Firing on all Cylinders
Roleplaying Log: Firing on all Cylinders
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Everyone seems to be having very bad days <tm>, but Dani and Billy Russo manage to find some time to practice shooting.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: April 07, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 08 Apr 2019 02:57
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Registration is now here.

And so too are the repercussions of it.

SHIELD has fallen in some major ways, but still they survive. Now they re-build. A slow torturous thing, but it goes.

For Danielle Moonstar she finds her world torn into two. A balance that she's failing to keep level. SHIELD agent, mutant and law-abiding citizen. But there are days when she teeters perilously close to dropping that law-abiding part. She's seen things.

Like giant Sentinels.

It changes perspectives quickly.

For now, however, Dani tries to step back into life. Her life. It's what causes her to reach out to Billy Russo and invite him out on … a date. Yes, that's right, a second date. Let's call it a working date as the two find themselves at a shooting range.

It's a very nice shooting range. It has both indoor capabilities as well as outdoors, and as Dani steps inside she says, "In or out? You choose."

While she strives for a normal tone and a normal stance, there's definitely a worn edge to the woman. She's quieter right now and the worry lines around her mouth never seem to go away.

For gear, Danielle has brought a plethora it seems. Or at least a handful of cases. One capped quiver, one secured bow and her general standard firearm from SHIELD. She's come prepared.


Billy Russo has watched all this carnage, this heartbreak, this upending of the norms with interested detachment. At least…when no one is looking. In the public eye, he's been careful to mete out his microexpressions to seem troubled, concerned, but above all, in-control. But in private? He's been watching it all with an eye to moves and countermoves, opportunity versus risk. Anvil has stepped up, has managed to keep control in a very difficult set of circumstances. No one could have asked more of him and his men over these past few difficult weeks.

Above all, he is a man who knows how to play the game of being human.

So when Dani's invitation comes, he accepts. He's carrying his own tactical case. He's not wearing his usual suit, rather simple jeans and a leather bomber jacket. "Out. I've spent far too much time at indoor shooting ranges over the past few months." He gives her a gentle smile, with kindness in his eyes. "Let's take out our frustrations on some paper men, uh? I heard they had it comin'."


Much like Billy, Moonstar is dressed similarly. Simple enough clothing; jeans, boots, a nice enough shirt and a light jacket. Her hair is pulled back into one long braid that falls down her back.

His choice of outside brings a quick and brief flash of approval from Moonstar. A twitch of a smile at one corner of her mouth, "Outside it is.", then the Cheyenne woman steps towards the counter. There's a few murmured words between the person working the counter and Dani and then the transaction is completed.

And yes, Dani totally paid for it. She's a very modern girl, it seems.

Shouldering her cases again Moonstar turns back to Billy, "We're good to go." The kindness in his eyes and that gentle expression causes the woman to pause and for a moment there are words that might be said, but then she just laughs. That sound of amusement strives for lightness, but it doesn't quite make it. "Don't they always." Have it coming, she means. "Come on we're heading out this way.

She leads Billy out a side door. While not a lengthy walk, the walk down the pathway is long enough to allow for a few snippets of conversation between the two. "How've you been doing? And your teams?"

As they round a bend the outdoor range can be seen. It's pretty sophisticated. Twelve covered shooting stations that leads outward to the range itself. While paper men are definitely used inside, for the outdoors the targets are much more physical. Human-sized wooden planks with bullseyes painted in bright red paint upon their 'torsos' and 'heads'.


Billy gives a long exhale. "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't rough. Few guys asked to be transferred or at least rotated out for awhile. Most of the guys with families are real anxious. They're afraid they're gonna end up targets for one side or the other. Can't say I blame them for the worry." After all, look what happened to him in the dark parking lot of Anvil.

He glances up ahead with interest, then back to Dani. "If I were a betting man, I'd bet that you were having a much harder time. I mean, we all knew SHIELD had their demons, but we…" a pause, "…I always assumed that everyone was working for our safety. But trying to keep everyone safe, trying to keep control, can make people make bad choices." He leans in to intimidate distance to murmur, "…take this whole registration thing to begin with, for instance."


