Portals to Nowhere Good

Summary:
December 26 2014: A dimensional disturbance threatens a bridge full of civilians in New York.

New York Highway

A four lane highway with a bridge over - at the moment - troubled waters.


Characters

NPCs

  • Dimensional Citizens
  • Hapless Bystanders

Mood Music:
[* None]


Bobby Drake is having an odd day. A call came in for X-Red. Emergency Disaster Relief. Something about strange tremors coming from an abandoned mine in a New York State Park which wouldn't have been an issue but for the fact that if the mountainside went, it was going to take a bridge out and there wasn't a moment right now that it wasn't packed with cars full of (in some cases) quite literal happy campers.

So Bobby'd gone to grab Mike, the only other X-Red member available and gone off to investigate. Well, Mike's here to investigate, Bobby's busy shoring up the mountainside with icy retaining walls. Creative powers for the win.

What Bobby does not know is that there is a malfunctioning dimensional device in this mine (who can say why, the stuff's been turning up all over) and it's about to seriously ruin his day.

-

Mike's had to hire someone to fill in for the Bird-Bot-Ridden James Reha, who is currently using his 'short term leave' at an alarming rate. This irritation has been compounded by the excess of really unpleasant cleanup work, and the lack of cooperation from a certain union which thinks his methods are somehow cheating their members, when they wouldn't be able to even approach the jobs he's doing, and he tried to join the union anyway but they rejected him for being a robot.

Thus Mike's been itching for something to do that doesn't involve him fixing a car that's been neglected, abused, and salt-rotted; this is a completely different and quite pleasantly new situation, and he's happy to be scanning the highly purified WTF radiation that seems to be emerging from the mine. Only detectable by its secondary effects, but that's true of a number of other esoteric energies, and Mike's scanbugs are crawling all over the mountain, finding ways in through old ventilation shafts and natural fissures in the rocks, while others are returning to him to shore up his chassis.

For this situation, he's chosen a combo chassis: Flyer craft, heavy personal armor, and a mostly carbon processor-subsystem baseline humanoid body. The scanbugs came from excess on the flyer but the carbon body is a bit frangible for this kind of exploration.

"Found the back of the mine," Mike reports, "but there's nothing at that location. It has to be in the main shaft or in the flooded part where they had the collapse that closed the thing."

-

Bobby nods at that, though Mike can't of course see him. He ice ramps a bit closer. "Nothing on the surface so far. Just a whole lot of sh- hey wait a minute…" There's a rumble and crack and abruptly part of the hillside just isn't there anymore. It's been replaced by a pulsating purple portal that seems to be randomly altering local gravity. Or so Bobby would assume anyway by the way he suddenly has to fight to keep his ramps stable.

"Woah! Mike I've got some kind of really, really odd portal open here. And it's… ugh… messing with… everything." Gods he hops this thing isn't throwing off radiation.

-

"I see it," Mike says through the multi-legged abomination of a sensor probe which crawled into Bobby's frozen hair when he wasn't looking, and has been watching from atop the icy mutant's head.

"Really playing Hob with the structure of spacetime here," he continues. "I've lost contact with 124 probes, they seem to have vanished across a vast distance, within a millisecond. On the upside, I've located the probable source of the mysterious energy and the portal. It's in a half-flooded room, fifteen levels down and a half mile in on the north side." Pause. "Or, y'know, at the apex of the cone behind that projected portal. You can't see that cone, can you?"

Mike's primary chassis is now running, armor in place, down the mine, which is thinking seriously about collapsing.

"Don't collapse. Please."

Why not? It would make the itch go away.

"You're barely a technology, more a hole in the ground, could you please say that again slowly? I didn't get anything past 'Why'…"

-

There is a streak of red, white and blue across the skies accompanied by a distant sonic boom. The streak is making a beeline towards the park, but it is still a few minutes away. America, being a dimensional traveler, is often sensitive to the ripples that such devices can cause in the vicinity. She knows what reality feels like when she punches it, and most dimensional devices produce similar- if subtler- effects. For the past twenty minutes she has noticed a very persistent set of pulses. This is something she must investigate.

