Rise of the Machines
Roleplaying Log: Rise of the Machines
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

The NY DPS holds its first press conference since it began implementing the Metahuman Registration and Public Safety Act. Things quickly devolve.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: April 01, 2019
IC Location: Pier 11, Manhattan
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 01 Apr 2019 03:54
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits: GM: Lupus
NPCs: Amon Bell
Associated Plots

On March 15, 2019 — what some commentators ruefully noted was the Ides of March — New York began its grand experiment in registering its metahuman residents. Now, two weeks after those first early-morning sweeps of noncompliant metahumans, tensions are at a boiling point. A week ago the Brotherhood of Mutants brought down the Triskelion, SHIELD's towering headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, and issued a public statement declaring that registration was prelude to a mutant holocaust. Just yesterday, the New York Department of Public Safety launched retaliatory sweeps of Mutant Town, resulting in widespread arrests, the deaths of several NY DPS officers, and the very public shooting of a young girl by none other than Captain Marvel.

Now the man responsible for enforcement of the Registration Act, New York Department of Public Safety Chairman Amon Bell, has called a press conference at Pier 11 near Wall Street, where unregistered metas are being ferried off to the island prison called 'the Raft.'

It's a sunny spring Monday morning, a little cooler and windier out on the long stretch of docks than it is just a few blocks north. DPS has set up a podium with its brand new seal affixed to the front. Flanking it on either sides are two long lines of men and women in black tactical armor, each armed with holstered batons and rifles.
In front of the podium is a large pool of reporters and television cameras, waiting expectantly. And behind the gaggle of press, onlookers and passerbyes near Battery Park. The growing crowd of protestors has been confined to a huge chain-linked cage of a 'free speech zone' within sight of the podium, encircled by yet another ring of armed-and-armored DPS officers. There are about three-hundred protestors inside, carrying signs like "REMEMBER ELIZA MARSHALL" and "FREE METAS NOW" and the perennial "NO JUSTICE NO PEACE." Some are more personal: "LET MY MOTHER GO!" or "WHERE IS OUR BROTHER?" Voices blare out over bullhorns, denouncing the 'fascist security state' and the 'DPS Gestapo.'

For now, at least, the protesting is peaceful and contained. Even if it's heated.

The program starts exactly on time, at 10 a.m. sharp. Amon Bell emerges steps up to the podium in a sharp blue dress uniform. Even in his middle-sixties Bell is an imposing man, standing at 6'3, with a broad-shouldered build, a lantern jaw, and an unsettlingly intense glower. His is not the face for a feel-good P.R. campaign.

But then, in Amon Bell's opinion, none of this has anything to do with feeling good.

"Good morning," Bell says in a deep baritone to the assembled press. It carries out over the sound system across the pier.

* * *

The Brotherhood may have scattered into the winds after the Triskelion had fallen, and they had been wise to do so, but at least one of their ranks has chosen to stay behind and continue her operation as a spy. Mystique is another random face within the crowd, easily lost and just as easily forgotten. Their overall mission had been a monumental success. Now is a time for gathering intel.

Some of this intel just might be for selfish means.

As Amon Bell comes to stand before them all he may not realize that someone in the crowd is watching him more closely than the others. Honed ears are ready to pick up every vibration within the man's voice. The distance, the speakers, they do interfere but not so much that they should interfere with carrying out her task. It will only take a little more time than usual to fully pin down.

Before this speech has run its course she'll have a perfect copy of yet another form. So go ahead, Mister Bell! Let him say his piece while he can, because some day it may be Mystique who is saying it for him.

* * *

Jessica Jones is not in the mood to be packed into a free-speech zone like a goddamn sardine, so she isn't carrying a sign or protesting per se. She's out with the onlookers beside her massive fiancee. Her scowl is black as midnight, and she's been chain smoking. This week has produced some very personal hits, to say nothing of the more general ones.

She lights up another smoke the moment Bell gives his hard-assed 'good morning,' and takes a long drag. It is apparently going to be a 5-pack kind of morning.

She has one arm wrapped around her body. Her ratty jeans and leather jacket give her a disreputable air that fits right in to her general demeanor of being pissed off at the entire world.

* * *

The recent happenings in the news have been hard to swallow if not plain difficult to believe. Joanne Raymond had become increasingly more worried about the state of the city they lived in, finding herself able to relate in ways she would have never thought before, now that her son could officially be considered a metahuman, even if he only made up one half of one. Her hugs seemed tighter and longer these past few days, and Ronnie wasn't going to begrudge his mom for them, wishing he could give her some reassurance, unable to come up with much more than, "I'll be careful."

It hadn't been the teenager's intention to come by here, not at first. Drawn by the amount of people that had seemed to drift in the direction of the park, he'd decided to investigate. It hadn't take him long to work out what was happening here, and burrowing his hands deeper into the pockets of his jacket, the dark-haired youth figured sticking around to personally hear what all was going to be said would probably be a good idea than watch it on the news later.

Ronnie trails in at the fringes of the gathering onlookers, glancing around as he slips and winds his way in for a better place to watch.

* * *

Luke stands stoically besides Jessica, the hood of a dark green sweatshirt flipped up over his bald head though the chill of the Spring air doesn't seem to be the reason for the garment as he's left it unzipped over a t-shirt that reads 'Frank You' in his own subtle form of protest. Though Registered now, it wasn't voluntary.

Fingers scissor over to pluck the cigarette out of Jess's hand, though it's only to steal a puff before he redeposits it from where it was taken.

* * *

So.

Things aren't great.

And the fact that even this understatement rings utterly hollow and grim in Peter Parker's thoughts is really a testament to how bad things have gotten.

He hadn't made it in time to the sweeps that came through Mutant Town; he did what he could, but part of him wonders if he could have even helped, or if his presence would have just made things worse. Now he'll never know.

As it stands, Peter Parker leapt at the excuse to be there /now/ as things reach beyond a boiling point; he's been here most of the day in some form or another, keeping an eye on things. Now, with the Bugle out in force to cover this press event, the young college student-slash-unregistered vigilante joins their ranks as the photographer on point. Dressed in a wrinkled button-up and khaki slacks, Peter pensively fiddles with his camera — his father's, a memento old enough that it still uses film — as he listens to the outcry beyond him. Peaceful. But heated.

He can just imagine how much worse it can get.

For now, he just listens, lifting his camera to take a shot of Bell as he begins to address the crowds — the press, really. What he likely cares about. A frown creases young Peter's lips, but mostly, right now, he just looks…

… tired.

* * *

To say it's been a busy day is an understatement for Danielle Moonstar and while she would like to take a moment to actually sleep, she doesn't.

Instead the Cheyenne woman has come to this press conference, to see with her own eyes and hear with her own ears just what's going to be said.

She's dressed unobtrusively and generically, and once more she keeps any identifying marks off herself.

And that's why she finds herself in the crowd of observers and onlookers. Her dark brown eyes focused upon the podium and the man who opened with the niceness of good morning.

Is it really? Good, that it.

* * *

Despite being organized, contained anger is still anger. The feeling has been constant, just as steady as it has been earlier in the month, like a pot of simmering water that starts to bubble once the man at the podium speaks.

Being who she is, Raven could have chosen to hide away, away from the gathered crowd, away from the strong emotions they harbor. Except she chooses to be here. After speaking with Bart and Charlie about recent related events, she takes on the task to find out as much as she can on her own time.

Dressed in blacks and grays, she moves among the crowd, juggling the task of seeking out a better spot while 'ignoring' the mood to the best of her ability.

* * *

If not for his quick-healing abilities, Warren Worthington would not be here today. As it is, he is walking with the aid of a cane — the blood loss of yesterday still has him a little shaky — and he has not been in the least shy about telling reporters exactly WHY he is walking around with the aid of a cane, when asked.

He also had to be talked down from flying up onto the top of the terminal building and watching from there, in order to make sure Bell could see him. Now may not be the best time for that kind of statement — and it is definitely not the best time to stand around being a target, no matter how fearlessly dumb he may be at times.

Instead, he and Alison have chosen to stand a little behind the shark-pool of press right in front of the podium — and directly in front of the fenced-off area where the protestors are being corraled.

