Midtown Fire

Summary:
February 26, 2014: A massive fire breaks out in downtown Manhattan. A group of heroes show up to try and help.

Midtown Manhattan - Yates Building

Busy midtown block, 37 story building on fire.


Characters

NPCs

  • None.

Mood Music:


Morning started just fine for Michael Lehman. He trimmed his graying red beard, just like he always does. He utilized all of the necessary moisturizers and creams, just like he always does. He ate breakfast with his wife and two children, just like he always does. He got a ride in a privately chartered limousine, just like he always does, and went to work at OsCorp, just like he always does.

His day as one of the Vice Presidents of the large corporation was uneventful.

His evening was uneventful. There was his son's basketball game, and a late dinner at home. He watched one of the 24 hour news channels and then went to bed.

_ _ _ _

Midtown, Manhattan

A group of thugs ride in the back of a van. There are six in total, but only two of them matter in the greater scheme of things. One carries a large pack that connects to a gun by a line that looks like a hose. He wears goggles over his face and three days of stubble over his jaw.

Across from him is another, similarly powered man, but is completely covered-head to toe-in a black suit, with dark carvings over the face. He too carries a gun with a large pack on his back.

"Did you talk to k…" Firefly asks, but Heat Wave shakes his head and raises a finger. "We aint supposed to talk. That's rule number 1."

- - - -

10:51 PM

The Yates Building in Midtown is flaming from all angles. It's clear to anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of arson, that this blaze was set and set quickly. As a pillar of smoke billows upwards, screams from the windows make their way down to street level. There are hundreds of people up in that building with no way down; there choices are being burned alive, smoke inhalation, or a long jump.

Squad cars and fire trucks make their way towards the building but they are mightily overmatched. It looks like they're going to need some help, perhaps in the form of heroes.

It's all over the news of course, the massive blaze in Midtown, the emergency responders struggling to deal with the problem. Sadly, it's a quiet evening at the Xavier's Institute, folks busy tending other matters. Not many faces around.

Wearing boots, jeans, and a leath jacket, Logan rushes through the Institute until he catches a familiar scent. Grunting to himself, the short Canadian tracks down Calvin Rankin, yelling, "Cal! Get off your ass! Giant fire in downtown Manhattan, let's go!"

"You can still 'port, yeah? Yates Building." That last bit is added once he actually finds the younger mutant. "If not, we're flying. Fire, you can handle that."

Exposed flames are not something one commonly encounters in the middle of a major city. Talia's walking down the sidewalk, hunkered deep into a hooded coat that manages to hide most of her obvious mutations. The eyes are a tricky one, she just has to make do with that and put up with the glances and mixed emotions that come with it. Right up until when she sees the flames, anyway.

Out comes a phone. A number is quickly pulled up, then the phone's held to a tapered ear. "Yeah, hey. I'm gonna be late to practice tonight. I know—just pick up some nachos and toss 'em in front of him, he'll be fine. Of -course- it's important, otherwise I wouldn't have called! Yah."

Click.

"This weather gets old fast," she mutters while tugging her gloves off, freeing up her hands as she sets into a flat-out sprint for the inferno. Over cars, around lampposts, over other people, no obstacle is too small to leap clear over. Any sense of being incognito, however, is long lost.

Surely the other X-ers have taken notice by now, right? Maybe she should phone it in with them, too? Maybe it's nothing..? She'll find out soon!

Another weekday evening at the school finds Cal relaxing in his room with a six pack, wearing some really expensive headphones so the soundtrack to Les Mis doesn't disturb anyone at the volume he's listening to it. Which doesn't stop him from singing along to it with a skill that will surprise no one who really knows him. "Red - the blood of angry men! Black - the dark of ages past! Red - a world about to…" Reaching up, he pulls the headphones off as Logan rushes into his room and stands as soon as he comprehends what's being said. "Too useful to release." he agrees and sets the beer and headphones aside so he can grab both of Logan's arms. "Yates Building. I know it."

