4863/Death Train to Khandaq

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Death Train to Khandaq
Date of Scene: 24 January 2021
Location: Russian Steppes
Synopsis: The Joker's sworn to derail Big Iron, an experimental Russian mag-lev train, and murder the SKV agents who've coopted his old arms dealing racket. Can the Clown Prince of Crime be stopped? Or is this all part of a game no one's been told the rules of yet? Shell Game continues here!
Cast of Characters: The Joker, Stephanie Brown, Carmine Falcone, Ted Kord, Zatanna Zatara, Henry McCoy

The Joker has posed:
It's a cold Russian evening as the super-train 'Big Iron' rips its way through the icy tundra connecting the Russian Federation to the Middle East. The Joker, famed American super-villain and mean clown, has claimed that he will derail the train and murder a man on board, SVR agent Grozny. The Russian government didn't even bother to report on the threat, or allegations that they're gun running for Khandaqi rebels. What is the point in arguing with an internationally known madman?

Agent Grozny, dressed in miliatry greens that lend a sort of respectability, is currently in the third car having a conversation with some shady looking people in coats. It's Russia in January so, to be fair, everyone's wearing a coat. Even the hyper-modern supertrain still manages to feel a bit chilly; it contains several cars, including a few passengers, staff, and freight; Big Iron is often used to get scientific and industrial equipment across the rough terrain of the area and into Middle Eastern, Indian, or Chinese corporate concerns. Mining equipment, industrial lathes, the usual suspects in this resource rich but deadly part of the world.

It all starts to go down at eleven thirty. The train is generally quiet, though a few cars have personal music systems. Announcements, messages, and the usual comings and goings aboard the craft can be transmitted...or in this case, house music. Something technical and efficient that you can dance to if you really have to. "Heeeeeeeeeey people!" A voice booms over the com in accented English, "Is your boy Nikki Neon here, future number one bandit and proud graduate of the Joker criminal correspondence school! My people, they will be taking your..." A few words in Russian. "Things, all of your things, yes? Do not worry, they will be obvious."

This is when the circus people come out; a criminal circus is hardly a novel concept, but each car has staff, passengers, or random crew suddenly take off their informs to reveal staples of the Russian circus: acrobats, animal trainers, and of course clowns. There's one guy in a bear costume it's great. The criminals quickly get to work, a few drawing weapons to rob passengers and the more wealthy looking crew.

A quick look at the train itself: We have the engine, the passenger car, the freight car, the refrigerated special items car, and another freight car before we get to the back up engine. The train is fairly large, it's a super-train for a reason, and Neon's Crime Circus ("Is new in Russia!" He says, defensively.) are swarming over each major cluster of cars.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
<< Not saying the new suit heater isn't good. I just wonder if it's Russian winter, riding on top of a train good, >> Batgirl murmurs into her comms. But she's not actually riding on top of the train at the moment, though that was in her possible plans.

Instead, there's a figure sitting in a seat wearing a trench coat, with a hat tipped low in the way that someone does when they just want to sleep during a trip. The person wasn't there when the train left the station. But a crate in one of the freight cars, originating from Wayne Enterprises and full of industrial equipment destined for Khandaq made an easier way to get on board. Decked out in a superhero costume and ready for a fight. Easier than going through security would have.

Stephanie Brown doesn't react to the appearance of the circus-themed criminals yet. Just sitting still as she pretends to be dozing. << And the train staff appear to be Joker's men. >>

Carmine Falcone has posed:
     The shady men are wearing long trench coats that stand out a bit just for how.. different they are stylistically speaking. Their heads are covered by matching fedora's. Each of the men seems to at the very least speak a fair amount of russian even though it's with thick italian accents. They're dressed to the nines with thick body armor hidden between their lovingly crafted italian suit and tie and the thick black coats that cover them.

     The conversation is a bit tense yet at the same time they're in fairly high spirits, sure they might be dealing with Joker, but this thing was one of the most secure trains in the region no way he'd be able to pull it off.

