1964-08-26 - Artistic Business
Summary: At the Met, a headless statue is a model of virtue and good clothes.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
kwabena hope diana 

Sotheby's held an auction in a handsome building in Manhattan, a pretty spot where the ground floor hosts a foyer and a rather large hall for events such as this. The upper floors contain other spaces occupied by businesses and a residence, not that anyone actually lives there. The French owners happen to be out of town. This will matter later, for they will not be counted among the dead or injured when an angry hydra rears back on its serpentine body from the pain shooting through one assaulted mouth. The other three snake-necks battering the front facade start to cause cracks to spread over the limestone facing. More chunks of stone join broken glass as an angry head snaps back and forth and back and forth. That's the one with the blinking light.

That's the one that detonates one minute and eighteen seconds after being attached by batarang. Barbara - Batgirl - goes wide on her shots, the scales doing a fine job deflecting them. But the smoky burst sends shrapnel flying through the foyer and out the door. The blast might be enough to knock people off their feet. Certainly it brings down the ceiling and throws plaster everywhere.

Outside Kwabena can see the horror seize up and utter a shrill, high shriek of such agonizing rage that his eardrums probably tremble. It's no better inside, but those folks probably aren't hearing much from the detonation, anyways.

In the split second of the world exploding, old instinct claims the nice Sotheby's assistant. She throws her arms up in front of her, wrists crossed, and the black jacket she wears incinerates at the sleeves. Flashes of sliver turn bright orange as she intercepts the wave of force, still shoved back. It's a bad, bad day.

Hydras. Not the sort of Hydra that Harper had ever anticipated fighting, actually. But being trained by a unit raising their soldiers to be the next generation of Captain America comes with a few useful notes. Like knowing how the legend of the hydra ends. Cut off one head and two more shall take its place…unless you cauterize the stumps, that is. Harper hasn't worked out how to make lasting heat from her lights, but she's been thinking about applications. All she needs is some glass, and there's plenty of that around here.

Abandoning her spot and still invisible, she makes a run for the podium, where a magnifying glass has meant for inspection has been left in the chaos.

Even though Kwabena has masked himself up and adopted his supersolid state, the noise that rattles his entire body. He doubles back for a moment, grimacing and staring up at the thing with a horrified expression, visible only in the way his exposed mouth gapes.

He doesn't yet realize that there are any allies in this onslaught, save for the explosion. That must have come from someone trying to help. It brings a boost of bravery, and he quickly looks around for something, anything.

Oh, look. A 'no parking' sign, right where he parked his cab.

Rushing over, he grasps the pole with two hands and gives a heaving cry, pulling hard. He isn't stronger in this form, but the unnatural hardness provides a fulcrum he can use to create more energy, in essence. Jamming his boot and leg against the signpost, he gives another growling heave, and rips it clean out of the cement.

Now wielding the sign post, he advances on the creature, eyes wild beneath the black mask. "HAARGH!" he shouts, waving the post around in an attempt at luring one of those heads closer.

|ROLL| Diana +rolls 1d100 for: 43

The fallen walls inside the building cut off the savage monster from anyone inside. Outside, the six heads spin about as it slithers rapidly backwards. Dark coiled scales flash as the long body knocks away a parked car to make room for it. Clearly it's not liking this one bit. It screams again.

On Kwabena's side of things, he is free of the hydra's notice until he tries to rip something out of the ground. One head turns his way, pitiless eyes staring at the mutant. The others, or whichever one steers, are more interested in getting the hell outta dodge.

Beep beep, coming through, one angry hydra.

In the hall, blasted chairs and a semi-collapsed poster are scattered through the floury wreckage. Draw a narrow comet-tail from Diana and that about describes what isn't broken or wrecked: six rows of chairs, the auction table in the middle. Though the foam-lined box is sliding to the ground as a leg on the table is now in the wall. Gravity does the rest.

There might be a magnifying glass among the catalogues but Harper has to dig a fair bit to find it.

Quickly, quickly. Harper slides through the rubble, an odd and errant skid of debris and sound until she comes down to the wreckage to rummage through it. Regular glass, regular glass, ow, that hurt, now there's blood, stone, rubble of precious antiques…

When she grasps the rounded edge of something thick, she pulls it out, scrubbing the lens clean on her skirt. Her…invisible skirt. An odd sight for anyone, but anyone paying attention to that at the moment has very few survival instincts.

Besides, once she has the lens, that's when things get really weird.

It's like an eclipse, except that when the light leaves one area, it's because it's building into a solid, blinding ball near the windows. So maybe it's more like the sun has relocated.

Guests unable to escape from the debris may be under it. Some help pull others out from chairs and walls, the run for the fire escape interrupted by the blast. Delphyne is caught in that mass, and where went Batgirl except with her friend out to find a new vantage or something of that sort.

"Ah!" Kwabena calls out. "Yes, dat's right, you ugly… piece of…" But he's cut off! When that leering head gets too close, he moves in and swings the signpost as hard as he can. It sings through the air, but he doesn't wait to see what happens with its contact. He's running away, skirting the monster, and it leads him through the wreckage and into the auction house.

