Slithering Darkness

January 23, 2018:

Astrea's moment of peace is interrupted by the appearance of strange creatures. Luckily there happen to be a few people in the area willing to lend a hand.

West Side, New York City


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Professor Zoom, Red Robin, Zatanna Zatara


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The speedster Professor Zoom had caused a great deal of trouble for those at Stark Tower, Astrea included. She finally got away from all the craziness of all the questions from Tony Stark, SHIELD agents, and everything in between. Though, on her way out she stole three entire pizzas and settles out in front of Stark Tower, a bench her preferred spot for now. She has one pizza open and enjoying the food. She has never heard of it prior to now but it is amazing!

Even as she eats it though, recovering her strength, she has inadvertently attracted the attention of things that could sense her particular form of magic. Just over a mile away, something slips through the shadows. Several somethings as a matter of fact. They slither in and out of sight, moving through shadows. Almost hard to even look at as their undulating bodies seem to shift and change as they move.

Even as they grow nearer, the four creatures snap at each other, growling and finally splitting up. Two taking to their huge wings up into the air while two others slither into the seweres. Even as they start sliding, flying, and flicking their way toward Stark Tower, Astrea looks up slowly and drops the pizza slice she was eating, blinking and looking to the south with a shiver.

It doesn't take long for Batman to get Justice League database updates, especially when the Batmobile sees heavy use like it has for the last few days in new York. With the Batcarrier in the area, Batman only took a detour to go to where it's under camo to grab some specialized equipment… and starts to head back to Stark Tower promptly.

The heavy duty muffler on the combat Batmobile has been adjusted to be clear when it's coming. But it slows down when the Batmobiles thermal sensors pick up movement, and the field holomap pops up on the dashboard, showing the signatures. "Computer, switch to top down." Batman gives in response as he slows down his approach to Stark Tower… and the SHIELD presence.

Alyse was in New York! There were some that already knew, but so far aside from making a certain Lantern a little sheepish she hadn't caused any chaos. Having finally decided to check out the statue of liberty up close yesterday (including walking upon it where she probably shouldn't have) the Witch had retired to her rather pricey hotel suite paid for yet again with her 'fairy gold' credit card trick. The money would eventually disappear like a glitch in their system, as much as the mythical treasures bestowed by some fae. The modern world just made things that much easier. Truely, it was time for some room service and perhaps a relaxing soak in the tub…

Or it would have been, had the 'thrill' of nearby magic not danced across her sense. That was…different. Frowning, the witch gives a flick of her wrist and disappears from her room in a rush of glowing butterfly-shaped lights, only for that same swarm to reappear an take shape before revealing Alyse in her classic 'Witch' gown to step from a nearby alleyway.

Impulse belongs in the 'everything in between' category, it seems. He's been back in New York for all of five minutes, but then commuting between here and Alabama on a nearly daily basis, that's nothing new. He had to drop off a bag of cat food at the Titan's Tower, but then he'd immediately went to patrol duties, a pasttime he's always happy to take up since it means being out and about. It's either that or play video games, which is totally fine in his book, but when Max expects him to be responsible, well, he has to make good on his time. Besides, there's always time for late night gaming.

Swinging by this area of the city is mostly in part to see how repairs have been going, if at all, since the chaos from last week. The weather's still awful but at least that's the worst of it now- maybe. Kind of?

Looking down at the pizza slice, Astrea frowns as she then quickly pulls her scarf back up over her nose. She stands up straight and looks in the direction of what is coming and shakes her head, "No…" She whispers, "This is too much…too big." She clears her throat before closing her eyes and then she slowly pulls forth her pistol and her hammer. She holds them to her side, both pointing down and then looks up determination in her eyes, "It matters not. Big or small, many or few. I must face them." She then looks at her pistol and then takes in a shakey breath before looking up.

Whatever these things were, they moved in jumps. Fast, and terrifyingly so. For someone like Batman, he might be able to track two large objects, easily as big as a small jet each moving through the air while two more move through the sewers, stretched out and slithering along like two snakes out of a horror movie. They'd be there a moment then gone and then they'd be there again but much closer to Stark towers. It was almost like watching dolphins dive in and out of water as they swam along. The large snake like, winged creatures getting closer and closer until they vanish completely for several seconds.

