Rooftop Recovery

October 11, 2015:

Time to recover a device from the Psyborg network

New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The first one doesn't take long to line up. Jericho has suggested that SHIELD prioritize targets nearest to the UN and this one's a doozy, located within blocks of the actual UN HQ. Of course SHIELD can't be everywhere at once and they do have red tape to get through. Jericho does not. So he calls out for some help, putting in calls to Zatanna and Brinley to see if they're up to coming. And reaching out to Stark to see if Iron Man and War Machine to see if they're ready to roll… Tony in particular might have something to say about advanced cybernetic mind manipulating tech.

Once Rhodey was released from SHIELD medical he returned to Stark Tower to confer with Tony about what he'd learned in the brieffing. Which, as it turns out, was just about the moment they were requested for another mission. Incidentally in the area around the UN HQ.

"Sure, I can provide backup." The Col, of course, is involved. There's a chance that they might crack some skulls? Of course he's invovled.

Tony nods, "Sure, why not. It could be a fun afternoon." - outfitting himself in an appropriate loadout, he flies alongside Rhodey to the location. Cybernetic mind control tech? Yeah, not so much on his watch.

Brin WAS available and had arranged for Jericho to collect her from X-Red HQ. She'd have just used one of Magiks' stepping disks anyway. "More cyborgs?" the brunette looks up at the demontainted hacker and sighs deeply. "This is not news, I wanted to hear."

Dressed in her 'field uniform', black cargo pants, red collared t-shirt with a stylised X over her heart and heavy combat boots, she's left the Owlet she'd adopted 'at home'. "What's the plan?"

Jericho querries JARVIS (very politely, no hacking here) about the status of Iron Man and War Machine and is pleasantly surprised when told they're both on the way. His voice breaks in on the coms even as he explains things to Brinley. "Alright. The device is on the roof of the River Club, a few blocks north of the UN Headquarters. It's one of the strongest transmitting devices in the network and if anything is key to its operations, that is. It's also got good line of sight on… a lot of things. Odds are good we're going to provoke a significant response here. So my plan is to go poke at it and see what we get. Brin, is there any chance you can mitigate the emotional manipulation?" The powered armor suits role here is… er… squish things that try to do nasty things.

Brin grimaces as Jericho explains he his plan and looks out in front of her. "My … power… doesn't work that way, Mr Trent… but I haven't pushed it." She looks a little worried about that … the last time she pushed her power, the headache … was phenomonel. "I can try…" It's the best she can do. "How close do you want me to be near this thing?" Because if she has too, she fly to the rooftop herself.

Rhodey settles onto the building adjacent to the one where the device is located and does a local scan of the surrounding area for potential threats. "I'll go overwatch." He says to Tony, stepping up close enough to provide a bank of cover fire across one entire sector of the roof. pistons drop down from his ankles to anchor him into the roof and the auto-cannon moves into place, connected to PATTON's targetting software. On either shoulders, mini jericho missile pods rise out of the housing bays and settles into a full defensive sentry mode.

The X-red teams have their own system and way of doing things. Frequently, the primary X-force contingent is at odds with them over anything ranging from publicity to mission parameters. Still, they are, at the end of a day, all /family/, and they help each other out when call is needed for aid.

So Betsy, texting away on her cell phone, is alerted by general sitational alerts when Jericho and Brinley are converging on an area that is also recently highlighted as a 'hazard zone' by Jericho's brilliant analytical algorithims. Betsy doesn't particularly understand how any of it works, mind- she just knows she gets an IM on her phone when there's a chance she's near X-members who might need help.

"Oh, bloody hell, what's that passphrase," she exhales, screwing her forehead into a furrow to try and recall Jericho's rotating list of phrases.

<Jeri do u need help its either blueberry six tango or skywalker seven alpha i cant remember>

Both phrases he's used recently and honestly he knows his paranoia isn't shared by everyone he works with. Psylocke. Good to see you. Could use the help. Going possibly up against psychic cyborgs shortly.

