Smells Fishy

May 29, 2016:

Staking out a shipping yard, Clint and Mari observe something strange and are joined by a cat

New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

This place just doesn't smell right.

Figuratively, that is, not literally. It actually smells just right physically. It's one of those places that's allegedly conducting entirely legitimate research. Clint, however, thinks it probable that they're involved in something much more… mmm… shady.

Which is why he's eating a sandwich. Well, he's eating a sandwich because he's hungry. Fish sandwich. It's delicious. But it is why he's sitting on the docks across the bay about half a mile away listening to the tide come in and watching through a pair of binoculars. There's not much to see but this is the kind of thing that requires constant if somewhat boring vigilance.


Shakira's Innkeeper had told her about a shop that sold used (but still rather nice) clothing, given her a bit of cash and sent her out to find it. She'd tried to explain to the nymph that the mysterious and facsinating male she'd met was blind, at least mostly but the water woman had either ignored this or jumped on any excuse to get the woman-cat to wear something aside from her furs. Only Shakira had gotten lost, and then bored and forgotten her errand.
She's currently in tiny black cat form, with her little bone and tooth necklace on and wandering about checking interesting scents out. For being near the ocean, there's a disturbing lack of fish. Though, from the way the water smells, she's not so sure she'd want to eat any if she found it. Besides, she's not going into that water. Not even if it smelled fresh as daisies. Wait, what's that? The little cat's whiskers twitch and her head turns slowly, zeroing in on Clint. Fishfishfishfishfish. She darts forward and jumps up beside him. "Mrrrrrreeeow?"


Mari might be bored except for the book she's reading. Well, it looks like she's playing with her tablet, but she's really reading. It's not a dead hobby after all. Looking up, wrinkling her nose at the sandwich he's eating the ex fashion model shakes her head. He's always eating. At least it's a relatively healthy sandwich this time, even if it does smell. Peering over the bay, she murmurs "Anything yet?"

He told her this would be slow and she'd believed him. Hence the book. And then there is a cat … "Well hello there…"


"No nothing yet. I'm just tracking guard rotations now. The last shipment they took was all sealed and it looked refrigerated too. Sort of odd for a place that's allegedly doing non-medical research. They shouldn't have anything with biohazard signs you know. We can get going in a few-" And then there's a cat. Clint looks up. Cat. Why is there a cat. Oh… fish sandwich.

"Should I feed it?" Clint murmurs to Mari. "You're the one with the wild instincts." He's teasing her… and the cat a little.


Shakira climbs over Clint to look at Mari. She hadn't seen beyond the fish at first but here's someone paying attention to her! The fish is forgotten, almost.. the little cat turns her head back and forth between Clint and Mari and purrs loudly. She doesn't seem to be a stray, there's the collar and her fur is shiny and healthy. Yellow eyes are alert and full of interest for these new people.
The man smells like many foods and Mari.. strangely. Several different types of animal and some sort of power. Perhaps a type of magic? It's unfamiliar to Shakira and she's intrigued… she's also hungry. Purrrrpurrrrmrrrow? She butts her head against Clint's side and wonders what a biohazard is and if it should worry her.


Mari sighs at Clints update, turning her dark eyes back to the bay again "This whole thing is odd, you have to agree. Refrigerated units… and biohazard." She looks concerned before giving Clint a flat look "My instincts aren't wild, thank you very much…" Well, there was that one time recently when she'd channeled too long.

Reaching a hand out, letting the little cat decide if it wants to be petted or not, the dark skinned woman snorts softly "Feed it, Clint. It's cute."


Clint chuckles, takes one more bite and then puts the sandwich down on the ground where he's fairly certain it's going to get devoured. It's a McSandburg's fish sandwich. Bread, breaded fish and tartar sauce. And that's it. Simple. Unhealthy. It's a good thing Clint gets in so much exercise.

"There you go kitty." He says before looking up at Mari. "It could be a coincidence but… my sources say that this might have something to do with the Hand and their 'project'. I'd definitely like to get a look at exactly what they needed an after hours shipment for, that's for sure. Anything your contacts have?"


Shakira pounces on the sandwhich before sitting down to eat it with tiny dainty bites. She remembers the last time she was caught out for being other than she seemed when distracted by food. Then it had been fishsticks. This is even than those were. Her ears twitch as she listens and the little cat glances up at the two from time to time. Hand? He said it like a name.
This sounds as if it could be a differint kind of trouble than the sort she usually hunts. Maybe more of a challenge? Shakira eats carefully but quickly and returns to Mari's side to see if the woman is still interested in petting her. She learns a lot of about her home in this manner, listening to people talk, while they idly pay attention to, or even ignore her. Plenty of interesting things people will talk about in front of or even to an animal.


