1964-07-20 - Birth is Always Violent
Summary: A pleasant night out turns into a night of terror. But what is the real agenda?
Related: None
Theme Song: None]
[[include LogPlayerTop
kai bucky thea loki kwabena 


Hot town, summer in the city.

Midtown Manhattan at night is not like the neighborhoods of the residential areas, where people sit on their front porches, complain about the heat while kids play in opened fire hydrants. This is the more civilized type of place, where restaurants are doing a lively business, but a "roach coach" selling Mexican food is set up in a parking lot after the working people have gone and is doing a lively business of their own. Two people are talking on the phone in the booths at the edge of the parking lot as people thinly populate the sidewalks.

So, Bucky's off tonight, and at loose ends. He's in a long sleeved workshirt, worn untucked for coolness's sake, old jeans, workboots. His hair's tied back into a low pony tail - he hasn't bothered to knot it up like he does for work. He's in line for the food truck, looking eager. This'll be a chance from his usual.
There is nothing quite like Manhattan, or the food you can find there.

Thea's emerging from a restaurant, leaving her parents at the bar, as she moves to head for home. The night is warm, but she wants to walk, feel the heat on her skin after the air conditioning in the bar where she'd had several after meal drinks. Blonde hair is swept up in a sleek twist, her dress simple, sleeveless and black, paired with matching heels. Tasteful accessories, including her purse slung cross body. The scent of mexican food has her thinking ahead for a late night snack, and angling her trajectory that way.

A taxi cab rolls up to an open spot on the street, where it disgorges a finely dressed couple. The man leans over to pay the driver in cash, and a seemingly polite exchange is given before the couple makes for one of the many restaurants nearby.
Kwabena Odame is about to pull back out in the ever present quest for another fare, when something tickles his nostrils. The roach coach. He jerks his head around, stares at the thing, then quickly puts the car in park and pops the door. In spite of the fact that it's evening, the African cabbie is wearing sunglasses. A black tank top and second hand brown pants complete the outfit, along with unimpressive shoes.
Always follow your nose, they say.

Loki is out for a walk with Kai, dressed in illusory normal clothes so that they don't get too weird of looks, though he's still a tall fellow, pale with dark hair, with the embodiment of the sun itself, that bouncy-haired blond.

Kai walks with Loki, chattering away at his side. "So then I told him 'but officer, I wasn't even here when that happened.'" He's in a t-shirt and jeans. Around the neckline, on what can be seen of his shoulders, there's a glint of something silvery in his skin. "Like where was I going to hide a street sign? He told me to get a haircut." He flips his somewhat shaggy curls. Then he spies Bucky and says, "Ooh, he is daring. Have you ever eaten at that truck?" He veers in that direction. "Jack!"

The three guys running the truck, the name MEXICO CITY painted over the flip-up sides, are moving back and forth with practiced ease. They have this down COLD, and the food is hot. The front man, Carlos, is taking orders like a carnival barker, and he smiles to Bucky. "HOLA! What can I get you, amigo?"
The short woman in the phone booth apparently finishes talking, putting the phone back in the cradle and steps out, sliding her motorcycle gloves off one at a time and stuffing them into her pockets. She heads south at a leisurely walk, practically a strut, with a smile on her face.
The heat hangs heavy in the air, but this is summer in the Big Apple, it is 1964…
…and as Bob Dylan would sing in years to come, when "the game got rough."
There is a moment of almost supreme silence, and then a dragon screeches. The building across the street, a 14-story monolith, suddenly vents white fire from the seventh to the tenth floors, the sounds of shattering glass dwarfed by the roar of the basic chemical reaction turning lots of volatile solids into lots of volatile gas.
Lots and lots and lots and lots…

The Winter Soldier wants a summer taco, al pastor, and he's opening his mouth to request just that. Then he spots Kai and Loki, turning just a little and lifting his hand and waving before he can even complete his order, smile on his face.
…and then the explosion. He hits the deck in an instant, very, very used to ducking and covering. German artillery used to be a bear, after all. He's still deafened and staggered, but mostly unwounded, blinking around himself in search of his Asgardian friends.

