Fortune not found: Abort, Retry, Ignore?

April 22, 2016:

Stop me if you've heard this one, two cats and a spider crawl into a sewer…

Chinatown

One of the major enclaves within the city proper, Chinatown boasts a population near 100,000 people. Here is where, historically, the Chinese immigrants came in to land and created a small piece of home in their new land. The streets are always busy, and the air at most times is filled with a bewildering mix of Cantonese and Mandarin, and all the lesser dialects that are only found in China. The commercial areas within Chinatown are a riot of colors and traditional decorations, particularly on festival days like the New Year. Once again, streets are closed for such a grand party.

Characters

NPCs: Stegron

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Spider-Man had become something of a minor celebrity in New York. He had the Daily Bugle to thank for that, but as they say, all press is good press. At least that's what the poor guy kept telling himself as his good name was dragged through the mud. But that was an issue for another time. Right now, it was lunch. And our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man was in the mood for Chinese.

He had picked up a small box from Mr. Wu's, and he was making short work of the little paper box. His chopsticks dug in, trying to get the last morsel. He licked his lips, and wiped it with a nice paper napkin. After that, he broke down the box, and gave it a quick hurl towards the recycling bin down below. Oh yeah, he was five stories up. And he almost managed to get it into the bin on the street down below. It bounced off the rim. "I better not quit my day job, I don't think I'm going to be playing for the Knicks or Nets anytime soon."

He then opened up the fortune cookie, he never ate them, wasn't to his taste, but he was curious about what the fortune might say. As he broke the little cookie and pulled out the white paper, he read it aloud, "Fortune not found: Abort, Retry, Ignore?" And he burst out into laughter, a laughter so hearty that it echoed down below, reaching the pedestrians. A teenage girl, probably about 13 or 14, looked up from her spot at the bus stop. She gave him a nice wave. The older woman with her seemed oblivious.

The wall crawler, or wall dangler, as the case may be, gave a quick wave back, and then they both heard it. There was a cry, a masculine cry, coming from nearby, probably only a block or two away.


The wall-crawler isn't the only one in Chinatown. Along one of the nearby streets, Tigra and Vorpal have come in search of food of their own. Now, tigers are quite big in Chinese culture, but the striped cat-woman doesn't know much about that right now. There do happen to be a few people who stare and speak to each other in their native tongue, however. Hushed tones. Reverence. Admiration, even. It's all good attention as far as Greer's concerned.

She's made no attempt to hide who and what she is, which is the norm for her. However, just as she's starting to ask Keith if there are any places that have caught his eye over others, there comes the shout. "You hear that?" she asks, turning her attention toward the noise. "Hopefully this doesn't mean a late lunch."


Likewise, Vorpal makes no effort to disguise his uniquely feline self because… what is the point, when you're hanging out with Tigra? The one nod the Cheshire cat gives towards being in Civilian Mode is the fact that he's not wearing his hero suit, but a regular black T-shirt and jeans.

Okay, so the T-shirt has his 'V'/Cheshire smile logo on it. Branding is important, ok?

The purple cat raises an eyebrow, a messy tangle of red hair falling over one eye. "I'd wager it's someone who just got a look at his bill over at Mrs. Cho's." He had been there before. The food was divine. But so were the prices. "… buuut let's check it out. Just in case."

He heads in the direction of the sound, trying to look nonchalant.


The noise came from a construction site. There was a truck parked and cordoned off with orange and white pylons, a woman in reflective overalls directing traffic, another worker on the ground, managing some controls on the truck, and one guy frantically climbing out of an open manhole. Another scream emits from the manhole as the woman mentarily forgets her post, dropping the slow / stop sign, and rushing to the man. "Scott, what happened?" But the man seems terrified, mouthing words, but none coming. It takes him a moment to pause, collect his thoughts, and try again. "It-it-it's down 'ere. It got Frank! Sumbody's gotta do somethin'!"

Spider-Man was farther away than Tigra or Vorpal, but there are certain advantages to travelling by webline. As fast as they can run, he manages to swing through the air, using his strength to push off the side of the building, while his weight and momentum will do the rest. Another strand of webbing emits from his wrist with a 'thwip' sound, and he does the reckless thing: oh, so very reckless. He dives from the sky, and into the manhole, trusting his spider-sense to warn him if somebody's going to be coming out, or anything similar. Instead of landing in the sewer and getting his costume coated in New York's filth, he immediately fires off another brand of webbing, then another, moving towards the sound of the scream. "Help is on the way!" he calls out, and tries to use the echo to get an idea of which way the scream came from, but for the moment, he's not too sure.


