Spiders, Beekeepers, Magistrates and Frankenstein's Monster

Brief Title:
Spiders, Beekeepers, Magistrates and Frankenstein's Monster

Characters:
Xiu Lin Tseng, Bride of Nine Spiders

Scene Runner/Watcher:

IC Date:
07/22/12 19:00

Location:
Chinatown

Summary:
Xiu Lin is called by police-phobic Chinatown residents looking for help. She encounters the Bride, and the folks kidnapping and killing homelss in the area.

Social or Plot:

TS:
No

Log:
Some heroes fight to save the world. Others fight to save a city. Occasionally, a hero fights to save those who cannot save themselves. Po Tung wasn't a master of kung fu but he knew a few moves. He wasn't a war hero but he served his country admirably during Desert Storm. He had no powers. No fancy gear. And like so many homeless in the city, no permanent address. Po Tung looked at for those, like him, who slept on the streets and in alleys and in parks. He battled those who would exploit and harm the homeless while, at the same time, battling the horrors of PTSD. Po Tung was a hero. Now.. Po Tung is dead. In this neighborhood, trust for the police isn't high. Among the homeless who live here, it is even lower. So, when two homeless men found Po Tung's body in an alleyway, they didn't call the cops. They sent word through the network and, eventually, to one Xiu Lin Tseng. A detective who can get things done. A detective who belongs to this part of town.

A detective ... who is not quite a detective. Oh, Xiu Lin can detect and divine a lot. And she can seek justice. But she does so without a badge, despite her connections with the NYPD. That, and her very open respect for the traditions of her heritage, is why people like the network - and the homeless of Chinatown - trust and accept her, and sometimes seek her out for aid.

Xiu Lin does not come in uniform, either as Yishi, or as an employee of the NYPD. Instead, she comes in a soft grey cheongsam jacket with black trim and embroidery, nearly invisible dragons coiling black on black along the cuffs of sleeves and the neck and halves of the jacet. Matching soft grey dang-lung-fu trousers shroud her legs. Soft grey cross-trainers cover her feet, and a backpack rides her shoulders. Her long hair is currently bound tightly in a single braid, a soft grey band about her hair at the hairline. The tiny figure walks with confidence down the sidewalk and stops at the trash can with the tiny mark she knows indicates one of the network awaits. Once met, she follows with only a moment's nod, until they reach the alleyway.

At the mouth of the alleyway, Xiu Lin motions with one hand for her 'guide' to stop and proceed no further. She steps lightly and carefully forward, picking her spots very carefully, as her mind and her senses open to absorb as much as she can of what is to be found and revealed here. The broad-shouldered, rounded frame of Po Tung lies sprawled awkwardly towards one wall of the alley. Tiny scorch marks mark the clothing, and similar burns appear on the skin, as well as the wall and asphalt ground covering near and beyond Po Tung. No marking is, itself, larger than a dime in diameter. The pale tan clothing has seen better days, but is still clearly recogizeable as former desert BDUs, suitable to Po Tung's history. Bruising is present on his hands, and a bit on this feet only revealed when one boot is gently and carefully removed. Tiny flecks of blood and other tissue mark the sleeves and chest of his jacket, the like of which few would see, as further proof of his fighting efforts against his attackers. Blood on the ground also seems more likely - instinct, here, rather than revealed by her forensic training thus far - from two of his attackers, rather than from Po himself, as no open wounds are found on the veteran beyond a post-mortem gash at the back of his head, caused by his fall after he was killed. Xiu Lin has not seen much in the way of laser weaponry, but this is clearly evidence of energy-based weapon attacks, and seems too regular to be electrical burns, too minimal in other damage to be high-energy plasma.

Xiu Lin examines the scene for almost twenty minutes, and then turns around and walks back to the mouth of the alleyway, looking here and there before turning to address her 'guide.' "I have seen what can be seen. If the others wish to take him away for burial, according to their traditions, they may do so. I will pursue the case and do my best to find those responsible. Have you, or others, heard of anyone muscling into the area, and using any advanced weapons?" she inquires.

