Here Comes the Son Do-do-do-dooo
Roleplaying Log: Here Comes the Son Do-do-do-dooo
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Hercules crash-lands in Midtown Manhattan, to the consternation of many. Groot, Rocket, and Isa Reichert all try to exercise damage control at the physical destruction of his landing. Hercules flees, but leaves a few items behind. Including his clothing. What.

Other Characters Referenced: Phil Coulson
IC Date: May 27, 2020
IC Location: New York City - Manhattan - Midtown Manhattan
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 28 May 2020 05:59
Rating & Warnings: Some cursing.
Scene Soundtrack: None
NPC & GM Credits: Civilians and mounted police kindly provided by Hercules.
Associated Plots

It's a scorcher this afternoon, folks. Unseasonably warm for this time of year, the thermometer's currently registering 111 degrees Fahrenheit. The air is so thick with the heat that you can practically see waves move through it generated by any motion. Not even the sounds coming from various people, places and devices in Times Square seems to be able to swim through it very far. Not in this heat. Not when the asphalt is soft enough to melt into that thick air resting above it, when it French-kisses the rubber of the tires stuck atop it until you can't tell where one ends and the other begins. The cars that are currently crawling and stopping and crawling again through afternoon rush hour traffic are themselves like sullen oxen stuck in the muddy road beneath them, having lost all energy and hope but still running, towing working until they finally die. To one side three mounted police officers sit atop their horses in a precious bit of shade, overseers watching over these workers streaming to and from their labors. And then there is the Sun.

A giant wheel of fire in the sky beats down mercilessly upon the Earth beneath it, inflicting itself on the metal oxen and those tiny humans who drive them on. Baking the earth, melting these poor souls down in some kind of solar foundry. One can almost hear the chanting, as if of overseers whipping beasts and men on in ultimate, fatal labor. Is this 21st-Century New York? Of course it is. But squint slightly and it might also be Early Dynastic Egypt. The stretch is not too far. Those may not be pyramids surrounding the roads, but they are towers, gleaming, LED-lit towers reaching skyward to impose the will of the fabulously wealthy corporations, tyrants and egomaniacs over their fellow human race, screaming over and again, "I AM RICH! I AM FAMOUS! I OWN YOU!". Declaring over and again in the face of life's obvious impermanence that this man, woman or CG game character, this sneaker or triple-bacon-cheeseburger on a digital billboard is a goddess of beauty, a titan of industry, a magical artifact worthy of worship but above all consumption. And all you serfs below better recognize it and get to worshiping! Better keep slaving away on the asphalt, in the smog and the heat. Recognize your betters and recognize your lot in life. Hail to the King, now and forever, or perhaps the great order of the world will crash and burn in fiery death.

* * *

There's unreasonable warmth, and there's record-setting heat. Humidity makes everything worse, and with the air heavy with humidity off Hudson Bay, the day promises to be miserable. If that weren't bad enough, sunset brings no relief in the humid climate of the eastern seaboard. It'll be just as stifling and hot all night.

Naturally, that makes it the perfect time for ice cream.

After an unsatisfying and grueling day in the air, Isa Reichert decided on treating herself to something nice once her boots hit ground and she'd signed out of S.H.I.E.L.D's hangar facilities. So after changing into something a little less murderously hot than her flightsuit, she'd struck out for the city after – on a whim – giving Rocket a call and offering both aliens the chance for free ice cream. Maybe she's feeling generous.

Although she's still wearing the usual jeans and combat boots, which are uncomfortably warm but not very negotiable as far as she's concerned, Isa's swapped her usual bomber jacket for a not-usual grey tank top. It bares toned muscle and vicious-looking scars all down her right arm, shoulder, parts of her neck, and beneath the midriff. Something burnt her, and did it so severely that those scars will never fade. It trails up the right side of her face, ruining it; it disappears under the brown eyepatch her right socket is hidden by. Her hair's grown back, and it disappears into the hairline of vibrant red.

There's no brow on the right side, but there is a line of delicate red on the left. It arches slightly as cars chug by on the sizzling pavement, as she stops under the shade of a building, stepping back to light herself a cigarette.

Thumbing casually through notices on her cell phone, she sends the coordinates to her two favourite (and only) aliens.

Her grammar in text form is… much better than the spoken word. And much more coherent.

* * *

Although he's been here for a good handful of years on and off planet, days like these are something that Rocket will never miss. See, space? You don't worry about baking unless you're stuck floating towards a star or shields are down and you're hopelessly locked on. Thankfully neither are experiences that the raccoonoid has had to worry about. And while of course there are plenty of other trade-offs to living aboard a ship and living on Terra or whatever other world, none of it matters in the moment, and that moment is now, and now is threatening to melt him under his fur.

That's what it feels like to the small Guardian, anyway, and right now he is in a dismal mood because of it, which means he's about fifty percent more prone to wanting to bite people than he usually is. Where about that stands on a practical scale is anyone's guess, really.

Usually during their city excursions (because pff, Registration? Screw it, you want Starbucks then nothing is gonna stand in your way, flarkin' addictive Terran drinks) there's at least some effort to go incognito. Today, Rocket doesn't care too much. He's in his usual sleeveless jumpsuit because of the sleeveless part, boots protecting his delicate paws from the blistering sidewalk, and a baseball cap over his head as some haphazard disguise to at least keep off a few stares, as well as direct sunlight. Of course, no amount of heat is going to keep the raccoonoid from packing some heat of his own, which accounts for the duffle slung across his chest and behind him, doubling as slight cover for his ringed tail.

"Is ice cream really worth this?" he grumbles for the thousandanth time to his treenage companion.

* * *

A day that feels like Terra can burst into flames at the drop of a hat is very different from a nice sunny day. Being a youngish tree, the tall and lanky Groot doesn't have to worry about things like pores and built-in sweat glands. But he's still a tree. Dehydration sucks and he knows it because it's been happening ever since he got outside.

"I am Groot," he groans under a breath, full of teenage irritability as he pours the contents of a water bottle onto the loose windbreaker hanging about his wooden frame. Half of it is gone before he tries to offer it to the shorter, more bitey Guardian, bending down a bit as he keeps his strides in check. But he frowns a bit more when the question is posed again. "I am Groot."

