15269/Highwire Act

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Highwire Act
Date of Scene: 28 June 2023
Location: Upper East Side, Manhattan
Synopsis: Spider-Man rescues a couple of elevators full of stranded people, while Spider-Woman sort of grudgingly helps. The evil mastermind proves a disappointing nemesis indeed.
Cast of Characters: Spider-Woman (Drew), Spider-Man

Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Tonight's a big night -- one of New York's newest buildings, an arguably unpleasant but certainly tall glass fixture to add to the New York skyline, has opened. Featuring a restaurant at the very top boasting excellent views of Central Park and surroundings, it's been bustling with visitors all night. The building has a pair of those glass-walled elevators that sit outside the building structure, to allow those within to get a terrifying-slash-exhilarating view of the city as they rise and descend.

It's all been going well -- until it doesn't.

"I have control of your elevators," a slightly mechanized voice tells the occupants, when both elevators grind to a halt -- both near the top of the building -- somewhere between the fortieth and fiftieth floors, the occupants glancing around wildly. "I am presently making demands to the buildings owner for compensation. If he submits, no harm will come to you. If not..."

The trailed off threat says everything they need to know.

The occupants, having tried everything available to them -- the emergency buttons, all the buttons, have reverted to the only thing left to them -- their phones. The news gets around the way it always does -- social media posts first, police radio much, much later.
Spider-Man has posed:
There are always going to be those that follow the latest trends, be it in fashion, food or architecture. While there will be others that are a fan of the classics. And of course, there in the mushy middle are those who aren't really all that concerned one way or that others. That's pretty much where Peter Parker slots into things. Sometimes the modern is nice, but there's something to be said about the classics.

Of course, under normal circumstances there is no way he would be here at the latest of New York's fashionable restaurants. He could eat for a week or two on what they're charging for a single meal -- and at the best of times it's not like Peter has a whole lot of disposable income. But he is here not to sample the food or even the ambience. He's working. Taking shots for the society page is not exactly his notion of a good time, but this isn't about having fun. It's about getting paid. So he can pay his rent. And maybe avoid being homeless for another month. And Pete's a big fan of that.

So while he lingers along the fringes of the gathering, he periodically snaps shots of those who are here to enjoy themselves, or turns his attention to capturing some of the spectacular views of the city this newest vantage point offers.

At least until a buzz starts to go through the room as the first reports of the trouble on the elevators starts to leak out.

Then it's time for Peter to slip aside, darting into the bathroom to awkwardly tug his clothes off -- revealling the costume beneath. His backpack is webbed to one corner of the ceiling and then he is off, crawling his way to the nearest access point to the side of the building.
Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Fortunately maintenance access points are prevalent, probably only due to enforced building code -- allowing ready access outside for proper maintenance of the elevators. They're behind lots of 'WARNING' signs, and the moment he cracks the outer door -- which has several looped harness points embedded in the steel frame -- the chill wind whips into the space.

He's maybe five floors up above where the two elevators are positioned, one slightly higher but both groups can see each other. One old man, lacking a phone, is still furiously pushing the emergency button, but there's no response. A couple of people in the lower lift have already just settled own on the floor for the long haul, though they get up -- everyone stills -- when that mechanized voice returns.

"It seems the building's owner doubts my capabilities. I apologize for this unfortunate incident, but a demonstration must be made."

Silence, and then suddenly the higher elevator is descending -- rapidly, like whatever safeguards were built into it have been overridden.
Spider-Man has posed:
Any fear of heights that he might have once had was banished a long time ago and as Spider-Man slips out of that small access hatch, he clings to the side of the building with ease. Up this high the evening breeze always seems a little stronger, a little stiffer. But at least with the onset of the warm weather it is no nearly so biting as in the winter. It's almost pleasant really. Or at least it would be under other circumstances.

Taking a moment to survey things, it's not hard for Spidey to spot the pair of crippled elevators and the unfortunates trapped within. Everyone seems to be in reasonably good shape, no dangerous levels of panic.


Of course, that might change pretty damn quick when one of those same lifts suddenly starts to move, beginning to drop down the side of the building unexpectedly. And it's quickly picking up speed. That's not good.

