Big Bird of the Word

Summary:
August 27, 2014: In the diffracted reality around Titan's Tower, The Corvinus is not as Enlightened.

Titans Tower

Strange T-shaped tower rising ominously from the midst of a fog-shrouded isle, connected by a wisp of a land-bridge built up by the feeble efforts of man.


Characters

NPCs

  • followers of the Bird

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


It is late afternoon on Wednesday, August 27th, an overall ordinary day for a vigilante. Nothing extraordinarily apocalyptic happened today, outside of the occasional petty crime.

Keith O'Neil has put aside his guise of Vorpal and is sitting on the rooftop mending his uniform. Barefoot, clad in khaki shorts and a black tank-top and sitting cross-legged, he's enjoying what remains of the day while also trying to fix a rather alarming tear in his tights.

It happened earlier today— chasing a jewel thief over the rooftops. Who knew there was a wrought iron fence down that particular balcony? Although he managed to apprehend the thief, he had to make his way back to the tower immediately while invisible. Thank heavens for that particular skill of his- otherwise the morning tabloids would have thoroughly embarrassing pictures.

"I wonder if this ever happened to Robin…" he mutters.

-

A red seagull lands on the rooftop next to Keith.

"Well, the original only wore tights in the winter," the seagull answers, "because apparently he had legs like leather. But his little green briefs were scale-mail armor. Necessary when you're dealing with Gotham type goons."

The bird shifts into a sort of hairy red-on-red guy wearing cargo shorts, no shirt, no shoes, and exhibiting Eddie Munster fangs.

-

Ah, freedom. How sweet the blessed sound for most folks at the end of a long day of work. Not so much for Jim Reha, who actually looks forward to working as a solace from the madness that is Manhattan and environs. Work was somewhat slow today at Drakos Recovery over in New Jersey, and by the end of the shift Jim was pacing back and forth in an effort to keep active, awake, and aware. With a little bit of time to kill before he had to go home to power-nap for the next long shift, he strides into the area surrounding the Titans Tower —

Discontinuity

The weathered worker blinks a bit as a few people look up and start pointing at him, murmuring excitedly to one another.

"It can't be!" "No way." "Probably an actor, he never leaves the Roost, he's always watching over the city!"

A slowly forming group of folks starts to form a bit of a… well, it's not a 'flash' mob, because it wasn't communicated via social media… yet.

Jim steps up his pace, which seems to bring more folks out of the woodwork starting to follow him.

"It MUST be HIM! He's so private!"

What. The. Heck?

-

The young man blinks and looks at the red man. "Hey, Gar… you're red again. Are you sure you're not just allergic to this place?" Keith frowns a little, but then he reaches over and runs a hand down Gar's nearest arm, "… that's odd, it doesn't seem as if you have a rash, though, or anything…"

Across the area separating the tower from the rest of the city (also known as 'the river'), the people following Jim are not numerous enough to be spotted from the tower. Yet.

However, considering how things have been in the fluctuating unreality field that seems to find its epicenter at the tower, this will not be the case for long.

-

"I'm pretty sure it's the same thing that makes this place not be a bombed-out pile of rubble," Gar says. "I talked to one of the guys at the physics department at ESU this morning, and he was all hyperactive about parallel world theory. He figured Wiccan patched the area with a bit of some adjacent reality or other. Made me wonder if they got our rubble, or if it was just a copy."

-

The portly fellow's increased pace can only be maintained for a few blocks. Whatever may have changed to have a really weird group of people chasing after him clearly did not change anything about his physiology. And internally, the partner is prodding Jim to stop and find out what is going on.

However, the guy does have some sense, and realizes pretty quickly that if he stops, here, without body guards — where did that thought come from? — for the crowds that people could get hurt.

He blinks a few more times, even as the crowd has grown to several thousand and shows no signs of stopping. When he slows down, the crowd slows down, when he speeds up, they speed up, almost like they were mimicking his every move.

Again. What. The. Heck?

