Masque, a Raid

November 30, 2015:

A team of saboteurs attacks Stark Industries in the middle of a trade show for medical equipment.

Stark Tower

Rising high into the skyline with the name of it's Lord and Master for all to see, the Stark Industries Tower is the most visible component of the Stark Industries complex centered in Midtown Manhattan. Manufacturing, office space, power generation and even some inventory is housed in the tower and its associated subelevels. It also contains guest housing and, at the top, the penthouse suite that is the domain of the Main Man himself, at least, when he's not at his Malibu home.

Characters

NPCs: Madame Masque

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [* ]


Fade In…

There's nothing quite as good for a company as a bit of free advertising. With Stark Industries set to roll out a new line of efficient, highly mobile medical equipment for first responders, Pepper Potts and the marketing team decided that a demonstration and open house for the press was in order. And once Tony got involved, the event quickly exploded into a miniature world's fair for medical technology.

Reporters, photographers, and a wide variety of medical professionals circulate through the series of conference rooms given over to the open house, watching holographic presentations, examining demonstration models, and playing paramedic in simulated VR triage situations. Caterers sidle and dodge through the crowd with trays loaded down with champagne and canapés. There's a general press toward a small stage that has been set up: Tony's scheduled to make a short address soon.

Circumstance, however, has other ideas. Just as the Stark team are getting ready to start the proceedings, key personnel receive notifications on their phones and Starkpads. It's JARVIS, and once he gets anyone's attention, he'll inform them: "I'm terribly sorry to interrupt, but it appears Mr. Stark has some unexpected guests in the executive suite."

The view from the air is slightly less understated: a pair of helicopter airships are flanking the building, dropping masked women in white and black catsuits onto every available surface. They make short work of the doorway with a shaped charge: subtle, this intrusion isn't. It seems they're hoping the party downstairs will delay the building's response just long enough for a good old fashioned smash-and-grab.


Lunair enjoys having power armor. Whee! It lets her fly and stuff. Happily, it's all non-copyright infringing, too. Lawyers are alarmingly resistant to flamethrowers, especially the green ones with big chests. Don't ask how she knows that. It probably involved Deadpool in some way. And flying she is today, unaware of the event going on until she comes over it.

If this were some sort of anime, there'd be a little ? over her head as she comes near it. Neat.. And then there's helicopter airships. And then there's sexy, evil SHODAN types. "Oh shit." Lunair goes over towards them. No domo arigato, Ms Roboto.


There are days like this, when Tony really loves his job. He gets to change how an entire industry is viewed and operates, for the better. The first responder tech, beginning in the innovation cycle followiong several natural and man made disasters will save hundreds to thousands more lives a year. How could this day be made better?

Hot chicks. In catsuits. Masked? Well, maybe they want to be kept off TMZ. It's when they blow the door to the helepad that he takes exception.

"Jarvis, better get me Romeo online. Better yet..get me Seventeen hot and ready."

"Yessir." JARVIS responds dryly, "Heartbreaker..how original."


Pepper Potts is right there in the thick of the equipment demonstration turned circus when the message comes through her bluetooth earpiece from JARVIS. She looks over toward Tony — over yonder — with a concerned expression before excusing herself from the people she'd been talking to before and starts moving at that 'still walking but you had damn well better keep up' pace she's perfected. She's on a beeline for Tony, but on the way is already speaking with Stark Security to plan to evacuate all of the civilians in the area on a moment's notice.


It was just supposed to be a ride along. Just supposed to be a bit of flying around. How often to metahuman emergencies come up anyway? The type that call for Rescue? Not often, really. Sometimes they do mutual aid or air rescues for which they are better suited than conventional helicopters but metahuman incidents? Not many of those.

Which is why it's perhaps a bit of a surprise when the radio lights up. "Rescue this is NYFD Dispatch requesting mutual aid. We have an incident at Stark Tower."

Looking up in that direction Nick can see that there is, indeed, something going on over there. "Yeah. So I see." He mutters before the big brown werewolf keys the mike. "Copy NYFD Dispatch. Rescue One enroute."

"Brin, grab a sonic rifle from the locker there and get on the door gun. Rick, take us in." Time to see what's going on.


