1964-10-25 - Something is a head at the Second Cemetery
Summary: Something is a foot, or a head, at the Second Cemetery located in the village. https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7352079,-73.9978052,3a,75y,202.94h,68.35t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sbGqSM8u7kB7-fn2yTAiOJg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
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vesper barry james 

A typical October day in the Big Apple. Mingled clouds overhead, like any cooler it could rain, any warmer it would be much more sunny with the clouds disappearing under the sun. Its enough as it is to hold a slight chill in the air, with some locals having jackets while other locals who feel more toughened to the climate are favoring no jacket but have longer sleeves on. James Proudstar is present, a man simply walking the street, standing out for the tone of his skin and length of his hair, but otherwise just a face in the crowd really.
It would be a normal day, but then, from somewhere on a balcony overlooking that not quite greenspace that is Second Cemetery, cries a voice, "The hell is that?" It is followed by the slamming of a door. No balconies there, but the fire escape is a good make do for that sort of thing. Looking up, one can see a small grill up there, put out to grill up some lunch probably, still smoking an unattended. Blas%<233> New Yorkers, most don't bat an eye, some turn away, others do look. Someone on the street gives a little startled scream, enough to stir others to want to back away at least; or turn more heads to gawk.. Its the Village, word probably spreads from there of course.

The city on a cool day moves to a slower, torpid rhythm than any reckless electric vibe it gains at night. People hurry between subway and bus, unwilling to stay out in the wet air. They pull their coats tighter, as Vesper does, and rearrange their accoutrements to allow for hands buried in pockets and shoulders hunched up. She wears a decorative scarf of fine-spun wool, the very thing to puff up as a partridge. The extra material allows for a bit better heat retention. Equations and ideas dance around in her thoughts as she meanders where she likes between streets in the Village. A scream hooks her focus and plunges it back into the moment. Unlike so many metahumans and mutants, the Gallic scientist is not a great hero. She does not enjoy the benefits of invulnerability or instant courage the moment trouble rears its head.
The stiff upper lip and worried look over her sunglasses clash. She wrings the khaki end of her belt through her fingers while looking whence trouble lies up high. "Oh my."

Barry Allen is roaming the village already and browsing for lunch as he does every day around this time. His lab isn't terribly far away, so he doesn't bother rushing today. For a good bit his trip is uneventful, but then the commotion starts. When he hears the scream and the slam of a door, he smiles and heaves a fond little sigh. "Never a dull moment," he utters under his breath. After a quick look around at his surroundings, Barry engages his speed and starts rocketing towards the commotion. In transit, he thumbs the release on his ring to release his suit. A short cyclone of speed later and the Crimson Speedster is off.

The Flash zips onto the scene, appearing in a streak of red and gold and lightning. He stops then near where the screams originated and looks skyward. The man in red that seemingly appeared out of nowhere would probably stand out more if people weren't panicking, but he definitely stands out.

Even as others look, the commotion comes to light, so to speak. Something fluttering with bat-like wings rises above the wall. Crazy, curious. Something like a head, not quite wholly a skull but close. It lifts into the air over the cemetery. Even as James looks on, he blinks and looks around. Seeing the general reaction. Some mugger may have gotten a local to yell stop it, or threaten to summon police. A skull with wings, forget that. They back away even as The Flash zips into the locale here, not far from the lady Vesper as she gives pause herself.
James may turn slightly with the arrival of something fast, his acute senses curious, but he doesn't quite look. Rising skull.
Strike that, a trio rise up. One zooms for the fire escape cooker, even though that guy went in. IN the process, the grill is tipped towards an open window of course. That skull gives pause to look around. Another one moves over near the people, above street level, it gives an odd cry, then zooms towards the nearest victim. Person, the nearest person. The last comes out more slowly and is doing the same, it flies to someone with hands over head, opens that exposed jawbone and is nearly about to clamp down, but James jumped on it. "Dah, Tahzil," he says in his own language out of reaction as his hands grab it. For it just being heads and wings, he seems to have a hard time with it, but prevents it from biting. Evidently, they want eat or bite people it would seem.

Correction, bad day in the city. Anything that involves a large, chomping skull might be upsetting enough. A winged chomping skull defies any reasonable conventions and brings forth a quick consultation of Vesper's biological experience. No, nothing would suggest winged heads and Namor has winged feet. She's obligated to do her damnedest not to point this out to the panicking masses. Other pedestrians retreating carry her along on the swell and behold, someone in feverish red clothing. He must be an authority figure or foolish enough to take it on.
"Unnatural!" she calls out, pointing up without actually using a single finger. Pointing is rude. Therefore applying a broad hand gesture seems much wiser. The Flash is barely known to her. Preferably no flying skulls approach her because her reaction won't be in any way subtle.

