Helicarrier Hijacking: Heart of the Beast

Summary:
March 01 2015: A team of SHIELD agents and helpful outsiders breach the corrupted Insight to seek out the heart of the problem and put an end to it.

Helicarrier Inisght

The Helicarrier Insight has been twisted into a huge beast and it's innards are full of monstrous 'antibodies'. The computer core is the heart of the corruption.


Characters

NPCs

  • Demonic Antibodies
  • Big Demons

Mood Music:
[* None]


The pride of the SHIELD Helicarrier fleet is the Insight, the newest, largest, most advanced power projection platform in the arsenal. Or it was until about fifteen minutes ago. A garbled radio transmission indicated that the Insight had been boarded by unknown forces while enroute to New York and that something unnatural was happening . Then the ship went dark.

What arrived over New York wasn't the Insight. Or at least, it wasn't immediately recognizeable as such. A massive, metallic seven headed beast eleven hundred feet long, the only hints of what it had been the four glowing blue repulsorlift engines at the bottom of it's feet and the word 'Insight' painted across both flanks. Clearly, something horribly had gone wrong.

SHIELD had scrambled a response team, of course. Fighters to take the fight to the beast and a transport to get into the still existant rear hangar and try to shut it down. The only weapon they have that might be capable of doing without killing anyone who may still remain aboard is in the hands of one Leopold Fitz. And there's only one pilot capabable of getting them in. And SHIELD has a brand new Anti-Magic/Demon/Bad Things consultent. The brass put all of that together and guess who they decided the assault team should be?

They pick up a guest enroute. Two of them in fact. Light flares in the passenger compartment and a stepping disk opens to admit Jericho Trent. He'd been otherwise occupied as evidenced by the fact that he's in short and not long sleeves today, but he came armed. Well, armed as he ever is, that blade behind him. "Room for another?" He says a bit grimly.

THEN:

"There must be some kind of way out of here,"
Said the joker to the thief,

Some time ago, word came to SHIELD that a high profile target was to be pinged by HYDRA agents. Fortunately, a top secret operation some weeks ago gave Agent Leopold Fitz direct access to the Watchtower, which has been overseeing the entire planet. A series of parameters included some of the readings taken from HYDRA's incursion of the Triskelion.

And so, he waited.

All along the watchtower
Princess kept the view

Suddenly, something pinged on the scopes. Fitz eyeballed it for a moment, before grabbing his comm and muting Hendrix. "Agent May!!" he cried. "Positive contact, sending you GPS!"

NOW:

Fitz is suited up and along for the ride. His Portal Buster MkII rests at his feet, charging two slave units that can be used by anyone else in the party.

Its worth noting that his right foot is tapping nervously.

Illyana steps through after Jericho. She's in her Red uniform, the long back flaring behind her. She has one short blade sheathed behind her and no sign of her main weapon. Yet. Like Jericho, her expression is grim and set. She looks around, "Where can I get a good view of this thing?" She could use her magic, but something even that big would require tapping Jericho's reserves, and she doesn't want to do that before a fight.

"Agent May!!" Fitz cried. "Positive contact, sending you GPS!" That was what May had been waiting for, and this assault team amongst others was hastily assembled.

Now, May is flying this assault team in. She's busy, considering that they're already taking fire despite the escort of fighter jets doing their best to draw attention away from their quinjet. She hears Trent's voice from the back just as she's pulling the plane clear of a missile aimed at them, letting to copilot minding their weapons shoot it down so it doesn't double back on them.

"Hang on, Trent." Yup, as terse as ever. The quinjet abruptly seems to drop and slide sideways to the right then immediately tilt back to level around part of this … THING's hangar bay access. It looks like it's not gonna happen for a second or two, but then a split second of spine-jarring acceleration and they're in the bay and landing with a rougher than usual jolt.

"We're in," May says into her comm before leaving the copilot to mind the quinjet's controls. She moves through to the back part of the jet toward the already lowering access hatch. She pauses just long enough to help Fitz scoop up his portal buster things but keeps one hand free for a side arm. Yes, for this she's carrying a gun.

"You've got center stage seats, Rasputin," she quips at the blonde demon-queen. "Let's go."

