They Know Each Other

January 02, 2016:

Investigation into Doctors who might be modifying mutants yields an interesting result

Harlem - New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

While the recent troubles with the Reavers are on a downturn there are a couple of loose threads left hanging. Actually quite a few loose threads. The loose thread du jour happens to be a man named Stephen O'Halloran, an underworld doctor of some repute who performed cybernetic conversions for the Reavers while they were 'in town'. Given the Reavers rabidly antimutant stance and tendency to endanger everyone within a few square miles while pursuing it in decidedly terrorist fashions, there are a lot of people highly interested in talking Mister O'Halloran.

The man tends to work in the seedier parts of Harlem and keeps odd hours. It's taken Jericho some time to actually pinpoint him ever since the news came into the JL:A about these two. That done, he put in a call to X-Red about some folks with a definite interest in mutants who might need to be taken into custody. Given the fact that the man is almost certainly guarded, it seemed prudent.

Unfortunately no plan survives contact with the enemy. As it happened one of the doctor's guards is ex HYDRA and worse, ex HYDRA of the sort that had been hunting for Jericho months back. He made the hacker - improbably enough - and now there's a pitched firefight happening on the streets. The good news, Jericho is a much better shot and warrior than any of these underworld thugs. The bad news, the odds are, presently, about twelve to one.

Brin has contacted members of X-Red and requested any and all who could be available, to be so.

She's also advised SHIELD and Stark Industries of their findings - both organisations have been so supportive of the mutants cause.

Stark of course can provide increased processing power, whilst SHIELD can provide support on the ground.

Having organised all who can be available, the brunette has co-ordinated with Illyana, awaiting the stepping disks to open before her.

Dressed in her new costume - a black jumpsuit with red insets, a belt crossed over her hips - the buckle a piece of Sentinel - forming a 'X' and accentuating her curves.

"This is Mana, enroute to aid Aspect." she speaks into the comms, before stepping onto the disk, through Limbo, to appear next to the demontainted Hackers side.

Wanda has taken to flying everywhere at the moment; while she can do it she's not wasting it. Receiving word from Mana she immediately lept off her balcony and sped towards the location. Thankfully she was dressed at the time. The streak of scarlet that announces her coming descends towards the street and the sound of gunfire; oh how Wanda hates that sound.

Without missing a step Wanda lands on the road and strides towards the festivities. Spotting Mana she gives her a wave and a smile. "I love that outfit!" she declares before being reminded of the bullets flying all around her. A twitch of her fingers and the scarlet energy grows and distorts reality in front of her. Enough of a distortion to slow any bullet sent her way so much that she can simply step around them whereupon they fall to the ground.

Of all the things his douchebag clone does better than Roberto, the one that really grates is flying. It's embarrassing enough that Sam Guthrie, aka Captain No-Steering, can literally fly circles around him, but to be effortlessly shown up by someone with a basically identical X-gene? Someone he doesn't even remotely like? Intolerable.

So it's really good that neither of those people are here as Berto kicks himself along with wild, graceless bursts of thrust, varying between 30 and 50 feet of altitude over Frederick Douglass Boulevard. But then Wanda shows up to make him look like an amateur anyway. Great.

Dignity in tatters as usual, he closes in on Jericho's position fast. "Sunspot making contaaaaact—!" he says into the X-communicator on his armored collar, the last word pitching upward unsteadily as he makes a barely-controlled descent. Two last coughs of lateral thrust have him slamming boots-first into the back of one of Jericho's assailants. Both of his armored metal gauntlets come up, spitting jets of dark flame at the next-nearest enemy.

Pepper had offered to help Jericho track this O'Halloran person down, and because JARVIS' active presence on a mobile device is still a mostly-strictly kept secret, she volunteered to come along instead of forcing the hacker to try to interface directly with the AI. She's just not sure how well that'd go over for either party.

