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Meta-Naut

 

The Meta-Naut nodded, and began flipping through the scans on her smart phone. The art style was crude, the lettering inconsistent. Jeez, no wonder these guys went out of business, she thought to herself. The story seemed simple enough. At least until a particularly weird ending.

 

"Huh," she said. "So. Apparently his 'Crime Gun' basically uses 'evil energies' to turn people into criminals. But it doesn't work on the hero he is fighting in the book was an ex-criminal himself. Don't know how that works. Looks like outside of being able to turn people into criminals, his gun can also be a death ray and can also reverse polarity and turn criminals into upstanding citizens. But uh... The issue kind of ends on a weird cliff hanger. He gets beaten, but he escapes, and promises he'll conquer the future before stepping into this weird machine. Uh... Oh! He also has this sidekick. Ms. Demeanor."

 

The Meta-Naut shrugged. "Looks like there's no obvious way for him to escape without his gun, honestly."

Edited by Shofet

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REBELLION

 

Captain Crime. Crime Gun. Evil energies. Doesn't work on ex-criminals. Death ray, turn criminals into upstanding citizens, and then he disappears. And Ms. Demeanor. Rebellion finished his sandwich, wiped his fingers and threw the paper in the trash. Then he reached for his notebook and pen again, quickly starting to scribble notes. "Sidekick. Stands to reason the cosplayer would copy that, too." There were many ways to escape, if Captain Crime was bent on it. 

 

"What was the effect of the Crime Gun when he hit the hero? Nothing, pain? If it was nothing, then it stands to reason that you got hit with the Death Ray." More notes. Either that, or Meta-Naut was an ex-con. Crazy, but Rebellion had seen just as crazy, hadn't he? So many people whose powers made no sense at all. He finished his notes and put the handbook away again, then stood up. "Something like the Crime Gun makes no sense. Technology like that shouldn't exist. I'm gonna head to the precinct." He paused for a moment. She'd held up her end, gotten info on Captain Crime, flimsy as it might be. "I wouldn't... mind... if you came along, but I'm not going to force you, either." 

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Meta-Naut

 

The Meta-Naut quickly finished the last few bites of her sandwich, and discarded the paper and cola can. She looked over at Rebellion, smirking. "I've been across the multi-verse and let me tell you, the Crime Gun is probably one of the less weird things I've seen. There's a universe out there where everyone's a talking goose, one where all ancient greek theories about physics are true, and another one where all the water turned into blood and so everyone willingly turned themselves into vampires. Bunch of strange stuff out there," she said.

 

"As for what it did to the hero in the book... Yeah, nothing. He was just like 'ha-hah!' and Captain Crime freaked out when it didn't work. It was only explained in one of those little narration boxes. So yeah, probably got hit with the Death Ray, which is super rude."

 

"And... yeah. I'll come along."

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REBELLION

 

A multiverse traveller? For once, the Meta-Naut actually gave Rebellion pause. His blank white eyes widened slightly. She had probably seen much weirder than him, then. That was unexpected. "I see." He tried to keep his reaction hidden, just a bit contained. She might be lying, but he doubted it. Didn't seem the type. He didn't do it all that well. So, instead he focused over on the useful bit of trivia. "Very rude, yes. But a gun like that still doesn't make any sense in this world." He was adamant of that fact. He was sure that he was right about that.

 

Little blue narration boxes, multiverse travellers, crime guns that turned people into villains. Maybe he should just leave, let the Meta-Naut deal with it. But no, he was curious now. There had to be a reason that Captain Crime was here, of all places. "Let's go, then." With little fanfare, he bent into his knees and jumped straight up, landing on the side of the nearest building, pushed off it and started leaping and running towards the precinct. 

 

Still, multiverses and crime guns. He had to see this through, didn't he?

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Meta-Naut

 

"Who knows. Maybe he's not from this world," the Meta-Naut joked.

 

Once he started moving, the Meta-Naut was not far behind, taking off into the air and moving at a steady speed, making sure to match Rebellion so neither he nor she got left behind. As she soared through the city, it occurred to her that she found Emerald City pretty beautiful. Of course, she'd been to more beautiful places, but she was pretty content with the city she lived in.

 

When they finally got to the precinct, though, the thoughts of beauty had faded. The police station seemed to be going through a bit of a problem at the moment. The windows had been busted out, and the doors had been spray-painted. One of the culprits was still there, casually breaking windows of the cop cars and rooting around inside. He was dressed like a stereotypical menace, wearing a torn denim vest, combat boots and had his hair shaved down to a shiny head. But the Meta-Naut recognized him instantly: It was the cop who had talked to them back at the crime scene.

