4582/Shine: Meet the Johnsons II

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Shine: Meet the Johnsons II
Date of Scene: 03 January 2021
Location: Gotham Gate Offices, Gotham City
Synopsis: A press conference to try and encourage the public to find Phoebe Beacon and return her to her birth parents goes awry when someone begins to mess with the vents, flooding the whole building of the Gotham Gate with the smell of singed human flesh!

Phoebe, hidden in plain sight, has to be guarded away by Conner while Laura Kinney, Dick Grayson, and Bart Allen search for clues, and find more questions than answers.

Cast of Characters: Phoebe Beacon, Conner Kent, Dick Grayson, Bart Allen, Laura Kinney

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    It's not often that Gotham gets all up in someone's grill about a missing kid, and the media circus around the Beacons is beginning to get to ridiculous levels.

    First, Phoebe Beacon, honor student, former two-year-old news sensation with her abandonment in Gotham, volunteer worker with the Themysciran Embassy, is left homeless and very nearly left parentless by a housefire set by an arsonist who also killed her adoptive father. Her adoptive mother was still in intensive care in the burn ward, fighting for her life.

    A reporter for the Gotham Gate, a newspaper recently going legit after being a gossip and 'creative journalism' rag, in apology for a piece done framing Phoebe as burning her own home in sacrifice to the dark Amazon Goddesses, set a reward -- millions for the parents who came forward to claim Phoebe as their own, and confirmed with a DNA test -- a couple from Montana had come, claiming their baby, who had a T-shirt with her name on it had been kidnapped while on a trip to New York, and was possibly abandoned by her kidnappers in Gotham.

    About three weeks ago, Phoebe Beacon disappeared from the public eye. Her social media accounts went silent after a fight in school that left broken bones in her wake, going out the window of the empty counselor's office, and hasn't been seen since.

    Which makes it all the odder as a dark, hoodie-clad teen sullenly sits in the back of the room, her eyes focused forward.

    There were plenty of seats, microphones and water bottles set up front at this press release, authorized and sponsored by the Gotham Gate.

    Phoebe was here, and with her hair braided differently, and her hood up, it'd be hard to pick her out of a crowd.

Conner Kent has posed:
Since Phoebe has been hiding at the Roost, the mystery of the missing Gothamite (wait, is she from Montana?) is no big mystery for Conner. In general, he has attempted to be supportive and he made a token attempt to make the Outsider's secret HQ somewhat Christmastic. But in truth Conner doesn't like Christmas too much and without Tim and Rose around, he is not spending as much time in the building.

Everyone got Christmas present, though. Because presents are awesome.

And now Phoebe has gone to the press release, he is sitting with her too at the back of the room. Although he is also typing on his cellphone at high speed.

Dick Grayson has posed:
You didn't grow up in the spooky palatial manor on Crest Hill without developing a healthy love of mysteries. Maybe love wasn't the right word. A drive to solve them? Either way, strange things didn't often happen in Gotham without its chiropteran champion or one of his ornithological off-siders peeling back the layers of curiosity. The City wasn't his beat anymore, but his ties to the Outsiders had deposited him on the Garden State Parkway from Bludhaven and here he was.

No costumes for him. He preferred to do his detective-work in plainclothes, since all it usually took was a flash of the Bludhaven P.D. badge to get him where he needed to go. A dark button down and navy peacoat against the cold, along with a knit scarf that was a Christmas present from Doctor Thompkins. He pulls his phone from his pocket to check the time before taking a seat on the aisle towards the back, stretching his feet out under the chair in front of him and locking blue eyes on the stage up front.

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen has shown up to see what s going on. He is sitting s toe behind Phoebe. The young man has been on a bit of a mission to check out the people and also looking after Phoebe. He is wearing black jeans, and a t-shirt with an Superman S on it. Na, it is not one of Conners, unless someone shrunk it some, as it actually fits Bart which he normally wears more baggy clothes, but he is trying to blend in.

Laura Kinney has posed:
With time and a careful preparation there are few places Laura can't infiltrate given a strong enough motivation. And unsurprisingly suspicious figures trying to claim they're the long lost parents of a teammate counts as a pretty strong reason to get inside the Gotham Gate Offices.

