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Closing the Trap
continued from here

20 minutes later they were on the road. 30 minuites after that everyone had their positions. Martin waited outside the rear entrances with Gunnar. Yoshimiro and Cross were out front taking up positions to make the surprise attack. Annemarie was in the comms van a few blocks away from the gentleman's club the man was sighted at. Martin hadn't been to this particular one, but it was high end and he made a note to check it out for other possible godlings. Surely if one frequented here there were others as well.

Fai was standing by in a near by safe house. She would only be called out if there were injuries. Hopefully today they would take out a god. It would be a spectacular day!

Martin sat in the shadows of the alley way. He could see the rear door. He pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lit one up as he stood nonchalantly against the wall. He was dressed in meager gear on the outside, but he wore his thin armored suit underneath. A man like Volodin was likely to have a gun - he was a mobster after all. The armor would do nothing for power blows, but Martin hoped it could stop even projectiles from the godling from killing him. At least prevent them from piercing his body like they had that cop.

Now all they could do is wait and pray that no civilians got in the way. They apparently didn't have to wait long as Martin's wallet buzzed silently against his chest. He glanced at it and saw that the target had left their eyes and ears inside. It was only a matter of time now. Martin whispered into his coms, "Everyone be ready. He could show any time now."
It had taken time- more that it should have, truth be told- to smooth things over with Tatyana. He understood her irritation he guessed. Presenting himself at that table like that was probably not the smartest thing the world. That was obvious enough. But damn but he was tired of all of this!

At least those guys had turned out alright. Even Wallet. It was odd seeing him again, but he seemed harmless enough. Which had worked out for him. So 5 minutes later- or was it 30? You could never tell when talking to a woman- he had kissed Tatyana on the forehead- her face was as unyielding as stone- and had her key in his pocket and walked out the back entrance of Kallisti. He smirked at the bouncer who'd given him grief before and started down the alley.

It was really bright outside in contrast to the shadows and low lighting of the club. There was a slight breeze but it wasn't freezing and the smell of fresh rain in the air only made everything seem newer and clean. It was odd, but he felt good. Nothing had changed, not really. He was still on the lam after all- grudgingly he pulled his jacket hood up- but over all he felt freer.

He got the end of the alley and looked out onto the street. Not too much in the way of traffic. This would be cake.
During the ride over in the SUV Jacinda was quiet, mentally preparing herself. This wasn't like other hunts. Usually, she had a scene to make her way through, a chance to stop and breath and try to get into the prey's head. Gradually little things would jump out at her, little details or insights.

This time, their guy was spotted in some strip club. It would nice to have a read on him. It could help at least a little. On a whim she pulled up her wallet and searched the guy's name. Mostly just the same reports or types of stuff she'd seen before. One or two mentioned his connection to crime and his record. That was interesting. He'd been in and out of the trouble since he was a kid. The gang connection was interesting. A little deeper and she was looking at some stuff on gopniks.

God, if there were ever faces that needed to be punched repeatedly...It reminded her of a bunch of baboons sitting around hooting and posturing to get the females' attention. She liked a tough guy, that was for sure. But real men didn't have to rove in packs and show off to each other. All piss and wind. Hoodlums.

So what did that mean for their guy? Was he a posturing fool? Was he blind when it came to women? She'd bagged a few nasties in her time simply by appearing nonthreatening. It was something to think about.

They wanted to take this guy down for sure. But not in a way that outed them as a group- Atharim and Archangel. She wasn't a fan of contacts but Barovsky had emphasized the wearing of anti-surveillance gear. Anne-Marie had gone after Marko had, explaining some of the stuff they had. So now she was wearing contacts that emitted an interference field around the face. Unless a camera was up close right in her face, they'd get nothing but a bright and shiny blur.

So they were good there. But perhaps they could get Volodin somewhere less public. She leaned forward and spoke over the hum of the car. "So Barovsky, I was doin' a bit of research and thinkin'. This guy seems pretty flamboyant. Anything out in the open and he's liable to just going off like he did in the square, blaze of glory and all that. Wouldn't look great on the news. Maybe I can get him off somewhere more private and then move."
Everyone seemed excited. Yoshimura just wasn't that type of hunter. He took no joy in killing things. It had to be done, and he was good at it, but it wasn't something he looked forward to all the time. It was a duty - not pleasure.