     Then the voice comes over the speaker, and the boys are moving to ready their guns, Beretta ARX 160's customized with a retractable stock and a slimmed down frame perfect for stashing away in those bulky trench coats.

     Mac the Knife Stands up first with a bit of confidence followed by Antonio The Sheath. The two of them never seemed to go anywhere without each other as their criminal record showed, which led to a lot of speculation back home. Thing is most the folks speculating anywhere near either of them tended to wind up in a river.

Ted Kord has posed:
Ted Kord was dragged into the passenger car for a drink of vodka with some relief effort official. The industrialist is swathed in a thick parka and trying not to gag and finish the drink when a very large clown brandishing a crow bar rolls up to him and says, "Things! Bling! Monyeee!"

Ted looks amazed, "Hey, they got a talking bear... oops. My mistake!! I need to find a bear and apologize! Bwahaha!"

The clown grabs Kord by the shoulder and hauls him around, ripping open his parka and revealing the Blue Beetle uniform.

The Beetle uses the momentum of the clown's yeet to add to the force of his punch, right on the clown's button so to speak. <<Honk!!>>

The clown remains upright, glaring. He grabs Beetle and wheels rapidly down the car intending to slam him into or through the door at the rear. "Don't think you got the upper hand ya big ape! Err... bear! Bwaaaaaaa!"

Zatanna Zatara has posed:
It's probably a given thing that GRU or SVR vets all significant people moving through their borders. Sharp, unforgiving eyes turned on foreign passports probably noted the wealthy, important or high profile target stuck on a fast moving train. They won't find much on Zee, thanks to some clever paperwork and guest status courtesy of Kord Industries. Isn't the actual Kord present far more interesting than the second junior assistant of international operations?

The advantages of a good seat in the passenger car mean some degree of room. She abuses this in the loftiest fashion, a cup of tea in easy reach and a tablet propped up on the table. A program on screen features grandiose costumes, lavish dramas, Russian poets and Cossack warriors by the carriage-full. Exquisite details! And so something that Ms. Zatanna Zatara ignores for the most part.

Then that interesting music interrupts everything. Her burgundy heavy swing coat gives a vestige of warmth, considering the problems boiling out and right on time. She has to slip her hands into the deep pockets to keep them from being too chilly. Uncrossing her legs, she shifts in her seat. No fishnets and tottering heels, alas. It's a train! That kind of footwear is the way you get broken wrists and bruised dignity. She takes the tea cup, using the glassy finish of the tablet to catch sight of clowns battling her "boss" and others. She sighs as a lavish ballroom turns into some kind of dismal hunt on the screen. Under her breath, a whisper: "Dleihs em."

Henry McCoy has posed:
Things got... tense, very quickly. Henry did his best to be unobtrusive, but there's only so much one can do. A trenchcoat and fedora can only hide so much! As the thugs draw weapons, and begin rustling valuables from the passenger, the Beast quickly begins taking note of the area. People present. Entrance points, exit points. Types of guns, posture of the ruffians.

There are no sudden moves, not wanting to see anyone harmed out of his actions. He waits, biding his time until he's targeted, or until there is an option to act without endangering one of the unfortunate passengers.

The Joker has posed:
The Neon Circus moves.

Engine: Nikki Neon is part of a new generation of "super-bandit", a very Russian take on the super-criminal. The Joker is one of his heroes; a flashy, manic genius who thumbs his nose at the cold, soulless society that falls apart the minute the wrong people buy the wrong start. He's part of the Mafya generation, a child of Putin and McDonalds in Red Square and he loves it. Nikki is nearly seven feet tall, dressed in a pair of Levis, a fringe vest, and a genuine Texan cowboy hat. Nikki is also covered in...they're not quite tattoos. They're cybernetics that look like tattoos, specially treated gas filled with neon reminiscent of the Las Vegas strip. There's a woman showing some leg, a Bob's big boy, a smoking cowboy. A few crackles of electricity show that his eccentric equipment is likely dangerous. "Hooo, no one to fight me? Well beat my Eight Robot Masters first friends! Ha ha ha!"

