One Night in Madripoor

December 21, 2015:

Big trouble's a-brewin' in Madripoor. Tigra joins members of the Titans (Changeling, Vorpal, and Bunker), then a Big Bad Wolf shows up to help.

Madripoor

Spotted with lush tropical resorts, private parks, houses and manors the
Island of Madripoor looks to an outsider's view a virtual paradise but upon
closer inspection this former sanctuary for freebooters and pirates is
anything but.

As one of the business capitals of the Pacific Rim beyond it's beautiful
areas there lie unprotected squalors of poverty stricken civilization seated
at the feet of monolithic skyscrapers that are rife with prostitution, drugs
and slave trade. Both criminal haven and a place of escape and abandon for
the wealthy Madripoor is truly a place to marvel at.

Located in the straits of Malacca nestled between Singapore and Sumatra this
city state is both magnificent and terrifying. The careless are sometimes
never seen again.

Characters

NPCs: Odessa Marcos, a foolish historian

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [* None.]


Fade In…

MADRIPOOR: Five hours ago.

The city of Madripoor was once a haven for pirates, a tradition that is somewhat continued today with its lawlessness and the liberal attitude towards smuggling and black market artifacts. Those artifacts always end up in the center of the city, where opulent skyscrapers glitter in luxury under the mid-day sun, casting shadow over the surrounding squalor.

It is in the basement of one of those buildings that a clandestine meeting was arranged a few hours ago between Odessa Marcos and one of Singapore's most prolific (and infamous) smugglers.

"The price is well worth it," the man said to the rather elegant woman. He is impeccably dressed and rather slender and delicate of build, the total opposite of what the imagination conjures at the word 'smuggler.'

"It is, if this is actually the throne. You did promise me I would get to evaluate it before…"

Before she could say another word, the man nodded to the quiet men waiting at one end of the room, and the large crate that sits in the center was opened quietly and efficiently. With an almost reverential tone, the man extended a hand in a gesture: "The throne of Sri Maharaja Sang Utama Parameswara Batara Sri Tri Buana."

It was breath-taking. Carved, they said, from the trunk of a large tree- its designs flowed smoothly from polished and artificial to gnarled and organic, its legs resembling the entwined tendrils of vegetable life.

"Amazing…" Odessa walked towards the throne breathlessly. Some legends had it that the founder of the Kingdom of Singapura had made a pact with a nature spirit to exert its influence over the envoy of the Chinese emperor so that he may become the ruler of Singapore. It worked- and some legends say that it was the Srivijayan prince's ambition that caused him to imprison the spirit into the wood of the throne itself in order to count with its favor forever.

This, the legends say, is why he died at the age of forty. The throne was lost to posterity, believed to be cursed… "It is beautiful…"

The woman smirked and moved to sit on the throne- the ultimate thrill of a historian. The smuggler stopped her with a nervous gesture:

"It is bad luck… they say…"

She gave him that condescending smile that certain Universities have reserved for the rest of the world that did not attend their hallowed halls. "Nonsense."

And she sat down.

TWENTY MINUTES AGO:

The call went out to all major available heroes, because-against all probabilities- the central city of Madripoor was being devoured… by vegetation. Massive branches, tendrils, ivy, they cracked pavement and squeezed concrete and glass. At first the involvement of Poison Ivy was suspected… but this was far grander in scope than anything the Eco-terrorist had done before. "… caution is advised, but the threat must be nullified as soon as possible. Repeat…."

And the call went out- and there were some who answered…


"Dammit Holland," Gar says, even though tall-green-and-mossy isn't anywhere near. "This is not nearly the same magnitude of favor."

Getting to Madripoor, from the depths of darkest New Jersey. Danny might do it. Probably safer than tiring out the purple cat. Gar puts down his phone, signalling the waitress at the diner to bring their checks, and says, "Think we need to call in some assistance, Keef? That's the other side of the world. Not an easy jump or three."


Bunker hurries into the ready room, already pulling down his cowl. "Wow, I've never seen an alert of that magnitude. What the heck is going on?" the masked teen asks as he slows down and looks at the monitor screens. "Whoa.."


