5529/Thousand Faces: Awooooo!

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Thousand Faces: Awooooo!
Date of Scene: 10 March 2021
Location: Rocky Point, Long Island
Synopsis: Man vs. dog. Dog of death, as it turns out...
Cast of Characters: Jane Foster, Jovian Anderson, Heather Danielson, Natasha Irons

Jane Foster has posed:
Rocky Point, Long Island. 2015 hours.

Rocky Point is far enough from New York City to not be NYC, but still respectably well-heeled. Pressed between the Connecticut shore and the pine forests at its back, the snug town twinkles with lights as the sun goes down. But a few things are amiss. No teenagers cruise up and down Rocky Point Yaphank Road, the route cutting south right through the popular wooded preserve.

A cluster of kids on their mountain bikes cluster in front of Cow Palace, the parking lot otherwise empty. The oldest might be thirteen, the youngest a stately seven. Tucked into their puffy coats and mittens, they exude delight.

"Is he coming?" the freckled ginger asks a boy who just crossed the main route through town. The animated burble among the tweens gets a bit squeaky.

Unable to hold out for a moment longer, the boy in the North Face jacket nods and points to a dark, Bernard-sized dog eagerly waiting across the street in a small stand of trees next to the sign marking /No Parking at School Pickup Times/. The high school and elementary school are both on the same main road slicing the pine barren preserve on both sides.

"Let's goooo!" An excited cheer rises as the kids collectively wait for a gap in traffic. A cheerful cartoon cow benignly admires them instead of worrying about becoming a burger for their voracious appetites. Then the little hoard is off, disregarding the fact it's now dark and their parents would probably wonder why they aren't in bed.

Six blocks away, the police department dutifully awaits the next media call. Fifteen minutes earlier, the news report of a mauled teenager found dead on the shore at Suffolk County Land Park, on the town's beachfront, hit the New York news. It's a bad night.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson gets a hit on a facebook group for people that hurt animals, and frankly he never thought it would matter. He's always on the job or investigating something but its literally RIGHT next to the Nazca Cartel warehouse that he was going to check out. The coincindences that pile up with them is amazing, and creepy. As it is, he carefully gets on his cycle and heads to the scene to see what he can find out.

Heather Danielson has posed:
    And it is a good thing that Heather's agent gets her shoots all over the place. Not just in like the Bahamas. She was here to do a shoot in support of a local charity that was all about preserving the forest trees on the Connecticut side of the border.
    She's finished that work, and was at a local hotel for the night, and she has way too much energy. So after a dinner that was something like the amount of food four large men would eat, she decided to go for a run. This is why she is out in a light jacket over a tank top, and in tight stretch pants because.. well because.
    She has a phone, small wallet, and that's about it. Well, and her Titans comm. But either way, she has no idea that she might as well be the perfect bait for a teen mauling. Oh joy.

Natasha Irons has posed:
It was weird. Normally Natasha wouldn't even get herself involved in such things as animal attacks but something about the story caught her eye. An animal mauling? She stares at the screen as she reads the story and then looks to the side before calling out, "Cross reference animal attacks and long island." She then looks over the list and then blinks again. She starts looking over the list and realizing the dates before she stands up and shakes her head, "Computer, let my uncle know I'm goin' out." She then heads over to her armor, slipping into it and it smoothly closing around her even as the hammer is whipped up to her back. She looks over toward the exit and then launches.

Within mere moments she launches out of the tunnel at the top of a building a mile away at speed, grinning a little as she flies before spinning once in air and racing toward Long Island. It hardly takes any time at her speed and she lands, trying not to draw too much attention as she lightly lands on a roof of a building and starts walking over to the edge of the building, "I need a map of the area and locations of all the attacks." A screen pops up in her HUD a moment later, pinpointing all the attacks.

Jane Foster has posed:
The little pack hasten down the county road in a small cloud of BMX bikes, cruisers, and laughter.No attempts at stealth as they need ten minutes to leave behind the strip mall with ever-popular Gamestop and Chinese place. LED lights on their handlebars cut through the gathering darkness. Not very difficult to spot them, especially for anyone out for an evening stroll or heading into town.

