5741/The Brownstone That Ate the Upper East Side

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The Brownstone That Ate the Upper East Side
Date of Scene: 27 March 2021
Location: Upper East Side
Synopsis: Clea, the Question, and Spider-Man converge on a very mobile home.
Cast of Characters: Peter Parker, Clea, Vic Sage

Peter Parker has posed:
Weirdness Happens. It's one of the unspoken adages of the modern-day New Yorker. Below a certain level, weirdness is just...accepted. The subway is late because an Asgardian pancaked into it? Call the boss, let them know. A nutjob on a flying glider is fighting a guy in red-and-blue spandex and they crash THROUGH your office building? Get Damage Control on the line, cash in that superhero-damage insurance rider.

But some things rise above that level of been-there-done-that-pass-the-latte oddness.

For Clea, someone at ease with the grand weirdness of other realities and elder monstrosities, it is the awareness of a growing, budding WRONGNESS in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

For Spider-Man, it is a phone call from an informant of "some weird noises coming from this house."

And for Vic Sage, AKA The Question, it is a series of reports about the Blackstone family, a mainstay in the New York mover-and-shaker club for over 150 years, and their sudden and abrupt disappearance from the social calendar of New York City.

Three vectors, converging at one point.

Clea has posed:
There's a hint of breeze in the night air that steals past the buildings of the Upper East Side, stirring bits of trash on the streets and sending an empty aluminum can rattling across a rooftop. Late March is not a time for too many people to be out too late in the day, unless they are impervious to, or simply uncaring of, the temperature.

Which of those two applies to the young woman descending from the sky is a matter for speculation, but the former seems more likely. She doesn't /walk/ down from above, or even fly down in the traditional superheroine pose, she simply seems to descend as though some sort of floating disc is whisking her wherever she wants to go. The breeze stirs her silver curls, and, as she reaches the sidewalk and glances around the neighborhood with curiousity, the streetlights make her purple-and-black choice of attire even more garish than normal.

Vic Sage has posed:
"unexplained disappearences, high level socialites, all tied to this house. No evidence of foul play no ransom no change in their financials no suspects. Or at least thats what the offical authorities would tell it." Vic says into his voice memos as he prowls around the last known location of the victims.
"Occam's Razor, though useful in day to day life has the flaw limiting the creative thinking of people when they clearly need to start looking outside the conventional thinking of what is possible. the normal has been effectively ruled out then that means start looking at the strange at the unlikely the unthinkable to the average person. Aliens magic the paranormal all on the table. its shocking how in a world full of gods and monsters people still deny the possiblity for the weird to happen."

Peter Parker has posed:
This is the high-society part of town. Security gates, signs with stuff like WATCHED BY TOWER SECURITY, and the occasional compact car with lights on the hood. You are safe, if you belong here.

Spider-Man would not conceivably belong here. The house on Ingram Street would be worth an outhouse here. But the recording had chilled his blood, and he was going to check the place out.

Both Clea and the Question can see him scuttling along the side of the house in question - guess iron gates, high walls, and security cameras don't faze the webslinger. Although he does pause when his Spider-Sense tingles unpleasantly as he moves along the wall of the brownstone, enough for him to place a tracer at one window before leaping back over the gate to land in the street.

Something was off about this place.

Clea has posed:
There's much that's strange about the Earth. This "ground", for instance, and the idea that it all needs to connect together somehow, rather than things just floating where the Dread One decrees simply because the Dread One decrees it -- that's just /weird/. Puzzling.

But one thing is /not/ strange, and that's the "high status" versus "low status" distinction. It's a thing Clea is familiar with, and so she's particularly comfortable dealing with it. Not, probably, that she'd give any sign of it if she didn't. She's looking here, looking there, strolling slowly down the street without a care in the multiverse --

Thing scuttling across a house, though? She's pretty certain that in this world that's a sign of something unnatural going on, and so with a sort of snapping hiss purple-white sigils of glowing mystic power surround her hands, ready to -- oh. It's a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The glowing sigils fade into nothingness again as he clears the gate, and she raises a hand in greeting. "Greetings."

Vic Sage has posed:
The Question has little respect for security he deftly and with more agility than a man of his description shoulh have, climbs over the walls and past the cameras he skulks around looking for anything out of place and then he manages to stumble across the the other investigators. "So I wasn't the only one to notice. Interesting and not entirely unwelcome."

