4515/Santa comes to the docks

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Santa comes to the docks
Date of Scene: 28 December 2020
Location: City Docks
Synopsis: Two Bats, a Shadow and an Harley remind Vinny and his thugs why smuggling stuff in kid's toys is wrong.
Cast of Characters: Harley Quinn, Bruce Wayne, Natasha Cranston, Stephanie Brown

Harley Quinn has posed:
Christmas has come and gone in Gotham. Does it mean crime stops during the season? Nope! But do those criminals think they are safe and that all the caped crusaders are out celebrating the season with their family? Definitely! And SOME even have the gall to use TOYS for their smuggling operations... Which was just an unforgivable sin.. At least to Harley, whose efforts to bring toys to the children of Gotham's hospital had been partially put in danger with some of them having smuggled diamonds inside. Which made some of those thugs go to the hospital and endanger it... So tonight it was time for some payback...

It was a quiet night, snow on the rooftops, cold as all heck so not many people outside.. Inside a particular warehouse there was a frantic Vinny, waving towards the rest of the group. "Pack it up! And quickly! We need t'get outta here before those meddlin' vigilantes come by! And who the fuck messed up at the hospital?" Harley has an history with this guy, having run across him with Red Hood. Long story short he is still wearing a cast on his arm where it was broken and stabbed and his hatred for Harley has only grown. Though he has been keeping his distance. And right now he is preparing to get outta here, along with his men. Most of his guys are scattered about, taking care of packing up, getting contraband inside trucks to go. Their objective? To lie low for a while and then return to their activities...

Not far from said warehouse a figure steps out from a nearby house. A janitor? At least it dresses the part. But there seems to be something large under that jacket and those steps are bringing the figure close to the warehouse.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
The holidays are not exactly the biggest thing for Gotham's Dark Knight. They're not completely foreign of course. While he might just ignore them if he had his way, Alfred certainly makes sure that the Manor is as festive as it can be given its Master's less then bountiful holiday cheer. And while the spirit of the season might not be overly reflected in Bruce, the same cannot be said for his many protegees. It usually keeps things from being too brooding and grim at the very least and sometimes that is all that can be really expected. So he did the presents thing, he did dinner -- and then he carried on just like he always does.

Now that the day has officially passed, Batman has hardly slowed down. Despite the weather, despite the supposed holiday season, crime doesn't take a break, not in his city. So neither can he. Those patrols across the rooftops, sweeping the city for threats continues right on unabatted. And just as always, he keeps his ear to the ground, keeping tabs on all the goings on in his city, all the murmurs and whispers amongst the snitches of the underworld. Of course, sometimes information comes from potential allies as well, which is one way that he got put onto the diamond smugglers.

So the Dark Knight lingers down by the docks, perched atop another warehouse, his cape settled around him like a shroud as he holds up a pair of binoculars to his cowl, the view through them lit up like day, even if everything is cast in the greenish glow of those star-lite lenses. Eyes narrowed, he marks any sentries, any obvious points of entry and he waits -- just another shadow in the night.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Not everyone finds the arguments that Harley Quinn is attempting to turn over a new leaf persuasive. Given the Clown Prince of Crime's penchant for horrible jokes, a certain amount of skepticism is certainly warranted, for who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

    Vinny's operation isn't nearly as smooth or well organized as he imagines. Some of his minions were incautious and talked a bit too openly in front of people they didn't notice, and his attempts at arranging logistics were amateurishly unsubtle... And so, The Shadow Knows...

    While Bludhaven isn't Gotham per se, it's close enough that it's still considered at least adjacent to the Bat's territory, so there are certain courtesies to consider. Natasha doesn't have a direct line of communication with Batman, but as the Bat himself demonstrated during their prior meeting, there are always ways to get someone's attention if you have the resources...

    "Think he'll show up, boss?" Benny asks as he steers his cab through the near-empty streets, an unremarkable cab going on its unremarkable business this evening.

    Natasha, already mostly dressed for work, shrugs. "Probably; if nothing else, he'll want to catch these crooks before Doctor Quinn does. But either way someone should." she replies as she finishes moving her scarf into place. "Stick around the area. It shouldn't take too long." the Shadow finishes as the cab pulls up to a curb near the warehouse long enough for her to exit.

    This isn't the best part of town, and streetlights are an ever popular target for casual vandalism, so only the most astute observer would notice that there's one more shadow flickering along the sidewalks heading toward the warehouse...

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown would rather be in her apartment, or maybe over at her mother's place even if her mom is working a double shift at the hospital tonight. Either would be warmer than Gotham docks. But after facial recognition from some of Oracle's surveillance had spotted Harley Quinn in Bludhaven, Stephanie found herself out in the cold, lying beneath a parked vehicle near to the house she'd seen Harley go into.