Hey, if he's being promised ice cream, they were getting it. Especially if they weren't the ones paying.

Plus he really wants ice cream. He just can't say that aloud, though.

On the other hand, the noise of the city isn't anything he's missed; having been here before, the ambiance feels right. It's just…louder than usual? "…I am Groot?"

* * *

A lobster-red bike messenger missing sunscreen threads suicidally (homicidally?) through the traffic, covered in a thick sheen of sweat from head to foot that flies unpleasantly off them. Not even the latest high-tech synthetic wicking fabrics can keep it from drenching the people to either side. Their beaten, duct-taped Schwinn is an extension of their body, reacting to opening doors and hard-charging New York pedestrians and taxis suddenly changing lanes to vomit forth and consume passengers with prescient and pinpoint precision. Until they screech suddenly to a halt, right in front of a mother and toddler in a wheeled chair. Good show, biker! Despite what motorists think you are indeed responsib—oh. No you're not. You are pointing up in the sky, a look of alarm somehow radiating through those NASA-designed glasses. And what is up there? Yes, it's the sun. Yes, the sun IS pretty awesome, although it has a tendency to blind anyone looking at it. It's not like you haven't see it bef—oh, wait. You mean that glowing-white thing WITHIN the sun? Hmm, that is curious. But perhaps it's just a holdover from your morning microdose. It is so hard to measure micrograms of psilocybin accura—"OHMYCHRIST! ANOTHER GIANT METEOR!!!" This shriek comes from the dainty and demure mother with her baby in a basket. We have consensus validation of an unusual event.

* * *

"Master of disguise, as usual." By the time Rocket and Groot reach her position, Isa is leaning against a lamppost. She does it carefully, because touching metal with bare skin would just add to the tapestry of scars down her right side, no thank you. She uses her hip, mostly, left hand holding her cigarette, right tucked into the pocket on that side.

Rocket's grumbling about ice cream is overheard, and given a grim-looking grin; one that creases scarring in unsightly ways. "<What? Of ''course'' it is.>" Isa habitually slips into Russian, but remembers herself with a slight tic of her mouth. "Of course. Don't much like culture of consumer, here, but even ''I'' will pay someone for ice cream on day like this." Her voice drops into a tone of disgust; loses some of its laconic edge. Rocket and Groot are among the Trusted Circle. "If I knew how hot summer would be in this country, I never would have left Russia."

The woman's lone blue eye flicks over to Groot, and her mouth twists thoughtfully. "'I am Groot?'" she tries, carefully. Maybe she can communicate this time…

…but she probably won't even have as much luck as Coulson.

A red brow arches as her lone eye suddenly tracks the sudden cyclist with his duct-taped Schwinn, following the man until he stops and points at the sky. Her gaze lifts, rolling her cigarette to the other side of her mouth in thoughtful gesture.

It's not really clear what she's looking at, but the cigarette falls out of her mouth. And she says, eloquently, blandly… "Oh, shit."

"Rocket. Groot." Isa looks away, gauging the crowd around them, and then flicks scarred fingers in clear gesture for the two Guardians to follow. This way, guys. People are going to start freaking out any second now, and closer to the buildings might be safer. She sidles towards the three mounted policemen in the shade of a tree, measured and relentlessly even. The S.H.I.E.L.D. identification card on a lanyard around her neck is lifted and shown to the men. "Need help? Thing probably get… chaotic… in few minute." Isa flicks a glance skyward. Is that thing any clearer, or is she still going to have to guess what fresh hell today is going to be?

The one-eyed woman's voice is gruff and gravelly, and grizzled from years of alcohol and tobacco, but recognisably a woman's. Her words are heavily accented; clearly Russian.

* * *

Rocket wrinkles his nose in a half-snarl, not that Groot's response hadn't been anticipated. Of course the kid would go for free food. He's been taught well. "Don't know, don't care," he mutters in response to the second, the inquiry that only so few could understand for the maddeningly simple phrases that translated to so much more.

"I ain't desperate enough to run around nude – which ironically would get less attention than wearing clothes around here. Terrans are so weird." Thus is his greeting to Isa, followed by a squint as she slips into Russian. That prompts a roll of his eyes, but he shoves his hands into his pockets, feeling some satisfaction in knowing that even the human pilot disliked the current temperatures. Isa gets another look when she attempts Groot-ese, which never goes well and honestly, Rocket doesn't know why people try, especially when Groot obviously understands what everyone else is saying.

Beneath his hat, his ears flick at the screeching tires, impossible to ignore for how close in their vicinity they sound. It's still not enough for Rocket to glance over. Neither is all the pointing. Terrans are notoriously excitable. And he's certainly not burning out his eyeballs staring up into the sun. However it's Isa's comment that gets his attention. Hard-boiled as the woman is, she wasn't going to drop words like that without reason, and so for that reason Rocket finally looks up as well, echoing then, Isa's own words.

The heat is hardly forgotten, but it's suddenly taken a secondary position to whatever's incoming. And him without a ship and some handy heavy artillery! Following after Isa, he's slung his bag around closer in front of him just in case he needs to access the goods inside. His expression falters slightly as the pilot talks to the police. Yeah, this'll go well. "Eh, I doubt it'll make a difference," he predicts, looking back towards the street. Then, sighing, he steps back towards it, cupping his hands to yell to those who're at least able to hear him.

"HEY IDIOTS! GET CLEAR!"

* * *

While he's tempted to just pour the water bottle out onto Rocket, Groot, knows it's not a smart move. He stores it away for later, when he feels the urge to do something awful just for the fun of it. His attention fortunately also falls onto the Russian pilot, sauntering over as per the norm.

If Isa spends more time with Groot, she could possibly pick it up like Rocket did. And that's a lot of time. But yes: much like Coulson's attempts in trying to wrangle Groot-ese, Isa's 'I am Groot?' sounds like a strange mishmash of words to Groot's nonexistent ears.

So all he can offer is a face that pretty much reads 'Say what now??'

That face remains, the corners deepening once dark eyes glance at whatever the rest of the city is currently up to. That includes the terran statement of the day.

"—I am Groot," Groot tacks on, moving to follow the other two as everyone begins to go into panic mode. But since it's the beginning, the treenager also goes out of his way to try getting people out of the way. "I am Groot!"

