The Last Days of Wonder - New York City

Summary:
January 11, 2015: New York City is the scene of a nasty terrorist attack on Central Park.

New York City

Central Park in Flames


Characters

NPCs

  • General Fury
  • Ulysses Hayes
  • President Pershing

Mood Music:
Glow Worm - The Handsome Family. Harrisburg - Josh Ritter


THE LAST DAYS OF WONDER

The day the power of love overrules the love of power, there will be peace. — Gandhi.

2013

The black SUV motors along a lonely desert highway in New Mexico, careening toward a pillar of black smoke rising into the orange hued sky. By the time the truck enters the gravel driveway we can tell that it is, in fact, a small clinic of some sort that is ablaze.

Smoking a cigarette, a man seated in a wheelchair rolls out towards the vehicle. He looks to be in his early 40s, with fading almond colored hair and a few days of stubble upon his face.

As the door closes on the trunk — the driver has put the wheelchair in the back of the SUV—he looks to the man sitting in the passenger seat; the latter looks worried and perhaps a little concerned for anyone still in that building.

"Harkins? Did I ever tell you my story about the chickadee?"

"No boss," Harkins shakes his head, unable to take his eyes from the burning building, even as the driver returns and the SUV begins to make its way back to the highway.

"I was a boy at the time. Maybe 10." The man in the back seat lowers the window and lights another of his cigarettes. He exhales and his eyes trail out towards the rocks and sand in the foreground and the mountains in the background. "My uncle had some land and decided to bring me out to learn how to shoot a bb gun. "Don't shoot anything but crows," he said, reasoning that crows were scavengers and lower on the totem pole than other birds like robins or sparrows. There was a hierarchy of what we could kill and what we couldn't and that hierarchy was based on the most recent repast."

He takes a deep inhale of his cigarette and holds the smoke deep in his lungs, only letting it slip out as he continues to speak.

"I didn't see shit for crows, to be honest. I didn't see shit for anything except for a cute little chickadee. Black and white head, looked almost fluffy. Damn gorgeous tiny thing." He spits out the final word as the rest of the smoke billows out and he can't help but chuckle. "So I went down to one knee, got the bird in my sight. I exhaled, squeezed the trigger slow, just like my uncle taught me. And when the first bb hit, you should have seen the look on my uncle. Incredulity is the only way to describe it. He didn't even know what to say at first as the bird sat there, squirming, grasping to what little life it had left in it."

"Finish it, he said."

"And I did. And when I pulled the trigger," he takes another deep drag from the cigarette before flicking it out the window. "That was the last time I felt remorse."

*

NEW YORK CITY

A family smiles and poses for a picture in Central Park, but after they're finished, the mother and two children go to get the cellphone from the stranger, while the father empties out a bag of something onto the grass near the tree.

A few hundred feet away, a pair of kissy-facers are busy being romantic, but after a timely kiss, the woman leans over behind the park bench they sit upon and empties something into the grass behind them.

METROPOLIS

A pair of men wearing large backpacks tread the trail towards the Metropolis Power Company, the leading power plant in clean energy in the world. One of them produces a tin-schnipps from his pocket and begins to cut a hole into the side of the fence.

GOTHAM CITY

A half dozen boats head towards the Robert H. Kane Memorial bridge. Conspicuous because their lights are off, they remain unseen as they pull closer toward the rocky embankments that hold the braces of the giant bridge above as the traffic jam lies above

*

TONIGHT
SHIELD, the Federal Government, the NSA, CIA, and Homeland Security all begin to investigate a strange viral video on youtube where a man with thinning hair is speaking bizarrely into the camera. G-men hackers begin working feverishly to trace the post.

NEW YORK

Almost before anyone can bat an eye, nearly all of Central Park is in flames. Thousands of people are inside, stranded, as the historic civic space is blazing. Those that are close enough run to the exits and out on the streets, several of the victims on fire themselves, as the emergency vehicles can already be heard in the distance.

GOTHAM CITY

Four loud explosions happen simultaneously on the busiest bridge at the busiest time of day. The blasts look like blinding white fireworks, just before quadruple fireballs take the bridge. Within a few seconds, the first part of the bridge gives way, spilling a plethora of cars down into the river. The angry sound of breaking metal ripping away from itself becomes a cacophony and this is about to get really, really bad.

"Well I mean the thing with Catherine Breillat is that she often works her own life into her art through an actress standing in for her, like in 'Sex Is Comedy' and 'Abuse of Weakness,' but not with the same, I suppose, regularity and consistency of Denis Lavant acting as the stand-in for Leos Carax—"

Ronnie Hautzig, mild-mannered graduate student and 21st-century hippie-esque, is talking to her student, Kim Traynor, as they walk down the street from a coffee shop. Ronnie's thought stops dead and her iced mocha (in winter?) falls out of her hand and to the ground when the sight of Central Park igniting lights up the horizon.

Ronnie has a bag slung on her shoulder, and she turns to Kim. "Do you have your gear on you?" She doesn't need to say 'because we're going over there.' The look in her eyes carries that well enough, probably.

One quick-change in an alley later…

Sunday In The Park With Vorp. Central Park is one of those places that holds a special place in Keith O'Neil's heart, he comes here quite regularly to unwind, and so it is natural for him to want to share the good vibes with his friends and significant other. The weather isn't quite picnic-warm, but it is the warmest it has been for several weeks in winter, and so Keith had the brilliant idea to ask Gar over for a stroll, gab a bit, maybe go for hot chocolate beforehand.