The open street serves the scylla well as it wants to get around the building, screaming a few serpentine obscenities between the snapping, muttering heads in the lead. It hurts, of course, that explosion leaving a wound on its neck not that's scalded shut. Sort of. There's something wrong to that hit by the batarang. It slithers along, hastening to find a side street that leads to the back or the highway at this rate. The signpost smacks the side of its scaled self, and what damage that does isn't readily visible. It hisses though.

Scylla is noisy. Good to know.

Diana inside drops her arms when it's plain nothing will be coming through that broken pile of rubble separating the front of the building from the relatively intact hall and back. She looks around sharply to assess the darkness building to a feverish pitch, and finding no source, frowns at the little ball of light that definitely wasn't there before. She moves for the box with the amphora and the smaller one with the kylix. Closing the lids at least protects the priceless antiques. Shoving them off to the side, she leaves them by the fire escape and orients on the light that really ought to hurt her eyes. Except it doesn't as badly as it could. Hey, it's not a bullet.

|ROLL| Kwabena +rolls 1d20 for: 3

Handling that much light means Harper doesn't have anything to spare for illusion. The invisibility drops, leaving a young woman in a black dress. The dress has been seen, perhaps, but the woman in it looks different from the woman who was wearing it earlier. Maybe it's all that rubble, though.

Harper starts moving toward the fire escape, hardly pausing as she comes near Diana. That woman stood in front of a lot of destruction. "You're fire proof?" she asks, not waiting for an answer before handing the magnifying glass over. "I need that between that-" she points to the ball of light, "And that." She points out toward the sound of an unhappy critter.

Not yet realizing that there are any more survivors inside, Kwabena moves forward and swings the sign post at the hydra again, aiming for another of those… things. Appendages. Heads. "Go back!" he shouts. "You, nasty, horrible… bitch! Go back!"

|ROLL| Diana +rolls 1d20 for: 18

A flick of the hydra's tail sends the no parking sign flying back at Kwabena. Hasn't he learned from the time he threw the Molotov and lost his clothes? Apparently not. The sign end might just clobber him in the head, not that it's a reason to be worried about. Or the speed is so fast it tosses him into the world's ugliest Buick.

«You look like the hind end of Hermaphrodite's buggered arse,» snaps the foul-mouthed head unimpressed by this display. Oh, it understands English but it's confined to Etruscan for the moment. Or maybe Greek. Who knows? It keeps on trucking, rounding the front of the building where the side street leads to a servicing alleyway.

The outflow of people cowering in the stairwell eventually might see this in their desire to run out the door.

Blinking for good measure, Diana takes this emerging figure in stride. Mostly. She's already stripping off her useless jacket and displaying those mildly glowing bracelets. "Yes, mostly. You…" The magnifying glass is in her hand. Very well. "You need me to stand in front of that ball and the serpent. This glass may break. I can try to keep it from cracking, though." She's obviously mad, too, if she can decipher that idea quick enough.

"It's all I've got," Harper shrugs to Diana, already moving toward the monster with the ball of light bobbing at her shoulder like some sort of pet bird of prey that could burn someone's face off. "It's a hydra, right? Cut off one head, get two more. Hercules' charioteer burned the stumps, though, and they stayed gone. I can't do fire, but I can do light, and if you focus enough light…" She heads for the exit, moving at a good clip. Faster than most humans.

Well, Kwabena isn't used to dodging. The sign post does strike his head. Sort of. His head poofs into a cloud of black smoke, and the mask ends up flopping backward. The sign post ends up impaled into the wall behind, and with a whooshing sound, Kwabena's head reforms.

He does seem momentarily shocked when the thing speaks, but that shock settles into determination. "I don't know what you just said," he demands, while raising a pair of super-solid, gloved fists. "But did not sound nice!" He means to advance; when out of the corner of his eye, he spies Harper and Diana.

What the hell are they doing here?"

Turning, he scampers over toward them, breathing heavily. "You two have plan?" He may not be recognizable by his black, tight-fitting costume, but the eyes and the accent are a dead giveaway.

Kwabena has lost himself a head, briefly. There should be a scream or two out in the open if someone saw that. The hydra doesn't care. The hydra has business to accomplish elsewhere, if by elsewhere is bludgeoning open a door it can't possibly fit through to cry 'Yoohoo, let me in' in the most physical way. It hasn't a chance to crack its way through yet. Queue horrified cries when the hiding guests realize the fire door dents.

Diana doesn't have trouble running to keep up. Jogging and darting over piles of rubble and digging through a bit of wall to make a neat exit are easy. Her poor blouse and neat skirt aren't exactly the best suited for this, but she is barefoot and more than comfortable running. "I can do this. You stay in sight, I will go."

That's when the Themysciran princess breaks into a dead sprint, her magnifying glass in hand. Kwabena is a blur in passing but she nods smartly to him, in that odd form. A jump puts her briefly against the wall. Then another, diagonally striking the building opposite the alley. It's all for height and leverage to get around the corner and by the hydra, beating up a building.

