2020-05-03 - Downfall of the Financier


With search warrants sworn out, Police move in to check out Hadricks places of work and residence. It does not go well.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun May 3 01:29:55 2020
Location: Lower East Side

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It's been a week. The news feeds have been reporting on suspected connections between a Lobo Technologies VP and the Church of Bright Light. It's all alleged of course, the links being the Rotary Club they're all part of.

Covert intelligence gathering, of the illegal sort, by Isis, Hank and Nick has revealed that it can be proved but …. the information wasn't gathered legally and it can't be used by the police. Detective Charles however, has managed to secure a warrant to search Leland Hadricks office and home based on testimony provided by the last of the church members arrested during last weeks shootings.

Somehow this information got to Nick and Isis and an email was sent to 'Sarge' asking him to meet Isis and Hank. Isis, at least, was going to be watching Hadricks home when the police went in - she wanted to see the man taken into custody. There might be a couple of others who decide to join them.

Ford Bennet has likely found information out from his contacts that the Church was planning something. He might just have decided to follow them.

Of course, she might also expect trouble and she hasn't been disappointed.

About ten minutes ago, it had gone pear shaped and a group of the Church of Bright Light members had arrived at Hadricks home. They might not be as well armed as some of the gangs in New York - but they are armed - and they've got his home locked down. No one can go in or out - and there's police inside.

To make matters worse, they've got three hostages on the door stoop - obvious mutants who are bound and on their knees with guns to their heads. Which is the police have not just stormed them yet.

No one said the Church members were smart, ok?

Isis growls from her perch on a nearby house, her blue eyes fixed on the mutants. "They're frightened and angry. A bad combination" she says to Sarge.

As they watch, two police move in and the shooting begins - from the church members. The police are hit and retreat. The problem is getting in without losing the hostages.

"The hostages or the Church members?" Sarge asks, attention fixed on those below. "They have a right to be." Either group. Both. "What if we enter the house from the back. We can get close to the ones with hostages without being noticed. We'll still need to take them all out or disarm them simultaneously before they can kill the hostages." Pause. "What if someone can convince them they're being used? The rich guy goes free while the cannon fodder is left to take the wrap."

Having gotten the call to rendezvous, Hank coordinated with Hisako, picking her up some blocks away from the school she'd been infiltrating. Once they arrive to a hostage scenario, he dons his armor and visor, the armor morphed to include form fitted gloves and boots that are essentially also glove, so there's no part of him that is not armored up, even a face mask. He's still obviously him, his build is rather unique, and the costume is the same basic design and colors - just offering more coverage.

«Coms check, do you read me Isis, Armor, Sarge?» Assuming Sarge is not morphed anyway. «I suspect the distress is universal.» A pause. «Do we want someone to act as a decoy and draw fire out front?»

Detective work is not Ford's particular forte. At least, that's what he told himself. In truth, he was planning on investigating the Transit Authority and this other member of the church. But when he caught wind that this Leland guy was being investigated today? Ford detoured a bit. He had this sneaking feeling that something bad was going to happen.

…Aaaaaand it did. Ford was beginning to wonder if a side effect of his demonic nature was drawing in trouble like these nut jobs.

Ford, unlike the other present, was not particularly restricted by the hostage situation. After all, he couldn't be seen. The trouble was getting the mutants out of danger. Strolling up, cool as a cucumber and completely invisible, Ford was keen on getting in close and getting an ear to the ground. After all, what they can't see won't hurt them, right? And it wasn't just the mutants here. The police inside were an unknown factor as well. Were they in danger too? First things first; mutants to safety… Ford moved in closer to the hostage takers, trying to get an ear in on what they might be thinking. He didn't want to resolve this with violence, if he could help it. He wanted to solve it as a man - not a demon. Leaning against the wall by the stoop, he folded his arms, listening.

«Reading you loud and clear, Beast,» replies Armor from the passenger seat of Hank's car. No visor or helmet, just her jumpsuit - but she's spent this long not worrying a whole lot about how recognizable she is, and most people on her bad side would tend to worry more about the giant telekinetic exo-armor she's projecting than her actual face. «I'm guessing 'decoy' is my job, if we need it?»

If she has one concern about being the focus of the bad guys' fire, it's the possibility that the church idiots will be something akin to used to her showing up - but she'd still rather them shoot at *her* than at, say, the hostages. Or the cops. Or her allies. She can handle bullets better than any of them can, after all.

