1963-11-06 - The Kree-Skrull War Part 1: A Proper Protest (Room 2)
Summary: A speech in Times Square turns violent when an alien falls from an eighth storey window.
Related: The Kree-Skrull War Part 1: A Proper Protest (Room 1)
Theme Song: None
crystal gambit noemi johnny rogue 

Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us." — H.G. Wells


The final frontier.


Inky, black, and nothingness for as long as one can imagine. A lone spacecraft, rudimentary to so many races that grace the stars of our galaxy, limps back home, akin to a child whose overprotective parents will not them far from the yard. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics weak scanning skills cannot even detect the sleek Kree ship that looms in the distance, following her, hunting her like a cat.


1962. San Francisco, California.

Three men in charcoal suits tear down a midtown Manhattan sidewalk, tailing a young man in a corduroy jacket and hat. Eventually they split apart, cornering him in an alleyway.

"No! No!" the young man exclaims. Cut to the three men in suits who hold their guns out towards him. There is no escape. Even as his body is pumped full of lead, he changes into something grotesque…something inhuman. The men come to stand around the body and one, speaks into some sort of handheld device.

"Commander, this is Ard'ran. Please inform King Dorrek the VII that we have eliminated the threat."

Down at the feet of the "man" in the charcoal suit, the body has transformed into some sort of blue skinned being with what looks like a breathing apparatus over the mouth.

1963. January.

"Will that be all, sir?"

"Yes, thank you," replies President Kennedy in his well known New Englander accent. Once the doors to the Oval Office close, he opens a side door into a small office. There, inside, a blue skinned man in a cloak peers at him and the President closes the door behind himself.

Bobby Kennedy, with a look of disgust, encounters Robert McNamara in the hall just outside the President's meeting quarters."


Gambit says, "He's not going to make the deal, is he?" asks the Secretary of Defense.

"What choice does he have?" the President's brother replies. "This is the best chance we have at ensuring the survival of the United States."

"And the world."

1963. Now. Manhattan.

Four protesters who look to be of Asian descent, and who wear white masks that you might see upon a surgeon, are running through an apartment building that hangs perilously above Times Square.

Out in front of them, running as fast as he can, is a policeman with a look upon his face that is unfitting of any sort of man of the badge. He is afraid and fleeing like a coward.

When he gets to the end of the hallway, he bursts through the doorway, only to find more of them coming up from below. He decides to go up a floor and double back; he figures it is the only way for survival.


Peace, man.

That's what the guy with the curly hair and the round glasses is talking about up at the podium. The riots all over the city have hit the liberals hard, and they're bouncing back the only way they know how: the peaceful protest.

It's all filled with the best of intentions. Mutants and humans alike, standing against the untenable shift in public opinion from prejudice to rioting.

There are a ton of speakers: the President of New York University's student body, a young political operative named Bernard Sanders who flew in from the University of Chicago last night when riots gripped his hometown, several civil rights leaders from the movement in the south, and even Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, who has made the trip from his exile in India, is scheduled to speak.

Steve Rogers is eating a pretzel. His girlfriend, Jack Pace, had wanted to come to the rally but had to go home to Rhode Island at the last minute for a sickness in the family that she needed to assist her mother with this weekend.

So while the cat is away, the mouse shall play, or whatever. Steve is eating unhealthy and attending peace rallies. It's the 1960s, man. Anything can happen.



The liberal rabblerousers know her, foremost, as the Flower Girl. Oh, there are rumours about her. She carries her wicker basket of blooms over her forearm when chaos stirs to a friction point, handing out those charmed blossoms. Eyes turn to the redhead who walks among the seas of black-on-white protest signs. Violence stays its hand near her — even did when people were shooting guns, and that huge green giant carried her off, didn't he? Someone already deciphered her secret story in the cryptoflorology beloved by the Victorians. Hers are messages of hope, peace, and friendship.

Well, the Flower Girl seeps through the outer periphery of the protesters gathered in Times Square. A chaplet of white chrysanthemums, the last of their season, lie upon Scarlett's brilliant braided hair. White irises and zinnias fill her basket, veronica adding a spark of violet. These are her gifts, handed out when she slips among the watchers, the luminaries holding her rapt attention among their words.

Supposing a certain Mr. Tenzin receives a bloom and a smile, a blessing for his path, she circulates to spread hope quietly where she may. It's the 1960s, man. Anything will happen.


He may have withdrawn from his classes (to be fair, he did so while under the influence of behavior-altering nanites), but Johnny Storm felt a certain obligation to attend a rally where someone from his university was scheduled to speak. And besides, it's all about peace, man. Peace is his jam.

And so, in amongst the crowd is one of the two famous Storm siblings, and he is going a bad job of blending in. If he really wanted to, a bright blue t-shirt with the iconic 4 of the Fantastic Four's team insignia would not be what he was wearing, but there he is.


