191/Avengers in Genosha

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Avengers in Genosha
Date of Scene: 29 February 2020
Location: Carrion Cove
Synopsis: Loki is given a task to perhaps prove his sincerity.
Cast of Characters: Thor, Natasha Romanoff, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Loki
Tinyplot: Genosha Burns

Thor has posed:
    Twilight threatens the horizon with a return to darkness, inevitable and steady but still with the few rays of sunlight providing some sense of remaining warmth and a token memory to the day passed. The sky is clear, though there is still the steady and heavy active thrum of distant VTOLs and helicopters moving in with the flow of supplies and relief efforts. In this sort of situation heroes may be of aid, but are not as important as fuel and medical supplies.
    So it leaves Earth's Mightiest Heroes with time to reflect and consider where to go from here.
    The office building had been tall, monumental and central to the skyline of Hammer Bay, a brilliant creation of glass and steel though now it had fallen, lying upon its side with the skeletal internal structure exposed where it had collapsed across three other buildings. Yet even in death it still provides the highest point from which one might observe the sweep and volume of the chaos and the mayhem. The tableau never failing to be shocking even after a moment's glance away.
    It was here that Thor has been for the last hour, perhaps a touch less. Mjolnir rests at his hip and his strong frame is covered in that black and silver armor with the red half-cloak across his shoulder. His blue eyes has, the entire time, been focused on the giant sentinel where it remains motionless.
    Until finally he speaks, over his shoulder. Perhaps just to himself. "We should smash it."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha Romanova is used to finding ways to somehow be useful in the middle of a menagerie of gods, wizards, super soldiers and geniuses. She does not slow down, and she does not get tired.
    Today, Natasha feels very useless, and very tired. Such that even her stoic composure is showing signs of wear, her brow heavy and low on her forehead as she sits at the edge of the building with what looks like an open metal briefcase in her lap containing a screen and keyboard among other things. Her tired, reddened eyes watch the screen through which she sees the POV of a drone she's been controlling for ages - one of two that she swaps out while the other charges - constantly scanning for survivors.
    Beside her, a sniper rifle as also been set up on a stand just in case she spots... anything else.
    Not for the first time, her eyes drift away from the screen and just stare listlessly out at the ruins and horror in front of her. Usually something snaps her attention back to her work, where it should be, but Thor's reccomendation spurs her to talk without moving her head: "It could explode. Or come alive. It could-" Natasha stops and rubs her face with her hands for a second before finally looking at Thor, "There's a lot that could go wrong."

Tony Stark has posed:
Almost since they arrived on the island, Iron Man has been flying wide circles in the air high above Hammer Bay. His armor, linked with overhead Stark Industries satellites repurposed for the task, has tried to zero in on any signs of life. A few times he'd darted down from on high to help move some debris or give coordinates for his fellow Avengers on the ground to investigate. But it'd been some time now, and even Earth's Mightiest Heroes can war out. Invincible does not mean indefatigable.

<Finishing up the last set of scans,> comes his modulated voice through the Iron Man helmet as he hovers above the crumbling rooftop Thor occupies, <Not getting anything.>

The armor's jet boots deactivate and he lands with a metallic 'clank' upon the spire a few paces behind Thor. There's a hiss of a servo as the helmet slides away into the suit, leaving Tony's head exposed as he tilts his head to look past Thor at the broken sentinel and then to Natasha.

"Even if it did, it doesn't look like there's a lot more damage it could do. This place is practically a crater."

Steve Rogers has posed:
"Definitely been mulling over that myself."

Beside Thor, helmet in hand by its chin-straps and shield set on his shoulders, is Captain Rogers. His jaw is set and face drawn in a manner rarely seen. This...this horizon-wide destruction...this vision should have been left behind. It stings that history might repeat itself.

"'nd there're too many uncertainties right now," he echoes of Natasha. The super-soldier glances up as he hears the arrival of more familiar thrusters in the Iron Man suit. A nod is agreement with Tony. He breaks away from Thor to walk over to Natasha and peer at the screen she has up. While he might pat someone else on the shoulder, he doesn't do this to the Widow. Instead, quietly, he commends her: "Been doing a good job, Natasha, peel off from that when you need to. Someone else can take up the watch."

