|EVENT: OUT: Quiddity Unmasked|
|What: The Outsiders have Quiddity in their grasp--briefly. They also discover that the CIA has designs on their latest nemesis.|
Social media may get a bad rap for some things but the Outsiders have done a fairly epic job of leveraging it to hunt Quiddity down. Once they worked out how to plug all the metadata into Silo, everything they learned gained value. Silo can't tap into existing camera systems--not yet--but the remote cameras out at the edge of the property were salvageable. With a boost to the range thanks to some wireless hacking advice on the internet, a few camera placements are up and running.
The whole thing takes weeks but with patrols to eliminate the worst of the postings, and with the Twitter Army on alert, the Outsiders are fairly certain no one's in immediate danger. They're actually doing this hero stuff, it's amazing.
Sam's moved into the Den full-time, in part to watch the feeds, and he's been working on mastering Silo's various functions. Right now, he's slouched in the command chair in the control center, surrounded by map projections of Quiddity's movements and the live feeds from the cameras. However, he's more interested in the tablet he's trying to read and the pizza he's eating out of the box perched on the control panel in front of him.
Spider-Girl has been spending more time at the Den since her brush with Quiddity outside her apartment building, though she's in and out pretty frequently to do her thang. Classes need attending and muggings need thwarting, you know?
With a mug of cocoa in hand, Spider-Girl comes tromping down into the control center and makes a beeline towards Sam -- well, and his pizza. She's stealing a slice if it looks remotely edible, deal with it. "How's it lookin', cap'n?" she asks curiously, peering up at the screens. "Any jerks need their faces repeatedly punched?"
Laura has been spending as much time as she ever has in the Den, which is to say it's hard to tell exactly how much of her time she's spending there, owing to her tendency to come and go at random intervals and how quiet she is when she *is* around.
Right now, though, she *is* slumming about, though truth to tell after her, Sam, and Anya's run-in with Weapon Agents recently... she's been a little more scarce. It's the pizza smell that draws her out of wherever she's been hiding today, and she's not adverse to taking her turn filching a slice over Sam's shoulder, eyes roaming the main display. She's actually a pretty good tracker, even without a scent involved-- her assassination and blackops training in the program required a certain level of self-reliance in the area. After a minute munching and looking the patterns over, it occurs to her she's forgotten something. "Hi."
"That is /not dirt/," Spoiler shrieks a few doors down from the command center. She got here about an hour ago and immediately disappeared into that room, where she's taken to keeping a few changes of clothes and extra supplies; abrasive, mercifully muffled pop music began wafting out moments after that, and so it continued--until now.
"You give that back /right now/, you--!"
"KILL! DESTROY! DESTROY ALL HUMANS! DEATH TO CIVILIZATION!" a digitized voice replies.
After a few brief scuffling sounds, she stomps out of the room in a huff, those digital proclaimations of death and destruction following her the whole way. When she turns into the command center, she is dragging an omnicidal roomba by the tail of a t-shirt, which the little machine's inner workings are stubbornly clinging to. As is the norm when she visits the Den these days, she's wearing a black domino mask, black jeans, a purple backpack, and a purple t-shirt with a nametag reading, "Hi, my name is...' followed by a black bar. A few steps into the command room, she pauses, shifts her eyes between her teammates, then slowly lets the shirt drop from her hand so that she can clasp both behind her back.
"'sup?" she murmurs, looking up at the ceiling sheepishly.
"Damn it, it's like having a rabid dog," Sam grumbles through a mouthful of meat-lovers' pizza. "Silo, reboot the cleaning bots. Again. Deep virus scan. What did y'all do to that thing?" He looks askance at all three girls. His scrutiny is interrupted by Silo's alarm beep.
"Whatcha got, Silo?"
"Biometric match," Silo reports. "No facial identification. Consistent gait, height, mass according to calculations. Near-identical colour patterns."
"It means clothes," Sam clarifies, sitting up and fumbling for his shoes. "Let's see."
Silo presents the live feed from outside a corner bodega in Queens. A thin, androgynous figure with a heavy messenger bag is posting the familiar fliers.
"Aw, don't reboot the Doomba. He adds some much-needed color to our day," Spider-Girl says brightly, aiming a sunny smile towards Spoiler and the mouthy roomba. "'sides, we can sic him on trespassers. If we ever get trespassers. I think technically /we're/ still trespassing," she frowns. Oh well. She chases the frown away with pizza and cocoa, which she is still /just young enough/ not to find a horrible combination of flavors.
Spider-Girl starts to say more before the Silo starts making noises and she peers back up at the monitors, squinting suspiciously. "As soon as I get food, I swear. How fast can we get to Queens, anyway?" she asks, turning to start back upstairs. Why yes, she /is/ gonna put her mug in the sink instead of just abandoning it on the console.
Laura finishes her swiped slice, and sweeps the cleaning bot up from the floor as it continues to attempt to eat Steph's shirt and spew warnings and admonishments. She flips it over and peers from assorted angles. Maybe she’s hunting for the off-switch.
"RETURN THIS UNIT TO NORMAL OPERATION OR SUFFER!" it complains upon losing sensor contact with the floor . She abandons her mild interest in the demented vaccuum when the alarm does off, setting it back onto the floor where it can run free and happy chewing on the shirt and butting into ankles or whatever. Laura leans over Sam's shoulder, peering at the screen. "What's the plan?" She's learned her plans are not usually good for the group, given they involve lots of stabbing and not much talking.
"I dunno, it's some serious--" Spoiler slips over to the console to scoop up a slice of that pizza for herself; after taking a big bite, she finishes, "--evil scientist stuff," through a mouthful of food.
‘’SOME TIME AGO
"Get 'em!" Spoiler cheers as the murderous vacuum cleaner rams into a first aid dummy wearing a sweater and a ski-mask over and over. "Good roomba!"
"DEATH TO HUMANS!" it declares in response.’’
"Gah!" Spoiler quickly shakes her head, snaps her attention to Silo's screen and swallows. She squints at the live feed for a few seconds, then heaves a great sigh and hurries after Spider-Girl. She'll be taking her pizza to go; anything less would be letting the supervillain win.
