"This is why I hate escort missions."
<NYC> Across the Rift - NYPD 121st Precinct - Staten Island
The sky is humming. The ground is humming. The drone of the skittering spiderlike Sentinels is well familiar by now, and maybe -- maybe -- some small part of DJ hoped that in the brief flash since he disappeared with his cargo, returned empty-handed, there'd be a little less chaos, a little more peace surrounding the station. No such luck.
"So much for abandoned." He's dropping to his wife's side in a blur of motion. Breath sucked in slow as his gaze skips over the not skittering robots standing silent and vigilant at intervals around the station. Eyes narrowed on the closed precinct door as if by magic it'll disgorge the last of the not-quite-Avengers so recently dragged inside.
Also, no such luck there either. His breath puffs out in a chill cloud, hand digging into the beltpouch at his hip. "This," he's saying this very solemnly, as he sets a hand on Polaris's shoulder, flits away to drop her right in the middle of a trio of spiders, "is why I hate escort missions."
Polaris's laugh is a single "hah!" She wastes no time getting to work on the three spider Sentinels around her, lifting all three and chucking them, one after another, at the nearest of the humanoid ones stationed around the building. "I can't get a grip on the big ones." Once her immediate vicinity she lifts herself up into the air for a better vantage point.
“Let me work on that.” Lily has popped up just behind Polaris, falling for a moment before disappearing again. Reappears about six feet away from the nearest of the aforementioned big ones, both fists closed and coming up in like she’s throwing a ball underhand. The many ball bearings aren’t actually tossed, instead disappearing from Lily’s hand, one cracking a Sentinel’s display. Back to Polaris. Lily grabs her by the arm, blips them both into magnet range of the same evil tin can. “Need more?”
The Mark V Sentinels positioned around the building -- from DJ and Polaris's current vantage they have a clear sightline to two of them, one near a corner on their side of the building and one considerably farther away in a back parking lot -- seem, for the moment, to take very little notice of the chaos brewing around them. The near one doesn't take that much note of the spiders being chunked at it, either. The impact makes far less sound than it ought, the large bots absorbing it without even much wobble.
The arachnoid Mark IVs roll themselves away -- their initial target is disappearing, but they're reorienting smoothly. Fanning out around the Allreds.
There's another figure just descending from over and above the building now, though. A repulsor blast comes shooting down straight toward Polaris's shoulder. The source of it is an extremely familiar gleaming red and gold powersuit; three of the Mark Vs (Totally Unassumingly painted, themselves, in inverse scheme from Tony, bright gold and red unlike the unobtrusive matte of the bots on the ground) hover at a rapidly rotating distance in the air around him. "Wouldn't happen to have seen where I went?" his voice crackles from above.
There's very shortly no more Polaris where that repulsor blast was aiming; she's several feet back, though DJ is there and gone again quickly enough he's barely visible. One of the spiderbots is gone with him, blurring up into the air as he reappears first in front of -- then behind -- Tony and his Boss Fight Shield of whirling robots, trying to get a feel for their movement pattern.
Deep inside the fortress that is Stark Industries Tower an automated alert wails in respond to reports coming in from the field. A request to launch a rapid response task force.
Kisha glances up from her work, shrugs and cancels her meetings for the day. These days she's always in her control rig. Ready for the cool sting of needles as they bite into her nerves and then the rush of power as she becomes something far more lethal.
An initial squadron launch of twenty Thunderchild class drones are already being loaded with mission specific weapons. Using incoming Sentinel data so an army of BOBs can load the most optimal weapons based on available information.
"Boss this is Thunderchild One re-enforcements are launching. Should be at your location shortly."
"Thanks, and spice the others up if you get a moment!" Polaris calls after Lily and is just about to get to work on the Mark V when Tony arrives. "Mother--" her exclamation is less frightened than just irritated, and finishes without missing a beat where DJ drops her off, --forker! I was busy." She is, in fact, ignoring the Boss Formation and returning her attention to the Mark V. It's not the Sentinel itself she takes hold of now, but the steel ball bearings embedded through its chassis. The bearings in its top half twist one way--pointing it, as well, away from Polaris--while those in the bottom half the opposite, straining to break something inside of it.
“On it.” Lily is gone before Iron Man comes down - not that her reaction would have been helpful, but she catches the movement in the corner of her eye, swears underneath her breath. She looks up at the blur in the air, frowns. Teleports just above one of the spidery Mark IVs, landing on top of it lightly with one foot. The spiderbot disappears, sent on a fun journey into the sky just above Tony Stark’s shiny head and falling fast.
