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Aberrant: Infinite Earth - Cosmos Nova - Not all who wander are lost...merely parnoid.


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Having spent a year on the run from the Russian mafia can make one very very "alert" to the point of staring at every shadow one sees.

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Ivan has gotten to that place. To the place where he checks under the bed for assassins, and in every closet in the rooms he rents. He's never found one, but somewhere in the back of his brain is the nagging sensation that the one time he doesn't check is the time he's going to be found and murdered. Such is the way of life for one who defied the mafia. His face bears a road-map of scars, long ragged scars that remind him every time he looks in a mirrored surface that he can never be the man he was before.

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That man died as the wounds were being opened, as he was being devoured alive and frozen alive at the same time. Only in Russia would they make sure two lethal methods of death were utilized simultaneously and so callously. Russia. The thought of the spiraling towers in Moscow brings a slow, sad smile to his face. He never got to see them in person, mind you, but the pictures always made the people in them look so happy to be at the Kremlin. It was a joyous occasion. One he will never experience. And the smile fades, the intensity in his eyes fade alongside it, as if the realization he won't ever find that joy is a weight he carries day in and day out.

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Who cares that he was reborn something more than before. Happiness, it seems is the one thing he cannot steal. Sitting on the bed, the Russian grips the blanket beneath him with a hand unconsciously, squeezing it until his knuckles pop softly from the strain. At the noise he lets go and flexes and unflexes his digits, loosening his hand up once more. This motel room is like all the others before it. Dingy, smelling of mold and moisture, stained sheets, a lock on the door that couldn't stop a 10 year old child from breaking in...and yet there is a sad familiarity to it. A relief that there is some sense of stability, some sense of consistency in his life.

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A long ragged sigh escapes Ivan's lips and he curses softly in his mother-tongue. Lifting himself from the bed he goes to slide the window-shade to the side, peeking into the world beyond without even thinking. He's conditioned himself to be like this. It doesn't require thought anymore. His dirty and ripped jeans allow him to blend in with most of the rabble around, faded Army surplus jacket from Wars long ago on his shoulders, surrounding him in its embrace. A subtle reminder of the war he is part of daily. A war of existence. He glances down to the aged combat boots that adorn his feet. The only thing he brought with him from Vladivostok; they were his father's, or so he believes.

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He goes back to sit on the bed, then stops. How long has it been since he's eaten? He can't remember. Instead of settling in for the night, he digs his hands into his jean-pockets and pulls out some faded and beaten currency. Do they even use this here? A shake of the head and the scarred Russian pulls the motel door open, stepping out into the night beyond, heading for a small Chinese restaurant nearby. Dinner, it seems, will be quick and greasy.

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Pulling open the door to the small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Ivan strolls casually to the counter - looking over the different offerings and gauging them on the flimsy currency in his pockets. Ordering some dumplings and steamed vegetables, the scarred man pays and takes a seat with his back to the wall, eyes cast with a doe-soft gaze toward the door. Sitting silently, the man does not possess the usual accoutrements - no cellphone, no MP3 player, no watch or rings. He sits silently, one hand on the table, fingertip drawing water-laced pictures in the condensation dripping from the waterglass before him, ice bouncing and floating within. Taking a long, slow sip, he sets the water-glass down on a different part of the table so he can draw once more in the previous ring of condensation. A smiley-face emerges, then some feet, then arms, then his food is set down atop the water-art unceremoniously by an overweight Asian woman who childes him in her native tongue, clucking her tongue and wandering off.

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Ivan lifts the chopsticks, cleaning them and preparing them for eating by rubbing them together, excising the wood burrs from the utensils. Once complete, he sighs softly and begins eating slowly, savoring every bite - knowing this may be his last meal for a few days. He's made friends with hunger before. Played nice with the gnawing beast that settles into his gut after a day or so without eating. The thought amuses him for the briefest of seconds. Russians are well known for being hard-nosed and unperturbed when it comes to suffering. He's no different.

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The food and ice water are slowly consumed as his thoughts return to his homeland and life /before/ things changed.

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Thoughts turn to memories, and memories to emotions...something the Russian can do without. The thoughts, images, and emotional content are slammed and locked behind psychic doors in his mind. There. Much better. Wiping his mouth with a napkin, he folds it carefully to place it upon the plate he ate off. The chopsticks are crossed over the plate and he leans back, placing his hands behind his head as he gazes at the lock on the front door of the restaurant. He might not have money, but these people have resources that could help keep him from starving if necessary. While he doesn't want to have to steal from good people to survive, he's not truly convinced the restaurant owners are "good" anyways.

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Tapping a finger on the back of his head, his brain starts to get that itch... the itch of a challenge. Its like a sliver that's slipped into his mind and can't do anything but burrow deeper. How hard would it be to get into this place after hours? Would the lock actually keep him out? He chuckles audibly then realizes he's doing so and stops it, shaking his head to clear it. He can't get sloppy. Not now.

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He orders a bottle of soda and pays with the last remnants of change from his left jean pocket. Its all gone now. Some of it lost to a pickpocket, other for cab fare...and now the last of it on food and drink. Opening the bottle, he takes a long sip of the cola, exhaling softly into the room. What to do next? What comes next for him? Does he just keep running? All these things slip through his mind, in and out, leaving him no closer to action than before.

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Action. Reaction. Everything in the universe has its space. To everything a place. His mind reels as he contemplates such a revelation, exploring things his mind never used to be capable of.

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The jingling of the bells on the door brings his attention back to the only thing that truly matters, this very moment. The only moment he can truly interact with, and daresay "control"... A couple of young 20 year old men walk in, their clothing suggesting a gang affiliation of some kind. Their attitude reminiscent of pack animals, all waiting to attack at the sight of weakness. He knows their type. He's encountered them more than once, though these are different than before. They are Asian. They speak languages he cannot comprehend, but he doesn't need to understand vocal intonations to see what their body language suggests, trouble with a capital T. He looks down to his table, feigning disinterest, though he keeps the two well within his range of vision.

