Dark City: Darkness Rising I

April 11, 2014:

As New York shifts and warps around them, a handful of heroes find themselves in a broken reality that's right out of a steampunk horror story.

Lower Manhattan

42nd Street. The street that never sleeps in the City That Never Sleeps. In the day, the traffic is non-stop. It's a given that buses will be stopping, letting passengers on and off at seemingly random moments, much to the chagrin of taxicabs and those brave enough to drive.

It's the evening when the thoroughfare truly shines. Literally. Bright neon lights light up the street to where it looks as if the sun simply didn't set on that stretch of road. Theaters, restaurants, shops that remain open late all have their marquis, their flashing lights, their names and offerings done up in brilliant neon lights.

Characters

NPCs: Scene emitted by Wonder Woman

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

A busy Friday evening in downtown Manhattan. With the weather having turned nicer, even if it's still chilly after sunset, more people are out and about than have been over the course of the winter. Not, mind, that the area around Times Square is ever not crowded. The mood is, as always, frenetic, full of life and the irrepressible spirit that is New York.

For all that, however, the city is not without its darkness. It's hidden, really, behind the bright neon lights and the blare of street music, car horns, and hawkers. To say it lurks in alleys is cliché… and, in this case, completely wrong. Because, even the alleys are bright, compared to the dark grey mists that seep down the damp streets from the busy New York Harbor. It's unnoticeable, at first. A scuff of dust, perhaps. Or maybe just the putrid air from the subway vents and sewer grates. Nothing extraordinary in that.

But, slowly, the fog thickens. Lights dim first around the docks themselves. Machinery slowly falls silent, and workers move lethargically, at best. It's almost as if an odd lethargy settles over them — one they're not really inclined to fight… even were they actually aware of it, which most of them aren't.

As the mist drifts further inland, the bright street lamps take on an odd cast, more like flickering gaslight than halogen, fluorescent, or sodium. It can't quite decide if it should be garish green or sickly amber. The streets themselves take on a completely different cast, as well, shifting, it seems between now and then, past and present. Sometimes asphalt, sometimes cobbles. The people that walk the street grow quieter, somehow, as if they're not quiet in one time or another. Their garb shifts like the streets do, neither one era or another, their manners morphing much the same way.

All in all, it's an odd night in New York, this night. And it brings with it the oddest sensation of being completely isolated, no matter how large the crowd around may be.

Life goes on, and all of the cruel and despicable things that tend to accompany it. Not far from the harbor, some shady figures take refuge beneath one of the island's bridges. Three individuals stand on one side of an invisibly drawn line, handling just one on the other side. It's the lone person that initiates contact first, flinging a PDA into the only somewhat surprised hands of one from the trio.

"As requested. Your turn."

One figure pockets the PDA. The other reaches for a black nylon bag, tossing it across the distance toward she who stands alone. "Payment, as agreed."

"Thanks."

The first of three goes down with a darkened blade suddenly jutting out from his neck. The second drops with a kick and a leg sweep. The third takes steel toes of a boot to the underside of his chin.

In the next instant there's an albino woman standing over the third, a smirk on her face and a sidearm in her palm. "Nice doin' business with you."

Two muted shots later, Domino's unthreading the suppressor and dropping it into a trench pocket before retrieving the PDA and the bag. It's only then that she notices the fog, somewhere back there her visibility had become more limited. "Huh, when did this place turn into Gotham? Least disappearing'll be a cinch in soup like this. Freakin' eerie."

If there's someone who really doesn't appreciate MMF, it's Clint Barton. He's had more than enough over the course of his life, and one more is just near breaking the proverbial camel's back. He's on his way back from the gym, bag corded onto the back of his motorcycle as he tools down the streets, headed for home.

As that not-normal East River Fog rolls in, it doesn't catch Barton's attention at first. Nothing seems out of the ordinary; lights seem to be working in his area until he turns onto a side street. Pulling on the brake, his back tire skids on the asphalt to a halt, and the helmet is yanked off. It's .. strange. The people are…?

Clint sets his helmet back onto his head and begins to back his bike up, still astride, before he turns tightly and hits the throttle, back to a seeming 'safe' spot. Block by block, he looks back before he determines a good spot, and pulls out his cellphone to make a call. He pauses, glances back, and stares at the phone before he exhales in a sigh. "What could I possibly say?" The phone is replaced, and the bike is revved once again, and he turns back around to figure out what is going on.

Life has cone in an unexpected direction for Lunair. But it isn't a bad thing. Still, it's kind of surprising for her. Today, she was shopping and spending an evening out exploring. NOT murdering people. It feels strange to be away from war, from everything. But she seems to be okay with it. There's lots of interesting training, lots to do and explore. She brushes past people, glancing here and there. She doesn't seem to stand out aside from the fact her expression? It doesn't really exist. She looks kind of emotionless in that there's nothing there. It's sort of a blank, distant look. Either she's scary or just weird. Maybe both.

