4824/A Signal About Monsters

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A Signal About Monsters
Date of Scene: 22 January 2021
Location: GCPD Headquarters - Midtown
Synopsis: Commissioner Gordon sets off the Batsignal, summoning Batgirl and Orphan to hear about a murder and abductions by monster hunters seeking Ariah.
Cast of Characters: Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Cain, Ariah Olivie

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl is sitting beside Orphan, the two of them on the edge of a 10 story building. Legs dangling over the side as they eat dinner, in the form of a couple of wraps from a nearby restaurant. They were surprised to have two caped crusaders swing down to the drive through window on grappel lines, but were happy to serve them.

Stephanie takes a bit of her chicken wrap, the wrapper sitting on her lap. She isn't paying close enough attention and something falls off of it, dropping ten stories to hit the sidewalk. "Darn it. Lost my pickle," she complains with a sigh. Stephanie leans over and shoulder bumps Cassandra then takes another bite.

That's when the cloudy skies over the city are suddenly illuminated in one spot by a spotlight, the middle of it bearing a bat-shaped shadow. "Ooo, looks like we're needed," Stephanie says excitedly. She crams the rest of the wrap in her mouth and tells Cassandra, "Mrph lrphle orphle airf". Which is unintelligible to anyone else, but then Cass doesn't need the words to know Steph suggested they get over there.

Cassandra Cain has posed:
Having not exactly been impressed with the idea of a pickle inside of a wrap in the first place, Cass had been staring at her potential meal for a moment anyway, rather as if considering what area of the city to ditch it in without insulting Stephanie's tastebuds. Anyone else she wouldn't care, but this is -Stephanie-.

Then the sky lights up and she silently thanks whatever god applies, as she accidentally lets slip the entire wrap to chase after Steph's pickle. It lands squarely in the top of somebody's hat, splattering them with all kinds of foodstuffs, but when said person looks upward...noone is there.

Save for two figures whipping across the dark sky on lines, so far up they might be birds. As Cassandra's face takes up its more customary work stoicism. And she leaps into the night, a grapple firing off.

She talks, I swear she does talk.

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    While it's always sunny in Philly, it's always cloudy in Gotham. The nigh-perpetual oppressive gloom is, however, perfect for high-powered spotlights lancing up into the thick cloud layer, announcing to all and sundry that Something(TM) is going on and Gotham's primary protectors are needed. For dinner? Not likely. On the wintry rooftop, wind whipping about, the stoic-yet-friendly face of the Commissioner awaits, wrapped in a brown trenchcoat, gloved hands stuffed into pockets, collar upturned against the chill.

    What isn't the norm is who is standing next to him, gazing up at the beam of white light, the city's beacon of hope. All of four feet and ten inches, a young woman, or an older girl, with white hair and an outfit that might be more suited for a club than an icy rooftop. But the pair of them wait patiently, Jim occasionally glancing in various directions in the sky before taking a handkerchief to his magnificent moustache. Cold creates runny noses, after all.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The first notice of the arrival of others is when Batgirl flies up over the edge of the building as if she was propelled from below. She's already mastered getting her speed up with the winch enough to coast up and over the roof edge even as she's retrieving the grapple then, practically giving the illusion of flight at least for that brief moment.

She lands lightly, pausing just enough for her partner in crimefighting to touchdown as well before walking over to the famed searchlight. "Commissioner," Batgirl says. The blond hair will be a first for the Commissioner, even if Stephanie has been here before as Spoiler.

Cassandra Cain has posed:
Orphan lands with a flapping of her cloak, letting herself be heard. She's found that cops are not the type to sneak up on. It's likely the guns, or the bullets, or some combination of that and being high strung and overworked. Of course she lives her life high strung and overworked and thinks it's normal, but she's always been willing to give a bit of leeway to lesser beings.

Oddly she wears no mask. The asian lady has a hood up, but it only partially shadows her face, and she walks right up in front of both Gordon..and his guest. Her lips don't share a greeting, which is likely by choice. Luckily Batgirl is here and she at least looks like a proper bat.

Yet as Orphan only glances at Gordon, she stares at the woman beside him. Stares, and the intensity is fierce. Only occasionally does she glance away into she shadows, flicking about, checking for others. There is no trust.

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    Jim is, at least, mostly used to this. Used to bat-shaped caped crusaders appearing on the rooftop from the shadows. He seems thankful that these two at the least have the thoughtfulness to show up in front of him rather than behind him. "Ladies," he greets politely, though his eyes linger on Batgirl's blonde hair for a few moments, "...that's new." He shakes her head and steps forward. "...we have a... situation that the GCPD is starting to struggle with," he admits.

    While he speaks, Ariah just blinks owlishly at the arrivals, staring more at Orphan, the shorter of the two women who arrive on the rooftop, though the white-haired woman that's clearly not dressed for cold weather is half a head shorter than Cassandra. Her expression is neutral, though she does blink on occasion, indicating that she's not likely a doll or an automaton or.. well, dead. Still, she's small, and spooky. Not unlike Raven.