* * *

The mounted officers look down at Isa, Standard-Issue-New-York-Emergency-Responder-Sarcasm begins automatically bubbling up to be dispensed to the crazy civilian that is always expected. Thankfully the one closest to her spots the SHIELD tags hanging from around her neck. His back straightens and he snaps a salute. Yes!!! There's someone else her who can be held responsible if everything goes to Hell! Before his fellow officers can lazily insult her he snaps, "Yes, ma'am! Sir! We're on it!"

But it's too late. The Freaking has commenced. People begin to scream, though it's not so easy to hear above the sudden and Apocalyptic blowing of a hundred automotive horns. Some citizens are pointing up up towards Ra—pardon, the Sun—while others who know the score of living in post-Event Manhattan begin fleeing instantly from their cars, looking for subway or other underground access, and clogging the street in the process. The mix of abandoned cars and drivers suddenly trying desperately to thread their way through them makes for pure chaos.

The whitish-golden object grows negligibly larger, pale flames streaming from all sides. A low vibrating sound is evident now. A kind of a buzz, both deep and shrill at the same time. It begins to grow as the object nears. Due to its radiance, the blinding nature of the Sun behind it and the speed involved, it is hard to get a perspective on its true size, but it is bearing down fast.

And everything down on the Earth below is happening so fast, and all at once:

Mom begins furiously pushing her baby cart and almost instantly hits a bit of upturned concrete, bending one of the wheels til it snaps. The cart teeters and the swaddled baby (swaddled!? in heat like this!!?) goes flying through the air and out into the street with it's honking and jerking cars and its screaming and running citizens.

Meanwhile, the bicyclist, eyes goggling (meteor? mushrooms?), spins the bike 180 degrees and rockets down the sidewalk, barely missing a dozen pedestrians, then flies back into the road, right in front of the city bus that just swerved to miss the Yellow Cab, which was pushed sideways by the dairy delivery truck that turned hard enough to end up on two wheels in an effort to miss the baby floating into the middle of the street. The bus is now swerving in the opposite direction to miss the courier, bus breaks lock up in a torturous screech heard even above everything else as the driver tries desperately to stop his city vehicle from plowing through the few pedestrians Groot didn't manage to motion to safety yet and into the front of Igor's Eye-Scream, a poorly thought-out seasonal theme for an exceptional ice cream shop. A family fresh from the farm outside of Dubuque watches slack-jawed from their table within the shop, ice cream dripping from cones, as the bus heads toward them, slowing, slowing, but not. Quite. Enough.

* * *

"Could," Isa muses, when Rocket comments on relative levels of dress. Her scarred hand flicks to indicate her scarred shoulder. "But, not with this. Too much staring." The scowl she wears says it all about how much she likes wearing tank tops. "Too hot today not to…"

Groot is eyed with a resigned sigh and a shrug that telegraphs her resigned disappointment. Nah, she wasn't expecting to communicate.

…Then Rocket's cupping his hands and yelling at the crowd anyway. So much for taking a more logical and orderly approach. So much for keeping panic-borne mobs from happening.

The officers spot her agency identification. The buck is passed. The pilot's expression goes very blank, and she watches them all but scurry away from the area like New York's ubiquitous cockroaches fleeing artificial light.

Isa Reichert takes a deep breath and she sighs. No ice cream. Something's about to happen and she might be answering some very awkward questions for the agency physicians. And worst of all, whatever happens, she's going to get saddled with a mountain of paperwork.

Something twitches near her good eye, and her gaze flicks skyward to watch.

Without even looking down, she steps sideways to avoid panicking pedestrians shoving past her, narrowing her eye as the white-gold object sharpens. It's damn bright to look at, but she can almost see something – but Isa looks away, hesitant to blind herself. She's only got one eye. Only when the spots clear does she look back.

She's working her jaw against the buzzing vibration, teeth grinding involuntarily at a frequency she finds physically annoying. What is that?

Oh, that's a baby sailing in a neat arc over her head. And that's a train wreck disguised as a bus heading straight for the uh. Yeah. That all sure is a thing.

Isa stares in half a second of blank, serene unrecognition at the tableau unfolding rapidly before her.

"Oh, shit," she proclaims, serenely.

And then, with a squawking wail, Isa Reichert is moving, kicking off from the sidewalk. Isa is not only in excellent physical shape, she knows how to channel fear into energy. She's lived it for enough years to practically weaponise it.

Also, she's probably faster on the uptake than her city police counterparts.

Isa tunes out everything but the airborne baby, desperation lending her speed; reaching, as she gets closer, somehow picking her way by instinct in spite of her missing eye. Oh, just let her be fast enough.

* * *

"TYPICAL!" Rocket growls, staring as everything just goes straight to hell anyway. He wonders why he even bothers trying anymore. It was easier when he just didn't care. And so as the inevitable panic ensues, he watches, clawed fingers dragging down either side of his face. "This is how people go extinct," he says to no one in particular, really.

He's saved the trouble of playing impromptu receiver for the flying baby (seriously, don't those things have like, safety harnesses or something? Close the lid next time, lady!) as Isa dashes past him. Groot's doing what Groot does best, although Rocket won't blame him if the treenager decides to go for ice cream anyway despite everything going on. Because at the moment it's highly tempting.

Ice cream. As he thinks it he looks over and sees the family there, the poor suckers who thought that they'd just enjoy something cold that might just end up their last thing ever on this wretched planet. "GROOT!" Boy he's doing a lot of yelling – nothing new, really. The smaller Guardian shouts over at the tree kid, pointing. Groot may not be full grown but he's still more the muscle between the two than Rocket will ever be.

In the meantime he pulls out his pistols, which really looks nothing like because space designs, go figure. He takes aim for a fire hydrant, not quite sure that the water packs enough force to slow down or even stop an oncoming bus of all things, but it's the first thing he can think of as he lets those shots fly.

* * *

Oh good, there are some runners now. "I am Groot!" Groot hollers at the pedestrians that are still trying to process their fight or flight mechanisms. Maybe spooking them into running will help. Or maybe it won't?

Except that's not as important as a bus. Going. Right toward the Ice Cream Shop.

