Charity's a Joke

June 21, 2015:

The Tri-City Police Charity Ball is a big deal. Which is why the Joker shows up to ruin the proceedings.

Battery Park Hilton

A very nice Hilton Hotel in Battery Park… with a kind of unlucky reputation.

Characters

NPCs: Police VIPs and Joker Gangers

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The Tri-City Police Charity Ball is one of the bigger police related charity and public relations events in the area. You'd think that it'd be held in Gotham, since Gotham is central to the other two. Buuuuuut Gotham is also Gotham. So, there's that. In any case the Ball is currently being held in the very, very nice Battery Park Hilton which offers quite a bit of space in a pleasant, upscale environment. It's a slightly lesser known thing that two other charity events at this very hotel have been interrupted rather badly, but the Hotel has beefed up security. And really the room is full of cops and lawyers and the occasional heroic type! What could possibly go wrong?

Speaking of the guest list it's kind of a who's who of legal types. DA's. Police officers in their dress blues. Even the odd hero with a good relationship with the law (a lot of them from Metro. Metro PD does love its heroes). There's some SRD officers present as well, along with the usual hotel staff and caterers and assorted guests and plus ones. All the money from the event goes to the various funds that care for the children and spouses of disabled or deceased police officers, but there's a fair bit of networking going on as well. Well, when in Rome, you know.

"Looks like tonight's a night for celebration, Dickhead."

"Technically, I outrank you. So, once we get back to Gotham remind me to put you on toilet duty," Dick Grayson says to his old partner Horace Wilson with a smile. The latter is dressed in his blues, but the former is wearing a simple black suit with a black tie. Since Grayson made detective, one of the fastest in GCPD history, he'd been the object of a ton of hazing from his friends.

"What do you think about her?" Wilson says, giving an upwards nod towards a redhead in a green dress.

"I think you'd better go talk to her, because I'm not going to sit here and listen to you talk about her all night," Dick says back. "I'll catch up with you later," he adds before scouting some shrimp from the hors d'oeuvres tray.

Gwen Stacy was here mingling with the crowd, talking with the various officers on the NYPD she knew. For the most part, most of them seemed to be familiar with her, the daughter of famed NYPD Captain George Stacy, a hero in his own right despite not being /super/.

Catching the conversation between Dick and his partner, Gwen smiles a little; pressing her hands down on the dark purple dress she was wearing. Her heels click-clacked as she walked towards Dick and hors d'oeuvres tray, remarking to him casually, "Your partner is going to be really sad. She's married." She plucks up one of the shrimp for herself and eats it.

Parties are really not Jennifer Walters' usual scene, and while she might be more comfortable here as her verdant skinned alter-ego ("Isn't that alter-id? I should ask Doc Samson… or Joker's girlfriend. Oh, whatever, continue posing for me"), that would cause potential disruptions, as well as be far less presentable and dignified as befits the occasion. Since Jen is a bit of a wallflower when she is fleshtone, she mingles mainly with the hors d'oeuvres, and keeps to herself, savoring a stuffed mushroom and a bit of decent peppered duck mousse pate‘. She ponders a shrimp, only to see it swooped up by the blonde, "He looks like pictures I’ve seen of Lewis Gilbert Wilson" commenting off-handedly, as she reaches for a mini-slider and starts to retract back into her protective shell.

There's cake coming out. Several of them in fact because this is, after all, a party. And a fairly big one at that. Catering staff are wheeling it in and the NYPD Chief looks to be getting ready to make a speach. George Stacy is also present, in his dress blues, not far away from said Chief. Everyone seems to be drifting near the circle of five carts. Which are covered. The design is different every year and always in some kind of theme. There's been a fair amount of speculation as to what this year's theme is.

"Everyone? If I could get everyone's attention and get you to start making your way over here it's time for the Chief's remarks. After which I assure you, you'll be all amply compensated." That's George on the mic there.