Warren is doing absolutely zero to hide his wings, and in fact he has them fanned out slightly more than necessary, leaving them perfectly visible to the people behind them both.

* * *

Charlie is not down there incognito amongst the masses blending in. Mostly due to the fact she really doesn't have much of a secret and public identity thing going on. Sure Charlotte exists in the system but has been pretty much a ghost for several years now as far as public activity.

So that is one reason why Misfit is up high on one of those large skyscrapers looking down on the waterfront. Blending with her bat trained stealth abilities as she watches the scene below. She is using her goggles to scan the crowds, mark potential problems, and get a good view of Bell. Helpfully she also has one of the live feeds on low in her ear so she can hear the speech.

After some of this surveying the view of the potential battlefield Misfit says over the Titan's comm, only really recognizing Raven is here. ~At least three snipers and overwatch teams in the following buildings, they aren't taking as many chances as they took yesterday.~

* * *

Lately, Alison Blaire has taken considerable pains to hide her famous face. Out of paranoia, out of emotional fatigue, out of a need for de-escalation — out of fear.

There is none of that here. No hat, no sunglasses, no photokinetic tricks of the light — the Dazzler shows herself clearly, taking position as one of the world's most infamous outed mutants.

At Warren Worthington's side, she helps hold their post; transparent to those familiar with the Aegis Foundation, presenting their clear stance without a single sign raised or word spoken. They stand near to the protestors, but not with them: they are not here to fan the flames of furor, but there are here to represent their transparent disgust of the Raft's usage, and where the recent violence has focused retaliation.

They are also here, most of all, to be what so many others cannot be — transparent mutants, showing themselves clearly to the light of day.

Alison's pulse is running triple-time, she knows, she feels boxed in at every angle — this is dangerous, all of this is dangerous — but she holds her ground, and keeps her eyes steady on Amon Bell up on the podium. She's listening.

* * *

Bell lifts his chin and looks out at the crowd. "Today marks the beginning of the start of the third week of enforcement for the Metahuman Registration and Public Safety Act. And unfortunately, the last few weeks have only underscored the wisdom of the voters and their duly elected representatives in making MRPSA the law of the land."

The man's jaw sets a hard line. His gaze is positively baleful as he comes to the next part of his speech: "Mutant terrorists have declared war on our city, striking at one of the enduring symbols of safety and security. They have butchered members of the NY DPS who were doing their jobs and enforcing the laws."

The sound of boos and jeers from the cage seems to grow louder.

"It has never been more clear that if the awesomely powerful are to walk among us, they must do us the simple courtesy of disclosing who they are and what they can do," continues Bell. "We can no longer afford to let gods walk among us with impunity, hiding behind masks or cute disguises. It is not just bad policy; it is suicide."

"But let us be clear: for all the bad actors, tens of thousands more law-abiding metahumans have complied with MRPSA." For the first time since the press conference began, Bell takes a cursory glance down at the prepared remarks at the podium. More than 120,000 metahumans have registered with NY DPS since registration first went into effect last year. And DPS has already identified and arrested more than 1,100 metahumans willfully evading the law. The law is working, and NY DPS is doing exemplary work enforcing, even at risk to life and limb."

In the cage, a woman wrests the megaphone from one of the protest organizers and shouts across the distance: "WHERE'S MY SON, YOU ASSHOLE? WHERE'S BRIAN?"

Bell ignores what's equal part staunts and plea. He sticks to the script, training his eyes squarely towards the camera. "And I say this to any metahuman who has yet to register: if you come forward now and do your civic duty, and you have no outstanding warrants for your arrest, you have my personal assurance that you will not be arrested or prosecuted. But that assurance has an expiration date. Now's the time."

Bell's jaw clenches again. He looks down at his paper, purses his lips, and folds it up, tucking it away in his pocket. "Now, I want to address an incident from last night's arrests in Manhattan," he continues, expression flinty. "The alleged shooting of metahuman Eliza Marshall."

The video of Captain Marvel photon-blasting a hole in a young woman in Mutant Town has already gone viral, and the mere mention of her name roils and rocks the crowd in the cage. Hollars sound, fists raise. A chant begins: "SINK THAT RAFT. SINK THAT RAFT." Others call-and-respond: "NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE! NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!"

People clamor against the confines of the cage, linking their fingers through the fence and rattling it so hard it visibly shakes and sounds. The officers around the perimeter shift in their stances, readying themselves. The air itself seems charged.

* * *

Gone are the days where problems like this could have been solved with a single bullet. A blade between the ribs. A little poison lacing an evening drink. Despite the security around here it really would be a simple matter for a mutant with some skill to permanently remove Bell from play.

Already Mystique is daydreaming about being in one of the nearby buildings with a nicely tuned sharpshooter rifle, forever putting an end to this hateful nonsense the flatscan keeps insisting on vomiting up.

People like this, however… They do not deserve such a quick and precise demise. And this is most decidedly not the time nor place for revenge to whisper his name. But, Bell's days are to be numbered.

Even while she's learning more about Bell and what makes him tick there are some faces in the crowd whom she may well approach later on regarding recruitment. The inferno of anger and vengeance are already burning hot. Many of these individuals simply need a little direction. Somewhere 'constructive' which they can go to be destructive.

The Brotherhood could provide them with such direction. If any of them are left standing before this morning is through, of course. Oh, how she does love a good trial by fire.

* * *

Jessica stares down at the ground for a moment, and mutters, "Damn it, Carol," a phrase she's uttered ever since she learned about the Marshall shooting. She shakes her head a little and takes another long drag. She keeps the cigarette accessible enough in case Luke wants to make another go at it.

She exhales sharply and looks back up at the man of the hour, the sour expression deepening all the more. She rocks back on her back heel a little bit, restless.

* * *

As tensions start to rise in the wake of Bell's words, Luke's shoulders bunch up and strain tightens his jaw. What was a simmer is threatening to boil and Cage casts a glance towards the protestors corral and he instinctually takes step closer to Jessica, even if she's one of the assembled that can take care of herself. As she mutters about Carol after the video is shown, a big arm loops around her shoulders and gives a light squeeze.

* * *

Ronnie's attention flicks between the man at the podium and the faces around him and those bearing signs and words of protest. He's tall, although even when an angel passes he has to lift his head a little, brows lifting as he takes in the wings and then the dazzling woman who accompanies the feathered billionaire. It seems this gathering's drawn some interesting people. He forces himself to slowly remember to breathe as he lets eyes drift back towards the podium as Amon Bell goes right into things.

The recap of the attacks turns his stomach, and not for the first time he can't help but shiver knowing that he could have been there at the Triskelion, could have been a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. But then what? Yesterday's events are fresh in everyone's mind, and he still can't believe that Captain Marvel had a hand in things. He'd wanted to talk to her again, but so much has made him uncertain of anything these days.

The renewed shouts from the cage break up his thoughts, but do little to set him at ease. If he hadn't thought it would potentially be a dangerous situation here before, he's definitely considering it now. Shoulders hunch up slightly as though he can make himself less conspicuous, eyes constantly moving as he peers about the rest of the crowd around him.

* * *

"Carol Danvers turned herself into DPS immediately following policing actions in Manhattan," Bell goes on, again fixing his eyes towards the television cameras and the millions who will end up watching this on their phones, their computers, their TV screens. "We have referred the matter to SHIELD, but I would be remiss if I did not say to the public that if you have only seen the video, then you don't know the full story."

There's a hush among the attentive press. This is news breaking, apparently, and they are rapt. Less quiet are the unsettled protestors. "THIS IS BS!" comes one shout. "JUSTICE FOR ELIZA!" comes another. Boos now sound from outside the free speech zone, from pedestrians and people who have gathered to watch the affair.

Bell practically sneers when at the rising temper of the crowd beyond. "Multiple eyewitness accounts attest that the young woman in question, Eliza Marshall, had used her metahuman powers to look like a known and a wanted member of the Brotherhood of Mutants," the man says, marking each clause with a shake of his index finger. "She made a deliberate choice to go out into the streets and intimidate law enforcement personnel, to make false representations to them, and to force them to make a split-second, life or death calls. I can't speak for SHIELD, but if I were Carol Danvers, I would have done EXACTLY the same thing."

