We were still in Atlanta when the full moon hit. I’d already called Reindeer’s costume to me and contemplated taking a rest. I could have concentrated my consciousness to another body to monitor things or do other things, but I just didn’t feel like it. So I said goodbye to the crew, headed off on my own with Reindeer’s costume and gadgets, and waited for the full moon to catch my eye. As usual, my awareness ended before I realized it. Everything that follows is based on the cameras and other sensors on Reindeer’s costume.
She spent a little bit appreciating the night. The South is cooling down a little, and she seemed excited to look up at that big, yellow moon, then suited up to in her costume to go for a run. She was in the middle of Atlanta, though, so it wasn’t the sort of place used to seeing a critter with antlers gallop through. She moved like she was so naturally light, almost like flying. Before long, the needs of those poor, unfortunate souls called to her. A car crashed ahead of her at an intersection and Reindeer made right for it. The guy inside is going to be fine.
It was a quieter night. There were protests, but the cops were finally slacking off. Most of what she dealt with for about an hour was more mundane. She snatched someone up out of the road before they got hit by an inattentive driver. She found some blankets for a homeless guy and his pals who were sleeping under an overpass. She even helped find someone’s lost cat.
Then, shortly after handing it back over, a pale green star of light shimmered in the air down the road, then opened up to reveal a single headlight. The motorcycle that approached did so with the growl of a hungry beast, and the rider appeared to be holding a spear. I recognized the horn design on the helmet when Herne The Hunter got close, skidding to a stop. He didn’t even flip open the helmet to address me. “You’re outside your normal playground, Reindeer.”
“You got a problem with it, Herne?” Reindeer asked.
“I’m thinking I need a new trophy.. A special one, like antlers from a female reindeer that’s managed to keep them an entire year. Those would be special and rare. Know where I can find some like that?” the biker supervillain asked.
Reindeer gave him the “shove it” gesture. “That direction, keep going until you hit permafrost.”
“Funny. I bet my friend there thinks the same thing,” Herne said, pointing behind Reindeer. The other me turned to look behind her, then turned back toward a small bang that preceded her being wrapped in a weighted net. I’m not mad, Reindeer, I’m disappointed!
My heroic alter ego tried to toss it off but it caught in her horns. She tried to tear it open, but it was reinforced. She tried to jump over the spear when Herne rode at her on his bike, and she accomplished that one. The landing looked off a bit with the net caught all on her.
Herne skidded the bike to a stop and wheeled it around for another pass, taking the time to to move the netgun from the hand guiding the cycle to magnetically clip onto the bike’s body. Reindeer raised the arms of her costume and the sonic weapons, giving Herne a full blast. It knocked the hunter off, but Herne raised a hand as if to call for mercy. Instead, a pair of hounds made of light appeared and rushed toward Reindeer.
Reindeer jumped, using the assistance of the other sonic devices affixed to her legs, and landed on top of a nearby building. Figured she’d get the net off herself in peace, a notion that lasted only until the lighthounds started up the wall of the building after her. Reindeer took off, jumping from building to building, sometimes helping herself along with soundwaves. The hounds couldn’t keep up, or maybe they have some sort of range.
The net had gotten on her good, but it was still just a net. With a little bit of time to actually thing about it, she tossed it off and began contemplating her next move. I know because she narrated to me, “I haven’t heard from you, Gecko, so I guess you took the night off. I’d like to work with you, if you’re up to it. Trying to decide if I need to sneak around and get the drop on this guy, or leave him alone. I think he’s only here for me, so he probably won’t target anyone else. If he’s anything like you, he might get the idea to start hurting people until I turn around and show up. I think that means I have to go back. Good talk.”
She turned and headed back, circling around somewhat in case Herne was following straight behind her. She caught a glimpse of moving lights through some trees in the yards of a residential neighborhood and stopped to look around. After a couple of seconds, she dropped down to ground level and tried to stick to grass. She tried to stay close to a tree, but with the branches and then a swing, she had to take a bit of a detour around it. At least she had the advantage of sound to warn her if Herne was on his motorcycle. She turned the corner around the house and saw one of the lighthounds. The other didn’t seem to be there. She looked around, then saw the garbage and recycling bins.