Astrea closes her eyes tightly before she then slowly opens them and calls out, "Well come on then, I'm not gonna just wait around all day…" And then to her left the ground around a manhole cover shudders and shakes. Then the ground to her right shudders and shakes. A moment later each cover bursts free. Even as this happens something slams into the ground behind her. Another thing before her, the lights nearby flickering on and off.

As the lights flicker on and off, SHIELD agents scramble to find out what is going on inside Stark Tower, calling out orders even as clawed, lizard like talons rake the ground and stalk into the flickering lights. Four, slimey snake like bodies tower above Astrea from each of the four cardinal directions. Each body as long as a city bus, large bat like wings furled out from the upper part of the bodies. Eels crossed with chinese dragons crossed with nightmare as focusing on any part of their bodies almost seems impossible as the undulate and move. One stalks forward, the one before Astrea, lowers its head to reveal a head surrounded by terrible tendrils flowing back along its body, easily ten surrounding its face like a mane. A mouth opens up almost like the maw of a leech with two beady eyes staring at Astrea as a screeching roar causes a nearby car alarm to start to go off.

Well, that's new.

Batman stops half a block down from the entrance. Pressing a button on the viewscreen, a thermal overlay appears on the Batmobiles viewport, before he presses two more buttons… and he launches out of it into the air, soaring.

Then, his right forearm aims for one of the things, and his grapnel is launched at it, pulling him toward one of them at high speed… his other hand going to his utility belt to pull out a taser disk to slap it onto the creatures neck.

Shadowy snakelike creatures flying through the air and hunting…something? Well, this truely did reek of a little magic. As the creatures roar and car alarms blare, the Witch strides into the street, her empty hands held at her sides and begining to crackle with blue arcs of voltage before she flings her hands forwards towards one of the eels. She might look a little like someone doing a Sith impression, but the lightning is oh-so-real as it surges towards one of the creatures. In a way it was the same idea as Batman's, just ramped up to '11'.

Normally the response to such matters might be to go in the opposite direction. Impulse sees strange flickering lights ahead and strange monsters appear, and suddenly today's better than spending a late afternoon gaming. He grins and puts on speed. And then pauses to deliberate for all of a second, because the last time he'd tackled someone who looked suspicious, he ended up getting transported to another dimension. But these things are most definitely not to be categorized in the same way simply because they don't look like anything you're supposed to find in New York. Shortest deliberation ever.

A blur of red and white is about all that registers by normal perceptions as he takes his speed down a few notches, but even so, when he stops it's nearly like he appears out of thin air there beside Astrea.

"Heya! You have any idea what those ar- Whoa, they're a lot bigger than I thought!" he marvels, staring at the beast closest to them. And of course he's grinning like this is some kind of live show.

Well, that's new, for Astrea as well. Usually when big nasty things show up, no one helps. She blinks as the one facing her is suddenly hit by a grapel and it screeches. It turns its head just in time to have something slapped on to the side of said head. Normally tendrils would try to grab on to Batman but then the thing goes off and another one of those unearthly screechey roars flows out as the thing flails and writhes only to have its snake like body to shudder to the side. It writhes for a moment on the ground while it tries to search for its mysterious attacker and take a bite. THe one to Astrea's right turns to look for said attacker only to turn its gaze right on Witchdoctor.

That one lets out another scream as its wings stretch out in both directions from its body as lightly crackles over its form. It slams its tail into a nearby car, crushing it into the ground as it whips about like a fish. Neither of those creatures are down and out, though as they whip about. A tendril finally grasping the taser disc and crushing it as the one Batman attacked shudders and stands back up to find him. The one Witchdoctor blasted suddenly whips its odd body at her, lunging from the ground toward her position to try to snap its jaws around her arms.

The other two creatures stare for a moment at the other two only to turn their gaze back to Astrea just in time to see Impulse appear. They start to shift to the left and right, staring from one to the other as Astrea looks at Impulse, too, "I don't know where ya came from but…yea, they're big and ye might want to be fleein'…NOW!" She blinks as she jumps out of the way as both creatures come racing in, one trying to snap jaws around her and the other around Impulse.

