2020-07-21 - Smoke Signals


Hunter can't get away with just observing. Not when Mari's around

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Jul 21 21:42:30 2020
Location: The Disaster Zone

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There's a lot of work happening in the Disaster Zone around the 'beautification and revitalisation' project. Buildings are finally being refurbished and a 'green area' is being cleared for people to use. It's not been easy and people are on edge.

Mari McCabe is in the Disaster Zone today, visiting the workers and speaking to people. She understands how important it is to keep their spirits up and let them feel that they aren't forgotten. Of course, she might be also be on the lookout for the allies who assisted the other day - she's planning to take to the fight to the 'thugs' and the more, the merrier, as far she is concerned.

The ex-model can be seen on the edges of the work, taking a break and getting a drink in the heat.

With her heightened senses - should she employ them - it would not be difficult for Mari McCable to become aware that she - and the workers - are being watched. The source is a different location than the last time, but the predator's aura of restrained lethality ready to be unleashed is the same. The watcher - surely to be the Hunter, as she has done the same many times - is carefully and purposefully camouflaged. But there is one thing she cannot hide, that preternatural aura.

Whatever the Hunter may be, that part of her is a constant. Vixen, tied as she is to the spirits of the animals of the wild world, would be likely far more acutely aware of that aura than most. Indeed, with some patience she ought to be able to even zero it in and work out where, on which half-ruined rooftop, the Hunter must be hiding herself, watching over her people working below.

Mari is also going to spot the elder African-American man, Weather, and the middle-aged Hispanic Berm amongst the mutants who have come out to work the project today. Berm is using his abilities to work the earth of the gardens, unearthing stones and digging the planting rows by simple will with hands plunged into the earthen depths.

Mari doesn't regularly call on her spirits unless she has direct need of them. It's a little known fact that she can be affected by those spirits if she channels them too strongly. Black Panther has seen that, once or twice. Still, Mari knows that Hunter does patrol and she's seen the two mutants who aided the other day … so it's the glowing silhouette of a bear that appears behind her.

Why a bear? They have an amazing sense of smell and it can break through the scents of the city a lot more easily.

Offering a smile to Weather and Berm and calling out a greeting, the dark skinned woman turns as she finds the scent she's looking for - she didn't *know* which scent, but she's had it before, so finding the direction is rather easy.

Rather than approach Hunter directly, Mari just looks pointedly in her direction, letting her know she's been made. The bear is joined by the glowing silhouette of an eagle … she'll fly up to where the Hunter is perched in just a moment.

With eyes assuredly directed correctly, even Mari's enhanced vision - once the eagle settles in - can barely make out any sign of the Hunter, despite knowing she is there. Even the end of the barrel of the rifle Mari's instincts assure here is up there is not visible, apparently blocked by fabrics watches intentionally arranged to break up those visual lines. But there is enough to those coverings that the eagle's gaze can pick out their texture being slightly off from the weathered and cracked concrete of the rooftop. Not by much, but a bit.

Spotted, Hunter's eyebrow arches a bit. She noticed - more during the last encounter than in the first - that this woman has animal spirits. Amur Khatun can smell them, even at this range, and some trick of sight allows her to see them as well. Where Hunter might have decamped and worked her way slowly and methodically down to ground level - no need to jump like a madwoman, given there is no threat to life and limb here just now - she instead stays where she is, spotting the eagle's arrival. Instead, she waits until the other woman has flown up to join her, and then finally turns, her ghillie suit parting to reveal her made-up face. Hunter was truly dug in, this time.

When Mari lands and Hunter turns, the homeless huntress nods her head in acknowledgement. Mari herself may not know of the Hunter's nigh-legendarily laconic style of communication, but most figure it out soon enough. A finger no longer needed for a trigger just now points at Mari. "You. Panther. School." The words are mush-mouthed, all of their edges sanded off aggressively to leave no sign of her natural accent. A thumb hooks back over a particular shoulder, aimed right at the Horizon Academy. Hunter was there. She saw this woman fight, though few saw her. Still, if Mari thinks back she may well remember the shattered vanguard of the cyborg assault that night, the incredible blasts of some mighty weapon tearing them apart from on-high. Something a lot more than the 30-06 now lying on the rooftop at the ready.

Mari takes flight when Hunter doesn't move. She didn't want to invade the womans territory without an 'invite'. That's it - the lack of action. Lighting onto the rooftop, the bear and eagle disappear, leaving just Mari - in her jeans, t-shirt and hikers.

