Broken Creatures

October 29, 2016:

Nerina makes friends with Gotham locals. Ripclaw in transit back to New York also makes nice with those friends.

Gotham

Characters

NPCs: Joy Boys (Big Teddy, Marco, Ray Jay and Moss)

Mentions: Batman, Batman Beyond

Plot:

Mood Music: [*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8356FxUT20 None.]


Fade In…

Gotham is cold this time of year. This city is plagued with an unnatural chill that the superstitious believe is otherworldly in origin, many have come to calling it 'the Razor' due to just exactly how it feels with it's frosty touch cuts through you. It can be attested it is very odd that the weather difference here can be a nudge more drastic than New York or Metropolis. This is what happens with old cities with old stories.

Chelsea Harbor is further inland than the more populated and bustling Gotham Bay to the south but it still has it's commerce, mostly in local markets and private business owners to the heavy corporate pushers of the southern bay.

It's closing in on dusk, 6:20 PM PST to be exact and this time of year, things close early, darkness comes sooner. Gotham by Night is always an adventure.

High above in the skies a zeppelin shines lights down upon the streets below, an archaic still used function in the sleepless city, GCPD etched across its side but one has to wonder just how much crime does that thing actually stop or is it just there to make the people of Gotham feel safer.

Robert Bearclaw is only passing through, a backpack slung over one shoulder and a stride that says he has a mission, he likes this city but it isn't his calling, his home right now is New York and he is returning to it after assisting his brother in what ways he could. Painful as they were, painful as expected of anyone touched by Cyberdata.
Like any self-described vigilante a scream in the night is all it takes to have him alert, hunting, a predator now curious. The sound is sharp, clipped and occurs only once before there is laughter. The laughter of bullies and sadists

Tucked in the shadow of the dockyard, a young woman has run afoul of the reason for Gotham's unofficial curfew. She's an in-congruent sight in the gray and brown tones of the harbor, with long strands of vibrant blonde hair that almost glows in the aged, yellowed lighting overhead. She's also backed into a corner, with the thick wool of her winter coat brushing up against unyielding brick, and in front of her she's trapped by a group of men.

A sling bag, her sling bag, is being passed between them and its meager contents derided.

A butterfly knife, a 9mm, a machete and a rainbow colored crow bar. These are the weapons of menace being used by this troop of clown themed street thugs, not just any carnies they look like a cross between Sons of Anarchy and a Rob Zombie movie.
"No one ever told you it ain't safe at night?" The lead one with the 9mm laughs, his laugh isn't the loud one. It's a subdued noise, throaty and his hair is a high standing yet ratty looking greenish mohawk, most the color faded. "This is Joy Boy elite turf. We got taxes."
The one with the machete, the bald skinny one with the annoying laugh, grating, loud and forced, like he is trying to copy someone. The Joker of course, every Joy Boy's idol. He steps forward and uses the machete to try and push aside Nerina's winter coat, "Taxes, yeah, taxes… hahaha HAHAH HAHahaha!" Obnoxious.
The one with the knife is flipping it back and forth, letting it snap closed and open while he glances back and forth at corner, playing sentry. No one needs to join in the reindeer games.
"Hurry up, Moss. We're got Street Demonz around here."

The rainbow crowbar wielder is silent, just watching, his poofy clown wig the only clownish thing about him, hes towering and a slab of muscle on muscle in a tank top with a scar mangled face.

Robert is in motion, following that stupid sounding laugh, like an animal he would love to sniff the air and find them but Gotham, these docks, the fish smell, overwhelming, he would rather not. Sound will have ot be enough. Hopefully he is not too late.

Bright blue eyes, pure-blooded gifts of a colder climate, stare down at the weapon's long, shining edge as the youth's hands fidget with the top button of her coat.

*Pop!* The button releases and the brown wool parts enough to reveal a flash of white knitting - her sweater underneath.

*Pop!* The second button follows a moment later by force of the machete and a small glint of gold around the young woman's neck catches the light.

"W-w-what kind of t-t-t-taxes?" The small youth stutters as she looks back up at the bald thug looming over her. If they're hoping to find money in the bag, they'll be sorely disappointed. Its contents are little more than the bare minimum of fishing supplies; a flashlight, plastic bags, and a small knife that would be far more helpful somewhere else right now.

"Why whatever we want buttercup." That Gotham-Jersey accent thick from Mr.9mm Faded Mohawk, "That, Moss, that right there man, you see it?"

