|Zombots in the Bowery!|
|What: Mysterious disturbances lead some of Gothams heroes to investigate. What they find is definitely more than they bargained for.
Part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Rise of the Zombots plot!
The police reports have been spotty, as has the news coverage. But the pattern doesn't take a master detective to spot: young people, mostly homeless, have been disappearing at an accelerated rate. A few of the homed victims have had concerned parents that raised the issue at all, as missing street kids isn't exactly a story. But so far, the police have only a few anonymous leads about the incident, all indicating that suspicious activity has been occuring in and around the Bowery. Which is about as unusual as a pancake at IHOP. So the case is officially open, but not getting much traction.
For anyone who might be paying attention though, the Bowery has gotten a reputation for being the locale that most of the victims have disappeared from, and the city's homeless have more or less vacated the area. Which makes the neighborhood a bit of a ghost town, as the squatters mostly outnumbered the legitimate land owners. With a little investigation, someone might decipher that the Grittix apartment complex is the focus of much of the caution in the area; any possible 'tenants' of the building haven't been seen for days, and the surrounding neighbors have not stuck around to find out why.
Cassandra Cain happens to be a young homeless person. But she is not part of the homeless community per se, given that she can't easily communicate with them. So when people began to clear out of the area, that just meant that Cassandra got the choice picks. If there were such a thing in this part of town. Tonight the dirty, skinny girl is climbing up the fire escape of the Grittix apartment complex. The best places are always at the top, out of the reach of all but the most dedicated. That makes it safer for Cassandra to hole up and sleep. When she's most vulnerable. She's got on a hoodie and sweat pants that are dirty, but not too old. They were clearly new recently but without proper care... well, yeah. She also have a flat backpack on as she makes her way up.
Vic Sage has done enough investigation to lead him to the block where the Grittix stands, but since he is still finding his way through the thicket of over-work, incompetence, and flat-out obstinacy of the GCPD, getting past that point has proved to be like pushing Jello uphill. So, tonight, he drove to the next block over, locked the BMW, and walked into the alley leading to the street in front of the building. It is someone else who stands in the shadows at the head of the alley now in a faint curl of yellow mist, blank face upturned to watch the young woman climbing the fire escape.
Crouched beside the window of a long-abandoned bar's second floor, Spoiler is not entirely thrilled with her choice of surroundings for the evening. With summer coming to an end, there are no fewer than four Back to School parties going on tonight, and she very well may have been able to snag an invite to one--if it weren't for the Unexplained Disappearances thread of Gotham's sub-reddit blowing up with Bowery-centric rumours for the last couple of days.
Which, granted, is only /so/ unique, but a wannabe crimefighter can hardly afford to pick and choose.
She keeps half an eye on the Grittix apartment complex across the way and the other on her phone, where she busily flings birds at cartoon pigs.
On the roof of the building stands a man in a long dark cloak, the hood held up to obscure his face, save for the hints of a beard peeking out from the darkness. He is glancing out at Gotham as the late summer wind whips his obscuring cloak slightly. He's silent until he hears the sound of someone coming up the fire escape. As Cassandra crests over the top, the man turns and gives a soft grunt. "You are not safe here," he warns her, his voice heavy with an Asian accent, hoarse as if from years of smoking.
Down below, in the building on which Spoiler is spying upon, there are sudden signs of motion. Two men, both white, with tattoos covering their arms are seen wheeling a hospital gurny through a hallway. A white sheet covers the flatbed of the gurny, but another arm is seen hanging from beneath the cloth. Limp. Pale. Totes dead.
Spotting someone on the roof, Cassandra goes still in the half-crouch she landed in. Dark eyes look back at the man but he's working hard to not let much of himself be seen. Which makes him effectively mute to Cassandra. She holds that pose for a long moment, but when he doesn't make any movement towards her she starts to back over the roof's parapet and back to the fire escape. She doesn't take her eyes from the shadowy form though.
The Question moves swiftly when Cassandra reaches the roof, running from shadow to shadow across the street to gain the base of the fire escape. He starts up it as well, fast but moving with as little noise as he can manage. He's probably only made it up a floor or two, though, before she starts to inch backwards over the parapet and onto the wrought-iron structure. He freezes for moment and then resumes his climb slowly, head craned back and no-face turned upward toward the top landing and the roof above.
"WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" a rotund bird in a bright red and blue costume squeals as it hurtles towards its target. Moments before impact, it starts hovering in the air, then its eyes briefly glow before firing lasers that cut through wooden blocks and swine alike; afterwards it falls, red cape fluttering in the virtual breeze.
"Yes!" Spoiler cheers with a triumphant fist pump. "Who's the best? /I'm/ the--" Just as she's about to start raising the roof, she catches a glimpse of the tattooed men and their gurny across the way.
"... huh," she exhales as heat rushes to her cheeks and her hands slowly drop. Without a word or gesture further, she swings her legs out of the window and starts climbing down to the street to investigate in person.
