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The Roxxon Decontamination Platform, established by Congressional mandate in 2015 after a particularly nasty oil spill in the Bay, was remarkably unimposing at a distance. It was only when one got up close that its size became truly evident: a sprawling network of chemical scrubbers and industrial equipment, dedicated to refining crude and pollution out of the seawater. Practically a high-tech jungle out on the open ocean, considering it was a few miles from shore - more than enough that a ferry trip would be necessary to most people.
Melissa wasn't 'most people', and arrived by gliding down from an SATF dropship, wings shimmering in a pink corona behind her. The transport pulled back as she sailed down towards one of the platforms, and kept the engine running so it could circle.
This was...sort of an unclear situation. Emergency services had gotten a call a few minutes ago saying that metahumans were attacking the RDP, that there were civilians in the facility who were in danger, and then...nothing. Signals out here weren't terribly good, due to the positioning of the platform and its distance from any of NYC's towers. There were no details beyond 'possible innocents on site' and 'expect unconventional resistance'.
Well, that was fine. The go-to tactic- the Songbird Special, her teammates had derisively called it - was kicking in the door and playing it by ear from there on out.
Taking a quick glance around, Melissa checked the top of the platform for any signs of life, and found none. She hurried towards one of the main entrances and discovered it had originally housed an elevator, the call button for which was not working. Somebody had locked it down on a lower floor. "Interesting," she murmured aloud, then spoke up into the comm. "Looks like it's not a false alarm, there's--"
The harsh buzz of static in her earpiece cut her off midway. Right. No signal. Goddammit.
At least it was a simple matter to find a staircase from there. Sliding on her gloves, the bluenette hustled down a couple flights, until she found sub-floor 1, the administrative area. Reception was empty, although the heavy security doors appeared to have been forced aside by something with gouging, chitinous limbs. Never a good sign. Melissa frowned and moved over to the reception desk, checking the visitor logs. One high school field trip, scheduled to tour the facility, starting....thirty minutes ago. Fuck. So there were civilians on-site - not just the workers and security, but a bunch of kids, too.
Her finger depressed a button on the desk, and the P.A. system activated all over the facility with a squeal of feedback.
"Attention, whoever the hell's trying to take over the RDP. This is Songbird, from the Sokovia Accords Task Force. You get one chance to do this the easy way. Unlock the elevator, leave behind any civilians in the facility, and come to the administration floor, unarmed, with your hands up; you'll be treated fairly and nobody gets hurt."
Because it was depressingly rare for anybody to accept this offer, she was already kneading a sphere of sonic energy between her palms, letting it grow wider and wider from her voice. It thrummed with potential energy, volatile and pulsing.
"You have thirty seconds to comply. Run that timer out and I will personally come down there and fuck your day up."
Kamala sputtered and out from her mouth came a single feather, shifting in green and blue. It made its way towards the floor. "Gross."
She had been looking forward to this day a lot. In her mind, she'd pictured a great day filled with all the scientific terms for filtering, information about the oil spill and heart-breaking pictures of volunteers cleaning seals and birds from the leak. There had been none of that. No longer than ten minutes after the arrival, she'd found herself departing from the rest of her class and the tour, to the sound of alarm and blinking lights thrown herself into the nearest closet in order to change into her Ms Marvel costume.
Ten minutes later, she found herself engaging with four individuals, that were altered enough that she couldn't call them men without feeling like she was skirting the lines of probability. They were men, sort of, but more than men they looked like animals. Two of them had disappeared down the elevator, locking it behind them, which left Kamala with the other two; one guy who looked like he'd downed a peacock-cocktail and the other who had seemed like he'd just been switched for the better parts of a giraffe. There was really no time to consider how and why, as they were keeping her more busy than she would've liked. She'd made the call, not only to receive what the world considered these days, conventional backup but also because most communications were down.
"Hold her still, Giraffe Man!" his associated screeched and flapped steel-plated wings that were merged to his arm, releasing razor-sharp blades that spiraled towards Kamala, currently being held by the other man. She pressed against the floor, feet having becoming bigger and therefor given her an extra boost so she could jump and avoid the projectiles. "Can you guys be any more obvious?!" The metal dug itself into the man behind Kamala, which had him release her grip on her.
