Terrigen Mists: Hoboken Rifts

April 22, 2017:

As reality warps over Hoboken, NJ, heroes converge to combat the results.

Hoboken University Medical Center

A long building filling up an entire city block, HUMC contains a
state-of-the-art medical center within a community learning environment. The
building is divided into several sections that intersect like a jigsaw and
each contain different storeys. Half the structure only rises two or three
storeys. The rest rise five or six storeys.

The south end of the campus houses the neonatal unit, pharmacies, and
several general wards. The north end of the campus houses surgical wards and
related services. The top floor of the northwest building in the complex is
dedicated to research and advanced biomedical development projects.

Characters

NPCs: Giga Bat (spoofed by Taskmaster),Tattoo (Spoofed as asked),Scene spoofed by Chipmunk

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Hoboken, New Jersey. Known for its history of mob warfare and its aspirations, like many riverfront NJ cities, of being a rival to NYC. It's a busy day, as always, for a Saturday. And the city goes about its business as usual.

However, all across the northeast, strange ripples in spacetime have been altering the fabric of reality. Some of them have been helpful, reversing the flow of the Terrigen Mists that have troubled some communities, but opening rips in the veil between worlds and occasionally letting Dimentional Entities (DeeBees) through.

The most recent disturbance occurs at 2:35pm EST on this sunny Saturday in the vicinity of the Hoboken University Medical Center. It's a smaller ripple than some, but its disturbance can be felt by those prone to sensing such things, and picked up by specialized sensors like those in the JL's Watchtower or Superman's Fortress of Solitude… or similar such installations.

***

Doctor Strange Sanctum is one of those places with 'specialized sensors'. Reality alterations and dimensional breaches are usually a major problem for the safety of Earth, and all too often caused by supernatural means.

This is actually Doctor Strange's first suspicion. Some powerful supernatural entity is changing reality, and it will get much worse, according to the vague but dire warnings of the Orb of Agamotto. He went through the list of 'usual suspects', but those powerful demons or 5th dimensional entities are not messing up with Earth. Obviously a more direct investigation is required, and so the Supreme Sorcerer teleports to Hoboken and begins searching.

***

Rune is well-accustomed to weird $#!+ disturbing her days. And nights. Whenever. She's a realmwalker, essentially a guardian of the barriers between planes of existence — though different than the Sorcerer Supreme, to be sure. And, lately, she's been especially attuned to it, given her experience not so long ago with the rip that breached the Oblivion Bar and nearly collapsed the Veil entirely.

She emerges from a ley line slipstream on the roof of the HUMC, her unique sight allowing her to trace the effects of the ripples visually as much as magically.

***

This morning was like any normal day for Norman Finkus, he woke up, went through a five minute stretch routine, stared at himself in the mirror, measured his stomach then showered, got dressed but the dress today was not his usual attire, it was battle wear, a blue and black outfit inspired by his favorite animal the bat, it seemed normal for him. Natural. To step out as the Giga Bat. Hoboken's number one superhero, it's native warrior and champion. Little did they know all along it has been Norman Finkus from the DMV. Or did they know all along? Something was off. Something is off. For before this day Giga Bat and Norman Finkus did not exist in the same reality.

For Norman though, it felt right. It felt natural. He is a hero and the world needs him.

Extending his arms out wide electriciticy crackles forth to form over the leathery stylized wings ionizing the air and Giga Bat begins to glide. Lifting high and soaring guided by currents.

"Something is amiss in my territory!" The hero monologues to no one but himself.

***

High above the clouds SUPERMAN soars, cresting over the horizon as he comes into view. His sights are set on the source of the disturbance as the streak of red and blue tears its way through the cloud-cover.

Making quick use of his SUPERVISION the Man of Steel surveys the New Jersey landscapes. The warnings had been clear as day, and he was more then ready to deal with whatever might come through the breach.

***

The rip in spacetime is less of a tear and more of a zipper, which is odd enough. The focus of the power that fuels it is somewhere inside the building. However, the effects are best seen outside the building, about 4 stories up. The sky ripples between green and blue and magenta, and sometimes mystical lightning strikes nearby buildings and the ground. It's out of those shots of light that strangeness comes.

