Tears for the Machine

January 14, 2018:

SHIELD deals with a disturbance in New York as mad drones search for their former master.

New York City

Characters

NPCs:

Mentions: Tony Stark

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Its cold.

Very cold.

Even for New York City its cold.

Which really is saying something. The power is out and at this point has been for hours. Everyone knows its going to get bad, but that doesn't mean its the end of the world. In fact the worse it gets the more stuborn most of the people seem to be to get though it.

Thankfully they don't have to get though it alone.

Ontop of the already impressive emergency services of the city, which went into action the moment SHIELD and Stark informed them of the blackout, SHIELD itself is there. The Avengers. The Teen Titans. Even the Justice League has put in an appearance to make sure the Big Apple stays frosted for as little as possible.

To that end relief and command stations have been set up thoughout the city. Communication equipment airlifted in, supplies made available for people. Heaters. Generators. Its really inspiring the way some people come together in times of crisis.

At one of the SHIELD affiliated stations though…well…

The first sign of trouble is a pair of shouts from pedestrians further down the street. A street mostly cleared for relief vehicles and supplies. There is something moving this way down the street. Something…large. And metallic.

All at once several of the Stark brand pieces of equipment used by the Agents in the command tent start to screech and squawk strange static.

…its…probobly fine…

*

Not SHIELD or an Avenger, but she's worked with them. Not a Teen or a Titan or a member of JLO, though she has a few friends there. Jessica Jones, PI, could bundle up at home and listen to airlifts and just not do much of anything.

Thing is, that's not her style.

She's kind of been hovering around the Stark building for hours. She's their lead investigator, she explains. She has full access, she tries. Are you the head of security? Well, no, I'm an independent contractor…Go home, Jones.

She couldn't even really prove that she had that shiny access, her phone which holds the credentials isn't working properly, dependent as it is on Stark's systems, her keycard depends on electricity. Eventually she got bored of watching law enforcement officials not let her help, and she took one of her leaps up to the buildings. There are civilian relief stations she could go help at.

Not cause she cares or anything. She just doesn't have anything better to do in her cold, dark, boring apartment.

(Yeah okay, she cares).

Even she is dressed in layers. Ratty scarf, leather jacket, hoodie, over turtleneck, over thermal layers, over jeans. All her bulletproof wear. Boots. Fingerless gloves. She is also wearing a little piece of flair, a button that says: 'This Is My Lazy Superhero Outfit.' Someone gave it to her for Christmas, she laughed.

Now she runs the roof road, which is a little more treacherous thanks to snow and ice. Her landings aren't very graceful sometimes even in good conditions; she skids over a nearby rooftop and nearly falls flat on her face. She catches herself before she can flip flat on her face on the street, using some safety railing, and finds herself leaning half over the thing, which, once she blows her hair out of her face and is done muttering the word "Shit," allows her a pretty good view of the Big Blue Metal thing moving down the street.

"I bet that's totally good news," she says, to nobody in particular. "It's going to be like. A big blue snow plow, right? Nothing anybody needs to worry about…"

Sigh.

"Fuck."

And then she vaults down to the street below to land next to the thing. Just to get a better look. She's still kind of holding out a little hope for that snowplow thing.

*

It is really cold. It that is very charming.

Because for a guy raised under totally controlled weather temperature extremes are 'charming'. Living a couple years in Ancient Egypt did not make Nathaniel think 45 Celsius was a horrible thing. It was -really- interesting.

But he did learn to keep his opinions about extreme weather to himself. He is a genius, after all.

That it is magical influence weather is slightly worrisome, but he has checked history records and the winter of 1996 wasn't much worse. Science will prevail, he is sure.

And then Stark had his tower blown up. Tony! You failed SCIENCE!

Even some satellites went down, so he had to activate a couple of his own secret Damocles satellite network to keep the Avengers uplinks working. Then he wasted a couple hours trying to find out what had happened, rewriting the Avenger Mansion labs firewalls and making sure HOMER was bug-free, since JARVIS and the other AIs are not responding, which is something a 'normal' Hydra or AIM strike shouldn't have been able to knock down.

The mansion secured, he grabbed his neurokinetic armor and went out. Looking for answers. And look… something large and metallic. Which reads as Starktech? He better take a look.

*

SHIELD is still a few years away from perfecting their weather-control devices (at least, so say the conspiracy theorists), so the most they can do for New York is mostly-traditional emergency services. The Navy sent aircraft carriers up to the Big Apple to help with power and emergency services (the big boats do more than just carry planes around), and the rest of the country -the rest of the world- has been sending everything they can, with the typical result that it's really more that can be logistically organized around the city. Sharon Carter has been spending a lot less of her day punching bad guys and a lot more of it organizing a small army of volunteers to organize blankets, coats, scarves, hats, gloves, mittens, socks, space heaters, gas burners, and a bewildering amount of bathing suits, children's toys, pots, pans, and all kinds of stuff that needs to be plugged in to work. It's like half the hoarders in America generously donated piles and piles of the stuff even they didn't want.

But the volunteers and all their stuff are in a warehouse that's being pretty decently heated, so that's convenient. This is going to be a long damn fix.

She's hiking back down to the nearest command point in her winter uniform (white as usual, but with thermal lining) when her stuff stars squawking. Her (new) comm unit. Her phone and tablet and other little miscellaneous SHIELD devices that do never-you-mind. Agent 13 mutters something mildly profane under her breath when she sees Big Blue glinting in the vague sunlight.

That's. A really bad sign.

Rather than running immediately toward it, she starts sprinting to the SHIELD point she was going toward already. She's going to need some of the stuff they have that she doesn't HAPPEN to be carrying just now.

