The Getaway

October 26, 2017:

William "Billy" Gorf, one of the Mutant Liberation Front's middle-men, contracts Glitch to steal from and sabotage one of the Sentinel Project's production plants in Genosha; a job that she reluctantly takes. She, of course, encounters more than she bargained for.

Genosha, New York

Scene ping-pongs between the US and Africa.

Characters

NPCs: Scene GM'd by Iron Monger

Mentions: Iron Man

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

EARLIER.

"Look, I know thet lest job wes a cluster. I know it wes. But we came through for you, yeah? Made it right. It ein't like I fookin' left you for dead, G. I'd throw myself off a cliff before I put my reputation to a bed end like that, yeah?"

William Gorf.

A man with an unfortunate last name, a cool demeanor, and a South African accent that was so thick he couldn't get a job as an extra in District Nine. Not even the locals could fookin' understand him. Known a Billy Goat to those who despise him, his particular mutation was, in his own words, to 'see the path ahead'. He also had goat eyes. Disturbing, unblinking goat eyes. Thank god he was wearing sunglasses most of the time.

"Look, I for this job, I cen promise double the fee of the lest one, es well es a favor down the road. These Free Mutent types never forget a friend." The envelope he slides over to her has the details. Paper was still best, because paper could burn. His smile light up his face, and he maintained it, despite the pain from his sunburn, tipping his sunglasses down to give her a peak at pure, unblinking goat vision.

"So, how bout it?"

NOW.

Genosha.

Night.

The details of the job were simple in written terms. Sneak into a secret Sentinel factory in Genosha. Get into the mainframe beneath, and disrupt the computer system that stores the Sentinel operating system. The thing about Genosha was not just the whole enslaving mutants bit, or how rich they were, or how full of themselves.

It was how much they enjoyed their technology. Of course the factory that built giant robots was protected by smaller ones. Of course the perimeter detection grid was on the same series of systems that the outer most electronic lock was. Even this secret base, which was built under a car factory of all things, seemed mostly automated from the outside. It is trivial to get past all that, into the truly dangerous heart of this mission.

Here in the massive factory floor below, one level above Glitch's objective, there is not much need for light. But there is light, after a fashion. Metal clicks into place, sparks fly as welds are finished, and a sound not unlike a vacuum seal giving way precedes an unearthly glow.

The red glow of a newly crafted sentinel's eyes lighting up.

But just as quickly as the eyes light up, they deactivate, a simple test to insure functionality on the assembly line. Each sentinel, each machine meant to wipe mutantkind from this Earth, is set taken via a massive crane to a long line of deactivated monstrosities. There are dozens. Whoever maintains this facility has been keeping busy.

The note Glitch was given told her only the service elevator could get her where she needs to go, one that currently sits behind the great, purple foot of a sentinel.

—-

BEFORE…

She looks suitably unimpressed.

"I thought I said I'd turn you into curry if I ever saw your face again, Billy?" the redhead wonders, not bothering to keep her irritation from showing on her features. "Are you seriously that tired of life? Anyway, I just got back to the States, I'm not about to— "

He offers her double the fee, a fact that barely ellicits a reaction on her pale mien, but the favor has her closing her eyes and sighing. Both hands find the pockets of her jacket, sliding further into the booth as she rolls her head back and thinks about it. She considers everything else she has coming down the road, knowing that in the end, she'll definitely need more friends than enemies if she's to survive the next few months.

Billy's eyes can be tremendously useful. They aren't foolproof, but she'll take whatever advantage she can.

The paper slid across the table, fingers tuck it within the pockets of her jacket. "You better be good for it, Billy," she tells him simply, standing up and giving him a frank look. "I don't think I gotta tell you what happened with the last guy who crossed me."

With that, she turns to start heading for the door.

NOW….

Goddamn Genosha. What is it about this continent that draws her back every time she tries to leave it and return to the only place she has ever considered home? It hadn't been all that long since the Cape Town job.

That isn't to say that she was an activist either - prevailing issues on metahuman rights are forever in her radar, but in spite of her youth, she has never vocalized her true opinions on it. Perhaps she thought they were so obvious that they didn't need mentioning, considering on which side of the line she stands on that issue - any thought of being tagged and corralled like a prize pony didn't sit well with her either. But to say that she was doing this job precisely to stick it to mutant haters would be pure exaggeration; if nothing else it's just the icing on the cake.

