Why did she have to call it Whale Watching? That sounded interesting. Tobias Whale was by far the most boring wanna be kingpin Stephanie ever had the misfortune of 'knowing'
, and she had been a glorified assistant for someone who did most of his business behind a desk, and tortured – physically and mentally – for three days to the point of death by the previous Gotham Kingpin. So she knew a thing or two about sh*tty Gotham gangsters.
However, the Whale over there had spent the last three hours eating, and doing nothing remotely interesting at all. Her stake outs of her useless, washed up father were more interesting.
'Why don't you just… go home? Nothing is happening. He eats. You know where he holds up. That's probably more than Ozzie expected you know.'
Stephanie let out a low grumble of reluctant agreement, however she hadn't lowered the binoculars, still watching the gathering, taking in snippets of information as she read the lips of the mouths visible. Even in her time away, that skill stayed sharp.
Developed early in her life as a necessary survival skill, to know what her fathers 'friends' were talking about before she entered the house, it turned out that reading lips came in handy while on surveillance duties too.
"What we need to do is take out a bunch of the masks. Penguin just created a bunch more. Gotta level the playing field."
'...oh. Hey, that's pretty important. Glad you stayed for that.'
"Gun down any mask you see."
Having 'heard' enough, Spoiler made her leave, activating her cloaker to give her the added security, just on the off chance the Whale threw a security detail out while he was eating. She wasn't in the mood to check if this suit was bulletproof yet. Or really any time soon.
Getting back to the bike with no issues, aside from finding that her foot went to sleep while she was sitting there, she returned to the Lounge. Not wanting to deal with the numerous issues like walking through the crowds as Spoiler, Matches on the door and having the potential to pop in at any time, or wanting to change again today, or weaving through the patrons while cloaked, she wrote a note in the kitchen, and slipped it onto the plate bound for the bosses office. Watching it get taken out, she took her phone from the reorganised belts, her time on the roof spent doing something of use to her at least, and waited.
As the phone rang, Stephanie slipped from the kitchen back out to the alleyway, taking up a position in the loading dock.
"This isn't the most conventional, Spoiler."
"Nothing in Gotham is. Just a little news for the night. Found the Whale's dumpy base. All he does is eat and talk about his family. Did you know they were founding fathers of Gotham? Because he never shuts up about it. And he's planning on shooting up any masks he sees on sight. So keep any of your important friends off the streets, or whatever."
After a pause, in which the Penguin seemed to be mulling over the information dropped on him, the sound of a lighter flicking to life, he let out a soft chuckle.
"You work fast. Faster than I had hoped. You're counted as a mask too now you know."
"I figure that's what the cloaking is for. To get around being shot. And spotted by Bats."
Another chuckle, the cigarette holder clicking against his teeth.
"You found that out already, huh?"
Turning to look up in the direction of Penguin's office window, she smiled bitterly under the cowl.
"I'm pretty good at my job when given the chance."
Hanging up before Penguin could respond, she decided to head back 'home' for the night.
Going through the lobby of the hotel in the Spoiler suit wouldn't be the weirdest thing she's done. She could do it being cloaked too, if she wanted to. Get no attention.
'Note to self. Start leaving the balcony door open so you can come and go as you need to at night.'
Getting in, Stephanie didn't realise the emotional toll the day had taken on her until she sat down to start taking off her boots.
Struggling to fight the waves of exhaustion off for long enough to take the suit off, turning on the television to give her something to focus on. Fighting a losing battle, very quickly snoring away on the couch to the sounds of late night kaiju movies in the room that had become her home.
"Everything doesn't have to be about fear. There's room in our line of work for hope, too."
Waking to the sounds of her own groaning as she tried to shift, getting her foot, still in the boot wedged in the corner of the seat she untangled herself from what could have been a very disastrous situation. Flinging the boot across the room she rubbed at her eyes and sat up slowly, stretching out her back, trying to work out what time it was.
After a few bleary blinks, and a reluctant huff, wiping the crud from the corner of her still closed eye, she shifted her body to face the the television, hoping the Sunday news stream would give her a time soon.
"More arrests made across Gotham overnight in relation to the gang violence. At this rate, the GCPD–"
Stephanie turned out her eyes on the footage of the newest detainees being escorted into Blackgate, with Matches Malone –with his stupid sunglasses still on his stupid face some how – among them.
"No. Nonononono. You…"
'Take a breath.
"YOU STUPID SELFISH SON OF A BITCH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING TO ACCOMPLISH IN THERE?! DO–"
Lowering her voice to a hiss, she began pulling the suit back on, the time irrelevant.
"Odds are he hasn't told anyone sh*t about whatever the hell this plan is. They're going to come looking for him. And they'll find me. There is no 'Stop'. I need to go. I need to get ahead of this. I need to move, now."
For once, she didn't argue with herself.
Storming through the Iceberg Lounge, she wasn't surprised to see Penguin with his eyes narrowed at the television in his office, or Riddler in there, but to see Bane? That was new.
"Ah, Spoiler, my dear. I assume you saw this mornings news too."
Penguin waves her in. With a curt nod, she looked between them all, the motion hidden by the full face cowl, before taking up a seated position on the arm of the lounge in the office.