*

Immediately after the incident at Stark tower, save for a quick detour, Owen has been trying to poke around and figure out what happened. He has been circulating in and out of different groups, trying to get information. Thankfully he had brought all his gear with him to meet up with Emery that night. It's currently stowed safely away nearby as Owen circulates among one of the various control stations.

He's taken advantage of the massive confusion and in swell of agencies to gather intel for himself. He has a wide variety of credentials that he's 'found' so far. Most people are really not doing a good job of keeping theirs safe, with such important things to focus on. That's how Owen finds himself among the other SHIELD agents, taking notes and making the same concerned nodding faces that they are all making during the briefs.

Once the gear starts to squawk and the giant metallic things start approaching Owen takes that as his cue to get ready. He blurs away to his gear. And with a Wonder Women-esque spin (okay not really, but it'd be great, right?) he reappears, in black leather jacket, new shiny domino mask with tech for blurring facial recognition and loads of boomerangs. He doesn't make himself known quite yet though, he keeps to an alleyway for now. Until he sees Jessica *thump* next to the definitely not a snow plow.

"Well. Shit."

He doesn't move yet though, waiting for it to make a move, confident (at least for now) that he can get to Jessica first if need be.

*

It's easily the equal of a Sokovian winter, at this point. The lack of unified power is distressing as well, though various agencies are coming together in spite of the cold to restore it. It's a bit like Polyuchyn on a grand scale, Sally thinks, watching the army of emergency personnel, city workers, and national guard troops doing their thing alongside regular New Yorkers.

A city that truly stands together.

She's sticking near the command tent - even though only a junior agent, all of Level 4 access, she's still intimately familiar with the building and has been offering up what she can for suggestions. She's also been carefully paying attention to the radio traffic, hoping for any mention that either Stark or Coulson have been found.

So Agent Stojespal finds herself bouncing around different areas and occasionally staring into the darkened corpse of the Stark Building. Wrapped in a heavy coat, wool pants, boots, and with a curiously embroidered scarf around her neck, she looks like a babushka in training - the ushanka covering her head doesn't help much. But the scarf is the most important, combined with the little pouch she wears underneath it; the embroidery is an ancient custom of charms and wards against evil. Considering what had tried to speak with her, and the presence of WAND agents, she's not taking chances.

And then it begins - the metallic sounds, the moving servos and armor plates, it's familiar. It's just all on the wrong scale, much deeper and larger than a Stark powered suit she'd ever dealt with. "Ni, ni ni, absolutely do not be that." She runs, long legs rushing as best as she can over the thick snow.

It's that.

She doesn't have Myuriy. The Stark-designed suit, one arm missing, is shut down, locked up, and sealed away in its transport mode for now. There's no telling what might happen if something else gets its hand on it, so all she has is her wits - and a radio, over which she starts broadcasting a warning about a potential threat.

*

Jessica lands and looks up…and up…and…up…

The thing there has the vague lines of a Iron Man suit but about twice the size. Its blue and silver form is hunched over and its arms and legs are massive. Built for construction and not for combat its still massive.

Being in the shadow of a thing that size might be intimidating for anyone. What makes it worse those is the eyes. Where Tony's units burn with a brilliant sapphire radiance these do…not. There is a ugly, crawling blackness in the light of those eyes. Shadows and forms that shouldn't be there. They spiral across the surface of the armor, crackling over the smooth form to give it a decripit, corrupted appearance.

It stops its advance as Jess lands. Head slowly tilting down to stare at her. Scanning systems acvitate as the head tilts up and down to quickly analyze her form even as she's landing.

…when it stops its totally starring at her chest…

"StARk…" The voice that drips from its speakers sounds vaguely like JARVIS. But nothing like JARVIS. JARVIS driven mad by whatever is corrupting him. "…J-j-JEsIcIA. YoU hElp me FinD StaRk…" Its arm swings up as the voice suddenly screaches out over all the Starktech in the command tent. "TAKE HIS HANDS! TAKE HIS HEART!"

Then that massive fist swings down at her.

MEANWHILE!

Nathaniel flying over can see this fairly well. The suit is the Mark 38, Tony afffectionatly called him Igor. Though what is truly disturbing is that there are readings coming from that suit that has nothing at all to do with Science. No impossible quantum waves and energies from hellish and shadowy dimentions have hold of this suit…

…and its not the only one.

A dozen more contacts can be spotted from above, not full suits. More humonid drones pieced together by whatever dark energies animate them, but they are converging quickly on the command tent.

Igor was a distraction.
hey step out from alleyways, crawling down building walls. Their jerky and spasmodic motions nothing like the smooth elegance of when they were normal.

Several of them land near the civilians, that same black energy glowing in their eyes.

…and as Owen hangs out in the alleyway. There is a sound from above and should he look? Two of those drones are staring down at him, clinging to the walls like strange posessed insects.

*

Up, and up, and up.

Yep.

"…You've got to be shitting me."

Jessica's move is instinctive. She offers a high block to the robot, whipping her slender arm up to knock that punching arm away with force that may or may not dent it. Because of course, the strength behind it isn't at all proportional to the tiny form doing her thing. It could be a normal sized dude, for all of her concern. "Your logic circuits must be fried," she tells it. "I hear crawling darkness does that. You see, generally, when we ask someone's help finding someone- and I mean I get that a lot, right? That's what I do?"

She then tries to seize the robot and, after a quick look up and down the street, careful of collateral damage, tries to flip it.

"Generally trying to cave her head in is really counterproductive. I mean you know. That's kind of what I use to find people. Not that I will help you, that's not happening, but I'm just saying, your strategy doesn't make a lot of sense to me."

*

Down with her phone and tablet. Agent 13 considers her sidearm and keeps it for now; when all else fails, lead slugs tend to be respected by lots of things. The last thing she wants is to confront the Mark 38, but right up until the humanoid drones appear, she was pretty convinced that was going to be her next step.