"Sure thing Nick." Brin, the mousy mutant from X-Red (thanks Piotr!), is dressed in a pair of Rescue coveralls, as she peers in the same direction as Nick. Scrambling back to the locker, pulling a sonic rifle from it, she takes up position on the door.

"Any ideas what we're looking at, Nick?"


Unfortunately for the quickest responders, if there's one thing anyone trying an attack on Stark holdings will come prepared for, it's power armor. One of the women catches sight of Lunair inbound and raises a bulky, rifle-like weapon. The rectangular barrel doesn't launch bullets, rockets, or traditional energy ordnance when it fires, though: it's a crackling pulse of blue-white electromagnetic fury.

The pulse wave is designed to penetrate shielding and scramble any electronics it encounters. The effect is localized to an area a foot or so in diameter, but quite potent. It also has an effect on the human nervous system: hit extremities will go numb and slack for a minute or so, and a headshot will be enough to stun a person completely.

The incoming Rescue aircraft gets even more surface-to-air response, with three of the eerily identical women taking a knee and opening fire. That still leaves twenty infiltrators to sweep through the suite, and they do so rapidly, scanning, plugging into, or outright taking anything technologically advanced enough to contain a microchip. In Tony Stark's private quarters, that's a hell of a lot.


Lunair's pretty sure she read something on the internet like this, but it was way naughtier and then she reminds herself not to use google as a reference for tactics. "P-p-pathetic h-hacker-" "OH JESUS." Okay, they're serious. She flails and neatly rolls out of the way. "You took my job!" THEY TOOK HER JERB! And they are trying to kill her! Not cool!

Even if she happens to make a living often killing things. The irony is lost, and would power at least 3 Dutch villages. Nevertheless, she seriousness of it isn't lost on her. While she hasn't made contact with the others, she is aware there is often a Stark in a Stark tower (?). In retaliation, Lunair pulls an immense railgun that looks like she pried it off a boat or random gundam. "I'm not allowed to do combat dialogue anymore. Sorry." Someone's going to lose an eye. Or a head. Because Lunair takes aim and returns fire at the strange woman who fired at her. It's about as subtle as tying a suit of ferrets to platypus, putting it on speed and then setting it loose in a political convention. BOOM!


"Sending the Mark 17 down to you, sir. The assailaints are highly motivated, well organized, and appear well funded. It could be a grab for technology or some other espionage attempt, I'm also not ruling out Yakuza or Triad possibilities in analyzing their capabilities. I know you won't listen but please excersise caution when dealing with them."

It's about that time the armor lands in a three point stands, rises, and the rear retracts to allow Tony to enter (a la Iron Man 3). He holds a hand up to those around, "Just a moment while I deal with some gate crashers." he says calmly, as he steps into the armor and it encloses around him, he looks to Pepper and nods, "Have security clear the top floors, have them down here in two minutes." before the armor faceplate slides down over his face and the optics glow a cool blue, before he lowers his hands and rockets up towards his penthouse suite. "Just what I hate the most…vermin removal."

As Tony reaches the top of the Tower he starts by patching through to the PA speakers and blaring them, "Ladies..I don't recall asking you up for drinks." as AC/DC blares..because for once, it's appropriate.


"JARVIS, full lockdown on all of the Tower's upper floors. Now. Have Security evacuate everyone and instate full security protocols. Take down anyone that isn't authorized to be there." Pepper nods to Tony as he steps into the armor and shoots away to deal wiht the people messing with his stuff upstairs. She offers the group Tony had been talking to an apologetic smile. "Perhaps it's time to retire to one of the inner mezzanine lounges?" That's likely the same instructions that JARVIS is giving to Security, as they start tactfully and carefully herding everyone toward one of the more secure parts of the Tower's ground floor.


"Woah!" Rick pulls the ambulance up sharply as they start to take fire. Good thing these things are armored for metahuman events.

"Right. We can't hover on this one." Nick's already getting a drop-line ready. "Brin we're going down. Rick pull back and get Rescue 2 and 3 out here. If we need to send more people in to extract wounded we'll do that." Rescue aren't cops, nor soldiers. They're paramedics. Nick and Brin are going to go down to see what the situation is. The werewolf grabs a sonic pistol and his riot shield.