*BLINK*

They appear in mid air about two hundred feet up and fifty feet from the building. It's safer that way. Less birds in the air than people on the ground. It's a matter of seconds before he fixes spots an empty spot and

*BLINK*

He and Logan are on the ground mext to the fire chief. "What's the situation?" he asks

Eight's not actually in town for crazy hero business today, No see theres this totally killer salvage yard where they dont ask questions across town. That means cutting through, which means dropping in on the police and fire radio network. Stocking up on alternators will have to wait for another day, presuming they're still there. Talk about a bummer, right?
Now not everyone has a teleport buddy, or a VTOL to get them into the thick of it. Eight has a motorcycle, but he does make the best of it. Weaving through the snarled standstill traffic at break neck speed, before veering off the roadway one building over. Theres a pause astride the bike for a moment, judging the height actually. Then with a scream of that V-twin, he steers his bike for the glass front doors of the Peterbuilt Commercial building which is conviently just a few floors higher than the Yates building. So off Eight goes, hoisting the front wheel of that big mean V-twin before plowing right through the glass front doors of the Peterbuilt building. Speeding past astonished security, before Eight pins the back brake to line the big bike up for the elevator. Then, well yes Motorcycles do infact fit in most commercial elevators! Hitting the button for the top floor before settling back to wait. Elevator music and all, joyous isn't it?

Any horrific disaster will find heroes converging, and this one is no different. Nor is this hero any different, not when she's heard the call to arms. Admittedly, there's not much to smite when it comes to fires, at least not with her sword, but the Lady Sif, comrade of Thor and the Warriors Three, heroine in her own right, wastes no time in appearing.

Quite literally appearing, too. With a mighty slash of her sword she's gone from where she stood and appearing beside the fire chief. Even as Cal and Logan appear there, too, and she asks the same question: "Indeed, sir: direct us swiftly that we may save innocent lives. I have no fear of fire or smoke."

"Arson," Bucky murmurs under his breath as he perches on the lip of a nearby rooftop, gazing up at the burning Yates Building with narrowed eyes and an armor covered face. The smoke was visible for several hundred feet in every direction. He moved quickly, leaping from rooftop to rooftop, eyes locked straight on his destination. Now he waits, watching everything /but/ the building — after all, there's a few things you can assume about arson. The arsonist almost always stays around to watch, usually /outside/ the burning building, and when a fire is purposefully set, it's always a distraction, a killer, or a mental patient.

The only question is; which is it this time?

THREE WEEKS AGO

Michael Lehman and a pair of Assemblymen sit at a round table along with an attorney.

"Mr. Lehman, it is of the utmost importance to my client that OsCorp not go ahead with the revitalization project in east Clinton."

"Well that's fine, Mr. Rousseau, but you still haven't told me who you're representing and you haven't told me why I should be inclined to talk to Mr. Osborn and inform him that the building site for his new laboratory should be placed someplace else."

The Assemblymen shoot each other worried looks.

"Mr. Lehman, it is of the utmost importance to my client that OsCorp not go ahead with the revitalization project in east Clinton."

_ _ _ _ _

Inside the elevator, a woman on her way home after a late night out looks at Eight with confusion and just a hint of incredulity.

- - - - -

A dark figure flings upwards and downwards from the sky, but as the moonlight spills against his suit, it's clear that's not a dark figure all! The red and the blue-hey! That's Spider-Man!

One final thwip is webbed out towards the building on fire, and Spidey propels himself into the building via one of the windows.

As Logan and Calvin arrive, they realize the Fire Chief is just coming onto the scene. "We're still setting up a perimeter," he says, apparently too worried to ask who the hell these two are or articulate any of the fears he may have towards superpowered beings. "By all means," he says to Sif. "If you can get up and in there to save those people…There's just too many for us!"

TJ will hear the screaming and the cries for help from up above. Straight in front of her, a wall of fire flows upwards and continues to grow.

As Winter Soldier peers, he doesn't notice much of anything, which is odd for an arson case. No one seems to be waiting around; at least from where he stands. The only thing out of the ordinary is a white van moving out towards the police roadblock.

«Spidey/Emits - Wolverine - TJ - Cal - Eight - Lady Sif - Winter Soldier - Black Widow»

"Right, let's g-," Logan grunts as Cal grabs him by the arms, and they poof, "-oo.. #@#@#!# #@-" he starts when they appear in the air, even though he inevitably has a bit of experience with the quirks of teleporters, "-#@#*!" The hairy Canadian finishes with a grunted curse as they pop back into existence on the ground.

"#@(*@! fire like this, in the middle of New York, isn't an accident, that's sure," Wolverine grumbles while looking towards Sif when she appears right next to them. The feral man grunts at the tall woman while listening to the chief's answer.