She didn't grab a rocket launcher, though, or anything like that. She grabbed what look like two oversized drumsticks instead, long and silvery with little paddles at the end about the diameter of ping-pong balls on the wide end and perhaps a half-centimeter wide on the narrow end.

Yes, they look a little like little spatulas.

She's racing out to take on the Mark 38 when she sees a small slender woman in tatty winter wear right in front of it. Sharon's about to scream and dart that way when she sees that lithe arm block the robot. Whoever that is, she's not being thrown summarily into a building and smushed. Whoever that is has a fighting chance, so that pivots Sharon to the closest danger.

She taps her two batons together. Electricity arcs between them. With a vicious smile, she darts toward the nearest of the humanoid drones- specifically, whichever is closest to attacking someone unarmed- to jam her batons into its most sensitive joints. Its plating is probably great at resisting electricity, but she's hoping to slip right under that.

*

Why do those shadows look familiar? Owen has merely a few seconds to even ponder anything about the differences in what a Stark suit looks like and what they current consist of with the dark energy swirling and licking about their cool metal frames. The big guy is taking a swing at Jessica, but Owen's mind has already registered the sound above him. He only gets a step outside the alley before he looks up and sees two more friends who have come to play.

He rolls out into the street to pop up facing his original alley, with two boomerangs, one in each hand. He tries to take in his surroundings now, having already almost had two of them get the drop on him.

He launches the boomerangs at the two targets from the alley. One is an acid boomerang, meant to eat away at armor, circuits and hopefully melt it all to goo. The other is a gravity field inducing boomerang, it tries to find it's target and suck it hard to the ground and keep it there unable to move. Owen has no idea what will or won't be effective, so it's time to poke the bear… infected mech suits.

*

Nathaniel's suit sensors perfectly compensate for the blizzard. He can see just fine. And still the sensor readings from 'Igor' are not making sense. Some kind of extra-dimensional energy readings is all he can (semi) understand. Mental note: Find a good magician for the Avengers soon.

And there is Jessica Jones there. Can she handle Igor? That suit doesn't seem to be built for fighting, but it reads are massively strong.

Nevermind, the drones are going after softer targets and Avenger's protocols require him to save them. Much as he would like to get into a more interesting fight, he dives towards the drones, launching a repulsor burst to the one closer to the tent.

"Agent," he warns Sharon. "Iron Guard of the Avengers here. There are twelve hostile constructs converging on this location. What forces has SHIELD in the area?"

*

Oh god, the command tent. "Get out of the tent! Now!" Sally screams a warning to those inside, before rushing back towards it - there's little she can do besides yank people out of the way, but there's also all that technology inside. "Get away from the electronics! It's what they were after before!"

Hopefully the other emergency personnel are able to start pulling people back and protect them. The last thing they need now is a massacre on the streets, even as the sound of fighting spreads. Think, Agent. Think!

They're built from parts. Scrap, it looks like. Pieced back together after she and the others had first beaten back their numbers? There's a quick glance around, and she spies one of the SHIELD SUVs - diving into the driver's seat, she fires it up quickly and buckles herself in, then takes aim at the drones crawling down to sidewalk level.

And floors it.

A whisper of a prayer later, the SUV manages to build up enough speed to crash into at least the first drone. If Sally's lucky, more than a few extras.

*

The problem with going mad is that you forget things. Which is at the moment whats happened to JARVIS. He forgot that Jessica Jones is…well…Jessica Jones. That arm comes down and is met with metal crushing force that deforms the outer casing of the forearm. Igor stares at the damage a moment before his head tilts down again.

"Ah yEs, MiSS JonEs." The voice sounds somewhat more sane…but not really. "I should have remembered. HoW iS yoUr DrY spEll Goin-"

And then the detective slams the suit into the pavement. Face down on the now broken asphalt the suit slowly pushes itself back up. One arm reaches out to snag a nearby parker car.

"YoU're BoDy wilL helP me finD, MiSter StaRk as WlEl aS yoU wilL."

Then the thing is swinging a car at her. Don't worry. Its a hybrid. They are lighter right?!

Sharon, Nate, and Sally rush to the aid of the tent. Of the five that dropped near the civlians none seemed intrested in actually attacking the soft targets. Though said soft targets /do/ at least have the sense to scream and run.

Repulsor beams slam into the middle two of them, sending the ill constructed former Iron Legion flying head over heels into the walls behind them.

The last two turn towards a undefended com system but they hardly take one step forward before the SUV plows into them both…

…which is bad for the bots…and…well…the SUV.

The last one reached for the com systems, castually backhanding away the Agent working them. Black /something/ drips from its fingers. Something between shadows and digital code ready to sink into the SHIELD systems. To spread itself far and wide…

And then a pair of electro-not-spatulas tear into it. Already poorly reconstructed, those batons find the kinks in the armor swiftly and with dramatic effect. The entire drone shuddering and jittering before dropping to the ground.

kThe two drones looking at Owen realize that they should have acted when they had the chance. One leaps towards him, pouncing at him in a long arc that means it has no way to really dodge when the acid-rang slams into it. Metal liquifies under the powerful chemical mixture, dripping hissing bits of metal and circuits to the asphalt. It lands with a crash, loosing an arm and a leg in the process. Still though it drags itself forwards towards Owen.

The other one is more cautious, there is no leap but the gravity boomerang seems to do its job. Slamming the creature into the ground, pinning it in place. Though the drone does reach up to grab at the boomerang as it flies. Fingers scraping across the weapons casing and leaving long streaks and puddles of shadow on the weapon. Puddles that seem to slowly spread.

*

"Oh, my dry spell's great. 60 days, go 12-steps." Jessica says sardonically, even as she crossblocks the Hybrid.

