Save vs Killing

June 18, 2015:

M.O.D.O.K. and a group of intrepid roleplayers use AIM's new Dungeon-Class Adaptoids to plunder Horizon Labs in M.O.D.O.K.'s continuing quest to make something of his organization's squandered finances. They have the misfortune of running into a CR 30 superhero encounter.

South Street Seaport, New York City

SCIENCE!

Characters

NPCs: M.O.D.O.K., some nerds

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

SOMEWHERE IN THE CARRIBEAN
AIM ISLAND
NOW

"Greetings, puny roleplayers!" MODOK booms as AIM beekeepers file into what seems to be an endless black room lit only by a sliver of light from the doorway, each with binders of various thicknesses in tow. Save for MODOK and the wiry, well-coiffed and masked man standing at attention beside him, it is empty, a void meant to be filled by the power of imagination. And advanced holographic imaging technology.

"MODOK demands a roll call!"

"The name's Scrapper," the shortest of all the beekeepers proudly offers after the group spends a beat or two looking at one another, "Lord'a the Ledge Crawlers and voted fastest hands in the Vale of Serpents three years running. I'm an— " Flip-flip-flip goes his binder. "— Elan Rogue and my weapon of choice is an ivory crossbow loaded up with bolts of murderin'."

"And I'm David, but while we're here, you can call me Las Locos Hermanas, Goliath Swordsage and ass-kickin' babe extraordinaire! I've got a +5 Adamantine Greatsword, and I ain't afraid to use it!"

"Monty, AKA Laser Lotus here," a heavyset scientist chimes in, voice dripping with authority. "Raptoran Wizard, inventor of the wand revolver and arcane innovator of the Brotherhood of the Severed Veil. With my extensive knowledge of spellcraft and exhaustive collection of magical items, I am certain to be an asset to the party."

"First, I just— " the door to the void slides shut and seals them all in darkness just as another scientist begins to speak. "— uh— want to say that although I've had a spotless— record— as Dungeon Master, I welcome the opportunity to join my players on the other side of the screen." He swallows hard once that's out, but fortunately for his nerves, the air briefly crackles around them before coalescing into a dimly lit tavern, a table positioned between the gathering beekeepers, MODOK, and MODOK's guest. Avatars of each player's character weave themselves around the group.

"Anyway, I'm Belgrim Mindgrinder, a rebellious dwarf with a thirst for knowledge who was cast out of his clan when he delved too deeply into the secret teachings of the Illithyri, a forbidden sect of Ilsensine worshippers who believed in harnessing the power of— "

"MODOK does not require your life story!" the Scientist Supreme snaps. "Next! You— " His tiny legs and arm sort of flail towards the man beside him as he makes little grunting noises. "Go!!"

"I'm Winter," he flatly says. "I'm a Human Ranger. My aim with a bow and arrow is excellent." Looking down, the Soldier takes a couple seconds to draw a piece of paper from one of his pouches, unfold it, and scan before tilting his chin up again. "I have a dire wolf companion; he is my best friend."

"And I'm Iaryra," the lone female beekeeper says. "Devoted priestess of the god of elves and music who has sworn to bring beauty to the lands of Men."

"And I am the Greenskin Designed Only for Knighting— G-DOK, MIGHTIEST jouster of all the orcs, a man of HONOR and CHIVALRY and COURAGE in a world gone mad! The last, best hope for— "

FIVE UNINTERRUPTED MINUTES LATER

"And with that— WE BEGIN! A mysterious stranger enters— "

A stranger wearing a robe and hood enshrouding him in mystery barrels through the tavern doors and makes a bee-line towards the table. "Great adventurers," he shouts as soon as he's close enough to be heard, "I come with a quest that only warriors of your might could hope to complete: a great evil bedevils my land, and only by traveling to the distant land of NEW YORK CITY," MODOK appears to have done some overdubbing, and it is sketchy, "braving the perils of HORIZON LABS, the endless hordes of SECURITY GUARDS, PROBABLY, and the pit of I DON'T THINK THEY HAVE A PIT, ACTUALLY, THAT WOULD BE A BUILDING CODE VIOLATION to retrieve the DATA," the dubbing here is //especially/ bad, with a solid few seconds of silence after MODOK's voice, "can it be saved! Please, I beg of you— I am prepared to offer YOUR LIVES, PUNY MORTALS if you'll only say yes."

"Well," Iaryra begins, "I'd like to ask— "

"Thank you, oh thank you, kind adventurer!" the stranger exclaims. With that, the scene shifts to…
-

NEW YORK CITY
HORIZON LABS
NOW

All in all, today has been a cloudy one for Manhattan. The skies were clear and lovely in the early hours, but just before noon, the clouds began rolling in over the horizon and gathering over the island, draping the promise of a storm over its hustle and bustle. Thus far, the grey clouds have not delivered on their promise, but just after sunset…

*CHOOM!* *CHOOM!* *CHOOM!*

… metallic bodies rain down over Horizon Labs' South Street Seaport headquarters, a mecca for those interested in bleeding edge science. Each one that hits crashes through the roof of the structure, unfolding into humanoid forms before touching down inside. Each has some features in common, despite wildly divergent heights, builds, and accessories: they all have bluish-grey skin and their facial features - save for mouths - have been replaced with bright, glowing circles.

