The Ninja and The Assassin

December 19, 2016:

Laura comes upon trouble in Gotham City, as she searches down a lead to The Facility.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Crime can be a fickle mistress in Gotham. Not everyone is a Kingpin or launders millions from the back of a gilded casino. Most crime is smaller, and in Park Row, small crime flourishes. The season's chill and year-round dreary weather offer a modest shield to the city's more law-abiding inhabitants. The night is wet in Gotham; a lonely, windy, piercing cold that soaks up shoes with each splashing puddle of the disrepaired sidewalks and drips through seams of the poorly insulated Skirley apartment windows. It's miserable weather to be out of doors, away from a warm fireplace.

Creeping down into the breezeway of one of the rundown flats only a couple blocks from the glitz and glimmer of the district's first casino, a black hood catches the light as it approaches a door, soaked to the bone and leaving a trail of water in its wake. A pair of lockpicks slip out the sleeve of her jacket as it leans forward, the dark shadow of its outfit obscuring the work from view.

Inside, it's poker night for the local chapter of Jokerz. Half a dozen or so clowns and fools are milled about a large table, swapping cards, jokes, and money. An empty cardboard six-pack lies discarded by the door. Winning another large pot, a red-and-black jester drags in a pile of chips to himself and winks at the harlequin-esque woman beside him until he hears the distinctive sound of sliding pins and looks back towards the door.

"Lee, finally! How hard can it be to find one case of PB—"

A passing couple outside hunker together and redouble their pace as the sounds of gunshots and screams cut through the cold air.


Crime isn't the only fickle thing within Gotham City.

So are its heroes.

And sometimes those that look the least likely to be heroes, are themselves one.

That's what X-23 is. An unlikely hero. Even if they don't see themselves as such.

Either way, X-23 is within Gotham's cold, wet, dreary streets. She followed a lead from upstate New York to the East End of Gotham City. So far, that particular lead hasn't panned out, but that hasn't stopped her from moving through Gotham City, towards her next point of interest. It's only as her footfalls lead her down a puddle-heavy sidewalk that her steps pause. Sensitive ears prick at the sounds of gunshots and her sodden head rises upward, as her green-eyed gaze shifts from the gray ground, to the direction that the gunshots came from. She'll stand there a second longer, before finally, she moves. No longer walking, X-23 will begin to jog to where that pop-pop-popping sound originated from.


Inside the apartment it's not a pretty sight. The thin walls offer only token protection as bullets whizz through them and into the rest of the complex, making macabre moth-bites in the breezeway. The commotion is coming from the second floor, and streetside too, but the shades are drawn - hiding the scene inside.


An apartment complex.

Of course.

Once in front of it, X-23's gaze will raise upward, as her sensitive ears pinpoint just what floor and room the gunshots and screams have occurred (and are occurring) from.

It's now that her claws are unsheathed, as they pop from her hands with an audible *SNIKT*. Once her claws are deployed, the dark-haired woman is literally scaling up the wall of the building. She's aiming for that window, with the shade pulled low, and as soon as she's beside it the slim assassin will swing herself around and inward. Feet first, so she can land in an easy enough crouch.

Neither the flying bullets, or the possibility of glass shattering into her, seem to phase the dark-haired girl.


"Oof!"
In that respect, X-23 will find company inside the suite - and an unexpectedly soft landing. Just as her feet swing towards the glass, a shadow passes behind the blinds… glass shatters, the blinds tear from their mounts in a tangled mess around the assassin's legs, and Laura's boots come to rest on the spine of a black mass of soaked canvas, now pinned underfoot.

Just as quickly, two pistols and a machete are brandished towards the pair. The table in the center of the room is toppled, a mess of playing cards, chairs, and spilled beer litter the ground, and shattered glass make a veritable minefield between the window and the kitchen. Bloodied bodies are already strewn across the floor, and one beneath the table, but more alarming are the trio still alive, as they open panicked fire indiscrimiately at Laura and the ninja underfoot.


The silhouette of the person moving in front of the window is seen, but, it's too late, X-23 has already committed to her move - as such …

… X finds herself through the window, with the blinds tangled about her legs, and a rather soft landing. Not that it seems to phase her, especially since the slim assassin assumes the person beneath her is just another bad guy. The blinds are neatly dealt with, as the dark-haired woman brings a set of claws down and then through them; flimsy plastic has nothing against adamantium claws. And within a blink of an eye X has brought her hand back upward and in front of her - just in time for those guns and machete to be pointed towards herself and the person beneath her. Most likely the Ninja (beneath her) will feel X-23 shifting her weight forward and then, when the gun fire erupts, the young woman is literally launching herself off of the downed figure and towards that table.