If he thought the weather was unseasonably warm before…

"Holy shit!" the redhead says, staring as the world catches fire around them, embers flying and searing any surface that wasn't wet enough to catch fire. "We need to move, can-"

There is a pause in his speech and he swallows hard as he puts his hand down his pocket. "The mirror…" he turns his pocket inside out- empty.

Outside of the park, in one of the coffeehouses nearby, Keith's portable mirror is safely in the Lost and Found of the coffeeshop (probably the one Ronnie and Kim are walking out of) after a concerned patron found it laying on the floor next to the chair the young man had occupied. It probably fell out when he took out his wallet. "Crapcrapcrapcrapcrap!"

He needed to find a reflection somewhere. Ideally one that wasn't close to something on fire.

Kim never goes anywhere -without- her gear nowadays if she can help it, even if it does mean she's developed a new hatred of stairwells and long distance walking. But she's been practicing getting the whole suit on and running, and she can do that in more or less record time, stuffing her backpack with her other belongings in it into the nearest hiding spot. She's almost got her helmet on and skates whining up to power before she even knows what's going on beyond 'fire' and 'sirens'.

And she's doing her best to earn that 'Velocity' bit of her chosen name, only holding back from downright careless speed to let her mentor/professor keep pace. "I… what the -hell-?! I mean… that's central park and it's… like… -all- on fire!!"
That magnetic harpoon flies up, letting her take the next corner in a wild, barely controlled swing-turned-grinding shriek across the intersection, "I mean, don't get me wrong, the geese there are -jerks-, but… like… damn!" She looks back at Eventide, calling out. "So… uhh… like… how do we handle this?! I don't really… I mean… I don't have a fire extinguisher!"

Lack of experience is sort of showing, even through her helmet's speakers, that voice is equal parts excited and uncertain. But hey, she's got like… a bonafide mentor. So things'll be a-okay. Sure… she's like… totally sure of that.

It's a strange kind of day when you're out having a stroll and suddenly everything is on fire. Very strange. Gar Logan is also on fire. Strange, but also rather intensely painful — and unexpected. The rule is stop, drop, roll, but the grass is also on fire, and the sidewalk is full of running people.

The Changeling's usual response is to turn into something, and the first thing he can think of is a bird … but that's on fire … firebird? Phoenix? There's a flash of bright light and a strong smell of cinnamon and the burning is at least not lethal.

Well the resident martial artist happens to love Central Park. See Danny loves the place because it's a great place for Tai Chi and mediation. Plus the park reminds him of the area around K'un-Lun, that he wasn't allowed to go to much because of the evil plant monsters. But the guy is out here doing the Tai Chi, with the other people doing it, yes even the guy who does it wearing nothing but a speedo or something, when he should really be wearing real clothes.

And then suddenly FIRE. Okay that is something he wasn't expecting from the place, sure the occasional mugger, maybe a crazy environmentalist or something like that. But never just spontaneous combustion. Well luckily for Danny he has some gear with him in the park. Of course since he was doing the Tai Chi thing, well he was wearing his regular pants, so all he needed was the mask, and ditch the shirt, cause well need to show off that kick butt Dragon Scar that looks like a tattoo.

Once he ducks out of sight and gets himself ready he starts trying to grab people and get them the heck out of the park. "Okay folks, we needs to see if we can get out of here. You can listen to me, I'm a hero!" Of course there isn't much he can do against the fire, cause well he can't punch or kick that stuff. Man if only there were a book out there full of martial arts moves that could help him do things like put out fires and stuff.

THIS MORNING

The youtube video is everywhere. It depicts a man seated, looking deep into the camera with the haze of cigarette smoke all around him. He seems calm, even if his words are crazed.

"Hello," he says cheerfully. "By the time you watch this you may or may not have witnessed the news of the day. I take credit, or blame, whichever term you prefer to use. In any event, this is not a warning. This is not a bargaining chip. What I do today is simply a throwing down of the gauntlet, it is for me to show you your place in society and my place in society. This is just the beginning. This is just the start. You'll feel comfortable again, maybe after tonight. Maybe next week, or maybe next year. It's unavoidable. Your nature is for sloth, which is why you are fit to be ruled. You'll never see it coming."

*

"I think I got it," some no-name SHIELD computer technician says. "Georgetown, Maryland It's a small building—Borne Chemical Plant. It hasn't been in operation in 30 years."

Nick Fury leans over the shoulder of the young man; his one visible eyeball looks like it's about to explode.

"Get everyone out there. Justice League, SHIELD, SRD… Everyone! Now, goddam it!"

"Many of our operatives are in Gotham, sir!"

"Dammit, get anyone you can and get them there now!"
"I recommend air dropping a solution on New York to put out the fire, General," Reed Richards stands, having ironically been at the Triskelion to provide his assistance as an advisor. "I've also got a man in Metropolis, I can discuss the power outage with."

*

NOW

GOTHAM

By the time that Bobbi gets there, it's damn near pandamonium. There's blood everywhere, and body parts everywhere as well. From her vantage point she can see people down in the water who fell, struggling to get out of their cars. In front of her there's a child holding onto one of the bent girders, whom she rescues with some quick thinking and a suspension rope.

As Clint approaches, he can see tons of bodies in the water, some dead but many alive as the drop was not that terribly far. On the bridge it's just crazy, people clawing at each other trying to get off and save themselves, the human nature really beginning to show.