"Okay… Grab onto me Brin. Here we go."

And down they go, fastroping military style down into the action.


As the ambulance pulls up sharply, Brin is jostled and grips the frame of the door as Nick readies the drop line. "Whoa is the word, Rick." she looks worried.

Hold on to Nick, good thing they're old friends, right?, she watches what's happening on the ground, a glowing green and gold shield appearing around the fastroping pair. That should provide them some protection.


"Well, Mr. Stark, maybe you should have," one of the women answers right back over the PA. Now, granted, the infiltrators have local access and it's only an intercom, but it's Tony frickin' Stark's intercom. If they've cut into that system this quickly, the team hacker must be an absolute genius at her trade. Worse, she's likely to have a decent picture of how the building's security forces are deploying. "It's impolite to leave a lady hanging."

That's when Lunair's railgun shot hits the landing platform. The terrific explosion leaves quite a crater and scatters the infiltration team, sending the one who shot at the armored mutant flying over the side of the building. She manages to stop her fall with some kind of grapple gun about halfway down, and starts cutting through a window to get back inside. The helicopters swerve away from the building, trying to keep out of the firefight, and the roof team rallies and starts to retreat inside, focusing triple covering fire on Lunair, who has proven herself a bigger threat than the Rescue aircraft. As a side effect, Nick and Brinley will be able to get onto the roof without drawing any more fire.

Downstairs at the open house, Sam Wilson shoots a look over at Pepper, but unsurprisingly, she is already in charge of the situation, getting people out of harm's way and putting the building's resources where they most need to be. That frees him up to get out of his two-piece and into an outfit better suited for action. He ducks away from the party and heads for his office — and the Exo-8 — at a flat-out run. One of these days, he should ask Tony to teach it to fly to its owner like the Iron Man suit does.


And … there's music? Lunair is puzzled for a moment. "Wow." Is this Stark fellow from an RPG? So many questions. But no time for asking. She eeps, as now she's got cover fire. They really are stealing her job. Flail! It's all dreadfully unfair. "Oh my god, a grapple gun? Really?" She does see people coming up, so maybe they can undo the grapply thing. It's time for evasive maneuvers. And it IS a building. Another potshot with the railgun at the covering fire.

But that's a bit too much AoE-y. She'll have to shift to a plasma cannon. A long, slender gun that's just a touch bigger than she is. Thankfully, she doesn't pull it out of her cleavage. Yet.


Tony is ohe step ahead of Sam. "JARVIS..Sam's on station - send him his wings, they're gonna be needed. Not sure who the rest of the gang is up here, but patch us all through the encrypted freq. Bump it to 256k encryption." once he's satisfied the changes have been made and everyone is on the same channel, "Not sure who everyone is, but let's do a blues in B major. Watch for the changes and try to keep up. Sam - your wings have tips now, use 'em. Susteained pulsor weapons available in individual and concert fire as well as targeted and random spread. Your goggles will keep you in line with your new toys. To my innbound rescue ship, keep an eye for casualties, and the other armored folk up here, nice railgun. I'll patch the craters. Now that we've all been introduced, let's resist them."

This all takes place in seconds after the ladies retort - they always do, it seems, which gives Tony a chance to improvise which is one of his underestermated qualities and he prefer it kept that way. Using the larger sized arc on their vehicle, it goes away in a flash of chest arc fire. "Well, now that you're here, stay a while. When we're done, I'll call you a cab. My safeword is fluffernutter."


Nick hits the ground and separates from Brinley, unslinging that Stark made riot shield. Ah thank you Pepper. Time to repay the favor. The brown werewolf slightly more than medic ducks as hostil attention starts to ping off of it. "Brinley, locate any wounded please?" With her ability to scan emotions it shouldn't be too hard for her to figure out who is feeling panicked (most of them) and hurt. He takes aim over his shield and snaps off a shot with that sonic gun. Not quite as good as Lunair's it doesn't generally make people dance. Still, the affectionately dubbed 'wubwub' gun (the office people aren't all that inventive) does have a nice tendency to fling people against walls. And given that these are armored, Nick doesn't really see any need to tune the force down.