-

Nyx parks the bike that she has actually running, go her. She isn't even sure why she is here, just an urge to come out on a long bike ride on her newly fixed bike and see… something…. or get something. She looks off at the abandoned mine and mountain side. Hey look it is Bobby. She meanders that way, fixing her half face mask on as she watches him work. "This feels real wierd Bobby…" where the hell did she come from.

-

"No kidding." Bobby has no idea where Nyx came from and isn't very familiar with MAC. What he does know is that there's a sudden pull toward the portal and he's working very hard to stay above it… and it's not working. It's the same story on the other side of the two dimensional portal, except stranger. Everything, including the ground is being pulled sharply up toward the portal on the side of the hill. This could be… really… really bad.

-

"Uh, Bobby? I may have to tunnel… The distortion cone is blocking my path," Mike says from the bug riding on Bobby's head, and the X-Men communicator, and most of the sensor-bugs which are still swirling around the gravity anomaly like sparkling, struggling insects, clumping together into shapes resembling spacecraft so they can engage warp engines to try to escape the ytivargravity swirl. Back at the flyer-craft, a remote partial-Mike AI pings with alarm, as it watches the bridge which is now vibrating.

"Oh frack. We need to get them to clear the bridge NOW," Mike says, from the various locations. It echoes a bit strangely. Lag.

-

The aforementioned streak has now arrived to the park and becomes Miss America Chavez once she reduces her speed. She's in lookout mode for anything that might seem suspicious…

Speaking of suspicious, she looks down towards the ice coating the side of the mountain. Aha.

"Drake. What's the situation?" America says as she blurs down until she is but a few feet away from Bobby. She never did say how she knew his name. Nyx gets a peculiar look- she's never seen this one.

-

Nyx looks up and around at the whole mess "I… am totally not sure what I can do to help…. I mean I am strong and blow shit up Bobby…" she sounds a bit daunted by this disaster. Part of her, well sort of her, wants the thing generating this mess. She is kind of street looking, hoodie, half mask which looks like one of those winter neoprene face masks, and tattered jeans. She studies America next then looks back at the portal "I don't suppose shooting it with energy beams would help…. does Metal need help inside.. or maybe I could go try prop a bridge support up?"

-

"Hey there America! We've got a… dimensional… thing…" At least that's what Bobby guesses. Don't look at him like that he's a physicist not Reed Richards.

"Well that might be a good ide-" Bobby doesn't get to finish. The good news is the portal is destabilizing. The bad news? As it does so the gravitational fluctuations get worse. There's a particularly strong tug that sucks in about half a ton of dirt and rock and, along the way, collapses one of the supports on Bobby's ice ramp, sending the cool geek tumbling rather abruptly… right into the mouth of the portal.

-

"OH GREAT!" Mike yells in multiple stereo, and down the echo chamber, as two of the flying bug-clusters attempt to grab and pull Bobby out … probably without great effect. They're pretty much automaton-level AI without him close by; he would whimper at their loss because it hurts rather a lot to have one's body parts, no matter how vaguely attached, yanked down a dimensional corridor.

"The bridge is going to go, I've gotta fix that first!" Mike yells again, and there's a blur of motion coming out of the mine and arcing down to the bridge, where he spreads out to attempt to encompass it. This … may be difficult. It's metal. The stuff holding it together is. So he'll try to damp the vibrations first. And closing the entrances on either side so it will empty… oh hell no.

"THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO STOP AND TAKE PICTURES. CLEAR THE BRIDGE" … the entire bridge says in a rather grouchy voice.

-

"Get Drake," America says to Nyx, "I am going to help- the talking bridge." She's seen weirder things before. She would help Bobby, but she knows that he knows how to take care of himself. And, in any case, the civilian lives are what they are here to protect. Well, they also need to disable that portal, but one thing at a time. She becomes a blur of speed, passing through the bridge and taking as many tourists per flight as she can. She can't be as fast as she wants to be because humans are not meant to fly at hypersonic speeds without invulnerability, but she is also not too careful either for time is of the essence.

