Electric Pincer Acid Test

February 28, 2018:

Nothing like a little intergalactic bounty hunting to end Luke Cage and Valkyrie's day.

Bob's Bodega

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jessica Jones

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Bob's Bodega in Harlem is of a kind in New York City. Its aisles are narrow and cramped, and piled taller than most adults with all manner of products. This one in particular is crammed with a variety of beer and wine and seems to defy gravity. It's the kind of place where you could imagine one stiff sneeze shattering half the inventory into a puddle of glass and booze.
And into this Jenga-block landscape enters someone who is not known for her light touch. Valkyrie is clad as she was the other night, which is to say, barely-disguised alien-ness in the form of a burlap-coloured cloak that covers her armor and weaponry. She moves down the aisles, eyes peeled and searching. She pauses now and again to check the liquor level on a bottle or examine a dusty box of something, but then resumes her stalking. The man behind the counter keeps a close eye on her both over the top of his reading glasses and on the CCTV that's just to his left.

*

Still camped out at Danny's house, this place isn't exactly convenient to where Luke has been staying but it's near the site of the would-be rebuilt bar that he's been splitting his time at cleaning up the giant pile of rubble and working at Pops where he sweeps hair for cash under the table. The latter gives him the ability to stop into places like this and grab a candy bar and a 40, and so he can reliably stop mooching of Rand for every little need.

"Hey Bob." whether that's actually the man behind the counter or not, everyone is bound to assume that's the his name when it's on the title of the store, but in this case Cage happens to know the guy after he stopped a robbery here last week. The bent and twisted metal of a gun is still on display behind the counter as a reminder not to muck around here. He's thumbing off a few dollars for his usual when he happens to look up at the inverted saucer of a mirror that gives him a good view of the aisles behind him. A few steps later and he's wedged into the end of one of the pathways, blocking Val in that direction. "We really need to work on your whole incognito look."

*

Valkyrie does look tiny compared to the mountain of a man that is Luke Cage. Still, she doesn't look the least bit intimidated. Instead, she just gives him a cocky headcock and a wry grin. "Mhmmm. Does everyone who comes to Dirt have to blend in? I thought this was supposed to be a planet that valued freedom. Freedom and…" she looks down at the box in her hand. "Twi..nikies?" Some things get lost in the All-Tongue translation.

*

"Earth." Luke corrects dryly, "North America, United States, New York, New York City, Harlem, specifically. That'd be like calling wherever you're from just Planet XYZ, but I'm sure you grew up in a specific region in a specific town. And even though we're a vast giant melting pot, chicks with face paint still get second glances." He reaches out to try to take the box of Twinkies from her only to replace it with Ho Hos. "Chocolate is better than vanilla any day of the week. And I hope this means you have discovered money. With which to pay for things."

*

Luke's place-name lecture just produces a gust of amusement from Valkyrie. "What makes you think I'm from a planet?" she asks as she examines the new box. "This one doesn't look as appealing. It has a crust on it." She points to the picture. "It rather looks like a turd of this beast on a planet you haven't heard of, but it most certainly didn't name itself after soil." She looks past Luke, peering down and to the left, but then returns her attention to him. "I have currency. But you don't exactly have an exchange rate with Sakaarian lekks." She digs out a colourful 8-sided coin and flips it to him to catch. It's a fascinating coin. It's got an image of a man with blue eyeliner that mugs for the camera in different ways as you move it in the light.

*

Luke snorts at the mention that the treat looks like a turd, but his attention is caught by the coin and the dude that's almost winking at him from the surface. "Well, lucky for you, I happen to run and intergalactic bank in my spare time, and one of those 'lekks' is worth approximately…" His hand delves back into the kangaroo pouch of his hoodie, pulling out the week's worth of wages he's made sweeping up other people's hair and mopping floors, holding the amount out to her without so much as batting an eye knowing he'll never be able to spend this Sakaarian money. "Two hundred thirty Dirty dollars." It won't last her long if she insists on starting to upend bottles of aged whiskey, but it will at least get her out of here with her Twinkies without the cops getting called.

