Night Of The Hunter


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Scene Title Night Of The Hunter
Synopsis After meeting with Kaylee, Cecilia Weiss faces a harrowing night.
Date May 5, 2021

The soft murmur of trickling water from a natural stone fountain is a pleasant white noise within the sprawling expanse of an executive-level hotel suite overlooking Yamagato Park. It nearly masks the sound of the elevator doors that open directly to the hotel room, and the sound of footsteps as Cecilia Weiss and her attaché Henry Hunter’s arrival.

“Fancy cane,” Hunter offers with a look down at the cane Cecilia now walks with. She offers him a somewhat languid look, turning a pink-eyed stare up at him. “What?” He cracks a smile and shrugs, stepping ahead of her into the room.

“It’s clear,” Hunter says as he walks past the fountain, looking into the lounge. “You want me to set up your party favors on the chair?”

“If you would be so kind,” Cecilia says, her tone distracted as she considers the cane she now carries. She carries the cane into the lounge behind Hunter, then lays it across the sofa. Hunter, meanwhile, retrieves the smart glasses and Awasu from the case Kaylee had handed over, placing them on the arm of the chair.

“What d’you think this is all about?” Hunter asks with a glance down to the hardware. “Seems a little too cloak and dagger for my liking.”

Cecilia snorts and looks over at him with one brow raised. Hunter just grimaces and shrugs, then theatrically bows and gestures to the chair. “As milady wishes,” he snarks, eliciting another huff of laughter from Cecilia as she settles down into the chair.

“If something goes wrong…” Cecilia starts to say, but Hunter doesn’t let her finish the sentence.

“Kill everyone until it goes right,” he says with a laugh.

Cecilia does not correct him.

Executive Suite
Grand Ryokan Hotel
Yamagato Park

May 5th
6:44 pm

Cecilia unfolds the arms of the smart glasses and slides them on. Then powers up the Awasu that came with them. Immediately, a notification flashes in her peripheral vision.

1 New Message

With a flick of her eyes, Cecilia instructs the glasses to display the message.

Hello, Cecilia Weiss.


There’s nothing flashy. No demanding voice of someone who thinks they’re the big fish in this pond that’s slow to expand. Just the text and a sense that the voice behind it — if there were to be any sort of voice — is a light and conversational one.

I’m sorry I’ve not been able to make time to greet you properly until now. I hope you’re enjoying the New York City Safe Zone.

“Cut to the chase,” Cecilia says, her tone firm and cold in contrast to the inferred one of the messenger. The smart glasses track her eye movement, the look she gives Hunter who slips out of the lounge to do a sweep of the suite. When her attention locks back on the displayed text, there’s more urgency behind Cecilia’s voice. “Who are you and what do you want?”

I am T1SIPHONE, but concede that T1 is simpler. I have an interest in making sure your exit from Yamagato Park and the Safe Zone is as uneventful as your arrival.

From Cecilia’s periphery, she can just make out the form of a woman made of letters and numbers, an impassive face, but eyes that seem to hold a smile. Even if that smile feels a bit like the kind a mother wears in the presence of a child she doesn’t want to know is causing her to smile at their antics.

I hope you’re packed and ready, Cecilia Weiss, because you haven’t much time.

Hunter.” Cecilia says with a warning timber in her voice. She slides off the lounge chair and tucks the Awasu into her breast pocket. She quickly glances to the enormous windows to her right, quickly stepping out of direct line of sight to put her back against a solid wall.

“I’m listening, Tisiphone.” Cecilia says, threading a lock of white hair behind one ear. The smart glasses track her eyes, locked now on the cane laid across the couch on the other side of the room.


This proclamation is followed by “silence” on T1SIPHONE’s end. It stretches on for an unnervingly long length until words suddenly spring to life again in front of Cecilia’s eyes.

I’ve just confirmed an agent en route to your location. While it would be simple enough to dispatch them, more will come, and they will be far less relenting.
Spinning the wheel to see who or what you will be matched with next is not a course of action I can recommend.

