|EVENT: Outside the Box 04 (FINALE)|
|What: 9,000 words of action and saving the known universe, that's what. The Outsiders-to-Be have tracked down the A.I.M. base and their intel tells them that they can take what's waiting inside... but there are things lurking there that they can't even begin to imagine. (Mild language warning.)|
Just off of Route 9, there lies a narrow, ill-kept service road. This area is far enough from both cities that the night is nearly dark, a grey-black that doesn't lend itself to seeing very far at all. The dense treeline is a wall of black along the road. There are no services out here, not another vehicle in sight.
Tucked away so that one might miss it easily without explicit directions or a very good guide, a heavy metal gate blocks a much better maintained road leading off into the trees. From here, it's impossible to see where the road leads or what surveillance might be in operation out here.
An owl, of all things, hoots high up in one of the trees. This is practically -wilderness- out here compared to the city. The wind rustles the trees and dry weeds beside the road, it sounds like things are moving off in the dark but heightened senses will reveal no scents but those of voles and a fox.
The trees conceal a fence set only twenty feet past the ditch off the service road. It smells electrified and live. Some small animal has met an unpleasant fate on it not far from here. In the distance, when the wind is still, a low hum carries through the trees.
When Sam turns off onto the service road to find the others, he shuts down the lights of the old van he borrowed from the garage where he left his truck. The engine runs anything but quiet out here where there's so little noise. The GPS says he's about a quarter mile from the road Laura marked so he pulls as far off to the side as he can get and parks. He can make it the rest of the way on foot. He's wearing all black and the leather jacket he usually keeps to throw on for these kinds of things. Goggles and gloves, too, Anya. Promise.
Spider-Girl always wears black. Not only is it slimming and photogenic, but it comes in handy in times like this. She's already at the meeting point, perhaps just a /little bit excited/ to turn the tables and give these AIM goons a taste of their own medicine, rummaging through an overstuffed duffle bag for some of the loot they'd obtained from previous run-ins.
"We should do this quiet," Spider-Girl murmurs to herself, glancing around before hauling the two beekeeper uniforms up out of the bag. She didn't know who would use them, but they'd figure it out. These guys were good at thinking on their feet.
It was a fun day for Zen, overall. He figured out something remarkably simple. Cover up most of you, gloves, hoody, and the blue people see they think tights, or makeup. Slap on a painter's mask, and you're just an eccentric tourist afraid of bird flu, who doesn't speak the language, and has to make do with hand gestures. It actually seemed pretty silly to him once he figured it out, but after helping out at that heist this morning, Zen wanted more than ever to 'roll with the homies' today. He's spent the day going to the movies (listening through the other people there), eating hotdogs (in secret), and generally being a tourist. At matinee time, he discovered Broadway, which was a huge success for him, because the actors are live!
Anyway, Blue's big day out is behind him now, and he's resting in the lotus position inside his T-Pod which is parked right near where Sam just parked as well. Thanks to a new acquaintance, Zen is performing a /very/ rudimentary sentry of the astral planes, but is available by request. He told Anya what he was up to before 'Ommm'ing his way down.
Laura has been here for hours, actually, having left early so she could... well, just watch the place and skulk around stealthily, really. She knows better than to go in alone against plan. Today, she's in her X-23 jumpsuit and combat boots and gloves, with the addition of an equipment harness loaded down with a number of useful tools, including the lockbreaker, a sidearm and a small pouch. The com she took is clipped to the shoulder, with the earpiece looped over and into one ear so she can listen. When she scents the others arriving, she creeps off that way, eventually sliding silently into view between a pair of bushes.
Catching the tail end of Anya's statement, the gestures at Zen. "Maybe the most obvious of us?" She's not being mean, it's just true that the guy is not at all AIM-employed by the most cursory of glances.
How Jynn managed to get all the way out here? Ask? You sure you wanna know how he got all the way OUT HERE!? Yeah it's best you don't ask because honestly he is liable to punch you in the face. Walking off the side of the road towards the area that was designated by Spider-Girl who managed to get ahold of him, Jynn already looks a bit tired but still he is here and ready to go. Dressed in blacks and dark blues, Jynn walks through the brush having heard the loud van that Sam uses, it makes it easy for him to find the others. Irritation is on his face when he comes out of the darkness. "We ready?" he asks.
Spoiler elected to ride her motorcycle to the meeting place; it's a little impractical - what with her cape and all - but it's faster than walking, cheaper than a car, and more personal than taking the bus. It's also arguably more dangerous than all three, but that's what helmets are for!
She leaves her vehicle near Sam and Zen's, but only after having walked the thing down the highway when it died on her in the last quarter mile or so of her trip. It's an old bike; it did its best. She's still a little sore about it as she listens to the others.
"Do--do we wanna just draw straws for the other one, or something?" she wonders, after Laura's suggestion.
Deep underground, something is up. The physical vibrations don't translate beyond the massive suspended inner chamber of the abandoned missile silo that A.I.M. scooped up during the real estate crash but, still, the wildlife in the area is disturbed. The hum on the air is the song of thousands of insects singing in the night, heralding something strange. Birds take wing from the trees all at once, larks and owls alike.
Blue sparks pop along the electrified fence. Ozone fills the air, then fades. The smell of burnt insulation remains. The fence has shorted out and the electronic locks on the gate yield to a mere gust of wind. With a creak, the gate gapes open slightly to let out a pair of foxes that rocket across the service road and into the ditch on the far side.
