((OOC: Introduction thread for Toma. Any others wanting in, please contact me first.))
Detroit fucking sucked.
It was where she'd been born, where she'd been raised, the only home she'd ever known. Which was why Katherine 'Kaos' Osmund felt she was fully and completely justified in expressing her expert opinion on the fact that Detroit was a terrible goddamned place to to live. Even if she were willing to forgive the city for the events which had killed her brother, ruined her leg, and driven her mother beyond her breaking point – which she wasn't, really – Kaos was of the opinion that anyone who moved to Detroit from just about anywhere else was out of his everlovin' mind. The city was a pit, a drain on the soul, even for those souls who'd grown up in it. They grew inured to its miasma, more able to function, and perhaps even grew better able to handle hardship and adversity elsewhere because of their time in Detroit, but none of that kept Detroit from fucking sucking.
That was why Kaos was out here, sitting her Amazonian self on a stump worn smooth by all the butts that came before hers, cooking a stew over a pinewood fire in the iron grill centering a semi-remote campsite in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite National Park was a national treasure so far as Kaos was concerned – and it just so happened to not be anywhere near the gods-cursed hole that was Detroit, which was a hell of a recommendation in itself. The engineer had made certain, once she had a steady job and could afford do to so, to come out here at least once a year and spend a couple weeks soaking in the primal glory of Nature left untamed, letting it wash away some of the grime Detroit left on her soul. And otherwise get her metaphor on.
'Course, Kaos was also perfectly willing to admit that this Yosemite vacation was noticeably improved by the addition of the Acer tablet she'd finally managed to scrimp up enough change for. She wasn't one of those who took her cell phone with her to the campsite – when Kaos went on vacation she was on vacation, damnit; her phone was sitting in the beat-up Jeep that had gotten her to Yosemite in the first place – but having her full library of books and journals with her made time pass much more quickly. A mixed blessing, but hey – take what you can get.
Furthermore, she'd brought her leg brace with her this time, putting her latest driver package to the test. The powered brace Kaos had engineered to protect and augment her crippled left leg in an attempt to regain the full freedom of motion she'd lost as a child had been designed to withstand outdoors conditions, ruggedized as much as Kaos could manage with the materials she could afford, but she'd never actually taken the dismayingly touchy device camping before. The stupid thing never seemed to work properly for long, always developing bugs and glitches that led to it locking down and needing to be reformatted and manually removed – not something she could usually do without her workshop. Stupid goddamned thing.
That was the other reason Kaos had her tablet with her, of course – after a few physical modifications and a healthy bout of reprogramming, as well as a few tweaks to the brace itself, the Acer was fully capable of interfacing with her brace's core OS and forcing a maintenance reboot, which'd at least let her get the damned thing off with hand tools and some gritted teeth if it froze up on her again. Her cane was stored in the back of her tent, and while her phone was most firmly in her Jeep, she did have a beeper set to call in aid from Yosemite's Ranger service if she managed to get herself into a mess she couldn't crawl out of.
Hopefully it wouldn't come to that, though. She'd been out in the woods for four days already and hadn't gotten so much as a peep of protest out of her brace. It was...interesting...trying to remember how to walk and hike, but Kaos had been using the brace as often as she could, driver errors be damned, for the better part of a year, on top of keeping up with every single therapy her doctors had given her to keep her leg from freezing up and withering away altogether. If the thing would just hold up for a month or two, she could get back virtually all of the mobility her crippled leg had been denying her for years with just a few weeks of admittedly painful practice. And hell – wearing her own personal Sagan cell power supply was never a bad thing.
Not that any of that would help her in the immediate future if she didn't pay attention to the stew. Anyone could cook in the comfort of their own home, with an instruction book and all the tools and ingredients in the world, but it took a special knack to produce good food on an open campfire with a collapsible pot and a ladle as the extent of one's implements. It was a touch Kaos had, at best, only intermittently, and if she wanted to be able to eat what she was cooking, she'd best focus on that cooking.
