View Full Version : Los Angeles: The Door Is Locked

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2007-01-06, 05:44 AM
It feels hotter than it is. It's probably only in the high twenties but the air is still as a grave; it feels as though a hot, dry, dusty blanket as settled over the city. Its not without its good points; Tala has been moved to start dressing in cardigans and has been looking very cute, but the newly awakened draconic iceflame in Tony has been crying out for glaciers.
The cafe is good, although right now the breeze from the aircon is more welcome than any amount or quality of coffee. It's not crowded, and has a pleasantly relaxed, unhurried atmosphere. The traffic outside stands in stark contrast; the plate glass window between Tony and the street doesn't do much to deaden the beeping of horns and roaring of poorly muffled engines.
Something in the newspaper, a few pages in, sparks Tony's memory. 'Airport Bombers Identified', the headline reads, and the attaached article fingers a cell of the terrorist group 'The Blood of Carthage' as the perpetrators behind the attempted bombing of New Luskan airport last New Year. The article goes on to name several of the cell's ringleaders and praise the anonymous informant who tipped off the authorities.
The bell rings, and Tony sees Brad ducking under the doorframe. The move to LA has been good to him; in the warmer climate his mane has grown thicker and glossier, and his eyes have a burn in them that wasn't present before.
"Hey, Tony." He says, as he lowers himself into a chair after getting his coffee. "Rocío called me, she won't be showing up. From what I gathered, she met a girl last night and isn't intending to move from where she is for a while. If only we could all be so lucky." He grins.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-07, 07:03 PM
Tony greets Brad with a nod as he ducks inside the café, and then he puts the newspaper down, keeping the page that has the headline about the airport bombers. While his oversized friend gets some coffee, Tony sees to his own drink. Never having developed a taste for coffee himself, and no longer truly appreciating the warmth of a hot chocolate, he has settled on drinking a cold strawberry smoothie. He is just about to take a sip when Brad comes over with his coffee. "G'mornin', Brad." he says, before listening to the news about Rocío. With a wry smile, he chuckles as he replies. "Well, I wouldn't call her lucky just yet. The girl could turn out to be a psycho, ya know." Tony finishes with a grin. "But, good for Rocío, if she’s not." Finally, he takes a sip of his smoothie, and then he frowns.

2007-01-07, 07:10 PM
Brad notices the frown.
"What's up? Bad smoothie?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-07, 07:56 PM
"Oh, it tastes good enough, but it's a bit too warm..." Tony glances about the café for a moment, presumably to see if anyone else is too close nearby. Seemingly satisfied, he quickly makes an odd gesture as he speaks a couple strange words. "Kosj arcaniss." He then holds a hand over the top of his glass for a few moments, before taking a drink. Smiling, he says, "Ah, much better. How's your coffee, Brad?"

2007-01-07, 08:00 PM
"Fine as it is, thanks. Anything interesting in the paper?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-07, 08:20 PM
"Sure. I just noticed this..." Tony points to the newspaper, folded open to show the headline in question. "It seems that they just found out who ruined last New Year's Eve for a few people."

2007-01-07, 08:26 PM
Brad looks at the headline and takes the paper, skimming through the article.
"'Blood of Carthage', eh? Sounds like they took classes on naming from Mr White." Brad hands back the paper, frowning. "Wasn't one of your friends from work meant to be catching a flight then?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-07, 10:04 PM
"Heh. I could give him a call and ask him." Tony quips as Brad hands back the paper. After thinking for a second, he replies, "Yeah, that would be Ericka; she was going to see her folks, too...a bit of a bummer."

2007-01-07, 10:11 PM
"At least they've found who did it, I suppose." Brad shrugs, and takes a sip of his coffee.
From the street, the usual noises for traffic are suddenly drowned out by the deafening screech of warping metal and shattering glass. Brad chokes on his coffee as the sound of the wreck is replaced by screams of surprise and alarm.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-07, 11:06 PM
Tony snaps to attention at the sound of the wreck, and he turns his head toward the window. "Crap." he mutters, as he gets up and heads for the front of the café, in order to get a better idea of what's going on outside. As he does so, he uses the empathic link to check on Phoenix, his little flying friend.

2007-01-07, 11:20 PM
Pheonix is sending surprise and mild alarm.
Out the window, Tony and Brad can see that a small cargo truck has driven straight into a wall on the other side of the road, a few doors down. Several pedestrians are cautiously clustering around, and at least one has a mobile out, presumably ringing for the emergancy services.
As they watch, the truck's back doors slam open and to the horror of the crowd, four large, dark furred bears step out. The pedestrians scream and flee.

[Tony 23]
[Bears 15]
[Brad 3]

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-08, 01:26 AM
What the ****?

Tony points at the bears, and with a touch of sarcasm, he says, "See, Brad? If we were all as lucky as Rocío, then we'd miss out on all this fun." He sighs. "Well, maybe there are some tranq guns in the truck." He heads out the front door of the café, watching which way the bears start moving before deciding what to do himself.

2007-01-08, 01:32 AM
The panicking people trying to get away from the bears make getting out difficult, but Tony and Brad manage to push through the crowd.
The bears seem confused, and alarmed by the light and sound. They're just staring around , unsure of what to do.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-08, 02:01 AM
After pushing through the crowd, Tony gestures as he speaks a word of arcane power, and he looks for the quickest way around the bears to the cab of the truck, before heading in that direction.

[Casts Be the Ball]

2007-01-08, 02:11 AM
The traffic is stopped, the drivers having fled, and Tony weaves through the cars towards the truck. Two of the bears start walking off away from the truck, along the footpath in the direction of the coffeeshop. Curiously for bears, they walk on hind legs instead of all fours. The other two remain where they are, sniffing at the air and blinking in the light. Brad heads off through the cars towards the wandering bears.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-08, 02:16 AM
Seeing Brad head for the wandering bears, Tony makes haste in getting to the cab of the truck. Once there, he takes a look inside. If it is inaccessible, he hurries back to help Brad instead.

2007-01-08, 02:24 AM
Tony makes it to the truck's cab; the door seems to have swung open when it crashed. The driver is slumped in his seat; the airbag has inflated but he seems to have hit something else, as he appears to be dead. On the seat next to him is a clipboard.
Tony hears padded footsteps behind him; one of the bears has apparently seen him run to the truck and has come to investigate. It peers at him, blinking. It doesn't seem too threatening, but it's huge, bigger than Brad, and has some very, very large claws.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-08, 03:59 AM
Bears, what do I know about bears...? ****, that's right. They say that you shouldn't run from bears.

Not seeing anything immediately useful in the cab of the truck, Tony decides it best not to take a closer look. While giving the bear a wide berth, he starts to move around the bear cautiously and as non-threateningly as possible, backing away diagonally at first. Once he is a few steps away from the truck, he gestures toward the truck's cab while he continues on.

[Total Defense (+6 Dodge bonus), move 30 feet]

2007-01-08, 04:28 PM
The bear pads forward. When Tony gestures towards the truck, it turns its head towards it, peering myopically inside. Seeing nothing of interest, it turns back to Tony and watches him for a moment, before proceeding around the truck and back onto the footpath.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-08, 11:59 PM
Tony moves back to the back end of the truck, trying not to get the bear's attention again...for the moment. Once he gets there, he scans the scene before figuring out a plan, all the while hoping that Brad isn't having trouble - or anyone else, for that matter.

2007-01-09, 12:05 AM
The bear keeps walking along the sidewalk, looking from time to time in shop windows. The other bear is moving towards the other two, who are standing on the footpath staring at Brad, who is standing in front of them, blocking them from proceeding.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-09, 12:08 AM
Seeing that Brad isn't in trouble for the moment, Tony decides to take a look in the back of the truck.

