Proving Grounds: PT 1

July 24, 2015:

Individuals are specially selected for a certain.. mission. (Emits by Deathstroke)


NPCs: Hobgoblin, Flashpoint,



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Everyone got here the same way, a card, a time, some GPS coordinates to the middle of nowhere followed by an invitation to an immense empty warehouse like space via a glowing teleportation gate appearing near them upon their arrival. Everyone got here the same way… not everyone got here at the same time.

The gathering is now a rather spectacular showing of costumed villains, vigilantes, and super powered soldiers of various stripes. Some are famous, some infamous, but a good portion of them are hardly recognizable outside of their own small pockets of influence. They range from large monstrocities to colorfully clad spandex types to more utilitarian combat sorts more practicle then flamboyant.

And they're growing annoyed.

Some having waited nearly 2 hours are less then pleased with being trapped inside the massive open room, and Hobgoblin, the most mobile of the lot has flown a quick scouting sortee and returned, informing them all that the room is… massive, with no visible means of egress. Annoyance quickly turns to angst.

A glowing circle appears in the distance, fifty or so feet away, and from one side of it stumbles what appears to be Deathstroke. There is blood on his armor, a lot of it, and his mask seems to be missing. Running across his face, from the corner of his ear low to the side of his mouth is a gash that's deep enough near his jaw for the white of bone to be seen, though it's shallower at his lips. One of his arms is cradled against his side and there are cracks and scales missing from the armor's core where he's obviously taken blows of starteling power.

He takes a trio of steps and comes to a stop, leaning over his knees for a moment, his good arm holding what appears to be the broken half of his iconic staff, like a cane, and he's breathing heavily. Whatever angry mumbling was going on has fallen to a dead silence.

Melody had been there, asked about a fight club as soon as she arrived, though the wait was.. just waiting. There was really nothing she could do, while others played candy crush and possibly had gotten along, she still hadn't given her name out to anyone and chose to attempt to be wise and stick to herself. Of course she was pacing, wandering.. somewhere in there, she even asked if there was a bathroom. Mostly because she drank all of her water and was looking for a small hole to hide under until someone screamed about a way out or everyone managed to blow a hole into a wall she could sneak out of.

No dice though.

There was also a point where she considered sneaking into a corner to kneel and say a few hail mary's and give herself last rights. She was totally going to die in a room full of people with random, strange outfits and a dude with arms for blades. Totally cool.

Winter Soldier returns to OOC Land.

Lunair is gathered in with the others. She's a relative unknown, amongst the more famous sorts. But she is smart enough to armor up, and she's soon covered in sleek, high tech looking power armor with a black visor that can unfold over her face. It's sort of what happens when your power training involves video gaming. Fortunately, she's not gotten Xbox Live's PROFANITY POWER. She has her backpack at her feet and is watching, curious and sitting not unlike a cat. Odd duck, but she seems quietly friendly.

Oddly, Lunair doesn't really seem bothered by a dude with blades for arms. She's a blank slate in many regards. There's a concerned look beneath her visor as Deathstroke appears. "Hey! Are you alright? Do you need help?" She steps over. She might be pretty murderous on a good day, but this is concerning. Although, life has taught her that some people have healing factors. Still, it's worth checking before she yanks out a medigun or something.

"Roderick that you? Thought you quit that gig and decided on Devil Spider or some cra… " The voice, the build, the mannerisms. All off. "Feh… " Taskmaster has been here waiting as patiently as he is capable of managing. UDON gear favored at the moment it is more tactical and sleek. Though no hardlight projector; real weapons this time up to and including the T logo roundshield. Never leave home without a shield. It's like space and towels.
"Douchebag anyways." The mercenary grunts. It's a narrowing of his eyes under that mask that he finds himself studying Armory and Rant. Question marks. Multiplied.
Contingency T's arms fold across his chest and he grunts as Deathstroke enters. Just play it out and watch it all unravel. Thats the plan.
"Yo Slade, you run in to your ex again?"

Grace is in fact playing Candy Crush. The seven-foot bouncer with a fire-red mane found herself a wall to lean against once she realized that she may me waiting a while for their host to arrive. Rather than a costume, she's decked out in a white tanktop that falls a bit shy of covering the sunburst tatt on her belly, blue jeans, and combat boots. She isn't famous, exactly, but she is pretty recognizable— at least, to anyone who's ever felt the urge to hit up the metahuman club in Metropolis where she works.

Which, in this crowd, could potentially be a fairly significant number. It is a reasonably popular establishment, even if a healthy chunk of its popularity stems from its novelty as the first of its kind in Metropolis.

Occasionally, instead of playing, she swipes right on Tinder because she isn't actually very good at Candy Crush. As Sundays go, it's a reasonably productive one by her standards.

When Deathstroke finally arrives, she looks up from tentatively swiping back and forth on her screen, squints at him for a long moment, then looks back down with a soft snicker and a smirk. "Why am I not surprised," she murmurs while swiping left. Forehead crests are, she has decided, a deal breaker.

Deathstroke pushes himself up right and stops Lunair's advance with a cold look. It's more effective when he does that with his face half opened up. Then his gaze rotates over to Taskmaster… and he grins slowly. The deathstare was less creepy, especially since the grin pulls at the gash on his face, "Welcome." he says after a long slow deep breath. He tosses the broken half of his staff aside and reaches out with his good arm to grip the wrist of his bad, and he pulls. The grind of bone is audible, and the way the muscles and sinew on his neck stand out it's a minor miracle he doesn't scream. He hisses through his teeth though, and sweat beads on his skin where it's visible.

