|The Destruction of Staten Island|
|Participants||Richard, Ciel, Cody, Kade|
|Summary||A rift open over Staten Island lets aliens - and one former X-Force member - spill into our world. X-Force tries to stop them.|
It's been three hours since the portal blinked open over Staten Island. It started with an electric crackle at the south end of Latourette Park that split the sky a few hundred feet above the ground, then settled into a yawning gulf into some world unknown. It's been two hours since the first ship passed through the hole, alien-looking things that bear a disturbing resemblance to bugs. It's been two hours and fifteen minutes since the first swarms disembarked, pouring out of the ships in wave after wave of giant many-legged, many-eyed creatures that stand two stories tall. Not that they spend much time standing. As they make their way across Staten Island, they make little distinction between car and building and person; everything in their way gets ripped and rent and torn by the jab of pointed legs and pointed teeth.
Much of central Staten Island is already rubble and flames. After establishing a perimeter, the carnage seems to have slowed a touch, allowing some civilians on the edges of the island to flee in terror. The military has lost several planes to the alien ships, and some sort of shielding technology seems to be creating a barrier that long-range missiles do not penetrate. And so it is that X-Force finds itself dragged from its beds to meet the enemy in the wee hours of the night.
It's nearing dawn when they arrive, already broken into teams with hasty assignments and hastier plans formed on the flight up from DC. Some are rescue and evacuate. Some are containment. This small team, led by Kade Caruthers, is tasked with getting close to that portal and shutting it down by whatever means possible. They've come armed with heavy explosives. Very heavy explosives. They land in Great Kills Park, to the south and east of the alien perimeter, and they have a few blocks of grace before the carnage starts. In the distance, smoke and fire rises, and they can see the lights of the alien ships overhead.
Kade disembarks their transport, clicking the safety off his gun fluidly as he exits. Though his off-hand is already starting to glow reddish as it heats, so he's probably planning to use conventional firearms as a back-up. He takes a deep breath, and exhales it slow. Attempting to pretend this isn't even, astronomically, weirder than what they usually deal. He's only moderately successful. "All right, boys and girls," he calls over the noise of the chaos they're heading into. "Stick together, hit them hard, hit them fast, shut them down, and let's get this ended. Like we do." His confidence isn't all feigned. They //have// been in nasty situations before and are still alive, so surely they can come out of this the same way.
Hovering beneath the portal, wreathed in an energy that has never before been witnessed on Earth, is a large figure with ashen-colored skin. Most of his body is covered by a grey and red suit. Still, every contorted, hulking muscle can be seen in full view. Around him is an energy field that cracks with pale light. It is the color of marrow, and as wild as the froth from a rushing river. When it takes his fancy, he blasts the rubble of the island with the energy that surrounds him. As he does, a smile creases across his black lips.
"Holy fucking hell," Ciel breathes as she steps off the plane behind Kade. Her eyes are wide on the distant sky, and her hand drops automatically to the pistol at her hip. "Do you /see/ this shit?" She resists the urge to open a portal for a closer peek, instead dropping her gaze to look at Kade. "What the fuck-- how're we doing this?
"Holy fuckballs!" Cody exclaims as he steps down to join Kade and Ciel and the others. He's still adjusting the fit of his armor, tugging it straight on his shoulders before he gets his pistol at the ready, or at least unsafety'd. He's too busy staring at aliens to do much more than that, at least for the moment. "That's a fuckin //alien//, bro! It's gotta be, right? Bro. BRO. ALIENS!" This is mostly to Kade, whose shoulder he is thumping by the end of it. "Dude I need a shot of this for sure. Sparkles you think you could get me up there for a picture? Just for a second, it'll be sweet."
"Well, goddamn..." Kade breathes, more audibly than he probably intended. Eyes widening as he STARES at the being controlling that portal of doom. What /are/ they going to do about that? "My bet is, we shut down that dude-" He indicates the ashen-colored figure. "-we seal this up. So, we take him out like we would any other fucker." If they /can/. He does not add. Cody gets a glare when he starts asking about pictures. "There anything in the terrain we can use for cover close enough to get a shot at that thing? We are going to want /lots/ of cover. Comet, when he finds us a spot, get us a door there. And, when we're in position, be ready to make us an escape hatch if this goes tits up."
