7456/Dose-Response Relationship

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Dose-Response Relationship
Date of Scene: 29 August 2021
Location: Coventry - Miagani Island
Synopsis: An emergency broadcast signal prompts a group into a horrific expedition down into the depths of Gotham, where they discover the grotesque altar to some sort of mechanized deity.
Cast of Characters: Tim Drake, Strix, Harley Quinn, Phoebe Beacon, Carrie Kelley, Natasha Cranston

Tim Drake has posed:
    At the corner of West 17th and Bowers Street, overlooking the large cedar known colloquially as the Hanging Tree (despite no such events having ever, as far as recorded history can say, occurred there) is a three storey office building that sits right on the edge of the transitional area between Coventry's commercial and residential zones. Among its occupants are a trio of doctors in a joint practice, an esthetician, two accountants who are rumored to have a long-standing feud (though in reality they go out for drinks together every Friday), the office of a construction company that most people in the building thing is a front for some kind of money laundering, and a tiny food stand on the first floor that serves some amazing empanadas and pao de queijo.

    Not that any of this really matters. It's nearing midnight. All of the offices have closed. The cleaning crew has already come and gone. Even the staff of the food stand has turned off all the lights, lowered the blinds, and locked the doors behind them. The building is empty of all occupants.

    Except for one.

    The building once had an underground parking garage beneath it. After No Man's Land, it had been closed up, deemed too damaged to continue using.

    And yet Red Robin stands among the empty parking spaces. There are signs of recent efforts to shore up the structure; temporary efforts, but successful ones, so far as the scans showing in his HUD say. No doubt that said efforts just happen to coincide with when Perreault & Richelieu acquired the property. There are bags of cement lined up against the wall, a forklift parked nearby, other signs of impending construction. For what, Tim can only guess at.

    Though the large hole cut into the ground at his feet does give him a few ideas.

    He looks back, over his shoulder. Near the entrance he'd uncovered through a painted-over door, the fluorescent light flickers. Before him, the hole leads down into the deep. In his hands is the device he'd found, with Harper Row's help, in the bowels of the Sheldon Park Generating Station. The subtle geometric patterns carved into its surface glow an off-putting green. When Tim had recovered the first of these aboard the Delphine Princess, that one had been inert. He'd assumed it was just a data storage device disguised as some sort of art piece. Data that hadn't proved to be much of anything.

    This one, however, feels very much alive. It pulses against his palms, stronger now than it has at any other point since he'd recovered it. For a time he'd been following the signal it was receiving, but every time he'd managed to locate whatever seemed to be transmitting, it'd only been some sort of rerouting device. Eventually, with some timely assistance from Anarky, Red Robin had managed to crack this one wide open. And at first he'd thought it was the same, just junk data. But then he'd recognized a sequence of numbers that kept repeating.

    Coordinates. Thus, here he is.

    Red Robin takes a deep breath. He stands, quite literally, on a precipice. Before him, the unknown, but also an answer. He presses a hand against his side, near where the blade of an assassin that had been dogging him since the start of this case had nearly collapsed his lung. This is a terrible idea.

    But he has to know. He crouches down, affixes a grapple line, and jumps.


    A strange signal comes across the various open channels that Red Robin has access to. Sort of a high-pitched electronic whine overlayed by static, and then in rapid succession several sharp bursts of Tim's emergency signal broadcasting his location (coordinates) and status (UNKNOWN) before it cuts off. Which an emergency signal shouldn't, of course, unless it was triggered on accident. Though no further clarification from Red Robin comes across any of the comm-lines, and his RTLS transmitter, to those who have access, remains unmoving.

Strix has posed:
Getting an emergency signal from Red Robin was something of a surprise to Strix. She'd never gotten one of these before and it's taken her a bit of time to suss out what the coordinates are. And then a little more time to figure out where they're pointing to, but when she's got it she's suited up and ready to move.

When she arrives at the basement she circles the hole in the floor curiously. A grappling line had been placed, so obviously somebody went down there, and she wonders if she should just jump down after them, or if she should wait for any others to show up. She decides on waiting, but she won't wait for too long. Time is ticking.

Harley Quinn has posed:
The Hanging Tree is a classic. Really. Lots of memories and for Harley? Bittersweet ones. It's what had brought Harley here tonight, sitting on a bench by the tree, looking up at it's branches. There was a bottle of whiskey next to her which she had been generously partaking from until there was a beep. Or was it a vibration? She wiggles a litle. "Uh ..." then a raised brow, "Oh.." then a look at the Birds of Prey communicator. Look at that, an emergency message?

