Luke The Nuke


cardinal_icon.gif finney_icon.gif gabriel_icon.gif luke_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Luke The Nuke
Synopsis On another saturday night Evolved fighting in the center stage, it's Luke vs Gabriel and Melissa vs Finney.
Date June 19, 2010

Center Stage

It smells of sweat in the basement of Coco's boxing gym all the time; sweat undercut by blood. Beneath the floor of Long Island City's oldest boxing gym lies a newer secret, a dirty and grimy basement of exposed pipes and chain-link fence that has become an underground fighting sensation. Since the collapse of the Pancratium on Staten Island, the appetite for destruction held by so many of New York City's criminal element is sated here in painful beauty.

This basement is five rooms with low ceilings, serving as a unisex locker room, makeshift medical bay consisting of a single uncomfortable gurney on wheels and a few first aid kits and a back office. The primary feature of Coco's basement is the "center stage" as it's called, a spacious storage floor where a thirty foot by thirty foot floor to ceiling chain link cage surrounded by a ten foot buffer zone of screaming, sweaty spectators where the action happens.

Three nights out of the week unlicensed underground bloodsport takes place down in that cage, with non-evolved fighters from around the city pitting themselves against the desperate, the depraved and the sportsmen. Betting is organized and enforced by Triad connections and enforcers from the Ghost Shadows Triad are entirely common on all open nights.

One night out of those three, however, serves as the "main event" where Evolved fighters are pitted against one another in no holds barred competition.

The current fight in the ring has had it's high points and low points. It's more exciting when there's females. Who doesn't like a good cat fight?

Drawn by names picked from the list with regard to ability, there's a skinny lanky woman named Dora in the ring going up against a brute of a woman, Ditch, who, while they are on par for height, has a good hundred pounds on her in the weight department.

The odds had favoured the huskier, one who can conjure up balls of electricity in her hand and seemed to like shocking the audiokinetic who twitched like a rag doll each time or jumped back. Back and forth it went between the two, Ditch reaching out or swinging out with a fist and grabbing for the other woman who seemed to have some formal training, who would in turn grab limbs, wrench, twist, flip and occasionally let out a wave of sound that was so low it rattled and rocked the other woman and those outside the cage closest to them. Bodies hit the floor with enough force to leave marks and bruises, crashed into the cage, whistles erupted from the crowd and shouts of requests for jello.

What Dora lacked in sheer strength she made up for in dexterity but after one particularly nasty jolt from Ditch, Down came her hand and a shout. Mercy, fight was ended, she was giving up as she lay on the floor face down, Ditch with an arm of hers bent back and a palm flat to the thinner woman's back, racking her body with little shocks equivalent to that of a tazer.

Fight night of the evo variety down in the center stage has been well on it's way, and it's been a loud, sweaty, noisy night and it doesn't look to stop anytime soon.

"Next up! Luke!" A gesture to the teenager. "GOing up against Gabriel!" There's a gesture to Gabriel. "In the ring!" Even as the last two are escorted out.

Melissa had heard about this place, not long after it opened, but until now she hasn't had the time to come down on Saturday to fight, or even to watch others fight. But tonight she was able to break into her schedule, and make her way down, just before the last fight started.

Standing just a few people back from the ring, she stands with her arms folded over her chest, smiling a little as she watches, intently. It never hurts to study other fighters to learn new moves, right? Especially when you're just learning yourself? And that's what this is to her. A training exercise. Which is why she's dressed in loose fitting black cargo pants, and a form fitting tee-shirt. It's easy to move in, after all. That she has a red scarf wound around her waist makes the outfit look a little odd on her, but on anyone else it would work.

When the next fight is announced Mel's brows shoot up. Luke? She knows a Luke. But it couldn't possibly be the same Luke, could it? Her eyes narrow slightly as she waits and watches.

There's a space against the wall that Cardinal's lanky frame is leaning against, arms folded over his chest and one foot raised up to brace against the wall itself. Occasionally, one hand emerges from under the other, taking down a note on a smartphone - or checking a text, it's hard to say.

There're worse places to look for possible recruits.

As the last fight ends, his gaze starts to drift in the direction of where drinks are being hawked - and then the two names are spoken, and his attention snaps back to the cage. Wait. That's got to be a coincidence, right? There've got to be plenty of evolved named Gabriel in the world. He pushes off the wall with a frown, moving to shoulder his way through the others closer to the cage.

Another day, another fight. Whether it's with random punks on the street who look at him the wrong way, or ring fights like this one, Luke seems to have been getting in scrapes one after another. The name of his opponent means exactly nothing to him, so he walks up to the ring looking all cocky and stuff. Hey, he can handle anything thrown his way…. right? And yes, Melissa, it is the same Luke that ran out on you.

