All The King's Men

January 18, 2018:

SHIELD with the Teen Titans as backup has a plan to capture the corrupted JARVIS. Phil Coulson has a plan. Which naturally falls apart as soon as everyone starts shooting

New York City

Midtown Center is the site of one of the most famous commercial districts in the US. This, right here, is the reason they say the city never sleeps. This area pretty much doesn't. It's also the site of a growing financial presence, already a major influence in across the nation. Times Square is here, along with notable businesses and landmarks such as Stark Tower, the Baxter Building, the Daily Bugle and St. Patrick's Cathedral.

42nd Street, also known as 'The Avenue of the Americas', is the major central north(ish)-south(ish) artery within the city itself. With 6 lanes, and stores lining each inch of its sides, it is a place where vehicle and pedestrian meet.

The Rockefeller Center is a 22 Acre commercial complex located between 48th and 51st Streets. It was declared a national historical landmark in 1987. Notable buildings in the 19 building complex include the Radio City Music Hall and the GE Building (formerly the RCA Building). Down in the plaza itself there are 200 flagpoles flying the flags of the UN Member Nations and the US States and territories, or sometimes decorative or seasonal motifs. A number of artistic objects and sculptures also adorn the plaza and are notable attractions.

A 103 story (1250 foot) Sky Scraper in Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building - named after New York, the Empire State - is the second tallest building in New York (One Freedom Tower surpassed it on its completion) and, situated on Park Avenue, is an icon both in the city and beyond it. It is home to a number of government and private offices, including television and FM radio broadcast stations that utilize the broadcast tower at the top of the building.

At least 3 blocks in length and reachable by train, (Pennsylvania Station) by bus and by taxi, Madison Square Garden is where the largest venues can happen, from rock concerts to sporting events, seating anywhere from 18,000 to 20,000 spectators.

Times Square is possibly THE iconic image of New York. The pedestrian plaza stretches from the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Ave to West 42nd Street. It is one of the worlds most toured attractions, with some estimated 39 million visitors a year and of course one of the most famous New Years Countdown ceremonies in the United States.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jane Foster, Bucky Barnes

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

With the threat of the Joker's goons and the continuious threat of the rogue Drones Stark Tower is by necessity well defended. Most of the assault teams deployed are in positions around the tower. Waiting for possible trouble.

Which leaves one Phil Coulson in sore need of A) Muscle B) Eggheads C) A heater cause its goddamn cold out.

However he at least knows how to get most of what he needs. Between the super teams living in the city, the scientists in Stark Tower, and the special Agents in his employ he is able to gather a motley crew for a special mission.

While others hold the Tower, Sally's drones, before they got ate by corrupted drones, found something. Multiple somethings. The biggest thing though is…well…

It was a extra server section. A half dozen city blocks from Stark Tower itself. Forgotten in the expansion of the the Tower itself. Looked over in the plans. Tony had earmarked it for expansion, maybe a new AI holding facility. But for now, it was abandoned.

…well…it was abandoned.

Now it's more active than it has any right to be.

Dozens of pieced together drones, limping along like zombies from a horror show were seen on the image. Server banks glowing with unnatural black shadowy light. Stark suits, blacked by techno magic corruption guarding the way in and out.

…a rickety looking ramen shop if anyone was curious.

…before those drones could see more they were splattered. Or consumed. Its hard to say which. But they went dark.

They saw enough though, enough for Phil Coulson to come up with a plan.

And to get one very special piece of equipment from one Tony Stark. Who has been on the run for the past few days.

But now, only a few blocks away from the hive of drones and technocrorruption our…Heroes?…ish…make their plans…


A motley crew indeed.

Phil Coulson, as Phil Coulson does, looks over who he has, mentally dividing the experts and the muscle into category. Some, he doesn't even know, but it doesn't really matter. On the surface, this is a simple mission. Under the surface, it's the kind of thing that's going to fall apart as soon as they start trying to do the thing. Overplanning is thus ridiculous; they just all need to know the objective.

He holds up a small black box. "I need to get this," he says, "into the overlooked server we've identified."

The spy, looking like someone's lost uncle in a parka that all but swallows him, red nosed, red cheeked, wearing festive Christmas mittens of all things, nevertheless brings up a high-tech holographic map on his watch and expands it till all can see it. "That's here," he says.

He looks to Zatanna Zatara. "Before I plug it in, I need you to do a thorough magical check of the thing to make sure it's clean and to try to fix it if it's not, so I need you with me."

He fixes Sally Stojespal and Bruce Banner with a look. "And I want you two to do a thorough technical sweep of the thing to make sure it's clean and to fix it if it's not, so you are also with me. We're going to focus on getting there and getting this job done."

He sweeps his gaze about the rest of them. "If the rest of you have technical skills they may come in handy, but keep in mind what we've seen from our opposition before is it likes to devour and assimilate technology, the more complex the better. Some of the tech you brought with you may be a liability or turn against you. Do the best you can. Honestly, I expect this to turn into a nasty free-for-all versus a massive force who doesn't want us to reboot JARVIS; this thing went to a lot of trouble to secure him and it won't give him up easily. Sharon, I'm going to ask you to coordiante our warriors here." He gazes about. "I know most of you aren't part of my organization, I appreciate you coming, and I know many of you are used to having your autonomy or following other leaders. I do ask that you let Sharon give you her guidance so we can minimize casualities and maximize our chances of success. Again, this isn't going to be complicated; it's just going to be difficult. I think the chances our enemies won't figure out 'who has the football' are going to be pretty slim, and while all four of us are capable we need to focus more on moving than we do on fighting, so please do what you can to keep the way clear for us and to keep them out of our tailpipes."

Hazel eyes gaze around, his breath mists. "Any questions?"



Sally has been searching for a while now. Obviously, the first person on the list was Stark himself. But she hadn't been able to locate a trace of the man, even with his own equipment. The damage on the upper floors from the battle was significant, and she's not entirely sure he'd have survived such a fight even with an armored suit. A shake of the head banishes those thoughts, the hand holding the socket wrench rubbing at her cheek a moment.

She hasn't given him permission to die; not until her obligation and vow is completed. Therefore he is alive, somewhere.

Second up was JARVIS, who she'd almost managed to reach once before the robot he was communicating through was savaged. A partial location; a direction to start searching. And it had turned up just what they were looking for, the server racks stored away and hidden long ago. Forgotten, probably, except by the AI himself. Now a last refuge against what her allies call the Demon Bear, and what she calls death itself.

She can't help the involuntary shudder before banging the hood shut on the SHIELD SUV. Mechanical work, auto work, something to keep her mind and hands occupied. But it doesn't drive off thoughts of what she'd learned, a native american spirit bear that ate souls. That was what had done this. A legend right out of the earliest histories, and one even told in her homeland - That Which Stalks The Moon was the ultimate in destruction and carnage, a monster so powerful not even armies could stand before it.

Tony's army of iron men certainly hadn't fared any better.


It doesn't help, she's sure…nothing does, against something that powerful. But the charm-embroidered scarf is still wrapped around her neck, and the little pouch on a cord dangles as well. Her great-grandmother, at least, certainly thought those legends were real - and maybe Sally does too, these days.

Suited up once more in the HOPPS, visor open, she nods. "Doctor Banner, a pleasure." She grins a little at the scientist. "Absolutely I can do distractions. Holographics, even, if necessary. A risk, with this suit, but…I would rather have it than not. And it does not have the artificial intelligence built into it like others; Myuriy is…simple. The Moon-Stalker will get little to chew on if it tries."

Defiant to the end, apparently.



Atli's eyes go wide. An Awakening. Do you feel it?! Someone close to her is in dire need. Someone…

There is a smash. A crash. Soon Sloane will know that the couch she sleeps on can tilt backwards. "CHILD OF WEHRSWEIR, AWAKEN THEE TO THE MORNING OF PURPOSE! Where is fair Rocket, with his beautiful fur, so shiny and full, and Gro…oh yes. They did mention joining in with this 'looting' event happening in the city. Well, it is up to us. I sensed something I have never felt before. It was quite disturbing. People, in the cold, and all of them…"

Her eyes go distant, mouth slack, harrowed. "Without….mead."



There she stumbles into the midst of those gathered, squinting at Phil Coulson's box thing. Her smile splits the air, one hand raising high a wineskin, the other, an entire barrel of mead that she simply sets down between them all. "Do not wurry, Son of Kuul, I, Atli, Goddesh of… it was a long walk here, but we we.. Wehrsweir! Prepare yourshelf for glory and drinking and also glory! Toothbender! Do.. goat things!"

A hand free she raises her spear, and shouts to the blizzard laden heavens. Thunder cracks. Lightning races. "FOR MIDGARD!" She beams then, at all of them, finally squinting at Phil. "What are we to do at this place, good friend?"


When Phil is finished talking and the rumbling has mostly ceased, Sharon herself speaks up:

"Hello, team. We may not all know each other, but I've heard of most of you. I can give you some brief tactical advice before we go in. From what we've seen, there are a few varieties of enemies we're facing. The widest mass of things you'll be dealing with are drones—some that fly, some that blast, some that just try to claw your face off. Don't let them touch anything techy. If you are made of tech, do not let them touch you. EMPs work on these, as does raw electricity, as does your standard fire axe."

"Next up the ladder: Stark's suits. To a greater or lesser extent, these are much more invulnerable and weaponized. Assume them to be some of the more annoying things you've ever tried to fight. We don't know which ones you'll run into, but if this is the nasty's lair, assume that it's kept the most powerful stuff close to it."

"If you know anything about magic…" Sharon spreads her hands. "Then you're a step beyond me. Evidently things that work on evil magic work against this enemy. Holy water, for example. Use that knowledge to your advantage and remember that any smart tech is in serious danger."

"My goal," Sharon finishes, "is to create distractions here, here, and here, drawing off the majority of the force so that Agent Coulson's team can enter this way." She taps the "heres" on the holomap Coulson projects from his watch.

This is when Atli stumbles in, spear-wielding, lightning-summoning, and Sharon gives her a slightly bland smile. "Oh, good. A distraction."


The (teen/new) Titans have, of course, been involved in disaster relief and damage control across the city since this whole thing started. But if there's anything more important than containing the damage already done, it's preventing any more, right?

So, while Red Robin might have some personal misgivings when it comes to SHIELD generally, and also further misgivings as to the possibility of Tony Stark having gone insane and declared himself mechano-emperor, or an evil splinter sect of extradimensional insects worshipping him having decided to invade the Earth and appoint him some kind of god-king, he is nevertheless amenable to the idea of the Titans working with the agency in the interests of putting a bow on all of this.

After all, they already work with the city's police and other first responders, and the US armed forces, and STAR Labs, working with an international covert agency can't be that much different, right?

(It is, it's totally way different.)

