Into the Lair of the Fanged Children

March 04, 2017:

The Devil of Hell's Kitchen leads Red Robin, Bucky Barnes, Jessica Jones, The Dark Devil, Elinor Ravensdale and Silk into the hideout of the gang known as Hell's Vipers, a gang with plenty of man power and meta-human leadership. Elinor discovers she gives a shit about someone alive, Azalea fights the good fight through the power of death metal, Red engages in the art and science of herding cats, Bucky Barnes is ready to turn this whole battle around right now, Jessica Jones has a bad day, Silk does something stupid and gets away with it, and Matt? Matt's just tired of these motherf'in' snakes in his motherf'in' neighborhood.

Abandoned Amusement Park, Hell's Kitchen


NPCs: None.

Mentions: John Constantine, Zatanna Zatara

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Last night, the Devil of Hell's Kitchen had ventured outside of his normal patrol zones, making his way into China Town to question members of the Golden Dragon gang. He'd had to issue a few beat-downs to get what he wanted but…maybe not as many as he might have expected to issue. The Golden Dragons were not happy, he'd learned, to have granted safe passage to the junior-most members of Hell's Vipers, but Hell's Vipers have metas in their leadership, they're supposed to have a ridiculous amount of manpower, and the Dragons didn't want to make an issue of it when they had made it clear they just wanted to harrass some guy. They were more than happy to give up the location of the gang's locus of power, an old fairground deep in a nest of crumbling, abandoned buildings and vacant lots located on a block of 9th Avenue between 37th and 38th street.

Now a team has gathered by necessity. Introductions have been made between whomever needed them. It's a large group, but…the intel says that large group is warranted. There has been a request to avoid killing anyone, because a lot of the people in the fairground are kids, because dead people don't give information (well, unless you're Elinor, but still), and because, well, some people here are uncomfortable with the notion.

For those in the party who use the traditional method of seeing things, the little fairground looks like something that wandering carnies came into town with and then just left there. Maybe they had to skip town quickly with the law hard on their heels. Nobody ever came to pick up the equipment or clear it out. A rusted, twisted fence surrounds what would have once been a strip-mall or perhaps a grocery store parking lot. Cracks run in jagged lines through the pavement; struggling yellow strands of grass poke and prod through those cracks, desperate and determined to seek the sun. The hulking, rusted, dangerous corpses of family fun cast long shadows, though the place does have power. It's all illuminated by white-bulb Christmas lighting strung up haphazardly over every old booth, ride, and structure in the place. Here and there a salvaged neon bar sign adds to the general area of decay. A few discarded hypodermic needles are evident right outside the great metal gates, chained shut and padlocked against unwanted entry. A great carnie tent stands at the center, one of those things that's mostly semi-permanent. Most of the lighting comes from there, and distant rap music is playing.

For those who observe the world in a wholly different way, the smell of rust predominates this place, as does the hot smell of neon. There's the faint burning buzz of unsafe electrical splicing tying the entire affair illegally into the grid from somewhere deep in the park. The old toilets on the east side of the park, backed up and beyond nasty, can be perceived even from the entrance. Stagnant water slow drips and shifts uneasily in the very back of the park, and some of the rides teeter and creak in a fashion that indicates an utter lack of stability. Clicka One's "Deadly Sins" pounds away from the center of the park, as people laugh, clink glasses, hit pool balls. There are a LOT of heartbeats in there, at least six of them abnormal for human average. Not everyone is in the bar; there are people laughing and moving around the park, giving each other shit, bragging, smoking.


Last night, Red Robin nearly died under a collapsing building; of course, you'd never know it to look at him now, the injuries he'd sustained tangling with Ravager as concealed as the others he's sustained recently, his costume covering enough that it is as always difficult to say much about the vigilante except that he exists.

It doesn't matter, of course. Anything short of an actively crippling injury wouldn't stop him from being here, and maybe not even that. Once the job is done, he can worry about petty concerns like his own health.


Preparation being a big part of surviving situations like these, the Gotham-born crimefighter presented the rest of the group with earbud communicators, slaved to the computer system in his suit; enough, at least, to ensure that everyone can stay in contact in case they needed to split up, which he well knows is the sort of thing that ends up happening almost without fail, whether they like it or not.

And then, well, the abandoned fairground.

Red Robin is a silent splinter of shadow wrapped in his black cape, watching the interior through the various visual enhancements in his cowl's lenses. His mind isn't entirely on where they are, though; his right wrist itches under his gauntlet, though he's reasonably certain it's his imagination, but of course it makes him think back to that dark room, the smoke and the incense and the visions that have haunted him since. Fanged Children… It could be a coincidence, of course, but he doesn't really believe in coincidence anymore. He stopped a long time ago.

"We need to be careful," rasps that electronically shrouded voice, the former Boy Wonder's cowled face turning towards the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. "You first."


Bucky had been apprised by Jessica a few days ago that there was a definite lead on John and Zatanna, which had done a lot to help ease his restlessness about the matter— but didn't get rid of it entirely, of course. He's spent a lot of time— in between handling his own necessary business— pacing around until he drove Jane mad, looking at his phone, waiting for updates. When one came, he was swift to answer.

The explicit instruction to avoid killing anyone— as well as the description of the general expected opposition— means Bucky mindfully does not show up with any seriously heavy hardware, though one would be naive to think that there aren't a couple sidearms hidden on his person, and maybe a few extra surprises besides. One would also be naive to think that he hasn't already silently done a sweep of the area prior to joining everyone else, circling it to get a feel for the area and the expected level of resistance.

Unsurprisingly, he isn't dressed as the Winter Soldier would have been— there's some modicum of restraint to be had in this operation, he assumes— rather showing up in a jacket and jeans that is just this side of 'way too light' for how cold it's suddenly gotten again in New York. What is surprising is the fact that he shows up staring at his phone, swiping busily as he listens to something over the headphones plugged into the device's jack.

Oh no, he's gone native. Well, his MO was always to blend in seamlessly up until the moment he needed to get to work.

He pulls out the headphones once everyone is present and accounted for, stowing it and the phone— a flash of the words THE PRETENDER briefly visible before going dark— and replacing them with the provided comms. "Shitload of people in there," he comments. "You want me drawing some of 'em off first? Or you wanna just sneak and not alert anyone?" It seems he's letting Daredevil of the Magical Senses take point on this.


Aggression runs like a new circulatory system, one filled with a spiritual adrenaline, peeked and pounding behind Azalea's eyes. Waiting was always the worst. But even a creature like Xiuhnel, her passenger, so in tune with such a naked desire for violence, still knows how fruitful laying in wait can be. It was a lesson that was learned much later, when it had left behind the battlefield for dark and lonely cobblestone alleyways.

This, like that, would be more intimate. As Red Robin speaks and she awaits for further instructions, her eyes narrow on something from afar.

"Forward guard in the old food stand. Huh."

There's movement then, silent and and quick, a passing shadow that barely stands out as she closes in. "I think this used to be a Burger King."

There's a leap, a brief moment, where she's visible to them all - because they are watching, and the man inside the stand drops his jaw. Her knuckles find his throat, and what should be a cry becomes a rasp, mere moments before her limbs wrap him up and take him down for a side-arm choke that pinches his carotid artery and sends him into the oblivion of unconsciousness.

"He's out. No alarms."

The Dark Devil slowly peeks up over the counter of the old Burger King stand, eyes narrowing on the tent from afar.


For the last two months, Jessica Jones has taken her in, given her direction, purpose, and aid without judgment or asking questions. When Cindy caught her in time of need, she stepped right up— and jumped right on the chance to help the head of Alias Investigations in what could be a slightly rough encounter with gang members— that it'd be pretty useful to have someone that could stick people to walls, and all!

You don't have to twist the arm of Cindy Moon to get her to punch someone, that's for sure.

Keeping her arrival a little more sedate but with all the trappings of a way-too-acrobatic spider-person, Silk keeps her mask up over the lower half of her face during the meet-and-greet of heroes and vigilantes, though she does her best to totally pretend that this is the first time she's ever met the Winter Soldier, and she was not the girl that totally passed out on the floor watching movies during that party because holy crap that would be super lame.

Of course it's kind of weird standing with the Devil of Hell's Kitchen to one side and Red Robin to the other— it's just the look of the costumes and the presentation.

The spider-girl tucks the earpiece in, staying low while Az— in full costume, and now actually seeing her in action— moves in ahead. That, she gives a thumbs-up. "Nice stealth check," she stage whispers.

"It's a little blurry— I can't pick out all of 'em. There's a bunch… I mean, I can still sense 'em." Silk says, pointing at the side of her head. "But something feels weird in there."


