I Want to Believe
Roleplaying Log: I Want to Believe
IC Details

As a group of burglars seeks military equipment, a trio of costumed figures - and several prongs of overt and covert law enforcement - converge on the scene to take them down.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: April 26, 2019
IC Location: Staten Island, NY
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 26 Apr 2019 06:09
Rating & Warnings: Some violence
NPC & GM Credits: GM: Warblade
Associated Plots

Two days ago, a brownout hit Staten Island.

During that time, a break-in occurred at Winger Industrial, a manufacturer of assorted machinery parts, from household appliances to military-grade weapons components.

Surveillance footage of the break-in was spotty, but an employee fond of conspiracy theories leaked bits of it to the Internet—in large part because there are several blurry frames that seem to show reptilian creatures coming into, or out of, the burglars' heads.

Tonight, a non-descript cargo van sits outside the Winger Industrial facility. "I'm telling you," a man in the passenger seat says, "the shipment schedule is sound. There's going to be a ton of important parts coming in for assembly tonight. Whatever those things were looking for, they'll be back."

"If you say so," the man in the driver's seat grumbles. "It's been like three hours of nothing so far, though."

In the shadows not far away, a quartet of individuals in all black make their way into the company's loading area, a well-oiled team who escape the notice of the two men on stakeout. They slip toward a large trailer docked at one of the loading bays. The trailer lacks ornamentation, but its construction is obvious: this is DoD-grade protection for whatever's inside.

There is another individual in the vicinity, though: a man in a trenchcoat and fedora, a bright green ponytail hanging out from beneath the hat's brim. He nonchalantly strolls toward the building, nodding to the guard at the front gate, who is preoccupied with sudoku.

"Alright, I'm going in," Warblade mutters into a small headset. "Daemonite activity confirmation hopefully on the way…"

This is risky business, Ronald…

"I know Prof, but then what isn't? -okay, aside from the fact that now they got these giant purple robots to sic on people, but come on. It still doesn't feel right not doing anything around hometurf. And if they do complain, we just say we're with the Justice League. I mean, it'd be true!"

Professor Stein only wishes he could feel as confident as Ronnie seems to be, although being unified as Firestorm currently, it's easier to tell that underlying the lad's words, there's that same concern. Or it could just be his own, bleeding over. It's difficult to say. There's a lot he hasn't worked out about their circumstances.

At the moment he can't really object too much. Ronnie's right; they had the ability, so they should do something. He just hopes they don't regret it later.

Shouldn't this have been reported to corresponding authorities? the professor does have to ask, a last ditch effort that he doubts will change Ronnie's mind. Firestorm shakes his head.

"It could have, but who knows? I mean, you remember how well things went with the reactor incident," he mutters, knowing neither of them could forget that.

Well, if you still insist on taking a look, perhaps you'd better try to be more inconspicuous. Is that it over there?

"…Prof. My freakin' head is on fire. I'm not exactly the most inconspicuous person by default. …looks like the place though. I'll circle before heading down."

In certain shadowy areas of expertise, the recent intrusion into Winger Industrial have not gone unnoticed. The regular parties who usually get hired for such things weren't used…and the whole reptillian thing was just…weird. But apparently it was effective.

For some, who had more of an idea of what might be happening, it also was an opportunity. After all, Winger made all sorts of tech, some of which from components that were a bit hard to find on Earth. And had all sorts of uses that might not have occured to Earth tech as of yet.

Which is why slipping along quietly behind the main group comes a slender figure in navy blue, that slips up to the side of the building past the distracted guards.

A quick series of parkour movements to avoid the cameras, and the stealthy figure slips inside, concealing herself behind several boxes, waiting to let the thieves she's shadowy take her right to the prize she's looking for. After all, while pay to get all that access information yourself, when she can follow someone else who has?

Winger Industrial's security presence - outside of the guard immersed in his sudoku - is essentially nonexistent. There are perimeter lights, but the stealthy burglars have maneuvered around them with little trouble.

