2020-01-20 - Getting Protection


More information comes to light on the barrier over Staten Island.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Jan 20 00:14:11 2020
Location: Staten Island

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Theme Song



The dome over Staten Island is problematic, for several reasons. The largest being is the Island can't be accessed by anyone at the moment. Well it can - but those who go into the area just don't come out. This makes information gathering that much more difficult.

The NYPD and what's left of SIPD have put up blocks to the area, diverting anyone trying to access it. They've been mostly successful.

SHIELD has established a command post near the Bayonne Bridge. There's vans set up with monitoring equipment and the like. It's here that heroes and interested parties are gathering - in costume or not, to get details as they slowly filter through.

Speaking to one of the Agents is a tall, dark haired woman with bright blue eyes, wearing black leather trousers and a jacket. She's easily recognisable as Zatanna Zatara - world famous magician and, to those that know, occult specialist.

"If you could all gather round, we'll start our next briefing." The agent announces.

Being the strangest anomaly in recent memory, Black Widow has taken to station herself in SHIELD's command post, so she can better learn what little is gathered up bit by bit. She wants to go and help, but there's enough intelligence to suggest breaching the dome is a very bad move. What with none of the initial scouts returning. At least there's something who knows a thing or two about magic, in Zatanna, who has come to land a hand.

She approaches in time for the briefing, curious what Zatanna has to say, because she's been rather preplexed. It's always most frustrating when she finds herself having to deal with gods and magic.

One of the SHIELD agents present does not look similar in dress to the others in uniform. Kwabena's body is covered in some kind of gunmetal grey skinsuit, altogether lacking in identification itself; because of this, he wears a SHIELD vest, complete with a PPU badge upon the left breast area.

The dark skinned man has been reviewing satellite footage taken of the dome's dorsal body, meticulously reviewing it grid by grid with a frown on his face. Noticing others leaving the SHIELD staging area, he joins them, arms folded over his chest and a frown on his face.

Standing not far from where the agent was speaking with Zatara, Agent May watches impassively, her usual field attire modified slightly to more openly carry her usually concealed array of weaponry and a couple of more overt examples besides. Clearly, she's prepared to have to deal with any of the more unusual creatures that might leave the dome.

She steps more directly into the briefing about to begin, offering a nod in greeting to those agents she recognizes before focusing her attention on the magician.

The figure known as Hunter is frankly nowhere to be seen. That does not prevent her from listening in given her senses, however. Rooftop and alley perches are more her style; no one wants a ratty-looking homeless vet hanging around with 'heroes' and such. But what is transpiring could grow. And she has a report that one of the Pride is in there. That means she has a vested interest. The Others have not responded, so for now this is the best intelligence she has access to without going in herself.

Having heard the call made by the city fathers, Avery checked in with her liege-lady and then donned her ultra-sophisticated costume as she started flipping channels on TV until she got a live video feed of the gathering. Eyes of hazel flecked with gold study the scene, and then as she clips her comm unit to her right ear, she raises her hoodie's hood and settles her domino mask in place.

"Right then." She says in a quasi-British accent that would be right at home on American Television. /Comms check, Oracle, dost…*do* you copy, this is Zeal./ Not that the VI won't know who's calling, but Avery 'Zeal' has been taught to use certain forms on Comms, so, she follows them.

/Video feed is active, preparing to Walk Between…/ A breath indrawn, and then she appears on the exhale, right outside the command post.

The Hunter would no doubt be able scent at least one known person present, so that's something. /I am at the site./

Her appearance? Utterly silent, just…not there a moment ago, and oh, hey…smaller woman in a hoodie, black jeans and stompy boots. Fingerless gloves too.

As those present gather, the agent looks around "I'm Agent David Peters. Thank you all for coming. What have here is something unprecedented. It's good to see a range of organisations represented." He blinks as Zeal appears. "It's a shame we don't have a representative from M-Town. I'm led to believe that a number of citizens were trapped in there last night."

"Our lead agent for this is Agent Melinda May." The man nods in Mays direction. "And Zatanna Zatara has spent the evening doing some investigation. I'm going to turn this over to her to share what she's found."

