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Red Sky at Night (IC)

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Sunday 3rd February 2013

Waterfront Docks

Nearly midnight...

A slightly irritating drizzle had hit the city. Not rain exactly, just a few half hearted drops of water than landed in your face every now and again. It was not warm, a sort of cold, damp temperature. It wasn't, to be frank, a fun evening. Not many people were out.

Even the docks seemed quiet. Quieter than normal.

The pier was closed, a lone police officer standing guard, counting money in his hand...

And under the pier, the sound of cheering, leering, and rowdiness, dimly lit by a few fires lit in trash cans...

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Blodeuwedd perched on a roof top silent and still like a gargoyle, watching events unfold down in the dock.

Thing were more or less back to normal after a couple of week’s spent home in Wales and after rebalancing herself she was ready to get back to kicking criminal butt. Subito didn’t really get the whole idea of meditation, despite her trying to explain the whole idea, but she liked the still space’s where she centre herself. Mali had mentioned he tried to meditate himself, bless him.

So here she was keeping an eye out for possible trouble, following up on a vaguest hint of a rumour.

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Tsunami was kneeling down further back from the edge of the roof top behind Blodeuwedd. The Asian teen was not nearly as stealthy as Cerys or Mali, so she wanted to lessen the chances that she might be spotted by someone down below.

The cold of the night air did not bother the teen, nor did the slight drizzle that was falling. Tsunami had been slightly unsure about accompanying Cerys and Mali tonight, but had eventually decided to join the other two teenage girls in checking out a rumor that something was happening down by the city’s docks. Tonight she was wearing a Claremont uniform, with the addition of a mask that the other two had strongly recommend she include.

The teen was relaxed and calm, as she waited for some indication from Cerys that she had seen something, or that they would be moving on to check out another location.

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Mali stalked the rooftops, grateful to be back on the streets. Alternate universe Nazis, cosmic A.I. friends dying...none of that had been any fun. She was glad to be dealing with simpler things. Thugs and drug dealers, gang bangers and mobsters. Far easier to fight, simpler. She loved being on Young Freedom, but she felt so out of her depth. There was a part of her she did not like to embrace; the part that enjoyed fighting. So despite the fact that trouble was likely brewing, she anticipated the coming conflict. She wasn't fond of the weather, though. Rain on a February evening she could do without.

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Blodeuwedd suddenly looked up. “Wait do you hear that?†she cocked her head as if listening to a slight sound “It’s okay, it Mali.â€

She went over to where her friend had approached and unusually for her gave Mali a large hug.

“How are you holding up?â€

They’d not really had a chance, or an opportunity to exchange stories from that day, but from what Blodeuwedd had heard Mali had in some way’s had a rougher day for it. By habit Blodeuwedd wasn’t one to share he feeling but she thought Mali deserved some a little more

“I’m sorry I didn’t stay, but after everything I just needed time to think.â€

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Mali returned the hug and smiled gently. "Better, I calmed down, focused, and got myself straightened out. It was a crazy, long day. I understand why you left, it's okay. Everyone handles stress differently and you needed time away. It happens." She said. It was the truth, after all that had happened, she'd evened out and gotten her head straight. She still didn't like that it all had to go down, but things were better than they'd been, and that was a good thing. At least the stress of everything had started to die down.

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When Blodeuwedd mentioned hearing something, Giang turned to regard the direction the other teen had cocked her head toward. Giang had not heard the noise that had caught Blod's attention, but then, Mali was rather stealthy. But now that she was looking in the general direction that Mali was approaching from, Giang was able to see the disruption in the misty rain begin caused as she moved.

As Blod went over to embrace the Thai teen, Giang gave Mali a nod and a smile in greeting. The events of what the press was calling the Day of Wrath had been trying for all the students at Claremont, though Giang knew that for both Cerys and Mali it had been considerably more personal that it had been for her. As such, it had been somewhat easier for her to refocus and recenter herself in the days that followed. She had been willing to offer what comfort she could to her fellow students, but as most were only slightly more than acquaintances, Mali had been one of the few that spent any time with her, the two meditating together a few times over the last couple of weeks.

