All Joking Aside, Goodbye Kagg

January 8, 2015: The Astonishing Ant-Man tracks down the Joker and drags his whoopee cushion back to Arkham.

Empire State Building

The rooftop



Mood Music:

Several days ago, Janset van Dyne, the Winsome Wasp, successfully prevented a plot by the Joker, who fancies himself the Clown Prince of Crime, to blow up the Ferris Wheel at Coney Island. The people riding the Ferris Wheel were rescued, but the Joker managed to get away. As a parting gift, he gassed Janet with some kind of chemical formula. Fortunately, she seems to have made a full recovery. Yesterday Hank spoke with her about it, or at least tried to. She was tight lipped, as she often is, but he couldn't help how he felt about it. He could have been there, should have been there, but he wasn't.

Instead, he was attending the Stark Symposium. Sure, he got to meet Howard Stark and spend some time with him, but he should have been with the Wasp. If he had, he might have prevented her from getting gassed. One more regret to add to a lifetime's worth. But Hank Pym is no ordinary scientist. He is the Astonishing Ant-Man and he can do something.

He put the word out to his ants throughout the Tri-City Corridor. He asked that if they heard the Joker's name or saw someone matching his description, that they were to get word back to him. If you think there are a lot of rats in this city, think again. There are far more ants, and get word they did. The Joker was supposed to be somewhere near the Empire State Building. So that is where the Ant-Man has gone. He's taken some precautions, wearing a double oxygen tank on his back with a back-up respirator. His suit's been sealed and he's packing his modified Stark Industries Power Ray rifle.

Which brings us to the present, where we find our hero currently seated atop one of his trusted flying ants, Kagg. Together, they ride the elevator as the music plays, "Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Ooohh Ohh! Won't you, come see about me? I'll be alone, dancing, you know it baby. Tell me, your troubles and doubts, giving me everything, inside and out, and love's strange, so real in the dark. Think of the tender things, that we were working on. Slow change may pull us apart, when the light gets into your heart, baby."

And as the doors open, Kagg is off, flying straight like a bat out of hell, ready to do battle with… and empty rooftop. But at least the song's still going away in the background, "don't you, forget about me. Don't! Don't! Don't! Don't! Don't you, forget about me…"

The Joker is standing atop the Empire State Building. Right there, up on the obersvation deck. He looks… confused. "I don't get it. What does the Bat see in this? And people call me crazy." He mutters as he turns to step off the d- wait. Is that a flying Ant? With a guy on top? Ooookay. This could be fun…

Flying atop Kagg, his trusted mount, Hank Pym charges at the Harlequin of Hate. "Steady, boy, steady," he says to Kagg as he takes aim with his Power Rifle, and he fires. Yes, that was a flying ant, with a guy on top, and he just fired a ray gun. No wonder Batman prefers the safety of Gotham, New York is probably too weird even for him.

The blast misses, sadly, but does have the nice effect of destroying some railings as the device has been modified to fire acid capsules that dissolve inorganic material on contact. He'll probably have to put an orange cone there afterwards. And suddenly he's wondering, out of all the thousands of items he has in his toolbot, does he even have orange cones?

The Joker immediately leans over and produces what for all the world looks a lot like an RPK. Otherwise known as an 'intimidating belt fed device' (tm). "Clever." He grins. "Not even the Bat has toys like that. How are you at making armour, I wonder? Something I can do for you, Bug-Buddy?"

The cute little flying dude on the ant shouts out, "This is for the Wasp you psychotic son of a bitch!" Oh, he's riled all right. Probably not thinking too well either. He's let his emotions get the better of him. The Joker hurt Jan, so he wants to hurt the Joker, or at least lock him up in a prison he won't escape, like a miniaturised Joker stuck in an ant farm. Of course, the jailors might eat the inmate, but for now, Hank's okay with that, maybe.

