BoP: The Junkyard

April 12, 2018:

The Birds of Prey investigate a junkyard.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

The junkyard that Jessica found and everyone's meeting at is on the outskirts of Gotham City. It doesn't LOOK any more evil than any other junkyard: there are walls of junked cars surrounding it with not-too-wide pathways between them inside. Outside these, chainlink fences with cyclone wire prevent most people from just waltzing in. There's a garage to one side which is presumably where the people who work there spend their indoors-time.

When all the analysis was completed, the findings were… yeah, pretty weird. It's a semi-plantbased life form, or at least the cells are consistent with plant rather than animal cells, but there are chemicals and associated parasites that — well. Long story short? There are drones, soldiers, and a queen. Not unlike any ant colony you care to name. Fire, happily, seems to be helpful.

As a result, Oracle has called on all her Birds. She's not taking any chances. She's also sent a box of filtered rebreathers to Jessica's address for her to parcel out when the team assembles. Best not to breathe whatever these things exude. There are also several small-to-moderate-yield firebombs. Large enough to startle or injure a zombie, small enough that they shouldn't attract undue attention.

This has led to a private detective who is trying to understand ant colonies and maybe bee colonies. Jessica's reading list has always been varied and weird, but the insect research is a first.

She is all too happy to pass out supplies. She also has on a pair of fingerless gloves that look like they've got some sort of circuts running under the fabric of them. Other than that she looks about like they did on the night she first met Barda and Sparrow; leather jacket, zipped up at the moment, blue jeans, not-ripped at the moment, combat boots, and of course, her winning personality and fantastic attitude about life, the universe, and everything.

Which is to say she's scowling contemplatively at the junkyard. "I sure hope we find more goddamn answers in there than shit to set on fire," she says. "But I'm not holding my breath."

"Brrrrm brm brm brm brrrrrrrm supercut of us.."

Arnavi is trying. Really she is, but given how much of her attention is open to the world, it isn't like most would think having total recall and all these crazy super-human senses would be. They aren't burdenous distractions, but holes to fill. Just like with vision, there are spectrums in audio, and in this she fills her head with music, and to quiet muscles that want to spring into action, a sauntered step to the beat until she's done her little pacing act and she stops to accept her new gifts. A rebreather for her belt, ready to go. And, what's this? More firebombs? Surely this is not a mistake.

Arnavi begins to juggle three of them with a practiced hand, and then stops, beaming a smile over at Jessica. "You're not holding your breath.. because you have a rebreather now, right? Right! I see what you did there. Don't worry Jess, I'm sure we'll find some sort of evil gem or something that's the root cause of all fo this. Or… Oh. My. God."

Her expression drops, and she looks to those gathered. "What if it's a magic ring." Her expression changes, tilts towards ominous, and she leans in with an emotive tilt of her head with each and every syllable. "One RIng To Rule Them All…"

"I can handle the exterminating, if you prefer." Big Barda offers before she fits one of the re-breathers firmly over her nose and mouth. She arrived at the graveyard by air, riding aero discs that shrink down almost to nothing after she removed them, small enough to tuck away in the satchel at her hip. Armored in shimmering blue and gold, complete with a red cape, there's just no being subtle with Barda around. At least she carries a really big stick.

Every pop-culture reference that Arnavi makes is lost on Barda, who watches her with a completely serious pensive cast to her facial expression. "Then we will take the ring, and seek guidance from Oracle."

There's a vaguely new Bird in town - The Huntress.

And while she's new to the group she's not necessarily new to Gotham City.

Her arrival is understated, simply a shadow unmerging from all those around and arriving near the loose knit group. And while she has a stash of incendiary bolts within the quiver that's strapped to her glove, that doesn't stop the woman from accepting the firebomb gifts or rebreather that Jessica Jones passes out. Those items are tucked in the appropriate belt-pouches, while much like Barda, Huntress settles the re-breather over nose and mouth.

Once that's completed the woman clad in purple and white settles back into a stance that screams closed-off. Though that doesn't mean she's not listening, or assessing those around her, because she is. It's what brings her gaze around to Arnavi, especially as the young woman quotes The Lord of the Ring. That's enough to cause the Huntress' mouth to twitch, because really, she reminds Helena of her students in many ways.

