Timing is Everything

August 27, 2016:

Three Avengers respond to an emergency at S.T.A.R. Labs New Jersey

S.T.A.R. Labs New Jersey



NPCs: Melter and Blizzard

Mentions: The Hood


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The last month Nathaniel has been pretty busy working in the future Avenger’s equipment. Starting with their airplane. Falcon has also added some interesting pieces of electronics, but it is mostly Nathaniel tinkering with technology that is not supposed to exist on Earth for centuries.

They really don’t even have a place to meet. Because the hangar with the jet is a mess of scattered electronics, half-dissembled vehicles and currently a heavily modified quinjet, still with some pieces missing, that is hovering a couple feet over the ground.

Nathaniel stands in the middle of a dazzling wall of holographic displays, many of them screens of data in strange alphabets. Some, however, are news channels or law-enforcement data-streams, and one of them gives him pause.

Both Captain Marvel and Arsenal receive the following message. Delivered from their smartphones, or in Roy’s case, the alien-tech communicator Starfire gave him when he was in the Outsiders.

Avengers alert. Ongoing superhuman criminal activity at the S.T.A.R. Labs New Jersey facility. Casualties reported. Please assist if possible.

Coordinates are included, and also transmitted to the starship Starfire so Roy can use the teleporters to arrive quickly.

Sitting at her desk at the Daily Planet, Carol Danvers glances down at her phone and purses her lips momentarily. It doesn't much matter to her who sent that intel; what matters are the lives at stake. "Sorry, folks. We're going to have to continue this discussion without me. Alan, Jericha, would the two of you please take over. You have my notes. If you need to reach me and absolutely cannot do it yourselves, text. I'll respond when I can."

With that, Carol Danvers exits the conference room and jogs towards her office … then past it into the stairwell. A handful of seconds later, a muted sonic boom sounds just offshore of Metropolis.

"This is Captain Marvel. Coordinates locked, I am inbound transorbital. Give me whatever intel you can about what's on the ground. I'll be coming in hot. Any backup or boots on the ground?" And yes, orbital tracking would pick up the heroine literally skipping across the atmospheric envelope at speeds exceeding Mach 6.

New Jersey, here she comes!

Putting on boots quickly, check.

Quiver slung over his shoulder. Check.

Adjusting shades for maximum cool, check.

"On the way, Nathaniel."

Stepping onto the teleporter to beam down, Roy Harper takes a deep breath, re-adjusts the holster for his crossbow and re-checks his bow, an ice arrow at ready. "And it's show-time."

… Oh. Jersey. He probably should've brought a gas mask too.

Actually the lab is in a pretty nice neighbor, S.T.A.R. Labs has good founding. The circular building has a park at one side and an open parking lot at the other. It is Saturday and there are few vehicles there. What there are also a couple of police cruisers by the main gate, where Roy appears.

But one of them is has been overturned and smashed, and the other is covered on ice. In fact the whole area near the doors is slippery due to a thin cover of frost. The gates are gone, but the entrance is also barred by an ice wall.

A couple police officers are also on the ground. Both are unconscious, one with an obviously broken jaw, the other covered on ice, suffering serious hypothermia. From the air Carol can see a few citizens, keeping away from the area but too curious to leave. More police cars are coming, but still a few minutes away.

// Roy, I am a three minutes away// transmits Nathaniel through the alien comms. But Captain Marvel should be there in seconds. What are you seeing?

Carol listens intently as sketchy intel is provided over her own comms, and she keeps herself dialed into her target coordinates, like the professional Air Force pilot and astronaut she is.
Overhead, the skies rumble with thunder out of the clear blue, as Captain Marvel dives into the atmospheric envelope at transsonic speeds and then starts bleeding momentum, literally glowing twice over as she absorbs the searing, blistering heat of her reentry as energy to overcharge her powers.

"This is Marvel. Onsite and descending. Arrival in eighteen seconds. Recommend you stand clear of iced entrance." comes over the comm frequency.

Timing is everything.

Within ten seconds of that transmission, anyone looking heavenward can clearly see that glowing, burning trail as Captain Marvel descends. She is braking, slowing down, but only minimally. Four seconds later, her trajectory radically diverges, as she bows out slightly and then flattens her own approach.

Still trailing fire, four seconds later Captain Marvel flies right through the ice wall.
Knock knock. Avon calling.

// Well, at the moment, it looks like the ice age, // Roy responds, switching ice arrow for something more incendiary and starting to try and melt the ice covering the other cop.

