1964-12-10 - Hunting Trip
Summary: Slade takes Rose in a hunting trip to the Catskills Mountains. But someone else is hunting them.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
slade-wilson rose 

It is just one hour after dawn up here in the Catskills Mountains and the temperature just under freezing. But well, it is still deer hunting season and Wintergreen suggested they needed to spend some time doing more than growl to each other.

Slade finds hunting relaxing sometimes. He would prefer to do it in Kenya, but he is dealing with some business in New York.

He never asked Rose how she felt about hunting or waking up at six a Sunday morning to come here. But that is Slade for you. They both have high power hunting rifles, so they can shoot each other if they need to vent some anger.

Wintergreen might have been on to something. Being cooped up inside is probably not the best thing for Rose or Slade. And neither is afraid of going off into the woods and getting away from any of the modern comforts. Rose might not be in the best mood because she wasn't really asked if she /wanted/ to go. One of the perils of working for Slade is that occasionally the father/daughter bonding sessions are non-optional. But she /has/ been spending a little too much time inside lately. And she's not exactly /against/ hunting. So she has her plan for the day all sorted out for her.

The ride on the jeep was quiet, the streets and roads relatively empty. Slade brought two Marlin Model 39 hunting rifles for them and plenty of ammo. Although they will be lucky to find a couple deer in the whole day this late in the year. Slade carries a revolver and a couple hunting knives too, of course. Only god knows what else is hidden in the jeep. He didn't ask, but he will be annoyed if Rose has not brought her own hardware.

Soldiers need to be prepared, always.

He parked the jeep at the end of a gravel road overlooking a valley. The view is nice enough, despite the cold. No rain or snow today, but the ground is half-frozen. "This is a good place," he comments, scanning the valley with his only eye.

Rose takes her time getting out of the jeep. "Looks like…" Though really, in this part of the country, one place looks just as good as another. Not a lot of signs of people though. That's enough to make it good for hunting. She wastes no time heading for the back of the car to start retrieving her gear. She's not sure wandering the woods for the day is going to be her ideal Sunday. Especially at this time of year. But she'll at least make the effort to enjoy it.

It will be cold. But it won't hurt her. And walking and running the whole day is not really going to tire any of them much.

Looks like, uh? It is not as if has taken her to hunt deer before. Maybe Lily did. But seems unlikely. Slade did bring Grant and Joe a few times. It didn't go well, though.

"This is a good place, I can't see recent vehicle tracks and I can't see remains of garbage," insists Slade. "Come, we should start seeking tracks by the river bank." He starts walking the second Rose finishes with the jeep trunk.

No. Slade hasn't taking her hunting before. But it's not like he hasn't led her to situations where she needed to hunt. So it's not like she's completely unfamiliar with the concept. In fact, due to his crash course teaching method, she's probably got a better idea of how to hunt than a lot of recreational hunters. "Sure. Probably a good place to look…", she comments as Slade starts off towards the woods. They've got a lot of hiking ahead of them today.

Trial and error can take one far, if clever enough, but it is also good to have formal learning. Animals go drink to convenient place. Then trails are formed. And tracks can be found. Not easy to spot those in the cold earth, but Slade has sharp senses. It just takes a few miles of walking and exploring. Wolf tracks. Even a bear. But they are hunting deer, so he steers Rose away from those that are not part of their business today. He talks little, but he is trying to teach her.

Rose knows a lot of what Slade is teaching her, but since this is supposed to be a learning experience (and because Slade can make this trip absolutely miserable if he chooses to), she nods along as he teaches her what he wants to teach her. There /are/ things that she can pick up along the way and so she follows along and listens taking note where necessary. There are definitely worse days she could be having. The exercise is good on the crisp winter's day afterall. And the relative quiet is even nicer. She's spent too much time in the city lately.

Make Rose's day miserable? Perish the thought. Slade will do that only if he thinks it will be helpful for the young girl. (Of course, he has done it a few times).

But today he is being a decent human being. Perhaps because he genuinely likes hunting. The main problem is they are not really talking much. Because hunting. Shhh. Probably not what Wintergreen had in mind.

Finally, it is almost noon, they find fresh tracks, and Slade becomes much quieter and deadly. Moving swiftly, but shadow-like. He is twice Rose's size but definitely the more stealthy of the pair.

Rose knows how to stay quiet. There's also the fact that she doesn't take hunting nearly as seriously as Slade does. This isn't something she'd normally do for fun. And it's not as if she /needs/ to hunt to survive. Even an improvement in the skills that Slade is trying to get her to improve by taking her hunting would be overkill compared to what Slade takes her up against most of the time. So it's not even a real training session. But she sticks close to him, staying as quiet as she can. If only just to prove just what she's capable of.