"Not saying it needs actual heaters and warmers... ok maybe that is what I'm saying," she whispers quietly, her inner monologue being given voice in the moment. Granted, the Batgirl outfit crafted for her by Barbara Gordon was far warmer than her Spoiler outfit. And Stephanie would prefer the former even if it had a built in air conditioning system running at the moment.

She watches the 'janitor' emerge, gauging the person's height, posture and way of walking for signs it is no-longer sane psychiatrist-turned-criminal. Or not any longer. So Harley claims. Blue eyes narrow at that thought. People don't just change like that. Growing up with a criminal father had taught Stephanie that in spades. Harley was up to something. And Batgirl would be there to stop her.

Harley Quinn has posed:
Vinny knew there was some invisible countdown going. But greed always supplanted safety. They had the merchandise, it was only a matter of finding other avenues of distribution, of getting them out. So as the trucks were finally getting filled up and not a lot more was left behind the man shouts up, loud enough for the warehouse to hear. "Alright, boys. Time to move!" a couple of drivers get into the two trucks, a few more getting on the back and on passenger side. As for the guards that were keeping watch by the high windows with machine guns, their attention turns to their leader, starting to go down to the ground floor. It does leave most of the entryways unprotected, both up through the roof, through windows or even through the front doors. Large ones that start opening up slowly to let the trucks leave...

As for the figure, anyone that pays attention to it might realize the light skipping of it's steps. Or even the little tune she's whistling 'Let it Snow', a classic! And is that some multi-colored hair under the janitor's hat?

But plans of entry? Taking the thugs stealthily and cleanly? Wrap them up with a bow for the police to take? That's not how Harley rolls. So as she gets closer to the warehouse it's revealed what she was carrying under that jacket...

A freakin' grenade launcher?!

But when she shoots it at least it's not explosive ones, but tear gas. A couple of pops, two of those small orbs being shot through high windows to start wrecking havoc inside the warehouse.


Inside there's a mad scramble for weapons as the goons prepare to defend themselves.. The ones inside the trucks step on it, prepared to drive out of the place at full speed if they can.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Eyes narrowed behind his cowl, Gotham's Dark Knight takes in the scene, studies all the particulars and only then acts. There are a lot of moving parts, but he is rather confident that he is not the only one interested in this particular warehouse this evening. He doesn't miss very many things afterall. So when he rises, when he pulls out that grapnel and takes to the air it is with a clear plan, a clear objective in mind.

His entry point? The roof of course. Same with his initial targets as well -- the heavily armed sentries. Just because he has contempt for guns doesn't mean he doesn't respect what they're capable of and taking out that pair is his first priority. He hardly makes a sound as he sweeps across that empty expanse of air, landing far more lightly then a man of his size should be capable of. A few padded steps as the first of the men begin to withdraw from their position and he slips up behind him, a hand coming out of the darkness to cover his mouth and block out any cry he might make while his arm bears down, cutting off his blood supply to render him unconscious in surprising short order.

Before he can deal with the second rooftop sentry however any notion of stealth pretty much goes out the window. That's when the tear gas cannisters begin to shatter windows and land in amongst the thugs.When the panic and shouting and running around starts. Of course, confusion is his ally too and hile the men below have something to be extremely preoccupied with, he launches himself towards the other sentry.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    ... Well, so much for the quiet approach. Of course, Quinn is likely at high risk once Vinny's goons recover from the surprise and the gas enough to start shooting back, but that's a secondary concern -- first priority is to make sure those trucks don't leave the warehouse.

    Several gunshots suddenly ring out, and the muzzle flashes briefly illuminate sleek pistols held in gloved hands as high caliber bullets shred the front tires of both trucks. They're not going anywhere any time soon.

    As the trucks' headlights snap on, they cast sharp shadows on the floor, shadows that don't appear to be cast by anyone, of a tall figure, elongated out of proportion by the angle, but the silhouette of a greatcoat and hat are unmistakeable to anyone who has encoutered the Shadow before in the few moments before it darts off to the side, out of the headlights' arc and into the darkness of the interior.

    As if to confirm it, sinister laughter begins to sound as the echoes of the gunshots die down -- not the deranged cackle of the Monster Clown about to kill people in a grotesque joke, but still full of menace and predatory intent in its own right.

    "Heh heh heh... Oh, Vinny, Vinny. Really, now? Stealing from a children's hospital? On Christmas? Did you really think you ever had a chance of getting away with it? That no one would KNOW? Heh heh heh HA HA HA HA HA...." The laughter bounces off the interior walls, leaving no clue to their point of origin...

