Singular Sensation

Summary:
May 28, 2014: A cargo ship outside of Metropolis falls under siege. (Language warning)

Metropolis Harbor

It's a very large cargo ship on its way into the harbor.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
None


Most people believe that the truly wicked acts only happen after the sun sets and the moon has begun its patrol. In many cases, they would be correct. Sometimes, they couldn't possibly be more wrong.

It's ten in the morning. It's a bright day with clear skies and a cool wind constantly washing in from the Delaware Bay where Metropolis resides, wonderful conditions for the approaching cargo ship coming in from the Atlantic.

Its arrival is expected, not just by local port authority. All it takes is a little patience for the ship itself to be within range of shore where a lone woman stands, positively radiant beneath the morning sun. Glowing, even. Glowing orange. A peculiar fashion statement, to be sure.

Onboard the ship one of the workers is in for a shock when static bolts start to discharge out of nowhere, thrumming between metal cargo containers before a sphere simply appears from thin air, vaporizing part of the containers and leaving glowing hot edges behind. With a thunderclap the sphere folds in upon itself, identical to the one which had appeared directly beside the woman. With a calculated sidestep she passes through the formed gateway, instantly traveling hundreds of feet from shore to ship.

Rift has arrived.

*

Current assignment for Taskmaster keeps him readily deployable in the United States right now. After that possibly transparent ruse of helping the mercenary Domino escape from one of Cobra's hidden South America bases he's been rather bored. A nudge towards Cobra's newest super powered soldier has the man in action again, thats what he prefers.
"Teleportation? Man do you know how useful that is. I'm already impressed." Talking. He's prone to it often enough. It's one of the things he figures he is good at - the gift of gab. NOT quite as annoying as some but there are times. A quick check over of his gear and body parts his head cants up to reveal that ever present toothy grin. The young woman is busy, the grizzled combat instructor can respect that, he is more here to assess and play back up as it were anyways which he intends to do by standing back a few feet to her left, watching curiously.

*

This is not the ship you're looking for. No, really… the cargo ship really isn't the ship that Hawkeye is waiting for. It's that container ship waaaay out there yet; only a silhouette on the horizon, seen only because it's a bright and clear day.

Remarkably, Barton is quite early for the container ship and just pretty much on time for the cargo ship, and the glowing. Orange. Woman.

Ho-kay… which turns instantly into-

"Oh, crap."

Every cargo ship has a tugboat to help direct them into the harbor. It's not that large a space where a ship can maneuver unaided, and -that- is what Hawkeye uses. A jump into a small outboard craft to the tug.. and an arrow to the side of the ship to haul himself up. With any luck, with all the light show, who'd notice a single guy?

*

"It is rather beneficial, isn't it," Rift agrees while taking in her surroundings on the boat. This strange new tech is something she's still coming to terms with, let alone what all it can do. Already it's gotten them both this far!

Hawkeye's not going to be noticed by Rift anytime soon, she's got her own budding nausea and a bunch of cargo containers to deal with first. She knows to look for a yellow container, which..reduces the number of containers to search to about thirty-eight. Which side of the ship was it supposed to be on, again? Port..? Sure.

"Some assistance may be required in handling their security personnel," the orange-on-grey woman monotones while approaching the first of the containers. How to get those doors open… Well, she knows the first trick for her rift generators. One container here, one container there, arms up, and-

Krak-BOOM!

Two gateways formed and erased, vaporizing the ends right off of the containers. It's enough to get a soft "Hmm" of approval from the rebuilt woman before she searches the first container.

Security may be fairly lacking but it's not completely absent. There's a couple of uniformed men charging toward the two, spreading out amongst the containers for cover. They're armed with various civilian-grade weaponry. Pistols, shotguns, a few semi-automatic AR-15's. "Hold it!"

*

"Not even had my morning coffee yet." Taskmaster huffs - his voice sounding electronic and distorted by the mask. "I suppose I can lend some aid." A twist of his upperbody and a blade embeds itself in the nearest security guards neck, the handle protruding out. "Your jobs ain't worth dying for. What do you make an hour? Maybe fifteen?" The fighter is already in motion, on his left wrist a protective hard light shield is already forming as he rolls for cover behind a near by forklift as the bullets no doubt begin to fly. The Skeletor style merc has yet to see Hawkeye.