Loki has posed:
"Indeed, /great job/." That was at Natasha. It comes with a two slow claps.

"It wouldn't be /that/ difficult to animate, if you're bored," floats a voice that, perhaps, will chill more than one Avenger spine to the very bone. The mercurial Asgardian god has appeared out of nowhere, resting on the same building ledge as sits Natasha. He is leaning to one side, one hand resting on some of the rubble next to him.

Loki is not in his godly finery: no, he's in a sleekly modern black suit with a tiny mandarin collar. His hair is in a half-ponytail, the top pulled back, the lower part down in a shimmer of glossy raven-father deep hue about his shoulders.

He lifts one palm some, in displeasure, flicking at bits off white grit that might have disgraced his palm with a few long fingers of his opposite hand. He settles slightly, aloof, and regal. There isn't animosity to Loki's expression: more a serene quality. So far.

That could change.

Thor has posed:
    There are likely many reasons why Thor is of that mindset, the desire to actually be able to /do/ something, to have an effect. Something to get his hands onto and manipulate and...
    But the Thunderer shakes his head, frowning still, staring at it. Over his shoulder he says, "It is an affront, to all of the people who fell here. I can feel their spirits crying out for vengeance." Though that may not be literally true... it is likely Thor feels that way.
    Then he straightens up, scowling as he turns away from that broken landscape, looking at the others around him. Almost accusingly as if they could hold some answer that would solve all of this. Or perhaps it is simply all turned inward.
    But then...

    There is Loki's voice.
    Thor's eyes widen sharply, not with incredulity, but with that anger that has been hovering so close to the surface. He turns around, debris crunching under his boot as he scowls pointedly at the appearance of the Trickster. Eyes narrow as the Asgardian prince looks up, then down, and around the figure of his brother.
    There's a /WHOM!/ as Mjolnir leaps into his rising hand, and then with the snap forward the great hammer is thrown HARD straight at the other Asgardian, with that WHOM keying up to a higher pitch, only for it to slash straight through the projected image of Loki's chest, golden flame shivering around it and then the hammer crashes into a pile of detritus with a loud _CRUNCH_.
    Only then, as the ground shakes slightly, does Thor say with a growl. "Brother."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha looks to Tony and starts to say: "Not if-" and then just sort of trails off, looking back at her screen. "... You'd know more about it than I do." she murmurs softly, actually too worn down to argue with Tony Stark, which is perhaps the most weakness she's shown in... that might be the most weakness she's shown.
    When Steve praises her, she looks up at him for a moment and hesitates before simply nodding her head. "Thanks. I'll... be awhile, I think." she says, turning back to the screen and moving the drone once more. "... This is all I can do."
    Natasha frowns at Thor, her own frustration bottlenecking with her compulsion - her mission, really - to keep the peace with these people. She starts to say, "Thor..."
    Then Loki is just there, and every single cell in Natasha's body is tensed, and then in a heartbeat Natasha has drawn a pistol from her thigh holster and pushes the barrel directly against Loki's forehead, eyes blazing, the hammer clicking, and...
    The barrel passes through him.
    Natasha grimaces in the nanosecond left before Thor's hammer confirms the matter, clouding her vision with clouds of debrie. She shields her eyes with one arm held horizontally in front of her and rises to her feet, letting the control hub rest on the floor beside her.

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony acts in tandem with the other Avengers, turning swiftly towards that familiar voice. One armored hand rises, palm-first in Loki's direction as the white-blue light in the palm begins to glow menacingly. He doesn't shoot, instead his eyes flick sideways towards Thor and then fixate wholly upon the Trickster God again.

As Mjolnir is flung through the air, Natasha's gun is pointed, and Loki is revealed to be substantially less substantial than expected, Tony lowers his hand back down to his side.

"You ditched the horns," he offers in Ghost Loki's direction, "That's a shame. They had a definite 'Tim Curry in Legend' flair."