The woman that’s not a woman flashes again in the corner, her head tipping in consideration this time.

Take the things important to you.

A reticule sweeps Cecilia’s vision, zeroing in on the cane. It contracts to a single pinpoint of purple light which then forms an outline around the object of Kazimir Volken’s legacy.

Cecilia moves quickly out of the chair, breezing to the couch to swipe the cane up into her hand and in the same fluid motion crosses into the next room and presses her back up against an interior wall. Hunter is nowhere to be found, but she doesn’t seem distressed by that judging from the slow, calm pace of her breathing.

Without looking, Cecilia guides her thumb to a familiar release on the neck of the cane, and she separates the wolf’s head from the shaft and stares at the gleaming blade between, then snaps it shut again. “I presume you will be supplying me with an exit?” Cecilia asks, adjusting the glasses on the bridge of her nose.

Directing you, yes. You have 48 seconds to make your way out of your suite and to the eastern stairwell before the service elevators open. Send two of your security detail down the express elevator.
You must activate the call button.
Have one of yours disembark after two floors and send the second to the lobby.
Your attaché should hurry.


The Yamagato Building

Elsewhere in Yamagato Park, Kaydence Lee Damaris sits at her desk, her back regrettably turned toward the view in favor of monitoring a rotation of security camera feeds. “Major,” she says after tapping a button on her console to open the secure line between herself and her agent. There are no cameras inside of the service elevator shaft to inform her of Housen’s progress, after all.

“How’s your climb coming?”


A Few Floors Below

The report of boots on metal rungs reverberates through the confines of a concrete-walled elevator shaft. Aoi Housen pauses halfway up the shaft, pressing two fingers to a contact plate adhesed to the side of her throat, activating the subvocal microphone’s push to talk function.

“Clear. Two floors to go.” Aoi says with a grunt of effort, returning to her climb. She pauses a second later to repeat the process, asking, “Do you have eye on the target?”

In the dark, Aoi looks like little more than a splash of ink against the concrete. Her bodysuit is coated in an infra-red absorbing matte black paint that makes her blend in to low-light environments. The bare sliver of her throat visible from where her facemask has ridden up a little pops like the white on a zebra in the dark.

“Is she stationary?”

«Cameras show target and attachment arrived as expected. Nothing since then.» Kay’s voice carries clearly, despite the amount of concrete, metal, and space between them.


Cecilia’s Suite

Another message appears in front of Cecilia Weiss’ eyes.

Please initiate your egress. There will be a momentary lapse in our communications as your device finds another node. Please be patient.

The text winks out, leaving only the generic HUD provided by the Awasu.

Brushing a lock of hair out of her face, Cecilia moves at a right angle to keep herself out of line of sight to the suite’s massive windows. She retrieves her cell phone from an end table and quickly composes a message to her security detail in the adjacent suite.

Express elevator. Now. Select the lobby and two floors below us. One of you get out on each. No questions.

Cecilia doesn’t wait for a response as she continues weaving her way through the suite, coming up on Hunter standing in the kitchenette. When she had called out to him earlier, he’d already started preparing for the worst. He has a black duffel bag hoisted over one shoulder and is throwing cash and passports into another.


The Yamagato Building

Kay places her hand flat on the glass console in front of her, resisting the urge to restlessly tap her fingers against its surface as she waits for Housen to make her summit. She watches the feed, glancing ever so briefly to other screens before landing back on the executive floor again.



Cecilia’s Suite

“Good to go,” Hunter says with a look to Cecilia, zipping the bag of cash up. Cecilia nods and looks to the door to the suite. Hunter follows her line of sight. “Where to, Boss?”

Cecilia looks down at the cane in her hand, then to the spinning idle indicator on her glasses. She realizes the answer she has to give. The one route T1 hadn’t directed her to.



