|Of Gods and Men - Bastion|
|What: Brainwashed Assassins of the Mandarin assault the Bastion but there are heroes to save it!|
They had been playing on the roof top, in the garden. A God, a Goddess, and a pair of rambunctious god-children. No one expected Thor to suddenly go down when his son tackled his knees. Usually, the Thunderer would drift up, chuckling about how to best grapple an opponent while Sif flung grapes at his head and countered every suggestion as being made by someone too strong for his own good.
This time, Arnthor clamped around Thor's knees right as Thor's head turns toward Genosha, and down he went. He caught himself with his hands just before impacting the ground fully.
"Sif, get thy armor, and send the children to Volstagg's. Now," was all Thor had to say to get his wife moving and demanding the children not argue. Thor, armor summoned, had paced the garden until Sif returned.
"That way," Thor says, pointing with Mjolnir a mere ten minutes later, the Goddess at his side. A nod, and the two vanished from New York and flew/teleport-jumped to here.
Kilroy is in complex across from the tower called the Coleco. It's an administrative complex of the old regime, largely kept as a trophy and reminder of times gone by, which is why Kilroy also has his office there. He has it largely to himself but it does have a magnificent view of the Spire. He's got more than a dozen monitors in his office, trying to figure out contingencies to keep the US economy afloat, trying to protect Genosha's economy if it crashes, and trying to track his father's moves and counter moves as they swarm around the Trillion Dollar Coin in Kentucky, like Samurai staring before a duel, each daring the other to draw first.
He opens a small minifridge, takes out a soda and walks to the balcony. There is so much to do. Maybe he should take a side kick or something. It worked for Batman. Money Lad? Economy Lad? Dollar Kid? He shuddered. Maybe he should get a costume that wasn't ridiculous first. He looked at the uniform he wore as the Invisible Hand, putting it on. It was sleek, black, with a simple slightly armored helmet. Why couldn't he just pay someone to design a costume for him? Yet that wasn't as practical in unexpected moments. He smiled when he realized he'd rather deal with economic imperilments than try to design a decent costume.
Something began to echo in Kilroy's mind. A stirring of leaves. A rustle of wind. The island itself almost seemed to groan. He looked up and about. It seemed like a warning...but...what...and where?
For his part, J'onn has...challenged Magneto to a game of chess. A game he knows he'll lose - J'onn is a fair player, but Magneto ranks as a Grand Master. But that, of course, is not the point of the exercise. The point is to find out what he can of what the arrogant Master of Magnetism might be up to. His flight towards Genosha, thus, is unhurried through the evening sky. As yet, he is not aware of any issues. He's heading straight for the tower, though, as the most likely place to find the man he seeks. Red cape trails behind him and, perhaps alerted, he starts to increase speed.
"Ha ha! Ol' Gambit wins again bitches!" It's always distasteful for a man in his thirties to do a victory dance. It's especially distateful for a man in his thirties to do a victory dance that's as exuberant and explicitly erotically-charged as the one that Gambit begins doing after throwing his cards down on the table at the smallish cafe that the locals have set up just far enough away from Bastion to not be interfered with.
However, it's most especially distasteful for a man in his thirties to do a victory dance when the opponents that he has defeated are a group of mutant kids between the ages of ten and fifteen.
"That's what you get when you challenge me to Uno, son! You get deese nuts..." His voice trails off and his victory dance slows to a grinding halt as something begins beeping on his arm. "Ah... son of a... guess I'll have to take the rest of your allowances some other time, my friends. Never grow up, people start expecting you to come a runnin' every time there's a crisis."
The man leans over the table, scooping up the handful of quarters and dollars that constitute the 'pot' and stuffing them in the inside pocket of his overcoat. "Later bitches. Gambit's out." With a dramatic swirl of his trenchcoat, and an equally-dramatic adjustment of his lapels, he walks in the direction of the spire.
As he walks off, the kids look at each other. "What a douche-bag."
Vorpal tries not to get worked up about trends and rumors- not when the city creates ten rumors per every nugget of truth out there. Nevertheless, he had a hunch that this particular set of rumors was not something to be scoffed at. Call it Cheshire sense. Call it being attuned to chaos. Call it having an internet connection.
Thus, Vorpal is taking this particular patrol around the city very seriously. Just in case. You never know.
He does allow himself a little break, to sip the capuccino he had ordered when he paused. Man, you'd think those baristas had never seen a cheshire in spandex before...
"Well... so far, so good. The sky hasn't fallen." He says, sitting on the edge of a rooftop and sipping his coffee.
