The Heist

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Note from Alicia: I was bored! Red and I played! He socked Yuriko, I did Domino. :) This is set four years prior to current game continuity. Dom is an overly cocky nineteen year-old on one of her very first solo jobs. Unfortunately she attempts to steal something from Yuriko Oyama - Lady Deathstrike, prior to her employment with Stryker.

Let's just call it a learning experience.

(Watch for the ubiquitous Nathan cameo!)



This was the very first time she'd ever been to Japan. Crouching on the edge of the roof, Domino studied the target building - pretty upscale house, actually - through her nightscope. New country, all on her own... Nate and GW were a pair of mother hens and had tried to talk her out of the job, but she'd reminded them ruthlessly that she was nineteen years old and they could stick their overprotective pseudo-paternal crap where the sun didn't shine.

Domino stashed the scope in her pack and after removing a few choice pieces of equipment, slid it off, leaving it there on the roof to retrieve it later. Quick in and out, she told herself, running along the edge of the roof and leaping lightly to the next. Easy. And she'd be headed back to St. Petersburg with the disk on the first plane tomorrow morning.

Inside the house, Yuriko Oyama mingled with the Yakuza who were currently boozing and gambling their way through all the entertainments provided for their benefit. Cracking her knuckles, she slipped through a sliding-door to walk by herself through the darkened hallways of the ancient house. The Yakuza were so dull, she thought with amusement. So thoroughly modern. MacArthur had fumbled the entire issue quite badly. She may have left the sword behind, but in many ways she still considered herself samurai-ko, and far above the rutting peacocks who drank their foreign booze and wagered American dollars and fondled American girls.

There was some kind of party going on over on the west side of the house, Domino noticed, pausing once she reached the roof. Which was fine, because according to her contact, the disk was in a study in the south wing of the house, about as far from the partying as one could get and still be in the building. Oh, yeah. Easy. All she had to do was be very quiet. Domino flipped over the edge of the roof and to the ground, soundlessly, moving to the nearest door and keeping a careful eye open for any signs of security measures. She'd avoided the guards on the perimeter by going over the roofs, but there was no sense in trusting to her luck too much.

There was some kind of alarm system on the door. Domino closed her eyes and concentrated, feeling the half-queasy sensation in the pit of her stomach as she pushed. There was a whirring click, and the light on the keypad faded and died. Tentatively, Domino slid the door open and stepped in, waiting. Listening. Nothing, except the sounds of the revelers in the distance. She breathed out in relief.

Yuriko's hearing was more sensitive than a dog's - which is why she didn't advertise it much. She had had to eviscerate a man in 1953 who made a crack about bitches. But she heard the keypad lock disengage from down the hall, and knew that something was Not Right. Taking a shuffling fast step down the hall - her kimono wasn't exactly cut for the long stride of a warrior, but the small delicate steps of a lady -she rapidly keyed in her access code and moved through the secure door. If they did have an uninvited guest, the chances that it was an inebriated Yakuza who'd got turned around in his drunken stupor was about nil. Not even Fat Enzo had soldiers who were that stupid. No, clearly someone was after the painstakingly-gathered data on mutation rates that her organization had spent months gathering.

Easy. Domino went left, then right, the plans of the house clear as day in her memory. The door to the study was unlocked and she slipped in, heading right to the desk, pulling out a lockpick as she did. Top left drawer, in a black case, she repeated to herself. A moment's fiddling, and the drawer slid open. The black case was the only thing in the drawer and she took it, slipping it into an inside pocket as she rose.

Just in time to hear footsteps, oddly shuffling footsteps, coming down the hall. Domino flattened herself against the wall, her heart racing suddenly, as it hadn't been yet this evening. Oh, crap...

Yuriko slid open the panel and stepped through the doorway, pausing for just a moment at the gaijin woman dressed like a bad Westerner's fantasy about what the ninja looked like with ... damn. She got the disk. ~Please, that disk does not belong to you.~ she said in perfect formal Japanese. ~Return it to the desk and place your hands behind your head. I do not want to have to hurt you.~

Domino blinked at the woman in the kimono. Her Japanese was patchy, having been picked up from others in the fighting pits, but she got the gist of the woman's words. "Uhh... I don't think so," she said, cursing herself for not having brought a gun. But guns were noisy, and silencers were heavy, and this was supposed to have been a quick in and out. She eyed the woman, then the door, then the window.

