5622/Mysterious Like The Dark Side Of The Moon

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mysterious Like The Dark Side Of The Moon
Date of Scene: 17 March 2021
Location: Gymnasium - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: Nightwing gets down to business and evaluates Vorpal.
Cast of Characters: Dick Grayson, Terry O'Neil

Dick Grayson has posed:
A T-Comm message asked Terry to meet Nightwing at the Gym around this hour. Upon arrival, he sees Nightwing up at the rings running through an acrobatic routine. He swings and flips from rings to ropes and back, finally dropping to the floor with a backflip when he notices Terry's arrival.

Heading over, he waves a hand and says, "Terry, good. I was wondering if you were willing to work with me a little. You're around a lot, and I don't have a great grasp of your abilities, I'd like to fix that oversight if you're willing. Thought a little training might help me get an idea how you're doing these days."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
The Cheshire cat grins (he's sorta known for that, after all) and nods, "You fly through the air with the greatest of ease- I'd be honored to train with you. It's not every day that I get the chance to get schooled by a world-class acrobat."

He glances around the gymnasium, "What do you have in mind?" he gets on one knee to secure the strips for his knee and shin guards. The kneepads in their tragedy/comedy smiley faces are starting to get pretty scuffed - a repainting is in short order.

Dick Grayson has posed:
With a shrug, he replies, "Well, to start, I thought we could try sparring a little. That will let me see what you can do, how you're using your abilities and perhaps give me some ideas of areas you might benefit from some training in. Beyond that, we'll see how things go."

Nightwing looks Terry over - the outfit looks pretty good, and he seems to move well. He knows Terry can augment an already formidable agilty with his Rabbit Holes, but he's not quite sure what level the young man is at with his actual hand to hand abilities. He takes up a basic martial stance and smiles, "What do you say, want to play with the old man a little?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Pfft, old- my ass!" Vorpal laughs, checking the straps on his gloves to make sure they're not loose, "You move better now than when I was twelve. I used to scour the web for those shaky-ass videos of you and Batman traipsing around and jumping across buildings. I kept asking myself how he hell could someone do /that/. You're kind of what inspired me to get into parkouring, you know."

He settles himself into a stance, well-balanced and with his arms ready to shield himself. "Don't tell Batman, though. I am happy with him not knowing I even exist. From the stories people tell, he could probably render me infertile with a glare and shrivel me into a husk."

Dick Grayson has posed:
Nightwing lets out a laugh, "No, no, it's not glare, it's glower. The terms are very important. And despite many attempts, I have yet to see him successfully damage anyone physically with it, so I think you're safe." He's actually still got a somewhat boyish grin at Terry's words, "At least you had the choice. For me, it was learn to keep up with Batman or get left behind. Also, the grapple guns help for the bigger gaps, and that's just the magic of technology."

He considers Terry's stance for a moment, then nods, "Ok, basics are good, so let's see what you can do." He extends one arm, flips his hand palm up and literally gives him the Matrix 'bring it' fingerwave.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
The cat shifts his balance from foot to foot slightly, green eyes on the original Boy Wonder. "If you think you can't be hurt by a glare, just wait until Gar makes a joke around Raven. I needed stitches from the last time." His mouth is running on auto-pilot now while he gathers impressions. Since his start with the Titans, he has trained primarily with two women: he's learned basics from Troia and her Amazon discipline, and he has taken classes at Harley Queen's School of Clownfighting. There could be no more two diametrically different mentors, but somehow each gave him something that he needed.

This was not to say that he was anywhere near mastering anything. One year is only one year, and the Cheshire Cat is grounded enough to know this. Even though he has natural talent, he knows that in a real no-powers fight with Nightwing, he would be trounced and defeated by the imensely more experienced Titan before he could even say 'Uncle.' Fortunately, Dick only wants to see what Vorpal is capable of, not the color of his spleen.

After a slow breath, the cat suddenly darts forward. It's such an amateurish, rookie lunge that Donna would throw him out the window for if she had witnessed it. Even then, it's done with admirable agility-

But something seems to go wrong, as a loose strap from his shin guard appears to get tangled with his other foot, and the Cheshire cat is suddenly diving downwards in an epic trumble-

Which turns into a roll forward and a crouch, as the cat turns the lunge into a swipe at the closest knee. Harley's principles of fighting were to always make your enemy understimate you, and to always appear incompetent for an extra surprise bonus and an initiative roll.

