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Posted (edited)

Elena was still waiting for her classes to start, but she figured there was no reason she couldn't teach herself. The sheer amount of information the people from the so-called "present day" was astounding. Though she had just begun to scratch the surface of it, it was certainly a far cry better than what she had in her own time: moldy dictionaries and old issues of Popular Mechanics. That, and the advice and teachings of other people in her tribe.

 

El sighed happily as she signed off the library's computer, gathering a small stack of schematics and mechanical diagrams she had printed. The short time she had spent online had taught her what she may have learned in many, many months, if not years. It was all just right there! Her stomach grumbled loudly. Better get something to eat before I head down to the science lab. It is build-your-own-fajita day. 

 

---

 

 Though some of the other students snickered behind her back as she went up for a fifth and sixth plate of fajitas, she pretended to ignore them. There was more important work to be done, and she needed plenty of fuel! Nevermind that it hurt her feelings pretty badly, she spend her lunch poring over the schematics. After lunch, she donned her armor, and took her gravity hammer down to the science labs. Surely there would be someone there to help show her the ropes! 

 

"Umm." 

 

There was no one there. 

 

"Umm."

 

The facility was spotless, and fully decked out with lots of science equipment she had never seen before, much less heard of. 


"UMMMMMM."

 

What started as an exploration into the knowledge of this world was quickly turning into a hopeless venture. She pulled her armor off, and tossed it on a table, and glumly sat down at a lab table. Crap!

 

 

 

Edited by Lone_Star
More umms!
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Eira Katastroff opened the door to the science lab behind Elena and cocked her head, studying the tall girl for a moment before she folded her hands behind her back. Considering the downcast-looking dimensional outcast for a moment, she decided to be the hero, even if Outrider was in a space Eira usually used as her own. After all it is not technically mine, that label belongs to the laboratory in my room.  "If you are looking for the nurse's office, it is on the other side of the building," she said, trying to sound sympathetic as she approached the other girl. "The two wings are mirror images of each other architecturally, so if you are not paying attention to the signs and have no internal compass, it is easy to become lost, yes?" With her dyed black and green hair pulled back in a trim ponytail and white labcoat, Eira looked ready for some kind of science.

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Outrider jumped out of the seat as Eira appeared behind her. She was so lost in thought she didn't notice her enter the room. 

 

"I'm not sick, if that's what you were asking. And I'm not lost. I'm here to learn more about my armor, but this equipment isn't familiar to me." El looked at the much shorter girl. To be fair, almost every girl here was shorter than her.

 

She didn't look familiar...what was it that Danica said? She flashed back to a conversation the two of them had in her dorm room a few weeks before, where Elena was being given some much-needed etiquette lessons. Yes! That's right. I will shake her hand. 

 

Elena mechanically extended her hand, and gave Eira an awkward, tense. "Hello. I'm Elena. Nice to meet you. Do you know anything about this stuff?"

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Eira extended her hand and shook Elena's with a firmness that belied her stature. "You did not build your own armor?" she inquired curiously, looking over the gear with a dawning fascination. "Hm. I see some Furion elements in the design, primarily in the aesthetics...but much of this is repurposed Daedalustech, yes?" Seeming to have forgotten about Elena entirely, she was leaning closely over the armor pieces. "Fascinating. Daedalus has allowed much of his work to become open-source in the superheroic community since his semi-retirement but I see elements here not present in any of his work with which I am familiar. You are seeking upgrades? Repair?" She smiled, blue-painted lips curving. "I can provide what you need." 

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Elena started to take her armor apart, best she could. She unscrewed the rivets by hand, grunting a little with the effort, and showed Eira the inside of the armor. "I have no idea what you're talking about. In my time, I scavenged it from the wreckage that Omega's armies left. I don't know its maker, nor what a Furion is. But Daedalus..." 

 

She thought back to an old Time magazine with the Freedom League on the cover, one that had been passed around through her whole village. "That is a possibility that this suit bears his design, or elements of it, anyway." She looked up at Eira with a wry grin. "To be honest with you? I seek understanding. There is much of this armor that I do not understand. So few ways to experiment with it in my own time. I want to understand its full capacity, and in time... to upgrade it, for sure." El was confident that Eira was exactly the person she needed to talk to. 