"If you're here it is because you chose to be here. For some of you it's about the money, for others it's the cause, for a few of you it's a chance to see if maybe you're more then you think. Honestly, I don't care what your motivation is, you're here and that's almost enough. Almost." he holds his arm close to his side for a moment as he gathers himself, "If you're in this room its because I chose you, hand picked you for a reason, now all you have to do is prove I wasn't wasting my time. This is the Proving Grounds, those of you that do not surrender, that do not fold under the preassure, that survive," he lets that linger for a moment, "make the squad. The rest of you will fuck right off, back to your failed mundane, lesser lives." he rolls his neck a bit, as if working out kinks from something, "The Proving Grounds is a labrynth designed to kill you, made by two of the most dangerous minds in the world and built of materials and technologies capable of killing any meta human known to man. Trust me." he acts as something of a human billboard for it's effectiveness. "It took me two days to find the center. I did not sleep. I did not eat. I did not rest." the gash on his face has stopped bleeding, and while it's not closing visibly, it clearly looks better then it did when he entered, which is likely a good thing. "I suggest the rest of you form alliances. If you feel you've reached your limits, if you feel like you can take no more and just want to return home bearing only what injuries you've accumulated and the weight of your own weakness as signs of your effort," a small gate appears before each of the hopefuls and from it a small black cylinder falls into waiting hands, "break that in half. It's a phone home card. If you die they'll find your body in a Malaysian Airlines accident, assuming they ever find what's left of the plane. Ignoble to the end. Any questions?" he looks around the room of hardned… and not so hardened, people.

Great. Melody was the only one who showed up with just a cell phone and.. wait, no she wasn't! There was Grace, the tall woman wasn't frowned at, but inched closer from behind and not spoken to, just yet. She had her plan, stay behind the tall lady, she looked thick enough to be a meat-shield or possible fodder so Melody could stay alive.

But as Scarface makes his opening, Melody steps to the left to come into view, one arm hung, held by the other as her eyes dart left and right. She wanted to see who was exactly happy to be here, who was fed up, who played it cool… usually those play it cool die first. Don't follow them.

As the gate appears, her hand swiftly lifts to catch the black cylinder, giving it a brief shake and lifting it to her ears just to hear. That hand shoots right up just as if she were in school all over again. And then.. drops right back down. Whatever questions she had? They were immediately forgotten. Don't speak. Keep quiet and small, hide behind the big chick, got it. We're good! Screw it.

Up goes the hand. "So.. does it really have to be an Airlines accident? Can I be mauled by a bear if I die?"

Deathstroke uses STARE!

Lunair is paralyzed and cannot move!

Lunair /does/ freeze right in her tracks. She might be a pretty lethal combatant when roused to a cause, she also has a pretty good sense of scale and Deathstrokes are not something she cares to rile up. And then there's a Taskmaster. With a shield. The back of her head aches sharply for a split second. It's not a memory she relishes, a reminder that experience counts for an awful lot. Thankfully, her visor is fully black and hides the wince at the noises of bone and such that ensue, even if a ? briefly interrupted it. What IS a Taskmaster doing here?

Nevermind, shake it off. She's got to pay attention, even if she's making damn sure to keep Taskmaster at least in her peripheral vision. She's probably an odd duck despite the power armor that keeps her nice and safe. She listens, though. She pauses and accepts the small black cylinder. Well, she'll do as she's told and consider who might be a good ally. Like it or not, it might be wise to approach Skelet— askmaster. So carefully inch over thataway. Carefully. Eyes on the shield. Because really, there's wisdom in finding an alliance with someone who has way more experience and seems pretty smart.

Taskmaster raises his hand, "Oh, pick me."
The hand drops and Task plucks at his gloved fingers, "So, your face, it looks like you made out with a hammer. I just want to get that out there. Second…" A cant of his head and he looks past Choi, "Yikes and yum… all rolled in to one but… " The man is droning on but stops as he collects his thought and sight of Melody, "That is *my* techie, she works through my guy… Guy. The fuck is she doin' here, she ain't built for this crap? Also that one… "
Accusational fingerjab at Lunair. "X-Men. That is a fuckin' X'er. Sup, Slade? Who I owe a kick to the head for jailin' my boys." The cylinder is ignored for now. Always has to be one in the crowd and Taskmaster is always up to fill the role of Bill Paxton. Well almost always.

Grace does not look up from her phone as the Proving Grounds are explained. To look up would mean looking like she gives more than the barest minimum of a fuck about the challenge it presents, which is just the first step towards letting it beat her.

She does, however, lose her smirk once Deathstroke compels them to 'trust' him about its deadliness, having already gotten a pretty good look at him.

It takes the appearance of the gate and the cylinder to grab her attention— and grab they do. It isn't a complete shock - she took one here, after all - but she still runs into surprisingly few portals at Chaney's; it's a little weird. Moreover, the apparent scale of his system is worth marveling at.

For a bit longer than it ought to take her to snag and pocket the cylinder, anyway. And then it's back to the phone, because God help her if she's gonna give up her cool now.

"So," she idly says to Melody after a left-swipe(Confederate flag face tatt? nope). Her middle finger goes up in Taskmaster's direction; her aim is impeccable, even if it's fairly perfunctory. "you're a techie, huh? You think you can hack us outta whatever bullshit this dude's cooked up?"

