Onions: best served pan-seared with fresh liver
|Gave it another month, and it would now appear we were about to be off and running.|
Paired back days at the Library to Monday and Tuesday evenings with intention to shift to strictly daylight hours within six months. Figured the criminal element would be reeling after the first week she descended upon them. Wanted to give the underground a chance to recover from disruption while at the same time allowing us a strong vantage from which we might monitor their movements while they adjusted. Best way to become familiar with all the different personalities running amok in all the various back alleys and dark crevices, rats to upper management.
The plan was to strike fast, hard and without mercy.
Then monitor what came of each encounter. Measure the habits. Mark the routines. Note the variations in response.
We would build a database of dangers. Keep the worst of them in check and only intervene upon the anomalies ... the ones who went above and beyond ... the vengeful, the ones out for revenge. They were the biggest danger.
The understanding was one really couldn't rid the city of crime entirely. But by putting in place a certain "presence", one could almost manage its element. Keep it from getting too out of hand. Leave the city, the sick patient, as healthy as possible without allowing infarction or cardiac arrest - so to speak.
And with a little luck, things would get better over time. And all those denizens would remember ... dread the night once more.
Unfortunately and sadly, we'd already lost our control, lost the largest "presence" possible. And those shoes might possibly remain too large to fill.
Only time would tell, but ... meantime ... I'd the utmost confidence she would make one helluv'an impression.
Her transition from playful punk personality to stoic, severe and stern once she pulled herself into her suit was heart stopping. But as she explained, the suit - the symbol established by her predecessor - needed to be handled and worn with absolute, unwavering focus. She'd learned to stand firmly within the power manifested a long time ago. Especially when she'd stood beside ... him.
And I knew what that meant. It kinda scared me, but if she felt she could pull it off, more power to her. I would be there for her just as I had been ... all those years.
I only cautioned and made her promise she would try her best not to lose herself in it. That maligned impervious sense no harm could possibly befall the suit as long as the person within bore the symbol. Therein lay destruction ... with the false sense of invulnerability ... and I couldn't be a part of that ... again.
With great power came ... well ... one just shouldn't let that sense of control go to one's head. And we'll leave it at that.
What I did know ... was that the criminal element wouldn't know what hit them at first. THAT, and I should stock up on medical supplies.
Let's try and not dwell on it too much.
Yeah so ...
Biggest mistake I'd ever made was thinking she needed training. I'd never forget laying by the side of that path back in the woods in my ghillie suit. Waiting for her to jog by as she did pretty much every morning before readying to head into town.
No combat boots. She pushed out from the garage in a set of tights, jogger's bra and black trainers before 8:30 and came back around 9:20 or so. I would've thought she'd run about 3 to 4 miles daily. Which was excellent. I couldn't do it, and boy did I hate running. But I'd lain there, flat to the ground, for around 20 minutes when I heard her footfalls coming along the undergrowth.
I had been there on two occasions previously. Had patted myself on the back after she'd run by without taking notice. Prided myself on being "one helluva bush".
But on the day in question, she'd passed, by about 4 paces when I rose up intending to perform a takedown and teach a lesson, a practice with which I'd had good success at various times during someone else's youth. On this particular morning, however, I came up cat-quick, and I'd lunged as I had done so many times before.
Yeah so ... well ...
She pirouetted off path, to the right, whirled herself into the most graceful cartwheel I'd ever seen. The motion seemed so smooth, effortless. I caromed forward, suddenly unbalanced and unable to divert course ... and before I knew it, her legs wrapped around my neck, shoes locked behind my head. I'd stumbled clumsily, and the weight of her torso flung me forward. She planted her hands onto the path and basically catapulted me bodily through the shrubbery into the base of a large oak tree. I spanked the ground hard, bounced once, felt unbearable pressure and pain as an arm bar was instantly applied ... I was sure she would've snapped my arm had I not flung back my headpiece and pleaded my case.