Thea has managed to fall in line behind the man with the interesting arm. She's just reaching to playfully tap his shoulder with a "Hey, good-looking." on her lips for him. She's young, pretty, and pleasantly tipsy. But everything goes gray at that roar of the explosion. She's been trained to duck and cover in her nursing school, and she does get low, though it's more of a crouch than a full length hitting of the desk. Have you seen the dress she's wearing?
There's a shake of her hair, a lone golden lock coming loose from her sleek updo, as she rights her own hearing, and moves to stand up with her back to the food truck to try and survey the damage, the collateral damage that could be done to people around her.

The blast catches Kwabena off guard, and he raises an arm to shield his face. "… shit." Lowering that arm slowly, he peers up at the building from behind his shades, and what he sees draws a scowl to his dark-skinned face. "… de fuck is it with dis town?" murmurs the Ghanaian cabbie, before rushing over toward the food truck. "Hey! You have to move. Move fast. Out of here, yes? Undahstand?"
It would be lovely to just speak ones own native language once in a while. Of course, his ears are ringing, so he's shouting louder than should be necessary, which only furthers to muddy up his accented words.

Loki knows the sound of a dragon screeching in the afternoon! At the sound of it, he instinctively ducks lower, then looks upwards towards the source, perhaps expecting to see it. Instead, he's seeing the air shimmer with heat and gas. He staggers a few steps at the tremorous sound, then reaches his hand in the air for Kai. He moves his hands and places an illusory cloak around Kai to disguise his features. "There…you're hidden…be heroic. And careful." He seems a rather odd contrast in the next moment when he makes himself /painfully/ obviously Asgardian, his own illusion falling away to reveal leather, green and black, and gold trimmings. Drama.

Kai stops short at the blast, and he instinctively moves closer to Loki. Who disguises him, and Kai grins up at him, wild-eyed in a mix of alarm and excitement. "You're the best, babe," he says. Then he turns and runs. Not away from danger, but toward it. "Jack!" he calls out, ducking debris and skirting ash and dust. "Jack, where are you!"

Carlos looks stunned, but the big man behind him lunges for something near the stove at floor level. "CARLOS! GET DOWN!" the other one, the one with the name tag that says MIGUEL on it. He pronounces it as "town."
Far away, someone suddenly screams, "INCOMING! INNNCOMIIING!"
And then broken glass falls like shimmering rain.
It is chaos. People are running, screaming, scattering every which way. Many are running away from the burning building, some just running. A man in a black business suit screams like a woman as he becomes an unfortunate victim of a falling shard of glass…then stops screaming. People begin staggering out of the burning monolith, covered in soot…or dust…or blood.
Very high up, someone is yelling and waving from the roof.

Oh, God, Kai. Bucky's turned….and spotted the elf. "I'm all right," he says, with the flat bellow of someone still somewhat deaf. And then….there are all the wounded. "We have to help them!" he says. "I'm OK, Kai," he adds, taking the elf by the arm. Then Loki's going full drag, and Bucky's taken somewhat aback, looking the question at Kai.

Thea lets out a sigh, and a glance down at her dress. Damnit. "I can't have just one night, can I. Just one, where I get to go out, and not have to fix someone, not get blood on my nice dress…" She will pause to look at Bucky, at hearing his words. "Call for help. Call the paramedics. Raid nearby businesses and restaurants for first aid kits. Delegate. Go. Now." Who died and made her general? But she's already reaching in her purse, and pulling out Swiss army knife and a tiny packet of gauze. It's not likely going to do much, but those heels are marching towards the chaos, the sound of them on pavement lost in everything else. She's already looking for the worst hurt that she can save.. and instead settles on some bleeding from glass and slows the bleeding, offering to pluck out the glass and gauze them up.

