Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Avenger Assembled

Incompatible Hardware (IC)

Recommended Posts

April 2012

Citizen mostly trained with his friends from Young Freedom when he trained at all; the electronic teenager's work with Miss Americana having left him with a pretty good ability to fight as part of a group. But part of going to school at Claremont Academy was learning how to get along with everyone, which also meant how to fight alongside them. As their ethics teacher had explained, "When lives are on the line, it doesn't matter if the people on your team are from the wrong planet, religion, or neighborhood; nothing's more important than working together to get the job done." He'd seen Etain and the new girl, Benjawan, around campus, but he'd never said more than a few words to them.

He sat patiently through a day of classes, absorbing everything from another round of superhuman history to religion and philosophy, a class which usually left him uneasy in his seat, before it was finally time for afternoon training: he left his emitter up in his and Koshiro's room and sent himself directly down to the Doom Room, where he made himself compatible with the room's systems through long practice. Floating there in the gold and black-lined room, the doors irised open to allow the others to enter, he let his vision go unfocused for a moment as he studied the public records of the two other heroes on the Internet. ..well, this should be interesting.

Share this post


Link to post

Ah, the Doom Room. What an interesting place. Not that Benjawan Mali had ever been in it, before. She'd heard rumors of it. She was a little scared, but mostly excited. No amount of gym equipment at home could compete with the Doom Room in size, scope, and insanity.

She walked into the room and glanced around, taking in the whole place. She was all business today, work out clothes, hair done in a short braid, and a mischievous grin on her face.

This was going to be fun, assuming she didn't, well, die. She didn't think dying was part of the Doom Room experience. After all, parents wouldn't send their kids to a school with it's own mortality rate.

Share this post


Link to post

Etain really hadn't had many training guided training sessions outside of training the the Irregulars, there really hadn't been time afterall. As the semester wound down however, she instructed to show up to train with some nonmembers of her immediate social circle. She really didn't mind, she liked meeting new people, though it seems that may of the school inhabitants were very self consumed and paid little attention to the fairly normal (at least by Claremont standards), looking girl. With the weather warming up she wore one of her lighter outfits, and only had one peticoat under her skirt. Her hair was tied back in a low curly black pony tail with a ribbon the same shade of navy as her outfit and her umbrella hung by it's curved handle on her wrist as she walked forward a held between the fingers of her white cotton gloves. She walked slowly enough to keep a good amount of observation as she read from the text which was entirely in latin and featured a pentecal on the spine. She kept walking as she moved into the room and continued forward. She continued to walk, not noticing immediately the person floating a few feet in front of her and only managed to gasp a little as she just avoided walking into the man dressed almost entirely in black.

"Opps,"

She bent a page and looked at the person in front of her, he was likely a year or two younger then herself, not grown into his features but not obsenely abnormal in the normal sense. Now in the not normal sense however, he unusually didn't have a single trace of magic on his person. Which was strange, magic touched more then people realized and left traces on all walks of life which while faint still colored her vision when she saw someone. He however was a blank slate, very clearly never been in contact with magic in any way, which was indeed very strange so much so that Etain tilted her head before she could fully realize that she was in fact staring. Regaining her posture, she smiled and held out her hand,

"Good afternoon, I am Etain."

In her peripheral vision she caught a glance of another girl who seemed much more normal in comparison as she had the same faint traces of everyone else,

"And good afternoon to you as well."

Share this post


Link to post

"Hey," said Sharl, shaking Etain's hand. "I'm Sharl Tulink. You're Eve's girlfriend, right?" It was easier to tell there was something off about Sharl to the touch, his grip cool and a little electric, like rubbing one's feet on carpet on a cool fall day. He shook Benjawan's hand too, making the same introduction. He was in the black longcoat he usually wore when he was out around campus, peering over the mirrorshades he still wore at the unfamiliar people. "I don't think we've met," he said to Ben. "Is this your first time in the Doom Room?" he asked both of them. "I come here with my team a lot, but mostly we train together. You're magic," he said skeptically, "and you're a fighter, right?"

Share this post


Link to post

Etain smiled and nodded with the handshake, it was peculiar, but not too noteworthy. The way he addressed them however was much more so that she had to let out a light chuckle at the rather blunt analysis,

"That is a very broad way to put things, but it is close enough. I am an illusionist, and since you know Eve I could describe it best in that what I ultilize most frequently is a somewhat similiar method to when she crafts a blade from her powers, though I am profient with standard blades as well."