There is a familiarity to this, except he's used to a cage made of iron bars instead of chainlink and the ground packed with earth, with seats and booths that climb up the walls and the expectation that someone will probably die. Gabriel has read the rules, though, or at least been informed of them by someone trying to work out exactly where they might have seen him before, and thus can tell the difference. Roaming into the ring, he isn't paying much attention to the identities of possible spectators, splaying his hands as if to rid them of tension, wearing only black jeans and a tattoo shaped as a sprawing tree that spreads up his back in black, winding shapes.

Scars too, a couple of them, starburst shapes of twin bullet holes in his chest and a less noticeable jagged stab slash in his left hand, but nothing new — not a bruise, not a scrape. He looks to be in good health, awake, attentive, and a little grim. Even serial killers need to go make some money. His brown eyes take in Luke's appearance only fleetingly, one eyebrow raising.

Cardinal finds himself with someone familiar beside him. Twitchy is back, dark eyes looking here, there, at one point, landing on Melissa and just staring holes into her skull. Not literally. He nods upwards at Cardinal and looks a little less maniacal this time as he relaxes against the wall, a wad of cash in had from a good bet on an earlier fight. "Your girl got a leash on you or something?" A gesture to the phone even as his left eyelid twitches.

Some people know who Gabriel is as he steps into the ring. Throwbacks to the very ring that Gabriel is remeniscing about from days of old. Tavisha they say, and bet more money than they might have before. They've seen the other guy fight too, Luke, and those familiar with the younger individual in the ring as opposed to the older, lay down odds on the microwave emitting kid. "Ohhh this'll be interesting" Purr's a woman who comes up beside Melissa. "A real treat, if anyone knows who those are in the rings" Tall, blonde, plump lips, pearls around her neck, she looks out of place. "Who did you put some money down on?"

Seeing Luke Melissa sighs and shakes her head. But he left the Den, and she left the Ferry, so he's not her responsibility anymore. Really, he isn't. Instead she looks towards Gabriel, studying him, her head tilting. Again there's a small frown, but whatever thought brought it about fades quickly and she shakes her head again.

While Mel doesn't notice the guy staring holes into her skull, she does notice the woman beside her. The woman is looked over head to toe, then Mel shrugs. "For this fight? I'll bet on Luke." He's the only one she knows. Something about Gabriel gnaws at her memory, but doesn't spring to the front. And she knows Luke has a scary ability. But it still seems worth only a hundred bucks.

"Just keeping track of some business is all," Cardinal replies vaguely, one shoulder lifting in a bit of a shrug to Twitchy before he's pushing forward closer to the edge of the cage - his eyes narrowing as the tattooed back comes into view, a turn of the new fighter letting him see his profile and face. It's a face he hasn't seen since a hail of bullets left it bloodied.

A dead man looks at a dead man, and his lips tug a bit wider in a smirk at the thought.

Luke looks Gabriel up and down as well, and flexes his hands. Huh, this guy seems to have gone through a few fights himself, good. He doesn't say anything, instead taking up a fighting stance that's… not any martial arts. It seems to be a variation of putting up his dukes, and he's ready for whatever comes his way! ….he hopes. What does this guy do, anyway? Evo of some sort, huh… Luke's getting excited just thinking about it. This should be a good fight.

It would be less fun for Luke if Gabriel got excited just thinking about what he could do. He's curbing this to simple curiousity, now, roaming a look up and down the kid as if something about the fighting stance might be able to indicate what. Evos will do that — hell, he used to do that, one hand out to control everything with a thought. This gesture is not one he adopts now— it would be foolish to. He doesn't even have that power anymore.

Just a bunch of other ones. His pacing remains continual, before becoming a tighter spiral, barely a few feet between them, before— he appears to split into two. It's a seamless transition, one Gabriel stepping out from the other before moving counter to his clockwise — both exactly the same, from the dust stain on the knee of their jeans to the intricate tattoo winding up his back. Only one of them smiles, as they circle Luke.

Somewhere, a whistles goes off, the crowd going to a murmur in anticipation of the start of the fight. When it does start, fists and hands go up in the air, shouts of encouragement for the respective fighters that they have laid out green bills upon to win, or to loose. Some yell discouraging things, try to psych out the ones that they want to loose. The moment that everyone is waiting for has started and they have one question on their mind.

Who will make the first move?

Twitchy stays where he is, not moving up with cardinal and the shadow turner has to squeeze his way to the front, people unwilling to give up their spots or share their hard earned front row squashing to the bloodsports that happen below ground. He gets an elbow in the ribs, someone unwilling to move or let him go closer.