That Ruchnoy Pulemyot Kalashnikova could be a problem. Sure, he's not easy to hit, but Kagg, if he did get hit, that'd be fatal. "You're going to have to leave me buddy," he tells his ride, and with the kind of timing that only comes from experience, Kagg dives downwards as Ant-Man uses his spring boots to leap upwards. Kagg will retreat to safety, while the Ant-Man will fire another blast, aiming for the RPK, "And the name's Ant-Man."

The Joker sighs in a slightly put upon manner and talks, rather than to Ant-Man, to Kagg instead. "That's the problem with heroes in the City. They don't do the bombastic self righteousness of the Bat and they can't banter. It's key, I tell you. Critical. Otherwise we just skip to the fighting and it gets boring." Even as he says that though he braces the weapon on the railing and just holds down the trigger, firing off fifty rounds easy at the flying insect. (both of them)

Ant-Man can't actually control his downward trajectory, but fortunately, the Joker's rounds manage to avoid him. He lands on the rooftop and begins running in a zigzag pattern, evading the cartridges that begin to tear up the roof. "Oh, I don't know, I can banter with the best of them, when I want to. But I," he jumps, pushing off against a security latch to send a punch hurdling towards the Joker's crisp, white nose, "prefer to do it with the sane."

But while he escaped any serious injury, Kagg wasn't so lucky. He, he got hit. And considering the cartridge was bigger than he was, there just, isn't anything left of him, just a leg as the rest of his body was torn by the bullet. When Ant-Man finds out, he's going to be upset, he'll mourn, and of course, he'll want his revenge, but for now, he doesn't know. How fortunate for him.

The Joker racks the gun again to clear jam. It's the only reason he stopped shooting. But now that he's ready to go again, he doesn't shoot. "SO what's your deal Orkin Man? Bug Blatter? The Arthropodic Avenger? Give me something to work with here other than generic rage, eh?"

No sooner are the words out of his mouth than the Joker's head rocks back. Ow again. That felt like one of Batsy's good ones. He stumbles back and blinks. "Nice left hook. Unfortunately for you…" The Joker put some thought into his encounter with the Shinker. There might be other out there. So when he produces one of those electrified flyswatters that looks like a tennis racket and turns it on…

Finally, that gun stops firing and it gave Hank the opening he'd been longing for. But then the Joker decides to get technical, and he's suddenly having to try and dodge a tennis racket-sized, electrified flyswatter. He's quick, but if he's not careful, he's going to get squashed, or worse, electrocuted. As he dodges, moving this way and that, he ends up dropping his little Power Rifle, not that it would do the Joker much good at that size.

"If you need an adjective, you can go ahead and call me the Astonishing Ant-Man, or," and just as the fly swatter is about to come down on him, he grows, not just grows to normal size, but he grows to around eight feet tall, "how about Giant-Man? Or is Goliath better? I can never decide." He's grow bigger, but he's on the roof and it's already been shot to pieces, so he's not too sure about how much weight it can handle.

"Giant Ant Man huh?" The Joker grins as he begins to relocate. Staying near Giant angry ant men seems bad. "You're good. The other one only did tiny. I wonder what happened to her after she got gassed…" He thinks for a moment and then shrugs. Taking up the Machinegun again he lets fly but aiming, worryingly, not at the man, but the already compromised floor.

When the electrified fly swatter is abandoned, Ant-Man says, "I could always go with G.I. Ant-Man?" as he chases after the Joker, "Would that make you feel better?" But then the Joker makes with the psychological warfare. Mentioning Wasp was a good idea, it makes Hank stop in his tracks for a moment, and the anger in his voice, and his eyes only seems to grow. He nearly screams out a "she's fine!"

But then the floor collapses under the barrage of RPK fire. Ant-Man begins to fall through the opening, but during the fall, he shrinks back down to his smaller size and… doesn't seem to leap up. Where'd the little bugger go? Is he dead?