Incoming? Kwabena looks around rapidly, then up.
It’s more reproachful than worried. Lips peel back and with a growl of effort, his body transforms in ripples; flesh and bone become super-solid, and the shards of glass bounce harmlessly off him while serving to shred some of his clothing. The tank is suddenly hanging half down, with one strap having been cut, in a dazzling precursor to the Jim Kirk Torn Shirt Phenomenon.
The cabbie peers upward at the person yelling and waving; apparently, rending himself into super solid state has suddenly fixed the ringing of his ears. "Hey." He turns around toward the others, raising his voice. "HEY!" He points upward ferociously. "Is someone up dere! Up, up, all de way!"

It’s totally not his fault. Loki will declare that to anyone who will listen. He has NOTHING to do with giant dragons burning up buildings. Sure sure, it might seem a little Asgardianish, but he had nothing to do with it! Kwabena points ferociously, and he looks up, fixing green eyes on the roof. He spreads his fingers wide, and then sweeps them together, twisting in an intricate pattern that should, unless he is blocked in some fashion, teleport him straight to the roof to the person with the hand waving. He doesn't have a weapon out yet, since shooting at fire really doesn't do much good. He'll rescue the roof person that would be hard for the others to get! "I'll get them." POOF!

The voice is Kai's, but the person who come up to Bucky, speaking with with his words, doesn't look like him. Still, that telltale British accent and hyper tone. "Right. You get those, and I'll get these." He gestures in one direction for Bucky and then heads in the other direction. He holds up an arm against the rain of glass, shielding his eyes. The shards coming down, for the most part, bounce off of him. He's tough. Not quite as tough as Loki, but he kind of makes humans look like they're made of tissue paper. "Come with me," he tells a nearby man who's screaming with a shard of glass in his arm. He leads the man to safety, then dives right back into the chaos.

Loki is suddenly greeted with nine sets of eyes staring owlishly back at him. One man, eight women. All black, all wearing the same utilitarian light blue uniform. The telltale smells of ammonia, cleaning fluids, dust covering some of them.
One woman steps forward. "Please! We the cleaning crew! We got caught on the top floor! There's no way down!"

Follow the sound of sirens.
Three huge police cruisers barrel into the area, followed by a fire engine and two white ambulances. It's truly a phenomenal response time for the NYPD.
Suspiciously phenomenal.
One man steps out of the lead car, a plainclothes detective in a long black coat, looking around. "GET THE PARAMEDICS IN HERE, NOW!" he barks. "SEAL OFF THE AREA. NO ONE LEAVES!" He looks to the driver. "Tell the other cars to seal off the streets. Two block radius!"
The uniformed officer stuttered, "Y-yes, Captain!"

He's already pale from shock, is Buck. The sound of sirens….he looks desperately to Kai. "Kai," he says, softly - might as well be a whisper, in that noise, keeping up with the elf rather than going as directed. "Loki has to hide me. Hide me NOW. The cops are here, and I can't fight all of them."

There is glass plucking, and some quick gauze placement. And then those patients, minorly injured and attended to, are asked to help get others out, help people be safe. If someone is seriously hurt, call for her. She turns, heading for the ambulances, and with the id ever in her purse, she will.. request some first aid gear, before she will wade into the madness. She will use her powers to select those she can help best.

Amidst all of the chaos, Kwabena finds himself most interested in the emergency vehicles. He's driven a cab in this city for the past few months, and he's never seen such a quick response. Behind the shades, his eyes narrow.
The man's got no love of law enforcement. After all; he's a minority, and one who hasn't always been on the right side of the law.
The clearly augmented cab driver lays eyes upon the detective, and when he demands that the area be sealed off, that no one leaves, well. Kwabena makes a decision that the teleporting Loki will have to handle whatever's going on topside.
He's walking past Bucky in time to overhear those quiet words. "You can fight dem with me," he growls. Then, Kwabena whips off his shades, revealing eyes of human shape that glow a catlike silver. The shades are tossed, and he suddenly charges at the detective, intent on closing the distance quickly.