"Luke hmmm?" Blue eye's settle on the splitting in the ring, where there was one, now there's too and someone in the crowd lets out a groan while she gives out a low chuckle. "Two against one. Hardly seems fair odds. Maybe your poor little Luke won't win against the Gabriels" forefinger and middle finger adjust a lock of blonde curls at her hairline as she regards the start inside the chain linked cage.

The whistle is Melissa's cue to look away from the woman beside her, and she arches a brow as she watches the trio of fighters now. "He's not mine. And if I lose, I lose," she says, shrugging. And it's not Luke she watches, it's the twin Gabriels. Handy trick that, and she seems…well, interested, if not impressed.

A soft grunt is exhaled from Cardinal as he gets that shoulder, but he's had worse; grimacing against the bruise as he settles in within the mass of the crowd. He's got a view that's sufficient for his purposes. "Hope he remembers this isn't the fuckin' Pancratium," he mutters under his breath, gaze trailing after the pair of Gabriels as they separate.

Whoa dude, wtf. There's two of them now! So that's how it is. Luke responds to that with a nice punch at the face of the one that's still relatively in front of him. Luke doesn't get any more complicated than that. Hmm, maybe if one of them's not real he can just roast it. That should be fun. But which one's real? Maybe he should just find out. One hand goes towards one, the other towards the second, and there's a double mild blast of yummy microwave energy. Let's see how they both tolerate pain! Of course, the aim of the hand behind him is slightly off since he's facing forward, but whatever. People best move if they don't want to get zapped. Not enough to kill, of course, but.

The fist is easily avoidable, a deft kind of jerk backwards from the one in front of him, and it looks real enough, muscles shifting beneath hs marked back, hands splaying in instinctive surprise and smile only widening a little as Gabriel works his hands back into fists in preperation to hit back. And so when the glowing shimmer of radioactive energy blasts hits him square in the chest, there should be a yowl of pain — and there isn't. His eyes widen, and his skin even seems to redden beneath the onslaught, but a moment later, he's disappearing.

Mystery solved — for both of them. In exactly the same moment, the one behind Luke hisses and flinches sideways — and from some angles, it seems as if he did get hit behind the denim of his right thigh, but does not stop moving from there. Twisting, there is nothing preternatural in the punch Gabriel swings for Luke's head, aiming to stun.

If you loose, you loose. Good words. "Good luck" Blondie purr's melting away with footsteps that are lost in the din and leaving Mel to root for Luke to win, even as he's scoring a hit on Gabriel with his ability and forcing the excess one to disappear.

"Bring down the kid!"




"Burn that motherfucker Luke!"

Melissa doesn't seem to pay much attention as the other blonde heads off. There are more interesting things to focus on. Luke's first attack and the disappearance of one of the Gabriels has her lips curving slightly. Her arms uncross, and hands slide into her back pockets, eyes glued to the fight.

Interesting. Cardinal draws back from the push of bodies and limbs, perhaps deciding he's had enough bruises for one night, and steps back to walk around the room, weaving through the less-thick crowd on his way to find somewhere better to use as a vantage point. Something - perhaps a flash of red scarf - catches his attention then, and ever so casually he moves into the space that 'blondie' just vacated. "Interesting fight," he murmurs casually to Melissa.
Luke whirls around when the one disappears and the other reacts to pain. The fist coming at him strikes a glancing blow due to Luke's movement, and Luke responds in kind with his own, a nice uppercut like are seen countless times on TV. "Doesn't matter how many clones you could make if they can't do anything." he sneers, confident in his victory now. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Gabriel's head whips to the side under the blow, body going with the momentum until his feet can plant down and regain balance some further distance away, but before he can get angry, Luke's comment writes a grin across his face. "That's true," he admits, voice a rasping, monotone thing of gravel, before he extends out a hand, a curl of spite tilting his grin. The massive BOOM that ensues seems to rattle the chainlink fence, temporarily drown out the cheers and ordinary conversation, and the air ripples, coneshaped, planting into Luke's chest.

It'll be enough force to send the younger man flying back to bounce off the opposite fence, Gabriel keeping his distance, knees slightly bent, body langauge one of anticipation. "Good thing I can do things," he notes, probably to no one interested in hearing him.

Another voice, another stranger, and Melissa reacts, at least initially, the same way with Cardinal that she did with Blondie. By looking him over. Then she shrugs a little and lets her gaze slide back to the fight. "Yeah, it is that. Haven't seen anyone make clones before. Handy little skill, that one."

And then Gabriel's bringing out his next trick, and that bit of memory that was elluding her before clicks into place and she frowns, staring at the stranger she's heard so much about. Then she nods slightly and murmurs, "Very handy." And suddenly she is a little worried about her upcoming fight. Not everyone will bow down to pain, after all.

