(2014-09-10) The Watchtower is Watching
The Watchtower is Watching
Summary: The Justice League has taken steps to start setting up a network of surveillance satellites throughout the entire solar system. And now it's time to bring that network online. What will they find?
Date: 2014-09-10
Related: Various
Scene Runner: Power Woman
Social/Plot: Plot

It has taken weeks to put the entire plan into motion. That timeframe was expanded when they had to go back to the drawing board in order to include and adapt whole new technologies that both Kara and Tony were completely unfamiliar with. But now is the time when all of that hard work should start to pay off. Naturally, Power Woman has tried to assemble as many of the League, and their supporters, as possible for this 'moment'. It's a bit fluid, really. But 'now'-ish is the time. So Power Woman arises from her seat at the heart of the Perisphere-sized upper Meeting Hall, aboard the Watchtower, and raps gently against the armorplast table to start drawing this assembly to order.

"I know it's a bit new to some of us. Thank you, to our guests, for joining us up here aboard the Watchtower. This was the best place for us to gather for this particular event." the Kryptonian blonde begins. "I know we've all had pieces of what we're working on, but I'm oing to try to bring everyone up to speed on the basics, so we can fill in anyone's gaps."

"We have had intelligence for about a month that there is a potential alien invasion coming for Earth. The intel we have indicates that a guided rogue planet, named Mongo, is coming towards Earth and that its despotic ruler, apparently named 'Ming the Merciless', intends to invade the planet, strip it of all resources, and enslave Earth's people as he has those of many other worlds." Dramatic, right?

Power Woman continues. "We believe that two recent meteor showers that approached the Earth, both of which were interdicted by members of the Justice League, may have been sent by Mongo to help soften us up. Discussing that and other concerns, and our lack of better astrogation data, Iron Man and I started brainstorming a new project. We planned out a means to seed the solar system with remote, near-real-time FTL-communication-capable sensor buoys. The short version is, we're using directed micro-pulse gravitics, which the sensor buoy's gravity sensors can pick up and decypher, for communication at speeds faster than the actual passage of light." A real advantage, in the vast openness of space.

"We had the buoys about half constructed, when Marvel Girl approached us with the idea to include technology that we were not familiar with, but which she felt would be ideal for our needs. Something called 'Cerebro' tech. Doctor McCoy was recruited by Marvel Girl to assist us in incorporating that technology. The drones were updated, and the net should be coming fully online in less than an hour, as the last rings assume their station-keeping positions and then adjust for transmissions back through the net to the Watchtower."

Jean Grey nods, "And let me just assure you that while it sounds rather ridiculous, Ming the Merciless has a very bad rep, and he has enough power that conquering the Earth is something he can do." She glances over at Power Woman with a 'tell you more later' expression, then smiles at Hank, "So, Hank, think we can get a replica of Cerebro up and running here, with those specifications? Welcome to the Watchtower, by the way." Her eyes flicker curiously to Batwoman, as if just making sure it isn't Batman with a wig.

"What we're doing is so complex no single super computer on Earth, not even the one aboard the Watchtower, could do it alone." Moon Maiden says, picking up where Power Woman has left off. "However, we have advantages. Beyond having some of the most brilliant minds on Earth in the League, we've got two members who can plug and play to help interpret data."

Laurel stays seated on her hovering chair, the silver crescent moon etched into the back, "I'm extremely sensitive to gravitational distortions. Usually, that's limited to the moon's gravity field but by plugging into the sensor network I can interpet data from other gravitational fields as well. And, of course, the Cerbero technology apparently works best with telepaths like Marvel Girl."

Batwoman sits at the table as one of the newcomers to the group, dressed in full costume. For her part she leans back in her chair, long legs stretched out and cape furled about her. Once a few of the others have offered information she speaks up. "So let me get this right. The purpose of the sensor bouys is to… what? Detect the incoming meteor showers and provide advance warning? Determine the source? What then? I don't doubt the League has the resources to knock out incoming meteors. But how many? And how long before our defenses are overwhelmed?"