A call to a journalist claiming she wants to meet to give information about a story. A journalist who'll be very late for that appointment thanks to some very convenient car trouble he'll mysteriously wind up having. And she's got reason to be inside and a pretty good chance of being left to her own devices. Able to slip off when needed.

She's dressed casually in generic, easy to forget, street clothes. A winter coat, dark jeans and a blond wig & hat.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    The vestibule of what is now the Gate Building, and before was a rather grandiose art deco bank, was full. There's some people who are curious, others with 'bring Phoebe home!' T-shirts, and a couple who look weirdly fringe, even for Gotham, on the sidelines. THere was coffee. There is some picked-over donuts.

    And finally, the door to the side of the vestibule opens, and the owner of the Gotham Gate steps out.

    Michael 'Mickey' Rogers looks like he could be selling really fancy supercars; he has an expensive, casual sports coat. Thinning, pale blonde hair up top. A crooked nose from playing contact sports. He's broad shouldered and smells of clove cigarettes and expensive colonge.

    "Thank you for joining us today, everyone. It is important to me," he states, leaning at the podium. It protests slightly as he does so "... not only as the new owner of a paper straining to find the truth behind all of Gotham's mysteries, but also as a member of Gotham City that we all come together. A tragic figure who has suffered so, so much" dramatic pause as he tight-lip gazes accross the room, "be returned to where she belongs. Her family. Her *real* family. Somewhere, out there, there is a scared and confused girl who has lost everything, and is very likely still in our city without a single friend."

    Phoebe is still in the back, though she visibly tenses. Her hands are covered by colorful knit gloves at the moment.

    A couple of people may eyeball Dick, maybe out of recognition. Not much is given to the miscreant teens in the back of the room, but with Laura being able to sneak about, she's got relatively free reign.

Conner Kent has posed:
Uh. Look what that guy knows. A couple years ago Conner would have jumped to correct Rogers. But he has a little more self-control now. Instead, he takes a picture with his cell. And then another picture of /blonde/ Laura. That is one for the team archive, folks.

"You got plenty of friends," he reminds the girl at his side. "And really, you can stay with us forever or until your mom gets better. The whole 'find who you are' is overrated." Listen to the clone.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick notes the looks. He gets them in Gotham. You don't walk around with a billion dollar trust fund and not expect to attract some interest from those who busy themselves with the City's high society. But when someone a few rows ahead turns in their seat to look at him, he makes a point of meeting their eyes before lifting two fingers to his temple, forking them, and pointing towards the podium. Focus up.

As Mickey Rogers speaks, Dick slips one elbow casually over the back of his chair and arches his back as though stretching. He uses the moment to turn slightly, looking back over the sea of faces before meeting Phoebe's eye. He plays it off as just a casual glance at a random stranger in the crowd before turning back, fishing a hand-sized notepad from his pocket along with a ballpoint pen tucked behind his ear.

He scratches down a couple notes in a neat hand, eyes not leaving the man on the podium.

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen looks over and says "See, told you we are here for ya PB." He uses a variation on how he refers to Conner to not give away who Phoebe is cause he is smooth like that. He does try to sneak a look over at Conner's phone cause well, listening to this guy is boring. He starts to tap his foot a moment, and then stops putting his hand on his own knee to remind himself he should not do that.

Laura Kinney has posed:
Laura continues to casually snoop around the place, finding a quiet little spot to subvocally reel off the individuals with guns in the room over the team communications. <Are we expecting this place to have armed security?> She wonders, already sounding more than a little suspicious. Alas there wasn't quite enough time for her to observe the place in detail. Otherwise she'd have intel on every security guard, the firm they work for and mapped patrol patterns and routines.

For someone so socially awkward it's remarkable how easily she seems to blend into the crowd.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    "So, by virtue of my own fortune, I offered hundreds of thousands of dollars, and then millions, for any lead to her birth family -- as you know, Caroline Beacon is still fighting for her life, if the young sidekicks had not been in town, no doubt on some fanciful venture, who knows what might have happened?" he gives a smile. There's a ripple behind him as a screen decends, and shows pictures.

    Wonder Girl descending from the air, carrying a terrified dalmation. She's dramatically lit up on one side by red and white from the firetruck's lights, and warm orange on the other from the housefire.

