Location: At the HoH base
Time: Attacking the second Base.
As soon as the beast burst out of the vent Richard was already in a full sprint towards them, but luckily he didn’t need to travel all the way back over, as soon as Fletch miraculously dodged out of the way Richard unloaded his rifle into the animal, or at least he tried. Several of his bullets made contact as tiny spurts of blood shot out, but the beast was quick, and sprung into action. It’s quick leaps and jumps were erratic. ”Shit, he’s fast!”
Richard shouted, he continued to use quick bursts from his gun, but it wasn’t enough.
It continued to dash and jump towards him, it deftly climbed around his armored body and mounted itself on the front. It’s claws tried to tear into his chest, furiously clawing and scratching at what it could, and the head of the figure clamped it’s jaws around the sides of his head, destroying the outer sensor module in the process; a sparking mess of wires and ruined metal hung from the side of his head.
As the beast took aim at Roadblock, Fletch remained on her hands and knees at the final resting place from her roll as her bow remained nearby. Having such a thing trying to attack her with killing intent, the thought had sent her into a sheer panic. The repressed memories of when she almost died in Pasadena - the night she lost Jason - flooded back into view. Reliving that night had caused her to freeze up, almost sending her into a sobbing mess. In her frantic mind, she knew that there was danger still about and she needed to help fend it off. But the only thing her body and mind wanted to do is curl up into a ball and sob her heart out. I don’t want to die,
was the only thought running through her mind, jumbled in with the flashbacks and the fond memories of Jason.
Then, another feeling came into her mind.Snap out of it!
While she had been frozen in place, the mindset of Fletch came back through, almost shattering whatever was holding her in place. That was in the past! You are in the now and you freezing up here will get yourself and everyone you’re with killed. Now. Get. UP!
As if the mental bitch slap was enough to shake her out of it, she looked up and examined what was happening. The beast, a large, canid-like humanoid that had been marred with various scars and sutured-tended cuts was gunning for Roadblock. While she could hear Nemesis yelling through the door and bangs as she and Hound Dog were hitting it to get through it, it was too muffled for her to understand what was said as the beast collided with the suit. The monster had grappled the policeman, trying to get into the suit with its razor-sharp claws and vicious fangs. While it wasn’t as visible as it was before, the neck had been torn open and whatever was inside it was glowing red off of the metal surface of the suit.
Now thinking a bit more clearly from her panicked state, though fear was still the dominant feeling, she charged at the pair of them. Grabbing an arrow from her leg quiver, she jumped onto the main console and onto the beast’s back, her left hand grabbing a huge tuft of hair on its head. ”Take this, you ugly son of a bitch!”
Grabbing a secure footing, she thrusted the arrow into the beast’s neck. As the blood spurted out of the new wound, some of it landed onto her hand. While she didn’t know of it, the blood began eating away at the already damaged glove. It didn’t take long before it got through and began to burn her skin. She yelled out in pain as soon as it began eating away at her hand. But the move was enough to distract the monster.
The canid yelped out in pain, quickly disengaging its hold with Roadblock. Sensing a new threat on its back, it began to thrash about trying to grab the archer off its back. Fletch remained where she was, though was struggling against the powerful and rapid changes in movement. As soon as one of her feet slipped off the back, she almost fell off. But one of the large, clawed hands managed to grab her around her torso. She screamed in pain as claws dug into the sides of her rib cage, though the awkward position meant that she wasn’t crushed in its hands. As it finally got a hold of whatever it was holding, the beast threw her away from it, sending her body slamming into the wall. Bouncing off of it like a doll thrown into a wall, Kayla dropped to the floor and remained there, dazed from the collision. The claw marks left on both sides of her were deep, but fortunately not long enough for her to need many stitches. From there, she remained motionless in her daze as the canid began to focus on the weaker of the two targets.”Stay down!”
Richard yelled. Fletch didn’t seem to be one of the physically enhanced metas, if she was at all, but she also looked dazed, so there was no telling if she heard the warning, which meant he needed to get over to her as fast as possible. He jumped towards it, holding his shield in arm, he rammed into it, slamming it right into the wall with a fleshy thud. Blood escaped from some of its earlier wounds and burned at the shield, but Richard gave it another slam before it pushed back.