He cried out which gave Kamala the window she needed to struggle free. She reached up with lengthened arms, grabbed the horns, something that seemed to have induced some kind of panic. "Nooo, not the horns!" he bellowed and then thundered down the corridor, trashing about in attempt to get rid of Ms Marvel, crashing through the metal door into the narrow hallway with the elevator. "Songbird!" Kamala managed to squeak out before they moved around the corner, the tip of her red scarf fluttering in a wave-like gesture, before disappearing as well. Soon followed the second man, screeching and protesting, flapping his wings trying to catch up.
There was a scuffling of hooves and boots and talons, and a sharp cry from down the corridor. Melissa's head jerked up from the console, just in time to see...
That was definitely a bird person.
Inwardly contemplating the bizarre turn that the last decade of her life had taken, Melissa vaulted the console and charged toward the hallway. There was presumably a bigger problem, in the scheme of things, down the elevator - but the more immediate problem was right here, and hell if she wasn't going to deal with it.
She scrambled into the hall just in time to see some of the automatic doors closing, and hurried forward...but stopped halfway at the sight of a large plumed feather on the ground. Pausing, the bluenette picked up the feather and examined it. It was a deep shade of sapphire, almost the same as her hair, with a pearlescent eye on one end. A peacock feather.
"Fuckin' weird," she muttered, and this took just enough time that it was possible to notice the doors weren't opening for her. Locked, presumably by the terrorists. "All right. I don't have TIME FOR THIS SHIT--"
The latter half of the sentence came out as a roundhouse sonic blast that blew the doors out of their frames and sent them crashing through a projector screen. Melissa burst into the massive conference room, gloves up in a fighting stance, and discovered a masked teenager frantically rodeo-ing around on an anthropomorphic giraffe, while an ornate peacock man - presumably the owner of the feather she'd found - fired a laser at them.
"You're in my shot!" he shrilled. "I can't hit her if you keep twisting around like that!"
Peacock-Man turned around and was met with a gleaming pink orb the size of an orange. He squawked in horror and dove behind the big table, just in time to avoid a sonic burst that sent a couple chairs flying. Safe for the moment, he leaned out and returned fire with a series of shots from his weapon, forcing Melissa around behind a fallen whiteboard. She created a bubble for herself and, as the laser fire splashed off it, defended herself with another screamed blast.
"Kid? You okay over there? Try to steer the--YAWWWWP--big guy over this way, okay? I'll get you loose!"
Adult supervision wasn't something Kamala generally was for, especially not when it came to being in costume. She had a lot of that at home already; if it wasn't her homework then it was attending family dinners and on top of that, with her mother knowing how she spent her free-time, it was literally all the parental guidance one could wish for, and more. However, in circumstances such as the ones she was finding herself in at the moment, she felt that it was alright. In fact, even though it had gone against her nature to make that call, she was feeling pretty good about, even as she rode past Melissa.
This wasn't supervision or guidance, it was a team-up!
The thought was soon dispersed momentarily as they rode past another set of doors, Kamala's weight being rocked back and forth, struggling to keep herself steady on Giraffe-Man's back. Even with the way she had lengthened arm around his neck, it didn't exactly give her the kind of stability she wanted and she still needed the wriggle room given that the bird guy behind them had started firing what appeared to be lasers. "Is that a laser gun? That's so cool!" she called over her shoulder, dodging another shot as the sliding doors sealed behind them. Not long after, the doors that had closed, then quickly opened in a quite explosive manner, the metal ending up on other side of the room and leaving fractures in the wall behind.
Too busy trying to steer and not loose her balance, Kamala grabbed the horns and the lasers had now stopped being fired at her. "Let go!" the man called and ran straight into a wall in attempts to shake her off. "Yikes!" With that, she quickly shrunk herself, everything except her hands, so she could avoid being hurt while still keeping a firm grip. The confusion of the shifted weight, caused the man to stumble so the teen took the opportunity to steer him towards Songbird. "I'm totally okay! This is awesome, I'm in a team-up with you!" The momentum had them crashing through a few chairs, rather than moving towards Melissa.