"Punch her in the head for interrupting lunch!" she suggests, as far as plans go. "And maybe put it on Tumblr or something. Think of the /follows/!"
"Six minutes, tops," Sam says, closing up the pizza box and jamming his feet in his sneakers. "We can hope she hits some of her usual spots... I'll track her on my own." Laura would be a better choice, or even Anya, but Sam's not about to send them out after Quiddity alone.
"I'll keep in touch on the comms... we really need a faster way to..." Sam trails off as his attempt to tie his shoes is thwarted by a shrieking doomba charging him. He makes a tiny shield-ramp that sends it soaring across the control room. "Really have to get that fixed. Anyway, we need better transport."
"I'll try to get a loan for a Spider-Mobile during Christmas break," Spider-Girl promises. "Maybe a motorcycle with hookups for, like, four sidecars. We can keep 'em in the garage when we don't need 'em."
Once her mug is stashed and the rest of her slice demolished, Spider-Girl is yanking a coat on over her costume -- hey, man, it's cold out there -- and bounding her way outside. TO QUEENS.
Laura's concession to the weather outside is tugging on a grey hoodie-- sadly, her favored faded gold one is no longer suitable for wearing after being on the wrong end of a plasma gun. She makes a noise of agreement at Sam's complaint about their transport options. "Thought about a bike," she agrees. "I guess I could drive the three of us up in your truck?" It'll probably even get there undamaged!
"As long as we don't try to salvage something from /here/, I don't care," Spoiler says of transportation. Her temperamental motorcycle is bad enough; no way in hell is she flying around in a people-hating AIM plane or something.
A few more big bites is all it takes her to finish the slice; she didn't get a chance to eat lunch before skipping school to be a superhero. She moves on to fetching a purple beanie from her pack, but Laura's suggestion of driving stops her midway through pulling the thing onto her head. "Do--do you have a license, or anything?" she cautiously wonders.
Sam tosses Laura the keys on the way out the door. The things he does for his team. "That was my Pa's truck. Be gentle," he warns. The truck runs very well for a vehicle its age, it can break the speed limit without breaking anything else. "I'll see you there."
Sam makes sure he has his comms, phone, and goggles on his way upstairs. One of these days, someone will get him into a hero-ing uniform that's not Anya's old goggles, a beat-up biker jacket, T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. That day is likely very far off.
Sam is airborne the moment he has the front door open. He breaks the sound barrier travelling low over the trees to the north and pushes his speed to maximum. "Silo, keep me up to date on target movement."
Sam's lucky. Quiddity is really working the fliers today. He keeps a distance on a rooftop, watching her nearly paper an entire street. He leaves her momentarily to track her movements back by the fliers. Damn. The Twitter Army must be sparse down here, or she's got some kind of sixth sense about being watched. The area is thick with her work. "Be careful coming in," he warns. "She's been on a bender."
Spider-Girl vaults up into the bed of the truck -- stick'um powers mean she can ride anywhere safely, and this just means that she can be out and swingin' quickly if it's necessary. "This'll be fun," she says confidently, folding her arms. "Piece of cake."
When Sam's report comes in over the com, Spider-Girl just nods. "Right. No reading," she replies into her mic, cracking her knuckles. "Gotcha."
"License?" comes Laura's slightly puzzled reply as she catches the keys and darts off to pile into the truck. As it turns out, she hasn't got a license, but what she DOES have is extensive combat-driving training. Which, as it turns out, makes for a safe and speedy-- if somewhat harrowing-- trip to Queens.
Laura picks a quiet alleyway a ways from the flyer area to park the truck in safety, then slides out and-- presumably with the other girls-- hoofs it the last couple of blocks, finger tapping her comm unit. "We're parked. Anything new?"
"Y--" Spoiler's eyes grow wide beneath the domino mask, then snap to Sam as he gets the keys... "Wait, I have a perm--"
... and tosses them; she follows their arc into Laura's hand, stares at the former assassin for a fearful moment, then swallows and hurries along to hop into the passenger's seat.
When they arrive in Queens, Spoiler throws the door open and stumbles out the moment they're stopped, looking like a girl who's had a close enough brush with Death to make Thanos jealous. "You /have to get a driver's license Laura there are rules/," she breathlessly babbles as she jogs after the other girls.
Sam drops down from his vantage point to meet the girls in an alley. "We have a problem," he says as he lands. "Well, two." He points up the street toward the local elementary school.
"First, she went in there. I thought of stopping her but I didn't want to spook her without backup. The sign says it's some kind of pre-Christmas bazaar." Sam paces out to the street, looks, and comes back. "The bigger problem may be that there's some slick looking black cars parked in the lot that don't look like what people around here drive. And I know my mooks. I saw two guys in matching suits and trenches with combat shoes go in the back door of the school."
"They didn't look, uh... familiar, did they?" Spider-Girl asks Sam, glancing briefly to Laura. They have a bad history when it comes to dudes in black cars, don't they. She bounces anxiously on her toes, thinking, before she shrugs out of her jacket and throws it into the truck. "Well, either those dudes are gonna spook her, or we are. May as well go in and keep the kids outta harm's way. Fire drill?" she suggests, glancing to Spoiler.
Laura listens, and doesnt' comment. She doesn't understand schools so well, so this is all basically greek to her. Which, incidentally, she does not speak. She keeps a bit of watch around the corner while Sam lays out the situation, sniffing the air and listening for trouble. "We shouldn't let them have her," she decides emphatically. Doesn't matter who they actually are-- they sound like trouble waiting to happen. "What do you need me to do? I could break the cars just in case."
"Fire drill," Spoiler agrees with a thumbs up. She is all over /that/ one. Looking between Laura and Anya, she adds, "And if someone got to /them/ before they got to her... that's all we really need, right?" She leans out of the alley to squint down the street at the school, briefly, then mutters, "--didn't think I'd be breaking back /into/ school today, God..." as she draws back out of sight.
"They looked like government issue, not anyone else," Sam assures Spider-Girl. "We'll want to make sure there's no panic." He runs his hands through his hair and makes a face. "This is a person who can make people crazy when there's nothing to get crazy over. I don't know what she'll do if we actually give her a reason. We need to be careful. Fire alarm might work." He pauses. "Or bait. Either one."