He pulled his rifle up again to suppress it in a wave of inaccurate hip fire, but Richard barely had time to level his gun before the creature was up, a few of the bullets hit, but it didn’t seem to cause any notable damage. However, with the sudden change in targets, along with the fight escalating, must have caused it to rethink its actions as it quickly darted up the wall, and crashed through a ceiling vent.
Richard stared down the vents in the room and even the door for a few more moments before quickly making his way over to Fletch and examining her. Blood leaked out of the claw wounds on her side, but it didn’t seem serious so they could address that later. She was thrown across the room, that might have broken something, and depending on how she hit a concussion wasn’t out of the question either. However, the base in the blood from earlier was still active and continued to slowly eat away at her hand. Artemis saw his hesitation as he scanned over her.”Use water to help neutralize the base on her hand.”
Richard glanced around the room, scanning for anything with water, and spotted a half empty bottle. He wasted no time moving over to grab it and nearly tore the cap off while emptying the cool liquid all over Fletch’s hand.”Are you alright?”
For what seemed like a long time, Kayla remained motionless. While she had been dazed from being thrown into the wall, it was fortunate for her that the impact hadn’t been hard enough for her to have any broken bones, though the grip it had on her might have broken one or two of her ribs. And from the impact, her head didn’t hit the wall at the same force so a concussion was likely to be out of the equation. But the impact had knocked the senses out of her and had spent those moments regaining them. During that time, any sound coming from the room and from the hallway.
The first thing that came back to her was the throbbing pain that her right hand was experiencing. While her glove took the brunt of it, the caustic blood had left some damage on there. But as the cool sensation of liquid hit her hand, she finally began to stir from her stunned state. She moaned as she slowly raised her head up to look at her surroundings. The first thing her groggy vision had noticed was that the beast was no longer in the room. The second was that the room was still under lockdown. Finally, Roadblock was by her side tending to the wound on her hand.
When he asked if she was ok, she slowly began to work her way through what had happened and what her condition was. As she slowly got herself up to a sitting position, she noted the pain on the left side of her chest. Her head had been spinning, but it was quickly disappearing and there was no pressure in her head. ”I think that apart from a couple of broken ribs and the feeling the room is spinning around in my head, I think I’ll be alright.”
With the threat immediately gone for the time being, the first thing that came to mind was the lockdown. ”We need to get this lockdown lifted. For all we know, whatever that bastard is might be attacking the others.”
Slowly, using her uninjured hand to prop herself up against the wall, she managed to get herself back onto her feet. ”I’ll… I’ll try to get it lifted using that console… If you want to stand watch in case it comes back. Your armour seems to be able to resist the caustic blood much better than the fabric my costume is made off. Sound like a plan?”
When Fletch had mounted the creature earlier its blood had also managed to take off a little from the top, but that was probably because there was so little. Other than his damaged sensor module, there were numerous paint scratches all over his torso.”Sure, but if you need me too I can take the console.”
Richard moved to follow her, if the creature burst out again he needed to be in it’s way, it was far too fast to try to intercept it from any amount of distance safely.”The lockdown must have activated when you shot it earlier...Although, that beast doesn’t seem like its a part of normal Hound operation, and yet its presence alone didn’t activate the alarms.”
Once she was steady on her feet, Fletch listened to Roadblock talk about the console and the lockdown. When he mentioned about the possibility that the blood might have triggered the lockdown in the first place, she thought about it. ”Yeah, that makes sense,”
she replied in agreement. ”I mean, it being in the room before to take out that lone Hound didn’t trigger the lockdown before.”
Then, she slowly made her way to the console. With the Hound now on the floor, it made sense for her to sit down on the chair while she began to work on lifting the lockdown. She made slow progress getting into the mainframe, so she thought about something to break the silence in the room. ”What do you think that thing was? Looked like something you’d see in An American Werewolf in London. But when I got on it… it looked like it had a lot of stitches in it…””Sure, looks like a werewolf, but that kind of thing doesn’t really exist.””Lycanthropy, have you heard of it Mr. Hunter? It’s the transformation of man into wolf, most believe those are merely fairy tales, and yet, the tales had to come from somewhere.””Eh, yeah, those stitches, and that weird red glow from earlier, I still don’t think we’re looking at a ‘werewolf’. But some kind of frankenstein project, maybe.