But then, the fighting broke out. This means Pepper is pretty much stuck in the middle of the chaos, where all she can really do is pull her personal taser and try to zot anyone that gets too close. She's about to zap one person when a wild Sunspot appears! And barrels right into the person that had been about to make her day even worse. She yelps in surprise and falls back, the definitely worse for wear SUV she's been using for cover still very firmly against her spine.

"Hey Brin. So this has been a sort of iffy day." The hacker murmurs as he drops an empty magazine from a 1911 and reaches back for that blade case he always has. As the blade unfolds a silvery metal rushes out from under his shirt to cover his forearms like bracers made of mercury. And then he's moving. Berto's a hell of a distraction and he's got three closing on him. Wanda's got the attention of another trio, futily filling the air around her with lead. The hacker sprints across the street and crashes into a thug about twenty feet up from Berto before turning to relieve another of his gun. And by relieve we mean 'cut the barrel off with a swipe of the blade.'

Brin, from where she is, can see a balding red haired man dart out a bcak entrence and try to make up the street in the confusion.

"Aspect…" the brunette responds to the Hacker, eyes widening at the situation unfolding before her. "Wanda is here… " somewhere… the brunette's not sure on exact location. And as the balding redhead tries to back away, a glowing green and gold shield appears around him … "Uh… All teams, I've someone held down."

Oh dear, there's Pepper… Brin tries to make her way towards the redheaded CEO … maintaining her shiled and all.

Wanda is concentrating on what is in front of her at the moment. The three shooting at her…really not a good idea. A flick of her wrist and their guns turn into water pistols. Wanda was originally thinking venomous snakes so they should be thankful she remembered she was a hero. There is a voice in her head but thankfully it is Brin and not one of the other ones.

"Hello?" Wanda replies, seemingly amused by the gadgetery. "Held down? Who? Where?" Her blue eyes scan the area even as more bullets grind to a halt around her. "What is the location?" A long pause. "Over. Do I say 'over'?"

"You don't have to say 'over'," Roberto says with amusement as he interposes himself between the attackers and Pepper, expanding his boiling tar-and-fire corona to obscure her visually. In addition to this literal 'cover fire,' he lays down the traditional figurative variety. Direct hits will send any of his three enemies flying, but even near misses burst into gouts of flame whenever they hit a surface, giving O'Halloran's protectors ample reason to keep their heads down.

Once he's fairly confident they're turtling, he half-turns, grabs the back door of the SUV Pepper is leaning against, and pulls it open. It's locked, so it's not happy about opening, but apart from a screechy metal protest, there's not much it can do in the face of Roberto's strength. "Get inside, Miss Potts," he says, struggling to keep his accented voice polite in spite of the strain of his ongoing defensive blasts. "I'll get you out of the line of fire."

"I…" She's really not sure that being stuck inside a vehicle would improve her situation any, but as the tar-black man with the hispanic accent seems to think it's a wise idea, she'll go along with it. This time. She ducks around the now open car door and scrambles into the SUV's back seat … having to clamber around a toddler's car seat and ending up wedged between that and a child's booster, toys and papers and, ew, sippy cup full of old milk obscuring her no doubt very high end shoes.

Berto's outgoing fire goes a long way toward slackening the incoming fire. What he does not see is when he turns around that Jericho literally leaps up to the roof and carves out a chunk of masonry to rain down on them. Squish. It's not fatal… but they'll likely wish it was.

That puts most of them paid. The ones that Wanda disarmed go running and the rest look like they're not shooting anymore… except for the one sneaking up on Berto. He seems to really have taken umbarge at his chivalry. Brinley has O'Halloran held tightly despite him throwing himself against the barrier.

"Oh really…" Brin sighs, audibly, if anyone is around to hear he.

Seeing the way cleared between her and O'Halloran, the brunette tightens her shield … the less leverage he has the better, but she doesn't want to suffocate him.

Once the shield is tightened, she draaaags the captor into their midst … she can't ask questions, but the others can.

