2010-04-01: No Masks!!


Hulkling_icon.jpg Misha_icon.jpg

Summary: Political strings are pulled to get a few of the advanced students at Barnes to look into a recurring problem.

Date: April 1, 2010



Barnes Academy - Practice Room

This is a very large module, about the size of a football field. In default mode, it has stadium lighting and the floors and walls are of the same white-gray alloy as the rest of the base. However, practically every element in the room is modular, from floors to walls to ceilings to lighting and even the air flow is adjustable. While it isn't a Star Trek style holodeck, just about any credible threat can be simulated, if not replicated. A control booth overlooks the room in a way that might be oddly familiar to some people.

Over the last month it's become clear that there is a gang of muggers which has been operating in the Central Park area: five persons, most are probably male but some gender indeterminate, who have been attacking anyone who looks like they might be carrying money. They attack three or four people, then disappear for several days without a trace, then appear in a different part of the park, or sometimes in a different park. The M.O. (as explained to the trainees who happen to be at this session) is also variable, appearing from the bushes, or running up at high speed, or dropping from the sky or the trees, but always, they use some sort of a stunning venom (traces are found in the victims' skin and blood) and they always leave their victims tied up in black paisley headscarves, and call the police from a payphone somewhere to report the attack.

The room has been configured to resemble a section of Central Park near the north reservoir, the predicted most-likely next attack point.
Hulkling has taken the shape of a Victim: He appears to be about 45, in poor shape, wearing an expensive business suit. He appears (and smells) REALLY drunk.

Dubious of this all, for Teddy is an Avenger, Misha lurks about unseen. More to the point he's dimensionally off set, so he might even count as technically not there. Tagging along with the 'drunk', wearing his Barnes practice uniform, the teen is frowning as he watches. This is such foolishness. Why are they in a simulation instead of doing this for real? He's fairly sure Teddy alone could handle some muggers, even if they do us some kind of venom. Teddy isn't even human! (Not that Mikhail knows what Teddy really is.
So nothing is obviously being done. There are no communications from Mikhail. Might even have abandoned Teddy. For Shame! Nope, waiting for would be muggers. The teen is at least patient about this.

Young Avenger, technically. Not the main team. Though part of the backup plan of course. Victimling staggers towards the parking area. And someone appears, a lone figure, a red-haired girl steps out from behind a car. [Victims four and seven reported a red-haired girl. Victim six reported a red-haired boy. Victims one and two reported a red labrador retriever.] The girl waves to Victimling, "Help! I need help!"
He weaves drunkishly in her direction, towards a black van. Something VERY large steps out from behind the van. Human-shaped but at least three times too tall.

Red-head and black van immediately get Mikhail's attention. Taking in details, and noting that big figure, the teen leaves them to Teddy for the moment. This won't take Misha long anyway. Jogging forward, passing through the red-head, he ducks behind the van and reappears in the real world. A touch removes both tire and teen. Completely. Misha was only there for the briefest of miliseconds. Of course the van lurches, bolts clattering down to the pavement, but that doesn't mean Misha is finished. Even if there's someone behind said van, Misha reappears to repeat with the back tire, then vanish again. Transportation? Not any more. If it wasn't their's? Well, he'll put the tires near the van later.

The van doors explode open. What comes out is possibly the ugliest mutant to walk the earth to date. Or at least a simulation thereof. It looks like someone took different people and ripped them apart and stuck them back together, then put an ugly dime-store wig and a cheap, very sleazy dress on the result.
The creature is female, has three arms, two legs (one bifurcated with two calves) and four eyes, two of which are wearing glasses. There is also an ear in the forehead.
It calls out to the other two, "Red, BrickHouse, get the mark. Somethin's gone down wrong!"

"Yes, Miss Matched," the red-haired girl says, and spits toxic paralyzing venom at Victimling… who chooses that moment to stop appearing to be drunk, and dodges, turning into a rather large, green, fellow with blond hair and natural armor. The purple fabric of the apparently expensive suit shreds nicely, hulk-style.