Loki eyes the entire cleaning crew, then the ground. Then he nods. "Gather close to me. With this many people…all I can do is…ground. Right here. That's it. I'd take you to France if I could, beautiful." He says to the oldest woman there. Once he has everyone gathered, then he'll make the same motion to bring them down to the ground. And the moment he does, he looks paler than he already was before. He isn't aware that Bucky is in trouble or that the cops are…suspicious. He's been busy!

Kai, when he returns to Bucky's side, says, "Oh shit, the pigs. Okay, Sess isn't here, but here's what we're going to do." He waves a hand in front of Bucky's face. He too is an illusionist, after a fashion. It's not a perfect mask. Bucky doesn't look like anyone else, but a trick of the light makes his features less him somehow. He looks to Kwabena, and his only response to the prospect of engaging with the cops his, "He can't be seen by them."

Normally, a certain level of trust isn't easily had, all things being equal. However, the threat of imminent death by chemical fire tends to cut through racial barriers, and the group huddles around Loki quickly. After the sudden travel, they look at each other quickly, then utter quick words of thanks before they scatter like leaves.

The police captain is looking around. "Get the hospital on the line, tell them-"
One cop looks at the man moving towards the captain and yells, "CAPTAIN STACY!"
He looks up at the man coming at an intercept course, and then hears the multiple sounds of pistols and shotguns clicking and cocking.
"GODAMMIT HOLD FIRE HOLD YOUR GODDAM FIRE!" He extends his arm, but there is no weapon in it, only an upraised palm. "STOP RIGHT THERE!"

He hasn't sussed out that the cops aren't….aren't quite right. "No!" It's almost a bark, that monosyllable. "Man, don't do it!" The last thing he needs to see is some poor mutant committing suicide by cop on his behalf. "Thank you, Kai," he says, relieved. Now he's just some other guy, rather than the Winter Soldier. He's dashing after Kwabena, trying to stop him.

Thea turns her head, and does something… well, not all women of her class and color in this time would do. She will move between the black man and the cop, even as her shoulders hunch slightly at giving her back to the officers. "I don't know what wrong the cops have done you before." She will speak even as she approaches with her hands out, full of gauze and tweezers. "But please. I know you don't know me, but this is not the time or place. Turn, and get away. Go home. Don't make me feel more death tonight."

Kai's words are heard in passing. Kwabena isn't quite sure if he even plans to do anything about them, but it does cross his mind that what he intends to do will certainly be a distraction.
He's fully expecting to be filled with bullets, and the mere fact that he isn't is what allows him to see through blind rage long enough to head the Captain ordering them to hold their fire.
Then, an outstretched hand, with no firearm, and a woman in his way.
Kwabena skids to a halt, without even thinking of it. His expression is one of utter conflict. "NYPD nevah respond so fast," he spits out in response to Thea, before turning his attention on Captain Stacy. "What is dis? Why you want no pahson to leave?" He points toward the burning building, eyes spinning back to Thea. "It smells like fucking conspiracy!"

Loki seems a little worse for the wear at the moment, but his eyes search around to lay on the Kai he disguised, then the man that told him about the people on the roof. He puts his hand out to lean on a car for a moment, but his gaze and his mind works to try to piece it together. Conspiracy? Police responding too fast? Is it a set-up…it'd have to be to kill someone or something. He tries to stop someone coming out of the building, asking, "What did you see? What did you hear?"

"Subtlety!" Kai calls after Bucky, but, well. Buck's going to Buck. There are people on the ground, groaning and bleeding. "Be careful," he calls to his friend, and he backs away from the cops. Hey, he's not part of this, man. He goes to help the injured to the triage stations. In all the chaos and shower of glass and debris, he's gotten a small cut on his cheek, and his shirt is cut to ribbons. Under the tatters is unharmed skin with some intricate tattooing on his back, and more silver shimmer on his shoulders.

