Closed Many-Headed Hydra - I

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on smoke break, bother somebody else
Staff member
M.I.R.A. TerminOS version 0.62b
Secure Distribution - Mid-Atlantic Bureau A5
TerminOS kernel 40406 [build 40406 OEM 8eXD]
Running TerminOS as current module . . .
Press DEL to run Setup
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  M YM   ,M MM               MM               MM   ,M9                 ,V^MM.           
  M  Mb  M' MM               MM               MMmmdM9                 ,M  `MM           
  M  YM.P'  MM               MM               MM  YM.                 AbmmmqMA          
  M  `YM'   MM      ,,       MM      ,,       MM   `Mb.     ,,       A'     VML      ,, 
.JML. `'  .JMML.    db     .JMML.    db     .JMML. .JMM.    db     .AMA.   .AMMA.    db 
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D-4722-C "MYCELIA"
D-2218-F "DRAGON"


Agent Mycelia, Agent Gilgamesh, Agent Dragon. I am Lead Analyst Roberts, and I'll be Overwatch for this incident. It's an honor.

Incident in progress. Business as usual, though each Agent might've found novel company with the people they were responding to the Incident with; a prospective candidate from the Midwest branch. Everyone present was a Cloak or Cloak-adjacent Agent, however, which meant the nature of the assignment was simple: stop the robbery, and limit casualties. Optionally, look good while doing it.

The three Agents were dispatched from their headquarters via the Amway, a magnetic levitation (maglev) transportation system that'd been established some years ago to help speed up Incident Response speed. Originally designed as a high speed, high volume train network connecting the majority of major US cities, including every MIRA regional headquarter city in the country. Perhaps more importantly than the civilian train network utilized by the Amway is the maglev system's primary purpose - as a rapid emergency response and contingency system for America's major population centers. Simple spartan accomodations within, and an equipment rack and first-aid access onboard in the event of emergencies.

Simple assignment, here. About 10 minutes ago, a call came in from the NYPD about a bank hit in downtown Manhattan; around five to six gunmen. Silent alarm, which means they might not be anticipating a police response so soon. No shots fired, as of yet. Plainclothes officers dispatched, but they haven't arrived. There will be a MIRA Field Analyst on-scene once you get there.

Overall, the trip that'd take them to the nearest stop took, at most, 30 seconds from the Division HQ; additionally, it was maybe a minute's walk from their stop to get to the bank. Any PDA or Phone that the Agents had on-hand would provide directions and coordinates of the Incident.

They're armed, empowered, and dangerous; according to intelligence we were able to pull from NYPD archives, this is an experienced stick-up crew. Morricone Family connections. Take the time to prepare, talk over strategy, and share specialties. I'll be on the line; now's the time to request specifics for any information. I'll access what I can from the Incident Room.

There was a pause on the line, for a moment.

And, of course-- give a show, but keep civilians safe. Lethal's redlit for this incident unless explicitly stated otherwise. Happy hunting.


Mycelia appeared to listen carefully to the words of Lead Analyst Roberts, at least her face looked focused. The young woman sitting on the train bench was difficult to read, but she seemed at least to not be unhappy. About her shoulders was an all-weather poncho and hanging from her neck was her gasmask. In her hands rested her KS-23, unloaded, and painted red white and blue for the glorious American flag.

Her eyes, grey and a little cloudy, drifted over toward her two partners for this mission, Agent Dragon and Agent Gilgamesh. Tapping the weapon as she looked at them, Mycelia spoke. Her voice was quiet and soft, but it held an unsettling rattle to it. Perhaps if she spoke louder, it would sound a bit more normal, but that was not currently the case.

"I am strong, I am resilient, and I possess multiple options for my weapon. Stun rounds and neutralizing gas agents are primaries of mine. I do not enjoy being shot, but I can be. I like talking to people. I suggest approaching the bank from the front, masks on, and shouting for attention. This will create a good public image for us as heroes. Are either of you capable of protecting hostages from a distance?"

While she spoke, her legs kicked back and forth. Like a kid overly excited to be going to the zoo. While her facial expression stayed neutral, her body language screamed excitement.
In a sea of uncertainty, I am the only constant.

Damon had never been much for anxiety, but in a situation like this, he could feel the pressure. After a few months with the Chicago MIRA office, he'd been sent out on loan to the New York branch, for two purposes- gaining experience working under other heroes, and building his brand in the public eye. now, only a couple days into his stint in the Big Apple, here he was being sent on a mission directly in the public eye.

There was some comfort in knowing that he wasn't the only inexperienced field agent on this mission, though. Mycelia was a fellow fresh recruit, and a few years younger than Damon to boot. Still, she was old enough to be toting around a shotgun, and if that was good by the higher-ups, it was fine by the Dragon. Gilgamesh was the most senior of the trio, but even then, only by a few years.

In a world that drowns in darkness, I will be a pillar of light.

Even for the brief duration of the Amway ride, sitting still felt wrong- so Damon was using the railing to perform one-handed pull-ups, alternating every few seconds from right to left, while he contemplated the situation quietly. They'd been briefed before deployment, shown the CCTV footage that the MIRA support teams had pulled from the bank, and Damon had read the dossiers of everybody he'd been working with in New York before he even arrived, so he had a fairly good sense of what his allies were capable of.

