2012-02-16: Kill Your Girlfriend


Taskmaster_icon.jpg Kalindi_icon.jpg Tabitha_icon.jpg

Summary: Taskmaster takes Kalindi out for a little field trip. Her girlfriend, Tabitha, becomes unexpectedly involved.

Date: February 16, 2012

Log Title: Kill Your Girlfriend

Rating: R

Hell's Kitchen

The rough neighborhood in Midtown West New York known as Hell's Kitchen almost has a darker tone to it. Once you step into this neighborhood the city takes on a different feel, the buildings are shorter but everything feels darker. There is real grit to this part of town where many of the New York City criminals see to make their home.

Taskmaster is sitting up top of one of the rooftops, here in Hells Kitchen, decked out in his mercenary outfit. Clearly he's outfitted for business, as his entire arsenal is packed with him. Even though tonight is one of his regular lessons for his star pupil, he closed the dojo and left instructions for her to come join him here.

Indeed, Kalindi has done as asked by the instructions, coming up towards Taskmaster from behind on the roof, trying to remain relatively stealthy, to pay a visit to her instructor. If Taskmaster doesn't notice her while she's trying to be silent, she decides to actually try and get his attention. She wears a light jacket over the regular workout clothes she tends to bring to the training sessions unless instructed otherwise.

Completely uninvolved in all this, yet somehow still managing to be present, is one Tabitha Jones. The rat girl screams down the streets on her motorcycle, clinging to the back of the vehicle as she weaves around other vehicles, cruising well in excess of the speed limit. A pair of riding glasses are the only thing protecting her head, as she rides without a helmet, and the arms and legs of her teddy-bear backpack flap enthusiastically in the wind. Abruptly, just in front of the building that Taskmaster and Kalindi are crouching on top of, she zips the bike into a parking spot and screeches to a halt; that might've left some rubber on the ground. With the bike turned off and the kickstand secure, Tabitha steps up onto the sidewalk and pauses to brush her fingers through her hair, straightening things out after the ride.

"Good. Yer on time," Taskmaster says, his voice slightly modulated coming from behind his mask. "I think it's about time to put your skills to the test. I picked up a contract this morning, and I'm going to have you…." his voice trails off as he sees the rat-girl pull up just below him. Recognizing her he growls, "Great. Just what I needed."

"You are going to have me… ?" repeats Kali, before approaching the edge of the building to check on what Taskmaster is looking at, and she takes a couple of steps backwards so not to be visible over the edge, wondering curiously at a whisper, "What is she doing here?" She huffs softly and asks, "Do you know her?"

Tabitha's ear flicks, and she glances upwards, just a hair too slow to actually spot Kalindi. She pauses where she's standing, staring upwards for a long moment; and it appears she doesn't have any immediate plans on going anywhere anymore. She turns, facing the street as she produces her cellphone. A few moments later, and a text is sent off to Kalindi. 'R U in Hells Kitch?' it reads, quite simply.

"Yeah," says the mercenary, leaning back on his heels. "Last time we met she was robbin' a bank." He crouches in thoughtful silence for a moment before turning to his ward, "Do you know her?" The question is spoken the same tone of voice a parent would. He knows the truth already. He just wants to know how Kalindi will answer.

Kalindi's phone happens to be on silence, and as such, is silent to the question sent from Tabitha. Kalindi tilts her head slightly at the question from Taskmaster and says simply, "Yes. She is my girlfriend." She pauses for a moment and tilts her head back and forth a few times, "I think I know why you might have seen her robbing a bank… she is not usually a bank robber."

Tabitha remains standing where she is for a long time, holding her phone and waiting to see if she's going to get a response. When it becomes apparent that she isn't going to get one, she slips the gadget back into her pocket; just in time to tilt her head up to face a tall, dirty man who comes to a halt beside her, and offers to sell her her choice of ecstasy, crack, or heroin. She declines the lot, and immediately excuses herself to cross the street, heading for the dive of a coffee shop… directly across from the building that Kalindi and Taskmaster as still concealed atop of.

Taskmaster stands up as Tabitha starts to walk away. "Girlfriend, hunh," he muses. "Change of plans. I'm going to kill her. If you can keep her alive for fifteen minutes, I think that's more than enough to prove that you've got what it takes." And without giving her a chance to argue, he steps off the edge of the building, rapelling down with one hand, and the other deftly pulls one of his .45s and aims at the unsuspecting target.