Either way, she's spotted a pizza joint and then suddenly — fog! Not like, weird pea fog (was it pee fog? Why do they call it pea fog? is it green? Who stands around in weird, green fog? Life is full of mystery!). "…" She hms softly, looking surprised as things go dark and quiet. People are slowing down. Perhaps it is the last symptom that is the worst. New York NEVER slows down. She fishes a flashlight from her handbag.

Johnny Ray Gunn, bounty hunter, mercenary, dude with the fancy pistolas, is currently asleep. Having spent way too much of his last bounty in La Mujer Caliente on a girl named Rosita who had a jalapeno tattooed right next to her Rio Grande. Worth every penny, but damned if those tequila shots didn't make a man pay a penalty. He has his hat over his face, laying on top of his motorcycle with a bedroll across the handlebars to cushion his head as the fog rolls in, snoring slightly. Of course, as one quick fingered bandito found out a half hour ago, asleep isn't unaware for all hombres. Still fog isn't exactly enough to wake him up all by its lonesome. Yet. But the night is younger than a quarterback's first girlfriend…who knows what lays ahead?

Taking his phone from his pocket, Cal checks the time then slips it back. He's got a date later with one of the Newsies 'boys' but that's still a couple hours away. He could have stayed home till then, of course, but he actually likes the city and the crowds. Plus it's two for one happy hour at Therapy. He's in no hurry though and pauses to get a pretzel from one of the carts. As the fog starts to creep in, he doesn't really take notice. The air's warmer than it has been, the water is still cold. It's to be expected. Though it is getting a bit thick…

As Domino turns to make her way back out into the fog, there's a scuffle of movement behind her. The first of the three men she dispatched groans softly, reaching up to pull the blade from his neck and shoving himself slowly to his feet. Blood continues to bleed from his wound unabated, seeping in the way it should from a freshly-made corpse, for all that he is apparently well-animated. Beside him, the other two also stir, blood flowing from bullet-shattered skulls.

It's just as well Clint hangs up the phone. Service is… spotty, at best. Indeed, electrical gadgets in general are suddenly quite temperamental — which includes vehicles as well as the more modern conveniences of life such as cell phones and PDAs. It's not so much that they stop working entirely. It's more that they're just not working quite right. They run, sure. But, there's little in the way of radio reception, and digital readouts are fairly borked. Why? Who knows?

The people who brush by Lunair pay her little mind, really. Indeed, they rather mirror her neutral expression, their eyes sliding off her as she doesn't exist. As if no one around them exists. And, oddly enough, the most concerted effort anyone makes, as they pass, is to avoid touching anyone… not just the teenaged murderess.

Sleep isn't necessarily a blessing, this night, however. Indeed, it brings with it the oddest sensation of dreams that brook no waking. Thus, the bounty hunter more than likely finds himself treading along gas-lamp lit streets of an early age, acrid industrial smog thick in the air, the cries from a long-forgotten abattoir echoing oddly amidst the close shadows. A Dapper Gentleman with red eyes, dressed much as a Victorian gentleman on his way to the theater — complete with opera cloak and walking stick — cants his head at the bounty hunter as he passes, pausing briefly to admire the steel horse that has replaced the man's motorcycle in this dreamspace.

The pretzel vendor pulls away from Calvin, once the transaction is complete. The brilliant lights of the theater district dim and don't so much flicker out as they simply fade like a transition from day to night on old celluloid. The fog rises, growing blacker and thicker, flowing in eddies off the street, into gutters and windows and doors. A scrabbling noise sounds from somewhere nearby and a woman shrieks in fear.

There's the closing of a trunk as Domino tosses the ill-gotten goods into her car. Then..there's the sounds of reanimation. In an instant the familiar jolt runs through the back of her shoulders, her body suddenly turned with a pistol filling each of her hands as she stares at the three with widened eyes. "The Hell? No, we are not playing Night of the Living Dead, so you three just go right back to kissing the ground."

This doesn't seem to be working.

"Knew I shoulda read my horoscope today," she mutters while hurrying toward the door to her car. Friggin' zombies! But..they are zombies, right? What if these three somehow ..remember? She stabbed them all in the back. In more of a figurative sense, but… They're now reanimated witnesses, which is potentially a bad thing. She turned on them, and now they're turning on her. "Okay, in this town, people stay dead!"

BlamBlamBlam!

With each turn on the throttle, the bike is lethargic at best. Not quite sputtery, but definitely not right. Clint babies it until he simply can't go much farther without getting frustrated. He's in a reasonable section of town, and to park it, drops the stand before killing the engine completely. Pulling the keys, he pockets them and gets rid of the helmet all together.

