2019-10-30 - Science to Turn the Tide


Heroes try to turn Morlun's hunt back on himself. Spider-Girl enlists the help of Nadia Van Dyne and G.I.R.L., while warning Luke Cage of the danger he might be in.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Oct 30 00:00:00 2019
Location: G.I.R.L. Labs, NYC

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Theme Song



Sitting just far enough outside New York for the science and retail parks but within walking distance for the train the G.I.R.L building looks fairly unremarkable from the outside. Moderately sized the building has the insect winged logo above double glass doors that lead into a little reception area that's currently empty and has a single sturdy looking double internal door leading out.

Both the outer reception door and the inner door are unlocked to allow walk in visits. Although there's obvious security cameras in place to discourage anyone from trying to steal anything.

The inside is perhaps unlike any science lab most people typically imagine. Two floors of open plan space with the logo proudly painted on the far back wall. Each side wall is lined with college dorm style bedrooms. The nearby corners have a break area with couches and a big tv plus a little kitchen that has an empty box that used to contain donuts and a hastily cobbled together coffee machine made almost entirely out of things from a chemistry lab.

But it's the middle that looks the most impressive. A huge scifi doorway dominates the middle of the room. While a dozen workbenches are covered in various projects ranging from biotech to robotics.

Early in the morning G.I.R.L is pretty quiet. All of the members who are in the building are either working quietly or still sleeping in the dorm rooms. Nadia herself is curled up on a couch in the break area next to a Russian samovar, refilling a double size mug with strong tea every time the mug runs low, and flicking through the pages of a scientific journal.

8:30 AM - Wednesday Oct 30th

Swinging hard through the city, Spider-Girl is following her GPS to a location she's been intent on visiting for some time, but now, visiting here has become a necessity. When the building comes into view, she breathes a soft sigh of relief and aims for a landing right outside of the outer doors.

The young vigilante is not alone. Flying along in her wake are eight drones; one the sleek, black spider-drone of her own design named 'Arana'; the other seven are of a different design but similar between them, bearing the SHIELD insignia on their chassis.

Spider-Girl and the drones enter as a group, and upon entering, she breathes a sigh of relief. The drones simply follow her, hovering above her shoulders, and she heads for the reception area onto to unsling the backpack worn over her shoulders. The backpack ends up flopped on the counter, and the masked woman starts digging around in it with a voracious intensity. Her face is puffy, and the ponytail sticking out from behind her mask is disheveled.

The reception desk is a little unorthodox. While a big company or business might have someone sitting around all day waiting for visitors here there's just a little placard resting on the surface of the counter proclaiming that G.I.R.L is open for visitors.

There's also a touch screen built into the surface which has a little chibi animated Nadia complete with speech bubbles that appear in various languages saying 'tap here for help' or variations on the same theme.

Rummaging around in the backpack, Spider-Girl finally produces a stack of protein bars and a cell phone. The cell phone clatters into the desk, and she rips into a protein bar with one hand while batting off a text message to Luke Cage.

<Call me. URGENT!!>

With a protein bar sticking out of her mouth, she then turns to the touch screen and bats a message into it as well. <Spider-Girl to see Nadia. Super urgent!!!>

The touch pad isn't quite advanced enough for a messaging system. It's just an automated help script after all. But it does send an alert if someone tries to ask questions outside the pre-programmed responses. And a few moments later the inner glass doors open and there's a shout of "You can come in! We're open for visitors," from Nadia. Who is just around the corner in the relaxation zone. "Would you like some tea?"

Of the few bleary eyed members who are up and working a few give Spider-Girl friendly waves, but most seem focused on the ongoing project in the middle of the room. An extremely high tech looking doorway that doesn't seem to go anywhere and has a rectangular Stargate sort of vibe to it. Although without all the Egyptian paraphernalia.

Gathering up her stuff in a haphazard way, Spider-Girl rushes through the big doors without even taking a moment to appreciate everything about it.

The cluster of drones follow behind her with a quiet ensemble of whirring engines, and she rushes over toward Nadia with an expression of relief on her face. "Nadia, thank God. I tried to reach Agent Simmons at SHIELD, but I can't get through to her. I think my comms are malfunctioning again."

No one should be so frazzled this early in the morning. She holds up a hand and turns a bit. "Arana, DWARF's, descansa."

