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Tropical Hideaway (IC)


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April 2020 

Outside Cuiaba, Brazil 

 

People think of Brazil as all Amazonian jungles and also the streets of Rio. Here just outside Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, though, both cities and Amazon seem far away - this is a place of rugged terrain with jagged cliffs and high waterfalls, with large red hills and sandstone cliffs towering thousands of feet in height rising in almost every direction. Normally it would be a gorgeous place to visit - minus the trail of destruction leading from Cuiaba towards the interior of the vast, rugged parkland 

 

"So you see," said Dr. Fraire, speaking by phone from the inside of her jeep, "we have a giant problem. The National Guard is already investigating what happened in the city but I think our lawyers will be able to tie them up for a few days. But if they get hard evidence that 'dangerous supertech' was being held in the city without their government's say-so, they could shut down every DI facility in Brazil!" 

 

The other voice on the line, the one who'd originally gotten the call, said "Why _didn't_ they know?" 

 

"That thing has been with us for almost seventy years, since Papa Danger's time!" said Dr. Fraire, who had not gotten a lot of sleep in the last few days. "Er, sorry, sir, but my records at the base said that information about "A Centurion Robo" was communicated to them all the way back in the 1940s; but there's been coups since then, and elections, and of course the museum fire..." She looked disconsolate for a moment. "If there were records, they've been lost. So we're in trouble!"

 

So ended the last of Veronica's briefing about the recent breakout in Brazil of a twenty-foot, seventy-five year old robot cast in the brass and steel image of the Centurion! Danger family crises were a little different than who was going to water the lawn or feed the dog.

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica Danger was briskly walking across the Claremont campus after exiting the school gymnasium. "I am on it Prudence." The teenager said into her cellphone as she made her way along the path towards the gate to the dorms. "I am not sure how many members of my squad will be around right now given we are winding down for Spring Break."

 

The attractive seventeen year old was in her typical daily attire, a pair of olive drab cargo shorts, a light grey T-shirt over which she wore thin linen Khaki shirt and a pair of well-worn hiking boots with thick socks. As was often the case, her long brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail and she had a necklace and several bracelets from which several dozen small silver charm-like objects hung.

 

The teenage Danger paused a moment as her assistant on the other end responded. "Well, if I have to I will grab whomever I can find and get us to Brazil right away and…" Veronica paused mid-sentence as she spotted a lone figure standing in the nearby gardens of the school. "One second, I think I have found the perfect solution. I will call you back."

 

Hanging up the call, Veronica slipped her cellphone into a pocket of her cargo shorts as she started over toward the figure. "Hi Felix, how are you today?" She called out as she drew closer to the figure, a friendly smile on her face.

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Legatus

XVIII had just returned to the campus from visiting his old (now submerged) home. The waters of Freedom City had already dried from his hair and body on his flight back to Claremont, and he should have been preparing for the rest of the day - homework wasn't going to finish itself, and he still had an essay due in at least one of his classes. But he stood instead in the gardens, his expression pensive. Visiting the place of his family's demise probably wasn't healthy, but it was pretty much all he could look forwards to for the duration of Spring break. It wasn't like he had much of a life beyond school, and the mild associations he had made with the teens who were his nominal peers.

 

A voice pulled him out of his dolor, and he looked up, though his brow furrowed in momentary confusion as he recalled that Felix was him. The young woman before him (though she was technically older than him) was Veronica Danger. "Oh. Hey there Veronica. I'm... alright, I guess." His tone was slightly distracted as he pulled himself back to the moment. "Sorry, it's just a bit of... a spring malaise, I suppose. I just got back from visiting my old home, and I'm sure you know how that sort of thing goes." Probably not in the specifics, of course, but maybe that'll be enough to assuage her curiosity.

 

"How are you?" The Teen of Adamant was dressed in his costume - nothing else he owned was easily brought underwater, after all, and he'd not yet had a chance to go back to his dorms to change It's still a little weird sleeping in a room with only one other person present... Shaking the thought away, he smiled slightly at Veronica.

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica could sense a bit of the distraction in Felix's tone, but did not know him well enough to easily gauge whether she should inquire a bit deeper about what might be troubling him. So, she gave a small nod as he talked about visiting his old home. "I used to come visit Danger Manor here in Freedom City and my parents' home in the south of France between our travels. While I enjoyed seeing family during the visits here, I generally preferred being out in the field, exploring new places and meeting new people."

 

The teenage Danger's own smile broadened slightly as he asked how she was. "I am…good, mostly, but have a bit of problem, which might be something to help with your spring malaise. You interested in a mission?"