It felt a little wrong that they'd been sent in with so little instruction. Back in Chicago, Sub-Director Soból had always given the team a clear game plan for a mission like this. But then again, Damon had always been deployed as part of the secondary 'B-Team,' along with other heroes that were too fresh or not yet considered competent enough for the Premiere division. It made sense that they weren't trusted to call the shots for themselves like the big names. But this was New York- the big leagues. And if Damon ever wanted to be a Premiere hero like Manowar or the Norn, he'd have to get used to acting on his own recognizance in the field.

My body is an unbreakable diamond.

"We can't just walk in the front door any more than the cops could," Damon pointed out, pausing momentarily to switch the hand he was using to do pull-ups on the maglev train's railing. "That's the whole reason they take hostages. Here's what I'm thinking. The floor plan says that the bank manager's office on the third floor has a big clock that overlooks the main atrium. I'll go in through the rooftop entrance, bust through the clock and get all their guns pointed at me."

Some of these thoughts had been percolating since the briefing, but a lot of this 'plan' was just Damon doing his best to come up with something on the fly. Most of his solo missions prior to joining the Jurors had been kind of spontaneous- kicking down the door of a drug lab, beating up anybody inside and smashing the equipment didn't take a ton of planning. And if the Support and Logistics divisions weren't going to be coming up with strategies, Damon was going to have to start studying tactics. Maybe he could listen to the Art of War audiobook while at the gym?

My fists are aflame with the strength of the righteous.

"Meanwhile, you two go in through the parking garage, stop the guys in the vault before they clean the place out, and when you're finished with that, join me in the atrium to mop up any stragglers."

It was a plan that would put a lot of cameras on Damon, but he wasn't trying to hog the glory- it just seemed like the course of action that would keep the most hostages safe.

Men can falter and fail... but I am no man.

I am the Dragon.
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A dulled silver dollar danced across Gilgamesh's knuckles in perfect rhythm with Roberts's words. Armed hostiles weren't anything new for him since those were the situations that displayed his powers best for the camera. Clips of him walking through gunfire had gone viral the first few times but, now they would trend locally for no more than 24 hours with cellphone recordings performing better than news clips. Nose mounted, gyro stabilized Ikegami 1080i's with up to 44x magnification mounted to the front of a singular news chopper that would monitor the situation from above.

The team he was operating with was another factor. He had made a habit of reading the files of all jurors in Mira, keeping an eye out for competition. The most promising metas were committed fully to memory with just the important details memorized for the rest. Both of them were fresh faces with minimal combat experience. Their powers trended them towards Close Range engagements with Mycelia's limited marksmanship giving her access to Mid Range engagements as well. They both provided plans with Mycelia's being the more showy of the bunch while Dragon attempted a more tactical approach. Bridging the gap between the two approaches was their job and happened to be the part he excelled at.

"They won't shoot the hostages." His words slipped casually into the conversation, "If they were going to kill hostages they would've killed one by now as a show of strength. But, you're right, we all can't go through the front door. I will since it plays to my brand. My absolute defense won't let their bullets touch me." He flipped through the security camera feeds for a moment. "The Atrium is too open for your powers Dragon, Mycelia and I have our only ranged attack options. She should move through the Bank Managers office while I attack from the front. The close quarters of the offices and vault would lend itself to your close quarters brawling much better."
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Mycelia kept perfectly quiet as her teammates spoke, appearing to listen as she kicked her feet back and forth. When Agent Gilgamesh began speaking, Mycelia began loading her shotgun. Compared to regular shotgun shells, the shells were so large it was almost obscene. As she loaded, she spoke the names of the shells aloud. It was still quiet, of course, she was not attempting to interrupt or speak over her comrades.

"Zvezda, zvezda, zvezda-" Mycelia racked the shotgun, "Barrikada." Then, looking up at Agent Dragon, she increased her volume and responded, "I am in agreeance with Agent Gilgamesh. I am not fast, if I start through the parking garage, I cannot guarantee I will arrive at a useful moment. We are to put on a show, it would not be acceptable to arrive late."

The train pulled to its stop at that moment, and Mycelia popped up off the bench. The ride was not long, only 30 seconds, but the group had certainly been able to get in a little bit of conversational planning in that time. Pulling out her PDA, Mycelia began looking over the bank blueprints to refresh herself on the location. As she looked, she added, "Just because they have not shot a civilian yet does not mean they will not later. Dead civvies make for good hit pieces. I do not like hit pieces. Ah- a question, how are you two with CS gas? I have brought canister shells, but I feel it would obscure our appearance for the cameras so I have not loaded them, yet."

The 'yets' were punctuated by a slightly sharper footstep as Mycelia walked. Unless another member of the group indicated that they should wait and talk more, Mycelia would begin walking directly toward the alley behind the bank. By entering through a nearby McDougals restaurant, Mycelia theorized she could approach the ladder to the roof without being seen from any bank windows. The ladder would be locked, of course, but Mycelia didn't need the ladder itself to climb. She could manage its cage just fine.
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And just like that, they were going. Without even waiting to see if Damon was on board with this new version of the 'plan,' Mycelia had deployed, heading for the rooftop entrance. Why they'd decided she was best suited for that role was unclear, considering it involved jumping from a third-floor window down to ground level, Damon wasn't certain- but it was too late to argue. Clearly, not every Juror in New York was as professional or reliable as he'd been led to believe... but that just meant Damon would have to work twice as hard to make sure nobody got hurt.