SHIELD is certainly an interesting place to work. But at least here, Sara doesn't have to come up with the excuses or what's actually been happening. Here, she can just focus on stopping it. At the moment, she's using a good deal of self control to keep the Witchblade to just a gauntlet. Going in in full armor when things are happening the way they are is a good way to get hit with friendly fire.

The arrival of Jericho and Illyana doesn't make that any easier; the Witchblade wants to read them as more bad energy. "Hey," she greets shortly, her attention on holding back her own weapon…and the quinjet, as May gets the fancy flying done.

Jericho does hang on. He'd ordinarily be nervous about Sara and the witchblade but frankly he's been about enough and she hasn't sworded him yet, so until she starts swinging at him he figures that the Balance isn't going to kick up that much of a fuss about him. As they land the hacker's traces light up without him even doing anything. There's a lot of magic in the air and he's starting to absorb some of it. "Yay." Is all he says as he moves to the back and produces his blade, letting it unfold. Those mercury like bracers appear on his arms as his traces flick to blue and start to hum. Now He's using them.

More keenly than Jericho, because she knows better, Illyana can sense the directionality of the flow of magic. It's coming from somewhere ahead of and below them. In the great chest of the beast. Probably near the heart. There's a lot of interferance between here and there, though. Portalling may not be advisable.

And that's all the time they're given to think about it. Like antibodies reacting to an infection, the interior hanger door swings open to admit a swarm of screaching, screaming monstrosities and Jericho rather abruptly has his hands full. They flood into the room and just beyond the door some kind of… portal can be seen, generating them.

"Oy!" cries Fitz during the rough flying. "Bollucks! This is why I can't stand it when she flies!"

Once they've landed, he finds the Portal Buster fixed, with May's help, over his shoulders. The slave units are snatched up by a pair of SHIELD agents who came along for the ride. "Try not to become cannon fodder, chaps," he says to them before departure.

Jericho, Illyana, and Pezzini. All good people to have on a terror quest like this. As they disembark, Fitz tries very hard not to be overwhelmed by the creepy-factor of what's going on here; fortunately, he's got a brand new Portal Buster, powered by psybertechnology, utilizing runic nanoprobes to cycle it's power to the appropriate wavelengths. The device will need constant monitoring; even Fitz isn't entirely sure how this will go when he uses it.

The machine in his hands is suddenly going haywire. While the others spring into action, Fitz is messing with it and cursing under his breath. "Bloody… hell! Cannae get a damn grip on… oh, bleeding Christ!"

Suddenly, the Portal Buster begins charging up. Did we say something about AI? Feeling it's power in his hands, Fitz braces himself and begins looking around for something. Anything. When his keen eyes finally spot it, he levels the gun-like emitter at the other room.

A pre-emptive wince comes before the trigger is squeezed, blasting brilliant, blue waves of energy towards that portal.

Illyana reflexively grabs a handhold and rides out the bucking of the quinjet as May takes them in. It might be a sign that she's done stuff like this before that she doesn't end up tossed around the cabin, given she's not secured.

As they land and deplane, Illyana lets Jericho stay in front of her. He's the one that can go bulletproof. Or, well, more bulletproof than her. As they step down and Jericho powers up his traces, she kneels down with her attention on the floor, pressing her gloved palm down with fingers splayed.

A moment later she winces as Fitz fires the portal buster. Gleh, that messes with her senses. "May! We need to be forward and down! The thing is too alive and magical, I'm not going to be able to open my disks reliably." She reaches behind her to pull the short sword/long knife there, and still doesn't pull the Soulsword.

"Acknowledged," May replies to Illyana. She's trying to not burn through the rounds in her pistol too quickly, taking a half-second longer than is probably necessary to take each shot. But she's also taking headshots. And hoping that the slightly modified bullets actually work against these things. She requested them from the same ally that hand-built the pistol she's using that is very clearly not standard SHIELD issue. These bullets will hopefully work. Eastern Europeans are religious sorts, right?

"You guys are killing me here," Sara curses under her breath as Trent and Illyana power up and the gauntlet on her wrist blossoms into full armor at a thought, sharp and dangerous. She flicks a glance toward Fitz's cursing, cautious, but then they're under attack. And that, at least, is a good outlet for some of the power and rage burning through the Witchblade at being in the heart of something so unnatural.