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Legatus

Felix rubbed the back of his head absently, considering her words. Well, it's no flooded underwater lab, but I suppose the principle is similar enough. He grinned slightly, though there was an edge to it. "Yeah, I suppose that makes sense." Though honestly, I guess it'd be nice to have a home to come back to some time. Shaking his head inwardly, he brought his attention back to the moment at hand.

 

At Veronica's mention of a mission, XXIII's expression brightened. "Missions might be good. I don't think I've worked together with anyone on a serious thing for..." His cheeks flushed faintly at the thought of his last clash with Superior. "Since I was last in France, which was both in last October and some sixty years ago. So, I guess I'm overdue. What did you have in mind?"

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica was glad to see Felix brighten up some at the mention of a mission. She gave him a sympathetic smile at his mention of his last serious mission. "Yeah, I heard about some of that from Pan and Adam. Sounds like it was pretty tense."

 

"As for what I have in mind, I can fill you in on the way to the student parking lot. I am on something of a clock." The teenage Danger stated with a smile as she started walking.

 

"So, about seventy years ago, my great grandfather and great uncle, along with some other members of the Jungle Patrol, teamed up with Centurion to stop a giant robot cast in Centurion's image. After they stopped it and shut it down, it ended up in a Danger International warehouse, where it has sat for the last seven decades. For some reason, it has reactivated and is causing a bit of a mess down in Brazil."

 

"So, you and I are going to go down there and see what is going on and try to stop this thing again. Hopefully before the Brazilian government starts sticking their nose too deep in to how this thing ended up there."

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Legatus

 

"You could say that." Felix said dryly, shaking his head. "On the upside, I haven't heard from Superior since then, so... that's positive." The Teen of Adamant grinned slightly, before letting the smile lapse as he followed with Veronica. "Oh, that bad, huh? Let's go." He did consider just lifting her up and flying over to the parking lot, but decided that would be considered rude under the circumstances. 

 

XVIII listened in silence, considering the issue at hand as the Danger described it to him. He knew that the Dangers were famed adventurers, and that the Centurion had worked with members of the family more than once, though this particular case wasn't familiar to him. Something Professor Syagrius didn't know about, or something he didn't care about? Well, whatever. At her last words, he frowned. "I was going to ask that myself, actually." After a moment, he shrugged. "But if it's a familial secret, I'm sure you have your reasons. Do you know who built it the first time? They might be involved."

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Veronica Danger

 

"Well, it mainly ended up in a warehouse in Brazil because that is where it was defeated." Veronica replied with a small smile as the pair made their way to the parking lot. "There is an old Ace Danger book about the encounter, Ace Danger and the Terror of the Steel Titan, I think it is still being reprinted."

 

"But it is unlikely the original builder is involved. Her name was Dr. Mulher Morcego and she perished in the summer of 1941 when her dirigible crashed in the South Atlantic." Veronica then continued. "She built the Centuritron back in 1940 and was trying to use it drive out all foreign influence from Brazil, which was how my great grandfather and great uncle encounter the robot."

 

"It is about twenty feet tall, built of steel and iron, with an internal electoral charge that was original a component of a hydroelectric dam. It was able to fly and was tough enough to withstand punches from Centurion. They ultimately defeated by Centurion distracting it while my great grandfather removed the internal power source. From everything I have ever heard or read about the robot, if it is operational, it is likely being controlled by radio."

 

The pair reached the parking lot and Veroncia walked up to a rather high-tech looking motorcycle as she took off one of her bracelets covered in small silver symbols. "So, you ready?" The teenage Danger asked as she began removing some of the silver symbols.

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Legatus

 

"Hm... Brazil... do you speak Portuguese?" Felix asked, realizing that the language barrier might be a problem. He took in the rest of the information quietly, thoughtful. Tough enough to take hits from Centurion. I'm not as strong or as tough as him, so I'll probably have to play a similar role to him. "Something worth keeping in mind - radio can be jammed... not that I have any idea how, of course." He chuckled ruefully.

 

After a moment, he looked at the motorcycle. "Uh... I'm going to assume that you have a way of getting to Brazil that doesn't involve trying to drive all the way across the US, Mexico, Central America, and so on with a motorcycle... so yes, yes I am." 

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Veronica Danger

 

When Felix asked if she spoke Portuguese, Veronica shook her head. "No, unfortunately Portuguese is not something I have had a chance to pick up yet. But if it becomes an issue, I should be able to work something out." The teenage Danger then gave Felix a please smile as he mentioned possible jamming any radio frequency controlling the robot. "That is certainly something I plan to try once we are there, but might take some time to find the frequency and get something that can jam it." She responded as she began connecting some of the small silver symbols to a silver chain she seemed to have pulled out of thin air.

