Spacer Conundrums, Contingencies and Crises 52
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | What If | Conundrums, Contingencies and Crises |



A plan is arrived at.



    Turning to Aegis, "I live in Chelsea. West 21st between 8th and 9th."
    She nods. "I know where that is. Won't be but a moment. Though you should have a way to contact us in case something unusual should happen." _Darn secrets. They make this a good deal harder than it might be..._ "This group needs an office, or something."
    "If Miss Walker feels up to it, she can contact me at Stark Industries." Dumas extends his hand towards Patsy. In it is a white business card.
    "I'll call first thing in the morning. Thank you..." reading the card "Dr. Dumas"
    "So uh-- I'm ready when you are" she says to Aegis. Despite the emotional roller coaster ride Patsy can't help but be a bit awestruck over being in the company of the sort of heroes she always looked up to...Her face brightens a bit at the notion of flying.
    Dumas retracts his hands back to within his cape and stands aside from Aegis and Miss Walker.
    "Right, then," Aegis says briskly, trying to keep any hint of impatience out of her voice--Miss Walker's had quite a day, after all--though somewhat ruing the apparent loss of Ravdna as an ally for the problems facing the group. "I should be right back."
    The two figures dwindle swiftly into the distance....
    As the two women fade into the distance Emerald looks to the others. "So where do we find these Russians? If it were as easy as locating which hotel they're staying at the New York authorities would have found them already, though what they'd do with somebody like Kravinoff I don't know," he looks over to where Dumas stands staring out at the New York skyline. "Doctor, I asked you a question earlier about whether or not you'd ever met Kravinoff or knew anything about him, and I don't think you answered me in the confusion."
    Dumas turns back towards the teenager and peers at him through his mask seemingly thinking deeply for a moment.
    "Kravinoff is an old 'enemy' of mine from when I was the leader of Latveria. He is the second Soviet Super-Soldier and a world-renown chemist and botanist. The Soviets have held him on a pedestal for quite some time. They are very proud of him. He was a brave explorer and hunter whose state-financed excursions in countries struggling under the weight of 'Western capitalist imperialism' attracted the attention of the media in many communist and socialist nations, my own included."
    He turned towards the others as well. "While on safari in Africa, Kravinoff discovered a shamanic formula that granted him the ability to transform into a variety of animal forms. The man is clever, ruthless, and sadistic among other things that one does not mention in polite company. And when and if we do meet him. He is mine!" Dumas ends the sentence with a bit more emotion than anyone has seen of him thus far. Almost anger, as before when he was in the office talking to DePalo, but this time it seemed more intense. But it quickly faded into his normal highly composed tone.
    After a breath. "Regardless, I am familiar with his tactics and style. He does not know I will opposing him, so that is where our advantage lies when confronting Kravinoff. The others may be dangerous as well, but Kravinoff will be the one to watch out for."
    "Thanks," Emerald says. He turns back to where Dr. Banner is standing off to one side. "Do you think it would be possible to track supers somehow?"
    Banner considers the question about tracking metahumans. "That would depend on the nature of the person's abilities. If, for example, this Cosmonaut continuously emanates some sort of magnetic anomaly, it would be possible to design equipment that would, within certain range limits, register his presence. If, on the other hand, his magnetic powers do not have any sort of background 'noise,' then we would have to wait for him to use the powers, hope we were within range, and then try to triangulate the magnetic spike before he left the scene." He shrugs. "All in all, without more data, it seems a bit impractical."
    Dumas speaks again. "Emerald as much as I admire your enthusiasm, and your idea of bringing the fight to them, I think it would just cause undue attention to be brought to us if we are traipsing around the city. Our primary responsibility is to safeguard the delegates and Stark at the UN. They will come to us and we will be expecting them, they will not be expecting us."
    "I mentioned it just as a passing thought," Emerald answers. His shoulders slump slightly at the realization. "I'm still pretty new to all this," the young man quickly goes through his pockets and curses under his breath. "I hope I can find that Patsy woman again. I need something that was in my coat."
    "Well perhaps we could disguised ourselves at the UN meetings. When they strike, we'll defend." Dumas looks over towards Delta V, Captain America and Doctor Banner.
    "Has anyone seen Dark Angel?" He asks.

The two figures dwindle swiftly into the distance....