At a thought, there's a short, wickedly curved blade in her hand. And once it's in her hand, she's in the middle of the horde of attackers, slicing through them with abandon. She tries to keep between them and Fitz, but otherwise…the goal is to destroy.

The beam passes right through Sara and… well… actually it doesn't seem to do anything to her. But it does hit the portal on the far end which begins to, grudgingly, close. Once the flow of creatures is stemmed cleanup between May, Jericho, Illyana and Sara is a matter of bladework and gunplay. Those bullets May has seem to work rather nicely, actually. It's over in moments.

The hacker looks back at Fitz. "Nice one. Please don't shoot me with it." He's got no idea what it would do and like Illyana, the discharge messed with him a bit, though in his case it fuzzed his HUD to hell.

"Right, this way, before more show up." The hacker takes off at a run. He's got a vague direction from Illyana and she can nudge him as they go. There's more portals and 'antibodies' in the way. The interior of the ship rings with gunfire from Jericho's gunblade. "Sara! On the left, three big ones." He calls out as they move. There's more ahead too but he and Illy can deal with that. "May I don't think that one behind you is done yet!"

Something's wrong. A spell of this magnitude would have to be maintained and cost a lot of juice. A lot of it. So… how? They have to be tapping something.

The Portal Buster certainly packs a punch. Fitz is literally skidding backwards on his sneakers while the weapon is discharged, and there's a yelp when he catches it's beam going right through Detective Pezzini. It isn't until the portal has closed that he shuts down the beam and lowers it to a safe position. "Sorry!" he calls out to Sara. "I'm so sorry!" He looks from one to the other nervously.

"It works?" he murmurs under his breath.

On the move again, Fitz follows along and tracks the readouts on the gun's display. The SHIELD agents accompanying him do the same, discharging their slave Portal Blockers when Fitz does, and occasionally linking their power cables to the master backpack for a recharge. Each discharge seems to flow a different color, and the effects to those sensitive to the arcane may be a bit different every time.

It works, but at what cost? And at what point will there be a hole in his programming? He's working with limited knowledge and runic resources, after all…

Illyana figures she's not going to get any answers about what's powering this until they get to the source. She follows after Jericho, riding his wake, as it were. And guarding his back. Anyone that thought she toted around swords for effect gets that put to rest. The blonde doesn't fence, doesn't do flashy exchanges. She's efficient and… brutal. It's a good thing her costume is black and red. The blood from the 'antibodies' doesn't really show up, except for where it's managed to splash her pale skin.

As Fitz closes another portal, Illyana notes in a grim voice to Jericho, "I really don't want to know what happens if he tries to close one of my disks." Somehow, she doesn't figure it's a gentle affair.

The sorceress takes advantage of the brief respite between waves to 'look' at the innards of the creature/helicarrier as well as the things they're killing. She keeps updating Jericho on which way to head. "May, what are we heading towards?"

Jericho Trent says, "Sara go ahead. May can catch up if she's still posing."

"No harm, no foul," Sara calls back to Fitz, though getting shot with something she wasn't sure about wasn't at the top of her list, either. "Just try to stay clear, all right? We may need that thing when we get to the objective." At Jericho's warning, she trades blade for gun, firing a cluster of shots at the three targets almost as soon as she's looked. Her eyes are glowing now, the amber flame of the Witchblade, and the power of the Balance fairly crackles around her.

May is sticking close to Fitz the whole way, alternately using the pistol in one hand or the smallish but wickedly sharp blade in her other hand to take down anyone that gets too close to the scientist or the other two portal busters. When Jericho calls out a warning, a quick gunshot takes care of the one still moving.

When Illyana asks about where they're going, she quickly looks at the surrounding hallway and offshoots while pocketing an empty magazine and snapping a full one into her pistol. "We're heading toward the computer core. Stay in this main corridor for two more intersections." Actually knowing where they're going now, she can hopefully lead them on a faster path to their target. Of course, that may mean more obstacles as well.