Dick shrugs his shoulders a bit at Gwen, "I'm not sure that'd stop old Wilson. Hopefully it'll stop her." He gives her a smile and reaches out his non-shrimp plate holding hand. "Dick Grayson. GCPD. You from up here at Metro?" he asks, having no idea who she is.

Gwen smiles at Dick and meets the offered hand with one of her own, "Gwen Stacy." She gestures up to the police captain making way for the Chief, "I'm not a cop, but that's my dad. You're the prodigy detective. I was reading about you in the papers, youngest to get your badge. Congratulations." Her congratulations are sincere and she gives a glance over in jennifer's direction, apologetic over taking the last shrimp from her!

So there is cake, cake is good… as long as the Cake is not a Lie, or a ruse, or a trap, or a scam, or some other type of deception. Jennifer turns to listen to the speech, smiling politely at the Blonde's apologetic glance. Maybe the Prodigy Detective didn't hear her question, or maybe he doesn't have an answer about if his partner is related to the old World War II era actor, or maybe he knows but doesn't want to say… the possibilities are plentiful… unlike the shrimp.

The NYPD Chief gets up onto a small platform near the circle of cake carts. "Hello everyone. I promise I'll keep it short. Welcome to this, the 27th Annual Tri-City Police Chairty Ball. We have, tonight, raised over half a million dollars that will go to help the dependents of disabled and fallen police officers and that makes each and every one of you heroes in my book." Applause fills the room.

"Now, rather than inflict you with some boring sentiment or go on about old police stories, I think the right thing to do would be to cut the cake. So. Without further ado…" The Chief gets off the poldium, takes a knife and walks over to the cake carts where all five trays are uncovered at once…

To a cloud of greenish gas which quickly disappates but gets on everyone in the immediate vecinity. The chief. Several ranking police officers and their wives. The Metro DA. Gwen's dad. The cakes are all white with "HA!" written all over them in purple and green frosting. The music cuts off and a maniacal laugh echoes through the chambers.

"Helllooooooooo New York! Gotham was getting a little boring so I thought I'd come and see how you do it here in the Big Apple and is it ever… staid. I thought I'd liven things up a bit with my Joker Gas 2.0. Now don't bother looking for me. I'm not in the room. And don't panic your pretty little hearts. It's not… immediately lethal. No you'll get to watch them all lose control, and their minds, over the course of weeks. It'll be fun. I promse." There's a pause.

"Now, you've all raised a bunch of money for charity, but you've forgotten someone. Yes that's right. You've fogotten dear old Mister Jay. So if you could all kindly remove your valuables and deposit them near the cake, which is delicious by the way, I'd be much obliged. Once you do so I'll give you the antidote. Or you can take option B. Entertain me for it. If anyone wants Option B… feel free to let your friendly neighborhood staff know." All around the room the catering staff is producing firearms and putting on clown masks.

"Yeah," Dick says slowly as his eyes look out over the crowd. His chin begins to sway slowly as he goes from agreement to contradiction and shakes his head. "I think it has more to do with our budget shortfalls and cops leaving to become garbage men, real estate agents, and insurance salesmen."

Once he sees Captain Stacy he gives a nod, "Well respected, your dad. You grew up in New York, then?"

And then it dawns on him that he was being talked to. Chalk it up to the long drive? "Pardon me," he says to Jennifer. "Is it bad if I don't know who Lewis Gilbert Wilson is?"

Dick begins clapping at Captain Stacy's first pause along with the rest of the room.

When the green gas starts, however, Dick knows what's happening. He's been here before. His tie comes up to cover his mouth as he begins to look around the room. Ripping off a whole bunch of cops is risky business. There's a good chance this could cause a firefight and it's not immediately clear who would win, but it is immediately clear that a lot of people would lose their lives.

But, if there were some way he could get a sample…perhaps he could get it to Batman and get an antidote to those infected. His eyes spy a bottle on the table and he tries to slide over while remaining inconspicuous.