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown definitely recognizes Harley's gait, even before a bit of her hair becomes visible to further clinch the janitor's identity. "What are you up to," she murmurs to herself aloud. "Batcomputer," she whispers into the subvocal mike to activate the voice recognition commands. "Pull up information on... 1547 Cannery Row, Bludhaven. Focus on criminal connections."

The Batcomputer does its thing, running search algorithms and cross referencing with its files. Batgirl's blue eyes are momentarily concealed as she drops the HUD screen in front of the eyeholes, letting her read the information the Batcomputer dug up.

"Batman was investigating this location?" she whispers so soft even she can hardly hear it, surprised to find he'd been looking into somewhere in Bludhaven. "When?" she asks, immediately receiving the flickering letters in answer.


An eyebrow goes up behind her mask. "Maybe I'm not the only one who doesn't trust her then," she comments to herself. Which is the moment the gas grenades are launched towards the building with loud WHOOMPS. Batgirl slips out from beneath the parked car that was giving her a good view of the happenings, darting across to a building, jumping and hitting a wall with a foot to propel her up and over the roof.

<< Batman are you near a warehouse on the Bludhaven docks? Tear gas going off? >>

Harley Quinn has posed:
Shooting the tires off those trucks is a mixed blessing.. For one, they won't be making a run for it, for as they try to drive out it turns out to be impossible withhose tires blown away. But it also means that those thugs now know they will have to fight their way out. Vinny shouts out again. "Freakin' bitch...!" yep, he really doesn't like Harley.."That's it, she ain't livin' through tonight!"

The first goon that was keeping guard upstairs falls without much trouble for the Dark Knight. As for the second ..., seems like it will go down in the same manner. At least until another man is seen running on the other side of the catwalk. "We gotta go..., it's ..." a pause when he notes Batman. "Oh, shit!" now just moments away from announcing to the rest of the warehouse there's a Batman in the building!

The shadows along with the echoing voice has Harley cackling like a hyena. "IT'S THE FREAKIN' GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST COMIN' FOH YA, VINNY!" it's also Gotham, Harley is used to the weird so it doesn't disturb her too much all the shadow play at hand, she continuing on her walk to the entrance, reloading her launcher with a couple more grenades.

Shots start to be heard inside, some more jumpy goons getting scared of all the shadows. "What's goin' on boss?" "Someone else in here!" "Who shot the tires? Look for them!"

But Vinny has a mission, he makes his way across to the large doors, looking over with his machine gun as he starts looking for a clownette, some of his men flanking him. The man levels his weapon, pointing it at Harley who is walking down the road leading to the entrance.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
The scene below on the warehouse floor appears to be pure chaos -- but what else would one expect when Harley is involved. But it does give him a distraction he can use to deal with the situation in his own, more precise manner. Reaching the second of the sentries, he is fully prepared to take him down just like his commrade. But it is a truism that no battleplan survives first contact with the enemy and while Batman can push those long odds at times in his favor, not this night. Before he can deal with the second heavily armed sentry he is interrupted. Keeping that hand firmly over his mouth as he tries to strong-arm him with only one hand, the other dips towards one of his pouches, claiming one of the batarangs there and hurling it towards the thug's temple, looking to knock him out before he can call out.

Of course, even if he didn't take care of him it is increasingly questionable if anyone would notice a warning about his presence. Or if they'd care. They have their own things to worry about by the looks of things.

<< I'm here Batgirl >>" he says lowly over that subvocal mic. << There are some diamond smugglers I've been trailing for awhile. They made the mistake of running afoul of Harley Quinn the other night as well. I suspect some of them are regretting their life choices about now. >> he comments. Possibly bcause of the tear gas. Maybe because of being subjected to her singing.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    While an Uzi can be used one-handed, having one arm in a cast still means it's a little unwieldy, and aiming takes a lot more focus and attention than would otherwise be the case -- which means Vinny is just a bit too distracted to pay attention to the shadows until a gloved hand clamps down on his currently uninjured wrist, squeezing and twisting in a single smooth movement that leaves him with the options of dropping his weapon or breaking his fingers in the bargain -- and a moment later that choice is taken away from him as he feels a yank just as something hard sweeps against his ankles, and he goes flying, pivoting around the hand on his wrist and over the crouched form that blurs into visibility, pulling him down in what an expert in martial arts styles would recognize as a fairly textbook Khalkha wrestling move and depositing him on the ground... On his bad arm.

