Manhattan Rumble

December 14, 2016:

Steve Rogers accepts an honor in Central Park while Lyn watches from the crowd. The ceremony is interrupted when Faora takes issue with a convoy of armored trucks moving just north of the park.

Manhattan, New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

NEW YORK, NEW YORK.

Manhattan

For some it is the big apple. For others it is simply home. No one loves a hero like the hero's home town, and while it might not be Brooklyn, this part of New York still knows how to treat a hero right: With a park bench.

Near the very edge of central park, and not far from the busy sound of Upper Manhattan's bustle is a single park bench that has a great crowd gathered around it, and while the small token of their affection is indeed, somewhat small, and may be classified as the worst bench in the park, it's metal backing is layered in the names of those heroes that once fought beside their hometown hero.

"We gather here today for a modest symbol of our thanks for those who have come before us, and those who we hope will never have to face the horrors that these men, the Howling Commandos faced. And present, their last remaining member, a token of our gratitude - the Park Gate Veteran's award for valor. Steve Rogers. Thank you - your service, and that of your friends, has inspired us all."

As the elderly gentlemen hands over the pyramid shaped piece of glass while standing before the bench, his hands shake in much the same way they shook on D-Day, but this time for a different reason, and as he looks upon a man who helped end the war he feels he only helped start, smiles with both pride and tears.

Lyn had been away. Away-away for months now, but some say you can't leave 'home' forever. Granted, New York was never her home, she'd much rather keep her space in Gotham, where she felt she belonged. Regardless of any super-infused turmoil, and the grudging cheer of the holidays around the corner, something joyous was happening on this day, and it seems to have caught the mambo's attention.

Standing near the back of the gathering, wearing dark shades of scarlet and black, the girl stares out at the exchange of a trembling veteran to the original Super Soldier himself. Jade, serpentine eyes set attentively on the pair, and the elderly man's trembling joy causes the girl's lips to curve up and into a smile, each cheek pressing a visible dimple. When people clap, the girl in her headwrap claps along, leather covered fingers 'slapping' in tune with everyone else. In truth, she had never met the Star-Spangled Man, but there was always a first for everything.

Clad in his old dress uniform, Steve Rogers, seems more like a statue or part of some 'living history' rather than a military officer. Having been stored for a time by SHIELD (after they tried to get every piece of DNA from the clothing they could), they are clean crisp serve the man proud. He stands to attention when called upon, moving to take the piece of glad with honor and reverence, but not with the familiar red gloves of the superhero.

While some would be disappointed that he is not in his 'Captain America' attire, Steve feels that if he is being honored as Rogers and not the icon, he has no right to call in the fame and prestige of his position for this. While some believe that Captain America IS Steve Rogers, the super-soldier has a different perception of it. It is an honor, a privilege, but it is not something to flaunt whenever he wishes. Despite this, however, his shield remains close to him, placed in a bag with the rest of his belongings.

"Thank you so much for this honor," Steve begins as he looks out to all the people. "Know that I take this not just for me, but for the proud men that served in that war… May their sacrifice be remembered." There is a long pause as the man seems to linger over something in his mind which causes him to falter for a second. He swiftly recovers however and Steve speaks with the authoritative and hopeful tone he did when he was used to sell war bonds so many years ago. "As long as we look toward the inspiration of great men in our past, we can find the strength to push ourselves forward to a better nation. A nation all of us could be proud of."

Steve's blue eyes look toward the audience, as if trying to make some sort of connection with as many people as possible. Jade meets sky blue for a faction of a second, perhaps long enough for Lyn to see the sincerity of the man before her. "Thank you all again," he concludes and his smile softens as he prepares to move toward his seat, clearly not looking to take more limelight than he feels he deserves.

Thank you all again.

The words leave Captain America's mouth and a moment later the air overhead splits with a thunderous crack. The air itself feels stiff, pressure washing over the crowd and nearly bowling some over, and then a second sound, the very earth shattering - or in this case asphalt.

Not far from the park, the street splinters with the arrival of an armored figure, the distortion in the air above speaking to the sudden, sharp turn she made before deciding where the would land: Right in front of a series of three armored trucks.

