The Entertainer

Admittedly, it wasn't his favorite kind of assignment. 

Keeping to his name sake always turned out to be the least enjoyable part of his job, but the most demanded. Sneak into this, hide in there, obtain information on this that or the other. It was near maddening how tedious things could get. Even worse, he had no way to refuse. 

His official specialty was investigation of known unknowns. In other words, look into the weird stuff in the city. For Agent Lowkey, this was entirely subjective, but he had a good idea what his bosses meant most of the time. Which is why he was skeptical on his current mark. 

Supposedly a do-gooder around had peaked their interest. He was to dig up what he could on her, possibly even track her down, and report back. But oh how boring that sounded. He'd rather just fast forward to the inevitable. So after a little investigation, he got a good idea of where some of her patrol spots were. Loosely anyways. 

"Question is, how do I explain myself if a totally random vigilante shows up?" Lowkey mused as he set off yet another burglary alarm on the block. "Suppose that'd be awkward, wouldn't it? 'Sorry, I'm actually looking for another hero, can you please leave'." 

The plan was to draw her out, then observe a little. No muss, no fuss. But that darned curiosity of his, it tended to goad him into more social interactions. 

    • Harmonizer

      Speak of the devil... 

      There was a polite little tap tap on his shoulder, the heroine panting quietly behind him, hands on her knees, as if she'd just ran from the other side of the city and crept up to him in her usual silent, almost invisible style. 

      And, in truth, she had. At first, she figured Darkwing or Quiverwing could take care of the burglary but she slowly realised that wouldn't be the case when more and more alarms were set off. What was going on? Were a bunch of robbers having a party in that area? Were the two heroes away somewhere sulking?? 

      And why tonight of all nights when she decided to pick a new patrol spot five miles away? 

      "Please put back whatever you took. Let's not resort to violence," she said when she got her breath back. "Zat goes for..." 

      It started to register that he was the only person in the area. And he didn't seem to be carrying anything. 

      "Ees zis some sort of prank?" 

      • Reynard Lowkey
        Reynard Lowkey

        Completely caught off guard, Lowkey leaped back in a startle when her hand tapped his shoulder. "Gyah!" He cried. Or more like a 'gargh'. It sounded very guttural, very surprised and definitely undignified either way.

        "Is that what it's like, sneaking up on people? I have some apologies to any case, hello! No pranks here! None, I put together anyways." Looking around, there could be a few traps and tricks hidden. That required further investigation. But for now, his current focus. 

        Quick to recover, he offered a friendly handshake right away, oblivious to how suspicious it may seem. "It's a pleasure to meet ya! And such a coincidence that you showed up like this, I was hoping to make your acquaintance." 


        • Harmonizer

          Harmonizer frowned down at his hand, definitely a little suspicious. 

          "Wait, you mean you wanted to see me?" she asked incredulously, not accepting his handshake. "You must 'ave ze wrong person. Also, zat was very wrong of you! You can't go setting burglar alarms off een ze middle of ze night just to see someone! What eef you ran eento police? Would be 'ard to explain, no?" 

          • Reynard Lowkey
            Reynard Lowkey

            The hand didn't waver, it remained outstretched as the agent continued to talk. 

            "No!" Unbothered, he continued to smile. "I've had many run ins with the police before, so I've gotten kinda good at explaining myself. It usually follows a pretty standard format. Step one, they arrive. Step two, I leave. Easy, right?"

            With his free hand, he waved off the topic to get back on track.

            "But enough about me, tell me about you. Whatcha been up to these days? Heard you had a few unpleasant run ins. Oh wait, I'm sorry, my manners are atrocious! I haven't even told you who I am."

            He cleared his throat, though that hand was still out there. 

            "I am Agent Lowkey. Again, pleased to meet you." 

            • Harmonizer

              Part of her was wondering how he held that hand out for so long. Wasn't he tired? Granted, she could do that too with a weight tied to her hand, but it was just for training and endurance purposes! 

              Fortunately for Lowkey, the rest of her was listening to him. She frowned at him slightly when he mentioned the bout of bad luck she had, and muttered something in French under her breath. 

              It was almost automatic, how she greeted people. She took his hand, but she didn't shake. She turned his hand so the back was showing upwards, then stepped back to bow. Well, if he was being polite, so could she. 

              "I'm Harmonizer, rogue hero." Usually she'd address herself as 'travelling' rogue hero, but that travelling thing was... put on hiatus. 

              She looked up at him curiously. "Agent? Agent of what? Education? Movies? Eensurance? Because I keep telling zese guys I don't need eensurance and eef they sent one more guy..." 

