Reason #36

Summary:
June 07 2014: A series of separate agendas are brought to a screeching halt… by a series of unfortunate events.

Amusement Mile

Coney Island without the class, this stretch of 'fun' in Gotham City is everything a creepy, suspect carnival aspires to be.


Characters

NPCs

  • Scarecrow
  • Gang Thugs

Mood Music:
[*]


Amusement Mile, it's like Coney Island in NYC, only more… Gotham. The Fun House is loosely Joker themed, or at least Super Creepy Clown themed, everything is dirty, dingy, all the games are rigged more then they anywhere else, the carnies all seem 2 tattoo's to many and 3 morals to short to be even ordinary carnies. In short, it's an unpleasant place. But it's Gotham and that's never stopped it's denizens from coming out before. The area is packed with people, the ringing, chiming, dinging, whomping, whooping sounds of bells, whistles, and air horns that come from someone 'winning' a game fill the air, as does the laughter of children timed with the shouts of parents. The night smells of churros, stale funnel cake, and cotton candy that's just somehow gooey instead of cottony, a fact no one really seems to notice or ask about. It's the big opening of the Summer season and since the once shut down amusement park is now in full swing again, people are cutting loose a bit.

Of course it wouldn't be Gotham if Something Wicked this way didn't come. Masked by the hustle and bustle of the rest of the crowd, a large delivery truck pulls up behind some of the game stands and in the shadows they cast, away from the prying eyes of any nosy snooper.

*

Paul doesn't get to Gotham often. There's a reason for that. But his mother still lives there and refuses to move. This is her home, she says. Stubborn woman. It was a spur of the moment decision to visit on his day off and, like many surprises, was not entirely convenient for the one being surprised. She had plans for a couple hours and he insisted she keep to them. He'd find something to do. He hadn't been to Amusement Mile since he was a teen. There's a reason for that. But it's opening day and he had some time to kill so why not go and see if it's as pathetic as he remembers. It is. It's Gotham.

*

Jericho Trent has a love/hate relationship with Gotham City. On the one hand, the general deterioration of the place makes it easy for criminal syndicates, the mafia and, yes, Hydra to move in and set up shop. On the other hand, that same deterioration makes it a much easier, if much less pleasant, place to hide. In addition, the freedom provided by the strained nature of law and order in Gotham makes them operate a bit more boldly, which is to say, sloppily. He has a few hits on his scans on the Hydra net down here and it really is past time that he came down to poke around and see where they lead. If his experiences in New York are any indication, a very sinister picture is emerging and he needs to know how it all fits in.

*

Matches Malone; an arsonist, thief, con artist and sometimes enforcer is many things but no one, no one calls him a snitch and he'd been dubbed that. That is exactly why the broad shouldered, strong jawed, mustached man with the thick nasal Jersey accent and the matchstick between his teeth is here tonight. Handle some loose ends and loose lips. Or at least that is the story. Matches has other reasons for being here but the two thugs with him don't know this. They're along for the ride, along to make sure the new guy is up to snuff and to have some fun, this is after all Amusement Mile during a lively night.

Curly fits the name, stringy wiry hair and a body that once held muscle. Now soft and puffy from too much Italian food and koosh jobs behind a wheel or desk.

Zap on the other hand is fit, wiry, a scrapper who has a hell of a reputation for being able to take down guys two to three times his size. The cauliflower ear testament to his battle record not to mention those knobby scarred up knuckles. Both are lit up on something, they stink of booze and bad cigarettes.

"Wheres Flatbed?" Zap questions.

Matches shrugs, "You said 'e'd be here. You tell me."

"Hey, hey, slick, don't get smart with me. You may been cool shit once upon a time but yous a mook now. Understand? Bottom rung. My bitch, alright? My bitch."

Matches can't help but smile a little past that mustache.

*

"Why am I even here?" Angelo diLucci asks himself. "I don't even LIKE Gotham, it's like night-time in da Bronx took a dump on a real bad detective novel."

Nevertheless, the short wanna-be wall is in the low-rent version of Coney Island, shuddering a bit at the clown-themed "shoot the cops and robbers" booth, where the gun has a half-mask whiteface attached to the sight so that when you aim it, you get to be a murder clown.

"Now that's just fuggin charmin'," he mutters, as a giggling teenage girl and her disturbing boyfriend with the open container trade turns shooting at anything that moves, cops, robbers, etc. At least they're keeping it in the booth so far.

He tries to ignore the thugs that are talking WAY too loud. He's a bit too far away to hear them, if he was a regular guy. But he moves their way, and away from the budding young Bonnie and Clyde.

*

Melinda May knows exactly why she's here. Coulson is off on another mission and Sitwell dumped this in her lap. She is SO going to make him pay for that. In an attempt to make her usual SHIELD tac-gear seem a bit more like street clothes, she's swapped out the black pants for jeans and the black under-armor shirt for a more casual looking blue button-up. She'd been on her way to Gotham already when Trent called, so she has two reasons for being in this cesspool of a city. Though, if he'd mentioned that his chosen meeting place was this carnival, she'd have said no. Because seriously.

Sidestepping around yet another sullen teen stuck following a pair of younger children clearly related to her, she reaches the area where she was told to meet Sitwell's informant and tries to make it look like she's merely bored waiting, pulling her phone to look at the screen.

*

The intercom chips, the same noise that's been used to occasionally announce a car's lights have been left on or more frequently to announce which direction the already over worked and underpaid Gotham PD moonlighting security needs to dash to help break up a fight. From the speakers, which whine and squawk with ear piercing squelches before quieting down again. Some super skin-crawly music begins to play, cutting through the sounds of merriment, a harpsichord as played by an evil psychopath in a mockery of carnival music cuts the air until everyone starts to still and look around curiously. Part of the show?

"Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, welcome to the reopening of the Amusement Mile. I hear the sounds of laughter and joy and they lift the spirit of this otherwise dystopian town." the voice is melodious and cultured, "The first Carnival of Venice occurred in celebration for the end of a great war, for the peace to be found in a moment of triumph over death and fear. In celebration of that first Carnival, I would recommend those of you who're prepared wear your masks… For the rest of you, I am sorry, but I don't celebrate for the same reasons…"

The thugs that Angelo was heading towards reach into a duffel bag that appears from nowhere and pull gas masks on over their heads, toothy maws painted over the filters. The couple behind him, shooting at the game reach down and draw out similar masks from the girls purse. A pair of carnies near Melinda do the same, as does one of the two men with Matches, the scrawny one who just shrugs at Matches and the big man with a goofy little smile splitting his lips. People scattered about the park don masks in quick and easy practiced motions, pulling them down over their faces and securing them tightly a mere second or two before thick green smoke begins to billow from… well… everywhere really. Every cotton candy cone starts to smoke and sputter. Every game booth coughs out clouds of the stuff, even the speakers high over head squawk once before green fog coughs out of them and pours down on the unsuspecting crowd below, a crowd only now beginning to be afraid. Laughter, dark low and ominous chortles it's way out of the speakers, grating on the nerves.

*


Paul's just wandering up and down the aisles, knowing better than to try his hand at a game or sample the so-called 'food'. But slowly, his steps slow till he's just standing there and looking around. Something's not right but he can't put his finger on it. It's just… even for Gotham, something is strange. Still, he's surprised by the gas and all the gasmasks being donned. But he was on edge that he's able to react quickly. Taking a deep breath before the gas gets to him, he boosts and leaps toward the nearest… whatever they are. Criminals. One hand grabs the gasmask and the other slams into the man's shoulder, his increased strength shattering the bone and sending him flying. Gasmask retrieval accomplished and he slips it on before taking cover in a booth to assess the situation.

*

Gas is absolutely the last thing Jericho was expecting… and he absolutely does not carry a gas mask around with him. What does he look like? The Partisan? However 4 years infantry and 4 years SOAR do teach quick reflexes if nothing else. And MOPP drills… well… are a thing. "Eagle out." He snaps. Digital wings sprout from his back. The flap once in the direction of the nearest tough that does have a mask, blowing the gas away for the moment. Then he's in flight, reaching out to grab the jackass. The idea is to appropriate his mask… and then… drop him off somewhere.

*

Too many frequently exchanged glances, hunched shoulders, lifted eyebrows, fidgeting, body language signals for tension, fear and nerves are going haywire, as crowds go this is one of the more anxious ones Matches has been amongst. A tick of his lips and the matchstick between them bounces once as while his eyes free roam, scanning, profiling, watching, anticipating.

"Hey, Matches, you see him yet? He's fat. It's not hard to miss a lard ass like that." Curly's voice is dull, it sounds flat and bored just like the way he dresses. It's a wonder the man has ambition enough to be a criminal let alone roll out off the couch.

"Not yet. He's here though, I can smell 'im." That North Jersey inflection is grating on Matches' own ears as he hears himself working it like a pro. He's not looking for Flatbed now, his attentions have drastically shifted to the carnies and the excited customers. One to the other. It doesn't take Master Tsunetomo's Zanshin teachings to realize they're in danger. That higher state of awareness affords Matches/Batman time enough to shove Zap roughly towards one of the carnies while swiping his mask with the opposing hand.

"Hey, you slackjawed Joisey douche! Give it back." As quickly as the man was pushed and removed of his mask Matches Malone has disappeared in to the green smoke leaving Zap unprepared and frantically peeling at his shirt own shirt in an effort to pull it up over his face trying to pull it over his face. He had no clue that Malone could move so fast.

Curly's lazy eyed stare widens while he is looking at a thin woman, a thin woman who in his minds eye appears to be stretching taller and taller and taller, and taller, and sprouting leaves… "What… oh no, on no, not this again, on no." Fear gas inhaled the chubby man is now freaking out. "No I won't let it get me, no! I don't want to see Lord of the Rings mommy, NO!!" Fear of Ents? Surely it's a thing.

*

Angelo catches just a whiff of that stuff and there's a fwash of light — and his eyes light up, his hair starts glowing like a freakin' halo, and wings, made out of words written in arc-light white peel off his back, ignoring his jacket. He looks around, spotting a push-broom, and commandeers it, twisting the handle off, and when the carnie in the booth tries to shoot him, he just touches the guy, and FWASH the fellow goes down, giggling almost like he'd inhaled another famous Gotham poison, but no, this is happy, not forced… until, Ange considers a moment, and takes the mask off the guy. Seraph is immune, or rather, detoxes the stuff as it touches him, but there's probably someone deserving who could use it.

Oh, like HER. The sometime handler from SHIELD. He moves towards Agent May. He might get there before she's affected, if she's not faster than he is. She could be.

*

Melinda May can tell almost instantly that something is more off than usual about this place, and the moment she sees a gas mask start to emerge from a bag she pulls in a lungful of air then turns and aims a jab at the throat of the nearest carnie, reaching to snatch his gas mask away with her free hand. Regardless of whether she gets the man's mask or not, she kicks at the other carnie to take him down as well and THEN puts on whichever gas mask is closest as she crouches down to get her bearings and pick her dropped phone back up to stow in a vest pocket.

*

"Crystal water turns to dark
Where ere it's presence leaves it's mark
And boiling currents pound like drums
When something wicked this way comes…" intones the deep sonorous voice with a wry amusement.