When the kids reach the last streetlight marking where the town ends and preserve begins, the big fluffy dog comes bounding out of the bushes in earnest. His tail beats a steady, eager pace when spotting the crowd of kids, and several bother dumping their bikes behind the lamppost. An excited cry from a girl with her hair in braids rings out loudly. "Mr. Puppy!"

"His name's /Latte/," protests another. "Not Mr. Puppy." The kids bound closer, giving hugs to the small pony-sized canine. He whuffs.

"Hmph." The girl protests, but points. "C'mon, let's go to our fort."

Latte follows them crunching, stamping into the woods. He just mows over the winter-dry bushes, while they bounce over fallen trees and kick at woodchips, unaware of any concern greater than going on an adventure.

Natasha's map shows a heap of red dots slowly forming, a bleeding heat network wrapped around Rocky Point and its neighbouring town. The pine barrens preserve where the kids play have a number of spots on the trail. There are other marks: subdivisions near the school, a few on the beach.

Heather Danielson has posed:
    Gang of kids. Doggo... Heather lifts a hand to turn off her earbud music app. She tilts her head to the left and then turns to jog after the kids. I mean.. worst case scenario, she can try to get them to go home, where it's safe.
    She's not superhuman fast, but has STRONG legs, so she runs pretty darned fast. "Hey kids." she says as she gets close enough for conversation. "What fort?"

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson follows up on the leads given him by his law enforcement contacts and crowd sourcing from the group and approaches the children. If nothing else they might have been witnesses and he spots the children. He is hoping that the dog is not responsible for this but he heads on his bike, wearing his suit, silver with a helmet that conceals his face. He drives up and is about to talk but lets Heather take the lead, not wanting to overwhelm the kids.

Natasha Irons has posed:
While the others already have the sight of the potential problem, Natasha is still busy figuring things out. She looks over the various spots, drawing lines and lines together from the spots where various attacks have taken place. She then takes off, and flies up and over the air above. Her armor scanning over the area as she flies above. Eyes scanning left and right till she finds a set of heat signatures below. She stares carefully down and zeroes in on the largest signature before blinking at the others approaching.

"I think that's what I'm looking for." She then flies down toward the group, not coming in too close. Instead she lands in the woods nearby and listens, trying to gauge what is going on. She hasn't heard any screams of pain, fear, or agnoy yet.

Jane Foster has posed:
Gangly limbs and puffer coats melt into the pine trees better than someone might think. The kids don't stand out much except for noise, making reasonably good progress away from the road. Being between four and five feet tall, that speed proves unimpressive next to an adult trying to catch up. Jovian has full-grown height advantage, though dodging weathered sticks or the thick bushes isn't easy. Softened soil has a way of turning ankles and tripping up the unwary.

The heat signatures resolve to seven kids, two adults closing, and one fuzzy patch much lower in temperature than the others. One still has her hand on the dog's back, using him for stability as they crest a dip in the otherwise pretty flat ground.

Heather's serenade has the wrong response; it calls of 'authority figure', someone older than thirteen, fourteen. One of the kids scrunches his nose. The freckled one grumbles. "We're being followed! C'mon!"

Cue the flock of kids running away from the adult-figure, Latte loping alongside them. He's a big boy. Big enough that girl could ride him.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson has no supernatural senses, but the hairs on the back of his neck neverrthleless stand up. The kids running off though seems like a good way to get them killed and he slowly cloaks darkness around himself so they can't as easily see him. He moves and carefully moves towards them, speed walking but not running as if he was trying to hurt them.

Natasha Irons has posed:
A frown as she realizes what is happening and she fights the urge to race right in. She stares at where the kids are in comparison to...whatever that thing is. She listens to the kids seeming to just enjoy and laugh as they move along. Even hears them say what they do about 'being followed' and she isn't sure if they somehow spotted her or if it was the other signatures. She carefully starts moving along, her armor making small noises but from the distance she is at, it isn't horrible.

"I gotta get them away from whatever that thing is." She hmms softly as she moves and keeps her sensors focused on them.

Jane Foster has posed:
Trees make a landing difficult without extreme care. They're thick enough in this part of Long Island to earn a protected park, one frequently run by hikers and bikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Following them through the woods with obscured branches and leaf-cover isn't too hard with IR or other scans, but they still are much more concerned about big people on the ground.

