1258/The Hunger: Murder By Design

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The Hunger: Murder By Design
Date of Scene: 20 April 2020
Location: Flushing Meadows Park
Synopsis: While the Thanagarians do battle outside, AIM presses their advantage ...
Cast of Characters: Tony Stark, Samuel Morgan, Pepper Potts, Wanda Maximoff, Ben Grimm, Rogue, Karen Starr, Natasha Romanoff

Tony Stark has posed:
It's chaos.

The Expo is under attack by soldiers in winged combat armor, firing on the concourse with energy weapons. A pitched aerial battle is taking place in the skies above, with the Starr Software Pavilion seeming to be the sky-warriors' focus. Smoke pours into the night sky, and the panicked cries of hundreds of Expo-goers fills the air.

The alarm had gone up, drawing anyone and everyone who could help to Flushing Meadows. This was an alien attack the likes of which had not been seen since the Dominator Invasion of almost a decade before.

The Stark Pavilion itself is quiet, having already closed for the evening and the majority of the exhibitors and guests had been seen out before it had been closed for the night. It's the perfect staging ground while the other heroes take care of what looks to be the vanguard outside.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    It's not Sam's week. Not too long ago he found himself in the middle of a hostage standoff with actual Nazis while walking Bear, and today he just wanted to clear his head among the high tech that he likes so much. His RFID wristband is still glowing green, a sign that he's welcome anywhere, and he even left Bear in the care of his next door neighbor, Karen, who was always happy to pretend not to be an undercover SHIELD agent sent to watch him as long as he played along and never actually did anything that necessitated her reminding him. The world of espionage and subterfuge... as long as everyone understands the rules, it can be quite civilised.

    Which is why he found himself, alone, wandering the expo when out of nowhere, aliens. Seriously? Really? One moment he's just walking around, the next the place turns into a warzone. All his equipment is on the wrong side of the city, leaving him with just his wits, some rudimentary self defense weapons and what is starting to feel like a raging anger towards the flying alien troopers that decided to barge in on his time of quiet reflection.

    The Stark Pavilion seemed like the logical place to go, both because he knows the ground, because it seems to be escaping the notice of the opposing force, and because he might even be able to cobble together something to defend himself with.

Pepper Potts has posed:
Miss Pepper Potts is, of course, attending the Expo, or rather, working to make sure it goes off without a hitch. One more year almost under the belt, and all hell breaks loose? Currently, the redhead is standing beside a display, her erstwhile 'bodyguard', Happy, looking like a deer in the headlights, searching for the best route to duck and cover in order to make it to the car safely.

With each distant *boom*, Pepper starts and ducks, green eyes wide. "Where's Tony? We have to get out of here."

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
The call from Genosha about the unexpected freighter too big for the remnants of the dock facility had come in the middle of the night. It was well into day before Wanda Maximoff and her brother had made it back to New York, teleporting back with the owner of the ship carrying disaster relief supplies, to save her a long voyage.

Then there were reports on some suspected Hydra activity to read. Followed by a small but important matter involving a magic item with an extremely low amount of friction that duplicated itself every time it was dropped. Thankfully the staff who had cleaned the wrong store room were not buried alive before Wanda got there.

And now finally, Wanda is able to climb into bed and rela-

"Wanda," the voice of JARVIS says. "There is a large battle happening at the Stark Expo. Possible extraterrestrial involvement."

Wanda groans but climbs out of bed and back into a fresh uniform. Moments later, red light at the Expo coalesces into the form of the Scarlet Witch. With baggy eyes and no coffee.

Ben Grimm has posed:
Trouble? Aliens? Science? Someone call the Fantastic Four!

Well, in this case, the Fantastic One. No, not Reed. He's busy. Instead, this problem will be solved not with scientific acumen and careful thought but with raw physical power.

Ben Grimm arrives in one of the Fantasticars, the trademark bathtub-shaped supervehicle letting him drop from a height, landing on his feet with powerful thump.

He's pretty hard not to notice as he strides forward and shakes out his arms, "Proximity sensor ding dings say there's some trouble a-brewin'. You folks maybe better get yer tails outta here so I can wreck some alien butt."

Some people just stare at him.


Rogue has posed:
Rogue was up in Westchester about 45 minutes north via vehicle when she heard word of what was going on down here. But she wasn't traveling here to help out via car ... From above the puffy clouds in the sky, Rogue sweeps in with her arms out wide on either sides of her and her leather jacket flowing around her shoulders and back, her brown and white hair sweeping around her shoulders!

From above, she descends, toward the Stark Expo. She knew where it was, she'd spotted Citi Field not far away and had heard that it was near by to that on the news the other night.

The Belle in the sky is descending rapid now, her green and gold suit accentuating her form as she doesn't yet touch down on to the ground, but instead sweeps acros sthe sky above it.

Karen Starr has posed:
    Metropolis is just under a hundred-fifty miles away. Karen, for her part, has left running the Starrware pavilion to a combination of automation and her two secretaries in shifts. It's unlucky for her exhibited wares that the secretary that isn't an ex-homicidal maniac is the one on duty, but all the same, the alarm goes off in her office, alerting a small device that she keeps with her at all times.

    When she stands, she leaves behind a convincing image of Karen Starr, seated at her desk frantically handling phone calls. The AI isn't overly complex- but it won't have to stand up to scrutiny at this hour.

    Her departure rattles the oddly reinforced windows of the Starrware high-rise. She's hitting altitude and dropping into heavy speed to make it to New York before there's more devastation. The phrase 'booking it' doesn't really do it justice.

    Before she's even there, Power Girl is already hearing of how her pavilion is covered. It's all recoverable anyways- though she's loathe to even consider the implications of any of that technology making it into the wrong hands before it's ready.

