Don't Have Breakfast at Tiffany's
Roleplaying Log: Don't Have Breakfast at Tiffany's
IC Details

Whoever is plotting the fall of the House of Arany… isn't done just yet.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: October 05, 2019
IC Location: The Bronx, NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 06 Oct 2019 07:45
Rating & Warnings: R (Violence)
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits: GM'd by Harley Quinn
Associated Plots

The night is late when Carolus's phone rings. It's not a familiar number, but - should he dare to try to ignore it or send it to voicemail - he will find that it is particularly insistent caller.

It will call back and call back, never leaving a voicemail.

At least it's probably not a spammer, because the number remains unchanged each time. A mobile number with a New Jersey exchange.

Carolus ignores the number that he doesn't recognize the first time his phone rings. The second time it goes off he sends it directly to voice mail. The /third/ time he picks up, grabbing his burner phone to text Ghost Spider because he's lived his entire life around super-people and weird mysterious late-night phone calls are Suspicious, doubly so in light of recent events.

He's half-expecting to be taken hostage by some lunatic with an anti-material rifle after the previous night.

"How can I help you?" He answers, putting the call on speaker and meandering out of his bedroom to the entrance hall as a just-in-case measure.

Meanwhile, Gwen gets a text on her phone!

ATLAS: ghost spider please get me not murdered.

Well, it's something like that.

Gwen texts back, in order: a ghost, a spider, a web, a running emoji, a thumbs up, and a winking face.

This is because emojis are much, much easier when you're swinging by one arm and only have one thumb to type! She has no idea that he's getting called repeatedly by the most sinister of all forces: ROBO CALLERS FROM STRANGE AREA CODES!!!

Truly he faces only the most depraved of foes.

"Mister Sinclair?" The female voice on the other end is hushed and shaky, barely more than a rasping into the phone. It might be hard to hear. Might be hard to figure out that it's that Tiffany from Charles Arany's design studio, from the day that Helen Arche died. "I'm sorry to call so late, but you said I could call, and I…"

The sentence stops after that, followed by a muttering of something.

"O-one of the girls, she… I don't know why she's in my apartment, but I couldn't call the police. I just… I couldn't."

This smells like a trap.

"Address, please." Carolus says, heading back to his bedroom and snagging the distinctive X-shaped badge that lets him access X-men communication lines. He slips some boots on, which is just a GREAT look with his weirdly-cut pajamas, and steps out onto the balcony.

He uses his auxiliary limbs to quickly text: Possible attempted murder in progress, heading out asap.

"Are you reasonably safe at the moment? Can you describe this person, and how they're acting?" He adds, calm as he can. Carolus is pretty quick by wing, but the person at the studio worked fast. He's uncertain he can make a difference if something decisive happens.

Because Carolus does not text Ghost Spider where to go, the spooky spoder continues doing rather relaxing breakneck circuits through center of the city.

Because she also doesn't have an address, she's free to be rather cavalier.

Dagger, skull, question mark? Dagger dagger exclamation point!

Dagger dagger gun running man thumbs down angry face explosion question mark question mark exclamation point upside down exclamation point

Gwen runs out of creative emoji for crimes in progress and just presses police car and sad face alternatingly for another line.

"I think… I'm pretty sure she's dead, Mister Sinclair." And as soon as the words are out of her mouth, there's sniffling and sniffling becomes whimpering. "This looks so bad…"

There's a pause, and then Tiffany Orlie, despite her New Jersey exchange, recites an address in the Bronx. One of the poorer corners of the borough in a building of tiny, rundown apartments.

"What do I do? Oh, God, this looks so bad…"

"I'm sorry. She's /dead/? Your co-worker is dead in your apartment?" Carolus repeats, rapidly typing out the address in the text window, sending it without comment because for all he knows Ghost Spider might be closer than he is.

He gets going immediately, the night time chilliness immediately making him regretting not bringing a coat. But there's really no time for elaborate changes of costumes.

The fly /is/ long enough that he can pace his thoughts and reply to Ghost Spider with a coffin emoji. But the turnaround time is /still/ probably better than what you'd get out of the police department in that area of town. The Bronx is where he just got /shot/.

"An ally of mine might be arriving ahead of me— Ghost Spider. So don't be alarmed. Black and white, a bit of… fuschia and turquoise." Carolus advises, off-handedly.