The third sound that echoes in the air is that of several dozen tons slamming into the armored woman at nearly forty miles per hour, and where expectation might dictate the image of someone flattened in the mind's eye, instead there is only the impossible. It flattens at the front, momentum careening the vehicle sidelong, and the one following it tries to break, to turn, and it lessons it's fate only in that a shove of the woman's hand sends it tumbling sidelong.

The third truck slides to a skidding stop, but only in time for a sudden, dull-grey blur to set upon it, powering a fist into it's engine block and ripping metal apart with terrifying efficiency, the cry of the dying vehicle much like that of a whining child - until it is suddenly, horribly cut off by a yank that sends it's engine flying across the street to tailfish a metro bus.

Whatever today was supposed to be about for Mr. Rogers or Ms. LaCroux, plans have changed.

Faora-Ul has arrived.

Lyn peers at Rogers as if trying to read him, see through him, know his mind in an intimate manner. The peace of it all. The reverance. The admiration of something that honestly deserved it; then chaos began. Turning her head away from Rogers, breaking any connection she was trying to make with the man via empathy, her brows furrow at the crashing and rolling of bushes and cars. Soon, people would start to panic. Regardless of the world full of heroes and gods, people were still people, and the drive of fight-or-flight was all too real. Slipping her hands from her pockets, the girl moves with a few strides toward the more elderly of the gather, offering them a hand, or arm, to lead them away from the area and toward evacuation.

"C'on now. Won' be doin' y'ny good t'be here, non?" The Creole questions, offering a pleasant enough smile in hopes that her aid will be accepted, even if her eyes aren't the most inviting to a majority of people. "Get de vets clear," she sounds to anyone who may be listening. "N'clear de area. Don' worry, stay calm, but y'need t'move."

The sounds of chaos fill the air before Steve is able to take his seat, freezing him for a split second as he processes everything that just happened. Instead of taking that seat, he takes his stuff, one hand pulling out the famed disc from concealment while merely slumping the rest of the dufflebag across his back. He had planned to changed into his 'usual' attire for something else planned that day, but now that event will likely be postponed. Even the uniform of red, white and blue remains in the bag, unable to be properly utilized due to the lack of time. Most heroes are forced to change into who they are. Thankfully for men like Steve, who are known publically, he doesn't have to 'waste time' changing into costume to protect his identity. So despite being attired to receive a wartime award than earn it, Rogers does what he does best: rushing toward the thing that almost everyone else seems to be running from.

"Remain calm, but please leave the area! The situation will be handled," Cap roars for all in the area to hear as if mirroring the Creole woman's wisdom, temporarily leaving Lyn to the (hopefully) less hazardous but vitally important work of evacuation. The efforts are noted in the back of Captain America's brain, but sadly, another woman seems to be asking for his full attention.

"I don't know who you are," Steve begins once he find himself in the aftermath of Faora-Ul's arrival. "But unless there is some sort of grave misunderstanding, I'm going to have to ask you to surrender." With his shield before him, his duffle behind him, Steve Rogers is ready to yet again find himself way over his head as he slides his feet apart. Whatever this woman can do, Captain America is doing everything he can to be ready for it.

The crowd runs for their very lives, dispersing into the park, while many of the older veterans cower. Except for one.

Eugene Reggiano, the man who handed cap his award, which may or may not now be in his bag, will stand tall and firm, even as Lyn takes his hand. "G..go get'em cap! You see that? You see?" He remarks to Lyn, the lost reflection of his action days in his mind. If Sergeant Reggiano were not a frail shadow of a human being, in the very last days of his life, he might still try to fight the good fight. Instead he squeezes Lyn's hand and shuffles along with her urging. "Someone should .. should help him." He says, tears from his previous meeting still staining his eyes.

For Steve, there is another kind of conversation. A neglectful one.

Rip.

SMASH!

Thunk.

Then, gunfire, as the guards inside one of the vehicles open fire on the woman who just parted it as if it were made of paper. The sound of lead pittering out against her armor is likened to raindrops on pavement, and she ignores the men as she very firmly presses the remnants of the truck back together, and gives it a shoving hook with one booted heel.

The slow turn of her head, of those icy blues brings her vision to bear on the man with the shield, and her brows lift as she takes in the star on it's front. When her gaze rises to meet the man who holds it, she barely seems to register his tone, or the intensity of his stare, disregarding him like so many others on this world.

