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Summary: Investigating seemingly 'random acts of art' James Proudstar happens upon two mercenaries, Domino and Taskmaster, learning more than expected.

Location: Bethesda Terrace, New York

Participants: Domino, Taskmaster & Warpath

Rating: PG-13 (Some Language and Violence)


Fall approaches, heralded by cool nights with lingering cool daytime breezes. Summer fights to maintain its hold, what lawn there is and where there are trees, green remains. Brown touches at the edges of the leaves and blades of green though. While it was, a month ago, taken for lack of water, now it is hints of autumn in the vegetation. It is in this cool morning air that James Proudstar finds himself at the Bethesda Terrace. At this point of the morning, it isn't overly busy, a few regulars here and there along with early morning tourists seeing the Central Park sites before moving on to bigger and better things in the city. The native american stands quietly between the lower passage and the Angel in the Water Fountain with his head currently downcast. What short hair he has is touched lightly by the breezes. He stairs down at what remains of chalk drawings, perhaps a day old but now smeared and smudged by the passing of feet that finaly gave up walking around the random act of art. What image remains could be taken for a woman surrounded by a fiery aura of some sort, the rest is to blurred now to make it out.



Taskmaster, disguised as he was right now by the Image Inducer had a sour expression worn on his features, brown with gray peppered eyebrows knit together, his forehead was high stooping back and balding, he looked short and un-assuming. Despite the bitter look he was also, of course pleased. Deadpool had been gunned down, the tit for tat was back in place and everything seemed even, this made the limp to his step more tolerable. He had been walking currently with Domino, "Why didn't you let that chick in the clown suit gun that stupid bartender down? Been curious about that." Not even slightly aware they were near the mutant Warpath. "Confusing, not like you gained anything from it."


Domino was still in the nights usual attire, botted footfalls pressing over the ground but remaining silent as if even in a casual walk beside Taskmaster she was stalking. Silence and ease was a natural adaptation to her now. The trench coat flared open around her legs with each step, buttoned up the front just enough to conceal anything that lay beneath. Glancing at Taskmaster with his inquiry one brow rose and her head shook, a dart of her tongue sweeping over stained lips before she spoke. "What was the point in it all. I saw none, she was just doing it to do it and he didn't deserve such an action of pointless insane cruelty to a civilian." One shoulder rose and fell, her eyes shifting up to glance over the Angel fountain and the man before it.



The funny thing with very acute hearing, enhanced by a certain gene in his boy perhaps, is that James can't avoid hearing most conversations around the plaza. Its something he struggles to control and filters most of it all out. However, clown suits and gunning down are two things that seem to push past the filter. This forces the large man to come out of his wool gathering and look around for said conversation. He doesn't quite hear all of what the man says, but when his eyes find the duo walking through the plaza, he listens enough to hear the woman's words - whether intended or not. His eyes cast out at both faces, first the man's but then the woman's face and, notably, her eye tattoo. A furrowing along his brow line indicates he has perceived the words about cruelty and civilians along with pointless insanity. As if a thought is there that he might voice an opinion about, but restraint is the better part of his valor today and for the moment, he looks at the pair. It is not a hidden gesture in the least either, but directly contact, meeting eyes if they look his way.



"Whatever you say, still no point in sticking your neck out. You're a mercenary right Domino? Not some idiot super-hero." Taskmaster stops where he is standing, turning to gaze off over the rooftops while he pops a strip of Big Blue gum into his mouth. "What if she'd managed to whip your ass, then what would you do about the Tongs or Moon Knight? Kind of thing to consider before what would you call it... courageous stupidity?" He'd not understand, it wasn't in his nature. The Taskmaster was... after all a self-serving scoundrel when it came down to it. The giant Native American would for the most part go unseen as he didn't notice him yet. Not like he knew the man.



"I might not be someone willing to put my neck on the line when it comes to a battle between two armed people, that is their business. But a bartender, waitstaff... Come on Task, where the hell is the fairness in that, you cannot even call that sport. While we are on that, why the hell did you offer the damn clown a job, she should be doing parties for criminals with little balloon animals or some shit." Pausing when Taskmaster did she drew in a deep breath and rose a pale hand to pinch over the bridge of her nose, while the other made a waffling motion in the air. "She didn't whoop my ass, and really when should I be concerned when she is gunning down waitstaff?" Seriously, she was failing to see his point as much as he was hers. But at this point she was looking up and about to try and be sure she had not gained any other peoples attention, or if anyone was even in earshot.