 

"Aw, crap," she said, landing. 

 

"...Do you still wanna go in?" she asked Rebellion.

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REBELLION

 

It didn't take long to reach the precinct. Meta-naut could obviously fly, and while she kept back, Rebellion did his best to keep up, bouncing and bounding between the rooftops. Flipping, pushing off from walls, running along walls. Alright, he was showing off a bit, he could admit that to himself, even if he wasn't quite sure why he was doing it. Wanting to look good in front of someone else, maybe? It was weird doing this together with someone else in the first place.

 

And the precinct was a mess. Windows busted everywhere, spray paint on everything. And the cop that they had talked to earlier was all dressed up like one of Captain Crime's people. Of course he'd been hit by the gun. They should've gone here faster. His fault for thinking the cops could handle this.

 

"Yeah. But I want some information first." Going in blind? Not if he could help it. Reaching into his jacket, he approached the man, pulling out his batons as he called out. "Hey!" Get attention first. Then time to turn on the charm. A full dose of the primal pure terror spread from him, towards the former cop. He should maybe feel bad about it, the guy had just been trying to do his job, but honestly? It did feel just a little bit good. Besides, it was much easier to question someone when they were too scared to try fighting back.

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GM

 

The former police officer looked up at Rebellion, brandishing a crowbar as he was called to. "Hey, whaddaya wa--" The man was stopped dead in his tracks by the burst in fear, his eyes going wide. "W-wh-whoa!" He stammered, before dropping his crowbar and turning and running away as fast as his legs could take him. He ran aimlessly down the street, before turning down into an alleyway not far ahead.

 

The commotion drew a few onlookers, some of them looking like they had been hit by the Crime Gun just like him. However, they did nothing yet, instead simply watching and waiting to see what happened.

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REBELLION

 

And he went running. Not quite what Rebellion had hoped for. Maybe he should've cornered the man first. Still new at this entire thing, after all. He looked around at everyone around him. He could make them run if they got too close. It was a lot of people. He didn't turn to look at the Meta-naut, but he kept looking around. "I don't see any point in chasing him. Too many people out here. Some of them look like they've been hit by the... Crime Gun. What do you think?" He didn't pause for any kind of effect, but saying it out loud was just so... weird. 

 

Still, a lot of people. He did have a plan, he had gotten a good look at that cop after all. But they needed to get inside first.

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Meta-Naut

 

The Meta-Naut looked around at the people in the area, and found that Rebellion seemed to be correct. Her eyes narrowed as she inspected the scene.

 

"I kinda wonder why he just zaps random people like that. Like, some of them he uses as lackeys, it seems like, but others he just sort of zaps and leaves. It seems like he would be better of recruiting all of them, don't you think?"

 

Then again, the plans of plenty of villains didn't always make a lot of sense. Many of them were more committed to the gimmick than was really practical. Maybe his thing was like... Just causing chaos? Without a chance to interrogate the guy safely, she couldn't say for sure.

 

"So, you think we should head inside?"

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REBELLION

 

"A distraction. Or maybe he's just crazy." He had already started walking when the Meta-Naut asked him if they should head inside. There was no reason to linger here, except to take out everyone here. Sure, that could work. Quiet some of the sure to be upcoming chaos, but that would just give Captain Crime more time for whatever he was planning.

 

He eyed the ones around them as they walked. A wide, bright smile appeared on his dark face. Well, he could try to do something about them, after all. He spoke up, addressed to all of the converted villains around them. "You should run." He let the primal fear in him loose. Anyone not made a criminal would be spared. Anyone else in his range? Not so much.

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GM

 

The criminals gawped at Rebellion, before their eyes nearly bugged out of their heads and they began running into every direction imaginable. Some threw themselves through open windows, others ran into cars and drove away, while some simply dived headfirst into dumpsters and cowered from him. It was clear, at the very least, that his powers had worked. 

 

Even the tougher ones had cleared out, leaving the area safe for them to explore further should they choose to do so.

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REBELLION

 

There was a certain rush to using the Terror's power like that. Spread it out, just scare away the people that could have gotten in his way. Sure, it could go very wrong, but right now, he didn't care. Captain Crime needed to be stopped, right? 

 

He continued walking, looking briefly at Meta-Naut over his shoulder. He could only imagine her reaction to his action here. "Coming?" The path into the place was clear, so he continued walking at the same pace, never even stopping as everyone had fled around him. His plan was simple, really. Continue inside the building. Find Captain Crime. Stop him. Should be as simple as that. 