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Blodeuwedd paused for a second before continuing “I just didn’t think it would hit me quite as hard as it did…†she gave a deep breath.

“Well that’s all in the past now. I thought we could both do with another night out, and considering what happened last time I thought we’d cut straight to the chase.†She managed a little smile

She walked back towards the edge, giving Giang a little appreciative nod.

“I believe you two know each other.†She knelt down looking out towards the docks “Seems a load of thug have been hired for some reason, no questions asked. Shall we find out what there all up to?â€

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"Yes, we do." Tsunami replied with a smile as Blodeuwedd asked to confirm that she knew Crimson Tiger.

As the other teenager brought the conversation back to the reason they were all sitting up on this rooftop late at night and in the rain, Tsunami turned her gaze back towards the dark docks nearby. Going out at night and looking for criminals to deal with was something Cerys and Mali were experienced with, but it was rather new to Tsunami. She had rarely actively gone looking for trouble, particularly as trouble seemed to have little trouble finding her. But, now that she was getting used to being around others her own age more, she understood that meant spending time doing things they were interested in.

Rising up gracefully from where she had been kneeling, she gave a small nod. "I am ready."

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Mali grinned and cracked her knuckles. "Don't care what they're up to, really. If they're doing bad stuff, we stop them. That's all I need to know." She looked at the other two girls and nodded. "Need to be careful though. Even I don't relish fighting huge crowds." She walked to the edge of the roof and began climbing down, ready to start stalking towards the crowd, to figure out exactly what these people were really up to.

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As the prowlers made their introduction, a wandering tramp made his way to the pier. The man looked pretty inebriated from his gait, and the way he swigged from a brown paper bag pretty much confirmed that impression.

He half walked, half staggered, up to the policeman counting cash on the pier.

"H-H-Hey M-m-man...I h-heard there wash shum of thosh new dockshers here. I wanna givum I peesh of my mind, yanowatiymsayin?" he mumbled, waving his fists around in wheeling motions.

"Wordsh ish...wordsh ish...fightinsh talk...us old timersh, we aynowpushoversh...yanow? ifthersh fightinshtalk, we givum fightinsh talk..."

The police office pulled out his night stick and gave the man a none-to friendly shove.

"Take a hike man. If you know what's good for you. You may have heard right. But if you did, you won't last ten seconds down there. Just beat it, before they spot you, ok?"

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Blodeuwedd paused at the edge of the building and looked not unkindly at Giang.

“I know stealth’s not really your thing so best you stay a short way behind. Well make sure that everything’s reality safe. And problems just give us a call.â€

With that she dropped off the edge of the building and tumbled gracefully to the alley below. Then with hardly a sound she made her way towards the dock, confident that Mali would be doing much the same. Normally she’d use the ring to conceal her form completely but tonight she felt like just using her own natural abilities.

Arriving at the edge of the alleyway she caught the tail end of the bum’s conversation enough to gather that the Cop must be involved. And someone like him would be an easy way to gather some of the information about what was going on. She moved with continued cat like grace until she was behind the corrupt police office.

“What about me? How about you tell me what going on down by the docks?â€

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“What about me? How about you tell me what going on down by the docks?â€

"Jesus Sweet Mary Mother of Christ!!!" Blasphemed the Cop, dropping his night stick and clutching his chest as his heart twisted in momentary agony before resuming beating.

The drunk blinked once, twice, and dropped his brown paper bag to a resounding splintering of glass and the slow seepage of Supa-Sava's Basic Alcohol Drink

"Now now...I...I don't know who you are, but I...I...I'm an officer of the Law...I am...that's right...an officer of the law please don't hit me please don't hit me..." whimpered the shocked cop screwing his eyes up and curling up.

