Rumbling in the Bronx

May 05, 2015:

A group of mercenaries carry out a bloody contract against a smooth-dealing operation. Also: Lois Lane dances uncontrollably.

The Bronx, New York

A profoundly unlucky brownstone.

Characters

NPCs: Arclight, Scalphunter, Malice, Wesley, Charlie, Rex

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

CLEVELAND, OHIO
ONE MONTH AGO

"My employer would like to extend an offer to you and your associates."

Nobody is more acutely aware of how little Wesley - with his crisp gray suit, carefully arranged hair, and thin-framed glasses - fits into the Bar With No Name's dive-y, outlaw vibe than Wesley is, especially given the armor, trenchcoats, and cold stares his tablemates are sporting.

Nobody seems to care less than he does about being so grossly out of place, either. This is not a social outing; there's work to be done.

While reaching into his jacket, he continues, "There are… outsiders causing my employer a considerable amount of distress by failing to show the proper— "

Scalphunter cuts him off with a raised hand and an arched brow. To his left, Arclight tenses, ready to liquefy the interloper at a moment's notice. "Don't really give a shit," he states. "You want someone popped, fine; do we know 'em?"

"Doubtful, but possible. From what I know of your reputation, I would imagine that you run in fairly different circles."

"Lucky," Scalphunter replies with a dismissive wave. "Friends and family are extra. How much?"

Wesley finishes his draw - slowly, because he can see how Arclight's looking at him, and it's bad - and ends up placing a piece of paper on the table. There's a number on it.

Scalphunter and Arclight look to the paper, then at one another, then the paper again, before finally ending up on Wesley.

"Deal," he says. "How messy do you want it?" she asks, grinning.

THE BRONX, NEW YORK, NEW YORK
THREE WEEKS AGO

Simon Keller squints at the new app on his phone: 'Candy Crush Nights', wedged in between the original and Soda-flavored iterations of the game. He must've downloaded it last night, when he was both bored and high as shit; he certainly doesn't remember getting it, but there's no other explanation. Guarding the stash was supposed to be a promotion from working a corner, but an extra thirty a week doesn't quite make up for having nothing to goddamn do.

He almost wishes someone would try to rob him; at least then there'd be some action.

Ah, well; there's always Candy Crush.

Simon opens the new game; he is greeted by a pale, faintly egg-shaped girl wearing a ruby choker.

CLEVELAND, OHIO
TWO WEEKS AGO

"My employer is beginning to wonder when he'll start to see some kind of a return on his investment in you," Wesley evenly states to the pair of mercenaries sitting across from him. "It's been weeks; given your reputations, he expected that they'd already be cautionary tale by now."

"We're working on it," Arclight snaps. "There's a process, you smug piece of— "

"Got ourselves an inside man," Scalphunter assures after quieting Arclight with a hand placed on her shoulder. Her glare does not subside. "So maybe you oughtta go runnin' on back to the Kingpin and ask 'im if he wants this thing done fast, or if he wants it done right."

THE BRONX, NEW YORK, NEW YORK
ONE WEEK AGO

Simon taps the stash house's address into a text message with one hand while the other arm hangs loosely at his side. As soon as it's sent, he deletes it from his phone, and then just— slouches in his chair, slack-jawed, glass-eyed, and staring at the wall.

About five minutes later, he jerks upright with a loud gasp. Both hands shoot up to vigorously scratch the angry red ring that's been inching its way across his neck for the last couple of weeks while his eyes dart around the room in fearful confusion.

"F-fucking— fuck— mother— fuck— " he stammers. "How long was I out— fuck!"

Trembling, he brings his phone up to stare at it for a few seconds - was someone texting him? He doesn't remember anyone texting him - before finally deciding to chill out with a quick round of Candy Crush Nights.

Even more than the other two versions, there's something soothing about it: no matter how dull, crappy, or frustrating his life might get, a few minutes(or hours, or days) of CCN seems to take the edge right off.

THE BRONX, NEW YORK, NEW YORK
NOW

"Wait." Scalphunter sticks his arm out and Arclight pauses. He brushes metal-clad fingers across stones slick with water, mold, and worse, then raps on the upper curve of the tunnel.

"Here. GPS isn't workin' for shit, but I'm gettin' a signal from her, and I'm pretty sure we've gone far enough."

Arclight licks her lips and cracks her knuckles while her partner backs away. As soon as he's clear, she braces and throws a punch towards the ceiling; her fist falls just short of touching stone, but the burst of rainbow light that leaps from her knuckles bursts right through. Before the rubble even finishes falling, Scalphunter flips a metal disc towards the ground under the new opening, and it rapidly expands outwards into a platform more than large enough for both of them.

Above, a couple of dealers are trying to get away from the hole that just opened up in the middle of their living room as what's left of the floor trembles beneath them.

"What the hell?!" one shouts over the rumbling as they scramble to their feet and towards the guns leaning against a nearby wall. "Is this a fucking— did the cops rent a goddamn drill?!" No sooner than they grab and begin frantically prepping their weapons, a metal ball sails through the hole, rolls a couple of feet, then explodes in thunder and blinding white light.