More than a few mumbled curses leaves the archer as he digs into the bag bungeed to the back of his seat. Bow, no arrows, though the bow is most certainly pocketed. His sidearm, which he never leaves anywhere, is lifted from the bag and put on. Now, another check of his cellphone produces…

What?

Clint stares at it for a long moment before he pockets it once again and starts to look around. To truly look around. He blinks and jogs up to a hotdog cart merchant as if to just buy something. "Hey buddy.." only to hear the scream in the night. He gives up on the idea of the dog (even if he actually is sort of hungry), and starts on his way toward the woman's shriek.

Ex-murdery person! She's been trying not to! Even if sometimes people try to e-mail her with promises of nice contracts and — and — Lunair just shoves it aside for now. Things are getting creepier than a nude Brony convention and that is pretty creepy. She seems surprised as people look as they do. They even avoid brushing and most would consider elbows a useful space clearing device. It sends a brief twinge of rage through her, but she tamps it down. There are bigger problems afoot.

And then, gunshots and a woman's scream! Lunair jerks, straightening. She points her flashlight, pausing as she realizes that it seems to be fading. A confused, concerned look crosses her face. Frown. And odds are good no one's gonna let her use a flamethrower for a light. Her path towards the noise likely takes her past the sleeping guy on his motorbike. "Geez, I wish I could sleep that well." But now, time to investigate gunshots!

Johnny feels mighty comfortable on that metal steed, letting it canter along. Red Eye McCreepbag definitely gets a second look, hand going down to the butt of his dream pistols, which probably look like corncobs or some sort of laser cats. Not sure what kind of rodeo this is, but he's already starting to get the suspicion that he's the calf and not the roper. He pulls on the reins of the horse, though, and turns it around to pursue, pushing his hat back and giving a toss of his head, "Yo, Fancy Dan…where you goin' tonight all capey an' glowy? Ain't near Halloween times, far as I know…that or you just…" and then he jerks, the scream of the woman hitting his ear and starting to try and pull him from his sleep, fleshly hands slapping on the butts of his guns.

Cal tears a chunk off his pretzel but pauses in chewing as the lights begin to dim. What? The lights never go out on the Great White Way. The air of surreal is compounded by the radio starting to cut in and out and he reaches up to tap the earbud in case something inside is suddenly loose. The thick fog is just icing on the cake. "Shit." he mutters. "I didn't like this movie the first time I saw it." Trying to pinpoint where the scream came from, he heads in that direction.

Domino's bullets hit home, though the only thing that makes that obvious are the new blooms of red that blossom on their chests. Indeed, the three men stagger, but they do not fall. If they are zombies, however, they aren't lurching or dragging, and their flesh hasn't started to rot, yet. At the very least, they appear to have awareness… awareness easily the equal of the merc herself, actually. The one holding the knife she tossed into his throat, flings the blade back at her. And although her luck is such that it is unlikely to harm her — and, indeed, she can always use another blade, to be sure — there's still something just a little bit off about the way that luck works.

And she's not alone in that regard. It's almost like mutant, meta, and supernatural abilities are skewing just little to the left. Predictable results, aren't. Unpredictable results… are just that much more off-the-charts. And it's a toss-up as to how benign the outcome from such things are.

Judicious care must be taken, now, it seems. At least mundane skills haven't skewed at all.

The shriek comes from off a side street. Entering the laneway is like passing out of the City and into… well, somewhere else. Neverwhere, perhaps. Certainly not Neverland. Everything looks the same, after all, save for the odd shifting of eras that simply will not go away, but the sensation is like that of passing into a dream… except everyone, save, perhaps, Johnny, is very much awake. And this isn't a dream. Thus, Clint, Calvin, and whomever else goes to check, will soon find that the woman can't be seen. But blood seeps over paving stones leading to the laneway from whence the sound came.

Lunair, of course, will soon find poor Domino and the Bloody Shirt Gang under a cobbled bridge, shadows, water, and oozing life — or is that death? — swirling about her booted feet.

The Dapper Gentleman regards Johnny with a curiously amused expression. "To watch the show, of course," he replies to the steel-mounted pistolero. Of course, as the bounty hunter starts to wake, the red-eyed man's smile simply grows and, whistling a remarkably jaunty tune, he continues on his way down the street toward the heart of the theater district.

They're..not..staying..dead… Furthermore, the one's coordinated enough to throw the blade back at her! For a woman that can dodge bullets, sidestepping a blade should be an absolute no-brainer. (Too soon?) She can see it coming, all odds favor her, and yet it isn't her X-Gene that spares her from having an impaled shoulder. It's her armor.

That zombie actually hit her.

The clanging of steel against cement doesn't help the situation feel any less creepy. These guys fight back. They don't go down easy. And what the hell is she still doing in the city?! Without another thought she dives behind the wheel, twists the key, and promptly listens to the sound of a starter motor lacking enough electrical current to crank the engine over.

