15497/A Totally Normal Favor

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A Totally Normal Favor
Date of Scene: 18 August 2023
Location: Clocktower, West Chelsea Hill
Synopsis: Helena has a favor to ask Skye. It's totally normal and not at all unethical and illegal.
Cast of Characters: Huntress, Quake

Huntress has posed:
Since coming back into Gotham, other than a couple of careful meetings, Helena Bertinelli -- and Huntress, more notably -- has largely kept her distance from her cohorts in the Birds of Prey. It can't be anything but a deliberate choice, in the same way she keeps her distance from the Batfamily, and as Huntress, away from the mafioso families she so ruthlessly pursued before.

When tensions between the Five Families of the Gotham City Cosa Nostra begin to heat up, one might suspect Helena's involvement -- if one's paying attention to high end real estate dealings. It's only when news begins to leak that the Bertinelli family -- all its members bar Helena having been ruthlessly murdered nearly three decades ago -- has reclaimed control of part of the East End of Gotham from the Panessa family that it's apparent, at least to the Birds of Prey who knew her before, that this must be part of some long term play.

Helena Bertinelli hates the mafia. Huntress /loathes/ them with a fearsome passion that has pushed her to cross the line in the past.

She would never willingly choose to lead them... right?

So it's probably a surprise that she shows up at the Clocktower, after an earlier text to Skye. A request to meet. Helena's perched up on the highest point of the tower, out on the rooftop, enjoying the nighttime view. After all while, Bats -- and Birds -- come to find this view comforting. If remote.
Quake has posed:
Skye rarely met with people. Neither SHIELD, or Birds. Since she and Clint had broken up formally, she'd been on har laptop more and more these days. Except when her job had her being front and centre, she preferred to hang at the back, so to speak.

Lately if it weren't for the cats needing kitty litter and food, she probably wouldn't have seen the light of day.. ok. That might be an exaggeration.

Helena texted her out of the blue, using the special server that the Birds used she perked up.

Why? Why is she texting me? Truthfully there were a number of reasons Skye could up with. But overall the Birds had been quiet.

Only one way to find out!

At the arranged for time and place, Skye arrived, and looked around.
Huntress has posed:
Helena, notably, isn't dressed up in her Huntress outfit. Instead: designer jeans, a cashmere sweater and a new accessory: a sling over her right arm, holding it close to her chest. It's kind of weird seeing her so casual here -- back before she left the city abruptly, she was focused and at times almost too ruthless, with Huntress and its associated outfit being her primary outlet.

And the Birds of Prey being one of the measures of her restraint.

It isn't that hard to get up onto the roof -- out on the balcony and a leap to catch the lip of the roof, some careful navigation best done in non-slippery shoes.

"It's been a long time, Skye," Helena greets her, dark, curious eyes flickering over the other woman. Perhaps she sees too-pale skin, or maybe reflectant signs of distraction-via-obsession; either way, her smile turns faintly understanding. "I guess we've both been busy. Thanks for coming out."

A breath. "I have a problem, and I'm hoping you can help."

The breath not for show. The Huntress doesn't like to be weak. Helena even less so. Asking for help is something the Birds of Prey taught her, also.
Quake has posed:
Of course Skye is in her usual drab coloured clothes - mostly black - with the addition of bracers. Helena is taken in. Not her usual get up at all. She could be in regular clothes just because she isn't on the job, but some of the Birds still wore a disguise regardless.

Skye was one of the very few who never had a disguise.

"Certainly has." A faint smile followed. "What was it - beginning of spring?" She listened though. And slowly began to nod.

She gets it. Skye was not one who asked for help. She gives it. Asks? No. Damn. Way. Probably the origins for that came from being an orphan, moved around, and around, till her early teens when she ran away for good. Old habits die hard.

"Oh? Is this something you want from the Agent, the Birds, or someone not affiliated with either?"
Huntress has posed:
"Something like that." It's been a while few months indeed, and time seems to get away from one when you're busy inciting an internal mafia war.

The question though makes Helena laugh, a quick, inadvertent release of breath that is all the same, utterly genuine. "That might depend on what you think best. I need blackmail on a high ranking player in the Gotham Cosa Nostra. The highest, in fact, the Don of Dons, Santo Cassamento." She waits a beat. If Skye wants to get off the train, this is the stop to do it at.

"It's kind of hard to blackmail mafia, you know. The usual things that would compel people are the very things they are lauded for. But there's one thing that Omerta doesn't stand for: a rat." Helena smiles, briefly, and it has that familiar edge that Huntress has: a woman on the hunt. "And you have the access... or ability... to plant such a suggestion. Something at the federal level. FBI, maybe, or SHIELD, whatever you think works best."
Quake has posed:
"Oooo you don't dick around, do you?"

Of course Skye is grinning.