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Mock punching one another, the two Asian gang-bangers wear huge sunglasses, flashy clothing and lots of visibly jewelry. They are speaking in overly loud tones and acting very aggressive in their social interactions, both with one another, and also with the demands they make of the people behind the counter. Pointing, snarling words in a dismissive tone, slapping hands on the counter-top. Intimidation at its finest, or so the two thugs imagine.

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Rising from the table, Ivan slides his chair in and heads for the door as unobtrusively as possible. It isn't his fight, nor his intention to get involved in situations that may call attention to him. He just about makes it out the door too, until the bells jingle as he pushes the door open - he hesitates, standing in the doorway of the restaurant hoping the noise of the bells will be drown out by the thugs...but instead their attention turns to the man as he's about to leave, one of them yelling in whatever Asiatic language he speaks, Ivan can't tell...but he can tell the thug is demanding his attention - and so he turns to regard the two, sighing internally as he raises a brow in the universal body-language that signifies, "Yes?"

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One of the thugs, apparently the more aggro of the two, tightens the bandana on his head as he begins dressing down Ivan, hands gesticulating wildly, tone of voice growing more aggressive, puffing out his chest and pointing to his companion repeatedly, then to himself. The tension in the room begins to grow, taking on its own texture, as if the place is becoming thick with energy.

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Lifting his hands up, palms facing out, Ivan offers a gesture of passivity, continuing to back out of the restaurant with his backside pressed to the door. The last thing he needs right now is a fist-fight with a couple of gang-bangers. Slipping out the door, he shakes his head in disbelief at the situation. Beginning to feel like he escaped the tension and potential violence, the scarred Russian walks down the block a bit before leaning with his back against a brick-and-mortar wall near an alleyway. He's not sure the thugs are done their song and dance, and he certainly won't be leading them back to his temporary abode.

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Hands behind his back, palms pressed to the cool, rough brick wall, Ivan waits. He has a long serrated knife tucked into his belt, but he's not eager to use it. Not yet. His Cerulean blue eyes watch the door to the restaurant he was just in, his other senses picking up information around him in the darkness. Unlike those around him, Ivan doesn't worry about lighting at night. Part of his rebirth gave him the ability to see in almost complete darkness, and so he sits and waits, almost unmoving in the dark street. Patient as a gargoyle. Waiting.

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Sasha had been on the move for a bit, filling her passport and her story files. Her stories might be a bit stretched, but not far from the truth. Her week in India was definitely a tale to tell. With the names changed as a courtesy of course.
Now she was... where? Japan? Right, Japan. This was a beautiful place to visit, but unfortunately this was only a short - day or so - stop. Right now she was hungry and it was late. While she wasn't going to find any high end dining this late at night, she was determined to get authentic.
So a sushi bar open this late probably wasn't going to be the best. As she was about to walk in the door, a definitely not local person darted out and in to an alleyway. She looked inside and saw the reason why he would do so. Several rough looking angry youths. She could go in there and defuse the situation, but that seemed a bit out of her hands. At least for the moment. If it DID come to violence, that's when she would step in.
So, why not do something nice while this little shindig is about to start. She didn't know his nationality, but there weren't a lot of caucasians running around these parts. She didn't know if the guy was waiting to gig the next person walked by, so she slowly approached the turn the out-of-place man was and leaned on the wall just before the turn into the alley.
"Excuse me," her voice said with an almost purr. He could tell she was not from around here. Spanish of some sort. "I Was just wondering if you could tell me another place to go." He could also hear a smirk in her voice, a playful chide, "You seem like the type that knows to pick these places."
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Ivan watched the unbelievably gorgeous woman walk by, peer into the restaurant then come back to hold up the wall next to him. If disbelief can be made out, his face is the perfect depiction of it. "I..." He begins in English, his accent sharp and Slavic sounding as he speaks, "I could probably..." The Russian lifts a hand to wipe across his forehead absent-mindedly, as if he's sweating - though in the cool night air he's truly not. Tearing his eyes off the Goddess next to him, he looks further down the street from where she came, then back to her, almost as if he was afraid she'd disappear if he took his eyes off of her for too long.

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"I think there is a noodle stand not too far down." Ivan explains, running the same hand over his chin that recently wiped his forehead. The woman has him unnerved due to her way-too-perfect appearance and sultry voice. Something gnaws at the back of his brain, a warning of some kind. Something this perfect...has to be dangerous. Maybe she's been sent to kill him. Why would a woman like that give him the time of day?! It makes no sense. Licking his lips slowly, he offers a forced smile that comes across more genuinely than he meant it too. "I can...show you the way if you'd like?" The offer, he convinces himself, is more about keeping track of her than actually enjoying her company. Yes. That's it.

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The knife in his belt is subtly shifted further back as he draws his faded army jacket around himself tighter. "Ivan." He offers, tilting his head in indication that it is his name. "And whatever you name may be, I'll never forget it." He adds, closing his eyes for a moment as he says things he /never/ thought he'd be saying to a woman. /What is going on with me?!/ His mind screams internally. Warning signs going off at every turn, and yet, for some reason he chooses to ignore them for this woman's company.

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Russian, closer than Sasha would have expected, but hey, North America isn't the center of the world. She smiled as he stepped out of the alleyway. He was half a foot taller than her and maimed. The scar didn't look fresh, though she could tell he lived a rough life .
Sasha felt a little bit overdressed. A short black wraparound that accentuated her hips and matching flat knee highs. Fashionably blending into the night? Not that she was a ninja sent to kill him or anything. She didn't want to overshadow or scare her potential guide to this area.
"My name is Muse," she said with a polite curtsy before reaching out her hand in greeting, "It is very nice to meet you," she paused as she could tell he was nervous. She took the hand that was going to greet him and softly put it on his chest. She looked into his eyes with confidence to instill assurance, "Listen," she said gently, "I am not going to hurt you. I know of the men in the restaurant and I am not with them."
Withdrawing her hand she looked back to the restaurant in question. It was quiet in there. She wondered why, but her main priority was to see what this guy's story was. No one has a scar that big without a story to tell. Oh yeah, and food. Food would be nice. She could mentally hear her stomach calling. Hopefully that was hunger, not intuition.
She then looked back to her guest. "Come, Ivan," she said joyfully looking back to him, "let us find this noodle stand."
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The Russian's cerulean blue eyes watch Muse's hand as it is extended then placed on his chest. His heart races for a brief moment before he's able to contain the wild thoughts she's inspiring with merely a touch. He tries extremely hard to focus on the here and now, offering a slow, faint smile to Muse. "I didn't think you were going to hurt me." He lies, trying to be convincing in tone and likely failing, but he believes he's convinced her. As Muse withdraws her hand from his chest, his eyes follow it once again before coming to rest on her face....the face of an angel. For a man so inured to suffering, the woman before him keeps stealing his breath away.