The Joker doesn't know. But he's curious enough to walk over and take a look down the big hole he just made. "Where'd ya go tiny? Don't tell me you're done already. We were just getting started…" He looks around. Batsy does these disappearing acts sometimes… but usually comes back pretty quickly.

And so does Ant-Man. Rising up from the rubble comes a tiny little hero, fist raised. When he's down to this size, those boots of him give him a pretty amazing jumping ability, more than enough to cover the distance, but it's not just about the jump, it's about the timing. "I'm… right… here!"

The Clown Prince doesn't do non-lethal attacks because they're humane or spare people's lives. He does it because they're usually pretty painful and he loves to inflict pain. Which is why, as he stumbles away from Ant-Man's attack he produces what looks like a bottle of hairspray but is actually a bottle of really, really powerful pepper spray. Military grade. CS gas they call it. Tear gas and mace mixed together and put on steroids. A whole cloud of it fills the area.

The Ant-Man came prepared. Before he set off to find the Joker, he modified his costume by adding two separate canisters of air, sealed his suit, and put in a more advanced air filter system in case the canisters were compromised. He wasn't about to let himself be gassed the way Jan was.

So when he's enveloped by the pepper spray on steroids, he grows to normal size, emerging from the smoke in a way that's reminiscent of the Batman. "Come quietly and I might send you back to Arkham. Put up a fight and you're going into the Ant-Hill." It's a good thing his face is covered, or else the Joker might notice how worried he is. Not so much the danger, but what he might do to the Joker. What he wants to do. He's never felt this way before.

The Joker just laughs. It's a low, manic, ugly sound. Not full of mirth but of ill will and cynicism. "Arkham? Yes, go ahead, put me in Arkham. I'll have fun driving a few more psychiatrists insane before I leave again in my own good time. Maybe you should join me. I thought Batman was crazy but you're running around dressed like a bug angry about a woman dressed like a wasp." Beat. "Really, some things are just unnatural."

Amidst the laughter, Ant-Man reaches for one of his devices and suddenly a pair of high tech handcuffs appear in one of his hands. They appeared to grow out of thin air. They were stored at an even smaller size. He's cautious, and wary, but he really hasn't thought this entirely through. He expected the Joker to struggle, to fight back, and he still might, but if he actually did come along quietly, that would make for a difficult and long journey to Gotham. Where's S.H.I.E.L.D. when you need them? Or the Justice League? Or Titans?

"Just like that?" Even he's surprised, but why look a gift horse in the mouth? It worked out all right for Troy, didn't it? Oh yeah, right. But still, he'll move to try and cuff the Joker, if he can. There's got to be a double cross or a gag or something. Wouldn't it be really insidious if the Joker were coming along quietly?

"Yeah, sure." The Joker grins, holding his wrists out. "Take me in. I wanna chat with one of the docs there anyway. And I'll be sure to let eveeeeryone know who brought me in. You know. So you can take all the credit."

Hank's still wary about this. The Joker has a reputation for being unpredictable, but he never expected that the man would just let himself be handcuffed. Ant-Man will place those hands in the cuffs, in the front, since as someone who's not law enforcement, he's not too familiar with the benefits of handcuffing someone behind their back, and he's not about to waste the opportunity to get the cuffs on the Joker. His cuffs are more like bracers anyway, which automatically tighten around the joker's forearms, and keep his hands from being able to touch anything, or even each other.

"That's uh… that'll be fine, Joker." This guy is so weird. But he's bound and that's a start. But now, how to get him to Arkham? Looking around, while trying to keep one eye on the Joker, he'll bend down to grab some of the railing, which he'll cut with his handy-dandy pen knife. It has a lightsabre setting. In short order, he'll have cut five flat pieces of metal and welded them together, creating a makeshift box. "Now, you might not like this, but it won't hurt a bit." And he applies some Pym particles to the Joker, shrinking him down and guiding him into the little box. From there, it's a short train ride to Gotham and home in Arkham Asylum.

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