As the agents speak, the figure in the sky spots something below. An errant human. The man is fairly young, and rushing from a broken alleyway to a building that has been left standing. The zerg below does not seem to notice. Typical. The figure in the sky waits. With a casual gesture, his hand swipes through the air. Seconds later, a massive beam of energy surges through the sky; it is impossibly bright, and as loud as a jet engine. When the light fades, the building, and its sole occupant, are nothing more than a pile of stone, asphalt, smoke, and a smear of blood.
"No." Ciel's answer to Cody is short, if not quite snapped, and her focus is narrowed in on the figure overhead. She tilts a half salute toward Kade, acknowledging, "You got it, bo--." She breaks of as energy swoops in to obliterate the running man, and her breath draws in with a sharp hiss.
There is plenty of cover, and plenty for Cade to work with - at least where they stand, and in the area below the floating figure. Thank goodness for public parks; the green spaces are filled with flowers and trees and grasses. Ciel's not nearly close enough to LaTourette to get a visual unobstructed by buildings and rubble and giant, menacing bugs, though she does have a clear line-of-sight to Ravenous himself, floating about the park some two miles distant.
Even Cody shuts up when the building gets vaporized, though only for a second. "--the //fuck//, man. That was not cool. We need to take this fuckhead out pronto. I'll get a picture with his fuckin //corpse//." He glares at the scene and then gestures into the park towards the area Ravenous floats over. "Should be plenty of cover if we wanna get closer. All this rubble, plenty of trees and shit. I can try to throw one at him if we need a distraction."
Kade bites back another curse when the building gets taken out, just like that. Yeah, this is maybe bigger than anything they've ever faced. Nothing for it now, though. "Let's go," he says shortly, indicating a tree in the green space, closer to the floating figure of doom. If Ciel's obliging in making them a portal, he'll be the first through it. There doesn't seem much to do except venture into the frey.
"There's a lot of ground between here and there," Ciel says with a short shake of her head. "We're gonna have to hop--" She draws in a breath, holding it tight in her chest as she watches a pair of bugs scale a four-story building a few blocks away. "Rooftops aren't safe, but I think it's the best we can do." She twists her head, glancing behind her to Cody before looking back to Kade. "Ready?" And without waiting for an answer, she opens a portal in front of Kade that leads to a flat, empty rooftop a quarter of the way to their target.
"Ready!" Cody follows Kade through the portal, close on his heels. Despite appearances to the contrary he has actually been trained for at least part of this, because he goes through with his gun up, steady, scanning the rooftop as they arrive on it.
Kade's shoulders are hunched in a defensive posture as he steps through Ciel's portal and onto the rooftop. He glances behind him, to see if the others are with him, then does another furtive look-over of the place for bugs. Or anything else that might try to kill them. "Skip us to the next pit-stop soon as you can," he calls to Ciel. "Our asses are real exposed up here."
Exposed indeed. The rooftop, which was empty as far as Ciel could see when she opened the portal, is swiftly overrun by bugs. A swarm rises from the far edge, stabbing long legs into the stone for purchase. Chunks of mortar fall to the street below and shatter against the sidewalk, and an otherworldly chittering rises around the X-Force agents as they spill onto the rooftop. Theses particular spindly-legged bugs at least aren't several stories tall; they stand about eight feet each, and there are a /lot/ of them, with mouths gaping wide as they move at an astounding pace.
Ciel stumbles through the portal last, letting it blink closed behind her a mere handful of seconds after it first opened. She barely has time to get her feet before the swarm is upon them, and she raises her pistol in automatic reflex to aim at the nearest alien bug.
"Aw fuck..." is Kade's first response to the swarm of bugs they find themselves in. There are so many. "Shoot those fuckers! Get us a path out of here!" It's not a particularly stragetic order, but it seems the thing to do. His left hand goes, palm open, and he tries to get some fires started.