It would be perfect timing to notice the eyes of Proudstar upon her, for certainly James was looking at her. It was as if he were indeed following the conversation word for word. Closing any gap between them, hands still thrust into pockets, the man doesn't mean to keep out of the conversation it would appear. Giving the other two the benefit of the doubt, he covers enough ground to reach a conversational distance without moving into personal boundary space and all that. Rather, instead, once he knows he has their attention, at least one of them, and he is within earshot, he joins in. "A little early in the morning for balloon animals and clown suits don't you think?" He doesn't go on, bantering away, saying what all he has heard or not, but leaving it open that if he picked up on those details, he's probably picked up on a lot more. His eyes scan the terrace itself even, as if, where he having a conversations of such an illustrious nature he probably wouldn't be having it here in the chilly morning air.



A rueful head shake came from Taskmaster as he listens to Domino, having turned he was now seeing the large man, his eyes instantly taking in the guys walk and stride. Instantly memorized, categorized, compared and well, subject to mimicry, really he had no clue Warpath was anything but normal, his voice remaining as it was. "Who cares? What police are for. Besides , offered her a job because shes extra distraction... been a hell of a time tracking these Batman and Arsenal out into the open and you heard her at the end, she's familiar. "He gave her a sly smile before his words went low, the Warpath's look upon Domino was locked in on, Taskmaster was not one to break a gaze especially from some lumbering civilian, speaking audibly to the man, "Not sure what you're talking about pal, unless you're insulting my cohort here. That ain't a good idea, in all honesty." Not very intimidating considering he looked like some balding short donut salesman, unless of course Warpath could see through the holographic projection.



"I didn't see any police did you? She would have killed him and without purpose. Oh, wait, he spilled her coconut, excused!" It was apparent Domino was getting irritated and her jaw was set in a firm line that had muscles twitching. "I already tried to give you a hint on how to get him out, you go and hire just about anything insa---" That was cut off when the figure she had seen at a distance was suddenly close and repeating something she had just said in regards to their meeting with Harley. Taskmasters words towards Warpath were heard but got no addition quite yet as slate blue eyes were assessing the man before them with dagger traced precision. "Never too early to plan a Birthday party." There it was and in came the twitch of a faux smile.



Giving a chin jut of recognition to the faux smile, James raises a corner of his mouth all the same. "I wouldn't know about planning birthday parties - not my forte." Rising and falling, his shoulders shrug indifference to the idea. Yet, "Just that parties involving the police, some Batman and some Arsenal characters along with clowns getting there coconuts spilled all around some by-standing bartenders doesn't quit sound like the surprise most people expect when they walk into a dark room full of friends." There is some sarcasm to his warm eyes, the catch my drift sort of sarcasm that he can play cute - if what he said was taken for cute. His eyes slowly move between woman and man and back again as he talks. "I'll give you it was rude of me to listen in there ... then again, as I said, its a little early in the morning to be walking around the park discussing these sort of surprises right? Might let the cat out of the bag?"



Taskmaster gave a glance towards Domino then back at Warpath, they'd been speaking in a tone no normal person would have picked up on, perhaps some form of surveillance was going on? "Who are you?" He asks bluntly. This guys playing coy, the rarity of mutants (haha) didn't have Taskmaster thinking the guy was immediately one, his first suspicion was the more common, another mercenary or organization interested in the same targets as them. Batman, Arsenal and Moon Knight. Maybe he was one of Nimrod Strange's Slayer Elite.



"What can I say we have odd friends with varying tastes. Get what i mean." Sarcasm met with sarcasm, but this was coming from the woman dressed in reinforced leather, but leather all the same. From there, there was a long pause of silence and a shift of her eyes towards Taskmaster when he asked a very logical question. Domino was agitated so playing words to words and matching sarcasm would be her game up to a near fight. But the small moments of silence were enough to simmer her down, as well as the realization that he had heard when no one really should have, this thought even showing by the rise of her gaze towards the fountain and then back to Warpath. "Do you know any of the friends we mentioned?"