Kamala pulled, and the man turned, with a grunt, arms reaching for her, hooves slamming against her back. The Peacock-Man was slammed past them by Songbird and then a turn was made, one that she didn't control. "I don't really have a license for this thing!" In that moment Giraffe-Man decided to run straight towards Melissa, slammed to a halt which flung Kamala in an arch towards the Thunderbolt. Meanwhile, in the background, the bird-like figure had gotten to his feet and shook out his wings, preparing another barrage of steel-plated and razor sharp feathers. Giraffe-Man was getting his bearings and lifted a table as if it was cardboard and readied it.
So this was a thing that was happening now.
To be truthful, it wasn't that weird, comparatively; if you took away the fact that they were...manimals? Ani-men? What was the correct term for this type of living situation? Well, regardless, if you took that away, this was a pretty straightforward response to what was almost definitely a smash-and-grab. Under their various metahuman gimmicks, criminals tended to be pretty similar in their approaches - Melissa would know, having had a long and illustrious career as one.
"Okay, good....good enthusiasm," she answered, raising an eyebrow at the...yes, the kid, wow. She'd been mentally using that as sort of a general placeholder for 'younger person', but no, this was a literal teenager in a mask. Holy shit! Melissa hadn't gotten started until she was around twenty-ish; she couldn't imagine being sixteen or seventeen and getting into this kind of insanity. "Let's try to channel that towards beating up the--"
It was too late, as Giraffe-Man was throwing the girl directly at her. Melissa thrummed out a D-note, and a canopy of sonic energy unfurled itself in front of her, catching Kamala like a trampoline and allowing her to bounce harmlessly to the floor. Keeping the note going, the bluenette called the construct back to her hands and began shaping it into a sort of shield, which was good because there were now bladed feathers hovering in the air around their brilliantly-arrayed enemy.
"Thirteen-Point Handsome Barrage!" Peacock-Man screeched, thrusting a taloned hand out in front of him.
"You don't have to say the name of your attack, that's not how--"
There was a peculiar, shrieky whistling in the air as a dozen feathers rocketed straight for her. Melissa's eyes widened, but the rest of her sentence turned into a focused high note, and her sonic aegis expanded to shield herself and Kamala from the hailstorm of blue and green knives. A bellow from the right demanded her attention - Giraffe-Man was charging in too, holding a table in front of him like a living bulldozer.
She exhaled sharply through her nose and made an irresponsible, if necessary, decision. "Okay. I'm gonna take a chance on this. Go low and trip the giraffe up - I'll go high and deal with the bird."
In a burst of pink, Melissa tensed her muscles and launched into the air, bounding over Giraffe-Man's head. She brought the shield up in front of her and kicked off it in mid-air, where it rocketed towards Peacock-Man like a sonic wall of force.
He had just enough time to blink and say "Wait, what--" before it smashed him against a Coke machine, which promptly toppled over onto his downed form. There was an indignant squawk, and then silence.
As much as Kamala understood the Accords, could see what was at play with it and why, it didn't necessarily made things easy. She had grown having people look at her with one pair of eyes only, judge her for something that she really wasn't. If there was set being, it was that kind of person, that dabbled in black and white only. Some might have claimed her to be naive and while that was partly true, the young hero had to believe that the end of the day, they all pulled on a suit or a costume for the same reason; to make a difference. To save people.
She didn't feel all that awesome though, after being bucked off like she was a part of some comedic superhero rodeo. Luckily, Songbird caught her and the sensation the powers enveloping her in that safety, reminded her of bouncing on one of those Pilates balls. When she came to a stand, she wide-eyed watched Melissa work, gaze flicking from the attackers, to the shield and then back to Melissa. It was impressive enough for Kamala to lose track of what she was supposed to be doing. "That's... that's amazing," she murmured. She was in fact, more impressed by Melissa than she was embarrassed by the villain's way of announcing their attack, which said a lot.
"You got it, team-up buddy!" Kamala chirped as she readier herself, shifted one shoulder back slightly into a fighting stance and then threw herself towards the floor and the legs of the man. She was thankful in that moment that he didn't actually have four legs like a giraffe, but the hooves where there all the same, and a real threat. When he saw what she did, he forcefully stomped to try and hit her. Kamala barely avoided a series of furious steps.