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"Probably best to avoid that place." Ivan agrees with a slow nod toward the doorway of the now-quiet Chinese restaurant. With that said, he turns to begin walking beside Muse as he leads her along the dark streets and dim alleys toward a noodle-shop he passed earlier that day. As they meander toward the place, he shoots side-long glances at the beauty, right hand clenched beside himself - at least one hand trying to keep a grip on reality. "So..." He begins slowly, trying to choose his words carefully - and potentially failing, "What brings you to this part of town?" Yep. He can barely think straight. The Russian realizes he'll need to get a handle on himself, or risk losing himself around Muse. As he continues to chide himself internally, he leads the radiant creature to a small noodle stand off a side-street.

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The noodle stand is like the rest of this part of the city, dingy, full of culture, and cheap. An older Japanese man sees to the food preparation and greets the duo in Japanese. "Welcome, welcome my friends. What can I get you?"

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The Russian is clueless and looks to Muse as he slides onto a stool. "I can't understand a damned word in Japanese." An odd thing to admit considering the man (potentially) lives in the city.

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Being used to awestruck people, Sasha tried to project an aura of calmness to Ivan. While it wasn't a superpower of hers, calming people down was just a series of body language; something she was well known for back home. Softer moves and a subdued voice. Try not to be subserviant, but make them feel in charge. Then again, people with lower intelligence get the wrong ideas. Sasha judged Ivan pretty quickly as more observant than most.

Sasha nodded and lightl put her arms behind her back. like she was listening to Ivan narrate. "Noodles it is then," she agreed. She REALLY wanted sushi, but damn if she didn't walk into the wrong neighborhood for it. Noodles would tide her over for a while. That Aberrant metabolism would take care of the rest.

When Ivan started up some conversation she appeared to be quite interested. Not really a false front, but something that wouldn't make him jump out of his skin. "Sushi, mostly," she answered his question, "I was told there were localized areas around here. Shops and stores. Authentic neighborhoods." She looked at Ivan again with a bit of peckishness, "It's true, really. A bit too true I guess?" She didn't want to blather on about her travelling credentials, but this whole thing? Not a problem.

When they entered the place of business and the Japanese man greeted them, she was just as lost as Ivan. "English," she asked the waiter. He sadly shook his head no. She winked at Ivan, "Knowing the language is nice. You can get by without it sometimes." She looked at the waiter and smilled with a bit of assurance that they weren't going to leave. That made him happy. Sasha pointed out a cozy looking corner and the man nodded escorting the two quickly.

"Now this will be the hardest part," she whispered to Ivan.A quick scroll through and online phrasebook with her phone got her a few relevant hits. She asked how much the meal would cost. The man told her in short words that it would be free. She nodded thanks and told the waiter to choose for them. The waiter happily sprinted off. "Not my best work," she nudged Ivan lightly, "but it works. Free food is free food."

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Sushi. She wanted sushi and he took her to a noodle house...He groans internally at the choice he made, then seems almost startled that he cares. Why her? Why is she setting him off like this? Ivan is once again stirred by the physically and emotionally evocative woman beside him. He can hear her speaking, and recognizes the words, but it is almost too much to ask that he's able to hold an intelligent conversation in her presence, and yet, that is what he tries to accomplish. "Sushi? I have had a few good pieces down near the beach. Good sake there as well. The only problem was the pickpockets and thugs around the area. Seems like they have an eye for non-natives." His tone of voice is even as he speaks to Sasha, finding some semblance of intelligence as he focuses on conversation and not how mind-numbingly attractive she is.

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Averting his eyes is a struggle of willpower, but for his own benefit Ivan does so, looking over the noodle place as the beauty orchestrates free food. If he was taken aback by her before, the fact she can wrangle free food makes her even more incredible. "Free food?" He raises a brow over one of his uniquely blue eyes, "You have a gift." Offering Sasha a smile, he adds, "Perhaps we could do sushi tomorrow, if you'll be around the area?" The nudge from the woman, and winking at him causes a small burst of surprise and a wellspring of excitement within him. He tempers it with the reality he looks like a bear-attack victim and she looks like a virtual goddess, and that reality helps him to place his feet back on Terra Firma.

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"I'm here on vacation." Ivan says to Sasha in his accented English, lying completely through a completely genuine smile. The man seems extremely comfortable with twisting the truth, as if he believes his own lies, or is accomplished at doing so. "And you are here for sushi. Perhaps we will have to keep one another company, as I can't find conversation anywhere else in this city." He laughs warmly, though unlike his lying, it appears a little forced. His eyes shift back to Sasha, and he leans back in his seat comfortably. "I won't lie, its been a long time since a woman has sought my company, so if I seem a bit awkward, forgive me." She can read the term "company" any way she likes, but it doesn't seem like he's insinuating sex.

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Sasha's English wasn't perfect herself. Two people born in different countries, stuck in a foreign atmosphere; this made for some good story telling! Maybe it would go in as a side story to her India adventure. Sasha sighed, "Unfortunately I am only here for a layover until I go back home. Only a day or two." She smiled, "Though it would be nice to see the back areas of this place." She chuckled, "the blind leading the blind?"

Just about then, the waiter came back with sake and noodles in abundance. Sasha smiled and thanked the waiter in his language. She also thanked the internet for simple phrasebooks. As she offered up a toast, Ivan finally admitted his uneasyness to Sasha. She put her cup down. "Do not worry, Ivan. You get used to such introductions after a while. Besides, I am sure you will provide interesting times, as they say around here." She picked up her cup of sake again, "So, to interesting times?"