She ran up on the hound. It detected her somehow, I don’t fucking know if those things can hear, and turned. It latched onto her arm while she swung the bin down behind it, lid open. It then lost its hold on her arm when she kicked it full-on in the chest into the bin and slammed the top closed. With a snort, she turned and swung the bin, smacking the second hound into the side of the house. “Sorry!” she called out, voices inside raising as people wondered at the ruckus.
Reindeer turned to glimpse a single headlight and hear an unusual roar and bolted. She stuck close to obstacles while she could; keeping trees in the way, staying on grass, leaping fences. Herne’s ride wasn’t a dirtbike, so it slowed him down a little to navigate these. He could head out onto the streets, but his hounds had been left behind and he must not have reloaded the net launcher. Surprisingly, Reindeer to the streets again briefly. She jumped, shooting up like a bullet over Herne’s tossed spear. She landed on a highway overpass and barely avoided getting squashed by a garbage truck.
Watching her running down the median of this highway made me tired afterward. The werereindeer has amazing stamina. Pretty good speed for someone on foot. But only she was on foot. It wasn’t ten minutes later a single headlight raced up the highway behind her, and the only obstacles Herne needed to avoid this time were cars going fifty miles an hour. Seemingly worse for Reindeer, she stopped and turned to face it, her breathing calming down.
Herne had his spear riding on his back, but his hands weren’t focused solely on driving. He did something, then reached back. He pulled out a pair of irregular rifles. Oh, wait, one of those is a grenade launcher. Reindeer spotted it first with her superior vision. That’s what gave her enough of a heads-up to jump the median when she saw something. Unfortunately, the cameras gave me an eye- and earful of a huge flashbang going off that probably did a lot more to her than it would a regular person. She stumbled around a bit, regaining her sense of direction within seconds and running out into the other half of the highway literally blind and deaf to the danger. Luckily, enough drivers had seen what had happened that people slowed down rather than risk hitting her. It sounded like some might have even been yelling at Herne, but I couldn’t get a good enough listen.
Something else lashed out at her from direction of Herne. A bola as near as I could make out, it wrapped around Reindeer’s legs. The hero faltered and tripped, but I think she’d had just about enough by then. This time, she tore through rope and cable like a male model through any shirt that might hide his abs. Herne launched another flashbang, but this time Reindeer got an assist from a semi. It slowed down and rolled right beside her, the driver popping his door open as he passed by. It hit and caught Reindeer at first before the effects of the second flashbang let her see someone has risked his livelihood to help her out. She climbed the open door to the top of the cab, calling down, “Sorry!” while stepping on the roof.
Herne jumped the concrete barriers of the median and started heading right for her, spear in hand this time. He came up next to a tow truck and struck, hitting something that forced the rear of the bed down to skid against the road. The truck and Herne both braked, Herne going up on his front wheel to slow down.
Reindeer started adjusting the output on her sonic gauntlets. Herne circled around, dodging a car that honked its way through the lane he’d been in, and gunned it as the truck neared the semi. Reindeer fired and cussed when she saw it wasn’t going to cut the motorcycle’s jump short. It knocked Herne off, though. Reindeer quickly lowered her arms and dug in, moving to the side as she grabbed the hand grips of the bike. She spun and jumped off the semi, whirling motorcycle in hand, bearing down on the villain who was still skidding on the road. Herne saw it and reached behind him for his spear, bending.
The spearhead punched through. Reindeer juked to avoid it. She also pulled hard on the bike, tearing off the seat and the whole steering column. Meanwhile, Herne tried pulling the spear back through but barbed edges of the head caught on the bike. Seeing an opening, Reindeer gripped the motorcycle and strained, tearing the remains in half. Herne caught her in the side of her chest with the spear, but she grabbed onto it and swung, tossing him and the weapon off the highway and down below.
The suit had a small first aid and trauma kit in the belt. Reindeer raised a thumb to hitch a ride and caught onto a truck that honked at her, swinging up onto the bed without it ever stopping. There, she tended her wounds, the hunter unable to follow if he was even willing at this point.
Two messages waited for me when I awoke back at the motel. One was from Reindeer reiterating that she wants me to transfer to something to help her out next time. The other was on VillaiNet’s forums and caught my attention because Herne was calling out Reindeer. “This isn’t over, Reindeer. In one month, it’s open season on you. I will have those antlers!!!!”
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