"So I don't have to say 'over'…over?" Wanda asks the voices in her head before noting a man being dragged towards them in a green 'bag'. "Oh, is that him?" she asks Brinley. The firing seems to have died down enough for her to saunter over to her friends. A wince at the crashing masonry…then a frown; that wouldn't have been very nice to the people under it. "Who is this?" she asks Brinley, peering at the bald man.

"Hold on tight," Roberto says before slamming the door shut. The latch is completely broken, but he closes it forcefully enough to dent it, wedging it into place. He sweeps the street with one last gout of flame, then crouches, grabs the vehicle's undercarriage, and tips it up enough to scramble underneath. With an almighty heave, he's carrying the whole thing on his back, Atlas-style. Grunting with the effort, he starts marching away, his metal boots cratering the pavement slightly with each step.

Of course, this is all very heroic, but it leaves him completely oblivious to the ambusher approaching from behind. If someone doesn't cover him, he's going to end up perforated.

Jericho turns as his cameras register movement and Berto might hear a 'brrrrrrraaap' sound as his gunblade flips to gun and he… takes care of the incoming ambusher. Down? Permanent? Hard to say. In any case that leaves all of O'Halloran's protectors down or fled and Pepper utterly safe.

"I don't know what you people want! I haven't done anything!" The trapped doctor yells as he's dragged before Brin and Wanda. "Just… just let me go…"

Brins concentration is mostly on maintaining that shield and she moves slowly back to Jericho, Pepper and Berto. "Ask …. him …." she grits out to Wanda during all of this. "…." the good Doctor gets in response.

"Saw … him… trying … to escape… back door." the brunette is good, but holding a 'live' specimen and keeping him alive? It's a strain.

"Ask him what?" Wanda inquires before looking at the man again. "Back door?" The strain that Brinley is under finally registers and the Scarlet Witch mutters some words before the car they are near is transformed into a cage…hopefully no one was in it. "Put him in there" she smiles to Brinley. "Actually, let me." Another flick of her wrist and the man is hurled through the door of the cage that slams shut after him.

The nearby gunfire startles Roberto enough that he would jump if he weren't carrying a Ford Expedition over his shoulder. As it is, he just makes a quizzical grunt, swivels, and ascertains that there aren't any more gunmen to rescue Pepper from. He eases the car down onto its back wheels, then walks it hand over hand all the way to the front bumper.

Once it's steady on the ground again, he pulls the door open. "Sinto muito," he apologizes, dropping the cloak of flame and shadow that gives him his codename. "I didn't know how long the fight would take, but I guess that turned out to be pretty unnecessary." He extends a hand to help his erstwhile passenger out of the vehicle. Pepper should recognize the DCI executive easily now that the shadow is gone; the solar-powered mutant's uniform doesn't include a shirt, much less a mask.

"Obrigado, Jericho," he says with a quick duck of his head toward the hacker, before glancing at Brinley's prisoner. "I hope this was worth it. I'll be buying this family a new car."

Pepper Potts looks rather unsettled when Roberto finally sets the vehicle down to let her out. It was … not exactly the most comfortable way to travel, for him or for her apparently. She is, clearly, surprised at who the tar-aspect man actually is. "Mr. DaCosta?" Her surprise, though, does not stop her from exiting the vehicle promptly. And she hopes to never have to do that again. She's pretty sure there are cheerio crumbs in her shoes and lollipops stuck to the seat of her skirt.

"It was. And you're welcome. Good move with Pepper by the way." The hacker walks on back to where Brinley is holding… okay, now Wanda is holding the doctor.

"Stephen O'Halloran you're a very wanted man. Something about performing cybernetic conversions on abductees and aiding and abetting terrorism." He glances up to Berto and the others. "You're gonna want to turn this man over to the police but I'm sure no one is going to mind if you… question him a little. After all he was turning people into killing machines and sending them after you and the rest of the city's Meta Population."

"Miss Potts, I've searched Mister O'Halloran's records. It seems he was once in the employ of Advanced Idea Mechanics as a genetic specialist in the field of cloning. He left their employ in the last year." JARVIS helpfully supplies…

As Wanda takes control of the doctor and imprisons him within the car, Brin sags just a little and holds her head … the headache, although slight, is starting.