Then she looks to another of the trucks, the driver furiously trying to work his way out of his seatbelt, which keeps himself trapped in his turned-over vehicle, every step she takes bringing her closer and closer to him, and for the driver it happens in a horrifying slow motion.

Lyn smiles adoringly at the man and nods. "I see it." She promises, glancing over her shoulder and through the furs of her jacket collar toward the figure of Rogers, ready to battle once more. "Don' worry. I help'm soon as y'safe." Comes the girl's next promise, as she continues to walk with the older figures, leading them away from any instant harm. Giving the man one last squeeze of his hand, and a reassuring touch on his back, she turns and runs back to the frey to stand beside the Captain.

Solid eyes with slit pupils flit about the scene, trying to decide who is what, and where they're going? Why? Did this chaos have an origin or cause? There was one thing that was painfully aware however; the men with guns and cars had little to no chance in stopping the powerful figure who prowls toward them. Biting on her lower lip, the girl moves her hands out, fingers twitching, flexing, as she applies 'force' in an attempt to hold the powerful Faora back. "T'ink I got'r." She mutters, teeth gritting as she 'pulls' at the figure, but then…the girl begins to slid forward. Digging her boots into the ground, she skids forward, and forward still. "Merde! She got me, too!"
You paged Lyn with 'Also! I realized, you are a magic user. So anything that does damage to her will do 'normal' damage. She's only slightly more resistant to such things than a normal human. Just for note - so you /can/ hurt her if you go for a damaging attack.'

There is brief pause as the mysterious woman just continues on. "That's? new," Captain America has to admit. While other heroes may be offended by such things, Steve is just confused. Maybe it's just because people are shooting at her. Either way, with the aggression going on from both sides, it seems the 'talk it out' option is swiftly gone. Time for the 'sort it out later' approach as Lyn attempts to hold the woman back. With his head turned to take in the mystic as she attempts to rein in the powerful being, a brief nod is given, understanding that this hold might be a very time limited offer. "Thanks," he replies warmly before deciding to give it the old college try.

The shield flies out, attempting to hit the back of Faora's head. For your average human, it's calculated force to knock out or seriously hamper someone's fighting ability. For the alien, it might be annoying. However, regardless if it hits or even Steve gets his shield on the rebound, he is charging Faora and leaps into the air, attempting to plant both of his feet into her upper body, hoping to launch her into something hard close by.

The invisible force that assaults the Kryptonian latches at every inch of her, and for a brief moment she seems as if she's stopped, and briefly she looks down at herself, hands opening in front of her as if to test this new and interesting interaction.

Then she takes a step. Then another, Lyn forced to match pace with her march towards the man and his truck. If Lyn thought seeing Captain America accept an award was entertaining, to hear the sound of his shield fly past her head will provide for the rare encore that exceeds the main event.

And so too will what happens next. There is no reaction time. One moment she is facing away from them, and the next she's turned with one hand outstretched, the sound of Vibranium echoing into Kryptonian steel as she catches the edge of the weapon and brings it to a sudden, soul-crushing stop.

"This world's champions are most tenacious." Her accented voice rings out, finally addressing the attempts to stop her, her eyes wide when she realizes, quite suddenly, that her vision cannot press through the metal in her grasp. "/Most/ interest-"

The kick lands, and since Steve did not see the forty ton truck crash into her, he may not be expecting the immovable object he slams into. But she isn't entirely immovable - the strain of the telekinetic hold and her fascination with his shield forces her to take a few steps back, and she blinks as Steve mostly ricochets off her.
If he lands on the ground he'll have a wonderful view of her tossing his shield down and to the side, where it embeds in the asphalt, right near Lyn's street.

"What a lovely specimen. Strong. Powerful… for a human."

Watching the mighty shield stop, the Captain spring, and the woman continue to move, Lynette's eyes grow and her 'hold' on the being ceases. Already her mind, her arms, her legs ache from the struggle, and once the vibranium slices into the street by her feet, the girl lets out a surprised yelp. One thing wasn't working, time to do something else. Eyeing Steve, she steps forward once more, hands still up and that 'hold' forcing itself around Faora all the more. She promised to help Steve, and so she was. Along with that grip comes darkness, as the woman's own shadows starts to quiver, twist and slick up her form. The more it crawls, and closer it comes to her face, before weaving its way across her eyes in an attempt to block her vision.