"I don't know about that," Tigra answers simply, breaking into an easy run just in time to come around a corner and spot the construction scene…and Spider-Man diving in like an Olympic swimmer trying to leave the smallest splash possible. "What's this about needing help?" she quickly asks as she pulls up to a stop just short of the open manhole. Once it's been repeated that 'something' 'got' Frank, she casts a brief glance toward Vorpal that's full of all kinds of 'Oh, you have got to be kidding me' before she mutters, "This better not be Carnage again." She continues her way down, but this time the ladder is made use of.


The Cheshire cat is just in time to see the blur of red and blue diving into the manhole. Of course, he grins, "Now that's something you don't see every day. He's got good form, too."

He lets Tigra do all the talking and dutifully follows her down the manhole. He creates glowing purple stepping stones for them down there, so they do not have to get themselves mired in filth- cats are very fussy about getting dirty unless it is on their own terms and they're ready for it.

"Carnage? I didn't take you for a death metal fan, Tigs… alright, which way do you think the webby guy went?"


When the female construction worker left her post, she also allowed the New York traffic to manage itself. The lights were out, and the nearby intersection should have been treated as a four way stop. That's what it says in all the manuals. But New York has some of the most aggressive drivers known to man. It takes exactly 45 seconds before there's an accident, as a black Nissan Altima and a white Ford Escape end up t-boning each other, with both drivers believing that they had the right of way.

The other construction worker, the one who had been on the opposite side of the truck, and manning some controls, deserts his post and picks up the slow / stop sign. He's going to try and gain some control over the situation, not that it's likely now. The woman tends to Scott, trying to stop the bleeding. His face looks like it's been slashed by a knife a couple of times.

Another cry comes out from the sewer. Frank must still be alive. And then they all see it. Frank was wearing a helmet with a flashlight on, but it got knocked off and into the filth. But one of Vorpal's stepping stones knocked it out of the water, which allowed the light to shine on the creature. It was vaguely humanoid, not overly tall, but had a lot of bulk. It must have weighted close to four hundred pounds. It was orange, with leathery skin, and a softer, yellowish underbelly. It's face was shaped into a beak, and it had odd protrusions on its back. A massive clawed hand held the tattered remains of a safety vest, but Frank was nowhere to be seen. He must have run off in the other direction.

Seeing the heroic trio, the creature growled, "YOU CANNOT HOPE TO SSSTOP US, FOR OUR RISE IS UPON USSS!"

Spider-Man doesn't miss a beat, and immediately fires off a webline to gob up the creature's eyes, "awe, isn't that sweet, Minilla got into the cheetos and now he's fluorescent orange. Come on, you can do it, stop, S-T-O-P. We cannot hope to stop you." Of course, as he's given the Son of Godzilla an elocution lesson, he's already moving around the sewer's cramped confines, manoeuvring over the pair of felines. He tries not to knock them off those purple blocks, but accidents do happen, and he kicks out at the monster before clinging to one of the walls. He gets some greenish brown slime on his costume's fingers, "next time you have company over for lunch, you really should give the place a once over. A Glade Air Freshener would do wonders right now."


Chances are when things hit the fan, using Vorpal's stepping things won't be a big concern of Tigra's. "No, it's..I'll tell you later." This follows the latest shout, around the time the sound of a wreck can be heard topside. She stops long enough to let out a somewhat noisy sigh, head shaking before it comes into view.

Both brows shoot up at the sight of whatever it actually is, and the first thing that pops into her mind is, "I hate it when people buy pet lizards and flush them down the toilet when they get too big to take care of." A pause. "Wait, no. That's what you do when your goldfish dies." Another. "Your rise? Whose rise?" About that time, Spider-Man's springing into action and she nudges Vorpal in the side. "C'mon. Let's get busy. Don't get chomped on." She's not leaping into the middle of things quiet yet, though. First, it's feeling the situation out.


"Great. Another washed-up viagra spokesperson."

Ding! You hear that? That's the Vorpal Effect counter. The Cheshire cat nods as Tigra nudges him, "I'm on it- HEY, Mondo Gecko? As a kid, I used to fry lizards with my magnifying glass!"

Vorpal says this, standing tall and proud, hands on hips. This is completely not true, but the giant mass of scales doesn't know that. "We'll just have to get a bigger glass for you, that's all!"

Yes. He's provoking him into an attack.

Surely he must have a plan, right?


The creature uses its claws to rip off Spider-Man's webbing. It hisses, showing off an elongated, forked tongue. "YOU WON'T WIN. THIS WORLD BELONGED TO USSS ONCE, AND IT WILL AGAIN!" But even as it speaks, it turns around, spinning its mighty tail in the direction of Spider-Man. The thing has some pretty impressive teeth. Yes, it has a beak and teeth. Immediately after it tries to tail swip Spider-Man, it goes for Vorpal, a clawed hand trying to grab him so it can get a taste of Cheshire. It growls something during the attack. It's difficult to make out, but he seemed to say something about being related to birds, at least that's what it sounded like.

