2020-06-26 - Rats sure are big in New York these days


Nadia and Gwen fight giant… rodents?

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Jun 26 21:39:03 2020
Location: Harlem

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All things considered it's been a rather calm few months for one Nadia Van Dyne. She's somehow avoided getting dragged into any weirdness involving cyborg monsters, aliens or rampaging supervillains. Why no-one has even tried to kill her once! A few months of glorious research and building up the membership roster of the Genius in Action Research Lab.

And it's GIRL business which brings her to Harlem. The young woman is dressed in a short dress with a floral pattern and swings a briefcase filled with papers for a prospective new members parents to sign.

Little does Nadia know that her meeting is a trap.

The shortest path takes her down a largely deserted street, flanked on one side with a construction site and a building that's wrapped up in plastic as if waiting for fumigation. Little do those few people out and about know that hidden by the layers of plastic a pair of Russian agents are beginning to enact their plan….

Gwen has been having a relatively quiet… couple of days. Just a couple. Well, there was the one guy who tried robbing the donut shop, but nobody's talking about that. (It didn't even make the news.) Still, when she's off work and not at school, super-heroing is definitely a bit of a full time job, so she's in the mask and keeping an eye on Harlem — no particular worry for her workplace, she knows well enough that Luke's isn't going to be a place where anyone tries to cause ruckus, but she still swings by here from time to time to make sure things are good.

Right now, she's taking a break for a little food. She's sitting on top of a building, opposite the one that's covered in plastic and awaiting some serious pest control — kinda… similar to what she does, really — and has a bottle of coke and a burger from a street vendor. One of the good ones, with bacon and mushrooms and swiss cheese. She's about halfway through it, watching people pass by on the street below.

Sometimes, it's good just to keep an eye on things. And, y'know, eat a really good burger.

As Nadia turns down the alleyway shapes begin to skitter and scuttle behind the plastic across the street from Gwens perch. A little too much lab time and not enough hero time has perhaps left the incognito Wasp unprepared. Still she shows no sign of concern as she heads away from the more crowded parts of Harlem.

Across from Gwens perch there's the sound of claws rasping against wood. The sounds getting louder and louder. As something, several somethings in fact, don't just get closer but bigger too.

Gwens familiar friend, the Spider-Sense, may well begin to tingle as danger rushes onwards.

A few seconds later the plastic wrapping bursts open as a half dozen rats, each close in size to a pony, begin smashing and clawing their way out of the windows. Maddened, chittering, shrieking with their mouths flecked with foam and jaws snapping.

"Oh Come On!!" Gwen protests the moment her danger-sense starts telling her something's up. After all, it's been quiet all night, and now something has to start up just because she has food? Seriously. The moment she has food. She crams a couple of bites into her mouth, then resigns herself to leaving the rest for the pigeons. Oh well, at least she got a bit more than half of it.


The Spider-Woman even forgets about her drink; at least she remembers to tug her mask back down over her face as she drops down over the side of the building, catching herself on the wall about a floor down, just in time to watch rats that are way bigger than they have any right to be come bursting out of the plastic.

"Well that's not fair, I haven't had a tetanus shot recently," she grumbles. "Or like… rabies, sheesh." She holds out one hand and fires a webline, aiming for the back of one of the rats; hopefully she can get a good hold on it? Maybe?

The rats burst through in two waves, the first three wriggling through the windows on the second floor and launching themselves down into the alley below, with the second three coming through the gaps where the ruined windows used to be moments later.

Down below Nadia has just enough warning to throw herself forward even as a gnashing maw lunges right for her.

The webbing sticks just fine to the rat. What Spider Woman might not be expecting is quite how heavy it is. A full four hundred pounds of rat. If the line will hold the rat hangs there flailing it's legs and thrashing it's tail. But it doesn't seem intent on looking up. As if something about the girl down below appears to be drawing it's attention.