"You haven't seen Gabriel fight before, I take it," Cardinal chuckles under his breath as he watches the fight, hands vanishing into the pockets of a jacket worn despite the heat down here, "There's no telling what his abilities are, or how many of them he's going to pull out. He's a one man army, and I mean that quite literally. I guess he felt nostalgic for the old days of the Pancratium."

Whoa, crap. Luke gets slammed into the fence, and he gapes at Gabriel for a second. Hey, that's not fair. It's kinda awesome, but totally not fair! Well if he's going to play rough, so will Luke. From all the way across the ring, his hand comes up, and he blasts his own energy at the guy, the energy flickering blue. What lights are in the place might end up exploding, however, if they're anywhere nearby. Not quite fatal force, but if he's hit with it, it'll be more than just a little pain.

Gabriel's back hits the fence as he reels back from the energy being emitted his way, one of the lights above them going POP! and raining sparks and glass, throwing one angle of the otherwise well lit arena into vaguer shadows. In the same motion, Gabriel's own hand comes up, swiping through the air, and Luke is forced to mirror the movement, muscles mimicking the motion and redirecting that beam of microwave energy out almost towards the crowd, gaining some shrieks and ducks.

Not unscathed, pain seems to write on Gabriel's expression, but it's a giddy, adrenalised kind, before his other hand raises as Luke is freed of that brief show of puppetry. They call this a dose of your own medicine, and a beam of that same microwave energy suddenly ripples through the air, searing up a path along the cage's ground as it swiftly beams towards Luke.

He'd say a pithy one liner here. Cool power. But he's concentrating now.

Turnabout is fair play as they say. What's good for the goose, is just as good for the gander as the incredible heat that is the two abilities go on in play in the caged area. No place it seems, is safe for anyone who wants to watch and one man is very vocal about how what he just felt raked across his person.


Twitchy is near Mel and Cardinal again, re-appeared from wherever it was that he came, easily moving through the crowd and weaseling his way to the pair. "Who's winning?" Spoken even with a twitch that makes his head jerk towards his shoulder.

With another glance to Cardinal, Melissa shakes her head. "First time I've seen him period." At least as far as she knows. Damn shapeshifters. As she goes back to watching, she asks, "How do you know so much about him? Or have you just followed his fights?" Uh oh, now she's thinking he's some silly Gabe-fan. Probably has autographed posters on his walls and everything.

When Luke's hand gets turned outward along with his energy, Melissa winces, even if she doesn't get fried. "Fucker. Keep that shit away from me," she mutters before glancing at Twitchy. "Why don't you look'n see for yourself?" she suggests.

"I've seen him in action a few times," Cardinal says with a shrug of one shoulder. It's even true, although it wasn't during his cage fighting days. He heard about those, but never saw them. "They've got another name for him, but it's probably not one I should bring up here…" A sidelong look to Twitchy, "…Gabriel, I think. I doubt this 'Nuke' kid could beat him on his best day."

Luke has his hand jerked away and aimed elsewhere, so he stops emitting the energy. Well, from his hand. But who says he needs to aim his hand to use his power? Well, that'll be for later. First, he's got this blast of his own energy coming his way, and he leaps to the side. He's accidentally zapped himself before, not fun. Now, however, he'd feel the need to apologize to everyone if he gave a damn, because now he simply emits energy in all directions, radiating it outwards with an attempt to hit Gabriel specifically, but he doesn't have much control over it this way. And since he doesn't give a damn, because he's not really a nice person, people will just have to deal with a little zapping. Maybe there's someone in the audience who specializes in pain who can help out? Heh. Yes, he saw you, lady.

Teeth showing in a grimace, Gabriel— suddenly passes through the cage, only really noticing as he begins to fall back into the buffer zone. Instinct takes over and hands come up to grip onto the wire, for all that once solid, said digits will start to blister under the onslaught of energy. It doesn't take too long, though, to yank himself back through, but phasing doesn't necessarily mean he's immune to the energy either, if less vulnerable than he was before he was entirely made of solid flesh.

In comparison to the show that's been going on, what comes next is not flashy at all — only Luke will know it, when a psychic push suddenly jars through his brain, shoving his consciousness out of his own body, which will, inevitably, collapse without anyone behind the controls, power use instantly dying. Something between an out of body experience and a telepathic tasering, Luke will only be dimly away that he's only just tethered to his own body, which lies limp on the ground.

But only for a few seconds, before his psychic self snaps back inside his physical one, dizzied and disoriented, eyes focusing enough to see Gabriel striding swiftly towards him, a kick aimed for his gut.