He got his gear together. The Dazer and some contacts that emitted a field around his face - distorting any attempt to record his face. Jacinda spoke of a plan. He had to admit he liked it. It seemed like it would be something the thug would go for.

"Like a honeypot? Might work.
Yoshimura said, keeping his voice soft.
They were standing around waiting. Marko and Fai were joking over the comms. But it was Jacinda that caught his attention. She was suggesting something slightly different than what he had envisioned.

Martin watched the back entrance with Gunnar. He glanced at the large man and he shrugged back in return. Was he willing to trust the American, that was the big question. The Regus had vetted her. Martin had read her file. But did he trust her?

He sighed inwardly. He trusted a whelp of a girl to go after Ascendancy even though she was a monster. Though it wasn't like he had much say in that matter anyway. He had to start trusting his team.

"Alright. Cross bring out your pretties game face. I don't think this one is going to go for the big strong type not if he's visiting a place like this."
There was nothing overly unpretty about the woman. She was just older than the kid by a ways, and she was probably a bit ... larger than he was too. "Try to navigate him back towards were Gunnar and I are stationed. Yoshimura watch the front until I we have sights on him back here, just in case he's out the front door before Cross can get him here. Our eyes and ears inside say he's no longer with him. So he could appear any moment. Keep an eye out. And Cross, don't let me down."
Jacinda laughed at Barovsky's comment. Prettiest game face. She cleaned up real good, she knew that. Could turn heads. But the guy was plainly on the run, hiding. He'd probably be suspicious of some strange woman coming on to him out of nowhere in the middle of the day. She'd have to think of something else.

A thought occurred to her and she moved her head back and forth thinking about it. It could work, she supposed. Depended on how she sold it. She looked down at her clothes. Leather jacket over a button down shirt beneath which was light flexible under-armor disguised as an undershirt. It wouldn't completely stop a knife or a claw from completely getting through but it couple keep the wound from being a massive blood spraying gash.

She began to mess up her hair while on her radio she thumbed Halvorssen and said "Hey Thor, I'm up the street. Can you come here?"
His field tech showed her location so he should start moving right away. Instead, the dot that showed his position on her retinal display stayed were it was, pulsing as if in time to a heartbeat- or maybe someone fuming.

Finally, after a moment, his comm came back. "Sure. Hold on." She smiled, guessing he didn't care for the name. Which pretty much settled it in her mind. He was Thor.

He came around the corner out of site of the club. The look her gave her was flat.

She met it with a smile. He really was something to look at. If only she could do something about his sense of humor. Maybe over drinks or something. "Relax. I need your big strong muscles."
The startled look in his eyes was priceless. She laughed, going on. "Volodin's probably on alert. I can't just walk up to him batting my eyelashes. I need you to hit me."

And he smiled, then laughed, shaking his head. About damn time! At least he wasn't dumb. He understood almost instantly. He walked closer to her. "Make it look good. Some blood."
As she spoke she took off her jacket and pulled at her shirt, tearing it in a few spots around the neck and popping a button, as if she had been manhandled. It didn't look great. She looked at him. "Do that too, k?"

His blue ice eyes still held a smirk as he reared back and smacked her open palmed across the face. The pain came to her a moment after the smack and she realized she had spun into a wall. Her nose ached, the pain radiating outward in stronger circles. The taste of iron in her mouth said her lip had been split. It had been a good one. But still not enough. She spit the bloody saliva out and said, "Again."
His hand moved so fast she didn't even see it- and then couldn't see at all as spots and lights danced around and she realized she was on the ground shaking her head and wishing she hadn't.

To his credit, he was down by her side almost immediately. "Are you ok?" His voice was soft and there was concern in his eyes. She liked that. She liked him. Hard and professional enough to hit her without a moment's thought. But also cool and caring. She laughed and spit out the mouthful of blood that was there now. It hurt and the side of her face throbbed with pain, but all the same, she was having fun.

