2020-04-18 - Basketballs at Terminal Velocity Sting a Little


When gravity briefly inverts at a neighborhood basketball court in Brooklyn, Steve and Gwen team up to keep people and their sanity grounded.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Apr 18 04:13:12 2020
Location: RP Room 3

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Theme Song



A spring evening floats over the Brooklyn borough with surprising leftover warmth from the day's totality of sun. The air is soft and the shadows only beginning to gain a crispness. Heat rises from the cement below his feet as Steve continues his easy, ground-eating lope. He's in a knee-length pair of loose drawstring shorts and a fitted grey-blue t-shirt, blond hair and chiseled jaw in plain sight. Barnes elected to stay in this evening on some task, leaving the Captain to work his way around the streets in no set pattern. This is partial habit from the war and a manner of never allowing himself complacency.

It brings him to take a corner and go past the local basketball courts. The regular rhythms of the balls and shoes squeaking around are interrupted by laughs and jeers.

Not everyone is playing, however. A young woman with her hair pulled half-back is busy reading over what appears to be a very old book. She frowns and mouths something to herself as she reaches to tuck her hair behind her ear. She's all legs, in her gangly colt years, and someone razzes her for being boring and not playing ball.

"Leave me alone, Jake, I'm reading!" she shoots back with a smirk. "This is more fun right now." Back she goes to reading. She mouths another few words before clearing her throat. Whatever comes out of her mouth yet isn't English, but boy does it start to do something weird:

An anti-gravity field abruptly surges out around her and, very slowly, everyone starts to feel…lighter? This includes Steve along the fenceline who very abruptly appears to be awkwardly high-stepping and frowning down at his sneakered feet.

Lingering spring warmth makes for a welcome change. New York might not be the North Pole or Canada or anything (are the two even different?) but wearing a tight-fitting suit in the middle of winter, at night, has it's… disadvantages, no matter how well insulated it might or might not be. Still, swinging through town when it's warm definitely has its advantages! Gwen might just be enjoying herself a little too much right at the moment, as she rounds a corner on the end of a web-line, making a pretty respectable clip across town.

On her way to anything? Nah, just making the rounds. Steve doesn't particularly attract her attention, since from up here he just looks a guy out for a jog. Nothing suspicious there, afterall; and besides, she paying attention to the lecture on tape she's listening to on the one earbud in her ear.

So when she passes through the anti-gravity field that's just forming, that comes as a complete surprise. Seriously, does Danger Sense not warn about these things? She's mid-air and between weblines when it happens, and the sudden change in her weight and trajectory makes her, well, miss. The webline goes wide of the building she was aiming for, leaving her still sailing through the air.


That was probably heard at ground level; followed by some frantic web-work, that results in one Spider clinging to the side of a building where she might've broken a window. (It was cracked before, honest.)

"What on Earth was that?!"

Gwen's outcry is one of many. It was cool at first when the basketballs started being more bouncy — there goes one shooting off into the sky after a kid slams it to the ground just to test — but now? Things are really starting to float. Backpacks, juice boxes, benches, trashcans, people: all of these begin to get lighter still. The heavier things are slower to leave the earth. One densely-built kid is doing long, arcing leaps and laughing while a smaller, string-bean guy is standing on his tippy-toes and squeaking because it's his last point of contact to the court's surface.

The young girl with the old book? She seems exempt from it where she sits on the court's sideline, staring around with wide eyes and not quite a smile on her face. WHOA.

Steve has a grip on the tall chain-link fencing surrounding the court and he's going some small hops himself to test the effects he's feeling. A glance upwards at the off-chance shine of light off a recently broken window nets him a sight of Gwen. She might suddenly see the blond jogger-guy waving at her — Steve isn't yelling yet. Yet. Come here and hurry, the gesture seems to imply.

Gwen, meanwhile, is piecing things together for herself. No gravity? Well, less gravity, judging by the way that basketball looks like it's headed for orbit. She fires a webline at it — wouldn't do to have that meeting a small aircraft, afterall — and misses. She misses on the second attempt, too, by which point it's much too late.

"Why does everything have to be hard?" she complains to nobody in particular. That's about the moment she notices Steve waving to her. She takes a moment to fire a glob of webbing at the kid who's just barely touching the ground, aiming for his feet, and not bothering to see if she managed this one or not; she's already scurrying down the building as quickly as she can.

