1964-06-24 - Saving the Shadow
Summary: Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, and Shadow deal with some zombies in the park.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
johnny-storm strange reed lamont 

It's a beautiful summer evening in New York City. Warm and clear and glowing with light. Just the kind of evening to take your sweetheart for a stroll. Except that the Park is still full of zombies, of varying degrees of speed and viciousness.

It's the faster, smarter kind who've succeeded in wolf-packing up and cornering the Shadow. Out in the open, beyond the reach of trees he might've climbed or structures he might've holed up in. They might even be toying with him - for if they all closed in at once, they might overwhelm him. Instead, most are circling, keeping him penned in, while only a few dart in to chivy him. Most of those fall to gunfire….the twin pistols are suppressed, but it's not the utter muting of the Hollywood version of the silencer. There are no muzzle flares to give him away, but the flat *cracks* of the pistol reports echo a good ways. Alerting help….or calling more undead. He's hard to see - the black cloak and hat, the crimson scarf that functions like a mask. Holding his own for now, but….there are just so many zombies.

As distant smoke generally means a fire, so does an upswing in activity draw the attention of the Mystical warden of New York. Plus, let's be honest: the Sorcerer has one hell of a grudge against these staggering interlopers, no matter what gear they run about in. Shambling, leaping — they're all fair game.

The Gate opens up with a projected roll of muggy thunder and snickersnack of his aura leaping live-wire in a true pique of bad temper. Poor zombies. They're tonight's punching bag for the various frustrations plaguing the man lately. Safe enough on the fringes upon initial arrival, the sharp spit of Words should be enough to draw Lamont's attention, at least. It's a razor-sharp wind sheer upon command, slicing through the zombie group and finally losing enough impact just shy of the shadow himself.

"I didn't take you for someone to tempt the undead!" He shouts, stepping into the fray with the confident stride of someone set on reaching pseudo-student with maximum damage done in the process. The golden brightness of the Mystical surujin snaps forth from molten strands of reality itself and a staggering zombie gets a rude snap to the face for its attention towards the man.

Reed Richards is not normally the type that one would expect to be out zombie hunting alone in the park, but he is present this night and follows that echoing sound of gunshots. He sticks to the treetops, hoping that route will keep him out of reach of the roving zombie hordes as he stands in one tree top and stretches his arms out until they can grasp the canopy of the next tree before "reeling" the rest of himself in. Turning his head, Mr. Fantastic narrows his eyes and hones in on Shadow's position, lifting a hand and toggling the shortwave radio piece in his ear, "Looks like they have one pinned down back here, Johnny. Seems like we'll have our hands full, there sure are a lot of them…"

Reed trails away as that magical gate appears and Strange wades into the fray of combat, shaking his head with half a grin and saying, "Scratch that Johnny, looks like help just showed up. We need to move in now!" With that, Reed's arms stretch out reaching far out across the open space to grab the branch of a tree near where Strange and Shadow are. Once grasped, Reed swings from his vantage point, arms pulling him through the air at a fast clip while he swings his feet out in front of him to kick the heads of any zombies in the way of his swing.

"Hey, I know that guy." says Johnny of Strange, all aflame as he floats there, "Piece of advice, Reed: he tells you something unbelievable, believe it. You'd make an awful chicken." And then the living fireball rushes in alongside Reed, flying like a missle to ram right in-through the nearest zombie with pure liquid plasma. Do zombies burn? We'll see.

There's something graceful in the way he fights - not just blazing away with the twin Colts, but laying each shot with precision - as if it were a martial art in its own right. Lamont doesn't let his focus waver as the cavalry shows up in the form of first Doctor Mister Teacher You're In Trouble Now, Son. "I was not tempting them, Doctor," he corrects, tone dry, precise, unstrained….despite just barely getting a black-clad arm out of the reach of a particularly ambitious zombie in time to keep it from snapping his forearm in half. A bullet turns its head into a sodden black mess. "I was studying them. I underestimated…."

He's interrupted by Reed appearing - there's only a beat's scrutiny from him, a glance from the gray eyes that are the one distinguishing feature visible. "This is an ally of yours, Doctor?" he adds, as one last bullet empties the left hand Colt, and he flips it deftly to start pistol-whipping zombies with it. Desperate indeed. Somehow, he's managing to keep from shooting any of the fighters who've waded in. No near misses, even. "Impressive," he concedes, as Johny contributes, rendering some of his attackers into shrieking, hissing, staggering torches.

