The Authority: First of Many

September 13, 2015:

They were supposed to eat and be merry, but instead, they gear up. (Backdated scene, forgot when, don't feel like looking.)

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Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The Galley is an odd little place, metal tables and metal stools, not designed for comfort but still oddly comfortable enough to pleasantly enjoy a meal, a meal which has been more or less the same every time they eat it here. Steamed veggies, baked chicken or tuna, water enhanced with minerals that gives it a slightly metallic flavor of some kind, and two slices of bread. Grace and Hobgoblin and Slade all seem to get greater helpings then the others, for whatever that's worth. This meal, bland as it is, in combination with the training regimen, has had a visibly noticeable effect on the physique of those sticking to it. Sleep is easier, deeper, reaction times are quicker, it's easier to think clearly, muscle memory is slooooooowly starting to kick in so that training goes faster, even baby fat is melting away and being replaced by lean wiry sinews.

Or in short, welcome to being in stupidly good shape.

Slade walks into the room and pauses at the head of the table, "Training is almost complete for this round and soon you'll all be sent home, assuming you wish to go." he says evenly, "Those wishing to stay may do so as well, you have 2 days to decide."


Any food was good food. Melody was certainly looking skinnier. And tighter. If Papa Kenway were to see her, he'd assume that she has cancer again. That is, until she shows him a pop of muscle from the bicep and a really nasty grip she could give with the shake of his hand. But that was par for the course. Anyone who didn't love veggies, would be a sinner in their own right and it was the first thing that was missing from Melody's plate.

She barely has time to look up from her food, a bit of corn dropping from her mouth as she tries to suck it back with a little bit of water, the cup soon placed down neatly against her tray as her arm shoots up to gain his attention.

"Can we choose both? I mean.. I need a lot more training than most, but it would be pretty nice to see the cities again."


Bruce Banner is definitely NOT sticking to the diet. Much as he's not doing any of the actual combat training, although he is learning the technology and gear of the base and generally finding ways to make himself useful. But Bruce Banner isn't leaping into any frays armed with machine guns and the Hulk…well, the Hulk isn't really likely to follow any battle plans you draw up anyway.

Basically, he doesn't give a crap about being in good shape. He's not doing any dating and he's okay with dying young of heart disease or a stroke or…really, anything.

He doesn't bother to answer the question because, if he didn't want to be there, he'd just, y'know, leave. But he watches the others curiously. He tends to keep a seat somewhat to himself, although he occasionally sits near Melody or Lunair, whom he knows to varying degrees, but, even then, he's often distracted by a project he's working on in an electronic pad…


Lunair was in pretty good shape before. She doesn't seem bothered by the others getting extra helpings. Some people are just really tall and hungry. Granted, she's been less than thrilled about the bland food (really, hospital food for most of her life) but she eats it. She is eating and listens for a moment. But she's getting to be in even better shape and not eating like a college student. It's all good, really.

She still suffers the problem of having little to no facial expression when not working at it, so she seems positively spaced or staring a thousand yards away. She blinks owlishly, and looking up. "I kind of like coming and going, if that's alright. I will definitely think over it." Hey, not having to deal with speedster Nazis, evil cyborgs, Sigma Six (and their godforsaken snipers), evil librarians, dart drones and giant robots is kind of nice actually.


Audrey eats. She spent enough time on the streets scavenging for food not to turn it down when she gets it. And enough time in what was essentially military training to eat what's put in front of her either way. There've been no complaints from the mutant when it comes to the diet.

As Slade approaches, she looks up form her nearly empty plate. "Do you mean go for now until the next mission?" she asks, to clarify. "Or if we stay, are we here until we get let out again?"


Something beeps and Slade waves a hand, bringing up an image of a riot in NYC, M-Town specifically, a riot between the SRD and some what appears to be some mutants in the parking lot of a hospital. And some enraged Atlantean nobility. He snorts and flicks a finger in the air, the holo image slides away replaced by another image, something smokey and wartorn. He speaks while eyeballing it, "Teleportation across the dimensional fabric of reality is not cheap or free. I said it before I will say it again, I'm not public transit and this isn't a fucking subway. Much like launching into space, mass counts. Which reminds me, Dr. Banner, please stop trying to sneak in Cheetos, make a grocery list, I'll have it added to existing resupplies." he doesn't care what Banner eats, so long as it doesn't effect his mind. Banner is basically his Science division currently, so six pack abs on the nerd are a meh issue. "Same goes for any equipment you might need, though I'll get with you about that later." Combat and Ops should be slightly separated business wise, some habits die hard.

