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Jacinda hesitated, a look of startlement on her face. Tenzin surprised her. She checked her wallet. She was all kinds of excited tonight, like energy bounced around inside her, begging to be burned off. Yeah, cooped up WAAAAAY too much in that house. She'da gone with Tenzin on her runs but for the fact that during most of her time recovering, running hurt her lower back.  And, yeah, they had a bit of time. Likely it was nothing to do with them anyway.

Still, that movement. Something about it tickled her mind. She wasn't sure what it was.

She shrugged. "Eh...let's just check it out. And then we'll go." She laughed. "Haha! Busted! I knew you were a secret fan. You don't have to use me as an excuse, you know."

They headed over in the direction she'd seen movement, the traffic distant, the only real sound themselves. It was dark, of course, but through the spaced trees, something like a bench could be made out. She paused and, after a moment, pulled a stave. Not a lot of use against a gun but the heft was reassuring. And gradually, their eyes adjusted so that the faint shades of black resolved to more recognizable shapes. Definitely a bench, garbage can next to it. Tall lamp post too, though it was out.

And no one else. This was where the shape had come from. She looked at Ten and nodded, moving slowly, getting close enough that the moonlight made everything more or less visible. Black streaks and drag marks marred the grass. She already knew what it was but still took a moment to touch a finger to one, felt the tackiness on her finger tips before rubbing them vigorously into a clean patch down to the dirt, to clean it off.

Could be a serial. Could be. But Moscow had an unusually high number of creatures that needed some killing. She looked at Tenzin. "Let's see if this was human done."
"Very secret." She rolled her eyes and flashed a grin. There was an edge to her tonight that no amount of running could shake off, though Jacinda did not deserve the bite and so she tried to swallow it. She'd come to this park to exercise a few times, a pleasant distraction from the sounds and smells of the city, but sometimes the dissonance got to her too. It had been months now since she'd last run with her pack, and the absence of their thoughts against her own began to take its toll. The dream kept the connection alive, but at times it only made waking harder.

Jacinda knelt to test the dark stains, but Tenzin already knew what it was; the stench filled her nostrils, wrinkling her mouth. Not just blood, but the reek of dead flesh somewhere close. Nothing else stirred in the darkness, which cast less shadows anyway to Tenzin's sharp gaze. There was no reason to be cautious as she padded to the edge of the ditch and pointed. "Down there"
The voice that replied to Rune’s interrogation wasn’t threatening. Except for the fact that her face was black and blue, she would otherwise seem docile. Instead, she was rather cool-headed with the whole situation. Rune should probably punch her on the arm and take her apple, just to send her on her way to be on the safe side. If things got hot, she wasn’t going to be able to defend someone and kill whatever it was that took out an armed cop.

She lowered the flashlight just enough to no longer blind the girl. That apple looked delicious, too. “You should go the long-way tonight, then. Cuz there’s something rather spooky down here. I’m an exterminator and believe me, they don’t call me in unless it’s a nasty infestation.”

She shoo’d the girl onward, light beam guiding the direction backward.
The beam dipped and Pond relaxed her shoulders to convey relief.  She blew out a breath and scrunched up her face before adopting a goofy expression once more.  “Thanks man, I’ve got a killer headache.”  The slip of a girl listened around polite chewing, her face shifting from confusion to excitement to wariness.  Amelia’s mouth pulled downward to settle somewhere between disgust and repugnance.  Her eyes slid first along one seam of the retaining wall then moved to the other, checking the corners before coming up to meet the other woman’s gaze again.  

“Is it rats?  I hate’s rats, isn’t it?  I read their poo is super toxic when it gets smooshed and becomes airborne.”  Pond chattered on.  “That’s why you’re Wyatt Earp-ing it with that bandana, huh?  You don’t wanna breathe it?”  Another crunching bite, then around chewing; “But it’s all water down here after the rain yesterday so you don’t really need it, huh?”

She squinted an eye and tilted her head a little as if she’d just processed her dismissal.  “No can do, boss.  That wall is what? Eight feet?”  Amelia turned her head to look with the light.  “Naw, I can’t make that with my little noodle arms...err, arm.”  She held up her cast and made a faint, almost-to-herself ‘arr’ sound.  The girl’s face lit up in a wickedly impish grin and she said quietly, “All the dinosaurs feared the T-Rex,” then chuckled darkly. 
Rune wrinkled up her nose under the bandana. She couldn't come right out and say that she smelled bad things, given how aware of the insanity such a proclamation was. Instead, she grr'd inwardly. "Alrighty then. Com'on, but first ladder we find you're shimming right on up it." At least she'd have company for the night. Being alone for basically the first time in her life had more drawbacks than perks, no matter how emo Uncle Seth was.

