Day of the (Robotic) Tentacle

Summary:
November 28 2014: HYDRA attacks the New York Port Authority building with… er… a machine. Thing.

Port Authority

That bastion of transportation bureaucracy.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


One might think that the Fantastic Four do not really CARE about mundane threats like Hydra. After all, it's just a fascist movement, no different really from Humanity First, Amway, or the Reader's Digest Book Club … but in fact, it's on the Freedom Foundation radar. Because it tried to infiltrate.

So when there's a 'test' of something new and terrortastic, the FF (currently Johnny Storm and Miss America Chavez as Ben Grimm's aunt Petunia sprained a clavicle at Lucha Libre, and Reed and Sue have taken James Cameron on a brief trip to Titan, so he can see whether it's possible to film a movie there) … The FF has come to prevent the terror.

-

The Terror in question is about two stories tall, with giant metal tentacles that it moves around on, like an octopoid with too much iron in its diet. The thing has moved into the Port Authority Building, and is simply MESSING EVERYTHING UP as it disassembles the front entry.

Police are not having much success stopping it — there's no humans on the outside, it's shoved away anyone who tried to stop it (not necessarily gently) and the two front tentacles are jackhammering at the marble…

In the sky, a cry of "FLAME ON!" lets the enemy know that the Human Torch is here to … well, hopefully, save the day, or at least, the building.

-

"It always has to be tentacles, doesn't it?" Miss America Chavez remarks as their intended target comes into view. She crosses her arms as her Fantastic partner immolates himself and then asks, "How do you want to handle this?" because it's important to coordinate. Especially with a guy who could set things on fire.

Not that she worried too much- she was fireproof. Her clothes on the other hand, were not.

-

Not a member of the Fantastic Four, but a SHIELD agent of sorts, well, an independent military contractor, currently working for them, Lance is hanging around at the Port Authority for other reasons, and then that Terror happens. He is leaning against a wall, watching it with a serious look. He isn't fireproof, but he is, at least, armed. "Go pick up that parcel, Hunter, it should be a nice bunrun for you…" The mutter is directed at the person who sent him here. A hose. That is what he needs… And he goes looking for one.

-

Bobby is not an agent of anything. But he is here. Partly because there's something just ruining the Port Authority area and if it's allowed to do that how are they going to ruin everything for everyone else? The entire setup will come undone! He iceramps around the area, staring a the thing. Ah. There's Torch and… er… flying rule 63 Captain America?

-

Seriously, by now you'd think the Chavez would have gotten around to having a set of unstable molecule all-weather gear made up, or asked Johnny or Sue or even Ben to help her out — not Reed, never Reed, he's got the fashion sense of a black eye on a supermodel — after all, everyone knows how to use the Molecular Garment Unstabilizer … well, mostly. There isn't an actual manual.

The Hydra Armored Invasion Machine has made a hole! The hole is not big enough, so it goes to work hammering around it more with those front two tentacles, making a terrible racket.

There is, in fact, a hose… a large fire hose, canvas and PVC and other high-tensile materials, rolled up in one of those Tidy Fire Hose Cases that keeps them from becoming all floopy and underfoot and growing leaks. There is also a small garden hose, made of common rubber, which is maybe 20 feet long. That's being used to water a tree outside the entrance.

"I'm thinking, wreck their ride, first," Johnny says. "Also, I wonder what they're digging for? HERBIE, can you look up anything about the Port Authority and buried stuff?"

The Torch heads for the back of the machine, which clearly nobody would be watching, and is nearly swotted out of the air by a tentacle. OK, someone's watching.

There is a time capsule buried under the marble floor, Master Johnny, the robotic voice of HERBIE says from the concealed speaker on the shoulder of Johnny's currently-invisible-from-flame FF Uniform.

-

"Right, then. You overheat them, I'll take care of their breaking and entering."

America zooms away from Johnny and towards the machine, fists in front of her and ready to fly around to the front of the machine. She dislikes tentacles, so her reaction to an incoming one is going to be… violent.

-

A fire hose is a perfect weapon in the hands of someone willing to use it, and Lance is running to it, reaching to unwind it, unaware of the plan of the others. Hunter unwinds the thing, rapidly, deploying a number of original British curses under his breath. "What the hell… Where is the Calvary when you want her?"

-

Bobby lands near Hunter. "Are you going to use the hose, or the water inside?" Depending on how Hunter wants to play it, it can become either a cannon, shooting high preasure Ice Shards or, a suddenly inflating, very hard restraint or barrier. Ice powers. How do they work?

