|What: A fashion show goes horribly wrong. Thank goodness superheroes are in the neighborhood.|
The new year is only two days into its second month, still the time of year where the winter cold has the city locked in its grasp. It's not snowing, thankfully, but it's chilly. Bone-bitingly so. But that doesn't keep The Wasp from flying around, looking for trouble.
The costume she normally wears has been replaced by something warmer, the style similar but made of different material that helps keeps her cozy regardless of what size she is. Currently standing atop of a mail box, Jan, who is all of a foot and a half in height right now, is looking around as if trying to decide where to go from there.
If you think it's cold just being out on the street this time of year, try riding around on a motorcycle as the wind whips through the urban canyons of Manhattan. Luckily Captain America's uniform takes the brunt of it, but the aforementioned bone-bitting cold stings his face, even through his helmet visor.
The Sentinel of Liberty is currently sitting in traffic waiting for the light to change, not far from the Wasp. People on the street stop and point, and drivers lean out the window honking at each other as some gawkers forget to actually drive.
'I don't much like causing even more of a jam,' Cap thinks, 'but there was no time to change clothes twice between here and Queens.'
The adoring fans' ruckus has Jan turning just in time to see what the source of it is, the sight of Captain America getting a teeny squeal from her when she notices who it is. "Hey, Cap! CAAAAAAAP!" Pause. Oh, right. She's too far to be heard. Duh! Shrnking down, she takes to flight and goes as far as to try and come to a landing upon the hero's shoulder.
"Hey, what does a girl need to do to get a ride around here," she asks teasingly while reaching to poke Cap somewhere, hopefully hard enough to get his attention without startling him. "Didn't think I'd see you again," she adds while taking a seat, her hands curled into the fabric Cap's costume is made of.
Turning his head awkwardly so he can see why there's a voice in his ear and something on his shoulder, Captain America lifts his helmet visor to peer at the Wasp. "Well, hello, again," he says. "I was wondering if we'd run into each other somewhere. Hang on, I was just on my way somewhere warmer where we can talk."
Steering the modified Harley into the Waldorf Hotel's parking garage, Cap dismounts and presses the elevator button.
The ride is a bit harrowing for Janet who isn't used to traveling in this manner. By the time Cap gets to his destination he'll find her white-knuckled and looking like she's a little bit frightened. "I don't think I'll be doing that again." Clearing her throat, she looks around, her head angled to one side and then the other as she grins. "A hotel? We have just met," she teases, letting it hang there.
Captain America is allowed to carry her into the elevator, not bothering to go back to normal height until the time they're inside it and the doors close behind them. "What have you been up to," she asks, question asked to start a conversation as well as to state her curiosity.
"I've been trying to track down that impostor you helped me foil." Cap chuckles at the innuendo while the elevator ride starts. He turns to the now full height woman. "Cute, but I assure you my intentions are stric -- Oh! Well that explains why you --"
Laughing again at the memory of him telling Janet to hide while he called the police, Captain America changes his mind about whatever it is he is going to say. "I see I'm not the only famous one in this elevator," he continues, polite enough not to yell 'Hey, you're Janet van Dyne!'. "What do we call you, when you're dressed for adventuring?" Cap asks with a wink. "If you don't pick a sobriquet, the media will saddle you with something." He is clearly amused by something he isn't saying out loud.
Janet has the good grace not to laugh but there's amusement in her expressions as well as in her eyes. "If you ever get it into your mind to misbehave let me know." The playfulness is put aside as she remembers the other day, the day when she fought with Captain America to take out the meanie, the memory enough to cause her to become quite somber. "Any idea who that man was," she asks, voice slightly trembling.
When her hero name is asked about she can't help but to smirk some. "I go by The Wasp," she says softly. "And yes, the media people are horrible about that, aren't they?"