Moss the scrawny one who is clearly the most disturbed chuckle laughs some more, "See what?"
"Eyes on the prize, ya dipshit." The leader grumbles.
Moss pays attention to the gold now, not Nerina's other assets. "Oh shiny!" Like a dog chasing a squirrel his attention reroutes and he jabs at the white sweater, rather carelessly with the machete. Probably going to be a slice in to some skin from that. "Gimme the shiny."
The big man with the fro and the rainbow crowbar yawns, "I'm hungry, lets just kill this bitch and head go to the High Nine. Sal owes me a free dance, you and her still having troubles, Marco?" A pause. "Marco?" Turning to look at the one who was playing sentry with the machete who isn't there. Just not there anymore. No trace he ever existed. "MARCO! No fun and games man…. shit, maybe its the Bat… "
Mohawk looks started by that and spins around, "Shit no, not again, he broke my arm last time… the bat? You fucking with me Big Ted? Marco? MARCO!?"
A squelch sound is audible, a muffled noise and a body topples forward, slapping against the concrete where he was standing blood pooling out of him.

A twin set of hellish animal red eyes are visible, "Polo?" A deep voice growls. "Muggers or rapists? Which one. Your answer will decide your fates." Sharp knives? Handfuls of them glinting in the darkness. Two handfuls? This shadowy creature appears to be well armed.

"No, no, no bats, no anyone, I want the shiny and the pretty girl! MINE, minemineminemine." Moss screeches.

"Nnn-" The sweater's flexible, knitted weave stretches out of the way of the knife point. The woman herself isn't so lucky.

One hand flinches up and firmly pinches the blade but from the front, putting itself between Moss and her jewelry. The wide-eyed, tense-breathed fear in the young blonde seems to falter for a moment as a stern focus locks onto the skinny faux-Joker, but it collapses back to helpless borderline panic as quickly as it came. That necklace holds a special value.

*Pop!* Slowly, with a trembling hand, the blonde opens another button, mostly revealing her loose sweater. "H-how-e 'bout just the pretty girl?" She suggests with a warm Mediterranean accent seasoning her advice. One shoulder lifts to hide the necklace deeper beneath her neckline and a delicate bang slips in front of her face. The menacing red eyes are noticed out the corner of her vision but the machete in her face owns the youth's attention.

"Yeahyeah, pretty girl. I love pretty girls you can be part of my collection of screams! The screams, oh I love screams." Moss chortles with such brilliance. So distracted is he by Nerina he isn't paying attention to his fears a moment ago, "But that, the shiny stuff, thats important to my friends… "
Moss frowns, "But pretty girl… " Serious dilemma for the crazed Joy Boy.

The big man with the rainbow crowbar grins, "That ain't no bat, bats not out in Chelsea right now and they don't use knives." Rushing the shadow hidden Robert now he completely forgets about their prey.

Mohawk is not so stupid, "Run, Moss. We're done here… " Cowardly, yes, a leader also a yes, he rose through the ranks for a reason. Not even firing the 9mm off he is grabbing Moss by the shoulder and jerking at him as he takes off down an adjacent alley.

Moss cackles, "Come on! We're going now!" The machete twists in the Clown's grip to press towards Nerina's throat, his other hand trying to grab for her hair, to pull her after him and his boss.

The sounds of fighting from Big Ted and Robert Bearclaw are audible, a scuffling and clattering.

*Pop!* Nerina smiles a little bit as she tries to sweeten the deal and get Moss' mind away from her necklace. "—Ahh hey! Oww!" In the instant the thug turns his weapon and grabs for her hair, the girl regrets grabbing his blade. Her legs kick frantically beneath her as she tries to take the weight off her scalp and the painful hold on his machete tightens into a death grip. A light sheen of red begins trickling down its edge.

"L-let go, troia! I can walk!"

"Fuck her man, shes going to slow us down." Mohawk with the Nine barks as they exit the alley and meet side street, more local businesses that bleed in to residential, inland further way from the waterways and wharf.

"NO! Mine so mine!" Moss proclaims in response to her smile. "Sosososmine." He pauses just long enough to sniff her hair before releasing it, "Get moving, follow Ray Jay." That would be the name of the mohawk. Cliche names for the Joy Boys but that is expected of the miscreants who worship someone like the Clown Prince of Crime.
One fearful glance back and Moss shoves Nerina. "Can't wait to hear you scream, just… can't wait." He sounds excited. His voice is even trembling.

"Two down! Where are you running!?" Yells the clown slayer behind them. A scraping sound follows them, metal on stone?