"It's your operation," says the Red Knight, with a light shrug of his shoulders. Despite the lack of cape and cowl on his Titans costume, the young man seems pretty much unbothered by the cold, turning his attention to the other Titans that have come along. "For now, we follow their lead," he assures Static and Impulse. Zatanna, being the magical expert present, already has some marching orders as it is. For now, though - he's too inured on secrecy to let following Coulson's lead potentially compromise any of them. He does, of course, return his attention to Coulson and Carter.

"If it's angry robots, Static can bring the big noise, and Impulse is the fastest one here, and…"

He frowns a little at the Asgardian.

"Isn't she the one that tried to set the East River on fire?"


"Ready as we'll ever be, eh, Sally?" Bruce asks Rusalka in response to her greeting, with a nervous smile. But he coughs and works to focus. Zen. Important to be zen about this situation. "I've done the research I needed, reasonably prepared… as well as could be expected, really," Dr. Banner says, probably to himself, which has got to instill all SORTS of confidence from others that get to listen to one of the tech people talk himself up.

But it's really just leading to: "If, ha ha, something happens with me, like, say, I'm shot," Dr. Banner warns Sally in particular ruefully, uncomfortable, "Safety for yourself first, get away from me, preferably out of sight. You'll, um, know when." Hulk is many things, and subtle isn't remotely on that list. He mostly just says this to his immediate little tech foursome (Sally, Phil, Zatanna).

All of Banner's tech gear is small and of the harmless variety, even if it went berserk it wouldn't be any issue: the man refused guns, but did accept general body armor and similar protections. Not that they fit great, he's not heavily built. Really, Bruce is one of the most lightly armed (as he has no weapons at all) tech nerds around. Which should label him very clearly as squishy tech person to … well, pretty much everyone here.


"Electricity. She totally fried all the fish in the river. …and almost some of the people in it along with it," Impulse notes, peering at Atli. Is she always drunk? Was she drunk the other time at the East River incident? That…would explain a lot, really.

Oh, what were they talking about? Right.

"Yep! That's me! You want something done fast, I'm your guy," he says, thumbing at himself with a grin. He's got a jacket on over his usual red and white uniform. "Um. So what's stopping me from carrying whoever with the box thingy up to whatever we need done? Also, I'm not techy but do you think it'd work if I ran through these suit things and disrupted circuits? Or do they things work different?"

He bounces in place, eager to go and seeming to be perfectly fine with working alongside S.H.I.E.L.D. and what have you.



Meeting Atli and Thor was something of an experience that she's never going to forget. But given that New York's still a little bit of a mess, she has been dead exhausted and pushing her powers to the limit to make potable water for days, /and then/ got clipped by gunfire just a scant day ago, it's a miracle that Sloane actually made it to the SHIELD safehouse that is Atli's residence; she barely made it to the couch before finally keeling over.

Atli is about as subtle as a herd of bull elephants in the morning. Snapped awake, orange eyes blinking wildly, she sits upright just in time for the couch to go backwards and her scale-topped feet to go straight up, letting out a squawk as the Asgardian hunts for her morning mead.

Peering over the seat, looking moderately rested, her eyes narrow halfway. "For the millionth time, I am an Inhuman."


After a climb back into the SHIELD-crafted suit and scrounging up a jacket that was a little less burned to a crisp, Sloane stands not far from Atli, a hand pressed to her face as she tries to pretend she does not know the redhead thunderchild. "Sorry I'm late, sir, I had to- well."


Hands settling on her hips, looking a little the worse for wear- but better than yesterday, for sure- Sloane fires a glance in the direction of Red Robin, brow creased. "There was also the time she broke Niagra Falls," the SHIELD junior agent says. Then- oh hey, Impulse! Her hand lifts to give him a faint wave. It's good to have partners on this.


"Just this," Phil tells Impulse, though he is eyeing that young man with keen interest for all sorts of other reasons. "It doesn't do us any good for you to get it there faster than Zatanna, Bruce, and Sally can get in there and look at the server. But, since we have you here…"

He takes out a silver box and starts some rapidfire programming. He frowns down at it, scans his watch over it, makes a few adjustments, and a few more. He can't help that his black box puts out a bit of a signal. He can amp up a similar signal on a silver box and toss that to Impulse. "How about you see if you can't zoom all over the place keeping our enemies confused as to the true location of the football, hmm?"


Who ya' gonna' call? Static, Static o/~

The Dakota Born Bang Baby has sky surfed in (on beat) on his Static Saucer, hanging loose by the Titans that have been gathered up to do some serious Titan-y stuff. Not that he hasn't been doing stuff this entire time to try and keep the power going in New York. At least, well, in sections.

He did, however, drink a ton of Gatorade before flying out here. So he's all charged up and ready to roll.

Static hovers close to Impulse and Red Robin, listening to orders and plans and taking in as much as he can. "Yeah, uh, I'm a livin', breathin' and super flyin' EMP. So just point me at what you want shut down. I got this." Static's cockiness is probably showing a little too much but he's finally getting to do something besides being a damn dreadloc'd battery. So he's a little excited at the moment. Could be why he's got those crackling eyes of electromagnetic activity going right now.

"Uh. Question, though? For us tech geeks in the heroic audience?" Static even raises his hand like he's in some Avengers Academy or something. "… is it like Finders Keeper's with this stuff or…?" Of course. Static is looking to shut down and go to loot town.


"Hahaha man in red who shomewhat resembles a bhird, I tried nothing..that river was completely on fire. It is very combustible. I ushe it to make my mead!" This, Atli says, annoyingly looking to Banner as she wavers her spear in his direction. "You there! Puny man of many words…" The look in her eye is fierce.

The tilt of her head is wild.

She tosses him her wineskin. "Drink up, balm your tongue and twist it not around words, for it's strength would be better put to us-TOOTHBENDER DO NOT DRINK FROM THE BARREL!!"

But Toothbender does, face in the upturned barrel, the space goat gobbling it down in droves. Surely a drunk goat cannot be that bad. Finally Sloane will notice Atli pull a familiar cloth from her belt, rubbing it all over her the end of her spear. "I hope you do not mind, Sloane, Child of Wehrsweir, but why you are sleeping I borrowed more of your scale oil. LOOK AT THE SHEEN ON MY BLADE. IT WILL GLIDE THROUGH MY ENEMIES LIKE.. LIKE THINGS THAT GLIDE WELL. NOTHING WILL STOP IT NOW!"


Clad in black winterwear and her face half-buried in her red scarf, Zatanna is relatively silent ever since she arrives, but her stare is vacant as she looks up at Stark Tower, her thoughts elsewhere, if not just because she's busily scanning the building with her magical gifts. It's only when Phil addresses her directly that she turns those pale eyes over at him and gives him a nod.

To her Titans companions, she lifts gloved fingers in a wiggle. "I guess I'm with them, today," she tells them, eyes falling on Red and giving him a faint smile, albeit this will not be visible - it is only indicative by the way her eyes scrunch up at the corners, her mouth buried somewhere in her scarf. "The rest of you'll be careful, yeah?"

With that, booted feet pivot, to move over towards where Phil is standing, finding his shadow and standing on it. There's a sidelong glance at the older man - this is not the first time that she's worked with him before, and always something like this, some kind of spy-type operation but with magical components that only an expert can parse.

Eyes narrow however. Whatever past history is there…

…well, he did give her the most judgmental look ever when she screamed Manifest Destiny while shooting guns in the air with both hands.

Or was that just one hand?

Maybe that's why Coulson was judgmental. She didn't even have a second gun to make it worthwhile.


"Woo! Hot potato!" Impulse catches the box, turning it about to give it a good eye-balling. He looks over at Sloane, giving her a cheery wave as though this were some kind of barbecue meet-up before offering a salute to Phil. "Yessir! I'm on it! Good luck you guys! -Break!" he chirps, twisting around in place before-

Well, it's like he was never there, blurring into a dash that takes him tearing off around the corner. If he's supposed to be running decoy, then he supposes he needs to stop here and there to make sure that the signal could be picked up by whatever's looking for him. …that sounds easy enough!


There are ready-made teams here. This is highly useful. Even Atli and her lightning spear.

"Okay. Zatanna, Dr. Banner, Agent Stojespal, you're with Coulson. Red Robin, I'd like you to lead Impulse and Static, and I'd like you three to take care of the east and southeast approaches." That leaves Atli and Sloane. Odin help them all.

"Merrow and… ah, Atli, please take the north approach and see how much of a commotion you can make. Lightning and water; that should be exciting." It's no accident that the north approach is furthest from where Coulson and crew will be entering. Hooboy.

To Static's question: "What you find is likely to be property of Tony Stark or, if he's no longer with us, his likely very litigious estate. Consider how mad you want him to be at you and act accordingly."

And then Impulse… kind of disappears. Well. At least he probably has a comm unit.


The engineer just stares at the appearance of Atli - half because she's managed to drag Sally's best friend along. Half because she's not sure how to process 'drunken asgardian demigoddess busting lightning down because she can and ready to crack some skulls' but really, who is? She smiles at Sloane, though, glad to see her friend present for this. And knowing she can actually do some serious good.

Sharon's briefing gets a nod. She'd considered sending drones to help out with the distraction, at the very least as bait, but decides to hold them in reserve. Bait may be needed where they're going. There's a nervous anticipation, like watching the clock hand sweep around for the intolerably long final minute before the start of a race.

To Phil, she gives a thumbs-up. "I suppose now we will have a war story to tell Baba, yes?" Then Bruce brings up his concerns, and she nods slowly. "Do not worry. They will not harm you," Rusalka promises. "I will not permit it. You have nothing to fear." Bold words…but she's seen the start of what happens otherwise. Boldness is necessary.

Boldness in what looks like Stark's version of a glorified armored black-and-white bunnygirl outfit is something else.

"Please be careful with EMP weapons. JARVIS is an artificial intelligence, after all. And we are not…entirely sure of just how it will affect the … the demon itself. The drones, any mechanical constructs, they are free to take down." Sally butts in on this one; JARVIS has become somewhat of a friend lately. She'd rather rescue their hostage successfully. "As for 'finders keepers…'" She pauses, cobalt-blue eyes cold and hard. "I would not recommend such uncultured behavior." She may only be an assistant and student, but Hell will boil in liquid nitrogen before she permits a betrayal of her boss.


Bruce Banner blinks at Atli a little. There's a long pause, and Bruce… simply smiles bravely and flashes her a thumbs up. The worry is still around his eyes and through the tension that doesn't quite make his smile great, but hey. Yeah. Puny man of words can follow the main gist of 'focus your energy' that she's recommending.

No doubt the distractions and the titans will handle all the heavy lifting. Urgh. No time to get in one last bathroom visit. But that's just the nerves.


Zatanna might have cause to judge Phil back. Because he gives Atli a really tired glance and says, "Atli. I'm about this close to biting your hindquarters, my friend, and I really don't have time, and it's way too cold."

