Description: Thunder Hawk went to confront a man - a terrible, powerful man - who did him great wrong during a time of emergency at the Ultratech Red Expo. In a pitched battle where time and space were falling apart around this man of great interest, he was unable to exact his revenge... yet, here he is, alive and in care at a local hospital. A close shave, indeed, leaving him time to consider life and his fortune. Now, uh... how does this other weird guy fit into the picture?
All things considered, Hawk is lucky to be alive.
Admitted to Sunshine City General Hospital, barely clinging to consciousness, his thoughts were scattered and hazy, visions of what he saw and heard during the fight with Vega still jumping around his head. The beating he had taken was severe, but he was a large man honed by battle, and he could heal quicker than the average joe. Now, he was fully awake but on a hospital bed, still with an IV in him. At least he was full conscious. He silently watches a television playing some telenovela broadcast from one of the Spanish channels. Nothing he'd normally watch, but it's better than anything else on cable. The remains of his breakfast sit nearby.
Not being a US citizen would make the paperwork a real pain in the ass, but he supposes he could deal with it. He wondered where the strange guy that helped him winded up. He reflected on the fact you never know what bystander would turn out to be something more, in this world. He brushed some hair away from his face, sharp eyes locked on the tv but not really watching. He had too much to think about.
"Oh, hey... hope I didn't surprise you." Comes a voice that should be familiar, from... something recently. The voice comes from a someone or a something on a nearby chair, on the side further from the way that leads inside the proud warrior's room.
That someone or a something is a man who really does not seem to care very strongly how his hair is considered culturally inappropriate for both his age and gender, in equal amounts of incorrectness. It seems like today he's going with twin pigtails...? Regardless of this transgression of hairstyling taste, he sits with arms crossed and at an angle, as though he were invested in what Thunder Hawk were watching.
...When did he even get in here?
He visibly has some stitches set around his right forearm, but he does seem significantly better off in terms of physical and emotional health. It's even more remarkable - or perhaps just plain offputting - given what he was just subject to not long ago himself.
"I came to check in on you and say hi, but what was on TV was really something... and then I forgot what I was even here for with. Sorry 'bout that!" He even sounds like he's still in relatively good cheer, all things considered.
Hawk slowly turns his head, lips parting in some surprise at the man - both at the hairstyle, and the fact he seemed to just be here without being noticeable. Hawk rubs his eyes just to make sure his painkillers aren't messing with him. "Uh...hi," he greets finally. His throat feels dry, so he grabs a water bottle off his tray and drinks from it, nearly emptying the thing. He finishes with an 'ah' and methodically screws the cap back on.
"...almost certain the girl is going to reveal some sort of affair, probably with a younger man," he points out, in regards to the tv. "It's all the same formula." He lowers the volume a little. He gives the man with the weird hair his full attention. His war paint is gone, as is his headband, making his hawk-like nose and eyes all the more prominent. "Your name...it was...Risk?"
"Rust! Howard Rust, Jr.," he gives a little friendly wave, as though blissfully unaware how awkward a situation this already has become with his failure to indicate his presence until now. There seems to be some blanket level of unawareness all over his person, come to think of it.
"That day was really something, eh?" He says as the understatement of the century. "How're you feeling there?"
Hawk almost asks, 'are you real', then decides against it. "Yeah. It was something," he grunts. "I feel...I don't know. I finally fought that man, and almost didn't make it. We're both...lucky, you know. Even though he was weakened..." he trails off and starts looking up at the cieling, grinding his teeth.
"Weakened, you say?" He seems a bit confused by this thought, which in this singular instance is acceptable because he almost certainly has never met this man (if Vega can truly be called a man) before. "I... I do remember I came up to the guy because he looked like he needed help, you know, what with all the alarms and such," which does not at all explain why HE WAS STILL THERE. Maybe it's one of the great mysteries of the universe?
"Well, what counts is that we're fine," he continues as he breaks away from watching the TV to speak with the recovering giant of a man, gesticulating with his right hand, "sure, phone blew up, my cards don't work, and wouldn't you know it, shorted out my truck keys too - they work with some kinda electrical signal - but y'know, that's just life! Some things you just can't help--"
Hawk refrains from asking why Rust was there in the first place. Some things you just don't question. "Same, except for the truck keys," he says. His frown finally forces itself into a slight smile. Slight. "I drive a museum piece." He grabs another bottle of water. "Thanks...for the save. Didn't expect that from a stranger." He looks at his IV, probably the most annoying thing about being confined to a hospital bed. The insertion point was itching.
