A Bit of Magnetic Assistance

May 28, 2018:

Nightwing and Polaris run into some explosive traffic and solve the problem together.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's not hard to tell that summer is right around the corner. Though the setting sun might already be all but completely obscured by the towering buildings that dominate the heart of Manhatten, the heat of the day lingers in the air, even the brisk breeze doing little to provide any great relief. Sometimes it feels like the weather just goes from winter, to a week or so of spring, before plunging straight on into summer. Despite the heat the streets of the city bustle with people — heading out for a late dinner, going to grab a show, or any of a thousand other distractions that the Big Apple offers to both it's inhabitants and visitors alike.
Up above, high above the bustling streets on the rooftops is one who has called New York both at one time or another. While he might be back living in Gotham at the moment, 'business' insures that he still makes frequent trips to his old stomping grounds. Each of his homes, despite their similarities, have their own energy to them and as bustling as New York might be, there is a certain aura, a certain lessening of the tension, the oppressive gloom that seems to hang over Gotham even during the brightest of days. Sometimes that's just an illusion of course.
Given the hour, traffic has thinned out somewhat from the height of the daylight hours. And that is likely a relief as their is only the briefest of warnings, a smoke trail streaking across the street at tremendous speeds before it slams into the front of one of the buildings lining the way. The resulting explosion lights up the sky for a moment, shards of concrete and glass suddenly raining down on the passersby — some who begin to run screaming, others who hunker down behind whatever cover they can find, covering their heads or loved ones.
*
One Lorna Dane was one of the more visible mutants these days, or at least had been a few months ago after Magneto tried to televise her doomed wedding. Green hair stood out and painted a rather obvious target upon the young woman with the increase on anti-mutant sentiments. Which perhaps, was why she'd dyed those famous green locks with a more muted black.
A few financial hassles had kept her occupied, trying to figure out how to get certain things from Genosha to America without drawing attention to herself had taken most of the day. Normally, the woman wouldn't have taken public transit, but such was life. As an explosion rocked the street, halting traffic abruptly, the sometimes X-woman, was scrambling out of the taxi toward the would be disaster.
She hardly looked like a would be hero. More like a punk rocker, covered with cheap nickle and steel jewelry, a pair of heavily ripped jeans and a black tank-top. Still, when she threw her hands out, the concrete chunks that held bits of iron rebar froze mid-air, rather than impacting and striking those they would have otherwise hit.
*
It is often said that distance can give one perspective. Sometimes that distance is an abstract — the distance provided by time for instance — but sometimes it very much just means stepping back from a situation. Say, standing on a rooftop overhead while a freaking rocket is launched from a nearby alleyway. There is no instinct to freeze or to bail out like a sane person might do, at least not at first. He might not be able to do much to safeguard either the building or the crowd below from the blowback — at least not directly — but he can tell where the threat is coming from and that is something he can take care of. But as a great deal of that debris is suddenly stopped from it's fatal trajectory, left to hang in mid-air Nightwing pauses for just a moment, the lense inserts of his mask sweeping the street below seeking out the source of that power.
Sure, glass and smaller chunks of the building rain down on the crowd. Cries of pain sound in amongst the screams of terror. Cuts and bruises are obvious and more that one car windshield shows those circular shatter patterns from being nailed by smaller pieces of flying debris. But there are fewer caved in roofs, fewer large chunks of concrete pinning bodies beneath them. And that ain't nothing.
It is not, however, a deterrent to the individuals responsible for the chaos however, it would seem. An instant later a second smoking trail flashes by, slamming into the same building as there is another busrt of pressure, a wall of force hammering people away from the explosion before a plume of fire follows suit. Again debris begins to rain down on the increasingly thinner crowds. And across the street in an alleyway, a figure ducks back down into the unmarked white van, stowing away the rocket launcher as the doors of the vehicle suddenly burst open, a number of heavily armed and armored men bursting forth, spilling into the alley and heading to the street, the staccato bursts of automatic weapons fire proceeding them.
