2020-05-04 - Galaclysm part 2


Gala celebration of the new Horizon Academy assaulted by parties unknown - mercs and cyberdogs and android, oh my! Part 2 of 2.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon May 4 01:04:01 2020
Location: Horizon Academy

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Theme Song



The day of the Gala - the Q&A was going along at a reasonable pace, and then a man exited the Student Center preparatory to a tour of the campus. He was a non-descript fellow, glasses, dirty blonde, round specs…he took out a cigar and nipped the end off, before lighting it up and blowing out precisely three rings. Task done he shoves hands in pockets and headed for the parking structure.

It is at that exact moment that Spidersenses start to tingling.

Miles away, in an underground lair, a bloated hand flips a switch, rasping voice transmitted and transmuted to a lovely alto to various forces over their comms network. "Go."

On the grounds to the campus four points of intolerable brightness form - expanding to crimson spheres three meters in diameter that eat into the ground. One of them in each quad of the grounds. Alarms shriek in the security center, and the Academy guards prepare for an attack. Out of the holes spew quite a few heavily armed individuals, many of them in functional though mis-matched armor, some of them cyborgs, and from the hole closest to the student dorms? A group of cybernetically enhanced hound like creatures the size of a compact car! A full half dozen of the brutes, and troops following after them.

Celerity leaves the Student Centre building, following the tour… and then has to shield her eyes from the glare of those spheres. Her eyes go wide. Oh, that is not good. "G-Gotta go." She turns and runs for cover. Though she looks like any non-combatant seeking shelter, she's looking for anything with a bit of privacy. And trying to keep her sprint to normal human speed.

Once she has that privacy, it takes her only a few seconds to get changed — including removing her lipstick — and then Anon zooms onto the scene, moving to intercept the group at the dorms. "What's it going to take for you to stand down peacefully? Or do we need to defend ourselves?"

From the outside of the school, across the perimeter a man in a dark cat suit sprints at full tilt. He heads right toward the hole closest to the student dorms coming in behind and at an angle to the assailants there. Without wasting time on challenges or even finding a weapon he leaps for the lead.

The Black Panther's only thought at the moment is to buy time. Vibranium claws come out as he slows his leap on some of the masonry (sorry Emma) and places himself directly in the path of the cyborgs. He hasn't heard Celerity read them the riot act… but he rather doubts anyone will respond favorably to it. Which is why he simply winds right into a rather acrobatic claw strike. Ever try to catch a cat with the zoomies? It's like that. But the cat has it out for you.

Not far behind the cat-suited hero is a dark skinned woman in a yellow and black costume and glowing silhouettes of a panther and eagle behind her. As the Black Panther leaps, so does she - sailing through the air with long claws extended, knocking one of the cybernetically enhanced hounds over.

As she tumbles, Vixen rakes those claws through the joints of a leg, adding the glowing silhouette of a rhinocerous beetle to her shoulder. There's a lot of strength behind that swipe - her intent, to gut it and remove the limb.

Hello Emma. Care to link us up. Also, sorry we were late.

Everything happens all of a sudden, and Priscilla groans softly. "I really like this dress." she complains. But these bastards have come to threaten her mother and her mother's school, and they are endangering a lot of innocent people. What's a dress, even a really awesome dress, compare to that?

Voodoo does not bother with 'find somewhere private to change'. She just erupts out of her dress as she transforms into some kind of armored exoskeletal Geiger-inspired dog-like creature of claws and spikes and spines, and then sprints full-bore towards the attack. A simple button-press will be summoning her hoverbike and her gear, but she doesn't have time to wait.

Bonus? Cyborgs, dog creatures, they all have brains. And Voodoo comes at the back of their formation lancing out with corruscating telepathic energies, ripping at those brains. She is no Emma Frost; this is not clean, precise, surgical strikes. This is torrential blasts of primal telepathic fury that leave wreck and ruin in their wake, powerful enough to leave pale-purple glowing in their wake. But they are not terribly broad, just tight beams perhaps five or so feet wide. Handy enough to down perhaps a few before she gets her claws and jaws on them.

