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Everything posted by Mel Grimson

  1. Mel breathed slowly through his nose, as he began to evaluate the woman in leather. Hostile, likely military training. Armed with KC9, Model 1911 variant with 9 round magazines. Objective... scare, assassinate, or kidnap Maya? Truthfully, Mel had no idea who or what had sent the lady, or why. That should teach him for rushing off into situations on the say-so of a talking rabbit and big ogre. Mel's own equipment: Glock 19 with concealed inside the waistband holster, and a combat knife in an ankle holster. Environment: in the middle of New York City and a whole ton of bystanders. Likely the hostile would wait until a more secluded location presented itself. The important question, did she was she aware of Mel's presence? It didn't look that way, but he couldn't be sure. The temptation existed to pick up speed, but that would likely twig her to his own tailing. Surprise might be his only edge. He rolled his shoulders as well, in his case to make sure his body was loose and ready to move quick if he had to.
  2. Way, way back in basic training, Mel remembered, there was a fellow rainbow named Bradley Roberts. Lanky guy, had a guilty pleasure for romance novels, and seemed to always get into trouble or have the worst luck. Everyone called him 'Hex,' since he was black and came all the way from New Orleans, so obviously someone had laid the voodoo on him. Hex would occasionally complain about stereotyping, but in a good-nature fashion, since even he could not deny the odds of being put on punishment duty for stumbling onto the same pair of DIs fucking twice in the same week beggared reason. Maya, Mel had concluded, made Hex look like a symbol of auspicious fortune. Every bit of small but constant ill luck added up and up until it became a towering stack bearing down on her. But also simply it sounded like she was surrounded by people who seemed intent on using her. That former boyfriend whose academic-sounding blathering only showed he knew nothing of life. The sister who clearly sounded less of a sibling than his brothers-in-arms back in the Rangers. At least the kids didn't seem like brats. And he was pretty sure that one kid was crying because she was sick and not suddenly scared by seeing his face. He'd just been sitting there, reading. Nothing for the mother to give him the fish-eye over. So while nothing seemed to justify Jack and Seth's warnings yet, everything just gave Mel the instinct something was going to happen, right? Perhaps if the watcher in the biker jacket showed up again? Mel took a bite of the hot dog he'd picked up from a vendor along the way, wiping a spot of ketchup off his face with a paper napkin, frowning. After encountering that rude toad, Maya was ready to explode like a C4 bomb. The former Ranger held no pity for the fool who tripped the detonator.
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  4. I believe I've got it all set up for Mel as an imbued Hunter.
  5. Mel cracked the cap off his beer, having decided to go along with it and retreat into the old military mindset. "Fine. So you're here in my dreams and I'm not crazy. Gimme a sitrep then, Bugs." "See?" He looked up to Seth. "This is why I like the military types. Straight to the point. And it's Jack." "Jack? Your name is Jack Rabbit?" "So?" He said like he didn't get it. "Anyway, look... the librarian, the girl... you gotta find her. You have to help her. She's in danger." By process of elimination, Mel quickly worked that to mean Maya Flynn, the woman whom D'Sombra made a columnist. "What kind of hostiles are we dealing with?" Mel asked, something of the energy of old reentering his eyes. "Numbers, resources, motivations?" Worry gripped the pooka's face. "Unlimited. Unlimited. And the ruination of everything. I don't even know if you can stop it, but you drew the 3 of swords, so it's on you. She needs you, Mel." Mel stared at Jack before taking a quick swig. So the uselessness of military intelligence applied even to supernatural beings. "Can you actually at least tell me where to find her? Maybe, since we're asking for miracles, there's a way to convince her I'm not crazy?" "I-I don't know," Jack said. "She's a librarian. But we can't leave the place of someone's dream, so we don't know which one." "Yorkville Public Library, 222 E 79th St, New York, NY 10021," Seth blurted out slowly and in his own monotone way. "H-how did you know that?" Jack asked, mouth agape. "Books." Seth smiled a wide toothy smile. "Dreams on paper. For everyone. Finding dreams. It's what we do." "Oh, hohoho, Seth! You big lug! You're a genius!" Jack hopped about with excitement then stopped suddenly, looking worried. "We're almost out of time. It knows were here. You're not crazy, Mel! The drugs! You don't need em!" Mel snapped awake in his chair, holding an open, half full beer bottle. After a long moment, he snapped the cap back on and shoved it back into the fridge. With his efficient swiftness at packing, Mel pulled together what he needed. Flashlight, keys, holsters. Knife, pistol, rifle. Mel hadn't stopped having firearms around just because he'd been back in the states, and his gear had been among the grandfathered 'assault weapons' under the NY SAFE Act. NYC's own second set of gun laws was a pain, all the extra permits and licenses required. But fuck it. If he wasn't crazy, this might just be worth it. Saving someone's life and getting some answers to all of this crap might mean something. And when you had nothing left but dreams, something could be everything.
