1964-09-04 - Spanish Mutant Powers and Pinballs
Summary: Arcade is up to his tricks, but the heroes will surely outwit him!
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
douglas danielle hope steve-rogers 

It came out on all of the normal channels just an hour ago. A young woman, Barbara Simmons, was taken from her workplace shortly before the end of the day. Police Investigators have set out a search party in the area of Coney Island, though it's not clear why—it's an awfully long distance from the Queens office where Simmons serves as a secretary.

One of Steve Rogers contacts at the police station rings him up and gives some of the details. This part is all off the record, of course, because it's not clear what Steve's friend is able to divulge and what he is not, but a group of policemen went down into the cellars /underneath/ part of Coney Island and haven't radioed back. Hope, who happens to be near Steve when he takes the phone call, is brought into duty and, on the back of a motorcycle, the pair race from the Avenger's Mansion towards the scene.

Meanwhile, Danielle will surely notice Steve and Hope talking with the police and heading inside and downward into a cellar located near the Tilt-A-Whirl.

Hope managed to gear up at the mansion with at least a few guns, but she's had the sense to holster them where they're less likely to be noticed, under a jacket that she probably borrowed from the closet of someone twice her size. Not that she doesn't still get odd looks from the police as she hangs back at Steve's flank - a teenage girl, and one that acts more like the veteran cops than any teenage girl they know. While Steve talks to the police, she's watching the area around them, looking for escape routes or hiding places.

Danielle really shouldn't get involved. Really she shouldn't. She's not a Super Hero, exactly. But she /is/ a strong independent young woman with a critical eye towards police behavior and a sincere heart for … oh, fine, she's nosier than she ought to be. Which is why she deliberately sidles the long way around while the police are talking. At first, it's merely to get a closer peek at what might be happening. As she watches Steve and Hope descending into the cellar, impulse becomes action, and she squares her shoulders and brazenly follows, as if she's a part of the same group, just slightly.. delayed. Acting like one belongs is often the easiest way to bypass challenges.

Noticing Danielle, Steve turns and looks over his shoulder. From behind his mask he peers a bit and for a moment it looks as if he might stop her. But he doesn't. Part of the deluge of vigilantes, superheroes, and do-gooders is recognizing there's a community out there of people who have made the same choices he has and risked the same things. She passes muster.

Wordlessly, Steve leads the trio down into the long hallway that the police before them came down. There's light at the end of the hallway. Wavy and red, there's something going on in there. As to what? It's not clear.

"Look alive, ladies."

Hope is definitely less trusting than Steve is, but that sort of thing happens when you spend your life on the run. When Danielle starts to follow them, she turns, squaring up her shoulders like she might be just about to face off until Steve makes a motion of acceptance. She's still cautious, though.

As they draw closer to the light, she draws one of the guns from beneath her coat, reaching out with other senses only to frown back at Danielle when she encounters a power. Huh. Interesting.

Danielle does not appear to be carrying any weapons, but she certainly has power. She meets Hope's frown with a steady expression, braced for an argument that doesn't materialize. At least until they near the end of the hall, and the (much much) older man speaks. Her attention shifts from the two she follows to the destination just ahead, and she presses up a little closer to the others to try for a looksee.

"My name is Douglas Ramsey, and I See Things." He came to Coney Island to get a hot dog, and look out over the ocean for awhile, but then he picked it up — like a bad smell, a ripple of distress in the language of the crowd. Subconscious, almost undetectable, a whisper of 'something is going to happen'.

So he followed it. And that's why he's outside the cellar. A moment picking out an opening in the language of the crowd, and then he slipped inside, his shoes hitting the concrete as he descends the steps, and trails behind, digging back to light-footed movement drills from what feel like forever ago, to try and stay quiet.

Steve seems oblivious to Doug's sneaking. Rather, he talks to the women who have accompanied him as they reach the doorway. "I…I don't understand." In the foreground is a large, wide, reddish room with a floor made from wood. Brightly colored there are all sorts of crazy designs, as if this were some sort of funhouse. Large circular pillars of metal rise high above their heads, jutting out from the floor. Steve walks into the room more fully, trying to figure out precisely what this place is.

Hope hangs back in the doorway, catching the inside of her cheek between her teeth as she peers around the space. "Me neither," she admits, but it doesn't look like she thinks walking right in is the best idea. "Wait, don't just-!" She tries to snatch at the back of Steve's uniform before he steps inside, wincing. "It could be trapped." That, and with Doug coming closer, there's another power on her radar. "Someone else is nearby, too."

Danielle hesitates when Hope mentions a fourth, a puzzled frown on her face as she glances back up the long hallway. "Are you sure?" she knows enough to keep her voice low, but the odds of someone threatening creeping up behind them seem small. So she shakes her head slightly and slips past Hope to follow Steve into the curious wood-floored room. "Nice of them to leave the lights on for us.."