"Well, she's gonna go off as soon as she sees me an' Spoiler anyhow. We can either get the kids outside or lock 'em in, but this is gonna suck either way," Spider-Girl notes, making sure her com is on so Spoiler doesn't miss out. "Chaos inside or outside. Take yo' pick. In the meantime..." She turns to nod at Laura. "Let's go slash their tires." Leave Laura alone with Quiddity around? hahahaha nooooope. Sticking to her like /glue/.
Laura bobs her head, tucks her hands in her hoodie pockets, and slips around the corner. No stealthy sneaking, this time. Just a girl out walking along... stopping to peer curiously at the cars, then walk around them, like she's checking them out and NOT kicking adamantium toe-claws into the tires like she is actually doing. It's the simplest way to keep the things from driving off without going noticed. "I can try and take out the agents," she murmurs into her com in a sort of questioning tone. "I count at least six, from the scent on the cars."
Spoiler, meanwhile, has to get rid of the domino mask as she heads for the school. She doesn't exactly love her chances of getting in from the front and staying there, and so, like the mystery men, she works her way around to the rear entrance, keeping an eye out for alarms set up outside of the school the whole way--just in case. If she finds one, great: she'll be all too happy to pull it and hurry away. If not, she'll slip inside to do much the same, provided that she doesn't have to find some place to hide.
Sam isn't thrilled with the idea of pulling the alarms, but given the circumstances it's likely the best option. |"I'm going to make sure the exits are unblocked, Spoiler. Go ahead and pull the alarm when you're ready. Spider-Girl, Laura, once you take care of the cars can you get to vantage points so we can try and track her?"|
It doesn't take Sam but a minute to find that someone's parked illegally in front of an emergency exit. Seriously, people. He shoves the car out of the way with a burst of power and checks that the door opens by peering through the tiny window. Doesn't look like there's chains on the doors. That's something.
While Laura is doing an excellent job at blending in and playing it cool, Spider-Girl is... not. She is in full costume. She's compensating by hanging back a ways, close enough to get to Laura quickly if she needs to but hopefully far enough back to remain unnoticed. |"No problemo, cap'n. Yell if you see something that needs webbing and/or punching."|
Once Spider-Girl sees the black car sink down on its newly-useless tires, she looks for a likely perch, less concerned with remaining unseen. Aha. A few leaps and somersaults later and she's claiming her perch atop the school's flagpole, shielding her eyes with one hand as she peers around. |"I've always wondered what the view'd be like from one of these. Less impressive than from atop a building across the street, as it turns out. Go figure."|
Once Laura's finished kicking the tires on both cars, she heads for the back of the school, leaps to catch a handhold, and hauls herself up until she finds a workable perch above the doors. It's a little awkward, but she's managed worse. |"Ready here,"| she reports. Back door seems like a more likely escape route for the people they're after, and from here she can back Spoiler up if necessary.
The alarm sounds as soon as word is given, and Spoiler bursts out of the school's rear entrance not long after that. Laura perched above the door draws a start from her when she peeks over a shoulder to make sure it's clear, but she recovers quickly enough; after giving the mutant ambusher a thumbs up, she vaults into a dumpster facing the entrance.
Moments like /this/ are why she keeps changes of clothes at the base.
So /rollerskating up the parking lot/ is a chick with really really long dark purple hair that has sparklies in it, huge spiky-butterfly-looking face makeup, disco-ball bling, and a sparkly white v-neck popped-collar bell-bottom catsuit. She's got a microphone prop on a really long cable, which is looped in other other hand; she's swinging the mic around like it's a lasso. Or a grapnel or something, whatever. "Yo what's the LD? I mean the DL?" she whisper-hisses as she gets close.
So. Perhaps he may not be as flashy or bright as the rollerskating cleavage monster that is Aura, but the musical maestro of the Outsiders is making his way to the school in a much different manner. He's up and over the hood of cars, bouncing off and running up walls, before leaping and swinging off street lamps... all in an effort to traverse the landscape as easy as possible.
The way he moves, though, is somewhat inhuman... or metahuman. Whatever. It all culminates with a huge somersault off something or other, allowing him to land in classic Spider-Man/Spider-Girl/Three-Point-Crouch style not too long after Aura's skate in.
He reaches up to pull his headphones down from his ears, the random dubstep music bassing through them as he brings a hand up to straighten his hair. "Sup?" Less whisper-hiss and more too cool for this school.
Sam's about to say something to DJ, from his vantage point across the street, when the doors burst open and kids come streaming out, herded by anxious parents.
"Here we go. We're looking for the one who keeps posting the fliers. She's wearing a grey hoodie, black jeans, and a purple and grey scarf over her mouth and nose. Also carrying a very heavy messenger bag across her, right to left," Sam says. "...wait."
The crowd stops outside the doors, then turns and the ones outside begin trying to push their way back in while those left inside are trying to come out.
"She's got to still be inside," Sam says. "I think she's trying to make them come back to protect her." The chaos escalates by the moment.
Two government agents--and that's unmistakeably what they are--have come pounding out into the back parking area. Like the rest, they stop in their tracks but they seem to be having some success at resisting the influence pushing them back into the school. "Lost target," one of them is saying. "We need backup."
Spider-Girl peers down towards Aura and DJ's arrival from her perch atop the flagpole. She seems to be trying to figure out WTF is even up with Aura's outfit before the doors burst open and she puts her eyes back where they belong, squinting suspiciously towards the doors.
"Oh, I'll go in and protect her," Spider-Girl says lowly into her comm, and just like that, she springs off the flagpole and towards the building to find herself a window to crawl in with. Don't want the people being telepathically influenced to see the mask(s) on the scene, after all!
"Deej, can you try to help these people resist the crazy?" Spider-Girl asks, distracted by her window-huntin'. "Or put 'em to sleep or somethin', so they can't get hurt?"
"Two targets, engaging," makes a nice counterpoint to the agent's message just before Laura leaps off the wall above the door to ambush the pair of suits. She angles to land behind them with an assassin's silence, and spins to land a sharp palm strike precisely behind the first's ear to induce rapid unconsciousness. She's practiced the amount of force required to take a human down in one shot for years-- so as soon as the blow lands, she hops up about a foot or so to get the second in s sleeper hold, dangling off his back until he passes out.