Even then, there was a smile on the woman's face beneath her mask of concentration as she observed the stew. Out here, there was nothing to worry about that she couldn't solve. No ganger violence threatening her neighborhood (not that the gangers had tried to hassle her personally after what had happened to the last poor, misguided fool who'd done so, but still), no workfloor politics and bitter funding battles, no whispers behind her back about dirty metahumans and their unfair advantages...
Nope. Just her, the wilderness, and maybe the occasional bear. She hadn't seen one yet, but she wasn't worried even if she did. Bears, after all, were kinda like big, unusually hairy gangers – mace 'em and punch 'em up with a contact taser enough times and they'd get the message. It was direct, straightforward, and easy to understand. Just the way Kaos liked it.
Yosemite was quickly becoming one of the favorite places Toma had visited since leaving Japan. A beautiful, preserved forest, forever protected from the ravages of the world around it. What wasn't to like?
Plodding along happily, he shifted the Muramasa blade on his back, further damning his decision to bring the unwieldy weapon with him all the way from his home so far away.
The growling in his stomach broke the concentration on his blade, and he rubbed his stomach with a sad grimace. How long had it been since he'd eaten a decent meal? He had some roots, a few onions, but other than that, if he didn't get something solid, he was going to be eating bugs again. Giant, frog-like body aside, Toma did not enjoy bugs. Yet another thing enhanced by the magic of the well...His palate.
A whiff of something delicious cooking caught his sensitive nose, and it was all he could not to start drooling on his robe. As if in a trance, he followed the scent, dazedly noticing the crackling of a small fire and, almost too late, noticing that fire was occupied. Occupied, in fact, by a woman almost as large and striking as himself, if certainly in a different manner.
Oh dear. A woman, by herself, out here? I'll scare her to death...Or will I? She is out here by herself, so maybe she thinks she'll be okay? Oh, what to do...
In what universe could one explain a giant frog pacing around the campsite of a young woman in a moral dilemma about whether or not he'll scare her, she'll try to kill him, or something else entirely? None.
Hells with it.
"You know, a little ginger and some wild onions would really make that stew. " A soft, yet commandingly deep and powerful voice rumbled through the night air, coming from the almost absurdly giant mass of black cloak now sitting comfortably by Kaos's small fire. She'd barely blinked; How had such a huge person appeared so fast?
"I'm not going to harm you, so don't worry." The voice said before the woman could move. "I just happened to be walking along, saw your fire, and if you're feeling hospitable, I happen to have the ginger and wild onion I mentioned to improve your stew." He shifted a little, adjusting the massive blade on his back to a more comfortable position. "Also, I should let you know, if you don't stir that within the next ten seconds or so you're going to burn it; My nose is pretty sensitive."
I'm not sure about this plan...
(Sorry, Crash. Forcing you to wait a month for this pile of shit is inexcusable no matter how much life decided to shit on me in said month. You have my apologies here, if I don't manage to catch you on AIM later as well. If you'd rather start fresh, we can try that, too.)
“You know, a little ginger and some wild onions would really make that stew.”
The voice, deep and resonant in ways Kaos had never quite heard out of a human throat, shot a bolt of atavistic fear down her spine even before she picked up on the absolutely monstrous, obviously inhuman figure with its gargantuan sword now seated right by her little cookout – which hadn't been there five goddamned seconds ago.
The voice continued, speaking quickly and calmly; trying to keep her from bolting, no doubt. Or, in Kaos' particular case, from lashing out with the bevy of defensive weapons embedded in the heavy glove on her right hand. Ohhh, how that hand of hers itched to do just that...but the massive creature had moved quickly enough, quietly enough, and somehow stealthily enough to get right up to her fire without her noticing its approach in the slightest, and no attractive girl raised in Detroit could afford to be unobservant. Just like no engineer employed at an Ackerman Industries fabrication plant could afford to be dense or slow-witted – anything that could move the way this thing had just moved would break her in half over its knee before she could so much as twitch if it sensed hostile intent.
“That depends,” Kaos ventured cautiously a moment later, after she'd gotten herself under enough control to keep her voice from squeaking. “What else are you planning on putting in my stew?”
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