Bridge to Nowhere

September 27, 2018:

The Brooklyn Bridge

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE - DUSK

Demons have rained down from the sky and while some New Yorkers have attempted to keep going about their daily business: going to work, going to school, doing what they would do if there were not terrifying creatures lurking about the corners. There is a state of emergency called for the city, but New Yorkers tend to do what they want to do, speeches and advice be damned.

Others, though, have decided to evacuate. It’s hard to do on short notice without causing widespread panic, traffic jams and more casualties than would have otherwise sustained. Knowing this, police officers and SHIELD has organized multiple times to escort citizens to designated safe houses or simply out of the city. The team assigned to escort this particular group of six dozen people - including children and the elderly - has met little demon activity. The evacuees have each been allowed a single suitcase to bring along with them with the understanding that SHIELD agents are not valets and they are responsible for their own luggage.

Then, however, they started to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. They were almost a third of the way across when there was a sudden shift in the air. The weather at this time of year is hard to judge and it has been cloudy and threatening to rain all day. That’s when the low pitched roar many took to be the waves of the river below grew louder. The sound that was almost like croaking quickly raised into a roar as creatures dripping wet from the river below climbed the beams and then rushed towards them from all sides.

The attack is quick and the creatures who advance on the contingent of humans are horrifying to behold: they are gaunt with pale almost translucent to reveal dark blue veins. The creatures are elongated, with thin grasping hands. All at once, their mouths open in a horrid shriek to reveal rows upon rows of sharp and pointed teeth reminiscent of a shark. Their eyes glow a dark ruddy gold. Immediately, one grabs a SHIELD agent on the edge of the group and the strong, thin fingers dig right into her flesh. She gives out a cry of pain and shoots, but it bears down and keeps a firm hold on her.

Immediately, the gun fire starts. So does the screaming.

*

A hell of a first mission for the third person who could properly be termed Agent Carter within SHIELD's ranks. Emphasis on hell. Michael hasn't done convoy duty in decades, but taking this particular assignment seemed a good way to try and get the suspicious SHIELD agents to trust him, or at least accept his presence. He's got several things working against him. First, he's from the black ops division of MI-6. Second, he's recently been disavowed from that division. Third, he has a very long record which includes the death of SHIELD agents when the agencies have been at cross-purposes through history. Four, he…recently killed several SHIELD agents. To be fair, they were trying to kill him and were likely traitors. But still.

So he's with the convoy near the rear, dressed in black fatigues and body armor, armed with an assault rifle. Chatter that he's mostly ignoring comes in over his headset. He's mostly been focused on keeping the group together and stopping those at the back from falling behind.

"Bloody fucking hell," mutters the Englishman as he catches sight of the hellish creatures. There's little hesitation as he snaps the safety off his rifle and starts firing at the nearest beasts and those closest to the contingent of civilians.

*

Simon Green was a grunt. That much is clear by how comfortable he is carrying an assault rifle and wearing black fatigues, body armor, and a helmet. He knows Michael Carter ever-so-slightly-more than most of the SHIELD agents in New York (in that he met him once socially without either of them trying to kill the other), and so he's assigned himself to stay relatively near the Brit.

When the air shifts, the hair on the back of Simon's neck starts to stand up. The rushing advance of the gaunt, pale demons causes his eyes to widen, and he snaps out, "Contact Right!" It probably merges in with contact reports from all around, but it's instinctive by this point, even as the barrel of his rifle snaps up, his thumb works the fire selector, and he starts to fire in short, three-round bursts, "Stick to the middle! Stay together! Keep moving!" Apparently those are orders for the civilians, or at least the nearest ones, as he ducks back from a sweeping claw and tries to punch a trio of bullets into the demon grasping the SHIELD agent.

*

It's probably a little distressing to some to have someone like Sloane walking with the evacuees. The scales on her face, long and pointed ears, her eyes, and her teeth definitely leave impressions on people when they're seeing nothing but monsters— monsters that do a lot of damage and a lot of harm.

It's probably good she's near the front of the pedestrian caravan: It keeps her in line of sight of pretty much everyone, especially anyone that might be nervous of metatypes in their midst. Sloane glances up at one point — the sky, the clouds…

… She'd actually rather it start raining. It might help her relax a little, even if it would result in a lot of soaked evacuees.

For an agent, she's still somewhat lightly dressed given the circumstances: A fresh replacement of her usual tactical wetsuit and a lightweight jacket with the SHIELD emblem on either shoulder— this one longer than her usual, sleeves rolled and cuffed back to mid-forearm. Her scales are starting to grow back; fresh iridescent blue growing out from healing skin across one cheek.

Monsters… Screaming. 'Contact right!'

Plucking her handgun from a thigh-strapped holster, Sloane is quick to put herself between the jagged-tooth walkers, aiming low and trying to take out legs while they're still in a cluster. "Move, move!" she calls, adding to the chorus of agent orders.

