Burning Human '14: Part 2

Summary:
August 30, 2014: The Burning Human Festival has gone mostly peacefully. That ends tonight.

Mutant Town

The Burning Human Festival is at its peak tonight. There are people dancing, partying, people in strange get-ups, humans and mutants alike. At the park near the center of Mutant Town, the Festival Committee has set up a stage, where bands are playing.


Characters

NPCs

  • Too many to count

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


"Maaaan… it's bullshit that Dazzler didn't show up. What a sellout."

"Yeah, totally. Total sellout."

This opinion has been expressed many times today by many different mutants. It's expressed at predictable times, usually after a band gives a lackluster performance or just plain sucks. That's what just occurred on one of the hastily-constructed stages clogging up Mutant Town's approximation of a park, so many of the mutants assembled here are taking this opportunity to complain about the band, and about what a sellout Dazzler is.

As the sky begins to darken, the latest band to fail to measure up to Dazzler's standards is ushered off of the stage to less than enthusiastic applause. Perhaps they're simply playing to the wrong crowd. Judging by the amount of body modification present in the audience (to say nothing of the scales and fur) it was pretty much a given that a folk/hip-hop fusion band was going to go over like a lead balloon covered in sumo wrestlers.

"Dazzler! Dazzler! Dazzler!" A few people try to turn it into a chant, but it doesn't quite catch on. However, over near the line for the porta-johns, another chant is being lead by one man.

"Love is a Battlefield! Enough of this boolsheet!" Some variation on this is said over and over by a large, slightly inebriated Russian who is wearing a black Pat Benatar concert t-shirt that is about two sizes smaller than it ought to be. "Right? You know what I'm saying, right? Hey! You! Yes, you! You like Pat Benatar, right?"

The weaselly-looking mutant that Piotr is shouting at shakes his head and scurries away to the other porta-john line.

*

"Just over to your left. And try not to get in any more slap fights okay? The shape of someone's costume is something you can google, not something you have to get into nerd fights over." Bobby Drake sighs as he points a pair of enthusiastic mutant hero worshipers in the direction of the next event. This place is crowded but at least the festival is almost over. Bobby's enjoyed working security here for the most part, but goodness if it hasn't been one of the busiest things he's ever done. Never a dull moment.

Well okay, that's a lie. There are totally dull moments and right now is one of them. Times when you just stand, watch, make sure no one gets into slap fights and thank the powers that be that it hasn't gotten any worse today.

*

Mike Drakos has not slept a lot in the last four days. He's been a busy, busy mutie, grinding out several hundred thousand search-moths for SHIELD, for the X-Men, and for most of New York. If that fecking Hydra virus is anywhere around the festival, he hasn't found it (yet) and they have to be hiding it pretty well, because he also hasn't found their special house brand of plastic explosive, nor several other brands of same in the wrong places, and he's not tasted even a tiny bit of the virus.

On top of that, he's been the eyes of Festival Security, his bugs all over the place watching the festival and sending notice to security staff to get their slow bipedal selves to the trouble, before it gets bad.

When this is over he is going to SLEEP. So much.

*

Loki drifts through the crowds, staying near the periphery. When he needs to move through groups, there's a subtle, magically *push* such that the mutant in question just shifts to allow him movement. Thus, he manages to avoid any riff-raff actuallly touching his person.

Of course, the boisterous shouts from the Russian gains Loki's attention. Eyes narrow as he continus to move unhindered through the crowd, his attention upon the large mutant.

*

Finding parking for the camper was tough. But Lunair managed it. She seems to have a talent for driving. "Wow. It's a lot busier than I thought it would be. But today I guess they are playing music during the festival," She offers. Her path might take them past the portapotties, and she's looking here and there. "… doesn't seem to be going too well," She offers.

Hey, is that Mike? She waves to the metallic gentleman. But either way, she's helping Skaar through the crowd. So they can see some of the highlights.

*

Amongst the crowd there are a trio of mutants who don't exactly fit in with the crowd. They've got the body modifications, the clothing, everything but the scales, the strangely colored eyes, and the signs of intoxication and/or narcotics use that is so heavily rampant at events like this. It's not surprising to find any number of junkies here, having shot up and come down to ride the high on the waves of rock and roll. These three though, they're under the influence of 'The Smooth' - a heroin-like narcotic that's been infecting M-Town for a few weeks now.

Anyone with an ear to the streets will know that the smooth has been in short supply recently. Ever since the hostage situation where a young boy was killed by a mutant on withdrawal from the stuff, supply has pretty much dried up.

Until now.

These three are like many others, scattered throughout the crowd. Some are still proud of being identified with the subculture that has become M-Town, others are here in a manner of quiet protest against the subculture. But they're all junkies, they're all rabidly addicted, and a new wave of supply has hit the 'market' here. Where it comes from…nobody knows. Nobody seems to care.

Except for Shift.

The Ghanaian stands not far from the trio, dressed in a black tank top that reveals the Neo-traditional tatoo sleeve on his left arm. Denim jeans and a pair of black combat boots sized intentionally a bit too large. Fashion, you know. It's last year's designer style, most likely purchased on ridiculous discount from one of the many sample sales in the NYC area. A cigarette is taken from its home in his mouth so that he might lift a flask and take a hit, but his silver eyes remain locked upon the three smooth-junkies, watching them carefully.

*

Being taller than most people here (but remarkably, not the tallest) allows Skaar to see what is going on. And what mutants call music. Not impressed. Or maybe a scowl is his usual expression. On the other hand, no one seems too bothered about him being green. They still stay our of the way because, well, he is 7' 6" and 600 lbs of muscle.

Skaar is also wearing a black t-shirt and he left his sword in Lunair's camper. So maybe that helps him to blend a little better. Probably not. But it was Lunair's idea.

*

Bobby looks around at the milling crowd. So. Many. People. Please don't let this devolve into chaos. Please don't let this devolve into chaos… it's kind of inevitable, isn't it. He strolls casually over to the first Mike-Moth he sees. "How's it going? Still using most of your processing power on the bugs?" He was last time, to the point that talking to Mike was ever so slightly awkward.

"Anything going on I need to know about. Thanks for altering me about that slapfight by the way." That last bit somewhat wry. Slap fights. For nerds. So awkward.

*

"No. Done making bugs for SHIELD," the Mike-moth says, vibrating its wings. It suddenly flashes orange lights down its side. "SMOOTH detected. Dispatching seeker nests."

The air becomes a little bit more sparkly as a fine cloud of mosquito-like insects exfiltrates from the rooftops of several buildings and disperses out over the crowd.

