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GM

 

"Hmmm. Good thing I brought some!" said Jones, half happy half furious. He patted the inside of his jacket. Not too hard, however. 

 

Stomp Stomp Stomp

 

The sounds of Jones armoured boots on the metal floor. He wasn't rushing, but he wasn't slacking either. At the end of a corridor was a door with. 

 

CAUTION - METAPHASIC RADIATION

 

Written in large red letters. 

 

"There" he muttered. "This place is poison. They hurt someone good. Someone trying to stop them, trying to do the right thing, the right way. All that happened is someone got hurt badly. So now, its time to do the right thing the wrong way...the way that works...."

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He brought explosives. Inside his jacket? In that haphazardly put together armor? Just one wrong hit and he'd blow himself up.

 

Jones was crazy. That had to be it. Honestly, how could anyone try pulling something like this off without being crazy? He had to be, honestly! It was the only way it made any sense!

 

And then, they reached Metaphasic lab, and it seemed to be what Jones was here for. Robin guessed she had been right about him doing this for Anna, but would that even work? "Right. You blow this place up, and so what?" She pointed to the big CAUTION word. "Who knows what'll happen if you blow something like that up in the first place? If you're lucky, you just take out the whole block. If your friend tried to do this legally, then how do you think he'll feel about you doing it like this?" She paused for a moment. There might be plenty of evidence in there, or even something about what had happened to Anna. Maybe, if she got the chance, she could help. "I'm good with computers. Let me at one of the computers in there and I'll see if I can find something that can help."

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GM

 

For the first time, Jones paused and actually properly contemplated what Justice said. He chewed his lip in thought. 

 

"Mhammm....Anna...I mean ah....I was told blowing it up would work real good" he said, about 75% sure of himself. This was a drop of 25%. Maybe more. 

 

"I got enough explosives for this building. Ahm pretty sure its only gonna blow up this building" he said, chewing his lip again. "But..."

 

Legasp! He was capitulating!

 

"I spose if you know computers and fancy stuff like that, maybe would could be sure we only blow up this place, and nobody else gets hurt, right?" he asked Justice, hoping for reassurance. 

 

He was not a main for inactivity at the best of times, and with his body flush with rage, his brain sparking with catecholamines, he was not going to stop now. He tore down the lab door like it was paper. 

 

Inside, there was indeed a laboratory, full of computers and gadgets and stuff that looked and indeed was very scientific. In the centre, a cylinder of reinforced glass full of glowing green gas that looked semi-transculcent. 

 

Around the laboratory walls were a number of robots. They looked rather like Nuetron Industry Killbots. After all, they had "NEUTON INDUSTRY KILLBOT" stenciled onto their chests. They were man sized, armoured, with blasters and photonic eyes. And most were half dissasembled, with wires and monitoring devices leading to the computer banks. The remaining few robots were more than half dissasembled - and little more than spare parts. 

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He mentioned Anna. Robin was right after all! It felt kind of good, she had to admit that, being right just once in a while. And she was maybe actually winning him over now? He still wanted to blow up the place, but he was doubting whether he'd overdo it? That was actually pretty good. Meant he wasn't completely mad bomber crazy just yet. It gave Robin some hope that she could try to talk to him, still.

 

"Yeah, I can try, at least. Take down the place, but try to make sure nobody gets hurt. I can probably live with that, but give me a chance to get some data first, alright? Maybe I can use it to help your friend." Common ground at least, so of course Robin had to keep at that.

 

They had a ton of stuff in the laboratory. To be honest, it was kind of a mess, but it wasn't like Robin was one to talk. Only reason she managed to keep that labs at campus neat was to make sure that nobody saw what she was really working on, after all, and yet, Jones had managed to salvage some of her old prototypes for part of his armor, it seemed. 

