2019-08-11 - Zappy Bats And Misunderstandings


Mayhem ensues at the Baxter Building when a Negative Zone portal unexpectedly opens on a residential floor.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Aug 11 03:22:37 2019
Location: Baxter Building

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Theme Song



Today seems to be a typical day at the Baxter Building, with the occasional resident or visitor passing to or from the many apartments here (at least so far). It's certainly a decent place to live, but one has to wonder if anyone gets a discount for the increased risk of attacks from various supernatural beings or other strange phenomena given that it is also the location of the F4's HQ.

Maybe it's something one eventually grows accustomed to, if that's even possible.

Anyway, a young woman is headed up to her apartment for the evening. As she steps out of the elevator on her floor, she stops dead in her tracks and stares. She's not quite sure what it is she's looking at. At the end of the hallway, a bright light seems to explode out of nothing, revealing a strange blend of colors and sounds that her brain is having trouble fully comprehending. It's almost nauseating to look at…

Meanwhile, upstairs in Mr. Fantastic's lab, all kinds of alerts are going off, indicating that there is some kind of strange energy reading on one of the lower floors. If examined, the signal looks like that of Distortion Area of the Negative Zone. Could it be…?

Well. It was certainly something that the Fantastic Four had grown acustomed to. Reed is currently in his lab, as he is much of the time. Wearing a labcoat over his uniform as he taps away at the main computer, working on some equasion or diagram. It changes pretty often and it's hard to keep track. Then the sensors go off. The gray-templed leader of the team straightens up at the sound, and quickly brings up the feed to where the alert came from. Seeing the odd distortion in the hallway, his brows raise. He touches somewhere on his uniform then says, "Everybody! There's an incident happening on floor twenty three! It may be an incursion by something from the Negative Zone! Head there immedietly!" If only Ben wasn't away right now! He was always helpful.

The labcoat is abandoned as he races out of the lab and heads towards the elevators, probably meeting up with his family on the way. "I don't know what it is exactly, so we need to be prepared." Once they're inside, he presses his thumb to a certain part of the control panel to override the speed controls, then hits the twenty-third floor. They drop fast enough that there's a strong rising sensation in their stomaches, but soon enough they reach the floor in question, Reed stepping out quickly to scan for the anomoly.

Susan's heels click when she lurches with alarm at the sudden cacophany of noise, a moment of surprise quickly overwhelmed by a more experienced focus. Having been aiding in the lab, Susan is also wearing a long white lab coat as she shares a brief look with Reed, and then dashes towards the elevator, adding "And get everyone who can't fight out of the building!"

It's an order they've given more than once, unfortunately.

Susan enters the elevator and stands behind Reed, taking a brief second to catch her breath before she thinks to remove the lab coat, rolling it off of her shoulders and letting it fall to the ground. She shifts a bit uncomfortably and grunts once before she claps her hands together, gives them a brief rub, and then puts one hand on Reed's shoulder just as the elevator doors open. She follows him out, extending her free hand outward as she projects an invisible protective screen in front of them.

Again, an unfortunate amount of experience.

In the elevator on her way up to visit Kori, Priscilla Kitaen picks up the flash of someone's worry, and a flare of something … off. Unthinking of anything but instinct, she jams the emergency stop button on the elevator as the alarm goes off. A second later, the cameras in the elevator are disabled. Ten seconds later, a figure starts ascending rapidly up the elevator cable, and then starts pulling at the doors to get them open …

Voodoo may not be armed; her weapons are on her bike, parked in the structure below. But that has never stopped her before, and won't stop her now. This may not be one of her usual targets, but someone is in danger. She feels stupid taking this risk, but she cannot let an innocent be harmed if she could prevent it.

Her teachers in the guardians would be disgusted with her for this.

Perhaps the increased risk of crazy stuff happening when you live at the Baxter Building is worth a discount, but maybe having the Fantastic Four among other heroes there balances it out too.

Anyway, that's a question to mull over some other time.

The woman looks relived when Reed and Susan hastily appear, quickly doing the smart thing and getting behind them. For her part, Priscilla can tell that there is something or someone inside the disturbance. Or, should we say, on the other side of it. It quickly becomes apparent (to those who didn't already know) that it's actually a portal of some kind when a flaming something rockets out of it. More like a flaming man. Well Reed and Sue will definitely recognize the younger member of the team.

"Reed, Sue! Oh thank god. Qui—"

Too late. There is a screech and suddenly swarms of what looks like some kind of bat-like creature come pouring forth, their bodies crackling with electricity.

Well that woman is definitely panicked -now-.