The war-torn image vanishes and a new one comes up showing an island nation and Slade stops stock still, his focus going laser tight onto something. "Until the first mission or training requirements are… met…" he pauses, his eye narrowing, "You sneaky fucker." he mutters under his breath as the image begins to zoom in.


"So that's where we are." Melody affirms, finishing off the little bit of veggies she has left, beginning to tear into the chicken.. well, tear it to pieces so that she could eat without leaving much more of a mess. As the holo comes up, she watches it, a deep frown curling her face, her head leaning to the side, yet the mention of Cheetoes has her laughing just a touch.

"Okay, so we can't come and go as we please.." She thinks about this for a moment. "I'll take the two days and consider my options." There was that. But, now.. the image. "Who's a sneaky fucker?"


Bruce Banner looks up from his pad and almost smiles. Not quite, but it's at least a basically pleasant expression. "I'll have a list made up, for sure. I'm definitely going to need a better electron microscope…and Combos. Those little cracker ones with the pepperoni inside? Absolutely essential…" he murmurs.

"If there's an ongoing issue with transportation, though, I'd be happy to look into it. There's a very high probability that I'm smarter than anyone you actually have working in that division now, so I'd be more than happy to at least review their work. I wouldn't be surprised if there are mistakes - you'd be surprised how much sloppy math slips through post-graduate research these days. I blame an over-reliance on calculators," he says.


Lunair is munching quietly, thoughtfully. Huh. "Well, I am sure I don't need perfect attendance for classes anyway. My grades are really good." She doesn't seem too bothered. Lunair quirks an eyebrow at the image. She manages a bit of a frown, the cheetoes chat a stark, amusing contrast.

"… yeah, they must be pretty sneaky to get that reaction," Lunair nods at Melody. There's a look to Audrey. A polite smile. Lunair doesn't fuss over her diet, herself. And then an amused look by Bruce's response. Huh. "Electron microscope?" She's curious.


Audrey has absolutely nothing to say about transportation. But she also isn't going to interrupt Slade's review of events. She finishes off her food as the others speak, then turns in her seat to get a better look at the images. The question's already been asked, so she settles for searching.


Deathstroke hand wobbles Rant's direction, able to think about the job and carry on the conversation simultaneously, "You can, to a degree. Just do not think this is your flop house, you can't come here between classes, you can't sleep here at night and walk the streets during the day. If you stay here, you train. Constantly. If you're not here do whatever you want, but if you come back you might as well assume I'm eating four days of your time and putting you through the wringing. It's unlikely any of you can pay me back for the cost of the gates that bring you here so I'll just take that cost out of your asses." he's an economical sort apparently. "I'll see what I can do Dr. Banner, and I doubt you can assist me in this matter. Our means of transport is less technological then it is biological. Math is not so much the problem."

The island image begins to zoom in, though the picture remains oddly out of focus, as if it were slightly pixilated, like bad porn from the 90's. "Someone I thought I killed two decades ago." he mutters, frowning at the imagery, "People are rude like that, apparently fourteen rounds center mass just don't do what they used to. Nor, apparently, does dropping a building on them. This cockroach is… still…" Slade stiffens, "Dr. Banner, is that what I think it is?" he asks, flicking his wrist and sending the image down onto the metal table, which apparently doubles as some sort of touch UI for whatever systems are casting these images about. Another flick of a finger sends the image 'spinning' down the table until it comes to a stop in front of Banner.


"Oh. Well in that case, I'd like to go home every .. four days is it?" Yeah, out of everyone who sits at the table? Melody was going to put her time in, pay her dues, and probably offer up interest. She was liking this new feel, she could run without getting winded and her nanites seemed to be kicking themselves into high gear with how healthy she has gotten. Thank the lords that she didn't smoke.

Though, Melody grows quiet again, watching.. even going so far as to lift her tray from the table as the image expands and sails towards Dr. Banner to see. Her food was set down then, chicken quickly devoured as she eyes the two men with a slight furrow of her brow. From what she's learned during her time here? Shooting someone center mass fourteen times should put them down permanently. With a building drop to add insult to injury. Especially if they're a regular human. This guy, didn't seem to be that.


Bruce Banner frowns and examines the image, more than comfortable with the technology as he lifts the holo a bit, tilting it to the side. He peers and purses his lips, "Launching silos of some sort, although I don't know any standardized missile of that size. Judging from this device here, being loaded with a humanoid of some sort. I can't tell if it's an actual person, though, or some sort of simulacrum - I'd need analysis greater than simple photography to determine anything like that. There's definitely been a certain degree of attempt to disguise it…and there are a lot of launchers," he mutters.