"You have got to be kidding…"

When she steps back out, the distance between herself and the three rapidly diminishing, she's got a cut-down Kalashnikov in her hands. Because nothing gets the job done like a thirty caliber automatic. She fires lots, she fires quickly, and this time she fires at their heads. Let's see if they're still shambling when there's nothing left of the ol' brainpans!

If this doesn't work, then ..she'll..probably just have to start running. A lot. Or swimming. Swimming's still an option, right?

Clint's jog allows him to draw his pistol, keeping the barrel down as he moves. Here and there, he checks corners, hide-aways, just making sure nothing is going to come up from an unexpected spot. Mind, the way he's feeling, and the damp chill that he's got, he wouldn't be at all surprised if something does come leaping out at him.

Slowing, he comes to a stop at the beginning of the blood spatter, and he crouches down to touch the liquid on the pavers. Clint looks at the blood on his fingers, running his fingers over each other to test how long it may or may not have been there before looking forward once again. It's where the scream came from, yes?

Cautiously, the arrowless archer (how sad is that?) rises to full height and continues into the laneway, the thirty caliber automatic reports gaining his attention perhaps just a little too late.

Poor Arrowless Archer. It's like a carnival without funnel cake. Sadness all around. Lunair has moved just past Johnny and his sleepy ways, although she doesn't notice him waking up. Her and her dim, practically dead flashlight have hustled on towards the fighty noises. So many fighty noises! It must be a big deal… And then she skids to a halt, seeing Domino and the (un)Grateful Dead.

There is a distinct lack of chainsaw arm and an ample supply of zombie. "Oh geez." Her eyes widen. Instinctively, she moves to pull a shotgun or something out of nowhere. Instead of a regular shotgun with silver ammo, she gets an AAR 12 with the same. An expression of terror and surprise crosses her face. It hasn't done THAT before. So far, it's in her favor, but how long will HER luck hold out? She does not have an awesome dot or lucky powers.

Johnny jerks out of his sleep and stumbles off of his bike. Well, it looks like a stumble, but he comes up crouched and tucked, his pistols whipped from their holsters as he looks around, trying to make sense out of things. He's blinking, that red-eyed hombre's glare and voice stiill ringing in his ears. Going to see the show, huh? Johnny had the feelin' that feller didn't mean the can-can girls. He sees Lunair, though, and the sudden look of psychobilly freakout on her face and springs up, running her way, "I do like to see a gal what comes prepared," he says, skidding up next to her and stopping, his jaw falling open at the sight, "Great horny toads!"

Cal's sprint turns into a lurching halt as he's confronted with the blood on the paving stones. "God damn." Reaching up, he rubs the back of his neck as it prickles. He spots a figure deeper in the fog heading back toward the source of the blood and chases after. "You, stop!" he calls after Clint. "Better not be Jack the Ripper." But he wouldn't be surprised, feeling like he's stepped into Victorian England.

When all else fails, reducing walking corpses to hamburger meat is an effective strategy. Thus, the Bloody Shirt Brigade do eventually topple… once there's been enough lead shorn through their flesh and bone to render them incapable of rising. Given how hands twitch long after the period typical of the usual autonomic nervous impulses some corpses have been known to exhibit, however, it's debatable whether or not the hamburger meat is actually well and truly dead. Or simply incapable of crawling any further. Still… a reprieve is a reprieve.

Until the scavengers come, of course.

Clint and Calvin both find the blood is quite fresh. Still warm, in fact. Not steaming, perhaps, but warm enough. It hasn't even really started to congeal. A scuffle can be heard in the near distance, shadows vaguely seen to move in the dark grey fog beyond. Another shriek, this one a distance further off yet again.

With smoke wisping away from the flash hider, Domino drops the spent magazine with a clatter and turns at a conveniently timed opportunity to notice Lunair and Johnny as they arrive on the scene. Normally it wouldn't be so bad, yeah she just gunned down three apparently unarmed people, but tonight… She's still viewing the city through widened eyes. "Zombies! As if this city didn't have enough problems!"

Like where in the heck that other woman got hold of an automatic shotgun at this time of night!

Alright, so the car won't start. She's not sure how far this fog..thing reaches for, which means she's not bugging out without her goods. "You guys want answers, I don't have any for you," she calls back while returning to the trunk. Bag of money over the shoulder, PDA in a pocket. Extra mags aplenty. Slamming the trunk closed once more (with the sound of screaming from somewhere else,) she turns to the pair and asks "Anyone feel like gettin' the hell outta Dodge with me?"

Extra shooters. Extra targets. Can't go wrong.

The sound of running footsteps behind him causes Barton's gun to rise in perfect aim. "What the hell are you talking about? Jack the Ripper.." No knife.. unless the weapon that he's holding… and he looks down to see if somehow it has mutated into something other than the .40 that he normally carries. (As a hold out. Dammit.. no arrows!)

