1964-11-16 - Fire and Greenstones
Summary: Well, what else can you call the Skrull?
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
thor rogue 

Fire grubs are a troublesome thing. On their own, not terribly problematic. They start off about the length of a dollar bill, and burn their way through just about everything and everyone in search of a good meal. Their bloated magma bellies will not be satisfied by just chewing on a bit of concrete, no; neither are they especially interested in halting at one spindly bush or a melted-down pumpkin ignored by some squirrels. They carry on now to a lamppost. The largest of a flight of them gets to the size of a Buick in no time. Its friends, having oozed out of whom knows where on caustic slime, very probably will be of a similar size in several minutes or so. And all those flammable houses in Brooklyn are delicious!

All the more reason for the mutant Avenger, and the Asgardian Crown Prince to take action. Call it a matter of luck showing up to deal with these things, or the fact a large, burning slug is exactly the sort of thing to be visible over the river from the Asgardian Embassy's situation. It might take flying around and spotting a river of lava grub-sludge. However the case is, Scarlett has a rather horrified look on her face as she watches a stop sign tumble over and the grub advance with a tunnel of glowing embers. "I wanted that. So much for not vandalizing a sign."

Thor scowls heavily at the fire grubs. "They are swiftly growing, and show no signs of slowing down," he remarks. "'tis a most unnatural scourge— normally they cease their consumption after gaining sufficient mass, then lay dormant until 'tis time to hatch their eggs. These are motivated by some unnatural hunger, and it seems unlikely to abate itself anytime soon," he explains to Scarlett.

He flicks his hammer on his wrist, frowning uncertainly. "Rain may slow them, but they are hot enough now that only great amounts of water might quench their infernal metabolism."

"Too many delicious meals," agrees the redhead, circling back. The heat doesn't do much for her, but the diaphanous tunic and leggings certainly must be flammable. "Pity I left my asbestos suit back at the base. The awakening of the cold weather must be cause for them to waken. Sewers and subterranean lines carrying heat in some part of the city."

The request to bring forth a great deal of water earns a rather worried look. "Opening a main will do damage to the surrounding infrastructure, though I suppose that's better than nothing." She glances about, searching for a hydrant. One isn't far, and certainly she has no difficulty wrenching the terminal end off with her bare hands. Another quick twist sends the water pouring out. Now to find the next. "Have you heard any of the unrest about the city lately?"

Thor's eyes glow with power, and overhead, the clouds start a sluggish churn as the atmosphere responds to the will of the God of Thunder. He flings his hammer at a hydrant, knocking it from the sidewalk, and starts ripping up chunks of asphalt with his hammer to form a dike.

"Nay, gentle maiden— I have been busy enough tending to my people and the mission of Asgard to pay heed to rumors and weak conviction of gossip. Is there a topic of true import, or merely the nattering of old women?"

The Soul-Thief utters a sound of alarm when another of the magma creatures rears up, trying to reach a traffic signal. You got a long way to go, fire grub, but it's good to hold aspirations. Her scarf threatened by singeing flaps wildly behind her as the redhead bolts away from the spreading puddles, skipping around the bubbling asphalt that would easily inflict a second or third degree burn. "The ground should not resemble the La Brea tar pits." The next hydrant is her target while Thor calls up the protection he can with Mjolnir, a grin flickering to being as she pounces on the water way. Maybe she should just yank the line to the surface.

"Superpowers fighting one another again," she says. "Concerning enough that the UN is having an out and out fight about it. The Chinese are calling on a cessation of the war off their coast. Unfortunately that won't happen; in part because the site they're squabbling over is one full of ancient technology. Aliens are intensely curious, we suspect."

"You mortals quibble over the crumbs of greater worlds," Thor chides Scarlett with a toss of his head. The heat is nowhere near enough to hurt him, but it's making him sweat and turn his eyes away from the hottest points of conflagration. Even for an Asgardian, the mythical fire burns too bright.

The water is flowing as desired, forming a circuit around the slugs. They might endure it if they had any brains, but their senses treat water as if it were boiling acid and they veer away unconsciously, to spread their flames elsewhere.

"It will be the undoing of this world if you cannot grasp the need to unite together rather than bicker and fight as children."