And that's when the screaming starts. This is the worst case scenario for a hero type, bar none. Visibility is cut to only ten feet or so as the green fog acts like a chemical weapon should, keeping close to the ground, not dispersing quickly, and being so thick as to make people the vaguest versions of moving outlines. Screams of terror cut through the night as thousands of visitors to the Amusement Mile feel Dr. Crane reach into their heads and flip on their individual fight or flight responses. The crowd surges like a mob, only unlike a mob they don't move as one. They begin to flee in different directions at once, mothers and fathers leave their children behind, children cower sobbing in balls on the ground. Men with masks pull guns and bandy them about while men without guns who're just Gotham citizens also pulls guns, the completely visible whites of their to-wide eyes showing the effects of the toxin on them.

It happens fast, faster then most people expect, but when once it starts it doesn't release it's grip. Gun shots ring out as people in fear fire wildly at anything that moves… and right now everything is moving. Thugs in masks brandish their machine pistols and a few helpfully toss out a couple more gas grenades before they too fire shots into the crowd. This is more the panic, more then fear. It's a herd of spooked human cattle in a penned in place losing their minds entirely. The rides, once manned by carnies, now hurtle out of control, roller coasters and spinny whirls and loopty loops, all rides meant to kick adrenalin in by playing on minor fears of heights and falling now turn into unguided, unstopping, living hells for those left on board as their hearts pound and their adrenaline soars.

"A presence dark invades the fair
And gives the horses ample scare
Chaos rains and panic fills the air
When something wicked this way comes…" Crane continues with a giggle.

*

And in the middle of it all, Paul stands there taking stock of the situation. And the conclusion? It sucks. And he's really, really pissed. This isn't a crime; this is sadism. This is everything he hates most about Gotham and why he joined the Marines to escape it. Moving toward the nearest gunman, he attacks. First to get the gun away and then to remove the gasmask. Once disarmed, let the gas take them out.

*

Jericho's bright amber wings are clearly visible above the murk at ground level, the sight almost angelic. (Breathe in the irony. No, not that. That's not irony, that's fear gas). He swoops over one of the game stands and drops the thug once he's relieved him of his mask. "Thank you for your donation." He says as the man falls about forty feet into a plywood stand. It takes the hacker a moment to get the mask on and adjusted. Out comes his handgun. He was packing light for this trip, not really expecting anything quite this, um, exciting.

He takes aim at the muzzle flashes in the murk below him and begins to snap off careful, aimed shots while pinging almost by reflex for any machinery that might be of help. Wait a minute. Those are New York numbers. One he recognizes right off… and the other is… He immediately rings both up. "Agent May? Detective Manning?" The nice thing about having a digital comm suite? His voice isn't even muffled.

*

And, there are screaming people. Seraph sends light into the broom handle, and it starts glowing like a proper enchanted staff - it's a bit too short for a good quarterstaff, but maybe a 20 cent staff will do. He spots the girl and the two young children May was watching earlier, they're beginning to scream, and there's a blur of light as he moves to their position and, "Shield of the Seraphim," a sphere of light extends out from him, a two-meter sphere of light that holds the gas at bay.

"This is too much. I can't stop it all," Seraph says, picking up the teenage girl and the two children, and he is in flight, and in thirty seconds they're down safely a mile away, the gas effects mostly purged, and he's back, five seconds later, looking for the faint life-glow of children, the red glint of injuries. He'll run completely out of light if he tried to purge everyone of the poison completely, or to heal all the injuries, but he can fix the worst of them and get people out of the gas, so he concentrates on that. Hopefully the police station can handle the influx.

*

With the mask on his face Matches Malone is a dozen feet from where Zap and Curly now scream and shriek in their hallucinogen induced terrors. The green gas is used at first as a form of camouflage to escape and assess the situation, his actions carry him from behind a giant plastic clown with a broken red nose to the backside of a cotton candy cart where he remains crouched down. A thumb depressing on the top right side of his wrist watch. "Crane." The Conroy growl exudes. One of the gunmen gets close and Matches' arms tightly wrap around his neck, between forearm and weapon the trigger caught in a strong fingertip as the man struggles only briefly before going slack in the sports jacket laden arms of his attacker.

Elsewhere, The Gotham City Waterfront… Something dark and large screams through the sky over Pier 10, then Pier 9, now Pier 7 and closing in.
It won't arrive soon enough, Matches watches silhouettes move amongst the crowd, believes he sees something or someone flying and even what could be an angel? Possible hallucinations. Scarecrows toxins may be absorbing through his clothes and skin. The gun shots and the canisters draw him in, he'll sweep the legs from another man and bring him under with a knife hand to the jaw then temple. The jaw was a sloppy maneuver, perhaps anger. It'll break and the henchman be eating and breathing out of a tube for a while. Might learn a lesson.
Still low the man continues to move, once more checking his watch.

Pier 5. Closer.

*

Melinda May stays low to the ground despite the lack of visibility, especially as people start firing weapons. She's below most of the gunfire. Hopefully. However, that means she's become a trip hazard for all of the people panicking and running, so she finds the closest building-like structure and stays right up against it as she gets out her phone to call in the attack. She can only hope they can scramble fast enough to keep the carnage here to a minimum. Damn Sitwell. Though if he'd come on this fool's errand, he'd probably be either panicking or dead now. She flinches at a particularly close-by gunshot, then lunges at the mask-wearing gunman and takes him down with a particularly vicious kick. Unaware that this toxin doesn't HAVE to be breathed to cause an effect, she stares at the downed 'carnie' for a horrified second. Bahrain. She then looks around for the next insurgents blocking her path to her people. She WILL get them out, no matter what it takes.