Brick House (the aforementioned very large something) turns out to be a human made of stone, and his punch staggers Hulkling back a few yards, even expected as it was.
"Uff!" is the eloquent comment this elicits, along with a quietly thought, 'Wish Billy was here, he'd love this'.

Meanwhile Miss Matched is sniffing. "I smell an invisible rat," she says.

No, not invisible, but Mikhail doesn't correct that. He moves through the van to blink at Miss Match. Good thing his expression can't be seen, for he's struggling with it. …Ew. This does leave him with something of a dilemma. What does he do? Transportation is ruined, but now there's three against two, and he's not invulnerable. The red-head can spit venom, and he doesn't know what the ugly one can do. He's going to have to be wary.
While it takes only a second or two, Misha decides to try for the red-head. He'll have to risk it. Pulling pistols from holsters, and making sure the safeties are off, the teen gets a little distance from Red, and aims for her knees. Yes, the teen with the really annoying power. He flickers into existence long enough to fire twice, then disappears again. Hopefully she's not bullet proof, or this will be over really fast.

Bullet proof, she is not, and the shriek of pain is absolutely inhuman and unnerving, something more like the howl of a siren or an exploding teakettle… In fact, there's a good chance the howl will hit just as Mikhail disappears, and it does wonderful and horrible things to the equilibrium. [Victim three reported a nausea-and-vertigo-inducing howl.]

Miss Matched had already begun her attack - a hand was yanked off from a spare arm, and an ear was thrown at the direction the annoying vanishing man came from. The hand scuttles thing-like towards the ear, with dozens of fine red drippy tentacles whipping around in the air above it. The thing is fast, horrifyingly fast. The ear crawls aboard it and attaches itself, and now it orients, somehow, seeming to HEAR some kind of noise in the approximate area that Misha is standing, as though it were listening to his regard.

Brick House, though, is simply a sixteen-foot-tall man made of pink granite, and not nearly as broadly built as Hulkling, nor nearly as strong. And as Red is facing the wrong way, Teddy's not knocked around by the howl, so when Brick House tries for the second punch, a counter-punch literally takes his block off. The granite crumbles, leaving behind a pile of rocks and a three-foot-tall male, apparently not quite a child.

"AH!" The cry is one of protest as Mikhail is hit by that wave. It drops him to his knees, but within the safety of the dimensional space. He defaults there, which could be very bad for him depending on the situation. Right now it's helpful. Leaving a gun on the ground, the teen places hand to head. Yeah, going to need a moment to gather himself. Especially to gather himself as the ear and hand are suddenly right there before him. Misha's skin crawls at this power. Ew! Ew! Ew! He can't be heard though. Only by strong telepaths and those with dimensional sensing powers. And right now he's incredibly grateful for that.
Sorry, Teddy, but Misha needs a moment to recover, and until he does, he's staying safe. While he does have an offensive ability with it, the teen purposely didn't tell SHIELD that. Keeping that one for when it's important.

The hand scuttles around where Mikhail WAS, as though it could hear him thinking, or more likely, hear the fact of his paying attention to it, it orients towards him and then away, when Brick House crumbles, it scuttles toward the boy as Hulkling gets ready to grab him. Red has vanished, leaving behind a huge pool of blood. [Victim Seven reported that the horrifying multi-limbed mutant jumped into a pool of blood to escape when police were seen.] The hand leaps at Hulkling, who tries to slap it away, but it tries to attach itself to him, and there's a quick and ferocious shapeshifter-versus-parasite fight which ends with the hand being crushed. However, the three-foot-tall naked child runs over to Miss Matched, who dives into the blood as if it were a lake or a portal. At which point it contracts in on itself.

"THAT WAS REALLY REALLY DISGUSTING!" Hulkling says, grinding the hand a little more under feet which have grown extra hobnails.

The lights come on, and the voice from the control booth says, "OK, Mischa, come on back. Time for debrief."

