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Summer 2021 

Discovery Channel 

 

"So that was the secret of the Day of Wrath," said Fast-Forward into the camera, looking rather more serious than his usual mien, a cloud of black smoke rising from the still-smoldering building behind him. "Robot conspiracies, evil dopplegangers, and a plan for Earth that went much deeper than anybody expected it. When we picked this story for our finale, we never imagined we'd find anything like this - perhaps the most shocking moment in the history of...Supercrime!" 

 

 

One month earlier....

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  • 3 weeks later...

Terrifica and the second hero to bear the name of Archer had been investigating the leads given them by Richard and Paige Cline for months. It hadn't been an easy investigation; they'd been stonewalled at every turn, especially by the Swedish company that had taken all that Curator tech then supposedly lost it all in a major industrial accident that had also seriously wounded the company's founder. They'd been able to find some interesting information; while almost all of that technology had indeed been destroyed in Sweden, a small but significant portion had been taken back to Freedom City where it had promptly disappeared from the records. This was quite a potential scandal, but firing accusations against Archetech was potentially a risky operation indeed. You didn't just accuse America's most beloved scientist of being a robot, especially since everyone knew she was already a robot being controlled remotely by an anonymous superhero. 


(There had actually been a suggestion for a while that Miss Americana was being controlled by Viktor Archeville himself, but that particular suggestion had been convincingly rebutted.) 

 

But now something new had happened. They had both (though neither of them knew what the other was doing) gotten a confidential email inviting them to a rendezvous at Sunshine Fisheries at the remote New Jersey coastal community of Money Island. The informant had promised them information about their investigation into "the secret plans of the robots", making enough references to the obstacles previously encountered by their investigations that it was clear their informant knew what they were doing. 

 

So now it was after midnight in early summer and the two of them were just approaching the fishing company's abandoned building from different directions. All they knew was that Sunshine Fisheries had gone bankrupt after Hurricane Sandy had sunk its fleet almost ten years earlier, and had been bought out recently by a company linked to Ukrainian organized crime... 

 

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It was a trap. It had to be. Why else would someone send Connor a freaking invitation? Sure, he had spent some time investigating the thing with the robots that Fast-Forward and Hologram had asked, but it had mostly been dead ends so far. So why a sudden invitation like that?

 

The old man had agreed, but had suggested he go anyway. Why? Why walk into an obvious trap? Because he'd let the Keller play him again. If he knew it was a trap, then of course Connor would be good enough to get out of it. No issues at all, right?

 

Connor headed towards the building, staying on the rooftops as best as he could. Keep an overview of what was going on below, see if he could pick out anyone patrolling the place.

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Terrifica, meanwhile, was doing more or less the same thing as Archer. She was even skulking over various rooftops on the way there. The difference was her Chameleonic Field Projector rendering her effectively invisible.  It could not have been any more obviously a trap with a flashing neon sign that said so. Still, it was somewhat rare to have her investigations so thoroughly stymied. What was interesting is that this informant knew about her poking around. She’d been quite subtle, as usual.  She’d already discarded that email address. Her contacts had others to use if necessary. She was close enough, she supposed. Sunshine Fisheries was right over there. She pulled out a visor from her belt and slid it over her eyes. Time to see who was home. After all, the building currently belonged to the Ukrainians, and they did not appreciate unwelcome visitors. Especially those with a neon orange T on their foreheads.

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There were signs of recent activity inside the warehouse by the time the two heroes arrived. The abandoned equipment that likely should have been here had recently been removed, with faint scratch marks leading up to the loading dock showing where it had probably gone. As far as they could tell, what was left of the former processing plant was now a largely empty warehouse that still bore the faint smell of fish. There were a few rats scuttling about in the corners, and loose papers that when examined turned out to be leftovers from the good old days of the shipping company. Everything seemed normal. 

 

Except for one thing; in the middle of the big metal and concrete box that was the room was a single brass-colored metal humanoid form, its head and arms tilted downward, its body seemingly-powered down. 

