BBQ in Kiev
Roleplaying Log: BBQ in Kiev
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Tony Stark, Impulse, and Raven go to the Ukraine!

Other Characters Referenced: Sloane, Coulson,
IC Date: June 22, 2019
IC Location: Kiev, Ukraine
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 25 Jun 2019 03:08
Rating & Warnings: PG
NPC & GM Credits: Vasyl and Oksana the Cat by Ursa.
Associated Plots

So. About forty-five minutes ago, a middle-aged man in the city of Kiev by the name of Vasyl just realized that someone pinged his desktop computer.

And he's been frantically packing since. It should be plenty of time.

Stacks of cash are being thrown into a pair of Jansport backpacks. A raggedy suitcase is being filled with clothes.

And lastly, he's taken the tower casing apart to rip out the hard drives, throwing them into the suitcase with his clothes and shoes. There aren’t many belongings.

The bags, his suitcase, and a plastic carrier with a meowing feline who DOES NOT LIKE CAR RIDES have all been run down the ramshackle apartment building's five flights of stairs. He rapidly starts throwing all of these things in the back of his beat-up Ford Fiesta.


Forty-five minutes.

That is an impressive turnaround. I mean, really. He likely knew the response time of half the security forces on the face of the planet. From the US, it usually would have taken a few hours to even get permission to go after him. Then the local forces would come. Interpol wouldn't show up for days.

No. Forty-five minutes. That was plenty of time. Even to evacuate the cat.

Unless of course you had gone and annoyed the wrong people. People who could teleport across the planet. Or run across the planet. Or fly across the planet.

Sadly for Vasyl. He sure had done that.

Which is why as the man begins to throw things furiously into his car about five minutes away from where he frantically packs a streak of red and gold crosses the sky. A streak moving at hypersonic speeds. I mean, Stark can't really turn at this speed, but going in a line is great.

"So," he drawls into the radio systems to his partners in crime. "If one or both of you can take a look for people either freaked out. Packing, Running away. You know the drill. Panic is usually what happens to hackers that realize they bit off more than they can chew." He'd already forwarded the address but even so. Both of the pair that he called for help can get there faster.

…which is why he called them of course.


Sometimes their chosen methods of travel are just really convenient. Maybe a little too convenient, but that is a discussion that can happen maybe never later.

Somewhere between minutes, a portal does close, its dark whorl vanishing into a pinpoint against the sky. The cloaked Raven is silent in her pursuit, the subtle radio crackle of Stark's voice ringing in her ears as she keeps her eyes forward. "If it helps, the feeling of panic is near overwhelming," she replies softly. It's like her voice is meant to sit in the back of people's minds whenever it's necessary. "And it's very concentrated near our destination."


Forty-five minutes is way too long. Just thinking about how much longer it took for people to get anywhere by commercial aircraft or, heaven forbid, by sea, was just horrifying.

Impulse does not take ten hours to reach his destination. He does not even take forty-five minutes. It doesn't even take him ten, or even five. He knows it's a breeze getting to Europe; he'd made a trip to France during class to get answers for their research assignment that was technically supposed to be done in the library with plenty of time to spare. Never been to Ukraine though, and while he does take his assignment from Tony seriously, it doesn't mean he can't take in what he can of the sights as he breezes through the streets of Kiev.

"Freaked out, packing, running away sorta people. Mmmm…" It's kind of vague, really. There has to be more than one person acting suspiciously nervous for some reason or another out here. Not that it stops the young speedster from checking out every person he might come across that roughly fits the description- that is, until SIRIN reminds him that they do have a location to check out.

"—oh. Got him."

Beside the poor old Ford Fiesta and the pile of luggage where the man frantically does his haphazard loading of said vehicle, someone is just suddenly there and handing over the man's next bag, oh so helpfully. Said someone's dressed in fitted red and white, yellow-tinted goggles over his amber eyes and his upper face. The teenaged speedster smiles brightly.


Vasyl hears the shriek overhead, and watches as Tony soars by, uncomprehending as he settles his cat, Oksana, onto the floor of the backseat. He simply reaches his hands over to collect the bag from the ground—

Only for his head to bump into Impulse's chest upon descent, even as his hands wrap around his own bag. There'a a startled 'gah!', and the start of a "Dya-." It dies on his tobacco-stained lips, as there's a second and louder “GAH!”

He moves, as his amygdala tells him he must, to flee. He backs into the car and falls inside, much to the yowling displeasure of the cat whose carrier he bangs into the far door in the process. Okasana tries to bat her claws through the steel bars, but doesn't manage the feat. But not for lack of effort.


"Nice, Impulse," Stark replies with a flash of a grin behind the helmet of his newest suit of armor. He told people he wouldn't make as many of them. But really let’s be fair. He tells people a lot of things.

"Raven, if you can make sure he doesn't have any friends or surprises down there for all of us? Especially snipers. People who pay people like this love snipers. I'm on my way down if you two can make sure he doesn't drive away. Surprise me on the how. Be creative. I love creative."

A smirk.