*

"Your currency is dirty green paper with old men on it?" Valkyrie looks somewhere between disgusted and curious. She examines the fist full of bills, but then catches a spark of movement. A hand disappears under her cloak. With her attention still ostensibly on Luke, she flicks her wrist and sends a dagger sailing across the room where it digs into…something that howls in rage and disgust. Blue-black blood squirts out across the floor, sizzling as it comes into contact with wood. "Excuse me a moment." She shoves the money back at Luke, then moves to tug the dagger out of the ground. She examines the blade. "Sholdo! I know you're in here."
There's movement to Luke's left, but it's gone in a flash. A trail of that strange blood is both conspicuous and is accompanied with an acidic hiss.

*

"Sometimes it's shiny coins with old men on it." But Luke doesn't have the time to go into American currency as she's suddenly flicking a blade into …something. It's certainly not enough to cover damages if she goes all Valkyrie in a China Shop up in here. The money gets shoved back into his jeans pocket for now as he squints down with obvious disgust at the ooze of alien blood on the ground. "Problem?"

*

"Watch the door!" Valkyrie points that way. "It's just a little escaped con. Nothing to worry about." Except she's not from Earth, and it's a fair bet her quarry isn't either. She creeps around, following the trail of blood. There's a rustle down the aisle. She sweeps around to try and catch sight of it, but whatever it is has scuttled into hiding again.

*

It's not that Luke is used to taking orders outside of his brief military life or stint in prison, but he is getting better about the whole teamwork thing and there are some things you just do without question rather than sit and debate about who's calling the shots. He strides in that direction, pointing at Bob behind the counter with an authoritative, "Get down." Which isn't even questioned. The big man quickly flips the sign on the door to prevent any other would be innocent bystanders from entering the bodega, and then reaches up to jam the lock into place to stop the double doors from swinging. "So what are we dealing with here?" He calls to Val, in hopes that he can get at least a /little/ preparation in case this acid oozing thing heads his way.

*

"A pickpocket with a sweet tooth," says Valkyrie as she pulls a small device out of her pocket and turns it on. It makes a whirring sound but nothing happens. She mutters something in not-All-Tongue and tucks the device back into the folds of her cloak. "His blood is acidic and the pincers might be psychoactive to Terrans," a beat, "…probably quite psychoactive. So if he touches you and the world turns yellow, don't worry about it. Just sit back and enjoy the trip."

*

There are certain levels of acid that Luke has never been bothered by, but that sort of experience all goes out the window when it comes to alien levels of bullshit that he's not quite sure if he'll be able to hang with even if he is Power Man. Thus, he reaches for the first weapon at his disposal which happens to be a plastic bristled broom. "So is this what you are, then? Some sort of intergalactic bail bonds woman? Did the dude miss his court date?"

*

"Something like that." Valkyrie gets low and starts to move through the narrow aisles. She's looking sharply for something.
Unfortunately for him, Sholdo has decided it's better to try and get through a Terran than tousle with an Asgardian. He only gets a half-second to prepare himself before he's suddenly charged by a five foot tall centipede-like alien with an iridescent carapace that rears on its hind legs and waggles dozens of feet at Luke. Main pincers lash out from its midsection. There's a gouge on its undercarriage and one of its other legs is bloody from where Valkyrie tossed her dagger.

*

Ew. But Cage will reflect on that later. With a baseball bat-like grip on the broom he hefts it in his hand and as the thing is charging him in his squiggly glory, Luke takes a hearty swing and connects with Sholdo using all the considerable force in his arms and body to clobber it and send him flying into a stack of liquor bottles with a warning of, "Heads up!" To Val as it flies in her direction.