"Because that's not creepy," Sam mutters as they streak across his path. "I know about black cats, but two foxes?" He shakes it off and joins the others.
"Guess we don't have to break in through the first security barriers," he says to Anya, giving the others a wave. "I'm gonna say that's the Universe telling us to get on with this thing." Okay, so he's nervous. He's not used to being nervous like this. Then again--he looks around--he's not used to being what looks like the oldest person on a mission.
"Give the uniforms to us." Sam gestures between himself and Jynn. "And some comms and weapons. We're built most like the goons they seem to favour. If these guys are consistently dumb, we'll be able to walk right in. Straight up the front with one of you as a 'trespasser'. As good as sneaking. Anyone who thinks they can keep out of sight can follow up."
"Draw straws or ask for volunteers," Spider-Girl replies to Spoiler, grinning as she passes one of the uniforms up to Sam. Cannonball. It's work time, so, Cannonball. Once he takes it, Jynn is offered the other. "Grab a rifle, fellas, we've got two and they ruin Klaw's day pretty well."
Spider-Girl is no telepath herself, but she's learned how to think clearly enough to reach one. |"Zen? It's time to go to work,"| she tells him, in Spanish.
Zen's mental voice comes now, and its obvious he's restricted it to just the people present. Stepping through the membrane of his pod, he stands and says, |"Obviously not human, sure, Laura. But I can probably approach the facility unseen. I am happy to let others use the suits."|
He gestures at Sam then and asks, |"Spider-Girl, is this the guy you were telling me about?"| He approaches Sam and extends his four-fingered hand, |"Hey. I'm Zen. Heard good things."| He nods, making the introduction for Spoiler as well.
|"On the other hand,"| the sense of Zen's wry grin, even without a mouth, is unmistakable. |"I'd be happy to be your Wookie, Cannonball. Also, I've affixed several of those vibranium chunks to my training staff here, see?"| And it's true. Zen's packing double-barrel tonight: his good old photon staff, and another sturdy-looking quarter staff with several ingots of the metal /glued/ on. |"I hope to see it have some effect tonight."|
Laura unclips the com from her harness and tosses it Sam's way, followed by a sonic rifle slung on her shoulder. "They've been excited. Whatever this is all about, I think they're doing it tonight." She also rummages in her satchel, and passes over slim, candy-bar-sized ingots of shiny metal duct-taped to brass knuckles. "If that guy shows up, hit him with this," she advises Spider-Girl, slipping one on and miming punching motions. "Absorbs sound and vibrations. I guess you could also throw it at him, but..." she makes another punching motion. "Not reliable."
Taking a breath, Jynn walks over to where Sam is and provided he is given one of the uniforms, Jynn begins putting on the yellow hazmat suit. He is pretty glad for the goggles due to his natural eye color they would easily be able to point him out as not one of theirs and possibly one of the people they've actually fought with. As he zips up and takes one of the laser rifles, he quickly checks the rifle over. From the looks of it, Jynn knows his way around guns and once he finishes he easily slips the rifle about his right shoulder. He takes a moment to look at everyone, "Sam you ready?" he asks. He then looks to Zen and the others and bows his head. The comm fitting securely on him.
Spoiler's eyes widen at the 'sound' of Zen's voice unexpectedly settling in alongside her thoughts, but it takes her a few moments of frantically looking around - along with his gesturing while he 'speaks' - to realize that he's doing it and she's not just having a stroke or something. When he actually extends his hand to her, she freezes up.
"--hi," she murmurs after a few moments spent telling herself not to think anything embarrassing at him. She quickly looks to his vibranium-covered quarterstaff after that, and then at everyone else's gear. "Uh, geez, I didn't know we were supposed to come packin', like--" She glances down at her utility belt, frowning beneath her mask. "--I mean, I have these stupid looking shuriken-things, but otherwise..."
At last, there's noise that's recognizable from up the road. The source of the shouting is still beyond the trees but Laura's sharp ears can catch that there's a bit of chaos afoot--the systems of whatever is up there have been overloaded by something like a... sounds like a 'dimensional wave'.
A strong sweep of wind carries more of the acrid smell of burning insulation, the rumble of an all-terrain vehicle starting, the incongruously comforting smell of a wood-burning fireplace and cooking dinner. In the still of the night, as all the insects and animals fall silent, everyone can pick up the smells and sounds.
Sam suits up quickly--it's damn hot in these yellow hazmat suits and he just hopes that the goons don't wear them because there's actual hazardous material.
There are a LOT of pouches on the belt that goes with this thing. Enough that Sam could never remember what was in each and he's sure that he's smarter than most of these guys. But he gets lucky on the first try and pulls out some zip ties. Not that he plans to use them, he just wanted to know that they were standard issue.
"Yeah, I'm ready to go. Zen, if you're good..." Sam holds out his hand for Zen's staves. "You'll get them back the minute you need them. Anyone else who wants to play prisoner... let's go, make like you've been zip tied." Sam goes to put the zip ties away and has already forgotten which pouch they came out of. What the hell. He opens another pouch. Empty. And another. Empty.
"All these pouches and there's -nothing- in most of them? What are they, for show?" He shakes his head and gestures for Jynn and Zen to come on with him. "Let's just get going. I'm starting to get embarrassed for these guys already.