The small fleet of drones lower and land on the nearest flat surface, their engines spooling down into an idle rest.

"Tea, okay, sure," she says, and rips another bite off the protein bar hanging out of her mouth. She then looks toward the woman who is resting, her posture suggesting that she's on pins and needles about something. "Nadia… I'm… something really bad is going on, and I need your help."

"Did you run into a cryptid of some sort?" Nadia wonders, putting her reading material down and fetching a clean mug from the counter. "If you need to talk to SHIELD I don't know if they'll pick up a call from me.. We're not exactly on great terms." She shrugs and begins filling up the mug. The tea looks and smells strong enough that even someone with an enhanced metabolism will notice. "But we have all the gear you'd need to check your equipment out and make repairs."

She hands Anya the mug of tea. "Want to sit down? Or we can move things to a private room if that's better.. I've also got some surveillance shielded rooms downstairs. Full faraday cages and they're swept for hidden bugs regularly."

Nadia is rather casually dressed even for this time of day in jeans and a sweater. Instead of shoes or socks she's sporting some fluffy bunny slippers that make squeeky noises when she walks. There /is/ a labcoat in her size thrown over the back of the couch though. "You can relax here. It might not look it but this location is extremely safe." She takes a few steps over to the inner doors and pulls out a key that slots into the wall. She turns it in the slot and a light by the door turns red. "My security team is now on high alert. Just to be safe."

A brief hint of music starts to play as Anya's phone springs to life. 'When the man comes around. The hairs on your arm will stand up at the terror in each sip and in each sup…' laments the phone in the dulcet tones of Johnny Cash. 'When the man comes around? Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers…'

At first, Anya is about to deny the discovery of a cryptid, but after a second thought, her lips form something that almost could be considered a smirk. Almost. "Something like that."

To her concerns about SHIELD, Spider-Girl shakes her head. "It's okay. Doesn't matter. This is something different. I don't know how much time we have, so I-"

Cutting herself off, she pulls the phone out of the backpack and seems relieved. "Surveillance is good, yes." Then she clicks the phone to her ear, following Nadia so she's never too far from her.

"Luke." The tone of the young woman's voice is different. There's no spunk, no sass, no attitude. She's adopted a brisk directness that bears an underlying force to it. "Luke, you have to close the bar, send everyone home, and get somewhere safe. We're all in danger."

Nadia Van Dyne wanders over to one of the dorm rooms, which has her name in brightly coloured lettering, leans inside and snatches up a tablet computer. She taps a few commands in, then holds up the screen to show a message - I've activated a secure room downstairs, we'll be safe to talk but your phone won't get reception there.

Then she motions towards a staircase at the back of the room and begins heading over.

The stairs lead down into a basement with a long corridoor with sturdy looking metal doors. She walks over to one marked as being a containment lab and opens it with the same key she activated the alarms with. Inside it's a fairly standard looking science lab. Small enough it's probably only intended for two people. She heads inside and waits for Anya to finish her phone call before eventually shutting the door.

"Wait, what…?" comes the deep baritone voice of Luke from the other end of the phone. "What's going on, Chica?"

But even as he waits for a reply, based on the muffled voice that comes over the phone, Luke is already barking orders at the bar bases on the muffled voice. "Ok, family emergency! Bar's closed. Everyone leave now , and don't worry about the bill."

Looking to the tablet, Spider-Girl nods her head twice, but then gestures for Nadia to remain nearby. Efficiency is at play here, after all, and she intends for her to hear what she's telling the man on the other line.

"This is gonna sound super weird," she tells Luke, "but I need you to trust me on this. There's a man hunting Spider-Man. His name is Morlun, and he's… not human. He's not a mutant, hell I don't even think he's extra terrestrial. Might be a demon, or something worse."

As she talks, the eye-spots on her mask are looking directly at Nadia, intent on her receiving this information as well. There's a grim nature to her face that is matched by the tone of her voice.

"He's strong Luke. So strong. He took us all out last night, and he's been hunting us all, trying to get to him. Nobody's been able to stop him, but we're trying. Trying to find a way. He can, he can suck the life right out of people, even someone like you. And he's…"

The young woman's tone breaks then, her voice trembling. "He's so strong"

Taking a deep breath, she calls on her emotional reserve to shove something deep down, where it can't bring another tear. "I have to go, but, I'll call back, as soon as I can. Just make sure everyone's safe. Hod, Becca, everyone. Okay? Promise me?"