"You first," says Red Robin.

"Thanks," the Devil of Hell's Kitchen says dryly, right before taking a step into the grounds.

The role he's playing for tonight — participant, tour guide, whatever — is wildly unfamiliar to the vigilante. The landscape, however, is anything but. It's been years, and the grounds themselves have been warped by time, neglect, and misuse, but he still remembers walking through this entryway, dragging his dad by the hand with all the overabundance of energy and enthusiasm an eight-year-old can bring to bear. 'Come on, dad. Let's get in line for the roller coaster!'

Bucky's two cents bring the black-masked vigilante back to the present. "There are at least six inside, more wandering outside," the Devil says, elaborating on the aforementioned 'shitload' in that raspy, hushed tone of his— and offering absolutely no explanation for his precision. "We're too many to sneak in" a beat, and then a tip of his profile towards Azalea before he adds " at least all together." To Bucky, then: "Diversion works, if you're down for it." It's a dangerous assignment, to be sure, but Bucky is one of the two people on this team that he's taken the measure of. "Then the rest of us can head in hard and fast."


With powers like hers, Elinor Ravensdale usually deals with the dead. The living rarely take notice of her, and she liked it that way. That is until Jessica Jones burst into her apartment, and since then the living's problems have slowly become her own. This is how she's found herself with a group of people she barely knows standing outside of an abandoned carnival and asked not to kill people. Not that she wants more ghosts following her around.

She took the ear piece from Red Robin, which she is sure will come in handy soon enough. She did bring a few friends with her as well, most of them are her 'roommates' of the non-living variety. Bobby and Espranza follow behind her, mostly to use as scouts. "Can you go see what we're dealing with? Be careful and keep yourselves hidden." With that she keeps back to the shadows, which seem to cling to her like unwanted cat hair. Still she seems poised and ready to act, even with Preston's warning ringing through her mind.


Much as she likes him, under other circumstances Jessica might offer some serious deadpan snark about Red going all Captain Obvious with that 'we need to be careful' line over there, but…not tonight, and not over this. She starts as she realizes Az has already gotten into the park somehow and is taking down sentries, and she frowns, but she says nothing; she'd reached out to very gently and remarkably quietly break the lock so those who just needed to walk in could quietly push their way in.

The Devil of Hell's Kitchen outlines the plan, and Jess mutters, "My favorite way to go into anything." Also the only way she really knows how to go into most of anything like this, but that's beside the point.

They won't have much more time than that to coordinate though. Esperanza mutters in Elinor's mind: *There is a filthy psychic in this park, chica, and she's just alerted all the troops.*

Suddenly, there's a strange energy in the air that pings sharply against Silk's Spidey Sense, brushes like a whisper-soft caress against Xihunel's awareness, and hits Matt's senses as a strange pressure that seems to move throughout the entire park in a quick, brief wave. It's like magic in that it's energy that makes zero sense, but it's…different. And there's little time to analyze it.

The park comes alive. Heartbeats spike, people are on the move, and a group starts racing for the entrance, converging. They gather loosely in clumps of five guys or so. One group rounds the south side of the Tilt-A-Whirl; the other curves around the north side. One comes straight down the center of the aisle. Two emerge from round about the Ferris Wheel, and another group of five pops out of the old fortune teller's booth on the south east side of the park. Some have guns, though nobody's carrying anything but a pistol. Others are weilding chains, aluminum bats, and switch blades. These are the lower ranking Vipers, the ones who push drugs to kids on street corners or mule them around between bigger parties.

They have definitely noticed the interlopers.

"Hey yo," one of them says, "Fools came out to play!"

They don't even sound an alarm; they just let the clink of chains and the pap-pap of guns sound the alarms for them as they move in for an attack.


Diversion works if he's down for it, Matt says. Bucky thinks about it a moment, before nodding and unholstering a pistol, checking it, racking the slide.

"Don't worry," he says dryly. "I'm not gonna kill anyone." This is about all the reassurance he gets to offer, however, before something happens that seems to alert the entire area to their presence.

"Or we can just scrap that idea," he remarks, apparently unbothered by the sudden change in circumstanes, though after saying that he reholsters his pistol, detaches from the group, and briefly vanishes into the dark.

The next thing that happens is a familiar whine of metal in the night, followed immediately by a trash can lid slicing through the air. It's aimed for the heads of the guys piling out of the fortune teller's booth— and aimed in such a way to ricochet between the three frontrunners, bounce off the back of the booth, and angle off for the remaining two.


It isn't as though Red Robin enjoys ordering his life around cryptical mystical clues, but under the circumstances his willingness to jump through hoops is… Extremely high.

His attention turns towards the Winter Soldier when he offers to provide some kind of distraction, and Daredevil is inclined to let the onetime war hero do exactly that. It would be useful to create additional confusion, that much he has to agree with, but…

"No corpses, Sergeant," the vigilante reiterates. He wouldn't dream of trying to sell Barnes on the 'no guns' thing, but there are always ways to employ firearms nonlethally, especially when you're a super cool super soldier. "Kneecaps are fine though," he adds after a brief pause.

He's not here to play gently.

Goodness knows he's probably crippled more than his fair share of mooks.

But once they're inside, the idea of a distraction goes out the window. Despite Azalea's stealthy takedown, their arrival doesn't go unnoticed.

"Tch," Red Robin mutters, and nearly silently he draws his battle staff, snapping it out to its full length. "Let's see how New York gangs stack up." His hand not currently carrying his staff sweeps out, releasing a handful of what look like dark, plastic marbles; as soon as they hit anything, like the ground, or a person, they burst and release a cloud of thick dark smoke, to cloud conventional vision and clog up the lungs.

Immediately, he launches himself into the smoke.

Naturally, he picks a larger cluster, a group of five members of the gang. He can see their body heat, hear their hearts, their breathing, the scrape of feet on pavement, the rattle of weapons. A gun pops once, twice, then bits of it fly dissasembled out of the smoke, the slide in one direction, the clip in another; in the dark he's moving, moving, catching a length of chain around his staff, dragging the wielder off of his feet with a sudden burst of strength, burying his knee into the ganger's sternum brutally hard, tossing him away to gasp on the ground like a fish out of water. The scalloped 'blades' on his gauntlet catch a swung tire iron, and he sweeps his arm to rip the weapon out of the other youth's hands, using the momentum to upend the previously-armed assailant onto his face. A harsh crack, blood streaming from a broken nose, he doesn't stir.

Again and again the staff strikes, along with Red Robin's feet, fists, knees, elbows, the vigilante turned into a weapon from a young age by a succession of brutal tutors.

By the time the smoke starts to clear, and honestly it's only been seconds, he's the only one still standing.


Well. Fuck.

This one was probably on The Dark Devil. She'd made the first move, and then they were all over them. Still, maybe that was just what they needed. Not exactly a distraction, but at least she knew where she stood now. The sensation of something brushing against her Dark Passenger has her fury caught in her throat, as if it were something she could scream across the battlefield to get rid of, instead she can only launch herself onto the field of battle. If Red Robin is the surgical strike, planning and opportunity turned efficient brutality, then The Dark Devil is the blunt instrument that moves with a power and fury that does not match her diminutive frame.

A flying knee catches one in the sternum, a crack echoing through the void of smoke he falls into, only to find a downed compatriot to lead him to cement. A clang of metal on metal as an armguard blocks a bat, her free hand sweeping up to take the weapon in tandem with a shoulder check and swing it around in a two-handed strike that plows into the man's knee. His cry is visceral, and if asked later she'd not lie about how much she enjoyed it.

It made her feel like a monster again.

The bat is taken from her mid-revelry, her enjoyment swept away by one strike of a two-by-four, then another, this one smashing into her ribs and jolting her sidelong. The man before her has two hundred pounds on her, a muscled freak who swings the board once more into her plowing fist, which shatters it back against his face.

The exchange that follows should be strength against speed, but a sudden snap of The Dark Devil's hand finds a meaty wrist and stops an incoming blow with sheer force of will.

Or is it something more? So close to the smoke cloud, Red Robin will surely see it, an iron grip reaching for Azalea's neck, but stopped by a creature that should not be able to stop him. Spittle drips from his mouth. Rage bulges his eyes. A shift of The Dark Devil's weight lets her curl his wrist away before she leaps and drives her forehead into his nose.

The explosion of blood is satisfying, as are the bone-breaking blows she hammers into his ribs, purely for satisfaction's sake.

A trashcan lid sails by, doing as much damage if not more than her vicious tirade, and she has no clue what Robin has done behind his veil of smoke. But they'll all see her strike a final, definitive blow, dislocating the man's jaw, her body heaving, fists curled and dripping blood, and that feral look in her eyes.