"Neutralized," X-23 reports, fishing through their things for IDs and coms. The latter, she affixes one to her other ear, and finds Sam to toss him the other. "They called for backup. Might want to retract it." She'd do it herself, but she hasn't seen any female agents yet.
Footsteps! The contents of Spoiler's dumpster shift a little as she sticks her head up to take a peek. Jackpot! Laura can take out one, and she can cover the other.
"Wildcard, bi--" she abortively exclaims, bursting into full view with a scuffed up batarang in one hand and and a six pack ring dangling from her other. Her eyes shift from the guy on the ground to the guy that Laura's choking out, and by the time her feral teammate is finished, Spoiler is left to sullenly haul herself the rest of the way from the dumpster and gingerly tuck the weapon into her hip pocket.
"Yeah," she mutters as she then plucks a piece of discarded lettuce from her shoulder and flicks it away, "retract away."
"Oh," says Aura cheerfully, socking DJ in the arm and then roller-skating away. "HEY!" she yells at the milling crowd, "Who knows where the principal is? I was signed up to do a show today for your assembly? You kids had an assembly scheduled for this afternoon, right? I'm the Dazzler!" With... purple hair. Well it /is/ around Halloween, right? "Did someone pull the fire alarm?!"
"I can anything you want me to, Sweetheart."
DJ cannot really stop himself from tossing around such words of affection. Never know when one is going to stick. And considering that Spider-Girl is pretty sticky, there's a chance that she may get stuck and like it. So he's definitely going to work it as much as possible.
With his idea in place, he's already turning to actually walk towards the crowd of people. His hands move quickly to hurl his headphones back onto his head and the touchscreen of his sPod is swiped twice before that Leonard Cohen comes easing into his ears. It takes him a moment to feel the power within him switch on and then he's stopping on his way to the rushing crowd and closing his eyes, reaching out with his mind and punching holes into whatever's clouding the minds of this crowd at the moment, to allow his own telepathy to ooze and squeeze through.
The sock in the arm gets a smirk from DJ but he continues trying to focus. There's work to be done and that's what he has to do right now. Flirting will come after victory.
|"Twinkle, Twinkle, All You Brats. It's About Time You Take A Nap."|
This, of course, is coupled with some very pushy mind-suggestion that this crowd stop moving and start laying down. Lots of people, though. Focus, DJ-San. Focus.
"SG, be careful on your approach," Sam warns. "If the government is after her like this, she might be an escapee from them." Things are never black and white. He lands on the roof of the school and catches the comm Laura throws to him.
"Crowd out here is calming," he says. It's true, DJ's mental control is having some effect on those outside at least. They're slowly slumping to the ground or wandering in confusion instead of trying to claw their way back in. "We have control of the exits, no need to add to the panic." Hopefully that cuts off the impending backup.
"Can you get her scent?" Sam directs Laura to a freshly posted flier on the dumpster. "Enough to track her inside? We should get in and start looking for her--I bet she's not buying what DJ's selling." One person awake among the hypnotized sounds like a good bet.
|"I'm not gonna punch her face in unless she makes me,"| Spider-Girl says reassuringly, and she goes squirming her way into the building through a window. ...ugh. Smells like /art class/. She makes a face and scurries her way towards the door and the hallway beyond, and warily, she sticks her head out to peer up and down the hallway. Maybe if she pretends really hard, she can make Quiddity think she's come to save her. Yeah, that's the ticket. Totally here to save the asshole who almost got her mobbed to death by her neighbors.
And the crowd is starting to actually fall asleep in front of her. Aura just stares for a second, moderately put-out, and then skates over to the nearest kid with a cameraphone who's already slumped to the ground. She delicately picks up the camera, hauls the kid up partway, takes a MySpace photo of his unconscious face and her making a smoochy face, tucks the phone back in his hand, and then straightens to skate off away toward the door after Anya. |"For lack of any concrete plans, I'm gonna pull a scooby and search in the opposite direction from Spidey. Unless you want me to go down to the power room -- I can see the damn thing from here, they are /so/ not green -- and start pulling spooky effects with the lights. Might flush her out."|
Laura manages to figure out that a vaguely apologetic look might be appropriate for Spoiler who oh-so-wanted to take out that other mook. "Still got four more," she notes, then follows Sam's question to the flyer.
She still hasn't quite gotten the hang of not reading text scattered around, especially since her eyesight is so good at longer ranges. She only gets a brief almost-read before she remembers not to do that, wanders over, and snatches it off the wall so she can flip it around to the backside and sniff that instead. "I think so. She smells like..." Teen spirit. Nail polish. Something. Whatever it is, she crumples and tosses the flyer, and starts picking her way to the door, hoping that she really didn't get THAT good a look.
What? Tell someone she read a little bit? Don't be silly, that was a mistake. Mistakes get you in trouble.
DJ is all about keeping the people from going crazy and the moment it seems like they are calming or falling asleep or generally not going to be in the way much longer, he's taken to opening his eyes and lifting his head up to see that the rest of his crew is headed in (or already in) the building. Which may kind of make him look like a loser, what with the standing out here all by himself and such. He pulls down his headphones and steps over a couple of bodies, making his way into the school and after the others. And he's probably humming Smooth Criminal as he does this. Because that's what music lovers do. That Cohen music is still flowing from his headphones, though, just to keep his telepathic mind on alert. Y'know, just in case. He may or may not be trying to do a scan for other telepathy users in the area. But he may not actually know how to do that well. Which means it could be working backwards. Whatever. "Annie, are you okay..." is murmured. Oh DJ.
Spoiler waits a few before following Laura in; running around to find another entrance would be a waste of time, but sticking too close to the tracker while she does her thing would /probably/ not be very helpful either, right now. All she has to do is keep a nice, respectable distance and try not to look too guilty or annoyed if anyone pays her any mind; the sooner she can get back home and spend the rest of the day in the tub, the better.
"Great work, DJ. Getting control of the power is good, Aura, as long as everyone here has a light source," Sam says. "I've got one." He feels guilty, briefly, kicking in a second story window, then he's inside. "I'm coming down from the top. Though, my guess? Girls' bathroom in the gym."