Springing into action, Spidey practically launches himself across the glass and steel monstrocity that is this particular building, landing directly above the plummetting elevator. Planting himself, his arms come up and a moment later a pair of weblines fire from each of his wrists, flying with that practiced accuracy to find purchase on the roof of the falling elevator.

And he is very nearly jerked off his feet as those lines abruptly go taunt.

Digging in, teeth gritted behind his mask, Peter strains against the weight of the falling elevator, desperately trying to stabilize it as that webbing stretches out alarmingly.
Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Yeah, there sure is panic inside the elevator. Two women and one of the men are screaming, one younger man was livestreaming the thing but drops it in favor of clinging to the railing around the inside of the elevator -- not that that's going to do anything. The older man's given up stabbing at the button with a kind of resignation.

...and then they all go sprawling as the elevator abruptly comes to a jerking halt, bounding back briefly before settling under the weight of Spider-Man's webs.

He has them... now what?

Somewhere in there, Spider-Man's spidey-senses will start to go off. He's being watched. It isn't hard to find the culprit: the figure literally hanging from the face of the building a few windows over and a floor down. In her red-and-gold outfit, Spider-Woman's pretty distinctive, even if the fact that she's just casually hanging out some forty-something stories up wasn't a thing. Also, she's in the midst of eating an ice cream, half her mask pulled up to do so.

Spider-Man might have questions, valid ones. Like, did she order the ice-cream while in her super-hero outfit? If not, how did she manage to change so quickly? What flavor of ice-cream is she eating? And why isn't she helping like, /at all/?

"Well," Spider-Woman says as she regards the straining superhero. "This is awkward."

A beat. "You're doing good work though." She gives him an actual thumbs up, which is kind of impressive since she has to use the hand holding the ice-cream, the other adhering her to the window.
Spider-Man has posed:
Muscles strain and that reinforced glass actually cracks underfoot as Spider-Man brings his strength to bear and matters to halt the elevator's freefall, killing that downward momentum. Even through the glass enclosure the cries of those inside can still be heard. Clearly the passengers are not particularly molified by the sudden ceassation of that long fall. Not that Pete can really blame them. They're still apparently trapped in a lift being controlled by a psycho willing to kill them just for attention. That's not the sort of thing that feels great. Or at least Peter would imagine. He can't claim to have ever been in that exact situation of course.

Of course, even as he brings that plummetting elevator to a stop he can sense that tingling in the back of his head, spotting the costumed woman nearby who clings to the side of the building much like himself.

Of course she's got ice cream and he just has a handful of elevator, so all things considered Spidey would put her ahead on points. Yummy ice cream always beats out heavy elevator. It's a fact.

"Appreciate it," Spidey calls back, voice just a little tight with the effort. He flexes one of those wrists again and another web line shoots out, this one offering a little more slack. Grabbing at it quickly he's able to slowly start lowering the elevator once more -- much more cautiously now and at a steady rate. "Spider-Woman, right?" he says. "Don't suppose you'd want to give me, I don't know, a hand here? I'll be your friend."

It's a tempting offer. Right out of the playground playbook. Desperate times and all of that.
Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Down in the elevator that Spider-Man's holding aloft, there's cries of relief, and yup, still crying going on. Also some weirdness, because: "Jump? What, chat?" the young man squints down at his phone. "No, that's a myth you idiots. Anyway, we've stopped." Except that bobbing motion doesn't say /emergency brakes/ at all, especially when Peter starts to spin out the web to lower them further.

Spider-Woman squints at her counterpart. "I don't do friends," she declares, "And I'm on..." she trails off before she finishes with, /sabbatical/, because while true it sounds like a lame excuse even in her own head. She sighs, looks at the ice-cream folornly -- she's not about to risk an ice-cream headache as much as she likes it -- and quickly climbs towards the opening Spider-Man is perched up in.

The ice cream is set down in one corner. It'll definitely soon be a melted blob.

Then she takes a beat to look at him. "I don't have webs," Jessica says. "I could help you lower them but it looks like you have that." A beat. "I can go find whoever's behind this and punch them in the face if that'd help?" She looks oh-so-hopeful. Punching people in the face is apparently her top choice.