"I mean, really. We're here just to ask him why he hacked into the dock security in New York City and just who paid him to do it." A beatpause before he adds. "And overwhelming panic is good. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside."

And this point Stark starts to slow, dropping out of the sky towards the poor man in the car. He's not going to crator anything, but an iron man suit—smoldering as it is from the speeds he was going—is going to make an impressive entrance even just hovering in his way.


So Impulse has successfully found the man they are after. Raven doesn't feel surprised at all by the turn of events, but she does find the results of his approach interesting. The constant stream of panic she senses adds on two bursts of extra freak out, brightening, dimming, and brightening once again.

However, her nose wrinkles while the rest of her face remains passive. "That I can do, Mister Stark." Checking for snipers and the like isn't a chore, but it can be irritating. The whole 'outnumbering the opposition' thing has that strange effect of being good for their side, bad for the other and vice-versa written all over it, unfairness abound, etc. Still, she can see how someone can be very paranoid and need all of the backup he can get in case something goes awry.

She figures Tony and Impulse have it from there, though. Drifting back, she seeks out any other prominent emotions nearby, eyes going white as her soul self separates from her body to further the search in its own bird-like way.


Gah! exclaims the man. Not really the greatest of greetings, but amongst the top responses he'd expected. Impulse tosses the bag over his shoulder, and for lack of something appropriate to say in response, instead goes for jazz-hands. The guy's already stumbling back into his car, which the speedster isn't too sure is on purpose or not. He cups a hand over one lightning-knobbed earpiece and nods.

Creative. He can do creative. With Raven keeping an eye out for any back-up for this poor guy (which Impulse kind of neglected to think of but that's what friends are for!), he zips off, leaving Vasyl flailing for all of a handful of seconds.

The front of the vehicle suddenly shifts upwards at a 45-degree angle. There's the sound of clattering and metallic pinging as bolts and hubcaps seem to magically fall away from the tires, followed by the front two wheels themselves, just before the thing lurches back down onto the ground with a kick of a jack, sparks erupting briefly as the undercarriage hits pavement.

Impulse blows off the end of the motorized torque wrench like it were a gun, glancing up at Iron Man as the armored one makes his descent.


No snipers. No weirdness. Just one overly-well-paid hacker who has cash, not cryptocurrency. Beyond this moment, it feels for Raven like so many large cities across the world. Chaotic. Busy. Strained. A healthy measure of an unspecified aching.

It's not on purpose, that fall in, but as the car tilts and Oksana the Cat makes her displeasure known when a bag and a human shift against her carrier suddenly and the whole base of her world presently suddenly shifts… There's more screaming. The slender man in his worn denim jacket and worn denim jeans doesn't seem to have anything that would suggest any sort of real protection. And indicator, maybe, that he never really intended to get caught. Or that the people who hired him don't really care.


There is a not to subtle thud as Stark himself lands. The armor steaming, parts of it still glowing near-molten at the speed he took to get here. Even as he stands though the arms subtly shifts. Damaged parts receding to be replaced by pristine armor. It slowly shifts, the form becoming sleeker as it loses the bulk from the reinforced hypersonic boosters.

He thumbs up towards Bart before strolling over, inside his armor one eye is canted up in Raven's direction. "I'm going to assume since we aren't being shot at it's all clear." That is his way of saying thanks, you know.

Then the head swivels down towards the car and the man there.

"So!" The voice coming from the Iron Man armor is much too cheerful for the menacing appearance for the suit that just dropped out of the sky. "Vasyl, right? I'm just gonna call ya Ivan." A pause. "That's racist isn't it?" A glance towards Impulse. "Sounds racist." Longer pause. "I'm gonna go with it since I'm not in the most charitable of moods." One can almost hear the vicious grin.

"So, Ivan! We're all gonna have a chat. You're gonna tell us why you hacked into a set of New York docks and who paid to do it. Then, if I'm feeling nice, I'll drop you off at the authorities instead of into a lake in Siberia."

A pause.

"Impulse, any computer stuff in the car? We'll just take all that with us, too." Because Stark is thorough and the guy is a computer nerd.

A longer pause.

"Also, you know, I don't think your cat likes you much. Just pointing that out there. Maybe you should feed it more."


One sweep. Two sweeps. Third time's the charm. When everything is deemed normal, the shadowy bird steers itself away from its route, cutting it short upon the return to Raven's semi-conscious body. As it disperses, she inhales, rolling back her shoulders as she looks back down in Tony's direction.

"It's as you assume," she says. "I even double-checked. Just for you."

Sure, the phrasing sounds sweet (and a little sass-driven), but what it lacks in pep is bolstered by straight-faced casualness.

The Empath then makes her descent, cloak floating behind her as she goes to meet up with the others. "It's kind of sad in a way," comes a quiet addition as Tony does his bit. "Being all alone out here. But I agree, the poor cat really hates everything right now."


"Impulse did she did sass me? Did I get sassed?" Tony just has to ask for confirmation here.

…PROFESSIONAL HEROES HERE FOLKS.


