|Something's in the Air|
|What: Odd things are happening at Tiffany's and it's certainly not breakfast.|
Tiffany's, just the word in the right context made women smile and men cry. The place was not for the faint of heart where money was concerned. Jewelry that cost so much it was just safer to apply the "If you have to ask, then you probably can't afford it," principle to each piece. People of wealth, taste or those that have been given credit cards with limits well beyond their means browsed. They looked inside the cases at all of the diamonds.
Everything was a typical afternoon. Workers were pulling out pieces for customers to look at. Guards tried to watch what security cameras couldn't and vice versa. Nothing was out place.
Suddenly the left side of the building saw everyone from customer to employees heads slump and rise in unison. When they turned toward the rest of the store they eyes looked glazed over and held a pink glow. Panic started to run through them when another portion had their heads slump and rise in the same fashion. They joined the others. Seeing what was unfolding before their very eyes one of the employees managed to hit a silent alarm, but it didn't save him. Eventually everyone saw their heads dip down and rise up. The pink glow was in all of their eyes.
Store workers started to unlock cases. Customers and security started to gather up everything into sacks they had gathered. The store was completely cleaned out before long. Luckily by that time the cops had showed up. What they didn't expect were the sheer number of people and the glow in their eyes. They tried firing a warning shot, but no one stopped what they were doing. Determining this was officially out of their pay grade they tried radioing anyone for help, someone that had more to offer than street smarts, a badge, gun and procedures to offer.
So, the call went out over radio waves. Justice League communications could have easily intercepted the signal. Those with the knowledge and means to intercept those signals had a good shot to get the distress call that went: "Metropolis PD in need of assistance. A 487 seven is in progress at Tiffany's, but something weird is happening here. It's their eyes. Everyone in the store is like possessed by a ghost or something."
Kilroy is nearby of course. He walks the street, realizing that despite his absence and actions, nothing changed. Its not to say that he didn't do any good. Some had finally been prosecuted, and some homes were saved. But still...he hadn't really changed the world. Before, or with Genosha. The world was hard to change. It didn't want to change. Maybe he would be better giving up the harder stuff and simply running charities...and yet....
Now he has more power than he knows what to do with....he hasn't even tried it yet, but he could hardly let Veolus just...die...not after learning what had been done. But it did explain a lot. And now he learned about the true nature of his powers....And he wasn't going to be trying them out any time soon. Now, apparently...he was a God. Interesting that he could answer that question for some.
And then he gets a phone call from Limerick.
"Check your smart phone. It's two blocks over...thought you'd want to know."
Kilroy looks at the app and sees the pictures. A ghost hmm? Kilroy doesn't know as much of the mystic world as he'd like...but there is one thing in particular that works better in some instances....as he creates hundreds of coins and forges them together into a makeshift suit of armor....with thick stone coins underneath...it takes a few moments but its quick enough as he flies through the air towards the mayhem. He looks for the source....better....he looks as only he can look..for who they are and the money they can carry...scanning the crowd for something....unusual, out of place.
With no legal secret identity to attend school, Lor-Zod had to get his chances to interact with humans his own age by other means. Today, disguised in civilian clothes, he was investigating a local roleplaying club. Or, at least, that was his intention. Meeting at the park, he's just approaching the group when he hears the call on his communicator, which is set to a low enough volume only he (and others with superhearing) can hear. Plans changed, in moments he's floating over Tiffany's, in his 'costume' as Zenith, looking in confusion at the crowds below.
The fine officers of the Metropolis PD are probably wishing that there was a man who had made it his life's mission to protect the citizens of their fair city right about now. Perhaps someone who was almost constantly monitoring their radio frequencies, no matter how far away from the city he might be. A man who could put a stop the sorts of esoteric crime that conventional police forces simply aren't equipped to handle.
Fortunately for them, and for the citizens of Metropolis, such a man does exist.
On the Moon's surface, Kal-El closes his eyes. The beams of heat emitting from them are shut off, and any evidence that they were there is quickly erased by the coldness of space. But the welds that he just placed on the Watchtower Communications Relay... those'll be there for a while.
He floats backward, hovering several inches above the moon's dusty surface, and admires his craftsmanship. But as soon as he thinks his work for the day is done, his impossibly-sensitive ears pick up the vibrations of the Metropolis PD's police scanners.