Tucking her book in a pocket in her skirt not easily noticable to most, she then took the umbrella from her arm and twisted the handle. She slid it out and let the silver blade reflect shine though still partially sheathed to the two new people. Turning towards the other girl Sharl had identified as a fighter she smiled,

"Swords are my prefered method of fighting when I do not use my powers directly, may I ask for your name and the style you prefer to ultilize?"

Share this post


Link to post

Mali found herself shaking the hands of two completely different people.One was dressed quite oddly, and the other looked fairly ordinary.

"Oh, my name is Mali, Benjawan Mali." She smiled. "I've never been in here before, but I was told to come try it out. I use Muay Thai. It's...kind of an odd style, not like kung fu or karate or anything. It's mostly just knees, elbows, punches and kicks. Meant for fast, powerful strikes."

She found herself rattling off the standard explanation for what muay thai was about, something short, sweet, and concise. She assumed that people didn't really make the distinction between styles very often. She also tended to assume that most people wouldn't really care about the difference either. They hear 'martial arts' and immediately think of guys like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, or Chuck Norris.

Share this post


Link to post

"Oh, I'm sorry," said Sharl apologetically when Mali corrected him. "I'm not from around here." Really, all the human naming conventions were a little bizarre to the monoculture-born electronic teenager. He understood intellectually that people like Corbin, Mali, and Etain all came from very different places and ethnocultural groupings, but it would be so much easier if they picked a single naming standard for all of them! Shaking off the irritation (since it was his fault for being ignorant), he said, "I'm a computer program. I'm actually being projected by the Doom Room's systems now."

At that point, much to Sharl's relief, the friendly voice of Mr. Archer came over the comm system, the gym teacher just visible from the control center higher on the wall. "Good afternoon, Ms. Maher, Mr. Tulink, Ms. Benjawan. I hope you're all prepared for what should be an exciting afternoon." The room shimmered around them in a way intimately familiar to Sharl, and soon the blank yellow walls were replaced with the streets of Freedom City. Snow was falling thick and wet around the costumed teens, and looking up they were standing on the steps of City Hall as a fur-coated Mayor O'Connor announced, "I'm proud to introduce Changeling, Citizen, and Crimson Tiger, the Grand Marshals of this years Christmas Parade!" And sure enough, with the massive blue spruce looming behind them, decorated with an abundance of sparkly tinsel and shining lights, and a Freedom Square full of candlelight displays and hanging banners, it was obviously supposed to be very close to Christmas! The simulated crowd went wild, cheering their names joyfully.

Share this post


Link to post

"Sounds very effient, though it puts you in quite close quarters which can be a disadvantage against an opponent of significant enough strengh. Personally I prefer the lengh a weapon gives you between to have room for more free movement in those cases and the cases that direct contact can cause an immediate danger to ones self."

Etain was about to rattle on a bit more about the different close range styles she observed when the room started to change and they were now on the float, which was always a rather strange custom she thought of earth. If not only because of the apparent immediate dangers such a large crowd around several motorized vehicles packed in a line presented, but also the fact that the city itself was so notorious for the more attention seeking villians that this would be a perfect stage for a large scale hostage situation. Given, that was likely the point, Etain immediately started scanning the crowds to look for anything amiss.

Share this post


Link to post

Instantly, Mali's eyes bulged and her jaw dropped. This sudden shift was not unexpected, but there was still nothing she could do to prepare for it. The Doom Room could do things she could only imagine. It seemed as though it had caught her by surprise.

"This is a simulation..." She mumbled in her head. Instantly, she pictured parades. They wouldn't just do a parade, so that meant something was supposed to go wrong. But what?

She noticed, out of the corner of her eye, that Etain was looking at the crowds. She would look high then, try to cover the most area. Snipers, flying villains, anything could come from above.

Share this post


Link to post

For his part, Sharl studied all the Christmas decorations with a curious eye. The theological nature of the holiday didn't mean anything to him, but he'd been impressed at the spiritual nature of it. Even people who didn't share the religious justification for this season were generally happier and more confident around the Christmas season, more generous with each other and those around them. For the rationalist teenager, it was a little alien...but not at all unpleasant despite that. He hesitated on the steps of the float, not sure if they were supposed to board or use their powers to get around, mindful of the emitter that had appeared nearby. Nice customs, but so strange... He was turning to ask Etain a question when suddenly the Christmas trees on the steps of City Hall roared to life! Decorated pine erupted from the concrete, sending debris flying everywhere as three of the trees along the portico proved to be the heads of giant evergreen tentacles, huge flexible limbs of pine and cone and sinister intent! As the heroes watched, two grabbed for City Hall pillars and tried to pull them down, while another lashed out, its cheerily decorated tip a mockery of Christmas cheer, and made as to grab the startled Mayor himself as the crowd screamed in terror!

