Suburban Maneuvers

January 07, 2017:

Matt Murdock, Ribbon, and a mysterious robot intervene as Sakaaran soldiers attempt to grab Jessica Jones as a known associate of Peter Quill.

Characters

NPCs: A Mysterious Robot (emitted by The Dark Devil)

Mentions: Rogue, The Winter Soldier, Captain America, Six, Rocket

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The exclusive neighborhood of Crest Hill is usually very quiet and very safe. It runs on a predictable routine. Maids and gardeners coming in through the back entrance. Residents rolling out in their hyper-expensive cars. Round about mid-day the traffic usually is all but gone and ceased, save for the occasional WayneTech security vehicle making its rounds around the neighborhood. Whomever works at the homes are working there, most of the others are either at work, firmly ensconced in their homes for a day of leisure, or out doing their normal rounds of activities.

Today, though, something is amiss.

For those with enhanced hearing who might have reason to be in this neighborhood for whatever reason, there are definitely sounds that sound wrong. The crunch-thunk of someone getting hit over the head, car keys splaying across the pavement in a skritch-scratch tingle. The hummm-whirr of energy and a quick crunch as a vehicle gets disabled by the simple expedient of a bladed weapon being stabbed through the hood to destroy whatever is inside, with an edge so sharp that it defies conventional weapon-making techniques. The grunt-crunch of a man being hit in the face by a gauntleted fist. Then, the sounds of booted feet thump-thump-thump-thumping through the neighborhood in an unusual pattern, all closing in towards a specific part of town, drawing close to a pair of softer booted feet, a tinge of whiskey in the hair and on the clothes, the smell of vanilla soap and leather, the brisk stride of someone making her way from the transit station to a home in the area, scents which have assembled themselves in his presence before, in passing at a gala.

For those who find out things are going wrong in a more conventional manner, much depends on where they are and where they happen to be looking.

The gate guard is as oblivious as ever, for all of this is coming in from the sides and back of the subdivision where the hired help come through. There's a security guard down on the west end, simply hit on the back of the head as he was apparently getting into his car. There's a security guard down on a neighborhood side street, his car disabled by a stab wound and his consciousness disabled by a punch that's left finger-and-knuckle shaped bruises in his face. Or they might see black armored men with strange, black, reptilian faces darting through the neighborhood in twos and threes, as if through military exercise, closing in on a particular street from all different directions.

That particular street holds one Jessica Jones, hands in her pockets, head down against a particularly chill wind, walking in the direction of Shadowcrest, her destination still several blocks away. The subtle signs of something amiss have not yet reached either her eyes or her ears; she's preoccupied and cold, ready to be inside and to safety; the security-guard takeouts happening on other, near-by streets where her own unenhanced senses have no chance to pick up on them.

—-

There's one more furtive shadow moving amid the throng of the same tonight: a black-clad man with a half-mask obscuring everything above his mouth and pale, hard-set jawline. He treads quietly, attuned to the sound of his soft, swift footfalls as he is to the host of phenomena that hint something is rotten in the City of Gotham. This is not his usual haunt; he doesn't have the virtue of that deep-seated sense of place he might in the alleyways of Hell's Kitchen. But the sounds, smells, and even the charged feel of the night air around him all tell an unfolding and unsettling tale.

/This town is like a magnet for weirdness/, thinks a man increasingly accustomed to tangling with mobsters, but decided less so with Nazi wizards or… whatever these stealthy assailants sound like.

The cocktail of scents — only dimly remembered but familiar — catch his attention first and foremost. He hears the strange, heavy footfalls closing in on the walking woman, and quickens his own pace, aiming to intercept, if possible, and beat at least one set of them to the proverbial punch.

—-

She was only supposed to be there to take measurements for a bespoke order.

Dressed in 'professional artist casual' of leggings underneath a blouse and warm jacket, Hikari Hataori totes a small messenger bag down the streets of a neighborhood more upscale than her own. The Hataoris live in a fairly nice neighborhood, but they're still craftsmen. Famous ones in the right circles, perhaps, but still…! She's at least used to this sort of place. Only the well-to-do can afford to commission wardrobes these days.

