Duodecimarch (Worm Multicross)

Headlines

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
In the mean time, headlines!

Daily Tribune: Reports of Seamonsters Escalating in frequency]

Oceanic travellers have in recent days, been increasingly reporting signs of large aquatic fauna not matching any known animals on the planet; some large and/or vicious enough to cause damage to the hulls of ships attacked. One of the most consistent reports is of a large, serpentine creature that reports say "moves faster than sound itself" throughout the water, a "red comet" that announces its presence with a deafening shriek that only arrives after it has smashed its way through parts of the ship. Unusual fauna such as abnormally large arthropods of abnormal durability and size as well as stranger creatures have also been reported. Scientists are at a loss to determine the cause of this, but theories that it may have had something to do with the atmospheric disturbances seen earlier.

Brockton Herald: Snowstorm continues unabated]

Schools and many other services are expected to remain closed for the foreseeable future due to the intensive blizzards rocking through the area as the state of New Hampshire issues a statewide warning for residents to stay indoors in the face of subzero temperatures and extreme snowfall. Parahumans affiliated with the government are busy trying to clear out the snow as best as possible in tandem with snowplow and clearance teams to maintain viable paths for emergency services, but non-essential traffic is strongly advised against. All flights to and from the city have been cancelled or diverted for the time being, with many airlines offering hotel vouchers for passengers frustrated by the inability to reach important cities such as Brockton Bay or Manchester. However, meteorologists are still uncertain as to why the storm suddenly changed its course, but predict that the blizzard should move out of New Hampshire within two days time.

CNN: Neo-Nazi activity continues to rise

Massive increases in far right militia and terrorist activity have escalated following a major battle in Munich; with associates of the ultranationalist Gesellschaft and the Empire-88 among other organisations proclaiming this to be the start of a Judeo-Bolshevik plot to begin a white genocide by attacking centres of European culture and heritage. While footage of the scene remains unavailable, eyewitnesses have reported that the engagement took place following a Gesellschaft lead occupation of the University of Munich that investigators have determined to have lead to the deaths of more than two hundred students and faculty in what is one of the bloodiest far-right attacks in West Germany in the last two years. Empire-88 Spokespeople have announced that these eyewitnesses are simply material agents of the conspiracy and urge its expanding membership to shut out the lies while authorities continue to avoid questioning on how and why these groups are not only expanding, but showing ever larger amounts of armaments and munitions.

BBC: Woman arrested for gruesome murder of Johnson family still insists on Alien defence

Mojisola Ige, a Nigerian immigrant on trial for the murder of the Johnson family that she was serving as a domestic worker for still defiantly insists that the gruesome murder was committed by an alien abduction. While her defence lawyer has attempted worked with an insanity defense, she has repeatedly insisted that while what she saw horrified her, she remains entirely clear of mind. The injuries on the family indicate hours of excruciating torture followed by being dismembered with the flesh disposed of by unknown means that would appear to involve pulling apart the muscle tissue from the deceased. While her defence attorney insists that it is impossible for her to have committed these crimes given the lack of any access to the tools capable of such violence and an inability to be placed at the London Police department's theorised crime scene, the discrepancies have been dismissed by the Prosecution as an attempt by the defence to seek refuge in minor details.

Daily Report: William Manton Remains discovered after enigmatic disappearance

After disappearing for more than nine years, remains positively identified to William Manton have been found by Soviet authorities dumped unceremoniously in the Tunguskan wilderness. How or why Manton was present there remains unknown, but a chance comparison to western dental records confirmed the origins of the skeletal remains, which showed significant surgical injuries that lead to autopsy specialists to theories that the body was dissected while alive by "extremely sophisticated tools, as if he was being studied and he was clearly healed many times after reaching the brink of death." Curiously, the body also shows signs of spending long periods of being within microgravity, leaving experts baffled as to how the former scientist was able to reach space in the first place or how they died.

Der Spiegel: Battle of Munich leaves many questions with no answers

Munich awoke to the sounds of a vicious firefight over one of its most prized and ancient universities involving a massive array of outright military force and unknown parahuman combatants that has left much of the university in ruins. Though the cause or reasoning of the attack is uncertain, the Gesellschaft seems to be primarily responsible for the carnage, including via the deployment of a hitherto unprecedented arsenal of military vehicles and robots. How the Gesellschaft has managed to increase its access to firepower to such a degree remains a mystery, but the inaction by Munich police who seemed to be content to simply allow the attack to occur has caused major discontent and demonstrations within the city, protesting what they see as a Police force more sympathetic to the ultranationalist terrorist group than to the populace they are sworn to protect.
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 2

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[voteresult]632690[/voteresult]

[X]: Speak to Battery for her advice (Minor destress, more information about life in the bay in particular)

(This is an Arne only PoV sequence as I couldn't find any fitting PoV shifts between him and Samus. Maybe I should make "you" second person plural?)

Arne

"What do you think Samus?" You asked, taking a moment before adding to the prior statement. "Where should we go?"

"I know what I want to do...but what about you? You let me lead you around a lot. Maybe the eagle needs to choose where he goes?" She said, the pet name making you flush a bit. The moment she figured out your name meant Eagle, which is to say, within a second of hearing it, she liked to call you that. You hadn't the slightest bit of avian theming to yourself beyond a love of the sky, but it never diminished her fondness for the name.

"Well...I really would like to see our ships." You said with a slight laugh at the end before she flashed you an emote-avatar of her face beneath her helmet with a wide grin and an emoticon with playfully sticking her tongue out at you.

"You mean our babies hrm?" She said as you felt like trying to find a rock to hide under as you fumbled around for any sort of counter.

"I uh...well...they've got our eyes." You said, feeling a bit lame as she giggled, shaking her head a little and pulling in a little closer while you drew her in a bit more.

"But we never did finish that vidset of Igimok you know...maybe if we have some time..." She said, humming slightly as she drew closer, to outsiders the affection you often displayed while in armour was hard to understand, but inside your suit felt like just another part of your body, the contact you had no less real than if you were in plain clothes. Warm and inviting after a lengthy combat period against an enormous number of foes. It was nice to have someone to just relax with.

"Mmh, are we going to pick at the technical flaws or are we going to have it as a backdrop for..." You said, seeing an opportunity to get her to show some embarrassment as she sent you a blushing emoticon and gasped a bit before giggling and looking away, then back to you, then at the ground and then gave you a nod.

"Mmmh, we could do both?"

"Yeah, it's not like we can't embrace while watching something, right?" You said as she just gave you a bit of a smirk beneath her helmet, catlike and coy.

"But let me finish, alright?" You said, raising a finger, getting a nod from her as you for a moment; wondered how those visions of futures of the two of you in conflict could have ever come about. What sort of paths of fate lead to becoming the blue and green snarling monster in that faceless helmet? Did coming here avert that? Or was it part of the road there? You brushed that aside, trying to instead focus on the present of finishing your sentence before she found another angle to interrupt you with.

"I mean...okay, I think I know what you're going to say but...go ahead!" She said, trying her best to not blurt out the answer her distant sight could perceive. It was a chore for her, the desire to just show that she knew rattling against her skull. But she held her tongue for now, shuffling slightly on restless legs.

"Well...we're going to this city Brockton Bay right? So...I know we can just go through the internet here for data but, a local would know best, yeah?" You said.

"It's true...I had my suit post some automated queries but they don't even have any response A.Is so I'm still waiting on most of the answers! Ugh, it's so boring to have to wait for a reply some times..." She said, sighing as you paused, blinked, and then looked at her again.

"...How many...posts did you make?" You asked.

"A few." Okay knowing her...you flicked through the internet here and did a double take as your armour ran a trace for queries posted from her explorer suit and found about....

"Six thousand eight hundred and seventy one...two..." You said as she repeated "Yeah a few."

"Huh, you disabled some of the overflow filters to get that out. Seems kind of rude to put those up there..." You said, pondering, didn't they have people with accelerated perceptions of time here? Seems awful demanding to completely automate post-overflows to nonsapient programmes and thus force everyone to operate at baseline human speeds of reading and response. She was right, this was absolutely inconsiderate.

"I know! Ugh...but yeah, Battery first; then we can check the other stuff out you know. Maybe talk to Nightcaster and Eudaimonica too about the..." She said before you finished.

"The Well of...Cosmic Vagueness." You said, not quite understanding why it was called the Well of Furies when you felt neither rage nor saw any greek winged women in its presence.

"The Well of Glowing Loudness." She added.

"The Well of Uncertain Intentions." You one-upped.

"Hey...if you guys are talking about me, let's try to get a move on alright?" Battery said with a sigh, overhearing your conversation and making the both of you stumble slightly to the side, having been too caught up in your little mind games with each other to realise that she was close by; not having paid her signature in the causeways of fate much heed due to not considering her a threat. You exhaled and gave her a nod, Samus doling out one of her famed thumbs ups...well...it was famous in your circles.

"Battery, maybe we should find a quieter place?" You say, getting a nod of agreement out of her as she raised a finger to indicate to Assault that she didn't want him following before walking with you and Samus to a human designated recreation room being vacated by Soviet personnel going back to their duties, giving you a quick nod before walking out. She looked at Eudaimonica and Nightcaster and then gestured to them.

"You two, come here...bring your uh...friends but I'd rather not have them interrupting me with ancient entity mystery speeches if that's alright?" She asked, getting a nod out of the two as they hopped on over, entering into the rather expansive looking room with a number of entertainment machines that looked...primitive but you supposed they were enjoyable.

Elsewhere there were comfortable looking couches, a selection of books, board and table games, and it seemed that the personnel had finished up with a session of some sort of roleplaying game about adventure in the far future. It looked...kitchsy and quaint, and the date of "ten thousand A.D" struck you, a native of the 51st millennium, as more than a bit retrograde. It looked cute though.

You looked back at Battery as she sighed and undid her mask and goggles and wiped her face with a disposable towel before taking a swig of an electrolyte drink for as long as she could before she looked at you with exhausted blue eyes even as she looked at herself. Doubt was filling her mind, the Well had spoken directly to her too, and you could only guess at what she told her.

"Is something the matter?" Samus asked before she shook her head and looked at the four of you as you found your seats.

"Is it uh...alright if we don't do this in power armour?" She said, getting a nod out of both of you as you allowed your armour to dissolve into light, a blink coming from her in surprise as she expected you to step out of the exoskeleton or something similarly backwards. Your black and red and her blue and cyan zero suits both faded afterwards, leaving you in the civilian clothes you had ready in zero-point form. Dark blue coat, cyan shirt, snugly but not overly tightly fitting olive trousers and black shoes; her in a green jacket with an orange shirt, blue trousers, and brown boots.

"...You know I was expecting something weirder from...what year are you from? In your reality?" She asked.

"Fifty thousand and fourteen by your calendar!" Samus said with a cheerful grin on her face as she leaned in a bit closer and smooshed her cheeks after putting her elbows on the table and making a kissy face as you chuckled and turned your head around to look at Alice and Jospeh after they had lowered their masks and eyewear; noticing the both of them were staring at the two of you rather hard.

They flushed when you and Samus looked back at them, muttering something about being sorry for staring as they talked to each other briefly.

"Why are they so god damn cute?" Alice said, the redhead flushing pink on her cheeks as she folded her arms and huffed.

"I was expecting like...cyborg woman not...god uggghhh..." Nightcaster saId before Battery snapped her fingers to get their attention.

"Okay I know you're teenagers so attractive people make your blood rush right to your genitals but please, can we focus?" She said, seeming to be tired more than anything else as she looked at the table and then laid down a tablet she borrowed from Bumblebee's minicon earlier and after taking a second to find where the file she needed was located; tapped it and pushed it to the centre of the table.

"I didn't grow up in discount San Francisco, and to be honest Brockton kind of makes me depressed since to be frank; it's a bit of a mess. Overpriced rent, IT yuppies, pathological hatred of homeless people, and you need to drive to get anywhere worth going to. Makes a girl miss the rat infested, silent hill-esque subways of the big apple. At least I didn't have to feel self-conscious about being content with four wheels and an engine when some silver spoon brat shows up in a tricked out Renault." She said, giving you the feeling she had a lot of this just boiling inside of her for a long time.

"What do you mean discount San Francisco? Is it...lower price?" Samus asked, not quite getting the expression before Battery made a bitter laugh.

"God I wish. A bit over median income in a city where rent for our apartment is four thousand dollars a month; if I weren't with Assault I'd be broke and even with him that's...god sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't sell my dignity to make ends meet. I didn't understand why so many villains got their start killing their landlord until I saw my first rent bill." She said, running her hands through her hair and sighing.

"Which brings me to my other point. The Bay is like those...things we fought back there."

"It eats people?" Joseph said before Battery shook her head.

"Undead. The Blue-collar work's gone and left town, but the city's growing with rural techie types and overseas finance industry guys. The heart of the city's stopped beating, but they're shooting it up with the black arts of desk jockeys. But a lot of those boys and girls are from parts of the country not happy to run into people who don't look like them." She said as you looked at the picture of a gang offering the Nazi salute to a man in heavy but crude looking armour as he stood at a podium in an abandoned warehouse, the hateful symbol of the swastika unfurled behind him as your skin crawled at the sight.

"Especially after Japan got piledriven by leviathan and we settled a bunch of Japanese refugees here. Probably only going to get worse after the cranks waving the rising sun flag have started clashes with the legitimate government and people started running for the hills and the Soviets started talking about intervening before civil war breaks out." She said, taking a second to look at her phone and letting out a sad sigh.

"She doesn't like what she sees on the news every day..." Samus whispered to you, you got that much, and to be honest the state of this planet gave you an immense appreciation for being born in the time you were. Pre-spacefaring earth history always seemed so grim.

"Oh I know what that's like." Alice said, rapping her fingers on the table and looking glumly at the ground.

"How's that?" Battery said, taking another swig of electrolyte drink to try and replenish her badly depleted reservoirs of fluids.

"After the Praetorian war eight years ago well, the government tried to settle the people from Praetorian Earth on our Earth when they were driven out of their home timeline by...I guess you'd call them monsters?" She said, Joseph nodding in response.

"Yeah Paragon City metro area went from... thirty-two million to forty-five million people after we dumped Imperial City's population there? Still trying to settle all the refugees but I know a lot of my Praetorian friends get called a lot of nasty names." Joseph added. Stuffing that many more people into an already massive city seemed like the height of hubris to you. Why not distribute them to other urban centres?

"Forty-five million people...On Rhode Island?" She said in disbelief.

"I mean...Paragon's way bigger than the state it's in but yeah." He said. According to your knowledge of Earth geography, it'd absolutely have to be given that Rhode Island was smaller than some cities outright. Why would a city get that large on such little land in the first place is beyond you.

"Okay so...Praetoria...Guessing that's another timeline? You just...integrated an entire alternate Earth?"

"Well, they had way fewer people since they had a nuclear war and a giant war with like...nature itself. But it's still a billion people. But well, they kind of started it? Mirror Universe and all, kind of douchey Evil Empire kinda thing." Alice said.

"Do you have any gang activity from those refugees?" She asked, looking somewhat curiously as the two gave a nod.

"Well then you'll know what it's like having to deal with that. Biggest ethnic gang besides the white nationalists are the Azn Bad Boys; lead by a guy who calls himself Lung, mostly just want to expand their turf and control. The Azn bad Boys got re-" You mouthed the word and made a look of stunned disbelief. Samus made a double-take and then looked at Battery as if she had grown a second head and whispered to you.

"Is this some kind of... twenty-first-century joke? That's such a stupid name." She whispered to you while Eudaimonica and Nightcaster were trying their best to contain their laughter to simply corpsing rather than doubling over.

"I...think she's serious...I'll, I'll ask."

"...Azn...Asian...are...are you serious? That's their name?" You said, harrumphing a bit.

"...Yes? I know it's...dumb but their leader is a Chinese man who can turn into a dragon who started asking for everyone to call him the Chinese word for dragon...I don't think he's good at names." She said with a sigh and a shrug.

"Lot of smaller time gangs too...but recently we've had a major uptick in triggers we can't really explain. Lot of disappearances too. Especially with Homeless people. Major increase in sightings of monsters too. The police don't care about the second one, and we don't get called unless there's confirmed parahuman involvement." She seemed to be disgusted at that particular regulation as she clenched her fist, gritting her teeth a bit before shaking her head and looking back at you.

"But you know...I care...I want to help, and every time I see some child in rags spending the money she begged for on posting missing fliers for her parents my heart shrivels up and dies. And a lot of these kids end up going straight to the gangs because nobody else gives a shit." She said with disgust as she showed another picture, the same armoured man lifting white children onto his shoulders like some sort of avuncular figure, a picture clearly meant to demonstrate him as a caring father figure as he stood amidst the lost and dispossessed.

"This guy is Kaiser. Besides Lung, he's one of the biggest parahuman gang bosses in the city. And for the longest time I had no idea where his batch of sister fuckers were getting their heavy artillery, money, or fancy gear from but well...looks like it was from actual honest to god Third Reich storm troopers using him as a puppet." She said, shuddering at the thought.

"Are you going to be alright? You saw a lot in that facility." Samus said with gentle concern. "It's understandable if you're feeling overwhelmed. This is a lot to take in." She said, trying her best even though she was speaking to someone half again as old as she was as Battery gave a faint smile.

"I mean...I have to be...when I touched that fragment and that goo...I saw...God...pure power? The big swirly thing of fate? And she said...I was interesting? That she liked the lengths I'd go to in order to have the power to protect things...people I care for. And...holy shit I am not ready for the attentions of something like that. I could feel her lay my entire life out in front of me and all she cared about was that I was...interesting?!" She said, clearly on the verge of a breakdown of some sort as her breath hitched.

Actions:

(Pick two, specify whether Arne or Samus should pick them)

[]: Try to shift topics away from the Well of Furies and towards more personal questions
[]: Encourage her to think she's worthy of the cosmic fountain's attentions
[]: She's already gotten the attention of one extradimensional power granting entity, what's another on top of that? (Not an ideal option but will be funny)
[]: Try to refocus back on Kaiser
[]: Try to refocus back on the Bay itself
[]: Try to see how the mission in Munich...or this whole day as a matter of fact; really affected her, she's seen a lot in the process of a few hours.
[]: Write in (you may make up to two)
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 3

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[voteresult]634775[/voteresult]


Samus​

"Battery, you fought until your knuckles bled! Even without any augmenting armour. Even before Eudaimonica and Nightcaster came here you were fighting so well!" You said, trying your best to wedge into her uncertainties. The attentions of that...thing were overwhelming to be sure, you weren't entirely sure on whether having the notice of something like that was good or bad...you didn't get the most benevolent sensation from the being, but you weren't given too much choice on whether or not to accept her gift.

"Look I..." She started, almost as if she was about to make a revelation, something buried inside by years of shame looking for a chance to emerge. People who might keep quiet, people who hold no investment into what she is now. But she swallowed again and shook her head, rubbing her face and looking at her drink longingly. You didn't quite get what she wanted out of it, was it not sweet enough? Was the taste of the colourings unpleasant? As far as you can tell it was perfectly normal flavoured electrolyte water with blue colouring.

"I'm hardly the star member of the Brockton Bay Protectorate. I know a lot of the young girl aspirants in the area hope they can be like me but well...you know women's soccer?" She said, rapping her fingers against the table.

"Boy's world huh?" Eudaimonica said, getting a nod out of her as she looked at the table.

"More female than male parahumans yet there's more than two men for every woman on the team. And I'm just kind of the basic bruiser on the outfit. I hit things fast or shock people. Not an all hours tank like Adamant or a walking arsenal like Armsmaster or the other walking arsenal in Miss Militia. My powers aren't really...flashy and I feel so out of my depth with this weird magic and monsters bullshit. And now I'm being told there's aliens among us and we're going to have to refight world war two? I just..." She said, sighing as she looked forlornly at you, upwards at you despite being about fifty per cent older than you. You were more than thirty centimetres taller than she was, and it was sometimes easy to forget that she was older than you besides being more...filled out in some places.

"I wanted to just help my dad as a little girl, help him with bad guys getting out of jail. I got my powers, didn't know how to properly use them, but I somehow screwed my way up to the top. Now...I feel like I'm lost all over again. I'm just some New York White Girl who can barely afford rent. I'm not cut out for this cosmic charade show. What am I supposed to do...just...punch every Nazi like Indiana Jones? Can I fistfight an entire alien invasion? How am I in any way, up for being picked for some goddess' team?" She said, looking glumly as you recognised an opportunity to speak.

"What you did there was so brave! Even with baseline genetic coding, you have so little time to live but decided to risk everything in a situation even I didn't really understand!" Just the thought of someone putting themselves at risk with that many timebombs lurking in her genetic code made her seem so selfless to you. Her hair would probably start fading in colour by her fifties even, yet she went halfway around the world into the thick of it right behind you.

"Yeah it's...not often I'd see someone just rush into that much fire without any extra protection. I could maybe, craft some sort of armour for you with the fabrication bay on my ship?" Arne said, eyeing her up in a way that made Battery raise her eyebrows, though she lowered them when she realised that his attention was entirely innocent, not lingering anywhere inappropriate and only taking as long as he needed to figure out her dimensions exactly as he mentally worked out the proportions of his design.

"I...look I can't just ask you for a handout like that."

"You've more than worked for it! Come on, how many foes have you taken down today?" You said, blurting out a bit as she stopped to have a think and ran a few numbers before shaking her head.

"I lost count after the hundredth or so Nazi I clobbered."

"Nine hundred and thirty six!" You said, offering her one of your distinctive thumbs ups and smiles as she shrugged.

"You've taken out thousands." She said. "But well..."

"That just means you have something to try and catch up to. Think of it as a challenge! You've got what it takes to handle yourself. And with what you've been given, just think of all the good you can do with it. I didn't well...start like this." You said, sitting down after noticing you had stood up a bit in your chair and crossing your legs.

"Nah I figured you came out of your mom in the power suit." She said as you squinted a bit.

"That would be anatomically improbable." Arne said before you thought and then whispered to Arne that you thought it was most likely sarcasm, causing him to flush and look away in embarrassment at having missed the joke.

"It's okay...it took me...longer than I'd have liked to figure it out." You said, a bit of pink on your cheek as Battery had herself a small laugh and shook her head.

"Man I'd like to meet your parents one day, just get to know who raised you two like this." She said as you made a small frown and looked away a bit awkwardly, and her eyes shifted with realisation almost all at once as she muttered an "oh" followed by a "Sorry..." as she looked back at her hands as if they had some kind of stain on them.

"What's wrong?" Eudaimonica said before the central crystal in her tiara whispered in the infernal language into her ear. "The threads of those who birthed them were cut long ago with great violence." It said as she paused and looked away with a sigh.

"Well uh...if you want my opinion. If you've already gotten the attention of one extradimensional entity, what's two right?" Arne said, trying to break the silence as best as he could. The shadow of Nightcaster recoiled as if he had spouted some kind of curse while the glowing crystal in Alice's tiara dimmed briefly, but you nodded and grinned at a very confused looking battery who seemed to outright stumble backwards in surprise.

"...Two...what are you talking about Arne?" She said, her face contorting into an odd expression of bafflement and trying to recall anything that might have prompted him to bring that up.

"I've never seen anything like that before. Not like...the Well of Furies."

"Your abilities originate from a symbiotic fragment of some sort of larger entity that's bonded to you via a special organ that you've developed for interface with it." Arne grabbed at some paper and one of the erasable pens and quickly drew up a sketch with speed so great it seemed that the diagram he was making was being loaded into existence rather than being drawn to the eyes of slower to react people.

It made perfect sense to you, his mapping out of her altered physiology, how the fragmentary being had wired itself into her biology with a note that the entity had seemingly ceased any of its own thought functions, how it channelled energy into her body and supercharged her cells into a high electromagnetic state that allowed for massively increased power in tandem with a temporarily bolstered physiology able to deflect heavy munitions and break the sound barrier and even some of the math equations he applied to try and lay out his proofs.

Eudaimonica looked at it as if her brain was about to fry and Joseph produced a holy symbol as he stumbled back at the math. "Away with you accursed equations!" He hissed before stumbling out of his chair and falling onto his back while you looked down at Joseph.

"Are you okay? You shouldn't make those sorts of displays on those chairs. They're not meant for being tipped back!" You cautioned as he gave a thumbs up and wheezed.

Battery though, looked at the math in front of her as if Arne had written complete gibberish and at the diagram he had drawn out as if he had just vomtied out an abstract art museum's entire gallery before her eyes. The different colours Arne had used to make it more visually clear and distinct only making her even more confused as she looked at the paper and tilted her head.

"...What?" She said, looking at one of his charts and tracing her finger along the x-axis and then looking at the anatomical diagram he had sketched up and then back at him.

"...Are you saying I've got...space crabs?" She said.

"What, no! It's not at all like owning pet crabs grown in zero gravity!" You said, shaking your head as if she herself were spouting absolute gibberish.

"No I mean..." Battery said as she looked at the diagram and rotated it around to find a perspective that would make it more sensible to her.

Alice leaned in and whispered to you and Arne. "She means like, crabs as in like, lice that get onto your pubes." She said as you did a doubletake at her and then looked at Arne and then back at her.

"...Sexual parasites? Not at all, gods of my clan, not even a little. She's got no signs of sexually transmitted disease. Why would I?" Arne said as he ran his hands through his white hair and looked at the table and then at you with a silent plea for help.

"We're not trying to say she has a sexual parasite infection! It's not even a parasite it's...you'd agree its a symbiont right Arne?" You said, looking back at him as he gave a nod.

"It's not a parasite, it's got a mutually beneficial relation with the host. It's a mutualistic organism." He said, wriggling his fingers to add some emphasis to his explanation as the colour of his cheeks started to fade back to their usual pale hues.

"Yeah. You provide it with data and it provides you with a set of abilities transmitted into your cells through its extradimensional fractal conduits." You said with a nod.

"Samus, Arne, are you saying I've got an alien in me?" Battery asked.

"Well..." You said as you tried to think of a more tact way of saying it before Arne blundered to his explanation straight away now that his mind was going. You were trying to be less blunt, he was trying to be less wilting when expected to speak; unfortunately this meant he often just...spoke.

"It's not at all unique to you. All the parahumans from your metaversal cluster I've been able to study have a fragmentary entity like this attached to them. Some of them seem to be brain dead or dormant while others still seem able to influence behaviour in some way, such as encouraging or discouraging certain behaviours and pushing aggression responses. So I was just thinking that maybe if I could get a few to examine more closely, perhaps in a raw form I'd be able to isolate their central mass and-" He said before Battery shook her head, blinked, stared at him for a long while, then looked at you, and then at the other two in the room.

"What about them?"

"No that's just magic." Arne said, seemingly a bit crestfallen at having been interrupted.

"Just magic?" She asked.

"Yeah, it's completely separate from your power source, which is also distinct from the...Well." He said before it started to dawn on him that something was amiss when a long silence permeated through the room and he started to scratch at the back of his hand, looking between the others in the current room in an attempt to discern why everyone had stopped talking before you laid your hand atop his and moved the scratching hand off.
"Arne." You said softly as he rested and relaxed, looking towards you and smiling a bit.

"So everyone's powers on this planet..."

"You didn't know?" You asked, frowning a bit. It seemed like something you thought would be the top priority for their society to figure out and were kind of at a loss as to why they wouldn't have figured it out by now. You put your whole life into understanding every single facet of progenitor technology and biology that you could so that no aspect of your abilities would be beyond your comprehension.

"...Nooooooooooooo?" Battery said as she looked like her brain had just expanded, trying to understand the diagram in front of her.

"...Can I...show this to people?" She said.

"Obviously yeah!" You said before Wheeljack crackled in over the Intercom.

"+You know I was uh...trying not to inform them about that. Thought it'd be rude. But yeah, it seems to be a quirk of your metaverse. Fragmentary portions of some larger being I'm trying to figure out in my spare time. Also good news, we have averted the inversion of the flow of time in the local area. So claps out for me!+" The Autobot chief scientist said as you gave him an enthusiastic clap followed by Arne while everyone else just looked kind of stupefied by the sheer insanity unfurling in front of them.

"But uh, Battery, do you have a name?" You said, realising that you never really pried into her first name.

"Samantha." She said, undoing her pony tail and letting her brown hair fall down to her shoulder blades with the longest sigh of relief that you just instantly sympathised with. Letting your hair down after a prolonged day always felt like a rush.

"Hey! We can both be called Sammy!" You said with a wide grin, clapping as Arne nodded.

"Might get a little confusing." He said with a slight coy smirk on his face that made you roll your eyes before turning back to her.

"Well...I don't think I quite uh...got the favour of what you're suggesting I did...but well, from what I've seen you four's vote of confidence means a lot."

"Oh come on we're not like...big deals back home. I'm just another Mastermind." Alice said, shrugging her shoulders as Joseph nodded.

"Hey, I think you're cool still even if I'm still in training. Do you know how rare it is for people to get any response out of Well relics and Incarnate Shards?" He said, now having both you and Arne's full attention and curiosity.

"Given what the Well said to me, I'm guessing very?" She said.

"You'd be right. One in one hundred metas. You're a one percenter!" Joseph said as Samantha had a laugh.

"I wish I had a one percenter salary kid. Hah...well...god...that reminds me, do you two have any place to stay besides with the giant robots?" She said, scratching at her hair a bit.

"That goes for you two as well." She added.

"...Uhhh...we can crash in another dimension I guess?" Alice said before Battery shook her head and wagged her finger.

"Nuh-uh. You guys are staying with me. Ethan's pretty big on wanting kids so we've got some spare rooms. I'm...not sure I'm ready to commit to that but hey. Looks like we get some use out of it right? I'll just bring out the spare mattresses." She said as you looked at Arne and gave a wide grin.

"Sleepover?!" You said to him as he nodded.

"Yeah that, seems to be the case. Spring mattresses and old radiator heaters...like a museum piece." He said, thinking to his memories of what 21st century living accommodations were like.

"Well, look...I was a kid too so I'm not going to ask you to sleep in separate rooms just...don't wake the neighbours?" She said.

"Oh it's okay, Arne and I don't really sleep a lot...we'll be quiet. Promise!" You said with your hands clasped together. That was something of an understatement, you didn't have to sleep so you never really bothered unless there was nothing to do. Though given that you'd be away from your vessel's workbench you might end up being forced to take a nap to pass some time. Sitting around at night waiting for things to happen sounded dreadfully dull.

"Alright. Now...warning. I'm affiliated with a government law enforcement team and they're not super keen on unregistered vigilantes. I'm going to have to clear things with Piggot and the others. It's..." She said, pausing and procuring her phone and looking at the time and mouthing "what the fuck". "Okay it's still going to be pretty early in the morning when we arrive and most people are staying home. I know some places that try to stay open even when the weather's frightful though. And god willing, the Christmas songs have stopped playing by now." She said, resting her hand on her cheek and smiling as the two of you looked at each other and gave a nod while Alice and Joseph whispered to each other.

"And uh...red and black, please keep the dungeons and dragons monster manual menagerie out of sight when we're in civvies. People in the Bay would freak if they saw the legions of darkness and hellfire dancing on the steet." She said, clearing her throat as she gave them a pointed look and stared at Joseph's shadow folding his arms in disgusting and kicking at a roll of paper on the floor before detaching itself from him and going to a corner to sulk.

"Aww come on you hurt his feelings!" Joseph groaned as he stood up and tried to walk up to his shadow and pat it on the shoulder only for it to push him away in a display that made you snigger.

"...Okay do I need to apologise to the shadow?"

"I'm pretty sure they're just being melodramatic, their motions are incredibly exaggerated for attention," Arne said, taking a second to analyse their movements.

The shadow extended a middle finger towards Arne who flinched at the rude display. "W-wha? Come on! What did I do to warrant that?" He said, making a frown and a pout while Battery had a belly laugh and you and Alice started to crack up into laughter.

A knock at the door was heard shortly afterwards.

"Pardon me, would you people care to offer me some of your time?" Piggot said before your armour; in its zero-point state, sent you a message from Bumblebee.

Bumblebee: Hey, if you'd like to hang out by your ships, I've got something cool to show you guys!
Bumblebee: If Piggot is trying to get your attention, I can have someone occupy it for a bit, or I can wait if you'd like.
Bumblebee: Though I think your ships have something inside of them waiting for you...hrm.
Bumblebee: On the other hand, Kyrion's got some news for you they think needs to be said in person.

But Joseph raised a hand. "Hey, if you need some time to have a chat we could uh...hop on over to the shadow realm for a bit and talk about the incarnate...doohickeys. Just saying, we're gonna have to like...do it at some point but well...up to you really."

Actions:

All options destress a bit.

[]: Let Piggot in (Further briefing about Brockton Bay from the PRT. Start relation with PRT and Earth Bet American heroes.)
[]: Go off with Eudaimonica and Nightcaster (Continue forming friendship with Eudaimonic and Nightcaster, help familiarise yourself and the Worm characters with the incarnates and well of furies, prepare for relations with Primal Earth heroes.)
[]: Meet up with Bumblebee (Develop friendship with Bumblebee and autobots, deepen relation with the Autobot force and autobot party options, and check on your ships.)
[]: Discuss things with Kyrion (Greater leads on Chozo and Alimbic presence on dimensions such as Earth Bet and Primal Earth, establish greater connections with Section 13, introduce to new team mate option.)
[]: Write in
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 4

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[X]: Let Piggot in (Further briefing about Brockton Bay from the PRT. Start relation with PRT and Earth Bet American heroes.)

Samus

You decided to quickly message Bumblebee back before he could take you for a flake of some sort.

hatchingSentinel: sorrryyyyyy Bumblebee but it'd be rude to just put off a briefing! :(
Bumblebee: Aww I understand Samus. When you've got the time though, come on and hang out!
Bumblebee: I've got some great stories to tell and something really cool to show.
Bumblebee: They still call things cool in your universe right?
novaKnight: In some Vernaculars, yes.
Bumblebee: Ah right, thanks for that Arne!
hatchingSentinel: :D
novaKnight: :)
hatchingSentinel: >:D
novaKnight: :eek:
hatchingSentinel: > :D
novaKnight: Oh no, Samus your eyebrows are escaping again!
hatchingSentinel: > :D they are out of control!
Bumblebee; Hahahahahah
Bumblebee: Catch you two as soon as possible!

Okay now that was out of the way...

"Come in!" You said, letting Piggot slide into the door as she turned the handlebar type doorhandle downwards and muttered something rather impolitic about Europeans and the shape of their doorknobs. She stepped in, trying her best to look unimpressed by what she saw, but the tension radiating from her told a rather different story of a woman who just had her world turned upside down. A little shake to her step, the serpent of disquiet coiling around her mind, a slightly sour note to her mental aura. All things your keen eyes quickly picked up on as she looked around briefly.

"Where are...oh...you look, markedly less inhuman than I expected." She said, getting a shrug out of you while Arne idly chewed on a nail until you gently moved his hand away. You remember being told rather frequently that it was not seen as a hygenic habit while you were at the Prodigonia facility's programs for helping you adjust to non-progenitor species company. Besides with the accelerated healing the two of you have, his nails would grow back before he knew it anyway.

"Use the nanofile." You told him, giving him a small smile as he nodded and produced one from his pocket, quickly rubbing it across his nails to let the nanites each into the keratin he produced.

"So I presume that you trust me enough to speak to me in civilian guise at least?" She said, her eyes trailing to Eudaimonica and Joseph as they had produced some manner of console to play on, roughly rectangle-shaped with a blue and red controller on each side as they played some kind of...fighting game you guessed. She was playing some kind of power armour clad space commando*, he was playing some sort of mustachio'd man and Sammi was about to say something before Piggot harrumphed.

"Children, if you could please pay attention?" She asked with a sigh as they sheepishly put their consoles away.

"Sorry...so are you with like...this world's FBSA?" Alice asked, putting her hands forward and clasping them together, having a small thumb war with herself.

"...Pardon?" She asked.

"Federal Bureau of Superpowered Affairs." She said as she once again produced her FBSA license card, getting a nod out of the woman as she pulled up a chair and rested in it, stroking her index finger along her chin as she propped it up with her thumb before finally formulating her response.

"Yes. The Parahuman Response Team, though I am lead to believe you prefer the term...Metahuman yes?" She said, a thumbs up coming from Joseph's shadow that made her tighten her lips before looking at you and Arne, tilting her head somewhat upwards in response to the rather substantial height difference between the two of you and her.

"You two though, are a bit of an enigma. What would be the preferred term for your...kind?" The way she said that made you rankle inside. It felt grotesque, and you soon flashed a less than pleased face to let her know that you weren't interested in being called that again. Arne though, just made a small frown and stopped the tapping of his fingers in a way that made Piggot tense. The intense red colouration of his eyes seemed to unsettle her, and you started to get the impression that she thought his countenance was...strange.

"Extra or Supranormals...or Ultrasophonts. It depends on where you are in the universe really but, Ultrasophonts is the term that well; our caretakers would prefer. So, if you have to use a term, I guess go with that? I don't know. Call us what you like?" Arne said, the slight tendency to ramble indicative to you that he was feeling somewhat uneasy. The less quiet he was, the more uncomfortable he was served as a pretty good rule of thumb for gauging his mood when he wasn't keen on being open with his psychic signature.

"If it's all the same to you, for now I'd like to stick with what I know." She said, pulling out her briefcase and laying out some of the files she had stored there. Paper, which made you and everyone else raise an eyebrow. You thought for a moment about the tree that died to make for the pulp that made these sheets and frowned. It seemed like a waste. These papers would only degrade with each reuse, this was the only time they could be used at this level of quality with the technology here. You frowned and sighed before Piggot gave you a look you had trouble reading until your empathic senses told you she was confused.

"She's just, not really happy about the paper usage." Arne spoke up, getting a grateful nod out of you while you played a bit with your ponytail and sighed.

"Still not quite a paperless society I'm afraid." She said. You took a moment to realise it was a joke and bit your tongue to stop yourself from letting out a comment in response while she also pulled out a laptop that gave you about the same impression that looking upon Dinosaur fossils did.

"How much data can you fit in that thing? Two terabytes? Could you really fit the...important details in that?" You said in disbelief. This planet's internet barely managed zetabyte levels of data usage. An infinitesimal amount. So small you could design and assemble a drive to fit literally all of it pretty trivially even with basic tools. She wouldn't be able to provide all the important data such as spectroscopic analysis, biological statistics, weather patterns, gravimetric anomalies, subatomic fluctuations...

"Brevity is the soul of report writing." She said as she looked to Sammi.

"Your husband has told me everything, so no need to fill me in on the details, suffice to say it's very troubling information."

"Uhh yeah, the Fifth Column on a timeline not ready for it? Yikes you guys are not in for a fun time." Joseph said, taking a look at some of the papers, focusing on a picture of a Red and black Ubermensch Obert shaking hands with Kaiser; who seemed almost comically short next to the Raserei Oberst.

"The Empire Eighty-Eight has grown exponentially bolder and more vicious over the years. Their numbers constantly swelling, their equipment more plentiful, exotic, and of higher quality. We've barely been able to keep up as they start to push out rival gangs and attack with greater violence and enthusiasm than ever before. We weren't able to determine where they got this surge in strength from, but it seems you all put the pieces together." She said, your eyes scanning over a pile of papers. She was right in that the sudden explosion in activity would be difficult to explain with traditional recruitment methods, at least, not with the degree of organisation they were showing before a sudden and massive rise in power a few years ago.

"And it's hardly the only problem we've been facing. While it's not supposed to be my business, I've been looking into the reports of the disappearances of many homeless people and the reports of monsters in underground and out of the way places." She said, her breath briefly pausing when she mentioned underground monsters. From your read of her available information, she had a rather bad experience with that sort of thing. You could commiserate, there were...certain things you didn't like talking about yourself.

"Eudaimonica your...demon spoke to me about the Rikti and how they make more. How they drug and mutate people into their own kind." She said, looking to the Tiara on the redhead's forehead where the Demon Lord was currently residing, staring into the gem as it glowed in affirmation.

"Wait...those things weren't...alien alien?" Battery said, doing a doubletake.

"No, no. Their genes are modified from a human baseline but spliced with something very extraterrestrial. But it's...what's the word in English...stagnant." You said, fishing around for the right term in the dictionary for what you meant before continuing while you scratched at your neck in thought. "In a way that suggests that the alien genes have simply been templated into humans for a very long time. I don't think there has been any...True Rikti for a long time." You said, not quite liking the idea of calling them "true" Rikti as if the ones you fought were somehow lesser for being hybridized, you didn't think of yourself as any less human or chozo for being both after all.

"Yeah that was supposed to be like, a Vanguard secret but capes are capes so they just kinda...blabbed when they started finding out you know?" Joseph said, understandable; why would anyone want to keep news like that a secret?

"That seems very important to let people know, so...I'm glad they let others know. Shame on the ones who wanted to keep that a secret!" You said, folding your arms and nodding.

"Right, but as I was getting to. They're not the only source of unusual sightings or disappearances. Odd religious groups have come up, we thought it was the usual sex cult activity; something not in my department. But a lot of the new recruits who come to them either have a strange bitemark, or had intercourse with someone with the bitemark; and despite the seemingly high incidence of pregnancy, these people never report to the hospitals nor are the expected number of children enrolled in school. Furthermore, every neighbourhood they crop in gets a higher incidence of monster sightings." She said, passing on the relevant files on her laptop for you and Arne to pore over. While it seemed like a sign of manner of lifecycle hijacking, you had never seen anything that exactly fit the description and shook your head.

"Some sort of infectious organism is my best guess? Something that relies on altering host sexual behaviour to spread. Definitely extraterrestrial, but I have no idea what it'd be." He said, taking a look at notes of other, differing cults also cropping up in the Bay and the notes on various observed doctrines or symbols. "But...most of these don't look like anything I've seen. I'd need to get a closer look to tell you more." He said, running his hands through his hair and sighing.

"Hrm, unfortunate, the autobots told me much the same." She said with a somewhat disappointed sigh.

"We've also been experiencing a major upswing in trigger events, but many of these people then disappear shortly afterwards. Many seemingly designed to specifically encourage tinkers; parahumans with abilities to produce advanced technology. It's given my department something of a problem. The parahuman population is growing very rapidly, while mental health institutions are being swarmed with the traumatised and frightened." She said before Alice raised her hand.

"Trigger events?" She asked.

"Powers in this world only come from people who've experienced some manner of intense trauma. Which seems to activate something inside of them." She said before you couldn't help but blurt out.

"The extradimensional symbionts that bond with intelligent beings on this planet look for hosts who've had significant emotional disturbance!" You said, beaming brightly as if you had done something to be proud of only to slink back when you realised Piggot was staring at you with a thoroughly unimpressed expression. Did you make some sort of mistake? Arne a least, didn't think so as he patted you on the back while Sammi just gave a nod.

"So, what do you want us to do about it?" Arne asked, getting a nuzzle out of you before you gave each other some space.

"We are overloaded as is...and with these statues of the cultures that raised you waking up we can hardly take any additional strain as these things become prizes for otherworldly invaders on top of all of our own native issues. But you're...new to things here, so I'd like you to have some time to integrate and observe. Learn how the system works. I would very much like to...avoid the sort of damage Munich University suffered." She said, getting an extended sigh out of you. Regulations and restrictions, much of which weren't even all that useful for keeping people safe from authority. The Galactic Federation's regulatory system for Freelancers and Supramilitias was already enough of a chore to go through.

"I guess I understand. But are you trying to recruit us again?" Arne asked, getting straight to the point. "The answer's still going to be no. I...we can't...shouldn't tie ourselves to any one government. Not right now anyway. Especially when you do a lot I'd find really hard to feel okay with being part of." He said quite bluntly.

"I'll let you have time to think about it given the circumstances of your arrival. Please do consider though, being stateless for the duration of your stay will make much of your life complicated." She said.

"We can manage." You said for him, glowering a bit at her for trying to insist on a topic he clearly wasn't interested in pushing any farther.

"What is your plan for finances? We don't live in a post-scarcity or post-labor society and none of you here have any presence in the administration. No schooling records, no listed job experiences, not even so much as a social security or a passport number. You can't exactly depend entirely on Samantha and Ethan for all your daily needs in America." Piggot said, steepling her fingers as if she had made an ironclad point.

"And before you get ideas about using your technopathy to simply write yourselves into the system; that's not something that I'd be allowed to simply let happen. Perhaps you can fight off every cape that could be dispatched to deal with you, but you'd be making enemies without reason and cutting yourself off from assistance." She said, briefly making you wonder if she too was precognitive before realising that was silly, your visor would have caught that before hand. She was simply good at guessing how someone might use their powers to skirt around her bureaucracy.

Spirits you hated these suited tools of invisible systems of levers and gears.

"Now, we don't have to tie you to the American government per se. There is something we could do with the U.N; arrangements to be made with the security council. Especially given the circumstances we are facing. I'll be...blunt. With the state of the world we are not ready for an alien invasion. Let alone multiple ones. Especially not against those who have likely already infiltrated our society. Much of our defence is oriented to either skirmishing with each other, taking on rogue parahumans, or repelling the Endbringers. A massive assault by technologically superior foes would be..."

"A massacre. Your P.R.T officers are highly equipped by your standards and the Rikti slaughtered them. And you've been talking to the Autobots, haven't you?" Arne said, a bit bluntly, lacking in tact; still trying to find the balance between coming in with the subtlety of a sledgehammer or shying away with the stiffness of a wilting flower depending on his mood and demeanour towards the person. On the other hand, you weren't exactly too much better with the people who created the Iron Cage of rules and regulations yourself, it rankled against your free spirit and fondness of liberating chaos.

"Yes..." She said, Battery looking towards her.

"Ma'am, I've seen how just a few of the Autobots fight. If the Decepticon Army is like that; most capes would get pasted fighting their basic troops. And, we don't really know how to find which ones of them are in disguise." Battery said flatly, getting a nod out of Emily.

"Yeah, uh. Back home, most people below security level forty would be dead weight." Nightcaster said sheepishly.

"What is the highest security level?" Piggot asked.

"Seventy five. Used to be fifty. But with more incarnates and incarnate level threats they kinda just, expanded the range." Alice said.

"And speaking of the two of you, what are your plans for managing your way around our incarnation of Earth?" Piggot said.

"Uhhh...we were just gonna wait for our team to pick us up once Portal Corps zeroes in on our location." Joseph responded.

"They're just going to...drop in without warning?" You said, already seeing an obvious flaw in that plan as Joseph tugged a bit of his collar.

"It's kinda Portal Corps standard protocol?" He said as Piggot placed a palm over her face and muttered something about the anarchy of other dimensions.

"And how long will that take?" She asked.

"I have absolutely no idea!" Alice said, offering two thumbs up and a cheery grin as if this was all a joke to her.

"And who is going to pick you up?" Piggot asked.

"Uh...probably other Starsetters. Steel Paladin, Lybraa, Rundrasta, Mistral Slash, Boltdancer, Blastjack, Mechamaven, and Dawnmaker." Joseph said, trying to recall the names of the people who said they'd be on their way to pick him up before he got out his phone and typed in something, before nodding and giving a thumbs up. So at least he could remember something like that correctly.

"And these are all humans from your reality?" Sammi asked.

"Oh what? No way. Steel Paladin's some kind of Fairy from another multiverse and well, overall really spiffy looking twink. Rundrasta's some kind of...frost angel or something, really pretty though. Lybraa's a psychic elf from another reality and Dawnmaker's a Peacebringer so he's Kheldian...Elfy...mixy...thingy. The other part of him came from like, another reality too. Slash and Bolt are human though." Joseph said.

"And how long would you expect it to take for them to find you?"

"I dunno, they're usually pretty competent. I'm surprised they haven't found us already." Alice said before Piggot got a phone call, prompting her attentions to shift towards her pocket as she fished out her primitive rectangular pocket computer and pressed in the security pin to allow her to access the call, which you briefly saw was coming from someone by the name of...Vista you think? Probably a codename.

"Yes, Vista, I'm in the middle of important business with our extraterrestrial guests." You decided to listen in on Vista's end of the conversation, focusing in on her words, however muffled they were by Piggot's cheek in the way.

"+Uh, ma'am we've got a situation. And I know you said not to call you unless it was an emergency but...+"

"I'm going to assume this is an emergency then."

"+Okay so eight parahumans I have never seen in my entire life just popped out of a portal asking for where two of their friends were and most of the adults are out somewhere else so we handled talking to them. But uh, this guy on the street pulled out some kind of rocket launcher, shot the Knight and then got blasted into bits so Aegis thought they just murdered him even when I told him that person felt like a robot and now there's a fight in the street and...+" A crashing sound was heard followed by the wail of a car alarm.

"+Yeah we kind of gave the...superhero standard hello?+" She said in a tiny, embarrassed voice.

"...Is there some sort of secret handshake among your subculture that involves thrown cars?" You asked, utterly baffled by this strange slang.

"Oh it means a fight broke out. It's kind of how superheroes who've never met each other say hi." Joseph said as if this was no biggy.

"+...I'm okay.+" A fainter voice in the background said before wheezing.

"+...Kid Win could you not try to tank the big robot's fist with your face?+" She said.

"+YOU ARE ATTACKING DULY SWORN METAHUMAN VOLUNTEER HEROES OF PRIMAL EARTH, THIS VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW CODE SECTION ALPHA 34 DASH SIX B HAS BEEN REGISTERED, SUPPRESSIVE FORCE AUTHORISED! SUBMIT TO ARREST TO AVOID FURTHER NONLETHAL CONFLICT.+" Another, louder, metallic voice boomed.

"+...Hooooh shit it's got missiles, oh my god it's got so many missiles. Should I just pull it apart? The girl who made it seems really...proud of it. Also kind of a jerk because I'm 99% sure she just gave the new guy a wedgie.+"

"+PREPARE FOR A PARAGON CITY WELCOME NEEEEEEEEEEERDS!+" A loud, feminine voice shouted before breaking into maniacal laughter right up until she started coughing loudly. "+...Ugh, throat dry, need water.+"

"Hey that sounds like Mechamaven! Oh man she's teleporting in her heavy assault bots?" Joseph said, again putting you slightly off with how he seemed to take this...completely unseriously.

"Is anyone seriously hurt?" Piggot said after some stunned silence before electricity crackled on the other side of the phone.

"+Uh no we're mostly just...fighting to try and restrain each other. They're just trying to cuff us. And we're just trying to foam them. Newbie's wedgie is uh...atomic though. Ouch. Knight guy's fine though, the rocket launcher didn't even dent that armour and the robot doppelganger thing was halfway through ranting about some guy named Megamawhatsit before it got zapped.+" Vista said.

"+VISTA GET OFF THE FUCKING PHONE! WE'VE ALMOST GOT ONE OF THEM!+" That voice sounded male. And rather desperate.

Actions (Specify whether Samus or Arne do it, though both can do the same action to support each other.)

[]: Try to get a more in depth sitrep and then teleport in via autobot ground bridge, this will take more time though.
[]: Use the autobot ground bridge to teleport everyone into the Arkhangelsk base to break up the fight
[]: Just teleport in and get everyone to knock it off
[]: Use the ground bridge and restrain everyone.
[]: Try contacting the two teams and talk things out
[]: Have a third party sort them out
[]: Write in


* To get all the "hey you're a fictional character!" stuff out of the way, any setting that will be used in this crossover has never appeared as a fictional franchise in any of the Earths that will show up. So any setting mentioned as a fictional franchise by Bet or Primal Earthers (or others) can be assumed to not be showing up in the crossover. Thus Metroid was never a game series in either Primal Earth or Earth Bet, thus Nintendo's first female scifi protagonist is Aelita Efimna Sokolova of the series Cosmodon; made by a joint Pajitnov & Pokhilko Electronic Bureau-Nintendo project.
 
Showdown at the Bay & Starsetters Team Omicron (Takes place in Arc 1: Intermission 1.4)

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
From the Up 'n Away Gazzetter

The Starsetters are one of the newer Metahuman teams of Paragon City, founded in the summer of 2019 by the Peacebringer Helian Justice and the Warshade Gloomy Retribution as well as a brother and sister pair of emigres from the Psykor Dimension known by their titles of the Xaeon and the Iybraa; or War-Seeker and Knowledge Quester in their native languages. The Psychic Elf-Like Aliens, only fourteen at the time, confided with the merged heroes that a team where they could go on patrol together with their fellow youth heroes and where non-humans would be especially accomodated would be the ideal placement for them, and with the official permission of the Mayor of Paragon, got permission to set up a portal to their team headquarters in Khalisti Wharf.