*

Among this group are two people who are not otherwise that dramatic, except that they are not particularly childish or elderlyish. Kay Garcia is wearing trainer shoes instead of heels but is otherwise dressed like she was just at the office, Maharet Garcia is wearing a sun-dress, and Kay is carrying several large suitcases.

The screams! The creatures!

"Are you going to be alright?" says Maharet to Kay.

Kay looks at her for a moment and says, decisively: "Yeah."

There is a bright flash of light and Maharet's dress is suddenly empty, which might make some people wonder if the rapture is coming but which is probably overshadowed by all the tactical operation and the horrific sea-demons that have been unleashed.

What looks like a floating distorted projection of a woman wearing, mostly, something like purple appears near one of the glowing creatures. Maharet - no, Arcflash, she almost-visibly tells herself - winces at the hideous nature of the thing, before she raises up one hand, coughs once, and raises her voice: "Welcome to Earth!"

Her hand flickers for a moment before there is another of those eye-searing glows. It is a short-range ray of what is essentially a laser aimed at the critter's neck. To the SHIELD agent it is probably scary hot, but not painful hot.

"Humans!" Arcflash shouts towards SHIELD. "You can shoot through me, it's okay!!"

*

It'd been over 120 hours. Over five days. Maxima had barely taken a break. She was a woman on a mission and capable of amazing feats. However, she had seen this crisis as an opportunity to show everyone what her intentions were. She was perhaps taking it too far. For three solid days she had fought demons, saved people, held up buildings, etc. Then, she was back on the Watchtower to get some food and rest when alarms had gone off. The Amazons were in trouble and off she went again. The only person to give her unconditional welcome and greeting since she arrived was Diana Prince. Diana's people were in trouble and Maxima dropped everything to show the people attacking Diana and her people that she had allies that they should fear.

Then, when she was to go back and rest again, she realized she'd left the people without power, the ones who were not warriors, alone and without defense (sure there were other heroes but Maxima took it upon herself that even a slight failing could show them her 'true colors').

Now, as she enters her sixth day of action, the Almerac's greatest warrior was tiring. Something that few knew was that her very outfit was a product of her own mental creation. A thing she maintained and never allowed to show wear through constant mental tweaking. Now, standing atop the Empire State Building, looking down over NYC for more fires to put out, her cape was in tatters. Her outfit torn, dented, and showing signs of serious wear. Everything Maxima was came from not simply phsycial power but mental power as well and her mind was growing tired.

The city was still in peril but the greatest of peril was seeming to die down and Maxima was preparing to have her ship teleport her to it…when suddenly fear. Fear spiked heavily and she could sense it. Her tired eyes widened and her gaze turned toward the Brooklyn Bridge. She swallowed heavily and stood up straight. She held up her head as she closed her eyes briefly. Surely others could handle it but…is that what they were waiting for? The Lantern…that Carol Danvers…SHIELD? SWORD? They'd know what kind of person Maxima was. Not based on assumption or heresay but because she'd show them. Then in a blur, she was gone from the top of the building, her form moving directly for the bridge and the trouble.

*

Immediately, there is clash and confusion with cacophony of screams, gunfire and then bright flashes of light from various sources. The pale demons continue their approach, mouths open in various iterations of shrieking and attack.

SHIELD agents all start to shoot at the demons almost in tandem, quickly tightening their ring about the civilians in an attempt to keep them from harm. However, spaced out amongst the larger crowd of citizens. They were prepared for attacks, but not something quite like this onslaught. The gunfire tears through some of the demons and their cries grow even more high pitched and hard to hear - piercing through the ear drums and right into the mind.

The SHIELD agent first attacked keeps shooting, though rivulets of blood soak down her tactical gear. First Simon’s bullets smash into the creature and it makes a hissing noise that sounds like the cry of a seagull. It glares at Simon and whispers something in a harsh, guttural tone. Arcflash’s sudden transformation causes each of the creatures nearby to shriek in sudden shock. The lasers aimed at the attacking demon burn holes through its flesh and though still keeping tight hold of the agent in its death throes, it starts to crash to the ground.

In the back, citizens are panicking. They’re only a third of the way over the bridge and despite the yells and the attempts to corral them to the center, a family of four breaks away and goes running back toward Manhattan. There is an open way and they attempt to take it - running right by Michael. Before long, they are encircled.

Six other demons have somehow made their way into the crowd, grabbing civilians and then lifting them over their heads and heading back toward the edge of the bridge to take them back to the watery depths. One hisses at Sloane as it passes, a screaming man wrapped in its horrible grasp. Two are already over the the side of the bridge with their prey.

Beneath their feet, the bridge shakes just slightly.

*

This, this is why Michael doesn't like convoy duty. Instead of well-behaved fellow agents or soldiers, he's got to contend with panicking civilians. As the family breezes by him, he mutters another curse and fires off a few shots at oncoming demons before turning to follow them.

"Christ, stop!" He calls out as he aims a shot between one of the encircling demon's…eyes? What passes for eyes? Then he does all he can to keep himself between the demons and the family, even if that means a lot of moving about and precision firing of his weapon.