Returning the thumbs-up, Impulse takes a sweeping step aside as Tony moves towards the car. He blinks at the matter of names and offers a shrug in response. When Raven joins them she likewise gets a thumbs-up. Yeah, teamwork!

With the questioning being handled by Iron Man, the speedster moves in around the other side of the car to throw open the door and have a look through the hacker's things, bags and belongings unzipped and unfastened as called for, seeming to fall open of their own accord for how quickly Impulse makes work of them. And just for good measure, he goes through the stuff that hadn't yet made its way into the car.

"Be free!" he says as he lastly sets the cat carrier on the ground and opens the thing, trying to coax the feline out. Distracted, naturally. "-huh? Who sassed wha?"


Oksana hates car rides and really hates being knocked around or startled, but she really is scared more than anything else. Vasyl adopted the thing as a soaked and starving stray from the streets of Kiev, at the time it looked like a calico-colored drain clog. As Impulse picks up the cage, the well-brushed cat hisses loudly and presses herself to the back of the carrier. He sets it down, and he opens the door. She hisses and tries to scratch at him, too. It may be when he’s distracted that she’ll maybe get a catch of him.

“Chyort!” exclaims Vasyl, now trying to get inside the car so he can both close and lock the doors. Because he’s not the sort that typically (ever) gets in these kinds of confrontations, and he never wanted to be. He doesn’t know what to do, save to try to get in, lock the doors and…. ??? He’s not there at the final point of his plan yet (because there isn’t one), but he knows that being on the other side of the door, the side with the Iron Man from the news and these other unnaturals would probably not serve his best interest. Under his breath, he’s frantically cursing the whole time. “Meni tse treba yak zuby v dupi.”

He’s terrified, too.


«Ok, first off. Teeth in your ass? What kind of curse is that?» Stark’s grasp of other languages is surprisingly good. Mostly because it surprises people and he loves doing that. «You can totally do better than that. And second, would you stop that whole locking the door thing or I’ll ask Impulse just to take the entire car apart. We’re just here to chat.»

A pause.

«Or drop you in a frozen lake if you don’t feel like answering. I mean, I can be flexible.»

One armored fist knocks on the hood of the ruined car, denting it just slightly. «Now. Open up and be sensible.»

Switching back to English he just smirks slightly towards where Raven appeared. “Since Impulse has no sass meter, I’m just going to go with yes. I’ll give it a six.” Then back towards the car. “And good, whoever is paying this guy usually uses a sniper to take their targets and wanted to make sure of things before we had our little talk.” A longer pause before he cants his head at Impulse and the cat. “…so, is the cat there terrified or just being a cat? I’m terrible with animals.”

Scanning systems ignite even as he chatters, as the systems of the Iron Man suit (which isn’t really made of iron, but you know it sounds cool) run a once over of the poor Vasyl’s car. To make sure there isn’t anything explosive and to pinpoint all the computer parts. Well the ones that Bart hasn’t found or piled up off to the side by now.

---

There may have been a quick thumbs-up in return for the speedster. Not much in the way of grinning back like he does, but this is good enough. Her hand then drops back into the folds of her cloak as if the gesture never occurred.

"I think he has one," Raven replies as Tony switches between languages."It all depends on where he's placing his attention." Which has been on the cat in the last few seconds. She takes another moment to give the armored man a ghost of a smirk, allowing it to fade back into a neutral line. "I suppose I can work on that…"

Coolly regarding the terrified man, violet eyes flick back over toward the cat situation. "They're both afraid, but for different reasons." She tilts her head in Vasyl's direction. "His fear is obvious. The cat, however, is harder to get a read on because she's a cat. In any case, I wouldn't worry about her too much."

Getting them both to chill is a priority on her part. Her cloak shifts so that her hands return, extending clawed fingers to focus on calming them both down. Especially toward Vasyl since he needs to answer questions. More talking, less freaking out.


"Aw come on, kitty, I'm not gonna hurt you," Impulse coos, but with Oksana being all hissy he doesn't reach in after her. He does glance over at the confrontation between Tony and the hacker, still crouched by the cat carrier as he blinks in disbelief.

"Did he just…?" Because between a man in armor, a guy that can vibrate through solid material and a girl that can open portals, trying to esconce oneself in a wheel-less car seems rather pointless.

The speedster doesn't seem at all worried about any hidden surprises in part of the terrified man, especially with Tony and Raven there. Out of the corner of his eye he catches the cat trying to make a swipe at him, and he jerks back his hand easily. "What'd he say, Mister Stark? I didn't know you could speak…uh, what language is that? Russian or something?" Wait, they're in Ukraine. Is Ukrainian a language? He's about to sneak out his phone to look this up but instead he ends up staring at Raven as she makes with the scary hand.


As Raven does her thing, the calico in the carrier starts becoming less rigid and the hissing dies down. In short order, she begins to settle down into the soft blanket at the bottom, purring and kneading at it.

