Tactical Snowball Training

January 27 2015: Things are getting dark and dangerous once more… but there's always tactical snowball training.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral overlooks some of the areas that X-Red has been helping rebuild.



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Jericho is uncomfortable… really uncomfortable. He feels like someone put a wet, itchy blanket on top of him. This likely has to do with the reactions he's been experiencing to things like the Cathedral he's currently leaning against. At least it isn't burning him or giving him a rash like May's sanctified oil did.

Right now he's in the process of keeping a promise. He promised a certain light wielding mutant that he'd look into exactly what the hell is going on with the military unit that her father was involved in, and possibly others like it. This involves doing things that are mildly illegal. Like breaking into DoD servers. Which means he has to be careful and take it slow if he doesn't want to get caught.

On the upside, it does give him a chance to watch the scene unfolding across the street which, if he's not mistaken, is Roberto DaCosta's latest triumph of PR. He's got to admit, the guy's smooth and real good at making his team and mutants in general look good. The Central Park reconstruction was a masterpiece and while he's not quite sure who this is, or who from Red is on the guest list, given that he's more than a little aligned with them he thought he'd drop by in a show of silent support. Even if, you know, no one actually sees him.

It's entirely coincidental that this very spot lets him keep an eye (electronic or otherwise) on the movements of a couple mutants he's been trying to help. Entiiiiiirely coincidental.

That good image is probably precisely why Lunair hasn't really asked about it. Nevertheless, she can still think it's pretty nice of them. And she can pass through it, bundled up and reasonably normal dressed in a long, military style coat with a scarf around most of her face and a bird beanie. She's a little odd, but wouldn't be especially noticable around other students or New Yorkers. She just needs to curse at some cabs or something to fit right in.

Lunair seems to be carrying a tablet, looking thoughtful. "I wonder how much a range costs to play on…" She really should figure out what it is her powers DO and where her limits are when not in THE DANGER ROOM (HIIIIIIIIIGWAaaaaaaay to the dangeeeeer room- actually, the line can get pretty long sometimes…). Mercifully, she's avoiding colliding with people or telephone poles. Gotta fit in for maximum incognito.

For the most part, John Walker might seem like just another parishioner stopping by the cathedral, visiting to pay his respects at the altar. An actual Catholic would see that he doesn't have the 'moves' down, so to speak, mostly looking like he's just touring the place. Truth be told, John's a Southern Baptist, the son fo a preacher, and you could fit ten of his father's churches in here. He didn't have much use for papist pageantry, but he couldn't deny it was pretty.

He has an earpiece hidden snug in his ear, though, looking around in case of trouble. There have been a few threats against the Da Costa project, the usual nutjobs and loudmouths. John didn't love muties that much himself, but that didn't mean you got to play terrorist. Part of being an American. Don't have to love 'em, but you gotta live with 'em. He adjusts his black tie, the swirl of red white and blue mingling with the black and then stops for a moment when he sees Lunair. Something familiar there, although he can't quite place it.

The recent blizzard hasn't made the park reconstruction any easier, that's for sure. But it has given Sunspot a chance to show off. (Frankly, there are very few situations that he can't twist to that end.) He's standing on a newly dry bit of pavement, his peacoat, scarf, mittens and hat cast aside, dressed only in a shirt and jeans and the impenetrable shadow that gives him his X-men codename. Feeding off both the sun and the bright glare from the snow, he is emitting low-level solar heat, like a human space heater, to keep everyone working around him at a comfortable temperature. It's tricky to nail the sweet spot between "too hot for manual labor" and "so cold that your muscles don't want to work," but he's doing his level best, and the volunteers and X-Red employees in his immediate vicinity seem to appreciate it.

Audrey has yet to formally attach herself to the Red Team. Quite. She's cagey, after over a year of running. On the other hand, the chance to take a shower on a regular basis, and somewhere to keep clean clothes? Well. That's a change she can get used to again. When it comes to reconstruction, though, she's not terribly useful. No more than any other person, at least. In worn cargo pants and a faded, oversized sweatshirt, she's helping to hand out food and drinks to volunteers, not far from 'Berto's central heating.

