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Hidey Hole
Continued from: Dealing with devils

With the aid of the way-point system on their Land Warriors, the trip back from the Rougarou hideout was much shorter then the time it took to get there. Which was good, because by the end of it, Hood was starting to feel the weight of the body he was carrying, not that he voiced any complaints. It was a good bit of exercise, after all.

They returned to the more familiar tunnels around the safe house, but still a few levels below the surface, until finding their way into a defunct service tunnel, where electrical and telephone cables, and water or gas pipes, ran to the various buildings that resided above. The way point marker led to an old metal service door, the hinges of which showed subtle hints of recent use and maintenance.

The door opened without much effort, and lead to a single large room that was probably a sub-basement of one of the now demolished apartment blocks that had dominated the neighborhood around the safe house.

In the room was a metal chair bolted to the floor, a table, and most importantly four flood-lights like one would see on a construction site, hooked up by a series of cables to a generator that sat beyond an open door into what was once the boiler room. With that door closed, the noise of the generator would be much less eminent. There were also four jerry cans full of fuel, and a case of bottled water and canned stews.

The Rougarou was dumped into the chair and four handcuffs were produced to bind it's legs and arms to the chair, but he didn't remove any of it's other bindings. He gave the wounds a brief inspection, and satisfied that the thing wasn't going to kick the bucket any time soon, he finally let himself relax, glancing at the two women.

"If I can get my hands on them, I will set up a series of signal boosters from here to the surface. Wallets probably won't get too clear a signal down here without them. I had a stereo system down here at 110 decibles, and couldn't hear a thing from the surface. With that door shut, it doesn't carry too far down here either."
He gave them a quick tour, as well of the two closest bolt-holes (easiest ways to reach the surface from there).

"I'll stay here with our new friend, you two can head to the safe house and get ahold of your boss. First aid kit in the armoury should have most of what you'll need to tend those hands of yours. You need a mirror and a shower."
He pointed from Aria to Rune, then pulled a folding chair from against the wall and slapped it down near the Rougarou, somewhere he could see the door and the creature. He didn't bother turning on the generator or the lights, apparently intent to just sit in the dark and wait. No point wasting fuel.

Edited by Hood, Aug 20 2013, 05:47 PM.
Mr. White had a good supply for taking these things alive. Aria sighed. It was the last thing she wanted to do, but it was the orders and she could see no reason to disobey them now that no one's life was in danger. Why hadn't she killed it when she had the chance? The curiousity of the man who could do things with out touching them, he was a mystery to her, but it was neither time nor place to contimplate such things.

The way back was rather uneventful. Though Aria was glad she didn't have to carry that thing. It was bad enough it reeked of death and torture. It was nearly enough to sent Aria's stomach into empting itself.

The place they took the lone monster was nearly as safe house. It seemed to come with everything you needed to torture and/or interrigation. Aria wondered what else it had been used for. It couldn't have been used for much yet. It smelled rather clean for such a place.

Aria shook her head. Bath sounded wonderful but he was right she needed to tend her hands, least they scar or worse permanent damage. She nodded and left, assuming Rune would follow at her own pace. She had the key, they both did for that matter and many other things. Aria was glad she didn't have to use anything he had told her to memorize, she wasn't sure she could remember. She wasn't a commando.

The walk back was uneventful. and quiet. Aria was running on the remainder of adrenaline, and she knew as soon as it was gone she'd crash.

Once she go to the safe house Aria grabbed the first aid kit and lugged it to her cot. She wanted to crash someplace at least semi soft when she crashed.

Aria started to tend her hands, removing the makeshift in field ones first. She sighed as she saw the damage done. The snake imprint on her right hand would be an interesting conversational peice if it scarred.

Aria washed her hands throughly, the water made them sting, but it was necessary she told her self. The ointment was easy but the bandages not so much. But Aria could feel the weariness hitting. She tempted to just lie down. But before she did she pulled out her wallet and sent Tehya a message.

"Monster captured. In safe place. Come at your leisure."

