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Justice Avengers: Dawn Over New York (Roleplay Thread)

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A golden haze pervaded across the skyline of the Big Apple. The light of the rising sun seeped through the towering skyscrapers, turning them into gargantuan silhouettes. As the daytime filtered through the windows of bedrooms across the city, new yorkers everywhere rose from their beds, stretched and rubbed the sleep from their eyes. It was the start of a brand new day, and the beginning of many great things. Some people would be returning to the same, humdrum life. Some would be beginning quite a new career.

In the case of the folks at the first national bank, it appeared to be a case of the former. That morning, all the clerks and tellers were at their desks, minding their own business. Customers waited patiently in line, glancing absently at the beige and black surroundings. The manager walked past and gave a nod to the portly, balding security guard, who sat in front of the monitors linked up to flickering CCTV cameras. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and all was fairly calm. A few customers trickled in through the front door. One barely got in as the door closed, then reached into his suit jacket and fired a flare gun at the ground.

The panic set in immediately. One by one, men and women began screaming their heads off, either standing and waving their hands about or dropping to the ground on their hands and knees. A group of suited men filed in, wearing screen-visor gas masks, carrying briefcases and machine guns. A few of the armed members aimed at the tellers and barked for them to get their heads down. One raised his gun in the air. "Ladies and gentlemen, please remain calm, " he said clearly, "This'll all be over in about thirty seconds."

A couple of the men brought out a strange device shaped like a giant handlebar, and attached it lengthways to the huge round door of the vault. As it clamped in place, small drills began to bore through the wrought iron, making their way to the locking mechanisms. Once the door was unlocked and opened up, it was a matter of quickly loading up the cash, getting to the stairs, getting up with a grappling hook, then getting to the chopper that even now was making its way towards the roof of the building.

No one could have predicted what would happen next.

-----------------------------------------------------

In another part of town, life moved on, unaware of what was happening at the first national bank. Precisely, we'll be taking a look at the United Nations, home to some of the most important meetings of the modern world. The United Nations building was also right near the Amazon Embassy, a building that signified just how much diversity our simple Earth had. Every day, soup kitchens and special speeches and lecture happened there. If a candidate to a position in the government wanted some good press, all he had to do was to volunteer at the Amazon Embassy. All of their events were free, and the ones that did have an entry fee usually costed one or two dollars.

The halls of the Embassy were filled with poor people, all of them standing in line for the latest free soup kitchen, as the volunteers gladly filled their plates with food and their cups with drinks. But right next door, an United Nations meeting would take place later in the day, explaining why one could easily spot some important figures in the US presidential race visiting the place and talking to the homeless people. Meanwhile, people were arriving at the United Nations, surrounded by bodyguards, secret services and black cars. A bunch of people gathered behind a metal fence, some of them cheering, some of them protesting for the most diverse causes. "Make peace, not war", "Equality for mutants" and other slogans could be seen in wood signs being lifted by yelling New Yorkers.

Some of them were even yelling at certain presidents, kings and dictators. No one could have predicted what this was the beginning of.

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And so we begin. :) just a small post to start...

=================================================================================

La Guardia Airport was as always, teeming with life. People arriving to take flights away from the US streamed out, while those arriving in America came flooding in. Security checks, flight check-in desks and other obstacles on the journey caused their own unique delays, lines formed, flowed, decreased and lengthened. Signs changed and updated, the constant announcement booming over the constant chatter of the crowd. Everyone going about their business, not looking at anyone else or simply too intent on their destinations to care.

With one exception.

The woman who exited from the arrival tunnel of the newly arrived charter flight from Greece attracted a lot of attention. A little over six feet tall, darkly tanned with red hair tied severely back in a pony tail that reached down to her waist, she strode towards the first arrivals desk with a single-minded purpose. Even dressed casually, her body spoke of a powerful athleticism. With seeming patience she waited in the short queue, green eyes constantly moving, taking in the teeming flow of life around her, giving no outward notice she was aware of all the eyes on her. Despite it feeling like a constant itch on her skin.

When her turn came, she stepped forward and handed her passport to the agent. He looked down at it and blinked at the Diplomatic passport with a small sheaf of documents. He looked up at the woman with a frown.

"Is there a problem?" Her voice, a little deeper than expected, held the faintest hint of an accent.

"Uh, No." The agent replied. "we don't usually get Diplomatic staff through here without some notification. They and their luggage are processed differently."

"I was supposed to be arriving tomorrow," the woman said. "I decided to take an earlier flight." She smiled very slightly, the expression changing her face for the better. "I wanted to experience Man's World, and Greece is not a place I wanted to linger."