The explosion shatters the tranquility of Genosha like a china plate breaking in a quiet shop. The first blast sends bodies and equipment flying from near the base of the Spire, the black tower that dominates the view of the city itself. Emergency crews are fast to respond- too fast. The second and third blasts caught them as they approached, each explosion more destructive than a cruise missile. Missiles fly up from the ground, pounding into the side of the Spire and blasting chunks out of the steel. It's some kind of terrorist attack, to be certain, one that seems to have caught Genosha completely by surprise. Of Magneto, there is no sign- only calamity and the sounds of gunfire filling the streets as from nowhere, mercenary-looking warriors start shooting indiscriminately. Explosions blossom across Bastion, much smaller but no less terrifying in scope. Many of the attackers appear to be mutants themselves, attacking without discrimination in the ensuing panic. The Spire seems to be in no danger of collapse, but it has clearly been badly damaged, to the point that the second sun overhead of the city flickers out and Genosha's warmth dies, replaced by a cool North American ocean breeze that covers the island.
Kilroy is a minor member of the cabinet, though not the Secretary of Education. Still, his role is clear, and he reports in immediately. "Invisible Hand checking in to Battle Command. Who is in charge? I do not see the Imperorator or Quicksilver. Status? Instructions?" He doesn't wait for that of course. He can't. His own problems forgotten, he slides out at fifty miles per hour on a stream of invisible pennies, using an invisible Rai stone to shield fleeing civilians at the fringe of combat. He keeps an eye on buildings. Where there is one explosion, he expects many. "And who the hell are these guys?"
J'onn J'onzz doesn't wait for instructions, or to look for Magneto. He flies right into the tower, bent on pulling people out from within the structure. Some, no doubt, can fly on their own, but not all mutants are gifted with flight, teleportation, or any other power that might assist their escape. If the spire falls...well. He wants to make sure it's empty if it does, blurring with speed as he begins to rescue the civilian workers within. He'll set them down a good distance, as far as he can without wasting time, away from the incident.
With the Imperator gone and Quicksilver on mission, there are a few long minutes of chaos until one of the city watch leaders gets communications established. "We are sending a battalion to reinforce the civic guard!" comes the words to Kilroy. "Who /are/ these guys?" someone else demands over the radio. It devolves into meaningless chatter on the communications network as people scramble to respond to the attackers.
The moment they arrive and explosions start to go off, Sif moves. "The fires, Thor!" And then the Goddess is moving. More specifically, she's teleporting. Over and over to gete as many civilians out as possible.
Seeing J'onn, she calls out to him, "Can you find them?" Them being whoever has started this. Once she has a clear fix, it is a good idea simply to let her go. She is, after all, the Goddess of War for a reason.
In mid-strut, an explosion sends Gambit flying nearly thirty feet away. As he vaults through the air, only his kinetically-charged physique and his preternatural agility keep him from landing with his legs bent the wrong way. But as it is, the wind is knocked out of him and it takes him a few minutes to come back around and get his bearings.
As he stands up, he begins coughing uncontrollably to the point that he nearly doubles over. A hole has been rubbed all the way through the elbow of his coat and torn up the skin beneath, but he doesn't seem to notice or care.
He spits out a mouthful of blood and two broken pieces of teeth. But he doesn't seem to notice or care.
In the distance, he can hear more explosions and sounds of violence. He barely notices these, nor does he seem to care.
Instead, his attention is transfixed on the scene behind him. The cafee that he was in mere moments ago is now a smoking ruin. The roof begins to cave in as flames rapidly consume the hastily-constructed structure.
Mercifully, whoever was inside most likely died instantly.
The fires! Thor nods to Sif's words, lifting into the air as the Goddess teleports from civilian to civilian. High enough the Thunderer lifts Mjolnir up and summons rain, lots and lots of rain.
say Get some Angels in here. Knowing who and wha...never mind. We've got a telepath. These guys are indiscriminate. Repeat. They are attempting to do as much damage as possible. Spread mobile assets out, do not concentrate forces too much, sweep for explosives. Expect more waves." He wishes now he'd taken the Trillion Dollar coin...he wouldn't have such limits on his power. He should have put the Bank of Genosha near the spire. Should have. Didn't. He puts the Rai stone between yet another fleeing woman with her child, unseen, Invisible as his name bespeaks, tracing any money these fools brought with them. Even a shred of it would give him a clue as to their identity. . o O "Mr. ManHunter...can you hear me? Who are these people? Battle Command is sending a battalion. Can you sense how many are still alive in the Spire?"
Kilroy says, "Get some Angels in here. Knowing who and wha...never mind. We've got a telepath. These guys are indiscriminate. Repeat. They are attempting to do as much damage as possible. Spread mobile assets out, do not concentrate forces too much, sweep for explosives. Expect more waves." He wishes now he'd taken the Trillion Dollar coin...he wouldn't have such limits on his power. He should have put the Bank of Genosha near the spire. Should have. Didn't. He puts the Rai stone between yet another fleeing woman with her child, unseen, Invisible as his name bespeaks, tracing any money these fools brought with them. Even a shred of it would give him a clue as to their identity. . o O "Mr. ManHunter...can you hear me? Who are these people? Battle Command is sending a battalion. Can you sense how many are still alive in the Spire?"