Simple. They're cool.

-

The thing about villains who ARE watching is that there's more than one of them; A tentacle that was wrapped tight against the side of the tank takes aim at the Human Torch with his highly targetable thermal signature, and extends itself towards the two who are playing with fire (hose), while another pair, in front, aim at the rapidly approaching Captain Americanette, or Buckita, or whatever — there's some debate inside by fortunately well-insulated-from-sound but "witty" Hydra operators on the question of who that girl is. The four tentacles quickly spray out something that looks like ink, in a heavy cloud, trying to stream it over the bodies of the interfering so-called Heroes. If it touches skin, it will cause numbness and blistering, a painless (initially) destroyer of skin and tissue beneath. If breathed, it's generally like breathing in a bottle of pure habanero extract. If it hits fire… well, this happens.

There's a WHUMP! and the Torch is blown backwards as the liquid that was sprayed in a single gout at him, explodes on contact with his fire-sheath. He's knocked across the street, and slides up against a building.

-

"What?" The glance at a man landing beside him gets a surprised look before replying, "Water. I figured I'd put the fire out." He finishes unwinding the hose, adding with a grin, "Lance Hunter, at your service. "Bugger…" He steps back with the hose, tossing the end to Bobby, as he dives to twist the hydrant's catch. "Do your worse, mate…"

"What?" The glance at a man landing beside him gets a surprised look before replying, "Water. I figured I'd put the temper out." He finishes unwinding the hose, adding with a grin, "Lance Hunter, at your service. "Bugger…" He steps back with the hose, tossing the end to Bobby, as he dives to twist the hydrant's catch. "Do your worse, mate…"

Bobby shrugs. "I was thinking of letting you do the aiming. But sure." The water begins to flow and then shoot and as it emerges from the spout Bobby turins it into sharp lances of ice that arc into the air and rain down… perhaps a touch indiscriminately.

-

America flies straight into the solution, getting it mostly on her jacket and the lower portion of her jeans. Oh, yes, and on her skin as well. The thing about invulnerability is not having to worry about chemicals that much, either…

But again, her damned clothes. The curse that comes out of her mouth is rather shocking- but it is because her jacket and her jeans are beginning to dissolve. She looks down and spots Drake and someone else. No time. "Hey! Keep them busy. I'll be back."

And with that, she zooms away. First, to check on Johnny's condition, because he is her team-mate after all.. and if he doesn't require medical assistance, she is going to zoom away at top speed towards a certain shop she knows. It's usually twenty minutes away by car, but for her it is a leap away. So to speak.

-

Johnny is stirred but not shaken, and shakes it off (off) to burst into flame again. He rockets in past the thing, setting off the clouds of noxious, poisonous gas before they can simply filter past the spray of ice shards, but he has to go high to avoid the shards as well; a single fireball causes the tentacle that tries to re-focus on him to explode and catch fire. Meanwhile the ice immobilizes the two tentacles closest to this side, for the moment…

The front tentacles continue to dig, making the hole bigger. The undercarriage tentacles are anchoring it in place; at this point, it's got no active weapons … wait.

The three remaining poison tentacles, having exhausted their lethal armory of liquid death, rotate and unlock, revealing a more traditional armory of death: Bullets. Fortunately only one of them can move into position, the other two being ice-welded to the hull of the octo-pod tank.

"Don't vaste your time," a heavily but generically accented voice says over a loudspeaker from inside the tank. "You vill not be able to stop us from acquiring our objectif."

-

Lance grins, a look that is humourless, "If it is going to shoot us, let's return the favour… " He crouches, taking aim, slanting a look at Bobby, "unless you have a plan?" Willing to take orders, that is Lance Hunter, even as he shoots at a giant tentacle monster. Aiming carefully, to avoid shooting a certain firey thing.

-

"I think shooting sounds good. I'll give you some cover." Bobby throws a hand out and ice begins to build in a low wall, think enough to absorb and deflect bullets that aren't shot from a tank cannon. Hunter may not want to snuggle up to it. Bobby's immune to the cold and he doesn't particularly want to, but it's better than getting shot. "Hey TORCH! You got a plan?!"

-

"Yeah! Want to play Thermal Fatigue The Armor with the Hydrants here?" Johnny calls out to the Iceman. "You guys make your side cold and I'll make my side really warm," and since the tentacles are all busy, the Torch starts throwing a constant blast of extremely high temperatures as he moves to the side opposite from the other two. There's a terrible smell and a nasty creaking sound already.