There is a few more muffled commands shouted on Luke's end of things, before the dull roar of a noisy crowd on the other end of the line quiets down to silence.

"What, you think he will come here? Ok, I'll make sure that I close things down for the next couple of days. What's the guy look like, so I can keep an eye out if he comes around."

There is a pause as Luke registers the cracking voice, and the emotion behind it. "Shit…what did he do…? What can I do? I'm gonna go kick his ass is what I am gonna do…"

"He might," Anya tells Luke over the phone. "I'll send you a pic." Then she stops, going silent for a moment. Her free hand rises and touches her forehead, which drops a couple of inches. Deep breaths are taken, and when she speaks again, her voice is deeper and stronger. Transformed into something unlike her.

"We will find out a way to stop him, then that's exactly what we're gonna do. Don't go after him until we can find his weakness. He'll just kill you, and you're not the one who needs to die." The words surprise even herself, but… she doesn't really care. "I'll call you."

The phone call is disconnected, a picture of Morlun sent to Luke's phone. Then, Anya follows Nadia into the secured area, cutting herself off from the outside world.

The drones follow her down the stairs and into the lab, and once she enters, the brevity of it all hits her. She stands there for a moment, looking around with her mouth half open.

"….. whoa."

"Well," Nadia says, frowning. "You do seem to be having an unusual day." She motions Anya inside once she's done with her call and seals the door. A few commands get typed into a wall console and a series of lights turn on. Indicating the shielding is engaged and working. A computerised voice declares that 'Counter surveillance sweep is in progress' and there's a low humming noise.

Unless Anya has any tracking devices or electronic bugs on her the humming will stop and the lights will turn green.

"I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with the notion you plan on killing… something? But if it's really dangerous and supernatural…"

Science brain on overload. Anya's eyes are looking around, identifying most of the tools at a glance, and those she isn't sure about… well, she has a pretty good guess. "This is way more sophisticated than the labs at NYU," she remarks, before approaching Nadia to join her.

For a moment or two, Spider-Girl considers those words. "Morlun's already killed a bunch of people. Most of them innocent, some not so much. He won't stop until Spider-Man and all of us are dead, so, if that's what it takes, that's what we're gonna do. I don't like it, either, Nadia. But I don't have a choice."

Lifting her left arm, she taps a few commands into the air, synced up with the tech in her mask. The eight drones fly over toward a workstation designed for data collection, where they land in an octagonal formation.

"These drones have a whole ton of info on Morlun, but most of it doesn't make any sense. I don't think anyone's ever seen anything like it, so… we need to do some serious data crunching."

"Recently I met someone who had a very credible claim that they ate unusual creatures," Nadia asides, pulling one of the chairs out and sitting herself down. "I could put you in touch if you think it would… Well in touch is perhaps not accurate. I have a scanner that located her."

"Feel free to use any of the equipment in here. Anything you need which isn't here we can borrow from one of the other labs." She taps her fingers against the workbench. "But we don't have a secure supercomputer. I do most calculations of that nature in my head anyway. I guess with the additional funding I've secured I could buy one. Wouldn't be here in time though. If you're comfortable leaving me copies of the data I can take it to my private lab to take a look. It's a little hard to visit or else I'd be taking you there instead of here."

At mention of the strange creature, Spider-Girl seems intrigued. "I wouldn't count anything out. You'll see."

The spider-drone is plugged into one of the computers, and begins making a download. It's not a huge amount of data; storing it and collating it wouldn't require a supercomputer, but it's mostly information on metallurgy, biology, body movement, fatigue, IR and EM scans.

"The data is yours," she says earnestly. "It might take a few minds to figure this all out. There's nothing in his biology that matches anything we know. No x-gene, nothing homo sapien about him. We can cross pollinate the data against what we know about extra terrestrials, but I don't think that's it."

Sitting down, the young woman takes a moment to catch her breath. She folds her hands together and just… sits for a moment or two, before she speaks again. An expression of scientific wonder enters her tone. "He said something about hunting spiders across multiple realities; that somehow, our Spider-Man is a link to all of them. He believes that if he kills Spider-Man, it'll disrupt everything. Across all realities."

