8298/EROTEME: Lore

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Date of Scene: 22 October 2021
Location: Gotham Hall of Records, Cathedral Square - Founders Island
Synopsis: The Bat-Family take on the Riddler's Hall of Death Traps!
Cast of Characters: Bruce Wayne, Harley Quinn, Harper Row, Tim Drake, Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe, M'gann M'orzz
Cast of NPCs: Edward Nygma, Jim Gordon
Tinyplot: Eroteme

Bruce Wayne has posed:
The Gotham City Hall of Records is a larger but less ostentatious building not far from the rebuilt City Hall in Cathedral Square, situated on the expensive and southernmost island of Riker Heights. Unlike most Bat-Family situations, they aren't the first ones on the scene here. A police barricade has been set up around the building, and a number of uniformed officers go about their business. The building itself is locked down, with garish green spray paint forming question marks across its Neo-Romanesque Edifice.

It's an invitation for the Bat-Family if ever there was one.

Even the police know it, holding back from storming the building. Not out of courtesy, but because they're aware that thirty-five city employees are being held hostage inside. The police give a wide berth to Commissioner Gordon, who is standing next to one of the squad cars in conversation with a tall, dark shape ... the Batman himself. His cowl-cam relays the discussion to the other Batlings present.

" - bomb squad confirms he's rigged the whole place to blow," Gordon growls, cleaning his rain-specked glasses with his shirtsleeve, "There's still people in there ... "

"It's the Riddler," Batman's grave voice can be heard, "He wants to play a game. That gives us time."

Harley Quinn has posed:
Harley has picked up the gist of the thing on the birds of prey comms. She's a member now! Almost unbelievable, indeed. And the clownette can barely believe it too! But how the world changes ... From clown princess of crime to a do-gooder! Well, semi do-gooder. Let's not get too ahead of ourselves. And just like she learned from her pal Red Hood as long as you don't shoot them above the knees it's all fine.

So armed with her wholesome self, a little bag with a few little tricks and lots of attitude she comes walking down the road to where the group is gathered. Or in this case Batman and the Commissioner. And of course she is stopped by cops guarding the perimeter. To whom she shows a card. "I have got my pass heah! Batwoman gave it to me! I am an official birdie now!"

That's not how things work, Harley.

But then she waves over to call the commissioner and Batman's attention, bright and wide (broken) smile on her lips. "I am heah to help! If it's the Riddlah you gonna want me. I am twisted like him!" there might be some truth there...

Harper Row has posed:
Harper was on her way to the bus stop from work when her /other/ phone indicated an incoming signal. Descretely checking it she is surprised to find that the Outsiders phone has been overridden by a Bat-symbol though which she's seeing - and quickly hearing on her bluetooth earphone - Batman's interaction with the police commissioner with a marquee scroll reading "Bluebird. Suit up and get in position."

Quickly diverting from her original path, Harper finds an unobserved public restroom to slip into and change into her costume. Slinging her bag - converted into a pack that nestles into the lumbar region of her back - and her gun across her upper back, she sneaks out and finds her way to an alley near City Hall. As she takes up a position where she can look out from the shadows across the police lines, Harper says, "Bluebird in position," into the comm counting on the likelyhood that if Batman has overridden its functionality that he'll receive the reply though it also.

Tim Drake has posed:
    Unlike Batman, Red Robin isn't on the scene. He's just... adjacent to the scene, waiting in reserves, perched on his bike as he huddles in some shadowed alley elsewhere that gives him another angle on the active crime scene. Naturally, he's listening in on comms, and has alerted the Dark Knight and any other associates of his willingness to assist. But as for the moment he's defaulting to not making his presence known to the GCPD or, potentially, any surveillance equipment the Riddler might have tapped into or set up.

    There's a joke in there somewhere about birds in hands versus bushes, with Bluebird's appearance on-site, but Tim holds it back for now.

