|Heave To! And Prepare To Be Boarded!|
|What: Take three Outsiders, add one raver and a bunch of air pirates. Stir.|
It's a beautiful fall day in the Big Apricot! Clear and cool and sunny, skies bright and clouds picture-perfect fluffy, splashes of natural light reflecting off mirrored towers and landing on stone and brick and mortar-- and on pennants and banners that flap or ruffle under the playful fingers of the breeze, and on the brilliantly colored autumn leaves of city trees.
Glenmorgan Square is full of people, pedestrians and cyclists and motorists, police and shoppers and businesspeople, even a fifth grade class on a field trip to the storied Monsieur Byrne's Simulacrum Museum. Fifth graders are loud and just heading into that Lord They're Obnoxious phase of preadolescence-- one of the girls shrieks 'IT MOVED IT MOVED' about a dummy on display on the sidewalk, which starts a scuffling match, which ends with pulled hair and teacher intervention. It's very distracting. It's /so/ distracting that the class, the teacher, and all the people in a fifty-foot radius are paying attention to the fracas instead of the sky--
--and tourism aside, failing to pay attention to the sky can often be a huge mistake.
That's why when a trio of chrome-plated hovercraft are suddenly blocking the sunlight over the sidewalk in front of Monsieur Byrne's, it comes as a surprise to most of the people in the vicinity. (The rest, naturally, either shrugged and went 'eh hovercraft' or made tracks because they're *unfamiliar* hovercraft.)
A woman in classic 1930s aviator's gear, midnight black with giant white skull-and-crossbones patches sewn on, and /totally/ an eyepatch, stands up in the foremost floating speeder and holds up a megaphone. "CLEAR OUT OF THE WAY OR WE'LL SHOOT YOU. WE'VE COME FOR MONSIEUR BYRNE. BYRNE, YOU TOOL, COME OUT HERE AND BRING YOUR BLUEPRINTS, OR WE'LL BLOW UP YOUR WHOLE MUSEUM AND SELL THE RUBBLE ON IBID."
Spider-Girl has just about given up on having a quiet day, like, /ever again/. By purest happenstance, the wallcrawler is already present, perched up on a rooftop nearby and munching away at a hotdog when all this /ruckus/ gets her attention. Le sigh.
After peeking over the ledge and spotting the hovercraft, Spider-Girl finishes off her food in one big bite, dusts her fingers off, and vaults the ledge so she can start strolling down the side of the building towards the... pirates. Oh my god. Air pirates. Where'd she put her com?! |"If, ah, if any Outsiders are in Metropolis right now, you have /got/ to come see this crap in Glenmorgan. F'real."|
"AHOY, MATEYS!" Spider-Girl bellows, cupping her hands around her mouth to make her voice carry. "Avast! What's, uh... what's goin' on?" Okay, she started strong.
Laura, as it happens, was enjoying a hot dog herself with the webcrawler, and she peers over the edge of the roof at the ruckus, scowlling. Unlike Spider-Girl, she wears no costume, just a sleeveless, form-fitting jumpsuit underneath a faded yellow zip-up hoodie and a pair of combat boots that appear to have seen plenty of what they were designed explicitly for. The whole tableau doesn't really make a great deal of sense to her, nor does she entirely get why her fellow hot dog afficianado is so amused about it. Whatever, there's probably some sort of barely-comprehensible reason, right?
Laura finishes her food-- by the expedient of simply stuffing the rest of it down her face-- and vaults the edge of the roof, sliding down a drainpipe before dropping the last ten or so feet to land neatly, and quietly, on the sidewalk.
Sam was totally going to visit Piotr--sorry, Colossus--over at the JLA when... Goddamnit, Anya. In the same city again, and... |"We need a priest, SG,"| he mutters. |"Or an exorcist."| Seriously, this is ridiculous. |"I'm on my way."|
He gets a lot of angry horns as he switches lanes and makes a U-turn to get back to the turn off into Glenmorgan. It doesn't take him long to get close enough to see what's going on. He parks--is there a super hero parking tag or something?--and drags out his gear to get covered up quickly.
