Everybody loves burgers. That much was true with Katorasu, evident by how he was standing in the drive-thru of a local burger joint that was in his patrol area. Yes, he was standing or walking whenever the car in front moved, and taking up a spot as if he were a car himself. This wasn’t at all normal, so you couldn’t blame the driver behind him honking their horn and occasionally yelling a swear or two at him. To the outside viewer, it would’ve been such a painfully awkward scene to watch an overly dressed hedgehog walk up to the brightly lit electronic menu with a built-in microphone and speaker, all prepared to order like he was inside of the building rather than in the drive-thru
The speaker crackled though nothing came from the other end, just a small humming sound signaling that it was on. There was someone on the other side though, they were just preoccupied with how there was now an odd Möbian standing in front of the menu in view of the camera that the employee watched all night.
“... sir…” a male voice spoke through the speaker, “... you’re only supposed to order using the drive-thru when in a vehicle.”
The black hedgehog seemed to be half-listening, as he continued looking at each of the high-calorie choices, “Yeah well, I don’t really have a car or anything like that.”
“You could just make your order from inside the building…” It sounded like the fast-food employee could not believe what he was dealing with.
“Yeah but don’t you guys have a camera in there? I like to not be seen, I don’t actually exist, technically,” responded Katorasu, now finding what he was going to order.
“Like that doesn’t sound weird at all…” The employee said quietly, “How do you think I’m able to see you? There’s a camera outside.”
“... so there is…” Kato responded, now noticing the small recording device at the top of the bright screens of food.
“... Sir, the fact that it sounds like you don’t want to be seen by cameras means that you are probably wanted for something.” The fast-food employee, after a minute of silence had passed along with another swear from the car behind Kato.
“I thought you were a burger flipper, not a detective; I’ll take four quarter-pounders please and thank you! And another thing, I’m wanted because I’m a hero, thank you very much!” He responded in an irritated manner.
The speaker crackled again, nothing was said as the employee couldn’t think of anything rational to respond with to an irrational sentence like that.
“... walk and just wait at the next window… weirdo…”
“Thank you!” The ebony and emerald hedgehog walked off triumphantly, having won a conversation that could be compared to an online argument in terms of sheer stupidity.
Doing as he was told, the eccentric hedgehog walked forward across the asphalt of the drive-thru as the car ahead of him had stopped behind another car at the aforementioned window. It wasn’t a secret that the black hedgehog was a strange being, with his careless attitude towards himself and the potential trouble he could get in with the danger of being caught, and his habit of showing off strange behavior. Such as planning to down a pound of greasy burgers down his throat, which would normally be overeating for a Möbian of his size and shape. Truth be told he didn’t need to eat anything, he had another source of nutrition to rely on. He didn’t enjoy it though, it was something he’d rather keep repressed from his memory. Eating actual food made him feel like he was normal, instead of a creature born from flames and of grace. A division of two souls in one body, two destinies like a fork in the road. A Nephalem. He would rather walk forward, on his beaten path no matter the consequences. That was one reason, the other was that he had spent the last three hours on rooftops listening to nothing but peace, with nothing stirring in the wind at all during that time. Spending thirty minutes stuffing his face would’ve been more exciting than spending another hour sitting on the edge of a rooftop.
It’s why last night was such a blessing to him. Going through many nights without any action was beginning to take its toll on him, he knew that it would be a while before he would see some more though. Maybe he picked the wrong city, to begin with, Station Square seemed so dull with peace in the first place. That thought crossed his mind before and it crossed his mind again now. He had admitted to himself before that to wish the city to have more of a crime problem was a bit selfish of him. It was great that crime was nonexistent, though maybe just a little bit more crime on the streets wouldn’t hurt too much. It would make Kato feel like he was truly doing something after all. Don’t get him wrong though, he didn’t moonlight as a vigilante for fame but rather for redemption. A redemption that he knew, or rather felt, was going to take him down a long lonesome road.
His thoughts were interrupted by the loud honk of a car, followed by another swear from the driver behind him.
“Jeez! Can’t a guy question his own existence without getting interrupted?” He looked back at the driver, motioning his arms up a bit. Only to get the finger in response. “Jerkbag…” Kato muttered beneath his breath, before realizing that up ahead there were no cars, at least not anymore.
The employee from earlier, assuming it was him judging by the voice, stuck his head out from the drive-thru window, “Are you going to pick these up?” He asked, raising his voice from where he was at, as he brought out the brown bag that contained Kato’s food. “I’d hate to let your ‘hero’ meal go to waste!”
“You’re lucky I’ll be giving you a big tip to not say anything about me!” Kato responded, walking quickly towards the window. Of course, it was awkward as the two made eye contact the whole way through.
When the nephalem made it to the window, the fast-food employee pulled back the bag for obvious reasons, “So, what was that about a ‘big tip’?” He asked.
“What a leech.” Kato shook his head as he pulled out his wallet, withdrawing a stack of cash that he then promptly held between his right hand’s middle and index fingers. “Buy yourself one of those new consoles, or a PC if you’re into that.”
The employee had grabbed the money from the odd hedgehog, after flipping through each bill he looked up with a bit of surprise on his face. Honestly, he wasn’t expecting to be seeing such a large bribe.