The Starsetters are primarily but not exclusively focused on young heroes as well as heroes who have moved in from other dimensions, universes, planets, or are in some way distant from humanity such as mutants, Coralax, Peacebringers, robots, cyborgs, and a number of other such species. The Starsetters have also always sought to maintain a welcoming, inclusive environment that any member regardless of origin can feel welcome in, and has focused itself on not simply crime-fighting; but crime prevention through social and community service. The Starsetters also allow for adults or humans to continue to join their ranks, but these members are expected to keep in mind that the team is meant to be a welcoming place for our nonhuman heroes and for younger heroes to find their place.

The Starsetters have to their name a large number of high security level heroes from around the world as well as a significant number of incarnates, not the least of which are its founding members. This gives the Starsetters a tremendous deal of firepower for a relatively new organisation, and its support from a number of prominent non-humans in the hero community has also allowed it to expand at a significantly greater than normal rate. Already, the Starsetters are considered one of the best places for newcomers to the Primal Earth dimension or to the planet of Primal Earth itself to go through at least for a period of time to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings.

...

Starsetter Team Omicron is primarily lead by Tyrius Veldegard, the famed Steel (or Solar) Paladin and a recent emigre to the Primal Universe from a distant "Worlds Aflame" Metaverse as well as his primary paramour, the Frost Angel Raelamiel Thelimir, better known as Rundrasta. The two incarnates form a potent power couple with him focusing on taking the hits while she dishes out the damage. Included in their typical roster is Dawnmaker, a Yurye-Kheldian merged Peacebringer whose combination of Yurye psionics and Vondun living metal symbiote armour and Kheldian energy prowess and physical might has made him a nationwide teen senstation; Mechamaven, a young up and coming mastermind with a tremendous skill with robotics from the African-American mutant community; Blastjack, a Soviet foreign exchange student loaned out to the Starsetters following his contact and bonding with an extraterrestrial power source as part of Soviet-American goodwill measures channelled through a Craftertech Rifle and power suit designed by Vector Shift and modified by maven for his use; Iybraa herself with her Vondun living metal power armour symbiont and her tremendous psionic powers; Boltdancer, an Electric Controller who's recently risen from the African-American mutant community of King's Row to join the Starsetters to get his foot in the door; and finally the sensational Mistral Slash who's come all the way from Japan with her mutant superspeed, camouflage, physiology, and her ability to channel energy through objects such as her sword.

Starsetter Profiles​

Tyrius Veldegard, aka Steel Paladin
Age: 15
Hair Colour: Red
Eye Colour: Green
Species: Fairy-Nymph hybrid
Place of Birth: Lelndilmyr, Eldrakar, Xarazanth, Nightfire Universe
Powers: Massively enhanced physiology, fae magics and physiology, Paladin magics, omega level pyrokine, Goddess Granted Sword, Spear, Armour, and Shield, Solar Incarnate, Nymphic Beauty.
Skills: Skilled and charismatic leader, masterful melee combatant, experienced with multiple forms of magic, excellent model builder, very charming and personable, best diplomat on the team, only person on team to have the patience to finish a game of monopoly.
Origin: Supernatural
Archetype: Tanker
Security Level: 75



Raelamiel Thelimir aka Rundrasta
Age: 15
Hair Colour: White
Eye Colour: Blue
Species: Kfohrim (Frost Angel)
Place of Birth: Vhoxon, Heavenly Choir, Throne, Choraleum Dimension
Powers: Angelic Physiology and Magics, masterful melee combatant, omega level cryokine, flight, Frost Incarnate, "Lucky Shots", Heavenforged Power Armour and twin Frost-swords, Angelic beauty.
Skills: Expert socialite and party organizer, masterful knowledge of heavenly politics and event organisation, Innate knowledge of warfare and combat, Paragon City youth beatboxing champion, Supreme Dream Teen Meme Queen (Self Proclaimed).
Origin: Supernatural
Archetype: Scrapper
Security Level: 75



Arkoril Ypshalon, Bringer of Glorious Redemption, aka Dawnmaker
Age: 17 (Yurye Host), 151,389,670 (Kheldian Symbiont), 1 (Combined identity)
Hair Colour: Gold
Eye Colour: Orange
Species: Yurye, Kheldian
Place of Birth: Itaxon, Federation of Hashara, Higras, Psykor Dimension
Powers: Yurye Physiology, Kheldian Peacebringer abilities, Vondun Living Metal Symbiont Power Armour, Incarnate
Skills: Through the Bringer of Glorious Redemption, Dawnmaker has the accumulated experience of a hundred and fifty million years of existence and a million lifetimes. Speaks fluent Pirate.
Origin: Extraterrestrial
Archetype: Peacebringer
Security Level: 75



Darla Brown aka Mechamaven
Age: 14
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Species: Human (Mutant)
Place of Birth: Paragon City, United States, Earth, Primal Universe
Powers: Innate understanding of non-magical technology allowing her to quickly decipher and then understand what she needs to reproduce something like it with the materials available, Built her own power suit and energy weapons, and an army of robots and the facilities to rapidly manufacture more to be teleported in to her location no matter where she is, time manipulation devices, Incarnate.
Skills: Mastery of robotics, engineering, particle physics, and a number of other STEM fields, impeccable real-time strategy gamer, mediocre Super Smash brothers player.
Origin: Technology
Archetype: Mastermind
Security Level: 75



Ivan Valeryvich Kalashnikov
Age: 15
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Blue
Species: Human
Place of Birth: Mikhailgrad, Soviet Union, Earth, Primal Universe
Powers: Bonding with Extraterrestrial power source has turned him into a living dynamo of constant energy production that can be used to charge all manner of exotic technology or simply used in a more raw form, primarily uses it to power an advanced power suit and beam weapon designed for him by Vector Shift and Mechamaven, practices esoteric martial arts that grant supernatural prowess as well, super-reflexes and regeneration, overall augmented physiology, Incarnate.
Skills: Best chess player in the entire starsetters team, excellent marksman and melee combatant, extremely multilingual, exceedingly good at coding, second strongest meme game after Rundrasta, extraterrestrial power source has granted him with some extraterrestrial knowledge.
Origin: Science
Archetype: Blaster
Security Level: 75



Elerya Ophilix aka Iybraa
Age: 15
Hair Colour: Blonde
Eye Colour: Orchid
Species: Yurye
Place of Birth: Irkana, Federation of Hashara, Higras, Psykor Dimension
Powers: Yurye Physiology and Psionics, Vondun Living Metal Symbiotic Power Armour, Psychic Incarnate, Herald of the Yurye Prime, virtually impossible to knock down or lock down
Skills: Skilled manipulator, master of Telepathy, Psychodynamics, and Telekinesis, Capable markswoman and melee combatant, Paragon City dance dance revolution champion to beat for two years in a row, Psychology expert, can download memories and skills as she desires
Origin: Extraterrestrial
Archetype: Dominator
Security Level: 75



Marcus Wilson aka Boltdancer
Age: 14
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Species: Human (Mutant)
Place of Birth, Paragon City, United States, Earth, Primal Universe
Powers: Electricity Control, Electric Speed, Electric generation and augmentation, can draw out electric power from the ambient area or call it from an extradimensional source, able to protect body with electricity, magnetic control
Skills: Innate understanding of electromagnetism, expert at using electronic telecommunications, high skilled healer and motivator
Origin: Mutant
Archetype: Controller
Security Level: 75


Mitsuki Aiko aka Mistral Slash
Age: 16
Hair Colour: Auburn
Eye Colour: Hazel
Species: Human (Mutant)
Place of Birth: Nagakonai, Japan, Earth, Primal Universe
Powers: Can channel energy through body and objects, enhanced physiology, can turn imperceptible across a wide spectrum of detection methods, Incarnate
Skills: Excellent at twister, undefeated Starsetter Champion at hide and seek, Master of multiple martial arts, Excellent at fighting games, great at drawing, skilled markswoman and trapsetter
Origin: Mutant
Archetype: Stalker
Security Level: 75




Brockton Bay, 13th of January, 08:31 AM​

The eight of them had managed to subdue some large...green man who spoke like a stereotypical idiot, using "me" instead of I, and never using words with more than a handful of syllables. Like many other of these self-identified "trolls", they were freakishly strong, regenerated blindingly fast, took hits like champions, but didn't seem to be overly fond of fire. This one, in particular, didn't bother with guns or melee weapons, simply grabbing a lamp post and trying to use it like a baseball bat. Clobbered several PRT officers senseless and didn't seem to be affected by any of the known parahuman power neutralisers. Which lead Vista to conclude it must have been those "Metahumans" that she'd been briefed about.

She also got a brief memo on some magic threads and shards and doohickeys, like the stuff she went to bed with last night, but when she woke up they were gone and the main thing she remembered was this strange dream of something feminine talking to her.

Emphasis on brief, something about another set of realities...at least three others...giant robots, nazis, and two teens who fell from space in alien power suits and got up just fine. Why does all the weird shit have to happen in the bay, she wondered? Couldn't this be New York's problem for once.

"Did you get the Hot Chocolate Vista? This weather is going to be the death of me." Clockblocker said, interrupting Vista's thoughts, rubbing at his arms and shivering in the subzero temperatures before Vista offered him a piping hot mug full of cocoa with the exact brand of marshmallows he preferred, getting a nod of thanks out of the redhead while he ducked out to remove enough of his mask to have a sip. Vista herself sipped from the other mug, glad for the winterised version of her costume allowing her to preserve at least some heat while she rubbed at her gloves.

"See, this girl always brings the best chocolate. Come on, what's your secret?" One of the newer wards; brought on in the sudden explosion of trigger events; said to her. Vista took a look at her; her costume mostly meant for warmth as her regeneration and toughened tissue made her not overly concerned about the hits she took to get close enough to make use of the metal covered claws she could project from her skeleton or the detachable metallic bone shards she could push out of her shoulders in a rather unnerving display. Feralborn's powers were often kind of messy but her stubborn refusal to stay down made her a natural compliment to Aegis; especially after his second trigger; even if she wasn't quite as strong and lacked his flight. In any case, it was best to let Starla Smith take the hits in her stead when possible.

"She just gets them from Diego's Chocolates." Clockblocker said with a laugh. "Best place in town, really sweet Spanish couple owns it and man the Churros are to die for." He said, rubbing his belly wistfully.

"...Don't literally die for Churros, please." Vista added. "But yeah, it's just a place I can get to easily. The owners are sweet too." Vista added.

"Wasn't planning on it...but uh...you got any for me? Kind of hungry here." She said, crouching a bit as her camouflage patterned costume ruffled with her movements, steam curling out of the scarf she wore over her mouth and morning light bouncing off of her goggles, the hood she wore darkening her covered face a bit further as she idly flicked one of her claws against the snow, driving some of it out of the way.

"Are you ever not hungry?" Shielder said, folding his arms with a coy smirk on his face even with the cherry red tint to his probably thoroughly cold nose. While not officially a ward, the New Wave had offered their help in the operation, and while arrogant and kind of flirty at the wrong times, Eric's shield powers had come in handy countless times.

"You know she needs to eat more to keep that power of hers going." Laserdream cut in, his older sister hovering overhead as she kept an eye out for any further trouble, blonde hair trailing behind her in the sky before she shrugged and set herself down to keep out of the frostbitten winds, pink and white outfit feeling just a bit too skimpy for this sort of weather.

"You're just jealous because I never have to watch what I eat." Starla said with a smug grin beneath her camo mask that got an eyeroll out of shielder.
"Tease all you want, I know you dig me." He said with a finger pistol that got a bit of a stammer from Starla before she turned away and harrumphed.

"Keep flirting on the job and you might get laid sometime this century." Cerebro was another new recruit, another Brockton Native and one of the last Jewish people in Brockton Bay after the Empire-88 started carrying out pogroms. It made him rather bitter and cynical and Vista always figured him for someone who'd likely ditch the Protectorate and the Wards if they ever got in the way of his hoped for vengeance. His helm had, entirely cosmetic, wires and tubes emerging from it and going into his neck, his gas mask making a prolonged hiss as he sucked in filtrated air.

"Got something up your sleeve point dexter?" Clockblocker said, offering him a snack bar only to be rebuffed.

"Nah I'm not hungry...but I've just been trying to piece together the patterns of these trolls. They don't move around like they know the city so they can't be local. Get me some mementoes and I'll have it deduced I'm sure." Cerebro was amazing at deduction through long distance observation, but where he really shined was when he had some physical evidence to look at. A living forensic lab and a master of taking data he observed and compiling answers, strategies, or well crafted theories. It also made him amazingly good at beating people down once he had them figured out, especially with his enhanced physiology and the gear he tended to carry with him.

The downside is that he couldn't predict the future, just give an educated guess at it, and what he made were deductions, not scans. If he couldn't physically sense something or if he wasn't aware of it his power just didn't work on it. Not like Tattletale who always seemed to know things she couldn't possibly have ever been around to find out. Still, Jerry Einstein was fun to have around as long as it wasn't time to watch mystery shows together. On the other hand, she'd never seen someone go through so much

"This week is officially the worst." Kid Win said with a sigh as he deployed his suit's rebreather to avoid having to expose his lips to spit freezing cold.

"I get told that there's aliens in the Sewers but here I am dealing with a bunch of...dumb jock druggies. Come on, I just want to look at one plasma blaster." Kid Win sighed before receiving a pat on the shoulder from Lady Silver. Lady Silver was hardly the first cape with a knight theme, but Mary Goldberg certainly put some of the most effort into trying to rock it. If summoning energy-charged full plate with a mighty energy enhanced two-handed sword or lance wasn't enough, her ability to seemingly project an armoured Alicorn into being made her supremely versatile. In her armoured form she was one of the tallest members of the ward, her gleaming silver, platinum, and gold coloured full plate with a feathered crest almost making her look ostentatious.

Of course, almost ceased to apply when she found a cape lying around that she insisted she had to wear that since became part of her costume, having demonstrated significantly increased abilities; including an odd tendency for attacks to redirect away from her; ever since putting it on. When the PRT briefed her on what...Nightcaster and Eudaimonica told them was magic Vista thought of Goldberg, how she seemed to break a number of rules. She claimed to have never triggered, these were abilities she just had after finding a suit of armour. For the longest time Vista just thought it was...a lie but now...hrm.

"Cheer up Kid Win. There will be more foes to best in the coming days! Surely in the near future we shall be blessed with a chance to take the battle to these Rikti?" She said, getting a nod from Kid Win.

"You know you don't have to do the LARP dialogue when we're not in public right?" Kid Win said.

"...It's fun though." She responded, folding her arms.

"At least these guys are dumber than rocks." Vista said, humming as the PRT arrived to collect them, one of the officers saluting the group as they passed by.

"Same chemicals in this guy's system as far as we can tell from a quick look. So this seems to be the result of some kind of drug." The detective said as he took a look, going for the most stereotypical trench coat, fedorah, and pipe look he could have possibly managed; seeming to have tumbled out of some noir crime drama film from the prohibition era with an accent to match.

"...What kind of drugs gives you superpowers, makes you green and turns you into a moron?" Aegis asked as his team started trickling in, rubbing his neck after having taken a pretty hard knock to the head earlier that made him glad that he was pretty hard to keep dead.

"I have no idea. Can't be any of the local gangs because these guys have been turf warring with all of them besides some of the weird newbies and the Mafiosos. My guess, shake the local Italian crime family. Probably got their fingers on it." He said as he lit his pipe up and took a drag from it.

"What makes you say that?"

"Vial the drug comes in says "Luccini pharmaceuticals", that's an Italian name." He said as he fished out evidence and put it into a bag. He took a moment to regard the brow horns the drug addict had been developing as well as the sharp, boar like tusks that had been emerging from their lower jaw.

"Christ, who'd get people hooked on this shit?" He said with a sigh.

A few more were dropped onto the pile, freshly knocked out by the white and gold clothed Glory Girl as she descended from the air, holding herself in a "Ta-dah!" pose and offering that same old cheer leader smile that let Vista believe things were going to be alright. She dusted off her hands while Gallant footslogged behind her, huffing a bit and then extending out a hand to ask for everyone to wait.

"Hh-Kid...can you...make me a jetpack? Please...ahhh.." He said as he pushed himself up, getting a pat on the head from Victoria.

"Uh sure, when I've got time." Kid Win said with a shrug as the Detective took another drag from his pipe and puffed a ring of smoke from it, making Glory Girl scrunch up her face in response and mutter something about pipe huffing cancersticks like it made them look cool.

"I think that should be all of them. This one called himself Grog the Tog...could you believe that? Good thing he was about as smart as he sounds because this guy packed a punch. God, you should have seen him make boxing gloves out of cars and knocking himself out by headbutting into a cooling tower wall." She said as she gestured to the largest of the trolls, a near ten foot behemoth of a man with muscles thicker than Vista's entire body.

"...A drug did this?" Aegis said, clearly baffled.

"All evidence points that way." The detective answered.

"That kind of superpowered dope on the streets..." Fleur said*, rubbing her chin.

"Is already raising merry hell." The detective finished.

"With steroids like that the guy's balls are probably the size of M&Ms." Clockblocker joked, getting an "eyyyyy" out of Kid Win as they briefly exchanged a high five while Vista sniggered and Aegis and Shadow Stalker just let out long groans.

"Classy." Was all Glory Girl said in response, clearly unimpressed given the strength of her eye-roll.

"So uh...is that everyone? Been runnin' all over hell's half acre tryin' ta catch all these green fellas in this here weather like the heart of a banker on foreclosure day and I swear by baby-jesus if I ain't glad ta be through with 'em." One of the new wards, Greased Lightning said, the kid's voice giving him away as the child of two migrants, one from Texas, one from Arkansas. Vista found it charming even if she could hear people snickering behind Hank's back whenever they thought he wasn't in earshot. That is, when people weren't suggesting she get to know him better since they were about the same age.

Hank Henryson wore a red white and blue outfit that occupied the in between space of a race car driver and a mechanic with some added ballistic protection that didn't really seem to fit with his Greased Lightning name, but she figured all the patriotic speedster themed names were currently taken. On the one hand, he wasn't quite as fast as velocity, on the other hand he didn't have velocity's limitation on impacts that made Velocity more annoying than threatening in melee and he was actually really quite durable. Still, Aegis wasn't keen on the thirteen-year-old southern fried white boy taking hits to the face he didn't have to, and mostly had him on support.

"Greased, this isn't Texas. Remember your speech coach training. We're not here for the Foghorn Leghorn rehearsal" Aegis said.

"Boy I say if ya'll keep bringin' up that gosh darn chicken I swear on Mary mother of Jesus I'll have myself a dying duck fit." He stamped his foot and seethed mostly to himself, folding his arms. Vista was...still uncertain on some of his...Southernisms but she was pretty sure he just said he'd be really mad if they kept teasing him about his accent.

"Come on, be nice to him." Clockblocker said with a bit of sympathy as one of the other newbies, Quetzal, moved in on one of her serpents; dismounting and dusting her shoulders off from the snow that had accumulated onto it as the feathered Serpent coiled around her to provide warmth. Despite the name though, she wasn't Mexican, instead hailing from Bali in Indonesia. Ni Wayan Suardika Dewi; though to her eternal annoyance many just called her "Niway"; namely the same people who pushed her into taking a name from an entirely mythology than her own Hindu faith. She had wanted to go with Naga, but PR told her such was too obvious.

Her costume melded serpentine and avian influences, scalework armour, showy and probably well insulated water proofed feathers, a cloak that could help to keep out the sun on hot days, and more rigid bits here and there where flexibility wasn't necessary but protection was. She wore ski goggles at the moment to keep the glare of the snow out of her eyes, and wore a flight mask to help provide her with oxygen whenever riding on one of her projected serpents high enough to need extra oxygen to breathe.

With the frequency of her retreat to high altitudes, she nearly always dressed for cold weather regardless of the temperature on the surface, and Vista had become quite accustomed to the word "Dingin"; or "Cold". Vista couldn't really blame her, she was a native of a warm, tropical beach resort island whose value only increased when the Endbringers struck at a number of other popular tourist destinations. East coast winters must be like the ninth circle of hell for her.

"So what have your snakes found?" Shadowstalker said, clearly hoping that somehow the weather would improve from abominable to tolerable simply through sheer willpower as she stubbornly glared at the snow, trying to wish it away beneath her breath.

"That seems to be the whole bunch. But the funny thing is that a lot of these people sound like they're from Rhode Island." She said as the winged snake let out a gout of steam from its mouth while she patted at the projection, letting it flick its tongue into the air and taste it.

"Yeah, street people I talked to didn't recognise any of them." Vista said, taking another sip from her hot chocolate and chewing slightly on a marshmallow. Sweet, fluffy, just chewy enough the way she liked it. Paradise.

"Man like they could recognise their own mothers." Stormchild, who had just descended from the sky herself, had genuinely moved in from Mexico unlike Quetzal. Vista remembered when she was a he, before she came out and asked Panacea to help her out in exchange for a favour she wasn't privy to. Still, having some actual ranged firepower was massively helpful. Lola Rodriguez's costume was based more on the wear of fighter pilots, an armoured g-suit, bomber jacket, flight helmet and mask. Handy when one is up in the clouds.

Truth be told, Vista was one of the few people who wasn't in awe of her power, if only because she could easily neutralise it. Everything she did was just down to aerokinetics, even the lightning that often put the fear of god into people in her way was just being really good at rubbing together enough dust and ice in a certain path to create the static discharge. A clever trick to be sure though.

She was glad for the extra support though. She supposed it was one benefit to the rapid increase in the number of triggers going on these days. Lots more people to help out. They now had enough for multiple squads for the Bay these days. It of course made her miss when the unit was a bit tighter knit but on the other hand, patrolling in fire teams of five to eight split from squads of ten to sixteen was much safer than doing so in pairs. Even when they needed to split down into smaller units, it was nice to know she had more company.

"These guys are so dumb I don't think they recognised what street they were on. Kept on babbling about Skyway City or something. Absolutely out of their minds."

"Doesn't sound like any place I've ever heard of...either it's some suburb I don't know about or some kind of store...or maybe it's from that other universe." Vista said, parsing through the plausible sounding theories in short order before getting a shrug out of Stormchild.

"Yeah, I guess. What matters though, is that these clowns are face first in the ground."

"As a professional clown I take offense to this." Clockblocker said with a wide grin beneath his mask.

"Yeah, where's your license gingerboy?" She scoffed. The teasing kept on going for a bit while the comms filled up with the usual childish joking around, but Vista tuned it all out in short order. She felt something in the air. Her eyes widened and the fabric of space that she was so attuned to had an unpleasant tingle to it. Something pushing itself through across an impossible distance. Her breath drew short and her eyes grew wide as she pushed Clockblocker out of the way of a swirling maelstrom of white tearing itself into the air.

The air split apart in a rapidly widening electric circle with a lightning orb at its centre, humming and electric crackling mingling to produce an unearthly howling noise before eight shapes began to push through well...not quite eight, but eight she recognised as at least likely to be living breathing...humans? A knight with butterfly wings and black, red and gold armour, a boy in a blue and yellow trench coat, someone in blue and yellow power armour, a girl in pink and white with wings of crackling energy, an angelic figure in gleaming and cold blue-white armour, someone in gaudy yellow-green armour riding upon the shoulders of a large robot at the helm of a formation of large robots, a cloaked figure in white and red with a sword in hand, and someone in red, orange, and gold living metal armour glowing like sun, a roman style helm concealing their head save for glowing eyes and a billowing cape flowing behind them.

"Heads up team, Portal Corps says that this is the city closest to where Eudaimonica and Nightcaster dropped off to." Steel Paladin said, rising higher into the air with his wings seemingly hextupling in size as he stretched them out to their proper length; a glowing and sacred halo surrounding him while his wings grew to the proportions of a proper butterfly relative to his rather tall frame, drawing attention away from his gleaming kite shield or the rune encrusted red sword that lay in his other hand.

"...Oh my god he sparkles." Vista said as her eyes widened at the sight of the Butterfly knight's fully spread wings, each twice as long as he was tall at their full span, sugary dust billowing out with every wing flap until they wreathed themselves in crimson and golden metal with blackened eye spots; glowing with a solar light that made all the gathered PRT officers and Wards flinch away, raising anything that might shield them from the brilliant light like the unwelcome but comforting glare of the morning sun. It was...beautiful. Not awe inspiring, not terrifying, not intimidating...just...beautiful.

She felt the urge to just, say hello...to get to know him, transfixed by the beauty of the Butterfly Knight's wings. But she realised that this was some sort of compulsion, some sort of trick on her brain. A command to be at peace and to welcome the presence of the emissary of the Morning...was this magic? Or just some sort of really weird power? She heard that magic was a real thing apparently...but seeing it before her was another thing. Not even Glory Girl's presence felt so overbearing on her psyche...but she put two and two together. The wings, the sparkles, the presence of demons earlier, that strange presence and unplaceably celtic accent.

"He's a fairy..." She said with a dumb smile on her face. She had so many games of pretend as a child that played out like this. Swept off her feet by a prince among fairies, handsome and charming. She recalled collecting books about fairies, trying to get them to come to toadstools or mushroom circles and staying late at night in the hopes of seeing magic. And here it was, resplendant as the sun after the long night.

"Don't be afraid. I am the Steel Paladin, Emissary of Our Lady of the Unconquered Sun, Leader of Team Omicron of the Starsetters. We mean you no harm." He said gently, his voice supernaturally compelling. She wanted to believe him, she wanted to trust hi...this was more magic. His voice was supernaturally compelling. You couldn't help but feel like everything would be alright if you just listened to it; and every flap of his wings seemed to intensify the effect as the blizzard stilled around him, glittering sugary dust billowing from his wings and filling her mouth with an indescribably sweet taste.

Then he pulled off his helmet and her jaw just kind of...dropped. A lean, youthful face, like the most beautiful boy she had ever seen, with boyband styled windswept hair as red as a fire truck, eyes like emeralds that shone like stars with an inner light, and pointed ears that went to his temples. She felt like she'd go blind if she looked at it without his permission...no she would have her eyes burnt out if she gazed upon him against his desires, at least unless she was lucky or tough...but he wanted her to look upon him to know that everything was going to be fine, and it was at that point that she was certain.

"This is magic..." She said.

"What...come on, it's probably just the PRT freaking out about some weird pow...what the fuck he's hot?" Clockblocker said, at first having not looked directly at the Steel Paladin before turning and stopping all of his thought processes at once. He was straight as an arrow, but the compulsion to admire his beauty seemed to ignore that bit about Dennis.

"We are just looking for two of our friends who have been here recently. If you are kind enough to let us find them in your dimension, we will be on our way. Or if you'd prefer it; we could establish an embassy." He said with a voice that sounded like her favourite singer...it probably sounded like whatever the listener thought would be the most pleasant to hear out of those lips.

"I don't like this, this guy's putting out some mad mind control." Aegis said, hostility quickly forming in his voice.

"...Aegis no." Vista said, starting to have a sinking feeling about where this was going.

"Aww dangnabbit I didn't sign on for this pretty boy fourth of july show." Greased Lightning said as the Angel drew a little further forwards, her own armoured and feathered wings beating at a regular pace that didn't quite seem like they should be allowing her to achieve flight. Her own presence was also calming, a messenger of peace, a harbinger of justice, and also...fun? She got the feeling that she was a lot of fun, like a party could be just barely perceived around her as she made a V for victory sign with her fingers.

"Yoooo, waddup other dimensional peeps? Rundrasta here comin' at you live all the way from the Choir invisible with an Angelgram for ya'll. Now, ya'll can point us in the right way and I promise you it'll be worth your while my dudes. Or like, I dunno, we could do the standard superhero hello. But like, we got two junior partners lost here probably knee deep in your meme culture doing magic shows or some shit, so we need to find them. Before their parents start missing them, you dig?" She said, her tone absolutely...unexpected from an angel in a way that made Vista briefly step back.

"Hey, they seem like they just wanna hang out. So maybe we should just, I dunno. Give 'em what they want? Phone up Piggot? I think they're with her in...Russia or something." Clockblocker said, tugging his collar just a bit as the stand off continued, PRT officers all training their weapons on their Paragonite counterparts, the symbol of a setting star all proudly displayed on their shoulders and chests.

"Who's to say that they are who they say they are...this could be a trick." Shadowstalker said, already knocking an arrow into her crossbow.

"Bleh more fucking Americans..." The blue and yellow one with a rather menacing looking energy weapon said as his gun began to whine with charged energy and Vista felt a sudden sense of alarm starting to rise up inside of her. Too much of the team was just spoiling for a fight to back down at this point. All it would take is the wrong move and they'd have a massive brawl right here on the street.

"Hey, Vodka Drunkinski, where'd you buy that accent?" Feralborn cackled as she extended the claws from her gloves and got into a low stance, growling like a predator while Steel Paladin sighed and placed his helmet back on.

"Guys, please can we not have a fight for our first contact scenario?" Vista said. She could feel that low pressure looking for an excuse in her head, but she was ignoring it for the most part. This wasn't a situation that needed to be escalated, everyone could walk home without bruises.

"We can still talk this out, I'm sure." Glory Girl said, getting in front of the group and urging calm before turning towards Steel Paladin, though the Red one moved in front of her, seemingly matching her movement for movement.

"Uh...hi, Glory Girl. Welcome to Brockton Bay I guess. We're the Wards and New Wave. Well, me, the blue haired guy, the other blonde, and the girl in the Fleur De Lyls are with the New Wave anyway. The rest are wards. We keep the peace here...we're all heroes right?" She said, offering her hand as the glowing one offered one in return.

"So you are. I am Yvranil, I am Bringer of Glorious Redemption. Together, I am Dawnmaker. I am also pleased to see that we don't have to fight. I wouldn't like to have to hit your face." He said, shaking her hand and making Vista breathe a sigh of relief as everyone started to stand down.

"Aww you're sweet!" Glory Girl smiled.

"See...we can all get along!" Glory Girl said, looking to Dawnmaker and urging him to lift his hand up with hers in a sign of peace.

"Well, guess this won't be a hot entry after all." Mechamaven said, her robots quickly retracting their weapons and resuming a bodyguard position around her, beeping as the heavy looking automatons' bar code like optics scanned the area.

"Hey Vista, you think you could get me like...a night together with the girl with all the robots." Kid Win whispered, eyeing the machinery with true hunger.

"Sure I'll be your wingman." Shielder said before Kid Win realised what he said and stammered, almost falling over in embarrassment while Cerebro let out a snort.

"...You sure this is the east coast? It looks like ghetto San Francisco here. Place looks like the gentrifiers got everything the crooks didn't." Boltdancer said with a groan of discontentment as he looked at all the snow. "Swear it looks like the Hordes of Winter had their way with the place." He sighed.

"I know right?!" Quetzal shouted from the back before getting a thumbs up from Boltdancer.

"Hrm, they're not here." Iybraa said after a moment. "Scanned half the eastern seaboard. Seems like this dimension's still in twenty eleven though so they probably still think advice dog is funny." She said, looking towards Vista and her group and making them feel a brief sensation of being stared at before she looked back to the other team mates. "...Definitely still think Advice Dog is funny. Also the guy with the blue hair is a pervert." She said, looking to Steel Paladin who offered her a shrug.

"Okay, what did you just do?" Aegis said, pushing closer towards the Starsetters.

"Read your minds, duh. Haven't you ever met a psychic?" She said, not uncrossing her arms as her pink coloured energy wings continued to hold her aloft in the air, her living metal armour shifting around more like the exoskeleton of a crab than a conventional suit of plate and motors.

"Without our permission?" He said.

"I don't need it." She said back, leaning her head towards his.

"Move away from Iybraa, quickly." Mistral Slash said, her hand on the hilt of her sword as she approached, Aegis complying just enough to give the psychic her space. The sensation of tension returned. All it would take was a single sp-

"GLORY TO LORD MEGA-" One of the bystanders's arm shifted into some sort of cannon, skin peeling back into some kind of blue gun with a barrel the size of a fist while his mouth pulled apart into mandibles. He didn't seem human to Vista...he didn't even feel human...if she could just pull him out of the way with her power she could stop a crisis before it got out of hand.

"Hell no, Nemesis automatons!" Boltdancer flicked his wrist to sent out a burst of electricity that froze the transforming man mid-sentence into a paralysed statue crackling with lightning. "Okay any of you mind explaining why you've got disguised murderb-" Boltdancer started before before Blastjack's gun let loose and obliterated the suited man with a blue-yellow charged sphere of plasma that reduced what was likely a machine to bits of scrap.

"Tired of talking to avoid an inevitable outcome." He said.

"Oh no, you clowns are not murdering people on my precinct!" Aegis said before pointing at the Starsetters. "Take 'em in!" He shouted, Steel Paladin looking towards Vista with genuine sadness in his helmet's glowing eyes before he exhaled and nodded.

"Looks like we're going to have to bring some people into the Paragon Police department. Starsetters, arrest them!" He said, drawing his arming sword and pointing it at the group.

Eight charged into sixteen while PRT Officers scattered out of the way to give them space, opening fire on Mechamaven's robots who whipped out stun-weapons in return as bullets began to rain on their pitiless metallic hides; the Wards and New Wave figuring they had the benefit of numbers while the Starsetters went in with the confidence of individual prowess.

The first to meet were Glory Girl and Dawnmaker; her rushing in for the usual flying tackle, him cannonballing towards her so fast that Vista's eye couldn't follow and the ensuing shockwave from their collision rattling windows across town and sending snow flying outwards. Glory Girl remained standing, but her field had collapsed and she had to quickly move out of the way of Dawnmaker's next haymaker, only for the shockwave from the missed swing to hit her in the chest and throw her back with a grunt of discomfort.

"Okay...you're strong...good, means I don't have to hold back." Glory Girl said, grinning as she cracked her knuckles and met his next punch; surrounding in a comet like nimbus of alien energies and hurtling faster than most actual comets with a blow as hard as she felt she could get away with committing to; another shockwave erupting outwards and throwing Vista off of her feet as Glory Girl felt herself surprised by how much harder and faster she could throw that punch than she normally could. It was a surprise she didn't let herself cling to though, as Dawnmaker's eyes began to glow.

"I am truly sorry it had to come to this." He said apologetically before his eyes erupted into powerful beams of yellow light that smashed into her with a fury Vista couldn't look at directly; his frame making another thundercrack of supersonic movement as he dodged around a thrown dislodged lampost with tremendous speed.

Steel Paladin clanged his sword against his shield, which began to glow with a compulsion after he had cast the gauntlet at Aegis, Lady Silver, and Feralborn. "If you wish to do this, come on and get it over with." He said with resignation as his wings compacted into a smaller, more agile size, moving much faster than he should have to dodge Lady's Alicorn Driven Lance and deflecting Feralborn's claws with a parry sweep of his sword. Aegis threw a punch towards him, a double-fisted blow that would have brought a Rhinoceros down, but Steel Paladin was already behind him before his eye could track and he bashed him into the air with a shield uppercut.

"Please don't make me have to escalate." He said, bringing his shield to deflect Feralborn's claw strikes and his blade into the path of Lady's zweihander and his boot into Aegis' chest.

"Escalate?! After your gunner just iced a dude?!" Aegis shouted

"If you want to go ahead, the bruises to come are entirely on your head." Paladin said as he shoved both of the women on either side of him away like ragdolls.

"Bring i-" Aegis didn't finish before Steel Paladin headbutted him straight into the ocean, temporarily taking him out of the fight.

Shielder rushed ahead, Vista shortening the distance he had to travel as he singled out Blastjack while he was busy vaulting around Gallant's shots like he was in the Matrix.

"Come on, hold still!" Gallant shouted, his concussive shots failing to connect before Blastjack's energy rifle spat out paralyzer energy that locked Gallant in place before a sweeping roundhouse was thrown his way; Shielder's field preventing Gallant from getting knocked out of the park by the kick and forcing Blastjack to bounce back and sweep a stun beam in Eric's direction.

"Incompetent and horny. Terrible combination." Blastjack growled as he hit the ground again and allowed himself to take Shielder's fist on the chest, his hand impacting the power suit's plate and a sensation of pain rushing through his hand as he pulled back and shook it.

"What do you know of fighting, American?" He said.

"I am *Shielder*, not *American*." Eric said as he looked behind him while Blastjack casually stunlocked a PRT officer rushing behind him with a containment foam bomb in ham.

"You are easily distracted." Blastjack said, at first seeming to charge up a large beam in Eric's direction, firing it; but then stopping suddenly, pivoting into Eric's guard with a step and then uppercutting into his gut with enough force to make him fall over with the grace of a deflated balloon.

"Auugh right in the kidneys." He said as Blastjack raised his gun in front of his face.

"Stay down." He cautioned until Gallant bowled him over with a concussive shot rather stronger than what he could normally put out by quite a few...orders of magnitude given how he was normally pretty wimpy and direct sniper fire from the PRT couldn't even get him to flinch while he was distracted himself, Blastjack grunting and gritting his teeth as he felt suddenly shaken.

"Cry about it." Gallant shot back.

Cerebro's decision to try and fisticuff Rundastra was in hindsight, likely a mistake as he could tell she; and all the other starsetters; were fighting with most of their limbs tied behind their back, hands continually reaching for a proverbial set of cuffs meant to prepare them for arrests. He had deduced her primary fighting style, but that wouldn't do him any good if she could hit him faster than he could act on his predictions. An ice covered first whistled over his head as he tried to palm her in the helmet only for her wing to smack his hand aside.

Laserdream's beam sliced towards her back, only to be absorbed into her enervating, energy draining cold that only grew more intense as it absorbed the energy, Rundastra's next attack coming in the form of a fist into Laserdream's shield and then a shockwave of cold to conjure ice around her legs; leadening her flight while the Angel's wings behind her held Cerebro's shock batons at bay and took the electricity he fed into them without pause.

"So, gonna guess you guys ain't up for dinner tonight?" She said casually before she let out another wave of cold that Cerebro and Laserdream only just managed to avoid while a dozen PRT officers weren't quite so lucky, temporarily immobilised in ice in the process.

"S'cool, I was ready for a fight anyway." She said as she started to rapidly drain energy out of the Area Cerebro was in; she could have taken it all; but he sensed that she wasn't trying to outright kill him, for which he was glad. What he wasn't so glad about though, was how the drain became a sudden blizzard as air blew into the suddenly so cold the CO2 was starting to freeze spot that threw him off his feet and bowled over many other PRT officers.

"...Cool...c-come on..." Cerebro wheezed as he pulled himself out of the snow only to be punted across the street as soon as his head popped out.

"Home run." She gave a thumbs up, clearly having the time of her life.

"Impressive power, but you need to touch me to use it right?" Mistral Slash said, teleporting out of Clockblocker's way as he tried to reach for her and then casting knock out gas bombs into the direction of yet more PRT officers, sending them onto the road below with a motion before she bolted out of Dennis' way once more, dodging around his attempts to fence her in with time frozen objects.

"Man I hate fighting speedsters." Clockblocker groaned as her sword glowed with energy and then slashed towards him with a large crescent shockwave produced from it, getting a gasp of surprise from him as he threw himself out of its way; Stormchild's Lightning bolts erupting towards Mistral Slash while her tornadoes attempted to limit her avenues of movement. She teleported once more, making Stormchild swear while Clockblocker froze an approaching snowplow; stopping it from running into the fight while he started freezing some snowballs.

"Come on I can take this Mall Ninja loser!" Stormchild grunted, trying to blow Mistral's gas back into her face only for her to teleport out of the way, Clockblocker though, whistled at Slash.

"Hey you, Weeb. Come 'ere." Clockblocker said, running back out of the way and kicking up a number of objects he froze as soon as they were airborne while Mistral Slash rushed towards him, a satisfying smacking sound informing him that she crashed into one of them and spun around, rubbing at her head after having hit the flat of a piece of paper.

"Come on, not fast enough?" Clockblocker said before he saw a glint of metal and yelped as it slashed towards him, the sword not touching him, but it was never meant to.

"Ha, missed." Dennis said proudly until he got a sudden sensation of cold on his face...she had sliced his mask off. Its halves falling into the snow and his face getting a full exposure treatment from the January blizzard wind. His eyes no longer seeing through the materials of his mask but instead unaided. Yet he didn't even have the slightest graze on his nose, meaning she was not only fast but implausibly skilled with that blade.

"Cute." She said with a smile beneath her helm while Dennis flushed and rushed to grab a spare PRT helmet to cover his face.

"COME ON!" He shouted as she started to rush towards him, some sort of cuffs in her other hand after having drop kicked Stormchild into the snow. She was much faster than he was, even holding back as she was; he only had one chance. He counted, baited her into reaching towards his outstretched hand, then touched her with the other to lock her in time; if only temporarily. Some sort of power in her resented being contained like that, and unless he kept reapplying his effect, it'd end much sooner than it was supposed to.

Iybraa was soon found to be essentially unstoppable, none of the parahumans really had any resistance to telepathy and she simply turned those who tried to get in her way around with a single psychic command. The only time Fleur even tried she found her energy bubbles being stopped by Iybraa's telekinetic barrier while she scanned through the entire planet, further bubbles only getting Fleur grabbed by Iybraa's telekinesis and tossed aside without even getting the Yurye's attention.

Other New Wave and Ward members who arrived on the scene met similar fates, while many PRT officers simply turned around and used containment foam on either each other or the reinforcements sent to deal with Iybraa after identifying her as the most dangerous part of the team. But nothing worked. Not even the containment foam missiles managed to reach her before she simply ripped them apart with her mind or returned them to sender, dozens of other PRT and police squads being lifted into the air where they couldn't bother her while she worked. Even Steel Paladin and Rundastra; who were facing an ever larger number of foes being thrown at them, weren't able to so utterly dominate the battlefield as Iybraa did.
"If you people want to stop humiliating yourselves, you can start anytime you want." She said as she continued to hover in the air, pausing briefly when she sensed an energy beam heading her way and then forming a shield to stop Legend's artillery blast from inconveniencing her as he arrived on the scene; firing once again to meet the same result and getting her to turn her head towards him.

"Lemme guess, pew pew guy?" She said.

"Miss, you are in a world of trouble right now if you don't stand down."

"If you just get out of our way and let us find our team mate, we'll leave your dimension be. Deal?" She said as Legend charged up and fired once again.

"No can do, I'm bringing you in." He said, intensifying his blast until she started pushing back with a column of psionic energy.

"Human, you really want to do this? Fine." She said as she extended a hand and then sent forth a shriek heard more in the mind than the ears that brought Legend's hands around his ears as she assailed his psyche with a gout of psychic energy.

"You want to fight me? Here I am, take your best shot." She said as she pulled her hands together then created a staff of raw psychic power, twirling it around and extending it to positively sun wukong degrees before whipping a surprised legend out of the way as he discorporated into light and got closer to blast her with more of his lasers, straining against her psychic shielding while she casually picked up a bunch empty vehicles and threw them his way at enormous speeds; readjusting their paths according to her will to try and catch him as he darted around her in energy form.

Shadowstalker was to put it mildly, not very helpful against Boltdancer, already having been locked into electric paralysis by him as he tried to rejoin his team despite the Wards and New Waves' efforts to split them up. His electric gremlins and voltaic sentinel manifested in buzzing, crackling fields of living lightning, smashing into the serpent projections of Quetzal and bashing aside the PRT who tried to intervene, burning through any attempted containment foam in the process.

"Snakes huh?" He said, turning towards his teammates and throwing out a wave of augmenting electricity to charge their reflexes and speed, letting them move faster and harder than before; while his electrical minions giggled and cackled like a swarm of monkeys as they jumped from place to place, Lightning-Bats made of living electricity dueling in the sky with her winged serpents while on the ground, her Nagas tried to stab into the electric minions or press past his immobilising and stunning waves of lightning.

"Black kid with electric powers?" She shot back as he shrugged and clapped his hands together to create a shockwave of electricity to throw back the enemies surrounding him, pulling his hands apart to create a chain of electricity that he swung around and then lashed towards her, forcing her to bring a one of her shield serpents in the way; the projection extending its hood to block the jolt and then fading once disrupted by the lightning.

"Indonesian kid named Quetzal?" He retaliated, One of his Gremlins being engaged in a shoving match with her Naga while her winged serpents tried to sneak from behind.

"Shut up already both of you!" Shadowstalker said, letting loose a bolt from her crossbow only for it to ping off his electric field.

"Lady, calm your tits down, I didn't want this fight to begin with. I'm just trying to check on my friends." He said with a sigh as Quetzal nodded and raised her hand, her serpents standing down just as Boltdancer's minions did.

"...Are you serious?! Arrest him!" She shouted before he sighed and let out a stream of electricity from his finger into her chest, making her convulse on the ground.

"H-hate you...so much..." She managed through her convulsions.

"Kay." He said.

"How you wanna stop this?" Quetzal asked as Kid win flew around with an excited laugh.

"Man this is fun!" He said as he dodged around a massive robot's fist, his weapons lancing into the ten meter tall behemoth's frame as it bleated out alerts to him to halt and submit to peaceful arrest.

Vista though, was now on the phone, and Kid Win, busy shooting down one of Mechamaven's smaller robots, was soon laid out by the big one's fist and sent into the snow with a heavy collision. He groaned up and told Vista that he was fine, Even while Greased Lightning was trying to run around the robots only to run into a vortex of distorted time where even he was going slow enough for Mechamaven to catch up.

"And this is for the three robots you broke jerk!" She said before she fished out his underwear and...oh god why did he have to get underwear elastic enough to go all the way around his head.

"OH LORDY I'M GONNA HAVE SUPPER WITH JESUS!" He shouted in obvious pain while he stumbled around, his voice small and pained as one of the robots was foamed down by the PRT only for its companion's stun missiles to knock out the PRT Squad, others paralysed by a series of stun bolts from another's gatling energy weapon.

Feralborn shouted at Vista to get off the phone before Steel Paladin grabbed her by the legs and tossed her with a casual motion that sent her out of line of sight, an increasingly distant scream being heard from her as Vista did what she could to make sure she'd be back in the battlefield, trying to alter the space in front of her; not where she was, but the air where she would be until she found herself coming around in a circular route having slowed down to simply terminal velocity before crashing through the window of an abandoned building with a grunt and a groan. Aegis was still trying to take him on, but Paladin was now ignoring his fist impacts, hardly even flinching as he walked down the street like a juggernaut, simply grabbing at Silver's sword and pulling her off her horse before throwing her into Aegis.

He started walking, and Vista knew she couldn't panic, turning to the robots as they clanked around and casting her first forward and pulling at the soulless hunks of metal, twisting them in ways she knew no machine could endure and taking advantage of every bit of power she could use on them since they had no ability to resist it. Limbs flying apart, components pulled into directions that rendered them useless, fuses lit, a nigh unstoppable army of machines reduced to scrap in seconds. Some robots though, couldn't be affected this way, that strange power in some of them resisting these efforts to pull them apart.

She got creative, redirecting missiles back at their senders, moving in some of Iybraa's thrown projectiles. Her stomach did turns as she strained, but she figured that they were being guided by Mechamaven. Maybe if she could take out the tinker...or thinker...or master...she could stop the metal march as more machines were being teleported in. The girl must have had some sort of nanoloom somewhere just making more robots for her. Probably in a pocket dimension. The big one fired its massive volley of missiles, hundreds of stun projectiles that would have laid out a division.

It was overkill, it was excessive. But it was also what Vista needed as she shifted the missiles around in an arc back into Maven; exploding behind her as she was entrapping other capes responding to the robot storm in her distorted timefields and stunlocking her hard enough to knock her out; the robots suddenly coming to a stop and withdrawing to a defensive position. Vista let out a sigh of relief as the machines pulled back, Kid Win patting her on the back.

"...Clever girl aren't you?" He said as she nodded, surprised at herself for being able to pull that off, usually such fast projectiles were...

"Surprised you were able to do that with missiles." He added as he panted, nervously looking at the cavalcade of machines standing silent.

She remembered...the dream...it said she was worthy of something. Was this it?


*Fleur due to butterflies survives to this point at least.
 
To be Chosen

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
I awoke in the hospital bed to the sounds of thunder outside and the rattling of the room. The hospital staff had vacated the room and left me to my fate. Typical. Why would anyone want to be around me? I chanced an opportunity to look out the window where I saw Glory Girl in a brawler lock with some glowing...Roman guy, though the longer it was going on the more clear it was that she just wasn't strong enough to hold back the other person, especially after his hands erupted with energy that threw her onto a building. That made me slightly nervous, she was one of THE capes around here and the guy outmuscled her straight up. Then I thought about it for a moment more.

...Right...so the hospital staff had left me to die. I sighed, at this point in my life, I felt so lowly about myself that she couldn't even find it in me to be upset anymore. Maybe dying would be ideal even. No more going to fucking school. No more dealing with all the taunts and teasing. I could just pass onto oblivion. Or whatever came after death. I wouldn't mind oblivion, nonexistence was at least free of pain. Maybe I might attain some sort of lucid dreaming state in a playground of her own imagination. Maybe I'd just burn in hell. None of it could be worse than what I just went through.

I lurched my head back and looked to see a cockroach staring me in the face as if I had called its name, and my first reaction honestly; was to scramble back. Why is a cockroach this big in a hospital? What sort of negligent staff would let something like this just crawl inside of a space for patients? I know people love to talk about how awful the healthcare system is, but this? This is beyond ridiculous.

But I could...I knew it was staring back at me, because I could see that it saw me. I could see a lot now, in the low resolution way that bugs saw the world. Some of the mites on my hospital bed even made me clench my legs and adjust my gown when I realised what sort of look they were getting...but am I really seeing this, I wondered? Seeing the world out of the grimy compound eyes of all the creepy crawlies we unknowingly share every house with? Did I trigger...is this my power now?

Back then, the idea of my condolence for going through that hell was being the lord of the flies was enough to make me want to die all over again. Maybe if I lived in Australia or Brazil where there's something that can make you shit your spine out and die in a single bite near every house it'd be worth it. But here? There's not even mosquitos year-round.

I was prepared to throw my head into the pillow and wallow in self-questioning. Why? Why this? What did I do to go through all that and only get this? Is managing to survive all that just some cruel joke? Or am I just lucky in the worst way? Never when I need it. I was prepared to let myself spiral a bit, delving into my thoughts and racking my brain around where it went wrong. But the room got much darker, not simply from the lights going out, but from all the lights seeming to just leave the room.

A cloud of shadow passed through the walls, like smoke through the grate before coalescing into the rough impression of a sphere. Purple, black, small hints of blue. I was terrified to say the least, certain that this was the Reaper come to collect or some new parahuman serial killer or worse having found its newest victim.

"I'm not ready oh god no no no." I said, crawling into the back of the bed and realising that despite my earlier thoughts; I still wanted to live. Was it spite? Was it just being afraid of the uncertainty of what came after? Was it just realising that when staring my possible end that maybe dying wasn't as blissful as I thought?

I couldn't tell you, probably all of the above.

Taylor Hebert, that is your name yes?

I remember going stock still as if I were encased in ice. It floated near me, hovering over my body and shifting the way a cloud would. I couldn't make out any particular features, but I felt that I was at least making whatever passed for eye contact with it.

"Y-yes." I croaked, all the dignity of an actual frog.

I am Shadow of Retribution. I seek a host, one to become one with. My prior partner gave her life for mine, and I must wear the raiments of solidity if I am to survive. I sensed the anguish of your dreams, the loneliness of ostracization. I sense also, your longing to pay justice to those who wrong you and others.

I'd like to say I got some witty response to my first encounter with an alien, but truth be told my response was more akin to "Bwuh?" and a nod made more out of not being sure what were the right words to say to something so strange.

It took half a minute, but I did finally say something above the pre-school level of competency. "...Host...are you a parasite?"

A symbiont. I am of the Nictus. A species beyond your galaxy, beyond your universe. Like you, I am cast from my kind, for I cannot abide by the evil we do to maintain our empire. Mine is a long, lonely war with few friends. But I will bring about absolution, if not for my species; then for myself. We can assist each other, Taylor.

"Symbiont...are we going to share the same body? I'm not...enthusiastic about having a voice in my head."

We will become one. A composite of our two personalities. Perhaps it is best I show you. Fear not, there is no pain in this process.

I was about to express my doubts before a tendril lashed out from the cloud and into my head and I saw not the dingy, dirty, bug infested hospital room but an enormous black expanse with mists of shadow over countless doors and shelves, with a realm of light behind me with just a single pathway.

"What is...where am I?" I said before I realised that I was currently less than decent and covered up, blinking to note even my glasses weren't covering my eyes at the moment.


This is a realm of the mind Taylor. Yours is behind you, mine is behind myself. Dress yourself, if you wish. Each of these doors is a partner I had, until death did us part or I was made to leave.