For her part, Astrea moves just in time but it almost looks like that was part of her plan, for as soon as she is out of the way she whips her pistol right toward its head and pulls the trigger. The sound is akin to a sniper rifle going off as the thing rocks from the blast and then she whips her hammer down hard on to its head. The thing flicks out a wing and sends her sailing away. With a flip mid-air, Astrea lands on her feet and winces, "Ow…"

Then, Batman releases his grapnel, sliding down and around to the back of big ugly.

As he drops, a large bola is taken from his utility belt, and once on the ground, he twists around, using the momentum to toss it around both hind legs… before he runs up behind it, and punches it hard in the presumed weak point just behind the knee, a neurally activated hydraulic hammer gauntlet set off to add several magnitudes kinetic force beyond Batmans already considerable strength. He's trying to force the creature onto the ground and disable it.

Moving with surprising dexterity from someone who looked like they were wearing a party gown, the Witch manages to step back and pull her arms away from snapping jaws. A frown, her form 'explodes' into that same swarm of golden lights before reforming back along the path, this time wearing her shorter skirted and more 'practical' outfit. Eyes glowing gold, the witch remains back for a moment before gesturing forwards with her hands. The air around her warps with heat before a large flaming orb of energy blasts towards the creature she'd been shocking moments before. Even in her time 'kill it with fire!' was a well established trick. Her gaze does pick up the huntress she'd met at the island and indeed the Batman. At least the latter wasn't throwing things at her this time!

Impulse blinks. Well, that sounds like typical reasonable advice. He looks from Astrea to the creatures that make a lunge for them, all too casually as he still seems to be fine with standing there even while Astrea's making a move to dodge. He takes his phone out and snaps a picture of the monstrous thing and shoots a message to Red Robin. And then he's just not there.

Or rather the young Speedster's sprung off in the opposite direction, clear of the teeth. He spins around, then whistles at the creature. Since it looks like Astrea's handling her's, he may as well keep this one off her case. A quick glance shows him that there are others already putting their own skills to use in dealing with this sudden problem. Well, hey! At least it doesn't look like special weapons are needed to take the things down, at least! Time to take this guy around for a game of tag!

The one on Impulse turns to look at him and screeches. The tendrils all flaring out around its head, wiggling in sine waves before it suddenly races forward, slithering, crawling and flapping as it goes, leaping with a flap to try to slam down on to him with one of the clawed hands it has. It will land heavy and hard in hopes of simply squishing the fast little thing that is Impulse.

The creature Batman is fighting is caught by the bola and its back legs go out. Suddenly its front left leg is wrenched and broken at the knee and the thing stumbles to the side and then whips and roars. It turns its gaze back over its body with its long neck and mouth toward Batman and despite pain, perhaps in spite of it, lunges toward him to attempt to get a proverbial Bat-Snack.

Meanwhile, the one that is fighting the Witch is not doing so well. It is snapping at air and then snapping at strange gold lights. Its body snapping and biting till it spots her nearby in that new outfit. It twitches and then races forward, really not expecting her to create fire next. As fire flies at it, the creature lets out an almost terrified screech as it lunges to the side and the back end of its body is lit up by the fire orb racing along it. The tail lights aflame and the thing begins flailing. Its upper half-slams into a nearby building, bricks and glass shattering under its bulk as it whips its tail about in an attempt to put out the flames.

Meanwhile, Astrea has problems of her own. She rolls under a slamming claw and hits her feet under the body of the beast. Her hammer whips around, the head of it acting as a fulcrum to produce a serrated blade that she proceeds to scrape along the belly of the beast. Black viscous blood hits the side of her outfit as she runs free of the creatures slamming form, trying to crush her. It whips around and slams a tail right into her gut and causes Astrea to fly. She crashes right into a nearby car with a gasping cry that takes the air right out of her. She stumbles out of the dent she created and reaches up to pull her mask down, gasping and looks toward the creature, "Aye, now that be a bracin' hit." A little bit of wet red dancing on her lips.

The…. whatever, pinned in place, Batman simply launches his built in grapnel at Stark Tower, and accelerates out of the way, up into the air. He's out of the way a second before those jaws clamp around him for a Bat-snack… and then he's diving back down, using neurally activation to set his cape to rigid glider mode as he pulls out yet another taser disk, and dive right for the back of the things head as it reoriented to try to find him again.