Lovely ex SRD equipment. "Old girlfriends, Mister Stark?" Yeah, the guy's got a reputation bigger than Roberto DaCosta's.


Pepper Potts is still coordinating with Security to herd people into the secure zones, though she does take a moment to pull something out of one of the demo machines and pocket it. When Brinley and Nick appear in the area she waves at them and calls across, "We're fine! JARVIS is reporting another infiltrator on floor fifty-eight. It's all administrative space, but still." There are likely people in there, and she has proven in the past that she values employees more than inanimate objects.


As their feet hit the ground and Nick unslings his own shield, Brin drops the psychically constructed shield and gives Nick room - alright, she's totally using him and the shield to protect her. "Mr Stark, this is Mana and Wolfcub, conducting Search and Rescue on the ground know." She doesn't joke much, a side effect of being somewhat reserved.

Peppers call gets a wave acknoweledgement but her mind is already sweeping the area … "Ahead of us Nick, slightly to the right … " he'll have to lead them through to that area "Are we heading to floor fifty-eight?"


The rearguard team is braced for the railgun hit this time, although one of them takes a flying bit of rubble straight to the face and goes down hard. Another takes a wub to the midsection from Nick and goes flying, to land a few floors down on a balcony slightly less impressive than this one. The agent left standing retreats inside, but it's safe to say she and her friends will be covering the entrances. Unopposed, the one down on 58 manages to get inside; it's anyone's guess where she'll head, but Pepper's concern that she might hurt someone or take hostages isn't at all unfounded.

The infiltrators' first helicopter goes up in a spectacular fireball as Iron Man's arc blast catches the fuel tank, but the second dives down into the Financial District's concrete canyons before it can meet a similar fate. "You do like to play rough, Mr. Stark," the same silky voice comments over the less well-encrypted channel. "But I'm not a cab kind of girl. Make it a Lamborghini, and we'll talk."

In the building, Sam turns a corner and has to throw himself to the floor as his newly autonomous wing suit nearly crashes into him at chest level. "Okay, note to self: if I think of it, Tony probably already did months ago," he mutters. Getting suited up in record time, he runs outside and takes to the air. When Iron Man runs through the Falcon suit's armament upgrades, he grins and answers, "I didn't realize you drew me for Secret Santa, Tony. If you're going in via the landing pad, I can flank from the other side of the building." He gets up higher and does a quick scan with his goggles' HUD, noticing the extra backup. "L— Wait, it's Armory, right? Are you covering the exits, or will you be going in, too?"


Huh. Well, then. She keeps a railgun over her shoulders. Liefeld, eat your heart out. For now, Lunair is going to make sure none of them are up and about now on the roof. "I'll come inside and help! And wow, someone appreciates a railgun." The female armored figure is shocked. Really. She seems awfully young for what she's doing.

"Dude has fans," She muses. Well, whatever. Time to fly into the opening the one on the 58th floor made. It'll take her a moment to get there and get in after the fembot.


Pepper Potts sees the Rescue pair move off and quickly urges the last few people into the lobby and toward the secure area. She then gives Security instructions to keep them there until either she, JARVIS, or Tony himself gives the all-clear. And then she's hurrying toward a back freight elevator to get to the 58th floor. Because she'll be damned if someone's allowed to traipse around this building and wreak havoc.


"Yes." Nick mutters as he takes the turn Brinley has indicated. This place is a mess. It smells off. It's noisy. Everything the Rescue Medic doesn't like. Aaaaand when they come to the end of the hallway. "Those aren't elevators…" They're stairs. Well okay… at least they're going down. "Come on Brin. Let's hurry here." Has she been keeping up her regimen? He hopes so.


Of course Brin has been training … and if she really gets stuck, she's got her own set of wings she can rely on. Casting a look around for Pepper, Brin shakes her head "Mr Stark, I believe Miss Potts is heading to the Fifty-Eighth floor. Wolfcub and I are heading there now."

