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Lakeside, Emerald City

3PM, May 11th 2020

 

Lakeside was normally peaceful. No Takazumi-gumi or Malakov Mafiya, it was not the place where one would expect much trouble. Especially not on a day where the rain was simply pouring down. All day long, the rain had been falling.

 

And yet, trouble was afoot. A monster was running rampant through the streets of Lakeside! A great beast had caused trouble, assaulting an innocent man, and now, Ultio Suit Users were coming in from all over town, flying, running and leaping through the streets.

 

Of course, not was all as it seemed. The monster was merely a dream, and the Dreamer had just tried to stop a purse snatcher, but now, all these would-be heroes were coming for her. But perhaps one among them would see things different? Perhaps it would take an Ultra Girl to help a Dreamer?

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Ultra Girl

 

When Courtney "heard" about  the monster attack at Lakeside through the ECPD radio frequency, she immediately found a convenient hiding place under her school bleachers to quickly put on her Ultra Girl costume. It was a close thing. School at Arcadian High had just broken out about ten minutes ago and she almost got herself roped into assisting Mrs. Song in putting away some of the media club's AV equipment before electro-senses went off about the unfolding rampage. Of course, if she had gotten the signal after she had agreed to help she still would have come up with a polite excuse to get out of it, but she would have felt awful leaving Mrs. Song in the wings like that.

 

She actually still felt a pretty bad about it even as she rushed in the air towards Lakeside, flying over Lake Vallee as she tried to "hear" more details about the monster. Alas, any details about the actual attack were pretty scarce, with Courtney only really getting word that the creature had attacked a male bystander and was apparently about to be surrounded by Ultio Suit Users. 

 

Courtney's lips had become a hard line when realized that MarsTech's heroes-for-hire were going to be involved in this. She tried to avoid them most of the time as she patrolled Arcadian Peninsula and gave them a wide berth whenever they did bother to show up in her part of Emerald City. When she did see them around though they seemed to act like typical heroes, doing nothing of the ordinary as they fought villains or low-level criminals. Despite that though, it still didn't made Courtney trust them. She knew MarsTech was up to something against Emerald City. The only question was what role the Ultio-Suits played in that. 

 

When Courtney finally came down to Lakeside she emptied her buzzing postronic brain of any concerns about MarsTech and their potential minions and focused on spotting the monster that thought Lakeside and its people could be its plaything. 

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Posted (edited)

The Dreamer had been minding her own business, just rolling down the street when it had happened. She'd heard someone crying out for help, and called out the Carnifex, thinking that it was worse than it was. Instead she released a monster to stop a purse snatcher. They'd fled the scene, and The Dreamer had quickly begun dreaming up her costume and a mount. Now she sat on the back of a giant winged snake at the top of the tallest building in the area and tried to ignore the Carnifex suggesting ways to eliminate all the witnesses while she tried to think of how she was going to talk to the heroes.

"We could just knock on all their doors and kill them there, like that movie you watched with the killer robot" The dream monster posited.

"That is definitely not happening. I'm not going to hurt, maim or kill anyone." She glared at the Carnifex while it grinned further.

"Why of course!" It ran a clawed hand through the shards of it's hair, wrapping the tail it had appeared with this time around The Dreamer's waist, "And you won't have to, I am here for all your hurting, maiming and killing!"

The Dreamer could feel a headache coming as the stone monstrosity continued it's plans for villainy, when she spotted something. There were several people in silver surrounding her position, and she's seen a flash of red, white and blue somewhere, although it was gone now. "The heroes are here, stop talking. I want this to not involve fighting, which you prattling on about murder will not help."

The Carnifex scoffed and waved dismissively, "I think you're being a bit generous calling them 'heroes', darling. The cybermen down there are wannabes remember. Besides, if we take 'em out we can then talk with the real heroes from a position of strength. Just think! You sitting in a throne made out of ultio suit helmets, me splattered all over with blood, turn and say 'Oh hey Justice, fancy seeing you here'. All of a sudden you can push for whatever terms you like!" The smile it gave could have curdled milk as it purred out it's plan.

"I am not here to be a supervillain. If anything I am here to be a hero. If I can avoid fighting these people I am going to. Even if they are as you say 'wannabes'."

She waved down at the heroes at the bottom of the building, hoping they could see and would recognise it as her not wanting a fight.