    He busies himself with reviewing blueprints of the Hall of Records on his HUD and snooping through the city's personnel database to get a sense of who might be held hostage inside, as well as any information from their records he might be able to leverage should such a thing prove necessary. That's Red Robin for you, though. Always doing his homework.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
    Misfit is one of the batlings present, if by present you mean sitting on one of the outcropping of St. Jude's Cathedral and watching everything through the HUD in her goggles. She kicks her feet as they dangle over the dizzying drop to the square below and lets out a sigh.

     <'I can't teleport people out of the city hall or take passengers through any death traps.'> it is a useful reminder. Better that no one is counting for her to cheat them in or out of any tight pinches. Only Oracle and Batman really have the full details why she can't do it. It is for very good reason though.

     <'Is that Harley?'> she genuinely sounds surprised, then looks up at the giant green spray painted question mark o the City Hall of Records <'Also how does the Riddler get the paint up with no witnesses every time?'>

M'gann M'orzz has posed:
Standing not far from the Batman is another figure clad in black. Though by Bat Family standards the disguise is fairly simple and nigh cobbled together. The raven haired young woman is wearing a black domino mask with what looks like a long black scarf wrapped around the lower part of her face and a black body suit. Anyone who attended Bruce Wayne's birthday party might notice a strong resemblance to the young woman whose invitation read 'Nina Knight'.

She waits patiently while Batman and the commissioner talk and once the Dark Knight is ready falls into step behind him like a sidekick or trainee might.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
"Batman - !" Gordon opens his mouth in protest, turning to look at Harley as his hand moves towards his sidearm at his hip. Several of the other officers follow suit, though the Dark Knight simply remains still and staring at the clown.

" ... Harley ... " the Bat seems to give this some deep thought before he looks towards Gordon. Unspoken words prompt him to call off the nearby patrolmen, who frown and move back to their posts. Whatever gears are turning in Batman's head, he doesn't let on about the details.

"Agreed," he practically growls, turning away and marching up the stairs towards the main entrance. Once he arrives, he lifts a boot to viciously kick the door (marked by a gigantic, neon green question mark) open. He waits for the rest of the group to gather before leading the way inside.

The lobby of the Hall of Records is deserted. No armed guards, though the Riddler has been prolific with his graffiti as usual. The old CRT televisions that usually play local television for those waiting show only static for a moment before they hiss to light, producing footage of the Riddler sitting in an overstuffed leather chair in an office. He holds a silvery microphone in one hand, causing his voice to echo out of speakers throughout the building.

"Cast a strange net, catch a strange catch," he muses, leaning forward to peer as though he can see out of the television screen, "The Dimwit Detective, of course, and the gritty reboot of his Boy Wonder. But who are these others? The delectable Harley Quinn - turning over a new leaf and playing nice for a change. Boring! And the bouncing baby Misfit - now, young lady, if I catch you cheating ... "

The maniac on the screen holds up a cobbled-together remote control with a glowing red button.

"You've seen enough Saturday morning cartoons to know this makes everything go boom. Ahem - here we are, won't this be fun? But if you cheat - the game is done."

The last word is said with incredible menace, the Riddler seeming almost desperate for them to break the unspoken rules and give him an excuse.

"And you," he says of Harper and 'Nina Knight', eyes narrowed, "Don't know you. I hope the Caped Dullard hasn't bought you in as ringers. Not that you look like there's much fluttering about between the ears. I'll make it simple for you. There're some puzzles through that door. If you solve them, you can have your next clue and I'll even turn myself in. If you don't, I turn this whole place to rubble along with these lovely city employees."

He turns the camera around to show a group of civilians huddled and terrified at the other end of the office. As he does, a pair of double doors swing open on their own leading down a long hallway beneath the main staircase.

"Your time starts now."

Harley Quinn has posed:
At being accepted to go along with the rest there's another beam of a smile and she prances along, up the stairs and towards the main entrance, watching the rest of the flock join in. "I should get myself a mask too one o' these days.." she comments. Because noone would ever recognize those pigtails in various colors. Noone!

