The Thread, Part 10: Frontera/Trigger

July 09, 2015:

Dick Grayson's investigation comes to it's greatest peak and lowest valley as the 100 conspire to create a mutant army. In New York a power player's wife has been abducted while a youth center in Mutant Town burns in flames.

Various

Various

Characters

NPCs: Juniper Taylor, Vanessa Fisk, Aurelio Martinez, Detective Mills, Sarah Traverstein

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: Frontera/Trigger, Calexico


Fade In…

The Thread, Part 10: Frontera/Trigger

he pulls out a worn photo
and an old handmade gun
wishes it was he who was frying
when he set the whole town on fire
he shot every single one — Joey Burns

ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY

They come in school buses every night from the heart of M-Town. Free transportation is one perk the mutants get, the other is a steady job. Albeit at a terrible wage, not more than minimum, which on the East Coast is a sentence of destitution. That being said, the mutants who worked at the Abermauch Factory in Elizabeth are happy to have a job.

It's late at night, past midnight, when the bus departs the factory to bring that shift home. In all over 30 women and men, some as young as 18 and some as old as 80. All of them are tired and just want to get something to eat and a good night's sleep.

DOVER, DELAWARE

"You wanna do what, sugar?" says the night lady at the state police station in the capital of Delaware.

"I want to get a warrant for the records from these cases," Dick Grayson says with a smile as Detective Mills looks over their shoulder from their perch at the front desk.

"Honey, it's 12:30 at night. No judge is going to be awa—"

"Oh, Detective Grayson here is counting on it. Once you see whose records we're pulling, a judge will definitely want to have some more information."

"And whose info we lookin' at? Superman?"

"Close," Grayson replies. "Senator Henry Ballard."

HELL'S KITCHEN

"It's…for you, sir." One of Fisk's attendants reaches up to cover the receiver of the cell phone. It's one of his private cell phones. Wilson will be able to count on fewer than five fingers how many people know the number. His attendant's hand is shaking as he offers the Kingpin of crime the phone.

Whether Fisk takes the phone or not, Aurelio Martinez begins speaking anyways. "Hell's Kitchen is a dangerous place, Mr. Fisk. You shouldn't let loved ones walk around by their lonesome."

There's a brief pause.

"We have loved ones too. An eye for an eye, then?"

MUTANT TOWN

The relay took a while to get through, probably because it's late and most likely because it deals with Mutant Town.

At the local youth center, a dance was supposed to let out in 30 minutes. Some thought 1 am was simply too late, but the fact of the matter is that the young mutants would just be out on the streets then with no supervision. Program directors convinced police this would be the best spot for these kids.

But as smoke billows out the top of the building, it's clear that it has come under some sort of attack.

The signs are eerily similar to the casino attack just a few weeks ago.

The doors have been locked, chained from the outside. Perhaps some of the kids would have mutant powers that could get them out of there but between the smoke, the fire, the confusion, and the fear, no one seems to be able to get the building open. And it burns, and it burns.

Thor spots the smoke from quite a ways away. His red cape furls in the wind, hammer flung in front of him. There has been no sign of random Jutenheim for weeks, which is a good thing. Nor has random bloodlust been a 'thing' and no mysterious him/not him sightings. Good.

But when his keen senses smell the smoke and hear the cries of many youth, his mighty heart bleeds in his chest. "By Odin This Must Not Be!" He races with flying blinding speed across the city, slowly drawing rain behind him in his storming wake.

Some nights… are just slightly more busy than others, tonight looks like it's shaping up to be one of them. From the Clocktower in Gotham, Oracle notices the fire in M-Town - sadly violence there seems to be coming a 'thing'. Using security and CCTV video feeds, Oracle can see that the youth centre is chained up… and she blanches.

"This is Oracle" The redhead sends through all her communication channels.. OracleNet, Titans, JL:A… whoever she has in her contact list. "Assistance required in M-Town, youth centre has been targetted. There are people inside and it's on fire." Co-ordinates accompany the update "All who can attend, please check in with me and get there pronto."

Her green eyes continue to scan her screens for other areas she needs to address - her role is Overwatch, monitoring for trouble and helping her teams address it.

Mutant Town. Like it, hate it, leave it or love it. Up until recently, Jim Reha wouldn't have allowed himself to be caught alive or dead within its confines. Of course, that was before certain things happened in his life that left him decidedly marked and alien. While most of the rest of the city is marginally accepting of someone who has wings sticking out of their back and looking for all of the world like a walking talking crow or tengu of legend, the bricks, spittle, and worse are something he could do without.

