Part 2: We Were Setup

July 14, 2015:

The X-Team give chase to Taskmaster and his people… trying to stop whatever it is they are planning on doing.

New York

Characters

NPCs: Blood Spider, Jagged Bow, Deathshield

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

When did the Purifiers get so much money? Taskmaster has been curious about that one. Just BAM suddenly the Friends of Humanity military wing was loaded. Loaded enough to hire him and his students. Taskmaster's motorcycle is flanked by three others as they race down the late night New York streets. Their communications live, "Blood, how is that upload going?"
"Slowly. We don't have a stable connection not sure what is up."
"That is stupid, you could upload it faster to YouTube… " Jagged Bow chimes in.
"Why didn't we kill them?" Deathshield questions.
"Wasn't the mission, how many times I got to tell you this?"
"Think they'll be upset we let some of those recruits die?"
"Nah. All part of the plan."
"This is why you're not the brains of the operation Death."
Bit of chuckling through the coms and synchronized like all four motorcycles bank and take a corner only to speed up popping wheelies.
"Upload is at 57%" Blood Spider informs Taskmaster.
"We need a new tech guy… " Jagged Bow in his ever pessimistic commentary states.

Jean with a quick surface scan will have realized this entire thing was a set up. A set up to catch the X-Men doing something ugly that could get televised. They got some footage now they can easily clip. Hell, not much clipping required. It almost looks like the X-Men just sieged a neutral location and attacked Creed supporters. Bad press. Definite bad press. Which for the 'movement' is a win.


As Taskmaster and his cronies depart, Brins realised it was a setup at the same time Jean did. Jeans call To me, my X-men goes out… Brin feels it and she knows the rest of the X-Men will too.

Looking to Lunair, Brin shakes her head "This is not good! Armour, please Lunair, make it good and a bow and arrow please. I'll be the eye in the sky." Even as she's talking, her glowing green and gold wings form on her back… as soon as Lunair armours and weapons her… she'll be off.


Bobby was dazed in the last fight. Getting hit from multiple angles will do that to you. Okay maybe dazed is being generous, but even he heard that. And Ravegers call. He's mentally kicking himself. He should have known it was a setup but in his mind the threat of another mass, organized purifier strike was too great. Not smart Bobby. Not smart at all.

He gets himself moving from where he'd been told to recover. Ice ramps let him move fairly quickly and he'll be there shortly. And from an unexpected angle.


Lunair was having to hold back. She's giving chase. "Okay," She'll give Brin the requested armor and weapons, but there's a palpable rage and annoyance. "I feel dumb for being duped." She doesn't like being restricted in a fight. She's keeping her power armor. She's definitely enraged. Power armor lets her move quickly and easily, thanks to some sort of propulsion that could cause technobabble for weeks. She's going after them at full tilt in the sky.

She's not really waiting, not in the slightest. Because teenagers are totally the best judges of reacting to their emotions. Actually, the fact she has a huge railgun slung over her back is a sign of full on grumpiness and irritation. Her armor is sleek, powered and her face completely hidden by a sealed black visor (eat your heart out, Metal Gear fans).


Ravager feels that call, as much as she hates it, she feels it and heeds it. The Tomahawk is parked outside her bungalow in Salem, hidden in a shed, because it is identifiable. But it takes nothing for her to gear up, the small bungalow laid out to suit her needs. Leaving the bedroom her suit is zipped and reaching to her right the holsters bearing her H&K pistols is strapped on. Passing th eliving room her swords are gripped from their display above the small fire place, and just before she exits out of the door the tac belt is wrapped around her waist.

