Monkey Business


Celestina_icon.gif Colin_icon.gif Gwen_icon.gif Moxie_icon.gif

Summary: Moxie and Celestina are witness to a strange exchange involving a monkey demon, a mad scientist, and a thief.

Date It Happened: December 9, 2001

Monkey Business

Griffith Park Observatory

It's dusk, a time when many people in the know are already in their homes, and the rest of the populace continues to blissfully roam about, like couples in Griffith Observatory Park enjoying romantic meanderings, or geek types prepping to get their telescopic jiggy on. And of course, there are those who are in the know but are tough enough to be able to manage regardless of the inherent dangers.

One such creature is Gwen Raiden.

She stands by of the many colonnades of the observatory, a feminine figure in painted on leather pants and a midnight blue, crushed velvet tank top that shows off both midriff and cleavage. And of course, the matching silk gloves. Never leave home without them. She's also carrying a backpack, which makes her look a little like a cross between a hooker and a co-ed. Arguably, for some girls who attend UCLA, there's little difference.

Hiding in a bush not-so-nearby is a figure in floppy boonie hat with goggles worn over the forehead, camoflage fatigues, and combat boots. He's got face paint on. And he's got little weeds tied to him here and there to help round out the camoflage effect…even if his jungle camo does not match the manicured park bush he's hiding in. Colin has a pair of binos raised to his eyes, observing Gwen from a distance. Now and then he glances down at a device with a softly glowing LCD screen that indicates a direction and range. That direction and range happens to be matching up to Gwen rather neatly, as does the appearance of the girl he saw in his house last night.

Some hours ago he finally finished constructing the piezoelectric ambience detector. Finding a sample of green jade to calibrate it from was a bit of a challenge, since all such substance that was in Colin's house left it last night in Gwen's sticky fingers. He paid a visit to the museum earlier, Chinese art exhibit.

Now he's watching, a backpack of tricks next to him on the ground and funny looking goggles on his hat, spying on the thief.

Looking like some bored teen who got dragged along on an educational field trip, Moxie is currently hanging out on the observatory steps, managing to somehow be in the way despite the rather large walkway. Her platform shoes stick out across the stair and she leans back against a planter, absently playing with a cheap toy from the gift shop, one of those metallic yo-yo-like things that zip back and forth on a parallel track. The make up is still heavy, but the clothing is simpler, just tight jeans, a couple of T-shirts, and then a black hoodie decorated with silver safety pins. Periodically she glances out over the park, the toy not really commanding a lot of attention as it whips back and forth with a quiet whizzing noise.

Celestina is out in the park, but it's neither for romantic meanderings, nor telescopic jiggy. Instead, the brunette is setting up on a grassy hillside, setting up some wooden bowls on the ground. She's in a light beige top and jeans, with a pretty large duffle bag sitting on the hillside with her. She returns to it every few moments, taking things out of it.

A short, squat man in a long coat winds his way around the perimeter of the observatory itself. His fedora is perched low on his brow, and the perceptive might notice something faintly flickering with movement behind the back end of his coat, in between the slits. As he walks up to Gwen, she snorts. "New to this, aren't you?"

This is the point at which Colin has the chillin realization he has no idea what to do next. He took so much time planning on tracking that mask that he never actually figured out what he wanted to do here. So frantically he fishes a thick leather glove with wires and sensors affixed to it all over, putting it on his right hand and pressing a button on the wrist. Several multicolored LEDs blink to life in a cascading pattern, and he gets out of the bush then, stalking toward Gwen and her…whatever that guy is. One could only assume a buyer.

"Stop right there!" Colin shouts imperiously, looking quite the sight. Camoflage craziness with a blinking glove on one hand. And now the goggles come down over his eyes. "I need a word with you!" he continues, pointing at Gwen specifically even as he stalks right toward Celestina's carefully laid out set of bowls and implements.

It would seem Colin's tunnel vision doesn't let him see that he's about to walk right through Celestina's space.