Fortunately for Gwen, both she and her webbing are more than capable of lifting and holding things like cars and vans; four hundred points of squirming gian rat shouldn't be too big a problem.

However, the person down below might be more worried! "Lookout!!" the Spider-Woman shouts, as she yanks her captive rat upwards, and fires a couple globs of webbing to secure its feet to the building. "Rats!" she shouts, "REALLY BIG RATS!"

Still, no time to waste; she scurries along the side of the building before firing another webline — this one right at Nadia, of course. And if that connects she gives it a good yank, good enough to pull someone well up off the ground.

Nadia is well aware of the rats, already diving and dodging with remarkable speed and skill. Keeping a dumpster between herself and the first two of the rabid rodents. "I know!" She shouts back up with Russian accented English. Her rat-dodging making it very hard to tag her with the web strands. "I helped design the device that's making them huge." Another rat snaps at her and she swats it in the nose with the briefcase.

By now the unwebbed critters have all made it down to the street. The rats pushing and shoving for position seems to be the only thing keeping the girl from being over-run. "They should have a red ring implanted in them," she adds. "Remove it and they turn back to normal size!"

And then, in the blink of an eye, she's giant too and battling the rats on a rather more even footing. "I'm more worried about whoever set them loose."

From somewhere inside the building there is the distinctive click of automatic weapons and flare of danger sense warning that comes moments before the Red Room agents open fire on Gwen.

After a couple of tries, Gwen is forced to concede that she isn't going to web this woman that easily. Well! Call her impressed; so she stops trying, and listens. "Wait… ring? Implanted?! …Well, okay then!" The fact that Nadia designed the device isn't even commented on, I mean really, this would hardly be the first time someone's invention was turned against them. She scurries bck to the one rat she's already got contained, since the… now very large woman probably knows what shes doing, right?

The Spider-Woman hardly gets more than a moment to look at the rat before her danger-sense is screaming again, and she dives out the way to avoid getting peppered by AK-47 fire. "HEY!!" she shouts as she fires a webline, and starts swinging over to the other building, "Can't you see I'm trying to do science?! So rude!"

She fires a glob of webbine up towards the gunmen, more to throw them off while she's traversing the open space than anything else; and then she's in under the plastic sheets, a a couple floors below them, and rapidly closing the distance. "You get the rats, I'll get the jerks!" she yells.

The two Red Room thugs seem pretty confident. They have the element of surprise, prepared positions and a whole arsenal of weapons. The trouble is most of those weapons are intended for use against a size changing superhero. But they have plenty of bullets and don't care who they hurt so long as the mission is complete. And if all else fails there is still one last cage….

Down below Nadia is having an unpleasant time brawling with the rats. Each one needs hauling up by the scruff of the neck and the ominous glowing red ring pulling out. Each of which is unfortunately located in the critters tongue. Her enhanced durability is saving her from the worst of the damage but the constant snapping and clawing has covered her arms in nicks and cuts.

Spider-Woman is currently focused on her task at hand; two men with guns, who are happy to fire indiscriminately, as they so often are. Two well trained and effective men with guns, no less. "Hey!" she shouts up at them, "We can do this the easy way or the hard way! Up to you!!"

A burst of gunfire is the only answer, forcing Gwen to boot her way through a window, and into… well, at least it's into a stairwell, and not somebody's bathroom or something.

Well, two floors up; Gwen opts to take the stairs. She hops up onto the ceiling and dashes upwards, rushing her way up two flights of stairs much faster than an ordinary person might accomplish.

At the floor she wanted to be on, she keeps sticking to the ceiling, and takes a position right above the doorway from the stairwell to the rest of that floor. She flattens herself down into the space as much as she can, and does what spiders are always known for; she waits.

"C'mon," she mutters, "C'mon, do what you do, out-think me, you know you got this."

Well, and hopefully Nadia is doing fine outside with the rats. Right? Hopefully? Right.