<COMBAT> Kade attacks Swarm1 with Kade's Flamethrowing - ARMOR on Arthrian1 stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Swarm1 attacks Kade with Swarm but Kade DODGES!
<COMBAT> Ravenous attacks Ciel with Negative Zone Energy - Moderate wound to Right Leg.
<COMBAT> Cody attacks Swarm1 with Pistol - Light wound to Arthrian1.
<COMBAT> Ciel attacks Swarm1 with Pistol and MISSES!
Ciel spins, pivoting on her foot with a wild shot toward the nearest advancing bug while her eyes scan the horizon in search of another open rooftop. "Behind you!" she yells, and indeed, a glimmering portal blinks open behind Kade and Cody, opening onto what looks to be an empty stretch of rooftop. A giant piece of rubble - the corner of what used to be the building adjacent - sits in the middle, obscuring their view beyond. It's the best she can do.
Kade fires off a stream of super-heated, broiling air at one of the bugs. To little effect. "Fuck!" he bites off. While rolling, while doing a hasty duck-and-roll to avoid one of the things. His gun is up, once he's righted himself. "Come on! Come on!" he shouts, probably unnecessarily, and heads toward the portal. Ever onward. He does turn to pop off a shot behind him before he'll go through.
The rift hums and pulses above them, and then something a bit different happens: someone comes through. Not a ship or an alien, but a distinctly humanoid shape zipping through at inhuman speeds. Like a human bullet. Except a bullet that's running a bit ragged and already a bit banged up. The light armor Richard wears doesn't look like anything from around here, and his face may or may not be recognizable -- it depends how much the current agents might be interested in memorizing old mission files. But his attention is quickly caught by the group battling the swarm on the roof, and he adjusts his flight path to haul into the fight as totally random backup.
Cody opens fire as the insects swarm around them. His aim isn't the greatest, but it's hard to avoid hitting at least something when totally surrounded by bugs. He tries to stay at Kade's back, out of the way of the plasma blasting, until Ciel opens that portal. He's first through this time, but not before there's a weird noise and a human-shaped thing overhead. He stutter-steps in surprise, but then ducks through the rift, though this time he's ready to begin firing as soon as they're through, anticipating more aliens.
<COMBAT> Cody attacks Swarm1 with Pistol and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Ciel attacks Swarm1 with Pistol but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Swarm1 attacks Kade with Swarm but Kade DODGES!
<COMBAT> Richard attacks Swarm1 with Unarmed - ARMOR on Arthrian2 stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Kade attacks Swarm1 with Pistol and MISSES!
The giant bugs move with impressive speed, twisting out of the way of bullets before picking up their advancement on the retreating X-Force agents. Legs step in Kade's direction, angry and sharp, only to narrowly miss as he moves with speed. One of them settles into a charge, only to go skittering off the building's edge as Ciel's portal blinks shut just before it can chase after them. They're several blocks away, over halfway to the rift over the park, when Richard appears, and Ciel turns around to stare behind her for a moment as she breathes, "What the fuc--"
It doesn't last long, though, because the sound of insectoid legs scrambling up the side of the building catches her attention, and another swarm spills over and around the giant piece of rubble mid-roof.
"What the /FUCK/!?" Kade's yelling this at a person now, not an insect trying to kill him. Richard, specifically. He jumps through the portal, almost tripping, eyes tracking the new area they find themselves in. Until they find Richard. Slightly more coherently, he demands, "Name, Rank, Agency, /now/." It's not the friendliest of greetings. He half-turns like he's going to point his gun at the stranger. But there are more killer bugs, and they take priority.
"DUDE??" is Cody's response to that actually being a guy, and to Kade's demand for introductions, and to the fact that they somehow are really failing at effective marksmanship right now. He keeps trying, though. Target practice, at least.
"That's classified," Richard says shortly, gaze whipping back around as the next swarm approaches. "Least I think it is. No idea who /you/ guys are, so. Next to no use wasting time with these guys; the queens are in the ships, they're the thing to -- shut /up/, we're not getting shot, I've got this--" The last bit doesn't /seem/ to be to any of them here in the group, but before he has a chance to explain, he has to zip back around at high speed to slam into the swarm.