Inside the machine, the operations officer in charge of this retrieval action slaps the driver on the back of the head. "What was that stupid fake accent about?"

He looks out the front-camera. "We have two minutes tops before they peel the outer layer. Get that floor up NOW," he growls at the tentacle-hammer operators. The noise increases.

-

And breaking the sound barrier, here she is, Miss America.

She's wearing the first pair of clothes she could grab, which means that instead of her usual patriotic flair she is clad in jeans, and over those jeans she is wearing… a white shirt with frilly, poofy sleeves, and a black bolero jacket on top. The store from which she usually gets her paraphernalia has closed early because of the holiday, and smashing through the window is just not something she does to honest people. The resulting fashion on her means that America is pissed, and that that supersonic dive of hers is now aimed at the two front tentacles. She's going to try to grab one of them and yank it off the machine.

Afterwards, she's going to use it to beat up the machine, because why go all the way without adding insult to injury?

-

Hunter keeps shooting, aiming at the more fragile areas of the creature, where the heat and cold meet, hitting weakened metal where he can. As Miss America appears, he lifts the weapon, stopping shooting, "Wouldn't look good if I shot one of them, right?" The aside to Bobby is rueful, a touch of cynicism in place.

-

Bobby lifts both hands and begins to apply cold to one side of the monstrosity. He grins over to Hunter. "No, rather not. Though I don't know that an ice cannon would actually hurt either of them so there is that." So maybe indiscriminately spray the damn thing? Sure….

-

Frozen wonders? The tentacle on the Ice side starts to make creaking noises and it's, well, not precisely BRITTLE, but America has less trouble snapping it off than she might have expected from this kind of a machine. The other one tries to stop her, but there's a BANG! and a hiss as the hydraulics on that side start to melt and catch fire.

Inside, the Hydra operatives are scrambling. The machine lurches forward slightly, collapsing over the hole that was made in the floor.

From the hot side, Johnny yells, "IT WOULD HURT, SO DON'T!" Drake was not particularly solicitous of Johnny Storm's pain and suffering in highschool football days, and he seems to have kept that deplorable attitude after they grew up and got super-powers.

Meanwhile, a small door at the bottom of the Hydra Octo-Pod dilates open, letting the passengers scramble down through the hole into the room below. There it is. The box.

-

And something else flies through that hole. Namely, Miss America Chavez, landing with a stomp that sends out a rippling tremor through the structure.

"This is the part where you give up and I don't throw you to the moon," she says, on general principle, to the HYDRA operatives.

-

"Fuck it." That sounds more like resignation than heroics, and Lance shoots Bobby a grin before he heads towards the monster itself, running along the ground to climb up into the rubble, heading to join Miss America, if he can. Avoiding the hot and cold, he climbs, slithers and scrambles over the ground.

-

Bobby grins and ramps up, taking skyward as America and Hunter charge in. He'll circle, handle any rats bolting and, importantly at least in his mind, draw fire of anyone still manning the weapons on that monstrosity. "Hey! Up here idiots!" He ices over the viewport… mostly out of spite. Then one of the remaining tentacles. Then the gunports.

-

In the comics and cartoons, the bad guys used guns that shot 'kinetic energy blasts' rather than bullets. Hydra uses bullets. However, they're not stupid; they already saw that this one is bulletproof and they know about the dangers of ricochet-back in a closed space at tight quarters.

"Give up? The Hydra chief operative laughs, "Impede her! Hail Hydra!" and he lunges for the box, a mysterious device wrapped around both hands. Hydra operatives do their best to Get In The Way; there is jumping at America and a fairly effective blocking line.

Out in the boring part of things, the Hydra Octo-Pod has just made the most INTERESTING noise with the continued blasts of heat and cold, and is now splitting down the middle, armor sheaths peeling away.

-

This one also has a rather violently allergic reaction to idiocy. In America's countless travels through the multiverse, she has become a keen observer of the human condition, and she has come to learn that, just like gravity, one of the universal constants everywhere seems to be the force of idiocy.

The force is strong in these ones.

The tan-skinned woman pulls her punches, because otherwise the HYDRA operatives would be bursting like papayas, but she does grab at the nearest jumping HYDRALING and attempts to grab him by the legs. She will use it as a bludgeon to bring down the blocking line and, if she still has a hold of him, throw it at the chief operative. "Put that box down. Now!"

