To Dance With Daemonites

July 06, 2016:

In the 'Devil's Due' stripclub, a dancer takes the stage. Not every pair of eyes in the room belongs to humans, and the 'watchers' are also the 'watched'…

Devil's Due Stripclub - Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…


Fade in…


It is not a quiet night.

Nights in Gotham City are never quiet.

Smog fills the air so thickly one can taste it. Neon lights outside casinos, bars and brothels cast shadows across the streets of the 'red light' district. There are cars passing by, and people on the sidewalks. It is just the night to take in a show.

Like a local strip-club.

The main lounge of the 'Devil's Due' is kept primarily dark so that patrons can enjoy the show on stage: dancers, poles… the picture should be clear. The patrons of the 'Due range from 'blue collar' to 'white collar', and are predominantly male, although not exclusively.

They are also predominantly human.

Although not exclusively.

In a secluded corner of the room, a man sits in a booth, a cowboy hat on his head, pulled down low, sunglasses on his face — despite the darkness in the room already. Blond hair is just visible under his hat, curling around his ears and the nape of his neck, and adorning his face with 'muttonchop' sideburns. An enpty glass of scotch rests on the table beside an empty bottle of scotch.

He is waiting for the next show to start.


The previous set, an After Dark re-enactment with a Salma Hayek lookalike is pretty popular. The following act is usually quieter, the dancer knowing she's not going to be drawing every eye in the joint, more of an afterthought than anything and she's okay with it. At least, that's usually the case. Tonight there seems to be something different in store because it's already ten minutes past the time that Jazmin usually sidles out on stage. People have noticed and begun to get restless.

Five more minutes and they start making noise, if something doesn't happen soon the bouncers are going to have their work cut out with them. It looks like they're starting to realize it too when the lights on the stage suddenly darken and line of LCD panels flip from beverage advertisements to a series of warm colored lights slowing fading from one to the other in a lazy seductive dance.

A song suddenly bursts from the speakers about the club as a single spotlight shines down on the stage to illuminate the lone cocoa-skinned woman who'd suddenly appeared. A long walkway extends down the center of the room from the stage and the dancer strides down that scuffed wooden platform with an exaggerated, bouncy jaunt that still manages to seem completely natural.

What in the world were you born to do?
What in the world were you born to do?
Beat me and tease me, I'll take the abuse
'Cause I know that I was born to love you

The light follows her, casting a faintly sparkling golden glow on smooth brown. Voodoo swings her torso forward and bends, tossing her hair free of her chest and letting it fan out behind her as she rises, a long dark silky mane.

(Hey yeah)
You're so electric
(Hey yeah)
And I'm on fire
(Hey yeah)
Chill it burns me
(Hey yeah)
I don't know why

Sapphiric eyes glance out over the room in a sweeping, smoldering wave that brings forth a hissing rush of indrawn breaths and gasps of desire. The woman, a natural beauty in her own right clearly possesses a mesmerising allure, a magical something extra that draws and then captivates the minds and imaginations of those in the room with ease. For once, when the song ends and the act is over, the silence in the Devil's Due isn't because of a substandard set and the dancer's inability to inspire her audience and when the last minute replacement emerges from the dressing room, to snag a drink at the bar she seems surprised at the crowd of people waiting to greet her. It's the sight of the lone man in the back, the one wearing the sunglasses and a cowboy hat that seems to unsettle her though she'd be hard pressed to say why. Still, this is Gotham, and it's her first time here. Even her newly suspicious of everything mindset can't find a reason to be alarmed. No one knows she's here… right?


<~ …is she here? Is this the one? ~>

With their appetite for entertainment satiated for the moment, the patrons go back to their drinks and their conversations. Music plays in the background in the few minutes or so before the next act is due to come on stage, and now the waitresses are busily ensuring no one has an empty glass.

<~ Ssilence! You fool! If it is she then you will be heard! ~>

The man in the booth pulls out a cigarette and a lighter, igniting one with the other, and leans forward a bit in his seat. There is nothing urgent or rushed in his behaviour — indeed, he is as calm as a Summer's afternoon — but behind his unnecessary sunglasses, he is watching the dancer.

Mostly.

<~ Calm yourself, Csard. Enjoy the dance… ~>

A man in a business suit pushes past a waitress — not roughly, but not kindly either — on his way toward the restrooms. Another door is located in the same area, marked 'Backstage'.