Freight: Grozny is taking with the mysterious American businessmen in a totally legitimate manner. As Knife and Sheath look for clowns to ice, Spoiler has a pretty good view of the room. There is one problem in particular that she may notice, a large box that's specially refrigerated. Something's breathing inside of it. Knife and Sheath will notice a pair of Russian acrobats attack them; one leaps off of a box and aims a drop kick for Sheath's chin, while another hurls a juggling pin at Knife. There is a fuse stuck inside of it, which is lit, which should explain the peril nicely.

Passenger: Lot of trouble here! Bearivic gets slapped around by the battling Blue Beetle! It is a bit embarrassing, they were promised the Batman, or at least one of his subsidiaries. Bearivic doesn't notice Zatanna thanks to her stealth, but Ted is associated enough with Big Time American Do-Gooders that Bearivic presses his special button anyway. The big man then charges Blue Beetle, laughing darkly at the idea of what's to come.

Beast, you do...stick out a little. Some poor sap in a magician's outfit holds a pistol at you. "Hey, we've got one of those...dress up guys back here! Like a walking carpet!"

Zatanna, Beast, you both may notice a pair of mimes begin to place what look like thin, silver disks on certain parts of the car.

Stephanie Brown has posed:
One of the 'circus' performers makes his way over to the figure in the trench coat and wide-brimmed hat. "Come on, make the money. Watches, phones, everything," he says, poking at the sleeping figure with a gun.

The hat tips back as the supposedly sleeping person lifts her head, revealing a black mask covering her upper face. "Ever heard the one about leaving sleeping dogs lie?" the young woman says, grabbing the gun hand and pushing it aside as she lunges to her feet and throws an elbow into the goon's chin.

The hat and trench coat are yanked off, revealing Batgirl. She leans down to plastic-cuff the gunman and then drops her coat on him. "The same saying goes for bats."

Batgirl looks around, the red hair that those familiar with her are used to seeing, is instead blond. << Got something breathing in this refrigeration unit. A couple of Falcone's men are here too, but fighting the circus. Going to check on the unit. >>

Carmine Falcone has posed:
     BIFF goes the foot right into the chin of Sheath sending him flying back from the force of the impact. He lands onto a bundle of fright with a loud BAM. Sending bits of loose cargo in multiple directions. Though he lands hard he manages to rattle off a suppressed TA-TA-TA-TA-TA from the end of his rifle as it fires in the rough direction of the acrobat who'd manage to leave quite the bruise on him.

     Through the air the pin tumbles in Knife's direction he snaps his attention towards SMACK! He sends his gun like a baton smashing into it in an effort to knock it off course. KA-BANG! Goes the pin as it makes contact ruining his gun sending him KA-GONG into the wall of the train. He comes back to a stand SHIK! A knife sliding out into his hand as he charges forward the blade 19 inches long and 4 inches wide as he slashes in the acrobats direction with a loud "YAAAAAH!"

Ted Kord has posed:
Ted Kord pulls his coat off and throws it over the cyclist's head. The clown lets go of Ted to remove the coat and slams into the door, knocked out cold.

"Terribly sorry, you're a promising entry level thug but there's a named minion in front of me pressing an evil button. Lots of luck!"

As the bear like man charges, Ted dives between his legs coming up behind him and administering a kick in the rear.

"First booty scored by Blue Beetle. First booty in a while truth be known. So what does the button do?" F*** I been hanging around the Spider-kids too much. Ted drops into a fighting stance.

Zatanna Zatara has posed:
Bears, and mimes, and tigers, oh my! That could prove quite concerning if someone stalks by in a stylish orange and black suit, out to cause trouble. The brewing combative problems in the passenger car have not yet encouraged Zatanna to leave her seat fully. Instead, she reaches into the depths of her pocket and withdraws a slim black wand. It fits well up her wide sleeve, pressed from her wrist and braced against her forearm. An act of swift legerdemain probably won't draw much notice, performed with the unsung panache favoured by stage magicians and more. It's a capital offense someone wearing a magician's garb is harassing others.