*

Once up on the aft deck, one of the service entrances for when, duh, the ship is in port and the crew want an entrance/egress that doesn't go all the way up to the top deck is used. Once inside, now, the SHIELD agent makes his way up stairs. Going up will eventually get him to where he wants to be.

"Gunfire. Great," is murmured as he finally gets through a door to the topdeck.

Now, as bullets fly, Barton flattens against any hard, metal surface that'll give him any hint of cover- both from stray bullets and from sight. (At least this time, he's actually armed!) With bow in hand, he pulls an arrow and nocks it, though he doesn't draw- this arrow is something of a disrupter. A low power taser that deals enough voltage to screw up electronics, and add insult to injury if it's buried in a person.

Looking up, blue eyes catch the presence of a ladder, and once again, Barton is on the move, going to higher ground.. and keeping low while doing so.

*

"And whose fault might that be?" Rift challenges back. "I assume you're a part of this operation for more reason than to keep an eye on me. Make yourself useful, Trainer."

This is not the container she's looking for.

In fact..what in the..?

There's -people- inside. Barely clothed, metal shackles aside. Dirty. Malnourished as all hell. Did she just-

"What..? Hell," Rift mutters with a heavy sigh. "Whatever, just get out of here," she grumbles with a sharp sidelong motion of an arm. Looks like Gotham won't be seeing its expected shipment of slaves today.

Maybe that other container's better. It can't be any -worse.- ..Nope. Still not what she's looking for, but this time she won't have to deal with any unexpected and undesired acts of herosim. Maybe she should have had more coffee today, herself.

*

Taskmaster's argument is cut short when a bullet hits near his head and that shield lashes out in response clipping a man in the jaw before rebounding off and hitting another in the knee cap. A broken jaw and a face sprawl sends a weapon clattering across the floor. Picking it up he blind-fires around the corner; his attention on the now opened shipping container. "HAHAHahaha! Thats golden." The mocking laughter sounds loud and grating in it's taunt at Rift. "Oh, that one forgot his shoes maybe you'll find those in the next crate." The pistol's payload empty he lobs it like a softball thrown by Nolan Ryan at the surprised face of a third man *pop* goes a nose as blood gushes in all directions.

*

"Awww, crap.."

Hawkeye catches the emptying of the cargo container, and watches the girls going running, screaming and crying as they try to make their way towards the edge of the boat and freedom. There's that which deserves his attention and—

Now on something of a better perch for looking at the goings on, a — what the hell?! — a shield goes flying? The arrow, nocked, is let loose finally, and another is there in its place on his string, its target is Taskmaster's shoulder.

*

"All part of the karmic balance, if you believe in that sort of thing," Rift calls back to the mocking. So far she's keeping a level head, though someone like Taskmaster might push her far enough before the day is through.

Taskmaster's putting up a good fight, though Seren's not being subtle over here. One guard decides that dealing with the former is a guaranteed deathwish and tries instead to deal with the latter. "S-stop right there!"

Orange eyes fall upon the man. "Don't interrupt me." An open hand comes up and closes, snapping another rift in the air above him. With the momentary flash the wind from the sea suddenly changes direction, all drawn toward the same point in space that the lone man suddenly gets sucked through. It's with a twist of her hand and an opening of her fingers that another portal snaps into creation, sending the lone guard flying toward the back of the ship with a yell. Right past Hawkeye!

Two more thunderclaps and the gates are gone.

Someone's gaining a bit more confidence. The next yellow container doesn't have the doors erased so much as emitting a deafening *BANG!* as a concussive detonation from within blasts the doors wide open, sending dozens of large water jugs flying out of it.

*

"Karma, causality, why not?" Taskmaster's movements are fluid and he's about ready to snap back and reposition himself when something strikes him hard in the shoulder with enough force to send him in to a pinwheel (his own momentum aid for it). The ground gets slapped by his body weight and he lies there a moment face down before curling up with a hiss and yanking an oddly weighted arrow out of his shoulder, "Nngh, who shoots an arrow? Shit." The suit the man is wearing having absorbed a lot of the stun affect, displacing it across his body so it's more of a really obnoxous numbing tingle but his Omnitool doesn't seem to be responding to him now and the electronics of his mask are out of commission. "Who the fuck shoots an arrow like this!?!" Better question as he drags himself behind one of the knocked over crates, hugging his body to the edge of it while he takes a quick scan around them. Got too cocky. Got sloppy.

