I'm Just Here For The Tiger Cubs

June 23, 2015:

Tigra meets Spider-Woman in her civilian guise, but not before stopping a would-be thief at the Central Park Zoo first.

Central Park Zoo

On the east side corner of Central Park, the Manhattan island zoo might be
considered small for a zoo in such a famous city. The animals in residence
skew toward those that are able to put on shows, perhaps in an attempt to
draw crowds through cute tricks as opposed to variety. Past the gift shop
and the cafe, the largest open space is occupied by a manicured garden and
the slightly raised sea lion tank surrounded by seats and a slate courtyard.
The sides of the tanks are made of thick glass to give visitors greater
visibility into the depths of the water.

Many of the other exhibits, like the penguins and the tropical birds, are in
enclosed buildings to the east and west. Mimicking the feel of the vast park
that surrounds it on three sides, the zoo feels more like a large green
courtyard and meeting space. It is a playground that happens to have exotic
animals living nearby.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Animal loose!

…not exactly.

Tigra went to watch the tigers, a special but temporary exhibit set up for a few tiger cubs that were recently born. Naturally, the sight of her drew almost as much attention as the tigers themselves, but she's used to it by now. It did require a clear explanation or ten that no, she was not, in fact, escaped from one of the exhibits, and was merely a visitor.

The attempt at a little normalcy soon went by the wayside, however, as a shout of "STOP! THIEF!" got Tigra's attention.

The robber made off with a pouch of money from one of the concessions stands, running to make his way past the sea lion exhibit toward the main entrance, now pursued by a couple security guards.

Already in that area after having her fill of the place, Tigra heard the shouts and turned in time to see the man racing past the gate to get to 5th Avenue. That might have worked, if not for her shifting into chase mode. Just as the guy gets to the sidewalk, he takes a tumble courtesy of a leaping pounce from behind, Tigra landing right on his back. "Ohh, soooo close!" she grins, pinning him down.

.

Jess is out and about, taking a break from dealing with SHIELD to follow up on a few PI matters. She's wearing black leggings, red and black boots of some odd sort, and a loosely-fitted blue top that leaves most of her back bare. Slung over a shoulder, is a black and red bundle that serves as a purse, but is really her jacket rolled up.

Striding down 5th avenue, past the park, Tigra and her prey of the moment practically land right in front of her. Green eyes blink slowly as she abruptly stops, looking the pair over. There's something you certainly don't see every day. Looking the tiger-esque woman over, Jessica does a little mental digging, even while asking, "Dare I even ask what's going on?" The dark-haired woman's accent is faint, faded with time, but vaguely British. "Do you need a hand?"

Her attention drifts from the pair on the ground briefly to scan the nearby surroundings, a few other civilians stopping to gawk, mostly at Tigra, while plenty of others just continue on about their day.

.

Tigra's not even digging her claws into the guy's back, be it hands /or/ feet! She does, however, keep a firm grip on the back of his neck, using her weight to help along with twisting one of his arms behind his back in the manner of a cop preparing to handcuff the suspect. With a bag of cash a couple feet away, which she drags closer with a quick reach before holding the neck again, she looks rather predatory thanks to the whole 'tigress' thing.

As a few of the guards from the zoo beat feet to join the scene, Tigra glances up and pauses at the sight of Jessica Drew, a brow lifting as she takes a quick note of the woman's scent. "Just stopped a robbery. The usual. Annnd, I've got it covered. They'll be hauling him back in, I'm sure." A nod of her head follows toward the guards, and she moves to toss the pouch toward one of them. "There you go. I'm Tigra if you need it for the report, and that's with an I, not a Y."

.

"I see that. And very well done," Jess commends the tigress, green eyes idly drifting over the feline woman again before the guards show up. Stepping back a bit to let them get the thief into their custody and to let Tigra have her chat with the guards, the dark-haired woman cocks her hips to one side, arms folding beneath her breasts as she waits.

When Tigra's done with the guards, Jessica waits for the heroine of the day to glance back her way and then tilts her head as if asking the feline woman to come over. If she doesn't take that invitation, the out-of-costume Spider-Woman steps closer. Either way, she remarks, in a voice that doesn't carry very far, "My name is Jessica Drew. I've read a little about you, Tigra. I hadn't expected to meet you like this, but good fortune should be taken advantage of."