As one of the other elevator doors begins to be pried open, Reed's attention is briefly drawn that way. A multi direction attack? He's distracted from that when a familiar flaming form emerges from portal. While there could be other flaming people, the precise patterns of the burning and the shape of the figure, among other hareder to simplify things, means Reed recognizes him easily enough. It helps that he talks to them. "Johnny? What are you doing coming out of-" And then they're being attacked by bat creatures. Well, that figures. He reaches behind himself, unclipping something he had grabbed on the way down from the lab after seeing a dimensional disturbance. It looks like something between a gun and a computer, the elastic man turning it on and pointing it towards the portal, taking more precise readings than he was able to manage from upstairs. "Sue, keep them away from her." He's not really worried about Susan's own safety. She's probably the most pwoerful of the four of them. "Johnny, what exactly did you do to anger them?" It's funny how his first thought was that it was somehow Johnny's fault.

Once the elevator doors yield - a flick of that safety bar at the top - Voodoo emerges into the hallway. Or rather, something does. Something looking like a boney exoskeletal razor-edged 'dog'-like creature hops into the hallway. It's not subtle, but there's no chance of being recognized as a sometime guest of the place, or exposing her secret identity. It'll work.

Spotting the erupting swarm, the demonic-looking alien dog creature bounds forward … and instead of attacking the swarm, it plants itself in front of the woman and bounds at her, then starts dragging her off rapidly towards the stairway exit. Innocent civilians to safety first! Or something.

Of course, to anyone else it looks like some hideously dangerous alien creature just bounded up and grabbed the civilian to drag her away to an unspeakable end. Cute and fluffy she is most definitely not.

The flying man engulfed in flames is somehow not the strangest thing happening right now.

In fact it's the only thing familiar enough to draw a familiar reaction from Susan Richards as she blurts out "*JOHNNY*?!" With a unique blend of alarm and the long-suffering exasperation of a big sister who deals with the absurd more often than the normal.

Susan takes a deep breath, and lets it out with a huff as she marches forward on Reed's order, calling "Get behind me!" To Johnny. She drops her invisible shield long enough to let him pass through the space it occupied before she drops to one knee and thrusts her hand out again, erecting a barrier that indents into the floor and ceiling.

Property damage is a risk mentioned on the lease.

Straining a bit to keep the living tide back, Susan extends her other arm to the side to put a smaller shield between the civilian woman and this madness. Without looking, Susan calls, "You're going to be okay! just keep still, and-"

Susan looks. Her eyes go very wide.

"ReeeeEEEEDD?! There's a huge one coming from the side!" she says as flicks her arm once, dropping the original shield, before whipping her arm out again to create and invisible platform underneath Priscilla which rises like a square column to try to detach her from her human 'victim' and, ideally, smash her into the ceiling.

Reed's head twists around to consider the appearance of Priscilla. She certainly looks like an otherworldly monster. Though you never know around here. There was at least one incident where three seperate supervillains coincidentally attacked them all on the same day and ended up fighting one another. "I see it. Try and keep it away. I need to close that portal or we're going to be overwhelmed eventually." A pause. "Give me an opening. A small one. I just need to be abld to aim outside of it." He's scanned the portal long enough that he thinks he has a solid grasp on its workings. "This might get rough if it works. Brace yourselves." Some quick tapping at the buttons on the device, then he activates it. A beam of energy shoots out and hits the portal. It doesn't close. What he's trying to do, if he can manage it, is alter the composition of it to make it begin basically sucking in everything nearby. Hopefully that will include the negative zone creatures. And also hopefully, Sue's forcefield will keep any of them from being pulled in as well. Though if it works, the pressure of the suction WILL pull Reed towards the hole. He ends up basically plugging it with his body, which he wills towards greater density and minimum amounts of elasticity. It doesn't feel good, but he should stay in this dimension. His fingers wrap multiple times arond the device to keep it from being pulled out of his grasp, knotting themselves in place. He grits out, "It will… take… a minute for it… to…." Again, if it works, eventually the alterations to the portal will cause it to collapse in on itself, and disappear. Hopefully with the creatures on the other side, but things don't always work exactly as hoped.

Johnny stares at Reed. Seriously? "Hey, how do -you- know I pissed them off?" he protests. Yep, he's definitely starting that right now. "Why does everyone always assume it's -my- fault?" Never mind that when something or someone else is mad at him, it IS usually is fault.

Reed's instrument does provide him with more insight to the nature of the disturbance. As it would appear, it is a portal into the Negative Zone, and more specifically to the Distortion Area. Well, of course it were anywhere else, they'd be in a lot more trouble.

The hapless female Baxter Building resident suddenly finds herself getting grabbed by a demonic-looking dog thing. Welp, if she was panicked before, she's absolutely hysterical now. And screaming.