She's so deep in thought that she nearly walks past the man slumped in his car, except that there's a /very/ large hole in the hood and it's smoking pretty badly, and also there's a really horrible bruise that's probably going to keep him from seeing or chewing very well for a couple of weeks welling up on his face.

Hikari slows to a stop and frowns. She pulls a perfectly ordinary cell phone from her pocket and dials a number. "May I speak to Mrs. Thompson-Haite? …Yes. Yes ma'am, I'm on my way, but there appears to be an intruder in the neighborhood. Someone has been injured. Would you please make sure that you and your family are safe while I call the police? …Yes. Between Beech and Olive Street, a black car, the driver is badly hurt and unconscious. Yes. Thank you, I'll call you when I'm back en route to you. Thank you for your understanding."

She tucks the phone back into her pocket, looks both ways, and leaps onto the roof of the car, then a lamp post. From up here she can see the patterns a little better, the block pieces moving along the grey lines of roads. She judges the distance, leaps…

And Ribbon is running pell-mell along a line of white light that stretches out before her like a road, just above the streets, on the heels of a pair of what may be Darth Liazrds. Where are they all going?

—-

Alien voices chatter quietly on the comm, before a sharp-snarl of snapped words that cut them off and order them to apparent radio silence. The group closest to the woman are positioned just north of her, running through fresh-cut grass grass, their booted footfalls muted but heavy enough to release the scent of it with every step, cutting a virtual trail through the air. Here a splash as they hit mud puddles, but otherwise silent, unmoving, definitely going directly for her. He can easily get behind them or in front of them as is his choice. Their heartbeats are almost impossible to read…thadathumpTHUM thadathumpTHUM thadathumpTHUM, not the human Tha-Thump; but neither have they changed to indicate new information or sudden alarm. Their body heat is too cold, at least 15 degrees below human. A subtle scrape of armor on armor perhaps hints at hand signals being exchanged.

As Hikari gets her better look she can pick out four sets of three alien soldiers, moving in disciplined fashioned…one to cut off one end of the street, one to cut off the other end, and two moving between fenced yards to cut off side escape routes, all converging on that one lone figure on Crest Vale street, the subdivision taking up the gated community's habit of naming every single street something or other to do with the name of the community. From where she's arriving the group directly behind Jessica might well be the easiest to shadow, west of her. The ones to the east are concealed to her eye for the moment, thanks to a hilly bend in the road, but the pattern is clear…they're making sure she has no good avenue of escape, no direction she could flee that one group or the other couldn't catch her.

Her own heartbeat remains as it was; unchanging, still unaware, though it has the kind of quality to it that speaks of a woman who holds uneasiness and wariness as her default state.

—-

Those aren't the only things alien that The Sockdevil will hear in the night. Something buzzes, but not like a bee. Like hot metal sizzling against snow, a subtle shriek well past the range of normal human hearing, and layered with a hearty thrum that churns and churns. But that is the only sound this thing - whatever it is - makes.

At the end of the street, where three sentries take post, there is a sudden harsh tear of bright luminosity that draws attention from the dull silver and red glow that moves in tandem with it. The ripping glare trails like an angry cut, and one might expect the air itself to begin to blood. Instead, it is the sudden, jarring thump of an alien head that suddenly bounces free from it's former host, a smoldering cauterization where it was once attached to the body it had known so well.

The surprise attack seemed to have come out of nowhere, but if the aliens replay it in their mind they will have seen the red glow beneath the metallic figure's slender frame. Built for agility, but in a place where agility and strength are measured differently in this place. Limbs that are just a little to long, and a narrow silhouette that spins about the moment it's dashing, rending strike has completed, it's slightly curved, short-sword length blade held at it's back as it leaps up and backwards, seeming to bound again off of air itself.

"Hyush-Ma-Syo-Mashteh!!!"