2007-01-09, 12:15 AM
The back of the truck has the company logo imprinted on the side; a winged sandal with Hermes Transport printed underneath. Inside there is just broken shackles, and little else.
One of the blocked bears takes a step forward, draws itself up and roars at Brad. Brad straightens up and roars right back.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-09, 12:59 AM
Tony quickly scans both sides of the street, looking for a good place to get lots of food on a very short notice. If he doesn't see one, he starts moving toward the bear that went down the sidewalk, unless that will take him too far away from Brad.

2007-01-09, 01:59 AM
Tony spots a takeaway chicken place on the other side of the street. The lone bear keeps wandering. The roaring bear takes another step forward and swings at Brad, who punches it under the chin. It staggers back, dazed, and the other two bears back away.
Tony hears distant sirens.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-09, 02:10 AM
Tony whistles at the lone bear, in an attempt to get its attention. If he is successful, he starts heading back closer to Brad. If not, he heads for the takeout chicken place.

2007-01-09, 02:14 AM
It looks around at him, but keeps moving. The pair of bears hang back, considering. Brad steps forwards and deals the dazed bear a nasty blow to the gut, doubling it over. It stays on its feet, though.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-09, 02:28 AM
Unless the other two bears are joining the fight, Tony rushes to the takeout chicken place. Once he's there, he quickly says, "I need to get that bear's attention, could I get some chicken, please? However much this..." He slaps a twenty down on the counter. "...will buy. And if you have a some takeout menus, I'd like a few of those, too."

If the two other bears do join in the fight, then Tony abandons the plan of luring the lone bear back with food, and heads over to help Brad.

2007-01-09, 02:34 AM
As Tony crosses the road, Brad continues to rough up the bear. The other two stay well back. The girl at the counter quickly hands over two barbecued chickens, pointing at the stack of menus on the counter. She looks out as she slips the chickens into bags.
"Your friend's real brave." She says, as she hands Tony the chickens and Brad punches the bear again.
The sirens are growing louder.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-09, 03:10 AM
Tony grabs a few menus, and then he takes the two bags of chicken as he replies with a smile and a nod. "He sure is. I doubt that you'll find a braver man anywhere." Then he hurries back out into the street, heading toward the lone bear. Once he gets close enough to be accurate with a chicken launch, but still at a relatively safe distance from the bear, he whistles at it once more as he holds up both bags.

2007-01-09, 03:17 AM
Brad punches the bear a few more times as Tony moves through the traffic back into range of the lone bear. The bear looks around again and peers at the bags.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-09, 03:21 AM
Tony tosses one of the bags over in the bear's direction, aiming for midway between himself and the bear. Still holding up the other bag, he hurries back in Brad's direction, turning around to see if the bear follows.

2007-01-09, 03:23 AM
The bear jerks back a little when the bag hits, before starting to peer curiously at where it landed. There is a thump from the other side of the truck, possibly the sound of an eight foot bear hitting the sidewalk.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-09, 03:30 AM
Tony continues heading in Brad's direction, while watching the bear to see if he follows. If he seems interested enough in the first bag of chicken, Tony drops the next one on the ground close to the back end of the truck, before continuing on to help Brad...not that he needs it or anything.

2007-01-09, 04:21 AM
The bear watches Tony back away before moving to investigate the bag of chicken. It searches around on the ground for it and plucks it off the ground, holding it between thumb and forefinger and sniffing deeply.
Brad is standing over the unconscious bear while the other two stand at bay between him and the truck.
The sirens are growing still louder. The police should be here soon.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-09, 04:47 AM
Seeing that Brad has it under control, Tony decides not to get in his way, so he points inconspicuously at the brave half-ogre while he quietly says, "Irthos ukris..." Then he heads back to where he dropped the second bag of chicken, and watches the other bear. Then he whispers, "That was an awesome display, Brad. Since you have it under control over there, I'll keep an eye on this last bear over here, to make sure he doesn't wander off. Whisper if you need me, okay?"

[Tony casts Message.]

2007-01-09, 04:54 AM
Brad nods, keeping an eye on the bears. The bear with the chicken has pulled it from the bag and is now chowing down, while keeping a watchful eye on Tony.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-09, 04:56 AM
Tony picks up the second bag of chicken, and when the bear seems to be finished with the first bag, Tony holds it up before setting it back down and backing away from it.

2007-01-09, 05:01 AM
The bear licks its fingers while staring at the chicken, occasionally letting its eyes flick to Tony. It suddenly looks up and over its head as the sirens close in. They all suddenly cut off, but the bear keeps staring.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-09, 05:20 AM
Tony starts to move toward the cab of the truck, and then he tosses the second bag of chicken in the bear's direction, while aiming to bring it a bit further away from the truck.

2007-01-09, 05:24 AM
The bear looks to see where Tony throws the chicken and slopes towards it, evidently unwilling to turn its back on him.
"****! Do I look like a ****in' bear, jackass?"
Tony hears Brad yell.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-09, 05:32 AM
Tony heads back over to Brad's side of the truck. Once he sees whoever Brad is yelling at, he calls out, "Bears don't wear clothes, ya know! The other bear is over on this side." He points in the direction of the eating bear.

2007-01-09, 05:43 AM
When Tony gets to the other side of the truck, the bears are snoring on the footpath and Brad is having a heated discussion with a group of heavily padded animal control officers holding air rifles. When they hear Tony, all but one of them hurry around the truck and tranq the last bear. The last one apparently drew the proverbial short straw, and doesn't seem to be holding up well. Tony recognises the symptoms of slight Shadow exposure, apparently she was expecting bears, saw something huge and hairy, and Shadow filled in the blanks. It's hard to see how she made the mistake, though, Brad looks much more gorillaish.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-10, 02:08 AM
Hmm... I imagine that we're both looking freakish to her right now. I hope she doesn't try to tranq us both.

"Hey, Brad; you're doing all right, I take it? It looks like the bear didn't even lay a claw on you." Tony glances toward the cab of the truck for a moment, before bringing his attention back to Brad and the disturbed animal control officer.

2007-01-10, 02:17 AM
"Nah, it wasn't as tough as you'd think. Only thing that got laid on me was a dart." He glowers at the officer.
"I'm so, so sorry, sir. I really don't know how it happened..."
Brad sighs. "Yeah, okay, forget it. Just don't do it again, eh?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-10, 02:50 AM
With a wry smile, Tony says, "That just may be the best advice you'll ever hear. Anyway..." Not seeing any EMT personnel on site yet, he starts heading toward the cab of the truck. "...the driver's still in here, but I think he's dead."

2007-01-10, 02:54 AM
"Didn't buckle up?" Brad asks, as the animal control officers fetch stretchers to cart away the bears.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-10, 03:19 AM
"I can't remember if he did or not. I would've taken a closer look earlier, but that other bear followed me over here." Once Tony gets to the cab of the truck, he checks to see if the driver still has a pulse, while also checking to see if he is wearing a seatbelt.

2007-01-10, 04:51 AM
The driver is indeed wearing a seatbelt, but taking a pulse doesn't seem necessary, considering the angle his head is at. That kind of spinal geometry is only survivable for owls.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-11, 08:30 AM
Tony glances at the wall, to see if it gave at all with the impact, and then he takes a closer look at the clipboard. "Well, he was buckled up, for what good it did him. I'm having a helluva time believing the impact could break his neck like that..."