Zee, as she's known to her friends, does indeed look tired - though that doesn't dim the smile she offers as she steps up. A smile that is quickly by a more serious look. "Hello. It seems we're dealing with a reality warping spell that covers most of the Island. From the investigation that I've been able to do, some of the island wasn't covered, so there are pockets that we can insert into, if needed.

The dark haired mage looks about the group before continuing "The barrier is incorporeal and easily penetrated unfortunately, anyone who passes through it is changed. Their memories re-written and they themselves are transformed."

There are people present who know what though, aren't there.

"I've been working on a way to let teams get in there and and a small team went in a few hours ago. They were completely transformed into … what can I say? Characters in a Dungeon and Dragons role play. Thanks to the protection I could create, they kept their memories, but *everything* else about them, changed."

Meaning weapons and all.

As Zatara begins the briefing, May glances to one side slightly as if having had her attention pulled away. A second or so later, she turns and looks straight up to where Hunter is observing, points at the person there, then points to the ground at her side. You. Join us here. Then without waiting to see if her silent instructions are followed, she turns back to rejoin the briefing.

"This means no stepping through the barrier without prior go-ahead from a team lead," she looks at the various SHIELD and WAND agents here, "or direct instructions to do so. WAND is still investigating the nature of the barrier and working on ways to counteract its effects, so we should give them a chance to do their jobs. Where possible, I want teams to be a mix of SHIELD and local volunteers. Communications will be shared, as well as supplies as necessary."

/Affirmative, Zeal, tracking your signal five by five, telemetry is sound, audio and video feeds nominal./ Comes the response from Oracle once she's arrived in situ. /Copy./ She acknowledges, then Zeal looks about, taking in the various others who've arrived or were already present. She's a bit nervous, though she masks the appearance of her nerves well enough. Fortunately Agent May is present, she has seen the woman before, and makes her way through the crowd in the easiest fashion possible, she teleports!

She is careful to appear in the Agent's field of vision, knowing that to surprise her would not end well. "Greetings, Agent May." She offers with a half bow, then takes up station as near by as the briefing gets underway.

She offers Agent Peters a brief smile and a briefer nod when he blinks, and then listens attentively to what Zee and May have to say. "Agent May, Magus Zatarra, I have been inside a similar effect - an it please thee, I volunteer my services to this cause."

Hunter smirks briefly. So those spotters weren't quite so blind. She heard them reporting in. A representative of M-Town indeed.

On the rooftop where Agent May pointed, a figure in ratty, threadbare military surplus attire stands, grabs the edge of the roof and then flips over it, dropping three floors to the sidewalk in a tight roll. She comes up to her feet and jogs over to join the group, stepping up beside May without a word. Zeal may recognize her, having met her before. Widow would as well.

The frown upon Kwabena's face turns into a grimace. He does well to keep from rolling his eyes, quietly reminding himself that there are things in this world he simply cannot understand.

His attention shifts from one to the other, listening carefully. He would much prefer biting his tongue through all of this, but there's one thing the man just doesn't understand.

Lifting his hand, he asks, "What is… 'dungeons and dragons role play'?" The confusion is evident in his voice as in his face; they didn't teach him about tabletop in the Russian terror camps, it seems.

"This seems incredibly specific, and quite unlikely an affect," Natasha offers, her visage quite deadpan, always an expert in hiding what she might be feeling or thinking at a given moment. "There must be a source for this, I guess the specific affect should help narrow the field with the right dossier available…" she turns to look at Zatanna and asks pointedly, "are we dealing with a magic capable human? Or something of a higher being very much into mischief? Do we even know that much?"

To Hunter, Widow offers a nod of acknowledgement but otherwise remains silent. To Kwabena's question, Natasha offers a quiet, "it's a game…people pretend to be in some fictional form of history, only I take it here, it's not so much role play…"

"And who are you, young one?" Zee asks the young woman who just volunteered her services. "You managed to escape?" Of course, Zeal is referring to one of the earlier 'test runs' that were done. She'll need to add more information to that - particularly in light of Black Widows question.

"Welcome." Zatanna offers a quick smile to Hunter, encouraging the woman to introduce herself..

"Agent Romanov has the right of it. It's a fantasy game…" The mage looks at Kwa and amends "… a science fantasy game and people pretend to be things that they are not."

"I believe WAND are searching their archives, Agent and I will be reviewing Shadowcrests library. This is not a phenomenon we are familiar with however, from earlier reports of the area, this is not a magic capable human, this is something more."