Hands still thrust down into pockets, the smile grows on James' face. The other corner rising up to join its compatriot on the other side of his lips. "Well, that's the funny thing about this. I don't know this Batman or this Arsenal, but that doesn't mean they're not someone I might but on my invite list." Then he looks to the other man, offering his name, "James Proudstar, Apache by birth." His eyes look between both as well, not that he thinks or even expects his name to be known - he's not whoring for popularity amongst mutant-kind for that matter, let alone the general populace. Then back to both, "It does concern me that pointless insane cruelty has been dished out to civilians, but that doesn't upset me so much. The thing with idiot superheroes and mercenaries does though. I might not know these two people you're referring to, but if they're my kind and you're going after them - well that might turn the tables as my concerns are concerned.



A skeptical look was given to Warpath, a peppered brow rose up and then Taskmaster sneers at the proud Apache. "Well, James Proudstar - Best to move along and forget you heard anything if you ain't involved chum. I don't want to have to put the hurt on some tourist this early in the morning." Normally, Task was one to do his research and study, but at times he was given into the ego and villainous bravado that was his past. One hand slid down and lifted up his shirt showing off the handle of a knife. "Catch drift? " What did this guy mean by 'my kind' that was just sinking in as he displayed his fancy new combat knife.




Domino's eyes kept that honed edge towards the one that called himself James, dissecting his words in her mind and deciphering them, the end result...Already had Taskmaster stepping up to ensure the man did not speak more out of turn then he already had. It was not exactly Domino's approach but it would get the point across. His kind, Domino was already prepared. The man had heard them from quite a distance, made a point to interject and seemed very brazen in what he had to say in regards to their words. "I don't think the party we were discussing was anyone else s concern as much as it is ours." Hidden meaning but it had an abrupt end point.



A brow raises at the gesture to display the knife and the words from the man, curious indeed to James. The look of recognition at the knife is one that may imply he sees little more than a toy, certainly nothing for him to worry over. "Yeah, maybe I will forget this," he says slowly, as he chews more over the words from the woman. "Again, I can't speak so much for the two you were planning this party for. Perhaps they're petty criminals, then again, I might ask around for these names you've been bantering around. As I said, if their one of mine, then we may find ourselves testing out who should be forgetting what." Then he lifts his hands from his pocket, but only to fold them over his chest, "But for your sake, I hope you're bringing more to the table than that little knife."



"Make it easy for you champ. They are vigilantes who call themselves 'hero' and this knife is all I need to take down the baddest of the bad." Taskmaster sure was pushing it on thick, but hey, this guy wasn't anything spectacular in his eyes; just another blowhard who was tossing his weight around. Sounded familiar? Sort of what he was doing. Silently he blames Wade and the piss poor night. Task's hand went down and he thumbs the sheath button for it, letting it slide free into his hand and turn around slowly, the tip obviously well kept. "So, what'll it be, keep walkin' or you going to test your mettle?" A whisper was given to Domino, "Watch my back, this guy could be a Cop or somethin'"




"What exactly is...'One of your kind?' " Oh for the love of anything holy...Taskmaster was laying it on thick and the lack of reaction from James was being taken as a personal prod. The men were about to toe the line with each other and her hands made no move to even go for the array of hidden weaponry beneath the coat. Not yet. Despite how she may disagree with some of what Taskmaster's decisions were, or his outlook on things she was part of his team, and if anything, Domino would back that. With Taskmaster's utterance she nodded, taking a step away from the fray that she was feeling would start or getting a head start in the departure of bodies, all parties agreeing to just let this go. Yeah...That'll be the day.



