Description: Spoiler: Baiken didn't die when the Butcher threw her off the docks, even hurt as she was. She's survived, she's mad - and this time she has to try to be polite to get information out of another survivor, Daisy. Some knowledge is shared, and a contact made.
The presence of police officers within the hospital is not an uncommon one of late. With the Butcher on a rampage of unparalleled ferocity, many of his victims have been those who sought to protect the innocent from harm and instead fell prey themselves. Most of these unfortunate souls did not survive the experience. Up to a dozen men in suits loiter in the outer waiting room at any one point in time, clustered into small groups as they whisper in muted tones to one another or tap away at laptops and hand-held devices. The mood is a somber one in the ICU ward of Southtown General Hospital made all the more grim by the occassional breach in the general quiet as a gurney containing the lifeless body of yet another victim is wheeled past by a nurse who almost appears to be a ghost herself.
Further in the depths of the ward, a small gaggle of hard looking individuals are gathered around a single door. They make no attempts to conceal the firearms in their possession, some sporting pistols in holsters at their belts or tucked against their side, some cradling riot shotguns in their arms. All of them look tired and angry and ready to fill the first target that presents itself with enough lead that they could be repurposed for a boat anchor. Without access to alcohol or cigarettes, all of them have fallen back on their final anchor to sanity in a job filled with dark realities; coffee. From the looks of some of their blooddshot eyes it's pretty clear a few of them have been here a while despite obviously needing rest.
Inside the room, the atmosphere is completely different. Up-beat sting music and the occasional dramatic explosion bellows from the speakers of a television mounted on the ceiling while the sharp chirps of a hand-held gaming device hammer out a stacatto beat in time with the only occupant's dancing thumbs. Daisy stares at the screen of her 3DS with a look of casual disinterest completely at odds with the amount of energy she appears to be putting into playing with it while the movie on display above draws her attention from time to time with languid shifts of her gaze.
The young officer looks, in a word, awful. Dark ugly bruises cover practically every inch of her visible skin, criss-crossed by welts and cuts that have either been bandaged or stitched together. Infact, so much of her is wrapped in stained medical gauze that she is bereft of the need for a traditional medical gown, sporting only a pair of plain white panties and the rumpled up sheets which are pulled up to her waist.
Daisy reaches up to rub the back of a hand against her sunken eyes and lets out an uncharacteristic sigh. She's tired, so very tired, but sleep is something that has been difficult to attain since her run in with the Butcher. He did something to her, something that she can't even begin to fathom or understand. All she knows is that she is dying and there seems to be nothing anyone can do about it. Meanwhile, she's stuck here withering away, unable to be helpful even in her final hour.
"I failed again..."
Baiken hates hospitals.
She doesn't like visiting them. She doesn't like being in them. She doesn't even really like talking about them. They're horrible places, and she has the scars to show that she doesn't spend nearly as much time there as she should; wounds never sewn shut, cuts never treated. Her missing left eye's very obvious scar, for instance.
She couldn't avoid it this time. She wasn't even concious when they brought her in. She refused to tell anyone what had injured her so badly, but why she had a sword was no mystery: she's Baiken. She has been on television, fighting Athena and the Iron Dragon and Lee Chaolan. The circumstances of her arrival were still suspicious, though - something the police would want to ask her about, thrown in the Southtown harbour and left for dead. She had managed to wedge herself under the docks, where she could breathe but not get out. Only chance had found her, when her belt had untied and drifted out, announcing her presence like a banner.
Too bad she vanished from the hospital as soon as she could stand, before questions could be answered. Baiken makes her own rules.
But now she's back. She doesn't seem to care that she is walking right past a whole bunch of police and ignoring when they call for her to stop. Baiken does slow when she approaches the ones with guns, guarding the door. She still doesn't look entirely perfect, but Baiken heals /fast/ - and anything real bad would be hidden under her robe, anyway. She got another one, and it's more closed than the usual. No cleavage, the right sleeve flapping empty. The sword remains on her hip, though.
"I want," she says to the police, with scorn in her voice, "to go in. To ... visit. If you don't let me in, I'll leave, and you'll never know what I have to say. If you do let me in, I'll tell her what I know. Her, who has fought him, not you."