Witchdoctor, queen of the frustrating hit-and-run as even the Batman had discovered in their last encounter. As the one she was fighting flails and tries to put itself out. The shattering building has her wincing, hopefully any civilians around the area knew to get the hell away from flailing leviathan creatures. Impulse's racing around, for a single moment, has Alyse blinking in surprise. She'd nearly taken him for Wanda's brother, but a glimpse between had cleared that up quick enough. Clearly there were others blessed with that same speed. Astrea's struggle is also noted and she winces a little, the critter clearly had quite a hate for the huntress.

Raising her hand to her lips, the Witch makes a motion rather similar to someone 'blowing a kiss' at the creature she'd partially ignited, her spell causing the flames to surge hungrily and try to engulf the snake further.

Thankfully the thing only seems able to try smashing and chomping at its prey. Impulse seems to be enjoying himself as he darts about, trying to keep the thing away from buildings as he plays this potentially deadly game of tag. He stops for a full couple of seconds- long enough for the Witchdoctor to get a good look at him- as he in turn stares at the flaming mess that the beastie she's facing has become. Now that's pretty cool. -oh, right.

He twists out of the way as tendrils lash in his direction, cartwheeling past the big claw as it comes down. Springing to his feet, Impulse runs right at the creature, leaning back to skid past it before he digs his foot in and makes a jump to try leap-frogging the thing. There's method to his madness, however. The thing's long and snakey. He's trying to get it to tie itself in a knot.

The creature Batman is facing gets its head smashed right into the ground by the sheer weight of the Batman landing on it briefly and planting that disc. The thing screeches and attempts to get up as the weight leaves only to fry again. Its tail whips about as its wings flick and flap only for it to start to shudder and…melt? It indeed is beginning to melt into the ground and then strangely the bits melting seem to just start to dissolve into the air. It's almost as if whatever were holding these creatures together is no longer doing so.

The Witch is looking to have a similar issue. The fire lashing along its form and it turns to snap at the very fire that is burning at it like an animal in its deaththroes. MOmentarily it flicks this way and that before finally beginning to melt as well. A large gooey puddle that begins to simply dissolve away.

The creature fighting Astrea races toward her as she stands up straight and comes careening in for what appears to be a deathblow. It has its jaws open wide as it slithers/crawls right toward her and opens its jaws. She has her pistol at her side and hammer blade at her other side. She flicks to the side suddenly right as the creature snaps right on to air and she seems to spin in motion. As she spins the hammer blade hits the ground and out from her back holster is pulled a large blunderbuss. She holds the thing out with her right hand only planting the barrel right to its head, "Requiescat In Pace." And as she pulls the trigger the thing flicks to the side, with a guttural screech before it melts as well.

The last one, facing Bart chases after him, rushing over its own body to literaly slam into its own wing and over it. It whines out in frustration and pain as it wrenches its body over itself to get at the speedy little cuss only to come to a halt and realize something. The creature can hear the whines and hissing pops of the melting others as they vanish. This one looks around at the situation and suddenly flaps its wings hard, slamming upward and attempting to flee toward the sky. Strangely as it does, it seems to almost shimmer in and out of sight as it moves.

As the last one flees, Batman drops to the ground, adjusts his white cape around himself witha flourish of motion, and stares at it. "Now. Can someone explain what just happened." The voice scrambler on Batman is in full effect, and he's simply watching it go. "It was like they were popping in and out of reality, or something similiar. Dimensional hoppers?"

Well that was…unexpected. As the creature melts, the Witch makes a sweeping gesture with her hand and those same butterfly lights surround her in a rush before fading to reveal her once more in her dress, her parasol taking shape in her left hand. "That was indeed curious," she comments aloud before glancing at the Bat and shrugging her shoulders. A step towards Astrea and the witch offers a hand towards the huntress with a few injuries of her own. "Come here," she calls. "You took quite a blow earlier. Let me look at you."

What…just happened? Impulse blinks as the thing attempts to escape and then vanishes. And it seems the rest of them have followed suit, or the other way around, more or less. Scratching his had, he starts over towards the others. Batman gets a shrug.

"Alien invasion? Eldritch horrors? Although I kinda figured those would be scarier." He looks over towards the Witch and Astrea, frowning a little. "You guys okay?"

