2010-07-24: Damage Control


Connor_icon.jpg Keld_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg Jennifer_icon.jpg Tony_icon.jpg

Summary: After the incident in Mutant Town, Connor and Rashmi arrive at the Stark Towers. Keld, having been converted into a Hound of Ahab, arrives and Jennifer manages to get away with parking her flying car illegally.

Date: July 24, 2010

Log Title: Damage Control

Rating: PG-13

NYC- Stark Towers- Lobby

Stark Tower security is thrown into an alert status as two familiar figures appear in the center of the Lobby and behind the security desk. One is the bloodied and supine form of Volk in his combat armor… the other a haggard and teared up Rashmi Franklin. As the costumed form stands and begins to speak quickly, events unfold in a strange fashion…

Pushing Rashmi forwards, the pair make a rather odd couple as Volk says out loud, "Ahab's got someone named Keld converted to him! He's chasing her here… for god's sake call To-AUGHK!" Body jerking up and siezing, twitching spastically like having been tossed on an electric fence, he whispers out, "Save… H-her… P-leeeeeeeeeeeeAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" And then a final jerk and he falls forwards in a heap, everything within several inches of him suddenly suffering from fluctuating gravitic anomalies.

Rashmi stumbles forward out of the teleportation, shaking off a lingering, unsettling distraction. As Volk falls to the ground, she stoops next to him, tears in her eyes as she looks toward the nearest security guard. "Please," she says, eyes watering and voice a grating whisper, the redhead struggling to catch her breath. "Get Mr. Stark… Tell him… 'Rashmi says he's here.'"

On the outskirts of Mutant Town, JUST as he saw Rashmi, and Keld-the-Hound started to close in on his prey, that telporting mutant who didn't take orders in time, was there and gone with the girl.
No matter. Keld is, or was, an Avenger. He knows that there are four most-likely places that she would have been taken: the Avengers Mansion, Stark Tower, the Xavier School, or Barnes Academy. And he knows that of those, the teleporter has only been to the Xavier Mansion and Stark Tower, and since he went to Stark before, he'll likely go there. So he begins running in that direction. After all, this is New York City, and what's more normal than a six-two warrior in a complete-coverage skin-tight black-red leather suit covered in metal spikes, running along the streets along with traffic?

The form on the floor cannot move his body, but Connor's mind is still clear, and the hardness seems to have bled out of them. Staring forwards uselessly, fear and a lack of understanding play through them as the mind that was there is now gone… the trauma and the changes in the time line now too much for it to maintain coherency. Memories jumbled, things felt and remembered… but at the same time all that can come to articulate what has happened is a lupine whimper from deep in his throat, and a set of tears that soak into the cloth of the mask piece on the black and grey X-man armored costume.

"Shhh, shhh, it's okay," the redhead whispers, settling to her knees next to the mask figure. "Just be still… You're going to be okay." Her free hand clenches into a fist, and she looks back up, glaring at anyone who hasn't yet gotten moving. "WHAT ARE YOU *WAITING* FOR! WE NEED *HELP!*"

The message from Keld had been received by all of the Avengers that were capable of getting to Mutant Town. As Stark was in the lab at the time of the call he began furiously seeking information from any source that had a pair of eyes on the spot down at Mutant Town. His armor assembles around him as he strides towards the elevator, intent on heading to Mutant Town. While in the elevator the security system for the Towers starts spitting information at him, combined with the officers in the main lobby. "I'm on my way," the metallic sounding voice of Iron Man responds to the call. Only a minute passes before the lobby elevator doors slide open and the armored Avenger rushes over towards the security desk, scanning as he goes. "Get out of here," he commands the staff as he reaches the fallen man, and Rashmi.

Traffic this time of day can be murder, but for the more maneuverable: Bike messengers, annoying scooters, and leather-clad spiked Hounds who can vault around on Earth as freely as a human gymnast could do on the Moon? Not quite so bad. Still, approaching the building, Keld slows, and considers the danger to his mission. Being captured by Stark is not a part of any good plan. He'd likely try to interfere with the connection between the soldier and his urzuk kshav, and that can't be allowed. On the other hand, he's been ordered to locate the girl, and he cannot be sure until he sees her there. He waits for a quiet moment, then jumps up onto the public-space balcony on the side of the Stark Tower, grateful for that strange law that the New Yorkers made that says all skyscrapers must provide spaces where people can go.