Her flight doesn't carry her completely to the table, instead, X-23 will tuck herself into a tight tumble, to get within arms-length of that table. It only takes a second for the assassin to pop up from her somersault and once she's up, she'll lash out with a set of claws at the trio's impromptu shield. She's aiming to drive her sharp claws through the table and into the nearest body being shielded by it. It won't be long for her other hand to join in this particular fight.

Of course, her antics weren't aimed to dodge the bullets that are being shot at them so ferociously, so, all in all, several bullets lodge themselves into Laura. Two in her torso and one in her leg and all of that simply elicits a small grunt of pain; but it doesn't stop her.


There's a grunt from the ninja behind her as well from being used as a springboard, and before they (correctly) assess X-23 as the bigger threat to their lives, a bullet rockets through the fabric of her shoulder with a wet splash. The ninja cringes and tightens her grip on the bloody dagger in her hand as she looks up at what ran over her, slitted orange eyes watching the new slaughter from behind. "Sumasshedshiy," she grumbles in Russian.

'Unprepared' is the easiest word to describe the remaining trio before the assassin. Unprepared and untrained for anything of her ferocity or powers, and though frantically struggling with their weapons, it can't be called a fight. If X-23 takes a moment to look around, she'll find a familiar collection of wounds on two of the dead already on the floor - slashed and stabbed rather than shot.

In a last bid for survival, the red-and-black jester points his trembling pistol at the assassin's chest while stumbling back before tripping on a puddle and landing hard on the wood floor. His weapon clicks empty and he stares up in wide-eyed mortal terror. "Wh—what the hell are you things!?"


Madman?

While that word is heard there's very little reaction from X-23 to it. Instead, she's fully focused upon the job at hand, which is to stop these would-be thugs from harming people.

Though what exactly they were firing at is still a mystery to the slim assassin.

… As for the Jester and his weapon pointed so squarely at her chest, X-23 will simply give him that dead-eyed look she's good at, even if inwardly she's bracing for the pain of another bullet wound. She doesn't fear death, or wounds, like others do, but that doesn't make them hurt any less.

And when the gun clicks, those dead green eyes will go from the gun to the man's face and with a faint curl of her lip, Laura will lash out with a booted foot. She's intending to knock the man out with a hard kick to his head - apparently, death isn't in the cards for this particular Jokerz. Lucky him.


*Crack!* The jester's head whips sideways and he slumps over, the gun falling limply from his hands. With the gunfight over, the room falls into eerie silence.

The sound of falling shards of glass announce the ninja by the window standing back up, as jagged flecks of debris fall from her gi. Some stay firmly embedded and give her shadowy outline a glistening edge where they've pierced her. A free hand reaches up to brush a few off. "<Crazy woman… come here just to kill them too,>" she grumbles to herself before switching languages. "You know… I killed them to stop witnesses, and now you're here."


The man is down. This is good. The almost musical crackling of falling glass is what now causes X-23 to turn around. Her unsheathed claws are once again brought to bear, as she brings them up, before her. The person within the dark gi is seen and the Russian she speaks is heard, and understood. "I am not crazy." She states, in a rather monotone voice, with very little in the way of emotional cues.

Her green eyes will flick from the head of the Ninja, to toe, and once she's finished with her visual inspected, Laura turns to smell. Her nostrils flare, as she takes in the other woman's scent and while it's not known, she does smell something familiar. Blood. And not just her own.

It's only when the Ninja speaks in English, that Laura's expression shifts ever so subtly. That voice, it's known, now it's just up to Laura's brain to catch up with to her ears. That race stalls, however, when Laura parses just what she said in English. A threat. Or so it sounds to Laura and with a step forward, the dark-haired assassin says with even less inflection then before, "You will not succeed in killing me."


Blood, rainwater, and the stench of spent gunpowder and beer pervade the room but there's no scent that stands out as foreign. Female sure, but then again there were other women alive just a few minutes ago. The ninja is practiced in blending in by more ways than just sight.

"Then we have a problem," she reasons plainly as she idly rolls the dagger between her fingers. "If you leave you will tell politsi, da?"


