9093/Puppet Strings in a Syringe

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Puppet Strings in a Syringe
Date of Scene: 15 December 2021
Location: Across Manhattan
Synopsis: Melina follows orders to get a very special target - Melinda May. And she ends up putting her mind-control drugs to the test.
Cast of Characters: Melinda May, Melina Vostokoff

Melinda May has posed:
The custom lined jacket and gloves are snug. Having splurged on a set of riding chaps to go with them, thus protecting her legs from the biting cold, Melinda May has found it entirely feasible to use her bike to commute between Chinatown and Salem. Especially given the heatsink that is the city. Of course, dodging traffic that doesn't expect a black bike and small rider is a challenge, but it keeps the skills sharp. May appreciates that.

She weaves through traffic along one of many routes she takes -- the challenge being that there are only so many crossing points between the mainland and Manhattan. That means there's going to be a choke point, even if May has the timing down enough to know the ebb and flow of city traffic and when the likeliest time for a smooth crossing may be.

She slides her bike between two cars, heading across the Hudson bridge, south into the city, watching the lights ahead as traffic merges and separates along the route.

Melina Vostokoff has posed:
To no one's surprise, Melinda May was a difficult woman to track down. Especially all on her own, when it can be assured that no one will notice what has happened. Melina has been watching her quietly for days. Always in the throng of public, when those around can help drown out the emotions of the highly trained Russian herself. But now her orders are growing closer. More strict. If she doesn't complete them, far worse will soon happen. She has to act tonight. That's why she's gotten a motorcycle herself, and begun to follow Melinda through traffic.

For now, it's just a basic tail. Melina is pretty good at hiding herself, but between the rarity of someone else riding in this winter cold AND the focused intention on Melinda May in front of her, it's possible that the other woman might realize something is off. Melina's in all black, her dark hair tightly braided low on her neck so she can keep wearing a helmet herself. It helps mostly obscure her face. She picks up speed as they head onto the bridge, now barely a few car lengths behind Melinda.

Melinda May has posed:
For the most part, the roadrage of the city, the tangled emotions of thousands of different people, has become whitenoise to Melinda. Strong spikes of emotions still attract her attention, or tightly focussed ones, as it happens. Of course, in this moment, the sight of another black-garbed rider in her rearview is more of a curiosity than tight, laser focus of pursuit. There's a lot of 'noise' on the bridge. Traffic does that -- heightens emotions and escalates intentions. Especially in a city like this, and at this time of year.

Still, Melinda's been a SHIELD agent for a long time. Her instincts are pretty good. Testing a hunch, she shifts her weight and starts a careful maneuver between cars. When she hits the freeway out from under the heavy girders, cut between the trees of the park, she picks up speed and begins moving more aggressively forward, sliding toward the Dyckman exit where the city streets will give her more options.

Melina Vostokoff has posed:
When Melinda weaves between those cars, the other bike does a near identical manuever. It pushes the pedal harder, speeding up, moving to be almost on the same level in traffic as Melinda. It's a HIGLY dangerous manuever, even this time of night, but the other bike doesn't care. It also doesn't seem to want to follow any more. The slender form in black, helmet only obscuring from her nose up, flashes a manic sort of smile in Melinda's direction and then speeds past as the woman turns onto Dyckman.

It seems the bike wasn't following her. Not exactly. Maybe someone bullshit hitting on her in traffic, with a smile like that? But she's alone for the moment, taking more quiet streets with lots of options.

Melinda May has posed:
That the bike follows her when she starts her more aggressive ride is enough to raise the hackles on the back of May's neck. The rider is moving fast enough, when she speeds by, that Melinda only catches a taste of her emotional signature -- the focus that belies the wild actions, the mania laid overtop. And a suspicion the rider is female more from the movement than anything else.

She watches which way the other bike turns ahead, and then turns the opposite direction to start weaving randomly through the streets. Maybe she's just being paranoid.

Melina Vostokoff has posed:
There is the sound of a bike and the slam of weapon narrowed emotions about 2 seconds before, out of an alleyway nearly at the exact time Melinda May is passing it, that dark clad rider comes speeding out and directly into Melinda May's path. The plan had been for a direct collision, seemingly, but there's probably enough warning for Melinda to avoid that much. There isn't enough for her to avoid her tire being shot out twice as the other rider purposefully skids to lay her bike down flat, sending it cascading in Melinda May's path, as she somersaults off and to her feet in a motion that can only be from decades of training. Her body is as much a weapon as her bike. And she's coming for Melinda May.

Melinda May has posed:
May twists the bars of her bike, sending it into a skid. Then the rear tire is exploding and she's leaping free of the machine as it spins wildly out of control. The bike hits a pole. Melinda, on the other hand, rolls over the asphalt until she hits a curb and uses it to help her launch back to her feet.

She spins toward her attacker, glancing at how her new jacket is now irreparably scuffed. Her eyes narrow and her lips purse. She's not the quippy type. Doesn't need to be. But she recognizes skill when she sees it. Which means her opponent now has her full attention. She doesn't wait long before she springs.