2007-01-11, 02:50 PM
The truck seems to have absorbed most of the impact and crumpled, but some bricks have broken or been dislodged from the wall. The clipboard has a scrap of paper with an address and below that an unsigned recipt of delivery.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-11, 07:55 PM
"...but, seeing that the wall didn't give even an inch, that could be possible, I suppose." Tony's nosiness kicks into overdrive, as he writes down the address, and checks to see if the address is also listed on the unsigned receipt of delivery. Before he gives the rest of the cab a full search, he uses his still active spell of prestidigitation to clean his hands, his fingertips in particular. "Hey, Brad. Can you let me know if you see anyone coming this way? I don't think the cops would appreciate me snooping around."

2007-01-11, 08:06 PM
"Uh... looks like they're a bit busy with the animal guys for now, though. I'd keep it quick, though."
Tony doesn't find anything other than a crumpled reciept before Braad taps him on the shoulder and pulls him out of the truck. Two police officers are approaching them, one holding a small notepad and pen.
"Morning." The penless one says. "Would you mind answering a few questions?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-12, 03:09 AM
Tony replies, "Morning... Sure, I don't mind answering a few."

2007-01-12, 03:13 AM
"Did you see what happened here?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-12, 03:39 AM
"Most of what happened, yes. We didn't see the crash, but we heard it. When we turned to look, we saw the bears come out the back of the truck."

2007-01-12, 03:40 AM
The cop with the notepad begins to write. When she nods to her partner, he continues.
"What happened immediately after the bears came out of the truck?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-12, 04:25 AM
"The bears just looked around for a few moments, and then two took off in that direction. Of course, people were running everywhere."

2007-01-12, 04:27 AM
"And what were you doing at this point?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-12, 04:31 AM
"We had just come out of the café, and I ran around the bears toward the cab of the truck, to check on the driver."

2007-01-12, 01:00 PM
"And what was the driver's condition?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-12, 06:33 PM
"From where I was at the time, he appeared to be dead. I was heading over there to check for sure, until one of the bears started following me."

2007-01-12, 06:40 PM
"The bear that was over there?" The cop gestures to the far side of the truck's cab, where Tony had fed the bear chicken.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-12, 06:46 PM
"Yes, that's the one. I started walking away from him at first, but he took off down the street. So, I hurried over there..." Tony nods toward the takeout chicken place. "...to buy some chicken, and I used it to keep him close by."

2007-01-12, 06:49 PM
He nods, then frowns. "Aren't you not supposed to give bears chicken?"
"I think that's dogs." The other cop answers, and he shrugs.
"That kept the bear there, then?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-12, 06:59 PM
"Yes, it did. Then once Animal Control put out the bears, I was able to check on the driver..." Tony frowns slightly for a moment. "It looks like he died on impact."

2007-01-13, 02:37 AM
The cop nods. "Thank you for your time. If you'll just give me your names and details, you can be on your way."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-14, 01:36 AM
"Sure thing..." Tony reaches into his wallet, pulls out a card, and hands it over to the cop. "Will my business card suffice?"

'Taste of Paradise' is printed on the top of the card, in big, bright, and bold letters. 'Tropical Restaurant and Beach Club' is printed below, in much smaller letters, followed by the establishment's address. 'Tony Travis, General Manager' is printed closer to the bottom of the card, followed by Tony's office phone number, as well as his cell phone number.

2007-01-14, 01:38 AM
The cop takes the card and looks at it.
Brad gives his own details and the cops go off the bother the people now emerging from the stores.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-14, 01:40 AM
Tony turns to Brad. "Did they ask you for your story, Brad? It's more interesting than mine, not to mention a lot more heroic." He grins.

2007-01-14, 01:45 AM
"Nope. Guess I don't look so interesting. Just shootable." He adds, rubbing his back.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-14, 02:03 AM
"That's strange that they didn't ask. Maybe they'd already heard about it from whoever they talked with before us?"

2007-01-14, 02:06 AM
"Maybe." Brad looks back at the coffee shop. "I think I've had enough of this place for today. Was there anything else you wanted to do here?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-14, 02:12 AM
"Nah, I'm done. If we hang around here much longer, we might not ever get out of here." Tony pulls out his cell phone to check the time. "Where do you want to go now, Brad?"

2007-01-14, 02:22 AM
"I'm happy to head home if you are."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-14, 02:29 AM
"That sounds good enough to me. I'm curious to see how the news covers this." Tony heads for the car and gets in the front passenger seat.

2007-01-14, 07:03 AM
"Looks like you might not have to wait long..."
A black van pulls up against the kerb, just beyond the stopped traffic, and two people get out. One is a redheaded woman in a smart, semi-casual suit and the other is a man whose clothes and blond hair can be summed up with 'scruffy' and 'geek'. He's holding a videocamera, and as they get nearer Tony sees the purple-on-black logo of Markova Enterprises. The woman waves to Tony as they get closer.
"Hi." She smiles brightly at them. Tony detects no sign that she can see through Shadow. "I'm Lily Parrish, from Markova News Network. Would you mind answering a few questions?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-15, 03:34 AM
As Lilly approaches, Tony waves back at her and returns the smile. "Hello, Lilly. My name's Tony. We might have time to answer a few more questions..." Turning to Brad, Tony asks, "What do you think?"

2007-01-15, 03:39 AM
"I guess. What do you want to ask?"
Lily smiles. "Great. The first report we recieved mentioned wild animals loose on the streets; have you seen or heard anything of that?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-15, 03:49 AM
"Sure. We saw four bears get out of that truck over there, but they didn't get very far."

2007-01-15, 11:19 PM
"What stopped them?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-16, 10:23 PM
"What stopped them?" Tony smiles slyly. "You mean who stopped them." Tony grins at Brad, and the meaning of his facial expression is crystal clear. Do you want to tell her, or shall I?

2007-01-16, 10:47 PM
"Well, uh... Tony distracted one of them with some chicken," Brad gestures vaguely towards the chicken shop. "and one of them got kinda aggressive, so I boxed it a bit, and the other two didn't really seem interested in goin' anywhere."
"Boxed it a bit?" Lily asks. "You mean you fought a bear?"
"Well, yeah."
"Wow. That's quite something. What happened to the bears?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-17, 12:50 AM
Ah, Brad's being too modest, I think.

"Animal Control tranquilised the bears once they arrived. Well, only three of the bears, actually...the bear that was chowing on chicken, and the two that didn't want to go anywhere. They didn't need to tranq the one that Brad boxed, because he had actually knocked it out cold. Quite impressive, to say the least. And I'd like to add that the two bears that just stood there were too scared to leave, because Brad had cornered them between himself and the truck. They didn't want to mess with him, after watching him take down the other one." Tony grins.

2007-01-17, 01:16 AM
"Impressive indeed." Says Lily, as Brad scratches his forehead, embarrassed, and the cameraman raises the camera to put Brad more in the frame.
"Wasn't like they were grizzlies, or anything..." He mutters. "But yeah, I guess it was pretty good."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-17, 06:17 PM
"You bet it was." Tony says as he nods in agreement, and then he turns back toward Lily. "And sure, the bears weren't really aggressive, for the most part. But I imagine that they still could've caused quite a ruckus if they had gotten away."

2007-01-17, 06:23 PM
"Well done." Says Lily. "Now, I'll have to go talk to the police before they leave, but could I get you names and numbers?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-17, 06:38 PM
Tony smiles and says, "Sure, I don't see why not." Tony takes another business card out of his wallet, and hands it over to Lily. "There you go."

2007-01-17, 06:41 PM
Lily takes the card and Brad gives her his name and number.
"Thanks. I'll be in touch. Come on, Brandon." She smiles and turns toward the police, cameraman in tow.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-18, 12:55 AM
"Yeah, you bet, Lily. It was nice meeting you." Tony smiles and waves as Lily and her cameraman head off. Once they are out of earshot, Tony whispers to Brad, "Exit, stage right." Then he quickly makes his way toward the passenger seat of Tala's Chevy.