-

"Then how come I am not affected?" Keith asks, and then answers his own question "… chaos. Of course," he mutters. He shoots Gar a look.

"Well… if you start feeling like you're close to ceasing to exist or something like that, head for the shore and then give me a call, alright?"

He reaches over to ruffle the red hair and smirks, "I wouldn't wan— "

He trails off and looks over Gar's shoulder, at what looks like a mass of people across the river.

"… what on earth…"

-

Gar changes his head into an Eagle head, and looks that way.

"Looks like someone is … wait. That weird half-memory that I have here says that's the Big Bird. I have no idea what that means."

-

A couple of drones zip past the upper level of the building where Gar and Keith are chatting. They zip down the side of the tower as they spin around, the on-board cameras clearly looking for something… or someone.

The image is almost comical as the mass of people is following some exceptionally overweight fellow with salt and pepper hair clad in a business suit. When he stops, they all stop, almost as a unit, and a somber silence settles over the crowd, as if they are expecting something PROFOUND to be said. When he turns back to look at them, they all turn back and face away from him, as if trying to see whatever it is he's seeing. Oh why did he come out here today? It'd be so much easier to just fly over this and not have to deal with it.

And yet, even though that thought occurs to him, another one does as well.

People need to see their heroes out in the open. Flesh and blood. It is what separates those who truly care about the People from those who are just in it for the Money.

Jim is well onto his way of being just a wee bit freaked out, even as his partner-half attempts to calm him, to ease his growing claustrophobia from the sea of apparent fans.

-

Keith is startled by the drones, and he grabs Gar's shoulder. "Gar… what the hell is going on?" he asks. "This is going full goose gonzo here, and I'm not sure I like it…" he stands up. "We'd better get over there and see what this is all about."

-

"You're right. Can you rabbit hole us that far?" Gar says, shifting himself to fully eagle. Red eagle one to Cheshire Cat, time to hit the Rabbit Hole, Roger?

-

The poor fellow's heart is pounding. SO. MANY. PEOPLE! It's like they'll swamp him and swallow him up, or trample him. Coming outside today for a walk was a really BAD idea, even if the motivation was a good one. So many lost people, seeking a little bit of wisdom, something to brighten their day. And he could provide it to them. It wouldn't take much! It's easy. So very easy.

His partner senses his unease, and envelops him, taking charge of the situation. He's a little bit more… assertive than Jim seems to remember, but the poor guy is willing to let go for the moment.

In the space of about a minute he transforms into some sort of birdlike being, even as the crowd turns with 'oohs' and 'ahhhs'.

One person shouts out… "OH MIGHTY CORVIE, BIG BIRD of the Heavens! GIVE US YOUR INSIGHT!"

The bird-thing freezes.

A pin could drop.

The air grows almost still, like the breath before a storm!

-

"Sure, just let me change— " Keith reaches into his pockets and takes out a small handheld mirror, like the one Hulkling had. He says the words.

And nothing happens.

He says the words again.

More nothing continues to happen.

"…Oh shit…" Keith mutters and looks at Gar. "… I guess I am being affected… Gar, can you…?"

-

Gar stops being an eagle. Well. Partly. He did the Chimera trick the day before, being a half-tiger/half-raptor. This time he's also part horse.

"OK, hop on and hold tight," Changeling says, and once he's sure Keith has a good grip, he leaps into the air, crossing the expanse of water and circling to land next to the Mighty Corvie, Big Bird of the Heavens. Who, for some reason, Gar thinks should have yellow feathers. But whatever.

-

'Corvie' raises its arms upwards to the heavens, then makes a motion encompassing the entirety of the mob.

"Each day is unto us a blessing.
Every step we take
every we move we make
we are watching the world.
Oh, can't you see?
We all want to be free."

Safely ensconced within the avianoid Jim tugs at memory shards and thoughts. Those aren't the right words. Those words are wrong. The Police are going to be here any minute!

Well, of course the Police are going to be here any minute. It's not every day that the Mighty Corvie comes down to impart wisdom to the masses!

