Avengers: One Shot - Short Bus

March 27, 2016:

The Avengers respond to some distressing news at a local school.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [https://youtu.be/o9mJ82x_l-E Hey Man, Nice Shot -- Filter]


Fade In…

NEW JERSEY STATE COMMISSION ON INVESTIGATION
TRENTON, NEW JERSEY
3 WEEKS FROM NOW

The mousy man, Mr. Vandervelt, straightens his eyeglasses from the top and the bottom of the frames as he tries to think about the answer. The interrogation room is filled with special agents, all looking to get more insight. The middle school English teacher is not under arrest, but is fidgety anyways. Fidgety and forlorn.

"Yes, I suppose I always did know something was wrong with Ben. His IEP had stated things that were plain as day in the classroom. A constant need for continual attention. Almost compulsive the way he would stay after class and he always seemed to ask questions just for the sake of having a conversation. I always felt that was a factor in him being unable to build lasting friendships. In addition to the other things, I mean. The other children, they weren't mean. They could only be annoyed for so long before they started to turn on him. I would lose my patience with him."

"You mention other things?" Special Agent Phillips, the Agent In Charge asks.

"Well, the Aspergers and his family's history of moving around a lot. When it came out that he was a mutant everything really spiraled out of control for him.

_ _ _ _ _

JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL
ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY
NOW

The man with the sawed off shotgun feels powerful. Slung over his back is a green bag full of more weaponry. The slender man wears a long, black trenchcoat with black cargo style pants and big black military boots. Over his face, and underneath the black beanie over his hair, he wears a large, guntmetal grey gas mask that prevents anyone from seeing the smile on his face.

He pulls the trigger as he wanders down the empty hallway and the halogen light above him explodes into a thousand pieces. A group of cries ring out from any classroom from which the shot can be heard. As the gunman walks by a host of classrooms, all of the doors have been chained shut with small metal tubs connected to the outside with a spiderweb of make shift wiring sticking out in every direction.

_ _ _

"What have we got, Officer?" Captain Rogers says as he strides towards the makeshift HQ outside the four story school. The hostage scene has been going on for hours. There have been no requests, no attempts at contact other than to warn officers to stay away if they don't want anyone to get hurt.

"I'm getting reports of half a dozen gunmen, at least," the portly cop with the reddish walrus mustache says with a shake of his head. "We sure are glad to see you."

"How many kids are in there?"

"All of them. There are 700 children in that school. We've heard several shots fired, but we've been getting text messages back and forth from some of the kids. It doesn't seem like anyone's been hurt.

"Alright, I'm going to need blueprints of the school. Do we know the gunman?"

"Kids think it's a classmate: Ben Robinson."

"Do we know anything about his parents?"

"Put in a call twenty minutes ago, and they're on their way."

Steve turns around towards the rest of his teammates. That conversation about using lethal force was never finished and now they're faced with an even larger problem than they had before. "Alright everyone, no mistakes. Let's see about those blueprints and we'll come up with our plan from there."

The skies are a little darker and cloudier than they were before the Avengers got there. Meteorologists are no doubt puzzled — no one was expecting rainclouds today! There's no precipitation falling yet, but the skies certainly look… ominous.

Those who are particularly close with her might recognize this as being the work of Ororo Munroe. Storm, in her full superhero get-up, is with Cap, and putting on a stern, stoic face. The skies are what show her true emotions. Threatening children — again. This will not stand.

Mockingbird looks grim. This will be something very high profile for the Avengers and if it goes badly? There may be no coming back from it. School situations always sit badly with her. She feels like it's a situation where she can't probably communicate with the bad guy or bad guys. How do you speak to someone bullied or alienated when you're pretty much the poster girl for all things heroic and beautiful? They can't relate to you, even if you weren't always that Amazonian blonde bombshell Avenger. They don't know the young, nerdy, Bobbi Morse who was more interested in science class than dances and football games.

Bobbi shifts uncomfortably near Cap, staring off at the school with a troubled expression. "There's been no communication? I don't think I'd be good to speak to them. I look like a friggen cheerleader." Truth.

Not exactly an Avenger, Sharon Carter is on the ground because she speaks cop better than most of the rest of the team, and SHIELD prefers to keep a liason in these things. And, really, because she's just that darn competent. Sharon's standing with the contigent of police, in her gray business suit, but armed to the teeth beneath it and ready to work more front lines if she needs. She's got a radio in one hand and pale eyes surveying the entire scene. "Can we stare evacuating any children out side or back entrances? Is there a basement? Somewhere the kids who aren't under direct line of fire can get out without being seen?" That is half asked of the cops, half of Captain America.