Zatanna brings her teacup to her lips but doesn't actually swallow any of the warm black tea remaining in there. A whisking motion to the side could be dismissed as banishing some dust from the skirt of her coat. Her elegantly applied lipstick shapes the words deliberately, hidden behind her cup. Time-honoured ways of discreetly passing judgment haven't changed much since 19th century Russia, just like the program on that tablet silently broadcasting sumptuous images. She looks quickly over the seat to the dubiously behaving mimes.

"Esoht era eip snit." A nudge of her will coaxes reality's hard edges to get soft, to make strange metal devices into something comparably sized. Much more malleable, the funny disks convinced they really are pie plates. Sadly no pies, that's something they will have to supply for themselves. She has to leave something for them to look forward to!

Henry McCoy has posed:
Magic seems to be the theme for the night - whether it be Zatanna's clever casting, or the poorly positioned prestidigitator pointing a pistol at Henry. Alliteration aside, it's shaping up to be a thrilling evening. His hands are lifted slowly, making a show of being 'harmless' for the pillaging punk. "Indeed, sir. Quite dressed up. A bit confining, really."

Henry slowly stands, eyes on the man threatening him. "I would very much like to offer you a parlay - set down your weapon and we can discuss the error of your ways in a civil fashion." The Beast's voice is calm - for the most part. There is most certainly a feral edge hinting there.

The cocky conjurer cracks wise to one of the other cronies. "This guy is a riot... I'm gonna fleece him for all he has." His eyes still on Henry.

Without a change in demeanor, the Beast flashes out a ham-sized fist, flattening the nose of the very surprised and now unconcious criminal. Before he can hit the floor, Henry grasps the hand holding the pistol to safely lower the man to the floor of the train. "Perhaps there's someone else interested in a mediation?"

The Joker has posed:
Freight: Certain remote controlled locks detach themselves with a hiss of steam. A fist breaks out of the box, and a horribly familiar form walks out of the box, a blast of cold surrounding a grim, armored form. Red eyes narrow at the surroundings, as a grim man speaks his grim purpose.

Special Guest Villain: Mister Freeze.

"Joker!" Victor Fries snaps, ignoring the various criminals caterwauling around the room. "There had better be an explanation for this clown!"

"So hot blooded!" A horrible voice from Freeze's comlink says, giggling. "I thought you'd appreciate an old fashioned ice box, Vic! Hah! But I think it's pretty simple: help me pull this off, and you get access to that Stagg Tech medical data you've been salivating over."

"And if I refuse?"

"...then you're thousands of miles from home on a train full of JLA Juniors."

Freeze looks at the people on the train, the silver disks being set in place, and finally Batgirl. He shrugs at the blonde, and detaches a thin, silver hand gun from the side of his war suit. Freeze fires a tight stream of his freeze ray at Batgirl, looking to cripple the most immeidate threat worth his time. One of the acrobats is unfortunate enough to get in the way of the tight beam, and doesn't even have a chance to scream. This may give the Falcone boys a chance to regroup, or get the terrified Grozny to saftey!

Passenger: Things are actually going pretty well. The Neon Cricus engineers are visibly shocked at their complicated magnetic explosives turning into cheap pie plates, chattering at each other in panicked Russain. How will the job work now? Can they get by with the other cars? If you speak the language, you can pick this up.

There is a man sitting across from you, Zatanna, who was previously shaking in fear like everyone else. He looks up, startled. "Goodness. I think I recognize you." The man says in english, "You must be awfully brave, to be so calm during all this. Don't worry, I won't give away your secret. It's funny, though. There's only one other person on board not terrified." The man points at another man, rail thin with intense brown eyes, dressed as a nondiscript civilian. Only, yes, he doesn't seem to be afraid at all. "Is he another super-hero too?"