2007-01-18, 01:19 AM
"That was a few more interviews than I was expecting." Brad says as he squeezes into the driver's seat. "Time to go home, I need a shower."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-18, 02:00 AM
"Did you get some bear grease on ya?" Tony asks with a grin. "I still have some chicken grease to clean off, myself..." He rubs his hands together for a few seconds, and then he continues. "Done. That sure is handy for cleaning, but it doesn't beat an ice cold shower, that's for sure." He playfully scratches Phoenix's chin as he adds, "I hope I didn't get you too embarrassed on camera, Brad. I know you're not the type to brag, but what you did back there certainly merits it."

2007-01-18, 03:29 AM
"Bear grease? Nah, ogre grease. Much worse." He says as he starts the car.

"I dunno. Bears are supposed to tough, aren't they? I mean, it's not like I've fought one before, but it dropped a lot easier than I'd have thought. Ros could've taken some of those punches easy."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-19, 12:02 AM
"Well, Ros is pretty damn tough, but I see your point; something isn't adding up. Throw in the fact that they weren't really aggressive, and... Hey wait a minute. I'm no wildlife expert, but bears aren't supposed to have thumbs, are they?"

2007-01-19, 12:13 AM
"I dunno. I think it's just supposed to be humans and monkeys and stuff, not counting us."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-19, 12:27 AM
"Hmm, I thought so. Anyway, unless I'm seeing things, the bear that I was following had thumbs. I didn't look at the other bears, though..." For a moment, Tony tries to recall anything that might shed some light on this oddity.

What the hell? Bears with thumbs? Perhaps they're something else entirely...

[Knowledge (Arcane Lore) +8, if applicable]

2007-01-19, 12:34 AM
"I've never really seen a bear up close before, so I don't know if the one I was fighting was odd."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-19, 01:17 AM
"Either way, it's definitely something I wouldn't mind checking into further. When I was searching the cab of the truck, I found a note with an address on it, presumably where the bears were being taken. And you know what that means..." Tony flashes a mischievous grin.

2007-01-19, 01:32 AM
"Poking our noses in where they aren't wanted?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-19, 01:57 AM
"Mmhmm. That is, if we can't find anything better to do."

2007-01-20, 04:29 PM
"What could ever be better than that?" Brad grins.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-21, 01:17 AM
"Hmm..." Tony smiles and seems to chuckle silently, as he starts counting off the fingers of his right hand. He stops counting as he replies, "Only three things that I can think of, and none of them will be happening this afternoon. Heh."

2007-01-21, 01:20 AM
"I reckon I could think of more than that, but I doubt they'd be happening in my lifetime."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-21, 02:41 AM
"Yeah, I didn't include 'winning the lottery', or 'getting a helicopter just like Mr. White's'. Crazier things have happened, though..."

2007-01-21, 03:47 AM
"That would be awesome. Never be stuck in traffic again. Never be bothered by parking inspectors, either, with those missiles."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-22, 12:45 AM
"Oh, hell yeah." Tony chuckles and grins. "Or for a more subtle approach, park it on a flat rooftop, and avoid the inspectors entirely. Yeah, that would kick one hundred million kinds of ass. And to think that I'll have my very own in a thousand years."

2007-01-22, 02:09 AM
"Urgh. What is that smell?" Rocío demands from the kitchen.
"Alright, alright, I'm going." Brad calls back, and walks off to have a shower. Rocío emerges from the kitchen, keeping a safe distance from Brad as he walks into the bathroom, and comes into the sitting room to greet Tony.
"Good coffee?" She asks.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-22, 10:46 PM
Tony is twirling Phoenix's chain while he walks through the entryway into the sitting room, as he has just let his familiar free to fly around, like he always does while they are at home. Smiling at Rocío, he replies, "Heh. You're asking moi if the coffee was good?" He raises an eyebrow.

2007-01-23, 01:24 AM
"You cannot resist the dark side forever. Heh. So, why's Brad all greasy? I wasn't expecting work-smell on a Sunday."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-23, 02:51 AM
Tony grins as he heads for the television remote. "Oh, no biggie, Rocío. Brad just got in a fight with a bear, that's all..." After turning on the TV, he continues. "I imagine they'll be talking about it on the news pretty soon, if they haven't already."

2007-01-23, 05:49 AM
"A bear? You're joking."
MNN is currently showing financial news.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-23, 05:42 PM
"No, I'm not..." Tony replies with a straight face. Keeping the TV on, he gets comfortable on the couch as he continues. "We were sitting in the café, when a truck crashed across the street, and four bears came out of the back. Brad managed to trap three of them between himself and the truck, and then he laid the smack down on the one that gave him some lip. It's a bit weird, really. The bears weren't very aggressive."

2007-01-23, 05:54 PM
"That is awesome." Tala says as she wanders into the living room. She has half a kiwi fruit impaled on each horn.
"I'll say. But what kind of idiot keeps bears in a truck with nothing to keep them there?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-23, 06:24 PM
With a devilish grin, Tony asks, "Do you all want to find out? I think I know where they were going." He glances hungrily at the kiwi fruit impaled on Tala's horns.

2007-01-23, 06:37 PM
Tala holds the fruit protectively.
"There's more in the fridge." She says.
"Depends where they were going, but sure. I'm as nosy as any of us."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-24, 01:35 AM
Tony replies to both Tala and Rocío with one word. "Outstanding." He digs out the note on which he wrote the delivery address, and he hands it to either Tala or Rocío, before heading for the kitchen. Speaking a bit louder, so they can easily hear him from the living room, Tony continues. "I found that address inside the cab of the truck, along with a delivery receipt. I'll bet that's where the truck was going." After finding himself a clean plate and a knife, he heads for the fridge.

2007-01-24, 03:50 AM
Rocío takes the note and looks it over. She and Tala follow Tony into the kitchen.
"Hmm. Okay. When do you want to go. Not today, I'd say, the police will probably be there."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-25, 03:26 AM
Tony takes a kiwi fruit and an orange out of the fridge, and puts them on his plate. "Yeah, today's probably not a good idea." He starts slicing up the orange. "But I don't see why we can't at least cruise by the place, if only to see where it is. As for when we actually pay them a visit...tomorrow night, maybe? I guess we'll have to play it by ear."

2007-01-25, 03:39 AM
"Bleh. Assuming I haven't been fibbed to about these kiwi fruit, I'll be dancing tomorrow night. You'll have to tell me all about it the next day."
"Assuming I don't have to work late, I'm in tomorrow. When do you want to do the drive-by?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-25, 10:27 PM
"Anytime will work for me, Rocío." Having finished with the orange, Tony takes the kiwi fruit and slices it in two, while he grins at Tala. "So, what's the story there, honey? Are you dancing with a fruit basket on your head tomorrow night?" He picks up one piece of the freshly cut kiwi fruit, and then he looks back at Tala, glancing at her horns for just a brief moment.

2007-01-25, 10:47 PM
"There's a new dancer I met last night, I think she's a half-dragon or something like that. She had a pair of horns, so I asked her what she did to keep them shiny, and apparently kiwi juice works well." She looks up at the fruit. "So I'm seeing if it'll work for me."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-25, 11:23 PM
Tony cuts each half of the kiwi fruit once again, and peels the resulting quarters. "Ah, so I take it that you're not planning on eating that one?" he asks, as he nods toward the kiwi fruit impaled on Tala's horns. He looks at both Tala and Rocío, as he gestures toward his plate. "Do you all want some?" He takes one of the peeled quarters of kiwi fruit, and pops it into his mouth. "Mmm..."