Even as the instructor is calling for him, Mikhail is picking himself up off the ground. Guns are holstered and he makes sure he can stand at all before shifting back. Both teens are a little green skinned when Misha reappears. Clearly though, he's just as grossed out by the hand as Teddy. "It…" hands motion in a futile effort to explain. "Ear and hand.." Gross! Doesn't apologize for staying hidden, even though he feels a smidge guilty about it. Misha's really not a heavy hitter like Teddy. This whole super villain combat has him uncomfortable. "Was that being child in stone?" His vision on the otherside isn't great, so it could have been a midget. Sure looked like a child though.

Teddy confides to the vanishing guy, "I was REALLY bothered by the hand. The woman, not so much. I'm not sure whether it was a child or a grownup, it was thin but the proportions were more adult than child or midget."

The debriefing happens at a table that appears in the middle of the room. Dropped or lifted or materialized, it isn't clear. There's a man in a civilians suit with a VIP clip-badge, and a SHIELD agent with the "teacher" patch on his uniform, and they're discussing the results.
"Welcome," says the VIP. "Thanks for helping us with this, by the way. We hadn't considered disabling the van, and your attack on Red was pretty effective, but unfortunately our witnesses suggest that regular bullets won't do the trick. There's a fourth and fifth member, but we didn't bring those out for this specific test, since they never bring more than three. Any comments?"
Hulkling answers one obvious thing and makes one question. "They have a teleporter. You'll need a way to lock her down. The … Miss Matched thing… what WAS that?"

"I was not seeing it well." Misha nods to Teddy about the small form. Mikhail drops quiet as the table appears and the VIP approaches. Idly the teen works the closures of his holsters so that the guns are mostly hidden away. He's still disgusted at the hand thing. As for disabling Red, all he can do is shrug, "I am not having other options. Guns are only way to disable without getting in close." Doesn't seem too bothered in that he failed. As for the van? Well, that seemed logical to him. Didn't know about the teleporter. "Am not having special bullets." Said with a smirk.
He does nod agreement to Teddy. "Teleporter means no chance of stopping with no knowing." Sorry, bad English there. He sighs a little and motions that he gives up. "Yes, was much gross." The ear and hand thing, ew! "Was being alive?" can people do that and survive?

The VIP answers that with a shrug. "We went by two witnesses on that… she seems to be made up of different persons. It's not clear how she acquires the parts, but she did that hand-and-ear thing to an officer of the NYPD and it took him a week to recover… if it attaches itself it attempts to remote-control the body. Our simulation would simply have injected a stunning chemical."

The teacher nods, "She's the most dangerous of the lot. The other two are a porcupine-type who has toxic spines, and an electricity-manipulator. We'd provide you with a device to handle the teleporter once we come up with a working solution."

Hulkling shakes his head, then reaches up, scratching at his left ear between the shining cuffs. "No solution we come up with would be useful unless we were involved. If you want me to get the other Young Avengers in on this I can ask them. It'd be a better use of our time than having the regular Avengers try to handle it. They're too well known. And I can infiltrate if we can find out where they live."

Learning of Miss Match, Mikhail is suddenly glad he opted to stay safe as that hand came looking for him. Just didn't trust the way it looked. Especially not after it tried for Teddy. Frowning at this all, the teen fixes that look on the VIP. "What you mean by provide when find solution?" There's a sudden wariness in the teen. "I am not being super hero. I came here to be protected, not to be putting in danger." He even points to Teddy, "Super hero. Is not being me." Of that he's quite determined. Never mind he could be convinced to help, Misha is pretty damn sure if he allows this once it's going to be abused.

The teacher shakes his head. "Misha, we don't want you to be a super-hero, but we want you to be able to protect your identity if you do decide to help out. That's why the costume has a full facemask option."
Apparently a discussion the SHIELD people have tried to have before.

Teddy just grins at that statement. The life can be addictive.

A hand is placed to hip as that look darkens. "I am out." Misha says quite firmly. "You can put face mask where sun not shining." And with that he disappears again. Doesn't care if it's addicting. Not doing this. He still has to walk off, and he does so muttering darkly in Polish. All kinds of nasty things directed at that VIP.

Hulkling laughs. "Guys, Mikhail is not going to be available for this stuff. If he decides to hide his identity that'll be his choice."
With that he stands, and lets the guys set up their next simulation. He's got people to be and places to go.

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