Parked in Recreation

"Aw, c'mon Diana!"




"Pretty please?"


"I'll be your best friend!"


"Triple decker pretty please with sugar on top?"


"Okay, how about that, but with whipped cream and sprinkles and one of those really sweet cherries I can't think of the name of right now on top instead?"


"How about-"

"HunterWoman. NO." It was another picturesque day in ACDC Park, and today, a young woman was sitting up against a tree. "I am NOT jacking you in."

"Oh, come on! I'm sooooooo bored! I mean, we have a job to do, and then we have that other job to do. Two jobs! And we're not doing either right now! But if you send me into the Net, I can take care of both! AT THE SAME TIME! That's a win-win! And the squirrel's right over there! You can totally hit it from here no prob!"

"Ugh, can I not get one day of relaxation?"

"With me around? Fat chance! Which reminds me, I like my look and all, but I think you made my hips and ass just a teeny bit too big. Like, if I was being chased by a Spikey and I tried to run through a hollow log, I bet I'd get stuck. Do you even know how much getting hit by a fireball hurts normally? Imagine if you took the blast in a tender area like that!...Oh man, what if the Spikey had something else entirely on its mind?! What if I give out super turn on pheromones that send them into super mating lust? I don't think my outfit can take that sort of thing! No, don't send me in there! I don't wanna get raped by a Spikey!...Although-"

"For the love of God, stop it. If I let you run around for a bit, will you promise to shut up?"

"Okay, okay! I'll be nice and quiet once I get back! And again, both our jobs involve me going on the Net. You should want to send me in!"

"I was GOING to start tomorrow. But I guess getting a head start couldn't hurt. Fine. All ready?"

"I was programmed ready!...No, really, you programmed me to be ready for battle 24/7/365!...366 on leap years!"

"Yeah, already regretting that..." While she didn't get up, the woman did pull her PET out from her vest, grabbed it by the handle, and pointed it towards the squirrel. It wasn't an especially busy day, so there was no one or nothing to obstruct her. "Here we go, our first proper busting run...Jack in! HunterWoman, Execute!"

As soon as HunterWoman was back within the confines of the PET, it was pretty clear that whatever weariness she was feeling earlier was not going to last, as she was already stretching for whatever she was going to do next. "Doo doo doo~! Yeah, work those muscles!"

"So much for naptime..." Because the world clearly hated the idea of her sleeping, Diana's PET started to ring. "Seriously? A phone call? Ugh..." She pressed the accept button, and brought it to eye level, albeit slow enough that she got part of a sentence out before discovering who it was. "Listen, I'm not really in the mood to-ah!" She visibly flinched as she noticed who she was speaking to...

The video on the other end was that was of a fellow Creamlandian, with a rather large nose and handlebar mustache. He looked old enough to be her father. "Not in the mood to ahh, eh? Rather disappointing, I must say."

"Mr. Wilde! I'm sorry, I didn't realize-"

"Quite all right. If I disturbed you, I can call back later."

"No, now's quite fine. Something you need?"

"Well...yes, there is. However, before I go on, I want to make sure you're okay with doing something. You don't officially start until tomorrow, after all."

"You could say we've already done some work today. Besides, the world's already conspiring against me taking a nap, so I might as well do something productive."

"Ho ho, wonderful! Yes, ShamanMan and I have heard that the virus zoo just got a few new that was HunterWoman's doing, eh? I'm glad she's just as good at the non-lethal hunt!"

"...So...what is it you need?"

"Ah, yes. Are you familiar with our dealings with Heart-Payne Pharmaceuticals?"

"...It sounds vaguely familar."

"Well, since they deal in veterenary medicine as well as human medicine, I thought it seemed a natural fit for them to be a financial sponsor of the virus zoo. Miss Heart-Payne seemed receptive to it when she talked to me, but ever since then, she's been rather silent on the matter. All of the DNN representatives I've sent have been turned away for some reason or another, as well. I think I even had you make a call or two, but you never got past her aide. I suspect at this point she's giving us the runaround."

"And you think I can get to her?"

"You have rare tenacity, Diana. Tenacity without being stubborn, to boot. It's why you fared so well in your...previous vocation. And it's one of the reasons I reached out to you. I have little doubt you'll be able to find her, and put an end to this one way or the other. Of course, having their support would be wonderful, but if not, we can look into other sponsors."

"I see. Then I won't let you down."

"I know you won't! Remember, the woman you seek is named Dharma Heart-Payne. She's the one in charge of the company, despite her young age. She seemed quite nice over the phone...I can't imagine why she would do this."

"Maybe I'll find out at some point...but anyway, just to make sure, my main target is getting an answer about the zoo, one way or the other. Preferably yes, but if she says no, so be it. Have I got that right?"

"Indeed, you do! Oh, and to save you a bit of time, a reliable source says she's at the company's research facility in ElecTown. Knowing you, I just made your job too easy! Ha ha!"

Diana smiled, half out of amusement that Mr. Wilde would say such a thing, and half out of knowing that this Dharma Heart-Payne was about to find out what it was like to be under the crosshairs of a Hawkins. "That's all I need. I'll head to ElecTown immediately. Have a good day, Mr. Wilde."

"And you as well, Miss Hawkins! I look forward to hearing of your success!" Click.

"Ooooh, you've got that look in your eyes! It's like you know you've got your quarry cornered, and you know you can go in for the kill!"

" because that's exactly how this is set up, Hunter. And of course, I know the other reason he had me go."

"...There's another one? How many of those did he have?!"

"PR people are usually nice and considerate...that's not how I do things. When they failed, Mr. Wilde thought 'I need to bring out the big guns, someone who won't stop until they have an answer, polite or no'. And that's probably when the name Diana Hawkins floated into his head."

"I dunno, Mr. Wilde doesn't seem like the gun sort. Tranq gun to transport an injured animal, maybe, but-"

"Metaphor. Don't overthink it. By sending me in person, he's letting this woman know he's tired of waiting, and wants a definite answer one way or the other." The ex-poacher stood up, taking a moment to stretch. "ElecTown...that's not walking distance, even for someone like me. The MetroLine it is, then."

"Too bad they're not over in Kotobuki! That's just a jog away!"

"You'd think a pharmaceutical company would prefer its relative peace and quiet, too. Then again, I'm not an expert. Right now, I'm just hired muscle. And I can assure you, I'll muscle my way to Dharma Heart-Payne...literally, if I have to. Mr. Wilde WILL get his answer." The station wasn't it was time to make her way over and pay the company a visit.