Warblade, his eyes on the infiltration team but apparently unaware of any others in pursuit, sheds his coat and hat, revealing a form of liquid metal, with his hands extending into large scimitar-like shapes.

The potential reason for a lack of security emerges suddenly, though:

As the burglars prepare to procure the trailer, or something inside it, hidden floodlights suddenly kick on, bright fluorescents that eliminate shadows for a large portion of the loading area—including the would-be burglars and Warblade.

There's an electromagnetic fluctuation that follows, like a power surge that can be felt in the teeth, and the burglars suddenly collapse … and, as they do, large, scaly creatures appear as if molting from humanoid cocoons.

Warblade curses under his breath, but his limbs snap toward the ground, and he seems to struggle moving.

From within a nearby loading bay, a half-dozen figures in state-of-the-art military gear sprint out, automatic weapons in hand. "Don't move!" one calls. "You are now officially nonexistent—guests of IO."

The creatures snarl, their bodies tensing as they weigh their options.

"Whu-oh! Wow, what was that..?!"

Even from high above, the sudden light show is impossible to miss, and Firestorm's just glad that he hadn't chosen that moment to dive. Up here it still takes him a moment to adjust to the brightness below, but he can see the movement…of the would-be thieves as they suddenly fall to the ground. "Did you feel that Prof? What was it?"

Difficult to tell exactly from up here, but it was strong enough to knock them out. Tread carefully, Ronald, the Professor tempers.

Firestorm nods to the voice only he hears, about to start down before he pauses again as he sees more figures emerge below. "Wait, what's happening now? Are they security? Maybe you were right, Professor…"

The dark figure shadowy the thieves blinks as Warblade suddenly steps forward and shifts into his metallic form, her eyes going wide…and a hint of fear crossing them briefly, before the magnetic field snaps on. With a grunt, she goes to her knees, strugging as well, but as one of the spotlights sweeps towards her position she seems to shudder and change color, trying to mimic the boxes and floor in color at least.

It's enough to give her a moment at least, the shadows cast by the spotlights making it difficult to pick out what's shadow and what's something that doesn't belong…not to mention everyone's night vision just went to hell, of course.

Replica mmmphs, concentrating as she tries to let herself meld into the side of the box nearest to her, her figure growing more fluid, trying to shrink into what shadows are left, evne as a pair of the IO troopers start moving in her direction.

"Oh shit!" the van driver suddenly shouts in response to the surge of light. "Get your camera! Get your -"

Two intimidating-looking figures in suits and sunglasses, one man and one woman, approach the van. "Official government business, gentlemen. We'll need to see your IDs and confiscate any recording technology on you," the man says. The woman holds out her hand.

In the loading area, the IO agents fan out to surround the lizard creatures and Warblade, none of them apparently noticing the chameleon-like figure nearby.

"We've been tracking your kind for some time now," the team leader says to the reptilians. "And now we're all gonna get a sweet promotion for bringing you in alive. You want to stay alive, right? We'll get an okay promotion for bringing you in dead, and we've come to terms with that, too, if it comes to it."

The creatures speak to one another in a language that no human vocal cords could articulate.

"Hey, dipshits," Warblade calls out. "I'm not with them. So ease up, maybe?" He demonstrates his difficulty in moving within the electromagnetic field.

The IO team leader chuckles, glancing at one or two of his companions. "Nah. We know about you, too. Been gettin' real lazy lately. So maybe there's something we can learn about all of your crew, too."

One of the reptilians chimes in. "Kill one another now - right now - and we will not slaughter your families."

Just then, an IO agent points up into the night sky, adjusting a pair of high-tech goggles. "Sarge, I got a read on … something up there. Signature's unfamiliar. Potential bogey? Doesn't seem mechanical, though."