"Keep it together a little longer!" she shouts as she snatches some more tourists. One of them, a photojournalism major (now there's a dying degree) snaps a picture of her as she picks her up. America totally does not have the temptation to drop her for one millionth of a second.

-

Nyx covers her face for a moment "I Dont FLY" she yells after America… because damned she doesn't fly.. yet.. she can probably.. maybe.. but she doesn't know it yet. "Damnit… Bobby!" she leaps up scrambling and well the pull of the portal helps get traction really as she tries to get a better look and maybe go after him

-

The portal shudders once more and then collapses in on itself, vanishing. It leaves a fairly, erm, significant void in the hillside and it's a good thing that Nyx just caught Bobby because landing's going to be bad. Bobby helps with that as he makes an ice ramp for the two of them to land/slide down to a safer halt. Above them the hill simply caves in, filling the void where there had once been a couple tons of rock. Bobby's previous ice walls prevent a huge landslide… but that bridge is still shaking like it's made of wet spaghetti.

-

The bridge is … helping … move the cars along, by sort of RIPPLING the road surface. Mike is actually keeping it from collapsing by refusing to let the metal strands break and by telling the 'crete and the asphalt that they are still strong. Wiggly but strong.

That means it's probably only five minutes, tops, that Bobby has to sit in the other side of the pulsating purple people-eating portal place before Mike can disengage from the bridge — which might decide to collapse by then, but only if there's still active stress being exerted by something.

Mike disengages from the bridge, that is, the red, black and gold armor-clad robot-looking fellow hanging onto the stanchion steps back from it, and moves, not touching the ground, to the place where the portal was. Three of his drones swirl in a dance of robot confusion before they're pulled back to him and he incorporates them and their information.

"Woah," he says to anyone who is nearby. "The other side is like an 80s apocalypse movie. Everything's bombed to hell, and there's a bunch of weird signals and all the people are borged out. I lost my datafeed when the portal closed. There was a projector in the mine though…"

-

America flies as fast as she can. This causes discomfort in some of her passengers. Two of them throw up… hopefully not on top of anyone. But by the time Mike is done with the reinforcement, she has cleared the bridge with the robot-man's help. When she lands by Mike's side, she looks around for any other potential collapses.

"You're a friend of Drake's, I take it."

-

Nyx feels a bit funny but well she did one of those runningback end of the 4th touchdown catch things her dad liked to talk about. She hits the ice sheet and slides at fast speeds holding onto Bobby "Aaaah" she manages and then grass "Are we on the our side or the otherside Bobby…" she just sprawls on the ground.

-

Bobby glances about. Nyx and he are getting stares from a town that wasn't there a couple minutes ago. "Er… I'm not sure you're gonna like that answer Nyx." The ice nerd murmurs.

"Citizen. Identify yourself." A trio of… they look kind of like nazi's with electronic third eyes on their gear helmets.

-

"Mike Drakos, aka Metal," Mike says. He glances the fifty yards to where the flyer chassis is stationed and it rises into the air, moving to where they are standing. With that behind him, and on the ground again, he stares fixedly at the mountainside. Whatever was inside? It's gone. Smashola. Traces of metal, flattened lump of alien-feeling stuff that used to be something more interesting.

"And. Whatever it was is gone now. I can try to figure out what the energy was that made that portal, but I'm not Reed Richards. It'll take me a couple days if I can do it at all, and by then, judging from what I scanned, there will be Bad Things happening to Drake and Nyx… that's the girl, by the way."

He looks over at the star-spangled Young Avenger, and grins, because he can multitask.

"I've seen you in the news. Miss America Chavez. They don't know what to make of you."