Some is comparatively benign, random citizens exchanged between realities and points in history. Others, however… Not so much. Deebees emerge out of the light, dazzled and disoriented by their sudden transport from Beyond. And some of them are decidedly Unhappy.

***

It didn't take much searching. "By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth," curses Doctor Strange. He cancels the illusion that concealed the Cloak of Levitation and flies upwards until he is level with the dimensional breach. Then he attempts several spells to reinforce the barriers between dimensions, but wary and careful, as he assumes there is an entity causing the disruption and he is trying to find it/him/her with his mystical senses.

***

Rune takes a moment or two to assess the situation. She can tell the direction of the power source instinctively. But, the appearing an disappearing transfer points, which is what the lightning bolts seem to be to her, are also a concern. Beside her, a huge hellhound materializes, though this one is her friend and familiar, Rex, not an enemy to be thwarted. She reaches out a hand to greet the big, faeborn animal, and then reaches across her back to draw a mystic rod of power from its new sheath. The crystal at its tip lights up with magical energy as she begins to use it as a focus for her power.

Tattoo, herself a deebee, in some regard, slips out of shadows into the sunlight of the Hobobken afternoon. At her side are a trio of spirit wolves, and there's a spear in her hand. The reality-displaced shamaness isn't sure what drew her here, but, like Rune, she's wary of anything that might bespeak dimensional collapse. When she sees the exchanges happening between one realm and another, she moves to try to intercept the more dangerous of the displaced creatures and people.

***

The warping effect on reality is interesting to see. Visible even to the naked eye and is having the obvious reactions out of those watching not within it's direct influence, fear, awe… these things Giga Bat does not feel. He is overcome with a sense of justice and duty right now that has him swooping low, hands splayed out in front of him so talons of his gloves are crooked and lightning flares off crackling across the ground before several of the dimensionally displaced, "Hold! Giga Bat shall not let you cause havok here. Stand and await the officials!" A grim and daring smile is given (or at least he believes it to be). The reality of it is it looks slightly lopsided and shows off much of the stubble he missed in his morning shave. "This city is under my protection." Unaware Superman flies high above or the others are near him yet. He is very fixated on his own heroics at moment.

***

Thinking quickly SUPERMAN dives faster then a speeding bullet towards the rift. Behind him clouds billow and boom far out into the background.

Floating just twenty feet from the ground Superman pulls in a deep breath of air, ready to blow a frosty chill across the gathered Deebees and make sure they can't cause any trouble.

However, just as THE MAN OF STEEL readies to let loose ferocious flurry of furious winds, the protector of this fine city calls out an ultimatum of their own.

Stopped in the act, he shifts around on the spot, silently floating from the way of the crowd, not wanting to upstage anyone.

Quietly to himself the Caped Metropolis Hero speaks in his deep voice. "Well I suppose I spoke too soon, it looks like the situation might be well under control without me." A bright smile crosses his face as he turns to see who this new hero might be.

***

The warp in reality and the zip in the veil is quite real. What it is not, however, is magic-fueled, though it's akin enough that the veil-sensitive mages can certainly track it well enough.

The creatures that pop in and out range in visage from human to very definitely *not* human. Indeed, a pair of lightning bolts hit one end of the street and a huge slug like creature appears, with a slightly smaller one (still huge!) at its side. It lets out a strange keening RWAAAAAAH and thrashes a little, splashing acidic slime on some nearby cars.

In other places, some long, spindly-legged critters appear, looking like weird crosses between hairy-legged ants and elongated dog-like creatures. And, up in the sky, a burst of light sends a plane (that definitely hadn't been there before) hurtling out of the clouds, its navigation systems completely scrambled, cut off from their original orientation source.

***

About forty feet over the street Doctor Strange frowns in annoyance as his spells fail to cancel the (non-existent) magic he assumed was causing the rift. His senses are unable to find any spell or spellcasting keeping the warp, so… might this be caused by a metahuman? That sure makes it more complicated for the doctor, and those slugs might kill someone while he searches.

So he floats down, chanting a stunning spell, "bolts of Balthakk, make these creatures bent to my will," arcs of light jump from his extended hands towards both slugs. Is that an airplane falling? No way he can stop it, but perhaps he can rescue the passengers with a teleportation gate. Then he spots the Kryptonian hero. "Superman, that plane is falling on Manhattan!" He warns.