There were thousands of doors, thousands of lives. I imagined myself in the sort of clothes I always wanted to wear, flattering, tasteful, something to make me feel important and wanted, and I followed the cloud to the newest looking door. I hesitated for a second before Shadow of Retribution pulsated.

Open it.

I hesitated even more, a reflex regarding being told what to do, but relented out of curiosity. What I saw dispelled the idea that this was some sort of trick because I could feel it in a way that felt like genuine memory. I saw a woman of ashen hair and moon paled skin in costume; teleporting from one site to another, chasing down some sort of vehicles that turned into machine people. Her name was...Rosalina Smith I felt, twenty nine years old; together with this being...this...Warshade, they were Black Rose. They were at once two but one. They were Rosalina just as they were Shadow and just as they were Black Rose. It was...odd...but she seemed happy with it.

She tried to follow some of the machine people through a portal, taking them to the outskirts from what was the largest city I've ever seen to what I recognised as a suburb of Brockton Bay, some yuppie hive full of snobs convinced that everyone with less than six figures in their bank account was subhuman. She kept going, they cut her off eventually; she put up an amazing fight, until this tank monster man drove up and unfurled into a pile of guns. Including one that caused agony that made me scream mentally as it rocked through me as well.


Again, and again. Blows that could break skyscrapers into dust rained down on her until her ticket was punched by a final shot of that horrible weapon. She died in agony, and left behind friends and family who'd never know where she was buried on a planet not her own. I felt bad, pity. A desire to find her remains as I saw Shadow pull themselves free and race away, before the machine men could ensnare them with their traps.

They looked around, for anyone who fit their criteria. Pain, a sense to avenge wrongs, a desire for justice to be done and those who were also outcast.

But I needed to know more about Rosalina, so I looked behind...I saw a full life. I saw her being pushed around for her bisexuality, I saw her being tormented by nazi pond scum because her mom was Jewish. I then saw her family shot. A man in a death themed helmet with a swastika on his chest taller than a truck having them lined up and letting rip with a rotary gun. All while she watched from a bush, heroes rushing in too late to save her family.

That's how Shadow Found her, after the host before her had also died. I pulled out, I'd seen enough. I looked to the Shadow, understanding.

"What are you?" I asked.

Once, my kind were Kheldians. Born of a Star, finding ways to merge with other beings to grant them powers and allow our lifespans to extend indefinitely. Then some decided to create a way to forcibly merge with unwilling beings and steal life force for ourselves. So we became Nictus, and to this very day continue the old war against our ancestors.

"Stealing bodies? And yet you want my permission?"

I am a Warshade. We came to want redemption, to repent for what we have done for the Empire we built. I no longer steal flesh without permission.

I was curious though, and looked through the doors, until I came across one I felt was right, and saw through the eyes of some...alien with many limbs, looking upon a child of another species with wings and a beak, like some sort of Pteranodon.

"This flesh is young, take it, Shadow. Yours will soon die of its injuries." One said, older, menacing, crueller.

"I...I can't. She has her life ahead of her. Even after everything we've taken." Shadow, a long time ago, millions of years even, said.

"I want...I want to go home...I want my clutch...where is everyone?" The winged child whimpered, hiding behind the membrane of her wings amidst the....corpses of the dead.

"She is scared and weak. You can take her over easily."

"March of Revenants, I cannot act so barbarously against someone so defenselessly. Have we not already won? Haven't we done enough killing? I can heal this body."

"You lose heart now after all the prisoners you have consumed? You are soft. If you do not take her, then we will kill her." The other said with a menace so cold I could imagine the icicles hanging off of his words.

"No! There's no point in it! It's barbarism for barbarism's sake! They will resist us to the end if we cross this line."

"We have crossed it already. If they deserved to not suffer it, they would have defeated us already." They said, simply as if that was a fact of life.

"No! Stop! We will not stoop to this!" A fight broke out and thusthey were forced to flee, to hide; going from world to world in an attempt to stop the very war machine they had fought for. Every door I checked showed this repeating. The friends lost, the alliances made, the battles waged. And the anguish of not knowing whether they were even accomplishing anything. More planets being consumed, more civilizations reduced to little more than breeding stock for a reliable supply of hosts.

It hurt, it hurt to watch. But I couldn't stop. I had to know. And only after I had satisfied myself with what I had seen did I reach to the cloud.

"Come." I showed it my own low points. The trio and all their taunts, the betrayal of a girl I thought was a friend only to twist the knife into my back to hang out with the more attractive and the more popular instead. Every insult, every ruined attempt at a date, every awful prank or just straight up beating. Shadow remained quiet, they had seen scenes like this before. Pain was a universal factor among all of their partners. But I could feel them, they still felt for me.

Finally, a chance encounter with a locker and the crawling insects and worms around. Left in there to die with no seeming way out, and no help forthcoming, breaking down for hours until at last I was overwhelmed by a sudden sensation of agony and euphoria. And then I went blank, overwhelmed and eventually fished out by paramedics. And of course, those three...they didn't get a slap on the wrist. Nobody would believe me if I told them anyway. Nobody except the Shadow.

Do you wish to be one then?

"...I...yes...I've seen the power you can give...I...please. We could do so much with it. We could...just do it!" I saw the sheer might that could be at my fingertips once I fully mastered becoming a Warshade. Tank rounds glancing off of me, ships lifted overhead, transforming into prior hosts, dark energy blasts to tear through large robots and monsters, teleportation, speed, gravity control...I...I admit I got greedy, I just wanted it all so bad.

Then it is done.

I snapped back into reality as I felt the Shadow of Retribution sink into me. I convulsed briefly, shaking as the darkness seeped into every pore, but it settled within and I was born anew. A strange moth with scythe like forelimbs had seemed to respond to my earlier call, finding its way through the ventilation and settling near me.

It was then I got the idea for what I'd like for people to call me from now on as I shot up, snapping the restraints meant to hold me to the hospital bed like rotten twigs and thinking of home.

"Black Moth." I said before I vanished a black void and reappeared in my bed.

...If it was that easy then...yes...this would work.
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 5

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[voteresult]637130[/voteresult]

Arne​

You patched yourself into the camera feeds uploaded as people scrambled to cover what was going on live and immediately stopped the rapping of your fingers, a motion done to calm your often restless nerves. You had much...bigger concerns than the jitters born of standing overly still for too long as you had the watch you wore project the images your suit's zero-point form was wiring into your memory for the others to see. To put it politely, there was quite a substantial deal of bedlam already going on as the Starsetters were concentrating towards each other; the psychic holding off increasing numbers of capes who seemed to just flock towards her looking for a fight even as she held everyone approaching her back without even seeming to try.

"Who else is going to respond to the escalation?" You asked bluntly, no point in beating around the bush. You needed an answer shortly.

"The Guild, Protectorate, and New Wave at least; bringing in more of their heavy hitters. Military forces are already on standby. Local unaffiliated capes will probably be drawn in for a chance to get involved too." Piggot said bluntly, looking at you with worry written on her face. At least, you thought it was worry. Her thoughts inside though seemed considerably less upset at the idea of the cape community being shown its limitations.

"Joseph, Alice. Who else is going to respond?" You asked, not even turning your head towards them, simply flicking your scarlet coloured eyes to their direction and drawing a fine line with your face.

"Uh...fuck at this rate the Vindicators and Freedom Phalanx and Liberty League, probably other Starsetter teams too...wouldn't be surprised if the PPD and Vanguard make a show." Alice said.

"...Military forces are you...hold on...maybe I can try to narrow down some possibilities." You said, taking a moment to inhale and exhale.

"Maybe we should try a waking vision?" Samus said, steepling her fingers in front of her nose and taking a moment to think humming as she tapped her fingers together. "We don't have time for every possible explanation. Someone needs to stop well...a war from breaking out when we're not even sure what's threatening these Earths." She added, getting a nod out of you.

"...Okay, I'll go in. Samus..." You said, looking towards her directly.

"I'll be there for you, don't worry." She said, getting a smile from you. You were slightly nervous about doing this with her. You had tried to hide the visions of Sylux from her. You were terrified of that future coming to pass, and didn't want her to worry about it. Every time you tried to find what roads lead to becoming the blue-green eyeless monster, you were blocked by walls of grief, pain, and anguish you were afraid to confront along with deliberate obscurations. Whatever lead you down that road was agony, and you were too much of a coward to try and face it head on.

And the idea of Samus knowing you as a coward...she already did so much for you. It wasn't fair to burden her with your nightmares any more than you already did. Especially when she had so many of her own to deal with. It was enough to commiserate over your orphanings, and every time you brought up the ten years of pain and abuse under your Alimbic caretakers you felt like you were burdening her with knowledge she didn't know how to relate to. Her caretakers loved her unconditionally, the few who truly cared for you after awakening from their fifty thousand year slumber...you were spiralling. Stop it. Focus, focus.

"Is something wrong?" She asked, concern.

"I...I'll talk about it later, stuff to focus on now." You said, shame in your voice as she sighed but nodded in understanding.

"I'm ready, let's start." She said, offering a hand that you squeezed.

You paused for a moment to try and focus the distant sight. It was hard to do so with things that didn't immediately concern yourself when you weren't trancing, you had the potential but lacked the discipline and training for it. Samus though, was there to give you a hand, letting her own mind's eye coil with yours as you saw into the Morphoscape beyond the material realm. Twisting tendrils of possibilities, roads into futures that might be or were so weak and ephemeral that simply a momentary gaze at them collapsed the chances of them ever happening, pasts that were or could have been, presents either real or pushed aside into other branches or withering into unreality. You saw...snarls of pathways, threads of individual destinies writhing and wrestling from other planes into the heated tangle of conflict. Branches leading into...

Violence, destruction, orphans, widows, corpses and ghosts. Destruction, carnage, cities burning, worlds burning, everything coming to doom and destruction as a thousand apocalypses coiled around each other and dragged possibilities with them into oblivion or subjugation. Your own mind was clouded with brief flashes of home; intermingled with Samus' own flashes of unwanted memory. Screaming, ghouls feasting on the dead, fire rising through the defenceless, raiders and pirates sawing their way through the living to wade through piles of the dead. Nowhere to hide, nowhere to run. Nothing to understand, not even names to go by for who was doing this or why as their posthuman armoured warriors cut down the guerilla hub you called home with ruthless force and precision.

Gore on your hands, people screaming or making desperate attempts to fight back. All futile. You were prepared for small incursions by the Federal military, by Space Pirate Raiders, Kriken Punishment teams, Vhozon justicars or the like...these men, who bore no marking on their grey and green armour...overwhelming, pitiless, cold. They saw targets, they killed them, they moved on. So many people you knew dead so quickly...Astrid, Kwame, Isagil, Oerion. Dead, dead, dead. Did they want the Alimbic ship? How could they know of something found only a day before? Why did they need to kill everyone? Questions you couldn't answer, questions that dug their nails into you like a falcon into its prey.

They were chasing you, five heads cackling; your parents and their ever-shrinking band of fellow commandos running with you as fast as they could. The sarcastic but endearing Morr, courageous and funloving Lydyl, valiant and resourceful Sylan. Each dying in turn to one of those six monsters. Not even mighty Spire's lithic progenitor could stop the five-headed beast that lead the six, lead the armies of masked men, every time he drove it away it always returned. Atop leathery wings and gusts of cold, calling for you, demanding you. Your parents; mighty Gyda and cunning Erik; were the last to fall, so that you and Spire could make your escape from an ocean of armoured monsters. Your small hands bleeding as they slammed against the window of Spire's cockpit, your throat swelling as you called for them to come back as they left you to face their end.

Samus had shed a single tear, her teeth gritting as she dug her fingernails into her palms and squeezed her eyes, trying to block out the visions she found herself wheeling back to. A purple dragon's legion of deranged hooligans, five lieutenants eagerly jumping at the call of the ones who held the dragon's leash to raze the work of simple miners to the ground and filch from them their works for a dread council of the very worst sorts of society imaginable. Violence, frenzied, sadistic, and utterly unrestrained as those crushed by their hierarchy finally found people beneath even themselves to vent on.

They were not efficient or quick, one of the largest fleets in that entire supercluster's primary element against a mining colony of just ten million. It wasn't even a massacre, just cruel and twisted amusement before they made off with the fuel crystals the miners had harvested to power the sinister plans of their Confederacy. So many of them were like tearing into flesh they were starved of deliberately to turn their lowest ranks into emaciated and desperate monsters unafraid of death if it meant a chance to fill their famished bellies for at least a time.

Others who had known nothing but cruelty and brutality took the time to savour the sweet pain of people they were allowed to strike. The many species of warriors brought along laughing at their cruelties or fighting over who got the first pick of victims. There simply weren't enough to go around for an army that outnumbered its victims a million to one, and that made the ones looking for relief all the crueller.

Her friends dead one by one, her mother's throat torn open before her eyes for the crime of defending her from the amethyst drake and her father gone in a final, heroic effort to lay waste to a vessel the size of a small moon by denying them the fuel they sought to steal. You were only brave enough to get glimpses of it, and it was enough for you to scratch at your scalp with your nails to make the side of your head bleed while Samus let out a wailing hiss through clenched teeth.

Torment that lasted until Winterpyre requested a chance to step into your mindspace and was given it; banishing the visages of terror from your mind, flashbacks vivid and loud fading into nothingness as you opened your eyes and let out gasps of breath. He reached for you, and dragged you towards the light of the waking world, the mental avatar he conjured looking far more angelic and pleasant than his typically bestial form of fire and skulls.

Alice was also there, her form an idealised version of what she normally looked like as she offered an orb of light in her hands. "This is well...a spell of courage. It's, look it's not going to be a replacement for therapy. Minds are trickier to heal than bodies or souls. But this is a pick-me up...and I want you to have it. I...I'm not gonna pretend I can grasp what you suffered. Not like, personally, God knows I have a lot of friends who lost everything really early on I don't really know how to relate to at times. But...we're friends right?"

"I...yes...friends..." Samus said, breathing shakily.

"H-how much..." You wheezed.

"Enough to know that you guys need this. Come on, afterwards maybe we could like...show you fun stuff? Get to know some local kids? Uhh...what do you like to eat? I'll get you something, my treat." She said, a sad smile on her face as she let the spell's magic flow into the two of you and drag you out of the hellscape of your nightmares into the waking world, where Alice gave a small nod while her Tiara glowed.

You pulled out, shaking your head and rubbing your temples. That sort of focus, while you were conscious or weren't in a meditative trance, was still not the easiest of feats for you to pull off, especially when a lot of the visions assailed the two of you with traumatic triggers. You shuddered, the sight of blood, flame, frost and pain making you stagger a bit. But it wasn't real...you were safe, and among friends deeply concerned with the way the two of you were in the midst of a massive panic attack in their presence.

"...S-sorry..." You said, breathing and still shaking.

"We need to...stop them from starting a war. If this escalates out of control it's going to..." What would be the right term? Something simple, not too much jargon they might not get.

"Escalation cascade. Then your two timelines tear each other apart, and then all the Earths linked by this follow...along with...a lot more." Samus said, finishing your thoughts for you. She was better with words than you were, people were kind of complicated at times, and it was hard to explain things a lot. She wasn't...ideal at it...but it was something.

"I'll go in, the psychic won't be able to directly affect me. We well...won't really be able to remain secret after this, but I don't see any other choice." You said.

"You're not going to convince them on your own...but I think I can show people the footage we have? Why they need to stop fighting." Samus said.

"+Blimey...alright, may as well. Thought we might keep the robots in disguise bit up longer...ah frag it.+" Jetfire cut in over the comms with a considerably less over the top accent than usual which likely indicated that this was something he considered very seriously.

"I'll accompany you, set up some communications. You handle the problem actors, is that alright?" Samus asked as you gave a nod, your armour forming around you as you stood up and cracked your neck. Samus' suit shimmering over her similarly quickly.

"Alice, Joseph, come with us...they're looking for you so showing you're okay is going to be necessary. Just uh, don't give them the impression you're hostages that would be...bad. Not good, probably make things worse." Samus said, getting thumbs up from the two of them as they put on their masks, followed by Sammi.

"...Huh..." Joseph said, looking down at his phone.

"What's "huh"?" Samus said, immediately concerned.

"Oh uh, Freedom Phalanx is here now."

"+Aw frag...gonna have ta get in the talkative types.+" Jetfire said before a Soviet officer cut in afterwards.

"+I swear upon the entirety of the Rodina if you send Blur or Wheelie I will never forgive you!+ Okay, that got you all laughing a bit...good...levity was good.

"Jetfire, start the groundbridge." You said.

"Hold on, hold on! You can't just rush in and reveal aliens are real all at once. Are you even the slightest bit aware of the panic that this would cause young man?" Piggot said.

"We don't have a choice and Primal Earth already knows. Sorry, but we'll have to break protocol. Besides...it'll be easier for you from now on...right?" Samus said as Jetfire buzzed inf.

"+Hrm...maybe drop in with your ships...might make more of an impression.+" Jetfire said as he formed an idea in his head and then focused his attentions back to Samus.

"+Oh, Aran...I gots an idea...+"

Brockton Bay, 8:52 AM, 13th of January

Based on the information given to you by Joseph, Positron was essentially a living anti-matter generator in a power suit of his own design further empowered by being the keeper of the Incarnate Flame of Prometheus. Since the death of Statesman, he was the leader of the Freedom Phalanx and essentially the top hero in America. When he was feeling nice, he simply fired bolts of ionising radiation, non-radioactive energy blasts, or slugged them or disabled them with his gadgets. When he was not feeling nice, he either vented nuclear explosions or raw streams of anti-matter that he shaped the explosions of; annihilating virtually anything in his way. Even if his armour was rather primitive by your standards, he had a lot of raw power to go off of and was much deeper into the path of the incarnate than you were. It also explained the flashes of radiation you got from the sensors.



Raymond Keyes was once a scientist at Crey Industries who worked on a suit of next generation power armour until a freak accident granted his body the ability to produce anti-matter and nuclear reactions, allowing him to power the armour entirely by himself and giving him enormous radiological prowess as well as destructive power. After an injury in the Rikti invasion of Primal Earth, Positron's powers had gone out of control, turning him into a living anti-matter bomb that would detonate catastrophically were his armour ever breached; forcing him to fully seal himself inside for more than six years until the Dark Watcher healed this malady. He also was entrusted with the incarnate flame of Prometheus, further elevating his power and gifting him with a tremendous creative power that allowed his designs to advance even further and allowing himself to instinctively find ways to tap into the power of the Source to bolster his abilities. Following the death of Marcus Cole, the Statesman, Positron replaced him as the leader of the Freedom Phalanx; a position he has held for more than eight years. While his technology is inferior to your own, the amount of destruction he can release should he cease holding back as well as the amount of Source power he has accumulated or been entrusted with makes direct engagement with him inadvisable.

In terms of personality, Raymond Keyes is a modernistic, compassionate if somewhat obsessive hero who tries to live up to the legend of his predecessor and former colleague. He is tremendously focused on crime-prevention in an effort to turn people away from crime in the first place and involves himself heavily in social causes and has grown increasingly critical of his native Paragon City's increasing police militarization at the behest of the Federal Government, overriding the concerns of the Municipal government of Paragon City. He is strongly involved with youth programs in the hopes of preparing the younger generations for the life of heroism as the first individuals to have been born after the initial Rikti invasion start to come of age and to prepare for the Oncoming Storm which threatens humanity as a whole. He is patient and understanding, and takes his job with gravity but not without being able to have some levity now and then. He has fully grown into the role of the new icon of American heroism, though he lacks Statesman's overt patriotism and tries to be more of a hero for the entire world. He also puts a lot of effort into trying to redeem villains and bring them back to the light, believing that simply stopping villain attacks is hardly a solution to the problems they represent.

In combat, Keyes is incredibly versatile. While initially categorised as a Defender due to his emphasis on using his radiation in supportive roles such as enervating enemies and empowering or regenerating allies with his blast attacks in a more secondary function, he has since shown that he can fulfill virtually any of the archetypes of the FBSA's metahuman classification system and in fact, will do so; making use of powerful and skillfully delivered melee attacks, incredible defenses combining energy shielding, armour, incarnate fate warping, and more; shrugging off nearly any status effect such as mind control, temporal freezing or warping, or even simply being pushed off his feet; incredible battlefield control capabilities, the ability to quickly summon robots and radiological constructs under his command, cloaking devices, augmented reflexes and speed and more. Via the fires of Prometheus, his ability to invent and develop technology has increased enormously, making him one of the most versatile metahumans to have ever existed, and some wonder if whether his slow path to incarnate power has allowed him to surpass Statesman altogether.

Samus' Notes: To be given the fire of innovation...the ideas he must have...oh I need to chat to him soon! Just not so...sure on his dedication to legalism or slow change. We can't afford that now.

Arne's Notes: I...hrm. I'm not sure what to think about Doctor Keyes honestly. He seems like a good man but...can we trust the fate of the cosmos to older generations?

Then of course, was the rest of the Freedom Phalanx and other teams being called in for Primal earth's greatest anxiety; yet another hostile alternate Earth likely to wage war with it. Earth Bet was also escalating, sending in more top capes and military force to the scene as the scanners of the Sleipnir picked up some aircraft below you; even lead by Eidolon, the seemingly greatest of their number, the man with a power for virtually any situation. A triumphant visage of the unmistakable prowess of a just cause.



Eidolon, also known as David is generally considered to be the most powerful cape on Earth Bet, even if some are instead partisan to his Soviet counterpart "Chernaya Gvardiya" who arose following the death of Hero. A middle-aged man with a largely unlimited connection to his extradimensional symbiont, Eidolon lacks many of the usual restrictions on other parahumans, even as his powers decline from overuse without being replenished by the intended draining from other shards, he remains someone considered the man to beat due to his ability to easily switch between powers as the situation arises; usually holding onto three and discarding them if he does not require them, letting them fade and be replaced by another, perhaps more suited ability for the present situation. He can hold onto more than three at a time, but doing so usually dilutes the potency of each ability. However, each ability usually has some build-up time upon acquisition, which has grown longer as his power reserves continue to deplete.

Strongly religious and possessed of a tremendous sense of justice, Eidolon is nevertheless something of a stickler for his belief that the end of days is coming and the world must be prepared. This has lead to him being considered "a bit of a downer" by some, but he does truly enjoy his work, relishing not only in the chance to fight enemies with virtually any power he might be able to find useful, but also the adoration of much of the world who regards him as an almost messianic saviour figure who can always be trusted to save the day no matter what the threat. Feared by virtually all villains and regarded as one of the only Capes who might be able to take on an Endbringer on his own, Eidolon commands worldwide respect and adoration, with endless speculation on what he might look like behind his fully concealing uniform.

While your status as a progenitor and now, an incarnate, would block the totality of his "instant win" powers or usages, combat against him is currently not recommended due to his extreme versatility. His symbiont will quickly cycle through whatever powers it believes that he requires to survive or triumph in the current battle, and as such he has no consistent weaknesses or capabilities, forcing user reliance on precognition to stay ahead of his rapidly shifting repertoire. The primary saving grace is a lack of immediate awareness of how to use new abilities he might gain, but this is counterbalanced by Eidolon making sure to regularly practice with the more frequent sorts of powers he acquires to never be caught flatfooted by an ability he has no experience with.

Samus' Notes: Hrm, it seems that he tries to keep his name off of electronic records to avoid people finding it out. I wonder why? That strikes me as somewhat suspicious...

Arne's Notes: For one who claims to be of strong Christian faith, he lacks much in the way of Christian symbolism present upon his person. He also seems like he's got things to hide beyond his heavy usage of supplementary vials to boost his abilities.

Samus' gunship followed behind your strike fighter in autopilot mode while you looked behind yourself in the cockpit of your craft as it descended into the atmosphere. Ethan warning Joseph not to touch some of the instrumentation he could reach from his chair.

"Oh don't worry that's the entertainment menu." He said as Joseph looked giddy, pushed the button, and immediately got lost in a cavalcade of game and video options.

"Uh...we're not going to have time for any of that." You said as you jigged the controls slightly. You had groundbridged right over North America to shave a few seconds from the flight time, and the sleek craft flew with an escort of not just the Dormach, but also Jetfire's aerial squadron.

"Volva, sitrep please." Samus said, requesting the feminine A.I of the ship pull the necessary information out.

The report of another hostile dimension drew in Metas from Primal Earth like someone had kicked a war-wasp nest and threw it into the midst of a steel-bee hive. The Parahumans of Earth Bet were arriving as fast as they were able by any means possible, gathering for a spectacular but so far wholly nonlethal brawl that stood on the knife's edge of turning out nasty. It reminded you of how a lot of furballs got started. Some interceptors try to attack some incoming important assets only to stumble into the escorting fighters and call for reinforcements. Then the escorts would call for backup, forcing the reinforcements to call for more reinforcements, and then this would continue until no more available strike craft were in range for the call to service. The original objectives of the battle lost in the need to win the attritional engagement to not be on the backfoot.

Thinking about it, this was also how most freelancer or ultrasophont mega-brawls got started. Friends calling in friends when they ran into more than they expected and things spiralling from there in short order.

At this point people were coming in for the simple sake of a fight more often than not, and the pandemonium that was resulting was impressive to say the least. You were surprised at how quickly things were spiralling, but the comm chatter you picked up suggested that so many people just lived for a chance to get in fights like this that they were ferrying each other into the fray. There had to be hundreds of superpowered people here just...brawling for what seemed to be its own sake. This all seemed so stupid to you.

"...What are they even doing down there?!" Samus said, eyes widening as she leaned forwards on her seat.

"...Hahahah...what the fuck are we diving into?" Assault said with a nervous laugh before bumblebee beeped over the comms. Yeah, this did seem like a bit of a mess.

Laser Crusader: Shit why didn't you people tell me there was a raid going on?
Ectoplasmus: Because you slept through the voice call you fucking goober.
Laser Crusader: Gosh sorry, I'm here now aren't i?
Brawlastator: Haha haven't had this much fun since the last Rikti assault!
Starcrusher: That was literally five minutes ago!
Brawlastator: I know right?
Steel Paladin: Could you people focus? We're having our healers work overtime to minimise collateral damage. Who even are half you people?
Sir Arctic: Zounds, prayathee doth mine eyes not spot a dragon beyond yonder distance?
Chronolectra: Oh bother be, he won't cut his Shakespearean accent even for me!
Mynx: Well, you're the one with all the rhyming.
Ms. Liberty: Can we please, for the love of God; not get into a contest over who has the most annoying speech patterns?
Tin Mage: Be cautious when exerting yourselves. They are lacking in Mediportation grids so injuries inflicted on them will be long lasting.
Rundrasta: Hey, ya'll came ta party!

Positron: Who the hell is "Armsmaster" and why is he making speeches at me?
Ascendant: I have no idea, have you tried hitting him?
Positron: I mean, I'm content to just ignore him, he cons Grey anyway.
Penelope Yin: Keyes, they're fellow heroes here, must we continue on with force?
Positron: The Praetorian Power Division thought they were heroes too.
Numina: Certainly true, but I don't quite get that same sensation from this dimension.
Synapse: Plenty of babes here though.
Positron: Berry, keep it in your pants.
Synapse: I'm just saying...
Positron: Berry, stop being horny on the comm channel.
Ms.Liberty: Five minutes without plowing another supermodel and you're already thirsty. You are an absolute parody of yourself.
Synapse: You're all just jealous because you don't date three supermodels every day.

Fusionette: So what's this dimension's deal anyway?
Ephram Sha: It appears that powers here come solely from fragments of strange beings. Beings that desire conflict to learn and grow. We must be ready.
Numina: Keep pushing forward, their ranks will thin sooner than ours I believe,

Dawnmaker: Are most of you even aware of why we are even here in the first place? What purpose does this show of force serve?
Dark Watcher: The purposes of this conflict have shifted, we need to establish a beachhead and establish the facts about this world.
Apex: Suits me fine. We'll knock this place over like Praetoria in no time.
Stalwart: Preferably without Hamidon devouring this civilisation.
Dream Doctor: No need to fear, there is no incarnation of Hamidon here.
Stalwart: Fantastic!

Blast Furnace: Let's turn up the heat!
Rundrasta: Bruh, cringe fire puns.
Blast Furnace: Come on...like your ice puns are any better.
Rundrasta: Hey...they're not ice puns...they're...
Blast Furnace: Oh please don't say it, god please do-
Rundrasta: Nice Puns.
*Mass comm channel groans*

Invincibelle: Creeps tore my costume!
Sunstorm: When doesn't it tear?
Invincibelle: IT'S THE PRINCIPLE OF THE ISSUE!

Citadel: Advising caution, one of them is a matter eraser.
Frostfire: Well now he's a popsicle, nyuk nyuk.

Luminary: Damn! One of them got Serpent Drummer.
Quiver Queen: A moment friends, I have the arrows for the occasion.
Citadel: He will be back shortly once the portal corps biopod has him ready to go again. In approxima-
Serpent Drummer: Who was the one who got the cheap shot on me?
Quiver Queen: I believe the one throwing the Ice Fractals.
Serpent Drummer: Many thanks.

Raid Rage: Hah, Eagle Eye's down, told you his powers sucked.
Rage Rave: Come on, have some sympathy.
Raid Rage: Dunno, sounds p cringe to me.
Rage Rave: You did not just call your sister cringe.
Raid Rage: Super cringe.
Rage Rave: Mavis I am going to pout.

Flambeaux: Aww this is like, so gonna look great on my Instagram.
Vector Shift: SHUT UP WITH YOUR VALLEY GIRL SHIT I SWEAR TO GOD!
Flambeaux: Tch, ruuuude. Just cuz I'm like, late twenties doesn't mean I can't do some stuff to act young. Ugh, get some like, manners kid.
Vector Shift: AAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHH
Adamanta: Kek.

Vanguard Colonel: Stun rounds only, we're not at war yet people. Make sure we can get some for interrogation.
PPD Officer: Tons of these guys have got some power that's screwing with our robots.
Vanguard Colonel: Probably some powers limited to not function against biological entities at full effect, neutralise upon detection.

Dauntless: So I've gotten out of Warpspeed's time dilation chamber, what exactly is going on?
Warpspeed: Hahahahaha fucked if I know.
Adamant: I'm uh...pretty sure these guys are from Nightcaster and Eudaimonica's home reality.
Panacea: This is absolutely crazy. Who are any of these people?
Adamant: I am...pretty sure I knocked out that guy before, she just seems really pissed now.
Panacea: People, try to keep in a smaller formation, I can't reach all of you!

Velocity: Watch out they've god a speedster faster than I a-
Cerebro: Velocity's out cold.
Dragon: Is there anyone who can stop their speedster?
Cerebro: He moves at literal lightning speed and hits as hard as something moving that fast should to boot and can take the commensurate punishment, these people's powers don't work on the same principles ours do...so we'll need to adjust tactics.
Dragon: He's right. Try some sort of electromagnetic containment field. We're never going to tag someone who moves near light speed otherwise.
Cerebro: He can't resist the urge to taunt, lure him out with some sort of threat to his masculinity. Or perhaps...hrm...he likes to flirt...who has the biggest bust size here?
Dragon: That is...that might work? It's stupid, I hate that it might work, but it might work.
Cerebro: I'm not proud of it either.

Miss Militia: Why are there so many archers?
Kid Win: Renaissance fair? I don't know...seems hokey and overplayed to me.
Miss Militia: For that matter why do so many of them wear capes?
Kid Win: Mysteries of the un-...multiverse.

Clockblocker: Uhh...anyone got a spare mask I can wear?
Glory Girl: So...taking his supernova thing head on was...not ideal. I think I can see now.
Shadow Stalker: I'm...owww....
Vista: Hi ow.
Shadow Stalker: Sigh

Greased Lightning: Aww hell I ain't ready for Angel summoners.
Wanton: So...is this an every day occurrence in Brockton Bay?
Greased Lightning: Forgive me cussin' but hell no it ain't!
Wanton: Well...it at least got you to get your accent down to a manageable level. Small victories?
Greased Lightning: Awww fffffffffiddlesticks.
Wanton: Watch it there, keep at it and you might get us a PG rating.
Greased Lightning: Up yours.

Alexandria: These guys have heavy hitters just crawling out of the woodworks.
Eidolon: Then redouble your efforts.
Legend: This psychic scrambler thing from the wizard kid works...I'm pretty sure I'd be chicken dancing right now if it weren't for it.
Narwhal: A lot of them seem impossible to form forcefields within, some sort of power blocking me out.
Alexandria: Well don't give up, if we just keep at it they'll have to go home right?
Eidolon: One would hope, they seem to at least be fellow heroes, just...misled about our intentions.
Alexandria: So all this is over two children?
Legend: Well I mean...this is fun I'll admit.
Dragon: Fun is hardly what I'd call this mess.
Legend: Live a little, nobody's getting seriously hurt right?
Eidolon: I'll admit, this is quite the test of my powers.
Dauntless: Well, I'm having kind of a blast testing my new limits myself.

PRT Officer: Ugh what do I do against the power armoured troopers with the V symbols?
BBPD Officer: Hell if I know?! I'm out of here!
PRT Officer: Wait...where are you g-GET BACK HERE COWARD!
BBPD Officer: Yeah screw this I'm not paid for this shit.
PRT Officer: Brockton Bay's finest my ass...

Lady Photon: So I'd ask what the situation is here but...I can clearly see none of you know either.
Manpower: Yeah, join the fun.
Lady Photon: So who is in overall command here?
Military AWACS Callsign "Starmaker": That would be me, this situation's gotten out of hand to the point that I've been assigned. Callsign Starmaker.
Lancelot: Wait...the military?
Military AWACS Callsign "Starmaker": We're taking this as a possible invasion scenario. If you can't handle it, we're bringing in airstrikes.
Jessenova: Hahahaha what?
Manpower: I thought the idea was to try and avoid a war?
Military AWACS Callsign "Starmaker": Can't take that risk, came straight from the President's desk.

Julievolt: Why are there fighter jets overhead?
Lunaman: Probably because they're bringing aircraft themselves?
Julievolt: Isn't this all over literally...two people?
Sunkid: God there's so many people to fight, I've bagged at least three.
Earthstorm: Six
Julievolt: Twelve, keep up.
Lunaman: Stop measuring dicks, we're taking like three to one K.Os here and they just keep on coming.
Lunaman: Besides they seem to have some teleport and instant heal system going. We're gonna get worn down at this rate.
Plutonian: Not to mention they seem to have like...panaceas out the ass. Why do they get so many healers?
Lunaman: Shut the fuck up and keep fighting before the air force decides it wants to get involved.

Yeah this was...a mess to say the least. Flying superhumans trading blows high in the skies and more coming by various means, teleporters trying to bring in reinforcements from elsewhere in the bay or beyond, more primal earthers just pushing through the portal in a constantly increasing flow. Weather controllers had pushed the blizzard out of the way to provide more visibility while news crews from both worlds moved in to try and get the scoop; a cavalcade of information flowing outwards between the two planets as everyone sought to share what was the most exciting to watch battle in Brockton Bay's history.

The meeting engagement from the darkest pits of the lowest underworlds imaginable to your faith. Though your eyebrow certainly quirked when the Primals brought out an AWACS of their own, the craft immediately phasing partially out of reality and rising higher as the Vanguard craft asserted C&C functions over the raid league pouring into Earth Bet.

"...Uhh...damn is it double security level merit day or something?" Nightcaster said, eyes bulging in his goggles as you could just feel things teeter on the brink of catastrophe; primal earth and earth bet aircraft starting to warily make passes at each other, waiting for the order to fire.

"So uh...what's the plan?" Alice said nervously.

"Assault, Battery...try to talk your...side I guess down? Nightcaster, Eudaimonica...same. I'm going to drop in with the autobots, keep them from fighting any more. Samus...you can talk to everyone right?" You said as she gave you a nod back before you opened the bottom hatch of the Sleipnir as it descended in cloaked form faster than the Vanguard or USAF aircraft could track before detaching from your chair and rolling out the bottom of your craft, descending through the maelstrom of brawling at supersonic speeds while Jetfire transformed with the rest of his aerial squadron; a number of ground bridges opening up behind you to let the Autobots through with nonlethal containment weapons at the ready.

For a moment, all eyes were on you in a display that made you feel distinctly uncomfortable. This sort of attention made you feel rather self-conscious, but the images of ruin wouldn't leave your mind. Samus landed nearby, patching herself into the communications arrays while you pushed yourself to your full height atop Jetfire's shoulders; Nightcaster and Eudaimonica flying where they could be seen as Winterpyre emerged from her Tiara and expanded into a larger than prior form, wings emerging from his back to carry himself into the air while Eudaimonica and Nightcaster grabbed onto his horns, the demon's call to order being heard over the din of battle.

The demon's roar getting even Positron's attentions in the midst of his rampage through much of the Protectorate as he was about to deliver a knockout blow to the barely conscious Armsmaster whose seconds long battle with Positron had ended in a rather brutal blow to Colin's pride; his throat in his hand while Eidolon was bringing the hammer down on Iybraa to reinforce legend, throwing dozens of supermassive projectiles at her to overwhelm her shielding, pushing the incarnate back as she reacted to the new threat.

Beams then formed inside of her barrier, striking her and searing into her Vondon armour, which held but drew pained grunts from her. Her attempts to crush him halted by his containment fields, blocking off the incoming blows cold and pinning her to a building with more of his rays, a casual wave of his hand blocking off Citadel's support with a second containment field; halting the Incarnate Robot in a hurry only to stop when he had seen the Demon King rise from the ground; unchaining more of his true form from his hellish realm; rising to many dozens of meters with a hateful snarl curling from his obsidian maw.



Samus: You all need to stop fighting now!
Eidolon: Who are you...what sort of...monster have you brought here?
Positron: ...Eudaimonica? You alright kid?
Eudaimonica: Yeah, fine.
Positron: Since when did Winterpyre manifest that much of himself outside of his realm?
Winterpyre: Should you persist in this foolishness, I would be forced to take action.
Infernal: I've been waiting for a chance like that.
Winterpyre: Not the time nor the place.
Samus: Look, who I am is not important, what matters is that you are all in very serious danger if you keep going like this.
Jetfire: She's right...you've all got something a lot bigger than a squabble between earths heading your way chaps. A lot more of it at that.
Eidolon: The Balrog in our midst being evidence of this?
Samus: The...no...look, we have footage. Your worlds are at risk of alien invasion, they are already among you!
Positron: I seem to be looking at alien robots right now.
Jetfire: Look, lemme explain.
Jetfire: We're the autobots, and our job is to protect blokes like you from would be conquerors.
Jetfire: You, earth Bet types, you know Munich?
Samus: I was there, the...Nazis were being backed by one of the alien invaders on your world.
Eidolon: Aliens?
Samus: Mhrm.
Positron: Aliens...did they mention a Coming Storm?
Samus: Yes! In the 5th column and Weltreich datalogs.
Positron: Requiem...of course. Should have known he'd try to find more places to get racist trash to expand his armies.
Eidolon: Are you of either of our realms?
Jetfire: No.
Samus: No.
Eidolon: Hrm...troubling.
Jetfire: And there's more than our four metaverses involved. Look, something really, really fraggin' big's goin' on and it's got reality fallin' apart at the seams. We're in for the apocalypse mates. Now, you lot can pound the snot out of each other, fine. Then you both get smashed to bits by what's comin'.
Samus: I...I have visions, you all die if you let this escalate to a war.
Eidolon: ...I see.
Positron: That would explain Dream Doctor's doomsaying increasing to a greater than usual degree.
Positron: Alright. Let's meet up.

You were a bit busier though with firing off charged paralyzer bolts at anyone who seemed ready to want to keep fighting, luckily most of the people here were willing to pause for a bit, but you had to deal with a number of stragglers and troublemakers. Synapse, perhaps too caught up showboating, was someone you had to catch. He was fast to be sure, but the report on him was right, all you had to do to draw him out was to show your own speed, and he was trying to outrace you in no-time.

He was fast, but you were fast too if perhaps not quite as fast in a run as he was, you were faster to react, and precognitive, and you snared at his feet with the grapple beam to rope him into a gentle stop, glaring at him through the monocular stare of your helmet's optics.

"Stop." You said simply, harshly, gesturing to Nightcaster and Eudaimonica as they waved back.

"You want to go ten rounds bug man?" He said, looking at your armour with a confident glare before Positron landed next to him, dropping a groaning Armsmaster by his side while Eidolon flew next to you.

"Posi, come on are you trusting these guys?" He said, Keyes rubbing his brow even with his helmet on and looking at Synapse with a glare that could best be summed up as "severely disappointed."

"Berry, please, the adults are talking." He said before shooing him away.

"Raymond I'm nearly forty fi-"

"You act like you're nine." He said with a prolonged sigh.

"I grew up after Cole passed on, clearly you haven't." He said coldly to Synapse in a way that immediately told you they had something of a strained friendship. Synapse grumbled as you let him go, speeding off to...yeah he was flirting with one of the Primal Earth metas already. That seemed right for the sort of man you expected him to be.

"Alright, we'll hear you out." Positron said, looking back to the group. "Everyone, stand down please." He said, offering a hand out before sending out a stand down signal.

"+Everyone, stand down, now.+" Eidolon commanded, the remaining brawls coming to a sudden halt while Samus stepped beside you and gave you a thumbs up.

"...Mommy...the train went swimming in the piano..." Armsmaster grumbled on the ground as he faded in and out of consciousness while Eidolon looked down with some concern and touched him to mend his injuries, bringing him up with a start and a shake of his head before he backed away from Positron.

"...No hard feelings." The Anti-matter Avenger said, giving a thumbs up.

"Speak then, what news do you bring of the end times?" Eidolon said.

Actions: (Specify Samus or Arne)

[]: Start with how you got here
[]: Start with the threats you're most familiar with (Space Pirates, mysterious Wormhole Junction operators)
[]: Start with the omnipresent computer virus that is literally tracking all of their data right now.
[]: Start with the Weltreich
[]: Start with the Chozo and Alimbics relics and the power they represent
[]: Start with prompting the Autobots to speak
[]: Write in
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 6

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[voteresult]638426[/voteresult]

Samus

"Jetfire, you know this place better than I do. You should start." You said, nodding to the Autobot Air Commander. He stepped forward, white armour gleaming in the revealed sun and red helm distinctive amidst the crowd. As a nineteen and a half meter tall robot, he certainly grabbed attention; the wings of his Sukhoi alt mode blocking out some of the daylight streaming in from behind him.

"Eh you sure miss? I ain't really much for big speeches an' all that. But if ye like." He said, turning towards you while Arne

"Right lads, name's something you lot can't pronounce; but ye can call me Jetfire. Spiffin' lad, one of the right hand bots meself. But I'll be honest with you. Not much for dramatic speeches, not like Prime. So I figure, why the 'ell not. Gave 'im a call 'fore we set out and well..." Jetfire said as he stepped to the side, a hard-light holographic recreation of a figure that even you felt briefly awed to see. A blue helmet and legs, a red chest and arms, interspersed with chrome joints; armour-plated like a knight of old with noble blue optics that hit you with every second of the untold millions of years of war he had waged for freedom and justice's sake. Even in holographic form, he had a presence you could call...divine. An anointed of a higher power. The same sort of holy presence you felt from looking at the avatars of the Chozo Ancestor gods, calming and benevolent like Old Bird.



Positron and Eidolon's thoughts stilled, Arne staggered before recovering his footing, Winterpyre recoiled slightly, and all the Autobots quickly saluted. For a moment, the red hot hostility of the world seemed to just melt, and everyone hinged on what this figure, a titan of justice, might say next.

You fished out a name through his truly ancient strand in the Causeways of Destiny, a cable of inviolable fate. A name you had heard before, but only now known to associate with this figure.

"Optimus Prime." You said in a reverent breath.

"Ummm...hi." You said, a little louder, a little bolder, mind trying to analyse every mechanism, every bolt and fibre of his being in an attempt to make sense of how he worked.

"Is there...something inside you? Something else...I feel something so old and wise inside you. C-can you tell me?! I...what are your..." You realised that you were making a fool of yourself and bit your tongue, shying away a bit as you completely fumbled your first words. "I am the Hatchling of the Chozo, I have fought alongside your autobots. It is an honour to be alongside someone like yourself."

"The honour is mine. I have been shown that you are brave and wise far beyond your years, and it is quite rare for a human to suspect the presence of Primus' Matrix inside of me, even rarer without seeing me in person. Though I do not have the honour of knowing the Chozo very well, they clearly made a wise decision to take you in their care. I hope to fight by your side some day soon." He said with fatherly pride despite having just met you. You beamed beneath your helmet, offering him one of your thumbs ups as he made the effort to return the gesture towards you.

"I...hi...hello...I'm uh...Neophyte of the Alimbics...I worked with...working with your aut...I accompany her an...who uh, wow you are really tall." Arne said, his words even clumsier as he tried to fish around for any terms. "I...I'm sorry I'm interrupting." He said, shyly looking away as Optimus Prime shook his head and offered his holographic hand out to Arne and yourself to lift the two of you up closer to him, the hard-light feeling just as solid and real as any metal and giving you an approximation of the sensation of actually being on his hand.

"No. You are not. I have been told much about your valour so far. From what you have shared with my comrades in arms, and the bravery of your struggle to save worlds not your own. I could only wish to be honoured with your direct presence, but alas this long war calls me to fronts far away from your world for now. Know that you have my respect, and that while you remain separated from your caretakers, my Autobots will be glad to assist you in whatever way they can." He responded, your hand reaching out to one of his thumbs before he let you stand upon his shoulders and looked out at the gathered humans and not so humans before him, the Autobots keeping in a respectful formation around his avatar.

"Prime, gonna spoil tha' kids if ye keep this up." Jetfire said with a laugh.

"If what you told me of what they have been through is accurate, spoiling them would be the least I could do." He said with an avuncular tone as Windblade laughed and shook her head.

"Optimus Prime...is that a code name?" Positron said before Eidolon shook his head.

"Doubtful, a translation of a title. I suspect your true name would be difficult to pronounce yes?" He said.

"That would be the correct assumption. I am Optimus Prime, current Paramount Leader of the Autobot Revolutionary Alliance. My forces have been among your two worlds in hiding for many years, seeking to counter our Decepticon foes already amongst your ranks." He said, deciding to dispense with the masquerade almost immediately while Bumblebee played a "robots in disguise" jingle that you didn't recognise but were sure would stick in your head for the next few days.

"I have suspected that there were unusual mechanical presences within a great many vehicles for some time now. You are mechanical, correct?" Citadel said.

"We are indeed. We are mechanical life forms who originated in the metallic world of Cybertron in a reality far beyond your own. Our race has however, long been sundered in the throes of civil war since what you would consider to be the triassic period." He said, allowing the Hologram to show a beautiful gem of a metallic planet, much larger than Earth. A history of expansion and colonisation in all direction stretched over a truly enormous gulf of time. You almost took a step back though when the planet started to erupt in a series of detonations and swarmed with warships that spread all across what the Cybertronians considered to be the known universe. You already had an inkling of it...but seeing it in such visualised form was shocking; especially as the timer counted down millions of years, just spent in endless, ceaseless total war.

"A conflict between we who fought to abolish the caste system, the ideology of spark supremacy, and to end our history of grueling conflicts over pointless conquests; those who sought to preserve the system for themselves and maintain their aristocratic and imperial power; and those who believed that the only path for our race was the subjugation and exploitation of all of existence to rejuvenate what they saw as an ailing nation held back by weakness. The Autobots, the Imperidroids, and the Decepticons. But in the millions of your years we have fought, we have only fractured farther, our civilization stagnating as our best and brightest perished in the trenches of ceaseless conflict." He said, clearly using some sort of compulsion not to make people believe a lie, but to know that he spoke only truth. You could verify as much yourself with a brief glimpse at his enormous tendril in fate, interlocked to an impossible number of other destinies, seeing so many people entwined with his own fate come to a sudden end. Was it his Matrix? It must be...you could feel such...blessed wisdom from it. This was someone who did not take to lying often.

"So, why not speak to us about this beforehand? We could have worked together and helped stop things earlier. Hell...there's been so many conflicts we've had you could have helped with!" Positron said, not angry so much as...needing. Needing to know why.

"Why didn't you help before?" You asked, also needing to hear it from him himself.

"My apologies, we try to preserve indigenous civilizations from the trauma of being drawn into our politics as best we can. We have worked with some of your agencies in the shadows, but to drive the Decepticons out of hiding means to invite them to escalate to overt force. As devastating as many of your prior conflicts have been, it would hardly compare to the Decepticons deciding it would be easier to annihilate your Solar system to extract its resources than to take the political costs of losing access to your wealth. And once the Decepticons emerge from hiding, so will other threats, lest they risk falling behind our oldest foes' progress in attempting to usurp your world for their gain. Our revelation here already guarantees that they will begin to take greater action. Though it pains me to say it, we must be ready for a higher form of warfare. One I fear all elements of the worlds under threat may not be willing to aid us in." He said with a heavy, grave tone as he looked upon the city as if it was already in ruins and sighed.

Arne

Being in Optimus hand, even in holographic form, made you feel alive with a holy presence. Something you rarely felt amidst the secular alimbics who had taken care of you...but sweet mother Elmorni often brought you relics of your clan's faith, and that same feeling of being valued and treasured filled you now as your eyes met with Optimus' optics, even if only for a moment. It almost was disappointing to be let go by him to rest upon his shoulders, not without saying something to earn his approval. But you had your chance now.

"I...I don't think I've met any Decepticons yet. But we have direct proof of at least two of the empires trying to conquer these joined worlds. The uh...Rikti and the Weltreich. How much do you know of the Nictus?" You said, trying to focus just on what was important to say so that you didn't trip on your own tongue. Gods, why was it easier to fight to the death than talk to some people?

"More than enough to know that the Kheldians' struggle with them has many parallels with our own civil war." He said, looking to Positron who flew to a height more level with Prime.

"Nictus...Weltreich. So this is where the Nazis have been getting more superhuman muscle. People with powers who didn't fit our system. Origins that don't make sense...they must be coming here to escape the Coming Storm." Positron said, realisation flooding through him.

"That's not...that's not going to work, it's going to spread through every linked reality." You said, bluntly; Eidolon's attention focused on you now.

Samus stepped up though, knowing that of the two of you; she was merely semifunctional rather than awkward....most of the time. "You can use all sorts of powers right? Discarding them to get new ones as you need them...you can see the future, like we can, yes?" She said. "I know you don't have full control over it, but perhaps you could attempt to grasp some sort of long-term precognition? Probablistic so you can determine what's likely to happen." You added as Eidolon nodded in response.

"If I am fortunate that should be...yes..." He seemed to pause for a moment before going absolutely stock still. "I see...fortunate then that you have stopped those on the side of light from waging civil war for now." He said, looking towards Positron as he flew up, offering a hand to the armoured scion of Prometheus.

"Hey, personally; I'm much bigger on diplomacy and trade with alternate earths than adding yet another enemy to the list." Positron said as he took the hand and gave a handshake that you could just about sense the footfalls of the significance of. The sense of doom faded somewhat, probabilities becoming just a bit more likely to end in something beyond the Great Filter.

"You...have a list of other Earths you consider enemies?" He said, slightly disquieted by the idea of having so many foes that an entire list would need to be made.

"Growing constantly I'm afraid." He said as Raymond and David broke off their handshake while Legend, seemingly miffed that Positron was mostly talking to Eidolon and not him, harrumphed to move in a bit closer and offered his own hand to shake.

"I'll give you credit, not a whole lot of people could go that many rounds with Iybraa for that long." He said, Legend giving a smile and a nod.

"I had her in the bag."

"She's fifteen, please don't put her in a bag." Raymond said in a deadpan voice that took you five seconds to realise was a joke before you started to chuckle.

"She will probably adapt to Eidolon's trick though...but you two...can you pass me all the files you've got from the Reich? If the Nictus are planning something this big, I need to get ready. Got so much to worry about these days..." He said, looking to you as your suit interfaced with his for a moment. You then realised something.

His power armour didn't have the Virus. His suit was uninfected by whatever malware was being passed around the computer systems here like wildfire. Should you say something to him? Was it the fire of Prometheus that burned within him? You weren't exactly sure, but you did take the hand he offered to shake firmly.

One of the enormous dragon suits flew overhead as you passed out the data you had collected to every system in the area capable of receiving it; your armour uploading the information it had gathered at blinding speeds, compressing the information wherever necessary to fit into more primitive systems as you could feel the technology around you. Compromised in nearly every case by some malady that seemed to leech at the information you threw out to the infected systems, sending it to some distant set of networked servers and bounced around in a labyrinthine set of duds and rewirings that even you couldn't quite trace the true origin of. Not without more data to properly triangulate anyway. Whoever wrote this program was an expert at making sure that their trail would not be followed; cutting connections whenever the malware sensed your presence to leave dead trails.