    Impulse carrying a carefully wrapped figure out of the house, delivering her to the albulence.

    And in the middle of it all, the camera turns to focus on a young woman, her hair pulled up in poodle puffs, eyes wide, her hands covering her mouth. A plaintive picture of Phoebe. Fabulous advertising as it pulls an additional picture -- a two-year-old, wearing a shirt with PHOEBE printed on the left sleeve, in the arms of a sandy-haired EMT as she attempts to take a bite out of his jacket.

    The door opens again, and in walk a couple. It's clear that they're a couple, because they're holding hands, and he's comforting her.

    "Ladies and gentlemen -- Julia and Taylor Johnson, Phoebe's birth parents." he introduces them, a lump in his throat as he steps aside.

    Julia comes to the podium first. She's wearing a smart, light gray blazer and jeans. Her hair is cut professionally short, and she has a large, green-stoned ring on her hand.

    "Thank you everyone for coming out, and thank you Mike for this opportunity." she states. "It has been fourteen years, eight months, and three days since we last saw our daughter. I thought, when we came to Gotham, when she saw us, maybe something would tick. Something would happen, and our lives would finally be complete; there would be no more 'what ifs' or 'if only I would's -- we would be together again. A Family."

    she clears her throat, tearing up.

    "Phoebe, baby, if you're out there, and you can hear us -- come home. Let's find what we're missing. And if you're being held by someone, baby, we're going to find you. Even if I have to plead every superhero to take up the case."

    Phoebe's shoulders rise up a little bit as Conner speaks to her -- and though she catches Dick's eye (and she shrinks back from him, just a tad, pulling her hood a little bit further down her face. "I know, Conner. They don't."

    Someone turns to look at Bart's tapping and gives a frown.

    "It's... Gotham. We run Clown Drills at school." Phoebe replies quietly into the coms, "I'd be surprised if the place wasn't armed. They took a pretty big dig at the Amazons with the piece that started this mess."

    Laura would start picking up more and more firearms. A couple of the guards have switched out.

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen looks around and hmms. He will look to the others. He carefully walks towards the men's room, and in out of the stall Impulse blurs, but not back into the meeting, nope, Bart is off to Montana, and does a search for where the Johnsons' are from and once there, he ends up going to the Court of deeds, and starts looking through their records. He plans to see if there is a legit 15 year old birth certificate. He knows in days of computers even these antiques they use now a days it is easier to fake a computer record than it is a physical one.

Conner Kent has posed:
Conner's phone screen seems to be a chat in which he was asking about Michael Rogers. He is getting a lot of gossip feedback but nothing concrete. "That guy seems to switch opinions to go the most popular way. I don't know, I don't think I like him much." As for the woman, he tries to see if she has any family resemblance with Phoebe. Another picture is taken, as he knows Tim has software to make comparisons in the central computer. "Are you going forwards, Phoebe? Or just... hmm, just stay with us?" He asks quietly.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick marks the armed men, though not by scent but by the unsightly creases concealed weapons make in their clothing. He keeps a wary eye on their faces, as though trying to pick out any he recognizes from the usual hired muscle Gotham's more flamboyant rogues like to take on as temp-hires. But it's been a few years since he operated here with any degree of regularity, and some of the old faces have moved out of town, retired, or taken up permanent residence in Gotham Cemetery.

God, your mid-twenties weren't supposed to feel like your late fifties, were they?

"Phoebe's right," Dick murmurs into his own sub-vocal mic, voice coming clear along the Outsiders comms as he masks the murmur as a yawn into his raised collar, "It isn't an event in Gotham unless someone is carrying. Some are probably just concerned citizens hoping to pop Killer Moth and get a parade in their honor."

A pause.

"Killer Moth probably only merits a 'your choice of anything off the secret menu and your choice of drink with two refills' at Big Belly, though."

When he speaks again, it's with a less lighthearted and more serious tone.

"Want to get a closer look at these two. Could just be hustlers, but I feel like the DNA test thing would've flushed them out by now."

Laura Kinney has posed:
Laura Kinney blinks a few times. <A guard change in the middle of the announcement?> She subvocally says. <Sudden increase in the number of firearms too. Something is off.> Presumably she's talking about the situation and not the sandwich. But who knows!

