Men Without Souls

March 09, 2017:

Taskmaster attempts to recruit Bane for Amanda Waller's 'special' team.



NPCs: None.

Mentions: Batman, Amanda Waller, Wonder Woman


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Work is labor, and labor is life. Without work, we are inside the devil's playground. These words, combined with the words of an old priest in soft candlelight, flow through Bane's head, as he quietly toils inside a professional gymnasium he's constructed merely for himself. Pena Dura was the devil's playground, but labor was how one escaped.

Inside a swath of forest, at a plantation only accessible via a tributary of the St. Lawrence River, there is a Rizzoto Family marijuana cultivation operation provided the cash crop that the Montreal Mafia used to finance all their operations throughout Canada and the United States, a cash crop that made them the wealthiest syndicate in the Western Hemisphere. Even at Pablo Escobar's peak, the Montreal Mafia made more than the kingdoms of crime throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. Simply because the addict was not completely destroyed ever so rapidly, and could instead purchase the French golden calf over the years of recreational addiction with basic labor, instead of cocaine, known to burn out addicts, or even inspire robbery or vigilantism.

A farmhouse off the main dirt road in through the side of the plantation house's Bane's safehouse, with an old red pickup truck parked outside, a road leading to the docks used by the ferry to bring the marijuana downstream to the port and then the road towards the township the Mob used. Bane is inside, his mask off, showing his short black hair and cleanshaven face. He is presently lifting himself up and down on a chin-up bar, with weights attached to his calves and ankles, tucking them upwards in a dual knee thrust as he moves up, before holding them down and bent behind him as he lets himself move down.

Canada is the last place Taskmaster expected to spend his day. Not exactly a location he would have anticipated his contact sending him to speak to someone of high value at least. Then again, thats also in part his own distaste for the country itself. Judgements colored by past encounters no doubt.

The mercenary was told to infiltrate a possible high security location, he didn't expect it to be a marijuana farm. It makes it easier to get in close, slip past any possible hotspots but not without head on a swivel and avoidance of possible security patrols. It will likely be a shoot on sight scenario. Especially when they see a man fully clad in urban assault gear with a stylized skull mask. No camo, dark navies and grays. He has gone full modern this time as opposed to the traditional 'supervillain chic' of underwear on the outside of pajamas in bright colors.
/ "Do not engage. Be respectful and exercise caution."/ Why would she tell him that? He is the Taskmaster. Not some rank amateur. He's fought the likes of the this worlds incarnation of the Justice League and the X-Men.

The house in sight Taskmaster peels himself away from cover of foliage and trees to waltz right up to the front door and actually knock. Fully aware his only coverage is a drone that hovers a around a klik away.

The operation, despite being what one would imagine to be a highly complex and deadly syndicate operation, is actually quite pastoral, although one must consider the gun nut culture of the backwoods forests of Canada when one pictures such a place. The quaint farm disappeared with the invention of the firearm.

Bane performs several more repetitions, letting the visitor wait, until he has performed the proper amount. He balefully lowers himself from the bar, extending his legs and resting with an exhale. With a faint layer of perspiration on his body, he slowly bends down to release his legs from the weights, right, then left, before he lets them ease to the ground with each curled hand.

Toweling himself off from the workout, the Latin man answers the door, looking down at Taskmaster with a neutral expression. He is slightly behind the open door, his right hand hidden. It was not the typical knock of a Canadian farmhand, so he is not surprised to see a visitor that was not announced. His eyes remain level, but he is assessing Taskmaster immediately for a threat. He tenses his neck very quietly, with a faint movement of the door outwards to indicate the door itself is a potential weapon. Merely a warning.

"Can I help you?" he asks in a low, harsh voice, the Spaniard in him pre-eminent, despite the culture of sophistication indicated in his mastery of English from the halts at the end of his consonants.

