2019-09-10 - Beautiful Minds & the Beast


Augmenta, Posse, Iron Patriot and Beast meet in the wake of the Cyber Attack on Apple and other targets - first some crime-fighting, then some SCIENCE!

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Sep 10 00:00:00 2019
Location: Chinatown

Related Logs


Theme Song



It is just after 5 in the morning, the date is 10 September, and the streets of New York have gone a little mad in the wake of the terror attack that took out Apple for a time, and scrambled the NYPD's computer systems like eggs in a blender on frappe. Chaos has ruled the streets and poor Posse has been going from incident to incident to incident pretty much all through the night.

Finally, a break, a short one at least…maybe get something to eat?

Of course that can't happen, nope!

The sounds of gunfire no doubt catches the woman's attention, and then a VERY bizarre pursuit - involved are an Armored Car, clearly hijacked. Out the back of it a man in decent tac armor is firing a Atchison assault shotgun at the other half of the pursuit, a fairly massive fellow in black and yellow costume. Oh, and he's furry, and running using three limbs, the forth holding a riot shield. And due to traffic he's actually gaining on the vehicle while using the shield to soak up the bulk of the shots.

The guy hollers over his shoulder. "I'm OUT! RELOAD - GIVE ME THE SLUGS!"

Yeah, riot shield is not going to last much longer if that is allowed to happen.

"''This city's too crowded and quiet,'' ''I miss my old routine,'' ''when's something really kinetic going to happen?''," a white-browed woman murmurs to herself before shotgunning an energy drink and pitching it neatly in a nearby trash can. "Hah! Me and my big mouth, this is /much/ more like it!"

A blue-and-black streak races down the city streets well, well above the speed limit and banks around the corner before the tin can has even settled in the bin behind it. Flashing police lights and the dual NYPD and PCB emblems on the woman officer's armor give a token excuse for the woman's recklessly fast driving, but more than that, the vehicle leans and weaves under its rider's fluid control; she's done this more than once. Coming up alongside the lumbering blue mutant, Posse crouches low against her motorcycle's frame and pulls a large-bore rifle from her back holster, balancing it over the handlebars as she lines up a shot on the fleeing armored car. "Hey!" she calls out in warning to the would-be hero beside her, "Pepper out!" and then squeezes the first of the gun's double-triggers.

A bright red bullet the size of an egg *bloops* out of the barrel and arcs towards the open back of the van, dead on target and loaded with a bright, spicy payload.

"A city-wide blackout isn't enough for you?" comes a wry voice over Posse's com as an armored figure suddenly rockets over the area, matching pace overhead with the stolen armored truck, streetlights reflecting off its red, white, and blue paintjob and the large star on its chest. Iron Patriot accelerates, vambraces on the arm popping up as Toni watches her HUD. "Target: engine block. Full power."

There's a pair of flashes as yellowish bolts of energy shoot out, a sharp series of *pops* sparking off the hood of the car as small plasma charges detonate, leaving faint scorch marks, but more importantly, accompanied by small EMPs that cause the truck's lights to flicker and the engine cuts out. "Truck's disabled….how many people were inside, again?"
The armor accelerates in front of the truck then pulls up short, hovering balances on small blue jets from its boots and torso.

"Well, felgercarb, slugs will rip through this shield like it was tissue paper." Yes, the closest this ginormous, blue-furred fellow comes to swearing is the use of an epithet from the 70's Battlestar Galactica! When Posse's cycle swings up, he /nearly/ swings on her, but the obvious police markings check that instinct. "I'm Beast, officer — Two assailants, plus the driver. In back they have two guards hostage, the vehicle is transporting medical grade isotopes for imaging systems, not fissionable, but…toxic." A grin then at the pepper. "BUT…I saw no air filtration for them, no masks….and thank you, I've got delicate senses." Probably the only thing delicate about the fuzzy guy.

The sudden arrival of the armored woman and her subsequent disabling of the truck's engine contributes very nicely to what happens next.

First, the pepper goes off and the guys in back, hostages included seem much better acquainted with the use of foul language, a discerning ear might hear three in fact. Second, the goon with the shotgun manages to reload, but then…the sudden death of the engine sends him reeling into the vehicle. Oops! And third…the sudden stop has the Beast dropping his shield, and leaping over it, and then leaning back into the thing to stop it completely. Okay…add 'quite strong' to his list of observed traits!

Posse smirks as Toni flies in to disable the van on perfect cue and leaves the blue beast a neat window to finish the job. " I miss CAS," she quips before keying her radio on again to answer, "One front, two rear plus hostage. Entering rear - cover me!"

Feathering the brake of her cycle, the armored officer leaps forward and lets momentum fling her into the van's open, pepper spray-covered back. Discarded and riderless, her electric steed dutifully holds itself straight and upright while skidding to a sudden halt under control of its basic AI.

"Switch infrared, IFF." Toni says in her helmet, before saying outwards to Beast. "Nice catch. Mind getting the driver?" She soars over and lands with a metallic *clunk* at the back, her arms raising as she watches to see if Posse needs it. "If you need cover fire, hit the deck." she says simply ,her helmet turning slightly to keep an optic on the driver's side door, just in case Beast needs help with that.

THUMP! More cursing when the armored car slows, some scrabbling…then a THUD as the guy with the shotgun is dropped by the sudden stop, all the while that pepper is absolute torture for the two hostages and two gunmen in the back. He just has time to climb to his feet, eyes watering and red, breathing labored thanks to bruising and peppers trying to ignite his lungs, when Posse makes her entry into the back.

One guy with that awesome shotgun, currently messed up but standing. The other guy has a .357 magnum drawn, and pressed to the head of one of the armored car's guards' heads. The two guards are zip-tied to a canister marked with a radiation warning label in black and yellow.

When The armored woman asks it of him, Beast nods. "I have it, Officer." And then turns, and tears the entire windshield off the front of the vehicle. The guy inside…just sort of gingerly hands over his guns, he has several, and moves VERY Slowly after that.

Yeah, definitely strong!