Stepping out of the Amway car, Damon paused for a mere moment, giving Gilgamesh a curt nod, before breaking into a full-on sprint. Rather than bother with the stairs, he vaulted over the railing of the elevated maglev station and hit the ground hard enough to leave imprints of his boot-soles in the concrete. Building strength had always been his priority, but the fitness regimen that he'd been put on by the Logistics division in Chicago had included endurance training, aimed at making him a bootleg super-speedster simply by applying his awesome strength to his feet as well as his fists.

Consequently, the Dragon made the one-minute sprint to the bank in half the time, grateful that the surrounding streets had already been cleared by the local police, presenting him with few obstacles along the way. His aim was to get inside the building before either of the others, not because he was hungry for glory, but because he was pretty sure the 'plan' the other two had cooked up was going to get somebody killed- and the best way to avoid that would be to clear out his assigned section as quickly as possible, and be ready to assist in the atrium when the shooting started.

Avoiding the crowd that had amassed outside the bank's front entrance, Damon slipped around the back, to the parking garage entrance he'd identified on the floor plan during the briefing. During a normal mission, there would have been people on-site to let him into the building quietly, but this operation had been thrown together so quickly that Damon found himself facing a heavy steel shutter and no way to get past. At least, not quietly.

With a deep inhalation, the Dragon drew his hand back, then thrust it into the shutter, fingers flat, not curled into a fist. He was using his hand not as a blunt weapon, but a sharp one. And, once his hand was through the shutter, he dragged it upwards, tearing a gash in the metal sheet along a straight vertical line. Once he was satisfied it was long enough, he stuck his other hand in the tear he'd made, and began to pry the metal apart in either direction, leaving a hole wide enough to step through. The metal creaked and groaned in protest, but in the end, had no choice but to submit to the Dragon's superior strength.

If the silent alarm hadn't already been triggered, it would be blaring now. With any luck, though, the men down in the vault would have been far enough away not to hear Damon making his entrance.

Striding through the garage, the Dragon performed some brief stretches, intending to limber up his arms before the coming confrontation. Unless the criminals were packing advanced weaponry, he wasn't in much danger of physical harm- but the risk of pulling a muscle was very real, and it would set him back in his training program by weeks.

The vault area was only a short walk from the parking garage. Along the way, Damon passed a security station, though with the opaque, one-way glass, he couldn't tell if the men inside were dead, incapacitated, or simply cowering in fear. In the middle of the hallway , a keycard-protected glass door separated the garage area from the vault, preventing anybody from getting into the high-security area from this avenue. The glass was doubtlessly reinforced, bulletproof- but not Dragonproof.

Three full-strength blows and the glass shattered, scattering shards and fragments across the polished stone floor of the hallway. If the two men in the vault area hadn't been aware of the Dragon's presence yet, they surely were now.
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There was a certain finesse that was required when working with a new set of agents. Mira teams weren't exactly static as much as they were consistently complimentary. Certain agents showed a tendency to work better with certain agents. In times like this when an emergency arose and a group was slapped together there was no thought given to the intricacies of power dynamics or experience. A group of agents who were used to working together could weave a masterful plan together without uttering a single word. They didn't have that luxury.

"No gas, we don't want to send a civilian into an asthma attack"

Mycelia was out the door before Dragon could weigh in on Gilgamesh's suggestion. He returned Dragon's nod with one of his own as he rose to his feet. He cracked his neck and took off towards the bank. While it wasn't anywhere near as fast as Dragon's all out sprint it wasn't remarkably slower either. Heroes had an image they needed to maintain in the eye of the public. Everything that did had to be perceived as always slightly better than even the strongest, fastest, or smartest civilian. His run was a well researched and rehearsed blend of speed and grace. His eyes flitted from window to balcony behind his glasses. Taking notice of any potential snipers as well as onlookers. The angle of his sprint adjusted ever so slightly to ensure he looked as good as possible to any cellphone cameras without compromising on performance.

He tapped his ear piece to communicate with his team. "As the agent with the most field experience I'll make the calls-" There was more to it that he left unspoken. He had his own goals to attain and that meant doing whatever it took to achieve them. "-as well as shoulder full responsibility for any mistakes."

As he approached the police barricade he slowed to a brisk walk. "Don't worry Gentlemen, we'll take it from here." His hands slipped into his pockets, just deep enough to appear naturally relaxed without going too deep and ruining the way the pants fell. His chin was kept high, posture perfectly straight, and his strut appeared weightless. This was the part where his own reputation would kick in. During his first outing Gilgamesh had gone toe to toe with Magazine Man and walked away unscathed. During his next he clashed with Ogre and the results were the same. From that moment on he became known as Gilgamesh the Untouchable. Any lookouts would see him and, knowing his reputation, he assumed they would recognize the futility of a gunfight. Most likely they would take at least two hostages while making a break for it. Mycelia's healing factor and durability would let her land unscathed by the 3rd floor fall. Her shotgun would be far more adept at dealing with what he assumed would be a fleeing crook. The other two would make a break for the hallway where Dragon would be waiting for them and the 3 agents would be able to execute a pincer maneuver.

