Whiskey Sour

February 10, 2018:

Backdated scene. Mercenaries meet and form bonds. (NSFW language and violence)

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

3 Years Ago… an uncharted island near Africa…

Taskmaster's white cloak stands out surrounded by members of the Serpent Society, Black Cell and AIM /beekeepers/, there are others here, maybe a few Reavers, they have the mechanical parts, cyborgs, cybernetic enthusiasts, strangely most of them Australian and big fans of Mad Max. Taskmaster doesn't get it. He generally doesn't associate with them either.

"What a wretched crew you all are." A voice booms forth, a figure walking, striding forward rests forward on it's knuckles, a gorilla… body? No, it has a human head on a gorilla body. A cruel face with sneering lips, bushy eyebrows and a balding head.
"Welcome to AIM Facility Pasteur. All of you have been invited here because you're some of the best money can buy."

"I think he meant monkey can buy." Taskmaster whispers.
There is a chorus of laughter from around them, then shuffling, clearing of throats and they all stare at Gorilla Man. "I am Doctor Arthur Nagan. Your employer, you are all going to engage in a friendly competition that will pay very well, I assume you read the memo?"

"THIS… descipcable wretch is the Destructor. A thief and he is hiding out on this island, the opposite side in a bunker called Faraday 3. Its nearly impregnable. I want him taken out and the suit he stole from me returned, quite simply really." The man folds his arms behind his back and rises higher up, getting even taller.

*

Among the Reavers, Ballistic is almost easily missed as she watched Cy-Zan come forth and speak intelligible despite dragging his knuckles and thn rising.

Ballistic got the memo, it is why she is here, seeking a 'logic' after she has recently broken free of the control on her brain box/Cyberdata. It's no wonder she is sipping from a flask every time other Reaver's hands rise flashing their own cybernetic impants to glisten where her flask would. Just. In. Time.

The riple of laughter Taskmaster causes only bears a feral grin from the uplift of one corner of Ballistic's lips, teeth flashing from incisor to canines as a cigarette replaces the flask and hangs there limp..

"Impregnable if sought to even have babies with you fucked up individuals…" Ballistic murmurs as she turns on booted heel of deep vilet, straps and buckles of violet ride to mid thigh where sinewed appendages are coated in a black painting of shining attire that is her body suit, interrupted by matching straps of pockets, pouches, and carriage foir wat is hidden beneath the fall of a simple leather trench coat.

Cig is lit and she is turning away in a plume of smoke to get her start, she read enough to go in..

.. On Fire.

*

"There is no smoking in here." The 'Gorilla-Man' says pointing a finger at Ballistic then waving it over towards a man in a full body snakeskin suit, browns and greens. "You miscreants do not read signs? Respect the magnificent oxygen of this abode, artificial enhanced the best you'll ever inhale." Believe it or not there is a no smoking, no food or drink sign on the wall by the exits and entrances.

"Yes, whatever, begone. Drones will follow you to track progress, remember, this is rewarded by who completes the task. AIM wants a good showing because we want only the best! Also I am dreadfully bored."

Turning around and walking the opposite way the man releases a, "Bah! No one appreciates my brilliance."

Taskmaster huffs, "Kong mad. Now Kong sad. God, why do I work with these kinda fuc… " He is likewise turning, rushing out through the opening double doors, they'll find themselves in a sudden safezone, high fences, gates, AIM 'beekeepers' situated on outposts and an open jungle, there are locals here, on this secluded island. Unfortunate ones who have been subjected to the testing of AIM mad science, they're unlikely to be welcoming. There is no brochures detailing this.

…27 minutes later…

"HELP ME!" A voice yells, "HELP PLEASE!" There it is again, through the jungle thrush, over a small rise and past a bushy tangle of thorny vines, a suspended man in a wire net. His fingers and face bleeding, one eye half closed. What is left of a mechanical leg on the ground, charr marks around it. It was blasted off, the smell is still in the air. An arm is also gone. A Reaver likely. The weapon the man had a rifle, advanced tech, bulky with a foreward mount thats large, bulbous and churning with energy fluid. A plasma caster. Expensive and just left there…

*

Ballistic was long gone - a flick of ash over his sign, as well as the acrid smell of whiskey. At least she abided by the 'food' part.

Outside the foliage is onyl shattered in its perfect placement by silenced pathways of bullets that impact and then splinter. 'Cop Killers' back in the day, until they were evolved and left the splintered limb of the body like slag. Beneath a bott-print is a smashed cigarette butt.

