Hunter and Scavenger
Roleplaying Log: Hunter and Scavenger
IC Details

In investigating an abnormally high energy spike Rocket comes across a mysterious cat-suited figure.

Other Characters Referenced: Zatanna Zatara
IC Date: January 13, 2019
IC Location: Midtown, Red Hook, Gotham City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 16 Jan 2019 09:13
Rating & Warnings: PG
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The device sparks, an arc of electricity snapping off of its casing before an ambient hum churns, translucent purple force causing the surrounding wood timber to quiver visibly.

A small power line has been downed near the small building near the waterside. The little isolated diner used to be a themed bar and grill in the type and disposition one would have readily and easily seen dotted about the roadsides circa the 1980s, a little Waffle House-style one room affair not appreciably larger than a particularly roomy passenger bus. The gaudy intermix of World Fair-style stainless steel and neon lighting forms a brisk cocktail, one too expensive for the area in which it was located. Given the building's Rockwellian space age architecture, very few other than the original constructor would have been interested in upkeeping the kitschy property, let alone purchasing it. So there it sat, for likely what was upwards of ten years, accumulating hobo leavings and graffiti.

Then a meteor hit it.

The small flying device has been nestled there for at least a few hours, having punched through the roof like the building was made of more tinfoil than steel and bakelite. It landed somewhere in the kitchen side of the building, lodging itself deeply in a stack of abandoned and rooted through crates in its crash landing. Though the power was turned off at the property at least seven years ago, the lighting around the small flying thing glows dimly, hot pink neon announcing Raffy's Diner as being OPEN for business in neon cursive. A tall Manhattan glass doodle etched in white neon animates, dipping in one frame and dropping the olive in it out to an indeterminate location, remaining upright the next.

The police were called about an hour ago, and no one came.

* * *

This city is just full of surprises. It's no New York, but what with its dingy neighborhoods and rampant criminal activity, Gotham City reminds him of more familiar territories and planets that he's come to traverse long before ever arriving on this dirtball of a world. Rocket wouldn't quite call it home, but he certainly knows how to operate in such a place. Lay low, keep an eye out, especially behind you, and never go anywhere without being well-prepared.

That last is always a given, paranoia and the manic desire to blow something apart or shoot full of holes having long since blurred its lines that the two may well be one and the same to him by now. And this town's the last place one would probably come in hopes to rehabilitate from any of that. Not that Rocket's here for any sort of rehabilitating. Work's been slow, which is fine by him in that he can indulge in his own hobbies, and that runs a wide range, especially when he keeps it loose depending on what he may come across, be it a bounty or an intriguing piece of information pertaining to things of interest.

Tonight? It's something of the latter. A big spike of energy reading knocking the meter on his detector way off anything he'd normally pick up around these dumpy neighborhoods. That alone makes it worth checking out.

A worn but still somehow serviceable PT Cruiser pulls up just a ways down the block from the old diner, dinged up all over, its orange paint chipped and in many spots, nonexistent. Kicking the door open, the Guardian hops down from the booster seat rig, grabbing his rifle from the back to sling behind him before pulling out the energy reader, its needle practically vibrating as it bounces between the minimum and max lines on the meter. Red-brown eyes narrow, the raccoonoid looking up at the brightly lit building, looking so very much out of place for it. He shoves the device into a pouch and starts on towards it, a slow grin pulling across his face, revealing just a hint of his sharp teeth.

"So what do we have here…?"

* * *

Luckily, most of the vagrants have long since moved on, and it's both the wrong side of town and the wrong time of day for kids to be out investigating. In a city thick with the weight of its own cynicism, a few neon lights simply aren't enough to attract the kind of curiosity it might out in the country. Of course, there are certain other factors to consider. Like the smell.

When a building has gone mostly abandoned and unconsidered for years, that there's an intact bulb to light at all is a small miracle. Ages of occupation by the human condition and creatures to the left of the affair have left the diner with a particular scent aurora that certain sonnets may have had the wherewithal to describe. Sonnets written by Lovecraft and not Shakespeare, of course. A smell straight from your nightmares aside, the run-down diner is otherwise rather bright and peppy, the flickering sign above hiding the black shape of a watcher in its shadow as it blares quite loudly to all involved the purveyor of the establishment, Raffy, though it may be somewhat sobering to consider that Raffy may or may not even still be alive these days.

Especially considering Gotham.