Not Far Below

Aoi rapidly ascends the interior of the elevator shaft by the emergency elevator, unspooling a tether of matte black rope from a satchel at her back as she does. She loops the lifeline onto one of the rings, ties a tight and fast knot, then continues to climb. Below her, the express elevator shaft yawns like an abyss.

But then—

A groan from above. Electric motors whirr, Aoi hisses sharply and depresses her subvocal communicator. “Elevator!


She leaps off of the ladder, swings to the nearest pair of shut doors and looks up to see the express elevator beginning to descend. She unsheaths a fixed blade from her belt and wedges it between the shut doors, then wrenches them open and rolls into the landing beyond. It’s only then that she remembers the lifeline, and Aoi quickly saws through the tether just in time for the express elevator to descend past the open doors. She collapses onto one knee, breathing heavy behind her mask.

Kuso,” she curses, then depresses her subvocal mic again. “Where is that elevator going? Is the target inside?”

«Cameras show no activity, but biometrics show that target called the car,» Kay’s voice confirms inside Aoi’s helmet, voice laced with annoyance. She can hear the elevator stop below where she was forced to abandon her climb.


The Yamagato Building

Kay straightens in her chair when she spots a large man in a suit disembark from the elevator on the lower level. “I’ve got movement on the next floor down.” Unseen by her agent, her brow creases with concern. The handler’s playfulness doesn’t exist with this agent. No Stump Chunkman or Crud Bonemeal references here. “No eyes on the target yet.” The camera showing the executive floor remains infuriatingly the same. Just an empty hallway. Gritting her teeth, she’s forced to admit, “I think the feed’s been hacked. I haven’t seen anyone exit the suite,” but clearly they did. Looking down at the console, her fingers clench, nostrils flaring.

“Next stop is the lobby.”


Eastern Stairwell

Even in a hotel this nice, there’s a distinct temperature shift between the hallways meant to be inhabited by the guests and the stairwells meant for emergencies. And if the evacuation of the target of Yamagato Industries’ ire isn’t an emergency, then what is? There’s insufficient airflow, which makes the space stifling. The concrete walls make it feel suffocating.

I hope you aren’t claustrophobic, Cecila Weiss.

The cheerful tone of T1’s text pops back into view.

I perhaps should have confirmed before sending you in this direction.
You’ve begun your ascent.

It’s a good thing that the distance between Weiss and Hunter and the promised egress is a short one. If anyone were to enter the well, they would hear their steps echoing as they made their way upward.

Your pursuer was nearly killed in the elevator shaft.
Unfortunately, nearly isn’t enough to deter them from the chase. You will need to proceed to the roof.

When they arrive, they find the door does not budge.


Grand Ryokan Hallway

«I’m attempting to cycle the cameras. I maintain control of video on all other floors.» Unless Kay has been fed a very convincing loop on tape. «There’s nowhere for the target to go but down.» There’s the barest hint of wry amusement in the southerner’s voice as she delivers her next instruction. «So, go catch a ride.»

Aoi narrows her eyes, looking down the hall to the stairwell access, then to the elevator shaft she just exited. She stands, unclipping the emergency tether from her belt, presses forward toward the elevator shaft on the ball of her foot, and then momentarily tenses. She unclasps a mechanical rope-runner from her belt and steps into the open shaft door, leaning out to grab the center cables.


Eastern Stairwell

Fuck!” Cecilia hisses at the door, tugging on the handle. She pivots, looking to Hunter. “It’s locked.”

“Fairy godmother didn’t mention that?” Hunter quips, taking a step forward toward the door. He motions with two fingers for Cecilia to step aside and she does, watching the stairwell at their back.


Grand Ryokan Hallway

A thunderous crash shakes the hotel, and Aoi nearly tumbles into the elevator shaft from the disturbance. She grabs the edge of the door frame, losing her rope runner to the void. It spirals out of sight, clattering off the elevator shaft walls. Aoi turns toward the sound that came from her back, looking at the doorway to the eastern stairwell.

What the fuck was that!?” Aoi hisses into her mic.

«I was about to ask you the same thing.»