The chaos below is too great to spot any one individual who might be responsible for protecting the crowd and Nightwing is out of time. Still, it's good to know that he is not jumping into the lion's den completely on his own. There is no more hesitation as he simply leaps from the roof — a diver from the high tower — but instead of falling to his death a pair of glider flaps extend out as he reaches his arms out and suddenly he is cutting a path downward, a controlled if swift descent towards the mouth of the alley.
*
Lorna was busy constructing her own force fields of magnetic energy to catch as much of the damage as possible from reaching the crowd. Unlike others in the crowd she remained untouched in her own personal bubble. Not even glass (diamagnetic as it was) touched her. She shifted, hands stretched out before her as she reached out with her senses to keep the building structurally sound, reinforcing metal support beams within.
A collapsed building was sure to leave more bodies in its wake than an explosion..
Or so was her thought before a second burst of an explosion rocked her way and into the building proper. She released a noise of frustration, and did her best to expand the protect magnetic field around her outwards to keep the heat and destructive force from killing even more people when the screams and shouts followed the sounds of machine guns. The normally green haired mutant hissed between clenched teeth, spinning around on booted feet as she coughed against the thick smoke and dusty debris in the air. But she didn't need to see to be able to sense things.
Her magnetic senses spread out, reaching for the guns that rang out in the rapidly thinning crowd to fling them into the air and out of harms way.
*
The armed figures are a peculiar lot in their heavy black body armor and stark white helmets that conceal their features. Fortunately it would appear that those initial bursts of gunfire were more designed to clear the path then to injure anyone, directed ever so slightly upwards and away — though who's to say that anyone in a second or third story window didn't pay the price for their curiousity. But on the street level there are only those that flee from the group who is so obviously responsible for the chaos, tearing up the sidewalk and in amongst the now deserted vehicles that litter the road. Mission accomplished. Or so the group likely thought.
There is no doubt it takes the armed men by surprise when their assault rifles are suddenly jerked out of their hands, starting to rise up into the air well away from them. One enterprising fellow actually manages to keep his grasp on for a few seconds, dragged a good five feet into the air before his grip slips and he plummets to the hard pavement below. The worst of them in the one packing the much heavier auto cannon at his side, the strap around the weapon and his body insuring that he is thrown right along with his weapon. The heavier, booming fire from it sounds, pure panic fire that rips along the street, sending up like poofs of asphalt that race in a line towards where Lorna stands — until coming to a dead halt against that magnetic force field that catches those rounds.
It is not a great situation that he finds himself in and he knows it. But it won't be the first time that Nightwing goes up against heavily armed foes badly outnumbered. Still, guns are bad enough. Trained professionals with serious military hardware? Not fun. Rushing down towards the center of their position, the darkly-clad vigilante isn't unlike a missle himself. And then he sees it, those weapons ripped from their hands like magic. And he can't help but grin fiercely as he shifts his body at the last minute to come in feet first, the full force of his descent channeled into the lead gunmen, hurling both him and the one standing behind him back into the front of the unmarked white van.
*
Perhaps it was some of her father's arrogance, in that Lorna Dane, Polaris, didn't back down from something messy when she got herself into such a situation. Pietro had told her to keep a low profile. To stay out of the spotlight and to keep her head down. She had agreed. Which, was altogether easier said than done with strange men armed to the teeth came charging into traffic and started to blow things up.
Small favors they didn't use ceramics or plastics in their weaponry. A C4 plastic explosive would have been annoying, to say the least.
Metal screeched as the guns were crushed in the air and promptly dropped—their wielders attached to them still or not. The woman didn't seem all that concerned with the armed men's safety. Though it was clear her intent was to stop them as she stepped forward on steel-toed boots. She wasn't sure what the building was that they were hitting, and with the clouds of debris still littering the air, and chaos carrying her forward, she didn't have time to stop and think about it. Not as bullets rained down her way and she cut them off mid-air to drop to the ground harmlessly at her feet. Even the cannon fire that boomed fell at her feet, spent.