And Cindy thought her Silk-sense was incredibly accurate (at least when it isn't waking her up in the middle of the night with the occasional false positive)— who is this guy, again, in the black mask, with senses that insanely accurate at this range…?

Maybe it's a magic thing? Magic exists! So do ghosts.

And then, her senses start buzzing wildly. There's danger— they know— and they announce it, with whoops, chains, and a couple of gunshots.

Everyone starts to divvy up— Silk, for her part, takes a glance back at Elinor and Jessica before approaching a group with her hands raised, trying her best to look totally unimposing. "Ah come on guys, there's no need for the weapons, we're just here to have a totally rad winter party, I mean do you even see that roller coaster? That's SO RAD—"

It doesn't matter if they look, Silk's hands start snapping forward in quick movements, flicking gobs of sticky webbing from her fingers in a similar way to Spider-Man and the shooters mounted on the underside of his wrists; a gun is jammed up before it has a chance to fire. She briefly becomes a ludcriously fast— especially for a spider-person— blur of movement, webbing a knife-wielder's leg to the ground before an acrobatic dive to the palm of one hand and a heel kick to the temple with the opposite leg. She whirls around quickly and snags another's legs out from under him with a few thin cords, fingers fanning out to stick him to ground with a broad, controlled fan-out of sticky, silken webs.

Then, in one more swift move, the spider-girl jumps ahead and goes elbow-cross-face on the first gang member of her group, the pistoleer trying to free his gun, sending him tumbling across the ground. " —I mean, I haven't been on a roller coaster in /years/!"


"Shit, we'll have to deal with her later we have…" Well there are gun shots and that just isn't the sort of thing Elinor normally deals with. "Other problems." It's about then that Elinor realizes she's in a bit over her head, and that right now, she an Espy could be watching reruns of their favorite Telanovela. There is that moment of fear as she follows the others in, and she still lingers to the shadows using them as cover.

She finds a solitary group who are still trying to find trouble, she reaches out her hand and concentrates, focusing on the shadows at their feet, or the ones that are cast from the buildings they pass. She quickly surrounds them in darkness, cutting off their visibility to the rest of the distraction. Sounds are heard from with in as tendrils of shadow magic begin to bludgeon against them, looking to harm and not kill, it's a thin balance, the temptation is there to take it further, but she simply knocks three of them out, while the others are left doubled over in pain and confused.


The Devil of Hell's Kitchen lets out a puff of wintry, white-wreathed breath when the other side's cavalry arrives, carrying with it the faintest air of reluctance. This isn't a battle he'd ordinarily pick — not even for the crime of trespassing on a fond childhood memory. This lot is unprepared and ill-equipped for the Hell about to rain down on them. But, whatever his reservations, he made a commitment to see this through; and besides, they're not really leaving him with any choice.

So in he goes, with speed to match any of the meta'd band of miscreants he's somehow gotten caught up with. The black-clad man moves in towards a band of four heartbeats; hearing the clink of a chain, the wrap of a metal pipe on a leather-gloved palm, the flick of a switchblade. It's the first he neutralizes, and the arm that bears it, twisting it behind the astonished assailant before he cracks the young man's joint at the elbow. The rest would be butchery if it weren't so bloodless: a blitz of fists and spinning kicks and at least one pipe wrested and another assailant brained by it.

When the fight's done he's the only one left standing, metal chain wrapped around one fist.

"They're not done yet," he says after a heavy breath, turning his idiosyncratic attention out towards the nightmarish, funhouse-mirrored version of the amusement park around them — and whatever heartbeats, regular or not, he can sense beyond the perimeter of fallen bodies they've manufactured together.


The contrasts between a certain PI and everyone else fighting here are pretty intense. It's stuff one wouldn't notice until one was in this sort of a protracted situation, stacking her up against people who are way better at their jobs.

Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier, with a 70 year career as a warrior, a knife in the dark, a legend, a ghost story, all ruthless efficiency and brutal energy, pulling Cap-shield moves like a pro, making sure his enemies can't even begin to understand what the Hell just hit them.

The Red Robin, trained from the age of 14 under harsh taskmasters, a martial arts master and acrobatic genius, whom keeps pace with metahumans without ever letting them see him sweat, effortlessly using technology and tricks to his advantage, turning a staff into a whirlwind until he's the last man standing.

The Dark Devil, guided by the hand of a 10,000 year old murdered god, a force that has forgotten more about battle than most people will ever have the misfortune of knowing, all bloodlust and rage.

Silk, with little to do day-in and day-out in her bunker but relentlessly train, a force of preturnatural acrobatic agility and speed, webbing with a tensile strength that's straight off the charts, delivering an epic beat-down with a side of guile!

Elinor Ravensdale, mystic wielder of darkness, touched by death every night, remaining unscathed while casually dispatching her foes without getting a hair out of place, holding her own with magic force despite feeling in over her head.

The Devil of Hell's Kitchen, the son of Battlin' Jack Murdock, trained in the ninja arts by a mysterious mentor at the age of 9, his body honed over the years into a living weapon, his super senses allowing him to outmatch and outpace his foes as they give themselves away in a hundred tiny flutters of their heart and breath, master of bloodless takedowns.

Beside them all is Jessica Jones: self-taught, relying entirely on gifts she's never bothered to push to their limits because she's never truly needed to; a woman with great instincts and a lot of heart but with all of four months of trying to do much with her abilities or even her life…five, if one counts 4 muggings, one abusive adopted Mom and one averted juvenile vehicular homicide in the days before some Serious Shit Went Down.

So what does she do?

Jessica just sort of grimly wades in to a group of gangsters near the Ferris Wheel like a kid wading into a ball pit, and then just…lets them hit her? As a strategy? A chain strikes her face; she grabs it, features rearranging themselves into an irritated expression as it bruises and cuts her skin just a little, then wraps it around her hand clumsily and uses it to hit the kid who threw it at her hard enough to stagger him and send him to the ground, unconscious. Someone swings a bat at her back; she doesn't bother to block or catch it or anything like that. She just makes a disgusted noise and tosses the poor kid into one of the highest bucket seats above as the chain slides off her knuckles and hits the dirt; the seat swings and creaks wildly but at least doesn't fall with the young man entangled in it. A knife flashes, comes down hard towards her shoulder. Her clothes mostly deflect it; she plucks it out of the leather and tosses it aside, then kicks the kid in the kneecap, shattering it— and he's definitely 100% done with this day.

She's a fire of emotion; she's pissed off, her situational awareness for anything not directly in her line of sight in the heat of the moment is pretty much crap and she has zero finesse…which is why when two of the kids flank her and aim their guns right at her head from behind, putting her pretty much dead to rights, she doesn't even realize it, because movement has caught her attention from the north end of the park.

Another huge group is coming; one set spriting from the west end of the tent bar, one emerging directly from the tent bar, fifteen guys running from the rides up at the north end of the park. All of these bozos have pistols. Everyone else can see and sense this incursion too; depending on where they are placed and how distracted they are right now some people might also see and/or sense that Jessica Jones is about to get her god damn head blown off from one direction or another if something doesn't happen to change that shit PDQ. No bullet-proof clothes where they're aiming.


Perhaps unhelpfully, the Winter Soldier just chuckles when Red Robin reminds him 'no corpses.' "Like I said," he says, "not killing anybody. Honestly, kneecaps aren't even necessary either." The gun reholsters in reinforcement of this assertion. And a moment later, the reason why Bucky doesn't seem to think he needs to lean on his firearms becomes pretty clear as a different kind of projectile slices through the air and puts down five men.

His targets excised with rapid efficiency, he uses the extra time to scope out how the rest are doing with a critical eye. It's a teacher's impulse that he hasn't quite shed. Red Robin's fighting style he is already quite familiar with, having seen it multiple times before; similar can be said of both Azalea and Matt, with the extra nuance of having actually fought against both of them and felt how they carry themselves in a fight. Silk and Elinor are rather novel, his eyes following them with cataloguing interest— especially the former, who seems to be some kind of… female… Spider-Man.

And then he gets to Jessica. His expression turns into a distinct frown. Especially when some guys start flanking her. Bucky can see where that's going in a hurry.

So he gets going in a hurry, too. He kicks into a run, zero to forty in a bursting sprint, turning and whipcracking into a snapped kick at the last moment with a very simple intention: punt one of the kids straight into the other and send both of them spinning off at least twenty feet.

He turns to Jessica immediately afterwards. "Is this how you ALWAYS fight?" he demands, appalled, even as his gaze stays active appraising the incursion of additional opponents.