"Of course... right on schedule." He looks more bemused than exasperated, the way the parent of an untidy toddler might look after finding out that the living room is a wreck once again. He presses an unseen button near his throat and hails the Watchtower's Monitor Room.
"Superman to Watchtower. I'm heading to Metropolis for a couple of minutes. Doesn't sound like anything major, but see who's available as back up, will you?"
A few seconds later, a nearly-invisible streak is heading down to Earth.
Diana happens to be not too far from the store where the event is taking place when the call comes in which means the Amazon Princess is in 'civvies' when she arrives, her expression faintly concerned. This isn't the type of place where problems occur often, if at all, their level of security high enough to keep riffraff and trouble makers at bay. "I'm on my way..." comes the familiar voice, the one that bears perhaps a slight Grecian accent even after all her time spent in the States. Instead of trying to run in her heels she flies to where the store is located although it might take her a moment or two to get her bearings as she doesn't often find herself going to the store, its location still fairly unknown to her after all these years.
Scanning the crowd revealed absolutely. As the money gave Kilroy that insight only he was able to tell it was clear everyone was working together, something foul was at work, but it wasn't ghost. If people knew what to look for there was nothing spiritual going on. No temperature dips, no spikes in energy or draining in anything that carried a charge. None of the tall tale signs of spirits about were in play.
As Zenith floated up high and spotted something odd with the crowd. While everyone worked together the security guards drew their weapons. Then for each guard someone willingly went into their grasp and the barrels pressed to their head. All of the guards spoke in unison, "If no one backs off this blood that will run upon the street will be on your hands. You have two minutes to make your choice." Everyone's eyes remained the same color. It was clear whatever force was at work was assembling everyone like pieces upon a chess board. Apparently they were okay with sacrificing a few pawns to preserve better.
Diana arrived when the threats were made. Superman was still in space, but was able to see the now tense situation. What were the heroes to do?
Kilroy could use a Rai stone to shiel....multiple...Rai stones...to shield them all if a gang of thugs were attacking them. So much the better if they were a ghost...he could surround them all with a ring of salt but...this was going to take getting used to.....he could jam up the guns...but if the thing possessing them were determined to make mischief...they were still in mortal danger....but he had to do something. He didn't want a single 'demonstration that they were serious'...so he flew up back, placing more distance...but into half of the bags of loot being collected he summoned a single innocuous penny....something to let him track them if they got away....then he carefully begin attempting to fill the firing mechanisms of the guns with salt...but there are so many of them....
Zenith's eyes widen as he sees the people stepping up to the gunmen, and says, "Stop, wait..." He floats back at the threat, looking thoughtful but also worried as he looks to each of the hostages. Spotting Diana's arrival, he smiles just a tiny bit in relief, and in a blink he's flying near her. "What do we do?"
People have stopped being surprised when Superman arrives to save the day. So there are no cries of 'Look! Up in the sky...' to herald his arrival. One of the cons of living long enough to see post-modern cynicism permeate the culture.
Still, some of the civilians present look markedly more relieved when Superman's familiar form 'whooshes' into view near the scene of the crime.
"Whoever's doing this, you've made a critical error." Superman speaks loud enough so that the officers can hear him, as well as most of the onlookers. With any luck, whoever is controlling the people is also monitoring their progress. "You've forgotten one of the first rules in the Supervillain Handbook: Never bring guns to a fight with someone who's faster than a speeding bullet."
Diana's feet just touch the ground as Zenith approaches and asks her for advice on how to handle the situation, it one she doesn't have a bead on just yet. "I do not know." The lasso she keeps at her hip is removed from whatever is used to keep it on her person and, after a fancy swirl or two, is sent towards one of the men who has the gun held to their head, intending on yanking the limb down if she can manage to snare it, hoping to save at least one life. Superman's given a nod hello but that's it for now, his team mate otherwise focusing on what's happening.
A smile came to the guards' faces. "I didn't," was their response in unison to Superman. There was always a backup. All of the guards and civilians suddenly had their heads slump, even as Diana yanked a gun away. They all rose up looking confused and lost. A lot of "What's going on?" came from their lips. All except the one that got the lasso of truth, he was screaming and confused. "II don't know what's going on! Who's doing this to me?! I just wanted to work today and maybe check out that Linda chick that keeps coming over to look at this necklace. I REALLY WANTED HER PHONE NUMBER!" he started to scream truths to questions no one asked.
