Everyone Cheats

May 01, 2016:

May needs to let off some steam and visits Jericho and Zee. A sparring match ensues

New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The Gym that Jericho had modified to do Zee's training is one of those that he and Partisan occasionally use. It's useful in that it's large, largely ignored and highly configurable. It's also pretty easily accessible. The area of New York it's in is not great but it's also within a thirty minute drive of the Triskelion.

At present Jericho is cleaning up from his last training session with Zee. Setting up those balance bars takes some work, after all, and while he's not going to take them down there are a lot of rough edges to sand out and what not.

Melinda May arrives as quietly as she always does, having messaged earlier requesting permission to join them. The rest of the WAND team is either hip-deep in research, handling their other duties elsewhere, or actually taking some time off so May had initially thought to speak with Zee or Jericho and catch up on recent events. This might actually be better.

Setting the brown bag of deli subs she'd brought along, she walks more toward the center of the large open area. "Not a bad setup, Trent."

Zee is still nursing her injured dignity. Jericho had handed her her ass on a silver platter. No matter the hacker was older and better trained, with more years experience than the mage - it was still a little embarrassing.

Not as embarrassing as landing face first on the ground, though. She'd managed to avoid that.

She's quietly working in one of the corners, resetting beams and what have you when May comes in. At least … she's healed the bruising.

Jacket off, let in all black leather - the only colour she wears is the collar and pendulum - the scar from Cats blade and faint spidery lines from it are clearly visible on her left shoulder.

"Glad you like it. If you're going to fight unconventional people it helps to train unconventionally." Jericho's 'training' days are long since past in one sense but in another you never stop learning and he's had a front row seat to the classroom of demonic warfare for much longer than most people would suspect. To say that he's picked up a few tricks would be a bit of an understatement.

"Got your text by the way. Something wrong or are you just here to visit and work off some of that cabin fever?" Like most soldiering, intelligence is one part action, nine parts paperwork and waiting. It's important not to let your edge go during those nine parts.

Melinda May nods slowly. "Let's go with cabin fever." Yes, SHIELD has entirely adequate training facilities, but with those same recent events they seem … less like a place where she can truly set aside a day's concerns. This, as simplistic as it is, is far better. "Zatanna," she calls across, "There's a Reuben in the bag for you." She heads back over and takes a few moments to carefully shed her jacket and pull her hair back into a low ponytail.

Zee was already turning to greet May and nods to the Agents offer. "Thanks, Agent May. I'll eat a bit later." She answers as she draws near. Blue eyes, darker than they used, regard the SHIELD agent before the young mage gives her a hug.

"If you're going to spar with him - he cheats …" she says throwing a cheeky grin over her shoulder at the hacker. "… but I'm sure you know that already."

Jericho glances back and smiles. He'd used a gun with Zee but partly because she could, in theory, deflect bullets with her magic. May less so though, you know, he might pull out the rubber bullets briefly anyway. "Of course I cheat. If I don't cheat I'm not training you properly. Everyone else you meet is going to cheat as best they can."

The hacker regards May for a long moment. His traces start to glow and he smirks a bit. When she looks at him next he's taken a fighting stance as his wings flare into existance behind him. There was a time when those were feathered, almost angelic. Now? Batwings. Big batwings.

"En garde."

"When it's kill or be killed, there's no such thing as cheating." May steps over and also steps into amild fighting stance. And yes, she remembers when those electronic-trace wings were feathered and not bat-like. The moment Jericho says 'En garde', she turns and sprints straight at the nearest wall, building up enough momentum to actually go a couple of steps UP the wall before launching herself at the nearest balance beam and swinging around and up the structure so she's on top of it. Only barely slowing a bit, she races along the beam for a few feet before leaping to the next higher one.

Zee resists the urge to stick her tongue out at the hacker and moves to lean against a wall, folding her arms over her chest and watching. "That's what he said…" she responds to May with a slight inclination of her head in Jericho's direction "… but he might well kill me first." Or she might with her inexperience.

Jericho gives Zee a little smirk and launches himself upward to first one balance beam, one opposite where May is, and then another one higher yet. It's a testament to May's athelticism that even though she's only got her legs and momentum to propel her upward she's not really any slower than the hacker getting up there.