It's a risky move, and it's one that doesn't have a lot of chance of connecting with someone as experienced as Nightwing, but even in the off chance that his swipe could connect, Nightwing would notice that Vorpal's gloves are not his usual fingerless ones- he's wearing full-finger ones, which would make the swipe just that- no trace of claws. It's something he learned the hard way after he accidentally clawed Gar during one of their first training sessions and the green Titan got him the gloves for training. It was either that or Mickey Mouse gloves.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Nightwing smirks a little, replying, "Yeah, but that's the whole demon magic thing. It doesnt' apply to actual humans." He's still fairly relaxed, waiting for the Cat to make his move.

When Terry starts his charge, he lowers his stance slightly, ready to move in whatever direction is needed. His eyes center on Terry's chest, the best indicator of where the body is actually going. He knows there's something more to the attack, because he knows who Terry has been training with. So when the lunge turns into a 'fall', Nightwing is ready.

Unfortunately for Terry, while Dick has not trained with Harley, he has fought her any number of times, so is well schooled in her particular style of misdirection and obfuscation of attacks. He isn't taken in by the fall, and shifts his leg just enough for the attack to miss him.

He takes a step back, nodding, "Ok, I see Harley in that attack. Might work on someone who's already underestimating you. Show me what else you have."

He's not attacking yet, trying to get a read on Terry's skill level before he tries putting the Cat on defense.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Right. I should probably have trained with someone you wouldn't necessarily have fought before. Like Condiment King," he says as he gets back on his feet and a safe distance away. "But then you'd trounce me for getting mustard stains on your uniform."

He refrains from making a joke about Kori employing mustard as a secret weapon- although, when you come to think of it, it's not a bad idea. The more narcissistic villains take great pride and fastidious care of their very expensive uniforms. Flying streams of hot mustard, the Great Unwashable, would be excellent psychological weapons.

Focus, Terry.

He moves in, keeping his body and center of gravity low, his eyes hyper-focused on Dick's body language as he approaches, ears swiveling. His feet trace smooth paths on the floor, never lifting too much, and his knees are kept bent and fluid. There is a lot of the Cat in how he approaches, and he essays several darting strikes with his fists- quick, trying to never get in too close in an attempt to get his opponent to reveal himself. Every instinct in his body wants him to lay still, to become so statue-like as to make his opponent have no option but to strike first, because the one who strikes first is out of balance, from a cat's perspective. But he doesn't have that luxury- and training was all about forcing you to deal with something you would rather not deal with, right?

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick Grayson says, "I have enough mustard stains from Kori's pizzas over the years, thanks, I don't really need any more. Just do not get it in your eyes, it burns." is all he has to say about that idea.

As Terry moves in, he nods in approval - the Cat hasn't had years and years of training, but his natural agility and feline movements give him a natural advantage. The strikes are blocked, however, as over a decade of training with some of the best in the world tends to trump natural talent.

Finally Nightwing nods and starts throwing some attacks of his own into the mix, not pushing to score quickly, but rather to make Terry show off some defensive ability as well as his offense."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"What on Earth where you doing to get mustard /there/?" Vorpal asks, because there's obviously a story behind it. But the time for story-telling is past the moment Nightwing begins his own offense. Vorpal gets clipped several times, until he manages to put some distance between them by rolling away and then getting back up. The speed with which he does that is pretty impressive, and for the rest of the salvo Vorpal aims to keep himself moving out of reach, trying to run Nightwing all over the Dojo and slip, duck, roll and dive out of his reach to force him to resort to something flashy and distance-covering like a kick, or a flying leap. Kicks are dangerous because you are left with only one point of balance for the duration and an agile-enough opponent can sweep you out, whereas flying leaps or kicks means the cat can slide underneath and scamper to the other side of the room, and continue the cat-and-mouse game in hopes of exhausting his opponent.

But Nightwing is no amateur, far from it, so Terry isn't counting on him to give him an opening like that. The Cheshire could conceivably keep up the keep-away game up for a long time, but Nightwing's endurance and training are legendary. He could easily out-wait him and Vorpal would long collapse from exhaustion before the black-and-blue bird would.

This means he needs to think out of the box. Right now, his strategy is shaping up to be more of the Caucus Race when he needs to get closer to a Lobster Quadrille... especially as he takes several more hits from miscalculated ducks. And, just like Alice will tell you, ducks don't take kindly to being miscounted.

Dick Grayson has posed:
"Trust me, sometimes it just ends up everywhere. These are things you have to be prepared for if you're a Titan." He keeps up the combat for a few minutes, noting Terry's style involves a lot of movement and attempts to get his opponent to overextend themselves. After a while he nods, "Ok, not bad. You've got decent basics, and a good natural ability. But you're holding back."