You had excised all the personal information from the data you collected. You were still...unsure on whether to give out your actual name to these people for the most part, at least in public anyway. Being able to slink back into obscurity by simply not wearing your armour or using an alternate look for your suit was a nice thought. And the attention of the news crews around you made you thoroughly nervous.

"If this is only one of many dangers, then we are in grave peril. They are mobilising for further strikes that will likely fall on this city and Paragon next. Now...I know the two of you are young, but I would like to ask you a favour. Can you help monitor the situation here for some time? As we discern the extent of this linking of realities, your ability to gather information has proven to be as invaluable as your raw battle prowess." Optimus' holographic avatar said as he offered his hand for the two of you to get onto, lowering you to the ground and looking at you.

"I...yeah. We can." You said, sucking in a breath and puffing out your chest.

"I'd really like that...there's just so much here to see! It's like a museum!" Samus said cheerfully, grinning beneath her helmet while you stood yourself straighter.

"Excellent. Now, for our first order of business, I will allow Kyrion to speak. He has been an invaluable ally, and an important resource on your capabilities and what dangers may come from what you call home." Optimus said as Kyrion's holographic avatar cut in with a nod, wave and salute.

"Thank you Urglik Prime."

"You are of course welcome."

"Now...I have come to suggest the possibility of perhaps forming embassy and means ensuring cooperation. We are still a ways yet from forming a more united organisation for the defence of the imperiled worlds, but with what we have on hand...we could work something out. At least get the foundations started. This portal site seems to be as good of a place as any." Kyrion said, looking at the swirling rift between realities and then back towards you all.

"Wait...who are you?" Legend asked, folding his arms.

"Anti-Imperialist Agent, Revolutionary Subversive, and general pain in the back sides of people who would like to conquer and exploit lower tech civilisations for their benefit. You can call me Kyrion, I come from Section 13 of the Intelligence Services of the Omdyn of Democratic Council Omnipragmatist Republics. The boy there and I come from the same country, though not of the same nation. I share a home reality with the two of them you see; in the far off year of fifty thousand and fourteen." They said, spindly limbs adjusting themselves as they spoke with an almost genteel demeanour, the synthetic offering nod and gesticulating in an articulate manner you studied intently, in the hopes of coming off as sophisticated as the spymaster at some point.

"So basically space KGB?" Legend asked.

"Crude but somewhere within the ballpark." They answered, curt, polite, and efficient. All things you wish you could be with your speech. "Ah right, baseball is a bit of a passing fad of a sport...somewhere in the vicinity of the dodgeball target." They said, a shift in tone indicating a joke that got you to laugh again.

"How did you know I played dodgeball?" Legend said as the synth shrugged its shoulders.

"You've got the aim of a star player, Urglik Legend."

"So...what now?" Samus asked, speaking up and craning her head towards you.

"Yeah just let me think about...what are we supposed to call you two again? You've changed codenames a bunch...might be fine for bouncing from planet to planet but well, if you're going to stay here. Try a consistent one. It'll stick better. Even with your armour's uh, appearance changes." Legend said.

"I'd like to add another thing. If you're going to work with us; I'd like to offer my personal recommendation to the Freedom Phalanx. I've taken a moment to look over your data and well, to be frank, I'd love to have you on the team." Positron said, offering a hand. "Of course, you don't have to decide now. Have a think about it though." He offered.

"Look, we've met before and you'll be hanging around here so why not give the Protectorate or the Wards a go?" You frowned at the thought of that. Your knowledge of what pre-space faring America was made the idea of serving in its law enforcement sit in your stomach like itching powder.

"Oi well, if it's all the same...Autobots don't mind bringin' in non-cybertronians." Jetfire pitched in.

The Otmetsolsoza would probably also be interested come to think about it but...tying yourself to any one government...

"Hey, if you wanna hang out with the Starsetters well...I think you're cool!" Alice said from atop Winterpyre who gave a nod and a snort of flame.

"Could you give us some time to think, please?" You said, looking to Samus.

Hero Name voting:

Arne Choices:
[]: Nova Knight (CommNet chat handle)
[]: Eagle-Squire (Meaning of first name, rank amongst Alimbics)
[]: Ranger (Codename from mysterious black ops organisation that levelled Cylosis)
[]: Primoris (Primary title amongst Alimbics)
[]: Duskguard (Affectionate nickname from Elmorni)
[]: Sylux (Name of future alter ego)
[]: Neophyte (Prophetic title from Alimbics)
[]: Sigtyr (Name of Odin)
[]: Sarxyl Avar (Alimbic name)
[]: Go with actual name and dispense with secret identity
[]: Write in

Samus Choices:
[]: Hatching Sentinel (CommNet chat handle)
[]: Huntress (Future title from Space Pirates)
[]: Metroid (Word for Ultimate Warrior among certain Chozo dialects)
[]: Hatchling (Prophetic title from Chozo)
[]: Dawnchild (Affectionate nickname from Old Bird)
[]: Goldraven (Pet name from friends)
[]: Inheritor (Primary title amongst Chozo)
[]: Aine (Celtic Goddess)
[]: Aira-Sekh (Chozo Name)
[]: Go with actual name and dispense with secret identity
[]: Write in


Team Choice (Arne and Samus must choose the same option):

[]: Freedom Phalanx: (Independence from most governments, strong ties to primal earth, lots of mentor options, frequent free upgrades, large variety of power origins to work with, second best regular income of Incarnate components. Requires revealed identity, will be placed into Sidekick program.)
[]: Protectorate (Strong ties to Earth Bet, legal privileges on Earth bet, regular guaranteed income, access to Shard powers to study and tinkertech, comes with caveat of greater need to follow regulations and participation in schooling system. Requires secret identity.)
[]: Otmetsolsoza (The Protectorate but Soviet. Much of the same regulations as the Protectorate and the same benefits. This is more if you want to see more of Molotok and Serp and their friends.)
[]: Autobots (Strong ties to the Transformers, best mentor options, highly sophisticated technology to study and incorporate, lower numbers, lack of people in peer group, facilities have human comfort mostly as a secondary concern; politically well suited, autobots generally very experienced with working with children.)
[]: Section 13 (Strong ties to Metroid universe, most understanding of Chozo and Alimbic relics and how you operate, weakest presence on these earths so far, gives the most operational freedom to operate the way you'd expect Samus and Sylux to. Significant grab bag of upgrades to access. Very politically well suited, few people in peer group at the moment.)
[]: Starsetters (Independence from most governments, strong ties to primal earth, largest peer group due to mostly being made out of kids and people a bit outside the normal experience of humanity, no need to reveal identity, significant incarnate component access, broad range of power origin upgrades to incorporate. Socially somewhat misfitted with humans. Tends to have the least access privileges.)
[]: Vanguard (Strong ties to Primal earth, enormous array of equipment to choose from for regular upgrades and training, best incarnate income, significant salary, a great deal of freedom to operate in most cases. Tied to the Primal Earth United Nations, most militaristic, has some...morally questionable company due to their open-door policy. First target for alien infiltrators on Primal Earth. No identity policy.)
[]: Suggest starting on that new organisation (Most freedom, has to start up from scratch and puts burden of leadership more squarely on you two but can be tailored to your desires.)
[]: Ask people to make offers and show why you should join them.
[]: Remain independent for now (May be able to make choice later when opportunities arise.)
[]: Write in
 
Iris Chatlog

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
While you guys sort out this important vote: more fluff bits

Iris* Server "Cool place for Cool people", owned by Rundrasta: Shortly after the "Brockton Bay Brawl Bonanza"

Assault: So anyway that's how I beat up about three thousand Nazis and got to talk to God or something.
Dawnmaker: I believe the term would be "epic".
Xaeon: Nice work there! I can always respect someone who can clown on the Reich.
Battery: I uh...still need to think about how to file the paper work for that overseas mission. What should I write down for "had a conversation with a magic fountain?"
Serp: Write what she told you, obviously comrade.
Chernaya Gvardiya: Serp is correct, the truth should suffice.
Battery: Just trying to process it all honestly.
Mistral Slash: Don't worry about it too much, it's overwhelming the first time but you get used to it.
Molotok: I think she was a bit cute honestly!
Rundrasta: Bruh.
Boltdancer: Bruh.
Laser Crusader: Bruh.
Rave Rage: Bruh.
Starsinger: Bruh moment.
Molotok: She was like this...fancy fairy just dancing around! Very interesting.
Rundrasta: Lot of words I'd use to like, describe the well of furies. Cute is
Rundrasta: So far down the list yo, like the list is in fucking hell at this point.
Rundrasta: We'll be digging for trilobite fossils with the list
Steel Paladin: Raela, everyone sees her in a different way.
Rundrasta: Tyri; she's creepy and I don't trust like, someone who thought Tyrant was gonna be the
Rundrasta: Chad thundercock saviour of humanity
Xaeon: Can we even call Tyrant a Chad?
Positron: Please...stop making me think about Praetorian Cole's sex life.
Vista: Uh, hey, Xaeon. Speaking of people with names like yours, have you seen someone called Scion? Golden man, looks like a very muscular Jesus?
Vista Uploaded Scion.jpg
Xaeon: Oh? I think he just showed up in Pocket D one day and had a conversation with DJ Zero and then decided the purpose of life was partying or something.
Vista: Oh! Oh! How long has he been there.
Xaeon: Few years. Before I came to Primal Earth honestly.
Clockblocker: Pocket D? That a club or some kind of sex thing?
Iybraa: To be fair, it is full of horny people. It's some metadimensional universe created by this, all powerful party guy who found some way to divide his power level by zero or something but all he does with it is throw a forever party in a reality where he uses his godly powers to prevent anyone from getting hurt. It's pretty nice to hang out, lot of adult-only sections though. Infinite number of kid-only spaces too.
Clockblocker: ...You know, fair if I had the power to create an entire Universe with a finger snap I'd probably throw a party too.
Battery: Scion is just...partying?
Xaeon: Pretty sure he's trying to drink the infinite kegger dry while a bunch of other abstract higher beings cheer him on to chug right now.
Eidolon: Can this...DJ Zero be asked to help?
Positron: Hah! Not even a little. All he cares about is his forever rave. Every time we catalogue a new reality, he's already had portal links there since time began that anyone he deems is cool can go through to join the fun. He's got a very...broad definition of cool. Seems like any hero or villain or most civilians can go through.
Eidolon: Hardly the most responsible use of such power.
Citadel: It does however, mean that he poses no threat and that his cluster of created realities can be utilised as a neutral meeting ground, or if worst comes to worst; safe refuge.
Legend: Well, I'm sure I'd be able to get in. How are the drinks there?
(Reacts: ok_hand 381)
Penelope Yin: Cosmically perfect.
Legend: Hrmmmm...
Eidolon: Rundrasta, you claim to be an Angel, yes?
Rundrasta: Yo, I am an angel. (emoji: sunglasses)
Eidolon: You seem quite profane for a servant of heaven.
Rundrasta: 'Cause that mysterious higher power shit is fuckin' borin' yo!
Eidolon: Language.
Rundrasta: Bruh you ain't my mom. Besides, she taught me to swear. Cuz she's epic.
Aegis: Are people still using "epic" in 2020?
Steel Paladin: As far as I know it faded from use for a bit and then was brought back in a more ironic form.
Vector Shift: Yeah Pally's got the gist of it. People stop using it unironically I wanna say in...2012? Then people used it ironically six years later.
Mechamaven: You gotta understand that the meme game of the future is all about layers of irony. (emoji: ablobsunglasseswink)
Aegis: ...Okay I already had issues with you people but this lack of sincerity thing might be a bridge too far.
Adamanta: idk bro
Adamanta: you be bein' kinda cringe
Aegis: Stop calling me that!
Nucleon: Ahh you have been accorded the title of "cringe" yes human? I too have been proclaimed "cringe tbh".
Shadow Stalker: Please...try to talk normal, professionally even! Not this...impenetrable layers of meme speak!
Boltdancer: Bruh, chill. Just having fun.
Shadow Stalker: STOP SAYING BRUH! I swear you people are like broken records!
(reacts: bruh 467)
Jetfire: It seems that way. Nucleon. Wear it with...well not pride. Wear it though.
Shadow Stalker: ...
Aegis: Breathe Shadow Stalker.
Kid Win: Huh...so this is the app. Cool. Lot of nice features here, liking the addition of avatars myself.
Rundrasta: Ayyy you made it. No hard feelings for the whole fight right?
Kid Win: Hah, you kidding? That was a blast. I've got so much information to go over now it's crazy. Best day I've had in a long while honestly.
(Reacts: this_tbh; 84, 100; 73 Bloodtype_B; 72, regional_indicator_A; 72, regional_indicator_S; 72, regional_indicator_E; 72, regional_indicator_D 72, sunglasses; 65, thumbs_up; 54, megaflushed; 31, possumgrin; 21, lordrecluselaugh; 19, smilecat; 17)
Kid Win: ...Smiley reacts? Interesting idea. What's based though? What am I based on?
Boltdancer: Based on Bofa.
Aegis: ...What's Bofa?
Several people are typing

*A special secure version of Discord made by multiple hero groups working together to serve as a chat, voice and video communication, stream, and image and video sharing service. Invented on Primal Earth. Has a villain counterpart called Neith; started by Arachnos and operating from the Rogue Islands.
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 7

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[X]: Samus: Dawnchild
[X]: Arne: Duskguard

[X] Join the Autobots

Samus

You took a moment to reflect and confer with Arne as you straightened yourself, aware of how many eyes were on you. "What should we call ourselves here?" You asked him, it was a rather difficult choice to be sure. You weren't that great with names, though to be fair, Arne had yet to name things that broke with his pattern of Slavic, Baltic, Germanic, or Finnic mythological figures or Uskarling culture and religion. To be fair, you also drew primarily on Chozo culture, Celtic lore, Egyptian and Babylonian Mythology, or Hellenistic culture. Hrm...well..there were the few things you named for your shared Jewish heritage...

Sidetracking yes, yes. Need to give them a quick answer.

"Something important to us? But not well...not one of our genuine names. Not the usual mythology references either. I can, well, I can tell most of the better ones will probably already be taken." He said, the two of you holding your conversation in an accelerated perception of time to reach to a conclusion far more quickly than they could if they slowed down enough for most others to follow.

Most others however, were not Optimus, whose mind was able to coordinate countless battles across the void that the Autobots fought in simultaneously, and whose wisdom keyed him in on secrets.

"May I make a suggestion, if you would have it?" He offered, the two of you turning towards him with a bit of surprise as he allowed you to get onto his hand so that he could look at you both head on.

"Of course! I'm sure you'll have something wise and magnificent to share!" You said. "But uh...don't let me hold you back, just, say what you need to!" Words Samus, words were good when they weren't confused.

"Titular names are of great importance to our society, it is rare for us to use personal names; even among close friends. Think of titles given to you by those you hold dear, and the answer I feel; will come to you quickly." Optimus offered, his voice gentle and patient, even as he spoke of coming to an answer quickly, you felt he would be fine with waiting until the stars died for you to give him your response.

You thought for a moment, head going through appelations given to the both of you. To the Chozo who raised you, you were the Inheritor by role, the Hatchling by prophecy. To Arne, he was Primoris and Neophyte respectively to the Alimbics. But that hardly seemed obvious, what about the way you looked said you were those things?

"Probably shouldn't use the impersonal titles...I don't think most of them would understand the prophecies behind them." Arne said, voicing your thoughts as you nodded at him. But then you thought of ancient Re-Sekh's gentle hand and care. He called you many things, Samus as your birth parents did, Aira-Sekh as he dubbed you among your new family and...

Zebes, 4 years ago

You were a freshly anointed ten-year-old, a decade of life to be celebrated. Seven years among the Chozo of this humble world. You were outside on the surface of Crateria, the rains that would melt steel and unaugmented human flesh banished despite being harmless to you in order to allow for the radiant sun of the world shine unimpeded. You had many friends gathered, the squirrel-like Pyonchi and the mechanical Gecko like companion Okmin keeping close by; just two of the myriad pets you had acquired; keeping company with a pair of large, luminescent butterfly like Iono Ferias you had named Titania and Oberon after rescuing them from Mother Brain's desired purge and a gaggle of other animals and robots you had come to adopt.

Mother Brain's spherical Oculi drones kept tabs as they always did, a sensation of disdain just about radiating from her as she looked around. She was considering the amount of resources this was all wasting, you could sense it. She was vastly more psychically skilled than you were, but she couldn't hide all of her feelings from you, regardless of her claims to being emotionless and purely rational. Still, she was still family and so she was still invited; even if she had ignored many of the intelligent synthetics you had built over the years to make some friends and playmates. One of her drones hovered around a gynoid you had built in the image of a young Faera girl, an orchid haired young lady who was busily petting Pyonchi while you smiled and grinned.

"+...Her combat capability is substandard.+" Well, at least Mother brain was calling Qaeystra a she, but you frowned at what she was focusing on. Did she not understand the point of this? Why did she have to be so frustrating? Efficiency this, battle-readiness that, illogical whatever the hell. It was enough to make you the primary reason that her Oculoid drones ended up being destroyed, outstripping every single other cause of loss across the many worlds, stations, and outposts that Mother Brain managed. Something you were trying to be better about but something that she would never stop berating you over.

"It's not about making another killing machine Mother! It's about having friends!" You said, folding your arms against your red plated chest and huffing, muttering where she could stick her logic engines beneath your breath.

"+I would have thought your desire for companionship satisfied after the thousandth such machine you assembled for this purpose.+" Mother Brain said coldly.

"It's always nice to meet new people and make new friends!" You said with a growing frown.

"Don't worry Samus, she's just Kvetching." Qaestra said, flipping her hair and getting a grin out of you as you moved a hand to a gold plated hip.

As was the tradition of the nation of Chozo you called your own; you wore your armour amongst them, almost comically small next to them. Long digitigrade limbs, the beaked heads and taloned digits that gave them vague resemblances to birds when paired with the feathers that covered parts of their body not shielded by chitinous carapace sheathed in helms, gauntlets and boots. Each patterned their armour off of their personal preferences in colour and aesthetic, matching them with humble but eye-catching robes and cloaks of many colours.

Old Bird's helm was crested, red and gold in colour which had inspired you to choose these two as your own colours. His green visor glowed gently while his fingers made a simple gesture and his mouth said a few incantations. A process of harnessing a power he promised to teach you soon; five years from now, when you had finished mastery of battle and science; socialisation and politicking; so that you could go into the study of psionics and magic with a clear head. Something was born of nothing, the law of conservation a simple matter for him to break as he weaved a cake into being before you.

"Perhaps not the way your birth mother would have made, Samus...but with all the same heart behind it I would hope." He said in a kindly voice as you just about squealed, rushing to dismiss your helmet and take it in hand, setting it upon the table while he gave an appreciative nod, bracing himself for the hug you threw around his legs, face ruffling into his simple robes.

"Thankyouthankyouthankyou papa!" You said with a big grin on your face, the pony-tail you had started to wear as you gradually let your hair grow longer and longer as you mastered caring for it more and more fluttering a bit in the breeze.

"You are my Dawnchild my sweet, scion of a new morning for all, my old heart longs for your happiness. Now come on, the birthday girl should enjoy herself." He said, gesturing to the cake that you stuffed your face with absolute abandon.

"Papa, why is Mother br-" You said, cheeks chipmunked with food before Old Bird raised a finger and wiped some of the mess off of your face, giving you time to swallow properly while he waited patiently for you to calm down enough to form a more properly thought out sentence.

"It is preferable to not speak in the midst of eating, Dawnchild." He said, resting a hand on your shoulder while you nodded so fast your head would have looked like a blur to any unaugmented human observer, stopping only when Pyonchi jumped onto a shoulder plate and pawed at your cheek, your fingers giving the blade in your hand the right motions needed to carve out a little slice for the pink coloured pet who swiftly helped themselves to the offering, nuzzling their cheek into you while you giggled loudly at the display, a chuckle coming from Old Bird as well.

"Now, I believe you wanted to say something to me about Mother Brain?" He asked, looking at one of her Oculoids getting into one of the Chozo's faces before being shooed away by their staff, darting around the object and then returning to a less...invasive observation distance.

"Why is she like that? A bi-" You paused, no that was kind of rude. "A big joyless jerk!" You said...much better!

"Such comes naturally to those who have come to believe they re always the wisest one in room. But you, my Dawnchild...I think you will be more than able to tame the pride in your heart, but never think you are not worthy of it." He said, touching his beak briefly to your scalp and pulling away as you took another slice.


Arne

Sentus Primaris, 4 years ago.

Another cliff to vault over for your now decade old legs, keeping pace with the cyclopean hovering elders who moved at a stately pace, tripod legs dangling below thin insectoid bodies, colour coded armour interfacing with myriad technologies and ancient minds turning locks older than most religions. You kept your distance from the grey general, his neckless head floating above his torso while he extended a hand and transmuted the final locked door that was designed to be impervious even to weapons that would have ruptured the planet itself. Matter shifted, altered, moved at the behest of a combination of magic and psionics; blocks shifting into place and doorways unfolding their way into being.

You landed upon the platform before a bridge that another Alimbic simply willed into being; shaping it into existence with brief thought and incantation and forming a path for you to walk along; her blue armour a familiar presence for you as you approached her legs. Your favoured pets; the domestic ravens Hugin and Munin passed down to you from your parents and the Ithrakoid combat mechs Geri and Freki she had given to you seven years ago staying close at hand. You had close by a number of companion machines, forged when you were finding yourself with overly ample free time and not enough people to spend it with. You weren't able to make as many as you wanted, and the Grey one glared at your attempt at creating a brother for yourself; Ivar.

"-That we must waste time with this ritual is already concerning enough, but to bring your rabble of contraptions along goes beyond insufferable and into the realm of contempt, Primoris.-" He said, making you flinch slightly as you dismissed your helmet in blue light and offered a hand to the matronly blue Alimbic by your side, holding out your other for one of your Golden Eagle sized crows who let out a caw of approval as he perched on your arm, his sibling finding his way onto your shoulder while your hounds kept to your flanks.

"Fath-" You stopped as you sensed imminent, overwhelming danger over the horizons of fate if you finished saying that. He hated you calling him that. Your tongue found its way to where a milk tooth had been before, replaced by a fresh tooth that had erupted shortly after its predecessor was struck out, and your eyes were drawn towards his hands as you gulped and felt yourself quaking briefly. Especially when he raised it. You resisted the urge to take a defensive position and just kept quiet, keeping closer to the other Alimbic instead.

"...Chevalier-General Zurvduat, Mo-" You paused, he didn't like you calling her that either, especially since she indulged it adoringly. "-Mystromagus Elmorni said I could." You corrected yourself as the Grey Commander's rage faded into a future that would not occur for now. His lanky form was many times taller than you were, even when not hovering, his body having proportions almost stick bug-like, carapace jointed and hinged in places rather unlike the Earth arthropods he vaguely resembled, his eerie, mouthless and noseless face devoid of any physical indications of his state of mood, immobile crest emerging from his teardrop-shaped head like horns. His single yellow eye bore cold menace, and you felt yourself wanting to hide when he looked directly at you, the Crows moving to avoid his gaze swiftly as well; remembering what happened the last time they drew his ire, keeping their wings closer to their bodies and hiding their wrists to protect them.

"-You revel in defying me, don't you Elmorni?-" Zurvduat said as Ivar; designed to resemble what you thought your brother would be like if you had one; backed away swiftly, the biomechanical synth rushing towards Elmorni who ran her hand through his shorter, rougher white hair; splitting off sections of armour covered carapace into pseudofingers as she pet him.

"-As one of the Tetrarchs, Chevalier; my authority is equal to yours and supercedes yours in civilian matters. Arne is still a child, give him time before he must surrender his life to war.-" She said as Zurvduat looked down at you, sweat briefly forming before you willed your body to not show such weakness.

"-Childhood will soon end for you, Primoris. You would do well to remember that. You will not have time for games when the Thunder comes.-" He said as you gave a nod of understanding before going ahead, moving past the silent statues of great Alimbic Conquerors, Thinkers, Makers, and Warriors of the past of this long dead empire; remnants of a time when the Tetrarch Order stood in cold war with the Chojinzuko Milieu following their shared victory over the Old Foe. When the Alimbics sought to prove their ways greater than their former allies, their art more grandiose and inspiring in the strange, dimensionally shifting light that always worked to cut the most imposing possible figure to them.

"Mom...why is...da...he so mean?" You asked, looking up towards the single red eye of your adoptive mother, her own gave turning towards you as she lowered herself to your level and brushed away a tear you barely noticed you had shed.

"-Because all he sees when he looks at you is a sword, not a boy who needed our help.-" She said gently, as you sniffled and nodded, making a little smile as she softly cooed at you bringing an arm around you and sharing some of her psychic warmth with you, like a heated blanket.

"But you made me to fight..." You said quietly, words choking in your throat.

"-Arne, my darling boy. You are my Duskguard, my champion and paladin who stands against the night. You will always be those things to me first, my Duskguard. Your parents would look on you with so much pride. Now come...-" She said, shifting something from the realm of unbeing into reality, conjuring a shape from nonexistence until you realised it was...

"Ice cream cupcake? For me?" You said, ceasing your sniffling.

"-Happy birthday.-" You smiled warmly at her and took it eagerly.

Samus


"What about the nicknames Old Bird and Elmorni gave us?" You asked Arne as he gave it a moment of thinking. He tapped his helm's chin and then looked towards you, nodding, smiling beneath his helmet.

"Duskguard and Dawnchild." He said.

"A fine name for two who fight so well together. But I must also ask, who will you stand beside?"

"Hey, if you join on with us, we can get you American citizenship in no time. Regular payment, healthcare and dental benefits..." Legend said, floating up to you.

"Oh that's not going to be an issue. We don't get sick!" You said, putting your hand on your chest as Legend raised a brow before shrugging and continuing on with his pitch.

"As I was saying, we'll ensure you'll be put into an adoptive family to take care of you in no time. At least, as long as you're here. Speed you through the process of finding a school and citize-" Arne frowned beneath his helmet and set his visor to full opacity mode, shaking his head while you slightly gritted your teeth.

"...School? What sort of school?" You asked.

"Public schooling to help you stay in touch with the local population. I'm sure you'll find it easy enough with your intellect. Besides, it's probably the easiest option to make friends here." He continued, though it took about a second for the two of you to give each other a quick look and then shake your heads.

"I don't need to go through your education system. What would I even do there? It's...hhh, look; it'd be boring and dull and we're already in a program. And I..." He looked to legend and then to yourself. "We wouldn't learn anything we didn't know. And look a foster family is just..." He paused.

"They wouldn't know how to handle us." You said, more tactfully than he was likely to say.

"Well, might I suggest the Phalanx? High tech facilities, nearly all of us have worked with kids before, plenty of young aspirants to hang around with; no need to go through the public education system if you don't want to. Only problem is that we have a public identity policy. You're going to need to share your name and appearance with the wider pu-" You shook your head and Arne simply said "No."

Positron looked to Legend and gave a shrug. "Ah well, gave it a good shot didn't we?"

"Maybe we should set up our own uh, organisation? Or look for Section thirteen..." Arne said, thinking on it for a bit.

"That is, it could work I think." You said, But then you thought about how to handle all the busywork of establishing something from the ground up. "But...we'd need to go through so many legal...things and set up all sorts of logistical systems and...ugh so much busywork." You realised, a hand finding its way to your helmet as you thought about his other suggestion. "And are there any section thirteen agents here besides Kyrion? I haven't even seen one...that'd be just...going on our own but with pretension." You said, sighing as you gave it a thought.

"The Starsetters have a group dynamic that would be effective but, we only know two of them? And their base isn't on this version of Earth; nor are they going to be allowed into a lot of places...But I think I know where we should go." You said, turning towards Optimus, laying a hand on his finger.

"Not on our own?" He asked, genuinely curious.

"Arne, we're in a place we don't know. We're so unfamiliar with how things work. Like...that." You pointed to a pizzeria. "They still hand cook harvested ingredients! This long chain of cultivated land and dead animals and trucks and all these things we've only read about. How are we going to find our way around? This isn't..." You paused, he was going to say that delving into mysterious places was what you two were best at. It weighed over his head like an anvil. "It's not like jumping into caverns or ancient ruins. We have to deal with, people. We're not uh...good with people." You concluded as he nodded in understanding.

"Well, you put that better than I eh, could. So, maybe you're not as bad at it as you think?" He said with a gentle smile.

"Aw, thank you." You said, giving him a thumbs up before taking a look at Prime and Jetfire.

"I...no...we've made our decision. We want to join you, the Autobots." You said as Prime rested you upon the ground and nodded, drawing out a hard-light replica of an axe as he touched one of your shoulders with it, the weapon's awe inspiring power thrumming even in this holographic replica.

"Then by the authority entrusted unto me, I swear you; Duskguard and Dawnchild, into the ranks of the Autobot Revolutionary Alliance. I ask that you swear this oath." The two of you nodded, rubbing at the place where his axe touched.

"I swear that Freedom is the right of all sentient beings and justice the obligation of all life, and that I will dedicate myself to the cause of justice and liberation so that none who languish in oppression or immiseration shall find me wanting. No matter the trials or tribulations we face, I vow that I will face them . To all those who would seek to exploit, enslave, or conquer, I promise that I will endeavour to bring about an end to your tyranny in all expediency but with mercy and fairness to those who I vanquish in this cause. I will be more than a soldier, but a peacemaker and a liberator, who will seek to aid the wanting and the needy just as I will combat those who would seek to torment and enslave. And I will do right by my comrades in arms and by the people we seek to assist, to fight not merely out of hatred of the foe but a love for my fellow beings. And to this promise made under Primus' gaze I will hold myself until discharged from the Autobots or 'til all are one." He said, the two of you repeating after him, though you looked around and saw that some had also made the vow; those that had been registered as independent agents without preexisting allegiance or team.

"Jetfire, ensure that they are well taken care of. They are our responsibility now. Never forget that as valorous as they are, they still need time to grow and thrive." Optimus said, turning his gaze towards his old comrade and placing a hard-light hand on his shoulder and receiving a quick nod from the Autobot flier.

"When are we likely to see you...in person?" You asked as Optimus looked around the city of Brockton Bay.

"Hopefully soon. It would be unwise to discuss our plans openly here, but you have my word; these Earths are worlds that we will defend as we did our own. And now that we must step from the shadows, we will do all in our power to ensure that you are ready for what is to come. It will take time to prepare, and we will likely face many internal and external difficulties on the way. But a storm is better weathered together than on one's own. But know this." He said, kneeling down to get closer to your level, putting his hand onto the knee he had propped up and giving a fatherly gaze down to the two of you.

"I am already proud of what you have accomplished even given your youth. Please, if you ever feel the need to speak to me; never hesitate to contact me. Though your years are few, I suspect they are already filled with many stories that I would deeply enjoy hearing." He said, shifting his optics in a way that suggested smiling as you gave him another thumbs up, a beam beneath your helmet, and Arne gave him a chest thump salute in true Grendakal fashion.

"Now...I must go for the time being; other fronts call for my presence in person." He said, his voice gentle and sorrowful at having to depart so soon as his hologram slowly faded out, leaving you two on your own amidst the field for now.

Actions:
[]: Check on Assault and Battery as they catch up with the Wards and Protectorate.
[]: Check on Nightcaster and Eudaimonica as they catch up with the Freedom Phalanx and Starsetters
[]: Get Jetfire's introduction to some of your new Autobot teammates.
[]: Explore around Brockton Bay on your own for a bit. (Specify whether to do this armoured or not and whether it's to look around for trouble or just to check out how things are in the distant past.)
[]: Check what's on the other side of the portal and explore around Paragon City for a bit. (Specify whether to do this armoured or not and whether it's to look around for trouble or just to check out how things are in the distant past.)
[]: Interlude (Optimus Prime)
[]: Interlude (Bulkhead)
[]: Interlude (Lung)
[]: Interlude (Taylor Hebert)
[]: Interlude (Bose Hexe)
[]: Interlude (Lord Recluse)
[]: Interlude (Elmorni & Old Bird)
[]: Interlude (Ian Malkovich)
[]: Write in
 
Interlude Set 1 Part 1: Optimus Prime

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
You know, I've got the free time to spare and these are relaxing destress stories to write. May as well give the people the interludes they want.



Optimus Prime

Outskirts of Stinax Research Facility, Ivaxus, Elndir System, Quasaria Galaxy, Rubricae Multiversal Cluster, Sparkshifter Metaverse.

It had pained Optimus to leave Arne and Samus behind on Earth Bet, he could sense that there was much he could learn from them and that alone as they were in that strange universe and its mysterious extradimensionally granted powers; they would appreciate the company of someone they could trust. To give them such a heavy burden of leadership and integrating into a new command was not something he did lightly, but they had requested to join his ranks, and he swore that he would one day be there in person.

But he had many duties to attend to. Battles to be waged as the cosmos seemed to be growing mad. From what he had been told, twelve metaversal clusters had been drawn together by some unknown force. More might come, an eventuality he hoped would not arise with the chaos that was unfolding already. Convergence, disruption, and the looming threat of the Coming Storm all weighed heavy on his mind as he prayed to his maker-god for answers. When satisfied that the guidance had been delivered, he opened his optics and looked upon the blasted fields of battle. Trench lines, craters, smouldering ruin, flora and fauna having been reduced to ash and geographical formations smashed to ruin; the mountains that had been here nothing more than rubble and memories.

"Optimus we've got hostiles coming in from the north sector, three clicks." Hot Rod's words were clearly full of concern, a concern melting slightly at the presence of the Prime who towered over him. Optimus' arm shifted, unfolding a long barelled gun that he wielded in one hand with ease despite its substantial length, his optics staring into the distance and shifting slightly to provide him with greater vision of what lay in the distance.

"What are they Prime?" Chromia asked, the figure of the woman cutting an in between state betwixt Hot Rod's slender, speedy frame and Prime's tall, noble and knightly figure. The armour over her chassis shifted slightly, her arm currently in the form of a rotary missile launcher as other autobots started to open fire. "Decepticons?" She asked.

They were tall by organic standards, but they were nonetheless organic. A panoply of species united primarily by a shared sense of savagery. More human height insectoids with crab claw hands fitted with blasters and winged, wasp like aliens with massive scythe hands and acid spittle expended like cannon fodder by three to four-meter tall aliens who moved with purpose, speed, and power; vaulting from place to place to avoid incoming fire. The most predominant as far as he could see had eel like heads, separated lower mouth parts, and six eyes; joined by insectoids with transparent carapace sections over their hearts to give an unnerving beating effect, one hand fitted into a pincered arm cannon; the other fitted into a lengthy scythe blade, hunch backed reptilians with fire blazing in their hateful yellow eyes, large and brutish crustaceaoids like a bigger and bulkier counterpart to the insectoids, and dozens of other species.

An autobot who had tried to wade into the organics, scattering them aside with his maul and trying to catch them in his plasmathrower underestimated their speed as flight pack equipped soldiers and drones swarmed around him, the sound barrier issuing its protests while nimble troops darted around him; peppering him and his fire team with shots from all sides. Powerful shots, his shielding burst in seconds and his armour was soon being gouged into by incredibly fast particle bolts, corroding at their self-regenerating plating. Even when brutally injured, they continued to fight on, one stabbing a wrist scythe blade into the foot of an autobot stomping on them even when a gun was pressed to their head to reduce it to particle ash. Others jumped onto and scuttled all over another autobot assault trooper, pulling him down and ripping him apart in frightful savagery; showing a strength Optimus had rarely seen from unexceptional organics.

But they were no Decepticons. Their attacks were experimental, unsure of cybertronian weak points; they seemed taken slightly aback by transformations as transports ferrying in more autobots themselves turned into autobots; smashing into the fray against their hovering, spider-leg carried, or tracked war machines and the occasional tamed giant monster. And even Decepticons would rarely resort to throwing forth soldiers that Optimus could tell were starved and desperate, emaciated and dejected, walking skeletons kept alive by relatively low grade power suits and a bloodthirsty desire to eat the flesh of the Autobot auxiliaries; Prime's optics turning away in disgust when he saw the first few crimson feasts.

"No. These are no Cybertronians, but their desire to acquire the Dark Energon deposits here cannot be allowed to be fulfilled. Electronika, what progress have you made on determining their point of entry?" Optimus said as he started to take rapid fire, carefully aimed shots; easily dodging around the incoming rounds thrown his way even as they flew at speeds best measured in percentages of lightspeed. A missile launched by a large hover tank was sidestepped, his hand wrapping around its haft and his arm flicking to throw the projectile back into the nearest mass of the foe, his ion blaster spearing through a row of similar such vehicles with each shot.

"Well...they're not from this universe...similar signatures to Samus and Arne though, based on what Jetfire's sent us." She said, her visor glimmering slightly as it focused on the enemy.

"Then it is imperative that our newest members inform us of their home reality as soon as is possible. If these truly are the ones behind the recent spate of massacres, they are a foe whose cruelty cannot be allowed to continue. We will stop their scourging of sector after sector here." He said firmly, his weapon taking out dozens of aircraft with pin point accurate shots, a grenade pitch giving another batch of these nimble foes a taste of anti-energy over a wide area, freezing shielding into ice and bodies into dust while Optimus looked into the Matrix within his chest for guidance, deflecting shots coming towards more vulnerable members back to their senders with speed that the human eye simply could not follow. Even while fighting though, his mind was still working, giving commands across every front he and his allies fought in, all guided by the wisdom of Primus within him.

"Prime, the cosmos is falling apart. Barriers between realities are just getting easier and easier to cross, tears in reality we can barely keep track of open more and more frequently exhausting out Primus knows what. Just now I'm getting more of those...unusual signals. Chaotic, something pushing against the fabric of reality like it wants to get in." She said, her chronogun exploding into a storm of badly warped time and space that shredded through multiple platoons of the enemy at a time as the large, rotating claw end of the hip fired weapon finished spooling up. Bursts of white static swallowed the enemy and scattered them across reality, but a barrage of stasis grenades quickly froze her chronovortices to let them advance.

More autobots fell down, cored by powerful and advanced weapons and forcibly medivaced out behind the scenes while other aliens set up deployable cover screens to protect their rapid assault forwards; more soldiers raining down via teleport, dropship, or jump pack and forcing Prime to get to work, moving like a whirlwind of death to keep them away from precious assets.

"I feel it too." He said, hearing something whispering against the corner of reality, something that was looking for a road inside. A road they would find shortly. "Have the spacebridge teams try to disrupt that signal. Get the cityspeakers and mystics on it as well, I have a feeling they will be of more use than more firepower." He said, grabbing some large mech that had tried to sneak up on him and throwing it overhead and straight into and through the ground, stepping to the side and punching a mass accelerator round head on to shatter it into a rain of splinters that scattered more of the alien soldiers trying to approach him.

"Alright boss...just give m-" She didn't quite finish her sentence, her shielding flaring up as she was thrown off her feet by a heavy green projectile that erupted in a nucleonic burst. Anger briefly flared in Prime as he let loose a stream of missiles from his shoulders; each of them splitting into submunitions that formed into gravitational vortices to implode the enemy's frontline into doom, an arm shield forming over his other limb while his blaster swept hundreds of the foe in his way.

"Ratchet, see to Electronika. Elita One, Overload, Drift, Silverbolt; take your troops and come with me. Dinobots; advance to their flanks while the Aerialbots weaken their air support. Technobots; combine and provide us with some heavy support, the artillery should suppress their anti-superheavy assets. Everyone else, provide covering fire." Optimus said, indicating his targets as he rushed forward, deflecting a tachyonic projectile with a quick spin and the emergence of his axe, turning the blade of the Axe of Primus in such a way as to smash the tachyon bolt into some of their drop ships, cutting the aircraft apart in a brilliant detonation while the cannons on his shoulders let loose a burst of electron bolts, shields splintering beneath his assault and bodies crumbling to ash with the follow up shots.

Moving to avoid the stomping leg of a massive mountain of a spidery mech, his axe swung to cut through superdense attomechanically bonded armour like tissue paper, white hot material glowing after the axe's passage as his hand grabbed at its leg and tugged to overturn the machine that stood dozens of times taller than him to smash into a row of other enemies, clearing the way for him to bounce between several positions; moving with speed and agility that belied his size. Assault soldiers who leaped at him faster than most bullets travelled were sidestepped, bisected neatly or stomped into the ground hard enough to crack the earth, energon fire waves projecting forward to burn many others who failed to get out of his way.

Another autobot fell by his side, their spark extinguished by some genetically engineered cavalry beast ridden upon by an armoured warrior of the aliens as their power lance was used to remove his head after he had been battered by anti-armour fire. Utitron; Optimus reminded himself, swearing that his sacrifice would not be in vain as he jumped towards another machine, his axe splitting apart a cockpit larger than he was several times over and carrying him all the way through to let the machine fall apart around him, his ion blaster detonating its ammunition as it fell out of its stores just over the heads of the aliens he had intended to surprise with their own munitions; jets on his back carrying him further to the left, weapons fire deflecting from his hide, throwing a massive tank with a single hand through nothing but sheer strength, letting thousands of tons of metal roll its way through hundreds of soldiers while more fell at his feet every second.

"+Prime, get out of there, those signals are reaching a critical point!+" Electronika shouted before a multicoloured swirl in reality tore its way into being, both sides briefly taking a moment to pause before a third party came streaming out of the bleeding wounds in existence. Red skinned and hooved monsters with burning swords were the first out, horns like curved blades attached to long heads and slavering tongues hungry for blood. Tall humanoid figures in black and brass armour often twisted like flesh and horned helmets followed with a rabble of dejected and twisted humans, slavering curses in a language Prime knew to be of human origin. Small rockets streamed from the guns of the larger men; mixed in with insane laughter as they dove into the thick of the fray, others rejecting all caution and charging into the fray with whirring axes and blades.

Prime could feel that they were wrong, unnatural, twisted and warped by the energies they had cavourted with. Though he recognised them as humans, he didn't hesitate with his next orders, seeing how they relished in the carnage they had soon unleashed. "+Autobots, take them down.+" Prime said as multiple bloated, rotting figures of tremendous height and even greater corpulence shambled out, twisted energies bending at pudgy finger tips. Why they were here, Optimus was unsure, but he would find out as soon as possible. But he also knew magic when he saw it, and the light of Primus shielded him against it, gaining brief surprise from the rotting behemoths as their forces did battle with both the autobtos and the aliens. They staggered forward, hate in beady, myopic eyes, shuddering forward in a putrid charge.

The Axe of Primus glowed as he shot through both the aliens and the twisted humans, and the monsters seemed to recoil in his presence, weaker elements of their host simply disintegrating in his presence, with even the twisted mortals igniting from getting too close to him, howling in pain as the anointed of the creator God of Order slammed one of the alien drop ships into a boxy, stump legged walker to smash it into pieces, jumping forward and letting the rotting ones gather in a semi-circle around him, interrupting the magic they were casting forward to spread decay with the scalding light of Primus.

"You picked the wrong universe to haunt, I suggest you vacate this place now." Optimus said, ever interested in giving his foes a chance to walk away from battles.

"Your light will soon cease burning us machine. Know the touch of limitless entropy!" A boast, trite and overplayed. Optimus had heard its like from more malevolent supernatural entities than he wagered this being could ever imagine meeting across his hundreds of millions of years in Primus' service. Though they were beings of disorder, they were not the spawn of the Chaosbringer whom he was sworn to oppose. But they still feared his presence, bodies sizzling from his proximity.

"I already have, you are no Unicron. Whatever claim to immortality you think you possess, do not seek to test it against me. Or I will show you just how brief eternity can be for monsters such as yourselves." Prime taunted, letting them charge him all at once, disgusting, heaving unreal flesh jiggling and smacking against itself in a way Optimus would have rather not seen today, but a single sweep of his axe decapitated all seven of them in a neat motion, the Axe of Primus shattering their rusted swords like glass and cutting through the twisted energies around them like daylight through darkness. Screams of agony were made as they realised what was cutting through them, flesh imploding and crumbling in unnatural ways before evaporating altogether. Even a single touch from the axe, gifted by Primus himself, was enough to tear their essences apart and send shockwaves of fear through the new host as hissing smoke was all that was left of their mighty lords.

"Who's next?" Optimus said, making a "come here." gesture to both sets of enemy armies. Optimus Prime had been a warrior since the first dinosaurs on Earth opened their eyes, and he would not fall today.
 
Interlude Set 1 Part 2: Lord Recluse & Red Widow

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
Spider City, Grandeville, État des îles Etoile (aka the Rogue Islands), Primal Earth, Sourcewell Metaverse

Stefan Richter was a powerful man. Feared by the First, Second, and Third Worlds. A man who could sit at the table of the non-alignment movement one day and order schemes to shake the destinies of many worlds to their core the next. A man whose webs spread far throughout not just the world, but countless alternates and parallels. He had twisted the knife into Praetorian Earth's Empire to ensure the work of that reality's Marcus Cole would come undone. He had his fingers on the pulse of the machinations of the Rikti and the Nictus, and men such as Lord Nemesis, the Countess Crey, Vanessa DeVore, or the directors of the Malta group all feared to cross him. They all had their empires of shadow and skulduggery, but there was only one true Archvillain. After all, he was the one who made identifying as such popular. To dispense with any pretense to goodness, to look those who accuse you of evil in the eye and say "yes, what are you going to do about it?"

Yet there was some melancholy to it. He had spent so much of his ideological framework to oppose his version of Cole for the better part of a hundred years. The Statesman. Equality, Justice, Liberty, Community. Pompous ideals of a dead man who never moved past his starry eyed fascination with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Upton Sinclair just as he stuck himself in the past. To think they were friends once, Richter mused as he looked out the window of his tower, the eight spider-legs sprouting from his back clad in armour made of secret alloys that surpassed even Impervium in strength; reinforced through esoteric science, magic, and psionics and bathed in the power of incarnate threads; just as the armour plating around the rest of him was. His burning red eyes looked through the openings in his helmet for his eyes, the souls of his subjects like flickering flames before him.

A woman clad in pleasing skintight red approached him, her hair as scarlet as her outfit, her smile cruel on her lips and her psychic presence menacing to most. But to Recluse, it was a joyous occasion. Red Widow, wife, co-ruler, and the only person he'd ever acknowledge as an equal. Adelie de Montagard, returned to his side eight scant years ago after being lost to him in the line of battle. He never made a habit of directly helping others in a path to power that he couldn't attach strings to, but his heart could make an exception to his ideals for once. Recluse hated to lose things he treasured, and compromising on this was worth ensuring that through the path of the Incarnate; history would not repeat itself.

"You are deep in thought, Richter." She said, the Etoilan French accent still pleasantly thick after all this time, so unlike his thoroughly Americanised accent. She had of course, made an obvious observation, but neither of them were here to make profound revelations. He turned from his balcony, his webbed, greek style helmet not impeding his superhuman hearing even slightly while his cloak fluttered with his movements.

"That I am, Adelie. I sense the Coming Storm is almost here. A convergence of worlds beyond the web of wells and their dimensionless minders. Tell me, what do you know of the work our agents have already been doing?" He asked, it was rhetorical of course; she was the only person he didn't keep secrets from, and vice versa.

The scarlet haired woman chewed on a glvoed finger briefly before smirking. "Reaching out already for more patrons in the new realities?" She asked coyly.

"Correct. Arachnos continues to expand. We have new divisions awaiting new leaders. Fiefdoms will need to be allotted and talent scouted. I have my eye on a number of possible candidates already. Many are clever and powerful, resourceful and ambitious. We need only reach out and seize the opportunity. Many will be desperate to find sturdier ships on their own, once the magnitude of what lies over the horizon is made clear. Those who would rather make trouble for us however." He said, one of his massive spiderly limbs' scythe like type curling forward menacingly, glinting in the morning sun.

"Will be eliminated as factors." Red Widow made a devious grin as Richter nodded with a pleased expression beneath his helmet.

"There are already a number of candidates I find promising." Richter said, laying his hand on her shoulder and giving it a soft, gentle rub as he looked back down from his balcony towards the procession of Arachnos wolf spider troops in parade formation to celebrate the anniversary of a particularly grand triumph of Arachnos'.

"The one they call Coil yes? A touch small time don't you think." She said, rapping her fingers against the hand rest of the balcony.

"From the word of our agents, he has an interesting power. Lacking in physical power yes, but such deficiencies can be corrected. Deficiencies I am sure he will be eager to have removed in exchange for a place in Arachnos." He said, he had already seen the file once, he never needed to see it again unless it was updated. Nothing escaped his memory, not even the most briefly observed detail could free itself from the impenetrable snares of his mind; gifted with unrivalled and unparalleled intellect to surpass any of the other geniuses humanity had produced from his home metaverse. Save for of course, those who had been given similar incarnate aspects. Small matter though, he had plenty of time to truly master his gift.

"His operatives include a rather...large number of children however. He'd hardly be bringing in a ready-made army." She said, giving the idea some thought while she flicked the cape she wore behind her.

"Did Mako, Scorpion, or Ghost Widow do so?" He replied.

He had purposefully left out Scirocco. Malak's return to the side of heroism was annoying but not unexpected. Villainy born solely of curses was never long lasting villainy in his experience. Vukoran had proved to be a sufficient replacement of course, but to see Scirocco's face amidst the vindicators still ranked something deep within him. She nodded, understanding his point and moving on.

"Hrm, I remember the Widows reporting on a group called the Elite during our preliminary scouting. Large, organised, well resourced; tolerated by the authorities. I suppose we will be absorbing them soon?" She asked.

"We already are. Let the Phalanx and this Protectorate argue with each other, let the Sovzaschotesch* and the Divzasovyuz do the same. The Coming Storm will arrive not as a ceaseless hurricane but as a pulsing supercell, there will be time and place to make the moves we require between its thunderbolts. And we will need to be ready for the battles with the heroes that are sure to come when some inevitably reject any offers of truce against a common foe or seek to strike us in the down time. Such of course, is only fair, darling. We plan on doing the same." He said, removing his hand from her side and steepling them as he watched flying gunships move in formation below him, his impossibly tall tower allowing him to see virtually the whole of his domain. His tower had been compared to Barad-Dur by trite fantasy nerds, but unlike Sauron he was hardly content to sit back and let his minions work for him.

"Any favourites among their ranks to be a patron? Bastard Son is potent but lacks discipline, submission is hardly in his DNA. But I suppose there's something to be said about being able to expect someone to betray you, no?" She said, already guessing at Richter's analysis of him based on his files.

"Correct. His powers would make him a versatile Mastermind, and perhaps with the right alterations or augmentations they could be made more focused; controlled. He himself would need something to remove his...fragility." Recluse said, from what his spies had told him most of these "parahumans" tended to be wanting in the durability or reflex department even if they had a wide array of esoteric abilities that intrigued him as much as his awareness that they had a power origin unique to themselves.

"I have also considered Jack Slash, but this slaughterhouse nine is void of direction beyond aimless murder. They are powerful, violent, and void of ambition. I am more interested in the girl; Bonesaw; than I am in Jack himself to be honest. Crawler might make for a useful subpatron as well, should he be prodded into controlling himself." Richter added as he tapped his fingers against the balcony in matching rhythm with hers, a little couple's game that got the two to smile at each other and share a small laugh.

"Hrm, do you still want Grey Boy eliminated to see how Jack would adapt without one of his trump cards?" She said with a devious smirk.

"Hold on that operation for a while longer. He could be of use to deal with those lacking in resistance to his powers or time manipulation of their own. Especially until we reveal more of the shadow organisation that seems to be attempting to counter our operations." He said, voice starting to become colder; more serious.

"Hrm, yes, the ones who seem to be where they need to be when they have to be." She said, rubbing at her chin.

"From my study of their movements to interfere with us, they are being guided by a mastery of the mathematical principles behind most things and an ability to perceive the pathway to the optimal outcome and how to achieve it. Clever to be certain. Powerful against those who do not have their own hands on the pulse of fate. Certainly potentially dangerous. But, not impossible to overcome." He said. It had taken him minutes of taking a look at the pattern of actions to gauge exactly what was guiding his foes, especially in tandem with his seer networks and fateweavers.

He had to commend them, most people couldn't prevent him from figuring out their plans for more than a few seconds once he had caught their tremors through the web of fate. Taking entire minutes for him to surmise their secret was something reserved only for his most formidable rivals in intellect such as Lord Nemesis or Requiem, occasionally the Malta Group, when they were feeling especially daring with trying to avert his notice by whatever means possible. But nobody could keep him in the dark for long. Not even the Decepticons, whom he began to suspect the presence of some time ago, lurking in the shadows with their twisted schemes.