Shift's memorial service, though, was a bit of an eye-opener. While Mutant Town wasn't the safest of places to stroll even for the marked and empowered, there was also a certain level of begrudging acceptance that he'd found nowhere else in the city of late. He does have a slimmed-down phone in his pocket, with only two numbers in it. One for his employer Pepper Potts and one to a hot-button to a bodyguard employed by Stark Industries named 'Dimitri' who is well out of District X but should he need it could theoretically extract him. His boss insists on having the back-up, even though said back-up is probably more endangered if he entered the area than Jim himself would be.

Why is Jim down in M-Town today? Why, he's shoppping. Yes. This is the only place in New York that one can find clothes to fit unusual frames and bodies without resorting to the expensive and question-raising custom designs that his boss could provide him. Left arm laden with bags that have various basic clothing items but not showing any sort of strain as he strides down the street, the rally was to be avoided — not just for the sake of him bumping into people and knocking them over with his wings which he's still getting the hang of, but also the fact that rallies tend to be where the SRD shows up in force, at least if one follows the news.

And then… the tell-tale signs of smoke and disorder.

To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder

It's a stray thought that falls into the former veteran in avian form as he starts running towards the building. If someone asked him why he was doing it, he'd be hard pressed to give a good answer, but there's a need and a cause for action, and no one should ever burn alive. At least, that's his thought process for the moment as he does bounding leaps to awkwardly cover the distance, dropping the bag full of clothes on a convenient fire escape. Hopefully he remembers where that is at when this is all done — right now there are folks that need saving.

Running the streets with his partner, Detective Jerry Swaiznowski, Joe West has one hand on the wheel and the other one holding a hoagie.

"So I says to her, 'I don't care if you make my coffee. If you don't, I will. I'm a grown-ass man, I can make a cup of coffee if I want a cup of coffee.' And she's like," Jerry mocks a woman's voice, putting his Brooklyn born and raised accent on thick, "'What's with the attitude, sugar?' And it goes from there. All over a fucking cup of coffee!"

Joe laughs.

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph! I'm tellin' ya, West, don't ever get hitched again."

"I don't plan on it."

"So what's the deal? Roamin' around M-Town tryin' to sniff out shit from a box of carry out? Sweet Jesus, Joe, this is a waste of my taxpayer dollars, not to mention the rest of the five boroughs'."

"I'm just watching," explains Joe West, as the unmarked car trolls the neighborhood. "It's how we did things back in Central City. You keep your eyes open long enough, you'll find what you're looking for."

"Yeah, well." Swaiznkwski munches on his hoagie. "This ain't the Midwest. Here, shit jumps right out at ya-"

"Like that?" Joe pulls up when the building comes in sight, frowning.

"Yeah. Like that."

"Call it in!"

The car accelerates, headed for the building quickly.

One good thing about rent in mutant town is that its cheap. It's hella cheap one could say, though Frank would never use that sort of sassy vernacular. Ever. He sits in one of his hidden safehouses at his table, and placed out on a canvas in front of him are several items of note: a collection of firearms that is becoming more and more an armory of itself; oil and cleaning supplies; a bottle of jack and pills; an unopened pack of icy hot for the lacing pain in his lower back. He's cleaning the firing mechanism of a 9mm uzi, head bent to his work as a battery-charged radio picks up the news. It's this how he hears of the fire.

Frowning, he rises to his feet and looks out the window, seeing the plume of smoke. He pulls the blinds back down, turning to his bed where he picks up a duffel bag in one hand. Maybe there's some work out there tonight after all. A few minutes of prep time, and then he's heading into the elevator. Only one other occupant, one who sees Frank's battered face and steps to the side of the dingy compartment. "Uh, nice day, huh?"

Frank stares straight ahead as elevator chimes through the floor. "Lovely."

It's a bit early for it yet but Ryden's given up his real estate search for the day and come in search of a good time or perhaps just do a bit of exploring. There have been a lot of changes in the city since he was last here. His knack for ending up in a place where he needs to be is apparently in full effect tonight because he turns a corner and stops just across the street from the burning building.
He barely registers the others rushing towards the building and only notes traffic that is in his way. His hands are busy digging in the ever present leather pack he slings down from one shoulder as he dashes across the street towards the danger. He arrives panting, one hand holding his pack and the other a book whose pages are turning of their own will before stopping at one that is blank. He strokes the page with one finger and the chains and door suddenly disappear from the building, an exact image of them suddenly there on the previously blank page. He drops the book back into his pack and makes his way inside, sketching symbols in the air before him to push the smoke and any flames aside.

Ozymandias is donning his costume, while looking over several labtops that are linked to his private system. He looks over the business information for the day and speaks in his earpiece, "Good, I think we have enough Class B voting stocks on our company to strengthen our position from any hostile takeovers during these bids, and we should begin to sell off the agreed amount Class A stocks tomorrow to increase our war chest in acquiring new assets. Let's reach out to all our government contacts in Central and South America and Africa about their oil assets too. Thanks, Arielle. I will look at the information in the morning. I will reach out to some contacts too .