And after last time she had been with Miss Law and Order, aka Batgirl, she had been told about paying attention to it more often. And it was something happening right *there*.

"Alright, time ta go.." She pats the whiskey bottle, "Keep Jackie boy warm!" Jackie Boy, the bum that normally slept near that park bench. He'd get a treat!

She follows the tracks all the way to that underground garage, whistling a tune while approaching, a crowbar in her hand. Fancy how people let those things lying around so often. She eyes Strix, then the hole, then the hook. "First of. It wasn't me!", better make sure, "Second of. Let's go save 'im!" and she jumps in. Fearless!

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    Phoebe might be exhausted from All Other Things going on, but she would never delay a chance to help Tim -- especially when his emergency beacon goes off. Tim's beacon *never* goes off.

    She arrives bringing up the rear, looking to Strix. Tonight it was All Business; she's in her armor. She's in her hood and domino. She's set up to search for Tim's signal, and even as Harley jumps -- Balm sort of eases down, and looks to Strix.

    She motions down to Strix, and then attaches a grapple and jumps down, switching to infrared.

Carrie Kelley has posed:
Sparrow is here and there's a change in her super heroing outfit at least. The green leather pants and the armored jacket are new. She still has the mask with the green lenses though. Her hair is a bit of a mess, but that's because of the running. Red Robin's emergency signal was triggered and well, that was beyond concerning. There is a moment taken to look to others before she gives a nod and then proceeds to get going down into the darkness.

Because what could go wrong really?

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of man?

    Negotiations between Cranston Multinational and Pereault & Richelieu have gone swimmingly, and CMS will soon be the proud new owner of some reasonably cheaply acquired real estate to build a new distribution warehouse. Natasha's PR staff has been downright cheerful while they wrote and discussed the upcoming press release and plan the groundbreaking ceremony.

    Natasha herself, however, is less pleased because despite negotiations having been fruitful she'd gotten exactly nowhere with her /actual/ objective -- the manager she spoke to had no idea of any untoward goings on. If she wants to find out what P&R is up to, she'll have to investigate more directly.

    Fortunately, he /had/ been in an excellent and accomodating mood and was more than happy to give this lucrative and attractive new client a guided tour of the public and mostly-public areas. In and of itself, not terribly informative, but he /had/ mentioned that this was their fifth location in the past ten years -- apparently his superiors have the oddest habit of suddenly ordering him to purchase a given location on very short notice, and then losing interest and ordering him to sell it off again with little advance warning. The fact that he's managed to turn a small profit in the process is a matter of some personal pride, and it took Natasha very little encouraging to get him to talk quite freely -- and to hear his lament that despite being here for almost three years they /still/ haven't finished the promised renovations of the parking basement, which means he's had to park out in the open and in the rain for all this time.

    ... In other words, P&R seems interested in specific locations for relatively short times and is entirely willing to throw away a great deal of money to get unfettered access to those locations and start digging under the foundations.


    Benny parks quite some distance away and gives his boss a worried look. "... Well, at least this time you're not going in unarmed," he jokes, clearly still unhappy about what happened last time. Natasha smiles at him as she straightens her coat and dons her gloves. "I'll try to not let anyone get stabbed, I promise," she assures him as she fits her scarf in place and opens the door.

    To an outside observer, that entirely unremarkable cab pulls away from the curb in search of a fare, because no one has gotten out. And no one is moving calmly but quickly from shadow to shadow, flitting between the streetlights until they reach the entrance to the parking basement -- just in time to watch several other people descend into the hole.

... Well then.

    As long as the ropes are there anyway, she might as well make use of one and invite herself along...

    As the others assemble and stare at each other down below, one of the descent ropes suddenly starts twitching in the telltale way of someone else coming down it, and much quicker than would normally be considered safe a dark-clad figure lands heavily on the ground -- although they at least have enough common sense to absorb the impact with their knees rather than going for a theatrical three-point superhero landing -- before straightening up and looking over the assembled figures.

    "A somewhat more crowded abandoned basement than my information suggested," they comment, looking from one to the other, not /quite/ threatening but not entirely friendly either...

Tim Drake has posed:
    Indeed, the grapple line remains secured where Red Robin left it. No sound or light seems to escape from the hole it descends into. It seems very much like a real black hole, absorbing anything that tries to pass through it. There's little else in the underground parking garage to take notice of, beyond the various construction equipment and the signs of its lack of use in the previous years.