Captain America nods. "That's a fine codename." Turning serious he continues. "I have my suspicions, but I cannot voice them yet, I need to talk to some people first. But, thank you for your help, and I would like you to come meet the Avengers when I tell them about it."
The elevator door opens depositing the pair in the hallway that runs alongside the Waldorf's function rooms. One of them is set up for a preview of fashion designer Roderick Kingsley's new Valentine's lingerie line. The throng of photographers turn to see Captain America ....and Janet van Dyne! The flashbulbs start popping and the questions fly.
"Ms van Dyne, what do you think of Kingsley's new line?"
"Are you dating Captain America?"
"Are you going to be releasing anything yourself for Valentine's Day?"
The Paparazzi. Oh. Lovely. Of course they just have to be here and when she's seen with her fellow hero. The questions are answered as soon as they're posed, each one given a short answer that should suffice for a reply for now.
"I think it's a lovely line. Very happy for Kingsley who should do well.
"No, we're not dating. We just met for God's sake!"
"I won't be coming out with anything for Valentine's but I will be coming out with a small line soon."
"Sorry, Cap," she murmurs, looking at her companion. "This... happens." A lot more than she wishes it would.
Generally speaking, this isn't the sort of photography work that Peter Parker does. Generally speaking he's able to keep most of his work confined to the activities of Spider-Man. It is usually enough to let him scrape by, even from someone like J. Jonah Jameson. But pickings have been a little thin lately -- it's been over a week since Peter has managed to sell a photo -- and hey, it's that time of the month again. Rent is due. Actually a little overdue. So, since beggers can't be choosers, here he is along side the Daily Bugle's gossip columnist in chief, Miranda Cassin, snapping away at the imperious woman's instructions.
Flashbulbs go off, seemingly dozens at once, and Peter winces, giving a small shake of his head as he lifts away from the eye-sight, shooting a glance towards the older woman. "Do we really have to be here?" he mutters.
"Do you want to eat this week?" comes that snappish reply.
"Point," the young man grumbles. Why did he think being a photographer was a good idea again?
Captain America folds his arms , hiding a smirk behind one glove. "It's fine, " he tells the Wasp. Before he can say anything else there is a scream and the sounds of crashing furniture from inside the function room proper. The doors open and workmen, security guards, and lingerie models come running out in a panic.
Captain America struggles against the current ogf the crowd toward the room. "Stay calm!" he yells, "Let me through!" It has some effect, but the crowd does not completely give way. Some of the media actually try to move into the room to capture whatever it is that's going to happen.
Inside is a bizarre scene. A very tall, very skinny African-American man wearing a tailed black tuxedo and top hat with a cane is piling up manequin parts in the middle of the stage. He is likely 15 feet tall with overlong legs, and moves like an insect. As he arranges the dummy parts he sings:
"All the king's horses and all the king's men, couldn't put the brothers together again."
On the catwalk, A man in what looks like a scarecrow outfit in red and mignight blue with a long red scarf is pointing his palms at a group of models. A lurid gas spews from his hands toward them. As he laughs through the scarf, what little clothing they have on is eaten away. They scramble to cover themselves with tablecloths and whtever else they can find.
While Captain America has to push through the crowd Janet has the advantage of being able to shrink /and/ fly asl well, that being what she does once she realizes there's something going down. "C'mon, Cap! This way." Jan is all too happy to lead the patriotic one through the crowds, her wings keeping her aloft when she pause so he can catch up.
The sight on the catwalk has her wincing a bit, the naked girls and the ensuing chaos making Janet gasp as well. "Cap, this is not good!" A hand shoots out towards the laughing, scarf-wearing figure, her eyes wide. "Who the hell is that?"
Click* *Click* *Click* *Buzz* A dozen different cameras go off, shadows dancing in that hallway as flash after flash explodes in that brief instant of bright light. And Peter is right there with them. Sigh. The constant shift of people doesn't make it easy to get a clean shot and it only grows increasingly hard where there is that sudden scream and the doors to the larger room are thrown open. For a moment all is chaotic, all is in confusion, but the young photographer's gaze seeks out the signs of trouble with a practiced, knowing look, peering through the rush of bodies -- some plainly trying to flee the room while others cram in against them, almost frantic to get closer to the confusion.