Deathstroke eyes Rant and dosen't smile, though there's a soft chuckle from a few of the collected badasses in the group, "Failures aren't worth the effort." he says, answering her question seriously. Then he eyes Taskmaster, the same look on his face as when he answered Rant, though there's the slightest tightening at the edge of his jaw. "First, my face is distinguished and attachtive to the point of unmanning lesser beings, like Adonis or Thor. Secondly, best of luck, that one's touchy. Thirdly, I don't give a fuck if one of them is Neil Young and the other is Gary Cooper's rotting corpse, they were choosen and they came, they've every right to be here that you do." he pauses and nods once, "And Taskmaster brings up another point. While you are here and if you should pass the tests required and remain, whenever you are on company time, my time, I don't give a shit if one of you is fucking the other one's wife, there will be no grudges, no vengence. I find out one of you tried to exact petty vengence over a slight, possibly jeopardizing the mission, I will kill you. No maiming, no slow torturous deaths, no threats to your family. I will walk up, shoot you in the head, and dump your body in a Detroit landfill. Some of you think you're bullet proof, you shouldn't worry about such threats. I never said I'd shoot you with a bullet."

A man near the back, shirtless and covered in tattoo's and wearing designing shades, grins wide and speaks up, "So… what happens if we're not all that afraid of you old man?" he grins wider as if he were being keen. People around him, one of them being a nearly eight foot tall monstrocity made entirely out of what appears to be bits of broken and rusted jagged metal, move away from him. Deathstroke eyes the man, "X, isn't it? Then you can die unafraid. Still dead though." he says matter of factly. There's another chuckle from around the room and the smile fades from X's lips.

Deathstroke, apparently able to hear Grace from across the room answers the question for her, "There is no signal here, no wifi, not even a radio signal. That tinder you've been playing at? One of the Ground's creators has been fucking with you Grace. You hadn't noticed all the names are anagrams for 'Pay Attention'?" he remains serious, "Apparently I should have been more direct. I'll address that now." he snaps his fingers and everyone int he room simply drops as the solid ground beneath their feet vanishes. Except Hobgoblin, a portal just appears in front of him and he flies through on his drone after a quick look at Slade. Yeah. Best get to work.

There's a large corner room with walls that disappear upwards towards a barely visible ceiling five stories overhead. The lighting isn't the best, which just makes things creepy. The word START is stamped into the steel floor 3 inches deep, along with a smiley face. There are eight passage ways branching off, and in the distance there's a faint metalic laugh that echoes. A large man with muscles on muscles and wearing nothing but a pair of jeans reaches out to put his hand on the wall, his skin taking on the color and consistency of the steel he touches, "Fuckin' maze my ass." Creel mutters.

Right about now? Melody was really jealous of Lunair, and half of everyone else who was all armored up. One of these days, she's gonna create an app that'll give her some type of.. shieldy powers. Soon as she figures it out (read: in twenty years). But Taskmaster's pointing out the obvious and.. wait.. "You know Guy?" Yup. She's his techie! Inch over this.. waaa- NOPE!

Before she could even utter up a reply, get close to Taskmaster, tell Grace Choi her truth about her being killed after she -tries- to even hack into the area, the ground completely disappears.

There wasn't even time for a swear word; gravity pulls her down and sends her arms straight up into a flail as she lets out a loud scream that possibly tapers off once she hits rock bottom. Right onto an ankle, which is twisted and hairline fractured upon impact. Thankfully, in a matter of minutes, it'll be fixed.

She lands with a *THUD* and a roll, immediately standing upon her one good foot, hopping back and away to avoid falling bodies that'll ensure cracked backs and broken necks. "Holy mutherfucking goddamned son of a fucking bitch whore fuck.." She hops around, moving towards the nearest wall until the START signals everything was a-go.

"Fuckin' cock-mongering-son-of-a-goose-dick-shit-pissing-biscuit-fuck.."

The path she takes was marked by the swear words that she leaves in the dust…

"Actually, not really," Lunair admits to Taskmaster. "… I usually do my own thing," She adds quietly. "And frankly if you lose a fight because I threw a dictionary at you, then you deserve to lose!" She's likely a student, it seems. But she falls quiet as Deathstroke talks. Lunair DOES fear DS. It's not a simple 'eek run away' but more 'this dude is an apex predator in every sense of the word'. Though, she tilts her head at his comment about his face. Huh?

Well, whatever works. There's a blink at X. Weird fellow. No shirt? Okay. She looks to Melody. "Um. Did you need arm—" Lunair looks baffled. Then it hits her. Gravity: It's the law. She looks almost comical, falling before she remembers her power armor can fly and she lands gently. And trying not to glower at anything. But she's got to find someone because being alone is not the best idea. Wait, curse words? Better follow those. Though, she looks around. A faint ache at the back of her head. Where's the feared shield? Hmm…

"The dictionary bit was pretty funny, I'll give you that one… " A digitized chuckle escapes past that permanent grin of Taskmaster's UDON tac-mask.
"I don't wanna brag but y'all are probably fucked. The only guy who might get through this is me… but then again I'm so awesome I can touch MC Hammer." Mid shrug the mercenary vanishes through the trap door, "Lets see who can keep up!" Follows in his wake. Game on.


A salacious grin slowly stretches across Grace's features as she and 'Patina Ten Toy' furiously exchange IMs.


"Wait— " Grace squints at the screen, then up at Deathstroke, then back to the screen with a low, "Sooooo…"


After Patina weirdly just stopped answering her, Grace switched back over to Candy Crush.

