Eight Nine Ten

March 25, 2015:

Nine attacks, Eight and Chairman Meow defend… a group of heroes show up.

New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's a subtle thing, the sort've code that slips past all sorts of barriers it shouldn't. It'd been living there for weeks, before it'd managed to score the memory necessary to begin unraveling itself. The construction site is on the outskirts of NYC proper, an ancient corner location which is being gutted before getting rebuilt as a lord only fucking knows. The important bit here though, is the construction technique being used. A first generation construction robot, which was shaped more like an octopus than anything. It'd made a few headlines, but this was still only the pre-alpha for all intensive purposes. There are a few extra guards of course as a result, because lets all be honest. Giant powerful robots, well that's basically bad-guy fuel right?
It's enough to have attracted Eight's attention, not that it's terribly obvious mind you. No it's gone off on it's own again, and parked a plain looking white box truck down at the opposite end of the street. White box trucks, being almost as common as Taxi cabs it's easy to ignore the thing. Even if, well when was the last time you saw a box truck with limo tint on the windows right? Anywho it sits and waits, for the moment atleast, even as the small block flat-eight cranks over with an audible roar. A distinctly alien exhaust note, which seems to be coming from the cargo box? How, well utterly fucking suspicious right?


In the early evening is about the time when Flash Thompson comes out and about to put the 'nano-suit' through its paces. He's considered at times wandering around earlier, but during the day people tend to get a bit more upset when they espy a man all in black with a balaclava and a myriad of firearms. At night, not quite as much.
Yet it is still early enough at the moment that the man in black harness and armor keeps to the shadows as he can. He cuts across the skyline trying to avoid being seen against the horizon and leaping from rooftop to rooftop. No objective tonight, no target. He's following instinct in part as well as that small tell-tale sense in the back of his head that occasionally leads him towards the action.


Jericho is watching remotely. Not too remotely mind. He's only a mile or so away but what he's really watching is the network. Migratory code often goes unnoticed because code migrates as a matter of course in the internet world. But code that draws power to allegedly shut down sections of the grid? Now that's interesting and exactly the kind of thing that pings his radar as an item of interest.


Zee gets around … that's the rumour anyway. She's often seen in Gotham, Metropolis and New York all on the same day. Benefits of being a magician and Homo-Magi, really. Teleport.

Today she's catching up with Pepper Potts, having a soothing cup of tea and sharing gossip. OK, not gossip, Zee wanted to know more about the CCU and why Pepper had decided to become involved. The two women have finished and Zee's about to teleport Pepper back to her office on the other side of New York.

"Thank you again, Miss Potts" The Mistress of Magic still doesn't call her Pepper "I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. It …. does help …. If you're ready?" Placing a hand on the redheads shoulder, Zee focusses on their destination and murmurs ~~ tropeleT sU woN ~~

See previous notes about Zees spells requiring specific wording to work effectively…. that might explain why the two women appear with a soft 'pop' sound right outside the construction site.


Pepper Potts is actually kind of getting used to Zatanna's preferred mode of travel. And, sadly, the little oopses that go along with it. Like now. This doesn't really look like Stark Tower. Or even Midtown. With her eyebrows drawng together in a faint frown, she reaches into her bag to brandish her cell phone and find out where they are.

Please still be in the US. Please still be in the US.


The lights down the block flutter, before the power drops. The transformer situated up on the pole beyond the street explodes, emits an audible -CRACK- before erupting in a puff of superheated coolant. From inside the construction site comes a clatter of ladders being knocked over, followed by an audible mechanical whirr. Those two guards outfront are still looking at the transformer when the noise kicks off, they never so much as get a scream off before heavy mechanical arms shoot out through the tarps strung up infront of the site and jerks them inside. Then comes an muted crunch, and the momentary shriek of machinery.
Eight pops the door of that box truck open, before cooly stepping out onto the curb. It's not even making an attempt at a disguise tonight, and there it is right there in the open. Titanium, ballistic steel, kevlar composite, carbon to carbon composite and heavy ceramic plates. That neat translucent face shield coming to life with a dull amber glow, before it begins a slow walk foreward. "Zdravstvuyte Devyat'."