She turns to look at Nadia then. "So he's figured out how to cross the trans-dimensional barrier. There might be something in that. Maybe there's some indicator or compound or energy signature unique to his reality. Maybe we can find it, shut him out of ours, force him back to his. Hell, I don't care if we force him into some alternate reality where the Big Bang is still happening." She then cocks her head and asks, "Where's your lab?"

"Some of my team have been working on dimensional folding technology," Nadia notes in her faintly Russian accent, her attention already shifting to the incoming data. "I've also got some experience with quantum dimensional shifting. So while the claim might sound outlandish, but it's not impossible. My ah.." Her brow furrows as she considers her next words carefully. "It is complicated. A friend of mine is a mage? Witch? I don't entirely understand what she is or can do. But I've got some theoretically impossible data readings that prove it's real."

There's a sigh and she glances up. "I'd be a lot happier if any of that data fit within any model of the fundamental laws of existence which has ever been proposed by science though."

She glances down "My lab? Oh it's not a question of distance it's… more a question of scale."

"Quantum dimensional shifting," Anya echoes, nodding her head. "Nothing is impossible. Improbable, not yet understood, sure."

The conversation is distracting her from heavier things on her mind, and it actually brings a small smile to her face. "I met a witch," she says. "She explained that I received these spider powers because I messed around with some kind of arcane stone I found in the disaster zone. It's… fused with me. I don't get it, either, and it gives me nightmares sometimes, but… well. I'm kinda stuck with it, and it with me."

Looking toward the data as it scrolls through, she nods her head and slumps a bit. "I know. It's… it's like gibberish." It's the first time she's really seeing it in its entirety, and her brain wheels are spinning on overdrive. "There's some mathematical sense to it, like… patterns. Math is universal, right? Maybe that's where we have to start."

The bit of information about Nadia's lab has her momentarily defecting from trying to understand impossible information to piecing together… things. Her eyes go wide, reflected in the way her mask's eye bulges stretch out a little. "No way," she says, reminding Nadia of just how young she is. "That's… that's wicked."

"I think it may depend on which sort of dimensional direction," Nadia muses, starting to input a few notes on her tablet and bringing up reference data that was pre-loaded into the lab. "If they are parallel dimensions they probably do have math. Although the more divergent the reality the less sure we can be that it will function in a way that makes logical sense to us. If the dimensions are more like a matryoshka doll the rules can be dramatically different. But in that case it's a lot less likely that 'Morlun' could communicate with you."

There's a pause as she hunts for a cable and plugs the tablet into the workbench. "I've got some very detailed energy scans I've been taking of the city over the last few months. They should help provide a baseline to compare your data against. We've had to be very careful that the transportation portal testing isn't likely to rip the fabric of the universe." She winks. "It's perfectly safe, but it never hurts to check!"

As she starts to toy with the data, changing how it's displayed on her tablet and selecting/deselecting portions of the data, she can't help but smile. There could indeed be patterns. Complicated ones. A challenging puzzle. The best kind really.

"I could ask my friend if she knows any magical experts? If you don't mind me telling someone else about your situation that is."

Listening to the way Nadia navigates through dimensional divergences and general 'weird science' has Anya smiling. Ripping at the fabric of the universe though? That grin turns into something halfway between a grimace and mischief.

"I mean, it's perfectly safe, until it isn't." She raises a hand, pointing out, "Morlun did it, though. Somehow. With science, or magic, if there even is a difference. But if he can do it, we can do it. Maybe that's our answer. Banish him right back into the hell he came from."

Chewing on her lip a moment, she seems to be considering something. "You can tell anyone you need to," she says quietly. "He's already done too much. Things that… can't be undone. I'm terrified of what else he plans to do."

Reaching up, the young woman does something that might be entirely unexpected. Her finger slips along behind her neck, separating the mask of her uniform, and pulling it from her head. The face beneath is young and beautiful, a lighter skinned Latina woman around 21, maybe 22 years of age. Less than 24 hours ago, she was at a goth Halloween party at a club in Hell's Kitchen. The purple makeup and lipstick is smeared and broken now, and her face is bruised. A thin shock of bright pink hair rests matted against a shaved head; usually a mohawk, but flattened down now by the mask and sweat. The brunette ponytail turns out to be extensions, woven into the mask.

Anya sets the mask down, turns it inside out, revealing a crackling HUD display within the left eye socket. "Maybe now I can get this damn thing fixed."

