5534/A Hand in Smuggling

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A Hand in Smuggling
Date of Scene: 10 March 2021
Location: Dixon Docks - Chinatown
Synopsis: Ninjas are thumped, crates are examined. Strange things are afoot.
Cast of Characters: Dick Grayson, Stephanie Brown

Dick Grayson has posed:
Batgirl would have received a call a little while ago from Nightwing, asking her to back him up at the Dixon docks. On her way over, he explained, "I've heard from my contacts that there's something being smuggled in at the docks. I'm going to take a look, but I wouldn't mind a touch of support if you don't have plans for the evening."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Stephanie heads for the closet of her college apartment across the street from campus. She places her hand on a biometric scanner, and the hidden compartment in the back that hides her costume and a small variety of gear for it opens up. "So you want me for backup? Sort of like I'll be the J-Lo to your Paula Abdul?" she responds into the phone while pulling her costume out.

She kicks off her shoes and begins pulling off her clothes so she can start putting on the costume. "Sure thing, I'll swing by and get my cycle and see you there come first dark," she offers. She has The Compact, and a motorcycle that Barbara bought her for graduation to replace her old broken down Yamaha. But that one isn't a Batcycle, which she has to go elsewhere to pick up.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Nightwing waits for Batgirl to arrive at the docks, the HUD in his mask showing him her position even before she actually arrives. Once she's in place, he clicks in on comms <<Ok, let's move in and take a look.>>

Shadows are the rule rather than the exception in this part of Gotham harbor. Dead grass and weeds poke up between piles of old crates and rusting cargo containers piled next to dilapidated warehouses. Dim streetlights attract clouds of insects and do little to dispel the prevailing gloom... in other words, the perfect place to find a Bat, or in this case, one of his proteges.

Nightwing appears silently among the crates and containers, alert for trouble but headed for a particular warehouse. A cool breeze blows discarded papers and food wrappers along the roadways. Knowing Batgirl is watching, he waves her around to his left, indicating a different approach to the same building.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl arrives on the scene, leaving her Batcycle at a spot that is a balance of close enough to get to if needed, but far enough that even if spotted where it is hidden, it's unlikely to be anyone associated to this particular warehouse.

She works her way forward, picking a path through the shadows and cover over to an industrial crane. She climbs on the roof, keeping her silhouette low as she slinks over the edge, then begins working her way up the crane arm to the top.

<< So what's the story tonight? Smugglers but no idea of the cargo?" >>

Once she gets up to the top of the crane, she watches the area for a little bit, looking for any patrols or guards. Finally she leaps out into the night, her cape popping open as a small current along certain seams harden the fabric into a gliding frame leaving the cape in a batwing shape. She glides down to the building from above, landing lightly enough as to make very little noise. Something she was practicing the night Nightwing and Orphan, and the Talon Stryx, found her on a rooftop.

Dick Grayson has posed:
There are no guards apparent on the rooftop where she lands. By all appearances, the building is just as deserted as the rest of the area seems to be at this time of night. Like many warehouses, this one has windows high on the walls, just below the roof, as well as several skylights.

<< Exactly. Word that something was being brought in, but no idea what we're looking for.>>

Toggling his communicator, Nightwing reports, <<Batgirl, I don't see any guards out front. I'm going to check around the back and see if I can get inside the building.>>

Setting action to words, he moves silently up to the warehouse and peeks around the corner before vanishing like a shadow into the darkness. There is a quiet thud and groan, and over the communicator comes <<One down, looks like Hand. I unlocked the back door. Move in at your own discretion, there might be more out here.>>

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl creeps across the roof. It's difficult to get much more vigilant than she already was, but hearing it might be the Hand involved is enough to make the sometimes headstrong young woman a little more cautious.

She carefully peeks through a skylight, trying to show as little of her silhouette against the night sky behind her as possible, looking to see what is going on inside. She looks about for catwalks she could get to from a window or the skylight, or a door on the roof that might lead down to them.

If she sees a spot she can enter from above like that, she moves over towards it. Otherwise seeks out another point of entry, perhaps a vent or another side door.

Dick Grayson has posed:
The inside is, if possible, even more dimly lit than the outside. The cavernous space is piled with shipping crates of different sizes, many covered with tarps. Careful observation will show that despite the hour and deserted appearance, the warehouse is not empty of people. Not your average workers, but a half dozen ninjas of the Hand lurk in dark corners and among the crates. It may make one wonder what could possibly be important enough in this seedy place to rate such guardians.

Nightwing slips from shadow to shadow, his training easily equaling or surpassing any ninja who cares to compare skills. He takes down another with a sleeper hold, lowering him quietly between some crates and zip-tying him before making his way towards the area his contact told him was of interest.