The haze of pepper makes it hard to see even through a protective facemask and Posse wordlessly switches on a thermal overlay as she lands in the thick of it. She came in hard and fast, and the woman officer keeps that momentum going. One — two targets, and a gun on a hostage. There's no hesitation as the same rifle is swept at blurring speed towards the second hostage-taker and its main barrel unloads a tight, focused beam of light at center-mass; deceptively, it's not a true laser, or at least the disabling shock that follows close behind isn't.

Iron Patriot isn't too suprised when Posse goes straight for the guy threatening the hostage; she does object to the shakey shotgun guy trying to take aim at Posse's back while she's doing it hover, stepping forward quickly and reaching past him as her fingers catch hold of the barrel…then squeeze as there's a crunch as the barrel distends. "Wouldn't do that." she says sternly. "That'll just make her mad."

The stun burst hits the guy with the hand gun and fortunately he doesn't spasm-fire the weapon! He does hower slump, finally not being tortured by the pepper since he's busy being unconscious instead and flops across the guards' laps. Yup! Lots of dignity right here. TONS! The genius with the - now former - assault shotgun, actually wails at the gun's death. "Chloe! My beautiful Chloe!" And then his eyes go round and he snarls, a rictus of rage twisting tear streaked cheeks and he lunges at Iron Patriot with a spring loaded knife. Now, were she in just kevlar, this might be a problem. In fact it WOULD be, he's essentially berserk, you killed his favorite gun!

Is the armed target hit? Yes. Is he dropping? Yes. On to the next target.

Posse spins around as the second man puts his back to her in order to attack Toni. Her free hand grabs his collar, wrenching backwards with bodyweight and the enhanced strength of her suit to pull him to the ground and mount. The rifle is kept tight to her side and, if successful, stops with its business end just inches from the berserker's face.

"Don't," the PCB officer suggests flatly.

Iron Patriot's helmet tilts down slightly as the man begins to very ineffectively try to shiv her with the knife. "…seriously?" She takes a slight step to the side as Posse piles into him from behind to make room, before a small storage panel opens as she takes out a zip tie and offers it to Posse. "You okay up there bluff and fuzzy?" she asks, turning her head slightly.

The berserker is rather pissed, but when slammed to the ground by Posse and a rifle barrel aimed about a handspan from his face, he goes very still. A clatter as the no-name but good quality steel blade is dropped. "That expletive deleted KILLED CHLOE!" Several more expletives are added, some quite inventive really, and there's actual frothing going on!

Yeah Genius Man really liked that gun.

From up front, Beast's voice calls. "Oh, quite well, Officer. This fine young man has decided to surrender without a fight." The armored car rocks a bit as he hops down, the driver slung over a shoulder. "Is everything okay back there? I hear a grown man crying between Tourettes moments, and some whimpers, anyone hurt?"

About halfway into the pinned man's tirade Posse's barrel finds its way into his open mouth and the officer looks up to survey the rest of the van. One man still down and two very uncomfortable guards. "Clear," she answers. "Toni get these two to fresh air and check for injuries."

"Got it." She drops the zip tie in case Possee needs it, then walks inside, climbing up into the van as it creaks slightly at the extra weight, then reaches over to carefully snap the zip ties for the guards and helps them back out of the truck. "Posse. Just cuff him." Toni says, a bit disapproving now as she sees the gun barrel going into the man's mouth. "He's beat."

Genius Man shuts the frak up when the gun barrel is inserted in vituperation streaming mouth. Yup, even HE can make a proper decision when properly motivated. Eyes still streaming tears, some even from the concentrated pepper cloud, the man looks up and raises hands with fingers spread. Obviously, if the weapon remains in his mouth, he says nothing, but he sure looks 'surrendery'. What? Sure that's a word!


Hank rounds the bend a good fifteen or so feet from the back, but in Toni's line of sight at least. "I think this one was the mastermind, he has a tablet PC, and had the wits not to make me push his face in, for which kind act I am forever grateful."

The two guards are VASTLY relieved outside the caustic air in back of the armored car. All told? There were FIFTEEN canisters full of the isotopes - that probably could have been used to make an appalling number of dirty bombs.

Clearly, acts of terror breed more of the same.

"Had to check the area first," Posse responds dismissively before turning her attention back to the man beneath her. The now somewhat dirtied rifle is drawn back so she can spin him face down, and then both hands pinned tightly to and man's back long enough to grab the dropped zip-tie and latch it tight.

With one body secured, the officer rises up in a crouch and steps over to the other, less conscious guard and repeating the same behavior before turning her attention back to the van's non-living contents.

"That's a looot of chems…" she grunts, peering around the cannisters but being careful not to touch any as she holsters her weapon and hauls the two men out the back. Aided no doubt by her blue-armored suit, the extra three hundred pounds across both shoulders only slow her down a little. Attention is given finally to the blue-furred mutant standing nearby. "How dangerous did you say this stuff was?"

"In the canisters, should be fine. Not weaponized, as far as I can tell, though it could be.' Toni reaches up, then unseals her helmet, pulling the helmet off as she shakes out her purple hair, tucking it under an arm. "Not an officer by the way, just civilian volunteer.' she notes to Hank, offering a metal gauntlet. "Dr. Toni Ho, or Iron Patriot, whichever you'd rather." She thumbs to Posse. "This is Posse. She actually DOES have credentials as an officer."

"Relatively little in the canisters, aerosolized however, it would make an effective dirty bomb, depending on the concentration it could be lethal in days, or weeks." Which is pretty awful, really!

Hank smiles then after the introductions from Toni. "Ah, Doctor Ho, I've read your paper on the refractory use of magnetic fields, brilliant work. A lens created in that way could have a myriad of applications from power transmission to communications and beyond." A nod. "You're in armor, I'll call you Iron Patriot." He adds in his basso-profundo voice. A smile to Posse. "Officer Posse." And then he introduces himself. "Doctor Hank McCoy, but I go by Beast when in costume like this."

"Only as a PCB," the blue-armored officer corrects, leaving her own helmet on and simply speaking through the visor. Her face is mostly visible anyway - green eyes, caramel skin, scar, and all. "They cut me loose tonight because there's no time to separate trouble from super-trouble and half the net's down anyway. Judging by this," she notes with a glance down at the handcuffed men and then back at their van, "this is regular trouble with a good supplier."