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"Interesting times." Ivan agrees having met Sasha's toast cordially. The Russian's attention shifts between Sasha, her phrasebook, and the waiter as they interact, politely sitting back as he has an idea as to what is going on, but can't truly follow the discussion. Lifting chopsticks from the tabletop, Ivan cleans them with the napkin provided, looking to the beauty as he regains a little more composure. "What is it, that you do for work, Muse?" His demeanor seems to be attempting to shift from fan-boi to the more-traditional stoic Russian. "Although, looking as radiant as you do, I'm sure just showing up somewhere is enough to get paid, hmm?" His tone is playful, as he inquires about her and her profession.

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The atmosphere of the shop is very low-key, soft music playing in the background - and at this time of night they are the only customers. An almost romantic setting for an odd duo.

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While the waiter did his best to comply to Sasha's broken use of his language, Sasha was slowly piecing it together. This was something she had to study. Sure, everyone at Department Zero spoke some kind of English, but no one spoke her native language. That on top all of Japan not knowing two or three languages, It would be helpful to know when having adventures like this. Well, it wasn't really an adventure... yet.

Sasha perked and did an almost autonomous brush of her hair back when Ivan asked what she did. "I am either one of two things. For one I write and draw my own comic book series. It is quite popular." She smirked, "at least the sales are consistent." She took a sip of her sake, eying the abundance of noodles in front of her. There was a quiet bit of reflection Ivan could see in her. "Otherwise, I am international public relations for a nova group in the States. Even though I am from Nicaragua."

Sasha nodded, silently remembering her big almost falling out with the DSA when they basically grabbed Connor by the balls. Not one of her most joyous times, but she got something out of it. She had a passion for traveling. So the DSA sent her all over the world on their dime. All she had to do was speak with certain leaders and honey up some words. What else she did was her priority.

Ivan noticed Sasha was a little bit in thought, but nothing horrible. "I apologize for the quietness," she said softly. Reaching for her chopsticks she was about to ask him a question. A word tried to eke out of her mouth but it was cut short by a dozen heavily armed Russian men slamming through the front door of the noodle stand. At least they sounded Russian to Sasha.

"Ivan," was about the only word Sasha understood out of the brutes. Eating some noodles she watched the chaos. No shots had been fired off yet. "Friends of yours," she asked nonchalantly after finishing some, but equally confused at the situation. "Come," Sasha said to the angry men, "have a seat. No need to get angry over noodles." She smiled and winked at Ivan, "This, my friend, is what you call defusing the situation." While awed by Sasha, the men were focused on their target.

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"Public relations for Novas, and a comic book writer? Those are two vastly different professions, eh?" Ivan says with a subdued smirk, reaching a hand up to run over the five o'clock shadow on his cheeks and chin as they speak. "Your desire for quiet is admirable. I have found myself with much time and an absence of noise, so I have grown to appreciate silence. It too tells its own story."

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As Sasha begins to eye the noodles before her in reflection, the scarred Russian lifts a couple noodles with his own chopsticks just as the door opens and the heavily armed gangsters flood the room. Without hesitation Ivan continues eating nonchalantly, looking up at the men with guns then to Sasha. "Oh, I assure you Muse, these are not my friends. In fact, likely they are here to kill or kidnap me. You can't imagine how saying "No" to the Russian mob is seen as unfavorable. This is their third attack on me. I've been watching them following me for a day or two." As Sasha explains she's defusing the situation, he leans over the table a bit to get closer to her, continuing to speak in English. "I don't think you can defuse their desire for my death, but I do appreciate you trying." That said, he leans back and turns to the group of gangsters, shifting to his native tongue.

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"You have been sloppy, friends. Unlike a good ambush, you allowed yourself to be lead here. I've watched you for days, while you watched me." An icy and very genuine smile slides across Ivan's lips, almost serpent-like it its sinuousness. "So while I'd very much like to watch this play out, right here, right now. I have you at a distinct disadvantage. I chose the setting, I chose the timing, and I encouraged you to show your hand. Now I know who you are and what you are capable of bringing to the table. I would think twice before engaging a man who lead you into a trap." Ivan opens his hands in a gesture of openness and lack of hostility, though his smile and demeanor are cold enough to still the blood of the men nearby. "So unless you are prepared to die slowly and painfully while I eat my dinner, and while my date watches, I'd encourage you to ambush me at a time and place of your choosing."

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When he's done speaking, he returns his attention to Sasha and his meal, lifting the chopsticks to begin eating once more, as if the armed and dangerous-looking men are irrelevant.

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(OOC: Italics signify Russian in this post)

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The leader of the group of men standing there smiled. "Do you believe we are unprepared for you, Old Friend? Even now, enough explosives are being placed outside to more than ensure the deaths of everyone within. One of us has the remote, or not. In the game of Do they know? I assure you we came out ahead. I am ready to die for Duty."

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"You may yet survive such a blast, but can the same be said of those around you? Are you willing to sacrifice them all for the chance at a life on the run?"

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He knew from the look of things the safeties were already off, and that this was no bluff. His former masters were taking no chances, and the rumors of how deep the loyalty of the syndicate operating in Japan ran were obviously true. They would die to take him out, if that was what it took."

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One of the other men chuckled. "Now, perhaps if you wish to continue outside, where our pair of snipers can simply put you down like the spineless cur you are, then we might be amenable, and allow those here to not die burning in the agony of an inferno."

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He smiled at Sasha. "You are wholly unworthy of such company. perhaps we should relieve you of her first."

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Several of the men had the feeling they knew her from somewhere, and having missed most of the exchange between the two novas, they couldn't quite place her. If they had, then perhaps abit more trepidation would have filled them, knowing the can of worms they were about to open.

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all dialogue is in Russian

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Sasha was oblivious to the Slavic tongue being spoken and continued to eat her noodles. If the waiter hadn't bolted a while ago she's ask for more. These portions were quite small. She could see how they made their money.

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The conversation was seemingly quite civil between the group of armed men and Ivan. So much so that she let him handle it. Though when one of them indicated her, she was intrigued. She silently waved at the passively aggressive man and looked to Ivan.

