(Warning: Vivid mental imaging of gore)
What starts as a pleasant evening out, goes terribly wrong.
<NYC> Tompkins Square Park - East Village
Small but popular, this tree-lined park is a perfect centerpiece to the eclectic neighborhood it resides in. Home to a number of playgrounds and courts from handball to basketball, it also houses a dog park and chess tables, providing excellent space for people watching -- especially during its frequent and often eccentric festivals, from Wigstock to its yearly Allen Ginsberg tribute Howl festival.
It's rather late in the evening, and rather cold out, but clear, atleast. A few people are out in the park, but very few, some sitting on benchs, some walking around. Selene Gallio is one of them, taking a walk through the park, accompanied by her guard Casper Laurent. Dressed in a black peacoat, trousers, and furred boots, her black hair flowing behind her, Selene basically embodies 'rich' in her mannerisms. Casper, however, looks like a guard, in the fact that he is dressed in a gray trenchcoat, jeans, and military boots. The two are walking, and glance at each other several times, but no words are ever spoken. Verbally atleast.
Maya is definitely in the 'walking' class of people -- both her /and/ an exuberant large shaggy tricoloured dog that romps at the end of her long retractable leash. The dog seems to be taking /her/ for a walk, at the moment, more voluntarily than out of any misbehavior -- she's laughing as she jogs along in the Bernese's wake. In dress she's -- /warm/, knee-length purple puffer coat protecting her from the chill. Beneath it her clothing is colourful, too, sunshiney-yellow salwar kameez pants (worn /over/ protective layering of long socks, long underwear), richly embroidered in maroon and dark blue at the hem. Paired with /boots/, warm and heavy.
The dog lopes through the park at an easy pace, making her way down the path with tail wagging. Maya tugs gently back at the leash as the dog approaches Selene and her bodyguard, clicking her tongue quietly. "Ratri. Ratri, baby-girl, don't bother the nice people." There's a lilting note of laughter to her voice but the dog obediently falls back slightly at the tug, though not till /after/ pausing to sniff with great interest at Selene's boots.
As the dog begins to sniff Selene's boots, Casper's turning to the dog, making a dominant posture. There's a bulge in his right pocket, concealing a weapon, but he's simply using facial expression and demeanor to try and get the dog to BACK OFF. A quick glance from Selene, no motion from it really, and he's stopping, still cautious however. Selene speaks up, a French-Italian mixture of an accent coming from her. "I believe your dog likes my boots. Perhaps it's the real fox fur, possibly a hunting vibe off it.". Selene's sending a mental scan over Maya, pulling any surface thoughts towards her in curiosity of who just bumped into her. She hasn't pulled usual name-occupation just yet, waiting for things to progress. "Apologies for my body guard. He's trained to deal with threats, but I don't believe your canine is one."
"Oh -- goodness yes sorry she gets -- well she probably likes the fur, sorry." Maya gives this agreement with a bright smile, a brighter laugh, the apology delivered in easy Spanish, "but really Ratri just loves /people/. I think she'd be extra-keen for the attention even if those were synthetic."
Her thoughts are /cheery/, she's enjoyed the pleasantness of the milder temperatures earlier even if it's dropped off to /chill/ again after sunset. Enjoyed the /walk/ with her friendly-dog, enjoyed a quick chat she had earlier with a barista at her favourite coffee spot (they even save biscuits behind the counter for the dog!) And now she's even enjoying heading home to work out a little bit more of her lesson plans for the week before turning in for the night. "Body guard, oh -- yeahno," she shakes her head in quick denial, "the only danger you'll find from /her/ is too much /snuggling/. Some slobber. Some fur on your nice coat. -- Just a precaution?" She nods towards Casper -- with a warm smile for him too! "I mean it /has/ been dangerous around here lately."