Aria hopped that at her leisure would be immediately but the hour was late and she doubted that. Aria laid down and stared at the ceiling.
Rune thought about a few other places they could shove that can of Quick Clot.

She was not happy that this blood sucking ghoul was still alive. In fact, she hung back a long ways, glaring at it, throughout the duration of Hood's strapping it down.

The glasses she eventually had to ditch to a pocket on her vest. They were handy, but they were also sopping wet and there wasnt a dry inch on Rune anywhere to wipe them off. Its not like the buggers had windshield wipers or came with little tiny squeegees.

Aria split pretty fast after the tour, but despite Hood's earlier suggestions, Rune wasn't in too big of a hurry to follow. Besides, it might do Aria some good to have some alone-time.

So Rune copped a squat in a dark corner, leaned against the wall with her hands on her knees and pulled out an energy/protein bar. The wrapper was kind of damp, but the interior was dry enough. She had two, but bite off a chunk without offering Hood one. He struck her as the kind of guy to remember the importance of packing a snack. Snacks were very, very important.

She chewed slowly, watching and thumbing any one of the number of weapons within arm's reach. They were all relatively secured once more, but she really, really wanted to fire something off. Aimed at the Roog.

"This is dumb. Why is this sucker still alive? Why dontcha just step on outta way and I'll take care of this. Yah know, things happen. Sometimes shit just dont go down the way it oughta."

She ripped off another corner of the protein bar and kept on chewing, nice and slow.
With Aria's departure, Hood clicked off the flashlight he had been carrying, leaving the only light that coming from Rune. The room was fairly quiet, aside their breathing and the steady echoing drip of water. There was always dripping water in the underground. There were also always rats, although Hood had set up a few traps and put out some poison in the room to keep them from becoming too much of a problem.

"And that's why I'm still sitting here. By now, your friend has informed your boss. Your boss shows up and shit-for-brains here is dead, it hurts my reputation. My line of work, reputation is very important."
He did find it odd that some important Atharim wanted a Rougarou alive; he wasn't surprised by the thought that maybe they hadn't done much research on the things they hunted.

He was under a rather strong suspicion that they did what they did because they were told to do it, and didn't think twice. Were all Rougarou evil? He had no idea, honestly, he knew little about them to begin with. Cannibals, obviously. Quick healers too. No instant regeneration, but the burns from the Quick Clot had already glazed over nicely. Probably be gone in a few days, if he didn't miss his guess.

So if they didn't really get to know the things they hunted, did they hunt things that weren't actually all that threatening to folks? Just what was the aim with all this? Of course, there was also always the chance that whoever was calling the shots on this one just really wanted to cap one of them personally, and was too old to go on the hunt. That would be a major piss off for him.

"Can't fault you for it, but you know as well as I do that this sucker is called for. You kill this one, another hunter will be forced to try and take one alive somewhere else."
With that, he fell silent and waited. Either Rune would follow suit and clam up, or she would go find herself that shower he had suggested. And some dry clothes. Sitting in the underground would get cold, as wet as she was, and he doubted she was much of a cuddler. He made a mental note to bring down a propane heater at some point.
Rune nommed on the final bit of the snack bar, crinkled up the wrappings and chucked it off to the dim light. The place stank of wet and rat poo, one last bit of trash wasn't going to send it over the edge into craptasticsville, it was already capital of that little country. She licked her fingers with a loud, lip-smacking sound then cringed horridly. She was immediately glad that it was pretty dark in here. Too dark for Cuddles to see her facial expression when whatever she licked off tasted very obviously NOT like protein bar. Gross.

She was still a little puckered with disgust when she answered. "You know what your reputation means to me?" About zilch. Zip. Zero." She made a nice little o-shape with her index finger and thumb just for emphasis. "And I could give a squeaky lil' rats ass-fart about what other hunters do with their time." She rustled around and got up, patting her palms off on the side of her pants. Yeah they stuck to her thighs. Yeah she was cold. Yeah she was glad she was wearing a vest over her shirt cause that built in tank top just wasn't 'covering' 'things' up the way she'd prefer when alone in the dark with Cuddles.