"Oh, it's not a problem, really! Don't worry about it," he waves off the praise. There's a little twitch on the side of his mouth - does it hurt him to move his arm that much? It's hard to say, but he masks it well enough under the upbeat and friendly tone of voice.
If that's even being masked at all.
"It's pretty funny, actually, about my car, what with it being impossible to start. Got me a shiny new one, all modern and the like, top of the line security features to stop people from taking it. My wife was real adamant about that," he seems happy to rattle off anecdotes even at a moment of calm from a situation that both men would have been surely dead in were Vega in better form.
"Well, I can tell you it's good at that in." That in? "Tried to hotwire my own car four times! Even had a guy who said he'd done that thing a lot come give it a try - actually I was surprised he looked at me real funny when I asked him to try with mine, he couldn't do it!"
Does this mean he trusted a career car thief to get it to work?
"Where I'm from, see, it's not a problem. A fella needs a hand, I give 'em one. Well, two. Since I have two. Y'know what I mean!"
Hawk listens to Rust, seemingly off in his own thoughts. But he still hears the man. In fact, he's finding the chatter is helping to distract him from dwelling on the bad things. The sight of his father's death, Vega showing just how powerful he is compared to Hawk, the recent dissapearances of friends and loved ones...talking about something like trucks can just keep those from eating away at you. "Yeah...like that in my tribe. The Thunderfoots. Learned to help each other. Especially through bad times. Outsiders though...harder to gauge. No offense."
He props himself up a little, not feeling satisfied with just laying down. "You take your truck off roading?"
It may well say something that even after an encounter with something so great and terrible as Vega - who may be about as great and terrible as things come - that some way, some how, there is still comfort and emphasis in giving anecdotes about difficulty in starting up one's truck. The man must lived a charmed life. (Maybe one drenched in ignorance?)
The ability to really judge this man's worldliness takes a sudden whiplash as his posture rises up in his seat at mention of this man's tribe.
"Thunderfoot tribe? Why didn't you say so?!" The strange man laughs. "Years and years ago my family and I were further down south from here! Saved us from a bit of trouble, they did that! I was just this high back then," he illustrates some vague height that suggests he might've been maybe ten or so, "never got much of a chance to come on back down and say thanks... ha, should've brought more beer with me... next time I got a chance I better bring enough for the whole tribe!"
This event must've been around the time Thunder Hawk was born, or just before, given the man appears to be in his forties.
Hawk's features suddenly sharpen, snapped out of the idleness coming from chatting about their vehicles. His jaw drops, momentarily. Did the spirits cause him and this man to meet? Hawk isn't quite sure. "You've met us, really?" he asks. He unscrews, then screws back, the water bottle cap almost unconsciously. This dad-looking guy with his pigtails seemed full of surprises. "When, and...what trouble were you in? I don't remember you so, you...must have been around when my father was alive."
It seems incredulous, but it appears he has the general geographic location of where they dwell right, going by the mention of being 'further down south from here.' Could he be for real...?
"Long ago! You betcha!" He happily reaffirms this. "Now I'll be real honest," he says as he brings his hands up in a framing motion, "it's been a long time, I was a kid then! See, my own dad used to take us all sorts of places... hardly ever stayed in one place at," he narrates along, "I think this one had something to do about a... a disease? Yeah! Wait. That or down in Peru... no, no, it was this one time, one of my brothers got ill. We had to go out into the desert to go find some cactus flower or something they use for the cure--"
Was the aid rendered by the Thunderfoot tribe about this flower?
"--and I think we came across you guys a night or two later, I think there was some kind of misunderstanding 'bout where we could or couldn't go? Anyway, see... there was a bit of a spat over that at first, but... turned out the flower was almost extinct, and this is the real kicker, you wouldn't believe this..."
"The guys that sent us out to begin with were some kind of floral cartel or something! I don't even know how black market floral arrangements are a thing, but, turned out my brother just had spoiled food." He laughs. "Should've seen what my dad did next to those guys! Sooo... your family helped put things right about that! Whole lot of honest mistakes, there."