The young hero slid onto her side and then started to extend herself, both legs and arms, putting one punch upwards to daze the Giraffe-Man temporarily, before she started to wrap her elongated body around the legs. He toppled over then, like a the treasure of a lumberjack. A triumphant shout followed from Kamala but then found that she had to release her hands somewhat to be able to start an awkward, on the side swatting-battle with the man. With enlarged hands she pushing against his face and then complained loudly. "Ugh! Why won't you just give up? A little help, Songbird?!" she called as a fist meet her shoulder, having her grunt under her breath. Her grip was starting to slip, due to forceful kicks by the man's legs while he simultaneously with great energy assaulted her front with fists, that she to the best of her abilities, tried to counter and block.
It was clearly not the kid's first rodeo, judging from the fact that she already had a costume, but the adeptness with which she tripped up Giraffe-Man's legs would've given that away, even if Melissa hadn't already known it.
That raised some questions, she supposed. Probably not registered. Might not even know what registration was. The bluenette made a mental note to bring it up after the situation was resolved. Now was not the time or the place; there were some significantly more pressing issues at hand.
Bellowing like a wounded ox, the giraffe toppled--
--actually, what sounds did giraffes make? She'd never heard one, and they were always left out of the Old McDonald type songs about animal noises from when Melissa was a kid. It was possible that this was an authentic giraffe noise, but it was also just as possible it was a totally human reaction to the surprise and pain of having his legs tripped out from under him, especially with all that muscle mass crashing down to the floor--
--on his side, flailing at Kamala all the way. Melissa turned from the limp form of Peacock-Man, secured under the vending machine as he was, at the sound of the girl's call for help. She took a breath, contemplated her angles, and then shook her head in frustration. Too close together. She'd risk hitting the kid if she just loosed a sonic blast. This would require a lighter touch, so to speak.
"Coming!" She was off in an instant, bounding across the tiles, and darted over to one side to get a better angle of attack. Giraffe-Man was punching wildly at Kamala, trying to dislodge her, but as he rolled over, he left his back exposed, and that was exactly the opportunity Melissa needed. She leaped onto his shoulders, clamping her legs around his ribs, and grabbed hold of the long, vulnerable neck.
The drawback of being part giraffe: a whole meter's worth of extra carotid artery to squeeze.
Never in her career had Melissa expected to put a rear naked choke on a giraffe, but there was a first time for everything, and given how much, uh, real estate she had to work with, it went quick, smooth, and easy. The bluenette arched her back and put her whole body into the choke, squeezing with practiced expertise, and her leverage quickly paid off - after ten seconds of weaker and weaker slaps at Kamala, the Ani-Man fell still at last.
"Okay, that could've gone worse," she muttered, extricating herself from the unconscious beast. Melissa grabbed a pair of electro-mag restraints from her belt and set to work restraining Giraffe-Man, but not without sparing a discerning look for the girl who had summoned her. "Good job. All right, what's going on? Have you seen any more of them in here?"
It wasn't exactly Superhero Team-Up Small Talk, but they had a situation on their hands; better to make sure the area was secure before painting their nails and talking about boy.
Since she was nothing like the famous Mr Fantastic, when force was put against her limbs, as stretchy as they appeared, there was no concession, only direct strength being put against the fibers of her body and muscles, It was, needless to say, very uncomfortable. The simple solution would've been to just relieve that pressure and stretch a little more but the young hero was certain that if she did so even a little bit more, it would give the Giraffe-Man the space he needed to wriggle free. There was pressure and probably falsely assumed expectations, that she needed to make this, she couldn't slip up in the company of a real hero. Calling help however, seemed like a plausible compromise.
A small yelp escaped her when a hoof slammed against her forearm that she had thrown up to shield her face. Kamala could feel the bruise forming and blooming on her skin. Hopefully, it would have healed somewhat before she was finding herself home again. Just as she braced herself for another incoming punch, Melissa was suddenly right there, springing into action and facing their adversary with skill and aptness that had the younger of the two, blink and watch in awe. There was a necessity to punching bad guys in the face, Kamala knew this, but she actively went out of her way not to harm anyone, not really. The fact that Songbird had rendered the man harmless with the least amount of harm, was for her more than admirable.