              • Reynard Lowkey
                Reynard Lowkey

                He didn't answer right away, instead looking over the hand that had been adjusted for a greeting he'd never been subjected to. It was as if it were some new foreign object the way he turned it over and around and stared. Finally, his attention was again on the hero before him. 

                "No no, no insurance. I'm an agent of many things. But to save time I'll give you the one that writes my paycheck. Ever hear of the Fiendish Organization for World Larceny? I should hope so, they're kind of a big deal."

                That grin of his returned again, to an effect he assumed would gloss over any negative response to him flat out admitting he was a career criminal. 

                • Harmonizer

                  Harmonizer smiled in relief. "Oh, zat's good. For a moment there I thought you said-" and then realisation hit her. "What?" 

                  She had no idea how to react to this information. No one had ever straight up admitted that they worked for Fiendish Orga- wait what does SHUSH stand for then? 

                  "What are you doing 'ere then... Agent Lowkey?" she asked slowly, looking him up and down. She was pretty sure he wasn't a threat. Maybe a little odd? But she wouldn't judge. Though now that her senses were actually focused on him, something didn't feel right. He didn't feel... alive. 

                  She'd think about that later. Ooh, maybe she could ask him!

                  "Do you need my 'elp getting you out of zat organisation? Are you warning me about something? Ees zis a recruitment? Because I'm not eenterested. Or... did you just want to 'ang out?" 

                  She wasn't entirely opposed to that. 

                  • Reynard Lowkey
                    Reynard Lowkey

                    "No, not at all, absolutely not, aaaand maybe?" He couldn't see himself object to hanging out. In fact he was downright tempted to blow off this whole assignment just for that. But coming home empty handed on the one thing he's supposed to be half decent at sent an unpleasant shiver of responsibility down to his core. That and impending termination. 

                    "We'll see how this whole thing plays out, I am here for what I can only describe as an interview. Satisfy the curiosity of the big bosses, if you catch my drift." 

                    He hoped not, at least for a little while longer. Reports had said very promising things about her suggestibility. 

                    "See, we try to keep a little record on potential...persons of interests. And unfortunately, there's this huge blank spot for you. I mean, it's fine usually, not like we're spying or anything. Just, you know. Little things to put us at ease."

                    "For example, an unexplained event over with our friends at S.H.U.S.H.. Some nasty results I heard. So far no ones been able to turn up much of anything. Heard they racked up some big hospital bills that day."

                    He was careful not to ask any actual questions at first, to see if she would rise to the bait. 

                    • Harmonizer

                      Harmonizer was about to suggest going to Hamburger Hippo for a burger and a milkshake when Lowkey told her what he was actually looking for. 

                      Her eyes narrowed. Was that a hint of fear? 

                      "There... there was a lab accident, zat's all. Now, eef zat's all you wanted to learn from me, goodbye." 

                      She turned to disappear into the shadows. 

                      • Reynard Lowkey
                        Reynard Lowkey

                        The immediate down side of being a caped crusader reared its ugly head when the sly interrogator grabbed hold of hers before she could slip away. He'd comment on the rude gesture later.

                        "Woah-hoh-hohhh there, why the rush?" He didn't tug at the fabric, but showed no signs of letting go any time soon.

                        "So you do know a little something on the matter? That's useful. So, are you on their payroll as well? How does that even work? You'd think they'd be all against vigilantism."

                        His rambling came to an abrupt stop, a lengthy pause left in its place. Just to let the words soak in a bit before he spoke again.

                        "I mean, you do work for them, right? Or with them, at least?" 

                        • Harmonizer

                          Harmonizer jerked to a stop and clenched her fists, refusing to turn back either. Unstoppable force, meet immovable object. 

                          Then there was a soft click and she started moving again. Lowkey would be left holding a waist length, brown cape with a pastel green clasp. An emergency release button. 

                          Did... did she just remove her cape? What kind of superhero was she?? 

                          "You must be getting your facts muddled. SHUSH ees ze good organisation, and yours ees ze mean one who hates super'eroes. And now, goodbye." 

                          • Reynard Lowkey
                            Reynard Lowkey

                            "Smart." Really, he was impressed. A quick release cape? Innovative. 

                            He'd let the cape fall to the ground, no souvenirs tonight. 

                            "I don't hate superheroes. Big fan, actually." He gave her a sympathetic look, truly hoping to connect here. But who was he kidding? 

                            "You're methods could use some work, but hey, I'm in no position to judge, right? Big ol' mean F.O.W.L. agent and all, hahaha!" 

                            Speaking of. 

                            "So call it curiosity when I hear one of the cities protectors happens to get dangerously close to doing some real good around here, but then loses her nerve! It's sad. What did you do? And why stop?"