Nyx comes meandering off one of the many side streets that run into the park and just stop. She was probably angling to check out the project though because she happens to come out in front of the work site. The young woman perks spotting Berto though and angles to head his way now. She is still rolling that mega-tight mega-encrypted alien localized network to those sensing such things. Like Jeri as usual. "Hey … oooh.. hey warm…" she stops by Berto and looks around.

The man looking over Lunair's way get's Jericho's attention. It's only a moment before his facial recognition software does it's thing. Ah yes. One of the men who responded to the R and D annex attack. Walker, he thinks. The hacker pushes off the wall (gratefully) and walks on over to the agent of the United States. "Nice to see the community spirit at work, isn't it?" He says noncommitally. He's not sure if John will recognize him. The last time they'd seen eachother Jericho had been traced out and his sword hadn't been folded up in the case behind him.

And he'd, you know, looked like a glowy demonic werewolf.

Over near the reconstruction site, a snowball (from one of the younger volunteers) bounces off Berto's back.

Fortunately, Lunair looks up in time. She smiles and waves to the fellow looking over. Something about the man seems familiar. Too bad she hadn't seen John out of his armor. she would definitely be amused by Sunspot giving everyone heat at least. He seems to have a fan club. And this is as it should be, perhaps. He's a good guy. Very warm hearted (not a pun). Nevertheless, her path takes her towards - wait, is that Jeri? Her eyes widen a bit. Time to INVESTIGATE. While she doesn't have a spray painted van or a great dane, she can at least amble over and see what's happening. "Oh, er. Hi." Yes

U.S. Agent tilts his head to look over at Jericho. He did recognize him, because he'd made a point of perusing the files of strange agents he encountered. After meeting the glowing werewolf, assessing his dossiere seemed like a decent enough idea. Sometimes John just boggled at how mad the world had become. It always had been, he supposed, but, in Stone Mountain, Georgia, it never seemed so much. All the crazy always ended up in the big cities.

Thank God, he's a country boy.

"I'm a private enterprise man myself, Trent. Not much for community organizing or any other Marxist claptrap. But it looks good, sure eough, and the kids seem to like it. Doesn't hurt the reputation of the mutants any, either, does it? Of course, that's the whole point," he says, the slight drawl in his voice complimenting his ramrod straight posture. He tilts his head as the girl who seemed somehow familiar approaches, having only seen Lunair in less than the best light before. The voice, however, clues him in.

"Bazooka girl," he grins, "Fancy meetin' you here." he says.

Roberto turns his winning smile on Nyx when she comments on his aura of warmth, hefting a pair of stone benches, one over each shoulder. Then he realizes that his expression is more or less impossible to make out when he's gone fully solar, and instead says, "I do what I can. Glad to see you again — we can always use another pair of hands to help out." His voice remains unchanged even when he looks like a balrog, and he often takes advantage of that fact to reassure people that he's friendly when he's using his powers. He inclines his head toward Audrey, and is about to loop her in on the conversation when he gets pelted by a snowball.

He turns to look in the direction it was thrown in, the blazing coals of his eyes narrowing. Casually, he tosses one of the benches about a foot into the air, then catches it again, playing the motion off as though he was just adjusting its weight. But the message is pretty clear: let's not get into a throwing contest.

Audrey hands over a cup of coffee to one of the volunteers just as Roberto gets hit with the snowball, grin flashing. It's been a long time since she felt comfortable enough for that, but it's certainly a nice change. On reflex, though, she still looks for the source of the snowball, taking a step back from the drink table to pass that duty on to someone else. "Just out of curiosity," she says to Roberto, eyeing the benches, "Do those need to be in the air, or do you just need an excuse not to get into a snowball fight?"

Nyx chuckles at the show and shakes her head "Uh.. well sure Berto." hey Bobby calls him that so she uses it, it isn't going to be Mr. whatshisname or anything after all. "Do you have other heavy stuff you need hauled…" she grins over at Audrey.

Jericho saw who threw that. He gages distance… angle… maybe…

"They do what they can. Can't deny they'd have it harder than they needed to." He pauses as Lunair comes over. "Hey there Lunair. Passing by?" The hacker leans down to pack a snowball, whistling a little. When Berto turns his back he hauls back and lets fly across the street…

And doesn't hit Berto. Too far, not enough heft. But Nyx… may get beamed. Right in front of Audrey.

"What brings you by Walker?"