Ozymandias starts to put on his mask and says. "Let me know if something new comes up, or there is some weird change in pre-trade markets. Good day's work. Ozymandias turn off his personal comms, and hears Oracle's call for help in M-Town. Ozymandias double checks his weapons and says, "This is Ozymandias, I am on my way, Prophetess. Send me the most direct route, if you can.

MANHATTAN

Wesley doesn't scare easy; it's one of the many reasons that Wilson Fisk hired him and keeps him close to this day. The Kingpin eyes his right hand's trembling for a pregnant moment of confused hesitation, then plucks the phone from it. Empty, controlled calm falls over his features like a veil as he brings the cell to his ear.

It slips the moment Martinez speaks. Vanessa, out tonight to take in a showing of Antigone at a recently renovated theater in Hell's Kitchen. Loosely covered - she insisted on having a 'normal' night out - by an undercover detail that either is dead, or soon will be.

It takes him several seconds of cupping his hand around the receiver and breathing in and out before he's able to reassert that calm. "The pride of Central America, I presume," he then intones. He drags a pen and pad across his desk. "Within the next ten minutes, I suspect that one of your people will receive a call," he continues while writing. "It will be about a disturbance at the home of one of the eleven men still in NYPD custody. It will be the first of many, until my wife has been returned to me in good health, or there are no more families."

'FIND VANESSA OR MARTINEZ', the pad says. 'ONE MILLION DOLLAR BOUNTY'

"We shall then move on to the rest of your people."

Wesley's eyes widen as he eyes the pad, but he does not hesitate in grabbing his phone and beginning to make some calls.

"We could have done business, you and I. I am not an unreasonable man, Mr. Martinez; this posturing has been entirely unnecessary."

'FIVE FOR MARTINEZ' HEAD'

ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY

Juniper Taylor, 20, a young mutant with only cosmetic "powers" of a canine appearance sits forward in her seat as a man with flash lights and cones is cordoning the bus off the road towards a junkyard. As the bus turns she can see four other buses, likely other factory skiffs, as they were called, already parked.

People begin to murmur, wondering what is taking place, just when Juniper sees it.

Out in a circle between the busses, perhaps 14 mutants are beating each other within inches of their lives with bats as men dressed in sunglasses with bandanas around their face watch.

DOVER, DE

It took a long time, but the judge finally got down to the precinct two meet with the two cops from Gotham. "Now, this better be good, boys. I'll have you know I went to law school at Penn with Ballard. What have you got?"

When Dick Grayson tells him that it's conspiracy to commit murder and other crimes only those with organization can accomplish, the judge sits back in his chair and holds his hand to his head. One by one Grayson and Mills put together what they have against Ballard. 15 different criminals, from DC to Boston, all tied to Ballard's wife's cell phone.

"It aint enough for a conviction, but it's a start," Mills says after about 45 minutes of laying out the case to put a tap on Ballard's wife's cell.

The judge, though friendly towards Ballard, can't disagree with the evidence and signs the warrant for a wire tap.

HELL'S KITCHEN

"Unnecessary was your killing of four of my men. And, well, you see, Mr. Fisk. Jair was my brother in law. So, your tough talk will get you nowhere." Aurelio Martinez' accent is very thick despite his seemingly solid grasp on the language. "You can continue to talk big, and I can just kill her now. Either way, you /will/ do business with us. You will back off or your wife will die, and you will die soon after. You like to discuss things from a point of strength, but you have no clue what you're getting yourself into."

MUTANT TOWN

Thor races towards the scene, bringing rain along with him which is very helpful. At the same time the flames are so thick it's kind of like putting a drop in a bucket. It's a good start but it'll take more than that to put it out. And all the while, people are in danger.

Once Reha arrives, he'll notice the rain coming in which is a godsend (no pun intended) but he'l also be able to hear the blood curtling screams of those who are dying inside. The doors swell from people on the inside trying to push their way out, but with the chains it is impossible. West and his partner will arrive a short time later, but see much the same thing, while Castle still has yet to arrive.

Oracle finds something…odd. A close inspection of fire and rescue will find that someone has entered the emergency services node and re-routed personnel to other parts of the city. It's going to be a long time before that gets untangled and any sort of real help arrives. Just then, Ozymandias' call comes through as he's about to be arriving soon. The rest of the JL:A, however, seems to be indisposed.

Once Ryden is on the scene, however, things change quickly. The chains which held the doors shut disappear completely and people begin to flow out towards safety.

But that's before the shots start ringing out. Snipers from the surrounding buildings begin to take potshots at teen mutants, taking them out amidst the confusion and creating mounds of people at the exit. The panic escalates and people begin screaming, stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Kara comes into Mutant Town from Lower Manhattan.