"But, they would be better to convince than to destroy. Abilities such as that are a precious commodity. And I am doubtless that they are trying to think of ways to adjust to their new situation just as we are." He said, his hand making the gesticulations with astounding deftness given the plate that they were covered in.

"Hrm, certainly true enough. From our observations, they seem to often contact those who are looking for powers. This would be the best avenue for us to reach out to them and begin discussions. If they are willing to listen. On the other hand, to make them come to us instead might give us a better grasp of their nature, given how reluctant they are to give us anything to observe for long. A seer sweep could work, I feel." She said, getting a pleased nod out of the Lord of Arachnos as he straightened himself up and started to turn away from the balcony, a hand motion getting her to follow him.

"The two children who fell from space are an unknown factor however. The fortunatas have difficulty pinpointing their movements through fate. A great deal rests on their shoulders it would seem, but as far as can be discerned we have no angle to tempt them to villainy with." Recluse said, his hands moving behind his back while his spidery limbs held themselves in a more rigid position, his boots making clicking sounds with each step.

"From the agents we had nestled within that facility, they are able to interface with the old relics." She said, getting a nod from Richter as he gave it a thought.

"They are tied to those cultures, the simple aesthetics they share with them would be enough to guess that. Those who laid down those artefacts expected them to come, long in advance. From what I have seen of them, likely to avert the catastrophe ahead. This, Duskguard and Dawnchild...have the widows procured real names as I have asked?" He said, he was brilliant yes, but even he couldn't acquire names from thin air if he had no real knowledge of the people he was talking about.

"It seems the Autobots have moved to protect the files regarding that as swiftly as possible." She said with a disappointed frown.

"Ah, to be expected. Still...they are children in a world they are hardly familiar with. It shouldn't be overly difficult to have agents discern who is likely to be them based on speech patterns and those who could fit in their armour. Once things have calmed down in Brockton Bay, I want a detailed report on them. I have no plans to make an enemy of them just yet, but being made aware of what dangers or use they could pose would be necessary." He said, pointing to a spidery drone that floated towards him with a mug of his favourite blend of coffee, his helmet allowing him to drink it without removing it through the magic of the power of Tartarus that flowed through him.

"Important enough to warrant that much attention from you, darling?" She said with folded arms.

"Not even the smallest fly escapes my notice, dearest. I will not go into action unprepared. The world, all worlds in fact, will know me as their saviour and overlord soon enough. They will need to either be brought to heel or crushed into the stones. As has always been the way of Arachnos." He said, pausing as he stirred the spoon in his coffee just enough to bring out the flavour more starkly.

"Hrm, want to do the laugh together?" She said with a daring grin, moving some of her red hair out of the way and leaning closer towards him as he put his empty coffee cup aside and brought an arm around her, a devious grin under his helmet as they pulled close.

"I would love nothing more, Adelie." He said, feathering a finger beneath her chin as the two shared the very normal and not at all unusual habit of couple's villainous laughter.



*Soviet Defenders of the Motherland. As noted earlier, due to Autobot machinations, the second world/soviet bloc remains intact to prevent instability that the Decepticons might be able to filter in through.
 
Interlude Set 1 Part 3: Taylor Hebert (2)

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
I took a moment to sit myself down, murmuring mostly to myself as I went through what seemed like an ocean of memories. I was now one part fifteen-year-old girl, one part two hundred and ten million-year-old space alien. It was...how do I put this?

I expected there to be a voice in my head. That's how symbionts work in movies and comics right? Something else sticks to you, you start referring to yourself in the plural first person, and you have arguments with something else in your head. But...I didn't feel that.

I know I felt different, and when I took a moment to look at myself in the mirror and dropped my glasses I noticed that...my vision hadn't worsened at all. I could see myself just fine, none of the usual blurring. And when I thought about how I'd like to look...ah there it is. The Acne I was nursing earlier was just gone, I could trace definition on my arms and stomach, my hair fell in just the right way...I felt...kind of good about myself actually. Like I was desirable.

It must have been part of the shapeshifting. I felt idealised, how I wanted to be rather than what I was; hot even. That was, weird to think about. But it might also be hard to pass off at school, I should probably just tell them that I bothered with make up these days and worked out during the snow days. It'd be bullshit but it'd be vaguely believable bullshit. But my glasses, hrm, probably should use a flat lens to not over-correct my vision. I knew past hosts could shoot beams from their eyes so maybe if I...

I nearly dropped the glasses when pinprick thin beams of darkness shot out of my irises and corrected the shape of the lens into perfect flatness. I knew it was coming, but the thought of me shooting beams out of my eyes like Superman was still more than a little unexpected. Especially...how does one shoot beams of darkness? Had to be some sort of other energy that simply looked black and obscured light. Which from a quick trip down memory lane seemed to be right. Heh, I can shoot eye beams now, certainly high on the list of cool when it came to powers.

Maybe I should have been worried, but I had the most amazing surge of confidence lately. I, hrm, I think I know what it is. I thought that symbioses would mean two people coexisting in one body. What I got was two people becoming one.

I was still me, Taylor, they were still Shadow. But I was also Black Moth. Something new but still the same. It's a bit hard to explain but I suppose its like when you combine Oxygen and Hydrogen to make water. It doesn't stop being hydrogen and oxygen at the atomic level, but it has differing properties. I was kind of surprised with how naturally that analogy came to me but of course, I had the memories of some ten million or so people swimming around in my mind.

It was still snowing outside for the most part except for the circle around the...huh, more of those giant robots. I know that Black Rose died fighting against machines like those, but I also knew from her memories that there were at least three factions of those robots. Essentially, one good, two bad. And if they were bothering to hang around humans for that long then it had to be the first one. From what I knew from my prior selves, the other two didn't really bother with talking to us strategically shaved apes unless they wanted to set up some Vichy regime shit. The holographic figure Shadow recognised as someone good though, so I pushed that out of my mind for a bit.

I know I should have been freaking out. Aliens are real, they are literally standing amongst us, we just had a huge brawl between capes from two different universes that ended in handshakes and party favours and yet that just didn't seem to register with me at the moment. My dad didn't know I'd be home yet. And I decided to get out of this hospital gown as quickly as possible into something more winter suited. I could feel the nearby insects in my closet, trapped in the dark including that one silkworm that couldn't take a hint to get lost and stop eating my comfiest jackets.

Well, now he was taking the hint and amscraying off of my poor holey coat, letting me rummage through my closet for something I could use as an impromptu costume. Something I could test my powers out with without people figuring out who I was.

I then stopped and realised I'd be going out looking like some cross between the Unabomber and a hobo if I took this route and groaned a bit. Making my debut dressed like a homeless person wouldn't be great for my cred. I needed to think a bit. I could use silk from spiders and moths, but that'd take hours at least and I wanted to get out there now. I poked into the reservoir of memories, going through the doors of ten million past lives and the solution came to me almost straight away. What would have taken me many long, agonising hours of trying to figure out how to dress came to me so much sooner as I consulted with prior experience.

I focused on the shadow power within me, letting it emerge and become something more physical. I still wanted a permanent outfit at some point, but I had something that should look cool in mind. Well, at least as a first attempt. Weaving shadow into solid form and letting a pair of misty moth wings emerge from my back, with its eyes patterned the same way that rumoured benevolent and utterly titanic Moth shaped endbringer were from the pictures I had picked up on Cryptozoology sites. I may not have believed in the "moth goddess" or the "god-dinosaur" as she and her waterborne companion who was said to dwarf Leviathan and breathe blue fire were sometimes called, but if there were any cryptid fans in the midst of the crowds maybe they'd assume I was less scary.

Besides...it was the same pattern of eyes as that strange moth in the hospital. Lacking the scythe limbs though, but I figured that those would probably make people peg me for a serial killer.

Black, carapace like plating meshed with silky threads around my body, ending in gloves and boots with extra padding, a front-opened skirt like belt going around my midsection, just long enough to cover my waist and fit some pockets. My chest soon had a cuirass, a word I suddenly knew, covering it with firmer "protection" than the rest. For my head, a set of goggles, feathery antennae, a tuft of warm fuzz around my neck, and a scarf around my mouth while letting my hair free. If I could fly, I wanted to feel the wind in it.

Of course, until I actually created physical materials for this this, this was all cosmetic. An illusion. I certainly hoped I wasn't actually undressed beneath all of this, but as far as I knew the cold would hardly bother me and the illusion couldn't be disrupted or cancelled unless I wanted. Or seen through, which was also a relief. The last thing I wanted was for some weirdo with the right power set to play peeping tom.

I decided to try the teleportation again, thinking of outside. The air hummed around me, making a low pulsing sound before I reappeared on another roof a hundred or so meters away. I was right, the cold didn't bother me at all. The driving snow and winds were barely noticed, and my eyes could see through all the falling flakes like they weren't there.

Alright, flight. Let's try that. I thought, lifting myself into the air and finding it as easy as just wanting to go higher. Forwards, backwards, up, and down. All of it as simple as walking; easy enough to get the hang of going through my new memories.

Okay, forwards. Go faster.

Sound disappeared, distorted when I started outpacing it when I pushed myself a bit too hard, stopping when I realised that at my altitude I'd be making one hell of a set of thunderclaps to draw the attention of a million and one capes. Teleport again; right over...Fugly Bob's. Ahah.

Now I will never have to worry about whether a place with decent food is too far away for me to make the trip now.

God, thinking about it...I could probably be the ultimate delivery girl.

Though the more I thought about it, the more I felt that seemed like a waste, especially as I noticed that with my senses I could just...smell the food cooking within as if it were in front of me. Then I drifted a bit and gagged when I smelled the trash. Ugh, who said it had to be a hot day for garbage to smell awful? That barely even smells humanly possible.

Okay, going to leave the weird bald guy to eating his trash for now, time to teleport again.

I brought myself to a junkyard, deciding I may as well see how much I could bench press. More than a few rusted hulks of metal later though, and I found that there was nothing here that was actually challenging to lift. Even when I accidentally dropped some of it due to not quite getting the balance right, I was fast enough to just move out of the way and tough enough to let it crash over my head and just break out of the wreckage.

Nobody would mind me breaking stuff that's already broken right? I wondered as I looked at some of the rusting metal and pointed a hand, letting out a burst of dark energy with that same sinister hum, the metal seeming to implode upon itself on contact, crumbling into atoms and falling apart into heaps with a single fist sized bolt. That was about three cars stacked atop each other now little more than dust in the wind from a fairly casual blast. The Eye beams seemed like they could just carve through an arbitrary number of cars too; and I tested a few neater tricks with the dark energy; spreading bolts seeking out each target, an imploding vortex, a blasting cone. Soon enough I was surrounded by shattered metal.

"Not bad." I said mostly to myself as I felt something approaching, a cockroach detecting somebody moving in with a bunch of dogs. Time to make myself scarce.

One warp out later and I was over Winslow High. I felt the brief urge to just blow the place up. it was empty, I could do it. Just reduce this whole fucking building to ash and never have to deal with it again...but...no, there were too many capes around, I'd probably get plastered by half the protectorate and all the new guys if I started going full monster movie villain. Plus, they'd probably relocate to a different building or worse, put everyone in trailers. I shuddered at the thought of having to have class in the trailers students get put into while rennovations are going down. Awful, hateful idea.

I decided to try the other portion of my powers, over bugs. It wasn't...flashy the way these warshade abilities were, but they could come in handy. And I may as well commit to the visual theme and name. From my experimenting, driven what probably was the curiosity of the new me and my desire to make my mark on this ocean of...people I was now, it seemed that it wasn't just insects but simple minded invertebrates in general. Even worms. Did you know that worms are basically constantly shitting themselves while they eat dirt? Well I did now.

It's not really true that you're never more than six feet away from a spider. Not even in the "misinterpretation of statistics" sort of way. What was true though, were that flies, beetles, cockroaches, mites, ticks, and ants were everywhere and were always watching and feelings around. I don't think most people would sleep well knowing just how many mites are sharing their houses with them, chewing on their dandruff and shredded off skin cells.

But there was something that my little network of spies could pick up as I played around with the bugs, moving to a warmer space to find where they were congregating to shelter from the cold. While I was busy writing names and drawing penises with the bugs under my command some flies near a trash can saw some people passing by I felt the need to examine close up. I warped myself and the bugs under my command onto the nearby rooftop where I saw some people from a Gang I had never seen before.

Satanists by all the pentagrams and baphomet symbols they were wearing. Bright reds, oranges, a bit of black, maybe some blue jeans seemed to be the only legal colour for them. My older memories told me they were the Hellions. Low life brain dead dumbasses poking around with things they didn't fully understand, frequently bothering people in Paragon and other cities. They did apparently, actually get the notice of real demons from actual hells, but mostly as expendable pawns and a steady source of low grade sacrifices. Bottom feeders who didn't realise the powers they were selling their souls to were laughing behind their backs.

Three of them were harassing an old Japanese lady who ran a sushi joint nearby, and the bugs under my command located where they came from; a faintly glowing orange portal down the alleyway. Must be to Paragon City I surmised. According to some spiders around the corner they had about five people scoping out the street. Three in demon masks, one of them outright on fire. Down the street was another two of the deadbeats, a guy trying to hit on the squad's token girl where he thought the others couldn't see.

He probably wasn't going to get lucky tonight even if I wasn't about to ruin his entire night. Guy was about as smooth as Sandpaper and she was trying to stop herself from sniggering while he fumbled for his zipper.

They had made bargains with demons to make themselves tougher, some even getting powers over fire in the process, but I went into it with confidence. They weren't on my...Security Level I suppose was the term. Bottom Feeders as I said.

First one, guy with his dick out. Fire ants, the girl, spiders crawling on her jacket and over her face. People threatening the old lady...a bit of a reversal of gravity to lift them off their feet and put those guns out of her way. I moved her out of the way, a recall teleport to put her safe down on the roof top while I flew down and smashed into the human flamethrower as he was busy showing off torching a poster and laughing about something stupid; too late to notice I'd removed his back up.

One punch probably would have him eating out of a straw for a year, and sent him sprawling into a pile of snow. But Satan must apparently be generous with the juice because he picked himself back up from a punch that would have crippled a normal person. Shouldn't have held back that much.

The flies warned me of a hit approaching me from behind, a spiked baseball bat. I met him with a backhand that smashed him into the nearest snowpile. A shotgun rang out, the pellets pinged off me and didn't even break my stride. I yanked him towards me with gravity control and gave him the kind of uppercut you'd usually only see in street fighter, sending him falling into a snow pile probably dreaming of succubus boobs. The others I spread my fingers towards, letting a series of dark bolts strike them in the head to immediately put them down and out for the count.

Barely a challenge honestly, but when I flew up to the lady, she couldn't stopped from offering me a hug. Okay, slightly awkward. But at least what I was wearing felt real to her as she offered me her thanks while I helped her down.

"Is there anything I can do for you?" She said. Hrm, something tasty and warm would be nice.

"Mind if I get some food? Maybe a drink?" I asked.

"Of course, is there anything I can call you?" She asked.

"Black Moth." I responded.

A few minutes later, I emerged with sushi, some warm noodle soup and a grape soda in hand and a wave goodbye. It felt strange, normally I don't think I'd have gone to help a random stranger like that but...maybe it was part and parcel of being merged with Shadow? Maybe it was a sense of perspective after seeing the past lives? Questions for later.

Well...the Sushi was delicious and the soup hit in just the right way. Soda went down fine too. I had to make note of the place she ran; Futaba's Soup and Sushi; to come by later, with any luck the ABB wouldn't be any trouble.

Scarfing down the last of the Salmon Nigiri, I decided to have a look at the time. Hrm, still pretty early. Plenty I could get up to. As far as I knew, I had the run of the town. Me and the alien space cloud.
 
Interlude Set 1 Part 4: Elmorni & Old Bird

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
Arganti, Aurelarch System, Argent Nebula, Black Eye Galaxy, Inheritor Metaverse

Re-Sekh had long been a friend of Elmorni. The red and gold armoured Chozo sitting across from the Blue and Cyan clad Alimbic as they played a game of moving miniatures brought to life by ancient technologies and woven into being by well-practised magics.

Games of strategy were complicated when they involved two who could see differing possibilities and their probabilities. Every diverging parallel, every likelihood, how likely they were, what futures lead to them. Samus and Arne were novices at the art, but the two had mastered it for longer than humanity had existed.

They sat across from each other on a table that was as large as they two needed it to be, altering space to accommodate the needs of their game while still allowing them to remain at arm's length from each other. Outside was the artificial sun of the artificial world, shining more stably and beautifully than any natural star ever could.

Plants and animals waved in the breeze beyond, and a few of the other Progenitors gathered around as they continued their match, testing wits like they did fifty thousand years ago; before nearly the totality of Elmorni's species vanished as if overnight.

"-I missed this you know.-" Elmorni said as she directed some pieces into a position and encouraged plant life to grow to represent her development of the area, establishing her control over the area. "-Eleven Earth years is much too short to catch up on all the missed time.-" The Mystromagus' telepathic voice was gentle, motherly, her Chozo counterpart observing her move and making his own command to begin the growth of cities in response; their real time commands coordinating a bewildering thicket of pieces and board set ups as they played their game of civilisation.

"Fifty thousand earth years were a long time to go without these games, Elmorni." He said with a hearty chuckle as he made his next set of moves, seeking to assist her development in the face of the game's environmental challenges, leading to an exchange between the two born of gratitude.

"-Eleven years and all I know about why the Order disappeared is that they sacrificed the totality of their people to stop a monster known as Gorea from destroying the rest of creation.-" She said, solemn for a moment until she brightened up at the sight of a good play to make, an approving coo coming from Re-Sekh as he shifted his pieces elsewhere to try and bolster her movements.

"From what I know of the end of the Order, it was a decision they took after all else had failed. They did not perish in vain at least. Though it would seem that Gorea was of the order of beings worshipped by the Old Foe. How it entered our realm is something we are unsure of." He said, clasping his hands together and taking a moment to study her followup play, seeing a chance to achieve one of their shared objectives and seizing it as she set up the victory; pieces in harmony isolating and eliminating one of the mutual threats.

"-Perhaps that is how the Sunstalker and Moonhunter managed to escape. Cracks left in the great seal that imprisoned the Old Foe by the passage of one of their deities?-" She said, looking satisfied at her work as she refocused priorities towards strengthening her southern front.

"Unlikely, more would have come than just two of their lower scouts." He said, murmuring a bit before refocusing his priorities northwards.

"But enough of prophecy and doomsaying among friends for once..." He shook his head, getting a flash of affirmation from Elmorni in response.

"How have the days been since Zurvduat was excised from Arne's life?" He asked, seeking to bring the conversation to the matter of their children.

"-The Chevalier-General has been...secretive. He and the Military Triumvirate have secluded themselves in their projects to resusticate the Order. And he hardly listens when I tell him to let go.-" She said with a shake of her neckless, floating head, her single red eye turning towards Old Bird as he gave a nod and a chirp of disapproval.

"Keep an eye on him, just as I monitor Mother Brain. There are not many paths to restoring the Tetrarchy that I can foresee that are not fraught with destruction." He said with a prolonged sigh.

"And I fear that he will take his castigation and loss of custody poorly. Vengeance is surely on his mind. Against you, against Arne, against Samus." He added.

"-He was about to strike him in front of you, in front of me, in front of Samus and so many others. We do not need to be able to prognosticate to know that he will not take his setback without some form of recompense. But we have many other issues to worry about. The mysterious raiders who attacked Cylosis and the Space Pirates. And let's not forget Trace. The Kriken Prince...-" She said before Grey Voice stepped in, the grey and silver armoured chozo, of a more warrior like figure and clad in more martial robes over his armour than Old Bird.

"Will likely seek his revenge for the defeat the Aira-Sekh and Sarxyl Avar dealt them last year. To lose so much standing before his father after failing to acquire the Reliquary key will leave the young Prince furious. His fleets and soldiers are already on the move." Somek-Ka said, Grey Voice's sterner tone and more hawkish head lending a certain graveness to his tone.

Ygrak, the Red Alimbic, bulkier of figure than Elmorni and with a five-part crest, hovered into the discussion, offering Old Bird some snacks she had conjured up herself.

"-Elder Re-Sekh, please, have something to enjoy.-" She said, the Biologist laying out some chocolate chip cookies, a recipe Samus' mother used to make, with some chocolate treats derived from recipes Arne's father created. Something she had picked up from raising Arne and her interactions with Samus over the years.

"Many thanks." He said, taking one and allowing enough of his helm to dissolve for his beak to snap up the chocolate delights and one of the cookies, drowning it with some milk afterwards and letting out a hoot of approval; his head somewhere between that of a Parrot and an Owl with a bit of pillbug and saurian.

He turned his head towards the entrance shortly, anticipating someone coming shortly and beckoning them in. Someone with important news no doubt.

Spire, a craggy behemoth of seemingly roughly hewn stony power armour over a more crystalline body, brown and grey in frame mixed with orange and yellow crystals, his helm like a crushed bucket with two eyepieces from which his molten hot body stared out through the world, stepped into the room, his heavy footfalls clear as day. The last known living Diamont and thus de facto representative of his species in the meetings of the dwindling ranks of the Progenitors. It was a miserable existence, and Old Bird's pity for him was immeasurable. At times, he wondered why Spire even wanted to continue to live or cling to the material world instead of subliming into a higher plane. But the silicate was as stubborn as he was compassionate, and Old Bird sensed that he would hold onto his hope that he found find where his kind had disappeared to some day.

Accompanying him was Armaud; one of only a handful known N'Kren to be awake and active. Her kind had transferred their essences into bodies of living metal long ago, even by Old Bird's reckoning. Most however, had chosen to slumber after the end of the Forbidden Wars, and she remained their final sentinel. Some two and a half meters tall and primarily green, white, and purple in colour, the sentinel of the N'kren's twin regarded her peers through a pair of lenses that gave the impression of angular purple robotic eyes fitted atop the recesses of the somewhat barbute like "helm" that encased the chassis of her head. The upward curvature of her pauldrons and the somewhat pronounced gorget of her suit gave the uppermost part of her body a distinctly powerfully armoured appearance. Her frame was built for power and endurance, the curves of the plating fitted atop it suggesting stylised musculature interspersed with more rigid plates fitting for someone of great strength even though her body was all metal. On her right arm was cannon, with a grilled base below her elbow giving way to a glowing green tube-like structure fitted with struts and ending in what almost seemed to be claws arranged like a compass, just barely avoiding obstructing the cannon. Her boots gave the impression of insectile feet, while her chest bore three strikes markings on each pectoral.

She was relatively young for her kind; one of the very last organic children of the N'Kren to be born before transferring. Re-Sekh and Elmorni both even remembered what she was like when she still was a being of flesh, how enthusiastic and noble she was; and the solemness that she took the vow of eternal custodianship. To watch over the universe while her people faded from it.

She gave a nod, followed by Spire, who stood notably taller than she did.

"You bring news I'm guessing?" August Wings asked, the female Chozo turning her more stork-like head towards the pair and giving a gracious bow in exchange for their nods.

"Arne and Samus disappeared out of our universe after dealing with the Space Pirate and Raider wormhole junction. But they've activated some of the relics left on the other side. From the old colonies." Armaud said, curt and professional as always.

"I think it developed into one of those earths with a high proclivity of ultrasophonts, lots of extradimensional activity there. Symbiosis off the charts." Spire said, tensing slightly out of concern for the two kids he treated like niece and nephew.

"Ah. That world. It was known by another nation of Chozo they would arrive there at some point. But, so soon? They aren't even..." Old Bird said with concern before steepling his fingers and looking towards Young War Hawk, whose red and black armour shifted silently as she turned her falcon like head towards her elder.

"They aren't even what?" She asked. Barely even two centuries old, she was considered scarcely less of a child than Arne or Samus were, barely into adulthood and so often left out of conversations that the more obstinate traditionalists felt she had not earned the right to listen to.

"They haven't even finished their socialisation training or their foray into the esoteric arts...I...hrm..." Old Bird said before stopping himself and shaking his head while Elmorni turned her head towards the pair, rotating the floating teardrop shape towards the duo.

"-Who else that they might know is there?-" Elmorni asked, her telepathic voice going from melodious to discordant with worry for her son.

"Kyrion, some section thirteen officials too." Spire said shaking his craggy head. "I could go there, when needed. I assume if they're there it's for a reason." Spire said, he was the one who had taken Arne from Cylosis to save his life from the raiders who scoured it looking for Elmorni and Zurvduat's battlecruiser, since then...a sense of responsibility was only natural.

"If they are there..." Old Bird paused.

"Elder...what is it?" Grey Voice asked.

"Spire, how much have you seen beings not of our collection of our realities?" He asked, Elmorni quickly grasping his point as the Alimbic matron turned to Armaud.

"Increasingly often. Freelance work against unknown and unheard of forms of enemies have been increasing dramatically, just as the armies of ravaging have only grown in strength and activity." The term for those like the Krikens, the War-Spores, the Zikrali Swarms, the Space Pirates, the mystery Raiders, or others who had turned their civilisation towards menacing much of the rest of the cosmos; threats who would be a grave challenge for the modern age even without the darkness cresting over the horizon.

"-Mystromagus, why the sudden concern?-" Ygrak was less wise to the ways of prophecy and lore than her lover Elmorni; behind even their shared lover Mortirk. But she knew that the recession of Elmorni's neckless head into the socket atop her torso meant that she was concerned to the point of being fearful. Something she maintained until she extracted her head and shifted the glow of her eyes between several colours.

"-Ygrak, sweet, contact the Faeran Ris; tell them to ask their youths to deal with the emergencies I am about to send to you.-" She said, quickly, hastily, with an uncharacteristic urge to get things done. "-We are still in the early stages, we can contain the worst of it for now, as we have...perhaps even roll it back in some places. But we need to act quickly.-"

"-...I understand Elmorni.-" Ygrak said, the red Alimbic giving a solemn nod.

"But if they are currently outside of our universe, what of their cadet programs? How will they be able to continue their ultrasophontic adjustment courses?" Warhawk asked.

"We may need to make...arrangements as best we can. It may take some time, but I think they will understand given the scale of the emergency." Grey Voice responded.

"-Should we alert the current polities?-" Ygrak asked.

"-It's already begun and will only continue to intensify, we can delay it, slow it down. But the twelvefold convergence is already underway. They'll know regardless of what we say...and I have my suspicions that many have been taking advantage of this beforehand.-" Elmorni replied.

"I will speak to the Wayfarers who monitor the colonies on that particular Earth. Warhawk, please, see what you can about how the current nations may be moving in response, prepare for measures to cut through deceit. I am willing to bet that there are efforts being made to cloud our vision." August Wings commanded before Armaud advanced a bit closer.

"The children, do you need us to retrieve them?" She asked.

"No...no...they are where they need to be. I just fear that...events will be happening in a greatly accelerated sequence. Menaces that they should be facing as adults will have to be bested by them as youths. As well as dangers thought to be far too remote..." Old Bird said before pausing again, gripping his staff and closing his eyes beneath his visor and exhaling sharply.

"I understand, what do you need us to do; elder ones?" She asked, looking between herself and Spire.

"Go to these coordinates. The Faera Ri there will be able to explain once you tell her that you have come to undo the eclipse. I must attend to other concerns. Please..." He said, standing himself out of his seat and looking forlornly at the game he was playing while Elmorni's three legs extended and straightened to let her stand with him; Armaud and Spire nodding while they backed away.

"-So much for our game I suppose?-" She said.

"We can play along the way, if you would like." He said, nodding at her and being nodded at in return.

"-To our work then?-" She asked.

"And how much there is to be done." He responded.
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 8

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
Arne

Freshly anointed as an Autobot Auxiliary you looked to your new commander. Jetfire gave you a thumbs up in return, mimicking Samus' gesture while you passed your chest thump and raised fist salute.

"Gotta explain what that means ta me some day kid. Thumbs up I get but..."

"Its sign for honour and respect in signed Grendyl."

"Grendyl?" Strongarm asked. "Like...the monster man in that poem?"

"He's from clan Grendakal, its the language name." Samus explained for you before you could snow the Autobots over in a three hundred page essay covering forty-six thousand years of history in the closest thing to brevity you managed when you wrote academically. Which was the start of more than a few critical commentaries from the teachers who gave you feedback on your writings for the Magnus Academy.

"Clan culture? What about yours?" Strongarm asked, looking down at Samus as she shook her head.

"Maedochaid, it's like...Irish just...very distantly descended." She said before looking over at Alice and Joseph, seeing Alice having a hand laid on her shoulder by Steel Paladin while Rundrasta offered a fist bump to Joseph and then a hug.

"Can we talk to them first? This all started with them...it's only fair to check on them you know?" She said. The way of a Kadeshi; A Ka-Sahmat Chozo Cult Warrior; strong with her as ever. The tenet of monitoring; those who were in her care needed to be watched over and well...what were the two of them if not in your care?

"Go on ahead mates, got some business to sort first. All kinds of calls up me exhaust port wantin' more minutes of me time. Won't be long though but well...you come when yer ready an' not a moment sooner. Clear?" He said, his jocular tone almost like one of your Uncles. Rollo, yes that's who he reminded you of. You felt a brief urge to check for your clan pendant...but perhaps later. It was probably still there.

"Alright, we won't be too long." You said as you urged Samus to follow you, taking a moment to use the blink pack and appear next to the Freedom Phalanx and Starsetters as they were busy with a frantic series of conversations with people they were beating the snot out of not a few minutes ago or checking on each other. Old friendships you only had glimpses of.

The oldest friendship you had, excluding the friends you either built or the few Alimbics who liked you...well she was right here, and this was...oh it was going to be your second anniversary of meeting. The present you had for her was back at...your dorm...you frowned and sighed. What were you going to do on such short notice? What we-

"Hey, Dawnchild right?" Positron clapped Samus on the shoulder, sizing her up and nodding.

"Man, hard to believe you're only fourteen under all of that right? Wow...did you make this?" He asked, getting a nod out of her.

"We made all of our armours ourselves. Not all of the upgrades though but...you know it's a hobby. When I was four I needed to show I understood the theo-" Positron raised a finger.

"Hold on, earth years?" He sounded genuinely alarmed at the idea of a four-year-old assembling power suits.

"We measure ages in earth years obviously. None of us would even be one in cosmic years." You said, making something in his mind come to a halt while he gave it a thought.

"Who raised you to put power armour together as a toddler?" You went quiet for a bit. Where to begin?

"After my homeworld was...attacked by the Confederacy, the Space Pirates, I was adopted by aliens, the Chozo. Wise, kind. They gave me their genes to live with them. Human and Chozo. I still well, look human, but inside I'm more complicated. Both and neither. I don't think I would have survived without them, my mamas and papas." She said, trying to contain a titanic tangent about how wonderful her adoptive family was. Her voice bottling raw enthusiasm beneath.

Positron knew better than to pry about the Space Pirates, figuring that her having to be adopted precluded the survival of her family.

You went a bit quiet again, and Samus once more spoke for you. "He was...we don't know who attacked his homeworld, but he was taken in by the Alimbics. Some who survived their extinction fifty thousand years ago in stasis. They were, well, most of them weren't that nice. But they did much the same for him. We're pretty similar in a lot of ways."

"Yin and Yang. Hatchling, Neophyte." You said, getting a nod of understanding out of Positron.

"Sole survivor, prophetic titles, raised by what are clearly aliens who can meld magic and technology together...among other things...Chosen ones." Positron said.

"Well...I can't really imagine what it's like to be orphaned like that. But, uh, Arne, Samus. I'm sympathetic you know. And well, you guys kicked ass. Especially after I got my hand broken." Joseph said, walking up and offering his hands out to the two of your for a shake, the two of you taking one hand from each while you kept an eye on his shadow offering a hug that pulled the two of you in slightly.

"Smooth Joe. Smooth." Rundrasta said, pulling off her helmet and shaking out white hair kept in twin-tails, arctic blue eyes studying the two of you as an elfish face with ice pale skin formed a thin-lipped smirk, pointed ears flat against her head and feathery wings shaking themselves out as the armour around them retracted. She was beautiful, entrancing in a way that you intrinsically knew was at least partly magical, though the compulsion effect didn't really take, for one, you were immune to it, for another even if you weren't you had the will and training to handle it, and for one last thing...she didn't turn it on at the moment. So she was just...very pretty, face just the right mix of roundness and angles with a button nose and pearly white teeth and your mind drifting to...you flushed and shook your head. Your heart fluttered briefly, and she adjusted the sunglasses on her face to cover her eyes again as she straightened herself.

"Raela!" Joe protested. "Could you not like...embarrass me in front of the hot space pe-" He stopped and then hid his face in his wizard hat in a gesture that you didn't really understand. It wasn't like this would make his faux-pas disappear. It just called more attention to his embarrassment, hot and burning. You almost cringed inside your suit for his sake.

"Aww well...thank you for the compliment." Samus said.

"Hey, you got any non-lethal weapons?" Alice asked, as you looked at the paralysed pistols attached to your shoulder. You kept plenty of spares at all times, they were easy to make, producing them was a good way to kill a few minutes. You conjured a spare and looked at it. Your free hand would be often busy with your left-arm implements, which would likely only grow; especially once you fitted your spare wrist gun onto the vambrace.

"Samus, paralyzer beam situation?" You said as she cottoned onto the same idea.

"Yes." She said, your own pistol having a more insectoid look to it than hers; this particular pistol of hers having an engineered suprawood finish to its grip. Yours was blue green, and you smirked a bit to see she had a few pink highlights on the one she made. She was picking up on more and more of how other girls in the federation acted.

You willed it to absorb itself into your arm cannons; pistol disappearing in a flash that retracted into the systems of the weapon; which shifted to accommodate the new upgrade and then shimmered before configuring themselves into the new mode, a test shot sending out a pulsating yellow-pink ovoid of energy before being cycled into your armour's list of stock beams.

Stock Beam: This beam can be utilised in tandem with elemental and augment beams or combined with subweapons once the subweapon , but replaces the function of another stock beam such as the power beam.

An occasionally utilised beam weapon format that allows for the usage of the arm cannon or weapon systems that draw from the arm cannon's modules such as the Arm Sword, bayonet, wrist-gun, or the munitions launcher following the appropriate upgrades. The Paralyzer Beam fires a blast of energy arresting neutral plasma that while not possessing the ability to deal lethal damage, will stun an opponent for a time proportionate to the damage that would be dealt with the power beam as stock, though paralysis augmentation can extend the duration that this effect lasts.

When charged into the Stasis Burst, the beam will shut down most higher brain or processing functions and outright knock the target out at a lower paralysis threshold than the beam would normally. Due to the energy arresting effect, momentum is halted instantly and harmlessly. When used in tandem with beams with purely damaging effects, these will be converted into a non-harmful form. The burning effect of the star or thermal beams will instead cause the paralysis effect to reapply itself as long as the burning continues, with the ice beam the freezing will be harmless, with the electrowave beam the existing paralysis effect will be magnified.

Samus' Notes: Hrm, well, this should be useful when I can't de-escalate a situation that doesn't need to be resolved lethally. I liked that pistol though, the design was very...the word Yramil used...cute!

Arne's Notes: With any luck, I'm hoping that we'll end up using this more than with the power beam as a stock beam. But I don't think we're going to be that lucky. Not if this is an apocalypse scenario.

"Ooooohhh..." Alice said with wide eyes, Winterpyre shrinking to their usual size and tilting his head curiously as he approached.

"Well, I'll be damned. If that's not something...you can do that with any tech?" Positron said, your red eyes turning towards him as you gave him a curt nod.

"Well, I'd love to put that to the test but...my scanners tell me you're an incarnate. Still new to it though so....When you're done I'm going to get you something to get started." He said, patting you on the back and backing off to give you some space.

"So, you two helped the rascals out huh?" Steel Paladin approached, his helmet coming off in a fade of light and...you paused dumbly and just stared for a moment as you did with Rundrasta. Red hair and emerald eyes brilliant in a way that normal mortals could scarcely hope to match and his skin flawless in a way you identified as him clearly belonging to a mystic race of beings. He made you feel flighty, you wanted to see more of him but, how would you even approach him? He just had that sort of...overwhelming presence that made you a bit weak in the knees like Rundrasta. No matter, time to focus, clear your mind of his influence. But another look at him...he wasn't...hrm, he wasn't from the same metaverse as the others, his signature wrong.

Preliminary analysis indicates that Tyrius is from a metaversal nexus separate from the others of his team. Starsetter Records confirm this, reporting that he identifies his homeworld as Xarazanth from a set of universes beyond the Sourcewell metaverse. Examination of Tyrius indicates that he is receiving the patronage of a divine entity, with Starsetter Records listing his preferred title for her as "the Dayhawk goddess".

"I mean, we could have probably been fine in the city by ourselves...probably...maybe..." Alice said, pursuing her lips beneath her mask and folding her arms.

"Well, I believe you, but it's good to know someone's watching out for you." Tyrius said, your eyes noticing him giving a wink and smile to both Samus and yourself, getting her to wave dreamily and you to blush. Nymphs man...

"You would have probably brought your demons out to the public and caused an incident." You blurted out, unaware of how tactless the observation was until she stopped, put her hands on her hips, and then gave you a look that made you feel kind of shit about yourself. You muttered an apology,

"He's just playing around, don't worry." Samus said, elbowing you a bit in the side. You flinched slightly but made no noise, you did bring that about on yourself after rall.

"...Fair..." You said.

"Are you all going to be alright?" Samus asked, a nod coming from the two as Citadel approached, extending a hand to the pair to begin his debriefing.

"Say, you two." Penelope Yin pushed her way through the barriers of time and space with applied telekinesis until she had wrought a wormhole into being with a simple telekine push, stepping through with a click of heels and a nimbus of pink-purple psychic energy even that even by your standards was something with awesome power. Her short black hair bobbed a bit, energy gathered in her irises while your eyes couldn't help but notice she bared her midriff for reasons you weren't quite familiar with. It wasn't that you didn't mind the view it just...seemed unnecessary. Especially in this cold.

"If you're ever in the neighbourhood around Paragon, come seek me out. I sensed a lot of potential inside of you. And maybe our psionics work on different principles but well, Dream Doctor and I have been talking." She said, gesturing to a man with glowing eyes, a bowler hat, and one of the fanciest capes you've ever seen. You immediately recognised them for some sort of magic runic pattern. Ah, a sorcerer. You knew a few, non-progenitor ones even. But this man seemed to be someone who carried himself with the weight of a man who considered going between realities almost banal. Even to you, the casual dignity he walked around with was humbling.

"From what I understand, you are separated from those who would begin your training in the mystic arts at a later point. But I am afraid there won't be time to wait. We'll need to combine your stages of education. To be human, and to master the mystic potential in your blood. I will be keeping in touch with the Autobots, doing what I can to expand your knowledge of the craft." He said with a tip of his hat, his glowing eyes seeming to be far more ancient than his body's thirty something features suggested. Nobody really aged in your time but he was one of the few humans you had encountered from either of these timelines who truly gave you a sensation of eternity.

"How much experience do you have? We were supposed to be..." You started before Dream Doctor waved you off. You at first felt offended for being interrupted, but you knew he had something important to say and swallowed the short lived resentment. Just another thing you'd probably need to discuss with Samus or your A.I companions in private.

"Ancient masters of a species hundreds of millions of years old and individuals who had endured for longer than our kind. I know, You will find that through magic, I can know many things. But that I have also wandered through a great deal of time. I am as you suspect, much older than I appear. But please, know that I am eager to get started." He said, offering a bow that you returned, followed by Samus. To be in the presence of a master who was clearly generous to take so much out of his time to help you well...you had to respect that right?

"When are we going to start if we're as time-pressed as you say?" Samus asked.

"I'll do my best to squeeze more hours out of the day. I've already spoken to Jetfire to set up base with you. We can even start while you're sleeping." You hesitated for a moment, the idea of him poking into your dreams made you tense. You weren't big on sleeping for a number of reasons. One of them was the rarity of happy dreams whenever you weren't in a lucid trance. Night terrors were a frequent companion of yours, and if it weren't for Elmorni teaching you how to control your nightly dreams you probably would have avoided sleeping altogether. Even then...you usually only took naps when there wasn't anything else to do, you didn't really need to sleep so why take a third out of every day?

"Because you're the dream doctor, right?" Samus smiled. She on the other hand, she didn't really nap even if there wasn't anything better to do. Rarely did anything good come from sleep for her, and when she had down time and wasn't working on one project or the other or keeping busy with some training you usually found her busy with her various games when you poked her for a conversation. "I just...have...not the best dreams, sorry in advance." She said. That was putting it lightly, hers were worse than yours. She was much more...directly exposed to the violence of the death of her homeworld than you are. Without the comfort of her mother there until it was too late. Yours was a longer burning sort of pain. Your parents were there nearly every step of the way on Cylosis' last day until they...both of your parents died so you could live, but hers died to seemingly slay Ridley himself, yours perished just to let you get away from the golden Hydra.

"Well...if that's all for now we should check on everyone else. You can come along if you like? But uh..." You said, turning to Samus.

"Jetfire wanted us, let's not keep him waiting. Come on!" She said, offering her hand to you.

"We'll be off with the Autobots for a bit, stay safe." You said, waving goodbye and getting a wave in return as the two of you warped right back to the autobots, where Jetfire had gathered a procession before you.

Samus

The first thing you noticed was that the Transformers had brought in a few human auxiliaries all clad in what you recognised as Transforming exosuits.

Some of the human auxiliaries were already there, all clad in some form of exosuit. The first two were twins, short enough for them to...ahah, as you suspected, kids.

"I'm Oll-" The first to speak said until her brother interrupted by pushing her a bit farther back. She was a dark blue-haired girl with long straight hair and blue eyes after removing her helmet, her face seeming to suggest that she was about the same age as you were, hair drifting to about her shoulder blades. Her exosuit was designed like the armour of a transformer, her helm made in imitation of warpath but with her own touch, with tank tracks covering her pauldrons and a tank barrel covering one of her arms, she moved some hair away from her eye with a blow of air and looked annoyed at her sibling.

"I'm Galen Witwicky." He said, thumbing to himself, his own armour styled more like Jetfire's; with jet aircraft like wings emerging from it, nose guns mounted on the arms of his suit. Without his helm, his windswept blue hair reached down to about midway his neck, and his smirk was definitely something he was trying to charm you with. It was somewhat working.

"Dawnchild, this is Duskguard. We're partners! Bondsmates too." You were fully aware that this statement could be taken in more than one way, but wanting to see what they'd make of it.

"...Well that;'s kinda obvious." Olla Witwitcky said, offering a hand that you shook in return while the autobots milled around a bit, taking stock of the city. Bumblebee sat himself down close to you, offering you an imitation of one of your famed thumbs-ups. A clip of "friend, meet friend" coming from his radio.

"...He cute under that?" She asked, a nod coming from you and a smile beneath your helmet as she looked at her sibling and muttered "told you so."

"Well, you could also ask about me, if you like." You said.

"I'm not into other girls." She said flatly, making you scrunch your face up a bit. How did that...work...just being into, one gender? That seemed so limiting. Would she even be able to find herself attractive.

You switched language tracks to speak to Arne, going from English to the whistling, click and tone-shifting language of the Ka-Sahmat Chozo and leaving everyone else completely incapable of following your conversational tract.

"<Arne, how does that work?>" You asked.

"<Samus I don't know any more people like that than you. Our social circles aren't exactly extremely expansive.>"

"<I know it's just...that's strange and I don't understand how you could be happy being so limited.>"

"<I'm not really, well suited to answer that honestly. People like us tend to hang around other people like us generally?>" He shrugged and sighed before you looked back at Olla Witwicky while her brother gave you double finger pistols in a way that reminded you of Ian, which made you smile. Ian was nice boy you liked the company of. Hrm...you felt a bit sad at the realisation that he was so many realities away.

You had been working on so much adrenaline as of late you had barely even given all that much thought to how most of your friends besides Arne weren't here. Having him at least though, you reached a hand out to him and he squeezed it out of reflex, feeling like touching bare skin through the synaptic feedback of your gauntlets.

"So...is this the power armour club now?" Kid Win asked as Jetfire moved the procession to a more secluded spot and one autobot gave a thumbs up to the commander, snapping you out of your thoughts.

"Right...scrambler's up, should be private now." He said, your armour noting a surge of energy for a brief few moments before it normalised.

Hrm, the peanut gallery had been blinded temporarily, kept out of the scrambler field by...ah what a fascinating selectively permeable forcefield. The governing A.I deciding who could or wouldn't be let through was...yes very interesting.

"Mind if I breathe the air around here directly? I'd like to get a taste of the atmosphere around here." You said, Bumblebee giving a nod and a "You go girl!"

You pulled off your own helmet, with Arne following suit, shaking out your hair and letting your helm dissolve in your hands followed by your arm cannon and shoulder mounted back-up weapons; Alice, Joseph and some of Positron's group having moved to speak to the autobots after having debriefed the two newly minted incarnates.

You stopped for a moment, realising a number of eyes were on you. Chris, as your scan systems called him just kind of...stopped with his Jaw slacked.
"Guhhhh....h-hi...p-pretty I'm...hi...I'm...h...You look uh...blonde..." He said like he had a parade of frogs crawling down his throat.

"Are you alright Chris? You seem to have a sudden cessation of speech function." You said, using his name despite him never telling it to you getting him to snap out of his crimson cheeked stupor as he cleared his throat and tried to start from scratch.

"Right, thinker scanner. Well uh, hi Samus just uh. Trying to parse out all this tech. Weird day huh? And well, your boyfriend...or bondsmate well, uh. He looks great too. I'm not intruding or anything ri-" He stammered, his attempt at recovering his dignity falling apart as quickly as it had begun.

"It's an open relationship." Arne responded, looking towards you with a small smile on his face as you rested an elbow on one of his pauldrons and grinned.

"Oh...oh really? I've got a ch-...I mean...I'm glad you two trust each other enough for that. Uh, super happy for you. Abso-" He stopped when you gave him a quizzical look and calmed down.

"Nice to meet you two." He said, looking at your armour and tapping his chin.

"That is...really snazzy." He said.

"These two could even transform and fought better than nearly anyone else I've ever seen." Strongarm said.

"No kidding?" Arcee asked.

"From th' footage I've seen of these two, 'ohle team of wreckers couldn't do a job 'alf as good. Speaking of, that seems to be your best place; honestly. Small, fast, get in', out spick an' spam and bob's your uncle." You were unsure of who bob was or why he was suddenly related to you but you nodded and pretended to understand the metaphor from Jetfire.

"Hey, if you were the ones who tossed that Nictus my way, well; if you can hit like that I'd like to try giving you a test some day soon." Bulkhead said, the large, green and grey autobot stomping forward on stumpy legs.

"Easy there Bulkhead, you took a few hard knocks yourself. You're a fortress type, not invincible." Windblade said, urging him to show a bit of caution as he nodded and rolled his massive shoulders; sumo-wrestler like frame heavy set and powerful, no signs of the damage he had taken earlier apparent whatsoever.

"Ah I'll live." He said dismissively, pawing at the suggestion with an outstretched hand.

"Look, I'm not an autobot myself, but for what it's worth, you're one of the bravest bots I've ever met." Airazor said, her alt-mode drawing some curiosity from you, the body parts of a falcon attached to her slender, feminine frame.

"Honestly, the Maximals could be a flock of pigeons for all I care and I'd still want you by my side." Hot Shot said, the group discussing things like old friends.

"What's it like...being friends for millions and millions of years?" You said, unable to help yourself.

"Means you get to know how everyone else thinks. Humans are more surprising. Even when you live longer you still grow up so fast. You're going to be adults in what...four years? Primus, must feel like your childhood just flies right by." Windblade said, sighing as she looked at the two of you and shook her head.

"I remember when Galen and Olla were still in diapers." She said.

"Oh come on windblade, I'm not targetmastering for you if you're going to embarrass me in front of these two." Olla said, folding her arms.

"I can live with that." She said, a smirk on her face.

"Is this everyone?" You asked.

"Hardly, we're stretched thin as is, lot of us couldn't make it to the muster call. Too many other ops to handle." Arcee said, hand resting on her hip in a surprisingly human gesture.

"But if you want to know the important people here. Jetfire's our overall commander, Prime trusts him with his own spark. Don't let the unsophisticated way of talking fool you, he's got more than enough processing power to handle anything. Now there's also wheeljack who's sadly, too busy with his experiments to pay us a visit is our head of R&D. Brilliant but if something goes wrong, it goes really wrong." She said, demonstrating holographic profiles of both, with Wheeljack's distinctive rectangular fins and mouthplate giving his head an easily identified profile.

"Oh so...Tinker basically? Catastrophic consequences if something goes awry and all." Kid Win said.

"The term we prefer is sparkshifted, but...kind of comparable."

"How big of a problem are we talking anyway if...something goes wrong?" Arne asked.

"How attached are you to the Betelgeuse system?" She said nervously.

"...Wait what did you do?" You asked, concern immediately on your face.

"...It'll make sense in about six hundred terran solar cycles." She said with a wry smile.

Damn, they really did blow up the entire solar system by accident. At least it wasn't inhabited.

"Anyway, Bumblebee is our head of reconnaissance, when we need information; we call him. Great at computer slicing too. Windblade; top expert on anything weird and spooky. Bulkhead's the chief point man, hasn't met a hit he can't take yet. Skyburst is second in command here. Airrazor is our liaison with the Maximals and their contingent here. Red Alert back at the base is our chief biologist and medical officer. Warpath, whom you just saw; will be taking care of siege combat situations. The Witwicky family has been our local trouble for centuries, just...became a bit of a tradition for them to tag along, especially after they started developing telepathy and well...first case of humans with sparks we saw came from their line. Might be due to all the energon exposure or maybe Primus just smiled on them." She shrugged. Both were reasonable enough theories, you were wondering though if that process could be accelerated...hrm. Something to spend some nights analysising.

"It's totally the second thing." Olla said with a smirk.

"You don't know that." Arcee said with a roll of her optics. Curious, for a machine race they felt so...human.

"Most of our human partners usually become linkmasters or target masters, we give them exosuits able to meld with a transformer partner to give them a boost or fight and transform on their own. I imagine its the same process that lets you turn into a ball without crushing yourself." She said, looking at you square in the eyes.

"Though maybe, with your suit's ability to absorb powers and tech...we could just make a target master out of you with some spares. I dunno, what sort of altmodes are you into besides balls?" She asked. You gave it a bit of thought before snapping your fingers. "Amphibious submersible." You said, you loved the water, even if it slowed you down whenever you were lacking in hydromobility modules like the gravity boost.

"Aircraft, definitely." Arne said, taking a second to look at Galen's wings on his suit and reaching out a hand to feel them before being allowed to by the human, a small smirk forming on his face. Oh he was definitely interested in that technology. To be fair, so were you; long had you thought that transforming power suits able to fit into infantry spaces were something only the progenitors had figured out, given the...messy results of other attempts to replicate it unless through natural physiological abilities such as the Krikens or Vhozon managed. But here you were with a culture of comparable age and majesty.

It was such a shame they had spent so long in a war so pointless.

"Figured you for a flyboy. But hrm...why not both? Air, land, and sea." She offered, a nod being returned. Yeah that sounded really, really nice! If it would also let you traverse water without issue, so much the better.

"To conclude, Wrecker Ops are handled by Roadbuster, who's probably off somewhere comparing arsenals to Hound or something. Special Operations are headed by me when some subtlety is needed, Proxima is in charge of intelligence, security is handled by Pyro, and diplomacy should be handled by Crosscut but he's off with other negotiations. Sari Sumdac heads the Masters, so you'll probably end up working with her a lot. Below us, you've got the various teams. You've already met Strongarm and Hotshot from Team Bee. They all prefer civvie car alt-modes, lets them get around quickly and park anywhere without being noticed." She flashed a series of profiles, a heavily armoured autobot covered in too many guns, a six eyed and always alert transformer, someone who could have been mistaken for Optimus at a distance, a sophisticated looking gentleman whose countenance was at odds with his rather harsh sounding name, and a Indian girl with red hair and cyan blue eyes and cyborg lines on her face suggesting she wasn't entirely human...or perhaps human at all.

The description of Bumblebee as a master of stealth though could not go unchallenged given how quickly you noticed him.

"He parked in the middle of a snowstorm with no visible tracks like a car would leave." You pointed out.

"...Not noticed too often. But well, Bee's great with kids. Loves humans really. But well...he's still a protoform in his spark. I think you'll work great with him. But I dunno, maybe wrecker ops are more your thing? As Masters, you'll probably end up going between divisions a bunch." Arcee shrugged.

"Anyway, you two. On these planets, I try not to run too tight of a ship. Especially with kids." Jetfire said, intruding on the ongoing conversations.