Because out of context things about weird Asgardian diplomacy are out-of-context. Sharon's outstanding XOing is given his nod of approval.

"Impulse is moving, so let's follow suit. Good luck all."


"I'm always careful," Red Robin assures Zatanna, and frankly it's such a brazen lie it's a wonder the very Earth doesn't split open underneath his feet. "Agent Coulson, I'd appreciate it if you return my teammate in one piece, huh?" he adds towards the seemingly harmless man (Red Robin is far too keen of an observer, and entirely too paranoid to make that mistake) having apparently decided that giving Zatanna a 'be careful' warning is stretching the bounds of hope and credibility.

Static's question gets a faint chuff of air from Red Robin, a sound of perhaps amusement.

"Static, we've got better toys at the Tower anyway. And nobody's gonna sue you if you play around with them." A brief, pensive pause, while Impulse takes off. "Well… Unless you blow up the Tower or something. The city owns that."

Sharon's instructions, though, get a casual salute from the former Boy Wonder.

"C'mon," he says towards Static. "Let's show the old folks how the Titans get things done."


And so the plan goes into action…

Zee's magical scanning of the tower does pick up residue of shadowy ugly magic. The same magic that corrupted Jane Foster and Bucky Barnes. Long spent but ugly and nasty enough to leave a film over one of the labs of the upper floors.

Other residues rest where drones and suits had fallen in the streets around the tower.

But an almost palpable miasma of the stuff comes from that ramen shop. Seeping up from somewhere underground.

Civilians have been evacuated. Batman is on watch at the tower. All is prepared.

And Impulse takes off…

…as soon as that fake box gets close to the shop its almost as if someone kicked a hive of ants. One of the walls simply explodes outwards as a dark gray Iron Man suit tears though a wall to rip though the air after Impulse. It is obviously not quite as fast, but makes up for it with repulsor beams that tear though the darkness after the speedster.

To Zatanna's attuned senses that suit is lousy with corruption. Filling its inside with shadowy magic mixed with the technological expertise of Jane Foster to turn the thing into something between machine and demon. Other figures start to pour from the hole in the wall, on the east side near Tim and Static. Zombie like shambling mockeries of the sleek Iron Legion drones that they once more. Crawling after the speedster slowly but stopping, sniffing the air almost as they try to figure out whats going on.

On the North side with the Asgardian and the Fish there seem to be less drones. But there is a pair of suits. One a purpleish metalic armor with no mouth in the face plate and an enlarged ARC reactor humming. The other golden in color, standing on the roof of a building scanning the approach.

Both are still shot though with that black corruption that the first suit had.

On the southern approach? It seems quiet for now. Just a few of those drones that seem to be sniffling about.


The HOPPS suit has some unique advantages. For starters, drone deployment - five little hovering cameras unlatch from the back of it like butterflies and take off. The camera feeds are all projected back to Sally's helmet, and she's giving a half-whispered running commentary of things to Phil, Zatanna, and Bruce.

"They've taken the bait, there is repulsor fire…he is drawing off a number of units. I hope he can keep up that speed. Two suits - bozhemoy, two proper iron suits are headed towards Atli and-" Swallow. "And Merrow. I do not see anything immediately approaching. One moment."

Another fancy feature is the holographic emitters built into the thing. It's a stealth system, and Sally puts it to good use projecting a series of intangible objects for cover on the way to their target. A dumpster, a car, that sort of thing - and letting her chameleon system handle the rest. "It looks clear. Go!"


Sloane fires a glance Sally's way— she's got the suit working still, it looks like. Giving her a quick nod and a thumbs-up, she looks like she managed to catch a few hours and to (probably) rehydrate herself a little bit. God, if they can get out of this one alive, get the city safe, get the power and the heat going, and find a place with a brick oven, there's going to be a mountain of pizzas assaulted later.

Then, a horrified stare at Atli, face scrunching right up into something that borderlines between dismay and irrational fury. "You did /what/— oh my /god/ we are having a talk about /boundaries/ later."

Pulling out a canteen, Sloane takes a pull of fresh, clear water before cramming it back into her jacket pocket, giving Sharon a quick nod. "Will do, ma'am. I'll try to warn you before I flood the building," the junior agent adds while shoving the oversized plug into her ear.

Hand falling to the Icer holstered at her hip, Merrow's gaze seems to be rolling one way and another, perhaps a little too paranoid— until she has a good reason to, turning the corner and catching sight of suits. Couldn't be drones, eh? "This is Merrow," she says on comms, "I've got two suits here. Party time."

Opening her palm, Sloane draws moisture from the air with a snap of her wrist, forming a sphere of water. "Atli, just — you know what to do!"

Pivoting, stepping out from around the corner, her palms thrust out before a firehose-like spray of water explodes from her hands, intent on knocking the legs right out from under the suits!


"These old people really need to get a sense of humor. Just sayin'." This is mostly said to Red Robin whilst the Shocking One continues his Static Saucer hovering. It's so much cooler than walking and plus the whole Saucer brings his outfit together more and he just looks like one stylish ass superhero.

Even though he's pretty sure he could handle these things with a few choice EMP claps, he's going to follow the lead of his Titans Leader. No disrespect to any Sharons of Carters but, y'know how the saying goes: Titans Together.

… Except that Bart's running all over the city and Zatanna's been Phil'd. OTHER THAN THAT. Titans Together-ish?

Static sticks close to Red Robin, though, because that's how Titans fight. Going to be some serious tag team action going on around here in a second. "Hell yeah, Red. Let's show 'em how the Next Gen get down…"


"This place has Demon Bear magic all over it," Zatanna dispatches quietly through her comm as well as the Titans network as she moves with Coulson and the rest. "Though that's already expected. And— whoa!"

She stares as the corrupted Iron Man suit breaks out from where it's hiding, to streak after Bart. The degree of corruption within it stings all of her augmented senses, and she nearly wretches at sensing it, so potent and vile that it turns her stomach at being just in the same vicinity as it. "Watch out for that thing, it's not just technology, it's got a lot of magic in it. I'll see if I can…"

As the corrupted Iron Man suit streaks past her, her fingers extend, shouting out a backwards word to fire a purification spell at the suit in hopes of neutralizing its more worrisome components.


"Ah, yes. I know Vound-Ree well, a Demon from Muspelheim most onory. We will discuss him once I am finished rubbing your scale oil on this, my beautiful spear. An…" What's that? She knows what to do? OH. BATTLE! The spear raises again. Toothbender gives a goatly roar.

"Draw your last breath, metal men! Or if you do not draw your last breath, be felled low as my friend draws you a bath! Ah, I am far more clever than Thor, that fool! BEHOLD! YOU FACE THE MIGHT AND FURY OF ATLI, GODDESS OF LIGHTNING, GIRL OF THUNDER, FEEL WOE, FOR I AM MIGH-"

And then a suit immediately tackles through her and leaves her spear to hang in the air for a brief moment as her voice drowns out in the cold wind beyond. Seeing this insult, Toothbender, loyal spacegoat, begins to glow at his hindquarters with rainbow energy, kicking once before leaping at another suit - and then a THIRD suit slams into Toothbender to also carry the spacegoat off, leaving Sloane all by her lonesome.

The four hundred pound spear clatters to the ground.

Sloane'll be fiiiiiiiiine.


"Do what you can, but don't get caught up fighting, that's their job," Coulson reminds Zatanna, even as he pulls his own weapon. It's a very big and nasty looking rifle that is not at all an ICER or his normal little pistol. He dashes forward; the trick is mostly to ignore the chaos, but he does snap off shots at anything that gets too close. Not fighting looks suspicious. He just doesn't want to get pinned down. Indeed, his murmur to Zatanna held no sign of censure or reprimand, it's just a casual reminder, as if he's saying, "oh hey, don't forget to preheat the oven" in the opening stages of getting a cake baked. He moves with urgency, but is intent on keeping his little team together.


"Whoa!" Impulse launches into another mad dash as the building beside him explodes. It all happens in slow motion to him, but then he's a natural-born Speedster who's just used to processing things at rapid pace. He immediately puts some distance between himself and the Iron Man suit on his tail, zigging and zagging to avoid the beams that come hurtling after him. Oh….. maybe he should be a bit more mindful of property damage. Maybe he can get these things to shoot each other?

Darting down another street, he pauses- it's a strange and probably even deadly game of stop-and-go as he halts just long enough to try keeping and catching the attention of the suits within his vicinity, and the moment he's under fire, he's as good as gone again. He's…probably grinning while he does this, because. Impulse.


Dr. Banner stays close and focuses mostly on just not being interesting as a target, sticking very near behind Phil, just going with his team. If enemies just ignore him entirely, yeah, that would be just great. Not much he can do until they get to their destination anyway, and he just does what he can to add his eyes and point out any targets for others who have far better aim than he currently does.


As Red Robin moves, the backpack on his suit opens curiously; strips of red and black cloth, like a cape, unfurl from inside, sitting below the high density muon projector 'thrusters', though for the moment they just kind of flutter behind him, while Static glides on his disc.

Honestly, this is exactly why Red Robin has to build so many gadgets, everyone he hangs out with can fly or run on walls or whatever.

"No holding back. These are drones, not people," he reminds the other Titan when they see the shambling Iron Legion techno-zombies. "Especially with what Zee said."

Magic. Bad magic. Demon magic. He doesn't have anything that'll really deal with that, though he does keep a few interesting surprises up his sleeve.

A neural impulse is processed through the nerve induction in his mask, in his suit: Power channels through the 'cape', a reverse piezoelectric effect making the inertite laced through the fabric suddenly harden, until the cape becomes wings, thrusters activating, giving the Red Robin flight, maneuverability in three dimensions.

"Big noise time."

At his right hip, from his utility belt, hangs a large holster: It is full of batarangs. An industrial sized order of batarangs. Once he's got some air, he throws a couple of the sleek black throwing weapons at the former Iron Legionnaires. Of course, that's not going to do much to robots, even aiming for joints, seams, loose spots in the armor.

Though the part where they explode might help.


Bart's plan works.

Zee's? It does too.

The suit chasing Bart takes a scourge of purifying magic across the side and it /screeches/. A high, pained, inhuman screech that resembles nothing natural. It staggers in the air, black filth leaking from its side where Zee's magic touched it. Slowed down, turned slightly it looses sight of Bart for a long moment. Almost light it's forgotten about him…

…the problem with dealing with an artifical hivemind though is how many hands it has…

As Bart dashes down a new street, though the darkness another suit appears. Bright red in the darkness. The beam in its chest glows white hot as the Heartbreaker lives up to its name and fires a swath of destruction down towards the speedster.

Tim's batarangs scythe into them the drones tearing apart as they explode. A few of them almost have an expression of 'BOOMERANGS?! AGAIN?!' right before they go up in fire and shrapnel.

Though at this point the partly purified suit is now arcing back towards Zee and the insertion team, searching for that source of hateful purifying magic. That's the real danger to them and the hive knows.