The trace blood on his fingers is drying, but was warm under his touch on the pavers, and he points down with his free hand, blue eyes not leaving the newly arrived. "Either you're with me or you're against me.. and—" and there is the sound of scuffles; a distinct sound in the city where rats and bums lie down.

Spinning around, Clint is on the move once again, jogging down the alley.. following the sounds of the scuffles and, undoubtedly, the shriek.

If anyone was watching Lunair when she pulled it, she didn't get it from anywhere. It simply appeared. Created. Alarming. Lunair pauses at Johnny's words. All she manages is a weak smile. "Thank you. And yeah, no kidding." Her eyes are a bit wide. Although, she doesn't seem terribly frightened by death and murder. Odd, that. "Zombies?" Lunair frowns. She really has no idea she's apparently run into Domino before. Concern follows her frown. Even if they were unarmed, they were zombies — even from the state of their injuries. "… my flashlight just dimmed and died, but everything was brand new," She seems baffled by this, too. "I wish I could tell you more. People were acting strange. They wouldn't even brush against one another and everyone was shuffling." Shufflin' erry— no, not like that! They'd better not be extras in a video! "Lights were failing and um… machines sorta —" Kaput gesture with her hands. "We should probably leave," She agrees quietly. Even if she'd rather not be a target. It seems like a short lived career with little advancement potential and the benefits are dubious.

Johnny lays one of his massive space pistols on his shoulder, his head cocked as he takes in Domino, dead people, Lunair's explanation, dead people, screams in the distance, dead people, dreams of creepy rippers, actual creepy fog, the cheap tequila dancing the hat dance on his liver, and the fact that he's been invited to vamoose from said chaotic scene in the company of two hot and clearly well-armed senoritas. "I'd say that's about the shape of it, darlin'. Why don't we get in our pale-faced friend's vehicle there and get while the gettin's good?"

At the sight of the gun, Cal shifts to metal. The seams of his shirt pants popping as he grows a foot taller proportionately. His sneakers are just history. He'd really been hoping to avoid that but doesn't take chances with guns, especially when the gunman obviously knows what he's doing. Did that take longer than it should have? Probably his imagination, kicked into overactive by everything else happening. He hears the scuffling at the same time as Clint, or maybe a bit before, and is moving as soon as the other man starts to.

A scrabbling, skittering, shirring sound drifts out of the fog near the bridge. Figures move in the shroud of mist, darker than the dark grey fog that fills the world with drifting shadows. Shambling isn't the right way to describe the movement. It's more fluid than that. More feral. And, indeed, the creatures that emerge from the mist, coming upon the hamburger meat that is the remains of the three mooks Domino dispatched, are… vaguely human? That is, they move mostly upright on well-built legs, with long arms and claw-like hands. Their faces resemble those of humans, but there's a rattish quality to them, as well. Sharp. Pinched. A little on the hairy side. Wererats stuck in mid-change, perhaps?

There are enough of them that, should the well-armed trio decide to stand and fight rather than flee, they run the risk of running out of ammo. At least, Domino does. Perhaps ray-guns and conjured weaponry have bottomless clips. Even so, the point is there's a lot of them. And more arrive every moment the trio lingers.

The first to arrive are distracted by the blood and gore, happy to begin feasting upon it. Those that arrive late to the feast, however, are more inclined to look elsewhere for a meal, perhaps…

Another incentive, perhaps, to start moving away from the scene of the crime, so to speak.

The laneway with its steady trickle of blood, leads to an iron-gated work yard not dissimilar to that found in any of hundreds of early industrial age factory properties. The sound of the shrieking is clearer, now, higher pitched and more desperate still. And the sight in that courtyard is… well, somewhat indescribable, despite the writer's attempts to the contrary.

Bodies fill the courtyard, piled about in various states of dismemberment and dishabille. Not all of them are dead, however. Some are chained to poles, others are pilloried on low scaffolds.

Still others loiter free and unharmed, in dapper dress and pristine finery. Ladies with parasols hook arms with gentlemen sporting canes and fine walking sticks. Some hold small white dogs in their arms. There's a sense of festivity about them, really — the gentry out to watch a polo match, though this sport is unlike any polo match heretofore seen on this ruddy earth.

More of the ratlings lurk in the corners of the abattoir, moving like liquid shadow to the edges of the oldest piles of bodies. A single young woman stands assailed in the midst of all of this, shrieking as ratlings draw ever closer, circling around her as if she were prey.

For so she is, it seems.

Dead flashlight? And a Westerner with some big nasty looking pistols? "No dice, my car won't start," Domino adds while thumbing over her shoulder to the blacked out Jaguar coupe she's having to leave behind. Though, curiosity piqued, she takes a moment (a very short moment) to check her phone.

..Nnnnope.