The weapons were jammed thanks to Kilroy. Unfortunately as the group of ten to twelve people were suddenly free someone wasn't. Zenith felt something dig into his mind. Everyone about would have seen the pink swirl turn to his eyes. When Zenith looked again the world was not as it seemed. In his vision where Diana stood there was his Mother, Ursa. She was looking disappointed and ready to teach a new lesson. Where Superman stood there was no his father the great General Zod looking disappointed and angry. The great thing about being the child of two militant Kryptonians there was a lot of trauma and memories to manipulate if you were a telepath. Kilroy did not change as he was a heavy player, but did not have the instant recognition. Those in Tiffany's under the spell tried to exit out the backway with everyone distracted, something that would not have escaped anyone's sight, except for Zenith who was seeing his worst nightmare before his very eyes.
Kilroy was prepared to let the loot go but not the people. He flies around the back and flies around to ensure that no one possessed by ...Pink Eye? Pinky? Whoever it is, doesn't take their victims....the loot can be traced. The people will not be stolen. Jars of Oil appear in great number all around the back entrance to the place and anyone who goes more than thirty feet from any exit of the building will find a lot of rather slippery oil all around them. But he keeps an eye on Superman and Wonderwoman. Reputations are such that they should be able to take care of themselves...but he takes nothing for granted.
Lately, Zenith has actually been missing his parents. However, the times with his parents that he missed were not when they were wearing those expressions. He floats back quickly, almost flinching away, "Mother? Father? What did I do? I didn't do anything wrong, I swear!" Completely oblivious that he's actually speaking to Kal and Diana, he now looks far less the superhero and more the frightened child.
Superman looks about as incredulous as could be expected when a boy who is definitely not his son calls him 'Father.' His face set in a frown, he looks across the street at Diana. "What's he on about, Wonder Woman? Did you forget to tell me we had another kid? The poor boy's acting almost like..."
Suddenly, he lifts off of the ground, floating a few feet above the four story 5th Avenue building. "Superman to Watchtower. I'm going to need help locating the source of whatever is affecting these people. Cross-reference the symptoms with villains from our old case files. I've got a hunch I know who's behind this, and if I'm right our trouble is just starting."
A quick glance is shot to Kal who is given a shake of Diana's head, her expression as baffled as hs tone is. "I do not know what is happening. I shall try to snap him out of it." With everyone fleeing or otherwise occupied, she approaches the young man, her expression softening to something closer to concern. "I am not your mother. I am Diana, Princess of Themyscira, member of the JLA..." The listing of all of her titles and positions stops there as she reaches out, the loop of her lasso held in it. "Stand still. We'll get to the bottom of this." If he doesn't bolt she'll loosely drape the golden rope over his shoulders so she can ask such questions as 'what are you seeing' and 'do you feel ill'.
As Kilroy went to the back everyone that went out that way, which was the remaining twelve to thirteen people in Tiffany's. Twelve of them tried attacking Kilroy dog pile style. The thirtieth was handed all of the loot and tried making a break for it while the man had twelve distractions to worry about. Whether he was successful against a God was another matter.
As Diana flew toward Zenith her intentions were good. Sadly that did not appear that way to the young Kryptonian. What he saw was Ursa getting ready to encase him in something. Stories about his mother being efficient at torture were far and wide. It looked like it was his turn. Was he going to be the lost child or dig deep, be the hero? Be the better Kryptonian that he had trained and pushed himself to be. It was up to Zenith if that lasso was going on or not.
Superman's query took a little but a list was rattled off, "Brainwave. Doctor Psycho. Psimon. The Ultra Humanite." It was a short but dangerous list of potential candidates. His blue eyes would have caught the tension between Zenith and Diana. Things didn't look good in that situation no matter how you looked at it.
Kilroy hadn't meant to get so close but flight wasn't exactly something he'd mastered...at all. He could practically hear his grandfather's voice in his head, "See? This is what comes from leaving the ground!" But the dog pile is unexpected. He's strong, though with his natural strength twelve is a bit much. Using his powers he could remove them but he doesn't want to HURT them and he doesn't have the fine control over his old magic that he did before, which in turn means surrounding them in Quipu one at a time while they kick at him. After about thirty seconds of this he has to finally put a small Rai stone between himself and the kicking, while he disables the people. More than enough for the thirteen to run off.
Zenith doesn't even seem to hear Diana's words. Frightened though he is, his expression hardens a little as well. He waits until Diana is almost on top of him, and then he blurs into action with all his super speed, a spin twisting sideways to avoid the lasso which turns into a spinning airborne kick. Thinking he's going against his mother, he's not holding back.