***

Tattoo is quick to engage the spindly-legged things. They're the closer threat to her. Rune, on the other hand, moves towards the door that leads from the roof into the hospital. The power fueling the rift may not be magical in nature, but she can still sense it and she still knows that shutting down that power source will probably shut down the rifts. She'll worry about transferring things back home later. When there aren't new things porting in and out every two minutes. Using her ability to slip across thresholds, she steps into the stairwell through the closed door via a turbulent portion of the troubled Veil. "Goddess," she mutters, shaking herself out on the other side. "Someone shut off the blender!"

Rex, meantime, bounds towards the giant slugs. He does not have taste for slugs, by any stretch. But, they're the biggest monster in town, currently. So, he moves to intercept, barking very loudly as he does. (And he's BIG. So, it's a deep, loud bark.) He's just a glutton for punishment, it seems.

***

Lara Croft was only a few city blocks away when the development occured. She'd had her radio on inside her black Jeep and as she drove toward the disturbance there was already reports of it coming over said radio. With aviator sunglasses on, Lara drove her Jeep toward the disturbance, with her cell phone already being voice-dialed for her employer at SHIELD.

Lara told Melinda May that she was going to see specifics at the scene, and to try to help civilians that might be caught in the crossfire. If she was the closest member of SHIELD, then she needed to be there to gather as much eye-witness information as she could.

Lara's Jeep was parked at a corner down the street from where she presumed the chaos was coming from. She exited the vehicle, clutching her holstered pistol in her left hand. She started down the side street at a jog, heading -toward- the action. Through her sunglasses, Lara looked up to watch the skies, hearing the engines of the failing plane. "Oh god." She quietly uttered.

***

Hearing the call from Dr.Strange SUPERMAN snaps his attention first towards the Sorcerer supreme, and then back up into the sky. His magnification looks right into the plane at all those screaming faces.

"By Golly, he's right, if I don't stop that plane all those people might die!" Spoken as he snaps into a rather heroic pose his cape drifting wistfully in the wind. "You worry about the people on the ground, I'll catch that catastrophically crashing colossal carrier, and have the people inside back home in time for dinner."

And just like that SUPERMAN is off speeding along towards the plane at HYPER-SONIC SPEEDS! Behind him is left a loud CRACK like a whip streaks of light left behind for moments as he travels faster then a speeding bullet.

Calling out to the people inside as he shifts around to position himself beneath the belly of the beast as it were Superman speaks in a reassuring voice booming thanks to the help of his SUPER-LUNGS. "No need to panic everyone, you'll be absolutely fine." A light pause. "This is Superman, and for the rest of the flight I'll be your captain, I just need you all to keep calm, and make sure your seats are in the full, upright position."

Pushing hard up against the massive craft to adjust its trajectory. "We're experiencing some turbulence, but I assure you so long as you keep calm we'll all make it through this business just fine."

***

The slugs turn towards the Sorcerer Supreme as he spells take effect. "Rwaaaaha?" Though they are made very, very nervous by the fierce noise from the incoming supersized canine. Not that they 'hear', per se. But they do sense vibrations. And the dog is loud. So is Superman. And the squealing traffic that crashes up and down the streets as more deebees appear and disappear. Lots of noise and vibrations to disturb the acid-spitting alien slugs, indeed.

The dogspiders are cunning and very good at working together in packs. And they have very sticky webs they like to string between themselves to create nets they can use to catch and wrap their prey. So, Tattoo and her small pack will have their hands full.

Inside the hospital, there are ripples to be found. In this case, however, they tend to make the 'shadow realms' Rune typically sees 'real' for a few paces. And then they fade back out into normal reality. So, Rune will be crossing through many of those in her quest to find the source of this disturbance.

Lara's progress towards the chaos might be hampered by the fleeing crowds from both the hospital and the street, but those that note her gun are quick to get out of her way. Of course, other civilians, who also have guns begin to follow suit, thinking maybe they can help against the 'terrorists'. That will definitely throw a wrench in the works.

Giga Bat may find himself somewhat overwhelmed by the deebees he faces. Some, human and simply displaced simply start shouting at him, demanding to know just what he thinks he's doing, kiddnapping them. But, the more agressive and panicky of them — particularly the non-human critters, begin turning on him, on each other, and on innocent bystanders.