Grunting, Logan squints up at the figure whipping through the air. Aside to Calvin, he wonders, "Probably a bad idea to port up there, eh? Get us on the roof maybe? Unless you've got a better idea?"

Okay, not good. When it comes to moving lots of people rapidly, Talia's not the best prepared. Fortunately, there's a familiar pink flash of light from another long lost mutant's power. Blink.

Three guesses who's arrived on the scene.

Once more the phone comes out, the Wagnerette pulling up Calvin's number then taking the phone in her tail before she takes a running leap right for the side of the building. Boots make it a little more difficult to scale, but she's got her ways.

"C'mon, Cal, pick up..pickuppickupIknowyou'reherepickup…"

Work around the fire, get up to where those trapped people are, and with a little help from a point-blank Hex Bolt into one of the windows (and attempted avoidance of falling shards of very thick glass,) she's got a way into the building on their floor. With one final hop and forward roll, she's inside and crouching quite low beneath the smoke. Infravision just might come in handy.

"C'mon man, we need a teleport crew all up in this place! I can't carry much for far!"

"I do." Cal agrees, looking at Logan. "Since you're not fire proof and need to breath, you find who did this. I'll take care of the people." To the fire chief, he says "Clear the area we're standing in right now and keep it clear for ten feet. People are going to start appearing. Get them moving as fast as possible." Unfortunately, his cell phone is in his room back at the mansion. Along with his uniform. And shoes. "Get on the bullhorn and tell everyone inside to make their way to the roof." he tells the fire chief. Hopefully at least some will hear and herd the rest. Nodding to those near him… *BLINK* He's in front of the door to the building and then *BLINK* He's inside. He's seen Backdraft. Not going to break the doors. And he's making his way to the stairwell where he can see straight up.

Eight lifts a hand to the brim of his helmet, sort've a salute to the poor woman trapped in an elevator. "Is no worry, superhero thing yes? No autograph please."Top floor reached, Eight kicks off to back the bike out've the elevator then gets to work. Pausing just a moment to model things out again, before it gets to work. Up come the revvs, and that snarly V-twin does sound pretty cool indoors actually nevermind how ungodly loud it happens to be. Then with a dump of the clutch it's off, big knobs clawing at the cheap carpet and thankfully finding enough purchase to get sufficient speed.

See high rises have reinforced glass, and it's thick on top of being especially strong. Thankfully Eight is especially heavy, and has a suitably overbuilt bike to make up the difference. So with a rather terrific -CRASH-, and a cloud of safely cube shaped safety glass Eight breaks free of the Peterbuilt building. Eight hundred pounds of bike, and four hundred pounds worth of rider sail over the gap. Smashing down onto the roof of the Yates building with an equally tremendous crash. Eight isn't on a motocross bike here, so the suspension bottoms out hard enough to bend one handlebar, throw the wheels off true and nearly split that heavy duty 520 chain in half right there. Thankfully, it holds together for the time being even if the old girl is battered. Now though, he should hopefully have free access to the roof entrance?

"I can do /both/," Sif calls. She's striding swiftly for the doors, adding: "If we can bring the people inside to one stable place within, I can carry them all to true safety." But people are disappearing all around her, and she bites back a curse. And, for that matter, a wish for her fellow Asgardians to be here. One lone warrior is not a team.

Nevertheless, she steps forward and flourishes her sword, weaving it in an intricate pattern. A portal appears, and when she disappears through it — and into the smoking building, hunting for survivors — it remains open with smoke leaking out.

As he scans the area, Bucky's frown steadily increases. Whoever set this fire is either very good at hiding or has no interest in watching their handiwork. That's odd for an arsonist, and killers-by-fire tend to stick around to confirm the kill. So, naturally, his mind goes to distraction — and wouldn't you know, just as he thinks it, his eyes alight on the white van. Slowly, he drums his metallic right fingers along the edge of the building and 'hmms' softly to himself.

Then suddenly he's gone. Running steadily along the edge of the rooftop, eyes locked on the van, he slides to a stop at the edge of the building. Plunging off the side, his boots land firmly on a fire escape and he uses it to leap to the side of the next building, sliding down the wall and leaping back and forth as necessary until he touches down lightly and begins a straight sprint for his destination, arming the EMP in his — arm — just in case.