"I like the way you think," Spider-Girl tells Laura, beaming at her as she pulls the vibranium'd brass knuckles on. Duct tape? Whatever. That'll probably just annoy Klaw all the more when he takes one to the FACE. "Don't worry, Spoiler. There will be plenty of mooks that good old fashioned shuriken-things will work on just fine," she notes wisely, then straightens up.
Spider-Girl smells smoke. "Welp. Time to run into a burning building," she says brightly, then leaps up into the trees. "We'll follow you two in. We better do this quick."
Zen nods at Laura's contribution. |"Nice idea."| He doesn't act surprised or offended at Spoiler's reaction, he just offers her a gentle nod, and gives her space. He's certainly seen his share of that from humans, and it's only fair. Any planet that hasn't' /officially/ had first contact, would be jumpy. And the aliens he /has/ heard about here? Yeah, they can all /pass/. Cheaters.
He watches as Jynn and Sam get dressed and waits patiently doing just a few short kata movements to stretch out a bit. Once they're set, he presents his staves, and his wrists for binding. |"My belt is sharp, Cannonball. I can release myself when it's time to Ti Kwan Leap."| Zen scowls at all the commotion of the base. |"Let's do this thing."|
Laura tilts her head as she hears voices in the distance. "We should hurry where we can. This sounds bad," she notes, and then as is her wont, angles off away from the others and vaults the fence nimbly. She works best off in the shadows, honestly, and is quick to scurry through the dark towards the main building, senses alert.
Jynn rolls his neck a little, and already he was wishing he wasn't in this damn suit, one he was already a little sweatie and hot, now this suit just brought back the heat that he didn't want. Watching as Zen hands his staff over to Sam, "You will be covered don't worry." he tells the blue alien. He actually was starting to like everyone here, they worked well together and as Zen goes through his katas, Jynn smirks. "Gotta teach me that style sometime Zen." he says to the alien.
Once they are ready, Jynn turns but hearing all the commotion and smelling something cooking, he turns towards the silo. "Yeah I'm in agreement with Zen, we better get a move on." he says as he starts to walk with Zen as if he is escorting him.
Charging into a burning building with inferior weapons and a polyester-blend costume; Oracle would be /so proud/.
"How--" Spoiler looks to the tree Spider-Girl leapt into and the fence Laura disappeared over; after thinking it over a moment, she sighs, figures she may as well just take her chances with playing prisoner, and moves up with her wrists already in position.
Sam takes the time to loosely zip-tie the willing prisoners, then they all set off down the road. The road is smooth, winding through a belt of trees until it lets out into a wide field. It's too dark to see much but the grass and wild flowers are a swaying black sea against the grey night. Bright yellow eyes of ATVs are bouncing across the field. When one of them turns back on its path, the lights flash across a building that looks like a small aircraft hangar. Smaller lights resolve from the shadows to one side of the hangar. The pass of another set of headlights reflects off glass, briefly illuminating a building like a house.
Any person taking a moment to orient themselves will note that they're at the north end of the field, heading south. The road merges with a wider, rougher surface. An ATV now racing toward them reveals what it is: a runway, leading to that hangar.
Anya can swing through the trees easily but when she gets to the edge of the treeline... towers. Some kind of signal towers. They're not thick but they're probably strong enough to hold at least three times her weight at full swing. A huge open field dotted with towers.
"They're scattered right now, that's good," Sam murmurs. "Zen, you said there weren't a whole lot of them, didn't you? What? A few dozen all-told?" He's counting six ATVs on the move, no idea how many are out on foot if any. But if there's two men to a vehicle as the one coming at them suggests, that's twelve out here for the taking right now. "Laura and Anya, want to see who you can pick off?" It's a long walk to the buildings from here if they take their time.
The answer to Sam's question comes pretty quickly. Almost immediately, the black-clad form of Spider-Girl bursts from the trees and goes swinging off towards the towers -- AT LAST, something to swing from out here! As she sails through the air, she fires a second line off towards one of the mooks driving an ATV, and allows her momentum (and a good, hard YANK) haul them bodily from the vehicle. YOINK. They find themselves clocked upside the head with a vibranium-knuckled fist and webbed to the tower, sitting on one of the crossbeams for stability.
"Uno," Spider-Girl murmurs cheerfully, and then she's swinging off to find another one. And another one. And...
Zen falls in between Sam and Jynn, jogging or walking as directed, hanging his head in an appropriately dejected manner. |"Also, let me know if your comms fail. I can help as a relay system."| Even those who have run off on their own can 'hear' Zen clearly. Sure, he could actually use a comm unit, but why? |"Um, let's see, Cannonball. Yes, you're right. 14 up here - oh, 12, not counting the gentlemen Spider-Girl just introduced herself to. And... its hard to tell. No more than 30 inside. Underground. With... Oh."| Zen pauses only briefly and drops the bomb. |"Klawless is /here/, right now. Inside."|
Laura didn't need to have picking off lonesome mooks on patrol suggested, but it's all good. She doesn't complain. Step 1: procure a new AIM com since she gave Sam hers. This is easy. She just appears out of the shadows in front of one of their sentries, wrapping a cord around his neck to keep him quiet, slips behind him, and flips him over her back to land like a sack of unconscious potatoes, then takes his stuff. She melts back into the shadows, hunting a new target on the air with little sniffs, and sets the com into her ear. She turns a corner, and cold-cocks the next with a precise edge of her hand to the side of his head, just-so, moving past without slowing down. A third is left dangling off the outer edge of a building, alive and literally kicking-- his wrists and neck have been bound together to keep him from calling anything in and also Laura's cord from strangling him, so he'll be too busy to be a problem until they cut him down later.
