2019-10-27 - Patrolling the Pridelands


Hunter finds someone in her territory. Her and Posse come to a loose agreement.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Oct 27 23:16:44 2019
Location: Mutant Town Tenement

Related Logs


Theme Song



Mutant Town has been working hard on repairs since the incident with the 'shark beast', as the streets are calling it. Stories still run rampant about the enormous tiger and the big purple lion that appeared and engaged the thing in battle. But as usual it has been the Pride who have arisen to keep the people safe. Ever watchful, the network of homeless folks and their allies in Mutant Town have been exceptionally alert, even though they haven't been telling anyone else why.

Those who arrive from outside are not hemmed in or aggressively discouraged, but they are watched carefully, subtly, by those that most tend to just ignore as part of the scenery. Only those with truly exceptional situational awareness would pick up the hand signals passed from person to person along the streets, and up to others secreted on various rooftops. They may not use encrypted burst transmission radios, but they have near-lightspeed communication throughout this small neighborhood, and a lot of dedicated teamwork.

Passing down the sidewalk and sipping a hot drink, Posse blends into the normal foot traffic of the district. Out of her armor, the tawny woman is dressed in pants, a light jacket, and a flat cap that almost covers her grey-white hair completely. As a member of the PCB responsible for super-human crimes, she already knows the major streets of Mutant Town like the back of her hand - but that's not enough.

Small, subtle signs betray the officer's alertness walking her precinct with neither armor nor a rifle, but they're masked by a practiced stoicism and kept discrete like the hand signals passing around her. Her eyes don't linger anywhere except on crossing signs, but the people around her are noticed.

There are some, at least, amongst those on the streets of Mutant Town who recognize the face of the woman most often seen inside the Posse field armor with PCB colors flying high. Having no interest in making trouble, none of them speak up or call her out. But a one or two of those who do recognize her change their handsigns accordingly, passing along that information.

Notice that one of the PCB is now stalking their streets heightens the tension amongst the Pride. And eventually that heightened tension leads to one inexorable conclusion: the Hunter will have to check this out.

Hunter hasn't been hanging out nearly so casually of late; most often, she's been spending untold hours holed up on a rooftop with a long gun and a scope, hunting trouble. But Hunter has no proof this cop means trouble; just the concern that she might. So instead of just scoping the woman with the potential of dropping her with a long-range shot, Hunter breaks cover carefully and makes her way to a fire escape, then down to ground level.

By the time Posse makes it down four alleys from where she was IDed, another figure emerges onto the sidewalk behind her, following along 'casually.' Threadbare olive drab overcoat over equally worn and weathered sandy brown and tan, 'homeless vet' is a given. Huddled against the wind and cold - or so it would seem - not much of her features show. But she keeps moving behind Posse. Really the best clue to her presence is the fact that many of the others on the sidewalk seem to find somewhere else to be not long after catching her presence. There's just something about that aura that makes people aware of their mortality and a desire to be somewhere else.

Posse doesn't seem to be in a rush to get where she's going, moving from the district's outskirts towards its heart. She's taking a completely different route than she normally patrols - crossing her last beat at a few random places and nothing more. Those streets she already knows well enough.

Without making any outward sign of it, Posse notes the thinning of the sidewalks around her. It's a warning she's long recognized and as she pauses for another intersection the woman at her back is scrutinized by a pulse of light; penetrating invisibly through her jacket, the beam scans backwards to paint a coarse image for the cyborg's bionic eye. Tipping back her drink, Posse taps the crosswalk button then gulps the rest of her cup dry.

A LIDAR map of this woman really isn't terribly informative; she's taller than average, but certainly no Amazon. Whipcord lean and muscled, fit. She is armed, but currently carrying only a pair of knives - one in her boot, another larger one at the small of her back - and a bit of a hand-canon with a higher-caliber semi-automatic, also at the small of her back beneath the jacket. None of these weapons are to hand, and she currently is showing no discernable threatening intent. And yet the people around Posse react like the woman exudes threat.

The other slightly interesting thing is that she changes course when the LIDAR beam reaches out to her. The timing is too tight not to be suggestive, as if she somehow perceived that light and did not like it.

Patiently, Posse waits for the crossing sign to change before looking both ways and crossing the intersection, with half her gaze staying on the upstreet. It never hurts to be extra-vigilant of cars in the Big Apple.

Once she crosses, the officer tosses her empty drink in a trash can and hooks her thumbs into her pockets as she makes a half-turn to rest her back against a stone pillar. Her head swings back to makes eye contact with the woman behind her. "Howdy," she greets neutrally.

Walking stoop-shouldered, head down, with the bill of a cap pulled low, making teye contact with the homeless woman behind her would require Posse to almost literally get on her knees and look up. But the attempt at non-violent confrontation and intimidation still has an effect, as the woman slows to a stop at the corner, with the cars right behind her.