That was if everything went according to plan. There was always the chance that they would shoot a hostage. The only reason he had said otherwise was because he didn't want to explain the unfortunate reality that came with these type of situations. A hostage death it always a tragedy but as long as at least 90% of the hostages walked out the door unharmed it wouldn't make a dent in their public perception.

"Mycelia, on my signal"

Lets hope they don't make me look bad.

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As usual, the theatrics kicked off with a call for surrender.

The two in the vault area wouldn't be around to hear it. They did, however, hear the telltale crash of breaking glass-- in this case, more a continuous crunch, the bulletproof glass peeling away as a singular section due to its composite structure. The SHOCKSPEC would doubtless hear the ensuing conversation between the two criminals before he rounded the corner.

"Take my bag, I'll deal with whatever the fuck that is."

And, a moment later, the scene would reveal itself. Two masked men-- both clad in bulletproof masks-- had left the already-looted vault area. One was making his way to the stairs in a sprint; the other had was turned to face the vault, his rifle raised and leveled with Dragon. He had an orange Spade upon the cheek of the mask; he wore a two-piece suit with an orange tie, and a ballistic vest hid much of the necktie's body.

"Fuck kind of costume is that?" He scoffed, backing up a step. "Another step and I'll shoot!"

For Mycelia, the roof offered a decent vantage point to the lobby beneath, as well as an alternative avenue to the interior; a NO ENTRY door served as stairway access, no doubt, and the skylight offered a perfect view of the situation within the tellers and lobby area... which was about to kick off, it seemed, given Gilgamesh's declaration.

The lobby itself was quiet. Shapes moved through the frosted glass of the skylight-- particularly near the back tellers area, and the stairwell down to the vault.

"Holy shit. It's Gilgamesh."

The musings from a gathered crowd-- shepherded away by the NYPD-- certainly wouldn't fall upon deaf ears. The analyst on-scene-- a well-dressed, younger fellow with glasses-- followed Gilgamesh as he pushed through the police line. Officers stepped aside; they'd already been informed of his arrival.

"Gilgamesh, it's an honor. Analyst Owen McCormack." He was a lankier fellow-- tall, and awkward in ways that made it difficult to find the right suit. "6 gunmen inside; no way to pull files on them, yet. Identities unknown. If you can update us on potential mutations you encounter in the field, we can cross-reference our databases." He set his laptop on the hood of a police car and flipped it open. "I'll be able to update you with CCTV observation via earpiece. Best of luck in there."

He left Gilgamesh to do what he did best, after that. The call for surrender was met with silence, for a few moments. The interior of the bank was stony-- dark. No hostages were visible from the windows, and the tellers area looked eerily empty.

Analyst McCormack's voice cut in a moment later over comms. Agent Gilgamesh, be advised-- CCTV has them towards the back of the lobby hall. Two guarding hostages; two moving up to the second level and manager's office. Looks like they aren't surrendering.

Unbothered by the vault raider's jibe, the Dragon stood his ground, not so much as flinching in the face of an automatic rifle pointed straight at his chest. Instead of responding with a joke, Damon took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and pressed his fist into his open palm.

There might not have been any news cameras down in the vault, but CCTV was still rolling- so if MIRA wanted a show, they were going to get one.

"Guanyin, who swore by mercy."

"Zadkiel, the benevolent."

"Pallas Athena, of the Aegis."

"Saint Joan, who guides my hand."

"Forgive me for this violence I am about to inflict."

As soon as he finished speaking, the Dragon's eyes snapped open, and he burst into motion, accelerating with speed unheard of by all but the Olympians. He took three steps forward, ready to deflect the incoming hail of bullets with his fists- then leapt up and to the right. Sprinting along the wall, Damon swiftly closed the gap between himself and the masked criminal, sheer inertia allowing him to seemingly defy gravity, if only for a few moments.

It took only a matter of moments for the Juror to close the gap, his approach not slowed by the bullets that flattened themselves against his unbreakable skin. Once he was close enough, he kicked off of the wall, intending to deliver a flying knee to his enemy's face- hard enough to crack the surface of his mask, and likely leave him with a concussion, but short of sheer bad luck, not liable to do any permanent damage.

Skidding to a stop as his feet hit the ground, the Dragon fixed his eyes upon his second target- the man fleeing up the stairs toward the atrium, a duffel bag full of loot over each shoulder. He had a significant head-start, and while Damon was certain he could catch up, there was an easier way to solve the problem.

Reaching into his pocket, the hero pulled out a roll of quarters. Most people only carried something like that to hold in their fist and make their punches hit harder- but Damon needed no help with that. Instead, the flat metal discs served as a ammunition.

Removing the topmost coin, the Dragon placed it on the side of his thumb, and carefully lined up his hand, before flicking it forward with the force of a small-caliber bullet. His intent was to strike the criminal in the back, blunting the force of the impact by hitting his bulletproof vest. It wouldn't penetrate the skin, but there was enough power behind the improvised projectile to knock the target flat on his face, and cause him to drop the bags carrying his would-be ill-gotten gains.

Calmly closing the distance, Damon soon reached the fallen form at the end of the hall, reaching down to pick up the quarter before planting his foot on the man's back- and using one of the zip-ties in his back pocket to bind the man's hands together. Only once he was certain the thief was secured would he press a finger to his earpiece and address the rest of the team.

"This is the Dragon. I've got two down on the vault level. The rest of you keeping up?"