'SERIOUSLY', screams a pink font beneath the broken heart-encapsulated '0' of its game over screen, 'NONE OF THIS COUNTS, NONE OF THESE LEVELS ARE EVEN REAL. HOW ARE YOU NOT NOTICING THIS?'

"Yeah, fuck you I'm gonna buy an extra life," Grace murmurs with an eyeroll and an instinctive tap of the 'X' in the upper left corner of the box.


"— Oh, fuck you, duuuuuuuuuuuuuuu— !" She throws the phone as the ground drops out. It's fine; she'll either have enough money to buy a new one soon, or she'll be dead.

At some point, the giantess' scream twists towards the profane, terminating only when she slams into the ground. Nothing on her is broken, but the ground might be. Still, she is very slow indeed in climbing to her feet, groaning along the way. Once she is standing, though…

"MOTHERFUCKER!" she adds to Melody's chorus. She takes a big breath as if to say more, but— the geek is wandering off on her own. Skeletor seems to be showing off. The girl she's pretty sure is lost seems to be following Skeletor.

After a few moments of heavy breathing, she hurries after Melody while calling, "Hold on— wait— " and casting glances around towards the others to see how badly they're splitting up. "— the fuck did he mean about 'alliances'?"

A large man in a suit of bright red and blue wearing wrap around goggle like glasses that dont' quite hide the gray at his temples grins at Grace, "He means combining strengths." he says conversationally as he takes off at a job next to her, "It's basic military practice. He's forcing us into a situation where we have to rely on one another, form a team cohesion. The test is to hard for a single person-" he looks chagrined, "well most people apparently, to make it on their own." Hobgoblin appears over thier heads, cackling a bit as he zips about on his glider, "Come on!" he calls down at the two, "You're falling behind!" and then he's flying ahead. Others disappear down other passageways, vanishing from sight, and the large man eyes Grace as she comes up on the others, "Flashpoint," he says by way of introduction, "you guys mind another? I do long range, I figure it's a good compliment." he nods at Task and Grace in greeting and pretty much ignores the other two ladies. High above there's another cackle and the sound of rolling explosions as Hobgoblin completes truely impressive arial display, dodging what appear to be honest to god heat seeking missles. "That's Hobgoblin, he's with me. Bit crazy, but scary good in a fight, maybe we increase our chances this way?"

Melody wasn't moving -that- fast, she was easily caught up to, though she stood in place, her foot lifted to hang from the ground at an odd angle before it loudly SNAPS back into place. There was a wince, and a small tear shed, which was soon wiped away as she glances back towards Grace and Flashpoint. "Alliances!" Melody starts, ready to go on a Rant and tirade (hah!) until Flashpoint explains the situation. It was clear she was being ignored, which was a good thing, she'd allow Grace, Hobgoblin, and Flashpoint to go ahead and act as meatshields in her stead. She'd be the..

"Christ, this is like we're in a video game. Only things hurt. I gotta get my game face o—-…" She ducks as the loud boom happens ahead and in front, frowning just a touch as her limp slowly subsides. "Not a game but a game. Yeah.. game face.." My ass..

For better or worse, most people will never realize that Lunair is super intelligent because she used her social skills as a dump stat on account of being a lab experiment at best. But what she is is smart enough to realize those above and below her. "Thanks. And um. I'll follow you if that's cool." Lunair figures holding a grudge here is useless and lethal. Anyone who can in fact, touch MC Hammer, is probably a safe bet. Not to mention, she's been nailed with that shield and knows Task is no slouch in a fight. So even if she has to cheat and use her power armor's propulsion to keep up, the strange, armored girl is keeping up just behind Skelet— askmaster and his kicky pants.

Lunair listens more than looks, as she is glancing around. There's heat seeking missiles. Right. She'll keep an alarmingly large laser cannon with a slender, long barrel that looks ripped out of some mecha show over her shoulder. Just in case. It's about as big as she is. If she were a dude, it would be ripe for an overcompensation joke. She's going to stay low and just use propulsion to keep up rather than soar ahead. But. You know what they say.

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

"No," Grace mutters, rubbing her forehead, "I know what a fucking alliance is, I just— "


Grace's head snaps up, eyes wide. Missiles! Missiles? Missiles!

As she looks around for something to throw - even if it's just fuselage from missiles(missiles?!) - she shouts, "Yes, yes, just fucking shoot those fucking things down!" And then, whether or not she actually spots a projectile, she remembers: Melody, who - despite apparently having a trick ankle and high pain threshold - lacks power or skeleton armor. Her head swivels towards the hacker and she crouches, ready to pounce in case any missile parts are headed her way. Even if they aren't, she edges towards her.

"Gimme something to throw!"

Flashpoint just grins and turns to look up at the sky, "I'll take that as a yes." he says and beams of light suddenly explode from his eyes. They lance through the air, and seemingly with a will fo their own, split, twist, and bend like living things, spearing through a pair of missles that were hot on Hobgoblin's tail. "To be fair, he did warn us what this place was designed to do." Flashpoint offers not-so-helpfully. "We'd better hurry though. It took him 2 days to traverse the maze and he knew who built it. I'm not sure how long it will take us, but I'm starting to wonder how many of you thought to pack rations."

From on high Hobgoblin calls down, "Come on! There's a junction ahead, some kind of round room with more passage ways!" and he's off, flying down the hall as small bits of metal tinkle down around them like rain. Flashpoint shrugs, "You ladies coming?" he asks with a grin. Apparently a handful of missles is just the opener.

And so it goes.