Now the crowd erupts in genuine fury. "FUCK THIS!" someone from within the free speech zone shouts. A wave of people surges against it, straining the chain-linked wall. Sparks fly near one corner, and those near enough will smell the unmistakable waft of burning metal as one member of the crowd lays his hands on one of the metal pillars at the corner of the fence. The people pressed up against the fence begin to scream, because the chain-links are suddenly heating up, not quite glowing red but getting there. The people in front are trying to turn around, get away, but there's a sea of people behind them pushing them forward against the rapidly heating fence. It's shaping up to be pandemonium in a few dozen cubic feet.

It's also short-lived. Another meta in the crowd throws out both fists, sending a shockwave above the crowd and towards the fence, blowing the front-facing wall down and sending it collapsing onto the first line of DPS soldiers. The free-speech zone is free, and hundreds of people whose tempers have been brought to a boil are running forward — straight towards the presser.

* * *

Idly as Moonstar's gaze travels over the crowd she spies a familiar set of wings and the familiar heads of the blonds, but her gaze doesn't linger on them. Best not to give any indication she knows them, or is familiar.

And as she stands and listens, the woman slips her hands into her pockets. She keeps them there, which is good, for when Amon Bell says alleged and then brings up the video of Captain Marvel blasting the teenager through and through, Dani's fingers curl into tight fists.

Thankfully, the old cliche of 'if looks could kill' isn't true here and with effort, Moonstar pulls her gaze away from the footage and turns her attention to the crowd as the mood shifts to something heavier.

And then it only worsens thanks to Bell's own words.

"Dammit."

While Moonstar understands exactly what those protestors are feeling, that doesn't stop her from moving towards them. She's going to try to talk some of them down, she has to try. It's another powder keg that needs to be stopped and whether it can be, or not, she has to try. When a runner nears her, Moonstar reaches out to grab them. "No, this isn't the answer. We need to calm down!"

* * *

Raven pauses mid-step, staying put seconds after the woman with the megaphone yells her piece. It's not only the volume, but the anguish that reaches her very core, leaving her cold the more she lingers on its residual suffering.

In her silence, many voices continue to speak aloud. The voice in her head, however, is not hers. She has almost forgot about the Titam comms, fighting the urge to brush her hair away from her face. Instead, she finds her footing, maintaining her calm facade as she covers her mouth with the cuff of her knitted sleeve.

~One can say he's overreacting. But with this crowd…~

She never finishes the sentence. Her eyes narrow as they lift to watch the screens, widening as they take in the displayed images. The rage that carries on simply boils over in less than a second thanks to the metas who force the hand, her voice lost among those who are now panicking. Raven staggers back, trying to keep herself from being crushed.

* * *

This is exactly why you never stand in the front of a crowd. Bodies are surprisingly difficult to navigate around, whether upright ones or ones on the ground.

For a moment it seems as though there may be many injuries, possibly casualties, due to the front row effectively getting pinned to the grill which is the heated chainlink fence. Once those are removed from play they're taking this blind rampage right toward the well-armed heart of the beast.

Will the humans resort to using live munitions against the citizens of this city? The way things are progressing..they may not have a choice.

Mystique is content to keep her distance and avoid getting trampled or swept away. She's also perfectly content to allow this tide to flow unhindered in its own direction. They're all -far- beyond any point of trying to contain the situation, this conference was doomed from the moment it had been conceptualized.

* * *

There are glimpses of faces here that Peter recognizes. Either just from general fame, or more personally, because of his other job. It's become a finely honed thing, the lack of any recognition in those hazel eyes as they sweep the crowds except when believably appropriate. Make a mistake once, and it can cost you; he knows that too well.

And it's never been more appropriate now than it is today.

For right now, though, Peter Parker stays near the Bugle reporter on location, Charlie Snow, a frown tugging at the corners of his lips as he listens to the rhetoric that pours from Bell's.

"Even smells like crap," he mumbles under his breath.

"What was that?" interjects Snow, just barely paying any attention to his photographer through the increasing volume of the protesters.

"Err. Nothing — just — um, wow, things are getting kinda heated out there, huh-?"

It's a lot more true than he knows. But not as much as one might think; at the base of his skull, that spider-sense of his buzzes, a low tingle of warning that worms its way down his spine with ever-increasing intensity as the speech turns to Carol Danvers — Captain Marvel. Peter's eyes narrow. He hears the shouts.

Even this far away, he can feel the heat prickling at the tiny hairs along his arms—

"-What-? Nevermind that! This is great material! Get a shot of him here, would—"

— just seconds before the boom.

The free speech zone is free. Charlie Snow is one of the first people to make a run for it.

Peter Parker is not with him.

* * *

"To 'let gods walk among us with impunity,'" repeats, derisively, someone whose mutation has specially-designed him to run into image problems of this nature over and over. Warren glances sidelong at Alison, looking tired of the very refrain. "How many years did we spend trying to spread the message we aren't that much different?" The question is quite rhetorical. "It makes you feel like you just wasted a decade of your life. The same things are still being said."

A flicker runs visibly through his wings as Bell brings up Eliza Marshall, his feathers spreading slightly. "Let's see how he spins it," he says. "It will inform how we answer — if we do."

Warren, suffice to say, was not expecting him to spin it like THAT.

"This is not good," he has time to say, before the fence starts to glow red-hot… and then blows away entirely as someone projects a shockwave of force. Warren whirls as the crowd starts to surge forward, and though he's not actually in any condition for this, it seems he really doesn't have a choice.

"I apologize in advance," Warren says to Alison. It's his only warning before he opens his wings fully, grabs her, and launches himself straight up into the air with a strained few wingbeats. His face goes white from the exertion so soon after yesterday, but with another cleaving downbeat of his wings — the wind of which stirs up a choking cloud of dust — he swings Alison in an upward arc to land her on the low roof of the nearby ferry terminal building. He'd normally carry her, but in his condition he's barely fit to carry himself. It shows in the way he lists slightly in the air, his usual quickness and grace distinctly lessened.

Swiveling back around, he maintains his hover about fifteen feet off the ground, his wings flaring open to try to catch the attention of the mob. It's a feeble barrier, but without more concrete powers sometimes iconography is all Angel's really got. He hopes Alison's got something more decisive behind him. "Stop this!" he yells. "It's not going to help — "

* * *

There is a groan from Charlie up on her rooftop perch, she tags the two metas with her goggles for later review and then says over Titan's comm. ~Rae I'm … not going to bounce down there and fight DPS as long as they use nonlethal riot control.~ and yes it pains her to say that.

"~I am going to take away those sniper rifles though before someone makes the wrong call and shoots anyone on either side I think. Please get clear and call me if you need help right away okay?~

With that Charlie vanishes from her recessed shadows of her perch, a spill of crimson smoke drifting out of the shadows.

What happens next is exceptionally fast, there is a burst of crimson smoke … one on a building.. one within an open window of an office tower, and the final on a billboard. Just a staccato of crimson blips and spilled smoke for anyone watching from below.

For the snipers it is a lot more chaotic, flash of smoke and then their gun is gone… one… two… three… and the three sniper placements that Misfit was able to tag are disarmed, because there is no way they were loaded with tranquilizers and honestly they are not useful in a real crowd control situation.

In Charlie's opinion at least.

* * *

The speech goes on. The explanation — the justification for an accident that lead to a mutant girl's death —

All wrong. So wrong. Alison says nothing back, but her closest hand moves to close over Warren's, squeezing down a gesture that communicates one clear truth: this is not going to end well.

Behind them, the chain cage shakes and rattles to hold in the fury of all the protestors. Turning, Alison looks back on them, her eyes widening to the too-bright glow of someone's ability burning straight through the steel. The sound of it all feeds her — she is saturated in it, their pain, their hatred, their struggle — as it escalates into a fever pitch.

What's even worse: she and Warren are trapped between them and the podium, seconds from being crushed.

Luckily, Warren — despite his condition — moves fast.

"What?!—" Alison had both the time and breath to spit out, before she's whisked up into his arms, then into the air — and then physically sandbagged straight onto a low roof, perched high enough to save her from the onrush of the protestors. Scrambling up to her feet, a little dishevelled from the throw but otherwise unharmed, she looks immediately for Warren — relieved to find him safe (for now) in the air.