<< I can hear you. Hold on. >> J'onn is receiving two contradictory requests. He addresses the easiest first, the scan for living minds in the Spire, making a quick count of who might be in there and sending the data to Kilroy even as he continues to retrieve those closest to him. << One moment, Sif. >> He can multitask. He can't multitask *that* quickly. His calm, though, might be a positive influence on those around him.
For a while, the semi-injured Cajun has to fight the urge to run toward the building and try to save someone. Then he has to fight the urge to simply sink to his knees and wallow. But ultimately, the urgent beeping on his wrist communicator gets his attention long enough for him to come to his senses. Even though he's horribly suited for it, Gambit needs to be a soldier today.
As he collects himself, he begins heading toward the spire, which seems as good a place to head as any at the moment. Speaking into his communicator, he gets in touch with the closest contingent of troops available, barking orders in his French-tinged redneck accent. Within moments, he's fighting among a group of Genosha's finest, blowing the ever-loving shit out of some invaders.
The quick responses from Thor and Sif start clearing civilians out, and Kilroy's direction to the city guard help direct the cops to where they are needed most. The tall building seems not likely in immediate danger of collapse, but if there is another salvo of rocket fire, that could change.
The rains put out the fires, keeping them from spreading, and Sif's quick thinking pulls many civilians from the fires inside the monument. Gambit's leadership immediately pulls together a beleaguered squad of soldiers, and turns the tide in one of the larger, more concentrated firefights that broke out.
Hanging it he sky, above the chaos, Thor surveys the area, directing the downpour to settle on the area, cloak it from outside eyes in hopes that whatever is attacking from without will loose line of sight and therefore be unable to continue the onslaught. But he knows too well that Midgardians are capable of long range attacks hitting their marks while blind, and so Thor waits, ready to act as anti-air defense system and prevent further aerial attacks.
And then? J'onn selects one poor soldier, goes into his mind and starts to rummage. Not that anyone would know this...including his unfortunate victim, but they might notice that, for now, he's stopped retrieving civilians. Oh, and he's also not looking at the burning remains of the cafe. Nope. Not looking. If he doesn't look at it, it's not real. Right?
As he steps over the uniform of a soldier that has his head blown off by a frightened Telekinetic, he examines the uniform for insignia. Clues. But above all, his gut tells him this is not the end. Ambush is never a tactical advantage. And he stays to the shadows, both from habit and because he can do the most good that way. He remembers too well the habits of such individuals on First Responder. Kilroy intends to be a Second Responder. He examines the skies...listens to the ground, watches the seas. He focuses primarily on shielding civilians with the Rai stone, listening to chatter on all channels, trying to keep alert and aware.
Sif looks up at Thor. "Thor!" Her eyes shoot to J'onn and then back to the God. A silent 'keep an eye on him and get those damn fires out!'. And then, oddly enough, she pulls out her cell phone.
Even as she continues to pull civilians out, a number she has on speed dial is hit. She'll enter the battle itself in a moment. Once whoever she's calling answers, there's a simple bark of, "Genosha. Now!" And the line goes dead.
Another explosion goes off, sending the Goddess flying backwards. That would explain why the call suddenly dropped at that very least. Good thing she isn't as squishy as the mortals she's been saving.
Name called, Thor looks down. Electric blue eyes meet Sif's, follow her gaze, then recapture. He nods once and resumes his work. Fire fighter Thor rains on the bad guys' parade, and fires. And the explosion that knocked Sif back. thor does glance, does check on his wife, but doesn't rush to her aid. She's tougher than that little explosion. She'll be fine. Back to keeping at eye on Martian (or at least his body), and playing Bastion FD.
Vorpal stares at his cell phone and tries to redial Sif. No answer. "Well, eff me." He gets up quickly from the side of the building, his coffee tumbling over the edge and splattering on the pavement below as he reaches for his JLA comm and calls for a lock-on. As he prepares, he has to wonder what the hell is going on in Genosha. And then, to Thor and Sif, << I know who's behind this. >> At that point, he'll fly further from the fire, because he wants to be a long way from the fire. Another planet would be about right, but he doesn't have that luxury. Instead? Instead he sends a nice blast of psionic energy at the various soldiers. << Also, they're brainwashed. >> Which is why the blast of psionic energy is basically? Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
Sif pushes to her feet. "Of course they are," is muttered under her breath and makes the mental note to incapacitate without killing. She waits only a few heartbeats, enough time for her to take out a few of them before she rolls her eyes and looks up J'onn in annoyance. << Well?? Going to share?? >>
"Vorpal should be on his way!"
Kilroy uses the Rai stone to prevent rubble from falling from the second explosion on one of the cops digging out survivors. He remains hidden.
