4896/Eye of the Tiger, Heart of a Kitten

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Eye of the Tiger, Heart of a Kitten
Date of Scene: 27 January 2021
Location: Avengers Mansion - Training Facility
Synopsis: Scott works out hot and sweaty at Avenger Mansion gym. Power Girl secretly watches from afar and then sets on a favorite song of her's enticing him to get larger. Next thing you know Scott is on his back and Karen is telling him all about his duties he needs to perform.
Cast of Characters: Scott Lang, Karen Starr

Scott Lang has posed:
For all intents and purposes it was just a normal workout, at least half the time. The kind any father in his early 30's might do. He had been working on the treadmill for some 20 minutes by now, a nice stately 8 mph or so, enough to have a sweat worked up. Frankly there was little reason he couldn't do this somewhere closer to home at a Planet Fitness. Except for a few minor things. For one he was in his Ant-Man suit, which really helped work up the sweat all the more. The reason of course being as he hits another 10 minute mark he hops off the treadmill and onto a nearby folding table, shrinking at the same time. On the table, a few odds and ends set up like an obstacle course. Cups, pens, a stapler, someone's office had obviously been raided to make this happen. As he runs through it and reaches the end he checks his time, vaults back to normal size and back on the treadmill.

The other thing they don't let you do at Planet Fitness is have control of the gym's audio system. Eye of the Tiger has been blasting for over 20 minutes straight on a loop at a considerable volume. Still the training center probably had fairly good sound insulation one would hope.

Karen Starr has posed:
    In her apartment, Power Girl has a door that doesn't seem to lead anywhere. In truth, it actually opens up into the only real fruits of her attempts to burrow through universes and go home: An extradimensional space consisting of a single room, made of a material she hasn't figured out -exactly- how to patent yet. Within this room are a set of relatively normal weights, weighing in at the tens of pounds, with several red-sun lamps. At the same time, in this room are hyperdense materials formed into mundane-/seeming/ weights, they weigh in the scientific-notation tons.

    This usually amounts to all she needs in terms of exercise equipment, and the thought of that is probably more than a little frightening to comprehend.

    However, while she isn't prone to being at the Mansion very often, the truth of it is that she sometimes is, and even more than that, she is also ineffably curious. Which is why as Scott's created an obstacle course consisting of glassware and party favors, trucking through it as best he can, Power Girl arrives, and stands next to the console on the wall. She could control it with voice, like Scott probably does, but it's more amusing to press a few buttons and...

    The music changes. The opening to The Only Thing They Fear is You is extraordinarily ominous, and with that done, Karen just... Waits.

Scott Lang has posed:
By now it was his third run through the borrowed office supply course and he's feeling pretty confident, almost proud of himself. There was little doubt he was in the best shape of his life and by now he barely even feels the effects of the shrinking process which used to leave him dizzy and with overuse downright nauseous. Despite that as they say 'glowing sheen' of sweat there's no reason he should be struggling...until the music abruptly switches, the only thing missing being the record scratch of a needle. Just preparing to vault a coffee mug, the drastic mood change makes him stumble, his jump not what it needs to be and he catches the edge of the mug, falling inside while the mug itself tips over on the table with a rattle of ceramic. Now he was in total darkness while the music boomed with a sinister echo through the confines of the mug, a heavy coffee aroma accompanying it showing this mug probably hadn't been cleaned the last time it was due.

He panics for a moment. "Help! Someone help I'm...oh wait," his senses coming back to him as he easily flips the mug off himself with a sigh of relief...that quickly becomes a wince as he hears it crash on the floor below.

"OK nobody saw, I just...Power-Girl!" Scott's momentary urge to cover up the light vandalism brought to a screeching halt as he spies the currently more titanic than usual blond looming near the doorway. A moment spent wondering if she even sees him before it clicks, yes of course she does. He jumps off the table once more and expands back to a normal state, half-heartedly sweeping the shards of mug with the side of his boot. "You uh, didn't see you come in. Interesting, taste in music you've got," he notes.