Reaching into a small pouch in one hand an inhaler is held, in another is a remote. The bungalow is code locked and the storage shed door opens…

The roar of the heavy chrome monster echoes down the streets as she tears between cars in traffic, ducking and weaving with long white hair ribboning bahind her. Reaching atop her head that half phantom operatic mask is polled over her face, the biolic eye flashing green and then milky white, accessing X-Men comms. "Coordinates!" The connection to comms gives her Jean and Lunair's location. Bobby and Brinley's as well will feed if theirs is connected as well to the Blue… or Black for this…

Peeling around a corner though, Taskmaster and Co. are going to find themselves driving head on into Ravager.

"Who am I pursuing? Description." She asks the other X'ers, sliding forward to straddle the tank of the large crome Tomahawk her knees prop against the handles, and one hand reaches up to free a sword, pivoting it back to run along the length of one of her arms, her other using a wrist engaged arm/disarm mount for her pistol.

This is obviously not a friendly approacher about to be playing hi-5 with Taskmaster and crew.

——

Airborn with ice slides, wings and super science propulsion three of the X-Men don't have to worry about obstructions beyond gravity and the weather. Possibly birds and bugs. Nothing like a pigeon down the boob window or beetles in the grill. The sound of motorcycles is loud, obnoxious, roaring and moving quickly away from them. It's Jean's telepathic link that is keeping the team connected up and aware of the four mercenaries. Round one would have gone a lot easier if the X-Men hadn't held back, hadn't underestimated their opponents. Now is a chance to make up for that. If they can catch them in time.

"We got pursuers." Blood Spider informs the other three.
"Good." Deathshield grins. "I don't like being called a Pedestrian."
"Plebian… FML." Jagged Bow bites.
"JAGGED, use your words. This isn't a fuckin' chat room." Taskmaster belts out just in time to see the lone figure acting as roadblock. "Another?"
"I got her!" Chimes Jagged as he snaps his bow out and takes aim, steering the bike with just his knees. Arrow loosed for Rose's face.
The rest of the X-Men are not in visible range to the mercenaries just yet.

Doesn't mean the flying X-Men can't see them though.


Brin receives Ravagers question and returns "Taskmaster, Jagged Arrow, Deathstrike and one other… Blood something" catching sight of them, Brin relays the co-ordinates to the other X-men "I've contacted Cypher to watch the media streams, for anything about the X-Men or mutants… he'll try to take down whatever goes up, but best to stop it before any harm is done."

She'll need to get closer for the bow that Lunair equipped her with to be of any use.


Bobby sees Rose and Brinley from above. No eyes on yet. Rose? Thank God. Mercenaries training purifiers. We got suckered in. My fault. It'll be a disaster for us if they get some of that stuff onto the internet or to the news media. Gloves off time, we've got to stop them. I'm coming in high and hot.

The ice nerd arcs to the other side of the street from Brinley and loops up. once that's done he swoops in low and whips his hands out. To support Rose' road block Bobby lays down several layers of icy 'spike strips' off to her side and then behind her as she rolls forward.

"Rose, say the word and I'll give you some sliding strip if you want it." Once they're dismounted, then its time to go to work.


More speed, she pushes her armor harder. Lunair will contemplate improvements later. And is that a Rose? Rose! Also, Lunair is smarter than to have a boob window because she's heard that moose and migratory birds are a hazard. And no one wants to get taken down by a bee to the eye or something. "YOU MISERABLE PLEBEIAN. I'm not done with you yet!" Someone's irritated.

And she's going to take a pot shot at the vehicle's wheels with the rail gun. Uh oh.


"Brinley? Bobby, Luna.." Where's Jean? No time to ask just to acknowledge who is there and who is in front of her as she races head on for them. "Cypher is going to have one hell of a time with that. How many feeds are up and out already labeled X-Men for attention? Too many. No!" Now she is arging with bionic eye Cortana from Googling that query after its load for coordinates, ahving met head on. Thankfully she is used to operating with only one eye on the reg.

"Brin, you shield? Drop a block behind…" Ravager states, attempting to lock them in but Bobby is on it with frigid spires beside and behind her. His 'mind reading' capabilities have her smiling. "Front of me towards them. Now!" Eyes widen as the arrow is loosed at her face and she is heading right for it.