The detective…sorry, police captain… watches this. He does back-step one step, but no more. His face is stormy with thought.
But people are hurt and dying, and he makes a choice. One he may regret.
"Sir, I don't know who you are, but we were CALLED four minutes before it happened! Someone calling themselves the Friends of Humanity. A FEMALE voice, telling us they were going to strike a blow for 'normal people,' calling the company there…" He pointed to the building. "…Clarisin Pharmaceuticals, making bioweapons! Supplying the "military-industrial complex!'" He looked to his left. "Sargeant! Find out which of those phones was used for the call and get anything you can off of it!" He looked back into those strange eyes of Kwabena's, then says, "So you can HELP, or you can yell for police brutality. Your choice. Part of the solution…or part of the goddam PROBLEM?"
Meanwhile, the woman Loki has stopped looks shellshocked, but she is mumbling. “They…went…loading dock…back way…running…" Her eyes are wide and unfocused, but the words are clear, oddly precise. She looks to Loki, her face seeming to slacken. "Please…I have kids…let me go…"

Winter may be subdued….but he's not gone. And that jolt of fear is enough to flip some internal switch. This is is a plot…..and he's all too likely a target. There's a moment where he's looking around frantically, visibly in search of an exit…..and then turning that wild, pale stare on the cops. A beat, too, but then he's beating the fear down, and turning to help the nearest victims. Begging not to be noticed. Cops are like greyhounds - you flee, they pursue.

Thea doesn't flinch in the face of the man's anger. "Let us be reasonable. They could have been tipped off, gotten an anonymous call that this was going down, and come over here. They came with the ambulances, and that is not usual behavior. They may want no one to leave to make sure that the person who set this up doesn't get away. Look at me, man. I was enjoying a nice night out, and picking up some Mexican food, wanting to hit on this cute guy I keep running into. You think I want this?" She lifts her eyebrows at the cabbie.
Her eyes will dart past the cabbie, taking in the man with the unusual bio-signal. She knows exactly who he is, and there's a hint of a sigh before her eyes lift to the cabbie again. "See? Tipped off. " There's a half step closer to the man. "By someone who does want to hurt.. /us/. " There is a very specific emphasis, so the cabbie knows she's noticed his eyes.. and she's outed herself to him, albeit quietly.

Captain Stacy just saved himself a few shattered bones. It takes a moment's hesitation, but at Thea's words, Kwabena's demeanor suddenly changes in one decisive moment. He stands with less rigidity, and his body softens back into that of a normal, flesh and bone mutant once more.

"I will help you," he tells the cop, then turns to Thea curiously, before looking up to the burning building. "If it is bio-weapon, it could, how to say, all pahson already affected." He probably meant to say, 'infected', but English is not his primary language.

Loki lets go of the woman abruptly, and backs up a few paces. Then he moves towards Kwabena. He reaches out for him, then, half to steady himself. "A woman…she said they went to the loading dock, the back way…/running/. Not the cops. "Kai. Jack. If we want to catch up or stop them, could use some fine aim…and maybe a wave." He nods to Thea, seemingly agreeing with her. "Maybe you save him and you get that date…"

Kai spies Loki out on the street again, and after delivering a young woman clutching her bleeding shoulder into the hands of waiting EMTs, Kai makes his way toward the dark-haired Asgardian in his full regalia. He tugs Jack's sleeve, trying to draw him away from the conversation going on with the cops. "I need water if we're going to make some waves," Kai tells Loki. Then, lower, "We can't let them see Jack's face."

Captain Stacy seems to hear every word. One can almost see the debate going on behind those fierce blue eyes.
"Patrolman Baker!"
A younger beat cop steps up. "Sir?"
"Take Wilson with you. We have a lead on the bombers. They went the back way, heading south. Go after them, find any evidence you can. If you see them, do NOT engage! You are to call in their positions as soon as you find them!"
"Uhm…sir, what about them?" He indicates Thea, Kwabena, Loki, and the apporaching Kai.
"What ABOUT them? Go do your damn job. I do NOT need heroes right now!"