In it to Win It.

Ballistic hears the cries of the baby-goat-reaver and her path is nearby, her cover only feet away as the silenced rifle is aimed upon the bleating Reaver, the one eye Flaring! Red as her finger presses upon the trigger….

Ballistic wants him to shut the fuck up, and his disarticulated weapon!

*

There is a swaying creak, metal on wood. Somewhere in that canopy of leafy greens above the cable holding that net is grinding. The only noise right now and the Reaver is swallowing, staring directly at Ballistic's one eye, "G'day."

"Mind helping a mate down? Fell in to a bit of a problem, that skully bloke be coming back to finish me off once he is done with the aborigines. Rather be down there with one of my own, you catch?"

There is a sound, a crackle noise of someone or something coming through the woods, "Oh for fucks sake. Come on, let me down?"

"Thats competition." A voice pipes in, Taskmaster is striding forward, a bow in hand, no arrows knocked. "You're no Reaver. You're solo like me."

"Fuck she ain't a Reaver, look at that hardware. Don't listen to him, me an' the boys got this gig locked down, you're one of us, yeah?"

"Morons can't tell eachother apart." The skull faced mercenary chuckles low. "That is rich."

*

Ballistic remains with her sites, set, a draw of tonge from corner of lips to center, only to stop as she hears a shift…

The bleating plea of the Reaver is only a thing that has her smiling lightly, it is a glean of canines, the ridge of a sneer despite the drop of tongue between and the reflection in her 'human' eye, despite how he is already painted red in the one he seeks empathy from.

"Ya both are competition.." Stated lowly as lips seal and the rifle whines a whispered cry of trigger'd desire towards the Reaver, but once it is aimed and expelled the rifle is lifted and a separte 'trigger' compresses it to rest along her spine while a broken and jagged stump is hopised by Cybernetic arm, seking to aim splintered trunk at Taskmaster.

"It's easy when you enter with no allies."

*

"For now it is easy." Taskmaster corrects the woman. "We get further in to the island we're going to see the science freaks cast offs, the Reavers won't last. They're already two down."

"TWO?, hey, you fuck, if you hurt one of my mates." The man shakes the net with his good 'human' hand, "I'll… I'll… "

"You'll bleed on me?"

KKRZATT

The net pops a hole through the center, there is no longer a man inside of it but a hole, a splatter mark and some char.

"That was… hot." Taskmaster says with puni intended as the stump is aimed and thrown, he evades, twists around and has an arrow notched but she is gone. Rushing through the trees. He sucks in his teeth behind the mask, a low chuckle escaping him.

"Definitely not a Reaver." A confirmation.

An hour and twenty two minutes….

Ballistic is cornered, a man in snake skin has been hunting her, leaping through the trees like some brachiating simian, shes shot one of his companions, melted another Reaver and has had to face off a crocodile that had robot legs, it actually even ticked. Someone had a sense of humor. This entire island is one sick sense of humor. It is getting darker now, shes held her own and they're slowing in pursuit but she knows they're out there, trailing after her, one of them boasting he has her scent.

Theres a noise, a 'gurk' and shuffling, fighting in the trees? Yeah, high above in the mutated giant ones, the white cape stands out, the others are shadows. Taskmaster again… fighting her pursuers.

*

Ballistic may be out of charges, bullets…

But nothing she does says as much while she picks off/at her pursuants in the shadows. The sun is setting and the canopy of above is providing plenty of shadows, makingher aim go from motion to infrared detection. She will kill the eco-system if she has to, to make her way!

No, not a Reaver, not a 'typical' mercenary up-and-coming. New blood, but blood that knows this life by every pulse. And possibly is repulsed by it.

From fragments,to burnings, to slices and stabbings, to beatings…

Eventually Ballistic is upright only by the press of her forehead against a massive trunk, the massive blade clutched in her cybernetic arm dripping of blood from serrated edge while every breath casts pinkened blonde from her face, but the reflective surface of her eyes captures that man again… from **One Hour and twenty-six seconds Ago."

"You won't win…" Stated between clenched teeth as Ballistic pushes upright and pivots back ito the fight against her pursuants with Taskmaster.