Her attention quickly shifts to the monitor as Q comes into sight, she finger-wiggling at him, almost as if they were old friends (maybe they are!) but then gasps at being called boring.

"Q-baby, you break my heart with those words. I thought you weah gonna turn a new leaf too! But heah you awhe, still green, still Q..." a sigh.

"I hope ya explain what ya call cheatin'! I mean, I don't wanna get told I am cheatin' because I didn't spin thrice in some kind of silly game, eh?"

Yet even with all her questions she is making her way to that hallway. Fearless! "You know Batsie.." she talks in a lower tone. "If on the first time I am actually helpin' we all explode and die it'd sorta be awkward.."

Harper Row has posed:
New to the scene she may be, but Bluebird isn't incapable of following directions. When the marquee-style message changed to say "Put away the phone. Follow my lead," she slides the device into a pocket, still on and connected for audio messages and into the building she follows... taking a moment to look over in Red Robin's direction as the group forms behind their leader.

Then there's the Riddler and she remains quiet. There's the threats and she remains quiet. And then... he addresses her and she shows what hopefully is some smarts and she remains quiet.

("Oh my... that's the /Riddler/," Harper thinks to herself. "Not just facing petty criminals now, missy.")

Tim Drake has posed:
    It's movement from the Batman that prompts Red Robin to do so in kind, only the soft hiss of a grapple gun air cartridge and the flutter of cape preceding his arrival a few steps behind the Dark Knight as he prowls towards the door. Red Robin does not visibly acknowledge the presence of the other vigilantes summoned to the scene, but behind the opaque lenses of his domino mask, he's peering at them through his peripherals. Nothing but grim determination shows on his face, though.

    His head begins to subtly turn this way and that as they make their entrance, or rather, Batman's boot makes their entrance, and then they all walk in behind him. But Tim is not so staid that he can resist the urge to let out a puff of breath that's just barely a sigh, to accompany the roll of his eyes, unseen behind his mask, when the Riddler appears on the television screens.

    "He's in a mood," Red Robin mutters for those nearby as Nygma starts up with the insults. And while Tim would very much like to point out that if anyone's a gritty reboot of Robin it's *definitely* Red Hood, but... well, time and a place. He lets a few cracks show through his Bat-professionalism when he's with the Outsiders. With Batman himself present, Tim bites the inside of his cheek and says little. Though he does allow a "Generally 'don't touch anything' is the rule I follow with the Riddler," in Harley's direction, whose presence he has very little reaction to otherwise, which in and of itself is probably some sort of approval in his own way.

    Well, off they go, then. When happenstance has Red Robin and Bluebird looking in each other's directions, he nods at her.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
     <'Showtime.'> because Batman decides it is go time she shifts her weight sliding off the edge of the cathedral and going into free fall. Of course the moment after she does this she vanishes with a slash of pink and purple smoke and appears with a thump of her boots hitting the ground from another slash of smoke off behind Harper and Harley. She follows the group into the lobby glancing around as she does. An especially long look at Nina Knight. I mean, she has to be okay if Batman is okay with her, but she has her own riddler sized question mark right now about the addition. Harley gets a look "Hey Harley." and a nod to Blue Bird "BB" not even giving the full callsign since Riddler doesn't know her or the mystery companion.

    Her eyes roll behind her goggles, she would take being called a bouncing baby harder if the Riddler hadn't called Batman a dimwit. "I won't cheat Nygma." her tone is sullen though. Villains willing to blow up hostages really does crimp her style. "No exploding and dying on mission Harley!" she follows to the hallway though.

M'gann M'orzz has posed:
Inside of the lobby, the black clad young woman following in Batman's wake pauses to take in the scenery and continuing presence of the grafitti, eyes going this way and that in an attempt to take in every aspect of the interior environment.