Karen Starr has posed:
    Karen offers a snrk of amusement as Scott goes from Athlete to, well, Scott, in the space of a few moments. The noise of the music turns into the grinding metallic noise of that particular artist's signature, and its volume is the next thing she adjusts, lowering it calmly with a few pokes of a finger. Arms folded, she takes a few steps forward, allowing Scott the time to unshrink and present himself as best he can.

    "Gonna sweep that up?" she asks, taking a moment to appreciate his appropriated obstacle course. "I honestly expected Legos." she notes, unfurling her arms and placing them on her hips. "You also weren't paying attention to the door, so, of course you didn't. I've only been here a minute or so." An eternity for a Kryptonian, not that that concept really occurs to most. As well, not that most really -know- Karen is a Kryptonian. She doesn't exactly give many interviews, even if she's spoken their language in one of them.

    "There's no hyphen." she notes, "I can hear it when you say it. It's a weirder pause than a space. Power. Girl. Two words, no hyphen." She finger-wags, at that, but expects no results. "So this is how you use the Avengers gym, with its infinite budget. You set up a bunch of things you could find at home, and then run through them. That's... Inventive."

Scott Lang has posed:
Scott's mind is racing a mile a minute, slower than a Kryptonian's mayhaps but it was quicker than his usually relaxed self did. Thinking back to the last time they spoke, the glares and thinly veiled sung threats, the social media that had sprung up around the performance. He of course enjoyed such things, there was no concern about ruining his image. Still they were allies. Still she was between him and the door. Still that didn't matter, she could move faster than sound. His mind flits through all that and doesn't have space left over to work his mouth.

"Uhhhh..." is his brilliant first response before he snaps his jaw shut and looks down. "Right! The mess! Yeah I was just getting that Power, Girl," Scott no doubt messing up the timing on her name once more as he hurriedly crouches down and carefully picks up the shards of the mug to set on the table. At least he had gloves made to deal with corrosive materials and hungry white blood cells on, there was little concern of cutting himself, pausing partway through to look at his obstacle set.

"This? Yeah well I, it's good to practice with the size-change stuff and I wasn't going to go and ask anyone to build some super high tech version of a habit trail for me to run through. I just need enough to keep me mobile, try and see when the shifting starts to get to me. Getting harder to find that limit at least with shrinking. Unless I go REALLY tiny but, I'd have a hard time setting up a microscopic course and then finding it again each time. Off by a half inch could take me a couple hours just to reach it...also I left the Legos at home." The sad thing is as he says it one can tell he's not making a joke, he'd just forgotten them. As the last piece of the mug is set on the table he straightens again and dusts his hands off, one arm reaching back to self-consciously scratch the back of his head.

"Listen, umm, about Baskin Robbins, I uh...may have gotten carried away..."

Karen Starr has posed:
    Truthfully, while she -definitely- wouldn't, Karen could instantaneously obliterate Scott in /so/ many ways that just thinking about them is a little dizzying. His only hope may be to shrink into the subatomic dimension, and hope that she can't see into and effect it with her Kryptonian brokenness. It's a matter of reputation- Power Girl has the morals of Superman, for the most part, but she is /known/ as the angry one. No matter how much she definitely wouldn't, she has the rap of someone who /just might./

    It's just slightly carefully cultivated.

    Karen rolls her eyes at his pronunciation, which she marks down as definitely intentional. "I mean, you could just go out to a pet store, get that stuff they use for Hamsters or go to any college and get anything they don't need for the rats anymore." Her brow raises, and her tone hasn't changed to anything playful, even though it just might be. "Plus what you really need to test that is obstacles of varying size requirement. Something that needs a six-inch Ant-Man and something that needs an actual Ant-Man, put them just far enough from each other that you're rapidly changing size between them and then you've got a real obstacle course, instead of a bunch of office supplies that do the job when you're smaller." She notes that with a thumb at the course on the table.