*

The second arrow is nocked and ready; it's probably going to be very obvious in the next few heartbeats who is here. (Of course, there are more than a few archers hanging around. Not as if his fletchings scream 'Hawkeye' or anything. Okay, maybe they do…)

It's that high wind, however, that forces the archer to hang on. Holding the bow and arrow with one hand, thumb saving the notched arrow, he's grabbing on as the force of wind whips by him. The gale force, buffeting winds are hard enough to hold against, but he's willing to risk it as he throws a hand up, trying to make a grab for the now flying guard as he goes past. The man has a look of terror on his face, and there isn't a damned thing he can do about it. Barton is pushed back, and drops down again so as not to make too large a target.

Now in a secondary vantage point (not of his own making), eyes widen as he gets a front row seat in how Rift peels steel with a virtual wave of her hand.

He's only human.. and he's only able to get the bow up, aimed at Rift..

*

"Just like Christmas morning, never knowing what the little boxes hold," Rift laments as the plastic jugs, some ruptured and some yet intact, spill out beside her. She's just starting to turn in search of the next container when there's a brief flicker of motion from the edge of her sight, then the *ping!* of metal striking metal behind her.

That's when she feels it. A hand slowly comes up to the side of her face, drawing back with blood. What amounts to her blood these days, anyway.

He nicked her. That stupid -archer-..just cut the side of-

Congratulations, Hawkeye. This is what a pissed off Seren looks like!

Both hands come around, fingers snapping inward upon her palms as a single rift, nearly a dozen feet in diameter, quickly begins to take form. Right about where Hawkeye happens to be standing. She would have made its point of origin right inside of his ribcage if she could have… As it is he has a chance to react before getting anything important vaporized, though the air is instantly heavy with ozone.

In another second that gateway is going to collapse upon itself into a singularity. The birth of a black hole, to the fullest reach of her abilities. The ship's deck is about to get drastically rearranged.

*

"There we go. This a playmate of yours?" Taskmaster inquires of Rift before his hand slides down to his side and pulls up his sidearm, taking aim and plugging off two rounds. "Shoot me with an arrow you cupid wanna be sonofabitch." No mind for the security guards right now or the havok Rift is about to unleash. Singular focus for the moment.

*

If he could have aimed in just a little more and not shot from the hip, and the wind.. and.. well, it -would- have landed. Barton curses, and he crouch runs, now that the winds have died down for the second or three that it takes to move his position. Apparently, however, he's pretty much 'made' and the slower speed simply isn't going to do. At all.

So it's up with him, and he's moving from one container to another when that rift opens just where he had been. More than enough for a serious pull, but not enough to completely vaporize the SHIELD agent and turn his body into starstuff.

Trading one arrow for another, Clint pulls and takes what he lovingly calls a 'Hail Mary' shot, burying the arrow in a bulkhead of the control room. Luckily for him he did that as the vacuum begins and he's pulled completely off his feet by the gravitational pull by the forming black hole.

Hand over hand, the archer pulls himself before he can begin to gain his footing.

Bullets.. again.. dammit.. and dropping to the deck, he rolls and finds his footing.. barely. (Oh, he's going to feel it tomorrow. Assuming he feels -anything- tomorrow.)

"You're surrounded!" Barton calls out. "Give up!"

It's worth a try.

*

It's the little things in life… The joys of having brand new powers, and having absolutely no sense of what they're capable of. It's a big rift. Seren didn't quite expect that. Nor did she expect the sudden pull of matter towards its epicenter. -Nor- did she have any idea that it could become that intense. From all around the singularity there's a screeching and groaning of heavy steel containers shifting across the deck, almost lazily shuffling their way toward the weightless vortex from above.

The container Hawkeye had been occupying a moment before slooowly lifts up toward the blackened sphere where light itself distorts, one end starting to fall inward before the entire container gets crushed and swallowed from one end to the other like an empty soda can.