*

Taskmaster is sword locked with a tail, his other hand out and barred against a tree with a shield on it, wrapped there like a buckler. As Ballistic returns to the fray a woman descends from above, higher upon the massive tree, clung to it like some gekko she was, waiting for a chance to strike on the white cloaked mercenary, a lash out, a forked tongue razored along the edges licks the air around the SHOC sniper, lashes at it with intent to open up the gunslingers face.

"I always win, dollface." Taskmaster assures Cassandra smugly, despite a struggle grunt from him as he tries to free his shield, held there by a elongated arm, wrapped around it is another of those Serpent-men.

"The Taskmaster? Killing you is going to give us mad cred." The bigger Snake says, the one thats fighting against sword.

Around them the jungle is silent. As if an audience of the wild is hushed and breathless, playing witness to the gladiators locked in life or death struggle. The only sound? A hum. The drones, theyre out there too. Near inaudible, zooming to and fro, seeking who to watch next.

*

Ballistic is approaching, and the closer she gets the straighter her posture is, despite in every bootprint, bood falls, whose is whose is a mystery, but that massive blade still has droplets accenting the edges and falling from a crescent tip to the earthen floor.

"So much ego," A look away, a grimace as the female that flicks serrated tomgue towards Ballistic's face is tilted away from as if in disgust. "Something out here I can 'Zen' with."

Cass does not zen with much but when she turns back towards the Serpent-Woman it is because the hands have changed, blade in human clutches while the Cybernetic clutch pincers the forked tonge between digits and the blade sweeps up to sever it free from her opponent!

*

A shrill sound, an animal keening noise escapes the woman as her tongue gushes blood, severed in the middle. Not just a weapon or unattached, this was literally the serpent's actual organ, weaponized one would think it more durable but no, it's not meant to be grabbed up like that.

The female's back bows, reeling as her feet remain on the ground and her shoulders dip back, arms out wide then covering her face. She folds in on her self in an amazing display of flexibility.

The big man spins, stupidly so and a sword dashes forth, slides through his torso just as he yells, "Red Naga!" Taskmaster isn't slow, not one to up and delay any sort of opportunistic seize. This is one of those. He staggers back, growling.

The elongated one, stretch arms begin to withdraw, pulling free of the tree and trying to climb, hes up about four feet and a sudden strobe of light is tossed at him, a grenade of fire-flare, it catches and spreads along the tree itself and the man who falls.

Taskmaster twists on his foot, a pivot to have him aiming sword at Ballistic, the tip wavering then going level, steady, "Hello again, I was going to ask if you're stalking me but we both know I've been following you." Daringly the sword slides away, sheathing over his shoulder. "The name is Taskmaster. I am the man of a thousand moves, unparalleled fighting machine and I mix a mean whiskey sour."

Tongue severed, and as the beautiful posture of her pained scream is emphasised, Ballistic rotates the blade back and in several flicks of motion is seeking to drive it into other vitals of the woman, so rapid it is almost unseen before her booted foot rises to kick her back and away!

What lands and does not has not matter to Cass, every drop of blood falling like a rhythm to a metronome of a different tone when blood pulses into her ears, re-invigorationg something that has recently been shut down for that brief several moments of pulse.

It takes a moment for the Charlie Brown WUBWHOOB of Taskmaster's voice to have meaning - beginning with "whiskey..s," Ending in "…h/our."

"Ballistic." Stated as she tuns back towards the goal - she will find the price on his head later! - "I drink a mean whiskey… sour sounds fun."

Thirteen hours and fifteen minutes later…..

Skullmask half torn away, a dark watery eye stares at the flames rising up around the AIM outpost. Half the island is scorched and razed, no more white cloak, its deep blood red and black, a tattered strip that hangs around his neck, off one shoulder. No more amunition, shield cracked in half and bent, clutched to one forearm. Broken sword hanging off it's thong around his wrist. The embers and smoke makes it hard to see, to breath but in the ashen cloudbank hides the hovering ships that continue to pummel the landscape in dropped bombs.

It feels like forever that Taskmaster is holding his breath, not inhaling, lungs not sucking in air and then he speaks, "It usually bad business to kill the clientelle." Its hard to look away from the inferno, the sparks that fire out of one outpost, the clouds forming, the retreating 'Beekeepers'. Behind them a pile of slag lies crumpled, once upon a time a suit of power armor suit. It never made it to it's drop off point, at least not the way it was meant to.

Taskmaster wriggles his toes in the dirt, one boot completely gone. The other, also gone, a sock at least covering that one.