Still, there's a job to be done and with a quick look at Barda, Huntress adds, "If everyone is good we should move out."

"All right, ladies," Oracle intones over the earpieces. "We may have some reinforcements later, but you can set out when you're ready. I have a bird's-eye-view so I can give you warnings if something's coming up behind you. It's not perfect, though, so be on your guard."

She's not going to tell them who's leading them. That's up to the team.

Jessica's eyebrows curve at Arnavi. One up, one down, coupled with a skeptical tilt of her mouth. There's a twitch there too. Amusement? A hint of warmth in those dark eyes even as she shoots the Red Sparrow this look? "I'm pretty sure our problem might be alien bullshit tonight, not magic bullshit, but I guess there still could be a ring. Let's hope it's not magical bullshit. Magical bullshit is predictable and dangerous and can sometimes be made worse by dropping it into the goddamn volcano."

As…opposed to the ever-so-unpredictable and easily dealt with alien bullshit?

She grimaces at her own words. But then Barda has a great solution. Take ring. Take to Barbara. "With tongs," she agrees to Barda. "We'll take the ring. With tongs."

Does she just have some? Somewhere on her? Somewhere? Well, maybe she does.

She fits the rebreather over her face. To the Huntress' comment, and to Oracle's as well: "Yeah. Try not to get tentacled, everybody."

Then, the detective strides into the junkyard.

There is no match for the look on Arnavi's face, lighting up with an ephemeral menace as she slowly lifts a pair of the tiniest tongs into the air. One must wonder where she gets such beautiful toys, but then, they would only have to ask the eye in the sky. She makes little pinching motions with them. "Keep it sekrit. Keep it safe."

They will have to imagine her brow-wiggle, for her domino mask hides it completely. Finally she reaches up to secure her rebreather, idly wondering if she might be able to make the run just holding her breath. In this instance, she decides not to tempt fate. "Oh my god, Huntress. Barda… Jessica. Hey Jess, do you have a hero name? Like a bird you want to be known as? I am trying to picture you as a bird…. something… tough and smart…. Oracle, got any opinions here?"

Barda follows after Jessica, her mega-rod in one hand and a fire bomb in the other. She has her eyes and the bulk of her attention focused on the environment, scanning back and forth across the battlefield ahead. "I don't know very much about Earth birds, but pigeons seem to be tough and ingenuitous. Do we check the garage?"

With a flare of her overcoat, Huntress turns and follows after the group. It seems she's taking up the rear and that doesn't seem to bother her for this particular moment.

It allows her to keep an eye upon the group in front of her, but also to keep the general junkyard there and in her peripheral as well.

It's only at Red Sparrow's remark about a name for Jess, that Helena focuses again. The sound of a sardonic snort might be heard from behind from Huntress at Barda's remark. "Oh yes, please, let's use pigeon. That'll surely confuse the trash upon the streets. Pigeon duck. Pigeon get down. Pigeon look out."

And then she quiets again and her mini-bow is drawn forth, weapon in hand much like Barda, and a bolt pre-loaded. One of the ones that has a hollow head and filled with things that will make it go boom.

Within, it is relatively quiet. So far, at least, it is relatively quiet, though the stacks of vehicles make quite the labyrinth. Not only do they wind in strange patterns, the cars are stacked so high that it's impossible to see over them and not easy to see through them.

Still, as they enter into the first coils of the labyrinth, nothing instantly happens.

"You can try calling Jessica the Mighty Pigeon if you want, but I think she put it in her contract that she doesn't have to go by a hero name. Though from what I've read, Jessica Jones is a sufficiently heroic — "

Oracle breaks off, then: "Okay, there's movement starting in there. At least half a dozen… figures… are moving to the center, but there's four coming your way. Keep an eye on your six, and stay together."

In the distance, there's the sound of a dog's bark.

Jessica Jones has already vetoed masks. Now Red Sparrow, who is reminding her increasingly of Trish, is trying to saddle her with a superhero name. A tough and smart bird would surely be an improvement over Jewel, but what she says, in her gruff way is:

"Yep, as the lady says, kid, I have a name. The hero part's debatable. I have a job, I do it, that's all. It's Jess. Or Jess Jones. Or Jessica Jones. Or even Detective Jones. Lots of variants. If there's a bird called Jones? Imma be that bird. Otherwise? I am SOL on the bird thing…"

And then Barda's suggesting one, and Huntress is weighing in."You guys already have a sky rat," she points out, a sardonic edge to her own voice. "Batman. Sky rat. See? Schtick's taken."