The veteran cop can only shake her head at the exchange of introductions and gives Toni a dry look. The blue doctor, it seems, is all hers.

"Eh, Toni's fine too." the woman notes, shrugging armored shoulders with a faint whine of servos. "And I'm sort of in the same boat…I don't usually do this random crime fighting schtick." she admits. "Search and Rescue is more my thing, but thankfully not too much trouble there thus far. No one's been really stupid and just started setting things on fire."

"Printed—oh, sorry…Powered Crime Bureau, well, I've got powers, so I guess I would fall under your department's jurisdiction." Hank says with a grin. "Technically what I was doing it vigilantism, though I'm no lawyer, I could be wrong." Still holding the brains of the outfit over a shoulder, by the way, he doesn't seem to even notice the man's weight.

"There's been so much chaos after the CyberAttack, I'm not surprised you'd be deployed like that. Thank you."

Hank laughs then. "I don't go looking for trouble myself, not too often, anyway. It really doesn't need me to, generally it seems to have my location tagged."

"It's what I do," Posse dismisses with a shrug. "I should thank you for helping out. Without you vigilantes normal PD can't cover enough patrols and you'd see the military again," she notes with a smirk before gesturing towards the ground. "Drop him over here with his friends. Pick-up should be here in a few minutes - these three are celebrities now."

"More people with guns rarely helps in this situation." Toni says absently. "Though it seems like things are more or less under control." She glances at Hank. "Do you know exactly went down with this hack? All I know is it was Apple, but not how that managed to take down so many other systems."

"It is a good thing when people pitch in to help, Posse — well, usually." Hank rubs the back of his neck with the arm not holding a zip tied thug to his shoulder. "Sadly, sometimes the best of intentions lead to ridiculous confusion." Nope, he wouldn't know a thing about that. Not. One. Thing. He'll deny it in court too!

When she indicates where to put the smartest of the three thugs, he ambles over and sets him down. Sure, he COULD have just pitched him, but that might have caused an injury.

"Things are winding down, yes. The night has been a long one, though." At Toni's glance, he quirks a brow, and ambles back over. "Actually, I do know a bit. Not sure how much I can tell you though as there's security concerns. I can say this much - it was a front for a much bigger set of hacks, the NYPD being one of the victims." He chin points to the Police HQ. "Which is part of why I hit the streets."

Once the three men are corralled together, Posse steps off to the side and puts a hand to her ear, carrying on a second conversation that's not shared out her helmet.

"That's…kinda worrisome. Apple's got security as it is, but if they're going after government and law enforcement too, that's…likely to be a continuing issue. Especially if they can use it to cause more blackouts." Toni says, frowning to herself. "I'll have to check that RECUE's IT is pulling some extra hours just to be safe."

Hank watches as Posse goes off, presumably to summon a paddy wagon for the captured thugs, and then looks back to Toni. "Oh yes, the attack was insidious, and very dangerous." He looks visibly conflicted, and then Hank sighs. "I can't say more without knowing your security clearance, and verifying it. I /can/, however, assist with a security check of your IT systems if you're able to - and more importantly /willing/ to grant me the access. I know that's a lot to ask, and I know you don't know me, so I can certainly understand, in fact I expect, that the answer will be no."

Toni hehs. "A polite no, thank you. It's what we employ the best we can find for, I'd hope they're worth what we're paying them. And if not, I can check on ti myself." The Chinese woman bites her lower lip. "As for security…I have a feeling we're not cleared unless SHIELD decides to tell us. We don't really do their spy games, Overwatch just deals with emergencies and crisis intervention."

Color Hank not the least bit surprised. "I quite understand, but I wanted to make the offer, in good faith I assure you, to assist." He rubs at his chin a moment, thoughtfully chewing his lower lip. "I'd pay particular attention to the hardware, if you don't mind a suggestion. I suspect you're okay, the attacks were very specific in their targets, but it can't hurt to be cautious. The hardware itself might be compromised." And then he smiles, sunnily even, and shrugs. "And that is /absolutely/ all I can say, probably more than I should have, but…your organization does good. REAL good."

Posse returns from the sideline and gives a glance back to the bound criminals before unhinging the front of her helmet and flipping up her visor. The officer rummages for a moment in the hip pocket of her suit and extracts an energy bar. "Still good?" she asks the pair, passing Hank in only cursory fashion with her gaze as she keeps half an eye on the buildings around them. Despite the X-suit and blue fur, he only seems to rate scenery.

There's a faint smile to Toni's lips now. "Of course, that's all you could say. So you're a computer scientist in addition to tossing around would-be robbers?" she says curiously, one hand on her hip, the other tucking her helmet under her arm.

The purple-haired power armor pilot smiles at Posse and nods. "Still good. I haven't heard any additional emergencies going down, at least. "

"Still good." Hank confirms to Posse, even as he is relegated to background fluff. Well, more like fuzz, but yeah. Anyway, he looks to Toni as she asks. "Oh, not my primary focus, but yes, that's one of my degrees." Hank smiles. "I'm primarily a biological sciences sort of guy, chem, biophysics, geneticist…" A shrug. "..I'd give you a card, but I don't pack them when in 'uniform'." Seeing as both women are in advanced combat armor, powered armor, he grins. "Still…" He rattles off his email and contact number. If either of Iron Patriot of Posse run a check on Hank right then — and inevitably later on if they wait - they'd find that this absurdly young man holds -six- Doctorates. "I'm a mutant, Doctor Ho, one of the X-Men." Which explains the tossing about thugs thing.

Posse eats while listening and glances to the mutant's distinctive yellow and black uniform. "Long-serving?" she asks idly, leaving the computer work to Toni. Her suit is more plainly featured.

"Ah…now I remember! I have heard of you. Not my field, really, that's more Dr. Kelsey's ballpark, but I remember the name now. And again, Toni's perfectly fine. If you're throwing a punch beside me, seems like first name basis is good." she says simply. "I'm more hard science - physics, robotics, computer science, that sort of thing, though I dabble in a lot of things." She glances to Posse. "Dr. Kelsey worke dwith Posse here actually, on her prostheses."