  6. "Get me another beer." The lazy voice and the rabbit-man were taken aback by the flat nonchalance in Mel's voice. But really, Mel was considering the situation tactically and rationally. "Beg your pardon?" The rabbit-man finally ventured. "You heard me." Mel replied without a hint of expression. "I haven't drunk enough to hallucinate yet. Therefore you're a manifestation of the Section 8 crackup I've been afraid of, or real. Either way, I'm not going through this without another beer." "Ok." The two supernatural creatures were a bit nonplussed. "And you're not freaking out if we're real?" Now Mel looked irritated and dismissive at once. "Bugs Bunny, I've spent years surviving insurgent nutjobs with machine guns, mortars and RPGs, IEDs and suicide bombs. I've killed men with guns, knives and my bare hands. I've lost good men who fought beside me and faced my own mortality. In short, I've dealt with far scarier things than you, and you aren't a hostile. Now bring me the damn beer.'"
  7. Mel had been too composed to give a reaction when she said those words. But D'Sombra knew that the very lack of the reaction, the excess of effort holding off a reaction proved that she had hit home. He watched her go off silently. The Devil Wears Prada? Forget the movie title, the Devil wore brands Mel probably never heard or, or ever would. Impossible knowledge of something that wasn't real to begin with, wasn't it? Although she gave the sense it was something real, all of it, and not just a Section 8 mess. Damn it. He had to know now. When Brent came up, Mel responded through nearly gritted teeth. "She's a complete and utter bitch... and if she'd been running the DoD, perhaps we might have actually gotten 'Mission Accomplished' after all. Tell her I'll start in a few days. I'm going back to patrol." And he did, stiffly marching off.
  8. Mel let a finger tap his chin for dramatic effect before simply voicing. "Almost never." Mel caught her surprised look with his own level stare. It might not have packed the sheer power of Ravenna D'Sombra's dark presence, but decades of soldiering had turned it into a decent runner-up. "I'm used to following orders, but I'm not a pawn to be screwed with for your entertainment. You have two minutes to explain yourself before I turn around and walk away."
  9. D'Sombra wasn't making any particular effort to lower her voice, so Mel heard everything. And the hidden instinct that had been warning him about her was suddenly validated. Of course that left questions. What was going on between Mourne and D'Sombra? Why them, since the only thing in common between him, Casey Mason and Maya Flynn was the Coffee Pot? Which left out the dark-skinned arm candy whom Mel had never seen before in his life. Or what she meant about 'everything you think you know about the world being wrong'? Mel didn't say anything, just look significantly at Brent. Brent remembered that look. It was the look he'd seen once after the rescue of a MIA soldier, where Mel had personally killed several Taliban fighters in sudden rapid succession. Too composed, too focused. It was just daring him to say that Brent knew about this. Because it didn't matter how powerful D'Sombra was or what she could offer. Mel did not stand for being jerked around or used like a chess piece, and his decision was being rapidly reconsidered.