The words almost sound Japanese. Almost. Subharmonics thread them, and for ears beyond the norm, a compressed datastream of information, layered gigibytes of expletives that the aliens quite simply will have no way to decipher before mishappen, searing shurikens spray outward in their direction with a sizzling shriek, blurring through the air as if driven by some terrible inhuman force and not simply thrown, and burning along the edge with the same energy this creature's sword used to end one of the aliens already.

A new player has joined this game.

—-

The Man in Black stalks his prey — alright, not human, definitely not human — with quiet efficiency. He'd never in a million years confront such unknown quantities face to face — darkness and the element of surprise are the only allies he's immediately aware of at the moment, and he means to maximize them. They're wearing body armor, that much he can tell, but it's not an insurmountable challenge. There are joints where the protection is thin; the abdomen is lightly guarded to allow mobility. And the faces — such as they are. That, too, is a weak point.

He wonders briefly why he couldn't be dealing with with the little alien raccoon people Kinsey Sheridan mentioned at the coffee shop two weeks and a lifetime ago, but sets the wry thought aside before summoning a breath and his reservoirs of courage.

When he commits, he commits. A swift approach, a brutal kick meant to destroy the knee joint of one of the trio of aliens, and then rounding on the same foe with a quick and hopefully incapacitating punch to the face so that he can focus on the remaining two. After that first strike he abandons any need for or pretense of silence; if the woman these creatures are stalking can hear the scuffle and be on her guard, all the better.

—-

She doesn't know who they are, or what they are. But they're all running to one place in the web of streets, and in that place is a woman…

And call her too quick to judge if you like, but there should probably not be a dozen Darth Lizards all converging on one person! The line swoops down even as she's running on it, changing its own shape to take her nearer the ones she's closest to. She doesn't want to hurt them, they haven't done anything wrong yet, but she doesn't want to give them a chance to either! Ribbon catches up, running alongside them, and throws out a hand.

A fat line that looks a little bit like a yardstick flicks out and bisects one of their guns neatly, just above the stock. "Hi! This is a no-weapons neighborhood, did you know that?" she asks cheerfully.

—-

As the New Player bounces an alien head at the north end of the street the other two in that team turn around in sudden shock. They are holding shocklances, thick batons that can be used to hit or unleash a charge. They fire the charges up, allowing electricity to go spiraling up the length of them as they turn to meet this most unexpected attacker, one comes in left; the other right, jabbing. They're trained and they know how to work together, though they appear to be relying on the electrical disruption to give the large robot-looking creature a bad day. Radio silence is broken and there is sudden chatter as they yell into their comms.

Matt's brutal kick and punch absolutely take that alien by surprise, and he staggers, goes down. He's not fully unconscious, being somewhat tougher than a human, but he's definitely stunned and at least momentarily out of commission. The other two snarl into /their/ comms, one swings a shocklance without bothering to power it up, aiming directly for his midsection in an attempt to double him over, the other sidesteps, trying to get behind him, aiming to club him brutally over the head. He can hear the whine of energy down the street, however, that might warn him these weapons have other capabilities should they recover from their surprise and come to take advantage of it.

The group in the west just sort of /stops/ as Hikari slices one of their guns. They are the only group with them, and they’re oddly constructed. There’s a crackle-whine of unhappy energy as the barrel hits the ground. The soldier looks at the gun. Looks at Hikari. The other two draw back, not even drawing weapons. Short, staccato words burst from their lips as the soldier flings his gun on the ground. Both halves of the alien weapon are sparking and hissing with energy, indicating some manner of instability that at least has the three Darth Lizards moving further westward, away from their target, for the moment. It…might also warn Hikari that their guns don’t like being cut in half very much, and that this one might well do something very painful in a few seconds if she, too, does not get clear…

The commotion definitely alerts the apparent target of these nefarious dealings, producing a: “What the fuck?” Jessica's heartbeat picks up; adrenaline, fear alchemizing into fury in the span of seconds. Her head snaps towards the masked man beating up unknown figures, and where most would run away, she starts running towards, perhaps thinking /he/ is the one that needs /her/ help.

But then the surge of footsteps from the south alerts her as the final group decides to pick up speed and jump her with no more pretense; these all power up their shock lances as they run. They reach her quickly at that full run, surrounding her, weapons raised.