In the kitchen, a few more dealers are split between tooling up and trying to keep the mix of loose and packaged smooth piled on the table from spilling everywhere— until the grenade goes off, that is. There's a whole hallway betwen them and the living room, but the 'bang' was sort of hard to miss; given it, getting armed takes priority.

A few floors up, Simon Keller - slack-jawed, glass-eyed - calmly switches off between sliding .223 rounds into a magazine and bracing his hands against the others piled on the bed beside him, so that they don't slip. He's not the least bit frightened; how could he be?

He isn't really home right now, after all; Malice is.

And Malice has been waiting damn near a month for today.

-

Black Canary had been tracking the movements of Smooth Dealers for quite some time now using the assets of the fledgling New Justice Society to do what they could to keep tabs on distribution on the higher and street levels.

While they had been keeping an eye on this particular den of scum and villainy prior, there had been no reason to move on them yet; she had been waiting for bigger fish to show themselves.

After meeting Simeon for the first time fighting a gigantic steampunk spider, she had received word from her street level contact that something BIG and /violent/ was going down at the place they paid him to watch.

Offering Simeon a ride on her motorcycle, she had departed the prior catastrophe to head right towards a new one; speeding through the streets of New York at almost impossibly high speed on her bike.

Skidding to a stop outside of the building where the commotion is going on, she checks her equipment quickly and begins to head inside, a small hand-held crossbow in one hand.

-

Lois Lane. Always working.

Today was not unlike any other day, really. Two weeks until she returns to the Daily Planet back on full time and full alert and ready to write some kick ass stories that Clark Kent would have to proofread before it goes out. So what. This particular neighborhood had a story; it had a touch of history planted within and there was a tiny lead that she had to follow before she headed back to the hospital to sit with an unknown. At least, Perry -and- Chloe both may get a kick out of what she'd find here.

Heading up towards the steps of a nearby brownstone; clad in a professional navy blue business suit and white blouse, pursing hanging from her shoulders and glasses upon the bridge of her nose, she reaches a hand out to grasp upon the knocker to give it a few clicks and…

*BOOM*

Ookkay..

Lois takes a step back from the home to look into the direction of the noise, turning down the stairs with a few quick clicks of her heels and right towards her car, fingers rummaging within her purse as she draws out her keys to chirp and unlock the doors. Door open, phone fished out, purse tossed in.

Her head lifts as she sees the two upon the motorcycle, her brows furrowing as she begins to make her way in that direction. What could she do with a phone? Take pictures first, call the police second.

Cause that's what investigative reporters do.

-

It's been a tough few days for Charlie Adams. She - at least, today, she is a she - has been suffering from vicious withdrawal symptoms ever since her connection for smooth dried up; ever since the bombings that rocked New York City. Even though it isn't too terribly cold outside, she's walking along with her body huddled up into a pair of baggy 'Black Owned' brand jeans, sneakers, an oversized black hoodie and a beanie over her recently-dyed blue hair. Her face is paler than it usually should be, her face drawn and distraught. Ill.

At her side is a man known around Mutant Town, which is precisely why he's taken her far, far away, all the way up to the Bronx. In Mutant Town, he's known in some circles as 'Sexy Rexy' - a white male, human, who's run a highly profitable 'escort service' for the past few years. Let's face it; there are people who have kinks, and with Rex's assortment of mutant prostitutes, he's got all sorts of tricks to offer for the right price.

Thing is? Charlie Adams always was his favorite.

She's struggled with her addiction for far too long.

"Would some coffee help?" he asks her, glancing aside to the bundled up and trembling young woman. "No, not coffee. You need water, Char, you need some damn water and you need to keep it the fuck down this time, alright? You know I can't take you to the E.R. Can't take you to Avenue C. Can't…"

Rex slows to a stop when Charlie begins to tremble. She closes her eyes tightly, groaning quietly as her chin begins to broaden and strengthen, adopting more masculine traits. Even the groan seems to deepen as it goes.

With a sigh, Rex puts his arms around Charlie, hugging him closer. "What can I do, Char? What do you -"

*KABOOM!!*

Rex pulls Charlie down with him as the explosion rocks a nearby building. "HOLY SHIT!!!"

-

Lunair is quite often out of place. It's just what happens when you've got to carve your own place out in the world. But when not trying to murder things in the service of HYDRA, dodging kidnappers, dart drones and all that jazz, she is trying to help with the HYDRA and the smooth. She's totally incognito. No, seriously. Think Laughing Octopus' armor without tentacles. She's blending in perfectly, her armor reflexively mirror color, light and texture. It works best when she stands still, but she's slinking now and then.

Lunair gets around easily enough, though she's wise enough to park her dark purple scooter several blocks away and sneaksneaksneak over. The sound of an explosion is her cue to go take a looksie in. Maybe bring a few flash bangs. Handy, but awful name.

-

Kitty Pryde has already been in Metropolis on the trail of the Smooth dealers and their like. She - at least - has some inside information and the latest bust ups have only made her all the more determined to find something.

