Zero And The Rat

Escorting Weasel
Log Date 8/8/2009
Emitter: Zeroman
Participants: Zeroman, Spectrum. Dusk, Rat Queen
Summary: Zeroman is taking a criminal back to the surface when he runs into the Rat Queen, with whom he has an uneasy relationship. The teen heroes Dusk and Spectrum happen on the scene.

Rat Queen lurks through the shadows, hood down, keeping to herself. People down here know to avoid her. And anyone else with common sense would stay out of her way. Her face is covered with a rat mask.

Zeroman is down here on the streets of the undercity, a man in tow beside him, a sour-looking little weasel in a makeshift costume that looks torn and scuffed - much like the man himself. The young masked man jerks on the man's cuffed hands before him, moving him along. "Come on, Weasel, you're going back up top. There's a couple judges what are wanting to talk to you.." he growls.

When Spectrum teleports, there's no outward light at all.. as he physically turns into light and travels, there's nothing to see unless you happen to be right in his path. To everybody else, it's like he appears again out of nowhere. He appears now on the street near Zeroman and the Rat Queen, taking a look around.

Five seconds after Spectrum appears, his shadow begins to twist and morph on the ground, until it finally breaks away entirely, solidifying into a dark, roughly human-shaped Dusk. The only real visible features are his pale gray eyes, peering out from the gloom.

Rat Queen steps out of the shadows… Her cloak moves suspiciously as if something is crawling under it. "Hello weasel…" Her voice is rasp. "How unfortunate that someone else found you first…" Weasel actually shrinks away from the Rat Queen, trying to hide behind Zeroman. Rat Queen continues, "Unfortunate for me… fortunate for you…"

The figure before you is mostly hidden by a large hooded cloak of stained charcoal grey cloth. The clothing beneath it, what glimpses you can catch of it, are also black save for a pair of grey leather gloves the ends of the fingertips of which end in short claws. Those brave enough to glimpse beneath the hood see a mask shaped like a grey rat's face, dark eyes glaring at them from behind the eyeholes.

Zeroman raises an eyebrow as the Rat Queen shows up, though the masked man stands his ground. "Yep, Weasel's coming with me; he's got a court date. And probably a good five year stretch for that little robbery attempt." The young man looks at the rat-masked woman, stands casually. "This going to turn into trouble? 'Cause I got some TiVO to catch up on and I really don't wanna be sitting up repairing the costume again."

Weasel makes a little grinding throaty sound in the back of his throat when the Queen shows up, and he scoots behind Zeroman's broad-shouldered form. "She.. she's gonna.." the man squeaks, the sour scent of fear coming off him.

Spectrum shakes his head to Dusk and says, "I don't know this area at all, to patrol properly. Going to be harder to spot anything happening, though we should probably move…" He trails off as he notices the little confrontation, though, and moves over closer curiously. "Everything alright?"

Dusk's attention is drawn toward the others as well, and when Spectrum moves closer, the dark form's eyes roll just a bit. "Don't go looking for trouble," my mumbles, mostly to himself, as he follows the brightly-garbed teen. "I got your back, but still…."

Rat Queen laughs softly, "I'm going to cut you up into little pieces, Weasel, and feed you to my pets…" A little rat sticks its head out of her hood, squeaks, and vanishes back under her hood. "But I'll let this man take you up above one… last… time. Show up in my territory again, and you're rat food."

Zeroman gives a slow smile. "Us, kid? Ratty here and me, we're old pals, aren't we? Everything is just fine, unless Weasel here gets the wrong idea, which he's not /that/ stupid, are you Weasel?" He gives a glance to the man - the ferret-costumed man gives a whining exclamation and shakes his head, one poorly-sewn-on fabric weasel-ear going flying. Zeroman looks back to the boys and hmmms at the brightly-clad Spectrum and his partner. "You kids out past your bedtime?" he says, despite recognizing at least Spectrum from the railway disaster. Kid did a good job there.

Spectrum nods to Zero at first and gives a grin, "Ok, cool." He starts to step back, but frowns slightly at the last question. "We're not *that* young. Came down to see if there's anybody needing help, that's all."

"Don't have a bedtime," Dusk rasps, though without a visible mouth, it's hard to tell if he's also frowning. "I'm a sentient shadow, not some elementary school kid. Geez, you're worse than my mom." His gaze wanders over Weasel for a bit, then he asks, "What's Ferret-Guy's deal?"