"I suggest more distance next time," advises the good Doctor as the surujin summarily rips halfway through a particularly beefy zombie and gets stuck. Well, at least for the moment: a grunt, bared teeth, and Strange puts his full strength into turning said undead into a one-weighted bolas. Zombies go flying with the impact and the Mystical weaponry finally eats through that stubborn spinal cord and chest cavity. How they do sprawl beneath the squirming halves of the tall undead.

Plasmal fire and the sudden intrusion of a very stretchy someone have Strange pausing for all of a second. He recognizes the fiery one that leaves the rank smell of burnt flesh in his wake, but not the bungie-corded man in the suit. A clawed-hand snags at the sleeve of his undershirt for all of a second before the Cloak has something to say about it. Snap-crack-crack, like a demented locker-room towel, it goes to town defending the Doctor's blind sides. It takes a few more side steps to come within tolerable speaking distance of Lamont.

"I don't know the man elongating his limbs, but the kid on fire goes by the Human Torch." The zombies are dumb. They keep stumbling forwards, hoping to win some brains by sheer force of number. The surujin's not going to do it.

Lamont will recognize the mandala tieshans in counter-rotating circles that the Sorcerer swaps for. It's good practice for hand-to-hand combat after all. Strange might as well treat it as a work-out for himself.

Reed kicks with both feet, bicycle kicking several zombies in the side of the head as he swings across and pulls himself back up and atop the branch of the tree he had been holding onto. "Oh, is that right?" Mr. Fantastic asks of Johnny, a grin spreading across his features before he says, "I hope you say the same thing about me when you point me out to others!"

Reed shakes his right hand, the tanned flesh elongating and thickening, his fist growing to the size of a large metal trash. Reed then drops to the ground beneath the tree he had been standing in and with a full body turn he swings that huge fist around, his arm extending like rope and snapping the too-big fist into several zombies, even as more press in on his other side.

"Wait, kid?" Johnny hears that bit, and considers briefly throwing a fireball at the Sorcerer Supreme, but for the moment decides against it. Hmph. The screaming zombie isn't quite dead yet, and so he grapples it, the red flame burning to a hotter yellow until it stops moving and is nothing but extra untasty crispy. He then looks around a moment, "I just make a point to tell them you're actually slightly smarter then you think you are, Reed." teases Johnny with a grin, not that the grin can be seen very much with him full on flame mode.

Now, at last, fear begins to penetrate….at least in those still capable of it. The swifter, smarter ones peel off, some heading for the shelter of the trees. But there are enough of the dumber and more stubborn to still offer trouble. A grin at the Cloak, conspiratorial. Lamont's own relic is out of town at a convention….and not yet overmuch use fighting the undead, as it were. It's a good thing Lin isn't here to be outraged.

"Reed and the Torch," Lamont says, even as he smashes in the temples of one particularly insistent zombie, followed up by breaking his jaw. Not being the Punisher, he's not got infinite ammo….and now he's reduced to fighting hand to rotting hand. "A pleasure," he adds, as a turn puts him just out of the reach of a clawing hand. "I'm the Shadow."

Finally — though as Strange completes a graceful pirouette to slash through the wattled neck of a particularly grotesque zombie, he quick to crane his neck and glare at the retreating outliers.

"Ah, Reed," he murmurs to himself, glancing towards the man apparently capable of manipulating his atomic structure to potentially absurd lengths. "Cr — Shadow, I expect you can hold you own."

What a teacher. School of hard knocks, indeed.

With a flick of his wrists that break the concentric circles of golden lines, the Sorcerer is up in the air. The hang of his arc above the fray, on par with Johnny, gives the Cloak a moment to spread broadly, like a bird of prey. "Johnny, care to join me in picking off the runners?" He asks of the plasmally-flaming hero. His grin is toothy. "Can't have the smart ones procreating." He means creating more zombies by bites, of course, because thinking otherwise is disturbing. Don't do it.

Regardless of whether or not he's accompanied by the Human Torch, he too draws up his own firepower. The flames are silvery-blue, Mystical by nature, and it takes a single throw of the tacky fire to hobble a zombie; a particularly good throw might enable the magic to eat away at it. Still, it'll take teamwork to keep escapees from making it to safety.

Whether Reed can feel that group drawing in on his blind side, or perhaps he is just lucky, the stretchy man completes his swinging attack with that oversized fist and promptly flings himself forward, his body lengthening and forming into a perfect circle, sending him in a bouncing roll that carries him across the distance separating himself and Shadow just as Strange takes to the air. Hands release feet and Reed rolls out of that wheel shape and snaps both fists forward, arms stretching to jab a two handed punch directly into an approaching zombie's face hard enough to snap it's head back. Reed glances aside toward Shadow and he offers a cordial nod, "Hello there! What a beautiful afternoon! Reed Richards!"