CRAP.

With Rocket's perfectly timed shout of his name, he doesn't exactly see how it all comes to this. He only sees what has resulted. Instead of waiting for someone else to do anything, the treenager stomps-jogs his way into the path of the slow-careening bus, dodging one or two smaller vehicles on the way over while shouting obscenities that no one within earshot can understand. Which is probably a good thing, because the words he's using are creative. His arms get longer, extending as he swings them outward from his now-tearing sleeves (it was such a nice windbreaker) in order to arc them toward the nearest light posts. Or, well, one of his arms does that, separating into different vine-like strands to create a tether of some sort.

"I," Groot grimaces, his other arm is thrown out toward the bus, snaring it as best as he can in the short window of time he has to stop any more property damage from occurring, yanking back and rooting his feet into the hot concrete, "AM GROOT!!"

NO. NO MORE ICE CREAM RUINING. IT'S ALREADY RUINED IN ONE WAY, it's NOT going to be ruined TWICE in ONE stinking day!! He's going to get his ice cream fix no matter what!

* * *

The officers are momentarily taken aback by the sheer instantaneousness of Isa's activation, but to their credit they are professionals. A moment after she begins moving, they nod to each other cue their mounts, which leap in three different directions as their riders move them to begin herding people to safety amidst the carnage.

Isa's field of vision narrows on the baby as she takes one, two, three increasing strides and plants a foot on the hood of a Beetle, then the next on the roof and then launches into space, arms reaching for the babe. To some kind of completely-hypothetical, third-person viewer time would seem to dilate around her (or perhaps it's an illusion caused by the comparative torpor of almost everyone else in the vicinity) and there is a snapshot moment of hard-bitten Madonna transformed into a peaceful angel, reaching for innocent babe frozen in the sky, swaddling stretched out behind it. A scene worthy of Renaissance painting, if not for the snarling, furry troll who shatters the crystalline peace by backing into one corner of said scene, cursing loudly and spitting ionic ZAT!ZAT!ZAT!s rapid-fire from Buck Roger blasters held in each fine little hand.

The first shot hits the front of the bus dead-center between bumper and street, the energetic-force lifting the nose just so much. The follow-up shots hit perfectlyc-timed to continue lifting the nose as the bus keeps moving forward, but now slower as momentum is shifted upward.

The family inside the shop watches, jaws now slack and ice cream forgotten, as this all happens as if on a stage before them. Then the Groot's vine-like appendages first anchor him to the lamp and then erupt outward across the front of the bus. He grunts and jerks back, pulling the bus completely perpendicular to the shop-front window where it now rests on it's ass and against the building. The lamp he tethered to is almost ripped out of its cement base.

And with that the heroes have apparently saved the day.

* * *

Isa moves. Piloting aircraft for a living and instincts tuned to the paranoid register have bred lickety-split reflexes. It's enough to wrap her arms around the baby, turn a shoulder, and plummet earthward; using her own body to absorb the impact and protect the child.

She grunts as she hits the pavement, and the grunt turns into a snarl as it rips a shallow wound open down the line of her unscarred shoulder. Just perfect. She holds the child, not even bothering to quell any potential crying. Her eyes are on the crowds and the way they react to Rocket firing shots. Carefully, she sets the infant down; her head pops up from behind the car a moment later, like a meerkat out of its burrow, to see what Rocket's doing. And whether the bus ruins many people's day.

"Oh, shit," she observes, almond-shaped eye snapping wide. She scoops up the baby and high-tails it for the crowds, picking Mom out from the crowd and pushing said baby into the woman's arms. She turns, sprinting; skidding to a halt next to Rocket and heedless of her now-bloodied shoulder. The bits of asphalt can be picked out later. Before she can really panic attack, Groot is attempting to do his part, which is really a lot more effective than her part, because right now her part is reduced to 'gawking like a yokel.'

She reaches for a sidearm that isn't there; she curses when she doesn't find it. "Rocket." Ideas? She's open to suggestion.

* * *

Ice cream, the ultimate motivator.

Rocket ceases fire once Groot gets involved, not wanting to accidentally hit the kid as those vinelike arms snake out to try and catch the bus before it can make short work of the shop. It's still a very near thing, but Rocket has enough faith in Groot that he doesn't look away, no matter how much the resulting might suggest one to. He sags with relief as the bus is halted, waving at Groot to make sure the kid's okay too.

Looking over to the side, he finds Isa's back, and the lack of a baby in her arms either means she was too late and there's another casualty tallied up to street pizza or she'd been successful and got rid of the extra bundle before anything else happened. Her bloody arm suggests the latter. Maybe. It's a thought Rocket doesn't entertain long. She says his name, and he gives her an annoyed look and a shrug with both guns because he's not psychic. Something does cross his mind then, the thought showing on his face as the general surliness is replaced by confusion. "Hey—wasn't there a thingy…"

Because in dealing with all the sudden panic he'd forgotten for a moment exactly where that panic had stemmed, which has him looking back up.

* * *

Screeching. Metal screeching. It's loud, but there's the telltale shift in its pitch and length as it layers itself over the cacophony of panic. Groot feels his arm pulling out of its wooden socket as the counterpoint arm attached to the bus drags on, the other suddenly loosening the second the light post pulls up from its foundations. He doesn't dare breathe until he sees the bus come to a halt, sitting pretty and leaving the ice cream shop technically unscathed.

Oh yeah, he deserves ice cream for this for sure.

"—I am Groot!?" The young ent spits an immediate rhetorical question, whipping around to kick at loose asphalt and catch Rocket waving at him. Although he exhales an aggravated sigh, he gives up and waves back. Or tries to, anyway; he hasn't let his long arms drop off so that he can grow new ones, so it's suggestive.

Of course he's forgotten why they're doing this. When everything's crazy, you just go with it.

* * *

And then as if flung from the divine hand of Roger Clemens from atop his Heavenly Yankees mound, the meteor screams what seems just inches overhead of the pilot and space-raccoon, the whining roar it makes sounding like some monstrous, vibrating and unintelligible vocalization, albeit one with a heavy whiff of… profanity? Then it makes contact in the midst of a knot of abandoned cars.

Ka-THOOOOM!!!

