1964-08-24 - Scylla in Manhattan
Summary: A first time for everything. A scylla shows up at an auction.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
barbara delphyne harper diana 


Across the city, a story begins in the tony reaches of Manhattan. Sotheby's auction house excels in serving up the finest antiquities from around the world. Their Chinese porcelain collection on tomorrow makes tycoons salivate. Tonight's lot focuses upon a somewhat more accessible topic of ancient Greek works. The glossy brochure features amphorae and statues of dancing youths, black and red-figure painting. Abundant descriptions in text assure buyers of the fine provenance. A wealthy collector throughout the early quarter of the century amassed these charming things. His young widow — younger than the collection — doesn't have any reason to keep the goods. Thus, selling to those able to appreciate the Old World.

Auction protocol is simple. Dress nicely and present credentials on finances to the nice staff accountant in advance. Visitors are welcome, but confined to the back of a marble room filled by plush chairs. The docents circulate to answer questions. The auctioneer at the front awaits the next lot, helpfully called 18.

"Oh, splendid. Please refer to page twenty-one in your catalogue for a fine shot and close up detail made for lot eighteen. This features a kylix and an amphora in the tradition of ancient Athens at the height of its power…" He's thrilling isn't he?

Harper isn't here for herself tonight. With her various nest eggs, she could probably afford to buy something small if she wanted to, but ancient Greek isn't usually the art that draws her interest. She's actually here as discreet protection for an heiress with more of an interest in these sorts of things. Sure, she could have hired hulking men in suits, but old money knows that discretion is far more valuable than show. Wearing a simple black dress and black flats, with her hair swept up and a light illusion altering her features just enough to change them, she stands at the back of the room, one hand clasped around her wrist as she watches patiently.

Normally Delphyne's cases are a little more mundane than ones involving ancient Greek sculpture. But, as it happens, she was hired by an eccentric millionaire to monitor the proceedings. Or else she's meant to be a presence to stir up talk, considering her looks…

However, he paid in cash, and paid well, so Delphyne arrived in a shimmering blue dress, snakes loose and unbound and with Barbara in tow, claiming her as a plus-one for the event on the off chance that she needed backup. And well, even if she didn't it is a nice change of pace from running around on rooftops.

Technically, this wasn't exactly a priority as far as assignments for Barbara goes. These sorts of auctions were the sort of place where stolen goods were likely to be moved, and more than one of the sort of people who could afford these things probably had some underhanded dealings. Then again, none of this stuff had disappeared from museums in any recent time. She wasn't here for 'work' tonight anyway…she was here as a 'date' for a certain Gorgon. Dressed in a simple dark-blue dress of her own, Barbara kept her handbag slug over her shoulder as she followed Delphyne, shaking her head lightly. "Some of these probably cost more than I make in a year."

The spotlights turn on a cart carefully rolled out by a Mediterranean woman in a black skirt suit. Audience and auctioneer have little reason to pay attention to her, more interested in the star of the lot. Diana retreats to the door she entered through, watched by another Sotheby's employee.

Lying on its safe, specially cut bed is a somewhat large amphora. Twin handles picked out in a natural motif. A procession of figures wind around the fat belly. Sailors raise spears and swords from their sleek boat. Bearded, muscular warriors heroes aren't having very much success against the scaled horror confronting them with myriad heads on long necks. Spines ram into broken spars and a big hole punched into the hull. Its body scrolls across the lower foot of the amphora to give a sense of scale. There is no lid to go with the fine, glossy specimen.

Harper looks to Barbara and Delphyne as they enter, the latter getting a brief moment longer in consideration. Sure, it's New York and there are enough mutants in town that she's not the strangest thing around, but it's still worth noting. Ancient Greek art might not be Harper's favorite, but that doesn't mean she isn't interested. As a new piece rolls out, she glances away from the people gathered for long enough to get an appreciation of what's for sale. Anything that can last that long deserves at least a little appreciation.

Sitting in his taxi cab outside is Kwabena Odame. Someone paid a hefty fare to be brought here, and an even heftier fare for him to wait until they were done. He is fine with this, for it gives him time to smoke cigarettes and sip on the swill that's currently hidden in a brown bag riding shotgun.

Delphyne whistles slightly under her breath, "Surprised he didn't want me to place a bid in proxy for this. It's very impressive, Babs." She tilts her head, not really bothering to look back at everyone that looks at her… really, that's part of the reason she's here, she figures, for people to look at the real Gorgon in the stands with the other spectators.