At the time of the explosion, the telltale flutter of purple dragon wings lifts up into the air and debris to get a better view as to what is happening. Anyone who knows Kitty Pryde and see Lockheed might know she's in the area. Where? Well, that's a bit harder as she's already gone intangible, keeping to the shadows. Her blade is pulled from her purse and she sneaks in very close to Lunair, perhaps the few glints of her armor attracting the phasing mutant to the other woman's side.

-

High Speed on motorcycles is nothing for Simeon, thankfully he is stronger and reacts faster then normal humans, so swapping the cowboy outfit he'd been wearing to go to a Bar Mitzvah party after what he'd expected to be a simple delivery that had turned into a debacle for his Grease Monkey 'costume' was far easier in transit for him then it would be for any human… okay, he needs a better costume, but it is better suited for action than the Duster, Cowboy Stetson, and mandarin collared shirt. When she draws her crossbow, he quickly puts together a multi part handle and sledgehammer head, the handle looking like it's recently been scorched by electricity a few dozen times (but otherwise no worse for wear), and begins fiddling with parts of what looks like a small tesla coil that has been rended free from something else.

Not that anyone can see if from beanth his helmet, but Grease Monkey smiles and whispers to Canary, "So, any intel on who and/or what we're up against? I'm sort of tired of being surprised for the day, and even more tired of not being prepared for fights." the thoughts of firebreathing toys, tesla firing spiders, chaos magic, and magi-cyborg Nazi Military Commanders all racing through his head… especially since, despite being a pretty obvious mutant, he has never been interested in Smooth, and has yet to really encounter it in his life…

-

Malice plucks a pair of sunglasses from Simon's jean pocket and slides them on. Simon doesn't remember getting them, or even know that he has them; he was resting in his subconscious when Malice picked them up. Not only are they stylish, the tiny diodes and eye scanning tech build into them make them uniquely functional.

By now, the dealers on the upper floors are beginning to stream out of their rooms, armed and ready to meet whoever had the gall to attack them. There are more rooms than there are dealers: six extra bodies make their way towards the stairwell, toting a mix of pistols, rifles, and shotguns.

One has the misfortune of passing Simon's door on her way down.

*BANG!*

Four dealers make their way towards the stairwell while the fifth crumples and the sixth jerks towards the misplaced gunshot, moving from the third floor to the top to see what the hell just happened. He sees Simon, he sees the body, he raises his shotgun, the diode flickers rapidly, the gangster fires. Simon falls; the other gangster's eyes go glassy and his neck begins to break out in a rash.

After claiming the sunglasses from Simon's corpse, Malice rejoins the others on the stairs.

Arclight and Scalphunter's platform rises into the living room where the two dealers who weren't doing much of anything before blindly crawl and fumble with their weapons. Scalphunter's carrying a massive rifle covered in weird, techy bits that looks as if it was ripped from the cover of some ridiculous comic book or something; without a word, or even a twitch in his expression, he takes aim at one of the dealers and puts a hole through most of his upper body with a rumbling *THOOM!* and an amber beam. Arclight just leaps free of their ride, landing brutally on the other's spine with both feet.

"Any idea where— "

Arclight's question is interrupted by a series of shotgun blasts, followed by heavy thumps all the way down the stairs. Grinning, she glances towards the foyer, then to Scalphunter. "— guess that answers that." After a beat, the grin shrinks somewhat. "Ugh, she's gotta be up on us by now. Fuck her if she thinks I'm buying any amount'a beer for her fuckin' puppet."

"Deal's a deal," Scalphunter says, shrugging as he moves towards the hall connecting the living room to the kitchen. "If it helps, we probably won't have to call anyone else on this." Just as he steps into the hall, bullets begin whizzing by him, forcing him to duck around the corner for cover. Despite the initial burst of chaos, the trio in the kitchen has managed to pull themselves together enough to mount a defense, albeit a desperate one.

"Let 'em think they've got us pinned for a second," he subvocalizes, glancing towards Arclight, who looks ready to barrel through the lead storm. "Be more satisfying if they think they had a chance, right?"
-

Black Canary shook her head to Simeon as they moved in, "This was a stash house for a bunch of Smooth Dealers. Someone or something seems to be hitting them and it's way too violent for a rival gang just wanting their stuff, this is bigger. Keep your head down."

Upon stepping into the house Canary decides to use her own version of a flashbang and dials the decibels levels up to high, "SKREEEEEEEEEEEEE!" The sonic scream would be enough to shatter glass and stun most normal people in the area.
-

Lois was ready; her heels were soon kicked off towards the car to reveal small ballet-like flats beneath. They're comfortable, keep your feet warm, and there's not much of a transition when you just want to feel the ground beneath your feet. Get one at your local Wal-Mart! Phone was swiped on and recording, the pace picked up as she records the two entering into the house, the stream a steady upload onto her personal Cloud.

The closer she got, the louder the gunfire is heard, that all too adrenaline rush causing her to dash into the fray, her eyes wincing as she takes up the steps and right into the doorway…

T'was the Skree that shattered her damn phone, the screen cracking within her fingers as her hands immediately shoot up to cover her ears. She even crouched, her teeth bore and gritted, her eyes wide upon the two in the way as she shuffles just enough to the left to get out of the way. There would be no use screaming to combat the sound, she couldn't even reach that high of a pitch, not even on her better days of caterwailing to old 80's rock.
-

Rex and Charlie continue hunkering down outside, the now-male prostitute cowering when the gunshots sound from inside the house. "I want to get out of here," he says to Rex.