 

"Wait a moment." Raising her gun, Robin pointed out the robots around the room. Right, Jones was starting to win her over on blowing this place to kingdom come. Who actually called their robots killbots? This place was way too obvious about being run by bad guys. "Those things might be in pieces, but they could still be functioning. Don't want them waking up all of a sudden, right? Keep an eye on them while I check out the computer they're hooked up to." Gun still drawn, Robin began making her way around the Killbots, keeping an eye on them as she made her way to the monitors they were hooked up to start. She'd put the Justice Buster down on the table next to it if it had space, otherwise holster it. Then, time to get to work.

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GM

 

Jones was not smart, clearly, but he was not exactly a fool. Yet, however slim the prospect of helping Anna was (other than in the way of Revenge!) he could not pass up the chance. He gave a noncholant shrug, but behind the pose was a gleaming sliver of hope that shone over his face. 

 

The computer had security on it, of course, but Robin cut through the system like a knife through butter. She knew the flow of data and the stream of code. The problem was not the systems design, but the systems design. 

 

Or to put it another way, it was easy for her to get in, but once she was in, the system was a mess. The amount of data was immense, and poorly ordered. Finding anything of value here would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. With the smallest needle in the world, and the largest haystack. 

 

"Come on..." grumbled an impatient Jones. And not without reason - for the time was short, and reinforcements or some other reprisal was surely minutes away at best. 

 

"Boom boom, shake the room!" he grunted in a deep voice, taking out his brick of plastic explosives complete with home made (and rather well made) timer. 

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"I'm trying, I'm trying. This thing's a mess. There's data everywhere, no structure or order." She kept working while she was talking. Oddly, it helped her focus. There had to be something here, some kind of way to structure it right and start a proper search. Start out with metaphasic radiation. Work from that. And remember to get some way to store data in her suit in the future, for situations like this. 

 

How could anyone even work at something like this? It was such a mess? "Its like you have this whole huge library of books and everything is just scattered all over the floor. Takes a while to figure out anything in a mess like this." She paused for a moment. It was a mess, unless she got lucky, there was no way she would be able to figure anything out from this. Maybe there was something around she could use to store the data on? 

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GM

 

Of course, the search result produced results. Unfortunately, a lot of results!

 

The principle could be determined - metaphasic reaction, a theoretical (although by the looks of it, this laboratory had made the theoretical a little more practical) hyperdimensional radiation that could phase matter (or energy) out of reality. Or it could phase reality out of matter (or energy). It was all relative, really...

 

Predictably, there looked like there had been ideas to weaponise this. Quite how, that was another matter. 

 

"You go ahead and shove that computer. I'm going to plant the explosives..." grumbled Jones, proceeding to start doing just that!

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This was not going well at all... even the search optimization on this thing was a mess! Seriously, what kind of system had these people been using? How could they even live with something like this? Or maybe Robin just needed to learn the system? And she really didn't have the time for all that. Still, what files she skimmed through made it pretty clear that Neutron Industries was not good guys, at least. Made her feel better about them potentially bringing the whole place down. At least it would take them some time to rebuild.

 

"Oh, man. This is weird stuff. Like, really weird stuff." She was speaking as much to herself as she was speaking to Jones. "Words like hyperdimensional radiation just sets off all kinds of alarms. There's no telling what'll happen if we just blow this place up." She looked around, fumbling with anything or everything she find to take a copy of the data and bring along. She had to get some form of data storage into her suit at some point, but she didn't have that luxury. "This stuff can phase things out of reality. If you just blow it up, you might end up taking out the entire city!" Alright, maybe not. She wasn't sure, but it gave her some time to look for some storage device, at least, and it meant that they could maybe try to shut things down first.

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GM

 

Jones paused, contemplating the words of Justice. He didn't like being uncertain, that much was clear. One could almost see the spider web of cognitive dissonance weaving over his face. 

 

The solution was simple and commonly used. 

 

Denial. 

 

"Bull" he muttered. "This place is coming down". 

 

Also effective. Even if unwise. Alas, how the wise suffer with uncertainty, how the unwise bask in the glory of certainty. 

 

He fingered the remote. "And if you don't hurry up, you are getting buried" he said, brutishly. 