Letting that sink in, Zee pauses for a moment. "From what I've able to find, with the help of some WAND mages, there's anchors for the spells. The conjecture is, that there are central bearers for the spell - and until they are taken down, nothing will fall. We just don't know where there bearers are located."

And for that, people should surmise, that should be the first point of business.

Hunter is not exactly a talker. She takes laconic to new extremes. Her non-verbal communication skills are great, though, with nods to those she knows and avoiding the curious gazes of others.

After a bit, with everyone wondering about plans and ideas, she finally does speak up. One word, spoken in a mush-mouthed tone that sands all of the accent edges off; it's not quite unintelligible, but it's not easy either.


Zeal finger-waves to Hunter as she arrives, a brief flash of smile, and then she's addressed by the Magus. "It was not the full effect as this is, Magus Zatarra. Twas — a test, what is the term, a 'dry run'? I do not know that we escaped, as such. That said, I have been under this effect before, mayhaps I might have some small resistance as result."

She looks to Agent May then. "I have several Oracle-Net comms should they be needful." And then turns back to Zee. "I am Zeal, I can walk between breaths, and I can fight." A deep bow. "My service is gladly given."

What the heck, she talks like she still IS under the effect!

Zeal does note the people that Hunter nods to, she knows the woman, though not well. Still, that the Widow gets a nod is definitely a good thing. She certainly raises some good points. A nod to support Zee's 'something more'. "Something powerful." She murmurs. Which is pretty obvious, but still, it is corroboration of a sort, right?

A smile at the tunnels comment. "We were underground, Hunter." She addresses the rep for Mutant Town. "I misdoubt that the tunnels would not be affected, but it would give us more cover."

Nodding a greeting to the hooded young woman she remembers seeing help defend Bayonne Bridge, May lets the others speak up for a moment before offering replies and information. "If you have read the poem 'Ruslan and Ludmila' by Pushkin, Kwabena, it is similar to the setting described there. Swords, sorcery, fantastic creatures, and most importantly," she looks around the gathering at this point, "no modern technology of any sort."

"Romanova, Kwabena, I want you both as team leads." She names a couple of other SHIELD and WAND agents as well. Hunter's one-word suggestion is accepted with a nod. "Checking tunnels is a valid option."

"Thank you, Zeal. If you can get with our tech team, they can make sure your comms are linked with ours." Though it'll likely be the other way around, knowing Oracle. Which May doesn't. "First order of business, find a way to identify and track the bearers of the of the spell anchors."

Black Widow smiles eeriely at the mention of spell anchors who could be taken down, quite please that there's something more tangible down the line. "I leave it to you to discover just who those anchors might be," she is more than willing to defer to Zatanna or WAND or any magic user what she hasn't an inkling off. She nods at May's assignment, "if we could be given an instrument to assist in locating those anchors, we could offer some help there," she openly names a challenge for any WAND personal who cares to tinker with it, "otherwise, my team will be of more help in bringing down anchors once identified."

"Smell." Hunter murmurs, lifting one hand to lay a finger along her nose. "Not tech. No effect." As always, she of so few words still has a lot to say, for those who understand just what she's talking about, what she's capable of. She glances up at Widow briefly, making eye contact, then back down, trying hard to tamp down on the ever-present aura of menace that surrounds her; last thing she needs is to panic a bunch of trained agents about to go on a mission.

The confusion drains from Kwabena's face at Natasha's explanation. "A game," he echoes, and turns to Zatanna, eyebrows raised. However, May manages to draw a connection he's most familiar with. A silent 'ah', a nod of his head, and then a subtle smirk. "Someone has a sense of humor." A sick one, perhaps.

A brief expression of surprise comes when he's named as a team lead. He finally uncrosses his arms, and nods his head to Agent May. "I agree," he joins with Natasha.

"Well that's the thing…" Zatanna answers, putting several small amulets on the table. "… we need teams to go in and locate them. WAND doesn't have the resources to throw at this. The Batfamily of course are already investigating, but there's only so many of them. Your teams will be needed."

"There will be equipment provided." Agent Peters answers. "Divining rods and thaumic instruments to assist, but your teams are needed. Particular as the supernatural beings in the area don't seem to like the interference."