"No cop, but something alright," responds James to the lively fellow. Then he lets the silence hang thick a moment as the woman takes a step away from the fray for the moment before responding to her. "Mutant," he says, his voice controlled enough to not let that slip too loud. Then more loudly, "Again, I don't care who's playing cops and robbers or who pinched whos ass in the dark, but I find out these people you're after are my kind and they are the superhero type, then we have some issues friend. I'm not one to start fights in the morning, just as I don't care for cakes and clowns, not something we celebrate back on the reservation. Just, I'm looking out for my own. Not like I asked you to come here and talk about wet-work, but you brought it here and now I'm interested in what you had to say." That's out there, he lets it hand, but his hands come from the folds some, just in case this guy does come out quick with the knife and try to give him a body piercing hd didn't ask for.


A mutant, that explained the confidence and lack of fear but then Taskmaster's appearance didn't convey alot of intimidation right now. "See, this is what I am talking about Dom, self-righteous nose to ass shoving 'n sniffin' do-gooders. Ya see how pompous looking it is? I think I'll be teaching this one a lesson too. For starters..." A hand rose up and a yellow strand of tendril shot off clinging to a near by post to send him launching towards Warpath, both feet thrust out in front of him in a sailing kick, masterfully executed with enough force to send a normal strong man of Jame's build sailing and into the hospital, yet... the mutant was by no means normal, Taskmaster in all of his bluster and ego didn't know this though. "I gave you - your chance to back out!"


When James made his final announcements and stated what he was down to the core beneath the Apache appearance it did not seem to even phase Domino. Why would something as such make a pale skinned woman jump in any fashion - far from normal well on her own in appearances alone. As James was loyal to 'his kind' of mutant or activist so was Domino. "Well, you enhanced senses or whatever it may be you have, picked up the wrong conversation and you decided to bravely, albeit foolishly insert yourself." With that being said Domino had gained her slight distance, but nothing overly much to leave Taskmaster's back uncovered and watched as the first move was made. This was between the boys, her eyes keeping trained on James and anyone surrounding that may find it beneficial to try and get involved.




"If it were enhanced hearing alone," says James as he lets his let foot fall back to brace for impact from the man swinging with aid of the yellow handkerchief thingy. In his mind, he prepare for something of more substance, not quite Juggernaut level, but he doesn't leave himself to be knocked around by someone super-ed up on X gene as he has in the past. "I wouldn't be this foolish," his hands open, as if to accept the kick with a smile, for breakfast, with a side of eggs and some toast. Even more so, if the kick lands square in his chest, which he is moving slightly to assist (sort of like when they toss the shrimp at you in those genji steak places where they cook the food in front of you, and you move around to catch it in your mouth - but in his chest), he also brings up his right hand to hammer-fist down on said legs, with a little more force than necessary than a regular human because he doesn't know what he's dealing with.



Taskmaster's feet both collided with... a granite slab. The vibration of the impact went through his legs and jarred his hips. An instant 'Uh Oh' range through his mind and trained reflex responded with that added word of photographic. He literally Spider-Man touch spring's off turning in the air dodging the hammer-fist by a breadth while subsequently throwing the knife into Jame's face, the throw was a trademark Moon Knight toss. Conventional weaponry against a brickshithouse like this though... ineffective. He landed in a crouch some five feet in front of Warpath his image dropped to reveal a man in a skull mask, Kevlar like blue to gray and black body gear with pistols and a sword over his shoulder. "So eh... I might have under-estimated you just a tad." Nervousness blatantly obvious in his voice.




Color Domino a bit shocked. She was finding out bit by bit that Taskmaster had variant forms of skill from various mutants, and non mutants alike, but these people had skill. And when his form came to an abrupt halt against James she could not help but settle her eyes on the man and do her own study. If she had to step in she had to know, and it nearly seemed like what she could give and offer, would be fruitless. So plan B was being etched out as she observed the exchange.




James is committed and follows through all the same, letting the knife bounce off no harm, no foul while his large hand finds the ground. One knee buckling a litte to finish the blow, driving towards the ground. Sort of the the thing that leaves a mark on the Terrace but keeps the masons in work around New York City. He watches the man escape agilely, noting he underestimated all the same. It might take time to cat and mouse this guy, but if he kicked in his own reflexes some he might match the speed. Looking up from the cracked brickwork, he says, "Just a tad yes." Slowly he begins to stand again, eying the fellow, "It ain't my thing, random acts of violence - fighting strangers before I've had lunch even. Last chance, you hunting mutants for whatever contract you have, or it just so happens its regular humans running around with funny names like Batman or Moon Knight?" He doesn't go after the man at all, still leaving an out, but some of himself revealed in the exchange.