"It certainly looks legitimate," Barbara comments a she looks over at this new lot from their position, her arms crossing over her chest. The fact that her companion was getting stared at wasn't something she'd missed, but she herself? Probably blended in the crowd were it not by practice. Continuing to speak, if only for the distraction of discussion she glances at the Gorgon. "Looks like it tells the story of some beast. Is that ment to be Perseus and the Cetus?" Yep, Babs had read up on some Greek mythology. Was anyone really suprised?

"The Odyssey amphora, as you can see, is an outstanding example of red figure painting." The auctioneer likes to hear himself talk. He speaks with potent relish from his speaking points on the podium. "Such intact specimens of this size are very rare. Our own art historians and archaeologists believe this vessel was created by Brygos, an exceptional painter from around 480 BC. Worthy of a museum or a showpiece. Shall we begin the bidding at six hundred dollars?"

Paddles go up. There's no kind of anonymous bidding here. Every paddle has a number and letter assigned. A courtly free for all. Diana has the dull job of noting who might be starting a bidding war. Who is not raising paddles. Nice people sitting in the audience are having much more fun than she is. Staring at the gorgon is good business.

Kwabena outside might be positioned to feel a weak rattle through his cab.

Harper tilts her head slightly as paddles go up, watching the people more than the vases now. Who bids. Who doesn't bid. Who's watching other people bid. Who looks upset about who's bidding, how much is bid. Each thing is noted and catalogued as she stands otherwise unmoving against the back wall. The last thing she wants to do is accidentally bid.

Yes, there are, in fact, a pair of fuzzy dice that dangle from the rear view mirror of Kwabena's cab, and they sway back and forth before the rumble reaches his seat and the steering wheel. The cab driver scowls, and flicks his cigarette to ash it. "Well… fuck," he mutters to himself. "Now what?"

Delphyne passes Diana a wry look, just the two of them, since… well, it's the classic I know that you know that I know look. Then she looks back to Barbara, "Actually, I believe that's meant to be Scylla. Hard to say, really, though it does appear quite genuine from what I can see here." She hmmms a bit, even as a few of her snakes look a bit more… agitated, hissing quietly as they might be sensing the vibrations outside.

Swing and a miss, but at least Babs was trying, right? Nodding her head, she chews her bottom lip lightly and does what most people in an auction who don't want to bid do: tries to stay as still as she can so she doesn't accidently twitch and buy something she doesn't want. Her face however, does shift to one of concern at the little shift in Delphyne's 'hair mood' even before she might feel the vibration itself. Earthquakes could happen in New York…but when was it ever that simple?

Rumbling lasts a few seconds. It fades out. Better constructed buildings don't even sway or rock. The tremor has to be very weak or deep in the earth to not even chatter a crystal chandelier. With the brisk pace of bidding going on, the well-dressed guests might even choose to overlook it as a consequence of a bus passing by or their heartrate up at the excitement. Bids are exciting! Paddles drop off as the bidding gets over "$1,500. $1,600." The auctioneer points those out.

Four groups are actively engaged. A man with steel grey hair in a tuxedo, a banker in his forties, a short couple in their fifties dressed too discreetly not to be rich, and a bored, wooden flunky dutifully lifting his paddle like clockwork. At the hour he might start to utter cuckooing noises. Those out are clearly waiting to see who wins.

"$2,100, A-13." Mr. Steel Hair is brisque upping the ante. Diana looks over the room to Delphyne and smiles back. She's a little distracted herself. The ground is shaking her again. And everyone. Another low hum from the southeast.

Harper had dismissed the rumbling at first. Subways, trains, traffic. There's so much passing through New York, a little bit of rumbling isn't that uncommon. But as it continues, the unsettled sense that something is wrong starts to grow. Discreetly, she starts to move toward her employer's side, crouching next to the woman's chair to murmur a few words of cautious warning. She's not sure what's going on, but better to be prepared.

Kwabena's sour expression settles out when the rumbling stops. He takes another drag from his cigarette and quietly wonders, now that he's started talking to himself, whether it's the cab driving or the midnight vigilantism that's driving him crazy.

He's taking another drink from the brown bag when the rumbling starts again. Some of the liquor spills down his chin, and he curses quietly in his native tongue.