*

Simon Green was not expecting one of the civilians to turn into a flash of light and a blaze of eye-searing energy. He flinches slightly away from the heat, but punches the burst into the demon trying to haul away his fellow agent. The creature's words wash over him like an oil-soaked wave, sharp, but with a cloying, invasive residue. First he flinches, his eyes tightening, and then the barrel of his rifle lowers slightly, and he takes a step forward, away from the protectees and toward the edge of the elevated walkway. Then it's another step, and a third, and he's reaching for the guardrail, starting to haul himself up. He should probably be firing at the demons, but his finger has slacked off the trigger, hanging limp alongside the trigger-guard.

*

Keep shooting, keep slowing them down, keep them from getting closer so they can't get in. Keep them steady, keep—

What are they saying? Cacophany, words, gibberish—

— let him die —

Sloane's weight shifts as demons draw closer, she's careful to how she shifts her footing and prepares to use her Inhuman abilities, her physical strength…

— alone —

Bumped in the back by stragglers in panic, Sloane's eyes widen as she gulps and gasps for air, feeling an ungodly pain in her side. She gulps for air— and with her lung capacity it's quite a strange sound— as her worst nightmare comes back to haunt her, the one that has woken her from still sleep more than once, her greatest fear of them all —

Sloane Albright, Trainee Agent, lay on the floor of Warehouse 13 with massive spikes of unknown origin buried in her arms, leg, and a large one punched straight through the armored scales on her body. She's a bloody mess, unable to access her powers, and clawing across the floor. The light is gone from Phil Coulson's eyes, but his mouth still moves:

"You're gonna be alone now. For the rest of your life."

Sloane Alright, Agent of SHIELD, is now supporting herself on one hand, legs barely underneath her as she has the mother of all anxiety attacks, a hand clawing at the air and body clamped up tight.

*

Arcflash is subjected to a bunch of new sources of information. What a voyage of discovery! One of which is that there's a hell of a lot more fish devils than she thought. She frowns, poignantly, and then pops off a bright (but, in this case, merely bright) flash towards the people running towards Manhattan. "NO!" she says. "BAD! THAT WAY! BROOKLYN! MAINLAND! Oh for God's sake."

This is awful, she thinks.

Her color configuration transits from purple to something nearer to orange as she raises up both her hands above her head and raises her voice.

"You MISERABLE FISHCREATURES! What in the name of JESUS CHRIST are any of you DOING!" With the serenity of someone who is confident in her bulletproofery, Arclight sidles towards the center of the bridge, clapping her hands without noise above her head. "Do you think that I'm going to SIT HERE and let you throw our predecessors into the sea to be eaten? Homo sapiens may be out of date, but buddy, I'll take a thousand humans over one of you stinking murderous creatures! Are you looking at me?!"

She starts to flicker and flash and glow. "Are you LOOKING AT ME?! Because I bet you can't SPEAK ENGLISH! And I'm going to BLIND YOU ALL!" Her head whips to look towards SHIELD, even as a stray flickering near-miss bullet makes part of her shoulder waver, like stirred smoke.

In the crowd, Kay Garcia raises her voice: "She's gonna flash them! Eyes down!"

"Three!" clap "two!" clap "one!"

And then she goes off like sixteen different exploding Klieg lights. It's probably visible from space, and will leave some scorch marks on her pavement.

*

Flying in, Maxima can feel herself growing weaker. It's happening faster with her stretching herself so thin. Even she, the greatest warrior Almerac has ever made, was reaching a limit she couldn't deny. She saw the bridge, though, saw the danger and then she stared wide eyed as two of those demons carry people over the side of the bridge with more to follow.

And then she changes course.

A large gust of wind rushes past everyone on the bridge, whipping up even as Arcflash speaks and makes her declarations. Then that wind whips in the other direction. Down below the bridge, two demons likely don't even know what hit them as they were falling but they both lack workable arms suddenly and for but a brief moment the two people carried over were free falling.

That moment passes as they are now floating on air, behind and between them is Maxima who is raising up above the edge of the bridge, both hands extended with both people floating under her telekinetic power. Above her, a bright flash goes off and she tilts her head up as she takes a breath. She rises, taking the people with her and as the light begins to fade she sets the people down.

Maxima stands up straight, hands clenched and her eyes determined as the people behind her are left to recover from their ordeal. She puts her fists at her hips and watches as the night takes back the bridge from the brightness of Arcflash, "Fear not!" Her voice booming as she looks from civilian to SHIELD agent alike, "For I am here!"

Inside, she shudders, trying to keep her appearance strong. She can feel the lassitude encroaching upon her mind. Her hand points, "All of you move. I will not allow these demons to harm another soul on this bridge."

*

Michael is able to keep the family safe as he breaks away from the main group that are still moving slowly though purposefully toward Brooklyn. The family is determined, but at the shouting and at one of the demons almost snatching one of the small children up only to be shot down by Michael, they start to move quickly back to the safety of the group.