The thing about arsons, however, is that the arsonist almost always hangs around to watch. They get off on it.

And there's such a swarm of people around, right now, that it would be easy for the guy responsible to sit back and watch. Hell, he could probably roast weenies, if he really wanted.

Natasha Romanoff stands overlooking the crowd. She could be helping with the blaze, this is true, but with so many heroes already attending it, not to mention the fire bridgade, she doesn't want to get in the way or risk running in blindly. Thus, she does the next best thing she can think of… She works on trying to identify likely culprits based on what she knows of typical arson profiles.

Stepping down lightly, she positions herself near the fire marshall to overhear what information she can about the likely causes of the blaze based on what they're fighting, and catalogues what she can already guess about a fire that's spread so far and so fast as this one — likely accellerants and layout of fuel. Yeah. She's been taught to do that, herself, after all.

All of that tells her bits and pieces of what to look for.

3PM, TODAY

The mailroom at OsCorp is always busy. It's always busy. And the higher ups don't have time to do their own mail, so they employ a handful of underpaid clerks to check the mail for them.

So when Michael Lehman receives an odd envelope in the mail, it's barely a drop in the bucket.

"Hey, check this out. This is a weird one."

The boy, let's call him Bobby, shows his friend Greg.

The envelope it came in is pushed off to the side.

Greg flips the plain card in his hands and notices no writing on the outside. He flips it open and raises an eyebrow.

In 12 point Helvetica font, a simple statement is written.

"Fire is clean."

- - - - -

In front of Talia is a scared family of 4; a mother and her three children. "Oh thank goodness!" she exclaims as she wraps her arms around the mutant. The apartment is filled with smoke, however, and they'll have to get the family out quickly.

The Fire Chief gets on the horn and does as instructed. His bellowing voice can be heard almost two blocks away. "Everyone move to the top of the building! Move now!"

As luck would have it, Calvin ports into a room where a young couple is trapped by a wall of fire, their way blocked. While most everyone is trying to make it upstairs, many will be trapped by obstacles.

As Eight makes his grand entrance, he most assuredly finds the roof access. This is mostly because a wide eyed teenager is pointing towards it with mouth agape. Two feet to the right, and the kid would have been splattered by the oncoming bike. "D…down there…"

Meanwhile, Sif tears the time-space continuum a new one and as she makes her way through the building there's no shortage of people who need her aid. As she makes her way down the hallway, there's a large line of people trying to get to the back stairwell to make their way up.

As Winter Soldier floats down from the sky and makes his way to the ground, he sets up a perfect line with the white van. As he sprints towards it, he meets it as it is about to come to a stop at a traffic light. As the driver pulls to a stop, he looks left, just as Winter Soldier is crossing the street in a sprint right for his window.

As Black Widow searches from information, her eyes pass the west and everything she needs sort of manifests itself. A white van pulls to a stop at a light, heading towards the roadblock, and Winter Soldier is careening towards it in a huff. As far as the information the Fire Chief gives, he seems much more worried about getting people out of the building. The investigation will come later.

"Been through worse than a $&@*@* fire," Logan grunts to Cal, but he doesn't bother arguing the point. He repeats the directions for the fire chief, to make sure they sink in. Don't need any ugly teleporting mishaps.

'Find who did this.' Logan snorts at the words as he considers them a second time. Eyes follow Sif. Linger on the portal for a second before he shakes his head, "Nope. Not a $&@(!@$ chance. #*@(@*! hole in the air. Seriously. And people have a problem with mutants. You've got to be…" The old Canadian trails off into grumbly rambling while turning his attention to look around at the surroundings. Yeah, like the culprit's just hanging around.

And that's when he spots Winter Soldier charging straight at a white commercial van. Squinting, the short man starts jogging that direction himself.

"Answer… Answeeeeer—screw this." Talia could practically throw her -own- phone into the fire in frustration. That plan's not going to work. How, then, is she going to do this?

First priority, round up the people. Hey look, she found them! It's funny, in a morbid sort of way. These poor people are scared to death and in serious amounts of danger. Regardless of any opinions they may have once had, in this moment in time none of it matters. One quarter demon, three quarters mutant. Doesn't matter.

