15504/Challenge of the Lotus: Secrets

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Challenge of the Lotus: Secrets
Date of Scene: 20 August 2023
Location: Private Island, Pacific Ocean
Synopsis: Barbara and Natasha meet for real this time, no aliases between them.
Cast of Characters: Black Widow (Romanoff), Oracle

Black Widow (Romanoff) has posed:
As the events of the tourney would be taking several days, with the various brackets being whittled down until there were finally only two competitors left standing, accommodations had been made. There were several private cottages built just for the event, each very luxurious with anything one might need. If something was missing, it would be provided. Each cottage was on a sandy beach on the island, allowing access to the beautiful waters. There was a bit of a reef outside the bay area, making the waters more welcoming and not as rough as they might have been otherwise. Each cottage was enough distance from the others to allow for privacy.

So a luxury vacation in combination with bloodsports.

After their initial party, everyone had their opportunities to wander off to their cottages. It turned out that the one Natasha would be sharing with Alexander neighbored on the mystery guest. Which brought Natasha knocking on the door of one Barbara Gordon, though that name was not known.
Oracle has posed:
If there was one thing that Barbara had learned in her years of crime-fighting was that villains always had a sense of style and luxury near unrivaled by anyone. Money does that to people. And the people organizing this were surely full of money. If they were villains though? Still needed to be seen, but she was here with a mission and she would get to the bottom of this.

Even if there may be a few snags on the way.

Like she being quite sure that someone had recognized her at the party. Or in this case not recognized her as Snapdragon. Barbara was just in the middle of prepping a drone for some recon when she hears that knock on the door. What the ... A table cloth is thrown over the drones on the bench and she walks to open the door, coming face to face with redhead she had met at the party. The Black Widow.

She remembers she is still wearing her Yoda slippers.
Black Widow (Romanoff) has posed:
"Good evening. I know it's late but thought we should catch up. Want to make sure I don't need to worry about you sneaking in my room tonight and trying to kill me. Again."

Natasha's smile was polite and friendly, despite the words being said. When Barbara allowed her to do so, she stepped inside and glanced around at the comfortable room. Then she started to stroll around it as though examining the place, a hand in her pocket as she did so.

"I think your room is nicer than ours. I might have to complain," she said in a joking tone. "But I was surprised to see you here, Snapdragon. I am one to let bygones be bygones this week during the tourney. I won't mess with you, you don't mess with me."

And when she finished that circuit, she crew her cellphone out of her pocket and examined it a moment. Then it was tucked away again and she smiled. But now she was fully focused on the tall redhead.

"Now that I know we aren't being monitored, who are you really?"
Oracle has posed:
"Now I can do it during the tournament." Is the reply from the tall redhead. Playing along even as she lets Natasha comes in. Watching her move about the apartment. For an untrained eye it would look random perhaps. For her? She knows the spy is going over to those traditional places where bugs are usually placed at. She closes the door behind them, leaving them alone in the room.

"We aren't being monitored anymore, no." She says with a sharp nod. Clearly she's done some kind of cleanup on the room already. As for who she is? "Someone interested in getting to the bottom of this." she finally answers, "One of these invitations found it's way to me by way of a criminal tong in Gotham." which is telling. Is she one of Batman's people?

She pads over towards the work bench. "And what are you doing here?"
Black Widow (Romanoff) has posed:
"Ah." Natasha's smile was now approving as she caught that it was not being monitored anymore. "Good to know." Because that told her something else about the mystery woman before she even continued. She was savvy to the fact she had been bugged and was able to counteract it. Just as they had done in their room. Probably a lot of the people attending would but not all were that bright.

Nat stopped by the couch, sort of half leaning half sitting on the arm of it as she considered the rest of the explanation. "Me? Visiting some old friends." Which was the truth of it. Some very old friends. In the age sense of the word.

"Though I have participated on the event in the past. This time, I'm here purely as an observer. I'll let you know the Lotus are exactly as they portray themselves. While there will be some backers who are on the wrong side of the law, the family that started this, the fortune cookie company? They are good people. This is a tradition that was started long ago. They took something that was once lawless and gave it rules and standards. Is it perfect? No. No fighting tourney is ever going to be. But I wanted you to know."
Oracle has posed:
How far is Barbara willing to believe Natasha? On one hand she knows the other redhead is an Avenger. But she also knows she's a spy. Which is why there's a calculating look on Barbara as she considers what she tells her about the family behind this tournament, "A gathering for so many criminals is bound to be a den of dealing too, no matter how honorable the family's intentions are. I wonder how others use this for."