Yes. Standard Skyhole Crisis protocols are in effect.

Meanwhile, a plane full of people are caught by the valiant Man of Steel, though none of them have any clue who his is or how he can do what he can do. The pilots are still trying to reestablish communications and navigation, but the panic does subside some when they seem to level offf some.

***

Strange's spells seem to have little effect on the slugs, so he changes tactics and conjures a bubble of force around the critters, trying to contain them before they kill someone with their acid. "All this seems too random. Perhaps it is not attack but an accident." He glances up at the building, considering a major dimension-sealing spell. But he needs a minute uninterrupted for magic of that magnitude.

***

Tattoo and her pack work on taking care of those spiderdogs, nonetheless. She uses fire magic to burn webs and her pack to corral and kill the creatures. Meanwhile, Rune phases through realities until she's just about dizzy, working her way down to the floor where the warping is most centered. By the time she reaches it - if she ever reaches it - she's cursing up a storm in just about every language she knows, human, fae, and otherwise. And she's perfectly willing to magic blast any creature that gets in the way of her progress. (Though, yes, okay, she tries not to hit innnocents. Bad form, otherwise.)

***

Lara glanced back over her shoulder to see a few other civilians 'following her' with theri own guns and she exhaled. "Americans…" She muttered while looking forward again. She could see the slug-creatures further ahead and, admittedly, she could hardly blame the throngs of people running past her in the opposite direction.

Lara stopped at the front door of a bakery where what looked like the owner was leaning out the door to see what was going on. "Guide people inside!" She ordered the middle aged man. "Its safer inside." The man nodded and started to do just as she said, welcoming fleeing people into his store for protection.

Lara then ran to take cover behind a parked SUV. She looked around to gather her bearings… she saw Doctor Strange (though she didn't know who he was), then she looked up into the sky and caught a glimpse of what had looked like Superman… doing his thing to save that plane. "Okay. Good." She muttered, gun clutched in-hand. With superheroes on the scene, it meant her focus was to help civilians and gather information.

***

"Unhand me!" Giga Bat yells as one of those more aggressive inhuman creatures turns on him, a clawed tentacle/hand? wrapping around his ankle. He drops briefly but then turns in to a living bug zapper, the world around him engulfing in zaps and jolts that string together chaining from one monster to the next, some of them unintentionally get sizzled but it is not enough to kill a person only acts as a tazer. Hopefully none are elderly or children. The panic in his voice evident only a second or two.

***

With all the strength of ten thousand men SUPERMAN uses his great strength to correct the course of the crashing plane towards an abandoned strip of highway.

Using his own legs as the landing gear, and his great speed to run in the opposite direction of his landing Superman is able to set down the Behemoth of a craft with little issue, albeit blocking in the process the rather massive highway, still under construction.

***

Strange's thought process isn't a bad one, to be sure. The slugs are both protected and protected-against by the sorcerer's force shield. Just as well, if Rex is still gunning for them. At least acid stops splashing on cars and people near by. That's definitely a bonus. Tattoo's effort should keep most of the rogue elements off the sorcerer's back while he works on his bigger spell.

And Rune does eventually reach the center of the disturbance. In one of the research labs, Dr. Charles Andreas is collecting supplies and information, thanks to threatening the staff within. He holds an iron grip on a young man named John, a gun obvious in his hand. Young Alfie O'Meagan stands opposite him, fists balled and glaring. He's getting very tired of being used as a transportation mule for the rogue DEO scientist. Hence, some of his considerable power is rippling around him, causing the rift outside and the reality warping inside.

Out on the streets, other people start following Lara's lead — both with their guns and with their storefronts. Of course, there are some crazy Americans who feel the need to shoot at deebees that cross their paths, which isn't good for anyone's health. But there are many more smart enough to duck into stores and businesses nearby. And, now that slug spit isn't flying, some even try to use their cars to escape.

The plane is set down safely, and the passengers stare out at the Man of Steel and chatter incredulously among themselves about the unusual rescue.

And poor Giga Bat is up to his black and blue ears in chaos. Heroic (or foolhardy), he is. Effective? That remains to be seen.