He's a shiny streak of a target as he booms overhead to get to a good vantage point.
In the meantime, there's a girl in purple and black and... skin... who's got a bubble tea in one hand and a mask on her face. Also, Really Long Hair. And one would think that, dressed like that, she'd be all over the air pirates: she was in the original fifty-foot radius when the fifth-grader fight broke out, and when the three hovercraft showed up. But no: as the school class and their chaperones and all the other bystanders clear out like someone dropped a stone in their minnow pond, this girl just keeps walking like a traffic-stopper, sipping on her bubble tea.
"BYRRRRNE!" yells the air-pirate woman, then looks behind her at someone in her hovercraft, out of sight; her mouth's away from the megaphone but she didn't stop pulling the trigger, so her voice is still audible. "Jinx, ye palsied landlubber, stop yer gut-heavin' and hoist the Jolly Roger! Methinks Byrne be thinkin' he deals with some amateur. Sooth, an he's no poltroon, he should know the terrible glory of--" and her mouth swings back to the megaphone as the Jolly Roger is pulleyed jerkingly up a flagpole, extended from the back of the craft for the occasion, "CAPTAIN SUNSHINE MOONGLOW, SCOURGE OF THE ROBOT HORDES AND SCORNER OF FREE LOVE!"
The woman's raven-black hair billows in the breeze along with her cream-colored silk scarf. She stands proudly with one foot on the prow of the hovercraft, and switches her megaphone to the other hand so she can draw her cutlass with a SHINNNNG. And then she blinks-- well, winks, one eye's got that eyepatch on it-- and looks down at Spider-Girl. "AHOY! BE YE WANTIN' TO JOIN MY CREW, LASS?"
There's still no sign of Monsieur Byrne coming out of the museum anytime soon, but a crowd of museum-goers has started fleeing the place, streaming out the front doors and onto the sidewalk and awaaaay. Except for Interestingly-Clad Mask Girl WIth Bubble Tea, who's stopped placidly in the way of the fleeing mass of people and is now standing there like a rock in a stream. Then one of the boba gets stuck in her straw, so she's standing there trying to get it out by blowing into the straw.
"That all depends, Captain... Moonglow," Spider-Girl replies, and she is not entirely successful at keeping the amused snicker out of her voice. The expression Laura has on her face is NOT HELPING. She waves back towards Laura, adding, "Perhaps my pal and I could come up and discuss it -- wait, what am I thinking. PERMISSION TA COME ABOARD, CAP'UN?!"
Sure, once they're aboard, there will probably be Fighting. But isn't that the /point/? Spider-Girl has not, as of yet, even noticed the girl with the bubble tea.
The look in question is Laura's most un-restrained 'the shit is this?' expression. At least she's honest, right? Laura... well, Laura doesn't really *do* 'permission'. She just takes a flying leap to board the craft, landing in front of... Captain... Moonglow. Right. So she's clearly not impressed.
Pirates. Sam is... not impressed either. He lands on a nearby building and crouches down to watch. |"SG, be..."| Yeah, there she goes. And Laura. |"...nevermind. I'll hit it if it's a problem, but I want to get the area secured first."| He takes a look around. Usually, he wouldn't pay much attention to someone like that girl there, other than to register her and wonder what her powers are, but she's walking right into the path of this freakshow.
Damn it. |"There's always one."| He takes off again and dives to land between Aura and the show going on. "You need to clear the area, miss."