Hank McCoy, to his credit, isn't nerding out. It's not that he's gotten to rub shoulders with famous heroes Power Woman and Moon Maiden- but rather, it's the fact that he's IN SPACE. There are entirely too many questions he'd like to ask, but, well, there's the matter at hand. Hank sits in a chair that's just a smidgen too small for him, still dressed in his typical professor's tweed.

"Constructing another Cerebro and integrating it with the aforementioned alien technology has proved to be a rather daunting challenge-" and an eager grin splits Hank's fuzzy face, "-though a rather exhilarating one. I haven't had the chance to work with this level of equipment in…well, ever, really."

His innocent academic enthusiasm fades a little as Batwoman speaks up. "An entirely valid question."

"The sensor array units can read the gravitic micro-pulses handily, because they were built and designed to scan for anomalous gravity patterns as part of keeping watch over the solar system. If a rogue planet shows up, there /will/ be gravity effects, so it was a key part of the plan. The advantage is that measuring gravity can be done at ranges beyond light, which means that the network can send back data faster with those gravity pulses than they could with, say, laser beams. And they're rather stealthy, unlikely to be picked up unless someone knew exactly what to look for, and where." Power Woman explains.

"They're using that to transmit their data. And we're using similar sensors here on the Watchtower to communicate and send orders back. Which has enabled us to interface this technology with other technology, which Doctor McCoy has been helping us integrate here. I don't fully understand the 'Cerebro' technology, beyond that it apparently enables a telepath to greatly extend her range of influence. With the sensor network's gravitic pulse communications, we believe this should enable a telepath, connected to our Cerebro unit here aboard the Watchtower, to scan the entire solar system for minds, as she might otherwise do in a city block."

To answer Batwoman's questions, Kara does continue a bit more. "The idea, here, was to establish a means to monitor the solar system, looking for and tracking any incoming meteors, ships, or other objects. And, to detect the approach of the rogue planet itself, if and when it shows up. We added the Cerebro technology because the idea presented us with an additional methodology we thought would be far enough outside most others' scope that they wouldn't have cloaking technology build to account for it."

That said, Kara checks the chronometer readout on the screen in front of her, which is mirrored in front of every seat in the meeting room. "Ten more minutes, and all of the remotes should be in place. Laurel, you should start picking up their transmissions soon. The first rings to come online will be those most recently launched, and operating closest to Earth. We staggered their launches intentionally." The only thing Kara hasn't explained is how they got the units far enough out to reach the edge of the solar system's elliptic.

"Roger." Moon Maiden responds to Power Woman. She rises up into the air and moves into the center of the room, hovering in a field of silver sparkles. "JARVIS, run 1.52 more miliamps of current through the gravity plates in this room, please."

A smooth, British voice replies from everywhere. "At once, Moon Maiden."

"Mongo is a planetoid. We don't have specifics on just how big it is but it is large enough to hold several different populations of people looted from multiple worlds, according to our intelligence." Moon Maiden says. "If you do the straight up math, just coming close to Earth would a gravitational disaster which would ruin the planet and make it very hard to harvest much of anything. We're assuming this Ming has a way of dampening Mongo's own gravitational and magnetic fields. After all, the man can MOVE a whole planet."

Laurel closes her eyes as she reaches out, plugging into the station and drawing in the sensory data. The idea is clever - the data feeds into the alchemically produced gravity plates in the Watchtower which she can sense, since they are created by her Alchemical Engine on the moon.

"Gravity flows like water. There's a reason why the tides and gravity are locked together into a dance. It isn't just math. It is the balance and symmetry of creation. As above, so below."

Jean Grey hrms, "Scanning the entire solar system is going to be… an interesting experience." She looks a bit nervous about that, mainly because she's going to be the one in the driver's seat for that. "Though, the Guardians are planning on doing a scouting expedition towards Mongo, seeing what exactly we'd be up against. I was planning on tagging along with them for it, since that would provide them additional help."

Batwoman nods slowly, steepling gloved fingers as she listens to Kara's explanation. And for the moment, at least, it seems to satisfy her curiosity. "That gives us a detection grid, which is the first step. But wars aren't won with shields or behind walls. Those are deterrents at best, unless we think we can hold off Mongo indefinitely." Crimson lips curl into a small smile at the mention of the Guardians and a scouting expedition. Yes, she approves. "I think that while we're on recon, we should also be preparing for a military response."