Asphalt erupts around the point of collision, and the momentum and direction of the shockwave flings it and a few automobiles forward ahead of the now-meteorite, raining down on other abandoned vehicles. Thankfully, their former passengers are all currently hoofing it down the street and sidewalks in the opposite direction. Shards of automotive plastic panels and metallic engine parts blow upward and even further forward as cars rain down on other cars but, amazingly, it all seems focused and directed in such a way that at least lightly implies divine providence to those so disposed. Or even to the odd atheist, such as the NYU philosophy student crouched behind an SUV clutching her infernal book of Foucault as a chromed fender suddenly spears straight through the body of the vehicle shielding her and stops, vibrating mere inches from her neck. One day she will write about this moment of conversion. It is the very same moment an anorexic and androgynous angel three stories tall and comprised of millions upon millions of pixels sipping from a diet cola has 6.2 cubic liters of chromed Dodge Charger Hellcat engine embed itself in the right eye.

Meanwhile, the angle and velocity of the sky-born missile is such that it continues forward, skipping like a smooth rock on a placid lake and passing through the top half of a recently vacated yellow school bus on the next upswing. On it's next downward strike, the now-meteorite bounces off of a Cadillac limo, crushing it. Each strike decreases the lift of the next arc until finally the strange astronomical body simply smashes through the front of the Disney store, passing through a stone wall and leaving a large jagged hole through the wall and destroying the preview animatronics for the recently announced live-action Hercules movie that was set up in front of it.

* * *

It does seem like Isa's forgotten about the part where her shoulder is torn open, but there's no time to deal with that right now. Her eyes are on Groot as the bus gradually heaves to a halt. The groan and strain of wood is eerily distressing when one of your friends is made of timber.

Rocket voices the same thought she'd been on her roundabout way back towards. She looks up, and—

The world roars. Isa Reichert's ears ring, as the world is silenced around her. Her hair whips as the meteor rips by, single eye widening in shock and delayed terror. Her eye follows the path of the meteor, too stunned to do more than stare, look back at Rocket, and then stare some more. "<Wh-what—>"

There were probably people in that store.

Or in the meteor's path.

Once again Isa finds herself physically running to the next disaster site. Elbowing or dodging through crowds as necessary, she makes her way over to where the Disney Store's facade lies in tatters, vaulting neatly over a pile of rubble. At a glance, everybody in here seems to be safe, but… "<Hey! Any survivors?" she bellows, in Russian, through the dust sifting down from the ceiling. "Hey!" Again, in English, leaping atop the rubble of a smashed display and cupping her hands around her mouth. "Hello! Any survivor?"

* * *

From inside the ice cream shop, a young girl, perhaps all of five years old, squeezes out along one edge of the bus partially blocking the front door. She is wearing a pair of denim shorts overalls over a yellow shirt and sports pig tails and freckles. As her parents begin yelling at her to come back and trying unsuccessfully to follow her out she runs helterskelter straight over to Groot, stopping before him and looking up at eyes quivering with joy and something akin to worship. She raises her hands to him, a cup still mostly full of ice cream that is almost obliterated by what must be a dozen different toppings. "Thank you," is what she says, although you have an urge to clear out your ears after all the colossal crashing that just occurred because it almost sounded like, "I am Groot."

* * *

Well, there goes his hat. It's fine, he wasn't really a Yankees fan anyway. But it's times like these when Rocket's glad he's short. He winces and cringes at each point of impact that the profanity-spouting UFO makes, to the point that if he had the means his head would be ducked right into his ribcage by then. Again he looks at Isa, and again he gives her that shrug, mouthed with much the same as she'd said, save in English.

And then there she goes, and the Guardian stands there before shaking his head, tossing his guns back into his bag before running off after her, but not without a quick shout at Groot, if only to let him know where they're headed. And even then he sets into motion, shoving his duffle behind him as he darts across the pavement on all fours. Unfortunately his gloves don't cover his whole hand but at least he's moving faster this way that he won't get his fingers terribly burned, and where cars and debris might normally prove as obstacles, they're nimbly maneuvered over and around by the raccoonoid.

He reaches the busted storefront in decent time, but while Isa's looking for survivors, Rocket pulls out his guns again, on the hunt. It wasn't just something that had crash-landed here. It was someone. He sniffs at the air, his ears flattening slightly as he looks around, approaching the gaping hole.

* * *

Oh snap he's being attacked—wait, no, that's a little kid.

Thankfully one arm has dropped off before she even gets to Groot, his tattered sleeve hanging limp as he looks down at the topping-covered ice cream cup being offered up to him.

As perplexed as he looks, that all gets derailed when the air fills with a an unearthly roar followed by a drawn-out collision of metal and glass. Instinct takes over during that moment, forcing Groot to hunch over the little girl so that she's clear of any leftover debris that decides to fly their way.

What is this? Who is he? And is that what he thought he heard? So many questions, so little time. Pushing them aside, he grunts, glancing over a shoulder once the chaos from the sky passes. "I am Groot," he finally replies to the kid with a slant of a smile, accepting the gift with a tiny arm that pokes through the sleeve. He'd pat her on the head and send her off, but he instead indicates that much with his chin. "I am Groot."

'Get going, rugrat.' That's the nicest he'll be.

During the pause, he lets his other arm drop off, turning again after barely hearing the raccoonoid's voice across the way. "I am Groot??" he calls back, trudging and climbing over a few cars so that he can join Rocket and Isa.

* * *

As Isa sprints up to the Disney Store, feeling her tobacco habit more than ever, her trained eye scans for human devastation and finds… none. Huh. Then stone grinds from within, painful to the eardrum. Scraping. A vibration beneath everyone's feet and a massive hunk of concrete ten feet long and half again as wide and weighing some laughable number of tons rockets out of the hole, terrifyingly close to Isa on one side and the approaching Rocket on the other before snapping another streetlamp off at the base and wedging intp the side of the building across the street. Again, it is positively astonishing that no one is apparently hurt in all this.

A tall and heavily muscled man with a deep tan and a short beard follows it out and into the sun. He stops, plants his feet hip's width and raises his arms to his sides and slightly above his shoulders, arching his sculpture-worthy back ever so slightly and pausing for a just-so instant in a pose Michelangelo would have drooled over before bellowing loudly up into the sky, "PATERRR!!!!".