Eyes wide, Jessica acts reflexively, kicking one hard enough to send him sailing across the street. He lands against a lamp post, and metal screams as the impact of his body hitting it with the amount of force she was able to generate with her raw strength bends it nearly double. But a bar brawler’s style and quick reflexes don’t keep one of those lances from being pressed directly into her neck. She’s essentially tazered. The smell of burning flesh drifts across the street to Matt’s nostrils as she lets out a cry of pain. Most women would also be flat on the pavement at this point. She only goes to one knee in a daze, grabbling blindly for the other shocklance and shoving it away from her harshly to prevent a second shock, if only for a moment. Still…as the one who got the drop on her, rather than the other way around as with the other battles, she is in trouble.

—-

The Metal Man lands with a showering of sparks, red energy lashing out as his blade comes around to cleave into the oncoming attack, and then again the world blurs around him as he sears straight ahead, ripping stored momentum from the Machine Realm and channeling it into a single, devastating cut. The one behind him will get to see it - the shock. The cleaving, smoking cut, and the sudden slide as it falls apart in a steaming pile.

Already he turns, the air around him humming as he leaps sidelong and against a lamp post, free hand touching it, and one leg kicking off, propelling the mechanical creature higher still. The angle is far beyond the reach of a melee weapon, but as it's sensors - not quite eyes - turn to regard the scene from this vantage, it lashes out with it's free hand, more of it's bladed throwing weapons whipping through the air.

One impacts asphalt with a THUNK.

Another lances out to slam into the weapon of one of the creatures in front of Ribbon.

And a third finds it's mark directly in the side of the head of one of the beasties that things to write Jessica Jones a love letter in the form of shock therapy.

—-

In an instant, the deceptively quiet night has erupted into pandemonium, bringing with it a panoply for the man in black's finely attuned senses. Not one but at least four theaters of combat, each yielding an ever-multiplying number of clues (and new questions) about the nature and capabilities of these alien attackers, and many more questions about a host of new but entirely welcome allies. For Matt, the charged battons present both a danger an opportunity.

But first thing's first — the danger. In a fight, Matt is swift-rushing water, fluid and ever seeking the path of least resistance. Aliens attempting to simply club him into submission will find themselves disappointed; the first swing towards his abdomen is dodged, the second strikes him on his shoulder, winning a grunt and setting him only briefly off-balance. The man can take a hit, though; he's got those Battlin' Jack genes that keep him up, keep him moving, and have him /reaching/ and grasping for the electro-lance of the foe who he'd brought to his knees a moment before. With it in hand he moves to reposition himself out from between his assailants and reclaim the initiative and momentum the fight requires. His attention — and powers of perception — are brought briefly on the weapon, searching for a switch that will give him a handy taser all his own.

Matt's blood signing in his ears, wild; he's never felt more alive.

—-

That… is unexpected. Maybe they're going to be swayed by her logical argument and reminder of neighborhood bylaws!!

…Orrrrrrrrr maybe she wasn't supposed to break their weapons. Maybe. The Lizards scatter /away/ from the sparks and Ribbon has just enough sense to follow their lead, springing back like a scalded cat. They're in a neighborhood, where people live though. How big a 'kaboom' are they expecting?! She bites her lip and flicks her pointer finger upward; thread binds the two halves together, and another punches out of the ground to carry them up, up, up…

Please be good for less than a hundred feet, Ribbon thinks, because she's not sure how much farther than that she'll be able to control a line holding something.
One final soldier on the eastern part of the street. He stares as the halves of his buddy slide apart and hit the ground, as the robot man surges past him to wreak more mayhem. He does, what for him, is the only sensible thing: he yells the same alien word into his comm over and over again as he turns on his heel and flees, deciding this is not what he signed on for.

—-

The second alien to have his weapon sliced by a combatant flings his aside too, with much the same sparking. He, too, flings the pieces, this time into the particularly lovely yard of one of Gotham’s best orthopedic surgeons. They sit there, sparking, singing grass.

