|The TASK At Hand|
[TASK] Kotal says, "Anyone who isn't on duty report to the TASK building."
[TASK] Rayne says, "Copy, Rayne on the way."
The elevator doors open, and Rayne steps out, peering around the hallways. A frown adorns her lips as she sees noone, at least not immediately. With a shrug, she walks onward towards the large window to peer outside while waiting.
"LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THIS KITCHEN!!"
Though there is definitely no one around in the TASK building when Rayne wanders inside, the resounding voice that greets her is one that she'll recognize as belonging to Kotal Kahn.
"IT DEFIES ALL LOGIC AND REASON!"
Several crashes of pans and other kitchen utensils follow the next cry from the unseen war god. However, loud steps that could only be made by someone of his girth will hint that he must be somewhere around the next room. Soon, his footsteps will be heard getting closer and the automatic door leading to the kitchen slides open revealing a Kotal Kahn holding all kinds of pans and spatulas on his arms. He's wearing an apron and a chef hat -over his eagle helmet no less- and his attitude makes it hard to tell if he's angry, excited, happy or what.
"Not even Outworld had this level of opulence!"
Then, there's that record scratching noise as his eyes set on the rainbow haired girl that just entered.
"Rayne." He pauses for a moment and the throws all the stuff he's carrying back in the kitchen, along with the apron and the chef hat.
"My apologies. You arrived sooner than expected."
Rayne turns immediately at the shout and almost... ALMOST manages to hold in a laugh at the display. The result of this failure is a clear smirk and a sound that vaguely resembles 'sknirct' coming from her. "Well, I was at the park already, so I didn't have to go far to get into transport range. Enjoying the kitchen facilities, boss?"
Oh, right. That blasted teleporter!
Kotal Kahn failed to take that into consideration and forgot that Rayne's habit of coming in a bit late would be countered by the fact she can now teleport anytime she wants/needs to.
"Perhaps a bit too much." Kotal Kahn answers calmly and moves right along, wanting to save as much face as possible after displaying such an undignified amount of excitement.
"As you can see, I'm exploring the facilities for the first time myself. Getting here before the teleporter hadn't been easy."
Urus barges in, a slightly peeved look on his face. Over his right shoulder Minu is being carried. It does not seem to be much of a strain to carry the small elfling but obviously it is not doing any favors. As he sees Kotal and Rayne standing there he takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "I hope there is good reason to drag her up here!" he growls at them, his thick Russian accent as prevalent as ever. He looks around and finds a chair, brings it out and around with his free hand, then hoists her off his shoulder and into the seat. "By the way I do not want to see another buffet out of you this time! " he stares directly at Kotal and points, as if reprimanding him for the last meeting he had been to. "when we are done, She goes back, CLEAR?!" all this is said with absolution, as if unafraid of anything Kotal would do if he disagreed.
"So far from Equestria... I wonder how my friends and the other Princesses are doing without me there, and I also wonder how Sunset Shimmer is doing in that other world..." With a wistful sigh, Princess Twilight Sparkle makes her way in from outside, wings half-extended as she looks up in deep thought on her way to the elevator leading upstairs. "Well, maybe I should try writing a letter to them, and sending it via my magic. Spike's not here, so that rules flame-transmissions out... I really miss being home." After a few moments, though, the lavender pegacorn emerges from the elevator, smiling rather casually as she waves to her friends with one foreleg.
As she is so unceremoniously carried in, little minu has her elbow resting on Urus's back and her chin resting on her fist. There is a distinctly peeved look on the little elfs face. Her long hair hangs loose and she is still with out her glasses which to her knowledge where not able to be saved after being so broken. It is distinctly unfair to enter a room full of people tush first. When Urus sits her in the chair she makes a face and grumbles "they said I was discharged. I could go home, so surely I could have walked but this guy.he wouldn't hear of it, and I am not allowed to shift forms either cause they don't now how the shift will effect my brain or some such thing. Tell me there is a feast..I am starving. There was the worse food at the hospital and that great lummox wouldn't bring me a cheese burger , said I had to eat the junk they served at the hospital.." with that the little elf just crossed her arms over her chest and sighed. "hi Rayne..hi twilight" she murmurs and flat pouts, looking for all the world like some miffed doll. The various marks on her pale skin looking shades of dark purple and sickly green of bruises partly healed.