Mari's dark eyes follow the cat to the ground before looking back to her companion and growing thoughtful. She doesn't seem to be paying much attention to the cat, at all. "My contacts say they were assured that was a shipment of fabrics, destined for Mombassa. Which I don't believe for a moment, given what else we know. Everyone is being fairly tightlipped about it - more so than we usually see - which simply doesn't add up. I think you're right and it's part of The Hands' project."

Looking back out over the bay, absently petting the cat when it returns to her side. "I would love to go and have a look. If you don't want to do this in our usual way, I can pull something out of the hat. We've got some McCabe Industry shipments in that dock."


"Are you telling me you're getting bored of our sneak, fight, run routine?" Clint smirks a little but he could hardly blame her and hell he'd like to do it a different way too if he could. "I don't like people creating other people to use as weapons or currency or what have you, but aside from my ethical objections, this is dangerous. That girl, who knows what kind of power she actually had. It's like a nuke in the middle of the city shaped like a sixteen year old korean girl… and who knows how many others there are out there?" At least two others from the sounds of it… if they're still alive.

"You like that, kitty? Sorry, don't have any more."


Shakira cranes her head up and stares at Clint. People creating people for weapons? That is definitely not her usual kind of trouble. How does that even work? She purrs at Clint and leans over to lick his hand if he'll let her. Maybe she can help these two. They don't sound to be on the bad side of things anyway and if someone is really doing what they are discussing then she owes it to the Overlord of the.. oops. She's got to stop calling him that. People look at her weird. Well, weirder. Than they already do. Still, she's not quite ready to reveal herself.


"No, not bored." Mari smirks back to the archer "I mean, it's rather fun watching you run from … just about everything." They do an awful lot of running away… or even to … things. "but I thought you might like another way in. Knowing how things go, we'll likely have to run, anyway." she's definitely teasing as she pets the cat.

Taking her bag up, she fishes around inside and comes out with some boring muesli type bar that she opens and offers to the Shakira "Not as exciting as the sandwich, but it's something, yes?"

"Well, that girl managed to throw across a room and into a wall. It's not something that we want unleashed here and I like it even less than you."


"No and I have no idea what the upper limit to her power was… if there is one. Anyway, if you can get us a way in I'd like to take it. How long will it take you to arrange?" Clint reaches down to pet the cat while Mari feeds it. Just a cat right? A stray… well probably not a stray. But they're at the docks. No surprise there's a cat rambling about.


Shakira sniffs at the bar and takes a tiny hesitant bite. Hmm. Interesting. She decides she likes the taste and nibbles it after turning so she can look across to the docks. Like this, it'll be easy for her to approach but she needs to know what she's looking for. What she wonders, happened to this girl with the power? If she hadn't known what she was doing, it wasn't really the girl's fault. A weapon has no choice over it's creation. Perhaps she could be helped. The cat doesn't think she's a good person to do the helping in that case though. "Meeowww." She tickles at Clint with her tail while nibbling the Muesli bar.


Mari picks up her phone whilst Clint pets the cat and places a phone call, looking to the archer whilst she waits for it to connect "Whenever you like. We can go now, if you like." She had considered this requirement when she set up that shipment.

Once the calls made, she stands and stretches "That's done, we can go now if you want…" looking down at the cat for a moment. "I don't think it's a stray. It's got a collar. Shall we leave it here, do think?" Cats have a tendancy of making their way home. And for all her affinity with animals, Mari's not detected anything unusual about this one.


"I wasn't thinking of taking it with us." Clint's already got a dog. Well Kate's got a dog. They both have a dog? Uh… there's a dog.

Anyway Clint doesn't need to add a cat to that. He stands up and nods to Mari. "Lets head on over then. See you later little cat."


Shakira watches them go while finishing her meal. She's seen these little bars before but never tried them. It needs a little more meat but it isn't bad at all. She'll wait until they get just a bit further ahead before following. She's feeling pretty proud of herself for not being thought of anything other than what she appears. One thing she's discovered about her new home, far more people are able to spot her than she'd like and that's not counting the times she accidently gives herself away.
The little cat eyes the crumbs with a sad expression. At least she isn't starving now. It wasn't supposed to take so long to get from the Inn to the shop. Only that had been all the way back in the Bronx. She must have taken the wrong bus again. Still, not a bad outing so far at all. Now.. to see if she can follow the hunters without being seen…


Clint gets a slightly amused look as Mari leads the pair to the dockyard. "We're still going to have to resort to our usual methods once we're in." She mentions as they walk, Clint having the rotation for the guards will be very handy, given they're going to look at not McCabe Industry containers.

Getting in the front proves rather simple, with Mari introducing herself and flashing identification. Clint is introduced as an assistant, of course and the pair is given directions to Mari's containers. They're not far from where the ones they really want to see are.

"Here we are." the channeller looks to the archer "and there they are. Shall we take a look at what might be in them?"