Cindy Moon rests a hand on her hip, running her tongue along the inside of her cheek as she glances this way and that. Yep, she's gone from 'Possible-Agent-In-Training' to 'Hey-take-a-ride-along-with-The-Avengers'! She's not exactly sure what to call this kind of thing, probationary? Trial run? Either way, Silk is among the gathered team, the spider woman peering intently at the blueprints to the school. You know, she's had a great history working with the captain already, and thankfully the gravity of this situation has dampened her fangirling in reference to /The/ Captain America. But you know, she still dies a little bit on the inside whenever Steve refers to her. Because aaaaaaaa.

Regardless, Moon is trying her very best to put on a strong face as she crosses her arms over her chest. She's in the whole getup, skin tight grey and white suit and her crimson scarf pulled up over her nose. Sure, she's the shortest of everyone gathered here, but that doesn't seem to bother her all that much. Also-Also! Also! Boo is here!

Cindy Moon was totally able to stop herself from waving at Mockingbird. Totally.

Audrey could pass for one of the teens inside easily enough, though the black kevlar and weapons she's packing make her look more like a shooter than a victim. Except these kids learned from video games and movies. Audrey knows the real thing. Standing just a few steps behind Steve, she's looking over the outside of the building, gauging the options. "Do we have any tracking on them?"

Kitty is not normally an Avenger or with the team. However, after her conversation with Ororo earlier in the month, she's here with the them to help, basically riding on the other woman's coattails. She's used to being part of a team and working through problems like this. She did it often enough with the X-Men and is currently wearing the same outfit she did with them. The Shadowcat has her arms crossed in front of her as she looks about at those gathered and then focuses on the man in charge. "I can get in there and find him, follow him while phased and keep him busy. Or, I can start phasing the children out as best I can," she offers.

Superboy has never really attended school, but there have been plenty of school shootings in the last couple of years — and he's heard all about them. Crimes against teenagers, by teenagers. Yeah, this sort of thing worries him, what with, you know, being a teenager, and being fully capable of taking a shotgun to the face without getting a bruise. Rushing in, though, seems a very bad idea. He hovers near Captain America, a foot off the ground and trying to stop himself from jittering. Waiting for orders and flinching every time a shot is heard from the building. He wants to do SOMETHING.

Peter Stanchek could easily pass for a senior, especially since he's in a hoodie and wearing sunglasses. It's one thing to let them see your face outside the country. Inside, it's not going to happen. "I could go talk to him. I know exactly what he's feeling." He was bullied till he put one of the kids intot he hospital. "But are the others also students?"

Julia is not -yet- an Avenger, but kids are a sore spot for her. She has that maternal instinct that makes her flip out on anyone who might threaten a child.
She's been informed about the standoff by one of her SHIELD babysitters. Yes… SHIELD has babysitters assigned to watch her daughter when she's out doing work for them… what? You don't get SHIELD babysitters? Sorry!
Either way, she drops out of the sky to land spreadlegged with one hand on the ground… finding herself quite close to Captain America and the others. "So… we -are- saving the kids, right?" she asks as she stands up tall and straight, giving MOckingbird a greeting nod before reaching a hand for Cindy's shoulder. "Good to see you here too Silk." she states softly.

"That's a good point, Bobbi," Cap replies as he folds his arms over his chest. Just then an out of breath officer runs over the set of blueprints they'd been using and spreads them out over the table. Cap leans over the plans for a few moments and goes silent.

"Text messages have said that the kids have tried the doors, but they've been chained shut," says Phillips.

Captain America nods towards Sharon, "The gym and auditorium make up the first floor, so the classrooms begin on the second, which is higher than a normal buildings second floor. That's probably why none of them have jumped so far."

"We're not even sure how many there are, miss," Phillips says to Lux. "We've been worried about going in because we don't want to lose anyone. But usually, in this type of situation, they call and make demands."

"Phasing?" Steve says as he looks to the young mutant that Ororo brought with her. "You can go through walls? Can you get us inside?" Steve's plans begin to formulate a bit better. Cap looks up at Superboy and nods, trying his best to be reassuring—the young man is oozing nervousness.

"We don't know who the others are," Phillips responds to Sting sadly. "We have a pretty good idea that it's Robinson in there, but we don't know who his friends are." Cap turns as Spider-Woman drops down from the sky and nods.

"Alright, here's the play. Storm's friend gets us in down into the gym through this wall. These are labs up above on the north side of the building, so that'll prevent us from being seen on the way in. We clear the second floor first and make our way upstairs. Silk, Spider-Woman, Storm, Storm's friend and Superboy work on clearing kids out of there as quick as possible. Mockingbird, Sting, Agent 13, and I will go out in front with Lux covering us with her abilities. If we can't cover both ends of the stairwell going up with Lux's powerset, we'll split up with Sting fogging minds with one group and Lux on the other."

"Move out."