*

"Ill winds mark it's fearsome flight,
And autumn branches creak with fright.
The landscape turns to ashen crumbs,
When something wicked this way comes…"

The crowd continues to panic, because there is only so much a handful of heroes can do against thousands of panicked civilians surrounded by madmen with guns. Welcome to Gotham, home of terrorism masquerading as base criminality. Paul's location in the thick fogs allows him a free glance between two booths and to the massive delivery truck that is parked behind it… Though what a carnival would need with a 'laundry service' is anyone's guess. As gunmen go down one at a time, Melinda hears the ratcheting clank of machinery over head, a sound like the slides of a thousand empty pistols locking in place as the roller coaster screams by overhead at twice it's recommended top speed, the screams of the passengers punctuated only by the sounds of retching and sobs. A man, heavy set and in his fifties, is knocked about by a surge of crowd people that blast past Match's crouched position, the man flounders and then crumples a bit on the ground, numerous feet kicking at him as they go by and over him, even as he clutches at his left arm with a panicked expression.

"Flowers bloom as black as night
Removing color from your sight
Nightmarish vines block your way
Thorns reach out to catch their prey

And by the pricking of your thumbs
Realize that their poison numbs
From frightful blooms, rank odors seep
Bats & beasties fly & cree-ERCKGH!!" the poem is cut off just before the last word finishes, "No Bats Dr. Crane, not tonight. Only me." says a deep rumbling baritone, it's words muffled and warped by something obviously mask like over the speakers face.

From the trailer that sits near the large clearing at the center of the carnival, the sound of shattering glass can be heard as a tall but whip cord thin man in burlap clothing that seems to be stuffed with straw, flies face first through one of the building's windows. The speakers squack again, then die as if someone yanked out a cord or perhaps just the mic and tossed it away. With a heavy THUMP, a very large man, heavily armored and armed like a one man army hops lightly out of the broken window after Scarecrow, who scrambles among the glass, trying to adjust his floppy hat. "Cross the land, ill winds blow Dr. Crane." says the one eyed mountain of weapons, "and they sent me here for you. You should have been more careful about whom you tested your serums on. Lacy Guthrey's parents took exception." a long metallic staff snaps to full length in Deathstroke's hand, one of it's ends glow ominously.

*

One more down. Paul moves quickly through the gas, the right side of it that it makes wonderful cover and the bad guys aren't aware they're being hunted until too late. For one more, it's too late as a hand reaches from behind and yanks the gasmask off before Paul's other hand grabs the back of his collar. A quick boost and he yanks the man hard enough to send him flying into two other twenty feet away. Moving to get a better look at the truck that looks out of place, his damn phone goes off. He wouldn't even hear it with all the commotion except that it's also on vibrate. And it keeps ringing. "Whu?!" he shouts, voice muffled by his gasmask. Ducking down, he takes cover behind a food stall now abandoned.

*

Ugh. Neither of them are answering. Jericho looks about, pinging both phone locations. Detective Manning's phone is moving… tactically it looks like. Agent May's is… not. He fires off a text to Paul. "Got to find a way to shut off the gas. May have a man down. Going in to investigate. - Aspect" That done he zeros in on Agent May's location, staying above the gas and firing on any muzzle flash as he tries to make her out before diving into the murk.

*

Pier 3. Pier 2. Pier 1. So close…

Matches doesn't hesitate to step in to the sea of bodies, a muffled grunt escapes him as an elbow catches him the solar plexus. Shielding himself he weaves and shoves towards the fallen man only to grip him roughly by the collar and send him free of the throng to the opposite side Malone himself had just inhabited. "Stay there!" He'll find a nice unconscious Scarecrow henchman to huddle up next to.

Breaking free of the opposite side of the people flood Matches scrambles up a knocked over mechanized Fortune Teller box.

Harbor crossed and the Batwing's nightmare-black self shows itself, turbofan delta wings already shifting and reconfiguring, VTOL capable they flip and aim towards the carnival grounds, turbine engines scream as they overclock and the landscape is blasted creating bursting gusts that start to direct the green gas away from the crowds, the people, Amusement Mile itself and towards the waterfront. The dark airplane readjusting itself so it's weapon systems drop out and fall in to visibility.

A string of text scrolls across the face of Matches' wristwatch, |Riot Suppression armed. Targets acquiring. Targets locked. Awaiting command.|
"Engage." The gas mask covered face orders, a whirring sound heralds the whine of a rapid-fire rotary canon that starts to rain down slam rounds on select Scarecrow gunmen.

"Now Deathstroke and who are these others? What is going on here." Matches' deep voice rumbles and he hops down from his vantage point and begins to stalk closer, between booths and game shacks.

"Alfred, get the GCPD here fast, inform them they may need SRD assistance." As much as the Batman dislikes the idea it may be the best idea to deal with the likes of Slade Wilson, even to slow him down. He knows he can't, not like this, he is perspiring and the toxins are beginning to blur his eyesight and soon he'll become drugged and hallucinating. Didn't get the mask on fast enough. Breathing not calculated and too erratic. To face Deathstroke requires a good damn day, this is not it. The best he can do now is try and handle crowd control and keep people safe.

*

Melinda May ducks at the clattering noise, then looks up as the roller coaster speeds past. She stares at it for a baffled moment, wondering when a bunker in Bahrain had time to add a roller coaster, and the cognitive dissonance is enough to snap her back to the present. Gotham. The crap amusement park. She changes course, looking for a way to get to the controls of the runaway 'coaster, and not afraid to climb THROUGH the setup's support scaffolding to get there. She's waded through far worse, and she forces herself to ignore the phantom voices yelling in some obscure Middle Eastern dialect.