Rashmi's words get another whimper from the limp form on the ground, and there's a reflexive movement followed by his disappearance, and reappearing in the same place, Connor's reflex to get out of trouble making him flicker several times before there's another body-jerk from him and all that happens is he ends up sweating and feeling hot to the touch. For a couple moments Rashmi could feel that effect, each time like something trying to pull her in, and then relaxes, the tugging and squeezing affecting the air in a *POP* *POP* *POP*. Iron Man's sensors immediately pick it up, the wormhole effect unstable for the moment, but not dangerous.. yet.

It's mostly visible in Rashmi's hair; the thick red curtain swaying toward Connor and falling away, head turning toward Iron Man's voice. Relief causes the young woman to sag, falling back as she lets out a long, slow sigh. "Oh thank God, you're here… Look. I don't know what happened, I ran as soon as Ahab showed up… but there might still be more Hounds. We didn't see Cam, but I don't think that means he wasn't there."

As the readings fluctuate for Stark to analyze he calls some of the straggling guards over to the lobby desk. "If you can get this man out of here and to safety, do so." Iron Man turns his gaze on the lobby doors as he stands in front of the security desk while addressing Rashmi, "We're going to have to get out of here. I'm fairly certain they will pick apart locations where you can run to till they find where you got off to." Activating his Avenger comm via his abilities he calls out to She Hulk. "I've got a big problem over here at the Towers. Volk is down. Rashmi is in danger. I need some backup, yesterday." Seeing nothing before him, nor 100ft in front of the main tower he turns back to Rashmi and extends a gauntleted hand. "How do you feel about flying?"

This is one of the times Keld regrets that he didn't take the legendary "knight-warriors of the Smoke Islands" training… mostly because they were a story made up by the merchant-caste entertainers for whatever their purposes were when they invented such ridiculous things as "Thousand Blade of Grass Fight Style" and "Two Finger Delayed Death Blow".

Still, being able to stand unnoticed in the midst of one's enemies, that would be a helpful skill right now. He lurks near the entry, waiting for a patsy. SKULK. And there's his prey. Some Russian businessman with too little sense to realize that on a hot day it's not appropriate to wear a trench coat over a business suit with a hat and … never mind. A grab, a quick strangle to put him unconscious, and Keld has a briefcase, a coat, and a ridiculous hat, and he's able to make his way inside far enough to peer across at the security desk… Acting like anyone else, action is 80% of the disguise, he goes inside, finds a chair and picks up a directory and starts flipping through for the name of the person he's pretending to be there to see. He'll mime dialing on one of the lobby phones next.

Two security guards manage to get Volk standing, but once more there's a spasm of teleportation and the three vanish and reappear twice… which makes one of the two end up pitching over and vomit, while the other is just standing there for a moment trying to reorient. They do however get him towards the rear of the lobby and behind the security guard's desk, and eventually get the limp form settled before hurrying back towards Iron Man, "Sir… Jenkins is messed up, something that guy did got him looking like he's seen a ghost or somethin. I can't get them both out of here."

"I've been carried a couple times," Rashmi murmurs in answer, attention drawn rather firmly toward Connor's teleportation. "Here… Let me see if i can help first, okay? Maybe I can calm him down… sometimes he teleports in his sleep, when he gets really bad nightmares." Pulling herself up to her feet, she reaches out, looking to put a hand on Connor's shoulder. "Connor… Connor it's okay. We're safe now, all right…? It's okay, calm down, so we can go…"

"Take care of Jenkins, you've done the best you can do for the other man. I only hope it is enough." Tony commands his guard. He hears Rashmi talking to Volk and turns towards the main doors when they open admitting a man in a trench coat and hat. Who wears a trench coat in this weather? To further the bizarre the scan reveals that the cloaked figure is Keld. What in the hell was Keld doing? Then the scan completed. The tech, Ahab's genetic rewriting tech… With no doubt in his mind, Stark is aware of what has happened to his fellow Avenger and friend. Dammit, this is exactly what I didn't want happening. With one of their own converted things have just gone from bad to worse. "Stay down," he says calmly as he lifts a hand toward Keld. "You've got one chance at this. Get down on the ground, or I'll put you down myself."