One of whom leaves off, the other seems to be wrapped up in a way they can't see. Still, kids rarely do things sensibly and they continue their plunge until small lungs burn and skinny legs ache. Until the leader -- Freckles -- shouts, "Stop! We're gonna be safe!"

Cue the bent over kiddos gasping for air, the dramatic arm-flapping and looking around. Latte prowls among them, sniffing, lifting his great head into the air. Ears perk, catching those strange creaks and mechanical noises above. The black nose flares. He circles around, padding while they gather themselves and someone has the presence of mind to turn on their flashlight on their phone, another thing Natasha can focus on. Jovian will no doubt find it easy to spot.

"Aw man, where are we? Latte, can you get us to the fort?" asks Freckles.

Latte the dog growls. It sounds rather like a Atlantic steamliner of yore is off-gassing, a rumble that stretches a very, very long way.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson doesn't like the sound of that growl and radios for backup on the police band, "May have a situation with an animal or something worse threatening children, location (describes location), (describes children), "Approaching Children may not be aware of the threat, will confirm threat but back up is a good idea." He approaches where the phone appears but has a bolo in hand ready to throw at the source of the growl if he sees it. Why, if he can cast darkness can't he see in it? And for a brief second he does, so shocked that he loses it again, adjusting to night vision again and moving towards the light, listening and watching.

Natasha Irons has posed:
Being careful is really not Natasha's style. Hitting things with a hammer until they were not a problem was Natasha's style. However, hearing the kids get all winded and seeing the dog thing not directly next to any kid is an opportunity she can't miss. With a quick flip, she flies through the air and lands right between as many of the kids as she can and the dog at the same time. Her armor up and using a bit of light from the armor's own functions to stand out with that big tell-tale S right on her chest. SHe keeps the hammer on her back for now even as she eyes the 'dog' carefully before addressing the kids.

"Hey there, children. I am Steel. Do your parents know you are out this late?" She asks, still trying to keep sensors on the dog thing but trying not to be, ya know, too threatening. In armor. With a huge hammer. Ya know, totally non-threatening.

Jane Foster has posed:
The Rocky Point detachment of the police amount to a cruiser, four people forced to field questions from the media, and a weary switchboard operator currently trying to manage a 911 call for an ambulance over stomach cramps and needing more pills. It takes Jovian a little to get through and confirm that they'll send someone by. Animal Control for the town is a shared matter, and finding the part-time employee means rousing him from watching a sports game. Time matters, minute by minute.

More to the point, he is audible speaking into a radio to the very large dog even if the kids weren't. A low, thrumming growl rolls in Jovian's direction again, more felt in the bones than really heard. It doesn't stop when Natasha drops from the sky.

The beastly proportions of a proper hatchback or econobox car don't disturb the children, though two of them are holding the hands of the bigger kids to find their way. It helps to have a good flashlight as they go looking for their 'fort,' which isn't immediately visible as a hummock or a hole in the ground. Not much other than a few fallen pines give distinction for a landform in the area.

A startled shout announces her dropping in, anyway, and the littlest boy hides right behind the bigger 9-year-old. His fearful eyes peer past the 9-year-old, who is busy catching flies. "Whoa..."

"No!" the eldest, and Latte swings his head around. My, what big slobbery jowls you have, puppy. "We're cool, but you're not supposed to be here. It's trespassing."

"My dad said I could!" announces the 9-year-old, puffed up with bravado that's trembling.

The hound's claws dig furrows into the ground. He cocks his head. Whuffs. A weirdly thick smell rolls out, thick and velvety dark, like places that have been walled up for a very, very long time.

With the people inside.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson has been reading up on the occult, and he has absolutely NO IDEA what the hell is going on but he definitely knows that bad smells are...well...bad. Sulphur, brimstone, decay, this isn't natural. Sure it could be some escaped lab dog but given his recent encouters, magic is a nail that he hits everything with hammer...he looks at Steel, ok, maybe literally with a hammer. He doesnt immediately attack the dog, but he is about to. He has no idea why he doesnt toss the bolo at the "animal" but he doesn't. It isnt fear, but rather simply a desire not to blindly attack what he doesnt understand, foolish as that may be.