The balance bars are spaced irregularly and at irregular heights. Some of them require quite a leap to get from one to the other, others are quite close. It all combines to make a fully three dimensional battle space where a clever opponent can come from anywhere. Up on the beams there's a number of tools that Jericho and Zee had been working with, the remnants of lunch, a utility belt and some bottled drinks.

He hadn't quite tidied up, but he figures it'll be okay.

Once on the beam Jericho hops back and forth between two of them making his way toward May and then dropping down to grab the one she's on with both hands and flip up in front of her. He launches into an irregular spinning attack making use of his reach and the fact that he has two (long) extra limbs in this fight. May's seen him use his wings to strike before after all.

As the two get into it K'nert appears and pulls himself up next to Zee on the work table. Dominance contest?

Melinda May comes to a stop as Jericho ends up in her path, waiting for the apparently expected spinning kick. She neatly ducks under it but then snags the man's ankle and uses HIS momentum to fling herself out and across to another beam farther away than she could have jumped on her own.

Again catching the beam and flipping herself up onto it, May scoops up a hammer left there as she races back toward the wall, aiming to go still farther up into the rafters. If she's noticed K'nert's arrival, she doesn't bother to comment on it. She's busy right now.

Leaning against the wall, Zee smirks back at the hacker, unsurprised as he launches himself up. May's athleticism gets a quirked eyebrow - Zee could only hope for a fraction of that.

Seeing K'nert join her, Zee picks up the Reuben that May bought and pulls some of it apart, offering it to the imp //I know it's not icecream… // she hisses back at him in demonic. Ignoring the question about dominance - that could be a bad one to answer.

The change in momentum has Jericho off balance as well. He half jumps half falls off the beam, catches himself with a powerful beat of his wings and arcs up and over to land about ten feet from May with a grin. This time rather than moving in to attack immedatiely he crouches and beats those amber projections again. The rush of air it creates he's previously used to fling unsecured trash, dirt and pebbles around to hurt people and provide cover. There's nothing to toss in front of him but it's still a powerful and unexpected gust of wind. Might send her off balance or at least make her have to concentrate on it a bit. Half a second later he's moving again, taking to the sky just enough to kick off a beam about five feet above him. His traces turn blue as he comes back down and the balance beam shakes as the demonwolf lands.

K'nert takes some of the sandwich and starts to chew. I don't understand why humans do that… By which, Zee may guess, he means May and Zee. Because he said something recently about Jericho.

The sudden gust of wind is certainly enough to push May's balance out of whack, but she's actually practiced dealing with the equivalent of jet wash. You know, just in case. She lets the wind push her and for a second it might look like she's actually falling off of the balance beam — especially considering the demonwolf slamming back onto the beam. But, even though she left her jacket over near Zee, a sashwhip snakes out to wrap around the next beam over and then she's swinging to end up back on the floor at a run. Straight toward Zee and K'nert.

Zee watches the fighting, sighing softly. She couldn't hope to be half as good as these two and it just shows her how much she doesn't know. It's impressive and mildly amusing - make no mistake.

Idly feeding K'nert the sandwich she looks at the Imp and raises an eyebrow Do what? she asks Fight? Or Practice? nope, she's not going to ask about Jericho.

As May starts to run towards them, Zee freezes for a fraction of a moment and then smirks again, picking Mays jacket up and holding it out … in way that the Agent can grab it easily.

Sorry Jericho - everyone cheats.

Jericho leaps in a manner that's very Hollywood and lands about five feet behind May. He takes off after her, dropping the wolf armor in order to maneuver around the inside of the gym more easily. Sure it's pretty open but May of all people is actually a bit more agile than he can manage in that 'form' at least without tearing the floor and walls up.

The hacker pulls a gun and skids to a halt on the floor. May will hear the safety flick off and he opens up with rubber bullets right at her back.

May manages to avoid one or maybe two of the rubber bullets, but at least one catches her on one leg. Doesn't really slow her down that much.

For a moment it looks like May reached for her jacket, but then she barrels past the younger woman (though to zee it likely felt like she NEARLY yanked the jacket out of her hand) and then she's jumped up onto the table where K'nert's been snacking and uses the hammer in one hand to shove the little demon flat to the tabletop by the back of his neck, her other hand holding a small gleaming blade just shy of where the jugular would be on any Earth-born mammal. "Enough." And yes, the blade IS gleaming with fresh oil.

Holy crap … those bullets that are shot at May and in Zee's direction too and quite frankly? She's had enough bruises for the time being.