                            • Harmonizer

                               Harmonizer sighed quietly and rounded back to get her cape. She neatly folded it, then placed it in her pocket. 

                              "I don't know what you're talking about," she said quietly. "Look, all I did was get eento a bad situation, and found out I was wrong about several things, zat's all. There's nothing eenteresting about me." 

                              Inwardly, she was starting to panic. How much did they know?? If they were already suspecting something going on at SHUSH and managed to connect it to her... what about when she wiped out the front line of the military many months ago? Did they know about that one too? 

                              She never meant to do that. She just... lost control. And Negaduck had used Reggie against her. She was just supposed to get something and get out, but she just drew too much attention. 

                              Would it haunt her forever? 

                              Keep it cool... keep it cool... 

                              • Reynard Lowkey
                                Reynard Lowkey

                                "Au contraire, my friend. That's Spanish for 'you have yet to grasp the truth'" 

                                And before she could correct him on his blatantly incorrect translation, he continued. "There's so many things interesting about you. What I'm here to figure out is why you don't show it off more often." 

                                He honestly could begin to understand the inner turmoil she was suffering, if he could even pick it up to begin with. From her behavior, it was like she was ashamed of something, not just hiding information from a potential enemy. 

                                "Maybe you need a little incentive? I didn't have anything planned tonight, but I can certainly do more than make some alarms go off. C'mon, stop this ne'er-do-well from doing harm to some innocents!" 

                                He gleefully requested being hit with whatever hospitalized trained government personnel. In case his sensibility was still questionable.  

                                • Harmonizer

                                  Harmonizer lifted a brow at his bad translation, but otherwise said nothing. She just looked increasingly uncomfortable as he talked about her. How much did he know, exactly...? She was afraid to ask just in case he didn't know, and dig herself a deeper hole. 

                                  Was he like a hard drive or something? Did FOWL store information inside him? But was he also sentient? He looked nice enough to be. And sort of silly too. If only he didn't work for FOWL... 

                                  Instead of punching him, she just tapped him on the head curiously. "Are you malfunctioning or are you just programmed zat way?" 

                                  • Reynard Lowkey
                                    Reynard Lowkey

                                    All the build he had been preparing completely deflated at her seemingly random question. Those words used for machines, he recognized that. And up until now, she was hardly showing much of a sense of humor. And tapping his head? Is this what she did with S.H.U.S.H.? 

                                    He swiped away her hand, just in case. "What on Earth could you be going on about?" 

                                    Suffice to say, this was no longer showing promise. Though the possibility that she was trying to deflect his questions was still there. He'd played the fool plenty of times that way. 

                                    "Listen, you don't just dive right into the nonsense talk, you've got to ease into it or find that perfect window to jump through. Other wise, you just look like silly." 

                                    • Harmonizer

                                      Harmonizer frowned and moved her hands to her hip. "You look like silly too. Can you even 'ear your voice? Are you an automaton? Or a cyborg? Are you alive?" 

                                      Sure... to normal ears, he probably sounded normal. But she could pick up on the hollow, robotic tone in his voice. 

                                      Being used to her own powerful hearing, she didn't realise what she'd just given away. 

                                      • Reynard Lowkey
                                        Reynard Lowkey

                                        He opened his mouth to argue, but when the words sunk in, he went quiet and still. Then he laughed. And laughed. She wanted hear hollow, well here it was. Full force. 

                                        He couldn't help it, really. Here he was, thinking he was in total control, absolutely perfectly hidden. But she's already deduced so much in so short a time. How could he not laugh at his situation. 

                                        "Oh my, oh my. Haha, sorry. You're just the first in a very long time to get that close." He had to catch his breath there.

                                        "I'm genuine. Living and loving. Or close to it. Not too sure myself some days. Is my voice really that much of a give away. What else can you hear from me. You must have pretty good ears there. Part rabbit?" 

                                        His curiosity was abound. Maybe, just maybe, she could be another helping hand for him. 

                                        • Harmonizer

                                          Harmonizer froze. The first in... uh oh. "Uh... y-yeah, I guess. Part rabbit. Heh. Zat's me!" 

                                          Maybe if she got him to talk about himself more... 

                                          "So you mean you're part robot? Can you shoot with your arms? Do you fly with rocket boots or extended metal wings? Can you change to night vision? Can you do X-rays?" 

                                          At that last sentence she looked at him warily. Then scowled. "What are you looking at right now?" 

                                          • Reynard Lowkey
                                            Reynard Lowkey

                                            He snorted at her accusations. Really? I'm a robot now? That's a new one. 

                                            "Nothing mechanical about me here. So no rockets or super vision of any kind. You can relax." Or don't. It made no difference to him. Opportunity had come. 

