KOF 2017 - Act 2: Mission 4 - Follow The Trail

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Description: As the Hungry Wolves move into the next phase of the tournament, Brandon Malone finds himself a wanted man. Not wanted by the law, but by the mysterious forces seeking to assassinate him. His contacts quickly draw together a lead, however. A mercenary by the name of Cooper, whose background ties him to the very people who ordered his assassination. Brandon has to corner him at the Pao Pao Cafe in Southtown, and find out the truth of who is out to kill him.

Someone's enjoying a relaxing day off. Sure, he still might be stuck in Japan by contract, but Cooper is making the most of it by enjoying some of the local color. In short, he's people watching. The blond mercenary also sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers and locals that inhabit the cafe he's decided to park himself in for the afternoon.

He's not dressed up for battle, wearing a pair of jeans and a plaid button up shirt, and on the table in front of him sits a steaming cup of tea along side the biggest bowl of ramen the joint has. At least he knows how to enjoy other countries, rather than taking advantage of the more familiar fare on the menu.

He sits where he can keep an eye on those coming and going from the cafe, a good view of the windows, and his back against a corner. Some habits die hard. However, he's allowed himself to relax just a bit. He idly slurps at his noodles as his blue eyes dart across the screen of an e-book, only occasionally looking up when some snatch of sound catches in his ears.

All in all, Cooper is a man just trying to go about enjoying his day, and some well earned R&R.

That sound is the sound of the door opening up. If Cooper sticks out like a sore thumb, Brandon sticks out like a thumb on a giant foam hand. That is mainly due to his chosen fashion. White fedora with a black band, black long sleeve shirt, white vest, white tie, and slacks as well as white dress shoes slightly scuffed.

As the host moves towards him to seat him, he shakes his head, glances towards Cooper before moving towards him.

He doesn't look particularly happy to have to do this, but having an assassin sent after you has a tendency of making a person do things they'd rather not do.

When he arrives at Cooper's table, he doesn't bother waiting for an invitation. He sits down across from the mercenary.

"Mr. Cooper. I think that we need to talk."

Well, Cooper is used to being left alone. He's just one of those guys that doesn't radiate a please come talk to me vibe. No, it's definitely more of 'Go away, you bother me' vibe. And most people tend to honor that sort of attitude, especially when he fixes them with a glare, which is what he's doing now that someone took the other seat at his table. Well, most people. Doubtless his new table companion isn't so easily withered as your run of the mill shmuck.

Even after Brandon speaks, Cooper keeps his eyes locked on the man, bringing more noodles up to his mouth for a long slurp. He's in no rush to answer. Once he's finished with that bite, however, he leans back in his chair, a hand disappearing behind him.

"Since you know my name this is either about a job you want done, or a job already done. For the first one, this isn't how I do business. For the second, go away." HIs accent is glaringly obvious and he does little to smooth it out to make himself easier to understand.

"Either way, I have a strict policy against talking to guys in fedoras." One corner of his mouth ticks up into a crooked grin. "If you don't mind, mate." He makes a little shooing motion with the hand that isn't hidden behind him, most likely gripping something the way his arm is tensed.

And any other time, Brandon would've honored that attitude and the later request to go away probably would've never needed to be voiced. The detective is usually a live and let live type of person until certain lines are crossed. That is what made him a problem for Violet Systems and as a result, Lee Chaolan.

Brandon's lips form a straight line since the man is not particularly inclined to smile or frown. At least, not yet. Brandon rests his hands on the table in front of him as he glances at Cooper's shoulder of the arm reaching behind him. For most people, that would be a sign of peaceful intentions. Brandon however has a fighting style based around utilizing sleight of hand.

"Actually it's about a third scenario. A job that someone screwed up. The evidence? The fact that I'm sitting here face to face with you right now."

Those close by who are chi sensitive will notice that there's tension in the air. The energy within the detective close to the surface with the bindings on it ready to be released at a moment's notice. He takes a deep breath before he says, "And I have a strict policy of not letting people get away with trying to kill me, so..." He lets it hang for a moment before mimicking the speaking pattern but not the accent, "If you don't mind, buddy, you talk to me about who might've ordered the hit, and I'll leave you to your noodles."

He already knows where this is going to go but he's not about to start a fight here.