Storm reaches a hand out and puts it on Kitty's shoulder. Shadowcat gets the barest of 'attagirl' squeezes — this is not the time or place for anything stronger. "Understood, Captain," Storm says. She looks to Spider-Woman and Silk. "What I propose is this," she says to the two women. "You can both make webs, correct? I am picturing a net, or a crash pad of sorts. Superboy and I can easily shatter the windows, but you two can provide a means for them to land safely."

Ororo looks to Superboy. "We will want to break the glass from the inside, obviously, to avoid blowing it at the children and terrorizing them further. That is where Shadowcat will become essential." The goddess looks to her team. "Does this sound like an agreeable plan to evacuate the children, once we are ready to do so?"

Mockingbird ties her hair back in a high ponytail and lowers her amber glasses over her eyes. She unlimbers her batons, twirling them uneasily as she listens to Cap formulate his plan. She nods to him at the orders and heads out on his command. "Remember, we're saving kids, but the shooter is a kid too. A disturbed kid, but, if there's a way to get all parties out of this alive, we need to find it," she murmurs.

Cindy Moon tries her best to offer a grin to Julia, but you know, the problem with concealing your mouth is that such small gestures are somewhat lost. "And you too, glad to see SHIELD getting involved." Well, alright, technically Cindy is SHIELD as well, but she's in weird member-ship limbo across the board. Her attention is quickly brought back to the plan, the young woman soaking up the information as she tilts her head. Normally, she'd volunteer to put herself right on the line with the others, and while she does know she can dodge bullets to a certain extent- well, she doesn't want to test that with too many bullets. In a confined space. With multiple shooters. Also, falling on her butt in front of Captain America sounds rather scary. "Can do Captian." She remarks confidently with a sharp nod, normally a witty comment would go here but still- grave situation!

She turns her attention to Storm next, Cindy rolling her shoulder. "Shouldn't be a problem at all, if you want, I should be able to pull that off on my own if Julia thinks she would be better served helping you all out." She offers. Webslinging was her thing man!

Blue eyes flicker around the group as more information comes in, but Sharon has done al she can to liase with the police force. Now was a time for action. Ready to stay behind and be on the coms, as often happens back on base, she blinks as the Captain says her name on the forward group. "Got it, Captain." And she gives the cops she was working with a brief nod before stepping around to join the people a bit closer to Captain America. She reaches one hand up, tapping the edge of her subvocal comm and muttering to the SHIELD-only comm frequencies. "All SHIELD agents going in, ICERs first." Then she's pulling out her short, snub nosed ICER gun and ensuring it's loaded. "…Does anyone want a stun-only weapon? They shoot just as smoothly as a real gun and far less lethal for kids." She starts pulling out a few more — god, how many of those things does she have HIDDEN on her?

"I can cover us," Audrey nods to Steve, though she pauses to look back at the officer. "Are there security cameras in there?" It matters. Watching for enemies from one direction is easy enough. Covering a group from every angle so no one can see them if they're monitoring security feeds is another matter. "I've got tranqs," she notes to Sharon's offer, pulling one of the weapons she has strapped to herself and checking the chamber. Yep. That one's tranqs.

The encouragement from Ororo is met with the barest of grins, a thank you from the Shadowcat as she moves forward to help. She knows how to work in a team setting, even if this is the first time she's been a part of this one. However, she has no problems speaking up or offering help when it's necessary. At the question from the Captain, she glances at all those assembled. "Sure, but it's going to take a lot of my concentration." With a grin, she adds, "And you can just call me Shadowcat. Having Storm's friend and Storm in the same group of people is going to get pretty confusing pretty fast."

Looking at the wall ahead of them, she moves forward. "Okay, I'm going to need all of you to get shoulder to shoulder and make sure you're all together. If you lose contact with me, you're getting stuck in a wall and I doubt I need to tell you that's going to be unpleasant." She looks to Steve. "Tell me when."

And… what happens is Julia, aka Spider-Woman, who is totally in costume, with a mask on and everything… elbow-nudges Silk. "Ixnay with the ame-nay." she mutters before shaking her head.
"Yes. I can weave webs as can 'SILK' here…" she says, emphasizing Silk's costumed identity name as she turns her eyes on the (BARELY!) younger woman. But then she looks forward again and nods, "I'm here to help, however you think I can be helpful. My webs last an hour and are fairly strong. I haven't had the chance to see Silk's in use yet, so.. I can't speak for her." But she turns to follow where indicated, and is quite helpful and supportive in attitude.