Still it's entirely possible this is just Gotham normal and she's being her usual paranoid self.

She pretends to check something on her phone while scanning the room. Trying to pick out the gun owners and work out what their distribution suggests they're upto. A guard detail? Hostage taking? Gangland shooting? Whole bunch of normal unconnected people packing weapons? Each has it's own patterns and quirks that her trained eye can pick out.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    She could be talking about the sandwich.

    "Let's open it up for questions, shall we?" Mickey states from his place, urging the two to sit down nearby. They crack open water bottles.

    "So, given that Baby Phoebe disappeared going on three weeks ago now, do you have any idea where she might be hiding?" one reporter asks, standing up and holding his phone out to get a recorded answer.

    " Bart, having noted that the JOhnsons were from the city of Billings, Montana, could have been able to access the records in the state capital and try to find records.

    There was a record of live birth -- added fourteen years ago -- but no original birth certificate. The notes in the file state that her place of birth had been a homestead to the north of Billings, in a town called Joplin.

Dick Grayson has posed:
"Baby Phoebe ... " Dick murmurs into the sub-vocal, rolling his eyes slightly, though he restrains himself from adding anything more. He's the responsible, supervising adult here after all.

After a moment he raises his hand, clearing his throat noisily but politely to draw the attention of those gathered at the front of the room. He rises to his feet, tucking away the notepad and pen. He's not a reporter, and it may seem odd for him to be taking an interest in things, but at least his vocation doesn't make it seem so out of the ordinary.

"Hi," he flashes his best disarming grin and shakes a loose lock of black hair from his forehead, "I'm just curious, I guess, why this is only coming out now. It just seems a little ... forgive me, but, 'convenient' that there's a flash of cash and suddenly you're hot on the trail of the daughter you lost. If I went to Montana or New York, would I see 'missing' posters? A face on a milk carton? Anything?"

Laura Kinney has posed:
With all the attention focused on Dick doing his speech Laura casually tries to move closer to the 'Johnsons'. She doesn't need to get right upto them. Just by the doorway they came through or a few feet away. In the hope of catching a scent she can pick up a familial match to.

She's quiet about her suspicions regarding the risks for now. Maybe it /is/ just like this everywhere Gotham. But that doesn't mean she's not remaining wary of impending trouble.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    "We're not sure; we have been in contact with the Embassy in New York through her guidance counselor, and she has not shown up there. She could be anywhere by now, but really we just want her home." Julia states quietly to the first question.

    There's more security guards now. Laura is going to be able to pick up a very subtle smell; something cooking, almost. Without spices, or any sort of garnish. Just...

        Burning flesh. It's subtle, but trickling in, and overly sweet -- with artificial notes to it. Regular people with a sense of smell that isn't so finely honed may not pick up on the artificialness. However she would get a good whiff of the doorway; she's wearing Chanel, he's wearing Drakkor Noir, and neither of them smell very much like Phoebe.

    The two pause a moment, looking to one another as Dick asks his question, and then Taylor takes over the microphone.

    "Until two years ago, Julia and I were in no position to reclaim the daughter we lost. It has been a long journey -- for all of us -- and even though we posted through The Lost, we didn't have much hope of finding Phoebe, not after so long. But we saw our baby on the news, when she was dropped here in Gotham, and we knew we had to try. Especially now that she has no one."

Dick Grayson has posed:
"Forgive me if I know a little bit about lost parents," Dick answers, making sure to keep the attention on him while Laura does her snooping, "I spent months floating through the foster system and nobody came for me except the kind of people who beat the hell out of you for daring to breathe near them. It wasn't until Bruce Wayne took me in and gave me a trust fund that I started getting calls from lost aunts and uncles who had been looking for me. It's a familiar story, and while I hope you're telling the truth I feel like I've got a duty to grill you here."

That said, Dick takes his seat again and crosses his arms over his chest.

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen will do a bit more digging, and then after cleaning the mess he made in the records hall, he makes a while and comes running back. He does the low crawl at super speed under the seats to leave a folder in Nightwing's seat or the one beside him. It has info about the kid supposedly born 14 years ago, and a list of missing kids from that area, but none with Phoebe's description. Also a note of "Would someone who gave up their kid have a shirt with her name printed on it, would make more sense if just written with a marker or something." Bart does give local and info he found on the Johnsons, and the kid that never got a real birth certificate. He will say over the com "To your right Nightwing" Subvocaled, before he moves to the bathroom, and is then walking back into the hall.