He stops playing the chase game and takes up a more solid stance, "Show me what you can do when you add your powers to the mix. I want to see your full abilities so I know what you can really do."

He seems prepared for your assault, even knowing as he does that it could come from any direction at all. But then, he's fought a lot of people with a lot of abilities.. it's not easy to surprise him.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"I'm not holding back, I'm legit terrified of you!" the Cheshire admits, and grins. "Alright... what I can do." He bends down and ties the strap that he had intentionally left loose at the beginning, now that it served no purpose, and takes a deep breath. "Right!"

And the entire Gymnasium disappears. It is replaced by the platform of a three-ring circus, with the red curtain raised and bleachers full of spectators cheering loudly, as Vorpal's powers of illusion take over. He appears to be dressed in a Ringmaster's outfit, top hat and everything.

"It's the greatest show on Earth!" he says, reaching for the top hat and into it.

He begins to throw things at Dick. A veritable bevvy of purple glowing objects- an anvil, a mallet, a frying pan, an oversized bowling pin, and an accompanying oversized bowling ball all fly at Nightwing one after another. They appear solid... but the moment Dick might accidentally touch one of them, he'll go right through them! Illusion!

Dick Grayson has posed:
Nightwing dodges the first couple missiles, then goes to slap one to redirect it, discovering the illusion, and nods, "Ok, handy as a distraction." He looks around, "And if you can see the true area under the illusion, this can be really good for screwing up your opponent, because I know there's equipment near me, but I can't see where it is. You can use that in multiple ways."

He looks around, then shakes his head, "I can't see through it, that's good. How well can you hold it though?"

His hand flashes to his belt, then whips out in Terry's direction, one of his wingdings whistling through the air aimed at the Cat's chest to see if that will break his concentration.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry /hates/ the wingdings. This is not because of anything Nightwing has done, but not two months ago Robin dinged him with one when he was spying on Vorpal and Red Robin talking, and joking about Robin's height. When that thing comes flying at Vorpal, the cat's reflexes kick into gear and, instead of ducking, a glowing purple wall appears in front of him.

However, this is no illusion, and the construct shields Vorpal from the impact... and from sight. Then, the wall topples over and falls onto the ground, dispersing in a cloud of purple sparks.

And no Vorpal.

"I'm pretty good at maintaining the illusion," comes a voice from above. Should Dick look up he'll see Vorpal swinging idly from one of the trapezes, legs extening and retracting to give himself some momentum. "Unless I'm in a /lot/ of pain... or unonscious... I can keep a hold of an illusion rather well."

But Vorpal isn't really up there. He's down on the ground, invisible. He takes quiet, gentle steps to move in a circle around Nightwing, while he uses the applause from the croud to cover up for any sound he might make.

The illusion above looks down at Nightwing. "Do you want to see what else I can do?"

Dick Grayson has posed:
That was a quick move... with no sign of one of Terry's Rabbit Holes. He might be up there, or it could be another illusion. "Sneaky move." he admits. "I have no idea if that's really you or not at this point." He looks around the circus, then shakes his head, "I'm not getting anywhere this way."

He lowers himself into a guarded stance and closes his eyes, seemingly even not breathing as he tries to pinpoint his opponent by sound, air movement, or any other tiny hint he may get as to the Cat's true position. Blind fighting isn't an easy thing, but he's had training in it, so it seems his best option when he can't trust his eyes anyway.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Oh crap... now you're doing the Ninja Warrior thing," Vorpal says from above, echoing the worry on the ground-level Cheshire. "Okay... change of venue, then."

The circus is gone, just like that, and instead the room explodes with music and sound. If Nightwing were to open his eyes, he'd see a fully-appointed disco, complete with shining mirror ball, laser lights and a fog machine. The music is loud enough that it reverberates on the floor.

Up on the far end of the room, there is a raised stage with a quartet. Two of them are women, and they are doing the majority of the singing.

~People everywhere
A sense of expectation hangin' in the air
Givin' out a spark
Across the room your eyes are glowin' in the dark
And here we go again, we know the start, we know the end
Masters of the scene
We've done it all before and now we're back to get some more
You know what I mean~

The floor is jumping with dancers, but every single one of them is Vorpal. And every single one of them is wielding a glowing, purple flamingo-shaped mallet in the air like the world's most violent glow-stick. None of them are attacking, however, because that'd just be compeltely cheap.

And because Vorpal , hidden among his dancing illusory clones, wants to see Nigthwing's reaction to the change of venue.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Dick opens his eyes when the music starts pounding through the room, as he's not going to hear anything creeping up on him with this going on. Looking around at the dancers, he simply comments, "I kind of preferred the girls with the little flippy skirts from the movie, to be honest."