"Hang on, guys! I'll..ah..I'll think of something!" Right now, she'd trade those fancy Hex Bolts of hers in a New York Second for her father's teleportation!

..Wait a second…

Out comes the cell once more. The call goes through to the machine, something which she's actually counting on. "Hey guys, I know you're there! I need at least one of you at the Yates Building, Midtown! Remember, one of you owes me for what you did to my radio! Fifteenth floor, come be a hero!"

-Bamf!-

A tiny cloud of dark purple smoke, reeking of sulfur, reveals a pudgy little blue creature that looks an awful lot like TJ in stuffed animal format.

"Bamf?"

"I knew it was you, you little rascal," Talia mutters with glowing yellow eyes narrowed to slits. "Alright people, round up on the little guy and hold onto your dinners!"

-Bamf!-

Fire's no threat to Cal, not when it's normal flames. It doesn't matter how it was set. Not even when his clothes start to smoulder. Shit. Fortunately, the Professor made sure he has a good supply of boxer briefs made of unstable molecules. Can't always be wearing your unform, after all. The smoke is an issue but Logan's healing factor will have to take care of that since he's not going to armor up and crash through fire weakened floors. When he sees the couple trapped behind a wall of flame, he throws a couple spears of energy at them and they *BLINK* right to where Cal told the chief they would appear. Anyone he sees gets teleported but it's the ones who can't make it to the stairwell who are his first priority. The former will be safe for a bit. The trapped need help now. Unfortunately, he can't smell any since the smoke is playing hell with his nose so he's reduced to shouting and listening for responses as he runs from door to door.

"Thankyou."Comes Eight's reply to the boy, unsaddling and moving towards the staircase. "Keep doorway closed, open only for people alright?"Lifting the visor of it's helmet as it descends into the smoke, filling the stairway with a vague green glow. Heavy boots thudding down the staircase as it heads for the nearest signs of life. "If you need help, call out! If you can hear me, get to the roof."Already trying to figure out exactly what radio the firechief has as it goes, why bother sending to the repeater where it'd be recorded right? Whatever did you think that thing with the antennas on his back was for, TV reception?

That was a piece of luck — Sif cut right into a hallway near people trying to escape. She isn't quite immune to the smoke, though fire doesn't bother her and even the smoke is more irritating than truly debilitating. She calls out through the noise and the thick darkness, striding toward the people massing in the stairwell: "This way! Hold each other's hands and move single file. Catch the others' hands and come with me!" She will make sure at least a few have started following her directions before she leads this human chain to the portal to stream out into the street beyond.

Just before he hits the van, Bucky allows himself a satisfied smirk, though it's hidden quite well by the armored mask that covers the lower half of his face. Then, all at once, he's on it. With a metallic clang, his faux-fist goes straight through the door, gets a good grip on it, then pulls it straight from the hinges while his real hand pulls out an M1911 and points the barrel towards the temple of the man inside.

"Out. Now."

And this is where being SHIELD comes in handy. As she spots the van taking off, Natasha snaps a SHIELD badge out of a pouch on her suit. She sprints up toward a guy with a motorbike, idling at the mouth of an alley, gawking. "Sir, I need to commandeer your vehicle," she says briefly, not giving him any chance to respond before she's taken it from him and kicked it into gear. People scatter at the sound of the roaring engine and, in moments, she's chasing that van… just in time to see a familiar figure, (~James?!!~), slam his fist through the van door to stop it.

(~Ok… that works, too.)

She speeds along up beside on the other side and bring the bike around front. A Makarov sits in one hand, that useful SHIELD badge in the other. "Do as the man says, before you have to find out which one of us is the bigger bad cop." A beat. She smiles sweetly. "Oh. And, consider yourself under arrest." Abusing her jurisdiction? A little. Does she care? Not a whit.

From the side of the building, Spidey yanks himself and another man up and over the side. The elder man is screaming, the red-gray beard singed as he was obviously very close to the flames. "My wife! My children." Spidey, nods, "I'll go back for them, I'll go back for them." His hands are up towards Michael Lehman, trying to get the man to calm down. With little care for his safety, Spidey throws himself over the edge, twists mid air, and flings out two webs before pulling himself inside one of the windows at break neck speed.

Wolverine is able to catch up to the van rather quickly as Winter Soldier approaches it. Though a few steps behind, the vehicle is at a stop and does not immediately look as if it's about to disembark. Not yet, anyhow.