Putting that back away and, thanks to the emerging Scavengers, she falls into a very brisk step, thinking aloud "Doesn't seem like an EMP attack. It's like things want to keep working but can't." (That, and EMP wouldn't mess up my luck. ..Or bring those nasty creatures out of the mist.) "Fog, reanimation, disruption field, giant rats. I've got nothin' beyond 'get the hell gone.'"

Inclining her head toward Johnny's weapons mid-stride, she inquires "Those energy-fed? Might wanna try a dust-off, make sure things are still working like they should. We're gonna have to hoof it if we want out of this."

The situation's going to get a lot more bizarre as soon as she gets within visual range of the city proper, and how reality itself seems to be twisting into something different and new. Or..old. Unnerving sounds all around, limited visibility, and then there's the single worst thing she's come across yet…

Clint Barton.

"This is probably the single worst time for you to be running around without arrows, Katniss."

If she were a hero sort she'd wonder if the source of this craziness might be with the screaming lady. Since she's not a hero sort and only cares about herself, she just wants to leave all of this far, far behind. But, she's not exactly leading this crew, is she..?

This.. this will teach him to leave his arrows home when he goes to the gym.

The other man's transformation gains a blink.. and a second before Barton shakes his head and he's off down the lane, jumping up onto bits of refuse, boxes, dumpsters. The further up he goes, the happier the man is. The fence, however tall, isn't much of a hindrance but for the poky-bits at the top that are the hallmark of Industrial Age iron fencing. A scowl now seems to have taken residence upon the SHIELD agent's face, and the scream that rises from all of this gets his full attention, even when an almost familiar voice chimes in behind him. "I knew I should've gone to the range instead of the gym… and who the hell is Katniss?"

Barton doesn't really wait for the response, however, and with an easy pull, he's up and on top of the fence, and he wriggles a little in order to gain his balance. Crap, crap.. haven't done this in YEARS.. shows you how often I have to tightrope walk a fence-line!

"Be so kind as to keep an eye on my six? I might forget the fact that you screwed up an op for me."

To be fair, if a dude who parties like it's 1399 and he's English is the worst of one's things to come across… It is an envious life she leads. She looks to Johnny, then to Domino. She doesn't really like these odds or what's happening. And then scavengers. It's like a couple of movies exploded. The wererats or scavengers probably aren't too friendly, either. Even if Lunair has limitless ammo, the fact that her powers are being a bit wonky is terrifying to her. "Ammo isn't really a problem for me but …"

Do they really want to stay here? When they are made of meat also? Life as a bag of meat is difficult. And things are getting Victorian. She seems amused by Domino's response to the newcomer. Lunair is trying to be a hero. Ish. Thinking, she pauses. "A bow? I can give you a bow," She offers to Barton, seeming confused. She looks to Johnny. Lunair is going to follow SOMEONE around because she's a lot like a duckling. A well armed, confused duckling. With murder. MURDER DUCK.

Johnny looks at his guns for a moment, the general lights and doodads still very much seeming in place, his neural connection through his palms seeming…odd, off, but not broken. It's like the guns are speaking to him in Shakespeare talk, all fancy-like. "Be cool," he says, activating what would normally be the freeze ray and aiming iti at the scavengers. Instead of projecting blue energy and coatiing them in a sheet of ice, he finds giant ice blocks manifesting in front of his gun as a puff of cold vapor blasts out as if from a hose, the thick blocks hurtling to smash into the scavengers with a crash, "Uhhhhhhhhhhh…okay, well, it ain't exactly what I'm used ta, but I ain't about t'look a gift splat in the mouth…though I'm kinda wonderin' what the other settin's do now…"

Most likely, Clint isn't responsible for all the blood. Probably. Cal's going to give him the benefit of the doubt, given the circumstances and that the screaming is coming from up ahead. The fence would pose no problem but what's within is enough to make him slow to a halt just outside it. "Don't go in there." he warns Clint. "It might be difficult to get back." It's close enough to seeing another reality that he's instantly cautious. Wererats. Bodies. Humans off the set of Ragtime. But another reality, a nightmare, or an illusion, he can't just stand there and watch the woman get killed. BLINK. She disappears from inside the courtyard, hopefully appearing next to him. Then there's a very familiar voice and he turns to look. "Lunair? What are you doing here?" They really need to get her a codename.

So hurtling giant ice cubes at the scavengers is probably not the best way to test whether or not a weapon is working. Because that only attracts their attention. Similarly, teetering along a spiky lined with rat-creatures and freaky denizens of the Dark City is another good way to attract attention.

The first of the ratlings to be hit with the ice come surging after the trio on their way to intercept the abattoir duo, which means they're attacking from the rear. Virtually moments later, more ratlings start throwing themselves against the iron fence, starting to climb it with remarkably alacrity, not to mention fluid, feral grace, looking to converge on the arrowless archer. And then of course, the shrieking young woman in the midst of the iron yard finds herself enveloped by a BLINK. Where she ends up, however, is not so much right beside Calvin as it is halfway between the trio and the duo just as the ratlings start to converge from both the front and the back.