Hank McCoy tries to conceal the concern on his face as Jean brings up linking herself into Cerebro- though when there's a telepath present, it may be a bit of a moot point. "I've taken extra precautions, given the scale of the project. Even still…" he trails off, "There's a manual shutoff, as well- if the pressure becomes too much, you'll be able to pull yourself at any time. Though the good news is, Cerebro is geared more towards the detection of unique metahuman brainwaves- and, given the general emptiness of space, it should be far quieter than an Earth mounted Cerebro unit would be."

Hank takes a few moments to type out a few calculations on a Stark-tech tablet, furrowing his brow as he mulls over the labyrinthine calculations displayed therin.

"In theory."

"The plan is to know where they are, when they're coming, some of what they're up to - we hope. Then to take appropriate action." Power Woman explains. "Iron Man and I are already putting the finishing touches on a pair of FTL-hop-capable drones with more detailed broad-spectrum sensor packages. They'll send their data back through the network. Once we have a reading that we think needs to be investigated further, with greater detail, we can send the drones to check it out. Then follow that up with the Guardians … or ourselves." Because when it comes to dealing with the alien menace, eventually this becomes the job for the Justice League. That's why they were formed, after all. To deal with the things too big for any one hero to handle, outside the purview or capability of the rest of humanity.

Hovering above the table, Laurel sounds distracted as she speaks. "The US government is preparing a military response. Partially by kidnapping and torturing children. We're working on our own. That's part of what tonight is about. That's why we've got a strategist sitting at the table with four people who have advanced knowledge of science and math, Batwoman. You're here to help us form our military response. You'll need to account for magic, too. From what we've heard, Mongo has access to sorcery from other planets. Miss Marvel can help there. Wisdom of Solomon…" She pauses, then says. "JARVIS, adjust the power level to the panels in this room started with one in a Fibonachi sequence. I want them vibrating at a counter harmony to the others."

Batwoman purses her lips at the mention of the government's 'response', and she nods curtly. "I'm preparing my own response to the government's metahuman program and the division they called 'PAIN'…" And that's all she's going to say about -that- for now. "Intel on Mongo is going to be essential but I'd also like a download of the League's resources, both personnel and technological. I may not know what I'm dealing with but I'd at least like to know what we've got to work with."

"Perhaps," Hank says in Batwoman's general direction, without looking up from the equations streaming across his tablet, "Perhaps we won't be ENTIRELY alone in this upcoming battle. If Ming's Empire is made up of several disparate peoples, perhaps we might even find allies on this Planet Mongo? I'm sure anyone named 'Ming the Merciless,' has more than his fare share of enemies- nt to mention the historical precedent. The subversion of client states was one of the major causes of the fall of both the Roman and Aztec empires, not to mention several major Chinese dynasties…"

Jean Grey looks over at Hank, "That was one thing that I wanted to check with the scouting. Typically empires of this ilk have people ready to rebel against the leadership." She smiles, "And make contact with them, if possible. Given that I'm a telepath, communication would be the easiest for me."

Miss Marvel makes her way to the table from the zeta tubes, which honestly did announce her presence. "I'm sorry for the delay, everyone. I was conferring with my contacts as to what might be possible with this invasion." Also, she had homework. She heads to her seat. "Please continue."

"JARVIS. Load your scan of Batwoman, please. Establish new profile, Jay-El One-Three." Kara Zor-L intones, formally.

That same British voice speaks from everyehwere. "Acknowledged. Scan loaded. Batwoman, please repeat the phrase appearing on the monitor before you." The phrase is a nonsense sentence, really, but those with linguistic experience would recognize it includes all of the various sounds that are a part of spoken English.

Once Batwoman finishes, the British voice speaks up again. "Recognized, Batwoman, Jay-El One-Three."

Kara then adds, "Grant Batwoman provisional access to all of our personnel and material data files, please."

Then Power Woman speaks up. "I'm not a spy. That's not my skill set. But I can fight, and will fight, however is necessary to defend the Earth and her people from this threat. I suggest that we also make sure that our SHIELD Liason is aware of everything we find, and prepared to bring her people onboard to assist with planning and execution. They /are/ spies. Fomenting a rebellion within a hostile nation-state, even if it's on another planet, is a lot further down their alley than mine."