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"I can provide you with those things," said Eira without hesitation, her face serious as her voice dropped to a throaty whisper. "I can even be available to you after my graduation in the summer, as I doubt I will be returning to Sweden any time soon." She took the armor's chestpiece and laid it out in front of her on her worktable, cautiously poking at it with her fingers before she slid it open to get a look at the inner workings. "What is your history? Tempero-extradimensional?" she asked without looking up from her work. She pulled down the goggles in her hair, adjusting them for a moment until she found what seemed to be magnifying lenses. 

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Elena smiled. Good! A new friend. I will have to tell Danica! "That is good to know, for the things I do not understand about this could fill a book. Mechanics is more my expertise. Perhaps you've heard my chariot, Painkiller, around campus? There have been numerous noise complaints, so it is definitely possible. Not that it's my fault, my baby needs what she needs. And that just happens to be a lot of time and attention." 

 

She watched as Eira started to examine her chestpiece. "Yes. I believe so. In my time, the world has fallen to the ravages of Omega, and my clan, among a few others, are the only survivors humanity has left. What about...yours?" El was not able to get anything from the young scientist. Perhaps she was simply another super-scientist on campus. 

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"I am a machine intelligence from Sweden." Eira flicked cool blue eyes Elena's direction, as if sussing her out for a reaction, before she went on. "This world has taken in many refugees from the Terminus, including some from Nihilor itself. You should be safe here. Is your motorcycle genuinely sentient or are you anthropomorphizing it? That means giving a non-sentient creatures the imagined qualities of sentience," she clarified. 

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Posted (edited)

Elena's eyes opened wide when Eira told her she was a machine. "So you're...a robot? How exactly does that work? How are you talking right now?" Elena asked bluntly. To be fair, she had never encountered an artificial person before. "You just look so real." 

 

"Hmm." She hadn't considered that there were other refugees from the Terminus, but she narrowed her eyes at Eira's next comment. "I know what that word means. There are dictionaries where I come from, but education is much, much harder to come by than it is here, where the world's knowledge is at the tip of your fingers. Some people have to work hard for what they know." She ran her fingers through her hair self-consciously. "Just 'cuz I'm big doesn't mean I'm stupid, you know." 

Edited by Lone_Star
Edited for clarity
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Eira blinked and stared up at the taller girl, her blue eyes narrowing. When she spoke, her voice was a low, throaty whisper. "Stupid is suggesting that I am not real." Her hands were still buried in the disassembled pieces of Elena's armor, which suddenly began lighting up in an unfamiliar blue and gold pattern. "I will accept that your homeworld may not have been advanced enough to support machine intelligences, so that you may not have encountered one before. But if you want my help with your devices, you would be wise to treat me as your equal, yes?

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"I don't - I didn't mean - aghhh." She smacked her fist against her forehead in frustration. She sighed, and looked at Eira. "Yes - you are correct. My timeline did not have machine intelligences. Didn't mean to say that you aren't real, in the way that a person is real. Even though that's what I said..." 

 

"There are many things about this world I don't understand. Many social subtleties that are yet beyond me. So don't mind my ignorance, I'm learning. May we perhaps start over?" I will definitely have to ask Danica how to treat non-humans. She extended her hand once again. "I'm Elena, known also in this world as Outrider. Thank you for helping me with my armor?" 
 

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Eira considered her words, then extended a hand to Elena. Her other hand was busy, and as Eira shifted the angle of her body Elena could see how. A silvery, twisting spike had emerged from under her sleeve and was directly interfacing with the armor's exposed circuitry, its tip spread wide like a snake's jaws. This time, her handshake was hard, not quite enough to hurt but enough to show the strength that lay beneath it. "Acceptable." she grumped. Gradually the blue and gold colors faded from the armor, which began to return to its normal appearance. "Eira Katastroff Natt och Dag, but here I am known as Angelic." She closed her hand and went back to work. "What do you wish your armor to do?

 

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Elena grinned and squeezed back, showing her strength as well. Trying not to let it show that she was a lot stronger. I've seen this behavior before. A show of power. I can understand this. 

 

"Eira. I like that name." She looked over her armor, fascinated at what she was doing to it. It all seemed so easy to her. "You are clearly very skilled with this. Now, to answer your question...hmm. Perhaps it can work with me, instead of against me. What I mean to say is that you see my body is strong. I would like my armor to increase my natural strength and agility. It is useful in battle, but very...clunky." 