Kalindi's eyes widen at Taskmaster's statement, hissing, "What?!" She swipes a knife that she quickly crafts from the gold on her wrist across the rope that Taskmaster is rapelling down with, with interest in at least throwing off his aim for a moment as she dives off of the building to land in front of him, using the gold pieces that she keeps on her person to slow her fall. "This is a terrible plan," she says, even as she forms a baton to try and disarm her teacher (of course using enough force to seriously injure most people's arms).

The rat girl's ears twitch, and she whirls about just as she's reaching the opposite sidewalk; and now, in spite of the gloom, she can see Taskmaster repelling down the wall… and pointing a gun at her. She dives immediately to one side; there isn't even a trace of hesitation as she seeks cover behind a muddy pick-up truck, crouching by one of the over-sized, off-road tires and hoping that and the engine block will be enough. Meanwhile, she glances up and down the street, hurriedly searching for anything that might be useful as a weapon. Her options at first glance appear to be to snap off a car antenna, or a sizable rock lodged in the truck tire's over-sized tread. …She opts for the latter, quickly prizing it loose and clutching it in her palm.

Taskmaster's shots go wide, but not by much, narrowly missing the rat girl as his line gets cut by his pupil. Fortunately, he rappelled far enough down the building that he can roll with the fall to keep himself from breaking anything. Kalindi manages to bat the gun out of his hand, the .45 skidding across the pavement and out into the middle of the street. This, however, does little to slow the professional mercenary down, as he smoothly draws the second pistol with his left hand, and with the right there's a low hum of energy as an ethereal blue broadsword pops into existence. Without hesitating, he delivers a series of thrusts and feints designed to maneuver Kalindi into a position to where he can take another shot at her girlfriend. This time Taskmaster isn't holding back.

Kalindi adeptly handles the thrusts and feints, showing her high skill with the batons, but after a couple swipes, she realizes what Taskmaster is doing. The young woman grimaces and quickly alters her weapons with a show of will to the sword and shield that she's been trained on, attempting to use the shield to swipe away Taskmaster's blade and her weapon to attack for his hand once again now with the edge. Her eyes flash the eerie black they tend to when she becomes involved in her training. "Tabitha, run away from here!" The more distance and obstacles between Tabitha and Taskmaster, the less work it will be for Kalindi to slow him down for the remaining time.

Tabitha remains crouched as a bullet punches through the hood of the pickup, a large hole appearing in the metal a couple inches from her head; then her ears flick as the gun skitters across the pavement. She's up in a flash, vaulting over the hood of the vehicle, and hurling her stone through the air as she moves. "Kalindi!" she shouts back, as she launches herself through the air, making a dive for where she heard the firearm land. That's all she has time to say; she rolls across the center of the street, plucking the .45 from the ground in passing, before hurrying to cover behind a… Ford Fiesta? Really? Someone parked one of those here? "Not leaving you behind!" she shouts, as she peeks around the edge of the car just long enough to level the pistol at Taskmaster and squeeze of a shot; and then just as rapidly she's back behind the card, crouching by the wheel well.

It all comes together. Taskmaster's feints and thrusts. Kalindi's counterattack. A conveniently left gun out in the middle of the road to tempt a loved one to do something incredibly stupid. After all of this Taskmaster is left in a position where he's able to snap off a single round to punch through the Ford's flimsy aluminum siding, and through the chest of his target, while putting himself neatly out of the path of the bullets that are fired at him. "Disappointing," he grunts.

Kalindi grits her teeth, but doesn't go to Tabitha's aid: If Tabitha is dead, she is dead. If Tabitha is not dead, then Taskmaster's mission isn't complete, and rushing over will certainly make her dead more than leaving her to bleed will. So the only logical choice is to take another swipe at the gun hand while Taskmaster might be distracted by his mission accomplished, to shield-bash him back. Whether or not Tabitha is okay, she instructs: "He is trying to kill you, not me. If you can, you must go!"