"Essentially, what you're looking at is a sophisticated firing array for launching human cannonballs. I'm guessing said balls will be of either a superhuman or robotic variety - I don't think a typical human would do well without at least some fairly sophisticated armoring. But that's also an option. As our own merry enterprise demonstrates, Slade - you can talk people into doing a lot of crazy shit with the right leverage."


"I've got some other responsibilities," Audrey chimes in on the topic of leaving or staying. "They don't last long, and they don't happen often, but they're responsibilities." As the image goes down the table, she leans forward to get a better look at it. "So who didn't stay dead?" she asks. "Anyone with the capabilities to build androids or armor they'd want to launch…Why launch it?" she asks, looking back to Banner and Slade. "If you can build an android or power armor, why can't you give it propulsion of its own?"


Lunair nods, listening. Huh. Her eyebrows lift a little. She seems quietly amused by the quip. "Seriously? Huh," Lunair seems puzzled and a little awed by this nemesis. But, for her part, she is listening. Being in shape was nice, really. Even if she felt dwarfed by a gargantuan predator with a thousand years of experience. But the only way to learn is to go for it, even if she gets her tail kicked, yes? So Lunair seems fine with lingering here sometimes.

Lunair will put her time and dues in, too. Plus, she feels compelled to watch over someone.

But now, she's more listening, eyes reflecting a quiet alertness.


Deathstroke's expression darkens at Banner's analysis, as if he was hoping that wasn't correct, "That is the island of Gamora," he says, "home of Kaizan, a completely insane despot I thought I shot to death back in my um… legitimate days." aka when he wore a uniform. Of sorts. Something seems to be troubling the usually staunch stoic man and he takes a seat, finally, and stares at the image on the table, "It was my last mission, everything after that went tits up." he shakes his head firmly, "The Kaizan is a lunatic, a brilliant, genius, madman. Think… Von Doom but with fewer scruples and no greater vision. And impulse control problems."


Melody looks towards Bruce as he explains; her expression wasn't horrified in the slightest but, almost disgusted. In fact, her lip turns right up as her food was placed down and pushed aside. What thoughts were running through her head was anyones guess, but it was clearly obvious that people willingly… or unwillingly being fired into missiles was generally a bad thing. Or fired out of them. Or being cannonballed.

"Wow.." She mutters quietly, her hand lifting to rub at her cheek, her fingers soon curling to thump-thump away at her cheekbone as her shoulders slump, Deathstroke's story had a little bit of a finality to it. At least, it sounded that way to her. So, she was going to be the first and probably last one asking.

"So, when are we going?" If this guy could sit Deathstroke down just on explanation alone, then she suspects soon.


Lunair looks between the two. She learns quickly and quietly. Her eyebrows furrow a bit. Human cannonballs? Either some future tech or- yeah. She's playing catch up on a lot of things, but at least she learns well. Her reaction is less visible, but she manifests a fairly concerned facial expression.

"… huh, the Kaizan. And I see." She nods at Melody. Apparently this is something likely to be dealt with, judging by the gravity of it all. As for Audrey's questions, "Maybe he's getting to that part or doesn't care?"


Bruce Banner considers Lunair's question for a long moment, "Well, there are a variety of reasons - one might be speed - personalized rocket transport, the kind you could fit on a backpack, might have relatively limited velocity. Even Iron Man's armor can only go so fast - if you reinforce the armor enough and focus its resources on keeping the payload alive, you might be able to fire someone like a missile and have them cross the ocean much more suddenly."

"It might also be an autonomy issue - if this Kaizen is the dictator Slade suggests, he might not be particularly interested in any of his minions being able to steer their own ship, so to speak - to him, they might be little more than projectiles, to be aimed where he sees fit. He also might not particularly care about the survivability issue. Any set-up like this probably cost lives in the testing and will probably cost still more in the use."

"It's fascinating. Ruthless as all hell, but fascinating. Whatever he's launching, you can be it's something lethal and beyond dangerous to be worth the effort."


"So these could be, what? Execution devices?" Audrey eyes the machines, considering. "Plague bodies? He's going to infect people with diseases and launch them into the countries of his enemies using his human cannons?" Well, at least it has historical precedence.