She walked threateningly straight toward the little prick (the monster, not Hood - although that was a very thin difference), put a hand on her hip and waited for his answer. Not that she needed his permission.

"I bet I know what makes your pants grow tighter there Cuddles. Off'in dirtbags. Know what gets me outta bed in the morning? Off'in monsters. So lets axe this muffer and split."
He didn't move when she stalked up to the bound Rougarou. He'd seen this sort of attitude before plenty of times. Guys itching to kill POWs and trying to get someone to back them up. It wasn't that they couldn't do it, they just didn't want to be alone with the responsibility. Of course, Candy was a bit of a pistol, so he couldn't be sure she wouldn't just try to cap the thing anyway.

"Don't give two flying fucks if your people get turned into chew toys? Rather scratch your itch then see what the hell your boss is up to? When was the last time one of your buddies studied these things? Looked to me like Aria wasn't so quick on the trigger with wanting to kill that blob. Didn't hesitate, but wasn't what she wanted to do. What'd she know that you don't? Maybe it wasn't all bad. Maybe it was just protecting it's turf. Not saying it didn't need to be ice'd, but was there a better way? Knowledge is power, as they say."
He glanced at the Rougarou; the thing was starting to stir; would probably be awake in another hour or so.

"Now stop swinging your cock around. You're smart. Sitting down here soaked to the bone, glaring at this thing, isn't doing yourself any favours. Go get showered, and ask your boss just what the hell they're up to with this thing."
He watched her carefully; if she made a play at putting the thing down, he'd have to try and stop her. He doubted a group like the Atharim took well with their hunters breaking orders.
A rumble started in the back of her throat and cold and angry came out. Not the sweet iced tea pissed off kid version but the you aren't the boss of me cryogenic deep freeze till the next century version. She thought about Uncle Seth and her mom and every little kid between when she was one and today that got to keep their parents because of the life they lived.

And here this guy was who wasn't even a freaking Atharim! He didnt even know what they were until a year ago! And stalked around thinking he was in charge when all he did was use the society to profit off their selfless members!!

She yelled. Good thing that 110 decibels didn't reach the surface, cuz Rune was probably almost that loud. "Don't try turnin' Aria on me! I told yah I done give no rats farts bout no other hunters! And that includes her! And she may be another furia but that don't give her no special rights. And you" she pointed at him, friggin fuming! "may be some baddass killer but only one ah' us is atharim! And I done care iff'n this bag ah'bones is the pope! Its a monster! Whatdya need to study 'em for! I got all your booklearnin' right here!"

She drew her pistol but did not aim it. Hell it wasn't even cocked. Maybe she was a little bit afraid of Hood, maybe some small part was worried about Tehya. But right then all Rune knew was what Uncle Seth raised her to be, a hunter. And hunters didnt have mercy. They didnt save for a rainy day. They took out a monster when they found one. She paced back and forth in front of the Roog, a caged lion really really wanting to get out of this circus. "And stop tellin' me what to do like you're my da' or something!"
Combat was a dangerous thing. That's why people did it in groups; having someone to watch your back and pull your bacon out of the fire was a damn handy thing. But apparently Rune thought she could go it alone, that no one else mattered. He despised that mindset. He'd met more then a few people in the past who seemed to think they were the main character in the game of life. No team could thrive with someone like that on the roster, and he (or someone like him) had made sure those sorts of people either learned quick to get with the program, or they got dead.

He stood up slowly to stare down at the kid in the middle of her temper-tantrum. She probably had some sob story, certainly had daddy-issues. Some reason to think she was a special little flower. His anger was barely kept in check, although looking at him he seemed dangerously emotionless. "You''re right, I'm not your fucking father, now curb the fucking attitude, girl. Aria saved your ass tonight. Wasn't for her, you'd be dead. You don't care about anyone else, is that it? No one worth your fucking time? Fuck, I'm GLAD I'm not one of you fanatics."