Rat Queen chuckles, "Oh, no problem here… Except for him being a little too soft on the criminals. But then again, and he doesn't have a couple hundred hungry mouths to feed." She turns her mask towards Spectrum, "Stick with upstairs, Sparkles. I've got Chinatown covered." Dusk gets a longer look. "He's the kind of petty crook that even the Tongs won't touch. I didn't care much about his crimes above, but he started robbing from the rest of us down here…"

Zeroman gives a quiet laugh. "Yeah, you're what, 13? This is a dangerous part of town even for you, supertights, so you might want to come back up with me." He looks back levely at the Rat Queen. "Yeah, maybe, but I don't think even Weasel-boy here de-.." He shakes his head. "Jeez, you're stupid enough to try and run a scam past the Tongs? Dude, you are so lucky I don't just leave you for her little buddies, you're so stupid.." He quirks a smile at the shadow-kid. "His deal is that he's an idiot who thinks putting on a costume makes him Wile E Coyote, Soooper Villain."

Spectrum corrects almost by habit, "Fifteen." But he nods to the Rat Queen and says, "Ok I guess, but you ever need help wth anything… especially giant creatures of some kind, put the word out. I'm really trying to figure out where they're coming from. So far we've seen giant cockroaches and a giant plant tentacle… thing."

"But no giant puppies or kittens," Dusk adds in a soft voice. "City never gets attacked by anything cute and cuddly. Stupid city." His gloomy forms appears to nod then. "Yeah, what Spectrum said. You need any help, just put out the word. We can both be here in moments." To Zeroman, he casts a frowning glance. "Come back up with you? Are you offering us the candy you keep in the back of your plain, unmarked van?"

Rat Queen chuckles, "Sparkles, do you have any idea how much nuclear and chemical waste has been dumped down there? If the Topsiders are getting some grief from it, I'm not going to cry over it." She looks back to Zeroman, "Why don't I escort you up… after all, I might get lucky and he'll try to escape."

Zeroman hehs at the shadow, then hmms at Spectrum. "Giant plants. Man, what next? OK, not a bad idea," he says to the Rat Queen. This way he can keep an eye on her as well. "Come along, chuckles, and remember what an amazingly lucky break you got today.." he says, following the Queen and dragging The Weasel after them, the costumed man craning his neck behind to keep eyes on a rat watching them from the shadows.

Spectrum frowns to Rat Queen and says, "Name's Spectrum. And sure, I have an idea. I think it should all be cleaned up, too. That's one reason I want to find the source of those things." He looks back up to Zeroman and says, "I'm just hoping not giant spiders."

Dusk shudders a bit — can shadows shudder? "Great, now you've done it. Giant spiders'll be crawling all over the city this time tomorrow night. Followed by giant snakes and giant aunts who wear too much lipstick and pinch your cheeks."

Rat Queen just chuckles darkly. "Spectrum… Sure thing, Sparkles." She keeps the Weasel between her and Zeroman, almost stalking the man. "At least he wasn't selling drugs in Chinatown… The Tongs have outlawed all drug dealing in Chinatown… heard a rumor they caught someone dealing, staked him out and piled his stash on top of him… then lit the stash on fire. Must have taken him hours to die…"

Zeroman shakes his head. "Lets just get this trash to the surface, OK?" the masked man says, walking on and jerking Weasel's bonds. "So, no-one's found out what caused all those cockroaches, huh?" he says to the costumed boys.

Spectrum starts to follow after Zeroman, Rat Queen, and Weasel. He shakes his head and says, "At least, not that I've heard. The Freedom Brigade might have found something and just not mentioned it to the press yet."

Dusk snorts softly, following along as well, though he moves more at a glide than actually walking. "And they sure wouldn't tell -us- if they found anything. That Plant-Woman was gonna investigate the tentacle monster."

Rat Queen says sarcastically, "Imagine, the government sponsored team might be keeping secrets." She looks over at Dusk, "Ok, so if Sparkles calls himself Spectrum, what do you call yourself, Shadowman?" A pair of rats, on brown, one black, climb out from her hood and perch themselves on her shoulders. She reaches up, and gently scratches the one on her right shoulder. Her hands are covered in grey furred gloves with metal claws.