Ghost Spider is ordering at a corner store - one with a register - two bottles of water, a bag of jerky, a little package of cake doughnuts, and a package of gum.

She then, in costume and everything, asks for a receipt.

Then, after handing over a twenty and getting her change, she immediately asks to return a bottle of water. The clerk is annoyed but, seeing as she didn't even pick it up, it was really stupid but also fairly simple an operation.

Then she gets another receipt, as she stuffs her purchases in her backpack, snapping a phone picture of the receipts.

Getting back underway, Carolus texts her a location and Ghost Spider gets to swinging, zipping through the air towards the boroughs of the Bronx…

And sliding through the air, flipping once, and landing - both arms out like a gymnast - on the front porch. "Tadaa! Webs, I'm lame." Ghost Spider complains at the air, before… buzzing the door to the apartment. "Hello? Twenty-four hour spooky spider here. A friend sent me. Anyone home?"

Black, white, fuchsia, turquoise. If not for the situation at hand, Tiffany might comment on the striking combination. After all, she is a young woman who is eyeballs deep in the industry. Unfortunately, she's too busy getting lost in her catastrophe to think too much on it. "Okay. But Mister Sinclair, you gotta believe me. I didn't do this." There's a sniff and then things get muffled as she drops the phone facedown into an ancient shag rug.

It takes the first couple of buzzes at the apartment to stir her out of her terror, and she pushes herself up from where she'd collapsed (and puked) at the frame of the doorway leading into the tiny living room/dining room/sewing room.

The door unlatches for Gwen, so she can slip inside.

Carolus isn't quite as used to being framed for murders as Gwen is. He takes no extraordinary measures to get witnesses as to his disposition, but there is exactly one thing that he's looking for as he closes in on the apartment building.

Or more accurately, smelling for. As soon as he reaches the address, his antennae are up and his attention are focused on his setae as a whole, searching for the scent of the pair of essential oils that seemed to characterize the 'somebody else' he couldn't account for at the studio.

"I don't exactly see why you would. I'm coming in the building now." Carolus replies, neutrally. He doesn't, but that doesn't mean she didn't. For the most part though, he just doesn't see it in the receptionist.

What's there to gain? More importantly, it follows an important aspect of the murderer's apparent M.O. so far. Attention-grabbing, witness-ensnaring. Tiffany had already been set up as a major witness before. Why not now?

Whatever he should discover scentwise, Carolus proceeds to the apartment soon after. Even if he should scent a lead, he doesn't want to pursue it solo.

Ghost Spider isn't so much used to being framed for murders as she understands police procedure and the amazing defense reasonable alibi gives one. If she could have been mugging for a security camera halfway across town, she COULDN'T have been the murderer! Pissing off the clerk gave her a witness, too.

And the receipts, a placement. Three forms of proof.

Gwen had heard of people get off of actual murder with much less. She, however, was a superhero, and New York was being New York.

Speaking of: The door! Gwen Stacy's Ghost Spider costume is a work of art! It's great!

It's also the only one she has and she isn't quite there yet on 'making her own' on any front. So, it's what she's got. Fashion police (but not NYPD) at the door notwithstanding, she is buzzed in and pushes open the door with a slow shove, kicking the door open lightly with her heel. Danger hung in the air like a miasmatic cloud, but nothing came jumping out of her.

Except the smells of blood and puke. "Sheeeeeesh…" She vocalizes, as she comes up to the living room area. "Are you hurt at all? And, uh, did you touch anything murder-weapon-y recently? Because seriously, don't touch evidence." Ghost Spider announces to the unseen woman.

Under her breath, she's just whispering.

'Please don't be a trap, please please pleeeeease I really don't want to be a murder suspect…'

It's there, faint on the air. It spills onto the air like a whisper through an open bedroom window. Lavender. Neroli. Of course, all of those things are perhaps a little harder to detect under the acrid smell of vomit and then also of all the blood.

Because poor Gwen, she will find that the little room that was the heart of the tiny apartment is completely smeared with it. It's arterial spray over one of the walls, most obviously. But lying face-up on a low wooden coffee table in the middle of the room is a willowy brunette with a pair of pinking shears in one eye and folding thread scissors in the other. Blood has formed a little fall over the edge, spilling onto the floor beneath.