"Yeah, I've lived here my whole life, I even go to school here. I don't think I could handle moving too far away, there's just something about the big city?" Gwen smiles at Dick, clapping her hands with the others until Joker appears.

Gwen sighed, for two distinct reasons. The first being, that she didn't have her costume and doing anything here as Spider-Woman would be extremely risky. The second? Something /always/ interrupted her when she was talking with a cute boy.

Eyes widening as she watched Dick move up sneakily, she kept low, putting a hand on Jennifer's shoulder, "Just keep calm. The police will handle this." She hoped.

Smiling at Gwen, Jenn giggles, "Well, if they can't handle these Average Auguste Antagonists, Wimpy Whiteface Waitstaff, Pathetic Pierrot Punks, and Half-ass Harlequin Henchmen, then I know a Violent Verdant Vixen Vehemently Vowing Vicious Vengeance." She then strides forward, "What does entertaining your employer entail? Cause I don't have many valuables," Trying to project her voice to get as much attention drawn to her currently petite frame as possible. She does start flipping off her heels, loosening her belt, and unbuttoning a few buttons to make room.

The doors to the back of the room swing open and four… well, it'd be best to describe them as Clowns, come through the door. Clowns we say but they're seven feet tall easy, looking like they've done every steriod known to man. And they're carrying chainsaws. "Oh, I almost forgot." The Joker's voice cackles. "You didn't get to cut the cake. Don't worry. I have it handled." Around each of their necks is a vial of… something. "If you ask them nicely, they might even give you the antidote to the venom." Whether or not it is actually an antidote is… a really good question.

Either way this makes the room errupt in screams and fighting as some try to get away and some of the cops try to wrestle guns away from the nearby Jokerz and fight back. It's bedlam and chaos and people are going to get hurt.

Just the way the Joker Wanted it, no doubt.

While others run in the opposite direction, Dick puts himself between the bystanders who are fleeing and the giant clowns. Fists go up as his dark eyes glower at them. And it looks as if he's about willing to unleash some punishment, before he's hit from behind by one of the cook's with a sock full of quarters. As the metal bounces off his cranium it makes a loud thud just before Dick hits the floor, fully unconscious.

Gwen looked at Jennifer in disbelief, was she going to strip for Joker? She avoided facepalming and crept stealthily towards Nightwing to drag him to safety and make sure he would be okay in the meantime.

What to do? She was honestly torn. She couldn't just transform or super-speed away and return.

She would leave it to the cops. It's what her dad would want.

There was a few moments where Jenn thought that this could be settled with subterfuge and charm, but when the young prodigy detective crumbled to the floor, all delusions of reasoning, diplomacy, and being subtle went out the proverbial window. The transformation is quite dramatic if you are looking right at her, her form growing over two feet and gaining well over a quarter ton of muscle in the process, where Jennifer Walters stood, now stands a very angry, and barely contained in her former blouse and skirt, She-Hulk. She takes a deep breath and then bellows, "Hey, clowns. Once chance, you drop your weapons and surrender now, and I won't have to defend myself from a charge of practicing medicine without a license by transplanting your organs and limbs with one anothers. In other words… surrender, or I will rip you apart and treat you all like games of operation and mister potato head toys. If the skin didn't clue you in, I'm She-Hulk, the Incredible Hulk's cousin, and just like him, you don't want to make me angry, you wouldn't like what i do when I'm angry!!!"
Okay, it is mainly bluster and bluff, but Jenn is betting her cousin's reputation alone should scare some of the criminals into not taking the chance, which will reduce the numbers she and the cops have to fight. Plus, if she does 'accidentally' break one or two criminal's limbs, it only adds to the bluff and potentially leads to others surrendering a little later.

Well, it certainly makes all of the clowns with guns start backing away slowly. You have to be a special kind of insane to take on the Hulk and even Gotham doersn't make folks like that every day.