The strange creatures start to slam into Susan's invisible wall, some of them getting squished like bugs on a windshield. But after a second or two, the 'stream' seems to change direction, instead turning around and heading upward, their bodies appearing to turn pure electrical energy as they seem to simply vanish into the ceiling light fixtures.

Then Reed's device starts working, and the portal starts to suck at everything like a mini singularity, artwork, furniture, dust, anything that isn't secured flies up as they are pulled toward the portal. It does begin to pull those creatures that haven't managed to escape into the light fixtures back into itself, and eventually it does collapse in and disappear.

Go! Go, get the girl to safety! Voodoo is entirely focused on that effort, and trying to hold back the tidal wave of terror flowing off of the woman - she can't help herself, but emotions that intense at direct touch level are staggering to Priscilla's mind - when suddenly some unseen force is lifting her from the ground, away from the woman she was trying to save and aiming to squish her against the ceiling. The Geiger-inspired dog-creature scrambles desperately, failing as claws seek purchase to get out of the way, until finally it shows its intelligence, flopping over onto its back and getting that purchase on the ceiling itself rather than whatever it is beneath her.

The dog creature launches itself 'forward', which is back towards the elevator and stairs, and towards the wailing, scrambling woman. Great, now saving the damned innocent is going to get even harder! Last thing Pris wants to do is zot the woman's mind, but it may be a near thing. She doesn't exactly want to cut or bite her, after all.

"… Right!" Susan responds to Reed's order with a strained voice. She closes the fingers in her outstretched hand, before spreading them again, to help her visualize her task as she opens a window in her invisible shield as commanded, in time for Reed's beam to go through.

Her attention is rather starkly divided between that, and the creature in the hall, although she does notice the vanishing act those creatures are pulling, her eyes widening with alarm. "What in the- URK!" The grunts sharply, her eyes squeezing shut as the portal begins to pull with incredible force.

"… Gnnnn… hn! Is that… gonna stop?!" She asks through gritted teeth, drawing in sharp, rapid breaths with the effort of maintaing her invisible barrier, such that the best she can do when she catches Priscilla's renewed 'attack' in the corner of her eye is 'swipe' a flat barrier from left to right across the hallway, hoping to smack her aside, before she quickly has to direct both arms to the shield keeping all of them from being drawn into the portal.

It probably doesn't actually physically help, but the whole process is mental anyway. If she thinks it helps, it helps.

Okay. That's a bit stronger than he expected. Reed grunts in pain as he's pulled at, his arm starting to slowly extend despite himself. "It.. should stop…" He notes the disappearing entities, makng a mental record of how many manage to escape. Then the portal collapses and the pressure stops. He sighs in relief, slumping a little. "…any time." He turns back to make sure his wife is alright, then begins to move towards the still active… thing that's after the woman. "I suppose we're still going to have to fight though." Then he's lunging towards the creature, extending body and arms outwards. Trying to wrap around around her and stop her movements, though after the strain of what just happenned it's entirely possible he might be too slow to manage to. "This day is ending up a little more active than I had planned. Hopefully this won't take too long. I still had some simulations to run…."

Sheesh! Have these crazy people never seen a Geiger-esque dog creature save innocent civilians or something?! First Pris almost gets smashed into the ceiling. Then she finally gets back down, unsquished, and before she can manage to get the crazy screaming girl to safety, she is smashed into by some invisible I-beam and slammed into the wall! That hurt!

Voodoo grunts and whimpers a bit, thankful that at least her injuries are repairing themselves rapidly. She bounds towards the girl, still trying to scoop her up and get her the last several feet to the stairwell (and hey, how does a Geiger-esque dog creature know where the stairwell is?) when she is wrapped up by sentient rubber. Ew! Priscilla wriggles and struggles, at least until she recognizes - maybe twenty-seconds in - that the portal is closed and the creatures mostly seem to be gone.

Hey, wait. Emergency over? Y'know, except for giant flaming dude? Who apparently has a name …

The Geiger-dog goes limp, glancing around herself, spotting that things seem to be safe. -Ish. For now. OK, no need to keep fighting.

Y'know, as long as these 'heroes' don't now smother her.

Johnny watches as both Reed and Sue go after the weird alien dog thing. He's not sure where that one came from, but he's pretty sure it wasn't from the Negative Zone. Of course, there have been times when they'd been attacked simultaneously by different people who hate them, so this could be one of those times. As much as he likes to kick butt, his sister and her husband probably have it well in hand. "I dunno what that thing is, but it wasn't following me." he says.