Batgirl can open a panel of the skylight she is looking though and slip onto the darkened catwalks suspended in the upper section of the warehouse. This will put her in position to look over the interior of the warehouse. Nightwing has put a mark on the shared HUD indicating the crates of interest. There is at least one ninja on the catwalk with Batgirl, though he has not yet noticed that the warehouse has been breached.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
<< I can make out six of the Hand. >> Dick takes down another one and she amends. << Make that five now. Though there may be more out of my line of sight. Coming in from above. >>

The subvocal mike was a pretty amazing thing to Stephanie. One that sent her off researching anatomy related to the vocal chords, and then the Wayne Tech schematics, to figure out exactly how it worked.

For now the only important thing is they don't have to actually speak to be heard. She checks the skylight, pulling out a small voltmeter that she passes above the various panels, making sure there isn't an alarm on them. She stows it back in her utility belt and then slides it open. She takes hold of the edge, as she does a forward flip, but her arms supporting herself to make it happen in slow motion as she rolls into the warehouse and lowers herself gradually to the catwalk, avoiding sudden movements that might draw attention. She slides the panel back closed and then creeps towards the opponent on the catwalk with her. She pulls a small capsule from her utility belt and grabs him from behind with one arm, the other hand going across his face. She snaps the capsule right in front of his nose, the potent sedative quickly putting him to sleep.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Slipping through the shadows, Nightwing sneaks up on another Hand ninja. Fortunately, sounds of the harbor drifting in an open window cover the thud of his baton striking home, and he lowers the unconscious man to the floor before zip-tying his hands and feet. His eyes dart around the area as he moves, doing his best to make sure he isn't taken unaware or trigger any alarms.

<<Another down. Interesting guards for simple smuggling>>

The Hand ninja Batgirl dealt with slumps silently to the metal grille of the catwalk, leaving her free reign to move as she likes. All the other figures seem to be on the ground.

Nightwing pauses a moment, the eyes of his mask glowing slightly in the darkness as he consults his HUD map of the warehouse and compare his position and Batgirl's to the target crates. He nods and slips between a couple of shipping crates, heading for his target.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The shadows seem to love the black and purple clad caped crusader. They reach out to draw her into them, making her form indistinct and allowing her passage along the catwalk unnoticed. Sometimes the young woman climbing into the beams above to move past a well lighted area.

She works her way out across one such beam above a ninja that is sitting in a corner, in a pose as if meditating. Those his head moved at one of the harbor sounds, canting his ear that way to focus on it. Definitely not just meditating.

Those shadows seem to join Batgirl on the hunt, not revealing her until the last moment as she suddenly appears the ninja, upside down, suspended from a line that extends up to a bat grapple quietly wrapped around a beam. Her arms go about his head, cutting off his air even as the winch automatically retracts her as soon as her hand leaves the control.

The pair rise back into the dark, where the unconscious ninja is left bound to the steel girder above.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Luck finally runs out as a loud, creaky floorboard betrays Nightwing's position. Almost instantly two ninjas are headed in his direction, as several others pop up and start scanning the warehouse for intruders.

The ninja Batgirl grabs doesn't get out a sound, vanishing into the darkness as she pulls him up and binds him in place.

One of the ninjas scanning the warehouse spots Batgirl and shouts a warning!

Several ninjas swarm in her direction as Nightwing breaks cover, tossing a wingding that impacts with one of the Hand in a flash of electricity, dropping him twitching to the floor. He drops into a fighting stance as two others charge him, almost casually dodging the shuriken they throw as they close with him.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Still hanging from the line, Batgirl pumps her feet like she were on a playground swing set, causing her to swing over to the nearby wall. She gets her feet planted on it and then unclips the line, pushing off and doing a somersault that ends with her boot landing on the chest of a ninja who was too slow to draw his weapon.

The others don't coming after her don't have that problem though. A blade leaves a shimmer in the air as it slices at Batgirl, and sparks fly when she swings her arm and blocks the blow with the metal ridges lining the outside of her glove. A variation on the bracers used by the League of Shadows, they turn the blade aside as Batgirl squats and sweeps the ninja's leg out.

She's unable to follow up though as another ninja closes in with his sword. She does a back handstand out of the crouch, but one handed as the other whips a batarang at her assailant.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Both ninjas engage Nightwing, one armed with a short sword, the other with twin knives. Nightwing's batons flash out as the knife wielder attacks, blocking each blade in quick succession, then he flips backwards to avoid a swing of the sword from the other ninja. His hand flashes to his belt and a small capsule is tossed between the ninjas, exploding into a billowing cloud of smoke. Nightwing rolls forward, batons striking the sword wielder with quiet arcs of electricity, stunning him and dropping him senseless to the floor.