The room is large and round, maybe eighty feet across, and there are ten or more openings that branch out from it, leading in various directions. Soon as the group reaches the middle of the room they realize that of course, it's a trap. There's a sound like metal grinding on metal, a gratting sort of sound that's almost impossible to place. From four of the hallways stalk large robots, designed to look and move like cats (if cats were made of polished metal and were 15 feet tall at the shoulder) they stare at the group with glowing eyes slit down the middle with darkness. One of them opens it's maw and a tongue flicks out lightly. Disconcertingly there's blood smears on it's chin. Two of the other felines tails twitch slowly back and forth. Tick. Tock. Tick… One of them pounces towards Lunair, claws the length and width of impressive axe blades slide from between it's toes, slicing the air with a whistle. It only occurs then that perhaps the grating soudn was their purring.

Man, Grace was -in- this game moreso than she was! Melody was looking for a way out and an easy way to dodge things that fly in her direction but this big lady was all serious business! Melody freezes in place, as Flashpoint takes care of the missiles for them, lazers from the eyes draw her to gawk at the man with a shake of her head, which then a flinch is soon issued as the hail of metal rain down like glittering little stars.

A shard was soon picked up and held like a dagger as she follows Hobgoblin and the rest, turning about to look behind her to make sure that nothing else was coming. This.. really sucked. She half wondered what Grace could do, and she could have sworn she's seen Lunair summon weapons from nowhere. And Taskmaster? If he was anything like their employer Guy.. eesh.. just eesh.

Melody takes off at a run after them, only stopping once she's out of the room with a slight skid, the metal held white knuckled between her small grip as she watches the cats and..

"Awww…" Heart melt. And they were machines! Even more melty!

"I'm going to get me a fuc—-" Once it pounces towards Lunair, Melody holds her hand out to cut her palm, slicing in deep. She was quite literally sawing past connective tissues, senew and raw nerve with a single swipe and strength, skittering towards Lunair and the pouncing cat with tears in her eyes, (cause it hurts), clearly intent on saving the armored up lady with her silly little heroics.

It was all selfish really, for as soon as she was close enough, she ducks low in her run and leaps upon the mechanical cat, keeping her bloodied hand placed upon it's armor so that the nanites within her blood could seep in through the connective cracks.

+MEET: Phobos has arrived via +meet.

Lunair is doing her best to keep up with the skeleton-y one. And then there's metallicats. That's not good. Lunair has that cannon and pulls it out, then she sees Melody doing her thing. "Miss Rant! Ack, no hang on." She turns and brings the laser cannon to bear on the immense cat. She looks distressed by the sight of the injury and blood and the fact Melody is grabbing a giant metallic cat made of midieval weapons.

"YOU ARE A THOROUGHLY BAD CAT." She's taking a bit more to the air, and definitely zapping that cat with a blast of energy. Though, maybe if this doesn't pan out, something magnetics based…

Cats approach!

Grace swears!

Grace pounces on one of them, while swearing!

"D-listers and mooks, gah." Taskmaster chimes in and evades around missiles to shrapnel only to hang back and watch the rest engage the four mechanical cats. "At least they make good distractions." He waits until each member of this motley crew is a focus for the robot kitties then slings out a modified webline and sweeps past towards one of the doors beyond. Sure, teamwork required.
Loudly speaking with that familiar electronic voice distortion, "I'm scouting ahead! You guys deal with the pussies." Totally what he is doing.

"Yo, fuck you too, Skellington!" Grace exclaims after the departing merc while attempting to get her hands around one of the kitties' spines.

Rant's play to leap upon a cat is somewhat amussing… since it's 15 feet at the shoulder and last she checked, she's not an olympic high jumper. Still, nothing saying small nanite filled girls can't cling to an elbow with all their might now is there? She's largely ignored as the cat she's lept upon has bigger fish to fry. Flashpoint's eyebeams glance off of it's flank and then bend back in around to smack into it's side, doing little more then leaving char marks on the metal and a small dent. These things are armor plated? WHO THE HELL ARMOR PLATES DEATH ROBOTS!? The kitty cat of death opens it's maw mrowls! at Flashpoint, if 'mrowls' were usually accompanied by a 35 foot preassurized stream of flaming liquid.

As Grace leaps at her chosen target, it spins with alarming speed and bats her out of the air, not unlike a cat would a toy on a string, only this cat hits like an iron girder swung by one of the Hulk's rogues gallery. Hobgoblin laughs and laughs as he swoops in and a handful of pumpkin shaped charges fall from his hands, scattered explosions rocking his chosen feline target but not doing any noticeable damage outside of a few dents and deformities. It counters with a thirty foot high leap into the air, causing him to bank sharply as teeth the size of swords slice through the trailing end of his cape, missing him by inches. Flashpoint rolls, fast, scrambling away, "Who puts a flamethrower in a fucking cat?!"

Whoever armor plated this kitty cat would be her new best friend! Rant WANTS one of those things! She's gotta have it! At least for now. Though, there is a question on if it'll actually fit out of this room. There also is the question if she'll actually make it out alive or get tossed. No matter! Since she has an elbow she's at a very good crook, people were fighting, blasting things away, making dents and causing the cat to get super hot beneath her grasp.

"Ow…" She mutters aloud, trying her best to at least scramble up the elbow to a shoulder, and onto said shoulder and on it's back. It has to have an opening she can bleed into somewhere.. and if she can find it, hopefully it could be rewired from the inside out to fight the other cats so they could get away freely.

But if wishes were like.. real or something..