"Save us, Terrific Trio! You're our only hope!"

Share this post


Link to post

Of all the things that could have happened, this was most definitely not one Mali anticipated. Attacking Christmas trees? What in the world?

She didn't take the time to think about it, she saw one of it's tentacles heading for the mayor. Instantly, she drew one of her brand new chakram and hurled it at the creature. As soon as she saw that it had struck the beast, she ran and jumped in front of the mayor, drawing a second chakram and waiting for the beast's next action.

She was sure it was going after the mayor, and that's something she just wasn't going to let happen.

Share this post


Link to post

"Does this happen a lot around here?" the alien teenager asked no one in particular before springing into action. Since the tentacle Crimson Tiger was attacking had proved all too vulnerable to her chakram, he decided to let the teenager handle it herself and concentrate on the vines trying to pull the building down. He settled for a good solid punch, flying over quickly to the nearest vine and grabbing on with both hands as he tried to rip apart a limb as thick as his whole body. "Leave the building alone! This is what's wrong with putting forests in cities!" The plant gave way as the electronic teenager yanked, ripping in half and falling to the ground, spraying everything but Citizen nearby with plant ichor as it shriveled and withered, needles falling away to reveal the planty core beneath. "Take that, you stupid tree!"

'Seeing' its comrade fall, the other vine turned on Citizen like an angry snake, but however it whipped through his body with its massive needled coils it could find no purchase on his electronically projected flesh. "Yeah, you just try it! This is science, you weirdo!"

Share this post


Link to post

"The plants invading, I do not believe so. Given I have not been in the city for very long, so my information may not be the most accurate."

Etain jumped off the float her skirt not inhibiting her at all as she ran forward. In her hand a large glaive took shape as she held it as the people of the ground gasped. She kept forward and gracefully swiped through the already weakened vine before spinning completely and following through with the bladed weapon into the last active plant slicing it clean in half as it fell to the ground. Though, what Sharl saw was Etain quietly and calming walking to the plants, watching them for a few seconds and then them falling limp under her gaze. When she observed them being completely down, she moved to the majors side and helped him to his feet while she started to scan the area for any further threats.

Share this post


Link to post

Huh. Well, that's weird. Citizen wondered for a moment if his emulator was malfunctioning, or if Etain was somehow gaming the system with stealth technopathic abilities. But he hadn't seen any hint of powers like that from her, so it was more likely he just hadn't been able to see it. I guess it makes sense, though... Magic! He tore himself from wondering about his teammate and unfocused his eyes, scanning Freedom City through its computers, oddly missing the familiar touch of Miss A in the real system. "Oh man, you guys!" he called out. "It's bad! All over the city, trees and plants are going crazy. They're ripping things up, digging into concrete...even in people's houses! Looks like it's worst in Liberty Park; it's practically a forest of these pine things!" Sure enough, from the sirens, screams, and faint rumbling as plants dug through concrete, it was easy to tell they were in for more plant trouble.

In fact, if the leafy tops appearing over nearby buildings was any sign, the trees in Liberty Park were outgrowing even the nearby buildings! "I can send myself there through the wiring!" he called. "Do either of you have a way of moving quickly?"

Share this post


Link to post

Crimson Tiger's eyes darted quickly around the area, before she spotted something very odd. Her bike? Here? This couldn't be real, had to be part of the simulation!

Simulation or not, she took off running towards her bike, both to make sure she got to it fast, and to make sure the simulation didn't get the simulated bike wrecked in some sort of simulated riot situation. It was odd, how her same protective instinct kicked in, even though this bike wasn't real. It looked like hers, and when she put her hands on the handles it felt like hers. She reached in and, thinking, put her key.

She started right up, and Crimson Tiger grinned. She revved the engine, turned the bike around, and headed over to where the other two were.

Sitting there, on her beautiful red and black bike, she grinned and knew there was only one thing she could say.

"Do either of you need a ride?"

Share this post


Link to post

Etain looked at Sharl and then the bike. There was an oddness in the choice she had, she could not be sure Sharl would be able to provide transportation, the bike she knew could support two people it was just the metal components that worried her. Though did such a thing translate in the programming, it was thorough, but it was not likely that thorough. Afterall, only real metal would work, they felt real but things here were not and the alternate option was running which she did not do exceptionally enough to serve the purposes of this exercise.