He stepped closer to her, just daring her to raise that pistol on him, "Cats out of the bag kid. You can't be trusted to watch your own team's back. You saw one, and you took off on your own. Right into the fucking fire. Then what? In over your head, first thing you do is scream and cry and fucking panic. It's a good thing Aria kept a level head and took one alive, because I killed mine as soon as I heard you screaming. Next time, I might just let you scream. You don't have your team's back, they don't have yours. This is a big city. Things here you need to worry about other then your fucking monsters. Custodians. Police. CDPS. Gangs. Murderers. Rapists. Fuck, you'd fetch a pretty penny in the sex trade, after a few shots of heroin. So get your head on straight kid. You need friends here, and I'm just about done trying to be fucking cordial with you."
Rune hadn't come back yet. Aria wondered what had happened after she left. Did she get lost? Was there more trouble? She had no real excuse to go back. The last think she needed was those knuckle heads emotions. But until she left this safe house, they were a team, and teams have each other's back. At least she hoped that held true for everyone, commando's typically did she could only hope for that.

Aria got up, her hands stung, she wasn't going to sleep no matter what she tried. The precious bubble had been breached enough today, but she had to at least make sure Rune was okay since Mr. White was clearly in it for the long haul. Aria went for the fridge and grabbed Mr. White a beer and a couple bottles of water. Rune had drank all hers and Aria didn't think it would be a good idea to bring her the so-called swill he drank. As much as they had fought, Aria had learned a few things. The biggest thing being, don't get on the wrong side of either of them.

Aria made her way back to the hidey hole that they were using for the capture of the monster. Aria still wished she knew what the thing was for. Surely they could have accessed the Rougarou files from the Vatican. Extensive research was done there. Hell even Aria had dissected one of the dead bastards when she was young. Instead of frogs like most kids, Aria got to dissect monsters.

The way there was quiet, until she got in hearing and feeling distance of the lock up. Aria sighed, she could barely hear but she could feel the argument and the tension in the room. Aria stuffed the water bottles in her pockets then pulled her gun from her holster, who knew what was around that corner.

Aria heard Rune yell at Mr. White, "Don't try turnin' Aria on me! I told yah I done give no rats farts bout no other hunters!" What? That was one sure way to get your ass killed out in the field. If any hunter heard that she'd be dead meat for sure.

Mr. White came back with his own anger and Aria was seriously feeling the same thing at that very moment. "Things here you need to worry about other then your fucking monsters."

Aria could only guess why they were fighting but she was sure it had to do with the monster that was sitting chained in that chair.

Aria stepped into the room and frowned. The two were toe to toe again. *click* Aria cocked the handgun and pointed it at the ground. She didn't want to shoot anyone, but she would if she had to. Rune was standing nearly on top of the rougarou. "Back the fuck off MY monster."

"Listen up initiate, " granted she wasn't much younger than Aria, but there were things she didn't know about the Atharim, "You want to ice this thing. Go for it. You disobey orders and see where that lands you. You know what they do to people like us?" Aria didn't wait for an answer. "If a Furia doesn't join the Atharim? They put a bullet in your head and burn your body like any other fucking monster! So sure go right the fuck ahead and shoot your orders!"

Edited by Aria, Aug 21 2013, 07:50 PM.
Rune wasn’t a horrible cold hearted person. It was clear nobody saw it, but she had a huge heart and an enormous capacity for charity. It was hard to see, some place deep in her empathy understood that. Rune was not a fuzzy little teddy bear on the surface. She was a cowboy turned pixie. She had the arms of a basketball player, and the street-smarts to go a good ole three on three and walk away without getting shot. But a lot of it was game and saving face. Hood’s reaction, well she really hadn’t anticipated it. He beat her down as thoroughly as if he’d actually struck her. She had no idea how to react, but to throw on that thick-skin force field and stand there and take it. Or leave. She should leave.

She started to leave.

But Aria came barreling in, snarling more of the same poison as the pissed off rattlesnake she was leaving behind.