-

The young woman rolls back the sleeves on her jacket. When she is righteously pissed off, she can muster a huge surge of energy- but right now she is cool-headed. This is going to take a few minutes. The star tattoos that are revealed on her wrists begin to glow, as do her eyes and every star on her outfit

"Really? I'm not that complicated. I give people what they deserve." Usually, it's a kick.

She feels the fabric of this universe fighting back. Impermeable dimensions. Very few and far between in the multiverse, but extremely combative.

"I know a shortcut. But it's going to take some time. Five minutes, maybe more," she says, focusing. The glow becoming more intense. It usually wouldn't take this long, but that portal machine disturbed the dimensional constant in this area. Extra effort will be required.

"Are you very fast, Metal?" Unrelated question?

-

Nyx peeks her eye open looking up at the trio of trops "Well this is a fine mess you got us into Bobby." she sits up then rolls up to her feet "Hi I'm Nyx… are we about to fight.. I have this feeling we are about to really start to fight.. its this gut feeling…." well part of her wants to rip and dissect these people. Not the conscious part.

-

Bobby would rather not fight. Because they're in the middle of a town and he doesn't like their odds. He'd also rather not get arrested so… "So why don't you guys just… chill." At the word chill the temperature drops precipitously and all three figures find themselves encased in ice up to their shoulders.

"Time to go!" Bobby grabs Nyx's wrist and starts to run. He'll ice ramp given a chance but motion is imperitive right now. As he moves alarms begin to go off on all the street corners and the civilians start to clear the streets in a hurry. The authorities won't be far behind.

-

"Relative to what? With the right engine designs I can go superluminal, I think, but I have yet to test them … too much to do here. I can go zero to sixty in .01 seconds, though I can't sustain that acceleration and I'm subject to g-forces, even if I can pretend otherwise."

Too much information? Sure. Because Mike is scanning this strange woman's glow. It's interesting. It's a little bit like tesseract energy, only not really.

On the other side, Mikebots coalesce into a single, dog-sized unit, interlocking strangely, and follow Bobby and Nyx.

-

She spreads her arms wide to each side and the glow intensifies.

"Fast enough to get them. I'll try to keep this open for as long as I can, but don't be slow. This universe likes to fight back."

And with that, a blue-white glowing star appears in midair. The young woman waits for a few seconds before kicking it, causing it to shatter and leave behind a portal…

That looks out into a world very much like the one Mike described.

America, however, remains with her arms spread and her eyes glowing, the stars on her jewelry and clothes positively blazing white.

"Go."

"Hurry."

There is some strain to her voice.

-

Nyx reaches out and snags one of the helmets after Bobby freezes the soldiers and then there is wrist grabbing and running. Nyx is fine with running with Bobby now, calm about it really "Is that Metal?" she asks abotu the dog sized unit running with them "or a problem from here?"

"No idea." Bobby isn't about to stop and look right now. And he hasn't seen the portal that America is holding open. What he has seen is Nyx ripping the helmet off a very heavily augmented man and about twenty more of the same emerge from a building about a block up.

"HALT!" An augmented voice yells followed shortly by an energy blast.

"Don't halt." Bobby says to his companion.

-

Metal leaps through the open starportal and is running fast, ignoring the moil of citizens… the dog suddenly wakes up and says in a familiar voice, "Yes! You guys! Double back!"

Mike has to skid and double back, and fires off a focused EMP cone at the Citizens near the star, then jinks to his right to sprint down the alley to where his remote, and Bobby and Nyx, are trying to escape the collective justice of the BorgB├╝rgerStaatMiliz. He pulls up, grabs the remains of a traffic sign, just the metal pole and whatever anchors it in the ground, and with a flex of will, there's a SNAP and he pulls it out of the ground, a squarish mallet of reinforced concrete and metal. He now has a hammer.