Jynn scans the area, watching as the ATVs move about the area. Seeing that they are at what appears to be an old airfield of some sort, Jynn turns to look at Zen for a moment as he speaks. He nods his head, "If you can monitor him and the rest of us." he says not knowing all of what Zen can do, but it seems he can do a lot and having a heads up would be very helpful. Looking to Sam then back to the ATVs, Jynn allows himself to prep mentally for whatever is about to happen. Having moved to Zen’s right, he watches as one of the ATVs stop.
"--guess I'm gonna have to get a gun from one of these dorks," Spoiler murmurs once she recovers from the pangs of fright that Klaw's name incite. She's trying not to wriggle her hands too much, lest they accidentally slip out of their binding. She's keeping pace behind Zen, Jynn, and Sam, and rather than keep her head down like a defeated prisoner, she keeps her eyes peeled on the gradually dwindling ATV population.
"Are you sure we can't, like, stage a revolt?" she quietly wonders, eyes fixed on the ATV coming to a stop. "Steal their rides and--I dunno, not walk, or something?" Her tone is vaguely hopeful, but at this point, she's griping more than she's making an honest to God suggestion.
Laura and Anya are picking off mooks left right and center. Anyone can hear the comm chatter getting thinner and thinner. Some of the voices remaining are beginning to sound very demanding. The chunky ATV coming down the runway skids to a halt and an operative swings off the back.
"What do we have here? Saboteurs? Is this the cause of the problem?" he barks.
Well. It's the cause of -a- problem. Sam doesn't bother with the gun or anything mundane like that. He stamps down a surge of irritation that makes his gut clench and focuses. The first blast from his hand is a -little- strong. The operative goes sailing in an elegant arc, off into the dark. The second blast punches the mook in the face and takes him right off the ATV.
"Jynn, Zen, Spoiler, have a ride," he offers. The keys are still in, the engine still humming. There should be room enough for two plus one on the narrow running board on the back. "Let's clear these guys out before they work out what's what."
Some of the remaining number have worked something out because they're headed back toward the hangar area. It doesn't take Zen's telepathy to pick up on Klaw. His bellowing comes over the comms loud and clear.
"Do I need to do -everything- myself, you goons?" He's not happy... and suddenly the emergency lights come up around the hangar and cabin. There he is, taking off from the porch with another bellow.
Oh, lights. That's helpful -- in many, many ways! Spider-Girl eyes the radio clipped to her latest catch's harness, then whips her attention towards the cabin and hangar... and the Big Guy out on the porch. /AHA/. Time to see if Laura's present works!
Stealth is no longer, in her mind, necessary. Spider-Girl makes a beeline for Klaw on the porch, building up as much momentum with her swings as she can manage -- which is, apparently, quite a bit, when you're strong enough to benchpress a sedan -- and /launches/ herself, knuckles-first, towards the side of Klaw's head. "BANGARAAAAANG!"
|"Will do, Jynn. I can watch them. Just keep an eye on me. I'll be pretty distracted."| Zen plods along with Jynn and Sam and Spoiler, trying to keep a mental map firmly in place, watching the glowing consciousnesses moving about. In one case, he even gets to toss a warning to Laura as a mook actually tries to get the jump on her. Of course, she probably had it all under control, but it's the /thought/ that counts, right? Get it? The -thought-. Shh, never mind.
Zen looks up and watches as Sam secures their ride, making great effort to restrain himself and not help. But when he looks over the vehicle, and its practically caveman control system, Zen deflates slightly. Tactically, with Sam's ability, they need him not driving, and Zen and Spoiler are busy putting on a show. |"Jynn? Can you drive this thing? I wouldn't even know how..."| He stands back, truly hoping the young man can sort this out.
Oh, light. Well... it didn't really make much difference to Laura, to be honest. Except now the foot soldier can see her. And shoot her. Dammit. The energy bolts sizzle past, and Laura tucks and rolls, coming up in a little twirl that frees the hand cannon from her harness holster.
Now... energy weapons are very impressive and dangerous. But thee is something about a classic .45 caliber Colt 1911 that just speaks with thunderous authority when Laura double-taps two riflemen in their respective shoulders.
A third rounds a corner and brings his sonic rifle to bear, but Laura's fast-- she spins, grabs the barrel, and twirls, looping the shoulder-strap around the man's head and using it for leverage to flip him onto his back and divest him of the sonic disruptor. She snaps the stolen gun up, draws a bead on Klaw's ascent, and snaps a high-power shot off just before Anya introduces his face to Spider-Fist. TEAMWORK.
Well Jynn was about to act but well Sam had it covered, watching as Sam directs a blast at the AIM guard who is walking towards them and knocking the other off the ATV. Jynn looks to Spoiler and shakes his head, "Well your wish is his command I guess." he says to her as he rushes up to the ATV and gets on. The engine still running and the lights on, he revs up the throttle on the back and he nods to Zen. "Yes. It's been a while, but these are pretty easy." Looking at the ties, "They figured us out by now, so go about shooting then." he says as he hands Spoiler his E-Rifle. "With those just point and shot, I've already checked it over and it still have full power supply. Try to hold on." he says as he waits for the two to get on.