Speaking of punching people in the face: "Well that's hardly sporting," comes the mechanized voice, from a speaker in their vicinity inside the building. "What are you going to do when one falling elevator becomes /two/, though?"

Jess gestures to the speaker and makes an example punchy fist with a tilt of head. She probably won't get that chance though, as the second elevator starts to descend. Almost immediately, the banter's gone and she dives to grab hold of the webs Peter's already affixed to the first elevator, taking the weight of it to try and free his attention for the now rapidly falling second one.

She hasn't /quite/ Peter's strength, but she's no slouch either. Punching has to wait for a bit.
Spider-Man has posed:
"Ouch. I thought I had it rough," Spidey comments, still carefully lowering that elevator fot by foot down the side of the building. It's definitely not the fastest way to deal with things, but it is the most sure and while he would really like to punch whoever is behind all of this square in their stupid face too, the people caught up in all of this, the innocent bystanders -- well, they have to come first. "Everyone needs friends. They're a whole lot better than enemies," the arachnid hero comments, still straining a little.

The elevator is lowered a few more feet as Spider-man launches another webline, letting it splat against the roof of that glass enclosed elevator, giving him more slack once again. While it is hard to give up that witty line of patter, all of this is taking a little effort and concentration so as he gives a little grunt, Spidey quickly nods his head towards the costumed woman. "Well, I think getting these people to safety is our first job, but hey, if you can find whoever is behind all of this and wail on him a bit I think everyone would be a lot safer then they are right now," he conceeds. It's pretty hard to drop a pair of elevators and those within to their grizzly deaths in a twisted mess of metal and glass when you're unconscious, right?

Sometimes it's not how you contribute, but the fact that you're willing at all.

Then, of course, the entire matter is taken out of their hands entirely. As that voice makes its reappearance, as the other elevator starts to drop, Spider-Man's eyes widen ever so slightly behind his mask. In a flash the Webhead is in action once more, additional weblines flaring out -- one directed upward while the other adds yet another line of support to the elevator. And when they are joined the stabilized elevator at least has a measure of support.

Not that he's confident it will hold long.

Before he can dwell on it though, Spider-Woman is there, taking up that burden from him. And not a moment to soon. "See! I knew it. You've got my back. You are my friend!" he says before pushing off from the building entirely, dropping into freefall. But he still glances back up her way, flashing the ol' finger-funs her way. "Besties!"

Hopefully she doesn't drop that elevator on his head.

Diving downward after the newly plummeting elevator, arms extend once more as that webbing begins to spray out again, thick strands blanketing the area between two flag poles embedded on either side of the elevator track until a thick netting of that webbing rests -- waiting to catch the falling elevator. Or possibly get ripped apart much like wet toliet paper.

Either way.
Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Oh, no. He's doing the friendship speech. It's clear by Jessica's expression she's heard various iterations of it before. Probably more times than she actually remembers since some of her memories were locked away. "I mean, sure. Less punching in the face between friends. I assume anyway."

As the weight of the first elevator falls onto her, Jessica's feet slide forward a second before her electro-static energy kicks in to add resistance. She's leaning back heavily, having wrapped the ends of the webs around her wrists. "This," she breathes heavily, "Doesn't feel like five people in an elevator. Do your webs weigh like two tons or something?" It's not like she's out of practice at the hero-ing game or anything.

Except maybe a little bit of that.

"Oh my god," Jessica groans. Not because of the weight of the elevator that ostensibly she's lowering but is sliding slowly from her grasp. But definitely because of the declaration of besties. It gets Peter a flat /look/. "No," she says, definitively. "Besties involves cheeseburgers. And probably lots of something alcoholic. But minimum cheeseburgers."

But before she can launch into more of her food-related diatribe, Spider-Man's leaping off the edge. "Wow. A right fucking menace," she mutters, lapsing momentarily into an English accent. There's no heat behind it, though, because she's got to focus on not dropping an elevator full of people.

