marlowe_icon.gif ignacio_icon.gif

Scene Title Scutum
Synopsis The goon squad of a certain illegal fighting operation get more than they bargained for.
Date August 30, 2019

Red Hook

“You’re sure it’s this guy? We’ve been watching him all week and he hasn’t used his ability once.”

At least that’s what’s intended. It’s said around a mouthful of a meatball sub, so about half of it is clear, but the other two people in the car are used to deciphering. One shrugs. The other nods.

“Sure. Nothing’s happened to him that he’s needed to use it. It’s not like if he had teleportation or super speed or, hell, that one where you can walk through walls. Those you’d use all the time, if you had ‘em,” the man in the driver seat says, wiping his own mouth and crumpling up the paper now he’s finished his own sandwich.

The woman in the backseat shrugs. “I don’t know. The photos are pretty generic looking. It’s like trying to match someone to a police sketch. It’s probably him.”

She doesn’t sound convinced, but suddenly leans forward to point at the storefront, where their target is flipping the sign to closed/cerrado and locking up — from outside of the shop.

“He’s heading out. Time to roll.”

Nacho is, indeed, heading out. And not using his ability, because, well…yeah. He’s wearing headphones and bopping along to whatever he’s listening to, so he isn’t paying a whole lot of attention. “Me miras y te miro,” he’s singing under his breath, “y nos quedamos mirando…


He finishes locking up, glancing around cursorily before he starts walking in the direction of the market, his hands sliding into his pockets.

The street is particularly dark tonight, with none of the street lamps adding their ambient orange-tungsten glow. Courtesy of Meatball Man, who broke all their bulbs the night before. He doesn’t have an ability, but he has a good arm and a good aim, and rocks work wonders for breaking glass.

The music helps to aid their quiet approach. The sound of car doors closing, three of them, might draw a curious eye otherwise. But the merengue in his headphones muffles those as well as the quiet footfalls of the three coming up behind him.

There’s a quiet whizz as the woman shoots a negation dart at him — not accounting for his happy feet that suddenly make him move to the left a step or two, unable to keep from moving to the beat of the tambora inside his head.

The dart hits the sleeve of his leather jacket before clattering to the ground in front of him. Nacho turns, seeing the three shadows. His hands come up…

… as does a bluish-white transparent wall — that the first of the men runs into, falling back into his two comrades.

”Que mierda?!”

Nacho stumbles back after that wall is flung up, his eyes wide and staring at it with almost as much shock as at the people who are suddenly shooting at him. Well, shooting darts at him. That’s still not very polite! “Who the fuck are you!” he yells, though his voice is a little unsteady, and it manifests itself further, unfortunately, in a little crackling in the wall, as though it’s an old TV that’s suddenly on the fritz. His eyes snap to it then, instead, and he holds up a hand in what’s pretty obviously an experimental fashion, before it stabilizes again. “Holy shit!

The trio are scrambling to their feet, eyes wide. “What the fuck, this guy’s supposed to be a matter mimic!” the driver says, pulling out his own gun — this one a taser.

“I told you it wasn’t him,” says the meatball-sub eater, sizing up the wall. He reaches out to touch it — it’s solid, or seems to be. “You’re not gonna tase him through that, dumbshit.”

The woman, a petite but muscular blond with cropped hair, walks along the wall, one hand sliding across its surface — until it doesn’t. She’s found the end of it. Her free hand lifts the dart gun to shoot again, this time aiming for the core of Ignacio’s body.

Nacho is too freaked out even to run. He has no clue what is happening on any level, that much is clear, though that wall that he’s apparently controlling — somehow — gives him just enough time to see the next dart coming. He throws up a hand again sort of wildly, and it does create another one, but he’s missed his aim and the dart clips the edge of it instead of getting blocked fully. It ricochets into his other arm, and he lets out a little cry of pain mingled with anger.

The failed field disappears, and he flings his other arm up again, this time creating one behind his attackers. That’s not helpful. “We don’t all look the same,” he says, his voice starting to slur a little bit. He’s not going to get knocked out immediately with the dart going in there, but he will probably succumb in another half a minute. “Maybe stop being racist.” He tries another force field, but this one appears in midair above them, hovering there a few seconds before it crashes down to the ground and dissipates, but not before throwing some debris at Meatball Sub Guy.

“The fuck,” mutters the woman, her taser coming out next as she aims it at the man. The sound of something invisible crashing behind them draws her attention that way, just in time to see her fellow goon squad hitting with some rubble and dust from the fallen forcefield — that she can’t see.

“The boss is gonna be pissed,” mutters the driver. “How many Ignacio Rodriguezes can live in Red Hook? That are powered?”

