Branching Out

May 24, 2017:

Poison Ivy and Taskmaster use some downtime to get in to one anothers heads.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The Gotham Arms Apartments not a posh or wealth required location in the least. It is actually quite affordable for Gotham's middle and some lower class. It makes for a good slum for the likes of the Suicide Squad when they are in Gotham, a sort of off the books nesting zone.
As much as Waller dislikes them interacting outside of missions or away from Belle Reve she doesn't have the Suicide Squad on full lockdown and the only ones who get explosive implants are the ones who have 'earned' them. Taskmaster has not. Not yet at least. Certain assets require more than just a threat of death to control and that woman, who Taskmaster affectionately calls Satan is aware of this. Very aware.

The barren apartment that Taskmaster has taken over by paying up an entire six months runs connected to Regan's own, the entire floor six and all six rooms within are now occupied by the Suicide Squad. Spartan accomodations for now but they make due.

The skullmasked mercenary is in the gym he has set up, hanging bags, racks with barbells, fighting posts and a small collection of weapons are laid out. He is muttering under his breath currently while assembling a standing fighting dummie.

Poison Ivy still isn't used to the 'group' idea and she has her own sort of 'home' for when in Gotham. Not the least of which being a park or two. But that doesn't mean she can just ignore the hold that Waller has right now either. And she's still getting to learn all the players.
That's why Ivy has come by to see who is up to what and get a better read on these people. It's the sounds of metal weights and muffled curses that draws her ears, the green woman following them until she finds the room she thinks has it, knocking on the door. Hey she's a murderess, doesn't mean she has NO manners.
The door apparently only partially shut opens inward to reveal the training area. Taskmaster likes to keep himself busy and this is one way of doing so by setting this up, "Its open." He says, straightening up. A black tanktop, black cargo pants and combat boots makes up his attire and of course that ever present skull, if it wasn't for the ability to see his eyes behind it or that it has no movable parts one would think it was his face.

Striding over to toss the door open the rest of the way he stares, "Red, get bored of the girl pile or just not in to shoes as much as the rest of them? " Teasing clearly. He is still working on adjusting in to this entire… ordeal. A team is usually just a group of people to betray or be stabbed in the back by eventually. Hes aware of this.

Poison Ivy enters and pushes the door mostly closed behind her. She takes a moment to look over the combat ready garbed man and what he is up to. She looks down at her barefeet and wiggles green toes. "I tend to like the feel of Mother Nature under my feet, but that doesn't stop me from owning some Jimmy Choos of my own." SMiling at the expresionless face. "But I thought I stop spending so much time with my plants and see about getting a better read on everyone else here. I don't have files as it were. Need a hand?"
Taskmaster is motionless as she speaks, "Yeah. Help all you like, if you want to put the rest of the weights on racks… which I am running low on." A bunch of his shoulders in a shrug, he steps aside to give her entry, "It will be easier to train Doctor Moone and Princess Peach in here and since we're all being brilliantly stationary for Waller to keep tabs on or our enemies, why not right?" Sarcasm dry and delivery. He does spy a glance at her bare toes, "You walk Gotham barefoot? You might just be the bravest woman I have ever met."
Poison Ivy admit, "Sometimes I wear slippers or so." Addressing the comment of bravery, but it does make her smile. "I can help with that. Normally I get others to do it, but you seem a more 'hands on' type." She will of course start with the lightest weights to start staking them on the top of the posts and go down from there. "I take it you don't like being so exposed as in an apartment building. Not enough Claymores or so?" She honestly doesn't seem to remember or know that much about Taskmaster himself.

"I don't like exposure unless it's something I engineer. No." Taskmaster states, "Very hands on. Yeah, that /is/ kind of my thing." He could be grinning at her but that mask is affixed, it's always showing its teeth. A death smile.

"So, what sort of leverage does Satan have on you?" By Satan she will learn he means Amanda Waller, even Regan has taken to calling her the same.
As she moves Taskmaster watches her, enjoying the view but also this is his way of mapping a person out, learning their body actions and absorbing any possible physical skills they may have.
Poison Ivy is hesitant to talk about that but says, "Well besides showing me a stock pile of napalm enough to burn half the amazon, clearly she thought she needed more, she is targeting something that few know about. Still have no clue how she found them, but they'll die if I don't play along." Yeah should maybe vague that up more if she tried really hard, but she doesn't want everyone knowing she can be soft on kids. She is keeping it basic, lift with your legs and all, but a body builder Ivy is not. Even if she handles more then she looks like she might. Her physical skills are more to body language or moving through the forest. "What about you? What has brought you to 'Task' if you will."