Snowballin'! Lunair decides against bringing out the Snow Cannon 9000. If you must do battle, go all in! For now, she's talking to Jericho and John when not sneaking amused glances. It looks nice. But then, she looks to Jeri and nods at his question. "Yup-" She watches him chuck the snowballs, eyes widening a bit.

Oooh, he missed. The world is pretty wide and whacky sometimes. It baffles even the lab living mutant. John's words confuse her a little, and she blinks at him. His nickname for her makes her smile a bit wryly. "Hi there. Small world, huh? How are you?" She doesn't seem ruffled, though. Sometimes nicknames make no sense to those outside.

U.S. Agent puts a finger to his ear as something is fed to him, one of his agents having found something several streets down. Many heroes would try to rally the local superfolks, get together and lead them into the fray. After all, all hands on deck, everybody's in it together right.

Not on Walker's time. Trent showed he could handle himself, but he was also a wild card. Lunair was a new element, still to be studied. And the mutants…

Yeah, he's not inviting the mutants.

"Classified." he says, patting Jericho on the shoulder in a jockish way, "Busy," he says to Lunair, "But come by my office in Gotham sometime. I'm sure I can find something worthwhile to put your talents toward." he says. He shrugs off his suit jacket and reveals the black, red and white shield strapped to his back, drawing it off as he speaks into his ear.

"Alpha four, this is the Big Dog, hold positions and wait for my signal, copy. If anybody gets itchy and starts shooting before I get there, I will bite their trigger finger off," he says, hopping onto a nearby motorcycle and kicking it into gear as he shoots off.

"Well, technically they need to be over there," Roberto answers Audrey, pointing farther up the path with his chin. "This is just the easiest way to carry them. Why? You need a ride?" He stoops and extends one of the benches toward her, seat out. He's still a mostly featureless silhouette, but there is definitely a teasing grin somewhere in there.

In answer to Nyx's question, he glances over at a few more benches that are still wrapped and on palettes. "Sure thing! You want to bring a couple of them over with me? I could use the—" He cuts off mid-answer as she gets hit by a snowball. "Certo. I see how it is." He sets the benches down a little roughly and turns around. "Who's asking for it?"

"Yeah, I don't trust you nearly enough for that," Audrey replies to 'Berto's offer with a wry smile and a shake of her head, breaking into a laugh once more when Nyx gets hit with the snowball. The distraction gives her just enough time to lean down and gather up some snow for herself as well, which means by the time Roberto is turning to confront the 'attacker,' she's got a nice snowball ready to be thrown at his back before she blinks invisible.

Nyx didn't even remotely see it coming, she was minding her own business, smiling.. and then from way over yonder sails the deadly missile and cocks her right in the back of her hoodied head. "crap!" she blinks a few times and then pivots to try to figure out who the culprit is with Roberto.

Jericho grins and waves to Berto and a bit sheepishly to Nyx. Oops. He may have to take cover shortly. "Lunair… you might have to duck." He murmurs. Because he knows that he knows that Berto can throw things… Wait a second. Did the girl behind the drink table just… vanish?

Lunair tilts her head. She nods at John. "Sure thing." Then she pauses as he seems to be talking into something. She waves. "Bye!" An amused look. "I don't think I've met anyone like that before." She looks to Jericho and now the snow ball victims. "Duck what?" Uh oh.

Audrey's snowball smacks solidly into his back, vanishing into the shadow and immediately starting to melt into his clothing. "This is what I get," Roberto cries, throwing his hands up and starting to laugh. "You try to do some good, and this is how they thank you." He crouches, switches off the heating effect in his aurora, and scoops up twin handfuls of snow. "Well, you have broken me, cruel world! No more mister nice space heater."

Audrey vanished, all right. Of course, the snow does make staying invisible a little bit harder than it normally would be. She tries to stick to already-traveled paths, but there's a chance someone might be able to see her passage. On the other hand, she covers the next pair of snowballs she makes, casting an illusion over the snowbank as she makes them. And then? One for 'Berto and one for Nyx!

Nyx squints at Jericho and Audrey, right angle and location. Course she doesn't realize it but she just tracked the whole trajectory that hit her in the back pretty well. "I see." she crouches and packs a really really really tight good snowball there. Ah yisss superstrength. She pops up and wings it at Lunair. Wsssshh.

