Description: Caught between cordons on the border between the eastern and western armies, Daniel Jack finds himself hiding from MP patrols under the bed, praying for nightfall. But an individual with her own troubles, Clio St. Jeanne of the NOL, has snuck into the same house. And with Clio being trained to dispose of Darkstalkers like Daniel... tension brews as the front door opens. Will a monster emerge, or men.
Daniel Jack almost had his life back on track.
Sure, things were rough for the Interpol detective. He had a mission go wrong. He had to kill a bunch of people in a Mortal Kombat tournament. He might have gotten transformed into a insane, soul-consuming monster. He might have lost his love. He might have betrayed the people who were once his allies. And he might have been marked as a rogue agent by his very Interpol.
But things were better now!
Getting out of Hokkaido was kinda hard. There was the whole Interpol credit card thing. The hole in the roof. The hotel room damage. And Daniel had a lot of ways to resolve. The solution he chose was 'run' and get over to the other island before things went to hell. As a matter of fact, things went to hell in the form of an army of horrific monsters, backed by the UN. Daniel was a horrific monster. He could be backed by the UN. And right on his way back to Interpol. It was almost a perfect plan. Get off the boat, work your way to the army.
And end up getting caught between trenches, on both sides of the war.
Daniel had some unique talents, sure. But being an ex-detective wearing a bright orange zoot suit trying to sneak around at a checkpoint charlie between east and west at a DMZ'd town outside of Southtown? That tended to draw some attention. And by attention, we mean 'raise an alarm and alert an entire garrison to start sweeping the town looking for your sorry hide.' Daniel had talents. He had skills.
And right now, he was using them to hide under a bed.
Hiding in broad daylight, outdoors, was not an option for the shady shadow beast that was Daniel. Evading a patrol by slipping into an abandoned house, he figured that he could pick the kid's room, and either hide in the closet, or under the bed. And if he waited there until, well, until... night? Maybe he could get through the checkpoint in the middle of town, and head to the army. Everything was still on track. THere was no setbacks.
Absolutely nothing could go wrong.
Though if Clio St. Jeanne was to be fair, and curse her for genuinely wanting to be a fair person, her time in Japan sucked. This information did not really have any bearing on the nation itself, the land said nation was on and its people on an individual level. On a day to day basis, Japan was a pretty nice place that would be better served without a number of factions trying to carve it up like a turkey. Though, her official, Librarian based opinion differed from her closely held on.
A rescue mission had turned into a discussion on the potential of herself as an individual. Then she was accosted by a man trying to fight an actual war rather than a multi-pronged proxy skirmish made up of multiple units and goals. She then found a nice coffee shop and a cute girl that seemed a bit odd but fun, but no, she had to turn out to be a weapon of mass destruction. And that oddness turned into an incredibly overwhelming obnoxiousness.
As a result of said obnoxiousness, she was down one of her favorite shirts and was now wearing her uniform more or less whenever she was out. Occupying a land that didn't much care for the fact the goal was to protect them.
Saving grace of the uniform was that she was allowed about. Always being on duty meant being allowed to be out and on duty. Though, as she's noiced, not a lot of people paid much attention to her anyways. Small mercies. She was irritated, short tempered and openly wearing her chain on her arm. Though, for now, she could just see what was left behind.
She hadn't done much exploring like this since she'd gotten to Japan. To poke at the homes and shops left in the wake of the looming danger. She stepped through a window, dropping to the floor. Her chain clinks with her steps. She has in her hand a small notebook. She takes equally small notes. Things that are here and there. Something that might have sentimental value. She jots down what it is, where it's located, any identification of the owner. All plans for coming back later to loot. Looting in hopes of returning the object safe and sound when next she can.
Daniel Jack hears the sound first. The clinking, the steps. It was something, someone. When the window opens, however... he carefully picks at it. The scent comes rushing in, his supernaturally enhanced senses flooding him. One smell. One person. Sound confirmed it. A single target. Daniel weighs his judgement out. He was safe in cover, right? He could just hide, wait it out, and it would just pass on by. No trouble, no issue. But he gets a tingle up his spine as he picks out the smell, between the turn of the pages.