It is a white-tailed deer, a large buck, likely over 150 lbs. A pretty nice catch given the time of the year. When Slade finally catches sight of the animal he goes for the rifle and aims almost automatically. A heartbeat and he lowers the gun slowly.

He turns at Rose and nods, pointing to the beast. Her kill.

But before Rose can aim the animal raises his antlered head and trots away into the deeper forest. "He heard something," mutters Slade. "Not us, perhaps other hunters." He pauses and listens.

"Other hunters? Out here? Who's going to go this far out on a day like today?", Rose answers in a hushed tone. She might not think there are any other hunters out here, but she still doesn't want to scare the animals away. "Maybe it's another animal?" That would make a lot more sense. Though she has to wonder what kind of animal would have scared the deer off. Scoping out their surroundings, it certainly doesn't /look/ like there are any other animals out here.

Yes. Wolves perhaps. Slade nods. Humans are very unlikely. Could be park rangers, they have been around since the mid-50s. Still it is too far from the road and too cold a day. Only a very zealous ranger would be out today.

He scans the area, this time looking for a good place to hide and ambush. Because one can't ever been paranoid enough. Then moves again, towards a rock outcropping. But it is too late.

They can hear the mechanical noise coming. Not human or animal. It is a tiger-sized creature of blue metal and white ceramic-like parts, with glowing red eyes, bright silvery fangs eight inches long.

Rose isn't quite as paranoid as Slade. She's not planning on setting up an ambush for an animal that just scared off a deer. Though she doesn't put her rifle away. If it's a wolf, she's prepared to deal with it Of course, when they start to hear the creature coming towards them, she immediately moves to take up a position where she can get a shot at it. The mechanical noise pretty much guarantees that it's there for them. Or at least one of them. But by the time she sees it, she realizes how unlikely it is that her hunting rifle is going to be able to stop this thing. "You didn't bring anything a little bit bigger for this trip, did you?"

"I have a .45, but we will have to improvise," decides Slade, "split right". Just in case it is not as sturdy as it looks, he brings the rifle up and shoots five times at high speed. One of the glowing red eyes of the mechanical 'tiger' goes out, but the creature does not pause and pounces on the white-haired man. Slade dives left, avoiding ten inch long metal claws by an inch.

Following the robot four men in strange, bulky white and blue armor follow. They have red numbers in their semi-transparent helmets. 17, 43, 71, 81. They are armed with oversized guns of futuristic design, the cannons glowing gold.

Rose takes her shot too with the rifle before dodging right. It doesn't do anything, but at least it means she won't need to hold on to it any longer. And then she sees the men following up behind the robot animal. If it was in doubt before whether the robot was here for them, that question is done. The fact that it went for Slade first also answers some questions. So now they need to decide if they want to fight or run. A second ago, she would've said that their best chance would've been to run since they had no weapons to fight back with, at least none that could handle the big robot. But seeing those giant guns the armored men are wielding… Rose realizes that there's definitely now some options for weapons to fight back with. Moving as fast as she can to close the distance on them while using any trees in the area she can find for cover, she glances over to Slade, "Thoughts on how you want to handle this?"

"I'll handle the machine," replies Slade, calmly, dodging the claws again, then back-flipping over the monster, landing on a low branch. The robot pounces, and Slade avoids it again, causing it to crash against a centennial pine. The trunk shatters, and falls on the robot in a tangle of branches and debris.

Rose might have thought they are there for Slade, but the four men barely pay attention to the old mercenary. They go straight for her, shooting bolts of light from their strange guns. "There she is, spread, don't let her escape!" number 17 voice is strangely distorted, machine-like.

Rose frowns as they target her. Okay. Apparently, they want her. Idly, she considers what would've happened if she kept the rifle, but considering they have armor, she's pretty sure that still wouldn't have given her much of an advantage. Which means she's going to have to go with her original plan. Drawing her hunting knife as she moves, she watches them spread out, reacting accordingly, moving much more towards one of the men on the edge. She doesn't need to be surrounded. Her only chance is to close the gap and to go from there.

And so she does, waiting until the gap is down to about 10 feet before throwing her knife at the soldier and charging after it.

Those bolts of light move faster than bullets and really push Rose's precog powers to avoid them. But she manages and the knife hits the armored man in the neck joint, sinking a few inches and making him scream in pain, stumbling back. One of his fellows tries to support him, but the other two charge Rose, thinking she is unarmed.

Meanwhile Slade is trying to smash the machine's head with a thousand pounds rock now it is partially pinned by the shattered tree. Smash-smashy.