Even as she says all this, she's sliding into a boxer's stance, figuring if the Evil Dogs of Evil are coming to them she'd just as soon they do that right here, in terrain they've already explored.

"See? Huntress agrees! And she's an expert on this stuff! And Barda. I mean holy shit just look at her. How can you argue with someone so tall and stronk."

Oracle mentions a contract, and Arnavi founds. "Hey I didn't get a contr-Wait a second. Do you have one of those things from Aliens that beeps faster and faster as shit gets closer to us?"

Finally she listens to Jess talk about what bird name she will accept, and as the other woman puts up her dukes, she glances to Barda, glances to Huntress, and beams a smile before… she takes off running forward.

There's a skidding slide as she peeks around a corner of junk, and then she turns and puts her head down and runs back to them all. "Okay guys the bad news is that I didn't exactly see what's over there but the really bad news is they totally saw me and probably are coming this way right now. I think they were dogs. A couple of dogs. Spiked collars. Mean looking." She looks between all three. "Huntress, Barda, Power Pigeon. This is it."

Then she whirls around, ready to receive canine carnage.

Under different circumstances, Barda might ask questions. How is a pigeon like a bat, and what do rats have to do with any of it? The moment Oracle alerts them to incoming, her focus attends and the confusing jokes about Batman just slide off of her conscious mind. She steps out to the right of Jessicastill behindand turns so that her back faces one of the towers of rusting car chassis, affording herself a glance back the way they came.

That's when Red Sparrow dashes past her and around the corner. Barda clenches her jaw, disapproval squinting up her blue eyes over the edge of her r-breather. When the Red Sparrow returns, she takes up a stance, preparing to wield her mega-rod as a melee weapon to.. beat the dogs? If they're just normal dogs, she won't need to shoot them. Apparently, she learned a lesson from her experience with that bread truck.

The Oracle's words are heard and her warning heeded. It causes the Huntress' to settle into silence and also to seek higher ground.

After all, a vigilante of Gotham is most comfortable when up high, it seems. Especially when unknown hostiles are coming their way.

So, while she's still behind the team, now Huntress is behind and above. She's using the stacked vehicles as rooftops. Ledges, if you will. And she's jumping and leaping across them. Her movements hold a hint of parkour to them, though it's not quite to that level, thanks to the majority of handholds and footholds that she can find easily enough.

Being above the team doesn't mean Huntress can't hear what's going on. She does, and at Jessica's remarks the woman can't help but cant a brief look of approval down to Jessica. It's not often Huntress finds fellow heroes who respond in kind, most are just too bright-eyed, bushy-tailed. Much like Red Sparrow.

And speaking of Red Sparrow, when she streaks ahead and away from the group Huntress frowns. That frown only grows in severity when the young woman returns with her news. "I've miniature flashbangs." She says over the comm-line, "When they round the corner I'll drop a handful, try not to look directly in the light. Hopefully should take out their eyes and ears for a few seconds to give us the drop on them."

And just like she says, Huntress brings forth a couple of small, ovoid objects. They're readied to be thrown when the pack of animals appears.

That's always the fun part of labyrinths. You can just hop onto the top of the walls and things get a lot easier. When your training happened on the roofs of Gotham City, there's little your parkour can't handle. Still, it's dark enough and the walls are chaotic enough that it's hard to get a great view of things more than, say, ten yards.

But that's plenty of room to see the oncoming hounds. Two are coming from ahead, but another pair are coming from behind — not from outside the junkyard, but from some other direction within it. They're certainly coming with pack tactics: surround your prey when you can.

The pair Huntress was threatening yelp in pain and fury and confusion when the teensy flashbangs go off right in front of them. The others, however, are making good time; as they approach within ten feet, their faces open up into horrible jagged-toothed plant-like flaps, grasping tendrils lashing out at the legs and wrists of the women nearest. Unfortunately for them, that's going to be Jessica and Huntress.