Tigra has made her way to the place the Titans call home, for the purpose of seeing what, if any, experience they've had with the Reavers and Purifiers, but mainly the former. It's all part of the digging she's doing into following up on some information she received. So it is that she's there when the news from Madripoor hits. This likely leads to her joining others in the Ready Room. "Now that doesn't look good," she deadpans.


It's typical that a CHECK PLEASE has to happen when he's out with Gar. Keith sighs and nods "I think Danny migth be best… let me see who's at the base, though, I might be able to…"

It's a new little gizmo. Like a Dick Tracy watch, super modern and totally awe-oh, right, those are called iWatches. But this is like an iWatch, but cooler: one tap and suddenly there's a giant Keith face in one of the monitors where Bunker and Tigra find themselves.

"… oh hey guys! Fancy seeing you there… you guys coming to this vegetable party? I'll send a Rabbit Hole to get you if you are. We're going to ride Danny over there…"

If answered in the affirmative, Keith will make his discrete transformation into Vorpal and send a Rabbit Hole their way while Gar gets busy with contacting Danny.

In the meantime, live updates from Madripoor show a quickly-deteriorating situation.


Contacting Danny involves texting, in this case. Sometimes, it involves singing sea chanties. Be happy that texting works this time.

"OK, he's just north of Tenth Avenue and 53rd, we should be able to get there fast," Gar says, as the waitress brings by the receipt. Gar swigs down the last of his coffee. HOT … but necessary.


Bunker gives a quick nod and grin to Tigra when she shows up, and then waves at Keith's Giant Monitor Head. "Sure thing!" he says, as the Rabbit Hole opens and he hops on through, having travelled this way more than a few times. "Come on!" he encourages Tigra as he goes to join Gar and Vorpal.


"Hey." Tigra greets Bunker, then she squints at the image of Keith on the screen. "Nice toy you've got there," she adds after he's spoken up and offered them a way of getting to Madripoor in no time. "You're gonna be riding who? I'll just assume you're being PG with that. Either way..I'm in." So, she'll get to see what this trip is all about.


And the ride…. well, it's definitely one for the books. When the party assembles (with a small 'a', because-) and they make the requisite turns, the encounter with Danny the Street is both festive and rather colorful. There's confetti involved, and soulful renditions of 'Proud Mary', but all of it is cut short in the sake of brevity and urgency. It is rather a pity, for there was some sort of street festival about to go off, and Danny was famous for his parties…

Gar, who knows Danny better than the rest, is the one who guides them to the appropriate door, and when they go through it-

They emerge into a city that has gone wild. The glittering spires of Madripoor are covered in thick greenery that sprouts out of the shattered windows of the Daewoo tower. It is as if a colossal tree were growing through the center of it and spreading out into the rest of the city…

"Holy…" Vorpal says, eyes wide open as he stares at the towering tree. He is too busy to notice the roots that are diving towards the group, fast as the bulls of Pamplona. There is chaos everywhere- screaming and running as people are being chased by vegetative injustice with clear, murderous intent.


When Vegetables Attack, next on Faux News. Gar dodges a rooting shoot (shooting root?) and yells, "We need to get to the … ACK! The Daewood Tower!"

Daewood. Hah. Well, it's a forest now, right?

"Follow me!" And Gar's an Oliphaunt. One of the multi-tusked ones from the Lord of the Rings, big enough to carry a small town. He waits for passengers to quick-board before he starts charging down the street.


Bunker hops up on a platform he makes from psionic purple bricks, and zooms up to get an aerial view of the local area. "Madre!" comes over the comm units, from him. "Where to start?" he says, as he forms a huge version of a sling-blade, and starts tryying to clear off some of the vegetation crushing buildings or blocking roadways. He follows above Gar, making holes for him when he can, or putting up tunnels or blockades to help fleeing civilians get to safety.