The LIDAR map would know the woman's body mass shifted, tension filling her muscles. She does not grab for her weapons, but her reaction from the moment Posse turned has been preparatory and potentially defensive. "'Ullo?" she questions, a mushy-mouthed attempt at words; while not unintelligible, it's a near thing, with most of the accents sanded down to near obscurity.

"Are you my welcoming committee a' something?" Posse drawls as her LIDAR stops scanning the homeless woman before her. The officer's own clothes are faded but in good repair, with subtle alterations like reinforced cuffs to keep it in service. Neither one of them are wearing new.

The homeless woman backs up a half-step - the most she can and not step out into the street - but does not raise her gaze to meet Posse's. "'elcomin'? Nah me." she answers honestly. She shakes her head a bit, raising her hands up, palms out. There's no real aggression there, and yet still … the part of Posse that is still organic, still alive, still human, cannot help but react to this woman like she breathes threat and lethality.

Posse's nostrils flare but her gaze keeps calm and mild as she counts a breath to three in her head, then slowly lets it out, relaxing any tension from her body and sinking against a hidden metal frame. Panic is for amateurs.

"Tha's cool," she assuages casually. "So why ya' followin' me for?"

"Jus' walkin'." the homeless woman answers, as she stays back as far as she has reached, getting no closer, tensing no more. The woman lowers her hands a bit, pointing at the sidewalk beneath their feet. Public thoroughfare, this. It may not be entirely true; there may be more to this. But if so, she's not admitting it openly or easily.

"You sure?" Posse probes, inviting the woman to say more. "If you got questions, ask'em. I don' bite."
The homeless woman shakes her head. "K'wesshuns?" She glances towards Posse's feet, at least. "Might ask, why here?" She shakes her head. "Why worry, another follow?" This is a woman who does not spare extra words. She pares things down to a bare minimum.

And Posse's enhanced auditory sensors can tell: this woman is not afraid. Her heart is not beating rapidly. It actually beats much more slowly than normal.

"Jus' walkin'," Posse answers with a verbal shrug, handing the woman's own words back to her. "And I don' worry, just prepare. You scare the streets empty," she notes with a nod towards the sidewalk ahead of her, where few are treading. "That means ya bad news for somebody. But I don't think I have to be that somebody."

The woman hangs her head a bit lower, almost as if it bothers her that she frightens others like this. "Jus' .. am. Not want." It's not her intention to be bad news for anyone, necessarily. Doesn't mean she isn't; but it isn't her goal. She shrugs her shoulders inside that oversized threadbare coat. "Jus' watchin'."

"Watchin' huh?" Posse echoes as she leans her head back against the wall and casts her eyes up at the cloudy sky above. "Who's in charge round here? Who're the top dirty kids?"

"Wha?" the woman questions, obviously confused. Posse's question doesn't seem to make much sense at all to her. Dirty children are sadly not as uncommon as they should be amongst the homeless here in Mutant Town, but how would there be top dirty children? Why would this woman care? And what has any of that to do with who is in charge?

Posse raises an eyebrow at the woman's apparent confusion. "Dirty kids, the street people - street punks. Who're the head people on the streets here that keep this suped up borough from turnin into a war zone?"

The woman tilts her head, regarding Posse like she just said something … truly odd. "Everyone knows." Everyone, from the youngest child to the oldest codger, knows who keeps these streets safe. "Pride." she answers, finally. The Pride have watched over these streets and kept Mutant Town safe for years. "Why?"

"Just wonderin who you work with," Posse explains simply. "Who I should get to know around here and help out." The tawny woman pushes off from her wall to stand straight again and turn to face the homeless woman. A cool evening breeze passing through tugs on the edge of her jacket and ruffles the patterned shemagh around her neck. "I think you followin me for a reason - you know about them and me, right?"

"Pride." the woman says, sweeping her hand in all directions around herself, as if encompassing the entire neighborhood. "Know you." She shrugs her shoulders. "Know all." It is their job, if they are the guardians of this place and all who dwell here. "All know them." One cannot live here, function here, and not come to know of the Pride. They do not often offer a consistent face to those they do not know and trust, but anyone who spends enough time here will come to know them. It is inevitable. "Send. Watch. Listen. Learn. To protect."

"Well I'm still a little new in these parts, still gettin to know everyone," Posse concedes. The green-eyed woman glances back down the street before returning to the homeless woman before her. "Think ya could educate me? I'll buy ya a bite," she offers.

"Hungry. Sure?" the homeless woman offers, almost in a tone of warning. She is very hungry. She is homeless. She may well eat this woman out of house and home. "Don't … talk. Much." she mentions, and touches her chest, being honest. It's pretty obvious, but she reiterates it anyway. She's not going to be the most easily informative person Posse could pick, and she's honest enough to point that out.