"Let's go Nick…" she can't possibly hope to keep up the Wolfman but she's fit enough and starts taking the stairs two at a time "Of course… you could always carry me again." beat "don't, I'm joking…"


By the time Lunair arrives, the masked woman has plugged into a regular office workstation and is downloading everything she can from it and the network it is plugged into. When the spy realizes she has company, she flings something at Lunair through the hole she left in the window, unplugs, and makes a run for it. Seconds later, the device she threw explodes, sending out an ionizing pulse that is again designed to disable electronics.

In the chaos of the ongoing evacuation, the infiltrator draws a revolver and fires into the crowd. The Stark employees panic and scatter, leaving the way clear for the nonchalant spy to saunters toward an exit — the very elevator Pepper is coming up. The stairs Nick and Brinley are taking will let them off on the opposite side of a small waiting area.

Upstairs, Tony's frontal assault has drawn most of the infiltrators' attention, and even his shielding, active defense, and electronic countermeasures are strained to the breaking point by their return fire. On the other side of the building, Falcon has entered through a window, and is playing the quiet side of a pincer. He enters an office, catching two of the infiltrators unawares and downing them with pulsor blasts. The harsh electric whum of their report is easily lost in the noise of the main firefight.


Gah! Flailflail. "STOP DOWNLOADING THINGS!" She grumps at the killer fembot. Didn't they make an adult movie about this in the 70s? Well, whatever. Lunair has explosions to deal with. She yelps and dives after the lady, trying to get AWAY from the ionizing pulse. Though, Lunair has to stop a moment to remake her halted armor. "Ruuuuuuuude." Flopping is no way to move about, after all. And so it's time to try to railgun the woman from behind.

Ehehehehe. From behind.


Pepper Potts waits impatiently for the elevator to take her to the correct floor, but seeing as JARVIS is having to deal with incursions on all sides, she knows better than to demand he speed up the conveyance. Just in case, though, she's got her phone in hand to dial for further assistance if it becomes necessary. Or, just maybe, for her to use its built-in taser function.


Leaving Brin to keep up or not, Nick takes the stairs with ease - all that training pays off it seems - and makes the waiting room in relative good time. Aiming his laser rifle over the top of his shield, he fires a shot at the spy sauntering towards the lift. If it hits, it should propel her straight into the lift doors - and Peppers waiting surprise.

Puffing a little - WHAT? Trying to keep up the wolfman is hard work! - Brin's a little behind Nick as they exit into that waiting room. The gun shots have her mind reaching and dashing across the floor, at least one of the employees was hit by a richoceting bullet!


The masked woman clearly wasn't expecting Lunair to recover that quickly from her ionization. Handy, being able to simply remake your tech on a whim. The distinctive rising whine of the railgun's spinup alerts her at the last second, and she dives out of the way just as Armory's particle blast detonates the whole area in front of the elevator. Nick's shot, likewise, goes wide. Her return fire is with a simple revolver — her magwave rifle was lost when she went over the side of the building — but she's readying another of those pulse grenades in her off hand, and Lunair won't be bulletproof if she has to dematerialize her armor again. Nick and Brinley, of course, will have to take cover behind their shield.

On the other hand, when Pepper's elevator finally arrives, she's just behind the spy, whose attention is badly divided between the two attacks already in progress.

Upstairs, Falcon gets through another half-dozen of the infiltrators piecemeal. He's just noticing that their identical metal masks are starting to creep him out when one gets the drop on him with a quick and effective martial arts combo attack. She finishes with an uppercut that leaves him sprawled on his back. "Those wings make you top-heavy," she says icily.

Still prone, he unleashes a pulsor blast that leaves her spinning for cover. "Your masks look dumb," he rejoins, less than impressively, as he rolls to his feet. "You're never going to be able to hack through Stark's security system."

"Don't be stupid," she answers, accompanying her response with a few blind shots from her magwave rifle. Sam only just dives out of the way, taking cover behind a table that he quickly overturns. "A few dozen intrusions on minor systems, plus a standard distributed internet attack that you probably didn't even know was happening — the whole point is that Stark's countermeasures don't know our real target."

"Which is?" Sam asks, readying himself for a renewed attack.