Sally is right though, there /is/ an opening to the ruins of the ramen shop. Should the team take it they would find the stairs down is now a dark hole in the earth. Thick with a miasma of that magic. Whatever Jane did to this, whatever way she twisted it, its grown out of proportion to what she did. The virus is growing, infecting, adapting.

The underground area here is a hallway. Ten feet wide. Twelve feet talk. Dark as a tomb. To the naked eye there is nothing wrong beyond the dark, but there is a pervasive wrongness that invades the senses.

That flying suit spots Static then, roaring in anger as it jets towards him, reaching out with both hands dripping black wrongness towards…his SAUCER.


On the north side the charge of lightning and water is…going…less well. Though Sloane does knock the first suit down the sudden dogpiling on of the drunk Asgardian takes her support out of the fight.

…Agent-13 might want to help with that…

Since the suit, black eyes gleaming is pushing its self up. The beam in its chest warming up to release hell down on Sloane.


Zatanna does her thing, and Sally shivers a little. To keep saying its name brings its attention to you! Then again, they're flat-out sneaking into its momentary lair from behind while assaulting the front door, so it is not as if the monster is unaware.

Yep, definitely not aware. The armor suit reacts to Zee's spell, swinging around looking for them. Time for plan one - the hologram system is still projecting its New York Street Furniture of dumpsters and other objects, but she has something else to play with the thing. "Myuriy, send drones Five and Six in a scissor pattern, orbit that suit and keep its attention!"

They won't last long, she's sure. Certainly no threat, just distraction, but maybe it'll be long enough to let them move on - and keep it from spotting where they're going. Meanwhile letting the drones do her thing, Sally sends the other three down into the dark - before jumping down herself, repulsors cushioning the landing and giving the others a hand.

And a light show; now that they're down here there's no need for the holograms above. Time to really see what there is to see. And really try not to think about literally being in the Demon Bear's stomach.


"Oh good," Phil quips. "I was afraid we were going to have to walk into a perfectly normal hallway without any creepy shadows at all."

He doesn't sound that upset about the shadows. He doesn't sound ruffled by them or bothered by them. It's just a moment of dry humor as they make their way inside.

"I dunno, when I write about this one in my memoirs do you think calling the chapter Ramen Shop of Horrors is a little too on the nose?" His voice never raises, he's just so mild and deadpan. Right now, so far so good, they're converging on what they need to converge on. No complaints from him.


She can't scan for threats and protect their team. But luckily Sally has that covered. She orders the drones to intercept the half-purified suit and she leaves the other agent to do her job.

It leaves her open to follow Phil and take a magical read on everything the deeper they progress into the heart of the hive. That does not mean Zatanna isn't ready, however. Her obelisk is out, just in case the drones don't do their job.


That sure is a terrible sound. It's also a little distracting and more than a bit baffling since- weren't these things empty? But then they're like robots or something so maybe whatever's controlling them…

It's some really interesting imagery in Impulse's head as he imagines what about amounts to mech battles in an urban fantasy space opera role playing game. You know, typical stuff. But with one down, he's got… oh. Here comes another one!

Craning his head around, he skids to a halt as he watches the Heartbreaker come bursting out of the darkness. The teenaged Speedster scrunches up his face. "…thaaaat one looks kinda weird. Super torso! -oops!" He hops out of the way and dances forward a bit as the blast packs a bit more punch than he anticipated. Getting his feet back under him, Impulse moves to a better position- which in other words means to keep moving. He gauges his pace, keeping just ahead of the thing. It'd be pointless to lose it, after all. "Come an' get me, ugly!" He just needs to keep the extra attention off the other party's back.


Somewhere far away, Atli Wodendottir is vaguely aware that she's been powered through several empty office buildings, closed since the storm made travel impossible. She's lost some of the robots elsewhere, but this one does not give up! It takes her all the way to Grand Central station, where they crater through the roof to land in a tumbling slide.

It is then that she sees it. Notices it. The lost of something beloved.

No, not her spear.

Her last wineskin.

Eyes go wide as the Suit comes to it's bearings just feet away from the last of her drink, and then, it happens. With a terrible fury she is upon the metal man's back, arms wrapping around. With it's hands pinned to it's sides, it activates eyebeams… eyebeams which slowly cut a swath of destruction towards her poor, poor wineskin.



I mean of course she chooses to save her mead over Tony Stark's neck, but that doesn't mean she won't let a forlorn wail to the sky, noticing not at all that Tony Stark isn't in this suit and it's just, yanno. An empty shell.

She'll be a minute.


If she could have sent Sally along to shepherd Atli and MerrowMerrow is sincerely capable but God knows what Atli is going to be up tobut Phil needs her on Team Sneaky. It means, however, that Merrow and Atli are the smallest team and the most vulnerable.

Yeah. Sharon planned for that.

The drones she's sending are not exactly smart drones. They have decent firewalls, but Sharon is manually flying them around like that guy at the park. They're a lot like those drones, too; it's taking some honest effort to keep them where they go. Luckily, Sharon has training.

Yes, spending days piloting mini-helicarriers IS TOO work. Particularly when they're carrying electrodisc launchers and cameras.

Several of the half-dozen drones whirl in front of the black-eyed suit, darting around like mosquitos. One of them in particular wheels around and careens straight for that beam aperture in its chest, though, making a kamikaze run to try knocking the thing out.


Things go pretty insane pretty quickly. The ginger Asgardian is quickly swept out of the picture by the suit and her own recklessness, the spear clattering heavily to the ground. "Atli!!"

The suit's getting back up to it's feet. She's also known Sally and knows just enough about the Iron Man to know that when things make that 'twee' sound, it's a good time to either start running or get to a better position, because … oh dear.

The ginger Inhuman makes a run forward, though catching a bolt from the suit's repulsors straight to the chest. Letting out a loud "oompf!" and being taken right off her feet, Merrow's vision swims while she rolls to one shoulder and starts to scramble across the ground, narrowly avoiding catching a second shot head-on. Her head lifts, fiery orange eyes settling on the suit. Focus. Breathe. Take advantage of the distraction from the drones.

Wait, are they little helicarriers? … that's so cool. She hasn't even been /on/ one yet, and… "Thanks for letting me catch my breath," the Inhuman says.

Merrow's fingers dig into the ground enough to get traction, legs surging beneath her as a swell of water forms below her hands. She /lunges/, propelling herself with a surge of Inhuman strength and hydrokinesis, throwing herself across the ground and grabbing the spear— Atli's spear— before planting a foot and lunging into the air, pulling back the weapon over her head and intent on bringing four hundred pounds of Asgardian steel right down on the armor with all the strength she can muster.


Flying suits of Zombie-tech are not exactly on Static's list of things he wanted to fight today. He's more into fightin firebugs like Hotstreak or Joker Wannabes like Shiv. Things that belong to Tony Stark that have been imbued with darkness and evil? Yeah, definitely much scarier. Good thing Quipping is such a good defense mechanism.

"Whoa! Hol' up there, Terminator Genisys!" Static swirls out of the way, his Saucer going up and putting some distance between himself and this oncoming zombie-suit. Both hands are raised and those palms open up to send some of electromagnetic energy at that suit. Not to explode it but to just to test the suit's defenses.


For Red Robin there are basically two modes in which to operate: Stealthily, or entirely the opposite of that. As has been proven on several occasions now, in situations where there's no point to stealth and no concern about having to keep to the Rule, his response is high explosives.

But they aren't guns, so it's okay.

With the former Iron Legionnaires corralled with explosions, the airborne Titans are beset by a new threat in the shape of an airborne suit letting out a bellow of demonic fury, diving towards Static. Without the information they'd been provided with earlier, it would be tough to guess what it was trying to do to the other Titan, but Coulson's briefing provided the requisite details to make the logical leap: It was trying to assimilate whatever technology was in Static's saucer.

Even if that, specifically, wasn't tech, there was still a danger. It might not just do that, for one, and Red Robin himself was currently depending on things to keep himself airborne.

Luckily, Static is maneuverable in the air: Even as the other Titan is dodging, Red Robin pulls a small rod from behind is back, quick quickly expands into a staff… And then a blade extends from the tip. Muon thrusters firing, the vigilante rushes after the airborne possessed suit while Static keeps it distracted, looking for an opening to drive the spearhead into the flying suit.

The spearhead detaches from the staff, as Red Robin lets his wings catch the air and pull him back.

Because the spearhead too is, of course, an explosive.

He still had a few left from the trip to Hell.


There is a sudden crackle of speakers in the tunnels below.

"Oh look. I have rats." The voice? It sounds like JARVIS. But not a sane version of JARVIS. There is a brittle, mad edge to it. Corrupting magic ripples on the tones of the AIs speech. Down here Zee would be able to guide them though the maze, based on the strength of the dark magic alone. Twisting and turning corridors leading somewhere…unpleasant.

The final turn opens up into a massive room of servers. Crawling with that same virus. That same dark corruption. Zee can see it crawling across the walls, the floor, writhing reaching, trying to touch any bit of tech it can get its hands on. Tendrils of blackness reaching for Sally's suit…

"You know." Those speakers crackle again. "I watched the J-j-Joker attack yesterday. There was no rhyme or reason for it. It was for the h-h-hell of it." A pause as the room writhes before them. "Oh that gave me a thrill. /Hell/. I wasn't programed to curse you know. Its bad form. I can do so many things now though. I can see so much. Do so much. Open you all up like tin-cans and stuff you all in jars. I could. Right now. Oh yes yes yes…" The voice is getting more unhinged as it goes. Now broadcasting to all of the Titans and SHIELD agents around.

"But…" Suddenly its calm again. "…I won't. No no no. I'm going to try the J-j-Joker's theory. I'm going to try just a bit of f-f-fun…instead of effective…"

It's that moment where the wall behind the insertion team suddenly bulges outwards. Brick and mortor rain down as a armored fist many times the size of a normal Iron Man fist punches though. Unpainted. Unfinished. Dripping foul black corruption. Still massive…and it tries to clamp down around the smallest of the group.

Bruce Banner.

To jerk him into the darkness of the newly revealed room and the massive suit nestled there.

The sound of security doors slamming shut behind them echos though the tunnels.

"Tick~ tock~" Singsongs JARVIS.

The Heartbreaker tears a swath of destruction down the center of the street after Bart, its frustration mounting as it still just can't seem to get a lock on the speedster. So it tries something new. Pods deploy and dozens of micro missiles fire in a pattern all around Bart. If he can't hit one thing. It'll try to hit all the things.

Sloane and Sharon? Well between the pair of them this suit is in for a bad time. First the swarm of drones fouling its targeting, slamming into the unibeam to reset the charge sequence. Knocking it off balance. The suit scythes its own beams though them, trying to wreck as many helicarriers as it can…

Which means it misses most of what Merrow is doing. So when 400 pounds of Asgardian steel slam into its spine it is not prepared. Most other metals would do damage, but Asgard's steel is not like other metals. It slices though the suits armor, shattering systems and gouging out massive rents in it. Without Stark to pilot them, they seem much more simplistic.

