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Outer edge of the Sol System

The Communion's attack on Earth had been repulsed by many of the planet’s heroes, working alongside several military and extra-governmental forces. For the moment, the planet was safe. But the Communion's world killer weapon was still positioned at the outer edge of the solar system, barely held in check by the Freedom League and their allies.

With reports reaching back to the Freedom League and Earth's heroes from the Star Knights about a fleet of Communion ships headed towards the Sol System, possibly to try to assist in getting the world killer free, it was decided that merely holding the world killer at bay was no longer a viable solution. So the remaining League members on Earth had begun gathering a number of volunteers to try to help destroy the world killer before the Communion relief fleet could arrive. The gathering of the various heroes coincided with the return of one of Earth's Star Knights, Kyle Steward, who had firsthand experience against the Communion's deadly weapon.

Now, Geckoman was behind the controls of one of the League's Pegasus spaceplanes, flying a rather odd collection of heroes to help in the fight against the world killer….

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Geckoman leaned back in his chair as he swooshed through the solar system, careering towards Pluto. Every so often, he'd press some buttons and guide the course away slightly, to avoid crashing into space debris or moons or planets or something. It was cool flying a Freedom League spaceship, but it was an easy ship to fly, not a short journey like his time on the Moon was, and it also felt slightly like adultery. 


So he'd occupied his time drumming on the edge of the console, and somehow managing to patch his MP3 player into the consoles. And was now singing loudly, out of key and without regard for basic rhythm or taste. "Danger zoooo-ooooo-ooooooone~" He waved one arm in the air as the other hand danced over some switches and buttons. "Ride intoooooooo the danger zoooone! Something something something, spreading out the wings toniiiiiight!"

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Argonaut was standing in a corner on the back of the Pegasus.  There were certainly enough seats.  The freed Omegadrone simply felt too on edge to simply sit down.  The last time she was in space she happened on a craft full of Physician Friendly's cast offs.  It was a horrible experience, notable in a long history of horrible experiences.  
The hero named Geckoman's singing was placed one notch above that on the horribleness scale.  Just barely.  Yves almost didn't accept the call.  The fact of the matter was her armor didn't exactly inspire hope.  No matter what part of the depths of space she found herself in a skull like battlesuit was rarely of comfort. 
But, the longer Yves sat back doing nothing, the more restless the Omegadrone felt.  She couldn't afford to risk losing her family.  Not again.  "Can we at least switch to techno?"  If they could see the smile behind her helmet, they might have also been in on the joke.  Not that they' be fully privy to Yves not being a fan of her former world's equivalent of classical music.

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"Sorry, Argonaut," said Cavalier. "I think driver gets to pick. But maybe we can take a straw poll on the ride back." He was patched into the comms of the Pegasus ship to maintain constant contact, flying an escort run alongside the vessel in case any small interceptors popped out of the void. He knew that the Communion had incorporated the Khanate's subspace ship technology; he figured it would be better to be outside the ship than in if they suddenly decided to drop by for a visit. Most of his mind was focused on what lay ahead. The world-killer. The thing that had slaughtered his brothers and sisters in the Star Knights. The thing that had destroyed Lor-Van. The thing that might destroy Earth if he failed. 


In this situation, he just had to rely on his usual defense. Being a wiseass. 


"So. Argonaut, I've seen you in action. What's everyone else bringing to the table?" 

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This felt... refreshing. Despite the very real danger that the Communion posed to the universe, Hronos hadn't been to space for more than 4 billion years, ever since he got stranded and stuck inside the still-forming planet that came to be known as Earth. Even after he regained his consiousness, his body was still heavily damaged from the battle with Catastrophe, and his repairing systems had been greatly deteriorated. It wasn't more than a few weeks ago that his space-support systems were finally able to repair themselves, and not a moment too soon; ever since the Computronium incident near Saudi Arabia, the Communion problem came to the iron guardian's attention. He'd spent the time dealing with the aftermath of the Computronium's descend, as well as dealing with any leftover invaders. Though small pickings, to be sure, it'd have been dangerous to ignore them, as they could pose a great threat to the civilians of Earth. The planet had welcomed him when the Mechanodynamis was bound to its orbit, and he didn't plan on letting it fall any time soon.