A group of scientists look up from the reports they were studying together to stare at the invaders, shock keeping them frozen in place even as every instinct screams at them to run. One of the invaders - wearing a floppy, pointed hat and clutching a bluish-grey staff - waves a hand through the air in front of himself; a fine mist sprays over the scientists and freezes them solid.

"300 XP for me," the Adaptoid intones in an electric voice. "divided by the nonlethal takedown penalty. Count 'em up, then spread out."

-

There are always lots of strange sounds in New York City but when one has lived there all their lives, one quickly learns what noises belong and what don't. While getting ready for work, the crashing sound is heard and one suit is quicky replaced with another.

"Karen, I'm going to be late today. Let Foggy know."

It's not long before Daredevil is rooftop-leaping his way downtown towards the source of the sound.
-

Caitlin doesn't even work at the labs! Which is what makes this even more unfair, her jaw dropping and a dismayed look crossing her features. "Oh, come ON!" she complains, to no one in particular. "I'm just an intern! I'm not even supposed to BE here, this is a half-day! There's a COMPANY PARTY!" she shouts, frustration in her voice.

Still, she's a hero. This is what heroes /do/. Grumbling under her breath, she reaches for her cell phone and shoots a text off to the THINK front desc. 'Hero Stuff. BBL'. She takes off her jacket and rolls it up, along with her checkbook and phone, and shoves it under a trashcan. "God, I hope no one steals my stuff again," Caitlin says, tugging on a pair of thick-knuckled purple gloves.

"HAAAAH!" she shouts, vaulting a good fifty feet into the air. She comes down on one of the automatons, /hard/, and promptly goes about detaching its head from the torso with an explosive twist of her thick arms.
-

One of the advantages of being in a pre-recorded television show is that you can do several of your scenes in advance before taking a week off and having a vacation. This way, you still get paid because your character is being broadcast. In this case, vacation was a misnomer, because Michael Jon Carter, aka Booster Gold, was not on a beach having fun or anything nice like that. He was somewhen and somewhere else, wrangling with a time frond that was gaining sentience. It was a whole thing, and only tangentally related to the matter at hand.

Now, Booster is in his room at the Lakehouse, reading through fresh scripts and trying to get his lines down as he paces around the room. He has the advantage of his robot pal Skeets who keeps tabs on everything in Skynet fashion, and thus when the attack happens at Horizon Labs, Booster is in the air and trying to pull on the rest of his super costume as he flies towards the scene of chaos.

-

Meggan is NOT on vacation. Boy, she thinks as she stumbles down the steps of a courthouse building not so far from the labs, acting is hard!

It doesn't help that she is, at the time, in the form of an elderly, heavy-set Jewish man. As several other actors, one still in a lab coat, rush towards her fallen form, she pushes herself on her left elbow for the umpteenth time — "Cut!"

"Was that good, with the sort of, limp thing?" Meggan calls to the director. Her voice is unchanged. She smiles, getting a thumbs up.

Then, three blocks away: FOOM.

"I'm going to go look at that," she declares, rising up to her feet. "Sorry about the costume! Back in a mo-" And so it is that Meggan, trailing sparkles, long hair, and her usual elfin-blonde self, sails towards Horizon Labs. Also, why she's in a loose, drapey men's suit.

-

Okay, so at that same party that the red-headed young woman… so while Starrware Labs wasn't affliated with THINK at all, Karen Starr (as the CEO) sometimes got invited to other company functions. Or maybe there was something suspicious about that, she didn't know. She tended to get invited to a lot of parties as a general rule.

Whether or not she had the time to attend was another thing, but this up and coming group was, well… she felt it might be good to try to get on their good side. So Karen was currently making the shallowest of small talk with a lady scientist, the awkward conversation going back and forth when…

FOOM.

CHOOM CHOOM LE DOOM.

"Okay, uh… that sounds pretty serious. Can you hold that thought about neutrinos and their relation to sunlight, and I'll… call my company?" With a brilliant grin towards the scientist, Karen starts shuffling towards the ladies room.

Karen Starr was never seen again. Until the next morning.

But for now - spiraling through the labs towards the source of the explosions… POWER GIRL was on the scene!

-

Faora-Ul stands across the street from the attack, and in her strange armor, she could very likely be involved in whatever nefarious business is currently holding Horizon Labs's headquarters in its number crunching, munchkiny grasp. The only real heroes that can dare to be seen in that much black and be taken seriously is the Bats.

The woman listens to the wail of sirens and the scattered scream of the terrified for a few seconds, head tilted in the direction of the building. She has no one to call, no excuse to be made to her fellows, and the only mask she wears is a cold kryptonian steel rebreather so she has ample time to consider the situation.

She takes a step forward, leg dangling over the air for a half second, before weight and gravity has her freefalling, a poor unfortunate Camry's roof crushed as she lands feet down atop it. Like that, she calmly advances on the terror and mayhem, booted feet clicking on the pavement.

-

«Interior — Khandaq Embassy - New York City»

Black Adam stands silent at the center of a spacious office his hands clasp behind his back. There is movement across his closed eye lids as his gaze moves back and forth with the will of Zehuti.

