, but that wasn't go to be possible. The Samurai had given her a *look* over that Menpo mask of his.

"I've organised for indian to be delivered, Batgirl." The VI informs them over the audio system. "Would you like a status report on the Island?"

"You should have gotten treated." Kennuichio knows that Batgirl has access to a medical network of her own, but he doesn't know what happened to her when she was rather clearly taken, nor how badly she was hurt during that or during the subsequent fight. He'd choked her out, after all, and that's the kind of thing that warrants overnight observation as a general rule.

"Yes." Ken answers for Batgirl. She hasn't spoken but five words since she woke up and three of them were 'No, I'm fine' to the medical staff. Indian food will be good, food of any kind will be good really.

Kennuichio has never seen Batgirl eat. She's always in costume with that damned hood on after all. She's ordered food for him, normally, but never partaken. He has to wonder whether she will or not today.

"I will see someone at the Clinic." The redhead says in response to his statement. She's quiet, even with the modulator, and far less snarky than she normally is. "You should have too. You have taken a beaten this past week or so and I don't know what happened to you before … I arrived today." She remembers that of course and everything from being taken - mostly.

Oracle is quiet until the pair stop talking. Then the screen flares to life, showing video feeds from all around the island. The only place there isn't a feed is the one from the South West of the island, that's blacked out.

"Everything has been returned to it's pre-dome state with the exception of the area near Tottenville." The VI starts. "New York and Staten Island police, along with SHIELD are dealing with the people. The casualties are not yet known but the early numbers say that over five hundred have been killed while the barrier was up."

While in a city of eight million five hundred is not a lot, it's still a lot. Ken winces and lifts his blades over his shoulders to set them down on the table nearby. "What has happened to Tottenville? Has the area remained transformed?"

Ken is not an expert in magic ubt he does know that it seldom does what it is expected to do. Frequently, in fact, it does the opposite. It seems almost willful that way sometimes.

"You have not addressed that at all yet. I would understand if you do not want to but you know I have to ask. What happened?" How did she get taken and turned is what he is really asking. And without anyone knowing to boot.

"Correct Samurai-san, it did not transform. There is a barrier that extends approximately 3 miles into the ocean." Oracle answers. "Early conjecture from WAND indicates that something is anchoring it but no one has been able to divine what." So yes, magic rarely does what is expected. "WAND and NYPD will send a group in presently however, the priority is on recovering citizens to begin with."

And five hundred is the early estimate. It will likely go up as more people are repatriated with the city.

Batgirl just stares at the screen and shakes her head. It's horrifying that it even happened. She can't take any solace in the fact they succeeded today.

The hooded face turns to look at Ken when he asks the question, the silence growing until he thinks she might not answer.

"I'm not sure how it happened. We were scouting the area again, a group of SHIELD agents and I, preparing for our assault on the tower. We'd returned through the barrier and I was heading back to get some sleep - when I was jumped. When I woke, I was inside the barrier again and held captive. I didn't know who I was, of course. One of them, it's very … hazy … injected me with something and … I don't know Samurai-san. It's all a blur from there."

The Samurai takes off his mask. It's not especially a gesture of trust. Batgirl visited him in his home, she's seen his face and knows who he is. He sets that beside his swords and rolls his shoulders a little bit. He's been on his feet a lot today, and while the fighting was brief it was the definition of high intensity.

"And after that, I presume, you found yourself willing to do what you were told." She said it was a blur, possibly a blur sustained by the reality warping field of the dome. Certainly when she woke up she wasn't any trouble.

"I suppose then it is fortunate that you were found as soon as you were." There's a short pause. "Do you remember fighting with me?"

Batgirl considers everything and looks at the Samurai, nodding slowly. "Oracle didn't know I'd been taken - they were expecting me to go back in that night and I hadn't given them an update." The odds of her being taken were astronomical and it required a lot of planning.

"You could say that. I … " The sigh through the modulator is exaggerated "… remember. Yes. I remember being told to stop you. Why … didn't you kill me? You could have and should have…"

She knows his code and she's sure the Gorgons people did too.