As they speak, Selene's digging deeper, pulling the name-occupation card to see any uses. She's also thinking about tapping into potential skills, but is also waiting on this for actual use of this lady. Though she doesn't say it, Maya's cheerfulness is an annoyance but Selene sees /everyone/ as a potential weapon. "It's always dangerous in the NYC. Anyone who lives here should know that.". Casper tips his head in apology himself. "I don't worry about fur on my coat. It's a useless thing to worry about, and most fur blends in anyhow.".
"Oh, well, it's definitely been rougher lately than usual," Maya concedes -- a small /wry/ note slipping into her thoughts at remembrances of zombies pressing in at her door and uniformed soldiers helping her and her roommate to a safehouse. "But I've lived here /all/ my life and it's never seemed that terrible /before/ the dead were walking. Hopefully not that terrible again now, too!" She says that with a good deal of optimism that's reflected in her thoughts; she really believes things will be looking up, now. As her earlier thoughts about lesson plans might suggest, she's a schoolteacher -- high school, to be exact. Music. In the grand scheme of things probably not that much, well, /in/ the grand scheme of things, but she loves what she does. Bringing music to people. /Cheer/ to people. "Still, I guess it never hurts to be cautious! I just hope -- no offense," she says with a quick grin to Casper, "-- that you never need him."
"Heh. I'm not the cautious sort.". Selene grins, strutting around. She really doesn't like dogs, but tries to hide this, though her attitude could probably be sensed by a dog and be taken as hostile. "Oh, no, no, no. He's not here to protect me. He's here to protect others.". This is followed by a sort of devious grin, followed by a shallow laugh. "The rich usually need protection. This ci- island is pretty..angry. Muggers, terrorists. Anything could happen to someone here.".
"For /other/ people?" This oddly makes Maya's smile curl wider -- though admittedly it's easy to tell from her thoughts that between that and the strutting she imagines Selene is /joking/. "Well, in that case," she addresses Casper lightly here, "thank /you/ for your service to me. And Ratri." The large dog is leaning against Maya's leg now -- Maya clearly /also/ doesn't care about the fur problem, rubbing at Ratri's head with her gloved fingertips. "Oh, anything could happen anywhere. New York's always taken good care of me. I try to take good care of her back."
The sad thing is, Selene wasn't actually joking. Though she's not going to clarify that. Casper's the one to speak, his accent strictly French. "It's a service I've trained to maintain.". His tone is super serious, though it may just be another joke or just how he always talks! Probably not, though. At the dog's name, Selene turns her head. "Ratri. Indian? Also, I diasgree on the taking care of her back. Not that it's a bad thing to try, but, she'll disappoint you in the end.".
"Oh I /very/ much doubt that." Maya's head shakes in denial of this disagreement. "Like I said, been here my whole life. And she's been /full/ of twists and turns but never disappointment. Though, I guess --" Her fingers scritch slowly at Ratri's head. "I guess /being/ disappointed is all in your attitude, isn't it? Even the bad times can be /opportunities/."
As Maya's last sentence, Selene's face turns serious. "What are you getting at, that I'm a manipulator?". She inches closer, and grins. "Because you're absolutely right. Though, most of the wealthy are, so no one is really surprised.". Selene's pulling skills now, trying to see if this woman is a fellow manipulator or not. "Everything disappoints you in the end."
Maya's eyes widen, a brief look of startlement that shows in her face /and/ her thoughts that this was not /remotely/ what she was getting at, so much as: "Oh, what, no no no I -- huh?" Blink, shake head! "I just mean even when things are bad there's so much room to /help/ people. And learn from it and /grow/ and get stronger from next time." Beneath the surface of these words is -- really just exactly that, she's almost painfully sincere with this attitude. "Even in the hardest times it's amazing to watch people around here pull /together/ and help each other. It's only disappointment if you let the bad times get to you."
Selene nods, still grinning even though she got it wrong. "Well, then. Nice to meet you, maam. Selene Gallio, and this is Casper.". Even if Maya states her name, Selene doesn't really care, already knowing it. There's still a few people around the park, maybe 7 total not including Selene, her bodyguard Casper, and Maya. "And nice to meet you too, Ratri.".