A second hook-and-ladder has joined the first, firefighters going about the grim and urgent business of stopping a hungry force of nature. Firemen begin hooking up hoses, extending ladders, getting into their teams.
Stacy looks up. "Report!"
"Sir…there's something you need to see."
Captain Stacy looks to the others then heads towards the Mexico City food truck, which has developed a sizable dent in the roof…

Bucky trails along obligingly after Kai, resisting the urge to bolt. He's got the Asgardians as backup, after all. Look innocent, look innocent. Just a hapless bystander trying to help, right?

She will reach out, a brush of fingertips along the Cabbie's arm. "Keep your head down, and just.. move to the edges. Don't let them corner you, and just walk away if you can. If it's a biological weapon, it hasn't started actually affecting people yet. Not that I can see." It's almost a whisper, before she glances at Loki.

"He doesn't need saving, exactly." Her tone is cool, almost tart, before she moves, letting the cabbie make his choices, even as her eyes slide over to Bucky again. She's torn. The chase, or the nurse. The nurse, alas, wins, and she will go back to helping those who need it, and ruining that pretty dress.

A glance is given to each in turn; Captain Stacy, then to Thea, and at last, to Loki. He eyeballs the direction indicated, before looking back toward Loki with mirth in his eyes. "Big bad cop says he 'got dis'," the Ghanaian claims. However, he bodily stays close to Loki, apparently having chosen his allegiance in all of this mess.

The Asgardian prince looks at Bucky, trying to figure out if he's recognizable or not. "I think he looks fine." he says softly. "You did a fair job of it." Loki pauses a moment, looking at Kwabena, then he turns to head for the docks. He can push it and get himself there, at least, loping along with the officers that the cop sent down that way. He's checking it out…plus he still hasn't gotten to use his new toy yet and maybe he will get to!

Kai offers Kwabena an amiable smile, though he looks somewhat stressed out around the edges. No huge surprise why. Then he claps Bucky on the shoulder and heads toward the direction the perps were said to be running. "Come on, let's go catch some bad guys," he says. He grins despite everything going on. To Bucky, he says, "He said I did a fair job."

The two cops lead the way, moving down the alleyway, not drawing weapons yet, but they were moving quickly. They seemed to be able to follow along, even with the lead. They are young, strong, and eager, and they have no trouble discerning where the trail goes. They pause outside of a parking garage, pointing up, where voices can be heard on the top floor. "Dispatch, we have two men and two women, suspicious circumstances. Requesting backup."

Captain Stacy wrinkles his nose. "What the hell is that stench?"
A man in a lab coat points to a ladder. "It's Chamaeleonidae Calumma. Madagascar chameleon."
Stacy steps up to take a look and grimaces. "Jesus. It's burned to a crisp."
"Yes, sir."
How big do they get?"
"..3-5 inches from nose to tip."
Stacy frowns darkly. "So…explain why this one's the size of a damn LION?"

The grin comes through….or its ghost. Bucky moves like Bucky, no matter what illusions the Asgardians drape him with. That funny off-center hips-forward swagger can only be blamed on the arm and its reinforcements permanently rendering his center of gravity somewhere it shouldn't be. He's fast enough to keep up with Kai, though, unprotesting. So long as the cops can't see him as James Barnes, it's almost fun, now.

She will work until she's near burnout.. and then some more assisting others in a strictly 'human' capacity. Alas, that hopeful flirting will have to wait until another time. Then, she will call a cab for home, and soak in a long, hot bath. Damn this being a public servant.

The giant chameleon is collected, and the damage is tallied up. Five dead, 105 wounded. The cops and the others corral the people, who turn out to be college kids. They all affirm that they did not know there was going to be a bomb, that "Ray" had brought it in. There was also another person, but she apparently bolted early, and no one seems to have a coherent description of her.

At least the heroes can leave after their statements are given. Captain Stacy had a VERY long night ahead of him.

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