Dinner passed as the couple talked and occasoinally laughed, gaining disaproving looks from the other diners. A dangerous glance from the large Victor usually kept protests to a minimum, though.
While Ti had never been callled charming in his life he could at least be considered charming when he wanted and both he and Kass enjoyed the meal. After eating, though, and loosening up with a few drinks they moved off to rejoin the others.
The food and service had eaten into both his personal funds and his 1,000 mark advance but he still had enough money for an evening on the town. He guided the elegently dressed Kass out of the resteraunt, giving an older
retired military gentleman one last glare on the way by, and reclaimed his gun from the check girl.
Pleased at the wide eyed look Kass gave the piece he grinned as she put on her coat.
"Come on, we'll meet the others for a while at the dance club. Just say hi and stick around until we get bored."
Once on the street level he signaled for a cab and waited until one of the bright yellow cars showed up.
At an appropriate time, Ed asked Frederick "W-w-w-whats a 'd-d-d-dirty j-j-j-jew'?" Ed had never heard the term.
Frederick leaned his head toward Slave as if listening to someone speaking aloud. "Yes, I figured that's what you would want. That's why I intend to take a second share of the money, to be applied to breaking the slavesoft controlling your actions. I'm not sure I can do anything about restoring your memories though. However, if you wish to choose a name for yourself, I don't think anyone here would object to treating you as free."
To Gisele, Frederick said, "Gisele, I realize that as a jew she is inferior. But even so, she will be far more useful as a free thinker. Tolerance can be a very powerful tool."
Feeling somewhat unsettled by the various gazes, sneers, and rolled eyes she received for her perfectly legitimate complaint, Gisele just nodded a little dumbly at Frederick.
"Yes.. yes, that's true." Though she didn't sound wholly convinced. More in agreement with the former part of Frederick's comment than the latter.
Why were they acting so strange to her? It was a simple fact that every good citizen of the Reich knew. Rather than cause trouble, she simply didn't talk further about the matter. Some people could be so touchy...
The uncomfortable moment regarding Slave's stats, or lack thereof, left Adelaide worrying about how she'd handle it if Nadya and herself were treated the same way. After all, they were exactly the same social class: slaves. Or rather, as the Company preferred to term it: Indentured Assets. Nadya, of course, didn't give a damn. Besides, she was busy flirting with Diana.
A few minutes later, Adelaide settled her internal struggle, falling back on the original goal. The money wasn't what was important. Preventing a PsycheWar was.
Several of the members of the group decided to try this club Nadya was thinking about. Ti had managed a date of his own, of course, but they opted to give it a try. Frederick and Gisele appeared to have other plans, however, and they made plans to go to some other place.
So it was that Ti, Kass, Ed, Adelaide, Diana and Nadya opted to try out Nadya's Nightingale Club. Finding a couple cabs for service from the hotel was simple and the drive short. After arriving, the group walked into the bar one by one. As was customary, a trio of bouncers were checking weapons at the door and doing a quick xray for internal weapon mounts that assassins might use.
Amid the flashing lights and loud music, the group was able to make a very long bar tending by a fascinating man and two women (all three were dressed in leathers with an excessive number of buckles). The dress code here was all very cutting edge, and apparently, anything-goes. Some were topless, others wore more clothes than necessary. Some people could not be identified by gender at all.
Smiling, Nadya led Diana toward the dance floor and the two quickly disappeared into the crowd. Kass decided that she was going to need a drink. A really stiff one. At her urging Ti and she headed to the bar.
This left Adelaide standing next to Ed, and feeling as unsure how to react to all this as Ed was. Soon they'd have to make a decision, however, because they were blocking the entrance.
"I th-th-th-think w-w-w-we n-n-n-need t-t-t-to m-m-m-move" Ed said to the girl that had seemed to capture most of his waking thoughts. He lightly grabbed her arm and directed her towards a sitting area. "W-w-w-would you r-r-r-rather d-d-d-dance or d-d-d-do s-s-s-someth-th-th-th-thing else?" He face blanched at the thought of being so close to her. A bead of perspiration appeared on his brow as he waited for her response.
Ti led Kass over to the bar and paid for whatever she was drinking. While the club itself nearly drove his senses to overload, he was doing his best to see if Kass was freaking out or not.
He had heard of this bar before and was even told that he wouldn't be able to handle it. So far, though, it seemed pretty tame compared to a few of the open air events he'd seen on vacation in Amsterdam. Wild clothes, loud music and some close dancing was common among any bar.
Kass wasn't freaking out or anything, but she did seem to need something to drink to mellow out. Her manner of dress did not blend in well here and she was obviously out of place. Where she wore a nice blouse, the bartender serving Ti and Kass wore a studded leather boostier. Where Kass wore a conservative skirt, the woman sitting next to her with the beard wore chaps with the ass cut out. Or was that a guy with breasts? The butt hair would give it away, but then you'd actually have to look, and Kass wasn't feeling that brave yet.
Kass was determined not to wimp out. She ordered a Screaming Nazi.
Smiling, Nadya led Diana toward the dance floor and the two quickly disappeared into the crowd. Kass decided that she was going to need a drink. A really stiff one. At her urging Ti and she headed to the bar.