The ninja Batgirl kicked goes flying backwards, impacting a shipping crate and sinking to the floor. After the block and leg sweep, that ninja lands on his back. He's out of the fight for a few seconds while she uses her acrobatics to move and throw the batarang. Her aim is as good as ever, and it impacts the ninja's head, dropping him to the floor. The swept ninja regains his feet and moves back towards her, sword held low.

Nightwing goes on the offensive against the remaining ninja, batons meeting knives in a dance of attack and parry. Finally he manages to tie up both knives with one baton and the other thunks against the ninja's head, dropping him to the dirty floor.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl doesn't delay once the batarang hits home. She closes on the ninja, taking the initiative from him as her hand goes down to the utility garter belt, pulling out a hand-sized rod of dark purple metal. The bo staff pops open to its full size, the woman going with a darker color today having anticipated the stealth mission.

She whirls the staff on the attack, the ninja parrying and striking, only to have his sword turned aside by the blur of the constantly moving staff weapon. He tries to move forward and negate her longer reach, and so is caught by surprise when Batgirl uses the unorthodox tactic of also closing. Before he can react she's inside the range he can use his sword effectively. A series of blows are delivered, knees and elbows, and a hand comes free of the staff to strike him in the throat before he can recover.

He goes down, the sword kicked to skitter across the floor to where he cannot recover it easily should he waken. She turns, checking on the other two and seeing they are down. She checks on Nightwing and sees he's well, flashing him a white toothy grin before she heads over to one of the crates that is between herself and the original Boy Wonder.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Batgirl has handled her opponents fairly easily. Her skills are obviously proceeding well, considering how quickly she just took out a number of trained ninjas. No further opponents can be seen between her and the target crates, leaving her free access. With the sound of breaking glass, a line shoots up from the target area and through a skylight, a ninja riding it up and out of the warehouse carrying a small box. He is dressed differently from the others, his outfit a brilliant red highlighted with gold. Twin swords ride his back, and a bandoleer of knives crosses his chest. He vanishes up and out the broken skylight, vanishing into the darkness outside. Nightwing curses quietly and fires a line up to the skylight as well, zipping upwards to grasp the edge and flip himself up and out, followed immediately by the sounds of combat.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
The girl who was Spoiler likely would not have emerged from a fight with three of the Hand without taking some serious hurts. But the blond Batgirl that she grew into handled them with a quiet competence.

"Ninja? I think they need to be more worried about nin-justice now," Batgirl says.

Ok, maybe not-so quiet competence.

The sudden movement drops Batgirl into a ready stance but then she sees it is someone fleeing. Though her first instinct is to give chase, she sees Nightwing is already launching his grapple up to pursue.

She makes a quick run across the building just enough to try to make sure there isn't anyone else hidden that is going to abscond with the evidence. It's just ten seconds or so, and then Batgirl shoots her own grapple line up, letting it zip her upwards. She releases it so her momentum carries her up and out of the skylight to where she can land lightly on the roof.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Nightwing is engaged with three Hand ninjas in a battle moving around the roof as he dodges and rolls, getting in the occasional attack as an opening presents itself. Two have short knives while the third wields a staff. Nightwing tosses a well-aimed wingding in the middle of one rolling dodge, striking one of the knife wielders in the head and dropping him to the roof unconscious.

The ninja armed with the staff spots Batgirl coming out the skylight and moves to engage her as the other presses his attack against Nightwing. The staff wielder moves in on her and twirls his staff, moving into an attack pattern. There is currently no sign of the more ornately garbed ninja with the box.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl's cape billows behind her as she clears the skylight, arcing forward and landing lightly on the roof. She doesn't hesitate, her staff clicking back open as she moves forward to meet the other staff-wielder, letting Nightwing focus on his own one-on-one battle.

The two staves move so fast as to be nearly a strobe effect. The weapons come together again and again with loud metallic clangs. Batgirl manages to sweep the ninja's feet out but he pokes the end of his staff into Batgirl's stomach as she closes, taking her breath away for a moment.

He darts forward on the attack now, swinging his staff in a blurring flurry of attacks that Batgirl has to be quick to block. She blocks a blow and steps into him as she swings her own staff. He blocks it only to find her staff has come apart into two segments, Batgirl now wielding batons much like Nightwing. She uses a move on the ninja that Nightwing had used to score a hit in their spar. Her baton catches him on the wrist, numbing it and greatly impairing the ninja's ability to use his staff. She moves quickly, giving him no respite as she capitalizes on her advantage, landing blows until finally she gets a baton to the side of his head.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Though the fight was fairly even when both had staves, once Batgirl breaks down her staff into batons, the ninja is thrown off, and that move puts him down hard. He drops to the rooftop, leaving her unengaged for the moment. The rest of the rooftop is empty, except for the ninja Nightwing is fighting.