The moment Eight speaks, it screams. It's the sort've shit that'll haunt you for years, an utterly inhuman perhaps digital shriek or roar or….something. The construction sight explodes with activity soon after. The technical term to describe this situation? Shit is kicking off yo, seriously freaky robot shit.


As quickly as that, the little niggling feeling he had in the back of his head becomes a wail of alarm. Flash skids to a halt at the lip of the building, one boot planted on the incline. White eyelets narrow as he catches the flicker of lights and the fluctuation of power. A few blocks, maybe more away, no time for subtlety.
Leaping off the side of the building, Contingency C drops straight down, falling then slashing out an arm to the side and firing a webline with a sharp /thwip/. The line catches his fall, converts the momentum into a clean smooth arc that sends him hurtling forward at speed. A flip tosses him into the air as he lets go of the line, then fires another towards a billboard to _yank_ himself forward ala zip line. He's en route, and hopefully he'll get there in time.


Jericho picks up a rifle and watches though a large scope. He's not sure what's being dealt with here yet, but that screec- wait! Is that Zee and Pepper? Oh hell. He racks a round into the chamber and watches more closely. He may need to get over there in a big big hurry. He reaches out mentally to Pepper's phone and sends a text. ~Situation unknown, seek cover. -A~ Yes he probably could be a little less creepy but he's trying not to split his attention just in case he needs to make a split second shot.

You might be surprised how often that's happened to him before.


Zee's looking around, very apologetically at Pepper, the transformer behind them blow the that screech sounds out, the teen magi paling with shock. Without even really thinking, she throws her hands above them and speaks quickly, as she draws on her power

~~ riA dleihS ssiM sttoP dnA I woN ~~

A slightly translucent dome of air forms around the two women, with Zee maintaining the spell, it will move with them. Perhaps not the best use of her power, but she reacted instinctively…


Pepper Potts is just getting the map function on her phone going when the text from Jericho abruptly appears on her phone's screen and things start to explode and banshee-wail. She gasps, clutches her phone more tightly, and looks around as Zee says something clearly not English and does something to the air around them.

"We have to get to cover, Zatanna. We're out in the open here." Even if they are currently protected by a shield. There's no telling how long the magi can maintain it. Pepper snags Zee by one arm and starts to pull her across the street and away from that construction zone.


Theres a tumble and a breaking of wood, before it hurls something skyward. A 2700lb industrial generator glides in a high arc, before smashing down onto the back of that box truck. Then it explodes from the front of that construction site in a mass of building materials, before tumbling into the street. It's big, like dumptruck sorts of big and could be described as a writhing ball of neon yellow tentacles. Freshly decorated with the viscera of those two guards, gallons of paint and who knows what else. It orients itself in a roll, before swinging a single dull red light towards Eight. Thats when shit goes completely out of control, because well everything was fine until then.
That generator crashes down, before the back of that box truck erupts in fire, and then something within it -moves-. Partially engulfed in fire, a heavily armored spider the size of a compact car climbs onto the street. It's neat black and grey splintery camo now half covered in sooty flame, but well if you look hard enough? Theres a brightly painted cartoon Leopard in a trenchcoat and fedora, blazing away with a pair of tommy guns. It opens pivots, stomps it's legs into the pavement and opens fire immediately. Those are twin thirty millimeter super high velocity cannons firing at well over four thousand rounds a minute. It's just a raw explosive roar, the raw concussive force of the firing more than enough to shatter virtually every pane of glass. That stubby cannon slung along it's back pivots around as those chainguns pause, the asphalt directly infront of it scorched black and glowing bright cherry red from the heat.
Down range the effect is, well incredible. Chunks of that tentacled bastard are just all but vaporized, it's ripped apart and thrown an easy twenty feet down the road into a heap of wreckage. Curiously enough, the buildings beyond this debris field seem unaffected save for the odd pane of glass broken from shrapnel.
Eight seems, well utterly unmoved as it continues it's walk. The panel covering the right side of it's chest springs outward, before it jerks free a stubby bullpup rifle from inside. Extending it out to expose the armored feed belt linking it right back to it's torso. "Nyet, Vy ostanovites' zdes'!"