Spine bows to try and dodge, but the throw back is taken with her motorcycle, the arrow hitting the chromed undercarriage and the sudden drop of ice spins the hind wheel, carrening the motorcycle and Ravager to its side where she slides in a pinwheel fashion on its side towards them, her one leg drawn up as to not get mangled, kneeling on the upper side with her H&K pistol in her hand, opening fire on them as she spins their way now, sparks flying up and around her in the momentum.

"Luna. I know of this man, best laid plans thought 50 steps ahead. We'e already lost if this is the real Taskmaster. Bobby, Brin what happened? Why are my kind of people all up in your shit? This has got to be rich…" In more ways then one.

——

Jagged Bow's arrow misses Rose's remaining good eye and the man hops back down to his bike gripping it again. "That was slick. Who is she? Oh hey look Death! Your girlfriend is back and she is angry."
Deathshield releases a, "Huh?" before peering over his shoulder spotting Lunair in her flying suit firing at him, "Shes not my girlfriend… oh shi..-
CRUNCHSMASH
The bike flips as Death is thrown free. The rear wheel erupting off as Armory blows it to slag. Deathshield expertly uses his shield to catch his full and tuck underhim actually sliding across the ice like its a sled but hes still obviously just along for the ride and trying to protect himself.
Blood Spider who to no ones surprise looks a lot like Spider-Man only with cybernetic arm covers takes the brunt of Ravager's firearm spray. His bike discarded and he twirls through the air twisting in an acrobatic fashion only to hook himself on a street lamp. His bike just like Deathshields skidding across the cement and ice only to crash into ruin against a parked taxi cab.
Taskmaster leaps a packet of ice only to sail past Rose and continue along the street flanked by Jagged. "Blood the footage?"
"Still uploading. Need more time it is only at 70%"
"Shit, told you, redheads are bad juju." Taskmaster mumbles and then draws out that handgun again aiming at the flying mutants, well and the sky sliding one.
BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM
The man has Deathstroke and Domino's accuracy. The shots have a good likeyhood to hit something even if they are meant to be surpressive fire. "Lets stand ground until we get that bitch uploaded then. Everyone defend Blood and kill these fuckin' X-Wimps."


It wasn't just Bobby's fault… or even his fault… but Brin will address that later. Now she's armed and armoured, Brin hovers above the scene and concentrates as she forms a glowing green and gold shield to block behind their fugitives.

Purifiers. We got a lead about Purifiers that led us to these guys. As Bobby says, it was setup. Brins not going to argue about trying to take things off of the 'Net - it's why she gave chase, after all.

Shield in place, Brin raises the bow and sights Blood Spider and lets loose The guy who looks like Spiderman, has the footage, I'm sure The other two? Well they didn't seem smart enough.


Bobby slides past in the air and then loops around. His specialty is crowd control and it's going to be interesting with this group here. Rose has tactical lead. He calls out to the others through Jean's telepathic linking. Bobby's good at coordinating, but Rose is the experienced fighter among them. Of the three left, Lunair's got the second most combat experience. Bobby's mostly dealt with thugs and Purifiers, whom these are not.

He's going to guess the one they're defending is the one they're after. First things first though. Cover. As fire fills the air Bobby armors up, wincing as a round skips off his shoulder, just in time. Walls start to appear. If they're going to make a stand he's going to provide his team cover… and pen them in. Don't stand too still, guys, or Bobby's really gonna 'let it go'.


Lunair has a railgun. Playtime is over. She's more than a little angry and the rage surrounding her is like a layer of cotton candy. You can feel it, and it's sticking to EVERYTHING. She doesn't comment on combat experience. She's only had about 7 years of it and defers politely. Right now, she's more focused on putting holes on the people ahead of her. Even the one with fantastic pants.