A frown tugs at Dani's lips at the mention of some of Billy's men being worried. Scared. There's empathy there from the black-haired woman. She understands that quite clearly.

"I don't blame them one bit." She replies back quite seriously, as she glances over to Billy. "I'm pretty sure those of us who are sane all feel that same sort of fear and worry. It's a powder keg … that's already been partially lit." An exploded, but she doesn't say that.

This is already straying into terribly heavy territory. She's trying to keep it light.

Keep it light, Moonstar. Keep it light.

Of course, when Billy brings up SHIELD and registration, Moonstar's expression shutters closed for a few minutes. There's just too many emotions tagged to both of those things. It brings silence on Moonstar's end as she struggles with tamping down some of her feelings.

And for a second the air around the two drops in temperature. Not quite freezing, but there's a noticeable chill for those moments that Dani is quiet.

It only lightens when she finally speaks again. "Safety. I wish, Billy, but at this point I don't think any of us are safe." Murmurs the woman and then she shakes her head purposely shifting to something lighter, "But this isn't really a pity Dani, date. I promise. It's let's see who can shoot better. Me or you."

And just in time too as the two arrive at the sheltered shooting stations. For this moment it's relatively quiet as they're the only two customers out here.


And Billy, ever the student of human nature, picks up on the attempt to escape for a bit. "Y'know, I gotta admit, ever since the parking lot I've been dying to see you in action again. Couldn't properly appreciate it the first time, what with bein' shot and all." And that's what counts as light in their world. It comes with another grin.

As they approach the firing range, he sweeps his gaze over, then back to her. "Hey, I'm not a prideful man. I'm guessing it's probably you. At least at short range. I dunno what you can do at sniping distance, but that was sort of my thing in the Marines." 'Sort of.' By that he means one of the best in the service.


It's a lightness that Dani will gratefully take. Much better than thoughts of Sentinels and things that are worse than giant robots.

Because there are surely worse things hidden that they're not aware of.

At his mention of his fight in the parking lot she automatically cants a look towards his torso. Automatically she asks, "How's the wound - wounds - healing?"

Sure, it's been weeks since that incident, but unless Billy is hiding a healing factor, Dani still shows concern.

While Dani doesn't necessarily know all of Billy's military record, she's read enough to know his words are definitely modest. It prompts a quick grin from the woman, "So humble. We all know who'd win at long range. About the only thing I can do at that particular range -" Sniping distance she means, "- is something with my powers. As long as I have line of sight I can potentially hit a target. More mundane weapons, however, is best at short range."

And speaking of weapons, when the two approach the individual stations, Moonstar sets her gear down. With each station Billy and Dani will find a pair of safety glasses and then also heavy earmuffs to protect hearing.


"A little stiff, but not too bad. Would it sound obnoxiously mach of me to say I've had worse?" Billy's scars would say he's not lying. It seems to be his pattern, to understate his own accomplishments. He rolls his shoulder as he's reminded of being shot.

He sets his own case down on an available surface and spins a combination to unlock it. Inside are fairly mundane weapons - a Beretta M9 among a handful of standard-issue Marine weapons. Hey, when you clock as much field time as he did with his equipment, it's good to stick with what you know.

"Is it real rude of me to ask how your power works? I'm not really sure what the protocol is for that. Feels a bit like asking about genetics or…what colour someone's underwear is." He chuckles.


"Ha. Ordinarily yes, I think that would sound obnoxious." Dani says with actual amusement at his reply, "But I'm also pretty sure you have some extenuating circumstances that makes it a-ok for you to say that."

Which is the truth. She did see his scars. Which causes some of the amusement to fade from her face.

So much war.

For her SHIELD issued weaponry that stays locked up tight. For now Dani uncaps the quiver and begins to check the arrows held within the leather case. She's checking both fletching and arrowheads.

Once that's completed the case that holds her traditionally made bow is opened next.