*

Scarecrow stares at Deathstroke, his eyes widening further and further, "Nononono." he says, shaking his behatted head firmly, "You can't be here! You can't! You have to run from me! EVERYONE HAS TO RUN FROM ME!" he screams at Deathstroke, rage mixing with his fear. The end of the staff only brightens to a white color and smoke roils from the light as a buzzing sound hums it's way into the air. "Sorry Dr. Crane. I don't do toxins." he says as the staff snaps up and the glowing end points directly at Scarecrow's face. Scarecrow… wets himself. Visibly.

The 'laundry' truck has an odd number of hoses of rather large calibre running from it that snake their way out into the carnival proper, splitting off in various directions hither and yon, but they all come back to the truck. The truck guarded by two men holding M240's who look as though they lift weighs as something more then recreational enjoyment. Masked and clothed in tight fitting chem-suits, they seem to be the best prepared to take on the cloud of gas, as not even their skin is visible where the weapon can seep in.

The roller coaster's controls are attached to a little both just across the way from Melinda, rather simple from the look of things. They're guarded by a thin wiry man holding what appears to be a wrench of some kind. He fidgets moment to moment and seems to be eyeing the controls of the coaster uncertainly. With bare arms, it's a good guess he's soaked up some of the toxin… Yup. Because no sane person would suddenly jerk away from the controls like they were a basket of snakes and raise a wrench over their head as if they were going to smash said snakes to death. "SPIDERS!" he squeals from inside his mask. Or spiders. Could be spiders.

*

Paul stares at the text for a moment then shoves the phone into his pocket. Yes, he knew that already. Not helpful! He pokes his head back up through the gas cloud to get a better look at the truck and the ones guarding it. Target is acquired. Even without boosting, the adrenalin is flooding through his body as he reacts to the combat situation. Fight or flight and he's almost always chosen the former. He plans his course and starts running. The roller coaster is closest. A leap lets him grab the lowest bar and he swings up into the supports. Running, climbing and swinging he gets higher and closer to the truck. Hopefully, twenty or thirty feet or so above ground level, he'll pass unnoticed by the guards. Unnoticed till he gets close enough to jump down onto the top of the laundry truck, rolling to absorb the inertia and then pulling his gun to fire at both of them from above.

*

Jericho is about fifty yards from May's phone trace when she starts moving again. Ah good. Maybe she's okay. She is after all the most capable non-powered woman he knows. She's probably got a handle on things, right?

He hopes so because he just saw something that needs dealt with. In the fog a light bobs that looks like the muzzle flash of a mini-gun armed raver… on a bad trip. He banks sharply and swoops down toward it. Up comes his handgun, freshly loaded. "Okay, lights out for you." He snaps off an entire magazine at the light before pulling up sharply and setting down, flapping hard to clear the gas.

*

Melinda May sees the booth and the man 'guarding' it just as he raises the wrench to smash the controls. She throws herself at the man far less efficiently than normal, intending 10 knock him away from the control panel and not really caring if she injures him severely. He's an accomplice, he deserves what he gets. She doesn't wait to see if he stays down, turning back to the control panel to slow the ride before stopping it completely.

*

The lance is about to fire when rounds begin to ping off of his armor and Deathstroke stumbles to the side, the plasma beam cutting a bubbling four inch deep trough into the asphalt to the side of Scarecrow's face and in a squiggly line to the side. He blinks and the beam cuts off, the staff hissing as he turns to look at Aspect as the beating wings clear the air of fog. "Ow." he says before the staff snaps around in an arc and the opposite end of the rod flashes with a blueish light and an arcing beam of stunning power leaps at Aspect's torso, "Go away, I'm working." Slade says as he reaches up to peel a flattened slug off of his pauldron where it go stuck on impact.

They don't make Gotham thugs like they used to, that's for sure. Paul's strategy of climb high and attack from there is entirely to successful. You'd think in this town with Bat people dropping from the sky all the time people would learn to look up. No go. One of the men goes down in a heap on the ground, his neck and head taking more rounds then is healthy, while the second one manages to survive long enough to stumble twice, turn to look up at Paul, then drop to the ground, a meaty hand pressing to soft flesh where red spurts are shooting skyward in ever slowing pulses.

The man with the wrench never saw what hit him, only that he went flying off of the small raised platform and landed on the ground a moment later, the wrench spinning free of his hand and landing itself firmly in his gut with a whoosh of air that is great enough to push his gas mask slightly to one side. A fresh more concentrated dose of the gas slips in and now breathing is an even harder chore.

Overhead there is the soft scream of jet engines, sounding as though from far away but rapidly growing louder…

*

Paul stands there breathing heavily and aiming down at them even after they've fallen. He shakes his head, trying to clear it of the dizziness and the images of other firefights that happened long ago. Taking another breath, he switches clips then reholsters his gun in order to swing down to the ground. He's no scientist or engineer but anything that looks like it's been flipped or turned on gets flipped or turned off.

*

Jericho stumbles back with a cry of pain as what is functionally low voltage lightning arcs into his chest. The wings wink out of existence while amber energy arcs over his chest and up his right arm. He shakes himself after a minute and looks up. Crap. That's not a 'carnie.' That's a… um… okay he doesn't know.

"Wolf out." An energy field snaps into existence around him, lifting him a foot off the ground. It looks like a lineart drawing of a werewolf made holographic… and it's mimicking his movements. "Okay. Who the HELL are you?"

*

Melinda May straightens up and resists the urge to rip the gas mask off, then steps past wrench-man to see the two suited men fall. With the phantom voices still distracting her, all she can make out is someone over by the truck doing… something. So she moves to stop him.