    "Oh, you mean the Baskin Robbins incident. The incident where you put me on the spot to sing with no idea of the result in front of a group of people where I'd have looked like a practical monster if I had refused because there were -children- present. -That- Baskin Robbins incident? I'm sure. Carried away. Lost in the moment."

Scott Lang has posed:
"That's not a bad idea, I had been doing growing and shrinking but it's hard even in here and last time I..." Scott breaks off remembering the last time he'd worked out upstate growing and shrinking. It's when he'd met Maxima. Even now as Karen starts to get into the groove of chastising him she wasn't quite as scary as THAT, though Scott can't help himself from chewing on his lower lip and taking the tiniest half step back. Immediately bumping the flimsy folding table forcing him to awkwardly spin around and try to steady anything else breakable on it before it falls.

His laughter is dry, nervous, and oh so clearly forced and if he weren't sweating before he would have been now. "Y-yea that. It was a bit, look I hadn't PLANNED on it and once I was in the groove it," his hands moving about in front of him now without really saying a damn thing. If only he had pockets to put them in. "You sounded great by the way! Once that hit social media I got a few requests from some folks in the business but I uh," finally one more pause and a big breath.

"I screwed up and I'm sorry. I know some of these guys and gals we work with they either don't make mistakes or don't want to admit when they do but, I've made a lot, I'm probably GOING to make a lot more and, I'm sorry. I'd tell you it won't happen again but..." Scott trails off with a shrug, a 'what can you do?' expression about him. Some of her allies were just plain ordinary mortals like it or not.

Karen Starr has posed:
    Power Girl gives Scott this unrelenting nonplussed expression, allowing him plenty of time to worry and stew in the situation that had been brewing for so very long. Sure, there are probably scarier people out there, but to be so, you probably have to approach megalomania or some other version of clinical insanity. She's happy being on the other side of that line.

    "Uh-huh." she notes, folding her arms up again as he explains, her body language and expression not changing one iota from someone who at least /believes/ they were tragically wronged in some epic fashion, being made to sing in front of a Baskin Robbins.

    "Not going to happen." she starts, responding to the remark about Scott's business friends. "Right, well, listen. I'm not mad at you. I prefer to -choose- when I do something like that, but it's far and away not the worst thing that's ever happened to me." Understatement of the century. "You did and do deserve to squirm a bit, so understand that I'm not finished getting back at you, but I'm not going to fold you into a very crunchy pretzel for making me /sing./" Implication being, of course, that there is a point at which she might just.

Scott Lang has posed:
One can almost see the relief wash over Scott's face as she forgives him properly, a slight buckling of the knees for just a moment before he smiles and throws his arms out wide in an almost victorious pose. "Great! Hey! Awesome! And I was totally just joking about the music thing of course," Scott lies, at least one contract in one of his pouches right now with a very tempting amount of 0's on it. C'est la vie to that payday. Which just left the awkwardness of what comes after as Scott looks around the gym. He still barely knew his teammate or all she could do, though the talk of pretzel folding was a good reminder.

"So you uh, here to work out? Spot me or something? I'd offer to spar but...you know," Scott merely waving a hand up and down to indicate her and then another at himself. To say they were in different leagues was an understatement. Suddenly Scott's eyes do light up though as he says, "Oh I can tell you all about my doppel, they got him ya know. After he kidnapped Cassie. And then she got kidnapped again, we're uh, we're working on that issue right now. She says hi by the way, still thinks you should wear a jacket while flying," Scott beginning to move away from the table and towards some of the weight section of the gym. It was just bad form to go shrinking in front of people. Offering after, "And you can tell me about what's going on in your life! What's Power Girl got going on? Any world savings I missed?" Scott gossiping away like a stereotypical housewife at a hair salon.