Adjusting her body back to normal, limb by limb and inch by inch, Kamala then slowly untangled herself from the seemingly myriad of arms and legs to come to a full stand. An innocent hand were poking the side of the giraffe, partly out of curiosity of the realness of it all and to make sure he was really, passed out. Kamala stopped mid-poke when Melissa spoke up after having clasped the restraints safely on their criminal. First, there was an awkward smile and a fleeting sense of pride--she said good job!--and then Kamala raised her finger to answer the question that almost immediately was lowered with a frown. She actually, had no idea what was going on.
The teen's face lit up thought when she realized that she had at least the answer of one of those questions. "There's two more, but they went down the elevator. I couldn't grab them before these guys showed up." A nod towards the bound giraffe and a thumb gestured towards the bird-guy. Not seeing any reason to waste time, Kamala marched off towards the elevator with swinging arms and a sense of importance. They had a mission and they needed to see it through, no matter the costs. Well, she considered, it would be great if she could be home by supper. Even better if she could be reunited with her class that were somewhere up-top, without raising any suspicion.
An eager finger mashed the elevator button repeatedly, which only glowered in red denial towards her. "...it's not working. What are they doing down there anyway?" A small sign next to the elevator panel showcased the floor layouts, indicating that at the very bottom was a control room with release mechanisms that opened directly into the oil shaft. "Oh my god theyaregoingtoblowitup! We need to get down there!" Kamala mashed the button again but with no result she tried to pry her fingers into the crevice of the doors and pull them open by force, but neither of her solutions were working.
As the giraffe went steadily limp in her chokehold, Melissa made a mental note to see if the kid had any BJJ experience. The ability to stretch like that would make her an insanely dangerous grappler with a little training.
Kamala poked Giraffe-Man in the side, but his only response was a deep snore. It was kind of adorable, really, now that he wasn't trying to beat them up. With the creature secured, Melissa straightened up for a moment and listened to the situation. Two more. Presumably the ones holding up the lower floors. Well, if they were as strong as these two, it'd theoretically be doable, but she wanted to maintain the element of surprise if possible. There was no sign of the high school class or any of the workers - there might be a hostage element to the situation. Best to proceed with caution.
"It's okay, you made the right call." She nodded to the girl reassuringly. "Four of them against one of you is bad odds. They've got a head start now, but it's easier to play catch-up when the numbers are even."
Which did raise the question: were they going to blow up the decontamination platform? Maybe. Some people did this kind of thing for no reason other than that they could, which was baffling - but it definitely happened. Melissa suspected an ulterior motive, though - perhaps they were just threatening to do so, or making it a distraction. She'd done something similar back in the day; get people's eyes on one potential threat while you accomplished your objective right under their nose. Well, no way to find out unless they went down there.
Sliding in next to Kamala, she grasped the doors and helped to pry them apart, and once they'd made an inch or two of headway, it became obvious why there was such an issue getting into the elevator shaft - somebody had glued the doors together with a sticky organic webbing of some kind. The bluenette raised an eyebrow, her expression instantly interpretable (What the fuck? I only know one guy who can do that), and then gave another heave, breaking the web and opening the doors. The elevator was several floors below them, stuck at the bottom of the shaft. One of the Ani-Men had probably engaged the security lock, leaving it deactivated down there so no one could follow them.
Melissa glanced over at her erstwhile-partner. "Okay, uh....go flat," she indicated with a vague gesture. "Parachute. You can do that, right? Sorta like THIS--"
It wasn't quite as dramatic as shapeshifting, but the sonic wings that burst from her shoulders served the same purpose as she leaped into the shaft. Spreading wide, the pink projections slowed Melissa's fall to a very serviceable drift, letting her float gently towards the stranded elevator and the bottom floor.
Ideally, she'd be calling for more backup, but as the kid had pointed out, there was a possibility that the animal dudes were about to cause an ecological disaster by destroying the entire facility. Time was sort of a factor here.