"Easier for me to break windows outward if I'm inside," Superboy observes. "I think it'll be easier if I just rip the windows out of the wall, frankly. Breaking the glass leaves lots of stuff for kids to get cut on, and the school district can bill us when they get done explaining how this happened in the first place." Yeah, the kid's fault, but seriously, something triggered this, right? "I'll take the left side and the back, you take the front and right," he offers to Storm, and then he's heading up to the second floor, planting his hands in the bricks at either side of the first window, and tearing the whole thing free of the building. "Wait for the web-slingers," he tells the kids inside. "They're going to make good nets for you to jump into. You'll be fine. Go!"

Of course, now he realizes he can easily get into the building from here, and start removing the windows from inside. That would probably work better, right?

Peter looks at Cap once the marching orders are given and, after a moment, nods his agreement. He's good with the plans as it stands and, for once, doesn't mind the insistence on not killing anyone. This is too close to home for him. He puts his hands into his jeans' pockets and follows along after the others.

_ _ _
FROM THE DIARY OF BEN ROBINSON

01/15/2013 - I can't do anything right anymore. I always thought of Lisa as a friend and nothing more. We have been friends since the third grade, or I thought so anyways. Then, today at lunch, she came to me with a note asking me out. I was so happy that I could have cried right then and there. But when I talked to her after class she told me that she wrote it for a joke and that one of her friends made her and not to be mad.

_ _

"All the cameras are internal," Phillips says toward Lux with regret. After every one of these types of things new procedures are put into place in order stop the same thing from happening. Maybe cameras that are reachable in some way off site might be one of those changes for the Elizabeth School Board coming up.

Steve nods to Kitty, "Thank you, Shadowcat. I think we're ready."

But just as Steve makes that declaration, Superboy floats up and does his own thing and begins tearing at the facade of the building. Almost immediately gunshots begin to fire in separate blasts on three different floors.

"Dammit," Steve says as they get through. Immediately Steve is kicking himself that he did not make it more clear that he wanted to keep things quiet to avoid detection. There's gunshots up there and if someone dies, Cap knows it's on him.

_ _ _

As Superboy gets entrance into the building from the outside, he'll see a mix of relieved and terrified looks. One of the girls, a redhead with freckles and braces points towards the door. "There are bombs…"

_ _ _ _

"They know we're here!" Cap exclaims as he burns from one end of the auditorium to the other and kicks down one of the doors to the stairwell. "If you need to engage, you need to engage. Clearers clear, the rest of us get to the gunmen, right now." Hopefully Lux can catch up.

The first hall that goes down the length of the school is clear. However, there are small metal canisters that look like pressure cookers sitting outside each of the doors all the way down the hallway.

Steve continues to run, trying to get to the next floor up, and hoping that no one is lying dead from shotgun blasts.

"Superboy—!" Ororo starts to cry out, but whatever she has to say next is drowned out by the wrenching of the building. She flies after him — and hears the news about the bombs. Ororo cringes in mid-air and flies back to Silk, Julia, and Kitty, her cerulean cat's-eyes ablaze and sharp. "Shadowcat — there are bombs in the hallways. Get in there. Investigate them, see if you can disarm them. Silk, Spider-Woman — into the building with me. Get out everyone you can. I don't care if you need to web them together to drag them out."

Storm grabs Silk — she's seen Julia in action before and trusts that she's fast enough on her own. She flies up to the hole Superboy made to drop Cindy off there. Superboy gets something like a glare for a half-second, but there's too much work to do. "Hurry," she implores her little troupe.

Bobbi doesn't have to respond to Sharon. Carter knows Mockingbird's batons have taser ends on them; SHIELD made them after all. The hard part will be pulling her punches. She hits a heck of a lot harder than she used to.

At the chaos, she runs after Cap, looking for targets or victims, bracing herself for the worst but hoping for the best. "So much for sneaking," she mumbles. She triggers the taser ends on her batons just in case.

"What the hell!" Sharon hisses as Superboy just starts going at the building, "This is why we have a command structure!" Oh, she is fuming. Even that little vein in her head is going! But, she also knows how to follow the command structure and they still had a mission objective that went beyond hot shot super heroes who were going to get children killed. So, she joins hands with her team line, watching this Shadowcat as the woman works, and soon they are inside.

The moment they're inside, Sharon lets go and is running towards the sound of gunfire. She doesn't care if it comes in her direction, she's got an ICER and the quickest way to put a kid down without killing him. So, she goes towards the chaos, her ICER leveled as she clears hallways one quick motion at a time, then keeps moving on. The moment she sees a target, she'll fire. She trusts her hand to be faster and more precise than a scared kid.