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Sasha had been looking up a Russian phrasebook, but she was sure nothing it could offer her would help here. "Ivan. I am not going to lie, this is kind of a bit of a bad first date," she said jokingly with a wry smirk.

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Sasha tsked a couple of times before letting out an unsatisfied sigh. "Let us start with something simple," she said with a query tone. A mental order of 'drop your guns and kneel on the floor with your hands behind your head' passed to the Russians. As each of them did so she smiled and nodded a thank you. It was obvious that she was their puppet master. "These are your problems, Ivan," she laid a hand on his cheek and grinned, "you should handle it."

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"Yes. I've been told I'm a hopeless romantic. Apparently it was pillowtalk." The Russian safecracker says with a snort of derision toward his "problems". His tone and attitude is one of subdued amusement. "Handle it? I suppose I can handle it." Standing up from the table, he looks over the men laying on the ground - now helpless, and raises a hand up to tap a finger on his chin. "I am not a murderer you see." Ivan remarks, though whom he is speaking to is in question.

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Gathering up the guns, Ivan takes each of the mens' wallet and identification-cards, separating them from their financial resources and identification. "If you can tell them to get out and not come back, that would be appreciated." He says, turning to look at Muse with a raised brow. "They know I now know who they are, where they live, and have access to their financial resources. They may think twice before trying to burn me once more, though likely not. For failing to kill or capture me, some of them will die. I am okay with that, as their blood is on their own hands."

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The Russian settles back into his seat across from Muse, guns stacked beside and beneath him. "And you can't say our first date was uneventful." He winks at the beauty and lifts his chopsticks again to continue eating. If he's surprised that Muse can channel quantum, he doesn't remark on it.

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Sasha cocked her head slightly to the side and made with the blank thinking stare for a second, as if a thought had subtly nudge her head and burrowed in her brain. "I have never tried to give a complex action such as that before," she said after blinking back to reality and looking to Ivan, "Only 'go there, do this'. Never 'leave this guy alone forever' or 'forget this guy ever existed'."
When Ivan sat down again, she playfully stroked his calf with her unshoed foot as he continued to eat. Looking at the pile of collected guns, she couldn't say the thought hadn't passed her mind to take one as a door prize. The hand cannons and assault rifles looked so 80s movie stock to be real. Then again 80s action movies had her country and the surrounding areas as bad guys. And she was not a bad guy either.
She looked back to Ivan with a smile, "You know, Department Zero, the Japanese nova embassy of sorts, is probably on it's way. Seeing as we, er, I have made something of a scene." She sighed and shook her head, "These men will have to stay as evidence." She smirked devilishly and stopped rubbing Ivan's calf, "Maybe I could entertain you with a play of sorts? I am sure these men know how to dance."
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"Ah. A shame. However if you need to keep these men as collateral for Department Zero, whatever that is, that is fine with me." Ivan says with a nod to Muse, winking at her. The guns litter the area around the Russian man's seat, though he doesn't seem interested in them in the least. He continues to eat slowly, his manners quite good for a guy who looks like he could be homeless.

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As Muse's foot strokes his calf, the steel-like demeanor Ivan portrays frequently is eroded and he actually blushes a bit. The experience is likely the most intimate encounter he's had for a long while from the response. "I..." He begins, as if a thought tried to escape his lips, but never is able to truly manifest. As Muse smirks devilishly at him, Ivan blushes even darker. "Entertain...oh..oh..you meant the men dancing...of course." Yes, yes, his mind /never/ went anywhere else with the Goddess across from him rubbing his leg. "Sure." He stammers out quickly, trying to cover his misunderstanding. "Let them all dance."

,,

Internally he's kicking himself, knowing he shouldn't be swayed by the beautiful woman, yet he cannot seem to stop it from happening. She's /that/ evocative.

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More than the flattery, Ivan's blush was seen as a compliment by Sasha. You have your grizzled veterans of wars unknown, probably couldn't trust a soul and she could make them relax. There was a bit of gratification in that fact. She was quiet with just a sensuous smile as he calmed down.
Picking up her chair, Sasha went around the table and sat next to Ivan. As they both faced the kneeling Russians, she pointed to the leader, "He will start." The leader rose at her mental command. "Is there anything you would like to see," there was a bit of innuendo in her voice, playfully teasing Ivan, "I like to make them dance together, but there is too many for that now." The leader began a mock ballet, it was obvious he had only seen it in passing. Though Sasha was happy for that. If he had never seen it, there would be less dancing. One by one the gang of Russian thugs stood and followed their leader's dance, until all of them were in some kind of dance. A couple of them were even good at it.
Sasha couldn't help but smile. A few years ago she would have ordered these men to murder each other in some kind of naked gladiatorial match. Now she was just as fine waiting for the police and/or local nova agency as the crooks put on a non-fatal show. "I hope you enjoy the show," she whispered into Ivan's ear, "Maybe we could find something else to do after?" Sasha couldn't help but to make her companion for the night a bit on edge, she just hoped that she wasn't going too far.
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Watching Sasha smile warmed the Russian, reminding him of the last time he watched the sunrise - bathed in radiance and beauty. For a moment he closes his eyes, but as Sasha picks up her chair and moves it beside him, goosebumps run over his skin. She's SO close... Feigning interest in the dancing thugs, Ivan allows his eyes to observe them, but all of his other senses are on the woman beside him. "This is good." He murmurs, though if he's talking about her making the men dance or about her proximity to him, who knows?

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Food is forgotten about, chopsticks laid on the edge of the plate. "I'm enjoying the show very much." He responds to her whisper, a chill running though his body - a sensation he's long ago forgotten - and yet she causes it with a mere whisper. As Sasha drives Ivan to the edge of control, his fingers grip the edge of the table lightly. She's not making it easy.

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"Absolutely. Whatever you want to do." The poor Russian is struggling to not bend to her every whim, oddly inspired to want to please her. Its definitely not something he's used to, nor is it normal behavior for the man. "Anything, as long as we're together."