From where she is, Jess can't see the good work Spider-Man is doing, laying out a literal net to catch the elevators. All she knows is the slow, inevitable forward glide of her feet, the sensation that she's just marking time before the inevitable happens. And then the bottom of the elevators hit that net, and the sudden lack of resistance she was pulling against drops Spider-Woman flat onto her back. "...ow."

The people inside the elevator are weeping and cheering as the elevators come to a gentle rest, clapping when they spot Spider-Man. The young livestreamer even does a "Woo! Spider-Man!" with a fist pump.
Spider-Man has posed:
Well... at least someone is happy to see him.

His dive pulls up short as that improvised web-netting serves as a sort of cradle to support the elevators -- pretty much putting an end to the risk of all those inside being dropped to their death. The building's owner might be a little unhappy with the mess he's left, but then just kinda feels like it's the way of things. He will probably be even less pleased shortly.

Swinging back up to the elevators in question, Spidey latches on to the glass enclosure, motioning those inside to back up. Then he rears back with one hand and punches the glass. Hard. While it might be thick safety glass, it still gives way under his blow though he almost immediately shakes his hand, waving it about. "Ow... ow..." he complains, still clinging to his unlikely perch. "Okay folks, lets get you down from here. I'll lower you down, it's completely safe. So who's first up on your Friendly Neighborhood Spidey Express?" he asks, quickly expelling enough webbing to create a safety harness and fasten it snugly around his first volunteer, lowering them much more rapidly towards the authorities that have already started to gather on the ground.

A few of them might be shouting at him to come down and keep his hands where they can see them. He just ignores them.

When Spider-Woman comes back into view, Peter doesn't stop lowering the first load of the elevator's passengers, but he does flash her a thumbs up in return. "Woooooo, teamwork!" he calls out to her.

At least he seems to have dropped the matter of being besties. For now. He probably can't afford a cheeseburger, let alone something alcoholic... though maybe after he sells some of the photos he discretely took...

"...I don't suppose you have any more of that ice cream."

Spider-Man? More like Spider-Mooch.
Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
Everyone in the elevator looks at everyone else. Big surprise no one wants to be the first volunteer to dangle down on nothing but nearly invisible webbing. Finally, livestreamer guy looks at his chat and yields to the most intense pressure of all... social media. "Sure. I'll do it for the livestream. Hook me up, bro!"

It probably ruins things that he flail-screams a lot on the way down, but he makes it safely, as do all the rest of the people from the elevator.

The police sure are interested in what's going on. They're not the only ones, crowds down below are shouting things that range from some kind of cheering support to some kind of jeering menace call. Oh, and there's a helicopter now too from one of the local news channels. Say hi!

The ice-cream, sadly, is a puddle of a mess. Jessica's standing and looking at it forlornly by the time Spider-Man looks up. She folds arms across her chest. "No and it's a super sore point," she grumbles, but maybe it's a step towards some kind of concession when she says, "I'll wait for you and we can both punch voice guy together. Should have a bead on him soon," she digs out her phone. SHIELD phone running on Stark Tech! Does lots of amazing things, including ability to remotely access security systems of brand new buildings like this. She flips through the cameras as she waits.
Spider-Man has posed:
The news about the ice cream is indeed very sad, but Spidey takes it in stride. Like the hero he is. No matter what J. Jonah Jameson says. So he focuses on the matter at hand -- heroically of course -- and as soon as one elevator is cleared, he moves to the other to repeat the process. Of course by now they have seen that he can get people to safety without dropping them on their head so there is a little less resistance to the whole idea, making the whole thing move a little quicker.

In short order the wall-crawler is climbing back up towards that perch on the edge of the building, mind running through his own little assemblage of useful gadgets. None that will solve the immediate issue of tracking down the source of all this trouble unfortunately, however. He is on the verge of pulling out one of his Spider-trackers and cracking it open to see if he can modify it to detect the signals used to override the elevators in the first place when he reaches Spider-Woman's side.

"Woah, nice tech. Do you... do you already have a bead on who's behind this all?" he asks, his voice suggesting that he's suitably impressed. And suitably nosy it would seem, as he tries to get a closer look at the app she's running. "...Huh. What sort of protocols is that thing running? It looks like it carved through the security firewall like i t wasn't even there," he enthuses.