Smelled like a young lady.
Daniel shifts, the curiousity getting the better of him. Or was it hunger. Staring at the feet underneath, the black mist seeps under the bed, coiling, clinging. He stares with yellow eyes. He had this under control. He could handle this. He could control himself. He just had to eat a snack before he gets back with Interpol. No, eating people was bad. What was she even doing there? Here? Daniel licks his teeth, feeling the sharp fangs extending. Already, his black mist was tracing, pulling at her shoes...
Wait, that wasn't stealthy.
And with sudden breath, the black mist draws back under the bed.
Walking, noting. Scratching information down. She stops for a moment to pocket the little notebook in her SOL jacket. She taps her fingertips on her chain, idling as she collects her thoughts. Distracted, waiting, standing. "Son of a bitch," she mutters. She starts to walk away.
Then she stops, something at her ankle. She's fast, whirling about, half-crouched and looking down at the mist retreating under the bed. Mist. Bright eyes. Teeth.
And then it hides. Her chain glows with a violet light, shining markings and sigils along the metal links. The weight and wrapping chains cover one hand, the spike is held like a thrusting dagger in the other.
"I really don't want to go through with this bullshit again," she says, voice firm and more annoyed than anything else. "Show yourself, do it slowly."
Shit shit shit.
Daniel calculates his odds. He could probably ambush the girl. Flip the bed on her, pin her there, and just start unloading everything he could. If it worked out, then he could probably get a quick meal. If it didn't? He could retreat while she was stunned. And then... the security sweeps would descend on them both, he would be the aggressor, and then he would be dead! No, no, be reasonable. As the light glows, Daniel could pick up that aura out of nowhere. He had to think fast. He had to think smart.
And he plays it safe.
Daniel rolls out from under the bed, away from Clio. Rising up into a stand slowly, the middle-aged black man was playing by Clio's ear. THe dark-skinned ex-detective was dressed in an orange three-pieced zoot suit; loud and out of fashion by nearly a hundred years. But he wore it well, and that's what mattered sometimes. Moving slowly, he keeps his hands up, a toothy smile right under his mustache... the goes into a tight-slip smile a little quickly. It almost concealed the supernatural edge of the man, except for those strange yellow eyes, that almost seemed to glow.
"Hey, hey, I'm trying to avoid bullshit too, ma'am!"
Daniel says quickly, keeping his palms up and open. "Name's Daniel, you can call me Daniel Jack, miss. ANd boy, isn't it some dangerous times right now!" Daniel makes a general gesture towards the window. "You don't have to look there, just making a point! You gotta keep your head low. Say, I can't help but notice the little book there." Daniel speaks quickly, his eyes dancing over Clio quickly. "You some kind of journalist? I hope those security sweeps aren't putting you in too much trouble."
Daniel's detective work truly was the mark of a master.
No sudden movements. No reason to go in just let. She lets some slack go into the spike end of the chain, dropping the spike to dangle like a plumb bob. Just at the length to start momentum if need be. Her posture remains the same, ready and crouched like a cat on the verge of pouncing. She watches the man, and his strange eyes. His everything sort of gives him away. That and her time back home in Metro City.
"Darkstalker," she says. Her eyes barely follow Daniel's direction to the window. "It is a dangerous place out there."
Her eyes are wide, angry, the make up work done on them just enhances the effect. "I'm just taking information on the people here. If they left anything they might care about, I can try to make sure it's okay. It's like stealing, but well-intentioned and I don't actually keep things." It's true, and it's not something the Library does. This is just her thing and her thing alone.
"Why are you hiding under a bed and why should I keep talking with you."
Daniel's smile fades.
The darkstalker comment, it hurt. Daniel didn't want to think of himself as a Darkstalker. He just had a few dark urges, and a dietary requirement of souls and pain. He had it under control. As long as he kept fed. His eye was on the spike now, taking some gauges. Of course, he was from Metro City too. And his mission there, well, that was a start of a whole bunch of trouble. Right now, Daniel needed to justify two things.