    Her focus shifts, then, to where the alarm had drawn her: center stage. There is a thunderous noise in the sky that doesn't herald her arrival so much as play fanfare. She'd outpaced it long ago. When she lands, it's with a grim determination and no wristband. For the moment, she's here altogether illegally.

    Rising from a knee, she strides forward, towards the vanguard at the gate. For now, she's said nothing, wearing that intense face like a grand mask. Her hands clench into fists... She's ready to take out her frustration that her pavilion would be attacked, that lives are in danger over her technology, on whoever and whatever is attacking.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
Natalie Rushman disappeared early in the chaos, looking remarkably - but not unreasonably! - terrified.
    The Black Widow returned after a quick change of attire, clad in a zipped up black bodysuit, boots, gloves, gauntlets, two thigh holsterns, and a mask fully encasing her head with eight glowing red 'eyes' on the front of it.
    By the time she enters the park ground, she's fiddling with her gauntlets, head tilted downwards until she's satisfied with a pronounced 'click' and an electric whirring coming from the twin bracers.
    <<You picked the wrong place to hide.>> Natasha voice comes reverberating through the sound output of the mask near Pepper as Natasha suddenly walks by, sounding just slightly distorted. Not unlike Tony's does when it's coming through his armor. <<He's fighting them at the exhibits. Holding them off.>> Natasha's masked face turns upwards, appraising something, <<He won't get them all. More will come through here.>> Natasha aimes one of her gauntlets outward.
    <<They won't leave.>>
    Some small mettallic device shoots out from her gauntlet and attaches to a street lamp, befiore immediately firing out a second device that latches onto something else, holding up a tight black cord between them. Natasha begins to do this over and over, setting wire traps with... very high electrical charges all over the area, briefly glancing around as others appear.
    <<Everyone.>> She says as she approaches the gathered mass. <<For those not up to speed, we're being attacked by an unknown force. They have wings, they are powerful, and they are not communicating. That is the sum of our knowledge. They will be here in force, and they need to be dealt with. That is the situation. If you have anything extra to offer in advance, now's the time.>>
    "Black Widow tilts her head slightly. and points towards one of the wire traps. <<Those able, do not fly through those. You will die.>> The pointing finger turns to Power Girl, and Widow seems to consider for a second. <<You... still don't fly through those. I need them to die.>>

Tony Stark has posed:
The winged warriors are already taking a licking as the heroes converge on Stark Expo, two of them already dead or dying while the rest face the danger of being outnumbered and even outclassed by the defenders outside. The gathering in the Stark Expo prepares for the assault, but already it looks as though no assault may come. SHIELD operatives have already begun to arrive outside, cordoning off areas that are not still active combat zones and securing any alien technology left discarded. It seems as though it may soon be all over bar the shouting ...

It's then that Iron Man arrives, descending into the open-air pavilion clad in the red and gold armor he is most well-known for. He hovers briefly before landing amidst the throng, pointing a gauntleted finger towards the masked Black Widow.

<You heard her,> he intones through the external speaker on his armor, <It looks like these guys are already beat but we don't know how many more of them are on their way.>

As he moves, he glances sidelong at Pepper and cants his helmet forward slightly: <Hi. I need someone to get Ms. Potts and her potentially-fired bodyguard somewhere safe before ->

And then it happens. A brilliant flash of light so blinding that it streams from all the windows and doors of the Stark Pavilion, spilling out into the night and momentarily turning night into day. When it begins to clear, there is a veritable army there - occupying space that had been empty moments before. A phalanx of soldiers in yellow bodysuits and masks, all identical and looking more than a little like beekeepers. There is no fewer than twelve of them.

Flanking either side are what appear to be mechanical humanoids of some sort, one staggeringly tall at over ten feet and the other the size of a tall man. Both are coated in what looks like a greenish-blue metal plating, though the features are different.

And behind all of them, towering taller than any, is what looks like an immense, hideous head encased within a flying rig of some sort. A hideous visage festooned with arms and legs the size of normal man, while the head is over twelve feet tall!

"Take them!" screams MODOK, his voice shrill with malevolent glee, "Take them!"

Pepper Potts has posed:
Even after 'all this time', Pepper still isn't completely used to, or comfortable with Tony in his Iron Man suit. She's got those equal parts pride and out and out terror that something will happen to him.. and that's not something she is even willing to consider.

With each *boom*, Pepper is covering her ears and ducking, keeping an eye out for herself as to where is a good exit, but.. there really isn't. So, she's here.. even if Natasha says otherwise,

"So I should have run across the expo," comes the response in a ragged, obviously controlled terrified tone. "In case you haven't noticed--

"What?" The news, however, that Tony //won't// be able to hold them off scares her more than her own safety. Once again, she's looking around, this time for her boss, and back to Happy, imploringly.

It's the arrival of all the others that really push everything home, and she's pretty much stuck in place now. This.. this is probably the safest place-

And there he is. Tony.. "Oh thank god.." is actually uttered, though she is checking to see how damaged that suit is.

The relief is short-lived, however, with that brilliant, blinding white light, it's caught her blinking against it. In the next moment, at the sound of 'take them!', Pepper moves, one, two, three running steps in what she fully believes to be in the //opposite direction// of where they'd come. Surrounded? How is she to know? As she runs through where she believes is a 'safe' doorway, she comes face to face with a group of them. "No.... nononono.." and she turns back around to run the opposite direction. "Tony!!"

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    "One of those days." Sam smiles as he makes his way into the pavilion, trying to exude an air of calm competence. He's indoors, he's surrounded by heroes, and then there's the Black Widow. He tries not to look directly at her, to avoid any notion of them knowing one another. Korea never happened, couldn't even find it on a map... he's just a teenager that got stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    And it all looks like it might end up being over before it started, when Iron Man shows up. Well, all is well now.

    Until it isn't.