When his mask comes off, Batgirl heads to the kitchen and takes a beer from it, handing it to the Samurai and gesturing to a chair.

"I considered it. I nearly did by reflex." Ken says as he accepts the bear, twists it open and takes a drink. Then he takes a seat and considers his response a bit more.

"Your technique, I recognized it. They are techniques handed down by my family. They are not taught outside of it." That isn't a question but here's clearly making a point and getting to one. He takes another sip of beer and looks at the redhead who seems to be doing her best not to look at him.

"I did not kill you because you suddenly reminded me of one of my students."

"They were relying on the fact that you wouldn't. That, even for your reputation, you would stay your hand for the woman you work with…" Batgirl answers. She remembers them saying that much. "They … didn't think the others would win if confronted by one of their own."

She stills as Ken talks about the techniques she used. "I've seen you fight, Samurai-san. Oracle has footage that I've studied. Maybe I've been practicing …"

The silence is deafening as Ken makes his last point. "They must be very good then, if I remind you of them." Can she … avoid this?

"I have no doubt that you can learn much by studying me." That sounds arrogant but it isn't said in an arrogant manner. Ken is talking more about her ability to learn than his ability to fight. "They are rather skilled. And very determined yes. But they have slight hitches in their technique. Things that stem from a long ago injury. Things that I would not expect a healthy person to display. And especially not so… perfectly."

Ken takes another sip. This is very Japanese. He doesn't go right into the point. He moves around it, circling not unlike an eagle. Or a tiger.

Batgirl walks to the window of the apartment and gazes out of it. She's limping, she's knows it and not even the suit she wears can stop the ache in her back. She'd hurt herself when she was fighting Ken earlier. Not that she's said anything - why would she.

"Hitches you say. Maybe you have them in your techinques and I saw them when I reviewed the footage." She tries again. She knows he's circling, being … very asian … in his approach. "How long has he been a student of yours?" He, not she … Batgirl can't afford to slip at the moment.

"She, actually." Ken says mildly, not getting up. Well, she might not hear him get up that is. Get up and take up one of his weapons. He keeps it sheathed but as she finishes asking the question he lets out a loud Kiai and swings it toward her in a classic Kendo move.

This is a… not a ruse, but it is a trick. The sudden attack gives her no time to do anything but react on pure instinct and within the limitations that she has. And that means if her back is playing up - and has been for years - she'll react as though that were true.

She. Batgirl is corrected. She doesn't see his reflection in the window, given the angle and she doesn't hear him rise.

She is quick though and the response to Kens attack is instantaneous, she tumbles out of the way, dropping to the floor to sweep his ankles - anything to give herself space to protect herself.

And yes, it's there - the hitch that gives her away. Not as pronounced as Barbara has, thanks to the structure of the suit.

"What the hell, Samurai…"

Because he doesn't follow through with the swing he is able to quickly step back and thus doesn't get his legs knocked out from under him. Instead he hop back and lowers his blade. "You are injured in your back. It prevents you from moving as easily and smoothly as you should and you could not execute that dodge as it was taught. You have practiced doing so a great deal, but you are compensating for no longer having the mobility to fully apply the technique."

He is VERY good at reading people in a fight because that's part of being a swordsman and he is really very good at being a swordsman.
"There are only a few possible ways you could have learned my family's techniques… and I would have heard of any of them."

Batgirl remains in the crouched position, her hood fixed solidly on the man. "I have been a crime fighter for many years, is it so hard to believe that I might have injuries?" She asks carefully. "Are you saying your student has a back injury as well…"

Ken is good reading people and the redhead has been careful. "What of the fact that I may be injured?" Rising to her feet carefully, Batgirl glances to the door. There are reasons she doesn't reveal her identity.

"As I said, I've been watching the footage of your fights." That is true. Very true.

"You have an injury in your midback. It has been broken and while it has recovered it cannot do so completely. It was a piercing injury, done with a knife or a sword or a bullet." The Samurai is almost relentlessly clinical. "I am a student of the many ways a person can be broken. I have seen men take such injuries. Most never recover, but the ones who do bear the marks of it in their movement for the rest of their lives."