Spider-Man swiftly dodges the tail, and grabs at it, pulling the creature back even as it tries to take a bite out of Vorpal, "hey now, play nice, or I'll have to put you in a corner cell." Then he shouts, trying to be heard over the creature's roars, "does this sound like the start of a joke to anybody? A spider, two cats, and a reptile go into a sewer…"


It's just a giant lee-zard, really. What could be so bad? Then, its quickness in reacting to Spider-Man's efforts, along with a reach for Vorpal, clues Tigra in on what more they could be dealing with here. "You're a fast one, but you're making me think you've been watching too much Jurassic Park." See? She can quip, too! Spider-Man's joke goes ignored, however. Instead, she's moving in closer to swipe at the thing's stomach with a hand as soon as its attention is split elsewhere. Moving around in the sewer, with the light on the minimum side, requires caution.


"I'd listen to Tigra if I were you. She can run on stiletto heels like whoa."

As the clawed hand comes to swipe at him, Vorpal takes a step back- and through a Rabbit Hole- to end up emerging behind the creature. He needs to give Tigra and Spidey room to work…

So, of course, he attempts to drop a ten-foot anvil on the lizard's tail to try to keep it pinned so the lizmonster can't swing it around.

"… sounds like a regular Friday to me, Spidey!"


"YESSS I AM, LATE JURASSSSSSIC." The creature sounds positively pleased that Tigra correctly identified his temporal range. "I AM SSSTEGRON, KING OF THE DINOSSSAURUSSS! AND SSSOON, WE WILL BE LEGION!" He may even be thinking of turning Tigra into one of his kind.

Once, it was believed that certain dinosaurs had multiple brains. Those days may be over, but for a creature that seems to have so much trouble speaking, he is easily able to wage a multifaceted fight. He claws at where Vorpal used to be, and has a ten foot anvil drop on his tail. Spider-Man lets go at the last minute, keeping it steady until then. But the anvil seems to do little besides annoy the creature… slightly.

The way his tail flicks that ten foot anvil, you would think it were made of paper. In fact, it sends the anvil flying into the side of the wall, and hurls it with so much force that it smashes the bricks and gets embedded in some natural stone. Spider-Man's spider sense goes off, and he has to grab Vorpal, leaping back, and landing in the watery filth, but at least Vorpal didn't get the back plates going into him. Instead, the creature make several indents into another wall as it tried to stab Vorpal with those things. Unfortunately, the tunnel is becoming unstable with damage to both sides of it. That roof could easily collapse at any moment.

"Yeah, another one of those days. The kind that end in 'y'." But then, seeing the structural issues, his eyes dart from side to side, "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?"


"I like the first showing of the day, myself. Cheaper, and the theater's usually pretty empty," Tigra japes following the whole 'Late Jurassic' bit, though she has quite the skeptical expression showing at the title and vow. "It's always the same with you guys." Whatever the apparent dino-meta is thinking, she's left to act again as it sends the anvil away like so much nothing. The damage it does to the side of the tunnel is not good news, however. Neither is the follow up attack with the plates.

Seeing little effect from her slash, the feline hops back to keep a safer distance from Stegron just for the time being. "Any bright ideas, you two? This guy's just shrugging off everything so far. I remember what made the dinosaurs go extinct before, but that would probably be a bad thing if it happened again."


"… I don't know, Brain, where are we going to get tangerine speedos at this hour?" Vorpal quips back. He's seeing what the spider is hinting at, and he says very quietly to Tigra- another feline with super-fine hearing "Follow my lead."

He does get what Spidey is going for, and he leaps forward, grabbing onto handholds that he manages to create out of thin air so he can hang from the ceiling over the lizard.

"Hey! I hear your mama fell down the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down so hard they named the Pussywillow tree after her!"

In highschool, Keith and his friend Penny specialized in 'Your Mama' jokes. Who knew such a skill would eventually come in handy?

The cat hangs from the handholds just long enough to try to get a blow from the reptile at the ceiling, swinging away towards the wall and then leaping off it almost immediately.


Stegron did feel the slash of Tigra's claws, but it wasn't enough to break that leathery reptilian hide. So far, nothing has seemed to faze it. He just keeps on going. But the tight confines of the sewer isn't doing him any favours. He's rather agile for his size, but then, so are the three heroes. He's strong, probably stronger than any of them, but he hasn't been able to land a blow. And it's infuriating him. "SSSTAND SSSTILL SSSO I CAN SSSTOMP YOU!"

Spider-Man replies, "sorry about that Steggy, but my insurance doesn't cover stomped by stegosaurus." He leaps over Stegron, again trying to goo his eyes closed with webbing. "If you had been a Spinosaurus or a Dilophosaurus, I'd be good. You could stomp me all day and I'd enjoy that hospital visit."