Oracle sees a crap ton of commotion by personnel services, naturally. Her hacks into the government sources show almost all government agencies are active; going nuts really. She is one of the few who are also able to see that there are three simultaneous attacks going on at the same time; likely not a coincidence.

Despite getting across the bridge with no wear and tear, Quicksilver's use of powers show him to be a heroic threat. So, as with the others, people begin firing at him from the sides of the river.

NEW YORK

Ronnie and Kim can see the flames growing higher and higher like the scary part of a U2 song. Luckily, there's a good alleyway nearby for changing.

Likewise, the coffee shop that Vorpal enters happens to have a very frightened person who was on the pot, but they seem to run away quickly, giving the young magic-man some privacy to do his changing. Gar, meanwhile, is able to get up into the air without too much difficulty. Certainly the burns are hurtful, but he's alive. However, after he gets up and out of the flames, he begins to take fire from snipers located in assorted high rises on either side of the park.

As Kim and Tider make their way in, suddenly they begin taking fire. It's not clear where the shots are coming from. There are some coming from high above, likely from snipers in the windows. Others are coming from the ground level as if they thought heroes would be rushing to the scene.

When this is all over, there will be a handful of people who tell their grandkids that they were saved by Iron Fist, whose heroics led them out of the burning hell of Central Park. But we're a long way from that because he begins taking sniper shots from above.

METROPOLIS

Shayera sees the ghostly images of the hospital. There are lights, certainly, but not enough to keep things going. And, no doubt, plenty of doctors were performing surgery during the attack. Inside, people rush around frantically, trying to get everything together.

Meanwhile, as Overgirl flies over the power plant, she suddenly becomes the object of machine gun fire. After a few moments, there's even a surface to air missile that comes her way!!!

Depending on where John ends up, he will see different things. We'll have to keep an eye on him.

"Ben, it's Reed," says Richards as he intercepts Grimm's call. "You'll want to get to the power plant right away. I'm coming in the Fantasticar, but I'll be slow. There won't be any public transportationeverything in Metropolis is electric. Better take a cab" Reed stops as he hears something come across the newswire, "Ben, people are taking fire as they come close to the power plant. It's clobberin' time."

The sniper fire misses Eventide by a miraculously small amount of space. "You ~are~ a fire extinguisher," she tells Kim. "Zoom around — if there are any small fires, circle them, do loops as fast as you can. Cut off the air to a fire and it goes out. Like blowing out a candle. But be careful — if the fire's bigger than your breeze, you might just push it towards burning something else." Eventide sounds calm and in control, for someone wearing spandex inside a bonfire.
"I'm going to try to track those gunmen down." She looks at where the bullets aimed at her hit the ground, and is able to eyeball a trajectory from there, or close enough. "If you see any civilians, grab 'em and get 'em outta here. Now go!"

With that, Eventide rushes into enemy fire, confident she can duck and weave enough to dodge incoming bullets — and if they're not using a large enough caliber, she can probably take a direct hit without breaking her skin.

Keith O'Neil comes out, Vorpal comes out, ready for action when suddenly something makes his ears flatten against his head-

Shots? Someone is shooting?

The cheshire cat growls, eyes narrowing. So whomever had set the fire was also now shooting at people who were running away… as well as people who came in to the rescue?

"Enough of that crap! Gar, can you hear me?" he speaks into his earpiece as he starts running. He knows the way of the park, and he opens a Rabbit Hole that carries him high into the air- and another, and another- he's zip-zapping all over the place. It's very hard to hit a target in motion, especially one that punches holes in the fabric of reality. "I'm going to try something, don't let those assholes hit you but see if you can find out where they're firing from?"

At the heart of the park is the Jacquline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. That means- yes, water! Of course, it would require people some special equipment to get that water out of the reservoir … but Vorpal never leaves home without his Rabbit Hole.

Setting himself up high enough where his line of sight can capture both the reservoir and the burning park, he creates a transluscent construct around him and below, anchored in midair so as to protect him from sniper rifle. And then-

"It's Wonder Time!" okay. Maybe he needs to find a better catchphrase, but it's hard to get one when you're working with the whole 'Wonderland' theme. Unbirthday quips would get people to confuse him with Tetch… in any case, he opens a Rabbit Hole right below the crystalline surface of the lake, and the other Rabbit Hole opens up over the fire.

The Rabbit Hole has a maximum diameter of ten feet, but then again it is like a ten-foot porthole vomiting a torrential cascade of water. Far too aware that he could end up drowning people, he moves the hole around quickly in attempts to douse. The area that is burning is massive, and he is not going to be able to put the Park out all by himself- but he hopes that this can help people survive, and contribute to the other heroes' efforts to put the damned thing out.

"Can't head that way now, Sir," he says over the comm after Fury's instructions are broadcast. "Central Park is sort of kind of completely on fire and there's snipers. Any help would be greatly appreciated, though."

Because every bit helps.

Kim gets a little… distracted by the gunfire. Not so much the shrieking and screaming and reflexively running away from is sort of distracted. No, that gunfire's being taken -personally-. Like, 'Kim's grabbing up a nearby glass bottle and smashing it to make a handy face-stabber' personal.

Buuuut the boss-lady mentor is making good sense, and so the search for that bottle is suspended, as Kim backtracks, building up some speed, going from 'Segway whine to 'Tesla Roadster' and kicking up a roostertail of smoke and dust behind her. She's setting a beeline for the park, figuring those snipers up top aren't going to be able to hit her if she's zigging, zagging, and going 'stupid fast'. She's seen a lot of action movies!