At the offer from the Sorcerer Supreme, Johnny inclines his head and burns some grass as he shoots up into the air, "On it, Supes. Reed, back in a bit, wave if you need backup—" And then he zoomes up over the trees to chase down a runner, a lasso of flame shooting out and wrapping around one of the zombies and tugging it down — the physics of that particular ability defies explanation. Still, he's down on the zombie moments later, grappling it and burning until it moves no more.

Well, at least Strange didn't out him this time. Even if 'Cranston' is every bit as much a nom de guerre as 'The Shadow'. "A pleasure, Mr. Richards," Lamont agrees, easily. Afternoon's more like solid dusk now. "At least it's not raining," he adds, with relief. Somewhere in that he's switched to long knives - severing limbs and heads with facility, managing not to slip on the increasing mess these beasts are making. No sign of tiring; there's still has that fencer's grace.

The fiery young man takes down one of the more fleet of foot and Strange is glad to see it finally stop twitching about. Good. There's a raw satisfaction in returning the undead to death itself.

A quick glance back finds that this Reed person is solidly backing up Cranston and now the Sorcerer knows he can devote full attention to bringing the silence of un-being to these abominations.

His left throw is never as good as his right — dominant hand and all — but if he imagines that he's flinging snowballs, his aim does seem to improve. Between the Torch and the Master of the Mystic Arts, it all comes down to one last zombie. This one's a right bastard, clearly new enough to keep some sense of self-preservation about it, and it literally dives into the nearest stagnant pond. Strange flits to hang over the tops of the cattails, grimacing down at the surface going flat with disappearing ripples.

"Johnny." His voice carries. "If I pull it out, will you do the honors?" Those keen eyes seek out the young man and linger on him, irises a-glow with feedback from the power he draws.

"Oh yes, rain would definitely ruin the evening," Reed says with a laugh as he changes tactics now that Shadow is near enough and has blades drawn. He quits punching out at the zombies and instead uses his stretching arms as a kind of elastic lasso, shooting his arm out to wrap around a zombie waist here, grabbing a trailing foot there, tugging them at appropriate times toward Shadow so that the man can slice and dice them. He attempts to heard the slow ones, waiting until Shadow has dispatched one before moving another within his reach.

Whoops. Chasing the zombie, Johnny rears back and comes to a halt just above the water, steam rising as fire burning down from his feet keeps him aloft but away from his bane. Damnit, water! At Strange's words though, he glances back and gives a burning thumbs up, "Save it from drowning and I'll hug it to re-death, Sups. Bring it!" And the moment Strange does that, he will do just that: his body burning incandescently white as he does so, the better to deal with the moisture, which is bad for his flamin'.

"Nicely done," Lamont approves of Reed's technique. There aren't many left….only a few of those tricks, and they're left standing in a field that absolutely reeks of death. Cranston, fastidious as a cat, cleans his blade on a scrap of cloth before vanishing them back into hidden sheaths. Then he's checking over his guns, and finally looking up to watch Strange and the Torch take care of the last. He nods approvingly, but says nothing more.

Strange nods. A fist pulled back to nearly touch his bicep is extended. The fingers uncurl and the Sorcerer exerts his will upon the body attempting to wriggle away into the mud, like some demented catfish.

Out of the pond is yanked a writhing, angry, shrieking zombie and mucky water meets plasmic fire in an explosive combination. Turning a shoulder, bits of flash-baked clay patter off the Cloak and then…it's all over with.

A sigh. "Very good." He sounds…content. "Ah, but Cr — Shadow." Again, the Sorcerer catches himself and on a dime, he flits back to the two men standing in their victorious pinwheel of carnage. His landing is a bit squelchy, but hey, there's a scouring spell for that.

"You two seem no worse for the wear. Well done in regards to defenses," he says to Lamont in particular, granting the man a quick nod. To Reed, he gives a faint smile and circumspect look. "I heard your name was Reed…? You must know Johnny then?" A glance to the young man draws him into the conversation as well, wherever he may be.

Reed continues to slow and corral the zombies until Shadow successfully snuffs out the remaining zombies. He blows out a sigh of relief and reaches up with his left hand to wipe the sweat from his brow, offering a nod and a smile toward Lamont. "Thank you, you didn't do so bad yourself," he says. His eyes lift toward the air, looking for Johnny and Strange watching as they deal with the last few runners while Reed dusts his hands off.

As Strange lands nearby, Reed spares the man no less of a scrutinizing look, though as the conversation goes toward Johnny, Reed can't help but shake his head and smile. "Oh yes, you could say that I know him. Reed Richards, a pleasure to meet you, I'm sure," Reed says. It is no secret that Reed Richards is Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, his identity having never been much of a secret when it came to the public eye.