Ok, regular vision is out, sound is out. Terry is somewhere in the room, quite possibly closing on him at this very moment. Obviously, a new perspective is needed. The eyes of his mask flicker as that new perspective is tried... Do illusions have body heat? Cause Nightwing is going to thermal vision to try and suss Terry out of his army of dancing queens. Should he spot the Cat, another wingding flies for his chest.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Tactical Error: A crowded illusion room means that that wingding is harder to spot when the wingding goes and dings you while doing its thing. The impact connects, and Vorpal rolls away and coughs as the illusion crumbles around them.

As he gets back to his feet, the mallet reforms in his hand out of thin air, the other hand still rubbing his chest. "You know... it's a good thing you can't see bruises through fur," he says with a grin, a show of admission that Dick got him good.

Dick Grayson has posed:
"Shouldn't bruise all that much. Good to know thermal will pick you out. Also something for you to keep in mind for the future, some forms of vision will see through your illusions. I'd suggest if you're going to use the illusions, do it fast... Form the illusion, cloak yourself and hit fast before your opponent recovers from the sudden surprise of being in the middle of a disco. You hid yourself well at first, but gave me the time to figure how to counter you."

He waves you in, "Show me what you can do with your portals and combat, those may be one of your best tools. Being able to hit from any angle and get out again is a major advantage. Let's see how well you can work that advantage."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"I had a suspicion infra-red would give me away, but I hadn't had a chance to test it /yet/. I guess I should carry one of Nadia's EMP grenades with me in case I come across tech-heavy opponents..." the cat stretches and nods. "Yessir... combat coming up!"

A flare of chaos magic envelops the construct mallet, and the Cheshire says to it, "Uncle Nightwing wants a kiss!"

The mallet suddenly seems /very/ animated, its flamingo head turning to look at Nightwing and making strange, high-pitched bird noises. And then Vorpal throws the mallet at Nightwing. It flies, twirling through the air like a mallet would. The throw is also... pretty bad, it would miss Dick by a mile. Except that, as it curves away from him, it suddenly swings around to come at him from behind! This is just the opening salvo, however, as a Rabbit Hole opens to intercept the mallet, with it emerging from another direction, in an attempt at flanking Nighwing!

Dick Grayson has posed:
Nightwing nods his agreement, "Having contingencies is always good" as he splits his attention between Terry and the flying mallet. Judging the flight, and then the curve towards him and preparing to avoid it. When the Rabbit Hole opens, he throws the plan to the winds and simply tumbles to the side, coming to his feet a good six or seven feet from where he was.

Hopefully, this has avoided the sudden teleportation of the flying mallet, but he's still keeping his eyes peeled since Terry might just send it his way with another portal. He pulls his grapple gun from his belt and shoots it at the mallet, trying to tangle the thing up and bring it to the ground.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Vorpal is observing, watching Nightwing's reaction. As the grapple snags the mallet, Vorpal dismisses the construct, and summons another one in its place.

An anvil, right above Nightwing. It doesn't drop silently, but it falls with the typical cartoon whistle that announces its fall in the Road Runner cartoons- so that it is easy to avoid. As it falls, and once ducked, another one appears above where Dick ends up. It's a process of observing the Batling's reactions, just so that, at the third time, he will open a Rabbit Hole right to where he thinks Nightwing will jump.

If he is successful, the Rabbit Hole will drop Nightwing from the top of the gym, at two stories in height. Vorpal knows he has that grapple gun, after all, so he wouldn't be in any danger of actual harm... or even if he were, Vorpal would never let him fall to the ground. That's what Rabbit Holes are for. But he /is/ curious to see how Nightwing will deall with the sudden fall, if he is lucky enough to bag him through his hole. It's an opportunity to learn thinking-on-your-feet from a master.

Dick Grayson has posed:
Nightwing is skilled, no doubt, and doesn't dodge in the same direction twice in a row. Still, luck does factor into these things, and in this case, it falls in Terry's direction. Through the Rabbit Hole he goes, popping out at the top of the gym. As he starts to fall, he doesn't even resort to the grapple. He simply snags one of the sets of gymnastic rings as he drops to their level, swings from them to one of the ropes and slides down it to the floor with a smile.

"Now that's decent thinking. I know you've used them before to attack opponents from multiple angles, but moving your opponent is good also. I imagine you could use that in many ways, depending on the layout of the battlefield, as it were." He waves Terry over, not a 'attack again', but a 'come on over here' kind of wave. "I think that's enough for now. You've got a decent base, but I'd like to keep working with you."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
The Rabbit Hole closes and Vorpal trots over to Dick. "That was so cool- you were cool as a cucumber!" he says, eyes wide in awe. "And the form. Holy!"