Naturally he has seen that kind of injury. He is a swordsman and he has fought a great deal, used those talents a great deal and seen them used on others.

"It is… a great coincidence, I think, that you are a woman of the same build, the same rough age and the same hair color as my student and on top of that… you have the same injury."

Samurai doesn't mention the eye colour - maybe he's giving Barbara an out. "As I said, I've been doing this a long time. Is it hard to believe that I've been injured like that?"

The redheads shoulders sag as Ken uses the rationale he does. "There are many women my age and build, Samurai-san. And hair colour can be changed easily enough." Still, Batgirl watches the Samurai, trying to read his face. It's difficult, he's used to keeping things hidden.

"What of it though? Perhaps it's just coincidence …"

Inside, Barbara's heart is breaking. Trust is something so very hard to come by.

Kan watches Batgirl carefully and looks her over, noting her injuries, her posture. Her defensiveness. "Perhaps it is just a coincidence." He repeats. He doesn't look as though he's going to accuse her of lying. He doesn't even seem like he's that suspicious anymore. He places the blade down and holds his hand out. "My apologies for testing you in that manner Batgirl. You look exhausted. Would you like tea?"

He's offering to make her tea. Like he does Barbara. She knows how good he is at it. How very… precise he is.

Barbara knows that Ken wouldn't call her on it. It's not his way to do so. She's not lying either. Everything she's said is true and because he hasn't asked her directly, she hasn't had to deny she's the woman he thinks she is.

Knows she is.

"You have nothing to apologise for, Samurai-san." She answers. "I am exhausted and tea sounds wonderful." She could bite her tongue about now. She really should be going … get some sleep and regroup.

Ken goes to the kitchen and finds a kettle. Soon it is singing. Soon after Ken is sitting down and stirring matcha into two small cups. The perfect cup of tea is not often a large one. Small cups are easier to produce well. That too is a very Japanese way of doing things. Once they're made and smelling like proper tea he slides one over to Batgirl. That food should be here soon.

"What will you do now? The island will be in chaos for days if not weeks. People will have little faith in the ability of the police to protect them."

The ritual that Ken performs is very familiar to Batgirl, her hooded face watching as he makes it. "Domo arigato, Samurai-san." She answers. Drinking the tea is going to be impossible with that hood. It smells wonderful though and the redhead sighs, loosening the hood so she can drink it.

Is he really not going to push the issue, she wonders? Or is she on borrowed time?

The food won't be long at all.

"Now? What I always do. Just more of it. I'll go back to patrolling and helping people. As you say, the publics trust in the police will be low - but we can help there. I wouldn't be surprised if some of our old *friends* tried to take advantage of the chaos."

"They will. I do wonder if they were caught in the dome and what they did while it was up." They'll probably never know but Ken doesn't really WANT to know all that much. He's just a little bit curious. "You should rest. You will be no good to your people if you are broken and wounded. And I suspect you will wish to speak to someone about having been used… against your city."

Not against Ken but against her own cause. And no, he apparently isn't going to push it. At least not tonight. But he has put more together than she might have hoped he has. He has her all but dead to rights and only her refusal to admit that has prevented him from 'unmasking' her in a formal sense. Though… he may already know.

"Oracle, increase your monitoring of those groups. If they sneeze wrong, I want to know." Batgirl tells the VI.

"Of course, Batgirl. I was already doing so."

"I do too, though we will never know. I suspect that some became paragons of the community." Which is possible. "I will rest, Samurai."

Will she talk to someone? Lesley maybe. But possibly not.

The food arrives not long after that and Batgirl secures her hood leaving Ken with the words "Enjoy the food … thank you for the tea…"

And she's gone. She knows she's living on borrowed time and she's not sure what to do about it.

"That is perhaps overly optimistic…" Paragons of the community? Well maybe. But Samurai would suspect that those who start with no honor do not suddenly find it. But then he is very, very old fashioned that way.

When she leaves Ken takes off his jacket and gingerly pokes his shoulder. It aches. "Speak to you soon then, Barbara San." He says to the empty air. And then he sits down to eat.

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