She looks fairly intimidating in power armor with her rail gun but there's Rose and also a lot of ice. She growls as there's a few pings off her armor. Still smarts a little. "What are you guys, the discount knock offs?!" Off-brand, indeed. She's aiming for anything machinelike, at news of the uploads.


Ravager knows how to work with Lunair, the other two are new cards relatively. Brin was once at the concert, Bobby once in M-Town, so she is just feeding them where her mind goes. Taskmaster is one seen in many of Merc(Match).com's and she has had a run in with him before. She knows this has a high possibility of ending badly if they do not end it first. Bobby has the right idea, though what exactly the details are of -why- gloves are off is what has Rose wondering.. As he and Brin are Red.. and they do not glove-off all that often. PR. Right?

When her motorcycle slides to its stop on the ice on its side her other sword is drawn, the modified handle flipping it as well to run up and along the back of her arm, the other H&K locked into the wrist draws but for now held in her hands as she is walled in with the three other mercs. It would have been wild west if she did not immediately dead run at Death while he skids across the ice, heavy boots hitting concrete to pick her up momentum until she leas onto a sheet of lain ice and increases speed his way. At a specific spot one sword snaps out and around, odging into the ice to launch her up and over and attempt to jab it down into his suit to ppin him in place in his slide, using a body part or not is not of her concern.

"We may not want to kill them. They may let us know who their contractor is… If we break them enough." But that's the dirty part.

Taskmaster's firing style has eyes narrowing at the familiarity, a dagger drawn from the holster that holds kunai around her thigh, launching it at his hand. "Fuck off old man. Shouldn't you be retiring?"

——

Bullets vs X-Men? A failure so far and noted. At least none of these ones are pulling the Jedi mind tricks. Thats a small blessing. Taskmaster has watched all footage available on X-Men: Red when he got hired by the Purifier rep but that still didn't completely prepare him for who or what he would be facing and in his line of work preparation is always key. This setup and it's location was definitely a shot in the dark, a shot in the dark that could pull out anything in regards to the metahuman Cracker Jack box. The thrown knife clips Taskmaster's sidearm knocking it from his grasp, where it will clatter upon the street.
"Little girl Ravager… that was my third favorite Beretta. You owe me. Why you hanging out with this crowd? Shouldn't you be working with us?" Taskmaster puts a foot down and brings his bike to a stop so he is facing the X-Men.

Jagged Bow still upon his own bike is aiming at Iceman taking his time to steady his shot before firing off a rocket propelled arrow. Nifty. "Eat it punkass mutie scum."

Deathshield is too busy playing dodge and duck under Lunair's salvo of railgun rounds to notice Rose springing to assault him, he is dropped in to the ice and asphalt with a grunt. A foot lashing out at her even if he has been pierced. Someone might want to warn Rose the man has superhuman strength.

Blood Spider doesn't have Spidey-Senses and Brinley's arrow hits the device in his hand causing it to clatter out of his grasp where it hits the cement below. "Oh fuck… we were at 77%"
"I don't care. Retreive it! Stay mobile all of you and close range. They got more powers but we're better fighters! Take them the fuck out and cover Blood." The merc leader shouts.


Maintaining the shield behind them, Brin stays aloft. She's not going to go close combat if she can avoid it.

Seeing the device skitter from Blood Spider, the brunette mutant takes careful aim again and sends a second arrow flying towards the device - next time, she'll remember to ask Lunair to make the arrow heads explosive.


Bobby tries to dodge but the sudden change in speed from the arrow when bow propelled to rocket propelled catches him off guard and he takes the hit to the right shoulder this time. The impact shatters his armor and rocks him back. In moments the ice closes around it again but that arm is probably out of the fight.

Which really makes the ice nerd mad. How does one stop a motorcycle? Well… glad you asked that question. Bobby has a few ideas. He uses them all. One hand goes out and ice starts to swirl. It locks up the pistons, the wheels, the carburetor and freezes the fuel in the lines (it's not really that precise, he turns the whole engine block into one big chunk of ice). The net result? Let's see how well Jagged Bow deals with going from seventy to zero in 1.5 seconds.