Diana molded herself close to Nadya as they danced. She flirted very heavily with her, even teasing her breasts, and at one point, even teasing going down on her.
Diana let herself go. She let the last of her resistance to her body go, and gave way to it. Not that she could have exactly held out much longer.
Nadya, thrilled that she could find someone so open minded, responded in every way Diana longed for. Her searching hands slid under Diana's skirt and shirt and soon there wasn't much dancing other than swaying. Moaning, she led Diana slowly back toward a shadowy, niche-filled wall. It was occupied, but Nadya barely thought about it as she gave the passed-out druggy a couple kicks. He flopped down and rolled out of the way. Diana automatically stepped over him, following Nadya.
For a while they enjoyed each other in the shadowy privacy of the niche, but when the stopped for air, Nadya breathed into Diana's ear, "They have a special room in the back... If you'd like to try something more athletic." Nadya didn't bother waiting for an answer and simply invaded Diana's mouth with her tongue.
"Lead the way, baby." Diana said with a smile. She answered Nadya's passion, with equal and then greater passion of her own. She returned the kiss and buried her own tongue into Nadya's mouth, returning the favor.
Nadya and Diana went through the side door, Nadya being careful to immediately close it behind them.
Addy reached into her purse and offered Ed a tissue without comment.
"How about a drink to loosen up a little. Then I'd love to hit the dance floor," she smiled to give him confidence. The two made their way across the club floor toward the bar and were interrupted by a couple of ladies who rudely walked between them, talking loudly. One was leading the other by chains fastened to his nipples. Ah yes. There it was. The one leading was a woman, the other was only dressed like a woman, but was in fact a man. Or really, really flat. The whole thing was terribly confusing and Addy stopped dead in her tracks, looking around herself.
Finally she got it. This bar was full of cross-dressers, and people in weird variations of S&M outfits. The same realization hit Ed about the same time. Addy put a hand to her head and stated to no one in particular, "Oh Nadya, why do I listen to your suggestions for going out. I'm sorry Ed, this isn't the first time. Nadya thinks everyone should expand their horizons whether its good for them or not. Look, let's just get a drink and we can get out of here if you like, okay?"
Ed nodded his head.
Addy got a beer to match whatever Ed decided on and they watched the goings-on in the bar for a few minutes. Eventually, Ed spied a strange person with a red leather jacket, black leather pants, long red painted nails, and reddish hair lithely move through the crowd like water through a gully. It was very bizzarre since the person had a strangely sensual slender, yet wirey build and the jacket played tricks on the eyes. The person could have been male or female. Anyway, this person traversed the club and stopped at a door, looked both ways, and then entered, quickly closing the door behind him. The door was not marked as a rest room. That was on the other side of the bar.
Ed pointed this out to his partner. "Th-th-th-that was s-s-s-strange."
Ti ordered his accustomary beer. That's what he'd started with for the evening and even he was smart enough not to mix drinks, so that's what he was staying with.
Besides, with his mass, metabolism and drinking experience it was almost impossible for him to get drunk on beer... unless he made the mistake of ordering that Netherlandish brew called Ecu. For some reason he suspected he would need for his facilities later on in the evening.
Ti then allowed Kass to take everything in at her own rate. He himself approved of the crowd and watched all the movement eagerly.
After getting recommendations from the Hotel's Concierge, Frederick hacked the booking schedule of the most prestigious night club in town. Putting himself on the admittance list. He certainly intended to pay his way in, but it never hurt to make sure you were on the list. He then had the limo take himself and Gisele to the club.
Frederick and Gisele had a quiet evening at Frederick's idea of classier establishments, although their robotic "servant" certainly seemed out of place. The evening passed without stress. They savored such a rare occurrence in their lives. After all, they may never have another chance again.
Almost certainly not if their mission failed.
Gisele stirred her mixed drink with an idle hand. She was dressed in compliment to Frederick with muted colors of grey and green. She had left her heavy armored coat back at the hotel room. It attracted too much attention in these sort of swank places. Though if she'd known Slave would have been coming with them, she wouldn't have worried about that so much.
She'd even tried to step up her look a notch. Dark green pants gave way to a sleeveless black stretch top, setting off her fair skin well in the dim light. She'd used makeup for the first time during the entire mission, and it showed. Whoever had designed her face the last time had done a very good job.
She rolled the glass a little, hearing the ice touch the sides gently.
"Do you suppose it'll be alright, letting them alone for the evening?" she said, referring to the other group. It was an idle question. How much trouble could they get into?
Feeling keyed with the noise and atmosphere, Ti began looking around for a mosh pit. Time enough for the fuzzy stuff later in the evening, for now he just wanted to knock some people around a while.
Ti was considering just this, apparently even at the cost of abandoning his date when something sharp jabbed him in the side. Looking around didn't notice anyone at first.
"Out of the way, fatty," said a small man in his forties. He had a big mouth for a little guy of no more than 130 pounds. He weaseled his way by, slick as grease as he headed for a side door.