As the door closes behind Daniels, Peter's attention is suddenly drawn away from his camera, his gaze sweeping about the concourse in search of whatever just set off his arachnid-bestowed sense of danger. Then he directs his attention through one of the big windows, and realizes - even without knowing WHAT those spheres of crimson light are doing - that they are, in fact, Trouble.

This may not be *exactly* why he wanted to attend the gala, but it's close enough to justify making a special point of it. Peter glances around for a good place to stash his camera … and his suit. The formal one, that is. He packed for contingencies, after all.

Shortly thereafter - even if it entailed a mild-mannered photographer seemingly hiding in a bathroom like a coward - Spider-Man joins the scene, swinging from a window in the Student Center's second floor and letting his spider-sense nudge him in the most dangerous direction.

… yes, the *most* dangerous, counterintuitive as it may be. That brings him in pursuit of the hounds and troopers, and as he realizes they're headed towards the dorms, he realizes EXACTLY why this is where he ought to be.

"I'm pretty sure the invitations for the tour said 'no cyborg super-hounds, powered armor, or weapons of mass destruction!'" Spider-Man calls out as he lets go of his line, does a casual-looking backwards somersault in the air, and comes out of it with webs a-flying. The cyber-beasts are his first priority, and he sprays the first few of them with copious amounts of webbing, trying to slow if not outright *stop* their advance. The humanoid figures? They can probably be reasoned with. The quadrupeds … well, who knows? If any of them talk, he'll just have to re-evaluate his preconceived notions - and it won't be the first time for that.

Overhead there's a flare lit off, though no telling who launched it, or why.

Chaos ensues as the Gala is essentially cancelled due to invading cyborg super-hounds, powered armor, and weapons of mass destruction. As a bunch of people run off, Emma stands her ground as Pris, Peter and Anon leave and as Vixen and T'Challa arrive in good time.

«I'm in the main concourse of the student center, working on evac here…thank you for coming. We have some troops and borgs here, but I have backup, will keep you en rapport. My daughter is with you, I'll link to others on your end if they permit as well.»

Thoughts reach out, Emma essentially 'knocking' on Spidey's and Anon's minds, if they refuse they will not be linked into things.

The borg that Anon addresses shakes his head. "Defend or not, means nothin' t'me. Just here to do a job, this place has to go /down/, lady." He'll raise his arm then, aiming a mini-gun at Anon. "Last chance, girl."

T'challa's attack rends not only masonry, but one of the massive hounds. This thing is HUGE, the hide spiked and leathery, and he's a hideious amalgam of mutated mastiff and machine. The head is armored, the eyes glowing red as it lunges at the Panther, but too slow this time, rewarded with raking claws along its flank that draws a yelp of pain, and bright blood spattering.

Two more of the hounds charge, and one gets bowled over by the furious charge of Vixen, and ends up a foot shorter — at the knee. Ouch! Yowling, it snaps jaws the width of Vixen's torso at the heroine in a pain fueled instinctive response.

The mind blast Voodoo so subtly launches knocks one more hound down, and two of the normal mercs as well.

Enter the Spider-man. Two more of the cyber-hounds are webbed up, though these things are STRONG, not likely to hold them for long, but they're down for the moment. Which leaves one hound to leap forwards towards the dorms. The security team in place slows its charge, but the cost is dreadful.

All around Anon, the battle's already joined… and the mercenary proves the others' point. Well, that'll teach her to try to resolve things with a little bit of diplomacy. She sighs, fingers across the bridge of her nose, seemingly unconcerned with the mini-gun pointed in her direction. "Always, it always comes down to fighting, doesn't it? Do you not see the people arrayed against you? That's the damn Spider-Man, and that's just one of them!" Not one of 'us'; she doesn't consider herself any esteemed part of the group.