Nightwing presses the attack now what he's down to one opponent, batons ringing against knives in a cacophony of parry and attack. Finally, pressed back and overbalanced, the ninja takes a step back... onto empty air. As he starts to fall, Nightwing's arm flashes forward, taking a cut from a knife in the process, grabs the material covering his chest, and yanks the ninja forward, at the same time bringing up his knee into the ninja's solar plexus. The ninja sinks to the roof, gasping for breath but not plummeting, and Nightwing tases him. He pulls a small canister from his belt and sprays it over the knife wound, and the bleeding stops.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
As soon as her opponent is down, Batgirl checks on Nightwing's progress. She can see how the fight is going to end, so rather than move to help him, she darts forward, moving towards the edge of the roof that she thinks the red-clad ninja's flight would have taken him towards. Figuring he probably left by the closest corner to the building.

She gets to the edge, checking Nightwing again. The younger woman gives a wince at the slice, but as she sees he's not in further danger, she goes back to scanning the docks, looking for any sign of the fleeing ninja. She drops he cowl's eyepieces into place over her blue eyes, letting her turn on a thermal mode, looking for the ninja's heat signature, or even his footsteps should they have left a faint trail.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Scanning by visual or thermal reveals the same information... none. At least in the direction Batgirl is looking, there is no sign of the ninja or the prize he fled with, just deserted docks and abandoned crates. Nightwing looks around and shakes his head, â??Damn, he's gone. I suppose we should check the crates and see if there's anything else of interest left behind.â?? He replaces the canister on his utility belt. "You did good work there. I think you're coming into your own."

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl runs over to the other sides of the roof to repeat her scan, only to no avail. "Hate it when sneaky ninja guys get away. All sneaky," she grumbles before turning and coming back to join Nightwing. "Thanks, you too," she tells him. If he doesn't stop her, she reaches out to take his hand, turning his arm so she can see the wound. It's sealed away for now. "We can get that cleaned and sealed again later," she says, letting his hand go.

She nods and heads back to the skylight. "Grab the first crate, I'll go secure the rest of them," she says. She doesn't bother with the grapple, just jumps in and uses her cape to glide down. From there she hurries around the warehouse, disarming the ninjas and cuffing them. Eventually though she joins Nightwing at the crates.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Nightwing uses the grapple, seeing as he doesn't have a nifty cape. Seeing that Batgirl is dealing with the ninjas, he heads over to the crates they came to investigate. After she has taken the time to make sure all the Hand are trussed up securely, she joins him at the crates. He's managed to pry the top off of one of them, and is shaking his head, "This... is junk. There's nothing of value here at all. It looks like the only reason these crates exist was to sneak in whatever that guy got away with." He gestures to another crate. A small compartment has been opened in the side, roughly the size of the box she saw carried up and out the skylight.

"Go ahead and image those crates, I'll get these. Maybe we can figure out where they came from and follow them back or something." The eyes on his mask glow as he stores images of the crates and shipping labels to upload to the Bat Computer.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl frowns at the news. She examines the crate as well, seeing if she can find anything left behind that might help indicate what was being smuggled.

She records video of the crate, and goes around finding any shipping labels or manifests. Gets serial numbers from the other goods in the crate if they have them. "Yes, maybe we can track them back to the source," she agrees.

Batgirl looks towards one of the unconscious ninjas. "Getting anything out of them would be tough. I don't know that they are likely to break under interrogation. Would have to trick something out of them. And I don't know we would be able to set up something elaborate enough to work," she says.

She turns back to Nightwing. "Got everything we need? I can call GCPD and we can go look at your arm," she offers.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Nightwing nods, "Yeah, I don't think we're going to get anything else here. We'll let Oracle do her magic on the shipping info and see what she can come up with. Otherwise, I think we're done here."

He looks over at the ninjas, then shakes his head, "Yeah, those guys won't talk to us, we've dealt with them before this. Resistance to questioning is one of the steps of their training. And I don't think we could set up anything spur of the moment to fool them."

He stretches out his arm, opening and closing his fist a couple times to check the muscles in his forearm. "Call them in to pick these guys up. This just seems to be a flesh wound, everything moves normally. But if you want to take a look, we can. Pretty sure I'll be ok though."