1963-08-27 - Quiet Night Turned Violent
Summary: Nova, Lightwave, and the Cheshire Cat bust up an anti-mutant demonstration in Times Square.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
nova christine vorpal 

Times Square during the day isn't the nicest place around. Plenty of ads, billboards, panhandlers, and less fortunate members of society looking for a handout, a cheap thrill, or something even less savoury. At night, it's probably not /usually/ much worse, but tonight is an exception. It all started about twenty minutes ago, when a small armed group, about a dozen assorted men and women, stormed through the Square. Gunshots rang out early, killing a handful of bystanders before the leader took centre stage, so to speak. A very tall, thin man, wearing a mask like the rest of his compatriots, carrying an assault rifle. "MUTANTS ARE A THREAT TO OUR WAY OF LIFE," he screams out at the top of his lungs, while the rest of his followers round up as many of those who haven't been able to flee the scene as they can manage. "WE WILL NOT STAND IDLY BY ANY LONGER!" A few minutes later, a crowd of those who remain has been corralled into he centre of the Square, while a couple of the armed - well, let's call them terrorists, because it's true - pass through and remove hats, glasses, and anything else that might conceal a person's identity. "You lot will be the first to be tested," the leader says in a slightly quieter, but less 'yelling' voice. "Bring me the first!"

The first person to be brought from the herded mass to face the thin man is a young man. Homeless, in all likelihood, judging by the disheveled appearance. He hesitantly moves toward the man, 'encouraged' by a couple of militants threatening to shoot him if he refuses. The man looks down on him, and places his hands on his forehead. A moment later, he begins to shake, and screams out, "Vermin! Abomination! Mutant beast! What do you have to say, creature of darkness? Do you admit your sin? Do you repent?" The man being questioned argues, denying the accusations, but the thin man is driven into a rage. He pushes the man down, pressing the muzzle of his weapon to his head. "REPENT OR BE CLEANSED," the thin man shouts, while the prone man starts to weep, continuing to deny being a mutant.

The commotion would be easy to hear, even from blocks away. Gunfire, shouting, and soon enough, police sirens closing in on Times Square. Is there no hero to defend the common people?


LIghtwave is far away when the faint sounds of gun fire catch her attention. And she was having such a nice, quiet night and flight with Nova. "Sounds like trouble," she says to him. So far, she hasn't taken Nova to Times Square for sight-seeing, becasue…well…it's really not what it used to be. It's still a major center of activity for New York, but it's slowly being overrun by squalor, like a lot of the city. "Let's move it," she says to her partner, and the glowing heroine alters her course to head for Times Square.

By the time they get there, the crowd has already been rounded up, and Lightwave can hear the anti-mutant rhetoric being spewed. She grits her teeth, setting the terrorists' hatred aside, and pulls up to hover above the crowd. First things first, she emits a beam of light that spreads into a wide wall, seaparting the captured innocents, except for the one already pulled out, from the gunmen. "Hostages secured!" she shouts to Nova. Now it's his turn. And hopefully any other heroes in the area responding.


Of course, all of this would happen while Keith was right… there…. in fact, one of the people corralled just so happens to be a redhead with a shock of untamed hair and too many freckles who, usually, looks like the Cheshire Cat.

Except, of course, when he's disguised himself under an illusion. A hostage situation is a delicate thing, and the young man had not acted because he didn't want to get innocents killed. It had been a pure stroke of luck that the man hadn't started with him, because then he might just have had to do something drastic.

So, it is a blessing when a corral isolates him and the hostages from the terrorists. And then, that's when Keith grins like a mad-man. It's just a little focus, and…

He attempts to cast an illusion. The man, the thin man who leads the rabble? Keith tries to cast a nice illusion wherein the top of his head- from his hairline up- bursts into bright blue flame and stays burning, bright and brilliant, seemingly without hurting the hatemonger in the least.

"He's a mutant!" Keith shouts, pointing at the man from his secure refuge behind the wall of light, "He's been foolin' you all along!"

For a nice touch, he lets two or three more terrorists get the Flaming Head treatment as well. "… they've been among you all along!"

Hopefully this will sew enough dissent and distrust to make this organized group less cohesive in battle, allowing for a faster take-down than if they presented a united front.


