It is… unusual for there to be demonstrations in front of the Institute just because the Institute is so well protected. But there are tonight. It’s a purifier rally and they’re an odd mix. Some of them are extremely and virulently antimutant. Some are just calling for the Institute to push for more resources to be devoted to saving humanity. They’ve not done anything but hold signs up and be noisy and the Institute’s private security, only some of whom are mutants, are keeping them at a distance from the buildings themselves. It’s tense but there’s been no cause for worry yet.
Nevertheless Jericho is standing on the steps of the main building with his sister looking at at the protests a quarter mile distant.
“Well… That’s kind of unpleasant.” She says quietly.
Kaylee had been working at the Institute when the protest had broken out. That hadn’t really bothered her – if she’d been needed, she would have been called for. It’s only now that she’s leaving, that she’s discovered her way out has been blocked.
“They seem to be well behaved at the moment…” she says as she joins the group on the stairs.
“Unpleasant is an understatement,” Ian comments dryly as he comes up the walkway. Hands in his coat pockets, he’s found it impossible not to keep glancing over at the demonstrations for all the noise they’ve been making. Just knowing people are out here and so close to the campus has been unsettling, even when esconced in the underground hidden stacks.
“I was kind of hoping they would have dispersed by now,” he murmurs. It had certainly kept him from a coffee run.
“They are well behaved. At the moment.” Gabrielle says to Kaylee. “Though I’m with Ian on this. I kind of wish they would find somewhere else to be. It makes getting to my car a bit awkward.”
There’s a sound of glass breaking which can be heard from the steps and then a shout from the crowd. Some of it scatters back and away but a small knot of people rush the barricades and line of security only to be intercepted by a small knot of officers and pushed back.
“Uh oh.” Jericho says quietly. Someone is on a megaphone up there and while it’s hard to hear all the words, the woman in question seems to be telling the crowd that they’ve crossed a line and need to go now.
Some – the more reasonable some – are starting to drift off but a fairly large group of them isn’t going anywhere. If anything they’re starting to get more raucous though they’ve not rushed the barricades again.
“Hello Ian. A cup of tea would fix me up right good. Mobs are like this, they’ll stay whilst there’s people paying attention.” Kaylee murmurs watching as the crowd seems to churn.
And push forward.
“Get ready for it …” she says to the others as the crowd that remains gets more raucous. “I’d almost guarantee something is riling them up.” She sounds like she’s experience with this.
Ian stares hard in that direction at the concerning sounds of breakage and the shouting to follow. He wants to sigh, but it doesn’t really feel appropriate given the situation. Really, it’s a bit scary, and the librarian can only hope that things are managed and people finally call it a day and go back home.
It does at least seem like some of them break off from the rest. He wonders with Kaylee’s words, whether the protesters would leave more quickly if everyone just went inside and ignored them. Somehow he doesn’t feel he’d trust such people to be left to their own devices. “They’d probably get more out of hand if everyone pointedly ignored them as well. Actions speak louder than words.”
That Kaylee sounds like she’s expecting things to get out of hand is troubling, and while Ian knows it’s a strong possibility he hopes completely for the opposite.
Jericho frowns in a way that says he’s checking on something online. What he’s actually doing is profiling faces. People have remarkable online footprints and their profiles go into dossiers sorted at the speed of thought. Soon enough he knows exactly who he’s dealing with, just as the group surges at the barricades again and…
Out of nowhere Jericho calls his wolf armor. There’s a flash of light and several security guards go flying back as a pair of people leap over the barricades and shed their winter coats to reveal green and yellow tactical gear. HYDRA colors.
Kaylee might recognize their profile. SHIELD’s been looking for them ever since they broke out of prison months ago.
“OWENSHIRE!” One of them calls out and hurls what looks like a frizbee toward them. Only Frizzbees don’t stop twenty feet out and deploy small laser guns.
Kaylee’s watching the crowd, watching for the signs that things are about to go bad when Jericho curses and wolfs out. “What?” she snaps, staring down into the group and blinking at the green and yellow tac gear. “Freki and Geri …” she snaps herself when she recognises them, a hum accompanying her words.