This same pull also happens to affect the woman who created it. There's a look of panic as she reaches out for one of the ruined metal doors beside her, the mangled hinges barely keeping it attached to the container. It's all she can do to throw another gateway out toward the bow, causing the former ten foot orb to slam closed with a deafening explosion while the other one detonates in white hot slag and debris, melting through containers and hull like a localized meteor shower.

What's left behind is an empty power meter upon Rift's gauntlets. She has more fuel on her but she still has to cycle it manually.

Anger still tainting her voice, she yells back "And we are everywhere!"

*

"Oldest bluff in the book." Taskmaster grunts admist the vortex pull that has him clutching down on the nearest enviromental safe piece closest to him. It's weight saving him from too much draw until Rift begins to pull things back in. Somewhere in struggling for purchase he dropped yet another weapon. He doesn't seem to care.

*

Now, the fact that Rift seems to have absolutely ZERO control over her abilities doesn't fill Barton with hope. To see her fighting against that same gravitational pull causes him to shift his position and try to make his way towards her. It's that shower of hot death, however, that changes his mind. Finding a spot with at least -some- cover, Hawkeye holds his head down as the meteor-shower hits, the deck pinging with white hot molten steel.

"Your name isn't 'Legion'!" is called back, and finally, Barton gains a little more equilibrium and fights to get to his feet, his bow back in hand and in service, though now he's flat against a surviving shipping crate (not that there are a lot of those left!).

"You want to bet on it?"

*

It's for the best that Rift stands alone at the moment, brushing a fine white dust away from parts of her gauntlets before ejecting a single mercurial pellet from above each wrist, immediately being replaced with identical pieces of material. As much as she'd love to crush the archer for his slight against her, the two agents of Cobra do have a job to do. The longer they're here, the more resistance they're likely to attract.

How many containers left, something like thirty-five? She needs to find a quicker way of doing this. First, she's going to need to see what she's aiming at.

Krak-THOOM!

The orange-detailed woman drops a few feet from the air onto another container, third one up from the deck. Much better visibility. It also makes her an easy target for the archer, unfortunately. But..he's using arrows. -Arrows!-

"He's no friend of mine," she belatedly calls back to Taskmaster, "now keep him busy!"

One container after another begins to explode from the inside out, some neat and tidy while others buckle under the weight stacked above them, causing stacks of containers to fall upon the disorganized deck. She's making one -helluva- mess around here.

Hawk might also notice that the use of her power seems to be tied to the motions of her hands, almost like she's conducting the orchestra from Hell.

*

"Hah! Snapping out orders already, huh? I'll be taking some of your cut for this." Taskmaster snaps out before straightening up enough to keep his eyes on Hawkeye. "Not bad moves. Mine are better… just have to close range." He murmurs to himself before springing over a knocked over stack of pallets and scooping down in his jog towards Clint to snag up one of the fallen security guards assault rifles. "Pick your poison friend. We can do this old school and I can just beat you like a drum or… well… " The riflebutt nestles in to his shoulder and the rapid *BRAPPPBRAPPPBRAPP* follows. "Guess I'm feeling lazy today."

*

Okay, Hawk needs to work out how to actually get spacial-rift-girl to stop. Weaknesses… aaaand.. hands?

Once on his feet, Barton is able to get to higher ground, such as it is, and once on the move, he's a touch bit harder to hit. Not impossible, not by a longshot. But using cover and ability, there's a reason why Hawkeye is an Agent of SHIELD, and why he's on 'the team', as it were.

Those hands… and there's nothing like going old-school. Curare. Or rather, a derivative of it. Dialing up the points in the bottom of the quiver, with a poke of a button, the pile is attached to the shafting, and the arrow is in his hands immediately after.

A heartbeat after that? The arrow is flying through the air towards those hands of hers before Hawkeye is forced to hit the deck and roll, the *ping*ping*ping* of the bullets as they ricochet off the steel around him, cutting what bare flesh he's got on arms and nicks his face with razor-sharp shrapnel. A hiss of breath is forced out when he rolls -off- the container he had found a perch on, all that air leaving his lungs in one *whooof* before gaining his feet. A deep draught of air is taken before he calls out, "I like old-school." He's an archer!