"Five of the unwanted have been taken this week." The voice comes from above. A pale woman crouches on the railing of a fire escape, perfectly balanced. Overlooking the alley. From this distance, few would notice the spider crawling out from under her hair and down along the curve of her cheekbone. The poor men glance up... and then they back away. Soon, they are running. It seems they have no desire to be near the woman. Whomever she is.

The unwanted. The forgotten. The lost. All are linguistic euphamisms common to their languages for these, the homeless. Oddly enough, the tiny form of Xiu Lin Tseng does not jump or startle when the strange, almost alien woman speaks up. She was aware of her arrival, crawling dowm from the rooftops above. And she can actually spot the spider moving along her cheek, as she turns slowly to look up at her crouching figure. She does not call out to the guide who has fled. "Little need to so frighten them. This is the first I have been told of, though some allusion was made that this was not the first they had found." The allusion was almost impossible to pick up, except if one has the talents Xiu Lin has at reading others. "I could ask what you want." she offers. "But I suspect your answer would do little to aid me in my understanding."

The woman leaps. Twenty feet down and she falls and lands with the grace of a born tumbler. When she speaks again, it is in Cantonese instead of English. Yet this, too, feels like it is a foreign language to her. Not her native tongue. "They know little wisps of truth about what I am. They run because I am what scares their monsters." The pale woman straightens to her full, unimposing height. "You do not look like a judge."

Bride of Nine Spiders pages: In the earliest traditions of Chinese mystery stories, the detective was usually a local magistrate.

"About what you are?" Xiu Lin Tseng answers, also in Cantonese. Her own fluency is closer to that of the citizens here in Chinatown. She lived in the language for years while away, and was raised speaking it as much as Mandarin and English. "I can see your spider friends. That would usually be more than enough for most to panic." Xiu Lin is a good bit shorter than the Bride. "I am not a judge. I am Tseng Xiu Lin, a 'detective' the people have chosen to trust, and have asked to help them. Might I ask what I should call you?"

Friends, indeed. At least a dozen spiders crawl on her or off of her, leaving and departing as if she were their home. The pale woman smiles, showing off perfect teeth but no fangs. "I am Bride of Nine Spiders." She pauses, then adds. "The fallen warrior was killed by men in yellow suits that covered their entire bodies. They had pistols that shot light."

"You saw them, then?" Xiu Lin inquires of the Bride. "Or one of your friends did?" It's not hard for her to imagine that one could have the power to control, guide and meld with spiders. It is not her Gift, nor would it be one she would wish. But clearly it is one that fits well with this woman. This 'Bride' of Nine Spiders. "Have you seen those who work with and care for bees? Did these suits of yellow look like those, with green-tinted face shields and twin small round metal grills near where their chins would be?" Xiu Lin has read of AIM from the New Warriors files, and it would seem to suit them to use such advanced weaponry against so outmatched an opponent, yet have been unable to defend against his physical attacks. "I do not suppose you then saw where they went, after they left his body? They have only been gone a few hours." So they could well be close enough to track down and bring to justice.

"Do bee keepers wear yellow in this world?" This seems to amuse Bride of Nine Spiders. "Je je je." She does not answer. Did she see this? Did the spiders? Is there a difference. "Children. They are my children. Not my friends. The yellow men went under the ground through the hole covered by the metal disk." She explains, pointing the the manhole at the end of the alley. "Four of them. All had broken bones. The warrior was strong. Just not strong enough."