 

Of course it wouldn't be.

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The Meta-Naut

 

The Meta-Naut watched as the criminals scattered off, fleeing from some ethereal force that Rebellion seemed to project. The concept of anyone having that power made her ill-at-ease, and she didn't entirely know why. Well, at least he was on her side.

 

"Yeah, I am," she said, and hovered after him. Sure, she could walk, but she had the ability to fly. Why waste it?

 

"So," she said as they entered into the precinct. "You can sorta... Magically scare people? Psychically? Fire off a frequency into their amygdala?" 

 

The interior of the building was an absolute mess. The walls were coated in graffiti, the desks were overturned and trash covered the floor. Strangely and miraculously, there seemed to be no bullet holes anywhere. Whatever turned these people criminal didn't turn them murderous.

 

Actually, that was a thought.

 

"Hey, I just thought of something. I don't think I've seen anyone turned criminal has actually tried to kill anyone. Even Crime's gun hurt, but it didn't feel like it was going to kill me."

 

 

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REBELLION

 

The Meta-Naut was curious. To be honest, Rebellion couldn't quite blame her. He was curious about her powers too, after all, but at the same time, he was not quite interested in sharing anything about himself. His secrets were his. 

 

"Something like that." She already seemed at unease about this. Telling her that he got his powers from a spirit used to posses and terrorize the city by its secret rulers? Yes, that would help.

 

Graffiti everywhere. Trash on the floor. Desks and chairs overturned. It all seemed rather juvenile, did it not? Curious. And yes, the Meta-Naut was right. They hadn't killed anyone, had they?

 

"When did you say his comic was published? Maybe the copycat is trying to be so perfect in his recreation that he even uses the morality of villains from comics back then?" That could be useful, if true. 

 

He pressed on. Captain Crime had to be somewhere in here.

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The Meta-Naut

 

"The 60s," said the Meta-Naut. "So back in the Silver Age when even the real villains were squeaky clean. Which is pretty good for us, yeah. I don't know why you'd call your gun's offensive power 'murder mode' if you're not actually going to try and kill the person you're shooting at, but hey. I'm still alive because of that, which is good. I would really hate being dead."

 

She put her hands on her hips, looking at the damage. It didn't make sense that he would have been able to get out on his own. He had fallen off of a moving truck for pete's sake! He had to have at least broken a few bones or something. Which meant that he probably had some sort of accomplice. That or a healing factor. She doubted he had a healing factor.

 

Unless...

 

Nah. 

 

"...How much you want to bet our Captain Crime has a Ms. Demeanor, too?"

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REBELLION

 

"Yes. It sounds like being dead would be rather unpleasant." He honestly didn't know what to say to Meta-Naut's statement, but he felt he had to say something at least, while they looked around. Still, it didn't make any sense that he could do all this after falling off the truck. He knew how hard he had thrown his baton, and he had fallen off the truck. He should have a concussion, bruises, potentially some broken bones. All the chaos here, he shouldn't be able to do something like this, even with that weird gun of his. He would have to actually lift it.

 

Maybe Rebellion should make sure that his arms were broken next time.

 

And then Meta-Naut made it all click. Of course he had to have a Ms. Demeanor, it fit exactly with everything else they had seen so far. He was doing everything he could to emulate the Captain Crime for the comics, so of course he had to have an assistant too.

 

"No bet. There's no way he's not copying that too." Just looking around at random wouldn't help at all, would it? "Did the comic say anything about his plans? Or where he was hiding?"

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The Meta-Naut

 

The Meta-Naut nodded to herself. This was all starting to come together. She pulled out her phone again, and started looking through the scan of the comic book she was sent. She frowned as she looked at the plan. That doesn’t sound good, she thought to herself.

 

“Okay, you’re not going to like this,” she said, turning the screen to face Rebellion. “But it looks like in the comic, he was planning to hook his gun up to a big power supply and a mass transmitter… and turn the whole city criminal. If he’s got any plans similar to that… Well, for one, our jobs are gonna get a whole lot harder and two, we should probably stop him before he does that because I’m pretty sure a city of criminals is what gets the military called in.”

 

She thought about it. “But where would he get a big transmitter?”

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REBELLION

 

Rebellion did not like that. 

 

A transmitter. Combine it with his crime gun. Turn the entire city into criminals in one fell swoop. Everyone. It might be cartoonish, but it would still be dangerous. And how would it affect someone that was already criminal, like the Elysium Academy students? Would it make them worse? More cartoonish? Right now, the city benefitted from them staying hidden and out of the spotlight, but if the crime gun unleashed on a city wide scale changed that... 