Maybe later on, Tigra will have a thought or two about their method of transportation, namely Danny himself. First, they've got to deal with more important things. "So, um, anyone know where to get some super-strength Roundup?" the tiger now in Asia wonders. Plantlife surges for her like it heard her grand idea, which makes the Garliphaunt quite the useful thing right now. Without thinking twice, she scrambles her way up to a higher spot then wonders, "Couldn't you have just turned into an Ent and told them to knock it off or something?"


Madripoor is kind of a hell hole. A remote hell hole. That really, unless you've been called by a sentient, mobile street, most people don't have much reason to go to that isn't murder, drugs or ninja mysticism.

Most people, however, aren't Fenris. The God-Wolf opens a Way after having felt a 'disturbance in the force' for lack of a better word. He arrives via his usual method. Which is to say violation of time and space. Looking, as often he does, like someone broke wind in his living room.


A predator has decided to bungle in the jungle- and that's not alright by it, at all. More roots sprout from the ground, speeding towards Fenris in order to topple him and catch him, aiming to squeeze the life out of him…

OliGarf is not exempt from attacks, either, at the tree seems to sense… something in the group. For a moment, all of the plant-life in the area forgets the regular humans and instead tries to reach, grab and snag the heroes riding the giant mammal.

"Bunker!" Vorpal shouts out, "Can you see a pattern to all of this? There's no way in hell we can win this by cutting branches, there has to be a source somewhere!"

The roots start breaking through the concrete faster and faster, trying to corner the Oliphant and have it succumb to an interweaving lattice…


"Do NOT make me turn into a swarm of leafcutter ants," Gar trumpets, slapping at the various bits of over-friendly vegetation. The smaller stuff, he can knock around, or even in a few cases, eat, not that he feels that it would be a very good idea. What if it kept growing?

"It's coming from the tall building in the middle," Gar says, "MRRF!" as it attempts to grab him around the face.

"Sorry, Tigra," the pony-size formicidae that she is somehow riding says, in unison with about fifty others. LARGE serrated jaws begin cutting into the more aggressive wood, while acidic stings are delivered to the more frisky plants. There should be a path through, with Bunker's help, in about ten, nine, ate, …


Bunker hovers up and swings around, even as he's trying to control the massive plant growth all around them. "OK, I think I see something - um, that tower, over there. The big white one. All the main tap roots originate there - they radiate out from it. Maybe it's what's causing this?" he says, creating a titanic purple arrow of bricks, pointing the way to Gar and Co.


"Is there even a source for this?" Tigra wonders, a hand holding on to Gar's back. Then the question is answered and she's suddenly on a giant ant. "So glad we don't have them this big back home." Even atop one, it's just strange to her and the things she's used to.

Even stranger is what leads to her locking on to something else in a direction roughly ahead of them. "Guys, something reeeealllly predatory just showed up, and that should tell you something when I'm the one saying it. Better hope it's on our side." From here she hops off and uses her own quickness to hack and slash her way through a few of the tendrils that seek them out, cutting viciously through a few a couple times when they snake around an arm or leg. On her own feet, she just feels more comfortable. "No pulling the tail!" she more or less roars as another bit of plant is diced to pieces.


Fenris would ordinarily be a bit wary about revealing himself in public but… this is Madripoor. Literally no one who is anyone cares about it.

More pressingly he was just grabbed by a bunch of vines and these things are supernaturally tough. So he shifts. And grows. And grows. And grows. And grows. It doesn't take long before he's a wolf the size of a two story family house who starts to rip and tear and pull at the things grabbing him. "I do really not approve of this." He rumbles in a voice like an earthquake.


"Don't look now, love," Vorpal says, holding on to his ride, "But we have a Big Bad Wolf, and I think he's about to lose his temper…"

What's worse, more and more roots are beginning to appear. It is clear that if this is not stopped, the entire city is going to capsize when the root system goes overboard. But even with Gar going full tilt and Fenris pulling weeds in his gargantuan size, SOMETHING must be done to end this, or…

It was time for Vorpal to assume his ceiling cat position again: "Bunker! Tigra! Get inside that building! Gar and I will try to draw fire… along with, you know, the gigantic woof over there!"