Besides, the waggly t-rex arms were pretty funny. She waited for the girl to catch up to her side before shining the light the other way. Meantime, she held Baby at her side. When she showed off the weapon, a coy grin snarled her lips upward, "Rodents of unusual size," she quipped. "So what's your name? I'm Rune."
Jacinda walked to join Ten looking down into the ditch. Ah shit! A cop lay in there, his head facing the wrong way. Yeah. This was bad alright.

So....shots fired. Someone running from the bench. Man found in a ditch. Which meant the runner wasn't the shooter.

She looked right and left down to see where it led. It wound and wended around a jog so that she couldn't see anything else.

She looked at Ten, thinking. "Who runs toward a gun shot?" There was something going on. She sighed, looking off in the direction they had been headed. Ah well. She dropped, turning so her hands cought the ledge at the last moment to break her fall.

She looked right and left, and then knelt at the body. Pockets looked to have been emptied. Still on squating, she took everything in.

Guy was big. Like one of those small town line backers who missed the glory and power and decided to become one of the local LEOs. Too bad buddy.

She looked at Ten when she joined her. "Even without his gun, this woulda been hard to do." The growth at the bottom of the ditch showed signs of a struggle, but far less than she'd expect. Like seriously.

Her hackles rose. "Yeah....this wasn't human." A feeling of loss came over her. Gah! They were gonna miss Katy tonight. But...maybe she was in town for a few more appearances....

OK girlie. Let's focus. We have a job to do. The loss drifted away. be fair, it sort burned away...she loved her a good hunt. And that thrill was starting to rev her engines a little. She smiled at Ten and then looked at the trampled growth in the ditch.

The trail was pretty obvious. She pulled her staves, checked the charge. Her grin was wolfish. "Let's follow."
Another goofy grin emblazoned itself across the girl’s marred face at the invitation.  Granted, this was a public park...public runoff but whatever.  Better than a round or seven headed her way.  She held the apple with her middle finger and thumb, no real reason other that it was more ergonomic, and so an index finger salute was affected off her temple and forward.  “First ladder, aye-aye cap’n.”  It was two steps to the start of the water and Nika splashed forward playfully until she neared the other woman.  The water deepened with every step and she wasn’t about to be rude and soak her new big sister.

Her wide smile was appreciative of the weapon; she’d always admired that model.  Wicked.  She said as much and laughed genuinely at the other woman’s joke.  “Nice to meet you, Rune.  I’m Amelia.”  A one-shouldered shrug.  “Or Amy if you’d like, I’m not particular.”  The assassin started off in the flashlight’s new direction munching happily away at her apple.
Rune's stomach growling broke the silence that fogged the air like humidity. A crispy, fruity scent wafted between the layers of stench curling her nose, mixed with the hunger, and Rune wanted to vomit on the combo. Tootie frutie and rotten eggs did not go well together, unless, surprisingly they were talking about jelly-beans because any combination of jelly-belly was somehow delicious. (Excluding the vomit one).

"Amy is way better than Amelia, if you ask me," Rune replied. She had her own long-name that she would curse and dance on Uncle Seth's grave (if she knew where it was) just to pay him back for it. Amy's oo'ing and aww'ing over Baby made her flash a proud grin. She held the thing carefully, though easily, as they progressed. Rune paused in place about then. The wind shifted and the smell grew worse. 

She put a hand out to halt Amy, then a stern 'sush' quieted any additional protest. The flashlight beam swept left and right, but there was nothing but damp walls and glistening surfaces.
Pond agreed.  “Yeah, there’s a time and place for ‘Amelia.’  Mostly when I’m in trouble…”  She grinned and brought out the dimples.  The two women walked onward through progressively deepening water, knee-high now, around a bend and under the footbridge as they talked.  The runoff came to a pool interrupted with large drain pipes and the like leading doubtlessly into the creepy beyond.  Amelia looked around.  “Well then, no ladder,” and was shushed.  Really.  Who is Rune?  Not a cop.  Atharim?  That would be hilarious.  

Nika almost laughed aloud but the other woman seemed serious enough about her search.  Sharp ears?  The assassin hadn’t heard anything.  BB would be a little too far out still to affect a scan.  She looked around, the pipes were certainly big enough for them to fit in so maybe something was in there.  The left pipe had a sturdy-looking grate but the right drain grate was hanging agape.  Amy swiveled her head, about to suggest a reconnoiter but was interrupted by a flash of monochrome and a lot of teeth.  Surprise!  

It had been watching them.  Waiting.  The beast took the littlest one first; the monster’s speed and strength showcased by the effortless extraction and distance it took her before killing her.

Her companion, however temporary, was left with only a disembodied grunt.  The sound hung in the space Pond had occupied a only blink ago.  There one second, gone the next.