He doesn't have time to look. Or rather he doesn't take the time to look. Blood Spider is more important and the box? Of critical importants. So his next act, which leaves him a bit exposed, is to call down a hailstorm right over them. And not a small one. We're talking sharp, jagged baseball sized chunks of ice here.

"Hey dipwads! Do you wanna build a snowman?!"

Ravager's directive to not kill for purely practical reasons gets a grim chuckle from Bobby. "No arguement here, but tell that to Lunair. I think that's a railgun."


There's always time for explosive arrows! "She may work with whomever she wishes. Free choice is grand," Lunair remarks easily from above. She does seem to like and respect Ravager. Even if she's frumpier than a bird who just got hosed, she's smart enough to aim carefully. "The shield one is dumb but strong. Sit boy! Did your boss tell you what a plebian was yet?" Actually, in a moment of pique, she hurls a freaking dictionary at poor Death. At least it stops the gunfire a bit. She does tone down the railgunning into a more standard pair of SMGs.

And that totally is a railgun, but she tunes it down a bit on hearing that. Ahem. But she did just chuck a dictionary at a guy, so there's that. She's a good distraction if nothing else.

Well, she HAD a railgun. She's nice enough to drop down to regular guns.


The stab to Death's shoulder has her rooted in place, so his kick is easily aimed and landed, sending her back, but due to the fact that her sword is stabbed into him and braced -into- him what happens is a sickening pop, one that grinds and even with the coating of armor you can see her shoulder abnormally dent inward and concave beneath the immense lash and pressure of resistance to move vs. superhuman dragonkick. It dislocated and her teeth grind as her head lashes back in the grimace of pain while fingers spasm around the hilt of gripped blade.

The hand open that launched a kinai at Task is now grabing another and attempting to stab it into Death's inner thigh of his offending leg. If it lands, better keep that bitch there. Pull it out=Bleed out. Though in that spin to drive the blade home she is rotating her arm back into socket, which just about brings her to her knees as the *pop* resounds on the tail end of a grind.

No, not one stab, a few violent ones… nevermind.

"That." STAB.

"Fucking." SLASH.

"HURT!" Her voice pitches at the final set and there, now she'll stop, staring at Taskmaster in a glance through strands of white hair.

"Because they saved my ass… For free."


Jagged Bow lets out a, "Nothing but net baby!" But his shot doesn't take Iceman go down. Jagged's face under his mask goes red, "He didn't go down! He didn't fucking go down. I hit him and he is still up…" His bike fires up and starts to move again just in time for it to freeze over and stop moving just flat dead. Chilled up around his legs even and he can feel skin rapid suctioning to the cold. "Oh god, oh no… " A rip sound and he is jumping away from the bike screaming out loud as he slaps at his thighs and hands. His suit wasn't weather ready. This is the summer after all. "I can't… I can't, I quit. GG guys… fuck…"
Deathshield was rearing up to lash out again and then felt the heated slice of a blade / repeatedly. His hand mouth opens up and he is about to say something when a large object falls past Rose's splay of white mane and smashes him on the face - breaking his nose. A dictionary!? Blood loss and a concussion put the cheap Captain America clone out. He lets out one wheeze then slumps in to the iceramp, his shield flopping out of his grasp.

Blood Spider shoots out a cable that snatches the device back up just as Mana shot at it and missed by just a couple inches. Flying and firing bows at a small target not always the best of options. "91%" The Spidey clone yells before leaping again clinging to the side of the building and scaling it. He doesn't stay to fight he is running.

