Logs:Let Slip The Goats Of War

From X-Men: rEvolution
Let Slip The Goats Of War
Dramatis Personae

B, DJ, Dusk, Heather, Ion, Jax, Lily, Matt, Steve


"Me and my new friend goat gonna retribute you right back yo."


<NYC> Riverdale - Bronx

The sun is setting over the neighborhood of Riverdale, but there's still plenty of light on this stretch of block -- several of the houses still decked out in a brilliant and chaotic array of brightly strung mismatched lights, many of the trees glittering as well, the thick feet of unplowed snow reflecting the glow.

In the front yard of one of the houses an elaborate snow fort has been built -- is still being built -- up on one of the parapets Jax, dressed snug and warm in fleece-lined overalls, winter hiking boots, rainbow cap and scarf and mittens, a purple blue and green coat, is still packing snow down onto the wall. A little heedless of the clamor coming from below, he's steady in his work. "Okay, I know from some squats," he's saying, kind of impressed as he looks towards one of the bright-lit houses across the way, "but honestly y'all have done some impressive work with these like. You really in it for the long haul, then?"

B is perched beside Jax, legs dangling over the edge of the wall; in clunky metallic boots, a slim cut purple peacoat, soft silver-and black leggings, black and purple pleated skirt, a silver and black scarf, she looks slightly less snugly bundled than her father but doesn't seem to be suffering much for it. She sips at a thermos clutched in her unmittened hands, lowering it after to tuck between her knees so she can idly scrape together a snowball -- very absentminded about it, though there's already a stash of them sitting untouched beside her. "Mmm. Why not? Not like there's a shortage of people who need the space."

Through all the lights here's one more -- just a blip, a flicker-flash that resolves itself into Ion, thick leather MMMC jacket already snow-dusted, his jeans soaked, his pastel pink-and-green knit cap dusted in snow. Bright and grinning at the base of the fort NO JUST KIDDING HE'S VAULTING UP, clapping both smolshark and smolsharkDad alike on their shoulders. "Damn up here you got a nice cushy --" His smile is broad when he starts speaking but his booming deep voice cuts off soon enough when he spies B's readymade snowball stash. His hands drop and he's grabbing a snowball in each mittened hand, leaping right back down off the wall nearly as soon as he arrived and already pelting -- whoever he sees first.

There's an excited bleating, an exuberant charge that matches Ion's -- Ophelia has wrested free of her wrangler and is leaping through the snow, charging straight for Ion in an attempt to headbutt him mid-leap as he jumps from the fort. Thankfully, a pair of bright neon purple and pink pool noodles buffer her horns, if not her enthusiasm. Somewhere at the other end of where her leash had been, DJ is looking just a little flummoxed -- whatever he'd been expecting from this Homes For Mutants project, maybe it was not this. Blandly dressed in dark canvas jacket, lined jeans, heavy boots, he's flitted out of the way of the first snowball, tense and guarded before the snow paffs harmlessly onto the ground and he eases. His eyes dart from Ion -- to B -- to Jax -- around the rest of the grounds. Back to Jax. The breath he lets out is slow. "Um," he finally offers, flitting over to take Ophelia's leash back up, "Sorry about the goat."

Crunching through the snow beside DJ -- at least, until the other man blips away to retrieve Goat -- Steve has actually dressed for the cold today in a navy peacoat open over a cream cable knit sweater, gray softshell pants, and heavy black snow boots, a soft blue ombre scarf looped loosely around his neck with a matching toque and mittens. The iconic shield slung across his back looks almost normal, except the five-pointed star at its center has been replaced with a silver snowflake. He's also gazing around him in amazement, and as such does not move fast enough to avoid the first barrage of snowballs. He reaches for his shield but quickly aborts the motion. "That any way to treat your guests?" he's calling out to Ion, though the laughter in his voice sounds not the least offended as he stoops to pack his own ammunition from the copious materials on the ground. His return fire, left-handed though it may be, is fast and hard and impeccably aimed.

There's a colder draft coming from overhead, Dusk's enormous wings stirring up some of the snow. He has a small armload of snowballs -- some of which he's currently hurling down towards DJ and Steve, though his eyes linger hard and long on the former. "No sorry in snow war," he calls down, landing with a muffled thump to scoop himself a new handful. "OH my god you brought a goat? Why haven't we had a goat before? Can we keep it?"