Thor doesn't hesitate. He rushes into the flames, which worry him not at all and begins seeking out the cries of those who are in danger. He is invulnerable and his keen senses can detect the heartbeats despite the cacaphony around him.

It's…bit like shopping. Kind of. He is fast, but without the hammer neither superman nor the flash. Still, he grabs one and calmly says,"I will get you out, remain calm…"

He does this five more times, and while physically CAPABLE of more they are crushing into each other and one with electrical powers seems barely capable of containing them. In the interests of sanity, he flys out in a wisp of speed and sets them down, finally taking the thought to have the rain increase more and more as time goes on before rushing back.

Ozymadias receives the route he requires "Transmitted, Ozymandia."

Oracles brows draw together in a frown as she looks at the NYPD systems. Rerouted personnel? And leaving a fingerprint - that's just sloppy - the redheaded Information Goddess starts to trace the hack, and makes sure the despatchers are fixing the mess before turning her attention back to M-Town.

Of course, she's monitoring the police band and reaches out to Detective Joe West… hacking into his police radio channel "Detective West, Detective Swaiznkwski. This is Oracle." Babs has met Joe, she's just going to assume that he knows of Oracle, "NY despatch has been hacked, you're the only official responders at the moment. There are others who are responding however." She pauses "The youth centre was chained up and set alight. Much like the incident at the Casino the other week. It appears that the chains have been removed and people are being evacuated."

Next step, can she get the fire suppression system running? Fingers fly over her console and the building management system for the youth centre is accessed - one last key stroke and the fire suppression systems should spring to life.

As to that junk yard? No video surveillance… she's blind to what's occuring there.

The first reaction of the avianoid fellow was to go to the doors, to start breaking the chains loose. That is, until said chains vanish. Immediate fears of the E2 disaster in Chicago loom in his head, where people trying to escape a night club trampled themselves to death in a mad escape through one exit. And then the first shots ring out. Not one… multiple. He assesses the angles and trajectories with the barest section of his brain as he calculates the exact best spot to be to block the bulk of incoming fire.

**"KEEP MOVING!! GO GO GO GO GO!!"

This is going to fucking suck.

Having determined the best angle to stand to cover the most vulnerable escape route of the teens, he raises his wings to fullest extension to act as 'bullet umbrella' despite his own doubts about the tactic being effective. Someone has to do something, before this becomes even worse.

"YOU FUCKING WANT SOMEONE TO SHOOT AT, YOU FUCKING PUNKS? HAVE AT. FUCK ALL Y'ALL!"

That roared declaration is clearly aimed at the snipers, not at anyone at the ground level as the avian head barks it skywards.

"Jesus, Dispatch, make it fast!" Swaiznkwski is running along after Detective West, radio in hand. "They got chains on the doors, there's people dying in there!"

Meanwhile, Detective West is tugging on the chains, to no avail. He throws his jacket open and withdraws the sidearm from his shoulder holster, calling into the building, "Stand back!" while aiming his pistol at the chains. "NYPD, everybody stand -"

Then, just like that, the chains are gone. Joe is pushed back, pistol going up into the air on instinct, to avoid any accidental misfires. He calls out to the panicked mob, but his words go unheard amidst the screaming, which intensifies when the bullets begin to rain.

"Shots fired!" Swaiznowski reports into the radio. "We got, uh, fuck. Uhhh, I think… snipers on the -"

Just like that, Jerry Swaiznowski finds himself with a bullet hole in his forehead.

Finally scrambling away from the mob, Detective West takes cover against a newspaper stand, hunched down low while trying to find a shot. The pistol is perched just over the lip of the newspaper stand, and four shots sent loose, when Oracle's voice comes over his radio.

Pulling the radio from his shoulder holster, Joe hesitates for a moment. "Copy that, Oracle," he answers, then murmurs under his breath. "Like hell we are."

Holding his fire, West pulls out a cell phone and starts composing a text message. It's shorthand, but it takes time to load up the contacts. Dispatch, one of the Chiefs down at Fire Station 81, Desk Sergeant Lewis, SRD Lieutenant Billings.

'bands compromised send fire and crowd control (nearest cross street)'

"Your brother in law had the misfortune of threatening what was mine," Fisk quietly, tersely replies as the phone's casing cracks.
His eyes squeeze tightly shut as he takes another of those slow, composing breaths. Wesley does not dare look in his direction; he has work of his own to do, anyway.

"In any event," the Kingpin then continues in a more controlled tone, "let's discuss terms."

'WHERE IS BULLSEYE?'

It's underlined several times.

"Yes," Wesley murmurs as he glances towards the scratching of further directives. "I'm quite sure; it is urgent. Cast a wide net, but be discreet."

HELL'S KITCHEN

"Alright, no doubt," Turk says into his burner while jogging around the corner towards Josie's. "My friends'll tell their friends, and we'll get this party goin' like— " Turk falters for a moment. "One thing, though: where d'you want us to bring that keg?"