It was time to get started."
"As to why I'm hiding under the bed, well, I didn't appreciate the little alarm that went off, and I didn't want to spend my time on the wrong kind of imprisonment, you dig? There's a good chance I'd get shot being at the wrong place at the wrong time. And to why you should keep talking, well." Daniel Jack's expression softens a bit, as he can't help but give a fanged smile, minus a hint of feral hunger. "Well, a good conversation better than bad business. And while I can understand a looter can be a little paranoid, it won't do you any favors if I get snatched up and talk about you between waterboarding sessions- if I'm lucky- and visa versa on finding me. There aren't a lot of unaffiliated people around these days." Daniel takes a step forward, palms still up.
"But what's a nice young lady like you doing in a hellhole like this?
The chain starts to spin. Lazy appearing, looping around and around when Daniel takes his step forward. "I've had a real bad couple days myself. And I'm trying to be a lot more merciful than I look." Her right foot starts to bob up and down at the heel. "And I'm not a looter. I mean, fuck, who loots dressed like I am?" she asks. And that actually gets her to soften a little bit. If anything, the strangeness of that question was serving as a distraction.
"I don't need to tell you why I'm here, but it's my job. And right now I might want to do my job."
So Daniel doesn't.
Taking a step back, he keeps up that smile, nodding. "Well, I can appreciate a good degree of mercy, miss. And I can dig it, I can dig it! You're just taking notes! Or whatever, it's none of my business-"
And the sound of a door opens inside the house.
Daniel freezes. His eyes was towards the entryway of the room. And then, the window. And then, Clio. His voice was low, dead low. His expression frozen. "You... here... alone?" He whispers, softly. "I'm... here... alone..." He stretches out. He motions his eyes towards the sound.
Was this going to be the next in bad days?
That Daniel doesn't step forward is a small step in the right direction. She slows the rev-up of her chain and slides the spike back into her hand. Her fingertips tap out a steady rhythm on the loose links of the chain.
A sound. The chains stop when Clio tightens away the slack. She cocks her head down and back, ear pointed to the hallway behind her.
She slips back to the wall, against the door jamb, leaning her weight against it, eyeing down the hall for any movements. A quick point of her spike at Daniel, and then back under the bed, her face drawn thin and concerned.
It was really a matter of luck.
The house was actually already searched. The three man teams of patrols were Tekken Force operatives; low-ranking Crows. Most of the core was assisting the main army, and the cordons. After searching the neighborhood, they were coming back the way they came. It almost was just the end of the patrol. But there was one house, that slipped their sight. One house, they stood out.
Because last time, the window wasn't open.
The enter through the front door. The lock was already busted, and the interior looked about the same. The pointman, faceless behind his helmet and green and brown uniform, trains his rifle as the other two cover him. They spread out through the downstairs, searching slowly. There could be an ambush. There could be trouble. They could be gone. Once they finish the downstairs, however, they would move slowly up the stairs. And then, enter the hallway, pointman first, rifle trained.
And eventually search the room where Clio and Daniel.
As Clio points at the bed, doesn't hesitate. Shifting into black mist, his form shifts into miasma, seeping down below the bed, coiling underneath. The black contrails draw back underneath, and Daniel is out of sight. Silent. Not even a breath. He clings to the shadows underneath, burrowing deeper and deeper. As for Clio, well. The yellow eyes peer out for a moment, and then wink out. Daniel seemed to be shapeless underneath. She might have to find her own hiding place.
Or she might not.
Quiet. Steady. Still. The anticipation built and built with each passing moment. The reality, Clio was perhaps itching for something to take her frustration out on. Her chest rose and fell with steady, bated breaths.
Clio's lips pulled back in a rigid grin. She thumbs at the tip of her spike. Every passing second that she waited was getting more and more taut. There indeed could be an ambush. Trouble was always waiting around the corner. Almost, very nearly almost does she laugh. Just her day and night and day and night.
