|Death Gods in the Park|
|What: Balor is supposed to be hunting ghosts, but ends up tormenting mortals instead.|
Evening in Central Park, after the day's business has generally come to a close and people have gone to spend a little time in the peace and quiet or otherwise relax and enjoy themselves for a bit. Except for one suited man, who is several blocks away from Central Park asking passersby about a young red-haired boy with an eyepatch, and quite obviously in fear for his job after he lost track of the "young master". Said "young master" is /in/ Central Park, currently seated on a low-hanging thick branch of a tree, playing a video game and looking to be in a foul mood despite it. Every so often, a random passerby will try to make a joke about the sight, or worse, warn him that it's a dangerous place to be or that he's too old to be climbing trees, and they'll be silenced by a withering glare, slinking away while Balor goes back to his entertainment.
It's a pity that Balor's keeper was just a block over from where Justin Hammer entered the park, otherwise he could have been warned of the youth's presence and avoided him. As luck would have it, though, the CEO is on the path directly toward the treed death god. He's wandering the park, hands in his pants pockets, trying to unwind and take a break from the hectic day he had. Hammer's still in a suit despite having been off work for some time, and is glancing around in his usual paranoid fashion. He doesn't look up, however, keeping a look out for more eye-level threats.
Still silently fuming as he plays his game, Balor finally finishes up the level he's on, and unceremoniously shuts the game down. "Borin'..." he mutters to himself...and then his eye falls on new entertainment. "Huh...that'll do," he says, quietly, and waits until Hammer's passed, hopping down from the tree branch and trying to sneak up on the man from behind, ending in, childishly enough, a "Boo!"
The kid likely gets the exact reaction that he was hoping for. Hammer jumps and wheels, facing the source of the noise directly behind him. Recognition dawns quickly, as Balor is a pretty unique figure. "Ah, jeeze, Balor, you scared the heck outta me," he says, scowling at the kid as he straightens up and does his best to look like he didn't just jump. "Ya know you shouldn't do things like that, I mean, you never know who might be carrying a gun or something." Justin is carrying, he usually is, but luckily he's not /that/ jumpy. Yet.
Balor laughs, grinning rather viciously. "Ah, let somebody try drawin' on me. I'll break their ****in' arm before they get a shot off." A wider grin. "Or maybe I'd let 'em get a shot off...see how much good it does 'em, sure." He pokes at Justin's chest with one finger. "Y'really gonna lecture a god on what he should and shouldn' do, Hammer? Seems like a bad idea t'me. Maybe you've been hangin' around that Thor too much...thinkin' we've gone soft, you are."
Hammer was already frowning from his initial run-in with the kid, but the poke in the chest cause him to set his jaw. "No, I don't think you've all gone soft," he snaps back, "But that doesn't mean you can't have at least a shred of common decency." Like Thor, but that, thankfully goes unsaid. Otherwise this might escalate more than it already has. "Besides, what's a /god/ doing wandering around Central Park picking on mortals anyway? Seems beneath you, to me."
Balor hmphs. "Entertainin' myself," he mutters. "Ain't been any spirits around to hunt, but says Aiden, 'No, no, y'can't stay home and be in that tournament you've been talkin' about for four /weeks/ 'cause I've got in on good authority there's a ****in' ghost'--the '****in bein' artistic license, y'understan'--'a ****in' ghost appearin' in the city sometime today an' you've got to go searchin' for it, an' don't come home until you're done.'" He frowns, crossing his arms. "Himself sends me out ghost huntin'. At noon. Y'know how many ghosts get out an' about at noon? I coulda been at home, trash-talkin' and beatin' the livin' daylights outta everyone in the **** league, but he sends me out here." He hmphs. "So I'm after dumpin' my idiot watcher three blocks over, an' comin' here to get in some gamin'. But makin' you jump, that seemed like more fun."
One brow goes up on Hammer's face as he crosses his arms over his chest and listens to the kid's explanation. Knowing that the kid would rather be playing video games than doing god stuff really clashes with the frightening image that Balor put on when he vanquished the spirit at HI. "So... You're pissed off because you had to work instead of playing games? Welcome to my world, kid." Sure, not the best choice of responses, but he's got a short temper and Balor is pushing his buttons. It's been a long day, and dealing with a death deity wasn't on his list of things to do to unwind.