As is the habit of the Mark IVs, they're growing more of them the longer the Allreds are out here. Once more three skitter-roll over to surround Polaris; their repulsor blasts are sweeping things. Side-to-side, up-and-down, covering a triangulation of area somewhere around her kneecaps downward.
A similar trio is moving in around Lily. Pincering their attacks as they close in -- a pair of darts from one. A pair of quick strong blasts from another.
"No? Find him myself, then." Tony lifts a hand, blasting toward DJ -- once, then once again, neither getting anywhere close to the jumpy movements.
The Mark V creaks. Rattles. It doesn't twist, its sturdy chassis unyielding to Polaris's attempts at torque, but something in its inner electrical systems is beginning to flutter less stably than before.
The other Mark Vs are taking note of the attack, now. The one in the parking lot -- joined, now, by one more in a far corner, one on the roof -- are no longer quiet sinister gargoyles. They've come into motion -- not -- yet -- to attack, but only to fall into something like a formation, circling the building rather than staying in their more easily targeted positions.
Sorry, was that a Polaris? Now it's not. Blink -- out of the web of Sentinels once more. One of which has just buried itself half in the ground.
A second one is burying itself in the fluttering Mark V. "Can you work with that, darling?" DJ is gone again. Blipping Lily nearer to Polaris. Grabbing another spider to vanish it.
"Oh, much better," Polaris chirps. "Thanks, sweetheart!" She seizes the Mark IV embedded in the Mark V and, lifting the whole mass of Sentenel off of the ground, accelerates it through a second floor window of the police station. Certainly she's aiming to distrupt the suppression field formation, but she's also rattling the spider-shaped impaled object around in a bid to break something in the unfamiliar, imperceptible innards of the Mark V.
DJ has flitted back up into the air with a broken half- of spiderbot -- a small blurry ghost dancing over and below the whirl of bots around the orbiting Mark Vs around the station. There's a moment where he almost seems to freeze, hovering blurrily in place -- the spider vanishes, sent to embed itself in one of the remaining stationguards.
One of the Mark Vs is now moving considerably more erratically than the others, encumbered now by the half-a-Sentinel that has sprouted from its legs.
Their movement pattern is shifting to compensate, no longer a steady orbit but an amorphous fluctuating thing, the projected field they carry fluctuating (invisible, erratic) with them.
Tony is on the move the moment DJ vanishes from nearby him. A streak of red and gold through the air -- when DJ blurs, he's following, dipping towards the teleporter and the still-spinning halo of Mark V's.
His Sentinel escort are following. The field that closes around DJ when his bots link up with the ones around the station comes just a split second after the beam that fires a powerful blast right at the man's side.
Fluctuating together with the Sentinels and their field, now -- the blare of music that has just transferred from where it's been playing only-inside-Tony's-helmet to where it now plays from all Sentinels around as well. Loud and brash, Styx's music -- Hangman is comin' down from the gallows, and I don't have very long.
When the Thunderchild drones appear it's with indiscriminate shock and awe. All of her drones are unfortunately outside the power dampening field but moving very fast and quite high up. Kisha activates her comms "Commencing bombing run."
Four groups of five, in arrow formations, scream by in waves. Each one firing barrage of ceramic grenades. Not targeting any specific mutants just filling as much of the space outside the dampening field with razor sharp fragments as possible.
Overhead pass complete each group of five, or what's left of each group, break off and begin circling the site from above.
The blast comes while DJ is just at the tail end of his targeting; still as stationary as he ever gets in these situations, it catches him squarely in the side. The shower of blood that comes with this, for once, is faster than him in reaching the ground -- but, caught in the suppression field, he's definitely falling straight out of the sky. The very visible, very bleeding hole torn off his left side as well as the incoming rain of shrapnel (for once, thank God he's below at least some of the Sentinels, still) may be contributing to his state of disorientation -- whatever the reason, even once he's Technically Able, he's not righting himself. Just plummeting, fast.
Polaris pivots sharply in mid-hair and hurls the Mark V Lily just crippled--or, more technically, the Mark IV she crippled it with and which is still inside of it--at breakneck speed toward Tony. She turns just in time to see her husband swatted out of the sky. "Dawson!" she cries, throwing out a hand--unnecessary but reflexive. DJ's fall slows dramatically where her power catches hold of his armor. The concentration costs her shielding herself from the storm of shrapnel and she screams. DJ resumes falling--and this time Polaris, as well.