Laura Kinney has posed:
<We have a situation,> Laura murmurs into the subvocal microphone. Her nose picking up the unpleasant scent. <Cooking meat. Something sweet... probably an accelerant.. Could be a Human. Smells coming through the ventilation system. I hope you've got masks?> She probably doesn't need one thanks to her healing factor. Although it won't be pleasant to inhale.

<Bart are you back?> She's not sure he's even back into comms range! <If so we could use a sweep of the building..>

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    "Well, we can all understand. I'm sure when Bruce was orphaned, many long lost aunts and uncles came forward to claim his money, but right now Phoebe is a sixteen-year-old at risk. Human trafficking is the bigger concern." Mickey takes over, oozing charm like a pox might puss. "When you were adopted -- and, which one are you, again? It seems like there's all sorts of foundlings -- has anyone checked beneath the couch cushions for Phoebe up in Wayne Manor?" Mickey delivers a dig at Bruce, and he's not even here to defend himself. How Rude!

    However, the group is laughing. They tend to be more good natured towards the back, feeling really good --

    Phoebe? Not so much.

    The radius of her 'feel good' vibes was increasing and pressing outwards. She was beginning to hyperventilate, one gloved hand grasping at the edge of her seat.

    Bart would recognize the smell, of course -- it smells like what Caroline Beacon smelled like when he pulled her from the fire.

Conner Kent has posed:
Conner listens to Nightwing's arguments with a frown. There should also be some paper trail on the Johnsons attempts to find their lost child. Still, they could be the parents and never bothered looking for the lost kid until they heard the magical words 'one million dollars'.

Genetic testing and all, it means nothing. They are strangers.

And then Laura's words make him blink. An attack? Here? He slips the cell into one of the inner pockets of his jacket and leans forward. Listening beyond the room, and letting his tactile telekinesis spread down the floor, to obtain a 'x-ray-lite' overview of the whole building.

Dick Grayson has posed:
"I hope you're not making a habit of crawling around under chairs at speed, Barto," Dick mutters into his collar with a broad grin, "Sounds like Wally's gonna need to have a talk with you. Thanks, though."

With all the grace of a career cat burglar, Dick picks up the folder and deftly slips it into his coat. He'll read it later and in private, but for now the sheaf of papers simply disappears.

"Glad to see orphans are a source of fun for you, Mick," Dick calls back from his seat, tilting his chin upwards, "Must be nice attaching yourself to other people's tragedies because you don't have any of your own, huh?"

He seems about to speak again but his brow furrows at the mention of a problem, and he shifts uncomfortably in his seat. He rises to his feet, offering a thin-lipped smile towards the podium before moving towards the door. In the parking lot outside is a dark blue McLaren 765LT, and in the trunk is a spare tire ... and a false bottom. Making a surreptitious look to ensure he's not being watched or surveilled, he yanks it upwards to reveal the folded elements of his masked persona.

A moment later, a figure in black and pale blue is slipping out of one of the maintenance closets in the building's basement. He regards the archived wireframe of the building's layout as fed to him by the Bat-Computer through the glowing white lenses of his domino mask. He switches to infrared, seeking out heat signatures through the walls. When he speaks again over the sub-vocal, his voice has the digitized element of the vocalizer built into his costume to disguise it.

"I'm looking ... "

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen will move to sit behind Conner, using him to hide the fact that he is off in a blur again. He heads towards the basement, changing into costume as he goes. HE will start at the bottom level, feeling door handles before he opens a door, but at his speed it should take him just a moment . He Subvocals "Yea, am back, and yea that smells like a person burning. He starts first where he would expect the fusebox to be and along his way he does pick up a fire extinguisher checking to make sure it is full on the way as he checks over the building.

Laura Kinney has posed:
Sadly this won't be Laura's first burning person either. She's even been on fire at least once too - it's a long story and best not to ask. <These people don't smell right,> She adds matter-of-factly. <Phoebe you might want to fall back so you don't get stuck inside if the situation gets any further out of control.>

She doesn't rush off to investigate the smells herself. Remaining to provide additional support if any of the firearm armed individuals decide they want to start a fight.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    "Looks like we hurt his feelings." Mick states, "Serves your right for coming in and questioning these poor parents like that." he sneers.