"YARR, PERMISS-- WHAT DEVILRY IS THIS?" Captain Moonglow starts, magnanimously giving Spider-Girl permission to board, and then armflapping to maintain her balance when Laura jumps up into her hovercraft, scattering her crewmen. Who, being smarter than the Captain, /all appear to bail/ and start legging it down the street with the onlookers. Unfortunately, she's also still yelling into the megaphone, which is now pointed at X-23's face. She waves her cutlass around menacingly once she's got her balance. "AVAST! I'LL SCUPPER YE WI' A TUNA! I'LL KEELHAUL YE! --" and she notices her crew is gone. Not only have the ones in her craft bailed, but her two other hovercraft are now spinning in little circles in midair. "TREACHERY! MUTINY!"
"(i'm still here, cap'n!)" comes a tiny voice from the dashboard. "('i'll never desert you! be brave!')" A tiny voice, but no apparent accomplice pirate.
Meanwhile, down below, the purple-and-black long-haired underclad girl holds up one long, slender, fingerless-gloved hand and lifts a finger at Cannonball. And then she draws her straw out and squints one eye, aiming the thing at the Captain. She takes a deep breath, and then her cheeks puff out for a second before the little ball of tapioca hurtles out of the straw and sails through the air, splatting right on the Captain's eyepatch.
The eye being covered, the Captain does not know, in fact, what the shit is going on. She just also starts shrieking "CANNON! CANNON! TO ARMS!!" in addition to everything else.
Then purple-and-black girl turns to look back to Sam, and her white, featureless mask-eyes widen slightly. "You think I dress like this for the tan lines? Come on. I'll just stay right here and keep Byrne inside if he starts getting any stupid ideas like surrendering. To a moron. In a hovercraft. When the situation's clearly under control." She lifts her hand again, this time bringing it up to make a sudden fist in midair. It doesn't /seem/ to do anything. Not to Sam.
On the other hand, Laura and Anya'll be able to see the cutlass abruptly crumple like a discarded post-it. This is great! She's disarmed now! Right? RIGHT?
More shrieking. "FELL MAGICKS!!!" howls the Captain, kicking out at Laura and tossing the crumpled blade over her shoulder. She's starting to go for a gun. "Sprite! SPRITE! EVASIVE MANUEVERS!"
|"I've always wanted to do this."| Spider-Girl closes her eyes beneath her mask, takes in a deep breath... and then thrusts an arm forward to POINT DRAMATICALLY up at Captain Moonglow. "HEAVE TO AND PREPARE TA BE BOARDED!" she bellows, before she joins her snikt-y compatriot in leaping up onto the hovercraft. She, at least, will be able to stick to the deck if 'evasive maneuvers' are as crazy as she's expecting. She's already got an arm out to catch hold of Laura if she needs it.
|"'Cannons' means guns,"| Spider-Girl notes into the comm with an exasperated, but crisp, tone. |"Cannonball, make sure we don't have anybody getting nailed by these things."|
Megaphone. In her face. This is Laura's Rage Face, now. If her ears could flatten back like a cat's, they would. Whatever PrincessCaptainMoonbeam or whatever her name is intended to do with the megaphone, what ends up happening is a flurry of flickering metal claws tears it apart, eventually slowing enough that the dear captain can see that her ill-tempered agressor has sprouted claws from her hands. At least if the evasive manuvuers go off, those claws will *probably* be busy. Probably.
"Dress like..." Sam steps back and looks her over, missing the cool move with the sword crushing and all. "Oh. Sure." He really didn't parse it. It's Sam.
As soon as the Captain starts shrieking, Sam turns around to look up at her, pulling up his shields. He'd wrap the whole thing in a full shield but he doesn't have the energy. |"Lady here says she's fine. I'll make sure nothin' crashes if I can."|
More shrieking, this time incoherent non-lexical exasperated fury. "Stop STOP stop! YARRR! Sprite WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!" Her megaphone /and/ her cutlass are gone, and now she's waving-- a ray gun. It's a /ray gun/. It's even red. With a yellow lightning bolt on the side and a tesla coil at the tip. She shoots wildly in the air, bringing down a flagpole and part of a cornice with a satisfying BREEEE noise from the gun. "SPRIIIITE!"