Moxie doesn't really notice the deal about to go down, not paying that much attention to what's going on around her to pick up on those subtle nuances immediately. It becomes a lot less subtle when some guy comes out of the pushes in a crazy get up and starts shouting things. That definitely gets her attention. She swivels in place, dropping her feet down onto the stair below, to give herself a better view. Having forgotten about the magnetic toy, she gives it an accidental flick while getting readjusted, and the spinning disk leaps off the end and goes rolling down the steps. The girl frowns, glancing down at where it's getting away, but then brings her gaze back to the spectacle, since it's more interesting than some five dollar toy, anyway.

Celestina looks over at Colin as he's heading right through a space that he really ought not to be heading through. She realizes at the last moment that he's not stopping, and so she shouts "Stop!" in a loud voice, putting up a hand at the same time. There's nothing visible, but there will definitely be a force pushing back against Colin. He'll notice it, at least.

Gwen looks up, catches the little altercation, and promptly accepts the item held tightly in the person's hand, shoving the backpack at him and giving him leave to walk away. What she's been given, which for all the world looks like a datastick wrapped in rubber, is dropped into, of all places, her cleavage. Then she turns and starts walking away, quickly. As does her partner in crime.

Oof! Colin falls backward from the sudden force he walks into, largely from surprise. He does a buttplant and glances at Celestina, surprised. Then keeps his eyes on the prize and stretches his gloved hand toward the man making off with the jade mask. Suddenly a force about equivalent to five fat truckers yanking on a rope in tug-o-war siezes the mask itself in its satchel. Incredibly the guy holding the backpack maintains his grip, but the backpack itself is just not made of stern enough stuff for that pressure. With a rip the jade mask slips out and flies toward Colin's hand like a missile. When it gets near he spreads his fingers wide and the object slows down to a stop, dropping on the grass.

"I apologize madam. I didn't see you there." Colin says toward Celestina, suddenly grinning from beneath his blinking goggles.

Well, that's … something. Moxie's in the middle of snorting with laughter as the weirdo goes down, tripping over nothing it seems, when the mask pulls free of the bag and goes flying through the air. She stops mid-laugh, her eyebrows shooting up towards her hairline, and she drops the base part of the toy with a bounce and a clatter of cheap metal on cement steps. She's not sure what to make of it, but she's positive this is a lot more interesting than the dumb toy, so she draws her knees up and crosses her arms over them, gaze mostly on the weird guy, but also breaking long enough to make note of the quick getaways in progress - and the woman Colin seems to be talking to now.

For her part, Celestina moves rather rapidly up towards the edge of the circle circumscribed by her bowls…the one that Colin almost stumbled into. It puts her in a good place to see the mask suddenly go flying through the air, and she looks a mixture of curious and suspicious. "I…what in the world?"

The man in the overcoat lets out a shriek as the jade mask is ripped away from him, and lets out an inhuman shriek, like that of a howler monkey. He starts bounding forward, toward Celestina and Colin - not quite on all fores, but using his meaty fists to sort of galloping himself toward the pair at a rapid pace. Not unlike a monkey.

This may make sense, if one were to note that the mask is that of Sun Wukong, aka The Monkey King.

Gwen, hearing the shriek, turns and cocks her head at the rapid pace approach of the monkey demon eager to see the precious artifact returned. "Hunh." she comments thoughtfully.

Oh crap! Colin lets out his own shriek! Seeing unnatural all-fours galloping humanoids bounding across the grass toward you is enough to send lots of people into fits. He's no exception. Frantically he scrabbles backward crab-style in a much less than adequate speed to get away.

"What the…?" Moxie mutters as the altercation starts, but at the sight of the monkey-man, she lets out a yelp and tries to scramble back herself, even if it's nowhere actually near her, more of a reflex of surprise than trying to flee out of fear. Of course, it's hard to scramble when you're sitting on steps. She manages to get halfway to her feet before her overly large heel catches on the edge of the cement and she falls back to her behind, banging her elbow on the hard corner. Right on the funny bone too, which incites a string of vocal cursing, nursing her elbow even as she continues to watch with widened eyes.