    Sam's eyes flash blue just after the light clears, his technopathic sense pinging from every direction. Good in a sense that he can tell where they all are, bad in that they're /that/ close. With due ceremony, he reaches into a pocket to retrieve a bandana, a black affair with a stylised white scorpion tail on it, tying it in front of his face as a rudimentary disguise. Then he reaches in again and retrieves a collapsible baton, extending it with a flick, looking between the heroes "For the record, anything I do now is in self defense. Two emergent AIs among them, codenamed SA-1 and DD-1. Best I can do for you right now."

    And then he looks at Pepper and Happy. "If this place is hiding a fully automatic particle cannon or something, I'd very much like to borrow it for a little while."

    With so many technological signatures around, sending a shutdown command is going to be tricky... at least, being discriminating about what he's shutting down is going to be tricky.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
Wanda Maximoff sees Iron Man arrive and following the sight of him, spots Black Widow and Pepper there as well even as she hears Nat over comms. <<Great, MODOK,>> Wanda says into her Avengers comms. <<Tony, do you have something in particular they might be after?>> she asks as she strides forward, boots clicking on the pavement with each step.

She is still some distance from Pepper and her bodyguard, but starts to step that way, saying into her comms, <<I can get Pepper out->> But that's as far as the Scarlet Witch gets, as one of the men in yellow seems to recognize her as he takes special aim at her and fires something her way.

Wanda barely reacts in time, throwing up a red barrier in front of her. Whatever the shot was, it hits it and blasts through, sending Wanda flying backwards and skidding across the pavilion floor a good dozen paces before she comes to a stop. She gets back to her feet, a hand going to her lip where a trickle of blood can be found. <<Pepper might need another to help,>> Wanda says as she sees the man taking aim at her again.

Ben Grimm has posed:
Ben Grimm grins as the AIM goons show up, "Shoot, listeni' to Tin Can Man, I was startin' t'think I wouldn't get a shot to break any faces. You chuds ain't aliens, but I suppose you'll do in a pinch," he says

He's not like to wait for long, putting his head down and beginning to charge towards the emerging mechanoids. He has a fist drawn back and intends to slam it forward in a good old fashioned knuckle sandwich straight at the first one he can get to.

"In case that ain't clear to you supernerds, let me put it for ya simple: IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!"

Rogue has posed:
Rogue doesn't land directly on the ground, but she does land on top of a sign that is about 15 feet off of the ground above where the briefing is taking place. Using her right gloved hand, she grasps hold of some scaffolding and observes it all as Iron Man lands - the first time she's seen him in reality and not on the television. Her green eyes scan over him, and over those with him, Pepper, Black Widow, Happy and the others who are near by to them, then she looks up and over to the 'Bee Keepers' that just came to escalate the conflict.

With a wind blowing across the area, Rogue's left gloved hand raises up to swipe her white and brown hair out of her face and behind her shoulder. She stares at the 'thing' that just ordered it's soldiers to 'Take them' and it makes her grin lightly, and shake her head shake her head softly once.

Rogue's form sweeps around the sign she's standing on, and both of her hands grab hold of one of the fifteen foot tall red letters that spell out F U T U R E. She rips the T right off of the sign, then sweeps up in to the air with it

As Ben Grimm charges forward, a giant fifteen foot tall red T is flung down at the right side of MODOK's soldiers!

Karen Starr has posed:
    The open-air of the plaza. Oh how thankful Power Girl is for that. No windows, no civilians- just bad guys and people that can handle the shockwave, for the most part.

    There is Pepper and Nat to worry about, the latter of whom gets a grim "No promises." before Power Girl starts walking forward. The Thing charges, but Karen's response is a little more measured... At first. She really needed to put some distance between herself and Pepper more than anything. After about the fifth long step, she rises off of the ground, and surges forward.

    Ben had charged the larger of the two- and in that moment, she takes some spare portions of a second to give it a once over. Dense material- she can't see inside it. Valuable information. There's this loud -BANG- when she takes to the air, slamming forward at just above the speed of sound. Branching off from Ben, she zooms past and lowers her shoulder, colliding with the smaller mechanoid and sending it flying towards the outer wall.

    It hits and collapses the stone, breaking it apart and sending rubble down atop the golden machine, all of her momentum transferred into the robot as Power Girl comes to a sudden halt in the place it once stood.

    Twisting, she calls back to Ben in those spare- and they are few- before he'll collide on his own path with the larger of the pair: "It's really DENSE!" She cries, "It can take a -hit.-" Not that Ben was likely going to hold much back... But just in case.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    <<Bodes well.>> is Natasha's response to Tony's update on the status of the expo attack. <<But never trust a half-assed invasion.>> Widow crosses her arms, craning her neck to look at Pepper and Happy when they're indicated before she's suddenly forced to look downward by the intense light.
    When she looks up again, the sky is... full, and Natasha clenches her teeth behind her mask. She opens both gunholsters and briefly fixes her eyes on the floating abomination amongst them. The order of her thoughts go: Looks vulnerable> Is it shielded?> WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?> It's a fascinating autopsy report in the making.
    Her eye is taken off of the bird, however, by Pepper's scream. <<*Hell.*>> She grunts, turning on her heel and sprinting towards Pepper like a panther, drawing one pistil as she moves. As one Thanagarian's hand reaches out towards Pepper, a bullet pierce his palm, and in that split second where he draws his arm back in pain, Widow appears in front of Pepper and snap-kicks upward, driving her boot into his hand, and nearly driving THAT through his face.
    <<BACK AWAY!>> Is Natasha's half-growled command to Pepper, before a massive mace is brought down to where Natasha's standing.
    She takes two spinning steps to the side, then retraces them backwards again once the mace has hit the ground, wrapping one arm around the Thanagarian's forearm, and then twisting to the side to drag him to the ground. As she rolls before touching the earth, she fires two pistol rounds aimed at the heads of two of the other soldiers, and when she hits the ground, she aims downward and puts a bullet in the head of the soldier she just pulled down.
    A third soldier approaches Natasha as she stands up, and she ducks forward under his horizontal swing, grabbing his calves and snapping her leg up over her head into his jaw, before straightening up again and pulling his legs out from under him; again putting two bullets into him when he hits the ground.
    It's actually *NOT* going well, because more are moving past her to Pepper. With a grunt of exertion, Natasha runs between two of them and grabs Pepper. <<*Move!*>> She order, and spins Pepper out of the way of a grab while holding her close, using her free arm to put two bullets into the attacker. <<DUCK!>> She adds, and pushes Pepper down onto her knees by the shoulder, leaning over her as another swipe passes over their heads. Two more bullets. <<GRR!!>> Isn't even a word, as she's then forced to pitche herself forward, rolling over Pepper, grabbing her, and carrying her along with her to both roll out of the way of another.
    Then her gun clicks dry.