Natasha Irons has posed:
A blink at the kids and she tilts her head, "Yeah, this isn't trespassing and I highly doubt your parents agreed to any of this." She states, noting the trembling. That is, what she was focusing on till she heard the claws, the sounds in general from the dog and then the smell. She looks at the dog before she idly shifts her feet against the ground and look the thing over.

"So, who's dog is this?" She asks and looks briefly to one kid before looking back to the dog, "Because it sure does have an interesting smell and..." She pauses for a moment to pick her words carefully, "...is a lot colder than I would expect a dog to be."

Jane Foster has posed:
The kids form a clump when trouble rears its head in the form of Disapproving Adult Figure. They don't seem to be nearly as scared by the grumbling or hissing, not the way they should. Behind Latte the hound, they are so much smaller, younger, less impressive than an actual threat.

"He's our friend," stammers out Freckles, since he is the unelected spokesperson. "We all take care of him."

The little girl with her hair in braids thrusts a pointed finger. "You can't take him. He is a good boy." A round of hasty nods and stuck-out lips, pouting, frowning. Their agitation feels like a cloud of mosquitoes coming through the summer humidity.

The large dog trudges in front of the group and stops, planting himself between them and Natasha and Jovian. It's not perfect, but he whuffles again. Those dark eyes gleam in the shadows as he watches them, posture on par with a canine guarding something, though the exuded warning is tilting swiftly to something worse. He yawns, and those great big teeth show those great drooly jowls. Mouth snapped shut like a steel bear-trap, he takes a step forward.

"You leave Mr. Pupper alone. You're just jealous."

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson considers his actions carefully. Honesty is the best policy. "I'm here because a young boy was recently killed by a large animal. The police have asked for help in identifying who that might be. And I'm not entirely sure that Mr Pupper is exactly what he appears to be." Jovian wishes now ironically his darkness COULD induce fear and madness like his dopple, since it might give Mr. Pupper pause. As it is, he remains grimly determined.

Natasha Irons has posed:
"Kids, listen." Natasha states simply and looks at them, "I'm not here to take away your dog or anything." She nods her head, "I just gotta make sure he's ok." She then blinks as Jovian speaks up and looks at him with a stare before looking at the kids and then back to Jovian. SHe rolls her eyes, "You just gonna say that outright to them?" She asks and gestures, "They're kids." She then looks to the dog caefully before leaning to Jovian.

"And that thing, is no dog." She whispers to him, carefully, "It's body temperature is very low and it is frankly too large. I'm not sure what it is but it's definitely more than a dog." She then takes a small step forward and looks to the dog, "Mr. Pupper." She states carefully and then looks to the other kids, "Or Latte." She nods to the dog, "Did you hurt people? Did you boy?" She asks, carefully keeping her hands out, hands up, seeming non-threatening.

Jane Foster has posed:
Predictably, the littlest of them gets owl eyes, shining wide in the poor lighting of a nighttime forest. The wobbly camera flashlight almost falls from the gripping mittens of another boy, and then skips over to land flat on the leaf fodder.

It's dark.

The girl shrilly yelps. Another boy scrambles back, feeling around in the leaf litter and the dirt. Confused hisses and mutters to find the light, hurry, it's dark, they are /mean/.

Latte won't move, not much. His tail beats a slow, sharp basso against its leg, and any approach a step closer by the adults gets no warning. He will simply attack. Until then, his shoulders are harshly lifted and that sepulchral breath spinning out. The air is only mildly colder around him, not by much, and he doesn't quite answer.

"Mr. Pupper never hurts anyone that don't deserve it. He keeps us safe! He barked at a bad driver and that guy doesn't drive stupid anymore," cries Freckles. "Go away!"

Sniffles, and the call is taken up. "Go way!"

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson listens, which is a skill unto itself, he wishes he was an empath and could get a read on the dog. Its own lethatilty is well conveyed. Even if, SOMEHOW it isnt a threat to the children, and he has no way of knowing that, it is clearly willing to attack adults. Bolo doesnt want to cause tramau with children, however but does realize this stand off can't continue. And he has a way to resolve it.

He steps forward, allowing the dog to attack, judging its lethality if so, allowing himself to fade to shadow if it does anything lethal.