"Jericho, Sunspot, Miss Potts." The brunette murmurs as the three join their group… And Jericho explains who Stephen is and JARVIS mentions AIM. She goes quiet, watching Berto's response … yes, they'll want to question him before or with the police. But perhaps Berto … wants to do differently.

Wanda listens to who the man is and…is none the wiser. Sure she understands the Reaver connection but AIM? "I could see what he is thinking" she offers before seeing the look between Brinley and Berto and taking a step back. The Scarlet Witch is still the new kid in the team so she will leave it to people who know better.

"Pleased to see you again, Ms. Potts," Roberto says to Pepper as he helps her out of the SUV. Although they have only met at business and high society functions up to this point, he's behaving as though throwing cars and solar blasts around in a street fight is a perfectly normal evolution of their professional acquaintance. "I think I owe you a new outfit, too. Probably one that will cost more than the car."

The genteel little announcement from JARVIS, however, freezes Roberto's expression in place. "Excuse me," he says to Pepper, voice brittle, before turning and striding over to O'Halloran's cage. He gives Brinley a wide berth on his way; no sense in overwhelming her with empathic feedback. When he reaches the scientist, he crouches as near to the man as he can and grips one bar, expending some effort to keep his Sunspot transformation at bay.

"Recognize me?" he asks, voice underlaid with cold steel.

Pepper Potts rummages in her bag, then offers Brinley a small, half-empty bottle of water and a travel-size container of paracetamol. She doesn't try to step in on the questioning, content to let JARVIS toss in information as he finds it. Instead, she's focusing on Jericho, trying to visually determine if he's got any injuries that might need attention. Though, Berto's reaction gets her attention, and she watches him worriedly.

Jericho might have been winged. There's some blood on his shirt and it doesn't look like he cut anyone up this time around. Oh yeah. There. Left arm. Hole in his shirt. Well, Pepper might need to tend to that…

If Berto doesn't lose his cool. Doctor O'Halloran looks at Wanda in terror… until that terror is replaced by Berto. He's an intelligent man, but not a wise or brave one. "It's… it's YOU!" Oh yeah. He knows Berto. And never expected to see him free…

Ooooh, water and paracetamol. Brin accepts them readily, swallowing the pills down and giving Berto a grateful look as he takes a wide berth around her. (Don't tell Berto, it only helps a little). "Thank you, Miss Potts."

Glancing at Wanda, the womans words finally seeking in, she looks to Berto again "Wanda can … read minds, Berto … " clearly she thinks this is a good approach.

As an aside to Wanda… "AIM was the company that Berto's twin … purchased." It was also the company that held him for all those months.

"Oh…they know each other! That was lucky" smiles Wanda to Brinley before realising that it is not a joyful reunion. The smile quickly disappears so she can look as worried as the others.

"I can do lots of things" Wanda nods to Brinley's words. "And at the moment I actually know that I am doing them!" That last part makes her laugh. The voices are real…and not hers!

"Berto has a twin?" A pause. "Is he topless too?"

"Está certo: it's me. Accept no imitations," Roberto says to O'Halloran darkly. He grips the bar a little tighter, and lets the inky heat of Sunspot bubble to the surface. "I had no idea it was you we were after. But then, it's not like you gave me a name." The bar of the improvised cage is starting to crimp under his hand. He glances aside for a second, taking in Brinley's suggestion — and the plea she leaves implied.

After a second's thought, he turns back to O'Halloran and leans a little bit closer. "I've got a name to go with the face now, though. I even know who you're working with. Plenty to go on if I ever decide we should… catch up." The Brazilian grins. He's a silhouette, so you can only tell because his teeth are outlined in fiery breath. "I guess that depends on how helpful you are."

Sunspot stares at the man, his eyes like embers, for another handful of breaths, then abruptly stands and turns. "Do… whatever," he tells Wanda. "I shouldn't be around this man. Not in public." He steps deliberately away from the cage, in no particular direction.