"Copy that. Mycelia change of plans. Two moving towards your position, cut them off. I'll handle the Atrium"
Gilgamesh switched his field to active mode just long enough to effortless carve through the lock on the door. With a light tap the glass barrier swung slowly inwards. He slipped his hands back into his pockets as he entered the main atrium. Velvet ropes and metal poles were tossed across the dark room with emptied handbags, wallets, and smashed phones scattered between them. He could hear the faint crunch of screen shards beneath the solid soles of his tobacco colored Paul Evans The Cagney II's. These guys weren't stupid but, they weren't smart either. Bank Robbers never were good at quick operations, never knew that there was a window of time where they could potentially get away as long as they don't try to take everything.

The situation in front of him was going to be a tough one. Guns were pointed at civilians with too much distance for him to cover between them to render the chances of a trigger pull invalid. With so many people watching it wouldn't look good if he took a gamble; even if they didn't kill someone. His best bet would be to disable their weapon hands and then use their surprise to close the distance. He slowly took his clenched fists, a ball bearing concealed in each one, out of his pockets and lifted them up like he was surrendering.

"Lets not be too hasty" He opened his hands, middle finger first, just like he'd practiced. It was a movement that the untrained/uninformed eye wouldn't even be able to tell happened. By clenching his hands around the ball bearings, his polarity field places them under and immense amount of pressure, equal from all sides. The moment his hand opens up they shoot out with enough force to shatter bones in a random direction. By opening his hands with specific fingers first, he could turn them into more targeted projectiles. The small metal spheres shot forwards looking to break the hands that held onto their guns.

He charged forwards after them towards the closest of the two to deliver a vertical punch to the Sternum followed by a flying roundhouse kick aimed at the head. He carried the momentum into an all out dash for the second gunmen to deliver a 10 strike Chain Punch.
"Atrium is covered, head upstairs"


Mycelia clicked the mask over her face as she finished her climb up the back ladder of the building. D.A.R.E had been written in big bold letters across the black mask, Mycelia had been told it was an anti-drug slogan from the government. Carefully, she made her way over to the skylight above the bank manager's office. A quick glance down confirmed the room as empty, but a chirp in her ear informed her of her next move.

Without hesitation, she took a few steps back, then ran and jumped at the skylight. Part of her training as a cloak involved more than just 'looking cool' and 'saying the right words.' An additional large portion of her education had been dedicated to construction materials. Knowing the difference between laminated safety glass and bulletproof glass was incredibly important in a breach and clear entrance. Skylights, even those in banks, utilized laminated safety glass.

Laminated safety glass offered a superior option for both durability and longevity. However, it was not made to be stood on. It could be stood on, of course, it was capable of holding hundreds of pounds without cracking or breaking. Unfortunately for this particular skylight, Mycelia's running start would be applying multiple thousands of pounds of force onto the glass. She aimed, as well, for the weakest point in the pane and not for the top where it would be strongest. Simple physics, of course.

The shattering would be heard throughout the bank, accompanied by Mycelia screaming in a joyous tone,
"Bad day to choose crime kids!" Without hesitation, she immediately moved into the bank manager's office in order to intercept the two retreating crooks. If she intercepted them, which she should if her timing was correct, they'd be faced with two blasts of her shotgun. The rounds were nonlethal, they didn't even possess any force or shrapnel behind them. Rather, they were flashbangs concentrated at the end of the gun.

A pain in the ass and horribly disorienting, but no civilian getting caught in the flash would suffer any permanent damage.

"... the fuck are you saying?"

Confusion was obvious from the gunman's skeptical tone, but the skepticism was promptly replaced with fear as he unleashed a torrent of bullets from his rifle-- only to be met with little to no effect. Mutums-- strong ones. He kept his finger on the trigger until he heard a click-- and then a crack, as Dragon's knee slammed off of his mask and left him immobile on the floor. Breathing, but largely stunned, he rolled onto his back and dropped his gun, grabbing at his head and letting out a soft groan.

The second was just as unlucky; the quarter caught him square in the back, knocking the breath out of his chest and leaving him to slip on the stairs-- cracking his head off of the marble floor in the process, and leaving him to accidentally fire off his gun into the ceiling. He would've let out a stream of profanity if it wasn't for the fact that he was struggling to breathe, panting from the blow to his back and groaning from the pain. Both targets were taken out, for now, and one was restrained. A good start-- and a sign of things to come for the robbers that'd remained topside.

"Motherfuck-- AAAAGH!"

The two gunmen that'd moved to the stairs were promptly flashbanged; both fired off their guns at Mycelia, even while blinded. The glass of the manager's windows overlooking the lobby shattered from the hailstorm of bullets as one of the gunmen retreated up the stairs, trying to make his way up to the roof-- while the other stumbled back onto his ass, letting out a scream of panic as he sprayed-and-prayed down the stairwell.


And on the ground floor, things were going just as swimmingly. With the rest of the criminal presence largely neutralized, if not imminently so, Gilgamesh had free reign to walk inside.

Automatic rifles. Both targets are right-hand dominant. Possibly two civilians in misfire range. Greenlight for bearings.

One of the gunmen raised his rifle to level with Gilgamesh; the second held a barrel to the woman's skull.