"You best not be here for Hercules. Get away!" It sometimes works. Okay. It almost never works in Greek myth but for the sphinx. An angry head glares at her.

"Part of one," Harper answers Kwabena, following behind Diana and gathering more light as she goes. Even outside it's enough to dim the sunlight as she forces it into the ball at her shoulder. Her sensible flats aren't in very good shape at the moment, but it's enough for a little protection. "Going to burn it. Light through the magnifying glass. Hopefully it works." She moves for higher ground, climbing up to the fire escape to get a better view.

Once she's there, she bends her concentration to shaping the light from a ball and into a bar, ready to aim it into the magnifying glass once Diana's in position.

So, they have a plan. It doesn't necessarily involve him, but he learned something in Africa. A strategy, and one he seems suited for.


The mutant takes a deep breath. Then, with a fierce battle cry, he runs for the creature. A leap leave dents in the floor, and he soars for one of those horrific tentacles, and makes to wrap himself around it. Should he be so lucky as to connect, he will wrap his arms and legs around the thing, and proceed to bite down with molecularly modified teeth that are now hard as galvanized steel.

|ROLL| Diana +rolls 1d20 for: 20

Diana would be a whole lot more effective trying to hold a rough position with a certain golden lasso, but unleashing that might break any hope she has of remaining inconspicuous. Once around the corner, she scrambles onto a fire escape and leans out over it. Not exactly the wisest spot but it will serve. She holds out the magnifying glass steadily for Harper to do what she intends.

Where is that fine serpent doing? Hissing and battering down the nice door because scylla wants to be in there, for whatever reason. It takes a moment for the heads — the foul-mouthed one, in fact — to spot someone jumping at it. The other five heads pursue their architectural deconstruction project, but that one…

That one has tentacles. Lots of tentacles. So when Kwabena hugs a tentacle, all the rest of them wrap around him. Completely. Tentacles around the skull, around the body, around the knees and feet. Tentacle-onion fresh from Outback, wriggling invasions of slurried shadow in the mouth, nose, ears. Whatever is suitably present. Call /it/ a bitch, will he? Hmph!

The moment Diana has the glass in position, Harper directs the beam of light into it like a spear, fixing it in place. That much light - a football field's worth of it - condensed into a beam of light no thicker than her wrist is enough to burn even without the magnification. But with it?

Think ants on the sidewalk.

There are screams. At first, they are screams of terror, for never before has Kwabena felt such fear. However, he knows very well what fear does to him. It would make for an easy escape, but… not today. Today, he taps into his rage. His fury.

The creature may try to crush, but he gasps one deep breath, before putting his rage against the creature. His body crackles, hardening into something more like flexible titanium, if such a thing were real, and he squeezes. He squeezes his arms and legs, and bites with his mouth, doing everything he can to pit his mutant strength against the abomination.

After all… if it doesn't work? There's always fear.

Bite, bite, bite. The chomps are an annoyance for sure to the hydra. He's not getting any blood so much as stony scales, and more stony scales, and equally more stony scales. His teeth and jaw probably hurt, but the hydra squeals and smacks back against Kwabena like it can dislodge him.

Before the fire concentrates through the glass. Diana continues to hold up that glass magnifier, running and jumping only when absolutely necessary to avoiding a spasm of the heavy body knocking her off her feet. The cacophony of screams fills the air with ash and embers where the burning being of the nasty beast answers to Harper's call.

Awful smell, awful sign, but Harper has the right of it.

One head, two, three. Harper pours light through the magnifying glass with all the focus she can muster, crouched on the side of the fire escape where she can have as much cover as she can get. "Mythical monsters," she mutters under her breath, fingers clenching with the effort of keeping it all contained.

Kwabena holds his ground, biting and spitting and clenching. It's ugly business, and the whole affair finds his mind reeling out of control. His mutation, after all, is affected by his emotions, and one can only stay madly enraged for so long.

Eventually, panic strikes. When it does, his body rapidly transforms. Those tentacles that ensnare him find themselves clenching onto nothing more than a black, one piece garment; a cloud of black smoke has taken the place of the mutant, with tendrils thicker than the others roiling about in a sort of manic state.

The cloud breaks free and goes flying for the nearest wall, out of control.

Diana hasn't thus far done more than be a magnificent magnifying glass holder, and she can tolerate that. Occasionally she gets knocked back or has to dash out of the way when the serpent hits her. Occasionally she has to worry greatly for Kwabena and snap the beam focus higher to avoid frying him by a light beam. Harper at least has strong purpose honing her light.

The Amazonian lashes out with a side kick to knock the swaying and wobbling snake out of the way if it threatens to fall on them.

Crash, zap, burn. Burning takes a while. But burning has the desired effect.

It's a lot of light to focus, and these damned things have a lot of heads. By the time enough damage has been done to bring the beast down, Harper is exhausted, falling back against the stone of the building. The light, freed from her artificial control, fades back to its rightful place, the false twilight of her stealing it brightening once again to full daylight. It seems like there was more than one reason for her to seek cover during the fight, as well. Now that it's done? She's pale, hands trembling as she fumbles into the pockets of her dress.

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