The woman stands and fires four magwave blasts straight through the table, the wood offering no protection at all. Two pass through Sam, paralyzing him and scrambling the Exo systems. "Wouldn't you like to know?" she taunts. It's the same voice that was toying with Tony over the intercom a moment ago.


Grrr. And no, that is true. But Lunair has to bullrush. "I HAVE TO HELP MY BIRD BASED BUDDY!" Dive, railgun. She's going to sort of rocket-run, to try to blast the woman before she can et that pulse grenade off. She's on a mission, hopefully before all that stuff gets uploaded and so she can help poor Falcon. He's like kind of a trusted buddy. He so is.


Pepper Potts prepares to step out of the elevator the moment the door opens, and instead startles at the BOOM of a railgun explosion very VERY close by. She's honestly amazed the elevator still works. And it reveals the back of one of these invaders. Fine, then. She triggers the taser function on her phone and presses it to the back of the woman's neck. THAT'S what you get for messing with Stark Industries.


Oops. Brins a little far from Nick at the moment, having dashed towards the injured on the level. As the hand gun fires at Nick, she throws a glowing green and gold shield which she pushes towards the woman and the stun grenade. If she can, she'll tighten that shield around the womans hand, and contain the blast as best she can.

She'll have yet another headache after that one.


The attack simply overwhelms the spy on 58. Lunair's heavy ordnance creates such a seismic shockwave the infiltrator is knocked from her cover. She flings the pulse grenade, but Mana contains the blast, creating nothing but a flash of light, greenish through the shield bubble. Distracted and reeling, the masked woman never even hears Pepper coming. The taser finds its mark and she tenses, then crumples to the floor. There's a slight sizzle from behind her mask; it's apparently real metal, and the electric charge heated it enough to cause mild burns.

Upstairs, there seems to be a sudden change of plan, the massed spies making a controlled retreat from Iron Man's attack toward where one of their number took down Falcon. The woman responsible runs a quick scan of the flier, then pockets the device.

"We got what we came for," she barks to the group. "Let's move." They rush through the suite just ahead of Tony's avenging weapons fire, then leap headlong out through the same window Sam used to get in. Glide wings extend into place between their arms and sides, and they split up, flying in all different directions to confound pursuit. They take their wounded with them, but the woman down on 58, at least, isn't going anywhere.


"Thank you! I'm gonna help run around and check on people. Are you guys okay?" Lunair asks. And if they are, she'll go looking for Falcon and the others. She really does care.


Pepper Potts nods to Lunair, then steps past the downed woman to check on the employees who'd been trapped in here with this mess. "Is everyone okay?" In her earpiece, she hears JARVIS giving Security the all-clear.


Brins let her shield drop, a little dazed, and turns to the employee she'd been trying to get to, pulling her field medkit out as she does. "I'm ok, Miss Potts. How are Mr Stark and Falcon?" She'd heard some of the exchange over the comms as they were coming up.

With Peppers permission, Brin will call Rescue in to aid with those injured and ferry them to hospital, as needed.


One of the employees Pepper is checking on took a hit to the upper arm. The wound is bleeding, but the bullet went through fairly cleanly. With prompt medical help, he'll be okay. The masked woman they worked together to take down also didn't sustain any lasting injuries, and later, she'll be an excellent source of information on the attack.

The effects of the magwave hits start to wear off, and Sam levers himself up to a crouch, groggily. Taking cover from an armor-penetrating scrambler rifle behind an inch and a half of wood? "It's very important to me that no one ever hears about this, JARVIS," he mutters weakly, glancing over at the nearest computer screen.

"Hear about what, sir?" the detached voice answers in prim received pronounciation. "I was very busy defending myself, and saw nothing."


"Falcon? Are you okay? The ladies were like, after something." Were they after hot wings!? Falcon is pretty cute. It makes SENSE. Lunair's visord helmet peeks around the corner. "Faaaaaaaalcon? I hope you're not dead. Anyone? Employees? Yoohooo? I'm not good at this." She really isn't. But Lunair is searching.


Pepper Potts most definitely gives Brin permission to bring in the Rescue people. She then moves to check in with Tony about what's gone on upstairs. Because this whole thing just felt wrong to her. Wrong in so many ways.

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