Once the two are on, Jynn turns them around, "I mean it hold on because I'm going to get us to the front door." he tells them and off they go. Kicking up dirt and rocks as the engine of the ATV roars loudly, the ATV does a small wheelie which Jynn pushes forward to bring it down. Ripping forward, the wind not bothering him much do to the AIM hazmat suit, he keeps on the road, but it doesn't take long before those few remaining AIM agents see that Zen and Spoiler are on one of their ATVs with one of them who they think just turned on Klaw, begins firing. "Shit, hold on!" Jynn shouts as he weaves the ATV left and right but not slowing down or going off in a different direction. "Fire!" he calls out as he dodges another four shots which causes him to go right then swinging back around he closes in on one of the AIM goons and runs the poor guy over, he know he heard a crunch, but he lucky Jynn turned the bike a bit more to let it be all that the man suffers from. "Get ready to get off!" he calls as he starts to near the door.
".. sweet, no mutiny!" Spoiler chirps as she hurries along to climb aboard. The rifle is pushed aside; grabbing a gun and taking a few shots from a nice, stable position would be one thing, but nobody - Spoiler included - /really/ wants her firing randomly from the back of a speeding ATV.
These people seem okay, and she would feel /terrible/ if she accidentally shot one of them.
Her first few harrowing seconds aboard the ATV are spent clinging to the vehicle, Jynn, Zen -- whatever's convenient -- while one-handedly going through her utility belt to make other arrangements for herself: a few half-rolls of pennies from one pouch, some ball bearings from another, an athletic sock from third, a little elbow grease, and soon enough, she's whirling a couple pounds of jangling pain in one hand. Soon enough, she whips the thing around to clobber an AIM agent upside the head in passing, and after he goes down she briskly pumps her other fist and whoops in celebration.
Anya doesn't just punch Klaw in the head. Klaw's head -wavers- and fades so that she goes right through him, hurtling toward the steel shields that have just snapped down over the cabin windows. Laura's sonic wave shot strikes at almost the same time, making Klaw shudder and fade down to his chest. The fading edge of the sonic scramble created by the disruptor interfering with Klaw's fields washes across everyone in the vicinity of the cabin porch.
Klaw begins firing randomly across the field as his flight wave collapses underneath him. The sonic weapon kicks up huge divots in the field, throwing stones and dirt clods as secondary projectiles that sting at best, injure at worst. Headless and panicking, Klaw is still managing to do more damage than many of his minions. How he's still managing to think is unclear but what he's thinking is that something called 'vibranium' is the worst nightmare he can imagine... and he just got punched with something that contains enough of it to hurt.
Four of the operatives have gained the high ground on the hangar roof, though, and are taking shots at Zen, Jynn, and Spoiler. Unlike the mooks reeling around on the porch--do these guys hold a class in Firing Randomly 101?--they've got aim, purpose, and enough courage not to be shaken by seeing their boss trying to reassemble his head and shoulders. One of them is firing at the battery of the ATV and manages to get in a good shot that hits right on.
"Zen!" Sam zooms by to drop off Zen's staves, on his way toward the hangar where someone's pulling out in an ugly looking Jeep-thing. The energy blasts bounce off his shields harmlessly. He's focused on this monster that looks like it's carrying a big version of Klaw's prosthetic arm. Focus is not enough, though. There's zero warning as the thing goes off, smacking Sam straight on with a concentrated wave of sound that drills him back across the field. Weirdly... this thing seems to be aiming at Klaw.
Spider-Girl is... pretty sure she hit him! It's hard to tell, normally the people she punches in the head don't go all intangible like that. She plows into the shields, but thanks to the vibranium impacting them first and absorbing the impact, she's just fine. She twists to get her feet back underneath herself and launches herself at Klaw again, and this time, she doesn't aim for his face: she aims for his arm, swinging her fists as hard as she can to try and put the weapon attached to it out of commission. "You! *POW* Don't! *KRAK!* Even! *BIFF!* Have! *BOP!* CLAWS! *SLAKOW!*"
Zen ducks his face behind Jynn to keep himself out of the wind, but his hostility awareness is all a-flutter. These AIM goons are just operating on the spray-and-pray methods, which means /all/ of them mean Zen harm, -and- they may or may not be shooting right at him.
Years of ninja training serve Zen well in this moment. He is not /meant/ to be in cavalry. When he senses Cannonball barreling down on them from behind, and gets a sense of what he means to do, Zen sets up to pull a Crazy Ivan / Reverse Legolas. He cuts his bindings, and puts his reflexes to use, sliding over to the side of the ATV, and makes sure Spoiler has a good hold on Jynn. |"Brace yourselves!"|
Then, he just -leaps-, catching his staves on the way, and arcs through the air as if he was shot out of a cannon. He flips, and lands in a crouch on the roof behind the shooters, pulsing his mind to briefly erase himself from their awareness. His photon staff is a blur as he batters one operative senseless from behind, and the other three turn in surprise. How did /he/ get there?! Their surprise, plus his reflexes in this condensed combat environment, allow him to easily ninja-flip through their up-close fire. One down, three to go. No problem. |"I've always hated snipers..."|
Laura really can't get too caught up with staying in one place too long, but Klaw is also the most dangerous thing present. Caught between the objective and the Dangerous, she solves her dilemma by turning a dial she HOPES sets the gun to overload, and hucks it at Klaw when it starts to whine dangerously, before she dashes for the main building. Wouldn't do to take out Klaw and still not stop whatever they're building here.