Cindy Moon blinks several times, only to cringe and cough awkwardly. One can easily catch the soft shade of red working out from underneath her scarf, the (hah!) younger woman turning a bit as she self-conciously tucks a lock of hair back behind an ear. See, this is the danger of being a street level lone wolf for the longest time, only to then throw yourself into an Avengers ooperation. "Spider silk, they'll work fine." She remarks with a nod, she's held a bus in place before, some kids should be fine! Tensile strength and whatnot. "And uh, SPIDER-WOMAN-" See, she's learned. "Here is my side-kick, I'm sure she's able to vouch for attentiveness in the very least." Aw, she's trying to joke, at least a little bit. "I'm clear to go once Captain Hunk says the word." The nervousness in her voice belays the confidence she's trying to put up with the quips.

And then everything is moving! Cindy putting on a pained look as her 'first' Avenger mission immediately goes tits up, s-she remembered you from that hockey game Superboy! Why do you have to go and be a dashing hero in the worst of ways?!

And then Cindy visibly deflates as the bombs are mentioned, she's… She's had enough of bombs. You know, straddling a suicide bomber was how she spent her night like- two days ago! She was kind of over the experience! But none the less, she's snatched up, the girl feeling positively silly as she's flown to the not-so-metaphorical hole int he wall. She's a big girl and could have done this herself! But! But, at least she's tiny and /very/ light. Oddly enough, Cindy flashes the /exact/ same dissaproving look to Superboy. Honestly, it's kind of scary how close she matches Ororo's before she turns to the ground. "One moon bounce coming up!" She chirps, the girl sending out several lines of webbing, creating a sloped web along the side of the building, making quite sure to change the composition on the fly so as to avoid getting the lil' chillins' stuck.

There's something very Freudian about this as well, but she's not about to bring that up. Unlike her player.

Audrey can catch up just fine. The question is, where is she going? Once she's inside and the idea of stealth is out the window, she blinks invisible, moving much more slowly along the hallway to get a look at the bombs. "I really need to add bomb training to my studies," she grimaces as she crouches down next to one.

Kitty is already concentrating for the difficult pass through the walls that she is about to do. Getting that many people through a solid wall will take all a lot of her time and energy. By the time Superboy is already tearing things away. Luckily, she's through before her concentration is fully blown and she gets them all stuck in a wall. Their entrance accomplished, she gives a bit of a salute to the others and then disappears through the other walls in her attempt to get to her team. It's faster when you don't have to worry about doors.

"Bombs? Really?" Ugh. Shadowcat moves toward them. While she may not be a bomb expert, she certainly knows computers and electronics. Getting to the nearest one, she starts to figure out how to disarm it.

Well, clearly he did this wrong. Superboy would facepalm, but there's no time. He doesn't even apologize. That will come later. He pushes past the kids, moving to the door, placing his hands on the door and closing his eyes. He hasn't done this often, but he's had the ability for awhile. He stretches his telekinetic field under and around the door, searching for the bomb, seeking a way to disarm it.

And if he can't do that… well, he has at least one more option he can try.

As the shooting starts, Peter pauses to look up at Superboy. Pretty as a peacock. Dumb as an ox. Once Kitty phases him and the others in, he heads for the stairs to the next floor, putting a shield around himself in case of not so stray gunfire pointed his way. "Bombs. Fucking wonderful." And too many panicked kids to be able to pinpoint the gunboys.

"Yeah, cuz pounding a hole is sneaky as hell." mutters Spider-Woman as she launches herself up through the hole behind Storm and the gang. On her way up, she extends her web-net… the invisible psi-network that shows her where people are. But also… the moment she contacts a floor… anyone who moves on that floor is felt in her feet. But then she turns and gestures… forming several guidelines for the kids to use to hold onto as they slide down Silk's webslide. This could be a freakin' amusement themepark ride if it wasn't for the bombs. "C'mon kids. Time to move!" she calls out in her best confident mommy tone of voice as she leaps up to the top and starts directing kids to the lines and slide.

_ _ _

Mrs. Darling poses the question about Travels with Charley and most of the hands in the class stay down. It's probable that no one even did the reading, much less paused to think about whether or not it was a factual story, or just another Steinbeck fictional creation. And, in truth, none of them cared. Except for Ben Robinson.

Ben had his hand held high and did a little twist thing, the same little twist at the wrist he does every time in an effort to get called upon. Reluctantly, Mrs. Darling calls upon him. By ignoring him, it'd just embarrass him, but calling on him usually ends up with his classmates snickering. It's not clear if he realizes it or if he just doesn't care.

"I think, well," Ben begins. "I think it's like a mixture of both, if you think about his other books-and I have read all of Steinbecks books, and I especially liked the Grapes of Wrath, except for the endingbut it seems like a mixture of all of them. Like, the Grapes of Wrath and this book both deal with travelling, and it seems like he likes to" And he says this point real slow, as if wondering whether or not he's making sense or if he's just making this up as he goes along. "Travel…"

"Ben, the question was whether or not you felt like Travels with Charley is a retelling of a true story or if it is fiction."

"I don't know."