Dilemma, Taskmaster was no stranger to super-humans who greatly outmatched him in 'attributes' he could perfectly mimic and emulate everything they did, even anticipate their every move but when they ended up virtually invulnerable, ungodly fast or strong enough to shatter him with one blow things turned south. Straightening up his hands opened up and his palms were visible, head tips to the side. "How about some lunch? On me." He offers up, what could it hurt? His throat clears and he remained where he was ready to spring, drop a magnesium flare and web-sling it out of here if this behemoth pursued. If anything Taskmaster was a master pro-filer, this was bad juju. "No mutants." Least he didn't think Batman and Arsenal were, he knew Moon Knight wasn't - just a lunatic. Already the Taskmaster was plotting. "I got no beef with mutants, hell... some of my best friends are mutants." Okay, shut it, don't grovel. Have a rep to keep.




"None of the ones we are speaking of are mutants." As if her word meant anything but she did voice it to back even what Taskmaster had to say. She was intimidated by the fact that when James slammed down the surface beneath his fist buckled and gave like it was mere plywood. Would she face him if she had to? Yes, and it would be on the wing and a prayer she could wear him down and have enough luck to find a weak spot. She did not move back or towards either of them, her arms rose to fold in a cross over her chest while her eyes traveled between the two of them. Task was smart despite the conclusion she was forming only moments prior, he just earned yet another kudos. "I'm a mutant." It was not boasting or bragging, it was sharing the information that James had given to them as well as showing a part that Task was again, not bullshitting. She may not be his best friend...but... We get the point.




The expression on James' face indicates fair enough in the words given to him. Body expression relaxes again, not to hands in pockets or arms over chest, but not ready for more action certainly. "Good enough," he says gently, "I'm not cop, I don't care if their criminals themselves or crazy governmental agents, so long as they aren't mutants." Really, he is so nonchalant as that. "I figure those that do crimes and those that chase them know what they're in after." More so, its just the mutants that get pulled in without choice that upsets him apparently. "I might take you up on that lunch .. later. For now, we're square." A smile touches under his nose again, just a hint, but there all the same. "Still too early in the morning for this sort of stuff." Then more towards the woman, "You two have this for of information, perhaps you two might catch wind of something I'm after?"



That went over easy enough, for the moment. His toes curled and uncurled as he studies the mutants. Really he had no idea Domino was one until just now, the knife he moves over and picks up, testing the point before shoving it away quietly going over his personal arsenal in consideration of what could be used on someone like Warpath. "Agreed, definitely too early... couldn't agree more." Yeah let's be done with this, no fighting this guy in the future but perhaps utilizing as a tool. Definitely. "And what would you be after? You can call me Taskmaster by the way... here." Neatly he swept up a business card and flicked it through the air like a shuriken, sent straight towards James accurately. A studious gaze following it. The card would read, 'Task Fulfilled. T.Master Call 1-888-Get-Task'




"What would you be after?" Her head rose slightly, up tilting her features and causing dark hair to fall from them, revealing the dark tattoo over her left eye more-so. A distinguishing mark that would be easy for anyone to remember, even in passing offset against pale skin. Now footfalls began, carrying her silently back towards Taskmaster and remaining at his side while the card was handed over. There was no smile to come upon her features until she spoke up and gave her name. The card gave Task's, James had offered his own, she was the only nameless face here. "Neena Thurman by the way." One of the many aliases, and one of the more commonly used, it stuck, and was rather preferred.



Hand coming up, James catches the card, revealing more of himself in reflexes and speed perhaps. Without looking at it for the moment, "Thanks Taskmaster - Neena." The words slow, as if he doesn't have some crazy photographic memory to go by but regular old fashioned brain power. "This girl here," he tilts his head towards the chalk drawing of the fiery woman on the ground, "The artist that is. She's organizing something like flash mobs to create peace on behalf of mutant kind. Humans to gather and make peace symbols or something." A shrug, as if that he doesn't so much care for, "It wreaks of the perfect target. Maybe you could ask about, without getting involved, see if anyone does have something planned, criminal like, for this peace movement?"