Rayne can't help but maintain a slight smirk throughout the entrances, but frowns a bit at one of the things said by Urus. "What do you have against buffets? I happen to like dinner or lunch meetings, I'll have you know. No such luck this time, Minu... Kotal just..." She covers her mouth as she can't suppress a laugh. "He just located the kitchen here. I beleive it meets up with his standards, yes?"
The Aztec warlord doesn't even bother with the pleasantries. As soon as Urus barges in here like he's doing everyone a favor, the warrior god lifts an open palm towards Urus and closes it.
Remember last time Urus mouthed Kotal off? That palm print on his snout where he burned him is still there, and that same palm mark begins to glow a golden color subsequently burning Urus much as he was burned before when Kotal grabbed him.
This is why you don't piss off a god. They tend to mark you forever.
"You will not barge into my home and make demands, boy!"
"That is not your decision to make. Minu will go back if and when she needs to. You will do well to stop speaking of her as she were your property."
Why is it that every time that Urus walks in he irritates Kotal to no end?
On the other hand, the Aztec seems quite happy to maintain good etiquette with the rest of the crew, responding amicably to Rayne and Minu even whilst he's seemingly burning Urus' snout off.
"They are indeed, Rayne. I shall make good use of them, you shall see." Then to Minu. "Sadly, I do not have anything prepared yet since I just arrived as Rayne said. I can make something for you since you are here. What would you like?"
Then Twilight wanders in and Kotal gives her a nod and a salute. Happily waving to people whilst he maintains that burning grip.
No, he's not releasing Urus until he apologizes.
Urus stumbles back in pain as he clutches his burning muzzle. He looks up at the war god in a weird mix of terror and anger. He starts panting as he dwells on the decision he has to make. He Decides first and foremost that he will not become a slave to the man who yet burns his hide, literally. He walks up to kotal, anguish currently coating his face like a paint filled water balloon, thickly and quite thoroughly. And says through gritted teeth "You . . . gave me a job. . . and I did it. You don't want my kind of efficiency. . . fine. There are plenty of opportunitys. . . for me. Ones that won't want to kill me at every waking moment. . . of their existence." As he finishes that he looks to the crowd around him and shouts "WHAT IS THIS, MERCENARIES ANONYMOUS!?"
Twilight Sparkle pauses, ears drooping as she catches sight of Kotal and Urus going at it for the first time. It's obvious the Princess of Friendship hasn't really seen the conflict between the two before today, especially as she turns towards Rayne. "Does this, uh... Happen often? It just seems really painful, and like a bit too much to me..."
Minu sits in her chair quietly after her little tirade of grumps. The little elf has been well cared for at the hospital and Urus was there with her for days on end, checking and double checking the things that were said and done to make sure she was getting treated well and getting proper medical care. When she fussed over tests or orders he would explain them and in his own sardonic and sarcastic way he would allow her to fuss but see to her care just the same. He was a pain in the ass but he was their pain in the ass. When Kotal got huffy and started to scorch the hyena's muzzle she frowned hard and made a yelp as Urus clearly looked pained but did not back down. She leaped wobbly to her feet and stumbled toward the big males facing off. She shoved at them both and looked way up at Kotal "Stop it! Your hurting him. Yeah..he's a jerk..but...he took care of me. I was there at the hospital the whole time, day and night...I know cause he snores terribly. But he was there...and he wouldn't let me have stuff and is annoying but I was trying to take care of me!" Little Minu wobbled again as she lifted one foot and gave Kotal a kick to the shin which frankly would have been a tap especially in her weaker state but it made her feelings clear.
Rayne sighs and nods to Twilight. "Yyyyeah. It's... a bit too... Those two just don't get along. At all." She shakes her head and pulls a chair into place with a foot before taking a seat into it, wondering why Urus and Kotal continue to put up with each other's antagonizing. Minu's defense of Urus, however, apprently takes her a slight off guard, judging from the confused look on her face. She shakes her head to clear that bit of shock and speaks up again. "So... I think this is most everyone... unless we're waiting on people I don't know... Or Ren. What's the plan, Kotal?" Her voice lowers to almost a growl as she breaks out in an almost predatory grin. "Are we preparing to strike back again?"
Rather uncharacteristically, Kotal ends up smiling when Urus defies him through the scorching burning soul grip he has on him. He listens to his demands calmly and finally.. releases him.
"I am not your keeper, Urus, if your allegiance is to nothing but money then you are free to go and serve whomever you wish."