    "This is Ariah, she's under police surveillance--and protection--after a gruesome incident..." he picks his words carefully, the last two exhaled with a long suffering sigh. "A girl was found dead in the cemetery, bearing a remarkable resemblance to... her. Occult symbols and ritual paraphernalia were not a small part of the crime scene. We have reasons to believe someone might be... hunting her for reasons unknown," Jim rubs the bridge of his nose. "None of what we found matches your..." he uses his other hand to gesture to Batgirl, "..usual suspects. It could be a group outside Gotham or someone roaming the tri-cities. But this happened here. And recently a handful of missing persons cases of similar lookalikes have started cropping up." He uses his hand on his nose to remove his glasses and wipe them with a small cloth before putting them back on, "So, obviously, we need some more... substantial help on this..."

    He glances down at the short woman who's still staring at Cass, "She claims to be a... hmm... hum.." he has trouble finding the right word until she speaks in answer. "...witch." Gordon nods, "Right, that. The detectives didn't believe it until she showed us a hell of a light show, so whatever occult nonsense is going on, it still revolves around--that."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl stands quietly, her cape swaying just slightly in the breeze that is stronger here on the roof than down at ground level. Wisps of the blond hair that Commissioner Gordon noted also catch that breeze. At the end, her eyes go over to Ariah to study her more closely.

"Any ideas as to who would be doing this, and why? Are there people out there who know of your.. abilities and might react like this? Or any other reasons someone could be hunting you specifically?" Batgirl asks. If she knows much about the occult, or witches, or those who might be hunting such, she doesn't say anything for now, just gets the information there is to learn.

Cassandra Cain has posed:
Orphan's eyes. They tell her story in times like this, as they move about, her body inert. When Gordon speaks, she looks in his direction. Yet just before Aria chimes in they've looked her way, as if she's expecting something. It's a world of creepiness, she knows when a person is about to speak and looks at them, taking in their intent with her greedy eyes.

But whenever Ariah blinks, she's riveted. She stares into those eyelids every time Ariah's lids close, reading something there. Almost with a fascination, how such a small thing could be of any interest to anyone at all. More even than what's being spoken.

She wears no mask. Commissioner Gordon could sketch her face by now. Yet she doesn't seem to care, as she nudges Batgirl with an outstretched hand.

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    Gordon steps away, slightly, to turn off the spotlight. Two capes and cowls should be enough for now. Should. At Batgirl's question, he looks at her. "The officers checking the internet found some dubious sites claiming to teach the 'common citizen' how to hunt monsters and witches and werewolves and vampires and things. Digging deeper it looked like religious cult mumbo jumbo. Ariah said as much that the rituals are real enough if you use the right material components but, look, that stuff is beyond me, and our best detectives. We're just not equipped to deal with magical... things," he shrugs helplessly. "What's worse is digging into the servers, they're shell and free websites registered to the electronic equivalent of burner phones. Cybercrimes is still working on it..."

    He trails off, looking down at Orphan, then to Ariah. "...birds of a feather, you two..." he comments. Ariah does speak up finally, though, more fully. "...there is someone using people to hunt for me..." she states quietly. Her voice is icy like the winter wind, cold and clear, and thickly accented in French. Gordon picks up, "The murder had a stake through the heart and everything, like they were trying to kill a vampire. To say nothing of the... other... things. Stake, silver, magic symbols... like throwing a bunch of stereotypical 'monster hunting' stuff at a person and seeing what sticks."

    Again, Ariah nods, "...the girl had no powers, they thought it worked. Thought she was me. It has been quiet for months but now..." she trails off, exhaling a quiet sigh. "Look, I can't have people yanked off the street and ... mutilated because of some nutjob telling them a higher power will teach them how to slay horror movie monsters... Look at her, does she look like a vampire or a werewolf? Weird magic stuff aside."

    Ariah, for her part, just shakes her head, "A witch, a magician, a... sorceress? Oui... the rest...? Non... I would prefer that no further people come to harm just because they bear a passing resemblance to me..." she exhales a quiet sigh, warm breath bringing a puff of fog.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl glances over to Cassandra, silently reading her close friend's demeanor with that brief look before refocusing her attention on Ariah. The details of her attire are noted. That Commissioner Gordon's shoes have a fresh scrape, suggesting he probably cleaned mud from them while tired enough to have been careless.

Damn, Barbara will be proud of that one.

A slow nod is given by Batgirl. "We'll look into it, Commissioner. The first question will be whether you have somewhere safe to stay," she asks, the question directed towards Ariah. "Do you have her put up in a safe house?" she asks the Commissioner.

"We also will want more information about you, anything that might help us form a picture of who is behind it," she tells Ariah.