There is nothing overtly dangerous about entering the diner, a short set of steps bringing a potential entrant in through a tiny, cramped vestibule where a yellowed portrait of Elvis still manages to hang on for dear life, despite the fact every other square inch of the lilliputian entry hall blares allegiance to at least six separate gangs in colorful shades of spraypaint, and at least one of them went through a worship phase where they called themselves the Hound Dogs.

The source of the energy readings is not really hard to find, being lodged somewhere between a broken drink fridge, cabinetry, boxes, and the cash register. The small drone, with covered fans, is laying sparking and glowing in the pile of timber and debris, relatively powerless to dislodge itself from the powerful magnetic device attached to it like a carbuncle which no doubt caused its crash.

* * *

Sometimes his enhanced senses are something Rocket considers akin to a blessing. And then there are times like these where he wishes he could just shut it off. He's been to some pretty bad areas around here, and really, this city has no lack of such, but this place positively reeks that he wants to cringe from the tips of his toes to the end of his tail.

Even so, he approaches the abandoned building with caution. Smell or no, one never knows who or what might still decide to lurk in these joints. They might even be part of the source of the smell!

Carefully, Rocket unslings his rifle, keeping it compacted but an easy shift away from being prepped and ripe for shooting. In any case, it serves to look imposing as is, nearly rivaling him for height even in this mode. The lighting that mysteriously functions is more of a distraction than a boon, casting color-tinted glares and even more shadows, but he squints through it as he moves quietly, trying not to inhale too deeply. The smells are layered and all too overpowering to make out any one thing, not that he feels he'd want to.

Even without consulting his device, Rocket locates the source of what had pinged it so severely rather easily enough. The familiar hum and crackle, and perhaps even the faint, distinctive feel of whatever energy it might be radiating- that's plenty enough of a draw. He shoves aside the stench, his grin resurfacing. Jackpot.

Casting a quick look about, the raccoonoid slings his rifle back over his shoulder, clambering up over the scattered debris and broken furniture with inhuman ease. He draws near to the drone, his eyes studying the scene before him, settling upon the thing that looks quite out of place upon the pieces. Very slowly, he reaches out, giving a test tap with the tip of a clawed finger.

* * *

There seems to be nothing untoward or overtly dangerous about the device. At least, not in the immediate-concern column. There is always a chance that whatever is causing it to power all of the light fixtures around it even while visibly damaged is the sort of radiation that will turn into a gigantic green monster capable of toppling over mountains later.

Stalking among tables built into the walls, Rocket can see where they've been used, alternately as toilets, canvases, billboards and cutting boards each. There is a definite gradation of talent, a solitary space pattern painted expertly across one table, the work of hours. Alternately reflecting the work of minutes, another has been used to play what looks to be several games of pinfinger. At least one of which was lost, judging from the old bloodstains. There doesn't seem to be any other person here, however, at least while Rocket prods the drone.

However, that does change quickly.
The shadow previously pointed out behind the lit sign outside the building moves from the mated dark, dropping down to the ground, a lithe form hitting earth, two hundred pounds and not even sound or impact enough to raise years of dust around his feet.

A practiced engineer might be able to easily identify the drone's composition, if not its technology. There is nothing on Earth like the device that is jostled by Rocket, but it looks like something that would be made by humans, with the vague silhouette and styling of a Terran bird in flight, though lacking in many of the objectively primitive features that contemporary Earth engineering is known for. Something organic, but artificial. Even more so, the casing of the device is faintly radioactive, but not from any metal natively found on Earth. It is common in certain sectors, but almost unheard of here. The terrans are known to call the metal 'vibranium.'

"I do not know what you are," a clipped accent issues from behind him. "But I do not imagine that New York's troubles extended as far as Gotham's coastlines."

The shadow is given voice. All sleek lines and black metal weave, the man standing some paces behind Rocket is not directly aggressive in his mien, at least not yet. He has no skin, he has no face. Only the fierce visage of a black beast adorned across a mask shot through with lines of silver, leaving nothing to identify. He does not move in the slightest, not even in the way that a human does when they are trying to stand still. He is waiting, but there is no indication of breath or balance. He stares eyelessly.

"…But all the same, it is trouble I will not abide here," he warns, passionless.

* * *

Even Rocket would have to admit that the drone right here is practically a work of art. That's certainly saying something considering his otherwise relatively low opinion of Terran technology.