As Ian’s name is called, she steps in front of him, trying to pull him behind her, a cyan coloured shield emitting from her traces. She’s standing, right in front of the frizzbees…
It happens much too quickly for Ian to keep up, although whatever warning sense in his head that’s been presence just amps right up what with Jericho’s curse. It’s not the hacker that the librarian watches, his eyes already where they need to be as the brightly colored pair literally explode through the crowds and defenses. He just isn’t immediately sure as to who they are, but it’s obvious they’re a threat.
And then they yell out his name, all at once making him go cold at the realization as he curses under his breath, just as Kaylee tries to pull him behind her. That’s not something he’s going to allow, not with -laser guns- deployed and firing in their direction, and the biochem’s not exactly a robot anymore.
He moves to tackle her down to the side, forgoing trying to arm himself just yet, not that it’ll be easy trying to get to his ICER with a zipped up coat. It was cold out, okay??
A blast from Kaylee’s right downs the drone. That’s Gabrielle who is in what looks like a bulky, holographic iron man suit with a pair of miniguns on her shoulders. A couple dozen more disks begun zipping up in their direction. “They’ve got to be controlling them via near field network. Take them out or force them away!” The Trent woman snaps.
And then she opens up on the drones. They’re programmed for evasive and they do indeed evade, beginning to fire down on the group, but Gabrielle can keep them scattered and ineffective so long as she’s not bothered.
As Kaylee and Ian argue about who is going to be in front the two people behind the drone swarm hold hands.
“What the f-”
A blast of energy the size of a telephone pole lances out at Kayl-Ian. It might be good if Ian’s tackle works. Hopefully that beam isn’t explosive.
Kaylee’s not stupid as she moves with Ian as he tackles her. They roll, she keeps them moving as she see’s the beam lancing at them. It will be close, but it won’t hit them.
Rolling to her knees, she’d heard what Gabrielle said and the field around her drops, becoming a swarm of light that arcs out towards the nearest disk, etching small symbols on it’s surface.
If Ian has his ICER out now, that would be good. The biochem concentrates and tries to split the swarm to hit the next disc that comes hurtling at them.
Bracing for impact, Ian only sees the beam that follows as a brief blur while they roll to a stop. It’s still enough to be disconcerting, and gives him plenty of reason not to want to be back up on his feet right away. But that would just make things more difficult, especially if those guys send any more blasts like that in their direction.
Ian is standing not long after Kaylee’s gotten back up, already tugging at the zipper of his coat so he can pull out his ICER. This is a terrible position to be here by the steps, with not much by way of cover. Whipping up his ICER, he tries taking aim for the pair, although given that they appear armored it doesn’t look like they’ll be easy targets for a shot. Still, he squeezes off a few shots, hoping to keep them from firing anything else immediately.
There’s a flash behind them and the doors that they were standing in front of explodes inward. The two powered HYDRA agents dodge in opposite directions to avoid the ICER fire as Jericho closes in on them. He’s only there a moment though before he gets backhanded into a tree twenty feet away.
Hard enough to bowl the tree over. By the roots.
“Ow…” The hacker mutters. “Ian! Dampen them!”
That might be tricky. Kaylee and Gabrielle are working on disabling the drone swarm but there’s still quite a few of them and they’re weaving in patterns designed to let them shoot and keep moving evasively.
Gabrielle’s taken a couple hits but she’s armored and okay. Ian and Kaylee have had a couple near misses. They should probably not stand still.
Kaylee rolls, the swarms seeming to wrap around her like some Olympic gymnast’s ribbons. There are two swarms, each ‘buzzing’ angrily around a frisbee each and Kaylee is concentrating heavily.
“Like.you.practiced.with.Dora.Ian.” she pants, dodging again but keeping her swarms moving. She winces as Jericho hits the tree, only barely suppressing the urge to run to check on him.
Hopefully, his temper will hold.
“Trying…!” Ian retorts through grit teeth, barely squeezing off another shot before he’s forced to break off, nearly losing his footing as he hastily throws himself to one side. He winces slightly at the twinge in his ankle, hoping it’s just a minor sprain if anything, taking mild comfort in the fact that he can still move.
Turning about he tries to sight the two HYDRA agents again, Kaylee’s words barely making it to him, but he catches enough of it all the same. Oh, -right-. Stupid. But can he at this range?