The shot rings out, as does the loud 'pwang' of it punching through the fiberglass fiesta. There's a short delays, followed by Tabitha's lips peeling back and the rat girl letting out a loud cry of surprise and pain. "Christ—aurrgh… FUCK!" she squeals, clutching both hands to her chest where a dark, reddish stain is blossoming, tainting the picture of Twilight Sparkle where the pony stands proudly in the middle of the rat girl's shirt. She gasps for breath, and squeezes her eyes shut for a half second, long enough to try to blink away the pain. It doesn't work, and she forces trembling fingers to pull away from her wound, and pull her cellphone from her pocket once more. Ignoring the blood she leaves on the touchscreen, she thumbs the speed dial for Barnes Academy's emergency number; she leaves it to dial as she throws the phone under the fiesta, and clutches her purloined pistol tightly in both hands. She forces herself to stand, fighting against the searing pain through her chest and the blood trickling from the corner of her mouth, as she levels the pistol and sights down the barrel at Taskmaster. No words are spoken; she just opens fire, squeezing off a carefully aimed shot, followed by another, then another, then another.

The other pistol is knocked out of Taskmaster's hand. The glowing blue sword in Taskmaster's hand quickly snaps into a flat disk, mimicking that of Captain America's shield which he uses to deflect the bullets coming from the injured mutant. "Still alive, eh?" he taunts. "She's tougher than she looks,' he says to his student. "Lucky for her, then. Still. You've got ten minutes left. You gotta do better than that."

Kalindi growls softly when more shots are taken towards Taskmaster, attempting to hit her teacher while he is guarding against the bullets, not holding back and even attempting killing blows if they open up to her, her mind racing as she tries to figure out a strategy to hold the man back for that long. While she does that, she speaks, "I do not think you will live if you do not take cover as best you can." Given that Tabitha knows that Kalindi is incapable of lying, Kali hopes that the statement will have some great amount of effect even as it's spoken calmly (though stuttered as Kalindi still tries to occupy her master). "Do not attack. Just try to keep from harm's way. I will protect you."

Tabitha gives up on trying to shoot Taskmaster, once it's clear that she can't shoot through the man's shield. That is, she gives up after firing one more shot; just before squeezing the trigger she snaps the gun downwards, aiming for her assailant's leg. Then, she drops back down behind the Fiesta, and releases the whine of agony that she's been holding in. She claws at her chest, and tears her shirt open so she can look at the wound directly; a ragged exit wound occupies the right side of her body, just above her breast; the entry wound is somewhere on her back, from where she was leaning against the vehicle earlier. She forces herself to look up, and ignores the blood dribbling from the corner of her mouth as she ejects the clip from the .45, just long enough to check how many bullets are left before slamming it back into place. The rat girl sucks in a deep, ragged breath, before she pushes herself into action once more, keeping crouched as she moves from the Fiesta to the next car; at least this one is a full size sedan of some sort.

Taskmaster fluidly blocks and parries Kalindi's attacks, the power generator on his left wrist snapping to life and adding a glowing blue broadsword to his arsenal. With Tabitha's last shot he maneuvers himself in such a position that he just isn't where the rat mutant would thought he would be, placing, instead, Kalindi. "You know I'm just toying with you, girl," he says when she takes a hit. When Tabitha moves to a different cover he takes the opportunity to throw the shield at her, having it ricochet off one of the buildings to bypass cover. "Just seeing what you've got when you've got something real at stake." There's a slight pause and then one can hear a sly smile in his voice, "IF you've got something real at stake."

Kalindi makes a hissing sound between her teeth at the bullet crashing through her shin, and she wills the gold on her ankle to flow up and cover the wound and hold her leg stable until she can get medical attention, "TABITHA! Just LISTEN!" She tosses her own shield back and thrusts her sword towards Taskmaster, intentionally leaving herself open in a way that she'd commonly mistakenly do in training, but mentally readying the counteroffensive if her teacher goes for the opening, hoping his knowledge of her flaws may actually help her. Her own shield flies quickly through the air, assisted by her powers, to knock it out of the air and boomerang back to her. "I do not see the point of this," she growls, her accent taking on the more demonic qualities.

Tabitha's ears twitch, and she looks up to see the glowing blue shield coming straight for her; at least until it is deflected by Kalindi's, though the rat girl flinches all the same. Still clutching the pistol, she stumbles along to the next car in line, forcing herself to move quickly past the gap between it and the sedan, where she's exposed to view. She collapses to her knees by the driver's door, and spits a mouthful of blood onto the pavement. She kneels there for a moment, blinking back the pain and the haze in her vision, before reaching up to smartly pistol-whip the car window. She feels about for the lock, ignoring the broken glass, before managing to yank the door open. She climbs up onto the driver's seat and reaches over to pull the glove box open, feeling about inside in the hopes of finding a spare set of keys.