Brainwashed. Lovely! Thor presses his lips together as shoves a wind gust toward some soldiers, still on their feet, before they can do any more harm, while dialing down the temperature on the rain. He'll tug some of the wintery air from the polar cap north of here to start to turn the rain to slush, seeking to quickly put an end the heat of the flames.
Eventually, Vorpal manages to make it to Genosha via the Watchtower's systems. It helped to know that the Manhunter was already there, so he could use his general position as a reference.
Except not so high up.
Fortunately, he's got better luck with beams than with shuttles, and he appears.
In the middle of a war, apparently.
"What on earth---" he only has a split second, as nearby warriors focus their fire on someone who had basially appeared announcing 'shoot me!' due to his bright colors and his method of appearing. He throws up a shield to duck behind while he thumbs his comm "J'onn, what on earth happened here? This place looks like hell!"
<< Major terrorist attack >> J'onn sends to Vorpal. << Brainwashed. I'll talk more later. >> To Thor and Sif he supplies only the name. << Mandarin. >> Maybe they've heard of the man, maybe they haven't, but he's a terrorist and a crimelord, a dangerous individual even without extra...brainwashed...minions.
Dozens of soldiers simply crumple in a heap at J'onn's mental command. Others are sent flying or staggered, enough that groups like Gambit's can clear them out effectively. The tide is turning in the ground battle, as the heroes all coordinate their efforts and throw the full measure of their weight into the fray, putting the brainwashed mercenaries on the defensive as they reclaim the battle-damaged city.
"Mandarin... like the orange?" asks Thor as he continues coating the fire ravaged portions of the city with a heavy coating of slushy almost snow and freezing rain in between batting brainwashed soldiers about with near hurricane fore winds.
The name is familiar to Sif but she has never had direct dealings with the being herself. It's something she'll make a point of looking into later. For now, she's busy knocking out as many of the soldiers on the ground as she can, once more putting that speed and teleportation to use. It irks her that, for all she can gather, the attack was... pointless. It was an attack just for the sake of attacking. That doesn't settle well with her.
Kilroy keeps shielding and keeps listening. One soldier seems more determined than others to attack three weaker mutants with limited movement, Kilroy finally shell shocks him with an improvised bullet and a plasma shot flashbang. Quipu ties him up and he moves on.
Between the mercenaries and Gambit, it'll be a minor miracle if there's a cubic inch of Genosha left that hasn't been at least partially exploded. It's not long before the group is setting up position around the spire, while the mutants do their best to secure what is clearly the most important structure on the island. The group has taken heavy losses though, and Gambit himself appears to have taken quite a few hits himself.
<< A terrorist and crimelord. This would be entirely within his MO, although he will pay a price when Magneto finds out. >> And who's going to tell him? Probably J'onn...setting the two on each other doesn't strike him as a bad idea at all.
Vorpal frowns. Brainwashed? Aw, great. That meant he couldn't take his anger out on them, since they were really not responsible for what they're doing. Some might say he wasn't too savvy on what he was doing, considering that of all the heroes he could see here, he was the least powerful and not quite apt to take on entire squads by himself.
"Alright, ye bastards, it's time to play Jumanji!" Dissolving the shield, he becomes invisible and floats upwards, summoning a fifteen-foot tall construct in the shape of a gigantic bowling ball, which then begins to race its way towards the mercenaries.
Vorpal goes bowling for terrorists and smashes the last of them to the ground, breaking what remains of the final dug-in contingent. The local police show up and start arresting terrorists at gunpoint- shooting the ones who fight back. Genoshan cops are apparently hardcore about resisting arrest. With the aid of Vorpal and Gambit breaking the back of the terrorist defense, and Thor and Sif and J'onn saving civilians, it seems the day is won. Burned and battered, but still standing, it seems Bastion has survived the unexpected assault that rocked the city.
"Aye, though Magneto shall have a strong right arm to assist him," declares Thor as he finds J'onn and lands at his side. The Thunderer knows that Sif will appear next to him when ready.
As the men drag the prisoners away, some of the stronger telepaths have already begun to try and root out the identity from the men. It is buried deep, but the image within the brainwashed masses is not, for he is the one who commands them. He has them begin looking through their databases to find who has done this, but as the chaos around him continues, he helps out where he can. Most had some form of cash on them so he is able to dig them out.
As he moves through the rubble in the explosions, he says, “Conduct a complete inventory. They were after something. Find out what it was. This wasn't just a random attack. Whoever did this had an agenda.” As he approaches the rubble, he spots a small iron box that immediately brings back memories. The memento room. Grabbing the box, he heads back to the Coleco.
At least that was salvaged. But what else might they have taken? Secrets? Technologies? Or did they simply want to disable the power source for the island?
Who was this ten ringed man...and what did he want?