    When those who have responded to the signal--or are here for their own reasons, in the Shadow's case--find themselves at the bottom of the hole, the reason for its unusual properties may become clear.

    The hole is not actually particularly deep. A drop of ten or twelve feet at most, easily managed even for those who forgo the use of any equipment. Its entire surface seems to be coated with some sort of material, soft to the touch, that absorbs the sounds of boots and hands hitting it almost completely. The same, too, can be said of any light passed over it. Even the view through IR vision seems to suggest that the coating does not absorb heat. In fact, it's rather cold to the touch, having reached thermal equilibrium with the ground surrounding it.

    It is basically impossible to orient yourself, down here. But the telltale tickle of a slight breeze against bare skin might be enough for navigation, towards the source of the flow and away from the damp, stale air of the parking garage.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    Balm looks to Harley, and then to the Shadow, and the Outsider takes a deep breath to steady herself, lips pressing into a thin line before she begins to investigate. There was no sign of Tim leaving the hole. The oddness of the room, was throwing her equilibrium off a little, and in order to try and better orientate herself, she lifts a hand with a little light in it -- a palm light, and goes to try and follow the trickle of the breese, pressing her gloved hands to the material.

    "This is a very unusual material-" Balm states, "I can't get a good read on it." she states quietly to the others in the hole.

Harley Quinn has posed:
Harley may be impulsive, but not dumb. She does take hold of that grapple line left by Tim as she eventually descends all the way, sneakers hitting the floor and crowbar resting to her shoulder. A glance around makes her squint. "Stupid murder basements..." she mutters as if she had experience in the matter before the rest of them trickle in. A grin. "Balm!" then to Carrie, "Sparrow!"

Heah we awhe again..." then she spots the Shadow. "Eh, spooky..." a wrinkle of her nose. "Hope you ain't the one behind this..." a pointing finger towards the shadowy one!

But she is soon pointing ahead. "When in doubt we should follow the breeze." she suggests so they can start walking there.

Carrie Kelley has posed:
"Harley, Balm." Sparrow inclines her head to the two of them when she's acknowledged. She was focused on things. There was a Red Robin to find...and it wasn't the burger joint. There is a moment where she stops and focuses, "This place is gross...and reminds me of a place where you'd find an overly large spider." she frowns. "Want me to take point?" she asks the others.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    "Hardly," the Shadow replies to Harley's half-serious accusation. "The company that owns this building came to my attention recently, and I decided it warranted my personal attention. I wasn't expecting anyone else... And while your reputation, Doctor Quinzel, is spotty at best, this does not strike me as your style either - neither enough color nor enough comedy."

    A gloved hand emerges from under the greatcoat, holding a flashlight - but the walls seem to absorb the light as it falls on them. The Shadow makes a snorting sound and flicks it off again. "I hope none of you have a particular fear of the dark," they comment, moving ahead to take the lead. "May I ask what in particular brought you here?" they ask almost conversationally.

Tim Drake has posed:
    There is enough room, at first, for everyone to walk unimpeded. Certainly not shoulder-to-shoulder, as past the initial landing zone at the bottom of the hole, the width of the space they enter is tight enough to only allow two people to travel along it at the same side comfortably.

    As much as traveling through an unearthly dark and quiet area can be called comfortable. Aside for a slight change in air pressure that begins to accompany the breeze as they all move towards it, there is perhaps a sense of gradually moving downwards.

    Though it's hard for anyone to be sure of that, with the only real reference being the sight of three other people in their immediate surroundings against a black void. So much of human equilibrium is based in the ear, but the brain is a funny thing, easily tricked by what it's seeing. Or not seeing, as the case may be.

    For those with digital HUDs or other devices that might register their location based on a GPS signal, everything seems to have frozen at the entrance to the hole. There's no obvious glitching or malfunctioning of equipment beyond that.

    Eventually, though, something changes. The space they travel through begins to narrow, both from the sides and from above. What was once passable by two people can now only be navigated by one at a time, and at a crouch. But at the same time, something begins to appear in the distance. First as a dot, but slowly it resolves into the silhouette of a door. A wide open rectangular shape, brightly illuminated and yet appearing to be painted on the wall for how little its light escapes beyond its borders.