Baiken has never used a subtle approach where a blunt one will do, and she's apparently not in the business of making friends. Knowing that she could absolutely get away before they managed to take her down doesn't hurt her attitude, either.
Everyone is already on edge when the swordswoman comes striding in, ignoring everyone and everything save for her destination. Time seems to dialate for a few moments as all eyes turn upon Baiken's scarred face. Nurses and doctors immediately scatter into side rooms or under desks. The men in suits rise to their feet but no not follow, heavy shaded glasses and their stern expressions remaining locked into passive masks that hide any trace of emotion.
The armed men outside Daisy's door are a great deal more animated in their surprise. Half a dozen firearms are leveled on the wide swinging doors into the ICU before the famous fighter even steps into view, angry glares and clenched teeth the welcome she receives upon passing through. Baiken is certainly not the person they expected to see. A few confused expressions are shared back and forth but none of the sentinels lower their weapons even as she draws within speaking distance.
Her request is met with more odd looks but after a moment one of the men, a towering figure of muscle with a day-old beard and dark black hair, steps forward to bar her path. He sports one of the dangerous looking shotguns and, like Baiken, makes no attempt to be subtle about the way that he points it at her chest.
"You want to see Mallone? What for?"
Baiken isn't /that/ famous - but she's known. It's enough that people don't go 'hey, it's a psycho with a sword', instead going 'hey, it's Baiken'.
They should probably have stuck with the first one, though.
The worst part, from an onlooker's perspective, is that Baiken seems completely unafraid of multiple guns being pointed at her. Her disdain for the people pointing them at her is palpable. She does make a short gesture with her hand at the closest nurse, though. "Get back to work," she says, flatly. "I'm not here to hurt anyone."
With almost exaggerated care, Baiken removes her sword, and its scabbard, from her hip. She tucks it under her arm, which is a completely useless place for her to put it - she can't draw it with that hand because it's held too high against her torso, and her other arm is missing and certainly can't do it. She won't give up her sword - but she will get it out of the way, where it is not (or at least much less of) a threat. This doesn't actually hamper her very much, given she could just drop it and then pick it up, but it at least shows that she's trying - and a lot of people forget that's an option, after seeing her voluntarily place it where it would be very awkward for her to use.
"She fought a monster and survived," Baiken says. "So yes. I am going to see her. But the only one I need to see is the survivor." She has to look up at the man threatening her - up, and a long way up, because Baiken is not even five and a half feet tall. She's used to being outsized by people trying to intimidate her, and the somewhat challenging expression on her face makes that clear.
"So. Let me in."
The disarming gesture does not go unnoticed by the guardians and many of them lower their weapons as she begins to speak; the man with the shotgun aimed at her does not. Rather than be swayed by her extraordinary efforts to be diplomatic, his scowl only deepens at the matter-of-fact manner in which she demands entry.
"Incase you can't read, lady, this is the ICU. People here aren't really in the shape to be receiving visitors and even if she was, I'm not inclined to let some arrogant nutcase with a sword just waltz right up and-"
Whatever else he had been planning to say is cut short by a soft click behind him as the door to Daisy's room swings open. It takes a few seconds for the officer to appear but she eventually pokes her head out of the gaping archway and peers curiously into into the hall. Almost immediately most of the officers rush to interpose themselves between Baiken and the battered blonde moving to bodyguard her on instict and reflex.
"Damnit, Mallone," the large man says, his glower growing even darker but refusing to leave Baiken's face. "You're not supposed to leave the room. If anything happens to you, the Chief is gonna have my ass." His voice is gruff and annoyed but also tinged with a hint of resignation as if he has already said it a hundred times.
Daisy ignores the harsh tone and gently reaches out to place a hand on the arms of the people infront of her, nudging them aside so that she can worm her way to the fore. Large brownish eyes beset by weariness sweep over the swordwoman's features taking in the odd juxtaposition of her scarred flesh and elegant attire with a smile that attempts to be kind but simply adds to the haggard appearance.
"It's alright, Jones. You can let her in. I don't think she's here to start trouble."