Sloane and Simon seem unable to help themselves, locked into their own minds and experiences. The demons strangely seem to pay no mind to Simon as he attempts to pull himself up and right over the barrier into the river. Nor do they attack the prone Sloane on the ground. Instead, they go for other agents and civilians, grabbing at and screeching at them in hunger and desperation.

The two demons dragging the civilians over the bridge and toward the water are lifted up and then tossed into the water. The people they are carrying sobbing and struggling against their fate. They fought against the demons and now they fight against the bare air that holds them aloft and then sets them gently back down onto safety. A man gives a cry and rushes forward to pick up one of the stunned women who he must know and care for, pulling her back into the safety of the group.

And then there is a burst of light that comes from Arclight. It’s brighter than lightning, brighter than a camera flash. For a moment, everyone who had not covered their eye’s vision pinpoints into white. Those who managed to shut their eyes feel the warmth and the flash of red against their eyelids.

When things start to come to, they will notice something strange. The demons are no longer approaching, they stand in a ring, swaying. And, strangely, there is large black beam attached to the warm red bricks that make up the Brooklyn Bridge. And then another one rises up from the river, dripping water, the size of small building. The bridge shakes with the impact as it latches on and a creature pulls itself out of the river. It’s large, swirling and terrible to behold. One may call it kraken or possibly C’thulhu himself woken from his slumber. A sound cracks through the air that causes everyone to stop their movements for the moment and fight past the sheer force of it.

*

Michael has been through a lot of chaotic situations in his very long life. None is quite like a sudden fish demon invasion and a creature rising from the deep.

Join SHIELD, Peggy said. We need you, Peggy said. It'll be good for you.

When in an odd situation, the spy falls back on his training. Protect the civilians. Control the perimeter. He fires off a few more shots at the approaching demons, but what he's not prepared for is a sudden…lack of anything to step back on when there was ground there just a moment before. He slips, drops, and is swallowed up by some kind of demonic portal, soundlessly disappearing from view.

*

The flash causes Simon to snap one arm up in front of his face — and sends him teetering with one leg slung over the railing of the pedestrian pathway. "Woah!" Keeping control of his assault rifle with his right hand, he grasps for the railing with his left, finding it by feel only as his vision is still a wash of purple afterimage. "How the…"

Flashbangs (even human flashbangs) Simon can understand. Demons he's fought for a couple of days now, so he can at least categorize them as 'enemy combatants,' but the unassailable urge to throw himself off the Brooklyn Bridge? That's shaken the veteran Agent, and he clings to the railing for a long moment, working to do something, anything, useful. His breath comes in short gasps, and he pushes back from the railing, only to find his targets apparently held at bay and the bridge shaking as… is that a tentacle?

Swallowing hard, he tries to shout, but the first time, the words are a mere croak, "Move, people…" Simon clears his throat, and this time the words come out at normal speaking level, for all that he's nearly deafened and trying to shout, "Let's move, people! Sitting ducks are bad." The appearance of the flying woman promising protection is nice, but there are still immediate problems, and he points forward, resisting the urge to hum an almost-familiar song, "Get that tentacle for us then!"

*

'You're gonna be alone. For the rest of your life.'

It echoes and rings in her ears as weapons fire continues, as Kay Garcia starts calling out to the crowd, as Maxima flies, as Michael works to keep families safe. Everyone else is on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Sloane, in her mind, is trapped in Warehouse 13, alone— not even the body of Phil Coulson to keep her company. Just her, her pain, and a bloodstain on the floor as the room seems to widen out into an endless black expanse that somehow stays in focus of what is going on right at her feet.

And then she sees the light.

A second deep gasp escapes Merrow as her eyes widen, pupils shifting to tight and narrow slits to accomodate the bright flare of light. The smooth interior concrete floors and hot blood give way to the rough feeling of asphalt and cold under her hand, and Sloane snaps out of it.

Looking up as she starts to get her footing, the demons are now chanting— pillars and light raise, and *something* starts coming out of the river. The Inhuman's weight starts to wobble and shift from side to side as she tries to keep herself steadied and balanced, yet the ground does not seem to be shaking, grabbing for dividers, rails, anything to keep herself from falling over again and hitting the ground.

"W-What in the HELL is that thing—"

*

Something whispers in the side of the mind of Arcflash, even as she turns her head to look at the circling demons. She grimaces for a moment - then she flashes and is gone!

Not gone.

Standing atop of the bridge pillar, Arclight is real easy to see due to all the light. She rubs at the side of her head and mutters to herself, "Kay did you go insane. Did you have a stroke? Kay don't have a stroke. I know you can hear me Kay, come on. Are you there? Hello? I guess you wouldn't be able to tell me anyway." Her cheeks puff out as she folds her arms looking down at

at

Her vision swims for a moment. She has to close her eyes.