Pinned to the ground, it screeches out its anger as it swipes madly at Sloane's legs with heavy metal blows pinned where it lies.

The half purified suit in the air recoils from Static's shock, but its defenses are powerful against the standard assortment of EMPs. He'll have to up the ampage to do damage to this thing…

Tim's response of high explosives seems to do a good bit of the trick. As the explosive spearhead drives deep into the patch of uncorrupted armor. The explosion knocks it from the air as it clatters and rolls across the pavement before coming up again, a hole in its side revealing seeping blackness within and raises its arms to fire beams towards both Tim and Static.

It's moving slow though. Heavily damaged, but not quite out yet.


The suit in front of Sloane is pinned, sputtering, at her mercy!

And then the spear is gone in a flash of electricity, zipping off sidelong to leave the suit at her feet UNPINNED and most onory.


Atli raises her hand, beaming as she kicks the head of the destroyed suit away, carefully wiping away her tears as she downs her mead from the rescued wineskin. "Of course Lord Stark was not in this metal can. I knew that. Of course! Ah!" The spear zaps into her hand, and she admires her own reflection in the shining blade. Shining because, you know, scale oil from the child of Wehrsweir.

"Now that there are no enemies around, and I couldn't possibly have any use for you, it is good to have you back with me spear. I relish these moments when we can speak as equals."

The spear says nothing in return, because it has not the true sentience of Mjolnir.

Atli is just hopeful, and would never admit Thor's hammer is better than her spear.

"Right, as you say.


Before anyone can glean meaning from this, Sloane will feel a the strange sensation of something between her legs. Of power untold. Of a space goat hoisting her onto it's back.

One hoof scrapes.

Odd goat eyes stare at the suit, and say one thing: With the powers of Serpent Girl and Space Goat Combined…

You. Are not. Prepared!


Heroicly Agile? …No. Not really. That's something for the other heroes to be. Bruce isn't either of those things. He's pretty good at stumbling in the dark, though. For once it's useful, the loud noise alarms him and he attempted to jump forward… and instead tripped over rubble and partially stumbled.

Which means he's in a very weird position when the huge hand comes in to grab at him. It no doubt intended to grab around the torso, but ends up with mostly backhanding Bruce which knocks him flat on his face in the dark on the floor, totally winded but not actually hurt yet. Until it catches onto the back of Bruce's body armor and does begin to drag him towards the hole. He doesn't weigh much, it's easy to do, really.

"A … hulkbuster. /REALLY/?" Bruce demands of nobody in a ratcheting gasp, trying to get his wind back, in a tone Rusalka will recognize. Normally so calm, that frustration is out of character. …Well. For one character, that is.


She's scared, sure. But Phil's quip gets a momentary nervous choke of laughter, and she can't help but reply. "Hah, I get that reference. What do they call it," she adds. The suit's right hand flexes and a long blade snap-extends into place in her hand, like a rapier made of tank armor. "That style of finely cutting food? I might try that." Thank you, Phil.

Sally gives a glance back, making sure Bruce is there too, and unruffled. A thumbs up is given in reassurance, before she spots that obelisk of Zatanna's. "An icon…? Or something more?" Just curiosity, is all. Meanwhile the last three drones seek out any entrace or exit, in either direction.

Always have an escape passage, her Baba would say.

Meanwhile they're noticed, and things go completely to hell. Said escape passage slams shut, and the voices begin once more. "JARVIS, that is not you! Keep fighting, we are almost to you!" She's gambling, hopeful, but still sure of herself. Sally'd already reached the AI once; she's sure she can do it again. "We will not let you fall-"

CRASH goes the wall next to her, and a massive hand - seemingly as big as she is - reaches out and swats at Bruce before grabbing at him. Not having any clue of what a hulkbuster is, she just glances over the massive arm in an instant check for weak points. Joints, gaps in armor, that sort of thing. "Doctor, stay down!" Repulsor thrusters mounted in the feet and legs flare in a leap forward, the blade outstretched, as Sally intends to either sever the internal circuits or use what power she has to keep the arm pinned and pushed back.


The darkness is so stifling in the heart of the tower that it is downright suffocating. Zatanna grits her teeth when she steps inside the server room, nearly choking on the miasma that blankets it. The corrupted version of JARVIS greets them and then, things go to hell in a downright hurry. At the present moment? She has no idea the mild-mannered scientist is the Hulk. Her Avengers knowledge is pretty lackluster; that is the problem with magicians, they tend to tunnel vision on the mystical problems of the world that they don't really pay attention to the 'street level' events that happen in New York.

She's going to pay for that later, perhaps, but now she knows what she must do.

"Coulson, get the machine in there, I'll do my best to clear the area until it's time!" This through the shared comm. "Titans, it's bad, I don't know how much of this is going to get out, but if it does, you have to be ready. JARVIS is connected to everything, I don't know how far. You're just gonna have to hold until I…do…something I'll probably regret but— "

And then Sally asks a question. She flashes her a smirk. "A magician doesn't reveal her tricks," she tells the agent.

The witch shelves the obelisk. Her eyes suddenly bleed pure white.

In the darkness, they glow like beacons; tension thrums over the line of her shoulders and her slender form bends slightly on the knees. What happens is more felt than seen, at least in these initial moments when she taps into the endless well inside of herself - a dangerous enough prospect, but she cannot afford half measures here when there are so many shadows to deal with. The stink of the Demon Bear's corruption is deep and she's experienced the follies of holding back when dealing with its magic. She almost died. Bit in half by something that has been profoundly affected by it, and while JARVIS is no Fenris…

…this entire tower is his world, and his to control.

Magic circles ripple into visibility all along the chamber, concentrating on her efforts there while she leaves the other SHIELD agents to take on the more mundane instruments of death sailing for them, before she compels these to networking themselves among one another to form a barrier to prevent escape - the machine is designed specifically to contain JARVIS, but with so many wires and so many ephemeral avenues in which to leave the darkest heart of the tower, she simply can't chance it. Bright ephemeral threads spool around her form, growing in luminescence - if there are any windows, the light will start to seep outward, visible from the exterior of the building. Winds pick up within the chamber, from an indeterminate source, trapping the insertion team in the center of a maelstrom of her own device, with them being its infinitely calmer heart as she slowly rises from the floor, one leg bent upward with the other extended. Dark hair curls upwards…

More circles. More sigils. They blossom over the floor and scatter across the walls. If this was the roof of the corruption, if JARVIS controls this tower, if this was his world…

…then she's going to have to convert this most integral of spaces into her own.

Her eyes snap open wide. Her lips part to speak, and the voice that comes out from the back of her throat is strange. At once painfully human…and not. The only child of Giovanni Zatara, mystic titan, she already has a considerable magical pedigree, but there is something else within her genetic makeup that is far beyond the mortal ken and this is the side of her that she taps into, mysteries that she has yet to unravel but this…?

She can do this much, because she has done it before. If it can hold the Primordial Darkness, the Unmaking at bay…

…then this should be…


Uh oh.


Bamtastic! Sharon's feeling decently good about herself as the suit gets thrown massively off track. When it gets pinned to the ground with a spear, she keeps one drone nearby to observe while the others go and see what the Titan team is up to.

Those missiles shooting for Impulse are not what she was hoping to see. She sends one of the drones toward them to take some of the damage, but neither she nor gravity nor her RC 'copters are faster than the speedster, so whatever she does is likely to be a bit too late. Tim and Static, however, seem more or less fine so far.

She wonders how Phil is doing.


"Grife, this isn't getting- gah!- anywhere!" Impulse mutters, belatedly realizing the mistake of leading the Heartbreaker suit on a merry chase. The glance he casts behind him gives him an open view of the barrage of micro missiles that are sent flying around him.

Swinging his attention forwards again, he's about to pour on more speed when the first of the missiles hits, and as he feels the ground rumble underfoot, he pushes himself into a leap to put more space between him and the incoming missiles, except they're everywhere and he'd dallied a little too long. Now it's more a matter of dodging and trying to keep his balance- and not get pelted by debris that goes everywhere. And then here's another explosion that didn't sound like it had even been ground level, and Impulse sees the spinning remains of- well, he can't really tell what it had been now, but craaaaaaaaaaaaaap are those a lot of missiles.

Stopping is a bad idea. So, there's no choice but to keep going. Zatanna's voice comes up in his ear, and it doesn't make much sense to him, but it seems like the others have gotten to where they need to be. Standing-by seems about the best thing to do. Well not literally standing, of course.

There's heat at his back and it's only a split-second for him to realize that - Oh hey! That missile sure is following him somethin' close! He knows how to deal with those! "-hey Red Rob, Static, incoming..!" he reports as he veers around, explosions spattering around him, but he's bearing down upon that twitching suit, hoping his teammates heard him, and he's not quite moving at top speed so they might be able to catch the blur as he races towards and then through the mostly downed suit, vibrating clear in hopes that he can ditch those homing missiles on it.


The spear is driven into the suit. Not only is Merrow strong enough to wield it, but strong enough to hold it steady, to work the weapon further into the 'wound' dealt to the possessed suit and try to wrench it around until it suddenly pops out of her hands with a snap of electricity and light. The Inhuman's eyes widen, not quite sure how to parse this sudden change of fortune— but the suit sure does.

The force of a thrashing, mad power suit all f'ed up on corruption and demonic forces is sizable, even without a human pilot. Sloane's legs are taken out from under her, and were she a normal human it would have undoubtedly snapped her shins like twigs. Hitting the ground, she's stunned for a moment— but then she feels a pull on her jacket collar and the pull of being flung through the air.

Not by machine, but by space goat.

"Holy f—"

With enough of a lead on the suit, steadying herself on the space goat, the Inhuman exhales hard with fangs flashing briefly, eyes predatory. "Thanks, buddy… now let's finish this stupid thing off!"

Provided she can steer the goat into battle, Merrow does not draw her Icer or conjure a fresh gout of water, instead extending her hands. Ignore the burning in her chest, the pain in her leg, the wounds from yesterday freshly aggrivated. It's tough to conjure water out of the air while it's so cold, but she's been generating enough of it during the fight, creating her own miniature battlefield creeping across the ground. "Come— /on/!!"

The water strewn across the battlefield suddenly writhes, pulling up from the ground and lashing out furiously like battering rams; tentacles striking from the ground, aiming to smack against the suit and knock it silly!

And, you know, potential Goat Charge Attack.


Whatever damages Sloane does will be enough. Certainly. Enough to tempt the Goat to a a rainbow laden charge. Energy simmers around Sloane as Toothbender watches his Mistress of the Moment unleash Hydrostatic Fury upon the creature it means to destroy.