Outside there is certainly enough squeeking, crashing and smashing for the fight to be ongoing. Unless the rats have won and are having a very loud meal…

The goons move near silently, using Russian military hand signs to communiate, trying to head off Spider Womans approach. Which means cutting her off at the stairs.

The key detail is near silently though. One of the goons is hampered in his sneaking thanks to the pet carrier he's taken with him. Cage goon hangs back as his partner takes the lead, moving up to the other side of the doorway and calling out "We have no business with you. Walk away and we forget we ever saw you."

Oh come on now boys, you know Gwen can't do that. But, the one did just give away his position, so there's that. Gwen doesn't know about the reserve cage, but hey, you gotta work with what you know.

"Thanks for the giveaway," she murmurs, as she marks where the man's voice came from and drops down to the floor, keeping close to the wall so as not to give away her own position through that skinny little window that stairwell doors always seem to have.

And then she basically just boots the door off its hinges, as she bursts through, grabbing the door and using it as a shield on the way in; she swings it around and shoves it hard into the corner where she heard the goon calling to her from, before bouncing back into the stairwell and up to the ceiling.

The first goon manages to pull the trigger on his AK even as the door slams into him, spraying a burst of rounds harmlessly into the floor of the hallway. He stumbles backwards shouting something obscene sounding in Russian, covered in wooden splinters and bits of broken door.

His friend with the cage calls out "Activating failsafe plan." His AK clattering to the floor as he scrambles to open the pet carrier and unleash their most powerful weapon. He brings out… a raccoon.

Outside Nadia is slowly but surely getting the upper hand. Without her armour she can't fly, but with ten tons of lifting strength at her command and the mass of a New York city dumpster for use as a weapon. Well they only thing holding her back is a desire not to hurt the poor rats too much. They didn't choose to grow huge and attack her after all.

At first Spider Woman might be puzzled when, instead of angry Russians, the raccoon waddles out into the stairwell. And then it's mouth begins to foam and it grows bigger. And bigger. The stairs make an alarming creaking noise as it's body swells up.

When it finally stops the raccoon would seem more at home in the elephant enclosure at a zoo. It glances around and sniffs the air, hunting for Spider Woman, then hisses.

A raccoon? A raccoon. They brought a raccoon. And the raccoon is the failsafe plan. Because of course they had to have one, since New York is probably home to more heroes than anywhere else on Earth. Still, they brought a raccoon, and now it's taking up basically the entire stairwell.

And, of course, raccoons are absolute masters of navigating spaces that really ought to be way too small for them, like a stairwell with a perfectly normal sized Spider-Woman in it.

"Web up the nose!" Gwen declares, as she chucks a glob of webbing right at the raccoon's nostrils. Then, she… well, the only place she can go is up, since down is now a raccoon. She makes it to the next floor in record time, even for her; the door gets kicked off its hinges (not that it matters, there's a raccoon on the way), and then she's flat out down the hall, not looking back to see if the giant varmint is following, and at the end of the hall she leaps and cannonballs her way through the window.

"REALLY BIG RACCOON!!" she shouts to Nadia, as she foes sailing through the air, with a webline fired off to pull her across the street.

Out in the alley the rats all seem to be gone or are at least no longer big enough to be of concern to anyone. Nadia looks like she needs a few bandaids, a long shower and perhaps that tetanus shot - but still alive at least. Her poor dress is going to need a very good seamstress however. "A raccoon?" she wonders aloud, evidentally exhausted from her own struggles.

Meanwhile inside the building the racoon, too enraged to care about the webbing on it's nose, gives chase. Smashing and bashing it's way through internal walls leaving a trail of destruction. It's poor webbed nose trailing bits of wallpaper and wiring, not to mention several smaller chunks of wall.

No sooner has Nadia finished saying the word raccoon and it EXPLODES out the side of the buiilding. Legs flailing in the air as if trying to fly after Gwen through sheer force of will.