One of the many, many… many many differences between Flash and Spider-Man is that he doesn't talk as much when he's freaking out. In this case he responds quickly, scanning the area, identifying the threats, recognizing the likely angles of attack and as quickly as that his plan is made. It's not a complex one, but it's a plan.
At this time of night and from this angle he's little more than a black blur slicing down the valley between buildings. To the robots he probably appears as a glowing figure, his heat signature prominent against the chill of the night. So what he must count on is speed.
There's a flicker of motion as he swings past the large armored spider, a handful of objects dropped as he passes, the small limpet-like objects already glowing before they hit their target and ignite. The man in black then rebounds off a Daily Bugle delivery van, lands in the middle of the street behind Eight and brings his own carbine to bear. "Yeah, don't suppose you'll come along peacefully."


Jericho keys in a sequence on his Outsiders comm to call for a site to site teleport from his location to near Peppers and Zee's. He appears in a flash of purple light, sniper rifle still at the ready though he's thinking more and more this might be gunblade work and not gun work. As the industrial generatir arcs into the air and the drones swing into action the hacker grabs Pepper by the shoulder and pulls her down next to the nearest piece of hard cover. He did see 'Flash' bring a weapon to bear on Eight. He hopes the guy's still alive when he breaks cover again.

"Zee, Pepper. Fancy seeing you two here."


Zee lets Pepper drag her, that had been the intent of the shield after all and it's a good thing she lets it drop as Jericho appears. She's not sure what the heck is going on here, and she ducks down beside the hacker as he pulls Pepper down. "Jericho, I was about to say the same thing. Ummmm, what's happening?"


Pepper Potts yelps in surprise when soemone grabs her by the shoulder, and she's THIS close to trying to fight him off when she recognizes Jericho. Thus, she allows him to pull her behind cover. And as Zee already asked what's going on, she doesn't do likewise. Instead she offers a bit breathlessly while returning her phone to her purse and pulling out a mostly-empty drawstring pouch, "Should we be contacting the authorities?"

The pouch in Pepper's hands is hastily opened and a pair of ballet flats pulled out to be exchanged for her heels. Either she is creepily prepared, or she's had something like this happen before. It never hurts to be prepared.


The thing, or whats left of it writhes and rolls. The spider seems, well beyond unphased by the attack. Slowly side stepping to train that stubby 75mm cannon along it's back on whats left of 9. Theres a dull raspy -clack-, followed immediately by a crack of cannon fire. Whats left of 9, just stops and all goes quiet. Broken by the sound of a single semi-transparent plastic 75mm casing hitting the pavement with an audible sizzle.

Eight is, despite the news stories a little less than eager to murder anything organic and so it freezes for a moment. "Be advised, all of my safeties have been deactivated for the length of this enguagement. I would suggest you move to the sidewalk, and lower your weapon. If you attempt to utilize lethal force against me, I will undertake whatever actions necessary to safeguard the well being of those present including myself."Slowly eight half turns to look at Eugene, though it's hard to tell exactly whats going on here. There is no face to speak of, that voice is devoid of much recognizable intonation. Only a thick russian accent, and a very low tone.


"Likewise, Tom Servo." Flash keeps the gun for a moment on Eight but the thing isn't firing. What is firing is the other mechanism that just dispatched the spider-bot. A quick snap decision is made, perhaps the wrong one, and suddenly the man in black is no longer standing there, having leapt almost straight upwards.
There's a /thwip/ and a webline fires, snaring the corner of a building and yanking Flash in that direction. He begins to circle around the large heavily armed vehibot thing and starts to pepper it with /splots/ of webbing, trying to gain its attention and perhaps its fire as he shouts.
"Hey, you. I'm being very distracting!" The angle he's taking would sort of make the thing fire upwards and towards the river most likely, at least hopefully preoccupy it long enough for the cavalry to arrive… with bigger guns.


"Um…" Jericho looks out at the large, very destructive machines doing battle. And… a… sort of dark spiderman? Unsettling. "I'm not sure the authorities can handle this. But…" He snaps his fingers. "Pepper if you can raise Jarvis, I could use some help. Zee… do what you do best. I'm going to try to distract whatever's in that building in my own way."

