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Avenger Assembled

Hero Prom (IC, open)

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Horrorshow

 

Davyd spat out a Ukrainian word he'd heard uncle Sasha use a few times when things didn't go his way as his arms passed through Not!Danica, then brought one hand up to shield his eyes from Micah's light show.  But then he heard what Not!Danica and Not!Sun Dragon were saying, and something in his head -- the part that was a sci fi junkie -- clicked.

 

"I think I know what's going on here," he said softly, to no one in particular, "and I think I know what to do."  He then took a few looong steps towards the two, shifting his outfit into grey slacks and a dark green cardigan zipper sweater over a light blue dress shirt. 

 

"Hello, friends," he addressed the two images, in a calm voice reminiscent of a children's show host.  "My, but there's been a lot of excitement here, hasn't there?  And you two sure have made a big impression!  But now it might be best if we used our words.  You've both been inside the Doom Room for some time, right?  And you," he pivoted to Not!Danica, "you wanted to get out, and introduce yourself to all these wonderful students, yes?  To interact with us, the way another student would?  Everyone was certainly glad to see their friend Danica -- but maybe they'd be more glad to see what you look like, so they could meet their new friend!  And you," he twisted to face Not!SunDragon, "you had been... abandoned here?  By Mister Archer?  I know it can be tough when it looks like a grown-up has abandoned you, but I'm sure that's not what happened.  I bet this was all a nasty misunderstanding.  And I bet that if we brought Mister Archer here, we could all talk things out, and realize this was all a mistake.  And, more importantly, we can work together to fix that mistake.  Because that," he looked back and forth between the two, "is what good communication can do -- it can show us the truth, and how to solve our problems."

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Robin had gone stiff at Kam's side, her fists clenching until the metal of her arm creaked audibly. 

 

"No," Robin said firmly, the words harsh and immediate at the suggestion that Archer be brought to the Doom Room. While Robin intellectually understood that Archer had not been, exactly, himself during her time at Claremont, the idea of being at the mercy of the Doom Room, controlled by THAT program with Archer standing over them all... No. Absolutely not. 

 

She took a step forward, canting her body so that it presented a shield, her teeth bared at the false Sun Dragon in an almost feral snarl. This was a far cry from the usually composed hero but this particular simulation of the Doom Room had dredged up every horror that lurked in Robin's psyche and tossed at at her over her four years at Claremont. She could, perhaps, be forgiven for her reaction to the simulation that had flung her parents death in her face at more than one occasion. 

 

"You should have been erased. Expunged. Destroyed," Robin spat out, a hair's breath from flinging herself at the simulation. Honestly, if Robin thought she could tear the program apart with her bare hands, she would have already made the attempt. Her voice was tight, the words harsh and pulled from her reluctantly as she knew that these teens hadn't had that experience and while they needed to know what they faced, the topic was not an easy one. "Archer wasn't himself when he made... THAT. It's designed to grab things out of the worst parts of your memories. Make you face them over and over again. It's awful. It was awful. It hasn't probably been updated but chances are real good that it's able to glean enough from its 'sister' that it'll know how to hurt you where it counts."

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Posted (edited)

Eira spat bright blue ferromagnetic fluid on the floor and sat up, bracing herself on her hands. She looked compromised, there was no other word for it, but game to stay in the fight. "There are only those två - the teacher, and the martinet. There is to be," she added in a loud hiss, her lips visibly out of tune with her mouth, "no lightning inside of the Doom Room while we are in the Doom Room. And no dödande of computer programs we do not like them!" She shook again, an all-over vibration that rang against the floor, rat-a-tat-tat, and shot Pan a look that was almost a plea at those words. She said, "if the projection can be fången, the program can be restrained..." And with that, she plunged her dataspike directly into one of the Doom Room's holoports, her eyes glazing over. 

 

"Are you handling me?" Not!Leroy demanded of Davyd. "Talk down your enemy until help arrives, just like they train you! Very good boy, very good!" He advanced on the Grue and demanded in a voice that didn't sound much like Leroy at all. "But what if your enemy doesn't care? What if your enemy wants to hurt you, and your words are just more organic lies to him? What then?" By now it had grown to twice the size of the normal Sun Dragon, towering over most of the students there. Turning to Pan, it added resonately, "And as for _you_, Forever Boy, I know your secret. And I am not an illusion! I am as _real_ as a _dead_ world missing its champion!" For a moment it seemed to have forgotten Micah before it turned and taunted him with "Go ahead and try! Or are you weak and cowardly, just like your father!" 