He comes down a flight of stairs only to be startled by an agent on the way up. Usually, Sam would not strike a government employee without warning. However, usually, Sam does not have a bunch of black magic in him. He clocks the wild-eyed agent in the jaw and knocks him back to the landing. "I think the agents are losing it," he warns. Sure enough, there are fliers all up and down this stairwell. Not good. Sam tries not to look at any of them as he rolls the agent for his comms, ID, and weapons.
DJ's mental search is having some effect. He can feel Quiddity--missing her once he starts looking would be like missing someone shining a flashlight in his face. There's no locating her, though wherever she is, she feels trapped and terrified. Her fear rolls out in waves. The masked-ones are coming to get her.
The kids and parents still in the school are zombie-like. DJ's hypnosis quieted them but Quiddity's fear is forcing them to keep moving. They come after the Outsiders at a shamble, mumbling phrases that sound like quotes from Quiddity's manifestos.
At least Spider-Girl has an easy way out of this. She leaps up onto the ceiling, peering up (...down) at the shambling children with an odd expression. |"I can't decide if this is lamer than Klaw or not,"| she admits, sighing and starting to crawl her way along the ceiling, following the directions given to her by the others. And she does not. read. anything. |"Girls bathroom? I swear to God, if she's Moaning Myrtle, I quit."|
Laura is managing to focus on scenting down Quiddity, trailing her scent through the hallways. But she's starting to get edgier and edgier. As much as she's trying not to read fliers, her eyesight is sharp enough she can read them clear down the hallway, and like any literate person, she has difficulty NOT reading text when she sees it.
The zombie-like bystanders aren't helping, because they? Kind of ARE coming for her and the others, actively. Fortunately, Laura's operative training keeps her at least a little focused on the mission, and she weaves, doges and occassionally leaps the people to get past. One gets ahold of her and fortunately only gets thrown onto their back for the trouble. "Coming, coming... got to get her and get out, they're coming," she mumbles. Kind of impressive how much she's managing to hold on, considering.
Spoiler's eyes are more or less glued to the ground the whole time, so the first she really sees of the incoming zombie horde is a dozen tiny shoes and sneakers rounding a corner to shuffle towards her. She quickly picks her head up, sees that there are dead-eyed teachers and students between she and Laura, and stumbles backwards so quickly that she nearly slips and lands on her ass.
|"THIS IS SO MUCH LAMER THAN KLAW,"| she exclaims as she swings her backpack around so that she can frantically search through it. She starts to take another step back, but a legion of feet shifting along the floor stops her in her tracks and speeds her search. Firecrackers, no. Spraypaint, no. Hairspray, definitely no. Pepper spray, taser, roll of quarters, hairpins... ah-ha!
"Sorry!" she exclaims as yanks her hand out and tosses a small, yellow pellet to the ground. It breaks open with a bright flash, and when the flash fades, thick smoke begins to waft out from the impact point; as it spreads, she tries to push her way through the crowd, hoping that the smoke'll keep them off her back for a little while and apologizing the whole way.
Aura's good; she's not reading *any* fliers. She has a clear mission, and she doesn't need to use her eyes to navigate when she's surrounded by electronics and wires and a crapton of electromagnetic fields. So she cheerfully skates down the halls toward the big metal railings, the rolling light rumble of her totally authentic Dazzler skates totally unmistakeable as anything but what they are. Oh! The railings are behind the staircase's big metal doors? Not a problem.
Somewhere in that cleavagey sparkling catsuit, there are pockets: she takes out a stick of bubblegum while she's opening the door, then pulling a badass ollie all the way down the railings into the basement. Door open! Down the cement hall, much more narrow, past the boiler room, toward the electrical room. |"Sound off if I miss and turn off the lights where you are, Sidereal Outliers,"| she calls over the comms, finally opening her eyes once she's in the AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY area and surveying the patchboards and fuseboxes. It takes a minute for her to track each bundle of wires to its ultimate location, and then she starts shutting down lights. She does, for the record, try to leave the ones on in the areas that she's got an idea of where her teammates are, but with all the cellphones on the students it's a little hard to keep track. |"What's up with the chick? Is she really in the girls' bathroom? --no you know what, Sam, which ones do you want *on*? And you guys, tell me if any of you needs me there, or if I should-- oh man why don't I call the fire department from the school line and let them know it was a prank, so we don't end up swimming in firefighters?"|
DJ is focused on trying to get a lock on the girl but he can't really do it too long. There's really too much going on with his head for him to keep this stuff up. In fact, he reaches down to swipe the sPod and mutes the music playing. with relative ease.
|""Calling all Hotties. And Sam. No idea where she is, but she's feeling all kinda' trapped. And she's scared stupid.""|
DJ hopes that much of the information is useful. But then there are UnZombies happening. Which may or may not be a good thing. Considering that he's bringing up the rear of the crew, he's going to have to do something.
|""Guys. You go ahead and handle Moaning Myrtle. I've got crowd control.""|
DJ's not exactly one to be taking on all the UnZombies in the world, but there's a time and a place for everything. And there's always music for everything. Headphones back on. Finger swipes to Michael Jackson - Thriller. As the music bumps into his ears and his power shifts on the inside, DJ stops dead in his tracks and extends a hand towards the oncoming UnZombies.
His Michael Jackson impression is pretty damn flawless. And then he's shaking his wrist and pointing at them until they can feel his control overtaking them.
"Sha'mon!" While Thriller is bumping into his headphones, DJ immediately begins to moonwalk his way back down the hall and in the general direction of the exit/entrance he used to get in here in the first place. And of course, so long as his Puppeteering ability is working on the zombified ones, they too will follow suit.
Yes. This means what you think it means.
The Moonwalking Dead.
Sam makes it down to the main floor, pushing against the wall of fear Quiddity is forcing into his mind. There's a moment when he panics and flattens himself against the wall--the moment he hears sirens and then the thump of a helicopter.
"Think it's too late for the fire department, Aura. Kill all the lights." It's a grey day, the dark might slow down some of the responders." The handful of people in the hall with him start moonwalking away. "...nice, DJ." The surge of humour pushes back the fear.
