5071/Germination: Are we prepared

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Germination: Are we prepared
Date of Scene: 31 July 2018
Location: Mexico
Synopsis: Summary needed
Cast of Characters: Iron Man, Superman
Tinyplot: Germination

Iron Man has posed:
The site isn't as pretty as a resort, but far more secure. It is one of the various global STARK warehouse groups, north of Mexico City. There's some test facilities out here from a long time ago, back when weapons were more of a thing for the company. Now, it's old storage. But also a reasonable staging area, where objects are being shipped and moved. Tony relaxes in one of the expensive offices, next to a broad window that looks down into the exterior zones where cargo is being moved.

Tony had requested to meet with Superman after their 'adventure' the previous night to get up to speed; Tony has news related to what that Titans possess. A quick meeting of the leadership of Avengers and the JLA seemed in order.

Superman has posed:
Kal comes halfway around the world to meet with Tony, drifting down out of a clear blue sky to land in the staging area of the Stark facility. He walks briskly into the building, igoring the startled employees in the yard. Once inside, Kal is shown up to Tony's offices. A faint smell of smoke and concrete dust accompanies him into the room.

"Stark," he greets the Avenger as he walks into the room. "Good to see you. How is your teammate recovering?"

Iron Man has posed:
"She has a healing factor a lot of us could be jealous of," Tony says, with a flash of smile and confident nod. He's checked in on her, says that nod. "And probably a horrific headache, still, but I know she's in good hands with that. I've still got my migraine from my own encounter, and all new ideas about improved psionic dampeners." He's seated in a comfortable office chair, and gestures in case Superman would like to sit. He's drinking water, probably due to the headache.

"I'd like the full rundown of what you saw, though, if you don't mind. I know a lot of it was likely in Jessica's head, but impressions can still do a lot, about what this thing is and its motives."

Superman has posed:
Kal nods as the update is given, and raises an eyebrow at the mention of psionic dampeners. He stands near the chair offered chair, but as usual, does not sit. He rests a hand on the back of the chair.

"The Mexican contact, Paulie, arranged a meeting with Ms. Drew. Myself, Ms. Drew and a few members of the X-Men went to find out what he wanted. Paulie was at the same resort he was last time, on his own again," Kal explains. "I think he tried to use his powers on the X-Men telepath, but from what I could tell, she got the better of him. Something happened there when she started flirting with Paulie."

Kal taps a finger on the back of the chair and purses his lips.

"Ms. Drew made her approach after that. Paulie told Ms. Drew he was going to use his powers on her. The team..." Kal's expression darkens slightly. "...was warned, and then Paulie followed through, trying to kill Ms. Drew. Things happened pretty quickly after that. I got a hold of Paulie and the X-Men telepath intervened. /Someone/ spoke through Paulie, and taunted us, and the telepath was able to trace their location here in Mexico."

Iron Man has posed:
"Someone spoke through Paulie?" Tony repeats, leaning back in his chair more. He picks up his water, tilting it to make the ice cubes clink, and has a drink. He makes a face, as if forgetting it was water, but has more anyway, holding it: something to fiddle with. "Do you think it was luring you? It must know we're coming after it," Tony says. "Was the fungus talking? I mean, I doubt it introduced itself, but.... it's really refused to bother with us up until now, if so. The taunting seems beneath it, in a way. Even the one in outer space didn't taunt. Feels more like these telepaths: they've loved being asshats."

Superman has posed:
Kal's fingers tighten slightly around the back of the chair at the memory of the voice.

"It was not Paulie, he was a puppet. The telepath confirmed that afterwards. She said someone was using the oomycetans as a conduit for their powers," he explains, then agrees with Stark. "I had the definite impression we were dealing with a human. People have that special brand of cruelty I haven't seen from the oomycetans; that desire to hurt, not consume. Whoever it was wanted us to feel Ms. Drew's injury. And maybe to fear it, as well," he adds thoughtfully. "To scare us away."

Iron Man has posed:
"I wasn't there, but that's my guess, too," Tony says, setting his glass down, and rubbing fingers across the side of his jaw to his chin, watching Superman. But his thoughts are more on the problem, not on studying the kryptonian. "I went back over footage that SHIELD has of an interview with another one of these telepath puppets. It was cruel in a human way. Not just this robotic 'eat the food' behavior. And who told us these things are smart?" Tony taps his fingers on the edge of his chair arm. "The telepaths. It's in the recording. Bits of truth and bits of lies."