"Oof!" Nerina's hair smells surprisingly like seaweed and not entirely in a bad way. She drops to the ground with a little thump and winces as she stands back up, rubbing her backside. She doesn't get a chance to take two strides before she's shoved forward and stumbles after the bobbing green mohawk in front of her. "Oww!"

Realizing as she raises her hand just how badly it's bleeding, Nerina laps at the wound while she runs. A furtive glance is spared to the machete-wielding lunatic beside her.
Running through the streets of Gotham with lunatics from a shadowy vigilante? A day in the life of a Gothamite no doubt.
It is now that Nerina catches full visual of their pursuer, a muscular man in a t-shirt, bloody claws and a samurai style top-knot, his feet clad in cowboy boots and a smile worn across pale features. The man is enjoying this. But it is very much not a Bat or a Bird or even a Cat. No, the creepy crawlers that fight crime are not here right now.
Ray Jay stops and turns only to fire back at Ripclaw, now using that gun.

BLAM

BLAM

BLAM

BLAM

"YESSS!" Moss screams and then shoves Nerina down another of those many side alleys, thrusting her in to it with a surprising amount of force for someone so skinny. Not abnormal or superhuman in might he is still much more than meets the eye. "That way, run that way." Ragged breathing and Moss has to pause to peer around the corner, to watch as Robert lands upon Ray Jay and begins to pummel and slice at him. "Ouch, do you like me, pretty girl? I just lost all of my friends. We should be friends, pretty girl. You smell like the ocean, I like ocean. Maybe play ocean sounds later when we ScReaM together. Got to escape first, escape fast." Frantically the Joker Gang member looks left and right, all around them in that graffiti riddled sub alley for an escape route. "There, rooftop, climb climb." She will be prodded with the machete if no compliance happens right away.

As she's lead away from prying eyes, Nerina allows herself a pitiful headshake at the lunatic's behavior. "You climb first," she offers, thinking quickly, "You're faster."

*Pop-pop!* In answer to the man's question, she gives him a little wink and unfastens the rest of her coat. It was getting hard to move in half-open anyway. "Where is your hide-out?" She asks, hoping to encourage the Joy Boy up first.

"Me first?" Moss frowns as if confused then taps his head with the handle of his machete. Nerina's removal of her jacket and the wink has him swallowing, "Yeah, soon, screams. Soonsoon, can't wait." He ALMOST turns around and stops, "No, hahah HA HAh, almost had me pretty girl. Almost." A shove and a point towards the network of metal ladders. "You first. Better view."

No more gunshots.

A heartbeat later Robert lands in a crouch at the end of the alleyway, giving them only one route. "Leave the girl and I might leave one of your arms attached."

"Shitshit, NO! She is mine, we're going to scream with the ocean. Dolphins, we're going to be naked dolphins!"

"What. The. Fuck?" The bloody vigilante questions, honestly confused at that.

Nerina sighs and grabs the side of the ladder. She didn't have a good counter for that… although a bloody albino with enormous metal claws might count. The young woman stares a Robert for a moment to properly process what's been chasing them, then she looks back at Moss and the machete which moments ago felt so large and now feels so insignificant. She grimaces.

"Don't hurt him. E 'un imbeccile," she asks. Turning back to Moss, she presses her point again. "Where is your hide-out? If we get separated, I want to meet you there."

"Time to dance with the devil." Moss says to Robert, "My hideout? Poppa Smirk's place. Wait, no, wait, yes. Poppa Smirk doesn't know you. He'll kill you or make you his, you can't go without me. Stay, pretty girl. Watch me dance."

"That was you that screamed? The one they just assaulted back there and you don't want me to hurt him because he is simple?" The predator looks very confused as well now ignoring the odd machete toss from hand to hand, foot to foot challenge jig Moss is doing in front of him. "Even stupid can be evil."

"Don't talk to her. She is mine. My screams to have not yours." Possessive and nuts Moss leaps forth and swipes, a *KLINK* noise radiates from the forearm that blocks the blade.

Nerina nods simply to the red-eyed… whatever is blocking the alleyway. "I was worried about the others. He's safe," she explains while pointing at Moss with a hand that's now trailing blood past her wrist thanks to the exertion of her run. The blonde tries to tuck it from view when she notices and resumes licking it over.
"Safe doesn't mug, threaten to kill and attack someone with a machete." Robert lunges forward past the machete and grips Moss by the head, hefting him up in to the air and then slamming him down in to the concrete.