When he's finally within arm's reach, he comes to a stop. "I know I need a lot of work in hand to hand, and I'd love to continue working on that with you but- any chance you could train me in acrobatics too? I mean, I've got a lot of it on the natural talent side, and I'm pretty good at parkouring, but your acrobatics are next level. I haven't seen anyone move like you except maybe Spider-Man... and he has powers."

He rubs the back of his neck, slowing down after realizing he had been speaking rather quickly, from excitement and adrenaline. "So... how raw overall am I? On a scale from 'get out' to 'I can work with this', I mean?"

Dick Grayson has posed:
He lets out a little chuckle, "You get used to it. I've probably been thrown off half the skyscrapers in Gotham, this little drop would barely be worth mentioning. I suppose I might be a little blase about the whole thing, but falling just tends to get my brain going 'what can I break my fall with' and not 'AHHHH!'." He shrugs a bit, "Plus I have various options."

He lets Terry wind down his excitement a little, then answers him truthfully, "You're pretty raw, but you've got some natural ability, and are willing to learn. Heck, you were willing to go to Harley to learn to fight better, that says you'll put the work in. We can work on both your fighting and acrobatics, considering you can often use acrobatics in combat. We'll also work on team tactics, so you can work effectively with the others.. I think I heard you were already working with Gar on that, yes?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Yessir. Gar to start with, but then I started working with Donna and Caitlin. Over the three months that we were lost in that pocket universe, I learned to work in tandem with them pretty well. In one planet, Donna was tearing a building apart while Cait was rushing soldiers, Vic was sabotaging and I was sucker-punching high priests with my Rabbit Holes." He chuckles at the memory. Then he realizes how bizarre it all sounds.

"Last couple of weeks, I helped Donna, Cait and Toni tackle Cassie's doppelganger, and last week Cait, Toni and I raided that church where we found those bizarre schematics. I can't wait to see what Nadia makes out of those..." he mutters.

And then he brightens up, "And then there was the time Nadia's doppelganger attacked us three weeks ago and we all got shrunken down, and we worked as a team to take her down. I twas like something from the Travels of Gulliver! Except... nowhere nearly as boring." Tangent time, "I know /now/ that Swift meant it all as commentary, but when you read it as a kid, you're expecting one thing and you get..."

He pauses, and looks at Dick. "Derailed. Sorry. Still have some adrenaline in me. And I didn't even get to show you my newest illusion!"

Dick Grayson has posed:
Nightwing smiles, "Good, sounds like you're a little more along than I thought. I didn't know you had that much team training under your belt already. Perfect then, we'll set up training sessions. To be honest, I'd like to drag a few of the less experienced Titans into them, maybe do it as a class or something, get everyone some experience fighting with their powers and seeing what their teammates can do in a training setting. We'll sit down and make some plans, maybe you could give me a hand and write up a list of the folks who don't have a lot of combat ability yet? I'd appreciate it."

As the tangent winds down, he laughs a little, "It's ok, tangents happen. And save the new illusion for next time, maybe you can catch me out with it. Just remember what I said about using them.. don't give the opponent time to figure the illusion out."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Vorpal nods, "I'll make a list of the greenest among us." He grins, "Except Gar. He's not green, even though he is. You know, I appreciate you checking in on me. Training is something that is supposed to happen regularly but schedules always get thrown off by... stuff. Crisis. People dying-but-not-really, that sort of things. I hadn't been in the team as Vorpal for more than two weeks when suddenly we were plunging inside Raven's soul-self, fighting demons under the glare of her enormous father while Donna tried to save Raven. And I hadn't had any training by that point."

He chuckles and rubs the back of his head, "Honestly, I have no idea how I haven't managed to die yet. Say..." he glances around, "You hungry? I'm curious on whether you have stories from the old days you can regale me with. I can bribe you with my mom's top-level tiramisu, there's still some left that Gar hasn't completely devoured. If you've got any embarrassing stories of Gar, I'll even throw in some chocolate brigadeiros!"

Dick Grayson has posed:
"Ah, I have _lots_ of embarrassing stories about Gar. The trouble is, he's also got them about me. So I'll have to think about that one. But sure. let's go grab some food and we can talk. I have a little time, I think."

He heads over toward the elevator, stopping to pick up the two wingdings he threw during the training, then waits for Terry to get in and heads to the main room of the Tower.