Yuriko quirked a perfect eyebrow at the other woman's accent. ~Chinese?~ she guessed, speaking perfect Mandarin. ~I wouldn't if I were you. Put the disk down now if you want to leave here alive.~ She was almost within striking range of the other woman, and one of the only benefits to being in a kimono is that her feet were obscured. Thus, it was difficult to see if she was moving or what stance she might be in. And her obi had a few ... special enhancements.

Domino eyed her approaching, and then, very slowly and deliberately, pulled the disk case out of the inner pocket where she'd stashed it. She bent to lay it down on the floor, and waited. That's right... a couple of steps closer... The other woman stepped within range, bending gracefully to pick up the disk, and Domino went from perfectly still to moving at top speed in an instant as she aimed a kick at the woman's head.

Deathstrike saw the setup for the kick coming - the child was transparent that way, really - and decided to indulge her attacker's tactical blunder. Her kimono was cut in the modern style, which was unfortunate, but the sleeves were wide enough to entangle her attacker's foot quite nicely. And the sway she had to use to do that let her pick up the disk and tuck it into her other sleeve. Her only real problem is that the dress didn't allow her to bend - she had to bend at the knees, which made her position awkward.

Damn, she was fast, Domino thought as the woman dodged the kick - and then couldn't help a yelp as an expert trip sent her crashing to the floor. She rolled, slipping more than she expected on the tatami, and came back to her feet, flushed and all too aware that that had not worked as planned. And the disk was gone. Damn it.

Yuriko rose to her feet gracefully, and bowed slightly to her attacker. ~My apologies, but I'm afraid that I am going to ask you to leave. Now.~ she said, still in perfect Chinese. She folded her hands in front of her like a good Japanese woman, but instead of modesty, she did it so that she could access the tanto knife hidden in her obi. Now if this gaijin attacked her again she was going to get a little bit more of a surprise than just a face-full of tatami. A shame to get blood on the tatami, they were fresh.

~Apologies,~ Domino said, also in Mandarin, although with the distinctive Hong Kong accent that all of Nathan's tutoring hadn't managed to cure her of yet. ~But I'm not going anywhere without that disk.~ She lunged at the woman, following that internal push and dodging as the slash of steel came at her. The kick was considerably better aimed this time - she was letting her powers drive, rather than picking her moves herself, and the knife went spinning off to lodge firmly in the wall.

~Then I am very sorry to say that you will not be leaving here alive.~ she said apologetically. She may have disarmed the knife, but Lady Deathstrike had other weapons in her arsenal. The knife, luckily, managed to hit a support strut and not go through the rice-paper walls. Her kimono's sleeves were specially weighted, and Yuriko used that to her benefit as she began to twirl, presenting a blur of lethal attacks masquerading as a flutter of brightly-colored cloth.

Domino dodged under the flying cloth, well aware there was more than she could see to the kimono. The butterflies in her stomach were particularly agitated. She hit the floor and rolled again, using the slipperiness of the tatami to her benefit, sliding and coming back to her feet beside where the knife was lodged in the wall. Wrenching it out, she reversed it with a practiced flip, staring hard at the woman and trying to see the opening. It had to be there.

Yuriko gracefully changed the angle of her attack, getting more aggressive with the weighted ends of her sleeves. She got an itch to pop her own claws, but with the ease of long practice she ignored that urge. She wanted to interrogate this girl, not chop her into sashimi. No matter how tempting that thought might be. Besides, it was doubtful that she could actually do any real damage with her tanto. She was holding it like it was some sort of crass Western knife, not the instrument of finesse that it actually was.

Domino ducked and slashed at the same moment, but caught only fabric. Her powers were still making her stomach tie itself into knots, but they weren't pushing her towards an opening yet, unless... Domino flipped backwards once, twice, putting some space between her and the other woman, and then threw the knife.

Her lack of mobility was going to get her killed if she wasn't careful, Yuriko thought as she caught the knife in the meaty part of her thigh. She pulled it free and put it back into her obi, then continued with her wide slashing strikes with her kimono-sleeves. She changed the approach of her attacks - instead of grabbing for limbs, she aimed for solar plexus and throat, looking to stun. Her healing factor was already on the job, slowing the bleeding down to a bare trickle.

Domino bit back a curse and ducked under the sleeves again, rolling and grabbed at one of the rice paper lamps as she did. She threw it, just as a distraction, and then leapt straight up, grabbing one of the ceiling beams and swinging, successfully kicking the woman in the head this time.

