In Two Times At Once

August 04, 2016:

An anonymous call has several people appearing in the one place in Metropolis. Seems it's a party hosted by TRINE



NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

What do Pepper Potts, Samantha Twining, Jemma Simmons and Thomas Nashoba all have in common?

There's a computer program that wants them dead. Or at the very least making some significantly different career choices.

Dead, in Thomas' case though. Just dead.

Of course that doesn't and can't stop people from going about their lives. Metropolis won't protect itself after all, and there's the business of Stark Industries to tend to. Some of which happens to occur in Metropolis.

Funny that.

It starts with a simple phone call. Different to each person. Well in Nyx's case less a phone call and more a signal broadcasting some unreasonably high tech from a particular high rise's 50th floor southwest conference room. In Pepper's case it's simply an appointment with one Mr. Orboros of CTJ Industries. In Thomas and Jemma's case, very similar except it's Agent Orboros on their phones. The appointments are for 1:45 PM sharp. And it's closing in on that now.

It's not often that Pepper has reason to travel to Metropolis. But she's here today, as much curious as anything. She'd had JARVIS dig up what he could about this CTJ Industries and, well, it's left her intrigued. So here she is, stepping out of a cab at the indicated building and settling her bag on her shoulder. It's been an interesting week for meeting new corporate people. Hopefully this one will go like the last did.

Jemma is busy, researching all sorts of things. Particular countermeasures for a viral processor, but that's not the only thing. When the biochem arrives at the high rise, she's a few minutes early allowing herself time to settle before finding out who this mysterious Agent Orboros is.

Of course, as she was coming to Metropolis, she'd dropped a text to Thomas and let him know. Maybe they could catch up after her meeting. Coffee or maybe even dinner.

Pepper might be surprised to see Jemma exit the building and a few minutes later, Jemma approaching from the opposite direction and enter the very same building.

Meanwhile Nyx is very high up. She is scanning, on a wide variety of fields. Call the alien AI in her brainmeats paranoid at this point going up against a lesser but future AI from the EarthZone. Not at all competitive but still more than this planet usually fields as a threat. So yes a lot of active and passive scanning. "Hmm.. Ms. Potts and Agent Simmons." she switches bands and raises their phones.. ring…

Curiously, Pepper and Jemma and Thomas are approaching down separate hallways. Which is all the more curious because there really is only one hallway to get into this conference room. As Nyx rings them up each can hear the other cellphone go off, but there's no evident source.

From Samantha's persepctive her cell signal acts almost like sonar for a moment. She can see it split where it shouldn't, going to two places that are the same place and yet not the same place. A temporal distortion. And unlike the ones that surround a certain US Marshal, this one appears to be quite deliberate.

"Jemma? Is that your phone? Or are we… hearing one… through the air vents?" Yeah, Thomas is confused.

Pepper Potts smiles and waves hello to Jemma and Thomas, then pauses and frowns faintly at the strange phone rings. She pulls her phone and deliberately silences the call. She set her ringtone to something distinctive with JARVIS' help for a reason. Regardless of what she hears, a second later she's answering the call. "Yes?" No one calls this number if they don't know her.

"Hello Thomas and Pepper" Jemma greets the other two as she takes her phone from her pocket and silences it, whilst looking at the number and frowning. Shaking her head towards Thomas "Not my phone … Hello, this is Doctor Simmons…"

Through the distortion, which may actually be to multiple locations. Sam's voice ~Well.. you are all in a temporal distortion. Walked right into it. Two places at once from the outside view. Probably a trap.~ processing ~They wanted me to burst in.. so probably a trap geared to me too which means.. you are in extreme danger I am afraid…~ a sigh. ~I should probably burst in…~

"Nyx? Wait. Don't burst in here. Can you zero in on the source of the distortion? Get JARVIS to help you." At least Pepper HOPES JARVIS can help. She steps closer to Jemma and Thomas, her eyebrows drawn together in concern before she looks up and down the hallway.

The door to the conference room opens as Sam can see geometry reshaping itself so that there isn't actually an exit to the place. If Thomas, Pepper or Jemma turn to leave, they'll simply wind up back where they started. Right where they are at the door.

"Is that Nyx? Temporal distort-" Oh. Thomas can see it ramping up now. And now that he can see it, he can see someone in the corner of the room aiming something out the window toward Samantha's position…


The weapon fires. It's an energy beam of a highly unusual nature. Composed entirely of a stream of antichronitons, anything it hits simply… erases from the timestream.