Edited by Kaede Kimura

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Courtney didn't immediately find the rampaging monster that she was looking for. Or at least she wasn't entirely sure that what she was currently looking at wasn't in fact it. While scanning the area for any signs of the monster or the incoming Ultio-Suits, her optics caught sight of a nearly twelve foot creature that looked like something out of a Harry Potter movie. The only reason Courtney didn't immediately assume she had found her quarry was because the monster wasn't actually attacking anyone and because it was currently standing peaceably next to a teen girl around her age who herself was mounted on some kind of winged serpent. 

 

For a moment, the sear strangeness of what she was seeing almost made her want connect to mom for some guidance. Up until until now Courtney had mostly dealt with street gangs and misguided thugs who fought they could make it out of bad neighborhoods by stealing something or selling something. Weird monsters that she knew made absolutely no biological sense was kind of outside of wheelhouse. In the end, though, Courtney decided against it. Mom was a tech expert, not a wizard or a cryptid zoologist. Chances were she'd would be just as confused and befuddled as Courtney was right now. Also, there was a part of Courtney that simply wanted to deal with this herself without her mother trying micro-manage the situation. After all, she had to much control over life already, didn't she?

 

With that personal dilemma sorted, Courtney finally decided it was time to confront the strange trio at the building they were on. Courtney had her weapon systems primed and ready in case things went sideways but she was honestly more concerned about what she was going to say to them. Should she be forceful and commanding? Matter-of-fact and stoic? Courteous and ingratiating? In the end, she did what she thought a hero like Ms. Americana would do. Hovering near the ledge of building with her baby blue cape flowing in the air, Courtney struck a hero pose with her fists on her midriff and her head held high as she addressed the three in what she believed to be a respectful tone. "Hello, there. My name is Ultra Girl. I'm a hero and I'm here to help with the monster attacking Lakeside. Would any of you happen to know something about that?" 

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Posted (edited)

The Dreamer watched as the star-spangled girl flew up to her, trying to ascertain as to whether she was real or a dream. Was this the real Ultra Girl who she'd heard about, or was it a dream? She looked like how most people imagined american superheroes look. She watched with interest as the hero flew up the tall building, and struck pretty much the quintessential hero pose, head up, fists on hips and cape billowing in the wind. The Dreamer didn't have long to make any judgements before the girl spoke.

She looked over as the Carnifex shifted, giving the dream demon a hard look and mentally commanding it to not say anything, for all the good that would do. "Today's just getting curiouser and curiouser. The monster you heard of is probably that one" She points at the Carnifex, which grinned like a cat. "It was a mistake I made, I heard screaming and called it out, only to find out the source was a purse snatcher."
"Must you call me 'it'? 'Tis such a dehumanizing term." The Carnifex lamented with exaggerated faux-offense. The Dreamer grimaced in reply. The winged serpent shifts, lifting The Dreamer to match Ultra Girl's height. "I hope that, if you're real, we can sort this out without any problems." The Carnifex snickered, padding up to the edge of the roof.

"It helps that you aren't some wannabe in a suit, eh? Whether you're a dream like me or the real Ultra Girl you have some real power in there, like me. What would some regular little human know about that, eh?"

Edited by Kaede Kimura

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Courtney blinked. She didn't actually have to being that she was a robot, but the response just came naturally to her in that moment. She couldn't help it really. Not when she was apparently chatting with some kind of dream summoner. The mild hypocrisy that she found hyper advanced androids like herself and malicious corporate conspiracies to be totally believable while dream wizardy was not entirely lost on Courtney, but she ultimately decided not to dwell on it and instead focus on what was right in front of her. 

 

"So let me get this right. So you summoned or created this..." Courtney pointed a hand at the creature in question and searched her postronic brain for a word that seemed both reasonably accurate and respectful, "Assistant to help you investigate a crime that turned out to be a purse-snatching? Is that your power? Forming physical things and creatures out of dreams? Is that why you asked whether I was real?" Courtney ran the possibilities in her head, immediately assuming that the girl was some kind of magic user, but did not entirely rule out a slightly more scientific explanation like some form of transdimensional importation or powerful psionic illusionary powers.  

 

Of course, even with being very curious about the other teen's powers, it didn't stop Courtney from recognizing that whether she intended it or not, summoning this creature had essentially pulled a red alarm that was bringing several Ultio-Suits to Lakeside. As such, Courtney gave the girl's dream monster her best impression of a serious look. "Regular little humans or not. You gave them a reason to come here by going after that purse-snatcher and they are going to come in droves to deal with you." Courtney then looked at the other teen, her expression turning softer. "Maybe... maybe it would best if you unsummoned him? For now anyway. At least until the Ultio-Suits lose their patience and move on once they realize there isn't some giant monster here for them to fight for points."

