Suckers for punishment

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Ocano, labeled the new jewel as it sprung from the earth was once, less than four decades ago the most modern city in existence. But now decay creeps inwards from the edges towards the blackened core. Suburbs left to decay and vagrants, blocks half forgotten by all except those who call them their home. The air thick with the smell of fallen spender. It was become like every other city. I microcosm of the human condition. The huge imposing buildings of the corporations employees living their entire lives within their bright walls while outside the rest of humanity it arranged in a stark gradient from the wealthy in their walled compound to the poor to the shadows.

It is in the blackened edge that Goric Marter makes his living, and one this particular day he was making it in a dark room, surrounded by men both bigger and better armed than him and yet they were all looking at him.

"Don't worry." he said as the leader of the red star's pet cracked his knuckles. "This time next week you'll be swimming in red."

His grin shone under the edge of shadow from his fedora the hint of a fang pressing into his lip "So long as all of you have the creds."

"We have the money, but mark my words, you had better deliver."

"Do you really think I want to see all of you at your throats again arguing over scraps, so keep your hair on."

If only the night could have gone smoother.
The night was uncomfortably cold, so she didn't allow herself to leave without a jacket. A loose fitting black one with the hood pulled over her head, hiding her pale face from all eyes. Actually, everything she wore was black. Her tight pants, her combat boots, her gloves... It was easier to blend in that way, since she was a huntress of the night. Being able to shiver from the cold was one thing she appreciated, though. It reminded her that she was still a human being with feelings. Her left arm and her left leg were man-made due to past quarrels with damn vampires. Although the skin over the prosthetic limbs was artificial, it looked real enough. She just hoped that there would be no more accidents like those ones.

Right now, she was spying on a group of men from a rooftop. She wasn't too far off the ground and was stealthy enough to be unheard. Strapped to her back was a large crossbow. The ammunition for it was kept safely in a quiver hanging across her torso from her left shoulder. With enough accuracy, the steel tipped shots could pin her victims to the wall. There was a smaller crossbow around her right wrist, and a pair of knives hidden on her person. She didn't much care for firearms. This was all she needed.

The woman's name was Ivy Swanson. Tonight, she had a mission to eliminate this gang of vampires. Or at least a few of the members. Sometimes, her plans didn't go entirely the way she planned them.

One hand fished out an arrow from its quiver while the other unstrapped the crossbow from her back. Swiftly and expertly, she readied the weapon to fire at one of the conversing strangers below. To help improve her accuracy in this darkness, she tapped into an ability of her left eye. The iris spun continuously until her vision was better adjusted to the night, allowing her a clearer image of what was below her. By now, she was used to the odd feeling of that eye and the faint mechanical noise it made when operating.

Ivy licked at her lips before making the final decision on whom to fire at. A man who had his back turned to her... With a grunt, she launched the arrow at him, the powerful shot causing her to fall back a little. Using that to her advantage, she fell off the roof so she'd land on the opposite side of the structure. Perhaps she could pull off another sneak attack.
"Look, we trust you, you've always come through for us. Its just this is a big deal, we've got important people coming and we do...."

It sounded like a brick hitting wet ground as one of the men was knocked from his feet and and slammed into another sending both to the floor pinned together like grotesque dolls their limbs flailing.

"SHIT!" instantly everyone but Goric held a gun and were looking to where the bolt had come from. "You set us up for this!" the leader spat."

"Hey why would I hire someone to kill my best customer?" Godric replied.

"You two go check, I want whoever it is alive so I can find out who he works for." two henchmen nodded and guns still drawn disappeared into the night. "Everyone else back into the bar." The one's remaining began to drag the bodies back as the leader and his supplier slipped though the heavy steel doors the leader heading upstairs towards the private offices but Godric was barred from following. "Get the goods, make delivery."
'The bar...'

There were quite a few of those bars, to her knowledge. Ivy had every intention of burning them all the ground, leaving nothing left to store their precious cargo. This area of town disgusted her. Minus the homeless people, the poor section of Ocano was a perfect hideout for villains.