Tony Stark has posed:
<Good, that's helping,> Iron Man offers Sam when he hears his brief info-dump, <No particle cannons - this is a 'no weapons' kind of expo. Though I'm starting to regret that - but here's what I know: this is AIM - technocrats and terrorists. Those are people in those yellow suits, but whatever those green things are? They're artificial. Which means give 'em hell, big guy!> The last is shouted towards Ben Grimm as Tony represses just a little bit of superfan excitement at seeing one of the Fantastic Four in action!

Two of the yellow-suited soldiers are swept up by the gigantic 'T' that is flung at them by Rogue, one knocked out of the way while the other remains unmoving and pinned beneath it. The one that rolled out of the way levels his weapon, firing bursts of amber energy squealing through the air in the Belle's direction.

The smaller of the robots labeled 'SA-1' seemed destroyed by Power Girl's strike, but a moment later there is stirring from within the pile of a rubble. Slowly it begins to fall away, and SA-1 slowly floats upward. What was once featureless green metal has reshaped, stretched out and reformed to become a long, flowing cape suspended by a plate and a length of cable. Oddly, it is as though it has partly changed shape to match part of the Kryptonian's costume. Then it is flying directly at Karen, matching her speed. Matching her strength!

The larger one - DD-1 - looms over the Thing, clawed hands grasping at the air. Ben's strikes do not so much as scuff its armored plating, even as they ring out with deafening 'clangs' through the plaza. One hand sweeps down, attempting to grab at the orange rock-man - moving with mechanical efficiency.

"Such foolish, pedestrian 'heroes'," MODOK says with a roll of his gigantic eyes, hovering higher in his floating chair, "I shouldn't be surprised you'd resort so quickly to fisticuffs! You shall regret it!" It is then that the air around the creature's head begins to shimmer with a violet light, and his cruel eyes fix upon Wanda. He lashes out with telepathic savagery, cackling all the while.

It is in the midst of the chaos that Tony spies Pepper and Natasha, surrounded as they are by the soldiers. He points a finger at Sam, says: <Kid, break something.> and then rockets off in their direction.

The armor turns through the air with fighter jet grace, shoulder driving into one of the soldiers nearest to the two women hard enough to send him tumbling backwards to land in a sprawling heap. As another of the soldiers darts in to strike at Natasha, Iron Man's armored gauntlet catches the man by the throat and flings him aside as though he weighed nothing.

<Mind if I cut in?> he asks, holding out an arm for them both to grab onto as the soldiers begin to regroup and close in again, <Put your tray tables in an upright position. No smoking. Yadda yadda yadda.>

Pepper Potts has posed:
At least this isn't a zombie movie where Pepper would be breaking a heel and fall backwards onto her butt ungracefully before crab-walking backwards. Nope. She's on her feet, backing away again and twisting around quickly in order to run in the other direction. Natasha's orders are hard to hear in the tumult of battle. Things are chaotic; so not her 'thing'.

Catching the other woman, however, Pepper does what she thinks Widow //wants// her to do, and is rewarded by no little man-handling, from pulling and pushing and.. as the bullets fly and metal explodes, she lets out a shriek and starts to move in the direction //away// from it. She's grabbed, ducks.. and allows herself to be pulled along.

And then there's Tony! She looks up, and there's that relief again as she reaches out to grab hold. She's done this at least once before, right? One grab, once more, and she nods rapidly, breathlessly in her fear, "I .. I got it.."

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    Normally, Sam isn't one to question orders or hesitate in the face of a fight. But this? He looks at Iron Man, at the desperate fight, then at his baton. What follows is an almost bestial snarl as he starts to sprint forwards. Because now is not the time for measured responses and reasonable force.

    Deep inside, the keeper of his darkness reaches out and opens the door of the cage. Eyes flash a bright blue and remain illuminated as The Beast slips his leash and comes out to play.

    Halfway to his nearest target, Sam's senses reach out and seize control of the communications suite in the AIM suits. Controls are overridden, and a very loud squeal is the only warning they have that their headsets have just been cranked up well past eleven to something nearer to fifty five. Cue the music... the soothing balled by Bullet for my Valentine, 'Scream, Aim, Fire'. It's loud enough that you could sing along to it if you so wanted on the outside.

    The baton flashes as he finally gets to the soldier, a brutal series of strikes that lash out like the tail of a scorpion, going for joints, pressure points and ending with a vicious strike to the head. He's off the leash...

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
The AIM soldier points his futuristic weapon at Wanda again and blasts another shot her way, even as she throws her hand forward, a bolt of energy meeting the shot halfway between them and sending out a tremendous thunderclap from the impact as the two cancel each other out.

The soldier prepares another shot but Wanda is faster, a hex bolt flying towards him and claiming his gun, every fastener on it coming loose at once and it falls apart into several pieces. The soldier's reaction is to scream in terror and dive away moments before its power source detonates without the containment provided by the weapon. His body goes flying across the grassy commons.