Amongst the myriad of other contestants, the young man known as Alexander Aaron participated with the initial mad dash into the maze after the drop. With all the colorful individuals it's understandable how he might not be noticed considering he's a twenty-something in jeans and a grey hoodie but he does wear some nice vintage Chuck Taylor sneakers so he's got that going for him.
An initial exploratory foray into the maze was uneventful save for a few drop spiky flamey stabby traps and the errant length of piano wire at neck height. Nothing that would stop him, however. He made his way through holding his left hand out a bit and always taking those turns, hey it worked in Zelda. Yet something about that maze has to move as he eventuappy ends up… in this big room with robot kitties.
For a moment he considers the next left hand turn, but then glances back at the brawl. On one hand victory is off in that direction, but here there's a fight right here… decisions decisions. Without a sound he draws Grass Cutter from its scabbard across his back and darts forward at speed, blade flashing when one of the robots turns and plants a supporting leg.

"… hey, I'm at /least/ a C-lister." Lunair: Always looking on the bright side. Or a minion. She could be a minion at least. "Do you need armor?" She asks poor Melody. For now, though, her focus is on shifting weapons. No more freaking huge laser cannon. Instead, it's time for nature's most elegant force: Magnetism. Shifting to a gravity gun, she'll try to knock one kitty into the other, staying up in the air away from the other cats.

One cat is going to get shoved into another. But not the one Alex is working on. She's smart enough not to flatten other teammates at least.

Or the one Melody's on. That one isn't getting swatted.


"Yo, fuck you too, Skellington!" Grace howls while flying across the room.

The eventual is rough, possibly enough to leave a dent or a crater in a wall. The landing afterwards is better, mainly because she's just dealing with gravity at that point.

She's even slower to retake her feet than she was after the initial drop, and has to lean against a wall for a few moments to collect herself.

She doesn't get those moments, of course - flames sweep her way and force her to dive or see how hot the assholes responsible for this maze managed to get them burning - but she could've used them.

She at least manages to roll through that landing and come up running towards one of the cats with intentions of seizing its paw and attempting to lift it.

"Fuck a genie, gimme a thirty foot tall Rott!" she exclaims.

Rant's ride of choise continues to try to fry Flashpoint, Hopping lightly on it's feet and turning to face whatever direction it is he's rolling, leaving a swath of burning fluid stuck to walls and floor as it goes, quickly upping the ambient tempature in the room to levels uncomfortable for everyone. Flashpoint for his part, fires burst after burst at the creature, trying to stagger and drop it with some limited success in the staggering department, leaving dents and dings all along it's side. Lunair's sudden shift in tactics works to the groups advantage, one feline suddenly hurteling sideways into another, knocking it off center and causing it to stumble and plant it's clawed foot right into Grace's hands.

Hobgoblin's chosen target continues to enact leaps of terrifying height, once planting it's paws on the wall and digging in, it's claws digging curls of metal out of the walls as it managed enough friction for a second leap that very nearly catches her prey. He's not laughing so much anymore. Upon landing the cat's next attempt to leap is met with confusion as one of it's forelegs spits smoke and sparks from where Grass Cutter severed bits of hydrualics and wireing, spraying fluid all over the room's floor. Now it's all super slippery too. Joy.

"If we had a genie we could have had a Rott!" Rant calls out. It makes sense, right?

But alas, there was no genies, nothing but fighters within the group and with an emergence of another, were the odds within their favor? Maybe.. yes! There was a crease at the top, right where it's neck was, Rant holding on tight just by the grip of her fingers, willing that wound to stay open and free. Even as she pulls herself upright, she was at the proper angle to stick her bleeding hand inside to drag along the circuitry, even as she's flopped about like a ragdoll.. which makes her laugh. Alright, even though this was dangerous, it provided a certain rush that got her all giddy, so giddy in fact that she begins to glow and sparkle as she would.. her nanites working at the circuitry to spark, rework, and simultaneously eat at the insides of the robot to break it down.

With a quick yank of her hand, she allows herself to slide.. halfway, then fall the rest of the way onto the ground, minding her landing.. and run with flailing arms towards where Taskmaster left to.

"If I did it right.. KILL KITTY KILL!" She screams out! If not, she's out either way, she's totes going to follow Guy's employees lead!

The blade doesn't even seem to pause in mid-stroke as it slices through the metal cat's leg, sending those sparks and smoke into the air as lubricant splatters upon the ground. Yet there is no hesitation from the young blonde man. That slight hesitation, the creaking crackling drag of its hind leg is enough of an opening for Alexander to leap up, planting a foot on the upper leg of the robotic creature and propelling him upwards to land upon the back of the machine. His feet thip-thap lightly as he navigates the spine of the cat, seeming almost to float up to the neck of the creature.
For a moment the crimson blade gleams as it spins around, point aiming downwards and stabbing for whatever might be kept in the creatures head and neck.

Well. That escalated quickly. Lunair looks relieved as - huh. The floor is slippery. Thank goodness for propulsion and being able to hover, like an angry aerial weasel. "Thanks, Usagi!" Lunair offers helpfully to Alex. Grass Cutter, indeed. With the floor slippery, Lunair's going to use her magnetic goodness to play cat tetris. The cat without the rider is going to be slammed into another cat or against a wall, depending on who is where. Lunair is nothing, if thoughtful.

Mental calculations. It's time for CAT PONG as the lone cat sans rider will get slammed into the wall. That seems the safest course, as everyone seems to be intent on a feline rodeo. "I wish I could just drop a crapload of explosives on them, sometimes." But that isn't alway possible, and part of life is adjusting tactics to melee party members or those who might not appreciate sudden explosions. ROBO CAT HOCKEY! WHACK!