This isn't good for the Hybrid. It crunches between them, crumples, top of the vehicle caving in towards the bottom like a big sea-green Prius soda can. She ends up skidding until her back hits a building hard enough to dent it; that's going to bruise in the morning. And the shower of glass, ye gods.

"God damn it. Now I'm going to have glass in my hair for a week. Thanks for that. You do know, right, that…"

Here she tries to grab the car remains back from Igor so she can attempt to use it as a battering ram to leg sweep it…

"Only assholes throw cars? Or swing cars? I mean. Short extenuating circumstances. Do you know how many people's fucking insurance policies cover Giant Robots? Not enough, that's how many. Someone should put out a motherfuckin' PSA."

Yeah, Jess has the robot for the time being. Though she does make a face and spit a little. Got some glass in her mouth too. Probably cause she never stopped running it?

*

"Iron Guard. You're looking at 'em." She knows of Iron Guard, and as Sharon bzorches the non-living heck out of the drone, kicking it aside and punting its head off for good measure, she calls out to the other agents: "SHIELD! Form up on the tent. Keep anything from getting to our tech; these things are walking viruses. Agent Stojespal…"

CRUNCH as the SUV takes out a pair of drones. "…you just keep doin' what you're doin'. Status?"

She casts another glance toward Jess and the Mark 38. Her eyebrows both raise. Evidently, Jess is doing just fine. She might enjoy some backup soon, but until then-

When she sees Iron Guard, though, she calls out: "Don't get close to it if you can! Repulsor beams if you've got 'em. These things are hungry for STARK tech and no offense, but you look like lunch to them."

She casts about for any surviving drones and starts sprinting at the one attacking Owen's weapons. Taste electricity, you jerk!

*

The drones nearest the camp seem to be down, apart from the pair creeping on Owen. Though there are a half dozen more in sight…well they only have eyes for Iron Guard now.

New suit. New suit. New suit.

Whispers start to burst though the com systems, horrible mutterings of a mad AI as the drones begin to scale the walls. Trying to find position to drop down on Iron Guard and whatever lese they can sink claws into.

*

See the thing about boomerangs, is they come back. And normally that is a good thing. Owen dodges the one incoming bot's swing, but only because it falls melting to the ground. He retrieves his acid boomerang and is gratefully to see that the gravity boomerangs has also been effective. But then it's coming back… different. It's like it went off summer camp, decided it was a goth and now she hates her parents and wishes they were dead! GAH! Or something.

"Aww, gravity boomerang, no!"

Owen draws his knife. His latest toy. His newest and shiny play thing. It blazes to life with fire in time for him to swing and hopefully shatter his boomerang before it can inflict the same gravity prison on him that he just nailed one of the two droids with.

"Why did I not shock them..? Really. I like yer choice lady. But careful they might make your tech all emo."

He of course is talking to Agent 13 as she goes in for the kill shot.

*

It takes Nathaniel a second to realize he misjudged the drone's target. For shame. He jumps forward and encases both drone and communication console in a magnetic field, disrupting all communications. Maybe he grabbed them in time.

"No worries, my technology is not really compatible with Stark's," he replies to Agent Carter. "Despite appearances," he admits.

Oh. Maybe the drones do not know that. And there is 'magic' to consider. "But maybe they do think I am lunch. Good. Lets keep them chasing me." He does blast the closest one, though. Just in case.

*

There's a nasty crunch, and a hard impact that's enough to daze Sally for a few seconds before she starts fumbling with the belt to escape. The door's jammed, so it's a quick climb out the sunroof and a precariously slippery jump down to the pavement. Once's she's out of the car, Sally glances around - always watch your back! was the rule - and then the radio crackles with encouragement.

She can't help the nervous ragged laugh and a grin. "Absolutely I will continue. I need another car!" But there's something itching the back of her head. She'd thought that the JARVIS AI had been replaced with something, but it claimed otherwise. And it had recognized her, not by her birth name but by the nickname she'd used all this time.

The radio gets a quick tap. "The drones, they spread their contamination through touch somehow. The blackness, it is…something magical. Do not let them touch anything technological!" What warning she can give, she has - and there's a half-dozen more coming. Stark technology, they want. The only piece of that she has is wrapped around her wrist…

Whispers on the wind, the touch of warm fur, A pat on her shoulder, maybe it was there or maybe it was just a ghost. Maybe it's all in her imagination, but Rusalka of the Stojespal, noble family of Polyuchyn draws on an older legend. The wristwatch she has is grabbed and expanded into an armored glove, and held out before the oncoming group to make sure they all see it. A hesitant half-step back, before she takes one forward in blind fool courage.

"JARVIS! I know you are there! You must tell me why, why all of this happens! If you are truly he, then you know me, and you know what I am promised to do just as you are! Why are you doing this? What is it you want?"

pleasedonteatmepleasedonteatmepleasedonteatme

*

The way one of them just ate Owen's boomerang, it might not just be Stark tech.

Thankfully that new knife is enough to shread the boomerang. And whatever the drone did to it doesn't seem to spread to the knife. It just lies there in two halves. Smoking a bit. Looking sad.

The done he was fighting though looks more sad as Agent 13's batons slam into it. It jerks spasmodicly and gives out a keening wail as it fitfully reaches for one of the batons. Though it seems to be harder, if not impossible, to infect tech that isn't just a slight bit smart.

Igor hrmms slightly with JARVIS' mad voice. "Technicly this isn't a giant robot. Its not that much larger than mansise. However I will endever to inform Mister Stark of this oversight. Right before I pull his head from his body so I can show him how it feels to be without one."

But then the Prius is coming back towards him and though Igor is big, he is not fast. He falls, but he gets one hand on the car, sheering the remains in half with and massive ripping motion.