"I thought Matches was some sort of carer guy, real slick."
She throws out wearily, as Bane laughs.
"He thought he was slick. Until he started poking around about the Suicide Squad."
'Dad… why is Batman looking into that now? What is he doing?'
Realising that Crissy Brown should have sort of reaction to what was just said, she shakes her head.
"Exactly, we know nothing about anything around here."
Oswald, who clearly knew more than he was letting on, and trying to avoid parts of his business overlapping, he shook Bane's hand and ushered him out of the room, before turning back to Riddler and Spoiler.
"It's fortuitous the two of you are both here. I have a job that will require skills you both have, in dealing with the Whale, should my dinner with him later not go to plan. Be ready."
Stephanie sat in confused silence, while Eddie simply folded his arms, shaking his head slightly.
"You may go."
Seeing Riddler get to his feet, Steph waited, only for him to stand at the door and motion with his head to follow.
'Today cannot get any weirder…'
Yet, it did. Being lead to one of the balcony tables, he leant in, hands folded, trying to read anything through the black fabric.
"What did you notice, Spoiler?"
'Are we really gonna play these games right now?'
To answer herself, she ripped the cowl off to the side and sat it on the table between them, leaning back in her seat.
"Bane and maybe even Penguin had something to do with Matches getting arrested."
With a satisfied nod from Ed, Stephanie looked out over the quiet floor of the Club.
"Odds are some of Matches 'family' will come looking for him."
Riddler narrowed his eyes at her from behind his domino mask.
"What do you know about Malone?"
With a snort she scooped up her cowl again, just to have something to play with.
"What do YOU know about him is the more important question."
Leaning back in his seat, resting his arm on the railing, he mulled the question over for a moment.
"As far as I know, only the Cat and I know. And you now."
Grimacing at the fact that she was now one of the rogues, the 'New Rogues', Stephanie turned her attention to the voices now on the floor.
Spotting a dark haired male that went to the Matches Malone school of disguise – cheap suit, thin facial hair, tacky sunglasses indoors, toothpick – making small talk with Reggie, the same sort of small talk she tried to make when she was trying to get in, she was immediately on guard.
Getting to her feet as casually she she could, with Riddler watching her, and likely connecting dots on his own, she crammed the cowl back on her head.
"Here's hoping we don't have to do that job together."
Before speed walking to the end of the hallway and climbing out the window.
Subtle? No. Never. Not a word in Stephanie's vocabulary.
Setting up a perch across from the office, where it was likely Whatever The Frick His Name Was Going To Be was going to be led to, Steph sat, and waited.
She waited so long that Eddie came back into the office and they talked about some plans or something. Eddie just being curious.
She waited so long it got dark.
She was almost ready to give in, to say she was wrong when Reggie interrupted the conversation, and Steph caught movement in the corner of her eye. Catching the name Dinardo. He could wait. Ozzie could handle that for now.
Whipping her head to the movement her stomach dropped to see Robin. A very different suit to what she was useful, but she would know that profile anywhere. Hunkering down lower, the panic began to set in. They were too close. They weren't looking for her, but at this rate, they were going to find her. If it meant slowing the search for Batman… then so be it. Should teach him a lesson in telling people his plans.
'Shouldn't you have been a lesson in that?'
The little prod from herself was all it took to tail Robin once he began to move.
'He isn't watching his surroundings. He should have found you by now. Everyone is worried about Batman. Do you think they were like this about you?'
Hissing in response to herself, and activating the cloaker as Robin entered the Clock Tower, she cautiously followed, holding her breath, waiting for the security systems to be tripped.
'Huh. Either Penguin set you up for life, or they never bothered removing the biometrics of a dead girl from the system…'
As Stephanie stood behind Robin, back in the Clock Tower, she looked at the dim glow of the screens with images of the Penguin,the Whale, supers fighting, and Matches at the door of the Lounge. A picture of Johnny Denetto, Johnny Stitches.
'Oh god, they have footage. Nonono.'
She shifted, bumping one of the keyboards off the main system, causing a loud beep, Barbara's head whipping around. Panic set in.
"What? But I don't –"
Stephanie drove her fist into his face. And again.
"Hang in there Robin! I'm activating the self-defence system!"
'Nonononono, I'm sorry, not today…'
Swinging a leg around to disrupt the reaching for the console, she turned her attention back to Robin, not feeling the greatest about knocking Barbara to the ground.
"Ok, so you're invisible! Let's see how you do when you don't have the element of surprise on your side! Come on."
She almost laughed. Seeing Robin, seeing Tim of all people try to square up to something he couldn't see was, well, funny.
Jabbing him across the jaw, she simply stepped to the side as he took a wild swing to where he thought she would be. Jabbing again, she snagged the front of his tunic–
And saw stars, crumpling, stunned. That blow would about do it.If she wasn't so hard-headed.
"Looks like I got here just in time, huh kid?"
With his legs tangled in a heap with hers, the cloaker shorted out from the blow to the back of the head, Robin could see the assailant.
"Thanks, Wildcat. And is that… it can't be… Spoiler?!"