Honestly, Red Robin is a little disappointed by the quality of thugs in New York City.

One supposes it's a weird thing to take pride in, but Gotham just engenders a better class of criminal.

"Yeah… That was pretty cool," the cowled vigilante is forced to admit of the Winter Soldier's impromptu projectile toss, as he finds himself similarly studying what the others are doing even while he fights, his natural inclination to understand, to interrogate the world around him quite securely tied in with his ingrained training as a tactician, as an observer and investigator. The brutality of the Dark Devil, as she unleashes herself more savagely than he's seen before; the curiously quasi-familiar fighting style of the Devil of Hell's Kitchen; the decidedly Spider-Man-esque way Silk deals with her opponents, all falling into place as he runs scenarios in his head, thinking, always thinking.

Elinor's shadowy sorcery, Jessica's brute force and lack of situational awareness, and…

The Soldier is already on the move, and whatever Red Robin might feel about Barnes' past actions when he was wielded by hands not his own, he absolutely trusts the cyborg to handle it. There are other problems that need to be dealt with, after all. Other enemies.

"Dark Devil, control yourself. Disable and move on. Eyes front," he says into the comms, no need to shout when there are ear pieces. "Silk, stay high and mobile, use your webbing to disable firearms. Elinor, if you can hide us, do it. Other Devil, I'm going to toss more smoke so we can close in, try not to get shot."

What, it's good advice.

More smokebombs are hurled, as Red Robin stows his staff long enough to fire a line at one of the gun-toting goons, suddenly and violently yanking him forward as a cloud of darkness fills the air - enough that they could get to the group of gunmen on foot with minimal exposure. The unfortunate he reeled in is left tied up in the line, his gun kicked away, before Red Robin rushes forward, grabbing some more spherical thrown weapons, these ones filled with a compressed goo to throw /at/ the guns, the better to neutralise those firearms.


It is the violence of action that drives her, the notion and knowledge that battles turn with momentum, and hearing The Devil of Hell's Kitchen warning combined with the sudden dashing interception by Bucky Barnes, tells her they are close to losing that initiative.

With a scoop of one hand she has a bat again, but she does not use it like a bludgeon, instead she uses it like a sword, leaping at the oncoming men with a double kick that sends her into a roll, and then a cleaving whirlwind of aluminum and gunfire. Her priority is weapons, and as she uses one of the less graceful of the men to her advantage - staying close, entangled, dragging him around like a shield - a shot grazes her arm, the angle sharp enough to cut even Batman's loaned armor.

There's a sharp intake of breath as pain sinks in, the ache in her bruised ribs and the blood pouring down her arm give her an primordial energy.

A bullet shatters the top of her bat, but she does not stop, dragging rough edges across equally rough faces and moving into another roll to slam the almost destroyed bat into two more sets of knees. While she isn't exactly following Red Robin's advice, she's trying to be as disruptive as possible, ending up somewhere in front of Jessica.


Cindy twists a little to survey the others— she doesn't quite get the chance to see everyone at work, but the results can't be disputed: Everyone here is a goddamn badass. The violent sting at the edges of her perception lead the black-and-white-clad heroine to spin on her heel, fingers fanned out with the intent to release a spray of webbing at the gunmen approaching behind Jessica, but Bucky is there with a burst of incredible speed that she did not anticipate.


For her part, as Elinor's shadows writhe and dance and strike, Cindy looks way, way too excited— there's an odd sort of innocence to it rather than the smarmy sarcastic quips of the Spider-Man. "Oh!! Oh! Is that magic?! That's magic, right?! Guys, is that magic?! That's awesome!!"

'Silk, stay high and mobile…'

"Got it!"

A vacant lot and carnival ground doesn't offer Cindy a lot to get up high that quickly, but with a quick twist of her head she catches sight of the nearer of two tall carnival attractions. As much as she'd like to get caught up in her nostalgia, there's no time— as evidenced by how quickly she ducks her head forward under the sudden swing of a baseball bat from behind, wheeling herself forward into a handspring and popping the pair of thugs in the shirt with webbing— then pulling with enough of her strength to take 'em off their feet, flinging the pair a bit roughly into the side of the Tilt-a-Whirl's base.

Running toward the ride, she pushes off from the ground with a hop, feet catching the side of the posts and supports of the old ride as she runs to the top, jumps up, and lands in a squat, flinging globs of webbing at the gunslingers and trying to use her range to her advantage.

"This place is making me insanely hungry for corn dogs and cotton candy— I'm just saying!"


Well, at least Elinor looked cool while she was attacking things. It's hard not to get caught up in the excitement of battle, but she knows she has to keep her focus. However when she gets direction from Red Robin she nods her head. "That I can do, I just hope you all can see in the dark." She didn't get a run down of powers, but hopefully it will at least be a disadvantage to the next wave of Mooks that are joining in.

Elinor raises her arms, letting the near by shadows swirl around her like a dark tempest. Slowly it pulls away from her, flowing over her allies and dimming the less powerful lighting in the area. It should provide cover for those who like to hang out in the shadows, and hopefully not screw over those that do not.


"Sorry — who are you, again?" the Devil of Hell's kitchen asks that disembodied voice in his hear offering so many orders to so many people. Matt, for his part, is fairly convinced it's the least helpful advice in the history of advice.

Even if he's better suited than many to take it. He hears the click of pistol's safeties, the microvibrations and subtle whirrs of air as the arms that bear them take aim. He can locate with exactitude the weapons in front of him, alongside him, behind him. He has veritable eyes in the back of his head, and he makes good use of them as he zigs, zags, rolls, and sweeps past enemy gunfire towards the gas clouds Robin has created.

Now he's at an advantage, as long as he doesn't /breathe/ that noxious stew of chemicals that assaults his taste buds and olfactory senses. And he uses it — plowing through another round of gun-toting maniacs like he was born for it and they were born to get their faces bruised and their bones broken. Ten adversaries down and he's breathing heavy, clutching at a side where one of his opponents landed a solid fist. But the Devil's still game, and he positions himself to join Azalea and Bucky's perimeter around one Jessica Jones.


Bucky's gambit works, and works well. Jessica whirls around to see him punting guys who were about to kill her, seeing the tail end of his rapid run to her rescue before her brain even properly processes the danger she's in. It catches up to her a moment later. "Jesus…thank you— " And then she notices his disapproval. That's unexpected; it catches her completely off-guard, flusters her completely

"Pretty much…yes?" she asks, suddenly embarrassed.

To cover the fact that her face is flushing self-consciously, she leaps into the air and comes down behind a pair of gunmen who move in near the newly landed Azalea, knocking their heads quickly together to knock them out before they can draw a bead on The Dark Devil. The move is not really not any prettier, but at least it takes down two more of their opponents.

Does she glance at Bucky to see if he'll approve of this performance more than he approved of her previous one? Yes. Yes she does. The Devil of Hell's Kitchen lands next to her after they fall, but…she actually kind of seems to appreciate the perimeter suddenly, a little less confident in her ability to survive the evening without help.

Nevertheless, the combined tactics of the team work like a charm to take out this second wave of thugs. As soon as of the opponents are down there's silence for one long moment; lights swing back and forth in a sudden wind; rides creak. The music and laughter have long since stopped over at the tent.

And then? Well. Then…apparently…the night isn't done sucking for one Jessica Jones, PI, and this time it's worse, for her, than nearly getting shot or embarrassing herself in front of people she admires.

Silk, with her Spider-Sense, Az, with her strange godly empathy, and The Devil of Hell's Kitchen, with his Everything-But-Sight-Senses, will probably realize something's terribly wrong with her first.

To Silk's senses, it's like the emotional damage that she's sensed in Jessica is suddenly ramped up to 11; it's almost painful to feel. It is every nightmare, every temptation to fall off the wagon, every long night spent staring sightlessly up at the ceiling, every morning where the woman just stares off randomly into space, every quiet evening when anxiety attacks clutched her heart and made her breathe too fast while trying to function like a normal person, wiping sweat off her brow while calling this person or that in the course of her work.

Az hears something she's heard before while standing too close to Jessica: the sound of a man screaming her name, telling her to get back here, calling her like an unruly dog who is misbehaving. It morphs, briefly, into the laughing velvet tones of a woman, who purrs, "What delicious damage. Healing? Well, let's fix that." Then…she coos, "Jessicaaaaa," in a sing-song fashion that is just as disturbing. It's all blurring together in there; the methods are different but the end result is pretty much the same. However, she also gets an image of Jessica snarling, spitting, and fighting internally, struggling with this force. She's not going quietly.