"A shame. You'd be better off on our team… no money in working with the good guys. Sides, y'alls time is limited. Big shit in the works and odds are stacked against your people." A rev of his engine and Taskmaster speeds off, one hand rising up over his shoulder to flip them the bird. "You're on your own, Blood."
"What!? We're at 94% What about Deathshield and Jagged Bow!? Taskmaster… TASKMASTER!? TASKMASTER!!!"

his mouth opens up (no hand in there)


Ravager withdraws her sword from the pin it had held of Death, swinging it into a circle to help with the tendon and cartilage realignment, stumbling back as the book suddenly smacks Death in the face and knocks him out cold, making Rose blink and look up at Luna with a small quirk of a smile.

Yes, she said the reason she was with them was because they saved her for free. In the merc world, she owed them - if you have that code. In her mind, they were becoming her friends. A weakness in the merc world. Unspoken, but fact.

"They're stacked against us all. Even you. I'm on my own side. You best be there too." Ravager calls after Task, swinging her hands up and back to sheath her blades and race back towards her bike, lifting the massive thing up with an ease considering it was done one handed. The purpose she walked with spoke of intent. Intent to go after the skull faced merc.

"Bobby, Brinley?" She can clearly see Lunair, so she was checking on them, having not asked on Jean on purpose. Never go into a mission or job with the worst or best on your mind. "Where is Jean?" Already though the motorcycle starts up, the throttle one that echoes off the walls of structures around them.


Brin curses, rather politely really, as he snatches the device back. I think the upload is still happening Taking aim again at Blood Spider, she lets fly, she's still trying to disrupt the upload - and Blood Spider is way bigger than the device.

Where's Jean? That's a good question Last I saw, Ravager, she was taking Bobby to safety… she had been hurt. I'm not sure how badly but not enough to take her out


Bobby's got one arm down and the Spider is getting away. "Lunair! Ravager! Don't let him get away!" He could throw something at the guy but he's already getting out of reach. Okay. Fine. So the itsy bitsy spider is climbing up the water spout and he needs to give Lunair or Rose that clear shot.

Down comes the Blizzard and Washes the Spider out!

"Can't hold it back anymore!" He grins maybe a bit high on adrenaline as he calls down a lot of snow, ice and hail.


"…" Lunair looks baffled. A dictionary. Oh dear. She rubs the back of her helmeted head. She would likely feel kind of bad if he hadn't hurt Rose. Maybe. Lunair seems to care immensely about Rose. "Well, whatever. You can just suffer for your misdeeds," She tosses an EMP grenade neatly towards Blood Spider. "She had to pull back," She offers to Rose. "Taskmaster to the face, and someone was hurt. But she was up and around," She explains. And this is why few people will ever know about Lunair's super intelligence. Her social skills are completely a dump stat.

"Um. Did you need power armor or a ride back?" She asks, perhaps mostly to Rose, but the offer is fine. She does quirk a smile back at Rose. And then she remembers she's wearing a helmet. Oh yeah. "He didn't know what a Plebian was or why I kept calling him one. I sort of have a thing about shields." A phobia, and her head aches just a second at the memory. She just sort of boggles at the ice action.


Taskmaster is nothing but tail lights at this point. Jagged Bow is on the ground clutching his frost bitten skin a crying teeth chattering mess, Deathshield is unconscious with a dictionary laying on his face in a pool of blood and Blood Spider in an attempt to dodge Mana's arrow he clipped a piece of icing through that blizzard and ended up skating face first in to the lip of a building. The device they had used to store the footage and upload frozen in a block and stuck on a blank screen. Due massive damage or possible EMP frying it is unlikely it went up; if they caught it in time. No doubt in this datajacked media crazed and connected society they will know within the next few seconds if their actions just went viral.


Bobby lets the ice storm stop and looks about. What a mess. Still, could have been worse. Brin, Rose, Lunair… He sighs in relief as his phone does not go nuts with trending twitter and facebook messages. Thanks. Brin and I will handle the public interface stuff. Taskmaster is wanted, I think, so that should smooth things over. You two should make yourself scarce.

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