The young woman shrieks still louder and crouches down into a tight ball, her hands over her head to protect them. Shouts sound from the watchers in the yard, gentlemen drawing both pistols and swords from their canes, ladies brandishing their parasols as if they were razor-edged like something out of an Asian fantasy movie.

Ice cube pistols..? "Way to go, Cowboy. At least I'll know who to call on if I want my drink chilled."

"It. Wasn't. Me," Domino snarks back with heavy emphasis to Hawkeye's comment about a screwed up op. "Be a lot easier to watch your six if you weren't going toward the eerie reality-warping fog, by the way!" (Shit these things are all over us.)

Then the metal guy nearby talks, then..um. 'Blinks.' "Well, guess we all know what you are," she flatly remarks while taking aim on the approaching rush of scavengers. "If he wants to get himself torn to pieces, that's his call. Now how about you blink some of these nasties into the bay?"

(Just how many miles is it to the edge of the city, Dom? And the odds of the fog conveniently stopping at city limits? That's, ah..one in..uhm… Crap! Only way out of this is through the center.)

"Kindly stop screaming, you're upsetting the locals!" the albino yells back to the mystery lady while snapping off aimed shots at the Ratling's heads. (Keep moving, keep moving — dammit they're everywhere!) "Circle the wagons, kids! We need a full circle sweep, nothing gets through! Dammit, what are we even doing?!"

Walking the top of the fence, Barton hears 'Bow? I can give you a bow,' and he spins around, wriggling to keep his balance. "Arrows?" He sounds almost hopeful. One 'no' can dash his hopes, even if he's not really putting too much in that basket.

Now that he's up there, perhaps it wasn't the best idea in the world? Clint's got attention (he'll get smacked for going in unstealthy, he knows!) and it's not of the good kind. The *BLINK*, a 'now you see it, now you don't' metallic young man should gain a little more notice than just a regular guy on an iron fence, but alas, with his luck, it's never the case.

The landing spot of the girl gets a brief glance (at least something is looking up!), and within the next couple of heartbeats, there comes the sound of one, two, three shots from the .40 at the ratlings as he makes a jump back down off the iron-wrought fence. (Yes, he's a southpaw.. H&K P30S. Ambidextrous.)

"Now would be a good time to back up, regroup and figure out what the hell is going on.." and the chances are good that the girl won't be a font of information? But, he can always try.

Lunair blinks at Johnny and his guns. "You too?" Is he having trouble too? She looks sympathetic, then. "I think I can do arrows, do you have a bow?" She asks. Poor Barton. But both are definitely doable for her. And poor Johnny's malfunction. She seems worried, as things are getting out of hand. The young woman screaming, ladies with razor parasols and pistols and swords coming out. It's like a steampunk nightmare, but with less goggles and corsets and a lot more horror.

Lunair recognizes Cal and beams. "Hi! I didn't kill anything today! Things were very strange. People were avoiding each other and shuffling… and my flashlight died." Sadface. "We need to — get the lady and um, I think we want to — can we deal with all of the bad guys?" She seems concerned about how doable this is. Her AAR-12 comes up and she's going to shotgun anything that gets too close while waiting for an answer.

Although, to answer, "I was shopping…"

Johnny drops his ray pistols back in their holsters and reaches down to the small of his back, pulling out a pair of vintage Colt revolvers. Period pieces, antiques, actually. He thought they were hand me downs, although he didn't remember his actual name either, so hell, maybe he stole 'em. Either way, the pearl handles felt right in his hands, "I can deal with twelve of 'em, at least," he grins, "After that, it's gonna be all a-stompin' and a-punchin' on my end. Maybe whoever had that fancy pants zap what put the li'l lady in 'tween us all might use the same mojo, swoop the rest of us outta here? 'cause I ain't much likin' the look o' our audience, they're looking ornerier than a Texas crowd what saw their team get screwed by the ref…"

Domino knows what he is? "Fabulous?" Cal suggests to her. Where the hell is the woman? Fortunately, her screaming makes her easy to find since she's not where he intended. Which is Not Good. "No, something's affecting my powers. I might end up porting them into Gracie Mansion. Besides, we don't really want them swimming their way to shore and terrorizing more of the city." Which makes blinking them all out a bit chancy and more of a last resort. "We're going to find out." he answers Lunair, considering his options. Deciding on one, he bursts into flame and tries to create a wall of fire that's higher than the fence.

Cries of "Fire!" sound from within the ironworks. Not, mind that the creatures and people within the fence have much in the way of anything with which to fight the flames. Some of the ratlings fall back into the yard. Others take their chances and jump through the flame on to roofs nearby and to the cobbles below. They don't escape unsinged — indeed, some are flaming as if they're covered in oil… and, come to think of it, they very well may be, after a fashion. But, this doesn't stop them from advancing. Add to their number the swarm coming from the bridge and it looks much like, even as formidable as they are, the heroes may quickly be overwhelmed.