Suddenly, there is a knock upon the door.

"Mighty Adam," a thin Arabian man in a dark suit slowly opens the door, "There is a disturbance above the ci—.." his voice falls off sharply.

Adam's eyes open, "The Embassy is yours, Amadi." he states flatly and gilded boots bear him across the carpet towards the glass doors that lead out onto the balcony, "Until I return."

In blur of ebon is accented by a crackle of flaxen he is gone..

..a peal of thunder echoes in the near distance.

-

Kara had been finishing up her shift at work when a call came from one of her dearest friends, practically her sister in fact. Even if she hadn't been wearing the costume lately, she could hardly refuse a call from POWER GIRL!

Making an excuse, she left the cafe in a hurry and flew straight to New York City.

Catching up with her Kryptonian comrade in arms, she waved, "Hey Power Girl, having monkey problems again?"
-

AIM ISLAND

"You should all be able to control your Dungeon-class Adaptoid via the neural-motor interface built into your uniforms." The player behind Belgrim cups a hand over his helmet's mic to keep his words from being played through his Adaptoid while his other hand comes up cupping the air like it's a hilt. An eerily lifelike representation of the robo-invaded lab surrounds them and he's headed towards a door leading back to the rest of the facility. "You'll see what they see, hear what they hear— and they'll do what you do. You just have to sort of— approximate what you want them to do, and they'll do the rest for you; no need to— "

Fairchild crushes Las Locos Hermanas' massive frame to the ground. Power Girl explodes onto the scene a beat afterwards and Supergirl is hot on her heels. A peal of thunder booms in the distance, growing louder as it approaches at impossible speeds. A shooting star(or minor celebrity, anyway) approaches with a streak of gold.

"Already?!" MODOK screeches, wee fist shaking with rage. "I will not be denied— our quest is righteous! I— we— THE GODS BLESS US EACH with one million experience points to consecrate our quest!! Prepare to become— EPIC!"

AIM Fact #285: Never play games with MODOK, because MODOK will cheat and not care even a little bit.

HORIZON LABS

Fairchild twists the eight foot-tall Adaptoid standing in for Las Locos Hermanas' head a full hundred and eighty degrees, summoning horrific metal-on-metal whining from her neck and sparks from her eyes. "NOT COOL!" the machine squeals, her 'face' - and every other Adaptoid's blinky disk - glowing brilliantly as her parameters are altered. "NOT— COOL— AT— *nngh*— "

Head twisted towards an unnatural angle, LLH braces her hands against the ground and slowly but surely forces herself to stand; as soon as she's on her feet again, she commences flailing at Fairchild, possessed of great strength but no position to actually draw and swing the sword sheathed on her back. "— ALL!!"

Winter the Ranger was too far from the door to simply slip away from the superhumans gathering in the lab at alarming speeds; the 'S' on Supergirl's chest tells him everything he needs to know about his chances of beating at least one of the responders in a race out of the lab. Thus, he doubles down; this entails emitting a sharp whistle, then drawing the bow from his back, nocking, and firing three arrows at Supergirl in the blink of an eye. Far from simple shafts of wood, the projectiles accelerate to supersonic velocity in flight— fast enough, perhaps, to knock the Girl of Steel for a loop on impact, even if their intensely sharp points can't break her skin.

Meanwhile, another falling object crashes through the roof, only this one unfolds into a massive wolf with shining claws and wicked fangs pointed directly towards Power Girl as it angles itself for a violent landing; much like the arrow volley, however, its natural weapons are probably less likely to be effective than its speed and unnatural strength. Belgrim also sizes the taller of the super blondes up for a moment before hurling his glowing blade in her direction. Composed entirely of crackling energy, it hums and seethes and threatens to sear the CEO of Steel's skin.

G-DOK, Laser Lotus, Iaryra, and Scrapper elect to scurry towards the door despite the fighting, with G-DOK screeching, "Hold the line, brother adventurers! We must travel deeper into the bowels of this intellectual dungeon for the treasure we seek!" and then just cackling along the way.

-

And more are flying in, it seems, but are engaging the hostiles. This seems good…right? Daredevil pauses on a nearby rooftop to assess the situation before he swiftly makes his way to the building and ducks inside, hopefullly unseen.

First, time to get people out if they aren't trying to rush out already. He finds the nearest fire alarm and pulls it. That done, he's darting up the nearest stairwell to try and get to those who might have been involved with the initial attack. If they're not already out, he's going to make sure that they get out as safely as possible.

Let the big guns handle the robots…he'll try to help evacuate.
-

Caitlin's not much of a trained fighter. Her school of combat largely revolves around hitting things with her fists, and then hitting them more, and then hitting them /still more/ if they didn't take the first two hints. Where technical facility fails her, she just makes up with super-strength.

But once upon a time, Caitlin Fairchild was a mousy little nerd. Who watched all six Star Wars movies in the Machete order. And who played with K'nex instead of Barbies (and made the Barbies into androids, if we're being honest). And … who once upon a time… threw d20s on a table with a gang of fellow nerds. As the dire-half-gold-dragon, half-ogre Fighter 3/Ranger 2/Monk 8/Mage 4, called Wyld Chylde.