"Yeah… locked of course but I think I have something for that. If you'll allow me to… assist you…" Clint smirks. He's been introduced as a lot of things but a PA is a new one. The locks' electronic but it doesn't take Clint too long to produce a device that simply runs through a number of codes. It looks deceptively simple. Shakira might be forgiven for thinking it's some kind of magic the way the door simply unlocks and Clint swings it open.

A blast of cold air greets them. This one is refrigerated and biohazard signs - strange 'three crescent' sigils - adorn a great many things. The archer starts looking at the samples and equipment that seem to be stored here. He frowns. "Mmmmm… some of this looks familair. Stuff that's similar to what I saw when I was held prisoner by AIM. I'm fairly sure a lot of it is used for cloning." But there's no actual cloning chambers in here. "Anything on your end, Mari?"


Shakira quietly follows, taking her time and winding about, searching for cover. She spots a patrolling guard and shifts to a woman long enough to knock him unconcious and gently set the man aside, against some crates. Whatever the two are up to, she's pretty sure they don't want attention.
Then she goes little black cat and darts around the corner to find Mari and Clint. Her nose twitches at the scents that emerge when Clint magically (at least to her eyes) opens the door. She hisses softly at the balst of cold air. If she gets wet, she's going to bite something. What is cloning? The little cat warily approaches the doorway.


"Of course it's locked. They think that's safe." Mari's tone is dry as she watches the ex spy run through the codes. As the cold air greets them, she rubs her arms for a moment before her pendant glows and she's outlined by an Artic Fox. "That's better." she breathes as she enters the container and takes the opposite end to Clint.

Looking through the equipment and components that are stored there, she glances over briefly as he mentions being held prisoner. He doesn't speak about that much and that's possibly the most he's let slip.

"More samples, each with a code on them. I suspect this is unique material… it might be used for cloning, but I'm not the expert here."


"If they're cloning, which they might not be. My contacts said that the Hand is searching for a particularl bloodline… or might be anyway. Looking for unusual genetic markers. Something. I'm not a biochemist." Beat… "That cat followed us. This is why I don't normally feed animals. Careful kitty. Don't want you to get… er… plague." Or whatever's in here.

Clint opens a locker type device and yelps as a frozen body falls on him. At first glance it looks like a cadaver, frozen stiff, but on second it looks artificial if very lifelike likeness of a korean girl. A familiar looking one. "The Hell!"


Shakira blinks up at Clint. Apparently Plague is a word she does understand. She steps inside but carefully avoids touching anything but the floor and even then her little paws touch as little as possible. She seems to be trying to step only on her toes. She pauses to stare at the man who says "Plague" and then procedes to open a box without any precautions.
The little cat leaps backwards and hisses in alarm as a large frozen.. body?? falls out on Clint. Startled, both the by the mention of illness and you know, the falling dead person, the tiny black cat transforms and the small area is suddenly even smaller as a large black panther crouches and eyes the frozen cadaver. Hell is right. Like hell is she touching that. She likes Clint, he fed her, so did Mari but its cold andits wet and its dead. Not her favorite combination of things.


Mari turns to look at the cat and shakes her head. She'll collect the poor little thing when they leave and take it to a shelter. Turning back to look as Clint opens locker, she jumps as the body falls out. "Uh!!!" she exclaims, freezing for a moment before rushing forward and trying to lift the body from him and wrestle it back into the locker. "She looks familia—-"

Her word falter as she stares at the Panther "Uh, don't move, Clint. We've got company."


"Not moving." Clint says. "Where'd that thing come from?" Now there is a very large cat here. It has apparently been a cat kind of day.

"She's… like some kind of flesh mannequin. Skin feels real but the bones don't… I can see metal in the jaw. I don't think this is a corpse." It is a body of some kind. Is it possibly… some manner of simulacum or… was the flash possibly grown around it? He won't know until he can have someone look at it. He knows a few people who can but right now… cat.

Gingerly the archer pushes the body-dummy-thing back into the locker and closes it, all the while keeping an eye on the panther.


Realizing the two suddenly seem more concerned with her than the frozen… metal jaw? What? But why are they staring at… The panther looks down at her self and her ears flatten. So much for keeping her secret. Damn. Now what? Edge back out of the door? Change back into a little cat? How much more startling would it be if she went human? Shakira watches the frozen thing get stuffed back inside the locker. She's not going to let on this was an accidental shift. Not if she can help it. Nope, it was totally on purpose. She was protecting the nice people with the food!
Oh that's it, yes. The panther purrs. Of course its much more loud now, almost sounds like a growl. Hmm.. maybe she should just.. "Hi. I could carry that for you. I'm strong enough." Now the panther is gone and there's a slightly shorter but somewhat amazonian looking woman with long dark hair and blue eyes standing in its place. The collar is a necklace and she's wearing a fur bikini.