It is unclear whether the drama of this moment is is enhanced or diminished by Hercules' shameless buck-nakedness.

Receiving only silence as his reply, he looks down at the SHIELD agent before him and the furred alien, puzzled. Scanning around him and taking in the street and car wreckage and buildings, the puzzlement clearly deepens as his brow furrows. He returns his gaze to the pair as it becomes a trio, taking in Groot, and asks, "POU VRISKOMASTE?" He is loud, even with the partial deafening everyone might be suffering. If one happened to speak ancient Greek, one would realize he just asked, "Where do we find ourselves?" A strangely formal way to ask where he is if it was English, but it's not. No matter what, it is clear that he is asking a question of some sort.

As a side note, his body is sizzling noticeably, still glowing slightly with heat that is dissipating.

The mounted police watch nervously from a distance and you can see one on his walkietalkie, but they are too busy trying to convince the last oglers to get to a safe distance to approach right now.

* * *

The one-eyed pilot pauses her searching to cough, deeply enough to suggest a lots of cigarettes a day habit, and wave dust from her face. Faltering shop lights flicker, illuminating dust sifting from the crumbled masonry. It sounds like Groot is on his way back to join them, too; she glances over her shoulder and nods to the treenager.

Stone roars again. Isa cringes, but she doesn't back away, watching as best she can through the gloom.

And then OH GOD WHAT THE HELL Isa flails and scrabbles back from a yes-sized hunk of concrete blasting up from the pile of rubble. She might be hyperventilating a little in the silence of its wake.

She's definitely hyperventilating as the that chiselled and tanned vision of Greco-Roman perfection climbs up out of the debris. She's still staring and hyperventilating a little as he swings right past her, out into the sun.

…Pater?

And then…

Isa looks back at the receding back of Meteor Boy over there, and when everything but her scarring turns scarlet, it's clear she's recognised the fact that no, he's not wearing anything, and very quickly averts her eye. She frowns, glancing to Rocket.

"What in hell is he speaking? Sound like…" Isa's words are too loud. She squints; shakes her head, tries to shake the ringing from her ears. It's inquisitive-sounding, and also she's really distracted by the fact that the guy is actually smouldering.

That blue eye flicks back at the mounted policemen. There is clear animosity in it. You cowards.

With a sigh equal parts aggravation and resignation, Isa reaches for a pocket, yanking her phone from it and punching in the authorisation code. She growls something into it in English so clipped and rapid-fire it's hard to understand, but probably amounts to something along the lines of somebody come back me up here, I am not paid enough for this.

"Is probably good time to tell you," she half-shouts at Rocket, "am not actually field agent! Provisional security only!" That is to say, she's not actually trained for this like a field agent is. Any ideas, raccoon-buddy?

* * *

"Yeah, maybe. I dunno, something came in hot— WHOA!" Rocket's response to Groot is cut short as once again he is thankful for being vertically challenged, not that it's stopped him from ducking down at the sight of flying concrete. It seems he's a little more used to this sort of thing as he looks more annoyed than two ticks away from screaming for the hills. By the time the previously UFO emerges in all his bare glory (and from the Disney Store of all places!), Rocket's got both his pistols trained on him. He doesn't blush, but he does let out a whistle.

"Whoa there pal," he snorts, right before cringing at the shout to the heavens. He's all at once business again, squinting and wondering why all these humies seem to expect him to understand their weird Terran languages, if that's even what it is, but it's nothing he's heard out in the great beyond, that much he's sure of.

For the third time he gives Isa a shrug, an exasperated, exaggerated one at that. "The hell should I know! I ain't no language expert!" Only in cursing in alien languages. That's also a given when you work as a space bounty hunter. "You're not? Oh, well then. That's great. Technically I'm not even official SHIELD anymore so…" Why the heck is he standing here facing off with some steaming naked guy? "Is he Asgardian? Didn't sound like Asgardian, but they're the only ones I know who make these stupid entrances."

* * *

The journey to rejoin the others is at least a short one. As his arms continue to regenerate to their original length, Groot stomps onward, slowing to a stop once he's within range of what was once the Disney Store.

Oh, but he definitely wasn't expecting a free show with his ice cream prize, no sir.

Now distracted from Rocket's reply, the treenager stares dumbly at the man that emerges from the rubble, smoldering and shiny and just…so…naked, only flinching each time he screams toward the heavens in a foreign language Groot isn't used to hearing. But when the man addresses the three of them directly, he has to blink.

And he snorts in amusement, not even bothering to hide the grin that's forming on his bark-covered features.

Because he's a teenager. The guy's so naked, it's funny.

* * *

Even from such a distance, Isa's stare smites. The policemen flinch noticeably atop their horses and then after a brief exchange two of them begin cantering slowly in the direction of the gathering. Extreeemely slowly.

Smouldering man stares at the group before him, and you can almost hear the gears clicking along in his head as he tries to access his memory. Which, you know, you might have that problem too if you were literally just kicked off of a mountain that is another dimension and crashed into the Earth. Finally he seems to find something and speaks, this time intelligibly. Mostly.

"Angle-ish? Thou speakest Angle-ish? Where dost the Prince of Power find himself that contains Amazons, Hamadrus and…" he peers at Rocket, struggling for a word, "ruckoons?" Well, it was a noble attempt. "Can it truly be Angle-land?" He takes a look around him, finally noticing the skyscrapers. "Zounds! What magic is this? These structures vie to challenge the grandeur of fair Olympus itself!"

* * *

"Keep those on him." Isa's voice, in her current state of strain, is suddenly much clearer; her English much more clearly pronounced. Even her accent and the roughness of her voice seem lessened. "I left my pistol at home," she says softly, with deadly seriousness. Her eye swivels back to the muscled Bronze Age hero, narrowing slightly. If he survived hurtling through the skies and a whole bunch of New York City's architecture, there's no telling what this guy could do, and there's no telling what might set him off.

And if something sets him off, she's not going to understand a word he's saying. Some of the cadences aren't dissimilar to her own native Russian, but she still doesn't understand the words.