"Normal beekeepers wear white in this world." Xiu Lin answers, slightly creeped out by the laughter. But she rather guessed there might be something otherworldly about the Bride - the name was a BIG CLUE - so she rolls with it to the best of her ability. "The sewers run beneath the City streets." Xiu Lin doesn't know them by heart, but she may be able to track them. They are the careless sort, after all. "He was plenty strong enough. He just wasn't laser-proof. Few are." She clasps her hands before her, bowing to the Bride. "I thank you, and your Children, for this information. I must now attempt to find these men, and bring them to justice for their crimes." And with that, Xiu Lin pads to the middle of the street and crouches down, sliding her hands into the catches on the manhole cover and giving her best mighty yank. It won't be easy, but she tries her darnedest to get it open.

Bride of Nine Spiders follows. Into the street. She watches as Xiu Lin pulls up the manhole cover. When the cover comes up, she leaps down into the darkness. Once in the sewer, she steps aside. Giving room for Xiu Lin to climb down. Or jump, if she is feeling adventerous.

Xiu Lin glances up when the Bride appears at the manhole cover. She had not expected the mysterious woman would come with her, but she doesn't seem shocked. She'll just have to figure out the new 'rules' going on here. The leap certainly does not surprise her, but she does not try to replicate the feat. She climbs partway down, and then drags the cover back over, getting it seated back in place. Then she continues down to the bottom of the ladder, and fishes into her pocket. It takes about a minute for her to get everything situated. Then she makes a 'click' sound, and a flashlight floods the area of the sewer with light, coming from Xiu Lin's shoulder, where the flashlight is secured, freeing up her hands.

The tiny detective crouches, examining the ladder and ground carefully in every direction. Then she points and proceeds, following the path delineated by the scuff marks, almost invisible blood trail, and other clues. Her hands remain empty as she advances, swiftly but quietly.

About thirty spiders crawl from the Bride's body. They leap to the wall and down to the ground and scurry off in all directions. Scouts, perhaps. Or maybe they're hungry. Bride of Nine Spiders follows quietly, making nary a sound as she keeps pace with the detective. A hunt through the sewers for predators in yellow suits.

Xiu Lin goes neither quickly nor slowly, taking just enough time to continually sweep the light on her shoulder across the tunnel ahead and to both sides, her mind and her Gift constantly cataloging the details available. In this way, she is able to spot the small laser-light emitters along the floor at ankle height intended to serve as tripwires, stepping over them and directing the Bride to do the same. She is also able to make the correct turns through the twisting maze of dark tunnels, following the four injured men in their yellow beekeeper suits. She has no idea why AIM would be taking action in the heart of Chinatown, or bothering homeless war veterans, but she intends to find out.

Further evidence turns up, as she locates a body, rotted and falling apart, floating int he sewer passage. Perhaps most disturbing is a single heavy steel flood door which they find mangled and crumpled, pushed out of the way, the reinforced concrete of its lintel and frame shattered - and recently. There are more signs of those tightly controled energy weapons discharges there, all over the place, from ceiling to floor to every wall in the chamber /and/ the door. Xiu Lin takes all of this in without comment and continues on. Whatever any of this means to her, it seems her focus is on finding those responsible before they can do /more/.

"Battle." Bride says as she examines the doors. The scortch marks. "Your bee keepers have been fighting something here." She pauses. Two spiders skitter along the floor at break neck speed. The crawl up into her body. She opens her mouth and they enter. She doesn't seem to chew them, however. Simply closes her mouth and a moment later, two small lumps travel down her throat. Not so much swallowing as... moving on their own. "Up ahead, a dozen of your bee keepers fighting a dead giant."

Xiu Lin nods to the Bride, agreeing but saying nothing as she takes it all in. "This battle was over a week ago. And the body we passed was two weeks old." How is she to know that it is in fact the body from the battle she is witnessing, and was already dead half a week when this fight took place?

Xiu Lin doesn't miss the swallowing of the moving spiders, and it is the first thing to truly make her shudder. Otherwise, she has kept a pretty even, controlled demanor in the face of the creepiness. But that one was the bridge too far. Yuck. She shivers and turns away for a moment, getting control of her gorge.