Yes, Caitlin was a munchkin, too.

The door to the main lab area flies off the hinges with a mighty kick from the woman, and she strides into the room (backlit, naturally) with the sword in one hand and the robot's breastplate held in the other like a buckler. "Back off, you jerks!" she shouts, pointing her sword at the first robot she sees. "Or we'll see what kind of snicker-snack this sword makes when I'm-" and she hurls the sword like a javein at Winter (AAAF: always attack archers first, kids), the fifty pound piece of steel moving like a supersonic bullet. "-something! Uh… something awesome!"

"Damnit! I had something for this!" she growls, bursting forward with unbelieveable acceleration that leaves twisted metal in her wake in the floor paneling.
-

"Man, what is all this," Booster Gold comments, as he arrives on the scene. He knows what it is, however; it's robots being jerks. Focused on the two robotic figures that have remained rather than those who are fleeing, the Man of Gold swoops in like a gleaming bullet, going in to tackle one at the thighs with the intention of using his momentum to swivel mid-air and use it to clobber the other robotic being. It is not intended to be a killing blow, of course, since in his native era, robots are people. It is intended to inconvenience them as quickly as possible.

-

Meggan's eyes widen as she sees cyberwolves leap off to assail Kara. Who she thinks she saw at that Battery Park nonsense, where that nice redhaired woman arrived and kissed Captain America and it was ADORABLE —

Inwardly squee'ing, Meggan woolgathers briefly. Only briefly. She sees that there are a. two clusters, one of which is fleeing and also b. that there are TWO Supers Girl types present, so she sensibly continues forwards in her pursuit.

"Oh hello," she says to Booster, before shouting towards the robots, "STOP COMMITING CRIMES!"

-

Well, yeah, MODOK. If you stir up trouble in New York city, ya gotta be prepared for the arrival of the SuperPowered sorts. And POWER GIRL, for that matter? She's extra-Power fast. But not fast enough, apparently. As Kara flirts with the archer - Peej gets a wolf for her troubles.

And a lightning sword, but we'll get to that in a minute.

The claws of the wolf bend if the wolf tries to use that against her powerstrong skin, the tough flesh able to turn aside bullets - so unless those were kryptonite claws, nothing doing.

But the weight and strength of the thing was enough to slam her aside, driving the air out of her. "My /monkey/ business is /fine/, cupcake," bites Peej to her otherworldly cousin. "But…!"

Twisting her eyes towards Kara let her catch that flipping sword - Peej's eyes light red in a moment, and twin beams lash out towards the flying weapon. Meanwhile, her hands were pushing up against the wolf, trying to get some of the weight off of her form.

The wolf pushing was a little clumsy - trying to do that and eyelazor at the same time was probably a bit tricksy.
-

Ding, Ding. Well below, in the lobby, Faora-Ul enters the building through the /actual/ front door. There is nothing spectacular about her arrival, she did not blast through window or throw herself immediately into the fray. If it were not for her strange attire, her arrival in the warzone would only be made remarkable in that how calm and deliberate it was.

She walks across the smooth ceramic of the lobby, pushing open the door to the fire escape staircase, looking up as the door swings close behind her. She takes in a breath before beginning her ascent, gently floating toward the shriek of metal and the smell of ozone.
-

Supergirl rolled her eyes at Power Girl, "Your monkey business is /never/ fine. Every time I run into you, there's some kind of monkey involved. I'm amazed one of these bad guys isn't a—-" Kara stops talking when she realizes she's under attack by an extremely formidable opponent.

The trio of arrows shot in her direction by Winter the Ranger give her pause, clearly the archer firing them was no amateur and it takes her everything she has to dodge the first supersonic projectile in mid-air.

She twists and turns only to be nicked by the second arrow which throws her off-balance despite not injuring her.

Being off-balance was just enough to cause her to fail at avoiding the third arrow, with the ranger scoring a critical hit on a sneak attack.

As the arrow slammed into her back she was sent flying into a wall, momentarily stunned but not out of the fight for too long.
-

«Exterior - New York City»

The mystic comet of black and gold streams through the cloud-cover sending crackling bursts of lightning between them in a preternatural storm..

..when it reaches the space above the horizon lab, it descend rapidly..

«Interior - Horizon Labs»

*CRACK-A-THOOM*

Black Adam appears suspended in the air his arms folded across his chest as the half-cape beats gently in some invisible breeze behind him. Dark eyes move, darting rapidly, as he processes the carnage of the scene. Lacking any sort of enhanced vision to see through the walls it is the Wisdom of Zehuti—

—super-sonic arrows flay the air as they rush in through the space near his thigh towards their intended target. Clear enough evidence of where the invaders fled.

"I will delay them." He declares and then accelerates through the far corner of the room, shattering protective barriers to emerge in the interior hallways without taking the indirect route by utilizing the door — thus winding up somewhat ahead of Caitlin.

Although it will take the barest fraction of a second for Mighty Adam to re-assess his new surroundings there is, indeed, a pause as he does so.