Karen Starr has posed:
    It's easier for Power Girl to turn down offers like that. After all, she can literally survive off of sunlight, has no tangible need to eat, drink, sleep, or breathe, and is unlikely to visibly age in the next millenia as long as she doesn't, you know, do something stupid. The fact that she's secretly filthy, -stupidly- wealthy is honestly the kind of garnish that borders on the more-than-unfair.

    "I came to see what the Avengers' gym had to offer, I don't really need to exercise." If we're talking about /unfair.../ "But, sure, I can spot you." she notes, before offering a pause. "Kidnapped a /second/ time? I figured your doppel would kinda work itself out, a bit, but I'm glad to hear I wasn't needed to handle that situation. Who has her? When was she taken?" This is said while making their way to the weights, and Karen seems mostly incredulous. Now doesn't /seem/ like the time for small talk, but regardless.

    "I don't have anything going on. What I do is this stuff. You've probably missed a couple."

Scott Lang has posed:
A lot of humans had it better than Scott, quite a few worse. He'd been on enough different sides of the tracks that Karen's flagrant disregard for being anything resembling mortal at least doesn't throw him into a Luthor-like jealousy fit. "Course you don't," with a slight grumble as to her talk of exercise is the only sign of any annoyance from him as he outfits a bench-press bar. Two hundred pounds. Five years ago he'd never have even thought of trying to bench something like that, but Avenger's workout routines had him in the best shape of his life. Nevermind Captain America usually did something more like eight hundred and Power Girl was, well her own thing.

Scott lays back on the bench and looks at the ceiling as he grabs the bar, clarifying, "We got her back already. Some wackjob at the park with a flying suit. It wasn't even like he was targeting her or me. She just seems to, I don't know, attract weirdos," Scott sounding downright MIFFED at his daughter's frequent run-ins with psychopaths.

A grunt as he lifts the bar but thankfully not one of the gorilla-like hollers one might witness from dude bros at the local gym. As he brings it down to a resting position near his chest, his voice a bit strained he goes on, "And hey, yea, I get it, dedication to the job and all but, you know, ya gotta have something else going on. Go crazy just being nothing but work in your life. Hobbies? I do magic. I can show ya!" he suggests excitedly as he starts on his second lift.

Karen Starr has posed:
    Hopefully, Scott will never find out about the whole filthy rich thing. He may not be able to tolerate that. That she remains cut from metaphorical diamond is unfair enough without learning that she also gets to eat like a dump truck full of calories and unhealthy fats. She lets Scott assign the weights, placing her hands on her hips while he does it.

    "Really, just some asshole with a squirrel suit swoops out of the sky and grabs up Cassie like it's just what you do." She states, offering a minor laugh, rocking her head back. "Yeah. That just starts to... Happen when you start doing this thing. It's a mix of people targeting you and that almost all of any good luck you had just evaporates the first time you successfully punch some idiot who thought dressing up in a costume and successfully lifting a car meant he could have literally /anything/ he wants. It comes with the job, and is a sort of payment that can't buy anything at a store."

    "It's not just dedication. It's safety. This is who I am. Sure, I have attachments, but I don't let it mix. If anyone finds out, the people I punch on the regular could kill everyone I care about in the space of a few moments if I were ever not literally -right- there at every moment of every day. So what you get is Power Girl, and as far as the world is allowed to know, that's all Power Girl is."

Scott Lang has posed:
"But you do HAVE attachments. That's good. Hey I ain't gonna pry, I just, you know it'd be kinda scary to be relying on someone to save the world who doesn't really have much need or care for it and it's all just a job, you know? Sorry about that asteroid kids but I put in my 40 hours already this week. Not that, not that I thought you were like that of course," Scott quickly amends.