Before even flying out to Africa, she has spent the last few weeks doing her homework, cashing in on a few favors and spending the days necessary to formulate a mental blueprint of what the job entails and what she would need. While Billy's information was useful, she preferred investigating the target on her own just in case, not all that willing to blindside herself especially when she's the one assuming all of the risks. Especially in Genosha, where capture could mean her slavery, and she's not keen on that idea, either.

Then and only then does she arrive at the scene of the inevitable crime, clad in her gear - she wears comfortable, nondescript black, her goggles perched on top of her head and a utility belt comprising of the most fundamental parts of her overall arsenal. She hits the car factory at the dead of night.

It is child's play to breach the topmost layers of the front, slipping through ventilation shafts and finding the main factory floor. Setting the grate back to its original position, she keeps to the darkness as much as she can, as silent as a shadow. All around her, automated machinery does its work, taking a knee behind one of the massive cranes busying themselves in ensuring that the assembly line is on schedule. An inscrutable expression follows the sight of a sentinel, massive purple hunters of her kind, as it's lifted off the chain to be deposited….wherever.

She moves towards the service elevator afterwards, light fingertips moving over the console. It takes but a small application of her innate talent to have it open up for her, disrupting its circuits just enough to grant her entry and freeze whatever security camera might be peeking into it. If it is empty, she'll proceed to open the maintenance hatch on the topside of the elevator and hoist herself over it, replacing the panel as the elevator descends and leaving the main cabin empty and devoid of her presence.

Can't be too careful.

—-

It's clear that this elevator would normally require a keycard, and access that simply cannot be granted without a proper code. But Glitch's gift has the elevator well on it's way in only moments. Her research has paid off when it comes to the more mundane security systems - no one watches the cameras live. They won't notice the video freezing until she's well past the field of view. Like the other measures here, only a computer keeps tabs on motion sensors and other such precautions. They bend to the will of her disruption easily enough.

When the elevator stops, the doors open, and then there is only silence. Whatever is beyond is very dark, but assuming she proceeds when no one arrives to interrupt her, she'll find a short hallway with metal walls. One such wall soon becomes glass.

She may have seen places like this before, where a company wishes to show off its great big server room for investor tours. The kind of thing that isn't practical at all. But it's very clear that no investors ever walk these halls. Sliding doors wait for her, and beyond blue-white illumination begins to light up a room that is not at all filled with servers.

It is filled with people.

Not just people. Mutants. Stripped and dropped into solution filled tubes, they have metal cables running to various parts of their bodies, some staring lifelessly into the void before them. Others with their eyes shut, or with no eyes at all, little more than desiccated corpses with teeth pulled tight against wilted lips, showing her macabre grins from beyond. There must be dozens, arranged like things to be used for some dire purpose, and not people. Could any still be alive?

There are computers in the room, but the main terminal seems to be in front of another tube in the center of the room, filled with some grey, dull substance with an uneven texture, slowly moving as if propelled by something that stirs it from within, it is completely opaque, and produces a sound like marbles rubbing together from beyond the glass.

—-

The door opens and when nothing or no one makes a sound, Glitch re-opens the panel and slips downward, dropping onto the floor soundlessly. Fingers latching onto her belt in readiness, she moves forward, creeping through and lights and electricity flickering at her wake in random intervals - the surges are brief, enough to make it seem like electrical glitches and the fault of intermittent connections, technological reality reasserting itself in an island nation like Genosha, far from any established power grids, where wi-fi and virtually anything else is slower. More than enough to get by, like strumming her fingers on intangible wavelengths.

She can hear the telltale clicks of electronic locks disengaging as she moves past. Blue eyes remain forward, determined not to let anything distract her from her present objective. And when she finally gets to the glass wall…

The redhead stops, and stares beyond the glass and the rows of mutants, bodies in varying stages of rot, callously harvested for whatever it is within their bodies that is so important to those running the Sentinel Program. Fingers, unconsciously, ball into a fist, the barest tic at where the hinge of her jaw meets her neck. She lives a predominantly selfish existence, but to say that a human heart doesn't exist within the most secret compartments of her body would be one of the greatest fabrications she is capable of, proven a liar in the end by what she sees beyond the pane, wreathed by the fog generated from her breath.

It doesn't take much to make her angry, but it does take a miracle to let it show and this strains the limits of what she is willing to tolerate. And she is quick to bite back.