Deathstroke's expression seems far away and his light blue eye is twitching rapidly in it's socket, almost jittering in a blur. Signs of higher brain activity, Banner's likely seen similar such things from people processing a ton of data simultaneously, those multitasking freaks he's met in his various works. Slade's not a scientist or a giant brain like Richard or Doom or even the Kaizan, but he's the best there is at this sort of weights and measurements. "From the imaging they've only just started," he says idly, "this might just be his response to the Atlantean Invasion a few months back, he rules an island after all, or to the Parademons that seem to be falling randomly from the sky in various cities." he glances back down at the image, "We need more intel, his anti-imageing technology is good enough to make even our Luthor Tech Satellites little better then an Iphone camera." he pushes himself to his feet at that, "Lux, suit up, gear heavy, I'm not looking to take prisoners if we get caught. Amory, Rant, you too. Lux and I will infiltrate, you two will hold our evac and be our back up in case we're blown. I want boots on the ground and eyes on this… whatever it is, by the end of the day. He has disruption fields as well, I'm going to see if we can still gate there, if not I'll need to gate elsewhere and set up transpo. Doc, I want you on imaging, see if you can't clear those up a bit, give my your best threat analysis, rumor has it you know your military hardware." he pushes himself away from the table, "Questions?"


"Payload meaning people." Melody shakes her head slightly, "..execution devices.. that seems a bit more likely. Unless he's trying something else? Trying to break the sound barrier without ripping his own body to shreds by using test subjects.." One could speculate, the only option was to get close.

Which, Deathstroke spoke about, and as the order was given, Melody nods like a good little not-so-much soldier, immediately dragging her plate close to shove down the rest of the food that she left upon her plate, eating quickly as she rises to a stand, hunched and already trying to disperse.

"I canf takth dowth the.." She swallows.. "..disruption field if we can get close enough. Destroying tech is my bread and butter." But, there were really no questions at all, she just had to upload a new program to her nanites so she wouldn't be a crying mess on missions.

"I'm ready." Or rather, her body is ready.


Lunair nods. She's pretty smart, but she needs more educating than a badger in a ballet class. She listens quietly to Bruce, too. There's a faint frown at that idea. "There were once things like suicide torpedoes…" She recalls. "So I suspect those things are more true than one might suspect." Or at how foolish such losses are. But Lunair isn't really a dictator.

"Yes sir. Just let me know if you need any supplemental gear." Beam. She's definitely able to help that. She'll look after them and Mel, then. She's finished eating, at least.


"Yes, sir," Audrey nods to Slade, picking up empty plates as she stands up. No sense in leaving a mess behind, after all. She pauses by the image of the island, though, getting a good look for the size and shape of it, checking for anything that looks like an obvious security concern or like it could offer cover if needed. After a moment, she nods to herself, then steps away from the table. "Five minutes?"


Bruce Banner nods and shrugs, "Sure, I can work on improving resolution, see if we can get some materials analysis going. There are satellites we could loop in, a few I remember back from my days of being on the classified list myself," he says. "Won't lie…some of those Cheetos could really help right about now, though…" he says, pushing up from the table…


Deathstroke shoots a look at Rant and sighs, "Unless you want a technologically advanced madman with an entire nations worth of military personnel at his disposal to know your face and from that be able to extrapolate your ID, I'd suggest you gear the fuck up. Properly. This isn't training anymore, this is the real deal. If you can use it, if you've qualified, carry with you on the mission. Gear with armor piercing rounds, extra mags, but stealth gear, the mottled grays and blacks will work, but not full black. Full black makes you more visible in darkness, cuts a hard outline against other shadows. And for fucks sake, get a balaclava. We'll talk trademarks on the next mission." he shoots a look around the table, "That goes for the rest of the field team, masks on, codenames only. This is the sort of guy who'll send suicide bombers for your families, friends, hell, he'll blow up a mall in St. Louis and then tell the world he did it in your name just because he knows it'll get under your skin. This isn't little leagues kiddies, this is the real deal."

The island is a crescent shaped thing in the middle of the South Pacific somewhere between China and Australia, nestled away among a thousand other smaller island nations. Smaller then Japan but only a little bit, it's oddly shaped, with a raised lip along the inner curve of the island's edge. Like there was a meteor strike or something that made the massive curling bay there. Slade also glances at the image again, a haunted expression flickering just behind his eyes before his face hardens into something like anger and he turns on his heel, "Fifteen minutes." he says flatly. They have a lot of gear to get and it's the first mission, he's adjusting for fetching time, "Meet in the Warroom." which is what they've all taken to calling the room where they train tactics and strategy sessions in. He heads for the door, his strides long and purposeful, "Ridged potato chips are hidden behind the powdered coffee creamer in the inventory room, french onion dip in the fridge. Best I can do." and he's gone.

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