<COMBAT> Richard attacks Swarm2 with Unarmed - ARMOR on Arthrian7 stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Swarm2 attacks Cody with Swarm but Cody DODGES!
<COMBAT> Kade attacks Swarm2 with Pistol - Light wound to Arthrian5.
<COMBAT> Ciel attacks Swarm1 with Pistol - Moderate wound to Arthrian9 (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Cody attacks Swarm2 with Pistol - Moderate wound to Arthrian8.
<COMBAT> Swarm1 has been **KO'd**!
"What the fuck what the fuck what the--" Ciel chants, disappearing in the blink of an eye (or a portal) to a point mid-sky, an arm's length or two from Richard. She stares at him for a beat before she jerks her attention downward to where Cody and Kade are tearing through the swarm with well-placed shots that rip out the glowing beads of their eyes in the rising dawn and send insectoid guts spraying across the rooftop. Feet come down, stabbing at both, but they manage to dodge by a hair's breadth, and a beat later another portal opens in front of Cody. The visual beyond it is green, a wide expanse of grass. The park.
"That's...also classified," is Kade's terse response to Richard's question. He exhales sharp. Doesn't matter. "Turn on us, we will shoot you dead." He makes a /slightly/ better example of his ability to do that buy winging one of the bugs. "Let's go! Let's go!" He motions to the park, so close to them now. "Take cover in the trees soon as we're there."
"Richard Rider," says a voice. It is cold, low, and more of a hiss than spoken words. In fact, it is not even English - cybernetic implants placed in his throat allow the being to communicate with nearly every sentient species in existence. the Kree at the exception - they are morons. "Finally, a worthy battle!" Ravenous says with a broad smile. He lifts his arm. Around him, the energy begins to charge...
As soon as both Kade and Cody are through the portal, another series blinks open, tunneling through space to let Ciel pop through as well. All this hopping herself around is starting to take a toll, and she staggers just a touch as her feet find the ground before she regains her balance and takes off for the trees at a sprint. "Weed!" she calls, which probably means something like 'cover please!' or maybe 'I'd really like to get high'. Her attention whips upward as a voice speaks, and she nearly stumbles again, hopping a step or two as her feet find a root. She comes crashing into cover next to Kade, breathless, and asks on a disbelieving hiss, "Did that thing say /Richard Rider/?"
"Awesome," Richard replies distractedly at Kade's response. He doesn't bother with Ciel's portals -- that'd be rude -- but zips over towards the park where the other portal is letting the X-Force team out. "Isn't your boss happy enough with one universe?" he growls at Ravenous, although it almost has a quality of an aside that the alien might not even be able to hear. "Don't let him hit you," he tells the others. "And don't worry about hitting me; I'm fast." The curve of his mouth is grim, and then he's off again, not on the attack vector towards Ravenous, but trying to contain and distract him from the others.
"Who the hell IS that dude?" Cody is still wondering as he sprints through the portal, even as Richard buzzes by overheard, apparently unconcerned about Kade's threat. "Finally, some green!" is his pleased exhale because he is easily pleased and distracted. Ciel pulls his attention away again the next second, and he takes a look at the terrain around them. "What d'you want, Comet?" he calls back as she tumbles in nearby, "I can try weave the trees together a little better, but it might just pull his attention to us if I do anything too obvious."
<COMBAT> Richard subdues Ravenous!
<COMBAT> Cody attacks Swarm2 with Pistol - Light wound to Arthrian9 (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Kade attacks Swarm2 with Pistol - Serious wound to Arthrian2 (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Swarm2 has been **KO'd**!