Cries of foul go up in the crowd by folks who have bet on Luke when Gabriel phases enough and finds himself outside the cage. Fights stay in the cage! Dirty cheater! Some people only claim this vocally, and no one seems to be coming forward to put and end to the fight since the upright evolved went back in and it seemed to be an accident. UNlike Luke's little spreading of the loving with his ability which causes more people to cry foul at him, angry faced and bellowing. Red faced too but that could be either from the yelling or the emissions that raked their skin.

Twitchy shoots a look to Melissa, left eye ticc'ing at her sharp rebuke, distantly hearing what Cardinal has told him. Hands settle into fists but tucks them in the pockets of his jeans and focuses on the fight in the cage.

"So you'd share somewhere el—" is as far as Melissa gets in her reply to Cardinal when Luke's energy hits the crowd and she makes an unhappy sound in her throat. Dammit Luke! Unfortunately, in order to help this big a crowd, she'd also have to help the two in the ring. It's hard to deliberately exclude only two of a crowd this size. So, alas, everyone suffers.

As that roll of pain goes through the crowd putting up some shouts, Cardinal's brow furrows in a slight wince. "Of course, if the crazy bastard gets himself disqualified, then he might actually lose this one," he murmurs under his breath, "He's certainly heading that way…"

Luke collapses to the ground as he's forced out of his own body. He can't do a thing about it, either, and nothing about the kick at his gut for that matter. He curls up into the fetal position as he's kicked, to at least attempt to minimize the hurt, and then he's scrambling to his feet gracelessly. Ok, that hurt, and what the hell is up with this guy, anyway? Well, all or nothing, now, because who knows what else this guy can do. As soon as he's gained his feet he lunges towards the guy, both hands coming up to blast at him just shy of lethal force, and he'll follow through with body slam too, provided the guy was still there when he gets to him.

As Luke rushes him, Gabriel's solid form promptly dissolves into shadow, flattening against the ground and abruptly rushing between Luke's legs. It happens swiftly, the mass of indistinct darkness taking form again of Gabriel belly down on the ground, twisting around with the tenacity of a cat with his legs scissored between Luke's ankles. With a grunt, both legs move as one to knock Luke's right leg out from under him, a small puppeted shove to encourage the tip of balance.

Luke's back sudden siezes up once he's spilled to the floor, and compulsively, he finds himself slamming his own skull down against the ground — once, twice, making the lights above him swim with dizziness as Gabriel gets to his feet, enough for blood to make tacky dampness through the young man's hair until Gabriel is certain there's no fight left in him.

In a crouch next to the sprawled competitor, Gabriel sends a scathing look to the M.C., as if to dare them not to call the fight ended.

Before he gets disqualified.

"Winner is Gabriel"

The MC shoots a look back to the midtown man daring him to keep going after the declared win. Two flying dragons, low men on totem poles likely, open the cage door and make their quick footed way in to start the job of helping get Luke up, get him out of the cage and back towards whatever corner of this basement serves as the makeshift infirmary. He is not the first to have been pummeled down here, nor will he be the last and the line for disqualification was pushed today.

But there are winners and losers abounding in the basement fighting ring and some will need some aloe to soothe the wounds on the skin, but nothing can be done for the wounds in the pockets where they hemorrhaged green on Luke the Nuke. There's a gesture for Gabriel to get out, go collect his winnings, sign back up if he wants to as well as forefinger and middle finger of the MC gesturing to his own eyes then to Gabriels. We are watching you.

"The next fight, coming up! First fighter is.." Someone runs in to clean up the floor of blood that leaked from Luke while another passes the piece of paper to the squat man. "Melissa!" She knows who she is. "And fighting against… Finney"

Twitchy steps forward, shedding his jacket, dropping it just outside the cage and stepping in.

Even though Melissa's been assured that Gabriel isn't the one who gave her the scar on her forehead, her mouth still tightens into a thin line, and her eyes narrow when he goes all dark and shadowy. It may not be quite the same, but it's close enough to have her absently rubbing at her head.

She doesn't look at all upset over losing her bet. As she said, if you lose you lose, and she got some useful information out of watching the fight anyway. Worth it. Totally. When her name is called she rolls first one shoulder, then the other, and then her lips twitch as 'Twitchy' heads on in, and she follows after and into the cage. Time for another learning experience.

As the woman beside him moves to step in, Cardinal's gaze hoods a bit as he looks after her, a private smile curving his lips at some inner thought. "Gotcha," he whispers, stepping back and around over towards the door of the cage also, hands tucked into his pockets as he waits for Gabriel to emerge, lingering somewhere that he's fairly obvious. As 'Twitchy' goes in, though, that brings a bemused look. Huh.

Luke lost, and then some. He might even have a concussion after this, because he definitely needs help from the two guys. Augh, that hurt. Luke spits out blood, and turns to blearily regard Gabriel with eyes that can't focus properly. He'll remember that guy, ohyes.