"Another step and her brains are over this fuckin' wall, cloak." One of the men hissed. "And don't even think about calling--"

The ball bearings cracked off of their hands with a very, very painful noise. The reaction was instantaneous-- their rifles deviated and fell. One of them squeezed the trigger on the way down; the bullet grazed the neck of the woman the barrel had been pressed up against, but the shot missed. Gilgamesh was upon them before the first could even pull out his sidearm, and by the time the second gunman had pulled out his own pistol--


The punches echoed out into the lobby, sonorous and heavy. The roundhouse kick had nearly knocked the mask off of the first; the second gunman crumbled as the chain punch struck center mass, slamming him against the marble wall and denting the check-writing table he'd hit on the way down. His breathing was faint, but present; the two gunmen had been neutralized non-lethally.

Agents, we have no hostages KIA. Amazing work. One heading to roof; shots fired. Please confirm-- are we clear to authorize a SWAT team entry to secure hostages and fallen hostiles?


Mycelia held up her arms in front of her face as the bullet hell came her way and charged the stairwell. Another cloak, perhaps a speedster, would probably make an attempt to dodge the bullets. Mycelia, however, was defense spec’d. Her body could take the bullets. Specifically, the muscle mass in her arms was thick enough that nothing short of a high powered rifle round could really punch through it. Additionally, the mycelium lining her muscles made separation and damage difficult to cause with the high impact strikes of small arms.

Still hurts.

Mycelia’s body was not devoid of nerves, unfortunately, but she had been trained to utilize pain as a motivator and a focusing point. As such, the young woman laughed maniacally as she came upon the two men.

“Don’t do drugs!”

She screamed as she swung two punches, one for each of them. They were not wild swings, of course, but carefully measured and aimed strikes. Specifically, Mycelium swung two sharp hooks at the jaws of the men. Both struck to the side of the jaw in an upward motion, aiming to whiplash the skull and jaw to the side and up. Research, specifically that of Cournoyer J, Hoshizaki TB., indicated that most knockouts in boxing were caused by hook strikes to the side of the jaw that caused a rotation of the head in a horizontal direction.

It was not enough to just punch hard, though Mycelia punched VERY hard. Punches also needed to be effective. A large part of her training ended in effective and non-fatal takedowns. If either man did not go down immediately after the first strike, Mycelia would strike again. Then, tapping her earpiece, she would speak.

Men on the stairwell subdued.”

"Clear for SWAT. Dragon, Mycelia meet me in the Atrium" He said as he finished binding the two gunmen's hands. It was usually better press when they walked out together. Naturally he would take the lead in addressing the press. More experience as well as having the highest overall ratings among the 3 meant there would be public perception that he lead the operation. Betraying that would cause questions which often evolved into rumors. Forums ablaze with the wildfire of conspiracy.

Gilgamesh spent the small amount of time he'd have talking with hostages, assuring them everything was going to be okay. A man was curled into a ball crying. It was a common stress response. He placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. "You did great, you all did great. Your jobs are to get home alive, never forget that."
When Mycelia and Dragon arrived he'd join them. Right now was about doing the most important part of their job.

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Damon breathed a sigh of relief when the MIRA dispatcher confirmed that no hostages had been killed. Whatever reservations he might have had about the plan, what mattered was that it had all worked out. He could register his concerns during the debriefing- once the press was finished with them.

"Gotcha. On my way."

With one unconscious man slung over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and the other dragged behind him by the lapel of his shirt, the Dragon entered the atrium, dumping the two zip-tied men next to the ones Gilgamesh had dealt with. There was no applause or fanfare yet- most of the hostages were still in shock, not yet convinced that the danger had passed. Still, the presence of another hero did seem to put them at ease, even if it wasn’t one they were familiar with.

“I left the bags with all the money downstairs,” Damon informed the other hero, his comms still on to keep dispatch in the loop. “Figured the bank wouldn’t want anyone else handling it.”

From what the Dragon had been able to tell, it seemed like money was all these guys were after, but something about that didn’t quite make sense. Pulling a job this high-profile, especially in a city like New York that was practically crawling with capes, couldn’t have been worthwhile unless there had been some secondary objective.

Then again, these guys could have just been exceptionally stupid. Nothing about them had exactly screamed tactical genius. But that, in itself, could have been deliberate- send a couple clowns to pull a job designed to fail, drawing all eyes to the bank and leaving someone else free to act unobstructed elsewhere.

Whatever the truth was, it would all come out in the interrogation room. If nothing else, MIRA was great at getting people to talk.

In the end, what gunmen were truly well-equipped to deal with three bulletproof Jurors? While the trio's team-up was purely happenstance, the synergy between their abilities and the task at hand was undeniable. The two men that were left had the view of a maniacally-laughing hero descending upon them; the last thing they heard was the clarion crack of their own masks biting into their faces before the pair slumped down, unconscious and subdued. For the time being, at least, until they were properly restrained.

When the clamor reached a standstill, SWAT entered the building and began the process of securing and untying hostages, if the heroes hadn't already gotten rid of their restraints. Reception was positive to their presence; an older businessman muttered a soft thank you to Dragon on his way out, and a bank teller gave a smile and bit of thanks to Gilgamesh. A younger teen and his mother happened to pass by Mycelia, giving nods of thanks to the girl as they were escorted out.