*

ZzzzzIP!

Rift's rapid rifting comes to an immediate end when an arrow suddenly becomes lodged within the back of her upper arm, the next breath hissing through her teeth as she reaches back for it. Good try on Hawkeye's part, and a great shot to boot. The weak link within his plan is using a chemical agent which is designed to affect biological material, which she's rather lacking these days since her synthetic rebuild.

The dislodged arrow breaks in two against her thumb as she glares back in the direction of that pesky, stubborn as sin archer.

"What you consider 'snapping orders' I consider proper allocation of available resources," she responds to Taskmaster while tossing the broken arrow aside. For Hawkeye's efforts he's getting another container shoved his way, another localized concussion between the metal slabs causing the pair of them to lunge away from one another with a heart-felt *BANG!*

There, however… Metal container from within a metal container. The dull gleam of bare steel surrounded by a simple wooden rig to aid in transportation can be seen from one of the ruined steel transports, revealing what looks like a containment device spanning roughly three feet in any direction.

"Objective met."

It's the only warning Taskmaster's going to get before she snaps a portal right next to him, melting another spherical void into its surroundings before flattening into a two-dimensional teleportation disk. Another appears beside the wood-lined object, then a third just beside the container she stands upon. One hop forward and she's standing close enough to reach out and touch the device. Taskmaster could as well, if he first jumps through.

*

Taskmaster does take the teleportation offer with a side-step that tosses him through to the otherside the rifle situated now against his chest as he stands there looking Hawkeye's direction.
"Wiry target. These bowmen sorts always are… " He says casually to Rift as his voice carries loud enough to be heard. His electronic equipments been disrupted after all. In his left hand two explosives the size of golfballs circle around in his palm before they're lobbed towards the SHIELD archer. One is a concussive the other a fragmentation. Simple tactic right now - flush him, keep him off balance and moving so the merc can put a bullet in him or three. "Sorry I guess there really was no options… old school requires you sit still, doesn't look like you'll cooperate so we resort to playing dirty."

*

There's the soft song of repulsor harmonics out over the bay. A black-garbbed figure, red hair flattened against her head by the wind, streaks over the waves, high enough to see the action on deck. The Widow wears a SHIELD-issue Flight Pack and carries a fairly sizeable, futuristically styled rifle in her hands. Even airborne, she lifts the weapon to her shoulder, small thruster compensating for the movement, as she takes aim. Wind whips past her. She exhales and gently squeezes the trigger. The energy-propelled, high-calibre slug screams through the air, calculated to explode on the deck right between the two aggressors harrying her partner.

*

Hawkeye's on his feet, which in itself is just short of a miracle. Blood drips freely from the cuts on his arms and face, and there's a decided look of determination upon his features. Still, the best he can hope for between these two is something of a stalemate- which, to him, is very much like failing. Still, there's no thought in that, and the concussive blast that's strong enough to move a shipping container pushes the archer forward. It's thanks to Barton's training that he can at least control the way he moves, and partially adjust his trajectory such that it's not an absolute failure on his part.

Always moving.. and this is starting to get tiring. No.. fatiguing. Muscles are screaming, and the moment he stops is the moment he's dead. Barton knows that for a fact. The contents of the 'right' container, however, gains his attention, and he mutters, "What the hell is that?" before he's forced to move again.

The concussive noise of the grenade would deafen him.. if he weren't already mostly deaf, but it does overload the hearing aid. Blood wells from 'the good ear', however, and staggered, it's all he can do to get the hell away from the frag grenade.

"Playing dirty.." and Hawkeye finds a moment to breathe, back once again against a steel beam. It's not long, he knows, for proper cover, but it is long enough for him to pull a string and loose another arrow.. one, two.. three are in the air, one after another towards Taskmaster.

And there… rolling his head back, he's looking for confirmation, because if it's a bad guy? He's screwed. (It's not, thankfully!)

*

Well, that's the device located. How to move it out of here? By boat! There's the tugboat that had been trying to nudge the much larger ship into harbor. It's not fast but it should do the trick. All they have to do is keep an -archer- from getting onboard with them. Between a combat specialist and a destructive teleporter? Should be easy.