"WEEee! Ow… ow. What sounds does my brain make now!?" Moss's face contorts yet he is smiling despite the blood now coming from his lips.
The cybernetic armed mutant lifts him again and slams him down once more. "Just… would be so easy." Restraining himself he doesn't do it a third.
Moss in all of his glory now lays face down in a pile of blood that is from his lips, teeth and nose. His rear in the air and arms down, machete weakly twisting upwards at the wrist. "Die, pig, stuck pig, die. My screaming dolphin love, not yours… mine…"
"Not yours… " The machete drops and stops moving. Moss may be unconscious now.

"Now, he is harmless." The pale warrior comments. "Are you hurt?" The eyes lose some of that glow, a bloody claw is wiped off on his black shirt and then offered up to assist her out of the alleyway back in to the light of the streets.

Nerina flinches both times Moss slams into the pavement and looks down with mingled sadness and disgust at the form left on the ground. She mumbles something less than kind in Italian while continuing to lick her wound. "I was hoping to find his home," she laments. Careful to use her bloodless hand, she rebuttons her winter coat but doesn't seem in that much of a hurry to leave the alley. For all the pandemonium of the last couple minutes, the young blonde is calm - a little too much perhaps.
"Then what? Call the police I hope." The man's eyes narrow to slits. "The world is being threatened by a gas attack and Gotham is still feasting on itself. I remember why I don't live here… also, no sirens, no one has called this in. I could have gotten away with murder." He stops, "Sorry, you must be shaken. My name is Robert and I won't hurt you." The amount of calm she displays is unnerving. Shock? Has to be. "We should find some help."

Nerina nods again. Yes, calling the police sounds exactly like an upstanding-citizen thing to do. "Most of the world, if you believe him," she considers. "And I think you just did."

"Help from what? The pools of blood you made?" She looks down at Robert's offered hand even as she finishes cleaning her own. "Aspetta… Robert? No crazy super-hero name?"
"None of them should die." Robert was rough, brutal but he doesn't believe he went overboard, at least not to the point they can't be mended if help arrives or they get lucky. Blood loss might cause some death but really, hes not soft enough to care. "For you, you just went through quite an ordeal, you're also bleeding… "
Maybe not shock. Curious. "I have another name yes but I am no super-hero, that isn't my gig." The hand drops no longer offered and he steps towards the alleyway exit not gone, not up up and away, just making way for that direction as they talk. Also making sure no more Joy Boys show up. Surely someone heard the gunshots.

Nerina looks back down at Moss, thoughtful for a long moment before she lifts her gaze again and follows Robert out of the alley. She can come back for him later…

"I've had worse," she assures, pulling up the collar of her coat for a little added warmth. "Even just in this city. Fish markets here are… busy."
"A world like ours… I suppose muggings are a small concern." Robert strides next to Nerina, more curious each time she speaks, guiding her towards the body of Ray Jay. The clown theme gangbanger's wrist is broken and twisted at an odd angle and it looks like hes been mauled by a wild animal but otherwise still breathing.
Kneeling down Nerina's new friend scoops up his backpack, sliding it over one shoulder. "Good fishing market in Gotham, yes, do you need me to walk you home or would you like to try and stay, see if we can make a statement for the GCPD?"

'Friend' might be pushing it a little far, but Nerina seems willing to follow Robert more quietly than she followed Moss. Her calm gait, without any of the trembling aftermath of an adrenaline dump, seems for all the world like she hadn't just very nearly been mugged. "Don't bother, there are always more," she dismisses. The blonde sighs quietly to herself as she looks around the street then begins retracing her steps to where their adventure began. "It's-a shame Batman isn't this far away…"

"How in the world did you get those?" She asks bluntly of Robert's claws.

Letting Nerina lead the way now Robert seems content to just talk for the moment, Big Ted is who they pass by next, he probably got it the worst as several of his fingers are missing and he lays whimpering with a hand clutching them, that rainbow crowbar bent in half beside him. His face a clownmask smear of blood, tears and snot. Upon seeing the two of them he hugs the wall.
No mind is paid to the man by Ripclaw as they carry on past.
"Why? I have no interest in fighting one of Gotham's bogeymen and from the stories I've heard, it sounds like something that would happen."
Her question about his hands is gifted a slight lift of the brow, "Whats your name?" No answer given about his hands. Perhaps enough gore for one evening or he is just touchy about them.

"Nessuno," the blonde answers off-handedly, giving BT only a glance as she walks past. This isn't where she left her bag.