And bite she will, but in due time.

She can be extremely patient, and the more time she's allowed to ruminate over a problem, the more dangerous she becomes.

The first thing she does is lift her smartphone and take a video of everything she sees. The second thing she does is to try and determine whether there is any of them still alive.

Pocketing the phone and its damning footage, slipping it within a zippered inner niche in her jacket, she moves towards the main terminal.

—-

The terminal comes alive at her mere presence, and here she will find a readout of designations. Not names. Just numbers, power classifications. Telekinetic. Energy Controller. Metamorph. The list goes on.

It's difficult to navigate the system, for it is all custom. Even the operating system for this machine, but patience will pay off and she'll find that only one mutant, a teleporter designated UT-717 is still alive, if only barely. As if on queue, his tube lights up, and it's clear he's little more than a teenager, wrapped in some great amount of gauze to cover his third degree burns.

One look at the robots upstairs, and the imagination doesn't need to stray far to figure out how he got them.

Beyond this, the operating system for the sentinels is certainly present, as well as a new protocol designated Mark X. Nothing in Gorf's notation mentioned two operating systems. Very much like the tube that came alive when the proper file was accessed, looking at the programming for Mark X brings the tube in front of Glitch to life. Illuminated in much the same way, the contents seem to ripple, linking together like lengths of chain.

Then, she will see her own face. Not reflected, but formed as the substance mimics her through the glass.

There is a command prompt and a diagnostics screen, and nothing at all has password protection. There is no need for a password here because only one person was ever supposed to have access to this room. One person with silver hair and a pair of wireframe glasses that are worn around the edges from being dropped and cleaned with solvent that's fine on glass but not on metal. One person with a white lab coat and a short limp, and a voice that sounds far to willowy to be stern, and yet it is. The doors open again behind her, and that person walks in, the man struck dumbfounded by the presence of this person in his lab.

His glasses come off, his first instinct to take his hankerchief from his pocket and furiously rub them clean, as if her being here was only a trick of the light, some spot on the glass that was spontaneously given form.

"This is just…unacceptable. Utterly. Your feet are not clean. Your fingers.. that is my keyboard. Sentries! Intruder!"

From down the hall the stomping of metal feet come, a pair of personal guards not connected to the webnet that controls the rest. Through the glass, Glitch can see they are heavily armed.

—-

When she comes to the main terminal, she gets to work.

Her career as an international thief with a less than discriminate profile on marks and targets has had her coming across different kinds of technology almost every day. If nothing else, her ability to do homework has extended to reading about as many innovations as she can, if not just to keep abreast of what the demand is in the field. It's also encouraged her to procure such pieces of technology for herself, anything to help her with the trade. With her background there, imagine her surprise when the operating systems are nothing that she recognizes.

But she is equipped to at least secure parts of it for herself - heists are often timed events, and she slips a USB drive into the slot in an attempt to download what she can about the systems she sees, attempting to ghost both into an image and secure it within the circuits of the porable key that she has brought. She doesn't bother trying to parse it for herself, not right now. She's not an amateur, and once she has managed to find her way inside, she proceeds to try and steal everything and anything she could get her hands on. Pale blue eyes make note of the single mutant still alive, notes his abilities.

She will try to find a switch, to stop the flow of drugs in the young man's body.

Glitch is in the process of the very thing when the door opens behind her. She doesn't even pause, she acts immediately. So while the man cleans his glasses, stutters his outrage…

She's already right at his face, fist cocked back; residual anger fuels her punch as she slams it right into his glasses, following it up with a sweep of the half-crippled scientist's walking stick to knock it off his hands in an attempt to have him go off balance and topple him to the floor.

For good measure, she kicks him right in the jaw, in an attempt to drive him into unconsciousness as she leaps for the double doors. Her hand slams into the security panel next to it to short it out, moving to seal it shut to prevent the security teams from coming inside. Exerting her will, she extends her control outward to kill the lights. A temporary measure, to be sure, but one that will buy her more time.

With that, she pulls her high-tech goggles over her eyes and rushes back to the main terminal, to take a gander at her download.

—-

Glass shatters and metal crumples, and a prized possession meets an end as it embeds in his face, skewering into one eye that billows blood along his cheek and mouth in a vibrant cascade. For those seeking vengeance, a certain kind of outrage, it might be beautiful. And so is his scream. It does not take much to sweep his cane, the wood cartwheeling through the air and hitting the ground about the same time her boot smashes into his face. His jaw distorts. Blood sprays across the floor, and his remaining eye rolls back in it's socket as he goes into a twitching spasm, seizure and shock gripping him.