***

Unaware the cause of the rift is a young Nuhuman, Doctor Strange rises again to face the building. The heroes and the police will have to contain those spider monsters, he needs all his power now.

This time his hands trace complex glyphs of light in the air, and his voice rises from muttered chants in an alien language to a clear invocation to an ancient entity. "By the blessings of the Vishanti, by the legacy of the Ancient One and by the might of Agamotto All-Seeing. I call upon you, great Hoggoth. Lend your power to me, close the gate, close the veils. Hosts of Hoggoth, come to me!" There is a blinding flash of blue light as the magic of an alien god flows through him to seal the rift.

***

As Rune reaches the center of the reality maze, she enters the lab where Andreas and O'Meagan are without any sort of preamble or introduction. "What the hell?" she asks, her rod glowing in her hand. She turns most of her focus to O'Meagan, since that's where the freaky is coming from. But, then she notices Andreas' gun. "This is your fault, isn't it?" she demands of him. Hostage negotiator she is not. She straightens, however, the sense of her royal half-fae nature asserting itself. She steps forward, a shield manifesting around her, juxtaposing herself between Andreas and pretty much everyone else. "Drop the weapon."

Tattoo works to keep Dr. Strange protected. Rex skids into the force shield that contains the slugs. "Aroo?" He chuffs and barks and then turns to try to aid Giga Bat, since that seems to be the biggest concentration of 'prey'.

***

Lara was moving to help a group of young teenagers out of an alley and into the store beside it. "Stay inside." She told them. "You're safer in there." Turning then, she looked up to witness the falling airplane apparently being glided on what looked to be a safe attempt at an emergency landing, likely on a highway. She exhaled then, her brown eyes going forward to witness the 'strange' magic that was being conjured to seal the creatures up a little further down the road from where she was. The young agent draws her phone out to dial her superior to appraise her of the situation as it continues to unfold.

***

Giga Bat had managed to struggle free and was now once again in the air. A quick circle soar about and he is casting down zaps here and there but quickly growing winded, this is prolonged combat and by that it is more than two minutesworth of constant activity. No easy feat for an everydayhero like himself, or let alone an everyday man. Even hypercharged by elecrricity as he is he still has the physique of a middle aged deskclerk. "Thank you for the assist Superman!" He shouts to the heavens above. A hero he one day would like to meet but today is not that day.

"Is this an invasion?" he asks, really he is talking to himself. Something he has grown quite skilled at.

***

The energy Strange unleashes highlights wherever the rifts occur, his blue light filling the gaps and keeping more from coming through, even as he slowly knits the edges of reality back together.

Andreas adjusts his stance as Rune invades. "You can't stop me, hero," he sneers. "Alfie, you know what will happen if you don't obey."

Behind her, Alfie shifts, "Screw you, doc," he snaps, despite the fact he doesn't actually rebel any further than to not interfere directly with Rune.

Andreas shifts his gun to John's temple. "I suggest you all calm down and finish gathering what I need. We'll be gone shortly."

On the street, things begin to… well, certainly not return to normal just yet. There's still that knot of deebees harassing Giga Bat as he flits around, giving Rex lots of toys to play with. And Lara's update will likely reflect the fact that several citizens who tried to use their guns are now running for cover, themselves, finally figuring out they're out of their league.

***

Doctor Strange remains hovering in place as the mystic power of Hoggoth flows through his body, repairing the reality rends and restoring the normality. It takes about a minute before he can look around to see what is going on.

The force sphere with the slugs still holds, so he pours some more power there. There is a super-powered man (and a dog?) fighting the spider critters and most bystanders have left the street, following the instructions of a SHIELD agent. Now he can concentrate to find what has caused this, but again his mystical senses reveal nothing. He flies down, landing close to Lara. "Good afternoon Agent, do you know what caused this?"

***

Lara parked herself in the alley that she'd shoo'd the kids out of, though she hangs on the corner and looks around it at the creatures the magician was containing. She also looked up into the sky to watch the high flying combative antics of Giga Bat and she shook her head while on the phone. "Send everyone available." She told her superior. "I don't know if this is related to the events that Darkedge spoke of, but it seems… very similar in nature to what he described."

Lara's concerned eyes took not eof the other armed civilians taking up points behind vehicles and such along the street… at least no one was shooting into crowds, she was thankful for that much.