There are no fancy jumps and flips and nifty landings today; she just gets down off the building, and walks across the sidewalk like a normal person. Just, like, quickly.

"Who turned off the gravity?" she inquires. "This is a direct violation of the laws of physics. Are there, like, physics police we can call, or something?"

"I have no idea, it just happened," Steve reports to the suited spider-person he's glad to have recognized from last year's fiasco with the mugging nearly gone very wrong. "Spider Woman, right? Captain Rogers. No physics police to call, but 'm gonna need you to see about anchoring people while I figure out if there's an off-switch." There's no hiding that he's that Steve Rogers when he then jumps up abruptly. A grip at the top of the chain-link fencing keeps him from simply going orbital. Momentum at least has him swinging around to plant his sneaker-soles sideways on the fence, still clinging to the top bar.

Meanwhile, the string-bean kid is grateful for the webbing at his toes because otherwise, he'd be floating up like the garbage can nearby still attached by its chains. The benches too have lifted, but are also chained. There's a theme here: don't let people steal things, clearly. A few basketball players are now flailing in the air, making scared cries about four feet from the ground, rotating about.

The Spiger-Woman offers an exagerated shrug. "No physics police? Ahh well. …But I'm sure an Avenger will do as a stand in." She snaps a salute (clearly not a practiced motion for her). "Nobody'll be floating away on my watch, sir!"

Gwen takes a couple seconds to crouch, planning something in her mind; when she jumps she flies through the air and grabs hold of one of the basketball hoops, adopting a position up on top of, just sticking with her feet. She shores up the webbing on String-Bean first, before moving on to anyone else still touching the ground (or at least close). She's still missing more than she'd like, but is quickly relearning how to shoot in zero-g, at least.

"See anything?" she calls out to Steve. She leaps off the hoop, grabbing one guy out of the air and sailing down to the ground with her.

"Don't take this personal," she advises, as she webs him to the ground. "It'll dissolve in a couple hours." And then she's on to the next. This time, as she's sailing through the air, she eyes something on the way past.

"Hey! Chick with book!" she announces, pointing downwards; not that she has time to do anything about it, she's too busy grabbing some poor girl who's in the act of floating away.

The poor girl who is definitely at least eight feet off the ground is flailing at Gwen by the time Spider-Woman reaches her. It might sting a little, how hard she grips at her rescuer, and frankly, she tries to cling to Gwen like a startled koala and doesn't want to let go.

Steve, however, has definitely noted the chick with the book. The young girl is trying not to laugh at the chaos she's caused, but it's not cold-hearted; it's uncomfortable and she's both looking down at the page she read off of and up and around again with an increasing tension of panic in her face. Frowning to himself, Steve does his best to angle his leap from the fencing appropriately. He shoots across the basketball court after a few testing, momentum-building pushes of his feet against the chain-link weave and manages one or two steps after he rolls before he collides with the opposite side. Immediately, he grabs up the chain-link fencing to keep himself from floating up. The young girl is staring wordlessly at him now.

"Hi," volunteers the Captain with a friendly smile. "You mind explaining to me why you're still sitting 'nd everyone else's in the air? Something to do with your book?"

The kid keeps gaping like she's a frog trying to catch flies.

There's three kids still floating. One poor guy is alternating between trying to catch his phone and trying to catch pretty much anything else; apparently he was playing some Pokemon Go when the gravity switch got flipped and lost hold of it, but as he floats further upwards he's less and less interested in it. By the time the Spider-Woman gets to him he's screaming for help. She plucks his phone out of the air in passing, then grabs him and uses a webline to pull herself back down to the ground. "Here you go!" she presents him with the phone after webbing his feet to the ground.

"Thanks," replies the kid, "It's got—"

"Your whole life on it, I know. I get it, you should see my phone." Gwen springs back upwards; a young lady and a guy so plugged into his iPod he seems to be asleep, have made it a good fifty some feet up into the air. Gwen catches up to one of them, grabbing hold and firing a webline to the nearest building.

"How do you feel about B and E?" she inquires politely, as she bundles her in through an open window. "Slight crisis out here, sending in a visitor!" she calls in. The occupant: An old woman. Seems safe enough? Yes? Yes.

The last of the victims is definitely asleep. Or at least, he was until Gwen catches up to him and rather rudely jolts him awake.

"What the fu-OHMIGOD I'M HELP!!"