As soon as Susan knocked Pris away, the woman scrambled to her feet and started bolting for the door of her own apartment. She frantically unlocks the door and pushes her way in, only to find herself face-to-face with a bunch of those creatures! She screams again as one of them fires a bolt of electricity at her, knocking her to the floor.

Susan heaves a heavy sigh of relief as the invisible walls come down, and she slumps forward, breathing heavily, putting one hand on the ground, and the other on her face. "Haaa… haaa… hummookay…" she pants breathlessly, giving a thumbs up as Reed checks on her.

Then the lady screams, and she's reminded of more pressing matters. "Help her! I- whoop!" Susan orders, trying to stand quickly, only to awkwardly stumble in place for a moment on wobbily legs in an awkward stance. For a split second she shoots Johnny a look and says. "*So* much trouble!" very quickly before she runs towards Reed to back him up… then very quickly as to respond to a new rush of Negative Zone creatures, grabbing the woman around the hips as she's zapped back into Susan, and whipping her around with a grunt of effort to put herself between the creatures and the woman. She stretches her arms out to either side with her back to the creatures, putting up a barrier between them and herself.

She stands up slowly, sweat on her brow, and backs up until the shield is braced against the apartment doorway, hoping to trap them inside the confined space for a moment, and cries, "Can someone who shoots fire *do something about this?!*"

Reed considers the dog creature when it seems to calm down. "Hmm. I suppose it didn't actually hurt her. Maybeit was trying to help?" Stranger things have happenned." Eventually he unwraps form around Priscilla, studying her form… until he hears another scream from the tenant, head twisting around in time to see her be zapped. He frowns and pulls out the device again, trying to get a reading on them that can tell him what they're dealing with. Sadly, he's not going to be able to just explode them or something. They do seem to be living creatures, and he suspects might be intelligent. So. That would be murder. He only takes a brief time to study the readings, mostly saving them for later examination. Then he says, "Drop the shield, Sue." He draws back one fist, which sells up to wrecking ball like size and greatly increased density, and once the shield is gone launches it forward at the elecric beings on the other side. He's not exactly elecricity proof, but the suit does have insulation in it.

When the wrap loosens up, Priscilla is about ready to just slink off. But then comes an instant before the scream. Yep. Before the sound, she feels the spike of panic and fear, and she reacts instantly, flopping over and digging those clawed paws into the flooring, sprinting forward towards the woman. Sue gets to her first, and covers her, and the Geiger-dog skids to a halt beside the blonde and the brunette, giving an eerie wet growling snarl as she faces the doorway, putting herself between them and the shimmering energy field of the door.

And then giant ball fist slam, and she backs up further, actually nudging at both women with her hind legs to encourage them to keep backing away from the door and the threat.

Susan's closed eyes open in time to see her husband winding up a cartoonishly large wrecking ball of a fist, and she gives a sharp "*YEEP!*" Before she ducks low and skitters behind Reed on her hands and knees, only to recoil again as Priscilla's horrifying form draws near, her hands waving wildly as she yelps "Gyah!"

She knows Reed said it might be friendly, but SHEESH!

The creatures were about to vanish again when they saw Susan standing in the doorway and one of them did smash into her shield again, but then she ducks away, and they fly at Reed when he winds up a wrecking-ball-fist punch large enough to hit them all at once! They go flying backward into the far wall, smashing furniture and home decor. Reed would feel the sharp pain of electrocution as his fist connects with ther bodies. As for his scanning device, the readings seem to point to the fact that they are indeed from the Negative Zone, and have the ability to convert their bodies into electrical energy temporarily as well as fire electrical beams. This was likely how they seemed to have simply disappeared into the ceiling through the light fixtures earlier. What other havoc they could potentially wreak on the Baxter Building's electrical systems is yet to be seen and certainly a disconcerting thought….

"Okay, okay!" Johnny says with a roll of the eyes when Sue berates him. He aims a fiery blast straight at the already pummeled monsters that are now plastered against the window in the living room that looks out over Manhattan. Of course, this sets the carpet, sofa, and wallpaper on fire.

Reed briefly squints his eyes as his brother in law torches the Negative Zone creatures, then considers the results. "Hmmm." He absently shakes away some of the stinging burn in his hand as he carefully steps in, slowly approaching them. "I'm still waiting to hear why they were chasing you to begin with, Johnny." Assuming they don't leap up and attack him again, he crouches down near the fallen invaders and begins to examine them from a closer viewpoint. He also glancs over his shoulder at Susan. "Is she alright, dear?" He can tell that Susan is pretty tired out from the events so far. Hopefully, there won't be any more combat immedietly.