"Not by mine hand. You know how greatly I despise causing harm to other, most noble prince of mine," Scarlett replies, dodging the water jettisoned in a bold, frost-white gush out of the chilly hydrant opened. That's two in a widening gyre but completely insufficient for her aims. A glance about offers little consolation in the widening isle, cutting off the grubs from proceeding further. They can complain and hiss, preparing to steam.

She nonetheless strikes out at a rather battered no parking sign. Well, the other twenty of them on the block shall have to suffice as she hauls up on the base and finds herself an eight foot long lance. "Truly, we need a reminder of unity rather than defiance. Ours is a people of great potential, and yet not entirely united vision. We squabble as much as we pretend at unity. That shall present a difficulty to surmount, and honestly, I am not sure how to bring a hundred and fifty world leaders into any sort of agreement."

A swipe of the sign keeps one grub from advancing; it might be mildly brighter than its counterpart gnawing on a bumper of an unfortunate car. Water hasn't shown up quite yet, but that's Slow Slug. He isn't going to breed well. "That's the crux of the matter. It seems likely the infiltration of an alien race sows further discord."

"There are limitations of what Asgard offers in the way of aid," Thor reminds Scarlett, hewing that trench around the slugs and helping the cordon of flowing water to grow. "An attack, an invasion— subversion of your governments, aye, we would stand in to aid thee. But we cannot protect you against your own moppishness," he remarks. "Such is not the way of a parent to raise a child, and Midgard is a child of adoption in the eyes of the Gods."

He soars upwards, scowling. "The water rolls downhilll instead of north," he calls to Scarlett. "A deeper trench is required but 'twill cause greater damage to the city ,methinks."

"None are asking you for such." Scarlett twirls the sign around and flings a particular grab on the backstroke, proving herself to be a wonderful amateur baseball player with absolutely no love whatsoever for baseball. Count her as contemptuous of such things. The resonating clang of no parking punts a grub on the way out towards the water, urging it along with a bounce, a roll, and a hissing pip of a squeal.

She tries not to wince. It is merely a fire grub, no worse. Taking flight comes easily. "We seek not the intervention of Asgard. Rather, the question is one to put to your experience. You know something of the Skrull? They whom impersonated your brother and led to the president's death, and his framing."

"If you saw a child tottering towards the busy street, would you not snatch him from the stones?" Thor asks Rogue, a little rhetorically. "Were it even not your child?"

"'tis much the same as Asgard regards the mortal realms. We are inclined to protect you from your own foolishness, though we understand that is a dangerous practice. How will you learn to be adults without independence?"

"We know well the Skrulls. They dare not trespass among Asgard again, they cannot bear the touch of our Godly might when they try to dwell in the Golden City. They are, however… annyoing."

Does Thor at all realize he's speaking with someone no more than four full years in age? In some senses, there lies a truth of youth and in others, an ageless wisdom elevated out of some unknown cauldron that mingles all the universal consciousness among the eldritch ingredients bound to cause harm. "Yes," she replies. "I do believe being an Avenger openly declares I will halt to aid any vulnerable soul from greater threats, though I won't wrap them in so many layers of cotton they cannot learn risk and reward." See, boundaries of a healthy parent.

Just don't ask whom hers have been, please. Nothing like having a sordid history among terrible individuals and brilliant ones.

"The Skrulls are more than a nuisance if they aim to infiltrate the political echelon, though they seem to be focused on targeting the Inhumans — Crystal's people — and rousing the Kree. I think that would be a fool's notion for all the Kree Empire tends to take being stung as permission to hit back with a very large hammer." Mjolnir earns a warm look, not the same at all.

"Regardless, is there a telltale way to identify them? I have one but it requires me to be in visual range at best. Finding them at large?"

"I know not how to distinguish a Skrull from a mortal," Thor admits. "They poorly blend with the gods of Asgard— they cannot emulate our divine spirit, merely our exterior appearance. Even the least of Asgardians carries an element of the divine spirit of Odin Allfather in them, the life of Yggdrasil itself. A light that cannot be extinguished but in death, or emulated by even the mightiest of sorcerors."

"The Kree seek utter and ruthless domination, no better than the Skrulls. Both are bent on conquest of all worlds they behold."