"One of the founding members, yes. I've been training with them since I was a teen." Hank answers Posse, not that that's all that long a time, really. Must be the fur, he doesn't /look/ as young as he is, the fur and sheer bulk of the guy. Maybe the claws and stuff. REALLY not the typical image of a scientist, though. "Sorry, Toni, I tend to err on the side of the polite and formal. By all means, you can both call me Hank as well."

At the mention of Doctor Kelsey, he smiles. "Haven't had the pleasure. That said, the arm is a gorgeous piece of work, in fact all your tech is VERY impressive." You better believe Hank's going to research RESCUE when he gets back home! And all three of Posse (if he can find anything), and Doctor's Kelsey and Ho.

The resident cyborg keeps eating with her right hand and sticks out her left when it's mentioned, showing off the blue armor panels and supple artificial muscles underneath. "And she built a lot more than this," Posse notes proudly. "Best cybernetics in the world - I've looked."

A white cargo van comes pulling around the corner, emblazoned with the RESCUE logo. The van comes to a halt beside this scene, and a brunette woman inside looks out the windshield. As her lips move, her voice comes out of the comms units in Toni's armor and Posse's headset. "Everything OK?" Apparently their backup isn't nearly as impressive as they are.

Toni raises an armored hand to wave to Roni as she arrives, them beckons towards her. "Come on over here, someone I'd like you to meet Roni!" she calls simply. Rather than putting her helmet back on. Hmm. She needs to fix that. Maybe if she moved the actual pick up to the neck instead of the helmet itself by the mouth. "See, the lady herself can tell you about it."

When that cyberlimb is offered up, Hank is more than happy to examine - but not touch - nope, no touching without asking, that's just not polite! Still, bright blue eyes drink in the details, noting how the artificial muscles move, the armor plates, basically anything that a visual inspection can reveal. "Well, that certainly seems likely from what I can see." Hank even went so far as to clasp his hands behind him while he observed.

Of course that might well have been to control the urge to prod and poke! In fact from Toni's vantage point, the occasional twitch of enormous fingers would surely support that.

He looks up at the arrival of the van, grudgingly, and then smiles when Toni calls Doctor Kelsey over. "Oh? Very interesting indeed, I would like to meet your colleague."

Posse pauses in her eating and pushes the latest bite to one side of her mouth in order to answer, slightly muffled. "Clear with no look-outs," she answers and cautions. "Good timing."

"Ask the doc herself if you want to see more," she adds to Hank.

"One moment." Roni offers. Then she shifts in position visibly, unlocking the wheels of her chair. Then she rolls backwards out of view of the windshield into the body of the van. The back doors swing open slowly, in unison, and a whirring sound can be heard as a chair lift lowers to the ground. Then the good doctor herself comes rolling around the van towards the scene. She might well have been the shortest here even if she were upright; in the chair, it's not even worth considering.

"Glad everyone's OK. Any medical issues?" Yep, there's a black backpack attached to the chair with a red cross on a while square shown prominently. Roni stops when she gets to Iron Patriot, and looks up at her co-CEO's purple mane. "I get the feeling you were talking about me, Toni." She glances at Posse, and gives a two-finger salute. "Thanks for keeping an eye out. I'm not nearly as bullet-proof as you two."

Finally, Veronica looks to the big blue stranger. "Hello. Given Posse isn't aiming anything at you, you must … ohmyGod." Yep. She just stopped herself. "McCoy. Doctor Henry McCoy. You're him, aren't you?" Yes. Roni went from sounding like a mature, reasonable adult in her mid-thirties to a teenager outside a rock concert spotting the star and starting to drool. There might be squealing soon.

Toni grins. "Ears burning?" she says cheerfully. "And yes. This is him. I thought you might be interested in talking with him." she says amusedly at Roni's reaction. "And don't worry, nothing more than some bruises and minor cuts, and some pepper gas. Nothing serious. The guards over there are recovering." she says, nodding at the pair of armored car guards who are using a public water fountain to rinse out their eyes a bit.

"I will be sure to do so." Hank assures Posse with a smile. Yes, Hank's /barely/ managing not to drool over the tech.

When Roni makes her arrival, he offers a toothy smile. "Actually, the pepper really helped clear out my sinuses, a little chemical fire on fifth street had left some lingering traces, so all good."

And then she nearly squees. It is funny - he's pretty used to being recognized, but very seldom gets that positive a reaction. His smile actually broadens, and he nods. "Henry McCoy, that's me. Please, Toni and…Posse…" She's not given her name yet. "…have been singing your praises, and seeing the calibre of the cyberlimb, well deserved." A gallant bow, gracefully delivered. "Please, call me Hank."

Posse returns the salute with a nod as she keeps eating, already nearly finished with her energy bar. The officer keeps glancing away at the streets around them and outside of the visible spectrum, her suit's sensors are humming actively. "Ya might want to catch up over coffee somewhere less exposed," she cautions, speaking a little warmer towards Roni than she was earlier. "Clear but not secure."

"I — I'm sorry, of course. Hank. It is a real pleasure to meet you." Veronica rolls a bit further forward and raises her arm as best she can, offering her hand to the ginormous blue furred figure before her. "I have read your papers. Truly amazing insights. I have been quite humbled to take them in." She grins a bit self-consciously. "Pos — Posse's right. We shouldn't just be jabbering about in the middle of an open street as things are. She's really good at these things, so it's best to pay attention."

There's the sound of a police siren approaching as a squad car pulls up, as Toni lets people talk for a moment, walking over to talk with the officers, who begin loading the robbers up for their trip to the police station, while a tow truck arrives with a second armored car, as the guards begin transfering the isotopes inside from the disabled vehicle to the new one. Toni will give them a hand, though she'll say over her shoulder. "We could go get something to eat?"

"Sorry? Whatever for, Doctor Kelsey?" Hank accepts Roni's offered hand, fairly engulfing it his own rather massive mitt, as he bows over it. "Truly, the pleasure is entirely shared, your dissertation work on neural signal interpretation and imitation was nothing short of genius. I can see you've only continued and improved upon your early efforts, very VERY exciting stuff." Gee whiz, Hank might be a bit gushy himself!