It took her all the way under the bridge at their backs.  Again in a blink.  The monster was impossibly fast.  They landed as one with a loud splash in the dark shadow cast from the structure above.  She was pinned and it attacked without pause thrashing wildly in the water.  Sharp talons tore at the girl’s abdomen and chest.  Sounds escaped the darkness as though straight from a horror vid.  The beast snarled.  Cloth shredded.  Globs of detritus flung wetly into the bracketing walls.  Pained, sickening gasps and gurgles more liquid than air echoed briefly from the space.  Then nothing.  Over and done in less than six seconds.  

A green apple bobbed from the shadows.

The monster revelled in its victory.  The girl lay below the water’s surface; oddly encased arm bent defensively upward near her face, the other flung wide.  A necessary sacrifice.  The other would be easier now.  It could almost taste the blood in the air; more blood.  It grew eager, excited to feed again.

Silence from the darkness until something stood.

The thing moved away from her.  Patience.  She was patient.  Nika held her breath and counted the passing seconds to calm the small part of her brain still screaming about what had just happened.  Fighting initially had not had a high probability for survival.  This had been the only viable option and it had worked so...yay.

Her head rose naturally with the ebb of the water and she breathed again ever so delicately through her nose.  Only years upon decades of training kept her from gulping in all the atmosphere at once.  Mental focus kept her systems in check; channeled them toward something useful.  

Still playing dead she slit an eyelid.  Barely.  The creature was in full view and moving away still.  Patience and calm.  Infinitesimally she moved her arm back toward her body.  Toward her gun.  Waiting.  She needed more noise from anywhere else but her.  What was the phrase?  Careful what you wish for?  Well Holy Shit, there was another one.  It had just gone for Rune; she was about to be flanked in a very bad way.  

The assassin exploded into action.  She drew her weapon and raised herself into a crunch simultaneously.  Wrist braced atop her knee, she fired.  Three times, sound and flash suppressed; the tool of an assassin.  The grouping was intentionally tight for the first two; stacked through the back right where the heart was.  The third was a headshot.  Nika knew her ammo, had picked it specifically for certain attributes.  The rounds fragmented upon impact and shredded anything inside a five and a half inch diameter.  What that meant was, even if the thing’s vital organs weren’t where they should be...its brain was mush right now.  It also meant she hadn’t just sent three rounds through a monster into her ally.

The monster, her assailant, was dead before it even hit the water.
Amy was ripped from her feet with such ferocity, Rune was sure that only the girl's boots remained. There wasn't time to check. A brick wall slammed. Rune flew from her feet. Alarmingly, she didn't land. Pressure squeezed her ribs. Claws dug. She wondered momentarily if she died and this was the crossover to the other side. Think about it, a person is walking down the street then BAM hit by a bus. What would they feel in those moments? A slam and floating was the only thing Rune really imagined. Only, she wasn't floating exactly. Air rushed by her cheeks. Her hands clawed at the bulk lifting her. Another alarming thing was the loss of Baby and associated empty palms. She'd make the most of it, though. Given she definitely wasn't dead. Not yet.

A swing and her fist pummeled into the lump of flesh that carried her through the cold air. It screeched a high-pitched squeal that tried to burst Rune's eardrums. So she did it again and again until her fist was on fire and her arm burned. The moon flickered pale light, and Rune glimpsed gray flesh and saggy skin. She was certain to be a hundred feet in the air and was definitely going to smash like a dropped pumpkin when the she-beast dropped her, but better than carried away by a harpie to its lair. 

Twisting like a captured rat, Rune finally broke free and then she floated for real. Her eyes closed, heart tight, but somehow freed of the fear of her impending doom. 

Turns out, she wasn't 100 feet in the air. Maybe more like 10 feet. Because she landed very fast, and although quite a blow that knocked all the wind from her body, she wasn't smashed to bits. The groans escaped despite her best effort at bullet-biting silence but she soon rolled to her side and tried to get up. Gunshots popped below, and she realized that she'd been lifted up and out of the ditch and deposited on the nearby grass. Which explained her relative survival from the fall.

Luckily, she had her backup pistol tethered to her leg. It was an itty bitty .380 ACP that was a larvae compared to the hulkster that was Baby, but it fired good enough to suit her purposes.

Rune had to put a hand to her dizzy head as soon as she aimed, and decided to keep to one knee rather than stand all the way up until the Looney Tune stars circling her skull faded. Battle cries and gunshots, screams and splashes drew Rune to the edge of the ditch where she looked over the side and tried to find hide or hair of the lost girl.

But the fight wasn't done yet.

[[Ooc: Note that I reckon there's 2 more of them. the one that Rune was punching on and is flying around doing its thing and one more likely that hasn't made its debut yet. I don't know if Rune can see Amy or not - I'm assuming its dark down there and she dropped her big gun and the flashlight when she was swept off her feet.]

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