Jericho is traced out with wings, rather than wolf armor. The corridor is too narrow for him to be that big. On the plus side, he's practiced a lot with this. On the downside, much less protection. One of the demon-things slams him into a wall with a hard grunt. Odds are good that did something, but the hacker is back at it a moment later, releiving the antibody of an arm and then spinning and lashing out with wings, knocking it to the floor for Illyana to deal with. May's direction is gratefully accepted and, it seems as if they're through the worst of the…

Spoke too soon. Up ahead is the computer core. There's a portal there, permanently open and anchored to some kind of enchantment that is spreading the transformative magic through the data lines to all parts of the carrier. It's clever really. The echantment is powered by the energy drawn from whatever nether dimension the portal is anchored to and can't be undone until it's closed. It's also guarded. By four of the ugliest, meanest looking demons Jericho has ever seen… and he's got some time in on that one.

The ship lurches sideways hard and the hacker has to hold on to a handrail to keep from going over the edge. "Right… Sara, May we need to hold them off…" He knows Fitz and Illyana will have to deal with the portal and the enchantment. He just hopes that undoing them will put this back the way it should be.

"Oh, don't be such a tosser!" Fitz darts a look toward Illyana. "I know a friendly —"

BLLLAAAMMMM!

"— portal when I see one!"

A jerk of the head to Sara. "Aye, lass. Read my mind." He's still worried; the machine has worked too well thus far. Could be beginner's luck, but Fitz isn't about to count on that.

The lurching of the helicarrier causes one of the agents to go careening over the edge. Fitz winces; the idea of his tech sinking to the bottom of the ocean has him feeling a little sick. Soon enough, however, they are faced with the Big Boss.

Eyes wide, the engineer looks at the disturbing imagery. He finds himself edging up toward Illyana, face unusually pale. The Portal Buster's sensory mechanics are going haywire. He eyes them, then looks to the sorceress.

"Okay. Dennis and I will fire. You… do… your thing." He smiles to her, willing to hold off should she disagree. Otherwise?

Fitz and Agent Dennis share a nod. Dennis plugs in, and they unleash two beams of brilliant white toward that giant portal.

Illyana doesn't miss a beat, turning and bringing her short sword down on the things neck as Jericho tosses it her way, sending a severed head bouncing back down the hallway like a soccerball being passed towards Fitz.

The blonde's head turns as the doors to the computer core open and she finally gets a good look at what's powering all of this. "Spit and Hades." She mutters under her breath, icy blue eyes flicking about to work on putting the magical puzzle together.

As Fitz moves up closer, Illyana nods. "Yeah…" She'd normally just take her sword to the enchantment, but that occasionally makes the enchanted things go… boom. Also, even if it reverts back cleanly, things aren't quite located where they were. And there's a lot of people in this thing. Also, crashing would be bad.

"Don't cross the streams." Illyana suggests, moving forward again. She's going to want to act as soon as Fitz takes down the portal. If he can. "Jericho! I might need you!" She warns.

Melinda May nods to Jericho then looks at Sara. "Left." She then goes to the right, firing at one of the really damned ugly things to get its attention before holstering her pistol and pulling a second blade that matches the one already in her left hand. "Come and get me," she taunts the demon and then backs toward a corner of the room away from the portal.

As the helicarrier lurches, Sara goes down to a three-point position, the fingers of her gauntlet digging into the floor with a creak of metal. She nods sharply to May's direction, then pushes off toward the monsters on the left as that blade appears in her right hand once more. She lifts her left, and a white-hot blast of fire shoots out toward one of the creatures, pure, clean light.

May definitely does get her monster's attention. The bullets impact off it's hide, sizzling and burning as it vaults up to her catwalk to face her, a mass of towering horn an sinew. "Die, Mortal." Is all it says and then brings its claws down at the woman.

Sara's fire sears into the demon and it cries out in pain. Black and dark red flames lick across its body and it lashes out at her, a whip of flame in one hand, and a firey sword in the other. "This is your end Wielder of the Balance. The Storm of Worlds comes. Your time is done." It swings it's blade. It's good, definitely. But it's also a distraction so that a second demon can come up behind her.