There's a scoff from the Aussie as he tilts his head to the side, regarding Brandon with mild amusement. He seems to actually be taking pleasure from the man's irritation. If he can't get his enjoyment through quiet, he might as well get it another way.

Cooper picks his chopsticks back up with his left hand, it's a bit clumsier than with his right, but that hand stays out of sight. He plucks a fish cake out of the broth and points it at Mr. Fedora. "You don't get far in my business by blabbing your client's secrets to every wanna be forties gangster with an axe to grid."

He turns the chopsticks around and pops the morsel of food into his mouth. "So, either you leave. Or I'll leave. And unless you want to try stopping me from walking out of here.." And the grin on his face turns from cocky to near malicious. "We're done."

Chopsticks are set on the edge of the bowl, and he digs into his pocket, tossing a smattering of assorted denominations of yen coins onto the table with the clanking of metal on wood.

As the coins are still clanking along the surface of the table, more than enough to pay for the food and drink, Cooper stands. He picks up his cup, chugs down his tea like a beer and heads for the door, flipping off Brandon as he passes the man before disappearing back out onto the street.

Brandon watches in silence as Cooper polishes off his food and his tea, the neutral expression not moving from his face. It doesn't look as though the Private Investigator is particularly inclined to stop him from leaving. The flipped bird is shrugged off for the time being. There would be plenty of time to address that later.

As the waitress moves in to get his order, Brandon slips around her with a polite no thanks before he moves towards the door as well. With a hand moving towards the leather pouch clipped onto his belt, he produces two cards and heads out into the streets to pursue the Aussie.

Cooper isn't particularly hard to tail, either not caring if he is being followed or just not expecting it. Though eventually he starts moving away from where the crowds are, where the kids hang out oafter school and where the soon to be bustling nightlife will be once the offices shut down for the day. There's a few hotels around the area, cheaper and seedier, and probably where the man is staying.

But he doesn't seem to be stopping in any of the hotels, instead going down a quiet side street where a mostly empty parking lot for one of the grungier hotels sits, the asphault unever and cracked, the only cars in sight being old jalopies not worth bothering to try to steal.

He slows his pace here, almost coming to a stop as he makes his way across the lot, perhaps to another hotel or another street, or finally figuring out he has a tail.

COMBATSYS: Cooper has started a fight here.

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Cooper           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Brandon has joined the fight here.

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Brandon          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Cooper

To explain what happens here, we'll need to go back to what cards Brandon had pulled from his leather pouch. The first one, The Hermit. That was one he used specifically for illusions. In a fight, normally he'd use it as a decoy to encourage them hit that instead of him right before said illusion hits them with a chi-form haymaker. The other one has an illusion ritual specifically for cloaking however it was noticable if he moved too fast. That was too hard for him to focus on within a fight situation so it didn't usually come up. He used the illusion to present a visible tail while he attempted to stay out of most people's notice.

When Cooper slows down it ends up becoming a boon to the detective allowing him to catch up. As the illusion approaches, it fades out of existence.

Meanwhile, the real Brandon comes in from the side with a chi haymaker. The key is turned on the lock and the chains are released on the wellspring of power within the investigator.

COMBATSYS: Cooper blocks Brandon's Strong Punch.

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Brandon          0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Cooper

Reflexes or something else, Cooper's arm comes up to take the attack with a slight turn of his head in the direction Brandon is coming from. Much of the posturing from the cafe is gone now that it's just the two of them. Though he still looks more than a little irritated as he lets out a small sigh. "I really hate fighting when there's nothing in it for me."

He doesn't hesitate to retaliate however, dropping his arm as he takes two quick swings at Brandon, a right hook followed by a left hook. The strikes are light, testing his opponent's guard. Meant to tell him where to aim the third strike, a heaavy roundhouse kick delivered by a leather boot-clad foot.

COMBATSYS: Cooper successfully hits Brandon with Kangaroo Strike.
Glancing Blow

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Brandon          0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0           Cooper

"Unfortunately, we're at an impasse."

The mercenary's response comes too quickly for the arcane investigator to say anything more if he were inclined. He wasn't. His hands are quickly brought up into a peek-a-boo guard of a boxer as the right and left hooks glance off of his arms doing negligible damage to his arms. He recognizes them as the decoys that they are before the real danger of the roundhouse is made clear. Brandon tries to skip backwards and while he manages to avoid the worst of that kick, he still gets clipped and it still forces a slight grunt out of him.