There's really no better time than the present to test the voltage on these gloves. Before, say, using them on a certain person who beat the crap out of her a month ago. Jessica is ramping them up when the dogs undergo their crazed morphing routine. Wrists, she notes, are smart. As are legs. She hits the ground on her ass, is dragged forward, but…is pretty calm about it. She lets herself be dragged, then pulls back one booted foot with plenty of strength, just hard enough to try to kick these things in the…flaps? Even as she's doing this she's yanking one hand over to try to grip vines. If successful? Zzzzoot. Have some voltage. And if she happens to rip vines out of the thing just doing all this? Well. Clearly that's their own damned fault for touching the Power Pigeon. Apparently.

Of course Arnavi stares into the sun. She sees into the spectrum of the flashbangs, like looking at a star exploding in slow motion, smiling in way few might with eyes wide and pupils dilated, her body made for this, the ingestion of sensory data. "Beautiful."

The whisper is understated, and then she's turning, a hand finding Barda's shoulder to help pull her into a flying leap towards the dogs. Mostly to confuse them, to try and draw attention. Why? Because she knows what Barda and Jess and Huntress can do. She's heading for the ones in the rear, and as she lands a Sparrowrang (okay maybe not but close enough) whirls out towards one of it's grabby faces, intent on clogging the works of it's throat with spiney metal.

"Snack time puppy! And I don't mean us! Never us! OH MY GOD YOUR BREATH!"

Barda turns her head away from the dazzling display of light that explodes from Huntress's miniature flashbangs. In her periphery, she catches a glimpse of the now-prone Jessica being dragged along the ground by a nightmare that used to be a dog. She has not seen Huntress in battle, but she fought side by side with the Bird Jones, and feels confident leaving the detective to handle herself. She turns back to the pair of dazed dogs that came at them from the front, tossing her single fire bomb in their midst.

"Ahead and behind." Barks Huntress at the sight of the incoming beasts, "Get ready!"

Then the beasts are upon them; because surely, no one in their right mind can call those things dogs. Once the flashbangs are out of her hand Huntress moves. There's a leap and then a crouch, as the woman lands back upon the ground - just in time to be snared by those plant tendrils. "I guess you were serious about the tentacles." Deadpans the woman, even as one twines around her ankle and yanks. It's enough to bring her down, much like Jessica, and while Huntress doesn't have taser gloves, she does have other things.

Namely throwing knives. One is pulled from somewhere upon her costume and stabbed at the tendril, intending to cut it in half.

And if that doesn't work, well, much like Barda, Huntress will bring forth one of those firebombs to lob at the beast.

"You'll all be interested to know that a Bird-Jones is not a bird but a telescope configuration. The more you know."

Kicking the dog-thing in the flaps (ew) might not work very well for someone of normal strength, but there's nothing normal about Jessica. The kick lands, and with the help of her hands grabbing at the vines, the creature makes a horrified gagging sound and tries to pull away .

Arnavi's throw is a good one: it cuts at the tendrils and tooth-flaps of one of the other creatures. Ichor splashes from its face, but it continues to charge and tries to leap up and eat Barda's face.

Barda's fire bomb gets one and a half of them. The one leaping for her face? It gets the hindquarters of that. The other one, however, takes the full brunt.

The tendrils prove to be very thick, nasty things. Huntress will find she can stab into it. This mostly causes horrible ichor to spray out as if someone had punched a hole in a hose. The firebomb, however? That does VERY nicely.

"I never say tentacles unless it's serious," Jessica says dryly.

She also rolls her eyes heavenward as the discussion into her superhero name continues, and that it now comes complete with a telescope configuration.

"I'm so glad…" she says, by way of response, as she tries to yank the dog right back to her so she can taser-punch it right in the face— this thing is about to become the first thing she uses her X-ray earrings on, she wants to keep the corpse when she's done making a mess of it, and doesn't that just make it corpse number FOUR, why is this a HABIT?

"…That we're focusing on all the really important things here tonight and all. I was afraid we all might start bantering away about something really trivial or ridiculous. But not this team, no sir-ee. Right on task, this team."

"I was born ready." This, the call from The Red Sparrow. They will all hear it. An echo of a sound. Familiar to everyone not Barda. The guitar begins to play an unmistakable ballad as Arnavi hits the ground, music coming out of her domino mask because of course she tinkered with that.