Eastern Stairwell

Please thank your attaché for confirming a theory I had about his dedication.

The ASCII woman appears fleetingly again in the periphery of Cecilia’s bespectacled vision. This time, she looks less whimsical and considerably less impressed. Maybe’s Hunter’s humor didn’t land with her.

If you have finished alerting the assassin to your location, you may continue to the rooftop. Your way is now clear.

The opened doorway leads up one more half-flight of stairs to an electrical room, then out to the roof itself, where the wind catches hair and hem alike. At first, this appears to be no exit at all.

I should have confirmed any acrophobia as well.
I expect your desire to continue living will conquer any fear you may have of this.

Although she may be incrementally becoming infuriating, T1 does seem to be making good on her promise. There’s a scan in the dark that highlights the handles of a ladder, illuminating them purple in Cecilia’s vision.

It isn’t the height one should fear, anyway.

The fire escape shouldn’t be precarious, of course, given the building’s new construction, and the reputation behind it. Still, it is a long, long way from up here, to the street level, and whatever may wait there.

It’s the fall.


The Hallway

«Noise sensors in the building indicate the origin as the stairwell, east side. I don’t have confirmation if the disturbance is above or below your current location. Figure it out.»

Aoi rankles behind her mask, springs into action and rushes toward the stairwell door. She hits it with her shoulder and rolls into the hallway. Noise of clattering metal echoing from above is the only indication she needs as she begins running up the stairs.


Eastern Stairwell

Cecilia squints at the message in her glasses, striding through the open door out onto the rain-slicked roof. The wind is blowing hard and the sky is a field of starless black. Hunter follows quickly at her back, checking over his shoulder for a moment as Cecilia moves to the stairwell.

“What is it?” She asks him, and Hunter reaches up to loosen his tie.

“Go,” Hunter says, not sure where T1 is leading Cecilia. “I’ll cover your exit. Meet you later.” Cecilia tenses up, glancing to the rooftop security cameras, then back to Hunter. “I’ll be fine.

Cecilia grimaces. That isn’t what she’s worried about, but she turns her back on him regardless. “Am I to descend to the ground level?” Cecilia asks the air, moving to the edge of the roof.

That's correct, Cecilia Weiss. There is a car waiting for you in the employee parking zone. A red sedan.
Please take care on your descent.

She pauses at the landing to the fire escape, and as she’s about to descend she spots a black shape lunge forward out of the stairwell door across the roof. Cecilia braces, gripping her cane tightly in both hands, unfastening the blade from the sheathe. She draws it out in a single, swift motion and watches as Hunter interposes himself between the two with the speed of a bullet.

Aoi Housen isn’t prepared to collide with Hunter and the two tumble and roll to the ground. She’s spry, quicker on her feet, and instead of moving away leaps on top of him as electricity wracks her hands. Sparks dance in the rain, lightning arcs off her arms, and Aoi throws her hands down and grabs Hunter by the head and sends tens of thousands of volts of electricity through him.

Cecilia’s eyes widen, blue light flares on the roof of the building. It looks like a transformer explosion from a distance. Sounds like one too.

Hunter is unphased.

He throws Aoi off of him like a ragdoll, sending her wheeling through the air and skidding across the roof. She slides, skidding to her feet and then withdraws a knife. Her eyes track to the side, spotting Cecilia, and she launches a bolt of lightning out of her hand that—

—is redirected to Hunter’s palm. The curving bolt crackles in Hunter’s hand, sputters, and fades out. Aoi stares at him as he rises to his feet, silent in confusion. Cecilia, with a smirk, steps down onto the fire escape and out of sight.

That was unexpected. I will have to reassess my opinion of Mr. Hunter.

“You know,” Hunter says over the wind and the rain, continuing to loosen his necktie as he slowly advances on Aoi, “you’re actually really lucky. I already have—”

Clink, clink, clink.