"Secure the area-- get men on every exit in case there are other gunmen." One of the SWAT officers stated, motioning with his hand to divert two men to the staircase into the vault. "And get me the manager-- need a statement from him."

Our jurisdiction ends here. For now. If NYPD feels a need to escalate, they'll talk to us. Apparently, some of these men are PMPD-positive. We'll need to cross-reference any positive IDs. Thank some hostages, talk to the press outside. Analyst McCormack will debrief once you're all outside. This is why you're Jurors-- perfect work all around."

The outside was, predictably, cordoned off; there were two SWAT vans outside the entrance, pulled up the staircase as a makeshift bit of cover for a few officers that remained outside. Police cars barricaded the road while traffic police diverted the flow through New York City; it was rush hour, after all, and people had places to be. The world refused to stand still for a small bank robbery at 277 Park Avenue. The chorus of car-horns was ever-clear, as it often was, and a crowd of pedestrians and media had formed past the police barricade as the Jurors approached. Agent McCormack caught up with the trio halfway to the barricade edge, adjusting his glasses.

"Ah-- hello. Agent McCormack. Gilgamesh, we'd met. A total of 6 gunmen-- no fatalities or hostage casualties. North-Atlantic HQ will be pleased." He stated, looking to the group. "I presume you'll be doing some media interfacing. Good luck. Let me know when you all are leaving, and I'll join you on the Amway to discuss post-op details."

The murmurs and talking of the crowd drew louder as the Jurors approached. Some clapped; amongst the scattered applause, there were questions. Statements. Declarations and indictments-- praise and criticism alike.

"I'd like to, um, get an autograph if any of you don't--"


"Gilgamesh! Love the fit. Can you comment on the rumors of you dating Jenna Ortega?"

"Dragon, isn't it? What's your routine? Any wisdom to share on--"

"Mycelia! Mycelia! Any news to share on the escaped Doctor Insane-o? Guy has a name like that, he's probably easy to catch, right?"

A man pushed to the front of the crowd. An archetypal reporter-- coat, hat, and notepad. He looked young, but not young enough to be naive.

"Can any of the Jurors give their opinion on the recent proposal by President Kyle Fielder to increase the minimum age of enrollment for MIRA's Selective Service Act?" He asked. "Do you think it's good judgement? Poor? Any thoughts. Please."


Mycelia moved quickly and deftly down the stairs to the main floor as SWAT entered. With a chipper voice, she informed them of the two subdued men in the stairwell before removing her mask, allowing it to hang loosely about her neck. Brushing her arms, she allowed her body to temporarily seal the holes in her- approximately four- so that she wouldn't bleed for the press. The bullets could be removed later. Her sleeves would cover the holes well enough as well.

Before stepping outside, she made sure to unload her weapon and place the unused shells back in her bandoliers. A misfire for any reason was absolutely unacceptable, and it was not as though she became powerless without the weapon. Slinging it over her shoulder, she made sure the 'Americanness' of the paint was visible to any cameras.

She smiled and nodded at Agent McCormack. He hadn't spoken to her directly but it would've been rude to refuse to acknowledge his presence. Keeping that joyful smile across her features, she moved toward the police barricade to interface with the public. Mycelia was known to be a kind and personable face, just like most Cloaks. It clashed with her private life, but that was just how things were as a MIRA agent. Agents kept a public persona and a private one, even if their personalities overlapped, even if they didn't.

"Autograph-? Of course! Come close, I'd love to sign! Oh- Doctor Insane-o is back on the streets? That's horrible- but! Don't worry! He won't pose any trouble for us! MIRA gets the job done!" A smile, a laugh, and a few more signings. Mycelia was aware a more serious question had been posed by a man pushed to the front, but she ignored him. It wasn't intended to be a rude reaction, it was simply that Mycelia's Cloak personality wasn't the type to take those heavier questions.

Gilgamesh specialized in reacting to those more sensitive issues, he had the right appearance for mass appeal. Dragon was also an option, though he was a bit more specialized like Mycelia. If MIRA tried to appeal to everyone with a single personality, they'd appeal to no one. But certain personalities did have more popularity than others. It was the way of things. Through the smiles and autographs, Myeclia couldn't help but feel herself think.

'Too loud.'

"Good work, both of you. I'll handle any hardball questions when we get out there." Don't need any rookies dropping my ratings. He kept that secondary reasoning to himself. He smiled and gave soft waves to the hostages as they were escorted out of the building. He began fixing any elements of his outfit that were disrupted during the conflict. He pulled out his phone camera to quickly check his hair and placed a fast dissolving breath strip on his tongue. Wintergreen was the only type he used since it tested less pretentious than mint while still scoring high on 'pleasantness to smell'. "How do I look?" he asked Dragon. "Perfect. Oh and fix your hair, its a bit tossed." He responded before anyone could answer answer his question.

Gilgamesh exited the building with his companions and was thrust straight into his element. Reporters surged forward only held back by the floodgates of a police barricade. He didn't even engage with what Owen had said to him. He knew he did a good job, he always did a good job. "McCormack, can you call my PA and let her know that I won't be late for my reservations tonight. " He strolled past the Analyst and headed straight for the crowd. Every muscle in his face snapped into his trademark smile. The corners of his mouth at the exact perfect position to appear natural and genuine. His teeth just white enough to reflect the smallest bit of sunlight but not so white that they looked whitened (which they infact were).