*

Neither Valkyrie nor Sholdo (nor, probably Bob who is going to have nightmares forever) was anticipating the strength behind that swing. The bug-creature tries to roll up protectively into a ball but doesn't manage it until Luke has given it a solid blow to its midsection. By the time it hits the liquor bottles, it's turned into a roly-poly the size of a very large medicine ball. It's impressive the thing managed to sneak around the store as big as it is, but its carapace seems oddly diamond-like and camoflauges itself with its surroundings.
Sholdo lets out a squeal of irritation. "OW, MAN!" comes its voice, which is decidedly bass and uh…human sounding. It uncurls itself and flicks its head. There's a broom-shaped long mark on its midsection.
Valkyrie emerges from around the edge, a knife in each hand. "Sholdo. Come on now. Just calm down."
"CALM DOWN?" says the bass voice, pincers jesticulating. Sholdo turns its head to Luke and makes a chittering sound. "She kidnapped me! I was minding my own business on Glrxnix and down she comes…"
"You skipped out on your debt with the Grandmaster. You lost a dozen bets in a row."
"Oh yeah, yeah, so I've got a gambling problem. Sue me. Doesn't mean you gotta bring me back to the dude with the melting rod!" Chitter. Chitter.

*

Oh great, the thing talks. And not only does the thing talk, it creates quite a compelling argument for why it shouldn't just give itself over to Val. Luke is left lifting the broom again defensively as his eyes swivel between creature and Val, as if trying to figure out which way his moral compass is going to settle on as being True North. "Man's got to pay his debts." He seems to decide, but makes no further move to attack just yet in case this Sholdo thing does in fact slow his roll. Hah! Literally, if he balls up again.

*

"The Grandmaster isn't going to melt you, Sholdo. He likes you. Even now, he likes you. He told me to bring you back in one piece, which is why your guts are not all over the floor of this boutique." Close. Valkyrie nods towards Luke. "If you don't come with me, his kind are going to lock you up. And probably dissect you. As you might have noticed, this planet is not exactly on the galactic superhighway."
Despite all the talking she's doing, her blades are at the ready, and her stance allows her to spring into action of need be. "If you come with me, I'm just going to secure you until we find a way off this place."
Sholdo's pincers wriggle as it thinks things over. It ducks its head, looking from Luke to Bob who is cowering behind the counter. He clicks a few times. "You really gonna dissect me? Harsh, man."

*

"Actually, I was just thinking about grabbing a large can of Raid and hedging my chances." Luke answers honestly. He has no interest in picking Sholdo apart and seeing how he works, "But that doesn't mean that others wouldn't. Scientists, man, you can't trust them. Like trying to synthesize your pincer power for new pharmaceuticals. Big Pharma, that's your real enemy. Best to go with the nice lady and do it all peaceful like." Because already the stench of spilled liquor is filling up the bodega, good thing Bob has insurance.

*

Sholdo makes a sound that is prrrobably like laughter? It's A Sound, anyway. "Nice lady? Scrapper 142? Naw, she ain't nice. Not at all." Chitter. Chitter. "She's a thug. She's a…"
The bug-creature's rant is cut off by a flick of Valkyrie's wrist as she sends a small dot near the bloody spot on its undercarriage. The metallic device digs itself into the carapace. "Aw, hell n..—-" And then the whole bug's body starts twitching. It drops to the ground and then curls up into a protective ball.
Valkyrie holds up a small remote control with its indicator lights up about halfway. "Less talking. More getting out of here before whatever passes for the authorites comes because your friend over there trippede some kind of silent alarm a few minutes ago."

*

Luke's head sort of tiiiilts to one side as he watches the creature start twitching and drop to the ground. "That's handy." The comment coming across in his dry baritone that indicates maybe she should have started off with that little silver disk thing in the first place. He looks down to the broom in his hand and then sort of slowly extends it to nudge the bristles against the ball to see if Sholdo truly is going to be out for the count. "Do you have like… a net or something? Not sure anyone has enough handcuffs for how many appendages that dude has."