"Money. I have a history with Waller and Deathstroke but mostly money." Taskmaster says, now setting the practice dummy upright. "The Squad has it's perks as well, it's like a get out of jail free card for us sometimes, you get caught, you do a job, you get to go free as long as you never talk about it to anyone who doesn't know about it. Fight Club. We are Satan's Project Mayhem." Pleased with the set up so far he starts to help with the final weighs, "Out of rack space, can you uh… " He motions at the hole spotted wall board and waggles his fingers like hes casting a spell.

"So she went the bitch route on you huh? Napalm a chunk of the Amazon is all it takes to earn a favor and servitude? I'll have to remember that." He says this with low laughter, hard to tell if he is joking or not. Taskmaster is known to have a sense of humor after all. To an extent.

Poison Ivy admits, "And here I figured a man as yourself would do better then most in jail. Least thy don't have a 'special place' for you." She can't help but sneer and think of some of the 'accomedations' she's had in the past. She looks to what he metions needing more space, "You're asking me about a bigger rack?" Laughign at accidental joke. She will see if there is much she can do with what is there, but may have to improvice to help give the space for more weights. Letting thick vines grow from the wall as they cling and end with hooks that should bare the weight with no problem. "Will that serve, and can I trust you to at least water them now and again?" She gets a harder look in her eyes then. "The Amazon I could fix. With some effort and creativity. I at least made her go to plan B and she seemed less then pleased to have to get her throns into me on the first go."

"Oh we all have our cells there. They even have our names on them and number designations. Satan likes to play the psychological game. It keeps us all on our toes and makes sure we always know what she thinks of us. I passed yours last time I was there." Taskmaster actually has to share a laugh after a blink, "No I… I think your rack is just perfect from what I can see, you know what the hell I meant."
Taskmaster marvels a bit as the vines grow out and harden in to those hooks, Suicide Squad floor Six is likely going to look part military, My Little Pony meets Barbie, blood Circus and overgrown rain forest. It will be interesting he wonders how long until the Batpack finds them here in Gotham. Taskmaster actually looks forward to that.

"That will work nicely."
"She is never pleased but you're one of us now. Possibly always have been, that shit yesterday, we could have killed her but it wasn't the time nor the place. Too many eyes. The Department would have us all slaughtered."

"So she has a cell just for little ol' me? I wonder how careful they were in making it." She is tempted to find out. But not that tempted to actually get caught. The redheade walks up to him and smiles as he compliments her. "Aww… that's sweet." And if he lets her, she'll give a peck on the cheek of his mass. Since she is 90% sure that isn't really him, and leave a bit of lipstick on it. "Too many eyes, too many variables. I won't risk a missed shot. One thing that comes from being tied to plants, is that I'm patient. I can bid my time, get my roots deep and savor the joy of choking the life from her. Besides mister melodrama was just bothersome. But it did let me meet this witch. Impressive woman."

"Satan is no slouch, she studies us and makes sure she is thorough. Even before she was this big bad ass she is now she was an intelligent and cunning shit." Taskmaster says quietly, some measure of respect mingled with hatred in his words.
"Me complimenting you having nice tits is sweet? Thats a first. I'll take it." The mercenary jokes as a lipstick mark is added to his skull's bone white texture. He is getting used to the graffiti like splattering of lipstick he wears anymore, #meangirlssquad is colorful if anything.

"Agreed. When she goes down for good it needs to be done with finesse, planning and ruthless execution."
"You think that thing is an impressive woman? She strikes me as a force of hell or something equally fucked up. I wouldn't trust her. The Doc? Yeah, shes okay, she doesn't belong around us. Shes going to end up hurt and the others sense this, they protect her but the Enchantress? No. That thing is vile as all of us, if not more."
Poison Ivy walks over and sits down on a bench to cross her legs. "It's sweet because you didn't mean it as a crass typical man, and it was done lightheartedly." She smiles at the skullface with the lipstick liking the addition. "Remember I'm used to dealing with older and more powerful things then I am myself. Once you touch a 4000 year old tree you think you've seen a lot. But I get the feeling she is older, tapped into some serious mojo. Long as she is on our side it isn't so bad. Besides it sounds like she's bottled up in Dr. Moone and she is the opposite of scare. A casual scratch from the wrong thorn and goodbye to both." She considers, "Should maybe I offer to help grow something to have our doctor wear for protection and our own safety?"