Heather has been observing the construction of the snow fort with interest, occasionally checking her phone for messages. Her winter clothes are about as bright and clashy as usual, with the long bright neon orange coat and a pair of green earmuffs that have the word 'groovy' written in purple bubble letters on them. She is looking down again at her phone when Ion's snowball strikes her square in the face, and while she does not flinch, her earmuffs nearly come off. She rubs the snow off of her goggles with her mouth pressed in a long thin line. "You have declared a war. Retribution incoming," her recorded voice says, even while she starts to quickly form some ammunition for return fire.

Ion is busy getting TACKLED BY GOAT, landing on his back with a WHUMP and wrassling the goat right back. "The fuck?" His grin has not faded; he's taking Ophelia's pool-noodled horns in both hands to give the goat's head a gentle SHAKE, his expression delighted. "What the fuck --" only grows more baffled when he looks past Ophelia to see DJ, his whole posture freezing momentarily before he rallies, bounds upright. "Free her, man, goat on my team now." He points a finger right toward Heather. "Me and my new friend goat gonna retribute you right back yo." He claps a hand onto Ophelia's back, pointing toward Heather. "Bonks that way."

Matt makes his slow way out from one of the Autonomous Zone houses, his elegant gray knee-length coat buttoned up tight, an emerald green scarf snug around his collar and a Montréal Canadiens cap pulled down over his ears. He lingers in the shelter of the snow fort, his mouth pulling into a lopsided smile as he watches Dusk's aerial assault. "Only if you keep her person, also." He peers around the wall at DJ, his smile softening if not quite altogether apologetic. "Alas, I think Ophelia has been drafted." From his shelter he is surreptitiously hefting a snowball, though it does not look as though he has yet decided whose team to reinforce.

"Keep her? I mean, she's mine. I was kind of hoping -- well, I heard this place was good. For mutants. To live." DJ tenses again, blips away from Dusk's aerial barrage, relaxes again, exhales. Manages half a smile, up toward Dusk, and -- tentatively -- lets go of Ophelia's leash again. "Uh -- she's not really -- well." His nose wrinkles up as Ion tries to order goat-bonks. Ophelia, obligingly, headbutts Ion again. DJ's eyes flick to Steve, linger there -- after a brief delay, a slow gnaw on his lip, he drops to one knee, starting to pack a snowball of his own against the side of his boot.

Up in his fort, Jax is folding his arms on the wall, peeking downward curiously. "I don't think goats work that way," he offers down to Matt, quiet and amused as he watches Ion. Meanwhile, he's picking up some of their snowball stash quietly, a small barely-visible ramp glimmering to life overhead that he drops the snowballs down onto, watching them roll-roll-roll straight toward DJ's head.

Steve does manage to dodge Dusk's barrage, though it's a near thing that involves diving behind a drift that may or may not conceal a car, and he promptly starts turning his cover into yet more missiles. As he pops up to hurl a snowball back at Dusk, he cries, "Allred, incoming above!" Then sprints -- startlingly fast considering the depth of of the snow -- toward the cover of some heavily laden hedges whence he might be able to angle some shots into the cover of the snow fort.

Heather's gaze goes down to the goat expectantly, then back up to Ion when no charge comes. A helpless shrug is all that precedes the rapid fire of snowballs tossed Ion's way, but then suddenly pivots and tosses one of the snowballs up towards the fort. "We need to cut off their supplies," she states flatly (but loudly!) towards DJ and Steve, apparently having decided that if Ion gets the goat, it is only fair that she gets the owner.

Lily’s ambling, trudging path through the Bronx had not gone through the Autonomous Zone originally, but the sounds of chaos have drawn her down this block instead of her Google Maps prescribed route. A lavender scarf is wrapped tightly around her neck and pulled up around her mouth, a black and white checkered toque pulled low around her ears with the ends of her braid just peeking out underneath the wool.

Lily’s head snap sideways at the call of her last name, eyes going wide as she spots familiar combatants. Blinks as Steve rushes past her. Makes a decision and bolts for the same hedge, pulling her scarf down before getting to work making snowballs. “Hi. Are you picky about your Allreds?”

B has been sipping again at her cocoa and watching the chaos unfurl below, but her eyes widen, gills fluttering slow when Steve calls out to DJ. The string of quiet muttering under her breath in Vietnamese sounds in tone somewhat annoyed. When she hops off the fort she doesn't actually land -- her boots glow and she hovers in place, skating off straight through the air to swoop down towards Lily and Steve's not-so-hidey-hiding spot. A flick of outstretched wrist, a THWIP of glue, and B has one Steve Rogers in tow in the air, dangling by a booted ankle. She attaches the other end of the sturdy strand of webglue to a thick ice-and-stringlight covered tree branch, leaving Steve to hang high above the snow-blanketed ground before she zooms back to her cocoa.