"I will require one yes."

She walked over and sat on the back of the bike putting the hands on the shoulders of the girl in front of her as she waited to be driven along. She would of prefered her usual winged companion, but beggers could not choose the circumstances.

Share this post


Link to post

Liberty Park proved to be a remarkably changed place once the heroes made it there via motorcycle and flight. (Sure enough, Etain felt no effects from the simulated motorcycle) All three arrived simultaneously; Sharl's rapid teleportation limited by the fact he had to fly in from the nearest wireless hubs a few blocks down from the park itself. The whole city was clearly in trouble, trees and plants gone wild as they made war on the metropolis, but Liberty Park was the most changed of all with its giant primordial forest looming high over the urban skyline nearby. There was something eerie about the giant forest to Sharl's eyes, and even to the humans there it was a bizarre sight. "All right," Citizen said, hovering by the broken-open gate like a ghost of holograms past, "I can't see anything in there, so whatever's going on has snapped all the electrical lines."

He looked at the others. "I guess we're supposed to go in?" Sure enough, the forest proved to be as alien as it looked. Within moments of stepping into the forest, the three heroes lost sight of Freedom City altogether. An eerie silence hung over the green twilight in the park: no traffic noise, no urban hum, not even the sounds of woodland creatures or birds. There was nothing but silence. The air was heavy with moisture and the scent of living plants. Thick trees created a leafy canopy filtering out the sun, casting greenish shadows over the thick bed of grasses, creepers, and spongy moss covering the ground. Of the old trails, fences, and other artifacts of humanity there are no signs, as if the forest simply has swallowed them whole. Strangest of all, once inside the simulated winter outside was gone as if it never was: this was a forest frozen in an eerie summer twilight, too warm and too humid to be natural.

Share this post


Link to post

Tiger eyed the area around her warily "I don't trust this place." she said, pointing out the obvious. She rode carefully through the forest floor, keeping her eyes trained on the area around her.

She couldn't imagine the scenario they were in, it was so far beyond her typical experiences. What could be causing this? Why would they do something like this? She tried to forget it was a simulation, feeling that they would want her to treat it as real as she could, not like it was a game of pretend.

After all, in a real situation like this, she couldn't simply ask them to turn it off, she'd have to just deal with it.

Share this post


Link to post

Etain liked forests generally, but they were right there was something eerily disconcerting about this clump of trees.

"Honestly, I am not sure why we are riding under the brush, this leaves us at a severe visibility disadvantage."

That and the fact that the person doing this manipulated trees clearly and they just set themselves in a perfect position to be attacked. She wish Custos was here for the fact that he could of provided her with the means to do a proper fly over, but the headmaster would not like her calling the gargoyle to the simulation as he does quite poorly with most normal sized doors, and walls hardly stand much of a chance.

Share this post


Link to post

"If you have a better idea for where we can drive, I'm sure Crimson Tiger is all ears," replied Citizen, floating along next to the motorcycle as they went through the gloom. "Geez, even the paths are gone. Whatever happened here didn't just destroy human civilization, it made it like it never existed..." He patted his emitter, and gently tucked it in his 'pocket'. "I wonder if this actually happened and just hasn't come up in our classes yet, or if it's some kind of worst-case scenario..."

Eventually, as the heroes penetrated the depths of the foliage, they found a low hill ring amidst a small clearing. On top of it was a palace of living wood: trunks and branches intertwined to create a palisade wall, with a natural gateway in between two trees. Within was a kind of courtyard carpeted in soft grass, surrounded by high trees, their trunks like pillars. In its midst stood the most massive tree they'd seen yet, towering above the rest. The front of its gnarled trunk and roots were shaped into a throne-like chair, where sits a figure of leaf and bark who blended into the surroundings so he nearly disappeared.

“Welcome, my children” he said in a voice like creaking branches. “Welcome to my domain. I am the Green Man, the new king of this world. What you have seen in this city is just a sample of the power that is now mine to command. I am now the supreme power in this city. You may serve the green world as its protectors... or as fertilizer. The choice is yours."

Close enough that only his allies could hear, Citizen muttered, a disgusted look on his face. "What...what the hell is that?!"