"Maya," the young woman introduces herself, shifting the leash of her large Bernese Mountain dog -- currently slightly tail-waggy as she leans up against her human's legs -- to her opposite hand so that she can extend a hand to Selene in offering with this greeting. Then Casper, too! "Nice to meet you, too, Ms. Gallio. Casper. And -- I'm sure Ratri thinks so as well. She pretty much likes meeting /everyone/. You know," she muses with a quicker, warmer smile, "maybe there /is/ some benefit to expecting disappointment. Means that all the /good/ bits get a chance to surprise you."
Generally there's a precursor to a very specific mutant that haunts under the city, often in the eastern side, and it comes now. It's an extremely high pitched sound: a wailing scream that includes a section of a chillingly high pitch that most can't hear, at distances, but animals often sense just fine. But, as it's closer now, and vibrates into the street next to the park, more than just that higher range is certainly going to come through, from the shrill shriek.
At the sound of the shriek, Selene's covering her ears, trying to mentally search for the source. Meanwhile, Casper is removing a PISTOL from his right coat pocket, a customized HK USP, holding it close. No worries, he has a permit. Possibly. His French accent accentuates pretty loudly, as he looks around, holding his pistol close. "The fuck was that? Stay down.". Casper's not directing this to /Selene/, but instead Maya..and maybe Ratri. Selene's commenting, she doesn't sound scared, but instead very, very serious. "Doesn't sound human. Or if it is, whatever's happening is..pretty gruesome."
Ratri starts whining even before Selene and Casper react, an unhappy keen at first that later turns into a growl. Tail no longer wagging, the dog is leaning harder against Maya's legs -- possibly protectively? Or possibly for her /own/ protection, her tail tucking between her legs implies that despite the harsh growl, this dog did not take many ranks in Badassery.
Which makes it all the better that Casper /did/; Maya's eyes are huge and wide as the shrieking finally reaches /her/ ears, too. "Hey, Ratri, what's --" She's been saying just before that shriek hits. The dog's agitation grows, growl hardening; it's Casper bringing out the /gun/ though that really makes the panic bells start to clang in her brain. "Down -- um. Right. /Bodyguard/. Good -- good um staysafe I should --" She tugs the dog's leash, backing /away/ -- and then /hurrying/ away, at a fast clip that soon breaks into a jog, Ratri only too happy to follow along /away/ from the source of that sound.
The source of the sound doesn't come barreling up or make a sudden fearsome arrival or anything of the sort at all. He's by the street, climbing down methodically off a fire escape. There's a crash of a trash can that gets knocked over, and some other incidental noises: but no screaming or anything. He isn't in some kind of hurry, aside from keeping moving to try to keep warm, and very pleased with himself. Pleased, because he has a big red covered cloth box, the type multiple pizzas are carried in when delivery, curled against his chest with one arm. He lurks into the bushes at the edge of the park and squats, huge heavy barbed tail curling into the bushes. He's concealed mostly, other than a hulking black creature, with that blaze of red square-ish object in his possession.
Locking into the monster's mental signal, Selene begins digging quickly, something she doesn't usually do on first sight of someone, but is focusing on whether or not Noah is a hungry man-eating monster (like her). Glancing over to Noah's direction, Casper takes this as a signal to /fire/ at him. Anyone who hasn't escaped yet doesn't seem too startled by the gunfire, more by Noah. About two-three bullets fly point blank into the /direct/ center of the bush that Noah is in. A mental voice quickly launches to Casper to stop him, causing him to keep his pistol out but pause firing, as Selene sends a mental voice to Noah. Giant monster probably isn't best person to rat out a telepath, after all. <<You there. You better not be here to cause any problems. Apologies for the bullets, guard is trigger-happy, if you are still alive in there, whatever your ability is. You just scared everyone off and ruined a pleasant night.>>
Well, Noah's not a difficult target while not moving; all three bullets strike. Large pulses of black spine erupt and move inside the bush from his shoulder and back, ripping into the leaves. The response to the gunfire is immediate: a very close range shriek. He'll probably be in the middle of it when the telepathy's coming in. From the scan, though, it will be extremely obvious that this is normal for being shot. He's completely blind, and the shriek, for him, is exactly the same as looking out of the bush at what's shooting. It vibrates and bounces off surfaces, shrill and eerie, and while it rattles glass, nothing breaks. Noah can tell exactly who is in the park, and seems to be merely curious at first. That explodes into confusion and hostility at the message, though. He dumps the pizza box right away and drops to all fours in a low squat, head near the ground, baffled entirely by the mental voice's source. He does decide (and it's readable), to pretend to be a stupid monster /as usual,/ and wait for this opponent to assume he's a wild beast. But there's no motive in it to attack: it's all very defensive.... and cleverly, quickly decided.