When she opens them again she stares down at

at

at SOMETHING - she can see an EYE -

Her fists of light clench. She can do this, she resolves. She is homo superior. There are almost certainly two or three neo-mutants or latents in that group, she tells herself, besides Kay - and mutants come FROM humans in any case. Sucking in breath that isn't really there, she flashes again —

And appears on the water. ON the water: Standing atop it, just like Jesus! This is difficult, given all the chop, and does not look very dignified. "You!" she shouts up at Maxima. "Redheaded woman! Pull its head up!!"

it's right THERE the voices are stronger grrhhhh, thinks Maharet, feeling a phantom pain in the side of her head - a pain that she experiences but rarely, even as she tries to look AWAY from the thing, right at its horrible black tentacle, which is at least - like - it's just a really big squid, she tells herself. IT'S JUST A SQUID.

*

The woman nearly staggers. As powerful as she is, Maxima winces and wonders if she truly has reached her limits. That can't be. She simply cannot allow it and not now of all times. She then notes how everyone else is acting. How the demons are acting and then her eyes land on the tentacle. The the second. She frowns and then growls softly to herself.

"You will not have me…" She says quietly to herself.

Everything is harder. Everything is like moving through a greater degree of gravity all of a sudden. Maxima's amazing strength and speed is more than cut in half between whatever is being done and her own exhaustion. None the less, she raises up off the ground and looks to Simon and then Sloane, "Worry not about your safety or what it is. Get past these fool demons and get them out of here…I'll…" She hears Arcflash and looks over the side and there's a slight smile on her face.

"We'll handle this." She then flies toward the second tentacle at a sprint and as she arrives at it, she turns her gaze to the first. With a sucked in breath she lets it out as her eyes glow and a burst of brilliant and painful concentrated energy flies out of her eyes right at the first tentacle, attempting to burn it off the bridge. Then with that, she focuses on her strength. Slowly draining away her own person forcefield and toughness to focus only on offense. She uses both hands to attempt to grab the tentacle and then pull and lift.

"Your mind, your magic, or whatever you are…it will not avail. For I am the greatest warrior Almerac has ever known…I. AM. MAXIMA!" And she puts forth all the effort she can muster.

*

The family that was protected by Michael gives out a shriek of worry and fear as he disappears through a portal right in front of them. However, the other SHIELD agents attempt to move them forward, keep them going. The ring of demons are swaying and while they are no longer attempting to pull people into the river, they are standing their ground. Anyone who approaches is met with hisses and long limbed attacks.

However, Simons’ cry urges them forward. The SHIELD agents at the front nearby Sloane surge forward, fighting and shooting their way through the creatures in front of them that now stand like a veritable wall of bone and wet, dead skin. Behind the agents, the civilians cry and push forward, panicked, needing to be off this bridge and its horrors that surround them. Some have started to babble incoherently. Others simply sit down onto the paved ground and refuse to move.

Arcflash floats down to the creature that pulls at the Brooklyn Bridge with ferocity. The bridge itself groans in protest and rattles against its might. The humans on it stumble and cry out. The woman bathed in light waits, though, readying herself for an action.

Maxima, under the strange influence of the presence of the creature int he river moves more slowly than she might otherwise. However, she reaches deep into her reserves and into her own strength. The creature she grabs a hold of thrashes against her and it is no lightweight. The bridge it is attached to bows and bends violently again.

However, the head rises above the water. The eye blinks against the brightness and still it thrashes. Another cry envelops everyone nearby in a wave that vibrates their very insides.

*

Simon looks behind him at the screams, his throat going dry as he realizes that Michael Carter isn't there, "Oh shit…" He hesitates a moment, then starts backwards, covering their flight with a series of bursts that runs his clip dry. "Reloading!" He nearly falls to the bridge deck as the kraken wrenches and twists at the support, but manages to get another magazine reseated, "Albright! You still with us?" Is he still with them? That's another question entirely. The butt of the assault rifle snugs into his shoulder and he cuts loose with another series of short bursts, searching for any sign of Carter's body. Sure, his boss would kill him if he lost her brother, but Rami would likely be rather pissed too. Unfortunately, there's no sign of the body, and Simon is staggering back with the rest of the group, finding himself playing rearguard and trying desperately to keep to his feet. The civilians sitting down on the bridge deck aren't helping the whole 'rearguard' thing though, and he gives one a nudge with his boot, "We have to go! Come on!" Shouting seems to be the only way that he can hear himself over all that noise, let alone have anyone else hear him.

*

The questions start rolling around inside Sloane's head as she continues to breathe in jagged, shaky breaths; sweat clings to her skin. Her eyes turn— Are they moving? Is it shaking? The tentacle — is there ANOTHER monster in the river? Is this a demon? Why is everyone else able to keep their balance so well when everything's …

It's in her head. It's *gotta* be in her head. Or *is* it?

"C-Coming," she replies to Simon, though every time she tries to break from the rails — every time she tries to take a step— her footing shifts in the wrong direction, or her ankle nearly rolls to the side, and she's forced to catch herself. Hooking an arm around the rail to hold on tight, she just keeps dragging herself along at an even, steady pace.