A pause to look back and Taskmaster almost chortles, "Like a buncha monkeys fuckin' a football. This is great." As mocking as he sounds the man is lingering and watching, absorbing, "The big gal ain't bad. I like the kid's style; nice swordwork." Seeing Melody rushing his way he stops talking to himself or whomever. "Oh what the fuck… shoo, get away from me. You'll draw attention… " Hands wave outwards. Go. "Git." Shoo. Currently he is standing between the room they're battling the Decepticons in and the next; so he is stalling. Cowardice? Curiousity? Maybe a touch of both.


"'Kill— ?'" Grace's head twitches towards the tunnel Rant's running down.

Wait, more people are away? Great. Good.

"— nnh— "

The mechanical feline's vigorous attempts at freeing itself from her grasp remind her that, oh yeah, she is holding up a mechanical feline with flamethrowers and Abomination-grade strength; her eyes snap back to the business above and ahead of her as it forces her to stagger backwards a couple of steps. "— nngh— " she groans, bending her knees and setting her feet as best as she can against the pressure, trying to get a good, solid base.

Her jaw sets, and then with one last roar of exertion, she surges forward and tries to flip the machine onto its back.

And then, she runs. At least she starts running down that hall, in case Rant isn't full of shit.

LOGNOTE: '… people are RUNNING away?'

Rant's pet kitty begins to… well, jitter bug really, it's head stuck in a ten degree arc of flame throwing, coating one section of the room and a passage way entrance with copious amounts of what's starting to feel a bit like napalm while remaining mostly uneffective otherwide. Flashpoint finally gets his feet under him and comes up on a knee, his eyes blazing, "I hate cats." he says as his beams blaze brightly and flash down the cat's throat, hitting it's fuel tanks. The head of the cat quite simply ceases to exsist in a thunderous firey BOOM.

Phobos has clearly hit something key, as his feline of choice falls to one side, it's gyros losing essential input and causing it to jack to one side wildly, a side with only one leg. It goes down, legs spasmatically jerking, massive razored claws slicing the air in great useless arcs.

Grace flips her cat up and over, though it's less helpful then one might think as it instantly starts to emmulate a normal cat, twisting it's spine so it can whiplash it's feet back underneath itself. It never completes the move as the last of the cats smashes into it. Lunair, enjoying her magnegun, has however forgotten one very important principle of physics. Newton's Third Law. If you push on something hard, and it stops moving, then the force used to push against it become force against you. The cats hit the wall, and the very instant they do, the magnetic force rebounds back at her, as she is suddenly attempting to push the /entire maze/. It's mass > Lunairs.

As the cat he's on is falling over, Alexander steps to its shoulder, to its upper arm, then leaps off as it falls over with a heavy metal clang and rattle. He hits the ground two steps past the puddle of hydraulics and oil, rolling as he lands and using the momentum to help propel him back to his feet. It ends seeming like one steady continuous movement without a beat missed.
A quick look around is given, the tactical situation examined instantly. Elements are evacuating towards a particular point, perhaps they aren't his teammates yet exactly but for the moment they may well be. The young Olympian turns and breaks toward the doorway where the other capes are evacuating. He takes up a place there covering their extraction.

"I think his superpower is snark," Lunair offers helpfully regarding Taskmaster. "Just watch the shield and the hand to hand combat," She notes. She does pay attention."Also I guess don't let him watch you fight, but it's kinda late for that and he shot the dude who said that in the head, soooo…" So there's that. Snark is a two way street and it's full of Prisuses. At least it wasn't a memo not to lick Taskmaster, as Lunair was trying to remember what not to do to Taskmaster (hugs? Autographs? Adoration? Licking? Hmmm. She really needs to get a tablet for memos).

At least she's been practicing gunslinging with her timelost relative. She's certainly gaining ability in that department. Unfortunately, that kind of does jack all when momentum misfires and she finds herself hurtling backwards at an absurd speed. "Oh snaaaaaaaaaap-" She might bowl into Taskmaster or go flying past depending on his reflexes. But she is moving a LOT faster than she intended to and is trying to slow herself.

"Hey.. don't be mean.. we work for the same dude.." Rant mutters, but.. 'shoo' she does. She was trying her best to pay no mind to the carnage behind her, by carefully tip toe'ing her way into the room behind Taskmaster. Everything was free and cl—


Rant jumps to the side against the wall as Lunair goes flying past, it would have been cool if her reflexes were great enough to latch on and cheat the maze as well. But.. she wasn't that great. She was better at a keyboard.

Stuck in a dilema! Catch the incoming female turned projectile or… Taskmaster braces himself with the shield in front of him feet spaced enough to take the impact.


Lunair's impact is met with the smooth rounded surface of a shield and momentum sends her spiraling up over the Taskmaster's head to slap down behind him with a loud assortment of crunches. Not dead but seriously banged up.
Apparently there was only one option.
Turning around and grinning down at the young woman he nudges her with his toe, "Get up and get moving Loon or I will set you house on fire and eat your fucking goldfish. Old One Eye is working with some seriously demented ass individuals to set this deathtrap up for us and we're gonna need every one of us." As much as he regrets saying as much he knows his brother-in-arms is a devious cold hearted SOB that set this up so even Task himself comes out of this skinned to the bone and hating life. The man is a true stars and stripes red white and blue bleeding Soldier of a Mofo. You can't expect much less.
"I suppose this makes me you maggots mother hen. Lets keep on husslin', papa Tasky is gonna get us outta here. " A hitch and he looks at everyone, "Well, maybe a couple of you at least. Three or four if we're lucky." Grin. Always on.