Peter Parker has posed:
Okay...one he knows of, the other he doesn't. Guess he's going to have to update the database again.
He turned to face the two of them. The purple hair isn't even worth a raised eyebrow. It's the one he does know of, the one called the Question, that is a little more...arresting. Hard to gauge the look in a man's face when he has NO face to gauge.

"Uhm, hello. I'm checking out some weird noise coming from that house. It's supposed to belong to a family named Blackstone, but I don't know anything about them. All I know is that someone heard some...unsettling noises and send the audio to me. It's...well, it's disturbing in more than one way, I'm not sure you want to hear it."

Clea has posed:
"Charmed, I'm sure," Clea says, with a hint of ironic humor in her tone, and inclines her head politely to the Question, having put on a very pleasant but distant sort of smile. Ten percent genuine, ninety percent public relations, in other words.

But he's here and he seems to recognize New York's (though not Jameson's, alas) favorite super-hero. Good enough for the sorceress. "Unsettling noises?" she echoes, inspecting the house with renewed interest. "There's a dimensional disturbance in this area that's been growing steadily stronger. Perhaps they might be related. What manner of noises were you sent, if I may inquire?"

Vic Sage has posed:
"unexplained disappearences of notable people, seems liked a promising lead to investigate. Sounds like it's seems like my suspicions were correct to assume there was more going on here than just some missing socialites." vic says looking around the area as if looking for something he dropped. "I gather neither of you suspect foul play from some extra governmental body? I was only 50/50 on that. but I generally believe everything has a minimum 35 percent chance to be an extragovernmental body stepping in to handle something quietly."

Peter Parker has posed:
Spider-Man taps his temple, then raises a hand and seems to be pressing something in front of his face. They can't see the augmented-reality interface, but they will see him pause.
"...Hope no one had anything to eat before they came here."
He tapped an invisible key.

There is a sound of something...wet, shifting over carpet. A low muttering of something Spidey has no experience in. The Question might have slept through his Alien Languages class, as well.

Clea, however, has no such impediment.

<Five...seven...two...nine...raise the circle...>
The sound of someone begging. "No! You have to obey! The ritual demands it!"
Then another sound, the sound of tearing flesh, and a scream, cut short. Someone screams like that, that's the last sound they're ever going to make.

"I think a government assault team would sound less...JUICY."

Clea has posed:
It's probably for the best that Clea has only a nodding acquaintence with the idea of "extragovernmental bodies." After all, where she comes from, things that don't meet with the approval of the ruling government (a sort of "One Dormammu, One Vote" arrangement) just ... don't happen. Or, in the unlikely event that they do, they tend to un-happen with alacrity, followed by the person doing them un-existing nearly as fast.

But she doesn't /say/ that. What she says is, "From what I understand, even belief in other dimensions is not widespread here, much less the ability to exploit it. I don't think it very likely."

Listening to Peter's recording draws from her a look of what can only be termed well-bred illness. "I recognize some of what's being said. Numbers, mainly. And 'raise the circle'." One silver eyebrow lifts slightly. "Someone conjuring up something he could not control, I daresay."

Vic Sage has posed:
"A /human/ assault team would sound less juicy sure but what if they sent something else?" Vic retorts to peter.

"Thats a language? and you understand it? I should definitely make a point to ask you how to learn that after this is handled" Vic says very interested in the strange science? magic? Clea is practicing.

Peter Parker has posed:
Spider-Man winced. Conjuring.
He is a man of science, but he's read a lot, including the works of King, Lovecraft, and Howard. He's heard of stuff that drove people insane just from looking at them.
"Well, if it ended, what else is BEGINNING, exac..."

He doesn't get to finish. It is at this point that the entire two-story building begins to rise.
It does not rise smoothly, but like a kid trying to stand for the first time. But it steadies itself quickly.

Must be the tentacles under its base.

"...Well, THAT'S NEW." Spider-Man can't help but feel a little awe at the tremendous about of trouble they are looking at.

Clea has posed:
"Oh, yes," Clea reassures Vic, happy to have the chance to explain, well, anything related to her area of expertise. She adopts a bit of a didactic tone, continuing: "Or perhaps 'language' isn't the right word, precisely, but a means of communication, at least. It might be more accurately compared to --"

Even in the sorcerous line of work this isn't a thing you see every day, and it makes her blink and stare for several painfully long moments until, oh, right. Tentacled house monster. "How remarkable," she says, with considerable understatement. *snap-hiss* and the electric purple-white signs of power snap back into existence around her hands, as she begins to lift into the air of her own accord. "We'll need to disrupt its ties to this dimension in order to banish it. They ought to be obvious, even to the untrained eye."