The trip was proving to be... a curious one, as all things involving humanoids did. Though he'd occasionally catch glimpses of this... music culture that the Earthlings revered, its nuances completely failed to escape him, as his perception of it varied from a needlessly complex form of communication, to downright inanity. This DID come with what was proving to be a great advantage, though; Hronos was completely unaware that Geckoman was in any way off-key and out-of-rythm.


Still, it was a good idea, getting acquainted with the other heroes. It would be at least wise, if everyone was aware of each other's  strengths, weaknesses, and character. "I agree with your implied proposal, Cavalier Kyle Stewart. It would be of paramount importance for us to be aware of our respective capabilites." Hronos reconfigured his body, which opened up a compartment in his chest plate. In it, a spark of purple-hued energy pulsated brightly. "This manifestation of chronal energy is the Essense of Time. It is both a conduit for every residual flow of Time and the personification of the aspect of Time. The Essense of Time acts as a fuel for my internalised arsenal of weapons, which allows me to effectively manipulate Time. It is both my servant and my master, and it is my duty to use it, in order to ensure the integrity of the Space/Time continuum." The Mechanodynamis said, as he described his powers.


"Freedom League member Velocity, who is my close acquaintance, contacted me about the World Killer near Pluto. It was at her insistance that I join the battle in the edge of the Solar System." Hronos further explained, informing the others of how he came to join up on this expedition, while closing his chest plate, in order to keep the Essense of Time from being exposed for too long.

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The man with simian features and simple clothing was seated on the floor, in a lotus position, his hands resting palm-up on his knees. His furry tail was wrapped about his waist like an extra belt, with the tip occasionally twitching, the only uncontrolled movement on his body. He seemed unbothered by Geckoman's terrible singing, or the complaints of the others.

When Cavalier asked his question about capabilities, Sun Walker opened his eyes slowly. Hronos was first to speak, his dramatic descriptions making one of the semi-mortal man's eyebrows raise slightly. In the silence that followed, Sun Walker spoke up.

"I cannot claim abilities so grandiose as those. I am physically enhanced beyond normal human limits, and possess a great deal of skill in hand-to-hand combat. I am also capable of less conventional motive means, though I cannot fly."

He paused.

"I have a...gut feeling...that I would be able to at least generally function in extreme pressure conditions, and I don't seem to require air the same way as many do, but I am not keen on attempting operations in the vacuum of space, unprotected, without good reason."

Edited by KnightDisciple
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"All right," said Cavalier. "Complete mastery over space-time is certainly a plus in the asset column. And Sun Walker, close combat can do a lot against these things. If they're designed for melee, they don't really much strategic thinking beyond 'swarm.' Being a martial arts adept ought to give you a set advantage." He tapped his armor, almost like knocking on wood. "Well, if you've encountered the Freedom League, you've probably got a good idea what I could do with this armor. If not... as a Star Knight, my armor's tempered to withstand small arms fire, the occasional mortar shell, a battery of energy weapons, and the void of space. My standard loadout allows me to lift large loads, gird myself against concentrated fire, shoot rapid-fire disrupter pulses, and generate a localized EMP. There's also translation matrixes, but I don't think those'll come in handy unless we want to curse at this thing in 12 languages. Which, we may end up doing." 

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Seeing as everyone was sharing, Argonaut took it upon herself to folow his lead and explain what she brought to the table  Despite, as Cavalier himself stated, the Star Knight already being familiar with her capabilities.   Team building exercises.  She was at least cursory familiar with the concept.  "I can speak and understand every language with perfect fluency.  "  Argonaut stated truthfully recounting her very narrowly focused Mentat ability.


"I was also taught how to kill that which needed killing."    Skipping the part of the sentence that ended with -by the worst monsters in this or any existence.  "This armor is designed to survive against any variable be it a foe or environmental it comes across."  Extending her power pike to its full length.  "And this weapon is designed to end any threat I come upon."


This time the part of the statement that was left hanging was 'by channeling the entropic forces of the Terminus itself.  Using what time that could have been spent explaining her power pike on collapsing the polearm once more.  Nothing on the ship needed blasting.  Not even the radio.


Yves probably could have sold herself better if she tried.  But, that would mean bragging about her armor and pike.   Which was an odd bittersweet feeling.  Even with the overhaul Dr. Volk was putting on the armor as a trial for the MEGA-MAX armors.  "To put it simply.  What I do is, survive."