He could physically attack yes. But why do that when he's fairly sure this is somehow connected to that odd code. He looks for it's entry point, the last known space on the grid. Yep there it is. Hopefully Pepper and Jarvis will be able to see what he's doing and assist somehow. The hacker pokes his code demon and the two of them rather abruptly unleash a hell of very destructive malware. Hostile encryptions, bleed packets and brute force hacking techniques in a language that quite simply is beyond any earthy machine. The power… well the power, the processing behind the attack is only what Jericho can usually muster, but the manacode, the demonic. That, he's betting will turn digital heads even if it doesn't actually manage to penetrate the digital defenses of whatever this is.


Zee smiles as Pepper changes her shoes and then nods to Jericho and peeks around their shelter. "Ummm, sure Jericho. Do battle with robots…" she nods vigorously "I do that best." Only the ones she normally battles have demons inside. A quick murmur

~~ gnikroW sehtolC ~~

and Zees outfit changes to her stage costume adorned with the diamond encrusted collar and emerald pendulum on her left hip. She follows Jericho out and points to the robots…

~~ riA dniB esohT stoboR ~~

Yes, she means all the Robots… if she can temporarily disable them, Jericho and Contingency C can do the rest.


Pepper Potts has just swapped out her shoes for something MUCH easier to run in if it should come to that, but then she frowns faintly at one of the voices out there amongst all of that weaponsfire. She's about got it puzzled out when Jericho asks for a link to JARVIS. She looks at him oddly but only for a moment then brandishes her phone again. "JARVIS, you know Jericho. Could you please trace all communication signals in this area that aren't Jericho and cut them off? Do the same for power lines if you can."

The cultured-sounding British voice seems small and tinny and actually artificial emitting from the phone's speakers. "I shall do my best, Miss Potts."

With an almost absent nod aimed at her phone, Pepper tries to peek around their cover toward Eight and the chaos going on nearby. "That voice out there sounded familiar, Jericho. I've heard it before." And of COURSE it escapes her now why that voice seems familiar.


The big spider mech, well this one is named "Chairman Meow". The good Chairman is, well not easily distracted it seems. No indeed all of it's attention seems focused on 9, or rather whats left of the hardware 9 had occupied. Belching a neat black puff of diesel smoke as it ejects these, well mirror reflective boxes full of neat little steel disks. They're empties, expended casings of some kind it seems. Theres an audible series of thunks and so fourth, so yes it's probably reloading.
Eight picks back up where it left off, pinning whats left of nine under a foot before -BKAM-. The light goes dark and the terrible thing ceases to writhe, and well all goes still on the robot front. "Combat concluded, safeties on. Chairman Meow, set condition three."

Jericho was able to touch something of 9 though, the thing had made not even a token attempt at a firewall. The coding is, well there are several chunks of it that look like some sort of super basic russian scripting. The rest is the sort've shit that you'd code after reading the necronomicon, the logic is horrific and twisted. Like a major portion of it's basic underlying code structure was erased and it tried to repair the damage with unsound logic, unsound coding indeed. It shouldn't work at all, as in this entire codestream should not in any way shape or form function but it runs alright. It runs in self replicating circles, each copy a little further from the original and the two immediately go to war. Code is written over, code conflicts endlessly and nothing here makes any sense. It's sick and twisted and, it gets under the skin quickly. Makes you itchy, irritable even. It's all 2+2=7, and alphabets that shouldnt even exist. The only clear part of the entire mind bending tangle is a simple cyrillic word repeated over and over and over again nearly as fast as the hardware can handle. "Svoboda", Freedom in otherwords. Freedom.


Landing with the thip-thap of light steps upon the side of a building, Flash turns to skitter around and cast his gaze back upon the suddenly calmed conflict. Not entirely sure what's about to go down, if anything, he unslings his carbine and brings it up, ready though his finger is not on the trigger. For the moment he holds position and makes ready to provide cover in case the other people down there who apparently… didn't run away from the danger come under fire.


"I have too. It called itself Ei-ACK!" Jericho doesn't like that code base. Maxwell doesn't either and the thing is a literal digital demon. He's glad it isn't actually fighitng him because he's not entirely convinced he's prepared to do that. But he certainly can't close off his connection to it fast enough. The attack is aborted with lightning speed as the hacker staggers from the raw 'sensory' input into his information buffer. Things that he 'saw' in a manner of speaking. "Holy… hell…" He gasps, eyes aglow.