As he tends quickly, he asks, "Can you tell me what happened?" No sense barging in without an idea as to what was going on.

Listening to the comm at the same time, Roy grimaces, as he positions himself to shield the cop from flying ice shards. "Five… four… three… two…"

Captain Marvel arrival shatters the ice wall blocking the entrance, but it is pretty cold inside, and very broken, as it looks like the labs security tried to fight the attackers her. A couple are now frozen, trapped inside ice blocks. Whatever did it at least left their heads mostly free, so they are still breathing, if very unconscious. Half a dozen others weren’t so lucky, they are little more than charred bones and liquefied flesh. The lights flicker and spark, and Carol can feel a powerful energy discharge maybe a hundred feet ahead. Microwaves.

It doesn’t take much for Roy to free the cop from the ice; it is a very hot August afternoon after all. But he is going to need medical assistance soon or he might lose a finger or two.

I do not know what happened, Roy. But I was keeping watch on the building because they brought in a piece of advanced technology the New York police had been keeping gathering dust in a warehouse for years. Replies Nathaniel. We need to give com devices to the others. I cannot find Falcon or the Widow

"This is Marvel. Security engaged just inside the main entrance. I have a half-dozen personnel frozen in place, heads free. I also have another half-dozen literally slagged, and high-energy microwaves going on a hundred feet ahead. No offense intended, but I strongly advise moving on the hop, Arsenal. We're going to need medical backup here, Richards."

That said, the hovering Captain Marvel does not bother to check pulses; she can't save these people, so they will live and die based on those who can help. For now, she has to get to the enemy. "Moving ahead zero-zero one-hundred. Ready to engage."

It's rather unlikely the enemy would fail to hear the catastrophic explosion as Captain Marvel blasted through the ice-sealed entryway, but Carol's glow would serve as additional warning, as she flies towards that location, tuning in all of her senses as best she can to provide intel shy of actually engaging … which she is sure is nigh.

A bit of attempt at smelling salts didn't help, as the cop was far, far too groggy to answer. Ah well, at least the man was alive.

Listening to the com, Roy trails in Captain Marvel's wake, advancing quickly and ignoring the stench as he treads his way quickly through the path of melted ice. Zero-Zero hundred… uh. He wasn't up on his military terminology, but it -sounded- like 'charge straight ahead!' to him.

There is a big lab ahead and Carol charges in. Two women and a man in S.T.A.R. Labs coats are cowering in a corner, cornered by a pair of colorful clad ‘super-villains’. One wears an orange chestplate and helmet over a green and yellow outfit. A red M in his chest announces for those savvy on super-humans he is the Melter. The outfit is really garish.

The other wears a sleek blue, black and silver body armor. “I told you we should have waited to the night,” he yells, sending a dozen icicles flying towards Captain Marvel. “Now we have super-heroes, damnit!”

“Shut up and kill her, you wimp!” Yells the Melter. The microwave blast he sends from his gauntlet is much deadlier than the icicles, but he is aiming too high.

"Enemies engaged, three civilian hostages. Melter, Blizzard." Captain Marvel replies rapidly, her words not quite tripping over each other, but it's a near thing. What likely disturbs the Hell out of her opponents, however, is that Captain Marvel doesn't try to avoid those attacks. She flies into them, letting the microwave blast saw through much of the ice, as her body absorbs the energy of the microwaves and converts it into more power. Then she flexes her overpowered muscles, and shatters out of the ice surrounding her.

To say that Captain Marvel looks 'none the worse for wear' would be a lie. She looks burned and frosty and in pain. That wasn't pleasant. And yet she did it. She did it, rather than let those shots hit any of the unstable machinery in this room, or risk ricochet which might hit the scientists.

The pulsing glow around Carol focuses down to her hands, and Princess Sparklefists gives a growling grimace as she punches her fists out, unleashing photonic blasts at each of her targets. "Lay them down, and I won't break you. This is your only warning."

While Roy didn't have any clarity on -who- these villains Marvel mentioned, he sure as hell appreciated Carol identifying their powers, at least. Both of these guys he would have a difficult time handling unless he did the stealthy thing and came up on them while Captain Marvel was distracting them being larger than life.

The freeze arrow out and ready, Roy chooses the better part of valor, waiting until both were sufficiently distracted before aiming said freeze arrow at blizzard guy. Oh, that was the clever part at least - melter could probably work his way out. Freeze guy, on the other hand, would -probably- increase the amount of ice surrounding him and make it worse. Hopefully that would give him enough surprise to get the hostages clear.