The Flash opens his mouth to say something, but the strangeness of what appears to be bat-winged skulls terrorizing the locals just winds up making him blink a few times. Quickly, his blue eyes scan over the area, trying to come up with some sort of plan. Flying is always a difficult one to deal with.
Others seem to be scrambling away, but his own fast senses do pick up on the two who don't and don't seem to be nearly as panicked. When the grill is tipped towards the open window, he streaks towards it. The small grill disappears from the fire escape and reappears on the concrete nearby…minus one burger. With his focus more on keeping people safe before engaging with the flying skull-things, he next zips over to Vesper, appearing in front of the woman in a rush of speed. "C'mon. Let's get you to safety," he offers, likely incorrectly assuming that the woman is in shock.

James remains where he is, gut instinct was to grab the one nearest and stop it from biting someone. He has it and it's a struggle. Like a big fish, not slipper but not easy to control. "You don't say," he say, as someone notes they are unnatural. Half a look even, maybe some familiarity there, but he remains in that struggle.
The one hovering up high moves out from trees in the area to get a better look, leaving for now the third that did see the people. Whether Vesper moves or not, with Barry pondering getting people to safety, that third one sends more people moving in that area. Or clearing people away from the Speedster and the seeming damsel. Which serves to make them look like tasty targets. The remaining burger on the grill is not appetizing, even with its mate gone to the greater good of New York City in a streak, as it were.
Erstwhile, James decides to hold onto one in his struggle and ball his other hand into a fist, which is used to crack his skull open like an egg. That seems to work, it glows briefly blue inside that head then sort of fades. The light does, and smoke tendrils rise out of it and dissipate into the October air. This is good, but he doesn't fly either, so he can't even think of getting to the other two. He moves to towards Vesper and the Flash, seeing the one in costume, "I can lift you up, to grab another?" He has no better idea for the now, hopefully there could be a solution.

Such a commotion, what is a cosmopolitan, gently-raised young woman to do? Certainly not scream. The milky complexion can't pale much more without turning whiter than starched sheets on a hospital ward. Vesper takes several short breaths that probably achieve little for oxygenating her blood or calming her heart rate. Too much goes on for her to process all at once. She focuses on keeping her footing and watching the shroud of protective humanity melt away faster than dew in July. All at once the falling grill is not falling. The man she saw is gone. A very tall, familiar fellow from a bagel place is cracking open a skull in crude surgical techniques. She still processes she might actually know this person and the other skull being somewhere out there. It takes a moment for stunned recognition to register. But not quite.
The Flash reappearing in front of her eyes out of nowhere causes an instinctive reaction to tumble through the nervous system. Chemistry can't explain what happens next. Supposing he reaches out to her, his hand will pass through whatever limb or garment that should be there. The sunglasses do a decent job hiding the vivid indigo maelstrom storming and crackling in her blasted eyes. Clothes look reasonably tangible enough and maybe flesh does too, but normal women don't exude saintly auras from head to toe in a reflection of what every saint has been imagined to do to display devout holiness for millennia.

As James approaches, The Flash looks his way and he gives the man an earnest nod. Clearly he's here to help as well, having already busted up one of the odd skull-things. Vesper isn't forgotten, but he takes this moment to address James urgently. "If we can somehow round them together, I might be able to create a vortex to pull them back down to where you can hit them some more. Safely." He settles his attention on James then, his expression under the mask clearly begging for suggestions.

Indeed, he does reach out to place a hand on Vesper's shoulder but…indeed, he touches nothing. His blue eyes squint at her and he looks instantly curious rather than frightened or perplexed. "Are you vibrating your molecules at such a rate as to pass through solid matter? Because I'm not." he asks, looking intensely curious more than anything else. Barry Allen, ever the charmer. He tests again, passing his hand through her. "Huh. Neat. Anyways!" He looks between the two of them. "Any ideas?"

James gives pause at the hand as it passes through, and then the Flash is .. theorizing? He was at first lost in the shift in Vesper, the color, her visage to him even if different holy spectrum, its not that dissimilar in visage. Then the explanation and he shakes his own head, "Not the time, cowboy." He, Flash is pale skinned enough; he gets the term tossed his way. He looks back up, considering Barry's plan.
One is definitely deciding on Barry or Vesper for its next meal, that might help a little, flying but closer. It starts to descend. The other one, however, moves up the balcony towards another window. "I might be able to get the other one." He ponders, "If you, two?, can keep this one occupied?" He's not sure what Vesper is or can do but is hopeful.
That said, he'll move to the sidewalk, pull a sign out of the ground with one hand and make a fast run (slow trot to the Flash), to vault towards that building and scale up towards the thirst skull, leaving two Gnashing its way towards them as others move to get out of the area.