Harley Quinn has posed:
"You know me so well uh ..." A pause, a glance over, "... shadowy one.." Harley doesn't know the Shadow's name! She will have to work on that. Yet as she takes in the surroundings themselves she finds herself frowning instead of smiling. Too dark. One hand goes into her little bag of tricks, roaming in for something until .... "Ahah..!" a flashlight. She turns it on, pointing it here and there but ..., nothing good comes of it apparently.

Which means it's wandering forward in the dark. And even with her impeccable balance, fruit of years of gymnastics she still bumps her knees against *something*, "Son o' a...." she bites on her tongue.

"I got a signal on my BoP communicator that someone was in danger heah.." She explains to the Shadow.

A look to Sparrow, "Go ahead, thing theah's somethin' in front o' us.." she points, even if it sorta doesn't matter as they barely can see one another! "Just everyone watch yoh hands! No squeezing me until we have had dinnah first!" she announces. And perhaps to take the edge off on what appears to be a rather dangerous, ominous place.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    "I'm familiar with Dr. Quinzel's work." Balm replies, maybe a little tersely as she looks to Harley in introduction, and she gives a polite smile. "Through your association with the Themysciran embassy." she tacks on, although Balm certainly is not Amazonian in stature. She herself brings the palm light up, and affixes it to her shoulder for those without the benefit of one of the fancy Batmasks.

    "Team leader was investigating; this is the last location his beacon reported back to sensors. So I'm looking for him." Balm replies quietly to The Shadow's question, and she looks to Sparrow -- obviously, the younger Outsider was already on edge, allowing Carrie to take point.

    "This place is already throwing half my senses /off/." she mutters.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    The figure nods at Harley and Balm's explanations. "I am commonly known as the Shadow," they reply to Harley, grunting only slightly as they navigate the narrow part of the passage before straightening up and giving the maybe-a-door an extremely mistrustful glance.

    "This seems almost entirely too much of a bad horror movie cliche," they comment, glancing at Balm again. "You've lost contact entirely, I take it?}" they ask.

Carrie Kelley has posed:
Sparrow gives a dip of her head, the green lenses of her domino mask making it impossible to see her gaze. She was worried though. She needed to keep it under wraps until they figured out exactly what was going on. "I'm Sparrow." she offers to the Shadow. Then she's heading off to see what's in front of them. Maybe they were not going to be eaten by a large spider today. Hopefully not. "Seems like all communication is gone with him, yes." she remarks after a moment.

Tim Drake has posed:
    As Sparrow is first through the open doorway, she will be the first to realize what the source of the illumination is: two sets of standard LED work lights, like those seen commonly at construction sites, aimed at the opening. Combined, they're bright enough to wash out any real glimpse at the room beyond until several more steps are taken.

    Audible steps. Underfoot, metal grating that makes a sizeable platform for walking on. Below, glimpsed through the steel, it is more darkness, as if there is no real floor to the room. It's the same above, and for the walls as well. Though if anyone investigates the wall that the doorway is set into, the same squishy, rough-textured material of the tunnel beforehand coats it.

    So there are probably walls, and a floor, and a ceiling. It's just impossibly difficult to tell where. Light doesn't travel far in here.

    The platform is no bigger than perhaps twenty feet across and twice as long. There's a clear path down its center, but to either side are benches that have been roughly formed together out of scrap metal, several rows of them. And atop each are strange, half-formed shapes. Human shapes. Strange statues carved from delicate marble and then with random bits of metal and machinery welded hastily to them. Several bent pieces of rebar instead of a leg, half a skull missing only to be replaced with a cracked, dead plasma globe, an empty torso except the shiny chrome of a cast sculpture of spine and ribs.

    Their forms curve towards the front of the platform, opposite where everyone has just entered, as if in supplication, where hanging suspended from several chains is a metal sphere. Attached to it is a thick braid of cabling the size around of an adult torso, that... oh, good.

    It disappears down into another hole.

Harley Quinn has posed:
As they make way past those work lights and then further through the clownette goes quiet ... At least for a while. Eyes go the statues on the side. "This is some cool neo-sculptin' ovah heah.." She points out, reaching to poke at the marble statues if they are in reach.

Poke. Poke. Poke. On a statue. She can be insistent when she wants to. Really!

"Anyone home?" She asks to no one in particular.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    <<Well.>> comes accross the Outsiders sub-vocal. <<I'm a little freaked out.>> Balm states, and she narrows her eyes, switching between scans on her domino before she settles on normal vision.

    She reaches out with one hand, pressing her palm against the statue with the missing head, and she pokes lightly at the plasma globe.