"That would be easy. I mean the trial from here to there. The real question you should be asking is how much of the trail should be true. There are /always/ real books, and these days, many of them are on the web. If they are smart, on the dark web. Too many people.."

Read: crooks

"..don't remember the number one rule of business, never keep the books where they can be found." There were always books. Smart people never put them on the web. Handwritten ones were better. With digitalized books it became too easy for people like her to dig all sorts of secrets.

And furthermore, leave them behold.

"It would be my pleasure. It's been so long simple I have hacked this way, I will enjoy it."
Huntress has posed:
"Not when it's personal," Helena responds, with a wicked sort of grin. "And it /is/."

That the Sicilian has a ready answer for Skye's question suggests she's very much thought about it. "Verifiable with work, but not overt. It shouldn't name him directly, but as a high ranking Mafia figure. His recruitment point was the agent discovering that he orchestrated the murder of the former Don of Dons, Franco Bertinelli... something that if found out would have the entire Cosa Nostra turn against him. I have a list of dates, times, when meetings could have taken place that can be sprinkled in the file, times when none of his allies had awareness of his whereabouts. Gaps in which meetings could conceivably have taken place. Enough information to cast authenticity."

She pauses. "But, importantly, not enough information that another agent can pick him up and run him. Maybe assign him to a now-deceased agent so he's a dead end for the authorities." Helena doesn't /actually/ want the guy to be a rat. Omerta is in her blood, too.

Helena laughs. "Oh, I see. You've gone onto the big leagues these days?" She doesn't seem upset, though. "Glad you answered my text."
Quake has posed:
There's the rub.

"I should have expected that from you." Skye's grin turn to a full on expression of mirth. "I would be honoured to pit myself against that." She was, as it happens, one of the top.. say 10 ..hackers in the world?

She shakes her head no. "Quite the opposite. I usually surf the nets finding bits and pieces that point to other places, and put them all together. That's my day job. Sorta. For the past year? I have been on a special strike team. You know my other name, right?" Beyond DarkSky.
Huntress has posed:
"I know you crave the challenge just as badly as I ever did a physical one." The Birds all have their quirks and passions. Helena's never been great with computers; she's far outstripped by the likes of Skye and Barbara, even Jason and Bruce.

Skye's answer, however, catches her off guard. The dark-haired woman turns to really look at Skye, frowning. "I haven't been... I've been avoiding the other Birds. I don't, and frankly still don't want, you guys caught up in the mess I'm making. But you know if you need a break, I'd come. Maybe, at the moment, trailing a dozen mobsters trying to kill me, but I'd come. You know that, right?"

Helena is careful in her choice of words. She doesn't have family. But the Birds helped her find equilibrium when she first returned to Gotham, and a debt is owed. Even if she doesn't acknowledge it explicitly, there's ties deeper than mere acquaintances there.

There's a little smile. "Yeah, I remember it. Whoever you're going after, I hope you're kicking their ass."
Quake has posed:
Pushing back her shirt sleeves to bare her braces, Skye tells her, "My other name is Quake. These here aren't just for looking cool. I was kidnapped a couple of years ago, and was forced into essentially a new form. A metahuman if you prefer. My power is vibration. Big. Small. In between. I use the bracers to help dissipate my powers when I use them. Instead of breaking my arms every time."

She shrugs and rolls her sleeves down again.

"It took about a year of intensive training to master my powers. Right now, SHIELD sends me out to the bigger missions while we still have the upper hand up on HYDRA until they figure out how to de-escalate my powers. I still prefer to use my laptop though."
Huntress has posed:
Helena turns her gaze towards Skye's arms, brows going upwards. The woman definitely believes her, just: "I'm sorry I wasn't around to help. Not that I think I could do much, especially not if you're playing in the big leagues now, and dealing with a lot."

A long beat of silence, as Helena turns her gaze towards the view. It is a great view. "It sounds like you've outlived the Birds," she says. "And that's not a bad thing. Hacking is your comfort zone. Same way Gotham is mine." She sounds a little sad to admit -- realize this.
Quake has posed:
"Ah, See, I never thought of myself as in the big leagues. Or really doing anything for the Birds other than hacking.. Well almost. I like my job. It gave me the chance to meet Oracle, and eventually start the Birds with her."

"Hell, there's so much that the Birds need hacking for. I mean, to prepare. I like my job. I make a difference. And if you don't believe me, think back on the Rising Tide fiasco. Admittedly, I was undercover then, but we took down the entire world's internet - in a flash. Poof! Until the world came together a few lines of code crippled the entire world."

Skye shrugs. "And that was before I got quaked. Never forget that you are important."
Huntress has posed:
"You might not see yourself that way, but you are, Skye," Helena says, with a certainty. With some difficulty -- owing to her arm being in a sling, she rises. "Come, let's have a drink. I think I saw a cracked bottle of wine inside. I'm sure Barbara won't miss a few glasses. We have some catching up to do."

And that, clearly, has to happen over wine.