Skidding the ATV as Zen leaps off the ATV, now with a bit more room on the ATV, Jynn closes in on the house where the other mooks are. "Alright lets get in on the fun too." he calls to Spoiler as he skids the bike to a stop and quickly gets off. They had a lot to do, but with Klaw being handled by Laura and Spider-Girl and Cannonball, that left the mooks to be mopped up by them. Jynn sees that the snipers are being taken care off and quickly rushes the porch of the house, he throws a palm strike to the AIM goons throat, dropping him where he stands, then quickly throwing a knee strike to the second AIM goons stomach, followed by two punches to his face which Jynn just watches the man crumple to the ground. He looks about to make sure that Spoiler is clear.
"Brace myself?!" Spoiler squints at Zen a moment, but they're closing in on an AIM goon fumbling with his rifle; she has to take her attention away to clock him with her budget sap. When she looks back to Zen for clarification, he's gone--or rather, he's flipping through the laser-filled air like a goddamned ninja; she doesn't even have time to respond to Jynn before the ATV lurches to a stop, but she at least has the presence of mind to throw her arms around the handlebars before she can be thrown free.
Once the nausea has passed, she scurries back to the guy she just dropped, yanks a grenade from his belt and hurls it ahead of Zen in the hopes of convincing them to hold their fire as he closes on them.
"Watch out!" she hollers as the thing flies; at the same time, she thinks: |"WATCH OUT WATCH OUT GRENADE OH MY GOD BE CAREFUL"| in his general direction as loudly as she can, hoping that he gets the message.
Anya's attack on Klaw is more than effective, she starts to separate him from his arm but the attack becomes difficult to sustain since he's becoming less corporeal by the punch. By the time the whining gun hits the ground at her feet, there's hardly anything to hit. Move it, Spider-Girl! Before the great rolled newspaper of Fate comes down and squishes you.
Jynn is clearing out the cabin porch like a one-man cleaning crew. One mook down here, another down there. A couple more are actually crawling off the porch and trying to get away into the dark. Those abandoned ATVs are looking really tempting. They can't go back to A.I.M. but there's probably some kind of goon temp agency where they can get some work.
The grenade Spoiler throws clatters and bounces merrily along the curve of the hangar roof. It's a happy little sound. Tink, tink, tink! The three operatives were getting ready to face off against Zen--a real ninja is a treat not to be passed up!--but they freeze in unison. Time stands still for a moment as the grenade takes one last bounce. The operatives are outta here, running jumping, anything's better than this! Ninjas, spiders, shadows that fire .45s, men in black, purple blurs of grenade-throwing pain... no one's sticking around for that. The grenade goes off in a wave of sound too dense to be heard but not too dense to be felt. The hangar rings like a massive bell.
Whether Sam meant to or not, he's gotten right in the way of the harmonic amplifier meant to give Klaw more strength, to help him stay together and to recharge his powers. When he slams his shields out into a parabola--his instincts are often so much smarter than he thinks he is--the sound that's supposed to be helping Klaw out focuses right back on the support team. The explosion that happens is more than impressive, shaking the whole hangar and the roof.
A second explosion goes off when the sound weapon overloads, rocking what's left of Klaw. A crippled knot of sound twists itself into a tornado, wraps up the prosthetic arm, and blows off down the runway.
"Defeated by some ragtag band of outsiders," Klaw roars, shaking the comms into static. "You can all die together!" That's all very well, but his people are not sticking around to die with anyone. Rats. Sinking ship. A roar of engines marks vehicles pouring out of the parking under the cabin that was hidden in the darkness. They all tear off down the runway after Klaw.
There is a loud, dangerous-sounding whining noise coming from a gun at her feet, "Rut roh." Spider-Girl: Master of Eloquence. She doesn't even take a final swing -- she just turns and /bolts/ to get away from the Great Rolled Newspaper of Fate, leaping off the porch and firing a webline towards something, anything, to help swing herself more rapidly away from Ground Zero. Time to be SOMEWHERE ELSE.
'Somewhere else' turns out to be the ground near the cabin door. Spider-Girl peers after the retreating goons for a moment before she shrugs, turns around, and knocks on the wide-open door before she tromps right on inside. /Something/ was going on in this place, and they should really find out what now that those jerks are getting out of the way.
Zen is bracing himself to finish chasing these guys off the roof when Spoiler raises the alarm. He watches wide-eyed as the grenade bounces along, skittering towards boom-town. Finally, it kicks in that Zen needs to fit the truck outta there! He backflips off the roof and lands in front of the cabin. He checks in on everyone gathered, and then follows Anya inside to back her up, and take cover!
Laura catches up with Spider-Girl at the door. She gives her that curious look with her head tilted. "Better?" she asks cryptically, referencing Klaw's defeat. The web-slinger had been pretty loud about her irritation with the crazed scientist. Laura nods her head inside. "We should see what they were doing. Quickly. I don't think he was just being mean. About the dying thing," she clarifies.