The shivering, frantic Tiffany—as mousy as ever—has found a place by the front door, pushing herself into the corner between it and the door to the tiny kitchenette to wait for someone to come. Her glasses are pushed up on top of her head, and her eyes are red from crying. When she's not wiping her eyes, she's tightly pinning her hands under her folded arms, terrified to touch anything more than what she already has. Carolus will hear the exchange. "I… I don't remember," she tells Gwen honestly, "but I don't think I touched anything. I… Except I… I kinda got sick. And then I started to clean it up, but then I got sick again. And…" Cue the complete meltdown into hysterics.

Gwen's first thought upon entering the set of the Shining that is the main room of the apartment is:

Wait, no. That's her second thought. Her FIRST thought is shocked, gagging revulsion. Her SECOND thought is: Webs am I glad I got an alibi.

Her distant thought is 'I'm not sure one person has this much blood in them', but that part of her brain isn't getting a speaking role at the moment.

Ghost Spider, in complete control outwardly as she allows a large minority part of her internal monologue to be just panel upon panel of 'AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA', lays a gentle, supportive hand on Tiffany's shoulder. "Ok. I need you to be brave for a few moments and answer a few questions. You don't have to look at what I ask about, and you don't have to explain - just yes or no."

"Are those scissors yours? The bad ones."

A light, supportive squeeze, before Gwen in a flash remembers a lesson from her father. For scenes just like this.

"Is the attacker still around here?"

"C'mon, Atlas, hurry up and sweep in with your cavalier attitude about weirdo murder-dudes, I'm supposed to be the backup."

Back to Tiffany, Ghost Spider kneels forward on her haunches. "Do you have anyplace else to stay? Have you called the cops?"

Carolus Sinclair has Seen Some Things, and he's certainly smelled more things than he wanted to. The scent of blood drowning lavender and neroli gets a grimace before he steps through the door. He knows how much blood people have to bleed, and nobody who has shed that much of it could be anything but deader than dead.

The puke is… New York. If that put him off, he'd have moved away already.

"Thank you for coming, Ghost Spider." He asides as he disconnects the phone call with Tiffany, regarding the entire scene with a disgusted expression.

He lifts himself off the ground with a buzz, hovering just below the ceiling to stop himself from touching the ground or— anything, really. Carolus stares down at the body, descending to get a closer look.

Careful not to touch the weapons or any clothes, he reaches for whatever bare skin is available to check how warm the body is. Once he's done that, he flits 'round to the bedroom, following the near-drowned-out scent to the window in search of some further evidence.

"It's the same attacker," he says, "but I think they've gone. It's hard to tell… they're good at hiding in plain sight. Tiffany, are you sure you can't think of anybody on Arany's staff— or perhaps anyone adjacent to a staff member— that could have some sort of motive for this… guignol?"

Are those scissors yours?

A hesitant nod.

Is the attacker still around?

That question draws the other young woman's eyes up sharply to look at Gwen, and it would seem that the thought hadn't actually dawned on her that whoever did all of that could possibly still be around. The look of abject terror in her face is abundantly clear.

Do you have anyplace else to stay? Have you called the cops?

All Tiffany can do is shake her head in the negative.

The body that Carolus touches is rapidly cooling, but not quite yet cold. The smell is stronger in the bedroom, and the latch on the window is broken - the wood splintered and both the wood and the splinters still on the ancient hardwood floor of the bedroom.

When he comes back, and asks his question, Tiffany's brow furrows. "What is guignol?"

Ok. Obvious weapon is her's, but that only muddies things.
The attacker COULD still be around. Less OK!
And Tiffany has nobody else to stay with. Not OK.

The cops not being here is neutral.

"Atlas, you probably want to check the other room, since you can fly. I have to touch everything to get around."

A quick pan of the room and Gwen does something that's probably not her best idea.

"Ok. I actually think she should call the cops if we go try to find the killer, because that way she's not, you know, concealing a crime scene and she'll actually get help?"

Ghost Spider has a LOT of faith in NYPD. This is utterly unexplainable.

"All I'm getting is blood and —"

Gwen's mask-eyes drop to two white slits. "That's not a real word. I don't believe that's a real word. Anyway, I'm only getting, like vague danger-y cloud vibes, which just means yep, at a crime scene. This really isn't…"

Ghost Spider's hand on Tiffany's shoulder squeezes again, lightly, trying to keep the girl stable and 'with' the pair of heroes. Her voice drops to a hushed stage whisper. "This really isn't a situation I can *punch*, and I don't have my Kid Detective's Fantastic Forensic Kit on me to really dig in."