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"I can track people by their armpit stink!" exclaimed Geckoman from the pilot's chair. He lifted his arm and lowered his head to under it, as a demonstration. "And see the colour heat makes!" He hit some control buttons in a rapid staccato.


"I will also be your pilot for this evening," he continued. "But... hold on, I'm not sure what one of those buttons did, do you feel anything venting? No? Well, that's good?


Smiling merrily, he pivoted around to face those on board the ship. "I can also do some other stuff. Punch, kick, backflip, dance on the ceiling, disguise myself as an ornamental vase, the usual stealth and combat operational woogity-woogity. As an in-flight announcement, if at any point in our voyage, something stabs me or lops off a limb, don't worry, it'll probably grow back. Not too sure about the head, so if that comes up I'd put it close to the body and pray." Geckoman rubbed his hands together. "Also, I only curse in four languages. Which is weird, because I only speak three."

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This man is insane.  They sent me to space with an insane person.  I hate space. The woman who once dreamed of being a diplomat for the Unified Lor Empire on her lost home stared with disbelief. Even the AI recorded with her Omegadrone programming was genuinely shocked enough that the machine did not display text n the HUD telling her to kill, kill, kill for Omega.  
And to make matters worse.  They couldn't guarantee that the possibility of him losing his head wouldn't safely keep him quiet without killing him.  This was going to be a long trip.  I really really hate space. Maybe Geckoman eased the mood of someone more used to his brand o insanity.

But, Yves was not that person.

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Sun Walker seemed unperturbed by Geckoman's antics, at least on the outside. Instead, he seemed to opt for a bit of exercise. Right now, his tail had reached up and curled around the grab bar above his head, and he was performing pull-ups with just his tail, somehow managing to even keep his body mostly upright and in the lotus position, such that the only moving part of him was his tail, which gave him an odd sort of floating/bobbing appearance. His eyes remained closed, though his hands were now palm-down on his knees and gripping them slightly, showing that the exercise took at least a slight bit of effort, for the balance if nothing else.

"I am not a tactician or seasoned warrior. But it would seem to me that, perhaps, myself, Geckoman, and Argonaut should lead the way? We are all better-suited to fighting in close, while Hronos and Cavalier watch our backs? None of us look to be, ah, "slouches" in the area of hand-to-hand, but that formation suggests itself offhand, at least. Unfortunately I have yet to master silent and hidden movements in enemy territory, so I am afraid I will be a limited liability for any stealth portions of our mission."

He suddenly opened his eyes and looked at the others present, seemingly abashed.

"That is to say, those are my thoughts and suggestions. I am not a trained tactician, and do not wish to seem pushy. I am merely offering my thoughts on the matter. My sincerest apologies if there is a greater plan in motion already. I simply wish to help in whatever way I can."

Hence him turning in a couple weeks of vacation and being on a plane in space driven by a crazy man. And with a sealed message kept with the on-planet Freedom League in case he doesn't return.

Edited by KnightDisciple
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After considering it a bit, Hronos nodded in agreement to Sun Walker. "You should not apologize for your suggestions, Sun Walker. Your thoughts have merit, and I believe you are correct to allow me and Cavalier Kyle Stewart to primarily focus on providing ranged support for you, Geckoman, and Argonaut. If the mission requires that we enter the World Killer undetected, I may have a solution to that problem. By channeling the chronal energies of the Essense of Time, I could project a field that would cause us to perform a Temporal Phase Shift. By existing outside the normal phase of the universe, we should be able to maneuver outside the perception range of most sensors. However, I have to warn you that I have not used the reconfigurations necessary to perform this action in a long time. I fear that many of the necessary circuits for this action still remain unrepaired, and although I could circumvent them, I cannot guarantee a success."

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"Well, a chance of success is better than nothing at all," said Cavalier. "Still, let's not put all our eggs in the temporal basket." He supposed he shouldn't have been surprised that somebody, somewhere, had time travel machinery. Nor was he surprised that it was being deployed here. There was a part of him that was happy the biggest guns in the galaxy were coming out to meet the Communion head-on... and another part of him that wondered where they might be pointed when the battle was done. Or what might happen if the Communion managed to get a grip on them. 


