Gladius had the feeling he was being delayed. He didn't know why, but the whole scenario felt wrong.
He'd faced off against suicidal nutjobs before, but there was something off about this guy. True, most of them didn't actually want to die for whatever cause they said they were following, but they were all willing to die nonetheless. This guy, he didn't seem devoted to his cause to begin with, and although Gladius couldn't really deny a willingness to die, the reason seemed strain. Perhaps the vest wearing lunatic was willing to die for someone instead of something.
That was it. The perp was being coerced.
"Find out if this guy has debt, relatives in trouble."
He said to the closest cop. Said cop was about to give him an earful about knowing his job when another came running up.
"Gladius! We've got him. He's being coerced on threat of his family - wife, three kids, parents - being killed if he doesn't come down here."
Gladius nodded. The feeling of delaying tactic suddenly stronger.
He said stepping forward. "You wanted me. I'm here. Now what? Those firecrackers can't hurt me. They may cause damage but as you can see, the area has been evacuated for the most part. What's say we talk. Just you and me?"
A negotiator questioned the hero's credentials but was waved down.
"No! One step closer and this goes off! Me, the cops, all of it ! And you can't stop me!"
"Maybe you're right and I can't."
He bent over and picked up a rock, turning and lobbing it the left before the dead man's switch could be released. "Or maybe I can, and I want to see this resolved without anyone - including you - dying."
As the superhero said the last, the stone bounced off an invisible shield and clattered harmlessly to the ground.
"You aren't going to hurt anyone but yourself. Whoever sent you after me either doesn't know or didn't tell you what I can do. Among other things, I've manipulated gravity around us. It'll contain the blast.
"What's more. You can detonate that vest of yours, and I can contain the blast so that you barely get singed. Want to test that theory? Or do you want to tell me what's really going on?"
The man hesitated. Clearly wrestling with whatever was motivating him and weighing it against the confident superhero in front of him.
"No! You're bluffing! You'd have stopped me by now if you could! And, and I-I-I won't let you!"
The man crumpled to the ground, Gladius dropped the gravity field and instead applied pressure to keep the dead man switch from releasing.
"Look at me."
He said, kneeling down. "I'm close enough to you now to do everything I said I would."
He noted two officers to his right, signaling him that the man's family was safe.
"I need you to stay still. You'll be all right. Your family is safe - I promise. But I need to neutralize this vest. I'm going to release my grip on your hand. You're going to let go of the switch and we're both going to walk away. Not a scratch.
Gasps and gestures to pull back reached Gladius' ears, but he ignored them. He noted an almost imperceptible nod from the man in front of him. He could see that while he didn't believe the superhero, he somehow trusted him. Gladius gave a reassuring smile and put a hand on the man's shoulder.
"Ready? On three. Count with me. One. Two.
He released the hand holding the detonator, and the sudden release of pressure caused the man to let go, even if he hadn't intended to. The blast was no less bright - several pounds of C-4 went off as physics dictated. But Gladius was not just a flying brick as he was often portrayed. He wasn't bluffing when he talked about gravity control. The blast failed to to expand. Instead, it imploded instead of exploding, leaving wisps of smoke and a shredded vest in its wake. The hero moved to pat down any areas at risk of catching fire as he helped the man to his feet.
"You'll need to answer for this. But I'll be there."
He told the man as a police officer walked up to read the man his rights and took him into custody. Before the hero could say or do anything else, another officer ran up.
"Gladius!" She said, "You're needed across town. Massive robot threatening Senator Ramsey! Go! We got this now!"
Gladius repeated, wondering why a robot would be sent after a senator. He didn't pause though, shifting his gravitational control to launch himself into the air. As soon as he cleared the skyline, he changed trajectory and rocketed off in the direction given.
: 1d20+4 6
- he doesn't know much about Ramsey or why he'd be attacked it seems.
: 1d20+10 13
(I'm gonna hope I'm getting the crap rolls out of the way sooner than later!)