Melina Vostokoff has posed:
When May pays full attention to her, that wicked smile crosses Melina's lips again. She gives a single nod, as if she were squaring off for a proper spar with May, and then she's coming to attack. She's there, quick as her body will go, trying to put Melinda on her back but not quite succeeding. In fact, Melinda might realize that if she fights a bit harder, she'll be able to over take her attacker fairly easily.

And the moment Melinda has her on her back foot, the moment Melina seems to be slipping, her arm comes up for another block and there is a sharp, abrupt piercing sensation from the arm which Melina used to block Melinda May. Something has pierced jacket and flesh, needle thin and ever so sharp.

Melinda May has posed:
May's form is tight, but flexible. She's clearly used to fighting opponents bigger and stronger than she -- though it takes her little time at all to adapt to an opponent who is closer to her weight and size. And, she suspects, skill level.

Yes, she gets the impression she could take the other woman fairly quickly. The problem is, there's an emotional underlay to the woman that makes that impression ring false.

Still, she needs to subdue her, regardless. She needs to know why she's being attacked. So, she presses her attack.

The sharp jab through the heavy fabric of her jacket, into the lean flesh of her arm, forces her back. Moving defensively out of easy reach, she looks quickly at the tiny hole in her sleeve -- almost invisible. Then, she's sinking back into a defensive stance. "Who the hell are you? What do you want with me?"

Melina Vostokoff has posed:
"Stop all motion of your body and listen to me. You *will* listen to my every word*." Melina's Russian accent is still thick in her words. She's not bothering to hide it, for whatever reason. She pulls off her helmet enough that May will be able to recognize and identify her face, even in the fair darkness of the post-sunset city. Melina is no longer fighting. She doesn't think she will need to. "I order you to *stop.*

And, with those last words, as the drug pumps through her entire body from fight quickened heartbeats, Melinda May's mind is not her own. No matter how much she might WANT to fight, her limbs do not wish to move. She's frozen in place, thoughts allowed to roam independently but the physical motions of her body under some neurological obedience from whatever she was pricked with and the tone of Melina Vostokoff's voice. "I am going to say a series of words. If you hear these words, you must do whatever the person who speaks them says. They are your words. There are other words, but no one else has these ones. They are your special commands. You will remember them. You won't tell them to anyone else. You will tresure them. You will obey them."

Melina steps up on direct level with May, making uncomfortable eye contact, as she starts drilling the words into May's mind: "Voin. Skorost. V odinochestve. Uchitel. Spasitel. Voin. Skorost. V odinochestve. Uchitel. Spasitel."

Melinda May has posed:
Microbeads of sweat form on Melinda's brow as the toxin flows through her veins. Her jaw clenches. She tries to move, desperately wants to move... but can't. The Russian words burn their way through her synapses, burrow into her mind, and settle into her bones. Her heartbeat quickens, making everything worse.

Her eyes meet Melina's, all her anger bubbling to the surface. She memorizes the woman's features, her voice, the way she moves... and her emotional signature.

Not that it'll help.

She's not sure how, but she will find some way to thwart this woman. She may even find some way to kill her. And if there is any leakage of her emotions, a flare of power, Melina will find a dark promise in her impotent rage. Never underestimate the woman they call the Cavalry.

Melina Vostokoff has posed:
It's a good several minutes of Melina plying those words into her mind over and over again. Because she knows the drug works, but she won't always be there. She needs to know the WORDS will work, when others come. Those were her orders. "Voin. Skorost. V odinochestve. Uchitel. Spasitel. Voin. Skorost. V odinochestve. Uchitel. Spasitel." When she finally finishes the last repetition, she steps back a little farther and lets out a slow breath.

The mix of emotions coming off of Melina are strange. Not triumphant, but bittersweet. Sorrowful. Self hating. Trapped. As she feels a faint echo of that promise that Melinda May gives her, there is almost peace at the thought of the death that might come. She is a woman lost in her own mess and misery. But she is also a woman who had orders, and now they are done.

"When I walk away, you will give me five minutes to escape the scene. Then you are free to go. You will speak of this to no one. You will live your life as you normally would. Understood? You may nod, if you understand me."

Melinda May has posed:
May nods, though the rage in her eyes doesn't diminish. She can feel the ache rolling off of Melina. She can even sense the faint relief at the promise of death. It is of no comfort to her at all. It won't, after all, make it any easier for her to escape this trap.

In the end, she's left trembling and alone as the Russian woman makes good her retreat. The words play through her head. 'You will speak of this to no one...'


Melina Vostokoff has posed:
And with that, Melina steps back. She set her bike down in grass so, while it might be a bit bent out of shape, it's still rideable. She picks it up, slides her helmet back on, and disappears into the night, leaving Melinda 3 more minutes of being frozen in place. Of considering just how bad this might be. Eventually, the command wears off. But the words are there. The damage, for tonight, is done.