"But, yeah. I'm fine serving in the role of ranged support. Now, for crowd control... Hronos, can you use that temporal control to screw with our opponents? Hamper movement, and so forth? And Geckoman, you got any other hardware you're carrying with you?"[

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Geckoman looked up for a second, thinking. "Man, hardware. I've got a cloaking field here, actually, but it's only good for visual and radar. Sonar'll still pick us up, along with anything fancy, and I'd need to overclock it to get all four of you into it." He shrugged, and began counting off other items on his fingers. "Might help with the egg distribution. I've also got Geckorangs, smoke bombs, cutting torch, a swiss army knife, and a big stick with a battery in it.


He swivelled around full circle on the chair. "I think we're also kind of forgetting the main thing. We need to stealthily get INSIDE the thing before we start sneaking around. How do we gain entry? If we want the element of surprise, we can hardly go blasting holes in the hull. We need to find a blind spot to get up close, get through the hull, then sneak around.


Geckoman sprung up, as if suddenly gripped by an idea. "Oh! And my lunch! Also got my lunch in the belt. Ahem. Anyway, I figure, we're thinking too inflexibly. There's five of us. We don't all have to sneak. What I, the man in green with the big fast whooshy spaceship, am proposing, is a big, loud distraction while some of you sneak in."

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  • 2 weeks later...

As the rather makeshift team of heroes discussed the abilities each could bring to their mission and possible strategy, a small light began to flash on the counsel of the space plane in front of Geckoman, accompanied by a small warning chime. Glancing at the counsel, Geckoman noted that they were approaching the first preprogrammed coordinates out near the edge of the solar system. The spaceplanes sensors were picking up objects from the Kuiper Belt, among which it was reading several transponder signals.

Just then the space plane's comm system crackled as it received a transmission. "This is Daedalus calling Pegasus 005, Geckoman, do you copy?"

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Geckoman jumped slightly as the comms crackled. He spun back around in the chair, and fumbled with the controls. "Aaah aaaah so many," he muttered, before leaning in close to push one. With an attempt at dignity, he sat back up, reclined in his chair, and assumed a neutral, professional tone of voice, channeling Chuck Yeager. "This is Pegasus oh-oh-five. Geckoman speaking, we copy.


He waved one hand vaguely in the air. Freedom League business was hard. In the Interceptors, he didn't have code signs and things, as much as Erik tried to sound authoritative. "What's your status?" Geckoman asked. "How many... hostiles?"

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"Currently it is only the world killer." Daedalus replied. "But that could change sooner than we might like."

"Dark Star still has the world killer held in place, so we are holding a few thousand miles away while we have been waiting for you. We have had a fair amount of opportunity to study this thing over the last few months, in addition to having a chance to look over what the Communion tried to do to the Lighthouse back in December, so we believe we have a good idea on how we can get inside and cause this thing to overload and destroy itself."

"We have spent the last couple of weeks weakening sections of the world killer's hull through a combination of Dark Star shifting the gravitational forces holding it in place and energy attacks from various League members. If we had more time we might have been able to use this tactic to just destroy it that way, but that is no longer an option. But, what we have been able to do so far should be enough that once you all are here, Dark Star can again make a major shift to the gravity well he has been projecting, tearing open rifts along the world killer's hull. That will give us a chance to get multiple teams inside if we move quickly enough, from there we can set about locating the key sections of the vessel's systems and set it to overload and destroy itself."

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"Sounds like we have a plan," said Cavalier. He had familiarized himself with the stable of the Freedom League since his return - not that that was hard, when his mentor was on the team and the team hadn't changed much since when he'd left Earth. But he had to admit, he wasn't fully familiar with the capabilities of Dark Star. Gravitational manipulation - that was the kind of thing that could do a lot of damage if properly focused. But how much power could he pump into it?


"You know, I'd hate to be that guy, but assuming our attempt to shoot a torpedo into the exhaust port fails... there's a backup plan, right? Perhaps involving an intense localized singularity right in this thing's brain box? I mean, I'd hate to risk tugging Charon out of orbit or something, but..."

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"We ram it using the ship."  Argonaut offered as a backup plan.  It wasn't a creative course of action.  Essentially right up her alley.   Yves was less a cop than she was a soldier.  Even if conscripted by an omnicidal night omnipotent maniac.