Meanwhile, Kass was getting loopy enough (she wasn't a drinker and had a pretty low tolerance) that she swiveled in her seat, almost losing her balance. "Hey Ti, want to give that dance floor a chance?"
The two made their way to the dance floor and are soon whooping it up. That is if you call slow-dancing to heavy metal "whooping". Unfortunately, Kass seemed to be quite lost beyond a basic two step. But she seemed willing to at least try.
It's not like Ti was the reincarnation of Fred Estair himself so the two probably made a good team on the floor. Regardless of how they looked they enjoyed themselves and always kept a good expression on their faces.
He attempted to show her a few of the later steps and moves and also watched the other dancers to pick up a few new ones himself. The memory of the rude bastard who'd elbowed him stayed in his mind but he was determined to forget about it and have a great time.
As the action went on he beame more and more adventerous and his hands wandered over his partner from time to time exploring her limits. It was a pretty potent drink she'd consumed and maybe tomorrow would bring unaccustomed regrets, but for now her inhibitions seemed to be down.
And so was Ti's as he smoothly removed his shirt in the middle of a move. Hands raised above his head the garment came off in a fluid motion. As his muscle enhancements were activated the chisled look became even more intense and he proudly showed off for the crowd.
Kass seemed surprised at the speed at which Ti was moving, and his familiarity frighten her more than the outlandish club itself. All too soon, she was wanting (it sounded more like frightened pleading) to go home. She nearly fled the bar as she headed out to hail a cab.
For his part, the loss of his date might have hurt what feelings he had, except that there were plenty of other people who were plenty impressed with his show.
As the night came to an end Ti was dissapointed at the lack of action. He would have drank heavier had he known that there wouldn't be trouble. Fleeting thoughts of Kass floated through his mind and he just hoped he hadn't sent her back to the library. It looked like she could have had a great time if she'd just loosen up a bit.
Maybe she'll have at least one fond memory of the club and go back some day, but we all have to make our own decisions and the date didn't cost Ti any sleep.
In contrast to many of the others' goals for the evening, Addy seemed only interesting in relaxing a little. Their conversation was interrupted time and time again by interested parties asking one or the other of them to dance, or to insert themselves into the conversation. Addy's patience with it grew short until she finally asked to return to the hotel and simply use the bar there.
Ed offered no objections. In fact being uncomfortable in loud groups, he agreed.
Adelaide seemed to feel comfortable enough with the man and didn't seem bothered by the stuttering. At least, she never made a comment about it even though many other potential dates might have found the stutter bad enough to take Ed off their radars. She was curious about anything Ed felt like sharing in his background, but didn't press him. She was more interested in how this rag-tag team found itself working together, and how well they were doing as far as cooperating with each other and not working against each other.
Eventually, the night grew long and Adelaide suggested retiring to the rooms for some coffee to counteract the various mixed drinks of the evening. There, they could continue their conversation until quite late at night.
"Sure, lot's of stuff," Adelaide smiled. She always looked prettiest when she smiled. "Like what made you go for this kind of work?" She began rifling through her purse for something.
Ed gave a look of acceptance. "As y-y-y-you kn-n-n-now I w-w-w-was c-c-c-created b-b-b-by m-m-m-man, n-n-n-not b-b-b-by n-n-n-natural m-m-m-means. I am n-n-n-not r-r-r-really s-s-s-sure wh-wh-wh-what m-m-m-my exact p-p-p-purpose w-w-w-was, b-b-b-but I b-b-b-believe it w-w-w-was f-f-f-for m-m-m-military use. I am n-n-n-not th-th-th-the only one th-th-th-that w-w-w-was c-c-c-created. Th-th-th-there w-w-w-were 6 of us in a t-t-t-team. Wh-wh-wh-when I w-w-w-was activated, s-s-s-so w-w-w-were m-m-m-my t-t-t-team m-m-m-mates. One d-d-d-did n-n-n-not awaken. Th-th-th-that l-l-l-left 5 of us.
"W-w-w-we w-w-w-went t-t-t-to w-w-w-work f-f-f-for th-th-th-the p-p-p-person th-th-th-that activated us. Th-th-th-this was not th-th-th-the same g-g-g-group th-th-th-that c-c-c-created us. Th-th-th-they w-w-w-were n-n-n-not even r-r-r-related. W-w-w-we w-w-w-were stolen. Th-th-th-the n-n-n-new g-g-g-group g-g-g-gave us a ch-ch-ch-choice. W-w-w-work f-f-f-for th-th-th-them or g-g-g-go f-f-f-free. W-w-w-we w-w-w-were n-n-n-not s-s-s-sure wh-wh-wh-what f-f-f-freedom w-w-w-would d-d-d-do t-t-t-to us, p-p-p-plus w-w-w-we d-d-d-did n-n-n-not f-f-f-fully t-t-t-trust th-th-th-them. S-s-s-so w-w-w-we w-w-w-worked f-f-f-for th-th-th-them. A f-f-f-few j-j-j-jobs g-g-g-got us ac-c-c-customed to being in th-th-th-the r-r-r-realworld.