2007-01-25, 11:38 PM
Rocío grimaces. "No, you can keep them. I'll go watch for this bear story." She heads back into the living room.
"Sure" Tala takes a piece and bites some off.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-25, 11:46 PM
Not a kiwi fan, Rocío? Oh well, more for us then." Tony says with a smirk. Now that it's just himself and Tala in the kitchen, he moves in a little closer to her. "So...a half-dragon dancer, you say? Have you ever seen one before? A half-dragon, that is." Tony starts eating one of the orange slices.

2007-01-25, 11:52 PM
"Only pictures, I think. I'm surprised they don't break the Veil every time they go outside, she's not really all that human looking. Even less than Brad."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-26, 01:38 AM
"Mm hmm, that sounds about right. It seems that most of New Greyhawk's SWAT team members are half-dragon, I saw a few of them the last time I met up with Lisa. They're quite a colorful bunch - literally." Tony starts on another slice of orange.

2007-01-26, 01:56 AM
"I suppose they'd be okay there. If a mundy doesn't see through the Veil in New Greyhawk, they'll never do it at all."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-27, 06:21 PM
"Ain't that the truth." Tony looks toward the bathroom, and listens for a moment, to make sure that the shower is still running. "Heh. Speaking of Brad, and 'mundies seeing through the Veil'...when Animal Control showed up to tranq the bears, one of them tried to tranq him as well. He sure doesn't get the respect that he deserves, sometimes."

2007-01-27, 07:40 PM
"What? Poor Brad. It's not as if he even looks like a bear."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-28, 02:46 AM
"Yeah, but he is big, and he is a bit hairy. That, and when they first showed up, they couldn't see the fourth bear; I'm guessing that the lady saw something big and hairy, and then jumped to conclusions. The funny thing is, the tranq darts dropped all of the bears, but all it did to Brad was piss him off royally." Tony grins, and then he grabs another orange wedge.

2007-01-28, 04:40 AM
Tala considers this for a moment.
"I'm very glad Brad's on our side."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-30, 02:44 AM
"Mm hmm... You and me both, chérie." Tony says, as he picks up another piece of kiwi fruit. With a grin, he adds, "But why wouldn't he be on our side? We're so likeable..." He moves in a bit closer to Tala, and with a seductive smile, he brings the kiwi fruit up to her mouth.

2007-01-30, 04:42 PM
Tala moves forward, pressing her lips against the fruit and extending her tongue to scoop it into her mouth.
"Mmm..." She chews and swallows. "We are nice, yes. If nosy, and dangerous be around."

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-31, 01:09 AM
Tony grins, and his golden eyes widen in delight as Tala's tongue scoops up the kiwi fruit. He keeps his eyes locked on hers, while his hand searches for a piece of orange. "Mm hmm... Yeah, we're nosy alright. It's not always a bad thing, though..." His hand finds what it's looking for, and Tony takes the peel off the orange wedge as he continues. "And dangerous to be around... Well, for me, that danger usually adds to the fun..." He leans even closer to Tala. "And along those lines, I'd like to say that this last year has been very fun." He smiles lovingly, as he brings the piece of orange to her mouth.

2007-01-31, 01:27 AM
Tala smiles and extends her tongue a little further this time, almost looping it around the fruit before drawing it in.
"Mmm... if it's danger you like, then you should have a look at today's Seer." She says, referring to the magazine distributed by the Displaced.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-31, 02:39 AM
Apparently, Tony is rather turned on by hand feeding fruit to Tala, as his smile has widened, and his eyes have lit up even more than before. "Hmm, I think I'll do that. It'll have to wait a while, though, I'm having too much fun here." He takes the last piece of kiwi fruit and holds it up in front of Tala's mouth.

2007-01-31, 06:05 AM
Tala presses her mouth against the fruit and allows her lips to glide over it, before leaning back again and starting to chew.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-31, 06:22 PM
While he reaches for more fruit, Tony takes a quick glance at the plate. Hmm… Only two left. He locks his eyes on Tala’s once more while he takes the peel off of the last two pieces of orange, and then he leans in even closer. "Hmm... We should do this more often." Still smiling seductively, and with his face now only inches from hers, Tony brings yet another piece of fruit to Tala's mouth.

2007-01-31, 06:54 PM
Tala engulfs the fruit, sucking briefly on Tony's fingertips before pulling away to chew.

Toxic Avenger
2007-01-31, 10:28 PM
Hmm...last one... Still keeping his eyes fixed on Tala's, Tony slowly brings the last piece of orange to his own mouth, and holds it between his front teeth. With half of the fruit jutting out from his mouth, Tony leans in toward Tala until his forehead touches her horns, placing the fruit within reach of her tongue.

Readied action :smallwink:: When Tala's tongue comes out to grab the fruit, Tony 'attacks' her tongue with his own.

2007-01-31, 10:34 PM
As Tony and Tala tongue-grapple, Rocío enters the kitchen. She makes a face when she sees them and pours her apple juice quickly before leaving them to it.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-01, 01:33 AM
After hearing Rocío pass through the kitchen, Tony takes a very short break for a breath of air, and he whispers in Tala's ear. "Hmm...Shall we take this to the next room?" Then he starts leading her toward their room, while continuing with the tongue-grappling.

2007-02-01, 08:05 PM
When Tony and Tala come back downstairs, Rocío turns to them.
"Taped the news. Wanna see yourself on TV, Tony?"
Brad and Rocío are already on the couch, watching the story start. Lily is on the screen, providing a brief run down of the accident and the bear escape. The shot cuts to Tony and Brad. The interview has been only slightly editted, and Brad is surprisingly photogenic. Next, a police officer gives a brief statement, confirming that the truck driver was the only one hurt and the bears have been safely transported to Los Angeles Zoo. The story finishes with Lily again, saying that Hermes Transport had no record of the bears. The truck was supposed to be delivering research supplies to the De Hertogh Institute.
"That was... pretty cool." Brad comments, as the tape keeps playing, showing a plain woman in a white coat snipping a ribbon over a door; the tagline reads 'Des Moines bioplastics plant opening'.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-01, 10:34 PM
Tony comes back downstairs with Tala, his face showing a smile of utter satisfaction. Replying to Rocío, he says, "Sure. I always like seeing myself on camera." He heads over to the couch and sits down. Noticing that there is no way to make enough room on the couch for Tala, he smiles, and offers her his lap. After getting comfortable, Tony watches the video with interest.

After Brad comments on the story, Tony says, "Mmhmm. That was very cool indeed. Is that your first time on TV, Brad?"

2007-02-01, 10:51 PM
"I was in the back ground of a health and safety video once, but I don't think that counts."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-02, 12:45 AM
"Um, yeah, I guess not. But hey, now most of the city's going to see you, so..." Tony grins. "Are you ready to be famous, Brad?"

2007-02-02, 12:49 AM
"Oh no. Oh hell no." Brad covers his face with his hands, and Tala pats him on the back.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-02, 01:08 AM
"Heh. Scary thought, eh, Brad? Ah, you'll be alright. Who knows, maybe you'll come to like the attention." Tony gives Brad a pat on the back as well, and then he reaches for the latest issue of Seer.

2007-02-02, 01:17 AM
Tala tells him the page number of the article she mentioned before. It's titled 'Dead Running', and it's about groups of Shadows who have been competing with each other in races through New Greyhawk's Dead Zone. The Dead Zone is completely infested with monsters and creatures mutated by Shadow, but apparently the 'dead runners' have found occasional treasure troves in the ruined buildings. A typical run will cross through the Dead Zone at a certain angle, with scoring being based on either speed, monsters defeated or loot found.
The article also includes a few interviews with runners and critics. Most of the critisim deals with the inherent danger of the sport; vehicles don't function far into the Zone, so a quick escape is close to impossible.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-02, 02:51 AM
After finishing with the article, Tony grins at Tala and says, "Hmm. That sounds like it could be fun...dangerous fun. What do you all think?" Tony holds the magazine open, and shows it to Brad and Rocío.