Almost instantly, Superman turns back around and zooms to the ground in between Zenith and Wonder Woman. Sure, Wonder Woman can more than take care of herself, but Superman has gotten so used to being the one who soaks up damage that it basically comes as a reflex at this point.
"Hm... we seem to be making the situation worse, Wonder Woman. I recommend that we take off and give the kid some room. He'll probably either calm down or come after us. Either way, we win."
Superman lifts off of the ground flying straight up into the air. In his ear, the Watchtower continues to list possibilities, while trying to narrow down his search criteria.
Eventually he gets high enough to cover the entire Metropolis area in his field of vision. Doing a quick scan over the city, he X-Ray visions the homes and work spaces of pretty much everyone. "Aha! Think I found our guy!" With a sudden 'whoosh,' Superman heads off in the direction of the sleeping suspect.
Good thing Superman comes in when he did as Diana's speed only does her so good when she's not expecting an attack. Zenith wouldn't have killed her, her Amazonian physiology more than enough to keep her killed easily, but the kid probably would have managed to break a couple bones if he were to connect, especially if he were to hit her in the ribs as those pesky things always seem to be weaker than other bones in the body, even if one is super powered.
Frowning, she follows Kal, taking time to mentally remind herself it's not her fault, but then, with a slight yelp of surprise, she hurries to follow the Kyrptonian. He might need her for back up.
Zenith's kick was delivered hard, but it may have even hurt the young Kryptonian as it met up with Superman. As him and Diana fly toward a sleeping suspect whispers began in Zenith's ear. As they approached the building the suspect was sleeping and sadly only that. Every inspection would have confirmed the suspicion was wrong.
As the thirteenth member scurried away he came to a van about three blocks away. The van had orchestrated music that was turned down along with the sound of crying. Eventually the speakers began, "Recitar! Mentre preso dal delirio!" the familiar voice of Pavarotti bellowed before the music was turned low. The back doors opened and sitting there was something big. White fur was all over it. The muscular nature wasn't the only odd thing to this ape. Despite listening to a classic Italian opera about a sad clown the creature wore yellow spikes on red like something out of an apocalyptic movie. It's brain looked borderline visible against flesh and muscle. With a delighted smile Ultrahumanite took the bag and smiled, "Good work." The doors closed and the van drove off. Humanite returned his focus to Zenith as the dog pile suddenly let up on Kilroy. Everyone was clueless. He spent weeks casing the place using psychic patsies. So, far so good.
And up into the air Kilroy goes (the murmurs of his grandfather's imaginary ghost aside) and begins to fly after the van. He's not as fast as Superman or Wonderwoman, but he is fast enough to follow a van, and within ten miles that bag can't escape his vision as if it were the noon day sun. As he flies, three or four Rai stones appear in the air (quite visible since that schtick is now gone thanks to the lifting of the curse)...but not dropped...not QUITE yet....
Zenith winces but doesn't complain as his foot connects with Superman. He was expecting a solid target. Who he connects with, however, now that's confusing for poor Zenith. Zod is not the protective type of husband, and Ursa should be angry at him interfering in their son's lesson. And neither of them are the type to run away from a fight. So, for a moment he just watches them go. But then, a slight tilt of the head as if he's listening to someone, and he's suddenly speeding after, aiming for Superman this time. He doesn't have the adult Kryptonian's speed, so he lags behind a little. "Stop," he calls after. "I can't let you hurt anybody! This isn't the Phantom Zone, there's laws here!" He's still clueless about what's really going on, reacting to what he sees and feels.
"Huh. Guess we were wrong. We'll have to get Mister Terrific to find this guy for us." Superman seems disappointed, but not overly concerned. Sure they got away with the loot, but at least no lives were lost. Overall, a win.
He begins speeding up Zenith gains on him. "Whatever they did to the poor kid has him all sorts of addled. How about we let him chase us for a while until he cools down. Maybe we can have a picnic on the moon afterward?" He starts rocketing toward the sky, keeping just out of Zenith's range.
"It feels so wrong, letting him follow us like this but I suppose we don't have any other options." Di offers Kal her hand but her attention is solely on Zenith, her mind working double-time as she tries to figure out where to lead the young man in case he tries to engage them in a fight. Best to take him where there are not a lot of people, just to be safe. "Let's go out over the water."