"Me, Panther, school. Yes, that's correct. I'm Mari, or Vixen. Whichever you like. You are Hunter, yes?" She certainly does remember the mess of the cyborgs at the school and the palaver they'd arrived to help deal with.

If the laconic style of communication affects her, she doesn't show it. "You protect the people of M-Town. And here?"

The Hunter nods, pointing to herself as Mari names her Hunter, openly accepting the name without uttering a syllable. Some are more comfortable with her way of speaking - or rather, of not speaking except as absolutely necessary - than others. SHe is perhaps pleased that Mari is more accepting; that makes it easier, and was unexpected for such a high-class woman. This one isn't a telepath, like the Mistress of the school.

Hunter nods again, affirming Mari's declaration. Then she points down at the group working below. "Pride. Protects." It is not just that Hunter protects the Pride; it is that the Pride protects mutants. They usually keep themselves to Mutant Town, but there is good reason for them to expand to protect those in the Zone as well; they are neighbors. Hunter has clearly established some kind of alliance with Frost at the Academy, which is in the Zone. So it seems that is the way things are going.

"It's nice to make your acquaintance." Mari smiles. She's careful of the woman, picking up her … feral, perhaps animalistic, nature. "Pride? The Pride? Your … pack? Vixen and Panther protect as well."

There's an ease to Mari that Hunter can sense. Wary, alert but not threatening. "We're going hunting in a couple of days. Find some who are harming those people." With a flash of white teeth, she grins. "Get them to stop."

A bare hint of a smile plays at the homeless woman's lips as Mari is so formally polite. It amuses her. She inclines her head, offering acknowledgement of Mari's point. She would not call the Pride her pack, but it is a reasonable, animalistic description. She is not a lion. But they are her Pride. That is how and why she named them; there is no word for such with a tigress, after all. But she does it anyway.

Hunter is calm, physically, but the aura of predatory lethality is only barely lessoned with her not watching through the scope of that rifle. It's a curious thing, but perhaps it makes sense why she does not go down and help out; that aura would likely freak out many of those below, even if they didn't know she was the source. Up here she can keep watch and protect them without panicking them, most of the time.

Hunter considers Mari briefly, and then nods, pointing her thumb at herself. "Hunter." Oh yes. She wants in on that. She has tried to scare these people off. She has tried to disuade them. Now, it is time to find those encouraging these 'adventures', and put an end to it.

Mari has seen how efficiently Hunter can do that.

Group, Pack, Family. It gives Mari an idea of the connection. The formally polite is a habit - she learned a long time ago that kindness and respect costs very little and often nets bigger returns in the process. Not that it's always a transaction in that respect.

"Hunter." Mari agrees. She'd picked up that much already! "You can join us, if you like. We'd appreciate the assist. These men, women, will be well armed and trained. They'll know how to fight and might be ready for us." They can't know for certain, of course, that Vixen will come a'calling but they can assume and guess. She's done it before after all. "They work for a very bad man. Name of Klaue. You might see him around after this …"

It's not likely that Hunter has heard of Ulysses Klaue. He's a certain reputation among a certain group. Using the gangs and thugs of New York, though, as a cats paw. That's well within his song book.

Hunter considers Mari only briefly, and then nods. Yes, she will come. She will hunt with them. These have attacked her Pride, and others under her protection. They must be stopped. And if the enemy will be prepared? Well then, fair is fair; Hunter will prepare as well.

Boom goes the dynamite, or so the expression goes.

Hunter shakes her head, pointing at her ear. She has not heard of this one. "Why?" she asks, pointing down at the people below. Why does this one hurt them? What is he after? The bear wants water, honey, salmon, other kills, and a safe place to breed. What does a claw man want? Best to know ones' prey.

Mari lifts a shoulder, partly answering Hunters question. "It's … complicated. Klaue himself, wants … my pendant." Mari touches the fox headed pendant at her throat. "He … wants power, I guess, and won't let anything stopping him getting it. He, uses the others to do that."

Mari pauses, thinking about how to say this.

"The thugs are locals. Criminals and bullies for the most part. Gangs. When he 'employed' some of them, they distributed weapons to their gangs. Now the gangs … just want to make a mark for themselves, I suppose."

She did say it was complicated. It's the consequences of Klaue arming and training a few.

Gesturing to the people below, Mari shakes her head. "Most of those are mutants, living here because of Registration. They're … different. And different makes people scared. Scared people do dumb things. Now? Those people have been forgotten by the authorities, caught up in bureaucratic red tape. It makes easy for the bullies to target them. And it means people like you and people like me are needed."

There's a bit more to add, but Mari waits to see how Hunter receives that explanation.