Nick has an old keepsake from his days in the short lived Paragons, a heavy bullet proof riot shield. He had the foresight to bring it along just in case. This seemed like the kind of thing that was likely to go sideways anyway and, well, once again his cynicism has been rewarded. Sometimes he wishes it wouldn't.

At the moment he's standing by out of sight. He's big and obvious and he doesn't want to provoke a firefight before they're ready and he DEFINITELY doesn't want someone executing hostages.

There's a side door here that has a covered approach from a shed. I can hop the fence from the house next door when we're ready to go. Or I can run along the fence and come in from the roof but that's going to take a moment. Mostly because he'll have to make a hole in the roof. Which he can do. Nick could play dodgeball with Minis if he wanted to, but you know. Does take a critical few seconds.

"Hard to say, Sarge. I get feelings but not their not specific. I know they're coming from …" Isis waves her hand to the area "… over there. But if I guessed, I'd say the hostages were scared and the Church members are both." She's been doing this all her life and she can make assumptions.

"I can hear you, Hank." Isis says into the comms. Looking at Brandon to see if he's using the comms piece that Hank gave him. "I'm not good as a decoy but I can confuse their emotions and be quick to get through the back door with Nick. Hisako, Hank and Sarge are good for decoys." Isis doesn't even realise she's doing it - going through strategy. With a nod to Sarge, the slim mutant slips away to leap across the roof quickly enough to join Nick. They'll go through the back over the fence.

"Hank, Nick. Are you smelling that? It's like the scent the other night." She says as she moves.

Ford will see her, and likely the others from his vantage point. He'll see as they confusion begins below.

Isis sends a wave of joy out over the area. Those who are susceptible start to smile and most the church dip their weapons.

It's 'go time'.

« I read you. » Sarge says over the coms. He hasn't transformed to energy yet. « I'd make a better diversion since I can put on a better show to keep their attention. I guarantee all eyes will be on me. With any luck, they'll fire at me and let you all take them down. » He obviously has no concerns about the bullets. « The rest of you go into the house or onto it. Be ready to act. Transforming now so I won't be receiving the comm. » And he starts shifting into his power armor form.

«Nick, good to hear your voice, sir.» Hank is currently hunkered down not readily visible to the bad guys. His bulk is pretty noticeable when he's looming about after all. «Isis—I scent that same burning flowers scent from before, the invisible spy, that's confirmed? Nick — be advised, if you smell anything like that it was someone we detected when gathering intel. Unknown but probably best to consider it a hostile.» Or maybe it was just scared of the two mutants, no way of knowing.

«Copy Sarge, remember folks - he can tepe to us when offline with coms, be ready for that. Sarge, feel free to use me if you're not able to 'group chat'.»

With the signal given and Sarge transofrming, Hank grins to Hisako. "Once more into the breach, mm?" He carefully judges the distance, marking the bad guys on his HUD and waits - once Armor and Sarge draw fire, THEN he'll leap to attack, that way guns are pointed away from the hostages!

Ford felt his blood beging to boil slightly again as he sensed the shift in the tense air. Powers were being activated. Plans put into motion. Ford could sense it, and he despised it. And it's about when Sarge starts to shift into a giant mecha that Ford gets the notion that, as usual, he is right. And sometimes, he wishes he wasn't so perfect all the time.

Ford knew that the focus was going to be Church members. They needed to be moved out of the way, and with the guns dipping, this was the time. COnsidering he was now put on a massive time crunch. Kicking off the stoop, still invisible, Ford rushed up behind the three gun-toting humans and aimed to wrap all three into one massive, two-armed headlock, before diving off the stoop with them and out of the line of fire. Hopefully, startling them enough to prevent them from actually pulling the triggers on their weapons.

The only warning the mutant hostages get is a disembodied voice telling them "RUN! NOW!"

Nick waits for the signal, waits for auditory confirmation that attention is elsewhere and then comes up and over the fence and right for the side door. He hits the door with his shoulder behind his shield, using the curved surface like a battering ram. The lock just shears off as the wolfman goes right through it.

Despite the distraction he is expecting to get shot at. But better him than one of the hostages. Then again who knows? Maybe everything will be resolved before he gets there.

Burning flowers? Armor does a brief double-take at Beast when he mentions them, but pushes the question aside. Whatever they're talking about, she wasn't there at the time - and she doesn't usually smell very much when her armor is up, anyway. She does take a cautious whiff, but her senses are not enhanced by her mutant gifts the way Beast's (and some others') are.