The Geiger-dog does not get its mouth or jaw anywhere near Sue or the woman this time; instead, it keeps its backside to her and faces the enemies. Once they are dealt with, it backs away to the side, turning to actually nuzzle - awww, it'd be cute if it wasn't creepily scary - at the unconscious woman. Once Priscilla is sure the woman is alive, just stunned, she relaxes and inches back away, sniffing around as she seeks any sign of the remaining creatures. That wasn't all of them, she's sure. It's never that danged easy.

Susan sits down sharply with a grunt and leans back against the wall next to the civilian. She looks at her with some concern, and answers Reed with "I think so? She's breathing anyway."

As for Johnny, she frowns, and says, "Just so you know, if you didn't save the universe, you're grounded!" She says, extending her arm out to point one finger up at Johnny before it falls back to her side. "Oooowwww, I fell on my b-" she winces, glances at the civilian, "Keys."


"Was that all of them? Did they disappear again?" She looks at Priscilla. "Do we know what this is?"

As Reed goes to examine the creatures, he finds they are mostly charred to a crisp from the fire blast. He'll have to do some tests on their remains to find out anything else useful beyond what he already knows.

Johnny quickly puts out the flames in the living room, absorbing the heat into his body, although this lady's apartment is definitely a wreck. Hopefully, she has insurance. Well anyone in their right mind who lives at the Baxter Building should, anyway. "Um, -duh-." he replies to Reed's comment. "Because they're gross monsters who want to kill everything." If anyone knows Johnny though, there's more to it than that.

The lady is indeed still alive, just unconscious. And her clothes might be a bit singed. And her hair might also look like she just rubbed a sweater against it several times.

The lights on this floor suddenly flicker erratically, going out and coming back on a few times. There is a shattering noise in the hallway that definitely sounds like one of the halogen tubes bursting.

Nope, nothing is ever that dang easy, is it?

Coming back over to the woman, Reed bends down and checks quickly to make sure there's nothing permanently wrong with her. He glances towards the burst halogen tube, then pulls out his scanner again. Turning in a slow circle, he sighs. "Well. They all seem to be gone now. I should be able to rig up something to track them over longer distances… but with how they move through electricity, it might take a while to catch them all." He looks over at the monster dog. "We do not. Though it doens't seem to be hostile. And I think it's from this dimension. Probably." He straightens to his feet, then bends down to scoop up the passed out woman. "We'll bring her to the medical lab upstairs just in case. And talk with her about fixing her place once she wakes up." He looks at the others. "I'll send down some HERBIEs to retreave the bodies and clean up. Then we can have a talk about what exactly happenned." He smiles at his wife. "You put out the most effort there. I imagine you want to lay down for a while. You look strained." He leans over and kisses her cheek. "Go up to bed and make yourself comfortable."

The Geiger-dog glances at Susan and inches away, not wanting to be smashed again. The innocent is safe, and the threat seems to be passed, at least for now. These people are nuts, but they have it all under control now. So Voodoo backs away from Susan and the woman, inching her way towards the stairwell again. Unless stopped, she reaches up with one paw - which twists at a darned unlikely angle - to open said door, and then backs through it, ready to scarper downstairs and into the parking garage to a nice blind spot in the surveillance so she can shift back and get on her bike. Time to go home.

Susan squints at Priscilla, then recoils a bit as it leaves in peculiar fashion. Still not the weirdest thing she's had appear in her house.

She grins a little at Reed and says, "Technically I just stood there." With good humor as she stands up with a soft grunt. "I've gotta get back in the habit of thinner shields. Hard to experiment when there's a wormhole in your house, though." She says, and gives Johnny a bit of a Look. "I'm just gonna… flop on my face for a few minutes, I'll be all right."

She gives Reed's hand a squeeze, and then begins to walk away, pausing in mid step to look to her brother. "And Johnny?" She purses her lips. Starts to say something. Closes her mouth. Shakes her head. Sighs. "Just be more careful, please."

Johnny finally reverts back to his normal form, watching as Reed examines the dead creatures, then starts to coordinate the cleanup effort. He's glad that's Reed's job, and not his. "Right, Imma get food. I'm starved." he says, starting to back toward the elevator. Because, you know this is just all in a day's work. He glances back at Reed and Sue. "You guys want pizza?"

Then Sue seems to begin one of her classic Big Sister lectures. Ugh. "Dude, it was totally for Reed." he says, looking more pointedly at Mr. Fantastic as he takes a small specimen container out of his pocket and tosses it at the resident mad scientist. "See? I saw this lit thing and I just -knew- I couldn't leave it there without giving him a chance to study it." A.k.a, Good Excuse To Do Something Exciting.

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