"On our l-l-l-last m-m-m-mission w-w-w-we g-g-g-got s-s-s-seperated. I th-th-th-think w-w-w-we lost a m-m-m-man, th-th-th-though I c-c-c-can't b-b-b-be sure. Th-th-th-the SOP w-w-w-was to m-m-m-meet at a rendevouss-s-s-spot and regroup. W-w-w-we did. W-w-w-when w-w-w-we w-w-w-went b-b-b-back to b-b-b-base, it w-w-w-was d-d-d-destroyed. W-w-w-we b-b-b-became c-c-c-confused and l-l-l-lost. W-w-w-we d-d-d-decided to hide. W-w-w-we s-s-s-split up and d-d-d-decided to m-m-m-meet again on a c-c-c-certain d-d-d-date. Th-th-th-that d-d-d-date has c-c-c-come and g-g-g-gone. I s-s-s-saw only one other m-m-m-member and have had n-n-n-no c-c-c-contact w-w-w-with m-m-m-my other t-t-t-team m-m-m-mates. I have s-s-s-seen c-c-c-clues and heard r-r-r-rumors th-th-th-that t-t-t-tell m-m-m-me th-th-th-they are alive. W-w-w-we have an on g-g-g-going SOP to r-r-r-regroup every so m-m-m-many m-m-m-months after th-th-th-that. One d-d-d-day w-w-w-we w-w-w-will m-m-m-meet up again and hopefuly d-d-d-do s-s-s-something t-t-t-together. Th-th-th-they are l-l-l-like b-b-b-brothers t-t-t-to m-m-m-me.
"I am w-w-w-with th-th-th-this g-g-g-group f-f-f-for th-th-th-the m-m-m-money to l-l-l-live and f-f-f-for s-s-s-something t-t-t-to d-d-d-do."
Adelaide waited for him to say what he wanted to say, in spite of the lengthy amount of time it took for him to get it all out. She did manage to find what she was looking for and pulled out a pack of slender, dark-colored cigarettes. She lit up but took care to avoid blowing smoke at Ed. She was working on her second martini by the time Ed's monologue came to a close.
"Geez, Ed, you really were practically born yesterday," she grinned at him. "No, really that's not a bad thing, if you ask me. You haven't had time to pick up bad habits, yet. Like me." She waved the cigarette. "Nadya doesn't smoke, but you spent some time around her, and pretty soon you want to smoke pretty bad, too," she gave a rueful smile.
"Not that Nadya is a bad person, mind you. She'd just... intense. Really intense to be around." She let out a relieved sounding breath. "It's going to be nice to be around other people for a change."
"Also, take your time with your words. If it takes you a minute or two before you're sure it's going to come out right, don't worry about it. I'll wait," she stated encouragingly.
"Mm-m-my s-s-s-speech impediment is s-s-s-something th-th-th-that is wr-r-r-r-rong w-w-w-with m-m-m-my g-g-g-genetic c-c-c-coding. Only v-v-v-very r-r-r-rarely d-d-d-do I have c-c-c-control over it. M-m-m-m-mainly w-w-w-when I am overwhelmed w-w-w-with emotions or s-s-s-stress." Ed paused a moment. "A d-d-d-defect in m-m-m-my d-d-d-design."
"Hey, E don't sell yourself short. Anybody can have a speech impediment and it doesn't have to be some kind of 'design flaw'. Genes are really only a relatively small part of what makes you who you are. Personally, I don't like to take much stock in such things. Just look at a person for how they treat people.
"Speaking of which, I didn't much care for Frederick's comment about the cyborg he called 'Slave'. In fact, the cyborg's name really bothers me. I don't think it's fair to label someone because of their social class." She lowered her voice. "I sure as hell would be upset if someone called me slave, even though that's what I am."
"I agree", Ed smiled a little. "Sh-sh-sh-she d-d-d-does have a n-n-n-name, only I'm n-n-n-not s-s-s-sure w-w-w-what it is."
"F-f-f-frederick is y-y-y-young th-th-th-th-though. H-h-h-he h-h-h-has y-y-y-y-yet t-t-t-to f-f-f-f-fully l-l-l-l-learn th-th-th-that t-t-t-t-trait. I h-h-h-h-have n-n-n-n-never h-h-h-had t-t-t-to t-t-t-take th-th-th-that into c-c-c-consideration. I j-j-j-just assume th-th-th-that p-p-p-people w-w-w-will d-d-d-do w-w-w-what th-th-th-they s-s-s-say. I b-b-b-back m-m-m-myself up, j-j-j-just inc-c-c-case."
Not long after Kass left the Club, yet before Nadya and Diana returned, some... thing came from the room the two women disappeared into.
To say it was "boney" would be like saying it was hard to breathe in a vacuum. The thing seemed to have long bone spikes erupting from its knuckles, joints, and rather artfully protruding through the then skin of its face above the eyes and through the cheekbones. It had bizarre golden eyes which reflected the flashing lights of the club. It appeared to be equipped with some kind of boney armor just beneath its skin. Worse still, it weilded blood red claw, painted brightly at the ends of its long fingers.
It might have been human. Once.