 

 

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"That will be easily done," said Eira, with the air of a girl who had just been asked if she could walk and chew gum at the same time. She smiled, relieved that she hadn't wound up with yet another enemy on-campus. "What do you do with it now?" she inquired. 

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El sighed audibly with relief. She was not one for subtleties on the best of occasions, and she let her relief show plainly. "Well, honestly, go beat some super-villains up. I could really use a good fight. Do you ever get like that?" She kept part of the truth to herself - she was always up for a fight, even after she fought alongside her friends. It was concerning, to say the least. The real truth of it was that she was never completely satisfied. She always hungered for battle.

 

"Umm. Not that we don't all feel that occasionally. Thank you, by the way. Hope I didn't come across too blunt."

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"The social graces are typically a distraction from more interesting things such as the proper application of science," said Eira reassuringly. She hmmed. "Your armor appears to be primarily protective and with some enhancements of your senses. Yes, I can easily alter this for you." She raised her hand and snapped her fingers, and music began to play - loudly.

 

"I have no - objection to battle!" said Eira over the music as she reached into a drawer under the table where she had the armor spread out. "I once saw a full-on battle between Frost and Fire Giants at the borders of the Nine Worlds! It was a magnificent sight! And as for participating, I am myself fully capable of superheroic combat!

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"Thank you, Eira. It does help to know someone who...can appreciate a good suit of armor. I believe that that will be perfect. Don't want to get caught in a bind like I did with Dr. Midas, turd that he was." She was grateful Charlie had been there to, well, save her...something she strangely not completely uncomfortable with.

 

She quickly changed the subject when the music came on. El started to bob her head to the beat of the song. She could not help herself from grinning from ear to ear. "You like music like this, too? I love metal!" As the song picked up, she started to headbang, her long blonde hair getting simply everywhere! She danced like nobody was watching, until she realized Eira was probably watching. "Hah, whew. Well, hey. Can't deny the music. Or the call of battle!" 

 

"I don't know what the Nine Worlds are, but that sounds truly breathtaking. While my battles in my own world were for the survival of my people, there was a thrill to it like no other. Not knowing if each day was your last, if your life would end in a blaze of glory. My sister and I, striking down the armies of the Terminus, side by side!!!"

 

El realized she was shouting, and was quiet for a moment. Danica told her she should try to keep a good 'inside voice'. She was quiet for a moment, almost sheepish. "Eira, would you like to team up sometime?"

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Eira raised an eyebrow and smirked, not quite looking up from her work. "I am not usually so popular with underclassmen. I should invite more people to my laboratory," she said, pronouncing the word with careful multisyllables. 

 

"If you have a fight in mind, you should be careful of the headmistress. She has some rather tiresome views about the fragility of young metahumans in the wake of a recent scandal." She grinned. "It seems one of the former instructors allowed himself to be controlled by outside forces and used against students. That is why you see those detectors at the edge of the campus, which if you ask me should have been installed years ago. But hardly anyone does, yes? Be careful with your hair," she said with a nod towards the small blowtorch she already had put into operation as she began peeling apart an interior section of the armor. 

 

"I am a strange case myself. I had actually finished my adult education before I came to Claremont, but it was felt by my parents that I would do better here among other young people." 

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"Well, you are offering your skills to help me. There is still much I must learn about this world, so I appreciate the assistance. You have your own laboratory?" she asked. Perhaps she can help me rebuild some of my weapons on Painkiller!

 

"Hmm. Well, we are tougher than most humans. I do not see why she feels the need to shelter us. I was not sheltered, as you understand it, in the slightest, and I turned out just fine." She flexed a bicep and smiled at Eira. "You see? Built to last, just as you are. If there are any threats, we will simply take them down. For we are superheroes, and that is what we do," she said, matter-of-factly. She did not understand why that had to be so difficult for people to get - superhumans are stronger, so they should be given more room to grow!

 

"Where were you educated, Eira? You mean that you gained the education of an adult before you were one? How does that happen?"

 

 

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"I graduated at the age of sixteen from Stockholm University," said Eira with a faint shrug. "This is an adult education that makes me as well-educated as many of our instructors. I gained it by the expedient of being quite clever, yes?." She smiled tightly. "But my parents felt that time with people my own age would 'enhance my emotional intelligence.' So they chose to send me here two years ago. At the end of this American academic year, I will be free." Her smile turned sour. "Does it surprise you to learn that one such as I has parents?

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