After returning her crossbow to her back, she unsheathed one of her knives and searched for this pair wandering about. Once she spotted them, she made a dash towards them, her boots splashing in a water puddle in her path. At the flick of a wrist, she tossed the knife towards one of them, the sharp tip landing in his back. Her hand reached out to pull the weapon back, only to jam it in once more on the opposite side of his back. Ivy's knife was coated with crimson after she returned it to her grasp, some of it straying all the way to her gloved hand.

"Die," she spat, kicking at her victim with her heavy footwear so he'd fall to the ground. With that same knife, she gave it a toss, though it was more blind this time. All she did was hope for it to land somewhere. That few seconds of launch time allowed her to ready the little crossbow on her wrist, which unleashed a barrage of stun darts.

The second knife she had was unsheathed and readied, in case she was in store for any surprises. Sometimes, she had to expect the worse from these creatures...
Outside the first thug went down the multiple stab wounds enough to send him to the ground while the second took the thrown knife in the shoulder and grunting in pain lifted his gun. There wasn't enough time to fire before the darts struck home.

A single shot rang out echoing in the tight alley but it was wide, the man was staggering. He reached up and Pulled Iv's knife from his shoulder, blood flowing down his front before he fell landing in a heap a pool of deep red spreading from his still form. He had been human, a pawn, expendable.

In the bar Goric heard the shot and and turned his back on the back door heading into the press of bodies on the dance floor. If there was a hunter out tonight he was safest at home and not somewhere his kind gathered. He has a man, trying to survive in this city, just like everyone else, only he had more problems than most.

Waves on undulating flesh greeted him as he slipped into the main bar area, out of place in his heavy coat and gloves among the dangers and party-goers, there there was no dress code and many wore nothing at all. A scene of f;ashing lights, pounding music and rivers of sweat, blood, booze and skin. In parts of the city the world had forgotten nothing was surprising anymore, and nothing was 'too far' what separated this place from the hundreds of others in this district alone is everyone in it was a vampire, from the dancers to the customers.

Disorientated in the sea of carnal delighted he pushed his hand into his pocket and pulled out his com link, the clear plastic screen fitting over his eye as the microphone hovered near his mouth. The screen lit up as he loaded the schematics of the room and it overlayed over the real room in front of him, the lines matching the walls perfectly and the door clearly visible. It was impossible to get lost or turned around when the whole world had a map.
Ivy wiped her blades clean on the clothes of the corpses before sheathing them again. That was all she needed to take care of, she assumed. Now to enter the bar...

During her stroll in that direction, she made sure everything was in its proper place, including her hood and sleeves. Hiding as many of the weapons as she could was necessary, as was hiding her body. She did not want to be mistaken for a customer or desperate woman in search of a date. The coat was large enough to hide the curvy shape of her body, but not everyone could be fooled so easily.

Spotting the doors to the entrance, she picked up the pace of her walking with a confident posture. There was a man guarding the doors; a bouncer she assumed. Effortlessly, she shoved him aside and kicked at the doors, the opening causing a metallic echo throughout the club. Not too many paid attention, though. There were a lot more... Distracting things.

Ivy kept her eyes off of the provocative dancing and did her best to ignore the foul smells in the air. She was searching for those men from earlier... Though, finding them would not be easy in this enormous crowd. Hopefully, something obvious would stand out.

Hurriedly, she pushed past all the people, deciding to head to the more isolated parts of the room. Men of 'business' wouldn't likely be involved with the crowd. The iris in her left eye did that continual spinning again, helping her adjust better to the environment. Someone in particular was noticed up ahead... Someone with a communications transceiver.
He was so busy looking at the display he didn't see her enter. He was skirting the edge of the room to avoid being dragged into the delights the club had to offer. In fact she was almost on top of him before he saw her, and he stopped. Everything from her hair down her eyes, the determined slant of her lips, the way the had hidden her shape and the weapons she carried down to the tightness of the pants below that hinted as a body to die for under her concealing top and the boots the said only one word. 'Deadly.'