Then comes the robots outside, purple and armored, each having one hand and one automatic weapon arm, the turn to the double doors just as Glitch touches the panel. The doors slam shut just as they attempt to enter. Of course, with the lights out, they cannot see inside. They attempt to open the doors, and when that fails, they open fire.

Thankfully these doors are not only soundproof but bulletproof. Still, they will not last forever. Like the heaviest rain she ever did hear, the bullets cascade against the glass and spiderweb it, intensifying the sound, an escalating menace at her back as she works at her task.

The glass begins to fail, and a few rounds rip through a tube filled with a long dead mutant, spilling his bullet ravaged body across the floor.

Download complete.

It's waiting for her on the screen when she returns, and behind the download prompt the file directory that was her original mission. Scramble it, they told her. Mangle it, like that man's jaw.

Beyond, the tube with the living mutant opens, spilling a gel across the floor and retracting his breathing tube. Coughing, gasping, he groans as air rushes in to meet his burnt skin, and finally he falls from his hands and knees to his side. "P..p..please…"

The contents of the container in front of her swirl again. Mark X. Whatever that is. Something terrible, no doubt, given what else is created in this place. The gunfire from behind stops, the bots completely out of ammo, and now they use their fists, pounding the glass over and over until one fist slams through. Then another. They grip at the glass, pulling and kicking.

There is no other way out of this room. Two more bots are beginning to walk down the hall, presumably with plenty of ammo still intact.

Death is coming.

—-

If she feels bad about what she had done to the scientist, there is no sign of it. If nothing else, vicious satisfaction floods the heated core of her, the images of the dead burned into her brain. She is no crusader, she is the last person in the world to go picketing for the rights of 'her kind', but faced by that kind of atrocity, knowing that the same fate will follow her if the assholes running this facility get their way, can anyone who considers herself part of the human race really do nothing?

Gunfire peppers the thick doors, indentations rendered invisible in the darkness of the room; save for the glowing monitors and the whirr of countless circuits within the chamber, there is no light, and when the guards turn their fire into the glass, she moves like lightning. Adrenaline lights up her nervous system, activating everything, countless of switches aggravating every nerve keyed to her flight or fight responses. But she waits. Waits until the last possible moment…

DOWNLOAD COMPLETE

She practically rips the USB drive off the console and shoves it deep into her jacket pockets. Reaching out, her fingers close around the chair sitting close by, because it's not enough that she had just attacked the man in charge of this part of the facility, she's about to ruin what is presumably his favorite piece of furniture in this godforsaken place. Lifting it up, with a twist of her heel, she swings the metal frame against the glass, over and over and over again until it breaks. And if she is successful…

…she'll rip off one of the nearby vials off the rack and fills it with the strange mercury-like substance, shoving it in her pockets as well. Gritting her teeth, she flattens her palm on the screen and proceeds to not just overload the main terminal, but to network her electronic disruption through all of the other minor systems in the plant. She attempts to fry everything she can from the inside out.

Bullets puncture through. They riddle over the keyboard. She bites back a scream when hot lead rips through her shoulder, upper arm and side.

It is pure luck that the only other metahuman alive in this room is a teleporter. She is about to save his life, if not just so he could save both of theirs.

Running across the floor, she drops on her knees, skidding towards the burnt and incapacitated mutant. Reaching out, she cradles his fallen body in her arms, uncaring of the slick sticky substance coating the both of them, soaking through her clothes and whatever bandages have been wound around his body. Reaching into her utility belt, she produces an autoinjector, grabbing the cap by her teeth and spitting it out, containing a single dose of pure, potent hyperadrenaline; it has saved her more times than she can count - her profession is a dangerous one and it's managed to give her a second wind whenever she needs another chance of escape, to enable her one last burst when all other options are spent.

She doesn't use it on herself this time. She jams it right into the heart of the mutant in her arms.

"New York!" she cries, shaking the young mutant. "Take us to New York, or we both die!"

—-

The computer screen flickers as she scrambles data. Words race across the screen. Prompts activating at random as the terminal dies a digital death.

A single word flashes before the screen goes dead.

EXECUTE.

