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Dragonfly glanced at Vigil, then turned her head to regard 'Artoo' for a minute, clearly calculating...but whatever options occurred to her apparently weren't satisfactory.

"....mmh. No," she finally responded, turning her helmeted gaze back on Talos' mouthpiece. "We have custody while we investigate dimensional incursion and try to determine what crimes he's guilty of, if any. Not handing the idiot over without lots more information, not handing him over for death penalty ever."

If they try to kill you, came a voice, from nowhere and apparently otherwise inaudible, over Artoo's robotic ears, jump to a drone if you can. But if you attempt to flee or use its weapons for any reason, the others have standing orders to strike you out of the air.

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A little surprised with herself in doing so, Cerulean found her voice,

"Besides," she added, raising her voice to carry clearly, "regardless of improper procedures and unannounced incursions, it was this robot's arrival that alerted us to your plight in the first place," she pointed out.  "Without that, we would not be here, and there would be no aid, for organic or machine."  She gave Vigil a very pointed look -- the cyborg had been to their reality as well, and he knew just how well things could, and should, have been going.

Artoo's arrival had been more or less an accident, but it was quite possibly the best thing that had happened to any of the inhabitants of this reality in a number of decades.

Still -- she wasn't going to leave it to chance.  If anyone tried to take Artoo apart, she was ready to slap a shield over him to protect him...hopefully.

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"I'm afraid we can't agree to turning him over," Fleur agreed with her teammates, still outwardly completely unfazed by anything going on around them. "We will act impartially in your conflict until given reason to do otherwise, which means that we cannot turn him over to you anymore than we would turn your citizen over to your enemies. However, if you would rather he not enter your presence, we can send him away to a place of safety while we speak with you, if that is more acceptable. But we have little time to waste on protocol, not when there is so much to do." 

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After a long pause, Artoo and Vigil reached out for each other; the two men grabbing arms. "...I have him." called Vigil, sounding considerably less like the true believer he had been when he'd first shown up on Earth-Prime. Artoo, for his part, didn't say anything at all - the mechanical man evidently choosing to trust in his organic rescuers. 

"Your terms are acceptable," declared Talos's mouthpiece. "For now! Now, enter his presence!" 

-

The Goodman Building was a cathedral now; a cathedral of the Church of Talos. There was no better way to describe the palace of the ruler of this part of humanity. Its upper stories were gone, giving the impression of an almost entirely hollow building, with 'rafters' of what was distinctly computronium scattered throughout the vast building. All along the walls and spiderwebbed interior architecture scuttled machines of various sorts; spider-like repair-bots, humanoid forms clinging to the walls like so many spider-beings in their own right, and the air hummed with the quiet symphonies of a billion simultaneous processors. 

Talos was sitting on what was probably a power channeler, a device tapping into the fission core of the building that would certainly enhance his already formidable robotic strength and power. But as the heroes were ushered into the presence of the machine god, it was hard to see him as anything other than a gigantic robotic tyrant sitting on a golden throne that matched the color of his own augmented body. At their arrival Talos did not rise, indeed his mechanical body did not move at all. "Leave us." 

The soldiers who had escorted the heroes inside filed out, leaving the heroes alone with the civilization-destroying despot amid the fortress of his finery, the sound of machines above them the only noise in the room. 

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Dragonfly's head ticked to the side, head making little adjustments as the glowing lenses of her helmet took in the room. She'd left some drones outside, but those that came in with her seemed to mimic the action - monocular gazes peering about as if trying to memorize their surroundings.

"....power chair?" she hazarded, gesturing at it with one finger. "Not bad. Useful for enforcing your rule - shows of power, defensive aid if assaulted, limited counter-attack boost. Power drain, though," she debated - herself, apparently - while she tapped a finger against her leg. "Goodman's powered by...mmh...fusion? ....no, fission. There were protests. If yours was anything like ours. Good power source, plenty of output. Must be hard to fuel and maintain, though. When resources are so strapped."