A special kind of insane… or drugged up beyond all caring. The four clowns with chainsaws zero in on Jennifer and bull rush her, bowling folks out of the way. Only two are going to be able to get to her without maneuvering around some obstacles though so they won't all be up in her grill right away.

The good news for Gwen in all this is that no one is paying attention to her. Which means that if ever there were a time to go heroic…

Well, unfortunately for Gwen, it dawned upon her that nobody at all was paying her any mind right now. Sometimes, being a pretty blonde girl also meant that nobody expecting much from you in a situation like this; that would suck for the Joker thugs.

Inconspicously she fires up a stream of organic webbing towards a chandelier above the chainsaw wielding thugs and yanks it; hoping to bring it crashing down upon them.

She didn't expect to be able to hit Joker, but she fired off another stream of webbing; aimed in a big glob intended to immobilize the clown. If he wasn't aware of her, it shouldn't be too hard to hit him!

Heroics taken care of for the moment, she grabbed Dick and dragged him under a table.

A slight sigh escapes Jenn's lips, not that the big guys targeting her was a surprise in the least, it was actually sort of her plan, since she can handle getting shot and cut way better then the GCPD, MPD, and NYPD, but she was on some level hoping one of them might be shocked back to his senses by her threats. She considers her options, vials around necks either represent source of power, or contingency plan, waiting til they're in breathing range (probably a bad idea for most folks) is actually probably the optimal plan, so the trick is to divide and conquor without breaking the vials just yet…
Puffing up and imitating a French Accent, Jenn sticks her nose in the air, "If these ruffians are hungry, let them eat cake." quickly popping two of the cakes off the floor and flinging them at one of the nearing and one of the delayed chainsaw wielding clowns, then adding, "Okay, I know, Marie Antoinette may not really have said anything like that, and the actual word was brioche which is less of your standard sweet pastry cake, but still… eat cake clowns!!!"

That delays two of them. Which leaves one to come crashing into melee range of Jennifer, wildly flailing with his chainsaw. Chainsaws are not wieldy weapons by any stretch of the imagination so… really if anyone knows what they're doing not getting hit isn't too hard. Not getting hit by four of them? Let's hope Jennifer doesn't have to find out.

Gwen gets Dick to safety, and does see her shot stagger the Joker. Who is then out of sight. Maybe he got squished. Maybe not. Hard to say. Either way she has a good up close view of Roid-Clown feet and a fairly good view of one of the others trying to come in and blind side her.

Great.

Just great Gwen. What now? The young woman thought to herself as the meathug roid-clowns started coming in on her and Dick Grayson.

Lucky for her, she had a Spidey-Sense and blind-siding her would probably take some kind of arcane means.

Sliding out from under the table, she put her High School gymnastics to good use. Reaching up as she tumbled out from under the table she grabbed a serving tray and in a fluid motion whipped it at the face of the clown.

Hopefully, it would break his nose.

If push came to shove, she could defend herself better than most of the people here; she just didn't /want/ to have to.

Being nice isn't on the menu today, so Jenn starts with a classic, trying for a parry of the chainsaw, grab the collar, and pull into a knee to the groin combo, hopefully shutting down the first clown in melee range for the remainder so she can formulate what to do with the next one. In a situation like this, she has to play it smart, which, while not usually considered the strong suit for Hulks, isn't outside of her repitoire. For the moment, she's got the biggest physical threats attention, and if she can maintain it, that leaves the Cops to handle the remainder of the gun-toting clowns, makes it easier to stall for time for back-up, and gives her time to handle each one individually as the come. Odds aren't that they're really in her weight class, but they're as tall as her and who knows what Gotham's worst might have up his sleeves.

Well strong does not as it turns out mean tough in this case. The first two are down thanks to Gwen and Jennifer. Which only leaves two more. Unfortunatelly now Gwen has attracted attention. Two bits of attention actually. One from one of the remaining (cake covered) roid-clowns. And the other from her dad. Who is laughing uncontrollably and pointing a gun right at her.