To Matt's senses there's a strange energy pulsing around the PI all of the sudden that those who can't feel or sense psionic energy can't even detect; it seems to be emanating from the very top of the Drop Tower ride and reaching out. It had actually gone sliding and winding slowly about all of their heads for a moment, probing. It had hesitated over Bucky Barnes as if considering trying to push his way in there, but…whatever the force finds there isn't quite as familiar as the one she finds as it suddenly strikes out at Jessica Jones, sensing a weak link in the form of old, familiar wounds that can be exploited and used with ease. There's a change in pressure, a chill; it's not at all like magic, but it's palpable. It has a kind of weight.

Jessica is instantly aware of it. Her heartrate skyrockets instantly; her breathing picks up speed. She goes deathly pale in an instant, her lips parting as she starts letting out sharp, panicky breaths. She grabs her head with one hand, grits her teeth, and staggers back, panting, teeth chattering.

"No," she whispers.

"Shit! No. Get out, get the fuck out!!. B-birch…Street…Higgins…Lane…C-cobalt…C-obalt D-drive…"

Her teeth grind as she hits the ground, fallign down hard to sit on her ass and while she grips her head with both hands, panting hard and fast. "Oh, God. She's in my head. She's in my head. She's in my fucking head." She can't stop the panic from skyrocketing through every inch of her tone and demeanor, her voice crackling through the earbuds in a rush of 'shit is not going well' even for those who are some distance away; a full on attack that leaves her out of breath and burning.

Esperanza hisses to Elinor: *She's on the Drop Tower, the filthy psychic puta.* Magical senses don't necessarily sense psionics, but…Elinor does have a nice secondary source for such information. Ghosts can pick up a lot of energetic information, nearly all of it if they're as sentient Esperanza and Bobby are. Bobby helpfully points.

Meanwhile, Jessica's voice grows more and more ragged, actually dropping in volume rather than rising, like someone being sucked slowly down into the dark.

"Oh God, get away from me…" Her lovely security blanket of a friend-perimeter is abruptly a big scary problem, because… "She's trying to make me attack you…God, not again, not again, this cannot fucking happen again!" She curls forward, resting her forehead on her knee while she clutches her head with both hands, now, every muscle taut like she's engaged in the fight of her life.

Which. In fact. She is.

Though she believes in and cares about every one of her friends here, she knows only one person here truly understands what this invasion means to her, though some might suspect or even know more than she might really prefer. That one has promised he won't ever let it happen again, promised with such conviction that she believed him immediately. Thus, she calls out for that one in an anguished whisper, much like a child calling for Dad to come and chase the monsters out of the closet. Not that this doesn't mean she wouldn't welcome help from any source or direction.

"Bucky," she whimpers, as tears stream down her cheeks, unbidden. "Bucky, please, please, please, don't let her get me. I don't know how long I can keep her out. I'm trying, I'm trying, I'm trying." The final few words bleed into each other, spoken too fast for breaths between.

The fact that she's not trying to snap anyone's neck is proof that she's still in the ring in that strange mental battle, but…for how long? She may not be as smooth as most of them, but that doesn't mean she won't be a threat if someone takes control of all that strength and aerial ability and uses it to their advantage.

However, they'll have other concerns besides one spazzing PI fighting a war for her mind and sanity. Five more figures emerge from the tent, all with body temperatures so much lower than the norm that Matt and Red, with his electronic scanners, and anyone else who does that sort of thing, can 'see' their silhouettes with ridiculous clarity.

Those with good eyesight or heat senses or whatnot might just see someone standing up at the very top of the Drop Tower, arms raised high like a puppet-mistress getting ready to put on a Punch and Judy show.

Of course, there are five big problems standing between anyone who might want to race for the Drop Tower ride. Red's smoke bombs clear, though if Elinor chooses to keep her shadows up they might obscure these figures for those who are don't have some sort of night sight enhancement (or who simply do not give a shit about sight).

One is a man with the head and scales of a snake; he opens his mouth wide to reveal fangs dripping with poison. He's as musclebound as any supersoldier and moves with equal, preternatural grace. A six armed woman with a long snake tail and six swords slithers out beside him. A man walks out playing a flute; his long, dark hair seems alive as if it's all made of snakes, and tiny vipers gather at his feet, waving slowly in time to the music and eyeing the group with beady eyes; Elinor and Matt will be able to sense dark and malevolent magic winding all around the lot of them. There's another fellow who just looks like a giant cobra with arms; venom is all but dripping from his mouth as well. He hocks a big spitty acid poison loogie at the group without much preamble. To Matt, it smells chemical more than organic, like the kind of thing that can destroy eyesight and change lives. There's also a man who looks…really normal, almost forgettable, but the big grin on his face says he knows something they don't know.

The night clearly is not done sucking for anyone else, either.


'Sorry - who are you again?'

"The guy not wearing a sock on his head," rasps the electronically blurred voice in response. Which isn't to say that Red Robin doesn't understand the struggles of a homemade costume, but his temper is frayed at best, these days. The lack of sleep is definitely not helping.

However, it soon becomes apparent that there's bigger things to be worried about than whether or not people actually listen to coordination efforts, or worse have to go be all sassy. Though Red Robin lacks any supernatural senses, what he hears over the comms isn't encouraging, as Jessica admits that she's being manipulated, that something is in her head. Psionics, he can more easily grasp than magic, though that's not necessarily helpful right this moment. The possibility of Jessica being forcibly turned against them is… Not encouraging.

"Barnes, can you subdue Miss Jones?" he asks, the unspoken part of the question being 'without causing serious harm'. It's tough enough against someone who can't rip your arms off with her bare hands, after all, and the Winter Soldier's training seems overall pretty lethal.

"We need to deal with the psychic behind this, immediately," Red Robin adds, though of course there's the additional problem of the snake-themed metahumans on the ground. Where the former Boy Wonder's mouth is visible beneath his cowl, it pulls into a faint frown.

Then one of them spits acid spit at them.

"Right, of course," the vigilante mutters, dodging out of the way. "Hell's Vipers."

Even as he dodges, he hurls another one of those goo-bombs at the face of the spitter, hoping to take that particular weapon out of the equation.


Silence isn't always golden. Sometimes it's just the calm before the storm, so Elinor is still on edge. She lets the shadows hiding everyone fade, allowing those with out the ability to see in the dark to get their eyesight back. That's when Jessica starts getting 'interefered' with. It's then that Elinor realizes that she forgot to mention the psychic and a flash of guilt runs through her. She knows that Jessica has been working very hard on herself, and the fact that the bitch on top of the Tower is about to bring it all crumbling down makes her… angry?

It's then that Elinor has the sudden and scary revelation that she might just give a shit about Jessica Jones.

Shaking her head she growls into the coms. "I've got the bitch." She says darkly, but not before reaching out with her magic one more time. A rush of shadow flows toward Jessica, wrapping around her and shielding her from view. To Jessica, it feels warm and comforting, it makes her eyelids heavy, and the weariness of the day starts to drag on her. The urge to sleep would be undenyable and Elinor hopes that if Jess isn't awake, than she can't be used as a weapon.

Turning backtoward the tower, she narrows her eyes as the shadows pull toward her and form into long thing tendrils. With a flick of her wrist they to racing toward the tower, looking for weak spots in the already decaying structure. She's trying to bring it down, and get this woman on the ground. She's silent as she works, and her face begins to look gaunt and pale as she works her magic. Well more so than it usually does.


It's all so familiar. All so wrong. The Dark Devil has seen what manipulation like this did to Bucky Barnes. She would not see it happen to Jessica, drinking in her fear in a way that will make her ashamed later. But for now, she needs every bit of fuel she can get.

Her first instinct is to try to stop Jessica, to put her out like she did the first guard she encounters, but she's already asking Bucky. Thankful for the overhead support of Silk and the darkness Elinor can impose, she rolls sidelong and through the shadows the moment the spitter makes his mark.

Red Robin's bombs go off, followed immediately by one of her own, aimed right at the head of the pied piper. It is, unfortunately, not some sort of Bat-Weapon. Instead it is very clear to anyone watching that it is not something that should be there, though one of them will know it's effect.

The pink, plastic Easter egg will go sailing in with enough force to break against shoulder or head, and for anyone with eyes - or, say, a multitude of hair-eyes, and a bunch of little viper eyes at his feet - they will know horror. It is cayenne pepper and talcum powder mixed, and though it is not technologically advanced, it is as brutal as a creature of desperation can make it.

"Play me a song now mother fucker.


