DISCLAIMER: DC Comics is not owned by me. Any canon characters used in this story are the property of DC Comics. This story is mainly about original characters, though it occurs in the DC universe - specifically, within the universe established by DantesClover in Hidden Agenda (read it, y'all).
Author's Note: The characters Morana, Echo, Zero, Nano, Sta, Tic (pronounced "tech"), and StaTec (the fused form of Sta and Tic) are the propety of me, of course. As is their group, Covert Action Team Zeta (C.A.T.Z.). The characters Dr. Celia Williams and Carter Roulet are the property of DantesClover, and are used with his permission. If you want to know about those two characters, check out his stories Hidden Agenda and Against the World.
Chapter 2 - The Grim Reaper and the Goddess of Death
Nano landed the jet far into the area surrounding Jump City; it wouldn't do for it to be found - by anyone, but especially the target. It was just around noon when the girls of Covert Action Team Zeta had landed, and by the time they made it to Jump City it was three in the afternoon. They could've gotten there in half an hour or less, but secrecy and stealth - not to mention an unhealthy dose of paranoia - made them alter their pacing, change direction countless times, and head to the side of Jump City opposite where they landed their plane.
Once in Jump City, the girls paired off and split up: Sta and Tic, of course, stuck together (but refrained from physical contact); Echo and Zero paired off (it seemed natural, considering Zero's penchant for long-range killing and Echo's 'up-close-and-personal style); which left Morana and Nano to pair off. The two of them had always been close, looking out for one another. The information they had indicated only that Roulet was in the city; they didn't know precisely where, nor did they even have a general location.
"So where would you hide if you were him?" Nano asked as they walked along a street. They did get some strange looks, but nobody seemed alarmed.
"That would be difficult to figure out for a number of reasons," Morana replied. "Mom didn't really give us much to go on with him."
"I could access the city's computer networks and determine and recent purchases since his disapperance after that battle in Washington, DC," Nano offered.
"I doubt it would show anything immediately after."
"You're just a fountain of optimism, aren't you?"
"It'll just be pointless, Nano. Tracing him through that many records would take too long."
"So what would you suggest?"
"Look, I don't want to make you mad, okay? But he wouldn't leave a trail like that. Why don't we just walk around, see what we see, and get something to eat?"
"That's your plan, then?"
"Yep." Nano was silent for a while as they walked along.
"So where's a good place to eat here?"
After hours of searching, with check-ins every half hour or so, C.A.T.Z. had turned up no sign of Carter Roulet. Morana, though, felt certain that he was in the city; she was getting a feeling that someone just as lethal, just as blood-thirsty as she, was nearby. When she'd told Nano, the sentient machine girl had likened to a 'killer instinct' thing, saying that perhaps since the two were so close in purpose and all that maybe they could some kind 'vibe' from each other. Zero had agreed, though Echo thought Morana was just eager to spill some blood. As the sun began to sink below the horizon, Echo suggested that some of them head back to the jet to monitor law enforcement and military frequencies for any unexplainable discrepencies - or massive amounts of dead bodies. Nano, Sta, and Tic elected to go back to the jet, leaving Echo, Zero, and Morana to search the city during the night.
Morana was actually thankful to be alone; though she enjoyed Nano's company, the alien robot girl was just unable to really understand her. It wasn't her fault, though; only someone who had lived the same kind of life she had would truly understand. Maybe Roulet would understand, she thought. After all, from what Mom said, he and are almost the same. Sighing, she stuffed her hands into her pockets and continued walking around the city, automatically tracking and evaluating everyone and everything she saw. At first, nothing seemed amiss. But, slowly, a sensation began intruding upon her consciousness. Almost without realizing it, she began heading to where her instincts seemed to be leading her. He's around here, she realized. She had no idea where in Jump City she was now, but night had completely fallen and she was in a low-cost area of the city. And that same sensation was very strong now.
She'd just walked past a convienence store when a bell signaled its door opening. Turning to see who was leaving, her eyes met those of the young man who had just walked out. He had just lit a cigarette that he'd pulled out of a pack that was now going into a jacket pocket. When their eyes locked, there was a moment of recognition. Not of them personally knowing each other, but one of two remorseless killers acknowledging each other. Then his facial features clicked into place in Morana's mind. It must have showed on her face, because Roulet sighed and took his cigarette out.