Turning her head to glance idly around, she looks back to the tigress after a moment and wonders, "Would you like to join me for a walk? I'd like to have a chat, if you don't mind." A small grin curves one side of Jess' mouth as she adds, "And don't worry, I'm harmless, I promise."

.

"I should've had him before the sidewalk. Maybe I'm slipping," Tigra quips as Jess compliments her. As a sign that there might be a little agitation to it, her tail lashes once, twice. Once she's off the youth - for he doesn't look much older than late teens once upright and in custody - the cat-woman enters into quieter discussion with the guards as she points to a spot or two from where they came, explaining one thing or another.

Once that's done, she heads back over toward Jess with a quizzical look on her face and something in her right hand. "Want one? They..gave me a few free passes. I didn't even know security guards /had/ free passes to give out."

After the lighter moment passes, a hint of suspicion begins to show up. "And what have you read about me, Jessica Drew? Were you looking for me about something?" She offers no clear answer to the invite, but she isn't leaving just yet. The grin draws a brief one in return. "Usually the ones that say they're harmless aren't."

.

"I can't say that I knew they did either, but sure if you want to share," Jessica answers the feline female as she comes back with the passes in her hand, "It'll give me something to do one day." Cutting her eyes briefly to the teen and the guards, she muses quietly, "Always a shame to see those who are so young turn to illegal activities."

The hint of suspicion is noted, mostly because it's certainly expected, given her own words to Tigra. "I wasn't really looking for you, no. But I found you, so I thought perhaps making a connection would benefit us both." Reaching towards the other woman to take one of the passes, if offered, she continues speaking, "I work for SHIELD, among other things. But that's where I read about you. And why I recognized you. You stand out even more than somebody in a costume." A quick grin as she adds, "And I don't mean that as a bad thing."

Pausing there, Jess smiles at the orange-furred feline and then tilts her head in invitation, starting to walk down the sidewalk before she continues speaking, clearly expecting Tigra to follow, "A few interesting things on your record, like your run-in with HYDRA."

.

Tigra admits, "I saw what I came for, but the rest of it is pretty small. I'm not really big on the whole 'animals in captivity for entertainment' thing, so.." At this, she hands every single pass over to Jess, effectively washing her hands of it. "They had some tiger cubs, and I wanted to see them. They looked healthy enough." Might be a hint at her true purpose for the visit.

"I didn't smell any drugs on the kid. Maybe it was just a bad decision, but hopefully the lesson doesn't cost him too much," the feline remarks, but he's quickly forgotten as more important things come up. "Did Psylocke tell you about me?" she asks bluntly, as soon as SHIELD is brought up. Suspicion lingers, leading to her studying Jess more intently than before, tail flicking a couple times as another compliment is made. Her sniff hints at some amusement or acceptance of the talk of her standing out, then she squints at the other woman as they move along. "What do you know about that?" comes the question when HYDRA is brought up.

.

"And if they hadn't looked healthy?" Jessica wonders, looking aside to the feline woman as they start to walk away from the zoo's entrance. The passes are zipped into a pouch on her 'purse' and she blinks in surprise at mention of the purple-haired kunoichi. Hmm'ing quietly, Jess shakes her head, "No, Psylocke didn't so much as mention you. And I've just met her recently, myself. Ran into her investigating some training site the Hand had set up."

Leading the way down the sidewalk with Tigra, they likely draw a few looks and a bit of pointing, but Jess ignores it, "I don't know terribly much. There was an incident with them attempting to kidnap some doctor and 'The Cat' intervened. And did not fare so well." Looking aside to her feline companion, the dark-haired woman shifts the topic slightly, offering with an amused smile, "To be fair, since I know more about you than you do about me..Aside from working for SHIELD, I play at costumes, too. I'm Spider-Woman. Not really the media star some of the other costumes are."

.

"Maybe they'd have found better places to grow up," Tigra remarks without going into any detail as to exactly how that would have come about. She may be picking and choosing her battles.