The last roid-clown drops his saw and just comes right at Jennifer. he's still a bit taller. He'll try to just tackle her down and pummel her.

Well no one said they were smart.

Gwen opens her eyes wide as her Dad is pointing a gun at her, thankfully the roid clown goes for She-Hulk; giving the biochem student a bit of breathing room. Mustering all the speed she can, she runs in to tackle her dad from the waist; hopefully not being shot at in the process.

Otherwise, oh god would she have a lot to try and explain; mostly how she would be lucky enough to dodge bullets.

"Dad! Get down, it's not safe!"

Part of Jenn would prefer to protect Gwen from having to fight her own father, no one should ever have to face their own father, especially around Father's Day, that is just cruel and evil, but while Jokerized Captain George Stacy is endangering his daughter, or at least as farr as Jenn knows, the guy tackling her is a bigger threat… and an idiot. Jennifer Walters trained with Captain 'America' Steve Rogers in hand-to-hand combat… she knows some of the best combat moves in the business. A simple roll and twist is all it takes to turn the guy's own momentum and weight into weapons for Jenn, flipping it so she is on top, and his arms are both behind his back, his legs are bent back, and he has the 800+ pounds of She-Hulk on his back and twisting his arms. For good measure she gently (for her) kicks him in the temple… not enough to spallter his skull, but if he is still somehow conscious after the headkick, he is disoriented and dazed as heck. She calls out, "Hey, Officers, I believe key note speaker needs to be handled so he stops manhandling his daughter." hoping to get someone to help Gwen.

That gets some attention. As does the fact that a number of the VIP's need to be subdued as they're laughing and acting oddly. The most heartbreaking thing about it, really is the look of horror that crosses their faces occasionally as they struggle for control. Still several people move in and in short order Captain Stacy is restrained. With Jennifer putting down the last of the roid-clowns, the threat is ended and people are being taken into custody. Of the Joker himself and several of his clowns there is, unfortunately no sign. EMS arrives fairly quickly to get the injured and poisoned off to the hospital as well as to analyize the odd vials for traces of anything helpful… or harmful. Hopefully the poinsoned people will be back to normal shortly… until then, a certain clown menace remains at large. And he's just let everyone know he intends to be here for a while.

Jennifer is given a smile by Gwen as the officer moves in to help her with her dad, it would have looked weird if a skinny twenty something year old girl could take down a veteran police officer and keep him subdued; it would probably look bad on the police more than Gwen however.

She would have to thank She-Hulk another time.

For now she's sticking with her Dad, holding her hand.

"At least I got to make you Father's Day breakfast.." She sighs, hoping he will be alright.

No Doubt, SPIDER-GWEN would be going after The Joker sooner, rather than later.

Dun Dun Dun.

Her clothes are shredded, her hair is mussed, she has cake and clown makeup smeared on her, reverting to normal Jennifer Walters would be silly. She waves off press and papparazzi alike as she retrieves the noble, albeit foolish prodigy detective from the table he was shielded under, lifts him up like a little baby in her arms, and carries him to an ambulance gurney, strapping him in and telling the EMTs to treat him nice cause he proves chivalry isn't dead. She then slowly makes her way to the hotel bathrooms to clean up while a valet retrieves her car, her comment of there not being a scratch on it seeming to hit home, maybe cause she is still over 7' tall and Green, and doesn't look happy about how this all finished… people hurt, party ruined, VIP's poisoned and mutated, police incapacitated, food wasted, needing a new outfit, and to top it off, someone stole the Christian Louboutin shoes that she'd taken the effort to take off before transforming… whoever took her Pigalle Power Heels will rue the day trhey messed with She-Hulk… she has a certain set of skills, okay, sure, tracking people down is not yet really among them, but she knows people for that, bounty hunters and bondsmen and such, and she will use those people to find the person who took her heels, and she will hunt that person down, and make them pay, probably in court…

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