Firestorm frowns as he tries to make sense out of anything he's seeing below. Even then it's kind of difficult, especially since he can't make out most of what they're saying. "Ugggh, should I or shouldn't I? I mean, if they're government then it could be trouble..!"

He can sense the pleasant surprise from the professor. At least you're thinking things through.

"Oh, I know- I'll just ask! That's fine, right? If they've got things covered I'll just leave 'em be, and if they need a hand or it turns out to be worse, then we'll just take them!" the flame-headed hero offers with a snap of his fingers.

Ronald… begins Stein, his uncertainty unmistakable in his tone, but Firestorm's already diving downwards.


"Hey everybody! I just- whoa, so that's what that is," he says as he pulls up short of the fringes of the field as he senses it. "Um. Hey! Just wanting to make sure everything's cool, you know? Oh hey, they actually are lizard people!"

Well. This little side venture of hers has gone completely sideways, Replica notes to herself. She expected the aliens. She was not expecting IO. Or an apparently Shaper, he of the clan that wants to murder her lots.

Definitely not the guy with the burning head, who kinda stands out on his own.

But maybe he'll distract them…because she desperately could use it, as her eyes flick around, trying to spot where the device is that's creating the field. Maybe if she can just get a hand free she can try to disrupt it? Not that it's easily to do when she's…well, more amorphous.

Oh well, maybe one of the solders will get careless…

Yup. Hoping for blind luck is TOTALLY a great plan. Argh!

The IO team leader walks up to the reptilian talking in English, and he kicks the creature's jaw with a boot. "How about we just go ahead and kill /you/ right now and then we each go home and get some sleep?"

"Incoming!" the goggle-sporting agent cries, raising his weapon to try and target the incoming Firestorm, but the airborne figure is too fast.

"What the -?" the team leader asks, distracted. It's right then that the creature he was speaking to lunges forward and eviscerates the agent.

The others open fire, spraying rounds toward Firestorm, toward Warblade, and toward the creatures, who skitter about obliquely, closing range.

Warblade, for his part, transforms an arm into a large shield that catches a number of bullets, but he's clearly straining behind his defense.

In response, one of the IO agents turns a knob on a handheld control device, and Warblade's limbs are pinned to the ground, the shield construct dissipating back into the normal shape of an arm.

In the street, the conspiracy theorists argue about their identification and cameras. One of the officers flashes a light at them. While the two observers are blinded, her partner knocks them out with a quick punch. Then, the two officers smash the men's phones. "That should have been just enough material to keep them interested but too afraid to come this close in the future," the woman says. Her partner nods.

"Crap!" Firestorm yelps, white eyes going wide. He doesn't have long to process the fact that he'd just gotten someone killed, not when the others are firing rounds everywhere. Ronald! Professor Stein shouts internally, and Firestorm's eyes narrow as he focuses on getting his head back in the game.

His hands flare with light, energy arcing around his fists and then that light pushes forward as he sweeps his arms across him. The incoming bullets in his direction patter harmlessly to the ground, and closer inspection would reveal a scattering of paperclips.

"Okay, I need you all to chill out!" he shouts, glaring a bit as he brings his hands before him anew, fingers extended as he raises his arms up, and the ground around the most clumped group of creatures rises around them to cage them behind a wall. Another wall surges up to catch the gunshots being so haphazardly fired by the black-clad men.

Well. Yup. That went about like she figured it would. The aliens in question not being the most chill. And better the random minion guy than her, of course.

Still, there's the problem of being unable to really move. Dammit. But hey! Guy with controller. Now…if she can just…manuver….her fingers curl down, tugging a rod like device from her pocket bit by bit as the two guards moving her way get closer, as she tries to angle it, her wrist distorting as it seems to bend back on itself as she eyeballs the distancts, then fires.

A sparking pellet shoots out, aimed at the guy holding the controls. In the chaos, it might not be noticed! Then again, her luck hasn't been that good today…

While a few of the IO agents hesitate, seeming to struggle with the rational suggestion from the man whose head is on fire, the rest desperately fight off the lizard-men who aren't restrained within a flaming cage.