And then she goes from a standstill to blurring motion. Not going directly to her opponent, but instead curving around the group, to kick at ther soldiers from the side — in particular, kick at their legs, with all the force her speed can muster. The others have the hounds covered, she hopes.

"Do you think they care?" The Black Panther asks Anon now that he can hear her. It takes a certain blend of confidence, bravado and stupid to attack a school full of openly 'special' kids. Anyone who thinks about it for five minutes will know that the security is going to be off the charts. And in the Panther's experience the kind of people who decide to go through with it anyway usually have considerations other than odds of victory driving them.

Panther is a LOT stronger than he looks. He gets under the thing that he had recently attacked - not a hard feat given it's size - and ally-oop's it toward the Vixen. Then he turns to find a chunk of masonry and tosses it into the air above the ones that Spider Man had webbed.

"Use that!" He calls out. Oh the things that one can do with a webline and a rock. He's sure Spider Man won't have any trouble finding a use for it.

"I hope you're warranty covers this." Vixen says as she grabs the jaws of the hound and opens them wide. She's strong like this and the jaws crack just as Black Panther 'ally-oops' another one to her. "Oh, T'Challa will be jealous that you're giving me gifts, I'm sure."

She catches it and slams the thing to the ground. "How long till your suit is charged, Panther? I'm thinking we need to Leroy Jenkins."

Thank you, Emma. Be careful. We'll get these ones under control.

The geiger-beastie has Mari's brows rising "Young lady, I suggest you get yourself under cover." That's to Anon. "You can lecture them when we have them behind bars."

There's Spider-Man but all the dark skinned woman can do is nod in his direction as she throws herself into the air and 'bombs' one that's leaping for Panthers back.

Under normal circumstances, Spidey is somewhat wary of telepathy - and he's inclined to stay cautious here and now, just because of everything a telepath could do inside his head. But at the moment, given that the telepath in question is the *headmaster of the school they're protecting* - and someone who hasn't been all that public about her powers, meaning she's giving away one of *her* secrets to try and coordinate the defense of her school?

Yeah, they need the coordination. Spider-Man throws up what screens he can around his 'background thoughts' and memories, and pours his focus into here-and-now, taking in everything his senses - five normal plus one Spider - can tell him about the fight. Naturally, that includes a big ol' chunk of masonry tossed skywards by the Panther.

"Thanks!" Spidey replies to the cat-suited hero, leaping into the air and webbing the masonry up nice and snug, then whipping around in the air to try and bend its trajectory - whipping it around and coming STRAIGHT down on one of the webbed-up cyber-beasts, then using that web-net to propel *himself* down on the *other* superhound feet-first.

Interesting note: while Spider-Man almost certainly weighs a lot less than that hunk of dislodged masonry, he hit the second hound with nearly as many pounds per square inch as the first one, and it wasn't all passive physics at work - he put his own oomph into the kick as well, and not to put too fine a point on it? He has a lot of oomph to put behind his blows when he has to. Like now.

In the distance, explosive sounds crack the sky, hammer blows that tear through other advancing enemies. But that help is not coming here, but defending the student center and its main hall of civilians and guests.

Voodoo has to pause her telepathic assault to reply to the connection now added by Emma. « We will do all we can, Mother. Stay safe. » Yes, indeed, one of Emma's own daughters is somewhere on this battlefield. But where?

And the Geiger-beast erupts into the rear of the attacking formation, leading with vicious jaws and terrible claws. Voodoo hates fighting like this, even more than Catseye does; put she will do what she must, and stopping these bastards is vitally important. Saving the attacker's lives is much less so.

«Two of the cyborgs were sent for /me/, they have rudimentary mind shielding…I can interfere with motor control, but no more.» Emma's mind voice is crisp, despite her concern, it sounds almost clinical and there's no echo, no background noise, just Emma's 'voice' in one's head.