Yuriko saw stars for a moment, but by the time she cleared her head the foreigner was already up and in her face, landing solid blows to her ribs and her head. She had had quite enough of this, even with her healing factor working hard to close the wound in her thigh and to deal with the bruises this foreign devil had given her. She slid forward, extending a single claw on her left hand to cut the foreign woman with. To distract, she used her other sleeve to pull the other woman out of position.

"Wa cao," Domino swore, gasping and stumbling back as something sliced along her side, parting cloth and flesh alike as if it were tissue paper. Claws. The bitch had claws?

Yuriko had the good grace to look vaguely apologetic about cutting Domino open. She retracted the claw and pressed her advantage, using those wide sleeves as distraction and as a defense while she looked to exploit the weakness caused by her cutting of muscle and tissue.

Domino gritted her teeth. Enough of this shit, and she was getting really tired of the woman's damned kimono. Running on adrenalin that she knew would fade, probably at the worst possible moment, Domino dodged, then followed the push of her powers and grabbed at one of the woman's sleeves, tearing it away with a sharp yank.

Now that was just uncalled-for. This was a very expensive kimono, and it had taken her three hours to get ready for this party. Luckily for her, she had grabbed the wrong sleeve, so the disk was still safe. But her tearing had left her vulnerable, and Yuriko was too well-trained not to capitalize. This time, it wasn't just one claw, it was three of them.

Domino managed to get an arm up to block the claws coming at her face, but all that succeeded in doing was letting the claws slice into that arm, laying it open to the bone. Staggering, trying to catch her suddenly ragged breath, Domino stumbled back, trying to get a little space.

Yuriko couldn't move as fast as the intruder, but she gave it her best go. Shuffling forward, she used her remaining sleeve to tangle up the other woman, then those three claws came in again for the kill.

Domino caught the woman's wrist, barely, straining to keep the claws away from her throat. Blood, she thought dizzily, shoving hard against the taller woman. She'd bled on the tatami. Use the variable.

The fun thing about Yuriko's mutation is that both her hands had claws on them. She extended out three on her other hand and stabbed them towards the other woman's abdomen. Almost like seppuku, she thought with dry amusement. It would have landed true, but unfortunately for Yuriko she stepped on some of her own blood and lost her footing, sending her and Domino both crashing down to the mat.

Domino felt the claws make contact, though, no matter how fast she tried to roll away. And the slash wounds had been bad enough. Dizzy, she scrambled back to her feet, and didn't even look down at the other woman. Grabbing the low wooden table, she swallowed a cry of pain as she flung it through the window, then followed through the hole. Not-so-strategic retreat. Definitely time.

Yuriko, through long-practice and sheer strength, kipped up to her feet. She stared at the hole that the intruder put in the wall, and then sighed. Her healing factor had almost closed the wound in her thigh, but this was an insult that would not be tolerated. And she would not tolerate it - but first she needed to get out of her formalwear and then she needed a bath.

Desperately.

Once the necessities were attended to, then she could track down the arrogant foreigner who had broken into her home and tried to steal her data. She would enjoy making it take days for her to die.

---

She had managed to retrieve her pack. Getting back up to that roof had been sheer hell, but she'd needed the first aid kit in it. Once she'd done some cursory patching herself up - cursory, because the fucking claw marks were bleeding through the bandages already, and woozy was not the word for how her head felt, Domino made her back back into the city.

Back to her hotel, she thought hazily, and bribe the nice man at the desk into getting her a doctor. A doctor would be very nice. Even of the back-alley variety. Because she was fairly sure that losing this much blood was not a very good idea...

She was too dazed to do more than make a noise of protest when she walked into a wall. No, not a wall. A chest. A chest that belonged to someone quite a bit taller than her, and...

"Oh, shit," Domino muttered weakly, looking up at Nathan, who was standing in front of her on the sidewalk, the crowd parting and flowing around him as if they were water and he was a great, big gaijin rock in their river. "Bastard... you followed me?"

"Mmm-hmm."

"I hate you."

"We can talk about that when you're not bleeding to death, you little idiot." Without waiting for any further protest, Nathan scooped her up in his arms as if she weighed less than nothing and took off at a suitably ground-eating pace for... oh, wherever the hell they were going.

"Really, really hate you," she muttered, her head sagging against his chest, wincing as she felt steady, simultaneous pressure against her wounds. "You and your telekinesis and your little dog too..."

"I know."