It's also obvious that the thing doesn't belong here in this particular rundown toilet of an abandoned cafe. Really, Terrans can be pretty gross, but then he's seen the like on other planets. Desperate times, desperate people, the lost and the lone, the outcast and the dangerous. Places like these draw them like a moth to a flame.

He can hear the tell-tale readings from his energy scanner, a warning for some, promising and all the more intriguing to the raccoonoid. He's about to reach for the thing to get a more accurate reading, but that animal sense of his picks up on that movement, that sensation that he's not alone here. Rocket freezes, not entirely sure that he might just be imagining things or reacting to this funky piece of tech, but he knows better than to dismiss his instincts.

In one fluid motion he spins about, his rifle finding its way back into his hands, cradling it against him as he extends it to its full length with the subtlest of twitches and the most satisfying of clicks. It doesn't take close study to determine that the weapon isn't something one can just pawn from someone out of a back alley, oddly shaped and distinctly, for lack of a better word, alien in design.

Rocket's eyes widen once he does actually make out the solid shadow that stands there now in front of him, then narrowing as it goes so far as to speak. Bipedal and humanoid as the raccoonoid's been acting, it's not difficult to determine his wariness, if not from the mere fact that he's armed, but from the slight flattening of his ears, the tension of his tail, the widened stance of his feet perhaps in preparation to absorb whatever recoil his rifle might kick. Wary, but not outright hostile. But just as the silver-trimmed shadow, not yet.

"New York can keep it's flarkin' troubles," he replies, after a moment, his tone slightly gruff, and whether the shadowy form had actually expected a verbal response, he's definitely got one. "I got no idea what you're goin' off on otherwise, or who, much less what the hell you are. Pretty sure you ain't the bat guy." Pause. "Or are you?"

* * *

For all of the energy readings emanating off of the drone, there may be some room in the scanner to notice that it is not a lone energy signature for such a rare piece of equipment. The tall dark suited thing in front of Rocket emanates a similar signature, albeit on a vastly muted level. It's just enough to barely register over the background radiation, but it is there. Refinement of such a level is certainly not coincidental.

Dispassionately, the man— for surely it must be a terran— in the attire will regard the weapon trained on him. The barrel could be larger than a child's mouth, if he had to guess it, and not of the sort of manufacture he would bill with the Western civilizations. Of course, they are not readily predisposed towards having anthropomorphs in their employ, either, aside a very select few.

He is quiet for a time, his mood towards Rocket hard to pick out behind the grace of a mask. The faux ears of his helmet, unlike Rocket's very real ones, are always flattened against the sides, as if aggression was a promise instead of a hint. The tilt of his head dips as the raccoon grouses, stepping into the neon light bathing the floors just beyond the vestibule. It does not shine off of his suit, the matte finishes drinking and softening even the garish effect that gives a tepid mood to the awe-inspiring malodor soaking in every unseen corner of the abandoned diner. The steel in his voice is the only thing keeping the matter from devolving to the absurd.

"I think someone such as you would know better," comes the riposte in turn. He seems mildly aware of the depth of Rocket's scanning abilities, and has used that to make a certain guess or two about the sort of information the raccoon can access. "You know that I am the steward of the device which you have come to salvage," the panther finally explains. "And that I will put a stop to anyone attempting to exploit it." His form lifts lightly, a vague shift in breath finally betraying his living nature.

"Lower your weapon," he warns, "or we will fight."

* * *

One might figure Rocket the sort to shoot first, ask questions later, and indeed they wouldn't be completely wrong. But there's time and place for such things, and in this instance he knows it could turn dangerous. Heck, it probably was already dangerous the moment he'd set foot into his wreck.

His tail curls slightly, not quite in the anxious way of a cat in that it doesn't swish about, but the tension is there, and the raccoonoid keeps the shadowy felinoid form in his gun's crosshairs, adjusting the angle just as subtly to match the movement of the man as he steps more into the light. He forces a brief laugh.

"I don't make it a habit to keep track'a how many weirdos around here like dressin' up in black animal suits." Whatever smirk he might've worn with that slips again into seriousness as he listens to what the mysterious Terran has to say. Much as he'd like to consult the readings on his device, he doesn't trust taking his eyes off of this guy for a second.

"You mean now I know," he retorts, nose wrinkling in a mild scowl at the way the man words it. "Seems to me yer a lousy steward when this thing's all busted up and practically broadcasting its existence for everyone to see." That may be a bit of a stretch, but Gotham so far as he's heard is full of all sorts of screwballs and strange things that surely he couldn't be the only one with a device able to pick up something this strong and not fritz out completely.