The stubbled man, however, is another question. Unlock the door, Tony demands, and the hacker violently shakes his head as he pushes himself against the far side of the car. (Forgetting for a moment that it probably brings him closer to Bart.) “We talk through door,” he replies in his heavily accented and broken English, as though he actually has a say in how this is actually to go down. “You can hear me.” He’s not cowering anymore, perhaps, but it doesn’t mean that he’s in a huge hurry to go face down the Americans without something akin to armor. The Ford’s car door is the closest thing he’s got.

Calm, after all, doesn’t mean idiot.

Tony’s scan will find nothing particularly troubling—no explosives or firearms tucked away—although the Fiesta’s engine computer (ancient, though it may be) does have a non-stock addition of some sort. The two hard drives sitting in the man’s suitcase, no shielding in the way.


“JARVIS,” Stark murmurs in the internal comms so their new friend doesn’t know. “Find out what's been done to that car computer before it explodes or calls a missile or something.”

Of course, then their new ‘friend’ is trying to dictate this whole interrogation. “Really?” The incredulity in the tone comes through loud and clear. “I mean. You know that I can just pick up the car, not to mention what these two could do with it.” He tilts his head towards the pair of Titans. “But you know what? Sure. We’ll do it like this, buddy. You do you.”

Crossing his arms, he leans one hip against the hood of the car, metal buckling slightly as he leans there. The twin burning eyes of the suit glowing as they pierce the windshield to stare towards Vasyl. “Alright, then. Talk. Who paid you for the hack on the New York docks?”

Normally Stark would be more willing to talk around the bush. More willing to meander around and let the guy sweat. However a lot of people are going missing and Stark doesn’t like it when that happens. Even less when he knows some of those people.

A grateful nod is angled towards Raven even as they start to calm down. At least a little bit. I mean only one person here can make people /calm/ and it sure isn’t him or Impulse.

“It’s Russian, most people in the cities know it. There is a Ukranian language though, I know that too. I got bored one month and decided to learn it. Worked pretty well, mostly it was so I know was Titanium Man was always shouting at me.” This is towards Bart even as he doesn’t take his eyes off the man in the car.

“Oh, and can one of you two get the hard drives out of the back of his car for me. I don’t want him to do anything stupid with them.”


When Tony mentions the Titans, Raven still has her hands up, rigid in their curled motion. There is nothing wrong with this picture at all.

Exhaling a short breath, Raven finishes her task. The same clawed fingers twitch and flex, withdrawing back into the depths of her cloak as she looks between the cat carrier and the man who locked himself inside of the Ford Fiesta.

For a guy who was freaking out earlier, he certainly has the gall to call the shots in his position.

As Voluminous and as dark as her peaked hood can be, the look she gives Vasyl is somewhat unimpressed. Still, she nods back at Tony, casting a sideways glance at Impulse before drifting over to the back of the car.


Impulse grins over at Raven before he reaches in to give the calico cat a generous head scritching. "Good kitty." Slowly unfolding from his position, he crosses his arms in front of him as he directs his attention towards the man so insistent in staying within the confines of the vehicle. He may not be wearing a metal suit but he's roughly the same height as Tony and although considerably scrawnier, the speedster is obviously trying to look intimidating with the way he tilts his head up just so that he can angle his stare downwards.

"Wait, Titanium Man?" He casts a curious glance towards the Iron wonder. "That was a thing?" Already his imagination entertains a giant metal-headed behemoth, followed by a fighting match with Iron Man that looks reminiscent to Rock 'em-Sock'em robots.

With the request made by Iron Man, Impulse exchanges a look with Raven, nodding as she goes to find the hard drives. He supposes in the meantime he can keep an eye out around them. No one will notice he's gone for a split second to do a quick perimeter dash.


“A man who pays in cash,” Vasyl replies, pressing a little harder back. “I don’t ask for names. Names mean less cash. Man in suit comes, lays down money, and tells me he needs the cameras down. So I take the cameras down for a night. Here. There.”

Yeah. The cameras. That’s all he’s been up to.

He swallows. Hard. And he casts his gaze in the direction of the trunk with a fresh surge of panic as Raven moves towards it.

Meanwhile, the more in-depth scan of the extra device on the car is a device for monitoring driving habits with GPS tracking.


“Uh huh, that’s it huh? Just a little transaction and you wash your hands of it huh?” Stark is just a little too casual in this case, the squeal of metal on metal as the armor shifts slightly. He’s annoyed. He doesn’t like this weasel very much either and…

“Great,” There is a mutter over the com systems. “Someone is tracking this weasel. Nanny device on his car. JARVIS rip the driving routes and match em up with local places. See where he’s been. If someone else can do this, so can we.”

“Smart guy like you, I mean not smart enough not to get us three annoyed but smart by most accounts, you totally took pictures of the suit with the money. For insurance right? Hand em over would ya? I mean if I said please and everything?”

As Raven drifts over, Stark will murmur into the comms exactly where those hard drive systems are located. “I’m going to guess,” He adds after the few directions. “He’s not /quite/ lying but he’s not telling us everything either.”