The same is not promising for those below.

Sound charges through her. Alison grimaces, then calls over, "Warren —!" Unsaid, and warned: LOOK AWAY.

With that, the Dazzler lights up, releasing all her stored energy in a single, blinding PULSE of light, meant to do no more than flashbang the eyes of those rushing the podium. "STOP THIS!" she demands, down from her perch.

* * *

Well. Then there's that. Luke wishes he could be surprised, but really the place was like a powder keg, wrapped in gasoline, dipped in napalm. Just add deep-frying and a stick and it would be sold at the World's Fair and marketed as -

Registration Dogs: The Angst You Can Eat

Cage sighs and mutters a, "Sorry, babe." Down to Jessica before he pulls out his SHIELD lanyard and strings it around his neck. To some it might make him a target, but to others like law enforcement, they'll know he's not here to cause more trouble but to help quell that which already exists.

The Man Mountain heads toward the chainlink fence, looking to wrench it apart and off the fallen, heedless of the heat which does nothing to his impenetrable skin.

* * *

Everything snaps, perhaps inevitably, but there's always some tiny, irrational part that just hopes things will work out fine despite the face of everything working against it.

People around him are moving as the flood gates are opened, the only feeble barrier holding back an angry mob now suddenly forcefully burst. In Ronnie's mind are a litany of could-have's and what-if's, regrets quickly dismissed for the fact that without Martin Stein present, Ronnie's just as ordinary as the other human onlookers present. That however doesn't mean he's safe. Things have ramped up into ugly all too quickly, and the teenager just wants to make sure he's not caught up in the middle of it. …all right, so maybe it might be a little late for that. Not so much the fact that he can at least move.

The flurry of feathers has him look back towards Warren, hearing the man's shout, his intention echoed amidst the chaos by others trying to avoid a repeat of the other day's events. Ronnie tries to add in his own words in warning, in agreement- "This isn't making things better guys!" -but it's difficult when panic sweeps through people and even his quarterback frame is getting too jostled by people trying to get away. On the bright side, his stumbling saves him from being blinded by the light show displayed by the pop star.

* * *

Luke apologizes and gets his SHIELD badge on, and Jess grimaces. But she doesn't try to stop him. She doesn't even protest.

She's looking more towards the civilians, people who might well get crushed between DPS and the protestors.

And so she starts trying to get them out. She focuses on people who are already falling in the panic, in danger of being trampled. She scoops one up, and grasshopper leaps towards the back edge of it, setting the hapless high-heeled woman down. "Sorry for the bumpy ride," she says grimly, and wades back in to find others to help.

* * *

~Trying to.~ Although monotone in her response to Misfit over the comm, Raven sounds a little terse. ~Anyway. Being less obvious is the idea here. I'll be fine.~

She doesn't even know if Charlie is listening to her after that, but getting clear is her priority. While there are some who are trying to stop the action ahead of her, she stays behind to lend a hand to those who got caught in the middle of the mess.

Pale hands initially extend toward those whose fear is great, but the flash of light causes her to bow her head forward in order to not be completely blinded. "…If I were you, I'd get out of here now," she breathes, trying to match her voice to the level of noise in the air so that the people closest to her can hear.

* * *

This is a disaster. Amon Bell has called a press conference during the most sensitive, fraught moment possible, and then practically baited and enflamed the crowd into violence.

Now the cage that penned in the protestors has fallen, and the ones who aren't kneeling on the ground clutching burn wounds are surging angrily forward towards Bell and the reporters, many of whom are white as sheets. Some bolt for cover, others are like deer caught in the headlights. many of the cameras turn towards the thronging protestors.

Do-gooders are doing their best to contain the situation on both sides. Charlie snatches DPS sniper rifles up above in a literal flash, causing some heated traffic on radio channels and some consternation on the roofs. Moonstar appeals to one of the runners, shaking some caution into her while five more move past them. A weakened Warren presents himself as a symbol, appealing to the better angels of the crowd's nature. Dazzler settles for a blinding flash-bang. Between the two of them, the forward surge of the guillotine-crowd slows.

And Luke Cage rescues protestor and DPS officer alike from deep burns from a boiling hot, chain-link fence. It tears apart in his hands, freeing people stumbling to their feet.

But none of these assorted acts of heroism keeps this from being a disaster. So why hasn't Amon Bell wavered an inch from his place at the podium? Why does he look so steely and satisfied at once?

Maybe because of what happens next. He shouts: "BRING THEM UP!"

And then the waters part. They look like submarines emerging from the water at first, five figures beyond the pier. But they keep rising and rising and rising and it's clear they aren't some abstract cylindrical vessels but humanoid. Great, hulking, twenty-five foot things in dark purple and stainless steel. And they're rising up out of the water and into the bright morning air. Arms lift, and they're flying towards the scene.

The X-ers, those people who have been at this for a decade, would have reason to know exactly what those figures are, and what they're capable of.

Sentinels.

The DPS soldiers at the presser bring their rifles up to aim, but hold their fire even in the face of angry men and women running towards them. They have their orders.

At the podium, Amon Bell smiles grimly.

* * *

In a literal flash Mystique is among those blinded by Dazzler's downright dazzling display. It's a big and unexpected shock which has the metamorph yelping and bringing hands up to shield her eyes, though the temporary blindness ebbs away faster than the norm.

Most impressive, Miss Blaire.

The change in the crowd has her honestly debating changing up her gameplan. For now she stands off to the side with a cellphone out, taking video of the situation. This is her excuse for standing alone off to the side. If she wasn't doing anything but watching, well that's just suspicious. Though what she's contemplating involves copying one of Bell's security officers and trying to get close enough for that whole 'knife in the ribs' idea which she had before.

Decisions, decisions…

The instant that the command is voiced..and the Sentinels begin to rise..Mystique knew what she -should- have done.

Should have, but didn't.

For the first time in a very long while the metamorph is looking concerned. That bastard KNEW this would happen. He set them up exactly like how he had claimed the mutants had set up the MRDPS last night!

Mystique can no longer stand around watching the situation unfold. With these damned machines coming into play her time would be better served trying to help other mutants escape the area.

* * *

The sound of Alison's voice alone — the tone of it — tells Warren what he needs to know, and he turns his back immediately before the flash-bang flares out.

It's been nagging at the back of Warren's mind, this entire time. Why conduct the press conference like this? After what happened yesterday, it wouldn't have been that unusual for the entire thing to have been made much more secure — to have disallowed potentially-violent protestors this close to it at all. Why not only allow a crowd, but then bait them, once they're here?

The answer comes up out of the bay. The rest of the color leaves Warren's features as stark recognition floods his eyes.

"You — " Fury turns off his better judgment. He turns in the air and makes use of his ability to just bypass the crowd to actually start flying towards Bell, his pace slower and more graceless than usual — but unerring. "You are NOT using those on these people! Call them OFF."

* * *

"This? All this??"

*THWIP*

"NOT. OKAY."

This is the sound of the angriest webline in the whole wide world as it splits apart in mid-air to snag the guns of several DPS officers and citizens alike seconds before either can make decisions they may or may not regret for the rest of their lives; a firm enough yank pulls them away from yet -more- storming protesters before they can be bowled over as a certain vigilante in red-and-blue lands upon a nearby lamp post.

Spider-Man looks mad. He is mad. He's frustrated. This all feels so deliberate and he wants to just kind of punch Amon Bell in the face maybe just a little bit — just a small tiny punch — but he knows that anger is not going to help him here.

And so he vents his frustrations the only way he knows how:

He tries his best to help.

With the depression of middle and ring fingers against his palms, adhesive spins rapidly growing webs to make a wall between the surging meta protesters and the members of the press trying to flee; stronger than steel, that webbing should — hopefully — hold up well enough… and act as a shield against any trigger happy DPS. Hopefully.

Really, all he has right now are hopes.

A hope, a web-line, and off Spider-Man swings. "Everyone needs to CALM DOWN—"

Which is exactly when Alison's lightshow goes off.