"But know that as long as you are taking my money you will show me the proper respect as your employer. And, should wish to join a side that directly opposes us, I will show you no mercy if we meet in the field of Kombat."
"That is a decision that you -can- make."
Although a good decision? Perhaps not.
Once Urus is released, Kotal goes to pull up a chair, but not before Minu moves up to him to give him a kick right on his shin.
That kick.. it doesn't even register on the war god, but it does get his attention. "Enough Minu. I don't need you vouching for him." He says and offers the chair he just pulled for Minu to sit.
Anyway, Kotal seems done with the debate and goes to sit himself down. He does give Urus one last look though. "Go or stay, it matters not to me."
"But for future reference, you may want to try 'Hello' when you next enter a room. A proper greeting from someone usually does not make me want to tear their face off."
Now then, Rayne is right to call this meeting to order and he nods to both she and Twilight. "My apologies, where were we?"
Ah yes, plans of the future. "First of all we need to find out who or what are we striking back to. Has anyone found any clues that might lead us to this Joker character?"
Twilight Sparkle just shakes her head, sitting down on the floor and keeping her wings closed as she listens. "I've seen enough of the arguments between Rainbow Dash and Applejack, back home, to know stubbornly butting heads doesn't really accomplish anything. As for that... I haven't really come across anything pertaining to him, in any of my aerial sweeps of the city. Leaves me wishing Rarity was here, because she's got a much sharper eye for small details, owing to her job..."
"Everything else.. not so much." He continues as everyone; Urus, Twilight, Minu and Rayne all explain that they pretty much know nothing about the Joker and that remains of him weren't even found along the rubble.
Kotal reclines back on his chair and pointedly ignores Urus' sardonic responses, no point of burning him again for such a small slight. The Aztec drums his fingers together in thought, looking up to the ceiling as if the answer to all his problems was floating up there somewhere.
"I met Christabella." He finally says, no doubt expecting nothing but puzzled looks from everyone. "She is the one responsible for the fog, or at least, this fog. It is complicated."
"Suffice to say that in our battle she displayed the uncanny ability to bring people from the dead. She has summoned one of my greatest rivals to this realm. A monstrosity by the name of Mileena." Kotal presses a button under the desk and the lights dim to show a hologram of veiled woman dressed in pink behind him. "That is her." He points at the hologram. "Do not underestimate her for the way she looks, she is a vicious as Morgana and fights just as well as I do."
Which brings him to his next point. "I suspect that if Christabella is capable of pulling ancient dead enemies from other universes, then she is quite capable of doing the same with our enemies here. It is quite likely that the Joker really did kill himself with his own bomb.. but if no parts of him where found, then I have to assume the worst and believe that he has teamed up with Christabella."
Yep, this just keeps getting worse and worse.
"I don't suppose any of you would know of a proper detective would you? Perhaps one of the Joker's enemies?"
Lastly, he looks at Rayne and motions at her with his finger. "Do not ever call yourself cannon fodder in my presence. You are my proud, chosen warrior, Rayne, and disrespecting yourself is disrespecting me." A praise mixed in with a scolding if there was ever any.
The fact that no one knows anything makes him not as annoyed about playing nurse. At least his company kept him semi-busy. Kotal's mention of a name that he has never heard of is of no surprise, the fact that there is a unicorn, Pegasus, purple . . . its twisted, if its not trying to kill you, its good. Or at least if its not trying to kill you or Kotal, Its good. The hologram does no extra favors as Kotal warns of her power. "I think you over estimate your enemies compared to your allies, we are weaker, maybe. . . but we are many, And I have many leaden friends" he takes out the magazine from his weapon to point at every person in the room. "the wildebeest is stronger than the hyena, but there are many more hyenas, focused on one goal of the hunt." Kotal's second point falls flat for Urus. " I do not care If they raise him a thousand more times, just make sure he dies painfully." Beginning to chuckle at his own malicious intent. "pain each and every time and he will not want to come back." Letting out his, by now signature hyena like laugh, for the first time in a while "he will pray to whatever god or being for him to stay dead. "
Twilight Sparkle looks down, tapping her chin thoughtfully with one forehoof. "Actually... I wonder if I'll be able to send a summons back to Princess Celestia, or Rarity in Equestria, by way of my magic from here. Because if I can get help from either of them, then we might be able to get some sort of critical lead as to where he is..."