"Come with me." He says to Brinley and then he's sprouting wings and heading up toward the top of the building. This is where it gets potentially dangerous. The devices are known to mentally manipulate people trying to tamper with them or fling them from rooftops and that's without the guards that he's sure the thing will call. Indeed, both happen rather quickly. The moment Jericho alights there's a sudden mental pressure that's strong enough even to give the hacker who usally shrugs this part of the process off pause. "Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Owwwwwwwwwww." That gives him a nasty headache, as if someone is trying to drive a spike through his head. Not so much emotional manipulation as straight up mental attack.

And then the portals open. Four (it's often four) nasty looking, rather obvious psyborgs with heavy weaponry on them step through and broadcast to every mind in the area. Citizens, you are tampering with Overlord Military Hardware. Stand down immediately or face level one repression. This is your only warning.

Brins unaware that Psylocke has detected her … not that she'll complain … Jericho had asked for help and now he's got it. Manifesting her own wings, the brunette mutant follows the demontainted hacker and winces, eyes tearing as that mental pressure hits. It takes all her willpower to light upon the roof, without falling clumsily, and dismiss her wings… "Yyoou… wwwant me to blanket that?" she stammers eyes widening as the Psyborgs appear from nowhere.

Ducking behind one of the stacks on the roof, she'll trust the others to protect her and takes a deep breath, centreing her thoughts and willpower … and then pushes her empathy out over the roof… will it be enough? And if so, how long can she hold it? She can feel her head thrumming even now.

Betsy sighs and casts around. <kk two minutes gotta change>. She abandons her latte in the coffee shop and slings her little purse over one shoulder, and with a long-legged step moves back to the garage where her car was parked.

One minute and fifty-nine seconds later, a black-clad form flings herself bodily off the roof of the parking garage and soars across the street, landing on top of a building. Betsy can fly, after a fashion, but it's extremely taxing- but sprinting across rooftops with long, easy bounds? Hardly an effort. She finishes whipping her hair into place as she goes, tied up in a neat bun at the base of her neck and held in place by a hair net that combines with the half-mask the ninja's taken to wearing while 'at work', so to speak.

<Linking in,> comes a psychic projection, and the familiar sensation of Psylocke's mind reaching for Jericho and Brinley to bring them into a gestalt tactical awareness begins to tickle at their brains.

Jericho's mind has become a considerably less pleasant place to be. Not difficult to be. Just… not fun. There are fundamental changes occuring in the hacker the extent of which even he is unaware. That's all background noise at the moment though. Betsy can tell that Jericho and Brinley just landed on the rooftop of the River Club. There's a flickering sensation as the hacker unleashes his particular talent. Brin can see him 'armor up' as the first of the Psyborgs ignights a sword made of some kind of mental energy and bull rushes him, not counting on Jericho's strength. He gets countered and kicked back but the rest are lighting up as well. "I can probably take one or two." He murmrus. Brinley and Psylocke will have to handle the balance as the Iron Men are being kept busy by the device itself which has started to lift up trees and masonry and hurl them skyward.

Gah… Brin hates when Psylocke does that … it puts her off balance and it's uncomfortable… but she gets the necessity of it. And of course, Jericho wants Brin to fight. It's a bit like taking a butter knife to a knife fight really.

Manifesting her glowing green and gold bow, the brunette mutant takes aim at Psyborg… targetting any instrumentation she can see… and lets loose one arrow and then another.

Betsy leaps and scales the side of the building faster than most people could walk the comparable length of it, toes digging into every crevice and fingers hauling her effortlessly up the almost sheer side.

She dashes forward and slides underneath a glimmering constructed arrow, using the opening it creates to slash across the legs of a cyborg with a glimmering psionic sword that perfectly matches the short katana held zatoichi in her off-hand. Betsy recovers with a tremendous backflip that connects the toe of one soft shoe with the underside of a cyborg's jaw and dances out of reach, covering Brinley's blind side and ensuring no one sneaks up on Jericho while he does his cyborg thing.