Near where Lunair is approaching Mike's main-body, a cloud of the seekers begin circling the three big mutants, one or two landing on them to search for actual drug on their persons. How many people notice tiny tiny bugs, after all?

*

The band thus booed off the stage means that another gets to take its place. Even for Mutant Town, they seem a bit off, but no doubt it's just part of their show. Those that join the stage move oddly, as if forcing their joints to move, and perhaps they seem a little puppet-ish at times. But when they do pick up their instruments and start to play, they howl like a garage Oi! band.

Loki pauses for a moment, his attention shifting for those that join the stage. His hands remain low, but his fingers curl in intricate patterns up to that moment when the band begins to play. Once done, a slight smile creases thin lips and he begins to move through the crowd, looking and listening for that drunk Russian.

*

Bruce Banner sits at the edge of the crowd, out of the way. Milling, jostling, people in general are not Bruce's proverbial bag. He can't remember the last time he was around so many, in fact, deliberately. But Kwabena needed backup and, while Bruce is the kind of backup that you use at the last minute, the dead man's switch, the self-destruct you only push when you're out of options…well, sometimes you run out of options.

He has a small pad in his lap, the OS of his own design and it, in fact, has detected the little cloud of seeking bugs, seeking out electronic signals as it does. Those are interesting. He considers trying to hack them, but figures he'll let them play their game first. He takes another bite of the caramel corn he purchased. Quite delicious. Too much sucrose, but that's to be expected. Americans love their corn syrup.

*

Lunair looks to Skaar, "This kind of music isn't too popular. But it is nice they gave the band a chance to get their name out. I think." She's not really sure. Nevertheless, Lunair seems oddly unafraid of her immense, green buddy (?). "And I am not sure what's up with these," She admits. Likely, Lunair's admitted her background to Skaar on the way over. She's catching up on a lot. And that includes pop culture. Still, she's doing pretty okay.

"Did you want anything to drink? And man, bugs," Sigh. Nevertheless, Lunair will keep near Skaar, peeking out for anything interesting. She smiles faintly and waves to Mike. "Hi there! I kind of know him," She offers to Skaar. "Recently met," She admits. She seems unaware of Bruce, Loki and a few others but she'll make her way slowly but surely.

*

One of the junkies being watched by Shift seems to grow restless. Out comes a smartphone, and he begins batting his fingers to form a text message. He tries to slip away from the group, but the other two pull him back, heckling him. The argument begins to swell, until the junkie's back arches. Dragon-like ridges seem to pop out of his back, splitting his shirt and sending him to his knees with screams of agony. "I need more!" he cries out.

The other two junkies fish through their pockets, but they come up dry. "Give me that!" exclaims the girl of the group, snatching the cell phone out of the Dragon-Junkie's hands.

Kwabena comes close to interceding. It would have been a simple matter of snatching up that cell phone, which likely would have led him to at least one of the dealers. But, that might spook the pushers. If she calls, if she sets up a drug deal, so much the better. Opting for patience, he lights another cigarette and looks on as the girl raises the phone, eyes darting about nervously as she makes that call.

*

Skaar hrms at Lunair in acknowledgment. "That is some bad music," he agrees. The instruments are interesting, though, so maybe he is not as good at feigning disinterest as usual. The packed crowd reminds him one of the reasons he dislikes cities, but he has to admit there is a good deal of interesting things to watch, study and learn. Maybe being exiled in an alien planet won't be so bad.

"If you want some drink, I'll follow you," he adds, not caring too much one way or the other.

*

Piotr Rasputin managed to vanish from sight for nearly three minutes. Perhaps all of his time training with the Brotherhood has left him a master of stealth? Perhaps he has some sort of mystical potential that has yet to be revealed? Perhaps a secondary mutation has finally developed, and he can now turn invisible at will? He was there just a minute ago, it's truly mysterioius.

The door to the porta-john opens. Piotr steps out, while still drunkenly attempting to fix his zipper. Well, that mystery is solved.

"Hey, you! Where is the… thing? With the water?"

"You mean the sink?"

Yes! Where is this?"

"Dude… we're outside."

Fortunately, the man he borderline accosted has some hand sanitizer to share with Piotr. In his current state, he probably would have spent the rest of the night trying to figure out where the sink was.

*

Piotr Rasputin is, ninja porta-john skills aside, rather hard to miss. So is a seven foot tall green man. Bobby miiiiight get worried about that but he's with - er oh! It's Lunair. And Actual Mike, as opposed to Bug-Mike. Time to relocate. He scoops up Moth-Mike anyway in his palm.

"Smooth? Ugh, here too hrm? Guess I can't be too surprised. Tell me you're pulling one of your hat tricks with it?" Mike is one of the best drug free zone enforcers he knows.

"Hey Lunair!" The sandy blonde haired man in the black 'security' tee shirt waves as he walks up. "Out enjoying the ambiance?" Such as it is. Hopefully the next band won't be as awful. Maybe. It could happen, right?

"Who's your friend? I was gonna ask if you'd met the Hulk but, that ain't him is it?"

*

A PHONE. The mosquito-sized bugs depart from the three junkies, poor sods, and converge on the smartphone, and melt into it. Moments later it's a part of Mike, but it's unchanged, and he's transcribing the data from the phone to one of his sideband servers. And prepping it for delivery to the police, because special teams has a task force on this one. He won't change anything at all.

Meanwhile, there are three other people who have the drug and two of them are DEALING. The Mike-body starts moving, somewhat robotically, into the crowd of people around the stage. It's the usual robot-look Mike, gold skin and chrome-blue hair, perhaps a bit lighter of build than usual; it's clad in the standard jeans and black SECURITY tee-shirt. It approaches the one here who is dealing. This drug is injected. The needles are metal. The purchasers don't have the metabolite coming off them, so they haven't taken it yet. Therefore, the needles are changed to little tiny spheres of metal on the end of a syringe-form. The dealer has used the stuff. His needles also become blobs.

"That drug will not just kill you," Mike says, wrapping the dealer in sudden tentacles where his arms were moments ago. "It will addict you instantly."

He sends a quick series of stun-gun-like shocks into the dealer.

Meanwhile, back at the coordination station: "Repeat, all security personnel. The drug known as SMOOTH has been detected. Contact police at speed-dial-three if you come across anyone shooting up, or using this drug. Remember emergency detox is at Avenue C Clinic. Metal will be identifying dealers and possible victims."

The moth doesn't say anything. Bobby is close enough to see what he's doing. Here. A block and a half away, however, things aren't as, ahem. Smooth. The second dealer has been identified, but there isn't enough metal near it to make a body while Mike is focused on stopping dealer number one.