"One of the Avengers, Scarlet Witch, was able to agree they are more complicated when they're larger, like more advanced computers. They network better, they follow directives with greater efficiency. We have confirmation on that from the alien race that made the Oomycetan, too. And, that they only view us as foodstuffs. Not a thing to talk to," Tony shrugs. "I think they process things, but they act a lot like some of my junior AI programs. Put a sadistic person behind programs like that..." Tony lifts his hands.

"So let's say for a minute our 'queen' is good at controlling people already. And controls these things, now. What's the goal?"

Superman has posed:
Kal crosses his arms.

"They do seem to be focused only on consuming and growing. It never seemed they had any other goals," he agrees.

He considers what Constantine had to say. "The Astral intrusion might have been a test, to see how what could be done with the oomycetans. I don't pretend to understand these things, but what would a telepath who likes to control people want? To control more people," he reasons. "If these oomycetans are like conduits, and the enemy telepath can control one really big one at the center... They would have a pretty powerful telepathic network under their control."

He shakes his head. "It's just a guess, but sounds like the power to control whoever they want, wherever they want to me."

Iron Man has posed:
"I agree. It feels like a greed thing. Always something more." Tony considers. "Well, let me go over what Nuala and the Titans brought in," Tony says, drawing out a tablet from a drawer, and using it to interface quickly with a panel on the wall. The opposite window automatically closes, leaving them a slightly darker room with less glare and more privacy. The panel lights up as Tony shows information.

"So, originally, these aliens were creating biological tools. The purpose was garbage disposal, maybe air purification. The first model, the Oomycetan, had problems, it was shelved. A new one was created. Whole cities made of this stuff. The first model, though, got pulled back out and used as a weapon. Infighting. It was dormant while near the 'version 2', but otherwise, vicious. It dominated and destroyed their planet, after it got out of balance with the second 'model.' Like, once it got larger than the 'nice' ones, it ate them. The titans, after interviewing this alien, were able to obtain one of the second kind of fungus for us. Dr. Banner's looking at it. Their hope is that it can be used to overpower the other type, and subdue it, if we can get it strong enough and into place. My hope is, it will sever whatever this 'queen' is doing, at least long enough for us to act on the monster that I... saw personally. .... Sound good?" Tony hasn't spoken before on what he saw, other than 'five more portals'.

Superman has posed:
Kal shakes his head sadly. "These kinds of weapons..." he sighs. "We have to make sure the same thing doesn't happen here. Or spread from here. Hard to believe anyone would let something like this loose. At least we have something to work with."

He looks over from the panel on the wall to Tony. "What did you see in there, Stark?"

Iron Man has posed:
"It... was like being in the intestines of that monster we saw in space, while having a vice on my head," Tony says. "Not that it actually had intestines. But that's the gist. While something tried to peel my mind open like an orange." Tony's flippant as usual, making light. But the information is real, honest. "So I didn't see much of anything, obviously." Tony makes some touches on the keypad. "But my suits record everything."

The screen changes. The cameras on the suit follow through the blinding portal, to long chambers of slime and earth and spores of mold. It's hard to see through the clouds of it, and the suit changes vision modes to assist. Long corridors of mold, thick with churning squid-creatures, inside and around the strutures of bloated tubers and root-like objects. The flow of arriving mushrooms, from the portals, in a row, all lead down the corridor of pulsing tendrils, where the 'small' (building size) creatures melt into and merge with the long feelers, adding to the large mass. It may be clear why location was confusing: this looks like just the edge of some massive tumor. The portals flux, and the giant starts to tunnel again, moving away. Tony chooses to go back through the portal at the last moment.

Some of the camera during the footage also shows Tony's reaction, which looks disoriented and contains a lot of swearing and talking to JARVIS about his head splitting open and getting back through the portal after scans complete. "I could barely count to five at the time. Which doesn't thrill me to feel again."
Hisnother keystroke, and there's new footage of empty underground tunnels. "That is-- right now. One of the drones I left stayed in one piece. So, it's moving around. Or being forced to move around."

Superman has posed:
Kal cannot keep a sympathetic expression from his face as he watches the video. It returns to something more neutral quickly and he considers Tony while the Avenger speaks.

"Glad you made it back, Stark. That looks pretty bad. You sure you're alright?"

Kal turns to look at the screenshot of the empty tunnels again. "Hard to hide something that big. Those...." he looks for the word for a moment. "...seismographs the governments use to get early warnings of earthquakes should give it away. You bring up a good point though; How do we get near enough to deal with it, without it taking over our minds?"

Iron Man has posed:
"I've had worse hangovers," Stark laughs, brushing it all aside with an absent wave of hand. That is actually true. He has had far worse hangovers. Which says something else, of course, about him.