He steals a glance towards the downed drone, just as far as he can manage out of the corner of his eyes. It's probably whatever animal instinct he's got hotwired in that warns him not to push his luck with this pointy-eared shadow. Rocket fixes the figure with a narrow-eyed look, but he forces himself to ease up in his stance, deliberately removing his finger from where it had been curled lightly around the rifle's trigger.

* * *

Every iota of the panther— at least, that's the terran creature the suit seems to be mimicking — seems to lean towards a hunter. This is not a sinister predatory lean, the somewhat selfish tilt of a creature looking only to feed its own belly, but the noble bearing of one trying to feed a whole family. He stalks, he watches, but if he and his own are minded, the panther does not attack. Rocket reflects on an assumed proliferation of animal-suit-wearing psychopaths, an idea that appears at the least provocative to the man.

"I pray," the hunter finally returns with an affectation of mock concern, "that you never find yourself in such an unenviable way so as to necessitate keeping track."

"The emanations coming from this device are none of your concern," the panther remarks shortly after, soundlessly approaching Rocket and by extension the drone. He does seem to have the sort of boneless movement that means he gets closer the longer the raccoon thinks about anything other than watching him. His movement is not like a human's, all still until he is otherwise. But his is not an offensive approach, despite any sort of appearance to the contrary, as it may be difficult to discern his exact intent. At the very least, he has not exactly produced any weapon more effective than his eyeless ice glare yet.

"I will recover the device and you will find yourself some other refuse to paw through," he says, brooking very little dissent from the raccoon, no matter how large his rifle is. Still, when he approaches to pick up the thing, he doesn't seem to regard the small creature as a threat, and his intention is purely business. His interest is in the device, solely, and he seems to have a certain nobility to trust the Raccoon enough to move past him, vaulting the bar to do so. He is not an ill-meaning man, and still has enough soul in him to peripherally trust even this creature, a rogue of a stripe yet unknown. It's something in the raccoonoid's body language, but the panther simply accepts that he doesn't mean him harm in return.

Time will tell how bad of an idea this is.

* * *

It takes a great effort for Rocket to disengage from taking a wholly outright defensive position, but he does so, heaving a sigh as he powers down his rifle, clicking it back into it's more compacted form. He keeps it in hand however, not completely willing to relinquish it, not in the presence of someone potentially threatening.

At least now he can slip out his energy detector, slinging it in front of him so he can adjust its controls single-handedly, bringing down the range of its sensors to the more accessible and obvious foci not several feet from him. It's an interesting echo he can read from the device now that he's able to do some fine-tuning, and even with the drone's readouts still throwing things way out of proportion, there are few enough other things in here that should even make a blip at all when in comparison.

Rocket lifts his head, watching as the panther-man moves past him to retrieve the crashed device. If the guy expects him to just turn around and leave, he's sorely mistaken!

"So," he begins conversationally, stepping on over to see what the panther is doing. "-I ain't no expert in Terran tech, but I know some fancy stuff when I see it." S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't have nearly as fancy toys as this, unless they hid the good stuff from him. …which he supposes to be fair, is entirely possible.

"You mentioned New York. You follow this bird all the way from there?"

* * *

"In a fashion," the panther answers, without an ounce of deception.

Truthfully, there is no reason for the man to lie, once Rocket has ceded the device to him without a fight. That much comes as a surprise to the panther, but it is in poor taste to argue when it rains, as it is said. Checking the device quickly for signs of any tampering, the panther continues, turning one wrist upwards as he looks over the device. It is actually clear that he is performing some sort of diagnostic over it. "Though it means little. I watch over both in turn, within the borderposts of my own resolutions. If that is truly what interests you…"

The observation is as sharp as it is without pretense. The panther is in the process of shutting the drone down, as Rocket's energy scanner registers a spike downwards for the malfunctioning drone's output. The lighting remains, as the energy in the device will take some time to truly recede from the environment around it. The panther produces a single bead from his suit, attaching it to the device as it powers down. It is the most movement Rocket can see of him— for all intents and purposes, there was no other movement from the man that could have produced the commands needed to deactivate and power down the drone, so much of it must be a neural interface operating at some esoteric frequency or another.