Before Kal can say anything she is heading out towards the harbor, expecting both men to follow her. Don't ask her how... just call it a hunch.
Suddenly Zenith was called away. All of the urges in his head pointed him toward Kilroy. He had whispers that anything that could have stopped his family came from Kilroy. Like Kilroy was the man that trained his parents. The source of all evil. This was Humanite's last effort to get away if possible. If this didn't work then it was back to Belle Reeve. Thosestones didn't go amiss.
Kal and Diana were a safe distance away and could have seen Zenith speed off. Where he went was a potential mystery. Superman could have seen Zenith sped back into the city toward a man that wore armor that seemed to have been formed out of something. Was he the problem? Hard to say.
Kilroy isn't aware of the ticking Kryptonian clock, but he knows psychics are incredibly dangerous. SLAM! SLAM! SLAM! SLAM! Four stones surround the van on all sides. It isn't going anywhere. "I'm trying the hero thing again...." the ghostly figure made of salt rising up in the passenger seat with the voice of salt, unnatural and elemental while the real Kilroy floats above. "But if you try anything, so help me, you'll really regret it......"
Zenith blinks, stopping in mid-air for just a split second. Then he turns and flies back towards Kilroy. He goes right in on the attack, leading with his fist. However, this time he is, at least, holding back as he usually does. Even under mind control, he doesn't want to kill, and he's not sure what this new 'villain' can take.
The Van was stopped suddenly. Humanite cursed inwardly then went to the front and pushed through window with a few kicks and punches. Humanite kept his mental focus on Zenith. If there was a ticket out that was it. However, he did try to run with the bag of diamonds.
Kilroy is tougher. New Kilroy is not Glass Cannon Kilroy...but...even Kryptonian Light...even a Kryptonian pulling their punches is still....
Kilroy doesn't even see him coming. The kick SLAMS him into a nearby building and unlike the mob, this disorients him more than enough to keep him from concentrating to summon his magic. It isn't going to stay that way LONG, but it is enough that he can't deal with Zenith or the Ultra Humanite until he gets his wits.
Zenith continues after Kilroy, reaching to try to grab him and throw him to the ground, trying to keep up the attack to disable this villain before he can do any harm.
Humanite tried to run off. The connection with Zenith was cut off. The ape was just desperate to escape. Focusing his mind he posessed the first mind that was there. A door opened up and he got inside. Whether the heroes found him or not was on them. This was the last ditch effort.
Kilroy can't bring enough wits to bring his magic to bear but his new godly toughness keeps him from being entirely helpless. But he did grap the flash bang grenade in his pocket and set it off right near Zenith's face. Unlikely to hurt him but if he gets a moment of distraction...
Ultrahumanite can hide his mind from Kilroy but he can't hide the loot, and in the end his greed is his undoing. If he takes that with him just as he goes into the door a hand made up coins telekinetically controlled will pin him to the wall.
Kilroy isn't able to get enough of his wits to get his magic, but he does reach for a flash bang just as he's grabbed and about to be thrown down, setting it off about five feet away. He's hoping the loud noise might break the connection he doesn't know is there. Stuffing his own ears with salt to protect them he shouts and points, "THERE! THE ONE WITH THE BAG!" (Gorilla or human if they took the loot) "THAT's THE ONE INSIDE YOUR HEAD! FIGHT IT!"
Zenith yelps in pain as the flashbang goes off. He covers his ears and squeezes his eyes shut a moment. Flashbangs and super-senses don't mix well. Thankfully, the sun is shining and he recovers fast. He blinks, looking to Kilroy, then towards the fleeing Ultrahumanite. "Thanks, and sorry..." But he doesn't wait around to apologize as much as he'd like to, instead he speeds after Ultrahumanite, not bothering with such earthly things as opening the door that's between them. (He doesn't want to give the ape a chance to get in his mind again, now he realizes what was happening.)
Seeing that he was caught Humanite raised his hands up. "I know best when I have been bested. Well done. Just know, Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage" the white ape said with both hansd up. Looking to the pair he waited to be arrested properly.
Kilroy creates a Rai Stone and then whittles it down to a pair of handcuffs that fit around the Humanite's wrists. A part of him WANTS to clobber him into unconsciousness, but Kilroy doesn't do that and calls the police. Note...he calls the police with the power nullification cuffs, not the guys in the 1950's cop car that would be tin foil to this guy.