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GM

 

And as if on cue...

 

"Hey! What the hell do ya think yer doing!?" The men and women in silver suits (and a few in other colors as well) had seemed a bit wary, keeping their distance from the great winged monster, the Carnifex and the Dreamer, but now that Ultra Girl had shown up and statred talking? Well, it seemed like that had given them some courage, at least. The one speaking was flying with some sort of built in jetpack, he was wearing a blue armor, which otherwise looked like a standard Ultio Suit. "Yer getting in the way here, lady! The TroubAlert pegged this little monster as trouble, and it's worth a whole lotta points. So how about you take your pretty little cape an' get outta here before you end up caught in the middle of all this, yeah?"

 

The Ultio Users didn't all seem to agree with Blue's statement, but a good deal of them. Ultra GIrl and Dreamer could see at least six of them hovering around them, with more probably on the way. If Carnifex and the winged serpent was worth a lot of points, then it was probably only a question of time before more showed up.

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Posted (edited)

The Dreamer thought for a moment about how to answer Ultra Girl's question. She wasn't here as a civilian, so she didn't have to worry about her civilian identity. She decided honesty would be the best policy. "I'm from another reality. We were in a war with another dimension, and it was... bad. I heard screaming and I'm so used to that being bombs or Omegadrones that I just reacted." She watched as some ranks of futuristic looking tin soldiers marched past the snake. "My power is that things I dream of becomes real." To demonstrate she focused for a moment, creating a masquerade mask over her face, blue like her dress. The Carnifex stepped up to stand next to the serpent, purring in response to the follow up question "My poor dreamer is fixated on the idea of discerning her dreams from reality, why she bothers I don't really know. After all, reality is overrated, I'm not real the way you two are, neither is the feathered serpent, but does it matter right now?" 

The Dreamer looked thoughtful as Ultra Girl asked about unsummoning the Carnifex, while the monster puffed up in offense. "I'm not some regular dream to be discarded. I am the most powerful of her creatures and can hardly leave The Dreamer to face some loose cannon wannabe heroes on her own." It retorted pridefully, before waving it's clawed hand dismissively, pacing off to stand closer to the end of the snake. The Dreamer glared at The Carnifex as it talked and stormed off.

"I think you might-" She was cut off as the man in the Ultio Suit started talking. "Well as you may have noticed we were talking." The snake reared up, hissing fiercely as more dream creatures started to appear. The Dreamer started to look angry as the man talked. "Since when was being a hero about points?" She spat the word like a curse. "If someone needs help do you just stand by until you'll get your bonus?" The small tin soldiers jeered as she said this, but The Carnifex chuckled, "So righteous anger is good and all, but on that note, how many points am I and what will that get you? If The Dreamer stops me can she claim the points?" The Dreamer gave the Carnifex a stern look, before addressing the mercenaries floating around her.

"The creatures you are here to fight aren't real. They are a product of my power. They aren't dangerous to people, and the only reason the Carnifex was brought out was due to a misjudgement on my part. If possible I would prefer to avoid a fight." She looks to Ultra Girl, continuing quieter than before, "Do you think if you took me into custody that they would leave, or would it be a fight?"

Edited by Kaede Kimura

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Courtney processed the new information provided and examined the numerous dream-illusions created eye that floated around her with a critical eye. "Oh wow. So it was an automatic reflex? Some sort of like a self-defense mechanism formed by repeated trauma. That's so fascinating," she noted out loud, her data-filled mind only realizing a few seconds later what she had just said. "And awful! I can't believe that I just... That is total my mothe-" Courtney stopped herself before she could continue to embarrass herself further or potentially give away something critical about her identity.

 

The paragon weighed whether it would be worth it to try and summon back some air of authority by doing another hero pose, but ultimately figured that was a lost cause. It also plainly wasn't her. Not yet anyway. With her hands out she apologized to Dreamer. "I'm so sorry that happened to you and your world. This one has dealt with its own Terminus invasions and knows how nightmarish they can be. And I'm sorry that I just fangirled for a few seconds there. Sometimes I can get distracted by-" 

 

Suddenly her sensors went off. Ultio-Suits were fast approaching. "Oh wow. I thought I'd have more time before they showed up." Courtney grimaced slightly. She really didn't want to deal with Ultio-Suits on top of everything else right now. It was apparently a sentiment shared by the dream-crafter since she wasn't particularly happy about their arrival either.

