Operation Cave Boa (Pt.1)

December 18, 2029

Sharon was relieved to finally be back above ground, where she could greet the morning sun as it glanced its way through snow-laden clouds outside. Their gear had remained untouched, but the fire was little more than a glowing mound of coal and char.

"Hey… can- can we talk, just a moment?" Casey startled her with her sudden vocalization, breaking a silence Sharon was starting to become accustomed to. She hadn't spoken at all, or maybe once for a two or three word sentence back in the Bat Cave, and had said nothing on their way back up the stairs.

"Sure, shoot," Sharon replied.

Casey paused a moment, looking more nervous than usual as she looked down to her feet. "You're… you're not going to leave, are you?"

Now her social footing was thrown completely off balance. Why would she leave immediately?

"I'm- I'm not quite sure what you mean-"

"It was that look!" she blurted, "I- I remember it! The last time you left, you had the same face, and- and then you were gone for- for days! And I just- I just can't- I don't want you to leave again!"

I have a look? Sharon was almost too baffled by this sudden outburst to see her come in for a vice like embrace, as if were she to let go, she might actually vanish before her eyes.

At first her arms and hands didn't quite know what to do, but ultimately came to rest around her. "Hey, I'm not going anywhere. We came this far, and like Ivy… Isley said, none of us are fans of Luthor or LexCorp."

She had hoped that would loosen her grip, but she wound up having to wedge her off, just to the point where there was space to breathe.

Sharon held her by the shoulders and saw how she looked up at her, fearful and teary eyes, with more buried beneath the surface. She was really missing her gift right about now.

"Casey, just… listen a moment, okay?" she spoke softly, "I'm not a superhero, I don't punch it out with big bad villains and then make… grand speeches afterwards. I have a job to do, and so do the two downstairs, but we work differently towards the same goal. I'm sticking around, but…" she sighed, trying to put the air of her lungs into the correct words, "Don't expect all of us to see eye to eye. And if it comes push to shove, I'd rather you be safe than brave. Brave is my job, okay?"

She nodded, wiping her eyes clear.

"Okay, let's gather our things and find a room to settle down below."

Casey dove in for another hug before breaking away to gather her things. Hopefully they'd be able to get some of the clothes washed, and maybe some batteries.

She really is a bluebird, Sharon smiled.

The thought bounced through her head, and suddenly she recalled her radio and the one that had gotten her out in the first place, still trying to coordinate efforts within Gotham. As she reached for the radio she weighed the odds and stole away into an adjacent hall, closing the door partially behind her.

Sharon turned the device on and depressed the talk button.

"Cardinal to Guardian One, radio check."

There was a close of static and a moment of silence.

"Guardian One, good to hear from ya Cardinal. What's your status?"

"Green, the Castle is secure and we're looking at a fairly decent setup, might even be able to operate out of here."

"Hey! Good to hear! Still got that other unit around?"

"Affirm, Bluebird is on site. Linked up with another unit, we're going to try and coordinate some efforts in the area. How are things on your end?"

"Hell in a handbasket, really. Hoped Crane would check out thanks to whatever's goin' on in Central, but apparently my intel says he's staying local. Worse, he may be testing weapons soon again, which means the people are gonna be treated like lab rats."

"Do you have a location on him?"

"Nothin'. His base of operations is pretty obvious, but its locked up tight and reinforced in both structure and bodies, especially after busting you loose. I'll try to keep you posted, but I get the feeling you shut your radio off when you're done talkin'. Been tryin' to raise you all mornin' to tell you this."

"Sorry, saves battery. Don't know when next I can get a charge."

"Well, you said you linked up with another unit, any of them got a radio charger?"

"Maybe, I'll keep you posted."

"Copy that, stay safe out there."

______________________________________

Graves let the radio go quiet, then raised Lawton on his device.

"Update, subject is confirmed to be inside the old manor and has verified presence of second subject, should be two white females, one with short red hair and one with blue."

"Copy that boss, we got names for these two?"

"Affirmative, one Navy SEAL by last name of Sabanova, that should be the red hair female. The second…" she looked quickly back through her notes, "no name, got a callsign of 'Bluebird', and that female should have blue hair."

"Wait- hol' up. Blue haired female by name of Bluebird? In Gotham?"

"That's… correct?"

"... Graves, that one's a Bat. I know for certain she's in our records somewhere."

Graves stood stunned, Oh shit.

Her hands leapt out for her tablet, typing away on the screen to bring up the data and try to confirm Lawton's statement. Sure enough, there she was, linked to a few vague stills from over ten years ago.

"Gahdayum, Graves, why didn't you tell me this sooner? I coulda just gone in a busted that one myself!"

"Negative, Lawton," she keyed up, "Stay on overwatch. Contact subject indicated other subjects inside as well, this could be big. I'm scrambling the garrison and sending reinforcements your way. Once that structure is surrounded, then you can take a team and breach."

"Aw hell yeah, boss. Time for some real action!"

She put the radio down and shot texts to Dorrance and Crane. She was really wishing that Lynns and Davis were still around, she could use the extra firepower.

Haul ass back to HQ, she wrote, One member of BatFam confirmed inside Wayne Manor, identified as Bluebird. Affiliated with Navy SEAL, more subjects believed to be inside. Garrison already in route for perimeter.

She sent the text out, and waited patiently for a response...

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