With almost religious significance it bows to the crowd, then to the two new arrivals.

"Peace of the Heavens be unto you, my friends."

-

Keith can't resist it. You knew it was coming, anyways, as Gar carries him across the water into the air, the young man pumps both fists up into the air and yells…
"FALKOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR!"

-

OK, that … when Keith yells that thing he yelled, Garfield Logan cheats and reaches for something even more mythological. So when he lands, he's not a big red hippogryph. No. He's a freaking LUCK DRAGON. With red fur.

-

Frivolity aside, though, when Gar lands and they are greeted in a Most Holy Way, Keith frowns.
"… I have a bad feeling about this."

-

"Sting's most stalkeriffic song turned into words of inspiration," Gar says in a quiet voice to Keef. He turns his head back to Big Bird.

"Which piece? I like the upper west side," Gar says, with pekingese-dragon charm.

-

"BEHOLD the EXUBERANCE of YOUTH!"

The crowd intones "…the exuberance of youth!"

"THROUGH it, we can find THE TRUTH!"

"…ough it we can find the truth!"

The bird-thing tilts its head at Gar, then back to the crowds.

"WITH HUMOR, WE CAN OVERCOME!"

"..ith humor, we can overcome!"

The birdly-being crouches down, for lack of a better term, even as the masses kneel before it.

"Let us pray."

Gar sees a glint up to the left that isn't 'right', and Keith sees one closer to ground-level on the right…

-

"This is getting disturbingly messianic," Keith says, sliding off the Luck Garfield. "This is like a Tammy Faye Baker concert on Fire Island…" and then the glint catches the redhead's eye. "… snipers!" Keith hisses. Because Keith is, of all things, distinctly genre-savvy. It would not make sense to have a spiritual guru spouting platitudes in the middle of the street if someone, somewhere in the area were not intending to take them down.

-

Reality Check, about to bounce, Changeling thinks.

He stops being a Luck Dragon and starts being a distinctly different kind. Smaug was pretty much impenetrable to weapons, and it's something of a wrench demanding this of the Red, but he does so anyway, becoming a much larger dragon, and wrapping the Big Bird, armor and dragon-wings intervening. He spits a fast gout of flame at the sniper on the ledge. The one in the crowd, perhaps Keith can handle.

-

"Oh Wisdom of the Ways,
what guides us through our days,
whose source we always praise,

to you our voices raise."

The bird-thing is clearly focused on whatever ritual or ceremony or rock concert or whatever it is when its chain of prayer is interrupted by multiple *CRACK*s of high-caliber gunfire.

The depleted-uranium rounds go skidding off the Smaug-protector Gar even as the left-hand sniper catches fire, falling down from the ledge aflame, screaming.

The right-hand fellow's firearm is revealed above the crowd, even as pandemonium erupts!

-

Keith pauses for one second to make sure Gar actually survives that round— and when he sees that, the redhead sprints forward through the crowd towards the sniper. Now, this is very important to notice- Keith is essentially barefoot, wearing only very light summer stock clothing, and completely powerless.

If you don't count the black belt in Black Tiger Fist, which can severely ruin someone's day. The trick, however, is being able to reach the sniper before they fire. And before they decide to fire at *him* instead of the target. Still, he didn't sign up for this job in order to stay in the safety of the shadows- the young man makes his way towards the sniper as fast as he can, and if he can make it in time, he will deliver a kick to that rifle to throw off whatever lock the killer might have gotten.

-

Can't set fire to the crowd. That would be ((satisfying)) shut up dragon-brain murderous. The Red Dragon only has one kind of breath weapon. But he also has another weapon, when he gets to be this size … A deep, Cumberbatchian voice rumbles over the crowd as brilliant whirling red-gold eyes center on the second shooter, focusing its gaze in that hypnotic way Dragons get.

"Give up, sniper. You cannot win against one such as I."

-

"STOP THE FALSE PROPHET! In the NAME OF GOD!"