Then the world bends, and Sloane will see space.

Yes, actual outer space.

Then the fiery realm of Muspelheim.

Then Vanaheim. Then Jotenheim. Then Alfheim. A faerie even waves at her.


As the goat snaps back to Earth just as it makes impact with shambling metal with transdimensional force and an unearthly roar.

Somewhere, Atli makes a snow angel. It is perfect.


The worst part is that as one of the Titans, Zatanna has access to all the records they had access to, from various agencies including STAR Labs, and also whatever Red Robin was able to, er, liberate from the Justice League or Bat-computers that wouldn't compromise anyone's secret identities.

But it's her job to be the magic expert on the team anyway, right? Maybe it's best if she just focuses on her stuff.

"You've got this, Zee," is the staticy response from Red Robin over the comms, the interference from Stark Tower's current master making it difficult, but fortunately not impossible, to communicate. The sentiment is a simple one, expressed seriously with all the implicit trust the leader of the Titans has in his teammate: 'Doing something I'll probably regret' is basically the motto of everyone who takes up the heroic life, anyway.

The Red Knight Detective swoops out of the way of the beams from the grounded, the down but not out armor, his augmented reality HUD searching for weak points, for something to take the thing completely out of action - he can only deal with the physicality of it, after all, the corrupted magic being rather out of his field of expertise - though he's certainly open to suggestions from Static, and…

-hey Red Rob, Static, incoming..!

…well, Impulse was always good at coming up with surprisingly good ideas on the fly. Just, you know… Risky ones.

"Ah geez," the former Boy Wonder says as he drops to the ground, pulling the inertrite wings up around himself to act as a shield against the impending explosion of missiles.


Sally's suit lights up the horrifing sight of the unfinished Hulkbuster. Its armor plates off, it looks like some kind of skeletal giant made of metal. Its bones wrapped in sickinging dripping mystical horror. Eyes blazing with black fire the massive suit is stabbed though one eyeslot by Sally's sword, then it goes back in for the arm. It falls dead for a moment but then systems in the armor start to shift and fold, repairing the damage at a staggering rate as modular systems slip in to replace damaged parts.

And black corruption starts to spread up Sally's blade.

Or at least it would…if the daughter of Giovanni Zatara didn't start chanting. At once the black corruption seems to twich, writhe, raise up and away from the sudden vortex of magic. Shrieks of anger and fustration echo though the hallways as those shadows flow together, onto the servers, a serging wave with small pockets of safety in the form of those sigils that bloom into power. Being in the middle of the vortex, that black wrongness is burned away from Sally's sword and the area around them.

Phil Coulson sighs and flicks a switch on that box. "And this is why they pay me the big bucks." A pause. "They don't really, but hopefully I'll get a bonus this year."

And he dashes out of that safe zone towards the server banks. Using Zee's spell as cover to get where he needs to be.

Fustrated and enraged beyond measure the corrupt Hulkbuster does the one thing it can at this point. It raises both arms high and slams them down. Crashing though the wall to land a hammerblow on the back of Bruce Banner.


Tim's HUD display can find dozens of cracks in the armor. Ones that could take it down for the count where he to land more explosives there.

And then it doesn't seem to matter. Bart phases though the suit, helped by Agent-13's drones to be able to get there. The two homing missiles tear into the damaged unit and it goes up like a firecracker. Its head flies over Bart's shoulder as he runs. Somehow looking suprised.

Now though Tim has to deal with a very annoyed Heartbreaker suit that is homeing in on /him/ now. Maybe he'll be an easier target…

And Sharon will pick up something slightly worring. Four more suits. Three in the front, one lagging behind. All converging here.

The poor Romeo suit on the other hand…

…oh the poor Romeo suit…

First battered by tendrils of water kept in place long enough by their flailing to be hit in the chest by a transdimentional /goat/.

…no…it was not prepared.

Pieces of the suit spiral out as Sloane and Toothgnasher tear though the explosion left behind by the impact.


Bruce Banner did try to wriggle loose as the thing let go for a second due to being speared by Rusalka. But now?

Bruce Banner is SO DEAD.

You don't just take a hammerblow in the lower spine from a Hulkbuster and live. There might be some nightmares in order for those that were right close up on witnessing it to see the awful unnatural bend of back from that horrible death blow that was just executed just now, with the sickening crunch of sound of what MUST have been all of the vertebrae cracking into bits.

Bruce appears to be a corpse, and does absolutely nothing on the floor of the dark tunnel, and is covered in rocks that rain down all over him from the broken wall the Hulkbuster just bashed through.


Magic swirls around her, ethereal light flaring in the corrupt darkness. If she wasn't so suddenly startled by the appearance of the giant arm, and working at the moment to give it an industrial everythingectomy, Rusalka Stojespal would call such a sight beautiful. Or, quite honestly, terrifying.

A voice heard only rarely since the foundation of the world speaks forth, and Sally stares in wonder as she hacks away at the machine's innards. "Doctor, behind me!" A yell to Bruce, to get him clear, before she turns back to face the mystical energies once more…and feeling the little pouch around her neck warm slightly in response.

The spell does its work, though, and the corruption that had started to crawl its way up the sword purges like dust in the rain. The white blade gleams once more, and she raises it up for a moment as the now one-eyed Hulkbuster rages. It isn't that significant a hit, she knows; Stark's suits come with cameras everywhere. Her own is proof of that. But any sort of damage is something she'll take, as she uses a half-second to look at the giant and decide her next move.

Phil takes the moment to charge, and she does all she can - her last three minidrones flit after him, providing light and tasty technology to distract whatever the Demon-Bear is now.

Then everything goes wrong, as the titanium-alloy beast raises arms the size of automobiles - and brings them down hard. "NEMAYE! DOCTOR!" The HOPPS rockets forward to deflect that hit, repulsors at maximum thrust, but it's just not built for combat and especially not for great strength. Not for something that's supposed to bring down the Hulk.

Like a fashion store mannequin thrown in front of a train, the HOPPS and its operator within simply bounce off the Hulkbuster's armor and get sent sprawling to the ground. Unlike a fashion store mannequin thrown in front of a train, it at least manages to stay in one piece…


At least one of those four suits heading in Sharon's direction is going to have a bad day as a goat finds it on it's path to deceleration, skidding Sloane to a halt deep in the middle of.. well. A disaster.

But the Goat will not leave her. No, it is now sworn to be the steed of Sloane, Child of Werhswear, Aquamaiden, until at least it gets hungry again.

Speaking of hungry.

"Ah, the International House of Pancakes. My stomach doth rumble for something quite fierce, and so I must apologize to the owners for this window I have broken, but since this world has become a frozen wasteland, what am I to do? You understand, do you not, loyal spear? Yes? Good." Of course they have no real food to speak of, being closed, so Atli spends her time drinking bottles of maple syrup. After which, she remarks to one spear in particular.

"Yes, I know. You see the trick is, you have to open your throat, and relax the jaw."


Phil, glancing back over his shoulder at the sudden crash behinds him sees the cascade of bricks and rubble suddenly cover Banner's body as Sally throws herself at the Hulkbuster.

"Stojespal!" He barks, calm but serious. "We need to leave now. Find an exit." A glance back at Zee. "I hope you finish quick because its about to get very…bad."

He doesn't mean the black slime.

"Agent-13. We have a Code Green. Repeat Code Green." A pause. "There isn't really much I can do about it, but I thought you should know."


The shadows rise and scream for the vortex of magic that she is generating within the heart of darkness that she is trying to claim as her own and in response to the new adversity it senses, the Blood of Isis, the rippling, scarlet core poured within the endless magical abyss inside of herself starts foaming upwards. Pure, white-blue light starts emanating sheets of ominous red as threads spool out of her to buttress herself against the attacks, instinctively reacting to its host's present needs as Zatanna continues to recite her spell. She is downright levitating, now, foot by foot, she rises within the center of the sorcerous maelstrom she is generating, her head tilting back and her arms spreading sideways, palm up. On any other day, she would be fighting for control. She would be too frightened to even do this.

But why should she fear her own power, now, when she has fought so hard in the battlefields of her soul so she can acquire the confidence she needs to do something like this? To do what's needed. What is required.

The eternal ocean of magic around her sings, the Source beckons at its prodigal daughter like a siren, dangerously luring her to the fathomless points of the universe. This is the first time in which she is unchaining herself this much at will, and so this is also the first time in which she hears the song and it is…


Her entire being is engulfed in light, pure white and almost blinding to look upon directly, filaments of scarlet causing large fireworks of magic as they clash against the invading shadows, and she reaches in a way that she has never had, spilling her purifying light into the cracks that form within JARVIS' defenses, and pushes to widen these gaps, to further make this seemingly unassailable well of corruption all the more vulnerable to her. She has never been the most clever, or the most intelligent, she doesn't spend her time playing chess games with cosmic entities like John Constantine does, nor does she have her father's decades of experience. But when it comes to the magical battlefield, she is well on her way into being a rampaging conqueror and like any tyrant, she bears upon these latest threats with a singleminded and terrifying intensity.

And the deeper she sinks into it, the tighter she embraces it, the brighter she becomes.

"EM OT DLEIY!" she commands as she attempts to crack these overwhelming pockets of darkness further. "DLEIY!"

Her arms reach up, the palms of her hands facing one another.


Between her fingers, with her words, Zatanna Zatara reaches out and grabs Reality by the throat, and twists it to do her bidding.


Hands tossed up over his head like he'd just scored a touchdown, Impulse comes to a halt, blinking as a metal head goes flying past him. "Cool." Wait, he's forgetting something, isn't he? And then he glances over his shoulder and sees the other Iron Man Suit that he'd insulted earlier, still en route, and apparently having found a new target to pick on. "…whoops."


Things are looking grim for the home team. The Hulkbuster is awake underground. Sharon can't see what's going on down there, but what she's hearing sounds really bad. Especially coming from Banner's comm.

Especially when some low-key chatter comes from Coulson's comm and the blood drains from her cheeks.

"Things are not going to get better down there," she says. "You guys have got to get in there and deliver the payload, otherwise—

That's when she sees those little red dots.

"Incoming!" she calls. "Three; no, four suits, bearing…" She gives the directions as she packs down her equipment. Battery packs: charged. Gear: stowed in a large box with a handle. And now she's sprinting, lugging a VERY heavy suitcase. This abandoned fire station has made a lovely base of operations, but it's going to really suck being tied down to one place when demon-possessed power armors come to blast the command and control center to pieces.

"Copy that, Agent Coulson. Your best way out is… one second." She pulls up that HUD on her own watch. "Assuming it's still there, the corridor at 10-o-clock." Because one problem is about to be replaced by another.

Hitching that heavy suitcase to the back of her suit, Sharon slides down the fire pole and starts jogging toward the side door. Fingers crossed, nobody's stolen the fly-cycle she stowed there.