*

Valkyrie walks over and scoops up the ball of a creature like it's nothing despite the fact that Sholdo has to have some bulk. "Don't need it. The device will keep him contained." She starts for the exit, quarry tucked under her arm. She pauses long enough to murmur, "Sorry," to Bob, then she gently kicks open the door and steps out into the street.

*

"Huh, she does have some manners." This said more to Bob than to Val, as Luke replaces the broom where it was leaning against the wall and half-heartedly rights a box. "Sorry, Bob." He echoes the sentiment a bit more sheepishly and then pushes out into the street after Val to make sure that thing gets actually contained somehow or beamed back to the mother ship or whatever. "I saw your first bit of tech fritz out, so forgive me if I'm not instilled with great confidence that that thing isn't going to get lose and wreck havoc in Harlem." So she's getting an escort.

*

Valkyrie's a fast walker for someone with short legs. It's quite the sight - woman with face paint and a cloak, balancing a rolled up iridescent insect the size of a pilates ball on her hip. "He wouldn't. He'd just hole up somewhere and eat all your Ho-Hos. And maybe gamble if anyone would let him."
She moves down an alleyway. She's smart enough to head somewhere out of sight at least, as the cops head towards Bob's. That'll be an interesting one to explain to the authorities. This is really the kind of alleyway that even Harlem natives tend to avoid, but she's moving down it without slowing.

*

"H-" Luke is about to give a word of warning that she's headed down an alleyway that has a bit of a bad rap as being someone else's turf but must decide that out of sight is the lesser of two evils in this case. "So our Ho-Ho's are good enough for /someone/." The grumble is as good natured as it's going to get as he thrusts his hands into the pocket on the front of his hoodie, balling them up against his midsection. "Is this why you're here? Collecting strays? I'm Luke by the way. What do I call you? Scrapie?"

*

"Sholdo's species gorges on refined sugars. They subsist off things that other species tend to avoid because they provide almost no nutrients. If Sholdo got a foothold here and happened to be in a spawning cycle, you'd find yourself infested with sugar-eating camoflauging bug-sentients with a tendency to develop gambling problems. Someone's following us." She says all of that in the same relative tone and without slowing her stride. Even as she says that, her free hand goes to the dagger at her belt.

*

"You have any competition for these …stray findings?" Luke doesn't carry a weapon, never has, it's kind of superfluous when he /is/ the weapon and tends not to like to use lethal force if at all possible. So guns and pointy things are no where on his person. He doesn't glance over his shoulder, but they tense up in anticipation of this person making themselves known in likely a non-friendly way. He's not even touching the phrase 'spawning cycle'.

*

"Not unless someone on your planet wants my strays. Which is entirely possible." Valkyrie keeps her voice down. There's the sound of huffed breath from the shadows, then something heavy lurches forward, rushing towards her. The hulking figure is easily eight feet tall, but she leaps up and kicks off the wall over the figure's head, sliding down at an angle, blade slicing out at the creature's cloak.
"GIVE BACK THE BUG, ASGARDIAN!" the thing bellows as it swipes out a meaty paw with long, hooked claws. The skin beneath is bright red.

*

"Yeah. That thing ain't for my planet!" Luke barks out as he takes a step backwards just long enough to get his bearings. Of course, it's entirely plausible that it /is/ from Earth, but Luke's still sort of hoping that those instances are fewer and further between than they actually are. He's stepping forward then, using his forearm as a club much the same way he did the broom, looking to clothesline the Red Man at the vague approximation of a sternum.

*

Good news is? Clotheslining works. Bad news? The big red creature loses its balance towards Luke. The creature has a hide like an elephant but seems otherwise a bit cumbersome and clumsy. He pinwheels his arms out, grabbing at Luke to rake and grab as he stutter-steps forward and lets out a roar of irritation.
All of this happens so fast that Valkyrie doesn't have time to interfere, though she moves forward in preparation for doing so.