She-Hulk first got a distress call from Rashmi while she was enjoying a nice cool shower at home, and, unfortunately, didn't get her panicked message until she had gotten out. With hair still wet, she quickly jumped into her old flying 1959 Dodge Coronet and started zooming around the town, trying to figure out where the heck Rashmi /was/ when she called. In the middle of her frantic searching she got /another/ call, but this time from Tony, letting her know that it's all going down at the Towers. "I'm five minutes away!" she tells him. "But I'm going to need you to validate my parking when we're done."

She jerks the steering wheel to head towards the tower, and like she promised, she's there in five minutes. However, she decides that expediency is the better part of valor so she starts honking her horn as she aims for the glass front doors of the skyscraper. "COMING THROUGH!" she shouts and crashes the car into tower, letting it come skidding to a halt before it can run over anybody.

Hm. Just heard the girl's voice. Know she's here. Keld hears Stark's order, and … what is wrong with him, speaking some weird Earther language that isn't familiar… and that extended hand means he's got one of those kinetic blaster units targeting… shouldn't have trusted this stupid disguise. Will have to suggest to Ahab (at which thought he feels a distracting, overwhelming surge of loyalty) that it would be good to be able to change the Hound uniform to something ordinary for stealth purposes. He tries to figure out what the order is about, when the issue is decided by the honking of a horn… he dives to the side, hoping to avoid being inconveniently crushed by the flying beater before he can escape out the now-shattered window in the confusion. Of course first he'll have to get past aforementioned confusion.

Some feeling returns to Connor's body and there's a sudden inhale of breath as one hand reaches up weakly towards Rashmi, murmuring out, "Chto proishodit, pochemu ya v sebe stol?ko boli? Kto vy takie?" As his head shakes a few times with a lazing loll to one side. The sight however of Keld makes him jerk reflexively, confused memories causing his fingers to form a pistol-like configuration like that of Dazzler, and pointing at Keld a bolt of energy lances off at the same time the car comes crashing in, "Sobaka!" He yells out, the blast going wild and hitting the ceiling.

Jennifer's loud, distracting, and highly effective party-crashing technique spurs Rashmi into motion as well. As Connor falls backward, the redhead hurls herself to the side, her spheres fading into view and lashing out toward the be-bondaged new Hound. Half a dozen melon-sized balls of telekinetic force, traveling at ninety miles an hour and darting in on staggered vectors whistle through the air toward Keld. "Get *away from us!*"

This is going incredibly well between random projectiles, crashing cars, and debris flying everywhere. Iron Man releases a magnetic field out in front of himself that helps slow down the skidding car, and also deflect some of the flying pieces of metal away from everyone behind him. As a shower of glass, rains down at his feet he decides that Keld has had his warning and closes in on the man firing a low yield repulsor blast aimed to incapacitate the man, not kill him.

She-Hulk all but leaps out of her car, taking a few moments to get a good idea of the situation. She looks surprised when she sees Keld dressed up like he is. "Keld? Did you…. crap. This isn't good." She rushes towards the brainwashed Avenger, arms spread to tackle the man. Hopefully she can subdue him with out breaking him.

This day could NOT get better! Keld found the reason and justification for his being, got a snazzy and impressive new uniform, got rid of that nasty peace-nik space-whale thing he'd swallowed, and now he's got combat practice! If only it didn't mean failing his mission. Time for the tactical retreat! Already starting to back flip away from the wall and bounce off She-Hulk's car (carefully so as not to scratch the paint any further) … oh great, and now She-Hulk wants hugs time! It would be rude to kick off her then, not to mention having undesirable repercussions some day when she gets recruited into the pack and… Pack? SQUAD dammit. And the first sphere hits. WHAM! Red eyes go wide in an almost comical gesture as a stream of nearly invisible spheres of force pound into him like tackles from a friendly 100 pound kitten-horse, and the "low yield" repulsor catches him while he's airborne. Of course, he finds an unbroken section of window to be knocked through, and skids across the patio towards steps down to the street level.