"How about that whiskey sour?"

There is a 'light' limp in Ballistic's gait.

Step by step she is approaching the summit where Taskmaster stands to watch the 'utter catastrophe' unfold that they caused… They. Not a pill easily swallowed in wording. Or thought, so Ballistic simply ignores him for a few moments as she watches the nuclear level of sunset on the horizon.

Smoke is the blackness of night, sparks are the stars, the sunset hue is the burning pyre of their 'clientelle's' ships and who/whatever was inside.

An uncanny chirrupping/chiitering hiss omits from Ballistic's arms(almost avian in sound, yet haunting and mammilian)
two kinda-sorta small felines are dropped from her clutch, sharing the blood that coats a sheen over blackened bodysuit and drops over violet strappings of arsenal beholden upon her pysique.

"Some things are just not acceptable." The kits turn and look at them..
"TSSSTH!" SHOOGESTURE and a blast of a plasma pistol to scatter the earth between them and the beasts.

A leather strap falls and Ballistic sighs as the boot sags downward and her jacket already bears burn-holes the size of clay pidgeons into her, almost all of that cybernetic arm visible beneath tatters.

"Chase it with whiskey, hold the sour? You got a deal." Stated as Ballistic departs in a slower pace than she started with, watched by felines from the shadows of their habitat.

*

"When people ask me why this went down I am making up a different story."

"Kind of pretty, not sure what chemicals they have stored but its like Chinese New Year Fireworks… just add screams."
A finger lifts up and Taskmaster whispers, "Bang." At one of the feline creatures as they retreat, seeking shelter and safety where its less likely they will be found by humans again, this day and age, near impossible.

"We can hold the sour, sure. It is on you though, you're buying. If I'd just stayed solo… " The halfskull grins over at her and that limping gait, his own hobble just shy of.

*

Eight Months Later….

The audible sound of a man grunting is loud, puffy cheeks blow out, eyes close and sweat beads down a bulky form, "No more. I'm done, I'm spent." The big man bent over the table drops his shaggy head, releasing a final groan. Behind him a masked woman steps back, peeling down the surgical cover, her face multiple shades of green (or so one would imagine), "It is done. That is all we can fit." That shaven headed female sounding apologetic.

"World's fattest mule and you can only fit two baggies and a gram and a half?" The man snorts, the woman puts her head down. "I am sorry sir. You will be sorry if this lardass isn't on a plane in five hours with another bag of my premium fuckin' tar up that black hole of an ass." There is a *CLAP* sound and the woman's head turns to the side, rubbing her mouth. "Yes… sir."

Gloved hands are adjusted, the man in the suit strides out in to the hallway, "I am sorry about that Mr. Zhang." Dark shades settle on the tall Chinese man across from him who is patiently standing in the hallway, tucked behind him, his own reflective glasses hiding dark eyes, a small smile set across his lips, "It is okay. Hopefully when I close my eyes later, I will not see this…. horror again."

"Part of the business. Upstairs if you would." A wave, the blonde the contact known as Bronze ushers Zhang to a small private elevator to a new floor, the suite, luxury, impressive. The name Bronze one would assume is due to the obvious shiny skin the man possesses.
"So, Zhang, thats your surname not your first, right? I am sorry I am not used to your customs."

"It doesn't matter. Oh ugh, smell in here remind me of old girlfriend." The Asian wrinkles his nose, fingers plugging each nostril.

"Vanilla scented candles…. " Bronze blinks.

"Horrible, snuff it out. Hurry, before I make carpet a new color."

"Very… well…. " Bronze says thrown off by the man's attitude and moves over to put the candle flame out, dowsing it with two fingers. "Ther—- UGHK, ZHANG!?" A blade, long, single pointed just rammed itself in to Bronze's neck, just below the skull where spine connects. A masterful stroke, spot on, a killing blow on a lesser man.

Bronze only staggers, stumbles to the side and clutches his glossy neck, "You, you're not Zhang, you fuck…. "

"And you're not dead. Thats…. hurk.. unfortunate… " Zhang is hefted off his feet by Bronze and ran across the room, slammed into the wall. The mans forearms are clutched, a series of pressure points are executed, a knee to the chin, an elbow to the skull and a kick to the abdomen. Nothing. Zhang gasps starting to go limp.