Turk brakes completely as the voice on the other end explains. His face gets progressively screwed up.

"If that's the case, then why's //my/ black ass out here— no, no, sorry, sorry, you're right, I got it. I got you, I'mma take care— "

*CLICK!*

Turk stares at the phone for a moment, then rolls his eyes, shoves it back in his pocket and resumes his trek to Josie's. As soon as he bursts through the dive's door:

"Yo, I heard happy hour's on down at the Bar With No Name!" he exclaims to the assembly of drunks, broke college students, and convicted felons who tend to frequent Josie's after dark. "Tell everybody about that shit!"

About half the bar exchanges looks amongst one another and begin chatting quietly amongst themselves.

Frank is just driving along the road, windshield wipers going. Traffic through these congested streets are made worse by emergency vehicles, and POVs that are putting distance between them and the fire. If it was just a burning building they'd probably hung around but the mutants had their share of destruction and firefights in the last couple of days. They're prompt to just get out of the way. Frank doesn't even go to the street that the burning building is one, parallel parking and shutting off the van.

The lights flicker off and then he kicks open the door, hiking the duffel bag over his shoulder as he enters an apartment building. Lobby is empty. The man wastes no time, heading to the staircase at a jog, quietly opening the door and checks his corner. Okay, good, clear again. He hikes his duffel bag in tighter, looks waaaaaay up and gives a muted sigh. The first step is always the hardest on old knees and soon the Punisher is making good time as he ascends, going up up and away like a normal person does. One damn step at a time. As he goes, he pulls on a vest over his black shirt, a stolen EMT garb, a disguise that he completes with a black cap.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MhEm5fYPmo

Ryden is relieved when the sprinklers come on. He could have brought forth a storm but really that would have just made things worse. Ever seen it storm inside a building? Ryden has. It's not nearly as helpful as it might have seemed. He isn't a god like Thor, nor is he as fast, the best he can do is push the smoke and flames aside to clear a path as he moves, hunched down to the floor and drawing words and symbols with a black marker. It will hold a clear path through smoke and fire for as long as he can power the spell. Hopefully long enough to get these people…Ryden suddenly realizes that all he's seen are children.. outside where it's safe. He hasn't heard the shots yet, its too noisy in here. Ryden has been around for a very long time, on earth and in other places. He isn't all that moved by awful things anymore. He's seen too much for it to affect him. This would be one of the few things that still does bother the man. People murdering children. Whoever is behind this had best be praying to whatever gods they hold dear that he doesn't find them.

For Ozymandis this seems like someone is perform a crash course in oppression of undesirables. First gather them in a ghetto, and then killed them. So many times this pattern has repeated across history, but not tonight, not on his watch. "Oracle, get the EMTS. They will be blood!" Ozymandias turns on his infrared scans and begins scanning the roof tops as he approaches from another rooftop. When his eyes fall on him, he pulls out his collapsible bow before his lands, and fires an arrow at the first sniper he sees. He land on the rooftop with a roll, transforming his sickle sword until pure mystical energy to cut another sniper. The mystical energy inflicting damage on the sniper's soul.

Ozymandias shouts in an ancient Kush, Come face a true warrior!"

"Oracle, this is Supergirl. Sorry I didn't respond sooner, my transmitter was muted. I've been talking this whole time, ugh." Kara sounded frustrated with herself for not realizing she was muted, "I'm here now though!"

Kara searches out with her enhanced vision to try and find the snipers, sniping at the nearest with her heat vision also known as her favourite ability; lazer eyes.

While laser eyeing she tries to take the bullets intended for the teens as well.

ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY

"Alright, nobody fucking move!"

And for good measure the gunman shoots the roof of the bus, which immediately terrifies everyone in the vehicle. Juniper looks away, scared, and out the window. Down, underneath the buses, she notices that there mutants lying with guts coming out their eyes and their mouths and tire tracks over their bodies. Her eyes travel around the grounds and she notices bodies strewn about the junkyard, all run over.

"You will listen to what we say and you will listen well. There will be three types of people here tonight. Those who will refuse to fight. Those who will fight and lose. And those who will fight, win and become one of us. Only the final group will live.

"You son of a—" A reptilian mutant gets up and looks as though he's going to attack the speaker at the front of the bus, but as soon as he stands he's shot through the eye, dead before he hits the ground.

"We will have our mutant army," the speaker says assuredly. "We have no time for discussion."

GOTHAM CITY

"Now that feels like a lot longer drive than it is," Grayson says as he stretches and the car pulls into the GCPD parking lot. "First thing tomorrow we'll get to work on listening to the tap." It's been a long hard road for the pair of detectives. It's seemed like everytime they get a break, along comes a set back. The night seems like a release for them. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

"Imma make your pretty ass sit there and listen all day," Mills replies. "I'm taking a vacation until we're ready to put this guy behind bars."