Jax's first snowball was just about to plop down onto DJ's head when Steve's warning comes -- in the next instant DJ is gone, and the barrage falls onto vacant ground. DJ glance to his goat -- to Heather and her machine-gun fire -- up to Jax and his fort.

A moment later he's vanished, off toward Steve's cover -- or at least the cover Steve had just been taking shelter in. His eyes widen when he finds himself crouched next to Lily there instead, his cheeks darkening. He bites down on his lip, but then glances towards the snowballs she's starting to pack. "Mind if I --" He gestures towards them. "Harder to pack with one hand."

"Might want to tell Sergent Ion that," Matt says wryly, "or Private Ophelia!" He ducks out from behind the edge of the snow fort and takes aim at Ion, but when Lily arrives he seems to reconsider, circling back around to the other side of the snow wall, covering his delighted laughter at Steve's predicament behind one gray-gloved hand before he looses his snowball at the helpless supersoldier instead.

"Ffff!" Heather's volley catches Ion square in his chest. He drops to a knee, scooping up a hasty snowball that he tosses with plenty of enthusiasm if not much hope back towards her. "This goat already a double agent. -- Oh shit." He's cackling at Steve's new predicament, disappearing back into the fort to reappear atop the wall with more snowballs to hurl down toward Heather. "Your new team it already down a man."

Steve blinks at Lily, only momentarily flummoxed by her appearance. "Always good to have a medic!" He transfers the focus of his antiair artillery from Dusk to B as she veers toward him but, unfamiliar with the flight pattern of small sharks on hoverboots, he misses altogether. His indignant yelp dopplers up, up, up as he's hoisted into the tree, but he does not seem particularly alarmed for all that. He tugs the shield from his back and has already levered himself up mid-air to cut the strand of web glue holding him in place when Matt's snowball catches him squarely in the face and sets him into a sputtering spin.

Heather attempts to look cool by catching and whipping Ion's snowball back at him, but she ends up just swatting it so that it explodes in a piff of white. "He is awoling!" she answers Ion, looking up towards poor Steve with consternation. "Do not get high on duty, soldier," she says up to Steve, throwing a snowball that misses wide, whether at B or Steve himself, it's not apparent.

"Traitor," is Jax's indignant yelp at Steve's warning. "That boy does not need the heads up!" He, too, throws his next snowball straight towards Steve as he twirls at the end of his rope. "Thanks for avenging me, honey-honey," he carols sing-song to B on her return. He's stretching up onto tiptoes to peer towards Lily and DJ's hideout. "We need to bring back trebuchets," he decides, trying anyway to hurl a snowball high and far over the mound of snow even if he can't entirely see the people beyond.

Lily gives Steve an awkward smile, glancing back down to pack another snowball. It’s only a second - when her head rises again, Steve is airborne, replaced by DJ behind the hedge. Now it’s her turn to blink, baffled. Her cheeks are already red from the cold, but a touch of extra colour seems to slide into them. “Oh, sure, of course,” she says, handing him the one she just made. Lily glances up over the hedge. “Right, so, who’s on our team. Are there teams?” A pause. "Who brought the goat?"

"I've been here like a minute and so far my goat has defected and -- Steve's in a tree. I think the fort might be its own team? Maybe my goat made her own team. I'm not really sure." DJ takes the snowball with a grateful smile. He's vanished from their hiding spot a moment later -- then returned -- somewhere in the interim, a snowball has appeared almost seemingly out of nowhere to fly square at the back of Matt's head. He's snatching Jax's just-thrown snowball out of the air en route back, just before it hits Steve. "Dunno if this makes us a team now. I'm not clear on the rules."

"Bit tied up, Ma'am!" Steve calls back to Heather as he tries to slow his spin. "I regret nothing!" His defiant reply wavers with laughter and exertion alike as he twists himself up yet again -- an impressive feat for a man hanging by one leg and still rotating in place -- and hacks at the web glue. His startled cry at the next snowball is cut short by DJ's nick-of-time save. "See? Loyalty!" Once, twice, third strike's the charm. The strand of glue snaps and he plummets to the ground, leaving a cartoonishly Cap-shaped hole in a snow drift at the base of the tree.

There's a sudden dive from above -- Dusk is hurtling back down now, landing beside that drift. His enormous wings make for very handy shoveling, hastily scooping snow over the hole Steve left and covering him deep. He adds a little light pat, pat, at the top of the newly smoothed-over snowdrift before taking back to the air.