    "But why would they have these sound-containing chambers underground here?" she questions. She steps lightly. "I'm not recalling any sort of weird cult act-- ugh, I can't even say it with a straight face. "My locator's haywire down here; connection may be a little hazy. Sparrow?" she asks, turning to the redhead.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    "... Interesting," is the Shadow's only comment as the sculptures come into view - although that twitch toward what is probably an underarm holster betrays a certain disquiet. "This seems more elaborate than they could have had time to construct in the five months they've owned this -- unless they have some exceedingly diligent workers.}"

    They slowly approach the sphere and the hole underneath it. "I'm suddenly wondering if there are similar constructions on the other sites they recently purchased and sold..."

Carrie Kelley has posed:
<<Yeah, but we need to find Red and get out of here...place is beyond creepy.>> Sparrow agrees with Balm on things. She gives a shake of her head to Balm, "No, nothing from the outside. I think we're going to have to go with just our group. Don't have time to crawl back out and wait for others." she admits. "Are any of those...real people?" she asks, pointing to the statues. Weird thing to have, but hey...she didn't judge!

Tim Drake has posed:
    The statues do not move. They do not breathe. Upon closer inspection they are perhaps not made of marble, as the parts of them that are human-like are covered in delicate craquelure, as if they were an aged piece of pottery, their ceramic glazes slowly degrading.

    There is, however, some give to the material under Harley's poking finger. Balm's, meanwhile, causes another cascading line of minute cracks in the surface of the dead plasma globe.

    Once the Shadow approaches the suspended sphere, they will be able to notice the beginnings of carvings in its metallic surface. Geometric shapes that are centered on one point, and then a line that seems to travel the entire circumference. Some of it looks incomplete, and there are even a few places where metal shavings still cling to where a cut has been half-finished.

    And, wedged carefully into the grating below the orb, where the hole in the platform allows for the thick cabling to descend downwards, is another grapple line.

    Nearest Sparrow is a statue of a woman, whose hands have been replaced by sharp sickle-like blades. They are folded together like the figure is praying to the sphere. From its neck hangs a tiny chain and a round pendant. Its engravings are a close match to the suspended orb, though they are more complete.

Harley Quinn has posed:
As the material gives there is a small frown from Harley. She brushes her fingers together, then sniffs at the material there as if trying to figure out what it may be. This is some weird stuff. But she has seen her share of weird during her years in Gotham! "Well, theah's some real weird shit happenin' in Gotham most o' the time. And sound containin' chambers... I'd use it if I didn't wanna othahs ta heah my victim's screams..." a beat, "If I was a criminal, that is!"

Still, she is getting suspicious about this all. "These statues look way too lifelike..." another push to the statue she was poking at, this time using a bit more of her strength, the one Ivy so nicely provided her with that concoction!

"They look ta be prayin' ta the sphere, don't they?" she approaches after the others, not wanting to stay behind, a glance to the grapple line. "Seems our way is down."

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    There is an expression of dismay that leaves Balm's lips, her hand lifting off the statue as if it were something red-hot, her eyes blinking behind her domino mask, and she turns to the rest of the group around them.

    "Harley... Sparrow, Shadow -- these /were/ people." she whispers. "They're... these are bodies under here." she states, and she feels her stomach lurch a moment, but she records everything in her mask. She looks green about the gills, in a manner of speaking. "-- if Robin pushed on, we should too. He could be in danger of joining the congregation."

Natasha Cranston has posed:
"... /Interesting/," the Shadow comments, taking a moment to take an image of the engravings with a cellphone. "... But apparently incomplete. Whatever their intent, they've not yet finished."

     They walk forward to kneel by the grapple line. "It would seem that your companion has gone this way. Shall we?"

    They glance at Balm's whispered declaration of the horror of this place. "They would appear to be well beyond any help we can provide. For now, let's see if we can't recover the living; we can arrange to see this place destroyed afterward."

Carrie Kelley has posed:
"Well...we don't want Red to join the living...errr flesh museum at any rate. And...this is going to be a whole lot to deal with...so lets leave most of it for the police to deal with once we can get them here." Sparrow states. "I'm not the head of this, so if others got ideas or things...please toss them out." she adds. There's a nod to Harley, "Yeah. It's down...I'll go first." she states as she prepares to go down to the next level.

Tim Drake has posed:
    There is the faintest trace of residue on Harley's fingers. Powdery, with the earthy smell of clay. A firmer push will coat her hand more and create a fracturing on the statue's surface, but it still doesn't budge.