Hunter leans in close and sniffs at Mari, nodding. "Tingle." Yes. Hunter really does get by most situations with nigh-monosyllabic responses. She accepts that this is valuable, though she herself does not understand such things at all. It would not be the first time, for her.

When Mari explains the gangers, Hunter turns and spits back over her shoulder in displeasure. She does not like the gangs. All too often she has had to dissuade their adventurism into Pride territory. She also has a chip on her shoulder, because many outsiders consider the Pride to be a gang. The NYPD considers them 'organized crime,' even though the Pride never indulges in crime. No protection rackets. No prostitution. No gambling. No smuggling, except of people to keep them out of sight and safe when needed. But because Hunter has made war - in her own inimitable way - against other organized crime, stealing their product and money, the authorities consider her people criminals.

"Eliminate claw." Hunter doesn't pronounce it right, not with that mush mouth. But it is likely close enough to be understood. "Disarm children." Yes. To her, the gang members are children. Stupid, arrogant, reckless children. She has tried to warm them off, and they have refused to be warned. She is done with being merciful.

Mari holds still as Hunter leans in to sniff, not leaning back to try and avoid her. Tingle. That's interesting.

There's a chuckle though when Hunter spits over her shoulder. "My sentiments exactly. The Gangs are a blight and need controlling. The Police do a good enough job but sometimes … they need help. Particularly when they've been outfitted by a mad man."

Not that Klaue *is* mad. Not exactly. "Klaue. We'll get to him but becareful for now. He's got another agenda. Discrediting the heroes and making it seem like we're the problem, might be part of that." What better way to take the power from your enemy but putting them on the other side of the law? "Children first. Immediate threat. And if we make it hurt enough, they'll think more than twice before trying again."

Mari might be a model. She might be 'high class'. But she's also a scrapper from Queens.

Hunter prefers not to do battle with the disadvantaged. She would rather frighten away the reckless children. She has been forced to murder some of them, and as cold and professional a killer as she is, she does not want to do more of that if it can be avoided.

But Hunter will do what must be done.

"Will help." Hunter offers at last. Just that. Nothing more. If the authorities are going to come hunting her, she knows who will be sent. She has no desire to battle the Posse. But she will if she must.

"Excellent. I can get you word on when we'll be moving. How best can I contact you?" Mari smiles, her teeth flashing white against her skin. Taking a card from her pocket, she's hands it over. "You can call me, anytime. Or drop by the showroom - try not to scare my staff too much though, hmmm?"

"Spider-Man. A woman named Zeal. Myself. Others if I can get word to them in time. They'll be joining us." In the venacular, Mari's going in, loaded for bear.

The Hunter watches Mari curiously, putting things together and trying to process them. She takes the card when offered, though she has no real use for it. She knows enough to know to refuse it would be impolite. How to contact her? Hunter's usual answer is to direct others like some variation of the A-Team or Kung-Fu: come to Mutant Town, ask for Hunter. She won't show up right away, but she always hears about it, and she comes. But this is about a mission. She could tell Mari to call Tendril's phone. But instead she tries something a mite more direct.

"Smoke." It would be hilarious. But she's not joking. Not a hint of a cracked smile. "Roar. Or put up mark." Hunter lowers a dirty, grubby hand to the stone dust covering the cement roof, and draws a upward-pointed arrowhead with a stylized lion's head shaped like a P inside. "Any. Hunter come." There's a good danged reason why NYPD and others can't find Hunter; phone tracing and other such modern styles just won't locate her. She doesn't make it easy to hunt the Hunter.

"I'll send up smoke signals, then." Mari's lips quirk a little as she notes the mark. She can certainly roar, under certain circumstances. "Will try not to bother you, though."

She gets it. Hunter isn't the only hero who likes to work on the down low.

"Might not find the children this time out. Information gathering, locations and stuff. Set traps, prepare the field." Mari adds, calling the eagle to herself again. The glowing silhouette forms behind her "Good to be working with you, Hunter." She says, making ready to leap into the air.

Hunter might notice that Mari hasn't pried into who she is, or why she does what she does.

Hunter nods when Mari offers to signal her when the time comes. "Will come." She's not placing any bets that she won't be able to find the children. Hunter doesn't miss her targets. But she understands the others cannot assume that until it is proven.

"Fly safe." the mush-mouthed words are offered by the homeless sniper, as she watches Mari launch herself into the air and glide down to the ground. As soon as Mari is gone, Hunter starts carefully re-arranging her ghillie suit and covers as she disappears from sight.

Still more watching to do this day.

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