Watch out! Someone's on the verge of geeking out.
Spider-Woman (Drew) has posed:
"Got him," Jessica reports, as Spider-Man nears, waving the phone triumphantly. And then Peter's geeking out over tech that, honestly, Jess knows how to use but really does /not/ know the specifics of. She leaves that to geniuses like Tony to figure out. But she knows that look, the geeking out expression. She's seen it on Tony's face too many times before. "No looking!" she warns Peter as he tries to get a closer look. "Or I'll have to-" she stops. Fury's warned her about casually threatening arrest under the Espionage Act one too many times. Apparently it's /not subtle/. She sighs. "-frown at you intensely." It just doesn't have the same threatening ring to it. She clicks the phone to dark and gestures. "Two levels down, looks like the central security room for the building."

It's very possible there was some logo linked to Stark Industries in the corner somewhere that Peter might've seen. Something to ponder later though. Jess is leading the way down the stairs!

Inside the security room, two guards are lying unconscious, not even bound, and there's one of those deliberately timed turns of the big black chair to reveal the owner of the mechanized voice... who seems to be a scrawny looking young man in his mid-twenties. "So, we meet at last Spider-Man," he begins with gravity as he temples his fingers, before he spots Spider-Woman, blinking. "...Spider-ah, people. My nemesis. Nemeses?" it has all the awkward hallmarks of an actor at his first job. Or someone who practiced this talk in front of the mirror a lot. "I am Tech Guy- no, Bro. Tech Bro."

A second of incredulous regard, and then Spider-Woman shakes her head. "Yeah, I'm out. This is too sad, even for me." A beat. "...And I'm in therapy." She's already turning and departing without so much as a farewell.

Tech Guy- or Bro, or whatever, looks completely nonplussed by Jessica's sudden exit, stage-left. He clears his throat and holds out his hands towards Peter, straightening. "...So, Spider-Man. Lock me up if you will, but I promise be back on the streets to battle against you again in no time."
Spider-Man has posed:
While he does a pretty good job as coming off as a little flighty at times -- and can be just a little careless in some respects when that mask goes on -- Peter is a pretty with it guy. There is not much that escapes his attention. Some of that is because of his Spider-sense to be sure. It helps when you have an early warning system that starts to beep in the back of your head whenever something important is happening around him. Talk about your major advantage. But even without it, he has a scientists mind. Plenty of curiousity and observation skills.

So the fact that it is StarkTech -- but clearly not public StarkTech -- is not lost on him. Definitely something to look into a little more when he gets the chance.

"Frowny-face huh. That does sound pretty daunting. Consider my eyes adverted. No where near your screen. Nope," Spidey says, slipping back into the building after her, the narrow hatch no real obstacle. "I've considered getting a cutout mask for the lower half of my face too. So I can give the bad guys some great Grrr-face. Intimidate them into giving up without a fight. I can be very intimidating.

All evidence would seem to indicate the exact contrary. Ask him who the last bad guy who just gave up was.

It doesn't take them very long at all to reach the security checkpoint and... get something of a serious letdown. "...Tech-Bro?" Spider-Man asks a little half-heartedly, glancing back as his partner for the evening decides that's pretty much the end of her involvement. Holding a hand up to his head with thumb and baby-finger extended he calls after her, "Call me!" before turning back to the less then daunting figure in front of him.

"She's not going to call. But she makes a fair point about you 'bro'. Half the city considers me their nemesis, so get in line," he says, slowly spraying his webbing to create a ball of it in his hand.

"Next time you want to come at me, maybe don't endanger a host of innocents, 'kay?" Peter suggests. And then he unceremoniously chucks that ball of webbing right at the unlikely villain's head. It's not particularly hard, but Spider-Man throws it with enough force that Tech-Bro goes down in a heap -- covered in a mound of webbing to boot.

"Looking forward to next time Bro. No, really."

And with that, Spider-Man turns away and walks out of the room too. Maybe he still has time to switch back into his other clothes and snag a few appetizers from the restaurant upstairs. He's worked hard tonight.