Xiu Lin turns back as the Bride relays what she has learned. "A dead giant? Oh, crap." A dozen? Even worse. But she's here to find justice. She'll have to do what she'll have to do. "I'll have to use their distraction as the chance to bring them down. But I'm going to be playing the very real risk that thing ... the giant ... will still be up when I'm done. And I've no idea how I'd manage to bring /it/ down." Apparently she's not expecting the Bride to involve herself. Why would she?

"Oh well. Time to go." And Xiu Lin creeps forward quietly, as her hands go to her pockets, pulling out short dark rods, holding them in her hands as she advances, the light on her shoulder switched off now.

Xiu Lin nods to the Bride, agreeing but saying nothing as she takes it all in. "This battle was over a week ago. And the body we passed was two weeks old." How is she to know that it is in fact the body from the battle she is witnessing, and was already dead half a week when this fight took place?

Xiu Lin doesn't miss the swallowing of the moving spiders, and it is the first thing to truly make her shudder. Otherwise, she has kept a pretty even, controlled demanor in the face of the creepiness. But that one was the bridge too far. Yuck. She shivers and turns away for a moment, getting control of her gorge.

Xiu Lin turns back as the Bride relays what she has learned. "A dead giant? Oh, crap." A dozen? Even worse. But she's here to find justice. She'll have to do what she'll have to do. "I'll have to use their distraction as the chance to bring them down. But I'm going to be playing the very real risk that thing ... the giant ... will still be up when I'm done. And I've no idea how I'd manage to bring /it/ down." Apparently she's not expecting the Bride to involve herself. Why would she?

"Oh well. Time to go." And Xiu Lin creeps forward quietly, as her hands go to her pockets, pulling out short dark rods, holding them in her hands as she advances, the light on her shoulder switched off now.

Just around the corner, the action becomes obvious. A patchwork man, made out of the parts of a dozen or so homeless people. The Patchwork Man is busy slapping down AIM bee keepers. There were a dozen when the spiders spotted them. Now? There are three. Three blasting away crazily while the others are laying on the ground, either dead or dying.

As the small, darkly-clad form of Xiu Lin Tseng comes slinking into the room, she watches the fight still unfolding, and her mind starts reconstructing the fight that has already taken place. Clearly, this construct is far stronger than any of the AIM troopers, and seems largely impervious to their weapons in any practical sense. They are doing damage, but not nearly anything that is disabling it or even much slowing it down. The only way to fight something like this ... is to physically disable it. She's guessing that if it truly is dead, it won't notice pain. But if limbs and joints no longer /function/, that may be enough. Maybe.

Not wearing bright yellow; not carrying anything shedding light; Xiu Lin circles the fight and then sweeps in. Her Gift shows her exactly where to be and when to slide between the attacks of the creature and its creators. A flick of one wrist extends one matte black titanium-aluminum telescoping baton. A sweep of the arm, indeed the whole body, brings that baton around and down against the outside of the left knee. In the next moment she is then rolling away and disappearing into darkness again, awaiting her next opening. That is, assuming she isn't golfed into a wall or clipped with a laser, all of which could very well happen.

A knee shatters. Logic states that the beast should buckle. It does not. Instead, the knee turns inwards and it continues to flail around. Not in pain. Just seeking out a new target. Yishi. A giant fist heads for her head.

It is intercepted. Bride of Nine Spiders leaps before it and sweeps it aside with two hands in a thrusting pose. Bull Pushes Away Elephant. The Bride begins moving... and it becomes clear that, however creepy she is, she makes Yishi's trainers in the martial arts seem like yellow belts. She weaves and ducks. A finger reaches out and grabs a seam, yanking. Tailor Undoes Hem. The creature's arm falls off.