Not exactly loving the idea of eating with a cop, but not wanting to raise more eyebrows and ire by turning the woman down, the Hunter - though she has not introduced herself to this woman with that name - agrees, and when queried she recommends a decent, tolerant and inexpensive cuban restaurant two blocks away.

At this point, the women have reached said restaurant, taken a table inside, ordered food, and then proceeded to sit, sip drinks, and eat their food once it arrived. Nothing exceptionally out of the ordinary, except perhaps one thing the PCB cop might notice: within fifteen minutes of them entering the restaurant, at least seventy percent of the patrons inside have left. And the two times someone else has come in, they have looked around and then turned around and left. So other than staff - not many, but there are four working this afternoon, including two in the kitchen and two for out front - the place is pretty empty, and these two have easily tree tables around them empty, a solid buffer zone.

After devouring a good bit of her food in methodical and silent effort, the homeless vet finally lifts her gaze briefly, making contact with the cop. "Questions?" she asks. Just one word. Prolonged conversation is definitely not her thing.

With half her attention permanently cast on their surroundings, the ongoing exodus from the homeless vet's presence is hard to miss but Posse maintains her unflappable calm as she puts down her own order and eventually sits down to eat with the blonde woman.

"Who're the Pride?" Posse asks simply enough. "Who're the trend-setter's all ya'll pass news to?"

The woman stares at the cop as if she may have grown an extra head all of a sudden. "Pride? Homeless. Group. Together. Watch, protect." And the expression is one of a woman who has just finished a whole paragraph of discourse, not one who just strung together a bare six words. She goes back to eating for now, as if perhaps that might head off further questions.

When pushed for more, she shrugs. "Pass? Asks. Weather. Tarbaby. Tinder. Others." This being Mutant Town, there's a cultural bias; most tend to use assumed names, almost more titles or nomme de guerres rather than birth or legal names.

Posse sips from her drink as if it was a completely normal answer; water, an austere drink to go with her austere choice in entre: little more than rice, beans, and some barbecue. The eye contact isn't unnoticed as the officer's two green eyes are there waiting to meet her. "Told ya' I'm new here," she excuses with a downward wave of one hand. "And which one're you?"

The white-haired woman pauses to add, "I'm Ava Posey - but your Pride already knows that."

The other woman shakes her head. "None." She looks down, concentrating on her food, almost as if she hopes Posse will fade away like a bad memory before she has to glance back up again. Eventually, though, she does murmur softly, touching her chest with her left hand, "Hunter." But if Posse actually knows more than she's saying, she would know that the rumors say a mysterious, almost never-seen figure known as The Hunter is the one who runs the Pride. And the rumors say whomever or whatever the Hunter is, dangerous doesn't begin to describe it.

Posse doesn't press, giving the blonde time to answer at her own pace while she eats. Then, the stoic cop actually smiles a little. "You got a cool name - lucky. I was Mouse for the longest time."

One thing about living homeless: it's a hard life. It wears on one. It's hard to figure out how young one might be, because it ages. So when Hunter says, "Old name." it doesn't immediately raise eyebrows. But the tone of voice tries to imply something much older than even her worn-out appearance. "Not good Mouse. Bigger. Stronger." she murmurs later.

"Old name," Posse explains with the ghost of a grin. "I found my backbone in Fort Lost-in-the-Woods."

Given she seems an obvious vet, PTSD and all, one would expect Hunter to know the reference to Fort Leonard Woods in Missouri. But she doesn't react to it at all, just shrugs. "Military changes." That's the sum total of her feelings on the matter, or at least of the words she intends to use.

"Did you serve?" the white-haired cop asks.

The woman rolls her shoulder, another of those non-committal shrugs. She is a woman of few words, and can say a lot without using any. Frustrating, right?

Posse's lips tug to one side as she regards Hunter deadpanned before turning back to her food. With the homeless vet's terse replies, the cop hasn't had as much room to eat.

The homeless vet seems only too happy to keep eating, drinking, and staying silent. She's not the one who wanted a conversation; so she can wait out the cop to see what else the woman wants to know.

Ava or Mouse or Posse takes the opportunity to make up lost ground in her eating, wolfing with a pace familiar to the homeless vet - like the other woman might reach over and take it, like her meal's being timed, like it's never food enough. It is a small meal, and doesn't last long. Only a little water is sipped to wash it all down before the cop speaks up again.

"Don't let the armor fool you, I'm more at home in UCP than cop-blue," the white-haired woman offers.

The homeless woman glances up, nodding at the cop, then resumes until her own food is gone, and so too her water. Thankfully, more is provided; she drinks that down thoroughly, steadily as well. "Noticed." Yep. That's all she does to answer: one word. Loquacious, she is not.