Those vivid green eyes of Laura's narrow slightly, as she considers the woman before her, and yes, she's certain she's a woman. Not just from the voice, but from the clues to her scent; males and females (and neuters) smell different.

The question about the police causes the slim assassin to cant her head slightly to the side. "No, I will not." She answers, her tone still holding that flat hard edge to it, and while she could leave it at that, she doesn't.

"Do not push. You will not win." And while her voice is still mostly unemotional, there is the faintest trace of surety within that tone (or lack thereof) of hers. Even though she hasn't really seen the Ninja fight, Laura, clearly feels she has the advantage here.

Her head tilts again, this time towards the window, as her sensitive ears pick up yet another faint sound from outside. And it's a familiar sound; wailing sirens.


The dagger in the ninja's hand slips between her pinky and ring finger as it's pinched there, out of the way, while the hooded figure unfastens her belt and begins to disrobe. "And you cannot stop me," she dead-pans in equal confidence as the jacket slips from her shoulders, exposing a skin-tight suit in oil-black that sheathes everything underneath, including the ninja's face. "You will try to stop me if I leave."


While others might say something to the Ninja's first words, Laura does not, instead, she just stays frozen as she is. Her claw-tipped hands before her, ready for a fight, should there be one.

The only thing that moves about her is the slight rise fall of her chest, and her eyes and head. Those eyes watch the Ninja disrobe and her head moves ever so slightly, as the sirens continue to move closer and closer. Within a few minutes even the Ninja should hear them, but for now, Laura stays quiet.

It's only with those last words, that Laura says, "I will not."


The ninja pauses and like a boxer before a canceled fight, slips her jacket back on and reties it. "Then why did you come here?" The dagger slips up the cat-eyed woman's sleeve and disappears before she crouches over the nearest body and rifles through its pockets. "<Do you speak Russian?>"


A simple question deserves a simple answer, "I heard the gunshots." Replies Laura, even as she continues to watch the other woman. Thankfully, when she seems to settle on not fighting, Laura will lower her arms. Those claws of hers will slowly retracted, as she sheathes them back within her forearms and hands.

It's that second question that allows Laura to answer again. "I do." And now, finally, the young woman will turn her attention to the window. "The police are coming. If you wish not to see them you should finish quickly." With that said, the slim assassin will step towards the broken-in-window, though she makes certain to keep the Ninja within her gaze, even if it's just side-eye.


A cat-eye quirks as X-23 hides her claws. Regardless of what her hands were doing, the ninja was paying attention. "<You're very strange… but better than Wolverine.>" Slipping what loose bills she finds into the breast of her gi, the ninja moves quickly from body to body, gathering valuables. She pauses for a moment and adds, "<If you want a little money for yourself, I won't tell.>"


'You're very strange', that's something she's used to hearing from just about everything, but that other name - Wolverine. That name pulls Laura back around. Her expression changes, probably enough for even the Ninja to see, as a frown begins to tug Laura's lips downward. "How do you know that name." She states, or rather asks, as there's the slightest uptick to her voice at the end of that sentence, denoting that this is a question, even if it doesn't really sound like one.

The mention of money is given a singular head shake of no; she has no need for money, not since she returned to the school.


The ninja pauses and smiles faintly beneath her mask as she keeps rummaging but turns her attention from the corpses to the room's cabinets. She may have come for more than just loose change. "<Your claws remind me… You're not his daughter are you?>" With the ninja's own flat delivery it's hard to tell if that's a joke.


The frown is added to, as Laura's eyebrows now begin to bend downward, together. A huge expression from the young woman and now, beneath that particular frowny-face of hers, is the faintest sense of familiarity?

Something about the way the woman talks is familiar, but that knowledge is elusive … for now.

"No." She states, voice even more robotic than normal. "I am not his daughter. I am his clone."

Laura doesn't necessarily know the meaning of lying, not when the truth is so apparent.


This time the ninja pauses and looks over. Her orange eyes walk the full length of Laura's body, as if seeing her for the first time, before returning to her search. "<You're improved.>"


Those dark eyebrows of Laura's cinch tightly together when the Ninja offers those approving words of hers.

She's never thought of it in that particular context and perhaps, with that one statement of Nerina's, Laura's world is now rocked.