 

He looked up. Rebellion had been standing still, a hand on his chin, thinking about the effects for a moment, but he snapped out of it. Where would he get a big transmitter? Made sense, that would be where he would go. So they needed to find that. He had heard some things. Either as Elliot or Rebellion, he honestly couldn't remember, but he knew of one big transmitter that had recently gone up. "Compass Rose International." His answer was quick and precise. With a little flourish and twirl, he placed his batons back in his belt and started walking out of the police station. Might still be trouble in here, but, the bigger picture had to come first. He set into a run, hoping the Meta-Naut would keep up. They had to get there fast. They had no idea how much of a headstart Captain Crime and Ms. Demeanor had.

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The Meta-Naut

 

The Meta-Naut’s eyes went wide, though it couldn’t be seen behind her visor. Of course! How could she have forgotten? They just had that transmitter installed, and it was such a good choice for this sort of thing. She screamed internally. How was she going to manage this? Her employees would recognize her, and then her wacky interdimensional adventures would be way harder to cover up. Also people might start figuring out where she got all these patents that made her rich from.

 

She raced after Rebellion, trying to figure out what her angle of attack was. Thankfully, the fly over was long enough that she had time to go over plans in her head. By the time they got there, the Meta-Naut was pretty sure she had something absolutely brilliant: she could maintain her secret identity and no one would be any wiser.

 

The campus itself was on an elevated patch of land, separated from the rest of the world by a low wall that had a single guard gate while a series of large buildings sat in the middle. People moved across the green space, and there was a big fountain not far in front of the gate.

 

The Meta-Naut pulled Rebellion aside once they got there. “Alright, they’ve got tight security here, so we’ll need a way in. Thankfully, I have some morphing powers… So I’ll turn into their CEO, Raya Wells, and they’ll just let us on in.”

 

Without waiting for him to okay it, the Meta-Naut moved behind a bush, and there was a sudden faint glow of blue light. In reality, the Meta-Naut was changing nothing except her clothes, but Rebellion didn’t need to know that. She changed to a blazer atop a Seattle Seahawks t-shirt, along with blue jeans and some beatle boots. Then, she discarded her helmet into the grass. She figured that the helmet obscured enough of her features as the Meta-Naut that she could get away with it.

 

She emerged from the bushes, and smiled at Rebellion. “There. Now follow my lead.”

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REBELLION

 

It didn't take them long to reach Compass Rose International. He looked up at the building while the Meta-Naut disappeared into the bushes to do her morphing thing. He frowned, but looked away. Why would she need to leave to change her appearance with abilities like that? Weird, but her abilities probably worked differently than his own. He honestly knew little about the company, aside from it dealing with space exploration. Emerald was probably the perfect place for something like that. Whatever faults Emerald had, it was a paradise for tech geeks like that.

 

Meta-Naut was going as the CEO. Alright, he should just choose someone that would follow her around then. Nice suit. A bit taller than normal, 6'3'' maybe. Bit more muscular. Short dark hair, neatly trimmed beard. Early 30'es. Glasses with a red rim. Something to draw attention away from any other details. 

 

As she emerged from the bushes, the new man stood before her. "Go ahead. I'm your guest here, after all." He took half a step back, spreading his arms out to the side in a small bow, before following.

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The Meta-Naut

 

Raya nodded at Rebellion, and strolled up to the front gate. Sitting in a booth was a tired looking young man, who had been staring at his phone until Raya knocked repeatedly on the glass. The young man jumped, then looked down at her in alarm.

 

"Ms. Wells!" He chirped. "Back from lunch.

 

Raya snapped her fingers, nodding. "You know it. Went to that new cat cafe. Now, I gotta head in," she said, before turning to the man behind her. "This is Dave van der Kuy, he'll be joining me to talk about a project. Can you sign us in?"

 

The young man nodded, though he did require clarification on how to spell 'van der Kuy.' After that, they were golden, and headed on into the campus. Once they were clear of the booth, Raya turned to Rebellion.

 

"Alright, now we just need to get to the transmitter before C.C. does."

 

With that, she 'followed' the sign pointing to the Sycamore building, which lead them to a great cylinder with a satellite on top. Posted out front were some security guards, who waved at Raya cheerfully.

 

"Afternoon, Ms. Wells!"

 

Raya waved back. "Hey guys, just gotta go in. Guys, this is Dave van der Kuy, he's just here to see the transmitter," she said, eyes shifting between them, and her voice getting low. "Might have a deal coming on."

