Be Careful

October 12, 2015:

A fight starts in a business district of New York, near one of the devices that Jericho had identified. Oracle calls in some help

East Side - New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

In the business district in West Side, New York, it's lunchtime. People are heading out of buildings to go and grab a bite to eat, others are heading back to work after an early lunch. But … something is happening, the crowds are getting ugly … and fighting is starting to break out.

It starts as something simply - someone bumping into someone else and shoving match ensuing, but now… there's fighting spreading and it's affecting nearly everyone on the street.

New York PD have been called in and it's pinged on Oracles systems. It's not the type of thing the redhead would normally concern herself with… but… there's something she's aware of about this area.

Putting a call out across the OracleNet, which includes the JL:A and certain people within SHIELD these days, "This is Oracle, I need people onsite now, in New York. Co-ordinates being transmitted. There's a street fight, but we need to find the cause." That might sound vague, but Oracle is receipt of information not commonly known - well, she is Oracle.

The buildings in New York's business districts are very, very tall. Tall enough that, atop them, you're isolated from the crowds and noise of the streets. Since taking up the Falcon flight suit, Sam Wilson has found them to be a good place to go when he wants to be alone. This didn't come up all that often when he was first superheroing; since his long leave of absence, it's a constant nagging need.

He's lying down on the rooftop, staring at the sky overhead, when the communicator built into his headset starts to chime. He's not actually wearing it at the moment, but it's right beside him, and the whole point of coming up here is the quiet.

He waits several seconds before finally reaching for the device. Even when he does, he turns it inside out and puts the speaker to his ear, rather than donning it correctly. This way, he can convince himself he's not committing himself to answer the call.

He doesn't recognize "Oracle," but a street fight doesn't sound too bad, and it's close by or it wouldn't have buzzed him. Something simple to ease back into things, maybe? After a quick exhalation, he pulls the goggles and headset on and keys into the mission channel with the controls on his gauntlet. "Falcon, reporting in." We'll see what 'Oracle' makes of that.

Audrey is always cautious, and she doesn't entirely trust messages from Oracle yet. Sure, everyone says she's trustworthy, but anyone who sees that much is something of a threat. Travel to and from her usual base of operations these days is a little bit tricky, so after coming to the Triskelion to get information on attacks, she's been in the city for a little bit longer, checking in on other things and getting a little bit of space from Deathstroke's idea of training. The message comes to her in a text, and the mutant hesitates, but starts moving toward the source of the problem.

If it's what she thinks it is, she's going to need her focus. The unit she grew up in offered some training against psychic interference. Granted, she's since discovered that the psychics they trained against weren't exactly high level, but it's better than nothing. As she jogs toward the source of the problem, she works on focusing trying to shield herself.

Falcon, hmmm. Oracle smiles to herself. Of course she's aware of the members of the JL:A. Falcon probably isn't aware that Gothams Information Goddess was recruited to look after the comms systems … and that sometimes her role encompasses more. "Welcome home, Falcon. It's good to have you back." the emotionless voice responds to him.

As for Audrey? Oracle has her on her 'radar' and watches the womans avatar move across her screens.

"I've not had time to disseminate this information, Falcon." she begins to explain, the information also being sent to Audrey "But I have reason to believe this fight is due to … psychic manipulation of the people. Let NYPD try to control the crowd. You and one other will need to identify the device and take it down." An image will appear on Sams communicator. A silver cylinder, no bigger than ashcan, with instrumentation on it. The co-ordinates of the device are sent as well - street level, just out the front of a rather lovely bakery. "You may have trouble seeing it, it's … psychically hidden."

When Audrey gets to the location, she's going to have to make it through the fighting. It's getting brutal and NYPD are calling in riot control.

One quick pre-flight check later, Sam is suited up and ready to fly. He gets a running start and dives straight off the side of the building, grinning in spite of himself as the head rush hits. The vertiginous fall below him, the slow surrender to gravity's deadly acceleration, the icy wind biting at his neck: this is how he'll make it work. The adrenaline of altitude gives him a game face that never falls.