Then the deck erupts not far from where the two Cobra agents stand, peppering the area with yet more debris. The airborne woman would have no trouble spotting two impossibly bright orange eyes staring back up at her from a slate grey skinned gal. She's spared any retaliatory one-liners, at least.

Rift quickly reaches out to rest one hand upon the crate then hook an arm around Taskmaster, particularly before he can go running off to play with Hawkeye some more. The hand between the two opens like an imitation of a blooming flower, causing a disorienting wave of static to snap outward around the two agents, and their to-be-stolen goods, until it 'solidifies' into a protective shielding.

She has no idea how much abuse it can deflect, or if it will do anything useful against Widow's rifle. All Rift knows is that it's what she has left to work with. Now if she can just get them both out of here…

*

"Clear line of sight this go around, pal." Taskmaster says in time to evade the arrows in a more than flashy manner, a backflip - an ill-timed one as Black Widow's surprise shot with the high tech rifle has an exposion erupting between himself and Rift. Clenching his eyes behind the mask he expects to be thrown and at worst incinerated on the spot only to be enveloped in a protective shield? "Ain't you just full of tricks." Following the source of new incoming fire he spots Widow and releases a low whistle. "Looks like the cavalry just flew in from the bunny ranch." Clearly an unfounded dig.

*

The rifle is a high-powered, energy-based, anti-materiel weapon that usually requires light power armor or an embankment to use effectively — sometimes referred to, in fact, as the Widowmaker, as a result. There are advantages to super-solider treatments, it seems, though even Romanoff can't use the thing indefinitely without suffering fatigue. She's much fresher to this fight than Hawkeye, however. The shield is a neat trick however, and quite likely very capable of blocking the discharge from the explosive slug. Not, mind, that Widow won't try a second shot, this one aimed directly at Rift, just to be sure, just before she lands. Her voice crackles over Hawk's comm unit, though there's no guarantee he'll hear her. "You still alive down there?"

As she touches down, however, the rifle is slung over her shoulder, replaced by more conventional side arms that are far easier to use over a prolonged period of time. "Throw down your weapons and step away from the crate," she calls, fully expecting them to ignore her. But, hey. At least she can put in her report she tried.

*

*Thoomp*thoomp*thoomp*

The arrows land one after another, and perhaps they were aimed at Taskmaster, or perhaps they were aimed specifically at one of the many electrical lines that is just a little away from him. If they weren't, Barton is one lucky archer to have cut the conduit as cleanly and sharply as he does, and the live wires begin their dance just near the now enveloped Taskmaster.

"Dammit!"

But, at least Barton doesn't have anyone shooting at him, at the moment, and he's able to draw a full breath. It doesn't hurt to know that he's got someone at his back, and that someone is damned capable. And smart. "What the hell is that thing?" The.. uh.. box. Not the orange woman, though getting an answer there wouldn't hurt either. How's that for a response to her question?

Looking around now, the question becomes 'end game'. How would they likely get off this boat with that object, and eyes rise to the skies. No helo..

"Told'ja!" comes hoarsely, "Wasn't a bluff!"

Barton offers a fatigued but genuinely appreciative quirk of a smile to his partner. "Good to see you."

*

The next slug passing through the exclusion field proves to be a learning experience for at least two individuals. The initial impact causes the sphere to spark and briefly turn opaque upon its wound, absorbing most of the round's kinetic energy. Some of it still manages to punch through, however. Those anti-materiel weapons are nasty devices… The remaining chunk of bonded metal moves slower, parts of it fizzling away as it goes not unlike a Mentos being dropped into a bottle of Pepsi. Much of it becomes harmless glitter, shimmering with a mix of metallic elements and hardened energy.

The solid, dense core left behind drills a hole as neatly as an icepick through the synthetic woman.

It hurts. A LOT. But..they won't have to use the tugboat as an escape vehicle anymore. There's a Cobra submersible nearby, those fancy upgraded eyes of hers can make it out beneath the waves.

One exclusion field becomes one binary stasis rift as Seren snaps open another gateway, letting herself, Taskmaster, and the crate blink out of sight with another flash and thunderclap. What's left behind is a colossal, irradiated mess. And a lot of dead bodies.

And a dozen freed Gotham slaves.


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