 

Fortunately, Justice could see a solution her problem. In contrast to the disordered data, there was a nice neat pile of high-end hard drives stacked up underneath a desk!

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Yeah. Robin hadn't exactly counted on Jones starting to listen to logic now, but she had hoped, at least. "Bingo." The statement was a bit hushed, aimed at her find rather than Jones, but at least she was finding something. Reaching for the first hard drive, she quickly plugged it in, then started the transfer. She could stash this thing no problem, and get it out of there. Figure out what Neutron were doing here in the first place.

 

With the transfer started, all she could do was wait. And try to stall Jones a bit more. "C'mon. I already agreed with you that we could take this place down, as long as nobody got hurt. Its not like I'm telling you not to do it, just wait until we can turn things off, right?" A moment pause, check on the progress. She could use this data to help Anna, maybe to stop anything further Neutron was planning on doing, too. And stall a bit more, get the transfer going. At least it was a high-end hard drive, so as long as the actual machine could keep up... "Just, let's try and turn things off first, alright? Do you honestly want to take the chance that your bombs create a chain reaction that takes out the entire city?" Could the things here do that? Robin honestly had no idea, but it was her best idea.

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GM

 

"...nooooo...." admitted Jones slowly and awkardly. 

 

It was not an admission he liked making however. 

 

"No, I don't want anybody hurt" he said, some semblance of reason penetrating his anger. "At least, nobody innocent" he added, quickly interjecting this important distinction. 

 

The computer "Progress" bar was about 50%, rapidly spewing through the mounds of data and filling up the removable hard drive. 

 

It would not be long. Maybe 20 seconds. Maybe a minute. Maybe something in between. 

 

But at this point Jones and Justice were interrupted. 

 

"ACTIVATING EMERGENCY SECURITY PROTOCOL!" squarked the various killbots in the room, their systems coming on line. 

 

There were a dozen heavily armed bots in the laboratory. However, they were, to a greater or larger extent, partially dissasembled, and still plugged in to cables and wired up to various machines. How much a threat they were was rather hard to estimate...

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"Yep, no reason to hurt anyone, so let's try shutting everything down first aaaaand crap." Robin was stopped in her trail as the killbots around the room started making noises and telling them that the emergency security protocol was being activated. Great, just great. They'd taken too long. This really wasn't Robin's day for computers, but at least they hadn't blown up some kind of unstable energy. Yet. 

 

She needed that data. It might be what she needed to help Anna, after all. Study it in peace and quiet at some point. A quick look over at the progress bar confirmed that it was about halfway done, moving swiftly. A minute or so, maybe less. Grabbing the Justice Buster from the table where she had placed it, Robin quickly took aim at the nearest one. Take it down, stop them all. Give Jones a chance to let loose a bit too, maybe. "Hey, smashing robots are cool with me! Let loose, man!" She pulled the trigger, taking a shot.

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GM

 

The half-dismantled robot sparked and fizzed. Then, it went into a spasm of jiggering tonic seizures. 

 

And then it was still, although a thick, acrid smoke started to stream off its body, and the smell of ozone filled the air. 

 

Quite why it had died was not clear, but these were dismantled and incomplete robots, and more than that, they were still being charged up and had wires coming from various parts of their plates. But even now, the other robots started slowly tugging at the connecting wires and cables. 

 

"Screw this! I'm blowing the place!" muttered Jones. Perhaps he had been driven by rage before, and rage had made him fearless. Now, he was quite out of his depth, the adrenaline muted, and worse still, the prospect of actually failing in his sworn mission was apparent. It was all very well tearing through some security guards with a suit of powered amrour (patchwork as it was), but kill bots were another thing...

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"No no no! Don't blow the place yet!" One shot, one bot down. C'mon, this should be easy, right? One shot, one killbot down, but there were tons of them all around them, right? Could they stop them all? Without blowing everything up at least? Wait, they were powering on from something, they weren't ready yet... and the transfer wasn't either. There had to be something around here that could be used to shut down the power. 