Daisy pushes the shotgun down towards the floor with another simple gesture, her movements slow and deliberate as if she were wading through molasses. The large man, Jones apparently, grumbles something under his breath but eventually steps aside to give Baiken passage which prompts the others to follow suit. The blonde detective gives him an appreciative look then turns and inclines her head towards the other woman.
"Sorry for the trouble. Daddy always goes a little overboard when he's worried about me. These men are my bodyguards, hehehe." A hand goes to her mouth to stiffle a giggle politely which she then extends towards the door to her room. "Please, come in. It's much warmer in my room."
"I'm perfectly aware of where I am, given I just left it recently." Baiken's voice goes biting, one step before she gets to 'loudly angry'. "But I fought the monster to a standstill, while from what I hear about unlike you people, you barely know what you are facing. If knowledge and skill is arrogance, then yes, you're right." She says nothing about the nutcase. Or the waltzing, for that matter.
Baiken continues to look up, her expression challenging, until the door opens. That gets her attention. She only gets a glimpse before people start to block her way - and Baiken is still short. She can't just see over them, no matter how much she'd like to.
Fortunately, Daisy comes at least partially out. She's not what Baiken is expecting. Her lips curl downward slightly as her single eye narrows - but then she gives a very slight, very grudging nod. "You have my word that I won't cause trouble, with one exception: if the Butcher shows in this hospital, then I intend to strike back." She keeps her sword tucked under her arm, out of the way.
And then she steps into the room, with Daisy's invitation. She pushes the door closed behind her with a sandaled foot unless Daisy stops her from doing it, too. The crowd is, apparently, not invited.
"You aren't what I expected," she says, with that frown becoming more visibly present than the hints she'd shown before. How did someone like /this/ survive? She must be hiding something, because she looks awful.
Daisy follows behind the gruff samurai with obvious difficulty, her steps slow and measured to keep the pain of the countless bruises and cuts from jarring her too badly. She makes no move to block Baiken's attempt to shut the door and it clicks shut with out any difficulty sealing away the glares of the annoyed men outside.
The American shuffles over to her bed and takes a seat on the edge. She fumbles around under the covers and pillows for a bit until she finds the remote for the tv, flicking it off and killing the ambient noise save for the gentle hum of the space heater in the room's lone window. Daisy answers the unspoken insinuation with another smile and pats the empty space next to her on the bed.
"Please, won't you have a seat, miss...?" A finger goes to her chin and she purses her lips thoughtfully for a moment. "Oh dear, I seem to have forgotten your name. Well, I guess we've never been properly introduced anyways." The blonde places both hands in her lap and bends forward at the waist offering a very Japanese bow, or as close as she can manage with her injuries.
"My name is Daisy Mallone. It is very nice to meet you."
Normally, the chance to make a new acquaintance or, dare she hope, a friend, would have the detective practically giddy with excitement. However, today her energy is rather subdued and subtle even beyond the restrictions imposed by her physical injuries. To anyone who knows her it would be an obvious sign of something amiss. To Baiken, she probably just seems very tired despite her attempts to be cheerful.
If Baiken has any more name than that, she's not going to give it. She does not bow back - but she inclindes her head, showing at least a slight bit of respect. Having never met Daisy before, she seems exhausted more than anything else, which (to Baiken) only means that she's not as experienced as springing back from injury as she is.
Still, something does feel a little wrong, though she can't immediately tell what it is.
Baiken does not sit next to Daisy. She remains standing, which doesn't put her too high or low. She doesn't set her sword down either, perhaps drawing comfort from it - because Baiken is on edge even if it's hard to tell with her. She wants a drink, a smoke, or both.
She looks at the detective for several moments longer. And then she gets straight down to business with an incredibly direct, probably rude question: "You fought the Slayer in the Mists, the Butcher. You survived. Why?"
Daisy looks a little disappointed as her hospitality, such as it is in this place, is rebuked; not terribly surprised but still disappointed. Though this is their first meeting, she has always had something of a gift for reading the mood and personality of those around her and Baiken struck her rather quickly as someone who doesn't care much for pleasantries or formality. That makes it all the more important that she herself tries to keep things civil and polite.
"I see. Well, Miss Baiken, welcome to my room, hehe. It isn't much but feel free to make yourself at home."