Taskmaster learned long ago never rely on outside 'intelligence' even if thats what his employer specializes in. He knows shes just a human despite the claims. As knuckles lift off the wood of the door the inward swing reveals a solid wall of muscle, "Hello neighbor. Would you believe me if I told you I forgot the fruitcake?"
There is no reaction to the subtle warning. Taskmaster is already assessing possible threat levels of this man coupled with any information. /Broke the Bat/ that seems to be a big thing. A shame, the mercenary has always wanted to do that himself but only ever encountered 'lesser' critters in Gotham or for other reasons never got the opportunity. He can see this man is likely capable of breaking just about anyone.
A barely audible *clickpop* sound comes from his mask, a communication feed opening up but nothing comes through. No voice, no anything. Likely someone is listening in. Why the noise though? A technical glitch maybe. Although without the silence between breaths and speaking it likely wouldn't be even remotely audible.

Bane looks straight through the skull mask, and out the other side of Taskmaster's head, without so much as a twitch, merely a subconscious shift of his face. "I have forgotten my sense of humor. Felis Navidad." He slowly steps backwards on his left leg, keeping the door to his right as he moves about to turn his back on Taskmaster. The circular surgical implant on the back of his neck, at the base of his skull, is visible, with a triple-pronged closure that is where his Venom tube feeds in, a metal ring about it for the tube to be inserted into, and locked in place. "Come inside," he says, his head looking to the side at Taskmaster, before he turns about and moves into the small farmhouse. Bane watches Taskmaster over his shoulder via a neatly placed mirror over a sink with shaving and dental supplies about it, opposite the door and to the door's left, deliberately to view anyone moving behind Bane upon entering.

Most of the farmhouse is devoted to spartan workout equipment. A chinup bar, a benchpress table, a leg lift, and a couple other small pieces of equipment. "Be sure to close the door. I live by a narrow budget, and heat is expensive in this clime."

"Don't worry, I have enough for both of us." Taskmaster assures. Dark eyes behind the lenses of his mask sweep the room in a reflexive once over before entering as casually as he can manage. It's not often the Taskmaster finds himself put in a scenario where he feels excited. Many people right now would be nervous, no, this energy is food for a man who bases his worth of the biggest fights he can have. Bane would very much be one of those and this coming from the man who strapped an explosive to Wonder Woman's backside.
"Nice atmosphere in here, could be a bit more Feng Shui, maybe work on lighting and air flow. A plant or two." The door is closed behind the man. "You prefer the small talk or should I cut to the chase? First appearances are everything and I don't want to come off as a complete clown here. We can save that for later."

"Feng Shui is for a man with a soul," Bane says, his voice growing soft in volume but still retaining a taut edge. "Even a devil has one." A faint bit of resolve is shown as he says this, looking at himself in the mirror and not the Taskmaster, before he turns to face him and sits on a metal chair cushioning, built for his size and bulk and muscle. He allows his left arm to rest on a table beside him, facing outwards, gesturing with his forefinger to the chair across from him at the table.

"Sit, and we will discuss your matter. Time is money, and it appears I have time for you."

"One of those, huh? I can work with that." He states. Taskmaster isn't a deep thinker himself nor has he ever considered himself philosophical, once upon a time that may have been different but a man who can hardly remember a week ago learns to live in the moment.
"Time for me. Thanks, not sure if I should be flattered or insulted by that." An exhale that distorts coming through the mask, the electronic distortion that his voice is normally afflicted with not there. It is turned off and has been for this encounter. Parking himself in the chair one combat boot stretches out in front of him, the pommel of a knife visible just below the cuff where it tucks in to the leather.
"Mr. Bane, this isn't exactly my matter for starters but I appreciate your very valuable… time. I'm here for an interested party, obviously. You seem like a smart guy for a farmer and no doubt figured that out." Taskmaster is still studying Bane, every single twitch and movement has the mercenary following it. Its playing out in his head just exactly how this giant man possibly moves, is it worth it? Broke the Bat. So tempting.
Discipline a cultured thing is very much exercised, beyond the grinning mask he himself is grinning a tight pull of his own. "How familiar are you with Amanda Waller?" Name drop. A big one. Maybe that will shatter some of the ice here.