"...How many?" You ask, folding your arms to make it clear that you weren't going to take a no for an answer.

"Eight Earths. Trackin' eight other universes that don't care quite as much about Earth. Metaverses...multiverses...bugger I dunno the gobbledeguk 'hind it...the other six...kinda in the dark won't lie. Eight earths though...All of 'em though, got 'umans and other life forms on the planet with shall we say, peculiar abilities. Supers, Monsters. I'll pass you on some files to mull over while yer busy."

Battery approached from behind while Jetfire was busy rambling on about something or the other, another of his old war stories before Bumblebee played a "Give it a break man" clip from yet another source you weren't really familiar with.

"Hey, Samus, Arne..." She stopped when she looked at Chris with his cheeks still thoroughly red. "Chris, jaw off the floor please." She said as he coughed slightly and looked away. "Anyway, I wanted you to meet the rest of the team while we're all still here. And while things are at least a little quiet." She said, gesturing to some of the wards who had managed to peel themselves away from a conversation with the starsetters and freedom phalanx.

"So, everyone's getting along at least? No...interdimensional war on the horizon?" You said, getting a nod out of her.

"Seems that way, the world or...all of them will keep turning, for at least a little while." She said as Assault sneaked up from behind her, clapping his hand on her shoulder and making her tense slightly as she looked at him and sighed.

"Please...don't sneak up on me like that." She said with a prolonged sigh.

"Clockblocker, come on, don't keep the party waiting." Assault said after a muttered apology.

Clockblocker, Dennis according to your scanners was apparently trying to chat up Mistral Slash, or Aiko as your zero point form scan visor identified the girl with auburn hair tied into a low pony-tail, Japanese facial characteristics and bright Hazel eyes as. Dennis was quite pleasing on the eyes, brilliant red hair, stark blue eyes, lithely built, teen band star good looks, two halves of his helmet in his hand while Numina's ghostly form offered to mend it with a spell, fusing it back together with an auroran light and a small smirk on her translucent lips.

"...Neat." He said before turning to you and giving you that finger pistols and wink gesture with a "What's shakin' babe?" before Battery harrumphed "Fourteen", causing him to mutter "Oh fuck" beneath his breath, seemingly unaware that you could hear him whispering just fine. You were...increasingly aware of less than desirable attention from people more interested in your body than your armour or skills. Of what Yramil meant what she told you that some people have issues with giving others space or taking no for an answer. Dennis seemed genuinely apologetic though and looked back at Aiko, patting her on the shoulder while Boltdancer gave her a thumbs up.

"Sorry, not trying to creep on freshmen. You look good though. Honest. But yeah, three year age gap. So uh...let's start over. I'm Dennis, Clockblocker and yes, it is a pun." He said, taking a look towards Arne who had by this point folded his arms and raised a brow.

"On what?" You asked.

"You stop time yes? But I don't see how that translates into any pun besides that." You continued. "But it's an interesting name! I like it! Much less plain than Dennis." You said with a grin as he let out a small chuckle and smirked, folding his arms and leaning against a wall.

"Seems fairly obvious, aren't you worried it gives your abilities away to anyone who hears about it?" Arne said, mind already shifting to tactical analysis mode.

"Hey, gotta brand you know?" He said with a shrug and a grin, Kid Win muttering "maybe there's such a thing as pushing a theme too far" under his breath in the distance. "Say, Sammy, Albinoman; what are two people from the year fifty thousand and fourteen doing with accents like yours? Sound like you came off the plane from Dublin and Reykjavic." He said, already changing conversational tracks.

"I'm not Albinistic." Arne said with a sigh.

"Huh, well, if you could take out that many nazis you can be whatever you like." He said, whistling to get the other team mates to follow up; bringing along their starsetter friends while the Protectorate and Freedom Phalanx discussed more adult stuff with Autobot mediation.

"But not Albinistic." Arne insisted with a straight, neutral face as Dennis let out a whistle through his teeth to try and pull the conversation in some other direction.

"Tough crowd huh?"

"I know it's a joke, it's just not funny." Arne said flatly before the awkward silence prompted you to corpse and let out a small laugh of your own.

"I'm...sorry, sorry. I just couldn't stop myself!" You said, Kid Win joining in briefly with wheezing laughs of his own.

"...Hey Vista come salvage my reputation, I'm intentionally funny right?" He said, looking down to a blonde girl in a green uniform who while in about the same age group as yourself, Arne, Kid Win, Nightcaster, Eudaimonica and a few others was...short...tiny even.

She looked at Arne as he sighed and gave a bit of a stretch to keep limber and immediately smiled, looking away the second he turned his eyes towards her and pretending to have never looked his way in the first place. She tilted her head at Galen and Olla though who were...arm wrestling...here and now? Seemed like a waste of time to you, but she seemed even more baffled by the rectangular consoles Eudaimonica and Nightcaster were using; having gathered up with some other starsetters in what seemed to be a major multiplayer match.

"Oh come on, cheap shot. Why did you turn on items?." One of them you weren't deeply familiar with groaned.

"Because they're fun? Come on, turn off tournament brain for five seconds Revolverlution." Another said.

"Oh screw you Streetbreak." Revolverlution said with disdain. Hrm...you should try that game out sometime. It seemed interesting if primitive. But Assault tapped you on the shoulder, or rather, was about to before you turned around to preempt the gesture, making him stumble slightly backwards in surprise.

"Hey, we were thinking, most of the usual gang activity would have gone underground after a gathering of capes this extreme, and they'll probably stick to laying low for a while." Assault said, recovering his balance.

"So I asked Vista if she could show you around town. Have some fun. Especially if you're going to be staying around for a while. You can even bring some friends, Kid Win's already volunteered for...obvious reasons. No adults besides some Autobots to drive you guys around. Up to you whether to do some patrols or just enjoy yourselves." He said, offering a grin. "So you know; you can go a bit wild." He finished.

Ooohhh...you gasped at the thought and steepled your fingers with excitement, mind already racing at the possibilities.


Actions:

What to do around town?

[]: Patrol Brockton (Minor stress gain but builds practice for combat teamwork and relations, will lead to plot thread quickly, likely to find tinkertech)
[]: Relax around Brockton (Major detress, resetting stress to zero, builds friendships and familiarity with Brockton, Might lead to plot thread, likely to find tinkertech.)
[]: Patrol Paragon City (Minor stress gain, builds practice for combat teamwork, solidifies relations, likely to find incarnate salvage, could lead to plot thread.)
[]: Relax around Paragon City (Major destress, resetting stress to zero, builds friendships and familiarity with Paragon, likely to find incarnate salvage, might lead to plot thread.)
[]: See the local autobot base (Moderate destress, take a look around at autobot facilities and other teammates, establish rapport between Earths and autobots. Wheeljack will probably have something for you. Salvage from Mission 1 will be immediately claimable.)
[]: See the PRT base (Moderate destress, take a look around at the Protectorate facilities, establish greater rapport with Protectorate. Tinkers might have something for you.)
[]: See the Freedom Corps Base (Moderate destress, take a look around Freedom Phalanx and Starsetter facilities, greater rapport with Primal Earth. Likely to find incarnate salvage.)
[]: Show everyone your ships (Introduction to Starship mechanics and abilities, moderate destress, can go on a space based joyride, likely to lead to plot thread. You have some stuff at the ships you can use straight away.)

(Pick four plus two autobot chaperones)

[]: Galen Witwicky
[]: Olla Witwicky
[]: Eudaimonica
[]: Nightcaster
[]: Rundrasta
[]: Steel Paladin
[]: Mistral Slash
[]: Clockblocker
[]: Write in

Autobot Chaperones

[]: Bumblebee (Can fit four)
[]: Strongarm (Can fit six)
[]: Arcee (Can fit two)
[]: Hot Shot (Can fit four)
[]: Bulkhead (Can fit the entire group)
[]: Write in
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 9

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[X]: Show everyone your ships (Introduction to Starship mechanics and abilities, moderate destress, can go on a space based joyride, likely to lead to plot thread. You have some stuff at the ships you can use straight away.)

[X]: Eudaimonica
[X]: Olla Witwicky
[X]: Steel Paladin
[X]: Rundrasta

[X]: Bumblebee (Can fit four)
[X]: Arcee (Can fit two)

VEHICLE & CRAFTING MECHANIC & STRATEGIC PHASE INTRODUCTION

Like the foot portions of the game, vehicular combat will be handled by the Kriegsspiel referee system rather than via dice except in particularly convoluted situations, and usually just to determine background events that we can't agree on. This deals with both the tremendous swinginess of most dice based systems while allowing for more consistent results. The referees are myself and my two good friends on the google hangout RazorLaserCrusader and Stacy the Chudslayer who will hopefully be joining the discord soon.

Vehicular gear and health is tracked separately from player equivalents and combat options also tend to be somewhat different. There is for one thing, a much lesser emphasis on melee and the distances involved tend to be more extreme; Mechs will be more involved in close quarters combat, while strike craft tend to keep their distance to a large degree. Some craft are capable of interstellar travel and thus are needed to go to certain missions without access to the Autobot Spacebridge technology or similar rapid transit systems; and the carry capacity of these craft will also affect what allies you can bring.

Note though, that at this stage you're not going to be leaving the earths very often, and throughout the game the Earths will remain important planets you'll frequently find yourself going back to. They wouldn't be in the crossfire if they weren't important after all. Ensuring that the Earths hold is going to be of vital importance as the Coming Storm approaches.

Vehicles can also serve as bases of operations and if they have the right modules installed, critically injured characters or those rendered combat ineffective can be teleported back to them as a sort of mobile rally point. They will also replenish ammo, immediately repair damaged or lost machinery or equipment, provide extra supplies, can provide additional fire support on certain missions or environments, do long range scanning, can allow you to craft items or upgrades, and provide a safe place to relax when needed.

Vehicles can be built or upgraded. Currently you have your strike craft. Samus and Arne also have access to escort screen sized basecraft that can serve as a mobile base of operations that can be unlocked after finishing a mission chain. Capital ships are rarer and harder to build and will require significant investment at this stage of the game and will serve more as a major hub once you get the revolution going; though the Autobots have some of their own. You can also build other vehicles generally sorted into bikes, cars, tanks, and mechs of assorted size categories. Which can be useful against large combatants, when there's a lot of area to traverse on land, when even more firepower is needed, or what have you.

Vehicles carrying more than one person will also be able to have passengers fight from inside if they have the appropriate powers. They will usually be treated as part of the vehicle's overall actions unless noted otherwise.

Tl;dr basically the same stuff but with different gear and contexts. Also the two will fight differently when behind the wheel.

Crafting is done with currencies which for simplicity's sake will be sorted into Salvage, Resources, and Influence. Projects will list their requirements and note whether your Salvage and Resources are valid for that project (rather than tracking a dozen different resources because screw that.) Some projects will need to be researched before they're craftable, and those researches will have their likely time of completion as well as costs listed. Crafting (should it be something that would take time; like say; upteching allies) and Research can both be accelerated by having the right allies on hand to take care of it.

Samus and Arne can also both develop additional powers, particularly through their Magic, Psionic, Genetic, Meta, Warp, and Incarnate trees. This is also handled by the crafting system in tandem with a level system; with levels unlocking slots and giving you valid resources and salvage for those slots. Being trained can help bolster your level progress but will take time and stuff can happen while you're busy.

While tech can be swapped and is an incredibly important part of the two's abilities; developing the power of their bodies, minds, and souls is also important. But to make it simple I'll be doing a lot of the tracking work for you and this will largely come up when you're able to make something.

As you have joined with the Autobots, they'll also handle a great deal of the process of acquiring resources, making stuff, equipping allies, and will also periodically hand out upgrades and bonus gear. They will also take care of bases for the most part. However note that as you re part of Autobot command, the missions they offer will be structured around their needs and they do expect a certain number of Autobot missions to be taken per arc and act. This is going to be a long quest so bear that in mind.

On the other hand, Wheeljack is one of the best crafters and researchers you could hope for and will be taking a huge burden off of your shoulders in that regard, and you do have Dream Doctor to help with many other things. As your movement grows you'll be able to get more like them to help save the Omniverse from the Coming Storm.

Villains groups will also have progress meters to track how close they are to pulling off something important and whether you're likely to need to stop them. Their progress can be limited by either going on missions against them or sending B-teams against them. As you are with the Autobots, much of the B-team deployment will be automated due to Jetfire and Optimus having seniority over you. Optimus can be expected to generally speaking, make the best choice. Whenever a villain progress meter reaches an interval, a crisis mission will need to be done to stop them from doing major damage and weakening confidence in your ability to help them. And even then, that it happened at all will cause some damage.

Villain groups will also have infiltration meters, one to represent how deep into their information networks you have pierced, another to show how much sway they seem to have behind the scenes. The higher the latter, the more behind the scenes issues you can expect to have.

Most of this is rendered in a few simple stats and meters and will be pretty easy to follow. This isn't going to be very math heavy so this is all very qualitative.

For example you now are at this.
Character TrackerLevelSRI (Salvage, Resources, Influence)Crafted PowersVehiclesRelationsStatus
Samus Eabha Aran2100, 100, 100None YetDormach (Strike Craft)Arne (Romantic Partner), Bumblebee (Friend), Alice (Friend), Joseph (Friend)Stress: Level 2
Mood: Good
Health: Perfect
Arne Eriksen Skjoldr2100, 100 , 100None YetSleipnir (Strike Craft)Samus (Romantic Partner), Bumblebee (Friend), Alice (Friend), Joseph (Friend)Stress: Level 2
Mood: Good
Health: Perfect

Villain GroupsMetaverse of OriginProgress to SchemeStatusYour InfiltrationTheir Infiltration
WeltreichSourcewell5 (20 more to next Interval)Strong, Mobilising.25 (Information Network compromised, Names, some capabilities, some resources and weaknesses known)30-50 (Substantial ability to manipulate global opinions and enforcement, widespread economic power and influence, local law enforcement dubiously reliable ally, unlikely to have direct agents in the Autobots.)
Rikti Lineage of WarSourcewell15 (10 more to next interval)Strong, Mobilising.25 (Information Network compromised, Names, some capabilities, some resources and weaknesses known)25 (Less ability to manipulate global opinions, substantial preprepared forces in place for operations)

World NameWorld MoraleYearLargest ThreatYour reputationWorldfall ProgressMost trusting polityLeast trusting Polity
Earth BetShakyJanuary 2011WeltreichGood5Soviet UnionUnited States
Primal EarthGreatNovember 2020WeltreichWeak2N/ARogue Islands
Monster WorldPoorAugust 2587NebulonsNonexistent15N/AN/A

VehiclesUtility ModulesWeaponsDefencesManoeuvrabilityStatusOther
DormachCrafting Facility, Restore Station, Scanners, N-Space Drive, Teleporter, Fabricator, Ship Synthetic Consciousness, Cloak and StealthEnergy Bomb Generator, Star Charge Generator, Missile batteries (775 missiles), Super Missile launchers (150 super missiles), Four Deployable heavy beam turrets, Four retractable light anti-personnel turrets, Nasal Rotary Cannon, Wingmounted twin Subweapon guns, rear mounted twin subweapon gunsSelf-repairing varia type armour, multi-layered multi-type shielding (7 energy tanks), Active Defence turrets, ECMGreat (Flier)Undamaged
SleipnirCrafting Facility, Restore Station, Scanners, N-Space Drive, Teleporter, Fabricator, Ship Synthetic Consciousness, Cloak and StealthEnergy Bomb Generator, Star Charge Generator, Missile batteries (775 missiles), Super Missile launchers (150 super missiles), Twin rear-facing heavy beam turrets, Six wingmounted Subweapon cannons, twin forward facing side mounted beam guns, nasal rotary cannon, Four retractable light-anti-personnel turrets.Self-repairing varia type armour, multi-layered multi-type shielding (7 energy tanks), Active Defence turrets, ECMExcellent (Flier)Undamaged

If this seems like a lot to take in at once, don't worry, most of this isn't really relevant yet.

Arne

You took a look at Samus and then at the group around you. "The group we bring should probably have members from each reality we know. The witwicky sister would probably be a good start...uh...well, with the starsetters. Tyrius and Raelamiel seem authoritative so they'd probably give an interesting perspective you know?" You said, Samus turning her eyes towards you and smirking a bit.

"It's alright, you're not the only one who'd like to spend some time with them in a ship." She said which got the two of you to tint a bit on your cheeks.

"Guess I'm still a bit weak to supernatural beauty." You said with a lightly joking tone as the two of you shared a small laugh and you gave a small smooch to her lips, getting a deeper one in return before you two pulled away and she briefly adjusted her stance to bring herself more level to yourself.

"Puberty really isn't fair sometimes...look at you getting taller than me." She said with a little giggle as you two shared a short laugh.

"It does mean I can do this." You said, laying your chin atop her head after adjusting your footing to your tip toes, getting her to outright laugh and gently ease you away.

"You're such a silly boy you know? But silly is a lot of fun! It's nice to see you not take things seriously." She hummed as she looked at the group again herself.

"I think I want to go with bumblebee. He'd be easy for our ships to carry around. Hrm...Arcee I think would also be good, and if we're going to work with her, Olla would be pretty logical to take with us." She said as you took a look for one last member to come along with you.

"What about Alice?" You offered.

"Oooh! Yes! Absolutely!" She said with a wide grin on her face. She gestured for you to go get her, Steel Paladin, and Rundrasta while she spoke with the Autobots, your legs bringing you over to her swiftly, black boots clanking slightly on the road before you stopped before her, towering over her by a fairly considerable margin despite being the same age.

"Hey, Alice." You said to the redhead as she finished off her game with a grin on her face. Positively sunny disposition this one, even with the sort of company she preferred to keep.

"What's good Arne?" She asked.

"Well, Samus and I wanted to show some of you our ships. So we were thinking, would you, Tyrius, and Raelamiel be interested in coming along?" You asked, Nightcaster taking a moment to look up and making a small face. He had clearly grown attached to Alice's side over the past few hours, but he nodded and gave you a thumbs up anyway.

"You gonna be okay there Joe?" Alice asked.

"Course he is, he's got to show me the Smash Brothers of the future." Gallant said, planting his hand on Joseph's side as he flicked his attention backwards and nodded.

"Yeah gonna have a little tournament." He said.

"One of you guys better win or I'll have to kick all of your asses." Raelamiel said with mock venom in her voice.

"Come on, don't put that over their heads." Tyrius said with a pat to her head, your ships following a signal you gave to them, beckoning them to descend from the sky and towards the earth below with engines thrumming. They extended landing gears and came to a natural rest; her craft extending its struts and yours unfurling some wheels on the end of sturdy stilts. On the remote chance you ever needed to do a conventional take off and landing, the option was there.

"Whoa check out the ride there." Kid Win said, whistling sharply as he kicked up his hoverboard and stroked the side of the Dormach and eyed the Sleipnir through his visor.

"You built these yourselves?" He said, Samus giving him a nod and putting her hands on her hips proudly once she returned with the autobots who'd be coming.

"Obviously." You said as you noticed Vista approaching you from the side, clearing her throat as she brought herself to a standstill, eyes alternating between you and Tyrius.

You sensed that she was rather flushed with emotion, looking on you with interest and doing her best to maintain her composure while Kid Win snuck glances at Samus, Olla, Alice, and Raelamiel. She was pretty clearly infatuated, you could just feel that radiating off of her with the psychic potential in your mind. You had a pretty good idea of why her eyes were on you given that your helmet was off. She was trying to not make it obvious, and she was commendably good at it, but she probably hadn't reckoned with the fact that you could sense her emotions. You were rather used to it by now to be honest.

"Huh, haven't seen a starship like this...does it go faster than light?" Tyrius asked Samus as he looked at the Dormach.

"Mhrm. Top speed of Thirty-nine teraparsecs per hour if I really push the engine. I had faster designs but Old Bird said I should probably wait before playing around with better superluminal locomotion engines like that." She said, Rundrasta raising an eyebrow and tilting her head.

"...That could cross the entire fucking observable uni-" She started before Samus smiled.

"Basically instantly." She said, proud of what she had achieved while you let out a small laugh.

"So whose ship are we using?" Olla said, jogging up to you at a downright superhuman pace before skidding herself to a halt, the tanktracks at the bottom of her boots locking into place and an excited grin on her face as she stayed at a respectful distance from you.

"Samus' ship is probably better for that honestly. The Sleipnir's got a bit more cramped of a floor arrangement." You said as the ships opened up their hatches.

"Come on, there's a star system I want to check out." Samus offered while you jumped aboard with a casual spring of the legs, descending into the interior of the Dormach along with her while everyone else crawled in; bumblebee taking a moment to look at the ships and making some plaintive beeps and warbles as he sighed, focused, and then compacted his robot mode into something only two heads taller than a normal adult human. Size shifting it seemed, was a bit intensive on his energon supplies, and not something to be done casually; though it seemed Arcee was more adjusted to the strain of it, shifting more into what should be the proper size of something that turns into a motorcycle and finding her way inside.

The Dormach, like the Sleipnir, was quite remarkably bigger on the inside due to the same spacefolding technology that went into your missile technology as well as some dimensional conduits. Though the craft was somewhat larger than a fighter jet of the time on the outside, internally its space was . Enough to live pretty comfortably from inside. Which was good when very often the longest part of a mission would simply be waiting for an opportunity to arise to make a move. Your combat capabilities could shave down the time spent fighting, the engines eliminated most of the travel time, but nothing short of a time dilator could deal with the need for an opportunity to arise or to wait for a target to appear.

Its cockpit room was a cozy enough fit with a few chairs in the front, the number of personal effects inside being on the more minimalistic end. Generally stuff Samus could quickly evacuate in case of an emergency rather than anything that would be hard to get out safely. And nothing she couldn't bear losing such as any leftovers from her home on K-2L. At the back was a door to some personal quarters, lavatorial facilities, equipment halls that contained weapons grade supplies and a place to build or work on them, holochat room, training area, stasis-storage for captives, a rec room, closets to store utility gear, a hatch for lower level maintenance, and passageways into the heart of the ship to manage its core systems such as the central engines, synthetic consciousness mainframes, manufactorums, and other facilities and a few other places that would cover just about everything a girl like her could want.

The cockpit itself was rather spacious, a somewhat tear drop shaped facility, narrower towards the front with more space behind. It was wider than your own, since this was designed to be a gunship rather than a heavy strike fighter after all. Some traditional instrumentation was present mostly for the fun factor, but in any serious engagement she switched to neuro-control over her ship to make the ship's response times her response times. Something you did as well. And while the transparent metal cockpit was real, the nanocameras spread across the ship allowed her to see in all directions, granting her the situational awareness needed to come out on top in nearly any situation. A number of her drawing projects she had been idly working on over the past few months, most related to the story she was in the process of writing. An animated project involving high adventure and intrigue and discovery.

You fondly looked at her conception of a techno-fantasy cityscape and touched the inprogress drawing and then back to her. "Still in the worldbuilding phase?" You asked as she responded to you with an enthused nod and grin.

"Getting character concepts down too! Here's Elstra." She said, procuring an image of her protagonist, elfin eared, a sort of technosorceress from what you could see, wielding staff and cannon and in robed armour with brilliantly coloured purple hair and pink eyes.

"Nice work, she still going to be a part of the Order of Zentrasta?" You asked.

"Well obviously, it gets her motivation set in stone for the start of her adventures when sh-" Bumblebee squeezed in behind her and warbled again, taking a look around and making a low pitched sound of wonder after the ship had finished its decontamination protocols to remove anything he might have picked up.

"Oh, hey there Bumblebee!" She said as he tried to fit himself into one of the co-pilot chairs and expressing amazement when it altered its proportions to fit his sizeshifted body, swivelling around while Samus let out a deeply amused giggle at the sight.

Vista was next, waiting for the hard-light elevator to ferry her down rather than jumping, taking a moment to look around right up until the ship stopped her.

"Biological entity detected. Beginning decontamination." It said as the field in wrapped her in shimmered, surrounding her with a light as the restore station got to work, removing any impurities it could detect. The Synthetic Consciousness of the Dormach left anything it determined to be beneficial, but upon sensing the time bomb of her genetic coding; quickly went to work. Rebuilding and then reformatting her at the subatomic level to mend what it perceived as catastrophic genetic disease. A process it repeated for Chris and Alice, but curiously not for Olla, Raelamiel, or Tyrius; likely deeming them to be within what should be the norms for their species.

The process took less than the blink of an eye, and stopped to let the three stagger slightly as the rewiring had finished more quickly than their brains could process, Kid Win in particular grabbing at his head and shaking it as if trying to stop the world from spinning.

Samus

You looked with a bit of concern at the somewhat disoriented teens who had just come through. "Are you all going to be fine?" You asked, chewing a bit on your lips as they straightened themselves with a speed that they normally wouldn't have been able to manage, adjusting their stances and correcting their postures with newfound dexterity.

Vista was at once the most and least disorientated, she was prepared for what was inside due to her abilities, but being in a place of such altered and distorted space still gave her a good bit of confusion. She looked around and grabbed at the side of her head, shaking it slightly as she looked at those who had already made their way inside.

"Ugh, this Doctor Who ship is...how do you fit all this in here?" She said, noting that even the cockpit was larger from the inside than it was from the outside before her eyes looked at a nearby holoposter.

"That was...I could have sworn that poster was a different colour." She said, pointing at one of your Yrimoch holoposters, the superheroic adventures dancing through her foes in blindingly quick fashion as she sought to rescue treasures from would-be despoilers. You weren't exactly sure what she was referring to, it looked like it always did.

"Some of the reds were a different colour or something? That was more, normal red but now it's this, what sort of colour is that?" She said stumbling through some words before Tyrius looked at her and then at the poster, tapping his chin slightly before he came to a realisation.

"Infrared." He said, raising a finger and smiling.

"Huh?" Alice asked, flopping into one of the chairs and blinking, weaving a spell of her own in an attempt to make sense of what she was seeing. But it clicked in your brain quite fast, quite fast indeed.

"Oh, Alice, you know how we said that your gene code was full of deficiencies?" You said, getting a nod out of her. "I think the ship detected them and assumed you had brought in some sort of sickness to be cured with the restore station. I could undo them if you'd like?" You said, Alice taking a look at the gauntlet of her hand and seeing details she was never able to perceive before, then taking a look at Arne as he was busy looking at his reflection and giving himself a small smile before he noticed he was being looked at and waved back.

"Well...uh...hm...what do they do?" She asked, pausing.

"Most diseases won't be a problem, you won't really age past your prime, vastly enhanced physique, greater sensory capabilities, greater regeneration speed, memory retention, only needing a half-hour of sleep per day...a lot of things really." You said, getting a pause from Alice and then a mental calculation.

"Oh I can get in so much more shitposting every day!" She said with an eager grin

"Excuse us...the ship just...modified our gene code on entry?" Vista asked, clearly concerned. "There wasn't anything wrong with us...I didn't feel deficient even. I, that thing will do that to any friendly who enters?" She said, looking up at the restore pad and then back at you.

"I'm sorry, I can have the changes undone if you like. I wasn't well...sorry I should have been more prepared for guests." You said, frowning and feeling bad about yourself.

"Fuck like, wow. You basically have Panacea in here on demand. That's amazing. I just, can I get some notes on how it works, please?" Chris asked, looking at it like a puppy staring at a treat before you gestured to a computer terminal he could access, Missy shaking her head all the while.

"Just...maybe next time provide warning?" She asked with a sigh while Chris rubbed his hands and looked through the schematics with the interest of a pornographic video before he pulled his attention elsewhere, Raelamiel and Tyrius talking to themselves while Olla said some words to the Cybertronians in the back.

Meanwhile Chris, trying to not look stunned, just...examined every button he could once he had quickly scanned over the schematics and theory behind the restore station, examining every machine that might catch his interest and each and every one of your hobbies on display. Your entertainment suites, your artworks and manuscripts, though you pulled him away before he could read those too in-depth. They weren't ready! It wasn't proper for him to peek! Then of course, stuff like research logs, computer readouts...anything he could have a look at.

When you dragged him back he took a look back at you and breathed out huffily. "Wow and this is all just in the cockpit?! You built this? You...like...you just...put all this together and...wow how did you find the time...the parts...the know-how I just..." Vista brought up a hand.

"Breathe Chris." She cautioned as she patted him on the back, a dopey smile on his face as he pulled off his helmet to get a chance to just look at it all with his own eyes.

"Can I just...have a moment to talk to you at some point? I need to pick your brain for ideas. We could do so many things together. I mean, this whole thing looks like it was built to be modular. Every part interchangeable and all of it just so...absolutely out of this world. I can barely even think of how you put this together when you were..."

"Five." You said with a smile.

"Five...five years old and you...hah...is this your only one?" He asked, getting a shake of your head from you.

"I build a lot of these...it's a good way to pass the time. Plus I can never really decide how I want the ship to look or what sort of needs I want out of it. At this rate I'm going to end up filling the Hunter in no time." You said with a sigh.

"The hunter?" Olla asked as she eyed one of your orb-toys which darted away from her as she tried to grab at it, buzzing around her and ducking and weaving.

"My carrier ship, that took a bit longer to think up but it's my home away from home essentially. That one I put together five years ago." You said with a self satisfied smirk, placing your hands on your pale armoured hips.

"So you've got a battlestar up your sleeve?" Kid Win said, the reference flying so far over your head it may have impacted the moon and shot straight through, one of your eyebrows quirking.

"It's a show with killer...you probably never saw it." He said, gulping a bit and whistling through his teeth to avoid seeming awkward.

"Well, I think everyone is in here." You said as Raelamiel leaned on a wall and folded her arms.

"Hey, hopin' you've got enough bunks for us all if we're gonna go to space. Least enough for me and Tyr." She said with a finger pistol that made you flush while Arne stammered at the thought.

"Well...there's spare sleeping quarters if you need it, or cryosleep if you'd prefer. But I don't really make much use of them on account of not actually sleeping very muc-" You said before the Angel let out a melodious laugh.

"Kidding, kidding." She said as she gave the Faerie a ruffle to his hair while he poked her nose and made a "boop" sound.

Swallowing and standing straighter, you sat in your pilot's chair and let Arne sit besides you, letting the hatch close and your ship start to take off with the Sleipnir in pursuit. You sent out a quick message via the comms to the relevant authorities that you'd be taking a quick joyride and rapidly ascended out of the atmosphere.

The artificial gravity transition was so seamless not even you could notice it, and the Dormach quickly passed by the International Space Station with its crew of rather surprised looking Astronauts taking a moment to double take while they fixed up a solar panel.

"+...Houston...I want one of those.+" Your communications intercept said as you formed your helmet briefly to offer them a wave as you shot by the station, the holographic systems giving everyone gathered a crystal clear view of Earth.

Olla found it mundane enough to not peel away to look herself, Tyrius and Raelamiel had already seen it before. But Alice, Chris, and Missy piled onto the side to gaze down on the blue-green marble before, its speckles of white floating by its continents. A world that they had spent their entire life in a rather small slice of, even Alice only ever poking into other versions of it or its linked dimensions. But below it seemed tiny, its horizons so limited and the haze of its atmosphere a mere wisp before the endless black void. Even the burning glare of the sun was such a tiny portion of the sky.

"Paragon would be...huh where's the east coast of Rhode Island?" Alice said, looking down at northeastern America as the polar storm surrounded it, the ship's imaging systems dispelling the cloud cover like an illusion to let them see.

"Rhode Island doesn't have a natural east coast." Arne said, turning in his seat next to you as Vista and Missy agreed.

"Huh...little hole in the cloud around Brockton Bay, that your doing?" Kid Win asked, turning towards Tyrius who gave a small shrug.

"The Dawn needed to shine, what can I say?" he smirked.

Below, you could briefly see a major hurricane on the surface sweeping into the west coast of North America despite it not being hurricane season, and the enormous yellow lightning bolts that crashed through the clouds not looking remotely natural. With a brief slice into the planet's weather imaging systems you saw that the storm had formed very suddenly, far too quickly to be natural and certainly not in a place where a storm of its nature should have been born in. Its path was erratic, unpredictable.

But you briefly saw thermal imaging show something with three heads and vast wings at the centre paired with your distant sight giving you a sensation of unspeakable malice. That would explain why the Storm seemed to be steering itself towards population centres.

This Storm System is being generated by a xenological life form not native to this reality or planet. Interference produced by the storm prevents long-ranged scans with current equipment into the heart of the storm. But gravitational and electrical distortion suggests that the storm is being created by an animal capable of generating and manipulating both in large quantities. Discharges from the storm centre are consistent with energy releases by a creature within the eye of the storm; and patterns of evaporation suggest that the storm is being at least partly generated by electricity on the wings vaporising massive amounts of water that are then manipulated and amplified by esoterical capabilities.

Analysis of movement patterns however indicates that the storm is moving away from civilian centres towards a dimensional faultline leading to another metaverse that would likely be its home reality. Further analysis also demonstrates that the local response has largely been to evacuate at risk population centres and that the local inhabitants seem unaware of the origins of the storm. No attempts at engaging in combat have been made. Due to the lack of user gravitational manipulation systems, engagement is currently not recommended.

You knew how Arne would respond if he saw something like that, and you knew Arne was always quick to try and keep imagery that reminded you of...him...from you as well. You stopped the imaging system and pulled his attention away with a brief smooch to his lips, his eyes opening wider in surprise and his cheeks turning red as he seemed unsure of why this had happened, but happy that it had happened.

"Uh...thanks..." He said, blinking a bit and smiling.

You made a note though, if you had the equipment ready for it later on, you would investigate that storm whenever it appeared again. The thought of the destruction done to the cities it passed over made you sick, a quake in your stomach as you clenched your hand briefly on your armrest. To have the power to tear apart the sky only to use it to destroy. How utterly vile.

An Autobot Ark ship, fifty kilometres from end to end, lay nearby; observing the earth below in stealthed configuration out of the reach of its satellites and space stations, a silent sentinel that helped protect the planet from possible incursions. It was a large ship for a large people, its gleaming gold and orange hull invisible to human instruments but majestic to your own as Winterpyre spoke from Alice's tiara.

"I sense that the beings that provide Chris and Missy with their powers will not be able to offer them their abilities should we leave the boundaries of Earth. Please, allow me a moment to conduct these signals through my realm to extend their reach." He said; hellgreen magic writing itself into the sky and then fading into the background as a conduit was channelled through his frostflame hell.

"Now, we may proceed." he boomed as you looked at destinations. Where to?

Choice of Destination: (Of these, only the ark ship will be stayed at for more than two posts. The Ark Ship will also end the intermission and the relaxation phase if visited and you'll have to pick a mission.)

[]: Gliese 581 System: Star system that in your universe had habitable planets.
[]: Milky Way Central Black Hole: Supermassive black hole to impress the one planeters.
[]: Autobot Ark Ship: See what the autobots are doing in their primary base.
[]: Betelgeuse supernova remnants: Witness the beauty of a nebula while it's still hot.
[]: The Moon: Simple low gravity fun.
[]: Geminga: One of the nearest Pulsars to Earth.
[]: Planet IX: Impress the locals with the existence of an entire planet in their own solar system they don't know about.
[]: Write in
[voteresult]644201[/voteresult]
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 10

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[X]: The Moon: Simple low gravity fun.




Samus
You looked at Luna, premier moon of Terra; or the Moon and Earth depending on who you asked. To you, it was Eah-Meb of course, but of your companions only one other spoke the language of your caretakers. It was something you'd only ever seen in pictures, and its undisturbed form was something you would never be able to see in your own reality. Unmarked by sprawling habitations or artificial atmospheres. This was Luna at her most pristine. An airless mass of craters, little gravity, a few leftover rovers and landers, some bleached white flags planted by various countries wanting to prove something, and some cold and barren resources left behind when this old rock split itself from Earth a few billion years ago.

It seemed like a lot of fun.

"I want to try the Moon. It'd be nice to have a look at it, while it's still unspoiled like this." You said, taking a look at the moon's surface through the long range scanners. About what you'd expect; there's some activity from a moon base but no parahumans are stationed there; just a few dozen people from an international program meant as a gesture of solidarity.

"It's a bit mundane don't you think? Maybe the central black hole would be, I dunno...more interesting?" Arne said, turning towards you with a small shrug to his shoulders.

"Let's try to not leave the solar system for the first go Arne...besides, at this stage in history going to the moon is something ra-"

"The moon?! God I didn't even bring a space-suit or...hey can you describe what low gravity is like, you've been on low gravity you've gotta know the sensation of it. How much do you need to adjust your gait to keep a proper movement pace? Is it nauseating or will my stomach be able to handle it? I really don't want to end up vomiting in my helme-" Chris started before Missy placed a single finger on his lips.

"Chris, breathe between sentences." She said as Arcee stepped to the edge of the cockpit, taking the seat to the other side of you, opposite to Arne.

"Well, we've got a base there if you'd like to see it. Helps keep tabs on this Earth outside of the range of most of the monitoring agencies." She said, offering a matronly smile to you and then looking back at Olla.

"I mean...it's okay as far as bases go." Olla sighed, running a hand through her blue hair.

One of Alice's demons popped out of the ether, its entry permitted by you and your ship security systems as the small impish goat skull faced demon giggled out a rapid "MOONMOONMOON!" before it was tackled by yet another one of the demons that followed, wrestling around as you had a laugh to yourself, joined by others while the demonlings squabbled over who would be the first to jump onto the moon.

"Okay, space suits I uh...can't breathe in space." Vista said with a frown.

"I can." Tyrius said, rather unhelpfully as Vista sneaked another look at him, flushed and looked away; a gesture you mimicked and felt more than a bit warm in the cheeks by when you noticed the two supernaturals waving back at you; winking and grinning. Arne was the last to repeat the gesture and tried to hide away his face.

"Well uh...I'm not...a fairy. So...well, still need help." She said with a huff.

"I could cast a spell for you to breathe. As an incarnate I think I won't need a suit though." Alice said, looking to Raelamiel for confirmation who gave her a thumbs up.

"Yeah, that's about right. Besides, how many spacesuits come in cult princess amirite?" She said, throwing up a hand that Tyrius smacked in response. Some variant on the ancient high five gesture as far as you could surmise.

Bumblebee chirped out his own input shortly afterwards, earning a nod out of Arne. "Right, extra assurance wouldn't hurt still." He said, Vista taking a look at him and receiving a bashful wave from the boy that made you smile a bit.

"So uh, Samus...what are these spacesuits like then?" Chris asked, your distant sight warning you of incoming rambling while he flicked his eyes towards you only to turn away when you looked back at him. You smiled, shrugged and then nodded and wired a neurocommand to your ship's systems that zeroed in on Vista and Kid Win.

For Chris, it was a process of directly integrating some spare Federation explorer suits you had collected in case your friends' armours ever needed replacing on the go into his own. Not really a heavy-duty combat model, but enough to get the job done if alone on some uncharted world. Fairly basic loadout of a disruptor sheathed mass driver gun, life-support systems, on board medical systems, wrist-mounted flamethrower and mini-rocket launcher, disruptor field bayonet on the arm-gun and the free hand, grapple tether, dash jets, physicality augmentation, shielding, self-regenerating armour plating, a paralyzer pistol and a cryogenic submachine gun, a loadout of grenades, and a visor suite for scanning, combat data, vehicle command, and low-light vision.

Basic stuff.

Thanks to the modularity of federation power armour and your ship's systems, integration into his suit should be seamless. Good thing too because a single basic power beam shot at anything approaching standard power would have left nothing so much as vapours to collect for his funeral. Now, even if his shields failed, he'd be able to take some hits. The explorer suit had adjusted itself to his colour preferences; his visor now being a full face system that could extend a shield like mouth guard if needed to protect his head. The top of the helmet retained his rounded style, while his smoothed pauldrons had gained some of the extensions common to federation power armour to add protection without sacrificing motion. Brilliant redhighlights were added at the fringes of important plates such as where the chestplate's primary sections met the abdominal segmentation or at the ends of the pauldrons. His right hand was covered in an arm-gun; golden in colour; with a deployable gripping stock, smooth and sleek; and thrusters on his back or boots could extend or retract as needed.

In terms of bulk, his armour had actually slimmed a bit, to allow for greater motion. and he took a time to take a look at himself as you moved your head away from what was largely a standard and routine moment before you sensed a world shaking explosion of emotion. "Whoa..." He said as flexed his fingers and let his mind get to work analysing what he was seeing up until he retracted his arm cannon and smirked at his now free hand. Vista's armour also incorporated her aesthetic preferences, but without incorporating her unpowered uniform. Two tone green and white as opposed to red, orange, and yellow. Even fitting in her skirt despite the computer's concerns about the practicality of so much dangling material; weaving it into a hard-light reinforced nanomesh mesh from the spare material it had with the extra federation explorer suits you had.

"...I feel like a power ranger." Vista said, looking at her hand as she withdrew the arm cannon while your ship approached the moon; having accelerated to realspace FTL and slowed into a carefully calculated orbit in the brief seconds they were distracted to the point that it seemed like you all had teleported; the moon looming large in the holographic displays while Earthrise dominated the other horizon, the sun's glare bright as ever.

"Alice, do you need a suit?" You asked before she shook her head.

"Maybe later, but I think my magic will be fine for now. Besides, I'm an Incarnate now. So...who needs oxygen right?" She said with a smile as you thought about it yourself. You could survive unprotected in a vacuum far longer than most. Your respiration needs were...strange as your physiology directly converted food into raw energy and drew in further ambient psychic and mystic power like most progenitors did; you still breathed out of reflex but you didn't really have to. Still, a vacuum would be painful, especially to your eyes and mouth unless you focused on your psychic aura to shield yourself, and even then that was inconvenient. But to be able to spacewalk unsuited without consequence...hrm. Best to test it later.

"Huh, it's not as luminescent up close." Vista said, looking down at the moon.

"The moon just reflects light, it doesn't emit it." Olla said, taking a look at the rock with a relatively unimpressed gaze.

"Hey, how can you be...bored of a moon landing?" Missy asked, seeing Olla's shrug and her straight faced expression.

"It's just a moon, not even a really interesting one." She said with a sigh and a shake of her head.

"Spoken like a true spacer." Alice rolled her eyes as she sighed and stared at the satellite below.

"Besides, I've been here before. Novelty wears off fast." She said.

"I think it's interesting. I've never seen it before, and even if I did; by my time it's covered in cities and atmosphere and just...completely unrecognisable as the old Moon." You responded, taking another gaze down and smiling in your newly conjured up helmet. "Maybe we'll find something new even?" You said, your computers analysing points of interest across the moon into a few destinations of import.

"Well, here's the Apollo 11 landing site." Arne said, tapping on the hologram of the lander's detached lower body near a bleached white flag stripped of colour by the unflinching gaze of the sun. He looked at the lander's lower body for a moment and shook his head. "How did they get people to agree to go on a death trap like that I'll never understand." He shuddered at the thought of trying to get to the moon on that craft via slow burning chemical rocket with a computer so primitive he struggled to wrap his head around how they fit even basic programs inside.

"You got to respect the amount of effort it took to even put people down there before tinkers were a thing. All for showboating too. Can't say I'd be like, huge on the idea of being stuck in a metal tube with two other guys for a week getting here and back though; eating meals out of a tube and drinking powdered orange juice mixed with squeeze water." Chris said, leaning in slightly into the Hologram before Arne raised a finger to indicate that he was getting inside of his personal space. "Sorry." Chris muttered.

"It's okay. I'm just...not comfortable with people looming over me." He said.

"Hrm...human moon base looks dope. Like, it looks like a shit place to live, but it looks dope." Raelamiel said as she examined the international Moon base and the astronauts who had gathered around it, huddled in the depths of a crater on the terminator point of the Moon, free from the burning gaze of Earth's star. It was a connected series of tubes and prefabbed modules, much of which were assembled on site. A landing strip was present for spaceplanes to land there when needed, with a pad for more conventional rockets.

"Looks like a Campus set up. Maybe...three hundred and fourteen personnel total?" You said, estimating based on a quick glance at the base and the people milling around on the surface. You saw an Astronaut and a Cosmonaut passing the time with a game of rock paper scissors while they waited for some machine to charge on the surface, the Cosmonaut throwing their hands into the air when they had been bested and kicking a rock idly in a way that got you to smirk with a contained laugh.

"About right. Haven't read too much about it since it's not really parahuman business. They mostly just do low gravity research there. Civvie stuff. After Scion went...partying apparently some people decided to set it up. Show everyone that we could get along. It's pretty neat even if not a lot happens there." Chris said with a shrug.

"We didn't even have moon bases in two thousand and eleven in our reality. America didn't even have manned rockets by that point." Arne said, clearly trying to make Chris feel a bit better about the technology of his era.

"...Wait...seriously?" Chris said, stunned.

"What did they us-"

"Eastern bloc rockets." Arne said as Chris put his hands on his temples.

"...Wow."

"Don't think we can drop in unannounced anyway." Vista said with a shrug.

"There's the autobot moonbase just over there too. Pyro's probably on monitoring duty." Arcee said, gesturing to a holographic representation of the cloaked autobot base, a sprawling city like complex with a large number of personnel milling about on the surface, working to expand it as reinforcements started to arrive while smaller ships not docked to the space elevator port connected to the base landed or took off all around it.. "It's one of our largest bases in the system, tons of Autobots and some Maximals there. Most of our Auxiliarymasters also live there too. It's probably why Olla isn't very impressed by the Moon. Gets mundane when you live there." She said, shrugging her wheel bearing shoulders as Olla nodded. One of many Autobot outposts.

"Honestly Sol's bodies are all kind of...not super interesting. Besides Earth you know. Earth has people. People are interesting. I can see a cryogeyser on a quintillion other planets." Olla said, a nod of sympathy coming from you. While you were fond of nature, lifeless worlds tended to bore you quickly. A volcano was a volcano was a volcano unless there was something going on, some culture's reactions to it, some fauna's adaptations to it, an ecosystem's life built around its cycles and ash clouds. When there was nothing but the Volcano well...it was just a volcano. And Luna, for its brief lived wonder in your eyes, didn't even have that.

"To be fair, we've got maybe...a fraction of one percent of the moon under Autobot outpost control? Probably other stuff on the rock we don't know about." Arcee said before Bumblebee beeped and whistled, throwing their hands in mock irritation.

"Yes Bee, I know you've explored around the Moon a bunch, but it's a decently big rock. Probably something you missed." Arcee said before Bumblebee sulked in offense and folded his arms and blurted out a complaint, laughter belting out of you and Arne followed by everyone else while Arcee touched her chestplate and gasped. "Bee I'm not trying to insult your skills, it's just a statement of fact. Come on, don't be such a protoform." She said with an exasperated sigh.

"We could do a quick sweep of the Moon, while we're here. Just make sure there's nothing dangerous. Or at least, nothing we missed. Or...nothing worth noting. Just...have a look around. Quick scan, in and out." Alice offered while the Demon in her tiara murmured his agreement.

"If there is anything worth taking note of on the Moon, a quick probe for anything that might be a threat to this Earth at least would hardly be a waste of time." Winterpyre crackled, the gem he inhabited glowing brightly as he spoke, twisting embers dancing inside of the Emerald.

You gave it a thought and focused. There was some manner of psychic signal on the moon, faint, perhaps Autobot, perhaps some other manner of friendly. But perhaps not. You were supposed to be off duty for a while and taking some time to relax after the hectic mission in Munich. But duty was duty. If there was something that needed doing, was it really right to just take time off? Especially when you were gifted with a body that did not need rest or succour. Most of your friends were fresh too, save for perhaps Alice, but...she had only been involved in part of that one mission.

"Samus, we were told to have some time to unwind. Please don't tell me we're going to look for the first sign of trouble." Arne said, frowning as he sensed your thoughts and flicking his red eyes towards you. So very Orthodox, at least compared to you. Flexible sure, but not quite the outright maverick you were. Still, it was often he who had to remind you to cool your thrusters once in a while, just as you often had to tell him it was okay to not be constantly worried about optimisation.

"We're not in peak form for a meeting engagement. Especially on an environment like the moon." Arne said, looking back towards Chris and Missy and then at you.

"Besides, it's an evasive signal. Better handled by more experienced psychics." He said, looking back down at Earth.

"But we're here now, aren't we Arne?" You said. "We can respond more quickly if there's anything to it. Get help later if there is something worth investigati-" You started before Arcee cut in.

"Samus, this is not a recon op. We're not looking for a fight." She said sternly but patiently.

"Bu-" You started before she shook her head.

"You're on R&R and you asked me to come along as your chaperone. You need to slow down." You let out a long sigh and put a hand on your cheek.

"Hey...it's the moon. We could just play around in low gravity for a bit. I've got some ball games we could try out." Tyrius said, conjuring up a sphere and spinning it on a finger and smirking. "It might not be a super efficient use of time but hey, what's the point of life without a little dicking around am I right?" Tyrius made an easy smile that contrasted to Raelamiel's devious smirk felt all the more radiant. Gods and Spirits...you diverted your eyes from the two of them. They were a whole year your senior. Was it really appropriate?

"Besides, from what I've seen of you all. Some time off to get to know each other would do just fine." He said, placing his plated hands on equally plated hips, butterfly wings lazily fluttering behind him with radiant sparkles like starlight under the night sky. It was...hard to disagree with either of them. They weren't working their supernatural charm, it's just that their smiles just made you feel like everything would be alright and this would be a good decision. Hnngh. You looked to Arne and saw him similarly nervous, squeezing a bit at his hand as he gulped.

"Well...that sounds fine...how much time would it really uh, pass? Besides, we're kind of mismatched in sports." Arne said, scratching at the back of his head.

"Hey, the top tiers can hold back a bit. It'll be good." Raelamiel said while Vista gave it some thought and muttered something about why she had to be surrounded by hot people.

"Well, I think we're stumbling onto the issue that the moon's not exactly, fun. It's just a low gravity ball of dust and rock. I was up for checking the planet out but well. I guess if you guys want to wrestle around in low Gs, be my guess." Olla said with a voice of resignation, folding her arms and looking at the surface of the moon and shaking her head.

"Yeah...and we're kind of out of communication range of home. What if my parents or the PRT call me? And uh, well, the moon is super not...life friendly. I'm not big on radiation." Vista added.

"Oh, don't worry, your armour can handle the communications with Earth easily! And your armour should screen out the cosmic radiation without any trouble. It'd be perfectly safe." You said, patting her on the shoulder to reassure her that this was all perfectly safe, getting a nod out of her.

"Well...sure...I'm just. Not sure on this whole armour or gene-mod thing." She said with a sigh.

"If it's all the same, I'm fine with just a short moonwalk and going back home. Maybe take a picture so I can say I was there." She said, looking down at the surface of the world below.

A lot of choices lay on your head, and when you looked to Bumblebee for his opinion he just gave an exaggerated shrug.

"Really?" You asked as he buzzed a bit.

"We're not arguing...just going through options." Arne said before Bee's radio crackled in with "Sounds like arguing", getting a harder look out of Arne and then a look to you. "Does it sound like we're arguing?" He asked, doubt starting to creep on his face while you rapped your fingers on your armrest.

"It's just...spirited debate. That's all." You said.

"Arguing." Bee clipped while you rolled your eyes as fast as possible.

"Well...there is another choice...I am picking up some Progenitor relics here. We'll probably need to pass a test to claim their prize though, just judging by the type of signature I'm getting." Arne said, clearing his throat and taking a look at the data schematics and narrowing his distant sight a bit onto the signal, your attention flicking over in a hurry yourself.

"Uh...well...I'm also looking at some weird technosignals on the Moon too...pretty deep...never seen anything quite like it." Chris said, looking at a few brief energy spikes.

"No prolonged combat ops. Anything more than a quick guardian test, and I am pulling us back." Arcee said, folding her arms. You sighed a bit...you kind of. Okay no, you really liked fighting. It felt so unfair to be restricted and to have to just...sit around. Fighting was fun for your friends right?


Choices

[]: Visit the Human Moonbase (Just a quick socialisation experience, most of the Astronauts and Cosmonauts are scientists and will mostly talk about research stuff with you. They're also quite busy and live a pretty regimented schedule so you won't get to speak with them for long.)
[]: Visit the Autobot Moonbase (Get introduced to more Autobots in person, get a chance to use some of the crafting system and claim some free salvage and free upgrades early.)
[]: Visit the Technological Signal (Potential plot thread, possible combat encounter, possible automatic mission start, Arcee will strongly disapprove, Bumblebee will disapprove, Arne will disapprove; will cause stress gain.)
[]: Follow the psychic signal (Potential plot thread, high likelihood of combat encounter, potential automatic mission start. Arcee will strongly disapprove, Bumblebee will strongly disapprove, Arne will disapprove; likely reprimand from Autobot command; will cause significant stress gain.)
[]: Just play some games on the Moon (Moderate increase to destress, increased social bonds with current team.)
[]: Visit the Progenitor Signal (Guaranteed Relic guardian boss fight. Moderately adds to destress, will acquire Progenitor relics after defeating relic guardian.)
[]: Head Home (Return to Brockton Bay. Specify whether you want to do a patrol, just visit the town in your civvies, visit the PRT base, chat up the Phalanx etc)
[]: Do a recon sweep, then head home. (Update on possible threats and resources on the Moon. Then specify what you want to do when you return.)
[]: Write in
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 11

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[X]: Visit the Autobot Moonbase (Get introduced to more Autobots in person, get a chance to use some of the crafting system and claim some free salvage and free upgrades early.)