But Hikari gets the first one to start going haywire, and indeed gets it high up into the air. It’s just a weapon going wrong, however much energy is stored in there. The booooom that reverberates will certainly be audible to most. Showering pieces of hot shrapnel rain down on the good Samaritan with her uncanny threads, fire and searing heat in the sky, but that danger, at least, is dealt with.

Meanwhile, Matt’s finger presses satisfyingly against the switch. However high-tech these things are, they still have basic on/off mechanisms. The energy runs up and down the baton with a satisfying electric hum. Of course, he hears the electric whirr of two others powering up. The one he had stunned is pushing himself to his feet, too, and it’s impossible to tell what other weapons he might have at his disposal. Still, their charge is straightforward, military, an attempt to taze him before he can taze them back.

In the center of the street the creature who was attempting to give Jessica a second dose falls in a heap to the street. Not one to look a gift robot in the mouth, the private investigator lashes out at the one who had originally shocked her with a backfist. It crunches into armor, dents it, and the insectoid-reptilian grunts in pain, but he doesn’t see her as the primary threat. Shocklance primed and fired he shoves it past her and at the robot, perhaps having missed the memo about the robot cut in half up the street.

Meanwhile there’s that only one remaining with a functioning gun. This team had brought these guns as an eventuality only. None of them wanted to be shooting up a Terran neighborhood…primitive as the humans were they had an unfortunate way of swarming when things were going wrong. But the mission going pear-shaped is what this team was here for. He pinpoints the robot as the biggest threat of the bunch, unable to see Matt’s confrontation between two massive houses to the north. A whine, and then a trigger pull, white hot laser-fire bearing down on the robot’s position in the blink of an eye.

—-

The aerial adventures of The Metal Man are not long for this world, for he cannot fly, though it seems as if he is always in the air. As the alien on the ground charges in his first instinct is to treat him like all flesh and blood creatures that cross his path:

As instruments in a failed experiment upon the universe, worthy only of their eventual, pitiful ends.

Instead it must hear something. Must /sense/ something, for it ducks, shoulders back into the lizard man as he over-reaches and shoves him off balance just in time to turn and draw his weapon with a metal on metal scrape that vibrates through the air and right into Matt Murdock's skull.

Laser blasts lance in, and in distorted motion the Momentum blade sings, the motions erratic, almost as if performed in reverse - and as the blade connects with each ball of stretched, magnetically sealed plasma it's momentum is suddenly, almost mystically reversed, rebounding back towards the alien that's firing at him with the pivoting aim of the blade that first starts at belt height and works towards the creature's throat.

And then the shoulder-checked lizard-man smashes a stun-baton through his shoulder, and metal fragments and scatters, clattering away as The Metal man stumbles, staggers, and takes a knee.

"Nyi-Savu-wakai!!"

The creature looms, triumphant, and prepares to deliver vengeance for it's fallen brothers on this robotic menace.

—-

The charge of the aliens on Matt may be straightforward and military; fortunately his own training is anything but. Two aspects in particular come in handy here: acrobatics and mastery of blunt weaponry. The walls of the austere houses by which they've staked their battle depict a frantic and furious interplay of shadows as Matt ducks and weaves with fluid grace, faster than any human has a right to be. Certainly faster than either of his opponents; the lack of body armor is a profound liability, but good grief does it allow him to /move/. His charged club sings through the air as it aims for those aforementioned weak spots in the alien's armor: face, shoulder, stomach — all while attempting to parry attempts at the same. His goal: bring the two aliens down with savage efficiency and then go in for the, uh, 'non-kill' with the recovering opponent. This is what Matt was built for; what he fashioned /himself/ into becoming. A living weapon, ready to take on all-comers — even if they come in droves.

—-

Peter Quill had a pretty good couple of days.

He went to IKEA. He went to dinner with a CEO. He met some X-man girl with strange mutant powers. Him and Bucky became best friends. He met some guy named Steve. Yup. It was a good few days. So its with a light heart and a spring in his step that he turned his sights back to Shadowcrest and his somewhat temporary home.

He was whistling when he turns the last corner before the stately manor.