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Sasha didn't want Ivan wrapped around her little finger or even in the palm of her hand, though she couldn't say she was upset at the situation at hand. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and make people happy. Again, a couple years ago, she'd have drained poor Ivan for all that he was worth and left him in a heap somewhere in the backalley of Japan. But times change, people change. She was about to make this the best night of his life.
"Hm," she thought out loud while leaning back a bit in bit of a catlike stretch, "I hear there are some street races if you can find them and," her eyes brightened as she sat up, "body art." She pulled at Ivan's shirt looking under it. "Would you happen too have any tattoos Ivan? Forgive me if I access wrong, but you seem the type." When she didn't see any, she let loose of him and chuckled. "I apologize, but I have a love for art and those who produce it," she said wistfully, "I have been thinking about getting work done on myself and have several ideas about what I want, though I can never seemingly decide."
She looked up to Ivan with a small smile, "I want to make this night about you though. I have enough time of my own." She looked over to the dancing thugs and then back to Ivan, "But you seem like you need a break. At least for a little respite." She leaned her head on his shoulder in a restful sort of way, "I hear hot springs are very relaxing. Though a bit out of the way."
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"Street races?" The scarred man asks, now ignoring the dancing men in the room. "It has been quite some time since I saw such a thing. I say "saw" but I mean "bet on"." He winks at Sasha playfully, seeming a little less enchanted as her focus moves from seductive to inquisitive. "Ink? Yes, I have some. I had to for my...uhm...last job." The man stumbles over the last part of the sentence, then pulls the neckline of his shirt to the side to display a radiant circle surrounding a skull on the inside of each shoulder, the tattoo is done in a dark brackish colored ink - looking black, but if you look closer it almost looks red/black. "A sign of my affiliation and loyalty." The term /loyalty/ is almost spit out as he speaks, before cursing in Russian. "I don't have any others, I didn't spend too much time in the gulags, nor was I witnessed killing anyone for the family, so I don't have those markings." Ivan explains casually to Sasha, before righting his shirt and smiling upon her faintly.

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"Hot springs sounds magnificent, I could use some relaxation and its been a good long while since I had a long soak." The Russian man nods, eyes shifting as if he's remembering something. "I do miss the bathhouses. This could be a fantastic idea." Raising a brow over his left eye, he inquires softly, "Will I need shorts?" Something in the question suggests he's unsure about something.

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There was a slight commotion at the door, as it opened suddenly, and In walked a nova, that in in Japan at least, needed no introduction. Ryu Hideyoshi, know as "Long" had to duck his large feline head to enter the restaraunt, before bringing himself to his full seven foot tall height. He had on some very custom-made pants, as well as a black tanktop and grey jacket, but this didn't hide that head to toe he was covered in Black and White fur, and looked more like a bipedal human/tiger hybrid than one of the more powerful novas in the Eastern Hemisphere. He seemed to leave afterimages behind him as he moved, his Cerulean blue eyes taking in the scene, and the weapons on the floor, as well as the two novas, and dancing hardened mafia members. "I see why they called, Sergei's been on the list since he came over." He didn't even acknowledge anyone further, before moving to each of the men, striking them in rapid succession knocking them all unconscious with a speed that only a nova level sense of vision could follow. "I have taken care of two snipers, and removed the explosives I found outside, it is safe for everyone to leave, I only ask that you leave a name and number should we need to contact you at a later date. Department Zero thanks you for your time and cooperation."

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Awed and intimidated by the imposing predatory Avatar before them, all of the patrons did as he bid.

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He then looked to Ivan, and Sasha, and nodded. "You two will remain please, as this is most likely your handiwork." A few of the patrons had already started filing out, disturbed to see another half dozen men bound and unconscious outside, their weapons safely dismantled.

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He sighed. "I hope you are both ready for the can of worms you've opened, because these were no ordinary street punks you humiliated tonight. They have powerful friends, who play by only the minimum number of rules..."

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He then seemed to catch himself. "Forgive my rudeness, The organization these men belong to has been a thorn in my side for some time. I am Long, One of Department Zero's field Agents, I am sorry that you as guests, were accosted on Japanese soil, I trust you are both alright?"

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He couldn't help but notice Sasha's beauty, and he found he had to work to dismiss it, despite his circumstances. If he could have blushed he might have, at the shame of letting his more primal urges anywhere near the surface considering things, and throttled it back down, presenting the deep well of calm he knew he had to be.

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Sasha had read his profile, but Long was quite a sight in real person. Pictures did not do him justice. She kept her cool outward, but she was impressed to say the least. This was like one of her little nerd girl dreams. A beautiful hulking tiger man. Then again, this guy was her working partner, kind of. She inwardly grunted when she remembered what happened with her and Connor. Then again, this is not DSA territory, who knows, they might not mess in people's personal business here.
Getting up, she straightened herself a bit with a little calculation and assessment, she keyed into what Long would want. "Greetings, Hideyosi. I am Sasha Mewes, DSA representative," she said reaching out a hand. Looking over to Ivan, she beckoned him over before looking back to Long, "And this is Ivan. He is a very noble man who could use our help."

popping two quantum for seductive and seductive looks. On top of 'normal' Sasha, Long sees her as something a bit more. While she's not trying to seduce him now, it will make a hell of a first impression

:D
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The usually stoic Russian seems to be shell-shocked by the visage of the hybrid tiger/man. His lips move but nothing seems to escape. As Sasha beckons to him, he nods slowly and stands, moving toward the two of them slowly. Its been /quite/ the day...and with the two of them swallowing all the attention in the room, nothing else seems to exist for Ivan.

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Standing near Sasha, Ivan offers the tiger-man a hand - an offering of friendship, or perhaps awe. "Ivan." He says, referring to himself, but not really being able to say much else at the moment.

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He nodded, shaking her hand politely in friendship, in the Western custom. "Well met, both of you, though I wish it were under better circumstances." Sasha was something to behold, speaking of dark sensuality, the sort he knew wasn't the kind a man in his position should be remotely considering.