The provocative honesty of the panther is a behavior he has learned. Though he is perfectly happy to imply whatever suits him at a moment, it isn't beneficial for him to let Rocket continue asking questions. So, short of banishing the raccoon, he is more than a touch merciless. "I did not know that there were Earth adjacents amongst the extraterrestrials," the panther remarks mildly, picking up on Rocket's phrasing and following the line of logic to its natural conclusion. "Based on your interest in salvage and the size and advancement of your weapon, I am given to believe you are some kind of pirate," he considers aloud. "I wonder then, if your curiosity is purely academic…"


That he's not flat-out shooed off just serves as further encouragement for the little Guardian to be nosy and stick around. He watches intently for all that the panther-suited man hardly seems to be doing a thing, and yet there's an obvious reaction from the downed drone. While it's easy to be disappointed, it's equally intriguing to work out the more plausible possibilities for what's occurred between the time the man's stood there and when he finally does move to add something onto the device.

"I could care less between what city you do whatever business, really." It's not like he's particularly tied to either.

Rocket finally slings his rifle behind him once again. There's a lot of things he's been considering. It's of course been extremely tempting to just try making off with the thing, but this guy in the cat-suit is a big question mark and Rocket's not quite sure he wants to add another name to his ever growing list of complications. Not without good reasons. If he's come this far to retrieve this thing, then that's company that the raccoonoid's certain will not be approved in any place that he happens to haunt while on Terra. Zatanna probably wouldn't be happy if they made a mess of her property, anyway.

He shrugs when the man speaks up again. "It's a big galaxy out there." Planting his disturbingly humanlike hands at his hips, the raccoonoid smirks. "Pirate? You offend me, sir!" he says, not sounding like it in the least, but he frowns afterwards, daring to move closer to the catman as though to size him up. Bold, foolish, he's been called both things and they're true in equal parts.

"You sayin' you don't think I'm smart enough to wonder about your energy-spewing drone here?"

He pulls out his detector again, fingers dancing across the controls, knobs and buttons easily now that he can properly hold it in front of him. "Honestly I'm surprised no one else got drawn out to the light show. You'd think somethin' generating that much juice would have scavengers on top of this place like a rashnold on a kylak." Rocket's eyes shift between the drone and the humanoid. "Unless'a course you headed them off at the pass." He jerks a thumb towards the drone.

"Your toy got too far, so you brought it down, trying to keep on the down-low. And no wonder, considerin' the interest you'd draw. That metal alone's enough to make someone curious- it ain't Terra-standard so far's I can tell."


"It is better if you do not misunderstand," the panther continues, the rumbling bass of his clipped accent almost surely the result of some sort of vocal coder in some shape for fashion. "I do not question your intelligence," he resolves, quietly checking on the device one last time. For the most part, he doesn't seem too unsettled by the idea of an extraterrestrial raccoon, though it says nothing about him in particular — New York alone has seen much, much more awe-inspiring events even over the last year. One gets the sense that he would remain standoffish no matter what species he were talking to.

"Only your trustworthiness."

The black panther straightens, turning to face Rocket as the drone completes its power down cycle. He regards Rocket for a long moment, as if deciding how much umbrage he needs to take with the extraterrestrial's astute assessment and knowledge of the drone's composition in just the shortest amount of time. Whatever it is, he is at the very least disinclined to make a move for the professed non-pirate as of yet. Beyond the mild barbs, he is largely given to be magnanimous, if only in his judgments alone. He stares at Rocket for a long time, to see how he holds up under his study.
After all, there is much one can tell about a man in silence.

"Enough," he finally decides aloud. "It is none of your concern what happened to anyone who pursued this technology before," the panther finally answers evenly. There is the sense that he would have left long ago, save for some reason or another that is left purposefully vague. Or at the least, it is one that he simply hasn't felt a crushing need to mention. "Keep the details of this device a secret, tell no one," he tells Rocket, a curve of authority in his voice. "Otherwise I will know. And then I would have to find you. It is in our mutual best interest that such a necessity fail to arise. Do you understand?"


A dark-furred brow arches as the panther-man replies. Rocket taps his device once more before sliding it back into its pouch, freeing up his hands as he folds his arms across his chest.

"Only your trustworthiness," the guy says. The raccoonoid looks for one moment like he should be offended before seeming to reconsider, giving a begrudging nod. "Okay, fair."