Green eyes flickered toward the dark-clad figure that darted in lightning fast to knock the lead gunman and friend back into the van. She blinked, surprised.
But the list of would be heroes in NYC was a long one… who it was for the moment could be forgiven and forgotten for the moment.
Lorna flung her hands out before her again, fingers curled as she made to magnetic slam the gunmen that were still standing nearest to her, to the ground; pulled by their armor and combat gear.
*
The crew that looked so professional, so daunting just moments before suddenly appears to be much less of a threat. With their weapons removed and now crushed, the threat they pose to the fleeing or cowering civilians is substantially reduced. A quartet of them see the approaching woman and whether they put two and two together and figure out just who is responsible for ruining their show doesn't really matter. They start towards her, four burly trained combatants based on the way that they move. And before they can get within ten feet of her they are just flatted, pressed to the pavement like they each had a thousand pound weight strapped to their back, struggling futilely for a moment under that display of magnetic might.
One a pair remain standing in front of the van as Nightwing lands in a crouch before them, not giving them a chance to recover. Again one leg lashes out, catching the closest of the pair with a solid kick right to the knee. A knee that unsurprisingly buckles as the man gives a cry of pain, tumbling over. Sneaking a quick peak back over his shoulder to verify the positions of the other combatants, he registers no surprise to see the quartet of armored mercenaries flush on the ground and unmoving. Instead he focuses on his job, reaching for those escrima sticks on his back, both coming free in his hands in a smooth motion. Just in time too. The last of the group is already reaching for his sidearm, bringing it to bear. Fast, he's definitely fast. Just not fast enough to fire before one of the escrima sticks comes down hard on his hand with bone-shattering force.
And just like that the threat is neutrailized. Or almost. The guns are gone, the crew is all down or incapacitated. Mission accomplished right? The one problem? The driver of the white van. Headlights suddenly spring to life, bright lights capable of momentarily blinding the unwary before them. The squealing of tires sounds especially loud, echoing in the tight confines of the alley. And then that vehicle is hurtling forward, hurtling over the faller bodies of the mercenaries, hurtling towards the darkly-clad vigilante who stands in the glare of those headlights…
*
Humans with guns were hardly a threat to a magnokinetic when she was aware of them. Loaded down with all that body armor, they were little more than large chunks of metal to be manipulated. Once magnetized, they weren't likely to break free from their position of being face down on the pavement. Green eyes lifted to scan the remaining chaos around them, noting that at least the civilians in the area that weren't injured (or worse) had more or less cleared off. A shift of heavy boots against the pavement and Lorna watched the black-clad figure take out his own group handily. She left him to it, prepared to turn her attention back to those she'd downed..
The headlights blinded her only momentarily, as the van roared to life and tires screamed against the pavement toward them. A scowl pulled at her lips, and with a shout, Lorna threw up her hands, making to catch and hold the car from running over bodies or hitting those still standing. Tires squealed even louder under her magnetic net, the smell of burning rubber filled the air around them.
*
Regular nightvision googles tends to react rather poorly to sudden illumination, quickly becoming useless and leaving its wearer blind. Fortunately the starlite lense inserts in his own mask are a triffle more advanced, polarizing for an instant under the harsh glare of those head lights before shifting at once to dampen down the glare and still allow Nightwing to see. And what he sees is not good. Yes, his uniform is armored, but that won't do him much good against a van. Fortunately he has alternatives. Crouching ever so slightly, the dark haired vigilante coils like a spring, prepared to leap, to flip and roll over the charging van. It will take perfect timing of course, but so does the trapeze. Ready, he starts to time his jump… and then the van is simply caught, like an unseen hand swooped down and grabbed it. Plainly someone out there has control of metals and magnatism.
Caught in that irresistible force, the driver guns it, flooring the acceleration petal… and getting nowhere. For a moment he considers leaping out of the van, but before his hand is even on the door handle the windshield in front of him shatters. He never even sees the escrima stick that takes him in the forehead. Slumping against the steering wheel, his foot slips from it's perch, the roar of the engine failing and the smell of burning rubber sinking to a more tolerable level.