Daisy bows again, not quite as deeply this time, perhaps mirroring the fighter's subtle gesture as a show of mutual acknowledgement. She waits quietly while the samurai gathers her thoughts, smiling gently in a fashion that she hopes is friendly and reassuring.
The question that eventually comes forth is one that she had been expecting; or rather the subject is. The Butcher has been on quite a few lips of late. As his latest surviving victim, she's earned herself no small measure of attention, perhaps even winning back a small measure of the respect that she once held within Interpol. Naturally, she's been chewed out to hell and back too for being a reckless idiot, but then that's nothing new either.
Daisy takes a deep breath, her expression thoughtful. "Hmmm. I'm not sure I can really answer that question. It wasn't because we're buddies or anything." Her arms cross and she frowns for once, glaring at the far wall. "He's not a very nice person, that Butcher!" After a moment, she slumps a little and looks down. "Pretty scary, actually. I thought he was going to kill me. He could have but... I get the feeling he wanted to make me hurt."
Baiken looks serious - well, all right. Baiken /always/ looks serious. But this time she looks more serious when she turns back toward Daisy; she has a tendency to pace, though she seems to be restraining herself. Maybe her side still hurts.
"That isn't a man. He might have been once; I don't know. But he is a monster now, and one who deserves only death. He will try to kill you. He tried to kill me." Baiken does drop her sword, then - she lifts her arm slightly, and catches it by the scabbard in midair, a practiced gesture that would absolutely not make any of the (other) police that saw it very happy. She uses the hilt to tap on her own side, presumably near a wound and not against it. "He would not have friends. He lives for the hunt."
Baiken stops. She has to, to keep her emotions under control; the grip she has on her scabbard is white-knuckled as she squeezes too hard. Her one eye stares at Daisy, hard. "Did he hurt you?" she asks. "Do you know what he does? I do." That might explain some things, if her guess is right. She's back to pacing.
Daisy looks up and grins a little at the question, gesturing to the array of bandages wrapped about her mostly naked form. She knows what the warrior woman is talking about, those memories will never be something she can forget; however, speaking of it aloud is something that she instinctively tries to avoid, deflecting the subject with humor.
"Well, if he was trying to give me a hug, he went a little overboard."
She rises from the bed and begins her own fidgeting, wandering over to pour herself a glass of water from a plastic pitcher on the sink. The cool liquid feels pleasant as she gulps it down but more importantly it gives her a few moments to think and pick her words. Baiken's grip on her weapon does not escape the detective's notice though she uses the mirror on the wall to watch her visitor rather than stare - an old trick she learned some time back.
"I don't think... you know the truth as well as you might suspect," she offers after a minute of silence. "About the Butcher... I mean."
Baiken either doesn't know the trick or just isn't doing it back, because her eye doesn't drift to the mirror. She keeps her eyes on Daisy instead. She has no interest in her clothes; she's watching how she moves, and she's apparently found out what she was looking for, because it stops being so intense after a few moments.
Baiken lets out a bark of laughter. It isn't actually terribly funny, but Baiken's sense of humour tends toward black. One is all you get, though; she's not particularly amused beyond that Daisy actually said it; if someone is willing to joke about a possible soul-stealing, they're in the state of mind Baiken always lives in.
Or, well, they're Daisy.
But there's the promise of information. That's what Baiken came for. She wants to know everything she can. "I know what he is," Baiken says, flatly. "I can feel it, I can see it - and I found his weakness. But I don't know what he was. Does it matter? He needs to be stopped.
Permanently, she thinks, but does not add.
"I know that."
Daisy smiles wearily again, this time for her own benefit rather than that of the impatient warrior. Taking a life has always been something that she has had to deal with as one of those who seek to uphold justice in a cruel and imperfect world. It is not the best solution but it is -a- solution and often one that is forced upon her. She has claimed more than her fair share of death in the early years of her short career and she will likely continue to do so as long as she stands strong in her desire to shield the innocent from evil.
But it is still never something that she has done easily or atleast not without seeking out alternatives when they existed. Ofcourse, all of her experiences have been centered on human opponents with human motives and capabilities. This Butcher, whatever he might have once been, no longer fits that description. Every moment that he is allowed to continue on his mad quest is one in which more innocents could suffer and die. That cannot be allowed to continue, no matter how tragic his story might be.
