There was surprisingly little fuss as the group left the building. Jenny clocked herself out early, calling a replacement from personnel. Charlie was off-duty. Renee and Harvey had four minutes left of their shift- they had made those minutes up many times over. Kori was leaving the building, as per orders. Kemosabe and Alex had finished their station reports. Raven was known in the department, and often visited officers. Gar was known for being a bit green, and he was with Raven. Vic and Mare had been in earlier to get final facts before court trials. Nightwing was a little more conspicuous, but at least no one clamored for an autograph.
Her apartment was easy enough to walk to, but Mare and Harv drove their patrol cars, just to have them. Her doorman had been through the best of training. He didn't even blink to hold the door for eight uniformed cops, a stranger with purple hair, a stranger with green skin, a known superhero, and the resident of the apartment. All he did was wish them a good afternoon.
Jenny didn't bother to play hostess. Instead, she addressed the gathered group the instant the door was closed. "If at all possible, I'd rather not have the world know about this. Secret identities are better left secret. I have most of my info through a tracer on a network I know Slade uses- extremely discreet. I had an extra tracer that I was going to put in the police radio, but I knew most things before police had a hint. I threw it out. Somebody salvaged it from the trash and put the casing back together- I disabled it, but someone still tried."
Charlie nodded, just once. "That would be Kaitlin. I didn't think she was up to it. Still, she and Adam are more than up to digging through trash."
"I did send in anonymous tip reports whenever something the police would like came up- like the Nylon robber, or the whole business with the department store clown." The senior police officers nodded. Vic, Raven, and Gar were confused.
Renee looked up from her notepad, where she had been scribbling something out. "Here's the deal. Morrigan dies in tragic spree gone wrong- staged, so no worries. The station is sad to lose a dedicated crime fighter, regardless of dubious methods, and an ally in justice. That sounds just cheesy enough to fly in the papers. I'll talk to Chief. He's probably guessed, knowing him. After that- it's up to you. Fixate on a new villain and use more legal methods, and move out of Gotham. We have a resident all-purpose vigilante, and he doesn't share prowling grounds."
"Shouldn't we beat Slade first?" Jenny asked. She looked the same as always, but a person looking for it could find hard edges in her eyes.
"Good point. He's tricky. An old . . ." Nightwing paused. The issue was still volatile, even after small resolutions. "Acquaintance," he decided, "dunked him in lava. He still wasn't gone, and came back swinging." Yet another issue- he had never forgotten that night Raven stopped time. She had unfrozen him to save him from impending death, and because he knew Slade more than he wanted to. He understood, in the way old veterans of heavy combat know the terrors of gunfire and smoke and blood.
"I know how we can get him when he isn't acting as Slade. He sleeps during the day." Her voice was uncharacteristically intense- this was a heavy topic. "He has an apartment on the northwest corner of Millard and Fillmore. Fourth floor, west side, third window from the left."
"How long have you been planning this, exactly?" Vic asked.
"I started out as a small-time spy, free-lancing during the day to track wayward spouses and stopping petty crime by night. Low pay, but an interesting career. Slade thought I had promise. I played nice. When his back was turned, I ran. I had been dying my hair black and smoothing it out- red stands out too much for tailing someone. He chased me into Jump City, and caused all sorts of mayhem. He was distracted with the cops, and that was the opening I needed. I absconded, to put it prettily, running fast as I could. I hijacked a car someone had abandoned and high-tailed it to Gotham."
"How old are you?" Mare asked, giving her a critical look. "You've been working for us for two years and a month. Your records say twenty."
"Twenty-three," she admitted. "I went through high school to make it convincing. I went into police work to keep track. I made a new identity. I never meant to lie."
Renee Montoya was the officer with the most clout. "Jenny, you really should re-think your career choice. Stop killing, and you'll be a hell of an officer."
Harv agreed. "No offense, but you don't look like much. That helps in scuffles. If you were partnered with an intimidation factor, like Vic- the team would go places."
"I'll think about it," she promised. "So, are we walking over? Cops are a bit conspicuous."
"Some walk, some ride- look like we're scoping someone out." Mare had a plan, as always. "Vic, you walk with the lovely Morrigan to the complex- you both scope out the place. Alex, Kemosabe- don't argue. Get back to the station, and put in a response-ready for medics. No radio on this- we're not giving away surprise." She allowed a second for the inevitable protest. "Vic's going for personal reasons, and because he's with me. Renee and Harv are senior officers. Kori- well, she's worked on this case and has a little more experience than her resume suggests."
"Raven, Garfield, and Nightwing, you're in our squad car." Renee glanced at the costumed superhero's garb. "That would stick out a mile away. Charlie, Kori, and Mare park on the other side of the block. We'll get watches in sync, go in using small groups, and act casual. Got it?"
There was no answer. Instead, everyone moved out. Alex and Kemosabe grumbled, but knew they would be better off as back-up. Cops didn't do well in crowds- too many red flags went up, and there was too much of a chance someone on their team would get hurt. It was a boring assignment, but it was the best they could give to the team.
"So, you have a reason for not going on a second date?" Vic asked. They had exhausted small talk in less than a block. He was still processing her night job, she was more than a little uncomfortable with people knowing after it had been her secret.
"I guess- I don't want to get too close. It would interfere with the Morrigan. Besides, no one else has ever been nearly as persistent."
"Is that a good or a bad thing?"
"I'll let you know later. But- after Slade- maybe we could-" She stopped, as if someone had flicked a switch in her mind. Except only Vic's mind had switches. "I mean, we can discuss this later. Let's talk about- why you need to wear that ring."
"People won't look past the metal, otherwise. It's fine when you're a known superhero. When you're not, they assume. Still, it has its uses."
"Like what?" There was nothing better to discuss, and seven blocks of lunch-rush congestion to shove through.
"It scans uploads. Everything goes through the left wrist, so my right's always fully functional. I can do without a left for a while, but I need the right. Then, mishaps are less drastic and let me keep fighting."
"So, have you ever had any glitches?" Jenny asked, latching onto a conversation topic that promised to be amusing and not focused on her, the Morrigan, or the possibility of a date. She hardly understood any of it- everything was a muddle.
"Any? Just about once a week, at the worst times. I remember once, there was an incident involving a haddock, a muffin, and a nun . . ."