Three lifts. Just two more he told himself but his arms were starting to shake a bit. He could rest a moment but that would mean showing even MORE vulnerability than he already had. So maybe a bit of dudebro still lived on in him like it did in most men deep down somewhere. He twists his palm a bit as if readjusting his grip and just ever so very slightly taps the 'grow' controls built into the glove. Another four or five inches of height was barely noticeable when laying down flat, but it gave him just a wee bit more muscle to work with as he lifts again with a smug grin.

"It was a vulture suit too I think he said, the flying childnapper I mean. Stole it from some other guy, I kinda punched him a wee bit more than I should once we got him down. Working on getting Cassie a bodyguard now. I gotta do something or, well the ex I heard is gonna start bringing this stuff up in our next family court appearance..." Power Girl might not enjoy sharing details about her life outside of work but it seems Scott was more than willing to make up for the both of them. Down. Just one more lift.

Karen Starr has posed:
    "Yeah. A couple." she states, allowing Scott to just sort of glance over the grim statement she made, so that he can make his joke. "It's not about it being a job. That's not what it's like for any of us at all- It's a duty. A responsibility. We don't measure in hours, we don't even really measure at all."

    Her brow raises, in a somewhat condescending way. "Isn't that cheating?" she remarks, even as Scott struggles to get through his third and fourth lift with the added... Well, added Scott. Of course she noticed- Even that minute change is obvious to someone like Karen. Especially since she's spotting for him.

    "You can afford that?" she questions, just a little perplexed. "Bodyguards are expensive. And the Vulture... Isn't that one of Spider-Man's guys? Someone stole his suit, I guess. Means he's off the hook." Leaning quietly against the table now, which surprisingly doesn't tip with the. Weight. Of her.

    "You should get in touch with Jennifer Walters. I bet she'd be able to put up a good defense for you, because it sounds like your ex is trying to argue that Avengers shouldn't have the freedom to have kids."

Scott Lang has posed:
Scott pauses in his lift, his face already red with exertion so at least he can't blush. "Uh, no. It's practicing fine-tuning my size-shifting while my hands are occupied, it's very clearly a train...OK it's probably cheating," he finally confesses with a sigh bringing it back down to his chest and resting again. Guess he needed to do anothe proper one after all, his eyes fixed largely on the ceiling though he casts an upside down view at Power Girl now and then from his laid back position.

"And I get it's a responsibility for everyone on the Avengers, else they wouldn't be here. Just not sure everyone out there is like that and it'd be, well, it's a good thing I guess is all things aren't like that. As for bodyguards don't know if I can but I gotta do something. My ex isn't saying heroes can't have kids, she's saying they're not safe around me and with everything going on the way it has been, hell, there are days I'm thinking she's right. But if I lose Cassie..." Scott trailing off, unable to even complete the thought, a grim look indeed on his face.

"Hold on I'll adjust myself back to normal here. But like you got any hobbies, stuff you do for fun? You a gamer? Golf? Singing after aaa-AUGH Power, Power Girl help!" Scott's inquiries cut short, literally. While he'd fine-tuned his growth before, he's not able to do with sweaty palms again and he's suddenly only a foot tall trying to balance the weights. His strength weirdly isn't lessened in this manner even though it increases the other way, the strangeness of Pym particles, but it DOES mean the bar is a hell of a lot more awkward to handle as it wobbles precariously. It also made Scott's screams a lot more high-pitched but that was a whole other issue.

Karen Starr has posed:
    "At least you admit it." she states, offering a quick roll of her eyes. "That's the first step, I guess." Looking up at Power Girl is a... Difficult task, for reasons. Trying not to let it get to you is one of the most difficult tasks one can face when dealing with Karen.

    "There's plenty of motivation in just doing the duty. If nothing else, you manage to join the Avengers and you get to hang out, maybe even live, in this mansion. Three squares a day if not more, probably a stipend from Tony if you ask real nicely. A lot of people can't get that out of gainful employment." she shrugs, "But none of that really matters to me. I don't care about the benefits. Not about the praise, just about... Giving back to a world that's given so much to me, you know?" Looking down at Scott, or at least most of Scott, she listens to his statement and nods. "Yeah. That's why keeping who you are a secret is a good idea. The Avengers didn't really figure that out- or at least didn't care."