*

Slade watches the wings disappear and then a new shape appear and he turns more fully to face Aspect, "Huh." he says, the single visible eye darting over the man in a rapid assessing sort of way as he stares at him. He pulls a pistol from his thigh and casually puts two rounds into Crane, one into each of his stick thin thighs, "Don't go anywhere." he says off-handedly to the wounded man who's now mewling and and clutching at his legs with one of his hands, babbling mismatched poetry about scary something or others. The gun is reholstered and the staff snaps up to cradle against his shoulder, "I am Deathstroke." his tone suggests that the sort of announcement that is usually followed by weeping and gnashing of teeth, possibly begging and in Crane's case, a very damp crotch area. "Who are you?" he asks conversationally as he begins to walk Aspect's direction.

In the back of the truck is a massive tank, like one of those propane tanks for whole homes, only slightly larger. Tubes and hoses pour out of it and into a sort of box like thing with a few levers and some buttons. Luckily, they are all clearly labeled in a fastidious manner with those little black honest to god label maker labels. Turning it off involves a couple of switches and removing a key. The compressor sort of chuffs twice and then coughs to a stop, moments later, the fog stops pouring out of everything, though what's already in the air hangs there, heavy and non-cooperative in the 'dispersing' way.

Angelo's work in removing what innocents he can isn't bad, but a few dozen from thousands is only so helpful. Singling out children and those that seem to have the worst effects however does make a bit of a difference to those who're otherwise unable to protect themselves. Sirens in the
distance proclaim the slow coming of EMT's and GPD as well, about damn time, but that help remains a long way off yet.

*

Paul finishes shutting everything down then just leans back against the wall. After a few seconds of just trying to reorient himself, he pulls out his phone and dials 911. They're already on the way of course but they badly need a sitrep.

*

Jericho hears the sirens. This preset enhances his hearing quite a bit. "Call me Aspect. Deathstroke huh?" He starts to circle to the left, not willing to close just yet. His left hand flexes and the left claws on the field do likewise. He's never heard of this guy and immediately starts to see what a net search on him turns up. "And your business here? Might not happen to have something to do with hallucinogenic gas, might it?" His whole body is lit up now, circuit traceries in evidence on his arms, legs, chest and neck.

*

Melinda May sees the person inside the truck wearing a gas mask with a phone in hand, the phantom voices getting louder and more insistent. She gets closer to the truck, muttering something dangerous-sounding in what sounds like Arabic, and reaches to climb in after Paul. With the 'borrowed' gas mask on, is she recognizable to the NYPD officer?

*

Slade barely turns his head, his eye continuing to take in the sight, "Microcircuitry, cybernetics, hardlight projection…" he says aloud. He reaches to his belt and holds up a grenade, "Localized burst EMP device, in case the Bat showed up and felt gadgety… which he always does." his thumb plucks the pin from the grenade, "Run along boy, the adults are having a conversation. Besides, you're not the job." he turns back to Crane and finds… blood smears. "Dammit." he says, turning to follow the trail which is smeared in something like a circle. His hearing doesn't pick up the sound of scraping behind him, the incoming jet engines, the screams of the people, sensory overload keeps him from picking up the soft sounds, though the sudden impact of one hundred and sixty pounds of pissed off Scarecrow causes him to take a single step forward, "ALL WILL ROT AND DECOMPOSE, FOR SOMETHING WICKED," and the Scarecrow's hand jabs downward, the gauntlet he wears is heavy and carries what looks like five hypodermic needles instead of claws for fingers. Two of the needle snap off with soft pings when they hit Slade's armor, one slides harmlessly against the metal, kicking up sparks. Two find a hair thin crease and plunge into Deathstroke's neck, "THIS WAY GROWS!!" cackles the not so sane doctor. Deathstroke reaches back to grip the burlap of the man's costume as he drops the grenade as his feet. The grenade plinks on the ground, the doctor goes sailing nearly twenty feet through the air without touching the ground before he impacts a churro cart like a cannon ball, rocking it onto two wheels… and the EMP goes off. The gauntlet, which remains stuck in Deathstroke's neck sparks and sputters as an unseen forces pops an EMP bubble around him for about thirty feet, and before Slade can reach up to toss the glove away, the two needles in his neck empty their entire green glowing contents with a soft hiss of pressure.

About that same time Aspect's search comes up with bupkis… until it gets to the less then legal part of the net. The part where people do naughty things. The part that none to clearly informs Aspect of exactly who Deathstroke is, namely the most expensive, skilled, dangerous, superhuman mercenary in the world. Ho boy.

The high pitched whine of jet engines pass overhead, close overhead, the sound almost concussive at this range, as a dark Batlike shape hurtles through the sky, blotting out the stars and moon alike. Then it's gone, having flown past so quickly as to have almost imagined… Several seconds later literal tons of a powderized snow like substance rains from the sky, FWUMP'ing against the buildings, the ground, the cars, anything and everything, the small flakes are slightly tacky and sticky and where they touch skin they begin to melt almost instantly. The antidote to the fear toxin is in a medical gelatin like flake, not dissimilar to the fresh breath strips one might put in ones mouth or a nicotine patch only better. It will take time, minutes maybe, for the full effects of the antidote to take root, but the heavy blanketing of it will hit nearly everyone, and it sticks to everything anyone might touch, helping spread itself further faster.

Unless of course you're an insanely heavily armed mercenary assassin in full body armor who's just taken a concentrated dose of the toxin and who has no skin open to the air for the antidote to cling to. In that case, it's useless.

