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Tiffany Korta

SOPHie's Choice : Between a Rock and the Deep Blue Sea

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... All be aware that a special transdimensional craft, the Seeker of Perpetual Harmony [Image Enclosed] is active in the Sol system. A reward is offered for any data people can collect on the vehicle, especially if it can be convinced to return to the station. The vehicle isn’t dangerous but is single-minded in its mission across the dimensions...

 

Praetorian Bulletin, CoVic Station

 

Liberty Park, Freedom City, United States, Sol III System

09:00 EST 3rd January 2019

 

To those on the planet itself knew nothing of this craft, for all they knew it was a strange silver craft shaped vaguely like a Horseshoe Crab. Even though it was a new year it was more or less business as usual with the craft hovering just above the ground in Liberty Park.

 

Apparently, it was waiting patiently for people to turn up to investigate its sudden arrival in this local. Not that it had to wait long in a city of heroes...

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Lord Steam

 

"Well now, Blakely, this is a thing you do not see every day!" said Lord Lucien Lockwood, also known as Lord Steam. 

 

"Indeed, Sir" said Blakely, who parked Bessie, the steam powered automobile, on the edge of Liberty Park. "Not even Professor Ether's Zepplin designs were quite as...odd....as this vehicle...."

 

"If Vehicle it be, if Vehicle it be! Mayhap more, mayhap less!" declared Lord Steam, jumping out of the car. He went around to the boot and opened it up. "This requires investigation, Blakely! Indeed it does. Quite the empuzzlement! Now then....now then...."

 

He strapped his tool belt around his waist and his grappling hook into a holster under his armpit. A flask of tea, teabags, a notebook, some pencils and pens, and a bag of investigative tools completed his inventory. He did, of course, carry his splendid walking cane as always. Mainly because it was splendid. 

 

"Keep her parked here, Blakely. And perhaps get us some refreshments. We may be here some time and I have a hunger for some cucumber sandwiches!"

 

"Very good, Sir!" said Blakely, who quite fancied some cucumber sandwiches too, and spied a nearby deli. 

 

Lord Steam then took long strides to the strange ship, keen to start examining it!

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The problem with the modern day was the easy availability of information, any body who spotted something could film or photograph it, and moments later share it on the internet.

 

And someone with Delta's capabilities certainly kept track of things that would be termed odd, say a spaceship hovering over Liberty Park. The longest part was getting here without attracting attention, now he moved through the park.

 

His cloaking device allowed him to move unseen, even if it did mean he had to walk and walk he did. Stalking silently through the park he closed on the ship.

 

He paused though as a gentlemen, for that was the only word that could fit someone clothed like Lord Steam, strode towards the ship. Frowning, his own rather recent incursion into the Victorian Earth dimension left him a little weary of such smartly dressed men, he slid forward interested to at least see what this 'Gentlemen' was up to.

 

There would be no more uncontrolled dimension hopping if he had anything to do with it, but hero-ing wasn't always about what you wanted, that was for sure.

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Miss Grue

Daphne had set it up that any sign of an alien craft would set off an alert, it helped she had a super advanced AI to help keep and analyse the results. So she wasn’t far behind the others, and helpfully a short distance away, as she came crashing into the park in her giant fifteen feet tall Grue form.

 

“Oh wow neat looking ship!” she couldn’t help but feeling enthused by this new arrival

 

Looking around she spotted the other hero and gave a little friendly wave toward them


“Oh hi there, do you know anything about this ship? I could probably get us onboard if needed.

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Lord Steam

 

"My word, Blakely! A giant woman!" declared Lord Steam, changing direction in his pace to march towards Miss Grue, even before he had left earshot of his loyal butler. 

 

"Indeed Sir, a woman of prostigious size! I shall ensure I shall purchase adequate provisions!" said Blakely, checking his wallet. He might well have to buy prostigious provisions. 

 

Cane in hand, Lord Steam boldly pressed forward. 

 

"Good day to you Madam" he bowed. "May I have the pleasure of your aquaintance? My name is Lord Lucien Lockwood, Esquire" he introduced himself. "I have come to take a look at yonder vehicle. I don't suppose it is yours?"