Oh, GREAT. First, her spell's all but wasted now. And now, demons, on top of everything else. Doesn't this ever get any easier? And there seem to be a dire lack of young and vaguely clueless demon hunters about. The one she thought might be is crab-scrambling away. She extends a hand towards her bag of implements, and a long dagger leaps out from it into her outstretched hand, as she turns to face the oncoming demon. "In lux lucis of luna, dea hecate, contego mihi," she speaks, as a soft silvery shimmer seems to surround her.

The demon skids to a stop upon sighting the shimmering light and the big dagger. "I spent a great deal of money to get that very precious family heirloom back into my family!" declares the monkey demon in a surprisingly eloquent, upper crust British accent. "Now see here, young man, you give that right back! And you, witch - you stay away, there's a good girl."

Gwen continues to watch, folding her arms in front of her chest. "Man," she muses, "I wish I brought popcorn."

Colin seems prepared to shriek again, but stops. "Wait…who're you, sir?" he asks, clearly addressing said demon. While prone on his butt on the grass. It almost occurs to him to ask the kind lady apparently working MAGIC in front of him who she is too, but one thing at a time here.

"What. The hell. Is going. ON?" Moxie asks, finally pulling herself to her feet properly, with the help of the planter she was previously looking for a backrest. Her question is loud enough to be heard by anyone nearby, but she isn't really expecting an answer. She slowly descends the steps and begins to skirt sideways along, keeping her gaze on the action for the most part. But spotting Gwen standing by, and figuring she must have some sort of idea what's going on, she calls out to her, "Are we, like, in danger here or something?" Maybe they're filming a movie? With hidden cameras? It could happen.

Celestina still has one hand free, and she extends it towards the mask lying on the grass, which obligingly jumps up into her hand. "Okay…everyone calm down." Looks like she gets to be mediator. "Why don't both of you tell me what's going on here, from your perspective. Calmly." She looks to Gwen and Moxie both. Oh, hell. This is so not the place she wants to do this. She lowers the knife somewhat, so that it's still in hand but not obviously in "imma cut you" stance, and tries to look as nonchalant as one can in such a situation.

"Negotiations." says Gwen cheerfully. "Ought to be interesting." She doesn't answer as to whether the situation's dangerous.

"I am Chen Po Chang Cottingsworth Esquire of the Furtip Tail Clan." the monkey demon says with dignity, "And you're holding my family's ceremonial ancestry festival mask. Kindly return it to me, as I've rightfully stolen it back."

Since the atmosphere's changed significantly, Colin gets to his feet and removes the goggles and hat from his face. "Oh! A pleasure to meet you, sir. I am Colin Caird, great nephew of William Caird, whose mask that…was, I suppose. I had no idea it was a family heirloom of yours." Colin waves to Moxie and assures her in his characteristically Scottish tone, "It's all right! No need to panic!" and then explains for the witch lady's benefit, "That lass over there," he points to where he thinks Gwen went, "stole into my house just last night and took that mask." he points to the grass where the mask lays. "Now THIS gentleman," indicates the demon, "claims it's his family heirloom. Entirely possible, I'm afraid. I've no idea how it came to be in my house prior to my great uncle's death…"

Moxie doesn't look any less confused at Gwen's helpful narration of the situation, but seeing as the older girl isn't making a break for it or anything, Moxie (wisely or otherwise) surmises it must be safe enough over here on the sidelines, and just turns back to watch, her brow furrowed slightly as she still continues trying to put this together. She returns Colin's wave with a sarcastic one of her own, muttering defensively under her breath, "Who's panicking?"

Celestina looks down to the mask, then up to the both of them. She lets her magic slip away from her, the silver shimmer fading now that it looks like there's not going to be a fight. "All right. The middle of the park is probably not the best place to have this discussion. But, it looks like you two are discussing it equitably." Which means she doesn't need to be involved. She crouches a moment, and sets the mask on the grass. "I'll leave you two to work it out." Neither of them looks like they're going to cause harm to the populace at large.

Gwen beams, and pats her boob. "All's well that ends well." she declares, turning to stride away.

"Indeed." the monkey demon says stiffly, crouching and allowing his tail to sneak out past his jacket to wrap itself around the mask and draw it to his side. One monkey-ish paw curls fingers around it gently, and he starts to tuck it into his jacket.