She wasn't convinced I was me at first, and it took some convincing I truly meant her no harm, but I got to keep my arm, and we moved on from there.
The other great revelation we were ready came after realizing she couldn't just "get around" computers. She was absolutely brilliant with them. I'd given her a check list of concerns on a clip board the same afternoon we'd discussed her use of the garage apartment. She'd frowned at it, asked for the pass-codes for the servers.
I'd countered her request by inquiring which items were of interest.
She'd indicated the 3 at the top.
I withdrew a folder from my lapdrawer in the study and noticed her scowling at me from beneath a furrowed brow as she checked the phone she had in her back pocket.
"What?" I asked incredulous.
"That's just a little ... well people don't do that anymore."
"What ... take notes?"
"No ... use paper."
I scoffed, shook my head, read off the pass-code for the server in question.
"You might want to ..." I began, attempting to indicate she might use to laptop in the kitchen.
"Done." she said without moving.
"What??" I cocked an eyebrow in disbelief.
"Realigned the front gate sentry parameters. Reset motion sensors along the fencing along the east lawn. Rebuilt the entry protocol for the garage door beneath my place."
"What??" I stammered a second time.
She held up her phone.
"Like I said."
"Ok." I said in a huff.
"Could you digitize this list and email it to me? I can get the rest of this stuff done after I get back from work."
"Certainly." I said hesitating. Could I do that? Did I know how? Well I guess I had time to learn.
And then she asked about the thing in the garage.
I'd dutifully removed all impediments from the one bay beneath her apartment. Easily clearing plenty of space for her motorcycle. She'd pulled the trailer around the back just past the bottom of the stairs. But in the other space there was a tarp covering a piece of equipment.
She'd pointed at it. I'd shrugged. It was something; it was the last thing Bruce had been working on before ..."
She'd taken one look at the tarp, the two of us standing there perusing the state of the space made available, and said, "That's a bike."
"Nuh ..." was all I'd managed before she'd crossed the floor and yanked back the covering.
It was a smart little rocket, silver, rail thin, with slicks for tires, a diamond shaped headlamp, and a tiny, stunted windscreen between a narrow throttle, brake pairing.
She inhaled abruptly
"Weird." She'd said, squatting.
"How so?" I'd asked.
"No exhaust. A lot of power. No exhaust."
"Power? How do you ..."
She wandered around the opposite side, squatted down again. "Huh." she guttered flatly.
"What?" I came around, peeking cautiously.
"It's electric." she picked up an extension cord from the floor, offered it for my viewing pleasure, and pointed toward an outlet in the wall. "which means ..."
"It's quiet." I said flatly.
I'd grabbed the corner of the discarded tarp and thrown it to recover the machine.
"Need to leave this one alone." I'd said.
She stepped back, studying me.
"Yeah, I guess. Sure. Not my thing anyway." she agreed.
I caught her looking over her shoulder at the tarp after we'd backed her machine into its space, and we were closing the doors.
Since then - well you can probably guess how things have gone. Suffice it said, during the most recent nights the lights in her apartment haven't gone out until the wee hours of the morning.
But all the work as been done. All the necessary adjustments have been made. I took the liberty of adding a few new plates to her suit. Managed to fit her belt with a tracer. And I've proposed the use of a body cam. But we'll see if she actually warms to the idea, because the initial suggestion was met with a bit of resistance.
Tonight ... we have set conditional mission parameters for scouting areas regularly haunted by her predecessor. Simple observe and report.
We'll see how it goes.
But ... well ... I've allowed her use of the new bike. She made some modifications. Extended the diamond shaped headlamp to include a set of wings, and then painted the whole thing purple ... midnight purple with yellow pinstripes. Kind of like her suit. May not have started out "her thing", but it was "her thing" now.
Cowling optics improved to include new glare resistance, FLIR and nighttime directional HUD and mapping on request. T-minus 5 hours and counting.
She's ready. Batgirl.