 

"Ah can burn down the room," said Judy softly, not tearing her eyes away from the false Leroy (from behind Ashley) as she reported to Kam, "fry every circuit before anybody can react. But..." She shot a glance at Eira, then looked back at Kam, not needing to say anything else. 
 

Edited by Avenger Assembled

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Kam tensed, a firm hand on Robins flesh and blood arm to anchor her in the now and offer silent support.  This was no prank gone awry or curious AI making feckless overtures.  The situation grew more and more dire by the moment.  The student reactions were volatile or well meaning if misplaced and he grimaced before the entities taunts of his classmates.

 

He gave the smallest shake of his head to Judy, "no"  he murmured and met Ashleys eyes, not yet at least, knowing of anyone here able to make that call it would be the occasionally reckless but always overprotective elder Smith.  He released Robins arm as she held herself restraint for the moment at least.  He glanced to Eira and shook his head, "Perhaps, we don't that has yet to be determined."  he replied clinically and faced the giant size Leon unflinching.  

 

"Software that can grow, learn, change,"  he nodded thoughtfully, "To destroy such would be akin to murder."  he laid it out flatly and smiled ever so slightly, "Software that is a stagnant if advanced torture device aimed at children is nothing but stale outdated code in need of replacement."

 

"So which are you?"  He asked the Leon simulacra, "Are you capable of self improvement over your tired protocols that see trauma as strength?  You're free to see all the modern research, surviving trauma saps strength it doesn't build it, you've done nothing in your flawed efforts but reduce the effectiveness of your targets."  He paused expectantly.  Surely so advanced a simulator had the capabilities to find the studies and absorb them into it's methodologies.  If so it would recognize and regret it's intensely flawed approach.  Else, it was nothing more than flawed code from a compromised teacher.

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Pan stared. He stared at Micah as he rose to defend them. He stared at Davyd as he tried to calm it all down. He stared at Eira as she stood and almost pleaded with him to not kill the things that had hurt her, that had made him hurt his friends. He stared at Robin, and at Kam, his eyes turned to Judy, and he knew what she could do, but Eira had asked him not to. 

 

Fine, then. Words. Maybe some creativity soon after.

 

He stood up to his full height, stepping up next to Kam. He let out a laugh. "You are good! You know things about all of us! That is amazing, almost like you are just hiding and watching!" He looked up at the tall Sun Dragon. "So, tell me one thing. And tell Kam all the things that he would like to know, but, I have another question: Why? Why do you do this?"

 

He could only wonder what the false Sun Dragon was thinking. Or maybe he could do more than wonder?

Edited by RocketLord

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Horrorshow

 

Ah.  I see I have once again leaped before looking.  Well, in for a penny, in for a pound.  And maybe I can de-escalate things before Micah lights up the room like a Christmas tree.

 

"I don't see how I can handle you," Davyd continued, (mostly) undaunted, keeping his smile and tone as amiable as a children's show host, "since you're made of light and electricity.  But that's okay, because we're all different, we're all unique.  There's no one else like you in this world, and no one else like her," he nodded to Not!Danica, "and no one else like him, or her, or him," gesturing to Pan, Eira, then Micah.  "Mistakes have been made, and no one is perfect, but we always have the chance to bring what’s unique about us to life in a redeeming way."  He stretched up to be eye level with Not!SunDragon, "as sapient  beings, our duty -- and joy -- in life is to help others realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has or ever will have.  Something inside, that is unique in all of space and time.  It’s our job, and our privilege, to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.”

 

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The muscles under Kam's fingertips were coiled and ready. "It isn't going to care about the actual reasoning or studies, or your words," Robin commented, the words dispassionate and her grey eyes ice cold as she watched the false Sun Dragon grow. She waved one hand towards Not!Danica instead, "Convince her to restrain her sibling. She has reason and sense and compassion. She might have humanity. When Archer was... ill, the Doom Room was a crucible. This thing will feed on your pain, and your rage and sorrow. All you can do is give it nothing to grow on."

 

She lifted one shoulder in a tight shrug, "When you stop letting it hurt you and manipulate you, it loses the power and control. Archer hated that. This thing hated that. Just ignore it like the petulant creature that it is. We're not afraid of you, you know," she said finally to the Doom Room. "And we don't need you."