The Scarlet Witch turns her attention towards the rest of the soldiers just as MODOK strikes at her. To those watching, violet energy seems to wreath her eyes, trying to enter into her head. Wanda lets out a scream and holds up her hands, glowing scarlet as if trying to push it away.

But within Wanda's head it is far worse. Wanda finds herself tumbling in freefall in a sky of violet, with jagged crystals suspending in the air, zooming past as she falls. Their points are sharp as knives as her arm hits one and slices open. Everywhere she hears the voice of MODOK commanding her obedience. In the telepathic battle she lashes out, sending hex bolts into one crystal after another beneath her. As they shatter, MODOK's voice cries in frustration and pain, and violet lightning starts to crackle in the sky in a purple storm cloud nearby, her as if preparing to strike down at her falling form. Wanda rolls over in the air, jets of red suspending her fall in the violet mindscape, and holding her aloft as she turns to face the coming storm cloud, the thunder booming with MODOK's voice. "OBEY!"

Ben Grimm has posed:
Ben Grimm grimaces a bit as his first blows rebound off the massive mechanoid without much obvious effect. Things usually shatter or splatter on the impact of his fist and seeing something stand up to it like that is a pretty unusual occurence.

"Dense, huh? I'll show dis piece o' crud DENSE," he says, hammering in a few more rabbit punches.

When it tries to grab ahold of him, Ben will attempt to seize the incoming mechanical and do one of those fancy-schmancy judo throws they've been trying to teach him, pivoting DD-1 over his hip and trying to fling it up into the air end over end.

"Yo, Blondie, you take a swing at this hard-ass sucker!" he yells at Power Girl.

Karen Starr has posed:
    Karen's attention is torn from the robot the Thing is attacking back to her own dance partner. It floats out of the rubble in a way that she'd predicted. She hadn't hubris enough to assume that it would just fly apart and be done just with the one hit. As soon as it seemed all that easy, she quite correctly assumed it had been -too- easy.

    Then, its form shifts and there's a moment of surprise.

    "Well. That's not good." she responds, only moments before being hit by a flying tackle from the green android. She's only flying for so long before her boots catch the ground, and her hands lock in with the green automaton's. The two of them end up in a stalemate, titanic strength locked against one another as Power Girl's arms tense, every muscle working against the robot.

    It's replicated her speed, her strength, and the durability to keep up with its own abilities- which means the durability needed to keep up with hers. This lock-step moment gives her time to think at the pace of a Kryptonian, and out of those moments a plan forms. Her stance shifts, and she spins, using her locked-hands with the green android to wrap it up in a well-practiced throw.

    "BEN. CHANGE." she calls, working the SA-1 in a single circle around herself and then actively -chucking- it with all of her might right at the rock-skinned member of the Fantastic Four. If nothing else, it'll at least enhance the punch that will be coming for it.

    The plan is simple: If this thing Adapts, keep it adapting. Make it think on its feet. If it can't fully adapt to either the Thing or herself, then it can, hopefully, be overloaded.

    Luckily, at least part of the plan is popular, as the two androids trade in-air and Karen has just enough time to meet DD-1 head on.

    She has no doubts to the Thing's strength, and has little to no reason to think that this android is -that- invulnerable.

    That's why when it meets her fist, letting out an -ear-shattering -CLANG- of fist-upon-metal without so much as a dent, Karen immediately begins trying to think on her feet. For the moment, she'll test its strength- allowing the android to retaliate as it may.

Rogue has posed:
With the metal and plastic T tower thrown down at the Bee Keeprs, Rogue is satisfied at the resulting level of chaos it caused. One of them beneath it, another scattered away from it and a 3rd now aiming it's weapon up at her. Rogue's 'Seventh Sense' allows her to see danger to herself before it comes, and when the weapon starts to fire at her she's able to swirl, spin and roll through the sky with her arms wide open (like that Creed song)!

Swooping right on through the weapon fire, Rogue lands at the shooter and grabs hold of his arm, she turns her body around so that she presses her back up against him (it?), and with both hands she snaps the gun in half before turning around to 'peck' the Bee Keeper's mask with a quick smooch before she throws them right over her shoulder and off in to the distance toward a bunch of junk!

The lone X-woman spins around then and watches the otehrs engaged in the various fights, her eyes on Wanda screaming, then Peej and Grimm... what a mess. "So this is what Stark Expos are like, huh? Glad I moved out east. Sure beats Friday night at the bowlin' alley back home."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha is still having that tiny-heart-attack moment of finding out her gun is empty exactly when she really needed a bullet, when Tony makes his entrance, drawing a heavy sigh of relief from the masked agent.
    She stands up and moves quickly towards Tony - reloading her pistol on the way, no wasted motion - before holstering it and locking both of her arms around one of Tony's. <<Appreciated.>>

Tony Stark has posed:
All at once the yellow-clad 'bee keepers' of AIM let out a scream, gloved hands reaching to clasp their helmets at either side as though trying in vain to block their ears. Several of them stagger to their knees as the overloud music blares out through their suits, while the one Rogue flings is only just regaining his feet before he is sent hurtling through the air!

The larger of the robots is unthinking as it grabs at Ben, having no greater battle strategy than simply grab and crush. It's no surprise that the Thing manages to throw it, sending the machine tumbling through the air before it crashes into the stage set up at the center of the pavilion. It lays there momentarily, but only momentarily - already it is rising to its feet, eyes glowing a menacing orange.

SA-1, now flung at Ben, begins to visibly shift before their very eyes! His arms and legs take on a blocky, angular quality - like the Thing's own rocky flesh, except green. He still bears the Power Girl cape, fluttering behind him. He pauses for a moment, the light behind his eyes stuttering as though processing - and then he's taking the fight to the Thing!