"Neither do I." Mari breathes, giving the body a once over whilst still keeping an eye on the panther. "It doesn't feel quite right and it's not a dead weight." Which is telling. "Do you have someon—-" Mari sighs as her words are cut off again and she blinks …

"She's a shifter …" there's a degree of surprise in her voice, but not shock. "Who are you? And why were you following us?" The pendant around her neck starts to glow, she's preparing to channel the spirit of an animal if this suddenly goes south.


Clint moves very very slowly. "Uh… I don't know if I want to take this with us. Sample, maybe. Might be hard to carry out without anyone noticing." Unless they go to their usual methods but given that Mari's name is associated with this, Clint isn't sure he wants to do that. Mari might… well, it'd be bad.

"What's, uh, who are you again?" He asks echoing Mari.


Shakira lowers her eyes to study the floor, and her shoulders droop as well. Not quite an apology for interuppting the woman but as close as she can manage. A shifter. Hm, she likes that. It's also true and more so than Mutant which is what she tells people. It's far less complicated than the truth, the whole of which she's never likely to reveal. Yes. Shifter. "I am called Shakira." The woman says.
Blue eyes slowly raise to study the two, and then focus on Mari's pendant. Is that where the power she scented came from? Interesting. "You were kind. Fed me. I was hungry and curious. I thought perhaps I could help in some way." To repay the kindness. "It sounded as if you spoke of some danger. I help to," how to explain? Simplest is best, yes? "To keep the streets safer. I wondered if this was something I might run into doing that." She eyes the locker for a moment. "No one saw me. I could just pick it up and take it and drop it off where you'd like. Or sit outside and guard this thing until you send someone for it." She won't mention the guardsman. He didn't see her anyway. Well, not more than her fist.


Mari considers Clints words and glances back at the body. "A sample is the best at the moment, they saw us come in here." She shakes her head "I hate to leave something like this here … but I can't see we have many options." Then Shakira is talking and she frowns. "Shakira." She doesn't introduce them, even though it's likely the woman heard their names. No need to advertise further.

Glancing up at Clint at the offer to guard, Mari raises an eyebrow. "Maybe, we could arrange an accident?" although they don't really know if they can trust this woman.


"Sabotage. Shakira, there's a fan unit in the back of this thing on the outside. Can you break it? Claw it up. Make them send it in for maintenance. If they don't notice it quickly enough they'll have to dump the contents just to be safe. They won't want to take them anywhere official. When they do we can snag whatever they try to dispose of." It's the best plan Clint's got on short notice. Like many things, he hopes to hell it works.


Brightening, she can easily break the fan, and then prop the unconcious guard up across from it, he'll have to report it, right? She should perhaps mention that now. Mari's look of, not quite distrust, has her wanting to bristle but Shakira realizes it's a rather fair point. They don't know her, why should they trust her? If they hadn't fed and petted her she certainly wouldn't have trusted them and the shifter is endeavoring to not be so touchy and easily offended. It's not very easy, but in this case, definitely not as hard as usual.
"Yes. I can break it, and there is a guard who is… sleeping. I will put him down across from it. When he wakes, he will see the damage. He did not see me." The sturdy looking dark haired woman exits the container and steathily moves around to the back. After a few moments there's a scraping and then clawing sound and the fan noise stutters and then dies out. One with keen ears might also hear a surprised grunt and then a dull thud or two before she returns, looking very pleased with herself. "It is done."


"Good idea." Mari murmurs as she watches Shakira go "Guess we're back on stake out then." she smirks a little at the archer "To watch for when they dump the contents." Turning to the body, she's still going to take a sample … just in case. If it does go wrong, at least they'll have something to work with.

With Shakira's announcement, the spirit-channeler looks over "I am too." holding up a vial, she nods to Clint. "Unless you've something else, I suggest we get out of here."


"Nope. Let's get out of here." If Shakira wants to follow them and introduce herself further that's fine with Clint. But they really should go before someone else happens along. Then they'll have to lay low and wait for the conex to get shipped off. So… probably more bad fast food. Maybe he'll be good this time and have a salad.

He does have to stay in shape after all.


Shakira looks at Mari's vial with a small frown on her face. It could be mistaken for confusion as to what the thing is, though she does understand. It's more that she's wondering who carries such things on their person. Just who are these two new people she's met? Shakira shrugs to herself and smiles. They were kind, in her world that's all that matters. She adores attention and she loves to eat. While her personality may make it hard to get get along with or understand her, if you know these two things about the woman, or the cat, it's quite easy to befriend her and she can hear the male's stomach rumbling, she thinks. More food? And perphaps a way to smooth over her earlier mistak-no, she shifted on purpose! She doesn't make mistakes. And then she really needs to find that shop and those clothes. Or the nympth might lock her out until she does.

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