2007-02-02, 04:01 AM
"A bit too dangerous for me, I think. Maybe someday."
"Someday when we're rich enough to have ourselves brought back to life."
Rocío stares at Brad for a moment.
"You can pay someone to have yourself brought back to life?"
"Yeah. Sort of like how you can pay someone to get a trip in the Space Shuttle. It's on offer, but you'd have to be pretty damn wealthy to even think about it."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-02, 05:27 PM
"Hell, if I had the money, I wouldn't just be thinking about it; I can't take it with me, after all. How much money are we talking about, Brad?"

2007-02-02, 05:49 PM
Brad strokes his chin as he tries to remember. "About fourty mil, I think."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-02, 06:03 PM
Tony raises an eyebrow, and whistles in amazement. "Damn! I guess we won't do that anytime soon, then. We'd be able to buy our own stealth copter before we could afford to raise all four of us. I imagine they'd need to have one's body to do the raising, right?"

2007-02-02, 06:44 PM
"I'm not sure. I could ask tomorrow."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-03, 01:11 AM
"Sounds good. Not that we'll ever afford it, but I'm still curious, anyway." Tony starts flipping through the rest of the magazine. After a few moments, he asks, "So... Who's up for an afternoon drive now?"

2007-02-03, 01:57 AM
"Sure. Which car do you want to take?"
"Rocío's. Sorry, Tala."
"Hmm? Yeah, okay."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-03, 08:24 PM
"That works for me." Tony replies, as he puts the magazine back down. His lips turn up into a sly smile as he says, "I'll go pack some fruit for us to munch on."

2007-02-03, 08:33 PM
"I don't think we'll be gone that long, and you are not getting your mack on on my backseat, Tony."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-04, 12:06 AM
Tony drops the smirk from his smile, and he fakes an innocent look. "But I wasn't going to pack any kiwi fruit...ah, alright. Well, I suppose I should pull up a map before we go." Tony starts getting up from the couch. "Can Phoenix come along, Rocío? If he wants to, that is?"

2007-02-04, 12:16 AM
"As long as he doesn't crap on the seats, sure."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-04, 12:32 AM
"Okie dokie." Tony starts heading off to fetch his laptop. He turns back for a moment, and his smirk has returned. "So the floor is fair game, then?" He asks in jest.

2007-02-04, 12:33 AM
Rocío snatches up the TV remote and curls her arm back as if to throw it at Tony.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-04, 12:43 AM
"Relax, Rocío, I was joking. If Phoenix comes along, I'll make sure he behaves...or I'll clean up after him, if he doesn't." Tony continues heading off to get his laptop, keeping an eye on Rocío, should she decide to lay some hurt on him.

2007-02-04, 01:47 AM
Rocío loosens her grip on the remote, looking slightly confused at Tony taking her so seriously. Brad reaches out, plucks it from her hands and changes the channel.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-04, 02:57 AM
Though Tony finds Rocío's confused look to be amusing, he still tries to keep a straight face. Heh. I don't think she was expecting that. Upon seeing Brad 'disarm' her, Tony tries to fake a look of relief, and then he bolts out of the living room. Once in his and Tala's bedroom suite, he sends feelings of excitement and curiosity to Phoenix as he opens one of the windows, and then he sits down with his laptop. While he waits to see if his familiar will show up, Tony works on finding a map that shows the location of the address that he found.

2007-02-04, 03:06 AM
Phoenix flaps in as Tony searches. The institute is well away from the major roads, in the southern suburbs. It will probably be about half an hour to fourty minutes to drive there.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-04, 03:20 AM
Tony closes his laptop, and gets up to head back out to the living room. After closing the window, he invites Phoenix onto his shoulder and scratches his familiar's chin. Despite knowing that the dragonet won't understand him, Tony talks to him, anyway. In Draconic, he says, "Ready to go for another drive, Phoenix?" as he goes back into the living room, carrying the laptop and its carrying case.

2007-02-04, 03:24 AM
Phoenix chitters back. Rocío and Tala are no longer there, and Brad is coming down the stairs with his maul.
"Ros and Tala are getting the car out." He says when he sees Tony.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-04, 03:38 AM
"Good deal." Tony grins mischievously as he adds, "Maybe I'll pack some kiwi fruit, while Rocío isn't looking." Eyeing the maul, he asks, "Hmm... Are you expecting trouble, Brad?"

2007-02-04, 03:43 AM
"Nah, not really. I thought I'd bring this along just in case."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-04, 02:59 PM
"Good point. I'll go get the sword." Tony rushes off to get the sword. When he returns to the living room, he lays the sheathed blade on the couch before heading for the kitchen.

2007-02-04, 03:40 PM
Brad is no longer in the living room when Tony gets back in.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-04, 07:01 PM
Since Brad is no longer in the living room, Tony resorts to talking to Phoenix - not to mention himself - as he hurries to the kitchen. "We'll be gone for at least a couple hours, so I'm packing some snacks...even if it costs me an ass whoopin'. Heh." He hastily tosses a few snack bars and bottles of water into his bag, topped off by a bunch of grapes protected by a plastic container. After running back to the living room, he slides the laptop into the side pouch of his bag, and then he carries the sword and the bag out to the car, grabbing a towel on the way through the garage. "Alright, Phoenix. Let's go have some more fun! I hope you took care of your business, first..."

2007-02-05, 04:50 PM
The car is waiting in the driveway, with the front passenger door open. Rocío is in the driver's seat.
"You packed us lunch? Aw. You'll make a lovely wife someday." She grins, then notices the sword. "Put that in the boot with the hammer, in case we get pulled over."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-06, 02:40 AM
Tony grins right back at Rocío. "Me? Nah...unless 'someday' means 'in a thousand years'." He puts the sword in the trunk, and then he sits down in the front passenger seat. "Besides, this is more of a snack, really; there's not nearly enough in here for lunch." He sets the bag down at his feet, and then he looks for a place for Phoenix to sit. He holds up the towel for a moment, and then he lays it down where Phoenix will be sitting. "I brought a towel, just in case. But I don't think Phoenix has to go; I found him in your room, Rocío." Tony does his best to keep a straight face.

2007-02-06, 02:47 AM
Tony feels a thump against the back of his seat, jolting him forward.
"Brad will be avenging toilet humour for the next week, in return for me taking over his dishwashing duties for the same period."
Rocío says with an equally straight face.
"Well played, madam."
"Thank you."
"Sorry, Tony. She's just too good a bargainer."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-06, 01:47 PM
Tony recovers from the jolt, and puts Phoenix down on the towel. "Heh. If you hadn't enjoyed doing that so much, I might have believed you, Brad. But, there's nothing to be sorry about. I had that one coming, even if I didn't bring up the subject first." Tony picks up his bag as he continues. "Anyway, like the fair lady said...well played, Rocío." After flashing a crooked smile, he slides his laptop out of the side pouch of his bag and lays it on his lap.

2007-02-06, 02:37 PM
"So, where are we headed?" Rocío asks as she starts the engine and backs out of the driveway.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-06, 05:45 PM
"It's quite a way south from here. Garden Grove, Santa Ana, in that area. You want to look at the map, Ros? I got it right here..." He puts the bag back down at his feet, and then he opens the laptop.