She look up at when Riddler's image appears on the various television screens. 'Nina Knight's' head tilts slightly to one side when she is addressed, but she doesn't say anything in response to his taunts. Instead her eyes move towards the door where it is said that the puzzles await and then back to the Batman before following on.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
The hallway itself is dimly lit. City Hall puts precious little towards the budget of maintaining the place, and the water damage from the No Man's Land floods can still be seen on the walls in some places. Above, the bare-bulb lighting fixtures flicker as the hallway leads the way down into the bowels of the building. Batman pauses, turning to the group and stopping them so he can speak.

"The Riddler plays games," he tells them, this much already obvious, "There's nothing he wants more than to prove his intellect is unmatched. To an extent, you need to play along. But give him enough rope to hang himself. If you solve his riddles, he'll lose his cool. He'll get distracted. We can work with that. I can work with that."

A glance is given to the gathered crew: "I'm going to get an angle on Riddler. Find out what exactly he hopes to get out of this. You follow the path he's laid out - keep him distracted."

In response to Harley's question, he pauses a moment: "If that happens, none of us will be around to feel awkward about it. Don't mess up."

That said, the Bat crouches and tears a steel grating from the wall as though it were cardboard. A moment later he disappears into the air ducts silently.

Ahead of the group, there is a T-intersection in the hallway. One passage goes left, and the other right. A television has been mounted on a pedestal, and two neon-green arrows painted to point in either direction. The lights are off, leaving each direction cloaked in darkness. Night vision reveals precious little of what lies either way.

The Riddler appears on the television, sporting his sick grin: "What is seen in the middle of March and April that can't be seen at the beginning or end of either month?"

Then it clicks off.

Harley Quinn has posed:
"Hey theah..." This said to Misfit, Harley then squinting her eyes, "Don't I know ya from that giant hamstah thing...?" she then tipping a couple of fingers against her forehead in greeting to the rest of the 'gang' present. "Well, I am not suwah about you Misfit, but aftah survivin' some tentacle menace from anotha dimension I am pretty much sure I got plot armoouh or somethin'!"

That's not how the world works Harley! But there might be a chance she is simply teasing. Specially since she winks in the end. At least she is keeping an upbeat attitude towards this.

Yet as they get into the hallway and Batman turns to talk she nods, "Classic narcissist." she says in agreement to Batman.

"What is this? Doin' some kinda wordplay?" Hands rest on her hips, "Well, considerin' how ya worded the thing I am gonna say ya tryin' ta be cheeky and gonna go with this bein' r, or in this case that we need ta go right!" she tells the rest of the gang.

Harper Row has posed:
"Eighteenth letter in the alphabet and stereotypically a pirate's favorite filler word," Bluebird states in synch with Harley as she unslings her gun in a very un-Bat-family fashion.

She looks at Harley as they answer at the same time and then glance at the camera then at the others in the group with a they're not all going to be this easy type expression that can be seen on her features not concealed by her birdwing-shaped mask.

Tim Drake has posed:
    They're walking into a trap, and Red Robin suspects every single one of them knows it, to some degree. Just another day (night) in Gotham. His expression remains placid, for the time being. Maybe even a little bit bored.

    That might just be for the Riddler's benefit. Or, uh, opposite of benefit. Red Robin is purposefully giving off the vibe that he's not all that impressed, because that's the easiest way to piss off a narcissist.

    It isn't until Batman has vanished up into a vent that some of Tim's actual personality shows, with a quick snap and finger-gun aimed up at the hole in the ceiling. "Laterz," he says, extra emphasis on the Z at the end. Then he heads forward, into the dark.

    Naturally, his domino mask switches over to night vision. Even if it doesn't help much in the way of clues, best not to accidentally stumble over a trip-wire or something. You never know with Nygma. "He's fond of those," Red Robin points out, nodding in agreement to the solutions already put forth. "Orthography-based riddles, I mean."