"Lady…" Says cyborg merc. "…you talk too much." It is almost laughable how easily the speedster avoids his fire, even with him tracking after her blur as Anon speeds off. In a streak of sudden violence, fully half the non-cybered troops go down with shattered legs and screams of agony as they fall. Ow.

T'Challa's hound rakes at him with claws both steel and otherwise, but then is lofted towards the Vixen, and more than a little surprised that the little kitty guy was so darn strong. Really, it is a terrifying critter - but still only as smart as a dog.

The jaws of the hound are torn open, and the cyborged animal makes a pathetic gurgling sound as it is disabled. The eyes of that hound goe from red to black as feedback kills it.

The one slammed into the ground gets up, one leg clearly broken, and it is unsteady but not removed from the fracas entirely, indeed - the injury only fuels its desperation and it GLARES at Vixen - the armor sheathed eyes spitting a pair of laser beams at her!

Everyone's minds linked now the improvised stone hammer comes down on the cyber-hound just as it and its partner were tearing free. With the strength of Spider-man, and the swing to build up momentum, the impact is something to behold, the hound literally squashed like a bug. «Borgs inside are down, dealing with the unaugmented troops…this feels wrong, this assault is /stupid/…be careful, daughter…be careful all of you.»

Being linked with Anon's mind is a dizzying experience, and probably requires a bit of filtering. It's like listening to an audio recording sped up to tenfold speed. «Don't think they care, but I'd like at least once for someone to see the writing on the wall and surrender. It'd be nice if I could get away without breaking their legs. Hopefully, they'll learn something in traction. Don't mind me, I don't need cover. Nice hits, everyone.»

All thought in the span of a second or two, while she's moving from one mercenary to another. She sees another about to open fire, and pushes his arm to knock his aim off and towards one of the hounds. «You're right. This IS stupid. Ms. Frost, other than the students, what's the most valuable or important part of this Academy? What would they want to DISTRACT us from?> While still fighting, her legs grow tense, ready to sprint off. If this is just a distraction, she's the one best-suited to get to the real target in time.

"Depends on how hard they hit me. Or if they hit me." And then he gets hit. It does stagger him. Energy cancelling armor or not the laws of physics are still in operation. He's got a human mass, he can get knocked around like someone who has a human mass. But the primary effect of that battering is to make him glow. Well, make his suit glow purple.

Now the Black Panther rakes his claws over one of the larger remaining cyborgs and then uses them as a springboard to LEAP toward Mari. He's not surprised to hear that this attack doesn't make any sense. Because it doesn't… tactically. There is almost assuredly something else at play.

But right now they have to deal with the threat. One Leeroy coming up.

«Stupid or not,» thinks Spider-Man into the ad-hoc 'tepenet,' «Somebody put a lot of work and resources into besieging your shiny new campus. Think it's a grudge over the Academy, or something more personal - or less personal?» His attention shifts away from making mental conversation as he focuses on trying to wrangle the second of the hounds, the one whose head is annoyingly resilient in the face of super-strong stomping. More webbing seems like a good starting point - wrapping its head up like a blindfold and a muzzle all in one, since he saw the one fire off an eye-laser (and he's hoping Vixen can handle the laser, or somebody else can help her).

He's thinking as he works, too. The Disaster Zone is kind of infamously rife with people who, for whatever reason, don't take to being on the grid. Mutants, of course, but also non-mutant humans: homeless innocents, criminals of a dozen different kinds, probably a wider range than you'd find in the still-built parts of the Big Apple. And as was pointed out during the Q&A, there is a *lot* of currently officially-unclaimed territory across the DZ; besides one or two enterprizing businesses dedicated to reclamation, Horizon Academy may be the biggest and most prominent institution to set up shop. Just forcing the Academy to close again when it's barely opened would be a hell of a PR coup - this might be nothing greater than a high-profile hit job to scare away anyone *else* who might try and build something new.