The man gives a low growl before shaking his head. "No...you are /already/ in danger," he says menacingly as he raises his hand, revealing a sickly looking hand, each nail a good six inches long with peeling, jaundiced skin. A moment later, black tendrils shoot out from beneath his fingernails and rush towards Cassandra, attempting to catch her by the wrists and yank her back towards him.
The gurny continues to wheel down the hall, while one of the tattooed men whistles a jaunty little tune. The other clicks his tongue against his mouth slightly as he shakes his head. "Man, this whole thing is the creepiest, and you're just going to stand there and whistle? Are you sick?"
"Nope, just rich, and when I'm rich I get happy," the whistling thug responds. That is, until he sees the purple-garbed vigilante running towards them. He pauses and frowns, gesturing with his head. "Hey, you know who the nutjob is?"
"Naw, and not too concerned to find out," the non-whistling thug says before pulling out his sidearm, aiming it down at the hustling Spoiler.
The moment Cassandra is jerked back, The Question moves, half climbing, half leaping up the rest of the stairs to vault the parapet onto the roof. He doesn't look down at the street.
Huntress has heard about what's going on on this end of town. She usually avoids the Bowery like the plague because it's the epicenter of Bat territory, but what she's heard simply can't be ignored. So here she and her motorcycle are, pulling to a stop next to the building that the faceless man just hastily climbed. Unlike most people, she's made it a habit to look UP. She catches a hint of movement above and with a curse hastily pulls her Ducati off to the side to park and then make for the rooftops. She's suspecting a Bat type to be up there ready to scold her for something she hasn't even done. Yet.
By the time Spoiler's feet hit the asphault, bullets are too; chunks of the stuff fly up all around her as she runs out into the street, prompting her to throw her arms protectively over her face on instinct. The bullet that clips her cape a split-second later serves as a fantastic reminder that she has far bigger things to worry about, however, and with a little 'yip!' she turns and darts towards a nearby parked car for cover.
She presses two fingers to her ear and sticks her head up to quickly assess the situation; she is met by a spray of gunfire. ||"O-Oracle!"|| she transmits as she ducks back down, ||"I'm, uh, I'm--I'm in the Bowery and I'm under fire..."||
The man on the roof squeezes hard on the skin with which he has Cassandra caught, bringing her closer to him. As she gets closer, she sees his face. Old, nearly skeletal, with some of his pale yellowed skin peeling away even. "Child...welcome to eternity," he tells her as more black threads poor out from the sleeves of his cloak, attempting to envelope her, his attention fully drawn on her.
Down below...well, shots are being fird. Bang bang. The no-longer-whistlig thug bites his lip for a bit, shaking his head. "You got her, I'm gonna get this chick to the boss, okay?" he says, not so much waiting for an answer before he jets towards the exit, away from the firefight. Neither men seem to notice Huntress' arrival.
While her heart pounds, it doesn't stop Cassandra from reacting. She fights the hold on her wrist, shoes skidding against the gravel on the roof but when it's clear she can't pull free she changes her approach. Literally. She waits until he's dragged her close enough and then she leaps for him, aiming a punch right for that skeletal face even as more tendrils spill out to wrap her up.
The Question hits the roof behind Cassandra at a half-crouch. He pauses and jerks his head back to the street side as gunfire echoes sharply off the buildings, but when the robed monstrosity drags the girl closer, he's on the run again toward them. A length of two-by-four lies in a pile of abandoned debris, and The Question snatches it up as he moves, reaching the man and swinging it hard at his left upper arm just as Cassandra leaps and punches. (REPOSE)
Huntress throws herself around the corner of the building closest to her motorcycle as gunshots ring out and clearly get way too close for her comfort. She pulls her crossbow and takes a quick glance around the corner then fires a bolt off toward where she /thinks/ the shots came from and hastily moves to the cover of a nearby parked car. She can't really see where they are. Not yet.
Unwilling to test her bullet dodging capabilities, Spoiler has little choice but to stick to her cover until they run out of ammo or turn their attention elsewhere. She winces every time a bullet dings off of the chassis, and when one shatters the windshield, she has to clap both hands over her mouth to suppress a scream. As soon as she lowers her hands, she decides that she's had it with letting these tattooed jerks pin her down; she fetches a strip of firecrackers and a lighter, and after some fumbling, she lobs the former over the car and into the street.
They're pretty low yield - some loud pops and a little smoke - but they're all the distraction she has; as soon as they start going off, she gets up and starts dashing across the street, keeping as low as she can the whole way.
The blow from Cassandra reels the skeletal man a few steps, but he stays on his feet. "Such...anger," he muses openly, canting his head to one side; from this angle Cassandra can tell that other than the thin beard that dots his chin, he has no hair on his head, including eyebrows, completely bald. "You shall make an excellent serv-"
Unfortunately for the creepy asian bald man, his speech is interrupted when he feels a plank of wood smashed across his head. His concentration broken, he drops Cassandra. Staggering backwards, he reaches up and touches his temple. Blood. Very clearly blood. He glances towards the question, his hood having fallen back to expose his horrific visage. He chants something under his breathe in Chinese, before reaching into his cloak...and pulling out a detonator. The button already pressed.