"Oh thank god," comes Peter's exclaimation. A strage one, given the circumstances. Or maybe not. Anything has to be better then this and all things considered whatever is going on in that room is much more his speed. "You stay here. You'll never push through this crowd," he instructs Miranda before starting to dart down the hall in the other direction. "Me either for that matter and Jonah will kill me if I don't get some pics. I'm gonna go try one of the other doors," he calls back over his shoulder as he rounds the corner, one hand already darting towards the collar of his shirt.
Finally getting through the civilians, Captain America charges into the room. "I can wait until they're behind bars to find out, Wasp." Slipping the Shield of Freedom from his back, Cap hurls it toward the floor. It skips up like a stone to catch the man in rags behind the knees, knocking him to the floor. Cap jumps up on to stage and sommersaults forward twisting to put himself between the scarfed figure and the models. All of sudden Cap gags, waving his hand in front of his face.
"Whoever he is, he needs a bath."
The downed villian gets to his feet again. "I'll dirty those nice stripes and we will see how you smell!" he yells in a raspy voice and unwinds the scarf. He snaps it at Captain America's feet and yanks, returning the favor. As Cap falls to the ground he misses the returning shield.
"Pardon the Tatterdemalion," the other man says in a sing-song voice, "he knows little of manners." Turning toward the door, he raises both eyebrows. "Wasp did you say? Alow me to introduce myself," he says taking of the hat and bowing. "I am Daddy Longlegs. I do so enjoy meeting other insects...." With creepily long strides he slithers over toward Wasp. "and having them for dinner!" He swings the hat around trying to catch Wasp in it.
Unnoticed for the moment, the mannequin parts start to shake and jump, inching ever closer and closer together.
Huh. No kidding someone needs a bath. Janet pauses to fan the air from her face but then she finds herself distracted when she's addressed by the creepy guy. "Daddy Longlegs," Jan quips while watching warily, her eyes narrowed. That name alone is enough to cause her worry, the concern growing when he moves closer to her. "You think I'm something you can eat but let me tell y... eeek!"
The hat is deftly dodged by the flying woman, the breeze that comes off of it when it's swept past her causing her to get caught in a bit of a draft. It blows her a bit further from the ne'r-do-well, keeping her nice and safe. "Wow.... what a wiffer! Good thing you don't try to make a living playing baseball!"
Not wanting to play nice, Jan's hands come up and energy bolts fly from each palm, the Stings aimed right for Longlegs.
The confusion hasn't quite reached this side hallway yet, for which Peter Parker is rather grateful. There are times that trying to keep a secret identity is a royal pain in the ass. For instance, wearing his costume under his clothes. Oh, it's not so bad at the moment. Right now, in the dead of winter, an extra layer of clothing is even rather welcome. But in the middle of summer? No so much. Not to mention the hassles of trying to find a little privacy to change. In a city with as many people crammed into it as New York, that can be something of an accomplishment at times. But he has a moment now. His mask is slipped over his head, that outer layer of clothes come off and within seconds Peter Parker is gone, leaving only Spider-Man standing in the hall.
Clothing stashed away, his backpack webbed into a discrete corner, the red and blue clad hero -- or menace, depending on your choice of morning paper -- sprints to the nearest entrance to where the fashion show has been disrupted, a little side door. Pushing it open, he slips inside, almost immediately taking to the wall, climbing to a better vantage point as he looks over the scene. "Wow, that's creepy," he comments. But he's quickly distracted from the rather unique pair, his gaze falling on the wiggling parts of the mannequin. "Eeeeew," he adds, one hand spraying out sticky strands of his webbing, blanketing what looks to be a limb of some sort.