"I think..." She speaks slowly, setting the cup down as she turns to face Baiken. All of the playful light in her expression has faded leaving only a serious and intense stare. "I might know how he can be killed."
Baiken does not interrupt. She is an abrasive, angry person - but there's a time to let the anger out, and a time to let it sit. And she isn't upset with Daisy, who she came to see. Just because she's not the person Baiken had expected doesn't mean the visit is not useful. Information is valuable, even if it's the part of Baiken's job she's worst at.
She does, however, have a very different position on killing. Daisy thinks of it as a last resort; to Baiken, it is the only one that works. But her background is very different from Daisy's, too. Daisy is a police officer, an international crime investigator. Baiken hunts monsters that most people don't even believe exist, so they can never do anything like what happened to her - and she looks for the man who set them in motion.
"More than killed," Baiken says, her gaze shifting to the side momentarily. "He has a binding worked on him, though it can't hold him now. He should be sealed, his powers bound, and /then/ killed. Some beings can infect another when they die. His black mist..."
Baiken looks like she is going to spit for a moment. Perhaps realizing she's in a hospital, she doesn't, making a sour face. "Tell me what you know," she says, returning her one eye to staring straight at Daisy. "And I will make sure he can never attack you, or anyone else, again." The look on her face is vaguely predatory. It has some resemblance to an expression the Butcher might bear... for an instant, at least.
Daisy blanches at the mention of 'seals' and 'powers'. Such concepts are alien to her, her mind rooted in the scientific and practical. Certainly she has seen some strange things in her time in the field but none of them that could not be explained. Before a few days ago if someone had said those things to her she'd have considered them insane or charlatans. Now, she doesn't really know what to think. So instead she just nods and does what any seasoned officer would do - defer to the expert.
"If you say so."
Taking a deep breath, Daisy wanders back over to her bed and sits down again. The effort leaves her sweating and shivering and she pulls her arms in against her body for warmth.
"When I encountered the Butcher... I didn't have very much luck when I tried to fight him. He pretty much wrecked me, as you can see. However, I did manage to hold out long enough for him to speak to me. About his past."
Daisy shrugs and glances back at the samurai. The memory of the encounter is hard on her, her features becoming noticably more gaunt, her expression losing just a little bit more of its softness. She looks haunted by something.
"I don't think he meant to let it slip. I suppose he was bragging in a way. He told me that he's... immortal." She frowns at the word. Like the others, it's one she feels silly for speaking aloud in a serous fashion. "But he can die. When he is 'killed', he loses his strength. He has to feed to regain it. He started small but eventually began to devour humans. He told me that is why he came to Southtown, to feed on strong fighters."
Baiken has had too much experience to disdain myths and legends.
Baiken remains impassive while Daisy speaks. She has an incredible stoneface; Daisy's clearly unsettled, but it doesn't seem to affect her very much. The only sign is the shift of her grip, her hand going slightly white-knuckled on the scabbard again. She doesn't like what was done to Daisy. Preventing it - preventing people from being hurt like that, or like she was - is part of why she kills monsters.
She nods, very slightly. "Yes," she says. "Someone woke him up before he was ready, and told him Southtown was 'safe' for him." Baiken can't keep the anger out of her voice at that. "There are monsters who can't be killed, who rest for a time. I suppose, if you're right, that makes him one of them."
Baiken paces again. Moving stops her from lashing out at Daisy, or more accurately at things around Daisy. She told the police she wasn't going to cause trouble, and Baiken takes some promises seriously. Her voice is low. "I intend to kill him, and kill the person who found him. Then I'll seal him; it's the only thing I know he fears. He tried to kill me to stop me from ever doing it near him."
Baiken's hand rests against her stomach for a moment, where ripping slash wounds were. Whatever half-healed wounds she has left are hidden under her robe and belt. "Did you tell anyone else," she says, suddenly intense as she walks over toward Daisy. "Any other hunters, anyone who might try to do such a thing? Because if they don't know how to create a seal, this changes /nothing/."