That shout came from the right hand gun-person (not currently on fire) who reaches into a pocket even as her eyes alight with the fervor of a fanatic.

A remote control goes skidding out of the woman's hand, even as a vest loaded with enough explosive to potentially take a chunk out of the Tower is revealed. Good timing on the kick, which with the full sweep of motion did the job.

There is a scream from the sniper to the left as he burns. Oh, whups. Looks like he didn't have a chance ot arm his vest, equally loaded with explosives. Between the two… well.

The crowd turns to look at the sniper, and as if one they roar and charge her.

Keith gets clipped by the onrushing mob even as he can feel his ankle separate under the trampling action…

-

Gar nearly vomits at the sight of crowd dismemberment … but he's still a dragon. That would be a bad thing. He pulls back, shifting, falling to his hands and knees as a red-skinned lightly furred human with only a few beast-features, one arm wrapped protectively over the Big Bird. Well, it had been.

He looks up from the ground, and says, "No. More. Unscheduled. Sermons. Totally fucking unenlightened."

-

"Augh!" and the redhead goes down, feeling the pain from the ankle and immediately thinking: sprain. Or worse. He tucks and rolls, getting as far away from the crowd as he can before slowly getting to his feet and half-limping towards Gar and Corvinus. "— I think it's time to fly away from here. Right now." The young man says in a voice that implies that, should Corvinus decide to stay, he's not adverse to grabbing a slingshot.

-

The apparent religious figure jumps atop a nearby lamp-post in machine-perfect form.

"CHILDREN! Every life is sacred. Even that of those who seek us harm. Let us pray for them and their misguided ways."

And as soon as the flash-congregation bows their heads, the bird-thing takes off for the Tower at full speed. It doesn't need to be told twice. Though it kind of was.

-

Gar forces himself to his feet, and once again, to take the form of the … no. Luck Dragon is too hard. Simple pegasus. That's only one degree of impossible. He waits for Keith to get near, lowering himself to help the sprained wonder climb aboard.

He'll fly once his passenger is secure.

-

Keith notices Gar is a little… well, sluggish. "Hey… you okay?" he asks as he clambers up on the pegasus. The crowds are dissipating quickly by now…
This has been, by far, the strangest thing that has happened to him yet.

-

The bird-thing lands on the roof and looks for the widest open space that isn't visible from the ground and becomes a much smaller middle-aged man with a rotund build. He has tears streaming from his eyes as he kneels and appears to be murmuring prayers of some sort.

Feeling they have in some way let down their divine messenger, the crowds dissipate, a few dispatching kicks on the remains of the assassins before the Police do show up. They bear stylized uniforms with wing insignia and work with a methodical efficiency.

-

"Oh yeah," Changeling says, with that cheerful voice of someone who's just carried five boxes full of books up six flights of stairs. "Never better. Just a little tired from being so many impossible things in short order without resting."

He manages to stand without dumping his passenger, then flies over to the tower, and lands, perfectly gracefully, and then shifts into human form on the correct side for Keef to lean on him to take stress off. Not like he hasn't done this before (or had it done for him. Having Wonder Girl carry him around was especially fun.)

-

"… what just happened… do you think… I mean, the dismemberment… do you think that'll still be there when the field …" Keith shakes his head and tries to put it out of his mind. He leans on Garfield for a second, but then thinks better of it when he realizes the strain the green— red— shapeshifter put himself through. "… it's ok, c'mon," he says and sits down on the roof of the tower. "Let's rest a little before moving again."

-

"It's okay to rest. If the heavens did not want us to rest, they'd've made us able to work all the time."

It's almost mumbled from the portly fellow as he wipes his eyes.

"Thank you for intervening."

He's become very somber, with a thousand-yard stare.

"Why did they have to do that? The heavens care for all."

-

Answering Keith, "I dunno if they come from the primary or the bent realities or what. They're probably real somewhere… and I burned one of them, if he'd just taken off his vest it wouldn't have caught dammit." A pause. "My echo doesn't remember the Big Bird being so much of a Big Deal. Maybe," Gar says, lying back on the roof, "maybe the patch goes through more than one other world so we get mixes. … I wonder if it's messed up like this all along the way."