Flying back to join the others just behind Strange, he gives an odd look to the sorcerer, "Really? Reed. Reed Richards. Of the Fantastic Four. Mister Fantastic, himself. Man." He looks to Reed, "You need a new publicist, I can reccommend mine— this whole fame thing isn't sticking to you as well as it does to me, clearly." After a moment's consideration, "Of course I was famous *before* the incident and look better in the uniform…" Still, he gives an odd look to Strange, before glancing to Lamont and nodding his head in a friendly fashion, his grin a bit on the up-to-something side.

The idea of a publicist makes Lamont laugh, soundlessly. His shoulders shake briefly for a moment, beneath that swathing black. Then he bows to the other assembled heroes. It should be theatrical, but he pulls it off somehow. Old school, as it were. "Gentlemen," he says, simply. "My thanks."

"Of course," replies the Sorcerer to the Shadow. "I'd hate to lose a practitioner of burgeoning skill to something as infuriating as the undead." Bow is returned with a deeper nod, duelist to duelist, if one will.

Strange then gives the Torch a side-glance full of dry warning. "I find it unwise to assume of someone's Name before they confirm it." He look back to Reed, giving the Fantastically-stretchy man a once-over. "Still, I do recognize you, Mister Richards. I never figured you for having an interest in the zombies of the Park. Doctor Strange," he adds, offering out a scarred hand in a friendly shake. No risk of being shocked.

Reed nods his head respectfully toward Shadow and says, "No thanks needed. It would have been in poor taste to let you try and fight them off on your own.

Reed looks back toward Strange as the man speaks and holds out his hand, Reed's arm moving to take that offered shake firmly in his own. "My interest in the zombies of the park is mostly of the scientific nature, I will admit. I had thought to capture one of them and take it back to my lab, but when we heard the gunshots, we thought that we could likely be of some help."

The warning look from Strange has Johnny arching a brow and shrugging, "We're the Fantastic Four." is all he has to say about assuming names and their interests in zombies, "I think its in my contract with the Future Foundation that if I see something trying to eat a person I am supposed to put a stop to it: if its not, then Reed needs to get better lawyers and renegotiate my contract as soon as possible." He flashes a grin at Reed.

When he gets home and out of this drag, Lamont is going to laugh himself to tears. Contract. But it doesn't come through when he speaks. If anything, his voice is as flat and metallic as ever. "Nonetheless, I am in your debt," he insists, but his tone is relatively mild. A nod to Strange.

"A man of science. Very good. Your timing was excellent. The zombies milling about on the peripheries will take us more seriously next time." Away go the Sorcerer's hands beneath the draw of the Cloak and Strange glances about. "It's high time these creatures are dealt with properly. I've nearly got the resonance of their signatures down. A few more days of study and I'll be able to disintegrate them through sympathetic magics."

Reed bows his head in acceptance of Strange's compliment, offering the man a smile before saying, "If you have been studying the zombies as well, then you should make a trip by my laboratory at the Baxter Building. It would do well to compare notes and findings. Maybe we can clear up this problem once and for all." Reed's eyes cut toward Johnny and he can only offer the cocky member of the Fantastic 4 a grin and helpless shake of his head before he says, "I'll have to look into that contract when I get home. Speaking of, I am going to be off. If any of you need me, please do not hesitate to ask." With that, Reed's legs stretch upward, growing considerably before the man begins to walk away at a fast clip, his longer legs covering considerable distance.

Science talk has Johnny sort of shrug and cross his arms over his chest, pretending it goes over his head and he doesn't know what's what. It suits the Torch for people to forget he's got a degree in mechanical engineering. Its the one and only one way in which he likes to be underestimated. "Sympathetic magics? Well, uh, don't turn 'em into chickens. But if they seem pretty susceptible to fire, so if you need any help with this disintegration, you know where to find me." Pause, "Though, for the love of god, pick up a phone, man."

"That's not his style," comments the Shadow, drily. Oh, yes, he's going to rag on Strange, just a bit.

Strange watches Mister Fantastic walk away with a mildly impressed raise of his eyebrows. What a skill.

"It's much more amusing to avoid the phone entirely, I admit," says the Sorcerer, glancing to Lamont with the barest hint of a smirk and back to Johnny. "No chickens. Not this time. I'll need multiple people to keep them from interrupting the casting. It's not going to be a simple spell."