With the fight called to a close, Gabriel's head tips back on his neck, shoulders rolling to loosen some tension as he gets to his feet, meeting Luke's eyeing with a blank stare of his own, waiting for the loser to be escorted out before he bare footedly pads after him. To Luke's credit, Gabriel's departure from the cage seems both sore and tired — but one might expect with Great Power comes Great— Fatigue if you use it so liberally. His shoulder knocks into the edge of the fence door, tilting his balance, but this is the only show of weakness he allows for.

Up close, there are obvious burns from where Luke's power nicked him, a couple of bruises blossoming, but he's on his feet. Dark eyes scan over the immediate crowd, and familiarity has his attention snagging on Cardinal. A raise of an eyebrow is designed to communicate hello, as much as vague suspicion shows in the eyes just beneath.

It takes a few minutes, clean blood, usher people out. There's a few unhappy customers that stare at Gabriel and one looks like he just might do something, but remembers that this is Evo night and that the guy just wiped the floor of the cage with a teenager. THese minutes allow for the din of the room to increase as people yell to place their odds and be heard over others, as Finney kicks off his shoes and shirt, leaving himself just in jogging pants. Leans, scrawney, little to no fat. He looks like he belongs in some roadside motel with his mother a bloody shwoer curtain. Not standing on the cage floor, head twitching to the side now and then towards his shoulder.

"Fight!" Comes the order, when Mel's inside the cage too and settled, door closed and latched and people start to bellow for their chosen pick.

Melissa's smile fades when the order to fight comes. Or at least it mostly fades. Fingers extend and stretch, then curl into fists, which are kept loose by her side. And she begins to slowly circle while she eyes Finney, sizing him up. That doesn't last long too very long, though, before she's stepping in and going with a quick jab towards her opponent's face. Noses are good to hit. She knows that. It's one of the things she remembered from her one lesson on how to fight!

A smile tugs up a bit at the corner of Cardinal's lips as he's noticed, his chin raised up in a nod for the Midtown Man in return. A step closer and around a sneering, angry fight-watcher with a new tan across the side of his face brings him in closer, one gloved hand emerging from a pocket to gesture as he leans in to offer in tones that carry beneath the noise of the crowd, "Can a dead man buy a drink for another one?"

Those in the crowd that give him the evil eye more or less go ignored — eye contact that Gabriel does manage to snag only receive a cold and waiting look in return. But no one is trying anything, which is good, or else he might not be collecting any winnings at all. For now, he's only retrieving his shirt, allowing Cardinal to make his step close as Gabriel pulls on a wife-beater, a stretched thing of ashy grey that does little to hide his fresh injuries, or the tattoo crawling as far as his shoulders and nape.

"In theory, probably not," is dry humour, delivered over his shoulder as he pauses to watch the beginning of a fight, before turning enough to look Cardinal up and down as if to inspect just how alive the other man happens to be. "But if you're offering, I could go for a beer."

So close, Finney could probably feel the breeze as Mel's fist is tossed out towards his face in the opening move. He's young, maybe younger than her but not without his own experience on the streets. He brings his own fist close, swinging out and then in, an attempt to go for the ribs, lower ones and cause a little pain of his own. No hesitation on his part as there might be with others when it comes to a female. She signed up, she's here to fight. Throw the punch, try and rush her, unknowing of what her ability is and taking the chance that it's not something that is activated by contact.

"Get her done!" There's some redneck in the crowd with his own drink yelling, money on Finney, and somewhere in the crowd is the blonde haired woman, money down on Melissa in this fight and a mysterious grin on her face.

When Finney throws his punch, Melissa tries to jump to the other side, swinging her left hand down towards his wrist. No, her ability isn't activated by touch, but keeping a punch from her ribs, if even partially, is always a good thing. Her right fist comes up and is swung in a backhand towards his face, just as Mel does activate her ability, focusing it towards her opponent's head. In her experience, intense head pain can make it hard to concentrate, and a lack of concentration means a weak fight! Right?

"Since when'd you ever let something like theories keep you from doing something?" A bit of a smirk tugs up at the corner of Cardinal's lips, his head canting to one side towards the side where there's some cheap beer and liquor being sold - lubricating the crowd always helps with the bets, after all. Every casino in the world knows that.

Not checking to see if the man's following, he turns to work his way through the press of bodies over that way, wincing as he takes another shove against his already bruised side. He's gotten rusty at actually avoiding people in crowds, after so long without a body.

On the bright side, he just scored someone's wallet. That'll pay for drinks.