Minu looks thoughtful then looks up at the hologram and wrinkles her pert little nose. She squints a little and looks almost a little cross eyed then rubs the bridge of her nose. "I gotta get new glasses. Is there not some manner of spell or something we can used to try and track this man? There are so many different souls here in Twisted. Surely someone has that manner of ability. Unfortunately if this Crystabell is resurrecting him like she has those other monsters, who knows what manner of deranged creature he will be next time. You think I could request a box of grenades? Urus was mentioning just the other day that they might come in handy and something I could use if things get ugly..just,..shift and drop one from on high. Do you think Kotal that we could arrange to ...beard the lion in its own den?? Why wait for this creature to come to us..to hunt us...what if we hunt her, intentionally arm up and go to her realm and.go...beasty..as Urus says."
Rayne follows close attention to Kotal's explanaition of their newley identified foes. She pales somewhat at the description of an enemy as powerful as Kotal himself, and shakes her head at the inquiring for a detective. Kotals warning to her, however, causes her pull away as much as she can while still seated in the chair. "But I..." Rayne looks down, her face slightly reddened at the admonition. "s....sorry, sir." It seems she might not quite have the pride in her warrior abilities that Kotal may think she does. The words of the others don't seem to reach her, though she does flinch slightly at the hyena laugh.
Then, the Aztec warrior is turning to the others, namely Urus and Minu who seem quite eager to track the Joker down and kill him as many time as they need to.
"That is not the problem." Kotal reminds them. "Destroying him is no challenge, I have sensed the chi of this Joker, and though chaotic to his very core, he is in reality quite weak." He shakes his head. "No, the problem is that even if we were to kill him every time he is risen, we still do not know where he is."
"You were all there when we charged the fog. That was a truly daunting fight, even for me, and something tells me that the forces we met there were naught but mere footsoldiers of Christabella's army." He pauses to breathe and think. "Hmm.. perhaps we could use bait of some manner.. something to draw the Joker and Christabella and Mileena out of their hiding where we can destroy them in the open field."
"But.. what is it that they want anyway? I don't know their motives other than to cause ruin to Twisted." He glances at everyone. "Any suggestions?"
The Aztec leaves Rayne be for the moment, though he gives her no more chastising. As he said, she is one of his chosen warriors, and he expects her to pull herself together. This is the future of Twisted we're talking about after all!
Oh, but before he forgets, he glances at Minu when she requests a box of grenades and says; "I would feel more comfortable knowing you know how to use them before issuing explosives to you, Minu." Concern or patronizing? You decide!
Twilight Sparkle nods in response, retrieving some paper and a pen to write a message for her friends back in Ponyville, horn glowing. "I'm working on it now." 'Spike, if you're at the castle, get this to Rarity right away, and send a message back...' After finishing the last part of her letter, and adding her signature, her horn flares a bit brighter as the sheet drifts away in a brief flicker of green flames and her own magenta aura. "Alright, that should be it... And maybe I can enchant one of the books in my apartment to send and receive messages from them automatically, as I did with Sunset Shimmer back at Canterlot High."
Minu makes a face at Kotal as he brushes off her desire for the explosives. If he is so worried, hello war god...give lessons. The hyena was all to willing to offer tips and training before she even asked...even if it was using her jello cup that came with her sad hospital meals. She gives Kotal a ..see...expression as Urus mentions Hyena-owl special time. Yes she knows the rules of grenade bombardment, there was extensive discussion in the long slow days in the hospital when she was antsy to do something..anything. She looks to Urus "I dont know if that is safe. I know you are trying to help but, making yourself look traitor seems...well...like a bad idea...even if they fell for it."
Rayne snaps out of her stupor. "Right, footsoldiers." She looks back up and level again. "I can't say I know remotely anything about what they might want... I think. Well, a wild guess, but... The bomber sounds like he'd like a good joke? If we can... somehow lure him that way... Then it's kinda useless since it wouldn't pull Christabella. Damnit, it's her we need to pull out, the rest might as well just be distractions." She leans foreward in the chair, index and middle fingers on her temples as she closes her eyes. "I just don't know enough." She looks to Urus as he makes his suggestion, then nods in partial agreement with Minu. "Sounds... Exceedingly dangerous, but I've nothing better." Then she blinks as Twilight sets fire to the message. "Did... did that actually work?"
Kotal glances at Twilight as she writes a letter and then teleports it out of existence. He says nothing though, blinking for a few moments whilst still staring. It couldn't be that easy, could it?