The agent signaled to security as she spoke, still looking down at the passport, eyes widening slightly as he saw the nationality. One of the guards came over and he spoke quickly to the uniformed man, who moved off slightly to speak into his radio.

The agent looked through the passport and some other documents. "Your luggage will be picked up ahead of the others," he said. "It's registered here as diplomatic so it won't be subjected to the checks normal luggage is." He nodded to the guard who had finished talking on the radio. "Just follow him, he will get you through."

Artemis nodded. "Thank you." That would be most useful considering the items that were packed into one of the cases. Items that were now part of what she would become to the people of Man's World.

"And welcome to America, Miss Artemis."

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The car was able to stop an Israeli anti-tank shell. The armor was more for the Latverian diplomatic staff than it was for its visiting dignitary and ruler: von Doom. He exited the car first on the long gangway leading into the United Nations building. He was scheduled to speak momentarily.

Victor von Doom's appearance sent a hush through the gathered crowd of protesters and societal mongrels.

"Chattel," Doom said not quiet enough to be whispered but not loud enough to provoke. He cared not for the filth and their signs. But he supposed he couldn't blame them. America was a breeding ground for this facade of free speech. Allowing for this made them weak. When one is not allowed to vocalize their plight, their minds will find a way to make their lives better. Doom has always believed that.

When one uses their mind, they can do amazing and terrifying things. When Doom uses his, it is awe-inspiring. The United Nations, and, indeed, the world would soon see that.

Beneath the iron mask adorning his scarred face, the corners of Doctor Doom's mouth pulled upward.

"Soon," he chuckled. "Soon."

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Doom was immediately greeted by a shower of voices from reporters and flashes coming from their cameras. One of them, an old man with somewhat blonde hair walked up to him, holding a microphone, while a cameraman accompanied him, filming everything. "Here we are at the entrance to the United Nations, in what seems like it's going to be a very special episode of our news program. I'm G. Gordon Godfrey, and already we see very important world figures entering the United Nations headquarters, like the "king" of Latveria, Victor von Doom." He placed his microphone right up to Doom's face, furrowing his brow. "Von Doom, what are the next plans for your country? Something you would like to share with my audience? Technological advancements? Rockets? Tanks? Censorship? More tanks?"

------------------------------

Artemis would soon spot a group of men of different ages, heights and ethnicities talking among themselves. They were all wearing black glasses and had small radio devices in their ears, but Artemis could clearly notice they were looking at her. The group nodded, before walking up to her. It's apparent leader, a black man with brown hair (in a very... wavy hairstyle) dismissed the airport's guard, showing Artemis a badge that had a symbol with an eagle on it. The leader had a strong build, and could easily tower over an average human being. "Miss Artemis?" He said, his deep voice silencing any questions the airport guard's had. "We're from SHIELD. We're here to be your bodyguards until you arrive at the Amazon Embassy."

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Mr Wayne looked out of his window, while the board members finalised the deal that would result in another casino in the bustling city of New York. Thomas couldn't help but look down at the citizens, ants, that's what Bruce used to call them, ants, they are, just mindless drones, following whatever leader will have them. If it was up to Thomas, he'd burn this city to the ground.

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The guards for Doom's diplomatic team moved in on the reporter, closing off his access and forcing him and his microphone back into his cameraman.

"Enough," Doom said just loud enough for his guards to hear. They backed off immediately from the intrusive reporter. Godfrey, as driven by the need for controversy as he was, wisely chose to not approach the ruler of Latveria.

Godfrey shook of the guards and straightened his blazer before twirling his finger in sight of his cameraman to tell him to keep filming.

"Don't mistake my tolerance for kindness," Doom said. "However, know that this country's fascination with a non-stop news cycle amuses me to no end."

"Then why is there not a free press in Latveria, your highness?" Godfrey's tone upturned more than usual at the end of his question. It became clear that he was unsure of how to address the monarch.

"Doom will be fine. It is my name, and what awaits any who stand in my way."

It appeared that was enough of a clarification to answer Godfrey's free press question.

"Erm...ahhh...To what do we owe the pleasure of your visit to both the great city of New York and the United Nations in particular?"

"Hm! Since you Americans give more attention to the ridiculous talking heads on your televisions than you do the actual resolutions of the United Nations, perhaps this is an even better time to announce what is 'next' for Latveria. Starting today, the great nation of Latveria has signed a combination free trade and defense pact with Bialya, Kahndaq, Qurac and Madripoor. One that will ensure prosperity and safety for all. And, you ask, what my plans are here in New York City? I was hoping that I could sit down with Harry Osborn and Lex Luthor to discuss the expansion of LexCorp and Oscorp throughout these great nations."