Gabriel trails after Cardinal through the crowd, slowing because he keeps glancing back towards the fight, ever hungry, ever fascinated — and maybe, in a similar if very different way that Melissa recognised him, Gabriel recognises her, enough for a cattishly small smile to quirk at the corners of his mouth before he focuses on not losing the path through the crowd that Cardinal is already cutting.

Carrying with him the scent of singed flesh and sweat, as well as an earthier, damp smell that comes from living out in the corners of New York, the dense Greenbelt of Staten Island, Gabriel could almost be a shy companion as he stops by the bar, nodding once when drinks are confirmed and asked for.

"I take it you're more of a betting man than a showpony," he says, with a tilt of his head, cagewards.

Finney stretches away from the backhand even as it lands, body, head, arms extending, stretching quickly, absorbing the impact even as he cries out from the pain that Melissa's focuses on his head. Finney's ability revealed to the public at large in the basement. Her other hand is encoiled when she tries to deflect the hit, not by a hand but by his other arm, wrapping around it a few times and tightly, before his hand and fingers grip her wrist and use his improved grip on her arm to swing her around, pivoting on one foot and trying to whip her into the cage face first.

A faint smirk shows on Melissa's lips when Finney cries out. Score! Of course she wasn't expecting rubber man, and the smirk quickly changes to a grimace as she's flung towards the cage and hits with a soft grunt of pain. She keeps up the pain on Finney though, bumping it up a notch. It's at least a level 6 now. But even while she keeps part of her focus on using her ability, she grabs the cage in front of her, using it for balace as she kicks out and back towards Finney.

A beer in hand, Cardinal leans his shoulder against the wall and gestures with the cheap cup towards the wearied form of the Midtown Man, admitting as he makes the movement, "I know where my strengths lie, and they're not in a fair fight." If one can call any fight against Gabriel fair, of course, which is certainly an arguable point.

The man's dark gaze sweeps back to the cage, starting to speak - pausing as the crowd roars out when Finney's ability is revealed - and once it goes back down to a dull roar he asks, "Yourself? Getting back to… basics, as it were?"

Fair fight gets a silent kind of smirk from Gabriel, understated, as he takes the beer with only a minor nod of thanks. Resting his back against the wall, both hands up to cage around the plastic cup, he studies the fight going down with vague interest, expression neutral but eyes sharp. For a second, they regard the crowd more than the cage, looking for something, before he gives up and continues watching the fight. "Need to pay the bills," he states, simply — and it's probably not untruthful for all that he doesn't have actual bills to handle or anything. "And something to do."

The pain is having the opposite reaction that Melissa intends. It doesn't distract him, doens't make him falter in his movements or relinquish his strange grip on her. If anything, it angers him, infuriates the man who who lets her foot hit him, leg immediately wrapping around hers pulls it back to off balance her and to throw his weight on top of her and drive her down into the ground with a snarl and a "Bitch!" Bellowed from his lungs. His other arm snaking around her neck, looking to be going for a choke hold. Only Mel can see the crazy in his eye's right now.

Eyes narrow at that crazy. This is just a fight for money, after all. But Mel isn't one to give up that easily. While he's going for a choke hold, Melissa's hands are coming up, one for his throat, the other for his face. Choking him may not do anything given Finney's stretchy nature, but no one likes a thumb in the eye or nails down their face! Yes, she's fighting like a girl. But she is a girl, dammit!

"I can't believe that you can't find anything to do," Cardinal replies in dubious tones, slanting a sidelong look back towards Gabriel. Cheap beer wets his tongue, his throat, and he moves the cup vaguely towards him, "I would've thought you'd be neck-deep in… things… these days." Wry, "You don't seem like the retiring type, Gabriel."

A soft snort in reply to that is more directed into his beer as he's taking a sip at the time, unshaven throat working around a deep draw of the brew before he casts a sidelong look at Cardinal. "Sure," Gabriel says, back of his hand used to wipe his mouth free of the liquid gathering at the corners, across the top of his lip. The fight fades to the background temporarily as he focuses on Richard. "Maybe tonight is my night off from being neck deep in things. We all have problems, you know? How's your second chance treating you?"

Like the loops of a python, round and round his arm goes, tightening as it does, the man intent on choking her and not seeming to be willing to let up. Mel's fingers dig in, gouge at his eye sockets and elicit a scream once more from him,

"I'm going to kill you you bitch" Bellowed as the octopus like grip he has on her one hand is released to clamp against his eye, the compounding pain from her ability, the scrapes down his cheek. Mel's drawn first blood and the crowd loves it, but a few others are suddenly a bit more attentive with the words that fall out of his mouth and he intensifies his grip around her throat, intending to do just what he yelled.