But it seemed intent on leaving the bar, and was intolerant of those who got in the way. One individual, who just happened to be the annoying jostler who elbowed Ti earlier seemed unwilling to get out of its way. With a gesture, the creature sent him sprawling clutching his face as blood poured from a long, deep scalp wound.
The creature barely paused.
The crowd parts before him in a fearful wave, providing a path for him straight to the door. Whether this is common or not is impossible to really tell for sure, unless Ti asks a club regular.
About this time, Nadya and Diana come out of the same room Mr. Bones came from. Both are flushed and still arranging their clothes, as they step out. They are staring wide-eyed in a way that could only mean they saw something even more of Mr. Bones than they wanted to.
"What the fuck..." Ti happily intoned to himself before surging through the crowd towards the creature. A little-kid grinned appeared on his face as he plowed clubbers out of the way.
Watching carefully for tail spikes or other sneaky weapons he raised a titanium fist wrapped in armor weave and brought it crashing to the back of the thing's skull.
Ti pushed and shoved people out of his way, but the tumult was less than stealthy. It got Mr. Bones' attention, who then turned to meet the aggressor just as he was pulling back to punch him in the head. Mr. Bones neatly stepped back out of range of the rushing fist.
The monster uttered a low growl and leaned toward Ti, sharp tips of his bones protrusions gleaming dangerously. It drew back its lips in a snarl, revealing two elongated canines -- like vampires might have.
It scared Ti. Bad. Really bad.
"Eep!" Squeeked the big, tough guy. Wanting to keep this creature as far from his fool head as possible, Ti grabbed the nearest table and used it as a shield-on-a-stick to keep it at bay.
"Can't we talk this over?"
Diana watched as a shirtless Ti walked up behind Mr. Bones and tried to sucker punch him. It would have been a low-down, dirty thing to do had it worked. But the creature was obviously quicker than Ti, and Ti was no stealthy ballerina.
"I think Ti will test this guy for us now. Maybe we see how tough the boney man really is, da?" Nadya commented to Diana. "Or maybe we should save Ti from himself, before he gets himself and a lot of other people hurt."
Diana was able to use her enhanced vision now that she had regained her senses. She focussed in on the long bone spikes and noticed something wrong with them. They were hollow. Or rather grooved, like a poisonous snake's tooth.
"Yes," rumbled the monstrous being. "Outside fatty." Apparently Ti was moving too slowly, so Mr. Bones yelled, "NOW!"
It was loud enough and fearsome enough that Ti jumped and began moving for the door before he caught himself.
Nadya mentioned to Diana, "I think we should see this." Either Nadya wanted to see two men beat the snot out of each other, or she had a morbid sense of curiosity. Probably both.
Ti's gun had a little tag on it with his name and they handed the Jackhammer to him on the way out. One of the bouncers looked down at the gun, then at Ti, and then at Mr. Bones. "It'll be better for you if you don't use that around here. Brings in the Gestapo real quick."
Ti took possesion of his gun with grim determination. They didn't like him using things like this, huh? Well, he might have to...
No, he'd take this like a man. He may not have been suave, he may not have been sophisticated and he certainly wasn't bright, but he was, at least, a man. Besides, he'd be firing his weapon in full view of a few hundred witnesses. He didn't need a charge like that against him right now.
With a lump in his throat, Ti walked outside as directed, not putting the table down for a second. His mind raced to come up with a solution. His big ego was always getting him into trouble and now it looked like he was in deep, deep, DEEP!
What was this thing, anyway? It didn't look like any street enhancement he'd ever seen. Maybe there was a chance the group would help to bail him out? He sent a pleading look at any of his 'allies' in view that seemed to say 'But he started it!'
Ti did manage to spot Nadya and Diana, fresh from their exercises standing in the crowd looking on curiously (not to mention some remaining awe for Mr. Bones). They caught his pleading looks and looked at each other as if debating.
Finally stepping out of the club, still carrying the table unless someone made him put it down, Ti walked into the street and prepared to put his money where his mouth was.
Mr. Bones followed him out. Once on the street, he rumbled, "Now. Try it again, fatty." He put up his dukes.
'And why was everyone calling me fat, tonight?' Ti couldn't help but wonder in the face of encroaching doom.
"Whatever we do, stay away from those spikes. They are hollow." Diana pointed out. "They could contain poison, or something else, just as nasty," she said to Nadya. "As for saving Ti," she said, letting out a sigh. "yeah, I supposed we should." She said, pausing for a moment, and then letting out a chuckle.
She began to move towards where the creature and Ti were, outside. First, though, she retrieved her pistol.
Then, she reached over, and gave Nadya, a deep, long hard tongue probing, minute lasting kiss. "For luck." she said, with a very big smile, and a wink. "Now, it's killing time." she said, in a very grin voice. "Ti, keep away from the spikes, if you can. They are hollow, and could contain poison, or worse." she called out the warning. She said it loud enough so that everyone could hear.
Thankful for the bit of advice Diana had shouted to him (or was that Nadya?), Ti nodded and glanced backwards once at the multitude of spikes. Poison or worse? Given the presence of the fangs he guessed they might be for sucking blood out of victims. Bleh!