A thoughtful sound from Taskmaster before he nods, "I suppose. As long as she is on our side we all have an assured life expectancy of at least another day, but you're correct, the Doc is not a serious concern and I'll be the first one to pull the plug on her if she can't keep the Enchantress in check. I'm not about to screw around with older than 4000 year old tree witches. I've seen enough bad TV to know how that goes down."
He is studying her again, watching the way she moves, "I like the way you think. Prepared. I can see why Harley thinks so highly of you… you're a stone fox with a functional mind."
Poison Ivy arches a brow and tilts her head, "Harl talks about me to you all? That's interesting," and good to know. "It's hard to tell with your eyes hidden but I get the feeling you are watching me like a tiger. Worried I'm going to scratch you or pounce? You are a very cafeful man, but while on the same team, I think you can relax a little around me." She figures they both said their piece on June, besides she's still trying to get a read on this guy here. "Am I special or do all the girls get such flatery?"

"She does. Highly I suppose and when have you ever gotten her not to talk?" Taskmaster counters, "I watch, I analyze, I learn and you put on a good show. I am relaxed as I can be for the moment considering Satan just got attacked by Rose's boyfriend who turns out to be a crazed overpowered mutant. Who knew." Taskmaster walks closer to ivy, at least where she is sitting on the wallbench and drops to a casual crouch before her. A seated position more or less.
"Have I been flattering? I haven't noticed and you being special? You would have to tell me beyond all the plant stuff. I think for the most part I treat all the girls on an even level of criticism and harassment. Which, I think is plenty friendly. I'm still figuring you out, beyond the obvious fun package you're rolled in whats in that mind? You're not an easy read."

Poison Ivy can't resist as she teases the guy, "Oh my own plant version of a ball gag works rather well to muffle her sweet voice. But I like listening to Harl, most times." As far as Rose's boytoy, "Not I. But it didn't seem like he was blocking the pollen I was subtly putting out. If I needed too, I could have dialed it up." As they get closer to eye to eye she tries to peer past his mask. "You're complimenting me again, a woman should be always at least some mysterious to others. I try to not wear my leaves all out in the open." She considers, "If you have question you can always ask. You aren't the first guy who got curious and won't be the last. But I'm in a good mood. I'm enjoying being around people more then I expected to. It's been… intersting."
"A ball gag. Hah." Taskmaster's mind wanders only briefly. "Next time don't hold back, that stupid punk is likely going to be on our hitlist and you would have saved us some leg work if you did kick it up a notch. I can kick just about anythings ass but I have to be able to touch it, flying above Hub City on an oversized hockey puck isn't exactly my forte." Or likely any of theirs.

"So, now you're branching out?" A bad pun to go with her own, he couldn't resist. "You probably just didn't get to meet the right people, the SKAWD or mean or whatever girls they're calling themselves are an interesting bunch. They've even warmed to me. The rest of Task Force X… " The official name of the team, " they are a bit more detached. Not so in to the team clique thats forming here." A wave around towards the apartment floor. "Which in part, I don't blame them. The other side of me wants to join them in being aloof, away, but then… " A headcant to make it look like the skull is grinning wider, " The fun I would miss out on would be regrettable."

Poison Ivy will either take or leave Taskmaster's advice about the mutant. She is not so sure when or how the'll meet again. "Not to mention the enjoyable eye candy and entertaining nights, such as seeing June get her first tattoo and drunk on." She reaches out to tap a nail on the teeth of that grinning skull. "I'm sure I'll meet the others in good time. I rather get to the root of the gruop first anyway. I can worry about the prunnings later. So why the skull? Is there a story or just to scare the weak and tame?"

"Your play on words… " Taskmaster has to relent on any more puns especially when hes referred to as a root. The tap on the skull says makes a click, it's a hard substance, composite plastics and kevlar. Amazingly protective from conventional threats.
"This?" A hand reaches up, rubbing over the spot she just tapped. "I have forgotten by now to be honest, I could make up a story each time and one of them will eventually be true. " An intake, the scent beyond Ivy reached for, a memory pull, gunpowder; cacalotoxtil or rose laurels, Michael Jackson's Blood on the Dance Floor… "Santa Meurtre, the Lady of Shadows. She insipired me… I was lost, forgotten and forgot everything and found one symbol, one image I could cling to." He flicks the chinpiece of his mask, "Her. My Lady Death. It reminds me of who I am, the Taskmaster."
Poison Ivy nods her head as she listens, "I can respect that, and the fact of a man who's been through a crucible." She's tempted to use her tricks and find out if it has a filter, or to get him to take it off. But rather then go sly she does something rare for her. "So will you take it off so I can see your face? I got the impression you read my file and may know more about me then most do." She narrows her eyes, "How much did Waller's file say I weigh?"