Barefoot, her steps are quiet on the concrete, and she practically exudes sensuality with every step, on purpose or otherwise. "Seems we have something in common with her when it comes to meeting up, then," is all she says regarding Psylocke. As some stare and otherwise focus on the two, Tigra doesn't do a whole lot to discourage them, even flashing a wink to a man here, a woman there.

The HYDRA part is what keeps most of the striped woman's focus, understandably so. "Yeah, I had a little experience with that whole thing," she comments dryly, and the reveal of the moniker Jess goes by leads to a simple answer. "Well, sometimes-Spider-Woman-but-not-right-now, I don't 'play' at costumes. What you see is what you get." The flick of her tail and the all but playful look on her face ought to convey her current attitude about that.

.

Mmm, is all Jess offers further on the matter of the new tiger cubs. She's not really worried about the implication. Continuing the walk at a lazy stroll, her pace pretty easily matches the orange-furred woman's, given their nearly equal height. The SHIELD agent finds her gaze frequently drawn to the sensuous movements of Tigra as they walk. "She seems a pretty good sort, and we've apparently got a few things in common," Jess offers concerning the kunoichi. "I'm looking forward to getting a chance to work with her."

"I understand, and I didn't mean any offense," the Brit replies easily, her green eyes on the feline's face. "I've had a few dump trucks full of my own problems with HYDRA, and they seem to keep poking their noses up periodically, so I like having connections with folks who have their own reasons to want to smack those bloody assholes around." Pausing there, the green-eyed woman looks about to say more, and then decides not to, absently reaching up to adjust the red-framed and yellow-lensed glasses perched atop her head.

.

Tigra may be showing off, strutting her stuff so to speak, but there could also be the feeling that she's comfortable in her skin, not shy about others having their attention grabbed by her appearance and self-certainty. "We spoke a couple times. That's been it so far," she says of the encounters with Psylocke, shrugging as she moves along. The layout with the park to one side of them means no real need to stop and wait for lights to change and cars to pass, so the pace is more consistent than not.

"None taken. I'm not really in a position to go after HYDRA on my own, but if I ever did come across a few of them I wouldn't hesitate to crack a few heads together or use them as scratching posts," Tigra explains. Rawr! "At the same time..I guess I'm not here today if certain things went a little differently."

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A quiet laugh escapes the Brit at Tigra's mention of not being ready to go after HYDRA on her own, "Oh, gods no, Tigra. HYDRA might be half-filled with clueless goons and thugs, but it's still -HYDRA-, if SHIELD can't pull that weed, I don't expect to do it on my own with a gaggle of friends." She shakes her head slowly, shooting a look at the feline woman, "I'm not daft. Reckless, sure. But stupid, no." Letting her eyes linger on the other woman for a moment, just hm's quietly to herself.

"It's just good to have contacts, for when I do manage to find something that I think can be shut down with a bit of help. Or for when Viper starts trying to ruin my life and I need a hand avoiding being dragged back into the crazy pit." A smirk curves one side of her mouth briefly before she continues, "Of course there's SHIELD, but sometimes SHIELD is too slow, or I just don't want them involved for whatever reason. I might work for them, but it chafes sometimes."

Lifting a hand to rub at her cheek, Jess glances around warily and then explains, "I worked for HYDRA once. —Though, to be honest, worked for isn't really the right phrase. Long story short, my life has been a mess. HYDRA found me when I was young, lost, and confused, they thought my abilities would help make me a great assassin. They brainwashed me pretty much." Obviously Jess isn't worried about her business being aired. At least not when she's doing it. Helps when you've had to come to terms with various organizations all over the world having a copy of your life story.

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Tigra makes a face, a frowning face, at the talk of HYDRA being as big a threat as they are. "You have a point," she allows, but even in this moment she's cracking her knuckles like she wants to fight them. She glances back toward Jess around the same time she's being considered, and a moment of eye contact follows before she looks ahead again, weaving her way through other pedestrians with ease, though a few times her tail curls or trails along someone's arm. Purely accidental, of course. Of course.