Vic Sage has posed:
The question's expression of shock is almost visible through his mask. "A buildng is moving." He says his one sounding extraordinarily calm for the situations. "I feel the need to explain that despite the mask I'm a normal man whom doesn't have a utility belt, power suit, super powers or even a gun"

Peter Parker has posed:
Spider-Man looks to the Question. "All right, Question, lemme give you a few ANSWERS."
He reaches into his backpack and takes out a few devices, all of them looking like squat black spiders.
"Those are tracers/surveillance devices...but they can also function as metal markers. If you can put any of those tracers on the corners of the building, I can try to use them to ground out any nearby ConEd towers. The bad news..."
He points to the moving building. "I'm going to have to put you on the roof!"

The architecture is familiar to Clea. A simple, yet effective Eldritch Anchor, one that had to have been set and cured for decades. Seems the Blackstones had a family legacy they didn't share with the tabloids.
The circle closest to her seems to glow an weird, purplish color, perhaps sensing her intentions.

Clea has posed:
"Magical skill isn't required to disrupt their functioning," Clea says confidently. Even while she's speaking, her hands are making twisting motions, mystic energy spiraling around them, as she begins to make the outer wall of the house peel away from itself at the nearest corner, a psychedelic display that's like watching a stop-motion animation of the wall building itself, but run in reverse.

"The anchors rely on strict arrangement of sigils and artifacts. Simply throwing enough things around in a room where it's present is likely to interfere with them eventually. Though you may need to throw quite a lot of things around."

Vic Sage has posed:
Vic sighs. "you're going to throw me on to the roof of te monster building... alright let's do it." He gathers up the the little spider shaped devices and braces himself.

Peter Parker has posed:
Spider-Man had to admit, the guy was operating on an absurd lack of fear.
He'd have to ask how he does it later. If there IS a later.
"Don't tense up." And with that, he grasps Vic's collar, Then JUMPS up to the side of the building, the Question in tow. As he lands, Spidey alley-oops the Question over the top of the ledge to land on the roof.

"I'm going to see what damage I can do!"
And with that, he jumps through one window and lands inside, pausing only to look out through the window to see they are now moving down the street.

...Boy, you just don't SEE a brownstone with this kind of acceleration these days.

Clea has posed:
Unfortunately for Clea's efforts to magically disassemble enough of the house to get a shot at one of the anchors, /there are other people in the world/. And some of them are nearby enough to attract interest from the house's tentacles. (That a house might have tentacles is not a concept that slows her down at all.)

She has to hastily abandon her efforts at home renovation to generate a mystic purple-white shield above the head of some poor woman who's just trying to walk her dog without being crushed into a pulp by a hostile tentacle, and then almost as hastily send said poor woman and her dog somewhere else entirely before the tentacle can try again. "Hurry!" she calls out to the others, as she is rapidly overwhelmed with trying to deflect thrown cars, prevent grievous bodily harm due to tentacle thrashings, and perhaps most importantly, try to keep the house from moving too far from where it started -- that would just give it even more opportunities for mischief.

So the air is lit up with actinic sorcerous manifestations as she tries everything in her considerable bag of tricks to slow it down. Giant mystic chain attaching one house to another? Don't mind if she does! Alas, this is not going to do the other house any good. But at least it's buying some time.

Vic Sage has posed:
The question tucks and rolls through his landing on the roof. "So I stick these things at the corners of the building, seems simple enough"

Vic grabs one pf the tracers and makes his way towards one of the symbols. Vic doesn't want to get too close so he decides to test out if he could throw it. He winds up like a pitcher and throws his best fastball at the corner.

Peter Parker has posed:
The tracer lands on the circle, the tiny red spider starting to glow as ambient energy is absorbed by it...

The inside of the house looks like some weird amalgamation of a rich person's house and the inside of some giant animal's digestive system. The furnishings were covered by strings and ropes of what looked like internal organs. The walls pulsed with alien life. And he could see thin pulses of some color nature wants nothing to do with traveling through the halls.

Okay...think of the building like a living thing. Where are these streams of energy going to...?

Then the building-thing moves below a set of high-tension power lines, brushing against them. The contact breaks the normal flow, and the electrical energy grounds out through the tracer Vic threw. The tracer dies a loud, messy death, but one of the circles explodes in a burst of purplish-orange light that makes the eyeballs itch.

The building lurches, and Spidey puts his hand against the wall to steady himself. Feeling it throb, he pulls the hand away quickly.
He checks the flow of the lights, then heads down the wall, eyes swiveling from left to right.