<~ Where are you going, T'yon? ~>

<~ I have consumed ssix of these alcoholic beverages, Csard. If I were human, I would need to relieve mysself at thiss time… ~>

The man in the booth sits forward a little more. If there had been anyone sitting beside him, they would have seen him reach for a holster concealed underneath his jacket…


She's still not used to the noise, the constant hum of so many minds buzzing all at once around her. Every word, every random thought, it all mixes together in an incessant, unceasing thrum that's somehow felt more than heard.

Most of the time she can ignore it, tune it out as one does with any other white noise, like the crickets at night back home in Missoula or the sound of the tv her old dormmate never once turned off in two years of living together. Drinking helps too and some nights she does, until those first few blessed moments of sleep. The little spells of peace between the nightmares and the memories.

Recently she's discovered that focusing on a single voice quiets the rest but she can't do it accurately yet or for long periods of time. Still, it should be enough to settle her nerves and Voodoo takes advantage of the patrons attention returning to their drinks and the promise of further entertainment to study the inside of her own glass intently and mask her attempt to eavesdrop.

'Boy, she sure was something. So much more energy than the usual girl. I hope she comes back.'

'Ugh. This is where he's blowing a third of his pay every month? Let's see him try to live on that third after the divorce. Working hard on setting up the new office my ass. Every third weekend like clockwork for the past-'

'You know, she was really good. Something different about her, I'm not sure what but something better than those nice fake tits. God, I wish I could afford that. Then I'd get more stage time.. Maybe I'll ask her for some pointers..hehe pointers. You know, maybe I should lay off the vodka a lil in between times…'

'-If I were human I would need to relieved myself-'

Voodoo stiffens, nearly tosses her drink into the bartender's inquiring face as a jolt of panic surges down her spine, pooling in her gut like liquid fire. "The time! I lost track of the time. Gotta catch the train, yeah?" She tosses the rest of whiskey back, drops a ten on the bar and makes her way towards the door. All the while trying to tell herself it's nothing, she's being paranoid, that could mean anything really. A mutant or one of those metahumans or superheros. "Yeah, they all hang out at stripbars after a long hard day of heroing, moron." She mutters aloud as she ducks slips between a trio of young men, tripping one into his fellow who in turn bumps a bouncer and thus starts a fight. Hopefully it buys her enough time to slip out unnoticed…


<~ She moves! T'yon, you fool! She heard you! ~>

Further away in the bar's main floor, a second businessman quickly rises to his feet, peering through the low-lit murk at the hallway leading to the restrooms, backstage, and the rear exit of the 'Devil's Due' strip-club. The one already on his feet starts pushing through the crowd of patrons to also try and reach Voodoo —

— when a flailing human falls in front of him, having been punched in the jaw by another. The fight, triggered by the fleeing dancer, is underway. The human male grabs at T'yon's jacket, almost dragging him down with him…

<~ Leave by the other exit! ~> T'yon snaps back at his companion. <~ Come around! Head her off before she reaches one of the noisy escape vehicles left outside! ~>

Csard turns away, and heads for the front door. No one gets in his way, and he makes his exit speedily — compared to his comrade, T'yon.

T'yon does not go down. He might as well have been an oak tree planted in the floor. He shoves the human out the way, knocking over a table and the two patrons sitting at it. A waitress screams. Someone calls 911. The bouncers make their way to the source of the fight, believing it to have been caused by angry patrons, and not one of their own dancers.

The man sitting in the booth rises to his feet, his eyes on Voodoo and then on T'yon. Tracking across the room, he spots Csard making for the front door… and the man follows…


The dancer didn't actually see either of the two pursuing, or attempting to pursue her in T'yon's case. Her reaction would have had a lot more panic behind it if she had. Possibly on everyone's behalf actually. Terror tends to have unfortunate reactions on her already suspect control.

"God I wish I had a car." She's saving for one, but even the slums in Metropolis aren't cheap and she's still acquiring the basics in her new place. Three blocks to the station, she is faster now but if she uses that speed people will notice. It might be late but here in Gotham that doesn't seem to matter. The streets are hardly empty, but there's an alley across the street and it looks pretty dark. Voodoo sprints towards it, moving just a bit faster perhaps than a young dancer should but not enough to draw attention. It's just that half dressed woman don't run out in front of moving cars in the middle of the night with no apparent regard for their safety often even in Gotham. So that does draw notice, and a lot of screamed profanities and honking. Also a minor collision with a fire hydrant that brings traffic to a standstill and if Voodoo takes advantage of this, kicking the hydrant just as she races into the alley and causing it to burst, well.. It won't kill anyone and might save her life.