Rose /is/ unarmed. At least once she let go of the knife. But that doesn't ned to be for long. And with his concentration broken for the moment with the knife, she dives at the man to take advantage of the stumble to knock him over in the bulky looking armor to try and get behind him. Yes, she's very worried about the troop that's still shooting at her, but having someone between them that's wearing heavy armor might help here.

Despite the bulky armor (or perhaps due to it) those men are not slow, but Rose is still faster and more agile, and dives between them, rolling and standing behind the injured man. His companion releases him and tries to tackle her down, the injured man falls to his knees and pulls the knife out, but he is still bleeding. Blood soaks the inside of his helmet, barely visible through the blue glass-like faceplate.

It's not quite what Rose's plan originally called for. But it'll have to do. Afterall, they all have guns. So if she needs to take the gun from the guy in the armor who just helped her initial target… that'll work too. So she lets him come in for the grab, but attempts to evade it, instead using her proximity to try and take a weapon off of him. The plus side of this situation? Being in this close means that she won't have to deal with as much gunfire. At least if they want to avoid their teammate being shot.

The armored man cries in alarm when Rose grabs his blaster rifle while avoiding his grab, he pulls back, but the small woman is too strong. Meanwhile the other two uninjured, numbers 81 and 71 are coming and trying to pummel the white-haired teen down with the butts of their weapons. But 81 one takes several revolver shots at his back and falls down with a pained grunt.

Rose was wondering where Slade had gone. Of course, this has only been about a minute total, but when you're running through possible near futures, that minute can feel like a really long time. For emphasis on the grab, Rose takes both hands to the rifle to pull it away and throws a kick at the soldier's knee to deter him from trying to maintain his grip on it. She even pulls at the trigger a few times to fire off some wild shots. At worst, it does nothing. At best, it deters 71 back to Slade.

There is a satisfying crack at the kick. Was that the armor joint or the knee? In any case Rose now has the energy gun and fires wildly at 71. He takes a blast to the shoulder and the light spreads over his armor, causing a crackle and spark of short circuiting, the man goes down.

Some kind of electric shock. Those are not lethal weapons.

Slade lands on 81, knee hitting the back with horrible force. Then punches the helmet hard several times, until it shatters. It looks he broke his knuckles, too, but the large man is barely paying attention.

The guy that injured by the knife receives a brutal kick on his face and is sent flying ten yards into the forest. "Are you injured?" Slade asks Rose.

As Slade approaches, Rose takes a look over their handiwork. Shaking her head, she takes the gun and fires on the prone and bleeding #17. "No. I'm fine." It's not lethal and they don't need him right now since he can't talk. Turning back to 43, who's knee was just shattered, she frowns. They need to interrogate this guy and there's no way that Slade is going to work as the "good cop". So she has to appear reasonable. "Sooooooo… do you want to tell us why you were trying to hunt us down? Your friend over there still might have a chance if he gets medical attention soon."

43 manages a strangled gurgle before falling on his back. Slade reaches for him but stops before touching the man. "Something is wrong, it is getting hot," turns to Rose, grabs her and dive for cover.

The four armored men explode in flames. Not huge explosions, they seem to spontaneously combust from inside. Rose and Slade would probably have been fine even standing a few feet from them.

Rose's captured energy gun also feels very hot; in fact she is going to burn her hand if she doesn't drop it. The internal mechanisms are melting, leaving only a (hot) high-tech-looking paperweight.

Slade glances back. "No. I don't know why they are. Were." A few yards back a damaged robot also explodes. "Not leaving remains. Very throughout." He approves. "Find your rifle and the knife, we are leaving."

Rose frowns. "Great. So someone with some really high tech weaponry is out to get us." She sighs as she picks up her knife and idly considering it before wiping it off. The guy was wearing gloves, so there's no fingerprints on the blade. Just a lot of blood. Too bad. Without fingerprints there's no other way to find out who someone was before their special high tech gear burned them to death inside their body armor. "Well, at least we know they're looking for us now. Whoever they are." And with that, she heads back to where she dropped the gun.

Even having the fingerprints means little without at least some suspicion of who was the person so they can try to compare to fingerprints already taken. Computerized searches are still decades away.

Same with dental records; which could still be taken from the scorched corpses. Maybe the FBI or SHIELD will do it, because Slade will anonymously tip them of the presence of those armors in a couple days. Then he will pull strings and demand favors returned.

But for now, on the way to the jeep, he is trying to figure out which one of his many enemies would have access to this kind of technology. And want him killed and Rose captured.

So far no luck.

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