2007-02-07, 01:59 AM
"Okay, I think I've got it. Zoom in a bit so you can tell me the streets when we get close."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-07, 02:28 AM
"Yep. That was the next thing on my list..." Tony saves the current map view, and then he zooms in close enough to show the local streets before saving that map view as well. "There. I saved both maps, in case my connection craps out again." He closes the laptop, and then he takes the grapes out of his bag. "Well, since we're on a mission of nosiness, Ros, I'll need to get warmed up a bit. So, do you want to tell us about your new friend?" He grins at Rocío, as he picks out a grape and holds it in front of Phoenix.

2007-02-07, 02:33 AM
"Well, as long as it's for a good cause. Her name's Mikhaela, she's a stockbroker from Washington and she was up here on business."
Phoenix gulps the grape down and squeaks happily.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-07, 03:29 PM
"Washington State, or DC?" Tony scratches Phoenix behind his ears, and gives him another grape.

2007-02-07, 03:42 PM
Phoenix rubs against Tony's fingers and takes the grape in his claws, biting off half.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-07, 05:16 PM
Tony sees that Phoenix still has one empty claw, so he gives him another grape. Feeling his innate nosiness starting to kick in, Tony goes on with the questioning. "Mikhaela...sounds Russian. Does she come to L.A. often?"

2007-02-07, 09:19 PM
"She didn't sound Russian. She travels a lot, but not especially often to LA."
"So are you gonna do a long-distance, or was it just a one-nighter?"
Rocío shrugs.
"Probably a one-nighter. She gave me her DC number, though, so I'll give her a call."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-08, 01:45 AM
"Well I, for one, hope you get to see her again, Ros. Even on this bright sunny day, I can see that you're glowing. It's pretty neat, actually." Tony takes half a handful of grapes, and promptly eats two of them.

2007-02-08, 01:51 AM
Rocío grins. "Well, she knew what she was doing. Maybe not up to teaching lessons, but definately at the top of her class."
"Then we must meet this woman. Or Tony must meet this woman. And get the name of her teacher."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-08, 02:49 PM
Tony looks back at Tala and smiles. "Hey, careful now..." He says as he slowly extends his hand toward her. Four grapes rest on the palm of his hand. "I'm always up for improving my 'dance' technique; but if I get too good, then we might not ever leave the house again."

2007-02-08, 03:13 PM
"What about when you run out of food?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-08, 03:23 PM
Tony continues to hold the grapes out in front of Tala, beginning to look confused, since she hasn't taken them yet. "Well, I suppose I'd have to convince someone to go get some more. That, or I could get Phoenix trained in the art of grocery shopping."

2007-02-08, 03:37 PM
Tala takes the grapes.
"I can see that. Flying the shopping back home one tiny bag at a time. He'd never finish."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-08, 03:58 PM
"Yeah, you're right, Ros. That wouldn't work too well. Hmm... I suppose I'd have to make an irresistible deal with one of you." Tony plucks a few more grapes from the bunch, and then he displays the rest for all to see. "Grapes, anyone?"

2007-02-08, 10:18 PM
"You might have a problem finding something to deal with if you spend all your time in bed."
Tala takes another grape, but Brad declines.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-08, 11:20 PM
Tony sighs, and he rolls his eyes a bit. "I said I'd never leave the house, not the bed." He hands two more grapes to Phoenix. "Anyway, I'm sure I could come up with something to negotiate with. Hmm... What if I offered to take over your dishwashing duties permanently?"

2007-02-08, 11:53 PM
"You'll need a little more than that, I think."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-09, 12:00 AM
"Oh? Like what?" Tony asks, then he shrugs as a particular thought passes through his mind. Damn, this conversation is getting beyond silly. "Meh, nevermind. It's not like I'd ever stay in the house all the time. I'd go nuts." His laptop starts humming faintly, and he frowns for a moment as he looks down at it. Mumbling under his breath, he touches a button on the side, and pulls out a CD. "Oh. I forgot I had that in there." He holds the CD up for all to see, and he smiles proudly. "The latest and greatest from the Mazzanti Recording Studio. Do you all want to hear it?"

2007-02-09, 12:59 AM
"Sure. Hang on." Rocío presses a few buttons on the radio. "Okay, put it in."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-09, 02:10 AM
"Excellent." Tony feeds the CD into the player, and then he leans back into his seat. "You all might recognise a few of these songs, but most of this CD is brand new material...and you'll get to be among the first to hear it."

2007-02-09, 06:31 PM
The institute is difficult to see from the road, being down a hill and sheltered behind a screen of trees. Tony can see the roofs of two buildings, one large and long and the other much smaller. The institute is blocked off by a tall, metal fence, broken by a boomgate monitored by a security booth.
"I don't think they appreciate nosiness as much as we do."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-09, 07:26 PM
Tony strokes Phoenix under the chin as he smiles back at Tala through the rear-view mirror. "Mm hmm, you said it, Tala..." He looks toward the institute with a steely-eyed gaze. "Of course, if they see a sleuth of bears as nothing more than 'research supplies', then I'm not surprised." After a few moments, he glances around. "Hmm...anyone seen any police cars?"

2007-02-09, 07:38 PM
"Not from here. Maybe they're inside."
"Or maybe they've already left."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-09, 11:42 PM
"Or maybe they haven't shown up yet. Not so likely, but it's possible." Tony looks down at his familiar, and gently pats him on the head. "I need to teach you how to use a camera, Phoenix. Then you could go scouting for us." He scratches Phoenix under the chin again, and then he reaches for his cell phone. "Hmm... I didn't bring my scanner, but I could give Lisa a call. She might be able to tell us what the cops are up to."

2007-02-10, 08:10 PM
"Go ahead. We'll keep an eye out."
"Would she have had the chance to hear about it yet? It did only happen this morning."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-11, 02:00 AM
Tony smiles at Tala through the rear-view mirror and nods. "Good deal. Thanks, sweetie."
He plugs in his hands-free set as he looks at Rocío. "I wouldn't be surprised if she's already heard, Ros. When something happens, she's usually on top of it pretty quick." Tony flips open his cell phone and dials Lisa's cell number. "She can't have heard everything about it, though." He raises his hand a bit and wiggles his thumb.

2007-02-11, 02:18 AM
The phone rings for quite awhile before Lisa picks up.
"Hey, Tony. What's up?" She sounds a little stressed.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-11, 02:32 AM
"Hi, Lisa. Is this a bad time?"

2007-02-11, 03:36 AM
"Yeah, but you aren't likely to find a better any time soon."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-11, 04:57 PM
"Oh, crap. What's going on?"

2007-02-11, 05:02 PM
"We're having a little bit of a crimewave. It's nothing really bad, but it's just so damn persistant. I have about a foot of paperwork to do, and I won't have a chance until tonight to do anything about it, if then."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-11, 07:13 PM
"Alright. I'll try not to bug you for too long, Lisa. I suppose you haven't heard about what just happened down here, then?"

2007-02-11, 07:28 PM
"I haven't had time to catch up with what's happening anywhere else."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-11, 07:57 PM
"Some bears got loose from the back of a truck this morning, right in front of the cafe where Brad and I were sitting. That's not too strange in and of itself, but the fact that the bears had thumbs is, not to mention that the trucking company has no record of them. We got to be on TV though." Tony glances up at the mirror, and grins at Brad.

2007-02-11, 07:59 PM
"Bears, thumbs, no records, you're on TV. I'll keep my eye out if I ever get the chance to catch the news. See you, Tony."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-12, 12:20 AM
"Later, Lisa. I hope things get easier for ya soon." Tony flips his phone shut and sighs. "Shoot. Lisa's up to her ears in work, so no inside information for us today. Maybe I'll send her something to cheer her up..." Tony puts his phone away as he glances back toward the institute. "So, who's up for getting a closer look?" He opens his laptop once again.