As soon as the threat is ended Nightwing reacts, starting towards the van, checking those mercenaries caught under the tires by their own ally. Each time he reaches for wrists, checking for pulses and each time he gives a little shake of his head as he drops the limp arm. Turning for the one who's knee he shattered further up the ally, he finds him unmoving as well, despite the fact that the van never reached him. It was a hard kick, but not that hard. Frowning, he tugs off the helmet to reveal the man beneath, ordinary features present there. Ordinary, except for the thick foam that congeals out one side of the man's mouth. These are no mercenaries.
Straightening and standing, that masked gaze seeks out the source of the invaluable help once more as in the distance the wail of approaching sirens becomes apparent over the increasingly quiet street — the screams faded and only the moans of the injured remaining.
*
A curse slipped from her lips as Lorna focused on keeping the car from running over anyone else, a noise of frustration peeling from her as she kept the van from actually going anywhere. It wasn't hard, mostly an irritant. Of course, all of that ends with the windshield being shattered and the driver being killed. She stopped, letting her hands fall away to stare with raised eyebrows at the black clad man as the van stopped and dropped back to the pavement fully with a light tumbled sound. She exhaled a breath, turning her attention to try to inspect the fallen.. only to find the attackers were well.. all dead.
She straightened, glancing back at the masked figure and tilted her head. "You didn't have to kill the guy in the van, you know. It would've been useful to have someone alive.." Her voice was dry, and she frowned at the sound of approaching sirens.
*
Really, he probably should be insulted. Certainly the impulse to frown at her is there but instead he keeps his expression calm, simply giving a small shake of his head at her words. "I don't kill," he says quietly but firmly, meeting her gaze — even if his own remains unreadable behind those white lense inserts. "You would be the who who shielded the crowd then? Who took their guns and stopped the van from trying to run me down. Thanks for that," he offers slowly as he turns back for the van, moving to the driver's side door. "Magnetic powers I'm assuming," he muses quietly, as much to himself as to her. That narrows it down and he mentally goes through the files that Batman keeps on all known superhumans and vigilantes before giving a little nod. "I'm hoping that does powers don't include the ability to poison multiple individuals," he adds.
Pulling open the door, he catches the driver's body before it can fall out, easing him back into his seat as he reclaims his escrima stick and slips it back into place. Again the pulse is checked and this time he gives a little nod before pulling out plastic, zipline restraints, securing the man's hands behind his back. "See? I don't kill. He may, in fact be the only one of these men who isn't dead," he notes as he reaches up, tugging off that helmet. Holding the man's mouth open, he makes a face as his fingers fish around, giving a little grimace and a careful tug before seemingly pulling out one of his teeth and holding it up to her. "It would appear that these were not ordinary mercenaries."
*
Lorna shrugged, "There's a long list of people out there that say that, but in practice it's not always so easy.." She drawled, but didn't lecture or argue the point further as she shoved her hands into her pockets. She nodded as he listed off the number of things she'd done in the span of less than five minutes. A blink, it was over it seemed. "Magnetism doesn't include poison. No. Restrict neurons and electrical synapses in the brain, yes. Poison? No." Pursed her lips, following over to the van as the masked man pulled out the unconscious man, not dead it would in fact seem.
Still, she looked slow to approach, wary as she cast an eye toward the blown out bottom portion of the nearby building and back as he reached inside the man mouth and yanked out a tooth. She frowned, and stepped closer to peer at it.
"You're kidding me, people really sign up for jobs that do that whole poisoned tooth bull?" She snorted and rolled her eyes skyward.