Right at that moment a large hand pushes the door open. It's a Hulkbuster - it is in fact the same hulkbuster that is firing the canon, simply in two places at one time. Time distortions are fun…

He's holding a quite dead suited man in his hand. "The Agent regrets that he couldn't make your meeting. However perhaps I can talk to you about… preparing for retirement." Pepper and Jemma can both hear weapons powering up.

"Temporal Distortion?" Jemma repeats and makes a face. "No, don't burst in. We might be able to break the cycle…" She's answering at the same time that Pepper is, even as she looks at Thomas and follows his gaze across the room - "Watch out, Nyx… What the hell is that?"

"Thomas!!!" As the hulkbuster comes through, the biochem grabs Pepper and drags her down behind the conference table (if she'll let her). "TRINE. I'm not ready to retire."

There is a very distinct sigh over the cellular devices from.. Nyx..?… ~I … am tiring of this construct.~ She adjusts her positioning and there is a pop that shatters windows in downtown metropolis as she moves at .. well beyond the speed of sound to the side and avoids the chronotons. Thanks to the warning, maybe, pronbably. So much probablity. ~I think when I eventually finish removing this from your weak networks it will be isolated in a virtualized prison and tortured~ yeah that doesn't .. .sound like Nyx…. ~Do you have it under control then.. no bursting in needed?~ okay that sounded totally like snark.

Pepper Potts looks at the Hulkbuster in shock, and then Jemma's dragging her behind a conference table. Of course, that's enough to snap her back to the, well, whatever passes for the here and now at the moment. She digs in her purse then offers Jemma a Derringer-sized pistol. Dainty little thing. "Here." Considering it doesn't seem to have any way to reload bullets, maybe it's more like a Noisy Cricket?

"NOPE! NOT UNDER CONTROL!" Thomas shouts. As Jemma hauls Pepper away and toward the table he takes best shot at TRINE. His best shot is actually pretty good for a human. He could send a pro football player across a room with it and make a mess on the other side at full power. Against TRINE? Well it rocks him back and buys Thomas enough time to dodge the counterstroke.

The other TRINE - which is really the same TRINE because this isn't confusing enough already - turns to try to get to Jemma and Pepper. Apparently it thinks it chased Nyx off.

Might be time to use that noisy cricket.

"No, we need help …" Jemma yells into her phone as Thomas shouts. Glancing at Pepper she raises an eyebrow at the derringer as she takes it. Of course she's carrying her own weapon. A sturdy handweapon that's proof against humans and maybe some inhumans - but against TRINE? Just … all the nope.

Not thinking about whether there are one or two TRINES, something kicks in for the biochem and rolls clear, coming up on her knees, taking careful aim at the suit and pulling the trigger…

It's like she's done this a number of times before.

~Well okay, bursting in there… hmm two of them… I hate temporal distortions and I hate this AI.~ with that admonishment Nyx tilts her wings and dives… well she can go Mach2 and the speed she hits that building and the arc she is aiming for the non-noisy cricketed TRINE is … severe.

Pepper Potts tries to get further behind cover so Jemma and Thomas don't have to worry about her, and at the same time tries to get her phone to connect to JARVIS. "Come on, come on." Because DAMN these robot things are scary. And she's kind of wishing a friendlier robot-type (preferrably in flashy gold and hot rod red) were here to take those things apart.

BOOOM. The wall that Nyx comes through just… ceases to exist. The debris that goes flying has this weird double effect like it's an old school 3D picture that someone is looking at without glasses. It seems to be in two places at once…

And then one of the Trines is gone. And half a second later so is the other. Whatever was projecting that distortion field was defintitely on it's person and Nyx just tackled it out of the building moments after half of it got Stark-Cricketed. Which, let's be clear, would hurt if TRINE had any pain receptors.

Nyx can feel the surge of chronitons. TRINE is going somewhen and it may take her along for the ride if she's this close to him in a moment or so.

But she might have time to get a couple of shots in.

Jemma ducks as the wall explodes, covering her head as the debris falls around her, a piece hitting her cheek and cutting it. But if that's the worst that happens, she's going to be thanking her lucky stars.

"Pepper, are you ok…" she asks as she peeks through her crossed arms, trying to work out if they're safe … or if she should keep shooting.

That's a nifty little weapon.