"You're help? That's a strange name. Are you just Help, or Mister Help, or the Help, like in Downton Abbey? Is buttlering your super power? That would be so cool." While she's talking, Gwen is relying on her webbing once again, pulling the screaming and flailing man back down to the ground and sticking him there. "Might not want to fall asleep in the middle of New York at night," she suggests, standing with her feet planted on the ground once more. "Never know when you might get mugged or abducted by aliens or turned into a frog or something. …Though you'd make… a pretty cute frog I think, all things considered…"

She walks away while she's musing about that, walking deliberately back up towards Steve. "That's all of 'em," she reports. "What a workout."

Steve looks away from the young girl to watch Gwen at her work and once the spider-person has got all the errant floating kids now bound to earth again, he nods. "Good job, don't think anybody's gonna get hurt when the gravity comes back on."

Like it's a switch, of course. Flick down, gravity on. Flick up, gravity off.

His attention returns to the young girl. "Did you read something that made this happen?" Steve is gently persistent about getting information from the young girl with the book who still wants to catch flies, apparently.

"…yeah," the young girl replies quietly, face tucking guiltily. Steve glances over at Gwen and back to the young girl.

"You think you can fix it?" he asks gently.

"I dunno," mumbles the girl, eyes now downcast.

"Well, hey, I'm Steve and I think you can do it." Gwen gets a prompting look.

Gwen continues her sort of reverse moon-walking, keeping at least one foot firmly planted at all times, until she's standing right beside Steve, hands clasped behind her back and listening to the conversation. Well, listening until she receives that rather obvious prompt.

"And I'm Spider-Woman," she adds, giving a nod. "And I also think you can do it."

Gwen drops down to a crouch, so that she's looking up at the young girl instead of the other way around. "That book must be pretty neat," she offers. "What's your name? We can try when you're ready, but I promise you it'll be okay. I know it will, 'cause we're girls, and we can do anything, right?"

Gwen winks, and the eyes on her mask do likewise. At least her outfit has a non-intimidating face.

The young girl looks up at Spider-Woman's voice and her eyes are big and somewhat tearful. Still, the wink has her giggling to herself. Steve is watching patiently, glancing between Gwen and the book-owner.

"Yeah, we can. I'm Kaelyn. It's nice to meet you, Spider-Woman. You too, mister Steve," she pipes up.

Steve's voice remains calm and friendly. "It's nice to meet you, Kaelyn. Spider-Woman's right, you know: it'll be okay 'nd we're ready to help out if you want to try." His sneakers' toes are the only thing keeping him from rotating upside-down in his hold of the fenceline. His clothing is still doing funny things as it stands, as if some invisible blow-dryer were on beneath him. "Does the book say anything about how to make things go back to how they were before?"

Kaelyn looks down at the book again. "I dunno. I can try reading it backwards, maybe?"

Gwen has a quick look over her right shoulder, then her left; just checking to make sure nobody is still floating about that she's missed. No, the skies look clear. There's a loud panic from a passing crow that enters the anti-gravity area and suddenly finds itself gaining altitude rapidly, but it'll be okay, presumably.

"Well, you could definitely give that a shot," Gwen replies. She glances up at Steve, and gives the 'I dunno' shrug. "I mean, always seemed to work for that guy who was always at my Dad's birthday parties, who'd say a few words and make a pigeon disappear, and then he'd say them backwards and the bird would come back. And everyone would get chocolate. Definitely the best part."

The Spider-Woman surrepticiously launches a very small bit of webbing at one of Steve's feet. Just in case. "Are we ready?" she inquires, looking up at the Avenger, then back down to Kaelyn. "Give a try, Kaelyn! You've got this."

Steve looks down at his sneakers now more welded to the fence. He is grateful, though also wondering if or when he's getting his shoes back. It's not a priority anyways, not with this anti-gravitational craziness!

"We're ready," he confirms for Spider-Woman, looking from her and to Kaelyn again. "Give it a try!"

Nodding emphatically, the young girl turns the book back one page and squints at it. Carefully, she sounds out the words in the reverse direction and, thankfully, doesn't stumble or stutter over them. Both Steve and Gwen will feel the sudden reintroduction of gravity returning, the former in how his clothing begins to regain its weight and fit on his body.

"I think that worked," comments the Captain. He does look to Gwen for confirmation and to make sure he's not thinking wishfully.

Maybe Gwen senses the basketball coming back down from on high, maybe not — does Danger Sense come into play?