Not that ripping apart things with one of the fundamental forces of the universe was a bad plan either.  It did mean their return trip would take a bit longer.  What with having to fix the Pegasus back up.  Having to deal with the potential of the lizardman making Freedom League insurance plan jokes seems a necessary sacrifice when compared with leaving something called a 'world killer' sitting around.


I appreciate the straightforward naming convention.  Planning to fail from the get go seems a bit cynical.  Even for me.

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"But, yeah. I'm fine serving in the role of ranged support. Now, for crowd control... Hronos, can you use that temporal control to screw with our opponents? Hamper movement, and so forth? And Geckoman, you got any other hardware you're carrying with you?"[


"Your assumption is correct, Cavalier Kyle Stewart." Hronos responded. "I am confident that I could slow their actions at minimum." Hronos was, in fact, very confident that he could outright stop their enemies on their tracks. It was an ability that had repeatedly proven extremely useful to the Mechanodynamis in the past, especially when he needed to pacify his opponents with minimum force.


Hronos listened attentively as Daedalus confirmed the situation regarding the World Killer. The situation sounded as bleak as he had stipulated, but at least they had a working plan. When Cavalier and Argonaut talked about a backup plan, Hronos offered "If the situation requires us to employ the spacecraft as our ammunition while we are still inside the spacecraft, I could employ the Essense of Time and phase us temporally, thus providing us with an emergency escape route."

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"We could only detonate so many ships, though," pointed out Geckoman. "I don't know about you, but even if we have to go to plan B, I've got stuff to do. Can't be hanging around phased out of reality on the edge of the solar system. It's a reeeeeeeally long walk." He leaned on his elbows. 


"So, recap. We get in, smash stuff up, and get the hell out before the thing blows. If that fails, we blow the ship, and try to get to another one before we die horribly in the vacuum of space." The green hero leaned back in his chair, arms in the air, with a big grin on his face. "We still going to try and sneak in? I can try to subtly fly a space plane through a gravity rift and into a giant spaceship, and we can go to sneaking if we get in at a point without security, but I dunno if we can go with it as an assumption."

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Sun Walker was quiet for a minute before replying.
"If ultimately stealth won't work at all, perhaps we should rely on speed and overwhelming power. Individually we are potent, and together perhaps we can overcome any defenders we encounter, so long as we move rapidly. Which I believe all of us are capable of doing. Within that suggestion, we stick with the loose framework of a formation suggested earlier?"

He gave the group a look that pretty clearly communicated his uncertainty.

Edited by KnightDisciple
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"Cavalier and myself will be fine in the vacuum of space.  Hronos appears as if he would as well, and the simian man has a gut feeling he can too.  If it is of some comfort, Geckoman, you would likely to die quickly while the rest of us call out for local Freedom League personnel using our radio communications."  Argonaut added in typical macabre fashion.  Taking a moment.to mull over Sun-Walker.


"For now.  Let us work under the assumption that this Darkstar person's warping of gravity will be enough of an entrance.  Whether stealth or speed wins the day we can figure out after we get inside."  Theorycrafting had its limits.  And from what Argonaut had heard of the Communion thus far.  Contact always ended with a firefight.

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"Well, it sounds like we have something that is slowly approaching a plan," Cavalier said. He looked out to the void as it streaked past him. The first time he was in the solar system wearing this armor, he'd taken everything as a sign of comfort. Now it was just a reminder of everything that was at risk if he failed. "I trust this Dark Star guy to know how to turn gravitational fields into Silly Putty. So, odds are he can deeply screw with their day. If it provides us with the distraction we need to get in and hit a sensitive area, good. If it turns into a massive offensive that gives us some cover to wreck everything we see, also good."


He even bought that. Somewhat. He knew no plan survived contact with the enemy, but even then... "Still. If I've got any input, try to aim from anything that looks like it's glowing in one of the primary colors and talks with a voice like a smug god." 

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Sun Walker actually gave a rather undignified snort of amusement at the remark about speaking like a smug god.


"It can be distressing how often those criteria are a good indicator of which person or being in front of you is in need of being struck with violence. Though considering our opposition, I think them screaming the word "commune" would suffice as well."


His eyes went distant for a moment as he recalled the fight with the Father of Monsters, and the abomination he had become at the end of their fight.

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