With her own meal done, Posse leans back in her seat as she wipes her mouth, taking Hunter's laconic reply with stone-faced nonresponse. "What's got you out here, huh? Got some demon's in your head that need exorcised?"

The shrug of a single shoulder is the woman's initial response; few vets are willing to discuss their reasons or their issues. To most, such things are a private affair, not shared with other veterans for fear of being labeled weak, and not shared with civilians because they could not hope to truly understand. "Is, what is. Can't fix."

"Y'know I've heard that about a lot of s***, and yeah the dead don't come back to life, but most of the lil' demons I've met're cowards: they run and hide when they hear a bolt rack," Posse notes.

The homeless woman nods. "Action, no time for dread." It's the closest to a full-on sentence she's uttered since they met. Even so, it's pretty minimal, and obviously that's intentional. Mighty hard to get answers out of someone who isn't willing to just chat.

"Yup - nice ain't it?" Posse affirms with a bit of a smile. "Want to let off some rounds later? I know a quiet range outside city limits."

But the homeless woman shakes her head. "Thank you." She doesn't explain. She doesn't look terribly sad, nor angry. Just a calm refusal, politely offered.

The quiet of her answer is puzzling more than anything else and Posse can't help arching a brow at the homeless woman's behavior. "Well we'll get to know each other eitha' way; might as well do it the positive way. You know how this routine works, huh?"

"Routine?" the homeless woman questions, curiously, while watching the police officer which what would certainly appear to be a guileless confusion. "Know enough. Not more offer."

"You live here, I patrol here; Pride guards here, I guard here," Posse explains in brief, mimicking a little of Hunter's terseness. "The better we work the quieter this place gets."

"Blue tend to avoid, here." Hunter offers, honestly. "Don't see. What see, don't understand. Most afraid." She shrugs. "Nothing wrong that. Fear smart. Keeps alive around danger." And Mutant Town and its people are dangerous. Hunter would never deny that. "Pride here. Can't leave. Don't 'patrol'. Just live. Watch. Do what can." A long pause. "Never snitch."

Posse lifts her water glass and swirls its remaining contents, clinking the ice cubes. "I got that, and I told ya I'm more green than blue. So don't gimme that, I know better. You Look out for your own, but you got problems just like everyone; whack-jobs from out of town come and make trouble. Dumb*** blue comes in town and makes trouble. Suits in city hall open their mouths too wide - more trouble." Green eyes look across the table at the brim of Hunter's hat without a pulse of infrared light to peer through it - she's looking at the woman as she is. "I ain't no Mother Teresa, but you and I are ducking the same bullets when real big trouble happens here, yeah?"

"Moving in?" Diya asks succinctly. There's no accusation in her tone; she genuinely just asks the question. BUt the implication is pretty clear: unless Posse is moving in, here in Mutant Town, then she's not really going to be dodging the same bullets. Even so, Hunter isn't going to recommend the woman not move in. And she's certainly not going to deny the many issues her people face here.

"Okay you got me. I'm in the nice part of town - hot running water and everything," Posse concedes for the huntress. "But you see any fence around this district?" she asks back, glancing towards the windows theatrically. "We're in the same city and when somethin around here starts shooting it's my job to drive /towards/ them. 'Sides big trouble wanders."

The Hunter lifts her left hand, pressing it briefly, splayed, across her chest. "Respect." Just one word. Granted, Diya too would run towards the danger. But she still honors those who do, even if they do so in uniforms of blue. She may have her biases against the cops, but she still respects their job; just not always the ways some of them do that job amongst her people.

Now it's Posse's turn to shrug, taking the gratitude nonchalantly. "Do it long enough and anything else gets boring. Point is we both like trouble small and yappy not big and eating cars."

And Hunter just gives one of those brief one-shoulder shrugs. "Better. Safer." She'll admit that. But she deals with it no matter how big it is. She's sure the cop does the same.

Posse nods before shifting in her seat, preparing to stand. "How do you want to keep in touch?"

The homeless woman gives another one-shoulder shrug. "Know where to find us. You need, ask." She'll tell the others to carry the cop's messages, though it goes against her grain to do so.

"And when you want to reach me?" the plain-clothed officer asks as she gets up from her seat and tucks her chair in.

Diya pushes back her chair and stands up, moving a bit away from Posse as they make towards the door. "If needs, one of Pride will come find. Give note." They wouldn't dare trust technological means, given the advantages the cops and authorities would have there.

"Cool," the officer accepts, reaching out to offer the homeless organizer a hand to clasp.

The other woman looks Posse up and down with an attitude that likely leaves the impression she's not going to return the gesture. Then, at least, she gives the hand the briefest of shakes - firm, but nothing special - and then she nods and walks away.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License