"The new dockers, they paid me...their leader, some guy called Knuckles, he is down under the pier, boasting about the money he and his gang are earning, and challenging any of the old dockers to take him on. Those old dockers, they are pretty hard...but they are getting knocked silly. Knuckles, he is a good fighter. Look, I just got paid to look the other way whilst those guys sorted it out old school, you know? its the best way, really..." he said, his eyes shifting from left to right in an embarrassed way.

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Giang gave a small nod to Blodeuwedd as she mentioned staying a bit behind her and Mali. The Asian teen would readily admit she was not as stealthy as the other two teens. Trying to stay alongside them would likely only serve to increase the chance of detection. Though, there was another possibility.

"I agree, I would only serve to hinder you. But, perhaps I could make my approach in the water?" The teen stated, looking over towards the dark water nearby. "It is less likely that anyone would be watching for someone to approach that way."

In either event, Giang prepared herself to make her way down after the other two, either waiting awhile for them to move ahead, or to make her way towards the water.

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Mali dropped in behind Bloduewedd, but stayed out of the cop's field of vision, letting her friend have the fun of interrogating the man. Her ears picked up his confession. ...Knuckles? That was a pretty direct name. Then again, so was Breaker. She almost relished the opportunity to beat this Knuckles guy down, especially if he was using superhuman abilities to beat people up that didn't know it. That wasn't fair, and Mali was in the mood to make things fair.

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Blodeuwedd whispered into her comm before continuing to talk with the corrupt officer.

“Giang go around via the water and see what you can find out. Stay out of sight and if you get into trouble just call for help. We’re just finishing up here and we’re join you.â€

That done Blodeuwedd leaned in closer to the Cop the folds of her cloak swirling around them.

“Maybe you should consider a generous donation to the charity, maybe for Police Widow’s and orphans, and then early retirement. But for now tell me everything you know about Knuckles and his friends.â€

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"Wha..wh-wh-wh-wh-what?" stuttered the Police officer.

"Yeah, i'll take up mall security...beats standing in the rain on a cold winters day" he said without much enthusiasm. "As for Knuckles, he is some low life street trash. Street hustler, a little sharper than most, and the word is he can handle himself. Bit tasty with his hands, if you know what I mean..." he said, giving Blod a knowing wink.

"Anyway, Knuckles and some of his goons got hired for some dock work two nights ago, stepped right in and took over from some of the regular dock workers on pier twelve. They got some big ship up there, a hauler called the Prince Edward. All seems regular and everything, but the way the workers got shoved out, well, tensions are high. Knuckles is loving the cash though, and flaunting it."

He waved his night stick to the soft light of fires beneath the pier.

"And now he is fighting them! Drunk as hell, but even drunk, he is battering those that want a shot at him half senseless...watch your step with him!"

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"I will stay in touch." Tsunami replied over the comm. unit as she moved off towards the edge of the water before slipping in. While not any faster than a normal person on land, once in the water, Tsunami was far quicker and more maneuverable. With relative easy, she slipped under the surface of the dark water and within moments had swum out to about a hundred feet from the underside of the dock that they had been observing. Satisfied she was likely a decent distance away, the Asian teen slowly came back up towards the surface, her head just coming up above the water so she could try to see what might be going on under there.

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Tsunami was in little or no danger of being spotted, it seemed. The night was dark and it was raining, and being largely submerged, she could swim to a few dozen yards of the commotion in almost complete cover, with just her eyes bobbing in the gently lapping but cold sea.

There were perhaps two dozen men, maybe a few more, it was hard to say. There was a fair amount of booze flowing, enough to hit Tsunami's nostrils even through the salty sea air. It was stale and cheap.

They were gathered around a fire in a steel drum, providing warmth and light. There seemed to be two parties, although it was hard to tell, about equal in number. One, a group of dockworkers, kitted out as such, one a group of thugs, also kitted out as such. Words were shouted, and unfriendly. Tensions were high.

At least two dock workers had been knocked out cold, or at least were pretty stunned and prone.