    If there are no general objections from the group, he's ready to proceed right-wards.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
    "Yup, not Batgirl, names Misfit. That Green Hamster was a trip." is the response to Harley as they advance. "Speaking as someone with Plot Armor.. it is a bit risky and can still hurt a good deal in the process of being shot or blown up." she is probably maybe likely kidding or just leaning into Harley's commentary.

    As the concensus seems to come down with the rightward path, Misfit gives a teenager style shrug. "That sounds clever to me." because she genuinely has no better answer and the R is in the middle and not the ends so well. It makes sense right. Right. Guess they will find out.

M'gann M'orzz has posed:
'Nina Knight' nods slightly as Batman gives the orders before disappearing into the ventillation ducts. Apparently this phase of on the job training will not be supervised, or will it? Either way the results will speak for themselves since collective failure means a fiery inferno.

Once the Dark Knight has gone, the black clad young woman looks to the others as they move forward and finally introduces herself because not having a name would just make coordination awkward. "You can call me Raptor."

The codename has barely been offered when the screen at the T-intersection offers them another riddle. Perhaps not her forte or maybe she just isn't used to enemies that speak in riddles rather than punching yet. Regardless, she remains quiet while Harley and Blue Bird come up with the Riddle's answer.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
As the group turn right, they find the hallway bereft of death traps or explosives. There's no celebratory sound or alert to prove they got it right, either. The Riddler is not one to celebrate the successes of others, after all.

The corridor is lined with doors, each leading ... somewhere. All painted a different color in a haphazard way, as though someone took to them with a broad brush and a tin of housepaint. Green, red, blue, white, yellow, and black. As the hallway illuminates, the Riddler's voice once again crackles over the speakers.

"First, think of the color of the clouds. Next, think of the color of snow. Now, think of the color of a bright full moon. Now answer quickly what do cows drink?"

As the words finished, a timer noisily clicks to live on the wall at the end of the corridor. Counting down five seconds. Four. Three ...

Harley Quinn has posed:
"Misfit..? Misfit?! What happened to everyone bein' named like some kind of aerial creature!" And then Harley opens her hands towards Nina when she introduces herself, almost as if she was presenting evidence. "See? Raptor! Good to meet ya, ya a bird o' prey too?" she asks 'Raptor'.

As they then get to the riddle itself, and Bluebird speaks up at the same time she does she grins widely at the young woman, "Yaaarrrrrr!" letting out her best piratey impersonation. And it was time to go RIGHT!

She wanders in with the rest, her eyes going to the various doors, then her brow arching, "Heh..? Beer?"

No, that's what you get your hyenas to drink, Harley! Yet she doesn't seem to be the one that's going to be getting this one right. "It must be the color we need ta open!" she suggests.

Harper Row has posed:
Following Red Robin's lead, Bluebird follows along to the right. And then there's Harley's celebration of their common answer.

Harper tosses out a quick, "She's the exception that proves the rule," to answer the vibrant former(?) villainess' question about Misfit. Then, after the riddle is stated and the beer comment is made she counters with, "Cows drink water," without a thought about calves drinking milk.

Tim Drake has posed:
    There's something to be said for research--well, a lot to be said about it, if you ask an irrepressible nerd like Tim Drake--so Red Robin has a wealth of knowledge about the internal logic of riddles that his mind is cycling through as they progress forward. Probably no one is interested in hearing about the differences between the various types of riddles, or their history, but what *is* useful in the moment is the standardized formats that many adhere to.

    In this instance, what Red Robin calls to mind are the riddles that purposefully deceive you with their wording.

    "Right," is all Red Robin says with a heavy sigh (really playing it up for the cameras, which Tim suspects they're being watched through) and then he steps forward. With little fanfare, he puts his hand on the knob of the blue door and pushes it open, somehow broadcasting his absolute lack of enthusiasm for another riddle solved as he does so.