She way looking right at his and he wouldn't give a cent for his rib's chances if she was allowed to introduce herself, there was no doubt this was the hunter. "You're not on the guest list." he said just loud enough for her to hear over the loud music as he reached into his coat as if ready to draw a weapon, it was a bluff, he was unarmed. "But then I'm not the owner." he wondered if she could tell what he was from where she stood, surely she had seen the nature of the clientele. "And I was just leaving." the bouncers would see her and come, he just needed time.
Ivy stared intently at the man in front of her, seemingly not phased by the act he was putting on. She didn't know if his reaching for a weapon was pretense or not, but she doubted he would cause a ruckus right here in the bar full of innocent people. Well, innocent was debatable... They weren't involved. That was a better way of putting it.

"I invited myself over," she told him wryly, then folded her arms over her chest. "I have no intention of staying, though.

Unless you won't come outside with me."

There was a cold, challenging look in her eyes. She was suggesting he was too cowardly to face her like a real man. Ivy expected some sort of backup to show and try to throw her out; probably even try to kill her. Rarely, did she fight with vampires one on one. They were always in these groups! That was understandable, though. Even smart. Large numbers could be overpowering for a loner like herself.
He saw the challenge and was tempted to accept but he didn't fight it he didn't have to and tonight the odds were not in his favor. "Are you sure I'm the one you're after?" he asked. "A fight out there without the element of surprise on your side will cost you and even if you win you could be too injured to what you came to do. The bosses upstairs are the ones you want."

This was the last time he would go out unarmed, meeting rules or not. It just wasn't worth the risk.

While he had her though and they were at a stand off perhaps he could satisfy his curiosity. "So you hunt mobsters or... others.." he said slowly "Though I have to wonder why."
"Ending you would bring me much satisfaction, even if you weren't on my list for tonight."

Ivy was certain he was one of the ones she saw earlier, though. It was a feeling in her gut, and she always trusted those feelings. At the mention of injuries delaying her missions, she raised her left hand from her folded arms, the fingers curling into the palm of her gloved hand. 'Injuries like this one?' she thought to herself, a memory flashing in her mind. A memory of that horrible night when she was victorious, but also armless.

"You can keep wondering, because that information is private," she answered him with a scowl.

With that same left hand, she reached out to snatch the collar of his shirt and pull him closer. With her boots on, their heights almost matched. She was probably just a couple inches shorter. Without the heavy footwear, she'd be much smaller by comparison. "Then if you won't come outside with me, I guess I'll drag you out myself," Ivy spoke in an annoyed whisper, hoping to not attract any attention. With their faces so close together, most could assume they were going to kiss. That seemed like a perfectly normal suggestion for this scenery.

Boy did the thought make her stomach sick, though...
"An impressive trick." he admitted both at the finger and at the strength of the hand holding him, much more than a human would have naturally, that meant that she like so many others had gotten their flesh replaced. "Still I'm going to have to refuse."

Any other vampire would have taken her on, and he was sure any other would have died. "Better be careful, this is the kind of place where odd behavior attracts attention. And where odd behavior is anything but." he jerked his head at the carnal display around them. "Then as close as we are we may be blending in after all." he smiled as around them he could see armed man spreading out, throwing the woman glances, she was the one who hadn't wanted to blend in, it s pity she hadn't judging by what he could see of her. "Looks like your times up though love. Its been a lovely chat lets do it again soon. Some advice for you though. Don't bleed, or you'll be dealing with crazies as well as thugs."
The armed men did not go unnoticed. They were going to force her out, one way or another. Ivy didn't want any trouble in this joint, though. The people not involved with her current situation would be obstacles; they would doubtlessly delay her mission. This was not getting any easier with the vampire in front of her refusing to face her.

'Then I suppose he'll burn with the rest of them,' Ivy thought to herself, picturing the scene of her burning this place down. The flames would take most everyone with them, she imagined. That would cross off a good number of blood suckers from her list.

"I see," she said dully, leaving his collar crumpled when she let go of it. There was bigger business to attend to, such as the bosses upstairs that he mentioned. It made sense for them to hang out in that general area; away from the inappropriate parts of the club. That needed to be reached from the outside, though. She was being eyed.