Blue Beetle and Beast both successfully batter their antagonists into submission. There is a problem however. The button, she has definitely been pressed, and worse there's a new figure in the room. "Named willian?" Neon Nikki says, his hand crackling with electricity. "No no no."

"I have name, friends. Let me burn it into your skins, yes? Then we go for floor show. Richard Cheese, musical genius, ignored in his time, tragic." Nikki grabs for Beast's arm, trying to shock the big mutant, while two more armed acrobats cover their boss's back, going to try and out-flip Blue Beetle. Look out!

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl groans. "Oh great. As if frozen Russia wasn't already bad enough?" she says as Victor Fries breaks out of the unit she was just heading towards. << We got Victor Fries in play helping Joker, >> she sends out over comms.

As the gun is lifted towards her, Batgirl is already dodging. She dives to the side, the poor acrobat taking the brunt of the blast, and part of it catches Batgirl's cape. That section of bullet resistant fabric stiffens in the shape it was during her drive.

She comes up from her diving roll, and a pair of batarangs are whipped through the air, aimed at his freeze ray gun.

"Come on Vic," Batgirl calls over to Mr. Freeze. "Can I call you Vic? You're smarter than this. When did Joker's schemes ever benefit anyone other than Joker? You on the other hand are reasonable. Except for poor tastes in summer vacation spots. What do you say you sit this one out and go enjoy the weather outside?"

Ted Kord has posed:
Ted Kord gets an acrobat on his shoulders locking his thighs in a chokehold around the vigilante's throat. The man's partner bears in on him throwing a vicious punch. Ted drops suddenly and the fist goes over Beetle's head into his partner's gut. Beetle grabs the man's wrist and rolls backwards on his back. The man perched on him hits his head on the floor. Ted gets his feet into the man's stomach and launches him into the air.

"Sorry... I was kinda zoned out... what was your name again?" he gasps. He also wonders exactly where the guy he threw ended up?

Carmine Falcone has posed:
     Knife and Sheath collect themselves from their positions being knocked down but not out. The two trenchcoat clad figures run forward as fast as they can but not towards Freeze or the acrobats. They are going directly towards Grozny. Only one of the two still has a gun the other has found his gun destroyed and his honking big knife revealed.

     Knife nods to Sheath who provides covering fire as Knife drops his coat revealing.. a parachute? On a train? Without his trenchcoat Knife looks a lot more muscular and his ballistics vest is far more visible. <You are now a guest of Don Falcone> He speaks out in that russian with an italian accent. <Please allow me to escort you to your ride.> As round casings hit the ground from the assault rifle Sheath is firing just to provide a moments cover.

Zatanna Zatara has posed:
Sadly Zee doesn't know Batgirl fights in the freight cars against a singular nemesis. Not right away, and when word comes, she still has to wade across the length of an ominously named train. Problems outnumber clear solutions with a high number of civilians contained within the passenger car where two more daunting physical heroes engage the circus of terrors. She stays out of the way behind those upright upholstered chairs so Beast and Blue Beetle can do their work, not having to work around her. Professional courtesy applies!

Though JLA Junior, how tawdry. Some people diminish all the good work done!

Her tea in hand, wand in the other, the only weapons she uses to keep matters in check have the magus turning swiftly to the fellow pedestrian. "That's very kind of you. You don't find this gets the heart racing?" Her eyes widen a little at English. Flimsiest of disguises might give her away. "Have any idea why tall, dark and unbothered over there looks so chill?"

A punch comes much too close for her liking. She drops, knee to the floor of the train carriage. Have they cleaned this since the Russian Federation formed? Let's not guess. Back to the chair, she waits for another of those acrobats to go flying back from Blue Beetle's kick. What goes up usually must come down, and when it does, she springs out to sweep the acrobat's feet out from under him. Or his knees, the convenient spin-turn on her part aiming for the shins.

Henry McCoy has posed:
Property damage is always to be considered - especially when damaging the platform one fights on can be deadly to all involved! Henry isn't one to toss others about the compartment, trying instead to drop any would be assailants where they stand, with minimal impact to the good people simply trying to commute. I mean, there could be innocents aboard, right? Likely?