"I'll be honest. I'm working on building some contacts myself, but I'm not sure SHIELD would be a good fit for me. Not that you're offering. I'd probably be itching to go at a moment's notice when there's trouble, and I don't do so well sitting back on my haunches," Tigra tells Jess, now a little more oblivious to the stares and hushed (mostly) words from any bystanders focused on them.

There's a momentary bristling from the tigress when Jess talks of once working for HYDRA, and her tail even looks a little puffed up. Defense mechanism? A momentary guarded state? She gives Jess enough time to qualify her statement, and it puts her more at ease again. "That's screwed up. Really," she replies, back to frowning again. "Jerks."

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When Tigra catches her look, Jess flashes a playful smile at the other woman before turning her attention back to the conversation, "It's always good to know people. I usually stick to lower-profile stuff, but I've made a few friends with the 'save the world' type group. It's a pretty good reality check when you think you're a superhero, but your best friend can throw you half-way across the city, fly, absorb energy, and shrug off being hit by a mack truck." Despite her words, Jess is grinning at the though of her BFF.

The brief flare of agitation is noted, expected given her words, but the Brit offers a thankful smile when Tigra relaxes again, "It is screwed up. Why I'm always happy to jump in on ruining their day, even if it's with small, petty hits. And why I don't make the mistake of thinking HYDRA's a joke because some of its heads are laughably easy to kick off."

With a shrug of one slender shoulder, she looks back to the feline and says, "I'd rather not focus on that, I just wanted to get it out there, because I don't want it to seem like I was hiding it." A quick grin accompanies her next remark, "I definitely didn't plan to try and pitch that you should join SHIELD, it's by no means for everybody. The whole espionage and investigation thing is kind of in my blood now, though. Between HYDRA, SHIELD, and the fact that when I'm not working for them, I'm playing PI. I like puzzles, I guess. Or skulking around in the shadows being nosy."

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Tigra looks back at Jess as if attempting to 'read' her somehow. Natural curiosity, perhaps. "I'm working on that part. Doing the small stuff is still important, but sometimes the larger problems need a lot of attention." Most likely she has no idea who Jess is describing, however. "And that goes for HYDRA whenever they stick their tentacles into something." Might be an interesting choice of words, but she isn't acting like it was said that way for any other reasons than what's on the surface.

"I know a few things about detective work, and I've got some natural talents that match up well with that." Shouldn't be hard to guess those. Tigra stops and glances side to side at this point, her back to the iron fence that separates this section of the street from the park. "Anyway, I've got a few things to do. If you want to get in touch with me again, hit me up on Facebook. Forget about the picture. I don't always go around with a feather toy in my mouth." Maybe she ought to change it now that certain others are beginning to take notice of her.

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"Every little bit is worth doing," Jess agrees with the other woman's mention of the small stuff being important. A quiet snort escapes at the comment about HYDRA, any possible below surface meaning not caught, "They certainly have a habit of being tangled in all sorts of things at the same time."

Nodding at Tigra's words about detective work, the Brit grins, "Maybe we'll get a chance to do a bit of investigating together sometime." When the orange-furred woman draws to a stop, Jessica does as well, turning to face her companion. Those green eyes drift downwards a few times, curious and roaming. Hey, not every day you meet a tigress, even if you are a superheroine and SHIELD agent. "Of course, I hadn't really planned to take up your time, but did want to make your acquaintance since the opportunity fell into my lap." Brow arching, a laugh escapes the dark-haired heroine, grinning widely and genuinely amused, "Forget about the picture? It sounds more like something to save, and bring up later when you decide to change it." Still grinning, she reaches one hand out, in an offer to shake, "It was good to meet you, Tigra. And I'll certainly be in touch."

.

"We'll see," Tigra answers, reaching to adjust a strap over her shoulder before her hands settle at her hips, tail in a slow, winding motion behind. "Good to meet, yes, in any case. You never know what'll bring people together for different things." The reaction to the photo referred to leads to a narrowing of the eyes, a somewhat teasing look shared. "Don't get any ideas," she warns, likely too late for that though. A firm handshake follows, then it's released and she doesn't exactly blend into the crowd - it's rather impossible to do - but she does make her way into the maze of buildings before being seen leaping up to climb a fire escape, making her way toward the rooftops above.

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