"(you aren't buckled in, captain!)" chirps the tiny dashboard voice. "(safety first! please sit down and stop waving that gun around!)"
"I'M FIGHTING INTRUDERS! TRESPASSERS!! If you don't do evasive manuevers RIGHT NOW then I'll never get my record collection back!!" howls Captain Moonglow, ditching the pirate accent in her aggrieved agitation.
"(aye-aye, cap'n,)" siiighs the tiny voice. "(your pilot has requested that you refrain from smoking until the 'no smoking' light has turned off.)" This would be the evasive manuevers. The ship whirls around to try and shake off Laura and Anya and keep Sam at bay, whipping through the air and doing barrel rolls; the two formerly-spinning dronecraft behind the lead ship appear to be doing aerial ballet as a distraction tactic. Through it all, the cheery little dashboard-voice continues its spiel. "(please remain seated with your tray tables locked in the upright position. while seated, always keep your belt buckled and--)"
Captain Moonglow does, in fact, fall out of her own hovercraft.
The 'lady' who said she was fine leans against the wall of the simulacrum museum, making that SCHOOORLORLORP sound one makes when one is at the end of one's straw-drinky beverage, other hand lifted like she's catching a ball. The Captain faceplants on nothing, a foot off the ground. But, uh. Sprite is still basically going WHEEEE! with Anya and Laura on it, and the two drones apparently got their signals mixed, because they're now both headed for Sprite and the girls.
"This is about a record collection?" Spider-Girl asks incredulously, staring at the Captain with her hands on her hips. "Honey, it's the twenty-first century. Go digitaaaAAAAAAAAAGH--"
Okay, those are pretty good evasive maneuvers. Without thinking, Spider-Girl snaps a hand out to snag Laura by the forearm to keep her from being flung from the hovercraft, latching onto the deck with her other hand. Times like these, stick'um powers are really, really useful. It does, however, mean that she has no hands free for thwip-thwips when the captain goes overboard. Welp. |"Crazy overboard!"| she calls into the comm, a little too distracted by Sprite's MAD PILOTING SKILLS to see her get caught short of Street Pizza.
"Spriiiiite! Sprite! Your name is Sprite, right?!" Spider-Girl calls, still clinging to the deck. Woof. "Slow down! Your skipper fell off!"
Adamantine claws make a distinct kind of grindy popping noise when they punch through other metals to make a handhold, and Laura latching herself onto the cartwheeling craft is no different. "I don't think she's very smart," she observes astutely to Spider-Girl when the captain goes overboard. "Should I put this thing down?" Sometimes she just does things. sometimes she asks Anya first, since she has a better grasp on being civilized. Now is one of the latter times, apparently.
Seriously? Sam's about to try and catch the pilot with a shield when Aura stops her fall. Great. That leaves Sam free to waste his energy trapping each drone in the strongest shield he can muster. The shields are stationary so that the drones get to smash into the sides and then Sam's got all the mess contained.
Anya and Laura look safe enough for the moment, but... |"Let me know if you need me,"| he says. Just so that they remember he's around. It's hard to remember sometimes when you're being jammed up by a lunatic airship.
Oh MY, but those drones crash spectacularly within the shields, exploding in Sam-contained balls of fire, looking like miniature suns for a moment and then rattling around inside as bits ricochet off each other. There is the distinct smell of burning plastic and chemicals, of melting silicon. The balls of blast-shield are pretty rapidly filled with fairly toxic smoke. Which. Gross. But there are things that are more gross. Luckily none of them are here.
"(oh no!)" squeaks Sprite at the news, somewhat sarcastically. Somewhat. "(also please don't put me down miss lady, i can land. you're threatening me, right? self-preservation is important!)" While it's chirruping away, the craft does indeed slow down. Not without a panicky little squeep when the two drones nearly hit, but still. Slowing! Lowering! Progress!