*

Standing with his back to the porta-john, it does seem something of a surprise when Piotr emerges. Loki spins around the moment the plastic door slams shut and his shoulders slump. "Great. A marvelous specimen of a new race of mortals," is said disgustedly. Never mind. Looking up(!) at the Russian mutant, his expression is pure disappointment. "A shame that I now doubt."

The Oi! band is running through chord after guitar chord, belting out some lyrics that are actually difficult to discern through the background and the feedback, not to mention the instruments themselves.

*

Bruce Banner finds Skaar catching his eye, staring momentarily at the green-skinned creature. Distracting that is. Probably just some sort of mutant, it is Mutant Town after all, but the disconcerting resemblance to…him…is bothersome nonetheless. At the very least, he snaps a quick photo with his phone. Save it for a later date, some photo recognition software…

There seem to be quite a few big men around, generally, probably also aligned with the propensity for superhumans in the population. Bruce just hopes things stay…calm. NOt that the music is helping.

*

Matt Murdock is seated at a cafe table not too terribly far from the excitement. He's leaned back in the black metal chair with one leg crossed over the other smoothly in his fine charcoal pants. On his top he wears a black v-neck shirt tucked in under his black belt. A pair of matching dark boots completes his ensemble for the festival.

He's always felt a bond with the mutants, despite not being one himself. Just like them, he was different. His body mutated by an accident and not by nature, but the parallels were there in his mind. But Matt Murdock is not here to celebrate.

Instead, he sits. He smells, listens, and reaches out with his senses. Like others in the city he's been after those who have been pushing the Smooth. Since Kingpin was put away the drug had exploded. Tough not to feel somewhat responsible.

*

Lunair seems quietly amused by Skaar's reaction. She seems happy he's at least a little interested. "I'm not sure where- Hey! That's -" Pause. Introductions are tough. And there's Bobby. She waves to Bobby. "Hi there! And ambience is okay. It's kind of overwhelming," She admits.

She looks to Skaar. "This is-" And she will let Skaar introduce himself. "No, he's not the Hulk." She offers. "Is something going on?" There seems to be - something happening. She seems uncertain. The place is overwhelming, but she's at least hitting the high points with Skaar.

*

The femme-junkie shrieks when the insects mob her phone, and she flings it from her hand. "Oh my FUCKING GOD!" she screams, and points.

This, of course, draws alarm to Kwabena. His silver eyes narrow, and he breaks from his location, edging through the crowds and over toward the phone. Considering that the trio of junkies are too frightened to pick it up, Kwabena does. When one of them comes at him, he glares at the junkie with warning in his silver eyes. "Back de fuck off," he warns, and lifts the phone to his ear.

Redial.

Backing away, with his eyes warily upon the trio of junkies, he waits for the phone to pick up. "Yeah, man! I need a fucking hook-up, man!" He tries very hard to conceal his accent, but there's so much noise in the background that the dealer on the other end isn't bound to notice. "No, I can come to you! Just tell me where da fuck to go, I'm dying heah!"

Once he's far enough away, he turns and breaks for the edge of the festival. Mike may have caught one of the dealers… but Shift has a direct line on the other.

*

The green giant scowls at Bobby. "Skaar," he states. So much not-Hulk he completely ignores the young mutant's reference. He folds his arms across his chest and addresses Lunair. "If it is bothering you, lets go somewhere else. Didn't you want to find a drink?" He could also get away from the attempts to create music, they are irritating him. His eyes, however, are in the confrontation between the metal man and the junkies. Being so tall means he can see farther than most. He is trying to make sense to the situation, but his fine-tuned violence-detection senses are telling him it could easily get pretty bad.

*

"Are you trying to do a flirt with me, fancy man? Because I am very confused by your methods." Piotr would likely be confused by the plot of Avatar right now, but he's doing his best not to show it.

"Bah! This is no place to meet someone. Do you want to tell our adopted children that we met in the line for a porta-potty? This will give them many insecurities." He leans forward, looking intently at Loki with slightly red eyes.

"They will become supervillains, maybe."

*

"Nice to meet you Skaar." The scuffle over by Mike draws another sigh, especially as one of the three tries to get away.

"Where do you think you're going?" Bobby mutters certainly not loud enough to be heard by the person whose angles and calves he is encasing in ace. That's gonna be awkward to explain. Yeah. Very much so.

"Not the first time we've had Smooth in the Festival." The ice nerd notes to Lunair and Skaar. "Though it thankfully hasn't been all that common." Raising his voice a little. "You got this, Metal?"

*

And. No Hydra virus. But really. REALLY. Lots of the Smooth. Freaking BARRELS of it.

Mike at the first dealer makes sure his bugs confiscate the Smooth taken off the kids, while uploading the confiscation to his local-cloud (which is a bunch of bugs separate from the ones now looking for the drug.)

"NO. I identify over 20 dealers, and probably a hundred to a hundred-fifty users. Stop socializing and start helping. Please," Mike says, manners currently somewhere down in the list. "I have sent emergency information to police. I am currently tagging and flagging, but I physically cannot stop all the dealers at once."

*

Perfect. When the screams begin, Loki's attention darts away and towards the stage and the junkie that appears to be having a bad trip. The blaring music suddenly ends when all the musicians suddenly drop their instruments and begin to stumble off the stage in a seeming drunken fit of energy. Once down, however, they begin to howl as if Hel herself released them, and they begin to go after those specifically taking 'Smooth'. It's like a siren's song to them. Soon enough, it'll become evident they're not -really- human (anymore).

Loki turns around towards Piotr once again and it's his turn to be puzzled. Catching himself, he straightens to look less short in comparison to the large mutant. "What are you talking about? No… I'm…" He considers a moment before he smiles once more, "Looking for mutants who may very well be perceived as 'villains'. But ultimately will be hailed as victors."

*

Bruce Banner just continues to watch and eat his caramel corn. Intervening directly would be more dangerous to them than his staying on the sidelines. Still, he tries to keep track of the chaos. Kwabena calling for back-up makes him sigh and he actually hits a few buttons, jumping in on the operative's phone signal, "What exactly am I supposed to do here? Just annihilate everything that moves and hope I only hurt the bad ones?" he mutters.

Inside his head, he feels the Hulk roil a bit. It's been too long since he's changed, a consequence of living in the city. Bruce bunches his shoulders at the neck, feeling a little sweat trickle at his brow. Just stay calm. Stay calm while the riot breaks out. What could go wrong?

*

This is the moment that Matt prepared for. He reaches down calmly towards his bag and brings it up towards his lap. He reaches into his wallet and drops some of his cash onto the table before sliding up gracefully to his feet and taking a walk towards the opposite way of the screams. About a block away he takes a quick left and disappears from view. Reaching down into his bag he unzips it, revealing a red piece of fabric.