"No. It stays on." Taskmaster states firmly, "Not even Harley has seen my face and I've known her longer than any of these ladies." Some exception for Rose he imagines, though, hes only known Rose through her father Slade. Who is a long time friend and competitor for jobs with Taskmaster.

"Besides, we work in bargains here. You give, I give. " A pause. "50 kg." A quick answer, apparently he has read her file recently, "Though looking at you now, curve to flesh and muscle tone ratio I imagine they're wrong." Yeah, Taskmaster is good at 'at a glance' sizing people up. Its one of those quirks of his metahuman powers.
Poison Ivy is amused he offered her a number about her weight. "Like all women it varries some, my weight. Epecially if I feel the need to 'bark up' as it were." Rather then flex she jut has the vines holding the weights 'lift' and 'pump' their load up once before settling back down. "I figured it didn't hurt to ask o see your face. What could you want to know about me." Her bare foot bounces slowly as she sits on thte work bench and talks to the crouching soldier. "i'd love to know what you are curious about."

"It's just a face. Just not a face I want anyone knowing when I want to disappear." Taskmaster half-explains then moves from his crouch to seat himself on the bench beside her actually letting his shoulders rest in to the wall a sort of slump.

"How did you end up in Satan's crosshairs if you're just a friendly plant lady? Which I am guessing is like some sort of cat lady only substitute for plants. You a weapon or are you crooked?" He inquires, "Learning beyond the body is the tricky part. Thats where a portion of my curiosity lies."

Poison Ivy watches him as he moves and nods once about his answer, anonymity can be a very useful tool. She's used it from time to time herself. "Well I've hardly been a 'good girl' by the world's standards. But I left humanity's rules behind long ago. I'm guessing I was bad enough or gifted enough that Waller figured I'd be of used. Sometimes you need a subtle touch, others you need a vine to tear down a skyscraper. Also I woldn't put it past that woman to try and use me as a control for Harley or something. Not that I can make Harl do anything she isn't already going to do anyway."

"Harley is deluded and half the time she actually believes Satan's stories about redemption. This Squad is nothing but an expendable controlled group of personal killers, we are used by Waller to end troubles for her and her country." Not that isn't his country or one he didnt serve in the past, his loyalties have just shrunken down to self over the past x amount of years. Taskmaster is about Taskmaster the next thrills and the next pay. His accent /is/ American from where, not determined. "Humanity's rules. Hah. So you're not human then? An alien? Those files are only so believable."
Poison Ivy laughs, "aren't you just a sunflower of optimism?" She motions to herself and says, "I was born human, sure the files told you that." Many know who she once was, to a point. Just no idea how she became the woman she is today. "And I am still human… parts of me. What about you? What gives you the edge to be a Task Force X hired gun over all the others out there in the world? And not just your fashionable helmet I am guessing."

Taskmaster chuckles, "A sunflower. A first for me. You're human? Yet you prefer to declare humans as something separate. Hrm."
"I am a human and I can just do anything anyone else can do better. Like those old commercials." An exaggeration, he perfectly matches them it is not better. Not that she will know this but he does. Hes just a bit of a braggart in that regards. "Its also just life for me. This is all I know and normally I'd be winging it on my own but this is a good deal, despite some of the setbacks… like dealing with Satan, this has other major perks."

Poison Ivy asks, "So if I were to go pole dancing and challenge you to a 'tip off' you think you would out earn me?" Unable to resist just a bit of fun aimed at Taskmaster's boasting. "Perks like meeting talented people to pick tricks up off of. Maybe even a few contacts to call in a pinch when you are moonlighting. YOu strike me as a former Boyscout, 'Be Prepared.'" Ivy looks over the workout room and says, "I am separate from humans. I don't expect you to understand. Very few do and none worth a damn."