Claiming victory for this was a thin, razor-muscled man with a mop of ginger hair, stripped to the waist and raising his hands in victory.

"C'mon then! C'mon then! You get yerself a problem with Knuckles and his gang, have ye? Want to take a swipe at me do ye? well, c'mon then! C'mon! whose next! whose next? If ye think yer so tough, cmon have a go if ye think yer hard enough!"

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Mali stalked towards the crowd, slowly and carefully. She stopped and watched Knuckles. He was wiry, lean, fit. However, she could tell that he was good, but not great. His skills were considerable, but not quite on her level. She knew her stealthy approach wouldn't work once she got close in, so she simply walked towards him.

"Fighting people, eh? Sounds like fun." She said, looking right at him. "But have you actually gotten a challenge?"

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"What's this? What's this? A woman? Come to have a piece of the action, have you?" he laughed, then turned to the dockers, who where muttering to themselves and rather surprised to see Mali turn up.

"You hiding behind a woman now?" he laughed at them, before returning his attention to the Crimson Tiger.

He stopped a moment, studying her build and becoming a bit more shifty.

"Well, it so happens I have had some challengers, but not a challenge, you be right there. But I fight fair here, lady. This be a fight between gentlemen. No Max, No Zoom, No Drugs, or Steroids..." he said pointedly, as he looked her up and down.

"And no metahumans. This is proper fighting. This is about will and blood and spit, between men. Not sumthin' a hero who can fly and shrug of bullets would no nuthin' about. They won't be gettin' any respect, you see?"

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Mali scoffed. "Respect? I can see that, I get it. Makes perfect sense to me. In the ring, on the streets, when you fight honest you earn every inch. You feel alive when it's you and them, one on one. All my strength is mine. No powers, no drugs. I've trained to fight since before I could walk, and it's all natural. I got a thousand pound dead lift and I've dropped enough gang bangers, metahumans, max heads and robots to fill Blackstone Prison. This is one woman who's no weakling, I'll tell you that."

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Knuckles took a small step back. It was small, but it was there. He looked around at the crowd.

Can't lose face now...

"So...what are you doing here apart from bragging? You ain't a docker, you ain't in my gang. And you ain't fishing, that's for sure. Maybe you just heard how good lookin' I was and fancied a kiss, is that it?"

"Har Har Har!" he laughed, trying to drum up a laugh from the crowd. They did follow, but it wasn't as enthusiastic as the Irishman would have liked.

"I like your style, sweetheart. And you ain't too unsightly for a gal who looks like a sack o' potatoes. You ain't earned your place in my gang, and I ain't talkin' to somebody who ain't earned it..."

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Blodeuwedd couldn’t help but smile at Mali response to this Knuckle’s posturing, to be honest if circumstances had been different she would have said and done much the same thing. Instead she spoke softly into there shared Comm’s

“Giang the guard mentioned a ship, the Prince Edward, it might be important to all this why don’t you check it out I’ll join you soon.â€

It was a bit of a risk but she moved to behind Mali and gently out a hand on he shoulder before whispering into her ear.

“You really need to do this don’t you? Do you want me to stick around or should I keep Giang company?â€

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Tsunami had been about to call to the others with what she saw down under the docks, but then Mali stepped out into view and began speaking with this "Knuckles." While everyone's attention focused on Mali and her conversation with the gang leader, Tsunami had moved herself closer in, ready to come ashore if Mali needed the help.

But then she heard Cerys message through the comm. unit about a suspicious freighter. Looking along the dock, the Aisan teen noted the ship. "Understood, I will take a look." She replied quietly as she turned away from the scene taking place under the pier and slipped back under the surface of the water. With speed far beyond any Olympic swimmer, Tsunami closed with the underside of the vessel in mere moments.

Moving so she was along the aft side of the ship away from the pier, Tsunami came back up to the surface of the water once again, peering up at the large ship. Focusing on the water underneath her, the Asian teen began rising a one foot column of water up into the air alongside the ship, with her balanced in a crouch at the top of the column.

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