Jericho dives and pushes Lunair the other direction though… possibly slightly too late. He's snickering just a little. He has a pretty good idea who 'Gone Girl' is and knows that she's probably still around… and ''armed' with dangerous balls of snow. For a moment he considers using his own abilities to augment his winter warfare capacity but… no. In the back of his head he's well aware that even here he isn't safe and he reveal himself too openly without cause.

Still, that one slightly gloomy thought doesn't prevent him from seeking shelter behind a bus stop and gathering up some weaponized snowcones…

Lunair gets pushed, right after she gets plumpfed in the face with a snowball. Her arms flail Scooby style a moment as she lands on her backside. She decides against pulling a snowball cannon, but she ackphbts, getting snow off her face. She blinks owlishly a moment, furrowing her eyebrows. She manages to stand after a moment, tucking her tablet into a coat pocket to safety.

Time to use both hands and start scooping.

Roberto lurches over to the side as he's hit by an invisible snowball, of all things. At least he knows who threw that one. "Et tu, Brute?" he hollers dramatically. But as he steadies himself, his eyes narrow. Invisible attackers, huh? He may have danger roomed this one once or twice. He tosses one snowball casually over one shoulder, points at a snowbank between himself and the invisible attacker, and lets loose with a wide burst of force from his solar corona. Snow, partially melted, sprays into the air in a wide pattern, hopefully to fall on Audrey and reveal her location.

Sun grenade! There's no danger room where Audrey came from, but training? Yeah, that's a thing. So when Roberto sends out a blast, Audrey hits the ground hard. Snow and sleet that land on her disappear, though if he's watching closely, he may see the blank spot in the pattern on the ground. "It's training!" she calls back with a laugh, scrambling back up to dive for cover.

Nyx doesn't really consider using her strength to pack and hurl snow cheating, she isn't throwing a bench at anyone or trying to do something dangerous like Roberto did. Well not dangerous for him but if she did it… someone might be hurt. So instead she waits for Lunair or Jericho to poke their head out. Ready to wing a ball. "Get her Berto!"

Training eh? Jericho grins. "Lunair, cover me. I'm going to flank!" Even without his powers, Jericho is a soldier and a very, very good one at that.

The soldier breaks 'cover and moves across the street with an armful of snowballs, chucking a few as he goes to provide his own 'cover' as he moves up to a stack of fallen tree branches on the other side of the street.

Lunair laughs. "Okay! I mean, yes! Aye? Aye!" Lunair tries. She throws her snowball into the wind as Jericho moves. Woosh! Lunair will cheerily pelt and be pelted in turn. She's still learning to form the snowballs, so some are big and fall over. Others are small and poof!

A blank spot in the pattern is exactly what Sunspot was looking for. "Alright then. You asked for it," he answers Audrey with a laugh, then flings his remaining snowball at the empty place. He might not be quite quick enough to get her, but now he's on her trail at least. He crouches to 'reload,' conveniently ducking one of Jericho's covering strikes. "Keep him off our flank, Nyx!"

At least a part of Roberto's snowball disappears, so it must have clipped Audrey before she could dive for cover. The next snowball comes from not far away…but then, it looks like snowballs are coming in from every angle!

This is such a pleasant change of pace. Nyx hurls snow at Jericho now trying to hit him as he races with military precision. Then at Lunair. She is doing her best.. lot of speed and strength to the balls of snow but she is raw in the aiming department.

Jericho slides most of the rest of the distance, hit a couple times by Nyx's good arm (if not great aim) as he goes. It's been a while since he did this and yeah, he's doing it with people largely ten to fifteen years his junior but so what? They're good people and there's no harm that's going to come of it, just this once.

Roberto gapes for a quarter-second at the snowballs coming in from every angle, then just throws his arms over his face in a last-ditch defensive move. Of course, the one actual snowball hits him in the back of the head. It takes him a moment to realize that the rest were illusions.

Before long, the entire reconstruction effort has descended into the chaotic fun of a grand snowball fight. Battle lines are drawn and redrawn, alliances are constructed and then thwarted, and the fight only ends when the whole group is spattered with snow and exhausted.

On the one hand, Roberto has to admit to himself that his poor showing doesn't say much for what a few years as a businessman have done to his combat edge. On the other, the sense of camaraderie and the easing of the group's tension over the past few weeks seem more than worth it.

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