What was worse, was the exit was getting blocked. An irritated look was cast towards that doorway she was about to make a rush towards. Coming in here really was a bad idea. Ivy then leaned her head back, her hood falling right off of her head to reveal the black and white patterned hair on her head, as well as her pale flesh and sapphire eyes. There really weren't any decent escape routes that she could find.

He straitened his shirt and stepped back. Me matter how good she thought she was she was in trouble. The music, the drinks, the lights, everything about this club was designed to awaken what vampires had and humans did not, to make them feel alive. Its why this place was so popular, and it she tried to force her way out there would be blood weather it was hers or that of the security and that would awaken a feeding frenzy that would see many, the woman and most likely Goric torn to shreds.

He came up next to her and put and arm around her his eyes meeting with the thug's and he hissed two words to her. 'Trust me.'

"Mr. Marter?" the guard questioned.

"Shes mine. He said, she came in looking for me since the meeting with your boss over ran, Isn't that right Pepper."

The name was a rushed one but he was thinking fast catching her eye and grinning as the bouncer stood for a moment then stepped aside.

"There now we can go home and you can do all those things you told me about." he said leading her away still guided by the holographic screen in front of his eye the metal door clanging shut behind them. Immediately he let go and put distance between them, she, unlike him was armed, he had felt her weapons beneath her clothing and he was not expecting any favors from one of her kind.

"Do what you came to do." he said walking away towards where his sleek two door car, tiny yet fast as they came waited. His first stop was the back market, the best place to get a gun without anyone knowing about it.
'Pepper!? HIS?'

Ivy played along with the act quietly, even putting on an apologetic smile for the thug. She was given a fake name, claimed, and escorted out the door with an arm around her. All in one night. By a vampire.

'Fantastic,' she thought wryly.

Confusedly, she watched the man who helped her get out of the club without any trouble. More importantly, alive. He didn't ask for any favours and didn't pull out a weapon to threaten her. Instead, he told her to do what she needed to do and left... That was possibly the strangest thing anyone's ever done. Yet, at the same time, it was so--

Ivy shook the oncoming positive thought out of her mind. She couldn't allow herself to think that way. They were all the same; traitorous, predatory, deceitful...

Her wandering eyes spotted a window that would take her to the second story without being noticed. So as long as she was stealthy. With the reliable strength of her legs, the prosthetic one in particular, and the help of attachments to the structure itself, she managed to land back inside. She armed herself with her large crossbow before creeping towards a slightly opened door. There were voices loudly chatting in that room; she hoped that conversation would keep them from hearing her.

With one swift kick, the door opened entirely and she immediately shot at the first man that met her eyes.
There was about a ninety percent change he would never make it to the car. His face would meet dirt with whatever weapon she used making a hole in his back. But he was never a gambling man and he didn't get her out of there to resume their stand off. His door banged closed and he looked back her way for the first time but she was gone.

"Perhaps theres some honor among thieves after all." he said as the engine started itself and we switched the comlink to GPS as well as dialing an old friend. "Reg, I think I'm going to have to take you up on the freebie you offered me after all, nothing fancy, but something with a smart ok? Ywenty minuets."

The engine whined and the car smoothly slid forwards moving like a panther. Goric had left the scene, made an alibi and was getting a free gun, not bad for a minuet on the phone.


"So do you think he'll come through?"

"He always does but this is a much bigger order then we've ever had to give him. I'm worried it might not be fresh, his scheme is crazy."

She boss was behind the desk and just lighting a cigar when the door burst open and his right hand man was perforated. The other thug in the room drew his gun as the boss ducked behind the desk. "SHIT." he had just enough time to wonder his the hunter had entered before he herd a shot and a body fall to the floor. "Close one.." he breathed poking his head over the varnished hardwood top.
The main man she was after went hiding the moment his crony was impaled. Instead of loading another arrow, she went charging towards the other one who drew his gun. Ivy lifted her crossbow and, as hard as she could, bashed it against the man's head. No time was taken to acknowledge any attack from him. She was solely focused on smashing his head until he fell to the ground. Without a second thought, she lifted her left foot and stomped down to injure his neck. There was no way he'd survive something with such a loud popping noise.