"I think I'm just going to make Peterso-BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM Six shots pierce through the driver's side window, burying themselves in Mills' body and mortally wounding Dick Grayson's partner. Only through his secret training is Dick able to control his emotions, aside from the obligatory and massive flinch and momentary panic. He opens the car doors and falls out before he too is struck. He hits the ground in a huff, looking underneath to see the gunman's feet as they begin to step toward him.

HELL'S KITCHEN

"And now you have the misfortune of being threatened with what is also yours, Mr. Fisk. Soon, she'll belong to Jesus, my friend."

"Terms. Terms are truce. No more invading in our affairs. You can keep your current enterprises, but we get upstate, Long Island, and New Jersey. There can be no compromise. Those are our terms. Take them or leave them. You and I both know this will not end with your wife."

MUTANT TOWN

Thor gets a few new fans (well, they were probably fans before) as he flies them out of the crossfire and flames and toward safety. As he heads back for more, he can hear the shots continue to pop out, bringing innocent teens down for no apparent reason.

Corvinus heroically gives himself up for a group of teens. Giving the shooters a target works really, really well and the avian's wings begin getting peppered with shots left and right.

Oracle tries to get the fire suppression going, but as her fingers fly across the keys she will soon find that those who set this fire cut the water to the building through a manual shut off. Worse, she gets a ping on where the IP address was to hack the emergency services: An all night Internet cafe in the Bronx.

The Punisher can hear gunshots popping from different floors intermittently. Wherever these guys are shooting from, he knows that he is close.

As Ryden begins to walk through the mess, he'll notice that there is far more death than there needed to be. Whoever slowed the emergency services—there could be upwards of 40 kids dead inside, with more being gunned down outside.

Ozymandias begins his run, pulling him closer and closer toward Punisher as each put the squeeze on the assassins who all seem to be in that large tower that faces the entrances. But they're still shooting.

Oddly, though, nothing is happening. The guns fire, but the bullets don't hit. Supergirl is heat visioning them all in a sort of missile protection system that Ronald Reagan would have been proud of.

Thor scowls….he moves back and forth with astonishing speed, deflecting several bullets with his hammer. Before going back in for more, he puts his hammer to the sky crying "ODIN!" As four lightning bolts come down, crackling with thunder, hitting a building here, another building across the way, and two in a boat in the ocean, stunning them, likely burning them but not killing.

They're not Hydra.

Then he rushes into the building and grabs 10 more. Sure they are uncomfortable but they will live…only this time as he flies out he does not set them down until they are in the stairwell of the nearest metro stop.

"It's good of you to get here, Supergirl" Oracle responds to Supergirl, before updating the team on the ground "Waters been turned off to the building. Manual shutoff… I've got the co-ordinates of the shutoff, one of you will need to physically activate it." Oracles voice transmits to Ozymandia, Supergirl and Joe, co-ordinates for the shutoff sent to their communicators (and Joes phone) "EMS are being directed, Ozymandias, there will be a delay though." When she finds who did this… She can see, through the surveillance cameras the death toll… and it's making her ill.

Speaking of which… that Internet Cafe is about to be hacked. Traffic logs, camera footage… whatever Gotham's Information Goddess can grab, it's all being dumped to a partition on her network, for later review. She'll cross reference times, find who used the Cafe around that time and then hunt them… ahem… track them down and see just what they think they were doing.

Just because the rounds initially don't seem to do much as they fly off of the feathers of the strange bird-person, does not mean that his luck will last forever. Thankfully, the only 'civilian' casualties thus far are some tenement windows and one particularly dangerous rottweiler that someone had not fed for a couple of days to 'toughen it up' for an underground dog-fighting circuit.

And then the snipers start figuring out the ballistics of the feathers, and start aiming at creases and seams where the feathers overlap…

Bloody chunks go flying upwards from the avianoid as he grunts with each impact, staggering a little bit lower as the pain surges through his body in an alien and entirely unwelcome sort of way.

"FUCK. FUCKING MOVE! DAMN! AGGGGHHH!!"

"THAT FUCKING ALL YOU FUCKING GOT?? GODDAMN PATHETIC!"

Jim's a bloody mess, but the kids he's shielding aren't getting a red rain, and they are getting to safety. That gets an approving nod as he quietly prays that the sniping stops soon enough… and… it appears to lighten up.

Of course, given his focus he isn't aware that there's a deux ex kryptonia floating above…

Throwing the phone back into his jacket, Detective West again peers over the newspaper stand, looking for a shot. Only then does he really catch sight of the bloodbath, at which point his face grows a bit less dark. The gun wobbles, and he reached with his other hand to steady himself. He's… never seen anything like this.