"Just a sec, Char." Rex already has his phone out, and is batting characters rapid-fire into an SMS. He's nearly finished, when the scream comes from inside the house, causing him to wince and drop the phone. It clatters to the pavement, the message revealed.

'525 Hewitt. Smooth spot? Yes or '

Charlie looks toward the phone and shrieks, scrambling out of Rex's way. "Rex!" he cries; already, the withdrawing mutant's body is shrinking a bit and adopting a more feminine form again.

"Oh, shit, shit, shit!" Rex snatches the phone up and holds it away. "No, dammit, you gotta let me handle this!" He quickly finishes up with the message and hits 'Send'.

-

Lunair stiffens for a second. Oh! That's Kitty. She relaxes. She's still learning to work her camo armor, so for now, it does shimmer a bit when she moves but it's still really darn good. But now there's a SKREE and the action seems to be on like Donkey Kong. Lunair is going to creep in then, her camo keeping her pretty well melded. She recognizes the SKREE kind of (metal band, maybe? But why are metal bands fighting crime…? That is a mystery for another day).

Spotting Lois, Lunair takes a deep breath. Silver and blue power armor with rocket boots will cover the woman. Stylin'! A message across the thing's HUD/visor lets Lois know she's a friendly and also how to work the armor. It seems she has some laser hand thing and a bit of armor. Also, freaking rocket boots now. Lunair has also wisened up herself, she's recording things in her helmet as she sneaks in behind Captain SKREE McSKREE.
-

The Skree catches more than one person unawares. Lockheed's hearing gets the brunt of it, falling from the sky almost like a stone with a much less damaging screech of his own. On the ground, Kitty winces, plugging her ears and stumbling. It's with shaky knees and a jump upward that she climbs into the sky, becomes substantial enough to catch her falling dragon and then lands heavily back onto the ground.

She's, actually, a bit surprised by the sudden appearance of Lunair and her armor. The drift toward her side was mostly a subconscious thing: a cat curious by unexplained random glints she couldn't explain.

Without wasting any time, Kitty gently places Lockheed into her purse, where he strangely disappears, whimpering slightly and then muffled by fabric. Quick to shake her head and recover, Kitty phases again, readjusting the grip on her katana as she moves toward the corner of the building and then phases through the wall.

-

Reacting faster then most humans can, Grease Monkey taps his helmet, adjusting in the noise cancelation tech (useful for when working in a noisy shop, at a construction zone, or for hanging out with Skreeeeeeming superhuman allies). With his hammer in his left hand, his right hand fiddling with something in his pocket, and his new temporarily rigged up Tesla Coil 'toy', he merely nods to the instruction about keeping his head down. Eventually his helmet will have more advanced gear, but for now it does its job of being protective of his face and his thankfully fairly normal senses.

After waiting for the Skree to finish, Grease Monkey has his helmet allow him to hear again. He looks to Canary and asks, "Should I jump to the rooftop and scout from above? Even if I can't get there in a single jump, I can easily climb the wall." he then pulls out what he was toying with in his pocket, a modifed headset mic meant to act as a hands-free communation headset, "This should be fine if you need to cry again, it will just not transmit the sound, and it can keep us in contact." holding it out to Canary.

-

"Ah," Scalphunter non-chalantly exhales over the incessant gunfire. "Sounds like Prism and Vertigo are in position; good. Alright, count'a three, drop 'em:

"One,

"Two,"

"SKREEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

"GODDAMNIT!"

Scalphunter jams one hand against his ear and shrugs his shoulder up against the other. Arclight just covers hers with both hands, because she doesn't have any Liefeldian weaponry to worry about. Two of the dealers drop their guns immediately while the third lets off a brief, wild burst before following suit.

When Kitty just up and phases into the living room, the already agitated Arclight's immediate response is to escort her right back out again with a shrieking charge.

It doesn't really occur to her that there's no hole or anything in the wall until her face meets brick and she's barreling outside.

One short hallway away, anyone going in through the front and stepping into the brownstone's foyer is greeted by the grisly sight of four buckshot-kissed bodies heaped at the bottom of a stairwell, as well as a red-headed man with a shotgun tucked under an arm, both hands clamped over his ears, and a foot braced against the heap. Despite the obvious protective gesture, the visible parts of his expression are blank, showing no outward signs of distress or discomfort; the way he wavers on his feet instead of advancing further belies his apparent fortitude.

Dead eyes dart across the bevy of new faces - or, rather, face, because three of them are wearing helmets - entering the building, then settle on the one without the oppressively mirrored visor. Diodes flicker; Malice attempts to move into someone a little safer before this unforseen ruckus severs her hold on her current patsy. Simon, after almost a month of prepping, was like a cozy old home compared to the fleabag motel of this new guy's brain.

Lois might feel a creeping sense of fatigue and sickness as Malice tries to make room for herself in the reporter's psyche, as if there's nothing more important tonight than taking a powder and dreaming of all the worst things she's ever thought of saying or doing.