-

There are plenty of people running away from the general area of the assaulted lab, though the fighting - and as well as the quartet fleeing the space - keeps the civilians from leaving the lab, for fear of cross-fire. The facility as a whole is full of branching, curving corridors leading to other labs, outdoor reflection areas, and support areas; Daredevil can make out the clanging of the quartet's movement through the facility down one of those corridors, but there are panicked humans a-plenty in the halls branching from it.

A cluster of them cuts past a koi pond to emerge just a few feet away from the Man Without Fear, starting at the sight of the hero before beginning to settle when one sputters, "No, no, that's Daredevil, that's Daredevil, I'm from Hell's Kitchen, it's fine, let's just go!" If Matt's leading, she'll follow and drag the others with her.

Las Locos Hermanas' sword takes Winter's sword arm off at the shoulder, prompting him to draw a short sword from his hip. His beloved dire wolf('Wolf') does what it can to keep Power Girl incapacitated, but her alien might is such that it is only a matter of time before the writhing ball of sharpened metal and ferocity takes a hard shove to the belly that sends it sailing away. He spares it a brief look before turning his eyes towards Supergirl and hustling towards her, the edges of his blade taking on a white hot glare.

The sword scything towards Power Girl is intercepted by superheated beams that destablize its blade, then melt its emitter/hilt into slag. Surprised, but not undaunted, Belgrim draws not one, but two new weapons seemingly from thin air. One is immediately hurled somewhere well above the fight; from there, it ricochets around the lab, building up momentum until it finally slams between Power Girl's shoulderblades. Meanwhile, he advances on the CEO of Steel with the other weapon in hand to finish the job.

Neither adventurer makes it to his quarry, however, before a golden haired interloper swoops in to seize Belgrim and use him like a bearded morningstar, knocking Winter back and onto his ass.

*CHOOM!*

An eight foot tall Adaptoid rockets out of the clouds swirling over the facility and into the fray, sword drawn and bursting into flame as it crashes to the ground in front of Fairchild.

Reports of Las Locos Hermanas' demise may have been slightly exaggerated.

"Resurrection, yo!" she exclaims, leaping at the redhead. "Round 2!"

Meanwhile, the group seeking to get away from all the inconvenient superheroes finds itself faced with rippling pectorals wrapped in black and gold just down the hallway, following a series of rapidly approaching explosions. Moreover, someone else is shouting at them from behind to stop, and she appears to be flying. Flying, and hastily dressed.

"Wait— WAIT!" Iaryra exclaims, raising her robed arms in 'stop' gestures towards Adam and her companions both. "We are but a humble party of adventurers, here from a distant land on a quest to save innocents from an ancient evil…"

AIM ISLAND

The entire group lets out a collective groan as Iaryra attempts to parlay.

HORIZON LABS

"… that will surely consume it if we are not allowed to— "

Scrapper tumble-rolls past Iaryra, comes up with his crossbow pointed towards Mighty Adam, and fires off a bolt tipped with explosives accompanied by a warcry of, "Less gum-flappin', more hack-'n'-slashin'!"

Laser Lotus traces arcane sigils in the air as Scrapper goes aggro, summoning a cloud of bees that buzz down the corridor after Meggan.

'SORRY', Iaryra mouths before clutching the filigreed crescent dangling from her neck and chant. An explosion of vines race from the ground beneath her feet towards Adam, intent on making the ruler an easier target for the rest of the party. The space being what it is, G-DOK draws a gleaming longsword, but waits to enter the fray until his companions' attacks are out of the way.
-

Caitlin didn't get her superpowers off the back of a cereal box. The trick to surviving a fight against someone with reach is to get /inside/ that reach, and she pours on just a little more speed when the Adaptoid comes crashing to ground. Her feet literally tear up the metal underfoot, she moves so fast, and with an incoherent "YAAAAAH!" she plants her foot and steps forward, ignoring the press of flames and swinging a right cross with enough force to send a fully-loaded battletank into the next county.
-

If they need to be shown the exit, Daredevil will help lead them but if there are still people trapped, he's going to try and get them out as well. "Go! Get out and away from the building!" There may be flashbacks from 14 years ago, but he's going to try and make sure that the massacre isn't repeated. He even appoints a couple of the calmer people…including the one who recognized him, to help lead the others out and away. He's bounding his way up the stairs, practically climbing the bannisters and walls to get up quicker. If he has to face that quartet, so be it.
-

"Hey," Booster casually greets Meggan, after letting go of the robot he was using as a blunt weapon. Now that these attackers have been scuffed up a bit, rather than pushing the attack, Booster Gold hovers back to talk. It's kind of a shame he is not deeper into the structure, where Iaryra is, really, because he has a tendency to try to discuss a situation with the foe he is supposed to be fighting. "You can see how this is going," he is telling them, in a reasonable tone of voice. "You're going to get crushed, so you may as well surrender and tell us why you're doing this. You'll end up … you know, you'll end up a lot less crushed if you do that, so it's kind of a win-win situation. Consider it, won't you?"

-

Meggan comes up to make a perfectly balletic landing, frowning as her clothes puddle a bit on her shoulders. She adjusts her slacks, looking at Iarya with evident skepticism. The talk about less gum flappin' makes her say, "Don't try to feed me a line of —"

Those are skulls, actually.