-

Hunter uses a boot or two to kick the pod, before charging it, trying to heave it away from the hole. As it splits he gives one more shove, and then jumps down the hole, landing with his gun pointing at the operatives, shooting as he lands, picking his cover in that movement to avoid being shot himself. He shoots Miss America a glance, before adding to her comments, "I would do as the lady says." A British, polite, and he shakes his head.

-

"Torch! It's coming apart…" Bobby… grins suddenly. He's just had an image of what happens to roads during rough winters and hot summers. Thermal expansion, of materials and water. "Alternate with me!" Still circling he aims a blast of ice at the weakest looking point. Then waits for a blast of fire. Then ice, then fire. Like the march of centuries, in seconds.

-

The pod, being the size of two Abrams tanks glued together into an ugly skull-headed mess riding on great heavy steel tentacles, does not heave easily, and it's also uncomfortable to touch, being either hotter than a forge on one side or somewhere around liquid nitrogen on the other side, but there is that sheltered section where Miss America yanked off the tentacle, and it's easy enough to get in there.

Shooting an unsuspecting Hydra agent, the man yelps "one head!" before he dies, and provides cover in the room underneath the marble floor. The box is about the size of a coffin, and the Hydra operative has reached it, before his driver is thrown at him like a stupidity-seeking missile. And … it hits, knocking him away from the box. His hands close on the other agent instead, and the two of them vanish in a flash of soon-to-be-executed-for-failure light. The other Hydra thugs make a series of loud, unpleasant CRUNCHING sounds as they bite down on hollow teeth.

It's going to smell terrible in here in just a few seconds, that poison is a very fast neurotoxin.

-

America has encountered Hydra's version of the pink slip before, enough times to walk past the men for whom she can do nothing, and reaches for the box. It's not too much of a bother to hoist it under one arm, nor is it to fly at Hunter and grab him under the other arm as she flies for the exit. "We need to get out of here, now." She speaks from experience, they exhude a toxin that is fast-acting and which Hunter, most likely, would not appreciate sampling.

-

"Bloody hell…" The mutter is quiet, and he holsters the gun, pushing the safety on as Miss America approaches. Hunter is nothing if not well trained in taking orders, and he goes with his arm, exiting the hole in a hurry. "This is why they can't find the staff…." A joke, even as they flee the toxin.

-

Johnny hears Bobby's idea, and grins. They begin slowly circling the machine, blasting intense surface-of-the-sun heat and surface-of-Pluto cold at the metal. The first casualty is the tentacle-interface; the complicated parts just corrode and fatigue and fall apart. If Miss A. hadn't kicked it aside, the thing would have blocked their exit, but she manages to get it free in passing, coming up from the hole underneath. The machine … suffers from about 4000 years of weather in about five minutes.

-

Bobby grins as the monster is reduced to scrap metal. "There. Take that." He circles once more. Bobby can't really do anything about getting rid of the met- wait… He lands atop the wreckage, careful of the fumes and begins to become a heat sink. The temperature begins to drop. A lot. Enough to start precipitating the, er, air out of the air. And then colder still.

-

Multiverse Traveler Tip #421: Always wear sensible boots.

Sensible boots allow you to stary warm and traipse through dangerous territory.
Sensible boots allow you to kick little mischievous godlings through walls.
Sensible boots also help with obstruction removal.

The kick is America's standard, no-holds-barred blow that she delivers when she knows she doesn't have to hold back anymore. What effect it will have on the structure that has been subjected to such extreme conditions… well, we're just about to find out.

-

New York is a very dirty city… The air is full of smoke, dust, and now, with that kick, it's full of powdered metal dust as the Hydra war-vehicle, the Octo-Pod, currently chilled to the point where nitrogen stops being a proper liquid, and turns into something like snow, about -212C … explodes into powder and glitter.

It's very expensive glitter too.

Johnny Storm just hangs back away, because he's not sure that he wants to be in that cloud of REALLY COLD dust, and he's also not sure it isn't explosive if it gets mixed with oxygen.

-

Hunter, in the middle of that cloud of dust, is coughing when he emerges, his face covered in corpse of Hydra War Machine, attached to Miss America, almost bent double. If nothing else, the powder has given him grey hair, ageing him a few decades.

-

Bobby has a sudden introduction to gravity. He catches himself midfall and manages to ramp-tumble to a skidding, rolling halt about a hundred feet away and lays on his back looking up at the stars. "Okay… that was almost a good idea…" He mutters.