Which is when there is a curious query. "…Captain America?" No real point in sneaking now, is there? Doug for all the world looks like he should be in an office somewhere, with his jacket off, sleeves rolled up to the wrists, spectacles (fashion forward) and bow tie. He looks up at the room spread out in front of them, and lets out a low whistle. "Holy cats. Somebody's avant-garde art project got a little out of hand…"

Did she just…? Steve turns to look at Hope as she grabs the scruff of his neck like a mom. Or a dog. He chuckles at her. "You might be right," he replies down to the short, wise beyond her years, teenager. "But there's a girl who has been kidnapped, and a group of policemen missing. I'm not leaving until I find them and I don't think we find them if we don't look." When Doug calls out, Steve peers back down the hallway. He gives a nod, figuring that this young man must be just like Danielle. He enters the room more fully and looks around. "There," he says, pointing about 5 yards down to another door.

Hope points a thumb in Doug's direction when he appears, sighing. "Yep. Pretty sure." She walks out into the room like she's expecting a mine to go off any second, cringing with each careful step. With unknowns involved now, though, she moves from Steve's flank to instead take up a rear-guard position. "I'm Hope," she notes, looking to Doug and Danielle.

"I go by Dani. Mirage when it's.. serious," the Cheyenne girl offers in return, casting a bemused eye towards Doug. Perhaps his clothes. But then, they seem to have formed a rather motley crew all around, so who's counting. "Kidnapping and missing cops? Could be the cops grabbed the girl, you know," she puts the possibility out there, even as she approaches the next door. A brief visual check, then Danielle presses her ear to the center of the door, raising a hand for a moment of quiet to see if she can hear anything.

When Doug sees Dani, he blinks, and says, "Hey." He rubs the back of his neck, and his eyes roll upward, as he looks downright embarassed. Why? It is a mystery. But then he turns to Hope, and bounces on his heels and grins like a cheshire cat. "Well, *hi there*. I'm Doug. Hope, huh? %<161>Bien s%<233> que he estado esperando encontrar a una muchacha como usted toda mi vida!" Then he shrugs. "Sorry all, I picked up that something was going on, and I came to help."

As everyone enters the doors begin to shut even as a scream emanates off from the distance. Steve looks upwards and catches a weird reflection that tells him there is glass above. Gradually it dawns on him. The markings on the floor have a flow to them. The giant metals circular pillars are not pillars at all. They look more like…bumpers. Steve turns behind him to see a humongous silver ball sitting in a long track. His eyes then go downward to look at his feet. Painted on the wooden floor were the words PINBALL WORLD. Except the first is spraypainted out and replaced by the crimson scrawled MURDER.

"Good evening everyone," a voice calls out from speakers located in the corners of the room.

Hope tilts her head slightly when Dani gives her code name, nodding once. "So that's you," she murmurs under her breath, connecting the power to the name, before she quirks a brow at Doug. "And that's you." The voice from the speakers rings out before she can elaborate, though, raising her gun to a ready position and turning a circle to search for cameras or observers.

Danielle tries working the door handle, with no real luck. The unexpected voice makes her spin into a partial crouch, defensive while she scans the room for the .. Oh, speakers. "Doug, stay close," she suggests. She won't be the one to state the obvious bit about a trap, even though it's taking some conscious effort not to. "Anyone know that voice?" It takes her a little longer to spy the giant silver ball, and to piece together the significance of the pillars and the wood flooring and… "Oh boy."

Douglas says, "Si!" Doug says, to Hope. Then he looks at that big red 'Murder' and his flirty expression falters. "…Mierda." He nods, once, to Dani, and sinks into a lazy crouch, before he runs his gaze over the room and says, perhaps stating the obvious, "This is a deathtrap. The ball is going to try to crush us, but at the same time, trying to avoid it is supposed to pitch us into hidden traps all over the room. I think. I'm trying to get a read on the language of the room to find a maintenance hatch or a… control room, but it's going to take me a minute—""

"A simple game. If the ball reaches the gutter and any of you still live, you get the girl. If not, well…you feel the fate of the boys in blue who came before you!" There's a maniacal cackle and for a moment someone might wonder if they have stepped into a movie. Steve is walking around the room trying to get a strategy and passes a corridor pathway, just big enough for the ball it seems, where the policemen, four in all, made their demise. Their crushed bones and bloody leftover mess causes even Steve to bring his hand to his mouth. They're unrecognizable.

The ball shoots out as it's smacked by a large spring and begins to zig and zag as it runs into each of the triggers. Each time it hits something it moves faster and faster, a giant silver ball coming right at them from several directions as it comes and goes.