He almost snorts. It’s not like the two are all that far; in fact they’d gotten uncomfortably closer. Again he trains his ICER towards them when he has the chance, but his focus is on his targets in a different way, and as he concentrates he can hear the familiar ringing that builds in his ears, his usual personal signal that his powers are triggering, usually echoed in that of his targets if it starts to actually work.
Jericho’s temper is NOT holding. Kaylee and Ian both can hear the snarl as he gets up. Geri, the woman, gets close to Ian and holds out her hand, palm first… and… nothing happens. Nothing at all. This makes her look… confounded and annoyed.
And then Jericho blindsides her and knocks her over. Freki turns and rams into the big blue wolf-thing, knocking him over in turn. It’s all a tangle of limbs and claws.
There’s less than half the drones remaining at this point thanks to Gabrielle and Kaylee but they’ve changed tactics. Now instead of trying to shoot them they’re just trying to ram people. In particular Ian. His first warning of this is when one comes right for the back of his head only to be blown up by Gabrielle less than a foot away.
“Stay close to me Ian but don’t cross the streams …” Kaylee calls as she realises the tactics have changed. The librarian might not recognise the movie she references in her glibness. Another drone drops, inert, from the air and the streams from her traces arc to the next ones. Ones that get arrested midflight as Kaylee works on them.
“Jericho. Focus.” The biochem can’t spare a glance for Gabrielle but the other woman is just aware how tenuous the hackers hold is on his emotions. “Focus the anger and use it.” Don’t blow up, just yet, please. In a way, Kaylee’s thankful Emily isn’t around.
That’s several seconds too long to figure that he’d been successful, and Ian doesn’t even have a chance to exhale the breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding, jumping with a start when a glowing wolfman comes careening into the woman. The librarian looks near exasperated when the other HYDRA agent charges in to bowl Jericho over in turn. Oh come on!!
He staggers back, for a moment just staring almost blankly at the scrabbling fight. He’s sure a few more seconds of his life have been shaved off with the sudden explosion behind him that suddenly goes off. Heart feeling like it’s near leapt into his throat, it takes Ian a bit to figure out what had just happened. Wonderful.
Swallowing, he starts towards Kaylee’s position, a brief look of confusion crossing his face. Streams? What streams? Did she mean like, electrical currents or something? Given what she’s doing however, it doesn’t particularly seem like being close to the biochem is exactly all that safer.
There’s a flash of light and Jericho is ejected from the fight. Violently. Away from Kaylee and Ian. That’s not gonna be good for his temper. The more immediate problem though is that while Gabrielle is finishing off the last of the drones the two agents are coming right at Kaylee and Ian. They stop about ten feet away and link hands. Light begins to brighten around both of them and, well, Kaylee and Ian know what’s coming next.
Unless they can stop it.
“Ian … I really need you to do this…” Kaylee pants, the swarms from her traces starting to flicker. Is the battery running flat or is it something else? With an effort, they flick towards the Bobbsey twins, trying to land on them and start etching small symbols all over them.
This … might not be her best move. But it’s all she’s got.
“Damn it..!” Ian gasps, practically glaring at the two as he tries desperately to pool his focus again. He can see Kaylee at work doing something herself–
No, concentrate, he tells himself, pushing everything else aside as he holds up a hand, fingers splayed towards them. His pale eyes take on the faintest glow, perhaps all the more visible in such dimly lit surroundings, that faint whine of a ringing building once again in his ears.
Unfortunately he’ll be left wide open for any further drone interference, but his priorities currently are to try shutting these two down!
The slight between the two hand holding agents suddenly sputters as Ian concentrates and the two are suddenly swarmed by little holographic sparkles. They wince, looking both confused and angered. And then they here an angry noise from off to the side. That would be Jericho picking up the tree that he’d been knocked into at the beginning of the fight.
And it is at this point that they take the better part of valor… and run. While they still can. Trying to get away from Ian’s aura and Kaylee’s swarm.
Kaylee’s attention is fully engaged. Ian and Gabrielle can hear her breathing hard. She’s not had to expend this much effort with her traces … ever.
The swarm follows as the pair take off. “Can we get a tracer on them…” she mutters to Gabrielle, head swiveling to watch Jericho and make sure he doesn’t try to follow. “Alright, Ian? That was well done …”
With a potential blast imminent Ian dares not look anywhere else nor let his thoughts stray. Seeing the building light suddenly flicker out brings a great wash of relief over him, but he knows it only lasts so long as he keeps it up, and the two are still much too close for comfort for him to be dropping his guard.