Jericho takes the rush of the demon with a jump, vaulting over it's horned head in a wing assisted move to land behind and cut it's knees. The beast cries out and spins around. The hacker catches a blow on his bracers. Those mercury looking things are apparently more solid than they look. More pertinently, now he's behind it, giving Illyana an opening to get past and put him between it and her if that's how she wants to play it.

Fitz' portal gun strains. This is more power than it's ever tried to shut down and the algorythm is clearly struggling to find the right combination of wards to turn it off. Which might be an indication of future problems. Fringe science is fringe, after all. There's probably going to be some… blind spots in its development. It's clear that the AI just isn't going to cut it. What's needed here is a human mind. Surely… there must be some way to calibrate it… if he can just get the thing disrupted, it'll close…

"Take a knee!" cries Fitz over the noise. He and Agent Dennis both drop to one knee, bracing themselves with a boot against the twisted deck as their magitech beams assault that portal.

Colors change as the AI tries to adopt the correct runic structure, but the portal holds. Fitz grinds his teeth for a moment or two, soaring glances to the controls upon the gun itself. He can see what's happening; the sensory feedback is too much for the circuitry to handle. Too much more of this and they're gonna have a burn out.

Don't cross the streams.

"Wait a moment." Fitz glances toward Agent Dennis. "Right there. At the center. If we cross the beams, the feedback loop should deliver a punch of whatever is powering that portal! So long as the transfer matrices hold, it'll automatically cycle the correct—"

Agent Dennis interrupts. "What the hell, Fitz!?"

"CROSS THE BLOODY STREAMS!"

The beams come together, and the feedback causes a brilliant explosion of otherworldly light and distortion. Both Fitz and Dennis struggle to maintain their guns, their bodies violently shaken.

Illyana takes mental note of that. 'Storm of Worlds'. It might be important. Later. When she has time to research it. Her blonde hair streams behind her like a banner as she runs across the room, using the control stations as stepping stones and then dropping into a slide as Jericho engages the large demon. She gives her attention to the portal and the enchantment it's powering, leaving Jericho to face the beast alone as if it's his job to be her personal bodyguard and bleed for her.

The room is an explosion of colored light and magic flipping channels. It's like having a stormfront moving in and messing with the magical barometric pressure and it's giving Illyana a splitting headache. "C'mon, techboy! We don't wanna do this messy!" She yells at him, a moment before they cross the bloody streams and then she's ducking for cover. "DOWN!" She warns the team.

As crazy as it seems, this is exactly what May wanted the demon to do. It swings those claws at her and she dodges TOWARD the enormous creature, slicing at his legs as she does so. She's aiming for where humans would have arteries and tendons in the hopes that she can disable the thing quickly. Because there's another one just over there, and Fitz and Dennis are all but unprotected at the moment. Then she heard Illyana's yell and with one last slice at the demon's achilles' tendon area she turns and runs to throw herself into a barely-human-sized gap in between the bulkhead and a support pillar.

"Not the first time I've heard that line," Sara snarls at the demon, another blade appearing in her left hand as she closes the distance between them. The demon may be good, but Sara's been practicing. More, the 'blade carries the memories of generations of wielders. She slices upward at the demon in front of her, but at the same time, raises the second blade behind her back to guard it. She may not see the demon behind her, but the 'blade can sense it, guiding her limbs.

What it doesn't pick up, is techno-magic toys. There are shouts of down, but Sara's entangled with the pair of demons, struggling just to stay in one piece.

Both demons fighting Sara are stymied in their assault slightly long enough. Jericho parries another strike and then takes a solid blow to the ribs… then Fitz crosses the streams. There's an echoing 'BOOM' and a blast wave that radiats out from the portal as it collapses. Jericho is thrown forward but catches himself with his wings and lands a moment later near Illyana. He's bleeding and probably has a broken rib or two, but he's still up. And she mentioned she might need him.

The 'heart' of the beast is exposed now. The enchantment no longer turbocharged. If the others can hold those demons off (they're getting back up) this should all be over in a moment…

Not only is the portal down, but so are the Portal Busters. That energy feedback travelled right up the guns, through their hoses, and utterly fried the backpack power cells. Fitz and Dennis are thrown into their asses, the backpacks charred and smoking.