Actually Blizzard aimed well, the ice painful but Carol is tougher than it. But the bulk of the Melter’s blast hit the ceiling, disrupting the molecular structure of concrete and metal and causing it to collapse. On top of Carol!

But the woman was too fast and the photon blasts fly true. Blizzard takes it on the chest and is sent sprawling across the tiled floor and a couple lab tables. Unfortunately his armor, although not as good as Iron Man’s, can take that kind of punishment and he rolls over, trying to stand. Then Roy hits him with an ice arrow and he ends up frozen inside a giant ice cube. The irony!
Melter, more veteran in this game, manages to duck out of the way of the photon blast, laughing as a maniac as the ceiling collapses.

Meanwhile Iron Guard has arrived to the gate and runs inside, catching up with Roy just in time to pull him back from the debris falling from the upper floor.

"Get the civilians out." It's all Captain Marvel has time or mind to relay to her allies as she coughs and chokes on the fouled air full of dust and debris as a segment of ceiling and structure continues to fall. She's here. No one else is at point-blank with the enemy. And someone has to contain this jackass before he kills more, or worse destabilizes a power core and wipes out half a state.

Carol hates supervillains. She hates crazy, stupid supervillains the most.

Melter flees, and so Captain Marvel gives glowing, blazing chase, strafing with photonic blasts to keep his ass occupied as she charges a head far faster and more agilely than he can hope to avoid. She's not going to blast him. No. She's going to pound her fists into him, repeatedly and with force.

With Blizzard down, Roy shouts, as he's yanked back by Iron Guard. "Hey! Get the civvies out! THIS WAY!" he calls out, waving his hands to get the scientists moving, before freeing himself to grab ahold of and push a metal cart to rest in the middle of the doorway, hoping it was strong enough to hold up and create a crawlspace if things started collapsing around the doorway. "Now!"

The Melter expected a few tons of concrete and metal would keep Captain Marvel busy, maybe even knock her out. So he went to try to melt the ice around Blizzard, shaking his head at the other villain rookiness.

So Carol punches him through the wall. He never saw it coming and he will wake up in jail in a few hours.

Nathaniel helps Roy to take the scientists out of the shattered room, but he seems distracted. “There should be a device here, some kind of high-tech lance.” But there is nothing like that in the lab.

"Ask the civilians." Carol shouts back in answer to Richards, as she flies after Melter and seizes him, stripping pieces of gear as she carries him back to be bound for transport, making sure he can't use those microwave bursts on anyone else in the meantime. "Blizzard, if you move, I'll punch your heart out of your damned chest. I'm done being Good Cop today." she warns, as she continues with binding Melter and then moves to grab up the armored Blizzard. The latest rundown she has of Ronald here is that he'll die if he's pulled out of the suit. So … she doesn't do that.

"Drop him into a water tower if he doesn't behave!" Roy calls out. Not that he was serious, but give the villain something to think about, at least.

Then something Nathaniel says catches up with his brain. "A -what-?" Glancing around, Roy grimaces. "Why would you think that would be here…? You think that's what they're after? Because if I were them, I'd keep something that sounded like that either in a security safe-room, or I'd be using it in a test room. Which… hm." C'mon, did he see anything like that on the way? No. Probably deeper in the building?

The supervillains are beaten, with Melter unconscious and Blizzard iced. It doesn’t seem they will give more problems. But Nathaniel sounds unhappy. “I am pretty sure that is what they wanted. The police brought it here this morning.”

One of the scientists confirms it, “yes, there was a third robber. A man with a red cloak. He vanished just as they heard you breaking in.” A pause, one of the women adds, “he took it. He took the Black Knight’s fusion lance.”

"Red cloak. That familiar to anyone?" Captain Marvel inquires. It could be someone like Mysterio, in which case disappearing was just about invisibility, rather than teleporting away, and they might still be able to catch and stop him. Maybe.

"Wasn't that something like The Hood?" It sounded vaguely familiar, one of the names that popped up while he was checking on the Red Hood. Would've been convenient if he was actually named the Red Cape instead, but whatever.

"So we split up and check the exits?" Roy asks, tapping his foot. "We might as well, before Knight comes storming down looking for the lance."

“Crimson Cowl?” Suggests Iron Guard. “Yes, look for him and the lance. Although the police will arrive in a minute. They can cordon the area. Ah, the Black Knight that created that weapon died years ago, that is not going to be a problem, Roy.”

Unfortunately there is no lance or red-cloaked villain to be found. Whoever he was, he sneaked away. But the Avengers captured two super-villains and saved the three hostages. Not bad for their first team battle.

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