The diffused halo covers Vesper to a short radius, probably not past a foot. It barely obscures her features but lends a certain soft quality as if the world dropped a filter over her and her alone. If she were given to excessive modesty it might please her. Instead she flits back from the hand interposed among her being. And that is a transition so sudden as to be reactive, difficult to track. Never mind the fact she floats a centimeter above the ground. "Quoi? Eugh, non." Hearing light talk is very odd. She's audible, but at a distance, in tones and ranges hard to convey.
The turmoil around her becomes a particularly visible point when the lights on in the area bend to her. A subtle effect too unless directly standing in front of a pair of headlights. Still, Vesper shakes her head at both men and that pernicious chomping thing trying to make a meet may regret that a bit. James gets a pained nod. So not her specialty, this. She clenches her fists at her sides. The transparency beginning at her feet fades out to opaque again and then she's up.
Less than a blink, thirty feet in the air. Correction zags her in front of the skull. Another microsecond, behind it. Moving slow is apparently her curse.

The Flash gives a quick nod to James, agreeing that this indeed is not the time. His scientific curiosity can't be helped, of course. He's been studying the strange and impossible long before he was even struck by lightning. "Sorry," he tells Vesper, already preparing to zip off again. "That's so -cool-, though." And then he's off; a red and gold streak rocketing towards the other bat-skull-creature.
Barry gets there well ahead of Vesper, but as he's unable to fly to punch the creature, he quickly forms another idea. The Flash begins rapidly spinning his outstretched arms until they become a pair of blurry red funnels. The funnels grow outward towards the creature until it starts to falter. "Okay, Lady Light! Let 'im have it!" This is clearly directed towards the glowing Vesper, who apparently speaks no English. It still isn't difficult to understand his intent by the urgent inflection in his tone.

That seems to be working, a little, coordinated efforts and all. The one she is giving pause to as she gains an advantage over the skull; she goes to it, not waiting. Really, as the Flash indicated, petty cool. Even as she moves, or blinks or ports, in front and behind, it has her attention. More, she has its attention and it's aware enough of the sense of her to track her. It might not be able to bite, but it's cognizant of her. The funnels seem to help.
James scales his building. He does what he can, which isn't so much to grab it or reach for it, but instead, he leaps out to try and grasp it. This does lead to him missing the request from the Flash. The part about specifying Lady Light should let him have it. So when he gets a hold of his, and begins to fall, he tries his best to turn, and give a throw of his winged bat at Barry. Hopefully he's ready for two? James doesn't have time to contemplate, he falls to the ground, landing in a thud. Most would be injured, he's a little winded at the moment, coughing and trying to get a knee for the moment.

Vesper doesn't teleport. She simply moves so quickly as to be there in several places at once. She has to consciously slow her movements and overcorrect multiple times to stay adjacent and around the skull. The only idea she holds is distracting the horror and staying clear of those teeth. Lacking physical limbs it can bite may mean their flying friend wants to look elsewhere for a hamburger substitute. Barry probably won't be able to follow her movements even in accelerated movement. She moves at the speed of what she is, photon and wave simultaneously.
Away goes the skull, the better for everyone, because honestly what is a light beam going to do against a skull? Her glowing eyes are twin stars of themselves and she holds out her hand. No, she's not going to be able to help James but the intent is there. The girl frowns as she pulls on something.
That it happens to be the animating energy inside a skull doesn't dawn on her. There is a source and like a cat with the end of a ball of yarn, she tugs it into her being.

The Flash's preoccupation with the current creature (and keeping it in that funnel) doesn't keep him from reacting to James, but it does keep him from cushioning his fall. He can't quite track Vesper's movements at his current speed. There are just too many people around for him to push that hard and being made of solid matter has its disadvantages. Instead, after the first skull is vaporized by Vesper, he 'catches' the other skull instead. The Flash zips around the creature rapidly, creating a circular blur around it.
The vortex created by his running drags the creatures further down into the tight circle of red and lightning where it starts to jolt this way and that as if being hit.
Inside the aura of speed where things around him (other than Vesper) are moving much, much more slowly, he is zipping through the blurred circle, throwing punch after punch at the bat-winged thing and seemingly dazing it. He jumps across then, reeling back his fist for a final, heavy blow. The last jump ends that circular blur as he slams his fist into the creature and sends it hurtling across the concrete and sharply into the side of the building.
With that done and no other threats apparent, he first turns to James and zips to his side. "Are you okay? Can you walk?" He offers a hand down to the man while wincing a touch. "You're lucky you can take a nasty fall like that."