Delphyne tilts her head slightly, noticing the rumbling as well as she glances over at Barbara, "Do you feel that, Babs?" She frowns a little, looking like something could be wrong here as she glances back towards the auctioneer podium.

|ROLL| Diana +rolls 1d20 for: 11

A nod, a frown, Barbara's hand shifts to rest atop her handbag and she looks back towards the auction as it still continues on. People want to buy things pretty desperately it seems. "I do…" she murmers, giving Delphyne a look before she starts to drift a little to the sidelines. If this -was- something sinister, she'd need somewhere to change and fast.

|ROLL| Kwabena +rolls 1d20 for: 17

The auction isn't slowing down but at $4,500, the couple falls out of contention. Down to three. They keep dutifully raising their paddles as bids are named and registered. Catalogues slew off a table for a docent to clean up. Diana has a worried look slowly forming on her face. Her gaze lands on the amphora in its foamy cocoon and then for a smaller cup not included in this wave of bidding. She takes the cover of the bidding to move around the edge of the room for the back doors. No one is bound to interrupt anyone going into the foyer.

Now pity the cabbie. Outside comes a long, thin chorus of almost inaudible squeals and hissing calls. The ground rumbles in answer. Its source slinks up the sidewalk and then out in the middle of the street after its scaly coils flatten the roof of a Dodge. Its body drops onto the paved road and carries on, oozing darkness in a stream.

Harper's employer doesn't particularly want to leave the auction, but there's a reason she's paying Harper. And if Harper says it's probably time to go, then she's willing to listen. Keeping her paddle down, the heiress stands to step out of her seat, while Harper moves into a flanking position to guide her out of the room and to a more secure location - like probably the bathroom, honestly.

Kwabena reaches up to steady the swinging dice. Thanks to this, his silver eyes are on the rear view mirror when those hissing squeals pop up. He stares for a moment, and his eyes begin to go wide.

"What in de actual…" At first he's quiet, until the thing flattens that poor Dodge. "Fuck!"

For a moment, the cabbie freezes. Then, he eyes the bottle in his hand. A thought comes to mind. A little trick he learned back home.

Quickly, he rustles through the glovebox for something. A paper flier. He pulls the bottle of liquor out of its brown bag, and stuffs the paper down into the neck. Then, he quietly opens the car door, eyeballing the monstrosity with a hard gaze.

"Jesus fucking Christ," he whispers, and retrieved a zippo from his jacket. Sidestepping, he eyeballs the thing for a few moments, looking for some sign of weakness.

Delphyne glances over towards Barbara, "I… ah, don't suppose you have anything… um, appropriate for a nightlife on you?" She notices Diana's departure, and starts getting a Bad Feeling about this. Of course, she can't see outside, otherwise she'd know just how right she is. "Otherwise, I think we might need to grab a weapon from the display." She keeps her voice down, not wishing to start a panic.

Barbara…is already gone. Seems she'd picked up that annoying habbit from her mentor. Of course, it probably ment 'Yes', unless the redhead had simply decided to flee.

There wasn't anything quite so glamourous as having to change quickly in a janitor's closet, but at least Barbara had privacy and practice. After a moment to check she hadn't been seen, Babs tugs her dress over her head and begins to dress in her uniform. It's under a minute, and she's clipping her utility belt around her waist, emerging from her concealment as Batgirl.

One head, two heads, seven heads. Maybe more. The mass of shadows looping around the scaly, glistening horror conceals its bulk but not the heads turning in different directions to assess building and gates. The hydra slithers efficiently around vehicles jettisoned into its path. Sotheby's has a nice, open front perfect for one head to push against to see if the decorative glass and bricks will part. When the architecture resists, it whips itself around in hopes of pushing the barriers in.

Nothing like some cracking glass to get people's attention. A head pokes in through the ruin and the other one joins it. Bared fangs and flicking tongues fork the air. Another head sees fire. Fire bad. It looks back at Kwabena.

Inside the Sotheby's staff work to quell rising unease. The breaking glass is just a further sign of trouble. "Everyone out through the fire exit, please," the auctioneer says without missing a beat. Diana is going in the wrong direction - not to the fire exit, no, but the snake-filled front doors.

Better than a bathroom - a stairwell, at the back of the building. Harper has her employer in a car zipping away at the back before people are headed for the fire exits, which leaves her free to figure out just what is going on. That is a task best performed without observation. She goes invisible, slipping back into the building past the flow of people and back toward the danger.

With a grimace, Kwabena lights the Molotov cocktail and runs for the creature. "Shit, fuck, shit, fuck!" he grumbles to himself, before skidding close to the creature. "Eat dis, you ovahgrown chunk of sushi!" he cries, then hefts the bottle toward one of those horrible, ugly heads.