"I want to meet him one day." There's a lull as she keeps walking, coral-blue gaze idly scanning the sidewalk before her. "That can't have been comfortable."

"They're not." Robert confirms. "Nessuno? Unique." End of this alley at the elbow of it is where the encounter with her attackers began. Likely where it is. "You think you've met enough lunatics tonight?" A grin at that. He is of course including himself in that number.
"That your reason for walking around in dark alleys at night in Gotham?"

"Maybe… maybe not," Nessuno considers as her eyes flit down to Robert's claws again. They are a little hard to ignore, and wiped or not the man is dragging a pronounced odor of blood with him.

"I was just leaving the dock," she explains. "It's not my fault imbecille use the same place after dark."

"Aha!" The blonde exclaims in a rare moment of cheer as she spies her bag discarded on the ground and crouches over it. She pulls it open and checks through its contents first to make sure everything is where it belongs.

"Fair enough. Everything is still there I hope." Robert says to her response. "I'll walk you a bit further and then I need to get back to New York. You don't have the Gotham accent, take you're not a local?" The claws are thrust in to his pockets, a bit of metamorphing required to shrink them down enough they fit properly but he manages with some focus. At least now they're out of sight if not out of mind.

"Everything important," Nessuno assesses, closing the bag and slinging it across her chest. "…Maybe Gotham, Campania," she responds, seeming to have a good grasp of English sarcasm. The blonde turns and stares as Robert fits his hands into his pockets without shredding his pants to ribbons. "How did you just fit your hands in there?"

"Very carefully." Robert retorts, not really one to give away all secrets on the first meeting but really he can't exactly hide who and what he is. "How familiar are you with mutants, Nessuno?" Their walk carries them back towards the wharf where they will begin north. It would appear the man plans on walking to New York. Maybe. "You have me curious. I haven't quite met someone like you before unless you're just walking and talking in a state of fugue but… I don't exactly sense that."

Nessuno thinks and idly licks at her hand a tiny bit more. "I've met one or two, I think. Does a mannaro, uh… wolf-man count?"

The blonde keeps following. She doesn't mind the small detour. "What is a 'state of fugue'?"
"Perhaps I am being a bit extreme there but… not yourself right now, out of sorts?" Robert tries to explain but finds himself incapable of doing so as she licks her hand, thats not abnormal or anything. Strange. "A wolf man, yes, that is out of the norm enough it is close enough. When it comes down to it the classifications don't exactly matter. Semantics, right?" A shrug of those broad shoulders and he studies her, "You're young, I really feel like I should be taking you somewhere. No parents, boyfriend or family waiting for you to be home or checking in? I mean, its not late but its not exactly a nice night out." Fog is incoming. Coupled with the darkness of Gotham it is going to be a very dismal night.

In her defense, it is still bleeding a little. Nessuno looks up more than a little to converse with Robert, barely reaching his shoulders, but her eyes spend most of their time elsewhere. She seems to trust him enough not to stare as they walk, or perhaps she just trusts Gotham itself less. There are little clues to the youth's life in her appearance - well-worn shoes and a slightly faded coat are her main trappings, although the woman herself is quite clean. She might be wearing second-hand, but Nessuno values her hygiene.

She pauses in her walk with her clean hand drifting into her pocket for warmth and takes her turn to scrutinize Robert. She wags a finger at him with a thought on the tip of her tongue. "Are you sure you're not-a hero?"

"Short change at best. No, my ideals of a hero I do not meet. I'm a killer, the world's heroes shouldn't be like me." A long pause from Robert as if he is awaiting a response, placid, she is eerie in her numbness. No doubt a creature of now, a child of this generation. "Shall I bandage that for you if you refuse help? I can if you would like."
The store behind them closed right now but a dusty old library littered on the outside with Jack O Lanterns, pumpkins and hanging paper clothe ghosts.

"I'm fine," Nessuno assures, not seeming the slightest bit worried. She's comfortable right now, with her hand, with the quickly-approaching night, with the cold and foreboding streets of Gotham… okay, maybe she prefers it a little warmer.

"Fighting without killing is selfish," she says, offering her own opinion. "Some people deserve to die."

The cold of Gotham doesn't appear to be bothering Robert evident in the lack of goose bumps on his flesh. "I fully agree. Sometimes broken creatures just need put down." A cant of his head and he smiles, not the same smile that those Joy Boys received but a small one, light, barely to be considered a smile. Thats a genuine one. "You are a true enigma. 'His offer to bandage her wounds being denied doesn't seem to bother him, their walk through the foggy streets of Gotham continues.

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