MODOK meanwhile hovers there, diminutive arms and legs flailing. The pupils of his eyes have faded away to nothing, leaving only an ominous violet glow. His great, broad mouth opens wide as his teeth gnash against each other. The battle rages on, the man-computer struggling to wrest control of Wanda's mind from her.

"Nyeh!?" he growls, suddenly and momentarily distracted from the mental war by the blasting music. A flick of a switch on his chair deactivates the communications system entirely, leaving the soldiers slightly deafened but free of the noise. An open moment ...

<Kid - Riri!> Tony announces into his com, calling the attention of the fighters outside, <Get everybody out of here! Clear the area! NOW! GO!>

It's a simple command, but he trusts Ironheart enough to enact it. Meanwhile the suit soars above the fray, Natasha and Pepper both hanging from it. The suit soars through the air, banking sharply to the left to avoid the flung DD-1 robot as Ben heaves it through the air. He's still speaking as they fly, making for the open air roof.

<I'm dropping you off outside. We need to make sure that ->

BLAM! From down below, one of the bee keepers levels an immense weapon on his shoulder and sends a lancing beam of energy hurtling through the air. It clips the suit in the shoulder and all at once the lights in the eyes go off, the thrusters stutter and go out. The armor hurtles lifelessly through the air, angled towards one of the concrete walls!

Pepper Potts has posed:
Relief.. after a fashion. Pepper //feels// better, at the very least, now that there's some chance of getting away. Doesn't mean she's not worried about Tony, and, well.. everyone now on the ground (and in the air.. and.. and..). The path is familiar ground, er, air, and she knows exactly what he's talking about when he gives the immediate destination.

As they near it, the shots that flare out and hit Tony brings a scream again as she drops from his hold. She falls and rolls heavily, finally losing one of those Prada shoes.. and searches the sky frantically to see if she can't find her boss. "Tony!!!"


Karen Starr has posed:
    There come several more clangs, as Power Girl is rather immediately beset upon by the larger 'droid. Grappling her is difficult, but possible- as Karen is testing its might. Already, she's thinking of ways to disable it- but more than anything, she knows she can't keep this up forever. The robot is tougher than she can handle, especially down here where the growing shockwaves of unleashing more of her strength would be dangerous to anyone remaining, and the ground they're standing on.

    So, why stand on it?

    The larger android grabs onto her with its immense claws, and instead if crumbling under its weight, she shifts her stance, bending at one knee to hoist the android's center of gravity onto her shoulders. "Ben!" she shouts, her eyes literally laser-focused on the invulnerable robot trying to crush her in its grip. "You're going to need to wrestle with that for a bit!"

    Then, she pushes off with her legs, enough force in the shove to crack and -dent- the concrete below her. The rise is meteoric, and she doesn't take long to surge skyward with such speed that she and the robot become a mix of colors, flying higher and higher into the sky. It'll leave everyone on the ground alone for a time- with the weight of the android and the atmosphere still surrounding her, Karen can't quite shoot herself off of the planet like she wants to.

    With its leverage removed, the crushing becomes more and more difficult, and her arms press to either side, sending its claws from her just as she grabs onto its torso.

    She weathers hits that cause her to stumble midair, losing altitude once, then twice, before redoubling her efforts, and flying up, up, and away...

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    The baton is abandoned when the soldier goes down, because this is turning into a fight for which close range weaponry is going to be insufficient. Sam rolls as he picks up the rifle, firing a series of shots into the beekeepers as he comes up on one knee. The aim is accurate and professional, snapping from target to target as if he's an automated turret that is responding to nearby movement.

    A fraction of a second too late to bring down the trooper firing the blast at Tony. But that fraction is all that soldier is going to be getting, before a series of three shots thump into him. The Mozambique drill... two to the chest, one to the head. And then, he becomes aware that a signature has faded from his perception.

    "Tony, No!"

    In an odd gesture, Sam takes the supporting hand off his liberated rifle and stretches it out to the falling Iron Man, concentrating... this is one he cannot, must not, fuck up.

    Flight surfaces on the Iron Man suit start to shift and move, angling it away from the wall, flattening out the ballistic trajectory as if trying to steer for an emergency landing. It won't be pretty, but it won't be a dead drop onto concrete either.

Wanda Maximoff has posed:
Within the mindscape where MODOK and the Scarlet Witch battle, the Avenger throws bolts of crimson at the storm cloud but multiple forks of lightning blast out like jagged fingers seeking out the woman. They strike her and Wanda's body convulses in pain.

<<KILL! YOU WILL KILL THEM ALL. KILL THE AVENGERS!>> the voice of MODOK screams into the trembling woman's brain.

Wanda eyes cloud with visions. Captain America's broken body, his own shield buried in his chest, lying half-atop Wasp's broken form. The wreckage of Iron Man's armor is strewn nearby, Tony's blood-stained visage visible through the helmet that is smoking, half torn off.

Wanda can't stop screaming as she crumbles, suddenly on the ground instead of falling. Sinking to her knees as MODOK's voice beams into her head. <<MENTAL ORGANISM DESIGNED ONLY FOR KILLING!! YOUR SCREAMS ARE MUSIC TO MY EARS!! YOU WILL KILL THEM ALL!!>>

Another body tumbles to the ground before Wanda. She can't see his face, only that he's clad in black and purple, his bow falling to the ground. His hand hits and something rolls free from it, bouncing to land before her.

It's a burgundy coffee mug, embossed with an old, faded picture. A picture of a boy with white hair and a girl with auburn-red hair of a same age, similarities marking them as siblings, sitting atop an old van with a beautiful young gypsy woman. (https://i.imgur.com/5fLNvvf.jpg)

The violet mindscape shatters and in the real world, Wanda rises up from where she'd also sunken to her knees. She floats up into the air, her body glowing with a nimbus of scarlet that turns blinding. "NEVER!" Wanda yells, and the energy around her blasts out towards MODOK. It hits a spherical shield around him, the barrier glowing red and then suddenly shattering as the last of Scarlet Witch's blast fades and she drops back to the ground.