The energy blasts fly at Daddy Longlegs. One strikes him square in the chest. "Arrrrgh!" He twists just enough and angles his overlong spindly legs and arms such that the second one passes by. The whole maneuver looks like a distorted plie'. He even strecthes out one arm and picks up his fallen hat. "That was rather rude!" he complains, sounding pained. He sees the arriving Spider-Man covering his work with webbing. "One spider at this dance is quite enough!"
Daddy Longlegs strides over to where Spider-Man is perched, his fifteen foot height easily putting the Amazing Arachnid in reach. He steps over the parts pile, Tatterdemalion and Captain America as if he was on stilts, obviously inhumanly quick and agile. He swings his cane at Cap as he goes by. "Tatters! Fix that!" he yells.
Tatterdemalion kicks at Captain America and darts toward the web covered pile. He releases his gas at the webbing. It starts to sizzle, but whatever synthetic polymer makes up the strands is going to take longer to dissolve than mere lingerie.
Captain America grabs his shield and blocks Daddy Longlegs' swing. The cane meets the shield with a *SPLANG*! revealing it is made of some sort of metal. Cap leaps at Tatterdemalion, grtabbing a fistful of dirty clothes. "This one is slippery too! He's coated with some sort of grease!" Cap and the raggedy man go down in a heap as Cap switches to wrestling holds.
Daddly Legs pushes a button at the top of his cane. A wicked point of steel comes out of the other end. He starts thrusting it at Spider-Man, attempting to skewer him.
The manniquen parts partially join toghether, impeded by the webbing from becoming full figures. The heads start to talk in a jumbled slur of words like someone keeps changig a radio station. Snatches of familiar chidhood tunes are heard admist the cacophony along with words like Rumplestitskin, Hansel, Gretel, and Cinderella.
The Wasp is momentarily forgotten.
The Wasp continues her basts, now not only targeting Longlegs but the one with him as well, one hand aimed at each of the villainous figures as she fires off round after round of Stings. "Now look. Let's stop this stupidity," she yells but her words break off, her attention divided now upon realizing there is a third good guy.
Spidey's watched for awhile before she dashes over to Cap, her attack halted. "Looks like we got some help," she announces while tugging on him, trying to get him to look quickly, her own attention on Tatters and his boss.
Well, so much for a discrete entrance. But hey, that's the way it goes sometimes and really, as quiet and unassuming as Peter Parker can be much of the time, once he slips that mask on he does seem to seek out the centre of attention. For good or ill. Probably a little ill in this particular instance. He doesn't have any particular desire to be skewered. Fortunately he's a pretty slippery little thing.
The small point in the back of his neck thrums each time his advesary draws back and attempts to impale him, subtley shifting on the wall, leaping from spot to spot, even clinging to the ceiling itself to avoid those thrusts, most of them going wide and only one ripping a tear in his costume. "Oh, you just had to go and do it, didn't you? Do you have any idea how much I hate sewing? And it's not like I can just drop it off for anyone else to repair," he complains as he occupies Daddy Longlegs attention, darting too and fro on the ceiling. Each second he has to spare he puts it to good use, laying down a mess of weblines that increasingly cordones off this little part of the room, leaving less and less room to manuever down below without running into them.
Daddy Longlegs gets more and more annoyed as thrust after thrust misses Spider-Man, instead the tall man's spear peppers the walls and ceiling with holes. He's not helped either by the barrage of Wasp's Stings. Eventually he winds up in a near fetal position in a corner of the sub-area Spider-Man has built.
Tattrdemalion also is pelted with the bioenergy. He collapses, apparently not as tough (or agile) as Daddy Longlegs. Unfortunately the attack agitates whatever it is that's under his layers of tatter that stinks. The entire room is dosed in what smells like a mix of body odor and chloroform.