"Hey, you had like a fifty-fifty chance of finding me naked and fucking on my couch, so keep that in mind the next time you decide to teleport yourself into my apartment." warns Johnny, and he seems serious about that ratio. He nods his head, though, "Let me know when and I'll keep them off of you. Against zombies, the Torch is king. They try to bite me, they burn. There's nothing really they can do to me, and they seem flammable. Though that one with the water was going to be a problem. The only thing I can do against something in the bottom of a lake is to nova the whole damn lake."

"Well, it is terribly rude to interrupt a man's solitary pursuits," Lamont commiserates, voice low. ….apparently he's called the Shadow for his ability to throw shade. Not everyone can be Negasonic Teenage Warhead, after all. "And Strange, if you wish my help, I'd be delighted." For Eeyore values of delighted, by that voice.

"It wouldn't be the first time I've interrupted solitary pursuits. There's little you could do to shock me." Strange delivers this information blandly; the twinkling in his eyes runs counter to it. "But yes, gentlemen, your presence would both be appreciated. Between the two of you alone, I'd expect to be able to bring the spell's momentum beyond its necessary point and let it run its course. The ley lines will provide the power."

The Sorcerer scuffs aside a spare flap of grey-pink viscera with a wrinkle of his nose to reveal the grass. A moment of intensely-narrowed glaring and he adds quietly, "They're in there still, thank the gods."

Johnny eyes the both of them for a long moment, "Solitary? If you people think 'solitary' is involved in sex, you are doing it wrong. If either of you want to learn how to do it right, you just have to ask and I can arrange for you to be fixed up and taught, in extreme detail, how not solitary it is when you do it right." He scoffs and shakes his head, but then grins, "Careful, Sup. You don't want to make that 'theres little you could do to shock me' into a challenege. I'm Johnny Storm. I like a challenge." More seriously he nods along then, "Name the time and I'll burn some deadish notdeadish deadic things."

"Flirting with me? You don't even know what I look like," Lamont's voice is dryer than ever. Then he's glancing at Strange, clearly amused.

"Look at the cockerel crow," adds Strange, glancing to Lamont and then to Johnny, a single brow arched. That glimmer of repressed laughter still glimmers in his gaze. "I'm convinced more and more that a chicken was the correct choice initially. He didn't believe me in regards to the mantle. We took a nice field trip." The explanation is equally Saharan in nature.

"I'm content with my lack of solitude and I beg you, Johnny: don't encourage me. The only thing limiting me is my imagination." The smile is knowing. "Still, gentlemen, let's say…early next week. I expect to be uninterrupted in my studies beginning this evening. My Consort is more than able to deal with any further intrusions upon the quiet of the Park."

"As if it'd be the first time I fucked someone in a mask." Johnny replies dryly, then snorts over at Strange, "That's the first time in my entire life anyone ever called me a chicken. If anything I'm criticized for being something closer to reckless, though people usually say that while forgetting just who I am." They may or may not know he still does trick and stunt riding, and the more dangerous the stunts the better. He nods on the topic of early next week then, but pauses, "Did you say Consort?" The phrasing is so off the wall to him he can but laugh.

That makes Lamont's lips twist, behind the swath of scarlet silk. No making comments about chickenhawks. "It wasn't meant to impugn your courage," he explains to Johnny, patiently. God, this kid makes him feel so damn old.

"I did say Consort," Strange replies calmly, not ruffled at all by the laughter. It's uncommonly-heard outside of the Mystical community. "It's an outdated term, I admit, but it has its nuances beyond being archaic. It's entirely appropriate if you know its true definition…" Here, he allows himself a pleased smile. Preen-preen.

A hand crabs towards the group. Its jerky scuttling catche the Sorcerer's attention and he scowls down at it. A quick boot and the thing goes flying off to one side, getting stuck palm-up. "I'll deal with that in a moment," he mutters.

Just shaking his head, amused, Johnny glances off at the hand, and then between the two guys who are increasingly weird, at least to his eyes. "Okay, my life is getting weirder every moment I'm around you guys. I need to get to a club and restore normalcy. You know where to find me, Sups. But. Really. Call. Or if you must teleport there's this thing called a door you can appear outside of and try the strange, curious human ritual of 'knocking'. I know, weird, right?" After a grin and a wave, he is enveloped in flame and shooting up into the sky.

Johnny's gone. There's no one there save Strange, who already knows his name, to see Lamont transform. Though that's far too pretentious a word for what he does - the cape and scarf vanish down to little squares of cloth, the hat folds down to something compact enough to fit in the pocket of the black pants he's wearing. Now there's only Lamont, with a suitjacket open over a pale shirt. No tie, nothing out of the ordinary at all. Even the twin Colts are concealed by some excellent tailoring. There's only the faintest gleam of sweat on that hatchet face to betray his previous exertions.

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