"My prognosis: Bleeding happened. I can tell, because of all the blood."

Attacker was stronger than an ordinary human. Carolus already knew that, but he was pleased to get additional confirmation. On the other hand… he's not certain that the attacker isn't still here. He decides to pretend that he doesn't think so, while angling his antennae backwards to try to get a better fix on where the smell is strongest in the bedroom.

He buzzes out to the threshold between bedroom and main living area, deciding to latch onto his own theatre nerdery to present the impression that he doesn't think there's anything too immediate to worry about.

"The Grand Guignol," he explains, "was a theatre in Paris that put on performances that could be compared to modern day horror films. I was describing this situation as theatrically gruesome."

His expression turns distinctly uncomfortable at the idea of calling in the cops. Officially, he's supposed to do that. Carolus is registered, after all. But with the way things are set up right now… Tiffany is a reasonable suspect.

"I'm afraid," he says, buzzing around the apartment in search of something (specifically, evidence that Tiffany herself uses essential oils), "that that's probably for the best. Or rather, it is probably unavoidable. I think that there is adequate evidence that Tiffany had an intruder here to keep her out of trouble, but as she has observed to me, it really doesn't look good."

"I don't think I need to tell you that you shouldn't do a lot of talking without a lawyer. But this only gets worse if it's swept under a rug." He says to Tiffany, crossing his auxiliary arms over his stomach.

"Ghost Spider, would you circle 'round outside and check the window there? Tiffany, I can phone in for you, but it'll probably look better if you do it yourself."

"She needs to call it in. Then, Tiffany, remember this:"

Gwen knows the secret arts. The words of power. Hooking a thumb at her collar, she rolls up her mask to just the tip of her nose so Tiffany can see her mouth and so she's 'a person' and not just a face in a mask.

"If they detain you, nothing you say without a lawyer can be used to help you if there's a trial. Just keep it simple, say just what happened, and don't add details, OK? If you get a lawyer, you can talk to them. So get a lawyer!"

One last pat on the shoulder. "It helps to talk to *someone*. Trust me. I'm getting some experience on the matter."

Rolling down her mask and standing up, Gwen carefully backs out of the room at Carolus' indication, jogging back out the door of the apartment and leaping up a to the roof, sticking to the wall halfway up and crawling up the rest of the way with broad, loping hand-and-leg sweeps as she climbs up the wall that splits windows providing ample handholds to speed things up.

On the roof, she surveys the area around the apartment, before dropping a web-line and rappels down the opposite side - where the killer either broke in or out of the apartment near the kitchen.

Closing in, Ghost Spider re-orients in the air, feet meeting on the web line as she spins upside down. Reaching the window, Ghost Spider extends a hand to check the frame, lightly touch-sticking a finger to the window frame and sliding it up testingly.

That is, if she doesn't get jumped by three dudes with kalashnikovs and RPGs for being black and white on brownstone at mindight thirty.

For a very brief moment, Gwen's steadying hand on her shoulder and the confusion from Carolus's expanded vocabulary granted a brief calm for Tiffany Orlie. It's robbed from her as the man she called in to help her instead tells her that she's right, that she looks guilty as hell, and to call the cops.

At least, this is how her panicked brain translates all of it. She melts down all over again, arms coming up over her head as she just repeats various expressions of horror and dismay over and over again. To her credit, though, she manages to pull it together just enough to really listen when Ghost Spider is saying things that matter. Things that might help. She's still terrified (rightfully so) and crying, but she nods.

Carolus won't find any of the homeopathic remedies lying around that might point to an essential oil habit, making it unlikely that he's going to find the source of the neroli and lavender - a scent which is fading by the moment - still in the apartment.

But when Gwen gets outside, she'll see eight distinctly finger-like indentations on the outside of the sill. And there is a dull niggling in the back of her brain, a little stronger than before. But there are so many fire exits, so many dark windows, it can be hard to figure out where it's coming from.

With Ghost Spider out to go look, Tiffany looks to Carolus and then carefully pecks out 9-1-1. "H-hello? I n-need…" Then she juts out the phone for Atlas to take, ultimately dropping it as her whole stomach turns on her again and she crawls off to go be sick around the corner where he can't see.