That fight's going south for the IO crew, as the creatures' hides are apparently tough enough to weather anything less than point-blank shots from the IO weapons.

Something strikes the handheld control device held by one of the IO agents, and it sparks and smokes.

Immediately afterwards, Warblade springs up, no longer magnetized to the ground. "Yes!" he shouts, leaping into the air and slashing wildly at the nearest lizard-men, his fingers stretching into machete-like blades.

At the same time, one of the 'free' scaly creatures gets absorbed into an IO agent's body, and the possessed man turns his firearm on his companions.

"Flame-wielder," one of the creatures snarls, "pray that you can maintain this field indefinitely, lest you come to learn how agonizing our retaliation will be."

The two operatives who had been in the street come running toward the fray, their own sidearms drawn and pointed at - well, everyone. "Everybody freeze now!" they shout in unison.

No one seems to listen.

The electromagnetic field..! Professor Stein exclaims, at least able to observe other things while Firestorm's got his hands full with trying to make sure he doesn't get shot.

"Good thing or bad thing, Prof?" Firestorm asks as he scowls at the— "Whoa, what the heck, did that thing just go into -aaaaah crapcrapcrap…!"

More gunfire. This sucks!

Good, I think. At least one of them seems to be a neutral party, the Professor observes as Warblade moves into action. He hasn't yet registered Replica, but she's been doing her best not to be noticed..!

"Huh! I don't have to maintain it," Firestorm snorts, turning towards the imprisoned creatures, and with a turn and twist of his wrist he caps off the cage so he can focus his efforts on trying to get the other ones under control. "Also, I'm not a flame-wielder!" he corrects, extruding a giant hand from the ground to grab at the possessed man before flinging a beam of energy at another lizard.

When the two others jump into things, he almost laughs. "Yeah, once they do first!"

Yes! Replica flows smoothly to her feet just as the first trooper rounds the boxes, grabbing for his gun arm as she yanks him forward, slammming him hard into the ground, then sweeping a foot under the other one as he raises his gun, startled. Amid the chaos, at least the Daemonites are being useful…and distracting people by gutting people. Which is what they do really well, admittedly.

The second guard goes face first into the boxes behind her, crumpling, before Replica grabs holds of the downed man's neck as she straddles him slamming his forehead into the ground. Her form shivers, then shifts, duplicating the IO operative under her, before she (now he) snags his gun and rolls away from the boxes and the conflict, trying to edge around to where she'll have some cover.

Firestorm's matter manipulation does short work of the two beings he targets - his energy beam strikes the creature with enough force to incapacitate it immediately, while the possessed IO agent groans and coughs from the force of the giant hand that the nuclear man had materialized.

"Jesus!" one of the newly arrived operatives exclaims, glancing to his partner. She only shakes her head in response, her eyes not leaving the scene before them.

Another of the IO agents suddenly drops to the ground as Replica appears out of nowhere to take him down.

Meanwhile, Warblade finishes turning another of the monsters into a pincushion.

In a matter of moments, there's only the two new officers, one agent (not counting Replica-in-disguise), and one of the creatures still conscious.

"This is an official, above-top-secret operation you've compromised," the IO agent says with a scowl.

"The hell it is!" the officer replies. "You better have a working code phrase to prove it."

The IO agent says nothing in response.

The remaining conscious creature leaps into a shadow. A moment later, a large rat dives into the nearest sewer drain, scurrying away.

Fists still glowing with encircling energy, Firestorm descends slightly, still keeping above the heads of those still standing as his burning gaze scans the area and the remaining. With the two men yelling at each other, he holds back a groan. Well, so long as they aren't mad at him he won't say anything.