*

Raking and grabbing doesn't really do anything to Luke's skin, he's not going to bruise or bleed if there are nails/claws that would rip normal flesh. He does, however, tumble with the large creature and end up on his back beneath it in a puddle of last week's rain and Chinese food because he didn't have is stance set to absorb the kinetic energy from it. Even Mountain Men have a center of gravity. Once on the cold concrete, he shoves his elbow into the ground to roll over the top of the thing and invert their position, a solid hammer of a fist slamming down into the face of the would be adversary.

*

Fortunately, the creature seems to be all brawn and thick hide and isn't a skilled fighter. Still a tough nut to crack, so to speak. It's like punching a leather bag full of gravel. The face beneath the cloak is surprisingly humanoid - just big and brawny with braided black hair and gold piercings. An arm reaches up to swipe at Luke, to smack him into a nearby wall. Then the red creature struggles to get to his feet.
Meanwhile, Valkyrie stands in a ready stance, blades out. "Stand down. Like I told Sholdo - you're better off with me and off this planet than — "
Talking isn't going to work this time. The red creature charges at Valkyrie with a low, rumbling roar, body bent over like a linebacker.

*

Luke's spine hits brick with a wince. Just because he's 'invincible' doesn't mean he doesn't /feel/ things. He just won't be sore in the morning from it. He ends up flopping into a pile of black trash bags which hinder him getting back to his feet as quickly as he'd like given the humanoid is now charging Valkyrie football style. It's like the adult and far less fun version of a ball pit, and he ends up just flinging them out of his way until he finds his footing. If nothing else, maybe he can get there in time to peel the guy off her sword like pulling an olive off a toothpick.

*

Valkyrie executes a move that can best be described as 'acrobatic.' She goes low when the red creature charges, somehow timing it that she slides between his legs and slashes a deep cut in the thing's ankle, then slides out the other side. She spins around and ends up low herself, blades at the ready, Luke behind her.
The red creature howls in anger and turns, limping. He swipes out madly and wildly. She dodges, leaving Luke to field the blow himself. Hey, he seems like he can take it.

*

The gymnastic prowess of others will never cease to amaze Luke, who never in a million years, even with training could get his big lumbering body to do something like that. There will be no running up walls and flipping over heads for this fool. Instead his power comes from something else, and this time he's ready for the swiping blow from the red creature with his feet firmly planted. The thing smacks him, and Cage just blinks, his body set so that his boots scrape back the barest inch from his body absorbing the blow but that's it, it meets an iron wall. It leaves him the perfect opportunity of both surprise and position to deliver a punch square in the red creature's midsection with all his considerable force, sending the humanoid flying back like an invisible cord yanked him abruptly.

*

When the creature hits the ground, it's with enough force to shake the ground and knock over a few garbage bins a few feet away. It also causes Sholda the pilates ball to rollrollroll and bounce off a nearby wall.
Valkyrie watches the hit with a nod of approval, then reaches under her cloak to withdraw a sword with a curious, slightly luminous blue blade. She jams a foot down on the red creature's back with enough force to shake the ground again. She presses the tip of the sword against the base of the creature's neck. "I don't want to kill you, Eebs. Please. Don't make me." Although her words are confident and carried through with another push of her foot against the thing's back, there is something about her words that rings true.

*

"If this dude has acid blood too, I'm not too keen on you killing him either." Luke rumbles as he straightens up slightly, pulling his widened stance back in to shoulder width with a shuffle of feet before he goes in the direction of Sholda to retrieve the roly-poly alien creature lest that metal disk thing suddenly stop working with all the jostling around and he decides to go skittering off.