Captain America lets go of the unconscious villain and covers his face with his hands. Taterdemalion falls on top of the pile of parts and webbing.
Daddly Longlegs suddenly unfolds himself while the heroes are gagging and coughing. Between his ability to bend and twist, and the blade on the end of his cane he cuts just enough of Spider-Man's barricade to slip out. He cuts free one of the manequin heads and takes it.
"You may have stolen the scene tonight heroes, but alas, I fear I must take my curatin call. No encores. Adieu." With a last bow, Daddy Longless crawls under the stage and like out whatever tiny space he came in through.
Captain America pulls a big banner with Roderick Kingsley's logo off the wall and throws it over Tatterdemalion in an attempt to minimize the fumes. As the chaos of battle subsides, oustide, the security team's radios make it clear the police and other authorities have been alerted. The mannequin parts go still.
The remaining head says quietly, "The cheese stands alone." It almost sounds lonely.
"Pew, pew, pe... oh. Grooooooooss!" Wasp gags a little as the rancid scent intensifies, making her about vomit right then and there. Takes the little flier a bit but she soon recovers. Not soon enough to stop the long-limbed jerkwad from making with his exit but at least she isn't going to be ill.
"Hey Cap! Looks like we lost one," comes a headcount, Janet yelling. "Where did the freak go?" Turning ever so slightly, she looks at Spidey and beams. "Thanks for the assist!"
Even clinging to the ceiling Spider-Man is not entirely immune to the stench. While much of it fills the air lower, enough still reach him so that the arachnid hero wrinkles his nose beneath that mask -- his expression thankfully hidden away. When Daddy Long-Legs makes his break for freedom, Spidey sends a webline winging after him, narrowly missing. Dropping from his ceiling perch for a better angle, the red and blue garbed man lands in a crouch, arms extended and... promptly gags. "Ugh, that's rancid," he says as his foe slips free, out of sight.
Straightening slowly, he holds a hand to where his mouth would be beneath that mask, glancing towards the Wasp. "I'd like to be able to say that it was my pleasure, but..." he trails off, making a gagging noise again. "I'd be lying. Man, somehow I always imagined saving a bunch of naked lingerie models as being a lot more fun. I guess it's just one more way that you can build expectations up a little too high in your head," he adds with a regretful sigh before turning his gaze over towards where Cap has the last threat well in hand.
Elbowing her way *GENTLY!* through some of the crowds... people likely trying to flee the scene, Carol is in her street clothes and definitely not dressed for a fashion show. But she wasn't here as an invited guest, or even as one of the models. Not her style at all! Too much tomboy in her. Carol decided to try to get her journalist side kickstarted a bit with an editorial about the show for the Planet over in Metropolis. but... alas, she was a bit late. She'd claim it was due to traffic and not really want to tell anyone that her cat Chewie, had made her chase him around her loft to retrieve her lucky hat for twenty minutes. Finally though, she got here and with a digital recorder in one hand, she works her way into the room
"Huh... this is what passes for the latest in fashion these days?" she asks nobody in particular. "Whoa, what's that smell?" she asks as her hand whips out her phone and she snaps a shot of Spiderman for the... Daily Planet. Oh, that's gonna leave a certain Jamisonish editor green with envy. "Everything alright here?!" she calls out, both as a reporter, and well... Cap at least should know that she's not -just- a civilian. Even if it's in the way she holds herself. Odds are he knows her alter ego quite well but even if that doesn't register, she's got a posture, a stance that reeks of some training... military style.
Adjusting his shield, Captain America cracks a smirk at Spider-Man's model remark. "I'll second that, Avenger. Nice going, foiling whatever he was doing with these dummies." Cap acknowleges that the wall-crawler is a teammate it in that all-inclusive-everybody-can-do-their-part style. Turnig to Wasp he says, "You win some, you lose some. Wasp, Spider-Man. Spider-Man, Wasp. She's new in the--"
Before Cap can complete the introduction a reporter is brave enugh to come in, "We're all fine here, how are y--". Cap raises both eyebrows at 'the reporter'. Yes he heard from the other SHIELD folks that Carol was attemoting to return to journalism. Far be it from him to ruin her 'secret identity' any more than he will Wasp's -- never mind that Janet's not wearing a mask and the entire media throng called by her real name before the bruhaha.