Steve Rogers has posed:
Talk about uncomfortable.

A quick two-step turn has Steve readied in a martial stance, shield up and gleaming, free hand having dropped his helmet and clenched into a fist. The look he gives Loki is anything but welcoming. Even if the vibration of Thor's well-aimed if ineffective throw of Mjolnir can be felt beneath his feet, the Captain holds firm.

"Sure he can summon 'em up anytime he feels like it." Voice ironed devoid of emotion, Steve straightens in place without losing an ounce of his contained threat in poise. "What're you doing here, Loki?"

Loki has posed:
"Do you both feel better?" Loki says, snippy, as the various attacks make messes in his illusionary self. Loki never likes his illusions being messed with; it's a matter of his finely crafted art not being /appreciated/ for the beautiful effort it truly is.

"/Generally/ my war regalia is for battle," Loki shoots back at Tony, a snideness to his tongue. "Would you prefer that, then? Your Captain has the way of it," Loki observes, suggestive of that he can, indeed, summon said horns. Or war. Or any number of monstrous things.

Loki brushes entirely imaginary dust from his suit - illusions certainly aren't mussed by the cloud of dust Thor made, but Loki is well versed in realistic illusions ... and in being an asshole that makes them wait for him to preen.

"My brother knows, I think. Did he not share that amongst you?" Loki wonders, with a mildly insulted look. What, isn't Loki the center of their universe? Then he shrugs one shoulder, and returns his gaze to Thor.

Thor has posed:
    A deep breath helps Thor steady as he scowls across the distance, then holds a hand out to the side, drawing Mjolnir back with a lower, /whum/, almost sad as if it regrets it didn't get to smash into Loki. It lands in Thor's hand with a snap of leather to flesh then he keeps it in hand as Thor watches steadily.
    "You wish to help, Loki?" Thor gestures with the hammer, out toward the barren shattered landscape that is almost being ruled over by that great distant robot in its vigil, "You think you can be of aid here?"
    A glance is given off toward the oncoming night far to the East, his brow furrowing before he looks back toward the trickster. "I am not stopping you. Or is it more you wish me to acknowledge that you are embarking on the effort?"

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    "You're here for community service." Natasha concludes with a hint of derision, her fatigue forgotten in a surge of adrenaline. "Don't let us stop you." She gestures out towards the boundless ruin, "Get your hours in. Be useful." She's barely containing her contempt behind a forcibly level voice.

Tony Stark has posed:
"Yeah, we heard," Tony answers, pointing towards Natasha once she's finished speaking, "You were grounded. Got sent to the old Midgard detention hall. Made to write 'I will not be an unrepentant pain in the ass of two whole realms' a hundred times on the chalkboard."

Stark quietens down for a moment as he listens to Thor address his brother, the corner of his mouth quirking into a skeptical smirk and his eyebrows raising. All the same, he gives the Thunderer the benefit of not interrupting him as he speaks. The mention of the horns possibly making a comeback does seem to lighten his mood a touch.

Steve Rogers has posed:
Given Loki's full of air and illusion, the Captain deigns to let the shield drift off-center over his hip. He still doesn't unbend an inch, eyes gone hard and keen.

"Color me curious about your idea of aid." It might sound like a trite comment (and granted, to an extent, it is), but he remembers well enough what Thor told them back at the mansion. Maybe someone is able to crank the Trickster God's arm hard enough that it's actual help and not something laced with sweet lies like some offering of antifreeze.

Loki has posed:
"You /are/ stopping me, in point of fact, Thor," Loki retorts, with a flutter of one hand up towards the side of his neck near his collarbone. There is nothing there on the illusion: it almost looks like an offensive Asgardian gesture of some kind. Or it has other meaning.