Chaos reigns, and as Glitch skids across the floor to the man she will find him looking up with eyes that thought they might never see another friendly face again. For the longest time, there was only one face. The face Glitch just ruined by bashing a pair of glasses halfway through it and dislocating its jaw.

At first, he tries to lift a hand. Then, comes the adrenaline. Pain sears through his body. Pain and understanding, every nerve ending on fire as that stuff shoots through his heart and throughout his body. Fingers curl at her arms, grabbing her as his teeth grit and his head shakes. Is he saying no? Is he arguing?

No, he just sees what's happening in the tube that Glitch got her sample from.

Glass shatters, and a terrible unearthly sound splits the air, metal snapping together as if by magnetic force, rising higher and higher as it takes on the almost gangly humanoid form of something else. Something familiar and yet different for those who have seen sentinels before. It looks to Glitch as its eyes flicker, as if its programming has not yet settled. Then they glow steady, staring at the two subjects of its would be ire with the utmost scrutiny as its primary program clicks over in its mechanical brain.

Machine gun fire impact it from behind, and whatever it was going to do never comes to fruition. There is a horrible sound as it turns and leaps at the four robots that have broken through, swinging it's arms with steel-shattering force. Energy blasts split the air, bathing them both in a terrible light.

Then the world is consumed by a purple-black darkness.

One might think that a man who had never been to New York might choose some place iconic to teleport to. One could easily imagine ending up at the feet of the Statue of Liberty. Or perhaps in the middle of the road on the Brooklyn Bridge. Or even more likely, in the middle of Times Square.

Wind will buffet Glitch's face, wind and the glaring light from a word emblazoned longside the platform that she is now on, high above the city.

"Al..A.lbus. I'm Al…ggnk…don't w…w.."

Glitch will hear his wheezing, feel a hand at her face, trembling for a brief moment. He tries to finish the final words, his eyes taking on a distant glaze. "…waste…"

Then, the light drains from his eyes, leaving Glitch all alone atop Stark Tower.

—-

A shadow falls across her then, and Glitch looks up from where she is trying to shake some sense in the nearly-insensate mutant in her arms. Blue eyes flicker towards the thing that emerges from the tube that she has shattered, widening when it starts to take ambiguous form in the shadows. Her goggles enables her to see in the dark, but for the moment, she won't be able to comprehend what exactly she has unleashed from the tube. Lips part in astonishment.

It moves quickly - too fast. It launches towards the robots firing at them through the glass, the image seared into her brain before the world twists around her, like water circling a drain. Her grip tightens on her only lifeline in a dangerous situation, squeezing her eyes shut, vertigo assailing her senses. She's never teleported before and she can't say that she cares for the experience. But at least, with this, she can live to steal another day.

The City That Never Sleeps unfurls like a banner, a sprinkling of distant lights beckoning her eyes once she's pulled the goggles off them. She expects to be near one such landmark - the Statue of Liberty, or the Empire State Building…even Rockefeller Center. But all too familiar spokes and ridges fill her stare. She is nowhere near any of those iconic buildings, but she knows this one.

Because she has been here before, has stolen from here before, around four years ago.

"….ah, shit," she breathes, before blue eyes wander back down to the person she is cradling. He tries to speak, and…

"Oh, no. Nononononononono, don't do this," she says, a sudden, irrational wave of panic washing over her, feeling a gnarled, broken hand touch her cheek. A hand lifts as if by instinct, grasping the mutant's wrist. "No, see? We're out….you saved us. You're going to be fine. You're going to be…"

Don't waste…

"Albus!" The redhead shakes the body in her arms. "Don't do this— come on. Come on!"

She glimpses it; the moment whatever light remains fades from his eyes, when his spirit abandons his body to what is hopefully a better place. Slowly, her hands cease aggravating the body she is carrying, leaving his head tilted back over her forearm and staring at nothing.

Her lips press together in a thin line. A hand lifts to close Albus' eyes.

Laying him down on the rooftop, she tosses her jacket over his face and chest, before she moves for the rooftop access. Much like all of Stark Tower, its security measures are state of the art. Only the most prepared, the most skilled, could ever breach them. But she has done this before, and in an age where every day life becomes more and more dependent on technology, there's no hope of any of them keeping her out.

The door slams shut behind her.

It has been four years since she has been in the same room with Tony Stark, and while she is confident that he will remember her, this wasn't exactly the way she wanted their reunion to go.

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