    He really hopes that's making Nygma mad. "Ladies," he says politely as he holds the door open for the rest of the group.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
    There are more teenage eye rolls behind her goggles when Harley makes a thing about her codename. "I figure you of everyone would appreciate someone going by Misfit." is shot back to Harley then hooks a gloved thumb to Blue Bird at her defense.

    The next riddle is ... a thing. "All I can think of is cheese and the cow jumping over the moon now." eyes widening in alarm. She looks at the doors with their five colors. "Uh. Water is blue right.. or is it clear... I mean.. uhm snow and the moon and clouds are white.. but cows don't drink milk."

    "So .. blue or white.. wait.. baby cows drink milk...." she trails off when Robin moves to open the Blue door. "Welp.. here goes.. and I did say water was blue..." she quickly hustles through the Blue door. "Gosh I hope I don't blow up..."

M'gann M'orzz has posed:
All those images of white things had Raptor looking at the white door, does she even know what cows drink? Neither Mars of Zythel had cows and it's not something that ever really came up in her few years on Earth, yet most Earth lifeforms seem to drink water so there is a nod and look of dawning recognition when Blue Bird mentions water. Of course, that makes sense.

Once they are off the death clock she turns to answer Harley's question, "I am not. Or at least not yet." She's at least heard of them, maybe she'll be one in the future. "Batman is training me." Maybe she just didn't like the Robin look.

With the riddle (hopefully) solved, guard up, she walks through the door help open by Red Robin.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
The blue door opens when Tim pushes it, and the group are able to quickly pour into a cramped and windowless room at the top of a stairwell. Outside, there's a rush of heat as a gout of flame washes down the hallway once the timer reaches zero. By whatever logic the Riddler has in mind, blue was the correct answer - or at least it appears to be.

The stairs lead further downward, into a concrete bunker of sorts beneath the Hall of Records. Native Gothamites would know this whole area was completely flooded during No Man's Land, but the water was pumped out by expensive infrastructure projects funded by Wayne Enterprises. All the same, it still maintains an uncomfortably chilly and damp atmosphere.

"You're lucky I wasn't thinking of baby cows, Boy Blunder," the Riddler sneers over the speaker, barely able to contain his indignation, "And I was looking forward to torching you and your little friends."

A sigh, before he continues: "Ah, well, c'est la vie. Riddle me this - what comes once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?"

At the base of the stairs, they're faced with the Archives. Seemingly endless rows of clunky, wooden filing cabinets dating back to the turn of the last century. Each emblazoned with a gilded letter.

"And, a double special for you, what always ends everything? Oh, and let's make it fun. If you don't get it in ... three minutes, I shoot a hostage. Ta ta!"

Harley Quinn has posed:
As they pile into that entrance quickly once Tim opens the way Harley looks behind her, eyes wide. "Eeeee!" then speaking a bit louder, "I would be very cross with ya if I got burnings on my clothes, Q-baby!" then delivering a brief hipbump at Tim, "Good job, Robin!"

Yet there are some talkings that are important to her, so she looks towards Misfit. "And oh, you mistook my interest! I thought Batsie had you all militarized inta bein' a unit o' birdies. That means theah's hope foh me! And this totally means we will have ta hook up sometime because I wanna know all about that choice!"

But then Q has to appear again with another riddle. Harley furrows her brows and lifts her shoulders in a shrug, answering the Riddler, "You after I give ya access ta my OnlyFans?" Oh my! But yea, she's not being particularly helpful on these last couple riddles!

"Or awhe ya playin' with words again tryin' ta be clevah, mmm?" she winking up at the speaker. "Maybe somethin' close ta the first riddle.."

M'gann M'orzz has posed:
Raptor visibly flinches and stiffens at the sight of the flame in the hallway behind them. It is the kind of tell Batman would frown upon, but she apparently /really/ doesn't like fire. "This seems almost too easy, especially for such a long time limit." Raptor comments looking at the archives. "Unless, I'm completely wrong, it seems to be 'M' and 'G'." She looks at the others before walking over to where the 'M' Archive is. "Maybe we need to open them both at the same time? Or maybe he's deliterately trying to get us to overthink it."