Share this post


Link to post

Changeling took the scene in at a glance taking the details and reconstructing it from memory. To the leaf man everything seemed unchanged except in response the three of them kneeled to the ruler of the leafy throne with Etain rising gracefully moving forward. This part was the only part that was not an illusion. To the leaf man she said nothing, but in reality she looked and said to the still standing looking back,

"A man who's ego has outgrown the forests he inhabits. Clearly he seems to think he deserves some spire of admiration for his intrusion onto the city, I will project such admiration to lull him into a sense of falsehood, while I do so, he will not see nor hear any actions you will do. He will see two kneeling subjects, take this chance to set up an offensive because of now he has the advantage, do what you can to remove it."

With that she integrated herself with the illusion, being the only non false thing of her image overlaid onto the plant mans reality,

"And what a beautiful domain it is."

Her steps were delicate and dance like with her dress moving with her as she spun playfully,

"I cannot remember the last time I have seen so much greenery, I often felt trapped in that jungle of steel and mortar, this reminds me so much more of home you cannot imagine."

Smiling sweetly she stepped forward towards the man,

"I must wonder how such a thing is capable, and wonder about the man responsible of course."

Her tone was sweet and held a sultriness to it as she continued to make her advance, her steps soft and delicate as she closed the distance between herself and the green man.

Share this post


Link to post

Crimson Tiger climbed down from her bike and glanced at Etain. She had to trust that the other girl knew what she was doing. Every muscle in her body coiled to strike. She was going to leap on him the moment it looked like Etain's distractions worked. She glared at the man, looking over his body, searching for weak spots. She was going to hit him fast, hit him hard, and do her best to knock him out in the first hit.

She had no idea what Sharl could do, but she figured he'd know how to use his abilities for the situation. As for Tiger? She'd concentrate on the guy right in front of her.

Share this post


Link to post

"Your words are honeyed, little sapling," said the king of the forest, looking pleased beneath his arboreal countenance. "But I have been taken in by the lies of free-range mammals before." As he spoke, the trees around the edge of the perimeter began to move, drawing closer to the illusory figures of the heroes as well as Changeling herself. "Fortunately, both new friend and old enemy will gain the same cure from me today. Evolution!" The so high trees began to slide upon with wet, slicking sounds of cracking wood and parting sap, revealing within each mighty trunk a matrix of sap and wood that would have looked far more beckoning were any of the trio plant creatures. "All ye three will be transformed into hybrid of plant and man, or woman," he added with a nod, "the better to grow and live in the world of forest that will come! The process will be fast," he promised as the trees grew closer, within seconds of overrunning the kneeling illusory duo. "And you would be...ill-advised to resist the embrace of my children!"

Meanwhile, the real Citizen had flown around the clearing and planned to come around at the Green Man from behind, right through the massive tree that was his throne. But suddenly, within mere seconds of each other, Sharl broke through the tree behind the Green Man, desperately waving his hands at the others. No, no! he mouthed frantically, pointing urgently to the big central tree a moment before a tree limb passed through his own illusory body on the other side of the clearing.

Share this post


Link to post

Like a flash, the Crimson Tiger bolted forward. Her target was right in front of her. This would be a simple, straightforward hit. She leaped into the air and extended her knee, waiting for the moment she connected. That moment, unfortunately, never came.

She passed by him, missing him by mere inches. She rolled onto the ground and moved away from him, standing back up and balling up her fists. This was not the best way to start her first session in the Doom Room. She needed to treat this like it were real.

Share this post


Link to post

As the scene around him dissolved into illusionary chaos, the Green Man shook his head. "Little saplings, your tricks annoy me! Your power is nothing before the might of nature itself!" He drove his fist into the ground and seemed to prove his theory as plants erupted from the clearing beneath their feet like a bomb, thick, massive vines that snarled and entangled, flowers erupting with sticky, sickly-sweet pollen: Changeling took an eruption of what looked like giant, clinging dandelion seedlings to the face while evading clinging vines, Crimson Tiger, less used to this sort of madness, was caught unawares and quickly bound, pinned to a tree by thickly curling grape vines while the thick smell of plants rose so thick in the air as to make her gag.

Citizen flew out of the tree he'd been half-in and out of during all this and made a beeline for Crimson Tiger, calling to Changeling. "He's got Dr. Metropolis in the tree-throne!" He reached out and grabbed the super-tough vines pinning Mali down, the woody restraints slowly beginning to crack underneath his electronic grip. His signal was beginning to degrade with all this plant matter blocking the beam, but even as he grew translucent he found his mark and began to pull. "Push hard!" he told Crimson Tiger urgently. "Stupid plants!"

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...