Confronted with a taller man with a bit more reach as well as his own lack of desire for fair play, he tosses a baseball sized ball of light towards the Aussie. If that ball of light should connect, it will explode in a burst of blinding light in addition to any pain it will cause.

COMBATSYS: Cooper dodges Brandon's Dire Radiance EX.

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Brandon          0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0           Cooper

"Ooh.. fancy word." But Cooper isn't too busy shooting the breeze to not move out of the way when a ball of chi comes hurtling at him. He hops to the side, letting the bright ball of energy whiff past him, momentarily lighting the cocky grin that's returned to his face. So much for facades.

He changes direction quickly, moving in towards Brandon, closing the distance the Investigator may have tried to put between them. He pulls his right arm back as he moves in.

It may look as if he's going for the same move as before, but this hook actually has some weight behind it, a quick and direct assault, but likely predictable.

COMBATSYS: Brandon fails to interrupt Hook Punch from Cooper with Crown of Stars.

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Brandon          0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0           Cooper

The private investigator wasn't expecting the larger man to be so quick on his feet. So when he sees the mercenary slip past the small ball of light, he raises an eyebrow but he continues to move in. He still had a job to do.

The private investigator unfortunately falls pray the Aussie's superior reach. As he charges in, he reaches for the taller man's neck. His hands doesn't quite find purchase. Any plans of grabbing him by the neck, performing a chi enhanced headbutt, and throwing him down to the ground go by the wayside when that fist connects with his jaw causing his knees to buckle and him to fall.

The detective slowly rises to his feet as his body gets battered by his opponent as well as ravaged by his own power.

Cooper has a few rules for life. Never betraying an employer is one of those. The other is never appear weak. He may not start fights without a reason, but he will go all out if they get started. With an almost ruthless glee. A ruthlessness that is bubbling to the surface as he keeps up his assault on the P.I..

He barely waits for his opponent to get back to his feet before he's on him again. A few quick steps close the distance once more as his arms go across his chest in a more defensive stance, especially after that attempted grab at his neck. But then once he's close enough launches an elbow strike right at Brandon's center of mass.

COMBATSYS: Cooper successfully hits Brandon with Body Blow.

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Brandon          1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Cooper

Brandon's rules are similar. If they were on the same sides of a conflict, Brandon could respect that type of business ethics. Right now, Cooper was a man standing in the way of his need to find out who was responsible for trying to kill him.

Cooper decides to press the attack with an elbow to center mass. Maybe it was the shot to the jaw making his knees weak, maybe it was the roundhouse clipping his rib cage making it all the harder to weave away from it, maybe it was just the fact that the detective was off his game today. Whatever it was, Brandon was just not able to get himself away from the elbow. Brandon folds like an origami crane from the force of that elbow.

The detective realizes that there's no way he can continue this fight much longer and he has to beat a hasty retreat before either Cooper or his own energy does him in. Golden light surrounds his fists as he tries to gather overwhelming power into them. It starts with three rapid jabs followed by a powerful straight and then he comes down with a two fisted double axe handle smash punctuating it with a blinding flash of light.

When the flash of light fades, the P.I. is gone.

COMBATSYS: Brandon can no longer fight.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Cooper           0/-------/---====|

COMBATSYS: Cooper fails to counter Cascade of Five Suns from Brandon with Quoll Strike.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Cooper           1/-----==/=======|

Cooper brings up his arms, he was readying himself for a return assault, but it's not to be. Bringing up his arms just opens him up to the jabs. The final assault bearing too much power and speed for him to effectively turn away.

The final strike sends him hurtling back a few feet, more than mildly dazed from the sudden assault of power unleashed on him. The whole combination leaving him shocked as his body suddenly protests the massive assault. He gets to his feet, wiping a stream of blood from his mouth on the sleeve of his shirt, turning his attention to where his opponent should be, only to find nothing.

"Bastard." He closes his eyes for a moment, as if lost in thought then shakes his head, pulling himself straight with a noticeable groan. "I should have asked for more." He turns on his heel and starts his trek back to his hotel, and probably a long hot shower and enough painkillers to down a horse.

COMBATSYS: Cooper has ended the fight here.

Log created on 19:34:27 09/21/2017 by Brandon, and last modified on 09:22:37 09/22/2017.