Damned mind games, this would be so much easier with telepathy, but then that's kind of the point of her training to gain more skills and not be so reliant on her powers.

Harper Row has posed:
Like 'Raptor', Bluebird had a glance in the direction of the white door but when Red Robin is so certain she follows along and on hearing this next clue she laughs and says, "Oh, M and G!" in a way answering the question and also digging at the asker with current slang.

Then, as if realizing that she's just snarked off at a major supervillain she very faintly blushes, nodding at 'Raptor' giving the same answer and her comment about the ease of the riddles.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
    Misfit laughs when Harley hipbumps Tim there. "Oh, I started in the birds, so maybe that was why it wasn't bird themed..." she trails off. "You know that doesnt' make sense. You would think that being in the birds would increase the likelihood of being bird named." she is just musing on that as she heads down the steps.

    "I was considering Shrike as a name. Did you know they impale mice on thorns and keep a larder for later?" honestly someone might want to ask Charlie if she is okay sometime. She seems pretty damn chipper, though not the quietest. "Just wild. Sure we can hookup and chat."

    Then there is another riddle. "Well.... I agree with Raptor honestly. Though I think I overthink all of these. I mean yes, if I was the supervillian it would have been the white door because of babycows... where is the trick here.. is there a trick. There hasn't been a trick yet." she snorts a laugh at the OMG line from Bluebird. "Nice."

    Misfit walks over to the cabinet M'gann, aka Raptor picked. She agrees with the call and then calls over. "Uh.. on the count of three?" and then rattles off the count down so they open the two cabinets together. "...Please don't blow up"

Tim Drake has posed:
    "The technical term for a baby cow is a calf," comes Red Robin's snark, the universal trait of all previous and current Boy Wonders. He makes sure the door gets slammed shut after everyone has entered, before the fire spills in after them. Then he nods once at Harley. The way his cheek and forehead pinch slighty suggests he might have winked at her, behind his mask.

    He sniffs at the air, like he might be able to get a hint of the mold and mildew left behind after the flood-waters receded. As the next riddle comes along, all Red Robin adds is a pointed "Orthography," calling back to a previous statement.

    The other two birds get there all on their own, though, and from the back, Red Robin nods. And maybe snorts a little at Bluebird's joke.

    Then he coughs, sightly, when Misfit drops the suggested 'Shrike' codename. "That's a good one," he agrees. "I'd like to see someone manage to pull off Goose, though. They're the real troublemakers of the avian kingdom."

    No, he is not planning on changing his codename to Goose.

Bruce Wayne has posed:
As the two cabinets are pulled out, there's an audible and metallic thud from the other end of the archives. An old, steel vault that looks like it may have been installed when the building itself was first constructed. The heavy door swings open with a loud shriek of unoiled metal, revealing two green envelopes inside. But what's more, the hostages are all there as well. Tied up, blindfolded and with their mouths gagged. Not in the officer with Riddler at all.

<It's a trick,> Batman's voice growls over the communicator, <The director's office is empty. The hostages aren't here and neither is Nygma.>

The two green envelopes, each marked with a neatly calligraphed question mark, sit alongside the very same detonator the Riddler was holding in his video.

"I hate to love you and leave you," the Riddler's voice hisses over the speakers once more, "But the game's far from over and I'm not ready to give up just yet. But I won't leave you empty handed! No, your prize is in those envelopes. Solve the riddles, and you won't have to worry about a thousand Gothamites tearing each other to shreds. Oh, and here's a tasty little tip to let you know what you're up against - I was crucified to keep murders from the maze. What am I?"

There's a hiss of static, and then the voice goes silent. The Bats are alone.

