As far as guerrilla campaigns went, despite her lack of practical experience in such a field, Kate felt that her side were doing rather well in their current efforts against Bane.
While her and Castle's presence hadn't had much in the way of significant impact on how the GCPD's remaining members would have coordinated their resistance to Bane without them, their presence had definitely affected how they were relating to Miranda Tate. Guessing that Miranda wouldn't do anything to undermine their efforts unless she was certain they were a danger to her and Bane, they had occasionally provided her with information about their planned attacks against Bane's forces, taking care to reveal only the smaller operations that wouldn't actually affect their long-term chances for success one way or the other. They'd lost a couple of men in subsequent ambushes, but it had been enough to confirm that Nyssa was acting against them, even if the ambushes themselves could have been taken as bad luck if nobody had known about her.
Still, even with the need to 'play dumb' about Nyssa's real allegiance, fortune was still favouring the GCPD in more public ways. They'd recently recovered a few crates of weapons that had been dumped close to their headquarters, apparently taken from one of Bane's weapons facilities- Kate had naturally not shared her suspicions as to the source of the weapons, even if she'd checked to ensure that they hadn't been tampered with-, but this only gave them more potential firepower without giving them manpower. They still lacked the ability to rescue the cops trapped underground in Bane's initial attack due to their lack of explosives to open an exit or manpower to storm one of the guarded manholes, but it was enough for them to stage a few quick counter-attacks against Bane's men. Castle had actually proven himself to be rather useful at that part, his 'out-of-the-box' thoughts allowing the GCPD forces to come up with interesting new plans of attack that wouldn't have occurred to them on their own; he was actually leading a small team to mount another strike against one of the buildings Bane's men were using as a base (Kate might not like it, but she respected Castle's desire to pull his weight).
On the brighter side, Bane's forces remained the only identifiable villains in the city, which at least gave them all a specific target to focus their efforts on. Most of the Arkham and Blackgate patients had joined Bane's 'army' after he had demolished both during his statement of opposition to the Harvey Dent Act, and the exceptions were being hunted by both sides and therefore left with little opportunity to really take action. The Joker hadn't been sighted since Kate had seen him during her brief encounter- which she hadn't yet even mentioned to Castle-, but she didn't like to consider that issue in any greater depth than she had to; this might be an unprecedented situation, but she still felt somewhat dirty at the thought of what she'd had to do to deal with the Joker.
Not for the first time, she wished that Bruce Wayne was still here- with the truth about Harvey Dent's death now known, the Dark Knight would have made an exceptional rallying point for the anti-Bane movement if nothing else-, but that was just something she'd have to cope with; they were deprived of Batman's assistance, and that was that.
Of course, as Kate walked into the former Gotham Library to meet with her current contact- he'd been in touch with the GCPD on a few occasions to discuss possible weaknesses in some of the more significant tools in Bane's arsenal, but she hadn't had the chance to talk to him in person yet-, she was reminded that Bruce didn't have to be here in person to provide them with at least some kind of assistance.
"Mr Lucius Fox?" Kate said, looking curiously at the older man as she walked into the small side office that had been chosen as their meeting point; she recognised him from previous photographs from the newspapers she'd read while keeping an eye on Bruce's activities, but additional confirmation never hurt, particularly given the nature of the information he claimed to have for them.
"The same," the man replied, smiling politely at her, looking remarkably calm despite his age and the harsh conditions he must have been dealing with in the past few months; some people just seemed to find a way to cope in anything. "And you'd be... I understand your name is Kate?"
"Among others," Kate replied, smiling back at him as she shook his hand. Considering Fox's position at Wayne Enterprises, she'd had her theories about this man's knowledge of Bruce's secret- since Bruce obviously lacked the resources to access or create some of Batman's equipment on his own, he had to have some outside help, and Fox had been the most likely candidate based on her research into the company's employees given his time in Applied Sciences and his connections to Thomas Wayne-, but she didn't want to push them too far, so she'd stick with the definite facts. "Before we discuss anything else, I just want to confirm something; I understand you've been made aware of the… situation… regarding Miranda Tate?"
"You mean that she's in league with that madman?" Fox asked, the smile fading as he looked grimly at her. "Heard it, but not sure I believe it; after everything she's sunk into this company…"
"The better to ensure that Bane has access to everything he needs to destroy this city," Kate replied, looking solemnly back at him. "Believe me, I'd love to believe that my sister wasn't involved in this, but I know her, and I know Bane; there's no way that he could have come to the city where she's made a life for herself and do something on this scale unless she wanted him there."
"Believe me, I believe you," Fox said, nodding at her with a grim resignation in his expression. "I've worked with a lot of liars in my time, and even if I can- apparently- be tricked, I know enough to know when someone's being really
honest with me."
"You just wish that it wasn't this way," Kate said, nodding in understanding. "Believe me, I get that; how do you think I
"Were you close?" Fox asked.
The question actually gave Kate pause for a moment.
Were her and Nyssa close
It was actually funny, in a tragic way; now that Lucius Fox brought it up, she realised that she didn't actually
regret the situation that she found herself in.