Then louder. “Oh yeah, Titanium Man is totally a thing. I haven’t seen him around in awhile though. I mean it's another power suit and because the guy that built it isn’t as amazing as me its had a few different pilots.” A pause. “They always use green though. Really ugly green. And somehow the pilot always hates me. I mean, I don’t know why. I’m a pretty charming guy, right?”

More of the hood of the car crumples just slightly. “What you think, Ivan? Totally charming, aren’t I?”

—-

If Raven is worried, she doesn't show it. Talk about cameras and GPS trackers get no reaction from her; all of that training would be wasted if she betrayed anything she was currently thinking. Still, she furrows her brow at the news.

The Empath's hand barely touches the trunk, hovering a few centimeters above it as she stays very still. The panicked resurgence coming from Vasyl doesn't fail to flood her train of thought, a clear flag that something is definitely up.

She can tell he's trying. He's holding his ground, but there's a weak spot.

Tony is right about it, too. "You're pretty good at reading people, Mister Stark," she whispers back into her own comm, shifting herself slightly so that she's in a blind spot behind the vehicle. "Whatever he has back here must be very important."

As tired as she is, she doesn't want to keep them waiting. Pressing her hand against the trunk, she tries to see if it's unlocked, pulling at the handle after a few seconds.


"Blech. Why green? Red is so much better," Impulse comments, making a face as he stands there beside the car once again, like he'd never left. "Unless it's an opposite thing. But who'd do that?"

He flicks a look around again, mindful of Tony's earlier findings. Tracking? "Got me some places to check out while we're here?" he says quietly over the comms.

Still, he smiles easily enough as Tony leans a bit harder into the hood of the car. From where he stands he can see Vasyl, Iron Man and Raven where she haunts the rear of the vehicle. At least he took care of the tires so the hacker inside can't go very far if he attempted to start the thing. Shifting anxiously where he stands, he waits for…something. Directions from Tony, findings from Raven, movement from Vasyl, attention craving from the cat- anything'd be better than standing there.

—-

A slew of locations will start popping up for Tony, showing Vasyl’s favorite spots in a hurry. There are plenty of strip clubs, a couple of discos, some high end restaurants, and a house in a less fancy part of town.

Less fancy than here, and that’s saying something.

Raven will find the trunk unlocked, and the backpacks sitting there next to a case of vodka. He very clearly was not expecting anyone to be on his tail for how fast he’d vacated, and it shows in every way. The trunk opening. The creak of the hood as it grows into an increasingly respectable mold for a plaster Iron Man statue. All of it just adds together to reduce Raven’s previous work.

“GAH!” shouts the man, his face contorting into a very clear expression of distress as his hands gesture impotently at the hood, and his eyes look to Raven with an overwhelming desire to make a play for the bag before she can get there.

…But it would be before she could get there. Not the kid with his cat.

Vasyl brings his knees up, burying his fingers in his hair that has only just started to show the occasional grey hair.

They’re going to kill him. If this collection doesn’t, his employer will. His mind races with the thought of it.

“Very charming,” he mutters, darkly.


Yeah. Not sending Bart here. Or there. And /def/ not there. Tony and Warren have /been/ there and he’s totally not sending Bart.

Restaurants and a bad part of town, though. Well, that is doable.

A panel slides back in the arm of the suit, and Tony slips a hundred dollar bill out of it before handing it in Bart’s direction. Over the comm systems drawls casually. “So, forwarding you a few places to check out. Couple of restaurants, and I’m going to assume you’re hungry so here. Bring me a snack when you come back. Also there is a place in a /really/ bad part of town. Worse than this. Check it out, but be careful. Don’t go in just case what you can. Don’t know if they have alarms.”

Attention turns back towards the man in the car. “Easy there buddy,” He drawls. “Alright. Here is my offer. Pretty good one really.” A glance at Raven to make sure she’s ok and then back to the poor terrified man ‘safe’ in his car. “We’re just here to talk, not really here to hurt anyone. You give us the information we want. Pictures, what names, descriptions, that sort of thing. Then we’ll take ya to meet some people who can actually protect you from well…the guys you took money from. They usually aren’t happy about stuff like this. But we can protect you.”

A longer pause.

“I mean the other option /would/ be to let him go and spread the word just how happy we are you cooperated.” Stark shrugs a bit dramatically. “I mean I’m sure that’ll go over well with everyone you’ve taken money from in the past like…ever.”

—-

"…Some backpacks and a strong drink."

Her findings are still spoken in a low tone over the comm as she gives the back a once-over, lips barely moving. But the man's reaction should have made her flinch, should have scared her away from discovering what he stowed earlier in his attempt to escape. Although it borders on violent, she can sense he wants to make that move. Wants to leap out of his seat. To grab it and run.

Nothing is stopping him. Except for her hidden yet piercing gaze as she keeps her eyes on the front seat.

Her hold on Vasyl's emotions loosens as he undoes the rest on his own, nodding again in silence to let the Iron Man know she's fine. But if she's given the cue, she'll take what she needs to take.