And…something explodes…

"…man. I hope that wasn't Rocket…" He mutters to himself as he picks up his pace to close the distance. One more turn and he can see…

Wait what.

"THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!" He calls out as he sees…guys? And a robot. And some dude in a sockhat. And Ribbon. And Jessica.

All getting jumped by those paper people.

"Oh my god!!" He calls out as the pistols are drawn, the faceplate and armor slams into place. "Why can't you goddamn ninja turtles just leave well enough alone!!"

—-

Oh, good. It was less than a hundred feet!

And then Ribbon had to dart out from beneath an umbrella of falling sparks because her hair isn't fireproof and she JUST made this blouse!! She's not sure when the other one lost his gun too, but she's not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. She can hear other things, other fights, the scattered grunts, thumps, and swishes of people hitting each other (or whiffing, nobody's perfect). Her feet thud on the pavement, and then on light as she draws another path for herself. Lines divide, and they connect, and Ribbon knows the value of both.

On the way to the mysterious woman, however, she finds something even mysterious-er. A robot? It - he? - looks about ready to get speared by another Darth Lizard. She steps off of her road even as she's flinging another line forward, winding around and around the offending lizard-bug-person until it's practically cocooned in wide lines of light. Good luck using that spear when you can't move your arms, dumbass!

"Oh, Star-Lord!" she grins, and lifts her unbusy hand to wave. "Good timing!"

—-

The deflected gunshots do their grisly work, and the stench of singed body fills the street. His running colleague draws his energy sword—the one he’d stabbed through the hood of the security vehicle—but keeps running. This is mostly a defensive gesture, a false hope that he could defend himself if any of the heroes chose to corner him. Which is how he almost skids face to face with Quill.

Let’s give this alien credit. He’s got chutzpah. He raises the energy blade high and attacks, surprised but perhaps pleased to see that they don’t /have/ to get their secondary target—a known associate of Peter Quill—to get to their first—the man himself. Because here he is. And in the deluded corners of this Sakaaran’s soul, he thinks to himself that he’s going to turn this entire stupid mission around. He’s going to take Quill, he’s going to get the gem, he’s going to get that promotion and maybe his wife will stop nagging at him about the bills and such. It’s all going to be so worth it, right here, right now, and all he has to do is cut the human’s arms off. So. With this glorious vision of his future spiraling before his very eyes, that is indeed what this last man standing tries to do. Can’t fire pistols without arms, and doesn’t need arms to tell them where the gem is. This works for him.

The aliens aren’t ready for Matt Murdock. His display of martial arts prowess and tight control, speed and style, is indeed more than they bargained for. There’s a satisfying burn smell followed by a thump, the alien’s heart beating but slower, as he gets the first in the face. He parries beautifully as the alien’s brother-in-battle comes right in for him, and then again, his mark hits home. Tazing the one that was trying to get to his feet is almost pathetically easy by comparison.

Ribbon manages to tie up her target. He lets out a most un-soldierly squawk. His alien butt hits the ground and he looks up at her as if not at all sure what to make of this latest development.

Meanwhile Jessica looks blearily around, still trying to get her bearings, and happens to catch sight of the sparking, seething second damaged weapon in the orthopedic surgeon’s yard. That doesn’t look healthy at all. Her commentary on this situation is a series of cuss words that would singe the ears off sailors. She does one of those not-flying leaps, grabs the thing out of the yard, and shoves it into the man’s pretty decorative fountain. It explodes in there, but the only damage it does is to evaporate all of the water in said fountain in a hiss of steam that she’s already leapt away from. It’s going to damage the hell out of the fountain, but…the guy can probably afford it.

—-

When those tangling strands save the existence of the robot, it looks back, struggling to stand, the metal pieces on the ground that used to be part of it fizzling and crackling until they turn to ephemeral ash. A clattering of energy and mechanics whirl inside it, but it is not truly mechanical, it is /dimensional/, and from some great core of energy inside it new metal fills the pieces that are missing, it's collection of metal shards and plates clearly more growth than manufacture.