One hand moves to point at Steve, as if to send Steve's question to Thor instead of Loki. That's where THAT question belongs: aimed to Thor! "YES, /pray/, do explain what you'd suggest my 'aid' be at the moment? Perhaps there are some orphans that require pet snake deliveries? /Do/ let me into your head about where you're going with this idea," Loki encourages. "I -have- rebuilt a city before." Not a lie. He adjusts his position on the wall, turning sideways, drawing one leg up to curl the arm on the same side along the knee. Loki is a languid panther: relatively patient - at least for him - at the moment. Which means there's some game or motive to it.

"If you really prefer /I/ choose what I do, that's fine," Loki adds, finally, as if pleased. Because Loki's ideas of 'aid', without input? He's quite creative.

Thor has posed:
    "I am not returning your powers to you, Loki." Thor says simply, sharply. And perhaps that small part of the contract is surprising to the Avengers. "I would not set you loose upon this world without oversight, and you well know why." His jaw clenches, still holding onto the flames of that anger, that rage, but not allowing it to dominate his behaviour. Or at least not for now.
    "But I do know one thing. Clearly you can move about. Clearly you can perceive and cast your illusions." He makes a flared finger waving gesture as if those masterpieces of magical craftsmanship were just so much detritus. "Then turn your mind to this." He turns his head slightly to the side.
    "Turn your efforts to finding who is responsible for this. Finding us answers. And if you provide them that will go a long way to ending your time bound here."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
Natasha crosses her arms - her pistol still held in one hand over the opposite arm, finger off the trigger. She very slowly turns her head, pivoting in place slightly, to look at Thor when an aspect of his control comes to light, but she elects to say nothing, turning her gaze back to Loki.

Tony Stark has posed:
"So," Tony pipes up, gesturing to Thor, "You get t decide when little brother's time out is over?"

Stark casts a conspiratorial glance from Natasha, to Steve, and then to Thor: "You know, you could just say 'never' and then we lock him in a closet and throw away the key? What do you think?"

Another appraising look is given to his fellow Avengers, and then his attention once more lands upon Loki. His brow furrows, the smirk shrinking away to a stern frown. The weight of the day has been heavy, and it's becoming readily clear to him that no amount of casual banter is going to diminish that.

Steve Rogers has posed:
When the Trickster's finger aims at him, there's a twitch of the spangled shield in defensive reaction. However, no magic seems to come of the gesture, merely a point that lack of details will only come to trouble. It makes Steve glower all the more.

Thor gets a sharp glance from the Captain. Powers? Powers gone to boot -- but not all of them, and some of the more masterful ones. After all, the hammer had been thrown and broken the impossibly realistic illusion. While the Captain remains silent for now, his silence might as well be quiet contemplation of the very idea of tossing the aforementioned key into a deep, dark abyss.

Loki has posed:
"/Clearly/ I have resources, limited as they are," Loki sniffs in answer to Thor's comment. "I wondered if you would allow me to /truly/ help, but if you cannot set aside your rage, brother... well, I'll show patience," purrs Loki at Thor.

"Turn my efforts to investigation? I cannot," Loki says, tone flinty, cold, the edges of insult to his royal person showing there. "For I was already doing that." Miffy, Loki stretches his back and his arms. "Should you come to realize how much benefit I can truly produce, /do/ let me know. Some horrible atrocity you wish you had a magic wand to wave at, that sort of thing." Maybe not one Loki caused. Unless he causes some. Loki clears his throat, clucks his tongue once in a tut-tut sound, grins, and his illusion shimmers, starting to turn transparent.

Thor has posed:
    The Thunderer folds his arms over his broad chest, Mjolnir resting upon his bicep even as he continues to look on at Loki, shaking his head a little before he replies to the others. "He has offered to leave our world if I gave him his powers back, but for how long? And if we trusted him to do so." Though he does not address the possibility Tony raises, of simply attempting to imprison him and toss away the key.
    "Though if you are able to bring us what we wish to know, Loki. If you can help us make whomever..." He motions with the hammer even as Loki begins to fade, "Wrought such ill upon this world, then I will be thankful."
    And that is all? Thankful. The miserly bastard.
    For an instant it may seem like he's about to call out, to say something else. But he does not.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha visibly tenses with the impulse to call out, wrestles it down, then proceeds to rapidly change her mind a half dozen times in a split second before she barks "*Wait.*" and then sighs, already hating herself for even entertaining this line of thought. Eyes narrowed, she asks Loki, "You're saying there's something you could actually *do* about all this? Something useful?" A beat, and she adds, "To someone *other* than you?"