"Of course you can have an autograph, I'd do anything for my fans." Slightly seductive in tone to evoke the desired reaction in his base without coming across creepy.

"You don't look too bad yourself" He shot back at the reporter, this time laying the charm on to give into his playboy persona, "I can give you that answer over dinner tonight?"

Then came the hardball question. Politics was always risky territory when trying to appeal to the American audience. "I respect President Fielder and this great country. Joining MIRA when I did helped me get to where I am today. If it wasn't for them who knows where I'd be." He let his tone do the talking on that question. He could only hope that anyone else who decided to answer wouldn't contradict him.
"Thats all for today though, we've got alot of work to do!" He gave Agent McCormack the signal that they were leaving.

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My hair-?

Suddenly self-conscious, the Dragon ran his hands across his scalp, straightening his short-cut brown locks and then tousling them just slightly.

The analyst who’d been running the operation addressed them briefly, and Damon simply gave him a nod, having little else to contribute until the debrief.

Gilgamesh has a personal assistant? Does he pay out of pocket for that, or is MIRA footing the bill? Sub-Director Soból would laugh in my face if I asked him for one, but maybe North-Atlantic has the budget for it.

Then McCormack strode off, leaving the heroes alone. Time to meet the press.

Damon couldn’t honestly say that this was the part of the job he hated the most. That was when an innocent person got killed on his watch, which- fortunately - didn’t happen very often. Talking to the media was, nevertheless, not his favorite part of the day. He’d never been much of a people person, and before getting powers, he’d spent most of his time either in the gym, or 'cultivating the inner self,' which was a polite euphemism for ‘not talking to people.’

In order to compensate for this deficiency, the Public Relations and Image team had simply instructed Damon to say as little as possible in public, in order to cultivate the ‘brooding loner archetype’ that had apparently made him quite popular with the 18-35 female demographic. Not that his alleged popularity had translated into getting many dates, thanks to the whole ‘secret identity’ thing, but it was selling plenty of posters and scented candles if nothing else.

When MIRA set up interviews back home in Chicago, it was usually a group thing with the rest of the ‘B-Team,’ where the more experienced and media-savvy members of the unit could do most of the talking. And even when they sent Damon out alone, it was with a softball interviewer who wasn’t going to grill him on anything. But these reporters were sharks, and saying anything remotely political would be like blood in the water to them.

Fortunately, Gilgamesh seemed more than willing to field that one, which just left the Dragon with the reporter who’d stuck a mic in his face and asked about his routine. The long answer was that his had been custom-designed by the Logistics team back in Chicago, but it was probably better not to go into all that.

“My routine wouldn’t work for anybody but me- unless anybody you know can bench-press a car. But if you’re looking for exercise advice, take it from me: discipline is everything. If you only hit the gym when you feel like it, it won’t be long before you stop going at all. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, so long as you know your limits.”

A bit hypocritical for Damon to talk about limits when he had none, but those words were what he’d lived by before his PMPD manifestation, and he did like the idea of sharing them with others, even if it hardly seemed like newsworthy information.

Thankfully, Gilgamesh cut the interview session short, and the Dragon gave his interlocutor a curt nod before falling in line with the rest of the group on their way to leave.

The autographs were handed out; those that were lucky enough to receive one spread envy like wildfire, and soon, ten other folk had a few photos, notebooks, and whatever they had on-hand for a signing. The questions, for the most part, were softballs; MIRA was in contact with local journalism agencies that were willing to play ball, which allowed for ample puff pieces post-op. It was a good signal boost for prospective Jurors looking to make a splash on the scene, and it helped maintain The Myth. Which, arguably, was the most important facet of Cloakwork.

There were, of course, the hiccups.

"Don't you think it's interesting-- Gilgamesh, don't you think it's interesting that MIRA continues to enlist and militarize over 70% of the PMPD-affected population in the United States alone, not to mention overseas--"

He was cut off, thankfully, by Agent McCormack, of all people; stepping forward, he extended both hands in an open-palmed gesture of acquiescence.

"MIRA's dedication to national security has stopped countless threats. This week alone, we saw over one-hundred instances of violent PMPD-affected crime neutralized by Juror presence; whatever decision Fielder makes is a decision that comes from him. MIRA may be under the executive branch, but we're not in his ear."

"Know a few folks in Washington who would care to disagree with that notion--" A few snickers in the crowd, as that. "-- mister...?"

"McCormack." Owen stated, stepping away from the phones and video cameras. "And people in Washington say plenty, but it's us out on the streets, isn't it? Thank you for your time. Already given you a great headline-- take it."

Soon, he joined the retreating Jurors, fielding away reporters and other gathering civilians that decided to bother them on their way out towards the Amway's nearest stop. McCormack flipped open a small tablet-- distinct from his laptop, it seemed-- and sorted through some data on the screen. "Your reservation's already been confirmed by your PA. Still no reported casualties from the hostages. Good work from all of you, again." He looked up, remaining silent and keeping his pace until they reached the secured compartments of the Amway's emergency line-- ferrying them back to the New York City HQ for MIRA North-Atlantic.

The train gave a soft whir, then silently propelled itself down the tube. McCormack remained silent for a few more moments, sorting through his tablet.

"Before I start. Anyone know who these fellows were? The bank-robbers, I mean. Figured it's best to establish what we do and do not know."