-

A response flashes on Rex's phone, and he immediately tucks it away. "Damn!" He turns back to Charlie, looking 'her' directly in the eye. "Okay. You, sit here, stay put. I'm gonna get you the damn fix you need."

"No, Rex, Rex!" Charlie reaches out for the pimp, but hunkers back down as the smooth withdrawal brings her frame to a shudder. Meanwhile, Rex is bolting across the street, headed for the building, just in time for Arclight to burst through the wall and out into the yard. Rex, wincing, ducks around a bush and cowers down, trying to hide from her.

It's possible, in the back of his mind, that the mutant pimp is considering, you know, just how he might get that gorgeous piece of something into his employ.

-

Oh geez. Lunair's at least made sure the woman is armored. She has no idea the mental battle going on. Lunair, recording what she sees (hooray in helmet cameras so you don't just see her fingertips), seems vaguely uneasy. Poor Kitty, too! Lunair's gotta do something, dangit. Well, Lunair takes in the sight, makes any little notes. And if she finds an unfriendly target, it's time for her little friend, Mr. Railgun. Scalphunter's not the only one with Liefieldian weaponry around here.
-

Armor? Well, that was new. It blocked out the piercing sound of the 'skreee' and allows her to stand upon her own two feet, all machine-like, and stuff. Her gaze falls to her hands as she inspects the armor, her eyes lit upon the screen as she reads friendly, as well as the diagnostics on how to control the armor, including the awesome rocket boots upon her feet. NICE! And lasers?

Whaaaaaat!

Lois was ready, her gaze falling around to find out just /who/ gave her the armor so she could give them a nod in thanks, yet once she finally is able to view the carnage above, her eyes widen. "Holy sh-.."

Lois could feel herself being pushed against the wall in a slight lean, her body slowly sinking as she clutches her stomach, trying her best to keep her double cheeseburger laden with onions and fungus right in her belly. It works.. but that creeping tiredness falls over her..

..and then Darkness.

Ace's was a run down bar, but it wasn't something that she was leery of. She was already six drinks down into her vodka cranberry, sitting across from a man without a face, a grin pulling upon her lips as she slams down her glass, her hand lifting towards the tender for another.

"I'm up by two. How long you're going to nurse that drink, buckoo!"

"I'll make you a bet." The man says. "Five more drinks, and if I can still walk in a straight line, you tell me what's behind that red and blue door." The man gestures as Lois follows his gaze, her eyes fixed upon the door, her head whipping right back towards the faceless man as a hand lifts, thumb swiping against her nose in defiance. "No deal."

"Come on, Lois. Can't you just imagine how famous you'd be if you just.."

"No.. deal… "

Lois' body straightens, her armored feet stomping slightly against the ground as she shakes the sickness from her body. She stands straight now, shoulders rolling, head tilting from side to side, jumping just a little as if she were preparing for a fight in the ring with Mike Tyson. Thank god that she wasn't, but her gaze slightly turns, looking over her shoulder, catching the slight shimmer as armoed fingers curl into a tight fist. And with a quick pivot and turn?

Lois' feet make a quick dance and a shuffle backwards, her knee drawing up as her foot extends in a snap kick right towards the shimmer behind her.
-

With the communicator handed over, Grease Monkey takes the non verbal cues and bounds up the building. He lucks out into having just leaped past when Arclight comes through the wall where he'd just been clinging mere seconds before, but with her going down, he flips up onto the roof, ready to coverge with Canary once she comes from below and he descends… of course he has no idea wh or what is on the roof, but he thinks he's ready for most anything. Slowly stalking across the rooftop, hoping the shadows and his dark attire will allow him the element of surprise on any foes he might encounter up there, he taps his com with his tongue and whispers, "I'm on the roof and headed inside. See you inside, ma'am." then comes around the A/C unit to see the more open roof area.

-

Kitty moves through the wall into the living room, attempting to be silent. However, with everyone fully on alert, that time has really passed. When Arclight charges at the phasing mutant, she keeps herself intangible. Better safe than sorry.

The sudden opening in the wall is met with a blink and Kitty whirls around again just to make sure the barreling woman won't hurt anyone outside. Poking her head out of the hole, she looks about.

-

Scalphunter is about as unfriendly of a target as it gets, though his partners in crime could definitely give him a run for the title. Dragging himself towards the foyer with clenched teeth, he has just enough time to raise his gun and look for the best target out of the interlopers(inter-interlopers? It isn't his house…) in his line of sight before a railgun slug from nowhere rips through his bare shoulder. The force of the impact sends him hurtling backwards several feet and, eventually, crashing into a bathroom.

His arm is hanging on by a few threads of not-quite-severed sinew; most everything else is ruined. It is an excruciating predicament, but he's a professional: his first move after landing is to drop his impractically sized weapon, and his second is to draw a similarly techy sidearm from a hip holster, all while trying not to scream. With his back against the toilet bowl, he squeezes off a couple of solid rounds that are, given the pain, useless arm, and generally lacking vision, louder than they are truly dangerous.

Shattered bone begins to knit itself back together by the third shot, but it'll be a while before he's fully functional again, mutant powers or no.