With a brief respite from RETRIBUTION Ion's attention has unsurprisingly wavered to the newest and most eye-catching thing. When Dusk lands he -- forgoes throwing the snowball in his hand in favor of a full-body tackle, still clinging to the other man when they rise back into the air. It's only after this that he remembers the snowball, mashing it in midair towards Dusk's face while still clinging -- maybe not quite as tight as he should considering he can't fly.

Heather's eyebrows shoot up when Steve is buried alive in a snowy impression of himself. She starts to pack together some snowballs again and throw them up towards Dusk and Ion, the strength of her throws able to overcome the gravity that is working so hard against them. Her anti-air cannoning keeps her attention up in the skies.

Ophelia's attention is also wandering now that her newest wrestling companion has gone. Her attention turns -- she starts, first, towards Matt, but is sidetracked halfway there, one of her horn noodles sticking on the ice on one side of the fort. Disgruntled, her attention turns to the fort itself with at first an irritable but then an excited bonk, ramming into one of its sides before she starts trying to scale the snow she's just dislodged.

"You could melt their ammo," B suggests to her dad, legs crossing primly once she's taken up her perch back atop the fort. She's looking over towards -- presumably -- where the Allreds are, though a moment later her eyes go wiiiide again and pull up-up to track the Dusk-Ion tangle into the sky. "Ohmygosh." She has to stifle a giggle behind one hand. "How did he live to adult-- eep!" This comes at the first shudder of the wall she's sitting on. She looks downward, squeaks again. Chucks a snowball towards Ophelia. "Whose side are you on?"

DJ's stealth attack catches Matt entirely unawares and he staggers forward, cackling brightly as he catches himself against the side of the snow fort. "Oh, it's on now!" He turns back toward the Allreds' cover, though here he stops short, tilting his head, eyes keen. "Huh." The hesitation does not last long. He rapid-fires two snowballs, which arc through the air unerringly toward Lily and DJ despite his complete lack of sightlines. "It's every goat for herself, I'm afraid!"

“The goat and the fort are not the same team,” Lily observes. She’s made a sizeable stash of snowballs now, and is just picking one up herself, eyes on the Ion-Dusk phenomenon, when Matt’s missile catches her in shoulder. She laughs, warm and bright, before popping up and hurling hers back at Matt.

"{What the fuck --}" There's a sudden flailing of wings overhead, a harsh growl that transforms afterward into a low thrumming rumble underlying Dusk's laughter. His teeth snap reflexively towards Ion's neck but he rights them in the air readily enough despite his initial startlement -- at least until Heather's barrage of missiles thwacks towards him. Startled all over again he spins, doesn't quite recover, whumps down into a huge bat-winged snow angel in the ground. "{Crazy-ass motherfucker.}" He's scrambling to his feet, one enormous wing batting against the ground to send a huge spraying wave of snow in Heather's direction.

Steve bursts from his snowy tomb rapidly, looking none the worse for the fall though he's just a bit pale -- perhaps from the cold. Somewhere in the course of his misadventures he's lost both hat and scarf, but does not stop to retrieve them or dislodge the snow from his collar and hair and wherever else. Shield still in hand, he vaults the hedge in a single leap and stoops low, making his own cover now as he scoops up and packs a sloppy one-handed snowball to also aim at Matt.

"I think Ophelia's gone fully rogue." Lily's laughter draws an echoing laugh from DJ, quiet and warm though almost as soon as it ends he's blipping away again -- maybe out of the way of the incoming snowball but he's also vanishing from their hiding spot. This time throwing his snowball towards Ion when the electrokinetic crash-lands -- stopping to scoop another snowball from the fort's stash and quietly drop it atop Jax's head before he reappears back behind the hedge.

The goat, meanwhile, has caved in another large segment of the fort's wall and is standing atop it triumphantly. One of her pool noodles has come off in the process, the other still on, giving her kind of a lopsided appearance.

"-- oh no." DJ is half grimacing, half laughing. "She's weaponizing herself. I don't think that fort is long for this world."

"Woe is me, so frail and defenseless!" Matt throws up an arm in half-hearted resistance while he's pelted with snowballs, play-swooning dramatically against the side of the failing fort, though if anyone was tempted to worry he was actually hurt the giggling probably serves as reassurance. "She really horned in on this fort," he agrees, still sliding down slowly to sit in the snow. "Eventually, something's goat to give."

"Augh." Jax was about to aim back towards Lily but at the puns he chucks his snowball straight down at Matt instead -- just before he loses his footing on his now-unstable and crumbling wall, toppling in a heap of snow to fall down half on top of Matt alongside the remnants of the once-mighty fort. "Oh, gosh. I'm thinking it's just about time for cocoa."