He doesn't wait to see what happens. The Ghanaian is already on the move, ripping his shirt off to reveal the gunmetal gray costume underneath.

|ROLL| Diana +rolls 1d100 for: 96

Moving projectile inbound! The Molotov thrown at one of the heads gets another shriek from the sixth, which sinuously arcs down to snap its long, vicious teeth around the bottle tenderly. It looks left. It looks right. The Scylla doesn't cross the street. The wind up gives it momentum to hurl the bottle back at the Ghanaian's feet.

Delphyne doesn't typically bother with a costume, though right now she looks like she regrets not having her guns with her. Instead, she heads back towards the displays, ignoring the directions to go out the fire exit. Finding the display showing the Toledo Salamanca blade, she takes the sword in her hand, twirling it experimentally as she then heads back to face the hydra-like thing crashing the auction.

Alright…giant hydra monster? That was actually a new one. It also probably ment that standard batarangs weren't likely to do much damage as the creature rushes in. Good thing Batgirl brought more than standard! Twisting to add a little more momentum to her throw, a pair of bat shaped projectiles hurtle from Barbara's hands towards one of the creature's heads with a lightly pulsing red light at their center betraying their explosive charge.

|ROLL| Barbara +rolls 1d20 for: 9

Two heads on scaly necks are peering around inside over broken glass with an eye for finding something. Their reconnaissance counters the smarmy hydra head who returned the present to Kwabena and the other ones snapping and knocking bricks out of the way. Outside, the serpent body still makes for a tight coil. Unless someone aims to stab it then it will not immediately engage. Snappy snappy teeth.

A batarang toss misses and embeds in the wall for one. The other skids over the sharp scales before hooking in, tearing and causing a shrill snarl. No, it didn't like that. Snappy snappy teeth want it out.

Diana is unarmed, and she does not make for a terrifying presence here. Height is a bit lost on something that reaches to the ceiling. Her high heels are kicked off because they are in the way. "Why is this here?"

Invisibility usually offers some protection against these sorts of things. Harper finds herself a spot with cover, measuring her foe for a moment before she makes a decision. There's a gun in a holster at her thigh, and that's what she goes for, taking careful aim. Things are skidding off of scales, so maybe that's not where she should aim. Instead, she watches a snapping mouth, only firing into it when it opens.

Too bad gunshots tend to undermine the invisibility thing.


Kwabena darts to the left, diving when the bottle strikes the street and blows up behind him. He tumbles end over end, eventually scrawling to his feet. Reaching up, the cabbie pulls the black mask up over his face, stretching it down to cover all but his mouth. Then, he bares teeth in a snarl.

Anger. It triggers his supersolid state, and right now? Pretty easy to get angry.

Beneath the costume, his flesh and skin adopts a hardened, supersolid form. "Ahkay, you ovahgrown squid," he challenges, and throws up gloved fists. "Come at me!"

|ROLL| Harper +rolls 1d20 for: 16

|ROLL| Diana +rolls 1d5 for: 3

The shot taken at the hydra by an invisible-ish woman strikes into an open mouth. The screeches not heard easily before are sure audible now as the snapping bloody mouth howls its protest. Teeth gnash. The other heads snarl and seethe like they might be having a conversation. They've forgotten a bit about the foul-mouthed cabbie as he's not on fire. Bad fire!

Delphyne darts in, cursing under her breath in Greek as she doesn't have her Helm with her, as that would make short work of this beast… of course, then there'd be the issue of how to get rid of a massive statue, but that's better than a living hydra right? As it is, Del swings the blade, trying to take advantage of the distraction provided by the gunshots.

Okay…armored scales. Fair enough. An explosive charge wasn't going to be the way to go, especially if others are going to be leaping in close. Besides, she'd feel bad if she did more damage to the building than the monster. Batgirl's eyes glance as Delphyne rushes in with the sword, narrowing a little at the sound of gunfire. There was a lot of people in the mix, more people to worry about getting injured wasn't a good thing even if she wasn't sure her plan would work.

Digging from the next pouch on her belt she retrieves a trio of slightly smaller throwing weapons, a press of a button at the center bringing a buzzing crackle of voltage as she grips them with her insulated fingers. Invisible gunner girl had the right idea; this time Barbara waits for her moment and then throws each of the three weapons one at a time, targeting eyes and open mouths.

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