"Hey, remember when I said this room could be trapped?" Hope asks after the speaker finishes. "I remember that part." The gun, it seems, is not going to be much use against a giant steel ball, and so she tucks it back under her jacket, stepping back to give herself some space to move when the ball comes her way. "Unless we can change the room, I don't know that controls are going to help," she calls over to Doug. "Best we can do is avoid this thing until it loses momentum…which it won't if it keeps hitting springs…" She turns, then leaps back as the ball shoots past. "We've gotta disable those!" she says, pointing at the triggers.

"Good plan," Danielle agrees. She tries hard to keep more or less in one spot, eyes on the giant metal death ball as it caroms wildly around the room. Now and then she spares few moments to inspect the floor. After a couple of dodges, she sidesteps to a thin joint in the wooden planks, and slams the heel of her boot down onto T-shaped intersection of joints. Again, and again, and eep, leap out of the way! "Knew I should've brought my duffle today," she grunts as she again tries to break a workable chunk of wood free.

Doug looks at the bloody smear on that pinball and his face falters. "And I always loved pinball…" He watches the ball bouncing around the room, and then says, "Okay. I have a read on the ball, I think. Here we go!" He starts to move, reading the trajectories of the pinballmath being yet another language, even three-dimensional pinball death math — trying to be where it isn't going to go. "I wonder if this has a *tilt* built into it!" A tilt, where if the pinball machine is disturbed, such as by somebody hitting or shifting the machine, the game stops but how do you shift an entire room? "Whoever you are," Doug says, as the ball misses him by just a hair, "You frickin' SUCK, buddy! I mean it! You're just the WORST!" All the while, he's trying to look for something, anything — a maintenance hatch, a hidden door — which is hard to do when you're dodging polished steel death.

Steve dives out of the way of the silver ball and rises to his feet, throwing his shield as hard as he can into one of the side bumpers. While it does slow down some of the momentum of the sphere, it quickly picks up speed again because of the downward tilt. "We heard you, Hope. But standing in the doorway wasn't about to help us either. He looks upward, narrowly dodging the metal orb and throws his shield hard at the glass above, which only splinters. Worth a shot.

"The worst," Hope agrees with Doug, making a dash for the last trigger the ball bounced off of. Here, at least, the guns should come in handy. Sort of. Enough to shoot at the mechanism and break the spring that keeps things moving at least, hopefully. Once she's sure that trigger is demolished, she taps into Doug's powers, tracking the next few moves of the ball to pick her next target - one that isn't going to get ricocheted in a moment.

Danielle dives and rolls when the ball hurtles back towards her, and glowers as she scrambles back to her feet. Again and again she hammers the wood with her heels, working the same point over and over until the wood starts to break and give. She dances aside a few times, but keeps returning to the same point, until she's able to work her fingers in and pulllllll. Until she's got a broken plank yanked free and brandished like a club. "That's going to be sore in the morning," she grumbles, before searching for the nearest convenient and batterable mechanism.

Doug's powers are weird. A whole new underlayer of the world is revealed — the communication between the ball and the bumpers, the language of trajectory and velocity, the movement patterns of Doug and Dani and Captain America, even the way the entire room functions together to work as a deathtrap are all so CLEAR. "So," Doug says, to Hope, "Nina Simone's in the city and I know someone who can get us tickets— whoa!" He tucks and rolls out of the way of the ball, and then pauses, as he opens his eyes and spies a line of conduit running along the wall. "What are YOU?" He asks. Then he waves his arm frantically to Dani. "Daniiiiiiiii, *follow the wiring*—"

Steve gets a look on his face as if almost perturbed with himself that he didn't think of it sooner. The bottom bumpers, the large ones are the key to any pinball game. Those ones, down at the bottom, are the ones that keep the game going. If those are disabled, then the ball will eventually gutter and they can win. Assuming the psycho on the loudspeaker keeps his word, that means saving the girl.

Steve does a somersault and narrowly avoids the meat of the silver sphere, but he does get hit straight in the back and thrown onto the ground. "Focus on those ones!" he says, pointing at the large bumpers at the end of the board.

"Are you hitting on me right now?" Hope probably knows the answer to that, given she's in the process of copying Doug's powers, but it's less a factual question and more of an incredulous one anyhow. Besides, before she can wait for an answer, Doug has some wires to track down and Cap is pointing out the large bumpers at the bottom. Fun fact: There are no pinball arcades to play in in the far distant future. It really is a crappy place. Instead, she makes a run for the 'bottom' of the game, aiming her next shots at the big bumpers.