Mrs. Darling takes an inward breath as several classmates begin to snicker.

"Then why'd you raise your hand?" Chloe, a mostly kind hearted young girl who has lost her patience blurts out.

"Idiot," murmurs someone, but Mrs. Darling is unable to decipher who it is. "That's enough!" She exclaims.

_ _ _

Steve cuts down the third floor hallway, but sends Sharon and Bobbi up to the fourth as he runs at nearly 30 miles per hour. The hallways seem clear, but there does seem to be a blast up to the ceiling. The tile is all torn away and a piece of the light fixture hangs ominously. Time for Steve to think fast and he looks to see the wiring on the devices. "Pressure cookers up on the third floor," he says as he inspects them. He digs in one of the pouches and pulls out a wire cutter.

Sharon and Bobbi reach the fourth floor, but as they do, they'll notice an ominous tall, lanky man in a black trenchcoat with a gunmetal gas mask. Sharon fires, as she prepared to, but by the time she does the masked man is long gone, having completely disappeared.

_ _ _

Ororo will see a group of teenagers eager to get out, but it's clear that if there's an explosive, it's strapped to the outside of the door. Opening that door is going to be difficult, and there's no telling if it might set off a chain reaction of the rest of them throughout the entire floor from her vantage point.

The sloped web works perfectly and Mr. Harmon's 9th grade class on Biology is able to get out by sliding down the webbing.

Audrey and Kitty hit up the second floor in a different manner, namely, from the outside of the rooms. The one that Superboy and Ororo, as well as the Spider-Ladies are working on is down at the far end. To Kitty, it seems pretty cut and dry. A couple of snips should do it. Assuming there's no tricks. There's no tricks, right? And even though she's invisible, Audrey's audible muttering can be heard by Kitty who happens to be at the next door down.

Peter walks along the second floor seeing Kitty working on one of the pressure cookers, while the one right next to her is being fiddled with, it looks like, by itself.

And, then, out of nowhere, the man in the mask appears about 12 feet out in front of Peter.

Mockingbird winces at the mention of bombs. "We need to do this, fast, and get out of here even faster, just in case," she notes to Cap. "All we need to miss is one explosive and it's all over." Maybe not for all of them, due to powers, but certainly for the kids and gunmen.

She skids to a halt at the sight of the trenchcoat man, her batons held up defensively, but then he vanishes. "We have an unsub on fourth floor. Possible powered. He just disappeared. He has a gas mask on. Care for airborne chemicals!"

"Goddess," Ororo murmurs, the skies staying dark as she tries to figure out what the hell to do here. "Silk, Spider-Woman," she says. "Crawl out and attempt to open other windows from the outside. Evacuate who you can but be mindful to watch for shooters." Ororo looks to Superboy. "You," she commands, "outside. Sweep the building at a /non/-dangerous speed. Look through every window you can. Pinpoint the location of any shooters you can spot. THEN consult with myself, BEFORE further action."

"Dammit!" Sharon growls, having taken Cap's orders about going to the fourth floor, and her shot, and both of them were in vain. The guy just disappears. And he didn't look like any kid. Swearing beneath her breath, she now starts moving fast down the hallways, flanking doors of classrooms and getting ready to swing in, when she sees that unit on the bottom of the door. Her pale eyes flicker back, looking at other doors. All of them had those chains. The explosives inside. She growls, wanting to shove a fist into the wall, but she doesn't quite let her anger get ahold of her. "Fourth floor is currently clear of hostiles, we caught sight of one…=." She repots over the comms, but Bobbi's got the majority of the report, and her temper in hand, so she lets those words stand.

Cindy Moon snerks. Pounding that Hole. Hah. "Hey! We've got children here!" She chirps, watch those double meanings! "Stay calm- keep going, keep going. Hey! Kid of Iron!" She calls out to superboy, still very fond of that nickname. "Can we hit the next room? Up to you whether we go through this wa-" And then she stops as Storm takes control, the spider-lady shooting a look out the window before she shoots the other woman a quick nod. "On it!" She chirps, leaning out and planting one hand on the outside wall. "I got top, you got bottom Spider-lady?" She asks, now swinging outwards. "Silk here, I'm going to try to web the doors once I'm inside each room, at least dampen the blasts if uh- Things get louder." She's still not the best at radio lingo.

The arrival of a shooter catches Audrey's attention, and she stands up quickly from the device she was inspecting. She doesn't hesitate, raising her weapon to fire at the man in the mask. Tranquilizers, sure, but since they're coming from an invisible shooter with an invisible gun, maybe she'll be able to get the jump on him.

Kitty, who's worked with Audrey before and therefore knows of her invisibility, hears the woman and looks toward the space where she can hear the voice. "Lux, they seem simple enough. I'm going to phase through as many as—" However, she can hear the shots behind her. Her head whips to the side and she decides that this is the time to try it, best to be phased anyway. Running forward, she attempts to phase through as many bombs as fast as she possibly can.