 

 

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Ha'li adjusted the angle of approach on her borrowed shuttle, a small smirk playing across her lips.  "The Praetorians really do have all the best toys," she mused to herself as she watched the screens tracking the Seeker to what appeared to a city on the eastern coast of a continent in the northern hemisphere.  Once her ship had made the transition from space to atmospheric flight she parked the ship in a clearing on the outskirts and flew towards her target.

 

Within a few short moments the local, she assumed at any rate, protectors were joined by a young woman with yellow skin and black hair wearing black boots, brown trousers and half jacket over a grey top.  "Greetings Earthlings," she said as she floated past the group and towards she ship to get a better look.

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GM Post

Whilst the heroes were introducing themselves there was an almost imperceptible change to the craft. Then without any noticeable mechanically means a door opened up on the side of the craft and a silvery ramp formed touching the ground not that far from the gathered heroes. Brightly lit there was no way that they could see inside, but apparently it was an invitation of some kind.

 

Soundless as it was it took a few moments before someone noticed that the ship had provided an entrance in the hidden depths of the alien ship.

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Lord Steam

 

"Well this looks rather splendid, chaps!" said Lord Steam as the doorway opened. "The mouth of the beast opens!"

 

He peered in. 

 

"What is inside? A cup of tea and a civilized chat? Or shall we be digested slowly over a thousand years?"

 

Blakely came rushing back, carrying a hamper full of food. Cured meats, speciality breads, stuffed olives and an excellent selection of pickles. Plus, of course, some Gin and Tonic water. Practical provisions - at least, in Lord Steam's eyes. 

 

"Ah! Blakely. It seems we are now equipped for a bold adventure and come bearing gifts. Fine food and wine. Well, at least what we can rustle up in short notice...!" he said, rather pleased with how the day was turning out. It was exceptional, even by Freedom City standards. 

 

"RIgh then folks!" he said, twirling his cane. "Shall we proceed? Once more unto the breach!"

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Delta shimmered into view, deciding that now was as good a time as any to not be invisible,"I dare say a little caution might be in order? Can I suggest we scout out the internal parts of ,"the ship first?"

 

Realizing he was just appearing suddenly he frowned and shrugged,"I am Delta, here to help figure out what is going on here."

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Lord Steam

 

"By Vishnu! A cloak of invisibility!"

 

Wait! An Omegadrone! Delta! Ah....yes, I recall the briefing from the Ministry of Extraordinary Affairs! Did he steal the Brit Machine?

 

Lord Steam decided not to let on about his briefing. Someone called Delta, looking very muchlike this Delta, had dissapeared and taken Ms. Wells' Brit Machine with him. The details, however, where fuzzy. 

 

"Splendid, splendid. Well, stealth and scouting are all very well, indeed, but in themselves look a bit suspicious if caught, what what?" he said, cherrily, leaning on his cane elegantly. 

 

"Caution, however, is less inflamatory to the diplomatic art" he said, in agreement. 

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Delta looked at the odd speaking gentlemen, a small quirk of his lips all the indication that he found the manner of speech oddly amusing,"Not only less inflammatory, but also more likely to keep us intact! My scouting doesn't get us caught...."

 

And he proceeded not to move from the spot he was at, instead one red and black metallic hand reached down to tap at his belt and a series of small drones launched, hovering in front of his face and for a few moments shining light between his eyes and the drones that were small spheres, similarly colored to him and then they shimmered out of sight.

 

Clearly using a similar cloaking device before they zipped off and into the ship images started to flash before Delta's eyes, looking like a multicolored hologram of many screams showing him the interior of the ship as the drones zapped through. Diodes flashed along his skull and obvious cybernetic eyes as they deciphered what was going on in all the rapidly moving images.

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Hazmat floated a few feet away from the door, not exactly ignoring the locals but not overtly seeking to directly interact with the gathered residents either.  This planet has had more than its fair share of experiences with her species, few of them particularly pleasant.  After watching the cybernetically enhanced human launch, cloak, and presumably send forth drones she lowered herself to the ground not far from the pair.  "Gentlemen," she said as a greeting, "I don't suppose either of you are here about the bounty as well?"