But then, even as she's bracing herself for that onslaught, comes - the bees. Buzzing in their multitudes, they swarm over Meggan, who is suddenly stung in a half-dozen places to her great and vocal dismay. "Euhh!" She slams against the wall, rolling as best she can, despite the guilt of mass apicide — sparkling as she thrashes, somewhat, in a metamorphic manner to find some posture that's distinctly bee-proof!

-

Pinned by the wolf, at least for a moment, Peej manages to kinda roll up, and bring both her booted feet up to deliver a Double POWER GIRL Kick to it, knocking it well away from her. Belgrim would only have a second or so to respond - and respond he does.

Hearing the bouncing weapon, Karen starts to turn towards Belgrim proper - when the weapon slams between her shoulder blades, and sinks in.

Ok being cut is a pretty traumatic thing for anyone. The fact that the weapon managed to /pierce/ Peej's mighty hide we spoke about in the last post was pretty darn traumatic for a Kryptonian that had never gotten so much as a papercut before. Falling forward in place, Peej kinda catches herself on her hands, not quite crying out in pain just yet - but her eyes wide and wild with shock. She didn't even notice the 'ranger' advancing on her.
-

Faora-Ul finally enters just as Power Girl goes down, the door ripped off its hinges. She'd have preferred to simply open it, but the lock kept that from being a realistic means of entrance. The woman casually tosses it aside, finally gazing upon the perpetrators, and the spontaneous collection of superheroes that had answered the attack. She gazes past the downed woman, toward the labs and answers, then back to the downed Kryptonian.

The cold, metallic hiss sounds serpentine, but is in reality just a heavy sigh. She intervenes. After all, they share a past even though not a philosphy about their future.
-

Mighty Adam holds stock-still a foot-and-a-half from the ground his arms folded about his chest again as the Adaptoid brings the entire session to the halt. When addressed, his nostrils flare slightly and he lifts his chin so that he peers downward with arrogant disdain.

After a pregnant pause, he descends..

..the tips of his toes alight upon the ground and he moves slowly towards them, "A quest?" He remarks in gentle inquisition, "I understand your plight," Adam says in a measured tone, "For I too have fought to save my people from great terror.." he slowly raises his hand there so that the flat of his palm is at shoulder-height in a universal sign of disarmament.

His eyes seem to focus beyond them — towards those heroes who now approach — and at them he scowls. A slow malevolence curling about the corners of his mouth.

"It is good that you have found me," he weighs the situation in his voice, "..and it is a pity that you do not see.."

The Swiftness of Heru surges through his peaceful gesture and two fingers stab at the Adaptoids eyes like a pace of ultra-dense, ultra-fast, lancets which seek to drive his entire hand into her face and form a fist.

"..the ancient evil which lies before you!"

He has upheld his oath. He has delayed them.

-

Supergirl recovered in time to see Faora's magnificent arrival and her sister Power Girl go down in a panic after being cut. Kara Zor-El could hardly believe it, she had been injured too many times on Earth but she knew how bad the shock of it was the first time; she knew all too well.

She cried out loudly, "Power Girl!" before rushing over to her side and guarding her fiercely.

Fortunately, the attack against them seems to be ceased by the interloper and she says to the other heroes, "I'll get her to safety. You handle the 'adventurers'."
-

"The man of gold speaks wisely," Belgrim notes to Winter, even-toned as he staggers around drunkenly following Booster's rough treatment, "but he impugns our honor in doing so!" The leather-clad dwarven Adaptoid's head twitches between Booster and Fairchild/LLH's battle and options are weighed.

"We would lose many of these… Honor Points if we were to surrender now, wouldn't we?" Winter replies as he gathers himself to his feet. "Tactically, they have no value to us during this mission; we will not be encountering any non-player characters whose reactions we— "

Faora tears her way into the lab and Winter turns his attention - and brilliantly edged blade - towards her, sizing the Kryptonian up for a moment before flicking the sword into the air, detaching a flask full of sloshing liquid that will burst into flame as soon as it's exposed to the air from his leaf-wrapped belt, and flinging it towards Faora. He catches the sword as soon as his hand is free again and charges after the flask, unconcerned with only having one arm, or risking immolation.

"I— still— think that the man of gold… speaks… guh— " Belgrim's remaining sword pulsates wildly as he tightens his grip around its hilt. Waves of force pour off of the weapon and cast small bits of rubble and dirt through the air in particulate curls and his head continues swiveling before finally settling on Booster who he rushes after with his blade held high and ready to be driven into the blonde's sternum.

As for Fairchild and Las Locos Hermanas' brawl: it is a fairly brutal affair. The redhead's right cross takes the Adaptoid's lower jaw clean off and sends her staggering backwards for a few feet before she manages to set her feet and adopt a low stance with the tip of her blade resting against the ground. Rising with a sweep of her sword, she a wave of fire roaring through the air after Fairchild, then wobbles and stumbles down to her knees.

Elsewhere, Daredevil and another group of trapped scientists find themselves with a choice between turning around or heading towards the Adaptoids' entry point and the quartet contending with Black Adam and Meggan— though this is not immediately apparent to anyone who doesn't happen to have super-senses. The Man Without Fear's appointed safety monitors are doing what they can to get others out, at least.