"Um..." She looked up to Kamala, presumably floating alongside her. "What do I call you, by the way? Sorry, there wasn't really time to ask until now."
She made the right call.
Just because you could put a suit or a costume on, didn't always mean that you should, that was the first lesson Kamala had been taught through her adventures as Ms Marvel, as all of her attempts hadn't been successful or even good. Because of inexperience there had always seemed to be a cost, even if the idea and the intent was right. Later though, when she had come to see and experience the good effects of what she did, then she thought better of it. It was never about putting on a suit, or becoming something else, it was giving parts of yourself to something bigger. To take a stand and do something because you knew you could.
No one had told her that becoming what she was, was going to be easy. One after another, her naive illusions had been shattered about this particular life but even though it had caused her to hesitate sometimes, she wasn't disappointed. She loved this part of her life and hearing the words from Songbird, only strengthened her resolve that it was right. She wasn't perfect but no hero was (except Captain Marvel) and that was okay. Together, the pair managed to get the doors opened a little bit and at the sight of the white and iconic textured layer seemingly holding the doors together, Songbird seemed as surprised at herself. The next step was obvious, once the doors had been parted even more, but it was with pursed lips and a puzzled look Kamala received Melissa's suggestion. "...I have no idea! But I can try?"
Kamala watched Songbird and then dove after, stretching her body flat and was wide-eyed at the result, which lasted for about two seconds before she quickly dropped in altitude, instead resorting to grabbing an edge of the wall and stretching her arms as they went down. "You can call me Ms Marvel," she stated in an upbeat, proud voice as she settled her feet into a small edge, retracted her arms and then repeated the procedure until they reached the bottom, and quite safely so. As soon as Kamala planted her feet though and resumed a form that supposedly was her original one, something was heard through the hallway. It was not quite a scream, too low for that but closer to a gnarly screech. Despite the low intensity, it forced Kamala to slap her hands over her ears, the pressure of that sound intense enough to make her feel sick.
While struggling not to fall to her knees, her eyes caught the silhouette of a figure spreading what looked familiar to wings. Bat wings? So this was Batman. With her hands firmly pressed to her ears, Kamala fell into a spring towards the man but as she got closer, the sound seemed to seep into her ears, making her balance less trustworthy but at least she managed to ram an elbow into his side in order to temporarily stop the noise.
This was not the best situation to be testing out new abilities, but necessity was the mother of invention, or something like that.
Fortunately, the kid proved quite capable of parachuting down the elevator shaft with her. Or, well, Ms. Marvel did. Nice. Melissa grinned, both at the name and the improvisation. "Cool. Alright then, Ms. Marvel, stick close - we don't know where the other two are, but if we stay together we can't get outnumbered. Time's kind of a factor here, but keep your eyes open - we can't afford to rush--"
They were exactly two steps out of the elevator when a sonic burst hit them.
For obvious reasons, Melissa knew exactly what it was, and after cringing for a second in equal parts surprise and pain, she fired off a shriek of her own, momentarily disrupting the barrage. This was enough time for Kamala, who'd gritted her way up close, to smack the flying Ani-Man, and he squeaked in alarm, fluttering off into the darkness of the lower platform. Melissa took a step forward to pursue, but felt a terrific force tugging on her arm and stopped right in her tracks. A quick whirl revealed the perpetrator - a hideous, chitinous creature with dripping pedipalps, tugging on a strand of web that'd seized her wrist.
"Um." The bluenette's eyes widened. "Hold on, you're, uh...."
"Spider-Man!" chittered the creature. "And you will never stop our--"
"Hold on, you can't be Spider-Man," Melissa interrupted. "There's already a Spider-Man."
"I am the true Spider-Man! Behold my majestic spinnerets, my deadly venomous fangs!"
"No, that's not how this works. He was here first, you've gotta call yourself....Arachnid-Man or something. I mean, that's gonna seem derivative, but it's not like there's much of a choice there."
There was apparently not much of a counterpoint to this, as
Spider-Man Arachnid-Man gave another mighty pull on the web line. Melissa dug her heels in, letting out another sonic blast, but he dove to one side and landed unscathed on a wall. The winged creature fluttered above them, perching on a steel girder, and loomed like an ominous shadow.
