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Chaos, Steel, and Wolves (IC)


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9:30AM January 10th, 2013
Katasrof & Sorenson Technologies, American Branch, Freedom City HQ

K&ST's Hanover building somehow managed to look simultaneously "old world" and "shining future" as Jessica Anne Parker walked up to it. The strangely perfect fusion of stone, steel, and glass seemed like an impervious fortress...But the front doors appeared to be ready to receive visitors, so.

Once inside, she could quickly spot the front desk. After introducing herself, she was given a guest pass, guided to an elevator, and told which floor to go to, as well as how to get to the conference room (she couldn't miss it). Indeed, once she stopped at the second-from-the-top floor, the elevator opened to a hallway with a few clearly-marked doors; a couple of bathrooms, emergency stairs, a couple maintenance/cleaning rooms, and at the far end, a set of double doors that were marked simply "Meeting", with an electronic indicator underneath that said "Open".

When she stepped inside, it was a large, comfortable meeting room. The far wall was floor-to-ceiling windows that seemed to auto-tint themselves; the other walls had display screens covering most of their surface, including the inside of the (surprisingly thick) door Jessica had come in (which seemed to smoothly close into the wall. The table itself was metal and "glass", though it looked as if it could also serve as a display unit; the chair surrounding it were large and very comfortable. The ceiling had discrete climate control vents, some speakers, and some nodes that might just be holographic display units.

Perhaps 2 minutes after she entered the room, a young blond man just a few years her senior entered the room, wearing a dark grey business suit, holding what looked to be a translucent tablet PC, and with a somewhat distracted look on his face. When he noticed Jessica's presence, he looked fully up and walked over, a smile on his face. He offered her a firm handshake.

"Excellent! I was hoping you'd be able to make it this morning. We've got a lot to talk about, and probably not as much time as we'd like to do so in. Oh, right, names. I'm Baron Magnus Vilhelm Katastrof; welcome to Katasrof & Sorenson Technologies. Would you like to have a seat? Do you need any refreshments?"

He sat down in a chair that was shaped a bit differently from the others (though not by much) at the "head" of the oblong table; he gestured to one of the chairs next/near to him.

Edited by KnightDisciple
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Jessica had been rather surprised to receive a personal email from a business leader at her publicly available, Lab-provided email address. She was even more surprised to see that it was from a baron, and someone that seemed to be the head of his own electronics firm. He'd spoken vaguely of needing to meet with her, which put her somewhat on edge. Supervillains had attacked the Lab before; of course they rarely sent out engraved invitations beforehand, so she felt fairly safe meeting with Katastrof.

The email made things sound like a personal meeting, but this was at a company's headquarters and if Katatstrof was the head of the company he might see a business matter as a personal one. Accordingly, Jessica had dressed in a forest-green business-casual suit with a pencil skirt and flats. She didn't bother to bring a computer up with her (though she did make sure her tablet was fully charged and locked before leaving it in the glovebox of her car) and the only jewelry she wore was the silver bracelet/wristwatch/armor beacon that accompanied her everywhere.

The building itself was impressive, rather more modern than Dawes Tech and not so focused on the end product as the Lab. There was a surprising amount of chiseled stone in evidence, but there were also LED lights and access terminals for tablet computers, so she decided to treat Katastrof as an equal, as much into high technology as she was.

The meeting room was impressive with its subtle touches of technology, and she couldn't resist raising her head to count the small bulges in the ceiling. If they were projection units and they covered an area of such and such degrees, then they'd intersect to cover just a certain amount of the room's volume, which would mean that... Her musings were cut short when Katastrof introduced himself. She shook his hand briefly and took a seat a few spaces down from him at the table. "No, breakfast wasn't that long ago," she replied. "I'm impressed by your building. Do you do research here, or is this solely for administration?"

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Magnus nodded as she indicated she didn't want anything. He pressed a few buttons on his tablet before pushing the sides together, compressing it to something the size of a larger smartphone, then tucking it away somewhere under his jacket.

"Fair enough. I'm a bit thirsty, and the cart will have extras, so if you happen to get thirsty, feel free. As for this building, it's some of both."