Iaryra's vines are flattened agains the corridors as Mighty Adam screams past them to decapitate their creator. Scrapper's bomb-tipped bolt explodes a ways behind them; he's loading up another, but now that Adam has brought the melee to them, his options for actually using it are somewhat limited, leaving him to try and scramble past the man in black as he cranks his weapon to full deadliness. Laser Lotus is mostly focused on keeping Meggan busy; the most he does to deal with having Black Adam so close to him is scoot forward a few feet as he chants and gestures.

This leaves G-DOK in a pretty good position for winding up and swinging his longsword at Adam's head like a shining baseball bat. Every other hero responding to the situation seems to be oppressively invulnerable, but G-DOK has a solid 18/00 of orcish and/or mechanical muscle behind him; a sword is still a dangerous enough weapon in his hands, even if the edge is more than likely irrelevant. "G-DOK will AVENGE his comrade, interloper— avenge her, and chastise her for her FOOLISHLY DIPLOMATIC WAYS once she has been resurrected!"

As Meggan manages to repel bees by becoming too impenetrable, or too viscous, or too ephemeral to be stung, Laser Lotus throws bolts of lightning down the hall in the hopes of keeping the slippery mutant pinned down. "Whatever this one is," he notes with a grunt, "it's gotta be custom; there's nothing in any book with that many natural poly selfs."
-

Daredevil is trying to find the safest exit route for the scientists…which could be chancing the rest of the building, or it could be moving through the entry point. No doubt he can probably tell that the others are busy deal with some of the 'good guys'…he hopes, so there is that. There's a moment's pause before he sends the scientists back downstairs to join the others exiting the the building. He, however, is going to make sure that nothing is following them. It will give him a chance to 'observe' those he might be fighting against…although the others seem to be handling things.

If he's playing support in this fight, that works for him.
-

Brutal. Brutal's a good word for what Caitlin's doing. She throws fists until that sword hisses, and her hand smashes down in a punch aimed for the flat of the blade, staying as close as possible rather than attempting to dance backwards out of the blade's reach. When Las Locos goes down to her knees, Caitlin grabs for the robot's head with her jaw set and a steely look in her eyes- using both hands for leverage as she starts throwing brutal brawler strikes with her knees and elbows, even going so far as to sweep at the robot's feet with short kicks if it rises up.

"Just stay on the ground YOU LOUSY LARPING ANDROID!" she bellows, laying a good old-fashioned beatdown on the thing.
-

"Aw man, that got so close," Booster Gold quietly bemoans; a lot of foes refuse to go the route of surrender, and this had been shaping up to be a special moment. When he gets stabbed by Belgrim, the amount of strength and speed poured into that attack carries both of them several meters across the room, and Booster gets pinned to the wall like a butterfly for a display.

As it turns out, however, Booster Gold is not stabbed clean through; the sword 'point' is pushed against his heart, but he just looks dazed rather than dead. One of the passive elements of his suit kicks in and his forcefield crackles as it begins to draw energy from Belgrim's weapon, and may yet drain it dry if the contact continues.

-

Due to either the godless science of AIM (as opposed to good, wholesome, all-American Satan-science) or an inherent +2 to-hit bonus, Meggan has been unable to make her hide thick enough to resist these barbs. As such, the natural next solution was to become something that couldn't be stung -

Something gelatinous.

She sees a sword stab Booster in the chest. Her voice rises, sharp and clear. "You've gone too far! This is ridiculous and I'm not putting up with you—" She runs forwards, thick and solid enough to do that. Her skin is vaguely translucent, like a Meggan-shaped jelly.

This actually makes it marginally worse when she lunges forwards, almost literally splashing against the form of Laser Lotus and arcing an arm up to get him around the neck and squeeze. "Any longer!!"

"And what in heaven's name is a Polyself?!"

-

Mighty Adam removes the Adaptoid's head with a single powerful stroke the moment he takes to bask in his own arrogance leaving him cleanly open…

..G-DOK's blade snarls as it cleaves the air and then impacts directly upon the side of his eye-socket which cracks sending fluid welling up into the Ancient Champion's right eye. He manages his hand upward then to protect his face but the follow-up blow is sent low into his short-ribs. Adam cannot immediately determined whether the impact is a clean break or what will become a very nasty bruise - but he barely cares.

The sword goes high..

.."I will find you." Adam declares his fore-arm crossing somehow intercepting the blade despite the sharp pain in his eyes, "These puppets have strings and it is the puppeteer who will answer for this.."

The driving force of the blades has brought Adam to the ground and then he pushes forward with his toes to counter the downward stroke.

-

Supergirl manages to lift the much larger Power Girl into her arms before offering what seems to be a friendly nod in the direction of Faora. Even if they weren't on the same 'side', they were all Kryptonian and Kara hoped one day they could all work together.

This was a start.

"Take care of yourself Faora-Ul, until we meet again."

Supergirl and Power Girl departed in a sonic boom as the smaller Kryptonian carried the much larger one to safety!
-

Faora-Ul lifts an arm to block the flask, a fireball erupting around her head. She does not wait for the arrival of the soldier, or a sword that can cut through suit, neck, and life. Instead, lifting her right, she stomps through the floor and drops below. No one here works for the organization she is so desiring to meet with. What use in crushing toys. The excercise won't even do her any good!