"Psychics. Great," he says, invigorated with wry braggadocio. "Well, hidden or not, we're looking for where the fight started?" he says into his headset. "Well, I see pigeons here, here, and here." Still in freefall, he points and tags them on his HUD. "Direction is all about the nearest disturbance, but if I plot for distance and delay…" He trails off for a couple of seconds (and a couple hundred feet), then concludes: "I'd say right around here." He tags an area with a radius of about 15 feet.

Only after making his call does he extend his wings from their delta position, letting a high-G-force swoop pull him from a dive into a fast soar. "That's the narrowest I can get it without some more mobile birds to plot from."

"I have some shielding, Oracle," Audrey admits, though the fighting is definitely going to take a toll on her concentration. She glances up at the diving bird man, but she doesn't have wings. What she does have is the ability to be very unnoticeable to the people who are currently full of rage. Taking a deep breath, she goes invisible, letting the light go right through her as she wades into the crowd. She tries to avoid bodies when she can, but when they get too close, certain bodies go flying from practiced throws…with no discernible source.

Audrey's technique works, although she does get jostled and buffeted and people do notice bodies go flying but in the melee… they don't really care. What Audrey, and Sam when he lands, may notice, is the pressure on their minds … whipping up their emotions … enciting them to anger.

"Acknowledged, Lux" Oh right! Audrey had been X-Red "Nicely done, Falcon. I've noted that for later." Yep, Oracle will be using the BIRD THING in her work.

A portal opens, not far from the device and a … person, they look human … steps through… projecting into peoples minds Citizens, cease this behaviour or face level one repression.

Viewing this on her feeds, Oracle actually blinks "Well, that's not what I was expecting…"

"Hey, nice moves, whoever you are," Falcon says approvingly. "I don't suppose you're visible in infrared or something?" He starts flicking through settings on his goggles, just in case. "I might be able to help clear your way if I could see — oh." He's cut short by the appearance of … whoever that is. After a short pause to process what he just witnessed, he adds, "Okay, Oracle. Invaders from another dimension? I admit it: it's good to be back." A wide smile spreads across his features.

He banks and heads straight for the new arrival. He sheds altitude and lands at a run, slowing and retracting his wings so that he comes to a halt just in front of the Level One Repressor. If he's friendly, a chat with a chill guy like Falcon will be sure to calm him down. If he's not, this will make a good distraction so that he won't be psychically looking for invisible jiujitsu masters.

"I'm Falcon, I'm with the Justice League: Avengers," he greets the stranger. "And just what in the hell do you think you're doing, throwing threats around in the middle of a mob scene? Are you nuts? You want to make everything worse?!" That… wasn't quite the approach he planned, but it feels great to vent some of his frustration at the obvious troublemaker.

"Infrared should do it, yeah," Audrey replies to Falcon, though she seems reluctant to admit it. She can feel the anger pressing on her shields, trying to break through, but at least she has some practice defending against it. "Careful," she cautions. "That thing's pushing you." Whatever that thing coming through the portal is, it's interesting, but right now she needs to focus on the device that's causing the problem. Step by step she works her way toward the cylinder, trying to get to where she can shut it down.

In the notes that Simmons had sent over to Audrey, were step by step instructions on how to disable the devices. Of course, those instructions were for working devices, not malfuncationing ones - which this one clearly is - but it couldn't be too different, could it?

"We're not sure what they are, Falcon. The threat" Oracle sighs, not that it translates through the comms systems "I want to say it's new, but let's just say it wasn't widespread or so obvious until recently. Like really recently." beat "And I'm glad you think it's good to be back."