Carolus takes the telephone that is offered to him before it is dropped, hesitating before realizing that Tiffany is not physically /able/ to make the call. He raises the phone to his ear, "Hello. This is Atlas, I.D. number…" He reads off his registration number, "There has been a murder at—" He repeats the address, "If possible please send investigators who are already attached to the Charles Arany and Helen Arche cases. It is connected, and another employee of Mr. Arany's studio has been murdered here. I was the registered mutant on-site for the last incident."

"The assailant is currently at large. I do not know how far they might have gotten, but there is no immediate danger at the scene."

The mothman tilts his head to one side to keep the phone at his ear, going about the process of finding some glasses and pouring a water for Tiffany once she's calm enough again.

He puts the phone on speaker and sets it down, hovering near Tiffany, "It's going to be alright. Deep breaths. Once you think you can, please go and collect any essentials you can. Whatever else happens here, this place isn't safe or sound for living just now."

His auxiliary arms come unbound from his stomach, seizing his cell phone and replying to Ghost Spider's storm of emojis with a siren emoji and a clock emoji.

Danger? In dark windows and fire escapes?
Sure is New York City.

Casting snaps of the head and dramatic squints of lens-eyes. It's not really useful, but it does give her something to do but 'trust the darkness and shadows and the lingering pangs of danger to just be totally empty and harmless'.

It's a TERRIBLE proposition. Sometimes, you have to call the danger's bluff.

The windowsill has four finger-furrows in it, but it's difficult to ascertain the truth of it. With a hover-handing, she tries to puzzle out if it's a four-fingered hand, or a five-fingered one. It'd be really convenient if they were dealing with someone who has four fingers. That's a really easy trait to look for!

The way the wood was splintered, and the lock broken, with only handmarks and no impact or striking damage…

"Atlas, I think this window was hand-forced. Probably by at least someone who goes to the gym. I can't figure out quite… Hold on, let me see if I can figure out if it was forced inside or outside."

Contorting her neck in, bracing at the top of the window with her toes, Gwen inspects the windowframe for the palm-mark in the wood.

If the palm-mark was on the inside? Well, she'd know which way it was forced from. Leverage, here, was key.

At the end of the day, Tiffany's in her mid-twenties… Early thirties. And this is not what she signed up for when she took a job at Charles Arany's design studio.

As the dispatcher goes through her rigamarole on the other side of the line, the woman pulls her glasses off the top of her head, wipes her eyes once more, and then puts them back over her eyes so she can actually try to see what's around her. It's a heck of a day when a moth man is one of the most calming things she could ask for right now. She takes the water when it's offered to her, and sips a little down. Gather her things, he tells her, and she mutely nods in response.

For Gwen, she'll find that upon closer inspection that the marks are definitely on the outside of the window. To get over from the fire escape would require some remarkable agility, and the angle to pull up the window from there would require some impressive strength. Particularly if one considers the way that the wood - fairly solid, not rotten - simply splintered out the lock.

Suddenly, there's a metallic clunk. A trashcan falling over, maybe, except the sound's not quite right.

"Want to know something funny, Tiffany? Funny for someone with a few hooks in fashion, anyway." Carolus says conversationally, mostly just trying to bring her down from any mental ledges she might still be on the edge of. He carries on, "I don't see colors the way most people do. That is, I see rather more color than ordinary humans. But because of that I'm— practically color blind, when it comes to coordinating colors like a human does."

"Take Ghost Spider for instance," he tucks away his cell phone and gestures loosely with his lower hands, "that outfit of hers is incredibly luminous to me. I'm sure it's bright to you, too, but it really pops to my eyes. One of the reasons I like reds. Other than reds being my natural color."

He drifts forward, ducking his head in the bedroom to regard Ghost Spider at the window, "I thought so, too. I don't think a woman of Tiffany's height and weight could exert force in that way. Ninety pounds soaking wet. Appearances can be deceiving, of course, but they don't seem to be in this case."

One thing he /doesn't/ have is super-hearing, so Carolus can't especially pick up on the noise going on out in the alley, or its subtle irregularities.

"Forced from the outside, definitely. Four fingers on the hand, I think, and this is solid wood for the Bronx. Someone in nineteen eighty or whatever didn't skimp on their materials, but it's a total wash now."