    The Zoop noise of Scott reducing himself is all Karen really needs. She does let him struggle for a moment or so- nothing major, but enough to seem like she has, well, human reaction times before her hand casually reaches over and grabs up the bar, two-hundred pounds of weight and all, and lifts it off of Scott like it were made of paper.

    "You alright down there?"

Scott Lang has posed:
A foot tall and just struggling under a weight Power Girl was now holding like it was a balloon. No Scott was not alright. Even he had limits to how much shame he could deal with all at once. His arms flop back to this sides, most of his body now fitting in the indent of the bench where his head had lain before. "Oh yeah, just, you know, basking in that feeling of duty right now," he deadpans, closing his eyes a second to calm down before he opens them again. There's a sort of click sound to follow...and nothing happens. Two more clicks follow. Nothing. It's a veritable machine gun of clicks after that as one can see his fingers furiously fluttering at the controls.

"Annnnd the controls are stuck, I must've bent something on the bar. Wonderful. I wonder if..." There was no reason for him to press the shrink button again. In fact there was every reason not to do it. But curiousity kills cats and one day it might get a Scott too. Where once there was a Barbie doll sized Scott, now he's half that height at a mere 6 inches. His voice even squeakier than before, his helmet still down. His body has begun to adapt to these size shifts, somehow, needing it less and less these days though he'd probably want it sooner or later.

"Yep, the shrink one still works," he chirps out, sitting up and doing his damndest not to look at her as he scoots to the edge of the bench and drops off to land on his feet coming up not much higher than her ankles. The sigh he releases seems so very large for something so very small.

Karen Starr has posed:
    Karen puts the bar back into its position at the top of the table, and straightens up as Scott languishes in his own pride. "Don't let it get to you. My limit under... Specific circumstances is around two-fifty to three hundred." Implying that without powers her limit is higher than Scott's is probably one of the most aggressive shots she's ever taken. It's impossible to verify, too, so he'll never know if she's lieing.

    "Wait, hold on, don't-" she states, before Scott's curiosity gets the best of him and he's six inches tall. "I could've just... /looked/ at the controls, and told you if they worked. And at a foot tall, I might have been able to unstick the grow side, but at this size I'd rather not give that a shot on electronics I'm not familiar with." She sighs, quietly. Her hand comes up to pinch at her brow.

    "Not your fault, not your fault. But I probably can't help you now, you'll probably have to speak to Pym. I'm sure he'll help out." There she is, having no idea how Scott's relationship with Hank works.

Scott Lang has posed:
"Not to worry, I can fix this! Kinda had to learn how since I bre...umm, the suit gets damaged in combat fairly often. Long as it's not the particle containment device I'm usually OK on my own!" Scott assures her as he starts walking by and reaching out to give her a reassuring pat on the calf, as one does. He keeps walking for the gym door, gauging himself a bit before he hops straight up like a scared cat and presses the 'open' button, the dangers of the training facility requiring a bit more than a motion sensor.

As the door slides aside he starts to step through and pauses one more time, turning back to call out in that now somewhat cartoony, and if not for super hearing hard to hear voice, "Thanks for being more chill about everything than I thought though. If you wanna hang out sometime. Know you've said you got some 'attachments' out there already but a few more never hurt. And Cassie might like..."

The sliding doors were usually quite safe too once opened, designed with an array of sensors to keep them from closing on someone, even right down to midgets in case Puck from Alpha Flight ever stopped by. Lang was beneath all of those right now and the door thumps into him hard and pins him against the frame. There's a series of curses and hollering that follows as the dollman flails there a moment before he gets his hands against it and pushes it open just enough to slip out into the hallway, left rubbing his nose as he scurries for some makeshift tools. Scurrying being all one can do at such a height.