Reaching the street at last with his Jackhammer secured he raised his protected fists and made sure his muscle enhancements were running full bore.
Mr. Bones cracked his knuckles audibly and then cracked his neck as he stretched it from side to side. He raised his clenched fists defensively, like a boxer. The boney spikes that protruded from the knuckles at first made Ti wonder if this guy is really gonna have some arthritis problems, but then reality set in as he realized what they were for. Flexing his forarm muscles, the spikes extended slowly becoming even longer. The resulting messy, spikey bits looked entirely unhealthy for Mr. Bones and anyone else that came into contact with that pussy infection.
Gnashing his flashing teeth, Mr. Bones closed and jabbed conservatively at Ti. He missed, and Ti sprung his counter attack. The slippery devil was quick, though, and escaped Ti's grasping hands. It seemed to have brains enough to know that if it was caught in Ti's grip, it was over for him. However, it was a surprisingly close call for Mr. Bones.
Meanwhile, Nadya (who had gained a little color in her normally pallid cheeks after Diana's kiss), put a hand on Diana's shoulder. "Wait a minute, comrade. Maybe my words were too hasty. Let's let Ti have a chance to dig himself out of this. He did pick the fight."
Diana looked over to Nadya for a long minutes. While she wanted to jump into the fight, she knew she had a point. After all, this would be a good chance to see what Ti was made out of, so to speak. After all, if he couldn't handle himself here, what good would be be later? "Okay, babe, we wait." Diana said.
Ti and Mr. Bones circled each other warily as a crowd began to gather. They took little notice of them, however, as they concentrated on their opponent. Mr. Bones closed again, opening with a fancy flurry of punches designed to raise Ti's guard up a little higher. The punches didn't land, but the ploy worked. Bones nailed Ti in the right arm with a spiked knee. Had Ti not managed to get his arm in the way, Bones surely would have punctured Ti's well-muscled and armored abdomen.
This was good and bad. Good because getting one's guts holed tended to really cramp one's style, and that didn't happen. Bad because Ti's arm wasn't armored. Good because there was only so much one could do to an arm. Bad because one could still have one's arm ripped off. Which hurts a lot. But fortunately, that didn't happen. Ti did wind up with a horrid gash in his arm which immediately began soiling everything with Ti's blood.
Angry from the pain and the fact that Mr. Bones made Ti /bleed!/ he swung at his opponent, and connected! Oooh, the crunch sounded SOOO good as he drove his pile-driver fist into Mr. Bone's defending left arm. He felt something in Mr. Bone's arm give satisfyingly.
Now, a punch like that, even in the arm should have slowed down or knocked the fight right out of the average thug. Obviously, Mr. Bones was not the least bit "average", but still. Ti decided that falling back on the rip-his-arms-off strategy was probably still a good theory, so he fell back on that.
Mr. Bones drew back quickly, giving himself space and time. Grabbing his left arm with his good one, he gave it a good wrench. CRUNCH! and the arm popped back to where it was supposed to be. But it obviously hurt Mr. Bones. The crowd went "eeeewwwww" at the nasty sound as sympathy pains echoed through the crowd. He tossed his head, caused his black-haired mane to shiver like a lion's, and waded back in to meet Ti.
He opened with a flurry of punches again, but Ti wasn't about to be fooled into raising his guard again. Unfortunately, a feign was not Bones' intent. Mr. Bones dodged left and right, then slipped a vicious punch directly into Ti's chest. An average man would have fallen to quickly die of sucking chest wounds from the bone-spur punctures. Not Ti. He kept his feet and took it like the man he was.
Thing was, Ti was really hurting. And his vision was starting to blur. Ti shook his head to clear it, tried blinking his eyes. This wasn't right. He'd taken worse before. He was still wondering what Mac truck hit him for long seconds after he'd fallen face first into the ground and his vision faded to black.
Diana and Nadya, meanwhile, saw exactly what happened. The first gash in Ti's arm began looking angry and swollen moments after Mr. Bones struck him. Poison. And it was working fast. If that poison was deadly, Ti was in serious trouble.
Nadya yelled, "Damn! Diana, do you have a medkit? I will hold off the monster if you think you can help Ti." Only Diana knew if she had the skills and the medicine to help a poison attack. It seemed like deadly poison would be unlikely due to the fact that Mr. Bones would be as likely to kill himself as he would anyone else with such a thing. However, it easily could be some kind of drug or chemical Mr. Bones was immune or addicted to. That meant one of two things -- Ti would be fine later (that is, if Mr. Bones would stop hitting him), or Ti could be in danger of an overdose of some kind due to being perforated twice. Either way, a slap patch or dose of adrenalin could snap him out of it. Unfortunately, without knowing what kind of agent it was, Diana wouldn't be able to determine how long the effect may last.
"Not on me.." Diana said.
She searched through her purse, just incase she had one hidden away. Something akin to a "just in case" type of thing. She hoped for Ti's sake that she had one. She usually carried stuff like that in her oversized purse, after all, one never knew when something like that might come in handy. "Remember, stay away from those spikes. I'll be back in a flash." Diana said to her. Finding what she was looking for, she immediately saw to Ti's aid. She broke the package open, and began doing what she could to help him.