At this point, some of those branches have grown thick and heavy, their meaty vegetable girth causing them to sag downwards- an excellent way to climb for a feline who wants to get into a house. Bunker… on the other hand, has flying legos, so he should have an easier time of it.


"What are we going to do about it?" a giant, green ant says near Fenris, snipping away at a feeder-root. The ants aren't grabbed, whether because of agility or biochemistry or simply that they tend to disappear if captured, but it's not a particularly easy transformation, and the ant-swarm lasts a good two or three minutes before Gar has to collapse back into his human self, gasping. "Yeah, Tigra, see if you and Boomer can figure out what did this. We'll keep it distracted!"

Then he forces himself to the attack again; this time, a dragon, spitting a caustic goo that sticks to the trunks and bursts into flames when they move. (Hygrophilic pyroclasty. Say that four times fast.)


Bunker sends down a platform of bricks towards the giant green ant, so Tigra can hop a ride on it, and swoops his own platform close in to the top of the building. "OK, got it," he says into the comm, and uses a massive wedge of bricks to force open a large hole in the side of the building (hey, they're going to have to rebuild all this anyway…), to let them in and pave the way for any others who want to join in later.


From Tigra's position, and really all of theirs, the image of a giant wolf tearing into the plants coming after him is not a sight soon forgotten. "Temper: lost. Give him a wide berth." She may consider herself fairly high up the ladder when it comes to predators, but she'd fit rather nicely in the great wolf's jaws right now if it came to that. Even with Bunker offering her a way up, she's scaling some of the larger branches and leaping to and from a few of them with all the speed and grace of the big cat she takes after. "On our way in!" Then it should be as simple as following the vegetation down to its source, whatever that will lead them to.


The fight outside is a bloody one- okay, it's a SAPPY one, with our heroes outside managing to hold their own, but not without scratches of their own. Like the giant thorn sticking out of Vorpal's shoulder- "You should've seen the other guy," he says to Gar over the com as he summons a giant axe to deal with the thorn bush… Gar's fiery approach makes great strides in their urban recovery project, while Fenris… well, he's not someone to toot his own horn. Rather, he's someone who will grab his horn and bash it on someone else's skull. He is equally devastating to plants.

Meanwhile, our fearsome duo has managed to enter the building and follow the coiling vegetable paths that lead to its very heart, in the basement.

Strangely enough, there is very little opposition on the way- probably because its attention is focused outward…

The basement is, simply put, no longer there. It is a hole on the ground, with the throne at its center.

From the throne sprouts the enormous Yggdrasil-like monstrosity that is taking over the city, and sitting at its root is a creature that is no longer Odessa. She is regal and otherworldly, and fully grounded into the telluric reality of earth itself.

"Intruders, do not meddle with my revenge. You are insignificant insects in the timespan of this earth."

She directs an imperious glance towards Tigra and Bunker, and several tendrils of the tree begin to shiver…


Fenris eyes narrow and magic begins to swirl around it him. He tears into the plants outside with supernatural strength. It looks like a wolfy remake of that one Godzilla movie come to budget Bollywood, at least, from a distance. Up close it's terrifying as that green aura around Fenris rips and tears quite aside from the god-wolf himself who seems to have either forgotten or simply not care about such things as… collateral damage.

It's impressive, but it's all dealing with symptoms. It's up to others to deal with the, ahem, root cause.


Yggdrasil was gegnawed on all sides, by hart and by serpent. Gar is tapping into the mythos-beasts, and tearing at the roots as they come; Níðhöggr the malice-striker was the dragon who gnawed the roots of that tree. The Changeling is an eager understudy to the role in this off-Broadway production of World Tree's Revenge. Now, is it a tragedy, or a comedy, and who are the heroes?


Bunker, normally, is all about the 'Bunker SMASH', and that's his go-to pose for a moment, as he forms up massive brick fists - then he considers the roots and the creature in the throne, and hmmms. "You know, normally I'd ask you WHAT your revenge was about and try to help you, but you've hurt far too many innocent people, here, and it sure sounds like you're past the whole 'people are valuable' stage. So, I'm gonna go with 'smash' here…" The massive fists swing out, telescope out, and swing back in - going to smash the throne under her, since that certainly looks important, it being the only man-made thing to survive the whole herb-o-caust.