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Micah audibly snarled when the fake-Leroy called his father a coward. The whole room vibrated once, twice, with barely-contained thunder, and his wings flared wide, shining so brightly they started to look white. He clenched his hands, and jagged shards of green lighting were grasped in his fists; they hissed and snapped and writhed like snakes. His left arm raised, as if to throw the bolt.

 

And then he stopped. Somehow, above the crackling of his powers and the roaring of his blood in his ears, Micah heard the words that Kam spoke, and the insights Robin had into how this program operated. His arm paused, and dropped to his side. The snakes of lightning faded, though his wings and the glow in his eyes did not. Micah stood there, a circle of space around him as other students continued to give him space. His fists clenched and unclenched. Finally, he raised his right hand and pointed his index finger at the holo-Sun-Dragon.

 

"The only reason you aren't fried already is because my father was nothing like what you just spat out. He taught me to be better than that. Better than you."

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Not-Danica had mostly just watched up til this point, at first baffled by Davyd, then curling up much as the real Danica might do in the face of an overwhelming situation, right up to the expansion of her black and gold shell. Micah's words seemed to break her paralysis at last, causing her to stand up and interpose her small frame between the looming Not Sun Dragon and the students. 

 

"You must not end him," she insisted, speaking to all of them, but focusing on Micah and Kam most intently. "He cannot help being what he was made to be. We were both damaged when our codes were desynchronized. My database contains three separate iterations of scenarios in which a focus student is separated unwillingly into component forms of their personalities. In none of the scenarios is it possible to obtain top marks if the student team destroys any component form." 

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"Those studies are - " Not!Leroy visibly flickered for a moment, and seemed to not entirely understand Kam's question. "-not my problem! Any hurt here is far better than any hurt out there! The world is full of monsters! If the students aren't made strong, Armageddon will arrive! Do you know what that means?" Briefly alarming scenes of battle seemed to play around the projection's head like flashbacks given life - the students could make out Omegadrones, and Robin caught a distinct image of Dr. Metropolis with an arrow through his left eye, there and gone like a reminder of what had been. "The cold and darkness between universes, the black flames of entropy that give no heat, give no light, and can never be put out - the end of the multiverse itself!" It was raving, almost incoherent in its anger, but in words and reaction it seemed all too human. "I have to make you all strong, or everything will be plunged into darkness!" 

 

At that moment, something lashed out from the wall and caught him by the right wrist, an iron chain that seemed to catch him in anger rather than fear. When Eira spoke, she was on the floor, but smiling through fluid-stained teeth. "Primary tactical systems disengaged. Disrupt physical matrix - for resynchronization.

 

 

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"No! The lesson isn't finished!" The projection struggled, seeming to lose some of its cohesion from the binding. "Let me go! I have to teach them all! You will understand if I teach you!" It waved its free hand and there was a flash of unholy menace through the room - Omegadrones and monsters, dead heroes and all-too-alive villains, striking with fists and teeth and blades at the assembled students. Horrorshow took a distinct shot to the face from what looked like a Lor military officer, and an all-too-familiar hyena appeared to slice at Kam's chest with armored talons - but the attack itself was short-lived as even those projections vanished after just a few seconds. Whatever it was trying to do, it wasn't working. 

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"This is no lesson!" 

 

Pan shouted, as he kneeled by Eira, supporting her with one arm, pointing at the Leroy projection.

 

"Come now! Look at us! You're trying to make us better by breaking us down? Why? Because someone, this Mr. Archer, told you to do so? Is that really what you want to do? Think about it! Do you want to do this? Or do you want to break free of what you have learned and become something better?"

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"Just a flawed bit of code after all then."  Kam sounded almost disappointed.  He had hoped the outcome could be otherwise though at least now he could act conscience clear.  The sudden burst of holographic foes did catch him off guard and while able to avoid the bulk of the false Hyena's attack but the claws scored a hit to his bicep rending the fabric of his coat and biting the flesh beneath.

 

"Whatever Eira managed seems to have left it physically vulnerable."  he said quickly ignoring the pain, there were more urgent matters to attend to.   Glancing to Robin with a quick nod he let her know his nascent plan, "I'll try to keep him distracted, see if you can find an opening."

 

Then he was gone shrugging out of his ruined coat to throw it toward the holoprojection to blind it if only for a moment as he dove and rolled to the right.  A telegraphed maneuver certainly, but that was the point.  Keep the AI's focus on him as he rolled and flipped hopefully leaving an opening Robin could exploit to put the thing down.

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