Of course, when she realizes some of those shots are coming from ground level, well… Eventide's kind off rushing towards those snipers, and she's not here to say that latching onto a newspaper dispenser with her harpoon and hurling it into the lobby of the nearest building with gunfire coming out of it is -wrong-.

Sure is satisfying though, letting it fly towards the source of that ground gunfire with a bellowed "HEY! DIDJA READ MARMADUKE?!". Sure, it's probably not going to do much more than make them put their heads down… but that'll do.
But, after that little detour of stress-relief, Velocity Dash comes grinding into the park, trying to balance between trying out that little whirlwind fire suppression technique, and pretty much just hoisting people up over her shoulder like sacks of potatoes, and dropping them between cars, ambulances, and anything else she can find between the park and the gunfire. She's gasping for breath already… damn! Looks like she's going to be able to cancel that gym membership after all.

Still, people need rescuing, and besides, she's thinking she can totally sleep past class tomorrow and get away with it.

The thing about turning into a phoenix to survive a fire? Phoenixes come back as new creatures if they burn up and have to be reborn, which means, they are blank slates. This could be a problem if he takes enough damage that his body dies… It might already be a problem. Because Changeling is on fire, and thus more easily visible, and now people are shooting at him. Two bullets have already hit, going through wings, but they're sure to aim for center-of-mass very soon.

The fire around him has already turned green, as he draws it into himself, but it'll explode out soon enough. He's almost completely on instinct, which is the downside of shapeshifting; Gar Logan is barely there; the Phoenix (the mythical beast) is a predatory bird, known for stealing horses. The closest person shooting at him is easily spotted, and he arcs into the air, green fire trailing as unearthly speed takes the sniper is now prey. Fortunately enough of Gar is still there that he doesn't try to eat the prey; he's just going to drop it from enough of a height to break it a little, probably not kill it. Snipers stationed on rooftops should beware the sudden stop at the bottom. Also, they shouldn't shoot the firey bird while it's knocking one of them to the ground. There's number two prey…

All Vorpal hears on his comm is a screech of fury. Oh, good.

Hey you know all those movies like the Matrix? Well they are totally 100 percent accurate! At least for a guy who spent 10 years studying martial arts, and killed a dragon that is. So he activates his Chi stuff and well hey it makes him like a guy in his prime. Totally nifty for some super awesome bullet time moves. But hey snipers are tough to do the cool bullet time stuff against, cause well you can't see where the heck the shots are coming from.

So it's because he can't see them that well he ends up getting hit in the arm as he tries to dodge some of the bullets. Danny looks at his arm, and curses to himself. "Man going to have to save some chi to see if I can heal that." He mutters to himself. But he manages to make his way to a tree and ducks behind that. "Now where are those snipers? Man if only I had a rather large bullet proof shield with muscles that I could hide behind right now…" But he stays behind the tree for a moment and tries to think of how he can get out the snipers, without the ability to fly or anything like that.

Of course being trained in many martial arts, Danny has gotten really good at stealth. And well decides to use that to his advantage. He sticks with the trees and tries to duck and keep himself out of view. As he tries to get close towards where he thinks those shots where coming from.

METROPOLIS

"General fury, this is Mr. Fantastic," Reed says as he's flying southward as fast as possible. "I'm not sure how it happened, but the major hospital in Metropolis just had a charge sent through it. My readouts are showing it should be good for another 18 hours now. I can't even hypothesize how it happened."

"Be that as it may, Richards, I'm going to need you and anyone else that can get there down in Georgetown, Delaware right away. I'll send you the coordinates. Whoever did this, well, we think he might still be there.

Elsewhere in Metropolis, Hawkgirl will notice a 10 car pileup at an intersection not far from the hospital. There is one dead, and 6 extremely wounded and who need immediate help. Including one child.
By the time Overgirl arrives at the power plant, she can see half a dozen men milling about with assault rifles (powers rock). As of yet they are not aware of her presence. They look practiced though, as if they have done this plenty of times.

Conspicuousness was never really Ben's thing, and by the time he's paid the cabbie and gotten to the entrance, he begins taking fire. The bullets ping all over, but have little to no effect on the beefy ex-footballer. "Ben, I'm headed to Georgetown. Give me updates from the ground over there if you would," Reed says into his com as the Fantasticar soars over land now and towards the city in question.

NEW YORK

Eventide rushes into the crossfire, at home in her element of warfare. As things begin to slow down for her, she'll begin to notice them. Men strategically placed between 10 and 13 stories up on the East sides, and presumably, the West sides across the park. They look like they're trying to clip any heroes coming in. Or out.

Vorpal's efforts go a long way into dousing the flames over the park. Although the area is wide, he's able to dampen down quite a bit of it and give people trying to escape a better chance of doing so. Still, those damn snipers.

Velocity Dashes thrown newspaper stand is not in vain! Surely the sniper who was currently aiming up at Gar Logan never saw it coming, so when it smashes into him at high velocity, covering him in the news, there is certainly a pun to be made somewhere. And the whirlwind trick works quite better than the young heroine might have thought originally and with Vorpal's help, the pair start really blanketing the flames out there.

Other snipers get a handful of concern as Gar begins taking them out from the sky. Their bullets are no use! They're being ripped from windows! Their job almost done, many of them begin to run away!