So she wastes no further time in armoring up, the gold-hued field of psionic energy blossoming into existence around her as she leaves their staging cover. She doesn't have to worry about drawing attention to herself, it seems, so she keeps her armor close to her regular human size, and just focuses on closing the distance between point A (where she started) and point B (the door the hostages were in front of) as fast as she can.

The wave of joy doesn't last long. As the powered armoured Brandon, armoured Hisako and Hank start their sortie from the front, Nick barrels in like a wrecking from behind. That's enough to upset anyones equilibrium.

Fords approach would be good, if he'd worked with the group, unfortunately one ducks away just as he grabs and opens fire in his direction He might hit Ford but he absolutely hits on the hostages. Fatally. The body drops, blood staining the ground beneath her and her flaxen coloured hair.

Nick certainly finds himself the focus of three more church members - bullets peppering his shield as he charges. These ones are smarter and fall back a bit. Not that it matters because from behind Nick, Isis leaps claws and fangs out as she scratches the face of the nearest of the shooter. She tumbles and scoots back behind the big werewolf as that draws more focussed fire from their group.

Hisako, Hank and Brandon find themselves facing six more of the church - seriously, the congregation must have made a showing today. They're scared and they're angry - the three can see that. And they shoot, sending bullets flying their direction.

From behind them, they can see the remaining two hostages stagger towards them. They're in danger - because really? There's bullets flying everywhere.

Once Brandon shifts into his power armor form, he lifts off and lands in the street, establishing telepathic contact with the four he knows about. At which point, someone else decides to act on their own. « What idiot just did that? » he demands, broadcasting to everyone around him. So much for a carefully coordinated plan and he flies over to the front of the house, blasting any church members he can see with his hand repulsors.

Death was not something Ford was unfamiliar with. Nor was bloodshed. But it never made it easier to encounter. As Ford watched the hostage drop, Ford felt his stomach do the same. Ditching the two church members he'd shoved aside, Ford let the other crazy mutants barrel in through the building, before dropping any pretense of hiding and moving to the fallen body.

It's an odd sight, the body that had gone limp lifting into the air and quickly being carried to any paramedics or medical professionals nearby. Still invisible, Ford laid the body down on whatever was available to serve as a bed, before stepping back. The blood on his arms steadily vanishing with the rest of him as his disembodied voice spoke. "Medical treatment! Please!" he pleaded. He knew it was futile… but some part of him still hoped that perhaps the shot wasn't as fatal as it had seemed.

"Mother…pus-buckets!" Yes, Hank's closest thing to swearing is a Bill Murray movie quote. When the hostage gets shot, Hank looks to Hisako. "Can get you there fastest." Just like they've practiced in the Danger Room, he scoops the girl up in her small armored form, and then spins to get some momentum, hurling her with about twenty-thousand pounds of thrust in a fractional second as he 'fastball specials' the girl towards the fray. «Unknown» He thinks back at Brandon. «Probably the burning flower guy I mentioned» And then over Comms. «Be advised - invisible target in situ, unknown allegiance.» Regardless, once Hisako is en route, Hank bounds after her, running at a ground devouring pace using arms and legs both in a gait that should be awkward - but isn't.

The sight of the body being moved is a tad off putting. Especially when arms are briefly visible and then the blood spatter painting them fades.

Nick gets to the middle of the room where he can do his best to shield the hostages - including the fatally wounded one - and slams down his large mobile door of a shield into the floor. He needs to find some way to make them worry about - ah. That'll do it. Reaching out for a coffee table he shoves it hard, causing it to flip end over end and shower everything in front of him in splinters and glass shards.

"We still have a few shooters here!" He calls out, not using the radio. He hardly needs to use the radio. "Any eyes on anyone trying to rabbit?"

One hostage down already; Armor's face twists into an angry scowl, although she doesn't have time to put her emotion into words. She'd rather put it into action - and then Beast is by her side, with a suggestion of his own.

She simply nods, curling up briefly to be a more convenient projectile … but once she's airborne, her armor virtually explodes in size, its hue shifting to a strident, furious red as one massive fist is balled up, and drives into the wall just above the shooters' heads.

"<If you idiots want to shoot somebody,>" she shouts in Japanese, "<SHOOT ME INSTEAD!!!>" The verbal explosion seems to let Armor reassert some rational strategy, and the exo-armor dwindles again - but she's still going to keep it between ten and fifteen feet or so, just to be the Most Obvious Target to any trigger-happy Church idiots.