Jynn is standing near the front of the porch now just watching as the goons go rushing off along with Klaw. His words do ring a good bell with Jynn, "Outsiders." he grins a little and as Spider-Girl, Zen, Laura have all started to go inside. The cryptic, 'Your all about to die.' doesn't give Jynn a good feeling. "We better hurry." he says as he follows the others in. Figuring he better not use his own guns in here, too close quarters inside.
|"SORRY SORRY SORRY,"| the wide-eyed Spoiler thinks as Zen bounces away and the explosions reverberate through her body. |"SORRY SORRY HOLY SHIT I WANT MORE OF THOSE..."|
She sees everyone else gathering at the cabin, so she vaults the ATV to follow suit and scoops up the first fallen E-Rifle she encounters along the way, leaving the homemade sap in its place. That sock's twin was eaten by the dryer ages ago; no /really/ big loss.
"Well, that was... kind of awesome." Sam is still glowing with all the energy he sucked in from the harmonics gun. He lands next to the others and then pushes a shield ahead of them into the cabin. "Let's see what Klaw was talking about. ...the man needs to change his name. It's just wrong."
A.I.M. are total bad guys. This used to be a really nice cabin in here and now it looks like the world's sleaziest fraternity--wait, that would be A.I.M. at this point--has been partying in here for a month. This poor place. The hardwood is lost under a layer of litter, the fireplace is stuffed with crap, there's laundry--GOON PANTIES--hanging from the rafters. Evil knows no bounds.
It doesn't take long for everyone to pick up that there's something open on the south side of the fireplace, some noise is coming from the floor over there. It's bad pop music. Like, not even Dazzler. And it's loud. Coming out of a door in the floor. Stairs lead down to a level below.
As far as Zen and Laura can tell, it's empty down there. Nothing left but the smell of too many goons in yellow hazmat suits keeping company in too small a space.
Under the pop music... something else. A tinny little voice shrieking. "You fools! Return! M.O.D.O.K. demands that you return! My precious Cube! Attend the Cube!"
Hey, intercoms. That's what's shrieking. "Return to the silo! I will have your heads! MY CUBE!"
"Much better," Spider-Girl confirms, slipping one of the knuckles off so that she can give Laura a /proper/ fist-bump. Dap. To Jynn, she grins wolfishly. "I've been called worse things than an outsider. I like it."
Once she's made sure everyone is present and accounted for, Spider-Girl ventures further inside, moving as quickly as she can to find the source of the noise. And she touches, like, as little as she can manage, because ugh, look at this dump. Gross. But she finds the hidden staircase soon enough, and perks. "Heeeeey. Secret tunnel!" As she ventures down, she quietly sings o/` Secret tunnel, secret tunnel, through the mountains ~ o/` under her breath, to try and drown out the pop music... and then the voice over the intercom just ruins everything.
"Oh, ow," Spider-Girl grunts, clamping a hand over one ear. "Someone find that thing and turn it off, holy crap." Cube? What cube?
|"Wait, I don't understand..."| Zen holds up his hands, at Anya heading for the stairs. He cocks his head, and then looks at the intercom again. |"I don't get it. That looks like a local intercom. But I don't sense anyone downstairs. Could... they be managed by a robot?"| He looks over the group gathered inside, bewildered.
"I don't think it's Local," Laura notes, and goes hunting for the screen. She peers at the... strange being on the screen, and scowls. "They're gone. You're screwed," she says at the screen, and -snikt-s the camera. She's starting to understand why Spider-Girl is so mouthy in a fight. She stands, and starts the prowl-around an snooping process, eventually finding the big door. "This looks expensive," she calls over her shoulder, and pulls the lockbreaker off her harness. It should do the trick, right? It adheres to the door with a little thump, and Laura starts to fiddle with the thing. If it fails, she can always carve her way in. Probably.
Jynn daps Spider-Girl back as he looks at the others. "Thanks Sam." he says and is trying to resist the urge of calling Sam, Sammy boy. He's been watching too much Supernatural lately. But as they walk through the house, Jynn takes off the hazmat suit and thank goodness it's cooler but then again he keeps the gloves on his hands. Yup, kept them on. As they continue about the place, Jynn hears all that damn squawking. "What the hell...." he shakes his head a little bit. But when Laura kills the vidscreen and lets them know about the door, he moves further into the house where the door is and Laura. He moves back a bit further just in case this fails, "Whatever it is, we better find it." he tells everyone.
After she hears the first few notes, Spoiler quietly whistles along to the muffled music from below; pretty soon, she's even walking through the grody cabin in time with the song and gently drumming along the rifle barrel in time with the beat.
Before she can harmonize under her breath, Spider-Girl discovers the secret tunnel; she squints at it a moment, then shrugs, takes a step onto the staircase and recoils once she gets a taste of how loud the music is.
She doesn't /entirely/ want to block the sound out, but she doesn't really want to go deaf, either, so she sucks it up and presses one hand over her ear, and works her way through the lower levels with the rest of the crew; at least if(when) she starts whistling again, it'll be drowned out down here.
Sure enough, the lockbreaker works on the door. That might need dealing with at some point. The doors here are -huge-, like bank vault doors, but the lock systems aren't top-rate. The door swings open to reveal a short hallway and then an immense circular control room. There are screens everywhere. Some of them give a good look at the thing screeching--wow. It is a giant head in a jar with tiny arms and legs kicking.
"You fools! The Cube is ruined! The rift is overloading, the matrix failing! All is lost!" The guy is an exclamation-mark factory. "Shut it down, you fools. My precious calculations, my precious matrix!" Whatever he's going on about, it's something big. Now that everyone's in the silo, they can feel things shaking and alarms are going off somewhere way under their feet.