Which makes it all the more critical not just to thwart this attack, but to stop it so hard and fast that the mastermind behind it *reels* from their failure.

Spider-Man ties off the webbing he's wrapped around the cyber-hound's head, idly wondering if the beast can even *breathe* under all that synthetic polymer, and deciding that while he doesn't care, there are better ways to dispose of it - especially if the overgrown canine-turned-killbeast can still *feel*. Spidey grimaces under his mask, then grabs two big handfuls of his webbing, plants his heels at the base of the dog's skull, and *YANKS.*

It's not so much the physical effort that shakes him as the emotional weight - but these things are just living weapons; rather than hating himself for having to put two of them down, so far, he mentally notes the debt owed to their creator. «We need to get to the dorms and help secure them - Ms. Frost, are there hostiles anywhere else on campus that need to be mopped up?»

"They could be testing the security for a later attack. Or using the distraction to plant something else. Right now our focus is stopping on these …" Mari answers and rolls as those lasers shoot for her. "Oh come on, puppy. Did someone not feed you?"

The lasers slice the costume she's wearing, the reverbium reinforced weave providing some protection as she tumbles. "Here, have a bone …" She picks up the leg she removed and tosses it at the creature.

With the Black Panther bouncing towards her, she doesn't have much time. Gaining her feet, the woman turns to catch the cannonballing cat-suited figure and put her own, augmented, strength behind it. She sends him speeding into the group of hounds and troops - just over there.

She's not far behind him….

« Computer core and the power core, Mother! » Priscilla's mental voice 'shouts' across the telepathic link. Beyond that, there's more of a background murmur of disgust at the taste of blood and hydraulic fluid.

The geiger-hound beast continues ripping through every target it can find with vicious and intelligent abandon. And then it stops, leaps away from its last downed foe, and starts sprinting away pell-mell …

Somewhere along the way, Voodoo will finally find her incoming hoverbike, and mount-up even as she is shifting back into a human form. Half the campus to cross, got to go! Powers Center, her she comes.

Indeed, Emma has some trouble slowing Anon's thoughts down sufficient to parse them, and that's with her help! «Bad guys are so unreasonable about such things.» Emma observes to the speedster. The deflected aim draws a berserk yelp of fury from the hound even as Emma replies. «Yes, my daughter is right…computer or power core.» Sent along with the thought is a 'map' of the campus, more, an awareness of where things are just as Emma knows them.

Panther's being made stronger by that which does not destroy him proves to be a devastating event. And then he and Mari shortly after hit the remaining borgs like twin piledrivers. The mess is brief, but tellings.

«They did, a lot of resources, most of them hired help.» The head is removed and the cyber-hound felled in a fairly gruesome display. These things are TOUGH, it takes a central nervous system disconnect to really do the trick.

Mari's commentary earns a reply. «And these troops don't likely know the why, they're expendable.» Mari's knick-knack-padiwack attack spears into the hound, and then she and Panther manage to remove the last of the cyberhounds from the equation. The attack on the student housing thwarted, there's still two more strike teams in play, one focused on facilities, the other on the library, the one on the library having vanished into the building. The one by facilities is pinned down by security, and some mutant militia from the Pride. Minor powers, really, but working together to make the most of what they're doing.

Anon shakes her head to Mari, but doesn't answer aloud. «A 'test' attack is just begging the Academy to shore up defences in time for next time. And these guys are too professional-built to just be throwing themselves on the pikes for lack of better ideas. If it's anything, I'd bet it's a disdtraction.» She nods to Priscilla. «Computer or power core, tell me wh» Then she gets it as just an 'awareness' rather than a list of directions. «ow.» She actually stumbles for a half-second, but catches herself before she falls. When another soldier tries to take that as an opportunity, she gives him a few quick jabs to weak points in the armour — places that it takes a quick eye to identify.