The man who's stepped through the portal turns to look at the street You are breaking the Pyschic Overlords law, citizens. You will be repressed. and sends a pyschic blast out across the street … it hurts. The people nearest to the man, simply drop to the street - unconscious …. others stumble and hold their heads. Then he turns his attention onto Falcon and a glowing energy sword ignites in his hand, as he advances.

For now, he doesn't seem to have noticed Audrey.

"'Careful'? Don't you 'careful' me!" Falcon snaps over the comm, dropping into a reflexive combat stance as the Overlord advances toward him. "Do you have any idea how many bullets I've had to dig out of guys who weren't 'careful'?"

Although his expression is unreadable, the overlord could be forgiven for wondering what this unarmed idiot is thinking by challenging him. He swings his energy sword in a vicious cross-body slash that would bisect Sam — if the flier didn't dart backward out of range and then rebound in a lunge as the swordsman recovers from the swipe. "Do you know how I have to dig those bullets out if I don't want to kill somebody? Carefully." Sam's speed and aggressiveness get him right where he wants to be: grappling range, too close for the sword to be any use. He clamps down on the Repressor's dominant wrist in a practiced disarming hold — one that proves absolutely useless in the face of the invader's strength.

As the Overlord grabs the Avenger with his free hand and lifts him into the air, Sam shrugs his shoulders and gives the stranger a look that invites him to share in his annoyance at the unfairness of the world. "I don't ever get to be the one who's not 'careful.'"

It's just possible that the Overlord's neutral expression cracks into one of total bafflement just before he flings Falcon across the street and through a glass storefront.

Audrey winces at the psychic onslaught, faltering as she kneels down to take a look at the device. "Working on this," she murmurs into the comm, pulling out a pocket knife multi-tool to start opening up the device and dismantling it. Sam's tirade is something else to focus on as she works, something to remind her not to fold under the psychic pressure. If this attack was driven by something intelligent, she might have more trouble, but the machine isn't quite wily enough to slip past trained shields.

"Uh, Oracle?" she says once she has a panel open. "I don't actually know what this thing is going to do when I cut the wires. For the record."

The man watches as Falcon goes flying and sends a psychic blast at the Avenger, advancing on him at a rate of knots… he's not just inhumanly strong, he's fast… reaching Sam not too long after he impacts. The energy blade slashes out, missing the Avenger by no more than inch, slicing through bricks like a hot knife through butter. Raising the sword again, he starts to bring it down, turning as he hears Audreys voice… a psychic blast designed to knock the woman unconscious is sent in her direction.

"Understood, Lux. Do your best. I'm reading the notes that were shared by SHIELD. The science team there seems to believe that it will go dormant, even if the device is malfunctioning." The Clocktower bound redhead has finished facepalming at Sams quips…

Sam utterly demolishes a dainty café table in the coffee shop where he finds himself surrounded by broken glass and spilled lattés. He's been knocked far enough from the psychic beacon that its influence vanishes. The combination of that sensation and the psychic blast dazes him enough that he nearly loses an ear in his delayed roll away from the energy blade.

"Shit!" he yelps, a desperate instinct triggering him to raise a gauntlet and fire one of his talon grapnels at the Overlord's face. There's a taser setting on these, thanks to Tony Stark, which Sam will be all too eager to activate. With any luck, that distraction provided by Lux will give him the opening he needs.

The psychic blast breaks Audrey's concentration, a flash of light exploding around the young mutant before she becomes visible again, wincing next to the device. The next string of words out of her mouth isn't fit for polite company - her shields may have protected her from getting knocked out, but that blow was enough to take them down and leave her vulnerable to the influence of the device.

Luckily, the most appropriately angry revenge at this point is to destroy the device. Granted, there might be a few extra wires that get cut as she slashes her knife across the device. Take that!

The tasers are effective and the man jerks and shudders, although he seems to resist for a lot longer than you'd expect. After many long moments, he finally drops to the ground… twitching as the taser energy flows through him.