Nyssa was her sister, but when you got past the fact that they shared a father and had shared some of their training sessions with each other, they really had virtually nothing in common, and they'd barely even really spent much time together even before Ra's had died almost a decade ago, each one resenting the influence that their mothers had on their father, each one with their own perspective on him…
"We were sisters," Kate said at last, out of a lack of anything else to say. "We each respected our father, but we had our own interpretations of what he wanted from us and how to provide him with it; Nyssa was always dedicated to his mission even if she disagreed with him personally, where I mostly got along with him as a person but disagreed with his methods, and then there was that mess with our mothers…"
"Your mothers?" Fox asked.
"My sister and I were only half-siblings- we shared the same father-, and with Nyssa's mother having died in captivity while our father was involved with my
mother, things were… well, they were strained, to put it simply," Kate said, shrugging helplessly. "I mean, we each resented the other's mother for being something to our father that our own mother wasn't, and then there was our different thoughts on Bane; Nyssa saw him as her protector, but I could never see him as anything other than a cunning animal…"
"Would it be simpler to ask what you did
agree on?" Fox asked.
"I'm not sure anything
about our relationship was ever simple," Kate said, sighing as she looked out of the small window- the office had been chosen because the limited external view would make it less likely that one of Bane's men would see her and recognise her, but it still provided a good view of Gotham if you looked out of it at the right angle- before she turned her attention back to Fox. "Anyway, this isn't what I'm here for; what have you got to tell me about these external contacts of yours?"
As therapeutic as it had been to discuss Nyssa with someone else, she had to focus on the immediate matter of potential external support right now; she could worry about her relationship with her sister once this was all over.
With the news that Lucius Fox had managed to get in touch with a few of his external contacts outside of Gotham, the GCPD had experienced a fresh wave of hope at the idea of additional support; even if that support would have to be relatively limited if it was going to get in unnoticed, any back-up was better than none in their current condition.
After she'd returned to the GCPD's headquarters to fill them in on recent developments, Kate and the rest of the leaders of the anti-Bane movement had set out on drawing up a plan to accommodate the arrivals. One of the most obvious steps was to ensure that Kate and Castle's presence would remain a secret; Kate would only trust a select few members of the GCPD with her true identity and connection to Bane and Nyssa, and only a few more people knew that she and Castle weren't Gotham natives, but anyone else being in the know would attract too many potential questions that they couldn't afford right now.
From there, it wasn't that difficult to decide that Gordon and Blake would meet with the special ops staff- putting too many of the GCPD's command structure in one place would be foolish under any circumstances-, and from there take the new arrivals to meet Lucius Fox to learn more about the technical details of the current problem; the only thing hampering that potential meeting was how they were going to make such an arrangement without Nyssa becoming aware of it.
"You're sure we can't just… not mention this to her?" one of the younger officers asked, looking uncertainly at the small group who had become the unofficial leaders of what remained of the GCPD as they spoke with their assorted remaining staff. "I mean, we could just say we were keeping it quiet for secrecy's sake…"
"Trust me, if we could get away with it, we'd be trying that as our first option," Blake said grimly. "Unfortunately, given that she's still the official CEO of Wayne Enterprises, it would be natural for Miranda Tate to be involved in a meeting about the bomb, so we can't exactly set up a situation where she's not
there without attracting too much attention to it."
"Why do we have to assume that she'll even find out about it?" Deputy Commissioner Peter Foley asked, looking around the room with a slightly offended stare. "Do we really think someone here's going to betray-?"
"It's not a question of willing betrayal, it's just a matter of taking precautions," Castle interjected. "Everything's already pretty much in their court; we can't start assuming that things are going to work out all right…"
His voice trailed off as he spoke, a smile crossing the writer's face as the others looked at him. "Assume
"What are you thinking?" Kate asked, looking at him with a slight smile; it might be slightly petty, but she enjoyed the moments when Castle managed to vindicate her faith in him by making a useful contribution to their campaign plan.
"What if… we let Miranda think we made a mistake?" Castle asked.
"A mistake?" Blake repeated sceptically, clearly wondering where the author was going with this.
"Well… look, no offence, but we're not exactly working with the best equipment here," Castle said, indicating the radios that they'd managed to acquire during their struggle to survive and arm themselves against Bane's forces. "Wouldn't it be possible for us to use these things to tell Lucius Fox that the meeting with the special forces is going to be at, say, two twenty-five, but the radio's disrupted just enough that he thinks he hears two thirty
"With the result that, when she learns anything else, Nyssa will assume that Bane's men attacked too early and the soldiers retreated before they could be caught..." Kate said, smiling in approval at her lover. "Good call, Castle."
"And after that, they'd naturally be quieter and more reluctant to arrange a meeting, so whenever we managed to set something else up, we'd have a reason for making sure Miss Tate didn't have the chance to tell anyone else about it," Gordon said, joining Kate in her nods of approval. "It'll be tight, but it could work."
"And what about the bomb itself?" Blake asked, looking over at the rest of the group. "I don't know if you noticed, but we're running out of time until it goes off…"
Nobody had any answer to provide to that question.
They might have a couple of ideas about how to identify the truck that Bane was using to move the bomb around, but that still didn't give them much chance at disarming it in the time left to them before it exploded…
No matter how Kate looked at it, even if they could rescue the still-trapped cops from the sewers, they needed a rallying figurehead to counter Bane's influence on the city if they were going to stop him.
In other words, they needed Batman, just when Kate was the only one who knew that Batman would never get here.
AN: OK, unless anyone has any explicit requests, next chapter we go on to explore Bruce's return to Gotham; if you have something else you want to see first, let me know and I'll try to incorporate it.