"Hup.." Dani flings herself flat against the wall, as the death ball thunders past. "Don't worry, he's harmless," she calls over to Hope. "Mostly.." Wiring. What wiring? She frowns and catches her breath and follows Doug's frantic gesturings. When she spots the conduit, she visually traces its path for a moment, then nods. "On it!" From there, it's just a matter of racing along the wall, dancing and jumping when needed to avoid the ball. Grunting in pain when she's not *quite* out of its way. But the important thing is to find the end of the conduit, or a junction box or.. even better, someone she can bludgeon with her floor wood.

"Life is short!" Is all Doug says in response to Hope's incredulous question, before he's running… running… "Hey, there's no SPACE between those bumpers!" He says, "You're CHEATING" Then he calls out, "Cap, when it moves into position to hit the ball, *try throwing your shield into the hinge*" And then the ball rolls by him and he's forced to baseball slide out of the way. "Hyup!"

Steve tosses his shield into the space between the hinge. It catches there, and the next time it fires, the hinge breaks and the tip of the bumper falls to the ground. Steve leaps up in order to grab the shield and hooks it on his back. "Grab the other one!" he yells out.

"On it!" Hope calls back to Steve, though she yelps as she has to dodge the rampaging ball, throwing herself into another trigger in the process. Something cracks - whether it's wood or ribs is less than certain - but she pushes onward to the last bumper, firing several shots into the pin that holds it in place to leave it hanging loose. "Everyone still with us?" She can tell they're not dead, since their powers are still there, but that doesn't mean they're uninjured.

Danielle finds a junction box within reach, and eagerly uses one end of the plank to force it open, then starts ruthlessly stabbing the wood into the exposed wiring. She doesn't exactly have a plan beyond damaging as much of the equipment as she physically can. Instead of pausing to admire her handiwork, she chucks the damaged wood at the nearest speaker and mutters something quite rude under her breath. "I'm good, I think. Doug?"

"I'm alive!" Doug says, before he's clambering over the second flipper to grab hold of it and pull, his back straining with the effort. His face turns purple, but he throws his back into it. "Hfffff" He squeezes his eyes shut, "I swear I'll never take pinball lightly again" Then he grits his teeth. "Rrrrrraaaa—-"

Through combined efforts, each of the bumpers are left inoperable. As the silver ball makes its way through, it harmlessly falls into the gutter and the game is over. "You win, "heroes." Get the girl and take your reward, but realize there will be a new Murderworld and a new game in the future! Mwahahahhahahahahhahahahhahhahah!"

Both of the doors open. There's the hallway which is the way out of here, but then there's the earlier door that closed. In there, even from where they stand, they can see a young woman tied to a chair.

Hope hops off of the bumper, tucking her gun away again and checking under her jacket to make sure she's not bleeding anywhere. "Okay, so, maybe I'm not really clear on this whole money thing," she says as she rejoins the others, "But…this seems like a lot of resources to go after, what? One girl and four police and whatever heroes showed up who didn't have the ability to just stand in front of that ball and crush it?"

Danielle sags against the wall behind her, breathing hard. "For a certain breed of lunatic, money is just a tool to do insane stunts like this." She straightens and stretches, gingerly feeling a few bruised spots, checking for any serious injury. "Is the girl okay?" Sue her, she's not walking blind into yet another room just yet, nope. "More importantly," she heads over to the door they came through, to make sure the damned thing doesn't swing closed on the group a second time.

"Test run." Doug says. "If I had to guess, this is a proof-of-concept for… uh. Murderworld. I don't really get it either? It seems like a goofy, resource-intensive way to try to kill people. I mean, how is whoever's running this going to even get people here? Dummy garbage trucks rigged with knockout gas and man-catchers?" He facepalms. "No, it really doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you think about it hard, does it." He's brave and foolhardy—he goes to untie the girl, checking for nasty surprises as he does so.

"Who knows?" Steve says as he begins to untie the girl. "Oh God," she says as she begins to cry. "I thought I was going to die!"

"It's okay," Steve says, reassuringly. "The rest of the police will be in here quickly." He looks to the others, "Thank you for your help."

Hope points at Danielle when she gets the outside door, nodding her agreement. "Well. On the up side, if you put this many resources into building something, there's a bigger chance you left proof of who you were in the process, right?" She smiles faintly to the girl, reassuring. "It's okay. You're safe now."

"As safe as any of us, at least," Danielle murmurs under her breath. She glances at the others, then nods and leads the way back up the long hallway, calling when she reaches the outer stairs, "Hey! All clear! Girl's safe!" That should give the police the chance to bulldoze in and do their police-y things, including mourn their lost officers.

"Oh yeah, help Captain America beat a giant pinball machine deathtrap," Doug says, cheekily, waving his hand, "*Twist my arm* why don't you—" He walks back out, and gives Dani a cheeky grin. "Not bad for a guy whose Mutant power is speaking Spanish, huh?"

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