Clea has posed:
And just like that, with the building staggering to one side, Clea has to switch gears from "try to slow it down" to "try to keep it from smashing into another building". After all, who knows? These things might be infectious. One wrong move and there could be /two/ disturbingly animated houses. Then four. Then --

Oh yes. No smashing. A webwork of energy springs up between one house or the other, the purplish energy so baroqued with designs and sigils and mandalas in subtle motion that one could spend hours just staring at their intricacies. And, wonder of wonders, it does enough to cushion the house-to-house impact that only a five-foot chunk of brickwork smashes off the ... er ... innocent house. Clea has to do some fast handiwork to get a gate open underneath it before it can hit the ground and crush someone -- who knows where it'll end up. Unfortunately, the house rebounds from the impact all the quicker thanks to that mystical cushion, and its pace might even be quickening!

Vic Sage has posed:
Vic hits the deck to avoid the electrical wires. "It didn't like that"

Vic look around, he doubt its any safer inside that thing than on top of it. "Try to keep it from killing me please!" He tries to launch one at another corner like if her were chucking a grenaded. tosing it and ducking back down.

Peter Parker has posed:
Spidey looked up. "Trying my BEST. Jeez, everyone's a..."
Then he turned the corner and stopped dead.

There was some kind of purple-orange pylon here, surrounded by a harsh white ring of energy.
But the pylon itself was made from a young woman. Later, he would recognize it as the daughter, Lucinda. Right now, it just looked like a spire of flesh, with arms and legs jutting from it at odd angles.
The head lolled to one side, patches of long blonde hair turning a sickening shade of purple, and Lucinda...or what USED TO BE Lucinda... looked at Spider-Man with eyes that glowed with eldritch light.

"...JOIN US...IT IS BEAUTIFUL BEYOND WORDS," it moaned in rapturous delight.
Spider-Man stepped back, his sense of reality seeming to slip a few cogs, and then his arms were up and he was covering the body of what was once Lucinda Blackstone in layers of webbing. It would suffocate her, but he felt that she might be better off if it did.

The moment her head was covered, the harsh light began to flicker and stutter.

The tracer landed near the corner of the building, blinking redly, but nothing was happening immediately. The power lines were still there, sparking, but too far from the tracer...

Clea has posed:
Clea sideslips one tentacle that reaches out to grasp her, blocks a second with a smaller version of the mystical cushiony shield she employed to keep the buildings from colliding, and then starts to gain altitude in an attempt to avoid having to deal with any more. In some ways, that works. In other ways, it just pulls attention away from her and toward other things (motorcycles, gawkers with no sense of self-preservation, pigeons) that she then has to either defend or displace in turn.

The tentacles seem to be striking more quickly and more accurately now, as well; perhaps the creature is more fully awake and accustomed to its new home. If so, that's not a good sign, especially when Clea's flight drops her a little too low and one snaps out to seize hold of her. Instead of immediately trying to break free, however, she instead chooses to bend space around the sparking power lines, opening a momentary portal while they're swinging back and forth that /just/ manages to put them in contact with the tracer at the very end of their arc.

Vic Sage has posed:
Vic groans as he has to get up seeing his attempt failed. He's put off by by the animated flesh calling out ot them but this is usually how he thinks of the world anyway so he's not so much shocked as grossed out.

Vic then takes a deep breath and silently hopes his gloves are insulated and he sprints towards the powerline and jumps on it hoping to pull it down to do the thing.

Peter Parker has posed:
The power lines are designed to give a fair amount. Storms, high winds, etc.

What saves Vic is the fact that when he pulls the lines down, he is hanging from them, and he is not the shortest distance to travel between the energy and the ground. But as a result of his efforts AND Clea's, the Spider-tracer IS when the line makes contact.

There is a sound of thunder, and the second of the four circles of force is disrupted as roughly 123.5 Amps travel through the tracer and the spire below it, destroying what used to be the Matriarch of the family.

Five seconds later, Lucinda, or what was left of her, expires, and the third circle is disrupted.

The building begins to slow dramatically, lurching forward instead of shuffling.
"Wow, a 200-year-old-house and the BRAKES still work..." Spidey quips, and then something swims out of the darkness at him. It looks like some kind of shambling silverback gorilla with slick, warty skin, eight limbs too many, and red eyes. TEN of them.
"Crap..." Spidey whispers, and bolts down the hall, the thing in pursuit.