Yet amazingly the two decide to retreat, and given the sounds he’s hearing the librarian couldn’t blame them at all for making that call. He certainly wouldn’t want to be caught at the the end of a cyberwolf’s temper.
Releasing a ragged breath once the HYDRA agents have turned and gotten well away from him, Ian drops his hand, bracing both against his knees as he sags, panting. He can feel a trickle of sweat down the side of his face despite the chill of the evening, but it’s not long before he straightens up again, fumbling with stuffing his ICER back into its holster under his coat.
“Y-yeah…” he replies once his mouth’s no longer dry that he can speak audibly. “Everyone else okay?”
Jericho does not chase. Instead he spins around and heaves a fully grown oak tree at the retreating pair. It’s not the most aerodynamic of projectiles, though, hefted more by raw force than anything else. So he doesn’t land a hit. The snarl of frustration from that is followed by his dropping out of his wolf armor.
And then Kaylee, Ian and Gabrielle all hear the rapid, staccato sound of a coilgun on burst mode. Jericho lobs another thirty or forty shots in the direction of the fleeing agents with lethal intent, stopped only when the female of the two in a surge of desperation manages to get a shield up through Ian’s aura.
Soon they’re out of sight and while Jericho can track them he knows they already have an exfil plan.
“I’m okay.” Gabrielle remains in her orange armor with the cannons on her shoulders. The area around her is littered with broken drones.
“Jericho probably can.” The dark haired woman replies to Kaylee. “When, er, he thinks of it.”
He was clearly intending not to have to track them ever again.
“Jericho. Get trackers on them…. ” Kaylee winces as the tree and then coilgun sounds. It really is rather loud. She really needs him to focus and she’s not looking forward to trying to ‘bring him down’.
The hum of her traces dissipates as the swarms retract leaving no sign that she’d been doing anything.
“You did well, Ian. So did you Gabrielle.” The biochem stumbles slightly, strangely exhausted for all that she didn’t really do.
Ian feels more mentally worn than physically tired, but either way he’s just glad that they’ve gone. Flinching at the sounds of Jericho’s retaliation, he steps carefully over towards Kaylee, favoring his right foot as he reaches out to help steady her.
“Can’t say I blame him,” he murmurs as he looks off towards the glowing form. He looks to Gabrielle as though to confirm her response in that she was okay before looking at Kaylee, one side of his lips quirking in a half-smile he doesn’t quite feel.
“I’m just glad I was able to pull it off at all.”
Jericho doesn’t answer right away. He drops his arm, still holding his gun and stares after where the two HYDRA agents disappered. He looks… annoyed. With good reason. He’s got friends here. Quite a few of them. And, well, it’s kind of personal between him and HYDRA.
So no, he’s not in his happy place at the moment.
Gabrielle drops her armor and drops lightly to her feet. “Thanks, Kaylee. You did well yourself. And I can see you’ve been practicing Ian. Looks… like you might need it. They used that protest as a cover to get close enough to try to grab you.”
That’s a good point that Gabrielle makes and Kaylee is already on her communicator, calling in a TAC Team to follow Ian. He’ll get the gist of that from her discussion. A team of two agents to follow him, discreetly, at all times. She’s not taking any chances.
“Jericho … ” the biochem smiles her thanks to Gabrielle as she makes her way slowly to the Hacker. “You’re right, Gabrielle. You’re going to need more than a TAC Team, Ian, but between them and the training, you’ll be … safer.”
The librarian nods wearily in agreement with both women, his eyes still fixed in the direction that Jericho looks, where the two HYDRA agents were last seen. He sighs.
“Just to grab me, huh. Could have fooled me for otherwise,” he says, rather glad all the same not to find out how bad it would have hurt to get hit by the blast the two were capable of.
At this rate anything is better than nothing at all, but all he can do is keep working at it and keep a weather eye out. Again he lets out a sigh. “Well, let’s go see Jericho,” he suggests, nodding in the hacker’s direction. They’ve got a lot to go over before the night is done, he imagines.
A not so peaceful purifier protest gets increasingly more problematic when a certain pair from HYDRA interrupts. Their target? A certain librarian.
January 08, 2052
The Institute, Northwest Side
Gabrielle Trent, Freki, Geri