Curiously, as Billy reveals his own weaponry, Dani glances over. It's only as he asks that last question that the Cheyenne lifts her gaze to Billy's face. Wry humor can be heard within her tone now, "Well, I can say it's not the best thing to ask straight away, as some people might take it poorly. Kind of like someone coming up to you and asking how many people you killed. Sure there are people who likely ask that, but for us polite folk we wait until we get to know people better before asking anything."

"And since we're more than just acquaintances it's cool. I'm sort of a hodgepodge of psychic abilities. I can either pull your greatest desire or your worst fear. On top of that I can make psychic constructs that can temporarily shut your brain down."

There's more, but Dani is ever careful with how much she says even with Billy.


That is disconcerting, but Billy only lets a flicker of trepedation show through onto his face - just the normal amount one might expect upon such a revelation. Instead, he lets out a low whistle, "Damn. Bad guys beware, uh?" He chuckles and reaches for the Beretta. It's very easy to tell that the weapon is at home in his hands.

As he inspects the weapon, he glances over at her. "So your bow shots can sort of direct the energy? That what you did to the guy who was attacking me at Anvil?"

He gives the impression of a man slightly guarded, but trying his best to relax and shrug off the worries of the day while recognizing that's not really possible given the circumstances. But holding a weapon does give one a sense of control, even if it's an illusion.


Bad guys beware. Almost there's a rejoinder there by Danielle, but that flicker of trepidation is seen by the Cheyenne and her witty remark is silently swallowed.

Her head cants to the side as she considers his next question and her next answer. Finally, because she doesn't want this conversation to get any more awkward, she speaks up, "Pretty much. I can direct it with a real bow -" Like the one now in her hands, "- Or, if I don't have my bow with me I can create one. It looks way more flashy than it really is. I'm no worse than a taser gun."

Which is both true and .. not, but if it perhaps makes Billy feel better, Dani won't elaborate further on that point.

Her gaze swings to the targets down the lanes, "Shall we make this interesting with a wager?"


"A wager. What kind of wager? Though, like I said, I'm not overly confident of my chances." Billy nods towards the targets and grins. "But hell, I'm up for a challenge. What're you thinking?" Despite the fact that it's chilly, he undoes his jacket to allow for more movement. He reaches for the glasses and shoves them up on his nose.

The asshole even makes unflattering safety goggles look good.


His relatively normal answer causes Dani to smile, what subtle tension she was feeling being released.

Soon that smile turns into an amused smirk, "You sure do keep saying I have the advantage, but now I'm wondering if you're just saying that to get my guard down."

After all, he may be better at long range, but Moonstar is certain he's far more accurate than he's giving himself credit for.

And with those cheeky words said, Moonstar shifts her attention to the targets. It's clear from her thoughtful expression that she's considering what sort of wager to offer. She could go for serious, right? But haven't they both already touched upon the serious already? Perhaps something more light-hearted.

"All right." Begins the Cheyenne, "Winner gets crowing rights -" Obviously," - and loser has to tell an embarrassing story. Or in lieu of embarrassing story something you typically wouldn't tell a person."


Billy plays a subtle game of presenting a carefully crafted image while at the same time not making himself visible enough to seem like a threat. It's a careful dance. It's one he has to keep up even in situations like this. Perhaps especially in situations like this.

He looks down at his weapon and pulls back the hammer. "You throw in a drink and you got a wager. And I guess you'll see in a minute how much I'm just being modest and how much is true." He pushes his tongue against the inside of his cheek and then picks up a pair of ear protectors. He winks at her.


"A drink added to the pot as well." Agrees the Cheyenne, after all she's always good for a cold beer when it's offered.

By this time Dani has put on the safety glasses and now likewise picks up the ear protectors.

His wink is met with another one of those grins from Dani. Then she gives an up-tilt of her head toward Billy; the movement a clear message of 'good luck'. Now the Cheyenne shifts her attention off of the men for a moment and down range. Toward his target.

Then she waits to see just how well Billy does.

-

There might not be anything superhuman about Billy Russo, but he's peak human in a few respects. And not human enough in others, but that's not particularly relevant for this demonstration.