“Don’t worry about it being dirty money, I’m a saint at heart.” The hedgehog had quipped, before grabbing his bag full of food through the window. As he began to leave he turned back and reminded him, “Just don’t tell anyone about me, ok? Pretty sure they’ve got a description of me by now.” He then left through the exit of the drive-thru.
Opening up the bag, he hungrily grabbed a thick juicy burger and bit into the large delicacy. He accidentally bit off a very small portion of the wrapper that the burger came in with. The piece of paper blending in with the contents of the heavyweight burger. The rogue didn’t know what he was going to do after this, he could of course go up to another building and continue listening for any crime in the region. As he walked he thought about what if he was looking in the wrong district of the city, maybe there was another district that had more of a crime problem. Then again, Kato had been staking out the least nice-looking district for a while, it was his area of patrol. Yet even then it rarely had anything going on.
The hedgehog, after taking another hearty chomp of the burger, reached the end of the drive-thru. Up ahead were these outside tables, all equally spaced between each other, they were the kinds of tables that had umbrellas built into them. There was only one that was occupied, the other three were free for the taking. The nephalem, after passing two finely dressed men who were in the middle of a conversation, happily sat down to chow down some more. He was facing away from the two men, watching as a car would occasionally drive down the street, into the drive-thru, or the parking lot. The nephalem didn’t have much to think about, aside from what he was doing wrong and how he could be doing so much more, so it was hard to blame him for listening in on a conversation happening midway.
“... I know you ain’t a burger-kind of guy, but you gotta admit that this is pretty good.” One of them spoke, he had an odd Brooklyn accent, which sounded poor.
“Yeah, it’s pretty good, not as good as a good ole fashioned steak, but pretty good.” The other responded, he had a more naturally-sounding gruff voice.
“Yeah, yeah. So anyway, back to what I was saying. Everything should be set up by the end of the week, most likely Saturday night, the boss is thinkin’ about using a flower shop as our first front in this city, he’s also figuring out which cops to bribe and where, in that dumpster fire of a district, we can hold all our stash. It might get all get a little delayed though, like with everything else ever since those hits started happenin’ to our main operations in Emerald City.” In an instant, Kato’s interest had peaked.
“Right, I heard about those. Who's responsible for them?” The gruff male asked, taking a bite of his burger.
“Jeez, man. You gotta stop ditching our meetings.” The accented male responded, before continuing, “We don’t know who it is, even with the clearest picture we’ve got of her.” He shook his head, before taking a drink from his soda.
The nephalem looked down at his burger, he was actually on the second burger now and about a fourth-way done with it, “I should’ve gotten a drink… maybe some fries too.”
“‘Her’?” The gruff-voiced man asked.
“Yeah, ‘her’. This broad, a black hedgehog with red streaks, kinda like that Shadow fellow, has been single-handedly wiping out our fronts and deals. Interruptin’ business, ya know?” The accented one explained.
“All by herself?” He asked, wanting clarification.
The emerald-streaked hedgehog cursed a little to himself, “I really did pick the wrong city, huh?” He regretted it quietly, though he did keep in mind the description. Maybe the pair would get along, though she did sound serious from what he was hearing about her.
“Yeah, it’s crazy. Our guys would come in hospitalized with broken ribs, twisted limbs, concussions, all the works. Guns don’t scare her, hell I heard a story about how one of ours managed to get a hit on her and it only seemed to make her faster. Not even the scariest thing I’ve heard.” The other male explained, taking a long sip of his drink.
“You’re kidding me, that ain’t it?”
“Nah. In fact, and you didn’t hear this from me, they found one of the boss’ lieutenants outside of his nightclub in a dumpster. Both his legs were completely broken. Whoever that chick is, she’s fury wrapped up in one person.” He finished, both his explanation and the burger.
After a fair bit of seconds had passed, the gruff one asked, “Think she scares the boss?”
“Hey now, remember nothin’s *supposed* to scare the boss,” The accented male paused for a moment, “I’ll tell you this much though, she scares me.”
After another brief moment of silence, the gruff man spoke, “Thanks for showing me this place, also paying for the burgers too. Still though… drop the fake accent. It’s noticeable, plus you’re doing fine without it.”
“I’m getting better at it, trust me.” He responded, standing up from the table. The accented male now sounded less like he was from a mob-like organization.
“No, you’re not. Just be yourself.” He reassured his associate in his lack of talent in voice range, though didn’t mean any harm. After his friend had stood up, he followed suit and the pair were off after having finished their conversation and burger.
In just those few precious minutes, the nephalem’s mood had been elevated vastly compared to how he felt just movements prior. Sure, he may have picked out the wrong city to show his face in or lack thereof, but now he knew that some crime lord was starting to move the business to Station Square. He knew that it was going to be fun to give the newcomers a nice warm welcome to the city. Of course, he would have to wait till Saturday night. It was only Wednesday, meaning that the impatient hedgehog would just have to wait two days, give or take the daylight hours, before he could swing by and finally do what he’s been wanting to do since the beginning of all this: be a hero, even if no one would know his name.
Of course, he would have to patrol nightly, like usual, and be actively looking for any potential spots that would make for nice little hideouts. Even then, Katorasu finally had something to look forward to, the possibility of the start of redemption. He happily took the remaining number of burgers in his bag and proceeded to head to his apartment, ready to call it a night. Maybe he would give the rest to Jamie in the morning, that could only end well, right?