There's an area that looks like a control dais as one might see on the Enterprise. The consoles there are going berserk.
"Shut it down," the head shrieks. The arms and legs are flailing like an angry toddler. "Before all is lost!" To his credit, M.O.D.O.K. did build this thing to be idiot-proof... almost. You'd have to be here to initiate the shut down, and there it is, if it's possible to cross the rocking floor to get to all three lit consoles and hit whatever looks like an off-switch.
A screen crashes to the ground and shatters before Sam can get a shield up. Next one, he catches on a shield. The whole floor is rising and falling a good three feet like a bucking ship. "We can't make it worse," he shouts over the chaos. Yeah, the countdown on the biggest screen in the room suggests there's no getting out in time.
Spider-Girl can't help but bark a laugh at Sam. "Oh, ye of little faith!" But, really. How could they? She rushes for the control dais, trying to ignore the /freaky freaky head guy/ on the screens that is screeching at them, and looks for a likely button. "Someone find a plug to yank, or Alt F4! This is the only time I'm gonna advise listening to... uh, that." The hell is a Modok, anyway?
At least Zen doesn't have to shout to be heard. His rich baritone cuts right through the blaring music and obnoxious comm chatter. |"Stay alert, everyone. This could be another form of sonic attack. The noise is repulsive!"| And then MODOK's pronouncement, and Cannonball running interference. |"I recognize that panel!"| Zen exclaims, and bolts through the room. He can't /anticipate/ falling rubble, but he's also not blind, and he's pretty darn flippy. He dives through the chaos, flipping and somersaulting to the panel he recognized. |"This is Rygellian tech - where would it get this from?"| And luckily, Zen can actually recognize the symbols on this one! He punches the shutdown sequence for this unit.
Jynn watches as the door opens and that when all the squawking gets louder, grimacing a little bit, he sighs and heads down along with the others. As he gets down there, he notices the room full of monitors, too bad these AIM idiots didn't know how to use this place properly. Shaking his head a little, as he moves further and....wait a minute.....big head no body arms and legs wobbling on the screen......"What the hell....." is all he is able to get out as he looks at M.O.D.O.K. Turning his head side to side as if trying to get a better view. "Shut the hell up." he says as he then hears MODOK telling his supposed goons to shut the thing down.
Turning around and having to dodge back behind Sam who has a shield up, and watching Zen start entering in commands. Jynn figures he better help too and he quickly goes over to another computer and presses the SHUT DOWN SEQUENCE, then to the other. He didn't want to blow up in this damn place.
If it weren't for all the quaking, Spoiler would start shutting consoles down the old fashioned way, with a few good laser blasts from her sci-fi gun; she has to get by on slowly working her way towards the third console - clinging to whatever she can find along the way to keep from falling on her ass - and running through the shutdown sequence as fast as her fingers will let her once she's made it.
Rumbling or no, she does pause long enough to hurl a batarang through one of those screens partway through the sequence; doesn't really care about any Cubes, and M.O.D.O.K. is /loud/. And /ugly/.
The shutdown sequences synch up and the lights flicker down to nothing. The pop music dies out, the screens flicker, the room still rocks and rolls. Then there are showers of sparks from every nook and cranny, fire breaks out where one of the screens fell from the wall, the lid of the console Zen is at blows off with a bang, fire suppression foam spews out of nozzles snaking out of the ceiling.
The next noise is a muffled explosion that rocks everything. The silo core hits the limits of its shocks with a scream, throwing everyone in all directions.
Then. Quiet save for the slow creak as the silo returns to a neutral position. Screens flicker a calm, featureless blue. The giant head is peering down from the largest screen, where the countdown had been.
"Failure. But a sufficient failure," it says slowly, wrinkling its massive brow. "M.O.D.O.K. will slay you all another time, another place. For your assistance in saving existence as we know it, you may continue living until we meet again. M.O.D.O.K. declares this project complete." Then it is gone and the screen goes blue.
A tinny little voice chirps, "Downloads complete. Fire containment on lower levels successful. Full system reset initiated. Generators rebooting now. Have a nice day."
All the lights go out. Everything is silent as the grave.
Wait for it.
Wait for it.
Lights come back up. All working screens read, "Welcome to Silo System 2000, Your Tourguide To The Aftermath. Please enter the password printed on your registration card to take control of the System. We hope you enjoy spending the end of the world with us!"
Sam picks himself up off the floor and shakes foam out of his hair. "I bet you anything," he says, wobbling a little as he points to the big screen where they last saw The Horrible Head, "they taped the card to the back of that screen."
Even stick'um powers don't prevent Spider-Girl from being thrown violently to the ground with a startled yelp. Okay, so maybe she's wound up in a big pile of people she knows to various degrees ranging from 'acquaintance' to 'bro', but she isn't in pieces, so... a victory well earned, right?
"Ugh. Well, don't just stand there," Spider-Girl grunts, hauling herself back up to her feet to pick her way over to the screen. These guys are idiots, so she's pretty sure Sam is gonna be right -- aha! She yanks something from the back of the screen and eyes it, carting it over to input the code from the console spewing the fewest sparks. Because WHAT COULD GO WRONG.
"If the next words out of this thing's mouth are 'good morning, Dave,'" Spider-Girl says lowly. "I advise latching onto Sam's ankles and fleeing with the quickness."
But, no. Just a welcome screen an a system manual. That's... underwhelming, in a way.
Welcome to life as an Outsider.