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"I had received a report that you were here, and that you were one of the less conventional agents of the DSA, the report has not lied." his tone was even, and possessed no rebuke, just the statement of fact. "And You, Ivan, I trust are far more than you seem. I have no file on you, and I despise surprises. I can take Your statements of what occurred, and then perhaps we can all meet up in an hour's time, and talk freely. That way any issues I might need to know of can be handled discreetly."

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He knew he was a nova, just not who exactly he was. Considering who he'd found dancing, the man was Russian, and someone who'd given Her alot of reason to kill him. This night was going to be a trying one for sure, he could tell, filled with alot of paperwork in the morning."

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From one of his pockets, once Sasha'd released his hand, he withdrew a notepad and pen, intent to do as he'd said.

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Ivan loathes cops almost as much as he loathes the Russian mob. His distaste at odds with the fact the Manimal is damned-near awe inspiring. Gritting his teeth, the Russian expat explains he has no idea what was going on - merely that the two of them were having dinner and were attacked and threatened. He's lying - and not trying very hard to do so. Long will likely see right through it.

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"I was going to go to the bathhouse with my new friend, here." Ivan explains to the Tiger-man with a light gesture toward Sasha, "I do hope your investigation isn't going to put an end to it, because I have to be honest, I haven't been inside a bathhouse in years." (OOC: The Russian mafia does MUCHO business out of them informally, so if your char would have such knowledge, you might put two and two (and two) two-gether :P) Noting how Sasha turns on the saccharine sensuality, the Russian bites the inside of his lip - quelling the emotions that well up inside him, emotions he's long forgotten.

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"More than I seem? I assure you Ryu, I am far less than I seem. I'm a simple traveler looking to spend some quality time with a new friend." More lies, again, he's not even trying to hide the fact he's lying. Maybe he just hates the cops THAT much.

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"So, can me and my ladyfriend head to the bathhouse, or are you planning on locking us up?" Ivan asks, raising a brow as he looks at the powerful Nova. "Either way, I got a bath I'm looking forward to."

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Cerulean Blue eyes narrow significantly, he knows there's alot of hot air coming from the obvious Russian, and can't fault him much for his distaste of cops, considering his obvious affiliation, though perhaps that was in the past. His nostrils flared as he took a deep breath, and then nodded. "Once I have a statement from Miss Mewes, you will be free to leave, though I advise you to remain in the country, and the general city for a few days, should I need to speak with you again." He was going to let it slide it seemed.

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"The Haneda Bathouse is about six blocks from here, and is one that is quite relaxing, unless you're planning on going to another already."

,,

He looked to Sasha, and nodded. "Now if you would, please give me your version of the events, Ms. Mewes, I'd greatly appreciate knowing about how I came to find Russian mobsters dancing with each other as others watched."

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Sasha's awe of Long was not so overtly apparent, but there was a bit of silent inspection of him. When her eyes met his there was a bit if a lingering feeling of wanting from both of them. They both were composed for different reasons. Long was considering his position. Sasha was considering when they would meet again. They kind of worked together. Sasha could hold herself though. She still held a flame for Connor for when his oppressive higher ups would let him off his leash. And there were others she had connected with over the near year she had been with the DSA.

Her silence was broken with a chuckle once Ivan mentioned a bathhouse. Hot water is definitely what they were all in. She wondered what wet tiger looked like. Ivan, with all of his manipulation of the truth, was a candle next to a raging inferno in that department. The truth though was needed for the files in the office. She crossed her arms and looked at Ivan with a smile, "Do not worry, Ivan. We will get there soon enough."

She looked to Long again with that same seductive demeanor and catlike poise. According to Long's files, she was free to speak her own language. "Long, may I call you Long," she began in her native tongue. The tiger man nodded. "Thank you for coming tonight. I have only heard good things about you from the files and your fellow agents." She took a shallow breath and then exhaled as if to start the longest story ever, "My tale is quite boring actually. Then again, I met Ivan, so it might have picked up." She looked over to Ivan while softly laying her hand on his back. She spoke in English to him, "I assure you this will not take very long!"

She crossed her arms again while talking to Long in Spanish again, "I'll give you the short of it and do official paperwork in the morning, alright?" Another nod from Long. She told him the story in a little more detail than Ivan. Nothing that contradicted him, but the story in full. Long could see that she was flirting with him though subtle body language, even though she never broke away from the story. A couple a minutes later and she was done.

"Now, where were we," she asked in English, "oh right, bath house. Ready when you are, Ivan. One thing first." Taking Long's pen with his permission, she wrote her number down on a napkin and gave it back to him. "Promise you'll call me tonight," she asked in Spanish, their eyes made contact with Long for one last time, "I'm in need of language lessons. I'm sure you can teach me a lot." She looked to Ivan, taking his arm with a smile, speaking in English, "Now let us go find that bath house."

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The Russian was not a master of linguistics, but he was keen enough to note the body-language and tonal changes in Sasha's voice as she spoke with the cat-man. Curious. She wants to bed a Manimal.. That tells the Russian /all/ he needs to know about her, at least in his mind. As Sasha takes his arm, Ivan smiles casually upon her, "Certainly. A hot bath is next to heaven."

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Nodding to the powerful Nova known as Long, the scarred man gestures to the door with his free hand. "Shall we?" He asks of Sasha, beginning to lead her out of the place. "You seemed to have enjoyed that quite a bit, eh?" He inquires with a smile that suggests he saw more than she thought.

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Long's eyes narrowed imperceptibly, and he almost seemed to smile. "You'll head five blocks north, and one west, you'll see a sign that reads "Haneda" in English, and also Kanji, If you tell the woman at the counter Ryu referred you, things will go very smoothely for you. There are public and private baths, so take your pick. They also have a nice sauna."

,,

He looked down at the unconscious mobsters. "I still have buisness to attend to, so perhaps in the mrning we can all meet up again. I'm not always on duty.."

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Kamiko walked into the scene, her goggles pulled up on her forehead with a light black overcoat over a black with red detail bodysuit. She looked more like someone who had stepped off of the set of "Blade Runner" than anything else. What was striking was the white staff as long as she was tall, made from random sheets of paper and the fact she had hair as white as snow and red eyes more reminiscent of a lab rat.

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She looked over the newcomers, including the russian, and a slight twinge of guilt crossed her face.