Frederick noticed that Gisele was distracted. It began him thinking about how much trouble the others could get into.
"Come, let us go find them. I don't normally associate with their type in my free time, but if they get themselves hurt, it could mean the end of all of us."
Frederick, Slave and Gisele got back to their limo and told the driver their destination. The driver knew the place and began navigating to the opposite end of the redlight district. As the approached, they noticed the limo coming to a stop several blocks away from their destination. Out the front of the car, the passengers can see there is some kind of traffic jam up ahead.
Frederick got an uneasy feeling about the traffic jam, and decided they needed to investigate.
"Wait here driver, we'll be right back."
//Unit 04143, Scan surroundings and analylize cause of disturbance.//
This should be right up her alley, he thought. After all, she's programmed to analize damage and disturbances in the complexities of Zero G. This was similar. He got out of the car and advanced toward the source of the traffic jam.
Gisele waved a hand at Frederick, somewhat embarassed.
"Frederick.. wait! What are you doing? It's probably just an accident. Come and sit down!" She signed, and leaned out the open door to watch him.
He'd already cut the evening of clubbing short, and now seemed more agitated than ever. Didn't he already get his medication?
Slave transmitted: //Confirmed. Subjects designated "Victor"/"Diana"/"Nadya" engaged with Subject: designate "Hostile."//
//That's what I was afraid of. Diana, Let's get in there and wrap this thing up. The last thing we need is for someone to get hurt before the mission even starts.//
Frederick was not happy, but he also didn't seem surprised. Appearantly, he expected one or more of the others to cause, or attract, trouble.
Diana and Nadya charged into the scene. Nadya leapt at Mr. Bones back, but he was too fast and twisted out of the way, leaving Nadya hurtling at nothing but air. Diana was able to make it to Ti's side and with Bones distracted, slapped patches on Ti. Her work was both efficient and quick. The benefits of her ministration would soon be seen and the stim patches began coursing through Ti's system. Already, his eyes began fluttering open.
Mr. Bones wasn't about to stand for some bitch trying to take him down during a perfectly "legitimate" grudge match. He was perfectly happy to give Nadya a taste of what he did to Ti. He swung at Nadya and connected with her shoulder. Nadya wasn't dressed in her usual armor weave getup and blood flew as a bone spike ripped clean through her shoulder. With a hiss, Nadya staggered back and prepared a fresh attack.
Nadya struck more conservatively this time and managed a return shot to Mr. Bones' shoulder plates, doing modest damage, but it was generally unsatisfying. With a bestial roar, Mr. Bones reached out and grabbed Nadya at the waist and arm and hefted her struggling form high over his head. Nadya barely slipped from his grasp just before he was about to slam her down into a spiked knee, and rolled to the ground. Nadya shook her head and looked up at Mr. Bones from her crouched position.
"Tag," she said as she backflipped to Diana's side and touched her shoulder. She bent to continue Diana's work on Ti, giving Diana a chance to engage the fearsome Mr. Bones. Nadya's shoulder looked severely messed up, although she didn't seem to be bothered by it (but Diana knew exactly why that was).
As Ti pushed himself unsteadily upward... at least he thought it was upward, he gently threw up on himself and reached for his Jackhammer.
Ti not feel good... "Blork." Said Ti as his gun waved unsteadily. Unable to draw an accurate bead on the fast moving creature, the big man decided not to fire.
Diana shot Nadya a quick nasty glance.
She slowly rose to her feet, looking around for something to use to her advantage. She turned back to Nadya. "I need some salt." she whispered. "I'll hold him off for a minute or two, but I need some salt. A couple of packets, opened, preferably." she said.
Nadya wasn't sure what Diana was going to do, but unfortunately, she carried no salt with her.
Then, she turned back to Mr. Bones. "Look, Boner, haven't you made your point?" she asked. "I mean, "Don't you have some children to scare or something?" she asked.
The narrow golden eyes looked at Diana and then around at the crowd which was now blocking traffic on the street. "I not in mood for woman. Maybe you come back tomorrow, I feel like hurting woman then." The sentences he put together were rudimentary, but is seemed like it was mostly because he had a tough time speaking through his re-engineered, fanged mouth.
He then warily backed away from the trio and began to leave. Apparently, Diana's point was taken and this guy wasn't interested in killing anyone.
Diana watched him go, glad he chose to leave. She then turned back to Nadya and Ti. "We need to get him to the hotel, and to his room." she said. "Ti, if I were you, I would go straight to bed. Once we get your stupid, candy ass back to the hotel, so help me, if you decide to walk about, I will kick your ass, and then restrain you in bed." she said, giving him a wink and a smile.
"Candy ass?" Ti replied indignant. "Why you little..." He made weak grabbing motions towards her but accomplished nothing.
"He sucker punched me," The man complained. "Poison, had to be poison... would have fucked him with his own spikes if he hadn't done that..."
"Shouldn't he have been in a jungle somewhere chasing Arnold Swarzengger? What the hell was he doing in that club?"