Gwen's easy, quite at home inspecting a window. She did in fact own a junior forensics kit! She used to hunt mysteries in the neighborhood and backyard.

Here, though, there's…

…A lot more blood.

"Hey, who'd break their own window. If she was in there, she wouldn't need to force it from the outside - it's annoying just getting to the window. You'd have to use the fire esc—"

The crunch of the trashcan alerts Ghost Spider like a hawk, eyes wide and head turned slightly into her hood. She 'heard' the clunk like jagged action lines across her ears, following the ripple back to the overturned can. Gwen's ears are pretty good - not as good as Carolus' sense of smell, but she's got overall tuned-up senses. It's the irregularity that really sends it up to her perception like an electric shock. It has import.

Gwen unsticks her finger from the window and pulls back, flattening her feet on the side of the wall and swinging 'back' to stand parallel to the ground and peer over and down. "I think I heard something, ground level."

With a hop, Ghost Spider drops near-silently to the ground in a low crouch, looking around with both sets of fingers arched into the ground. "Please be a raccoon."

The wail of sirens grows louder, and Tiffany listens to Carolus as her eyes grow ever glassier. One state of shock is traded for another, and as he talks she loses track of what he’s saying. By the time he leans out to speak to Ghost Spider, she’s lost entirely to her own thoughts and has taken to staring blankly at the glass he gave her.

Meanwhile, the sounds of the !trashcan will eventually lead the wall crawler to the mouth of an alley.

There’s the sound of crunching metal, and then a slamming door.

A quick inspection by the spoder will show a backdoor into one of the apartment buildings rising up on either side.

"I hear the dispatched officers arriving, so I'll be hanging up now. Apartment…" Carolus repeats the apartment number, and takes a moment to go make sure the door is unlatched and open, "The resident is Tiffany, there are no active combatants within. I'm going to sweep the surroundings to be sure."

He disconnects the telephone call, and returns to Tiffany, kneeling down in front of her.

"Remember. Don't say much without an attorney present. It may be that this won't be necessary advice, and I hope that it isn't. You don't — forgive me — present the image of a successful assailant, and there is precedent for nonsense theatrics towards victims in this case."

"If they end up being stupid about this, I can help with bail. Now, excuse me for a moment…" He rises and exits the room, going out to join Ghost Spider. It doesn't take him that long, though he takes the long way 'round to avoid possibly messing with evidence around the window.

Rising up from street level towards the fire escapes, he trails after Ghost Spider's scent— possibly, well away from the window by the time he's actually gotten out of the building.

She's got a head start, after all.

The crunch wasn't a 'trash can'. It was metal. Cheap sheet aluminum has a particular rattle and crumple that a human can engender - and the human mind recognizes. But with more strength, there's a lot more metals that work that way.

A door - risen up? Sounds like exactly the sort of danger you chase, not run away from.

Swinging her arms forward, Gwen fires two web-lines at the door, tugging with her impressive strength backing it — either sending the door spinning off its hinges or, if it's stuck vaulting her on pure arm-strength towards the door.

Either dodging the flying door, or landing feet-on the door and riding it into the next room, she has a moment to consider if she's literally smashing the door down on her way in to a completely unrelated area.

This means she better have a good line prepared!

"Stop running with scissors!" She hollers, like a dork, instead.

It happens faster than it seems, perhaps. The door comes off and goes flying into the hallway of the building in question. Fortunately, there's enough place for Gwen to land and, moreover, for her to catch a scene of…of someone - at least one would guess that it's a someone by the rough size - racing up the stairs to get to the front doors and out of the way.

The only issue is that the someone looks like a mannequin. Copper-colored and ball-jointed.

As Carolus offers his last bit of advice to Tiffany, she half-focuses on the metahuman and his words, but it's hard to keep it there. She nods anyway, because it's the right thing to do. He promises help with bail, should it come to that, and the bespectacled brunette sniffles once and then nods again. She doesn't make an attempt to keep him, only to cover her head with her hands as the cops close in.

Carolus arrives outside in time to hear the crash and clatter of an exterior door being yanked away with a ludicrous amount of force. The smell lines up with what he expects out of Ghost Spider, but he can't help but wonder— exactly what /is/ it that she's chasing?