As the little Bamfs begin working, they're able to take on more than one might think. The little guys excitedly bounce around and begin getting the family the heck out of there and to safety.

Calvin, meanwhile, runs down the hallway, hearing screams for help. Once they hear his voice, however, people begin coming out into the hallway. Coughing. Smoke. There's so much smoke.

Inside the burning building, Spidey kicks down one of the doors. After a split moment of confusion and apprehension, his shoulders slump sadly as he sees a trio of bodies upon the floor.

Eight 'gets root' so to speak on the FireChief's radio signal, and most of what he hears is strategy on where to put those big basket things to get people out. Unfortunately, they can only carry a handful at a time. Meanwhile, the fire trucks have finally begun to pop waterplugs and have started to douse the area. Up in the stairwell, it's dark and difficult to see. Eight will find a pair of people clinging to him, unable to see how to get out.

At Sif's beckoning, a group of people hold hands and begin moving out towards the portal, disappearing into its void. "Thank you, lady. Whoever you are!" says one old man. In all there are more than a dozen who make their way out this way towards safety.

The driver falls out of the van and onto the pavement hands up as Bucky makes his move. "I'm sorry! Look, I'm just a delivery driver. I picked up this van! I don't want any trouble. As Winter Soldier and Black Widow look inside, they'll see two packs and the flamethrowers attached to them, but nothing else. The back of the van is completely empty.

Spider-Man comes back up over the edge, with another pair of people, but no members of the Lehman family.

"Where are they?! My family!" screams Michael, his trembling hands pushing back his hair as panic truly begins to set in.

After a brief pause, Spider-Man sighs. "I'm sorry."

"No!" Michael shakes his head as he takes steps backwards from Spidey. He continues shaking his head, now falling into shock.

!@#$HePIDEY SENSE TINGLING$#@!

"Wait! NO!" Spider-Man yells, but he's too slow.

Michael Lehman's head explodes like a blood sausage, spraying the back wall of the utility shed with blood.

- - - - -

Nearly a mile away, Deadshot clamps up his weapon and disappears into the shadows.

Run Logan, run! The short Canadian catches the stopped van easily enough, what with it not going anywhere. He grunts at the scene of the cowering driver, Bucky, and Black Widow, having watched the masked man rip off the van's door, "Who's the guy? Innocent stooge?"

Eyes sweep across the pair with guns as he speaks, squinting at them, and at the SHIELD badge the redhead holds up. Grunting at Black Widow, the old mutant wonders dryly, "And when did SHIELD open a Russian branch?" Snorting, Logan shakes his head and takes a look in the van himself, taking a few long sniffs to see if there's anything of note to be picked up. "Well. Guess that explains the $&@*@&$ fire, doesn't it?"

A single rifle shot is fairly easy to miss amidst the blazing inferno, the screaming, the sirens, aaand the Bamfs. Several pair of solid yellow eyes stare through the deep hued smoke that begins to dissipate around Talia, the miniature teleporters, and the small collection of people that they've managed to save. There's one immediate crisis down.

Now TJ's got another one on her hands. Trying to contain the Bamfs. Gods help her if she needs to get them all back inside of the building to rescue more people, though at the sight of the others all getting pulled to safety nearby she breathes out a tiny sigh of relief. "You know what, I think we've got this one… Come on, fellow Wagnerites, let's clean house!"

Half a dozen tiny creatures all -Bamf!- out at once, hopping from room to room of the burning building. Just to make sure it really is empty.

Except for a couple of bodies. Those ones are, unfortunately, not going to be helped by a bamf.

Cal teleports out as many people as he can, teleporting from apartment to apartment instead of using the hallway to save time. The flames and heat are worse on the lower floors and anyone still trapped can't have much time left. He doesn't even try to extinguish the flames; the entire building is an inferno and way beyond his ability. Probably beyond the Torch's too. As each floor is cleared, he moves up one sending anyone he sees to the target zone.

Eight halts the search, only when it's got a pair of folks in tow. "It will be alright, just stay close to me. I won't let the fire get you, I promise."Taking the pair gently by the wrists, before Eight begins retracing it's steps exactly. Gently herding the pair up the stairs nevermind the smoke, before delivering them to the roof and somewhat fresh air there beyond. It does need to get to work here, Two people and the authorities don't know to look for them. So finally, it pops onto the radio frequency and puts out a call. "Attention fire chief, two victims await rescue on the roof. Please attend to them at your earliest convience, thankyou."