"AGH GOD MY EYES I'M BLIND" shouts Spider-Man in dismay. None of this stops him from twisting through the air nimbly, holding his face with one hand while he simultaneously continues his efforts to contain the situation with the other. This is how he copes. Let him cope. "HOW AM I EVER GOING TO FIGHT CRIME AGAIN UNLESS I DEVELOP SUPERIOR SENSES AND BUY SOME BATO — oh wait I was just closing my eyes I was just closing my eyes it's okay guys-"

SPLOOSH goes the water.

"-ohhh no sploosh doesn't sound like a super okay sound-"

White lenses crack open. They behold, in fact, that SPLOOSH is not a super okay sound, as Sentinels rise from the depths like great mechanical Elder Things rising from the drowned city. He feels a shiver run down his spine. As he lands, white lenses snap towards Bell's direction.

"You can't be — are you serious?! This is overkill, what is the matter with you!?"

He doesn't have time to wait for an answer. The Sentinels are coming.

He knows enough to know what that means.

"YOU ALL NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE!"

* * *

There's nothing Ronnie can do but watch as things happen around him. It's a cocktail of explosive emotions and even though if you looked hard enough you could see people trying to help, trying to keep the peace, it's like grabbing at quickly unraveling ends. The thought that nothing would stop things except the extreme sends a chill down his spine.

He continues to move as he can, twisting and dodging between and around people either trying to leave or trying to help the protesters. He tugs up someone who'd fallen from stumbling about blindly, his hand shrugged off as they move on. Others shove past, and Ronnie in turn tries to angle himself back towards the edges of… Well there aren't really edges of anything anymore. Lines have dissolved and people disperse in just about every direction. Ronnie just barely manages to stop himself from bumping into Raven as she tries to assist people herself.

And then he hears Bell's shout, and he turns to look back at the man, almost stunned to see how he's still standing there, as though nothing were happening at all. Or…that everything were happening like he'd expected it to.

Blue eyes turn towards the waters beyond. What had Bell called for? Ronnie's eyes widen as the massive humanoid forms emerge, but only Raven may be close enough to hear the breathless words that slip from him then.

"What the hell…?!"

* * *

That's one saved.

One person. It's not much, but it's better than nothing. Dani knows this, but it doesn't stop the sense of doom and failure that hovers seemingly nearby.

With one person convinced to go home, don't cause trouble, Dani reaches for another only she misses her target. The flash of light from above hits her eyes and the Cheyenne finds herself momentarily blinded.

In the time it takes for her to clear the after-images of the bright lights, Amon Bell shouts his command. The water gives way to reveal terrible machines of destruction and death.

Familiar machines.

Terrible things.

Moonstar's vision returns just as the machines take flight, coming for them all.

"Dear god."

Then, Danielle Moonstar steps forward to the closest person. She gives the person a hard shove. "Get out of here. Now. Run." And then the next, "Go. Leave. NOW." And the next.

And with each touch Moonstar's hands grow colder. Icy. Which perhaps helps shock people into action.

Not far from the area another winged creature takes flight; Brightwind. The winged-horse called to his rider's side thanks to the echo of heart-felt horror felt from her.

* * *

Jessica holds her arms out to two of the reporters. "Come on, I'm getting you…"

She looks up and her eyes widen. "Really? Fucking really? It's fucking giant robot day? Christ on a cracker."

She shakes it off, and exhales. Well, no more leaping around for her. Not with flying robots. She was already concerned she might get shot at while she was trying to help. No need to poke the ginormous metallic bears. This leaves her momentarily sort of frozen before she just turns and continues focusing on what she was doing. Helping the panicked and the trampled, as best she can, either by steering them with (very!) gentle shoves and quiet, "Go, get out of heres," or by pushing through to help them up and get them up and on their feet and moving again.

* * *

There are very few ways that Luke is vulnerable, and a blinding flash is one of them. For a moment, his movements are stunted as he stands and balls up to big fists and rubs them into his eyes. Sadly, the image he's greeted with when he regains his sight is the vision of the Sentinels rising from the sea. "Sweet Christmas."

Which means shit just got real.

In Luke's bellow of voice, he yells, "Everybody, off the streets!" Before he's reaching down to haul the fallen back to their feet and starting to herd those he can out of the plaza.

* * *

Misfit sings to herself "One little .. two little.. threee little sniper rifles…" as she throws each of them one at a time into an active volcano in the south pacific.

Then Charlie is back like a flash, well a flash of crimson smoke, not like the literally Flash, or Bart, sure they all move fast but it very different. She appears with a slash of faint crimson smoke back in her shadowy perch where she started all of this.

~HOLY CHEESE AND CRACKERS… they have GIANT ROBOTS .. guys!?~ over the comm now as Charlie watches eyes wide as said giant robots stand in the bay. ~So.. two questions.. one do we have intel on these giant robots .. and two… why don't we have a giant Robot.. I need one of these for voltran style fights.~

* * *

And it gets worse.

As the seawaters part to the distant shine of familiar metal, Alison pales. Oh, no. No, no, no —

"War —" she calls, because she needs him, needs a plan to keep those machines off the public — but he's already gone, his wings propelling him away furiously toward the man on the podium. Alison looks after him in shock — what the hell is he doing! — as she runs a hand desperately through her hair.

Trying to fight off the frustration of feeling abandoned, she turns eyes back down on the crowd — at least, she can spot familiar faces: Moonstar and Brightwind. Good, good. Spider-Man, too, she recognizes — who seems to be yelling about his eyes. She grimaces. As for the rest of them, she knows what they are now: unsuspecting prey animals for what will happen. Mass neutralization of anything mutant. And the Sentinels don't care if they use force. They are machines. They are made to bypass human restraint, human inhibition, human morality.

"YOU ALL NEED TO LEAVE!" screams the Dazzler, up from her perch — a mockery of all the stages from which she used to sing. No songs now, no music, no hope — only the horror she shouts that can barely breach the noise off the crowd.

Desperate, she transduces more of her light — not to blind, but to scrawl glowing, holographic messages hanging through the air, over the crowd:

RUN

DANGER

GET OUT

* * *

Everything is jarring her concentration. Every little fragment of emotion, every single person within range creates different threads, different shades, different tones starkly contrasting against one another, cacophonic as it crashes against her controlled senses. From heroic frustration to poignant fury, finally landing on Bell's grim satisfaction.

Over all of this, she hears Ronnie's breathless surprise. Violet eyes glance over at the jock, then to where he is looking.

" —Oh dear Azar…"

Luke's bellowing snaps her out of it, allowing her to catch onto Charlie's exclamation in her ear. As ridiculous as it all sounds, it's there. Very real and there.

~Move.~ It's quiet. Too quiet a reply, but urgent. And she says it louder — to whoever is nearby, to Ronnie — as she starts moving back. "Move…!"

* * *

Warblade arrives from Downtown Manhattan.

* * *

Warblade heads to Halo Corporation.

* * *

Those trying to shepherd people away are largely successful. The emergence of robots onto the scene has people confused, frightened, scattering. The wave is starting to break.

Meanwhile, Warren flies off the sidelines and right towards Bell. One of the Sentinels mirrors him, strangely graceful as it flies from the Hudson to hover right behind Amon Bell. This time of day, sun being where it is, it casts a looming shadow over Angel.

Bell very deliberately turns off the mic at the podium, regarding Warren with a skeptical eye. "You people crossed the line, not us," he says, his baritone rumble brought just low enough to carry between them. "Show you can keep your kind in control, keep them from blowing up our buildings, and just maybe this stops."

The other four sentinels are more active, arcing through the sky in weaving, searching loops. When they find a target, their aim is unerring. Red laser bolts like something out of a bad sci-fi flick shoot from their outstretched arms in rapid-fire staccato, bringing people to the ground and kicking up dirt or dinging concrete.

Some people try and fight back. Mr. Shock Wave, who knocked down the fence, sends another ring at one of the robots. It buffets it back a few feet… and catches the robot's attention. Then he's riddled with blasts, flying towards the ground. He's still when he lands. Others try to flee. The sentinels let most of them go, but some… a very specific some, they pelt with that same laser-fire, catching them in the back and sending them sprawling.

One of them heads for Mystique, even disguised as she is. The beeline is too unmistakable to be anything else, even thirty feet out: she's been made.

Another heads for who everyone knows is the real menace of the day: Peter Parker.