The Yamagato Building

Kay watches the rooftop feed, filled with anxiety. The rain makes it a little difficult to see compared to clear skies, but security within the park is state of the art, and that means things look better than they otherwise might on footage in the Safe Zone.

Leaning forward, she watches a canister roll to Hunter’s feet, then erupt in a plume of mustard-colored gas. The canister spins wildly and the negation gas blooms into a short-lived mushroom cloud on the roof before being dispersed by the wind and rain. The cloud swirls slowly, and when it disperses Henry Hunter isn’t there at all.

Someone else is.

A strangled sound of horror leaves Director Damaris when she sees who remains. "Housen!"


Grand Ryokan Rooftop


“Well, this is embarrassing.” Samson Gray says, spreading his hands slowly.

«—sen!» The comm crackles to life as Aoi's handler hands down new orders. «Abort! I repeat: Abort! Get the fuck out of there!»

Neither of them signed on for this.

Without realizing her fortune, without realizing that in this moment Samson Gray is vulnerable, Aoi does exactly as ordered—as she would have done if the orders were different—and pivots on a heel and runs as fast as she can toward the edge of the roof away from Samson.

She doesn’t notice when Samson reaches out and tries to yank her back with an unseen hand, only to come up empty. Samson looks at his fingers, then watches as Aoi vaults over the edge of the roof, landing one story down on the slanted rooftop bearing the hotel’s solar panels. She slides down the sheer surface, slips off the tier and then crashes down onto another. Each time she tries digging in to the panels with her knife and each time it skips off the reinforced surface.

Finally, as she careens toward the edge of the last solar array her knife wedges itself between two panels and Aoi is left dangling from the side of the building, legs kicking in the wind and rain sheeting off of her body.

Up on the roof, Samson Gray flexes his hands open and closed. Then grunts and turns for the fire escape, hurrying to catch up with Cecilia.


The Yamagato Building

Kaydence watches Aoi pull herself up onto that last row of solar panels, breathing sharply as she does. The bio-monitors in her stealth suit are showing bone damage in her ribs, internal bleeding, high blood pressure. She’ll live, but she got the shit kicked out of her. But, remarkably, she’ll live.

In another screen Kay can see Cecilia making her way down the fire escape. No further impediments between her and the ground, and Samson moving to catch back up just a floor above her.


Samson fucking Gray.

She's still frozen at her desk, staring at the monitors on her agent, watching signs of life. "Holy shit," she whispers to herself. Her hands are shaking when she presses down on the console again. "Pursuit has been broken off. You're in the clear." Aoi Housen lives another day, another chance to see her child. "I'm sending medical to your location."

Taking her hand off the console again, she leans back in her chair and stares at the ceiling, catching her breath.

"Samson fucking Gray."

This complicates things. Explaining this to Hayate is going to be a problem.


Grand Ryokan Employee Parking

In the dark and the rain, the cars are almost indistinguishable from one another. Helpfully, T1SIPHONE limns the correct one in her trademark shade of purple.

Your chariot awaits.

Helpfully, the car chirps as Cecilia and her Hunter approach.

This is where you and I part ways. If you proceed to Raytech Industries, you will find an escort waiting to assist you further on your journey home.
You may wish to keep your attachment out of sight. I can't control the video surveillance feeds once you're out of Yamagato Park.
You keep very interesting company, Cecilia Weiss.

Cecilia, having sheathed her sword cane on the way down the fire escape, casts an askance look to Samson. “I’ll meet back up with you,” she says, taking the glasses off and handing them to him. Samson turns them over in his hand, then folds the arms closed and tucks them in his pocket. “I want to see where this ride ends.”

Samson nods, then waits for Cecilia to duck into the car before shutting the door. By the time the vehicle is pulling away, all that is left of Samson is a swirling cloud of muddy smoke, clinging close to the ground, and slithering out of sight.


The Yamagato Building

Kay releases the white knuckle grip on the burner phone in her pocket. "Travel safe…" She watches the confirmation of Housen's medevac light up on her console.

"You got very lucky."

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