"Right," Nova says to Christine, and accelerates alongside her toward the source of commotion. So much for a nice leisurely flight over the city. But then, this is what they were supposedly out to be doing in the first place, right?

The sudden appearance of the wall of solid light separating the gunmen from the hostages is enough to startle the armed terrorists, who react by releasing a barrage of gunfire on the photonics construct, ineffectively. The bullets simply ricochet into the air and the ground. A moment later, Keith's illusion is noticed, and some among them begin to panic, going so far as to try to put the blue flame out with their hands, flailing quite frantically until their apparent leader addresses them, his own head apparently ablaze with blue fire as well. "It is a trick! An illusion, sent by the Devil!" He shouts, "Keep your thoughts pure, brothers, and the mutant Devil will have no power over you!" And though he can't do anything about the illusion, he and his followers are apparently strong enough of will to pretend it isn't happening. Some, not so much, and those who panic are quickly put down by their calmer compatriots. Three down.

The leader, meanwhile, turns his attention back to the man who had been brought before him. He pushes his gun hard against the man's head, screaming at him to make the fires stop, apparently believing him to be responsible for the illusion. He's about to pull the trigger and end it, when Nova drops down from the sky, plummeting into the ground at high speed. The impact is sufficient to create a small crater, and a small shockwave around him. It has the a few desired effects; the display is a distraction from the hostages, for both the followers and the leader, and the brief impact tremor is enough to knock the leader off his balance, giving the man he was threatening time to scramble out of immediate danger. Weapons turn to Nova, and bullets erupt from their muzzles. Nova is well-protected from such ballistics, but the sheer number of projectiles is enough to prevent Nova from acting immediately, as he has to fight against the collective force to even remain upright. "Gotta get the guns out of the picture!" He yells, hoping that Lightwave, or some other do-gooder, will be able to hear him, and act accordingly. Meanwhile, the computer in his helmet has been scanning the crowd, and Keith's outline is highlighted, and suddenly the flaming blue hats make a lot more sense. That tricksy Cheshire Cat.


As the bullets impact the solid light wall, LIghtwave winces a bit as she maintains the construct's integrity. She's still able to protect the civilians and she calls out to them. "Run! Clear the area!" Nova saving the one hostage they already had makes her smile; looks like everyone is safe. She returns her focus to the gunmen, flying so that she's in front of them instead of to the side. The anti-mutant terrorists look up and raise their weapons up at her. Suddenly, LIghtwave unleashes a flash of photonic energy at them, causing the men to cry out in pain from the temporary blindness. Slowly, Lightwave extends the light wall, making it curve to herd the gunmen into a tighter group. "Gunmen down, Nova!"


And that's when the Cheshire Cat reveals himself, casting his disguise aside to focus completely.

"Get in, run!" he calls, as he creates a Rabbit Hole out of thin air- with its sister hole opening up several blocks from here. Safe within the light corral, Keith doesn't need to worry about taking cover from the shots, which makes the task of moving the Rabbit Hole around to intercept running civilians and taking them to a safe spot easier. When Nova set himself up as a target, Keith knew the guy wouldn't be dumb enough to do it without being bulletproof in one way or another. His companion also seemed to have the front covered with the shooters, so it fell to him to do the less-glamorous and less exciting job of crowd control.

"… and nausea and dizziness are perfectly normal, don't worry!" he calls to the next civilian he manages to scoop up into the hole. "Just try not to yark on yourself or someone else, okay?"


When the bullets stop peppering his armour, Nova breathes a sigh of relief, and lifts himself a few feet back into the air. He's confident that Lightwave will be able to keep the eight remaining gunmen under control, so he focuses on the leader. The leader of the group, meanwhile, has recovered from his fall, and though he's lost his first victim, he's more than happy to open up on Nova with the assault rifle in his hands. The bullets again simply ricochet off of the young hero's armour, and though the impacts jostle him a bit, Nova doesn't have any trouble floating forward at a quick pace, letting loose with a kinetic blast toward the man. It knocks the gun out of his hands, and throws the man a few feet backward again. "Don't get up," Nova says sternly, and releases another blast of force at the dropped weapon, flinging it several feet away from its owner.