A two fingered salute will greet Ribbon as she leaves it's enemy helpless, and The Metal Man shows her exactly what you do to people that try to kill you.

You kill them right back.

The reverse-grip strike of his blade is quick and savage, searing through the creature at eye level and leaving it to half-lurch in it's cocoon, it's brain slowly, tenuously simmering out as it cooks in it's own juices.

Plop.

There is a sound like a growl, but more digitized, and then three of it's haphazardly constructed shurikens, constructs from within it's own body, rise from a closed fist. With another dimension warping dash it blurs past Jessica, but this time not to strike, instead unleashing a distracting flurry of brilliant red streaks through the air and towards the would-be hero that comes to stand before Peter Quill.

If it is very lucky, Peter will put it out of it's misery before those flying blades cleav into the back of it's legs.

—-

Matt stands there in the corridor surrounded by the fallen aliens, taking that extra moment to listen for their heartbeats and confirm they're down for the count. Not to mention recover some of his own breath; whatever his training and his unusual powers of perception, Matt is no Jessica Jones. His strength, endurance, and fortitude are only human, and with adrenaline ebbing he feels the throb in his shoulder that signals an ugly bruise to come.

Still, after he's gathered his breath and his wits he extends his senses outward, catching wind of Jessica's leap, the muted explosion, and the maniac robot's grizzly cleanup. It's all enough to draw him out of his corridor and into the thick of the scene, though he sticks to the shadowed parts of the street corner. "Nice save. You're alright?" the masked man says to Jones, willing his voice into something harsher than the measured, mild tone he reserves for court-rooms and coffee shops in daylight hours.

—-

She looks back from greeting Quill in just enough time to see the robot guy thank her (she thinks) and then promptly kill the alien she'd /just/ finished tying up. Ribbon goes pale, the thread holding the body upright not so much loosening as recoiling in disgust. She will not throw up, she will not scream, is that smell its brain cooking, oh god… She swallows hard. What would Wonder Woman do, what would Wonder Woman do, what would Wonder Woman do—

Wonder Woman would go and make sure that lady was okay. And maybe later have harsh words with a robot about killing prisoners of war without immediate cause.

Ribbon is not too up to date on Amazonian rules of conduct. She could be wrong.

Turning away without another word, she runs for Jessica, who she doesn't know, but who /probably never sliced someone's brain in half in front of a teenage girl/. "A, are you okay?"

—-

Star-lord waves a lazy hand towards Ribbon just before he's face to mask with one of these horribily familiar attackers. Its sword comes up and Quill grumbles slightly. It was gonna be such a great week! But no. These guys…

THESE FUCKING GUYS.

The energy blades come down only to be met by his pistols. The composite structure of the weapons making them /extremely/ effective in melee combat. Before the bug can recover, Quill rockets his armored face into the creatures face.

He trusts his armor more than that of the 'paper people'.

Hopefully that puts him down. And if not, well. That should get cut off at the knees by the strange leapybot.

"Jess? Ribbon? Uh…Sock…guy…you three alright?" He'll call as he glances around the street.

"…we totally should get out of the street…"

—-

Jessica jumps a little at the sound of Matt’s voice; he can hear it, the way her heartbeat suddenly spikes, all but enters her throat. Then her hearing catches up to her adrenaline.

“I’m fine, thanks. Thank you. For helping.” She didn’t see his help, but pretty much infers it.

She says all this with her hand still pressed against the painful spot on the side of her neck where she took the brunt of that shock lance. Endurance or no, she’s unsteady on her feet and radiating confusion and disorientation.

She has turned to face him though, studying him, and admits, “I have no idea what the Hell this is all about.” Her vocal register reflects the gratitude she’s giving him for the help, as well as pain, embarrassment, bewilderment, the fading remains of anger and the coiled fearful-aggressive tension of someone whose body doesn’t quite believe the threat has passed. Anyone else might mistake this blend of notes for simple gruff frustration tinged with the barest hints of said gratitude, but the subtleties are all there for him to read.