It looks like Astrea tries to concentrate for a moment and a strange glow seems to go about her but then she winces and nearly falls again. She shakes her head and takes the hand offered before saying, "I heal fast…ya needn't worry." She then looks over at Bart and nods her head, "Aye, thanks ta ya quick feet." She grins, "I'd have not been able to deal with two." She then looks, "Thanks to the lot of ya."

Breathing heavily, she holds her side with her free hand and then looks over at Batman, "Where I come from, such things aren't even common place. Normally, something like that don't come along very often but…they do come along." She nods her head and hten looks to the side, "It could just an anomaly cause I showed up here…" She looks at Batman, "Maybe your world has its own monsters…"S he looks down, "Or maybe they followed me…"

"Our reality seems to attract quite a few dimensional visitors." Then, Batman looks over to Witchdoctor…. and stares.

Whatever the reason for that stare though, he seems to back down from outright hostility for this encounter with the sorceress, instead going over to the Batmobile, opening it again with his wrist-comp, and pulling out a device.

Then, he waves it around in place, before he starts to walk along.

"As I thought. It's the same kind of energy, but with a very different signature. And it fades…" Batman speaks, before he looks to Impulse, "You. Run over to me."

Well, it wasn't Batman's city, so he couldn't really yell at her for that. The Witch nods at Astrea's words, lowering her hand. "As you wish," she acknowledges before adjusting her parasol and glancing between the others. "This world certainly has its own share of monsters. I promise you that much." With a nod and a tilt of her head, she spins the parasol by its handle absently, watching as the others conduct their investigations. "But why manifest here of all places?"

"Yeah, no problem. Figured two was overkill. Um…waaait." Impulse squints at Astrea then. "Whoa, so like…you're from another world?" he asks, because that's a totally normal and expected thing to ask and what is tact?

He snappoints at Batman, because there's lots of weirdo stuff happening in this world, and it's per the norm by now. Heck, Impulse isn't even from this time period. There's a bit of a headtilt before he looks between the Witchdoctor and Batman, wondering what's up between them.

Not an eye-blink after Batman's finished speaking is Impulse suddenly there in front of him. "Same kind of what energy? What're you measuring?"

With her mask down, the girl doesn't look like she could be more than twenty years old, probably younger. She could possibly still be in high school, if not for the whole other dimensional thing. She looks over at the witch and nods to her before looking over at Batman and blinks at him, "What ye lookin' for?" She then looks over at Bart and blinks, "Uh…ya." She nods her head as she winces and wipes at her lips, looking at the blood she finds there and frowning. She shakes her head and then blinks as Bart does that speedster thing and sighs, "Lots of quick people on your world."S he breathes heavily and shakes her head, "I need food…and sleep…"

The device is prodded just behind Impulse in the direction he came from… then prodded back where he was. "Not the same at all, yet the same properties." Batman glances to Impulse, then, "I've conducted sensor design work with the Flash with the Speed Force in the past, and applied the practical data to be able to measure Speed Force energy from the trails Speedsters leave behind them. The faster they run, the more this sensor picks up, but the energy always fades."

Batman gestures along where he was checking, "Professor Zoom has a very distinct signature on this device, completely unlike you and the Flash. You and the Flash have your unique characteristics, but this red lightning the Professor generates is unlike anything I've measured before." Batman then replaces the device on a strap on his belt. "In Laymans terms, you and the Flash have /a/ Speed Force connection. Professor Zoom has another Speed Force connection… to a Speed Force completely unlike yours."

Impulse gets a sidelong eye from Witchdoctor. In another context? She might be diagnosing him with hyperactivity were it not for the demonstration of his speed. It seemed to come with the power from what she'd seen of others. Chewing her lip, she tilts her head to the side and looks at the other young woman before shrugging. Witch or not, Alyse had no idea what they were speaking of.

"Food's always good. That worked up an appetite…"

Impulse looks at Batman, a hand reaching out as he tries to poke at the device with a finger. He hums thoughtfully, brow furrowed. "Um. Okay. Sooo what does that have to do with the weird monster thingies?" he asks. There's a lot of things he wants to ask, but he can't because secret identities and if there's one thing that Impulse has picked up from Robin, it's how big on SECRET identities that Batman is.