Yet, from high above, a lighter grey shadow against the dark grey sky.

"Jenna!"

The young woman, curled down in her ball, whimpers and looks up. "Jason!" she cries, weeping in response, standing and reaching up toward the flying man.

His wings are mechanical, like something out of a daVinci drawing. His garb is that of padded riding leathers and a leather helmet. He has thick gloves and think boots. There are pistols on his hips and blades on his legs.

And he's not alone.

A half dozen others soar with him, their accoutrements much the same. Firing pistols that shoot some sort of incandescent projectile at the swarms, they swoop down low. First to be swept into their arms is young Jenna. One by one, however, the others may also find themselves given an unexpected lift — all, perhaps, except the flaming man, whom the fliers wisely avoid. Regardless, those that may be are pulled out of the fire by grim-faced rescuers that smell of smoke, black powder, and a pungent mix of something almost herbal… but not. Perhaps chemical. It's hard to say.

Nevertheless, it's like a scene out of The Hobbit, with flying men instead of Eagles and a confused handful of New Yorkers rather than a ragtag company of dwarves. But, while they may be out of the fire… the problem is there's no telling where that frying pan may be.

Dom blinks and gives Lunair a strange look, she just sounds so pleased with herself for having not killed anything today. "Better step it up over there, we're gonna have a quota to meet! Just give the Archer a full set, anyone capable of attacking at range should be doing such!"

And that screaming woman… This mercenary's about ready to put the other woman out of her misery before Dom seriously loses her calm. On the upside, the Space Cowboy over there seems both calm and confident. That he's already flagging his next twelve victims brings a lopsided grin to ebony-stained lips. "What's your name, Old Timer?"

To Cal, she calls back "Mutant. Or meta, whichever does it for ya." (Wait. 'Fabulous?' Well alrighty then.)

It still feels like they're all running in place. The only thing that keeps nagging the back of her mind is to focus on the one thing which stands out from everything else: Screaming Mimi. (And why the hell is she screaming?)

Dom's about ready to call on the Archer to investigate, SHIELD hires no idiots after all, when winged people make an appearance. And a rescue. It's all she can do to keep taking her shots and try to be covered from the Ratlings while still being open for any aerial pickups, which..as luck would have it, turns out to be the case. "Mind telling me what the Hell is going on around here?"

Oh, and 'thank you.'

The SHIELD agent was actually going to do just that, actually. Question the one person who was in the middle of it all… now that falling back is a viable option for the time being. Of course, only it isn't. The flames… Good lord, the kid is a mutant, or a meta, as the albino merc said. Different levels..

"Fall back!" The onrush is just a little much, even with the firepower they've got, Barton can easily recognize that. "A full set would be nice. Just no field points." Now he's making demands? Sheesh!

The flying men, however, swooping in from seemingly nowhere, gets onto the radar a great deal sooner than most things, and the half-expended H&K is raised to the heavens, ready to take a shot just in case. But… it's quickly obvious that perhaps this is their ride out.. and holding an arm out, he's got his rescuer, all while keeping a good hand on a weapon.

Fire? Lunair looks confused. And then things get all Hobbity. And her eyes are wide as things go on in front of her. It's kind of sweet in a way. Guy is saving his girlfriend! And she's now given a ride, too. She beams. "Thank you!" She seems grateful. She seems amused by Domino's response. Lunair seems cheery at heart when the murderous, cold mode isn't upon her. Still, Lunair seems happy to see Calvin, too. And thankfully, Lunair… pauses. "My powers are acting a bit strange," She admits to Calvin. Strange. but mostly functional(ish). And she does giggle at Domino's quota joke.

Lunair seems a bit surprised by Johnny. She tilts her head. "I see." Nevertheless, Lunair is grateful for rescue and hands over the bows and arrows. Lunair gasps as Calvin bursts into flames. "Good luck, I'll watch your back!" She promises.

Lunair hands over the arrows to Hawkeye.

Cal sends bolts of fire in random directions at the wererats to keep them busy as the cavalry rescues the others. Once they're all in the air, he shifts back to flesh so he can fly and then does so, straight up. Nothing fancy and keeping a distance between himself and the others so he has time to compensate for any power fluctuations.

The grim-faced fliers have no answer to give any of those questioning them. Not, certainly, while they are still in flight. Jenna clings to Jason, but at least she's stopped screaming.

When the quintet are finally set down, its in the walled off yard of a cathedral remarkably reminiscent of St. Patrick's… but considerably worse for wear. Their rescuers ascend to the inner wards of the Gothic building, keeping watch over the strangers until they have a moment to get better acquainted.

And they will. It's guaranteed they will, well before the coming of dawn.

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