Before anyone can make it through the mess she's left in her wake, Voodoo makes her way down the dark and dirty (oh good god is it dirty) alley a ways and then pauses and looks up. "Okay. I can do this." The dancer looks down at her hands and focuses, working to make the shift happen. It doesn't take long for the pebbly green scales to replace soft brown skin, strong clawed hands instead of long delicate fingered human digits with nails. "Shit. That manicure cost me a hundred bucks." It's enough to make her want to kill those guys. If only they were just guys, that she could handle.

The thought gives her pause as she starts scrambling up the brick wall of the building, heading towards the roof. What if they were just guys? The mess she just made, the damage, those poor men she started fighting. The sudden flash of guilt is strong enough to make her lose control over the transformation and one hand shifts back. Voodoo gasps and scrambles, losing her grip on the wall with that hand and hanging precariously by the other. Her boots were not made for this! Now what?….


"Jesus."

It is the first word to be spoken by the mysterious fellow in the corner of the stripclub since spotting the now-fleeing dancer on the stage. He, too, is on his way out (via the front door), shouldering his way past one of the two non-humans just like any other patron leaving the bar in a hurry.

Bar-fights will do that.

Once outside, he casts a glance up and down the street, and breaks into a jog. He manages to avoid traffic without incident, and vanishes into a throng of people on the other side, still cursing under his lips. It is not entirely out of a habit of cursing.

It keeps his mind focused on something that the disguised aliens would be disinclined to hear.

Unfortunately for the dancer, the predators stalking her as prey know exactly where she has gone. Csard emerges from the front exit of the Devil's Due, actually shoving people out of the way — so hard that he knocks them down easily. T'yon…is nowhere to be seen.

By the time the girl stops to rest on the rooftop, police have arrived at the club. Already they are taking statements, although no one is really able to tell them who and how the fight actually started. There is a sound — a booted foot striking the gravel upon the concrete top of the building.

It is several yards behind the dancer's position.

Then there is another sound: shoes striking the roof — just off to the side.

<~ She has led us a merry — if short — chase, has she not, Csard? ~> projects the nearer of the two figures (T'yon), now deliberately projecting for the dancer to hear.

<~ I look forward to wearing her, ~> Csard replies. As he steps nearer, it is clear he is smiling… and communicating without speaking aloud, as well. <~ Curves will be a welcome change to this… ~> and the alien gestures to himself with a hand… that suddenly grows reptilian claws.


'Oh that's not creepy and psycho at all. What is your problem?!' Voodoo crouches behind the small room that houses the entrance to the building from the roof and crawls up behind the ac unit so she can peer out at her pursuer. Blue eyes widen with shock. Her earlier sense of guilt had been entirely misplaced. That.. that thing.. Is not human. She can see it's hand transforming now, just like hers. 'What does that mean? I'm.. I'm human. I was. Until they.. Oh god what have you bastards done to me?'

Terrified, enraged, she's been running and hiding and then setting up to start her life anew and Voodoo does not want to do it all again, she leaps out from behind the cooling unit housing with a scream that's equal parts fear and anger. She knows her hands match the creature she's leaping towards, knows her one hundred twenty five dollar pair of jeans is about to be ruined as her manicure as matching green scaled and wickedly clawed tail bursts forth from her rear, but she's entirely unprepared for the wings when they come. At least it'd been so hot tonight she didn't wear her jacket. The monster facing her looks a bit startled as well, maybe he was expecting her to hide or run more or for her to be less adept at transforming.. Hell, for all she knows he didn't know she was like him but that seems doubtful. IF she can see what he is, then surely he can see her, right? Whatever the case, her tail swinging up and around in a swift arc, the curved clawed end heading straight for the creature's face sends him stumbling back a few steps.

Still caught up in primal instincts and emotions Voodoo doesn't falter. She throws a punch at Csard's throat and her tail strikes out from the left side this time, attempting to rip a gash along her opponent's flank. She ignores the wings though she's starting to get the feeling she saw them before at least once. She can't see any advantage to them at the moment unless she tries to.. What? Fly away? She's pretty sure the monster would just follow. This is insane. It's all insane. No one is going to believe it. How is she ever going to find help? "I am not going to die on some dirty godforsaken roof in Gotham!" The dancer screams with renewed ferocity. If there's no help to be had then she'll have to help herself. She's not going to let these things do what they did to her to other people. She'll figure it out. First she has to… do what? Voodoo finally begins to falter. It's going to adjust and attack back any second now and she's really going to be screwed….