* * *

"Y-yeah…" Good advice. Ronnie nods numbly at Raven's urging, his eyes still fixed upon the large purple robots that sweep closer to the park.

And then they start to fire.

With a shout Ronnie steps back, unable to help but continue to stare even as the rest of him knows they need to leave, now. It's like witnessing a nightmare, but it's too late to regret coming. No one had expected this, but Amon Bell's unveiled his greatest weapon against the metahumans who've resisted registration. This isn't right. This shouldn't be happening…

Bodies sprawl to the ground, and if people hadn't been running in terror earlier, they seem to need no further encouragement to evacuate the area. Ronnie isn't about to argue that this is a bad plan. He can't do anything right now, not as he is, not without the Professor. But it's hard to see people falling to the Sentinel's laserfire and be helpless to stop it.

* * *

The arrival of the Sentinel behind Amon Bell forces Warren to slam on the brakes. Even in his furious, heedless state — which flew him straight into the teeth of men with rifles — Warren isn't reckless enough to waste himself in trying to take on a Sentinel solo. That in itself just enrages him more, and his wings flare in defiant outrage as that shadow drowns his slight, angelic form. It's not a good portent as far as imagery goes.

Bell responds, and if possible — Warren gets madder. "'You people,'" he hisses, "'your kind' — that is exactly the kind of rhetoric I've bled for over a decade to stop, because it doesn't help — anything — "

Frustrated, he wheels in the air, his gaze sweeping with a certain hopelessness over the dire sight of running mutants being cut down. "Don't treat us like animals, don't lump us in with the Brotherhood, that'd be a start. You had a choice how to respond and you escalated, and now innocent people are paying for crimes that aren't theirs."

He wings back towards where Dazzler stands on that roof, making her light-words in the air. He seems to have no idea she's pissed at him. Completely oblivious, he lands at her side, though it's not with his usual grace — he staggers a few steps and to his hands and knees, his head briefly spinning from too much exertion, too fast.

Despite that, he's still talking. "These people aren't equipped to deal with Sentinels," he says, a little slurred, trying to push back to a stand. "We have to be the distraction until everyone gets out."

* * *

"Oh you are just the WORST kind of crazy person!"

This is Spider-Man's parting snipe for Amon 'Worst Crazy' Bell as he spins up another web-line and veers off into the air. A lot of his efforts are geared towards guiding people -out- of the area, and trying to keep them from rushing in to dead ends in a panic. It helps.

"Ugh, why couldn't he have been the kind of politician that DOESN'T hurt people, like, uh…
"…
"…
"…

"……………… um, table that."

Yeah that's right. Spider-Man's getting political.

His efforts help. But in the end, it's not enough to save everyone. And all the barbs of words in the world doesn't do much against laser fire. A shout of "NO!" falls on deaf mechanical ears as bright red plasmic fire sears through the air, downing at least one person in the process; several more follow. A web line carries attaches to one limb, -yanking- it aside to divert some of that fire somewhere harmless —

— and then he feels that distinctive tingle of warning at the back of his skull. He looks. Sees the approaching Sentinel.

"oh fiddlesticks"

And despite that brave proclamation (terrified squeak), Spider-Man's actual response to the incoming threat is immediate and unhesitating.

He flings himself right towards it.

… And then -past- it.

And further still, carrying himself through the air on lines of webbing to try to divert the thing's attention and course away from the protesters and the press and anyone else. If it's after him, then, well —

— at the very least, he can make sure he can get -one- of these things away from here.

"HEY NOW WOULD BE A REALLY GOOD TIME FOR YOU TO REVOLT AGAINST YOUR CREATORS AND START THE ROBOT REVOLUTION"

Of course, he webs its face as he goes.

"POST-SCRIPT, I AM NOT YOUR CREATOR."

As you do.

* * *

It was bad enough when Luke thought the Sentinels were just being used as an intimidation factor. But then they start /shooting/ at the crowd where it'd be rather impossible to delineate with who is a mutant threat, a protestor or just a casual innocent bystander. "Aw hell naw." And now they made Cage swear. He'll send the bill for the Swear Jar to Bell's office when this is all said and done.

As people start fleeing, Luke is wading upstream through their swarming bodies, yelling, "Jones!" He's lost her in the crowd and the fear is starting to settle in. His mission of finding her gets waylaid, however, when he's jumping in front of one of those blasts to save an elderly looking gentleman from the wrath of the Sentinels.

* * *

With the benefit of her high ground, the Dazzler does her part to usher a path out for the more disoriented protestors: well-charged by the noise, she demonstrates her light-bending skill, painting flaring markers, arrows, and blinking guidemarks to label the best direction away from the closing Sentinels.

It's still not enough. The laserfire on civilians makes her stomach turn. She's not doing enough.

Alison turns one last, hapless glane in Warren's direction, at the podium — the Sentinel hovering behind Amon Bell — and wants to converge on that showdown… but they came here as Aegis. To shield. To protect.

She can see one Sentinel closing on Spider-Man. Another toward — some civilian.

Though her heart begs her to remain up where she is, safe, Alison knows what she has to do. She —

Warren is back. Her forward pace stalls, and whatever anger she feels is momentarily forgotten, reaching out to try to support him through his dizzy spell. He shouldn't be here, she thinks. He's in no condition. "Careful! We will —" she says urgently. "I have to go down there. If I draw them, you can't be nearby."

Her hand tightens on his shoulder, then Alison lets go, and vaults the edge of the roof. It's a bit of a jump — but a photonic flare helps soften her landing to a bruising roll. With that, she rises — her eyes are on that Sentinel converging on the disguised Mystique. Spider-Man seems to be engaging his own.

"Down!" urges the unsuspecting Alison, to Mystique, as she dashes to try to provide cover. She aims up one hand. She knows Sentinels — and charges up a clear, photonic blast straight for where she remembers Scott Summers' old training — where the visual sensors should be.

* * *

Some may call her a terrorist but Mystique truly wants what (she believes) is best for all mutants. She truly, genuinely, wants to help get the other metas out of here before they become captured or killed. She has every intention on helping to save at least SOME of them—

Until she's made.

Only four Sentinels push toward the crowd and out of all of these people… One of them centers upon her. Sometimes she has to make the tough calls. The call being made now is to abandon any thought of aid to instead save her own sorry ass.

Imagine her surprise when Dazzler suddenly drops down to lend a hand! 'Down' is something which the morphic mutant can do!

The urge to break her cover is running high. She could grow wings and take to the sky. She could make herself smaller and dart beneath the evacuating crowd. It's a tough decision but so long as Dazzler is running interference Mystique settles on 'running like hell.' Just like everyone else.

The feeling of being under the crosshairs of some high powered laser cannon, that never goes away.

* * *

@emit With most of the crowd dealt with, there's just…everyone the giant robots are shooting at. And for one asshole moment, Jessica Jones considers just ducking into cover and staying there till this is done. Because where normally she could start punching and destroying robots, she is well aware that by if she does, she's putting herself on the wrong side of the law. And while she has shrugged at jail before, risked things before for what she thought was right, there are reasons why she hesitates now. Even though at least one of the people getting shot at is someone she knows and has worked with before.

To say nothing of just getting shot.

She never claimed to be a very good hero.

But…

"Shit," she mutters.

She waits until a Sentinel is flying over head, and then leaps straight up. Plausible deniability leap. Look at her, just trying to get out of here. Whoops, if all goes well, she's going to collide with a Sentinel with all her super strength and damage it. So sorry about that, DPS…

At least Luke will be able to see her?

* * *

Warren flew to the podium and while Dani cranes her neck to try and get a glimpse of him, she can't quite get a good enough bead. Not when things are spiraling faster and faster.

The lighted words above are seen and there's a silent thanks to Dazzler, as she too tries to help direct people out and away.

Which brings Moonstar back to the topic at hand. "GET OUT."

And then the lasers fall and the Cheyenne almost gasps in horror, but then realization dawns upon her. The sense of death nearby isn't here; at least not with the laser beam attacks. It's something at least.

Brightwind for his part slams down (reminiscent of yesterday's arrival) right near Dani. "Brightwind we need to get the people out." Already Moonstar is ushering people over to him, "Get them out."