He then experimentally rotated his damaged arm to see if any of his systems had been scragged. That's all he needed now, on the run and his store bought muscles shredded by some Lord of Death in a sleezy dance club.
Luckily, no cybersystems seemed to be damaged. But Nadya took it upon herself to answer Ti's question about why he was here. "He was having a good time. Next time you should be careful who you pick fights with."
"But you saw, he started it!"
Ti then attempted to stand but realized he wasn't quite up to the task. "Maybe I should get some sleep... Okay, Diana, you win." He looked at her. "Take me to bed."
Diana turned back to Nadya. "So, do you want to finish our unfinished busines?" She asked with a very flirtatious smile.
"Yes," Nadya said simply and plainly.
"Besides, with a nasty wound like that, I think you need some tlc." she said, giving her a wink.
She brushed it off. "Do not concern yourself. I am not hurt," she lied. She had to force herself to pay attention to what they were doing, as the temptation to take Diana back inside the Club was terribly strong.
Meanwhile Slave had located the caused of the jam and noted the crowd. Fortunately, the excitement was over and the crowd dispersing. No one wanted to be around to spend an evening talking to the Gestapo, so they were moving out pretty fast now. Frederick had begun walking down the street toward them, too, but very soon Nadya and Diana were able to pull Ti out of the street and sit him down on the sidewalk.
Frederick, the limo, and therefore Slave and Gisele, finally arrived on the scene and took in the sight. There Ti was, punctured in the chest and arm and the normally quite pale Nadya looked a bit flushed along with her shoulder wound. Diana looked as ready to rumble as ever and was even flirting with Nadya again, so at least that looked normal.
Frederick stood before the others and frowned at Ti. "I might have expected you'd get into trouble. If you get yourself killed before the mission even starts your share will go to your replacement, not your mother. "
Then, speaking to nobody in particular. "Let's get him into the limo. Some evening out."
Not in the mood for any of his shit, Ti started to stalk towards the weasly hacker but stopped as his knees threatened to buckle.
What was left of his mind went back to what Addy had said earlier about the way he treated people who would later on be watching his back...
Diana and Nadya managed to help Ti into the limo with Gisele, Slave and Frederick. Nadya sat aloof, but managed to bleed all over the seat. Ti had been well tended by Diana, and his holes were mostly patched.
Nadya was sitting next to Diana as the attractive blonde asked, "This was an interesting time to arrive now. Why did you come here?" The question was directed at Gisele or Frederick.
Not feeling up to a detailed conversation, Ti mostly sat and brooded over his recent troubles and the fact that bar fights would eventually be the death of him.
Frederick settled in and explained what he could.>
"Gisele was a bit distracted at dinner. And that got me thinking that if you're right about the target of the mission, we can't afford to have
anyone down for the count before we start. Clubs like that one are notorious for people getting into trouble and ending up dead. I was pretty sure none of you would end up dead, but I was hoping to get you out of there before anything started."
Nadya 'hrrmph'ed and said, "Place is safe if you don't try to punch people in back of head." She gave a disapproving look at Ti.
"We need to stay together for the duration of the mission. Avoiding crowded locations would be wise too." Frederick looked at Ti, and for a moment there was a look of concern on his face. "Is he going to be ok?"
"Yah, I'll be fine. Just...really tired. Give me a good night's rest and I'll be ready to run in the morning."
"You sure yuo guys want me coming along, though? I mean, if I can't even handle some barroom roudy, what good am I going to do you on this mission?"
His large, dark eyes were heavily shadowed as he said this, the passing streetlights sweeping over them regularly. A pain seemed to reside there which had nothing to do with his wounds or the residual poisons in his system. There was a strong aura of self doubt and fear in those eyes. Qualities of humility and humanity which Ti was very reluctant to ever display. Doing so on the street would easily get him beset by predators and killed.
Nadya scolded him bluntly. "Stick to what you know and be proficient at it."
Ti was asleep by the time the group made it back to the hotel. A few eyes followd the long limosine as it pulled up to the front doors and the scattering of night people wondered who would emerge.
Surprise registered on their faces when, instead of a celebrity emerging from the vehicle two women emerged in each other's arms, one crusty with drying blood. They hung on each other like old lovers and paid no attention to the looks the strangers were giving them, or the looks of near jealousy from the third woman who emerged.
The next pair proved to be even stranger than the last as a large, metal woman stepped from the spacious vehicle carrying a man almost equal to her size. Her chromed physique reflected sharp spikes of the flashes but she didn't pause in her trek. The man, as well, was covered in blood and looked to be in even worse shape than the first one. Some even wondered if he were alive.
Ti would have been surprised how gentle Slave was with him, carrying him like a child, cradling his head to its shoulder.
After that came a smaller woman with a professional demeanor
After her came a final, nervous looking individual who closed the door to the car and hurried after his comrades.
Watching Ti quietly, Gisele just shook her head. She glanced at Frederick as if to say something, but never did. Instead, she just folded her arms over her chest and followed the group along.
"I'd ask what happened, but I'm not sure I want to know. I swear," she said in a half-kidding tone, "We leave you alone for five minutes and look what happens..."