Then, the teenage girl runs up and asks if she’s okay and much of this shifts. Her voice remains a little gruff, but Matt can hear this too: the sudden shift to concern for this apparently younger woman whose help she did see, her heartbeat shifting in alarm as she realizes that one of her helpers was a lot younger. It calms a moment later; youth doesn’t bely what the young woman can /do/, and she seems capable of taking care of herself. “Yes, thank you for your help as well.” She didn’t honestly see a lot of what Ribbon did either, but she saw enough.

Down the street, the alien is indeed put down by the headbutt. The flying blades travel some distance further before slamming, thunk-thunk, into the asphalt, the final noises of a completed battle. Jessica gazes at the blades and the robot for a long moment, and raises her hand to him in an additional non-verbal thanks.

When Quill comes up the timbre of her voice changes again; her physical reaction and emotions ignored as she zeroes in on him with laser-like focus; a woman used to meeting unusual things with an obsessive desire to find answers, to put the puzzle pieces together and to make them all fit into one cohesive whole. “Yeah. Quill…those look. Space. Like. I don’t suppose you know what the Hell…?”

But then the rest of what he says also catches up, and she can’t help but agree. “Crap. Yes. We should.”

The call that Ribbon put in earlier, after all, is starting to produce the distant yet tell-tale sounds of sirens on the way.

—-

"Yeah, me either," Matt says of 'what the hell.' "I was just in the neighborhood." Breaking into one of the houses, maybe? He does look a little like a burglar.

To the gratitude, Matt nods — a short and simple gesture that, even in his sock-mask getup, conveys acknowledgment and a certain measure of respect for the woman who just defeated a few of the lizard-men-things on her own and prevented a big kaboom in a residential neighborhood. (Anti)Hero knows (anti)hero, or the like. He regards Ribbon and Quill as they approach, but doesn't answer the latter's question. He certainly seems fine, if his coiled and largely unruffled carriage is any indication. "There are three more of those things between the houses behind me," he tells them in his gravel-voice. "All out cold, at least for now. I imagine you've got about three minutes before the police arrive."

And with that, he's walking backwards, presumably preparing to fade back into the night.

—-

For once, the robot seems earthbound. At ease. Not hunkered down for a springing rush, or a somersaulting throw of weaponry, but just another creature meant to be embraced by gravity. And yet, still it hums inside, in a way that will churn a sensory fire for Sockdevil, a burning pyre that moves with both brilliance and detail he may not see in other, more mundane creatures.

The sad irony is that where it comes from, unless you emit this kind of technological buzz, you can't blend in. Can't be an assassin or an infiltrator. For everyone else, he is as silent as the air around him, and moves with careful steps towards Quill, who has half a foot or more on the robot.

"Yeosh-Tama-Ruei."

And then it kneels, reaching out towards the creature Quill had downed with a headbutt, his metal finger dabbing in some of the blood oozing from it's face. Then, The Metal Man begins to draw.

One line. Twp lines Three lines. Four lines. Five lines.

Six lines.

Slowly it looks up from it's kneeling stance, arms resting on it's knees. "Saiugei?" The subharmonic sounds beneath it's gibberish - not the Japanese it sounds like - tell a tale, an entire history. All lost before those who could never hope to understand it.

It bears this burden of superiority. Alone.

The saddest robot.

—-

"Er…yeah…" Quill glances around at the mess. "…they were…kinda after me. Maybe. I might have blown up their boss with a purple gem that contained the concentrated cosmic energy of the birth of the universe." A pause. "It was a thing ok." He seems much happier though now that no one is hurt.

That's always good. That no one is hurt.

"Anyway, lets get out of here…and…er…thanks with the help. Mildly creepy darkly clad guy…" This to Daredevil as he backs up. "…just curious is the whole dark clothes, mask, gruff voice just a…thing in Gotham? I mean I'm new so I have no clue."

He doesn't really expect an answer.

"Yeah though. Lets get out of here." A glance down at the sad robit and he squints. "Alright. That means you too. Your voicebox must be broken or something, so come on. I'll get Rocket to look at it. With luck he won't turn it into a gun."

The Guardians look after everyone. Even saddest robots.

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