Colin makes no effort to stop the demon from taking the mask at that point. But he offers a smile to Celestina, "Thank you, madam. You're quite correct. I'm very sorry to have interrupted your…experiments." He waves a hand at what the witch has set out around her. "As for you, sir," to the demon, "take the mask with my apologies. If you'd only asked I would've gladly given it to you." After all, the tail is kind of proof. Then he points at Gwen. "That one, I need a word with. You!" He looks at Moxie, "Are you her accomplice?"

Moxie glances over with a quick double-take as Gwen makes to take off, but when Colin addresses her, she turns quickly back, eyebrow going up. "Accomplice my ass. I'm just standing here!" she protests, spreading her hands before her as if to show how she's not armed or carrying, well, whatever an accomplice might carry. Really, it's bad enough being accused of something you did do, but when you're innocent… Thankfully, she's still a little distracted by trying to make sense of this whole thing to get too worked up about it. Yet, anyway.

The witch in question moves over to start packing her things back into the bag. The mask matter seems to be worked out, and she's shown off too much to too many tonight. It concerns her. Things are stuffed rapidly inside the bag. While others are involved with mask matters, she plans to make her departure.

The monkey demon makes his way quickly, and as for Gwen? Well, she keeps right on trucking. Colin's going to have to opt for a brisk jog if he's going to catch up with her, unless he has tricks up his sleeve.

Nope. No tricks. Colin bids a hurried, "Good evening to you. Sorry again!" to Celestina as he runs past her and huffs after Gwen. "Stop! It's important, dammit!" Not that he's a very effective runner, mind. We're not exactly talking about an athlete here. An accusing glance is shot toward Moxie. She probably IS involved in this, to his mind.

The accusing glance is returned with a challenging one from the teen, eyes widened, head jerking to one side as if to demand what Colin plans on doing about it anyway. Moxie then rolls her eyes for good measure, jamming her hands in her pockets as she starts heading back towards the stairs to gather up the remnants of that silly toy - though she doesn't take her eyes off of those still assembled and those making speedy getaways for very long. "Seriously, what the hell is going /on/?" she grumbles aloud.

Welcome to LA, Moxie! In the meantime, Gwen's had enough. Clearly, the annoying dude is not going to go away, so she stops and turns around. "What?" she asks exasperated. "Look, Goggles, it wasn't personal, okay? You can try turning me over to the cops, but trust me, it's a waste of your time."

Pulling up with his wind half-gone, Colin huffs and takes a moment to catch his breath. "I don't…I don't care…about that. You did so much…damage. I have to know how. You realize you overloaded a nuclear reactor? Last night? We almost woke up glowing this morning! Where did that power come from?" Oh yeah. This is gonna be a long story.

Moxie picks up the metal bit from where she'd dropped it, and she's in the process of following the path where she thinks the disk part might have rolled, when she spots that abandoned backpack of Colin's. Her eyebrows go up, and she casts a quick glance over her shoulder to see if the gentleman is watching. Since he seems to be occupied and far enough away, she picks it up and slings it over one shoulder, looking for all the world like it belongs to her. She doesn't stick around to say goodbye, tossing the toy to the ground and turning to head out in another direction.

Gwen gives Colin a sunny smile. "It's a gift." she says, and resumes walking.

"Oh, a gift is it?" Colin pulls his goggles down over his eyes and proceeds to watch Gwen walk away. And scan, as he starts playing with the myriad tiny buttons and dials on the sides of them. They're not even close to being normal goggles. Hopefully he can stand still and hopefully get enough to work with before she's out of eyesight. And no. His attention doesn't even begin to catch what Moxie is doing.

"Yep. Listen, Goggles - you gonna follow me home? Because my complex has this thing about pets, even if you are kind of cute in a nerdy way." Gwen says patiently.

"I've got a fine home, thank you very much. You've been there. Aaaaaand….I'm done." Colin powers down the goggles and takes them off, grinning impishly. Like he just got away with something. Then he turns to walk away the other direction, whistling a tune to himself.

Gwen shakes her head. "Wierd guy." she murmurs, and walks off.

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