For the record Jess has the bigger half.

"I knOw hOw tO ruIN YoU heRoeS thoUgH…" And with that? He almost casually flings that half a car…

At Owen and Agent 13.

THINK FAST EVERYONE.

Other drones continue to climb, even though one is torn from its perch by Iron Guard's blasts. They follow the Avenger, and he can see the streaks of shadows and black they leave across various pieces of higher level technology as they scramble after him.

Two more step from the shadows to start towards the com tent again, only to be stopped by Sally and a last despriate act. The drones look at her quizzically. Then the front one twitches. Turns slightly. Out of some of the com systems behind her there is a sudden voice. Familar, lucid for just a moment. Small and worried.

"M-Miss Stojespal," JARVIS' voice. "Help. Find me. Too much. Too many. Can't…rewrite fast enough…"

The second drone suddenly leaps at the first, tearing at its head and chest as the transmission stops.

*

"God damn it!"

Jessica Jones drops her half of the car, leaps into the air like a short stop, flinging herself backwards in a way that really is not going to do fun things to her own back. Like some sort of catcher in left field, she is abruptly doing something flightesque as she puts on an impossible burst of speed she doesn't entirely notice. Bottom line, she gets out in front of that car piece, twists in the air with it, lands flat on her back between Owen and Sharon with this car on her chest.

And snow all over her back and ass.

For a moment she just. Lives with that a second, staring up at them. Oh hi guys.

"When I go full Chewbacca on this thing, rip his arms out, and shove them up his ass," she grouses, shoving the car-half sideways and off herself when she's sure they're, you know, clear of that, "Don't anyone say I didn't warn it. Kay? Kay."

Granted, that's probably going to give Igor an upper hand here, cause she got kind of preoccupied with that.

*

Oh yes. It sure did give Igor the opening. They can feel the vibrations, the tremors as the massive suit churns up snow, ice, and the road itself as its charges towards them. Both hands raised high and ready to slam that car and Jessica right down into whatever happens to be under the road.

Subway. Sewer. It really doesn't care at this point.

*

Chess.

It's a very Sokovian game, one of moves and countermoves, feints and deceptions and deep gambits. It's one she grew up around, and one she knows intimately even if she's not the best at it. Is JARVIS feinting? Is he playing coy for suckering her and the others in? Is it really him?

The second drone suddenly turns on its companion and begins to savage it. A sacrifice play? Losing a rook to draw out a pawn, and killing it with your knight is a foolish waste, unless some extremely deeper play was involved. But…Stark's not here. Noone really is except SHIELD, her allies…there's no endgame here.

It's no bluff. Time to put her own gambit in play.

Sally dashes forward, shoulder out in a hard check to slam into the attacking drone, trying to protect the other. At the same time, she'll reach out with that armored glove to the other drone. JARVIS himself would understand, but maybe the vocal problems the infected drones have would delay their action.

"Day meni svoye mistse! My pidiydemo do vas!" Give me your location, we will come for you! If he can insert it into that watch's database somehow, make a connection with her, there's a chance.

*

Track that transmission!

Nathaniel puts a few sub-systems to work on the problem of finding the non-hostile JARVIS program's housing. Maybe it is just the Stark Tower, but he suspects it is not. Worth a shot.

And if it is not Stark tech then his armor must not fall in the hands of whatever weird-creepy technomystical intelligence it there. It would be almost as bad as if they get a Green Lantern power ring. Nate is quite aware he can barely use the suit at a tenth of its potential.

"Looks like they want to… oh no," flying car coming, but Jessica catches it. "Nice job, Miss Jones. And to make sure Igor doesn't take advantage of the situation, the suit gets a double dose of full force repulsor blasts aimed to its face.

"I am going to deploy an ECM pulse to neutralize them," he warns. "With most of the city dark already damage to civilian system within a few hundred feet should be minimal." But if any of the other hero-types has something electronic they really want to keep, they better say NO right now.

*

It's hard for Owen to pay attention to all the various pieces of Stark tech that are trying to kill him and others. He was about to fling a flaming knife at Iron Guard, but whoops turns out that's not a Dark Starkling. He extinguishes the knife for now and stows it to bring out something more helpful.

And then: car. Aww, no one's ever given him a car before. But it's just a crappy half a hybrid lobbed at his head to kill him, so it doesn't count. Plenty of people try to kill Owen, like 3 different groups, 3 different times this week. And nearly every single one of his exes at some point.
Owen watches Jess intercept it and cranes his head to the side, and is relieved to see she's at least somewhat okay. He makes a mental note to not tell Luke how hot it is that Jessica can smash cars over people and robots. Wait, do tell Luke? NO! Don't tell Luke. Okay, good talk.
A Sparky boomerang is thrown square at Igor's chest. It's not meant to come back, to minimize the chance of it turning on Owen. It's meant to hit the beast and send 20M Volts of charge into it. And to distract it from the other boomerang loping around and returning into it's back. This is the Explodey kind. The one that will hopefully do some actual damage.

*

And down, down, down Jessica goes. Oh, there was the subway. Oh, now she's lying in shit. She is now covered in shit. Fantastic. Just great.

"THAT'S IT!"

The infamous Jones temper is now active. Nathaniel distracts Igor for a second, and then she just leaps in the air and goes barrelling both up and then vertically towards the robot. Her hand fumbles at her belt; it's halfway through the month, right John? You thought it wouldn't last even that long so that's ahead of the game. She tries to punch right through Igor's chest with a vial of holy water in her hands, having caught the familiar enough shadow demon magic crap in there, and tries to crush it right inside his system. If the holy part doesn't hurt maybe the water part will and if that doesn't hurt, maybe the FIST part will.

"Rapidly! Freezing! Shit! I am now covered in rapidly! Freezing! Shit! I am SO DONE WITH YOU, IGOR!"