Audrey's knife slashes and the device emits a whine, a whine that seems to get louder …. is this thing about to explode or something? And the the whine dies… leaving a silver cylinder about the size of an ashcan sitting on the street in front of the bakery.

The fighting on the street is subsiding… not that there was much left after the man 'supressed' that first group. Emergency services will be there soon to start cleaning up and treat the wounded.

Oracle watches the action through her security feeds, wincing as Sam is nearly earless "Nice work you two. Retrieve the device and the man… take them to SHIELD please. Let's see what we can find out about them."

Sam might be able to detect that the man is not entirely organic, there seems to be some form of metal there … but nothing is obvious.

Sam just lies on the ground for a second. It occurs to him that if he hadn't left that roof, he never would have had to stop lying down, and he wouldn't be in such a huge amount of pain. Which reminds him: he is in an absolutely staggering amount of pain. "Ow. Oh God. Oh, Jesus. Owwwwwww." He does a sort of wriggle there on the ground, moving various body parts, checking his multiplying agonies for the specific flavors of excruciating that indicate broken bones or embedded shrapnel.

Fortunately, he landed on his back, where the durable Exo-7 housing took the brunt of the hit. With one notable exception. "Oh no," he breathes, shutting his eyes and letting his head slump backward. "I've got glass in my ass."

He gingerly levers himself upward, doing his best not to bend his legs at the hip. (Which proves to be totally impossible.) Once he's vertical, he glares down at the disabled Overlord. "Thanks a lot, dickhead."

After a second to fume, he starts flicking through filters on his goggles. "First I'm gonna check the guy for transmitters, bombs, any more lightsabe— Wait a minute." He frowns. "Oracle, you seeing this? I was looking for EM emissions, but forget what he's carrying — this guy's magnetics are all kinds of screwy." He starts to bend forward to take a closer look, then winces and thinks better of it. "Looks like he's got an onboard power source, at the very least." He's seen a few of those before. "What's in this guy?"

"Got it, Oracle," Audrey replies, tucking the device into one of those handy cargo pockets on her pants before standing up carefully. She's going to have a hell of a headache soon. Once it's in custody, she moves over toward Sam and the mystery man, looking down at the armor. Up close and visible, she doesn't look like she'd be the source of those people who were flying around earlier. Honestly, she hardly looks old enough to be out on her own.

"Is he even human?" she asks Sam, apparently forgetting that he's never actually seen her. But she acts like she belongs, at least. "Last I heard these were cyborgs, but this guy seems a lot less human and a lot more machine."

"Didn't really need to know that, Falcon." Oracle replies dryly, well it would sound dry if not for the digital disguise. Seems though, she's used to this kind of chatter, so that's something. "I really have no idea." She starts and then Audrey speaks "Thank you, Lux. Though he's human enough to pass for it… " Sams information is displayed on her screens "Last update I got, which was yesterday, indicated they were machine than anything else. Didn't look anything like what you've got there." It's concerning that's for sure… "Can you take him in to SHIELD medical, the science team will want to look at him. Maybe they can give us more information." beat "Thank you again for your assistance. If there's nothing else?"

"I think he started out as something like us," Sam says, giving Audrey a concerned look. Now that he gets a better look at her, he can't help feeling like she's one of the people he would have liked to keep out of messes like these. "I'll have to get a better look at him to be sure what he is now. But Oracle's right — we should get him in containment fast, before he wakes up."

He doesn't mention that he's also hoping to get to a doctor as quickly as possible. A discreet doctor.

"I'm Falcon, by the way. Avengers," he introduces himself. "Guess you didn't really get to meet me at my best…"

Audrey hesitates, but finally nods. "Lux," she introduces herself. "Formerly X-Red. And some other things. Presently some other things, too. Nice to meet you, Falcon." She may be young, but she leans down to take her share of the cyborg's weight, and she takes the weight well. Stronger than she looks. "One cyborg delivery en route to SHIELD, Oracle," she adds to the observer.

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