*

Does Paul recognize her in a gasmask like all the other criminals? The answer to that is… no. But neither is she armed so he doesn't start shooting as soon as the gun is in hand. "Police! Stay right where you are." he warns.

*

Melinda May pulled herself fully into the truck just in time to avoid the antidote-snow, of course. But she hesitates at Paul's very much American voice and the pistol in his hand, and after a moment of standing still says in English, "I'm your extraction team. Come with me if you want to live."

*

Jericho's implants can be disrupted… but the point is fairly moot since the dose of radiation required to do that is greater than the dose required to disrupt him. So he's not so much worried about being rendered powerless as he is being rendered very, very dead. Also… it's entirely possible that's not a regular EMP device. In which case… power field failure is a very real possibility. All of that goes out of his head when he sees the grenade hit the ground.

"Eagle out!" The wolf-armor field fades and he takes off straight up. He immediately calls up Manning and May again. Their traces are together. Hopefully they have things sorted.

*

Slade reaches up to wrench the glove from his neck and toss it to the ground where it is crushed beneath his foot in a shattering of glass and twisting of metal. He then seems to tense, tightening up, and his head spins one way then the other, his eye wide beneath the mask… then up. His gaze zero's in on the flying form of Aspect, "I killed you once," Slade growls through his teeth and the staff returns to it's place on his back as he slings down the M4 from his back and shoulders it in a single smooth motion. A trio of rounds spit through the air with marksman aim, looking to pluck Aspect from the sky, "I can do it again. BRONSON!!" he bellows as the rifle poppoppops in his hands, aimed at plucking Aspect from the sky.
The antidote powder helps drag some of the heavy fog to the ground, and with no new fog to add, it's finally begun to thin a bit, extending visibility to a few dozen yards and merely tinting everything in a greenish haze.

*

"Extraction team? What the hell are you talking about." And just then Eye of the Tiger starts playing as Paul's phone goes off again. This time he can actually hear it with the walls of the truck muting the chaos going on outside. And May's at the same exact time, assuming it rings. Not that he intends to answer it but with the gas being minimal in here, he uses his free hand to take the gas mask off. "Stay right there till the police show up."

*

Melinda May pulls off her gas mask almost at the same time as Paul, having seen him reaching for it and anticipating the motions. "We don't have time for this," she all but grates, and pistol be damned, she starts toward him again with the intention of pulling him from this Bahrani… wait. She stops and frowns, her eyes going from Paul to the tank et al and back. "Manning. What are you doing here?"

*

"I'm so writing a program to override people's phones if I survive this." Aspect mutters to himself as he jinks and twists in midair, fighting for altitude as he tries to avoid getting shot. "Okay… Here goes nothing." He loops behind one of the roller coasters and circles back high, tucking his wings in and diving low. At the last second they flare open and he pulls up sharply, aiming to clip the delusional gunman in the chest with a wing.

*

Slade is an excellent shot, and as the winged man comes in high to drop down, Deathstroke doesn't even blink as he tracks the flight and pops another three round burst aimed for the flying man's face, "That's it. Come right at me." Slade mutters into his helmet, talking to himself. His eye is wide, his heart is pounding, which is almost never the case, and he can not only feel, but track the hormonal responces to the poisoning. On some level his mind is fully aware of what's happening to him, aware, and unable to do much about it. His body filters out what it can, but there's only so much he can do with a dose as large as he took. At the last second, just as Aspect's wings flare open, Deathstroke moves in a blur all his own, far faster then a man of his size should. He grabs the wing that was aimed for his chest and twists, attempting to pull Aspect up over his shoulder as if he were judo throwing a person by the arm. He's not even certain if that's how the wings work, but no time like the present to find out, "I'm going to bury all over again, deeper this time. Maybe the core." he's muttering to himself still.

*

"I was just going to ask you the same thing." Paul counters. "You been following, agent? What's SHIELD's involvement in this disaster? Another one of your operatives go rogue?" Shift. Partisan. Now this? Not a happy camper, is the good detective. He does though reholster his weapon. "Don't you disappear after this. I want to know everything you have on that Partisan person."

*

As Jericho flies in he dips to avoid sudden .223 caliber death. Not quite good enough. Two shots ping off the wings and one buries itself in his shoulder. Too late to pull out of the dive now. Sadly for him, that's exactly how the wings work and he ends up spinning in an arc behind Deathstroke. Damn. He's fast. Mid-fall Jericho manages to shift back into combat mode. Wolf-armor comes out again but the fall takes its toll on both the field and him. By the time he pulls himself to his feet, he's pretty banged up and his field is showing 70%.

*

"Partisan? What? No, I came here for something completely unrelated." And god, does May want to not even think about the paperw… Her head snaps to one side at the gunshots nearby (aka, Deathstroke shooting at Aspect), and she all but tackles Paul to the floor of the truck. "Stay down, I'm getting all of you out of here." And with that, she scrambles to exit the truck again and get to the cab. Extraction is nearly done, just have to get everyone to to the causeway and back onto Saudi Arabian soil.

*

Slade follows directly after the throw, leaping at Aspect like a human missile. He's a flurry of close in blows, a brutal style of hand to hand combat that looks like some mix of Krav Maga and Muay Thai and something Russian maybe, every motion one designed to maim, injure, or kill. There are no locks or submissions with this man, nothing passive in his style. And he hits really /really/ hard. Partway through the first attack he becomes aware that he's screaming gibberish but can't stop himself.

*

That Paul was not expecting but if she thinks he's going to stay on the floor, she's crazy. Or possibly drugged? Little thing like her doesn't need much exposure. He's back on his feet seconds after she is and hops out of the truck right behind her. He too heard the shots and looks around for the cause. Hey look, really big guy in armor. And… speaking of Rogue SHIELD agents, that Aspect guy. How'd he guess. The question is, who's the villain here? For the moment, he'll bet on the one using deadly martial arts. A falling out maybe. "Hey, you!" And he fires a shot at Deathstroke. "Police!" That should probably be the other way around but he's had enough shit today.