<They're fairly strong. Someone's wired them well against psychic intrusion. I can slow some of them down but I can't stop them outright,> Betsy informs her teammates, slashing through the air in a brilliant dance with both blades glimmering. <What, pray tell, are we doing here anyway?>

Uh, in brief… Jericho isn't used to having instant mental communications with people who aren't computers and the one other link he does have is different in nature. Still it's easy enough to 'think about' what led up to here. Psylocke will get the gist. An unknown party has been laying devices that generate generalized discontent among the populace and they're particularly thick here near UN HQ. To prevent anything awful from happening as well as drawing out the perpetrators, he's helping SHIELD take the network apart. It does seem to have garnered a response.

Jericho winds up fighting one of the psyborgs one on one. He is, it must be admitted, really good with that blade of his. Not at Betsy's level but Betsy in particular will know from experience how long it takes to get good with a sword… and if she's done any reading on the man, she may question why he is that good. He shouldn't have had the time to get that way.

Either way that leaves Brinley confronting the one she just shot at. The arrow got his attention but didn't seem to harm him. Betsy is going to be facing off against two, one of which is bringing up an underslung arm gun to bear on her. It's evident to both the empath and the psychic now that the armor is thick but not air tight. There are joints, joins, crevaces and exposed bits of machinery and flesh that can be targeted even by things that won't get through the armor. And if one can for example generate a bodkin… or hit like a truck… the options become greater. It's simply a matter of being selective and precise.

With Jericho doing the update, Brin can sense that, the brunette mutant forces herself to hold ground… really - she should be making like birds and getting the flock out of there … but that's not going to help anyone.

Seeing the openings, she considers for a moment and the heads on her arrows morph to something different - more like a needle than a true arrow head - and she nocks the first one, takes aim at the largest crease she can see and lets, quickly nocking a second and firing again. OK, she's been practicing - but she's no Hawkeye - either version.

Betsy fights with the simple expedient of her blade bypassing armor. It's a handy trick, one she's perfected over the last year. Strike, parry, parry- and then that psionic blade simply loses any substance, becoming an extension of her psychic will. An atom wide, at best, able to slip through the most redoubtable of armor.

Betsy also knows how to send a crackling surge of telekinetic force down that blade and shatter anything from a micromotivator to a pituitary gland. Efficient, clean, and highly effective. It's one of the reasons she's such a deadly assassin- how does one block or stop something so wholly intangible?

She whips a hand around and throws a small flourbomb at one cyborg's face as it closes on Brinley, the pufft of dust an effective blinding agent. She instantly leaps sideways when 'her' cyborg starts to open fire with that autogun, grabbing it by the chin and rodeoing the half-man into opening fire on his comrades for a brief second before she slams a psionic knife into his brainstem with a short, brutal stab of one fist.

That autogun is not a small weapon and its rounds chew into first the psyborg that she just stabbed and blew open from the inside out, and then the one Brin's fighting right as her arrow slices through the neuromotor cable that controls its right leg. Unable to dodge it simply expires round about the same time that Jericho imitates Betsy… except with a lot more brute force, running his blade through the psyborg he's fighting and pinning it to the roof before wretching it out. Sideways.

That leaves the device. Half the size of an ashcan with lights that make it look like and R2-D2 mockup, the odd piece of tech thickens the air around itself to protect itself. Which will make trouble for Jericho. The other two though… "Can you guys take care of that thing please."

Breathing a sigh of relief as that thing simply stops, Brin holds another arrow at the ready, tense… waiting for the next shoe to drop… and there it is… deal with the R2-D2 look alike. Glancing to Betsy, almost the strongest psychic talent she knows, Brin offers her own meagre talent to the woman … Do it…

Betsy does the equivalent of taking Brinley's psychokinetic hand, focusing her willpower into a single, hard terminus- a point of utter focus. Betsy's a powerful kineticist, if not a bit unimaginative at times, but real strength comes from knowing where to place the lever, not just how hard to push on it. She calmly narrows her gaze on the object, feeling, sensing the rhythm of reality around it, and deftly *twists*, putting her leverage point inside that shield instead of trying to punch through it. The equivalent force of an elephant stomping on the device surrounds it all at once, literally warping air around it for a moment with the surge in pressure.