Natasha Irons has posed:
A look over at the camera light falling and Natasha carefully has her sensors check around for any other approaching people or things. For now, she's just trying to play it safe. Gotta get the kids away from the big dog and...then JOvian is stepping forward. Natasha turns quickly, taking a step forward herself and reaching out.

"Hey, be careful!" She states and while she isn't sure what this thing is, but from the sound of things, kids being a bit sociopathic, don't really relate to teh possibility that this bad driver is now a dead driver and they also might not see the problem with that, at least not yet.

Jane Foster has posed:
No one else is coming; no one else is marked out. A car moving down the road makes a distant impression, but a quiet one, fading out as softly as it crept in. Rocky Point is still a town of thousands of souls there on the north side of Long Island, fertile ground for a hunt. The cop car is coming, but slower, mobilised to act but not flying at deathly speeds. Too late to stop that.

The kids take a while to find the phone, while also shouting their little chant of 'go away' and 'mean people'. Being that they're a passel of middle schoolers at best, they see the threat in simple terms. People want to take their dog, their dog is their friend, and they can't really hurt an adult. They can throw a pinecone at Natasha, which obviously does no harm even if it lands. Tears stream down the youngest boy's face. The bigger kids, still so frighteningly young, have red spots on their cheeks and bellow for all they can. All bark, no bite.

But Latte, that great hound, is not that. He is all bite, and very little bark, and Bolo getting too close is enough to make that thing lunge. For claws and teeth to act.

And the shadows are no consolation, not exactly, since those teeth carry weaponised decay in the form of a hunter in shadow and forest and shade, and when they snap, it's just as easy to hit the ephemeral as it is the flesh.

Backing off will stop the defensive charge, but if he doesn't bend, Jovian is going to find out how much the black hound of Annwn is willing to protect its people.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson has never been affected in shadow form before so when the teeth break his skin its more than a shock, and he backs off immediately, bleeding and suddenly solid. Sadly, the intent only to defend is lost on him and he is entirely convinced the hound is only of ill intent. It doesn't respond to talk, can't talk and its threatening children.

The problem is, he's not IMMEDIATELY sure how to get it but a bolo of shadow immediately appears in his hands.

Natasha Irons has posed:
A blink as the dog attacks and she was afraid that would happen. It goes for Jovian and she isn't sure what he is at all, seeing him seem to go shadowy or something. She does know a scream of pain though and so she rushes forward. She doesn't pull the hammer. Might be a bit overkill and she's still not completely against the idea of trying to resolve this, uh, 'peacefully'. She instead attempts to grab hold of the big beast's head and pull it back and away from Jovian, using hte impressive strength the armor provides her. A tough aspect given she doesn't desire to hurt the animal as it might just be a beast and nothing more, "Get away!" Steel calls out as she does so, not really giving the kid's upset pinecone throwing much regard.

Jane Foster has posed:
That big old dog is a strong creature, endowed with powerful back muscles and a thick neck that the kids' arms would never go around. Attempting to pull him off his paws isn't going to be easy with a quadruped's skill and stability, but not impossible. Latte isn't impressed by someone hauling him and flings his head about, body bunching and rippling, though it's certainly a grave situation.

The kids aren't intervening, shouting and squealing in horror and anger. Something that may well explain the hound's willingness to snap and bite, locking its teeth if it must, to keep the adults away from them.

Jovian Anderson has posed:
Jovian Anderson finally gets it and says, "Kids. CALM. DOWN. Please." He uses his cop voice. The kids may not like authority figures, but authority figures have their uses, "Your fear, your freaking out may be making Mr Puppers over here go boogaloo. Now if you calm down and let us talk this out we MIGHT be able to make sure everyone is alright. Please.

Natasha Irons has posed:
And then comes the problem with being strong and yet also somewhat light. Light by comparison anyway. In her armor, Natasha weighed in at close to three hundred pounds but to a dog the size of a small car, that was basically just an annoyance. She tries to use her flight systems to hold the thing steady and calls out, "Seriously, kids! Calm down, we need to help you and your dog. I don't know what is going on but people are getting hurt!" She looks to Jovian, "See what you can do about the kids, I'll see about wrestling our big friend here!" She then speaks internally, speaking only to the armor, "Computer, contact base, prepare potential facility to house a dog the size of a Buick."