She gives a look to the bed and nods once. She was never one to shy from darkness, and this shadowman was just another type of it. Bring on the patrollers, and maybe, just maybe she'll find that someone who doesn't seem like it can prove surprising backup.
She -was- going to hide, right?
Daniel Jack had kind of assumed that it was the plan. Avoid trouble. Keep a low profile. And yet, as he curled up into the darkness, he could sense it. Smell it. Hear it. The heart racing. The sweat. It was almost like fear, but no, it wasn't fear. He knew what that was. Thrill. The sound of the footsteps closing in. The tension was delicious, Daniel could feel himself growing feral. But it was clear, as her movements get steadfast, as the heartrate goes up. She wanted this.
She was actually going to fight them.
The pointman pauses, making the gesture to hold. Perception was on, he could see the crook at the door. Shadows, was it? The window. This was the room with the open window. He moves so slowly, crawling towards the door, step by step. His two men train their rifles at the entryway. Time slows down. Tension builds. And it grows too quiet. And it finally breaks. The pointman figures it out. The Tekken Force man rushes in, kicks the door in he calls out the warning.
'This is war' that's what the soldier said. Fighting. That's what they wanted. Ultimately, the moral dilemna in all of this didn't lay at the hands of the soldier. It was in the hands of those pushing the pieces. She just needed to stay alive, stay free. She did enjoy Japan. But sometimes, the way people were here grated on her nerves.
The door kicks inward. The markings on the chain in Clio's hands flare with violet light. The voice calls out. The response is a solid weight attached to a length of chain, sparks of violet fire straining against the arcane marks of the NOL issue weaponry.
For how slow it was before, it all happens so fast.
The plumb weight on the chain comes rioting forward, coursing with energy as it -smashes- squarely into the helmet of the soldier. The rifle goes off, a burst fire going wild to the side as the soldier staggers backwards. He was conscious, as the pieces of helmet falls off. The armor did exactly what it needed. Smashing into the back wall, he was stunned. That was the point of the pointman, though. The other two soldiers train their rifles on Clio...
As the wall comes down.
Daniel, for the briefest of moments, lifts the bed up as he strides up into full height. Black smoke and orange chi boil over him, as he steps in. With the full force he could muster, he -smashes- through the drywall with the bed, hammering through it with splinting force. Bed and soldier and wall and Darkstalker collapse into a manic heap of chaos. Daniel struggles to keep on his feet, his form materializing into a solid shape. "Are we running or fighting, scuzzy!" He calls out, as the other two rise up. Clio's soldier gets back on his foot, an eye peering out from the broken helmet. Gripping the rifle, he swings the butt at Clio, attempting to connect with her own head.
Going high on a shorter person. Interesting tactic. Clio is aware of the blow as it comes in. She's fast, if she can outpace a gear long enough to stay up and run away, she can outpace a soldier. The stroke comes down as Clio herself goes down and lateral. A swift tug and her chain pulls itself back toward her. The weighted end hitting her open hand and the chain seeming to wrap itself around her arm and fist with little more than a deft twist.
The shadowman. A darkstalker. He was the one to bring up running away? Damn it! Clio grit her teeth and spun, swinging a quick upward kidney shot to the soldier, her hand wreathed in chain and chi-shadow. A blow that should do enough to keep a man down for a good long while.
"Run," she says in a tone that's not entirely enthused about the option. "This isn't a fight worth having!"
She steps back and gets the spiked plumb of the chain whirling in a quick flick. When it strikes the ground it goes off like flint and tinder. A sparking cascade of chi to blind and disorient and give her and her newfound shady friend a moment to haul ass out of Dodge.
Daniel had his reasons for wanting to run.
As the soldier engaged with Clio smashes the rifle butt into nothing, missing Clio cleanly. Recovering slowly, he already was preparing the rifle to train on close quarters firing. Instead, the flash of fire dazes not only her soldier, but one of Daniel's own. The ex-detective, for his purposes, was averting his eyes. "Are -you- running? Cause I'm not feeling it from you! This is a kind of stress relief for you, isn't it miss?" He gives a grin, showing those fangs as the third soldier... demonstrates that she was looking away, by pulling up the rifle, training it on Daniel.