Laura's managed to track Quiddity to the gym, just like Sam suggested. Maybe it's because he has so many sisters, he has a pretty good idea where one would go to hide.
There are voices coming from the gym, male voices reciting something. It sounds... like the Pledge of Allegiance. Once in a while they say something else, calling to each other. It's the remaining three agents--maybe recitation is a good way to push back against Quiddity's intrusive thoughts. Two of them are on either side of the door to the girl's bathroom, another is keeping watch over the rest of the gym. They're not doing great, but they're making progress.
Just keep crawling, just keep crawling -- thank you, Finding Nemo, for giving Spider-Girl a li'l piece of copyright infringement to silently repeat to herself to keep moving in the face of telepathically-induced FEAR. ...though, yes, watching the hordes start moonwalking away does help.
|"Gym,"| Spider-Girl announces into her comm, perching over the door. |"And... creepy. Agents inside, trying not to lose it. Laura? No. Snikting. I got this, okay?"|
Spider-Girl doesn't wait for a response. She just pushes the door open, heedless of the dark, and slinks into the gym without setting foot on the floor. Nope. Up the wall, across the ceiling... and above the trio of agents' heads. She can't /see/ in the dark, but that's what the flashlight app on her phone is for. She clicks it on just long enough to see where the agents are, and then its *THWIP*THWIP*THWIP*
With luck, Spider-Girl will have them wrapped up and hanging safely from the ceiling. Without it, she will probably get goddamn shot at, AGAIN, UGH, WHATEVER.
Laura has unusual reactions to things. Like Fear. Her training at the hands of Weapon X has left her with strange tendencies, like a fight or flight that is both strong and skewed to 'fight'. Still, Anya's assurances help. "Right, right. Friends. We have friends, they'll keep them away..." she shoulders open the door to the gym. Almost looses it, even with Anya handling the agents-- her claws pop, then slowly retract as she struggles it all down.
Instead, she prowls across the floor, chasing the scent even though the agents sort of pointed the way already. It's easier to ignore the rest when she's focused on the one thing. "Just get her and we can get out, yes yes..." She points. "That way. Maybe..." she glances at Spoiler. "You could talk to her," she suggests. It's certainly better than sticking Laura in a room with the girl, Sam's been having demony-related issues, and Anya's wearing a spider-suit.
|"Killing ALL OF THE LIGHTS, check!"| sings out Aura, and delicately sticks her magnetic 'fingers' into the system, pushing and pulling and treating the electricity a little bit like taffy. |"Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow~~ hey, crap, I'm coming up there. I promise not to read anything. I can't read in the dark anyway. She's scared, huh? I can be not-scary! Especially in roller skates! Alternately getaway-car."|
No, this time the ridiculously-costumed raver's just straight-up flying, rocketing through the halls and letting doors bang behind her. Gym. Gym. That huge open empty space with the girders and the halogen lights up top. Gymmmm.
Spoiler's not far behind Laura, and when she makes it to the gym, she's ready for action with a batarang in her right hand and taser in her left as she charges through the door.
"Wildc--" she begins to exclaim--to the suspended agents and her teammates. She barely has a chance to let the dejection sink in, though, as Laura's suggestion draws her gaze to the locker room. "Fine, fine," she mutters as she tucks her weapons away and makes for the door. "I'll /talk/ to the bad guy..."
THWIP THWIP. Sure enough, the three mooks don't stand a chance. Sam's on his way--making his own light, when he almost runs into the beams of flashlights streaking down one of the halls from the front of the school. He freezes in the dark but he doesn't have to listen hard. He can hear the sound of someone slapping a semi-automatic weapon. Then, voices. He holds his breath.
"Law enforcement is coming in. Think DJ got out of the way," he murmurs. "They're talking terrorism and biochemical weapons. This is not good." There's a teacher on the floor at his feet with a gorilla mask on. He crouches and pulls it off. "I'm going to keep them busy. Aura, as soon as you can, melt the bullets, whatever you can do to stop them from shooting." The moment he has the mask on, he steps out into the hall and lets loose a brilliant shield sphere at the oncoming SWAT team.
In the girls' bathroom, Quiddity is trying to get out. She's a skinny kid, no bigger than Spoiler, with black hair and pale skin and purple eyes. She'll hit out with whatever psychic power she can muster but when it comes to targeting, she's not very good. "Not real," she keeps saying. "They send all the masks but there's no one behind them."
|"I've got a mask, so... I'll wait out here."| Yes. Spider-Girl will just chill with the webbed gov't fellows. Sam and Aura can handle the po-po's, Spoiler can handle Quiddity herself, and Laura... |"Laura, c'mere,"| she suggests, reaching over to rummage in one of the captured agents' jackets. |"Let's try to figure out who these guys are."|
Laura is pacing the floor, trying to keep herself active so Quiddity doesn't infringe on her too badly. It's... almost working. Laura's had a run-in with the people after her too recently to keep it out entirely, and keeps half-popping her claws as she's back and forth like a tiger in a cage-- which is exactly what her head comes up like when Spider-Girl gets her attention.
She blinks a couple of times, confused, before nodding and scurrying over. "Yes. This is something we do," she murmurs, and starts methodically going through one of their jackets, scowling as the man struggles in the webbing a little. "Stop or I'll make you stop," she growls in the sort of tone that results in an immediate sessation of squirming.
Spoiler's domino mask is tucked safely away; as long as Quiddity doesn't get too good of a look at the batarang-shaped bulge in her pocket, she's a fine candidate for talking the paranoid mentalist down.
Nevermind that Q's psychic flailing is sending cold pinpricks cascading over her skin; if she runs through enough P!nk songs in her head, she should be able to keep herself from freaking out. She hopes.
"Those are, like, not goin' anywhere," she quietly observes after observing Quiddity's scratching for a short while. "And those guys who were covering the door" she jerks a thumb towards the door "are hanging from the ceiling, so, like, really, big waste'a time, here." Taking a step forward and offers a very real hand out to the frightened girl.
"All those... people freaking out with you are being contained, too," she quietly adds. "So, I mean, any time you wanna... maybe... I don't know, settle down and take a breath? Maybe leave peacefully? Lemme know."