Kenny Loggins begins to play.

That's right, it's the highway to the Danger Zone.

Feet pound the gravel and Arnavi goes into a rolling leap, meaning to catch the one trying to eat Barda's face and let her weight drag it and her sidelong, until she can spin it, bodily, into some piece of metal or another - she will just have to hope Barda can watch her back and guard her from other attacks as she uses her strength and agility to try to maneuver this beast to an impaling doom.

A creature crafted from the nightmares of HP Lovecraft leaps at Barda's face, mouth open wide for supper, and she lets out a battle cry of defiance. With the hand that's balled around her mega-rod, she punches the alien hound and leans out of its trajectory at the same time, sending it right into Red Sparrow's waiting arms.. by happy accident, of course. She moves her looming tower of a body in between the small Bird and any attackers that would dare try to take advantage of her momentary vulnerability.

The ichor splatters upon the Huntress and while it causes the woman to grimace with disgust, it can't quite be helped. Now the firebomb, on the other hand, does. With a well-aimed lob, the little bomb is tossed at the dog and its gaping maw. Only after the weapon has done its thing, and Huntress is free does she rise up to her feet.

The music brings her head around, a snap that causes her hood to fall backward, revealing her black hair and domino-mask covered face.

Another firebomb is palmed and readied for any further puppy-surprises, and with a side-eye to Jess, Huntress says, "If I were you I'd take the telescope version - otherwise Power Pigeon will stick. Names have a way of doing that."

"Now, there's also a biologist named Carl Jones who, you'll be interested in this, worked on endangered birds, including the Mauritius kestrel and… the pink pigeon." Oracle's voice is contemplative as she gives more incredibly vital information.

Distantly, there are a few other *paff* sounds. Something else is getting lit up a moderate distance away. Huntress will be in a good position to see brief bursts of flame. A drone, possibly? Hopefully Oracle's, since it's apparently dropping fire bombs further in.

When all the hideous dogs are down, she goes on: "Continue the way you were going and take the second right, then hug the left wall. That's the fastest way to get to the center. They seem to avoid the fire."

"Yeah, I think you're right," Jess tells Huntress, eyebrows lifting as an incredulous look crosses over her face. "Oracle, we're going to ratchet back to Bird Jones," she says, like this is a super vital communique. "Repeat, ratchet back to the Bird-Jones. The pink pigeon info might have just made part of me shrivel and die. I repeat, shrivelling. Dying."

But she puts the dog corpse over her shoulder, yep, this is hers now, shut up, and follows the directions that will get them to the center of the maze. Bird isn't the worst nickname she can think of. Just Bird. Just a nickname.

There is a slow step backwards from the remains of the creature that her and Barda ganged up on, and with a tilt of Arnavi's head she marvels at all the details everyone else won't see, not at a glance anyway. Finally she looks back to the rest of them, drawn in by the discussion of Jessica's codename. "But.., I mean!! COME ON!! POWER PIGEON IS GREAT!!"

Soon she's next to Barda, a hand coming to clap her on the shoulder. "Isn't it? Right? Isn't it great. Oh, right. Right! Left wall."

Then she's off, moving with the group, zoning in on their next quarry.

The ichor-oozing corpse draped over Jessica's shoulder doesn't even get a second look from Barda, who also avoids further engagement with the nickname discussion. What? She already offered a suggestion, that should be sufficient! Onward into the labyrinth, then. Barda is on guard, mega-rod ready to blast now that she knows the junkyard has been thoroughly infested.

"Why are we taking the dog-thing?" Huntress asks, even as her gaze flicks to the movement that she can see ahead, "Oracle tell me the flames ahead are from you and not some forsaken flame-spewing plant-cat-dog?"

And then much like the rest of them, Huntress is on the move again as well. She's striving for quick and silent, careful of just where she puts her feet, as she moves through the maze-like structure of the junk yard.

It's moments like this that Oracle lives for. Truly.