And yet he waits, meeting where he thinks the panther's gaze is, apparently more relaxed than he'd been upon the man's first emergence. One might consider his very behavior impertinent, but Rocket doesn't appear to be willing to let anyone shove him around, and the man might get the impression that Rocket's behavior might well be the same even if he'd garnered anything of the status of whom he spoke to right now.

With the quiet stretching between them to the near point of awkwardness, the little Guardian tilts his head, lifting the other brow in silent query before that quiet is finally broken. He looks about to scowl at the words offered him, but he turns them over in his head, frowning just slightly. "Before?" Well, he supposes that makes sense. It's easy to imagine that any Terran who came across such technology would be tempted to seek out its origin. A finger taps against his arm. His ears once again go slightly flat, if in thought.

"If it's s'pposed to be such a big secret you sound like you've got a problem trying to keep it that way. Your tech's superior to a lotta stuff out here but obviously not faulty. Sure hope you ain't the only one trying to keep track of 'em."


The panther regards the raccoon for some time, his patience as long as the Gotham night. The pretense of a clash of egos is simmering, but ultimately nonexistent between them, the earmark of those self assured in their positions. There is not much to prove between them. A rarity amongst vigilante communities, especially in cases such as these, where to call either a vigilante would be a great and grand stretch of all available plausibility.

The moment stretches on, long enough to be awkward, and for a moment at least the panther seems content to let the feigned offense drift into that same aether, Rocket's grudging acceptance something for the man to roll over again and again in his mind. The sense that he is thinking is inescapable for even Rocket, whom suffers for having no ready point of reference to meet his gaze. Long enough for a millstone to make flour, the panther finally makes his decision clear.

"Hmm." The sound is not dismissive.

Though the expression is infinitesimal, the panther's opinion is made clear. He seems to bear in mind a certain respect for those who know themselves first and foremost, and though his tolerance may wane, there is nothing Rocket's done to deserve his ire, only his candor. "As we always have, we will make do," the panther remarks to Rocket, leaving the subject wider than when before he spoke. "If you see this technology again, you would do well to stand aside, and let it alone. Hold well my trust, and we may never meet again," he promises, the promise intending to be a security.

"As honorable as you may be," T'Challa remarks idly of that meet, "you would not prefer it if we were."

The panther crosses his arms over his heart, with a stiff, bold motion, his fists impacting his shoulders with an audible bass sound. The sound seems to ripple from there, a drumbeat in the wild. With it, the light dies where it is, blackness flooding not just through the diner, but through the street lights nearby, the sign outside, and likely any cheap electronic watches within a surprisingly large radius of the gesture. The darkness drenches the diner in ink black, but only for a heartbeat. It is enough.

When the lights return, it is in the form of the lights streaming in from outside, streetlamps flickering to life. By the time they do, the drone and the panther both are gone, with nary a sound to have betrayed their passage. The energy scanner can still pick up on trace signatures, but they are increasingly, and distressingly faint.


His tail swishing easily once, twice, it's the only sign of any growing restlessness on Rocket's part. He'll have to admit, this catman's a tough nut to crack, someone well used to not letting anything slip by way of information that he doesn't want to. Just who is this guy and where'd he come from?

Rocket's ears perk at the thoughtful sound made, but again he's left to wait for the stranger to speak at his leisure. The response is something he's figured most likely, and while he doesn't appreciate the tight-lipped answers, the raccoonoid supposes he can approve of the man's patience to even deign answering him at all.

He'd just feel a whole lot more satisfied if he'd get the answers he wanted.

Red-brown eyes narrow as he soaks in the panther-man's words, his ultimatum, it seems for what's said. His brows furrowing, Rocket squints a bit. "…that a threat?"

But he finds he's talking to darkness and shadows, the final echoing thrum of the panther's motion that signifies, as Rocket shortly discovers thereafter, his departure. Even with his sharper night vision the Guardian can't so quickly adjust to the change in lightning, abrupt as it had come. Despite knowing it likely unnecessary, he's reaching again for his rifle, and even before the outside lights kick back in he can tell that he's already alone.

"What the flark was that," he mutters, turning his eyes to the wreck where the mysterious drone had last been embedded. He gives his scanner a few whacks but he already has a feeling even before he adjusts its tuners that it won't be able to pick up anything more of a trail. Wrinkling his nose, he turns and makes his way out of the stinky old diner. There's no point in him lingering around now.

If the catman thinks he's just going to leave this all be, then he'd be terribly wrong. Rocket's got some digging to do.

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