There's no hesitation as he brings up the weapon and fires off a series of shots. The majority cluster either dead centre mass on the wooden dummy or are clean headshots. His form is impeccable, practiced, muscle memory and second-nature. This is very clearly a man for whom that piece of hardware in his hand has meant life and death not only for him, but for countless people around him. He wields it almost like an extension of his body.

When he's nearly emptied the clip, he steps back, shrugs a bit sheepishly, and slips the safety back on.


As the shooting commences, Moonstar shifts her attention back over to Billy.

She looks at his form, his expression and the ease with which he shoots that gun. There's a hint of appreciation as she watches, but when he's nearly emptied that clip and looks at her, he'll simply find an 'I knew it' expression on Moonstar's features instead.

"Mm hm." She says, "I knew that humbleness was an act." She quips lightly, a clear tease to her tone, "I'm pretty sure I'm going to be buying the beer."

And while she pulls an arrow from the quiver that sits upon her back, she doesn't yet take an active stance, or nock the arrow to bow and string. Instead she waits to see what come-back Billy may have to her words.


"Hey, I'm just a human, Agent Moonstar. You got way more tricks in your quiver than I do." Billy grins. "How could I accurately say how good I am when I don't know what I'm up against. Maybe you can shoot that arrow and take the head off ole Woody there." He nods towards the target.

His words are playful, flirtatious. He cycles around behind her, tugging off the ear guards and letting them rest around his neck. He leans against the wall. "Let's see what you got."


There's light laughter from the woman, even as she turns slightly to keep him in view when he circles back around. "Flatterer." She says in return, and while she could likely say more, the Cheyenne instead turns back to the target down range.

And while her shooting isn't quite so noisy, or quick, as Billy's there's an obvious skill there.

The first arrow is nocked quickly, brought upward, aimed and then fired. The TWHIP of the bow string might be heard as the arrow is released and then a clear KACHUNK can be heard as the steel-head hits the plank of wood.

While Dani doesn't quite empty her 'quiver', she goes through half a dozen arrows with her own turn and the majority stay within range of dead center. Three can be seen embedded in the person's 'head' and three embedded around their heart.

Not quite dead center like Billy's shots, but a respectable showing nonetheless.

Much like him, when finished Monster turns to give him an amused look.

"Perhaps we should have brought a judge along with us."


"Sorta hard to judge bullets and arrows, hey?" says Billy from where he leans against a railing. He pushes off it and steps forward, glancing around her to the arrows, then back. "I think your shooting's sexier, though. I appreciate how quiet it is. A handgun, it's brutal, loud, efficient. What you do is more poetic."

He goes for eye contact now, which he holds. "Do we wanna call it a draw and buy our own drinks?"


The ear protectors are removed and draped around Dani's neck, "Poetic." She echoes with a grin, "I suppose it might seem that way. Efficient, however, it isn't always. Guns are best for that, no matter how loud and brutal they are."

"And as for sexy -" Drawls the woman with levity, "I'm also pretty sure I lose in that competition against you too." She gesture with one hand at him, which seems to encompass his hair, his features, just the whole package of Billy Russo, "The hair, the face and you can use a gun? Women /and/ men would totally pick you over me."

When he meets her eyes, Moonstar doesn't look away. "How about I'll buy the first round, you buy the second. We'll call it even by the third."


Billy smiles, ducks his head in an 'aw gorsh' type of gesture that doesn't fully work considering he may be many things, but sweet and innocent-looking he is not. "Now who's underestimating themselves, Agent Moonstar?" he drawls.

He steps forward, and unless he's stopped or she pulls away, he reaches a hand up to touch the side of her face, then lean in for a kiss.


"Not underestimating myself at all." She's quick to say, "Just realistic about who the pretty one here is."

And she definitely understands it's not her. Thankfully, Dani isn't the type of woman who *truly* cares if someone is prettier than her. Even if that someone is a man.

As to when he reaches to touch the side of her face, the Cheyenne woman doesn't move, or pull away. In fact, Billy will find Moonstar meets him halfway for that intended kiss. If there's one thing Dani isn't, is passive.

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