"Well, shit," they both said simultaneously. Morana didn't hesitate; she whipped around in a high round-house kick at Roulet's head that he ducked under - to find her fist landing in his gut. She caught the cigarette as he easily kept to his feet and took a drag. A look of disgust crossed her face.
"People actually smoke this shit?" she asked, tossing it aside. "Asshole, you should've bought a better brand."
"Maybe," he said, coughing slightly, "you should buy some bigger boobs."
"You just fucked yourself up," Morana told him, coming at him in a lethal stance, her punches flying fast and hard. Roulete blocked them, his speed the equal of hers. They managed to fight their way, exchanging kicks and punches, into an alley. Carter leaped up onto a fire escape and began running up it, Morana right behind him. He made it to the roof ahead of her - and found her swinging onto the roof three feet from her.
"How the fuck did you do that?" he asked.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" she retorted, coming in again at him. He couldn't find a fixed point to her attacks, a solid set of techniques he could recognize. Which was when it occured to him that she was using a style like his. Hers was different, focused on attacks and movement, as easy to grab as the wind; his used attacks and blocks that were interchangable (in fact, the attacks were blocks and the blocks were attacks; there was no difference between the two).
"Just what are you?"
"I'm Morana," she replied. "That's what I am, that's who I am." She threw a punch that would definitely have broken a bone had he not countered her punch with one of his own. The sound of their two fists meeting was like the crack of an unsilenced sniper rifle. Each had pulled their punch at the last second to lessen the force of the impact. As their arms drew back, Morana dropped to the rooftop into a rising vertical spin kick that Roulet flipped away from. Pushing herself off with her hands, she sprang at him as soon as her feet touched the concrete. Right then, her dark gray eyes flashed to a poison green. Thrown off by the change, as well as the cold, lethal beauty it gave her face, Carter was unable to fully block the punch that came sailing at him. He blocked her hand well enough; it was the burst of telekinetic energy with the punch that knocked him backward.
"What the hell?!" he said, confused.
"What's the matter, pretty boy?" Morana practically purred, walking towards him slowly. Her body was loose, but he could see the readiness to action in the way she carried herself, how she walked on the balls of her feet. "Afraid of a little 'phantom' pain?"
"Oh, hell no," he said, returning the same sinister grin she was wearing. He rolled his shoulders, then popped his neck. "I just realized that I forgot to bring some beer to this party."
"Then let's get this party started," she growled, coming at him in a sweeping hook kick. He ducked under it, then had to roll to one sword to avoid the feet she nearly slammed into his head. He fired a series of punches at her that she just weaved and slid around. It really is like fighting the wind, he thought. But while he was unable to land a hit on her, she was having the same trouble with him. They both realized, at the same time, that they were evenly matched. Two lethal weapons, forged for killing; unstoppable force meeting impenetrable defense. Her telekinesis gave her an edge, but it was countered by his rapid healing ability. Morana flipped over his head, aiming a series of punches at him; he ducked, and sent a kick at where she should have landed. A mid-air twist right before she landed had the kick flying less than an inch from her abdomen. She followed through the twist, lowering herself to the ground to use a sweeping kick against his standing leg. He countered by going with the direction he was leaning and flipped onto his hands. Flipping again, he managed to put some distance between them.
Right as Morana's earpiece crackled. "Morana, report," came Echo's voice. That split-second distraction (actually, it was less than a split-second) gave Roulet enough time to activate his teleporter belt and he vanished from the rooftop, leaving Morana cursing in four langauges with Echo, several dozen blocks distant, holding her earpiece as far from her as she could.
Author's Note: The second chapter is finally up. So sorry for the long delay; I just lost the muse for this thing, though reading Bone, Luck, and X by 'heartofwind' fired my creativity back up. If none of you reviewers have read that yet, I suggest you do; it's based within the same AU created by 'Dantesclover' and also features Carter Roulet. Trust me, it's a good story.