One hand in front of the other, one shaky step shuffling forward, as though she's apprehensive to let her feet move away— if she lifts her feet all the way she'll fall. It *is* shaking, it *has* to be…

*

Arcflash breathes heavily even if it's psychosomatic. When the creature rises upwards she is bowled over without much dignity, flashing abruptly to a few yards in the air and 'falling' back down afterwards. Strain is visible on her faintly luminous face, the shadow of her hair trailing with anxiety fractals.

Her fingers curl together again into a pair of fists and she calls up, "Maxima!" One arm pinwheels up to point at her. "Tell 'em I did this for Magneto!"

IN THE CLUSTER OF PEOPLE, Kay Garcia flicks her perception to her 'sister's' eyes and winces visibly for a moment. "What is - oh my god," she says, though she has been relatively calm and collected throughout this. Kay pushes a listless child forwards even as guns pop and rattle.

BACK AT THE SEA, Arcflash lunges forwards after her declaration and - seems to vanish from view.

From Arcflash's perception she lunges towards the great and horrid EYE before her and she threw herself into the horrid iris that undulated with malice and profound distaste /because this is how eyes work/. She finds herself somewhere wet and squalid, forced to drag in her legs and curl up slightly - even a Creature's great eye is in some ways smaller than you'd think.

Arcflash looks round herself for a moment. Then she looks towards the undulating carpet of velvet iridescense and wonders at the strange colors in it, colors never seen on Earth.

"Well, here we go," she says, putting her hands forwards and immediately firing screaming laser-force intensity capable of coring through steel right square at the Thing's retina.

*

It's all so much. Maxima was never trained for this and yet she's got the will of a queen. She is a Queen dammit! How could she even say she was a leader for her people, an exmaple for these people…how could she say that they were wrong about her if she let this bridge fall. Let these people die. Even as Arcflash seems to declare herself doing whatever she is doing for this Magneto fellow, Maxima does something perhaps equally stupid.

The beast's eye begins to glow and it will surely thrash more. Maxima cannot allow it. She has little strength left and yet these people, if they cannot be saved…how could any of hers? She turns her eyes to them even as she holds the beast's tentacle and then she sucks in a breath. With a surge of effort she turns her gaze to where her own left hand is against the thing and right in front of it she slams all her strength briefly into burning a hole right into that tentacle. Briefly her left hand shoots back and then she attempts to drive her whole arm into that thing's tentacle, forcing a grip that would not break as she lifts with both strength and flight.

Then with her right hand she reaches out to the bridge and forces her telekinetic might into supporting the bridge. Then she looks up and screams, "FEAR NOTHING! FOR MAXIMA WILL SAVE YOU ALL!!!" ANd she begins to lift that tentacle, herself, and the beast up and away from the bridge while a burst, not a sustained thing but a burst of mental power flows out from her over the people below.

Maxima is no mind control expert. No manipulator of thoughts or dreams. She is a brute in the world of the mind. She does broad sweeping strokes and this one is a powerful burst of confidence. Her own confidence and mental strength in herself she is attempting to give to those below.

Then, like a tank of gas reaching its empty point, she feels herself starting to shutdown as she flies away…her strenght beginning to dwindle slowly as black begins to dance at the edges of her vision.

*

There is no sign of Michael Carter as Simon looks for him. It’s as if he literally dropped off the face of the earth. However, despite the tragedy of that, there are people who also need their help. Some of the citizens are being left behind as they just remain seated on the ground. Simon reaches a few of those as he fires off shots to try and clear a path for them moving forward. In the face of his determination and sheer will to move their contingent forward, people follow, still clearly terrified.

Sloane’s own discombobulation remains until it starts to dissipate slowly to a place where she merely finds herself dizzy. People are both trying to flee and also falling to despair in the wake of the creatures in front of them. Sloane starts to shake the powerful mind blanket placed upon her.

Suddenly, all at once, the circled creatures raise their heads up and scream. It’s in tandem and then they descend upon Sloane and Simon and the other SHIELD agents with their charges. There are large gaps in circle as they have fought their way through, but time is now immediately of the essence.

In the water, Arcflash burns brightly and pushes her way right through the eye of the strange creature held by Maxima. It trashes in pain and confusion. The bridge wobbles. As this happens, the creature shrieks again, both terrifying and painful to those who can hear it.

Maxima continues to lift. One tentacle bursts, crashing against the bridge with a shake of its supports. The other remains tightly wrapped about it. The creature shrieks and pain and the bridge groans in protest. Cracks start to appear in the facade, the sound of steel ripping cuts across the dusk air.