"Looks like I get to be the senior ranking agent here for the day," Isa comments, in sour but understandable English. The notion must really freak her out. Maybe that sensitive raccoon nose can smell her fear. Movement catches her eye, and she glances at the advancing policemen as they try to wrangle the crowd.

She blinks, very slowly.

Very, very slowly.

And then she swivels to look blankly at Rocket and Groot, before looking back at the Human Meteor.

And then she pulls her cell phone out, muttering as she does the sensible thing, and calls for some kind of agency-related backup because this wacko could be dangerous and she is, unlike some of the lunatics in this city, going to die if her torso is crushed like one of those foam stress squeezies.

A second or two later she slips her phone back into her pocket with exaggerated normalcy like it is the most normal thing in the world. Everything's normal. We're good. It's fine. Everything's fine. "Team on way," she says to Rocket, ignoring Meteor Guy's presence for a second.

"New York City," the red-head supplies to the still-sizzling Hercules, a little blandly. Her words are back to strongly Russian-accented once more. She fumbles her badge for a second before holding it up. "Are in New York City. Isa Reichert. S.H.I.E.L.D. Sort of." She makes a sound in the back of her throat that Rocket by now might recognise as disgust. "No magic. Calm down." The pilot folds her arms, ignoring her bloodied shoulder and squinting at Hercules. "Who are you?"

* * *

Pff, ranks. Rocket cares not for such. He only glances away from the meteor man to look at Groot and grin. Yeah, these two are oh so mature. It's only for a second though, because the naked wonder's started to speak something other than whatever the heck it was, and judging from the Guardian's expression, he's not terribly impressed.

Isa tries the diplomatic route. One of them has to. Because Rocket never has much interest in diplomacy. He cocks his guns casually, almost sighing.

"I'mma shoot this idiot," he says flatly.

* * *

The mature-est. See, Isa, this is what happens when you have Rocket and Groot with you along for the ride.

Ah, so the man can speak other languages. Groot's brow arches, but he's now busy shoveling melted ice cream into his maw while words are parsed out and strung together accordingly. It's a shift some would find interesting, but Groot…Groot doesn't care.

"I am Groot." He readily agrees with Rocket's choice of action than the dance of questions.

* * *

"New York," Hercules repeats to himself, and then grunts with dismissal as if having resolved something. "If we be in New York, then this must in fact be Angle-land, for I do—hazily—recall some nights passed in old York with the court of the Queen." His eyes glaze over slightly in reverie before focusing again. "As to your question, Amazon, I am surprised you need to ask. Surely your race still remembers Hercules, son of Zeus, Lion of Olympus." His face darkens as he awaits her response to this information, recalling his history with them. "And what is thine name, warrior?"

His attention drawn away at this point as Rocket raises his guns. Herc may not have seen handguns before (muskets and cannon are the last developments he is aware of), and ray guns and their destructive capacity are clearly completely beyond his ken, but he recognizes a purposeful use of weapons when he sees it. "Dread sir ruckoon, I suggest you lower yon strange arms, unless thou truly wishest to have the Gift bestowed upon thee!" Somehow the capital in the G is audible.

And finally he nods to Groot. "Groot. That is a passing strange name for a hamadru. Theh last time I visited these isles only dryads did I spy, but you appear male."

Hercules awaits adulation now that he has informed everyone of who is, and this is the point at which the mounted police finally close the distance. The officer who'd responded to Isa earlier pulls out a device from a saddle bag and begins fiddling with the small screen on it while pointing it at Hercules. He looks frustrated. "Unidentified metahuman, what is your Registration Identification number and designation!" He's also sweating nervously, and his fellow officer is looking around and then down at Isa as if for help, or at least backup. They've had training courses, but it's not the same to run into a two-legged WMD.

* * *

"No. Don't shoot." Isa is looking straight ahead at Hercules, single eye riveted to make sure he isn't going to do anything threatening. He's not going to shoot lightning at them or something, is he? Her mouth twists as she explains, sotto-voce. "I will deal with him. Am ranking agent here; is my neck on line, depending on how this is handled. Hold your fire." There's a heartbeat's worth of pause. "Please."

Groot is given a brief look. Yeah, you too, Teen Tree.

Her eye narrows, trying to filter through English that is arguably worse than her own. That's saying something, considering how she normally speaks; although she understands more than she lets on. The fact that she conceals the fact that she's fluent with English is probably the only reason she can try to puzzle through the Olympian's tangled verbage.

Yep, she's still staring at him in the meantime, a little bleakly. Where is that agency backup? Did they get stuck in traffic? They'd better get here. Oh, Great God, it's going to be her job on the line if she doesn't handle this exactly right, isn't it? At the very least, it's probably going to be paperwork. There's always paperwork.

…Get a grip, Yakovleva.

Isa shakes her head briskly and sighs a short little huff of despair. "Nyet. No. Name is 'Isa.' Just 'Isa.'" Wait a minute. Hercules? Zeus? She knows those names. Greek mythology? Being around New York City has taught her that stranger things have happened. This guy certainly has power enough to back up his act, so he's already starting out at least a little bit believable.

"I hate my life right now," she asides serenely, quietly, to Rocket. "Please. Put. The guns. Down."

Hercules only earns a frown. It twists her scarring in unsightly ways. She neither notices nor seems to care. "Think you have wrong idea, maybe. Am not Amazon. What? Am no warrior. Am…" Pilot. Yeah. He's gonna know what that is. Isa trails off, making a sound equal parts disgust, exasperation, and apprehension. Where is that backup?

* * *

"And you're not even sharing!" This is said Groot-wards as Rocket finally notices the ice cream. For a moment he just scowls at the tree – one minute united, the next, well.

But Rocket squints over at Hercules – wait, should he know that name? His guns unwavering as he considers what this 'Gift' might be. Yeah, probably not worth it, but it's only when Isa pleads with him that he finally lowers his weapons. Only because he'd feel bad if Isa got in trouble over this.

It's very deliberately that he puts said weapons away, although like the red-haired pilot, he continues to fix Hercules with a glare that warns that no funny business will be tolerated.

Isa's pocket buzzes as her phone goes off then, Ulysses on the other end should she answer. "Hey uh… So some bad decisions were kind of made and we are currently stuck because of…car…situations…"

* * *

"I am Groot!" Groot yells downward, stuffing the spoon back into his mouth before removing it again. He then snorts, shoving the ice cream in Rocket's direction.