He sits up on his elbows and looks over at the Wanna-Buddha. "Man. You are so … those people were just plug-and-pray, you could've said any ol' bullshit, and they'd have gone along with it. No wonder the snipers wanted to kill you. You're keeping all the people from actually GETTING IT."

He falls back against the roof, and feels the world spinning around him. He closes his eyes waiting for it to stop.

-

Keith frowns, and shakes his head. There's a part of him- the part that used to be the Tiger in the Mirror, the Cait Sidhe, and many other names- that is becoming very aware of the multiplicity of words bending around the corner around the Titan's Tower. Manifestations of this sort were not a good sign. Any response he can give Jim is outclassed by Gar's, who is far more direct.

"Hey, take it easy," Keith mutters softly and moves a little, to pull Gar's head onto his lap so he can give his temples a light stroke. "Just breathe, and don't let this… stuff overwhelm you. Speak in French when you cant think of the English for a thing—

— And remember who you are."

That last was a quote that the Red Queen said to Alice in 'Through the Looking-Glass'. He didn't know why, but it seemed appropriate. Or perhaps the chaos in the fabric of reality was playing with his own brand of innate chaos.

To Jim, he says quietly, "If I were you, I'd have a quiet cup of tea, a long bath and a good sleep back home."

-

The guy flinches from the tirade that Gar goes on. He really wishes he could be alone right now. It's so scary having to deal with people, especially angry people. Why can't everyone just get along? It's all he wants, really. Just everyone get along. No fighting. Everyone would be so happy if there was no fighting, right?

He shakes his head back and forth.

"It's NOT RIGHT! Not right. It's all broken. It shouldn't be broken. Everything works, everything's fixed, why isn't it right?"

And then the quote from the 'Looking Glass' resonates as he stops his ranting for a brief second —

Discontinuity

" —-The hell is going on? Why am I on top of a building? Where am I? Who the hell are you?"

-

"You can stop doing that any time next year," Gar says to Keith. He feels a twinge in the something-or-ether, going momentarily green, and then the red is back. Good ol' red. Works just as well as chlorophyll. Doesn't work with half of his wardrobe.

"Hey Bird Dude. You're in a reality crossing. This is Titans Tower, you were just someone else. Try to stay who you are. And watch out for the mouse-eating opticrawlers while you're visiting. They only look friendly."

Ow. Lay back and let Keef rub the sore head. It makes the pounding feel better.

-

"Christmas Boy is right," Keith says, quipping about Gar's changing colors. "It's an undocumented feature, some sort of unexpected reality alteration. We'll patch it on the next release." Keith hehs, and goes back to stroking Gar's temples, rubbing and applying gentle pressure to relieve the stress.

-

"Patch… Patch… Patch… why is that important… Patch…Ohsonuvabitch!"

Bird-thing is back!

"This one is experiencing causal dysfunction. Identify source of dysfunction. Nomenclature: Uncertain. Patch… Most recent Patch 667.1: DEATH TO DEMON POSSESSING SCUM! Clarification noted. Stand by."

-

"You don't mind, I'll just lie here, I can't really stand," Gar says. He's not moving. He'd purr but that would mean using his power and it feels all sprained and itchy at the moment. Also it probably smells funny and needs a shower.

-

"Just rest, you've done enough," Keith warms Garfield and frowns, looking at Jim as he continues to massage Gar's temple. "… um… bird boy, what exactly are you doing, and why do you sound like a broken Dalek? I swear, if you try to attack us I am going to be severely pissed, and it will all end in tears. Yours, mostly."

-

"This one is unit designate The Corvinus, tasked with bringing Enlightenment to the Client Peoples of Thanagar on behalf of the Creators. This one is attempting a 'hot-fix' to address causal discontinuity. This one does not understand spatial disruption. This one is not a 'Dalek'. Wait one."