Taskmaster moves in for the opening, but not for a killing blow, but to disengage from melee. "The point is to test yourself in real-world circumstance," he says, catching the flying blue disk, having it snap into the shape of a sword. He spins as he does so, and the sword in his other hand snaps into shape of a shield which he throws, not at Tabitha, but at the engine of the car she's gotten into. "Of course, in my line of work you're out to kill somebody and not protect them. But I don't think if I ordered you to kill your girlfriend, you'd follow through with it."

Kalindi's blade extends as her reaction to the opening being taken, as she moves fluidly to let the blow go by her, combining her sorcery and skill, blunting the end of the blade so that if it strikes it will launch Taskmaster back, figuring it will delay him further if he's further away than if he's impeded with a stab wound to a non-vital area. Her shield is once again manipulated in the air to interfere with the flight path of Taskmaster's shield. "Of course I wouldn't, I want her to be alive. And she will be, but now we cannot celebrate that she is eighteen now."

Tabitha has managed to find a set of keys, and is just turning over the engine when a shield crashes into the hood of the car, hammering into the engine with some awful, twisted metal sounds. She slips back out of the car, and collapses on the ground, laying on her side and clutching at her chest. She gasps, curling up into a ball, before forcing herself back up to her feet. She draws in a deep breath, and casts a longing look back towards where Kalindi is still fighting. And then, she's off again; running as fast as she can manage, clutching her free hand to her chest and managing to carry the gun with the other.

Taskmaster grunts as he's shoved back, using the momentum to even further disengage from melee combat. With another snap, the blue shield that he'd been wielding changes into a line, much like Spider-Mans, that he slings at a building to get him further away from the girl. This way he can use the distance to stay out of range from Kalindi as he swings around her to close the distance between himself and Tabitha. "Ha! You're lucky she's as tough as she is, or else this would have been over by now. You can't beat me with the way you're going."

Kalindi grumbles, the glow of her eyes growing 'brighter' as she wills her own shield to burst out into a mesh of fine lines as Taskmaster moves that direction, sharp and ready to cut, right in the way of his current path. This is a technique that Kali's never used in any practices. Using her gold boosted speed, she runs after Taskmaster, using her anklet and shin wound covering to take flight, attempting to attack from behind with her still blunted weapon (now a staff) to crack it down on her master. "Well, I will have to have a talk with her about listening to things I say."

Tabitha continues to half run, half stumble down the street, moving alongside the row of parked cars on the opposite side of them from the sidewalk. She keeps going until the sounds of swift pursuit reach her ears, and she looks over her shoulder to see Taskmaster and Kalindi both rapidly gaining on her. She coughs, blood oozing out the wound in her chest and her breathing making unpleasant gurgling sounds, as she raises her pistol up and sighs down the barrel. She forces herself to wait until the man has picked up reasonable momentum before she fires; aiming not for him, but for his line. By now she's gotten used to the firearm; the question isn't so much if she'll hit it, but if hitting it will do anything for her. Either way, she doesn't stick around to find out, as she turns and resumes her agonizing retreat even while the bullet is still in flight.

Taskmaster changes the shield into a second faux spider-line to dramatically alter his course once he sees the golden net. "Ha!" he shouts, sounding almost pleased as net manages to grab an ankle. "Better!" The thin strands cut into the fabric of his boots, but they don't bite flesh yet, since they're armored. It's hard to tell what happens to the line that Tabitha shot at, since it's moving way too fast. It snaps out of existence, altering Taskmaster's trajectory again to conveniently jerk him away from Kalindi's staff. It snaps to life again, this time as a spear, which he uses to stab at his student, cut at the golden webbing grabbing his ankle, and then throw at his target in one smooth, expertly executed motion.

Kalindi defends against the strike with her staff, using her gold to hop over Taskmaster and take fast flight after the spear he throws, extending the staff into another rapidly moving line to catch the spear and redirect it at her master, all the while the webbing that she created seems to take a life of its own, some pieces being cut by the spear, and some which seems to continue to try at least to crawl up Taskmaster's leg. Her staff reforms and becomes a naginata once there is no present threat to Tabitha, moving to try and jab at Taskmaster if the returned weapon distracts him enough, not really shying against attempting a lethal blow where possible. "Tabitha, take cover! Running will be hard on your body, and I do not want to lose you!"