"I would. I guess that depends on our audience but yeah, you pole dance and I'll beat you at it." Taskmaster considers but hes never done that before and likely she would just see her own moves thrown right back at her. It would be hilarious. "You go first if thats a challenge though." A clickclick sound from inside the mask, maybe it was his tongue and teeth. "Boyscout? Me? Never. Yes, this is very much outsourcing, I am making allies, making enemies, learning new tricks of the trade, getting some credit built up with the US of A. And despite how horrible Satan is, shes a good one to have at your back or in your pocket. She has pull. Lots of it." If she only knew that once upon a time he was a boyscout, a model SHIELD Agent and soldier. He doesn't even remember that though. "So, human but not, you 'evolved' huh? Find some religion?"
Poison Ivy laughs and says, "We may have to do that. Have a dance off, after we hit an armored car or something. See which of us gets the most c-notes." Not that Ivy is Catwoman, there's a woman that knows how to move on a pole. "Not exactly but I did die," fibbing just a bit. "Woke up reborn as you may say," making a flower form in her hands to smell it as it grows from the vines of her body. "Now I am never alone and have all sorts of fun. Who all is on the team besides the girls and you that I've met?"

"I am bias but I think I would prefer to see you win that dance off. Not that you would." Taskmaster teases, the thought of them hitting an armored car makes him grunt, "Amateur hour, gorgeous. I don't care for petty unless I'm in need of a distraction… this is why Gotham crooks are dumb." More taunting. "Reborn? You found God, the Goddess or whatever you believe in a flower?"

"Beyond what you have seen? Deathstroke the Terminator, the Man who broke the Bat; Bane, briefly Joker but hes vanished. A couple other dead people… " He thinks, "A handful more I am not remembering. It's rotational, they come and go. The meangirls and I have become the core… flowers and a stem? I don't know what you would call it. I don't speak plant."
Poison Ivy arches a brow at being called a dumb crook since she is a Gothamite, but no words are said. Just more of her enigmatic half smile. "Well what else do you call it when you die but come back to life, other then Reborn. Religion doesn't really factor in. I lost a fair bit of my humanity and upgraded to that of something more long lasting," nodding to the flower still in her hand. "And I believe you want to say the 'Trunk' of the group. That which supports all else and the group cannot live without. Must feel good to be indescpencible. Or at least less so. So other then your talent to best others, a human man lives under that smiling skull and armor?"

She doesn't bait in to his taunts and he only finds equal amusement in that, Taskmasters hand lifts up and he flicks a knife across the room. It buries itself in the face of the practice dummy. It *twangs* and bounces while in it's stuck position not falling free.
"I am not that person. The one who holds this group together is Amanda Waller followed by Agent Danvers. I am just the guy trying to stay alive through it and perform with some tease of professionalism, also, admittedly I have fun around these women. It's a lot less boring than hanging out with Bane or Slade." The other /men/ of the Squad, "Perks."
"So are you part flower or part tree?"
Poison Ivy watches the knife fly over and will get up to cross and look at it, studying how deep it sunk into the target before pulling it free. "I imagine the company is better then most 'groups' of hired guns. Certainly more entertaining and varried." She tests the edge of the knife carefully. "Both. I'm part plant and that means all plants forms. I don't discriminate like that." She looks over at him with a smile and then asks a possibly odd question. "Since survival is important to you, and I'm probably the best medical type doctor you could hope to find. Are you willing to donnate a bit of blood to me? I like to be sure I won't accidentally trigger an anaphylactic shock reaction."

"More order to it. They all have something to fear and lose." Taskmaster says, the knife is very sharp. Oiled, well kept and maintained. Even after the deep thunk in to the dummy. "It keeps things feeling more real." It does, he will have to admit that much. "Why would you need my blood? I think they keep that for us in Belle Reve… Accidentally trigger… hrm." Suspicion again! Taskmaster relents a bit though, "Okay but rules, gorgeous. You give me something I give you something. It's how we operate; fair trade."

Poison Ivy tips her head and is intrigued, "So other then your knife back." Flipping it carefully to hold it by the blade and offer the hilt to him. "What do you want from me? As for why I want it, I'm a scientist and always looking to expland what I know."

"Admittedly, right now? I have nothing to demand anything you could offer me right now would lack any substance." Taskmaster muses, "You can owe me later, I'm more than okay with having something to collect from you when the time is right." He straightens up now and proceeds to s stretch. Hands going behind his skull to interlock fingers as he twists at the torso, a muscle popping sound faintly audible, "The knife you can keep, a gift. No strings. I have plenty more where that came from."

Poison Ivy takes the knife back into her hand and nods her head. "Fine then. We'll get the blood drawn later. But for now I think it's time I tend to some things. Let me know how the workouts go. I'm eager to hear about them."

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