At Posse's mention, and then Roni's reinforcement of it, Hank looks to the woman warrior and grins. "Well, trust an expert to know their field." He grins to Toni all three women. "In this case a large part of it seems to be the application of significant pedal delivered force to assorted gluteus maximi in need of chastisement."

He nods firmly to Toni. "A splendid idea, I confess to being a fair bit peckish, it has bene a very long night."

Posse turns to acknowledge the cruiser with a wave and stays nearby long enough for the officers to dismount and take custody of the three would-be hijackers, giving them a terse debrief before splitting away - towards her discarded motorcycle instead of the doctor trio. "I'm heading back to base," she calls out. "You three stay safe."

"For not calling you by 'Hank', when I know you prefer it." It's in Henry's papers, after all. Veronica shrugs slightly and smiles. "I am very glad you saw the potentials in the study, Hank. Thank you kindly." She glances at Toni and Posse, and then back to Hank. "I could at least sip at something. More caffeine couldn't hurt, after this long tonight."

When Posse starts to head off, Roni calls out, "Take good care of yourself, Posse. Call in if you need anything!" Not that the lady cop and former soldier is likely to need anything, but they have been partners in this affair for quite a while, and Veronica can be a bit of a mother hen at times. "Shall we, then, head off? I'm sure we can find a place open." Of course, they can't use their smartphones to hunt up a good place, so they'll have to do it the old-fashioned way.

Toni nods to Posse as she gets onto her cycle to head back. "See you there. Keep me posted if you need us to sending out anything special for support." she says simply. "And maybe roll your bike down to my lab, I'll buff out the scratches at least." she offers, waving.

She turns her attention back to Roni and Hank as they talk. "Hmm, what's good around here? Pizza? A good deli, maybe?" she wonders, walking over to rejoin them. "I probably have something on my HUD map.." Because of course she added restaurants to it.

"Take care, Posse." Hank answers the still unnamed (other than her callsign) woman.

To Roni. "Oh, think nothing of it, Doctor Kelsey." Hank waves the very thought of her 'slip' being a bother off, which has the added benefit of freeing her hand from his! Hard to move about when tethered, after all. He smiles then. "Oh, the applications are myriad, Doctor." Hank nods at the mention of food. "At this point I'd eat nearly anything, if I recall aright the Empire Diner's not too far from here, open twenty-four hours, assuming simple fare is acceptable?" The question to both Roni and Toni.

His grin fades a bit then. "Assuming it isn't on fire of course."

Veronica doesn't have nearly the memory for such details as restaurants and addresses; that's what smartphone map applications are for, in her estimation. Everything has a place and a purpose, but those require satellite network communications to be functional, which is a bit spotty just now. Trust Toni, however, to have a backup direct antenna array in the IP armor to compensate; Roni does love that her partner is always so forward-thinking about problem solving. Danged handy, to be sure.

"I'm sure you can realize that research is what led to Posse's limbs being as capable as they are. They also serve to assist with the upgraded form of Toni's armor. The first was my chair, though." Veronica doesn't explain, and the chair does not roll itself; her hands propel it like normal. Yet it's shape is a mite odd, and there are bits of velcro strapping that don't seem to have a purpose in chair mode. If Hank has followed Roni's company, though, he'd know CUE has demoed assistive exoframes to allow others to be more mobile.

Veronica rolls back to the back of her van, and the whirr of the chair lift can be heard. Then she rolls up into the cabin and locks in place … and the side doors roll open easily. Inside are enough seats for everyone, but only just; there's a lot of tech back there, including a sizeable armored suit in a matte grey, occupying the rear right half of the van. "Care for a ride?" she asks, ready to follow to the diner.

Once they arrive, Roni can lock up and then come rolling out to follow inside; thankfully most places are pretty accessible, at least within limits, and she is quite used to overcoming any minor obstacles in the way.

Toni lifts up her helmet and slides it back into place as it reseals. "Nah. I'll fly there, no sense scratching up your van." she notes, before she lifts off, rocketing ahead. Landing outside the place, she slides her helmet off again, walking the armor in and grabbing a table for everyone, one in the corner, then walks over to park her Iron Patriot armor back to the walll, before it unfolds at the front, letting her step out of the suit, before it reseals behind her, letting her set the helmet back in place. Out of the armor, she's wearing a fairly simple pair of now wrinkled sweatshorts and a tank top, looking a little mussed. Normally she'd wear a bodysuit underneath, but she's been tinkering with that and it wasn't quite ready for use.

That done, she slides into a seat, makes sure there's several menus, and awaits the others catching up.

"Flight is something I can definitely see the appeal of, we'll see you there, Toni." Hank says with a chipper half-grin. He watches as the woman flies off, and then nods. "Oh yes, a ride would be lovely, Doctor."

He'll settle into the passenger seat, pushing it back a little to make room, chatting during the drive. "You have some very impressive colleagues." He observes.

"I was truly fascinated by the pseudo-muscles, did you pattern the designs off of actual human anatomy? That's remarkable."

He looks back at the chair, and then turns back to Roni. "The armor looked strong, and flexible, the synergy between your work and Doctor Ho's is very evident.

He'll happily talk tech all the way there, which fact Posse is surely eternally grateful to have missed! Once there, he'll hasten to get the door into the diner, but otherwise lets Roni make her own way. She's obviously more than capable, he'll not offer insult by implying anything else, the door getting is something he'd have done for anyone!

"Ah, there she is." Not like the armor isn't a good signpost, me? Once at the table Hank will move a seat out of the way to make room, and then sit himself down. "Coffee, first I should think."

"They are incredibly impressive. I am thankful every day to have them in my life and work." Veronica answers, as she concentrates on driving. Otherwise, they would totally be geeking out nonstop together. Even so, she does remain conversant.

"Yes, of course the muscles are patterned after human anatomy. How better to translate neurological signals properly than to match to the same shape and functions?"