"The Kree at least aren't trying to pound us to death, and they struck what counted as a deal of non-engagement. Sufficiently reasoned not to launch something, that cannot hold." Scarlett nods to the golden-haired god, her vision blurred a moment as she inverts to consider the city from an entirely different perspective and place the water in an upright blur of liquescent motion. Warding, yes, and there lies a certain gap somewhere to pursue. Almost without conscious volition, she drops back and skims in a wild, zigzagging track to the hidden fire terminus on a building. The missing link: give it a good kick, and that's opened, pouring out its bounty.

Thor swings his hammer in a violent arc, and the impact shakes the ground with shocking force. The blow tears a long trench in the ground fifty feet long, catching the overflowing water and directing it into the middle of the growing lake that the slugs occupy. They hiss and burble in pained outrage— or at least emit belching gas emissions as their crude nervous system responds to the binary of 'good/bad' as best it can. Great plumes of steam waft upwards as the first of them fall apart, weakened by the water lapping around them.

"Asgard will not let the Kree, or Skrulls, or any empire stand over Midgard," Thor promises the redhead. "You will be guaranteed to your life and freedom, as long as you can keep it."

Alas, grubs, the pond is filling up and the ruined roadworks will not be fixed before Christmas. The life of disaster recovery and planning all across the city of New York: dealing with mutants, metahumans, and all kinds of invasions. A wonder anyone can get anything done at all. Her body rattling with the impact of Mjolnir, Scarlett does not quite tumble end over end. She has to use her stolen sign-lance to plant herself, punched down to the ground.

"Personally? Long as I can manage, All-Father willing. Then again, I have the rare blessing knowing where my end takes me, and I do not fear it." Belief lingers on that threshold, and she smiles, though whatever incarnated symbol of claim on her soul radiates out there, it's not quite as intense as the look upwards. "The Inhuman people are grappling with the Skrulls at least, or the trouble of freeing them. I have no doubt a stream of emissaries will seek aid to attack them, free them, discover them. The problem I think lies in the reality we don't know where they are. Scan the whole of the United Nations assembly, we might find nothing. One might be a shopkeeper around the corner. So then the question becomes bait. How to bait them."

"I fear the answer to that question must come from another mind than mine," Thor tells Scarlett, regretfully. "I know not the ways to undermine their subterfuge, for we've never needed one. Skrulls know better than to tread 'pon the territories of the Gods. We have smashed their worlds to pieces for their trepass in the previous aeons— but few races in all the universe can boast that they have bested Asgard in combat," he says, with a prideful ring of his brassy voice.

"Mayhap I'll need to pluck at the harpstrings of Sif's tactical soul. Though this is invaluable to know nonetheless. I am a poor diplomat to come back entirely empty-handed, no?" Scarlett tips her head back and spins round the sign, the long metal shaft angled away from them. "That's something nonetheless. I do wonder, Thor, how do you celebrate the midwinter? Should I pull together a feast for you and we sing and regale one another with tales and mead late, late into the night? Or will you be returned home to Asgard for that?"

"If you wish to invite me to a revel, my friend, you need but say so," Thor tells Scarlett with a grin. "Asgard is a land of bounty and endless temperate weather. We see not the season of midwinter as one worthy of celelbration— but the customs of mortals have not changed in millennia. If it pleases you to celebrate the nadir of the season, I will happily join thee."

"Then consider that the gift to you, as a dear friend, from your Midgard representative. Do they ever decide to convene a council of the worlds, I pretend to personify this one in some semblance. I know more about the alcohols." Her mouth curving up in a smile, Scarlett allows that musing delight to pass as it will, laughter plentiful. "We recognize a great many holidays, I should note. Our cultures incorporate more than you can possibly imagine. In some places, they celebrate pie, for goodness sake."

"Then I will join you and your friends for a joyous celebration of midwinter," Thor tells Scarlett, keeping an eye on the slugs. They are dying, sloughing into elemental fire as the water douses the energy holding them together. Steam billows upwards, acrid and pungeant. There's damage done, yes, but the fires are out and the slugs are dying under the weigth of the lake they're immersed in.

"I think we've exhausted thir power, friend Scarlett," Thor concludes. "Let us away from this lake and let the slugs perish, and celebrate our triumph," he says, floating skywards.

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