Smelling the ozone from the over-charged Neon Nikki, Hank hops back a bit to avoid the inital grasp. A close call indeed, his fur on end where the grip almost landed.

"A name? I imagine it's a brightly concocted play on the gaudy garb you sport? Perhaps Radiant Rascal? Hrm..." He does his own flip, trying to lure the crazed crackling crook away from the civilians. "Razzle-Dazzle? Vivid Villain? Day-Glow Devil?" Taunts, jibes and jabs are part of the super-hero schtick. He keeps backing towards the exit, waiting for the right moment to flatten Neon Nikki.

The Joker has posed:
Freight: Grozny goes, "Yelp!" as he's dragged out of the super-fast super-train! He isn't sure how he's going to get out of the Siberian tundra from here, but presumably these nice mobsters have a plan. It's not like his boss is going to help him. "<Sure, cousin! Guest for Don Falcone! We can do Scrabble!>"

Freeze sneers as another Batgirl does more kick flips over his deadly technology. The monster's shoulders seperate, priming a relatively advanted attack Steph may remember from training data: heat seeking cryo-mines.

"You wear his foul symbol. The sign of the Bat Man, who has interfered in my righteous work time and again. Why should I spare the worshiper of such a hideous totem?" Freeze asks, and his voice is so cold it sounds like it could be an honest question. "Give me a single good reason not to stop your heart."

The Neon Circus has bailed, because Freeze has stopped freezing people alive. For now.

Passenger: Blue Beetle manages to finish off the rest of the goons; they broke pretty easily once Bearivic was hurled into a wall. There are still threats, but they're thinning, and Zee has a good path to look at the strange man. Let's call him Illych, for ease of reference.

Illych is shaking, Zatanna. As if he's trying to hold something back; a laugh?

Could he be here after all?!

Meanwhile, Neon Nikki snarls. "I have introduced myself! This is trickery! Big types shouldn't be so witt-ugh!" He's kicked in the face as Beast bobs and waves around the neophyte super-villain, who gives a low growl at not being taken seriously. Nikki charges his neon, and sends out a pulse of light in hopes of blinding Beast and disabling his superior agility!

Carmine Falcone has posed:
     Knife straps grozny to his chest with a pair of straps in an X pattern. He locks them into place as already he's starting to move for the door. Sheath uses his dagger to dig into place and force open the door as he discards his own trench-coat revealing another parachute on his own back.

     The two men take a moment's pause to look each other in the eye as freeze stands in the room ready to coat their world in a thick layer of ice. "Sempre" They offer in unison touching hands for the briefest of moments two muscle bound figures locking eyes before thrusting themselves into the ice slicked tundra.

     As they hit the wind the gusts fill their sails thrusting fourth a brilliant pair of gliding parachutes. They are propelled along at terminal velocity slowed down only by their chutes. As they circle round the siberian tundra Sheath pulls forth a satellite phone from his chest pocket and speaks into it in Italian. <Target secured.>

     And as if on cue a lone helicopter comes into view in the distance watching over the train and the three men as they land down towards the ice slicked tundra beneath.

     Sat in the back of the craft is Carmine Falcone dressed in suit, bowtie, and a thick animal pelt jacket. Sticking out the corner of his mouth is a large cigar as he looks down and smiles. A call echoes out into the night. "I love my job!"

Stephanie Brown has posed:
Batgirl slams a fist against her frozen cape, causing the ice to fracture, the fabric hanging something closer to normal. Her eyes widen as she sees the new set of weaponry that Mr. Freeze is preparing to deploy. She can remember Barbara driving the threat of those heat-seeking cryo mines in that night in the Clocktower.

She works her controls for her heads up display, turning those new heaters in her suits upper-body on full blast. "Maybe I'm just a girl who got tired of seeing people hurt others, just because they can. Batman would work with you to find a cure. But that's not the kind of person you are, is it Vic?" she asks.