*

Simon bumps a hip into the railing of the pedestrian path as the bridge continues to rock and roll, staggering back to haul another civilian to their feet and try to shove them along the bridge. He opens his mouth to say something to Sloane, and then the sea-demons scream, and Simon flicks his assault rifle over to fully-automatic and starts blazing away in longer bursts. Sadly, that only lasts about a second and a half before he runs dry with a click, and he has to drop the rifle on its sling and haul out his sidearm, firing desperately to try and keep the creatures away from him and those nearest him. "Oh shit!"

The wash of confidence couldn't come at a better time, really. Simon needs it badly, as weary, freaked out, and stressed as he is. "You do water, right, Albright?" The kraken thrashing in pain throws him to the ground, and he rolls out from under the grasping hands of one of the creatures, "There's a whole bunch of water under us, isn't there?" The Hail Mary may be one of the most desperate plays in anyone's playbook, but it's also one of the most devastating.

*

Sloane's weight shifts from one side to another, nearly going over the rail one moment before counter-balance sends her sprawling, grabbing for pedestrian rails, grabbing for anything to hold onto before the sidearm clatters out of her hand and she's forced to clamp her eyes shut and just *focus*.

The demons scream, and her eyes open. The bridge is — breaking. It'll fall, if —

'You do water, right, Albright?'

Demons get ahold of her. She's moving fast and hard, still dazed but trying her best to let muscle memory do the talking for her; heavy throws, leveraging her natural strength though without the level of control that her instructors guided her towards for over a year— and she has no problem with breaking bones along the way, such as they may be for demons.

Water starts flying — it's hard to say if it's the chaos, or the damage, or maybe it really did start raining. She's been known to create her own water when she needs to. "Yeah," she says, starting to sprint down the path. Her body twists, arms extending high before bringing them around in a tight arc — guiding, building, pressurizing the water she's pulling into a compressed sphere, then thrusting her palms outward.

With the gestures giving Merrow a bit more focus — targeting, almost — a powerful blast of water blazes on out to start clearing the path, focusing most immediately on the demons the closest to the civilians still trying to escape. Hard lashes and thrusts of compressed water follow those that get to close to herself, or even a hard smash-and-throw against steel rails and concrete. She's starting to get her momentum — and that's all she needs, even if she wants to throw up right now.

*

Embedded as she is, Arcflash can't really see anything or feel anything - she certainly has no idea what's going on, instead sensing that the creature is lurching, that the fluid medium she put herself into is starting to leak, that something horrible is oozing inwards. She can also see what she realizes swiftly are /smoke bubbles/ from what she vaporized.

She stops her bombardment, marvels momentarily at what she has wrought, and then puts her shoulders back at the thing's eye. Sticking partway through, it is only when the lid flutters that she is able to suddenly get out, landing on the choppy seas as if she'd skidded out on a skateboard. She rests on her elbows before being unceremoniously buried beneath a wave.

There is a flash in the dark water.

Arcflash appears back on the edge of the bridge, sort of floating down with her arms extended and then looking down at a spreading crack in the concrete with horror.

Shaking her head, she flicker-flashes again to come up behind one of the small demons, against whom she puts a hand on either side of its head and - well - it's pretty grisly. Her eyes are wide and staring as she does it; but at least she isn't trapped inside of the horror's eyeball!

*

Slowly she floats down and she looks down and decides, why the heck not. Even as she lands on the thing, she is breathing heavily. She likely couldn't live more than a few tons right now. By her standards, she's weak as a kitten. She looks down at the thing, and stumbles forward a step on it before she looks up at the bridge. She can't hold that up. S he can't do much in her mind but she looks down at her quarry. She reaches back with one hand and clenches a fist.

With effort she calls out, "Alright you piece of crap…lets see how you like it when someone starts messing around in your mind." She then slams her fist down hard and then brings up her other fist and slams it down and then she begins to repeat it over and over, repeatedly aiming at teh same spot and attempting to dig right in, "Come on…give up. Surrender…we all want this over with quickly…"

*

People press forward, there is a confusion of terror and voices as the people evacuating still move forward due to to Simon’s commands. From the river, a large was of water rushes forward. I tis a a surprise to the deans, who that thought hat element only theirs to control. The bridge tumbles and shakes and cracks as the large beast in the river continues to thrash. The was of water causes a completely clear path for those attempting the cross the bridge. Still, there is the shriek of the demons. Behind them, they attempt to salvage this attack and take what they can.

In the water, Arcflash teleports from within the creature to above the bridge. Maxima continues to punch at the creature. It gives strange noises, the bridge and those within earshot shuddering at the strange way it roots itself in their brain.

Then, the creature’s eye swivels. It looks right at Maxima and then toward Arcflash. And then with a weird sigh there is crash of water and the tentacles, the creature falls away into cascade of water. The damage on the bridge remains. The demons on the bridge do as well. However, a shift in the air occurs.