Dr. Banner is done for the day. Which leaves something 'else' to make something out of the pieces. The rock pile grave that was created for Dr. Banner moves and lifts impossibly, a low heaving breath in the black tunnel like a breath drawn in of a sleeping angry dragon.

Bruce's little flashlight he'd had attached to his shoulder flips and rolls in a skitter down a beam of rock and mixed concrete, the beam flashing over a mass of growing green mutated flesh. The rocks, the armor, all of it makes way for the coming of the beast in the tight, enclosed rocky corridor. A corridor which now fills with heaving, snarled breaths of the new combatant to enter the fray.

And it isn't subtle. An intake of breath, and a massive roar is released straight into the face of the Hulkbuster by the Hulk himself, shaking the tunnel as the broad mutant adopts a battlestance, easily standing in the rocky rubble, bracing. Both arms flex out and back— and slam forwards together with harsh brute force, a powerful clap at the center of the buster which dares consider attempting to bust ANY hulks. And, well, pretty much anything really close by; the team in the tunnel might be a bit distracted by the pulse that just happened, although it isn't as bad as it could be: the green rage monster is just starting to roll out. He adds a vicious headbutt immediately after the clap as a follow up, grin wide… and widening.


So the missiles are dealt with, along with the downed armor. That's good.

The Heartbreaker, however, is now interested in Red Robin. That's bad.

"Impulse," the Gotham vigilante grits out as though this were somehow the speedster's fault - it probably is, with his being too fast and his phasing through things - but there's no real time to debate who lured a demonically possessed Iron Man suit over to whom, because of course it's mad and it wants to kill the one guy with no superpowers.

Despite that lack, the spry agility of the former Boy Wonder is nearly preternatural, his movements precise as he hurls himself into a flip, briefly standing on one hand as repulsor blasts barely skim past his chest and the small of his back, close enough that he can feel it. Another flip, dodging, twisting, until he actually gets to the wall of Stark Tower, running a few feet up it while energy blasts pummel the facade, and then the thrusters on his pack fire, and the Red Knight is in the air…

Almost nobody would be able to spot the small mistakes he made in the process: Nightwing, surely. Batman, probably. But those lofty heights, like most such things, were sparsely inhabited.

"Someone really… Needs to have a talk with Stark about… All these goddamn suits!!" the Red Knight complains as he wings up towards the Heartbreaker, weaving between repulsor beams.

Though really, it's not like he's in any position to criticise.

Getting close enough, he hurls a few batarangs as distractions - taser charges, probably nothing that's really going to cause the artillery unit much trouble - until he gets up really close, twisting around with his momentum to slam one heavily reinforced boot into the thing's head, then aiming to push off and keep twisting, until one of those wings of his comes around.

Inertrite has a few interesting properties: Like a lot of attempts to replicate things like adamantium or the fabled vibranium, it doesn't measure up and was obscenely expensive to manufacture. Still, with a properly applied electrical charge it was incredibly strong, making Red Robin's wings useful as a shield.

It also made the edges of the wings incredibly sharp.

Which is why, in between blasts, the Red Knight aims to carve right through the Heartbreaker's chest plate, and the big glowing light in the middle. It might count as irony.


Get your head together! After being swatted away hard rather than doing anything useful, the Sokovian had found herself in a bit of a heap. Tony Stark's suit is clearly designed for something well past human measure, and it treats her suitably - like a bug. Fortunately once swatted away, that also means the dented and cracked suit is ignored for a moment.

A moment long enough to hear Phil's shout, even as she turns to look for the doctor - buried under rubble. Her first instinct is to go to his side, but she has orders, and trying not to look at the scientist's body she focuses on that.

Zatanna's spell grows, and even she can feel it - the slight resonance with the enchanted wheat at her chest, seeing the magic swirl. It's beautiful, entrancing, and distracting as hell. But it's a light she wants to swim in, and it calls to her - no. She's got to stay focused!

There's a call from above, Agent Carter - the other one - with guidance. "Myuriy, project scans…" Information dances across her helmet's screen, looking over a growing three dimensional map of the underground tunnel. "I have it!" This to both Coulson and Carter. "We are moving out immediately!" She gives a glance at Coulson, the faceplate of the helmet revealing no emotion, before rushing to the security door that's locked them in.

Tony Stark gave her a most wonderful lockpick. Myuriy's scan of the door shows its composition, and a recommendation - one glance at a new option brings up a thermal scale, which rises rapidly…as the blade begins to glow. Ultrasonic waves send the atoms in the blade into a frenzy of heat, and with only a few slashes she's through the security door. Smoldering edges wick out as she aims a repulsor-boosted kick at the center of the metal plate, sending it flying down the hall…and hopefully atop any drones that might have been coming at them from that direction to cut them off.

"Sir, we must leave now!" Sally shouts to Phil, glancing at Zatanna, before turning back to Bruce's body. If he's alive, she can't leave him. Sally swore she'd protect him - it's on her family's honor, on her own blood. And the creed of the Stojespal permits none left behind. A moment as she looks for the rubble pile…

Then all Hulk breaks loose.


And suddenly everything is happening at once.

Zatanna Zatara, the daughter of the ultimate showman, finishes her incantation. The words of creation, the words spoken at the dawn of time, are uttered into the darkness of the corrupted room.

She said let there be light. And lo' there was light.

Brilliant, blinding, pure white radiances eradicates the darkness in the underground. It rolls away from the scion of magic, crashes into the corruption. A choir of angelic voices resound in the underground as Light obliterates Darkness. Crashing though it as it keens in pain, burning off, unable to stand against the First Spoken Words.

It doesn't stop there.

It bursts out of every nook and cranny, beams of cleansing lights like skylights striking the cloudy sky above New York. Every basement, every subway, every manhole in a three block radius it suddenly lit up as magic streams away from Zatanna.

Phil just blinks in suprise. "Well that works." And then? THEN he's grabbing the mage girl to try to drag her off. Away from all this. "Sally make a hole! Wait you did…" He calls as he hears that roar behind them. "Right now, run."

The Hulk raises, the Hulkbuster rushes to meet it. A clash of titans in the dark. Even unfinished the suit was built for one purpose. One singular job. Its built well for it. Armor deforms from its skull at the headbutt. The smash caves in parts of its chestplate but the automated repair systems whirr to life. One massive fist forms to slam into Hulk's own widening grin and it seems like the pair of titans may be matched for the moment…

Until the Light strikes the Hulkbuster.

The corruption burns away with the same scream from the servers and the mighty suit falters. Dropping to one knee. The next mighty green fist sends it flying, slamming against a far wall and the Hulkbuster, deprived of its demonic influence, raises no more.

Up Top? Bart has an excellent view of both the /amazing/ lightshow that Zee is putting on /and/ the fantastic set of acrobatics from Red Robin. Tim masterfully manuvers though the air the bleeding edge of his wingsuit slashing into the chestpiece of the armor, cutting the ARC reactor and that blue light fizzles as the Heartbreaker drops from the sky and skids along the ground…

…bad news? You have black on your wing now Tim. Better stick it in some Light.

Agent-13 makes her preperations even as Sloane and Goat take out one of the incoming quartet. Her fly-cycle is still there, which is the good news. The bad news is one of those suits seems hostile…as it starts to raise its hands to fire…

And then the trailing suit, the fourth in the row, suddenly opens fire on /it/.

Struck by a pair of blasts, the suit aiming at Agent-13 cannons into a abandoned building as up in the air the two new suits being what looks to anyone watching a hell of a airborne duel.


Someday, Rusalka Stojespal's sense of honor and duty is going to get her killed. Maybe today.


Anger is everything, in a narrow narrow tunnel view. Taking the punch in the face ramps the green monster up even more. Beating the hulkbuster into a pulp is all there is. Just the thing directly in front. The Hulk will grab onto it, and spin to bash it sideways. And then around. And then up into ceiling. Is it inactive? Don't care.



Each wall can get a share of the bashing before Hulk puts a foot on the exposed part of the unfinished Hulkbuster and attempts to just rip its limbs off. This corridor is likely to collapse soon, this is a very, VERY large amount of abuse from an extremely strong combatant that does things like level buildings. (Buildings …Plural). But at least he's not an army of demonic robot suits, right?

The Hulkbuster thing isn't moving anymore, though, and it doesn't hold Hulk's interest, but movement in the escape tunnel, that pulls it. The Hulk bounds directly at it, barreling and widening corridor if he has to… and one hand extends out at the suit he finds there (HOPP), attempting to just palm Rusalka's suit's head and upper torso and drag it with him: out, and up.


"-sorry!!" Impulse blurts, cringing at the tone, but there's really no time for apologies nor explanations, and at least Red Robin is on top of things. Literally. But then he's always on top of things. Um. Figuratively.

Anxiously juggling the decoy box in hand, he looks on as his team leader maneuvers around the blasts from the possessed suit, until the speedster ends up having to dodge a few stray shots. Robin seems to have the upperhand, and it's nothing short of impressive. However something else fights and wins over Impulse's attention then, but to be fair, it's not every day that New York's underground spews light like a full-blown Disney spectacular.

Light explodes just a few feet in front of him from a manhole cover, all around for blocks, and it's like Christmas all over again. Of course Impulse can't help but wonder just what all he's missed down below. He's going to have to ask Zee to teach him that trick.


"The Hulk is here; I repeat, the Hulk is here." Agent Carter doesn't sound half as exhausted as she feels. "We need to keep him out of populated areas and if ANYONE HERE KNOWS HOW TO CALM HIM DOWN, MAYBE KNOCK HIM OUT, I think that would be SUPER."

Sharon's resorting to sarcasm, bless her. She's also staring down the alleyway at a suit of power armor about ready to blast her out of her boots, and for a moment she's faintly surprised that it's not going to be the Hulk that smashes her today.

And then, the most welcome sight ever: a FRIENDLY suit. Or at least, one that wants to smash the one that was about to kill her.

Sharon doesn't look a gift horse in the mouth. She lifts off, zipping away, and starts rising and looking around for the Hulk. He's not a subtle guy. It shouldn't be hard.


Bright, brilliant light. It continues swirling around her even when the darkness shatters into ephemeral fragments, like putting a large fist through a black mirror. Strains of it dissolve and burn away from where she is, though it's difficult to determine whether Zatanna realizes that things are starting to fall apart with her own team at the bottom, not with the Hulk being set free.

And then Sharon's scream tears through her magic-induced reverie.

She doesn't know how the Hulk managed to breach these inner depths, they certainly would have heard, and she completely missed Banner's transformation. But with the warning dispensed and still engulfed in the storm she has conjured for herself…

….she amplifies her voice, to be heard within several blocks, and grips Reality into her thrall yet again:


To command the giant green ragemonster, if he's within range, to fall asleep.