"Good to see you, Miss Marvel. Allow me to introduce Batwoman, whose profile you've seen and reviewed, of course. And this is Doctor Henry McCoy, a friend of Marvel Girl's and key to the inclusion of the Cerebro technology into the remote sensor platform network."

Batwoman nods slowly to Hank's suggestion. "It's very likely, of course. While we can't depend on creating a civil war to solve our issues, is should be high on the list of options." Red lips curl into a broader smile of approval. "All the more reason for getting that intel as soon as we can." She doesn't move when she's scanned, and she repeats the code phrase for the computer as well. Inclining her head, she smiles again. "Thank you, JARVIS. We'll get better acquainted later."

Hank McCoy finally manages to put his tablet down and looks up as Miss Marvel enters. "A pleasure to meet you, Miss-" he begins, only to pause momentarily as the whole 'code name,' thing sinks in. "-er, Marvel." He nods a greeting, and then leans back in his chair, shifting a little.

He takes off his glasses and reaches into his jacket, producing a small white cloth with which to clean the lenses. "Should we be expecting anyone else, Power Woman?" and there's that little stumble over code names again. That's gonna take some getting used to.

JARVIS announces. "Array on line in five… four… three… two… one… array on line."

Honestly, the whole thing is anticlimactic. There's no whine of engines or flickering of lights. Just sensor data flowing across monitors.

"Oooh." Laurel smiles as she feels the data being interpreted into impulses she is uniquely qualified to understand. "Oh, this is amazing. There's Jupiter… and Saturn… and these little tugs must be the moons… there's…" She tilts her head. "A comet, I think. It feels like a comet only I've never felt one this close before…" Her voice small and far away, almost girlish. "I'll need to cross-index what I'm receiving with NASA's databases but I don't think there's anything that doesn't belong here. Yet."

Miss Marvel looks around. "I'd heard something about infiltration. I may be able to get a small team onto the planet unnoticed. We'll need to get more intel on this planet, first." She looks around, eyes weary. "My source has agreed to help, though quite begrudgingly. We have a way of getting there without need of rocket or flight. Perhaps I can take a team of these SHIELD operatives and see if we can raise up some kind of rebellion force." SHe listens as Laurel speaks.

And then, as the last ring of the remote sensor platforms come online, Moon Maiden will be the first to detect the anomaly. It's not conclusive, of course. But there's a gravity well, muted but present, outside the outermost orbit in the solar system. At first, what comes back is indistinct, seemingly pretty small, more like the gravity well of, say, a medium-sized asteroid. But the platforms are very good at analyzing multiple types of data and synthesizing detail by collating that data. And what comes back is that there are other energies present. Energies present at a radius far larger than such a small gravity profile would imply. Paired with Laurel's innate grasp of the feedback of the sensor platform network, it should be easy to tell …

… something is out there.

Batwoman steeples her fingers again, gloved tips resting lightly together. Her head tilts as she watches the data streams. The redhead isn't a scientist, but she recognizes a change in the data when she sees one. And she has work to do. Rising smoothly, the black and red cape swishes about her calves. "JARVIS, let's go find a room to get cozy. I've got homework to do, and I have this sudden feeling that it's going to be due very soon." Giving a general nod about the room, the tall woman strides out briskly in search of another room with a computer interface.

"… no. Wait." Laurel frowns and closes her eyes. On the moon, the Alchemical Engine glows as mystical power bubbles through it. "Sorry, everyone. I need to turn off the gravity." The plates in the room switch off. Batwoman and Hank McCoy get not only their first trip to space but, perhaps, their first experience with true zero gravity. The Watchtower's gravity systems are down. Laurel draws her legs up so she can sit in a lotus position.

"That's no moon… Marvel Girl." She lifts her hands and a holographic screen forms in front of her. Moon Maiden doesn't open her eyes as she taps in information. "Doctor McCoy, I think this should be your first target for the telepathic scans. Either there's a new dwarf planet we haven't discovered just BEYOND the oort cloud or…"

"… Mongo is here."