Arne

Your ships descended towards the Autobot Moonbase, the imaginatively named "Autoluna Base", which shimmered a bit as it loomed increasingly larger before your sight. "+This is Reception, registering you as Dawnchild and Duskguard. Welcome to base. Please follow landing procedures to hangar Iacon and confirm reception, over.+"

"+Dawnchild and Duskguard reading you. We're making final descent now, over.+" Samus said over the comms in response to the placid voice as the hangars transformed their doorways into being to let you into the facility where sparkles machines monitored the descent of the Dormach and the Sleipnir into a large, spacious expanse where you could see warm lighting in all directions. Some autobots were getting into transports; others were turning into aircraft and taking off shortly afterwards or were trickling in themselves; called in from one mission or the other.

A few autobots hailed your ship as you piled out the bottom; the Dormach extending landing struts to let you use the downwards elevator where bee and Arcee resumed their more "typical" sizes and the rest of you piled out one after the other, Olla taking a second to examine her arm cannon and her spare weapons before walking in; her helmet soon covering her head and a jaunty whistle being heard from her as she walked inside.

"Thunderclap, good to see you." Arcee said, offering a handshake to the ultrafast autobot; her Mig-41 form's wings on either of her sides and her smirk beneath her facemask apparent enough to be easily imagined despite the obstruction in the way, her wide fighter pilot like goggles covering her eyes while her red, white, and gold coloured hand shook with Arcee's.

"WellyouknowmeArceewhenthebossbotwantsitdonequickquickquickhecallsmeandvaboomitsdone." She said at an incredibly fast pace while Bumblebee raised a finger, let Arcee move back and started to speak to his fellow velocitronian, signing at her as she signed back with hands moving like a blur.

"[Should have seen those decepticons run. Took down a dozen of those wedge shaped capital ships too with the squad. Hah couldn't even land a hit on me with their missile-less H shaped fodder fighters. Dunno what the Decepticons were trying to do with them but whatever it was the plan's been stopped.]" She signed to Bumblebee.

"[Uh...you left the minicon team in to try and get more answers on them right? It's important we catalogue the movements of all extraversal factions. We could ask the transtechs but well, that doesn't come without favours. And the Transtechs are also aftexhausts to talk to anyway.]" Bumblebee signed back.

"[Relax, that wartorn shell of a universe is low on the threat priority scale anyway. Not the greatest tech, extragalactic expansion only recent via wormholes, broken into tons of factions, resource pool damaged by warfare. Even power armour's rare.]" She said.

You decided to sign yourself at her, your helm currently withdrawn as you stepped up to ask her about it. "[What are you talking about? Any of the antagonist forces we might have encountered already?]" You asked before Thunderclap looked down at you and positively squealed.

"Ahhh!!!NewhumankidohPrimustheyresosmallandwouldyoujustlookatthosecheeskimgonnapinchgonnapinch" She was relatively delicate with the cheek pinching that you submitted to while everyone else broke into giggling and laughing, even Bumblebee managing to play some canned laughter as she went around pinching all the cheeks in sight, though Missy quickly sidestepped out of the way to avoid getting her cheeks manhandled by a nearly twenty meter tall robot.

"...Uh...well, I'm Arne, or Duskguard, this is Samus or Dawnchild, that's Eudaimonica or Alice, this is Raelamiel or Rundrasta, that's Tyrius or Steel Paladin, this is Missy or Vista, and that's Chris or Kid WIn." You said, gesturing to each of them until Missy tilted her head at you.

"I never told you my name." She said, staring at you as you looked back at her and shrugged.

"Your encryption is garbage so I just looked through all the PRT files." Chris mouthed the words and then doubletook at you.

"All of the-" He said.

"All of them." You responded.

"How did you download all that, even if your had the download speed for it, the computers can't upload that fas-" Chris said as he stopped to have a think about it. Trying to ponder how you had managed it.

"Our computer systems are able to do superluminal readings and transmit the data in an acausal manner thus allowing the download to happen faster than the upload. It's fairly simple once you get into superluminal computing, tachyonic computers would be an easy enough introduction into the subject once you get past the Zhang-Isakril problem and can start working with Lengian transluminal physics." Samus said, getting a nod out of you. All basic stuff you learned as a toddler, easy math really.

Alice though was clutching at the sides of her head. "Big...fancy math words...brain hurt...no like physics." She groaned in mock anguish.

"...Can I just see the theorems for that? I might be able to grok it if I could just see it rather than well...try to figure out what the hell is the Zhang-Isakril problem." Chris said, confident in his ability to decipher what she had just said as you nodded and pinged a packet of the data to his suit, prompting him to nod for a moment and then pause.

"...What the fuck is that variable doing?" He muttered.

"Shit I thought this was supposed to be a fun night out, not the math league." Raelamiel said with a snort and a pat on your shoulder that made you feel...very aware that her face was in kissing distance of yours and why are you noting that detail? You tensed a bit as she lowered her shades and winked at you, trying to hide how your lips quivered slightly and the intensification of your heartbeat from her before she pulled back, the heavy bangs stopping just above her eyes swishing a bit as her wings beat to accelerate her steps.

"But hey, nerding out can be cool as long as you're keeping it fun for everyone. Now being a fucking gamer on the other hand..." She said.

"Hold on, I've seen you playing future smash brothers." Chris said, staring intently at Raelamiel and then blushing as soon as her eyes turned towards him and she lowered her sunglasses.

"Chris, bless your sweet twenty eleven heart, bet you don't even know how Homestuck ends." She said, patting him on the shoulder as she looked at him. "Want to know how it ends?" She asked as he gave it a thought, at first saying no, not wanting spoilers, but then quivering his lips and gulping before nodding; whispers going into his ears and some nods of understanding being made by him until she stopped. She backed away as he thought for a second and then looked back at her.

"...Bullshit...BULLSHIT! Jade would NEVER!" He said while the Angel finger pistol winked and cackled all the way back.

"Samus...these people are weird. An interesting sort of weird though. Can't quite take my eyes off them." You said to her as all she could give was a nod of affirmation.

"Well Arne, try to look at the bright side. They are very entertaining to watch aren't they? I'm learning so much about...things I never really considered about the early twenty first century." She said, forming a bit of a smile as the two of you locked eyes for a bit.

"Like what?" You said, your expression softening as you looked slightly downwards at her.

"Hrm, strange forms of humour, bizarre memes, a contrast between the energetic zaniness of the first part of the decade and the fatalistic dadaism of the start of its predecessor. Very...ground level stuff. It's beautiful to watch." She said as you made a gentle expression and played a little with her pony tail.

"Not the only beautiful thing to watch in the room." You said as the two of you shared another smooch and a little giggle and laugh. It was a sweet moment to share, and after mostly being limited to some meetups during your year away at your respective ultrasophontic cadet programs, having what would seem to be the rest of your teen years to spend together was...very enticing.

But Bumblebee let loose a whistling sound to get everyone's attention before Arcee gestured everyone to get going out of the hangar, walking through a number of large automatic doors and primarily sticking to the minicon passageways designed for both the Autobots' smaller partners and for their Masterforce allies, some smaller organics of various species, though humans made up a surprisingly large chunk of them. Your species was quite adept at spreading itself around.

"Hey, Buzzstrike, what's good?" Olla said, offering a hand to the Minicon who quickly returned the offered high five rather than leave her hanging, as was only fitting for one of the most venerable of traditions that had been preserved by many sages in your culture. Deep was your shame when you had given Solveig the dreaded fate of being left hanging when you failed to understand the sacred high five.

"Ah...newcomers...allow me to offer to you the universal greeting!" Buzzstrike said, the red plated autobot's axe alternate mode showing some kibble on his side as bumblebee's frequent partner approached only to be interrupted by Samus.

"Bah-weep Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong." She said, making the requisite gesture as the minicon seemed delighted at her understanding and offered her a nod and bow before returning the saying to her.

"It is humbling to be in the presence of extraversals who understand the universal greeting. Please, accept my offer of a tour for you, new recruits and friends to the revolution." He said, a nod coming from you before you looked back at everyone else.

"Do you...want to come along?" You asked, Chris giving a thumbs up, Vista nodding, and the Starsetters all giving an unhesitant yes.

"I'll try to...not sound like a dumbass as best as I can." Missy said as she stared at the hulking form of an autobot being formed out of several others combining while one stood by and shouted their drill instructions to get them to coordinate properly as they formed into a single huge body.

"Huh, guess we really are power rangers now. Even got the megazord." She said, thinking to herself about a reference that flew straight over your head.

"Black ranger here's a lot cuter though." She said, looking towards you as you paused and tilted your head, noting she was smiling in an odd way when she met gazes with you. Your brain made the connection...your armour was black and...

...Oh the Black Ranger was you.

You weren't really sure about Missy's infatuation. She was some months younger than you were and she was rather...small to be sure. It made her feel a bit younger than she actually was to you. And you had known each other for all of...what...a few hours? On the other hand, it took less time for you and Samus to act on your mutual crushes.

"If you've got time, we could try a joint-patrol, get a team-building exercise under our belt." She said. Hrm, maybe something to think about later. You weren't really sure of what your new schedule was anyway.

"Well, sure. After I've had some time to settle in." You responded, rolling your shoulders and relaxing slightly.

The base had about all you'd expect, not a whole lot of major personnel as the demands of the evolving conflict asked the Autobots' heaviest hitters to keep on going from place to place without having too much time to stick around. Pyro could be seen however briefly, but gave your group only the a brief acknowledgement and salute.

"Sorry that I won't be able to hold this conversation for very long but welcome to the revolution my friends. Hopefully there aren't going to be too many situations where you're going to need to call upon me or where I have to call on you, but I'm here to make sure that every Autobot base we operate with is going to be kept safe." He said, his voice noble in its own way if lacking in the same degree of baritone that Optimus' had.

"What should I address you as?" Samus asked.

"Pyro Magnus would be fine. Third in command here, head of security and voting member on most other decisions in the local command council. You don't need to call me sir though." He said, doing his best to maintain a friendly demeanour. You had to admit, Pyro Magnus was an amazing name. Enough to make you nod your head, thoroughly impressed.

He took a look at a holographic representation of at least eight incarnations of Earth. Some with recognisable continents, one that looked like a foreboding, intimidatingly barren wasteland smothered in poison clouds that were pockmarked with powerful lightning currents and the occasional flash and energy spike indicating the usage of a WMD.

"Whoa, what happened there? Why even track a place like that?" Tyrius said, staring at the holographic representation of the eighth Earth.

"Because while the planet died a long time ago, people still fight over it with armies that don't seem to care for losses. And it has some dangerous contaminating resources we're trying to minimise the spread of. Right now I'd prefer you kids not get involved there. Save it for the hazard teams, at least long enough for us to figure out who's who and what's what there." He said, tapping something into the terminal below the projector.

"This is a lot of work, I won't lie, but it's work that needs doing. I'm not Ultra Magnus any more than Rodimus Prime is Optimus, but I'm trying to do what I can. Sometimes though, I wonder if it's enough." He said as he took a look at a complex series of statistics and detailed threat analysis.

"Hey, is that an A.I?" Kid Win asked, approaching the Autobot Magnus who turned his optics towards him, giving him a small nod.

"Teletran XII is our supreme synthetic consciousness. She's sparkless but she's a member of the team as surely as you or I. Manages all the other S.Cs we have on hand." He said as Teletran XII quickly sorted through a maze of data to provide a threat report on the storm that Samus' ship had detected earlier as it disappeared back into a rift.

"Going to have to tell Proxima that the hydrastorm returned to the Titanhaven metaverse." He said, tapping on the side of his head while Arcee took a look at the data herself.

"How long have you been at this Pyro?" She asked gently.

"Eh, just a cycle or two. Got restless at the firing range. Needed to keep busy." He said as he flicked a screen.

"Buzzstrike, show the kids to Sari and Wheeljack. Duty calls I'm afraid." He said, giving an avuncular nod to you as Samus gave a nod and gestured to everyone to follow behind her.

"Come on, miss Sumdac and Wheeljack are really quite incredible people to get to know." Buzzstrike offered.

"Sumdac...she Indian?" Chris asked.

"Indian-American. Kind of." Olla said, shrugging.

"What do you mean kind of?" Chris asked. Hrm, you recalled her features seemed somewhat robotic.

"She's actually a human mimic cybertronian, isn't she?" Samus asked, ah, there she goes again, figuring things out before everyone else does. Her brain really was a remarkable thing. Which reminded you that you had that one game of Civmasters to finish...two years in the running and you were still not close to conceding the game.

"Huh, correct guess. How'd you figure that out?" Buzzstrike asked while Bumblebee chirped.

"Like he said, your records show her as having lived for over twenty thousand years while still looking like a young adult, she's got clearly mechanical body features, and you even have her spark colour listed long before any spark bearing humans appeared." She said, shrugging her shoulders as if it were the most obvious explanation in the universe.

"...Good deduction. But yes, she used to be a cyberseed until she was discovered by Isaac Sumdac and ended up imprinting on him; basing her alternate mode on well...a human. Techno-organic, really remarkable. It took her about fifteen Terran Stellar Cycles for her to find out what she actually was, but she still thinks of herself as at least partly human." He said with a rapt awe.

"Just wait until Buzzstrike tells you that her being a major cybertronian autobot at only twenty thousand years old makes her really young. Just watch. Like clockwork." Olla said with a smirk as Buzzstrike proved her predictions to be exactly correct.

"At only twenty thousand years of age, she's one of the youngest cybertronians to achieve the rank of Autobot Commander-Major. But she spent her whole life ensuring the strength of the human-autobot alliance. I really, really must show you her photos from her younger years with the G.I Joes and the Winter Guard or her adventures on Etheria. Just absolutely ador-" He said before the door in front of him swung open to show a rather tall looking red haired Indian looking girl with mechanical looking lines segmenting her cheeks and lower jaw, brilliant cyan eyes, an orange and faint yellow outfit with that faint yellow strip going around her neck and then straight down her back and front, tall but flat heeled boots, and both hands on her hips staring unimpressed.

"Buzzstrike are you boring the newbies?" She said, folding her arms as the minicon looked back at her and looked sheepishly away.

"My apologies Sumdac. I just get very enthusiastic." He said, touching the ends of his fingers together while she flicked her eyes...optics...towards you and tilted her head.

"Welcome to the Masterforce Arne and Samus. Come on in, Wheeljack's waiting for you." She said, gesturing to the room behind her. Demonstrating to you the wonders inside that sparked your scientific curiosity. All sorts of manufacturing and engineering facilities as a large number of Autobot minders milled around having a look at what was going on around them.

Wheeljack was about what you'd expect, having just finished one of his myriad projects. "Ahah, there you are!" he said, stepping over to you, taking a second to examine your armour and then switching focus to the others. He stopped briefly when he looked at Alice and muttered something about Magic before looking back at Samus and pointing to some empty masterforce hardshells.

"So I wasn't sure on what sort of alt-mode you guys would prefer so I went and got you unscanned shells. Just gotta specify what sort of alt-mode you're into and it'll configure the armour to your preferences. Course as far as I know you two have those absorbing suits that'll just gobble it up. Fine with me, ought to be real fun to watch." He said, breathless, almost overeager to get a chance to nerd out to you.

"Dunno what you'll look like when the merger is done since well, I haven't gotten a chance to see how it works. But I got you a catalogue of viable alt-modes. Just about anything you might want. Also got you some Cybertronian weapons I figure you might be interested in. Utility gear too. You an Axe person? I dunno you look like an axe person. I've got some amazing stuff for axe people." Wheeljack said, continuing to ramble on at a million light years a minute before Bumblebee babbled something in his chiptune speech.

"Well...why don't you let us have a bit to examine the armour first?" You said, taking a look at the armour system and then going through the catalogue of possible alt-modes. Hrm. Quite a few good choices.

"We've also got some manufacturing facilities here if you're interested, and well; our research station is your research station. Just tell me whenever you'd like to work with me and by Primus I'll be hopping on that faster than Bumblebee stirs up an insecticon nest." He said, bumblebee letting out a plaintive beep.

"...Oh it was not just one time and you know it Bee. Besides, just joking around." He said as the lot of you had a laugh...well..save for Kid Win who looked like he was about to have a heart attack from sheer joy.

"This is...the coolest place I've ever seen." He said with wide, eager eyes, already trying to touch anything that didn't outright tell him he wasn't supposed to poke at it, his scan visor going through as many objects as he could manage.

"God it's like Christmas two." He said as you looked down at Vista with a bit of concern.

"...He does that." Vista said with a reassuring smile.

Alt Mode Choices
Specify For Arne or Samus, though as they can easily share tech; this is more of a pick two sort of situation.

[]: Fighter Jet: Comes with an emphasis on speed, flying capabilities (allowing for greater flight capabilities in all modes), and agility adding back-mounted multi-missile launchers that fire half strength missiles that don't consume ammo but have a cool down between usages and comes with the Null-Ray subweapon that is extremely effective against mechanical targets, dealing greater damage to shields, shutting down or at least interfering with mechanical enemy or power armour clad enemy functions and disrupting energy beings while its charged shot can chain between targets and also overload organic neurosystems. Adds less extra damage resilience and strength. Adds wingblade weapon melee weapon when you want to go for a proper dual wielding stance if you retract the arm cannon or turn your arm blade into a greatsword or double-sword..
[]: Tank: Comes with an emphasis on armour, strength, and firepower, resilience, adding an extra set of shoulder mounted rapid-fire guns that can help suppress enemies without using any ammo, dealing extra damage to soft targets and adds the riot cannon subweapon, which fires a big A.O.E blast that will deal heavy damage to the targets it hits and everything even vaguely near that target that isn't friendly; slow to fire and ammo intensive but its charge shot will fire a cluster blast that will absolutely clean house. Adds little speed. Adds grinder-hammer melee weapon that can be swept around with reach to sweep or bash aside large numbers of enemies or deal crushing damage to heavy foes or stationary targets or simply scatter chaff.
[]: Submarine: Emphasis on stealth, firepower, and agility and underwater manoeuvre (counts as a gravity booster). Adds an extra back-mounted deck cannon that essentially offers another bit of artillery support and can deploy to a shoulder mount for long range sniping, especially against resilient or armoured targets. Adds the cavitator torpedo subweapon which homes in on targets silently and stealthily before reaching close enough to get a straight line towards the target where they rocket towards them at extreme speed and impact for significantly greater damage, with the charge shot firing a spread of these weapons; decently quick to fire but requires some set-up. Adds the prow axe melee weapon which can be extended into a halberd for greater reach, especially effective against larger enemies and can spin its head around like a propellor to saw through most foes.
[]: Helicopter: All-rounder alt mode, augmenting nearly all things save for subterranean or liquid manoeuvrability. Adds the rocket pod secondary weapon which will release a spray of terminally guided rocket munitions that are most effective against a large number of foes but are slow to reload between bursts in recompense for not consuming ammunition; also adds the cacophony blast subweapon which detonates in a wide burst that will scatter all enemies affected by the blast while causing moderate damage and significant disorientation, making it an ideal tool for crowd control; with the charge shot forming a continuous bubble of the effect. Also adds the helicopter saw melee weapon which can blend through softer targets or defend against additional incoming attacks.
[]: Motorcycle: Maximum land speed alt-mode, less emphasis on resilience or strength or firepower. Adds flamer exhaust secondary weapon that vents burning energon onto an enemy to ignite them into a crisp, clearing out large numbers of foes or devastating foes in cover or cramped environments; though it uses subweapon ammunition. Adds the kinetic driver subweapon which will, after impacting a foe, drive them back tremendously far with likely additional damage upon impacting other targets, with the charge shot creating a penetrating wave that will impact multiple targets at a time. Adds the Wheel-flail which can be used to grab at, disarm foes, slice through enemies with the spinning spoke-blades of the wheel, and all other uses you might be able to imagine for a saw-flail.
[]: Tunnel Boring Machine: Underground utility alt-mode, most resilient alt-mode but also does not add to your speed in any environment except underground (though it doesn't hinder it either). Gives your hands and boots power fist capabilities to give some additional punch to your opponents in a very literal and painful manner. Adds the rumbler subweapon which will act as a conical wave form of the resonance beam, adding more and more resonance stacks that do increasingly more damage to afflicted enemies until they explode into resonance blasts that will obliterate surrounding foes. Adds the bore-drill melee weapon which while short ranged, deals obscene damage and will tear its way through most forms of defences and can carve straight through most forms of obstacles; extending from your fist.

ON THE CRAFTING SYSTEM​

Right here's where I suspect the number crunching nerds will have their moment to shine. Here's my simple but expansive crafting system and the budget you'll have to spend on various projects. And of course, there's also the matter of time. You're young, a few months is still a huge gulf of time to you, and a lot depends on you, but some things can't be rushed either. Nevertheless, there's some shortcuts you can take, and as your movement gets bigger you can have more going on at once.

You have: 30,000 Salvage, 30,000 Resources, 300,000,000 Influence. Half is for Arne, half is for Samus. You may not spend more on one than the other. Tech will be shared between the two. Abilities will require more time to do so and some abilities (such as incarnate powers) may not be.

Due to having Arne, Samus, Kid Win, and Wheeljack; you can take up to eight projects that would require downtime without extending downtime. Until you have the "Allied understanding" Project finished, projects that require downtime still require the direct supervision of named characters and yourselves in particular. Wheeljack is busy and neither of you nor Kid Win can fully devote their time to this so you can't work at 100% efficiency. Alice can spec into crafting and magic research and open the resources of the Frostflame hell to you once you solidify your friendship with her some more.

During downtime you may still partake in light missions and social intermissions, but long deployment or heavy-duty missions will be impossible for the character committed to downtime to participate in.

There's not really any complex resource gathering, scavenger hunts or the like. The complexity is instead all in deciding what you want to spend your budget on. That's why there's a lot of options that all look good.

Crafting


[ACCORDION]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Suit Options[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Gravity Booster (Allows you to traverse fluidic or anomalous Gravitational Environments without issue: Massively more resistant to gravity-based weapons. Added mobility) 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Shockwave Generator: Create shockwaves to clear out landing areas, blast away enemies in morph ball mode, force enemies to abandon positions by jumping over them, and damage all surrounding enemies. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Temporal Distorter: Allows user to slow or even stop time for a certain amount of time relative to user perception while preventing them from being affected at all by similar abilities, replacing your earlier extreme resistance to them. 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed immediately.

Cloak Field: Allows user to cloak for a certain amount of time. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Elemental Warhead Suite: Allows your warhead weapons (missiles, super missiles, power bombs, grenades, mortar rounds) to be able to use the same properties as your compatible elemental and augment beams; whatever they might be, thus enhancing their versatility and damage. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Wrist Gun: Adds a half-strength arm cannon to your free hand that still leaves that hand free for usage, augmenting your firepower by 50%. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Thunder-Disruptor: Allows Melee weapons to build up a charge that is then released all at once upon impact to cause greatly enhanced damage, concussing enemies, throwing them down and dealing greater and more vicious wounds. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Vibro-Disruptor: Allows Melee weapons to cut far deeper than their impacts would suggest, turning even glancing hits into bisecting injuries; though you are as always, immune to your own weapon. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Ice Beam (FIres blast of Anti-Energy, freezing targets and arresting all their momentum and even ability to fall while also making them more vulnerable to damage. Charge shot fires an Ice Sphere anti-energy glob that encases the targets in a large spread of created ice from both the anti-energy and the freezing of the air itself. Elemental type beam) 1,000 Salvage, 1,000 Resources, 7.5 million influence. Completed immediately.

Gamma Beam: Elemental (radioactive) beam, fires a deadly sine wave of radiation that is murderously effective against organic targets and fries many forms of machines that cannot withstand the radiation in their circuits, also allows the beam to pierce through many forms of armour and multiple foes. Charge shot fires an irradiator that leaves the target area so radioactive flesh melts near it for a brief time. 1,000 Salvage, 1,000 Resources, 7.5 million influence. Completed immediately.

Radiance Beam: Ylla elemental (light) beam, fires a luminescent and sanctic burst of light energy especially effective against evil or dark entities; such as the undead, shadow creatures, demons, daemons, and many other foes; also blinding these opponents and even stunning and dealing continuous burn damage while also piercing through them. 1,000 Salvage, 1,000 Resources, 7.5 million influence. Completed immediately.

Positron Beam (Fires blast of Anti-matter, electrocuting targets and tearing them apart, sending bolts of electricity cascading out to other targets and eating away at protection. Charge shot fires an anti-matter storm that fires out bolts of anti-protons and positrons and thus allows for the cascade effect to bounce to even more targets. Elemental type beam) 1,000 Salvage, 1,000 Resources, 7.5 million influence. Completed immediately.

X-Ray Visor (Allows user to see in the X-ray spectrum, able to track spectral entities phasing into other dimensions and other targets only visible to the X-ray spectrum) 500 Salvage, 500 Resources, 3.75 million influence. Completed immediately.

Desolation Suit (Renders user immune to most corrosive agents, increases defence and enhances user strength, durability, speed and so on; corrosive agents can be absorbed to recharge suit shielding and regenerate plating or even secreted to burn through targets) 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed immediately.

Frequency Suit (Renders user immune to high frequency vibrations and environmental resonance as well as making them far less vulnerable to such weapons or attacks in addition to a major physical boost and damage resistance gain. Allows user to store vibrations for release into blast waves, vibrating parts of the suit for extra penetration, or even vibrating through some objects.) 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed immediately.

Phantom Suit (Like the Ghost Suit but also provides immunity to dimensional instability events and a heightened resistance to such attacks. Also silences the user's footsteps and movements unless they want to be heard, allowing for greater stealth along with physical augmentations. Also has a snazzy hood and lets the user selectively phase parts of their suit through a target, such as the blade through an enemy's armour before solidifying the blade inside to cut them open.) 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed immediately.

Phasewave Beam (Augment beam, allows beam to pass through inanimate objects, neutralising cover and also enhancing the damage the beam does.) 1,000 Salvage, 1,000 Resources, 7.5 million influence. Completed immediately.

Diffusion Beam: Augment Beam, makes the beam have an area of effect while enhancing damage, especially when charged where the beam will release a cascade detonation to afflict multiple targets. 1,000 Salvage, 1,000 Resources, 7.5 million influence. Completed immediately.

Grenade Launcher: Adds grenade launching ability to the munitions launcher, firing a weapon more powerful than your missiles but with more restricted range and more limited seeking capabilities, drawing from a separate grenade ammo pool; starting with 100 grenades. Also has access to the mega-grenade, of which you start with 20. Can also be charged and used with elemental warheads. 1,000 Salvage, 1,000 Resources, 7.5 million influence. Completed immediately.

Sub-Weapon Beam Compatability: (Allows for subweapons to use augment beams to enhance themselves and their damage output.) 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Shredder Gun: Sub-weapon. Taking inspiration from rotary guns, the shredder gun rips through foes with a massive outpouring of extremely high speed mass driver rounds that will devastate large numbers of foes, enemies whose defences are geared towards taking a few large hits, or whose defenses are susceptible to abrasion. Can be charged to fire a hellfire burst where every round is explosive. Intensive on sub-weapon ammo though. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Shotburst: Sub-Weapon. Taking inspiration from Shotguns, Shotburst guns fire a penetrating volley of spreadshot munitions that damage all enemies caught in their path while igniting within them to cause extra incendiary damage in the process. Devastating to swarms, large targets, with extreme stopping power to stagger heavier enemies and good armour penetration. Can be charged to fire the "dragon breath" where the ignition of the rounds creates a plasma inferno in front. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Power Bomb: Drops a massively powerful area of effect warhead that can be charged or combined with elemental warheads to deal enormous damage to everything in an area. Ammo limited, initially with only ten warheads before resupply required. 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed immediately.

Power Missile: Adds your first charge combo where a charged power beam shot and upwards of 15 missiles (plus five for each added accel charge) are combined into an extremely powerful missile that can floor large numbers of enemies. Can be used in tandem with super and seeker missiles for major overkill. 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed immediately.

Electrowave Buster: Charge combo weapon where an electrowave beam charge is fed into a flow of up to three missiles per second (plus one for added accel charge if desired) that will home in on any nearby targets and fill them with a massive stream of electricity. Usually stunning them in the process. Can be used in tandem with super and seeker missiles for major overkill. 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed immediately.

Starnova: Charge combo weapon where a star beam charge is fed into up to fifteen missiles (plus five for each added accel charge) into a miniature supernova that will devastate targets in front of the poles with a gamma ray burst while the targets to the side are caught in the explosion; harmless to allies and environmental effects you don't want to damage, but utterly devastating to anything even slightly vulnerable to heat. Can be used in tandem with super and seeker missiles for major overkill. 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed immediately.

Containment Foam Missile: Fires a missile that explodes into containment foam enhanced by your designs; also comes with containment foam dissolving missiles. Compatible with super missiles. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Space Jump: Allows indefinite mid-air jumps, useful for quickly reorientating self even with flight pack modules. 1,000 Salvage, 1,000 Resources, 5 million influence. Completed immediately.

Screw Attack: Surrounds user in a devastating whirlwind buzzsaw of energy that will shred apart nearly anything it comes into contact with or deal massive damage to whatever can survive it. Makes you death in motion in the air. 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed immediately.

Energy Tank: Adds 100 extra shield health. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Armor Reinforcement: Enhances Armour durability. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Physicality Booster: Augments Armour physical enhancements. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Resilience Booster: Increases resistance to Damage. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Missile Expansion: Adds 15 additional missiles. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Subweapon Expansion: Adds 40 Subweapon ammo shots. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Super Missile Expansion: Adds 6 Additional Super Missiles. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Power Bomb Expansion: Adds 3 additional powerbombs. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Grenade Expansion: Adds 10 additional grenades. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Mega Grenade Expansion: Adds 5 additional mega grenades. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Accel Charge: Allows charge weapons to charge faster and hold a larger and more powerful charge. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Seeker Missile Augment: Allows Seeker Missiles to fire five more missiles at a time. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Auxiliary Gear[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]

Zero Suit Cloak: Allows user to engage cloak for a certain amount of time between uses. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Zero Suit Thrusters: Allows user to fly while using Zero suit. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Paralyzer Magazine: Lets pistol hold multiple charges of paralyzer blasts, allowing for every paralysed blast to be fired at full charge due to cycling systems. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Lethal Plasma: Lets the pistol fire deadly shots when needed, hitting as hard as the basic power beam with an added paralytic effect and causing some burn and electrocution damage afterwards. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Zero Phase: Allows Zero suit to phase through objects and go intangible as needed like the Ghost or Phantom Suits. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Vehicular Gear[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]

Start Building Progenitor Technology Mech: Build a mech based on your technology. Will require you to take an additional intermission plus a short time skip of off-duty time to oversee construction but once complete will allow you to start customising a mecha. 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence.

Start Building Progenitor Tech Tank: Build a Tank instead. Same restrictions and benefits. 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence.

Start Building Second Ship: Build a new ship instead. Same time needs and benefits. 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence.

Start Building Progenitor Tech Motorcycle: You don't have to take a time skip but you still need the second intermission. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence.

Start Building Progenitor Tech Car: As Motorcycle. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence.

Ship Power Bombs: Power bombs but scaled up to your ship in case you aren't particularly fond of this entire capital ship existing. 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed immediately. Start with 50.

Ship Missiles: Adds 75 missiles to your ship Missile count. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Ship Super Missiles: Adds 30 Super Missiles to your ship super missile count. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Ship Seeker Missile Augmentation: Allows ship to fire five additional missiles per seeker missile burst. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Ship Accel Charge: Like the Accel Charge but for your ship. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Ship Reinforcement: Like Armor Reinforcement but fo your ship. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Ship Thrusters: Makes your ship go faster. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.

Ship Shielding: Adds another Energy tank to ship shielding: 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Can be completed multiple times.
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Allied Upgrades[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Requires Research
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Genetic Augmentations[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Requires Research

[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Incarnate Abilities[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]

Alpha Slot
Your Alpha Slot is a passive bonus and is the first step on the path of the Incarnate, the process of godhood. Your initial Alpha Slot will be a tier 1. Relatively weak as far as incarnate powers go, but it'll eventually become quite powerful. All of these tier 1s cost the same. 1,000 Salvage, 1,000 Resources, 5 million Influence. Pick one wisely; as it will be a bit of time until you can unlock another Alpha Slot.

Tier 1 Musculature: Significantly increases damage dealt as well as raw physical strength and power, some durability and speed enhancements and all weapons are bolstered. Also gives a chance of critical hits where you do extra damage without warning

Tier 1 Cardiac: Enhances the amount of time Samus and Arne can keep going before they start to build up stress, Allowing them to keep going and also enhancing their speed, recovery, and some durability as well as your ability to keep tapping into esoterical resevoirs.

Tier 1 Resilience: Primarily durability focused. Enhancing resistance to damage, the amount of damage one can take, how quickly one recovers from damage, and also augments your strength and damage output a bit.

Tier 1 Nerve: Augments your perceptiveness, allowing your distant sight to see better, be more likely to warn you of attacks, enhance your ability to see the likely futures in store, augments your intellect, and augments your more esoteric abilities like magic, psionics and the like.

Tier 1 Agility: Primarily enhancing your sheer speed, dodging, manoeuvrability, reaction time, and all that good stuff. This lets you get around from place to place more quickly, dodge incoming attacks with greater ease, strike a bit harder, recover somewhat faster and all that goodness.

Tier 1 Vigor: Enhances your ability to heal, your speed of healing, the effectiveness of any support abilities you have, makes you more durable, and also offers some esoterical bonuses to boot.​

[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Meta Powers[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Requires Research
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Magic Learning[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Requires Research
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Psionic Education[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Requires Research
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Dimensional Connections[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Requires Research
[/SLIDE]
[/ACCORDION]

Research
[ACCORDION]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Suit Options[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Gravity Suit (As Gravity Boost, but greatly increases resistance to damage as well, Samus and Arne will also use rounded pauldrons as well as gain a major physical boost. Also allows the user to locally control gravity, sucking in hits from allies or meeting enemies sky-high or anything in between) 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed after taking at least one intermission of time off.

Piercer-Plasma Beam (Massively increases damage dealt, allows beam to pierce through animate targets, striking them all throughout penetration) 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed after taking at least one additional intermission of time off.
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Auxiliary Gear[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Rocket Launcher: Perhaps you might be able to create some sort of portable form of your missile launcher without the arm cannon? 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Requires at least one additional intermission of downtime.

Detonation Packs: Like C4 except much more oompf. More powerful version of your bombs and power bombs but requires set up. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Requires at least one additional intermission of downtime.

Shield Bubble Generator: Generates a shield that can protect allies or yourselves that you can throw out to assist them and keep them from harm's way while still letting them fire out without any trouble. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Requires at least one additional intermission of downtime.

Anti-Magic Bubble Generator: Generates a bubble that suppresses magic within it. While your own magitek equipment is immune, it'd cause merry havoc for spellcasters to be sure. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Requires at least one additional intermission of downtime.

Anti-Psionic Bubble Generator: The above but for Psionics. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Requires at least one additional intermission of downtime.
[/SLIDE]


[SLIDE_HEADER]Vehicular Gear[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Transforming Vehicles: Allows you to modify existing vehicles to transform or you to create transforming vehicles. 4,000 Salvage, 4,000 Resources, 30 million influence. Completed after taking at least one additional intermission of time off.

[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Allied Upgrades[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
How does it even work?: Begin showing your allies some rudiments of what you know. You can't hope to put them on your level, but starting this will allow you to begin projects that can help your faction and allied factions as a whole. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Requires at least one additional intermission of downtime.
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Genetic Augmentations[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]


Progenitor Physiology: To even begin to enhance your bodies, you must first understand how the work and the careful biomagic of your guardians as well as how it can be improved on. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Requires at least one intermission of downtime.

Below is Locked behind: Progenitor Physiology


Augmented Regeneration (Allows for your body to heal much more quickly if you are injured, regrowing limbs even) 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Organ Redundancy (Allows for destroyed organs to be substituted for until a replacement can be procured, especially useful in tandem with Augmented regeneration) 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.

Toughened Flesh (Dramatically increases the durability of your body to the point where even without your armour or zero suit you'd be able to be fine taking most non-boss grade impacts without a problem.) 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 15 million influence. Completed immediately.
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Incarnate Abilities[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Attunement with the Well: Start to learn more of what you can of the Well of Furies and its powerful energies and the nature of Sourcewells such as it, allowing you to take more divergent paths in the road to the incarnate. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Requires at least one additional intermission of downtime.
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Meta Powers[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Radioactive Spiders?: Meta abilities can come from a lot of places and you might be able to integrate those powers into yourself. But first you need a better understanding of them. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Requires at least one additional intermission of downtime.
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Magic Learning[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Beginning the path of the Sorcerer: Sorcery has many upsides, but you need to start somewhere to begin learning it. You will need to start your training if you want to get anywhere. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Requires at least one additional intermission of downtime.
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Psionic Education[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Mind Over Matter: To understand the power of the mind requires some additional education by those who have long walked it. 2,000 Salvage, 2,000 Resources, 10 million influence. Requires at least one additional intermission of downtime.
[/SLIDE]
[SLIDE_HEADER]Dimensional Connections[/SLIDE_HEADER]
[SLIDE]
Not available until you have at least one teacher well trained in Extradimensional powers such as the Warp.
[/SLIDE]
[/ACCORDION]
 
Of Ultramarines and Cockroaches (Takes place during Intermission 1 of Arc 1)

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
Suburn of Endenesia, Planet Astilmar, Uzantim System, Andromeda Galaxy, 45,539, Warphammer Metaverse

"Brother Aurelius. Are you going to stare out the window all day or are you going to actually contribute?" The Primaris Ultramarine's words were flat, rather harsh. Her form encased in the livery of the Host, Throng, Army, Cohort, Battalion, and Company she belonged to*. She looked to her brother Ultramarine whose boltrifle was silent, his auspexes glaring through the window of the building they were using as concealment.

"Apologies sister Severa, the view was just quite admirable." Her counterpart responded, voice turned bassy by his vocoders as he turned his attention back to her as tracer rounds slammed into the ground in front of him, his Boltrifle barking out a few soda can-sized rounds in the space of an eyeblink, all individually aimed at the handfuls of Frateris Templars clad in Ecclessiastic themed flak armour who popped themselves out of cover for the briefest moment; all of them falling headless to the ground.

"Civil war is hardly admirable." She said as she shot another Gaeanist as soon as he took a step out of cover to ready his plasma gun, the halves of his legs falling to the ground without the upper body holding them together. A bolt round was overkill against them to be sure, but closing to melee distance was hardly advisable.

"Would the Imperium have grown beyond such folly rather than split it asunder." He said with a sigh, casually tossing a grenade down into the midst of soldiers bearing Gaeanist patches on their flak armour as they tried to bring in a heavy flamer, counting briefly before the grenade went off and mulched flesh flew off; another crack band trying to infiltrate around only to be spotted by a standard Astartes who popped out of hiding to let his flamer speak for him, sizzling flesh charring off of bone in an eyeblink.

"One would think that the Primarchs giving them a shattered thirteenth black crusade and holding Archaon at bay after that three eyed monster destroyed Cadia would be enough to convince the High Lords of their legitimacy." She said as she raked across a line of carapace armoured zealots. Their carapace armour would have deflected conventional bolter fire, but her boltrifle made quick work of them, smashing through with each hit and leaving a steaming mess afterwards. A hellgun pulse-beam scored across her pauldron, not even getting her to flinch before the grenadier who had dared was reduced to gore.

"You underestimate the degree that those who have power will wish to cling to it Severa. They had kept watch over the Imperium for thousands of years in the absence of the Primarchs. Solidified its traditions, however they may be. When faced with such a weight of precedent, what would we appear to them if not the usurpers and false prophets?" He said before he let loose a krak grenade from the underslung launcher on his rifle, smashing into the rooftop of a lighter looking transport and bringing it to a smoking halt that allowed a lascannon to hum, stab forth, and leave only ruin when the devastator on the floor above zeroed in and found her target.

"I would hope that the direness of the situation would be proof enough of the need to at least consider a change in how things are done." She said, rapid-firing the underslung grenade launcher at heavy combat servitors she saw approaching, reloading so quickly as to give the illusion of having a belt-fed weapon

A hellblaster plasma gun rang out and reduced one of the servitors to char, the cyborg's evaporating husk spinning to a halt and falling over before a second and a third blast came out. The enemy did not falter, they were brave despite their misguidance, but both Severa and Aurelian longed to return to more important battles against the powers of Chaos, Nagash, the Necrons, the Ythalnzid, the Men of Iron, the Cruorans, the Tyranids, the Greenskins, the Skaven or a host of other dread foes of the Imperium. They had brought up the tanks, delayed out of fear of the devastator's fire and now committed out of seeing no other option.

Suppressive fire erupted from the foe's positions, a Vulture gunship descending from the heavens and letting loose with rocket pods, missiles, and the chatter of its nouse-mounted twin-linked autocannon to try and reduce the Astartes position; weaving to avoid flak missiles and minimise its exposure to return fire until Auerilian landed a pair of Krak greades on the cockpit to weaken its structure and then fired a penetrator round straight through the cockpit and into the pilot's chest; sending the craft into a spin before a pair of lascannon shots severed it in half.

It had however, bought the distraction needed as Valkyries loomed nearby, fin-guided rockets erupting from their pods and multimeltas screeching to life as a cavalcade of tanks and Anti-Cawl Skitarii lumbered forwards.

From the skies though, did the angels of death arrive; jump pack assault marines and jetpack fitted inceptors and suppressors descending from the heavens amidst the ranks of their foes, virtually imperceptible to the naked human eye. Limbs were hacked apart, vehicles struck by melta bombs or keenly placed krak grenades or well-aimed small arms fire, supporting fire from the Astartes position erupting in return as the marines advanced from cover under the benefit of distraction and fire.

Radblasters and Lasguns skipped harmlessly off of the Astartes armour, every movement timed as efficiently as possible to step into cover just as they were likely to take too much heat or were facing something even they would struggle against such as a plasma gun on overcharge.

Some serfs of their own fell, overwhelmed by the fire they received in the line of duty or unable to get out of the way of punishment their powered carapace armour could not withstand in time. A favoured battle servitor was reduced to a wreck, and sister Arcea crumpled to the ground after a Krak missile hit struck her dead on while she was trying to avoid meltagun fire; falling onto her back and needing the Apothecary to tend to her as Eradicator melta fire seared their way through the nearest of the enemy tanks.

What truly sealed this engagement though, was the drop pod arrival of a dreadnought talon; four in standard patterns, three in redemptors, two in contemptors. A throng of mechanised power that not even these vehicles could withstand as the ancient scions of the chapter stomped forwards; at least one tank going into the air when one of the Contemptors grabbed it by the back and flung it into its kin; atomatic shielding absorbing a melta strike that was responded to with a hot bath from a heavy flamer.

By the end of it, the division strength force that had sought to test its mettle against the two Astartes companies had been shattered, the rumble of distant fighting elsewhere still heavy as brother fought brother in the war of the Primarchs on the Phalanx following the Dragon's release from Mars and the fall of Sol and the High Lords in their exiled government on Gaea; man's first ever extrasolar colony in not so distant Andromeda. Just a wormhole skip away.

"Pointless." Aurelian said as he looked at a dying enemy cyborg grenadier, their cybernetics fighting a cruel battle to keep them alive and conscious even as they lost a quantity of blood that would have outright killed a normal man.

"Apothecary, can you stabilise this one? They may have information worth extracting." Aurelian asked, getting a nod from the medic as he approached, kneeling down and administering some fast-acting nanyte agents to mend wounded flesh and a spray of synth-replacement tissue.

"Their cybernetics have already numbed them to pain, so anaesthetic will be unnecessary. I have taken the liberty of disabling any suicide mechanisms or shut off mechanisms I could find as well. They will talk." He said, nodding at the two primaries marines before he moved to continue his other duties.

"You can hardly put a squeeze on 'em in that state though milords." One of the serfs said, resting their bolter against their pauldron and breathing in some air, dark skin revealed from having removed the face mask to their helmet.

"Hardly necessary." Aurelian had similar skin tones to the Serf as well, though he hardly paid it much mind. "Torture is an amateurish means of interrogation. The agonised will simply say what they think you wish to hear and the limits of the body reduce the time it can be administered. Thus we have less time for interrogation. You get far more answers with a can of carbomead and an unnervingly polite demeanour to let them lower their guard. Fine alcohol and patience are magnificent truth serums. And you would be surprised to find what people who think they are safe will let slip from their lips." He said, prodding the cyborg and gesturing to a scout marine.

"Initiate, you have the sweet drink from the hab-block yes?" He asked, being tossed one by the young woman who offered him a salute before he looked back and offered it to the cyborg Frateris. "Outstanding sister Minerva." He said, nodding at her gracious smile before she resumed her study of the distant horizon through her sniper scope.

"What is your name, soldier?" He said, offering them the flask as the Cyborg pushed themselves up, reaching for a gun that Severa kicked away.

"No need for that, you are a prisoner now. Please, share your name." He said.

"Ulram." They said with a quiver.

"I would bet you are thirsty after the battle, drink up. It's fizzy, sweet, and gaudily packaged for children." He said with wry humour.

After some minutes, Aurelian had received everything he needed to hear and reported to the Major with a nod. "The Gaeanists in this sector have redeployed much of their forces to deal with other fronts and an unknown enemy, thus their own positions are weakened relative to our own." He said after an exchange of greetings.

"I can see." Major Julia said with a cold tone while Aurelian looked forwards and saw an alien that resembled a cockroach that had gained the idea of standing in a mockery of humanity, clad in green, yellow, and black power armour with a brilliant red monocular visor in the middle, a beaked helm with two inward-facing shear-like mandibles to either side as its fellow shapeshifted from the form of a trooper playing dead.

"Xenos shapeshifters, here?" He said as he levelled his bolter; the sound of heavy footfalls in the distance as Primarchite reinforcements loomed behind him. But the enemy multiplied from two to a vastly larger number, the shapeshifters teleporting in or transforming out of their guises in shimmering warpings of flesh, carapace, and armour as a larger one among them who had scythe blades fitted atop their top two wrists pointed towards the Astartes.

"What sort of horror is this?" Severa asked.

"Unknown, but the Librarian says they do not belong here. And not in the sense that most hostile xenos do not belong." She said as she clenched her fingers around her storm shield handle and moved her relic sword into position.

"What do you mean?" Severa asked.

"Extraversal." Julia responded, artificer armour shifting around the primaris' body and Iron halo shimmering to life.

As reinforcements from behind stormed into view; under the aegis of powerful Titans whose footsteps made the earth quake behind the footfalls of machines that stood no less than thirty metres in height even for the warhounds; something far worse than the hover tanks, tripod terrors, or foul machinery and cyborg warbeasts of the new foe emerged; parting the clouds in its path and descending on sailback fins that seemed far too small to bear a beast of hundreds of meters of height into the air.

For a moment, Aurelian thought it looked vaguely like a chicken due to its somewhat avian head. Then the clearly artificial scythe hands and chainsaw belly and the scaled and segmented cyborg armour fitted into the horrid beast dispelled that, its single eye glowing red while a row of sharpened metallic blade spines ran down the length of its vertebrate.

Whatever remained of the original creature was buried under a mountain of cybernetics that Aurelian strongly doubted were fitted painlessly, but there was no mistaking the psychotic hunger for murder in the beast's singular eye



A throng of its kind followed, most lesser than their elder in stature but all loathsome and thoroughly hideous. There was a certain aesthetic appeal to them to be sure, a distinctive, unforgettable look that called nothing else to mind in existence, but it was buried under the immediate sensation of threat as the Titans bellowed their challenge to the cyborg monstrosities that the Primarchs would soon know were called the Gigan model of Cyborg Titan. Beasts bred, engineered, and then modified for the Nebulon Hierarchy's wars of conquest and hegemony, some of their greatest prides and joys.

"Hrm, I suppose that chasing down the last of the Gaeanists in this area will have to wait for later?" Aurelian said as he cocked his boltrifle.

"Quite. Strike at their commanders, neutralise their comm-nets and leave them in disarray. Second priority are their heavy assets, the infantry are a distraction. Leave the behemoths to the lords of war." Julia said as Nebulon war-mites raced overhead to meet with the Primarchites fighters; artillery already crashing around their positions as the first of the Gigans charged into a half kilometre tall Castigator Titan in an impact that resulted in a visible shockwave as chainfist met scythe claw and eye-laser crashed into shoulder plasma cannons.

Insectoid foes fell before the Imperials while they scrambled into position, yellow bolts of electrified plasma surging towards them and red cluster lasers exploding in their midst while armour-clad warriors withered beneath accurate suppression fire. Those who closed the distances tested four-armed insectoid fury against the Ultramarine's well-supported walls of ceramite and adamantine; chainswords roaring to life, power weapons crackling, and tactical knives plunging into foes while shimmering crackle-weapons tried to stab at them.

The Astartes, as opposed to the Peregrina**, moved with little flourish or wasted energy. No flips or spins unless necessary to distract their compound eyed foes, benedictions were only shouted when deemed needed, and every shot was fired with intent. More like the Scions than the Peregrina in fact, but the Scions could not hope to move with so much force. They were however, not as robotic as the Cawlite Mechanicus forces, nor as desperate as the Guardsmen. They moved as they needed, and as they were trained.

A stab here, a shot there, a sidestep somewhere, a powerfist later, a headbutt when needed, a knee to the midsection now. Fast, brutal, nothing wasted; lapsing into movements to support their fellows on automatic reflex and firing where they were needed or taking action just as fate would require for a better outcome. There were not enough Astartes to stop all the assault bugs from closing to more fragile soldiers; the Ogryns***, Squats****, Beastmen*****, and the nimble Felinids****** flinging into the fray where the Legio Cybernetica or the Servitors could not plug the gap; Scions close assault formations fitted with boarding shields and power weapons emerging from hiding to strike at those who tried to dive into the trenches.

Julia was surrounded by corpses, analysing how her foe fought with every movement, the Primaris quickly ceding command to Hostlord Cato Sicarius as soon as he made his presence known in his typical fashion via teleport, raised banner and a command to ram the fist of the primarchs straight down the throat of these carapaced menaces. But as she sliced a cockroach man half again her size in twain, she looked up to see the Castigator Titan lurching backwards; twice as large as an imperator and considerably rarer. Its armour smoked and the Gigan's fury was undiminished as it pulled the god machine closer with grapple hooks, sawing into its hull with its belly blade before biting down on its head.

A god machine exceeded in scale only by the likes of the Armageddon or Benediction type titans stumbled, its cannon firing a blast that the Gigan staggered from, but did not fall as cyborg metal-flesh healed with unnatural swiftness, anti-titan forces and titan killing knights and warhounds trying to bring the behemoth down until at last the Castigator fell with an earthshaking rumble that made even Julia briefly lose her footing. Grunting while her grenade harness let loose and sent the foe before her scurrying for cover.

Imperator Titans who had seen their kin fall let loose with lasers that reduced matter to states that had not been found in nature since the earliest days, plasma and missiles striking into the Gigan to ward it away from their fallen kin until its eye began to glow and crimson death emerged in a laser thin line that swept across the field, exploding everything it touched even while Astartes gunship squadrons raced in to hammer into the Gigan with their heavy-duty weapons.

But the elder Gigan seemed unstoppable, only being briefly repelled by the fire presented to it and laying waste to all it touched. Of course, it hadn't counted on Cato Sicarius being glory hungry enough to seek to scale the beast with a vortex bomb in hand, hacking away at the Nebulons who had climbed onto its scales and carapace for a ride or to stop would-be parasites; his honour guard moving swiftly and efficiently.

The Gigan roared just as Sicarius reached his target, and dumped the bomb down his throat before jumping off, hitting the ground with a roll and getting a fast running start before the vortex bomb exploded and sheared its neck and much of its brain into the warp; leaving the decapitated brute to slowly timber onto its side like a felled tree while the remainder of its head fell to the ground by the side.