Pepper Potts stares after Berto for a few seconds, then blinks and seems to recover as she once again rummages in her bag. Granted, while it might possibly make Mary Poppins envious, Pepper's shoulder bag isn't THAT well kitted out. There's no room for a proper first aid kit. But, she does always carry a length of silk scarf, and it'll just have to do. She steps around behind Wanda toward Jericho and moves to cover that wound in his arm with the silk.

Jericho is so focused on what Berto is doing and hopefully not watching him kill the man (not that he could blame the Brazillian) that he doesn't notice Pepper until she's already tying his wound. "Uh, oh. Thanks Pepper." He says in a low tone.

Wanda will find Doctor O'Halloran's mind a mess. He's scared almost out of his wits right now. But underneath it all there's a few interesting things. First, the Reavers - who rather conscripted him - have pulled out but they've left agents in place to monitor the 'superhero situation' here for opportunities. Second, the Reavers are actively working to upgrade their tech and while they're pursuing many different avenues to do this, including espionage and theft, they have contacted some of O'Halloran's former associates at AIM with an eye toward purchasing upgrades and O'Halloran himself expected to make a tidy commission for putting them in contact. Third, and perhaps most critically to Berto himself, there are rumors that some of the resarch that resulted from his, er, captivity may have survived. The good doctor is unsure if that's true or not, but if it is, the work will reside with the chief scientist for the area where that facility was… and may be quite personal…

"Miss Potts, I have summoned the authorities to take charge of Mister O'Halloran. They should arrive in the next few minutes…"

"Read his mind… pull what you can. Don't hurt him." Brin speaks to Wanda, her dark eyes watching Berto, he mind trying to sort through his emotions. "Make him forget though, that he ever saw Sunspot or Berto." How will the rest of the team feel about that… Brin will wear that decision.

Leaving Pepper, Wanda and Jericho to their thing, she follows Berto's uncertain direction … not touching the man "Sunspot. Wanda will make him forget he saw you." she speaks quietly, unsure of the mans mood… No, she's not going to ask how he is.

With the police on their way, Brins work has only just begun.

Wanda offers a little smile of thanks to Sunspot as he moves out of the way before it is her turn with the Doctor. "This should not hurt unless you resist" she assures him. "When you resist, things get mixed up and chaotic and chaos and chaotic do not go well together. You might think that chaos and chaos equals order but it actually equals exploding brain." One inspiring peptalk done, Wanda is relaying the information she learns from the entranced man. Her scarlet magic penetrating deep into his mind and once she has extracted what she needs, a little manipulation to do as Brinley asked. Hopefully the 'good' Doctor hasn't forgotten third grade as well.

"It doesn't matter," Roberto says, avoiding looking at Brinley. "They have what they wanted from me. They already did their worst." His hands clench into fists spasmodically, and he hunches down to put one of those fists against his forehead. "Although I guess now he won't know that I'm onto him. He won't cover his tracks. That could be useful." He does look at her now, his eyes still molten and inscrutable. "It could also be dangerous."

He turns back to watch Wanda work in silence, crossing his arms tightly and clenching his jaw. When she's done, he glances over at Jericho, wondering whether the hacker alerted the cops to make sure O'Halloran didn't get away, or to minimize the time Roberto would have more or less unsupervised with the AIM scientist.

Jericho likes Berto. He doesn't want the guy to, say, get arrested. He's aware what the man's situation with his board is at the moment. The look Berto gets back is a glimmering, almost inscrutable one. Maybe reminiscent of a certain blonde that both men know. She might be rubbing off on him.

"I… huh… wha…?" O'Halloran is a very confused. There are sirens in the distance and Jericho looks like he's about to make himself scarce.

"You guys have fun now. Give me a call if there's anything I can do for you." Or strings he can pull. And with that he heads down an alley. No doubt to meet an imp and go 'Elsewhere'.

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