Flying flyyying! |"Check,"| says Aura shortly, and as soon as she starts getting close to gun-shapes, she lands and keeps going on the rollerskates-- and oh god what, she's figure-skating for a minute there, in sparkly-ass disco costume, glittering in the light of Sam's blast shield. "Hey! I just met you, and this is craaa-zy!" she sings out, and pretty much kills any credence to the theory that she's actually Dazzler. See, Alison Blaire can /actually sing/.
Besides, Aura has purple hair. But the not-singing, yeah. Otherwise it could be dye and Lady Gaga fashion sense. Her eyes aren't focused on much of anything at all, because all her attention's on her magnetic sense: there, those are the guns. Those are the backup guns. Those are the bullets *in* the guns. Those are the tear gas grenades. Those are the flashbangs. There are guns that don't look loaded-- she can worry about those in a minute. Right now--
--right now the Chinese girl is lifting her hands and making fists of them, making it look like some kind of dance move. Look! Skating in place! "So here's my number! And call me, maybe!" Crunch. Cruuuunch. Whine squeal scrape clank CRUNCH. Anyone who gets a shot off with real bullets before she starts gun-squishing, they'll have to contend with a hall-wide wall of like-to-like magnetic force, a field that should significantly slow, if not actually freeze the bullets in place.
Sam and Aura are causing all kinds of panic and mayhem, but with few casualties. That's good because the longer they hold off the law, the more yahoos pile in. They're storming the side-halls now.
"We'll get out," Sam assures Aura. He has no idea if she's as claustrophobic as he is but right now, he's feeling a little tested in the dark halls with shots being fired at him. That's not good. Something--not Aura--is pressing outward on the hall walls, bending lockers and shattering glass.
All the ID on the agents suggests that they're part of the CIA. Not who you'd expect to be tracking down a young girl who posts too many fliers. These guys are also packing some weird headphones, maybe as a countermeasure to her hypnosis.
Quiddity is looking oddly at Spoiler. "You have two faces," she murmurs. "And no mask. Two names. The others have masks and no faces. But you came with masks. You smell like masks. Like lies." Quiddity paces around Spoiler and tilts her head as though she's listening. "No, no. No mask. If she has no mask and has two faces, it's not her fault." She stops and looks at Spoiler. "They say that you should die, but that's not the rules. The rules are one face has to be the mask. The other is the lie."
Spider-Girl eyes the weird headphones a moment before she shrugs and pulls a pair on. WHAT COULD IT HURT, RIGHT? She's quiet a moment, squinting, before she yoinks a second set off another agent and offers them to Laura. "Dunno if these'll help but it's worth a go."
|"CIA? Weird... well! We need to pick an exit,"| Spider-Girl adds, bringing her phone's light up again to peer around the gym. How many sets of doors does she need to be keeping track of here... |"I'm gonna lock up all the doors we're /not/ usin' to try and slow the cops down, and we can make a run for it through whatever is left."| And by 'lock,' she means 'lock and web profusely'. She's gonna need some serious burgerage once they're all done here. |"Spoiler? Do you think she'll come quiet if she doesn't see masks? If... if you can say without it standing out?"|
Laura goes through the ID, frowning. "Yeah," she agrees, trying to keep enough focus to go over the things without fraking out. "Weird." She makes curious noise as Laura hands her the headphones, trying them on, then makes a face and yanks them back off with that look she gets when someone blows a high-pitched whistle nearby. Apparently? Not so well-tuned for super-senses. "I think it's broken," she decides.
Spoiler keeps an eye on the circling girl, turning in place as necessary to make sure she's never out of sight for long. The psychic's rambling mostly just keeps her on edge... until it becomes about dying; at that point, she swallows and shrinks a couple steps away from Q, right hand coming up to show that she means no harm. Her right, meanwhile, is gently pressed against her ear; she scratches at it a little now and again, in the hopes that Quiddity will assume she's itchy, rather than holding a comm channel open.
|"Uh, um, what I meant to say was--I mean, okay, yes, there is girl with a spider mask outside, granted, but she'd never hurt a fly!"| Beat. |"For food or otherwise. I, it--it's more of a personal safety thing than a dishonesty thing, y'know? She's only here to make sure nobody gets hurt--/I'm/ only here to make sure nobody gets hurt. I, uh, don't think anyone needs to... you know... /die/ over it, or anything..."|
"Of course we'll get out," Aura tells Sam with the disparaging confidence that she's a world-class master of. Apparently she's not claustrophobic. "But I'm thinking we should probably pick up who we can-- the kids and teachers left inside? And stick 'em in one place so they don't get shot up by these bozos. Or get them out, because once -we- get out, I'm not going to be able to deal with this wall bullshit. Also? You don't look so good. I can handle this from here if you want to start evac or something."
Now that she's squished the guns and stolen the grenades, she waggles her hands at the crowd in front of her. "Yo! Get the hell out of here, we're trying to keep people from getting killed and *you're* making it *very hard*. Not to mention some /asshole/ is messing with the /walls/ and I have no idea /who/, and /you/ probably can't deal with whoever it is. This is NOT your job. You TOTALLY don't get paid enough. And you can tell your bosses that *Lady Gaga* said so!" She half-turns to shake her butt.
The SWAT team isn't so impressed by Lady Gaga's butt shaking as they are by the wave of magic that distorts reality as it washes down the halls, making everything disappear in its wake. Everyone's just teleported outside, but it looks impressive in the moment.
"I need to get out of here," Sam says tightly. "Before I start killing people." He pulls off his goggles and stuffs them in his pockets. "I can't do this right now."
Sam needs to get back to being Sam, the guy who mends people's socks and cuddles babies and things. "We have to move out," he says over the comms. "Laura, the bathroom windows are barred, you can cut them. "If she accepts Spoiler, she should accept you. Try and get her out that way."
The SWAT teams are firing tear gas in now, the halls are filling with smoke. "Aura, get to the gym and cover them. I'm going out by the roof."