Richard said, he didn’t try to hide his skepticism at all.”Say, while we’re in the clear, you happen to look like someone that raided HQ a little while back. You want to explain yourself, ma’am?”
Once her mind had gotten clearer from being thrown into the wall, Fletch was busy at work getting the lockdown lifted. She had to admit that she knew some things about IT from her degree, but nowhere near enough to disable the lockdown. But she had to try anyway. Her brow began to furrow as she focused on the computer.
While that was happening, the archer listened to Roadblock’s reasoning to what they were facing moments ago. While it was amusing to hear the skepticism in his voice about the ‘werewolf’ idea, what other explanation was there to determine what that thing was? Maybe there was more to this world of superheroes than what it seemed, especially as the idea of metahumans and an alien helping out humanity was a known fact. And she reflected on that when she replied to him. ”Well, we are in a world where people like Icon exist. Maybe there is another area of the world where cryptids like the werewolf exist. That plus it is another thing that the Hounds of Humanity would want to get rid of.””I don’t remember those fairy tales talking about werewolves having acid blood. Like I said, I still think this is some kind of animal the built from scratch somehow, maybe to hunt down metas, to stalk them when they can’t.”
She carried on typing onto the computer when Roadblock mentioned her raid on LHPD HQ. At that moment, she stopped what she was doing, her hand freezing in the spot. That moment she decided to go after the man that had attacked her wasn’t the lightest moment she had done during her time as a vigilante, but it wasn’t done, she would still be a target to the Penose until she was killed. While her mouth was hidden from it, the eyes through her yellow sunglasses showed the pained expression that was on her face.”While it probably would be better to lie about what happened there, but that person you’re talking about and I are the same people,”
she replied, her voice more of a loud whisper that reflected her guilt. ”To be honest with you, I never intended to cause any hurt to anyone on LHPD force. But the person was hired to kill someone close to me. The group that hired him was already targeting her for some reason or another and they blew up a bus to try and get to her.”
She let out a sigh, her hands sinking to her lap as she leaned back in the chair. ”That bus bomb killed a few people and her friend’s would-be fiancé is still in a coma from it. It’s because of that I raided the HQ: I wanted to know who was behind the bus bomb and my friend’s attack and stop them from causing anymore harm.”
Another sigh escaped her lips, her eyes shifting from the computer to look at Roadblock. ”I’m not expecting that this explanation would exonerate me from what I had done, I really don’t expect it. I just hope it brings an understanding for why I had done it.”
After a moment of silence, with the banging from the other side of the blast door ceasing, she got back to trying to get through the lockdown. The more she focused, the more she felt the pressure of the focus behind her eyes. Perhaps I do have concussion,
she thought, stopping to pinch the bridge of her nose. ”Sorry to have to ask this, but could you take over from getting into the console. Starting to think that me being thrown into the wall has caused more injuries than I had thought.”She really is just some reckless vigilante, she’s going to get herself killed.”Alright, just stay close to me, just in case that..werewolf..comes out again”
He hesitantly said it, but just calling it an animal might be confusing if the Hounds had another lying around. As he walked up to the console, he realized he actually didn’t really know what to look for, the UI was way different from any computer he touched, and they really didn’t have the time for him to start searching aimlessly through the setup. ”Lost? I’m not surprised, they don’t give any computer training at the police academy, I imagine.””I’d like to see you try this.”
Richard placed a finger on the other side of his helmet, as if he was activating some earpiece, just in case Fletch was close enough to hear him whispering.”It can’t be helped, I want to see what the Hounds are up to as much as you do. But for future reference, I hate this.”
An awkward moment passed and Richard still hadn’t moved, it became clear he was waiting for her
to do something. She gave off an exasperated sigh, which was fake of course, but it was meant solely for Richard to hear.”I guess it was too much to expect you to read the entire manual. On the underside of your arm, you can pull out a USB cord, plug us in and I can do the looking.””Luckily the Hounds computers are more are less the same.”