Of course, the Iron Patriot is not the only suit of armor, but the other is being very quiescent in the back of the van. Augmenta has not been required today. And the IP is truly magnificent.

"I will second that. Coffee first, please. And second as well, if possible." Veronica is tired; she's not as young as Toni, and these long nights get to her eventually.

Toni has invested in a blackberry iced tea by the time Hank and Roni arrive, waving to them as they approach. She's scooted over in her side of the booth so people can choose where they prefer to sit. "You know, caffeine capsules might work better than coffee at some point." the purple-haired engineer says, idly stirring in sweetner into the tea…like four or five packets worth.

Hank is surprisingly graceful considering his sheer bulk, he has little trouble sitting in the booth, he slides in just enough to keep both ladies in his light of sight for easy conversation, and coincidentally gives himself a good LOS to the rest of the room. Habit. Heck, Toni and Roni would likely recognize what he's doing - it is almost certainly something Posse does too.

A smile to the server as they're approached. "Coffee, please. Lots and lots of black coffee." Hank shuns corrupting his beautiful bean juice! Raw, undiluted! That's the ticket. He can't help but smile when Roni seems to share a fondness for the drink too, though it is yet to be seen if she's a purist as he is.

"No, too easily abused, I tried them. It became far too simple a delivery system, fine in small doses, but far too prone to abuse. Also, the concentrations one can make can be pretty dangerous." Yes, Hank /did/ in fact try such a thing. In college. To get through finals week - which considering his course loads? Yeah, probably helpful.

Veronica rolls up to the booth and sits at the end, which rather inconveniences the serving staff. But it's all that works for a wheelchair. "Yes, please. You could bring a whole pot and a burner, and we'd empty it. I would also really appreciate a large milk, if it's not too much trouble." Roni needs to hydrate, and needs her calcium; she won't adulterate her coffee, but she will drink milk like a teen in need of growing bones.

"I know a friend from med school who nearly ODed on caffeine lossenges and coffee. I've tried to moderate my intake as a result." Roni mentions. So she understands and respects Hank's caution. "How's the tea, Toni?"

"Well, you have to be careful. I mean, I lived off 5 hour energy for a while, felt like." Toni admits, taking a drink from her iced tea as she leans back, pulling her legs up to sit crosslegged as she gets comfortable. "I mean, I know that's the college stereotype, but it really does wokr pretty well. I was never a huge fan of coffee."

The server beams to Veronica. "Coming right up, hon. So…pot of coffee, side of milk, and to eat?" Hank grins. "Steak and eggs, rare and scrambled with cheddar, toasted bagel with cream cheese, oatmeal and orange juice, large, please." And then he adds. "And a waffle." Okay, that's a lot of calories but considering his size and the recent activity? Probably needed.

"Oh, yes, a very common problem in Med School, I'm told. Though I haven't an MD myself." Which is definitely true. "Still, labwork is labwork is labwork." A grin. "And then there's the tedious bits of school!"

Nerd? Why yes!

"Mmmm." Roni murmurs, as she considers what to have to eat. She doesn't need much, honestly. "A tuna melt, if you won't mind?" Thank you." She is polite to the server, but her true enthusiasm is for her fellow geeks. "I am moderately surprised, I must admit. Given your insights into biology, chemistry and biophysics, I would rather have expected you to pursue an MD, Hank." She's not criticising, just surprised. To Toni, she smiles. "I knew another med student who was as resistant to coffee as you are." It's a comment Toni has heard before. "She just kept passing out into the cadavers. And failed out."

"Hmmmm…I'll have the pastrami with swiss and mayo. NO veggies, wheat bread if you have it." Toni says after a moment of thought, then eyes Roni as she hands over the menu to the server. "You'd thinks she'd get the extra sleep at some point…though I guess medical school is pretty punishing on sleep." she admits.

The server jots down the orders, her name is Margot if the name tag is correct. She's a mature woman, early forties, and clearly an old pro. Right now with all the chaos there's an influx of people coming by, and the night was pretty busy. "No problem, sugar." This to Veronica. "Tuna melt comes with fries and choice of soup or salad, soup is black bean." To Toni she nods. "Pastrami on wheat with mayo, plain. Also comes with fries, soup or salad?" Once the orders are placed she heads off and comes back with the OJ, coffee and appetizers in a few minutes.

"I know, I keep thinking I should get one, but that's a fair amount of additional schooling and I have a lot of research projects I'm working on, and then there's my work with the X-Men, consulting with SHIELD…" Hank shrugs. "…just never seems enough time in a day, Doctor Kelsey." He snorts at the cadaver diver, and shakes his head.

"Oh no, there's no sleeping at the graduate level, just prolonged periods of semi-lucidity steeped in panic, Toni."

"No fries, please. I can'd to that level of carbs. I'll go with salad, balsamic vinegrete. Thank you." Veronica answers Margot. Then Roni tunes back into the conversation. "Then you simply must invent time dilation technology, Hank, so that you can make the time you need to get it all done." She is, in fact, teasing, but it's geek humor.

"I've found that all post-graduate degrees are quite punishing on sleep, and increasingly so. My MSE wasn't too bad, but my MD, and my PhD were both pretty exhausting. Now, at least, when I'm interested in a subject I can just read up and do experiments, without having to write forty-page papers on it and then defend my thesis to a board of bored ivory tower professors."

Toni hmms. "All of mine were patents, basically, so it was really doubling up on work, as I'd hav eto describe it clearly for the patent office anyway. Though I've found it's satisfying to have a working prototype to patent when doing degree level dissertations and projects." She leans back a bit. "You work with SHIELD? For research?" she wonders, peering over at Hank.

The order placed, Margot heads off with a smile.

Hank laughs at the thought. "No no, I've no desire to break one of the fundamental cornerstones of reality." His warm voice /thick/ with his amusement. "I mean, sure, it could be done in a number of ways…but…just because it can be done, doesn't mean it should be." A wink. "No matter how much fun the physics is."

Yes, Geek Humor but—with the minds involved, oh so feasible.