 

Courtney lowered her voice so that hopefully Dreamer and her pet could hear. "I would like to avoid one too, but I'm not sure if these guys are going to make it that easy. You're right that Ultio-Suits care way more about points then they do about justice, which is why this might end up going bad." The android sighed then and thought about whether it could be best to either flee with dream-warper or just attack the fast approaching MarsTech flunkies right then and there. Neither option seemed particularly attractive, especially the later. For one, it felt wrong to be the first one to attack and escalate things further. And two... her mother's ethic protocols just wouldn't let her strike first. At least not without Courtney giving them a good override. With that in mind, the robotic paragon opted to go for diplomacy. Courtney whispered to Dreamer again. "Ok let me try something first. Hopefully it will work but if not... Well, try to escape if you can."

 

With that said, Courtney zoned in on the apparent lead Ultio-Suit and started talking in a firm but confrontational way with her abandoned hero pose back on display for added effect. "I know you're all here for hero points, but the situation has been resolved. The little monster your TroubAlert app told you about has been neutralized. See," she said, pointing to the very much dangerous looking Carnifex. "I know it looks scary, but its not attacking you, me, that girl, or anyone else for that matter. Like I said, the situation with the purse-snatcher was handled. You guys can find points elsewhere without getting into unnecessary fight."

 

 

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GM

 

"Yeah? Situation's all handled?" Ultio Blue asked, crossing his arms, while he looked at Ultra Girl. His tone changed slightly, but he still eyed the monster. "How about making those monsters go away, then? Or are you gonna terrorize more people?"

 

"Yeah!" A woman in red and white armor, with a long white cape flew closer, pointing at the Carnifex and the snake. "So what, you want us to back off just because you say so? Why should we even believe you? You're the one with giant monsters around, you're not even real heroes! We're the official Emerald City heroes, you're just wannabes!"

 

The surrounding Ultio Suit Users started murmuring and shouting in agreement. Some seemed to be getting ready for a fight.

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The Dreamer blinked a few times at Ultra Girl's comment and her immediate backtracking and apology. "I would not really say reflex. It was still my choice to bring out The Carnifex, which was obviously a mistake. Thank you for understanding though, I haven't really talked to many people about it."

She glared at the Ultio Suits as Ultra Girl confirmed their fixation on points over people. It was the duty of those with power to help others, and only doing it for a reward cheapened the work of the heroes who didn't. She nodded as Ultra Girl said she'd talk to them, whispering back, "The serpent can actually fly if it comes to it." As Ultra Girl talked The Carnifex grinned evilly when she said it looked scary, flicking some of it's obsidian-like mane over it's shoulder. "The hero is right, I've been on my best behaviour. The only people I've touched since being called were the thief and The Dreamer. Surely you don't want to pick a fight with poor little me." It chuckled darkly as it finished.

The Dreamer looked around the assembled group at Ultio Blue's question. "I came up here to keep from frightening anyone. Currently I would prefer to keep them around to be certain of my safety, but if it would avoid a fight I would be willing to." She looked to Ultra Girl, and the snake leaned her closer, quietly saying. "If I do make the serpent go, could you please let me down from the build-" She cut off as the red and white woman started shouting and flew closer. As she began to harangue her she tried to answer some of the questions.

"I am not-"

"I am a firm believer in trust-"

And then she made the comment about not being real heroes. For a moment The Dreamer was still, then the corner of her mouth started twitching. "Wannabes, huh?" A deep rumbling growl emanated from the feathered serpent, and the menagerie of dream creatures matched it. "Tell me something, did you spend your childhood using your powers to help support your dimension defend itself from invaders?" The snake brought The Dreamer closer to the woman, while a rotund dream woman in royal finery started shouting "OFF WITH HER HEAD!! OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!" 

The Dreamer continued, not paying mind to the agitated dreams below. "My dimension was invaded by Omega about two years ago, and still I helped where I could, dreaming up supplies, weapons, defences. Anything to slow down the invasion. And yet it is you who is a real hero. Not me, not Ultra Girl who turned up and tried  to sort out the situation. You, who stood back and watched until someone else came up. What if The Carnifex had attacked, would you have just stood by and waited, watching Ultra Girl fight a thirteen foot tall monster?" The serpent pulled back, stretching it's wings in preperation for flight. The Carnifex growled, the sound rumbling over the cacophany of the dreams, only the cries of "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!" being audible over the volcanic rumble. "If you want to make my day, please get in her way." The Dreamer scowled, but didn't castigate the dream demon for her statement.

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So much for trying to be reasonable. 