Whether James' catches the handling of one skull by Vesper or the other by the handy work of the Flash, its more a safe bet his focus was on trying to land. There was little grace to it. And even before he manages a knee, they've gone so fast at their work that now, at least, a hand is being offered to him. "Just like that, huh?" He gives the hand up to the Flash, taking the assistance. A nod, "Yeah, I'll be fun, need some new duds, but I can walk." He dusts off, that helps his knees and chest at least, leaves cover his back and tangle in his hair. Victim of autumn leaf pile, more dusted into a corner of the cemetery near where he landed. He's a casualty of random blow down that hasn't yet swept into those piles growing near the wall inside the cemetery.
"How's Ms. .. Light?" He looks around for Vesper too, towards where she was last, but no telling at the speed she moves, if she did, he will be just as clueless. Then a nod back to the crimson speedster, "Lucky for me it wasn't any higher, educated guess on that jump. The skulls are gone too?" He's only making sure to be sure, and the skulls are indeed gone.

No more skulls means no more need to be at all visible, and give away the fact her anonymity matters much. She doesn't have a super suit. She does not have some mask or a big shield with a star on the front. Vesper is merely a young woman with odd aspirations to fix things. Her body vibrates to the unwanted energy she consumed, and nerves being what they are, she just about sinks into the ground. But the cemetery gives precious few places to hide without meeting some unwanted bones and coffins. Thus she takes her leave by lurking behind a headstone tall enough to provide some coverage. By not moving she is at least visible until the suffused halo quenches.
Literally lampshading it. The Gallic geneticist disappears from sight by simply going invisible and trying not to have a mild case of hyperventilation. Of course light doesn't really breathe. Neither are there nerves when she is constructed purely of the pale watery afternoon sunglow.

Barry tilts his head at James, looking a bit confused as the man reaches out for his hand. It's likely for his question and not the actual act of him taking the offered hand. Still, he just smiles a touch and gives him a nod of his head. "Alright, good. Sorry about that. I should have caught you. You were just so confident in what you were doing, I didn't think you needed it." He gives a shrug of his shoulders then and turns his attention over towards Vesper finally. "Very strange and glowing," he responds easily. "Are you sure you don't need a parademic or something?"
His attention returns to James long enough for Vesper to have slipped away behind that headstone and out of sight. When he looks back up for the woman, he amends his previous statement to James. "…and gone, apparently."

A blink from James in consideration too. "I was confident you two would do what was needed," he says, nodding his head. "If you could catch me falling like that, that would be impressive." The running fast he's catching onto, and hand vortexes and such. Just catching a man his weight, he isn't so sure about. He shakes his head, "No, no damage, shaken up. Embarassed a little, but not hurt. I could of gone a few more stories I think." But he shrugs, he is definitely not aware of his own capabilities it ouwld seem. He looks around, "I noticed the glowing, and teleporting." He doesn't realize she was just moving that fast in her light form. "And gone." He looks down the street thoughtfully, as if considering a plan of action related to the woman being gone. Just a few seconds, for James at least. "The people, they are okay, no one is," he scrunches his lips a little, "Hurt, or bitten?" He starts to move though, a slight nod. He doesn't want to stay around for any authorities that arrive. Its NYC, the echo of sirens are heard from somewhere. May not be in response to this incident at all, but James is starting to move distincly away, still looking over at the Flash.

The Flash winces again and lifts a hand to rub at the back of his neck a bit. "Sorry. I'm really not used to working with other powered folks as much. Seems like I'm always on the move…" He trails off a bit and then gives the larger man an awkward grin. "I can, but uh…probably not from the ground up. I like my arms where they're at." To illustrate, he rotates one. At the question, he holds up a red-gloved finger. "Umm…hang on." With that, he's gone in a flash again.
After a few moments, he blurs back into sight a mere few feet away. "Everyone seems to be okay, thanks to you and Lady Light's help. Seriously…if the two of you hadn't been here, a lot of people could have gotten hurt. Thank you." He steps closer and extends a red glove out to James.

A slow shake of his head, James responds, "I'm not used to others like, powered." He isn't sure what the correct terminology even is, "Powered folks. The skulls I am used to." ANd he's about to say more and off goes the Flahs, to return rather quickly but in a different spot. He moves there. "James, James Proudstar." He has no nickname as of yet it seems, but he supplies the name to go along with Lady Light for now. "I think you would of handled it with her, coincidence, or some karma in the universe. It did not take long for us to work out the kinks. My thanks to you too." The hand taken, firm shake, whether he means to or not. Then sirens are closer. "I think I should go before we have more company."

Barry nods a couple of times to James as he introduces himself. "Nice to meet you, James. I'm called The Flash. You'll have to tell me all about those skulls sometime, but I'm afraid I can't stick around. I'm sure I'll run into you again, though." His smile sharpens a moment with humor and he takes a step back, relinquishing his hand. "Well, I don't know so much about her. She's a strange one. Word of advice, though. If you're going to keep running at danger, get yourself a mask. Toodles!" ZIP! Once again, The Flash is gone.
Minutes later back at the precinct, Barry Allen 'rushes' in through the front door. "Allen, you're late!" the Captain barks. A small smile stretches the corner of his lips as he walks through to collaborate with the detectives.

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