"Sounded like," Kade replies to Ciel, though he also sounds disbelieving. "Everybody alive?" He takes cover against a tree trunk as he asks, giving Cody and Ciel a look-over. Ciel, in particular. That was a lot of work. He's still more concerned - or suspicious - about Richard, though. "What the fuck is that and how the fuck do we kill it?" It's shouted, as Richard is off again. Kade glares after him, annoyed. Maybe he'll be less annoyed if Richard is clearly helpful. But maybe not. To Cody, "Just make sure they keep providing us a wall. Maybe see if they can swat some bugs for us." For his part, he continues to try and do this with his gun.
Cover or no cover, the swarms aren't waiting. With Ravenous distracted by Richard overhead, the queens in their ships send a pair of swarms flocking toward the trio on the green. They close in with legs stabbing downward and mouths gaping wide. They seem to be coming from all directions, and they're moving /fast/.
Richard doesn't have strength to match Ravenous's, but he does have an excess of speed, and the his attack makes great use of that: instead of ramming the larger alien head on, he zips around, coming in behind to slam an elbow to the back of his neck and hold him off for a few brief moments to keep him from gathering a real attack.
"Oh, fuck me," Ciel says, spinning out from her place in the trees as the bugs close in. She lifts her gun, directing it through a portal and then another and another, providing a series of point-blank shots in an effort to keep the outer ring of bugs from getting closer. The inner ring she leaves to Kade and Cody.
Kade just concentrates on shooting as many bugs as possible at range. He does not want to get into a wrestling match with those things. Back against the tree, so at least they can get at him from behind. He briefly averts his gaze up to gawk at Richard some more. No longer looking /exactly/ annoyed. But definitely still incredulous.
Cody keeps firing, but that's probably not the MOST useful use of him, at this point. "I'll see if I can get a shield at our backs and over our heads at least," he says, and turns his attention up to the trees towering over them. He keeps firing, but it's mostly blind, his attention on trying to move branches together to seal holes in the canopy, knit it into something that'll force the swarms to come down to the ground and attack them from a narrow, more specific angle so they can concentrate their fire.
Ravenous' muscles absorb most of the impact, but even they aren't enough to keep him from feeling a sting of pain. With a snort, the massive being is jerked. "I'm going to bury you. And when I'm done, I'll piss on your grave," he promises. With a twist, he attempts to force himself, and Richard, to fly directly into the rubble beneath them.
<COMBAT> Richard continues to subdue Ravenous.
<COMBAT> Kade attacks Swarm3 with Pistol - Moderate wound to Arthrian1 (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Ciel attacks Swarm4 with Pistol and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Swarm3 attacks Kade with Swarm and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Ravenous escapes from Richard.
<COMBAT> Swarm4 attacks Ciel with Swarm and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Cody attacks Swarm4 with Pistol and MISSES!
The trees shift in obedience to Cody's whims, drawing into a wall, and although one or two bugs ignore it in favor of scaling the trees and pouring over it, the majority redirect down his path, offering up a perfect killzone. A few get close enough to take swipes at each of them, with looming mouths and too-fast legs, keep the agents in constant motion for risk of being skewered.
Ciel twists around, taking a breather from portals to dodge between legs with her gun pointed upward toward alien abdomens overhead. She's rewarded with a shower of guts, and for a moment her vision is obscured. She scrapes at her eyes with the back of her wrist, rolling sideways as a dead bug comes crashing down in a mess of broken legs and carapace. Her vision clears just in time to catch a mouth closing in a little too fast on Cody, and a portal blinks between it and her teammate. The bug crunches into a tree trunk instead, then pulls back and screams its frustration.
Richard twists in his grip on Ravenous, trying to divert their joined course into the rubble below, but before he can escape he's slammed into the rock and rubble. He twists again, trying to get free from under the alien's weight so he can put some distance between them and take him on a merry chase of Not Killing Anyone Else.
Ravenous' eyes begin to slow as a large grin spreads across his lips. "Say goodbye to Hivemind," he demands. His voice is a hiss, and low, as the energy around him grows dense. A focused beam erupts from his hands and soars towards Nova.
Ravenous' eyes begin to glow as a large grin spreads across his lips. "Say goodbye to your precious suit," he demands. His voice is a hiss, and low, as the energy around him grows dense. A focused beam erupts from his hands and soars towards Nova.