Danny can see them from his stealthy spot. At least some of the remaining ones. Barely two floors up, they don't seem to see him at all. There are three and they are taking pot shots and then reloading up there.

GOTHAM

"Eight?" says a victim who is being aided by Mockingbird, not realizing that Bobbi was talking to Pietro. But before the woman can respond, the car window next to her explodes from an errant shot by a sniper from the cliffs on the south end of the bridge.

The suppressive fire of the snipers begins to lessen a bit as Hawkeye gives them a bit of their own medicine. He's not sure, but he's pretty sure he got three headshots, judging by the way their heads explode like bloodsausages.

"Roger that, Bishop," says one of the SHIELD agents. "We could probably use some of the suspension wire like Mockingbird used." BLAMBLAMBLAM All these conversations seem to end with someone getting shot at.

"Roger, Oracle," says Nick Fury into his compiece. He's heard of Oracle, but hasn't had the luxury. He doesn't have enough time for introductions, "I need you to get people to Georgetown, Delaware right away. Anyone you can funnel there—we need all the help we can get."

As Quicksilver begins tearing through the scene, onlookers will see the bridge become more and more sparsely populated. The bullets? Ha. They are pretty much slow mo to Pietro (that rhymes kinda), and the shift of the concern is for those down in the water.

Hey he got close enough to spot the snipers, score one for Martial Arts dude! So once he seems them he starts to scale the wall of the build in crazy martial arts style. Cause that's how Iron Fist rolls ya'll! He gets close to one of the snipers and just throws a quick punch right at the guys nose. Hey you break the nose, the guy has trouble firing the freaking gun.

As for the next one, well he just swings over still on the outside of the building this time he flips up into the window, aiming a kick at the guy's face, just hoping this one takes him down. Of course that still leaves one more of the freaking snipers to deal with. And now Danny is inside of the building with now clear shot to the place, oh whatever will he do.
Oh that's right he charges up his name sake and just punches right at the wall to the adjoining spot where the other sniper is. The wall comes tumbling down, and in a cloud of dust and debris stands Iron Fist. "Just make this easier on you, put the gun down, NOW." Man he loves doing that to people that think he's just fancy moves and stuff.

Eventide takes a detour from her route into enemy fire by appearing to run into literal fire. She disappears from view, possibly burnt to a crisp, who knows.

One of the snipers, a few minutes later, will hear grunting directly below his position.

That's because Eventide, a little scorched (and with a few spots where the spandex has melted to her skin, which will be painful to remove later), is climbing up directly underneath his position. Her hand comes up over the edge of his sniper's nest, and before the sniper can react, the blue-clad vigilante grabs his arm and cracks it over the ledge of his nest like a lever, snapping it handily.

From there, it's academic, as Eventide crawls up and in…

…and moments later, remaining snipers find themselves under fire from one of their own! Or Eventide using the gun of the guy she just brutally beat. One of the two. Choose your reality.

Velocity Dash keeps her focus mainly on shuttling anyone she can towards the nearest paramedics and fire fighters, even cluing in that, she can like, be more useful grabbing up fire extinguishers to put out the few spot fires that make it trickier to reach the helpless civilians. Still, with the fires out, and nervous energy still brimming, she snaps her gaze up, seeing some of those snipers running off. That's cool… that's just -fine- actually.

Really, heroes are supposed to be -helpful-, and heroic, and like… fire fighters! But she's kinda more… y'know, -new- at the hero game. And she's figuring someone taking money to shoot at super heroes? Well, they've probably got all sorts of question SHIELD would want to ask them. And so, she zips off towards the second or third nearest fleeing bad guy. Because she wants to build up a good head of speed.

There's no real technique, beyond 'Get in close, and see how impact proof bad guy knees are'. Hell, she's feeling -ambitious-.

So she aims for another one, pin balling from hench to hench, pretty much just aiming to hit their knees. Y'know, just at like… leg-breaking speed. She's not trying to be -mean-. Well, aside from leg breaking. But hey, she's not -shooting- them. And that'd totally be fair.

Yeah. She's feeling that's heroic enough for her.

The screech makes Vorpal lose his concentration briefly, and for a moment the water gets out of control as the width of the Rabbit Hole squeezes- turning the spout into basically a high-pressure nozzle. It won't harm people, but right now there are a lot of heroes down there who now have a chance of getting completely drenched.

~That screech sounded wrong!~
~~He's not in control, the animal is~~
~Shit- what do I do?~

Make him remember.++

Vorpal looks down- the water has done a good job of extinguishing quite a bit. The firemen can take it from there for a moment-

And Oracle's voice in his ear. "I can't right now, Oracle!" Vorpal calls out as he begins to close the Rabbit Holes, "Gar's going feral- I'll stay in touch!"

It's easy to see where Gar is going- just follow the huge flaming green bird, after all. He opens the Rabbit Hole and-

Vorpal appears behind the Sniper that the phoenix is going after and conks him out with a purple-glowing-flamingo-croquet-mallet-to-the-head, it'll never become a classic but it's certainly effective. The problem, though, is that now he's in the phoenix's path of destruction.

How do you handle a berzerk shapechanger? Well, Vorpal doesn't know- but he knows that it is difficult for Gar to remain himelf in certain circumstances. When he becomes a hive, there's always the danger of losing himself. He doesn't know much about phoenixes outside of what common myth has to say, but clearly this is one of those situations, and Gar may be lost.

Still, he has to try.