The rooftop is clear. This is not the kind of operation with the manpower or resources for rooftop snipers or anything of that nature, and anyone who might've responded from the upper floors of the brownstone is already piled up in the foyer. There are a couple of cameras mounted on the edge of the roof, but they're meant to watch the perimeter rather than the roof itself. There's a locked rooftop access door that is in no way a match for someone who could probably benchpress a van and still have a couple limbs left to peel a banana.

Or, you know, some other fruit. We're not into primate profiling, here.

Several yards past the fresh hole in the brownstone, Arclight finally comes to a stop and screams something that is - even by the standards of this scene - unprintable, stomping her foot as she does so. Cracks race along the ground, casting jets of rainbow energy skyward; the rumbling can be felt back in and around the brownstone, strongly enough that chips of plaster and paint fall from the wall and ceiling.

Still swearing, Arclight stomps - albeit not seismically so - back towards the fray, passing the bushes Rex is crouched in as she enters the yard. There are a few moments where she slows in passing them as bloodthirst and paranoia prick the little hairs on the back of her neck, but— there are so many readily available bodies to break inside that chasing ghosts outside is rather an unattractive proposition right now.

"You goddamn bitch," she seethes, eyes wide with rage as they lock onto the phantasmal mutant poking her head outside. "I'll rip your head off and shove it up your ass, you keep playing with me!"

And meanwhile, in Ace's, a faceless man pours another bright, red drink for his only customer as 'Kung Fu Fighting' abruptly begins playing on the jukebox.
-

Aw snap. Lois was having fun! Lunair was helping! And suddenly Lunair gets kicked in the face. Owwie. Well, not too much ow since Lunair has some really nice power armor but it still gives her something to contemplate. And it's still hardly pleasant. The railgun is definitely seeming to work, but she's got to throw herself to the ground to get out of the way of incoming rounds. In case a spare round catches Lois, she lets her keep the armor on.

Slinging the railgun over her shoulder to fire momentarily, Lunair fires the dubstep gun at Lois to make her dance (or try anyway).

The wubs have it. It's a startlingly silly moment in such a serious battle. But she switches weapons to railgun in Scalp's general direction, more suppression than direct aiming. "Um. Uhh. I was banned from combat dialogue, sorry." Sad trombone. But Lunair is recording this, at least. And she's making sure to get as much of it as she can. Though, Arclight and kitty have her worried.
-

Rex's eyes go wide at the display from Arclight. His fingers turn into his jacket, trembling and fumbling about, looking for the .22 he keeps packed in there. Instead… his fingers alight upon something else.

For a moment or two, he freezes.

You see, Rex genuinely cares about his employees; at least in his own twisted sense he does. He's been trying to help Charlie Adams kick her habit for months, but when the smooth began drying up in his neighborhood, he developed something of a contingency plan.

Out from his pocket, Rex withdraws a syringe, capped and filled with a purple liquid. He eyes it for a moment, then looks through the bushes toward Charlie where she cowers across the street, caught in the throes of withdrawal. Arclight's turn to confront Kitty, however, has him turning his beady little pimp's eyes back around.

The little red cap comes off and gets stuffed into a pocket.

Moments later, Rex comes hurtling out from the bushes, sneakers falling quietly upon the ground for he's a sneaky little bastard. His hand arcs around and makes to stab the syringe right into Arclight's back, depressing the plunger should the needle hit pay dirt… which would fill Arclight's veins with the drug he'd intended to bail Charlie out if shit got too rough for her.

-

Lois reaches for the glass, her gaze falling upon the red liquid within, nails tapping against the surface in a slight cadence as she glances back towards the faceless man with a shake of her head. "Nothing you could offer me would make me open that door. I'm telling you that right now.."

"Come on Lois? Aren't you tempted? Do you know if you do this, you'd probably be rich. Your face would be all over the television, millions of people would look up to you…

…If you just open that door.."

"No."

The kick was a success, the impact felt upon her new feet, which soon plant upon the ground to rush forward until there was a solid ping of rounds that hit her armor. Check. We're good. Still mobile. The mutant inhabiting Lois doesn't stop, intending to get her fill of the body before she burns her out..

"No more small apartments.. no more eating out at Big Belly Burger.. you wouldn't have to come back here to drink with me, Lois. You'd be wined and dined, revered.. they'd whisper your name for decades.."

In the bar, Lois contemplates this, her lips forming into a thin line as she reaches for the bottle her new drink was poured from, attempting to read the label with no name, the bottle itself soon tilted so that it empties into the glass that she holds. The glass was soon placed upon the counter top, the bottle flipped within her hand, risen and smashed hard upon the corner of the bartop. It shatters into pieces, leaving only the jagged bottle-neck.. her head slowly shaking as she draws herself from the stool.

"I'd rather…"

The body that Malice posseses was fit, the armor she wore proper, the schematics soon brought upon the screen and read quickly, hands smacking together to bring the lasers to life in a show, the blast from Lunair's dubstep gun planting her upon her chest which causes her to fall back..