*
The tooth in hand is quickly tucked away. It is unlikely to tell him much more then the type of poison within — cyanide seems to be the usual favorite — but it is still worth looking into. Tapping at his tauntlets, a little compartment slides open and he pulls out a miniature camera, snapping a number of quick pictures of the unconscious man's face and then pulling out to get a few of the entire ensemble. "Mercenaries don't. They're in it for the money. And money doesn't spend very well when you're dead. Fanatics are something else entirely," he points out reasonable. "Though I would tend to agree with you, the whole poisoned tooth thing seems a little cliche," he admits with a shrug.
The sound of sirens is growing ever closer and while he has his contacts, his allies in the NYPD just as has back in Gotham, instincts die hard. He is quick in his work as he turns away from the van, quickly moving to verify the condition of the four that Lorna magnetically flattened. Like their commrades, they too are clearly deceased and the dark haired young man snaps off several more pictures of the badly damaged building before tucking the camera away. As flashing lights begin to weave in and out of abandonned along the street, Nightwing trots back to the alley, grapnel already appearing in his hand. Before firing it towards the rooftops however he turns back towards the black-haired woman. "Thank you," he says quietly. "You saved a lot of people tonight. Aside from those responsible, I didn't see another body out there. Lot of people hurt, but no one dead. And that's thanks to you."
*
The idea of a fanatic group led to their deaths by some ideal or leader never sat well with Lorna. Mostly because she'd faced too many fanatics in her life. A great many hated her for who and what she was… and then of course were the Acolytes that regarded her father as some mutant god and her as his second coming. They made her feel uncomfortable at best and spitting angry at worst.
These ones… whatever they'd wanted or been up to, wasn't clear. It wasn't as if they'd shouted out their demands or desires like the Brotherhood or Purifiers typically did. Those groups wanted the publicity.. these guys.. it was apparent that they did not. She frowned, a furrow in her brow following as she watched Nightwing move about to take pictures. The siren's sound made her wince. She really didn't want to get caught up in this mess..
At last, Nightwing turned her way and thanked her. She arched a brow, crossing her arms as she glanced around and back to him. "I'd have to be pretty damn heartless to be able to do something, and choose to do nothing… You're welcome, I guess. Name's Polaris.." She trailed off awkwardly, searching for where ever the cab she'd been in had gone to.. and found it empty. Oh well. Looks like she'd have to figure out another way home to Westchester.
*
Of course he has had his own run-ins with fanatics over the years, though in truth those with the honest convinction to kill themselves in pursuit of their cause are fairly rare. But both in Gotham City and in his time with the Titans he has encountered them. Battled them. Stopped them. As ugly as they are, he is not sure they are any worse than the Arkham psychopaths who bring death and chaos everytime they manage to find a way out of that sieve-like facility. At least once they are done they will never harm anyone ever again. The Joker and his ilk just keep turning back up again, over and over again in a cycle that never seems to end.
"Nightwing," he offers back. A logical enough name, given the unrelenting black of his uniform, broken only by the blue symbol on his chest that does indeed look like wings. "You would have to be pretty heartless I suppose. But standing up to be counted should never be overlooked. And I don't know if you're likely to be thanked quite as often as you probably should be," he notes, the grapnel gun in his hand firing with the soft hiss of released compressed air, the quiet clink of titanium tongs sinking into brick and concrete sounding far overhead. "You have a way out of here before the authorities arrive?" he asks, that masked gaze once more settling upon her.
*
Nightwing. She whistled faintly under her breath. Well. Time to check off some more heroes on her list of 'accidentally met' while out and about. Aquaman, Tony Stark, Thor, and now Nightwing. How fancy. If she met a few more was there a hero bingo chart? Clearly, her luck was either extremely good, or extremely bad. Perhaps a bit of both. The normally green haired woman felt a grin slide over her features as Nightwing explained the thanks.
Besides her work in Genosha.. thank yous were rare. Mostly because she let her temper get a hold of her and took off pretty quickly. Never staying around. Even as Nightwing fired off his grappling gun for a high rise and asked if she had a way out. Her grin widened and she shrugged, "I think I've got it covered, but thanks." She murmured as she lifted off into the air unaided and well past the buildings.

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