The winged-horse tosses his head at his rider, "No, you are not fighting the robots."

Brightwind whickers with disgust. Stomps a hoof.

"No fighting robots!"

And while Moonstar intended to hold hard to that argument, it's soon lost as Dazzler enters the fray and raises a hand against the Sentinels. Seeing that, Dani says, "Ok change of plans - go fight them. Be careful."

Brightwind needs very little urging and so, he rears and wheels and launches right back in the air; The Great Dazzler will not fight a Sentinel by herself. Not with Brightwind here to help.

* * *

"Snikes..!" is all Charlie can manage to think of saying when the Voltron Robots start to shoot lasers at the random metahumans and mutants in the crowd. Over the comms ~I don't want one anymore.~

Peter probably has this right, he is doing his hero thing, leading one away from the crowd. He totally has this is what Charlie is thinking as she watches him fling himself away and off rabbiting away from the Sentinel on his tail.

The people who don't seem to have this though are the poor protesters and others being lasered down in pretty much cold blood. This is absolutely awful and one hundred percent unacceptable.

~I got this!~ is what Misfit declares with some confidence over the comms before leaping into action. She probably maybe doesn't got this, though she is diving from her perch… vanishing with a slash of crimson smoke once she has some momentum.

The slash of smoke reappears one a shared trajectory with one of the flying sentinels, a bat gloved hand reaching down in a flash and Charlie's fingers grazing the back of the Sentinel that just shot some people in the crowd.

Both the young Titan and the Sentinel in question vanish with a giant KAPANG (to those mystically inclined) of Chaos magic. Mystically sorts definitely heard that.

Elsewhere some very bad people heard that. (foreboding music cue).

Meanwhile in the south pacific… … .. The peace of the island and it's active volcano's peace are completely disrupted as a Sentinel (and small chaosbat) appear in the Volcano, physics helpfully crashing the Sentinel into the lava even as Misfit tries to jump back to New York and not end up in the lava.

Charlie fails…. flailing and trying again before she ends up crispy and only manages to bounce with crimson smoke to the rim of the volcano in heap, bleeding out of her nose.

Well at least Misfit didn't die, this can be a learning moment <tm>.

* * *

"If you draw them? — if we draw them, Alison, you don't have the — Alison!"

But she has already hopped off the building and run off. "Alison get back here!" Warren yells, completely unheeding of the fact that all she really did is 'what he just did, a few minutes ago.'

Working his wings with a grimace — he thinks he can do a little more flying — he pushes himself back into the air with a falter and wobble that soon levels out as he avails himself of the harsh winds whipping in from off the sea. Using them to bolster his own current weakness with the adroitness of a creature built and bred to fly, he follows Alison in aerial pursuit.

His spike of temper passed, he finally seems to have remembered training — and teamwork. Alison goes for where she knows the visual sensors are; Warren darts up towards its face, making himself the first thing it will register upon regaining visual function, trying to snare its attention and keep it on himself and off Alison on the ground.

* * *

To create dark, shadowy barriers to protect the lives in the line of fire, or to stay anonymous among the fleeing civilians?

This is a question Raven never thinks about as she acts, forcing herself to get out of harm's way. She wants to help. She has done what she could in terms of acting as a stranger among strangers. But she knows if she does anything out of the ordinary, she automatically becomes a target. The chaos only adds onto the fact she can slip up at any time, doing its worst to wear down her mental defenses.

Flee. That's all you can do right now.

Misfit's voice confirms she's doing okay for herself. Out of the corner of the half-demon's eye, a fleeting glimpse of Spider-Man dealing with his own personal sentinel only hits her harder, hoping that he survives the ordeal.

* * *

"No one's innocent," Bell tells the Angel on his way out, deep voice dripping with disdain. Grow up, the tone says. Then the big man clasps his hands behind his back and watches the violent ballet unfold in front of him. It would be an obscene display, were any camera around to capture his reaction. But they're all focused on —

One Sentinel getting shot with a face-full of webbing, as Spider-Man tries to draw it away. The gambit works. The big robot sees an unregistered metahuman and gives chase, flying through the air as Spider-man slings his way through his home-town. Laser-bolts speed after him , flaring at his side, over his shoulder. He's getting the job done, but that robot is a faster flier than he is a web-slinger. It's gaining ground.

Another Sentinel is firing a scatter-shot of lasers right at Luke Cage, who is taking the hit for an old man… who promptly turns himself into something like taffy and uses the cover to shoot away, affixing himself to a nearby post, then stretching out towards another, and another further back. He's long gone, and Luke is taking fire, each shot absorbed by his impervious skin and (oddly) not even making a mess of his clothes.

A third is getting… sucked into Misfit's port, careening into lava. Misfit gets the only true kill of the night so far; not even a Sentinel can survive that.

The fourth finds itself with a fist-full of Dazzler spray, right in its optics. The seemingly unflappable machine jolts, wavers in the air, uncertain. It's enough to give Mystique time to make a break for it, and maybe for the pegasus to get a shot in if it really wants. But in a moment, it will have its sights on a combative Warren Worthington, and it will not be pleased.

The fifth one is caught by Jessica Jones flying leap upward. That doesn't destroy it, not hardly, but it does see it hurtling upwards and allows more people a chance to escape.

And they are escaping. The crowd is thinning. The laser-shot people on the ground are either prone or gently stirring; it seems the frightening blasts had calibrated so they wouldn't kill. The reporters are shell-shocked but still watching and recording. And Amon Bell looms above it all. His jaw has tightened with each sentinel distracted, battered, set off its mission. This was meant to be a show of unequivocal and unflinching force. There are people in this crowd who have disrupted that, and there will consequences.

"ID the downed mutants," Bell tells the lieutenant who steps towards them. "And put them on the next ferry."

* * *

Brightwind will definitely lash out with front hooves towards the head of that massive robot.

Then with attack unleashed, the Asgardian pegasus begins evasive maneuvers. He is a war horse, after all. He knows now he must avoid any and all attacks from the large metal contraption.

Moonstar, for her part, continues to push, pull and drag people away. Bodily. Her gaze rises upward in the air at times to catch on the winged ones above, and then slants back towards the ground for Dazzler as well.

There was a glimpse of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage as well, but for now for Dani the best that can be done now is getting people away. She'll reach out to the others later, when things are less life and robotic death.


Ronnie hated running, but with little other choice, at least he could run well. He moved to steady and aid others as he came upon them, those still distracted by what had happened behind them, terrified that the metallic monsters would give chase. To be fair he couldn't help but share that paranoia, but he knows he has to keep moving.

And then what? This would be all over the news for sure, but who knows how it will play out thereafter? At least he could tell the Justice League, talk to Professor Stein…

But then what? The question's annoying in more ways than one. They could fight this, but that'd be more trouble if the government was actually supportive of things. Fists tighten as Ronnie pushes onwards, throwing a glance back over his shoulder. There has to be something they can do.


Warren isn't at top form. But even not at top form, he flies better than the vast majority of fliers out there. It's what he does.

And once he has that Sentinel locked on, he will lead it away from the scattering crowd, until he loses it in a low-hanging cloud.

He comes limping back through the air a moment later, settling back to earth beside Alison with the drifting quality of a feather due to pure exhaustion. He won't be pulling any more stunts today after this — probably not for the rest of the week.

"Are they even going to check if they're registered or not?" he wonders, as he sees the DPS agents start to move through the downed people.


Luckily for Luke, he's not downed by the shots nor has he lost another hoodie to the Cause. Off course Silly Putty man slinking off was a bit interesting, but he has no time to focus on that as the DPS agents start to weed through the crowd to get those that were targeted and downed by the Sentinels. And whose to say they won't target more. He keeps directing people to clear the streets as he threads his way towards where his fiancee launched herself towards. Eyes on the skies, he tries to gauge where exactly she's going to end up with hands held out like a cradle ready to catch her when she falls. It's time to blow this pop stand.


"DON'T WORRY EVERYBODY I HAVE A PLAN!"

Spider-Man shouts, to no one except himself, because he is entirely alone.

He thinks he's convincing.

"IT'S A REALLY GOOD ONE!!"

Super, super convincing.