 

Veronica then chuckled slightly as Felix sought to make sure she was not planning to drive to Brazil. "Oh heavens no." She stated with a smile as she finished attaching the symbols to the silver chain and slipped it over her right wrist. "So here we go." She said as she began to glow with arcane energy, one hand reaching up to touch one of Felix's arms, the other touching her Danger Cycle. Then, in a flash of light, they were gone from the Claremont parking lot…

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There were advantages to teleporting along lines of longitude rather than latitude. It was a lovely afternoon here in Mato Grasso if you didn't mind being in the middle of a devastated forest. This was the cerrado, a high savanna dotted by forested rivers, and the trail of the Centuritron was visible enough - Veronica's teleportation had put them right down in the middle of what looked like a giant-sized footprint. But they weren't alone. Peering over the top of the small depression where they'd landed was a big brown cow with a hump on its back and short curved horns. It studied them with a cow's black eyes and mooed tentatively at them, a moo answered by a great many more! 

 

A quick reconaissance by Legatus showed them that there were many cows milling around, and others seriously injured or on the ground alongside a partially-wrecked train! As near as they could tell, the train had hit tracks damaged by the passing robot and run off them. It had gone slowly enough to avoid real catastrophe, but the damage was still serious - there were wrecked cars and wandering cows everywhere, and humans milling about trying to maintain some kind of order. The locomotive was visibly smouldering, and there were injured among both human and cattle. 

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Legatus

 

Teleportation was new to him, but Felix shook the disorientation from his mind with a brief head shake before blinking, his eyes wide at the scene of the devastation. Flying into the air, the Teen of Adamant surveyed the damage grimly from the air before slowly drifting back to Earth. We should help the people... and their cows, I guess. He paused, expression tightening. But at the same time, the longer we take here the more destruction the... Centuritron will wreak upon the rest of the place. 

 

Turning to Veronica, Legatus sighed softly. "We should come back once we're done with the Centuritron, but right now, I don't think there's much more we can do for these people." He paused, then looked at the cattle car. "I could right that, but it might only make things worse for the cattle inside. I don't know how to calm them, and shifting directions like that would almost certainly alarm them."

Edited by secondling
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Veronica Danger


Veronica was initially slightly amused by the cow that greeted her and Felix when they arrived in Brazil. But that feeling quickly faded as the teenage Danger took in the full scope of the situation. "Oh no!" She stated as Felix took to the air to get a better view of things.


While Felix was scouting the area some, Veronica removed the silver chain from her wrist and began undoing the spell she used to teleport them from Freedom City. A she did so, she pulled out other of the small silver trinkets and quickly began working on two new spells. In short order she had two new sets of the silver symbols on two different silver bracelets, both of which she slipped over a wrist as she climbed onto her motorcycle.

 

Turing on the engine, she switched the Danger Cycle into flight mode and rose up into the air just enough to clear the lip of the depression they had appeared in and then moved back onto level ground. Turning off the motorcycle, she climbed off and started over towards the groups of people that appeared to be injured, listening to what they were speaking so she could match their language.

 

When Felix came flying back down Veronica gave a small nod when he mentioned his concern about trying to right the train car filled with cattle. "Yeah, no need to make matters worse. Let me help those who are most seriously injured before we go." She stated as she walked over to the most seriously injured man.

 

<"Hello, we are here to help."> The teenager stated in the language she heard the gathered people using as she moved over to kneel down next to the man. Holding out one hand, it glowed with arcane power as she touched the man's arm to heal his injuries.

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The train crew (and some of the cows) were surprised at the arrival of Veronica and Legatus, some of them backing away, others muttering curses and prayers that Veronica's power let her understand. These people had watched (or heard the news) of course, but they typically didn't get many superhumans here in the heart of Brazil, so far from the big cities. Veronica's power knitted up the wounds of the injured man, leaving him bruised and battered but very much alive and able to walk around. After the usual round of thank-yous that typically came from the use of the healing power of the amulet, they were mostly left with Joao Francisco - the man they'd rescued from his injuries. 

 

"Damn thing came out of nowhere," he told Veronica. "It just...stumbled right out of the forest, tore up the track, then went through on the other side, shouting like it was from some old movie. If we'd been going any faster, I'd be a dead man right now. As it is, I might have lost my leg if not for you." 


Meanwhile, one of the trainworkers turned out to speak English - and he communicated with Legatus that they had a problem. Quite a few of the cattle had roamed off in the wake of the crash, and not only were they valuable but they certainly didn't belong here in the middle of a natural environment that was not their own. Could the Teen of Adamant offer them a little assistance in cattle-finding? 