When Strange landed aside her on the street, Lara, holding her gun down ot her right hip and her phone up to her left ear, she spoke to him with a shake of her head. "I do not, I'm sorry, sir." She tells him. "I was the closest Agent to this situation. I'm responding for civilian assistance until backup can arrive. I'm here to help however I can though." She said in a calm and collected British-flavored voice.

***

Rune's eyes glow briefly as she faces Andreas. The woman is a master illusionist and she focusses on isolating Andreas, saying to Alfie, "I need to you turn it off, Alfie. You're ripping the streets apart out there. People are dying." Her illusion, however, is meant to convince Andreas that he's somehow now standing in a completely empty room, all by himself, and without his weapon.

***

Giga Bat's aerial prowess is second only to his ability to put on a good light show. The air around him is static charged and he is moving with the speeds of Falcon it's seeing a child cowering behind a car that spurs him to fullest action, energy and will renews he zips that direction past two of the oddly manly legged slugs, their slenderman like arms clawing at him, ripping through his outfit as he extends arms to heft up the child, holding him to his chest.

"I have you little one." He says quietly in his most heroicyet compasionate voice he can manage, he learned all this from the television after all. Not actual heroics.When it comes down to it this is the Giga Bats first rodeo. Also unfortunately his last. That child is no child at all but a warped mini-sized abomination, a creature born of teeth and ripping and our hero is not the most physically sturdy of champions, the first lacerations go unfelt, nothing, adrenaline misleading as it doesn't allow the pain to immediately be registered. The first shrieks of Giga Bat are terror filled followed by agony his blue and black body plummets only to slap in to the concrete rolling several times to lie still, that dimension crossed monster child having grown larger from it's feast, it leaps away like an oversized gorilla now. Hunting it's next meal.

Giga Bat is no more.

***

The rifts outside close, but that still leaves a bunch of deebees running around… including benign, dimensionally displaced denizens that are milling about. Most of the aggressive ones, however, have been contained, controlled, or otherwise dispatched.

Andreas is isolated in Rune's illusion, which leaves him vulnerable, and the people in the room with him more freedom to move. Including Alfie. He reaches out to grab John, and pulls him to the other side of the room. Then, he turns back towards Andreas and, before Rune can react, he reaches out with his power to teleport the three of them (Alfie, John, and Andreas) away. Only this time, Alfie's got the gun, and not Andreas…

***

"I am Doctor Strange, agent," explains the wizard, addressing Lara. "I am a sorcerer and a member of the Justice League. But this dimensional breach has not been caused by magic. I can't find the one responsible, but I… feel it is a being of great power. Powerful enough the ripples caused are detected by my artifacts."

He turns suddenly when Giga Bat dies, looking pained. Apparently it was a mistake to leave the fight. He gestures with his right hand, sending an energy blast to the growing monster. "I believe it is critical to find out what happened. But first I will take care of the hostile displaced beings."

***

Alfie, Andreas, and John disappear and Rune swears - albeit in gaelic. She looks at the cowed researchers. "What were they after?" That might be a clue someone might need to know. As she looks around, however, her Sight allows her to see the closing of the rifts and fading of the altered realities. Well, that's something at least. But, she suspects she needs to find out just who this Alfie is and find a way to shut him down. He's an angry young man who can twist reality. That's not good. Not to mention, there are all those stranded deebees out there. Someone has to ferry them back to their own realities. She bets she knows who that someone is.

***

Lara's eyes would fall on that of GigaBat when they were taken out of the fight. She parted her lips and stared for a moment, but her attention was drawn back to Strange. "SHIELD is on the way." She told him. "Thank you for your efforts here. It may be hard to see, but you've saved a lot of lives, Doctor. You'll have our full support within moments."

She then spoke softly into her phone one more time before slipping the mobile dvvice it back into her jacket's left side pocket. Lara stepped over toward two men, civilians with their guns out. She told them to put them away, that the authorities were incoming.

***

The researchers tell Rune that what Andreas wanted was equipment useful for genetic engineering and alteration. But, it may be a moot point, with Alfie on the loose with access to a gun and whatever warping his powers provide. Regardless, the immediate crisis is past. The cleanup is likely up to SHIELD.

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