Richard took an extra moment trying to pull the USB cord out, but eventually he managed to plug it in. Now that Artemis could get to work, and maybe help him save face, he remembered he still wanted to speak to Fletch.”I’m not saying you’re in the clear, or you were right to tamper with evidence, along with assaulting an officer. But it sounds like they’re targeting you specifically, it might be time to bring in a third party, somebody they don’t expect.”
Fletch nodded as Roadblock came up to the console to try and get into it. She rolled the chair out of the way so he could face the console itself. Then she remembered her bow being on the ground near where she dived out of the way and quickly went over to retrieve it. Much like before the bow had suffered some scratches, but was otherwise undamaged. Not wanting to hang around to inspect the bow properly, she moved back close to the control panel. She hadn’t forgotten his reluctance to call that beast a werewolf, but decided not to press him further on it. Much like him, she was still coming to terms with what they had seen and fought. But the odd thing was that it had caustic blood and that red glow that seemed unnatural for such a monster.
She remained near the policeman as he fumbled around getting started on the console. It didn’t take long before a USB cable was pulled out from his suit and plugged into the computer. I’m guessing his suit has some sort of AI that could bust through whatever encryption the Hounds were using,
she thought. She had been tempted in asking Roadblock if that was the case, but with her mentioning that she was the one who raided LHPD HQ she decided against it.
When Roadblock talked to her about the raid itself once it was sorted, she could hold back the surprise in her eyes at what he had said. While she had expected that she wasn’t cleared for what happened on that night, she hadn’t been expecting him to offer his assistance in tracking down the Penose. It was also the wording he used when making the offer, suggesting that he had put two and two together in knowing her true identity under the Fletch guise. It was that kind of wording that the thought of turning down the offer. She weighed up all of the pros and cons of allowing the policeman to help, she made her decision.”I figured as much that I wouldn’t be cleared for what had happened. Hell, I think I wouldn’t have cleared myself if I was a cop. Might face the consequences of my actions in one form or another in the future. But for now, whatever I am dealing with with the Penose is my fight…”
She sighed, determining if she had made the right choice. A moment in reflecting on it, she looked up to Roadblock’s visor. Her eyes had shown relief in his offer to help. ”But I figure that I am only one person against god knows how many of them. So any help will be appreciated. Don’t want these bastard to trouble anyone else in our city, eh?”This dumb kid still wants to fight, but I can’t blame her, they made it personal.”Yeah, you pick up any more leads on these Penose, and you call me. I’ll help you out, and vice versa. More and more metahumans are going out trying to be heroes, but none of you have to do it alone, remember that.”
Richard’s words were earnest, nobody becomes a policeman for the money after all, so he honestly wanted to help, but there was another reason for this too.
He couldn’t know what her day to day life was like, but considering she only had a bow, he wagered she could use a hand. Of course he thought about dissuading her, like any normal policeman would, but these Penose sound like they made the fight personal, and he knew what that was like.
It was then she had an idea about what to do once they broken through the Hound’s console in relation to what they were facing. ”I just thought of something. If that thing wasn’t a member of the Hounds and it’s in their HQ, they must have some form of record on it. Think that AI of yours could try and find any information on it as well as find a way to shut down the lockdown?””It’s because you keep leaving everything to me she figured it out.”
Artemis’ voice turned to audible venom. He didn’t know why her existence had to be kept secret, but it really made things unnecessarily complicated sometimes.How can she even get angry, she’s a damn program. Why couldn’t it just be a guy that said “yes” all the time?”Hmm, AI? We wish. No, only Iron Knight has something that advanced, probably. What I’ve got is more like an automated google search.”
As if on queue, several new tabs appeared in what looked to be the taskbar, Richard quickly pulled it one up to fullscreen, there were several options, the one at the top appeared to be asking for confirmation to lift the lockdown. The password appeared to already be entered, just awaiting confirmation from him, and with a click.
The dark red emergency lights spinning in the room shut off, then replaced by the sterile, bright white from earlier. The control room door gave a slight hiss before it opened up.