He stands over the fallen sniper just as the phoenix dawns on him, ready to claw. What can he say?
It is rather fitting that the first thing that pops into his mind is the advice that the Red Queen gives to Alice:

Speak in French when you can't think of the English for a thing - turn out your toes as you walk - and … "Remember who you are!" he shouts in desperation, raising his arms to protect himself from the incoming claws- a purple glowing kite shield manifesting itself in one arm to see if he can keep himself from becoming kittykabob.

Bullets of no use! Well, not strictly true. The green-fire phoenix is still being hit; the second sniper got a shot to the gut, which nearly got him a big fat bite out of his head. The third one is sent flying; the fourth is trying to get away… and gets malleted by a purple cat-beast that seems very familiar, which has the garPhoenix puzzled. Remember what? Who?

He stops for a moment, only a moment, before the berserk rage makes him attack the glowing shield… which is replaced last-second by a rabbit hole. The green phoenix is now heading the four feet into Central Park Lake.

METROPOLIS

Hawkgirl makes it to the hospital in record time. Had her heroics not happened earlier, they certainly would not have been able to admit any new patients, but she is greeted by a throng of Doctors who take the young child in with them. From there, it's still craziness out in the city, and with everyone focused on the power plant, there's no one to help but Hawkgirl.

Overgirl's snared villain is desperate to get away from her. Rather than tell her, he begins to run. But his feet just sort of do that cartoon thing as he's lifted up in the air. "It was Hayes. It was Ulysses Hayes! Please god don't hurt me!"

Ben does his wrecking ball routine much to the chagrin of the badguys and wipes up much of what Overgirl does not. In truth, there is but one more sniper, and dude is making a run for it. "Hayes man! Hayes! He's been planning this shit for years!" squeals the man in Thing's arms. He'd always been a fan of the Four. Not anymore.

GOTHAM

Bobbi's artwork allows many of the lower level agents to better see where the snipers are coming from. Almost immediately they begin to blast away, putting terrorists down left and right.

The remaining SHIELD agents do their best work to get some of those in the water out with the net idea that Clint has. It's do or die time. For those who leave on the quinjet to make the short trip to Delaware, they do so with the knowledge that there are those who will lose their lives for the decision they made.

A massive explosion follows Kate's expertise shot across the bridge and onto the water tower. BLAMMMMMM! They won't be able to use that drinking water for a while, but no one drinks the water in Gotham anyways.

Fury has no idea how many heroes will get the message, but he's thankful for whoever this Oracle is. "We should have backup any minute," he says, radioing to Reed. "Copy, Fury. Moving in to descent now. I think we've been beaten, here though," Richards says as he spies a certain Amazonian who seems to have beaten them to the party.

SHIELD agents joining Clint are likely to feel less guilty after Quicksilver begins shooting around doing his damage, and preventing snipers from hitting their mark. One lowly lieutenant has an idea, "Mockingbird, if you could paint more snipers, this kid here might be able to take them out."

NEW YORK

Iron Fist smashes through the walls and the sniper nearly leaps out of his clothing as his gun goes flying in the air. Whether or not he meant to, the gun is no longer in his hands and those hands rise high in the sky.

SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT

Eventide makes like Chewbacca in Return of the Jedi and uses the weaponry against the evil doers as she begins picking off snipers left and right, their brain matter exploding on walls behind them like Jackson Pollack artwork.
Velocity Dash leaves a handful of enemies in her wake as she barrels them over like the Donkey Kong video game on the original Nintendo System. One particular sniper has her in his sights, but as soon as he is about to pull the trigger, his brain explodes from a well placed shot from Eventide.

There's commotion over by Gar and Vorpal as the two lovers try and figure things out. One final sniper is looking to kill each of them too but SPLAT

Eventide again. She's like really, really good at shooting. Surely someone knows why, right? Right?

GEORGETOWN, DELAWARE

When Wonder Woman enters the old building, the entire thing is dark now that we are well past sunset. There's the creaking of the old door blowing in the wind and for a moment she must feel as though the needle in the haystack is somewhere else.

But certainly whoever this is, whoever would be so inclined to do something of this magnitude would not be so careless as to allow himself to be caught so easily. To stay here hours after making and posting the message. No, surely not if he was half the savante his followers believed him to be.

But he is here.

"Wonder Woman," says the voice as the echoes bounce side to side. The voice sounds different. Filtered. Like someone trying to copy Hayes. There are speakers throughout the building up in the corners and Richards and Fury are still too far to be of any help.

It's only after Eventide shoots a couple snipers that she considers that it's not especially superheroic to kill people. SHIELD training overrode what a 'real vigilante' would do, but luckily, in the chaos, no one saw — probably. She discards the gun and begins the trek back down to the ground. Heroes don't kill, she tells herself. Well, usually, anyway. Still: threat neutralized. It goes round and round like that.

Eventide's climb back down is a quick one and she jumps the last two stories, landing and rolling in a move that shreds the back of her outfit but doesn't so much as scratch her own skin. (Though there's still the burnt spots to tend to, later.) "Velocity Dash!" she calls out, feeling a little ridiculous as she does so. "Dash!" That's better. "You okay?!"

Velocity Dash seems to be having her own heroic crisis of conscience. Or maybe it's more a crisis that she's -not- having a crisis of conscience.