As Iron Man goes over the possible locations, Impulse rocks back and forth on his feet, stoops down to give the cat more pettings. He looks up abruptly when the man in the car shouts out in alarm again.

The hacker's got plenty of reason to be jumpy, he supposes, casting a wry look between Iron Man and Raven. They've got this. The thought that the two are probably the most threatening to Vasyl doesn't even cross his mind. Impulse looks towards the most metal of them when the money is held out, hopping up and suddenly over beside Iron Man to accept the bill, tugging it taut between his hands.

"Cool. —do I gotta get this converted?" He lets the question hang as he soaks in the rest of the info Tony feeds him, nodding as SIRIN pulls up maps and marks places off across the interior of his goggle lenses. "Got it. Don't worry, no one'll even know I'm there." At least he sounds confident about that?

Tossing a two-fingered salute, the speedster twists around and is just as soon gone, virtually vanishing from where he'd been. He's not going to turn down grabbing a quick bite to eat; running across the Atlantic builds up an appetite! Oh wait, should he check the questionable house first? …it would beat waiting in line for the money changers. So naturally it's no surprise that the bad part of town is where Impulse makes a beeline for first.

—-

The longhaired cat appreciates the attention now, and settles into her carrier. Of course, she’s up again as he disappears for other destinations. It’s all a matter of where Bart goes, whether or not they’ll take the American money. Most will. But he’s off to see himself around Kiev before anyone can answer the question, all the same.

The restaurants are restaurants, fancy and fine, but the rundown house in another neighborhood…? That belongs to an old woman where the interior of her home visible through the window is in far better condition than the rest of the homes around it. When Bart races by, there’s an older woman just settling down to a pot of tea. So… some inferences can perhaps be drawn. Like, the sort of inference where one might conclude that the dude may be an incredible coder and hacker… but is an idiot for driving around and showing his evil bad guy boss where his mother lives.

Vasyl is desperate, but running short on options.

“I told you,” he growls. “I do not have names. Or pictures! Is just one man in suit with lots of money! Tall. Dark hair. American. Finds me in club three months ago. Says he knows what I do and will pay good money for it, but to not ask questions. So I don’t, except what to do and how much money. Not why he needs it. Not how he knows me. Just the job, and how much. Price is good, paid cash. Pays when the work works.” Whatever that means.

The cat, who in Bart’s absence considered a nap, looks up in irritation as Tony interrupts it with another ominous creak of metal.


He’s already gone of course, Tony knows that much. But the answer comes anyway. “Naw, they should take that cash as it. I mean you could buy a few city blocks with that I think. I forget the exchange rate.”

He’s helping, like always.

“What club?” Comes the actual question towards Vasyl. “Actually never mind. They stuck a GPS nanny system on your car at some point. I’ll just rip it from that. JARVIS? Get that, and the club security systems. See if you can find this American.” A beatpause. “You know I’m pretty sure they know everywhere you’ve been since you took that job. You got family here? I’ll throw in protection offers for them too. I mean sounds like you’re gonna need it. I’m gonna guess the guys who paid you aren’t gonna be that forgiving.”

Raven’s information causes Stark to nod. “Get the bags then if ya can,” The Avenger murmurs into the com system even as he eases away from the hood. To not annoy the cat anymore.

“So what did they want you to do? I’m going to guess more than just hack some security system on the docks. Gimme all the works, as they say, and you and your cat and whoever else gets protected. Fair trade there, don’t you think, Raven?”


Raven doesn't say anything. She stands there. Or at least it looks like she's standing there.

Wisps of darkness creep up out of nowhere into the back of the car, tendrils with the full intention of wrapping around the bags before engulfing them completely. When they withdraw, nothing but the bottle of vodka is left.

Unless Mister Stark wants that, too. She should check.

On cue, Raven's blank stare somehow manages to look back up at Vasyl. "Only a proud fool would refuse protection. If I were you, I would take him up on his offer." She then looks over at Tony, adding another rasp through the comm, "Do you want the bottle of vodka? It's just here."


"Aw, it's boring out here. There's no one around the place except this lady and all she's doing is having teatime." Tony will get a ping from SIRIN as she sends over the picture Impulse snaps on his phone.

It doesn't take the speedster long to case the area, and then it's off to check out the restaurants that Tony had forwarded him. "-but why would you do that with cabbage?" he can be heard saying over the comms, followed by SIRIN's simultaneously cheery and dry indulgence of over-explanation. But mainly it's just Bart-babble. "Everything's written in code — Oh that helps. Cool. Vare…niki? Oh it's potato. Huh. Maybe I'll — awesome is that place really called Meatbusters??"

That's about all that's heard from Impulse until he returns a few minutes later, several plastic bags stuffed to full with styrofoam carry-out containers. "Who wants barbecue ribs and who wants brisket?" Leave it to Bart to find an American-style barbecue joint in Kiev.

—-

“Hrmmm,” Stark thinks about it. “Naw. I have a feeling that he’s gonna need the vodka more than me. Let's let him have something. I’m feeling generous.”