Cassandra Cain has posed:
Orphan's fingers, resting on Batgirl's arm, tighten slightly. The movement is small, but it comes at the very end of Ariah's words, and her eyes burrow into the woman's own. She does not glance to Gordon when he speaks, which is by far the oddest thing she's done. But only if you know her well enough to have expected it.

Then her lips move. She makes a moue, her lips pursing, and then crosses her arms over her chest. She turns towards Gordon, her entire body moving, and the change in her body language is almost entire. She leaves Ariah to the edge of her peripheral vision, giving Gordon a much less measured look, and then nods. "Okay," she says, her voice coming out almost gravelly. Then she grins her teeth, her mouth widening barely enough to allow it.

She'll steal the file as soon as she gets the chance.

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    Gordon seems to be fine fielding both questions, while Ariah glances up at him. "She's got New York credentials, ran them through everything we've got here. She checks out. Says she's got a place upstate where she can crash but..." he looks down at her and meets her gaze. She slowly turns her head, ponderously slow, and takes in both Orphan and Batgirl with her glance. "...I want to help... innocent people are being hurt because of me..." she offers in her own strange, quiet way.

    The Commissioner shrugs helplessly, "Look, she's really creeping out some of the officers here, and I can't keep her in holding. We've got APB's out on anyone that's of... shorter stature with white hair, late teens early twenties, just to make sure they're not being pulled off the street by anyone suspicious. But you know how big Gotham is, and we're already up to our ears in costumed criminals and other petty crimes." He looks to the young woman with the stark white hair again, and Ariah looks to Batgirl.

    "...questions, oui?" she asks quietly, then nods. "...not here. Do you have.. elsewhere? I am not in danger, but others are, until this is... stopped."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie doesn't react to Orphan's tightening fingers. She feels them and registers them, she just doesn't give any sign of it as she listens closely.

A cold wind sweeps over the top of the building, sending Jim Gordon burrowing deeper into his jacket. "We'll let you get back inside, Commissioner. Thank you for notifying us," Batgirl tells him. She looks back over to Ariah. "We can put you up somewhere safe for now. We definitely need to get more information."

Batgirl turns, glancing towards Cassandra. Judging her height and build. Then glances back to Ariah. Hrm.

Cassandra Cain has posed:
The wind blows orphan's coat against her, and she shifts the slightest bit to allow for its power. At this height one doesn't ignore the wind, you simply adjust for it and pretend you'd meant to do that all along. However..

When Ariah and the Commissioner both talk, she barely looks that direction. She doesn't interact with the questions being asked, leaving Stephanie and Babs to handle setting the new lady up with a room and board deal. Not her job, apparently.

But when Stephanie looks her way her eyes light up. It's odd since it barely touches her face, only the right side of her lips tweaking the slightest bit, but her eyes are so expressive. Whatever it is Steph is thinking, her partner likes it. And she shifts her pose, just a touch.

She's standing so differently all of a sudden. Her movements become languid, slower. She seems shorter somehow. Gordon would see it instantly.

She's emulating Ariah.

Ariah Olivie has posed:
    "You're welcome, and thanks," Jim gives a sort of mix of wave and casual salute, one hand in his pocket, the other coming off of his temple. He turns towards the way back inside before pausing and turning back towards the trio. "Right, here, almost forgot," he pulls that hand out of his pocket and holds up a USB stick. "It's everything we've got so far. Crime scene photos, things she's already said, what we pulled up on the victim and... well, everything. I figure it'll just be easier to toss it your way now. I know you and Batman can access the servers regardless," he says in a sort of resigned manner and tosses the thumb drive towards Batgirl.

    Ariah, for her part, shuffles closer to Cass and Steph. She looks up at the both of them, though her grey gaze focuses more intently on Cassandra now. "...bait?" she seems to get the idea, this one's quick on the uptake. Or just makes an assumption. Still, she shrugs those bare shoulders lightly, "...I will accompany you and give you what information I can," she states.

Cassandra Cain has posed:
The USB drive vanishes into the hand of the appropriate person, and then Gordon has to make the decision. Do I stand there and watch, or let them vanish into the night? It's something that they like to do, that much is obvious, and he's fairly certain that Ariah, for all her quietness, is at least capable of something similar. Call it a hunch.

He glances to the face of the Bat who isn't covering herself, wondering if he's seen her before, and realizes that an asian girl in any large city barely needs a mask. It'd be nearly impossible for him to identify her if he saw her on the street, and that's with all of his vaunted training.

The blonde hair on Batgirl, that's new, but he's good at keeping up with the changes in their little group. She seems to have the job down, and Batman always chooses his proteges carefully. She's probably a solid person under the mask.

Then he looks at Ariah. "Good luck," he says. Then he turns away, letting them have a moment, before he turns back. "And..."

If they aren't gone when he turns back, he owes himself a milkshake. Something he gave up years ago. Don't let me down, bats.

Commissioner Gordon does not get his milkshake that night. Which is for the best, they're not good for his heart. Good luck...kids.