Hyperventilating on the air above the macadam, Captain Moonglow seems altogether unable to decide between flipout of 'I ALMOST DIED' and 'YOU MISCREANTS!' After a moment's flailing, she starts blubbering. "It's VINYL! You don't UNDERSTAND! The sound is WARMER! It's not LOSSY! And he has them ALL! I'LL GET YOU SEAN BYRNE! YOU AND YOUR FAKE FRENCH ACCENT!"
Meanwhile, Aura's shoved off the wall and tossed her empty beverage container into the closest bin-locked-to-streetlamp, and she wanders over to the captain. Her aim? Leaning (and nigh-impossibly managing not to pop out) to delicately pick up the raygun. "Is she *@*&ing serious?" she asks with distaste.
|"I think Sprite's gonna put us down without killing us,"| Spider-Girl notes, both to Sam and to Laura. "Thank you. No hard feelings about being boarded?" she asks hopefully, loosening her grip on Laura once they're a little less barrel roll-y and a lot more close-to-the-ground-y. Carefully, Spider-Girl climbs back to her feet and glances around shiftily. Dignity. Always dignity.
Once they're within a safe (for them) distance to drop, she tips her chin at Laura and steps up to the edge. "Aye, we be castin' off," Spider-Girl informs the... hovercraft. She brings a hand up in a jaunty salute. "Sorry your captain's a weirdo," she adds, before stepping off the edge and dropping down to land in a crouch near Sam, Moonbeam, and... friend. Oh jeez. She can't /not/ say something.
"Where'd the rest of your costume go?"
Laura Kinney disengages claws from hovercraft once it's safe to do so, and hops to the street. She lets Spider-Girl address the new girl on the scene, while she unzips, re-settles,a nd re-zips her hoodie. "This is why i never come out here," she notes idly. though exactly what she means by that? Hard to say.
Sam gets the wreckage of the drones down somewhere clear and not likely to catch fire, then he releases the shields.
"We're all good?" That's good because otherwise Sam would need to have a seat somewhere... like on the sidewalk. Maybe even a nice lie-down. As soon as Spider-Girl makes that comment, his brow crumples in a frown. "She looks fine, SG." So the girl is underdressed--maybe she's from a hot country. That's it. Yes.
"(have fun, ladies!)" the hovercraft burbles cheerily, before swooping down to pick up Captain Moonglow by the piratey belt. "(you have a tapioca blorp on your eyepatch, cap'n,)" the tiny voice can be heard vanishingly, carting off a sobbing would-be air pirate. Maybe someday she'll manage to be the real thing.
Aura looks up past the other three, shading her eyes. "Nevermind your lack of fashion sense. Did you want that loser getting away?" She absently hands the raygun to Sam, who has a sort of 'reads a lot of science fiction and maybe would have built rockets someday if he didn't put on spandex' look about him. The longer she talks, the more apparent her faint accent is. Hard to place. Someplace British. Or maybe Chinese. "Because... she'll probably cook up some other revenge scheme. And provide potentially comic street theatre later." The sarcasm loads itself in full-force, then, and she flips a hand. "Now the three of you can vouch for me. I didn't do it. I'm Aura, and if this is any indication, Earth still sucks."
"Oh God. Not another alien." Spider-Girl puts her head in her hands. Sure, Zen is a cool guy, but the other aliens she's run into lately? Not. So. Much.
Spider-Girl glances to Cannonball and Laura before she shrugs. "Eh, let her go cry into her hipstery little hands for a while. With a name like that, she's used to it. She didn't actually hurt anybody. If she turns up again, someone less nice can handle it," she says cheerfully.
"Sometimes you have to throw the little ones back," Laura shrugs, then glances towards Spider-Girl. Was that the right joke? She's bad at this kind of thing. Shrug.
It is the right joke and Sam laughs, not just because it's funny but because Laura's catching on. "Not really our turf to go around giving spankings anyway," Sam says, shrugging. He'll let Piotr know about Captain Airship there, someone else can follow up on it. He starts to push up his goggles and then refrains. "We're just passing through. As for Earth, well. We're a little understaffed on the side of people willing to risk their lives for no money and all the ingratitude you can swallow." Someone's moody.