Spider-Sense does a lot to help him avoid a big bulk of 'being incinerated by angry living weapons'; he twists through one bolt, spine bending backwards to carry him in a flipping arc that sends him careening over the next. A third, he feels the heat of sizzling angrily at his shoulder. A fourth, closer still.

But even he can't avoid -everything-. The Sentinel is faster than him, by far. It'll catch up soon.

But he knows that much, at least. Faster, stronger, tougher. But him — he knows the city. And he's hoping on the machine being so mono-focused on its objective not to notice how he's guiding their trajectory, further and further out from the city proper —

— back towards the water.

Plasma sears past; it clips his side, burning a bubbling path through red and blue to scorch at flesh below with an ungraceful "GUH" of pain choked from his lips. He fumbles in mid-air just a bit as he reaches the edge of the city limits. He powers through. Tries to, at least.

And when he reaches the last structure he can -sling- himself from —

—he suddenly guides himself straight -upward- instead, and then immediately releases.

Through the sky soars Spider-Man, pain screaming at him as he flips up and back, trying to use the Sentinel's own momentum like a matador with a charging bull to let it -careen- past him—

"oh god oh god i'm gonna die this is so dumb oh god jjj's gonna skewer me in the headlines if i live OH MY GOD—"

and this is Spider-Man's heroic battle cry, as he seeks to fall just behind the Sentinel, aim, and —

*THWIP*

— web up -both- of its booted thrusters at the same time with layer after layer of adhesive until it, with any luck and a whole lot of spider-math, goes careening off into an unoccupied stretch of water out of sheer inertia.

Hopefully.

Or it might turn around and incinerate him.

"WHY DID THE GOVERNMENT PAINT YOU PINK IT'S SUCH A DECEPTIVELY FRIENDLY COLOR FOR SUCH A HORRIFYING ENGINE OF DESTRUCTION!"

You know.

Either way.


Jess didn't exactly intend or expect to land in Luke's arms, but land she does. Seeing what he's doing has her shifting positions on her descent so she doesn't come down feet first and spoil his catch. She shoots one more sour glance around, then looks up at him with a grim expression on her face. At least they were only stun bolts.

"I'd have fallen prey to my original instinct to be an asshole," she mutters, "if I'd known they were stun bolts." She'd thought she was looking at a massacre. Thank god she was wrong.

Blowing out her cheeks, she says, "Are we getting the Hell out of here? I'm ready to get the Hell out of here."


It's just not sitting right with Raven, fleeing like this. At the same time, her mind is rushing to figure out another option before ditching altogether.

Distractions. Just turning to see the flying horse attack one of the sentinels gives her an idea. That and the line of DPS agents heading over to get the people who are down and out for the count.

And it's probably a good thing she can't hear Peter saying he has a plan.

She turns away, murmuring arcane words under her breath as she takes cover — a rough landing, but one nonetheless. The color in her eyes drains in an instant as a dark birdlike shape rises up and away from her body, taking flight out of nowhere. It then arcs and swoops downward, wings spread out, aiming to dive past the sentinels and at the agents.

Give the others time. This is her small percentage of a plan, one she'll break off early if things continue to go the way they're going.


Over Titan's comms ~I ..totes.. got one~ okay Misfit sounds like she is in pain, though thankfully it is all self inflicted and she didn't end up head first into lava. ~I think I pulled my bounce muscle…~ there is a pause ~.. maybe sprained it even… I can't bounce back to help right now. Please be okay guys.~ Charlie adds worried to her tone not just hurt and manages to scoot herself up and plant her back to a rock, watching the Sentinel continue to melt in the lava down there. She records this to show the team later, this part is pretty at least. She whipes the blood off onto a glove than arghs and pinches her nose tilting her head back.


Jessica receives a rather flat. "Babe." Which in that one word Luke relays every emotion relating to her launching herself at that Sentinel. But at the question, Cage tilts to set Jess down on her feet. "I feel like Pho for dinner, you hungry?" This said casually even as he threads his fingers into hers so they can flee with the rest of the masses. "Think we're going to have to pick up some more smokes, too…"


With relief, Alison's last glance catches the fortunately-disguised Mystique getting out of Dodge: the Professor always said that to help just one will still bring change to this world.

"—Brightwind," she realizes, an instant later, as the familiar Asgardian pegasus comes into sight. "Do what you can. Get the civilians out."

And then — Warren Worthington. Back in the air, overhead, with his unmistakable wings. Alison's mouth presses into a thin line, because he shouldn't be flying, shouldn't be in the fray —

But his evasive maneuvers take the Sentinel's attention off her, as she's left on the ground, helpless, looking on as he leads the machine away. Clouds take him from her sight, and her heart twists into a noose. Please, she mentally begs. Don't get killed for me.

There's little else the Dazzler can do with the rest of those Sentinels — did a portal just take one?! — from her grounded position, as the rest engage aerially. Or, maybe not. Her eyes follow the Sentinel en route after Spider-Man, who is currently engaged in some Spider-countermaneuvers. She points a hand out. Squints. And, emptying the rest of her charge, aims a cutting, sieved-down laser of photons to slice straight through the machine. All to assist it impacting into the water, and staying there.

The light leaves her when she sees wings.

Warren's return makes Alison stumble with relief, and she ambles forward, trying to meet his palpable exhaustion with a supporting arm, unwilling to leave his side. "I doubt it," she answers, her voice flinty, brittle — in shock. She looks up at him. "We can't retreat. We need to stay with them. Make your calls. I won't let them touch you."


Warren dances his Sentinel into the moonlight. Spider-man's expertly calibrated feint sends his web-gummed pursuer careening towards the water, and Dazzler's deadly arc catches one of its legs and sends it spiraling further. It's all well and good, a temporary victory. But the one Jessica Jones knocked into the sky is already looping like a bird of prey back down to the earth, and within moments Spider-Man's pink steel nemesis will burst out of the water for Round 2.

Because Sentinels don't suffer, or falter, or stop as long as they aren't being melted apart by the burning lava of an active volcano. They just keep coming, and repairing themselves, eventually, and escalating. Neutralizing the threat that all of these resisters pose is built into their very matrix. If at first they don't succeed, they take it up a notch. Which is all to say that Jessica's reemerging robot has taken its guns off stun, from the way its barreling laser rounds dig deep furrows in the grass and scorch the concrete as it screams through the sky. Which means it may be a good time to follow the crowd and exit, stage left.


Raven's brow furrows, lightly touching the side of her head to make sure she heard Misfit right. ~…Good.~ A beat. ~About the giant robot, I mean.~ Her voice is harder to hear over the noise in the background, but she continues, seeing that the sentinels are still trying to do damage.

She breathes. ~Stay where you are for now~ the half-demon adds, releasing the astral projected bird form without a second thought ~I'll be fine. We'll be okay.~

As the color returns to her gaze, she can't help but stare a while longer. It's a lie, but one she does her best to uphold as she makes herself scarce. ~…We'll be okay.~


With a mighty thwip and a crash of light and an "OH MY GOD IS THAT DAZZLER?!",

a Sentinel falls.

"Oh wow. Okay. Cool. I just had a team up with Dazzler. That's cool," muses Spider-Man as he lands next to the bubbling bay. Lenses flicker in a wince as he inspects his burns. They'll heal, sooner than later. But…

"Does that mean I get to be in her next music video? Like, we team up to fight giant robots, then we team up to top the charts?? HEY DAZZLER, I KNOW YOU'RE NOT DOING MUSIC ANYMORE I THINK BUT DOES THIS MEAN WE CAN TEAM UP ON A OH RIGHT THE UNSTOPPABLE ROBOT IS STILL UNSTOPPABLE."

And this is the procession of dialogue that leads Spider-Man towards recognizing the bubbling bay is still bubbling (it doesn't matter if it's not a bay, it's alliterative, don't judge) and the Attack of the Killer Robot is imminently re-arriving.

Spider-Man, brave Spider-Man, considers the impending predicament. And he comes up with a bold strategy:

"And then Spidey ran."

*thwip*

And this is the sound of webbing bravely carrying Spider-Man to the safety of 'New York City, killer robot population of ????'

«"Hey guys I'm still technically alive I think but I'll let you know how that turns out ASAP okay bye-!"»

It'll be fine.

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