«Library's the computer core, right?» Anon is already in motion, racing to catch up with that group. «I'm on it. I'll let you guys know what I find.» As much a scouting mission as actually trying to stop them herself.

Mari follows the Panther in his leap and rolls to her feet by his side. "We should check the rest of the perimeter, they've got it covered here. Come on …"

//Vixen and Panther will perform a sweep and mop up anything we find. Emma, we'll check in with you later."

And with that, she leads the pair of them out.

«Then library it is,» Spider-Man agrees. He leaps off from what was left of his second cyber-hound, launching a webline at the peak of his leap and swinging towards the library, letting go in mid-air so physics can speed him on his way a little further, a little faster. And he just hurries into the library building, trusting his spider-sense to warn him if the bad guys left a rearguard.

"What is it about bad guys and libraries this month, anyway? Everyone's trying to borrow books that aren't in circulation, or worse!"

Voodoo coordinates mostly passively with Anon. « I am headed to the power core. » How is she going to get there so fast? Well, if anyone sees the glow of the hoverbike zipping along, that might be a clue. Since she knows Emma's security codes and has access to her mother's thoughts, it is simple enough for Voodoo to bypass the security in place, checking all along the way to see whether anything or anyone has been this way before she reaches the power core supplying energy to the entire campus, buried beneath the Powers Center itself, the most defensible and strongest facility on the entire campus.

What? Where else would you put it?

«We'll catch up, yes.» This privately to Vixen and the Panther. To Anon. «Correct, that's the computer core's location.» Quick as a blink the speedster is to the Library and soon after joined by the Spider-Man even as Pris confirms the power core is safe.

Security did slow the badguys down enough that the one figure who is NOT a merc has time to look appalled, and then vanishes in a red sphere. The body of the person was sleek, composites over metal, either an android or a cyborg, and shockingly inhuman despite the human shape. Red eyes gleam, noting the two—barely making good her escape thanks to her own ties into the sec net shows her their approach. Even so, Anon can get in a solid punch before she vanishes, the sphere of red eating partially through floor. The punch? Tears off an arm at the elbow in a burst of sparks.

The rest is just clean up at that point.

Anon curses under her breath. She'd put it together just a little too late, been just a little too slow to recognise the distraction for what it was. You don't see a big bad android in attendance at a secondary objective. As fast as she is, she still only barely gets hold of the boss' arm, and she's still holding it as she comes out the other side.

She grimaces, coming to a stop near the library's entrance. «They're gone, left the way they arrived,» she tells the group. «I got a look at someone who could be the leader. Not even slightly human. And I have her arm.» Pause. «That's not as bad as it sounds. Like I said, not human, it's all… robot-y. Who do I give it to for analysis?»

No rearguard to speak of, apparently - and one figure whom Anon knocks a cybernetic arm off of before teleporting away (and making yet another crater in the floor - geez, add 'no respect for property' to the mastermind's list of sins! Somebody's gonna have to pay for repairs where all the teleports happened … Spider-Man is kind of glad it won't be him.)

"Are you okay?" he asks Anon. "And could you tell if they got anything, or got at the computers?"

Whatever the answer is, his next stop is the Student Center again. He left his civilian stuff there … including a camera, rigged up to try to snap photos of whatever action it could track in on from the second-floor office where it was set up.

The fact that Spider-Man seems to take an interest in the welfare of Peter Parker's professional (and personal) property is *most likely* just a courtesy towards the source of so much of his PR … but at the distance where the fighting went down, it's likely the wall-crawler won't be a special focus of those shots.

« Nothing here at the Powers Center. » Voodoo answers, and frowns at learning that the attack apparently go thwere it wanted to get, and got way. That's infuriating. But with assurance that her mother and sister are OK, Voodoo will close up the Powers Center and return to the group she left, to see if anyone needs anything. Of course, all they saw was the Geiger-beast, so this could be interesting. Curvy figure in skintight full-coverage gold-accented purple coming through on a hoverbike. Hi, y'all.

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