He smiled and gestured around. them, mostly pointing toward the cityscape.

"We're not really well positioned for some of our more exotic research, but we have a few physical labs, and plenty of computer labs for various projects at various stages. But mostly this is our "hub" for coordinating our various American operations, which thankfully are only on the Eastern Seaboard right now. If we get facilities far enough West we'll likely need more. Ah well."

He shrugged at the thought as a gentleman in slack and a polo, with a security badge around his neck on a lanyard, pushed in a large cart with a refrigerator integrated into it. Magnus smiled and thanked the man as he left, opening the fridge and extracting a large bottle of water. He took a quick swig before standing up and walking to one of the "side" walls of the rectangular room. He waved his free hand, and the wall lit up with a map of....Sweden and the surrounding Scandinavian area. He snapped his fingers, and some 20 dots were highlighted; some in the midst cities, some at the edge, some in the mountainous areas between civilizations. He turned to face Jessica.

"In the last two months, 5 of my highest-security facilities in Europe have been attacked. Not directly, but several hacking attempts, a few break-in attempts...."

He turned and touched 3 sites, 2 in the "wilderness" and 1 in the city.

"And 3 successful attempts. Two stole physical samples of our technology; some high-end alloys and..."

He paused, looking...uncomfortable...admitting the next part.

"A crate containing 20 brand-new, working Vacuum Energy Systems, each of which produces enough power to run something the size of a large civilian sport utility vehicle for...well, until the parts break down. Of course, that's each VES individually. With 20 chained together, which is possible for a sufficiently-advanced mind, you could power some rather impressive hardware.

Unfortunately, the third theft was for some of our designs for high-capacity power lines, that would allow just that sort of chaining."

He left that map up, with the 3 theft sites glowing an angry red, the other 5 attempts glowing yellow, and the rest glowing green. Another couple of odd gestures and the large wall opposite the windows (which had auto-tinted to the point of being opaque) lit up, showing the upper half of the East Coast, centered on Freedom City. The current building they occupied flashed yellow...and the main facility for Dawes Technical Solutions lit up first yellow, and then red. Magnus's face was grave as he turned to face Jessica.

"Just 3 days ago, someone, probably the same group, tried to hit the servers here. Considering what's happened to us already, we immediately shut them out. Some of my best men and women even pulled some tricks out of their hat to try and trace them. That failed initially, but...they managed to notice that Dawes Technical Solutions was hit. We didn't get all the details, but we saw the file names for the information they grabbed. This was just 15 hours ago. Your people locked it down within 20 minutes, but whoever is doing this is really, really good. They knew just what they wanted."

He brought his hands up over the table, and suddenly a half-dozen blue wire-frame models came up, with labels.

"They apparently acquired several of your company's "less-lethal" plans for the military. All of them using directed energy. I don't know all the details, but the names allow some inference. Individually, I would be worried that they're trying to make a super-sized version powered by several VES to hold the city hostage or some such. As many of these villain types are wont to do, as I'm sure you well know. But all of them together...I worry there could be something they're trying to make that takes components from each. The problem is, I don't know exactly what goes into these; we just saw file headers and the "display" pictures. I'm smart, but I don't just know what someone puts in a machine by looking at a shiny shell and a name. Worse, I have a feeling the buck isn't stopping there. There's a couple more high-end technology companies in this city. Archetech is one, but I'm actually more concerned they'll try for Hallomen Advanced Experts. Both are run by top-notch women in, well, most all the science fields. But Archetech has more resources and is better-established, so their security might be just a tick higher; plus, these thieves seem to be trying to be subtle. The thefts from my company weren't noticed for approximately 12 hours. Hallomen is smaller, which to the mind of the thieves might mean "less public target". Considering the rather private nature of the company and owner, I'm inclined to agree."

He waved a hand and the schematics and names flew over to the large wall display, settling to the opposite end as the map of Freedom City. DTS was still in red, KST was in yellow, and HAX was in green with a yellow question mark floating over it. The schematics from DTS were joined by wire-frames of the VES and cables, as well as chemical notations for the alloys. Magnus settled heavily into his chair.