Superboy, with his hands up against the door and eyes closed, does not realize that Storm is talking to him until around the word 'non-dangerous', emphasis on the dangerous. Yeah. He knows, He screwed up. Resist the anger, Superboy. Resist the anger. He releases the bomb outside the door — not moved even a millimeter by his telekinesis, just explored — turns away. "There's somebody in the hall with our people," he tells her as he walks past. "The one the Agent's talking about." And then he's out the absent window, moving at moderate speed and peering through windows as he tries to put things together in his head — something he's not always great at, clearly.

Peter Stanchek spreads his hands to the sides a bit. See? Unarmed. But it's his mind that's dangerous not his hands and it's walking around the kid's mind to see what he can see. "Dude, this is so not the way. They're assholes, yeah. You didn't do anything to deserve how they treated you. But the one who's… Oh fuck it." he says as the guy disappears. But he's still in the kid's mind at least. "It's the kid and he's a teleporter. That's why they think there's more. He's on the fourth floor. Got a bunch of kids with him in a chemistry lab." He starts heading there even as he tells the others. "He hasn't hurt anyone yet. Make sure those bombs are real. This might be suicide by cop as some kind of twisted revenge to make them all feel guilty." A theory he's trying to confirm by looking in the kid's mind.

"You have that Spider Sense thing that I don't got Silk. So I think you're best suited to be on point when it comes to entering classrooms. Go for the door webbing too. I'll be doing evac while you do that." says Spider-Woman over her own comm as she follows Silk up and flashes webs out to half a dozen windows… and lashes them all over a protrusion higher up. Then a quick yank and all six windows are open. "Go!" she says… and it's like some crazy choreographed moment with two super fast reflex women do their thing. She's right on Silk's six, web ladders forming down from all six windows. "Go go go." she tells the first classroom, "Does anyone need help getting down? Anyone injured or otherwise unable to climb down on their own?" She asks, making sure because.. there are always some who can't do it alone. But that's why she and Silk are also super strong! She bounces from room to room, helping where she can.

Audrey's shot goes wide as the Masked Man disappears from view, just as he's done to the others. The aim is good, he's just hopping around too quickly. Like a pinball in a machine.

Meanwhile, Kitty Pryde begins to run the length of one side of her hallway in question. As her hands phase through the wiring, they begin to short circuit and fizzle. But no explosion. That's good. That's real good.

Silk webs down the doors in place buttressing the walls against explosions. It's not clear if it'll work, but it's definitely worth a shot. Her, Spider-Woman, and Ororo keep working to get more and more kids free.

Superboy floats past all of the rooms on that part of the building and room by room he sees the same thing. 30 - 35 students, scared out of their mind. A teacher trying to hold it together, and a door that's shut (presumably locked in chains from the outside). The question is, where are the others? If there's half a dozen, they don't seem to /be/ anywhere.

Peter explains why. There's not 6, there's one, and sources suggest that it's Ben Robinson. Sting gets a bead on him, and just like that, he's gone. But, Sting knows where he is headed—the 4th floor.

Cap, Agent 13, and Mockingbird all hear the screams coming from the Physics lab. It just happens that it is the one classroom in the entire building that doesn't seem wired with an explosive. Cap kicks down the door, enters the room, and stops. "Oh, sh—"

"Oot."

Captain America immediately begins frantically trying to 'hail' Sting. «Get Superboy on the South End of the BUilding! Get Superboy on the south end of the building. 4th floor! 4th floor!» Mentally he's shouting at Sting, hoping against hope that he can get the message to the Teen of Titanium in time.

"Listen, son. I know it's been a crazy day." Cap enters the room, hands up and even throws down his shield, and is close enough for the SHIELD agents to both see him as he steps slowly into the lab.

"Stop right there, Captain America," says the de-masked Ben Robinson. "The bombs are fake, but the shotgun is real. I haven't hurt anyone yet, and I don't want to, but you're going to listen to me."

One hand holds the shotgun up to a student's temple. The other has a mini-camera, pointed at the door and Captain America.

"You know, it's funny," Ben begins, his eyes red with either fatigue, tears, or insanity. "They say that when you're bullied, you become a bully. And I never really did that. Not until today. I've thought about how I would do this over and over again pretty much since I have been in the 7th grade. Uhm, Tommy Lewis, when you told me that you wanted me to go kill myself, well you get your wish. For a long time I thought I'd just take a lot of pills, or drive my car real fast into a wall. I thought about jumping off a building, or maybe going and attacking some thug or something like that. But those ways all seemed like a losers way out. To everyone who tormented me my whole life, it's important to know that you didn't win. You may have got what you wanted, but now you get to live with it. And not just in your own minds, either. This video is being uploaded live onto StarkTube. So, to Jenna Matthews and Mike Scott, Tim Tingen, Joe Kerry, Vince Newsome, and Aidan Kerr. Fuck you."