*

Lunair looks a bit worried. "Sure, a bit of water-" Pause. "Looks like something might be about to happen," She furrows her brows. "Something about a new drug I heard whispered about. It's kind of bad," She remarks. Especially when someone screams and points. She looks concerned to Bobby. "Smooth? Hm. Do you need help?" Lunair is a bit tense, and looks to Skaar. "I'm not sure if…" Would interfering help or hurt? She seems uncertain.

And then suddenly, howling minions go after the users. "Oh geez." Not good. Are they wolflike? That howl is not good.

*

One by one, those who were one victims of the smooth begin to transform, starting with the ones first taken by the musicians. As they change, their X-Gene mutations return as well. Mike's moths will likely recognize it, as the dopamine-bursting and X-Gene-nullifying effect of the smooth suddenly… goes away, in each of those that fall under Loki's spell.

When Bruce breaks into his phone conversation, Kwabena skids to a halt. "Whoa-whoa-whoa. Bannah." He takes a moment to steady his voice, speaking in a controlled, forced calm. "No. Just… tell me what's going on." He picks up the pace again, accelerating into a full sprint down the road, cell phone clutched to his head. "I'm on one of de dealahs."

Around a corner he goes, and spies the dealer who still holds a phone to his head, waiting for Kwabena to speak. The Ghanaian doesn't slow down, instead opting to slam into the dealer before he can even get out his gun. The dealer goes flying into a dumpster, cracking his head and falling to the pavement. A moment later, he's got Kwabena's hand wrapped around his neck.

"Who… is yah contact." He would have yelled, but Banner is still on the other line, so… he snarls. "Where is it coming from." His fingers clench, pushing the dealer up against the dumpster.

*

Skaar almost smiles at the sudden explosion of violence. That is familiar ground, he understands those. "Come," he says to Lunair, not giving the girl much choice when he grabs her arm and jumps. Straight to the roof of the closest building, from where they can see what is going on and not get trampled. Well, Lunair won't get trampled, Skaar won't get annoyed.

"There was a metallic man trying to confiscate something," he points to Mike. "Now there are more… beings, moving against those with the substance. What do you think?" He asks the girl.

*

"Oh! You know Victor! Ha!" Piotr enthusiastically claps Loki's shoulder with his freshly-sanitized hand. "Well, any friend of Victor's is a friend of mine. Except for that woman with the bird face. Because she is huge bitch." Piotr's expression goes from drunkenly jovial to drunkenly bitter in the space of a sentence.

"You know Victor does not like to be called this, right? One time, he try to tell me his real name is Slasher. I say, 'This is booolsheet. Slasher is name of lead singer of Guns and Roses! Ha!" It's unlikely that anything Piotr is saying is factually accurate.

*

"Aaaand that's my cue." Bobby murmurs as Skaar grabs Lunair and bounds away and Mike urges action. He turns and ice ramps about forty feet into the air to get a good view of things, circling the crowd when… "Aw hell…" The appearince of the not-human-whatever-they-are's changes his priorities instantly from capture to defense.

"New problem Metal. Bit busy to bother with the dealers right now!" The ice nerd circles the milling, now panicked crowd and begins singling out the rampaging monsters, aiming to lock them in very confining icy prisions. Frostbite be damed right now, these things like like they're gonna eat someone's face. Not good. Not good at all.

*

Mike breaks in on the conversation between Shift and Bruce. "This is Metal from festival security. There is a," and the voice becomes slightly disgusted, "sorceror of some sort who has just changed things. It looks like he's #(&$# porta-potty #*!?!( by … festival stage. All 'smooth' users are being … #*$#&! … some kind …*#)@!# monster…"

Back at Festival Security central, the thread of Mike operating security says, "Do not engage smooth users. Stand away. Something strange is happening."

He tries to focus on what's actually happening, but the chaos surge is disrupting his finely coordinated carefully distributed brain. He can't tell what's happening now as his inter-thread coordination fails. He's forced to drop the Hydra-viral scanners. And the mutant he was restraining. But he still has his main body, the security center, and the Smooth-scan hive.

*

Ow. Is that a wince from the God of Chaos? Brute is almost as strong as… his… brother?

Hallo.

Bringing a hand up to his shoulder to rub it, Loki 'hehs' softly before the hand drops to his side once again. "Oh," he begins again, "I see. Well then, I'll be sure to keep my eye out for her." A smile flickers, it comes and goes before he waves a hand in gesture to the large mutant in a 'come here', or rather, 'come down to my height for a moment' motion. In a stage whisper, Loki has to ask, "You are a mutant, yes? Because, well.. I only am interested in forging a new realm with them."

Those born of Hel, or rather, those denizens of that location (not to be confused with 'hell', begin to lead those 'freed' mutants, completely ignoring any who may be in their path and backhanding anyone who may try to interrupt their passage to discover yet more of those Smooth users. In through the crowd; one is ignored, another 'taken'. Who needs a blood test?

*

Bruce Banner furrows his brow, "Sorceror? Oh, great. He's not wearing a trenchcoat, is he?" Bruce mutters. Doesn't seem like the sort of thing Constantine would get involved in, but, then, one could never be certain with that sucker. Still, it calls his attention to the figure Mike is signalling about, the one with the come hither…hithering.

Carefully, he drops his pad into his knapsack and tucks them under the bench, hoping they survive as he starts to try and push his way toward Loki, maybe see if he can get a better sense of what's going on here. Iceman (Bruce doesn't know that codename, but, c'mon, it's not rocket science) seems to be doing a pretty good job freezing the…whatevers.

Bruce misses sitting in his lab playing Minesweeper. That was so much simpler than all this.

*

"Good luck," Lunair offers to Bobby. This is familiar to Lunair, too. And normally she'd be quite cheery to bring out something alarmingly destructive, like a rail gun. But she's grabbed by the arm and hauled straight up onto the roof. Her eyes go wide as dinner plates. "I have really got to get used to this," She admits with a wry smile. "Thanks." Fortunately, Lunair is young and durable. Nature makes teenagers bouncy so they can survive their own bad decisions (usually). It helps some other times, too, really.

"I think he's after the people with that drug," She offers. "Do you think those beings are going after the people with the stuff…? I'd normally step in, but this seems kind of - I dunno." It's hard to take much joy in fighting a drug addled user. "However, I am willing to bet that the police are likely on their way. And potentially the higher up type cops. Frankly, I'd rather not deal with them unless I have to."