Even if Hercules now speaks eloquently, he's still doesn't understand any of this. Despite not looking like he's listening to what's going on at the moment, he does avert his gaze because he can feel Isa staring at him even if she isn't. That's a talent.

But yeah, looks like everything's under control here! No problems, just…this.

* * *

The Olympian recognizes the police for what they are. There were no public police per se in prehistoric Greece, but plenty of palace guards. He was always in trouble with palace guards. And there sure as Tartarus were cops around most of the times later in history when he came down to have a good time. Buzzkills. But also representing the authorities of the time and the place. He shakes his head ruefully. "Mayhap now is not the time to prove my father right about my thick-headedness," he mutters to himself. Muttering for him being quite loud as he still has asphalt to shake out of his ears. Herc smiles to the police officers, a sly grin that he clearly doesn't realize is so obviously sly. "Gentlemen, I have your," here he repeats the words awkwardly, "re-gi-stra-tion i-dent-i-fi-ca-tion right here" as he reaches down towards his—"WHAT'S THAT!!?" He points dramatically back behind them, and as they turn to see what he's indicating, the godling brings both fists down together onto the sidewalk beneath him. There is a smash, of course, and destruction, of course, and he goes dropping into the sewers below. Followed by the cartoonish sounds of HUFF HUFF PUFF HUFF breathing and the SPLISHSPLASHSPLISHSplashSplishSplashsplishsplashsplish of footsteps running at an incredible pace which quickly fade into distant silence.

How did he know there were sewers you ask? WHO KNOWS!?

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The Etruscans laid the first underground sewers in the city of Rome around 500 BC. These cavernous tunnels below the city's streets were built of finely carved stones, and the Romans were happy to utilize them when they took over the city. Such structures then became the norm in many cities throughout the Roman world. —Aris 'O Andras' Tophanes)

Mere moments after Hercules vanishes into the sewers, there is a whistling sound from high above and an object over a foot long comes flying out of the sky, passes cleanly through two buildings leaving holes in it's wake, bounces off of a steel dumpster, cracking the steel and lands in front of it several feet from you all.

It is Hercules divine clothing, though that might be hard to identify given its weirdness, and wrapped within is his mace, which is made of highly polished gold metal. There is also a small piece of thick, archaic paper with indecipherable symbols on it that look vaguely like Ancient Greek. But not really.

* * *

For the record, the redhead is not afraid in the least of using guilt tactics to bring both of her alien buddies to heel. It's a satisfactory way to rein in some of their more destructive tendencies, and reel in some of their more outlandish behaviour. Besides, she'll always treat them right afterward and buy them food or something. Groot is a growing tree, after all!

Make no mistake, though, she's watching Rocket as much as she's watching Hercules. An itchy trigger finger can be a terribly difficult thing to control.

In the half-second she was making sure Rocket wasn't going to draw his weapons again, though, Hercules is addressing the police officers, namely in smashing the hell out of the pavement underfoot and…

Disappearing… into… the sewers…?

Isa stares serenely after the disapeparing demigod.

She smiles, almost sweetly.

"I hate my life right now," she remarks pleasantly to Rocket. "We're going to a different ice cream shop, we're leaving now, and I'm writing a report later after I've reacquainted myself with my preferred brand of vodka."

* * *

The check seems unnecessary given that Rocket's taken the ice cream Groot's so generously offered, shoveling a fair spoonful or two into his mouth. Hey, Isa wanted to handle the show, she can handle the show. By now that's pretty much what this has devolved into, at least by Guardian standards.

When Hercules addresses the police, the smaller of the alien pair grins almost ferally, hoping for some fun to watch there. Naturally when the guy points, Rocket follows the gesture out of reflex. The horrible sound of crunching cement makes his tail bush out, and he turns quickly to stare at the rising cloud of dust and the distinct lack of naked Greek whatever-the-hell-that-was. Popping another spoonful of melting ice cream into his mouth, Rocket hands it back off to Groot as he starts towards the hole, but its the sound that catches his attention, his ears swiveling, and he ducks out of instinct before the strange bundle comes to a halt beside them.

"…was that the gift he was talking about?" Hey, he's gotta ask. He also tries to pick the stuff up before letting it fall again and gesturing with his head at Groot. You're the muscle here, you take it. Stepping over to Isa, Rocket gives a knowing nod. "Eh, you get used to it," he says, then motioning for her to lead the way.

"…you're still treating, right?"

* * *

That ice cream was given to him for saving innocent lives, so it's only fair it's his and not Rocket's ice cream. This just means Rocket owes him bites of whatever ice cream he's getting later.

Fortunately, Groot's attention span is easy to get once things get underway, jumping from the confrontation of registration to the ol' 'look over there' technique before bouncing right back to where Hercules used to be. His own jaw goes slack as he now sees nothing but a gaping hole in the ground, taking his ice cream cup back automatically after the raccoonoid Guardian finishes eating his share.

With a pensive expression, another melted spoonful goes straight into his mouth. Doesn't matter that it's a shared spoon now, it's still ice cream.

When asked to pick up something, the treenager grouses around the spoon still in his mouth, lurching so that he can cast a glance Isa's way before heading over to grab the objects that also fell from the sky. Finding his hands full, he shovels the rest of the cup's contents into his maw, then bites onto the edge of the cup so that he can do the thing. Get a gift that isn't his.

Well, finders keepers until someone can track this guy down.

* * *

Isa looks after the vanished Hercules, and eyes the thing that comes flying up out of the sewer to do massive property damage before landing a few feet away. At a few feet away, she could have been standing there.

The redhead goes very pale for a second or two, swallows dryly, and eyes Rocket sidelong with enough gruffness to telegraph she's hiding the fact that she's flat-ass scared right now.

"Of course I'm treating. You think I can't afford ice cream? We are going, that is that." Isa folds her arms, still forgetting the fact that she's bleeding and that it might freak people out a little. "Da, hold onto those for now," she adds, to Groot. "Until we know what to do with them." A glance is cast to the melted ice cream, and she cracks a grin, gesturing at it. "Let's go get you something fresh. Will write report after."

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