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Lord Steam

 

"Bounty, pfff!" dismissed Lord Steam with a wave of his hand. He had hardly any need for money. He was from one of the wealthiest families in the British Empire. 

 

"What Bounty?" he asked in a flash. 

 

What the dickens has a bounty got to do with anything? On an alien space ship?

 

"Is there an escaped criminal on the loose? wanted dead or alive? Is there a fabulous treasure on board? Pray tell, good sir!" he asked Hazmat, drawing himself up and wishing for a moment he had a splendid tall top hat. 

 

"Enlighten us!"

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GM Post

The drone only got so far before they were looped back to the airlock of the ship, it took a few moments to realise this as the ship was directing them via the corridor. Apparently, the ship was able to control its own interior spaces, something that must be highly advanced for any race.

 

The corridor bought the drones back to a figure they’d noticed at as they entered. Humanoid and apparently artificial in nature, stark white casing over the chassis and hair made of cable like high tech dreadlocks.


“Please inform the others that we wish to discuss with them a request for aid on an important matter.” she spoke to the drone as if it was an equal.

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Delta blinked, glanced around at the others and shrugged,"Well, that's pretty impressive. It seems the vehicle can control it's interior spaces...and is not empty."

 

He frowned and shook his head,"We are invited in to talk about something...apparently it wants help." A flicker of comparison images flowed through Delta's mind as he tried to find something the humans of this world could relate to as far as a descriptive,"Looks a little bit like a robotic, white Predator from the movie..."

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Lord Steam

 

"Then help it we shall, comrades!" said Lord Steam. "We cannot decline such an invite. Why, 'twould be a travesty of intellectual curiousity to do so! Come then, let us be bold!"

 

"Blakely, bring the sandwiches! I do hope they eat. I find roast ham and pickles a most excellent way to break the ice. With a spot of Gin, perhaps!"

 

He could not temper his curiousity any further. If there was an olympic medal in the 100metres nonchelantlywalkingasfastaspossiblewithoutrunning then Lord Steam would surely have brought home Gold. Perhaps, given his apparent mastery of the art, he would have brought home Silver and Bronze too, for such was his innocent pace towards the interior of the ship!

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Miss Grue

Daphne shrunk back down to her normal size, she was getting good vibes from the craft and didn’t really need to fight for now. Whilst she didn’t know much about such things, her time on Earth hadn’t allowed her to catch up on Interstellar affairs, they didn’t seem a threat to them.

 

“Then we should probably go and see what they want right?”

 

She stepped towards the craft, pausing to make sure the others were following up behind, she didn’t want the other to miss out on the excitement of this little encounter.

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GM Post

Going up the ramp there saw a stark white corridor that seemed to go into the middle distance. Standing almost meekly just inside the door was a humanoid figure, a gyroid covered in a white covering that almost made her meld into the corridors. When the first stepped into the craft she raised her hair, causing her wired dreads to tumble down her back, giving a quite warm smile for an artificial life form.

 

“Hello and welcome to The Seeker of Perpetual Harmony, I am SOPHie an integral part of this craft. We need help with a problem that threatens another close by Earth.” her accent sounded vaguely English for some reason.

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Lord Steam

 

"By Vishnu, what a remarkable woman, Blakely!" remarked Lord Steam. After all, it was only fair to remark on the remarkable. 

 

"I do love a spot of perpetual Harmony. Much better than perpetual harm. Welcome to our most resplendent planet earth. We come in peace..." started Lord Steam, hands in his lapels, bowing at the same time. 

 

He approved of the vaguely English accent. 'Twas surely a sign of a refined, elegant mind. 

 

"If there is a problem, verily, we shall solve it...."

 

Examine the beat whilst the jockey of discs revolves it....

 

"What, pray tell, is thy problem, and what do you mean by near by Earth?" he inquired. After all, "near" was a relative concept. And they were dealing with interstellar space travellers. 