Which makes it crunch like a tin can and just like that the mental pressure evaporates. "Well, one down about five dozen to go." Jericho murmurs. "Thanks for the help you two." He knows for a fact he could not have done that solo. Having friends and allies is good sometimes.

Okay, almost all the time.

"Didn't expect to get more than one X-Man out there. Did Brinley get the word out to you or were we just lucky to have you Psylocke?"

"No Jericho. You didn't say what we were doing, you just asked me for help." Brin answers vaguely, still working through what Pyslocke had shown her … quite unwittingly, she's sure. It's not how Brins power works but there's a common basis… now she just has to figure it out for her way of doing things. "I left a message with the X-Red team as to where I would be … " and she frowns at Psylocke "How did you know?"

Betsy reaches to the small of her back and produces her hero-class sPhone. She wiggles it at Jericho. "Got your text," the Brit says, voice slightly muffled by her halfmask. "I didn't understand the gibberish that went with it, though. Some sort of odd number and letting rating? Anyway, it said there were teammates close who were in a hazardous situation, and gave me a GPS address. So I came running. It wasn't hard to find you once I got within a block or two," she explains.

"Aaah that." He had send out a broad text. It's a process he often runs when needing backup and not having time to arrange it ahead of time. He does forget occasionally. "Well thank you for coming."

The hacker sighs and powers off his traces, dropping lightly to the floor and running his hand through his hair. "This is a mess… whomever doing this is really skilled at mental manipulation. The city's been getting 'bad vibes' for months now but its so subtle and generalized that we'd have a hard time tracing any specific sets of actions back to this. It's almost like the only thing they're trying to do is cause chaos."

"What was it those things said when they appeared?" Brin questions the pair before her "Overlord Military Hardware and Level One repression?" she sighs and pinches the bridge of her nose… yeah, here comes the headache. "I… can't think straight."

"I didn't quite catch it," Betsy says, shaking her head. She grimaces and undoes her braid, letting the long ponytail snake out to her hips behind her. "That explains a few things, though. It's not terribly hard. Em- our other friend," she says, glancing sidelong at nothing, "knows quite a bit about that sort of thing. I understand you don't even need to be particularly adept at telepathy. Sometimes just a noise- or even a smell- can change a person's mood."

"My biggest concern is that this particular network of devices seems to have come up very quickly. Which suggests an accellerated time table." Jericho glances over at the now dead psyborgs. "I'm going to call SHIELD so they can try and get what they can from these shells. If you want to take one and examine it on your own I certainly won't let them know you have it." He trusts the X-Men to a degree, or at least some of them and Psylocke has never given him a reason to think that she'll act against what's clearly the common good here.

Besides, they know things.

"I assume you don't want to deal with them personally." Well actually, Brin and Betsy rather uniquely probably don't mind but he'll still give them a chance to clear out.

"As always, Jericho," Brin squints a little, she really needs to get back home "I'll help as I can." Looking at the shells, she glances to Psylocke "Take one and have Beast examine it… it might give us some valuable clues. Want me to organise it's delivery?" She can, easily, via stepping disk. "Would you ask SHIELD to keep us informed, please?" Brin can make the request anyway.

"I'd prefer not to," Betsy tells Jericho politely. "If you wouldn't object to minding them for me?" she asks of the cybernetics specialist. "I'll be off, then. I need to finish my errands for today. It was nice seeing you two, though. Do stop by the Institute," she invites. Betsy turns to the building and with a hopskip, gets a running start and leaps into space, soaring like a shadowy glider towards the parking garage she'd left behind.

"I'll take you up on that." Jericho waves and starts 'dialing' SHIELD. "Ten mintues Brinley. Then I'll do post op with SHIELD." That should give her time to get what she neds, Jericho time to talk to SHIELD and everyone time to get ready for the next event.

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