"Here, I gotta agree with the kids," Zeroman says to Ratty. "If we find out, it'll probably have to be us doing it. If we depend on the Squad getting their uniforms dirty, we'll be up to our ears in mutant gun-toting silverfish before long."

Spectrum nods quickly to Zeroman and says, "Exactly. That's why we're looking into it. Someone has to look into things without worrying if their actions will lose someone votes, or filing paperwork, or whatever they have to worry about."

"Dusk," he says simply, almost a whisper, as his pale eyes track the rats' movements. He gives another shudder and keeps pace with the others, though Rat Queen is kept at a safe distance. "And don't call him Sparkles. Teenagers have enough self-esteem issues without being saddled with gay nicknames. Geez."

Rat Queen nods to Zeroman, "And if it doesn't bother the topsiders again, they'll be happy to let it slide. I hear you. If you find anything out, you know how to get word to me." Namely give a note to any rat in China Underground. She nods in the shadow's direction. "Very well, Dusk. Spectrum. They call me the Rat Queen, or the Mother of Rats." She chuckles, "When they don't just scream and run away."

Zeroman nods to the Queen. "I hear you, Mama Rat." He's sent several 'R-mails' since he put on this mask, despite them not seeing eye-to-beady-eye. "Whatever, shady. Spectrum's not a bad name, but it makes you sound like you're a giant prism. I don't think anyone's using 'Sun Boy' these days."

Spectrum nods to Rat Queen with a smile, a slightly nervous smile maybe, but a smile nonetheless, "Nice to meet you." He grins to Zeroman then and says, "But I am kind of like a giant prism. I don't just shine, I can bend light, control it, make it do whatever I want." He waves his hand, and their surroundings change, visually at least. Instead of walking through a city street, it suddenly looks like they're walking through an Amazonian jungle. After a few moments, the illusion vanishes again.

Dusk insists, raising his voice just a little, "We're not boys. We're -men-." The illusion doesn't seem to surprise him, though there's relief in his eyes once it's vanished again. "And I'm not 'Shady'. It's Dusk. Like nightfall, only spookier."

Rat Queen clicks her tongue. "Don't take anything Zman says personally. If he starts getting all respectful and polite, that's when you have to start worrying that he's lying to you or wants to put a knife in your back."

"I am shocked, shocked and hurt you'd make such a suggestion, madam," Zeroman says as they turn down a street, headed for one of the main accessways to the surface.

Rat Queen says, "True, you'd probably have enough sense to shoot me."

Spectrum grins again at Rat Queen's words, taking them for a joke. He then says, "Anyway, just because we're young doesn't mean we're weak, that's all I meant."

Dusk falls silent then, likely moping, as he follows the others along. Spectrum's optimism may be contagious, but Dusk is doing his best to resist just now.

Rat Queen says, "Kid, you're so young and bright and eager that the shiny hasn't worn off. You're not weak, you're inexperienced. Time will take care of that, if you live long enough." She sighs and murmurs, "I was never that young."

Zeroman has to give a nod to Spectrum on that, especially after the illusion display. "I'm just yanking your chain, kid. I saw you at the wreck site; you did good." He gives the Rat Queen a look, his expression unreadable. "I don't suppose you were," he says, almost inaudible.

Spectrum smiles a little brighter at the compliment, and says, "Thanks." He looks to Rat Queen and says, sounding doubtful but not wanting to be rude either, "Maybe." He glances to Dusk and back to the adults and says, "Guess we better get going again. Nice meeting you. Except you," he adds to Weasel.

Dusk throws a glare at Weasel for good measure. "Watch your back in prison. And your shadow, for that matter…never know who might be lurking in it." He turns toward Spectrum then, lowering his voice. "We going to keep exploring down here? On our own, I mean?" He glances briefly at the adults.

Rat Queen follows Zeroman up to the surface… but no further. "You can take him from here… I'm going to head back under. I don't belong above." She glares at Weasel, "And you don't belong below any more. Remember that. I'll always be waiting."

Zeroman gives a nod to the Queen, then to the kids. "Good hunting, guys," he says, then he drags The Weasel off to a nice warm and best of all rat-free interrogation room at the local police precinct.

Spectrum waves to the others, and then shakes his head to Dusk, saying once the others are out of earshot, "Not tonight. I really *do* have a curfew."

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