    An attack. Here.

    As Dick changes his blues for his... other blues, the smell of burning flesh is getting stronger. Several people who hadn't known what it smelled like would be sniffing, and looking around.

    "Is... someone warming up pork?" someone asks, concerned.

    The JOhnsons and Mickey pick up on it too.

    "What the--" he asks.

    Phoebe looks up to Connor, and looks green to her gills.

    "... I... I'm going to be sick." she mutters, leaning forward with her elbows on her knees and her face in her hands, so that she can't be seen.

    "Hey there -- is she okay?" someone asks, turning, concerned. "Does she need water or something?"

    The fusebox is clear. There is heat going through the walls, normer boiler system. The boys in the basement would be able to trace their way to a door marked, appropriately, BOILER ROOM/HEAT EXC.

    The smell is stronger there.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    Conner would be able to map out the building, offices up top are strangely empty. No furniture, no people at work. There's some mid-levle offices with the typical set ups, but nothing for real printing or research work. It's not set up like the Planet or the Daily Bugle.

The main floor is where all the people are. There is a safe behind the main counter, but it is lead lined. Unusual.

    And then in the basement, where NIghtwing and Bart are, there is the boiler room -- some other closets -- and a room underneath the boiler room.

Conner Kent has posed:
"Lets get out of here, Phoebe," murmurs Conner, standing up and pulling the girl up and close. Then he subvocalizes. <Guys, this is really strange. The upper floors are empty. And down there I can feel a room -under- the boiler room. Weirder still, this guy has a Superman-proof safe. With lead and all. I don't even have X-Ray vision. Maybe Laura can open it and take a look? I am getting Pheebs outta here.>

It just looks like he is helping a friend to get out for some fresh air. Hopefully no one will try to get a good look to Phoebe. But he will shamelessly try to elbow out of the way anyone trying.

Dick Grayson has posed:
"Start clearing house up there," Dick says into the sub-vocal, brow furrowed as he moves down the fluorescent corridors of the basement towards the boiler room, "If something's up, we'll have our work cut out for us without having to deal with a crowd of civs panicking or trying to solve problems themselves."

There's a faint twitch at the corner of his mouth when Conner makes his intentions known. He might be there as the supervising adult, but it's good to know they have a handle on it themselves. For his part, Dick moves towards the boiler room at a clip. Should he run into anyone down here, he doesn't stop to explain the presence of a masked vigilante in the basement. It's Gotham, baby.

Once he nears the door, he checks the doorknob with the back of his hand - classic fire safety technique.

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen will come up next to Nightwing, and says "Here." He offers the man the fire extinguisher, and says "I will check below." He closes his eyes a moment steading his breath and starts to vibrate in place, before opening his eyes and starts to step down through the doors and walls, looking for any signs of a trap as he goes.

Laura Kinney has posed:
<Why has the fire alarm not triggered yet?> Laura wonders. <Unless it's been sabotaged or isn't plugged in. This feels more like a trap than a newspaper office.> Still with the crowd distracted by the smell now is as good a time as any to try slip into the back rooms. She slips her way past people, lifting an ID badge if she can pickpocket it on the way, and waits for a moment when the Reception area is unobserved.

If she has to she'll discreetly direct someone to complain at reception to force the moment she needs to happen.

If/when she gets back there she'll move directly towards the safe Conner had spotted. Her keen senses, plus the information about it's location and her training should make finding even a well hidden safe easy. And then she's only a snikt or two away from having access to the contents!

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    'It's Gotham Baby' could describe pretty much all of today's happenstance.

    The smell is much worse down there. The knob wasn't hot at all, just regular room temperature.

    Bart begins to vibrate in place, just enough so that he becomes incorpreal as he begins to go through walls and doors, and ground. Under the boiler there was a door leading up into the boiler room, and below this room, there is access to the Gotham Sewers.


    Conner is able to escort Phoebe out safely, with her leaning her face against his chest in order to keep it hidden. She's stumbling something awful against him.

    One of the guards reaches to stop Conner and Phoebe. He is armed.