Well Samantha launches herself back off of Trine … not without a slice of her energy wings and both fists launching particle beams ~LAME~ is broadcast to half the town in utter frustration as the thing is about to go… WHEN not where "so…. so very lame" she grumbles.

Pepper Potts yelps and covers her head with her arms at the wall exploding inward, now inwardly thankful that she'd bothered to put on a blazer today instead of dressing for the summer heat and going sleeveless. And then before her hearing's fully recovered from that, Jemma's there asking if she's okay. "I think so," is the best answer she can offer.

Thomas picks himself off the floor and shakes his head before going to the window. There's a Nyx… and no TRINE.

Probably too much to hope that it's gone. Maybe it got teleported back to the Jurassic Era though. A man can always hope.

"Too close…" He mutters. And yeah. He agrees. It's lame. Or would if he could hear the digital signal being sent out.

"I think we should vacate. If Nyx is still listening, thanks." Not often that Thomas actually interacts with Metropolis' capes but they seem a good lot for the most part, and Nyx is no exception.

Oh if only he knew.

Jemma picks herself up off the ground and helps Pepper up, before making her way towards Thomas and Nyx. "Where'd they go?" She's still not sure if there were two or not, the temporal anomaly isn't something she's so used to dealing with. "And thank you, Samantha and Nyx for helping out…" she says as she looks to Thomas "Are you hurt?"

Sam touches down and snaps her wings "Elsetime. Coward." she squints looking around "So many chronotons.. though it is all collapsing down to one timeline." she pauses "I am really … pissed about this AI and it being drawn here." she looks to Thomas "I think this is your fault."

Pepper Potts shakes bits of debris out of her clothes and follows Jemma over, though her eyebrows indicate her surprise at Samantha's accusing Marshal Nashoba. "Why do you say that, Nyx?" She looks at Thomas for an explanation. Please have one, because as far as weird days go, this one ranks even higher than when she walked into her office to find a gigantic injured wolf trapped behind her desk.

"My fault?" Thomas quirks a brow. "Uh… except that it wants to kill me I don't think it's my fault. It wants to kill you too as I recall. Or control you. Whatever." He remembers they made a run at her in the diner a month or two ago.

As for explanations… homicidal robot? That's about as much of an explanation as Thomas has right now. If Pepper wants to know how things like looping hallways happened she's going to need to find a nerdier cop.

"Elsetime?" Jemma squints at Sam as if that will help clarify the answer, paling as it hits her "It … can time travel? Oh heavens. Thomas, they can time travel…" which means that's at least part of what the AI has been building.

"It's not Thomas' fault…" the biochem says as she steps closer to the Marshal "… that AI had been sent back in time to do something." She's still trying to put the clues that she has together. "Why do you say that it's Thomas' fault, Samantha?"

Nyx looking Thomas over slowly and then to the others "Because he is temporal as well.. parts enfused with the chronotons … he is the only person I have run into in this world so far that is temporally messed up and the time traveling AI has him on it's list… it is suspicious." she pauses "Correction.. Booster is also … not on the list though but temporal. There must be a connection."

Clearly, Pepper is considering Nyx's words seriously. "She does have a point. Every image that JARVIS has recorded of you coincides with some strange occurrence. Like a giant planter being thrown across the lobby and worse." That hideous AI Tony has trapped on a server in the basement.

"I might be able to point you at a couple more…" Thomas mutters. Truth is there likely is a connection and he's enough of an investigator to know that, but he has no idea what it is as yet.

Beyond likely having something to do with his gauntlet. Not that that's helpful.

"Well, my fault or not we should probably go before someone notices this hole in the building."

"He's not the only one." Jemma murmurs in response to Nyx. "There are others. But you should consider that TRINE targetted you, I and Pepper separately. The temporal disturbance today, existed before we got here. Yes, TRINE is after Thomas, but he's not alone on that AI's list."

Turning to Pepper, the biochem gives the redhead a faint smile "That's a good point and worth considering but it might just be coincidence. It should be kept in mind though."

Straightening her jacket and pushing her hair back from her face, Jemma nods at Thomas' words. "Let's be off, then."

Nyx considers "Well no. It is removing problems to their future goals… TRINE eh… hm.." she considers "Still I think Thomas is connected deeply…" she looks at his hand, aka gauntlet zone and then to the others "Be safe then.. call me if you need help." she flares her wings back out.

"Thank you, Nyx. And call me next time you're in Manhattan. We can meet for lunch." She offers the young woman a smile, then looks at the other two. "I am more than ready to get out of here."

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