On the ground Nadia can only look up and form a surprised O with her lips before a shower of bricks begin raining on her.

Well, at least Gwen is getting her cardio. Or something like that. She's sticking to the wall of the building across the street when the raccoon comes barreling out the wall, trying to leap across the gap like Gwen did. Luckily, it's much too heavy for that. Unfortunately it's heavy enough to just pancake the car it lands on.

"Yeah, raccoon!" Gwen shouts to Nadia, "See?!"

Yes, Gwen, she likely can't miss that.

Normally, the Spider-Woman would be rushing right into battle, to keep the people of New York safe. Right now there don't seem to be any people of New York in view (anyone who was nearby has likely made a run for it already) and Gwen honestly has no idea what to do. But, that just isn't good enough from a hero. So.

"Uhh… I'll distract it!" she shouts, "You make it… normalish again… or something."

And with that, the Spider drops back down to street level, where she throws a ball of webbing at the Raccoon, and jumps up and down. "Hey Yooooouuuu!" she shouts, "I'm a spider! A spider-woman! And I'm not scared of Yoooooooouuuu!!"

Inside the building Goon one makes a tough call. With his associate injured and all the animals unleashed he decides to cut his losses. Taking a preplanned escape route cut into the adjacent building while the raccoon draws everyones attention. Stompy the flying raccoon, still trailing webbing & wires, leaps and pounces after Spider Woman with the same focus the rats displayed when chasing Nadia.

"Look for something that glows red. A big ring or piercing. Pull that out and it turns back to normal," Nadia calls out, coughing from all the brick dust. She at least seems to be a similar height to the raccoon and at that size even her normal voice carries like she's shouting. "If I pin it can you use that webbing to go fishing?"

Without waiting for a reply she springs forward to grab Stompy by the hindlegs, pushing down to pin it in place with her enhanced strength.

Well, a plan's a plan, and Nadia's seems as good as any. "Yes!" Gwen answers, diving back from snapping jaws, just as Nadia is siezing hold of the hindlegs. So the Spider-Woman takes that opportunity, lunging forwards, and— nop, get back again. The raccoon's jaws and claws are relatively easy for her to evade, it's just… it has one mouth and two hands, and there's only one of her, so trying to get an opening is…

"Woah! Hey!" she jumps back again and jabs with her fist, socking the creature right on the snoot. "Look, I know this isn't your fault, but it's not mine either, and I promise, Spiders don't make good eating."

It's not that they're lacking in nutrional value, really, it's just the hassle that goes into eating one.

Change of plan; Gwen turns and runs sideways, straight to the nearby building. She keeps on running up the wall, until she pushes off, does a backflip that's entirely for show, and comes down to land on the raccoon's shoulderblades. "Alright, now, ring," she mutters, using one hand to hold on and the other to search. "Is it going to be in its mouth? Tell me it's not in its mouth."

While Nadia might not look as impressively huge as Stompy she is still much stronger than she seems, strong enough to keep it from running amok at least. Even when Gwen lands on his back for a Raccoon Rodeo. Although she can't stomp it from bucking and flailing around.

"Don't tell you it's in the mouth?" Nadia says awkwardly. "Well.. It's either there or they surgically implanted it up his… you know." She strains with the effort. "Trust me the mouth is the better option."

"Oh I'm Nadia by the way. I usually go by the name of Wasp when I'm doing the hero thing but the one time I forget to bring my suit…"

"Alright! Alright! In its mouth is definitely way better than up its bottom!" Gwen concedes that point readily, as she crawls up its shoulders and over its head. …Of course, it can reach its head with its claws, so she has to start dodging again. "I'm Spider-Woman!" she shouts, "Kinda… keep the real name—WOAH-secret!"

Gwen rolls out of the way of a swipe of the claws, and ends up hanging off the raccoon's bottom lip. She pulls herself up, and braces it's bottom jaw with her feet as she pushes the upper jaw up with one hand.