Clea has posed:
With the destruction of two more circles, the tentacle clutching Clea slackens for an instant -- fortunately, her somewhat-more-than-human durability has been enough to keep her from being crushed in the intervening moments. A twist of her wrists, a flare of magical energy, and she pops back out into reality on the far side of the street, the severed end of the tentacle still clutching ineffectually at her ankle. Well, mostly ineffectually; it may slow her down.

Throwing up both hands, wrists crossed, she throws her sorcerous skills into pushing back against the building's now-slowed advance. It might have been too much to stop beforehand; now she seems to think she may be able to hold it at bay for a few more crucial moments so that the duo inside can disrupt the final anchor. Ideally before they get eaten by alien spider-gorillas.

Vic Sage has posed:
"One more, and then I'm going back to gotham, or star city or anywhere but new york." vic grumbles to himself.

he decides to make sure hes got this one correct. He decides to run it over and place it down himself. Though not entirely sure if that puts him in harm's way. The Question decides the best way out is through. He dashes in and lunges at the last symbol.

Peter Parker has posed:
Spider-Man is doing his best to make his way back to the window, but the floorplan was pulsing and shifting. Doors he was SURE had been there were no longer there, halls that turn left instead of right...

And then he burst into one room and almost slammed into Vic as Vic falls into the room with him, and the patriarch of the Blackstone family, an elderly man repurposed as a meat popsicle with a circle of light above him.

He looks at the two of them and scoffs. "INSECTS...WHAT CAN YOU DO AGAINST THE INFINITE...?"

"Question, open my backpack and grab the blue bottle. It's bear spray. It's all I've got...spray the crazy bastard...!"

Clea has posed:
That's the thing about the infinite, as Clea would no doubt testify to if she were privy to this conversation: fairly often it turns out to not be so infinite after all. Unfortunately, she's preoccupied with straining against the horrible pressure of an entire building trying to hurl itself forward onto her (and anyone else within tentacle range will follow shortly thereafter).

Step by step, she's forced backward, until she's less stepping voluntarily than skidding back with each thrashing push from the animated brownstone. Her magical shield is sparking and fading a little with each impact, and some of it is now dangerously weak ... just as she's forced back up against the outside wall of an adjoining building. That's as far as she can go.

Vic Sage has posed:
Vic retrieves the spray out of the backpack and moves towards the mangled and reshaped body of Mr Blackstone. He looks back and sees Spiderman still struggling with the monster.

Vic pulls out one of smoke bombs thathe keeps on him. He whips it at the monster so that it will go off above it's head. Hopefully it causes at least a moment of distraction to allow Spider-man to get in a good shot.

His attention is now back at the task at hand, he gets in as close as he feels comfortable getting and empties the entire bottle of the bear spray on what he assumes to be it's face.

Peter Parker has posed:
The monster doesn't even slow down as it comes at Spider-Man, limbs swinging, sharp talons seeming to just grow from the ends of the limbs, and then the smoke bomb goes off. It shakes its body, and loses ground as Spidey pushes it back and away from Vic.

The reaction of the person-pylon is immediate and shocking. It screams, a sound that seems to slice through the ears on the way to the brain, and the circle above it seems to waver, and then breaks apart with the sound of shattering glass. The pylon seems to shudder once, and then it stops.

The building lurches to a sudden stop, the tentacles starting to melt and run like candle-wax. The thing Spidey is fighting with freezes, then also melts seemingly all at once...

...and all over Spider-Man, DRENCHING him in eldritch muck.

Clea has posed:
And just in time. If it had tried to push forward much further, Clea would have been caught between, er, a rock and a hard place. She keeps her weakened shield up for a few more moments even after the building halts, long enough to confirm that, yes, the tentacles are likewise no longer a problem, before lowing her hands and letting the mystic signs that surround them wink out again.

Sometimes it's a short jump between sorceress and just plain worn out young woman, and this is one of those times. "Is everyone all right?" she calls into the building, starting toward it.

Vic Sage has posed:
Vic sighs and slumps down on the nearest driest wall. "What the hell was all this?"

Peter Parker has posed:
Spider-Man looked to Vic, then down at himself. Covered in something he doesn't even want to THINK about.

Then the purple-haired lady called up to them and he called out, "We're okay...I think. I hope Damage Control guys have strong STOMACHS."

He looks back to Vic. "An interesting question, Question. But the truth is, I don't know...and I don't think I WANT to know. I don't want to think about what might have happened if this building got to where it was trying to go." He exhaled. "All I can think about is how many times I can wash this suit...IN A ROW...in the next 12 hours."