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Legatus

 

It surprised Felix to know that someone out here spoke any English - it was not something he would have expected, but he supposed English was becoming more widespread. After a moment's thought, he nodded briefly. "Alright. I'll do what I can, but I make no promises. The forest might obscure some, but I'll do my best to capture as many as I can, and locate those that I can't."

 

He moved to Veronica, touching her lightly on the arm to get her attention. "I'm going to fly around and grab as many cows as I can - I know it's out there, but I think I can move pretty fast." With that out of the way, Legatus leapt into the air and began scanning the area to seek out the cattle that had been lost. I hope this doesn't take too long.

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Veronica Danger

 

<"I am glad we were able to help."> Veronica responded to Mr. Francisco after she had managed heal the worst of his injuries. Looking back down the path of destruction caused by the Centuritron, the teenage Danger gave a small frown. <"Hopefully we will be able to catch up with it before it can cause too much more damage."> She said.

 

When Felix came over to let her know he was going to help herd the cattle, Veronica gave a small nod. "Okay, I will make sure no one else is in any significant need of medical attention and then get ready to start following after the Centuritron." As Felix took to the air on his rustling mission, Veronica moved around the site of the train wreck, healing anyone else with any significant injuries, including any of the livestock.

 

After she finished with that, she made her way back over to the Danger Cycle, pulling a motorcycle helmet out of her pocket dimension as she prepared herself to start following the trail of destruction.  

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Legatus


Spotting the few fleeing cattle, Legatus swiftly gathered them up, one at a time, and carefully placed them where the less-injured workers could keep an eye on them. Finishing quickly, he returned to Veronica's side. "Ready to go?" He asked, gesturing mildly at the trail of devastation that the machine had left them. "I could probably carry you and your motorcycle, but I wouldn't necessarily be able to fly with full maneuverability."

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica gave a small smile as Felix mentioned possibly carrying her and the Danger Cycle as they tried to follow the Centuritron. "Well, probably no need for that at this point." She replied. "I will do my best to keep up, but it does not appear the Centuritron is moving at particularly high speed at the moment, so we can hopefully catch up before too long."

 

Putting on her helmet, the teenage Danger started up her motorcycle once more and started off down the path left in the giant robot's wake.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The road wasn't an easy one - after all, it wasn't a road at all. But Veronica kept her bike on the path, avoiding any need for transportation by Legatus. Which turned out to be a good thing! They'd gone perhaps a half-hour's bike ride into the hills when they found another track of the great robot, this one a deep pair, as if the great mechanical man had come down like a meteor strike. But now there were footfalls along the way too, a path leading them deeper into the woods - and finally, to their target. 

 

The Centuritron sat atop and among what looked like a recent landslide down the side of a larger hill, grey stone and torn-up plants scattered freely and about its massive shoulders. With its legs folded up out front, its arms high at its sides, the overall effect was as if it had come across this spot of land and stopped to rest. (But that was surely impossible for a non-sentient robot?) It looked rather like the Lincoln Memorial - if Lincoln had been a giant mechanical man of brass and steel, and if its throne had been carved from rock and debris. 

 

There was little suggestion of the Centurion about it now - except for the great golden breastplate around its midsection, and the distinct, ragged cape that lay wrapped around its shoulders like a shroud. 

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Legatus

Felix stared at the mechanical being, bemused for the moment. It almost looks like it's behaving as though it's alive. But it sure doesn't look alive. He slowly drifted to the ground next to Veronica, glancing at the Danger. Speaking softly, so as not to overly alarm the machine (or its controller) he conferred with her. "How do you want to handle this?"

 

He looked up at the machine again. "I'm not sure if we should just attack it - it looks like it's resting. Why would someone controlling it make it do that, especially after rampaging all the way here?" Stepping back slightly, he took a glance around the area, looking for signs of the Centuritron's continued rampage. 

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Veronica Danger

 

Veronica stopped her motorcycle as they came within sight of the Centuritron, setting down her feet to keep it balanced as she took off her helmet to have an unobstructed view of the giant machine. When Legatus drifted down next to her she gave a nod as he mentioned not just wanting to start attacking it and its unusual behavior.

 

"I agree," She said quietly, "no need to stir it up while it is acting passive. Gives us a chance to study it a bit and see if we can get any clue as to what might be going on or who might be controlling it."

 

As Legatus looked at the area around them, Veronica's gaze remained on the Centuritron, as she tried to study it to see if she could glimpse any clues to how it had reactivated and whether it was still operating under simple radio control.

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