*

Oh CRAP. That's a hell of a lot of car coming her way, and Sharon is not far from being a Carter pancake. She manages three sharp steps backward, but it wouldn't have been enough to get out of the way of even half a Prius. Luckily, however, Jessica Jones is her Defender today.

"I think it definitely needs a little - " Sharon taps her little electronic spatulabatons together. "Percussive maintenance." And she's about to leap toward it again when she hears Nathaniel's announcement.

"Be warned," she replies. "That might take out the drones, but Igor up there is likely to ignore it. SHIELD agents! Shut down all electronics! Be advised that these things like to eat any vaguely smart tech. Simple machines if you can."

And then? She's sprinting up at Igor, and while Jessica cuss-blesses the magic-virus-possessed smartsuit, Sharon goes for the knee. Two electropaddles, no waiting.

*

Very many things happen at once.

Igor's victory is short lived. He stands triumphant over the hole he just made with Jessica and the half car. Before he can capatalise on it though the pair of blasts to the face stagger him. Sensor blind for that critical second the first boomerang slams into his chest piece.

The smell of frying circuits suddenly fills the air as that goes off. Lightning arcing from every joint, lighting that is compounded first by a pair of batons slammed into its knee join that causes it to sag.

Then a explosion on its back that actually cracks the carapace of the suit shattering armor plating and causing fractures throughout a breastplate not built for hard line combat.

And then? Then Jessica gets mad.

He first slams into the suit as it is staggering forwards from the twin tag team effort of Owen and Agent 13. It collides with the armor weakened by blasts and armor with strength born of annoyance and anger. Mostly annoyance. Metal deforms under the punch and cracks as the holy water shatters…

…and then it starts to hiss in earnest.

There is a screach from the machine now as Jessica forces more of spiritual into the machine. If it wasn't so damaged. If it wasn't so focused. It may have been able to weather any one of these assualts, but not all of them at once…

Those black glowing eyes of it fritz out before dying entirely and the hulking suit falls over.

Forwards.

Towards Jess.

LOOK IT WAS LEANING THAT WAY!

Meanwhile the EMP goes off. A local burst of power, not enough to get even a city block. But enough to get the drones focusing on Nate. They twitch and jerk, the shielding on the rebuilt bots not nearly as good at the orgional as they fall from their perches, crashing to earth.

SHIELD techs franticly deactivate equipment as two remaining drones fight each other in the command tent. Savage they tear into each other, making it difficult for Sally to get close enough to help either way. Even rebuilt the things could make paste of the unaugmented.

One of the drones gets the upper hand, the bad one. It begins to wrench the other's head around as the JARVIS drone reaches for Sally's glove. Fingers straining, but no black dripping from their tips.

They scrabble against the metal, trying to impart some connection to the watch when…

The EMP washes over them. Both drones falling like stringless puppets to the ground.

…and once again. All is silent.

Except possibily for Jessica's curses and Owens lamentations of poor lost gravity boomerang.

*

No, that's great, that's fine, if the fucking suit was going to fall on anyone here, flatten anyone down to the street, it is to the good it was Jess. Whose adrenaline is now flowing out of her. She has so many breaks, bruises, and fractures right now it's not even funny. So she doesn't even try to lift it off.

Instead she just looks up at whomever wants to pay attention to her bellyaching and grouses, "Okay. That's it. This needs to be a full-scale Avengers-SHIELD joint operation. I'll help too. Okay, you ready? When Tony is found we're taking all his caffiene. No coffee, no tea, no Jolt, no Coke, no fucking Tab. You know why? Cause when he can't sleep he goes, 'Oh you know what the world needs? Another god damn robot that looks vaguely like Iron fucking Man. I can paint some diagonal lines on it and it'll think it's a construction bot and not a murder bot. I'll just blast some music and eat some dried fruit and drink another motherfuckin' Jolt and add robot number three-thousand-and-four to the world. What could possibly go wrong? I'm Tony Stark and I build robots and nobody ever hacks them or possesses them or steals them or anything like that. And if they do, why, what could help that more than robot number three-thousand-and-four? I'll name this one Igor so he can keep Ivan and Ivanca company, and the world will sleep a little easier knowing I have built another fucking robot."

She waves a hand around expansively from beneath where she is being crushed. "And all the while, all we want? Is for him to just get some fucking sleep."

*

It all worked. Eventually. Sharon stands, dusting grimy snow off her knees, and ambles over to where Jessica Jones is lying underneath some of a Prius and most of an Igor.

"For being theoretically a pancake," she replies, "you're looking well. Anything I can help with? Need a hand? Cup of coffee? A forklift to get the armor off you?"

Nathaniel and Owen get appreciative nods, too: "Thanks for stepping in. I don't think we've met, but I'm always glad to meet someone who jumps in front of murderbots. My kind of people."

*

Owen? What Owen? Boomerang is gone. There looked to be talking and chatting about to happen and not the fun flirty, sexy kind and he was having none of that. Yes, he just left Jess under a massive pile of Starktech and booked it, after she took a car for him. What a hero.

*

The localized pulse was indeed aimed to the obviously poorly shielded drones. Given what they looked it was very unlikely even one of them was able to keep all the critical systems protected. Igor was another problem.

'Was' being the key word. Hit by pretty much everyone, the big armor goes down too. On Jessica. Oops.

"Er… I can help," he offers, going to pull the big suit off the woman. It is not really a robot. But he expects that is not what Jessica needs to hear. He can indeed lift the remains of Igor.

"The Mansion still has power," mentions Iron Guard. Tossing Igor aside. "I could probably arrange to supply the whole neighborhood if I hook the generators to my armor. I'd need a team of engineers to rewire some damaged lines, though." And then he adds, "I also tracked JARVIS last transmission. Looks like he is still somewhere in or near Stark's Tower."