The fact that there is something on his car seems to be news to Vasyl, and his eyes widen in horror. Between the threat, the offer, and the two remaining heroes here to deliver those threats, the lean man struggles to do anything except draw in a ragged breath.

For a moment, his features take a different cast, and it looks like he’s going to keep resisting.

Until he just leans his head forward and buries his head in his hands. He needs more than vodka. “The docks, da. I… I also made website. Targets all freaks. I use keylogger to find right freaks. I sort the data, then send to buyer.”

JARVIS can narrow down the dates and times that the man was at each club, which makes it easier, but one must wonder how much time the poor cat spent alone as its owner seems to have been a frequent patron of… every sin-soaked vice-den he didn’t get thrown out of, and not all of them have digital security systems.

Lifting his head, Vasyl laughs as a certain despair about it all really starts to settle in, and then he simply relaxes back into his seat behind the locked doors since they seem to be respecting them at the moment. His head lolls to one side, looking to his cat on the ground outside. “But I do a good thing. You freaks, everywhere. Most just wasting power doing bad things or stealing from others. This time?” He turns his head over to face Tony as his lips turn up into a resigned sort of smile.

We’ll protect you, the man in the full iron suit promises. An inability to trust that statement bubbles to the fore and paints itself all over suddenly very tired features.

“This time, I get to decide that I am the hero, amerykansʹka.”


“Oh my god! Just how many places did you get thrown out of? And how much time did your cat spend home alone? It’s just mad cause it wants attention.” Stark proceeds to judge Vasyl’s extracurricular activities way more harshly than he should. I mean, considering his own. However, this is Tony and that is what he do.

He goes on, though, and Stark’s eyes narrow behind the Iron Man mask of his as he crosses his arms with the soft whine of servo motors. “JARVIS? Track that website. Bring it down and rip every ounce of data you can from it," is murmured over his private comms. “Someone is trying to rebuild the enhanced database and for no good reason I can see.” He adds over the comms, his voice carrying more than a touch of his annoyance now.

“Alright, just let me say one thing. That is…everything you just said is wrong.” Stark addresses the man in the car. “What you did is sit on your ass in a little dark room and accept someone else's money to finger people who haven’t done a damn thing more than want to exist. You didn’t even have the balls to look them in the eye when you did it to them. That is pretty much the definition of coward. Which is what you are.” He pauses a moment before flicking his eyes up towards Raven and Impulse. There is a slight nod though at Raven’s acquiring of the computer systems. One scan of the car to make sure he’s not missing anything.

For a moment it seems like he’s done but then he turns and starts to pace. Never one to stand still. “You know why I’m here? Cause people are missing. Lots of people. People with families that are worried and what do you do? You sit here pretending to be a hero. /Thinking/ you’re a hero. This is why zealots make me sick!” Now he’s gesturing. “You know why Raven and Impulse are here? Because I said ‘hey someone is doing something shady and we should go stop them’. And they went ‘alright lets go!’.” A beatpause. “I mean, Impulse was bored and Raven was sent to chaperone, but ignore that! They came. They didn’t hide in the dark, pretending to be a hero. They came, put themselves in possible danger, just because I asked. They came because people might need help. That is what a hero is. Not some coward that cries in the dark because he can’t bench press a car.”

One finger is stabbed towards said hacker. “You don’t get to decide you’re a hero. That is entirely missing the point on how it works.”

Again a pause.

“AND NOW YOU MADE ME GIVE A SPEECH ON HEROISM! This is the worst day ever!” A snap of his fingers and a quartet of drones zip out from the back of the armor to converge on the car. Tiny lasers weld the doors shut so the car becomes a prison.

“So, SHIELD is gonna be here in like five if you two don’t want to deal with that sort of thing. Just meet me back in Metropolis, and we can rip apart the hard drives to see whats on them.” A pause. “Also ribs. Always ribs. Meatbusters is an amazing name!”

And all was right with the world again. Saved by BBQ ribs.

“I’ll even copy the drives and send them back with ya, you can tell Magenta Sparrow that it was your idea so he doesn’t have to break in to get them and I don’t have to pretend I don’t know he does it.”

Look at him being all considerate.


You freaks.

Raven should feel something. But all she feels is numb.

That's all they are to Vasyl. To those who cannot comprehend the problems that come with having superhuman abilities.

But Tony Stark isn't wrong. Aside from the obvious Tony points out about both Titans, Raven has had her fill of trying to figure out what was going on with the missing telepaths on her own, stopping short whenever her empathetic connections with one or two of them abruptly cut off. And after letting the Titans know about it, it was Impulse's direct contact with Stark that helps expand her perspective and keep them both active in the search.

But somewhere in the middle of the man's heroic speech, Raven may have closed her eyes for a bit.

Just for a little bit. She caught the nod after she got the computer systems. She was with him for a good chunk of the explanation/rant as to why they were there. Those were important. Yes.