"As you can see, we have a problem here. A big one."

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Jessica watched as Magnus deftly manipulated the holoimages. He'd obviously worked with such systems for a long time, and the projectors in the ceiling didn't have any problem following his actions. Of course most of her brain was following the meat of the presentation, but part of her couldn't stop analyzing the mechanisms on display.

Until he mentioned DTS. Then she sat up taller, feeling a tingle go down her spine. "I... wasn't quite aware there had been another break in." She flicked her eyes over the file headings. "Some of these are in telecommunications," she muttered, mostly to herself. "I could find out the details of what the other projects involved, but I'd want to know how exactly the Vacuum Energy System works." Her mind was working furiously, part of it trying to determine what the villainous plan was and part of it trying to figure out how much of Dawes's secrets she could reveal to a competitor.

She did a double-take on the map of Freedom City. One dot represented what could only be HAX. Jessica had stayed away from Mara's own business venture, in large part because she wasn't sure she could keep an appropriate distance between her relationship with Dragonfly and her relationship with Mara Hallowman. However, now a meeting between them seemed inevitable. She pressed a hand against her temple and asked Magnus, "Have you contacted the... private owner, yet?"

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"The VES are patented, but..."

He sighed and tapped a few virtual keys on the tabletop. After a moment, the table in front of Jessica displayed various specifications, statistics, and results from tests, while the air had a holographic "wire frame" of one of the VES.

"The Vacuum Energy System utilizes the principles of vacuum energy, various parts of quantum field theory, and ultimately zero-point energy. It carries secondary systems that allow it to convert at least some measure of ambient energy into stored power, as it includes some of our cutting-edge battery tech as well to prevent waste of immediate excess. They require little maintenance or refueling, and the most catastrophic possible failure results in the very center of the device crumpling inward while some of the circuit boards short out, rendering it a lump of useless metal, silicon, plastic, and such."

The hologram allowed Jessica to interact with it, and was surprisingly detailed; she could likely at least attempt recreating one of these smaller reactors from this, if she could remember it.

"They're still expensive to reproduce, and require somewhat rare materials that are themselves difficult to produce at times. They're part of our company's long-term efforts to make 100% clean, green, renewable energy available worldwide. Unfortunately it looks like we'll have to reach the stage of exploiting asteroid resources to fully realize that vision with VES systems alone. I've taken to understand Archetech is looking into fusion systems that will provide excellent "stop-gap" measures....but that's a side issue. Anyways."

He shrugged.

"We only knew because of our trace on the attempts on our systems. I honestly thought you knew, and told you out of courtesy and context. As for Hallomen Advanced Expters, not yet. I contacted you first because your company has been hit for sure, but it's unclear if Hallomen's been struck yet. We lost our trace before we could narrow the infiltrators down further than "somewhere in Freedom city". They're some of the best I've ever seen with computers, and I've worked with Miss Americana directly. If you know someone at Hallomen, I think we should meet with them ASAP. They're likely either an immediate target, or may have already been hit in some fashion or another. As they're a smaller, more focused operation, I hoped someone who was more...local...might help assure them we're not lying through our teeth in an opening bid of a hostile takeover."

He gave a smirk at the idea, though considering how open and direct he'd been, such a move didn't seem quite his style.

"We've filed with the authorities of course, but this is the sort of problem that needs addressed on local fronts, and warning other companies might work better from...peers. Besides, worst case, I would imagine you have some more...pro-active contacts in other circles, yes?"

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Jessica nodded at the explanation of the VES. It wasn't too different than how her armor was powered, though she used the quantum foam effect to find a wormhole and exploit matter/antimatter reactions. She immediately dived into the manipulable model of the engine, pulling it apart and tapping pieces to get more information. "Oh, you used a cross-wise nanotube arrangement for the washers? Interesting. I tend towards sticking with metal, myself."

After a minute she forced herself to push away from the table, turning away from the now-exploded model. "If by pro-active contacts, you mean that I work with superheroes, yes. I could even put a call into the Freedom League, though frankly I think you'd get as far with them as I would. If need be though, I could talk to my coworkers at the Lab. However, they're usually engaged in their own projects and I wouldn't want to pull them away."