Tigra leads the way down to the bottom, which is quite different from the basement it once was. Maybe she and Bunker really are akin to insects to whatever's behind this, and the sight of the throne, the source, and what was once the historian causes the striped cat-woman to share a glance toward Bunker before she faces the creature.

"Insignificant or not, we're here now and we got this far. You also have something outside that's really, really annoyed, and really, really powerful. I'm sure you felt it. You want to deal with him, or—?" Tigra asks, her tail moving rapidly enough to show she's agitated, ready to move one way or another, be it in defense or to attack. Before she can ask much else and perhaps try to reason with this thing, Bunker's going with 'attack.'

Just before Bunker may or may not connect with the throne, Tigra spots something: hands at the throne, and a glow from the contact. "Get her out of it!" Come what may, viney tendrils included, she leaps for the woman herself, intent on tackling her hard enough to cause separation if it works. Of course, she has no way of knowing what may happen to her.


The creature is effectively tackled by Tigra- after all, the vegetable kingdom has nothing on the grace and power of the animal kingdom- felines especially (just ask Vorpal). The creature shrieks like a banshee and tries to claw at Tigra as they both roll on the ground- but her shriek turns into a pure scream of rage when Bunker SMAAASHes the throne into smithereens.

And outside, and all throughout the city, plantlife withers and decays at record speed right before everybody's eyes. Fenris may find himself wearing a delicate set of ivy tendrils about him, more like embroidery than anything else, and Gar no longer needs to incinerate anything.

The city is deathly still as all the magical plantlife becomes but dust the moment the throne is smashed.

Odessa seems to sleep peacefully on the wet earth, clearly completely unconscious and no longer possessed.

Vorpal grabs his shoulder, which is drenched in his blood, and blinks against the falling of the dust. "… okay, what do you say we skip the cleanup phase just for this time?"


Nothing left to burn? Gar twitches, and skitters over a bit like a giant centipede with several sets of dragon wings. He picks up Vorpal, spitting something onto the bleeding shoulder, something grey and fibrous that tightens into a solid mass of threads that stops the bleeding. Then he turns human and spits some more onto the ground.

"BLEH! Spider-Man never has to taste his webs."

He looks over to Fenris, a half block away. "Hey, good to see you again." Then back to Vorpal. "What happened to your construct armor?"


Bunker takes a deep breath. "Whew. While we're here, what say we get some good dim sum, somewhere?" he says, wiping dust out of his eyes. He makes a platform big enough for himself, Tigra, and the unconscious woman, and floats it over to the the pair. "Come on, let's get her to a hospital…"


Fenris shrinks. The great god-wolf vanishes from the skyline to be replaced by the tall, lean, predatory man that arrived the first time. "I really, really, really hate that tree." He murmurs, glancing around. He can offer transport but they seem to have it handled. Which means its likely time to slip away.


Tigra is more than capable of returning the favor when it comes to claws, but the screaming really isn't very nice on her ears for as long as that lasts. She's strong, that's for sure, and with her quick reactions and overall speed she just does what she can to deflect the thing's strikes. If that doesn't work, it'll be on to more definitive measures.

Then, it's done. When Bunker reduces the throne to kindling, the result is immediate. Now there's a historian left behind in a deep sleep, and all of those attacking plants are simply no more. "Well, that wasn't how I was going to approach things, but it worked and that's the important thing," she tells Bunker as she gets back to her feet, lifting Odessa's limp body to carry it across a shoulder as she moves to exit the building one way or another and meet back up with the others. "I just want to get back home."

Once topside again, she approaches those who were waging war against the plants, nudging the unconscious woman's side with her free hand. "This one's coming with us. She was on a throne Bunker smashed up, and she ended up like this afterward. We're gonna need some answers from her."

Right about that time, she catches the tail-end of Fenris going from giant wolf to man. Tilting her head his way, Tigra remarks, "Hey, you don't look half bad..for a wolf."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License