*

There's a low chuckle from Eebs. He goes still, body prone against the ground. The wound on his leg isn't bleeding. It seems she only cut through a few layers of hide and didn't hit anything beneath. "The mighty Valkyrie of Asgard," he rumbles, "…a kidnapper for a charlatan. How noble you are. And now you find yourself on Midgard with a mess to clean up." He grunts and shifts. "We both know that Sholdo and me are the least of your concerns."
Valkyrie presses the sword point down a little further, but she'd have to push a lot further and a lot harder to penetrate Eebs' hide. There's a flash of anger, but then her arm slacks a bit. She looks over at Luke, jaw set and irritated. "I can't let you just walk around. You're rather conspicuous."
"You don't have any choice. I saw your ship. You have no place to contain us. And we're not assassins and killers. We're just bad gamblers."
From his spot under Luke's arm, Sholdo seems to click i a way that suggests laughter.

*

Luke bonks a place on the ball in vague approximation of where Sholdo's head might be, judging by the seams in his sphere. Either that or he just got real friendly with an alien behind and smacked his ass. "I can call some people that'll come and lock your friends here up and maybe even get them off world, but there's no guarantee they'll just hand them back when you're in a position to collect your bounty." His other hand is already reaching for his phone, tucking Sholdo under the other like the world's most awkward beach ball. He types in, 'Alien cleanup crew?' to one Jessica Jones.

*

"Oh yes, I have heard stories about how Midgard just lets its alien visitors leave peacefully," grunts Eebs underneath Valkyrie's boot. He's not even trying to fight any longer.
Valkyrie looks over at Luke, lifts a shoulder and says, "He has a point. Your people aren't exactly known for being tolerant of its own citizens, let alone off-worlders."
Under his arm, Sholdo vibrates slightly. It's…impossible to know what that means.

*

"Yeah, there is no telling if they might end up in a cage and prodded, but it's your call. I've got some numbers rolling in." Luke tells Val as Jessica responds rather quickly with some contacts related to SHIELD. "Hey, does your little buddy here have a vibrate mode? Because either he's trying to make some lady happy or he's about to pop off!"

*

Valkyrie slowly, carefully, eases off Eebs. The blade disappears back under her cloak. It's a wordless truce. She furthers this by digging out the small remote that disarms the device implanted in Sholdo.
The bug unfolds and wraps around Luke's arm for a moment before dropping to the ground. "You touched me in my special place," says the bass voice before it makes a sound like a snicker and skitters over towards Eebs.
Valkyrie backs off and steps towards Luke. Her cloak is half pushed over her shoulder revealing the leather armor beneath. "I'd rather leave them to their own devices than give them to your government. You…" she points at Sholdo, "…no spawning. And you…" she points at Eebs. "…no gambling." She reaches under her cloak and tosses a small communicator to the big red guy. "Stay out of sight, and if anyone sees you, say you're an Inhuman. I'll contact you when I have a way off this planet."
"And why should we go with you?" says Eebs as he touches the wound on his leg and eyes Luke warily.
"Because I won't take you to Sakaar. You're right. I have bigger things to worry about than a couple of gambling debts."

*

As Sholdo unrolls and wraps around his arm, Luke gives it a momentary shake before the bug thing dislodges and skitters off, thankfully not testing that psychotropic pincer power. He might look good in yellow, but that doesn't mean he wants to /see/ that particular color. As Eebs eyes him, Luke just folds his thick arms over his chest like he's silently backing up Val's decree about no gambling/spawning for the pair. "And if I see either of you again messing with my neighborhood, these nice SHEILD folks are on speed dial now and I won't be as nice as my lady friend here."

*

Valkyrie gives Luke such a look for that 'lady friend' comment. Withering is a good way to describe it.
The look and comment produces those sort-of-like-laughter sounds from the alien pair. "Mister, she ain't nobody's friend. Maybe a big bottle," says Eebs as he mimes drinking.
"Yeah, yeah, we'll stay out of sight, Scrappah," says Sholdo. "Though nobody gonna think I'm an Inhuman." He looks down at his body and wriggles his many legs, pincers poking at the air.
There's another roll of amusement from the pair. "We'll wait for your call, mighty Valkyrie. And we'll hold you to that whole 'not going to Sakaar' thing."