"Your world /sucks/," Balor notes, smirking a bit. "I don' even mind the fightin' spirits part--some o'those are tough enough to be some fun. But searchin' for 'em, ah, that takes so much ****in' time! I'd just go back home but I bet Aiden's hidden my system somewhere until I get the job done." A little sigh. "...an' I guess people might die if I did. Which would be bad, I guess. So I'll get to it eventually. I'm just makin' my watcher an' Aiden stew a bit first." He looks up at Hammer. "Hey. You're a tech genius or somethin', right? Y'oughta build some kinda ghost radar or ghost attractor or somethin'. Then we can suck all the ghosts that appear to your plant and I won't have to hunt for 'em."
Justin starts to say something, then stops himself with some effort. Balor just earned himself a few points with the 'tech genius' comment, though he does his best not to let that show. Plus, Balor still has a lot of points to earn back to break even. "Yeah, yeah I am," Hammer replies, his tone less hostile. "Ghost radar, huh? You know any of the scientific properties behind ghosts? Like, what kind of energy signatures they would give off or anything?" In fact, he may just have the tool that could do it, if it could be properly calibrated. "And what would it be worth to ya."
Balor laughs a little. "I look like I give a **** about science t'you? They make my eye throb, an' then I eat them. That's what I know," he says, tapping his eyepatch. "Besides, you mortals have people that study that sort of thing. Y'can figure out which o'them ain' frauds, and work with them." He grins. "What would it be worth...how about this. Next time there's a ghostie messin' up your plant, I'll promise not to break any security guards, office staff, or doors unless it's /actually/ necessary." He sighs. "I'da just said 'I won't /kill/ you,' but then Aiden'd take away my systems for at /least/ a couple days."
Hammer scowls again. "That's a great sentiment, but that doesn't pay for the research, materials, all that sort of thing. And I gotta make my money back, ya know? I mean, I wouldn't be in business if I did everything for charity." There really is a chance he could do this, he has a resource he can possibly tap for this and some tech that could potentially work with some modification. But be damned if he's going to just hand it to Balor without getting something out of it.
Balor narrows his eye. "I'm pretty sure you mortals have some stories 'bout how bad an idea it is t'bargain with death. Do it if y'do it, Hammer. Don't if y'don't. But don't waste my time hagglin' over a price. I don't negotiate, an' there's /far/ more important things for me t'spend money on. Y'know just how /many/ Triple-A games the industry puts out? An' then you get all the good indie titles, too...****, I could drive Aiden broke on all the games I'm aimin' for alone, no lie." He smirks. "If Hammer Industries put out that many /good/ products y'might not be stressin' out about money all the time."
"I'm not stressing about money," Justin snaps back, trying not to sound defensive which is exactly how it sounds. "And if you don't want it, fine. Works for me. Less I gotta worry about, since I have /real/ contracts to worry about. Save your money, buy your games. And then don't have any time to play them. Enjoy living in that conundrum." Hammer slips his hands back in his pants pockets and turns to start heading down the path in the direction he was originally walking. The hook is baited, and if Balor takes it, great. If not, then at least the painful conversation is over.
Balor hmphs a little, saying...something in what was probably some form of ancient Gaelic. Whatever it was, it didn't sound very nice. A few moments later, he suddenly runs up at Justin's side, stamping his foot down at where, by no small amount of coincidence, Justin's foot happened to be a mere moment before. There's a disappointed-sounding 'hmph', and he smiles wolfishly. "Sorry, lad. Had a little ghost comin' up by you."
Hammer stops and looks at the diminutive god again, his expression unbelieving. "Did you seriously just try and stomp on my foot?" he asks, slightly dumbfounded. "I mean, really? That's an awful immature thing for a death god, ain't it? Surely you've got better things to do with all your bottled up otherworldly power than to mess with a lowly mortal? Like, finding your video game system that your keeper hid from you?"
Balor leans down, and either "picks up" something invisible or just mimes picking something up, holding the nothing up to Hammer. "I didn't. Promise. Ghost." He smirks a little. "Stompin' your foot would'a just been a bonus. Too bad." He frowns, looking at whatever it is he is or isn't holding. "Mm...not the right one, but I'll take it home anyway. That way I can claim I was workin' here." He grins a little, and steps back. "See you around, Hammer. Hey, be sure t'give me a buzz if one o'your ****-ups gets somebody killed. That kinda **** gets people haunted /big/ time." With that, he turns to walk the other way, whistling a little tune.
Justin snorts and watches the kid pick up whatever it is, if it's even there. He has his doubts of the legitimacy of the action. The parting words bring a deep scowl, and he watches the kid's retreating form as he walks away. After a few moments, the CEO starts on his way again. So much for getting the last good jab in.