  10. "You left out the distinct lack of getting shot at." Mel added, almost despite himself. While part of him begged the implications of Ravenna D'Sombra getting a full listing of Rangers and then having the resources and pull to track them all down - it fit with everything Brent was saying about her - the rest thought it seemed like the too good to be true opportunity. So why wasn't he reaching out and taking it? Oh, right, that gut intuition and odd images he saw, which emphasized with everything else, that when a too good to be true offer was being given - ultimately from a dangerous person like D'Sombra even if Brent was the proxy here - it probably was too good to be true. Mel had little good fortune in his thirty-something years of life. One piece of it was Cecilia, and she was taken from him. The other was that deal... "This is about as good as you're going to get, Mel." Despite the pantsuit, it was the old-fashioned glasses and lines on her face that made Marsha Williams look more like some moralistic school teacher than the public defender that she was. "Oh, sure." The teen sitting across from her scoffed. "Get-out-of-jail-free card, just snitch on my dad, his associates and then automatic sign-up to get shot for my country." Did she seriously think he didn't know the unwritten rules of the community? Be a nice little boy, say I'm sorry and walk away? The vitriol passed off Marsha like water off a duck's back. "Mel. Is this what you really want? To throw away your life for a man who beats you and your mother at the drop of a hat?" Mel's mask cracked at the surprise and shock - she knew?! "Yes," the African-American matron continued, "I know about that, I take my work seriously. Mel. There are times when you feel you're trapped in a black pit, with nowhere else for your life to go. But you can climb out of it - and when someone offers you a hand, boy, you take it." Mel remembered that. And Brent was offering a hand - whatever his intuition said, his heart knew he couldn't go on like this. "All right. I'll give this a shot. D'Sombra's got herself one former Master Sergeant."
  11. Mel saw Brent's point, looking around and examining the men in question. One of them was practically taking advantage of the women in tight dresses to sneak looks whenever he felt he could get away with it. A bunch of them with definite chubs, whom would probably collapse before they got halfway through a basic army training obstacle course. One at the far end - with the dreadlocks whom perhaps it might be racial profiling to say he had been in a gang, except for the hints of tattoos and the look that confirm this was a man that had done serious violence before. Mel could pick up on these things. It was a pretty sorry lot, he reflected, and Brent Connors deserved to have better. Maybe whipping this lot into shape might not be so bad. "I see your point. So how'd you meet her anyway? I thought you'd have looked at the banks for a business loan."
  12. "Something about her still rubs me the wrong way." Mel insisted, though he personally didn't know quite what. Was it the rich person arrogance? Discomfort that for once, one's higher ups had good intelligence (in the military sense)? Or just that lingering vision he really still didn't want to acknowledge seeing? "She's no worse than any of the brass we've had." Brent replied, pressing his point. "Better, generally." Mel looked away from Brent, seeing his point, but clinging onto his stubbornness. "I'll think about it, Brent."
  13. Mel continued on his duties, nothing eventful passing for a while - and then he ran into Brent. Mel gave him a nod, then finally decided to ask about the thing that bothered him more than he wanted to admit. "D'Sombra, your boss. I ran into her. Why did you tell her about me?"
  14. "I see. Ma'am." Mel gave her a professional nod and turned around to continue patrolling again. Food for thought, he determined, but then again, it made sense Brent left that out. After all, this was a one time gig, not an extended contract - then again, Brent Connors probably didn't tell her that - Mel only worked for her until the end of the night.
  15. Mrs. D'Sombra's instructions caused the parade-ground reflex buried in Mel to respond, causing him to defer and step back before he realized: "Ma'am? How do you know my name?" Odd, but not like it was a problem was it? Mel just needed his curiosity settled (or was it paranoia satisfied) and then it was back to patrolling.
  16. The lady in the red dress seemed faintly familiar, though Mel had no idea who she was. Mind you, while she did seem out of place, the same could be said for him or Casey. That said, if Horatio Mourne insisted he send her out - well, Mourne had pointed out he was the client here. Then the black-dressed woman who screamed socialite shark swooped in for the younger woman's defense. Mel's eyes widened and then snapped shut for a moment. This was Brent's joint offer of a quick job and a therapeutic step into post-Cecilia and civilian life. This was not the Section 8 night all over again. Then he opened them as Maya went into her excited spiel. "I think she's in the right place." Mel offered to Horatio. "Art critic for an art gallery."
  17. Mel had continued his circuit when a flicker of brown hair caught his eye. He paused to confirm what he saw. Yep, Miss Barista, cleaning up nice in a white dress. Now how did she get into a fancy place like this? Then she picked up on his observation and came over. He shook her hand politely in turn. "Mel Grimson. I'm working security here for the event. How did you get your golden ticket?" "We're catering." Casey explained. "I thought the upper crust went more for tiramisu or fancy hors d'oeuvres?" Mel pondered.