Were the bullets still flying? Were the others in their wrecked cars still there? One thing at a time…

As the shield and the DOUBLE FOOT ASSAULT meet with little result, Cap watches the shield be thrown like discarded toy after landing on his back. Swiftly, he rolls back onto his feet before taking a few steps back toward his shield. While the first tug is uneventful, Steve is able to dislodge his prized possession on the second go around.

"I see," Captain America begins before he takes a defensive position in front of Lyn. She might be here to help, but if this mystery woman comes after either of the two, he would prefer it to be him. "At least I don't feel bad about hitting a lady. Despite your compliments, this needs to stop now," he states, actually having the audacity to order someone who is clearly more powerful than himself. Despite the situation, it seems Cap is still planning on fighting as he brings his shield up once more. Perhaps the power is temporary or some sorts of reinforcements are coming in… Or maybe, like often times, Rogers is just fighting a bully without thinking things through fully.

The invisible force attempting to restrain Faora-Ul is certainly having an effect, and her teeth grit in a way that might signal displeasure, if it were not clear on her face that battle, and battle alone are her birthright. The effect travels downward, in the measure of force required to move forward, cracks appearing in pavement as she brute forces each step, oblivious to the creeping shadows.

Steve's direction comes: This needs to stop now.

The saccharine smile that follows implies she's already twisted the meaning in her head, and her fists curl. "I was not here for you or your friend." She means Lyn, her gaze cutting to the women, even as her own shadow arcs behind her like a snake ready to strike. "But if you insist."

It is then that shadow curls over her face, and her hands rise, as if to fight off the unseen attacker, metal clamping on metal. She stops advancing, stops menacing, a step taken backwards as she tries - and fails - to see through it.

"You.. do you think I need my eyes to deal with /you/?"

Of course she hears them. But her eyes are part of how she deals with them, and it's a good thing Steve is standing in front of Lyn, for as that shadowy mass lights up from inside, as it seems to glow as two burgeoning points, the echo of Hell itself rips through the air.

Then it arrives as twin beams of firey destruction that rip through shadow and plow into vibranium, sweeping sidelong to blast apart an abandoned truck and, in the far distance…

…a newly minted park bench.

The invisible force attempting to restrain Faora-Ul is certainly having an effect, and her teeth grit in a way that might signal displeasure, if it were not clear on her face that battle, and battle alone are her birthright. The effect travels downward, in the measure of force required to move forward, cracks appearing in pavement as she brute forces each step, oblivious to the creeping shadows.

Steve's direction comes: This needs to stop now.

The saccharine smile that follows implies she's already twisted the meaning in her head, and her fists curl. "I was not here for you or your friend." She means Lyn, her gaze cutting to the women, even as her own shadow arcs behind her like a snake ready to strike. "But if you insist."

It is then that shadow curls over her face, and her hands rise, as if to fight off the unseen attacker, metal clamping on metal. She stops advancing, stops menacing, a step taken backwards as she tries - and fails - to see through it.

"You.. do you think I need my eyes to deal with /you/?"

Of course she hears them. But her eyes are part of how she deals with them, and it's a good thing Steve is standing in front of Lyn, for as that shadowy mass lights up from inside, as it seems to glow as two burgeoning points, the echo of Hell itself rips through the air.

Then it arrives as twin beams of firey destruction that rip through shadow and plow into vibranium, sweeping sidelong to blast apart an abandoned truck and, in the far distance…

…a newly minted park bench.

There is very little warning other than the whistle of heavy ordnance in flight. It is a unique sound that perhaps only Captain America, with all his military service, might be keenly familiar with.

A second after it becomes audible, its source rams down through the air straight towards Faora-Ul. It's a 40×46mm explosive grenade, and it's aimed dead-center between her shoulderblades.

800 yards distant, from a perch behind cover on a terrace halfway up the body of some high-rise building, a masked figure lowers his Milkor MGL as its cylinder rotates slowly to the next shot.

And the eyebeams miss the bench with the sudden jolt to her shoulders, the woman staggering forward as the blast connects and sends a shockwave outward.

END OF PART 1

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