Quiddity looks almost swayed, then she pauses. "More masks are coming. Masks without faces, and they hunt." She lunges and grabs Spoiler by the front of her shirt. "We have to go. The hunters are coming. They come with the maskless faceless ones. The empty suits." She tries to drag Spoiler toward the windows.
|"Bathroom windows,"| Spider-Girl repeats, flashing a thumbs-up at Laura. |"Check. I'll follow you guys out so I don't scare her,"| she offers, already tugging the webbed men down from the ceiling. Here. Sit down here, where the nice tear gas-flinging SWAT team can easily reach you. "Sit. Stay. Gooood feds," she says brightly, ruffling one of the poor CIA spooks' hair before she turns to scurry towards the girls bathroom. She's only going in once Laura's gotten the window cleared and Quiddity is outside. Hurry up hurry up hurry up hurry up~
"Okay okay, go go," yeeps Aura, her hands flying up to her mouth, eyes wide. |"Guys I got the gym covered per Sam--"| she says, tapping her hand to her ear and flying like batshit for the gym doors, then unlocking them and going through and jamming them shut behind her, crushing the mechanism shut and breaking all kinds of fire codes. And then right in front of those feds' eyes if they're still even with it, she's dragging bleachers across the floor and toppling them in front of the doors. Then metal chairs for the fire exits! Crunched panicky metal chairs! GOD it's loud in there. |"Lemme know when you're all out and I'm getting the hell out of here."|
Laura is off like a shot, slipping in the bathroom with Spoiler and Quiddity quickly and silently. At first. With an actual threat on the way... "We've got to get her out of here," she says. "They're definitely coming like they mean it, now." Her claws make fast work of the window, and she slips through to make sure the coast is clear, claws retracting. "Coast's clear," she announces, and turns to see if Spoiler needs help coaxing/dragging Quiddity out the window.
"Wha--!" Spoiler stumbles a couple of steps - she was /certainly/ not expecting /that/ reaction - but, well--the two girls are about the same size, and all it takes is for Steph to plant her feet and brace against a sink to keep from going anywhere. "Let--" She grabs at the other girl's hands, trying to pry them free. "--c'mon, I just--I don't even--nngh--look, we are, like, breaking you out of here and the government or whoever won't--ha!"
With her hands wrapped around Quiddity's, she pulls free of the other girl's grasp, then tries to step away and disentangle herself entirely. "--look, just chill, someone--"
Namely, Laura, who gives Spoiler one hell of a start when she speaks up; trying to talk the crazy person down, kind of distracting.
"--uh, is--/here/ to bust us out right /now/, okay?" She turns away to try and climb up onto the sink and hoist herself through the window, then, and assuming that Quiddity doesn't stop her... she'll linger up there, one foot in, one foot out, one hand stretched down to help Q up, if she needs it.
Quiddity is, fortunately, more afraid of a fresh wave of SWAT troopers than she is any strange people and... to her, Laura's not that strange. "You have no mask," she mutters, chasing after Laura. "Your face is your mask, you hide your hands, but your self is true." She takes Spoiler's hand and wriggles out the window. "You have the truth. The others, the suits, their mask is the only face they have."
Outside... eesh. The place is literally surrounded. Fire trucks, SWAT trucks, police evacuating kids and teachers. It might be possible to blend in, if they didn't have someone the government was chasing with them.
Sam, however, is about to provide plenty of distraction. He has to get out before he increases his possession-time body count and he makes his own exit. He goes out through the roof of the school in a ball of red light that spews orange and black sparks like a roman candle. All that magic mixed with his power... this is a best case scenario, really. And no one -- no one -- is looking anywhere but up.
|"Come on, underboob!"| Spider-Girl calls to Aura, and then she's booking it out behind the others. She doesn't crawl up and out the window so much as she fluidly leaps up and through the hole, landing in a three-point crouch near Spoiler and... gapes at the crowd. Oh. Well. Uh. Holy shit.
Thank goodness for Sam. "Time for us to leave," Spider-Girl says quietly, turning towards the others and... gapes at Quiddity. Whose face. Is hidden. Almost like wearing. a. MASK. Her mind is, at least briefly, the mental equivalent of fingers mashing wordlessly across a keyboard before she turns and starts booking it back towards the truck while the crowd is busy staring after Sam. "...come on. We'll figure out where we're going once we're not here."
"Yeah," Laura says in a TOTALLY INTELLIGENT fashion to Quiddity's strange set of remarks, and decides that they get along well enough that she can grab the girl's hand and tug her along before anyone really catches sight of the motley group of girls. "We better get out of here." She tosses Spoiler Sam's keys. "I'll ride in back with her, I guess," she decides, and makes for the alley they left the truck in. Now that they're on the move and there's not so many flyers to read.. well, she's clearing a bit. A bit. Maybe it's just Escape-And-Evade protocols taking over.
The keys are caught on the run; no time to celebrate, though, because there's no telling how long Sam's distraction will be good for. "Don't worry!" Spoiler exclaims as she darts through the crowd, "I'm on it! Learner's permit!"
When they make it to the alley, she hops in behind the wheel, tosses her backpack into the passenger's side seat, and settles in for the ride. Ten and two. Ten and two. Her fingers drum against the wheel a few times as she lets out a shaky breath and tries to recall what road wisdom her mother has managed to impart during her rare moments of lucidity.
|"UNDERBOOB?!"| screeches Aura, more indignant than anyone else ever as she wrenches open one of the high ceiling windows, drops it, and rockets out like a cat on fire. |"I wouldn't throw stones there, alieneyes! JEEZ-US!"| She doesn't make nearly as much of a show, but she's gone as fast as Sam.
The Outsiders manage to make good their escape, with the CIA’s prized target mumbling away in the front seat, wedged between Spider Girl and Spoiler. There’s no way they can take Quiddity back to the Den, so it’s off to one of the basement boltholes that pepper neighborhoods affected by the economic downturn.
All goes well until Sam catches up with them there. He lands as they’re getting out of the truck and one look at him sends Quiddity bolting, leaving a staggering wave of fear and disorientation in her wake. “His face, his face is black! Black and gone!” Gone--like her. By the time everyone recovers from the telepathic assault, there’s no chance of tracking her, not even for Laura. Doing so brings on a paranoia so intense, there’s no paying attention to anything else. She’s gone, for now, but at least they know her face.