Kade shoots a descending bug directly in its jaws, which is pretty satisfying. In the moment. Even if it does get insect splatter all over his uniform. He keeps on firing until he has some breathing room, then ducks down into the branches and gets on his earpiece. "'Command, Ember. My team's in position in the park, below the anomaly. We've encountered...uh...some guy. Appeared out of nowhere in the sky. No I-D, but the asshole in the sky called him 'Richard Rider.' Seems like they know each other. Over.'"
<COMBAT> Ravenous attacks Richard with Negative Zone Energy - Moderate wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Cody attacks Swarm4 with Pistol but MISSES!
<COMBAT> Swarm3 attacks Kade with Swarm - ARMOR on Neck stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Ciel attacks Swarm3 with Pistol - Light wound to Arthrian2 (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Swarm4 attacks Ciel with Swarm but Ciel DODGES!
<COMBAT> Kade attacks Swarm3 with Pistol - Moderate wound to Arthrian1 (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Swarm3 has been **KO'd**!
"Bit busy, Ember," comes the voice over the com. "Do you need back-up?"
The swarm near them seems to be thinning, and there are increasingly more body parts and dead bug husks than there are actual moving bugs. They've stopped crawling up Cody's tree-wall entirely, and now they march conveniently down his open path, giving the three agents a clear view.
"Heads up!" Ciel calls, breathing hard, and then, "Fire in the hole!" She pokes her head out from the tree she's taken cover behind long enough to lob a grenade into the middle of the remaining bugs.
Richard hisses as Negative Zone energy slams against his warm, finally pulling away from Ravenous with a burst of speed before swinging back around for the attack.
"We're holding," Kade replies over the comm, about back-up. "No casualties yet. There's just no end to these damn things. The...whoever he is mentioned 'queens'. In the 'ships.' Like that's where these nightmare bugs are coming from. WHOA!" The last he probably did not intend to yell at his superior as he rolls far, far away from Ciel's grenade.
"Copy," says the voice on the radio. "We'll get eyes on those ships. You get that rift /closed/, whatever it ta--" It cuts out as the explosion rips through the park, but it seems clear that they did in fact take notice; overhead, a helicopter shifts to refocus its target on one of the ships, and they exchange fire at a tremendous rate.
Ravenous is nowhere near as fast as Nova. Slow and lumbering, he pushes away from the ground at an even pace. "I'll rip it from you, Rider. Piece by piece if I must. Perhaps He will let me keep it..." he muses, with a grin. Nova's attack is greeted by one in turn. The strange energy soars out of Ravenous' arm and bolts towards his opponent.
<COMBAT> Cody attacks Swarm4 with Pistol and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Kade attacks Swarm4 with Pistol - Light wound to Arthrian1.
<COMBAT> Ravenous attacks Richard with Negative Zone Energy - Critical wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Richard attacks Ravenous with Unarmed - Light Stun wound to Right Arm.
<COMBAT> Swarm4 attacks Ciel with Swarm - Moderate wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> EXPLOSION! Close To Swarm4 - Moderate wound to Arthrian1.
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Swarm4 - ARMOR on Arthrian6 stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Swarm4 - ARMOR on Arthrian6 stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Swarm4 - ARMOR on Arthrian1 stops the attack!
<COMBAT> SHRAPNEL! Swarm4 - ARMOR on Arthrian8 stops the attack!
<COMBAT> Swarm4 has been **KO'd**!
The last of the bugs explode in a mess of good and organic shrapnel that slices through flash as surely as their intentionally-directed jabs did. One catches Ciel on her hand, while Kade and Cody's armor stops several more. For a moment, there is an almost eerie silence.
Cody keeps his eye on the tree wall, and even tries his hand at having a branch or two swat at bugs who think to try to climb around it. With mixed success, which is about how his shooting goes also, hit or miss being literally true on this occasion. It doesn't help that half the time he's watching other people, his teammates and "Richard Rider"'s battle overhead with the Bug Lord.