Jean Grey frowns, "Alright, well, I guess we have a target, yes…" She floats over towards the Cerebra console, her telekinesis enabling her to move easily in zero-G as she takes the helmet-looking apparatus, putting it on her head, "Time to see how well this thing really works, Hank?" She focuses her mental barriers, just in case something unexpected happens.

Hank McCoy pauses. "Beg pardon? Did you just say turn off the-" and Hank manages to get his glasses back onto his nose before the gravity turns off. To his credit, as he begins to drift upwards, Dr. McCoy extends one foot, closing his prehinsile toes around the edge of the table, anchoring himself in place.

He nods to Jean, and then pushes off from the table, sailing gently across the room until he can catch himself on a light fixture. "I have to say, when I put this together, I wasn't expecting to do it in zero gravity…" he fusses over Jean, double and triple-checking the readings on the console's display before he pushes a small device into Jean's hands.

"Keep your thumb on the button when you're operating Cerebra- if it ever gets too much, all you have to do is let go, and it'll disconnect you from the network. A deadman's switch. Forgive the unfortunate naming, of course…"

Miss Marvel takes the weightlessness as an opportunity to close her eyes. She stays in a seated position and floats about the room, not really concerned about bumping into anything, or in which direction she'll end up in once the gravity returns.

Power Woman watches everyone as the gravity turns off, ready to get herself anywhere around to help out as needed, making sure to avoid accidents and injuries. "JARVIS, please make sure to alert Batwoman, and have her strap in safely, please." Then, she settles in and starts massaging the computers, helping to assure all of the controls are in place, and helping to refine the data that is coming in. The sensor platforms are, by and large, very passive sensor systems. That too was very intentional: it makes them infernally difficult to detect, keeping them safe from prying eyes. Which means they will stay out there, doing their job. Keeping the League alerted, and enabling them to keep the Earth safe.

With some careful adjustments, the signals coming to the Cerebra helm are isolated down to just a wedge headed out, way out from the Watchtower to, as Moon Maiden mentioned, beyond the Ort Cloud and the outermost orbit of Pluto and its moons. And there …

Minds operate. Exist. Interact. Many are very difficult to read, not because of distance - with Cerebra, they are virtually right across the street for Marvel Girl's mind - but because they are alien. More than a dozen different alien races, all on the same world. A world Jean's mind can tell is larger than Earth. Larger, and more populated.

Mongo is here. And Mongo is preparing for war.

Moon Maiden
The figure before you is a young woman of average height, and fit build with more than merely modest curves, appearing to be in her twenties. Short, somewhat curly steel grey hair - rather at odds with her apparent youth - surrounds her patrician features, highlighting silvery eyes between matching grey eyebrows. She moves with grace and verve, carrying a lively energy about her.

Her attire can best be summed up as a costume of sorts, combining elements of the classical superhero with what would appear to be real armor. Her torso is covered by a fitted silvery metallic breastplate which, despite its armored appearance, still has a dipping but modest neckline. Pauldrons cover her shoulders and connect to the breastplate front and back, but her upper arms are bare, the armor resuming with fitted sleeves that move with the ease of fabric, covering her biceps, elbows and forearms to the wrists. Her hands are similarly bare. The fitted girdle at her hips joins with her breastplate. Descending from this is a short purple pleated skirt with a wide green vine-like trim. Her upper legs are bare, her calves and feet covered by silvery metallic boots. Finishing touches to all of this include a laurel wreath of living green leaves resting in her hair, and a long - ankle length - white cape, attaching to the pauldrons of her breastplate and draping down her back, with a wide band of silvery grey trim at the bottom, highlighted by large green laurel leaf images.

Anyone who pays much attention should almost surely recognize Moon Maiden.

Marvel Girl
The young woman before you stands about five and a half feet tall. Her skin tone is pale, but not unhealthy, more likely just the fact that she's a redhead, the auburn strands combed back and falling just around her shoulders. Her eyes are a brilliant green hue, seeming to display a strength that her slender appearance lacks.

This young woman is currently dressed either for a club, or she must be one of these new metas. Her form-fitting bodysuit appears to be white along the torso and chest, with a black 'X' in a red circle on her lower torso. The arms are green with black trim, as are the legs of the uniform, though the suit seems to be a bit bulky, as if having some armor involved as well. A dark green domino mask rests over her eyes, helping obscure some of her identity, though the flaming red hair makes her stand out quite easily. A faint pinkish aura surrounds her, almost impossible to see unless you're looking.