Unable to even really imagine that something that no longer has a knee would still be fully upright, let alone immediately swinging at her, and completely out of position, Xiu Lin is trapped by sheer bio-physics: her body is not superhuman. Superlative, but not superhuman. She cannot move any faster. She may know where she needs to be, but she can't get there. That huge undead paw strikes, and the small martial artist goes tumbling away. She can tuck and roll, preventing /further/ injury, but as it is she is stunned and wobbling, seeing stars and badly bruised, even bleeding a bit. She's only lucky nothing is broken. What's left is mere gaping at the agility, the skill, the /power/ of the Bride. Even knowing how creepy she is, Xiu Lin had no idea she would bother to involve herself in this, let alone that she could be so skilled and physically effective. It's ... humbling, to say the least.

"Detective." Bride of Nine Spiders says calmly, as if this were the sort of problem she deals with every day. "You will not bring the fallen warrior's murderers to justice if you do not stand." Indeed, the three surviving AIM bee keepers are taking the time to run. A rouge experiment they might deal with but that AND two heroes? They're exiting, stage left.

The Bride of Nine Spiders ducks and weaves, dodging the strong and fast but unskilled blows of the one armed monster. She strikes the monster's head over and over with just two fingers. Death of a Thousand Taps.

Admittedly, Xiu Lin is not mentally programmed to respond to 'Detective'. It takes a few moments for what the Bride has said to filter through. But once it does, the little figure shakes her head and then sprints off. She may not be able to affect the creature, but three AIM troopers, she should be able to do something about. Part of her, as she is chasing them down, almost considers that she should have let the creature deal with them before interfering. That would have been poetic justice.

Xiu Lin is no poet.

Most AIM troopers are scientists. They're not in the best shape. Xiu Lin's legs may be short, but she moves /fast/, smoothly and efficiently. And she's not above creating a problem for the fleeing troopers by snapping out her other baton and then hurling it at the legs of the lead trooper, hoping to trip him up and maybe create a pile-up.

A little secret - the Death of a Thousand Taps doesn't actually require a thousand taps. On the fiftieth two finger blow, the desired outcome arrives. The monster's scalp separates from its head. Bride of Nine Spiders leaps into the air. She's over the monster, upside down, when she acts. One hand pulls away the scalp. The other reaches inside and neatly... much too neatly.. plucks out the brain.

While in the corrior? Three little bee keepers go down, falling into the flowing sewage. They flail and battle each other, trying to stand up. It would be almost comical if these weren't mass murderers.

Remoseless mass murderers, no less. Xiu Lin does not immediately interfere with their internal squabbling, and lets them exhaust themselves flailing about in the sewer 'river' before she does anything at all. Then she leaps out and lands on one trooper, her baton lowering swiftly to the back of his head. She keeps this up until she has KOed all three. At that point, she'll retrieve her second baton - it'll need a bath before she'll carry that again - and puts them away. She resigns herself to the foulness, and heaves, dragging the bodies to the side one at a time. Assuming she can manage that, she'll then fish out ziptie cuffs from her backpack of gear and zip them up, then gather their weapons and other gear. It will all be evidence against them. Too bad she missed the end of the Bride's display of preternatural martial skill. That's a real shame.

Without a brain, the monster no longer moves. Just beyond the chamber is another, where the AIM scientists obviously performed their experiments. Computers and modern generators mingle with ancient devices and tesla coils. Like some twisted merging of an high tech auto garage and an old horror movie style mad scientist's laboratory. AIM membership is pretty much automatic jail time but this equipment and the notes in the computer will put these guys away for a long time.

Once Xiu Lin finishes dealing with the three she had to chase down and catch, she drags herself - and them - back to the chamber with the creature and their fallen friends. And the Bride, if she is still there. If so, the small young woman steps forward and bows to the Bride. "Thank you for your aid, Bride of the Nine Spiders. I apparently could not have stopped the creature without your aid. Now, the murderers will be brought to justice. And those who have been disturbed beyond their deaths may be put to rest."

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