As the jackets snatched from her hand, Zee nearly flinches as May runs past her but her eyes glow blue and she mutters, yes mutters, the words to a spell, deflecting what she can of the rubber projectiles as they head towards the two women.

The spell falters though, as May grabs K'nert and tries to hold him hostage. Whatever else might be true, Zee's quite fond of the sarcastic little imp. Not that she'll tell him that.

The rubber rounds bounce off the shield before it falters. The last two are high. Jericho lowers his weapon and looks at K'nert. Fail imp is fail. They'll be talking about that later. "You know, sparring doesn't usually include hostage taking. Want me to go grab someone out of your Sci-Tech lab with a sharper knife so we can call it even?"

Either way the session seems to be over. The hacker holsters his weapon (and hopes that May doesn't restart things by throwing something at him.

May waits to see that weapon holstered and then removes both the blade and the hammer from K'nert's person. "Thanks for playing along. I owe you some gelato." She clambers back off of the table, wincing as the leg that took a rubber bullet bears her weight. "You're the one that said cheating is acceptable, Trent. Don't be a sore loser." Setting the hammer aside, she studies the palm of her left hand for a moment — and the slowly growing tiny flecks of blood there — and starts trying to extract the wooden splinters from her hand with the blade she'd just had at the imp's throat.

Zee does cringe as the bullets go high, an instictive response to be sure. She goes very still though while May and Jericho … de-escalate … and then gives K'nert the rest of the sandwich.

He earned it.

Seeing May's hand, the blue-eyed mage reaches out for it, with a questioning look. She can heal it, if May wants but understands if she doesn't.

K'nert just snickers a bit. Compared to how demons often are that's just a bit of roughhousing. Hard feelings? What are those. Demons either get even or they generally forget. Even their conception of time isn't that solid compared to mortals.

Jericho just rolls his eyes and comes over for one of the bottles of water. "Remember you said that when we spar next." He smirks playfully. Because he's going to remember that.

"I always remember." May already has idea for the next sparring match. And, perhaps a bit surprisingly, she allows Zee to help do something about the splinters in her hands. "And please tell me you plan to do a LOT more sanding on those beams up there."

You enjoyed that, didn't you? Zee casts a sideways look at K'nert before concentrating on healing May. Zee's healing isn't finessed, and it will hurt, but the splinters will be removed and the injuries closed over - nearly as good as new.

"Well, I suppose that's one way to spar." she comments dryly.

"When I get around to it. Not exactly a high priority task right at the moment." Jericho uncaps a water bottle and takes a long drink before smirking again. "In the mean time I consider it incentive for Zee to not fall."

K'nert for his part just eats. Inscrutably. Or to the extent that the little imp can be inscrutable.

The only indication May gives that the healing spell causes her pain is a tightening of her jaw. It's only for a moment, after all. "This set up is useful for teaching fast thinking on variable terrain, but it won't help if there isn't a solid foundation of basics." Is she implying that Zee doesn't know basic combat skills?

Zee's been training for months now. She still has an awful lot to learn, she knows that but more importantly, she's got to learn how to use her magic in all of this. "I recently lost my weapons master, Jericho offered to help. It will keep me on my toes and fresh and give me perspective into how else I can use my magic."

She's seen how her other self fights.

"It's also good for precision teleporting practice." Jericho looks over at Zee with that one and then back to May. Combat Teleporting isn't her thing, really, but she has the magic to do it if she hones the skill. It's really good for when, say, winged swordsmen with guns are trying to shoot you in the ribs. Also for gaining advantage on people.

"It might also keep her alive considering how often she winds up involved in things that Illyana and I are involved in." May might or might not be aware of the actual war Trent has on his hands in Limbo but he certainly seems to be 'fresh from the action' often enough. How long he can keep that up physically or psychologically is an excellent question.

"Feel free to stop by and use it though. I'll happily spar with any WAND types." Which is an open invitation for May to be over more too.

May's eyes narrow at Zee slightly when she says she lost her weapons master, and then she nods to Jericho. She can think of at least a couple of WAND agents — including the world's largest and most bashful polar bear and a young woman who can't seem to keep her clothing on — who could really use the extra training. "We should talk about your weapons training, Zee." But for now, there's a hoagie waiting for her and if K'nert reaches one ugly little mitt an inch closer to that bag…

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