She reaches to her belt, hitting the stud to loose her costume's top as she draws her telescoping bo staff and lets it slide open. Batgirl takes an aggressive stance towards Mr. Freeze. And he doesn't let her down as he launches the cryo mines at her!

Batgirl runs, kicking off the walls to avoid the mines as they jet forward the first time, doing U-turns to follow her. She grabs at her costume, yanking it off so hard she nearly takes her cowl with her. Beneath she's wearing a normal sports bra. One without a Bat logo on it, though Supergirl isn't here to have that question answered.

The top of her costume is thrown at Victor Freeze as Batgirl falls to the floor, pulling the frozen body of the acrobat atop her to hide the rest of her heat signature. The cryo mines zoom on past her and detonate as mines and Batgirl top arrive at Mr. Freeze at the same moment.

Zatanna Zatara has posed:
Illych, that's a name she will have to tuck away for another time if Zatanna actually learns it. His delight in how everything turns out is plenty telling. The tea cup had to be sacrificed for the spinning kick to take down the acrobat, so that casual option is gone. Her shoulder blades twitch, a heavy weight thudding low in her belly. That passenger was mistaken. Fearless? No, but acting through fear despite the cold ice in her veins is closer to the truth. It's too late to dwell on the worst.

Beast is bounding by after all, and Neon Nikki's antics have a desperate quality to them. Or how they so read to her. "Nothing worse than being a dupe in a play." She grabs hold of a seat, partly occupied, while the train streaks along the rails, with the wand still in her closed hand.

That pulse of light hurts when it goes off. The white end pointed out makes a blind, quick little spiral. A forcible bend of creation's edges means to force the intense flash into a harmless form, at least some of that force. "seilfrettuB!"

If it succeeds, the storm of jewel-winged insects, painted-ladies and wood-satyrs and humble little checkered whites, go harmlessly fluttering to and fro in a storm around her. The storm of butterflies can block Illych's view some, and give Hank cover to act.

Henry McCoy has posed:
Blinding is in fact, successful. Hank is startled by the flash - his eyes just as sensitive as the rest of his senses. Still, he's got other senses just as keen. Hearing, scent - both help him keep track of the opponent. It's a tumble and a flip - the blue mutant diving over Nikki. The frustrated villain does score a glancing blow, scorching the shoulder of the Beast as he launches over.

Growling through the pain, the Beast's fist hammers into the back of Nikki's head. Percussive Cranial Reconfiguration - struck in the back with enough force to make all but the most sturdy mutants drop to unconciousness.

He lands then, hand going to the seared handprint on his shoulder. "Quite rude." He hisses.

The Joker has posed:
Outside: Carmine meets up with his goon! And his new goon! It works out pretty well, to be honest.

Freight: Batgirl does some frankly amazing acrobatics of her own. "What." Freeze drones, as furious as his condition can let him get. And then he gets a top dropped in his hands. "What?!"

Then the bombs explode, and in the cruelest of ironies, Mister Freeze is trapped in his own cryogenic cocoon. The look on his face is legendary.

Passenger: The bombs are disabled, so the train is okay. Zee's butterfly spell manages to slow Neon Nikki down just enough that he doesn't see Beast's recovery coming. He blinks, once, as Beast gives him a Sunday Punch worthy of the master. Nikki's head slams into the floor, groaning; his first knock out! He'll be thrilled, later, when he wakes up.

There's just one problem in what is otherwise a pretty clear rout for the forces of justice. Once someone takes a look at Illych they wont see who, perhaps, you were expecting. They'll see a man, later able to be identified as a SKV agent, with broken, yellow eyes and a mouth trapped in a rictus grin. He's laughed himself to death, holding the death throws in rather than compromise whatever it is he was doing here. Time of death: Exactly midnight.

And if Zatanna checks her tea cup, she'll see a little note: "Thanks for the tea and sympathy.", and in lieu of a signature, a card has been left.

A playing card.

FIN: A rank! Train saved, passengers saved, gang stopped, Mr. Freeze neutralized.