She's shut off the speakers in her helmet, nothing but muffled noise coming out… because she -knows- heroes aren't supposed to yell out rude comments about the bad guys and their mothers and the circumstances of their conception. Of course heroes probably don't also pummel downed and hurting bad guys with blunt objects and super-speed roller blade kicks. But she's not letting that bug her. She's pretty much just beating the helpless mooks. Like, it's an interrogation without any questions. She looks up at that yell, helmet tilting to peer at Eventide, her body frozen with her patented heavy blunt object raised up for another enthusiastic swing down into a ribcage.

And then there's a click, and a hiss from those speakers as she calls uot. "Oh! Uhhh… yeah! I… caught these guys! …I think the Flash came by at super speed and took them out like whoa! I mean, like… it looks like someone beat them mercilessly!"

She tosses a masked glare down at the thug at her feet. Sure, with her entire face covered, the glare kind of loses its 'If you squeal on me I'll hit you more' message, but she's a little too wound up to think that far ahead.

Instead, she whines up to a quick jogging pace and leisurely rolls over to Tide. "So.. uhhh… I got people out of the park! Everyone I could find anyhow that was… umm…" She clears her throat and shakes her head quickly "Anyhow, yeah… heroics were done!"

Sputtering, steaming, the phoenix vanishes into the chilly waters of the lake, and for a moment there's a thrashing in the water. Berserk rage rather emphatically dampened, Changeling surfaces, or rather, a green bull shark surfaces to take a look around — and a moment later, tentacles everywhere, as a very large squid (green) begins spraying water from the lake at what fire is still burning, and tentacles begin moving injured people. That will last perhaps two minutes before Gar collapses onto the shore unconscious.

See who said Luke is the only one that can make the bad guys crap their pants, Danny totally did it. Uhm well now, what…"Yeah see I didn't expect that one to work, and I don't have anything to restrain you with." So with that the sniper that surrendered gets a roundhouse kick right the side of the head, "Plus you were shooting at people, so sorry you get a kick as well."

After that it dawns on Danny that he should have at least asked what the heck they were doing this for. But well sadly he didn't think about that at the time. "Maybe I can send a bill to the city of New York for this." Hey he does have the For Hire after the team name and stuff.

Vorpal should be networking, trying to go down and talk to the people who came together to help- but he's got a few concerns. First, the sniper…

He looks around at the other snipers and notices that some have been deprived of their brainpans, and he becomes somewhat queasy. Gar didn't do that- so who did? No time. This guy was still alive, so…

*click*, handcuffs, "Oracle, see if you can send someone to retrive one of the snipers. The NYPD might want to drill this guy and see who hired him. Thirteenth floor, Meyers building right across from the park…"

He glances towards the lake now, to make sure that he didn't just drown his boyfriend or put him out like a candle (who knows how the hell Phoenixes work?) He is relieved, momentarily, when e sees the multitentacular thing squirting water. That meant Gar was back to his senses.

Maybe he could still- nope. The squid vanishes and the cat spots someone green, unconscious on the shore. A short trip through the Rabbit Hole later and he arrives at the shore himself, pulling Garfield out of the water and setting him down. He checks on the Titan's vitals and opens up the portals once more to gather water and throw it on whatever may still be burning. He feels very tired, extremely tired in fact, from the high-frequency use of his powers, but he's got enough juice to pour some more water and then, when everything is settled, take Gar back to HQ.

As long as nothing happens. "Oracle, 'fraid I can't get over there. Gar's out and I'm running out of juice… you'll have to do with whomever you've got there. Vorpal out."

Eventide approaches Velocity Dash — looking a little fatigued, but mostly from smoke inhalation. She nods along to Dash's explanation of things, goggles masking the reaction in her eyes. "Good. Good."

Then Eventide rears her heel back and Pele-kicks one of the still-conscious goons right in the cheek, not hard enough to ruin anything forever, but maybe enough for an orbital socket fracture. Right in front of her sidekick. "Now let's get some more information out of you," she says, picking him up by the collar.

What a mentor!

METROPOLIS

Hawkgirl's work pushing wreckage out of the way is able to get the flow of the emergency vehicles going again. Despite never being able to know how many people she's saved through her efforts, many of the victims who saw her in flight will know how she saved them.

All around Overgirl, fire personnel begin to pour in. The fires are a worry, to be sure, with such high priced machinery around. Every bit that they save is hopefully a shorter amount of time that it'll take to get things up and running again. "Thank you, Miss," the voice of the young firefighter trails. "Uhm, what's your name?"

Ben smothers out a flame while firefighters begin on the others. Abruptly, over his shoulder the skyline of Metropolis lights back up. How, or why, considering the largest power plant in the country is in tatters, isn't immediately known.

Thank your local Oracle.

GOTHAM

The situation in Gotham is pretty calm now thanks to the help of the heroes. As Oracle looks over her work, she'll be able to breathe easier knowing that things are pretty well in order across all of those cities. With a few well placed

NEW YORK
One gawker can't help but whoop in astonishment as Eventide flips downward in an amazing feat. "Who is that?!" he exclaims at the heroine. If she wasn't known before this, New York will certainly be talking about her and her sidekick, Dash or Velocity Dash or Rainbow Dash or whatever. These things have a life off their own.

Oh, and speaking of, there's her sidekick right now. With the mask off, a gawker tries to get a phone pic, but just he does, he's elbowed in the back on accident by a EMT making his way to get one of the wounded.

"Hey! Who is that?" Some people who were cordoned off by the police are out on the streets, and see Gar fall from the sky. They come over and look at the unconscious Garfield. "Hey, is he alright?" "I think I know that dude. Isn't he in the Titans?" Then they see Vorpal, "I /know/ that guy's in the Titans!"