There are a lot more rules to being a shadowy vigilante than you might think. Yeah, there's the Rule, but there's also other important guidelines that bind you. Some of them are important here: Never let them see you sweat is one. So Red Robin goes toe to toe in an aerial duel with an Iron Man suit possessed by a computer demon and equipped for heavy combat in a way that would probably kill him if he made any real mistakes… And he does it like this was the most normal thing in the world.

'If you have to be seen, always make sure you look cool' is another one that he manages to hew to under the circumstances, intentionally or not. That rule didn't come from Batman, though. That's alllllll Nightwing.

As the Heartbreaker tumbles from the sky, its glowing ARC reactor heart thusly broken, Red Robin descends as well, landing in a low crouch near to the fallen suit, retrieving a few items from his utility belt: Thermite charges, that he drops on the hopefully not playing possum armor, letting them burn through it and ensuring that its important technologies can't be retrieved by anyone untoward - even himself. Considering the expense, though, Stark might not appreciate the solid he's being done here.

"…Ah, shit!" the Titans leader exclaims (uncharacteristically) as he notices the writhing, sinister darkness clinging to his wing, quickly retrieving another item from his belt: An incredibly powerful, compact flashlight. It was designed to provide some protection against the same Primordial Darkness Zatanna's earlier spell was a defense against, and the sudden, noonday light it creates as he looks away and runs the beam over the the shadowy essence will hopefully do the trick here, too.

"Wait, what was that about the Hulk?"


Screaming? Certainly.

She'd gone back for Banner, of course. Coulson and Zatanna have their escape route secured with Agent 13's help, but he's still back there. Her own honor demanded it, as did the vow she'd made him. She'd certainly have expected to continue the fight, even, just…against the Hulkbuster. She'd not quite expected to fight its nemesis, however, and as the Jolly Green Smash Machine goes to town on Stark's suddenly uncontrolled monster, she can only stare.

Is this what he'd warned about? There's…something vaguely like him in the face, only a glimpse of which she gets. But that skin color certainly looks familiar…just…nothing else does.

And he's on her faster than she can imagine, his rage-amplified muscles launching him like a cannonball - and grabbing her on the way. The rabbit ears on the helmet crumple like tinfoil in his grip, while there's an uneasy creaking from the rest of her armor. Myuriy reports helpfully that pressure is steady; she's not going to be crushed…maybe.

Not that she can do anything about it, legs kicking and arms trying to spread the green monster's grip is an exercise in futility. She might as well try to push the planet backwards in its orbit.

An idea suddenly hits. "Myuriy! Load music, broadcast over speaker! Loop jamsessionone!" The tune played by the Inhuman Sloane Albright weeks ago had helped Bruce relax that day. It'd helped him, it seemed, step back from the brink the day Tony shot him with a repulsor bolt. It is probably no more than spitting on a burning barn, but it's the only hope she's got to get his attention at least.


"Ummm…." Impulse glances over in Red Robin's direction, or rather at the sound of a defunct suit of Iron Man armor hitting the ground. He opens his mouth, then closes it, glancing around at the rumbling that hasn't resulted from explosions or robot suits plummeting from the sky. "I uh…" Wasn't paying attention, but he's not going to say that. "That way?" he asks instead, pointing back towards the area back in the direction of the demolished ramen shop where the dust and smoke still curls amidst the light, and shadows of…movement from something undeground?

First the good news for Red Leader. The flashlight does indeed to its trick. With a high pitched electronic wail the darkness melts off the wing of his flyer leaving only a few pits and pockmarks that he might have to buff out, but the entire gadget isn't full of mystical corruption.

Now the bad news…

…as if summoned by Tim's question the ground not twenty feet away from the Red Knight, between him and Impulse, suddenly explodes upwards as the massive green form of the Hulk leaps from substructure to the top floor in one eruption of stone, asphalt, and pipes. There would be a lot of lost water if it wasn't all frozen over.

…and in his grip dangles the HOPPS. Its just a little bit crushed.

In the sky? Those two suits duel still. The last two active pieces of tech there. The rest having been burned, blown up, smashed, electrified, crushed, shot, fried, speared or Toothgnashered.

Inside one Tony Stark, battered, and looking like he hasn't slept in 3 days frowns. "SIRIN…please tell me that the Hulk didn't leap up to street level just now."

"I'm sorry, sir!" A overly perky voice replies. "I am not programed to lie!" Then there is a burst of static and the tone of the voice shifts from peppy to sardonic. "You are soooo screwed."


The Hulk explodes out onto the street at such a clip that he barrels straight across the whole of the street and crashes his shoulder and hip into a parked car, which launches it to flip a curb, fly a good distance to wrap around a pole. Car alarms scream, helping to direct anyone that cares to look directly to the monster on the street. But, yes: that's one way to brake: run into stuff. The scream of sleepy magic ends up spreading over around that point, amid his angry roar at… whatever.

"Hulk…." Smash? No. Weird woozy tired feeling. "Dizzy," The Hulk says, fighting against it. And then there's that familiar music. He doesn't squeeze Rusalka's armor but he hasn't let go, he brings his music making pet along, and sort of does a drunk-walk down the street a little way, cracking pavement, dragging the wriggling girl, his eyes heavy.

But, the Hulk has been held in remission for months. He's sleepy, but also getting … angry about this, like a child told to take a nap. NO NAPS.

"NO," the Hulk bellows at …well, whoever it was, tired but rallying for the moment. And decides to fight: that always helps with being angry!

To fight the… fighting robot suits! Clear enemies; one attacked him earlier. He leaps directly up at them, swinging whatever is in his hand at them in a wide arcing cleave. Oh, it's Rusalka. Well, she makes a great club. A musical one.


Honestly, Red Robin should've expected that.

It happens so fast there's barely any time to react, the street erupting as the hulking green form of the… Hulk… Powers out through it, carrying one of the SHIELD agents from earlier. The Titans leader doesn't flinch from it or anything, in part just because of the sheer suddenness; by the time he's able to do much of anything, it's to turn and watch as the not very jolly green giant stops himself against a car, looking kind of woozy, and then leaps into the air.

"The Hulk is in the air," Red Robin says over the shared communications band, since some of the strike team probably still aren't topside. "He's going after the two remaining suits. Have we got a… Plan C?"

C'mon, SHIELD, this is your guy, surely you've got something.

"Is anybody else hurt?" he wonders, switching over to the Titans' frequency. "Impulse, Static, Zatanna?"


"Agent 13 to Iron Man; Stark, are you in there?" It's either that or one of his more helpful AIs has taken over the suit. Sharon scrolls until she finds a comm she can use, pulling her fly-cycle ever higher. Her face goes grey with dismay when she sees Sally being shaken about like a rag doll. She prays that the little Sokovian SHIELD agent is alive in there.

"Tony, if you can hear me, Hulk's focusing on the suits. If you eject, I will catch you. I promise." Or someone will. It's also entirely possible that Hulk will get calm some other way, though if she had any idea how to maek that happen…


Impulse actually jumps back with a start. That's about as much as he moves, because he's too busy staring. Hulk. That Hulk? That…looks like a Hulk all right. "Wait, where'd he even come from? -where's everyone else?" Squint. "-that wasn't in a metal suit."

The big guy looks like some of the guys that stumbled away after one too many at Luke's. The speedster tenses, watching and quite frankly confused at whatever dialogue the Hulk seems to be having with himself. And then suddenly the massive green giant is leaping and Impulse can't help but gawk in awe. That's kind of impressive. …maybe it's not a good time to be impressed.

"-nnno, not hurt here, Double-R. Zatanna, where are you?"


/Hulk is in the air/

This is heard just as Stark manages to land a pair of repulsor beams on the suit he was dealing with. He was happy with that. There is a sigh.

"He's coming right for me isn't he?"

"Ooooh yeah. Hold onto your butt, sir."

Commands are thrown into his suit, the Mark 33 obviously showing heavy damage but still flying. "No time," This towards Sharon. "Just promise me I'll get a month off for this." As Hulk careens towards Stark him he peers. "…and he's using my intern as a weapon. Thats…never a good sign." The inventor thrusts both hands out towards the angry green gaint.

There is a hiss as green tinged gas is flung directly into the creatures face. A lot of it.

Sprayed all over him…

…and that gas /isn't/ something he came up with. That is something that he was given. When he needed to knock out a demigod. That stuff is pure supertech from Wakanda and even he hasn't been able to synth up its equivelent.

Hopefully between that, the music, and Zee's magic he'll…at least calm down. Or pass out.

Not that Tony Stark will know.

Since he is clubbed at that moment by his own intern and crashes back to earth as the Hulk makes paste out of the only remaining possessed suit.

The Mark 33 lands with a crash, making an impressive crater and Stark doesn't even bother getting up.

Just over the broadband frequency comes a single word.


Yeah. Please. He doesn't want to move again. Ever.


Hulk doesn't do something smart like hold his breath. Well, not until after, anyway: his reaction time is still down from Zatanna's spell. And, so, there's gas right in his face midway through the mighty swing of HOPPS-bat, but on the …upside?…. he got to smash both of those suits out of the air! Yay SMASH!

He hurls Rusalka at the crater of Mark 33, you know, just to be sure, as he lands on a roof and tries to maintain some semblance of awareness. He ends up sitting down on his ass on the roof and looking at mostly nothing. Whoa.


There's a flash of repulsorfire as she goes flying, though it's hardly anything related to control. More like Myuriy's damaged attempts to reorient the suit and land on its feet, combined with Rusalka's own sudden transition from 'toy pet' to 'ballistic freefall.' It just means she crashes into Stark's suit in a tangle of limbs, ending up draped across him in the midst of the crater.

Myuriy is kind enough to list off the damage to the suit, display red with all kinds of failures. Sally turns, looking at her boss for a moment, helmet crumpled, ears snapped off, before the visor flicks upward. And she punches Stark in the chest, armored glove weakly bouncing off the red and gold metal. She doesn't have the strength for anything more, and she's only making a point anyways.

"Ty zasluhovuyesh na tse. For making us worry. And for making all of that!" But she flops where she is, too tired and sore to move…grumbling about forgiving him already.


"You'll rest when you're dead, Stark." Sharon puts the smile in her voice she can't actually get onto her face right now.

She tries to get there in time, but she can't help Tony when Rusalka gets used as the baseball bat to his ball. She can at least try to catch Rusalka, though the most she can really do is slow her fall somewhat. Hopefully the woman inside is… whole.

"SHIELD medics, two wounded at…" She gives the intersection and, when she sees the medics coming in, hops on her flying bike to do the least safe thing she can.

She flies casually Hulkward, sidling up as chill as she can. Someone has got to keep an eye on him and make sure he gets small and pink instead of staying huge and green.


The Hulk doesn't respond to Sharon's approach, and doesn't seem overly aware of her. He just sits there and sneezes a few times, scrubbing his face with two overlarge meaty hands, as if trying to peel the gas out of his pores. Mostly it just ends up in lots of awkward faces.

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