 

The men nodded, and opened up the door for her. As the duo strolled inside, Raya smiled to Rebellion.

 

"Kay, looks like we got here first. Which is good because I really would hate to have to fight a whole city."

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REBELLION

 

Raya Wells. The Meta-Naut seemed to play the role well. Interesting. Maybe she had some acting classes, or there was more to her than just a high flying super hero? He would have to remember to make a note about that later.

 

As Dave van der Kuy, a probably suitable pretentious name, Rebellion nodded politely to the guard as they were let in, then quietly followed "Raya Wells" into the building, staying close, but not too close, to her. No reason to create any wrong impressions. 

 

Getting inside was easy, it seemed. Nothing like putting on the right face to get where you wanted. Once past the guards, Rebellion looked around. No Captain Crime yet, as far as they could see. "Yeah. Enough people to fight against here without having to get physical with them." 

 

He honestly didn't know much about all this science. Judging from her gear, Meta-Naut was probably the better bet on who could figure it all out. "Can we turn the entire thing off? Make sure he can't use it if he gets past us somehow?" He wouldn't rule out just smashing parts of the thing, if it came to that.

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The Meta-Naut

 

Raya frowned at the suggestion. “Shutting it off could get us in a lot of trouble. There’s a… There’s probably a security system that would trigger if it turned off. I mean, I’m appearing as the CEO, but I don’t think even she would get away with turning off the tech all willy nilly, and then, you know, rich people who get slighted tend to turn into super villains.”

 

Internally, she was screaming. Any downtime in the brand new transmitter would cause a lot of scrutiny, but by the same token, it was probably the correct decision? She’d be even worse off if the entire board of directors were suddenly evil.

 

 

More evil.

 

She sighed. “You know what, let’s just do it.” She started moving further into the atrium where the control panel was kept. There, a group of scientists chatted amongst themselves, and turned to see the heroic duo approached. They waved, but Raya spoke hurriedly at them.

 

“We need to turn off the transmitter,” she said, looking serious. “It’s very important.”

 

The scientists looked amongst each other. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, ma’am. We just got it up and running and turning it off right now would lead to significant downtime, since we’re running tests right now and we’d have to start them all over again. Some of these tests take days, too.”

 

Raya frowned. “Look, there is a crazy, evil… dude coming and I j--”

A loud cry erupted from deeper in the atrium. “MYAAAAAHHHH”

 

Raya grimaced. “There he is.”

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GM

 

In the middle of a great atrium rolled Captain Crime, clad in a near full body cast and pushed along in a wheelchair by a severe looking man dressed in something out of Jailhouse Rock. Flanking Captain Crime was a young red-headed woman with a domino mask, a set of tights meant to resemble an orange prison jumpsuit, and a very bored expression.

 

FOOLISH SCIENTISTS!” cried Captain Crime, feebling flailing his broken arms. “You are now under the employ of CAPTAIN CRIME! Any resistance shall be met with force! I am commandeering this transmitter for the purposes of EVIL!

 

The young woman next to him simply sighed, and his henchman wheeled him closer to the main bulk of technology at the centre of the atrium. Captain Crime continued to wiggle, and behind the trio came a few men armed with tommy guns looking shiftily at all the people inside, occasionally pointing at the people.

 

CAREFUL BOYS! Remember trigger discipline!” cried Captain Crime. “NOW! One of you scientists are going to help me hook up my Crime Gun to this infernal machine!”

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REBELLION

 

Hm. The Meta-Naut wasn't too fond of the plan to turn off the transmitter. Sure, there might be a security system, and getting someone here could be bad if the Crime Gun could turn them against them, so it was reasonable. Still, better to have a few more guards to fight than having to deal with the entire city. 

 

Dave van der Kuy stood back and remained silent as Raya tried to get the scientists to do it. They had objections, of course. If they didn't follow along, then Rebellion was ready to just break the damn thing. 

 

Any musings on what to do was broken by that annoying laugh, and the arrival of Captain Crime and his cohorts. A woman, a large man, a group of armed goons and Captain Crime in full body cast. How was he even functioning after something that put him in a full body cast hours ago just meant that he wasn't to be underestimated. The big question was, who had the Crime Gun? At least he could buy them some time to find it out. Another trick he hadn't shown Meta-Naut yet. No reason to let all of his secrets out of the bag, after all.

 

Dave van der Kuy positively glared at the big guy, as Rebellion unleashed the full power of the Terror on the man.

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