Ben Grimm has posed:
Ben Grimm welcomes the incoming robot with open arms. The kind of arms that wrap around and clamp and squeeze with all their might. He figures punching might not be the most effective, but squeezing, well, squeezing is a different thing entirely. If the guts of the thing start to spurt out its butt like toothpaste, all the better.

At the end of it, he turns and does a maneuver he learned during his time in the Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation. It's called a Power Bomb and used to be one of Ben's signature finishing moves. If he can maneuver it, he'll heft the robot up onto his shoulder and slam it right down onto its back into the ground with all the force the blue-eyed ever-lovin' Thing can manage.

Rogue has posed:
Rogue steps on the rifle she'd broken in half and crushes it into more pieces as she starts to walk at a bit of a faster pace, her eyes scanning the 'battlefield' around them. She spots the Scarlet Witch (it's hard not to spot Wanda!) and that damn creepy MODOK thing.

Taking flight once again, the Belle extends her left fist and tucks her right up close to her chest. She zips at high speeds just off of the ground, head right for Wanda and MODOK. When she sees the Witch come back to reality, the Belle strikes. Her right fist pops out and she slams it into the side of MODOK at near full power! When her fist lands, she starts to unload with savage punches, one following another until she sends MODOK's brain encased form reeling away from her!

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha cranes her head to look back at the madness they're trying to leave behind, watching the ground recede below them. When Tony speaks, she looks up to his helmetted face. She's halfway to composing some kind of complaint in the event that Tony's sentence ends the way she thinks it's going to end, but it's completely forgotten the moment Tony takes a hit. She turns her head away from the sparks of the blast for a split second, looking back to Tony only to see the lights have gone out of the helmet's eyes.
    <<Tony!>> She gasps, before her better instincts take over, and she releases her grasp on Tony, hitting the ground in a roll, and coming to a stop on one knee with her hand planted on the ground. She immediately stands up, watching the arc of his fall, and his ultimate destination and calls out <*TONY!!*> in unison with Pepper, rushing towards him, though her gait is hampered by some pain mixed with the disorienting ride she just took.

Tony Stark has posed:
MODOK lets out a shrill cry of pain as Wanda throws off his telepathically-imposed shackles, still reeling as the telekinetic field around him is rendered inert. It's then that Rogue finds him, his eyes widening as she lands her incredible punch! The giant head-in-a-chair topples through the air, spiralling away with a screech of indignant rage.

"Enough! Take him! Adaptoid, retreat!"

"But, sir," one of the bee keepers shouts, voice muffled by the helmet he wears, "The Doomsday Man, he's - "

"Defeated! And hardly fitting our purposes if destroyed by the very thing it was built to vanquish! Take our prize and retreat! I foresee no victory through force of arms here!"

It's then that SA-1 rises from the indentation in the concrete that Ben had thrust it into. Rather than attacking, however, it begins to retreat. It flies with Kryptonian swiftness away from the Thing, scooping up the armored form of Tony Stark from where he lies still on the ground. It floats into the air, carrying the Armored Avenger by an ankle as it hovers there. It regards Natasha and Pepper impassively with glowing white eyes, holding Tony out of reach.

"Activate the teleportation field1" screeches MODOK, depressing another button on the mechanized chair he occupies.

Suddenly, the forces of AIM begin to vanish as quickly as they came. First is MODOK, monstrous mouth open wide in a gleeful cackle. Then several of the soldiers in various states of defeat, some still standing, others leaning on the rubble for support, and others still silent and unmoving on the ground.

For it's part, the DD-1 does not go anywhere. It hangs there suspended in space where Power Girl has deposited it, lacking the thrust required to do anything but spin impotently through the cold vacuum far from Earth.

Then SA-1 with his precious cargo in hand. A brilliant flash of light and then they're gone, and only the destruction remains ...

Pepper Potts has posed:
Pepper is run-limping towards the form of the downed Tony, green eyes focussed on those darked red eyes. She doesn't get far, however, when those... things close in and grab him, and she stops, her mouth opening and a scream exits the very human woman. She looks a mess physically; business skirt a mess, face darkened with dark smudes, and now barefoot, her stockings torn. And now this?

Pepper cries out again, another step forward even as those creatures disappear with Tony.

"Tony.. no!!" Oh god... someone.. anyone save him?

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    It seems to happen in slow motion, punctuated only by the suddenly very loud sound of his heart beats. Bolts have come in his direction, springing up gouts of concrete and dirt around his feet. Combat boots, smudged and no longer gleaming thump as Sam forces himself to run as fast as he can, overtaken in a mere few beats by SA-1. Seeing the awful sight of Tony being scooped up by the mechanoid. No mental command is working, no matter how hard he pushes, no override, not even a slight pause in its computational routines. Nothing!

    As a technopath, he's powerless.

    With glacial slowness, or so it seems to his combat attuned reflexes, his rifle comes up to his shoulder, closing the distance as his finger transfers from the trigger guard to the trigger itself, starting to squeeze. If he can't shut it down, he'll shoot it down. But then his sight line isn't clear any more, a form he quickly processes as Not A Target gets in the way, so he has to angle to the side to get his shot, refusing to shoot over or around Pepper. The approach isn't clear... now Tony himself is in the way.

    Take the shot!

    Take the shot! Acceptable casualties!

    With an effort of will, Sam wrenches the weapon aside and has to watch, helplessly, as Iron Man is abducted in front of his very eyes, the grip on his rifle tightening until the polymer of the grip assembly actually cracks. A sharp pain as the broken pieces slice into his palm, and the Beast retreats back to its cage.