The dancer's attack upon the two 'aliens in human clothing' causes both Csard and T'yon to all but shed their disguises. Tear appear in their skin, like tears in heavy fabric — leather, really — causing spines to show through as well as scales like armour plates. As Csard takes the blow to his throat (caught off-guard by the ferocity of Voodoo's attack), he all but vomits tendrils out of his mouth. More flesh peels away to reveal the true nature of the creature within.

The Daemonite.

Csard retaliates with a slash of his own claws and tail at Voodoo, backed up by T'yon. T'yon's real self practically claws his way out of his now-very-dead human host, and he throws his arms and reptilian wings wide. He lunges forward as if to shout or roar, but instead of a physical or sonic attack, the second Daemonite unleashes a blast of psychic energy at Voodoo, like needles and knives inside one's skull.

'BLAM!'

From across the rooftop, gunfire splits the air as a superheated projectile strikes T'yon in the centre of his back, sheering one of his wings off. The Daemonite's psychic attack goes wild — no longer focused intently upon one person, but 'fired' wildly in all directions. It hits Csard also.

Csard pitches forward in pain.

The man from the club vaults over a large, industrial air-conditioning unit atop the roof, brandishing a smoking energy gun in one hand. Gone are the sunglasses, but he now wears a crimson mask over his face. For all intents and purposes, he could easily be another man entirely… except that his mind might be familiar. That, and he says:

"They been on ya since the club, sweetheart."

As he fires a second time at T'yon.


Voodoo is alarmed by the dual emotions she experiences as she tries to defend herself. When her furious onslaught seems to slow and even startle the monster, she's thrilled. She might live after all! She also wants to finish it off, her instincts telling her this thing is an extreme danger and she should kill it before it has the chance again to kill her.

Horrified by this thought she let's go and darts backwards just as the two aliens shed the bodies of their human hosts. "That is *so* wrong! So fucking messed up!" If she's going to pretend they were just some sort of elaborate (and disgustingly messy) disguise instead of actual people, well there's only so much traumatizing things a person can witness before they just… stop.

The dancer ends up several feet away with her back to the short wall surrounding the edge of the building. Blue eyes go wide as she feels the mental attack building, she's not experienced enough to counter it. Voodoo hasn't seen the other one following her yet but she does now, he fires some sort of strange gun and the second alien's wing disappears in a burst of screaming and psionic blast. The stench of burning flesh fills the air and Voodoo gags, her hands going to her head. It hurts, but she's gotten good at shielding herself if only by instinct and doesn't hit her as hard as it did Csard, and certainly not as hard as the alien meant for it to.

The blond man is approaching and Voodoo doesn't think she's ever been so glad to see another person in her entire life. There's something, something almost familiar about him. Beyond the fact she just saw him in the club a bit ago. He'd caught her eye then too even with those ridiculous sunglasses…which she kinda sees an advantage to now actually. If she'd seen the aliens inside, her eyes would have given her away. Where though, when, how did see this man before? Things have been so hectic and strange and terrifying maybe it's just the relief at a (hopefully) friendly face who rescued her.

Or maybe he's one of them. One of the ones she left behind when she fled. One of those she'd abandoned. Maybe he too managed to free himself and has come for vengeance. Unaware that Csard is trying to use his last few minutes to drive her into throwing herself off the edge of the building so he can escape, her reaction is intense, visceral. "Nooo!" Voodoo screams. "I didn't! I had to. I had to get away. To get help." The alien grins. 'What help? You can't even help yourself gi-uuhk!" A length of pipe lay against the wall nearby and Priscilla grabs it, spins around and leaps forward to use all of the strange, overpowering strength this monsters have given her and drive the metal through Csard's throat and up into his brain. The alien falls back, twitching, dying, his last seconds staring hatred directly at Voodoo who really doesn't even notice because she's too busy dropping to her knees and throwing up her late whiskey dinner at Grifter's feet.


What remains of Csard appears neither human nor completely 'other' at the same time. He looks like he died mid-transition, and that is exactly what happened. Very soon, even the twitching of his corpse stops, leaving his lifeless eyes staring in the direction of his killer.

Voodoo.

Who is currently throwing up (not quite all over the boots of the masked man who just joined her). T'yon stumbles away from his dead comrade, backing toward the far edge of the rooftop. Already he shows signs of beginning to heal from the masked man's 'VAD pistol', as his wing slowly regenerates.

Grifter tilts his head down a bit to look at the vomiting Voodoo and lets out a sigh. "Gets easier," he tells her, and then demonstrates by shooting T'yon in the shoulder — without lifting his gaze to look at his target. T'yon hisses in agony as more and more of the 'Daemonite within' reveals itself. The force of the shot spin him halfway around and he collapses against the 'safety wall'.