"That's what I want this second one for. In theory, that's the key there. Shut off the big one, and we can get in there and light it up." Tony listens to the suggestion, and promptly starts to fiddle. "I'll get those for us in a minute." Because Tony Stark.

And then he has them, and shows them on the wall monitor. "Only a bit of unusual stuff here. I have an idea." Tony goes back in time on the logs. "Here we go. This, I bet, is when it was /digging/ the tunnels. Last week sometime." He tracks through quickly. "I'll get some fun math going and lay out a map."

Superman has posed:
Kal gives Tony a lopsided smile at the hangover comment. Then he shakes his head wonderingly as Tony goes to work.

"Fun math?" he asks incredulously and shakes his head again.

"It's a solid plan, if Dr. Banner can get us enough of the second species," he says, then cocks his head slightly. "I wonder how big those tunnels are... And how much liquid it would take to fill them."

Iron Man has posed:
"Technically I'm going to have one of my AI enjoy all the fun of that," Tony smiles at Kal's amusement related to how he and his inventions have fun. "I'll send the drone for a look-see, get some readouts, if you really want the volume. Are you suggesting we flood it? They haven't seemed to care either way about water." Tony's distracted by his datapad, sending the drone off, presumably. "Titans and Crusader - he's JLA, yes? - promised they could get us a massive one. I was happy to let them handle it, I'm busy enough with the rest of this," Tony comments.

Superman has posed:
"He is, and reliable. If they say they can, I believe it," Kal affirms confidently. "I was thinking about solvents or that fungicide solution. But it would probably take more than we could find, and get in the way of this other fungus," he muses. "Just tossing around ideas to even the odds," he says.

"I don't suppose we have any telepaths powerful enough to wrestle control over that thing away from whoever is behind it? If we could trust anyone that powerful with control of the oomycetans..."

Iron Man has posed:
"I don't know how to rank one telepath over another or compared to this thing," Tony answers with a soft laugh. "I've never really asked them to rate themselves in power level out of ten. I do know a few now, mostly through the X-Men. They have at least four." Tony says it in a way as if the X-Men were hoarding telepathy and he was mildly interested in stealing one.

"One of them was there last night, right? Did he rank how terrifying our monster is?"

Superman has posed:
Kal shakes his head. "No, she didn't," he replies.

"And I don't know if it would have made much sense to me if she did," he admits. "I stay away from telepaths. Constantine seemed to think it was pretty massive though."

Iron Man has posed:
"I'll bug them again," Tony says in a manner that suggests he's doing it right now while he's talking about doing it, attention on the datapad. He pulls it more to his lap, swiveling in the chair to face Superman more fully. "Although I figure they would have already done it if they were going to, but. One of them brought up some kind of high tech device about amplifying his ability. He got real dodgy when I asked about it," Tony says, with some amusement. "People have this funny fear of me with their tech; I don't see /why/. I don't steal people's property."

Superman has posed:
Kal smiles. "No, but you come up with things they never thought of that are twice as good. That scares some," he points out.

"So the question is, when do we make our move? And do we try to track down the puppetmaster, or just take away his puppets?"

Iron Man has posed:
"Yes, I enjoy my vice grip of fear as I invent improved safety tech for airplanes," Tony replies slyly, still poking his tablet. He stops, though, as he's asked about 'when'. "I pushed for tonight from the Titans. And I don't have a good way to track telepathy man, so. Start with the toys: the things eating our planet. Maybe our telepaths will have a better way to get at the puppetmaster if we give them more time."

Superman has posed:
Kal nods. "Eliminating the threat is the most important thing," he agrees. "This can't be allowed to spread any further. We can't let Earth go the way of... wherever these things came from. Just send word when it's time, and I will be there. I'll have to spread many of the others out though; when we destroy this thing tonight, all its minions around the world will be free to do what these things do naturally. It will be a long clean up process."

Iron Man has posed:
"In /theory/... again, in theory... using the mark 2 'shroom should make them all peaceful. But that's a best case that I'm entirely not counting on, so I agree with mobilizing all the teams and efforts we can for quick cleanup, even if they're just inactive for a while. We can still make the most of whatever happens." Tony stretches and puts the tablet back on the tablet, hand loose.

There's a knock at the door, and a tentative man looks in. He looks abruptly horrified at the meeting he just interrupted. "Mr... Staaaaah..." he begins. Can't manage it.

"What's up, Joshua?" Tony prompts, easy and casual as always. "The cargo is all loaded and ready, s--sir."

Superman has posed:
Kal smiles. "I'll let you get ready, Stark. See you on the front lines," he says to Tony. He gives Joshua a smile and a nod in passing and makes his way out. Before long he can be seen taking off from the yard outside and disappearing into the sky.