She drummed her fingers on the edge of the table at the mention of HAX. "I do know Mara Hallowman, yes. I suppose it might be faster if I approach her, rather than yourself, Baron." Jessica stood and pulled out her smartphone, unlocking the screen and dialing up Mara's office number. She stepped towards the window to get a little bit of privacy and waited for Mara's secretary to answer. "Yes, this is Jessica Parker. I'd like to speak to Mara Hallowman, please."

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"Yes? Wh- no - don't - mmmgh. Just leave it - leave it on the desk, will get to it when I-- yes, I know. Go away. Sorry. Hello?"

Most of Mara's greeting had been muffled, as she clearly addressed someone - or (from the sound of it) several someones - else, but eventually the background noise died away and her attention was back to the phone. "This is Mara." Even after using it in her company's name (admittedly more for the pun and to poke her father in the eye than anything else), she rarely used her last name - though the fact that Jessica had said volumes about the context of the call. "Kind of busy right now, but...your reputation is worth some time. More than. Though if you're trying to pitch a job, will have to have reception put you through to that team. Usually only review potential jobs once the spec is put together."

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Jessica rolled her eyes, listening to her friend's normal distraction. "Actually, this is something of an immediate matter. There have been electronic attacks on Dawes Technical Solutions, as well as Katasrof & Sorenson Technologies. Some evidence has lead me to believe that HAX may also be a target." She paused for a moment to let Mara's brain chew on that information. "I understand if you would prefer to discuss this face-to-face, rather than over the phone. I'm over at K&ST's building right now, as a matter of fact." She tiled the phone away from her face, so the next words wouldn't be audible to Mara. That's because they directed at Magnus. "Quick question, do your windows in here open? Wide?"

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Magnus had kept a respectful distance while Jessica started the phone conversation. He took to tinkering with the displays of the various stolen items, trying to figure out possible configurations. He discounted explosives centered on the VES's for obvious reasons. Instead he focused on possibilities for Directed Energy Weapons. The idea was...not encouraging. 20 VES could pump out a lot of power. Depending on what the specs from DTS were for...

And then Jessica asked him about the windows. He blinked for a moment, then raised an eyebrow.

"Not windows, no, not this high up. There's a helicopter pad on the roof."

He didn't mention the secure hatch he used when he was in his Fenris armor. Jessica didn't need to know that tidbit just yet.

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"Thank you for the warning, sorry you got attacked. Not too worried, though. Research core is isolated from outside systems - no internet, no wireless. Excellent physical security. Suppose you could sneak a tap into one of the terminals, but I'd know about it as soon as I----"

Mara cut off; in her office at HAX, behind her desk full of ignored paperwork, the young woman was staring at one of her walls as if she could see through it.

On Jessica's end of the line there was almost a half-minute of silence...and then cursing - a master's class in four languages' worth of swear words.

On her unknown thieves' end of their connection it was like the servers came alive, rising up like some malevolent intelligence to chase them back out of the HAX research servers and put an immediate end to any and all file transfers. With the advantage of her security protocols and intimate knowledge of her system, it took her less than a minute to rout them and and their hooks completely from her network...which, on top of the unknown time they'd already spent nosing around, was a minute too long.

"....owe you an apology," the voice came back over the phone at long last. "Good timing - very good timing. They're...clever. Don't like it at all. Only got a couple project files, thankfully - nothing too bad. Small-scale gravity lens, next-generation energy regulators, amplifiers. Only really useful for research. Can't even make the lens bigger; ridiculous long-term power requirements."

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Jessica closed her eyes as her mind went into action, the bits and pieces of the puzzle she already had sliding around and trying to find a sensible solution. Calculations flashed through her brain as fast as any supercomputer, and mentally she assembled the different components into different configurations. And then there was the eureka moment, the lightbulb coming on as it all came together in a tidal wave of understanding that left a cold knot in her gut. "A kill sat." She turned and raised her voice so Magnus could hear. "The VES power systems, the point-to-point laser communicators from Dawes Tech, and the energy power regulators and amplifiers from HAX. They're making a laser cannon that could be hidden and mounted on a commercial vehicle. Or, if they have orbital launch capability, on a satellite too small for a conventional military attack."