"You're more likely to die in a plane crash or be hit by a falling anvil," Nadia points out with a wry grin. "Actually you're also more likely to be killed by the anvil while also having the plane crash." She nods. "I was meaning tell my friend about your magical stone. But I suppose that is not as pressing a concern right this second."

There's a flash of concern when Anya removes her mask to reveal she's injured. "Are you okay? I'm not legally a doctor but I have some field surgery experience. If you need I can do some x-rays, maybe an MRI scan, make sure nothing is broken or needing hospital care." She gets up and pulls a first aid kit off the wall. "And don't worry, no matter how strong something seems it always has a flaw. You just need to look carefully."

The mistake of confusing her cohabitating relic and the challenge of Morlun strikes Anya as ridiculous at first. She snorts, then smirks, and before she knows it, the young woman is… laughing.

Its similar to someone laughing at a funeral. Pent up emotions with nowhere to go, the stale and almost church like nature of a funeral parlor, the absurdity of looking at a corpse that's been stuffed full of chemicals and made up to look kind of alive… it starts as a giggle, and within moments, Anya is laughing.

"I'm- I'm sorry," she says, and reaches a gloved hand to wipe tears from her makeup strewn face. "I don't - Hahaha - know why I'm laughing! Hahahah… hahaa!!"

She reaches a hand to steady herself, and sniffles once as she gets herself under control. "My uncle is dead, and everything is falling apart, and here I am, talking about… trans dimensional barriers and quantum mechanics and magic rocks." She isn't denying any medical attention, but a nervous laugh escapes her tear-strewn face. "Morlun killed my uncle. He crushed his head like, like a grape. And I'm talking about… about science." She shakes her head and looks into Nadia's eyes, quietly hoping that she understands. "Because it's all I can do. It's what I have to do."

"I think you might be experiencing some psychological shock," Nadia says calmly, opening up the first aid kit. "It's okay. You've been through a lot and now the adrenaline is wearing off it's just catching up with you. I'm sorry about your Uncle. First we'll get you patched up, then we can take a look at your equipment and then we'll see about contacting SHIELD. Perhaps the police too?"

"I've been.. not in the same situation but differently terrible. We're talking about science because you've been put in danger and it's the only option available to protect yourself." She forces a smile. "It's not strange. It's a fight or flight situation and this is how you're fighting. It's just the primative part of your brain can't quite figure that out."

"They all know," Anya tells Nadia shakily. "The police, SHIELD. They're just as involved, it's just, it's all happening so fast."

Angel may have already done the work that is needed on her body, but no one has done the work that is needed on Anya's mind. She nods her head quickly, and wipes another stray tear from her face. "I know, I know. And it's the knowing exactly what's happening, but I can't-" Her hand forms a fist and slams it down against her knee. "-stop it."

That hurt. The pain is a shock that shakes her out of the cascading tirade. She gasps and pulls her hand away, relaxing her fingers and her frame at the same time. "This guy can't be beaten by fists," she says resolutely. "I think… science might be the only way."

Nadia begins a quick first aid check that'll thankfully prove largely useless. Except for the offer of some mild medication to help dull any pain from the bruising. "Okay that's good to know. It means we can fix your things up and get to the data sooner," she offers trying to sound upbeat. "Nothing is over, nothing is unstoppable until we give up."

Checks finished the medkit gets put to one side and Nadia brings out the electronics gear. "If you have the schematics I can pop through and find the gear we'd need to replicate any parts. I can also take a look at any biological data you have. Compare it against my records and I'll see if I can find any vulnerabilities there. If this Morlun is going to attack civilians then I see no reason we should fight fair either." She moves around the room firing the various pieces of equipment up. "And while I agree science is probably the best method you'd be amazed at the damage you can do if you punch someone from inside their brainstem."

Anya's body is fine… the bruising a natural side effect of the beating she's taken, but they'll be gone in no time.

The young woman is eternally grateful for all of this, and it shows. Saying 'thank you' seems like it would dwindle the look in her eyes. The spiders have become a second family to her, after all. She takes the last bit as Nadia's offer to help on the front lines as well, and that earns a rueful smirk; a look that is much more Anya than all of this shock and uncontrolled emotion.

"Well," she says, waggling her eyebrows before spinning around to grab a tool that she can use on her damaged mask. "Let's get to work then, hermana."

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