Harper Row has posed:
The riddle clicks for Harper, what with all her research into Batman and his allies and enemies. It causes her to stiffen as she says, "Scarecrow. Ravens and corn." She shakes her head and turns to look at Red Robin as she asks, "The two of them wouldn't be teaming up would they?"

Harley Quinn has posed:
Harley purses her lips together and her eyes light up. "Oooh, Shrike! Nasty, vicious creatures. I love 'em! And cool, we're on then! At the bird perch or somethin', I will bring the beeahs and ..." pause, "You old enough to drink, right?" she can never tell with all the disguises and armors that make everyone look so buff and stylish!

Bluebird's answer makes Harley to start tittering, "Ooo, nice snark. I can imagine Q-baby twistin' on his chaeh.." she grinning and looking at the door as it's opened up with the right answers. She twists her nose to the side at these last riddles, and the envelopes. "Thousand Gothamites tearing each other to shreds..? Yea..." she looking at Bluebird again, "Sounds typical Scarecrow.."

She picks up one of the envelopes and looks at the others before starting to open up the envelope to see what's in there! Completely forgetting that rule of not touching anything!

But rules were meant to be broken.

Tim Drake has posed:
    Behind Harley's back, Red Robin's head twists to the side, dubiously, at the offer of alcohol. He opens his mouth, probably to object, but then... well.

    He decides not to. He's not Misfit's dad!

    Instead he acknowledges Batman's communication with a "<Copy,>" and then, to the others, a muttered "Typical Nygma." Then he steps forward to scan his eyes across the hostages. His chest puffs slightly and his tone of voice slips into something slightly more authoritative (and much less sarcastic) than his normal: "Is everyone alright? Don't panic, the situation is under control now. If you're not injured, please stay where you are so we can help anyone who needs medical attention first."

    The mention of Scarecrow has Red Robin tensing, though it's subtle. Right now, his focus is on the hostages, not the envelopes. He looks over as Harley approaches them, but apparently he considers the danger over now as his focus switches to triage, instead, speaking quietly into his communicator to start arranging things to get the hostages taken care of and evacuated.

Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe has posed:
    "I.. should probably not have a beer." she admits with amusement. The armor and goggles doing their job pretty darn well there. "Still bird perch it is."

    "Ugn... I hope Scarecrow and Riddler aren't teaming up. It definitely sounds like it though. I mean thousands of Gothamites tearing each other to shreds sounds like something Crane would do." she pauses blinking behind her goggles.

    "Okay can someone explain to me why Crane and Crow.. like why is his last name Crane but he named himself Scarecrow.. has anyone ever asked him?" because it is clear Charlie will totally be asking him next time she runs into him. If she isn't under fear toxin and freaking out.

    Over the comms adding to Red Robin's copy <'Hostages are here, Riddler bugged out, two clues and a riddle left.'> she pipes her goggles cam to the feed and gives a slow scan of the vault, hostages, and envelopes.

    Speaking of, she walks over and studies them both. Honestly she is waiting until the hostages are sorted before touching them, or until someone says to. It could be another trap of some sort.

M'gann M'orzz has posed:
Raptor straightens up as the vault opens and the communicator crackles to life with Batman's voice in her ear. Of course it was a trick, she thinks to herself. Everything with this guy seems to be a trick. <Understood. We have the hostages and the trigger down here, along with a final riddle.> She replays back through the comms.

The second envelope is left for the time being as she moves instead to help Red Robin tend to the hostages, a bit of her inner gentle nature showing through as she moves about removing restraints and consoling the frightened. "Shhh it's going be okay, we're going to get you out of here."

Bruce Wayne has posed:
Each envelope contains a simple white card, with neat handwriting in pen. The first reads:

'A man runs away from home. He turns left, and keeps running. After some time he turns left again and keeps running. He later turns left once more and runs back home. Who was the man in the mask?'

The second envelope asks:

'If you're running a race, and you pass the person in second, what place are you in?'

Strange questions, but then that's the Riddler.

Another pair of clues, pointing to yet more clues ...