The answer to that is obviously more than one.

“Whatever, he’ll do… maybe even better,” adds the blonde as she watches Nacho for signs he’s going to attack — but the tranquilizer is mixed with adynomine, so if he even can use his ability to get another wall up, it probably won’t last long.

It happens to everyone, sometimes.

“Not if he can’t use it better than this. She needs to win this one,” Meatball supplies, dusting off his dirty black jeans.

Nacho does try to get another one up — to block, shield, drop on their heads, anything — but it doesn’t happen. Hey, it’s his first day with this, cut him some slack. However, he isn’t so far gone that he doesn’t hear those last few words, and when he does he just starts laughing. It’s slow laughter, and he’s having trouble keeping his eyes open, but when he speaks he can still be understood. “Thanks for helping me become the best me I can be,” he manages to get out, before he slumps down onto the sidewalk, unconscious.

Yamagato Park and Bay Ridge

With the weather warm and the summer days lasting well into the nights, the checkpoint out and into Yamagato Park stretches a little farther than usual. Of course, it’s an efficient, well-oiled machine at this point, so it moves forward at a steady clip. Exiting is faster than entry of course.

At least it gives ample time for checking her social media apps and sending a message or two.

Eventually Marlowe’s made her way to the front where her ID is scanned and she’s given a warm and friendly nod by the attendant. “良い晩を,” is chirped from the young woman, as she passes back the badge.

And as simple as that, Marlowe is in a different country, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, United States of America.

It hasn't been unusual for the Marlowe to go out to the worksites in order to meet with project managers and discuss with overseers on the progress of the Safe Zone reconstruction. She's particularly hands-on, not just given her ability but also her nature. Hopefully it's an appreciated perk of the new boss and not an annoying one. But tonight, she's going out for the sake of a casual meet up, relaxing with friends. In an entirely other country, politically speaking, but that's become a bit of an in-joke by now. She smiles back at the checkpoint worker, tipping her head down in a customary nod and making her way into the USA.

With Bay Ridge serving as the hub of Safe Zone public transport, she walks at a brisk and steady pace towards the nearby bus stop. Phone still in hand, she's sending off an email as she waits some more. Just enough time for a quick selfie against the quiet beauty of decidedly New York style architecture and warm summer weather.

The closest bus stop to Yamagato’s a busy one, especially for the last bus of the evening. Anyone who misses this one will have to find a driver or start walking. When it pulls up, a dozen people pile out in the usual mix of Yamagato residents returning home and visitors from the Safe Zone.

Once those exiting the vehicle are off, it’s on to the bus. A trio of young adults,, one wearing a Brooklyn College sweatshirt, head to the back, music bleeding out of one of their headphones. A serious looking man in a hoodie waits for the women at the bus stop to enter first, giving a nod to each, before he ascends the steps. An elderly couple, the woman using a walker, take a few moments — the bus driver takes those same moments to put a bit of lipstick on and unwrap a fresh piece of Wrigley’s.

Public transit has never been a strange thing for Marlowe, having lived a life of usage from Japan to New York. There's hardly a second glance to the passengers getting on or off, passing faces briefly searched for acquaintance. But when it comes to the elderly couple trying to board, she steps aside and offers to the seniors, "Would you like some help?"

The hoodied serious man and the bus driver both earn a brief glance of expectation from the Yamagato engineer as well. “Hey, Driver, a little help here?” Marlowe speaks up, brow pinching at the lack attention and the bus not yet kneeling to accomodate.

“I can do it!” snaps the woman in a thick accent hailing from somewhere in Eastern Europe. Her husband’s lips twitch up into a smirk at his wife’s grouchy demeanor and he offers a silent shrug and dip of his head to Marlowe. The bus driver glances at Marlowe as she caps her lipstick, tucking it into a pouch. “Don’t nobody touch Dragica’s walker but Dragica. Evening, you two. Did you enjoy your yakisoba?”

Dragica grunts at the bus driver but has made it up the steps clanging and rattling her walker against the metal sides of the entryway. She plops down into one of the front seats, handing her walker to her husband, who folds it and rests it in the seat behind them. Apparently he’s allowed to touch the walker now.

The hoodied man follows silently and heads toward the back, a glance over his shoulder expressing a bit of irritation at Marlowe in exchange for those looks of expectation.

Once everyone’s seated, the doors whoosh to close. A few stops along the way lose and gain new passengers — Dragica and her unnamed husband have shuffled off in a noisy exit. A few businessmen and women seem to have wrapped up their work for the day, loosening ties and losing jackets in the warm bus. One of the women changes out heels for flip flops.

Eventually they come to Marlowe’s exit.