The source powering the spell is down, so now she can work on unWorking it. Illyana gets back up to her feet, wiping her blade on her costume as she looks over the spellwork. "By the Dark Lords, this is a mess." She mutters with disgust before bringing the blade up and cutting her own hand. The blade gets sheathed behind her, the cut hand formed into a cup to hold the blood welling there while she dips the fingers of her free hand and uses her own blood to start altering the spell.

"Hurry up with your playmate, Jericho!" Illyana calls out without looking over or acknowleding his injuries. Icy eyes keep moving over the enchantment, changes made in blood here and there so she can try to reverse it cleanly.

Melinda May scoots back out of her hiding spot with her pistol back in hand, having left both blades on the floor in that little alcove. She fires at the demon she'd been fighting, aiming for the thing's eye (damn you, Barton, for not being here to help) and then moving right past it with a blackened steel chain whip whirring in her left hand. She fires a second shot off at one of the two demons fighting Sara then kicks the chain whip to shoot out at the one that Trent had been fighting.

When the portal explodes, Sara goes flying into the demon in front of her, then across the floor. It's only when she digs her fingers into the floor again that she stops the skid, only to dive back into combat. Keeping Illyana clear and Fitz safe are her main goals, and that means keeping the demons occupied until they're dead. "How's that plan working out for you so far?" she growls at the demon who spoke to her earlier.

Jericho catches a break as May finishes her demon and makes the one he's fighting stumble. His soulbound blade goes in one end, out the other and then rips out the side. Done. "All finished here." He calls back to Illyana, backing up to within arms reach. He's eying Fitz, worried, hoping those packs didn't fry him.

"You'll know soon enough. See you in hell, Wielder." The demon snarls and lunges. It was supposed to be timed with the other but May's shot gets the demon behind Sara to half turn. "YOU DARE?!"

Fitz and Dennis both seem winded, but soon enough, the pair are coming about. "Ach!" Fitz quickly shrugs out of his device before it can burn through his clothing, then crawls over to help Dennis do the same. The power packs are smouldering shells of what they once were, but the scientist doesn't have time to mourn.

"Oy, get down!"

Fitz and Agent Dennis both throw themselves down as the others fight.

Melinda May snarls some manner of insult or other at the demon that turns toward her. Difficult to say, as it was in Mandarin. But she follows it up with another shot from her pistol, this one aimed at the thing's eye. She's sidestepping as well, moving to put herself between the remaining demons and Fitz and Dennis. It's all but spoken aloud. You shall not pass.

As Jericho comes within arm's reach, her bloodied hand reaches for him, spilling the excess to the floor in a glittering spill of ruby. Her hand closes around the back of his neck and pulls, drawing him down to his knees at her side as her eyes go white and blazing and hair rising and whipping about on a sudden magical wind. Words spill from her lips and Jericho's traces light up to match her eyes. Pressure seems to fill the room, the weight and cadence of the sorceress words like a drumbeat that rings in them from the inside out. As her words rise in volume to something that makes the ears ache, her free hand comes down on the Enchantment, flooding the altered spell with Power.

"I doubt that," Sara replies to the demon, just in time to sweep both hands up as a pair of curved blades extend from her forearms. She brings them up, crossed, then rips them back in line, sending the demon's head tumbling with it. She turns toward the second demon, but with May's shot it's no longer a threat.

Illyana, though? Oh, the 'blade doesn't like that at all. She has one hand raised, glowing white-hot, before she pulls back on the power. It's a struggle, though, sending her to her knees. "You have got to wrap that up!" she calls to the mutant, wrapping her arms around herself as the armor starts to struggle against her, drawing its own blood.

Down as he is Jericho shift slightly, to get between the white hot glow and Illyana without breaking contact with her. It's symbolic really. He doesn't have the focus right now to do more than get in the way of a shot. Just instinct. The power goes out from him, through Illyana and through the Helicarrier, untwisting what was twisted, righting everything that was corrupted and destroying the demonic 'antibodies' that are left, wherever they are. There's a lurch before someone on the bridge compensates with the engines and then… they're on a Helicarrier… that actually is a helicarrier, hovering over a ruined section of the Bronx.


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