"You know, I've never gone to a protest," says Noemi Noronha, who has accompanied Johnny Storm to this event. She is wearing an extremely sensible mint-green dress underneath a dark gray peacoat to ward off that whole 'November' thing, but this seems to be kind of a matter of habit rather than necessity. She didn't button up the coat. "What was the name of that fellow from… Tibet?" she asks Johnny, followed by, "Are you chilly at all?"

Noemi has not really parsed that she probably looks like his older sister (in the spiritual sense, not the literal). She wasn't kidding about never going to a protest before.


Upstairs, the runner is cutting back against the grain, hoping his ruse will buy him some time. And just as he's about to get to the original staircase he ran up. By going back down he can hit the streets and disappear amongst the masses of peaceful protesters. As he loses his police hat, he can feel that he's actually going to get away.

Only one of the "masked" protesters emerges from one of the apartments with a silver gun-like in her hand.

The policeman freezes with wide eyes. And against all rational, he reaches out to the doorway of the apartment next to him, opens the door, and runs in, just as a yellow bolt of energy nearly misses him!

The Dalai Lama nods to Scarlett as he takes the flower, even going as far as to give her a slight bow. He then turns his attention to the stage.

"We live in a country unbridled with patriotism, but thick with resentment towards their neighbor," says the young Brooklyner, Sanders, at the podium. He begins his rousing speech and cheering is heard intermittently as he lambasts bigotry in all forms, against blacks, Jews, women, and mutants. He speaks for a great while about coalition building and how working together will be the only way to change the hearts and minds of those in New York, and those in Washington.

Meanwhile, Steve finishes his pretzel and puts the wrapper in a garbage can nearby just as an odd sound, one he's never heard before, rings out high above the crowd. It sounds like, some sort of energy.

Up in the apartment, the protester follows the policeman right past an old woman toward the back of the dwelling. The man turns to look at his follower and is about to say something, but it comes out in a language unintelligible to the protester, the screaming old woman, or the follower.

Clearly the young woman doesn't care. She lifts her gun and fires again, this time hitting the policeman in the chest.

"Hey!" someone screams. "Someone is gonna jump!" Steve turns around to see a man in a police suit, falling 8 stories out a window! In unison, hundreds of people begin yelling and the young Bernie Sanders stops his speech.


Crystal can't help it. The city is for all intents and purposes bad for her. The pollution makes her sick. The people are protesting mutants and people with powers. There's no good reason for her to go into the city now that her sister has been found. But she's taken an interest in things here. There's so much activity, so much change, so much to see and learn. So despite the fact that she's already nursing a bit of a cough, she's here in Times Square, a capelet tucked around her shoulders as she watches the people and the protest.


Crowds are an affliction of living in the media age. Times Square heaves and jostles with bodies drawn by radio broadcasts, analog prophets calling the eager masses to observe the dawning of a new age. Here, have an iris and a dazzling smile for the benediction from the great spiritual leader. A pivotal moment for Scarlett elicits no less, and then she drifts further into the throng, still warmed by that recognition. A perfectly suitable time for the sizzling melodies of an odd movement to snap her head up. Someone shouting about a jumper leaves very little time to decide. Go, no go.

"Oh no. No…"

There really never was a choice. Being the one who can fly puts all bets off the table. Slim hands thrusts the basket of flowers to the nearest person at hand, not even bothering to see if they grab it. Then she is airborne in front of… don't even calculate how many eyes, how many faces. The policeman can only fall so fast but she might hold the edge to catch him before he hits the ground. Or Spider-Man's webs. Or an air shield. Or… Someone else beating her to the punch is not exactly a bad thing.


"The Dalai Llama," Johnny replies to Noemi, a small smile on his face. Sure, that isn't the man's name, but… in a way, it also is. It's complicated. He's not dressed for the cold weather at all, but given that he seems to be a walking space heater, why would he?

Before he can elaborate, however, comes the commotion. The scream gets Johnny whipping around in place, his eyes alertly scanning the buildings nearby for — there! "I'll be right back," he says quickly to Noemi, and then he's taking three hurried steps away from the crowd to give himself room. "FLAME ON!"

The Human Torch takes off like a rocket, zipping through the sky towards the plummeting figure with arms outstretched. As he grows closer, the flames that make up his body seem to recede from his hands, arms, shoulders — until he's only flames from the waist down, enough to keep himself airborn but not actually burn the figure if he manages to catch them.


Noemi is alert enough to realize it's a title. That's one up for education! She takes a deep breath and then —

"Oh!!" Followed by "Right!!" And an upraised arm to shield her face briefly from the eruption of flame. From this point Noemi looks round for a moment, aware of the crowd, but even so, steps out of her shoes. "He's falling too fast - Hurry, Johnny!" Noemi calls after him, perhaps unnecessarily. Her feet sink a quarter-inch into the cold concrete she's standing on, meanwhile, but that's pretty low-key.