  18. It was simple. Too simple arguably for Mel's tastes, but at least he could walk around. Still, the money was money. Though he wasn't sure if this really applied as 'getting out' in the therapeutic sense Brent intended. Still, he'd agreed to this, and in a sense Brent was still Major Connors in this way, the commanding officer, and Mel had his orders. Patrol, one, two, three. Examine the area. Security here, nothing to see, moving on. Two, three. Routing past the line of Impressionist or Romantic something paintings, look at the static guards. Meet their eyes, all's well, moving on. It wasn't until he rounded a sculpture probably worth in the hundred grand zone that something different cropped up. Raised voices, though he couldn't discern the words quite. It brought him to a corner where one tuxedoed man in his fifties and an impressive black mustache was finding his chest jabbed by a woman of similar age, well dressed. Probably his wife. Whatever the precise argument was (though Mel would put money on the man's focus having been on the more slinky ladies in slinky numbers) it was definitely severe, and of sufficient noise to suggest his attention. He came over and cleared his throat. "Is there a problem?" The couple quickly shifted to awkwardness at their dirty laundry overheard. "No, no. Just a disagreement. All settled, thank you." The woman primly put. It clearly wasn't, but obviously the bickering had been put on hold for a more private occasion. Mel gave them the pro forma 'just checking' smile and nod and moved on.
  19. Mel looked at the card, then at the towel on the floor. Tasks, clean up the floor and dispose of the blood and fingernail. Call Brent tomorrow and get the monkey suit handled. And investigate this art show so the situation was understood. Just because nothing never really happened at these events, did not mean Mel Grimson the ex-Ranger would forgo his reconnaissance.
  20. Mel opened his mouth to say something, anything... and then his mind flashed back to the torn fingernail hidden under a towel. Perhaps he really did need something. "An art show, though?" It sounded sharper than he meant, so Mel amended. "I mean I'll take it Brent. But what do you expect? A daring heist? A band of gunmen storming in to take the assembled upper crust hostage for ransom?"
  21. "Gimme a minute Connors!" Mel took the time to quickly fold up the throw rug and throw down a towel so that the blood and the scratches were concealed. He did not want to have to answer painful questions. Mel smiled for once in the past few days when the door swung open."Sorry, my idiot neighbor's been bothering me. Thank god it's you." He didn't recall if Conners had called after Cecelia's death. He reached out to shake Connor's hand firmly. "Long time, no see. How are you?"
  22. The haze lifted, Mel taking deep breaths. Deek hit the door another time and Mel growled out loudly: "Stop that pounding!" Another breath and back to the controlled voice he'd used when needing to communicate despite the pain of a serious wound. "Everything's under control, kid. Get back to your beholder." "Uh, ok Mr. G." Deek sounded a tad unsure, but the footsteps confirmed his desire not to pry into his scary neighbor more. Mel took more, shuddering deep breaths, before rising up to wash, clean and bandage those oozing wounds. He'd suffered far worse injuries before in the heat of battle. But what made everything feel so heavy to Mel now was that the real damage wasn't physical, it was his mental state that was really bleeding. He could and would try to find a shrink, but Veteran Affairs was more interested in its own bureaucracy than doing its job. Mel would not become some patient in a mental ward or someone wandering the streets. He couldn't.
  23. This wasn't the Section 8 crackup that he expected. This was something like some fantasy story. Then again, Mel hadn't read many of those. Cecilia certainly never wore any big Cinderella type gowns like she did now. "Danger, from who or what?" Letting go though, was something he found inexplicable. Perhaps it was some part of his mind pointing it out for health's sake, but there was no balance. That was the whole point, his life was unbalanced utterly and as that Deb had said, the world he'd known didn't make sense any more. Even if Mel got over the melancholy, the depression, his job experience amounted to killing people for his country, and that harsh intensity inside wouldn't accept pushing a mop around. It actually made the absurd possibility that this was all real, and that he was in danger more preferable... downright palatable.
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