"Alsoooooo- Who's Professor Zoom? That's like- an actual name? Well, okay you're Batman so I guess you're serious but yeah."

Looking at Batman, Astrea tilts her head, "Ya thinkin' that this speedster has somethin' to do with this?" She asks and looks in the direction the creature went before looking to Bart and back at Batman, "I'm not so sure but ya seem like the type who would know." She then clears her throat and settles on to the car she was throw into earlier. "Oye, that hurt, a lot…" She then rubs her forehead, "Any hope one of you can help me find a place to sleep this eve?"

"Doubtful. The Speed Force is overlaid over our reality, far as I can tell. There's no barrier breaking to it, unlike the creatures we just faced." Batman turns to regard Astrea, then. "If Speedsters were a cause for those creatures, we would have seen them before you came here. Now, it's possible the new Speedster brought them with him, but you've just said you've dealt with these before." Batman then looks up to where the last creature fled, "You're probably a focal point for them."

Then, he looks back to Astrea, "Is this a new experience for you?"

It was all a little over Alyse's head, but in all of the talk there was certainly one question she could answer: addressing Astrea, she tilts her head. "I can offer you a place to stay for a few nights, if you wish. It is certainly comfortable." Because what harm ever came from accepting a Witch's invitation, right? At least it wasn't usually a witch with a credit card! Batman's question does have her curious though. "Is it likely to happen again? These creatures manifesting? It felt almost…mystical. That's what brought me here."

Still squinting at Batman like he's grown another head, Impulse just wonders since when did he become a Speed Force expert. Maybe it's a hobby or something? Looking into weird things. He can't help but wonder if Batman knew his grandpa or if it's Wally he's referring to, but there still seem to be a few jumps and leaps that he's trying to make, mentally. And none of what Batman responds with really answers his second question.

"Yeaaah, I've been running around this place for a good while now and those are the first I've ever seen," he says, frowning a bit. He looks over at the Witchdoctor then. "Well, there was some weird magicky stuff going on around Stark Tower last week so maybe it's from that? Except it shouldn't because Zee totally obliterated whatever that was. It was so awesome."

Looking over at Witchdoctor, she nods her head, "I thank you, I'm rather new here and while I have been offered a great deal of help, I think my next step is finding my place here, including a permanent place to stay." She looks to Batman and then clears her throat, wincing, "I'm a hunter. Normally, what I hunt, it doesn't come to me. I have to find it." She nods her head at Batman, "And rarely, do I find such large things together…" She frowns, "This is all new." She then looks over at Bart and grins at him, "I should like to meet this Zee if she's good at obliterating things." She chuckles, "Might be a fun experience. As for magic?" She shrugs, "I have been able to sense it since the procedure. I think many of these creatures run on mystical energies."

"Professor Zoom is a Speedster that just made his presence known on our Earth. By all accounts, he came here from somewhere -or somewhen- else, and leaves red electricity in his trail, instead of yellow." Batman informs Impulse, "According to my colleagues, he's very dangerous and hostile." Then, Batman is walking over to the Batmobile. "Professor Zoom is what he calls himself." A beat, "Though I hear some people have a different nickname for him." He observes as he gets into the Batmobile, and starts to drive off.

Well, the Bat was gone, the Witch gives a little shrug of her shoulders before offering a hand to Astrea. "They certainly seemed built more to harm than to last, given how they came apart." Musing aside, she looks down at her own hand before clearing her throat. "Take hold, I'll take you there faster than…most could walk," she speaks, glancing back at Impulse before offering the young man a smile. "Thank you for your help Speedster." Should Astrea take her hand, the Witch intended to transport them both away with that same flash of butterfly lights.

Looking incredibly thoughtful on those parting words from the Batman, Impulse taps his foot as he takes in that information. Another speedster? Red and not yellow. And grampa wouldn't go with a name like that. "Gee, I wonder why," he mutters in response to the mention of another nickname. Shaking his had, he turns to the two women.

"Well, good luck in finding a place and stuff, then, ummm…." Did he catch her name? It could be quite possible that his attention slipped, because that tends to happen. "It's crazy around here, so help's probably a good thing." Hopping back, he gives a salute towards Witch. "It's Impulse. And hey, no prob. That's what I'm here for!"

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