-

Scrapper loads his crossbow, sees Mighty Adam rip Iaryra's head off, and elects to keep running away from the fight. Technically, this is a robbery; the hack and slash is a secondary priority. As much as Scrapper might love to rack up XP, he didn't become Lord of the Ledge Crawlers by indiscriminately murdering everything in his path.

At least, not solely; there was some competition for the title, once upon a time…

Scrapper slips into an evacuated lab. As soon as he's alone, an internal stealth field kicks in, casting a ripple through the air as he fades from view. Once hidden, he commences sprinting through the facility, seeking a terminal that'll give him access to the data MODOK seeks.

It's for the best, because while G-DOK manages to give Mighty Adam a couple nasty souvenirs, the ruler of Kahndaq turns the tables by catching the heavily armored orcish Adaptoid's blade against his forearms, then casting him to his backside in the course of picking himself up from his knees. Not only does this throw G-DOK's arms aside, it tips the blade backwards out of his hands and sends it clattering behind him.

The tip of the sword taps one of Laser Lotus' vaguely taloned feet as he is grappled by a mutant who's found a highly functional middle ground between 'woman' and 'Jell-O'. "Poly— morph— " the wizard strains as he tries in vain to reach for one of his many pouches of spell components and mystical doo-dads.

He doesn't get any further than that before slumping in Meggan's arms; damn d4 hit die!

Back at the entry point, Winter brakes to a stop right on the edge of Faora's self-made pit trap and peers down. There are sub-basements, but Faora is perfectly capable of drilling through them if she so desires— not that he can see her, or any further holes from where he is now. She's probably retreating; then again, she might just be sneaking around beneath them to go for a sneak attack on the rest of the party.

It's what he'd do if he could abuse the Z-axis with impunity.

So, without a word, he jumps into the pit to give chase, leaving Belgrim alone with Booster Gold.

Which wouldn't be so bad, if Belgrim's only ace wasn't currently being drained of its usefulness by the photogenic hero's armor. Electricity worms across the dwarven Adaptoid's body as his systems are compromised by the hungry battlesuit and soon enough, he begins trembling erratically as his power levels take a violent nosedive. The disk that is his face goes dim; Booster and his 25th Century mores might or might no feel bad as the life visibly drains from the robot's body.

Adding to the human-on-mecha violence quotient, Las Locos Hermanas is battered mercilessly by Fairchild until she is just an oversized, roughly humanoid collection of twisted plating, sparking wires, and geysering coolant lines. Her sword still burns a few feet away from her, for all the good it did her.

AIM ISLAND

"I— I made it!" Scrapper shouts, almost on the other side of the simulated space from the rest of the group. Here, the walls are translucent, allowing them to see one another despite their proxy bodies being in different rooms. "I've just gotta bypass the security, and— I'm in! The data's uploa— I— wait— hm— some of this is— we're gonna be here for a while if you want all of this, because I can't— there are extra passkeys on the good stuff, and— "

"MODOK cares not for your excuses!" he exclaims as his jet-powered throne spins towards G-DOK's fallen sword. "We have the power of RESURRECTION on our side! We will— "

"Actually, sir," Belgrim's player warily says, "we— uh— I mean, these Dungeon-class models aren't exactly cheap, and when you set them to Epic level… that may not be an option, unless we scale ourselves back, and if we do that…"

"Wh— how— you— " MODOK pauses midway through touching down to scoop up the sword, contemplative and furious all at once. "FINE! Gather what data you can, and then— we RETREAT!"

HORIZON LABS

Belgrim's face-disk goes completely black and the Adaptoid collapses like a string-less puppet. G-DOK collapses mid-stoop; Laser Lotus's feeble struggles cease entirely; Las Locos Hermanas continues to be scrap; Winter probably hits bottom at some point.

A series of loud, but not particularly dangerous *pop!*s sound from within the machines as critical systems are destroyed. Smoke and sparks leak from their mouths and their glowing faces.

The dutiful leadership of Daredevil and his safety trustees as well as every other hero's shock and awe tactics have succeeded in keeping Horizon Labs safe from marauding adventurers— mostly. Minus a few frozen employees, property damage, and a nebulous amount of data theft.

On the upside, at least, if anyone can invent a machine to defrost people who have been frozen in a block of ice by a terrorist wizard robot, it is the scientists of Horizon Labs.
-

Caitlin goes a little Office Space on the android, pounding on it until it's literally serviceable only as a series of ashtrays. And she stomps, stomps, knee drops, punch, punch, punches until she's on her hand and knees in a foot-deep crater on the ground, heaving and panting with exertion. She stands up and walks across the lab, looking for one more android she can lay the beat onto. The fire burns across her skin and her clothing falls away, revealing more than a couple of bloody nicks on her stomach and legs from that burning, slashing blade. Underneath she wears a purple and green leotard with long sleeves, though it's so badly torn up that it's fast approaching indecency.

"Hey, anyone else out there? Anyone hurt? I'm… uh… CPR certified," she offers a bit lamely.

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