    The Shadow rises from their crouch to glare down at Vinny, blue eyes blazing with contempt above that crimson scarf.

    "Stay down, and maybe you'll still have use of your other arm by the time this is over," the figure commands, then turns and moves away, blurring out of view as they move, heading for the next armed thug...

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie Brown turns off her mike before making her soft grumbling noise. She's not going to be catching Harley red-handed with anything tonight. Hearing The Shadow mention Harley's targets stealing from a children's hospital only further clinches that it's time to get involved.

<< Moving in >>

Batgirl leaves her lenses down and then seals her cowl and pressurizes it. The air supply isn't meant for long term use, but perfect for a short fight while keeping tear gas out.

The blond crimefighter darts forward, closing on the warehouse well off to the side of Harley. She begins tossing smoke pellets one by one, first in a circle around the trucks. To them it must just look like puffs of smoke going up, spreading. Hemming them in. Then the pellets drop among them, adding murky, inscrutable darkness to the tear gas. Batgirl rushes in, her staff in hand but not yet opened from it's compact form as she approaches the nearest man.

Harley Quinn has posed:
"Got you on my sights now, bitch!" Vinny murmurs just as he is then yanked to the floor by some shadow-y force. Unfair! He's always so close to taking out the clownette once and for all! But not this time, again.. And, what's this pain?! When the man lands on his injured arm there's an ear-piercing scream.. Clearly someone will be back to recovery soon enough..

With their leader taken out some of those around that noticed it start to panic, one even stepping out from cover.. Big mistake for he gets a tear gas cannister to the chest that sends him flying back against a truck..

"KNOCK, KNOCK!" says Harley.. Clearly she is having way too much fun with this. The usual. And there's that gleeful little smile on her lips too.

The men upstairs are taken out, first the one that Batman was strangling and then the poor chap who was unfortunate enough to come across them as Batman was taking care of business gets a batarang to the head... The man topples down..

Some fingers are pointing. "The Bats are here!" "Run for your lives!" just as the place gets darker and even more chaotic, making it so that those without a way to breathe through the tear gas, or see through the smoke are at quite a disadvantage. But that's always been one of the Bats advantages over thugs, the use of technology.

And that means what's left to do is pretty much cleaning up the rest of the scattered thugs. Some are still putting up a bit of a fight, others are running to the nearest exits.. But they won't last long.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
With the overlook cleared of any sentries, the Dark Knight has his bird's eye view of what's going on down below unopposed, flittering amongst the walkways and rafters, little more then a shadow. But one the leaves fear and uncertainty in his wake. << Focus on taking the guns out of play >> he murmurs over that subvocal mic. That's where the unknown variables come in with a situation like this. This gang isn't gettign away, at least not many of them and certainly not for long. But a stray gunshot could still injury or kill one of them, or some unfortunate bystander nearby. And removing variables is one of the many things that makes Batman so very effective.

Don't leave anything to chance and chance ceases to play a role. Or at least is as minimized as possible.

So that is exactly what he focuses on from his perch, moving every few seconds, raining batarangs down on anyone wielding a weapon below. Sometimes he goes for the knock out strike, other times he goes for hands or joints, looking to take away their ability to make use of those firearms.

A few unfortunates find those thrown weapons coiled around a leg, connecting lines suddenly going taunt, pulling them up off their feet, screaming as they are hauled up into the darkness above.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Fighting in a dark warehouse fogged with tear gas is bad enough; when one of your opponents isn't even visible unless they choose to, it's a total nightmare -- blows coming all but literally out of nowhere, there and gone before anyone else can react, a wraith moving on the ground floor, flickering in and out of view as the remaining thugs find themselves picked off one by one while that terrible laughter echoes.

    Of course, there /is/ a method to the madness -- the glimpses mean that the remaining shooters keep trying to track a target they can't see, leading them to overlook the ones that they /could/ see, if only they were paying attention to above them...

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl moves in amongst the men, the bo staff telescoping into place before she swings it by one end, sweeping out a man's legs and then teeing off on his gun to send it flying off to be lost in the smoky and gas.

She wades forward through the men, seeking out each form who registers as a red form with her thermal vision engaged. Speaking to each man she takes down in an annoyed tone even while swinging at the next.

"We could all be in our homes-"


"... enjoying hot chocolate-"


"... and watching Pitch Perfect and being wowed by the acapella-"

*POKE!* "Owwwww!" *THUD*

"Ouch. Sorry, was aiming a little higher than that."