Pretty much… yes? Jessica says. A wince flickers briefly across his features. "Ah, well…"

Jessica leaps off to try to deal with some others in a more impressive fashion. Bucky's expression doesn't really vary from its :S setting. "…we can work on that."

He casts a quick look around, making sure everyone else is handling their opponents well— they seem to be, even having enough time to make quips at one another, to which Bucky only snaps a stern sergeant's, "Hey," over the comms, in the same tone as one would say 'children, behave.'

A moment later, he freezes as he feels … something skate past his mind. It puts him on total lockdown, panic moving in his blood as old memories rise, but in the end it's not him that psychic grasp is going for. Jessica calls out abruptly for him and he responds instantly, rushing to kneel beside her as she hits the ground. Reaching through the shadows cloaking her, her takes her firmly by the shoulder with his left hand. He doesn't even need the prompt from Tim.

Please, she whimpers, looking to him to fix it— the one person present most equipped to understand. "Shhh," he answers, a natural paternal response to a child calling out in distress— but the hand he puts around her throat a moment later isn't very typical a paternal response at all.

For them, though, it kind of is, in an unspoken agreement they made long ago. "Putting her down," he informs over the comms, laconic, even if his pulse is racing with rage. His grasp tightens, fingertips pressing unerringly to constrict her vagus nerve, close her carotids, inducing near-instant unconsciousness, at which point he carries her clear of the fight, perhaps assuming the cloak of darkness will come with him.

A few moments pass. He is heard long before he is seen again, his voice a knife edge over the comm. "Where is she?" He catches sight of the woman atop the Drop Tower a moment later, and he immediately cuts into a run, not seeming to care that there's five freakshows between himself and the target, though he does angle towards the left, where only the serpent-headed man is between himself and his destination.

Doubtless this creature is going to try to stop him, to which Bucky has one answer: his metal left fist piledriven into its fanged face.


The last of the second wave is put down; from this vantage point she's had a better chance to see things while doing her best to lay down 'cover fire' with bursts of webbing. Shaking out her hands a little, she squats down on the high arches surrounding the Tilt-a-Whirl, sitting on her heels with superhuman balance. Elinor's flood of darkness, Bucky's speed and strength, Red Robin's tactics, and the raw brutality and never-say-die of both The Dark Devil and The Devil of Hell's Kitchen are… just awesome. Jessica—

The sudden invasion of Jessica's mind and the distress— the dredge-up feelings, the terror, the sudden one-eighty of her attitude— is much like the nights she's awoken to find the PI in distress, her Silk-senses overloading with a sensation much like a key being dragged down piano wire; a cold chill that races down her spine that forces her to grab the side of her head and hold onto the arch for balance. "Gah-!!"

Cindy's down off the ride and moving toward Jessica and Bucky when they're collectively interrupted by the arrival of five more problems. Silk's hands tighten into fists, standing astride the others while Bucky tends to Jessica in the way only a super-soldier can right now— and also works in tandem with Elinor.

After her own swift roll out of the way, Red Robin attacks the spitter, and Az uses her improvised grenades with the snake-charmer. Silk sucks in a breath through the red mask covering the lower half of her face, squinting at the strongman, the six-armed swordsnakelady, and the creepy grinning man. "Always got more hiding, huh?"

Breaking into a hard sprint, Cindy leaps into the air a considerable height, flicking one arm forward to cast out a web-line at the ground… then pull, hard, to accelerate herself to swing a heavy from-on-high punch down at the big angry fanged man's face.



Whatever riposte the Devil of Hell's Kitchen might have for Red Robin, if any, will be lost to the ages once that psychic energy slinks past them and Jessica Jones starts pleading for help. The breath he lets out is audible, ragged, full of righteous anger. But Bucky's closer, and Bucky — and/or Elinor — handle it, consigning the woman to sleep and placing her out of immediate danger. Or, at least, out of that /source/ of immediate danger. So many others remain — the spitter, the snake-head, the creepy old man.

Ever practical, the man in black takes on the one he is, after a fashion, best suited to grapple with. Six arms, six lethal swords, all of them so very very /noisy/. Matt approaches with steady, icy calm, almost lazily whipping the chain in one hand. "Want to put down your weapon — s?" he asks, offering her a momentary out. And, if it's not accepted immediately, he'll whip that chain in the direction of the appendages on her right side.


Red whips a goo-bomb at Cobraman; it moves with incredible grace. The hooded head slides to the side. The bomb hits, but neither its eyes nor its mouth; it gums into against its inner skin and hits the folds of his hood. Then the incredibly venomous creature is streaking towards Red Robin with all due speed, rearing its head back for another spit-bomb aimed specifically at him.

Elinor's shadows envelope Jessica, bringing comforting darkness, dulling her senses; Bucky's metal hand closes cold around her throat and it doesn't even hurt. Even if it had, she'd have leaned eagerly into it. In seconds, she's out cold. Nobody has ever been so grateful to be put down as the PI is right now, and she feels that gratitude completely in the few seconds of consciousness she has to register both interventions. She hardly weighs anything as Bucky once again carries her unconscious form out of the path of danger. Safe to say she will want to work on all of that when she registers what he said later, but for now she is asleep and hidden by the cloak which does, in fact, swirl about her and move courtesy of Elinor's magic, promising to keep her out of view while she's helpless.

The Piper suddenly whistles up a shield with a harsh, discordant note, but Azalea has accomplished one wonderful thing…she's taken out a bunch of super-fast vipers before they can go streaking after people to poison them with bite after bite after bite. He drops the flute and pulls out a razor-edged chakram that drips with something green that glistens in the carnival lights; it whirrs straight towards her own neck.

Bucky's metal arm piledrives into the snakeman's face. A fang breaks. He staggers back…and then he strikes back. A hard fist is aimed towards Bucky's gut, even as the snake man tries to snap massive jaws over the Winter Soldier's very head. Then Silk yells 'DENTAL PLAN' and he takes another punch, which staggers him and pulls him off balance.

The tower screams and squeals as Elinor starts trying to pull it down. It's old, but it's big…that effort is going to take her a little bit longer. It definitely doesn't sound like a great place for a spelunking expedition all of a sudden. The woman atop it, however, did not spelunk up there in the first place. Telekinetic energy ripples around her as she levitates herself to the top of the log ride instead, a move which will at least momentarily keep more psychic tendrils from looking for someone else to take control of…and Bucky already knows who she'd be targeting if she gets that far.

The naga woman with her six noisy swords laughs as Matt calls for her surrender. He gets the arms on her right side, tangling them up. She whips her body around with incredible speed though; a long, thick snake tail as long as a pick-up truck, thick and pulsing as the muscles beneath gold-green scales move, meaning to try to knock him down even as she swings the swords in her left hands towards him.

Aaaand everybody forgot about Smiley.

Smiley lays down on the ground, resting his chin in his hands, for all the world like he's watching television on the carpet. Then he starts to swell. And elongate. Ten feet. Twenty feet. Thirty. Forty. He oozes coils around Elinor as he grows, coils that are on the verge of closing fast, a giant ball python who thinks she looks like a fantastic snack.


When you're in the business for a while, themed groups of bad guys become more the norm than the exception. Though maybe that just comes from working in Gotham, where every maniac has some kind of theme going on. Clowns, or a weird preoccupation with giving clues to their own misdeeds, or are really cold.

Oh… cold.

"You guys must not be enjoying this weather," Red Robin muses out loud, the early March chill making his breath mist faintly in the air, as he tries to keep some room between himself and the spitter, who is disappointingly not wrestling with a faceful of rapidly hardening tangler bomb goo. Jones is out of action, which is a relief and means they can focus their remaining forces on the snakes, and… Aw, hell.

The focused glob of acid-poison spit jets towards Red Robin, who sweeps his memory material cape up to intercept it. The cape is, of course, resistant to many things. Fire, bullets to some extent, many conventional acids, but this is… Probably not a conventional acid. Already, it starts to melt around the point of impact, and the smell of that is /deeply/ unpleasant. Still, dodging, moving. Keeping out of reach.

And then he twists, hurling one of those gold and black discs at the spitter. Center of mass.

Wherever it hits, there's a quiet *crack* as the two small containers inside of it shatter and their contents mix, and things start getting colder - fast. Ice spreading from the point of impact fast, and then the caped and cowled young man lunges forward, his battle staff swinging down hard at the top of the spitter's hooded head, while the (literally) cold-blooded killer is hopefully distracted by having his limited body heat siphoned away by a fiendish chemical reaction. He keeps moving, though, drawing out his grapple gun again, aiming it for the distant log ride, or more accurately for the woman standing on top of it. She can't be allowed to continue operating. She has to be dealt with quickly.