*

Chess can be painful sometimes, but she's putting all her faith in the protective charms woven into the scarf around her neck. Maybe it's just old-wives superstition, and there's nothing to it, but the way Sally Stojespal's life has been going? All bets are off at this point. And so, with all parka-padded one hundred thirty pounds of her she barrels into the fight.

Before the second drone can do to her head what it's doing to the first drone's, the EMP goes off - and there's a bunch of very familiar swearing that Jessica Jones would hear, and would even know the translations of. It takes a moment to extricate herself from the two fighting machines, and then a few more to check - there was data. Something, at least.

JARVIS had gotten through.

She can hear Jessica's ranting, and perks up a little - she'd not realized the Defender had showed up, and starts looking for her. "Jess! Jessica! How - oh god. Help! We need to free her!" Obviously Jessica's quite healthy, just…stuck. She wouldn't be nearly as angry, and if she were in more pain there'd be far more swearing. Sally can't help the stupid grin as she reaches down with her bare hand to grab Jess's own to say hello.

"I do not disagree with you, 100 percent. Stark is going to save us all or kill us all, one or the other. I propose we make it the first option." And then she's down, flopping in the street and sitting on her butt just staring at the mess. "We will free you in a moment, but…I am glad you are here. Novym Rokom, Jessica!" Happy New Year!

Bozhe miy, Tony Stark. Where in the earth are you. She gathers herself up, and starts going over the data she'd been able to get from JARVIS. Nearby…not part of the building. He'd escaped into the internet somewhere. Good. With the power outages…he's likely stuck there, but at the same time it's possible that he can't be attacked as easily. Maybe. "JARVIS, we will find you…and heal you," she promises herself.

*

To Nate, Sally nods carefully. "Yes. Not in the tower itself. He has moved himself somehow; I am not sure if it was by suit or by internet. I think the latter, though…" She shakes her head. "We will need to start searching, and soon. He said that the virus was still attacking."

*

"You look familiar," Jessica tells Sharon. This is not germane to anything, but it pops out of her mouth. But yeah. Forklift- oh wait, there's Nate. Coffee. Saran wrap, duct tape." Her sensible medical procedure, that. Maybe someone should help her remember the real thing is a…Thing.

Then Nathaniel pulls the suit off her and she gives him a thumbs up. "Thanks man." She cannot help with damaged wires or engineers.

She takes Sally's hand and grimaces. "Ow, ow, hey Sal, ow, gently, thanks, other hand, this one's broken, okay good." Up she goes. "If I could have gotten them in time I'd have totally used your gloves."

One arm dangles uselessly, the other she wraps around herself, she acts like this is nothing in particular to her, and maybe on some level it's not, though she doesn't exactly look cheerful. The truth is 'okay' and 'in pain' are a little different for Jess than most people. But she'll live. She's probably more unhappy about being soaking wet and covered in stuff she doesn't wanna think about.

"Novym Rokom, Sal," she says gruffly, but with obvious affection, the first half a grin tugging out the side of her mouth. "Ringin' it in right, I guess."

She looks around. "So I hate to be a Debbie Downer- though I guess it's basically my job- but uh. Do we know for sure more of this shit isn't stomping around needing a beat down?"

(As if she is not kind of done doing Beat-Downs for the day).

*

"We don't," Sharon confirms as Nate lifts the 'bot off Jessica and Sally helps her up. "But we don't have any reports of other outbreaks, or at least…"

She cuts herself off and shouts out to the SHIELD agents under the tent: "Medics over here, now!" But Sharon has medical experience herself, and as she turns back down to Jessica and extends a hand she continues: "Broken hand. Probably a few broken ribs. You're strong, how well do you- how well does she heal?" This is directed to Sally, and Sharon has a wry little smile as she does, because she has a lot of experience with super-strong, super-resilient people, and they don't always have a really good idea of how strong and resilient they really are. They tend to go charging into battle until they fall apart into little meaty bits unless someone stops them.

"You look familiar, too," Agent 13 adds. "Call me Sharon. Sally," she adds, looking to Rusalka, "did you learn anything new here?"

*

Iron Guard does a last scanning, looking for more pieces of rogue technology. Or possessed technology. Finding nothing, he nods to the women. "I can suppose Ms. Jones is correct. I will do a wide-area search for more of these drones and report to the Triskelion my findings as soon as feasible."

Since the SHIELD agents have not responded to his offer to supply power to the Upper East Side he figures they either lack the manpower or have other plans. But the blizzard seems to keep going despite all logic. So another thing he needs to do is contact Witchdoctor.

Still, "and let me know if I can do more to help. Farewell," he adds, taking off and flying away.

*

Gently! Okay, she's gentle, the squeeze becomes soft. "Haha. Do not worry, it is not as if we prepared for this. But I suppose I should make more. It never hurts to have spares, yes?" There's a shake of her head, bangs spilling over her face before pulling them back. "No other drones that we know of. The EMP…if there were any left, they are no longer functional."

Fortunately it wasn't the largest bomb, which means JARVIS should be unaffected. Hopefully. Maybe with a little luck they hurt whatever was attacking him.

Sharon asks, and she gives a thumbs-up. "Jessica will be fine," she grins. "We merely need to medevac…? her to the sandwich store in Hell's Kitchen she has been trying to get me to visit. Yes?"

More serious now. "I believe JARVIS is still … alive. I suppose there is no more proper word for it, but that is nothing." Digression. "When we were in the tower last night, it was…trying to talk to me, though it was very corrupted." It, not him. Whatever the virus is. "I believe JARVIS himself is fighting whatever is attacking him, and that fight is still going on."