Professor Stein's shout has him turning his head then, but by the time he's lifted a hand the creature's disappeared. Or not, as a rat emerges in its wake and makes its escape. "Uh-oh," he mutters. "So um, one of those lizard guys got away…" You know. Just in case the others were too busy glaring at each other to notice.

The duplicated IO agent twitches his eyes back and forth between the various players, his gun up but not firing. Because the scene is obviously blow in terms of acquiring the tech she came for, and Mr. Fiery Head. can create fire cages, which is a problem. Not to mention the Shaper who was slashing at people.

Basically, kind of a standoff at this point, but with one person who could turn people's weapons into bouncy balls if he gets it in his head.

Replica shifts her head slightly, looking for the nearest exit. Because it seems like a good thing to notice at this point.

Clearing his throat, Warblade - whose hands are shaped like normal hands (albeit encased in metallic gauntlets) - nods at the trailer.

"It looks like the real issue revolves around whatever the creepy thieves were looking for. I was looking for them myself. Since you seem to have them wrapped up … maybe I can just slip on out? I did try to help you with them, after all," he says.

The IO agent spits on the ground. "No freakin' way."

The two officers bark in response. "Hey! You're not in charge here."

"Smith," the woman says, "you know what I see here?"

"I'm willing to bet, Wesson," the man replies. "A couple of helpful vigilantes that we were never quite able to identify."

"Exactamundo," Wesson says. "Unless you got a problem with that." It's not framed as a question.

Warblade takes the opportunity to run a few paces and then leaps over the nearest fence into the night.

The IO agent glances at his colleague. He makes a gesture of some kind with one hand - a signal that means something, but not necessarily to an impostor. He makes the signal again, and his eyes widen when there's no immediate response to the signal. "You sellin' me out, Gomez?" the agent snarls. "Well, screw you, too!"

"I've heard enough," Smith says, retrieving a pair of handcuffs from his belt. "Assume the position. You first," he says, nodding at the angrier IO agent. Wesson attempts to keep her attention on both of the IO operatives, but the focus is, for the moment, on the one who might more immediately endanger her partner.

The green-haired dude sure has a good idea there. With no further need for action at the moment, Firestorm hovers there a bit awkwardly as he glances back and forth between them all. It's not difficult at all for him to see who's side he'd throw his chips in with. A grin tugs at his face as he hears the exchange between the two officers, and he watches as Warblade dashes off. Yep. That definitely seems the best idea.

"Soooo…if you guys got this all handled, I guess I'll just take my leave too?" he suggests, leaving out the fact that it's a school night at Professor Stein's quiet suggestion.

A little bit of stress goes out of Replica's frame as Warblade abruptly departs. Well. That's one issue she no longer has to deal with. Now she just has to evade being shot by either her IO "friend" or the two officers who are being pretty casual about ignoring vigilantes. Oh, and "Carrotflametop" up there.

She kinda doubts they'd feel the same way about thieves, of course.

She glances over at Gomez, then says in the man she's copying's normal voice. "Guess so." And then tosses her gun in an arc between the group. Not because she wants to hit anyone with it.

But because she wants a moment to manipulate her arm so a little grenade pops out into her palm that she promptly tosses out into the middle of the room. Where if not stopped, it'll explode into a greenish mist. Harmless, but disrupting to electronic surveillance and not fun to people who need to breath.

Which Replica does not. Also she's going to use the momentary chaos to parkour the hell out up to the catwalk and towards the nearest exit!

The IO agent and his subduers don't have much time to react before they're surrounded by green mist that obscures their vision and triggers a hacking fit in each one.

The next day, a small series of incredibly low-resolution images packed with JPEG compression artifacts gets released to a conspiracy theorist community. One shows a flash of light that, supposedly, demonstrates the presence of aliens. Another shows two 'men in black' approaching the cameraman. Another shows what appears to be a figure with large claws instead of hands attacking a giant komodo dragon.

The photos are among the community's most popular, gaining a solid sixty upvotes over the following week.

"THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE," many post in support.

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