Harley Quinn has posed:
Going for the weapons is a good plan.. First, the intrepid vigilantes don't get shot down, and second the goons don't shoot one another in the confusion. There are screams, shouts... Attempts at fighting back but eventually they begin to get corralled in with their efforts, the attack from above by Batman, the shadowy movements from Natasha and the staff-swinging from Batgirl...

Harley is just finally stepping into the warehouse when she notes that final blow on the poor man's lower parts. And such a perfect pitch on the scream too! Clearly they should be on pitch perfect 2! Or 3! Whoever is counting how many of those movies there are by now?! "Woah! Savage!" she says of Batgirl's aim.

Some of the smoke is starting to clear out, along with the gas, leaving the thugs visible on the floor, groaning in pain or otherwise knocked out. No deaths too! Always a win...

"That'll teach 'em a lesson! And Vinny, ya shoulda known betta aftah the last beatdown ya got a couple o' months ago...!" She admonishes the man, who just rolls a bit on the floor, not talking. The pain is too much.

"Merry Christmas, Batsies!" Harley then shouts to the warehouse, perhaps in thanks of their help! (And nope, she doesn't shoot a tear gas cannister in their direction)

Bruce Wayne has posed:
It is a little disconcerting to be on the same side as Harley Quinn to be certain. He can understand Batgirl's suspicions. But these are strange days. As that last tear gas cannister is fired, the Dark Knight looks down from above, finishing trussing up the half-dozen or so smugglers and hired goons that he has pulled up to the upper catwalk, leaving them bound and ready to be picked up. A brief, considering glance is shot towards the disabled trucks.

<< Oracle, if you could contact the FBI and advise them that the smugglers they've been tracking have been dealt with. I don't think we want to leave the evidence in the hands of the Bludhaven PD >> he says lowly over the commline. Not when they are only a slight improvement on the criminals they police themselves. It's like being back in Gotham a decade ago.

<< Good work Batgirl. Don't linger too long. The local authorities response time is not impressive but they occasionally take a shoot first, ask questions later approach to policing. >> As for Batman? Well the night's still early isn't it. Plenty more crime out there. And some new footage of that mysterious, shadowy ally to upload to the Batcomputer to go over in more detail later.

All in all, a productive evening so far. Maybe it's starting to feel like the holiday season afterall.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    ... Speaking of the latter, as the final mook goes down for the count, the Shadow reappears, seeming to materialize out of darkness and fog taking solid form, guns out but pointed casually at the ground as the figure takes in their surroundings. Steph receives a curt nod of acknowledgement, paired with a raised eyebrow.

     "I distinctly recall Batgirl having red hair," the figure muses for a moment, then nods. "... But I do recognize the colors. Has the mantle been passed, then?"

Stephanie Brown has posed:
<< On my way out. Just securing the last few. >>

A few of the still conscious are quickly bound with high-strength zip ties. Some to each other, a hand here to a foot there. Movement would still be possible, but unless they are a Chinese circus troupe used to making a human ball to roll around, they probably aren't going to be getting away before the police come.

Batgirl straightens and turns towards the sound of Harley's shout. Teeth grind slightly. Didn't catch Harley tonight. Probably was planning to hijack the smuggled goods for herself, Batgirl figures. But there will be a next time. "There's /always/ a next time," she speaks her inner voice aloud.

Batgirl turns towards the murky figure as The Shadow addresses her. "Well, you know what they say about having more fun. Though really, trouncing bad guys like this doesn't get too much more fun does it?" she asks with a grin.

The question about whether the mantle has been passed doesn't get an answer beyond a grin and a wave, and then a Bat-grapple is shot up to pull Batgirl up to a rooftop exit. By the time the police arrive, Stephanie is back on her Batcycle, opening it up on the way back to the bridges that lead from the mainland to Gotham. "Darn it. Too late for a 'Merry Christmas to all, and all a good night' quip. Really wanted to use that."

Harley Quinn has posed:
It's like watching poetry in motion the efficient way in which the Batsies handle those goons, tying them all up in offer for the cops that will no doubt arrive in a few minutes. "Ya know, ya guys spoil 'em with all that tyin' up.." she shaking her head a bit to herself.. Specially the Bludhaven cops! Who are more of a gang really. Crooked! She knows it well... It means she also knows she shouldn't linger for long here..

So some of her final words are to the downed goons. "That should teach ya *not* ta smuggle stuff inside kid's toys. And now that I think o' it, don't do it on adult toys eitha!" not that she is saying smuggling is wrong. Just no toys!

The talk between Batgirl and the Shadow doesn't go unnoticed, she peeking at this new Batgirl with squinted eyes. "Blonde eh?" but a mistery to solve another time! So with one last wave she also dashes out into the night...

One less gang in Bludhaven to worry about!