Wanda Maximoff has posed:
The Scarlet Witch is focused on MODOK as Rogue lands the punches. "We must stop them from escaping!" she calls as she gathers up a hex bolt and launches it at MODOK, only to have him disappear moments before it reaches him.

Pepper's cry causes Wanda to wheel around. She throws chaos energy at the SA-1 with Tony in hand. The red energy hits the last of the flashing light of the teleportation beam. For a moment there's a struggle between the two energies as Wanda strains to hold the teleportation field open.

When it collapses shut, it does so with a loud snap and the recoil knocks Wanda over. Blood drips from her nose to the floor as she rises back up slowly. "Tony," she whispers softly.

Ben Grimm has posed:
Thing smashes a hand into the ground, creating a small crater and rippling impact all around him. Frustration abounds, especially since the robot who snatched Tony was in his hands merely moments ago.

"DAMMIT, I HAD 'IM! Slippery lowlife tin can junkheap piece o' crap. Flamin' cowards!" he snarls, shaking his fist at the recent sight of teleportation.

To Pepper, he shakes his head, "I'm sorry, dollface. We'll get 'im back. Antonio's a smart cookie, he'll probably wipe 'em out himself 'fore we get there anyways," he tries, then frowns as he sees Pepper in disarray, "Can somebody get the lady a friggin' coat already? CRIMINY!"

Rogue has posed:
Rogue drops out of the sky after the MODOK vanishes with the others, and with Iron Man. She looks over at Ben and agrees with a light nod of her head. "I thought we had'em out matched, all the muscle I seen on display here. What the /hell/ were those things anyway? How do they even get that kind technology? I mean, I can't even afford a Toyota, and these a-holes are flashin' around with Star Trek teleporters?" Dangit Remy LeBeau, now you got Star Trek references stuck inside the Belle's head!

"We got any idea where they might've taken Stark? I mean, I'm outsider'n all'a this, but I'm here t'help get him back, if ya'll want some extra punchin' power."

Karen Starr has posed:
    There is a moment, where Power Girl breaches the atmosphere and releases the android, of utter calm. Both of them are unshackled from outside forces, free from any constraints.

    The horizon no longer a factor, Karen momentarily basks, closing her eyes for some few scant seconds as the light of the sun, unfettered by atmosphere, cloud cover or the rude blocking of the Earth in its cycle of night and day.

    All too quickly, her skin takes on this slightly golden hue, charged by the rays of that life-giving star.

    Her eyes open slowly, and she takes in a breath of air that isn't present, exhaling softly. There is no air through which the sound can travel, but she speaks all the same, unheard by the mechnical ears of the thing she'd brought with her to space.

    "That's better. Enjoy Mars."

    As sudden as can be, Power Girl draws one arm back, and surges forward, putting all of her might into one, impossible strike- something that she can do now that the collateral damage isn't a factor- so much strength behind it that the force of it might be incalculable. This perfectly aimed, single hit sends robot at incredible speed, channeling all of that momentum and strength into its chest and leaving a small, fist-shaped dent by which to remember her.

    Even its processors will lose track of her quickly, as it is sent careening into an artful orbit around the red planet.

    She twists then, and zips back towards the battle she'd left just moments ago.

    By the time the shape of her can be seen re-entering the atmosphere, the men, women, and robots of AIM are already beating a hasty retreat. Even as she slows down to something atmosphere-safe, she can see it- she's already too late. To get there now she'd have to do more damage than she'd save, and even that's a gamble.

    When she arrives, it's just about the time that Ben is caring for Pepper. Her attention, though, isn't on that redhead necessarily- it's on the eight-eyed secret agent.

    Her voice booms as she calls, in an urgent, but not -violent- tone: "Was he wearing it?!"

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Black Widow doesn't bother telling the SA-1 to let Tony go. She immediately redraws one of her pistols, slowing to a hard march to steady her aim as she simply opens fire on it, bullets pinging off of its armor until the clip runs dry, immediately before Wanda's field appears.
    Natasha throws one arm in front of her, shielding her eyes from the light, allowing herself to hope, for a moment, that this would stop SA-1 before it could do anything... but the machine simply disappears.
    Wide eyed, Natasha lets her arm fall limply to her side, staring at the empty space SA-1 had just occupired for a long moment. When the moment passes, she brings two fingers to the side of her neck. Her voice is utterly devoid of emotion as she says, <<Avengers and SHIELD contacts on comms, Stark has been abducted by an unknown force. Repeat, Stark is compromised.>>
    Her face inclines downward very slightly. <<Report forthcoming.>>
    Natasha looks towards Pepper, and then over to where Wanda is bleeding. The mask suddenly feels... stifling, but for a variety of reasons, she's not taking it off.
    The loud noise that heralds Power Girl's appearance doesn't seem to shake her as she turns her head to Karen and slowly says. "... He was. Last time I saw him."

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    For a moment, Sam stands there and narrows his eyes, like someone squinting into the sun. Suddenly, quite suddenly in fact, he moves again, walking over to Happy and handing the cracked, bloodied and very much often-fired plasma weapon over to the man, looking around. "Pen, I need a pen and paper." The phone in his pocket has given up the ghost, but that's a problem for later, he needs to write this down, NOW. Old school? Ink on slices of tree? Too long, too long, not enough time. It's fleeting.

    So it's time for a more drastic approach, taking over the display wall of the pavilion and populating it with what he was able to get, eyes blinking rapidly. His memory is excellent, but... this is complex.

    What appears is an alphanumeric string, even as he talks. "I got this off the teleporting artificial lifeform thing, SA-1, just before it managed to port out. It's... it's not complete. I couldn't get all of it, that thing was... barely there. Shielded, some way, it's... This is it. The best I could do."

    And from his tone of voice, he doesn't consider that to be nearly enough.

    If there were any doubts that this teenager is a mutant, they've been dispelled now.