Grace doesn't run very far down the tunnel; instead, she turns around and backs up so she can still watch the show. And make sure that one of them isn't about to fire electrified yarn after them, or something.

She turns starts to turn away once she sees them go down, and then— Lunair.


She presses herself against the wall on instinct; it's more for Lunair's benefit than hers.

"ly shit!" The bouncer's head twitches in both directions, and then she resumes heading down the tunnel, briskly walking rather than running.

Briskly walking towards Taskmaster, whose shoulder she attempts to shove. For her, it's a lovetap; less than, even. Not even enough to put him on his ass.

A question comes with the shove: "Yo, are you gonna do something to help us at some point? The fuck are you even here for?! What's up ahead, huh?"

Grace doesn't run very far down the tunnel; instead, she turns around and backs up so she can still watch the show. And make sure that one of them isn't about to fire electrified yarn after them, or something.

She turns starts to turn away once she sees them go down, and then— Lunair.


She presses herself against the wall on instinct; it's more for Lunair's benefit than hers.

"ly shit!" The bouncer's head twitches in both directions, and then she resumes heading down the tunnel, briskly walking rather than running.

Briskly walking towards Taskmaster, whose shoulder she attempts to shove. For her, it's a lovetap; less than, even. Not even enough to put him on his ass.

A question comes with the shove, frustrated and freaked out as much as angry: "Yo, are you gonna do something to help us at some point? The fuck are you even here for?! What's up ahead, huh?"

She's plenty mad too, of course, but seriously, missiles?

Lovetap? Gentle Shove? Whatever Grace wants to call it Taskmaster finds himself skip-stepping backwards for footing to regain his balance. "Whoah there, killer! I am helping! I toldja I was scouting ahead."
"And what am I here for? The same thing as y'all to be tasted… er I mean tested." A chuckle, "Sorry you just have this presence. It reminds me of my mother."
Flexing his fingers Taskmaster speaks again, "Warm up hasn't even started yet. Lets carry on, yeah? Peace signs and all that crap." The shield remains on his forearm and he trudges forward.

Memories of being lifted off the earth for a brief moment by sheer force of that shield. And now she gets to contemplate it, as it gets closer and closer.

And then it hits her.

… Lunair really hates that shield. She hates it SO MUCH that if she put her hatred into words, someone's crotch would burst into flames. Probably. It sounds pretty painful. But, happily, nature made teenagers durable because they do do stupid things. And this would definitely fall into the category of /stupid things/ quite handily. She continues to evade natural selection somehow.

Her world is spinning and aching as she lands. So. Much. HATE. It's fortunate the black visor conceals her face. And the armor hides the injuries. "Ow. Finefine. I'm getting up," She's grumbly, and in pain, but she'll get up. It takes her a moment and she wobbles for a second as her brain orients itself to being right side up again. She's quietly in the middle of the pack.

And so it goes.

The next room is mercifully devoid of traps, right up until they pick a hallway to go down, and only the soft click of mechanics is enough clue Phobos in. He manages to pull two of them aside just before a thunderous boom at the other end of the hall announces the firing of an anti-aircraft gun mounted with chaff loads firing down the enclosed space of the hallway, making it a human smoothie maker. After that the reality of the situation starts to settle in. This maze isn't built to test them, it's built to kill them. By the end of the first day, Flashpoint is nursing an electirc burn along his calf that's at /least/ second degree. Hobgoblin's glider is gone, fed to a massive serpent that spewed some caustic fluid with firehose force that was strong enough to burn Grace's skin. Her shoulder can attest to that.

Day two came and went, a second day without food or water, miles of walking and nigh constant fear of death have frayed nerves to the breaking point. Hundreds of mechnical rats with teeth of vibranium cost Taskmaster his shield, they literally ate most of it off of his arm (Lunair laughed) until they took chunks of her armor too. That wasn't even a battle worth fighting, they just ran until Hobgoblin had had enough and used the remainder of his pumpkin bombs to turn them into spare parts. There was a room so cold that the ice covering all of the open surfaces would flash freeze any open skin touching it, which is where Phobos learned that not even gods deal well with such cold, leaving a six inch strip of the skin on his forearm behind on a stalagmite he brushed against.

Day three was nothing. Just muzac and blinding bright lights. No traps. No fire. No robots. Not even any rooms. Just endless hallways, left turns, right turns, left turns again. Two days without food or water and a third much the same, starvation mode kicked in ages ago, and muscles burn, lungs feels like tissue paper with every breath and the inside of every mouth is like sticky sandpaper. Anything with weight starts to feel like it weighs to much, like's it's four times it's actual size and the temptation to leave something behind is almost overwhelming. Two hours of sleep a peice in the last 72 hours, most of that broken up into short naps. Somehow the third day is the worst. The endless muzac. The blinding light that reflects off of every polished metal surface. The sameness of every foot of hallway. Day three comes to an end when they realize they've come to a dead end, literally, as they discover half of a human corpse, a pair of legs missing it's upper half. It's been there for a day, at least, and the smell is… brutal. But whoever he was, he was carrying a canteen.

Day four the heaviest thing on each of them is a single black rod of glass, a slender thing, easily broken, stowed away in a pocket or a pouch, every step it feels heavier and heavier to the mind. Because quitting is just so /easy/, and continuing is so much harder. Day four begins today.

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