"I don't think I could have survived my work schedule were it not for caffeine and more caffeine, along with a side of sugar or two." No, he's not joking. "Being able to do your own thing is VERY attractive to me, I wish I could should you my lab, but…security concerns, just as you weren't willing for me to peek at your server farm."

He nods at the last question. "Well, sort of. I consult on cases, I was called in by Doctor Jemma Simmons on a troublesome case we're still working, and then there was this debacle. She also is helping me with a side project of my own."

"We have interfaced with SHIELD on occasion, but never on a research footing. Only in crisis operations on an as-needed basis." Veronica explains. "But I have read a few papers from Dr. Simmons. She is quite brilliant." And a biochemist, so definitely someone with whom Dr. Kelsey would have a lot to discuss. More, perhaps, than she now knows.

"It's true, there are security concerns. But I would enjoy bringing you in for a visit of our labs at sme point. Reading your papers, I feel like I already know your mind. I would love to hear your opinions on some of what we are working on, and a chance to bounce ideas off of one another." It's a tad presumptuous, perhaps, but Roni hasn't built the life and company she has by sitting back. She grabs at what she wants, even if she fails to get it.

Once drinks arrive, Veronica sips hers and listens while the other two chat; she doesn't have to be the center of attention, and can get just as much pleasure out of listening as speaking. But she does eventually ask, "If you would not mind my asking, what projects are funding your research these days, Hank? That was never entirely clear in your papers."

Toni settles back as her tea arrives, tilting her head. She's got less of a bio background, but she can certainly chat computers and engineering! She pauses, looking curious as Roni asks her question. "Yes, what have you been working on? And if you had any questions about our work or RESCUE I can answer most questions too with Roni here."

"My work has strictly been consulting, research, no development…well…unless you count a sonic-grenade design." He waves that off. "Oh yes, Doctor Simmons is quite a remarkable and capable scientist, I'd be delighted to introduce you all one to each other." Hank's eyes are positively aglow at the very thought of that much concentrated BRAINPOWAH in one small area! "I know she'd love to meet you both, and I'm equally certain you'd both love to meet her."

He quirks a brow at the invitation to visit the labs and brainstorm. "See, now that's just unfair, Doctor Kelsey, hitting me in my weak spot - SCIENCE!." His smile is almost full body. "And I accept, if that wasn't clear."

At the question about funding, and projects, he ponders a moment. "Well, most of my funding comes from the Xavier Institute, where I teach. I also have a fair number of patents and stipends from NYU and a few others where I speak, but that's about it." A nod. "And my most recent project is ongoing…it involves reverting many of the more overt physical changes to myself, though it is definitely a work in progress."

"I certainly would not mind the opportunity to meet with Dr. Simmons, if she had the time. I know working for SHIELD she has to be an exceptionally busy woman. But if the opportunity presents itself, please, do set up the introduction." Veronica smiles, quite pleased at that idea, even if she herself has no idea how much.

"I'm glad you accept. Ad I will warn you now: I am an expert at hitting in folks' weak spots. That's how you make progress and change." One of the only ways, in fact. Roni grins.

"Ah. The Xavier Institute. That makes sense." But Veronica's eyes go a bit wide 'round at Hank's last admission. "Using yourself as a biological test subject. That is … incredibly brave. And can be incredibly dangerous." Roni has used herself as a test subject, it's true. But never in a biochemical sense. Egads! "I confess, I nevre would have expected you to want to find a cure for the mutant condition." She's not condemning. Just surprised. She has no right to speak on it, not being one herself. And she acknowledges that.

"Not a cure, then, but a lessening of physical mutations associated with the x-gene's activation for some mutants?" Toni says curiously. "I mean, I agree with Toni, dangerous to test things on yourself, but I assume you're taking precautions and such." She shakes her head a bit. "I mean, I can see how it would be a relief to many mutants who were not blessed with a lack of severe physical alterations.

"I'll make the arrangements then." Hank answers with a nod, and is absolutely delighted picturing the reactions the three women will have to each other - scientists to scientist of course, but also the cybernetics angle will be fascinating. "Well, it is only feasible on myself, though we do test both sim and bio before we proceed, we're very careful." Hank says and then his skin darkens a bit, his fur with it, which might not be immediately obvious as a blush. "In truth the first trial serum did have some unexpected side effects."

He smiles. "And I'm not working on removing my mutant nature - I am -proud- to be a mutant. No, I'm working on reverting some of the secondary changes such as the fur and talons from an earlier situation."

Hank shrugs, and refills coffee cups as needed when the server returns with everyone's food orders.

"Once the initial reversion treatment is stable and proven, then I can work on adapting it to others, yes. Something to help mitigate other mutants less fortunate that I but that's probably years down the road. I confess, my short term goals are selfish - I want my own face back."

"My opinion doesn't matter much, and I realize that. But I don't mind your face. I wish others did not either." Veronica comments to Hank. She won't tell him not to do it; that is his decision, and she will respect it no matter what. Doesn't mean she doesn't wish it wasn't necessary.

"Am I to understand, then, that you attempted an earlier treatment, and some of your changes were … augmented, as a result?" Roni asks, curiously. "What was the prior attempt aimed at accomplishing? Did it do that, but then had other side effects? Or did it end up missing the mark?"

"I tend to agree with Roni, it's a perfectly serviceable face." Toni says, a bit dryly, her eyes twinkling a bit. "But I can understand it for people with gross bodily modificaitons caused by it. I'd imagine turning off only portions of the x-gene for this would be…challenging?" She shurgs her shoulder, leaning back as she lets Hank elaborate per Roni's question, a passing server pausing to refill drinks as necessary.

"Actually, Doctor Kelsey, or may I call you Veronica? Or do you have a preference as Toni here does?" Hank continues after her answer. "I -do- value your input, and I thank you kindly for being amongst those that don't see it as monstrous but it is more for my own peace of mind than anything, and it is something that I had to give up until recently due to some fairly exciting developments related to my SHIELD case work. Which unfortunately means I have to be discreet."

And then he is definitely blushing. "Oh, it did indeed do the changes I aimed for, my claws and fur /did/ revert. Unfortunately the catalyst for the change was a bit more…effective…at suppression of my androgens, as they tie into hirsuteness. They, well, they…suppressed my Y chromosome in rather a broader spectrum fashion than intended."