It's not easy to talk, much less to call out with Finney choking her, but Melissa sure tries, and even manages, sort of, after a time or two. "Get this…crazy fuck…off me!" It's more gasped than yelled, but the words get out as Melissa does her best to cause as much damage and pain as she possibly can.

Her ability is amped up more, the pain as intense as she can possibly get it, and while the hand on his throat tightens as much as humanly possible, the other works at his face still. Nails and fingers claw and jab harshly at anything she can reach while she struggles for breath. If this guy kills her, she's gonna be pissed.

"I can't complain," Cardinal admits— wincing a bit as the fight goes down to face-clawing and choking— gaze dropping as he shakes his head a little, "Not bad at all, actually. I'm thinking of opening up a security business, actually. Maybe I'll try going legit for awhile, see how that pans out…" Then there's that bellow, and he trails off, frowning as he straightens, "…uh oh. This could be trouble."

"Don't make promises you can't keep," is Gabriel's only suggestion, when it comes to the sentiment of going legit, but now the fight does have his attention, keen interest in the possible death being played out in front of him. His head tips to one side as he watches the woman struggle in the preternatural grasp of her contender, considering, before he— takes another sip of beer, lowers the cup to splash what's left of it around within his cup, and tells Cardinal, "Maybe they'll let me have the left overs."

He smiles. Just joking, man. "Do you know her?" is an abrupt, almost pointed question, but cushioned with polite query even as Melissa yells for someone to break up the brawl.

Mel's demanding help, they'll take that as a tapping out, and anyways, they have no desire to figure out what to do with a dead body. There's no crazy irishman anywhere who can eat anything to get rid of evidence. The cage door is wrestled opened, boo's accompanying cheers, really, it's a very mixed crowd. But Mel's ability seems to finally overwhelm the man who's glued around her like some Python as she gets a gulp of fresh - in as much as the air down here could be considered fresh - air when he lets go. Rolling off of her and into the path of the employee's of the fighting ring. Hands to his head, screaming about killing that bitch and bellowing about the pain, hands to either side of his head while he's dragged out.

No winner.


When the pressure is gone from Melissa's throat she lays there for a moment, just sucking in great big gulps of sweet, sweet air, and glaring at Finney. But she lets the pain die…after a moment, anyway. "Fuckin' crazy bastard," she mutters as she starts to push herself to her feet, rubbing lightly at her throat, ignoring the faint lines from where she hit the cage with her face.

At that casual comment, Cardinal gives Gabriel a flat sort of look. Not a very funny joke, apparently. "Only by reputation," he admits as he gestures to what can be seen of the woman before she drops down and out of view from where they're talking to gulp in some fresh breaths, "Not personally." The cup's brought back to his lips, and he takes a sip before looking towards Gabriel with a smirk.

"Never made any promises. Like you said, though, a man's gotta pay the bills."

Rather than take note of whether Melissa is recovering, Gabriel's attention tracks where the crazed Evolved is being dragged away, but for all that he may be paying the attention that a dog may pay to a bone, he isn't pursuing, just stays where he is and finishes his beer in one last, deep gulp. The cup crumples up in his hands, tossed to one side. "I need to go get my cheque," he states, a little wry — more like greasy handfuls of paper money, but potayto potahto. "Maybe by the time I see you, you'll have your business up and running."

Annoyed, Melissa heads out of the cage, letting her hand drop from her throat. She glances around, looking for the few faces she knows. Luke's gone to wherever, and Cardinal she doesn't really know, but she eyes Gabriel for a moment while she debates what to do next.

"I'll probably see you first," Cardinal ripostes, raising up his cup in an absent salute to Gabriel, "Give my best to everyone, mm?" Then he takes a swig of the beer, leaning himself back against the wall once more to make himself comfortable.

Pushing off from his stop by Cardinal, Gabriel is wiping his brow with the back of his hand, eyes comfortably shutting even as he's forced to bump through the crowd as a result, and by the time eyes are opened, Melissa is headed out of the cage. The smile he shines towards her is certainly sincere, a little compulsive — and a little jackal, a displaying of teeth as opposed to friendliness. It's probably too familiar, from a man she only knows as a vague footnote in her shared history of New York, but there it is.

Rather than approach, he does as he said he'd do — slips through the crowd to go find the bookies in charge of his winnings.

The smile from Gabriel has Melissa's brows arching, and it's returned by a simple nod. She's got nothing against him, not really. After that nod she watches him for a moment, glances to Cardinal. It's a curiosity. But then she's heading for the exit. She has no winnings to collect, and she needs someplace quiet to lick her wounds. I.E., have a nice, big, alcoholic drink.

A wink's offered back to that glance, and then Cardinal's finishing off his own drink and moving to head through the crowd as it mills about. People to see, things to do, after all…

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