Zatanna smiles at Zeal again "Call me Zee, or Zatanna if you must. Magus is a dusty old mage." And despite her maturity, at thirty five, Zee is anything but dusty and old.

"Tunnels?" That's directed to Hunter. "Those will need checking. I rather suspect they are as affected as the rest of the area. There are supernatural beings that prefer to live underground, the tunnels will be transformed to their liking. Oh yes, the buildings within the affected area we checked in are also affected. Some are just completely gone - so don't expect to rely on landmarks."

"Are you able to go in through tunnels?" She asks Hunter, before looking to the group and gesturing to the amulets "This is all that I could make in the time - they are magic and will provide protection against the memory loss. WAND has the spell that I used to make them. The materials aren't easy to get, so be careful with who you give these to and try not to damage or lose them."

"Not a game in this instance…" Zee agrees with Kwabena to a point though. "… but a sense of humour, perhaps. It would be funnier if we weren't the but of it."

Many of these magicky words are as foreign to Kwabena as he is to this land. Fortunately, he knows how to use the internet, and will make time to do some high level research. Divining rods and amulets are a far shot from demolitions and assault rifles.

"When transformation takes place," he asks, "Do powered people lose powers?" His broken and accented English cuts through, in spite of his odd syntax. "If not, I can get in the small places. Any places."

He's not addressing the whole 'no modern technology' thing; that's private, and likely something he'll address behind the wall with Agent May.

A brief smirk is given to Zee. "We can turn joke around," he quips.

Hunter nods to Zatanna's question. She does not bother explaining that she will have to interface with the Others. The tunnels are Their territory; but the alliance is strong, and she will be going through, not bringing trouble along with her.

The Hunter hunts. It's what she does. Find the anchors? She can do that. And doing that, maybe she can save her people. As if rogue Russian special operators weren't bad enough. The only easy day was yesterday.

It is a bit liberating to be able to use her powers without concern, this will of course put Zeal on a lot of people's radar who'd not known her before. But - there's a job to do, she'll worry about the consequences /after/. A smile, faintly shy to the Magus. "As you wish, Zee Zatarra." And yes, there's a glint of humor to gold-hazel eyes. Spunky little thing!

Zeal does take an energy bar out of a pocket, consuming it in jig time, then washing it down with a long pull at a water bottle that Hunter can smell is a mix of water and agave nectar, roughly half and half.

Once done she moves to the techs, offering them the comms per May's instructions. "Please add your SHIELD channel for the mission to these, yes?"

And then softly into her own comm unit. /Oracle, SHIELD will be programming the comms, please keep an eye on them./ They're strangers after all!

Once that is done, she looks to Zee. "Which team will I be with?" She has worked with May before, but this is not her show, she'll work with whomever.

Widow nods at Zatanna, and eyes the direction of the dome warily, before turning to offer to Kwabena, "I suspect that all of this is centered on perception, so while you won't lose any innate ability, it may perform different to expectations…" she looks towards Zatanna for approval or rejection of her answer to Kwabena.

Zeal nods once. "My powers were intact in the 'dry run'." She confirms.

"I have to second Zatara in this," May says. Yes, she is stubborn about addressing people by their last names only. "We need intel first and foremost, and there aren't enough boots on the ground for any one team to just sit and wait for others to do the recon."

At Kwabena's question, she shakes her head no. "From what I've seen, powers that are inherent to a person stay with them. But, we haven't had the chance or manpower yet to test that extensively, and we really don't have the time."

"I'll leave it to the team leads to choose who goes on their teams for each foray. And no, I'm not going to insist that the same people be a team consistently. Different combinations of skills and abilities can and should be used. Start with mapping the tunnels. If they can be used to travel through the affected area more quickly than the surface, that will be to our advantage." She knows that with the numbers of 'creatures' and now very likely transformed civilians in the 'D&D zone', the fewer skirmishes they run into, the better.

Zatanna quirks a brow at Zeal and shakes her head. "I'm just consulting here, Zeal. Who do you usually work with? If you work alone and don't mind working with SHIELD, then I'm sure the Agents here would like the assistance."