The energy slams into Richard's chest, tearing through his armor and sending him hurling to the ground. He struggles for consciousness, eyelids flittering for a moment before he starts trying, inch by inch, to push himself off the ground. His success is limited.
"/Fuck/," Ciel curses, jerking her hand in to cradle it against her goo-covered chest. She ducks, taking off through the trees toward Kade. "Are we trusting him? Because this isn't--" She breaks off again as, overhead, a bolt of energy catches Richard full on, and her eyes go wide as she watches him.
Kade eases himself up from the crouched position he took, once the blast has cleared. "Everyone /still/ alive?" He's mostly asking Ciel and Cody, not poor Richard. "Nice blast, Comet." His eyes drift up, through the tree cover, trying to see what's going on above them. "Maybe our peeps are having some luck with their ships." As for trust, "I don't know what the fuck to make of him, but as long as he's fighting /that/ thing, and not us, I'm not going to complain...damn!" That last exclaimed as he, too, sees Richard catch that bolt.
Ravenous watches his foe fall with manic laughter. "You lasted longer than any Novacorps I have faced before - which is to say, less than a galactic minute." The translation isn't very precise, but the alien doesn't seem to care. His attention rises and focuses on Kade. "Pathetic mammal," he curses. With a casual wave, he sends a blast of energy in his direction.
<FS3> Richard rolls Flight-30: Embarassing Failure.
<FS3> Ciel rolls Body-20: Success.
Ciel hesitates for a second. Two seconds. Three seconds. It's a long three seconds, in which Richard hurtles toward the ground in a plummet. Then she's airborne, shooting upward over the trees. She wraps her arms around him, pushing upward against the press of his weight in an effort to slow his fall. She's not strong enough to lift him full-out, but she manages to slow them enough that by the time they hit the ground, it's a soft landing, ending in an uncomfortable roll down a massive insectoid corpse before they sprawl on the green grass. For a moment, Ciel lays still.
<FS3> Richard rolls Flight-30: Embarassing Failure.
<FS3> Richard rolls Flight-20: Success.
<COMBAT> Ravenous attacks Kade with Negative Zone Energy - Serious wound to Abdomen (Reduced by Cover) (Reduced by Armor).
Richard almost manages to help fly once he feels Ciel trying to break his fall, but it's probably mostly her that manages to keep the crash from being catastrophic. He coughs, not seeming fazed by falling into a pile of insectoid corpses. "Thanks," he rasps out, wincing as he tries to get up. With a weak smile, he adds, "You look like a friend of mine." Then his attention draws inexorably back to Ravenous.
"Comet!" Kade yells when Ciel takes flight. Though it's not exactly a rebuke. "Get yourself and that asshole back into cover! Fast as you can!" Ravenous isn't looking at her, fortunately. That thing is looking at /him/ now. He ducks as small as he can against the wall of trees, but it's only so much protection against the hell blast that comes down on him. He lets out a scream of both profanity and pain as he's hurled to the ground with crushing force. He sprawls there for a beat, groaning fumbling to raise his pistol back into position. For whatever good it'll do.
"You look like Richard Rider," Ciel answers, staring at him for a beat too long. It's a beat in which Ravenous destroys the tree Kade's hiding behind, a beat in which he sprawls backward and screams. "Ember!" she shouts, pushing up to her feet to abandon Richard behind her as she moves at a sprint. She turns her gun toward Ravenous as she goes, but her aim is poor; she's more focused on getting to her teammate.
Ravenous watches the progress of his attack with another smile. "If you are this planet's mightiest heroes, I find you lacking. Considerably," he admits with a laugh. As projectiles are fired, he will attempt to fly out of the way.
<COMBAT> Ciel attacks Ravenous with Pistol and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Kade attacks Ravenous with Pistol - Moderate wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
Now abandoned by Ciel, Richard manages to drag himself over slowly in her wake to the group of gathered agents. "You won't be able to do anything else until he's down," he says, one arm held carefully over his abdomen. "Don't suppose one of you has an extra sidearm?"
