Hammer Time

Emitter: Proton
Date: Sept 28, 2010
Participants: Spectrum
Summary: A Russian superhero (?) tries to take a rare tiger from the zoo.

The San Angeles Zoo is one of the most popular tourist attractions in a city filled with tourist attractions. They constantly add new environments, retire old ones, and generally make it so that the entire experience is memorable. Today, the zoo is unveiling it's newest members: two rare Siberian Tiger cubs that were birthed by the zoo's mated pair, the only ones in captivity outside Russia. The cubs are doing fine, and the zoo is amazed at their good fortune. Siberian Tigers are the rarest of a vanishing species, and the largest big cat on Earth. To have two new ones raises their status in the eyes of the world. So today the crowds are especially thick, and Timo has been sent by the school paper to get pictures of the cubs for the Monday edition. Fortunately, there is a special Press area, and Timo actually does get into it. Here, he's standing with a dozen other journalists and cameraman from the various city outlets for a close-up of the cubs.

Absent his usual cameraman due to… well, some reason he'll have to find out later, Timo has brought one of the school cameras with him. Unlike Derek, photography isn't his specialty, so he takes a few moments to figure out the settings on the camera before he steps in closer to get shots.

A few of the men and women here shift idly, or talk amongst themselves; a few others scan the press packet or talk on cellphones to SO's or bosses. The zoo representative shows up, a young woman in khakis and work jeans, and smiles at the groups. "We'll be bringing the cubs out in a few minutes to the press area; they'll be here for five minutes, then they'll go out to the main exhibit area for thirty minutes; after that, it'll be feeding time and they'll need to go back in for the day. Please, hold your questions until the end, or submit them to the head zookeeper. You can move out to the main exhibit area after we're done here, but no TV cameras or lights are allowed out there, only non-flash photography." There is a little grumbling as there always is, but the reporters come alert and get ready for the cameramen to get that 'human interest' shot for the morning edition, or their website.

The woman disappears for a few minutes, then comes out with the two squawling little cubs, eyes open and ready to be seen by the public. One young man holds one, while another bottle-feeds the cub; the rep holds the other one, which bats at her hair. They are indeed super-cute headliner material.

Timo nods a little to the rep's instructions, staying quiet for the moment. He glances around at the other reporters around, both excited and nervous to be included in this. When the cubs are brought out, though, he gets right to business, moving to take the shots.

The five minutes fly by all too soon and there are more than a few 'aawws' as the cubs are taken away. The reporters are all given press packs and passes to the zoo restaurants and consessions for the day, then ushered out to the main visitors area. There is a big cheer as the cubs are brought out, and some of the camera-crews migrate there to get man-in-the-street reactions to the new arrivals.

Timo steps out to the main visiting area with the rest, looking over his press pack as he makes his way over towards the crowd cheering for the new cubs, pausing to get some shots of the crowd on the way.

Then the crowd gasps and pulls back; a few cry out as a man comes floating down over the exhibit stage area, a bright red scarf fluttering behind him almost like a thin cape. His costume is a black tunic with a white hammer symbol on it, red pants tucked into large black soldier's boots. He doesn't wear a mask, but his eyes are blaze with a pure white brilliance. He's also carrying a massive hammer, flat on one end and spiked on the other, more like a tool than a weapon but on a massive scale. He frowns at the collection of people.

"I am Hammer, and I am here to correct this outrage to the Russian people!" the man says in a thick, halting accent. "These animals belong to my country and shall be returned there!" The flying man raises the hammer, and it glows with a harsh, eye-hurting white light, like from a welding torch. The cubs squeal with fear and the zookeepers are trying to scramble for the exit with them; Hammer throws his titular weapon and it deforms the steel stage door so that no-one is leaving that way. It flies back and returns to his hand. The only other way out of the exhibit stage is the other door (he's between them and it) or jumping the 20-foot wide-and-deep moat between the stage and the onlookers.

People begins to panic and flee as the man throws the hammer, and the cameramen try to get a shot of him. "Who is that?" "What's going on!?" "Call the Russian Embassy and get a statement!" comes from the scattering reporters.

Timo snaps a quick shot of Hammer as he appears, then lowers the camera. He doesn't even squint at the near-blinding light, just frowning. He turns, diving into the fleeing crowd. A moment later, Spectrum appears, force-field shimmering to life around him as he says, "If they didn't have the proper permission for the cubs, there's ways of getting the cubs back that don't involve threatening people, you know."

The floating man turns and smiles, glowing hammer held aloft. "Zo, the Americans send /children/ to fight me? Typical. Go home, boy, and I will not have to deal with you!" he says in a snarl.

The crowd surges as another costume appears: they /know/ what that usually means, and several beat feet down the hill towards the monkey house.

Spectrum shakes his head, "I don't want to fight you at all. You're trying to help some animals, that's cool. But, can't just let you take them either, or threaten people here." He turns, raising a hand and a streak of pure photons smashes from his hand and into the bent door, blasting it clear off its' hinges.

The Russian scowls as the boy blasts the door off it's hinges, and the zookeepers make good their escape for now. "I will get them later. Now, though, I will take care of you. After this, you will make good sale as well, I am thinking," he snarls and flies in, landing heavily on the stage, swinging that massive hammer. He catches the teenager on the shoulder and almost knocks him down for a second. Pressing the attack, the man draws back the glowing hammer to strike again.

Spectrum stumbles back just a step as he's hit by the hammer, his forcefield rippling out from the point of impact with each 'wave' being a different colour. "Ow!" He turns back, letting out a blast of his photons at the close Russian. "Ok, you want a fight, you've got it."

Hammer grunts as the boy's blast takes him across the front, and he steps back, clearly he felt that! The man smiles cruelly and points the massive hammer at Spectrum. "Let us see if your little rainbows will save you now, eh?" he snarls, and a blast of blazing white light stabs forth from the hammer, barely missing the lad.

Spectrum dodges out of the way of the blast, and blinks, "Are you really using light on me? Or did it just look like that? Well, whatever," and then he braces himself, lashing out with a much bigger blast of packed photons, hitting Hammer like… well, a giant hammer.

Hammer staggers back, the costumed man blown back and going to one knee. The crowd has fled, the cubs are gone, and he's hurt badly, his costume shredded in places. "We will meet again, little one. When we do, you will feel my wrath," the man snarls in a thick Russian accent, and vaults into the air, flying up rapidly, then away to the south. The people that are left pause, then clap and cheer at the costumed youth, a few flashes as people get pictures. Other reporters with mics and cameras approach, the few who had not left when the Russian showed up. "What's your name?" they ask first.

Spectrum watches as Hammer disappears, then blinks as he turns to see the reports rushing up. He's used to getting the 'exclusives' on Spectrum, mainly because nobody else was witness to cover his actions. This is by far different. He smiles, though, and answers, "I'm Spectrum."

"Who was that? Is he your arch-foe?" One asks. "You look pretty young to be doing the hero thing. Do you consider yourself a role model?" says another. "Who made your costume?" asks a third as they press a bit closer. "Did you know he'd strike here today?"

Spectrum shrugs a little, and says, "I dunno, but I'm gonna find out. All I know is he's from Russia, and called himself Hammer." He blinks at the role-model question, "Um… I dunno. I just wanna help out, that's all. And I just got lucky, was passing by and saw what happened."

The reporters rise to the responses. "Are you joining the Freedom Brigade when you're old enough? Do you have a girlfriend?" The questions repeat somewhat, but also: "Are you an animal rights activist like Hammer? Do you think PETA will approve of him?"

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