Some more webbing is shot out, trying to keep Stegron in one spot. "I've been meaning to catch up on Gilligan's Island. Personally, I think the Professor and Mary Ann are going to get together. But don't spoil it for me if you've seen it."

Stegron doesn't seem to understand the 'yo moma joke,' and as he tries to claw the webbing out of his eyes, he asks, "WHAT ISSS AN UGLY TREE?"

Spider-Man keeps up the taunting, "I even managed to get Brontosaurus coverage onto my package, and they only figured out that it was a real dinosaur last year. But Stegosaurus coverage would have cost me an extra three fifty a year. I know, I know, it's only the cost of a cup of coffee. But think of the baristas. What would they do without my business? It's the little guy you have to look after."

Stegron manages to free his eyes, but at his height, his elbows struck the ceiling, and in trying to free himself of the weblines, he claws upward. There's also the fact that he has a target up there, a feline target. After a few missed attempts, each hitting the ceiling, he manages to get the cat… or so he thought. He got something. He got it very well. And the rumbling is terrible.

Spider-Man's spider-sense goes off like a klaxon, "time to go, everybody out of the sewer!" When the ceiling goes, it starts slowly, a few rocks, bricks, metal from a pipe, but after that initial give, the whole thing will start coming down. The damage to the walls weakened it earlier, so now the whole thing comes down, shifting earth. And high above, those two drivers who were in the accident begin to blame each other as the Nissan Altima and the Ford Escape sink into the hole.


Rather than diving fully into the midst of this fray, Tigra does what she can to merely keep the guy/thing/whatever distracted enough for the others to do more of their thing. This is not a good adversary for her to be dealing with and getting too close to, and they've at least devised some kind of plan. Oh, yes. That kind of plan, the sort that results in some property damage but, at least, hopefully brings this to an end.

She even stays away from further insults, focused more on anticipating what's next, but as the tunnel weakens further and looks like it's about to come down, she calls out, "Vorpal, I think you know what to do here!" So they don't get crushed, of course.


Property damage is something Vorpal has elevated to an art. Somehow, it always seems to occur on trips where he and someone else (usually Gar) are out on a quest for food or similar delicacies. He is fated to never experience true gastronomical bliss uninterrupted.

But he can't bemoan that right now. There's a tunnel collapsing on them.

"Spidey, Tigger, this way!" A Rabbit Hole opens leading to the surface, and the cat dives through the hole, hoping his team-mates go through as well.

When he lands on the other side, he waits just long enough for the tiger and the spider before closing the hole.

"… I don't know about you two, but I've just lost all of my appetite and I think about two restful nights down there."


"Stay in a collapsing tunnel with a deranged dino, or follow Catman into a cartoon hole in the wall? Why are my Friday's always so predictable?" And Spider-Man dives in, rolling to his feet on the other side. His costume stinks, but hopefully not as bad as his companions. He made a conscious effort to avoid touching anything as much as possible, but he still did end up in the sewer water, and clinging to the sewer walls. "I'm going to have to burn this costume?" Another one. And they don't come cheap.

Stegron doesn't seem to be moving, or moaning. Maybe he's unconscious. He could be dead. But based on what Spider-Man saw, he figures the creature is just pinned… for now. "Yeah, uh, I'm kind of a solo act. I'm guessing that one or both of you are part of one of those super secret hero teams with ungodly government funding to take care of something like that? Because I really don't want to dig him out just so I can drop him off at the police station, where, you know, he might eat somebody."


Tigra's going to need a good, long soak after this, and she didn't even get that dirty. Once they're back topside thanks to the rabbit hole, she moves the back of a hand toward her mouth like she's going to groom it, then she obviously thinks better of that idea because it never comes to pass. "Ugh," is her simple declaration.

"JL:A, and you couldn't really say we're secret. I'll alert them to this, though from the looks of that sinkhole the entire city's going to know about this any minute," Tigra explains, keeping a safe distance from that as she rubs the back of her neck slowly. "They can probably figure something out that'll work. And..I'm even hungrier now." No, she didn't lose her appetite. She also looks as if she's treating Spider-Man like the average costumed hero type. Cats can be tough to impress. "So, look us up later if you need to follow up on this." She gets busy letting those at the Hall of Justice know what's going on.


Spider-Man gives her a mock salute, careful not to bring his hand into contact with his mask. And on second thought, he wishes he hadn't brought his hand so close to his nose. "Ugh, it wouldn't be a Friday night if I didn't have to go trudging through the New York City sewer system." With the Justice League: Avengers on the case, Spider-Man feels all right about leaving that thing down there. He did his part. He stopped it. But he's really not ready to incarcerate or transport something that strong. "Can I suggest Mr. Wu's? Try the sweet and sour chicken balls and the ginger beef. It's delicious." And with that said, he fires off a webline, and rises into the sky, shooting another, heading towards the nearest source of clean water.

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