-

Nyx isn't going to be going slowly no sir, she does use her free hand … wasn't she holding a helmet…. to blast back at the people blasting at them. White pure energy roils around her arm and hand firing blasts as she runs with Bobby. "Bobby… the dog says the other way.. I mean Metal does… god this is the wierdest day yet… even wierder then the mutant girl I want you to meet and all those demons at the Indian Duck…." she turns and starts to drag Bobby back the way they came, still blasting… those blasts are .. stout. Knocking the treads off an Abrams Tank stout.

-

"Mutant girl you want me to m- Never mind, you can tell me later. Double back. We can do that. Hang on!" Right in front of them Bobby starts a ramp. He's still holding Nyx' wrist so he'll just haul her along like reindeer pulling a sled. On a path of ice. Through an 80's sci fi flick. Yeah.

The ice curves sharply like a rollercoaster track and Bobby just hopes Nyx can keep her balance and keep shooting. He's a bit busy making sure they don't get shot.

-

The dog jumps up and lands on Mike's shoulders and melts into the armor, adding a bit more defense and some weapon pods, and he starts racing back toward the open star. The vrooming noise of his engine is entirely made up sound effects, and probably unnecessary except that, like the red stripes on his chassis, it makes him move faster. He may encounter more Citizens on the way. If so, he will introduce them to kinetic energy transfer, Hammer Style.

Note that the hammer is likely to wear away quickly. But the shrieking metal-shredding clockwork-insect-bombs about the size of a pine-cone that get fired at the most effectively interfering Citizens are not likely to wear away quickly. They'll fall apart once Mike's through the star-portal though.

-

The shooting slows a good deal as she is corkscrewed and rollercoastered on an ice path that Bobby is making. She focuses a bit more on holding on and keeping her balance and not being left behind. There are of course still the occasionally blasts when she thinks she has a clear shot, but Nyx is trying to not blow up the ice slide by getting wobbly. She is leaving it to Bobby to guide them home now.

Bobby would not leave Nyx behind. He's just glad that she and now Make 'Hammertime' Drakos are taking heat off him because there had been a rather alarming amount of fire coming their way. It's slackened now as Mike lays into anyone in his way and his impressive spectacle draws really quite a bit of 'negative energy' from the local authorities.

Bobby sees the Star Portal now, pulls the ice ramp up high and dives it right into the dimensional rift. "Here we go!" Crossing in three… two… one..

-

OK, this is hurting a LOT. Mike is taking serious damage from these things' energy blasts, and he's had to restructure twice due to loss of limb. So he's going to leave these jerks a present.

The following procedure isn't something he does very often. He tried it for Tony Stark, with limited success, and he uses it to clean up some toxic wastes. So here's the trick. He has some heavy metal elements in various parts of his body. Expensive ones, one or two with half-lives in the 3-5 century rather than millions-of-years range. His head… with the ultimately expensive metal sensor packages and his main processor and some other important bits … that pulls apart from the main body, and comes together with some motive elements from the remote probes and as he staggers towards the portal, he convinces some of that heavy metal in his body that it REALLY wants to change its isotopic number, and then tells it to wait for it… wait for it… Like a dog, it's just waiting to go. That would be about a quarter-pound of various low-grade fissiles. The thing is … they're considered low grade because they don't go boom. But if they all change their isotope number at once, well, they DO go boom. A dirty, nasty, five or so kiloton boom.

His head leaps free of his torso, and skitters on bug legs and lifters through that star portal and to the other side. And he yells, "CLOSE IT! CLOSE IT!"

Once it closes, of course, the 'wait for it' will stop, and the metal bits will finally get to change isotope. Mostly all at once.

Why has Mike decided to make the dirty bomb thing here? Because it's the best way he knows to scramble the spacetime. He's not really sure whether the cybernazis can get back to Earth, after all. It might've been an accident.

-

And the Star Portal holds…. two… one….

Once Bobby and Mike and Nyx pass through the portal (and in Mike's case, scream through), America collapses the portal.

The tan-skinned young woman exhales and sits down on a convenient nearby rock. No flight powers, for now. So she looks up at the newcomers and says simply,

"You owe me a ride."


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