    "Hey -- you two all right? What's with the girl?" he asks, not sounding concerned in the least bit.

    Dick kicks open the door, and probably heroically aims the fire extinguisher to use as either a bludgeon or... well, an item to extinguish fires!

    But there is no fire -- other than the heat going on in the boiler -- but that smell was sickly sweet and thick here. Dead bodies and burning. Burnt flesh, enough to make skin crawl and stomachs turn.

    Dick would find that someone sabotaged the boiler works; there are stacks and stacks of wet towels, dripping with some oily, viscous liquid that's pooled on the floor here and is making all the building reak of fiery death.

    A snikt or two away -- and Laura would find there is a chair in the safe.

    In that chair there is a strawman with a balloon head; literally a blue suit stuffed with straw, with a balloon. Safety-pinned to his chest is a piece of linen with the message "I Know Who You Are" written on it in sharpie.

Conner Kent has posed:
"She is nauseous, cafeteria sandwiches," half-explains Conner, to the guard, doing his best to ignore him and brush past the man. "Just going to get some fresh air," he mutters, loud enough the man can hear it.

And hopefully ignore them. He can't concentrate in the telekinetic 'scan' while moving, so he is missing the details. But it feels like Laura got to the safe and Bart to the under-chamber. <What is going on?> He mutters to the comms.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Nightwing takes the offered fire extinguisher, quirking his eyebrows and hoisting it up in front of him. If he were Bruce, he'd have some fire suppressant concealed on his belt somewhere. But all he has are some regurgitant gas pellets, wing-dings, a burner phone, and about a hundred feet of compressed de-cel line. He doesn't carry half the Batcave with him like his mentor.

"Thanks," he answers, before lifting a foot and kicking down the door. It splinters under his boot, but as he barrels in his sees no fire to extinguish. He tosses the extinguisher to one side with a heavy clatter, the smell is strong but he's seen a lot - he's been working murder cases since he was a child. He's long since learned to repress the recoiling disgust he feels in the pit of his stomach.

"Someone's been messing around down here," he announces through the comm, crouching down and plucking a wing-ding from his belt. He runs it along the viscous liquid, letting some collect on the sharpened edge of the throwing weapon and peering at it through his mask.

"Don't have anything to run a chemical analysis here. I'll need to take a sample."

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen answers over the com "Got an entrance to the sewers through this way and looks like a door up to where your at Nightwing." He will move to tap on the door and open it to let Nightwing see whats going on there. "I could head intot he sewers, but we have a better tracker than me by far up top.

Laura Kinney has posed:
Laura Kinney pulls out her burner phone and takes some pictures. <Safe contains a warning or message of some kind. Probably connected to the smell? Anyway it's too big for me to bring along. We'll have to settle for images.> And of course smells. Because of course she sniffs the inside of the safe.

Still it's probably not as bad as scent tracking through a sewer like Bart is suggesting. Unless of course that's how the contents of the safe got into the building!

<Uploading the images now.> Even as the upload starts to complete she starts looking for a way down into the lower levels of the building. Those sewers won't search themselves. Besides she doesn't want anyone to notice her standing around next to a carved open safe...

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    The doll does not smell like a sewer.

The sewer does smell like a sewer, but not like burning.

    The towels all smell like burning bodies.

    And right now Phoebe is politely around the corner retching due to the smell of burning bodies and that pesky thing of tying memories to smells.

    And it is, blessedly, at that point that the fire alarm DOES go off -- and people are exiting the building due to the smell, expelling into the cool Gotham afternoon!

Bart Allen has posed:
Bart Allen will look to Dick "Be right back." And he heads back upstairs looking around the room, to try to find the johnson's water bottles. Luckily Bart remembers everything he sees, so know roughly where to look and which ones have to much water grabbing any that maybe theirs.

Dick Grayson has posed:
"Whatever it is," Nightwing says in his best supervisory adult voice, "We need to come at it strategically. We've got the clues, now we need to piece them together before we move ahead. The only thing you get when you dive in headfirst without looking is a cracked skull."

He cuts the mic for a moment, muttering only to himself in the oppressive heat and darkness of the boiler room: " ... starting to sound just like him."

Then, he flicks it back on: "Sounds like Phoebe could use a glass of cold water and a pillow right now, anyway."