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Delta followed behind Lord Steam, the accent and manner reminding him of his last inter-planer jaunt, and the words of SOPHie made him wish he had eyes to roll, instead he settled for a reseting of the iris controls that made a strange whirring noise and set some of the diodes on the black metallic skull to flashing red and green. For now the cybernetic soldier remained quiet, happy to let Steam ask the questions until it seemed he had missed one and thus far he was hitting the important ones.

 

Like how far this was away, and what was actually wrong.

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GM Post

The gyroid gestured down the corridor which now seemed to actually lead deeper in the craft.

 

“Please follow me and I will explain further.”

 

The droid them walked down the corridor into a wide oval room, there were no obvious control surfaces or display screen only stark whiteness of the rest of the ship. With your entry a hologram sparked into life, a stylised version of the SOPHie.

 

“This Harmony she is the AI in control of the ship, please show them the information we’ve detected.”

 

The room was filled with a multitude of Earth's spirling around themselves like strands of DNA. Of the almost infinite multitudes of Earths, one of them was selected and became the focus of the display.

 

“Earth 7011962 is similar to your world during the early 1700s, but with Meta-human. We’ve detected a Terminus artefact on this Earth that needs recovery, for this we’d like to request your help.”

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Lord Steam

 

Lord steam walked boldly forth. In  his mind, there was no time for anything other than boldness. 

 

He was quite fascinated. 

 

"Multiple earths! Across infinite dimensions! Hmmmm...."

 

He elected, for now, to omit the truth that he was not from this earth. As far as he could tell, however, in 1700 this world would be pretty similar to his own. He had not neglected the history books!

 

"Well, madam, you may count me in! What a fascinating exploration this will be! Yes, and Blakely has some cured meats, teabags, and cucumber sandwiches for the journey. Is that correct, Blakely?"

 

"Yes Sir" said the Butler, who was actually pretty interested in the trip himself. Of the two, he paid more attention to history than his master, although he doubted he had the Steampunk Detectives intelligence. 

 

"And some Gin, I hope?"

 

"Never leave home with out it, Sir" he said, a little less enthusiastically. 

 

"Mmmm...Excellent. Now, where on this Earth is this terminus artifact? The great plains of Africa? The Jungles of the Amazon?"

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Hazmat walked along behind the well dressed detective and his butler, occasionally having to use her flight powers to avoid falling, still adjusting to the planet's gravity levels.

 

When the spiral of alternate Earths began to form she stopped dead in her tracks, watching as the hologram shift to the selected version of Earth she all but whispered under her breath, "Guess this confirms the Meta-Mind's theory that Earth is the center of the multiverse."

 

"Harmony, upon completion of this task, would you be willing to take the ship in for quick stop at CoVic Station?  Engine upgrades for my ship somewhat depend on it."

 

The shapeshifted Grue pulled a flask of her own from the inner pocket of her jacket, "I have it to give you Terrans, the wide variety of alcoholic beverages you've developed over the centuries are probably my favorite of your contributions to the galaxy.  I never leave home without some of this 'Jack Daniels' concoction."

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If Delta had an eyebrow it would be raised at all the goings on, particularly the indication that this group was not made up of your typical Freedom City person....which made sense considering what they were trying to accomplish,"Is there any other Terminus Signatures on the planet?" If there were any others, including perhaps his battle brothers, it could prove problematic for him but he knew recovering the artifact was paramount,"I have encountered some Terminus Energy powered villains from a similar world....so we will need to be careful, some people are less concerend with the well being of the worlds and more with gathering power at any cost."

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Lord Steam

 

"The multiverse is indeed a magnificent place!" said Lord Steam, giving Delta a raised and pleasant eyebrow. Clearly it was not just he who had travelled different dimensions. Although, in fairness, he had only traversed two. Even that was quite outstanding in his mind. 

 

"And full of magnificent threats! Not least, the Terminus!"

 

He was a detective and engineer first. But that didn't mean his magnificent (and humble, of course) mind had not soaked up a lot of other facts and figures. 

 

He said no more though, wondering if their host might spill some beans to Delta's astute question. 

 

And of course, he took out the Champagne bottle from Blakely's hamper, presenting the label to Hazmat for approval!

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