The bird-thing tilts its head and appears to be thinking about something, for lack of a better term.

"Partner term: Dalek autonomous entity villain/foe of entity 'The Doctor' in flat-vision entertainment series. This one would not seek to reduce the defenders of this world. All will be needed in impending Storm. Identification requested partner term 'quid pro quo'"

-

"I never thought I'd want Danny Chase to be here," Changeling says, "but I really wish the annoying nerd was here to explain stuff to the bird-borg in terms it could understand. I can't."

He falls asleep for a minute. Whatever it is that he uses to draw on the Red is easier to replace during sleep.

-

With the red man asleep on his lap, it falls to the man who is also a cheshire cat to explain things to the corvid.

And that sentence reflects what 'normal' is like around the tower, these days. "Quid pro quo, means 'something for something', an arrangement between two parties for mutual benefit. Clear enough?"
He rests his hand on Gar's forehead. He doesn't quite have a good idea of what is a normal temperature for a shapeshifter, but it never hurts to check for extraneous signs after taxing one's powers.

"… so you are supposed to be some sort of alien messiah… don't bother with the 'hot fix', this was caused by magic and I'd prefer you *not* touching it until we can get Wiccan over here and see if he can put a cork on whatever hole it was that he left open. Further meddling could make things worse, and I am not getting paid enough to deal with that."

-

The bird-thing tilts its head back and forth.

"Is one functional?", it inquires, motioning to the sleeping Changeling. "Does one need assistance?"

It shakes its head, pointing to Keith and to Gar. "Identity requested. This one is not re-weaving threads of space-time. This one is attempting INTERNAL hot-fix to adjust program errors. This one is not term 'messiah'. This one is merely a device to provide Enlightenment. This one… really needs to leave this juncture. This one is exceptionally disoriented."

-

If this were the anime or chibi universes, Gar would have a snot-bubble as he sleeps, but fortunately for all involved, this is not those universes, and weird spontaneous facial bodily fluid inflation is not seen.

-

Keith hehs, "Gar is fine. He's just tired. He taxed his powers quite a bit." He looks down at the sleeping titan. Since the abnormality has subsided, Keith reaches for his mirror and tries the transformation again. This time, it is successful, becoming Vorpal.
"I'd suggest you leave- you will feel better once you are outside of the zone of effect of whatever is going on here. Then you won't need to fix yourself."

The Cheshire focuses for a moment and creates a construct brace around his ankle, reinforced. He puts some weight on it and is satisfied with its ability to distribute weight away from his wounded ankle.
"Hopefully you can come by once we've fixed these issues."

Vorpal slowly slides back, letting Gar's head down gently with his hands so that he can stand up. Once he is in a proper position, he leans down - making good use of his brace- to pick Gar up slowly.
"Do you need anything? Water, maybe?"

-

Gar blinks and wakes as he's made vertical. "Hm. Water would be good. Ice cream would be good too."

He waves to the Bird Guy, "Hey. See you later."

Gar is usually MUCH more energetic. He'll probably be so again when he realizes that he's missing his 3pm class, but it's just a review of the phylogenetic tree, most recent model. He can do that in his sleep. Literally.

-

"This one appreciates the advice. This one will return once instability is cleared. This one does not need fluid, partner has fluid at domicile."

"This one apologizes for any inconvenience this one may have caused." It gives a wave to the two as it launches itself skywards rapidly out of the zone and out of sight.

-

"Chill, jolly red giant." Vorpal quips and picks Gar up fully after getting him vertical. "You need a nap. I'll drop you in your room and cook something up. If your power is anything like Flash's, you're going to want to devour the furniture when you wake up."

It's so much easier to have swagger when you're a feline. "Alright, birdman. Come back anytime. After we've fixed the universe in this part of town." He heads for the door, keeping his focus on his brace to keep it from winking out of existence, as all chaos things do.

Well, except himself. He's glad about that last bit. He'd miss himself terribly.


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