Hawk listens raptly to Rust's story. Despite the meandering, he seems to get it well enough. "The Moonlight Cactus flower, yeah," he says, remembering. "My grandmother told me about it...could cure a lot of ailments. We thought it was gone for good, but...think we managed to grow more a few years ago. Maybe too little too late, but we tried anyway." He hasn't thought of his grandmother in a long time. Now that was a nice memory.
He snorts at the mention of a floral cartel. "Your father was a fighter?" he asks. It was likely his own helped beat up criminals back then...Arroyo was their most powerful warrior for a long time. The old timers used to tell him about Arroyo's feats of strength. More memories he has no attachment to.
"That... that sounds like the name of it!" It's been roughly three decades for the strange man - he'd have probably believed it if Hawk decided to call it something really silly instead, maybe. "Great you got to grow some more of 'em, one day I'd love to see them again... actually, come to think of it I don't even remember what they look like," he looks slightly dejected for the first time this entire conversation.
It doesn't last.
"Yep! My dad sure was! He's Howard Rust!" Who is a famous name as some sort of traveling hero, but yet has disappeared off the radar quite some years back. None are too sure where he is, or what he's doing, or if he's even still around. He'd have to be, what, in his eighties by now? No younger than his seventies.
Rust Jr. stands up to remove his toolbelt to hold up a length of pipe that has been unceremoniously stabbed through a pocket. Said toolbelt looks like it's been through a whole lot of... existing. That's a mild way to put it. Existing. "Fought with one of these things, kinda like a sword, only a pipe... it's pretty neat, tell you what," also kind of strange - a pipe, specifically? Nothing more suited to warfare like... a tonfa, or an actual sword, but some length of piping?
This man must come from a very interesting family. He sits back down.
"I used to fight full time too, myself," he had a middling career at best, but he sure sounds like he's looking at it fondly, "kind of wish I got in on one of those displays at the expo... had to buy me a pass instead."
Howard Rust. The name rang a bell for Hawk; some sort of popular fighter back in the day. He recalls seeing a plumbing service in Oaxaca with a knock-off version of the man as their mascot. 'Harold Oxido, Fontaneros Extraordinario' as emblazoned on their van with a very poorly brushed caricature of the guy.
He examines the pipe, and suddenly that toolbelt makes sense. He figured it was some sort of gimmick...there were a lot of those. He has never seen a home improvement fighter before, safe to say. "So...family heirloom?" he asks. "Never got the chance to fight at the Expo either...did one at some casino in Hong Kong, and helped stop a heist in Cannes. Mostly just looking for money."
He switched the televison to a news station, talking about sunny skies for the rest of the week. "If you come down, we'd welcome you. Just be careful. Mexico's not what it used to be. Cartels more vicious, government lazy. The usual."
"My dad gave me his toolbelt, he did!" He nods along with this in pride. Maybe he's happy he didn't inherit something else...?
As the discussion segues along towards how dangerous the world is nowadays, Junior just nods along for most of it. "I get that, I do, it is a big, big world out there. Can't wait to get another chance to hit the road after this, believe you me! Wish I could bring my family along for more of it. Well... I know one of my sons wouldn't have been too comfortable about it, but, one day I'm sure he'll come out of his shell there."
Maybe this time he should be really happy they weren't here to experience Vega.
"I'll let you guys know when I'm in the neighborhood," how he intends to do this without a functional phone or any real means of communication is yet to be answered but this wrinkle doesn't appear to slow his enthusiasm at least as he gets up, puts back on his toolbelt, and stretches his right arm upwards for a moment.
"Hope everyone recovers from all this soon enough... I kind of wonder if the guy who I was discussing insurance with noticed I left to check on you," he speaks aloud, "I'm sure I can just sneak right back where I was..."
One or more of the people involved in this equation is an idiot.
A family. Hawk wonders what they think of the man's crazy hairstyles. A tinge of longing hits him - the plans he and Julia were making for the future. An uncertain one, but something they thought they'd try anyway. Now? With her gone, he wasn't sure about anything anymore. He blows some air through his nostrils, the news on tv just background noise. "We'll be there," he assures. "If I don't meet you first, just name drop me. They'll understand."
He actually gives a real smile this time, a wry one. "You look real stealthy," he says. "I bet they won't even notice." He pauses, and settles back on the pillow. "Might be getting out tonight. Good to meet you, Rust. Hope the spirits let us cross paths again."
Log created on 12:52:40 03/18/2015 by Rust, and last modified on 12:07:34 03/20/2015.