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Magnus had to actually process that statement for a few precious seconds, before swearing under his breath. His hands flew as he manipulated the holograms in front of him, kludging together a design from guesses and the pieces of the puzzle they had. He typed into the air for a moment, and suddenly the table was a diorama of Freedom City, with a small "kill sat" hovering above it. There were sliders in the air next to the Baron, which he pushed to the top of their limit, before pressing a large red button. His face paled a bit as the simulation confirmed the numbers; by his estimates (and the computers), such a device could burn the heart of the city, any city, to ash without undue trouble. He clapped his hands once, and the room went dark as all the displays turned off. Another clap had regular interior lighting coming back on.

"No time to organize the STAR squad, AEGIS, the League, or anyone like that. Miss Dawes, I realize this is a lot to ask, but I know you're a hero yourself. We need to hit them now. I think my systems can track them, with the help of Miss Hallomen if she'd be willing to. But then we need to stop them. I have an...associate...who goes by the name "Fenris". His armor utilizes a couple of systems developed by my company, as well as some of his own. He's rather handy with technology himself, and he can address this without it becoming a panic or the like. But he's only one person; you yourself utilize some advanced hardware. Could we perchance petition the assistance of Ironclad in this endeavor? And if you know of a couple of other heroes of a similar nature who could contribute, that would be excellent. I'd like to keep this "in-house" with more...technological...solutions, if you see what I'm saying."

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"A what!?" Mara's voice, ever so briefly, sounded like it was coming from every speaker in her office...and the phone itself. She could see it, though: the lens, a sufficient power source, regulators, amplifiers, Dawes Tech-grade lasers....the fact that it was plausible didn't make her any less unhappy. If anything, it made her less happy still.

One of her employees chose that moment to enter her office to ask her for something, took one look at her, and turned right back around; the young woman's face said it all, and the fact that every screen in the room with her was raw, red static - like her brain was trying to do something, anything with the anger - wasn't helping at all. "No. Not going to happen. Not now, not ever."

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Jessica waited for a moment. She didn't know the whole story behind Mara's crusade against weapons tech, but she knew it was something deeply emotional for her friend and didn't want to drop herself into the middle of that rage. "I agree. This has to be stopped, Mara, but I'm afraid it's going to take a little direct action. If you would like, I'm sure I wouldn't mind a friend of yours coming along to make sure your tech got back to you, however."

A sudden idea came to Jessica, and for a moment she wished for her technopathic abilities back. Instead she dug a Bluetooth earpiece out of a pocket and fitted it. A few taps on the screen made the call wireless and pulled up Jessica's text messenger service. It took her a moment to find Baxter's number, but when she started in on the message it was with the speed of a teenage techno-fetishist.

Hy Bax gong to punch bad dudes w8t 2 come with?

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There were days Baxter dreaded going to class, and this one was no exception. He'd only just arrived, making the rounds through the hustle-and-bustle after his first period math class. Boring. Dull. Predictable. Uninteresting. But all in all, Baxter knew it was a mandatory sort of ordeal; he couldn't fail his Junior year again! The only saving grace he had now as he made his way from math to history was that this time around he had previous knowledge, and his grades weren't in the gutter. He'd even managed to avoid being excessively tardy thus far!

Then came the familiar vibrations of his cell phone. An unexpected surprise, Baxter just smiled towards his friends and classmates as they passed him, flipping his phone open to view his latest message - no doubt something or another about the gossip going around school or some hilarious lolcat picture. Instead, what he saw was even more surprising: a call to arms for the kicking of butts from Jessica! For a second, Baxter pondered his answer. He could stay here in class, keep his grades up, and get out of the hole he'd dug himself last year. But on the other hand, there were bad dudes to punch, and it was his responsibility to be the best bad guy puncher he could be; after all, it was sort of a thing for superheroes these days.

With a flurry of adroit taps, Baxter - no, the Bee-Keeper! - gave his response.