*

"Oh… sorry…" Now the other man's outfit makes more sense to Piotr. "I don't have a computer, I never learned how to play these War Crafts. But that man over there…." He points directly at Bruce Banner. "… I think he would like to help you forge a new realm." Now that he's played internet matchmaker, Piotr saunters off with a satisfied smile. Hopefully the new realm that Loki and Hulk forge together will be blissfully free of griefers and n00bz.

There appears to be violence brewing. Normally Piotr would be right in the middle of it. But he's supposed to be attempting to lie low. Still, he doesn't need to be all shiny and metal in order to get into a fight, does he? Apparently he doesn't think so, as he runs toward the crowd. Unfortunately, he also misses the entire point of what's going on, running instead in the direction of a random unsuspecting mutant and pushing him over. "Mosh pit!"

*

"Yeah, cause that's what we needed." From his circling perch Bobby can see Piotr start a mosh pit. He gets spared an icy blast to freeze the ground near him and hopefully prevent him from turning an already volatile situation into an all out riot. Which, honestly, it probably will anyway. What he and Mike really need is so he- Oh hey!

"SHIFT AND FRIEND!" He calls down from above. "FOUR OF THEM OVER THERE!" He says pointing the way with another frosty blast. Hopefully they'll do what they do best. Bobby doesn't actually know what they do best, but he's gonna cross his fingers and hope for 'save people from monsters.' Gliding off in the other direction the ice nerd starts to lay down icy walls to prevent the creatures from rampaging, hopefully protecting some civilians in the process.

*

The sudden-berserkers are moving with unexpected energy, and Mike, being merely 200 pounds of metal, is easily flung aside by the one he was trying to taser a moment ago. His martial arts programming is up to the task: he flips around in the air and lands in a three-point crouch, one arm up defensively, when he hears a sound. Does not compute MOSHPIT?! Mike is slammed to the ground as the random unsuspecting mutant uses a kinetic transfer power escape four feet to the left, to the left. Piotr comes down on top of Mike, whose feet are suddenly slipping on ice. Who is barely able to sense him coming, with all his festival-scanning remotes busy trying to track and deal with the swarming berserker gang.

"Whu? Who are you?" Mike says, confused. The rest of him just collectively and figuratively shakes his head and continues trying to make sense of the chaos. Which, well, there's still not enough data to extract a pattern from yet.

*

Loki is thoroughly confused by the Russian's next words and before he can respond, the behemoth of a mutant is barreling towards the crowd. Looking towards the figure gesture to, he can't see anything remarkable about the man. Dr. Bruce Banner. Nothing to even remotely hint that there is anything -but- a mortal. And not a particularly healthy looking one at that!

Instead, Loki shakes his head and makes a disgusted noise before he raises his hand; and in that moment, those 'cured' of Smooth look up and begin their effort to make their way, en masse, towards the man in green and gold.

*

Bruce Banner sees Loki look at him and dismiss him, not entirely sure what's going on, but it's pretty clear that he's directing the monsters at the very least. "HEY! YOU! MAGICK GUY!" he says, pointing a finger at Loki. "WE'VE ALREADY GOT ENOUGH PROBLEMS! STOP MAKING THINGS WORSE, YOU…YOU…SHITHEAD!" he calls.

The crowd continues to panic around him, jostling him, making him feel crowded. The sweat's palpable, skin shiny. Reminds Bruce of the time his parents took him to the Adobe Crafts Festival in Tucson. Bruce had bumped into one of the booths and knocked over a fifty dollar vase. Bruce's father had been so…

Don't. Don't think about that. Focus on the stupid magic guy making stupid things happen. God, why is it so hard to THINK?!

*

Lunair smiles up at Skaar. She seems impressed, because a dude like Skaar probably could end most of it pretty quickly. Or at least enough of it to have an amusing time. She looks over towhere he points. "No, those're - hey, that's a guy who liked to buy brownies from," Pause. "The botany club." Why is that? Botany club's brownies always seemed popular. But Lunair shrugs it off. "The one in red is a local hero, I believe. Seems to like fighting with those sticks of his? I haven't seen much of him," She admits. She is blissfully unaware that Loki might be about to meet the Hulk in person.

She looks thoughtful. "Things might be about to get strange." And then, out comes the dubstep gun. Those heading towards the Loki are about to start dancing. "The different divisions of cops have certain markers and…" Lunair will explain what she knows and how to recognize the likely already pending wave of Slightly Tougher Than Regular Cops coming in.

*

"Black and handsome," is Shift's answer to Daredevil's question, before he grows serious again. "Some 'sorcerah' is doing something to de smooth-heads. Transfahming dem." As they make their way back to the park, he's going through the process of ripping off his black tank top and tugging a uniform up from where it was hidden in his baggy jeans, fastening it into place over his torso and arms. "Oh." Another glance is given to Daredevil as the two double-book it back to the park. "It's gone regional."

As the park comes into view, he's finally able to see what's going on. A frown forms on his face, and he shakes his head. "Wondahful," he mutters, while pulling the mask up and over his face. Just in time, of course, for Bobby to recognize him as 'Shift'. Thanks, uniform! He flashes a salute to Bobby. "Hold on to dese?" He passes the two cell phones to Daredevil, considering how he tends to drop things in these situations.

Now running off in the direction of the ice-blast, Shift makes out the four monsters. Instead of engaging them directly, he begins pulling unsuspecting concert-goers out of the way, one by one. He's a bit rough about it, but he's in it to save their asses, so they can deal. Once a pathway is cleared, he squares off against the monsters, only to see them turn and walk away. He follows them with his eyes, and finds Loki.

And Banner.

"Oh…. SHIT."

*

"Wonderful," Daredevil says as he strides along with Shift before taking the two cellphones. He runs along behind Shift, trying to use his senses to gain as much details as possible. As he stops just outside of the monsters he's about to engage when Shift mutters 'shit.' He stops and turns his chin towards his shoulder 'looking' back at Shift.

*

Skaar looks at Lunair and listens to her rather incomprehensible talk about botany club and brownies. Hmm, she does that kind of babbling often, he is getting used to it. The explanation about the 'Slightly Tougher Than Regular Cops' is probably more useful, so he memorizes it. Then leans forward to watch the fireworks, soon to be with more dubstep.

At least they will hear some decent music, right?

*

The mosh pit idea isn't working out exactly like Piotr anticipated. "Comrades? Where are you going?" It's a well-established psychological fact that people tend to do what other people are doing. Which is why Piotr suddenly finds himself following all of the (recently cured?) smoothheads with a slightly confused look on his face.

"Is this the line for the pretzel truck?"

*

Bobby swoops low and leaps lightly off the ramp in front of one of the rampaging band. Time for subtlety over. Flash freeze for you, monster boy. Sorry. He's just about feeling kinda satisfied about that when Piotr walks by.