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Cerulean was not at all happy at being surrounded on all side and above by the spidery repair units -- she didn't have a phobia of spiders per se, but good Lord were they creepy.  Plus, they were way, way outnumbered as a result, but that had been assumed since the outset, hadn't it?

Besides -- nobody had seen her really cut loose, yet, and she'd like to think that she was capable of generating a surprise or two if she had to.

She had to agree with Dragonfly on the overall impression of the throne -- or, apparently, 'Power Chair', whatever that was -- it was definitely a show of power.

"Would have been cooler, though, if it was built of all the guns of your defeated enemies, all forged together with the barrels sticking up all over behind...your...head...."  She trailed off, sensing that everyone else wasn't really getting the whole 'Song of Ice and Fire' vibe she was working off.

"Er, sorry, go ahead," she urged, her cheeks pinking slightly.

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Stesha folded her hands neatly over her belt and regarded the massive robot with great equanimity. "We'd like to assist your people in recovering their farmland and livable habitat from the ecological disaster that the world has become. The work we can do isn't going to be enough to turn everything around, but it will buy time for the poisons to leach out of the soil and nutrients to seep back in. With good husbandry habits and careful composting, you can speed up the process even more. I'm sure you have information about where our work might help save the most people and be the most helpful. Will you give it to us?" 

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"My people. My people are the fires of the machine that will one day rule the cosmos!" When Talos spoke his voice sounded distinctly artificial - not simply the words of a robot, but as if he was speaking through a decrepit voder or synthesizer. He sounded, as he spoke, tired. "Your offer of assistance is, however, acceptable." As he spoke, his chair rose into the air, hovering in the decrepit cathedral of the machine, the scuttling of the spider-bots the only sound beneath the deep, grinding bass of his words. "The extermination of the wild human infestation is currently unfeasible. But with the resources you offer, yes, we can build with the aid of our loyal vassals, and recover from the cleansing flood, until we are ready to finally take this world in our hands and close them!"  Talos turned its head and studied Dragonfly. "Radioactive materials were...expended, yes! Can you offer more? But why would you help a war against our own flesh? Are you from one of those dimensions?

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Dragonfly went still for a moment, and clad in her armor and silence she could have just as easily been another robot. Until, at least, she started talking again - at which point her voice had a rather human level of barely-controlled condescension and distaste to it. 

"Not...entirely sure you know what 'save' means," she questioned, somehow rendering a raised eyebrow audible. "Not here to only help you. Here to save everyone. Humans, robots, cyborgs, whatever. People. Not really interested in saving people so that you can destroy them later, or...mmh. Shoring up your slave force. We were really hoping for a peaceful solution. Your...war against flesh, closing hands, that's not it. No."

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"We have no interest in helping you wage your war," Fleur told him coolly. "We know you're most likely a monster and a despot. If someone rises from your world to oppose you, we won't stop them. But we're banking on the fact that you're also not a fool, and therefore you're not going to refuse humanitarian aid. You have the largest infrastructure, such as it is, and know where the remaining human settlements are, and therefore it's convenient for us to work with you to help keep people alive. And we're going to be helping the "wild" humans as well, so don't get too excited. And don't even bother with ideas about kidnapping us or taking us hostage, we've got nothing to fear from you and yours. We are only here to help." Stesha was obviously letting her power run free today, even inside the building, grass and flowers were beginning to spread across the ruined floor.

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Cerulean's featureless blue eyes narrowed slightly as the Tin Tyrant made its speech of genocide and destruction, and she regarded it consideringly as the others rebutted the, ah, 'misconception'.

"Are you guys getting the same thing I am?" she muttered in a quiet aside.  "I'm thinking King Terminator here is in as bad shape as the rest of the planet -- that thing seems more like a wheelchair than a throne, amirite?"

It only then, of course, occurred to her that they weren't dealing with organic ears but mechanical microphones, and it was entirely possible that everything she'd just said had been clearly overheard.  Uh, whoops?

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