The gun goes *paff* as the titanium grapple bit launches, and once it catches Red Robin starts immediately reeling in, drawing himself with increasing speed towards the log ride.


It was James Buchanan Barnes who showed up here tonight, but it's not really James Buchanan Barnes in the pilot's chair right now.

Subsequent to his release from his brainwashing, there's typically been a rather subdued aspect to the way Bucky conducts himself in a fight, as if afraid the Winter Soldier will break back through if he lets himself go too hard. That restraint is wholly absent now. He moves like the custom-designed weapon he is, in a perfect display of efficient destructiveness, every motion distilled down to the bare steel of his killing intent.

The serpent man he's engaged takes the full-force blow of his left arm with only a stagger. Bucky's eyes flicker with the information, the super-soldier adjusting his approach immediately for an opponent it's unlikely he can directly physically overpower. He ducks fluidly to the side as the thing strikes back. Though Cindy's assistance means the dodge is ultimately unnecessary for the purposes of avoiding damage, the Winter Soldier doesn't waste movement and the duck isn't just for avoidance; it carries him to the side opposite the direction the snakeman is unbalanced in.

A fact he immediately tries to capitalize on by flinging himself into the air in a cartwheel, looking to lock his ankles about the snake-man's neck and use his entire weight to bodily fling the serpent-man to the ground in the same direction he's already off-balancing. He draws a knife as he completes the maneuver, trying to plant it in the serpent-man's belly as he swings past. He lands with his knife already traded for his firearm, rising from his crouch with a violent kick aimed for the thing's head in an attempt to knock him the hell out.

It's really just a distraction, however. He can feel he'll be next if that woman gets her focus back, and it's her he's aiming for when he lifts his pistol, sights, and tries to put a bullet in her even from this distance. In deference to request, he aims for an incapacitating shot rather than a killing one— exploding someone's kneecap tends to cause distracting levels of pain— but he's certainly at a considerable distance, something he's going to rectify at a dead run unless stopped.


Most of what The Dark Devil does is reactionary, all born from the thrill of battle, and when a poisoned chakrum is sent careening in her direction she leaps into the air, a gloved hand grabbing for it's inner loop as she twists, turns, and sends the weapon directly towards the sensitive nose of the giant ball-python that's looming over Elinor. It is instinctual, and when she lands it's past the pipe playing snake-haired man, though not before she drops something past the top of his shield.

And right down the back of his shirt.






Azalea Kingston's phone blares with the Dethlok song, meant to distract the musician from his own. A sharp kick leads in, meant for the back of his leg, meant to dislocate and destroy tendon, and take the man out of the fight.

Poor Murdock. Hopefully her loud as fuck phone doesn't destroy his delicate senses, but she does not know her allies gifts - or weaknesses.

Hopefuly he'll feel really guilty later about not telling his fellow Devil-person.


Swords — even six of them — the Devil of Hell's Kitchen is well equipped to deal with. Even the giant tail he might be able to manage, if he were able to wrestle one of those swords away. But death metal? Not so much.

Loud music — even Dethlock — doesn't destroy his senses. Don't get dramatic. But the raging noise from Azalea's phone does surprise, and upsets his finely tuned sense of balance to the point where he takes a solid hit from that swinging tail he might otherwise have been able to duck. It sends him grunting to his knees, and it's only the presence of mind amidst disorientation and pain that allows himself lower still to avoid the slicing arcs of the blades aiming to separate his head from his body.

You can't keep this devil down long, though. He's on his back, but Murdocks famously never stay down. In a matter of moments he's vaulting back up on to his own two feet, with the chain that binds her to him still in hand. In an exercise of equal parts bravery and stupidity he yanks it — and consequently both her and her swords — towards him and his upraised left fist, which aims for a punishing and hopefully knockout blow to the head as soon as she's in distance.


"Of course she flies." Elinor says with pure annoyance to her voice. Between the Psychic flying away, and the structure being more secure than it looked, she's doing great. The oversized snake coming her way doesn't do much to improve her mood either, but it does mean her focus is no longer on the pyschic. The tendrils coming toward her are met with her own shadowy ones, but with part of her concentration focused on keeping Jessica hidden it's hard to battle them all off.


The attacks roll in tandem; Bucky's brutal strikes, the retaliation, and then a surprise dynamic-entry Cindy from on high. She does not stop moving, tucking her shoulder down and rolling across the ground back into a squat as she turns and— gets to see up-close and personal the brutality of the Winter Soldier's fighting style and skills, right down to the strategically-placed knife, the nigh-instant switch to the pistol, and his aim at the tower.

"Just saying if anyone else needs my help just OH MY GOD IS THAT THE SNAKE FROM ANACONDA."

Cindy's outdated references aside, she changes directions quickly and breaks into a superhuman sprint, hoping to buy Bucky, Tim, and Elinor the time they need by quite literally running to blast a forty-foot snake man with two large grouped-up bursts of webbing, then pulling the line taut. She's tested her strength more than a few times since emerging from the bunker, but never has she tried to go all-out with it, or tried to reach for her upper limits.


If she can land those anchor lines, if she can get the grip, the spider-grip of her feet gives her enough traction to try a violent, hard-pulling jog straight across the carnival and toward the carousel— trying to physically, bodily drag the smiley serpent through the ride and between posts and old horses. Her ultimate plan:

Get it knotted up in the carousel, and then maybe punch it in the face as hard as she can.

Hey, she said it was gonna be stupid.


Cold is indeed the key to defeating snakes. Being part human may have helped them against the ides of March, but…it won't help against a cyro-grenade. Tim's manouvre works beautifully. Spitty-McCobraFace is down for the count, falling over in a hard slump as he hits the ground in a torpor. Tim's grapple gun carries him straight to the psychic, and he gets a good look at her.

She is a black woman with big gold earrings in her ear and her natural hair shaved close to her skull. Veve (of Kalfu, if Tim has studied up) are literally carved into her arms, ritually scarring them. She gets little or no part of her power from magic or spirits, but she sure believes she does, and it would be unwise to assume she can't bring something of the sort to bear given whom she associates with— it's not only those of good heart, after all, who can study the hedge arts. She wears a dress and sandals of crimson and a long, thick, shawl the color of dried blood.

She is almost certainly the intermediary, the "Mouthpiece of Midnight," the one that probably set this gang on one John Constantine, brought here by her desire to make sure the gang didn't follow her, by some personal connection to the Vipers, or because her master told her to come. Either way, she is the one with the answers. Kalfu's servant turns to Red with malevolence burning in her eyes…

Snakeman is flipped, stabbed, and knocked out with all the brutality the Winter Soldier can bring to bear. He does not shift down into any form…that's his really real form right there, bleeding profusely but not dead (yet). A shot rings out…

And the telekinetic woman tries to shove Red directly into the path of the Winter Soldier's gunshot with a burst of that invisible force. Again she is distracted from another mental invasion but…that might not be an improvement, all things considered. It doesn't hold him or keep him from acting though…it is a literal hard shove from an invisible hand, which might create an opportunity for him to do something about it. Or to get shot. Or to fall off the log ride. Ball's in his court? The bullet is, at least, only aimed in the vicinity of legs, or knees, or other such things. But for Robin, with no healing factor, and no Zatanna on hand to provide insta-curatives…it might be a big incoming problem.

The python is immune to poison but not to a chakram biting into its neck. It rears back and hisses in wild pain as Azalea Kingston draws blood. Meanwhile the heavy metal madness does indeed distract the bardic magician, the pied piper, and he cries out in agony as she dislocates his leg. He hits the dirt, momentarily in way too much pain to muster much of a defense.

Whatever the naga expected, it wasn't this. He yanks her close, and she snarls, "You dare?!?" And then that's pretty much when fist meets face. Her face, her head, works like anyone else's face or head, and he's got that famous Murdock punch to boot. Now he's just got to deal with a whole lot of unconscious snake trying to fall ontop of him, but…that's a minor problem.

The python looks momentarily surprised to find that Elinor is able to fight him off with the shadows, and she remains unstrangled as he bleeds from Azalea's earlier attack. And then the python is basically flying through the air like Sir Hiss from that old Disney Robin Hood cartoon; the look on his face is pretty much precisely the same and then it's crashing into the carosel, crumpling it like an old tin can. The plan might not have been great, but it did put the hurt on, and the thing actually melts back down into human form right around the time that Silk's fist met his face. She got lucky; she might not want to make 'stupid' plans her habit, but…it gets the job done.

That leaves Kalfu's servant, the woman known via back alley prophecy as the Mouthpiece of Midnight.