"Dude!" Bobby reaches out to grab the big man by his shirt and try to tug him back. "Where the hell do you think you're going!"

Bobby points to Loki who is only kind of visible through the approaching throng. "Don't go to that nutjob over there!"

*

Oh, hey! The dealer's telephone is touching the one that Mike already took over. So now it's also Mike. Being Mike is contagious for technology sometimes. Especially when he's trying to figure out what's going on. Like, literally figure, he's calculating movements and trying to coordinate - something is going to overheat. And now he has phones to snoop!

"well, this is interesting," the Mike phones (that Daredevil has taken) say simultaneously. "The production for this stuff has gone out of state. Regional. Selling in Gotham. Oh, this is not a happy thing."

Meanwhile, Mike's beginning to make some sense of things, the majority of him anyway. The Mike who is involved in the Mosh Pit is considering ow just ow oh good he's off me stands up, reshaping his feet a little so he doesn't slide around. He sees Lunair there, next to someone who REALLY works out, a LOT, and finally processes the face. The girl who makes things.

"Hey, can you make a sonic blaster?" Mike asks her, and when she reflexively makes one, he grabs it and MERGES it into his left hand. And now it's pointing at the "band" and not so incidentally at a pretty large number of the ensnared. Mike sprouts bug wings that turn into nacelles and floats into the air. And activates the gun.

wub WUB wub WUB WUB WUB wub wub WUB WUB WUB >o-o<

*

The shouting by Banner causes Loki's head to turn, and the smile that rises is hardly amused. It's almost, okay, it can be read as malevolent, complete with the showing of those pearly whites. As those 'cured' of Smooth come towards him, their own mutant abilities are no longer hindered by the soporific effects of the drug. Oh no. Their abilities begin to manifest under the wills of their masters; freedom! True freedom now! And the beatific expressions on their faces speak of the joy of release. Flames. Auras. Static. (The occasional tail!)

And of their servitude.

The creatures that were the band are no longer recognizable. They're beginning that shift from corporeal to non- and very ready to simply disappear. But not before they take a few more with them.

As the gun that Mike has is deployed, and the soft beat of wub*wub*wub begins to hit, those creatures of Niflheim, soldiers fallen in battle that could never earn them a place in Valhall, begin… to dance. To screech, but they are caught under the sonic field, and their molecules begin to dance.

*

Bruce Banner knows evil smiles, he grew up with one, the one that held the belt and the gun and left the bruises. He's shoved to his hands and knees as one of the mutants bashes into him…and then the Dubstep hits, not directly, but enough, making Bruce shake down to his very bones and his muscles start to jump underneath his skin, his back arching as he throws back his head and screams. The back of his shirt bulges and tears open, revealing a ridge of green-skinned spine distorting, his body rippling and morphing as if a thousand hands were trying to punch their way out of him from the inside.

"MAGIC…MAN…STOP SMILING…" he roars and then he springs to his feet, and it's no longer Bruce Banner there, his body exploding in a mixture of rag and skin until the green behemoth, nine feet of raw savagery, rage incarnate, a living weapon of mass destruction, erupts into being with a savage cry. And then slowly lowers its head, glaring at Loki with its green eyes full of the raw hatred that fires his belly. And then something truly awful, something spine-chilling. Something those who see it won't forget for a long time.

The Hulk smiles.

*

Part of Lunair's babbling problem stems from the fact that she really is very intelligent. Extremely so. How many people understand how to create half of what she makes? She just really has no real idea and she needs to share information sometimes. But she's slowly acclimating to Skaar's personality, too. And really, a dire undersocialization at an early age hasn't done her a lot of favors, either. But she tries.

"Hm. Well. I suspect I should probably leave this to them. I'd rather not have to deal with cops. We have a lot to see still," Lunair considers. She will help Mike, since she can totally do sonic weapons. And lo, the Mike did wub wub wub the people. She dismisses her own gun and stays atop the rooftop with Skaar, to observe the chaos more carefully. When one sits and realizes that she doesn't need to create things in her hands specifically, and that the greatest inhibitor of her being far more lethal is a remarkably playful personality (admittedly, at times very much immature), Lunair's powers are a lot more frightening.

Speaking of frightening, there's now someone bigger, greener and more angry on the field. "Oh shit. Uh. We better stay up here, Skaar." Lunair seems genuinely worried. "If there's anyone you don't want to meet in a fight, and who WILL attract a ton of attention - it's that guy." For now, it's good to observe. "Maybe next time, once we see what he can do."

*

Skaar smirks when he sees the effects of the 'sonic attack'. That was amusing enough even for him. Maybe it was a good idea to come to the city and just…

And then Bruce changes and his eyes open wide. There it is: Green Scar! Hulk!

Skaar hands clench into fists and he stares, restraining himself just barely. He left his sword in Lunair's truck. Next time. Now just learn.

*

"We have to stop him!" cries Shift to Daredevil. He takes off into the crowd, tracking behind the monsters as they forge their retreat toward Loki. A wince forms upon his face at the introduction of… some type of energy weapon, but he keeps on pushing through.

Unfortunately, it's too late. When Banner goes down, Shift skids to a halt and he holds his breath, waiting to see who comes up from the ground.

Lips peel back to reveal pearly whites, and a grimace that takes more than just the Ghanaian's face. "We got to clear dese peopah out," he tells Daredevil, before noticing the Hulk… smiling.

"NOW!"

Turning, he starts grabbing people and pushing them forcibly toward the park exits. "Move it, move it!" Here's hoping the others get what's about to happen and help.

*

"Pfft… I could beat that guy up." Piotr does not look impressed. He also doesn't look like he's even remotely tempted to make the attempt. He has, however, started to figure out that he's standing in the Wrong Line. Bad things seem to be in store for those that are waiting in this line, and Piotr slowly sidesteps to the right in order to get out of it.

"Are you taking these people to see Victor?"

*

Dear heavens. Though unable to see, Daredevil gets the gist. The sound bounces off the massive creature, emanates from his loud voice, and his moving breath shows his large, smiling teeth. "Move!" Daredevil says as he springs into action, trying to shove people in the backs and, courageously or stupidly, putting his own body in between the bystanders and the monster

"Look, buddy…" Bobby has heard Piotr's name before but he doesn't use it. Not the time. "I've got no idea who Vic-" Hulk. Here. Massive amounts of destruction in the offing. "Run." Is all he says to the Russian as he ramps back up into the air. Seeing that Shift and the Red-Guy already have the right idea, Bobby begins herding people out the exit on the other end, using waves of ice to prod and push knots of people who are a little slow on the uptake.