Danger Sense does indeed come into play on this one; break time is over, apparently. As the Earth's pull resumes its normal behaviour, Gwen gets that tell-tale wailing in her brain that lets her know something bad is about to happen. What now? The gravity is—oh right, the basketball.

What she can't see is where it's going to land, 'something bad is coming' doesn't translate to 'it's going to land exactly here'. So she just bolts back to her feet and sticks one arm out above Kaelyn.

"Careful, there's a basket—" There follows an audible 'phfwump' as the ball hits the Spider-Woman's shoulder, eliciting a loud 'Ow!' before it flies off, bouncing down an alley, careening off a dumpster, and then rolling back out and across the street, as it someone'd just dropped it.

"…That wasn't so bad," Gwen acknowledges, leaning back and surrepticiously rubbing her shoulder. "See? Knew you could do it."

As the ball bounces off Gwen's shoulder, Steve winces sympathetically. He knows well the delights of sudden impacts which are not always delightful. Kaeylin watches the basketball bounce off and then reappear, her mouth hanging open.

"Wow, that was crazy," she says to Spider-Woman with obvious awe. All around, people stuck to various surfaces with various webbings in various places are plopping down in relief or feeling at themselves to make sure they're all there or staring at the bench now dropped vertically on one narrow end, somehow balanced.

"Definitely crazy," agrees Steve, who is now sitting on the court's surface with his foot still attached to the chain-link fencing like it's no big. "Where'd you find that book?"

Kaelyn points at the trash can. "In there when I got here. You want it?" She then offers the book out to either of them, glancing between Gwen and the Captain.

Gwen rolls her arm a couple of times, and pokes at her shoulder where it's a bit tender. "Eh, it'll take more than a basketball at terminal velocity to stop the Spider-Woman," she muses. "And that was pretty nuts, I agree. Seems like you had it under control though, Kaelyn."

She pauses as the book is offered, and holds up both hands. "I am definitely not qualified to be handling that sort of material, I think that'd be one for Steve to be taking home with him." She glances upwards, and grins behind her mask. "You have access to a sorcerer or two, right? You must."

Gwen drops back down to a crouch. "You live around here, Kaelyn? Need any help getting back home?"

"I do have that access to a sorcerer or two. Thank you, Kaelyn." With care does Steve take the offered book into his possession. While the young girl turns her attention back to Gwen, he then works to get his shoelaces untied. Walking home without a shoe isn't a terribly big problem in his view of things, especially in comparison to gravity being reversed.

"I live four blocks that way," she says to Gwen, pointing in the direction of her home. "I don't need any help getting home, but maybe somebody to talk to would be nice? You seem really cool. You do those things like Spider-Man does, but…" Leaning in close to Gwen, she whispers, "I like you better."

Steve smiles to himself as quietly as he can manage while he gets his other foot out of his sneaker.

Gwen watches Steve pulling his feet out of his sneakers, and rubs her chin lightly. "Err… sorry about that." She shrugs lightly, "I suppose I really ought to think up a way to undo that stuff, rather than just leaving it to dissolve. …you could totally come back for your shoes in about two hours though."

She stands up, and nods to Kaelyn. "Sure, we can walk and talk on the way back to your place. You seem really cool too, Kaelyn." She pauses, and grins, "I know Spider-Man, he's cool too, but thank you. You have great taste." She pops a thumbs up, and looks back to Steve. "Glad I could help, Captain. Looks like this time I don't have to flee in a hurry before the boys in blue arrive, I don't hear any sirens."

"s'fine, they're just shoes," reassures the Captain to Gwen. Taking the old book and tucking it to his ribs, he gets to his feet and brushes off his palm on his shorts. Kaelyn gathers up her backpack and nods, her attention all on Spider-Woman.

"You can say hi to Spider-Man for me then," she decides before making to walk across the court. "Come on, Spider-Woman, I want to tell you about what else I found last week!" That earns her back a dubious glance from Steve, but he thinks for the moment that it's not an old book full of magical spells.

"Glad you were around too, Spider-Woman, thank you. 'll let folks know it'll be about two hours before they get their shoes back. Don't think anybody's gonna call the cops, but keep a weather-eye out," he suggests. Gwen gets a curt nod and then the man exits the court on the opposite side, book under his arm.

The book's going away someplace safe. His shoes? Lost cause for the moment. Everybody else's shoes? Probably somewhat of a lost cause for the moment. Gravity being restored? A worthy cause.

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