Miss Marvel
A typical teen girl, Mary stands slightly shorter than others at 5'6". Brown hair streams down past her shoulderblades, framing a fair complexioned face, with large brown eyes, a cute upturned nose and pouty pink lips. Her womanly curves are still growing and are covered modestly in clothes. She's currently wearing a man's white oxford shirt, unbuttoned over a red tanktop which is worn over a pink camisole. She wears low cut pair of jeans, hugging her hips. On her feet are a pair of sneakers.

Dressed for the night, black and red defines this tall, curvy woman. A black mask covers her face above the cheekbones, shaped as a stylized bat; complete with pointed nose and long ears. Her complexion is pale, with blood red lipstick accenting her sardonic smile. Her mass of long, red curls spills out behind to trail well down her back, flowing freely when she moves. Form-fitting black leather clings to her lush figure, covering from the neck down and leaving nothing to the imagination. Emblazoned across the chest is a stylized red bat. Blood red forearm gloves each have three curved blades along the back edges. Matching boots snug up to just below the knee, with padded soles and three inch heels. A long cape falls from shoulder to her ankles, the ends weighted and scalloped like a bat's wing. Black on the outside, like her bodysuit, the lining is blood red. Circling low on her shapely hips rides a red utility belt, with many dubious pouches and compartments.

Dr. Henry McCoy
Dr. Henry McCoy is…big. And blue.

He stands somewhere around six feet tall, and looks to be just as wide. This isn't due to obesity- rather, Hank's body is built of muscles upon muscles, which in turn are covered by a thin layer of blue fur. His arms are long, his hands are the size of dinner plates, and finely pointed fangs can be seen when he smiles (which is often).

Yet, despite Hank's bestial appearance, he's dressed every inch the gentleman. He must have a great tailor, as Henry currently wears a grey tweed suit, complete with leather patches on the elbows. His massive blue hands and feet poke comically out from the cuffs, but he still stands with the poise of a proper gentleman. Completing the outfit are a pair of glasses perched almost comically on Henry's blue nose.

Watchtower Station — High Earth Orbit — Solar System
Orbiting over a hundred thousand miles above the Earth lies the glittering jewel of the Justice League: the Watchtower Station. This huge space station is far beyond anything yet achieved by the space agencies or civilian efforts. Over half a mile high, comprising over two dozen levels and millions of square feet of space, the Watchtower does have bays on its two lowest levels for the docking or landing of spacecraft.

The tower is joined together by an open-air tube at its heart wide enough to allow two or three people to fly past one another without risk of collision. For those unable to propel themselves, a simple request to the JARVIS supercomputer system that maintains the facility will generate a repulsor-tech energy field that will carry the individual up and down to the level they require like an express elevator. Every room on every level can generate its own gravity field, thanks to unusual runed deck tiles of metal-impregnated ceramic with alchemical powers. All rooms and levels have similar panels in their ceilings which can generate light in various shades and strengths as required, from utter darkness to brilliant true sunlight.

The station generates its own oxygen, with a tremendous onboard botanical garden taking up several levels at the mid-stretch of the tower's height, and water reclamation systems are tied directly into onboard aquaculture production. Every room in the base has wall panels that become reconfigurable touch- and gesture-controlled accesses to the JARVIS computer system, and have voice-activated access as well. The entire surface of the base acts as solar collectors, constantly supplying a renewable energy source, charging power cells sufficient to run the station for nearly a month on full power before running dry.

Further details and specific areas can be found in the +views.

Meeting Halls:
Amongst the facilities here aboard the station, there are multiple meeting rooms. The largest of these, on one of the upper levels, is as large as the Peripshere, and equipped to handle just as many potential members and visitors. The regular meeting room is on one of the mid-levels, and has seating suitable for up to twelve members, with symbols already present on those chairs belonging to existing members, and the team's logo on the table and by default present in a holograph floating and rotating above it. There are half a dozen additional meeting rooms, most suitable for two to six people.

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