-

And up among the glitter, America. When she lands with that box under her arm and Hunter in the other, she is covered in the glittering stuff as well.

"Of course. It had to be glitter." She sparkles as she walks, setting Hunter down as well as the box. "Everyone alright?"

-

"Well, that was … different," Johnny says, landing and turning off the flame. "Anyone who breathed that stuff should probably get their lungs vaccuumed out, super fast. Can you say Pneumonultramicroscopicmetallicohydraconiosis? Because I can't."

The Port Authority Operations Manager makes an appearance, finally, since the Heroes have Saved The Day… "Who's going to fix that hole, and what's with the box?"

Nobody wants to drive through the still-drifting cloud of powder.

-

Hunter sits down, letting himself fall backwards, contact with the earth welcome. Coughing, he rolls onto his side, waving a hand briefly, "Yeah, can't say anything." The manager gets a look, before the SHIELD agent rolls back to his feet, giving the others a grin, "Well, you could ask Hydra to swing by, fix it up… The box is just part of her outfit. Can't you see it matches?" Finally, he reaches into his pocket, pulling out the tattered piece of paper, "I came to collect this…" Smartarse.

-

Bobby doesn't wanna get up. It's nice on the ground. And he should get his lungs examined. Which he will later. He lifs one hand up and, a bit slowly, fills the hole with ice. That should do until someone can fill it properly. "So… how the hell did that happen." Bobby slowly picks himself up and looks at Johnny, then Hunter and MAC. He hasn't met Hunter… or America for that matter.

-

"I kicked it." America says simply, as if that explained everything. She looks at Bobby, "You alright, Drake?"

He's never met her, but she apparently knows who she is very well. "Storm?" She asks Johnny, and…

"You" she says to the coughing Hunter. She can't know everyone, after all.

-

The guy who is sometimes the Torch says, "Uhm. Iceman, this is Miss America Chavez, and I don't know the helpful guy with the firehose."

He looks over at the Port Authority guy and says, "You guys have a plan for all this stuff, just follow it. We were helping, and we stopped them. Good Samaritan Rule."

Because really, the guy's trying to get them to take the blame so the city can charge them for the repairs. That isn't gonna happen.

"So, seriously, that dust can't be good to breathe. I'll call Reed and see if he has anything we can use to clean it up. Back in a bit," and Johnny Storm once again bursts into flames and shoots into the sky like a rocket. A guided one. That doesn't explode.

-

"Lance Hunter, independent military contractor. I work with SHIELD, formally of STRIKE." A brief summary, revealing a competent history behind the more casual appearance. "Also, I need this parcel. I'm not leaving without it." A grin, laughingly almost, as he offers his hand to the others. "Pleasure to meet you."

-

Bobby blinks. He turns to stare at America and Hunter. "Er, nice to meet you Lance Hunter. And… do I… know you, Miss Chavez?" He thinks he'd remember meeting a flying rule 63 Captain America. In fact, he's positive that's the kind of thing he'd remember.

-

"Somewhere else," America replies to Bobby, and then looks at Hunter. "What are you doing working if you're on strike?"

Because, really, he walked into that one.

-

The sparkling Hunter gives America a pained look, and then grins, "Yeah, we didn't think the name out." He glances down at the piece of paper in his hands, "I'm guessing the Port is closed for repairs…I think I'll go and confess to the Calvary before she finds out."

-

"The Caval… wait… Asian Woman. Frowns. Kinda Skeery?" He may know this Cavalry.

America's 'somewhere else' gets a curious look from Bobby. "Somewhere else? As in… some place I don't remember?" Or… perchance, some place where he's not him? He's met Calvin Rankin so he's at least mildly aquainted with the notion.

-

"I should get going," America says, verbally walking past Bobby's question, though she does seem to be fighting the bare beginnings of a smile. "I'll help Storm bring… whatever it is Richards has for clean-up. Hopefully it won't punch a hole in reality."

She looks at Bobby, then at Hunger, and the next second she's up in the air and zooming away.

-

"Yeah, that is the one." Hunter's grin widens, "Remember, she loves being called that." He shoves the note back into his pocket, giving them a lopsided grin, as he watches Miss America leave. "Fancy a pint then?" The words are to Bobby, with a rueful grin.

-

Bobby doesn't normally drink but. "Hell… why not. You can get drunk and tell me super secret spy stuff." He winks. "You prefer your beer cold?" He asks as they walk off.


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