Ben pulls the shotgun away from the students head and puts the end into his mouth.

"Nooooo!" Cap yells with outstretched arms.

Ororo isn't with the group that's confronting the shooter. Instead, she's doing her part, flying from window to window and trying to calm students — using her thief skills to open the windows from the outside, and then flying the students to safety, two at a time. For all of her steely resolve, it IS starting to drizzle outside.

Peter's still trying to get a good enough hold on the boy's mind to stop him but he's too far away and not skilled enough to actually stop him. He can hear Cap's mental shouts though. "Superboy, Cap says get to the fourth floor south end yesterday. The boy's about to kill himself." That much he can see for himself in the kid's mind. On the team communicators, everyone can hear that.

Bobbi shifts into motion and deactivates the taser on her batons before she throws one of them at the side of the shotgun, hoping to knock it out of Ben's hand, or turn it aside so any shot might end up being survivable.

Cap is going into the room, but Sharon isn't. She's hugging the door, following Bobbi's motions without actually showing herself in the space. Then, the moment the boy brings the shot gun up, she's moving as fast as her coworker, but it's not the shot gun she's going for. It's the boy himself. She levels that gun on Ben and takes a good shot with her ICER. Hopefully it and Bobbi are fast enough to save the kid. And anyone else.

Cindy Moon moves quickly, honestly, this is the kind of situation where she would try to ham it up some! Wave to the kids, all the fun stuff! But right now, she's ducking from room to room, plastering doors with Silk webbing and then shooting up to the next floor to do the same. She can hear the escalation over the radio, but she's keeping to her objective, Julia is very right about the acrobats, the spider-gals are a thing of art as they move with an uncanny speed. Though, Cindy's left the kids to her compatriot. But she can't help but feel a horrible tingle run down her spine, her silk senses catching the moment of drama among the terror. "You got it Steve…" She whispers quietly, clearing the final room.

There's not much Audrey can do from here. Not really. She can't shoot him. She can't reach his mind. And she's not going to make it up to the fourth floor. So she goes still, waiting to hear over the comms what's happened. Waiting for the gunshot.

And.. she can't sense danger, but Spider-Woman -can- sense movement and where people are located at. It's weird… yeah she knows it's weird. What? But Spider-Woman feels Silk stop and lowers the last batch of kids she was able to reach down to the ground… one injured kid over her own shoulder as she leaps out to make her own way to the ground.
"Damnit.." she mutters as she hears Cap cursing over the radio.

With the bombs disabled, Kitty moves through the rooms. Grabbing whatever children that may be left over, she phases them through the other floors and out of the building. It's all she can see to do right now.

Superboy hears Sting's words in his mind — which, frankly, he finds creepy, but that's not the point just now. He speeds up. Forget non-dangerous speed, this is time for breakneck. In a second he's at the fourth floor window, bursting through (and consciously pushing the shards so they WON'T rip apart the potential suicide). He just wants to get his hand on the gun, force it to fall apart before the kid can pull the trigger.

Of course, the day may already be saved, but at least he can recoup from some of his earlier stupidity.

Sting, Audrey, Kitty, Ororo, Julia, and Cindy will all hear a pair of gunshots that sound almost as if they come off as one. There's no radio contact for a good couple of seconds after that.

Sharon's shot goes wide, while Bobbi's miraculously hits the butt of the shot gun, just as Superboy bursts through the bricks and wraps his hand around the barrel of the gun and tries to pull it away from Ben's mouth. But the trigger is already being pulled.

As the shot explodes out the end of the gun, what would have ended up as an instant suicide, has ended in something far better but far more grotesque.

The gun falls to the ground, as does the camera, and the boy, all in slow motion to someone like a Kryptonian.

The camera lands in such a way that it catches Ben's face, still recording, the front part of the jaw and his nose completely gone, completely blown away. His tongue lolls wildly and his eyes are full of shock. Full of tears and shock.

EPILOGUE

The door at the mental facility closes quietly and Ben's mother comes in slowly. Ben, with face bandages over the front andaround his head, still has his eyes clear to look out at the window.

"They're going to go through with the charges, honey. Your lawyer told me that they think they can get a plea bargain to limit the time spent in a normal prison. We thafljkafljwoi309834nklnjadejfoaidurf987q3pqoi43hq9p438qyu985y"

The words turn to gibberish because Ben's not even listening anymore. Part of him knows that he's gotten his revenge on the kids who have tormented. And the other part? The other part of him is planning his next attempt.

THE END

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