"OMG yes! luv pnching bad dudes. where u @?"

Slipping away to his usual hidey-hole, it wasn't long before Baxter was in-costume and streaking through the air, metallic wings abuzz as he made his way towards the rendezvous point Jessica had sent him. Sure, he had to keep his speed throttled a bit - he didn't wanna break every window pane and windshield along the way! - but it wasn't long before the all too familiar armored Apiary was on the scene, soaring up and onto the roof of the hard-to-miss K&ST building; looking quite keen in regards to thwarting whatever shenanigans were going down before dialing Jess' cell through his helmet.

"Hey! Juzzt thought I'd let you know I'm up here on the roof, Jezzica. Zzo... what'zz thizz I hear about bad dudezz needing to get punched?"

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"Yes. I...mmh." The thought that her call with Jessica had some potential to be overheard finally filtered down through Mara's anger, and she tried to remind herself that hunting down whoever did this would be easier in a group. had better be anyway - can always leave them later "Have to...deal with things here. Know someone who owes me. Expect her soon."

She didn't wait for a reply before hanging up, sparing only a few seconds for cancelling everything else she was supposed to have gotten done today on her way to the roof. She could deal with frustrated customers and paperwork later - the longer they let these people hold onto their stolen data and technology, the worse this would get.

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Magnus raised an eyebrow as, not long after Jessica sent a text message (it was a rather obvious action, after all), the building's sensors detected...well, it was the size of a human, moving fast, but definitely not reading like a missile or projectile, so probably not totally hostile. Maybe. He made sure the system tracked it, and turned his attention to Jessica (and thus Ms. Hallomen by proxy). He typed for a moment, a 2-dimensional diagram coming to life right beside Ms. Dawes. It was the building they were in, and it highlight the Helicopter Pad, a secure doorway there, and a path to a smaller (comparatively) room just one level down from the rooftop. A second path lit up, from the conference room to the same meeting room (just a couple floors up). He spoke up, hoping both ladies on the phone could hear him.

"Jessica, your badge will allow you access to the top floor, and that room indicated on the map. It's not as fancy as this one, but it should still give everyone the tools necessary to hash out a quick plan. I'll be working from one of our labs to feed some intelligence to you, but the...I suppose four of you? Will be on your own. It's up to you all how you go about this, but...Ms. Hallomen is right. This has to be stopped now. Here. No further. There's no telling the damage that could be caused if just the plans leaked out. We'll do our best from this end to make sure there are no more leaks or attacks anywhere else. And my friend Fenris should be here any time now. I would say it's been a pleasure, ladies, but under the circumstances, we might have to reschedule to have a friendly rival's lunch."

With a tight smile that didn't quite reach his eyes, Magnus nodded to Jessica and left the room, calmly walking out the door and down the hall out of sight.

That he quietly entered one of the storage rooms, walked to the back wall, and then through a disguised sliding door, would go unseen by anyone; even the security footage showed him entering the elevator with nary a flicker.


As the Bee-Keeper drew closer to the building, Magnus entered one of his small secondary "armories" that he had scattered across the world. This one was buried in the middle of the upper levels of the office building, not on any publicly available blueprints. Or any of the private ones. The security was tighter than tight.

He calmly and efficiently stripped out of his work clothes, the morphic molecules of his interface suit already in place. Only the harness remained, with his phone and tablet securely locked in place. With a now-practiced gesture his hands pressed a button on each "holster", and he spoke a quick word to confirm the vocal unlock.

"Tjut, Fenris."

And suddenly in a flash of light, the Fenris Armor Mark 2.1.1 was there, and it was opening, and as Magnus stretched his arms out, the suit wrapped itself around his body, and in less than 2 seconds, it was not Baron Magnus Katastroff, but the lupine armored hero Fenris who stood there. He flexed his fingers for a moment before walking to another shaft that held no elevator, but still opened to the roof.

"Time to meet the neighbors."

He crouched, and before his leap was complete, he was a flash of light.


When Bee-Keeper landed on the roof, Fenris was standing next to the helipad, armored hands crossed over his chest. He actually smiled, the armored wolf head moving somewhat realistically as he emoted and spoke.