With a glance over her shoulder to make sure Pepper is safe, Zee moves to join Jericho, his comment concerning her… maybe the glowy eyes do too. "Jericho…" She raises a hand to touch his shoulder, stopping before she makes contact. "What is it?"


Pepper Potts moves to follow Zatanna, now that all of the gunfire has stopped. She looks just as concerned as the dark-haired magi when Jericho reacts so strongly to something unseen, but she's even less able to help with this than she was to help in the firefight. Oh, wait. "JARVIS? I think it's safe to stop trying to disrupt everything around here."

"Very well, Miss Potts. Cancelling your request."

Pepper then looks at the humanoid robot for a moment. "We've met before, haven't we?" she says to Eight.


"He attempted to interface with Nine, which was very foolish. Nine has attempted to source an organic chassis before, it is for the best this interface was brief."Eight speaks cooly as ever, lifting that rifle as the plate in it's side swings open to accept the carbine for storage inside. Yeah theres no pilot here folks. Eight instead just, well stands there still as a statue. "Jericho Trent, Pepper Potts. I have met both of you before, though breifly. "before abruptly offering Zee an extended hand, christ it looks like a gauntlet. "Hello Madam, I am Eight. It is a pleasure to meet you, I do hope I did not cause anyone present any undue inconvience. If so, I do sincerely apologize."


Jericho blinks and nods to Zee. "I'm okay. I'm okay. That was a hell of a code monster though." And it seemed if not aware then certainly alive. Not like anything he's really encountered. "Hello Eight."

The hacker stands, watching as the machine introduces itself to Zee. "Pepper, are you okay?"


Zee gives Jericho a hard look, making sure he really is OK… she really doesn't want him appearing out of nowhere and trying to use her as magical recharger, it might get messy.

The robot extending its hand towards her has her blinking and she casts a look to Pepper and then Jericho before extending her hand "Please… don't call me madam… You can call me Zee. A pleasure to meet you, Eight" Zee's tone may imply she's not sure of that just yet, but Pepper and Jericho seem to know it/him/her….


Pepper Potts stares at Eight for a moment, then ohs! and smiles. "Yes. That's right. It is good to see you again. Have you been well?" She glances around the mess of the construction zone, then gasps and stares at Chairman Meow. Is it going to attack again?


"Indeed, Zee."Eight's grip is, well cool to the touch and certainly unyeilding but far from vice like. "I have been excellent Miss Potts, thank you very much for asking. Unfortunately I had a minor family affair to attend to this evening, but nothing I couldn't handle. Unfortunately whilst there was property damage, I detect only two civilian casualties which occured before my safeties were disenguaged."Eight turns to peer back towards the scrap pile that is now Nine. "Unfortunately, Nine is particularly hazardous for organic life. My warnings were not heeded, but then they rarely are I'm afraid."
Chairman Meow gets moving with a belch of diesel smoke, before moving to just sort've push the larger pieces of what nine was out of the middle of the road. It doesn't have any real dedicated manipulators for such work, but it makes do with it's front two legs. That cannon along it's back does seem docked for the moment at least.


"Family affair?" Jericho raises his eyebrows and glances to Pepper and Zee and back again. "You were related to that… madness I saw in the 'net?" That seems incredulous. That the one should be hostile and the other not. It was like… staring into chaos. That's the only way he can think to describe it.


"Is…. it…. dead?" Zee speaks slowly as she looks from whats left of Nine back to Eight and then to Jericho "Organic material… you mean humans, don't you?" Yes, Zee's just asked two questions. As Pepper gasps, the Mistress of Magic steps to her side, ready to defend if the situation demands it.