A sound rings out, a single shot. A boom. It's somewhere far away, like an angel trumpet blowing, Gabriel's horn? Then there is an gorey eruption, brains, fragments and blood splatters Zhang who falls to his knees, wretching pitifully for air.
"Fine, fine, 60/40… " He says through choking, to no one but his mic. "Deal. Give me…. twenty minutes, whiskey sours? " There is noises, shouting, people rushing the stairs "Maybe 23 minutes."

*

Kabuki mask bares a single red eye flaring from what would have made the tall svelte figure in a kimono an Okami look. Waist cinched by a ribbpon of red around a silk kimono of white, but slowly unravelling in a slip of pristine fabric to the floor as the flare of a red eye is narrowed with its pale blue partner down the sight of a modified Rhino.

For hours her hands had remained 'tied' in the bell sleeves of the kimono dress, her feet slowly stepping along in the geta while those of lofted position get to touch.

Behind her, one's smile is split around a geta platform shoved down his throat, cybernetic arm extended and holding the heated alloy that put a gaping hole in Bronze. The mask is cracked, half sagging from a ribbon over one ear, the frays of blonde razor-chopped hair spouting around the edges before human hand coms and takes it down, baring Ballistic's face, the grimace, the shadws cast around a facade meant to trumpt an angelic tune, but the scar, that eye….

"Fuck your sours." A hand reaches out to grip Zhang and offer aid to keep upright.

"Keep em straight."

*

Zhang straightens to a stand, surprising strength of Ballistic's grasp has him righting himself faster than he expected to. Dizzy almost with the abrupt motion and lack of airflow. Airflow is at least returning to proper levels of function, breathing is a magnificent thing.

"My new friend, he is just so clingy… " The man mumbles, peeling a piece of Bronze flesh off of his button up shirt, "I thought I was fancy wearing a silk shirt, you though, straight out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. All out. I approve."

"C'mon now, dollface, you'll lose your other eye with the way you drink everything straight." A hand pats her on the cheek and he steps past, a device being unraveled from inside his sleeve and thrown at the door that leads to the elevator.

"Short timer on that." He warns, or explains just before she is being scooped up around the waist and he is leaping out the already broken wall, bursting through it to sail through the air, descending quickly several floors before a line snaps, their bodies jerk and collide then they're ziplining from the skyscraper they're in towards another. Then explosions, a slow ripple that turns in to a lancing firespore and that floor is decimated.

"Don't look back at it, thats like rule #22 of being a badass mercenary."

*

"I needed a mask, and all of it to match." Ballistic states. The 'display' waffle of her hand finally unleashes the last loop of that red 'ribbon' from her waist, the bloodshed splays up with the branches of 'cherry blossom' trees, spatters melding with leaves that took a path up one side of the dress all the way along her cheek. No care as they frame that bionic eye nicely with the splay of multi-huen makeup, ombre from shadows to flame at the edges of her eyes, lined in a black to up-tilt the ends in a feline manner.

Malevolent in a manner that suits the woman now in a black body suit, strapped in violet with tac gear in poouches that laden her figure, the final gita kicked back as a cigarette is drawn from a pouch…

"New friends better not cling too…" Lighter is dropped in the /tug/ that has her drug against Zhang then swung out, her hold one that barely drapes an arm along the back of his shoulders, one leg winding along his as the smile with a single black stripe down the center…

Outshines the explosion behind them with the ruffle of blonde hair, lightly singed at the edges now due to the heat they left at their backs…

"But you made me drop my lighter… I have to light it off something.." A loft of the cigarette and a spin of the cancer-stick in her hand as they swingand a prop of foot barely hold lofted toe to their landing.

"I said as a chaser, not the main course. I'm not that bad. I'll keep ole' blue for a bit longer." Empty hand rises… No bic to flick!
The landing is on a two-foot ledge, there are gunshots, a lot of them from afar but this distance and that drop? Nothing will hit. Harmless pot shots just to put on a show and let out their anger at losing a boss. Easily ignored.

"That stuff will kill ya anyways." Taskmaster responds, a bullet bouncing off the cement outcropping they stand on. A flick of his thumb and a match produces then rubs in a swipe down her bionic arm, it flares to life, burning slow. Flame meets cigarette then is flicked away, splinter whisked away by the wind and thrown somewhere in to the city lights below.

"Don't get too comfortable. Only a matter of time before we're opposite sides of the target" Zhang's mask peels off to reveal a cloth half skull mask along lower jaw.

"Seriously though, you know what I am about to say, right?"

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