"...you?" he finishes.
The Wasp smiles and waves enthusiastically at the same time she starts to shift sizes, growing until she hits 5'4". As she does so her wings disappear and her feet lightly find their way to the floor. "Nice to meet you," she quips with a grin, the wave then given to Carol. "Hi!" For someone who about lost her lunch a few moments ago she sure perks up fast!
Leaning in against Cap while she listens, waiting for a lull in conversation before whispering up to him, "You didn't strike me as the naked model type, Cap. What other wonderfully wicked secrets do you have that you can share with me?"
"Oh, you know me. I'm always up for some good foiling. Though I prefer not to lose my lunch doing it," Spidey points out, doing his best to avoid breathing through his nose. Even through the mask it is still disgusting. "Or to get sliced up. I really need my own seamstress," he says with another sigh before his gaze flickers towards the door where someone has finally managed to push their way past the throng of reporters and photographers. And somewhere out there amongst them is his bane -- well, his bane for the day... no one can replace Jonah in that position for long -- no doubt wondering just where Peter Parker has run off to. It takes a moment for recognition to dawn, but the reporter there is not just familiar to Cap, but to himself as well. Or at least Peter. Once more, the joys of secret identities.
Well, never one to let an opportunity lie, Carol snaps a shot or two more, mutters a few words into her recorder and then tucks them both away. She'll write this up later and send it off to Perry. "Well, the three of you seem to have everything well in hand." she says with a smirk on her face as she eyes Cap. Janet's enthusiastic greeting makes her smile a bit and she steps forward. "Nobody's the worse for wear then?" she adds. "No injured bystanders, or even half naked models?" Then another waft of that stench hits her and she mutters, "Wow, should get some housekeeping air freshener in here. Maybe keep a watergun loaded with the stuff for the next time someone tries that as an escape plan..."
But then she speaks up, "I don't suppose anyone wants to give an official statement for the Daily Planet?" she asks with a smirk.
Is Cap blushing at whatever Wasp said or is it the remains of Tatterdemalion's funk? He looks at Wasp and Spider-Man, "I'll give a statement if you two need to go," he says. He knows Spider-Man at least tends to avoid the media if he can help it. "Besides, I want someone, SHIELD, STAR Labs, Stark Industries -- to take these " he tilts his head at the remaining pieces "into custody. I'm going to stand watch until they get here."
Oh Cap. You're so cute when you blush! But Jan won't say so as she has enough tact not to bring that kind of thing up while in public. "I'll let Cap do the talking since I'm just one of the..." Minor league players? B-listers? Just how should Janet describe herself. "Well... yeah! Captain America has my permission to speak for me!"
"Statement? Statement? Oh, I'd absolutely love to make a statement to the press! Oh wait, I hear my Mommy calling me. She wouldn't like me talking to strangers," Spidey says with a small shrug of his shoulders. "Another time," he says, flipping a pair of fingers in a little salute before pointing towards Captain America. "This. This is why he rocks. Forget about the shield, or the Sentinel of Liberty thing. It's throwing himself on the press grenade. You sir are an officer and a gentleman. Well, I mean the officer thing is a little self-evident I guess. I mean, 'Captain' and all that, but..." he says, rambling on even as he turns for the nearby door, a half dozen steps carrying him back out into that side hallway. No to just recover his backpack, change and convince Miranda that he found a perfect little hiding spot to stay out of sight and get the shots that he did. Not a bad days worth of work after all. There will be ramen noodles for dinner this week! Rent will be paid! Life is good.