                                            "Still, I'm surprised. You're more...interesting than I could have ever guess! I shouldn't do this buuuuuut...I think I'm going to let this one go. Yep, forget the bosses. I like this new secret I've found." 

                                            It was a golden opportunity. She may not realize it yet, but there were important implications to her ability. If, in any small way, she could tell that much from him based on a basic sense alone, well, who's to say more couldn't be done?

                                            "But we clearly need to work on your interpretations. A robot really? Then again, I guess I am far enough away that it sounds empty, instead of off in the distance. Suppose if we got closer to it, I might become a booming sound? Now that wouldn't be very pleasant for you, would it?"

                                            Far from what? What is it? What is he talking about? Just the mad rambling of a possible robot. 

                                            "But that's all for later speculation. Point is, you're secret is safe. For now." 


                                            • Harmonizer

                                              Harmonizer looked startled. "Really? But what about you? What would they do to you?" 

                                              Wow. Getting concerned about someone who was possibly not alive. That's a new level. 

                                              She moved closer and held her finger close to his eye as if she wanted to poke it. Were those bright blue irises cameras? "What do you mean? Are you controlled by a mad scientist several miles away een 'is evil lair?" 

                                              She frowned and folded her arms, not feeling safe at all. "For now? Ees zis going to become blackmail one day? What do you want from me?" 

                                              • Reynard Lowkey
                                                Reynard Lowkey

                                                The answer seemed simple, but he's gotten so used to explaining obvious and trivial things that by now all he could do was shrug. 

                                                "Tell me what you hear." Or don't hear. What's absent, what's odd, what's normal. This is new territory. Who would have thought to use sound to uncover his little secret? And while he had long ago accepted what he is (whatever that is) new information could only help further his personal plans. 

                                                "You've got no idea the sheer amount of tests I've had to go through for 'inconclusive results'. Those precious few experiments that did give us anything weren't pleasant either. But tonight you've given me a golden opportunity. So I want you to listen."

                                                For what, he had no clue. Or maybe just no intention of saying. 

                                                "As for the whole blackmail thing, eh, not my thing. I'm just giving fair warning, I'm only one duck. Eventually someone else will start digging. In fact, our meeting here can serve as a heads up. So, you know, watch out for F.O.W.L.!" 

                                                As if she needed a warning. 

                                                • Harmonizer

                                                  Harmonizer only pouted. "Yeah... I do een fact know about people watching me..." then she sighed. "I guess I can 'elp you. You don't 'ave to stay silent or still or anything. Een fact, move around and talk eef you can. You wanna go Hamburger Hippo?" 

                                                  She described what she'd observed about him at first. His voice and how it seemed to echo, and that it sounded hollow. Then she assured him most normal humans wouldn't be able to tell, and, since he'd gotten away for so long... 

                                                  Then she tried to focus on him a little bit more. Did his movements sound metallic? Could she hear machines running inside him? Or was it all... chips? Also was he actually breathing? 

                                                  • Reynard Lowkey
                                                    Reynard Lowkey

                                                    "Yes please! And for future reference, if there's one thing I can do, it's talk. And move. I can do both actually." 

                                                    And so he did. Wildly unnecessary and energetic movements accompanied his jabbering. Jumping in place, running circles around Harmonizer. Anything to keep from staying still while he spoke. The mad dance would continue until they made way for the most popular fast food chain in all the city. 

                                                    He was organic, for sure. But still off. It wasn't anything he could describe, adequately. A lack of scientific jargon and no point of view for what 'normal' was. But an echo. That was the first clue to something. His real self, where ever it was, it must be interacting with him still. If his voice was even the slightest bit off to the sound based hero, then he was willing to bet there was more to be discovered. 

                                                    "I'm not too keen on the idea of being 'empty', if I'm being perfectly honest. Like I said, I think I'm just very far away from you. This is just the first time someone hasn't just used their eyes on me." 

                                                    • Harmonizer

                                                      Harmonizer giggled a little. "Can you sing too? And dance?" 

                                                      She didn't mind him acting like that around her. In fact, it gave her a reason to laugh. Laughing always made things feel better. 

                                                      "No one wants to be empty," she shrugged. "I'm sorry you were made zat way." 

                                                      "You seem fine so far," she told him as they reached the familiar purple hippo-shaped building. "Your movements are pretty fluid and you don't seem very odd. I mean... een a good way. Maybe breathe a little more? And, uh... not be so far away?" Whatever that meant. 

                                                      She still didn't understand who he was, but she was certain she'd figure it out sooner or later. 

                                                      She took a seat and glanced at the menu thoughtfully. Aww, no specials today?