    "This is amazing!" Patsy exclaims. Her mind makes the quick associative leap to a story Robert's father used to always tell her from his days in the Air Force. Dogfights with Zeros, the rush of fighting for something good and noble was just as exhilirating to him as being airborne...and with those thoughts of heroism the 5' 7" frame of Patsy Walker shifts in Aegis' arms into that of their Avenging Asgardian...
    ... and almost finds herself plummeting earthward as Aegis jerks to a halt in mid-air. "What the--!" she exclaims.
    "Friend Aegis...why dost thou have me aloft?" Ravdna asks in an amused albeit questioning tone...
    "Er... because a moment ago it wasn't you?" She shakes her head. "This is *more* than bizarre. Guess I can turn around now, though. Short form," she continues as they head back toward the high platform, "is you're not here on Earth just as you. You're sharing bodies, or something, with some woman named Patsy. She was one of the prisoners in Asgard; did you have any special contact with her? Specter thinks there's magic going on here."
    "Zounds! Dark, foul magick's indeed!! Loki's twisted humor no doubt. He knows of my affinity for Midgard and mortals...I will see this turn against him anon!
    "Let's hope. Do you have any idea what might be triggering the change?" Until we do, she thinks, there's no way to rely on Ravdna as part of their plans for the coming event.
    "What I would give for the All-Father's infinite wisdom. I fear the last thing I recall friend Aegis is standing atop yon towering structure and contemplating this Patsy's potential peril."
    She lands on the balcony, seeing the startled expressions of the others. "Change of plans. We're back."
    Dumas takes a step back. "Spontaneous changes?" He asks.
    "Looks that way for now. I *hope* there's a trigger we can isolate, or life's going to be pretty difficult -- for both of you," Aegis adds wryly.
    "Now, where were we?"
    The others convey the gist of the discussion during their brief absence. "Going in plainclothes, so to speak, sounds like a good idea," she agrees. "We don't want to let them know we're on to them, though I'll be sticking near Mr. Stark regardless. It might be effective to have me present as Aegis, however." _It must be a lot more convenient to have abilities built right in,_ she thinks. _Don't have to worry about changing clothes all the time...._ "If they have a visible opponent to deal with, that might give you a better chance to catch them unawares."
    "If they do attack, this Kravinoff sounds like the most straightforward to deal with. Heaven only knows what magnetic manipulation powers might do to this." She taps the armor lightly. "Something to keep an eye out for. And this Voice.... earplugs, maybe?"
    Victor pipes in. "I agree, if Kravinoff sees a challenge, such as an obvious body guard, he will be more likely to strike and be careless. We'll have to learn more about the details as to whether it will be feasible to have Aegis stand next to or nearby Stark during the meeting. As for earplugs, that might be a good idea. We have to also consider two other possibilities. One, that the Voice might have sonic powers that are in the form of an energy attack instead of hypnotic mind control and Second, that the UN meeting might not be their primary target. Perhaps some other plan would further their goals? Any ideas on that? What might further their goals better than actually attacking Stark and the other delegates?"
    Victor folded his arms and brought one hand to his masked chin in thought.
    "The one that occurred to me," Aegis responds, ignoring the beautiful view of the city as she begins pacing, "is that they could be setting us up for something intended to embarrass the US, rather than direct assassination. Even if that's not in their plan, it could be a result if we're not pretty careful about this. The Chinese and the Vietnamese are planning to accuse us of Lord-knows-what ridiculous stuff over there. *Anything* that happens to make us look bad under those circumstances can only be to their benefit. We'll need to be able to prove they were up to something, afterward."
    "That's exactly what I was getting at with the alternate target idea. They may be thinking of knocking down the statue of liberty or something worse. One could be a diversion for the other. Perhaps those among us who are able to travel quickly should be assigned to a fast action team of sorts that can go to another location in the city quickly if needed while some of the slower traveling among us would stay behind to continue the mission?" Victor knew they were starting to think of to many What If's, but some level of contingency was necessary.
    "Hm." She frowns, remembers that no one can see her expression. "We've been asked to keep an eye on the UN proceedings. Anything beyond that, that we manage to do, can be considered a bonus, but given how few we are, and how many potential targets we have to guard, I'm not sure we *can* worry about what happens anywhere else.