Ivy then turned her attention to the boss, her boots heavily clunking against the floor. There was blood splattered on one of them and a few specks of red dotting her face, all from the man she'd just beaten to oblivion.

She set her crossbow onto a nearby desk so she could withdraw one of her knives, her steps moving closer and closer to where he was hiding. Ivy intended to corner him, or trap him beneath her feet so she could slit his throat.

"Any last words?" she asked with a hiss in her voice.
The man on his knees stood, a shimmer of pride in his face, as if he had decided if he was going to die he would not die begging for his life. "They will kill you you know." he said, "People bigger than me, bigger than you, bigger than this entire shitty district you claim you're saving. Yes I know who you are, they know who you are and they're getting annoyed."

He picked up a glass from the desk and drained it's contents, "So here's my last words, see you real soon." He swung at her with the hand with the glass before going for the gun on his hip, he wasn't about to go down like a punk.


Across town Goric held the weapon in his hand watching the crosshairs move on his comlink's screen as he aimed the weapon, ammo count and the view from the small camera mounted on the barrel ovelayed in a picture in picture. "Nice toy." he said before hiding it away under his jacket the troll who owned the show grinning. "After you landed me that contract its yours, I'll even throw in the holster, bullets will cost ya though.."

"Sure, though I'll be laying low for a couple days, you understand little rest, got the feeling I just lost a customer....

The woman though, she had let him walk away, that though stuck in him mind, true he wasn't a threat, but hunters were always painted an bloodthirtsy killers.... ironic considering their prey.
Ivy took pride in knowing she was a nuisance to these vampires she harassed. Many of them probably looked over their shoulders at all times; some probably hired bodyguards in fear of her; a few probably sought formidable opponents for her. Or, if no one did any of this, they would eventually. As arrogant of a goal as it was, she intended to wipe out every one of them in the whole damn city. If not that, she'd definitely die trying!

Dodging his hand attack with the glass was easy, however it put a little more distance between them. He was going to fight her; how honourable. A gun was being pulled on her. She needed to act quickly. The knife in her hand was hastily tossed at him, giving time to draw the second one. To make aiming more difficult, she did not quit moving for a moment. She jumped over a table that was turned onto its side and disappeared behind it, her knife held closely to her bosom while she listened for any footsteps. Unless she got a lucky shot with that blade, he'd be looking for her.

Ever so slightly, Ivy peeked over the table she was using as a shield. She was ready to make a run right towards him, even at the risk of getting hit by a bullet. All else failed, well, at least she had her heavy footwear...
Blood was dripping from his hand to the floor from when the glass had broken in his grip, he was silhouetted perfectly in the window as he held the pistol, aimed at where she was looking over the desk. "I though you would be more trouble." he said pulling back the hammer. He has calm not, large and in charge, confident, certain the woman had bitten off more then she could chew this time.

"So while you're here what do you think of my operation, you've been taking it apart for quite some time now, I'm not going to miss you though."

His revolver glinted in the light as he leveled it. An antique, silver with polished pearl handle, not even a hint of electronics. It most likely cost the owner more than everything Ivy owned put together, it wasn't a gun you used, it was a gun you kept on you to show up everyone else. It still worked though and the bullet ripped into the wood of the desk causing splinters to fly and there was the sharp click at he pulled the hammer back again. "No last words?"
Ivy winced as splinters flew by her head, from the bullet he shot at her wooden defense. That was but a minor distraction during her preparation to strike. The crossbow was readily armed now. She stared coldly at the heavy metal tip of the arrow before standing herself up, propping the crossbow onto the table to help her take aim.

"Fuck you," she murmured, in response to his request for last words. With a click, the arrow was launched from the crossbow and zooming right to the gang leader she'd been searching for all night. Her robotic eye twisted about, calculating the speed of the arrow and giving her an idea of how successful the pierce would be.

To be safe, she stepped from the table, leaving her ranged weapon where it was while pulling her sleeve back, revealing one of the wrist crossbows she had. Without hesitating, she let two of them fly after the larger one she fired.