Accessorized hands lift, palms shown. Marlowe makes a face with a rueful press of her lips to Dragica's husband. Sorry, sir. Hoodie gets no apology spoken, and she doesn't actually apologize to Dragica either. Instead, she merely ascends the steps to find a spot in mid-bus.

Marlowe spends much of the bus ride texting and then glancing up every so often, especially to glance over when Dragica and Husband clear off. A smile creases one side of her mouth as she texts a relief to her friends:

🐲👵👋🏿 www

The next time she's glanced up, it's finally her exit and Marlowe makes her way off by the driver side door. And without missing a beat, she's off towards her meet up spot.

It’s a popular spot. Following Marlowe out are the man in the hoodie and the college friends, as well as one of the businessmen. Some murmur thanks or ‘goodnight’ to the driver — clearly regulars. Dragica and Hubby stay seated; she’s doing some knitting while he works on a crossword puzzle.

The college group veers off down one of the side streets almost immediately. After a block or so, one of the businessmen likewise peels off, crossing the street and heading into one of the little storefronts along this stretch of road. Soon, there’s just the footfalls of the hoodied man behind her, quickening a little until he strides past her on the left, like he might be late for his own meetup.

She’s alone and a quick glance behind her reveals no one there — it’s just her and people up in the distance, aside from the quickly diminishing figure of her fellow bus passenger ahead of her.

Nothing to worry about. She’s done this a hundred times.

But at the same second that she hears a sound in one of the alleys that open to the street she walks, she feels a pinprick in her neck, then a drag of her skin — due to the tiny dart that’s hanging there.

Marlowe continues on with her stride unhurried but moving at a good clip (the City has never truly left). She's fired off a text of meeting up soon, now that the cell signal is stronger with the added GhostNet drones in the skies, and slips her phone into her small bedazzled clutch purse. Eyes down, she makes sure she's putting the phone in to the correct pocket sleeve. The alley sound doesn't get a second look.

The sting on her neck gets a soft hiss of surprise and an immediate reach of her hand to slap away the mosquito that she thinks surely is there. Her hand encounters the dart. Her face scrunches, her footsteps halt, when the dart is definitely not of mosquito-shape or texture. That alone makes her pull her hand away to look at it.

Movement in her periphery on both sides wars with her attention — in the alley, the trio of “college students” are suddenly rushing toward her, feet pounding the pavement. On the other, popping off of a stoop across the way is someone that hadn’t been on the bus — a tall woman with dark skin and freckles across her nose. She has the look of a former soldier about her. The gun she pulls from a holster adds to the overall impression.

Down at the far end of the valley is a dry cleaning van, both doors open.

Marlowe can already feel her ability beginning to slip out of her reach, like a balloon string slipping through her fingers.

The one in the collegiate sweatshirt grabs for the phone. The freckled woman says in a not-unpleasant voice, “Sedation and negation setting in within a few seconds. Best not to fight it and you’ll get out of this relatively unscathed.” Relatively is a terrifying word.

The dart earns a surprised and confused look. But Marlowe's look of bewilderment ends with horrific realization of the feeling of her surroundings coming alive with sound and activity… and coming after her. Danger-spurred fear spikes coldly through her and she turns to run from the collegiates out of first impulse.

"Help!" she calls out at first when she spots the woman coming off the stoop. "Hel—" The unholstered gun spotted, Marlowe skitters to a stop. Her heels aren't meant for running in. A number of possibilities slide through her but the most alarming one is the real possibility that she's about to die.

… Hell no. Heels kick off. Her eyes sputter with golden flecks barely coloring the irises as she reaches and fails to latch on to her power so that she might have been able to make a weapon out of her shoe. But it's too late.

As the collegiate-sweatshirted kidnapper grabs at her phone hand, Marlowe spins and swings a hard elbow into the assailant's face with express intent of breaking delicate nose or at least bruising an eye. The armed woman isn't the only former soldier, after all. "Get off me!" screams Marlowe as loudly as she can, ignoring the freckled woman's advice of no resistance.

“Fuck, my nose!” the young man says, backing away, hands coming up to staunch the spray of blood that spurts there as he reels back. The soldier rolls her eyes at the younger man, but makes no effort to help him, nor stop Marlowe.

“Good to see this one’s a fighter, at least,” one of the other college students says to the other.

No one moves to help Marlowe — and unfortunately, the buildings that line this particular alley aren’t residences with windows on their backsides where a Good Samaritan might hear the cries for help. These are small shops, many of them still in disrepair and vacant, and the others locked up for the evening.

There’s no one to hear her, nor to see her fall to her knees as the tranquilizer begins to take effect. The last thing she sees is the black asphalt beneath rising up as if to meet her. She doesn’t remember hitting it.

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