"And easier," says Grifter, and fires one last time. The energy-round strikes the Daemonite in the side of the head, silencing the alien in an instant… right before it tumbles over the edge. Grifter looks back at Voodoo and holsters his gun. Tapping a comlink of sorts in his left ear, he declares: "Grifter here. …Yeah, package is safe. Delivery-boys…" and he looks at the spot where T'yon fell off the roof. "Tipped. …Nah, she got one of 'em. …The ugly one. Whatever."

Grifter extends a hand toward Voodoo and tells her: "Yer scrappy for a dancer. Wanna lift someplace no one wants ta 'wear ya'?"


"Wanna lift someplace no one wants ta wear ya?" Voodoo looks up at Grifter with a freaked out expression on her face. She's also broadcasting her panicked thoughts a little bit.

'Are you fucking serious?? Where no wants to wear.. Wear… oh sweet Jesus no! That isn't a costume…it's not..a disguise It's a …that was a person. This is insane. He's insane. I'm.. going crazy. That's what this is..' Blue eyes go wide with horror and shock and the dancer starts to hyperventilate a bit as she looks over at Csard again.

Except..Voodoo realizes that she knew, somehow had known already what she's looking at, why she'd ran, what she was really fighting. She just hadn't been able or willing to admit it until now. It is kinda hard to keep denying while staring at the mess of alien/human remains a few feet away. She's many things, more all the time it seems actually, but stupid, blind and insane she is not. Being forced to confront the evidence of what happened to her six months ago along with the fact the monsters are still after her while in someone else's presence is enough to make Voodoo realize she can't keep denying the truth anymore.

That doesn't mean that she's ready to stop running from it just yet. "I.." The dancer does take Grifter's hand and let him help her up. Her warm brown skin flushes a dusky rose color. "Sorry 'bout your shoes." Oh man she really hopes she didn't puke on his shoes. "I think..I'm going to run away now and get very drunk and think about this tomorrow." She also thinks she wants to talk to him soon.

He might or might not hear her furtive mental attempt to make a plan despite her sense of shock. She heard him talking to someone else and has realized he was probably following her too. Maybe he isn't with the monster-aliens… but she's hardly feeling like taking anyone at their word at the moment. Even if he did save her life, it could all just be some elaborate plot to..she really doesn't know, but if he lets her go and she makes it home still alive without him on her tail then she'll definitely be more inclined to trust him. "Is there.." Inspiration strikes and the dancer fishes a makeup pencil from the pocket of her jeans and hands it to the blonde man, holding out the back of her hand. "A number I could call after I've had a chance to.." Nervously she glances at Csard. Voodoo trails off again. "Think? I guess." 'Throw up again for sure. Just no on some cute guy's shoes. Holy shit that's embarrassing.'


"Alright, alright," the man replies — very likely rolling his eyes behind that crimson mask over his face. He takes the makeup pencil and scrawls a contact number on the dancer's arm. What she may not realise is that this particular 'grifter' also plants a minute tracking bug on her arm — the kind that blends in with her skin-texture and hue.

"There," he tells her, handing back the makeup pen. At the mention of his boots he grunts, but says nothing on that messy point. Stepping away a bit, he arches his back with a bit of a groan, putting a hand to the back of his neck in a 'why me? Why do I get the vomiting crazies?' gesture. Then he shakes his head.

"They're /Daemonites/, Priscilla," he informs her, using her real name. SHIELD has been watching for a short while at least. "Or Voodoo, or whatever ya wanna be called. Wearin' folks is what they do. PETA'd have a field day with 'em… if they didn't get dead real quick."

He stalks away from the dancer, activating his comm again. "Yeah… change o' plan. Package is… Ah crap, I love these boots. These are my favourite boots. Clean-up on aisle-six." As he walks off, he gives Voodoo a mock-salute.


'PETA'd have…' Voodoo eyes the Daemonite again. Anyone stupid enough to try to defend these things kinda deserves what happens to them. Despite her horrified reaction of a few moments ago, the dancer doesn't even feel bad about that thought. It was wearing a person! She stares at her her own hands, then at the number Drifter scrawled. She winces at his comments about the boots and eyes them but the second his back is turned she's leaping onto the edge of the safety wall and dropping over it to the ground below. If she lands a bit heavily, she doesn't suffer any ill effects from it and is quickly gone, disappearing into the night, tracking device unnoticed.


END LOG.

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