Connor tries to push himself to standing, but his legs still refuse to move, the rest of him slowly regaining cognizance. Looking up at Rashmi, the young man says, "Pozhaluista, chto proishodit. Kto eto? Chto Sobaka? Budet li kto-nibud' skazat' mne, chto proishodit!" Some panic in his tone as everything seems to happen at once and he ducks down. The two security guards that had retreated are safe, and one pokes his head back out after calling into his radio and beginning to evacuate any individuals on the five floors immediately above the lobby, as well as calling the police and advising them to cordon a three block radius. This seems hardly important to those indoors, as finally something English comes out, "Who… you…?"

With Keld shown the door, Rashmi's head rises from her place on the floor, turning back toward the boy. "Connor? Connor can you understand me? I—" Pausing, she shakes her head, frowning as she hauls her priorities back in order. "…Um. Yeah. We *should* go. Like, um. Now. So…. where should we be going as rapidly as possible?"

Heavy metal boots crunch over glass, and twisted metal. The sounds getting fainter to those in the lobby as Iron Man heads outside to where Keld is. If the man is unconscious he's going to wake up in a holding cell. If he's not, then Stark was prepared to do what he must to see that Keld was not a threat to anyone around or in the Towers.

She-Hulk misses in her tackle, mostly due to the fact that he was just blasted by Iron Man and psychic bowled by Rashmi. It takes her a few steps to regain her balance and she pivots on one foot. "Take the car!" shouts She-Hulk to Rashmi, helping her make her decision. "Go!" With that, she chases after Keld through the broken glass.

Keld would, of course, be deeply wounded that anyone realized he was a threat, after he's spent so much time here trying to convince them that he's a totally benevolent and harmless type of alien soldier from a totalitarian and warlike planet (purely defensively of course) with no intention whatsoever of even THINKING about conquering or invading or subjugating or any of those things (unless of course Supreme Commander Ahab wanted it!) … and he's conscious, but he's stuck, a bit, as the spikes on the back of his uniform catch in the metal grating that allows water to drain off of the shoes of people stepping off the stairs. That gives both Iron Man and She-Hulk to reach him, and faced with both, he sighs, and goes limp in surrender. He can always break out, or get ported away, and… dammit. That girl is going to drive off in the car. Nothing to be done now. Find out what's happening, go after her later, maybe.

"Take the car?!" Amazingly, Rashmi doesn't quite sound panicked, or terrified, or even all that worried. If one didn't know better, in fact, the redhead would sound *indignant.* "I grew up in *New York!*" Shaking her head, she lets out a quiet breath, moving to stoop next to Connor, seeking to help the confused young man to his feet. "Oh, whatever… I suppose it can't be that hard, right? C'mon, Connor… Let's get to safety."

The left leg starts being able to twitch once more as Connor says softly, "Who… who are…" Still somewhat concussed by the situation, and not having the self-possessed and confidently arrogant quality of his future-incarnation. But Rashmi seems to spark some kind of recognition in him and he tries to reach up to pull himself to standing. "YA ne znayu, kto vy, no spasibo. Mne bol?no." He says and then adds, "Car… what…" Staring towards the crashed but still somehow intact vehicle.

Tony has his hands extended out in front of himself, palms down so that Keld doesn't get any funny ideas about what he's going to do. "We're taking him to the holding cells. Quickest way to deal with him, after they get out of here," Iron Man tells Jennifer. It will probably take both of them to keep Keld from taking off. "Where's Ahab?" Iron Man asks Keld, not that he's expecting the guy to actually give an answer but it wouldn't hurt to try.

She-Hulk is quick to gather Keld up into a kind of half-nelson to keep him from trying to get free, wincing a bit as the spikes on his back poke at her uncomfortably. "Wherever he is," she says, "he needs a new fashion designer. These outfits are /awful/." Once it's clear that Keld isn't struggling, she gives Tony a quizzical look. "So, uh, what now?"

Keld knows the protocol for prisoners, name, rank, serial number. The trouble is, he can't find his words. "Azt kanzletz-ta vektko iktai." That might be vaguely familiar to Jen, or even comprehensible entirely if she allowed him to share his languange with her. He doesn't struggle, knowing he'd just be stunned or crunched by She-Hulk in a less-than-playful way, and besides he can see where Rashmi is, now. He can't help but stare at her. Mission accomplished, now what?