Beneath Cassandra and Vic, the ground rumbles for a few seconds before it bursts open. Thankfully, there is no fire to engulf either. Unfortunately, they've fallen several yards into the room below. Thankfully, they've found the missing youth. Unfortunately, they all are dead...but seem to be unaware of it as a collection of dozens of zombies, each nude with a bright yellow spot visible near the center of their chest. After a moment, the undead missing persons start to lurch towards the pair, doing the old groaning and wheezing business.
Below, the shooter's attention is drawn. "Come out, come out, girlie," the thug teases, aiming his next shot...just as a crossbow bolt shoots through his hand. Eyes widening, he cries out and grabs his hand. "Son of a--" he starts, followed by a creative string of curses that would make Lenny Bruce blush. Of course, he then hears the explosion over head, rubble falling on him slightly. "Forget this," he spits before he starts to try to make a quick exit from the building.
Once the tendrils release Cassandra she's diving and rolling away, looking for some cover to escape the strange man. She takes in The Question as an ally but there's little chance to make a coordinated attack before the floor starts to give way beneath them. Cassandra lands in another ducking roll, getting her feet under her and looks around. Dark eyes go wide as the zombies start towards her and she tries to make for an exit.
The Question rolls and comes up as well, right next to Cassandra. There's the space of a breath as the zombies start toward them, and after that breath, he speaks.
"This-- is not good."
He pivots, put his back to Cassandra's and holding the board out in front of him two-handed. "Can you get hold of something to keep them off? And do you see an exit?"
Huntress cusses at the surprise of a string of black cats popping in the street promptly followed by a much bigger explosion from an adjacet building, but does see someone trying to use that as cover and darts after her. She sends another bolt after the first as cover of a sort, still not entirely sure she's not wasting the ammo.
Huntress' keen aim buys Spoiler a few precious moments of safety; once she registers this, she pumps her fist victoriously. Her jubilant cry of, "Suck it, creep!" is cut short, however, when the top of the building is unexpectedly blown away; the force of the blast is enough to throw her back on her ass. She's slow to get back to her feet - partly because her teammates are talking at her, and partly because she's still trying to process the sudden act of destruction - but once she's up there, she starts inching towards the building again, wary of further explosions.
Of course, if anyone starts shooting at her again, she will take off as fast as she can, bombs be damned.
There is a clear path towards and exit from the room. Sort of. Kind of. I mean, there are zombies in that direction, but there are zombies in every direction, so that's exactly unique. The zombies themselves aren't hard to get past, but the mass of them can be overwhelming. As either Cassandra or Question get close to any, they may notice a slight hum and buzz. Is that something...electrical?
And right about then, there is a pop on the other side of the room, followed by a loud hiss and then a steaming that fills the room. If either person looks in the direction of the sound, they'll notice what that yellow glow was. And it was napalm, as the different charges from around the room start to pop off, one by one. The structural integrity of the floor they NOW stand on is due to be questioned, to say nothing of what what might happen if one of the zombies neared them popped off.
The door to the room however bust open from the other side as a tattooed thug busts into the room. His eyes pop wide open. "Wrong room," he says, trying to slam the door closed, but it is too late. A legion of napalm-armed zombies start to storm out of the room. Well, at least getting out will be easier for our two heroes.
Before too long, the heroes on the ground may start to get visual of the zombies starting to stagger out, not necessarily in any particular direction so much as just...out.
Cassandra Cain has to turn her head so she can see Question enough to try to tell what he's saying to her, but that mask of his really doesn't help her. She manages to figure out that he's asking about an exit and she points towards it. Through the line of zombies. She might be able to get out herself fairly quicly but she can't just leave the Question behind! After pointing the way out for him she dives for one of the nearest zombies, trying to catch a leg so she can toss it away and knock over some of the other zombies to avoid getting napalmed and start to make a clear path out for the pair of them.
The Question follows Cassandra toward the door, swinging the board to knock zombies left and right.
By the time Huntress grabs her, Spoiler is just standing there, staring at the teeming mass of once-humanity forcing its way into the city. She quickly looks down at the hand and jerks herself away, snapping, "I'm not about to run face first into a building full of /zombies/, Jesus." Beat as she takes a step back. "Besides, I don't think they'd care very much about a stungun or some mace, soooo..."
As the zombies continue to roll out of the building they stumble down the street. One by one however, they each hiss hiss hiss and then pop, melting out into healthy, sidewalk souping goop. In the distance, police sirens begin to wail and whine. High above, the stranger in the cloak watches the scene below. "The World shal burn...and we still stand..." he says low to himself before becoming a wisp of smoke, carried away by the wind.