ROLL: Johnny +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 79


ROLL: Rogue +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 47


Throngs of heads look upwards toward the falling man, but in Steve's line of sight appears something that strikes him just as odd. A short humanoid figure with an incredibly bald head is standing straight across from him. The First Avenger was sure he wasn't there a moment ago.

With eyes as vacant as starlight and a small mouth, he looks like no human or mutant Steve has ever come across. He wears what looks like a toga with cape that would be far too cool for the weather this early evening.

It almost locks eyes with Steve, but seems to focus past him as he watches. He watches because that is what his people do at events like this.

A group of heroes all attempt to save the jumper, a policeman.

Rogue and Johnny Storm both take flight, but their original vantage point leaves them too far to get there in time. It is a terrible and helpless feeling, seeing someone fall and knowing if you were just a bit faster you'd have gotten there in time.

Much the same feeling that Hank and Piotr get as they attempt to reach and catch the faller with their impressive strength. Too many people going in every direction slow them up just enough to make their efforts in vain.

In the window a young woman of Asian descent is seen with a white surgical mask over her face, and several people begin to take pictures of her and her ominous visage. After staying there for far too long, she disappears from the window and heads back into the apartment.

Inside, the young woman peers emotionless at the old woman. A moment later, "she" reappears as a blue humanoid with some sort of mask over its face. It presses a button on its belt, then, a moment later, the old woman seems to be looking at herself.

The "new" old woman, takes the other's walker and leaves the apartment.

Back on the street, a group of people turn to inspect the fallen policeman, especially the four heroes who attempted to save him. Steve Rogers pushes through the pileup in order to get a better look and see if he can administer first aid.

But once he gets through the crowd, Steve is horrified as to what appears before him. The policeman is lying back to the pavement with a large burn hole in its chest. In death, however, it is clear that this does not seem to be a policeman at all. His skin is a deep and haunting green with a heavy brow and beady eyes. In its mouth are gigantic fangs and large pointy ears adorn either side of its head. Out of its mouth and through the burn wound, green blood oozes, which will burn the nostrils lightly of anyone who is within smelling distance.

"It's an alien!" someone screams out.


Alien? Crystal blanches when that cry goes out, and rather than stay away from the crash zone, she starts to push her way through the crowd to get a look. She uses more strength than she usually does, determined to see. Please don't be Kree, please don't be Kree, please don't be Kree. The last time she saw them, her entire world was turned upside down. Her family's exile began. And that was in Attilan, where their existence didn't alert the entire rest of the world…


Taking to the sky too soon, too late, brings Scarlett face to face with Johnny, half engulfed in flames. Professional courtesy later inspires her to offer a pained shake of her head. "I am sorry," she says, as if that could ever be enough. White petals lie fair and snowy upon her braided hair, and the futility scoring her psyche only deepens when the true form of the dead 'man' exposes itself.

She leans over it, staring down at the green creature. A perplexed look settles in, and she looks up to Johnny and Steve, then the others. "Who is it?" What might linger on the lips, but she allows herself no such issues. A cough follows and she puts her sleeve over her nose, easily mistaken as her hand covering her mouth in shock.


The Human Torch is fast — but he is not always fast enough.

The expression on his face when his own feet hit the ground is one of utter horror, the flames dying out as Johnny comes sprinting up to where the policeman landed just out of his and the other heroes' respective reach. But that horror turns to confusion in short order, one of his hands immediately coming up to cover his nose and mouth when the smell reaches him. He casts a questioning look towards Steve when he realizes he's there, as if expecting him to know what the heck they're looking at. Scarlett gets the same searching look, his lips twitching into a frown behind his hand. "I… yeah. I'm sorry, too."

Honestly, Johnny thinks the person screaming about aliens is probably right. He doesn't notice Crystal making her way through the crowd, not yet. "No idea. But we shold probably try to move the crowd back," he says quietly, glancing over at Scarlett. "And cover him up before people can panic too much. Does anybody have a sheet or something?"


Noemi, having caught up quickly after the man, well, hit the ground, wordlessly holds out her coat to Johnny. She is still staring down at the…

Remains? "Is… Is that REAL?" she says, before getting jostled vigorously by some rubbernecker.


T'Challa gets to the entrance and all is quiet inside, but outside the police and ambulance sirens are already ringing out. She sees a small lobby, four elevators, and a stairwell. Jo arrives just after the Black Panther, and takes to the stairwell. The Mechanic finds it quiet and the emergency service sounds are muffled behind the concrete. Abruptly, however, Jo can hear a conversation going on one floor above her, as a young woman (Kitty Pryde) seems to be having a conversation with someone. Piot arrives just after them in hopes of catching up with Piotr.