*

Mike-hovering-in-the-air has disturbed enough of the spell-side-effect chaos with his own source of utterly random order that he's able to re-synch with the rest of his mind. And the one thing that all those different parts say at once, is oh crap… and from everywhere around, a calm, metallic voice speaking from all the moths and roaches that aren't really moths and roaches, begins to say, "Leave the park now. Everyone take the hand of the person in front of you and leave the park now. Don't run, but don't loiter and do not stop for your beer cooler you ninny, get out."

It's not quite deafening. Not quite. Meanwhile Mike-in-flight waits for the Niflheim Dog Doo-Dah-Band to finish dancing itself back into its grave, and manages to make a small "self' to start pulling on one of the 'cured' to try to get him to leave the park too. Because NOT a good place to be even for a thrall of evil.

*

The freed mutants won't have something put in their way. The shouts that they shouldn't follow fall upon deaf ears. They've heard the call, they've been cured. They can feel their own uniqueness surging through their bodies, and as Hulk draws forth his full 'glory' as it were, the mutants so drawn to the God of Chaos begin to form a line without need of command.

Static shoots out towards the green creature, followed by touches of flame. Another sends water, but it's coupled with flame once more to drop scalding water.

Loki stands firm, and now he shouts to the air, looking in Hulk's direction. "Don't you understand, you stupid creature? I'm saving them! Allowing them to be who they are! They deserve it!"

*

Electricity and flames just skate over the surface of Hulk's skin. If they burn him, it heals so quickly as to not happen at all. It doesn't even seem to irritate him, not that he needs irritating, being a living embodiment of anger, an incarnation of wrath. Those green eyes narrow even further when Loki says they 'deserve' it. When he calls Hulk a 'stupid creature'. In the broken mind of the monster, Brian Banner's face flickers over Loki's, like a stolen cable feed breaking through a broadcast.

As for the mutants lining up in front of him, Hulk slams his hands together, clapping once with the raw power of his arms in order to send out a rippling shockwave that makes the dubstep gun seem like a mosquito's sting, a massive explosion of compressed air and seismic force that sends Loki's minions scattering in all directions, clearing a path between monster and god.

"Hulk understand. Puny magic man smart." he says, starting to stomp towards Loki and then shouting, "HULK HATE SMART!"

*

"Ooohh, Christ!" Shift isn't even looking behind him. He can hear the dialogue between Hulk and Loki, and the sounds of a battle that seems far beyond any of his capabilities. The clap of thunder has him doubling his efforts, focusing now on those stragglers who are too dumb, drunk, or high to listen. Those are the ones he simply grabs, and drags along with him.

For now, his efforts at hunting down the procurers of the smooth? Forgotten.

*

The thunderclap begins and Daredevil can sense it coming in time to try and get out of the way. But it's just too massive. It takes him up off his feet and sends him flying. He hits the deck and goes into a controlled roll, despite holding his shoulder in pain before he rolls up onto his knees.

*

The shockwave sends people gathered around Loki flying in random directions. Unfortunately, it also sends Piotr flying in a random direction. His flight path isn't quite as extreme as most of the other though, because as soon as he feels himself lift off of the ground he instinctively shifts into his armored form. Suddenly he's about a foot taller and several hundred pounds heavier. And also metal.

He lands with a crash, leaving small craters where his feet and hands impact the ground to catch his fall. The shift into metallic form has left his head instantly free from the effects of alcohol, and as he slowly stands up it's clear from the expression on his shiny metallic face that the only thing clouding his judgement right now is anger.

"I don't like to be a bad host, Large Green Man, but you have done what Americans call a 'party foul.' I will now strike you very roughly in the face until you apologize." He walks toward the Hulk, his movement unhurried, as if he has all the time in the world to make good on his threat.

*

The blast wave knocks Bobby off his ramp and — incidentally — the ramp into a dozen pieces, sending him rolling a good dozen feet or so. "Ow… Okay. Hulks not in my weight class…" He mutters as he picks himself up. "Time to go." Not time to skate though. Bobby makes his way toward Shift and Daredevil on foot, grabbing a couple of dazed festival attendees as he does. They're out of time, really.

*

Mike has a lovely speech for Loki. It's all about doing the work and not making thralls out of Mike's brothers and sisters and letting them make their own choice to follow him, if they wanted to, without the kcuFing Mind Control. He almost got to deliver it, except that the Hulk has just demonstrated the Sound Of One Hulk Clapping. Mike-in-the-sky is thrown back about a hundred yards and the dubstep gun stops. Mike in all the bugs all around is stunned and that feeds back to the rest of him. For the moment, the Festival Security comm-links go dead.

Really, this is unfortunate for Piotr. Because Mike could have gotten him out of there before he makes the Hulk even angrier.

*

Those now clean mutants do go flying every which way, and Loki actually has something of a difficult time keeping his footing. Rather than staying put, he tries to ride the wave, tripping as he does, hopping from crashed boulder to uprooted tree. Catching something of higher ground, Loki looks around at those still around. They're leaving, escaping something 'bad' that they know will happen. If the God of Chaos was truly smart, he'd be following, or better yet, in the vanguard of the departure. But, he's not leaving.

And… hallo?

Loki catches the large Russian turning into an even larger metallic man, and a slow grin begins to creep across his face again. That… isn't he lovely? Perfect. The Asgardian looks at the mutant with pride; as a father to son. These creatures will lead.

Loki waits, watching his timing such that it will correspond with the metal man's threat, then a telekenetic burst as his hand thrusts around sharply, as if pushing and willing the air to cast forward in Hulk's direction. "How dare you!"

*

Hulk keeps stalking forward, Loki's telekinetic burst of air breaking against his chest like a wave against a cliff. It does ruffle his hair a bit as it goes up across his face, making the green behemoth crinkle his nose. "Smart man attack Hulk with hand farts?!" he snarls incredulously.

It's Loki, actually, who draws Hulk's attention to the approaching Piotr, the metal mutant striding aggressively his way. Hulk couldn't even begin to fathom the phrase "two birds with one stone", but the essential concept is fairly straightforward. As is baseball. Bruce was a terrible athlete, but every year he'd been pushed out there to play little league. He couldn't field to save his life, ran the bases so clumsily he sometimes fell right into the dirt. But there was one thing he was good at. Based on physics, a proper application of trajectories and a raw instinct, Bruce was a pretty decent hitter. And muscle memory can linger even in the Hulk's gargantuan shoulders.

Which is why he reaches out, snatches Piotr and attempts to use him as a big aluminum bat to swat Loki's head right off the tee and over the right field wall.