"Pretty much…" Zatanna nods to Black Widow. "The transformation seems to be based on how a person perceives themselves. I can assure you, the small team of SHIELD agents that came in with me were … entertaining. And I, myself, became a Sorceress - which isn't surprising, given that magic has defined me, my whole life. My magic didn't quite work as I expected it. The problem as I see it, if you go in and lose your memory, you won't remember *how* to use your powers."

Zatanna looks to the group gathered "That's all I have at the moment, I'm afraid. Scant information, I know. Do you have any questions or requests? If not, with Agent Mays permission, I'm going to get some rest. I suspect we're all going to be very busy."

And she has shows to perform as well. The advertisments for those have been around for weeks.

"SHIELD and the Batfamily know how to contact me." With a flick of her wrist, two cards appear in her fingers. Sleight of hand? Or Magic? Impossible to tell. "And both of you may contact me as well." That's to Hunter and Zeal.

"Wait…you were in there, and was able to come out? How did you manage the feat? Did you retain your memory? Or did you have a failsafe to pull you out?" Widow is quite curious now that she knows Zatanna had first hand experience of the effects of the dome.

"I am sworn to the service of Batgirl, Zee. I work with the Bat Family, but I am not averse to working with others, indeed - far from it - I am eager to be of service wheresoever my talents will be best employed." And her utterly sincere desire to be of use, her delight in being part of this would deeply underscore how apt her chosen super-name is, she is definitely brimming with zeal, Zeal is.

When the card is offered, Zeal stays put, but her hand vanishes into…nothing, emerging from a similar point of nothing in the air, free floating apparently as she accepts the card with a smile.

She then tucks it away in a pants pocket, before she makes sure each team has at least one dual Oracle-Net/SHIELD-Net communicator.

May steps over, picks up one of the small number of amulets that Zatanna had just put on the table near them, and offers it to Natasha, then starts offering one each to the others gathered here. After a moment of consideration, she pockets one seemingly for herself then offers a second one to Zeal.

"Zatara has enchanted these amulets with a spell that will protect your memories, but not your tech or your gear. This is all we have right now, so guard them and don't lose them. And when you return from a foray, make sure to give them to the next team heading out. This is our only defense until WAND figures out something more widespread or longer lasting."

She looks at the agents and volunteers gathered. "Any other questions?"

Hunter eyes the card suspiciously for a few moments, then reaches out her hand and takes it, retreating instantly, tucked away. Not knowing the woman, Hunter does not exchange the card for one of the arrowheads. But she considered it. Instead, she reaches for one of the amulets, lifting it, sniffing at it carefully.

Yes. Sniffing.

Hunter glances at the others, then lifts the amulet up and over her head, tucking it down inside her t-shirt. She may hate her memories, but she has no desire to give them up and become some gamepiece, thank you.

Silver eyes move from Natasha to Avery, then to May and finally Zatanna. It takes a few moments for Kwabena to process all of this information, but he seems satisfied with all of the answers. "Dis will be… interesting," he says to himself.

Accepting one of the amulets, Kwabena isn't quite sure what to do with it at first; noticing Hunter, he mimics her to a point, and drapes it over his neck without sniffing it.

Widow nods in approval to May as she's handed an amulet, and without sniffing it even once, dons it around her neck. "Good luck to all of us," she quips at the gathered crowd, before retreating to her station in the SHIELD Command Post. It was easy taking on ops that didn't deal with magic, there was a reason she didn't much collaborate with WAND. Magic throws everything into a loop, and she wasn't too happy about what's to come.

As she is handing out the dual-comms, Zeal will accept the amulet from Agent May en passant. Her amulet is immediately donned, and then tucked under her shirt under the zipped up hoodie. A few wayward strands of honeyed-brown hair wisp out, and then Zeal amends. "Well…SOME of the Batfamily." She's honest to a fault, this one. "I have not met them all yet."

This said softly to Zee, though Hunter is sure to be able to hear it too with her superior senses.

"Then work with your people, Zeal." Whether Zatanna will be around isn't clear. She does have a lot of responsibilities.

"Yes, Agent Romanov. It was my brief, to get people in there safely. Those amulets are the result of that work. There aren't many at the moment, WAND has the spell and … the materials aren't easy to come by. So treat them carefully."

With a small smile, the mage agrees "So say we all…" turns and walks away. Those with the senses will hear her say something quietly - it's not … english … and she disappears.

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