Then she took another beating. But the formerly summoned callous wasn’t good enough. It hurt. It hurt like betrayal.

When Aria was done screaming, Rune holstered her pistol calmly and arranged herself for a packing up also doing as Aria said and backed away from her monster. It was clear these two would rather kill her than let her kill a monster: their priorities were all backwards. And they were suppose to be on the same side. It hurt. It hurt because Rune felt like everything she loved about the Atharim was crumbling between her fingers. The cause of the Atharim (rather than the actual members of it) was close to her as family. Aria and Hood should have the same cause as she, they were suppose to be on the same side! Yet every time Rune stood up for herself, they nipped at her heels. This time, they both hamstringed her.

She shook her head and forced herself to stop studying her own feet. When she looked up, her eyes were red with anger and pain. She could forgive Hood, probably. He didn’t know, and he really was a killer. And combing over every single word that burnt her spirit, he probably thought she was betraying him. Though Rune honestly had no idea what else she was suppose to have done when that Roog took off running. Was she suppose to just let it get away? Call the committee together to talk about it first? It wasn’t her fault a bannik killed it before she got there. Then what was she suppose to do? Leave the bannik to keep stripping more people’s skin off? There were more innocent folk down here than one pack of roog’s. It had to be taken out too.

But Aria. Apparently Aria saved her skin? How did that work? Aria was the better Atharim? Which furia had the wits to lead them to the pack’s hide out in the first place? Who dragged her heels and sucked up to Cuddles? Who freaked out just walking down the street? That girl wasn’t stable. Yet somehow she was the golden girl of the group.

Rune took a deep breath and changed her mind about leaving. She had to get this out first.

Her voice was weak at first, but after their pounding yelling echoing around the room of before, it probably sounded like more than a whisper just by comparison. Though she knew she spoke in a regular, conversational tone. ”I ain’t sure how it is you lot saved my skin back there. I ain’t gonna point out who thought of freezing the bannik to death just as I ain’t gonna point out I never asked nobody to abandon their jobs to run after me. I’d never!” her voice grew stern and passionate, ”Ever ask anyone to let a monster go just to save my worthless life.”

She swallowed and unclenched the fists at her side and turned right toward Aria. “You call me an initiate,” and she shot a glare toward Hood, ”and you say we’re a team.” She threw her hands up in frustration, ”Well we don’t got no fancy headquarters across the lil’ pond you guys forget about. We’re on our own over there. And iffn you’s stuck in some Mexican jungle facing down some blood-sucking Choop it don’t matter who got what on their arm. You just kill it. You don’t check in with management.”

She shook her head, disappointed. ”We ain’t got no teams. We ain’t got nobodys backs but our own cuz there just ain't enough backs to go around. We ain't no frat. Fact, we go out of our way to steer clear of another's turf. Its called respect. I don't stir your pot, and you don't stir mine.

So iff’n you don’t watch your own back, you die. Probably in the nastiest way you can think.

We don’t got no puppet masters sittin’ at some desk. And we don’t take no orders, except kill everything that ain’t human. And THAT”
she pointed suddenly at the Roog tied up, ”Ain’t human!”

Her arm fell heavy back to her side. Knowing she was singing a tune they’d heard before. But Rune wasn’t gonna stop trying to convince them. She had a duty. Deep in her bones! To set right the unbalance that creature broke. To stand up for her beliefs, even if it cost her her life, friends, safety and convenience. She could work Moscow on her own if she had to. She'd find a way. Everybody was so freaked about the Undercity, she had no clue if anyone was worried about the innocent townsfolk of the Golden Ring. ”You think I want to leave the Atharim?” She asked with a strain of shock. She couldn’t believe Aria implied that. ”The Atharim is everything I am. I could no more walk away from this life than hop out of my own skin.”

She cast a final, longing look at the pummeled-faced roog, pushed her lips together in defeat and made to leave, eyes hot with frustration, disappointment, and regret: regret for their loss of duty.

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