For a few moments, the Detective is in shock. Tears are welling up in his eyes, and he can't help feeling useless.

Finally, though, he pulls himself together, draws himself up, and puts the gun away. Moving out, he starts grabbing the kids nearest to him, ushering them away from the storm of billets. "Come on, kids," he orders them with a shaky voice. "Follow me, run fast!"

Fifth floor, room three. The lock has been busted by some application of force and a tool, a man slumped over his rifle, a gaping wound to the back of the head that looks as if someone took a crowbar to the skull with a certain vicious glee. His earbud is missing, alongside his tactical vest and his sidearm.

Seventh floor, room eight. Homey, handmade paintings of clear skies and farmlands on the walls with a relaxing shade of blue paint. The door is ajar, and only one body is found without any rounds fired, eyes agape and head wrapped in clear plastic wrapping paper. Asphyxiation. There's bruises on his arms and back, and furniture scattered across the room.

Tenth floor, room eleven. Cluttered, moving boxes shoved to the corner near the door. A single syringe with its plunger depressed has been left behind as the lone scene of a crime.

Front door, out on the street. A powerfully built EMT has an injured man over his shoulder, carrying him out of the firefight toward his ambulance. In the chaos, the white and red painted vehicle might look like an emergency van. It's the Punisher's though, instead. The sniper is still going to have surgery though. Invasive. Maybe with a drill and a hammer.With his potential lead in hand, Frank removes his cap and tosses it into the passenger seat as he climbs back into his van.

Ryden has finally realized the water he mistook as coming from the sprinklers had actually been rain falling through the holes burned into the roof. That won't do. The fire needs to be stopped. He draws more of his power and bends his will to the instruction he scribbles on the wall. "SPRINKLERS ON. SPRINKLERS WORK" it should do the trick. It's going to drain him a lot faster than holding the path open though, and he's still doing that. Looking around he can't find anyone else still alive and for a long moment he just stands amidst the smoke and flames with and anguished expression. Sky blue eyes of a startling brightness harden and he clenches a fist in anger as he heads towards the door, bending to check for signs of life where ever he can and finding none so far.

Ozymandias looks at the sniper he put down with an arrow, and then the other who is curled up in the ball from having their soul pierce by his mystical energy version of his sickle sword. Ozymandias transforms the sword back to regular titanium and places it back in its sheath. Ozymandias clenches his fists as he looks at the remaining snipers that are close to him. "Your friends got off easy. Ozymandias uses his superspped and reflexes to shoot for a double leg take down, he gets it on one of the snipers, and quickly breaks the arm via an armbar. His enhanced strength causing the bone to pop through the skin. He whispers. "I want the remaining of you to remember that random shooting kids must be met by random payback of justice.

One of the snipers turns his head from his shooting just in time for Ozymandias to have his face and half his body thrown against the wall. Ozymandias performs a flying elbow crushing the man's nose and all of his teeth.

Ozymandias descends the levels of the tower dropping knockout gas bombs and smoke bombs through the corridors. Ozymandias calls on his coms, "Oracle, keep the EMTs and the police out of the tower, when they approach. It is going to take awhile for the gas to clear out. Ozymandias continues to take down any snipers that survive his knockout gas, and Punishers attacks as he goes about securing the building for the police.

MANHATTAN

"Once she is returned to me - unharmed - we will have a deal," the Kingpin states while aggressively stippling his last directive. He just about tears a hole through the pad doing it, not that he cares. He casts an impatient glare towards his right hand.

Wesley's eyes jerk towards the pad again, and then towards a wall as he retrieves his phone and begins texting.

HELL'S KITCHEN

"That's right, y'all, happy! Mother! Fuckin'! Hour!" Turk proclaims, marching around the bar with his hands cupped around his mouth. "Belie— "

A tinny version of 'Gimme The Loot' chimes from Turk's pocket. He pauses to yank his burner free and glance at the little display on its folded over cover.

"Uh." He squints for a moment, and then he shakes himself out a little and brings his attention back up to the rest of the patrons. "Only thing is, their, uh, dart board's broken, so— any'a y'all happen to know someone who knows someone who can take care of it, the proprietor'd be much obliged."

About ten feet away, Johnathan Powers and Wilbur Day abruptly stop what had been a spirited discussion on the merits of checking out happy hour to stare at Turk, and then at one another as the color drains from their faces.

"No, no, I told you," Wilbur hisses. "I told you, this is a bad idea— no, fuck it, I am out, I am not going anywhere near that psycho! I went to college, for God's sake— I have a Masters! I shouldn't have to keep dealing with that kind of insanity!!"

A number of eyes - civilian and criminal alike - turn towards Day and his outburst. The sometimes Stilt-Man is just about to continue his rant when he realizes that he is being watched. He sheepishly returns those glances, then sits - when did he leave his seat? He hardly noticed, for all his fearful passion - slumps, and nurses his beer.