Tony Stark has posed:
Tony's eyes were fixated on the illusion, watching it begin to shimmer out of view. He'd even queued up something witty to say once Loki had gone. But then Natasha is calling for him to stay, and his witticism dies unuttered in his throat. These are the trials and tribulations of Tony Stark.

From where he's standing, his upper body turns slightly to look more directly at the Black Widow. His eyebrows raised, his bottom lip jutting out just a touch. He nods, as though in silent agreement with the question, and turns back around to regard the semi-transparent Loki Ghost expectantly.

Loki has posed:
"Yes. Things like, I don't know --- moving /massive/ amounts of creatures - refugees? - from one location to another via portals," Loki says, in a clear shout-out to the portals of armies on New York. Maybe not the best comparison, but he's pretty sure that they'll at least believe him.

"Or, pssh, supplies," Loki says, as if coming up with things off the top of his head. "You're the heroes, though. I shouldn't have to tell YOU how to do your heroism," Loki says. "Figure it out; I'll see what I find," he yawns, and promptly turns, a movement of shimmer along with it, and Loki is abruptly gone.

Probably. Loki's sort of tricksy.

Thor has posed:
    If the other Avengers which to negotiate this, wish to entertain the possibility, Thor will not take part, at least for now. If they make the decision he likely will allow matters, such as much is clear on his features when he looks over to Natasha, Tony, and Steve. But there is definitely an air of wariness to him, suspicion. So for now he keeps silent.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha stares at the empty space Loki's illussion previously occupied for a long moment before her shoulders slump. "Ask a stupid question..." she mutters, feeling the whole day catching up with her all of a sudden. "Unless we can somehow control exactly *what* he transports, then... then..." Natasha rubs her face and hums unintelligibly for a second, "... then we'd probably get more use telling him to crawl into that Sentinel's mouth." Natasha seems to consider it a wash.

Tony Stark has posed:
"I'm just putting this out there," Tony says suddenly, raising a gauntleted hand into the air, "We've done a lot here already - as much as I think we're going to. Wakanda are taking in refugees. I can probably get a whole fleet of Quinjets off the ground to move these people if we need it."

The look he gives Natasha next is almost apologetic, but it only lasts for a fraction of a moment.

"If you ask me, these people have suffered enough. Genosha's biggest city is a smoking crater. It's government - what little there was of it - is almost completely gone."

He jabs a finger in the direction of the space Loki's illusion occupied moments ago, "This is the kind of situation he'll take advantage of. It's what he does. He's not here to help because he wants to help. He's not Thor."

Stark shakes his head with a sigh, "It's not worth the risk."

Steve Rogers has posed:
"Then don't let him help here." Steve finally speaks up after he's (fairly) certain that the illusion of Loki means the mage is gone. "An attack on this scale is rarely executed single-handedly. Make him promise to follow something to writ or there's consequences...'nd let it be that he susses out who else aided in this disaster."

He glances around his fellow Avengers. "Sure he can move items or people. We've seen it before. But very few folks on Earth -- Midgard -- are going to think that Loki's there to find out who else dared to support this. 'sides, he's helping us: we set the terms, not him."

Thor has posed:
    As Tony speaks, Thor lowers his eyes and seems to hold himself in control, not wishing to perhaps speak one way or the other. As if this decision was not entirely his to make, for whatever reason. But once the others are finished speaking on the matter he lifts his eyes and peers between them, gaze flitting from one to the other, then he nods as if a decision was made. "We shall see what he brings back, perhaps."
    A step away from the edge of the building as Thor frowns, looking to them. "Is there aught else you would know? If not then I shall..." He turns his head to look out at the wasteland, frowns, as if knowing there is nothing to be done. Then he finally says, "Try to do what I can."
    Which is really all they can do.