<<Don't play stupid with me. I'm a fucking telepath and I can see what you're doing.>>. Selene's mental voice /sears/ into his mind, it's relatively angry even if Selene understands why he is doing what he is doing. <<Answer me NOW. What is your business down here, and and why do you do it at a time where people can be disturbed? You must know you're not the blending type, and your shrieks alert everyone. From what I can tell, you're a complete, indestructible beast..and we're no different. So I'd like to warn you to leave. No harm, no foul. Your choice. Tango with me, which I sincerly do not suggest, or get out of here.>>
The searing mind touch sends Noah into confusion. What on earth did he walk into in this park? He doesn't move at all, he stays low. And very very clearly is trying to figure out how he's supposed to 'Answer'. At first, he's mostly just caught up in trying to work out this strange puzzle. His attempt is a very frustrated, mental thought of 'HOW THE FUCK DO I DO THAT'. Which sends his own mode into anger at that he probably can't even answer properly, and he's still not certain which person is DOING this, it's so unfair. She yells in his head and shoots at him when he's only eating his pizza? He stalks out of the bushes into the open of the park. He's a black mass of spines and disproportionate limbs, and a giant heavy club of a tail that sways slowly, like a large deadly mace. He doesn't come directly at her and her bodyguard, but to one side, like a wolf that's circling and studying, and positions close to a big metal lamp post and bench, rather than approaching. He has no face-- eyes or ears or anything much-- but is fully oriented on Selene and Casper. No screams, but he does yell. "I do NOT care if humans are /disturbed/ by me existing. Fuck THAT."
Casper's looking like he wants to unload his clip into Noah. But Selene does something strange. She begins /grinning/. << I like you. Also, to converse with telepaths, all you do is think. We receive it. Just think at us. Anyhow, I respect your power. Your strength. Though I find you very foolish, I shall leave you in peace. Enjoy your meal. >>. Selene's leaving, if Noah allows her to. Casper looks back and forth from Selene to Noah, before following after Selene.
"Fine." Verbally, stubborn. The assumption that he's foolish amuses Noah, mostly because he prefers to promote others in thinking that he's stupid... but the offended anger at being yelled at still has him very grumpy, which means he's getting vicious. But he is smart enough to realize that she'll see that he's amused to be thought stupid, and adapts. He doesn't have visuals; instead, he intensely thinks about the physical sensations of crushing the both of them under a bench, and then approaching and slowly squeezing her skull until her eyes burst and leak out, and her brains splatter and soak into the grass, in front of her other person with the gun, before disemboweling him. All of it is 'felt': the pressure and squeeze and the liquid running over fingers and the chill of the air from entrails splattered on his body. He's a murderer, and all of the sensations of the thoughts are filled with experience of real situations, although not extremely recent.
.........but really, it's all just /petty/, this thought chain. Noah's just trying to salvage pride by deliberately thinking that way, only because he's aware she'll read it. He'll go back to his pizza, willing to accept a 'tie', but to just take threats? No, he had to give back.
<< I can settle for a tie. Just this once. Very vivid visuals. Could use some fine tuning in your killing techniques, however. >>. Selene grins again, as her and Casper walk off, heading for their car. As she said before, this city always disappoints you, in one way or another.