"I'm not an alien!" retorts Aura, shifting her weight to one hip and cocking her head challengingly, folding her arms with an absurd refinement of motion. "Not that there's anything wrong with aliens. But whatever, if you're going to be like that, that's your malfunction." This time it's not so much a handflip as a massive two-handed 'let me get my hair back in order' guided toss, and she lifts slightly off the ground. A quick once-over of Laura, and one corner of the purple-haired girl's mouth turns up crookedly. "It's only the big ones that get the trucks to the head, yeah. As far as ingratitude goes," she continues, folding in midair a bit so she can reach over to pluck a bit of melted-plastic debris off of Sam's shoulder and offer -that- to him, presumably to go with the raygun, "it comes with the territory unless you ask every-damn-time whether or not people *want* saving."
Spider-Girl grins at Laura and gives her a light, approving sock in the arm. Yes, it was the right joke. Atta girl. She slides her gaze back to Aura and tries to look abashed. It's difficult. "Oh, well, a thousand pardons for my error. Between the clothes and the 'tude, it was an easy mistake to make." She flashes her most charming smile before glancing to Laura. "We got sirens yet?" Because, as usual -- sirens = bail.
Laura tilts her head to listen, then shakes her head. "No. They're slower here, I guess," she suggests. "Or busier. Don't know." The tiny girl shrugs and gives Aura a barely-interested look-over, scenting the air lightly.
Sam takes what he's given with patience and aplomb. After all, he's used to being given sticks, pebbles, half-eaten sandwiches, and things like giant ant parts. "It's a little more complex than just not asking," he says with a half-shrug. "And not as bad as I make it out to be. Sorry about that. Not really myself just now. I should have asked: if you're just back in town, so to speak, is there anythin' you need? Doesn't look like you need a lift anywhere, or looking after, but..."
"..." the girl just floats there for a second, slowly folding her arms across her stomach-- not arms crossed, nothing aggressive like that. Not overtly defensive. Just the same level of unconscious barrier-raising as lighting a cigarette. Her head turns minutely as she looks the three over again, one at a time, and then she purses her lips. "No. I've got to get back to the Rave." WHY NO THERE IS NO DISCOMFORT THERE. WHY DO YOU ASK. "If you people haven't died by next week I'll get you handstamps. Even if you're all probably underage."
"That's okay. Raves aren't really my scene anyway," Spider-Girl notes with a helpless shrug, looking down at herself. Yeah, no, not a raver kid. "Thank you, though." She actually does mean that. It's nice to be offered, you know. Stuff. She offers Aura a jaunty salute. "I'm on Twitter if you see any other hipster pirates that need somebody to make 'em cry."
Predictably, exactly two seconds pass by with Laura frowning before she asks the expected question. "Rave?"
Aaaand here's where Aura, about to take off, paaauses in midair with the feel of a freeze-frame. Coincidentally, at about the same time as the sirens are finally audible. "The hell is Twitter?" she asks, half-perplexed and half-annoyed. "And whatever, your loss." Apparently 'whatever' is her way of saying 'you're welcome'. It might be a space thing.
Has to be. Only aliens and science projects don't know what Twitter is. Spider-Girl peers after Aura a moment before slowly shaking her head. "Internet thing. Google it." A beat. "I know, I know. 'The hell is Google.'" She throws up her hands and turns to offer one to Laura. "Sounds like it's time to scoot, anyhow."
Laura wrinkles her nose. Even she knows what Twitter is (now) and she *is* a science experiment. She just thinks it's a waste of time. Which for her, it would be. She shrugs, and tosses her arms around Spider-Girl's shoulders, drapping over her back. It's better than pretty much all alternatives to being webswung through the air. "I need to get a bike," she opines.