..and flip upright! She was dancing now, unable to control herself, her hands spun out as she drops to the ground and spins, the lasers flying and shooting in every which direction, causing much more damage than need be. She was trying to aim for Lunair, but this wasn't working! The dance itself was a threat to bring the brownstone down all around them, which was fitting, because this was total bullshit! At least Malice thinks so…

"..die.." Lois words were simple, that door was not going to open, no matter what. So that broken glass was lifted, and swung down hard enough to push the glass itself through the palm of her free hand. OW!
-

At the threat from Arclight, Kitty merely raises an eyebrow. "You realize you have to actually grab me in order to do that, right?" It seems as if the stomping woman has missed a very important part of the concept of how to rip someone's head off.

A fighting match with a woman who can burst through a wall without even blinking is a fight that she can certainly do. It just means a mostly defensive battle to wear the stronger woman down and find a weak point. Flicking the point of the katana upward, she leans on her back leg just a hair - waiting for the attack.

However, as luck would have it, Rex comes running out of the bushes, aiming to does Arclight with whatever is in the needle he has. Though she doesn't know the man, she's not about to wait for him to crushed into the ground. Instead, she runs forward attempting to pass right through Arclight. A hand becomes substantial just long enough for her to make a grab for Rex and pull him right into intangibility along with her.

-

Gunshots… downstairs… There are two ways down from the roof, the Hard way and the easy way… wait, this is not I'm gunna get you Sucka… Or is it? Grease Monkey could easily take the door off its hinges, even use it as a shield while cracking open a coconut and making himself a refreshing beverage for on the go, but the window to the bathroom is just down the side of the wall, and wit hthe gunshots going one way… Oh what the heck, let's throw a Monkey Wrench into these crooks plans.

Skittering down the wall, Grease Monkey sees Scalphunter taking his shots out the door, and healing… then moving with speed that no normal human could match, he hurls his hammer through the window toward the gun wielding hand, then lunges in after it, slamming one of his lower hands squarely onto John Greycrow's solarplexus, the other into the wounded shoulder, digging his thumb in for good measure. Mirroring the process with his upper right hand to gouge into Scalphunter's eye sockets and left nostril, figuring the guy can heal back from having his face treated like a bowling ball, his free right hand reaching to retrieve the hammer and ready to use it on the gun hand, again, if need be. Grease Monkey would usually hold back, but Scalphunter presents a unique oppurtunity to not hold back, since any damage will physically heal, and the cussing Native American Mutant is obviously violent enough to deserve a little pain. Just to finish things off, his tail swings the tesla taser around and jabs it into the back of Scalphunter's neck, surging once before pretty much ruining it, but hey, it wasn't reall meant to be reused.. Okay, it is brutal, it is cruel, but Grease Monkey has been having a real bad time lately, and he wants to blow off some steam in a manner that won't have any lasting repricussions (other then maybe making Scalphunter hate him for life, but that is nisht ahir, nisht aher). With the brutality inflicted, Grease monkey realizes his surprise lacked something, oh yeah, some sort of witty remark, "Eye see said the blind man to the deaf man as he picked up his hammer and saw… just a little handy man humor for you. Hope you can see my points."
-

Black Canary had been dealing with many of the various thugs, stragglers and dealers that had tried to flee the fighting; using zip-ties to tie them up for the police while the others dealt with the heavy hitters.

After Arclight is syringed by Rex and then Rex is saved by Kitty, Black Canary somersaults off of a fence and kicks the woman in the head with a mid-air flying dragon kick intended to finish her off. (Knock her out, not kill her)

-

CLEVELAND, OHIO
ONE MONTH AGO

"The thing is," Wesley says to the pair of mutants across the table, "this isn't just about making an example out of a few upstarts."

He reaches into his jacket again, retrieves a set of photographs, and lays them out on the table. Arclight's grin recedes and Scalphunter leans a little closer to study them.

"From what I understand, these are associates of yours, are they not? My employer would like for you to reach out to them, as well. This is a two-front operation: while you're busy sending a message, my employer would like for them to secure a sample of their product— quietly. The quieter the job - the more product you can secure - the better."

The two mutants share another brief look, then Scalphunter nudges one of the photos towards Wesley while saying, "Kodiak's doin' a bid. Unlawful hunting."

"He got drunk, went to some project over in Chicago."

"Real tragic. Anyway, you want him sprung, fine, but that's on you— or else this number's gonna have to be a hell of a lot bigger."

"Fair enough," Wesley replies with a nod. "Prism and Vertigo will do."

THE BRONX, NEW YORK, NEW YORK
NOW

The second railgun slug punches through wall after wall and doesn't stop flying until well after it bursts through the other side of the brownstone. A few seconds after it whizzes over his head, Scalphunter holsters his weapon and begins a slow, agonizing climb up to his feet.

And, as it turns out, towards a sledgehammer.

John Greycrow is a hard, nasty man, but taking a hammer to the side of the head, losing an eye, a nostril, and his wind - his solarplexus is armored, true, but Grease Monkey is strong as hell - all before being tazed is entirely too much punishment heaped atop a nearly severed arm, even for him. He doesn't even have time to go for his gun again; by the time Simeon is done, the Marauder is a bloody, barely breathing heap of vicious mercenary on the bathroom floor.