And the shots are fired.
Daniel takes the gunfire to the arm and shoulder, his limb discorporating into a hazy smear on impact. The darkstalker, the detective, growls in rage as he surges into the soldier. Hurling in a palm strike with the right, followed by a hand chop with the left, the creature demonstrates... martial artist technique? Damn good ones, as orange chi boils over him, carrying the soldier back down the hall. Burning with energy, he finally finishes the assault by seizing the soldier, and giving a precise pivot throw, pinning them down by the arm. And there was a chuckle escaping his throat. "Come on, -scream- you bastard..." He snarls softly.
And he wrenches -hard-, dislocating at the shoulder.
Darkstalkers. Tricks up their sleeve. Clio takes steps back. She's retreating, heading to the window. Heading for the way out. "A lot," she calls out to the spectre detective. "But you're right. Just leave them hurting."
She listens to the scream. She's watching the shade. He has skill, he's not just some random monster. But moreover, he's helping her. Helping her in a way that seems a little too much like he was just trying to get her to go while he stays behind.
"Are you coming, or not?" she calls out the shade.
Daniel twists harder, as the soldiers continue to stagger, stunned. He was blocking them out, blocking out Clio. He was transfixed on his victim, who was writhing, twisting. And he twists at the shoulder. The elbow. The wrist. A precise, agonizing suffering. His mouth watered. Just a snack. Take in the senses, the sound of her heart racing, the scent of fear. The soldier begins to word it. And finally, she screams the soldier screaming from it. And Daniel draws out the suffering, the soul, and rips it from her as-
'Are you coming, or not?'
Daniel snaps out of it, staggering away from the rich fill of souls. He had to get out of here. Forcing through the hole in the wall, he is half material, half spectral, the shadow man striding to the window. He glances up at Clio... and his nature was revealed. The smiling face was gone. In it's place was a black abyss of impossible blackness, where a pair of glowing yellow eyes peered out, and a maw of white, jagged teeth streched out. DAniel Jack his head, and the visage was gone, as he steps through the window after Clio.
"Coming! I'm coming!"
Clio watches. She sees. She scratches a mark in the side of the house while she waits at the window. The reality of the man. She needed to do something about it, but in calling out, she did do something.
She stands by the window when Daniel Jack gets outside. Her chain is still aglow. "There's a lot I should do here," she says, the words heavy with intent. "A whole lot. I fight the things that prey on people. That's what I do." She rattles the length of chain around her fist. "But lately I've had a lot of thought and talk about choices. So I'm going to give you one real quick before they get it together and come out here."
"You can choose how much of a monster you are by getting out of here now. Don't make me regret this."
Daniel tries to pretend it didn't happen.
The moment of weakness, of hunger. He felt amazing, the rush, the opportunity. She deserved it. Sure, she might be in a hospital for months.... years? Recovering from that kind of experience was spiritual. And as Clio looks at him with that glowing chain, the thought and instinct flickers. She could be next. She would be next. She might scream too. Those urges were Daniel's, and he knew it. And when Clio tightens... Daniel stops smiling. He looks back.
He couldn't avoid the truth.
"I mean..." Daniel trails off. He looks at Clio. And there it was, that flicker of sadness, of shame. "I didn't want to... I just wanted to..." Daniel shakes his head, looking away. He could fight her. He could fight them all. But to what end? Broken souls, and a full belly. "... pleasure to meet you, miss. I hope you don't regret it like..." Like how Ayame would regret it. It's a knife to the heart. And he runs, shifting between smoke and shape. Running. Escaping. Somehow. He had to find his path. He had to find his way. He didn't want her know. He didn't want anyone to know. He just wanted to go back to his old life.
But you just couldn't take the monster out of the man, could you.
Log created on 23:46:49 11/29/2017 by Daniel, and last modified on 01:37:54 12/01/2017.