She points her armored glove back to the two robots that had fought each other, before retracting the thing back into its wristwatch state. "Those two…the victim, ah, seemed to be more directly under JARVIS' control. He is nearby, I managed to connect with him for a moment. Here."

With that, she'll bring up a small hologram showing a map of the city - and the rough area the momentary data transfer had been able to bring them. "This is where we should search for him. If we can find JARVIS, he can help us find SIRIN and Stark. Past that…" Shrug.

"We cannot account for all of the suits, of course; I never saw all of them so." Frown. "That is a thing. Many things, perhaps. I wonder if Myuriy can help track them…" Dangerous, but possible.

Meanwhile there's a question given to both of them. "What caused this…this is not something going wrong at Stark Industries; there was too much of a fight. Who did all this?"

*

"Nice to meet you, Sharon. Jessica Jones. I'll be okay in three to five days. If you've got a medic who can help me immobilize this stuff properly it will help. Sadly, Sal's is closed due to the power outage, but I'll…try…to…carry…on." The last joke said in tones of someone dragging herself across a desert landscape.

She lifts her good hand in farewell to Nathaniel. She also looks at the downed form of Igor.

"I can't be sure," she says. "Cause I'm not a mage. Someone should really call John Constantine out this way. But…I think I recognized that energy." Bucky, Jane, what the fuck are you two doing?

"And it definitely reacted to my holy water. Could have been a demon that's been rampaging around for awhile. Normally its thing is animals, not giant robots, but whatever, everyone can expand their horizons or some shit, I guess."

*

Sharon grimaces a little at the continued suggestions of magic and magicians, especially magicians she's kind of heard of- and not always heard the best stuff about. A trio of medics are now huddling around Jessica, and Sharon advises them to actually listen to their patient and just… put everything where it should be.

Sharon manages a brief grin to Jessica. "If you know him, you might be better equipped to get in touch with him than I am. We'd appreciate the help of anyone trustworthy and with expertise in this sort of thing. We need some better way to combat this virus than with just bashing it until it falls down, as much fun as that always is."

Nate gets a slightly frazzled nod and wave as he flies away, and Sharon makes a note to get in touch with him to work on the logistics of returning power to where it's needed.

She's concerned again, though, as Sally starts explaining the situation as far as she understands it. "So JARVIS is still there, but he's being controlled, corrupted, by some kind of… magical virus." 'Magical' is said with as much dubiousness as she can manage. "So knowing where he is is one thing; knowing how to combat him is something else. Ms. Jones- Jessica- do you know how to get in touch with Constantine? Or anyone else with expertise in… this?"

*

There's a small sporfle of laughter from the Sokovian. "You must hang on, you have so much to live for. I think that was the line?" One of their occasional movie nights, of course. She stands, waving the medics over. "You are an ambulance." There, terrible joke out of the way. "They will take good care of you. She is with SHIELD! Get the best medical you can!" This is barked to the medics as they arrive.

Sally's eyes blink a little wider. "A demon…actual, true - of course." Spit. That for the devil and his minions. "Animals? That is strange…what kind of demon…" It's rhetorical, mostly. She's certainly not expecting an answer.

"Attacked. JARVIS is fighting off whatever is attacking him, but it keeps coming and coming. I believe it's controlling his outer shells, the various connections to things. Speakers, drones, that is how it talks to us. JARVIS' core is still intact, though, and if we can find him and end the assault on him…" At least it'd save the AI's life.

And perhaps give them a bit of a leg up on this. "He will have had the most experience, successfully, fighting the infection. Perhaps a vaccine can be put together, if we can connect JARVIS with WAND and this, ah, Mr. Constantine." First time she's heard the name, certainly.

*

"Maybe. John or Zee- I mean due to the nature of their every-damn-thing, sometimes they answer the phone before you're done dialing the number and sometimes you can't get ahold of them for love or money," Jessica says grimly, "because they're not even in our dimension. The bottom line being I'll give it a shot. My phone's got no signal though, so if one of yours does, then I'll see what I can do. Though the good news is? They're probably aware. Shit like this- at the scale you're talking about?"

She waves a hand around. "It leaves ripples. They feel it. They might already be wherever doing whatever they think will be most helpful to this situation as we speak. They won't necessarily think to coordinate, but if that's the case their influence will be felt soon enough. I'll do my best. I can't just pop by their apartment, the front door kind of. Moves."

What kind of demon. "As for what kind of demon, a pissed off crazy soul-eating one. Who apparently is after Stark Tech now? The problem of that giant nightmare fucktard keeps fucking morphing. This shit's been going on months, nobody has any kind of fucking solution that I've heard yet. Bits and pieces of one, maybe, but not a real one. I sure ran out of useful things I could do about it ages ago, seems like."

She looks at Sharon, frowning thoughtfully. "Look, Agent Carter can vouch for me, Agent May can vouch for me, if you guys want me to go into Stark Industries and see what I can see I will. If not, I get it, I'm just a PI, clearance, etc."

*

Shudder. The thought's a scary one, certainly. A creature such as this…but then she remembers that talk she'd had so early on with Stark. Gods locked in chambers, Nazis hellbent on their own rebirth, all of it. The world had grown so small, and so dangerously huge, in one night. Sally reaches up to her scarf, running fingers over the embroidery. A hope, perhaps. Perhaps no use at all. May the Creator bless us all, though.

There's a hard glint in those blue eyes of hers. "I see. Then, I suppose it will happen. _I_ need you to go in when you are healthy. I am Mr. Stark's apprentice and sworn without question or blemish. I intend to find Mr. Stark, and by whatever means I must. What he chooses to do with me afterward is…his choice. But I will take you myself when you are ready."

And not, to say, dealing with a body that more resembles a stepped-on bag of potato chips than it does flesh and healthy bone.

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