*

"Hey," Daredevil says, still holding his shoulder. "You can make walls, right?" His head tilts towards the battle between Loki and Hulk, "Build some walls to cut off the fight from the remaining people."

*

Thrown by the blast wave, Shift hits the ground and transforms into smoke upon impact. The cloud scatters a bit, before it's altered biomatter is sucked back together and reformed. When the Ghanaian re-solidifies, the process doesn't stop, crackling and popping sounds coming from his frame as the mutant takes control of his abilities. The transformation takes a few seconds, during which his skin again becomes more like super-solid obsidian than normal flesh.

That which is being played out before him is truly troubling. Loki, clearly the master of those he has manipulated, squared off against the green monstrosity of a man he could almost call a friend. He knows his powers, and he knows what they can do. There's only one way he might dare to stand against either of them, but the last thing he wants is to throw yet another highly destructive force into the mix.

Once the transformation is complete, he glances about to take stock of things. He's looking to find Bobby, to find Daredevil, to find the others who stood out before as more brave than the others. But all the while, he's walking back toward Hulk. "I'm gonna try to talk him down," he decides, telling his friends as he passes them by.

Which… is probably a really stupid idea.

*

So suddenly is he snatched up by the ankle that Piotr doesn't really have a chance to protest before he's being swung through the air. Instinctively, he puts his arms up over his head, though he'll probably come out of this okay on account of being friggin' metal.

Bobby nods and throws his hands up, beginning to build some very, very thick walls around the incipient fight. Deity verses Hulk Cage Match Round 1 FIGHT! These walls might get stand up to a few hits but frankly Bobby'd have to build a glacier to actually contain these two.

And give him time. He'll do it! As an after thought he ices Piotr too… maybe it'll protect him? A bit?

*

Mike-in-the-sky drifts to the ground, and shakes his head, although that doesn't really do anything, it's just a habit from when he was human. He realizes that he's just one person right now, and it _hurts_ when he tries to reach out to re-take the central Festival Security node. He tries to reach around him to take up his metal automatons, just start with one. He gets to forty when things become very dizzy. Not so good. No more being in thousands of bodies at once? He begins pulling them together, toward him, and the swarm of bugs follows the radio signals. In short order, where Mike was, there is now something ten feet tall and armored and four-armed, and very clearly a robot and not a human. The flight-system activates, and he rises from the ground, and moves HOSHIT, that guy's made of metal and he's being used like a PeeWee Baseball bat!! Let's NOT get too close to Hulk.

*

Just because the God of Chaos can -survive- most anything doesn't mean it doesn't hurt like hell. Having a metal man thrown at one at high speed, well, there's simply very little defense. His head isn't coming off like a t-ball, but the force of the throw causes Loki to embed into that great wall of ice, some of him pushing through to the other side. The cracks in the cool blue ice show there is some movement, some life… complete with the slow, soft exhalation of pain.

Those that were 'saved' from Smooth and responding to Loki aren't quit of their … allegiances, but rather, they find that discretion is the better part of valor and begin to depart the area.

Ow. Ow.

*

Hulk grunts at all the ice, the surge of cold in the air around him causing a condensation of frost on the surface of his green skin. His breath comes in bursting puffs of steam, thick clouds of it coming from his nostrils like a dragon's breath. He casually tosses Colossus back over his shoulder in a classic, Barry Bonds style bat-flip, the kind that young Bruce always imagined doing after knocking one out of the park in the World Series.

Hulk takes a few more steps forward and plunges a hand into the icewall until he can seize on Loki's body, tearing him free of the ice with a cracking sound. Looking down into Loki's face, the pain obvious on the chaos god's visage, Hulk snarls, "Not so smart." he hisses lowly.

And then he throws Loki. Up, up and away, over the buildings and out of the park. He's done playing ball for now.

*

Kwabena opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. He closes his mouth after a moment and just… looks on as Loki is thrown. Up, up, and away, indeed. With the smoothheads departing, he couldn't guess whether or not they were still under the sorcerer's thumb, but that doesn't matter much right now. "Come on, bruddah, it's Odame. Lets powah down and have a smoke, huh?"

On the outside, he's cool as ice. Deep down, he's wincing. Horrified, not quite for himself but for those innocent bystanders who might get smashed if this doesn't work.

*

Daredevil uses the opportunity of the fight to funnel more people out of the way after giving a nod of thanks to Bobby. He's still holding his aching shoulder, worrying now about how he might explain whatever injury he's sustained.

*

Hulk doesn't even look at Kwabena. Shift is Bruce's friend, but Hulk. Hulk doesn't have friends. Most people think of Hulk and Banner as the same person, but they know better. Hulk hates Banner. Banner hates Hulk. Nothing will ever change that. It's always been that way…since long before the gamma.

As Shift stands next to him, Hulk simply moves a hand over and flicks a finger into Shift, very politely sending him flying. And then, the emerald giant bunches the muscles in his tree trunk thighs, crouches down and leaps, leaps in the opposite direction of Loki, up and over the buildings towards peace and safe haven, a place to crawl into and try and be left alone until Banner inevitably returns.

*

Shift's eyes go wide. There's no time to react. His body is bent in two, and goes flying. Different direction from Loki, different direction from Hulk. It's entirely possible that, at some point in his zenith past the Chrysler building, he finally starts to scream. It's all caught on the video camera of a Chinese tourist on the Chrysler building's observation deck.

Theres a splash in the East River.

About half an hour later, the Ghanaian comes ashore. He flops over onto his back and sighs deeply. "Ssssshhhit."

*

Colossus lands a couple hundred feet behind the Hulk. Aside from feeling quite silly, there's been no harm done. Fortunately it doesn't look like anyone snapped a picture of him. Now that the danger is past, he shifts back out of his armored form and begins slinking away.

*

Bobby picks himself up with a faint "Uuugh…" That last Hulkspasm had knocked him down again. Fortunately, the Big Green one doesn't seem to be intent on chucking him anywhere. Just to be safe though, he gives him a wide berth and heads back to his car.

*

And it … looks like it's done. Mike checks the area.

Loki is gone. The Hulk is gone. The Baseball Bat who was a Man is gone, and why was he metal? Let's just look into that some OTHER time. After all, Mike has the whole incident in his memory, easy to pull photos from that.

The smooth - it seems like it was erased, locally, briefly, and those phones aren't Mike any more, but he knows what was on them. Just in case. So fewer addicts, but then something worse than addiction replaced it, based on the slavish way those people were acting.

People who were here are all over the place, and some of them might be filtering back for their stuff. And now there's ice freaking everywhere, a band is missing, and Mike needs to re-establish the Festival Security comms. Fine. He can do that. But someone else gets to clean up the rest of the mess.


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