Daisy looks up as the woman approaches her, eyes widening slightly at her sudden shift from the tense prowling of the room. Instinct explodes in her head, rattling off random bits of information at a moment's notice - how Baiken moves, where her likely weakpoints are, how best to disarm her should she draw the blade. The injured detective stares back at her blankly for a few moments as bits of paranoia and training from a previous time in her life swirl around her already beleagured mind. Then she blinks and the moment passes.
"Oh, I uh..." The American seems genuinely confused or distracted as she brings her attention back to the question. She meets Baiken's one-eyed stare like a deer caught in headlights, paralyzed mometarily. "I... told my superiors... ofcourse."
Naturally, as a agent of the law, she'd have been questioned about her actions and the events that transpired. Interpol has slightly more experience in dealing with the strange and the 'supernatural'. There are divisions that specialize in just such activities. It's not impossible that they sent someone out who thinks they might be able to handle such a task.
"I don't know what they plan to do. We do have people who deal with... um... occult stuff."
The answer is not really a surprise, much as Baiken wishes she /had/ been. But then again, lucky breaks aren't really what happens to Baiken.
"Of course," she says, straightening up again. "I hope they do not do something... foolish. I won't say the police are useless, but I will say this isn't something they should be handling. And if it feeds on them, they will only make it stronger. I will have to move faster."
She considers Daisy for a moment. "If you know any other hunters," she says, "feel free to tell them I came. I don't work with others often." That is an understatement. "But for something like this, I suppose I must - especially missing most of my arm." By which she means 'the trick arm', of course - the only thing she managed to replace on short notice was the claw - but that may not be clear to Daisy, and she doesn't bother to explain further.
"But I won't be able to wait forever. Either for you to recover," she says, nodding at the injuries, "or for the stragglers to find me. He needs to be stopped, weakened and sealed and returned to the earth. But I... thank you for your assistance." The words are unfamiliar. Baiken doesn't thank people much, either - certainly not on days when she's forced to behave herself. Being any more aggressive would have just scared Daisy off. She wouldn't have gotten the knowledge she needs.
Daisy's gaze drifts down to the loose sleeve at the warrior's side as if just now noticing it for the first time. Her eyes widen a little again but she doesn't display any other indications of surprise. It would be rude to make a big deal out of it but she cannot help but wonder if the injury was a result of her fight with the Butcher. He certainly seemed capable of performing such terrible injuries. Something tells her that isn't the case though. Baiken moves too easily to have suffered such a grievous wound recently, her actions practiced and fluid with the use of only one arm.
Daisy nods, letting the matter drop without further question. "The doctors say it will take some time for my injuries to heal. I'm afraid I won't be able to help you any further." She says this with an obvious note of disappointment in her voice, eyes drifting down to her lap. "I don't know anyone with...erm... the qualifications you're looking for but... if anyone happens to visit me, I'll pass your message along."
Baiken moves with years of experience being without a right arm. How she flipped that scabbard around, even got it off her hip with no problems; she doesn't expect that arm to be there. It's the same with the eye; those are old scars, ten years or more, and while not exactly pretty or comfortable to look at they aren't fresh and raw.
"Do," Baiken says. "I'm not leaving Southtown until he does or this is dealt with. I'll be around."
Baiken heads to the door, tucking the scabbard up under her arm again. She hesitates, just a moment before opening it. "Mallone," she says, having heard her addressed by that name first. "This will end. Such a being won't be allowed to live. You won't have to worry."
It's as close she can come to being reassuring, and that's probably why she does not wait for a response before she opens the door, stepping out through it provided none of the police are trying to block her from doing so. She does not address them any more than she intended to on the way in.
Baiken's words get a response from the detective but she doesn't look up until she hears the door click open. She watches the samurai woman start to leave but then, at the last moment, gives her a bright smile and calls out, "Feel free to come visit me again! You'll get a much better reception next time, I promise!"
Baiken doesn't respond, or at least she doesn't say anything. There is a slight shift of her head, but it could have been imagination; she has a lot of hair to get in the way.
She does politely close the door as she walks off, though.
Log created on 21:31:58 02/18/2015 by Baiken, and last modified on 23:35:29 02/19/2015.