What wakes the Empath up again is when Tony realizes he's done what he never wanted to do, startling her enough to back away from the car just as the drones begin their task. The trunk shuts — one last metaphorical door closing on Vasyl as he's literally sealed in Fiesta prison.

Raven glances over at Impulse bearing barbecue gifts, tilting her head at the question. "…I think I'm all right," she says quietly. As she turns back toward Tony, she nods again. "I'm fine with meeting in Metropolis later."

A pause. "And…that's kind of you." For the add-on of letting Red Robin look through the copies of the drives.

Of course, that last reply is dry around the edges, but that's expected.


He'd missed the first time Vasyl started giving his true opinions of metahumans. Not the second. Amber eyes narrow, a rare expression of smoldering but genuine anger, and Raven can feel it roll off of him like wisps off dry ice. Impulse frowns, but with Iron Man going off, he has nothing further to add. But nor does he even begin to dig into the meaty meal he'd brought back, although he'd be even more upset if this guy just manages to ruin his appetite for it.

Thankfully, Tony manages to break off the tension with his exclamation, and it's almost a magical thing for how quickly it dissipates the speedster's own annoyance. A faint smile quirks the corner of his lips as he glances back at his unusual father-figure, and then over at Raven. "Sure, Metropolis it is," he agrees, even as he offers a couple of the styrofoam take-out containers to Tony. His grin comes back in, full-force then. "Meatbusters is an awesome name."

He holds out a container towards Raven, shrugging a little when she declines before cracking it open to pick at some brisket. Stooping down, he offers some to the cat. "What about her?" he asks. Because important questions.


Oksana purrs happily as she gets up from her spot and gingerly bites some of the meat out of Impulse’s hand. Once she gets a good grip on it, she pulls it back back into the carrier and settles demurely on her fluffy bit of towel.

It would be very sweet and tender. Well, it is sweet and tender, except that there is now a Ukrainian man who—unmoved by Tony’s impassioned argument on the definition of heroism—finds himself suddenly motivated to care when he’s being welded in to wait for SHIELD. SHIELD who may well not care about Ukraine’s lack of an American extradition agreement.

They are stealing his money, his work, and now… his cat.

“Some heroes,” he spits in Ukrainian, reverting back to his mother tongue just in time to show Tony that he has plenty of more creative curses. He rails about how Tony’s word is just as good as his when it comes to such verdicts.

He rails, but he doesn't move. The heroes will leave, having vandalized his car and stolen his things, and he will break the glass and escape before SHIELD arrives. There’s still time.


Stark nods, entirely ignoring Vasyl and his shouting at this point. Instead he moves away from the car towards Impulse. The armor flows open as he steps out of it, glancing towards the shouting man in the car as he reaches for one of the containers of ribs.

“I’ll take her to Sloane, or Coulson or someone. They can find a home for her where she doesn’t have to wait for her human to get home from stripclubs.” More judging. So much judging. But Stark just reaches in to try the ribs, casually taking a seat on the curb near the car. The Iron Man armor keeping watch.

Oh yes. It seems to still function perfectly well with him out of it.

“If you try to run away,” Stark adds cheerfully towards the shouting man. “I’ll be happy to taser you until you can do nothing but drool so feel free!” A pause. “Man who knew you could get ribs this good in Kiev. I’ll have to remember this place!”

A smirk at the pair of Titans. “Go on though, I got this and I don’t want SHIELD to hassle you guys for not doing the registering thing. Or worse yet lecture. The lectures are /always/ the worst.”


There's a thoughtful hum from the Empath, but she decides saying nothing about the aforementioned stripclubs is better. Violet eyes also fall back upon Vasyl within the same moment, not exactly as judging as Tony's but still unnerving to those who aren't used to not being blinked at for long periods of time. "I hope that goes well for the cat."

For some odd reason, Raven finds it better that both Tony and Bart's emotions have gone back to more manageable levels of…whatever it is they usually bring about with them. Dealing with the unorthodox degree of casualness and the obnoxiously bright sun beam is better than the combination of justified anger that overshadows a cowardly man's display of pride and disgust toward those who aren't anything like him.

Seeing that Stark has everything under control (with his usual Stark flair, no less), she shakes her head. Withholding a sigh, she lifts an arm, tracing a circular gesture in the air. The scenery appears to split on command, pulling open a large dark hole.

"Thank you, Mister Stark." Despite how monotone Raven sounds, a small smile can be heard in her words. "We'll see you soon." She then looks back over a shoulder at the speedster. "Ready whenever you are, Impulse."


Impulse tears off one of the container lids to leave a little more meat there for Oksana beside the opening of her carrier. He glances over at Tony as the man emerges from his armored suit, nodding before he gives a small tilt of his head. "Would they really hassle us for something like that? I mean, we're not even in New York," he notes with a thoughtful pout.

He hops up onto his feet again, his food having disappeared in that span of time, empty containers stuffed into a bag that he slings over a shoulder. "See ya later, Mister Stark," he offers, giving ol' dad a salute before he turns to Raven with another grin. His feet shift, tensed to break into a run.

"Race ya!"

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