*

There is no wave of parting, no cheery well wishes as the pair of aliens head off down the alleyway, Luke just keeps on standing there with his arms folded over his chest not even reacting to any of their reactions to his comment. When they're presumably out of earshot, he looks aside to Valkyrie, "You really going to stick to not turning them into this Grandmaster dude?" One eyebrow juts up to display his vague disbelief.

*

Valkyrie watches them go too. Once Luke speaks, she looks up at him and lifts a shoulder. "They weren't worth very much anyway. I just picked them up because I recognized them at a casino when I stopped to refuel." She shifts her weight and glances around the alleyway. "Despite their looks, they're really pretty harmless." If you call one being giant and the other with psychotropic pincers 'harmless.' "They won't be hard for your authorities to track if they do make trouble."

*

"You sort of have me all freaked out about that spawning thing. Seriously, my whole world lives in this city. I don't want a hundred of those things taking over the donut display at my favorite deli." When Luke shudders it's like an earthquake through his whole body, shaking the frame of the Mountain Man. "So you good then? Do you need anything? Can't really offer you a place to crash or anything while you're here, because I don't have one of my own to offer."

*

"It probably won't happen," the spawning. Probably. Valkyrie pats down her cloak and pulls out a flask. She tries to take a pull, but finds it empty. "Why are you helping me anyway? I'm just as much of an intruder here as they are." She nods off down the alleyway to where the two have disappeared.

*

Out comes that meager wad of cash again, and Luke is pressing it towards the hand not occupied with the sad lack of liquor in that flask of hers. "Because it's the right thing to do." And he seems merely content to leave his reasoning at that. "If you need anything, there's a barber shop at 179 Malcolm X Boulevard, you can find me there most times in the afternoon."

*

Valkyrie looks at the money, then looks at Luke as if he's grown a second head. Then again, a second (or third) head is not exactly something to write home about where she's from. "You remind me of someone." She balls up the handful of cash. She doesn't elaborate on whether that's a good or a bad thing. "Let me know if you see anything else that's running around and not human." She digs into her cloak again and comes up with another one of those communicators. She tosses it over to him. It's a simple metallic disc with two buttons.

*

"I've seen that movie with the three seashells." Demolition Man, for those playing at home. "If I press one of these buttons, it's not going to squirt water up my you know what, is it?" Luke eyes the disk in his hand suspiciously, but eventually his fingers curl over it. "Should I ask them if they like gambling first, so as to not waste your time with a trip if they're just the average run of the mill Alien Lifeforms?" A smirk appears, the first that evening since becoming summarily unamused by things that ooze and spawn.

*

It's safe to say that Valkyrie has no earthly clue what Luke is talking about. "Only if you modify it," she finally answers. "And, no. If you see anyone but those two, I can promise you they're not just gamblers in arrears."

*

"Noted." The communicator gets slid into his pocket with his cell phone but then Luke's hand is jutting out again with his palm held up in the intergalactic sign for 'give me something'. "I'm nice, but I'm not a charity. I believe we had an exchange rate going for one of those boy band coins of yours."

*

Valkyrie looks at his hand like she is rather tempted to twist his wrist into an uncomfortable position. She's on her best behavior though, because he did just do her a solid. Then when he says what he wants, she scoffs a bit of laughter. She tugs out a coin and flips it to him. This one is a bit larger and has a more elaborate hologram of the Grandmaster on it. "I don't know what a boy band is but it seems inaccurate."

*

Luke has no use for the coin, will probably never need to use her currency and will likely never recoup his investment but it's the principle of the thing. "They both wear guy linear." Not that that will mean anything to her either, so he elaborates. "War paint, like yours. But just, you know, around their eyes." That last bit of business concluded, Luke flips up the hood of his sweatshirt preparing to skulk off. "Now behave. Remember who's backyard you're playing in."

*

"No promises," calls Valkyrie. But there's a note of good humour in her voice. She looks down to inspect the wad of cash. She has no idea what any of it is worth, but surely some of it can be used to purchase Ho-Hos.

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