A bloody, barely breathing heap of vicious mercenary whose myriad of machinery is sending a distress signal to the rest of his team.

"Yeah?!" Arclight snaps in reply. "Well— "

Rex bravely throws himself at the mutant wrecking ball, needle pointed towards the limited swath of flesh around her right shoulder that her armor doesn't quite cover.

It breaks.

The needle, that is, not her skin.

"— maybe I'll let you watch me do it to this piece of garbage instead," she snarls, whipping towards Rex. Metal-clad hands dart towards his throat while a third glides effortlessly through her chest and manages to beat her to him. Her hands slam together inside of him, causing her eyes to widen with rage. "MOTHERFUCKER! I'M GONNA JUMP ROPE WITH—"

*tzeet! tzeet! tzeet!* chirps the little device in her ear, just loud enough for her to hear.

"— FUCK!"

As Arclight registers her displeasure, Black Canary moves on from securing the three guys she dropped with her Canary Cry at the outset to kicking her in the head. As one of the world's most dangerous women, the flying kick is powerful enough to send the strongwoman stumbling forward and wheeling her arms around for balance. She whips around to see the blonde bombshell near Kitty and Rex, but as she steps forward…

*tzeet! tzeet! tzeet!*

"Yeah, fuck it," she subvocally growls. "You're on your own, Malice."

And then she runs, shaking the street with every step.

ACE'S, LOIS LANE'S SUBCONSCIOUS
NOW

Lois bleeds and the bar shakes as if a bomb's struck it. Cheap, dingy tchotchkes are shaken from the wall. Bottles fall, shattering and spilling liquid poison everywhere. The bartender begins to melt; it is an entirely irrational response, but since he's a symbolic manifestation of her worst impulses as catalyzed by Malice, irrationality is basically fine.

The red and blue door remains sealed and secure.

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, NEW YORK
FISK TOWERS
NOW

Wesley's phone buzzes with an incoming SMS. He takes it out of his jacket and looks down.

'Product secured. Prism died. Heading to drop site.'

"Hm," Wesley vocalizes. Instead of putting the phone away, he flips it over and starts working the battery case off. "It sounds like the operation was a success, sir. There was a casualty, but it was the one we were expecting."

"Excellent," Wilson Fisk - AKA the KINGPIN OF CRIME - exhales along with a cloud of cigar smoke. "Once the drop is made, have the other one followed to ensure that she returns to the hole she was dug up from without incident. What's the status of the other team."

"Unknown, sir. I've not received a report from them, and their window is closing. They may have met resistance— the costumed variety."

"Of course they did," the Kingpin sneers while reclining in his leather throne. "That's why they were hired."

"Yes— of course, sir. Either way, we'll know soon enough; if any of them end up in custody…"

"Mmm. Make sure that it's one of ours who processes them, should that happen. Greycrow was entirely too familiar, regarding the nature of our relationship; they may be capable of behaving, but just in case they aren't…"

"Right away, sir."

BACK AT THE BROWNSTONE

Sirens wail in the distance; blessedly for them, they are coming from the opposite direction that Arclight's running in.

-

With Malice gone, Lois was able to break the mental chains but not.. the dancing. It didn't stop. She wiggled, she bopped, she staggered and dropped, wormed her way right towards the awaiting gun that was pointed at her head.

"FREEZE! ARMOR ON THE GROUND!

A cop shoots out, Lois' rolling backwards into a stand as she starts to do the robot. "I.. I can't! I can't stop dancing!" She was able to take her head off (read: helmet), using it as an invisible tool to tug herself forward into some weird b-boy type thing until..

*BZZZT!*

Tasered. Dropped. Handcuffed.

Arrested. Thanks Lunair and Malice! Thaaaanks a bunch.
-

When the action is over, Black Canary looks to Simeon and smiles, "You'll make a great addition to the team if you want to join the New Justice Society. For now? Let's get the hell out of here."

The woman raced towards her motorcycle and started it up, backtire kicking up smoke as the tires squealed. The moment Simeon is on, she's racing away like a thief in the night away from the crime scene.
-

Oops. Lunair winces as poor Lois gets handcuffed. She'll… dismiss the armor. "I am SO sorry! I owe you footage later, gottagorailgunsarehighlyillegalBYE!" She calls, before darting away as the cops start to come around and dismissing her weapons. No evidence! She tried. She really did try. Why is it when Lunair tries NOT to kill people there's more tazings and mayhem than when she goes full 90s comic? Seriously, what the hell? Either way, she's skedaddling.
-

As a little cleanup, Grease Monkey rips the component suit open, leaving Scalphunter in his skivvies, with his weapon out of reach, ziptying the mercs wrists and ankles together, and hanging him from the show rod like a hunting kill on a spit, The Merc will heal fast enough, but should stay restrained long enough for the cops to handle. Putting his hammer away, Grease Monkey takes a bit of the component suit as a memento, and then rushes down stairs, hurdling unconscious goons. He then flips onto the motorcycle and replies, "You know, I think I might like that." his lower hands gripping on tightly to the bike, "I think that guy actually gave me some ideas for ways to upgrade my own capabilities." as they shoot off into the night.
-

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