Kade uses a low-hanging branch to *yank* himself semi-upright enough to fire off a round at Ravenous. "That better, motherfucker?" he asks, upon clipping Ravenous's doom. His voice is a pained rasp, so that might not've been loud enough for the flying doom creature to hear, but saying it seems to make Kade feel more vaguely satisfied. He leans against a tree, unable to support himself without it, and rolls his head toward Ciel and Richard. Richard, in particular. "How do we kill that thing?" After a beat of hesitation, he adds to his team, "See if you can find him a gun."
The bullet from Kade's firearm passes through Ravenous' jaw. Skin and bone tear and break, but the jaw remains firmly attached. "Such a primitive weapon," he scoffs. He raises his hand and throws a blast towards Ciel. The attack sizzles with energy and light as it surges forward.
<FS3> Ciel rolls Portals: Great Success.
Ciel slides into place next to Kade, ready to slide an arm into place around his waist. He finds his feet just as she gets there, and so instead she looks a little awkward. Her attention jerks upward, watching the bullet slice through Ravenous's jaw with little effect. "Shit," she says, and then widens her eyes as a beam comes arcing toward her. In the fraction of a second before impact, a portal opens in front of her; another opens to one side of his head.
<COMBAT> Ravenous attacks Ciel with Negative Zone Energy and MISSES!
<COMBAT> Cody attacks Ravenous with Pistol - Light wound to Right Hand.
<COMBAT> Kade attacks Ravenous with Pistol - Critical wound to Head (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Ciel attacks Ravenous with Negative Zone Energy - Moderate wound to Chest (Reduced by Armor).
<COMBAT> Ravenous has been **KO'd**!
Kade fires off another round of his primitive weapon at Ravenous's head. It seemed to work well enough before, why not try again.
"A quantum-manipulator!" Ravenous realizes as he sees the portal appear. His thin, red eyes grow large and burn with light. "I must acquire you for my lo-" he continues, but his words are cut short. Another bullet cuts through the skin and bone of Ravenous' head - this time, through his skull. It is not clear whether the attack was enough to destroy him. A moment later, his own energy-beam slams into his side. His muscles can't absorb much of the impact, and he is thrown towards the rift in space. He doesn't stop - instead, he soars right through it.
"Or -- not." Richard watches with wide eyes as Ciel's portals redirect Ravenous's energy back at him and sends the alien flying back through the rift. "Peter--!" he starts to yell, taking several strides towards the rift, but he's stumbling and weak from his injuries.
"Now!" Ciel cries, pivoting toward Kade. She shoots upward, quick by most (non Richie, non Beaubier) standards. With Ravenous out of the way, she can gain enough height to get a clear visual on their landing location. Where there are lots and lots of explosives. She's quivering with the effort now, holding a portal open between the landing site and Kade. It's an easy retreat, and then an easy aim toward that rift in the sky. "Close it /down/!"
"Well I will be goddamned..." Kade mutters, a grin breaking across his face as Ciel conjures a portal to redirect that blast back at Ravenous. "Comet, /that/ was smooth." He side-eyes Richard as the other man stumbles forward. But Kade's got no time to keep him from wandering off. He grits his teeth and, with no small amount of effort, gets moving. "Let's light this up..." He stumbles toward Ciel's portal and, if he can reach the other side, he will do his level best to get that rift exploded.
Kade's level best is pretty damned good, even with his insides all unhappy. He's an X-Force agent, after all. It's not entirely clear what happens, because a lot happens at once. Somewhere, one of the other X-Factor teams takes out a ship overhead, and half the bugs in Staten Island fall over dead. Somewhere else, one of the ships sends the lower half of the island up in flames with an explosion that even Brooklyn hears across the bay. Somewhere, Ravenous disappears beyond the portal, drawn in by some grabbing force from his own side. And somewhere beyond, a series of explosions set off by the missiles Kade sends through the rift bounce from ship to ship in the beyond.At the end of it, when the dust settles, the rift is closed, most of the bugs are dead, and Staten Island is nothing but rubble. A few teams stay active, hunting down the last of the bugs and the ships controlling them and rescuing stranded civvies. This team, though; this team is done.