2007-02-12, 01:37 AM
"Something tells me we really don't want to be caught sneaking around in there. What did you have in mind?"

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-12, 02:19 AM
"I'm kind of curious about what we might see from the other side of those trees. I definitely wouldn't want to get any closer than that, though. Well, not in broad daylight, anyway." Tony starts running a Internet search for the De Hertogh Institute.

2007-02-14, 03:54 AM
The Institute is funded by Mastodon Inc., for whom they do research. The site isn't terribly clear on exactly what they're researching, but it appears to have something to do with computer chips or possibly plastics.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-15, 02:15 AM
As he taps and clicks away at his laptop, Tony shares what he finds. "Hmm... According to their site, it looks like they're into researching computer chips or plastics, but it's hard to tell for sure." After a few moments, he perks up a bit as he points at the screen. "Ah, there we go! Let's follow the money...shall we?" He starts looking for more information about Mastodon, Inc.

2007-02-15, 02:59 AM
Tony's search brings up several references to Mastodon. Ignoring prehistoric mammals, he finds their homepage and several news articles.
The homepage states that they produce microcomputers, for use in cars, security systems, etc. They don't make any reference to a parent company, but Tony gets the impression that Mastodon is too small to operate on its own in the electronics industry. The only other concrete information is that they're headquartered in New York, and the director is James Ball.
The news articles are mostly economic reports, and they seem to bear out the theory that Mastodon is quite a small company. Their parent company appears to be SinCorp. On closer inspection, however, Tony notices that none of the articles are more recent than three years old.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-16, 02:17 PM
As he looks for more information about Mastodon, Tony comments on the situation. "I probably should have done all this back at the house, because this is taking way too long. We're not attracting any attention yet, are we?"

Once he finds what he's looking for, Tony says, "Well... for a company that makes microcomputers, Mastodon seems too small to be completely independent. I can't find anything recent, though. It's all at least three years old..."

2007-02-16, 07:01 PM
"No, the security booth is facing away from us. We should be okay. If we'll be here awhile, I'll pretend we've broken down and I'm fixing the engine."

"Presumably they're still operational, though, if their website is still up."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-17, 12:53 PM
"Presumably, anyway. Let's see what happens when I do this, then..." Tony starts a new search, with both "SinCorp" and "Mastodon" in the search field.

2007-02-17, 03:23 PM
The search returns some of the news articles that came up before. The ones that didn't come up presumeably refered to SinCorp as the Sinclair Corperation.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-18, 01:33 AM
"If they're still around, they've been keeping a low profile." Unable to think of what to search for next, and realising that his knowledge of SinCorp is much less than it should be, Tony checks out the company's website for a moment before saying, "If they have anything to do with the bears, then I won't find anything about it here." He turns his head to look at the metal fence, wondering how quickly one could climb over it.

2007-02-18, 01:39 AM
Tony's quick glance at the SinCorp site shows a fairly typical corporate homepage.
The fence looks as though it would be easily enough to climb, although doing it quickly to avoid guards might be difficult. The hard part, though, would be avoiding the pointed tips of the fence posts.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-19, 04:08 PM
"Ooh, those points look nice and sharp. They'll make for a fun time climbing the fence." Tony says as he makes a slight nod toward the fence. "Brad, suppose that someone were to climb that fence, and I wouldn't know anyone who would do such a thing..." Tony smirks momentarily. "Do you think that a strapping young man...oh, like yourself, for example...could bend those bars easily enough?"

2007-02-19, 04:17 PM
"Yeah, I guess. It'd wreck the fence, though."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-20, 02:41 AM
"Yes, that would be a bit of a problem." Tony stares at the fence for a few more moments. "Hmm... Maybe we could find something that we could use to cap the points, and maybe even rig something up to help us get over the top a bit quicker..."

2007-02-20, 02:47 AM
Rocío frowns.
"Are you sure we have the right place? I can't see bears being 'research supplies', whether they're researching chips or plastic."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-20, 03:03 AM
"That was the address on the clipboard in the truck, I'm sure of it. It is possible that they..." Tony nods toward the institute. "...don't know anything about the bears, and the address was just thrown in there to throw off anyone who got too curious. Maybe."

2007-02-20, 03:10 AM
"It sounds a little farfetched, but so does a truckload of unrestrained bears."
"Why don't we look at where the bears came from, instead of where they were going?" Tala says, while checking a lock of hair for split ends. "That might be easier, and less likely to get us arrested."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-20, 03:16 AM
"Actually, I was thinking about going to the zoo, if you all are up for that."

2007-02-20, 03:21 AM
"Can we see the insect exhibit?"
Rocío looks at Tala with a disturbed look.
"I know I always regret asking you these things, but why do you want to look at bugs?"
"So pretty. Like flying jewels."
Rocío squeezes her eyes shut and shivers.
"As long as I don't have to follow her around, I'm all for it."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-20, 03:34 AM
Tony smiles back at Tala, and then he grins at Rocío. "Don't worry, Ros. That's my job."

2007-02-20, 03:38 AM
"You could always just look at my cleavage anyway."
Rocío makes some preparatory shapes with her mouth, then gives up, shaking her head.
"Off to the zoo, then?"
"Yeah. Off to the zoo. Boobies and insects and bears, oh my."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-21, 01:05 AM
Tony watches the exchange with a smile of obvious amusement on his face, while he scratches Phoenix behind the ears. He stops to close his laptop and put it away, and then he says, "Well then, it looks like the zoo should have something for everyone." He picks up Phoenix and puts him on his lap, and then he reaches for some grapes as he continues. "Insects for Tala, bears for Brad..."

2007-02-21, 02:02 AM
"And a mammary each for us?" Rocío asks rhetorically as she gets into the car. "I'll pass, thanks. I'm more of an arse woman."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-21, 02:33 AM
"Oh, well. More for me." Tony says with a grin, as he feeds another grape to Phoenix. "Hey, with luck, there'll be plenty of baboons running around. That should make your day, Ros."

2007-02-21, 02:49 AM
Rocío waits a beat.
"That wasn't exactly toilet humour, Ros."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-21, 03:01 AM
Tony rolls his eyes at Rocío. "Oh geez, it wasn't even close. If that was toilet humor, Ros, then Brad should have smacked all of us by now."

2007-02-21, 03:06 AM
"It still would have been a good time for a hit." Rocío starts the car.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-21, 03:43 AM
Tony looks down at Phoenix and pats him gently on the head. "No. No, it would not."

2007-02-23, 03:26 AM
The zoo's parking lot is packed. Rocío does three laps around before they chance on a car leaving just as they get there.
"Finally. I really didn't think this place'd by so packed."
"It is a Sunday."
The entrance, ticket office and giftshop is a single, large building fronting onto the parking lot.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-23, 05:52 PM
"...and a very warm Sunday at that." Tony chimes in as he ties his hair back into a ponytail. After getting out of the car, Tony picks up Phoenix and places him on his shoulder, and then he looks toward the entrance. "So... Who's buying?"

2007-02-23, 08:32 PM
"I'll shout you." Tala looks at the prices. "Brad, you can pass as a six year old, right?" She moves off to join the queue before Brad manages to process what she said.

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-24, 01:53 AM
Tony follows after Tala, hurrying just a bit to catch up with her. "Thanks, Tala. That's mighty sweet of you..." He glances back at Brad and Rocío for a moment, and then he smirks as he adds, "I suppose I'll pay for those two, even if they've conspired against me."

2007-02-24, 01:56 AM
"Don't worry, I can get it."
"No, my shout. I'm feeling charitable."

Toxic Avenger
2007-02-24, 06:30 PM
"Ooh, I like the sound of that." Tony says with a smile. "Any particular reason, or just because?"