Hard, ragged breathing is the sole focus on Tabitha's mind, as is the pounding in her ears and throbbing pain in her chest. Her flight descends towards a mere, forwards staggering, and at last she comes to a halt, leaning against a van for support. "Fuck," she croaks, as she turns to look over her head once more. She waits there, watching Kalindi snatch the spear out of the air, while she recovers a measure of her strength. When she moves again, it isn't down the main road. Instead, she turns to rush down an alley, using her second wind to move as hard as she can. As she enters, she points her gun sideways, and two loud reports announce her opening fire on the side of a car in passing. She continues to run, while behind her the fuel tank ignites into a fireball, engulfing the vehicle in flames and belching forth a cloud of heavy, black smoke.

Taskmaster simply snaps off the power to the returning spear, using that hand to pull out the katana that's strapped to his back to parry the naginata. He whirls and parries Kalindi's attacks, making the fight look graceful and effortless, much like one would see in a kung-fu movie. His attention snaps to the rapports of the two gunshots and gets himself behind cover before the exploding car can throw shrapnel his way. Once the roar of the explosion dies down, the tinny sound of a digital alarm from a watch can be heard. "Well," he says. "That's fifteen minutes."

Kalindi responds to the graceful fighting in kind, occupying Taskmaster with that for awhile. When the car explodes, she solidifies the web back into a shield, bringing it in front of herself to protect herself from the shrapnel that comes off of it, holding the naginata still in a defensive position and eying Taskmaster warily. "You will not do more harm then?"

As it turns out, shooting the gas tank might not have been Tabitha's best plan, and had she known that the fifteen minutes was almost up she might not have opted for it. Now, the rat girl lays on the ground in the middle of the alley, with the gun still clutched tightly in hand. She drags herself back a few inches and rolls onto her right side; a particularly gruesome gurgling sound issues from her throat before she vomits out a large mouthful of blood. The .45 is shifted to her left hand, and she points it at the entrance to the alley and the roaring blaze; and there she remains, fighting to keep drawing breath while sighting down the gun.

Taskmaster gives Kalindi a shrug. "Yeah, I'm done." He shakes his head and gestures at the car. "You better get your girlfriend out of here. People in this part of town are used to the occasional gun fight, but blowing up a car is gonna attract more attention then you want." His mask turns briefly up the street than back. "I'll give you a couple of weeks off," he concludes.

Kali eyes Taskmaster at the last thing he says and grumbles, bringing all her gold towards herself to form her floating disc, "Probably that is good, because right now I would like very much to kill you. Do not do something like this again to someone I care about, or I will not pay you." She flies off towards Tabitha and grumbles, "Awful, awful man." She comes through the alleyway towards the rat girl.

By the time Kalindi reaches Tabitha, the rat girl is only barely holding on to her senses. She snaps the gun up to point at her girlfriend, before dimly realizing what it is that she's doing, and allows herself to sprawl out on her back. Her chest rises and falls rapidly as she struggles to breath, and blood trickles down her chin and neck from her mouth. "Kalindi," she gasps out. "I'm… sorry." Her grip on the gun relaxes and it slips from her hand, while her eyes roll up in their sockets.

Taskmaster shrugs at Kalindi. "Fair enough," he supposes, and turns to disappear into the night.

Kalindi doesn't look back towards Taskmaster, instead looking down to Tabitha and frowning at her. "No, I am sorry…" She pulls out her cellphone and places a call on speed dial, speaking into it, "Get a healer, mutant or magical. Bring them to the apartment. /Immediately/. … I do not know, teleportation? … Okay I will be there." She pulls the rat girl onto her disc, and flies off towards home.

Tabitha makes no response to Kalindi's apology; instead, she sighs loudly, and finally loses consciousness. The ragged sounds of her breathing cease, and her fingers twitch a couple of times before her body goes entirely limp; hauling her onto the disk is much like tugging on a sack of potatoes. Only the very observant would notice that her chest does continue to rise and fall, if only slightly. All in all, the rat girl is a mess; torn up shirt, blood everywhere, and a large hole straight through her body.

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