"Bloody mutant freaks," the leader spits out. "You'll all burn.. all of you.. you might stop us tonight, but there will be more. God is on our side, he won't allow you to defile his creation." Clearly a nut job. The other eight have been well-corralled, and most have dropped their weapons after being blinded by the flash of light from Lightwave, and are still in the process of regaining their sight. If Nova can keep the leader down until the police arrive, maybe they can avoid any more bloodshed.

Keith, meanwhile, has a bit of a job getting the panicked hostages through the rabbit hole to safety. Most are skeptical about mutants to begin with, especially now that apparently there are religious nuts around accusing random people of being one, and killing them. Some few are thankful for the help, at least able to utter some appreciation to the purple feline before running through the portal.

"Great work you two. Police will be here soon," Nova shouts to Lightwave and Keith, "We should be gone before then. PurpleCat, how long until you've got the civilians out of range?"


Eventualy, Lightwave gets the barrier completely surrounding the blinded gunmen. SHe then shrinks it more, pressing the attackers into a smaller area. Then, she grows a dome over them to completely seal them in, with air being allowed, of course. But the strain on her is evident as Lightwave has gritted teeth and sweat on her brow. Thankfully, the pollice arrive quickly, and she can drop the containment dome, exhaling in relief as she no longer has to concentrate. She flies over to Nova, checking him over. "Are you okay?" Her voice has a lot of concern in it with the question.


"Roughly… two more minutes…" Keith says, with some strain in his voice. He hasn't had a lot of practice with moving the hole around and it's taking some focus not to lose the exit location. If he did, the civilians could end up… well… anywhere. "So we can use it to get away ourselves, right?"

He brings it close to them at least, the location it points to now seeming to be some secluded area surrounded by trees…


"The sooner the better," Nova replies to Keith, hoping that he'll be able to wrap it up before the police arrive. There are questions that Nova doesn't so much want to have to be around to answer. Like 'who are you?', and 'what are you doing here?'. Nova is happy to help, but he doesn't want to be the focus of the attention afterward. The police arrive, with several squad cars moving into position to block any obvious exits from the area, and the officers start to pile out and into position, raising their weapons toward the confined terrorists, and the heroes who thwarted them. "I'm good," Nova says to Lightwave when she reaches him. "Little bit rattled. Lots of bullets. Nothing I couldn't handle, though," he says. "We shouldn't overstay our welcome though. Keith's got our exit, he'll get us out of here without anyone following," he continues, motioning toward the 'rabbit hole' portal that the Cheshire Cat has conjured. The police are starting to close in, and Nova gives the leader of the terrorist group another look. "Have a great life," he says to the man, before taking Lightwave's hand in his gauntlet, and flying toward the portal with her, and through it. "See you on the other side," he says to Keith before they pass through it.


Lightwave nods, a little bit relieved that Nova is fine. And she gives his hand a squeeze as he takes hers and the head up into the sky. "You know," she says to Nova with a smile after they're out of rage of witnesses. "This partners thing keeps getting better and better." Another quick squeeze, and she breaks off to fly alongside Nova a few feet away. "So, you called that man Keith. Do you know him?"


And then it's just the Cheshire cat. No sooner have Nova and Lightwave passed through the portal than it collapses. They get safely through, but for Keith it is a different matter altogether.

It was a simple case of over-exertion. He's going to have to train to build up endurance for moving his hole around and passing so many people through it. It was his fault he was in this predicament, he should have prepared better.

That's neither here nor there, though, and he curses quietly when the hole closes and he cannot muster up the willpower to open it again.

But he turns to face the incoming cops. Someone snaps his picture- probably someone from a local paper, he doesn't stay long to find out.

"Nothing to see here, just your regular carrying-out of Justice and Protection of the Innocent!" the cat calls out.

Before the police have anything to say or ask of him, however, the cat begins to fade, leaving only a floating grin behind.

"I'd love to stay, but I really must dash… I have an Unbirthday party."

And with that, the smile is gone and Keith makes a hop (because he's still on crutches) for it, leaving the scene using his powers of invisibility.

He hopes the destination of the rabbit hole didn't change when his concentration wavered. But… well. It was Nova. He would be able to get back, and his girlfriend looked like she was just as capable.

Now he just wanted to get back to the mansion and sleep for a few hours.


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