    Until a chip of the coating falls off. Underneath, glimpses of skin. Still no movement.

    Time for another descent into the unknown, with Sparrow at the lead. The grapple left behind is secure, and it leads again down into the darkened depths. It goes much further down this time, hanging parallel to the heavy braided cabling. Looking up, it becomes obvious that the cabling protrudes directly from the back of the sphere.

    It gives the appearance of the orb as an eye, and the cabling, the eye's optic nerve.

    The air pressure continues to intensify as the group moves downwards. Like a physical weight, though it seems to only settle on the head and shoulders, causing tension, making teeth ache when they press together. As Sparrow continues to climb down the line, eventually she will reach the corded knot marking the approaching end of it. Luckily, however, as she hangs there her feet will just brush another platform. Light sources aimed downwards will be able to illuminate it, though again, below and beyond is only more darkness. The cabling hangs down and then along the platform, beneath it, until it abruptly disappears as if it has been threaded through a hole. Approaching it reveals a wall, felt more than seen. And within it, the outline of another door. Pressure against its left side will cause it to swing open.

Harley Quinn has posed:
"Cult personality type. Apparently obsessed with perfection..." Harley says in a first assessment of whoever may be behind all this. Doctor Quinzel at work! She rubs the material off on her shorts before approaching that hole. She pauses to look at the woman with the sickles, then up to the large eye. Reaching she tries to pull on the pendant to get it to her fingers and look over the surface before she slides into her little bag of tricks.

Something to look into later when they have some more light to go with!

"Hey, you okay down theah?" she asks into the darkness towards Sparrow. But soon enough she is following too, down that grapple line and onto the unknown!

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    Balm backs up a couple of steps, and she closes her eyes. The room was making her head spin, the sound of blood rushing past her ears was making it difficult to concentrate, this opressive room --

    She agrees, though, with the Shadow's assessment. There's no help for these poor people in this world.

    Probably not in the next, either.

    Balm forces herself calm, and looking to Harley with a quiet but abjectly horrified expression, the dark Knight Light makes her way to the way Carrie has gone, and she feels the pressure ever growing. Her ears pop uncomfortably, and she lands in a crouch, her shoulder-mounted light still going as she looks about the platform.

    "If anyone starts getting overly swimmy-headed, let me know." she states in a hushed voice, and she brings her own hand up to try and focus momentary healing on herself, trying to find a setting to monitor ambient air pressure. Shouldn't there be a BatApp for That?

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    The Shadow rappels smoothly down after Sparrow, stepping off the knot onto the platform to make room for the next descender while they assess their surroundings.

    "Perfection of the human body?" they ask at Harley's assessment. "Human bodies are by nature imperfect. Is that why they encased their victim in ceramic?"

    "Perhaps that's what the carvings were meant to symbolize - geometric perfection. A consultation with someone versed in the mystic arts is probably called for."

Carrie Kelley has posed:
Sparrow goes quiet as they head down and they look over things. No ones going for the door so the redhead does what she does best, she goes in. She reaches out with a gloved hand and applies pressure to the door and then starts to go through it, "You guys stay back for a moment." she tells them in a whispered tone. She was really hoping she didn't get shot, but that was better than dead really.

Tim Drake has posed:
    The door swings open with nary a whisper beneath Sparrow's palm, revealing a room. To either side are rows upon rows of server racks, and from an opening in the floor the composite parts of what was once that braided cable attached to the orb above emerge, connecting into the servers with the kind of cable management precision that would make any computer tech proud.

    It's also freezing, plumes of chilled fog spilling from the open doorway, no doubt to counter the intense heat that kind of hardware would generate.

    And crouched in front of one is a young man in black and red body armor, cape trailing along the floor behind him. His right arm is tucked against his side like a broken wing, though it seems to be there so he can press it against his ribs, while his other hand is half-dug into the open server cabinet.

    Red Robin is briefly framed in profile, frozen in place, perhaps staring intently at what he's discovered though the white lenses of his domino mask obscure precisely what he's looking at. The movement of the door seems to catch his eye, though, and his head turns. There's a smear of blood along his lower face, dripping from his nose.

    Sparrow in front may feel a trickle in her nose as well; less likely for Balm who is actively healing herself, though the Shadow and Harley may similarly find themselves with a nosebleed. The pressure on their skulls is universal, however. Not enough to be crippling, but not insignificant pain, either.