Stumbling towards the flying car with Rashmi, the grey-clad form of Connor reaches up and pulls off the full-face mask from his head, and shoves it into his pocket and the cut over his eye, the bruised and possibly broken cheekbones, the cut along his cheek that went through the cloth but left it untouched. All in all, it looks like he's been in a beating. Favoring his better side, he makes it to the car, and then stops, and for some reason begins patting himself down, checking pockets unsteadily until he holds up a familiar thing. A Washington State Driver's License, "YA mogu vodit' Car?"

Rashmi shakes her head with a sigh, leading Connor toward the car. "It's…. complicated. But it's spaceworthy, so, we'll be safe in there for now. …Um." Opening the door for the confused boy, she turns to look at Iron Man and She-Hulk, avoiding the worryingly intent stare given by the alen Hound. "…So um… I don't have a license, and Connor's sort of scrambled… …oh," she says as a license is produced. "But he can drive. Um. Should we wait here, or go already?"

Tony hears Rashmi, and lets out a sigh that doesn't translate very well via the helms communications system. "Hold on," He says as he places a call to one of the guards in the tower. With instructions to fly the pair to a safe house the guard appears moments later heading over to Rashmi and Connor. Hopefully the guy will be able to handle the flying car, but it was the best they could do at the moment. Tony keeps a hand trained on Keld as he tells Jennifer, "Grabbing something off you." With that he pulls off her comm device and lobs it in the air towards the others. "Use that if you get into trouble. After we deal with /him/ we will come for you." He continues, "I've put in a call to SHIELD. They're sending over their team now, should be here any moment now. If you'll ride in the vehicle with him then I will provide support until they've got him locked up on the Helicarrier." It also sounded so cut and dry, like a routine bust except when things finally slowed down he and the others were going to have to deal with the fact that one of their own is now under Ahab's control.

"Tony…." says She-Hulk warningly as Iron Man gets a little to close to touching things that he shouldn't touch on a lady. Still, she's not going to move in case Keld decides to use that to break free. "Okay. I don't have anywhere I've got to be, but Ahab /did/ interrupt my Sex & the City marathon. He'll pay for that."

Keld watches, as long as he can, until he's moved away or the girl and the boy are out of sight. Then he focusses his attention on Iron Man, for the first time actually thinking with personal interest what it would take to disable that red and gold armor. Strikes at joints, of course, or perhaps disrupt the power at the uni-beam couplings. Better to catch him with the helmet off though.
Jen, well, he's not struggling terribly hard. He knows how strong she is and at the moment he can't begin to match that, more's the pity.
Seeing the approaching and moving guard, Connor reaches for the back seat door, and opens it before stumbling inside… falling on his face as his body gives out for a moment, groaning as he tries to brace with his hurt shoulder and finds he's got no muscle left in it beyond the adrenaline of a few moments ago. Rolling onto his side, there's a mumble of, "Not… here… someplace… where… where am… who…" Questions sputtering out and then pausing as his eyes show pure and raw confusion, the glow backlighting to the point that you can't see if they're dilated.

Rashmi nods to Tony, rearing back and catching the lobbed communicator. "All right… thanks." Turning to the approaching guard, she bobs her head in thanks, slipping into the backseat just in time for Connor to lose his grip on coherency. "Hey… hey, it's okay," she murmurs, scooting the boy's legs over enough to get comfortable. "Just rest, okay? You've had a hard day… We're going to be all right, I promise."

The SHIELD vehicle arrives on scene spilling out several armed guards from the back in military precision. Several men look about the destruction of the Towers as the others are approaching She Hulk, and Iron Man. A brief chat occurs between the officers and the Avengers as the lot of them make their way towards the vehicle. Iron Man keeps tabs on how Rashmi, and Connor are faring with their car as he barks orders over a comm system at the security team for the Towers. While Stark is out the Towers had to be secured.

She-Hulk holds onto Keld until the SHIELD security force is able to suitably retain him. They've got his file from their sister organization, SWORD, and will know how to neutralize him. She lets Iron Man go on ahead with them and will stay behind to help clean up and, if Rashmi and Connor are still around in her car, drive them home. But first, she slams her fist into a nearby lamppost, horribly bending it out of shape. "God /dammit!/" She'll find this Ahab and make sure to wring the information on how to get Keld back to normal out of him.

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