"I'm Bat-Man," he said, totally unsolicited.
"Oh. Well, that one seems fine."
She wasn't supposed to rush but she hadn't found another viable option given how much that scream hurt. Whether it was luck or pure superhero intimidation she didn't know, but after having been able to force her elbow into his upper body, he seemed to have understood that she was not to be trifled with! At least that was how she felt when she in an expression of victory watched him fly away from her. "Did you see tha--" The young hero had clapped her hands together and had begun an excited turn towards Melissa, spinning with her weight on her toes and heels lifted, only to take notice that her new hero friend, was being assaulted by someone else.
Kamala jogged over to the two and listened in to the conversation and then lifted a finger to highlight that she was about to insert a valid point. "She's right, y'know! I'm pretty sure there's a first come first serve kind of deal with superhero names," she added. Technically her own name was a layoff but she didn't think that a big of a deal, it was like picking up the mantle, right? Totally acceptable. "Also I know the real Spider-Man and you're not it." A small pause as Kamala contemplated an additional statement to make her words seem more legit. "He talks a lot more."
She thought the name Melissa picked for the man--if they could call him that--was good but the discussion seemed to have reached an end when web attached to Melissa, something she soon was free of. The previous Ani-Man had then joined them, placidly introducing himself as if it was the most desirable action to take in that moment. "Yeah, that's a good one. Either way, you both suck for wanting to blow this place up so we're gonna stop you," Kamala announced and then stretched her arms upwards in order to attempt to reach the Bat-Man.
He produced something that was a mix between a screech and a laugh before making way down the path, flapping his leather-like wings. "I got this one!" Kamala assured Songbird and started after her target, jumping and stretching her arms in order to try and catch him. She came close several time, but kept catching air as she came further down the metallic pathway and closer into a previously woven web. "You can't catch, you can't catch me," echoed the sing-song voice, causing Kamala to take longer strides and higher jumps, paying less attention to her surroundings than she should've.
For the short duration of time their attention had been on the Bat-Man, the spider-like one had taken the opportunity to move away from the wall and was now sitting underneath the walkway, below Melissa, getting ready to leap and attack.
"Sounds good. Stay alert, don't let him split us up--WAUGH--"
She was just in the middle of offering some helpful advice to the aspiring heroine, when there was a shriek of bending metal and the Spider-Man practically exploded out from under the catwalk, leaping at her in a tornado of flailing limbs and dripping fangs. She caught him - super-strength went a long way with this kind of thing - but the momentum was enough to stagger her, and they both went over the railing in a heap.
To her credit, Melissa didn't panic as they went over the edge of the catwalk. Logically, the Ani-Man wouldn't have done this if he didn't have a plan to save himself (such as throwing out a strand of webbing and pulling himself back up). As long as she held onto him, she'd presumably be sharing in that escape plan. With that said, when she glanced down and discovered they were plummeting towards an industrial refinery pump, it was more than a little nervewracking.
Just hold on tight. If this doofus doesn't web real soon, we're both gonna get turned into jelly--
He did, of course, albeit not without a squeal of frustration and mounting terror. The bluenette felt a jerk of resistance as the webline caught on the catwalk above them, and then, as she hung on, they swung upwards from the swirling machinery. Melissa grinned to herself. They'd played chicken, and she'd won. Heh. (Was there a Chicken-Man? It was worth wondering about.)
With a stiff forearm to the head, she dazed Arachnid-Man in midair and then kicked off his dangling form, boosting herself towards safety with a burst of sonic energy. That turned out to be one of the upper platforms, which she caught with a hand before turning to glance out at the rest of the room. There was Ms. Marvel about five meters out, trying to catch the elusive Bat-Man. Well, maybe they could do something about that flight advantage.
"Ms. Marvel!" A shivery high note followed, and a shaft of pink energy - a throwing javelin - shimmered into existence. Melissa snatched it by the haft and underhanded it in Kamala's direction. "Catch!"