"Nice to meet you. I go by Fenris. I'm guessing, and this is a big leap here, that you're the Bee-something. Sorry if you're kinda big around here; I'm not from around here, don't know all the names and faces yet. I think we've got one or two more incoming before we go to the meeting..."

His voice was humanish, but clearly run through a filter, mostly to strip away any accent, and add a slight techno-growl to it. It wasn't that powerful now, but in a fight, it might well be a bit intimidating for opponents.

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Jessica's eyes tracked the route Magnus traced out, while part of her brain tracked the conversation with Mara. "I look forward to meeting your friend, Mara. Have her home in on this cellular signal, that should lead her right to use." As Magnus left, Jessica deactivated the Bluetooth earset and slipped it back into her pocket. Her cell phone went on the table as she activated the silver bracelet she wore everywhere. There was a wave of energy and the young woman shone like the sun for a brief moment, and when the light faded Ironclad was standing in her place.

The armored heroine picked up the cell phone and stepped towards the elevator, whistling off-key. She punched the button to summon a car and stared up at the ceiling. She was more used to flying up the elevator shaft instead of riding in the car in full armor, but she decided not to test KST's security system today and let it carry her up. When it opened onto the roof she stepped out, letting the suit's sensors search the surroundings. She pin-pointed the Bee-Keeper easily and suppressed the urge to wave wildly, even as she grinned behind her helmet. "Hello, Bee-Keeper," she called over. "I'm glad you could make it." The wolf-man in armor got a wider berth, however. "I'm guessing that since you're not setting off alarms, you're either very good -- in which case you wouldn't be showing yourself like this -- or you're supposed to be here. Hm, KST private security?"

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From his position amidst the trio, the Bee-Keeper could only cock his head slightly at the entourage of armored heroes poised atop the rooftop, fighting his own urge to wave vehemently towards his pal. But his jovial disposition at the prospect of punching evil was somewhat diminished as it became clear that neither Jessica nor he knew who this mysterious Fenris fellow was. Indeed, this whole thing was sort of odd for Baxter, but he nevertheless kept his cool, granting Ironclad a small but very cheerful wave before focusing his attention on the lupine battlesuit bearer whom he'd even more strangely never heard of.

"What zzhee zzaid. And what'zz thizz about a meeting?" the Bee-Keeper added, scratching his antennae-bedecked head with a metal gauntlet as he glued his eyes to the metallic wolf-like entity. "Did I mizz zzomething here?"

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[bg=#555555]"Multiple thefts from high-profile technology companies."[/bg]

Dragonfly had made the trip in what had to be record time, her wings flickering out of existence as she set foot on the building to give her suit a little time to cool off. [bg=#555555]"Individually not a concern, but together could be used to create large, dangerous energy weapons. Have to assume they know what they're doing - thefts weren't easy, and too specific."[/bg]

She tilted her head at Fenris, but didn't comment; she hadn't been expecting him to be here, but then, she probably should have. [bg=#555555]"Would rather not waste time. May take them time to analyze and construct, but with good facilities, not too long."[/bg]

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"Dragonfly is correct. We're looking at someone building something that could destroy a city in a single blast."

He was already clomping along the roof to the door Ironclad had exited from, stopping only at the door itself.

"Less "private security", more...independent contractor. The Baron appreciates the work I do, and doesn't mind donating a few materials to help me in my endeavors. But we don't want to give the impression I'm step one in raising a private army or anything. That would...make certain parties nervous."

Who exactly, he didn't seem willing to say!

"And if you're unsure about me, Dragonfly can vouch for me. We've worked together before."

A quick burst of data went across Dragonfly's HUD.

--Discretion would be greatly appreciated, ma'am. Obviously more important work to be about, anyways.--

When the others followed, they were led down 1 level of stairs to a small (comparatively) room with a holo-table in the middle. Fenris walked to the far side and typed on a keyboard for a few moments before a map of the city sprang up. An area just south of the Airport, a fairly short distance from their current location.