The distant sound of a shouted, dorky quip earns a smile from the mothman as he makes a decision. Pursuing into narrow hallways will slow him down and put them both at risk, and he's quite certain she's the better one for indoor pursuit.

So instead he circles the building rapidly. If it's their assailant, they'll be looking for a way out, more than likely— if he's lucky (or perhaps unlucky, from a given perspective) he might catch them emerging elsewhere.

The thought strikes him, midway through this exercise, that this individual might be /stronger/ than him. That would be a serious problem. But he has back-up. It'll be fine. Right?

A… Mannequin?


Actually in terms of awful fashion monsters, that kinda makes sense. Four fingers to a hand not matched up, but still. Definitely not a metahuman, a mutant, or the person you'd expect to be in an apartment. It still could be a 'someone', but ball joints and brass put a question mark at the end of that sentence and not a period.

Not responding to quips either, Gwen pumps her legs and reachs with her arms, her strides long as she tries to close. It's always suspicious when people run. Gwen's never internalized the idea that some people run just because they're scared - but she's the sort of person to stand her ground anyway. Blind spots happen all the time.

Without a good angle to get any swinging done, Ghost Spider takes web-potshots with flicks of the wrist at the mannequin's legs, trying to trip it up. "I said—!" Gwen begins, taking the stairs four at a time bounding up with her hands carrying her just as far as her feet with airtime-granting heaves.

"—stick around!"

Web puns.

As Gwen sends webs at the mannequin's thick legs, there's no sound from the round-headed creature save the sound of its movements. A subtle hiss of machinery bounces off the close quarters of the stairwell, which pauses briefly when one bit of webbing catches on a calf. Instead of stopping though, it only means that a metallic plate flies off of the back and exposes dozens of wires.

As the casing comes off, the smell of neroli and lavender oozes out even more thickly.

Abruptly, the mannequin turns and throws… throws something towards an overhead light. It breaks the bulb, sending a shower of glass and sparks spewing down over the space behind the mannequin.

No, not just something. A chunk of the metallic handrail, and it only hangs in the socket for a moment before it comes crashing down, electrified.

Lavender and neroli. The scent of it is abrupt and thick, and Carolus really isn't expecting it. Who uses that much in the way of essential oils?! It's like an old lady who barely has a sense of taste and smell drowning herself in perfume so she can actually detect its scent.

The scent of it is so near Ghost Spider's, though. Was it maybe some sort of… /escape/ gambit?

Suddenly more concerned for his back-up than actually catching this weirdo, and perceiving no usable direction to pursue, he dives and swoops in through the busted door that Ghost Spider entered through.

Juuuuuuust in time to come in behind her and get dazzled with the show of sparks. Carolus makes an odd noise, raising an arm to cover his eyes in a daze as the lightshow disorients the heck out of him.

A running battle up stairs isn't really a Ghost Spider kind of brawl. That's actually much more a Captain America sort of brawl. A running battle through a tenement is probably more up Luke Cage's alley.

There's too little to swing off of, and when the target is just blitzing through the house with little disregard for stamina, it's no wonder that it can stay one step ahead of the Ghost Spider's sprinting speed. Try as she might - running along the railing and jumping to the next landing in a deep crouch.

The mannequin even discards a piece of itself as the webbing sticks to floor and shears off a plating. She's close levelling both arms, and that's why—

—Danger! Like walking out into the sun, jagged action lines surround the phantom of a pillar. Planted one moment and leaping out of the way a heartbeat later, the projectile railing strikes into the lamp and swings out, crackling like a live wire right through the air she had occupied just a split second before and clattering to the tenement floor with a corresponding shower of sparks and glass flinders.

Her lenses narrowed into spastic slits as Ghost Spider pushes through the flashing lights and falling sparks, Gwen mostly just runs into Carolus at the lower landing, shoving him lightly with a forearm. "I had her! Him! It! But then… Ugh, I got sloppy. Could have caught the thing, but my danger sense went totally ballistic."

Gwen stops to pick up the oil-slick piece of plate. "Now all we've got to go on is this… Unless you want to follow it. It's the Bronx, though: It could have gone any number of directions or cut corners, and we…"

Ghost spider bangs her fist into the front doorframe. "… I just let it go. It was so spooky! Not… not ME sorta spooky, it was all gangly and metal.

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