"There it is!!" She shoots bit of webbing from tooth to tooth on the bottom jaw, to hold the tongue down; and then she grabs and pulls.

Finally, Gwen gets a chance to disengage; bouncing back from the raccoon's mouth to land on the street, holding a red ring. "This it!?" she inquires.

Even as Gwen is asking if the ring is it both Stompy and the ring begins reverting to normal size (that of a raccoon and a ring small enough to fit in the raccoons mouth). "Yes that would be it," Nadia assures. "I can safely dispose of it back at my lab." She looks down at the exhausted critter cupped in her giant hands and starts shrinking back to normal size.

"Oh yes I know. Secret identities. It's not much of a concern for me. The bad guys already know who I am so…" She shrugs. "Perhaps I have let my personal security precautions get a little lax recently." She puts the raccoon down. The poor thing so worn out it doesn't even try to run away. "Thank you for helping out. That could have been very troublesome if I'd been by myself."

"Likewise," Gwen agrees. "Actually, I kinda envy you, not having to worry about your enemies knowing who you are. I'm not too worried about them knowing who *I* am, but I don't want them cluing in to who my friends and family are. None of them signed up for this." She shrugs her shoulders lightly, and holds out her hand to offer up the little ring.

"Pretty groovy tech," she comments. "So who were those guys? They were pretty keen on you. Told me to just butt out and they'd let me leave, as if I'd do that."

As she's speaking, she fishes around in one of the pockets of her backpack, eventually coming up with a partly squished granola bar. She unzips it and kneels by the raccoon, carefully offering a snack up ring in front of his nose. "Here y'go little guy," she offers. "I know. Tough night. …You'll be okay, I promise."

"I am not proud of those rings," Nadia admits with a sigh. "My friend and I were forced to create them when we were kids. By the Russians who you ran into upstairs.. Well probably not those agents in particular. High level spies would not usually use such crude weapons and tactics. I don't know if I should tell you more it… could make you a target too."

She dusts her hands off and looks around for her briefcase. Which somehow seems to have survived not only intact but largely unharmed. The perks of building your own things with super science! "I do take very significant precautions to protect the people around me. Thankfully many of the people in my life are… well… quite formidable in their own rights."

"Villains and evildoers are like that," Gwen agrees. "Literally no end of frustration. I'm not the least bit worried about being a target; better me than the people of New York. It's my job." She shrugs her shoulders lightly. "Hopefully the, uhm, building here was insured, it's… seen better days," she adds. "I'll stick around for a bit to make sure the authorities get here before any falling bricks land on anyone or anything. Not that I imagine anyone'll be silly enough to walk this way for at least an hour."

Gwen pops a thumbs up, and then holds out a hand for a handshake. "Pleasure to meet you, Nadia. You seem pretty cool yourself."

Nadia Van Dyne pauses, then cracks open her briefcase and fetches a business card. "If you want to get in touch feel free," she offers as she holds it out for Gwen with a smile. "I suspect the police will need my info anyway. And if the building isn't insured I'll cover the expenses." The card lists her title as the Director of the Genius in Action Research Lab. "I better get home and clean myself up. Find out if my meeting was genuine and run some security checks as a precaution. If you ever need any help with theoretical physics related problems don't hesitate to stop by."

Gwen takes the card, and tucks it away into her suit, under her wrist. It'll probably get a little bent, but hey, it'll still be there when she gets home. "Thank you," she replies. "I uhh… don't have a card, or a signal, or… uhm, anything I can really give out, I just try to be around when people need me." She holds her hands up to either side. "It's kinda the Spider way, I guess."

Good thing she's wearing the mask, so nobody can see her blushing.

"But hey, if any more giant rodents go rampaging about, I'm in for another dust-up. …I'm sure we'll talk again soon though, either way. You take care!" And with that, she's heading back up the wall to her previous perch. …The pigeons can have the burger, though, seriously. She'll get another.

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