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Terrifica walked into the giant warehouse most carefully. She was an ever suspicious soul, and the lack of anything visibly going on was putting her on edge. There was no such thing as a empty, abandoned warehouse. Not in this line of work. However…she was still basically invisible. So she took the time to wonder what the infrared pattern under the skylight was. She couldn’t quite see. And there was someone else skulking around, too. How bothersome. She mentally sighed. Screw it. She took off her visor, returned in to her utility belt, and withdrew something interesting. Ventriloquism was occasionally useful. So it sounded like her voice was coming from a different location in the warehouse. “Someone contacted me. Knew things about what I was looking into that most shouldn’t. Wanted to talk. I’m in earshot now.”

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What the hell? A robot in the middle of everything, just standing all alone?

 

Connor snuck inside, trying to keep his distance. There was some kind of weird pattern on the infrared, under the skylight. Better to stay clear of it. 

 

Why did he end up on doing stuff like this? He wasn't some kind of super sleuth or anything like that, he was just a guy with bow and arrows.

 

And... someone called out. Couldn't see anything. He reached for his quiver and nocked and arrow before he replied.

 

"Yeah. That's kind of my story too. How about you come out where I can see you?"

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Terrifica was not an easy woman to surprise. And indeed, here she wasn’t entirely surprised to hear a familiar voice. There were but so many heroes in Freedom City, after all. Her mental speed throttled up briefly. Ah, of course. Archer. The newer one. “Goodness, now here’s a dilemma. Coming out suggests I’m hiding somewhere, and that simply isn’t the case.” Her tone was warm and gently teasing. It was true, without her gadget active she’d be standing in plain view. “And even if I did so, I have the same concerns you do about whoever contacted us. But let me stop being mysterious.” She deactivated but did not put away the Chameleonic Field Projector. “Hello again, Archer. It’s been quite a while.”

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  • 4 weeks later...

A distinct shadow fell on the heroes from the building's skylight, a rapidly growing shadow that they both managed to dodge.

 

This was all for the best as the falling object turned out to be a fully-loaded semitruck coming down cab first!

 

The hurled vehicle crashed through the roof, its load swinging behind it to hit the floor simultaneously with the cab. The creaking wood underneath proved no match for the sudden impact, however, as the truck then broke through it! The impact set Archer and Terrifica desperately dodging as the truck smashed down into the basement and the floor gave way beneath their feet!

 

The building itself was shaking and rumbling now, its walls groaning and waving in the wind even as the echoes of the crash rang in their ears. Looking up, they could see the outline of a caped figure against the stars above, its eyes glowing a malignant red. 

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"Terrifica?"

 

Connor didn't really have time to react, before he heard the whistling sound, and then a freaking semitruck came crashing down from above.

 

Cursing to himself, Archer leapt back, out of the way, already staring up into the hole that the truck had created above as it crashed through the ceiling and now into the basement. An arrow already on his string, he flipped back, away from the hole and took aim, letting several arrows fly towards the caped individual while he was mid-jump.

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Terrifica 

 

Terrifica had plenty of time to carefully observe the semitruck before she threw herself out of the way of its passage. How she did not see the man (?) who threw it was a question for another time. A side benefit of how fast her brain was gave her all the time in the world to plan how to act in a crisis. So when, mid dodge, she snapped off two shots with her Freonic Ray it was entirely intentional that the first shot missed. It was meant to force the person to dodge right into the second shot, which locked them in ice. The absorbed heat from both shots blew out the rear opening of her staff as she put both feet on the ground again. 

 

"Now, let's discuss why you threw some so large at us, and I'll consider not blasting you into the Atlantic."

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It was instantly obvious that their captive wasn't human; the absent face and the metalllic parts where it should have been clarified exactly what the robot was. This had perhaps been built at one time or another to look like a humanoid, but with its missing face plate and several missing patches of skin, no one would mistake it for anything but a mechanism.

 

And like a mechanism, it acted. "Let him alone," it declared in mechanical tones before suddenly exploding in a blinding rush of searing white plasma that utterly obliterated it and set the room around them ablaze! The building was burning and they were both in danger, but what had they actually learned? 

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