Sif proudly leads her dozen out through the portal and dives back in, hunting for the unconscious and the injured. She is, at least, able to carry a few more people out the door and into the fresh air to the welcoming (if rather overloaded) arms of the paramedics. She's quite innocent of the tragedy of Lehman's family, but she is feeling quite pleased at the ones she's managed to help escape.

Natalia?!

Bucky's attention is momentarily split between maintaining a very careful aim on the terrified driver of the van and gawking at the sudden appearance of Natalia Romanova. He's nothing if not a professional, though — what little of his face that's visible maintains a very carefully neutral expression. Even after the man expresses his innocence, Bucky's aim fails to drop. Instead, he glances back to the rear of the van, eyeing the flamethrowers and Logan with slightly the slightest of annoyed expressions.

"Brilliant observation," comes his modulated response as he finally holsters his pistol and strides around to the back to get a better look. Feining disinterest, he lifts one pack and turns it around in his hand, getting the best look he can in a short period of time and committing all the relevant details of its construction to memory before casually dropping it back down moving past Logan to the other side of the van. When he reaches the man on the ground, he kneels and grips a handful of his shirt so he can better drag him bodily towards an alley, commenting aside to Natalia, eyes skimming the SHIELD badge. "Just going to have a quick chat, then he's yours," he drones out, expression daring her to try and stop him.

Natasha arches a brow at the short, fuzzy Canuck. It takes a moment or two, but she places him. Well… that's just peachy. "Technically," the agent replies smoothly, "SHIELD is an international organization." Therefore a Russian branch is entirely possible. "However," and she gives him a direct look, "I happen to be American."

There is, after all, no reason why a woman apparently in her twenties should be associated with another one from a good twenty or forty years ago. And she's certainly not going to have that conversation in public.

Then, of course, she's distracted by Soldier dragging the poor guy off. "Hey!" she says. Then, under her breath — though Logan probably hears — "Bozhe moi!" And she looks between Logan and the alley quickly. "You, stay here," she tells the mutant, fully expecting him to ignore her. "You!" she calls after Bucky, "Come back here!" And she breaks away from the van to make sure Soldier doesn't do the guy undue physical harm.

A cop from over at the Peterbuilt building, one of the rookie schmucks who's called to do perimeter work while the real men in blue do the real work, can't believe his eyes. From across the building he sees Spider-Man's outstretched hand and then a man's head explode. Officer Peshau makes a call into his radio, "Hey guys, Spider-Man just shot some guy on the roof!"

The little bamf guys do their work, carrying out more and more people make their way out of the building (even if the appearance of the little devils sort scares the bajeezies out of them). Cal, too, gets his share out of the building with his mimicked teleporting skills, bringing his total to well over a dozen.

Eight gets communication with the Fire Chief who radios it in to his people. The roof is an excellent staging area where folks are able to get into the baskets and pulled back down to the ground for safety while the rest of the firefighters attack the blaze. A long line of people follow Sif out of the portal. If there are more survivors, she wasn't able to find them.

"Oh god! Please don't hurt me!" the driver exclaims up at Winter Soldier as he's being dragged. "I was just sent here to do a job. I'm part of a repo service." He makes like he's going to go to his pocket for his identification. On the lapel of his shirt there's his name, Sal, and the other side has a business patch. 'Martinson's Reposessions.'

The blaze dies down after about another hour. All in all, 734 people were able to make it out alive, while only 212 lost their lives. The NYPD will immediately begin investigations into how the blaze began and the mysterious death of Michael Lehman, VP of OsCorp.

- - - - —

A ring comes through on the other end of the phone and a large hand picks it up slowly, bringing it up to the ear.

"Speak."

"It's done."

"Well done. Your payment will be found at the usual place."

Kingpin swivels in his chair to face his lieutenant.

"I don't get it boss. Why'd you off Osborn's guy? And why did you kill all those people just for him?"

"That's a story for another time, Stanton. It's time we made our next move."

Fisk sits back in his chair and looks out over the window. Faintly, in the distance, you can still make out the smoke even in the night sky.

FIRE IS BRIGHT

To Be Continued…


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