"Yeah, I'm alright. Next time, though, I get to kick your ass."
He genuinely smiled as he helped her up. Then he took her shirt at the collar and waist and pulled at her, swinging her around. The pop of buttons and tearing of threads only took part of her attention as her already throbbing head suddenly felt like it was sloshing around against the sides of a truck. "Alright alright!"
she finally got out, and he stopped.

He never lost the smile on his face though, even as he looked her up and down. "Good."

She gave him a smile even as she comm'ed Anne Marie. "You got a twenty on his location?"

The girl came back. "Check her display. Look's like him sneaking out an alley. Tagging him on the map now."

Immediately, she could see the location on her overlay. She wasn't far and thankfully he was coming in her direction. She looked at Thor one last time with a wink- which hurt like a son-of-a-bitch- and stumbled out. Hopefully their paths would cross.

And then they'd see what happened.
A quick look in both directions and- hand's jammed into his pockets and hoodie up- he started off across the street at an angle. The sun was bright for this time of year but it felt good. This place didn't exactly smell of roses but it wasn't bad, especially after all the rain they'd been getting. Maybe spring was coming early.

Bottom line was that with the sun out and shining- albeit weakly- he felt good and refreshed. Tatyana had helped. He snorted. Funny how just a bit of kindness went a long way. Made a man feel all kinds of special inside, even. It was about time too. He still had a lot of trouble to avoid. But it would blow over. It had to. He'd prolly even get stuff sorted out with Roman. One way or another anyway. That sun was doing wonders on him, it seemed.

Once across the street, he headed up the way to where scaffolding from some maintenance work over-hung the street. He didn't really feel like moving back in the shadows where it was noticeably colder but he didn't need to be stupid either. He still needed to be careful.

Turning up an alley in between the scaffolding, he walked among the construction junk and papers and general shit that seemed to be in all alleys. Definitely colder here. He extended his senses listening as he walked. Nice spot to get jumped. A few places he'd have hidden in were up ahead. After a moment, he prayed and the power flooded him. Despite the cold he felt warm inside. It wasn't just the power. The Virgin hadn't abandoned him yet. She was still with him. Nobody could surprise him now.

He heard ragged breathing and stopped, listening carefully. For some reason he could tell it was a woman. It was coming from behind one of the dumpsters up ahead. He wove fire and carefully walked closer, every fiber of him ready to react.

He peeked around the metal and saw a woman in a white shirt- well it had been white- crouched and trying to hide her tears. She looked scared and angry. But most of all, she looked jacked up. He'd seen girls get jacked before. It was part of life in their neighborhood.. You talked to much or spoke out of turn or whatever and you'd maybe get back-handed or something. Anybody could expect that. But some women seemed to get it worse than most.

You had to mind your own business, of course. You couldn't become the police. But he made sure none of the guys her mom was with did that to her. It had only happened once, when he was 13. And when Bas had seen her busted lip and black-eye and limp, that was all it took. The guy never knew what hit him when he jumped him that night. Two by four to the knees put him down hard with legs that now bent in entirely the wrong direction. And then Bas stopped being all gentle-like and went to town on him, making sure the guy stayed awake and could see his face and knew what this was for. The guy never walked again and had to drink out of a straw for a year. By then Bas was a full member of his crew and any runs at him meant severe retaliation. But after that, no man touched his mom like that again.

This woman had gotten banged up hard, and recently. He could smell the blood on her, the grease in her hair and on her clothes. None of his business.

But he didn't move. She was older than him and didn't look weak. But there was fear in her eyes- fear and terror. Whoever did this to her had to be massive. He liked women with fire and spirit. It just wasn't right to beat that out of one.

Damn it Bas, what are you doing? You've got your own problems! No argument there. But he felt that power flowing through him, felt the warmth of the Holy Mother's smile on him. She had given his respite, mercy. He could do something at least.

"Hey. You ok?"
Stupid question but it was pretty standard for this situation. See what she needed. And what he was willing to give.
Jacinda had spirit. Yoshimura was actually beginning to admire her. She took a beating - all for a ruse to kill a god. She truly put the greater good over her own wants and needs. Yoshimura stayed ready, searching for any sign of Volodin.

He knew Cross would succeed, that wasn't an issue. She was smart, headstrong, and could play a role. She would at least get into contact with him, which would catch their quarry off guard. At this point it was still a waiting game though.