 

"C'mon, you'll blow up the entire city. What'll happen to your friend then?" Look around, find something, anything that she could try to point Jones at. Get him to smash something useful.

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GM

 

As the killbots came on line, the quick thinking Justice took a good long look at the systems they were connected to. 

 

"KILL!" squarked one of the robots, aiming a Multi-Meson Manipulator Magneticannon at Justice. 

 

Mmmm....

 

Was the sound it made. And yet no florid burst of exotic particles slammed through the air. The weapon attached to its arm was non-functional. 

 

The power system was all linked together, and in a magnificently haywire cobweb fashion. The whole thing was ripe for overloading! A chaotic prospect, yes, but a surge of power would surely fry all the killbots it was connected to!

 

 

 

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Kill. Right. Now that sounded like a good idea, if it referred to the killbots, at least. But... these things didn't really seem to be using any weird kinds of power, did they? That was probably good. And the gun didn't work. "Ha! Hey, look at that! They're not even finished!" Hopefully, that would make Jones stop blowing things up, and give a chance to finish the transfer and make sure he didn't take out the entire city. Because, c'mon, even Jones had to admit that was a bad idea.

 

So, the entire system here. It seemed way overloaded, if the killbots couldn't even get power for their weapons, which one had to suspect would be their most important and prominent feature. The entire power system was just a mess, but, she could do that. Leaning in close, she got to work. Parts of her armor could maybe work, maybe the gun... time to give them a headache, at least!

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GM

 

Jones finger was on the remote. And by golly, he did look tempted. But, angry as he was, he was not quite suicidal. He wasn't going to blow the building up with him inside. 

 

Probably. 

 

The urgency of the situation hang in the air, but there it was - some wiring, some cabling, some awful cobweb of half completed undisciplined scientific work, and somehow the jigsaw all fell together in the mind of Justice. 

 

BZZZZZT!

 

With the voltage of her own armour expertly applied, their came an explosion of sparks. The seeping of burning smoke, and an overwhelming smell of ozone. The half-finished killbots jolted and seized, and in one case span around on one heel declaring that it must "HUMAN ALL KILLS! HUMAN ALL KILLS!", before collapsing. 

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"HA! Awesome! I knew that'd work!" Alright, Robin wasn't really sure that it would work, but she had been confident that she could get it to work. Just wasn't sure it would go this fast. "Hey, no need for the bombs yet. I've got the killbots shut down. Let's figure out how to shut everything down first, right?" 

 

She really hoped that Jones would listen now. After all, she had proven she could take out a horde of killbots without lifting a finger now, right? That had to count for something. Aaand... just as important, how was that transfer going?

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GM

 

Jones took his finger of the trigger, although he looked like he dearly wanted to press it. 

 

"Yeah, good work" he conceded. Jones was a big man anyway, and in that Frankenstein patchwork armour he was clearly a force to be recognised with. But he wasn't smart. He didn't really know what he was dealing with. And his adrenaline had been surging so hard the past half an hour, it was beginnig to subside. And thus the impetus to act was turned down. Not turned off, but muted. 

 

"It ain't going to be long before these guttersnipes get their act together. And then its going to more than these junk bots coming at us" he said, which was indeed astute and true. "So whatever you are going to do, do it fast...."

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"Just need this transfer finished, then I might be able to find something that can help your friend out." Then turn off the power. Then blow up the place, maybe. Or maybe stop Jones. Honestly, Robin was still majorly conflicted about this point. She had come in just wanting to find some evidence, or anything in general that could be used to help Anna, and then she'd run into Jones and get caught up in blowing up the whole place? Yeah, this really wasn't how she had expected her day to go, but this place was obviously evil... Ugh. 

 

She couldn't let him do it. Bad guys or not, this was a building in the middle of the city, with lots of people everywhere. Robin couldn't just let Jones blow it up. The transfer had to be done soon. Then figure out how to stop him. "So, uh, what are you using for explosives? Think it can take out the whole building, or just the things in the basement here?" Maybe that was an option. Just take out the basement and their weird killbots.

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