Danny is pretty ruthless with those kicks, but the good news is that those dudes will be apprehended soon enough. And other goons have already spilled enough beans to put two and two together. So, feel good about those kicks, if they let ya get some frustration out.

GEORGETOWN, DELAWARE

By the time Clint's Quinjet arrives outside of the old laboratories, he'll be able to see Reed's Fantasticar and Fury's Quinjet. Two figures (it's dark) make their way into the building, and it would be presumptive if the whole building erupted in fire, but for whatever reason, there is silence. Silence as they land, silence as they enter.

Quicksilver would get their first, followed by the others, but as they funnel around, they see that Reed and Fury are kind of hanging back while the Amazonian Princess, has the villain right where she wants him.

Everything is playing in her mind, Wonder Woman did not have to be there to /see/ it all. The reports were in:

Flames licked high, silhouettes dancing in them, death throes to Hades and the screams did not differentiate in tenor across this small map where chaos has ensued and it was as if she could smell the scorched earth and the unbiased blackening of Central Parkâ¦

The bridge buckled, old stonework cracking and splintering into an explosion of old architecture and stonework people believed in, in a dark city where it was hard to believe in much. And while waiting for the stoplight to the change it all fell asunderâ¦

Lights, blinding, hearts beating… People screaming and it all-

Fades.
To.
Black.

It's a mixture as Wonder Woman had flown high, there was a breach in atmosphere for only a moment as she holds her breath and feels the distant sunlight fade and then lets goâ¦

All of it is a wash in her mind, she was not there but she knows the horrors and has seen them again and again, and as she falls the speed only picks up, noir strands of hair whipping around a pale facade where oceanic eyes are sealed behind lids and a couple hundred feet above the warehouse she can pick up the sound of silence amongst the chaos in her mind, that door slamming and openingâ¦

Wonder Woman leaves a gaping wound in that building, her plummet spraying brick, mortar and that door inward to sail out and rip through several walls before it lands in the empty cement field on the other side. Booted feet make no hesitance nor silence as she moves from open space to the next, using the doorway she /made/ until she comes to the room where that man sitsâ¦

Monitors are around him, Diana stopping behind him as she powers them down, the rest of his equipment to make the videos there and poised around him, whether or not they are active Wonder Woman seeks not to care, one of the digital recorders and its stand now under the strong grip, lifting it to swingâ¦
His hands lower and capture the wheels of his chair, spinning him to face her with eyes that have likely watched his home-spun tragedies. "This is a dark time, a time where I wish I could simply clutch to my mother, remember the sound of my father…" his words give Wonder Woman pause, though her teeth flash beyond the purse of lips, even the twitch and seize of sinew as it even struggles with the desire to follow through the blow.

"All I want is that reality, that childlike glee back. Can you take me home? I want to go home…." His sobs emerged and the rest of his noise sounded like drivvel, enough so that she sought to silence him with launching that recorder into his sprawl of garage tech, her other hand gripping the golden lasso and wrapping him in it.

Loops around loops, Wonder Woman bound him to his chair and did not hesitate to make. it. snug. just before she took rapid flight upwards and then towards the cities.

"Tell me all about it during the worst roller coaster ride you will ever experience."

Hayes sort of lolls about drunkenly, as if he's heavily drugged by some sort of serum. With glassy eyes he looks to Diana and cowers. "I really just want to see my mother and father. They must really be worried about me."

"Get that idiot in the Quinjet. He gets interrogated, but not by anyone until we've had chance to process him. NOW!" screams Fury.

*

SOMEWHERE OUTSIDE OF HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

The convenience store has one of those electronic bells that ding-dongs everytime someone comes in and everytime someone comes out. The kind of bell that begins to get annoying after the first hour of work.

A brown haired young woman walks in, the thirteenth customer since opening, and Gus the attendant slides his large ass by a stand of hostess cakes and gets behind the counter.

"Just a pack of smokes," the young woman says as she takes off her sunglasses to look into her purse."You know, you shouldn't smoke." It's funny because men always seem to want to protect women. Especially the pretty ones.

"You know you should probably just f—"

"Hey, you're that actress chick, right? Delores Winters? The actress? Aren't you kidnapped or missing or something?"

Delores' angry face turns nice. "Me? No, I'm sorry, you must be mistaken. I get that all the time."

Out in the SUV now, Delores takes her normal place behind the driver and lowers the window despite the cold. The thug in the passenger seat turns back to look at Delores. "Boss, you still smoke even with the new—"

"It doesn't work like that," Delores says faintly, adjusting her stylish sunglasses. "It's still me in here, Harkins."

"And we have a lot of work to do before we sleep."

*

WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON DC

"My fellow Americans," says President Pershing. "Tonight our great nation was attacked through a barbaric and cowardly measure by a group of terrorists who are either dead, or have been brought to justice. The perpetrator, Ulysses Hayes, was apprehended tonight in Georgetown, Delaware. I have called on the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to lead the investigation into this terrible event to ensure that all Americans are safe."

He sighs, briefly overcome in a moment of humanity, he falters slightly.

"Many Americans died this evening. We pray for them and their families and will not stop until each terrorist is rooted out and either killed or imprisoned. New York. Metropolis. Gotham. Three of the greatest cities the world has ever known: We are with you tonight in spirit. You are in our hearts and we will pray for your speedy recovery. Even better than before."

"May God Bless You, and May God Bless America."


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