She may also be a bit bitter she never got an invite, "Also, I never got an actual invite. I feel almost insulted." she grins at that, "I am told I am great at arm locks." and she seems to have the physique for it!

A sigh finally escapes her lips, "But thank you for the heads up." she admits, "I'm Barbara." she finally introducing herself.
Black Widow (Romanoff) has posed:
"Nice to meet you, Barbara. Natasha." She doesn't offer her hand. Not because she is trying to be impolite but they are sort of apart in the room and some distance would need to be closed in order to do so. Obviously, dealing with an unknown, a little distance was nice to have.

She grinned at the arm lock bit. "So was Rhonda Rousey yet I could take her pretty easily if it came down to it." A playful wink to punctuate that but then she focused. "You mentioned Gotham and if you are that good that you could get an invitation, that means you probably are someone they figure wouldn't keep their secrets." And all things considered thus far, that is where things were pointing for Natasha.

"I will say that you can use this tourney. Establish leads for several investigations that could be followed up on. But I suggest not blowing your cover to do so. Because then you might get an invitation again. Or your alter ego. Guessing Snapdragon might be in custody, thus you being able to take her spot?"
Oracle has posed:
"Rhonda was never the same after she took that stint with the movies and wrestling." Babs murmurs in reply as if she had followed the woman's career. Or maybe she's just a fan of the wwe? She will never tell! Secrets. "And I know what you mean, should I actually be here?" she lets out a chuckle. "I have no illusions that I may not compare to some of the top notch fighters in this tournament. But it is what it is." she grins.

"Next time I will give my friend the invitation." Yes, she's thinking about Cass. "Think she could take this whole tournament." but then she focuses on what Natasha is saying about the leads.

"I got no intention on breaking cover. Only a fool would do so. There's very little backup and most of my .., trinkets aren't around. This is recon mostly and figure out what the big players are doing here." A beat, "And maybe win a match or two. Unfortunate that you won't participate, was looking forward to fight someone with the reputation that you got." she says, not with malice but with a genuine interest to test herself against someone with such a reputation. The last question has her shake her head, "I don't know where she is." she admits, "Word in Gotham was that she may have been killed but I found nothing. It's a mystery."
Black Widow (Romanoff) has posed:
"I'll look into it from my side then. See what I can find out. Would be bad if she shows up on the radar somewhere in the world even." Which Barbara probably already had as much info as Natasha could get. Though Nat did have a few underground contacts that were still in the game and thus they might be able to find things that weren't in the grid. Long shot but maybe.

"If I participate and lose, then everyone will want to fight everytime I try to take them into custody. Work, work, work. No one has the time for that. Better to stay mysterious and scary. A former winner of the tourney and the famed Black Widow." The humor laced her tone, showing how she was amused at her own infamy. "Then people surrender and they are much easier to handcuff."

She tilted her head slightly. "The few times I've visited the tourney in recent years," Natasha began. Though the last time she'd even visited had been over 20 years ago. But that would be difficult to explain to most people, considering Natasha's appearance. "I've just cultivated leads and followed up on them. Some solid arrests for SHIELD that way. I might even be willing to share intel if I figure out you're someone safe to do that with. Though, I am suspecting ties to an ally so ...perhaps."

She has worked with Batman a couple of times. Not regularly, but those times she'd been impressed. And there were some costumed women that were part of his circle of trust. She had no idea if Barbara was actually one of them but if she was one of his trusted people, she'd be fine to share intel with.

"Is there anything I can do to assist you otherwise?"
Oracle has posed:
"Yes, I have been told." Barbara replies casually. Or rather, Oracle had a good info on Batman's database, at least the part he shared with her. But Oracle was the persona she was keeping closer to chest than Batgirl these days, "The caped crusader doesn't have many he trusts, but you are one of them." she admits with a small nod. Fingertips brush some red hair out of her face.

"And if he trusts you that means I do too." It's as simple as that. Well, maybe not as simple, but enough for Barbara. And she needs all the allies she can get.

"Well ...." And Barbara's expression turns a touch more mischievous, ".. you can always show me the moves you used to win the tournament." she suggests, "A training spar?"

Natasha did offer after all!
Black Widow (Romanoff) has posed:
"Certainly. Though I should warn you, I was very young back then." As in decades ago. Again, that little detail omitted. Natasha had been a young Red Room graduate, the first one to be given the name Black Widow, when she had received her invitation. And Mother Russia had been pleased to have one of their people compete. Not only compete but walk away with the bragging rights.

"I have lots of new tricks now." And that was said with a little edge to her smile, a mix of mischief and menace.

"Now or later? We obviously will have a few days. And I presume if you work with Batman, you are going to be able to take the early rounds easily enough without any tips."