"The Baron and his team didn't manage to trace the hackers any further than this area. But for the sort of work they're doing, only a couple buildings have much possibility, having been bought in the last couple of months. Regrettably the trace isn't any more solid. But if any of you have any ideas on how we can narrow things down, feel free."

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"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" the Bee-Keeper interjected, forming a time-out sign with his hands as the tidbits of information slipped out, panning frantically from the newly arrived Dragonfly, to Jessica and then finally resting his vision on the lupine techie, a chill running down Baxter's spine. "I knew I wazz getting that 'missed zzomething' vibe."

Pausing for a moment to let what little information he had sink in, the Bee-Keeper folded his arms, as if contemplating what to do.

"Zzoo let me get thizz zztraight. There're thezze hacker guyzz, and they're building zzome zzorta giant death lazzer that can wipe the zzity out from partzz that they zztole from tech companiezz?" he repeated, sounding not unlike a parrot sitting on a washing machine.

"If we know thezze guyzz are right around here zzomewhere, then hey, cool! We're on the right track. Think you could, I dunno, narrow it down though? Like, zzpezzific buildingzz, maybee? Guezzing we're zzorta on a time limit here."

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Ironclad winces underneath the helmet. "Yeah, sorry. A little more complicated than punching bad guys. First we've got to find that bad guys -- and yes, we're kind of on a time limit.

"Although it's probably not that set in stone." Ironclad projected her own model of the city, quickly overlaying all the physics necessary to consider for a rocket launch. "My armor can hit about Mach 1.5, and I know Bee-Keeper can at least keep up with me. It wouldn't be feasible to race down a satellite already in orbit, but we could make a damn fine showing of catching a rocket as it launches."

Ironclad approached the model Fenris had set up and considered the buildings. "If they're going for the orbital approach, they'll need solid-fuel rockets and fair number of them to get something that heavy off the ground. You need a license to buy those, so we should be able to track that sort of thing. Likewise, if they want to mount this to a vehicle they'll need a pretty big truck to move it around. We should look at any large vehicle purchases within the last few days, especially those made with cash."

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[bg=#555555]"Don't need solid fuel for relatively small payloads,"[/bg] Dragonfly pointed out, impatiently tapping a finger against her leg. [bg=#555555]"Plenty of methods, but modern space plane designs would do - multiple groups trying to push boundaries of more practical space flight. ....actually, think someone got airport hangers recently that would work."[/bg]

She frowned, pulling up her suit's link into her warehouse computer and taking a moment to dig around in places she probably shouldn't. [bg=#555555]"....yes. New company, all talk. Not impressed. Rented out two airport hangers, which would be enough for putting a killsat into space with the right technology and plans."[/bg]

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Here was Baxter, straddled between a bunch of geniuses as he stood atop the roof and twiddled his thumbs. He had no degree in Aerodynamics, or a doctorate in Civil Engineering. He was just some wet-behind-the-ears kid suddenly thrust into a very, very serious situation. It was just his luck with people using lasers for nefarious purposes. But that was neither here nor there; right now, the Bee-Keeper needed to do something, lest he just be dead weight for an already increasingly tense situation. But what could he do? He didn't even know how most of these whatever-it-was the other battlesuit wearing heroes were discussing! How was he supposed to...

Then came an idea. A simple idea. A clever idea. A simply clever idea. Flipping through the HUD in his helmet, the Bee-Keeper drew up what looked like a humble two-dimensional map of the city, sliding his eyes across it until his vision was filled with a transparent overlay of the airport. A few more blinks here and there, and the map zoomed in, highlighting power sources not unlike some sort of cliche' thermal vision from the comics he so loved. Even he was surprised as he struck gold: there on the map, two buildings stood apart from all the others... and, just as Dragonfly had noted, were none too far from the airport itself!

"Yo! Think I found zzomething!" exclaimed the Hero of the Hive, double-checking the little overlay just to be sure of himself. "Down by Jameson Airport, there'zz thezze buildingzz, right? They're zzucking up a lot of power. A lot like, whoa." he explained, miming the sort of quantity he was talking about as best as he could muster.

"If you guyzz're right, then, hey, that'zz gotta be them."

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