 

Courtney tried her best to suppress a grimace that was threatening to takeover the micro-servos in her face. She was a pretty optimistic person by design but even to her eyes it was starting to seem like the growing horde of Ultio-Suits were hellbent on turning an unfortunate misunderstanding into a pitched battle for no reason other than for darn hero points. This was hardly the first time that Courtney resented the fact that a whole legion of apparent narcissists and fame-seekers had been given superpowers, but this was the first time she ever felt that the consequences of that reality were going to turn hopelessly violent unless she did something extreme.

 

Courtney floated to block the approaching Ultio-Suits way, making it so so that most of them would literally have to go past her to reach Dreamer and her constructs. "I can't let you do this," she said firmly, eyeing red-and-white Ultio-Suit but speaking aloud to all of them. "Even you have to see this is wrong and pointless... but if you can't, I won't just float here and let you attack people that were only trying to help. So please. Back off." 

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GM

 

Ultio Blue looked over at Ultio Red, shaking his head. "Come on Jessie, calm down. You'll still get some points for sorting out the situation. We all will." He was about to turn and say something when the Dreamer launched into her speech... and he just stared at her.

 

"Dude, that girl  is crazy." Jessie, Ultio Red, was obviously not impressed. "So what? You got powers and make up some lame backstor for it? Not all of us get powers like you, some of us had to work to get this! And we're gonna stay on top, girl! Don't think you're better than us! We're the official heroes here, we got a permit and everything! You're the one terrorizing the street with a giant snake with wings or whatever! Come on!"

 

The other Ultio Suits made approving noises. It seemed a fight wasn't far off.

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Courtney knew she was in for an uphill battle when she tried to intimidate the Ultio-Suits but even so she at least hoped that it would make some of them hesitant for a second or two. As the whole lot of them started to fall in line with the Ultio in red who was apparently leading them, Courtney realized just how naivete that idea had been. She and Dreamer were seriously out numbered, a problem that would only escalate once more Ultio-Suits. Trying to just flee the scene seemed to be least violent option, but Courtney doubted that either she or Dreamer would get very far with the suits on their tail. 

 

That left only one other option left. 

 

The caped hero looked over her shoulder and tried to give Dreamer a confident, self-assured look. "Looks like a very stupid fight is about to happen. I can try and hold them off while you and you constructs escape but I'm not sure how long I'll last." It was the honest truth. Courtney was pretty confident she could take down a Ultio-Suit one on one pretty easily, but multiple attacks at once was an altogether different ballgame. Unless... "Do you think... Well, would be willing to help me fight these jerks off?"

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The Dreamer clenched her teeth as Ultio Red belittled her, claiming her life story was fabricated, and the dreams became increasingly agitated, the cries of "OFF WITH HER HEAD!!" redoubling. Behind her the Carnifex grinned, gleeful as the situation spiralled, it definitely was going to be allowed to stay out. The Dreamer sneered when the Ultio users cheered, furious at the close minded arrogance the Ultio Suits displayed. She focused on Ultra Girl as the heroine addressed her, listening intently as she talked.

"It would be remiss to not assist you, especially since you would not be in this situation were it not for me. I am glad that I will have a true hero at my side during this fight, thank you." The Dreamer glares up at the collected Ultio Suits, readying herself for the battle to come.

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GM

 

"Just fire already!" Ultio Red and three other Ultio users quickly raised their right arms and took aim at the highest value target: The Carnifex ex Imaginato.

 

The effect was instant, differently colored laser blasts shooting out from their gloves, raining down over the Carnifex. Ultio Red laughed and then... it didn't really do much.

 

"Damn! Heavy hitters, up front! Get it already!"

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Courtney made sure to give Dreamer a fragile smile and a quick "Thank you" as the latter made it clear that wasn't planning on leaving her in the wind. With the said, and her clumsy attempts at deescalation well and truly over, Ultra Girl kicked her weapons systems to high gear as the Ultio Suits made their attack.

 

It took Courtney's computer brain only fractions of seconds to calculate the apparent variables of the unfolding battle. Whatever laser weapons the MarsTech goons were using against Dreamer's Carnifex was evidently useless against the dream-creature's hide, which immediately drew a sigh of relief from Courtney. Not wanting that respite to go to waste,  and wanting to stick close to Dreamer just case one of the suits go to close, Courtney set her eyes on the sole remaining Ultio Suit that wasn't preoccupied by one of Dreamer's constructs. 

 

"It didn't have to be this way," she says to the Ultio Suit, surprised by just how angry she is feeling right now. As if to reflect her mood, Courtney's sky blue eyes turn into a overwhelming and flashing red that quickly gives way to a blast of ruby light aimed towards the Ultio Suit.

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