*

Jericho backs as best he can. His shoulder hurts like hell and if he could spare a moment to look he'd see that he's got a half dollar sized exit wound on the other side. Gritting through the pain he weaves and blocks, expertly fighting in a mixed martial arts style that Slade will almost certainly recognize as Level IV Modern Army Combatives. Even with his fists, Slade is draining the field integrity. Jericho can already see it down to 55%. Fine, no time to pull punches. Rather than fist blows and knees, Jeri starts to employ his claws as well, raking at what he hopes will be nerve points and tendons. If he can't slow Slade down or at least buy some space to disengage, he's in a lot of trouble.

*

Melinda May doesn't notice that Paul bailed out of the truck, the phantom voices yelling in Arabic despite the antidote starting to kick in being too distracting. She guns the truck's engine and starts away from its hiding place, barely managing a sharp turn and then seeing Deathstroke and Aspect directly ahead. Her reaction? She pushes the truck's engine all the more, aiming to go right through the blockade. That looks strangely like a glowing wolf. What? No. Finish the extraction.

*

Slade takes the claws by twisting so that his armor catches them, and where they make contact sparks fly as narrow shallow gouges appear in the odd metal that looks like it should be carbon fiber but clearly is not. MAC isn't a system Deathstroke is familiar with so much as it's one he helped implement. He was in the Army a loooong time. "You're rusty Bronson," he growls through his mask and between a flying elbow and a sudden knee that had enough force to rock a car up onto two wheels, a large combat knife has appeared in an inverted grip in Deathstroke's hand, "you used to be better then thi-" and a bullet pa-chings off of his helmet, rocking Slade to the side and forcing him to shift his position so that he can see the field of battle more cle- The impact of the massive delivery truck hitting him full on like that puts a Deathstroke shaped dent straight into the hood of the vehicle, the force driving his hands down onto said hood hard enough the knife sinks clear to the hilt in the sheet metal there. Then there's the applied brakes, and a moment later Deathstroke the Terminator, a one man army is now a one man skipping projectile. His armored form hits a funnel cake stand, turning it into kindling and splinters, bounces, slams through a ring toss that becomes and explosion of fluff and fake fur, a control panel for some sort of machine, and ends in a sparking skittering heap when he plows his way into the dark shadows just on the other side of the strong man game. The tower that holds the bell spins wildly before falling on it's side and making the cliched 'ding!' noise that signals someone struck the paddle hard enough to max out the game. A pink teddy bear's head lands, plop, at Aspect's feet.

*

Paul just has to blink at that sequence of events and he reaches up to rub his eyes to make sure that's what happened. Yup. Though he lowers his gun slightly, he still keeps an eye on both Slade and Aspect. Where the hell are the police? Never a cop when you want one. And oh god, the paperwork especially since he's out of his jurisdiction.

*

Jericho had jumped back at the oncoming and rather distinctly not slowing down truck. He actually jumps onto the side of the truck, digging in with his claws and winds up atop the cab. One can almost hear him sigh with relief when Slade is knocked about like a ping-pong ball. He blinks as he notices the bear that landed by his feet and, shutting off the Polymorpher, he picks it up and leans over the cab to look in the passenger side window. One eyebrow goes up when he sees May. "For you, Agent May." He says a bit out of breath, then flops back on his back atop the cab, looking up at the sky.

He indulges himself with fantasies of passing out for a moment. But no. Police will be coming and he can't be here when they show up. They'll want to question him. Then detain him and then Hydra will get wind of his location and that'll be it. He's got to get clear and… damn… staunch the bleeding on his shoulder before he passes out or goes into shock. "Eagle…" Is all he manages. The wings come back, though, at his call. He pulls himself into a hover, then remembers something. "Right. The meet." His eyes light on Paul and he pulls what looks like a syringe full of blue fluid out of his pocket and tosses it to the detective. "Get that to Agent May. Gotta… gotta find out what it is… important…" With that he winces again and pulls himself skyward… perhaps a tad slowly.

*

Seat belts save lives, y'all. May is now living proof of that. Bruised all to hell, but living. She doesn't really react to Trent's tossing a disembodied teddy bear head at her, still a bit stunned from the impact, but by the time his saying her name filters through she's recovered enough to blink a few times and speed up the process the rest of the way by shaking her head. She clambers gracelessly out of the truck to try and figure out what just happened, and sees only Manning left standing there.

*

Paul automatically reaches out to catch the syringe and frowns down at it. Can this day get any more confusing? He looks over as the truck's door opens and May climbs out. "That was pretty dumb." he notes. But has to add "But effective."

*

Half a mile away Jericho flops over on a high rise rooftop. The shot hadn't opened up his brachial artery, or he'd be dead already. But he's pretty pale and starting to feel cold. He rips a strip off the end of his shirt and packs it into the wound as best he can. "Regen…" He mumbles. The polymorpher surges to life, giving his skin a greenish glow as it turbocharges his natural healing process. And then, on a rooftop in Gotham, he does pass out.

*

All May can really do to respond to Manning is frown a bit before she turns to look at the mess that used to be an amusement park. I Hate Gotham, Reason # 36.

*

Paul gives the syringe another look then slips it into a pocket. It'll be something to trade for information on Partisan. The excitement seeming to be over, he puts his gun back in its holster and also looks around at the park. Reason to hate Gotham # 79. He grew up here. His list is longer.


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