"The flames are from me," Oracle confirms. "I'm making you a path. I needed a better idea of how these guys respond to fire and resistance. Looks like…"

There's a few more flares further in. "Nothing I do is dislodging the soldiers, though. When you get to the center, there are three main… taproots, for lack of a better word. Sever those, and I think we'll have a leg up on it." She doesn't love killing sentients, not at all, but this one so far has not made any attempt to actually communicate. It just… eats people.

When they reach the center, it's clear what she was talking about. There's a great huge… plant? thing? in the middle of the place. Tentacles curl up and along the walls of cars, though there are indeed three main taproots there. The plant-thing takes up a good twenty foot diameter space, and arrayed around it are… are possibly once-men. They stand a little less zombified than the guy at the bodega.

A hiss comes through the air, much like the sound of humming crickets. In their… not in their ears, but in their minds, there are words.

«You destroy my roots. My spores. You attack my children. Why?»

"So I can analyze, and/or have experts analyze, the corpse later," Jessica tells Huntress quietly. "Our last samples turned to goo, this one's in tact, and we need it, because someone will be able to make heads or tails out of this, and so far? It represents the only goddamn clue we've found in a junkyard full of monsters. This stuff isn't isolated, so I mean. Why are there monsters in a junkyard? Why are people and animals turning into plant monsters? Was it an accident? Did someone do this on purpose? If so, who? Most importantly, how can we stop it?"

A shoulder rises and falls beneath the dog. "Not pleasant to find answers in a corpse, but sometimes it is what it is."

Jessica Jones does not hear telepathy. It is a double-edged sword, perhaps, keeping her from communicating with beings who can only use that form of communication, but to her it is a small price to pay for the sanctity and privacy of her own head, for the knowledge that nobody will ever take her mind from her ever again. And the plant monster might want to withdraw from hers quick, for even touching it with a sending activates defenses Jess has no controls over. A light twinge of pain, maybe, depending on how much the thing wants to push to try to communicate with her, pain that will grow with any pushing.

Red blooms in her mind. Tibetan singing bowls vibrate in her hearing. Jessica immediately tenses. It could mean any number of things, but she quickly looks at her companions, alert for signs of trouble, and stares at the big thing with its once-men guards. And issues her one and only warning. "Hey. Seymour. I don't know what you're trying to do," she tells it out loud, with the air of someone who is not sure if she can even be understood, it's like talking to a giant house plant, really, "but if you try to take control of any of my friends here I swear to all that is holy that there won't be a damn thing left of you when I'm done with you. Only warning."

«Because my anaconda don't, my anaconda don't, my anaconda don't want none unless you got buns hun.»


This thing decided to get into the head of Arnavi Mehta. Actions have consequences.

Also it is likely to be the nicest answer it's going to get on the subject. Hands on her hips, to the second belt she strapped there, filled with firebombs, eyes darting around, looking to see just how zombified these dudes are. Are they savable? Is there something there?

"I'm going to fuck up an alien plant monster while listening to Nikki Minaj. This is so cool. Yo Barda, you ever get to like, really unleash? Cause I would love to see how hard you could hit that thing in the center."

She bites her bottom lip, eyes shift in Barda's direction, and just once, she bats her lashes, saying oh so silently: Pretty please?

As they walk, Oracle explains what tactics will best fell the beast. Barda twirls her mega-rod, finally lifting it into the air as it slides back into her hand. The mega-rod grows and shapeshifts into a giant battle ax befitting the woman. "Only once since I've been on Earth." She says as she comes up next to Red Sparrow, ax resting against her shoulder.

"The creature is trying to communicate with us, I think. It wants to know why we destroy its children." This is as much for Jessica as Oracle. She continues to speak out loud, although the creature will presumably pull the communication from her thoughts. "You have been killing our people, and transforming others without permission."

To both Oracle and Jess' words, Huntress says, "Got it."

And then it's around the corner to grandmother's house the group goes.

Though this grandmother has the proverbial big teeth, eyes and mouth. Once around that corner Huntress can't help but look at the various things that can be seen. Tentacles, soldiers and finally tap roots.

The words inside her head causes Helena to rear back slightly, but before she can offer a retort, Barda beats her to it.

And then, because things won't possibly get any worse, Huntress raises her smaller crossbow. The one pre-loaded with an incendiary bolt and with a quick aim at the nearest taproot, the woman presses the trigger. There's a slight sproing and thwhip, as the quarrel goes flying at the root.