"And perhaps," Doom continued, "I will drop in to see some old friends from school."

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Most girls wouldn't walk through Central Park while it was still dark, even if it was becoming lighter out. This was even less likely if the girl was as cute as the girl doing so was, much less had a large prehensile squirrel tail.

Doreen wasn't scared of the things in the dark. She could hear the low chitters of her friends in the trees and on the paths around her. If anyone was dumb enough to try anything... well, turned out word of a would-be attacker mauled by a sudden swarm of squirrels spread pretty quickly.

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SHIELD. Artemis had been given a quick briefing on what she was likely to encounter in the USA and New York and SHIELD had been included. It would be advantageous to go with them. Maybe gain some information. It was a shame though. The whole purpose of arriving early was to avoid taking an official car and actually seeing the City. But she could still do that once she was settled in.

"Thank you," She replied. "I think that would be better than the alternatives."

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"Blasted anti-smokin' laws."

This gruff exclamation was followed by some muffled cursing as a large, orange four fingered hand fumbled with a silver Zippo far too small for it.

"Blasted tiny lighters."

Finally, the Zippo sparked and the hand lifted it to a cigar. The cigar was perched in the lips of a man with a complexion like Mount Rushmore. He drew deep on the cigar, closing his eyes. Ben Grimm strode through a fairly abandoned section of his boyhood neighborhood, Yancy Street. He had only been back once since his... accident, and that time was less favorable. Now? Ben Grimm was a member of the Fantastic Four, world famous adventurers. Granted, Ben had stormed out of the Baxter building earlier that day, after another argument with Reed and Johnny, which, had, incidentally, brought him here.

The Thing simply walked, the pavement nearly silent against his ludicrously large sneakers. From down the street, the sound of shattering glass echoed. Grimm frowned, setting his jaw. He took a long drag of his cigar, before tossing it to the pavement, stomping it out.

"This better be good. That was a Cuban."

Grimm broke into a run, rounding a corner to find a building familiar to him: Sheckerberg's Pawn Shop. Even in Ben's Youth, Sheckerberg had been old, but by now, the old man must have been positively ancient. He stood, in the doorway, brandishing a broom. Surrounding him, three young thugs acted postively wrecked with mock-terror, beside them, the shop window was shattered. As Ben rounded the corner, he overheard the largest of the thugs speak, "It's simple, Grandpa. Everybody on Yancy pays protection to the Yancy Street Gang. You're on Yancy Street, you're gonna pay."

Ben stopped in his tracks, brimming with anger, "'Scuse me, junior. Can you repeat that?"

The thug, who couldn't have been more that 16, turned and saw The Thing, "Holy F-"

"Fantastic Four. NASA. United States Marine Corps," Grimm interrupted, "But before all that, you know what I was? I was a Yancy Streeter. And I can tell you one thing for damn sure: we didn't hassle eighty-five year old men for protection money. You caught me on a bad day, boys, but since I'm such a sentimental fella, I'm gonna give you one chance. You three go back to whichever punk is running the Yancy Streeters, and you tell him that Benjamin Jacob Grimm is officially providin' free protection to every damn business on Yancy Street. You boys are out of business. Or else."

The thug simply stammered, "O-o-or else what?"

The Thing just sighed, "Or else, it's clobberin' time? Capeche?"

The smallest of the thugs nodded, pulling at the jackets of his brothers. All three broke into a dead sprint. As they left, Schekerberg turned to Grimm, "Thank you, Benjamin." Ben nodded, beginning to pick up the broken glass, but Sheckerberg stopped him, "I'm not dead, Grimm. I can handle a little broken glass. You've got better things to be doing, I'm sure." As Ben began to walk away, Sheckerberg called at his back, "Things aren't what they used to be, my boy."

Ben nodded, giving the old man four crisp hundred dollar bills, "Tell me about it. What a revoltin' development."

Ben began walking toward Uptown. He had money in his pocket and the last half hour had left him in desperate need of a drink.

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The SHIELD officer put his badge back in his suit's pocket as a few other soldiers grabbed Artemis' bags from the airport staff. "Miss Artemis, I hope you understand: your security is top priority for us at SHIELD. There is an United Nations meeting happening today, so your presence at the Amazon Embassy is important, if not essential. Is there anything you wish to do before we depart? Any requirements? We're ready to fulfill any wish you may have."

-------------------

Squirrel Girl, Ben and Thomas Wayne would all get to see very weird sights at that very moment. Squirrel Girl was the first one, as she could hear the sounds of... motors? Now why would there be cars in Central Park? Her question was soon answered as a mad chase through the tree-lacking areas of Central Park took place: police officers on motorbikes following a group of thieves in a car, while one of the thieves kept shooting at the cops, trying to get them off their tail. They were some of the thugs that had recently robbed the first national bank, and thanks to the thug's bad aim, no one was getting hurt... except for a few critters, who unfortunately had their houses destroyed by the bullets.