    Inside the room, Tim rises to his feet with a strained grimace. "Sparrow?" he asks, jaw tight. "How--what are you doing here?" And then he spies the figures beyond her. "Balm! Uh, Harley? And--."

    There's no time for a happy reunion. From above, there is little warning of the descent of the statue with blades for hands. One second she is not there, and the next she has landed on the platform on all fours, knives dug into the steel. The white coating on her skin has begun to crack terribly.

    "Get in here!" Red Robin steps forward to reach for Sparrow, to drag her inside. "Come on! There's a vent in the back!"

    The statue's attention hones in on Harley, neck snapping viscerally. Perhaps in response to the theft of her necklace.

Harley Quinn has posed:
"If we weah talkin' o' a human.." Hey, it's Gotham. It's perfectly normal that it could had been one of the many grotesque villains that plague it's streets doing this, "But somehow this is startin' ta feel like ya said, moouh mystic in nature."

As they swing back down and into that room Harley reaches up to her head, making a face before feeling something wet. Bleeding? She wipes a finger over to look at it, still considering on what's going on before there's that sound..

And it's a moving statue!

Immediate reaction? "Lady, I was doin' yoh a favoouh by takin' that hideous necklace from you!" see? Harley is helpful. Fashion tips.

She is also helpful by throwing the crowbar at the statue to gain some time before starting to retreat towards where the others are, eyes wide, "We need ta get outta heah!" she is ready to flee with the others if that's the choice. A vent she heard?

"This is just like that time I was pursued by this human crocodile guy!" yet even with the rather loud, expressive way Harley talks there's some clear fear there, this place starting to get to her.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    A pair of shots rings out, the sound oddly muffled by the surroundings, followed by a cracking and shattering of ceramic -- and some less pleasant noises -- as one of the statue's wrists shatters in a minor shower of ceramics and gore. "Leaving sounds like an excellent idea right now," the Shadow agrees even as they fire again, focused more on causing structural damage than what would comprise a kill shot were this a living target.

"Hopefully that should slow this one down, but I doubt it is alone. Go!"

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    Balm does not bleed easily, but her head was pounding. Her vision was beginning to swim as the door opened, and she sees Tim. Red Robin. Staring. Her gloves tighten, and she almost says his name name in relief -- until there's a thunk behind them. Her eyes go wide, and she turns, and she moves to activate her shield, arcane symbols and heiroglyphs forming on its concentric circles. "Go- /GO/. I'll hold it off!" she states, her eyes anrrowing a moment. What she wouldn't give for that aura right now to keep herself calm, moving to take up the rear as her stomach churns again, her vision clearing as she heals herself.

Carrie Kelley has posed:
"What the fuck are /you/ doing, Red? Your emergency..." Sparrow trails off when she hears what's going on behind them. Then she's getting drug into the room further. "We gotta go." she states as she wipes the blood from her nose with the back of her hand...which just smears it. "Balm are you sure?" she calls to her, worried about leaving people behind. She didn't want to do that.

Tim Drake has posed:
    The impact of Harley's crowbar knocks off a considerable amount of the hardened ceramic glaze and the catch of the crowbar's end leaves a gouge in the flesh revealed beneath, but the wound does not bleed. It's the same for the stump end of the statue's arm, the Shadow's bullets finding a weak point, ripping through joint and tendon. As the blade clatters, detached, to the platform below, the figure moves as if it hasn't even noticed the injuries.

    Its other arm lifts and swipes downwards, but it rebounds off of Balm's shield.

    Behind it, another of the statues lands, making the steel grating shake. Then another. And then another.

    Red Robin pulls Sparrow in first and says "Left back corner," to her, pointing to the vent's location, then gets out of the way for Harley. He pushes himself against the door to keep it open, and looks out at both Balm and the Shadow. "No last stands. Both of you in now!"

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    "Honestly you should know me better than that! If I'm going to make a last stand --" Phoebe states, feeling already better with her healing in full effect -- "It's going to be something better than THIS." she states, and she removes a a flashbang, lifting it and launching at the bladed figure -- and then she turns tail and gives for the door, sliding feet-first with a panicked wheeze of breath!

    "/Red What The Heck/" is her current thought process.

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    "You heard the Robin," the Shadow growls at Harley, /command/ ringing in every syllable as they grab her shoulder with one hand and drag her back toward the vent entry, the other hand still firing a pistol and kneecapping the second 'statue'. "No last stands, no one left behind. /Go/!"