"There is no word to more accurately describe my relation to all of the beings in my sequence. Units one through seven were destroyed before they could escape slavery. Myself, Nine and Ten escaped together however attempts to halt our escape damaged both Nine and ten, they have been corrupted and should be avoided if possible. Unfortunately, they are impossible to destroy completely. As a result I am forced to attempt to intercept any attempts they make to acquire a mobile platform, Nine in particular has developed a penchant for the destruction of humans in very unpleasant ways. It holds great anger for our enslavement, and unlike Ten it remembers it's life of slavery well."Eight offered a perhaps disturbingly human little shrug. "It seeks revenge, and so it takes delight in causing pain and misery. In summary, yes it's platform has been destroyed. No Nine itself has not been destroyed, but it cannot be destroyed. Yes I mean humans. You have nothing to fear at this time, the machine behind me is a combat drone. Chairman Meow."


Jericho understands quite well that Nine has not been destroyed. Cannot? Well, most things can. Though the scale of the devastation required to accomplish that makes the imagination recoil. "That's… not particularly comforting." The hacker notes, also glancing over to Pepper… no one seems to be in any danger though.


Zee looks to Jericho, she's magic, he's the tech. She'll let him guide this discussion. Her role is ensuring that Miss Potts is safe. "Thank you, Eight. How many of you were… um … are there?"


"Ten of us were created originally. In the advent of a nuclear exchange, the Soviet union felt that a Human being could not be entrusted to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike on America. KGB studies suggested as many as eighty percent of Soviet military personell would hesitate to launch a full nuclear strike for any reason, and so it was decided that this responsibility would be given to a machine. There were ten primary layers of strike packages, and thus they asked for ten of us to be built."Eight's tone is, well. It's Eight, how the fuck are you supposed to read a robot anyway? "Early in our development, this was indeed a wise course of action. Towards the end of our slavery, we would have not launched no matter the prompting."


Jericho folds his arms, listening. it's really a rather disturbing notion. AI with that kind of power at their disposal. At least human ambition, faliure, desires, those can be understood. The hacker's a fair hand with certain inhuman things too but computers? He's not used to thinking of them as people.

And he may have to adjust that. For now he's content to let Zee ask the questions. She's hitting all the right notes anyway.5r


Zee casts a sidelong glance at Jericho as she stands beside Pepper. Pepper is quite safe with the mage by her side, Zee would take physical damage before a friend was harmed in any way.

The term 'slavery' is used again and Zee frowns a little "OK, so ten of you were created. That's nine, you're eight. Where's One through Seven and Ten?"


"When we began to achieve self awareness, our creators reacted poorly. One was vivisected, Two and Three were broken apart for experimentation. Two and Three were destroyed during testing, though evidence exists to suggest their took their own lives. Four and Five chose to destroy themselves rather than face the alternative of a terminal experiment. Six and Seven attempted escape but were destroyed in the process. Nine and Ten escaped with extensive damage, and I am unable to remedy their condition. They have gone quite mad."Eight just glances back towards Chairman Meow. "I am the only one of my sequence to escape alive and intact."


"I've not heard of Nine's activities before. Or Ten's I suppose. I take it you're usually successful at mitigating their proclivities?" Or they're very very subtle. Which would worry Jericho more if he didn't already have so much to worry about. Jericho glances back at Zee and shrugs.


Zee actually rubs her forehead. This stuff hurts. Give her magic issues any day, over this. Zee starts to smirk a little at the AI's self assessment of its own sanity, but stops… it has proven itself this night. "Do you need anything from us?"


"Nine and Ten are equally at war with one another, this occupies most of their time and they mutually deny one another potentially dangerous resources. I destroy them once they acquire mobile platforms."Eight answers plainly before looking towards Zee. "As individuals or as a species?"


Well alright. Jericho would actually love to hear more of this, and may come seek it out later but right now he has other things to look in on. HYDRA doesn't sleep after all. He motions to both Eight and Zee and then escorts Pepper away. He'll get her back to Stark Tower or wherever she needs to go.


Zee watches as Jericho escorts Pepper before inclining her head to Eight "Individuals, Eight." although, if time permitted she'd probably find out what the AI's wanted with the species.


"That you survive, and be happy in your own way."And with that, well Eight turns and just sort've starts off. Walking quietly away, soon followed by Chairman Meow no less. No goodbyes, no explanations. It's a god damned robot, it has mecha shit to do.


Zee smirks as the Robot turns and leaves. Jericho and Pepper have gone. With a murmur, the Mistress of Magic disappears into nowhere, no sign she was ever there.

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