Powers just bangs on the table and howls with laughter at Day's expense.

MANHATTAN

A soon as the deal is made, Fisk ends the call and holds the phone out to be taken by Wesley.

"Sir," he says while relieving the Kingpin, "word will spread in New York. I'll make a few mo— "

"HrrrrRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAGH!"

*KRRR-SNAP!*

Wesley immediately shuts up, but doesn't startle.

He has worked for Wilson for a long time indeed.

"Leave."

"Of— course, sir." With a stiff nod, Wesley hurries from the room and adds a new desk to the list of things he'll need to acquire for his master.

Behind him, the Kingpin slumps his leather throne, drained of all but rage.

With the teens safe Kara replied, "Roger that Oracle, I'm on my way to it." Kara used her full speed, pushing herself to the limits to reach the manual shutoff and turn it back on.

When she arrives she pulls on it tightly and announces to Oracle, "I'm here and I'm doing it Oracle. I hope this works!"

ABG NEWS BULLETIN

"Good evening everyone, my name is John Klingler. We interrupt your regular programing for this news bulletin. According to sources…can we—can we confirm this? According to sources close to the President, the mutant terrorist known as Rachel Grey has turned herself into the Justice League: Avengers this evening. We are getting word that Grey and a mutant accomplice who have been on the run for days have finally been apprehended. Sources say she is alive, unharmed, and talking to authorities while being detained in the Hall of Justice. For those of you just joining us, Rachel Grey is behind bars tonight. More on this breaking story as we get it."

GOTHAM

As the assassin comes around to the front of the car he gets a face full of pistol as Dick Grayson finds a new way to use his service arm. The thug staggers backward two steps and before he can write himself, the former acrobat is on him, beating him mercilessly upon the face. He is big however, big and strong and won't go down easy.

Each man locks each other in a grip that slides over on to one of the parked cars as they struggle to get the upper hand.

BANG!

The body he struggles with slowly goes limp and Dick looks back over his shoulder to find a terrified rookie cop and the barrel of a smoking gun.

MANTHATTAN

Four blocks from Wilson Fisk's home, a Ford Prius with tinted windows opens the door at a stop light and lets out a stunning woman dressed to the nines for a night out. As she rushes towards the south, her eyes are filled with tears, more out of fear than out of harm. "Wilson?" she says mostly towards herself. She just wants to get home

MUTANT TOWN

Explosions ring out through the night air as Thor's lightning blasts into buildings and bring their destruction and as he brings more to safety.

Oracle downloads the data just as the ping notifies her that the ambulances and fire trucks are about 20 seconds out. Whether the water gets on or not won't soon matter as help is on the way.

Thank heavens for aliens as the fire abruptly stops coming towards Corvinus and he is spared a hole-y death by Supergirl's protective heat vision blasts. They probably have more for him, but it never reaches.

Joe leads throngs of kids out to safety through a side escape route. Just as he turns the corner he'll see the salvation of the red and white lights of the emergency vehicles. Help is on the way.

But it doesn't come in the form of Frank Castle who leaves a trail of misery in his wake. A trail of misery with a prize on the end as he drives away from the scene. As Ozymandias makes his way through the tower he'll come across the signs that the Punisher has been there. Who it was? Well Ozy won't know, but he'll definitely notice something strange went on.

Back inside the youth center, water begins to spray down upon the flames, assisting in dousing the flames. By the time the fire trucks arrive on the scene, most of their work is done for them. The ambulances? Not so much.

Supergirl will be the last one on the scene, still seeing the carnage as the authorities arrive, he hair doused with water and dampened, the blonde a few shades darker.

WASHINGTON DC

The light turns on hastily as Representative Traverstein tries to get to her phone before it wakes her lover.

"What?! Ballard? A wire tap for what, what are you talking about?"

"That's ridiculous. Henry is a piece of shit, but he'd never be involved in something like that. That's ridiculous. No. That's absolutely ridi—"

Sarah sits on her bed, holding her head in her hand and shaking it. "This has to be some innocent mistake. Does Lex know? No, I'll call him."

"Hell yes he's going to be upset, Ballard was going to get Defense."

A new voice echoes into the night. "Everything okay?" she asks dreamily.

Traverstein hangs up the phone and sighs. "It will be. I need to go out, Amanda."

ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY

In the background another skirmish starts as ten mutant men all fight to see who will win and join the 100 and who will die. New bodies are strewn upon the ground at contorted angles. And in the foreground, with part of her leg still under the wheel of the bus, the limp body of Juniper Taylor lies with her insides out where they shouldn't be, oozing through her mouth, her eyes, and her nose.

THE THREAD, PART 10: FRONTERA/TRIGGER
TO BE CONTINUED

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