Any shock, however, is quickly stifled behind that stoic mask of hers. Outside the police pull around the bend and the sirens are extremely loud for those with sensitive hearing; not to mention eyesight, as the strobing lights reflect into the room.

"We must hurry." States the dark-haired assassin again and with those words the other woman might hear that familiar *SNIKT*, as X-23 deploys her claws once again. Not to fight, to escape, as she buries them into the frame of the window and steps up to the window ledge. She's intending to swing herself back to the wall, but she's waiting …


"<They're early,>" the ninja gripes as she riffles quickly, now stuffing papers and other contents down her jacket without bothering to check their contents. That can come later. "<Are you going to climb away?>" She guesses as she straightens her gi and joins Laura by the window. Her footfalls are soft, too soft for sandals hardwood; she's padded them accordingly.


"I am." She responds with, even as her green eyes now turn towards the other woman. "To the roof." She adds, even as she leans partially out of the window to get a look down towards the ground and then upward, towards the rooftops. When she eases back inside, she'll turn to give the other woman an appraising look. "I can carry you up." It's an offer, even if it's still said in that nearly cold, mechanical voice of hers.%r


"<Perfect,>" the ninja concurs as she steps behind the assassin and climbs onto Laura's back without further preamble, wrapping her legs tightly around her waist. The wet fabric of her gi quickly sets to sharing its cold embrace. "<You should speak more Russian.>"


Cold clothing meets more cold clothing, as Laura's own clothes are quite drenched. It also doesn't help that the rain is still pelting everything outside; including Laura and the Ninja now, as the slim assassin swings the two of them outward.

Two more claws enter the fray, as Laura unsheathes the claws held within her feet, one per foot, but the extra purchase helps, as Laura literally scurries upward to the rooftop, heavy payload or no.

Once they're close enough to the edge of the roof, X-23 will pause, as she says, "You first, then I will follow." The comment about Russian is not acknowledged, for now, as she waits for the other woman to get herself up and onto the rooftop.


The ninja keeps a snug but not suffocating grip as she admires Laura's nimbleness from her back seat of sorts. It's not the first ride up a building she's had but it's a fun contrast from her norm - weather notwithstanding. Now that she's all but on top of the sharp-scented clone, the ninja's own scent rises with little competition … or at least it's supposed to. Wafting off her sleeves is nothing but the mingled smell of Jokerz blood, rainwater, and very faintly detergent and brine - likely from the docks not far away. Where there should be the smell of a young woman with all the unique accents that mark lifestyle, eating habits, and a million other facets… there's just ambient air.

Finding the request strange at first but complying, the ninja shifts around on Laura's back until her feet find a purchase against the stone facade and she crawls up and over the lip of the roof, using the green-eyed assassin's well-anchored body as a stepping stone in the process. Once over she tumbles out of sight, legs sprawled out in front of her, and looks back to see how X-23 plans to finish the summit.


The faintest of grunts can be heard from Laura, when the other woman makes her way up and over; ironically, Laura now playing the springboard here (along with the wall).

Once the Ninja is up and over and safe, the dark-haired assassin will glance once more downward towards the street, before she swings herself back and forth, obviously moving to gain momentum. With enough momentum achieved, the clone of Wolverine agilely swings her thin form up and over, before landing within a crouch.

Her gaze turns now towards the other woman. "Your scent. It is odd."

And then, just like that, the police cars screech to a stop in front of the building. There's two cars with two officers leaving each car; two men and two women. Their guns are already pulled and pointed downward, as they hot-foot it to the apartment complex. Laura, hears it all and continues with, "It is best if we leave. Next time do not go near a window. Windows and doors are the weakest points of your defense within a room. That is where all the trouble will likely come from. Always stay away from both, so that when they are broken down, you will be prepared for whatever comes through." This is likely the longest the Ninja has ever heard Laura speak and all of it is said in that same monotone voice, as Laura tries to install a lesson here.


"<A werewolf told me the same thing,>" the ninja grants casually, letting the assassin use the language she prefers while also doing the same. Her eyes flit down towards the sound of screeching police cars and she moves up into enough of a low crouch to slink away from the building's edge, finding token shelter in the shadow of an access stairwell. The hint of a grappling hook slides out her sleeve as the ninja weighs her options. Wait for now, then leave before things get too noisy. After the police come more police, ambulances, forensics…

"<I'll remember that. And next time look before you leap. With those blinds down you could have fallen into a trap instead of me.>"

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