As the body drops, Isis yowls and leaps for the space where the body "Over here, Nick. I've got them …." It hasn't dawned on her yet that the body is taken to the paramedics. Claws out, the slim mutant leads with them - hoping to sink them deeply into whatever that was that killed that mutant.

She … might not be thinking with human brain at the moment.

Brandon clears two of six away easily enough, sending the thudding into the wall on the porch. The supports crack and the roof of the structure starts to sag. It should be fine for the moment, though, and Brandon can see the shooters aiming for Nick as they're covered in splinters and glass. Three of them.

As for Nick, he's got the two mutants who staggered in his direction. They're crouching behind his shield looking terrified. One of the shooters is angling to the side, with glass in his hair - he's going to try and shoot one of those hostages or Nick if he can just get the …. Bang … The bullet skims the edge of the shield and makes for the group sheltering there.

That's when Hisako arrives like a wrecking ball and bowls three over - one of those, swinging the end of their weapon at her head. The bullets didn' twork, maybe a bat will.

Which leaves one aiming for Hank as the blue furred mutant arrives. Bang It's a point blank shot at the mutant.

Two down, four to go. And three aiming for one of the good guys. His boot jets flare and Sarge flies toward them, spreading his arms so he can clothesline all three. « They are definitely braver than intelligent. Or maybe just stupid. » It's a general broadcast though he keeps maintaining a link with the others. « Make sure no others are in the house in case it collapses. »

Ford is trying his hardest to get the hostage to safety. He really is. It's a life on his hands that he is trying desperately to save, if possible. He isn't even entirely sure if he can. But he wants to. Perhaps even a part of him flashing back to the day of his mom's death, trying so desperately to right the wrong that he couldn't years ago.

And now? Now he was being assaulted by one of the very mutants he couldn't stand. One of the ones that had decided NOW was a great time to bumrush in with their fancy stupid powers! NOW was the time they wanted to find him and keep him from trying to stop the tragedy he had helped cause! That was not going to fly! Isis' claws find purchase in his skin, but not exactly piercing it. They grip enough, though, and it's about this point that Isis is probably getting the emotional equivalent of a flash bomb.

What emerges from Ford's cover of invisibility is not Ford. For one, it's grown about a good foot since Isis grabbed hold. Crimson red skin is what she finds she is digging into. The figure is an exercise in contrasts. He'd be devilishly handsome, were it not for the curved tusks jutting up from his jaw and the thick blow brows and yellow eyes scowling back. His hair would be a luscious waterfall if it wasn't an oily mess or puntuacted by two gilded horns. His body would be remarkably toned if not for the ugly tiger pelt or dirty matts of black hair. What Isis has found herself grabbing is likely something straight out of Hisako's bedtime stories - the Big Bad Wolf of Japanese myth. Isis was attacking an oni.

And he was NOT happy.

"Watashi no jama ni naranaide, anata wa bakageta!" Even his voice is contradictory - a deep, rolling baritone punctuated with a gravelly bellow. Raising one hand, he reached up to grab hold of Isis and fling her in Hank's direction, before attempting to reach the paramedics nearby.

Thankfully, Hank's armor is sufficient for most small arms fire - unless they're using armor piercing or exotic rounds there's little chance of anything getting through to him. He grunts as that point blank shot impacts his chest, and he has a very painful bruise, but the armor prevents anything worse than that.

Which leaves one very unhappy church thug faced with a snarling Beast. A command to morph the armor back to default, subvocalized, and then Hank bares his many many sharp teeth, and /roars/. He's no lion, this is merely the roaring of a man-beast, not the senses shattering thing an animal made to order for such might do…and then he BITES completely through the friggin' gun and head-butts the gunman unconscious.

Then there's an Angry Oni attacking his friend Isis. "Armor…Sarge…you got these guys?"

Bullets didn't stop Armor; the rifle stock crashing against her exo-armor's brow doesn't even make it, or her, flinch - save to turn a baleful gaze upon the gun-toting bigot. Then she reaches out, takes the rifle in one hand of her exo-armor, and simply *crushes* it in a fist.

That's when the Oni butts in. "Dare ga baka yo?!" Armor snaps back at the oni, followed by an angrily imperative, "Doite!" before turning her attention back to the extremists, and simply batting all three of them *off* the building's doorstep, into unconsciousness. They'll probably wake up in a lot of pain later - but they *will* wake up, probably, sooner or later.

Her armor still bright crimson, Armor turns her attention briefly to the comm. «Do you need more help inside, or should I just sit on this dumb oni-lookalike?»