Ms Marvel had yet to learn that when you worked as a team, sticking together was usually a good thing to do. There would of course always come times when dividing attention was more beneficiary, but getting to that point was similar to constructing a building, meaning you started with the foundation and if you started cheating with that, the results could be devastating. You only ever stretched the rules or margins when you were good at what you did. The same strategy could be applied for team work and in the business of being a hero, the cost for taking short-cuts or 'cheating' could be pretty high, especially when you were as new as Kamala at the whole thing.
She was still galloping along the walkway with her arms stretched high in order to try and catch the Bat-Man, who the entire time had been rattling her and baiting her towards an unseen trap, all in a very annoying sing-song voice. She didn't immediately register the ruckus further down but when she threw a glance over her should, a alarmed shout emerged from her lips and she turned in order to run back and help Songbird. The young hero found that she hadn't run more than a few steps before her newly found friend was in safety. With that she could turn her attention back to the Ani-Man, who materialized behind her and kicked her in the back.
With an oof Kamala sprawled out on her stomach, but with an annoyed sound she was quickly back on her feet, stretching her legs and arms, determined to finish it before it was too late. She was also then aided by the sonic spear from Melissa, which she caught and threw in a flurry, without thinking about it much. It seared through the right wing of the Bat-Man, whom let out a high pitched shriek as he was pinned to the wall. The sight was, for Kamala, disturbing and had her swallow hard. There was a trickle of blood running along the wall and she had to turn her head away from it, but only after having mumbled an apology.
Turning, she fell into a brief jog to come up to Melissa. The next second, Ms Marvel had grown to be about the height of a bus and then swung her balled fist like a war hammer, bringing it down on top of the fake Spider-Man, that had been just about to launch himself towards the two of them. "Not again!" He narrowly avoided her fist but easily stepping over Melissa, she swung her foot, the impact sending the Ani-Man into the wall on the otherside of the room. He slid lifelessly to the floor. A pair of hands settled onto hips before Kamala glanced down towards her teammate. "Okay, are we bomb-squadding now?"
The kid had a lot of raw talent, but she clearly hadn't been in too many multi-man-melees like this one.
Melissa contemplated for a minute whether she should pursue the bat and the teenager - they'd gotten separated in record time, and she wasn't totally sure yet about how effectively Ms. Marvel could handle herself. Still, she had problems of her own at the moment, given that a human spider was trying to hit her with six different limbs at once. Also that she was hanging onto the edge of a platform, over a churning abyss of refinery equipment.
Yeah, probably time to remedy that. She dodged around a strike from Arachnid-Man and kicked off, gliding back to the central platform on sonic butterfly wings. Better to get on solid ground before throwing any more hands. He followed, of course, and took a scream to the carapace for his trouble, followed by a barrage of punches that drove him up against the railing. Melissa was vaguely cognizant of a screech of pain from what had to have been Bat-Man, but she couldn't really divert her attention because her spidery adversary had shelled up against her punches and was pushing forward now, trying to restrain her with his numerous legs. This'd be tricky, considering how many of them he had to work with; she'd have to---
The Ani-Man barely avoided a massive fist strike, but the follow-up caught him and he was punted across the room by Kamala, who was....absolutely enormous. Whoa.
"Holy shhhhwow, that's...yeah." Melissa said, open-mouthed and barely controlling her language around the youth. "Okay, next time? Do that first."
"Okay, are we bomb-squadding now?"
"Yyyyyyyyes," she answered, glancing around for anything conspicuous. There was something webbed to the fuel tanks on the central turbine rig; Melissa was willing to bet it was where the bomb would be. It would've theoretically been possible to just send Ms. Marvel, but she was responsible enough not to make a teenager go try to disarm a bomb. "Okay, the bomb's probably over there. Go take these," this was punctuated by a toss of more magnetized handcuffs in Kamala's direction, "and put the bat and the spider in 'em. I'm gonna go over and handle the whole bomb situation, because I'm actually prepared this time."
The device she produced was one of Paul's new creations, and she'd started carrying it in the wake of the Purifiers incident, having never wanted to be ad-hoc EOD ever again. Melissa spread her 'wings' and butterflied over to the device, then leaned over it and began a cautious examination.
"Secure, uh, Arachnid-Man first, by the way," she called over her shoulder. "Don't think the bat's going anywhere anytime soon."
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