Polaris’ power buys her enough time to react - Lily is wrapping her arm around DJ’s back when Polaris screams. Another blink and she’s at her side too, grabbing her by an arm before teleporting them all to what looks like safety at the edge of the shrapnel bombed field. It’s not a good landing - Lily hits the ground with too much momentum, losing her grip on her sister-in-law as she stumbles.
The fritzing Mark V careens through the air, its attempts to right itself resulting only in a slight wobble to its lightning trajectory. It slams hard into Tony -- who no doubt will right himself, in time, but at the moment he's spinning, tangled with the bot and tumbling backwards. His aerial escort accompanying him as he somersaults in the air, taking their small zone of suppression with them -- the two swiftly circling bots at the station, no longer enough to maintain their perimeter with their fellows out of commission, drop down to flank the building entryway.
With Tony in trouble the Thunderchild drones dive into another swooping pass over the battlefield. Their firing patterns shifting as Kisha tries to create a killing field around Tony. Making it harder for anyone to follow up the attack.
"You okay in there boss?" She checks the progress back at base for arming another wing of drones. "Want me to dispatch a wing with nerve gas? I doubt it'll blow over any densely populated areas... and it can't hurt if a little passes through to the other side."
Each of the Thunderchild robots blares out the same robotic announcement followed up with another shower of razor shards and explosions.
"Cease resisting and your apprehension will be humane and painless."
It will be neither of these things.
DJ's face has gone very pale around the streaks of blood from small peppered shrapnel-cuts. His breath is wheezing, labored. There's quite a lot of blood under -- where his arm should be. Is not. The remaining arm he does have is -- trying to push himself, shakily, into some semblance of uprightness. He's eying the shifting movements of the Mark Vs. Eying where Tony is tumbling back. Eying the shrapnel-filled air. Likely his sister and his wife are both -- all too familiar with the grim determination in his expression.
Polaris tumbles when Lily's hold slips, but actually comes up into a crouch--pale and mussed and a little bloodied but more or less in tact. She cries out anyway when she sees DJ and rushes to his side. "No!" She catches his right arm, little though she could actually hold him back if he wanted to go. "The field's down, Lily can go grab Bruce--"
The rest of her words are cut off by a crash from the front of the police station. A large, green figure has just burst out the plate glass doors, frame and all, naked by for purple trunks. Hulk takes a few running steps and then bounds up--up--up, heedless of the shrapnel, straight for the hovering Iron Man. That they swat one of the circling Mark Vs out of the way seems almost incidental; the furious roar that wells up out of their immense chest is directed at Tony and Tony alone as they tackle him out of the sky. "BAD TONY! NO HURT HULK FRIENDS!"
"Really know how to make an entrance." Tony is just dislodging the damaged Mark V as Kisha covers him; it tumbles away from him, just functional enough to not crash into the ground, though once it has landed it immediately shuts itself down. "Please. I'm fine. Gonna take more than a couple moony-eyed Bible thumpers to --"
Only a blur of green, a booming voice, a crash follow. The sidewalk is cracked and dented; somewhere in the middle of it there's an Iron Man-shaped lump of red and gold. Maybe it groans. Maybe it doesn't. It's hard to say over the continued piping of his perimeter of Sentinel escorts: This'll be the end today...
Lily just - stands, for a moment, hovering over her family. “Dammit, Hulk,” Lily mutters. “I’ve wanted to do that for years.” She blinks away, returning a moment later with Hulk, one hand wrapped around a giant green finger and crouching to get her other arm around DJ and Polaris. Blink. The only sign they were ever at this spot is the copious amounts of Allred blood, pooling and drying on the concrete.
A short distance away, on the apartment building rooftop where DJ had deposited them, Clint and Tony have had a commanding view of the battle and of the sole access road to it. Clint is down on one knee and has just lowered his bow as he watches the Allreds and Hulk vanish. "You can withdraw," he's saying, though perhaps not to Tony. His eyes flick back and forth, tracking the text that appears on the inside of his goggles.
"They teleported out. Looks like we're on our on for now." He does not sound particularly concerned about this, even if there are only a few arrows remaining in his once-full quiver. Rising to his full height, he looks down with a kind of serene satisfaction written on his face. Some smoldering, some simply inert, and plenty with arrows protruding from their bulbous spiderlike bodies, the access road is littered with destroyed Sentinels that never made it to the fight.