Guess we'll see. With the chaotic nature of Twisted, that letter could end up appearing just about anywhere in the multiverse.
He tries not to think too much about that since Urus is then presenting him with a truly reckless plan.
"You are right, Urus." Kotal almost smiles. "I truly dislike this plan."
"You will understand when I say that I do not trust you in the -least- for you to play double agent for me. And considering I have the means to stop you if you ever try to double cross me." He says as he opens and closes his hands making the mark on Urus' snout glow, even though this time it doesn't hurt. "That is saying a lot."
"Besides, as Minu has stated, it is unlikely to succeed. You will more than likely only end up needlessly sacrificing your life and I rather not lose you in such an inefficient manner." Kotal has been paying Urus the big bucks lately after all. He'd rather not throw all that money to the trash.
But then Rayne comes up with something. "A joke.." Of course! He totally forgot about her.
"That's it!" Kotal turns around and clicks some buttons under the table again. Soon, the hologram behind him switches from Mileena to Harley Quinn.
"I had completely forgotten that Harley Quinn is a known accomplice of the Joker. She has been incarcerated before and we have have the means to track her down."
"If we find her we can find the Joker, and once we have taken the Joker down we will be a step closer to finding where Christabella's true lair is."
Twilight says, "It is, actually. Back when I was there, my assistant, Spike, had the ability to transmit letters between me and Princess Celestia with his dragonfire. It burned the letters up, yes, but made getting urgent correspondence to her quick and extremely easy. And after cleansing Sunset Shimmer of the darkness in her with my magic and my friends there in that parallel world, we can send messages between our dimensions through a specially enchanted book I have."
Twilight Sparkle gets to her hooves, extending her wings as she prepares to fly back to her apartment for rest. "Well, I'll be waiting for a response from Rarity, at my apartment. If I get anything from her, I'll get in touch with the rest of you. Alright?"
Kotal has seen stranger things happen, certainly stranger around here. Heck, he sees stranger here things nearly every day!
But on to the topic of torturing Harley Quin. "Down boy." Kotal waves his hand to Urus, not making his mark glow this time, he's just motioning him to control himself. Hey, if Urus wants to behave like a dog then Kotal will treat him like one. "Minu is right, we are TASK members. As such, we cannot bring ourselves down to their level and do something as drastic as torture our prisoners."
"However.." Uh oh, Kotal is getting that evil glint on his eye. "Harely is known for always resisting arrest.. if she leaves you no choice but to subdue her by force, then by all means, do what you must."
He nods to Minu then. "Indeed, I have faced Harley before and she exhibits many of the Joker's traits. She really is our best target."
Then, he faces Rayne. "That is why we shall contain them. TASK's cells are unlike any other. There is no need to kill them when we can simply let them rot here for all eternity."
Alright, looks like plan take out these jokers is go! "Rayne, Urus, Twilight, fan out and search for Harley Quinn. Capture her alive" He looks pointedly at Urus, "And bring her for questioning."
"Minu." Oh, he has a real SPECIAL task for the owl elf girl. "Seriously, what do you want to eat? I have a new kitchen and it needs to be used!" Kotal has.. priorities.
Urus Relaxes as kotal decides that torture is not the best plan. "fine, but if you" then notices the evil look on his face "of course, if she leaves me no other choice." He says, understanding the double meaning of his refinement in process. Urus just nods and smirks. "this is going to be good" as he walks to the door. " Give 2 days, she will be right about" and points to a part of the floor. "here, alive." And looks to kotal half-jokingly, "I am an animal, not a savage." He looks to minu as he starts to leave "If I have to come back and fix something, we are going to have to have another word."
Minu listens to Kotal give everyone their orders. And when it comes round to her she looks thoughtful though a bit tired, after all this was her first few hours out of the hospital. "I would kill for a cheese burger, a big one with extra cheese and all the fixens. You have no idea how awful hospital food it, though I gota say Urus knows what to do with a jello cup." She mimes pulling the cover off "pull pin.count one, two, three.the drop" she mimes turning the cup over and watching it slip out of the cup "four, five, six..SPLAT!" She giggles then rubs her head. "yeah Urus, I know..you will come wave your finger in my face so I can bite it again. Be safe you big jerk. Don't make me gota come rescue you." The elf sticks out her tongue at the hyena then turns back to Kotal "and onion rings...like a huge pile with ranch and a vanilla milk shake" like she could eat all that small as she was but she was willing to try!