Ben and Thomas also got to see another chase, but this one more traditional, and both from different angles. While Thomas could clearly see the NYPD cars following the truck (obviously filled with money) through the streets, Ben could only see the police cars driving right past him, followed by a chopper that belonged to a famous news network, with a cameraman filming the entire situation.

It all seemed like just another day in New York.

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Artemis shook her head. "I have all my luggage now," She responded. She had been impressed with the speed of which her cases had arrived. No doubt some frantic behind the scenes activity had gone into that. "There is nothing else I need to do here apart from get to the Embassy and get some rest. It was a long flight."

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"Before we leave, miss Artemis." The SHIELD man said, pulling out a small round and long device that looked like some sort of taser. However, it lacked the "electricity" part of a taser, and instead contained a simple blue light on the top. He held it up to Artemis' eyes, and turned on the light, scanning her retina. "Now, I'll have to ask, just for security. During your trip, did you drink or eat anything you didn't order? Did someone you don't know tried to give you anything, organic and non-organic? And did at any point you felt as you were being followed or watched?"

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Artemis shook her head. Her situational awareness had always been good. It was how she had managed to rise to Phillipus' second in command of the Queen's Guard "No," She replied. Her mouth twisted in a half smile. "Although it would depend on what you mean by watched." She continued. "There have been eyes on me since I arrived in Man's World, but not the sort of attention you refer to."

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One of the SHIELD agents contained a chuckle at Artemis' comment, or at least his interpretation of it. "Well, Miss, it's simply for security reasons. There have been a lot of so-called super criminals roaming around New York in the past few years. Not to worry, you'll be safe with us." The SHIELD man said, putting the device back on his pocket and nodding towards the door. "Anything else you want to do before we leave?"

(Out Of Character Comment: if there isn't anything else you want Artemis to do, you can have her arriving at the Embassy in the next post.)

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Artemis stood on the pavement in front of the Embassy, watching the line of people queueing to enter. She hadn't liked the idea of the building being so open to anyone when it had first been proposed by Eris and the others assigned there. It would cause a security nightmare; Diana's enemies could use that to stike at her people in revenge. And they had tried that once. Only once. The Amazon response to that had sent a clear message: Attack us and we will return that attack sevenfold. Even if the attackers were dead, then their people would be attacked. And for every Amazon death, then seven of theirs would die. The Roman Empire had come up with some good ideas at least.

Since then, the Amazons had been left alone for the most part. This Embassy remained open and there was a small mission in Greece, acting as a halfway point for Amazons arriving and departing Man's World. Other than that, there was nothing official. Just charity missions and halfway houses for the poor and runaways in several cities throughout the world.

Artemis climbed the short flight of stairs to the doorway. One of the guards had seen her coming and managed to disguise her doubletake. The other was busy with the queue and had not seen her.

"Sister?" Themis' voice held a note of disbelief. "What are you doing here?"

Artemis frowed. "You were not told I was coming?"

"We were told The Contest had been held but not who won. I assumed the Princess.."

Artemis' scowl cut her off. She would have to get used to that, she supposed. Especially when she starting wearing the armor. Knowing that Diana had made a lasting impression was one thing, experiencing it was another. She would simply have to make her own impression.

"I was told there is a meeting at the UN," She said. "Who is in charge in Eris' absense?"

"Itala." Themis replied. "You can find her on the upper floor. The ground floor contains all the public areas for lectures and for those in need."

Artemis nodded and moved past into the lobby. Looking around, she spotted the stairs and made for them, nodding in greeting at the two guards and receiving startled nods in return. By the time she reached the top of the stairs, Itala was waiting for her.

"Artemis," She said. "You are a day early." The two women grasped wrists in greeting.

"I do not like Greece," Artemis replied shortly. "So I caught an earlier flight. SHIELD was kind enough to bring me from the airport."

Itala frowned. "Do they know?"

"They treated me like any other diplomat," Artemis said. "And I do not see how they could know unless they have a source on Paradise Island. Or someone has been talking to outsiders."

"Well, in any case there is no need to worry about it. The world will know that the Wonder Woman has returned soon enough." Itala smiled. "Even if she does look different." She turned, beckoning Artemis to follow her. "We have some rooms ready for you. It is a long flight from Greece, I am sure you would like to rest. Later we can speak about what steps to take."

Artemis shouldered her bags. "Lead the way sister."

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