Crystal looks over the body as she arrives. Immediately she will recognize the being, not as one of the race of her fears, the Kree, but rather their arch enemy! The policeman is a Skrull!!!

As Rogue breathes in the odor of the blood she will feel her nose start to burn lightly, as if she's been pepper sprayed by the police. There will be no long term effects, but it casts some doubt as to whether this being is a mutant or an alien. The feeling amongst the crowd seems to be the latter, although they could be wrong.

Steve gives a shake of the head to Johnny Storm, as if to say he's never seen anything like it. The sheer amount of cameras going off is shocking to him. The clicking rings in his ears as the implications give him a proverbial kick to the gut. What in the world is happening?

Kitty reaches out to touch the elderly gentleman that she finds 'through' the stairwell. Immediately it shorts out the shapeshifting technology, revealing a blue skinned humanoid with a mask over his mouth. The Kree attempts to fire an energy blast at Kitty straight away, which can be heard down below by Jo and T'Challa.


Not better. Crystal comes up short when she reaches the edge of the crowd, fingers twitching. Humanity is not ready for this. Not even a little bit. But there are cameras everywhere. Her jaw sets as her eyes flick across the crowd, searching for some solution to this. But there are already pictures. The best she can hope for is that people assume it's a mutant.


There has to be someone with a coat they can spare. Scarlett is not one of those people, though she keeps her face purposefully hidden behind her sleeve while the flashbulbs pop and the cameras wail. Her face tips upwards to the building where the thing fell, and if any activity remains at all visible, it's something she points to.

"We shouldn't stay here," she murmurs under her breath to those around her. "Panicking crowds are not safe. Can you remove it quickly? The best I can do is run with it." Not an acceptable solution, in her part.


Johnny gives Noemi a very grateful look as he accepts her jacket, immediately moving to cover the body with it as best he can. "Thanks. I will buy you a new one," he promises, trying to ignore the way the smell stings his nose. God, this is so weird.

He glances up to give Scarlett a curious look at her suggestion, then stops to think about it. "…you're probably right. Actually, yeah, you're definitely right," Johnny says firmly, and immediately he shifts not to cover the body with the coat, but to wrap it up in it. Gritting his teeth, Johnny slides one arm around the body's shoulders and another under its legs, and stands.

He turns towards Steve. "For now — I'll take him to the Baxter. If there's people who deal with… with whatever this is, you know the address. Just call ahead." And speaking of calling ahead… he gives Noemi a quick nod. "Let Reed know I'm on my way with something weird."

And then, oblivious to Crystal's presence — and assuming nobody stops him — the Human Torch once again takes to the sky.


Noemi would be touched by this if it wasn't for the fact that there's a dead alien here. "Uh," she says, looking back towards Scarlett and then to Johnny. Who then lifts up the body! Noemi takes a half step back. "We'll be in touch, sir," she tells Steve, before giving a little pause and explaining, on tense reflex, "We're ah - I'm the secretary."

Then she turns to hasten off. IF NOT STOPPED she is going to go find a phone booth ASAP. Hopefully it will not be clogged with reporters. Of course, the crowd might have a problem with this, but Noemi has ducked crowds before!


Amid some gasps and cries, Johnny Storm picks up the body and begins to fly away! A mass of people begin yelling and Steve Rogers eyebrows almost shoot straight through the top of his head. Oh Johnny. Oh, Johnny, that wasn't the smartest move.

Meanwhile, up in the apartment building, T'Challa races upwards close enough to witness the melee between Kitty and the Kree alien. As the Black Panther attempts to enter the fray, the blue alien he falls right into Piotr's grasp. With wide eyes, the Kree presses a button upon his belt and tears away in a flash of blue, black, and light, leaving a dark stain upon Piotr's clothes and the stairwell and wall. Despite T'Challa's best efforts, there's at least one more death today.

Just afterwards, Hank and Akihiro arrive on scene. Whatever is left upon the stairwell may be worth analyzing.

But was it in vain? Is the secret intact? Or is the Cat out of the Bag?


Men in black raid the Baxter Building with warrants about 10 minutes after Johnny arrives with the body of the Skrull. One of the men who seems to be in charge, demands to round up the Fantastic Four and to speak with them, especially Johnny Storm.


It's quiet in the Oval Office. The President has asked to be alone for 15 minutes with his wife and his brother as the gathered members of the Cabinet await his decision on how to proceed.

"What are you going to do? It was always my worry that this alliance with the Kree was going to come back to haunt us. I know it was the only way, but I don't see a way out of this, Jack.," Bobby says quietly as he holds his hand to his head. "Have you talked to them yet?"

John F. Kennedy, sitting at his desk, props his head with his hand, deep in thought. "No," he responds quietly.

"You could try telling them the truth," Jackie says from the window. The President's eyebrow raises and he looks to his brother.

"Tell the cabinet I'm going to address the nation through television and radio."


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