Sure, talk is good, and Huntress understands this at times, but mostly she prefers the easy solutions. The kind of negotiations that result in actions versus peace.

There's a sense of bafflement from the thing. Maybe it's due to Barda's answer. Maybe it's due to the sudden pain it felt when touching the mind of Jessica Jones.

Maybe it's Nicki Minaj.

«I was alone. I had not seen enough of your world. But the ones I took? They had no futures. I touched their minds and knew. Criminals. Thugs. Vicious things. Only the ones whose lives had no worth.»

When Jessica brought up Little Shop of Horrors, she may not have known how right she was. A large… bud, for lack of a better word, has begun to push its way up from the center of the central morass.

«But you are greater than they. You could be my hands to bring peace to this place. Your police only release the hopeless, those who will never become better. I can make them useful

And then Huntress's crossbow bolt hits and it howls. It pierces the outer stem and buries itself, still flaming. The creature thrashes, howling audibly in pain, and the soldiers go instantly on the attack. Each of them converges on Huntress; apparently they believe that focused fire will save the day.

The plant, meanwhile? Exhales some kind of… cloud. Pinkish-purplish with the occasional hint of gold, the particles of this cloud are heavier than air and drift toward the ground. Luckily, however, the rebreathers seem to be protecting people. That is, if this is some kind of inhaled spore.

Jessica opens her mouth to apologize for jumping to conclusions when Barda says it's trying to communicate. But whatever it said apparently didn't sit with Huntress worth a shit, and now there's no room for second guessing. Tucking her demidog corpse carefully on the hood of a random car, she leaps into the air, zooming above and behind advancing foot soldiers.

It is for the best she didn't hear what it said, because that would have made her even more vicious. Instead, she just acts.

Sever the taproots, Oracle said? K.

She has a firebomb, and she is pretty much going to aim for one of them with one of those. "Bomb," she calls, matter-of-fact and business like now, as she deploys one, "third taproot."

"Oh my god it spews glitter just take it out already!"

Her second belt comes off, and then there is a toss. It hits the ground at just the right spot for that third taproot. OOPS, That was FOUR incendiary devices. Then, she's into the fray, leaping to the defense of Huntress as the horde closes in, fighting with strength that could toss a harley, and reflexes that might be able to dodge bullets, she knows only the moves she's seen on TV and the movies, fists and feet and sweeping legs and bone-crushing knees, but of course these things are tougher than the average thug.

Eventually she moves on to tossing them, twisting limbs and kicking hard enough to bowl others over, front-kicking another into the fray as she tries her best to hold her ground with The Huntress.

"Hey Huntress! Hero question. How many crossbows do you have? Where do you fit them all? Does your body just produce them as needed? Do you ever need to reload? Do you have one that fires anacondas?"

This, she says, as a two-fisted blow smashes into the top of one's head.

Barda is probably the only one of them who would have continued talking to the alien, who might have tried to come to some sort of arrangement if it could be talked out of that nonsense about making them into hands. But she would never endanger another Bird, or even the safety of another human, so she does not protest when Jessica sets the battle into irreversible motion.

"YOU WILL SEE NOT ANOTHER FOOT OF THIS PLANET!" Barda cries as she turns, sending her ax into the nearest attack-zombie that was sent after Huntress.

Huntress doesn't seem surprised when the soldiers rush her. Her mini-crossbow is once again loaded, though with regular quarrels versus explosive ones, and with measured movements she begins to shoot at the oncoming rush.

For now, because these people are clearly enslaved, she's going for maiming shots. Arms, legs, the fleshier parts of their bodies. Not that it stops enough of them in time, but perhaps it'll take a few down!

The crossbow is slapped against her glove and then, neatly now, the woman throws a punch at the nearest soldier. She may not have superhuman strength, but she's still strong for a woman of her size and weight. That sucker punch is followed up with a punch from other hand, this time to the soldier's gut.

"I have a lot." Comes her gruff answer to Red Sparrow's questions, "Focus, Red Sparrow!"

And with those last words said, Huntress takes her own advice. She focuses on slamming fists, feet and elbows, trying to down the would-be plant protectors as quickly as possible.

(Hunty's player wasn't able to catch the last few poses)

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