Anne's voice came over the comms. "Cross has made contact."

Yoshimura faced Borovsky. "Just waiting for Cross now. Let Cross make the first strike?"

Everything in Yoshimura's stance showed him to be ready. He was poised and ready to react at a moments notice. Overall, he was feeling very confident right now.
This kept getting weird for Martin. He didn't like the idea of putting a hunter at risk for the sake of the mission. This man was a god. He could knowingly and with power use his ability and smite them down in an instant. This could go very poorly.

Jacinda didn't even consult with them about her plan, it wasn't until the comms yielded pain and agony and the distinct sound of flesh hitting flesh that Martin had any idea of what was going on. The woman was going to play victim and Martin wasn't sure she could pull it off. There was a lot about this woman he wasn't sure about.

Martin didn't like this plan. It wasn't his, he disliked that even more. "The point of this particular version of the op was to get him away from civilization. That's up to you hunny!"
She'd hear him but couldn't exactly respond.

It was really no different if they took him now with his original plan. The point was to limit technology. The god had moved in the shadows anyway as he had expected. This was no different. So him further away from casualties - otherwise this was a bullshit plan.
The girl- well she was a woman but that was how he thought of her especially when when she was scared and helpless like this- seemed afraid to meet his eyes. When she did it was only for a moment before they were looking about everywhere.

He knelt down but still gave her space. No sense in spooking the poor thing. "Hey. I won't hurt you. I promise."
Her shifting eyes seemed to stop for a moment and then focus on him. He could almost see her studying him in the shadows.

On impulse he put his hands to his hoodie and pushed it back to show his face to her. The movement startled her but she calmed quickly. Yeah, she was definitely studying his face. All kinds of emotion played across her face. And then he noticed her looking at him in puzzlement. Or rather, the side of his face. He forgot about the shiner. Once he thought about it he became aware of the dull ache. Strangely, despite the power, it didn't hurt as much. That was odd.

"I'm Ba...Banat."
He caught himself just in time. That drink in the club and talking to Tatyana had really helped it seemed. Too much. It wasn't like things had changed after all.

The woman's head swung sharply to one of the shadowed alleyways and Bas' matched hers. He couldn't hear anything though. Seemed they were both hunted.

"Listen, I'm trying to hide from some bad guys too."
He lightly touched his eye. That seemed to make pain bloom and he winced and gave her a smile. "Well that was kinda dumb."
Did he see a slight quirk at the corner of her mouth? Progress?

"You can come with me."
The fear returned to her eyes. "If you want. I'm going to stay at a friend's. You can come if you want. Or stay out here. Either way."
He shrugged a bit irritably, some of his old spirit returning. That feeling of being hunted started to return. He really didn't have time for this.

He stood and pulled up his hoody and then looked at her. He needed to go. "Up to you. Time to piss or get off the pot."
He started to turn.

came her weak reply. He turned and looked at her. She seemed to have made a decision. Softly, she went on. "I'll come."
Then she stood.

He shrugged. "Ok."
Course Tatyana's was out of the picture now. He didn't want to imagine what she'd do if she came home to find him with another woman. She might not believe that he was actually trying to be all hero-like and stuff. Which was lame. He was a good guy. You just had to, you know, sometimes do stuff. Take care of business. Not like he'd sleep with another girl at Tatyana's house, after all.

So....where to go. He chuckled to himself. Another damsel in distress had needed a place. Maybe she'd help. Nox would probably too if they came back. And puppies always lifted spirits. As she stood and started to follow, he looked at her over out the side of his gaze. Tall for a woman. Solid. And older. Prolly not Nox's type. More the fool, of course. Older women always knew what they were doing. A fine wine that gets better with age, even, especially when they were treated right.

He laughed at himself for thinking these things. He seriously doubted things would go like that. Still, he was the hero, after all, saving the girl from an abusive boyfriend or husband. He wouldn't mind a reward for that.

His laugh continued silently as they began to carefully thread their way back to the warehouse. Luckily it wasn't far. He knew he was kidding himself, but it was still fun to think about.

Bas the hero. Damn right!

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