A sigh. "I ended up being entirely the opposite gender for a few days."

He's embarrassed but he is not going to hide from the truth, it happened, and they asked.

Still embarrassing.

"Veronica is fine. My closest friends call me Roni. It may have something to do with my friend and partner being 'Toni', and one of our friends being 'Posse'. It's a pattern, if you will." Veronica offers to Beast, with a little grins. Not a huge one, but it's there; she does have a sense of humor. "If you like, Veronica, or Roni, are fine."

She listens to the tale and keeps her trap shut, until the punchline. She cannot help it; once that is offered, she snorts and shakes her head, amazed and truly amused. "Oh my. That must have been quite the experience, Hank. I'm really quite sorry for laughing. I apologize. But I could not help myself." And she actually feels bad about it. But it's hilarious!

Toni laughs at that. "Ah, well…now you've got to experience things from the other side, that's a valuable insight, at least." she says amusedly. "Hm, if it wasn't tied to the x-gene, that would be a very useful treatement, especially if it could be made permanent. For those who prefer a certain gender." Toni leans forward and snerks. "It just worked out that way, but it 'is' a thing, yes." she agrees with Roni.

Hank's blush doesn't fade one iota, he's nearly black the whole time, though he does smile a bit. "Roni then." He says with a nod to Veronica. "And…here…" He takes out his phone, unlocks the thing, and then pulls up a picture of she-Beast. She was a few inches shorter, same basic build and her hair was really long, it is almost as if all the body hair sort of migrated. She was /ripped/, and very very chesty. In the pic she's wearing a sleeveless bodysuit of deep blue and NO boob window thank you very much, a wide belt and stompy-boots from hell. It is actually a fairly good look.

"Mm…yes, it -was- fascinating, and you're not the first to suggest it might be a valuable process to market, unfortunately the key ingredient other than the catalyst I can't discuss is a hormonal extract peculiar to mutants, and needs to be tailored to the subject to have any effect. The market would be small indeed."

A sigh. "Doctor Simmons suggested I get the whole 'experience' with hormonal treatments, but though it was an interesting idea I decided better not to tamper further with my biochemistry while we studied the results. We didn't want to taint the results."

"Oh, and she /was/ teasing about that."

"Of course she was." Roni answers, teasing herself in her tone. She's betting Jemma was half-serious and wanted him - her - to give it a shot. But didn't want to push it. That's how Veronica would have been in that situation. "You were a very striking woman." And that's the last Veronica is going to say about that.

When her salad arrives, Veronica settles in and cuts it up, mixing about, and starts to nibble. And here she was the one who wasn't that hungry. "Still would be an interesting area of study, trying to find a more widely applicable treatment for that result in mind."

Toni gets her pastrami as well, taking a less than ladylike bite out of it as she chews, listening to the other two talk. Mouth full, and all that. "Mmph…." Swallow. "So you would have to tailor this treatement to each mutant you wanted to use it on, then."

It is a testament to Hank's love of SCIENCE! that he actually considered it very seriously, because really, how many guys could truly understand that? The insight would if nothing else be one more unique experience to have. It truly was his concerns about tainting the results studies that prevented it. Frankly though there were so many biophysical changes already who knows what such a treatment might have done! Not him, that's for sure.

Though…Roni's probably not wrong, Quinn Quire who was also there /definitely/ wanted 'Hetty' to get the full and total 'female experience', good-bad-ugly complete.

"I'd be willing to share my non-proprietary research with you, Roni. And in fact just thinking about it I would posit that there might be a way to work it for people with even a latent X-gene, in which case the market size would be considerably larger." He smiles. "If you think it looks promising perhaps it might be something we could work on together." Because Hank's like any other researcher in one important way - ALWAYS needs more funding.

His vast double breakfast is dug into with gusto, he's been up through the night and actively fighting crime, and trying to mitigate the chaos of the CyberAttack, and this -after- helping defang the CyberAttack itself! He's earned his vast meal.

"Yes." He answers Toni. "The key to the whole process is the extract, it has to come from the subject or the rest of it unravels to no effect."

Veronica shakes her head. "I'm decent in biochemistry, Hank, but I wouldn't dare attempt something that intricate, delicate and powerful on my own. It's a fascinating concept, and one I'd willingly help fund and support. But not one I feel capable of pursuing on my own." Neurology and orthopedics? Definitely. Trauma care? She may not be world-class, but she's good and determined to be better. But biochemical manipulation? No, that's the bridge too far. Maybe if she had a brain like Stark's?

For a while, then, Veronica just contents herself with her salad, and then her tuna melt when it arrives. An extra pickle is her recompense for ditching her fries, and she enjoys that, grinning as she chews on the spicy dill. And she does love her milk. "With your greater mass and musculature, how strong will your torpor be, after all those calories?" she asks Hank, after he's nearly done.

The purple-haired engineer has busied herself making her sandwich disappear, though she's enjoying it, pausing to swallow then note. "It would be very useful though. It's not something RESCUE usually does, but we could see about giving you a grant to help fund the research, perhaps?" She's all good with useful scientific achievements!

She does raise a brow at Roni's question. Is Hank a bear now hmm? Hmm. Well, he is pretty hirstute, then again….maybe he hibernates with enough food?

"Oh yes, it is a delicate process, hence why I'm not willing to even consider working any variant of it until I have a working, stable serum that doesn't kill me first. I have every right to risk myself, though of course I take every precaution I can to mitigate the risks as much as I can, but at the end of the day I won't take similar chances with anyone else's lives." Which attitude would probably come as no surprise at all to Roni, having read so much of his work, and probably very little chance of Toni being surprised just from what she's seen so far.

He laughs about the Torpor comment. "Oh, I have a very robust metabolism, I should have an hour or two before it sets in - and if I keep active, it won't at all if I burn sufficient calories. I can stay awake for days if I time things right with little impact on my acuity."

Hank grins toothily at the grant offer. "Well, after the tour of the labs and such we can see, mm? I'll work up a presentation for your consideration." This to both of Toni and Roni.

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