Taskmaster's eyes went to instant slits as more hidden properties to the mutant were displayed, superhuman dexterity of course, very envious. He pulls his thoughts away and the eyeballs the chalk while he listened to what Warpath had to say, ridiculous, absurd, a charity case? Fortunately his features were not seen behind the mask, the drawing was stared at. "I have rather extensive information resources... I'll find out what I can for you and we can consider it a friendly gesture." His insides were churning, the entire concept of this seemed to just make him want to rant and rave but Warpath was a brute, a powerful one who could become a very useful one. Truly it was worthwhile to play along and make nice. "Mutants are always bouncing in and out of the cross-hairs pipeline." Domino wouldn't see the sidelong glance but it was givem.



"Mobs are typically viewed as intimidating on their own, it can have multiple reasoning and reactions." Her own thoughts were set, but there was no need to draw conclusions, to assume or even expect the worst. When Taskmaster accepted the glance to him was neither a glare nor approval, but the corner of her brow did twitch up to rise ever faintly before it fell. Later, they had plenty of time. Until then her arms dropped to her sides and she stepped away from Task, around James, and closer to the chalk art, with her head slightly tilting. "Do you know what this image means at all anyway? Seems rather symbolic." She didn't step on it, she left it clean of her own footprints, but she had the visual, now just to see if it had a point. Humans and Mutants were ever fighting a war, for as long as she could remember and as far as she could surmise, it would never end in her lifetime.




Shaking his head, he looks down at the image, "I'm not sure of its meaning per say." James is quite in that, "But she looks familiar. I asked the artist if it was personal or not, but she spouted off something inspiration from an art novella artist in the 20s and didn't explain the fiery woman so much. Raised my curiosity you could say." Then back towards the gentleman, "If you find me something useful, I'll pay for the information." Course, only if something is found, not merely for asking around though. Then more directly towards the woman, "I didn't mean to interject there, just something personal I guess. I'll let you two get back to planning your party." Half a smirk on his face, knowing but not caring about the truth behind said party perhaps. "Its James Proudstar - " spouts off a number (555-somethingorother), "If you find something." He back pedals a few steps, hands finding pockets once more before slowly turning on heels and moving along.



As James departs Taskmaster looks to Domino, "Explains some things, mutants. Fah." His ego had been injured, obviously. "Ears like a dog, strong as the Hulk, like jump-kicking the Rhino and moves with your speed. Can we say... weapon?" A grin that couldn't be seen was on that same constant expression mask and Taskmaster was changing shapes, Image Inducer being used as he suddenly appeared as a tall, leanly built blond man who looked like a New Age Viking/Biker. "Let's get out of here before someone fingers us for the broken sidewalk."


"Got something against mutants do you?" The dark brow upon pale forehead rose inquisitively but dropped as they started walking away. "Anyone can be a weapon, and weapons fail if not used correctly." He didn't need to be paying too much attention to catch her meaning in those words. "I am surprised no one has already called the cops, despite how brief that was, it was a show in itself." When his form changed again she shook her head with a small grin. "You must have a thing for blond....I'm hungry." Yep, come to think of it, she never *did* get dinner.



"Then lets go get some food and see if we can't go take a chunk out of the Moon Knight. At least cash in on one of them." His hands thrust into his pockets and he began to walk, Taskmaster was already formulating plans, "I have nothing against mutants... and I change it up. Try not to keep the same look for too long, perhaps some form of ADD. I'm a mystery man like that."


"Brunch, please, I want an omelet with damn near everything stuffed in it." This was New York, and that was possible, they even did it to hot dogs -cringe-. "We? I thought you were not desiring to get anywhere near Moon Knight, he is mine." Deadpan her look shifted to him. He got possessive over his part of the gig, which was Batman, she was keeping her stakes claimed on Moon Knight. "You just have to teach me a bit more is all, if you have the time." She paused and rolled her shoulders back. "So I am beginning to notice."


"Blahblah, I just want to watch and if you feel you need taught more, sure. That is what I do best anyways, educate." Taskmaster replies in their wandering.

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