    Dumas says "Yes, but its still something to think about. Because if their true target lies somewhere else, and we just sit idle as they tear apart the city, then the 'Avenger' or whatever we end up calling our grouping, would look pretty bad. Then again, they might purposely create a distraction somewhere else in order to draw half our forces away. We'll just have react on each incident as it happens unfortunately. Best judgments in all cases I'm sure."
    "I was actually thinking that they might try to provoke us into overreacting to something that turns out to be nothing -- evidence of American militaristic imperialism, or something like that." Funny how easy it is to get back into the habit of thinking politically about things....
    "We'll need some way to keep in touch throughout. Radios, or something." She tries to imagine the room, the placement of the speakers, the doors, the security guards, to envision how an attack might unfold, but there are too many unknowns. "And we'll need to keep an eye on each other, too, especially if there's a possibility of mind control." The thought makes her skin crawl.
    The Spectre nods his assent, "I'm familiar with the radio headset of your armor, having helped Tony with some of the ideas way back, perhaps I can fashion something together that looks less conspicuous than a hand radio. The only problem will be miniaturizing the technology."
    Briefly touching one of the raven feathers festooned to her helm Ravdna reaches out to the assemblers minds as she thinks "Odin's enchantments upon me served us well in the heat of battle before..."
    "Unfortunately, we can't be sure you'll be there," Aegis replies bluntly. "Until we know how this whole thing with Miss Walker works, we'd best have some back-up measures in place."
    "Agreed" Ravdna says aloud breaking the link.
    "A body like that and she's psychic too," Emerald mutters, almost too low for anyone else to hear him. "Where's the justice in the universe?" there is a smile on his face as he says it, and clearly he is just thinking aloud. He raises his voice to a normal tone and asks, "Ravdna, do you think I could get my jacket back? There's something pretty important to me in one of the pockets."
    "Methinks Patsy still possesses your raiment. Given my thoughts before the last "transformation" I believe I may be able to summon her again...but I cannot guarantee Patsy knows how to return me to this plane..."
    "It can wait," Emerald says. "We may need your help on this, and the lord only knows if I'll live long enough to see Monday morning," he turns his attention to the others. "The UN doesn't open until tomorrow morning in any case. Perhaps we should arrange to meet outside before it opens."
    "One has to wonder if these delegates even know they are going to be protected." Dumas mentions.
    "We should certainly take a look at the room," Aegis agrees. "I think the good Colonel should be able to arrange matters so that we needn't wait until normal business hours, however. The fewer people around who might notice us, the better. Six o'clock?"
    "That's AM?" Emerald asks. From the tone of his voice and the slight shake of his head it's apparent that he isn't normally a morning person. "When I catch these guys I'm gonna hammer them for all my lost sleep the past few days."
    Aegis laughs. "You and me both. Put it this way; if we can come up with a plan quickly tomorrow, you can go back to bed." She casts a somewhat worried glance at Delta V, who has remained quiet for much of the discussion, and says, "So we'll meet in the morning, look over what we've got to work with, and make our plan?" "In front of the UN building or at Stark Industries?" Dumas asks. "If the UN building, then I suggest we call the colonel to let him know."
    "I think one of us should do that," Emerald tells Dumas. "Seeing how you and the Colonel got along so well today. For my own part, I'm going to go straight to bed."
    And so the second meeting of Manhattan's heroes draws to a close, and people begin to go home. Banner nudges Captain America, and nods his head towards Emerald, a questioning look aimed at Cap.
    Emerald waits until the others have gone and then turns to Dr. Banner and his young charge. "We'll talk about this sometime. Right now I just want to take Mr. Stark back his car and see if he'll put me up for the night and have his butler wake me up at o'dark-thirty," Emerald floats slowly above the railing, then smiles and drops like a stone.
    He pulls out of his dive barely forty feet above the street, and looks for a place to set down and remove his mask. Five minutes later the Austin Healey roars to life and pulls away from the curb where Rick had stashed it. Fifteen minutes after that he pulls up to the front of the Stark mansion.
    Rick knocks on the front door, then waits patiently until the door is opened by a somewhat sleepy looking, but still sharply dressed Jarvis. "I'm back, probably for the last time, Jarvis. My friends and I have a meeting set up for early tomorrow morning, and I don't want to miss it because I'm not awake," he finishes his speech by asking the butler to have someone wake him at 5 AM, so that he can be out of the house before everyone else wakes up.
    Five AM comes early, and it is a very sleepy Rick Jones that leaves the Stark mansion on foot early the next morning.

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