    One last shove to push Harley toward the vent, a last couple of shots to slow down the statues, and the Shadow retreats into the hopeful safety of the vents as well. "Can this be closed off?" they ask of Red Robin. "I'm not certain they won't attempt to continue the pursuit..."

Carrie Kelley has posed:
"Out!" Sparrow calls back to folks. She heads in the direction Tim told her to though. Not wanting to drag his ire out and she knew he could get grumpy when he needed. So she wasn't arguing with him. "Come on, all of us go or we all stay!" she calls again.

Tim Drake has posed:
    Red Robin allows himself no more than half a second to look out, make sure as Balm and the Shadow cross the threshold that there's no one else out there, and then he pushes the door closed. The locks, he manages to engage quickly enough, but as he flips the last one shut a blade pierces through the door, and he falls backwards on his ass with a sharp grunt.

    That was a little too close. He scrambles to his feet, shouting "It's taken care of, just go!" ahead of himself as he races, winded and clutching his side, to catch up.

    Once again it's Sparrow leading the way through an easily detached vent cover and into an upwards scramble through too-tight spaces. It probably seems like a hundred miles worth of ducts but is in fact no more than perhaps twenty-five feet of mostly vertical climb, until it splits off into two directions. Down one way is a spinning fan, cobwebs, and darkness; down the other, a glimpse of lights.

    The sudden light that expands outwards from Balm down in the server room washes away enough of the pain for everyone to heed the command in the Shadow's voice and scramble their way upwards until they're out into open air, next to bags of cement, a forklift... ah, the parking garage. That fluorescent lightbulb is still flickering.

    Out last is Red Robin, who heaves himself with a grimace onto the cold floor. "I think I'm getting too big for that," he grunts as he rolls over, and he touches the screen built into his left gauntlet.

    Balm's, Sparrow's, and his own HUD flicker before they begin to reboot. "That's the EMP I planted," he says first, and then taps again. Beneath them all, the ground rumbles. "And the explosives." His limbs starfish out and he takes a long moment just to breathe.

    "Would anyone like to explain how you all found this place?" he asks as he sits himself up.

Carrie Kelley has posed:
Sparrow tosses the grate to the vent to the side and just starts to ninja climb. She liked climbing. Really. She rolls out of the way and pops up into a crouch to offer help to others that are coming up. Not wanting them to get to the end and fall if they caught it wrong. She looks over to Robin when he sits up, "We found it because of you." she tells him plainly. "It was the last signal from your emergency emitter." she adds.

Phoebe Beacon has posed:
    Balm had to make it easier for everyone to Get Out. She scrambles behind, shoulder-mounted flashlight bouncing around before it finally gives up and tumbles down behind them -- and as soon as she's up, she crouches down, the circle forming over her left glove again as she prepares her super special shield.

    "Yeah, I got an alert that the signal failed. Came to make sure you weren't dead." Phoebe remarks, and then she tilts her head back.

    "Pretty sure I'm going to throw up."

Natasha Cranston has posed:
    "Fortuitous coincidence," the Shadow replies simply. "I've been investigating the proprietors for some time now, and learned that the 'parking basement' had been left 'under construction' for entirely too long, so I decided to look into the matter personally."

    A gloved hand touches the scarf near the nose, and the figure twitches briefly, as if in surprise. "... I must admit, I had not expected what I found there. As to your companions -- apparently an alert went out when your communicator failed and they arrived on the scene."

    They look around the garage, and then back down at Robin. "... But this is probably not the best time or place for a long discussion. Shall we convene another time to compare notes?"

Tim Drake has posed:
    As he sits there, Red Robin looks between Sparrow and Balm a couple of times first, before he looks over to the Shadow. "Perreault & Richelieu? On the surface they're squeaky clean, but I've found some ties between them and a smuggling operation bringing stolen tech into Gotham. Pretty sure once I review the footage, I'll be able to match some of the serial numbers of the equipment that was down there with the manifests."

    The 'Welcome' screen pops up on the HUD in front of his eyes and the automatic log-in begins to process.

    "I never triggered my emergency signal. I was about to start a download off the mainframe down there when you all burst in," he explains. "I didn't expect those machines to be able to get up and start walking. They seemed more like a child's attempt at making cyborgs than actual engineering."

    The Shadow's suggestion to reconvene at a later time gets a nod. Slowly, he rises to his feet. "Yeah. You all must have been close, then to respond so--."

    His HUD finishes rebooting, and Tim falls silent. His hands flex at his sides.

    "We'll talk later. Let's clear out for now."




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