Nick turns and throws the shield edge on at the shooter. It's a lot sturdier than his ribs are, a fact that becomes evident when the crack of impact results in the shooter not getting back up. Bounding over to kick him unconscious he notices something. Something that looks a bit like a wall panel that is just slightly out of alignment.

So he rips it open to find the subject of their investigations crouching.

"Well well…" Is all he growls and then reaches down to haul Hadrick out by the collar. "Look what we have here."

Sarge and Nick take out the last of the shooters. The remaining two hostages are in a terrible state but the police are already coming in to do the clean up. "Can't say we always with the methods, but you folks did a good job today. Who knows how many they would have killed if you hadn't been here." Officer Olin says to them all. "And look what we have here. Mister Hadrick, we have a warrant to search your house. Your office is being searched as we speak."

One of the other officers, who had slipped through to Hadricks office comes out. "Well, well. Guess what he was deleting as all this goes down. There's information here tying him to the attacks on Lower East Side."

Olin snorts and starts to read Hadrick his rights while cuffing the man. Hadrick splutters "I demand a lawyer." He'll get one, of course. Due process and all that.

In the meantime, Isis is knocked flying by something that smells horrible and twists in the air, somersaulting and landing in a crouch as she growls. The flash-bomb of emotion is reflected back with a touch of feral instinct but she hears the chatter over the comms and bolts off as the dead body is deposited and the Oni takes off. There are priorities - and that isn't one.

« They're down. And the police have target zero. » Sarge reports. « Where is the demon? » He flies onto the roof of the house to get a look around the neighborhood, trying to spot him. « It may be controlling the church through evil powers or is working with the true leader of the group. »

Ford snarled furiously as he disregarded the arrest taking place. He wasn't interested. He wasn't even fazed by the return of his emotional assault. It was nothing new, not to him anyways. Ford simply leapt to the side of the paramedics, placing the hostage's body down as gently as he could. He knew it was too late… but there was still a small part of him that hoped. Very powerfully, too.

Turning back and scowling furiously at the mutants he partially blamed for this, he let out the kind of bellow Hank was refraining from. Furious, feral, and loud. But after a moment of trying to collect himself, he simply leapt into the air, disappearing in a flurry of black hair before reshaping himself into a noisy crow, flying off and cawing angrily at Sarge as he flew by.

He needed time to calm down and think…

With the Oni having fled the scene…Hank sighs, thinking to Sarge. «I have no way to track it, Sarge. Lets keep focus on the mission.» Moving to Nick, he thumps the other beast form mutant on the shoulder. "Sorry I wasn't inside, glad you went in though. These guys…" Utter disgust.

He checks Isis to be sure she's not injured, wishing he had some Febreeze to offer her, because yeah - demons - not so fond of demonic scent. Not at all, and he knows HER senses are keener than his!

A smile to Hisako, and a nod very eloquent of 'well done', before he turns his yellow gaze to the good officer Olin. "Officer, we were glad to help." He states in his lovingly enunciated, deeply bass voice. "Is there anything more we can do for you?"

«Oni-lookalike's rabbiting,» Armor reports as the 'oni' flees the scene. She's still not a happy camper - because of the dead hostage, because of the idiot demon getting in the way while they were trying to deal with the 'church people' - but there's not much left she can do. The police have the bigot brigade in hand, from the look and sound of things - and in particular, they got the apparent head of the latest anti-mutant plot to plague the Big Apple.

And the painstaking reclamation of a calm heart is reflected, too, in her armor's gradual shift from red back to yellow, and its subsidence back to a roughly human size - about six fet, which still adds a good handful of inches to Hisako's modest height. "I'm sorry we couldn't provide more or better assistance," she says to Officer Olin, "but I'm glad we were able to help as much as we did."

Leave him. We can deal with him later. And by we I mean not me. I run a PI agency not a police department. Nick says as he hauls Hadrick out to where the proper authorities can have him. If Sarge wants to go get the guy, well… Nick is not going to complain about that.

For now though they have a corporate suit to nail to the wall. "Oh you'll get your lawyer, don't you worry." The Brown wolfman mutters.

Now, with luck, they can close this thing out.

"We might need you for further questions." Olin answers Hank, watching as Sarge heads to the roof to look out.

Isis might be a little bruised and battered but it's not showing yet. It might later when her mindset recovers.

Rubbing her ears against Nicks arm she hasn't much to offer.

"But that's all for now. We're grateful but now, I have the paperwork to fill out."

It's going to take a bit of time to clean this up and go through all of Hadricks records. What else will they find when they do?

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