,,

Great... another lost Russian I'm responsible for... she thought for a moment. She turned to Long.

,,

"Sir... I took care of any stragglers. The concious ones have arm and and leg restraints put on." She said, still quite a few plastic restraints on her belt. "I did miss the big party here, I think..."

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She looks over to Ms. Muse. "Ah... a DSA Special Agent is here? Is there a case going on that somehow I wasn't made aware of?"

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Scratching her head she sits down at the bar. Leaning on it as the paper staff collapses into her hand, the paper itself looking like a ream before they compress themselves into tiny dice-sized cubes or smaller. She puts her "ammunition" in her pocket. She looks around for a moment.

,,

"Also... I really should stop by here for noodles."

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As Ivan was preparing to lead Sasha out the door of the noodle-shop, he stops quickly as another unique-looking woman comes in. "Excuse..." He says faintly as he steps out of her way, then halts dead in his tracks as the woman in the bodysuit speaks to Long and Sasha. Oops. His exit is stalled. Stepping further to the side to not get between the people talking, he releases Sasha's arm politely. "I'll wait." He murmurs in her ear, then goes to lean against the wall next to the door out.

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Not two days into his travels and the scarred man is already swarmed with very unique (read: novas) people. He hasn't had to look hard for them to flaunt their gifts, perhaps things are done differently outside of Russia. He continues to keep to himself, no overt powers or effects showing as he relaxes against the door. Everyone has their gifts, but perhaps some are more reluctant to use them.

,,

/I'll wait/ he mouths to Sasha again, letting her know he's not going to rush her out when business needs to be attended to. Plus, hell, from this vantage point he can get a better gauge on just how -into- the tiger-man she is. Damn some women are /freaks/.

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Sasha tipped her proverbial hat to the new comer. Though she didn't have time to stick around. "Apologies, senora. It is very nice to meet you, but me and my friend have pressing engagement to attend to. I will report to Department Zero in the morning. Good bye!" And with that Sasha and Ivan were gone out of the noodle shop.

Sasha shook her head with a chuckle when Ivan brought up her playtime with Long. She was trying to be discreet while flirting, but never count out Mega Perceptive novas being everywhere. SHe smiled and squeezed Ivan's arm playfully, "Yes, Ivan, I liked what I saw. He was raw powerful animal magnetism. given form." She lightly nudged her companion, "kind of like you, but in a different way. His wild mein shown outward and I wanted it, as you so noticed." She sighed happily and leaned into Ivan, "but i know when to hold my tongue. You, my friend, were first. And I am anything but a graceless hostess."

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Nothing surprises the Russian these days, though Sasha's honesty is a bit refreshing. "I'm not into animals myself. Regardless of how regal or wild they may be. Perhaps it is a failing of mine, but even in these...unique times, I find myself not the kind to do such a thing. I don't judge, but it isn't my flavor." As Sasha leans into him, Ivan slides his arm around her shoulder to keep her close. "You are quite the hostess, truly. I hope you realize that I'm not expecting anything from you, beyond good conversation and company. You have quite the ability to tear down the walls of men's self control, but with me it is not necessary. I look beyond the physical to what lies beneath. If your heart is beautiful, if your soul is radiant, then all of you wholly will be beautiful." The Russian safe-cracker is waxing all manner of poetic suddenly, and as quickly as it slips from his lips, he clamps down and ends it.

,,

"Regardless, your company is very appreciated." As close as the two are, Sasha would notice that the man's body temperature is lower than normal. It isn't abnormally so, but it is noticeable through touch like this. "Who was the lady in the skin-tight bodysuit?" He asks Sasha, though she'd note it was more curiosity than interest. "You seem to know everyone here. Why is that?"

,,

As the duo walks down the street, they get a myriad of looks from the people this late at night. Some homeless, some gangers, a couple of failing prostitutes, but all seem to focus on them as they walk.

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"Alright... they are acting highly suspicious." Kamiko said, quirking an eyebrow.

,,

"Permission to start surveillance? At least until they report to headquarters tomorrow..." She said to Long, shaking her head. "Should have arrested them for questioning, myself. This scene here is more than enough reason to."

,,

She stretched out. "To be honest... I do feel like a nice hot springs bath now that I think of it..." She said with a quirked eyebrow.

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"I keep tabs on who I may be working with," she said with a squeeze of Ivan's arm, "that and I social network a lot." She smirked with a bit of triumph in her voice, "I've met many many people in my travels and have a very long memory." She cleared her voice to sound official, "The woman you saw was Kamiko Aino." Sasha then relays the Kamiko's Department Zero profile up that was not confidential. While Sasha wasn't a mega perceptive nova, she did have a mind like a steel trap. "Then again, I have not met her personally, she seems like a very interesting person. Come the morning I will have to meet her," she nodded as if it were a sure thing. "But for now, we have a date with some warm water."
Unfortunately, Sasha was not a navigator. They were nowhere near where they were supposed to be going. She looked around for the sign that was not there. And she was at a loss for words again as she did not speak the language. She sighed and tried to pull out her tablet, but it was not there. "Seriously," she rhetorically asked herself upon finding her translator stolen. She did a quick scan of the area. Maybe she left it at the restaurant? No, she knew she picked it up before she left. She looked to Ivan, while she was not defeated, being lost in a city where she did not speak the language was an inconvenience. Not one to throw up her hands in defeat, she saw this as a challenge.
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Ryu nodded. "You should... they might be in trouble." He said, finding the directions Muse left behind.

,,

"Oh my..."

,,

Kamiko grabbed them and after bowing to her superior, she runs off to find her tail...

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Okay, earn their trust, then figure them out...

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Didn't take long, after she asked one shopkeeper where a Latino looking American and her rough looking compatriot wandered, it wasn't long before she was right behind the two. She turned on a small transponder on her, hidden on her bracelet. Just for Ryu to know where she was, just in case.

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"Hey! You forgot this!!!" She shouted. "Umm... and I'm off duty now.. mind if I come along? I actually wanted to try this place out!" She said, her british accent english sounding like she cam from the streets of London, not Tokyo.

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