*

Simon hauls himself back to his feet, reloading the pistol in his hand and firing at a demon gathering itself to leap at Sloane, "Yeah! Nice lead blocker, Albright." Grabbing the back of a lagging civilian's coat, he pushes her in the direction of the piscine SHIELD agent, "Follow the water, ma'am." Which would be good if he could keep his own feet. Tumbling down again, he rolls into a crouch, studying the demons gathering for another rush. "Not in my city." And he gathers up one of his special toys, a fragmentation grenade. He pulls the pin, and tosses it in the direction of the demons, calling behind him, "Fire in the hole!" It hopefully shouldn't do structural damage, not with all the open air around it, but shrapnel is his friend right now.

*

As the path ahead starts to clear, the path behind gets more attention from the demons; she looks back long enough to see Arcflash return to the bridge in a flare of light while Maxima seems to be able to pummel — and through their combined efforts— start driving the creature back, or at least to cause it to temporarily retreat into the waves. The thought flits in the back of her head for just a moment: There were still civilians that demons took with them…

A screech ahead pulls her attention back from the Hadouken of water; with so much of it being hurled around through kraken-sized impacts and the air itself, it gives her so much ammunition to work with.

Her right arm is gathering water, though from the agitation and swirl, she's trying to compress it— pack it tighter and tighter, to increase the pressure as her hand gets involved — fingers curling, using gesture to hold her focus at the molecules and chains of elements.

By the time she releases the demon in her grip, the pressure builds further on the water and requires two hands to keep it tight and focused. "Fire in the hole!" she calls back, looking back to their rearguard — be they agents, aliens, or strange constructs of light.

Merrow shifts her hands, presses the water together with both physical strength and hydrokinesis working in tandem … and then lets it fly in the direction of the tag-along demons trying to chase the group down. It's a tightly-focused jet, a burst that lasts only a short time, but it's powerful:

A firehose delivers at 300 PSI. This is somewhere around 2500.

It's enough that even Sloane, with Inhuman strength, nearly knocks herself off her feet from the blow-back.

*

Breathing somewhat heavily, Arcflash - well arc-flashes some of the demons. And then she sees more lunging forwards towards the shrieking creatures.

"Oh my god," she says, before

flash!

Relocating herself again, standing with somewhat precarious stance on the edge of the bridge and saying to one particularly savage looking demon, "NO!" This time she emits the shrieking burst of intense light from her under-arm, purely because the creature was trying to dive past her.

At this point a frag grenade goes off. Arcflash winces.

Then she sees the firehose go off.

The water runs through her purely on happenstance but it just seems to make her sort of sparkle and coruscate around the midsection for a moment, though there is a tense look on her face. Then she cackles. "YES!"

"I'm sending mixed messages," Arcflash mutters to herself.

*

There's something to be said for being someone who can survive in space. It means you can survive in water, too. The thing sinks beneath the waves and so does Maxima. She temporarily considers holding on, finishing this creature and following it to its lair. However, she realizes there's something more important as she raises back up to the surface. She ends up floating there, on her back, eyes closed for a moment and then she raies up her hand. She looks up at the bridge and how it shakes and shudders. A part of her mind still aware of the fear coming from up there.

And she rises, water dripping from her form. She floats up with her teeth gritted. Her eyes droop, her body shudders and she finally lands on the edge of the bridge behind the demons and she raises her left hand and smiles, "Get them all to safety!" She calls out, her voice tired yet loud and clear.

The burst of water from Sloane helps drive them back as does the flashes of light from Arcflash. "Just make sure they all survive."

She looks with a grin at the demons as a forcefield, weak though wide stretches the whole bridge like a chainlinke fence. It is weak enough and it might give…but not before more space is put between the people and the demons.

"You will go…no further." She states, "As long as I still stand, so does that wall. Come and face your destiny here and now." Her right hand clenches into a fist and she raises it for a fight while her left maintains the field out stretched.

*

The creature dissolves back into the waters of the East River. It leaves focus on the demons on the bridge that have laser focus on the citizens attempting to flee. They surge forward, intent on dragging SHIELD agents, civilians and those just fighting against the horrible creature from the river.

However, before they are able to make much ground, there is the grenade that lights up the sky much like Arcflash did previously. The creatures all shriek in unison and some stumble to the ground in pain. The bridge shakes with the impact and then again as the tentacle that remains slowly starts to slide off and into the waters. The large splash that rises up only enhances the intense force of water that Merrow calls up from the river below them.

The civilians run and scream, their path finally clear. The waters crashing against the bridge, rocking it almost violently. The supports groan, but many of the creatures pursuing them are washed off the bridge itself in the deluge. In tandem with Maxima’s field, the creatures crash against it, hissing and shrieking, piling against each other in an attempt to get through toward their victims. Looking back every now and again, the creatures do not venture across the bridge. Instead, once their chosen prey have gone out of sight, they start to slink back toward the depths from which they came.

Water streams down the bridge in the wake of Sloane’s attack, and gunfire still punctuates the retreat, the demons otherwise contained by Maxima’s forcefield and deciding to slink back to the river. Due to the bravery of those escorting the civilians and those who leapt forward to help, there are merely injuries and trauma rather than casualties. It’s as much of a win as can be garnered in a time like this.

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