Bane listens quietly, not looking at Taskmaster's mask, not playing into Taskmaster's game. He merely watches the boot as it is extended, his body a relaxed, immaculately chiseled and conditioned flesh golem, trained in combat and strength and manuever since childhood. A chessplayer, as well, not merely a simple thug, from the way his physique interacts within itself.

At the name 'Amanda Waller', Bane's left hand slowly moves into a clench as his back tightens, jaw clenching and showing his facial muscles contracting to show themselves. He looks up at Taskmaster, with serpentine certain slowness and insectile fluid perfection of timing, now staring at Taskmaster with reserved hatred. "I have heard it. Have I been called upon to suffer once more?"

Bane merely watches Taskmaster, now, his heart clearly beating harder, but not faster.

Granite. Not muscle the man before him is likely about as solid as punching stone. The thought of it makes Taskmaster's knuckles ache just a little in reflex, psychological of course but the idea is there. The temptation doesn't leave him though. His amusement rises and that energy in the room just seems to grow more tangible at the word suffer.
"Suffer? Hell no, friend. This is an opportunity. You're a man with a considerable reputation and you've decided to do what? Play ranchhand for a bunch of lowlifes? Thats beneath you. Waller wants guys like you to clean up. You've seen the world's state of chaos right? Twenty years ago it was mutants. Five years ago it turns out Superman is an alien and now, now we have what the hell are they, evolved humans coming out of cocoons from green smog? Pollution? Shit I don't even know anymore. This is an opportunity, Bane. Amanda Waller wants us to be the most well paid janitors of all time. If pay is what you're in to, I am sure we can always get her to buy you a new boflex or something." A flicked wave at the very utilitarian set up.

Bane watches Taskmaster with a look that the passionately bereaved understand, a term that cannot be translated into English that the Brazilians call 'saudade'. He slowly looks away, his ire fading into mere resignation as he looks to his left hand, tilting the palm towards him and opening it, looking at his opening and closing fingers, all in a tight row. "Janitors." He looks disgusted, as if he's a child that's just been accused of something the dog did. "People like Amanda Waller created me, you know. They are why I have never known the life that her masters have known every day. And now I am called to…" He looks back at Taskmaster, flattening his hand out on the table. "Defend them?"

There's a heavy exhale. "You can give me one thing I want. And I want money. Merely regard the money as a dignity. I want a genetic test to locate my father. He was taken from me by the CIA. I can no longer meet him as a son should, because of the CIA, but I want to speak to him. I must understand." He slowly rises, looming over Taskmaster in threat. It is a threat of control, but without an open need for power.

"You should have a drink with me."

That bone-grin of Taskmaster grows as Bane's shadow falls over him. The looming giant gets an uptilt of the chin and the man still seated releases a chuckle, "I don't look at it as defending them. They're appeasing me with the things I enjoy, which, is a small list. I like to fight and I like money. I get both of these things. They expedite it. It is convenience. But then, maybe I am not the same kind of man as you." A pause. "A drink? Yeah, we can do that."

Straightening up Taskmaster's gear clinks together, weapons bounce in webgear and the man stands, appearing diminutive near Bane but not feeling it. No, perhaps there will be camaraderie and if not, it will be a great challenge or perhaps both some day.
"One sec." Taskmaster says quietly then depresses his fingertip up to the jaw of his mask. "You caught all that?" Silence. "Good. We're sold then. I am turning this off."
His gloved hand falls away and a look is given to Bane, "Okay big guy, it looks like you're green lit." Another of those chuckles, "Not quite like you are here but I think you get me. Lets go get that drink and maybe I can weasel your big story out of you. I've always been interested in beating the shit out of the Bat and just never had the chance."

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