A sharp kick plows into the side of snake-hair's head, and she scoops up his pipe to tuck it away. With that, The Dark Devil turns and rushes off, towards where she saw Bucky stash Jessica. In all this time she has become her big sister, and with the fight narrowed she feels she can afford the moment to make sure she's okay.


Of course Red Robin has studied up. It's what he does.

His concern with vodou goes back further than the events of the past few weeks, even… He couldn't bear to not understand something of what the man who killed his mother and crippled his father as part of a purported sacrifice had been trying to do, even if he didn't really believe in the 'magic' aspect of it all. And now, well, now he has a more immediate reason, doesn't he?

The malevolent glare is met with a look of grim determination on what is visible of Red Robin's face, those featureless white lenses over his eyes betraying nothing… Even as the Mouthpiece uses her power to shove him aside, altering his course to put him in the path of the bullet from the Winter Soldier's gun.

Now, Barnes had aimed for the legs, certainly, but the Mouthpiece is on a greater elevation, Red Robin's course taking him upwards; by the time he's shoved into the path of the bullet, it slams into his torso from behind, the impact devoured by armor, by ballistic weave, but he still ends up feeling an already weakened rib crack under the pressure, after the injuries he'd taken dealing with accidentally-summoned hellspawn the week before, and a superpowered mercenary and a collapsing building the night previous.

He hurts.

He's exhausted.

He doesn't quit.

Instead, with a sudden wrench he yanks himself towards the Mouthpiece of Midnight, damaged cape spreading wide like the wings of a bat, his cowl's lenses gleaming like something inhuman himself, a nightmare out of Gotham City's nightmarish shadows. And then, with all that momentum behind him, Red Robin aims to punch the Mouthpiece very, very hard in the head, so that he can drag her down to the ground for a little chat.

Look, not every plan has to be complicated.


Blue eyes widen as the woman does something unexpected and uses Tim Drake as a human shield. The look in them is the helpless horror of someone watching something they absolutely cannot stop.

Now, if there is one thing that makes Bucky Barnes angrier than anything else in the world, it's having his hands used against his will to hurt other people. Especially people he feels personally protective about. Like, say, a kid who previously came to help him and Jane out of a very bad situation.

His bullet plows into Tim Drake's torso. Bucky's heart stops, then starts again at double speed, feeding the fury that replaces the fear as he realizes that Red isn't dead, is still going, and is on a crash course to punch this sorceress straight down to the ground.

Where the Winter Soldier fully intends to be waiting, as he bursts into a dead run to intercept where he expects them both to fall.


With the snake out of her way Elinor can once again focus on taking out that Psychic bitch. Again she reaches out with her magic, causing the shadows to form into tendrils. However she only receives a stabbing pain behind her eye, which signals that she's running low on energy. Knowing that keeping Jess protected is going to be key for the next few minutes she slinks over to where Bucky hid her in the first place and kneels down beside her. "Looks like I'm on babysitting duty." She says to the sleeping woman as she melts into the nearby shadows.


Close enough to the edges of the carousel that she avoids the worst of the falling metal— but damn it's loud right now— her next move is to move in and lay the man out with a hefty punch. All things gone to plan, she drags the unconscious man from the attraction, laying him out on the concrete and then making sure to web him to the ground from neck-to-toe because /to hell with all that/ getting loose right now.

Silk rubs her forearm with a bit of pressure from her thumb. Her silk glands feel all right, though tonight's been a hand-tiring exercise in rapid-fire web-weaving and blasting things. She shoots a quick glance around— Crap, is Elinor all right?

Cindy's head turns to the sound of gunshots— crap, the shots. Red Robin's—

"Oh no—"


Meanwhile, the remaining Devil is extricating himself from a prone snake lady, navigating all the prone limbs and scattered blades. Weirdest fight ever, he thinks to himself as he pushes himself to a rise and shakes himself off — and that tally includes tangles with warlocks and space aliens. But then he's turning his attention to the rest of the scene, and with it catches the shot, the impact, and the precarious position of Robin and his combatant.

Bucky's already on his way, but an extra pair of hands couldn't hurt. He sprints over in their direction.


Kalfu's servant did not expect for Red to fight back ferociously as she got him shot in the back. A triumphant smile was just curling over her features when his fist slams handily into her face. Her eyes roll back and she crumples; her foot slips a little on the top of the ride, but then she's being dragged…down…down, and down. The ground is more than willing to rush up to the face of one Red Robin and his evil unconscious passenger, both clad in bloody shades as they face the consequences of gravity together…


It could be worse.

He's had worse.

Red Robin transitions with alarming smoothness even from someone who hasn't just gotten shot, from decking the Mouthpiece to catching her, pulling her into his grasp. It's something he's done, or roundabout close to it, any number of times, and he already knows all the next steps. All he needs to do is use his grapple gun to catch onto the ride as they fall, and turn the potentially violent descent into a smooth swinging landing.

It's completely insane, of course, for any number of reasons, but when you've been learning to do this sort of thing since you were fourteen years old it hardly seems outlandish at all.


He feels the decision slip away from him, his hand holding the grapple gun not pulling the trigger. For the second time in as many nights, he feels himself falling without any say in what happens, a prisoner of gravity, of fate. His right wrist burns, itches.

He really hopes Barnes gets there in time.


When he wants to run, Bucky Barnes can run. It's a fair distance to the spot where he projects Tim and the witch to fall; at the speeds the super-soldier can go, he makes it just in time to intercept them moments before the ground.

He flashes through scenarios. If he just stands under them and lets them fall into his arms, SOMETHING is going to break, and it's not going to be the supersoldier. Accordingly instead of stopping them dead, he lunges at an angle, tackling them out of the air to try to disperse some of their momentum.

He rolls in the air to land hard on his back, letting his own body absorb the impact in lieu of Tim's. The witch he doesn't care as much about, though he puts out some effort to ensure she'll at least still be capable of talking.

Even tough as he is, it hurts like a bitch. "Gonna be the death of me," he groans.

POT: Winter Soldier just posed.

As the pair descends, Cindy allows the shock to give way to her starting to run toward the tower with the others. As fast as she is, the distance from the freshly-ruined carousel to the Drop Tower is enough that she won't hit her top speed fast enough to make it to the ride. Both Bucky and the Devil of Hell's Kitchen are much closer.

"Please catch them please catch them please catch them" Silk repeats under her breath arms and legs work hard to help her cross the distance

— and Bucky makes the move for it. Her stop is a little ragged and sudden rather than sharp and controlled, but the look of horror half-hidden by the mask definitely helps, there.


The Devil is fast, but he's no supersoldier — Bucky has a head start and beats Murdock to the proverbial punch, blunting the fall of the descending pair. It won't stop the man in black's approach, even if it will take some of the urgency out of his gait as footfalls navigate bodies and debris strewn around the field of combat.

He listens for heartbeats of the fallen pair as the distance closes, not just their existence but their rhythm and quality. "Nice save," he says quietly to Barnes before rounding on the fallen pair and coming to a one-kneed crouch. "We're going to need to get everyone out of here, and soon. The cops /do/ show up eventually, even in Hell's Kitchen."


The cold terror of the fall doesn't melt away as the ground grows closer. Red Robin thinks about all the things that could happen from a fall like this. Would his head crack open, killing him instantly? Or will be be 'lucky' and just end up paralysed from a broken neck or back? In either case, failure. If the Mouthpiece also died in the fall, abject failure. Two people would perhaps be doomed to eternal torment, and his own identity would be surely revealed, which could destroy any number of other lives.

His fault.

His fault.

The catch is a definite relief, though, and if the resulting impact isn't the gentlest ever, it definitely beats the alternative. For a long moment, he doesn't say anything, taking a kind of mental accounting of his physical condition. Wiggling his toes in his boots to make sure he still can. Then, finally:

"Nice catch, '76," Red Robin groans in that electronically fuzzed voice, rolling over painfully to make sure the Mouthpiece is both alive and still unconscious. "He's right, though," he continues, referring to the Devil of Hell's Kitchen's words and actually moving to /get up/ despite the punishment, and bringing the unconscious woman with him. "Time to bail."


"Thanks," Bucky groans a bit, both to Matt and to Tim and just in general, laying semi-tolerantly as the caped vigilante rolls off him. "You can repay me by telling me what the hell '76 is someday."

As the unconscious body of the woman starts to be pulled free as well, however, the quiet whir of metal announces the displeasure of Bucky's left arm as its hand clamps on the wrist of the Mouthpiece like a vise. He won't get in the way of them bailing out, but he definitely does not seem ready to compromise on letting someone else take her from his hands.

"This is mine," the Winter Soldier says, a promise of no escape in his half-lidded gaze.

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