The earth rumbled and shook, a deep thunder through the ground that demanded all attention be paid to it almost drowned out by Sicarius' roar of triumph. Cato ordered the attack to be pressed, not wanting to waste the opportunity while its kin seemed to lose heart, shrieking in a panic as they began to pull back and the Nebulons withdrew to reconsolidate.

"Another glory for my banner has been added today, a great xenos horror felled by the hand of my brave Astartes and our valiant fellow warriors of Primarchs and Emperor. Glory be!" Sicarius said with sublime confidence, looking on the fallen beast and pointing at the severed portion of its head.

"See to it that this abomination's head makes its way to Macragge. I want everyone to know of what we have accomplished today." He said.

Aurelian briefly wondered how many supplies the transport needed to move a head that big could be ferrying instead and whether using a Vortex bomb on that stunt might not cost them down the line.

* As mentioned before, there are 80 Primarchs in Galaxies of darkness (8 unaccounted for), half male, half female; derived from the Emperor and Empress. As such Astartes can be both male and female. Chapters also number about One billion strong split into 10 hosts which have ten throngs which have ten armies, which have ten consulates which are further divided into smaller groups of ten. Chapter fleets are larger in canon; including some larger classes of ship but generally not exceeding more than an order of magnitude of their canon size since 300 space marines on a fifteen-kilometre battle barge is kind of silly. Space Marines also tend to deploy with their serfs who help provide bulk to their formations as well as combat servitors and automated turrets. Since the introduction of the Primaris Marines, Chapters can have up to two billion half standard Astartes, half Primaris. Though chapters that decide to be pure Astartes or pure Primaris are fixed at 100 million unless they have some manner of exemption. These forces are then supplemented with Battle-Serfs (people who weren't killed by the geneseed but still serve with the chapter, usually augmented to Scions level), War-Squires (people who were partially compatible with the gene seed but could not develop the black carapace, still enhanced though)), Scouts, Combat Servitors, and Legio Cybernetica Astartes combat robots. The Space Wolves recruit from around the entirety of the Canis Helix bearing population of their home province of Yggdrasil and its outlying provinces and its component sectors if you're wondering how they maintain this many soldiers. Most astartes recruit and draw resources from multiple worlds as well.

But given the rarity of an entire chapter deploying to a single battlezone, Astartes are still tip of the spear shock troopers, rapid deployment troubleshooters or devastating behind the lines super commandos most of the time. As the Imperium has had more than ten thousand years to consolidate its hold on much of the galaxies that made up the former garden of the Old Ones and galaxies newly linked by wormholes, the Imperium is large enough that even the trillions of Astartes who form its spear and shield are but a drop in the bucket in the Galaxies of Darkness.

Standard Ranks are Chapter Master, Host Consul, Army Legate, Cohort Commander, Battalion Chief, Company Captain, Squad Sergeant. There's also mid-ranks such as the Proconsuls between the Consuls and Chapter Master, the Grand Legates, the Arch-Commanders, the High Chiefs, the Majors, the Lieutenants, and the Corporals.

**The Adepta Peregrina is the Galaxies of Darkness Equivalent of the Sororitas. Getting around the decree passive by technically not being the Frateris Templars; they're gender egalitarian but otherwise quite similar to the Sororitas you all know, plus the addition of stuff like crusaders or other heavily armoured short ranged assault troopers for when the fighting gets really rough.

***Not to be confused with the Ogors who are Old One creations and basically Fantasy/Age of Sigmar Ogres.

****Not to be confused with the Dawi who are old one creations and are the Dawi/Duardin of Fantasy/Age of Sigmar.

*****Please try to not confuse them for their chaotic counterparts, there are already enough friendly fire incidents.

******Going with anime catboys and catgirls, albeit with retractable fingernail claws that are really, really quite sharp; along with enhanced strength and speed and reflexes.
 
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Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 12

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
(Going to save you guys from wasting the extra SRI by building two of each gear when they can do a suit-handshake on down time and just share the gear outright and instead give you the "items of equal value" deal. So you get the Gamma Beam, the Radiance Beam, the Elemental Warhead Suite, the Thunder Disruptor, the Resonance Suit, and the Phasewave Beam.)

Samus

"Okay, I think I know what to make." You said, smiling as you stepped towards the workshop and quickly had a scan of how it worked. Ah, seems like you'd be able to direct it with thought now that you wired it through your suit.

"Chris, Wheeljack; want to join in?" Arne asked, flicking his eyes towards the two who looked to each other briefly and then nodded; Chris seemingly ecstatic at the chance to just play around for a while.

"I'll show the other kids around while you guys are busy then. Have fun!" Arcee said as she offered a wave goodbye and made a "come hither" gesture, leaving Sari and Olla behind as the two approached and joined in themselves.

"So...I wanted to get started with a few things. First, I need to explain to you how a lot of things in my reality works, so please try to pay attention. We'll start with something simple like Kid Win's spare power suit." You said, Olla folding her arms while Sari tilted her head with interest.

"Standard energy field, fractal bubble, or space altering shielding can be bypassed with a pretty large number of means, so a compound shield is needed to ensure really reliable all-purpose defense." You started as you started using the holograms to create the diagrams while Arne tapped at his chin and pointed something out.

"This also means multi-layered shielding. A bit past your armour, just above the armour, and on top of the armour itself, with the zero suit having the same layering." He said, altering the diagram to show how the shielding was divided into layers to ensure that the user was as protected as possible.

"Auto-regenerating shielding tends to be more of a modification than a standard-issue deal since getting more energy isn't that hard; but if you're interested here's some of the notes I've put on it." He started, letting the equations flow into being in the air, looking to you for approval, fearing perhaps he was losing some of his audience with an avalanche of math.

"Huh, interesting designs. Lot of similar theory between you and I. But let's see what I could change up if I added some energon based power systems to the mix." Wheeljack said as he started to add his own input, the diagram altering like a living thing before Chris raised a hand.

"Oh, oh...you'd probably want this to be a bit more modular, like your suits are. Don't hold back for my sake guys." He said as he scribbled down some notes and put in some additional work into the joint project.

"Hrm, now if we just added some synthetic biology here and there..." Sari said, working in some of her understanding of the anatomy of the cybertronians. The joint brainstorming process and learning jam going on for quite a while longer.


... Three hours later ...

"Hey, Samus can you pass me that omnitool? I might need it for this concept I've got in my head after getting a good look at some of this." Chris said, the Cybertronian device being passed into his hand and a grateful nod being given while Olla wiped her brow and raised some googles as she worked on the reactor concept.

"Arne, what did you say this stuff was called?" She asked, looking at the somewhat cerebrum like substance that you had synthesised.

"Zebetite. At least, that's the Federal Name for it. I call it Haximak." He said as he adjusted some of the controls on the nanolathe according to his specifications, sensing some of the changing parameters and stretching slightly while he continued to work; having moved your ships closer for easier access to the tools aboard.

"Huh, kind of gross but the energy output here's incredible. I could boost a lot of my suit outputs a ton with this...and it regenerates?" She said.

"Even if completely disintegrated." You said with a small while Chris tapped onto the laptop he had brought with him and you offered him a small drive that he thanked you for and took in hand, looking at the data shown on the screen and then making some additional adjustments.

"Now I'm not exactly the best with magic but this looks like it ought to make sizechanging a lot easier and less complicated. Wouldn't want to attempt it without some understanding of transformation science though, going in blind would probably get test subjects all mangled." Wheeljack said as he worked on a t-cog, taking influence from some morph ball schematics. You were supposed to keep most of the treasures of the Chozo a secret from people, but the Cybertronians seemed worthy of at least having some understanding and the strange Malware wasn't present here at least.

"Maybe if you make these adjustments it'd be easy to sizechange without even changing form?" You say, pointing out the necessary shifts to Wheeljack who snapped his fingers in understanding.

"Ah-hah!" He said, his optics glowing a bit more brightly than before in a way that made you slightly concerned, something Sari noticed as she looked towards you.

"Oh don't worry. Ah-hah is good with Wheeljack. It's Uh-Oh you should be worried about." She said.

"Because he's got incredibly devastating mishaps, I know." Arne said as he took a look at the beam components he was assembling and showing them to you, his worksmanship was impeccable to be sure, but slightly too by the book. Just a bit too according to the listed specifications rather than having some of his own flourish or improvements which you knew he could make.

"If you tune this part a bit more you could get some added efficiency out of the charge process. Give a bit of the Arne flourish that you do with the Sleipnir." You said to him as he looked at what you were working on and then back to his own work before nodding.

"I know it's just how...well...I was taught to build something like this." He said with a sigh.

"Zurvduat isn't here to beat you for not following the manual Arne." You said with a reassuring smile and a hand on his shoulder that made him melt a bit, nodding and taking another look at his device and looking to Chris.

"Noticed that these "elemental beams" need another component to stack into each other...so I'm working on something that might be able to do that. Might need a few visits here to finish though and well uh...joint tinkering sessions if you're interested. Might even just be you and I, Sam-" Chris said as he looked up and noticed Arne quirking a brow with a smirk, Olla grinning and Sari giggling.

"I mean uh...not in that way. Like...you're really, really pretty and all but uh, I'd definitely ask your current boyfriend first before doing anything like th-not that I'm trying to do that because I'm not a horny creep and I..." Chris said as he looked like he was about to die at any given second as you just gave him a little smirk and laugh before Arne gave him a thumbs up that if anything, made him even more embarrassed.

"Hey, hey no getting your organic fluids on my work bench." Wheeljack said, getting everyone to think about the innuendo and then breaking down into laughter.

It took a good few minutes for everyone to regain their composure, your sides heaving as you couldn't stop laughing. Even Wheeljack himself got in on it and you couldn't help but find a growing appreciation for the autobot master scientist's wit as you realised that his remark was completely intentional rather than an accidental double entendre.

Your laughter though was interrupted by Vista bringing some food in boxes, stepping through one of the door and having a bit of a skip to her step, clearly in a good mood. One of the other Wards, Cerebro; was following her, his hands folded behind his back as he sipped on a cup of what you recognised to be coffee through the scent emnating from the sip cup. From some brand called "Starbucks" that you'd seen an inordinate number of in your short time in Brockton Bay. Alice stood next to her, with Joseph following suit; hands in his pockets and shrouded by his cape, sucking down soda through a straw while Tyrius and Raelamiel offered a wave.

"Hey guys, thought you might be hungry so I went to the space bridge and got you guys something to eat! You've all been cooped up in here for a few hours and well...I don't know what a lot of you like so I just got Pizza. Though I heard from the Soviet team that some of you are...space vegan? So got a vegan pizza too." She said as she looked for an empty table and set the boxes down, with Alice's demons following suit shortly afterwards, cackling as they put down the food and the drinks. Your nose briefly wrinkled at the smell of the beef on some of the pizzas and you muttered an apology to the animal that was slaughtered to make it. Unless they found some way to synthesise

Showing this world how to synthesise meat to both raise the appalling quality of some of their ingredients and never have to take life for meat again had just jumped up many notches on your list.

"Samus, come on, be polite." Arne said as you forced a smile. To your hyper-enhanced senses nearly all the food you've gotten close to in this universe smelled of so many low quality ingredients and cheap processed chemicals that you came to expect from the primitive technology available to the Earth of the 21st century. You'd have to suppress part of your senses to make it palatable. But then...he did that all throughout the stay in Munich himself.

"Alright. I'll give the food a second try if you are." You said, ruffling his fluffy, silky white hair and getting a laugh out of him.

You sat down with the group at the vegan pizza which at the very least, looked properly seasoned and not choking on an ocean's worth of salt unlike that...monstrosity you had back at the Munich airport. It smelled a lot better too. Something approaching edible without muting your sense of taste and smell. Perhaps good even. Hrm, this might be worth a try then.

"Where did you get this from?" Chris said, taking a look at the box with a marking that labelled it as "Ave Maria's Italian Food" with a kindly looking grandmother and the tricolour flag of Italy behind the stylised representation of the old woman. He then at the pizza itself, thin crusted with delicately sliced toppings and seasonings.

"Tyrius showed us around Paragon City for a bit after I finished some of the base touring. The city is uh..." Vista said before shaking her head and giving a thousand yard stare.

"Absolutely and obscenely insane." Cerebro said as the young Jewish boy continued to drink his coffee and let out a prolonged sigh.

"Yeah, there were people with like; Helicopter gunships firing missiles into the street who were supposed to just be organised crime groups until they got eaten by a toad the size of a skyscraper that exploded out of the sewer and half the people just shrugged and went about their day like this was normal." Vista said, shaking her head at the memory of the encounter.

"That's Paragon for you. Every day is a new adventure. Or near-death experience." Tyrius said with his usual charming laugh.

"I mean like, yeah; s'why I love it. Always fun there. You should try it out with us some day Sammy." Raelamiel said, giving you a finger pistol and a wink that made your cheeks go red and a nervous chuckle coming from your mouth as you went and tried the pizza to try and bury your emotions, Arne laughing slightly as he flicked open the cap for the root beer and poured you a glass.

"I still don't understand why a city where every borough has its own rogue's gallery of regular endbringer attacks is considered livable." Cerebro said as he helped himself to a slice, curly hair glistening a bit in the light of the base.

You hesitantly took a bite out of the Pizza and on your tongue detected. "...Magic..." You said, eyes going wide as you started to chew and then look at Arne and repeat the word, pointing at the Pizza as he was already chewing his first bite. An agreeing nod was given by him as he chased down what he swallowed with a glass of root beer and let it swish a bit in his mouth before swallowing.

The rest of the slice took an eyeblink to disappear as your initially snobbish attitude towards the Pizza disappeared and Tyrius offered a smile.

"Told you she'd like pizza made by a Lares from Rome." Tyrius said to Raelamiel who rolled her eyes and passed him a twenty dollar bill in what seemed to be the conditions of a bet.

... Six Hours Later ...

"Why is she curled up her ball form?"

"Something about how it provides an out of body experience to help with meditating." Wheeljack said as he went through the Data.

"Mistress friends think deep about Well of Furies in seance. Big brain stuff. Yes." One of Alice's demons said while you pondered the nature of the Well of Furies. She was supposed to be the embodiment of human potential and creativity, and those of the species tied to humanity as well. You sensed that she was a tremendous power to be sure. But she was just a gateway to the power, she had tremendous power of her own yes, but beyond her was something far more.

"Hey Sari, uh...mind checking this math for me? Not the best with numbers." Kid Win said, looking to Sumdac as she passed Wheeljack an energon snack while he worked on something, the Indian girl stepping over and having a quick look while Olla peeked her head in only for Sari to gently ease her away with a finger press.

She extended a stylus and made some corrections and wrote down a few notes and handed him the tablet back and gave him a smile while Olla leaned further in once more, trying to look at the Tablet while Chris looked down at her.

"...You okay?" He asked.

"...I'm just seeing if this math might be relevant for my stuff, that's all." She said. "...It's okay." She said, backing off a bit.

"...Okay." He said, a bit baffled.

"Nah you're more than Okay there Chris boy." She said with a smirk as Chris flushed. But elsewhere, the festive mood was hardly universal.

"...I buy King's Cross Station." Galen Witwicky said, Raelamiel looking like she was on the verge of losing her sanity while Tyrius tried his best to maintain a smile.

"...Just so you know, this game sucks dick." Vista groaned.

"I...I don't get it...is this a torture device? It's certainly not fun." Arcee groaned.

"Oh come on, it's just monopoly, lighten up." Galen said as bumblebee rolled the dice and landed on the newly acquired property, the Autobot staring intently at it while Buzzstrike looked like he was about to pass out and Cerebro was busy reading a book, Galen folded his arms and looked up at Bumblebee with a smug look on his face while Strongarm stared intently, trying to plot out her next turn.

"Time to pay up Bumbleb-" Galen managed before an irritated bumblebee swatted at the monopoly board and stood up with a profuse amount of swearing in his beeping language followed by some rather rude gestures and playing a "Fuck this shit I'm out" clip, prompting Galen to shield his face with his hands and Raelamiel to stumble awake, fall on her face and shout out some choice swearing of her own.

"...Can we play a less shitty game please?" Cerebro muttered.

... Three Hours later ...

After all the work spent, all your labours were built and your allies had gained new understanding, just as you had advanced your own understanding of the well of furies.

The upgrades were packaged together, the product of assembly, labour, and effort, and the two of you looked to each other for a moment with pride. Like making a child together...not uh...in that way...you went pink at the thought and harrumphed a bit to clear your head.

"Knew you guys could do it." Tyrius said with a thumbs up as Wheeljack stood back.

"Alright...commence acquisition...now!" Wheeljack said as the two of you reached for the upgrade simultaneously.

Arne's armour was changed from the black hues of the ghost armour into something a bit different. The masterforce armour absorbed itself into his squire suit and then with the masterforce suit you yourself were taking into yourself. A combination of Cybertronian and Progenitor technology took place that Wheeljack and Sari couldn't help be amazed by. First came the transformation of the ghost suit into the Frequency Suit.

A gorget emerged to provide his mouth with additional projection, emerging from the chestpalte of his armour and going up to somewhat in front of his nose; still allowing him the full range of head movement due to the spacing, but significantly reducing the space to target his head, which when combined with the back of the collar of his armour, gave something of the impression of a turtle. Crystalline formations, white in colour, emerged from his pauldrons. Blade shaped antennae emerged from the sides of his helmet, while diamond like reinforcement strips wrapped around the edges of major plating as his visor and highlights changed in colour to white. His chestplate and helmet retained their coal black colouration, while the limb armour changed to steel grey, and his abdominal armour and crest turned into a stony brown. The armour thickened somewhat, looking more powerful and durable, as the Diamont made upgrade was assimilated into his armour.

Your own armour had a rather similar list of transformations, the Valkyrie like wings on the sides of your helmet being subsumed into antennae blades while your helm and chestplate transformed into a brilliant diamond like hue, the visor and highlights taking on a more blackened hue, black reinforcement strips around the brown coloured major plating and steel grey abdominal, inner thigh, and hip armour coming into being. Your pauldrons took on a demispherical, more rounded shape, and the gorget emerged in front of your face from your chestplate, ensuring greater defence for your head in tandem with an emerged collar.

"Primus blessed." Wheeljack said with awe as your suits transformed with the substantial arsenal absorbed into them. The thrusters on the back of both of your suits expanded into a substantially sized black (or white in your case) jetpack, about the size of your unarmoured torsos, encased in a sleek shell. The helicopter forms rotorblades extended behind you, folding into a black cape like structure that could fold out of the way of your jetpacks as needed while the wings of the jet mode emerged from your backs, going a bit beyond your shoulders and shifting around the tailfins emerging from your pauldrons. The stabiliser fins folded over the pauldrons, reinforcing them while the jet-mode wings folded over his chestplate, giving it a more traditionally knightly armoured look; with the cockpit of the Jet-mode emerging from the midsection of both of your chests. Your own jet-mode wings shifted into a sort of loosely fitted metal tunic of flexible plates that would move out of the way of your legs as needed, your own tailfins facing the opposite way Arne's did.

The engines of the jet found their way to your boots, adding to your flight mobility while the blades of the tail rotor split into two, one half going into side-arm and elbow blades emerging from your left-arm and the other going along the sides of your arm cannon; able to fold up as needed or collapse into a singular tonfa if he desired; or spin up into saw-blades should you desire. The turbines of your new jet-mode emerged on the front of your pauldrons, spinning up briefly just to give it a whirl before the wrist-gun manifested onto your left arms, a smaller bore version of the arm cannon that fit itself neatly from just a bit before the joint of your arms all the way out to stopping a bit past your wrist; with a hinge able to give your hands mobility; important when the grapple tether emitter was below the wrist.

Your helmets changed again, the air intakes of his alt-modes finding their way onto the cheeks of your helm, mostly for show. The horn or crown like crest from the ghost suit on his helmet remained, as did the antennae from the frequency suit. You retained the gorget and the crystals from the Frequency suit emerging from your pauldron and its reinforcement strips. Your neck, once covered wholly by black segmented soft-armour, was now covered in segmented-hard plates over the softer plates, akin to what protected your abdomen to still allow for full flexibility while adding to your defence; coloured black in his case and white in yours. He clenched his fist and let time briefly come to a halt, leaving just the two of you now.

The Gravity Boost regulates and controls gravity for the user and those somewhat around them, rendering them able to function at their preferred gravity in all cases and also neutralizing unwanted friction and drag such as that created by water. The Gravity Boost also allows for flight through activating its thrusters and gravity regulation. The Gravity Boost furthermore negates the harmful effects of most gravitational attacks.


Samus' Notes: Ah, all the places I can now explore freely thanks to this little invention! c:

Arne's Notes: Always room to improve the Thruster's top speeds.

The Frequency suit alters the composition of the armour and its multilayered shielding to allow it to absorb energy; particularly vibrational energy; into itself. This notably has the benefit of preventing the overwhelming majority of damage from blunt force conduction through the armour, keeping the wearer safe from even the hardest blows should the shielding fail. The Frequency suit also cancels out the effects of high-frequency weapons, absorbing their vibrations and making them considerably less threatening to the wielder. The Frequency suit can store energy that can be used for many purposes, such as refilling energy, recharging the temporal distort, recharging the shielding, or releasing it in a bomb-burst of energy or to augment specific attacks. The Frequency suit will also cancel out the effects of unusual vibrations and sonic fences, preventing them from impeding the user. It finally improves all physical augmentations, enhances the resilience of the shielding and armour plating, and the antennae on the suit allow for improved signal interception.

Samus' Notes: One thing that the description doesn't talk about is how it also cancels out most of the sound of your footsteps, allowing you to sneak up on enemies you normally wouldn't be able to otherwise. Shouldn't take too long before I come across a situation where this helps out.


Arne's Notes: It's worth noting that only some of the energy will be absorbed into the batteries while the rest will still end up going into the shielding. It's mostly the damage that the shielding hardness manages to cancel out entirely from what I've been able to glean.

The Phase Wave Beam is an Augment Beam that utilises phasic technology to harmlessly pass through non-target obstacles such as cover or walls while still imparting damaging levels of energy into enemies. Best paired with visor technology that allows for vision past obstacles or with a spotter, the Phase Wave beam will make engaging with enemies in hardened positions a much simpler prospect. The Charged version of the Phase Wave Beam is the Phase-Storm, which will create a short-lived vortex of phasic energy upon impact, damaging everything it comes into contact with.


Samus' Notes: A beam like this will need more caution for use in Urban areas since a missed shot has a much higher chance of hurting someone you didn't mean to. But I guess that means I have more reason to fine-tune my marksmanship.


Arne's Notes: There's going to be a lot of cases with entrenched enemies where something like this is going to come in handy. Or in dealing with enemies that rely on moving cover around to obstruct fields of fire, shame most energy fields block it out though.

The Temporal Distorter allows for altering of the flow of time for a duration affected by the intensity of usage. At maximum, at its base level the temporal distorter can pause time entirely for only six seconds from the user's perspective, which will allow them to make maneuvres and attacks as they deem necessary within the period. Upon depletion of its stored up distortion, the Distorter requires a recharge. The distorter can also be used to target another individual, but this halves the duration in which it will last. Upgrades to improve the distorter are available however, derived from your accel charge stockpile. It can also be used to slow time.


Samus' Notes: I know the Chozo made their own equivalent to this not long after the N'Kren revealed their first models. It's definitely a tool that should be used responsibly, however, manipulating time in such a way is way too easily abused for this to be something for any situation...but I have to admit, there's definitely some fun ideas for it.


Arne's Notes: Samus has used this to pull so many pranks on me...and all my retaliations are kind of lame as Solveig would say.
Elemental warheads such as Toxin grenades, Ice Bombs, Pyro-Missiles and similar devices augment your existing explosive arsenal by offering them increased damaging effect as well as the capacity to deliver elemental effects. The user may swap between or combine compatible effects as deemed necessary to create differing types of warheads as the situation demands. Elemental warheads may be applied to superlative but more ammunition intensive munitions such as super-missiles, power bombs, and ultra grenades.


Samus' Notes: More versatility is always welcome. I'll try out some of the elemental combinations as soon as I can get the chance.


Arne's Notes: Hrm, as soon as I get the time I'd like to just sit down and tinker with some new warheads. I should probably get some charge combos going too.

The Ice Beam is an Elemental Beam fires a globule of anti-energy that neutralises most energy within the target upon impact, arresting momentum, eliminating temperature, damaging binding energy, and even neutralising the gravitational potential energy required for a frozen object to fall. The reverse-annihilated energy is converted into water-ice while the atmosphere around them also freezes, freezing the target in an icy prison if they survive. The charge shot fires the absolute zero blast which entraps the foe in a much larger section of ice and strips out most forms of binding energy as well as virtually all thermal energy, being far more likely to cause a target to implode as potentially even its gluons will have no energy to hold together if it lacks sufficient vitae to avoid death.

Samus' Notes: Ah, I've missed you old friend. Glad to have you back. c:

Arne's Notes: Well, can't have too many ways to freeze enemies I suppose.

The Positron Beam is an Elemental beam releases a stream of positrons which are then followed by a "chaser" of protons which following catalysation, impact with greatly enhanced reactive power at near light-speeds, which can be improved with realspace FTL projectile augments. The impact of the positron beam annihilates the target's electrons and protons, rapidly collapsing their atomic structure into neutron slurry while the reactant is released primarily as electricity that will arc into other targets for additional damage. The charge shot fires the anti-matter storm which will cause the beam to chain; still in anti-matter electrical current format; into multiple other targets, each of which releases conventional electricity.

Samus' Notes: Hrm, it's definitely one of the most overtly destructive beams around, but thankfully the electricity arcs won't direct into friendlies and will ignore neutrals unless I want them to.

Arne's Notes: Now this? This here is my favourite beam. There's something just endlessly fascinating about electricity and anti-matter. Really hoping to never leave it at home again. So many times I wished I could have fired it.

The Gamma Beam is an Elemental Beam that fires a catalysed beam of ionising gamma radiation that will penetrate through many forms of obstacles and deal severe damage to both organics whose tissue will liquefy if they lack sufficient resistance to the beam's enormous energies as well as machinery as the beam plasmafies most forms of matter and tears apart the more delicate components of many forms of technology. The Charged Shot fires the irradiator wave, which will not only deal increased damage but leave the afflicted targets enormously but briefly radioactive, allowing it to function as a short-lived area denial weapon or turn an enemy durable enough to survive into a hazard for more fragile allies. The Gamma Beam is regarded as a generally horrific weapon due to the extremely graphic nature of the death it inflicts.

Samus' Notes: I've never been entirely fond of this beam to be honest, it seems...excessive to turn a target's flesh into glowing and steaming gelatin and watch their charred bones flail around as they disintegrate. It's undeniably effective and harmful to most targets but...hrm...

Arne's Notes: Conflict is conflict and there aren't really any nice ways to die. It is awful to watch, and the death it inflicts is one of a great deal of short-lived pain. But is being blown in half by a missile any better?

The Radiance Beam is an Elemental beam that fires sanctified light energy that is of significantly greater effectiveness against "dark" opponents such as demonic, unliving enemies, Nictus, possessed foes, darkness based or suffused life forms, dark energy dependent shielding, or dark magic users. The Radiance beam will pierce through enemies and cause them to burn in proportion to the amount of darkness they have become suffused with, even metaphorical darkness such as evil committed as per the moral standards of the Ylla. The burning also affects the soul of the evildoer, and can bypass many conventional forms of defence or immortality; and as a secondary effect can induce temporary blindness and stun many enemies. It is however less effective against soulless enemies. Its charged shot fires the Judgement Hammer which debilitates targets with the agony they have unjustly inflicted and turns the afflicted target into a lighthouse that will strike other targets temporarily.

Samus' Notes: The Ylla were always a little bit sanctimonious, but the ones I've spoken to always thought highly of me. So it's good to know that they think I'd be worthy of this sort of weapon, especially if I am to put so many undead back into their graves.

Arne's Notes: I'm not entirely sure on the Ylla's moral standards if they think I'm unquestionably worthy of using this. But if they have confidence in me I guess I shouldn't put it to waste.

The thunder disruptor is a melee augmentation that allows the user's melee weapons to accumulate charges that will be released upon impact to create a concussive blast wave that can knock down, around, and stun enemies, causing not simply just much greater impact damage but also leaving them more likely to be unable to properly fight back in return. The impact will also allow a blow to affect multiple enemies at a time, though it will need some time to recharge between usages.

Samus' Notes: This also notably applies to unarmed strikes with the arm cannon or my limbs so being able to thunder punch people should be plenty fun!

Arne's Notes: Hrm, could be excellent for a good drop kick into a fight I'd say.
The wrist gun is a secondary ranged weapon attachment designed for usage on the freehand. While its projectiles lack the raw power of the arm cannon's; they allow for additional fire capabilities and can serve as a backup tool in case multiple avenues of fire are required. The wrist gun can utilize all the same weapons that the arm cannon may utilize at reduced strength. It may also be separated and used as a sidearm should the need arise and is able to be used while in any alt-mode.


Samus' Notes: You could get a lot of use out of it in melee honestly. But usually, I'd say I'd only really need my arm cannon most of the time? Still, not bad to have as an option, especially with morph-ball hit and run attacks.


Arne's notes: Using this for the shock coil should be handy for getting energy cycled back into my suit.


The Basic Agility Alpha Incarnate Power taps into the human potential for speed and grace, imbuing them with fragmentary aspects of divine figures such as Hermes or Zoran; as such increases the user's speed and response times by three-fold and similarly improves turning circles and acceleration/deceleration times; including both themselves and their equipment and the projectiles they launch or vehicles they pilot; even if such would induce realspace FTL travel; preventing the expected time dilation or reversed flow of time as one approaches or exceeds C. This also affects the user's endurance and the recharge rates of cooldown limited abilities as well as the recharge rates of abilities with a limited amount of time operational. Agility also increases the rate of fire of all weapons and the rate at which concentration can be used to restore shielding, armour integrity, or munitions as well as the rate that charge weapons accumulate their charge. Regeneration rate of damaged tissue is also increased somewhat, as are reserves of energies such as mana or the winds of magic. With the alpha incarnate slotted, the user is considered an Incarnated Deity and gains the requisite resistances and immunities.

Samus' Notes: Hrm, I'm going to need to meditate on what "the winds of magic" refer to, but from what I have been able to discern...I think I should get a try for how I can manage the obstacle course with this kind of performance boost. I could get my best time down even faster I think.

Arne's Notes: I really, really want to see how the Sleipnir can handle now if I really press it. I find it...almost wrong that now I kind of want to fight much higher grade enemies to really try this kind of power out. But I should probably watch myself, accumulating a lot of power can make it hard to see other perspectives.

Multi-missiles allow the suit to generate and then fire upwards of twenty four sub-missiles at a time; which can be combined with the charged missile, the seeker missile, elemental warheads, and/or super missile for even more destructive power. Though note that this increases the recharge between usages of the multi-missile. Multi-missiles are homing and will track all designated targets to the best of their capability at full speed, taking slightly longer to travel due to needing to curve around the user's back or from special pods fitted into the user's alternate modes, including the Morph-Ball and Psychomorph. Multi-missiles do not consume ammo, but do have cooldown between usages once all twenty-four missiles in a battery are fired, though the missiles will replenish faster the more of them are still in the battery, allowing the user to fire more sustained bursts or even constant one or two missile bursts. Accel Charges will enhance the rate at which the missiles are replenished.

Samus' Notes: Ooooooooooh. Missiles are always fun to use and having free missiles always on hand would be a huge benefit. Especially in my alt-modes. Hrm, now I'm thinking about preparing some sort of submunitions missile. Maybe when I have some spare time?

Arne's Notes: Added ranged firepower is never a bad thing, especially ranged firepower this versatile.

Rocket Pods allow the user's suit to generate and then fire a large quantity of minimally guided rockets that while able to course correct towards a target; are not capable of radical manoeuvres unlike true missiles. However they compensate for this with sheer volume of fire; saturating the target with upwards of 120 rockets in a single burst can be combined with the charged missile, the seeker missile, elemental warheads, and/or super missile for even more destructive power. Though note that this increases the recharge between usages of the rocket-pod. Rocket Pods do not consume ammo, but do have cooldown between usages once all one hundred and twenty rockets in a battery are fired, though the missiles will replenish faster the more of them are still in the battery, allowing the user to fire more sustained bursts or even constant bombardment from a few rockets at a time. Accel Charges will enhance the rate at which the missiles are replenished. The rocket pods can still be used in alternate modes like the Munitions Launcher and Wrist-gun.

Samus' Notes: Saturation fire weapons like this would be very useful against hordes of enemies I'd feel. Going to need to experiment to find the best usage for them in my fighting style.

Arne's Notes: This sort of ranged firepower is likely better suited for suppression fire rather than direct damage against most enemies capable of rapid movements.

The Cacophony Blast unleashes sonic pulse blasts that carry their own atmosphere to allow them to continue to inflict damage in vacuum environments; kinetically accelerated to catch supersonic opponents. The cacophony blast causes significant shaking and rumbling in targets that it passes through as the blastwave expands to its designated full size, not only dealing substantial damage but also stunning, disorientating, and weakening the resistances of all enemies it afflicts; often knocking them down as well. A charge shot will fire a larger bubble that will remain in its target area for some time, causing damage to anything that passes through it. While relatively slow to fire, the Cacophony Blast is devastating against large numbers of enemies or enemies weak to sonic attack.

Samus' Notes: With all the enemies we're fighting, more area of effect weapons I think are going to be necessary. I might be able to tune the weapon a bit farther for a wider array of sonic effects too. Based on some of the beneficial or simply debilitating sonic effects I've seen used on Primal Earth or Earth Bet.

Arne's Notes: Stacking multiple resonance bubbles on top of each other seems to have an intensely compounding effect, I should probably be careful with the force-concentrators unless I want to create a major earthquake.

A cybertronian devised Subweapon, the Null-Ray combines a blast of deadly energy with an overload and energy arrester bolt that will at the very least deal additional damage to mechanical targets and energy shielding or at worst shut them down outright and can disrupt the neurosystems of organics as well; frequently knocking out those it fails to kill or forcing them to abandon mechanical equipment. Particularly effective against vehicles improperly hardened against the Null-Ray's shutdown effect, the Null-Ray can allow for many important enemy assets to be captured intact. Note that many systems such as Progenitor grade systems will at most be inconvenienced by the null-ray and will not shut down; simply taking extra damage and receiving some HUD static and specially hardened equipment will be able to shrug off the shut down effect of the null-ray.

Samus' Notes: The non-lethal settings should be very helpful in situations where I don't want to outright kill someone I think. And being able to capture samples intact is going to be a huge benefit to our cause.

Arne's Notes: Going to have to be careful to not assume I can just go through every situation without thinking about de-escalation simply because I can end it nonlethally.

The Wingsabre detaches the user's tailfin wings to form a blade that can be attached with the user's existing arm blade, cannon bayonet, or used on its own to similar effect. Configurations can include a greatsword, a double sword, a curved sabre, a bayonet, a rapier, or any other configuration the user can imagine. The Wingsabre shares an upgrade pool with the arm-blade and the same overall effects and capabilities. The user can also add energon charging to their melee weapons as recompense for already having a similar weapon, adding significantly more damage to the user's melee weapons; enhancing their cutting power and shield penetration, and adding an order effect that increases their effectiveness against malicious entities such as the unliving, demonic or darkness based entities. In the jet alt-mode, the wingsabre can be used to charge the alt-mode wings with cutting energy to slice apart enemies. The wings can also be charged in their resting positions, adding additional protection, deflecting attacks that impact the shoulders or chest and a risk of harm for grappling enemies. The wingsabre can also be thrown or launched at foes and will always fly or teleport back to the user and can be used to fight separately from the user temporarily. As these weapons are spirimetrically linked to the user; they cannot be used by enemies.

Samus' Notes: Ironically, I don't think I'm going to be using them in sword mode very often. But the anti-grappling features or the ability to quickly add to or modify my blade would be extremely useful; or when detaching and fighting on their own.

Arne's Notes: In alternate mode the blades should probably turn out to be extremely useful at least for strafing attacks.

The Rotorsaw is used from the tail-rotors of the user's helicopter mode to form a rapidly spinning saw of field sheathed and energon charged cutting surfaces that while lacking in the striking power of the wingsabre or armblade. It can be extended from either arm or used from the sides of the arm or locked into a side-blade position for additional cutting surface, folding over the wrists to be used as claws, assisting user flight as rotors, or as tonfas; making them extremely versatile. They are also able to deflect incoming attacks that strike them, can be launched either individually or in saw form; returning to the user when called via flight or teleportation, and are able to use the same bonuses as the arm-blade, including using beam weapons to augment their cutting ability with other effects such as freezing, anti-matter, radiation, phase-waving, and other myriad effects just as the Wingsabre and Rotor saw can. They can also be detached from the user to fight on their own temporarily, with a recommended tactic being to use them as additional defence, deflecting incoming attacks. As with all detachable weapons, due to linkage to the users, they cannot be stolen or used against them and are harmless to allies.

Samus' Notes: Saws are a bit...gruesome as melee weapons but the versatility of these tools should make for extremely capable tools for other purposes, especially as deployable shields. Though extremely rapid firing or well aimed weapons are likely to be able to slip by. But I think I can modify my more conventional arm shields with the same technology.

Arne's Notes: Saws are clumsy and inefficient as melee weapons and are more intimidating than effective. Very little possible finesse and even with complete RPM control, they're always going to be more awkward than a proper blade. But the individual rotor blades can be used for all sorts of purposes. The claws might be handy and even in saw mode; sometimes you really do just need a blender.

Bonus Scan Logs:

Real Name: Chris Johnson Maverick
Age: 14
Parahuman Power: Shard gives Chris a heightened and almost savant-like understanding of modular devices that can be encouraged and fed through exposure to sources of inspiration that the shard is capable of comprehending. While the shard is incapable of directly understanding magic or similarly esoterical forces, the shard may attempt to replicate the effects of magic as it and its host understand the phenomenon. Chris is a student at Arcadia High school in Brockton Bay during his civilian life and has been diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Disorder and Dyscalculia that makes him easily distracted and surprisingly given his engineering focus; poor at math without the assistance of calculators. While more effective with medication, he has spurned it following undesireable side effects.

Chris makes use of power armour made with materials he was able to assemble together following his recruitment into the wards. While the materials used are grossly subpar by your standards, by the standards of the time and general level of technology, they are exceptional; allowing him to safely engage most low level criminals or "capes" with minimal risk of injury. His arsenal is largely nonlethal and designed for apprehension rather than fighting to the death. While he has little experience in lethal conflict, he has earned a reputation as a valued and versatile member of the team as a part of the Brockton Bay wards. One of his most valued inventions is a cannon meant to be deployed against high grade threats that would require lethal force to put down.

Addendum: Following modification to Federation standard genetic augmentations and the acquisition of a United Nations of Sol Argonaut pattern Exploration Suit, Chris' combat capabilities are significantly enhanced and will continue to rise as he gains greater understanding and appreciation of the technology involved in the adventurer model suit. He has so far managed to integrate his hoverboard as a deployable portion of the armour and most of his weapons into the suit's melee and ranged suite and is currently working on alt-mode technology after seeing it in action repeatedly; he is however, afraid to test it on himself for the time being. While augmentation has treated his dyscalculia, he is still looking to improve his ability in mathematics despite his distaste.

Samus' Notes: He seems like a sweet boy to be sure, but I'm hoping that spending so long in law enforcement hasn't made him too rigid in the way he handles problems

Arne's Notes: He's nice enough but as far as I can tell a large portion of his interest in us is down to wanting to watch us work. I'll need to look more into how these beings affect personality development..

"Nice work." He said to you, gently as he let his cannon, other weapons, and helm fade away, a gesture you repeated as you brushed some of the hair away from his eye and kissed his forehead.

"Of course we could do it." You said as he let out a little laugh, taking a moment to share a hug with you, everyone else frozen around you. Eighteen seconds all to yourself, lengthened by your accel charges into a more impressive eighteen seconds. As you would count such passage of time, which was plenty.

The wonder of this upgrade had passed a long time ago since you first acquired it on Zorant, but the use for it as a means to just have private movements never faded as you and Arne just sat down for a bit; all by yourselves.

"I feel more confident in our chances at least but still...this feels like stuff we were supposed to handle when we were adults. This all feels so...sudden and early." He said, his lack of confidence starting to eat at him. Two years on and you two were still picking up the pieces of the shattering Zurvduat had done to his soul. But then...you weren't exactly an unbroken person yourself.

"Well, if it is early...then it must be important. We don't really have a choice." You said. "But, we'll face it not just together but with well...all of our new friends." You finished.

"Do you think we'll be able to do it...deal with something this big so soon?" Arne asked you as you flicked your eyes towards him and nodded.

"Of course. We have to. We're here for a reason. And I think that reason is to help these people where we can...and ourselves." You responded as he gave a nod and clasped his hands in yours and the two of you leaned in.

"You know...meeting you made me so much happier." He said, so close. So soft and gentle beneath the layers of armour that he wore. The tired bags under his eyes you knew him for when you were both two years younger mostly faded.

"You say that as if you haven't made me happy." The two of you laughed and drew close, then shared a deeper meeting of the lips. Long yet just a bit too brief before you pulled away from each other. He looked at them for a bit before turning back to you, his smile fading.

"Samus I..." He paused for a bit and frowned. "...I wanted to say that I'm glad that I could at least do this with you." He said as he brushed some of your hair. It wasn't what he was initially going to say. But you could confront him on that later.

"I know, but well, if my assessment of the current time is correct we should be getting ready for night time arrangements." You said, humming as time resumed itself around you and you caught one of the flung monopoly pieces with an idle hand and lowered it to the ground.

"Heh, that's some mechanisms you've got there kids. Any time you want to work with me, hit me up. Or if you've got ideas or want to help me test something out well...Ol' Wheeljack's got you covered." He said as he chuckled to himself.

"Aw damn it's nine PM...gotta get ready to head home. Ugh...not fair when I can stay awake forever." Chris groaned as Cerebro rubed his eyes and yawned. He took a moment to look at his new suit, which you couldn't quite see at the moment; with some pride though, patting it and high fiving Olla afterwards.

"Maybe I should go through that station myself...blergh..." He groaned while Vista helped to collect all the missing pieces scattered around by Bumblebee's tantrum.

"I could open a hellgate for you all if you want, just get us anywhere we need in a hurry." Alice offered, spinning open a circular portal to her Hell dimension with a quick incantation.

"I mean, if you guys want to do a sleepover I'm fine with it." Chris said. Hrmm...

"Is there anything that needs our help at the moment Wheeljack?" You asked the Autobot before he shook his head.

"Nah, things are kind of quiet after the Munich mess went public and the fight at Brockton Bay. Besides, you're on off-duty time. Take a load off." He said, returning to his work as he looked through the schematics you shared with him and hummed to himself.

"Well if there's nothing to do then it can't be that bad to take a nap right?" Arne said.

Sleepover Options

[]: Sleepover at the Autobot Base (Already have bunks for you two. Hang out mostly with masterforce recruits. Chris might ask his parents if he can spend the night.)
[]: Sleepover with Assault and Battery (They already have a room for you two and won't have you sleep separately. They aren't kids though, and with the portal back home to Paragon established; Nightcaster and Eudaimonica won't be there. It'd be more of a surrogate parent bonding thing.)
[]: Sleepover at PRT base with Vista (Meets other wards, Wards will likely try to ask Arne and Samus to sleep separately due to the general rules against letting people of differing genders share a bed; especially when known to be involved. So Arne would mostly get to hang around other boys and Samus around other girls. If you pick this Chris will sleep over at the ward base.)
[]: Sleepover at Chris' House (Chris' Parents will probably just have you all use sleeping bags next to his own.)
[]: Sleepover at Starsetter base (Meet the other Starsetters; they have zero rules on sleeping arrangements and frightfully little adult supervision.)
[]: Sleepover at Freedom Phalanx HQ (Positron wouldn't be expecting you but there are spare rooms, no rules on sleeping arrangements. He's not Statesman. Hang out at really fancy Avengers grade superhero base.)
[]: Sleepover with Eudaimonica (She literally sleeps in her parent's castle in the Frostflame hell so you'll get to meet all the demon buddies she has.)
[]: Sleepover with Nightcaster (He sleeps in his parents' spooky castle in the shadow realm full of benign beings of shadows and darkness.)

Solitary asshole options

[]: Just sleep in your ships (Separately: Not recommended, they don't like to sleep alone for good reason.)
[]: Just sleep in your ships (Together. Don't invite anyone else. Gives you privacy and basically an absolute guarantee of safety but also does nothing to build friendships.)
[]: Keep working at the Autobot Base, Sleep is for losers and who needs friends when you have more weapons? (No stress relief, no plot advancement, no social links you can get in one free project in though.)
[]: Go on a night patrol in Paragon City. (Sleep is for losers, cool heroes come out at night, and there might be adventure. (No allies will be able to attend as this would be unsanctioned, you might meet new ones though. Earth Bet villains and loot.)
[]: Go on a night patrol in Brockton Bay. (Sleep is for losers, cool heroes come out at night, and there might be adventure. (No allies will be able to attend as this would be unsanctioned, you might meet new ones though. Primal earth villains and loot.)
[]: Investigate the psychic signal, who needs sleep? (No allies will be able to attend as the autobots would not sanction this op and the starsetters and wards need to go home, it'd be just you and Arne. Will build stress)
[]: Investigate the Technological Signal, who needs sleep? (No allies will be able to attend as the autobots will not sanction this op and the starsetters and wards need to go home. This is also the moon so don't expect many new allies. Will build stress.)
[]: Fight the Progenitor Relic Guardian for its power-ups (You two would have to do it on your own, though some autobots might come since it'd be a personal thing and a learning experience.) Will build stress.)
[]: Check for any other missions you can do (No allies will be able to attend due to the unsanctioned nature of this op and the need for the kids to go home.)

This is a lot of options to be sure but this is mostly to determine the sort of shenanigans you get up to in order to close this intermission and possibly start the next one or transition to mission 2 if you want to live dangerously and immediately start making the Autobots regret taking you in.
 
Pronouns
She/Her
[X]: Sleepover with Eudaimonica (She literally sleeps in her parent's castle in the Frostflame hell so you'll get to meet all the demon buddies she has.)

Hell Castle! Hell Castle!

Which diabolical masterminds idea was it to play Monopaly in the first place? That's cruel and unsual punishment right there!
 
PRT Evaluation of Primal earth (Preliminary)

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
"Primal Earth" as its denizens insist on it being called is not part of the conventional cluster of interlinked alternate variations of Earth but is instead part of an entirely different Metaversal Cluster altogether. This metaverse appears to be defined by its connection to an unfathomably vast multiversal power source referred to as the "Well of Furies" and a number of other similar "Wells" that are said to be gateways to the potential power and creativity of each species in addition to a force that the locals insist on calling "Magic". History seems to be broadly similar until the 20th century where powers emerged in the late 1920s instead of the 1980s with the emergence of the so called "Statesman" who has been identified as an "Incarnate", who gains his power directly from the Source of the Well; embodying an "aspect of Zeus". Despite the addition of superpowered beings, the outcome of the second world war remained largely the same, with a cold war settling in afterwards following a deterioration in Soviet-American relations. History would face another major shift due to an invasion from the "Weltreich", a cluster of timelines centered around one where the Statesman instead joined Nazi Germany and helped them conquer the world and many others; resulting in a major conflict in the 90s that alerted Primal Earth to potential danger from other timelines.

While the Weltreich invasion was repelled at substantial cost, it would be a prelude to a later even larger invasion from the Rikti timeline; another branching universe where humanity was contacted and uplifted by a species known as the True Rikti and remoulded in their image before the True Rikti died out some time in the stone age; leaving the Human-Rikti to inherit their technology and empire. Due to the actions of a mysterious Supervillain known as Lord Nemesis, war would break out between the Rikti Communality and Primal Earth after Nemesis used his automatons to convince the normally peaceful Rikti that Primal Earth was a planet full of genocidal savages via massive scale civilian massacres against Rikti civilians on their homeworld. Attacking the Earth in 2002, the first phase of the war would last a half year and become the world's deadliest conflict in terms of losses to military and parahuman personnel* since the second world war though the Rikti studiously avoided attacks or atrocities against civilians.

Following the sacrifice of "Alpha Team", comprised of many of the greatest capes on Primal Earth in an assault on the Rikti headquarters in an effort to distract them from the sacrifice of Omega team; a team comprised of elite capes of "magical" natures; the Rikti army's primary link to their home dimension was severed, forcing it to resort to guerilla warfare and conversion of local humans into Rikti via the Lost Mutagen. Though the conflict was devastating, it seemed to encourage the formation of a massive new generation of heroes; and reverse engineering Rikti technology allowed for a massive technological renaissance followed by a large reconstruction economic boom. In the aftermath of the conflict, any lingering traces of the old Cold War began to fade with a Soviet-American reconciliation; made more pertinent by the threat of the State of the Etoille Islands and its ruling Arachnos organisation under Lord Recluse; the almost universally acknowledged highest profile and most potentially dangerous supervillain in the world; especially as ever larger numbers of supervillains made their home on the Rogue Islands in pursuit of Recluse's offer of safe harbour. Despite this, Arachnos is a universally internationally recognised government and as the Etoille islands are a nuclear power and a military superpower; overt regime change is unlikely.

The third and most recent major extradimensional invasion would come from "Praetorian Earth", a timeline where the Cold war escalated into nuclear conflict and thus triggered the awakening of an S-Tier threat known as "Hamidon"*, a self-proclaimed embodiment of the rage and violence of nature at humanity's abuses capable of infecting and converting biomass and even inorganic material that is not protected against the Tellurian plague into combat forms for the Devouring Earth. With nuclear bombardment proving futile against the Devouring Earth and much of the world being rapidly overrun by the infestation, the world turned to the Statesman to provide them unity; crowning him as Emperor of the Earth and giving him full leave to do anything necessary to stop the invasion; where he confronted and then apparently defeated the largest avatar of the Hamidon. Intelligence revealed that this was a lie, and that Cole simply begged Hamidon to give humanity a chance to show that under his rule; it could live in harmony with nature. Hamidon agreed, and Cole used his control over most of the world's parahumans; especially thinkers and tinkers, to rapidly advance technology in many directions, creating a society where controlled robots would take care of most menial labour and allow people to have the free time to pursue the service to the Empire that they desired, or even simply nothing at all.

However the "bonapartist" regime would feel obliged to invade Primal earth after contact was established as Emperor Cole desired to move to a reality where his position was not dependent on the good graces of his incarnation of Hamidon. Despite a significantly numerically inferior population, Praetorian Earth felt that the advantage of surprise, better military technology, more concentrated and organised parahuman divisions, and the division of Primal Earth would allow for a swift takeover. In the two year long war to follow, Primal Earth would coordinate with the Praetorian Resistance and tear out the foundations of Cole's Empire and liquidate or capture most of his lieutenants and inner circle until the final battle at the Magisterum of his Capital where Cole would detonate a massive tinkertech augmented nuclear missile to kill tens of millions of his own citizens and rearrange much of the local geography in a mass-extinction event-level blast; feeding himself with the "souls" of his citizenry and making use of his close relation to the Well of Furies to assume a giant superpowered form that did battle with twenty-four incarnates; eventually ending in his defeat and the Well rescinding its favour from him.

Cole was arrested and put on trial for crimes against humanity and was sentenced to life in prison, where he has remained ever since; seeming to believe that he fundamentally belongs there despite the prison being highly unlikely to be able to genuinely contain him. Due to the usage of the nuclear weapon violating the terms of the agreement made with Hamidon, the Devouring Earth concluded its conflict with Praetorian Humanity; forcing it to evacuate to Primal Earth or die against the impossibly large and continually infecting swarm. The population of Primal Earth and its technology were integrated into the victorious member states of Primal Earth; spreading across the world in a large diaspora that has continued to remain a hot button political issue due to lingering resentment over the war and tensions over the Praetorians' place in society.

Primal Earth has in the eight years since; primarily focused its large scale efforts on fighting the forces of the reality consuming being known as Rularuu, the "Great King of All Demons", the Nictus, the "Nether Gods", as well as the Praetorian Hamidon and the incursions of a planet devouring entity known as Shiva among many others; along with continuing conflict with the Rikti lineage of war and efforts to hunt down the last of the Banished Pantheon for their part in the "death-god" Mot's attempts to consume humanity across the multiverse. A number of other threats and dangers also have continued to manifest or escalate, such as paramilitary conflicts against fascist groups such as the Imperial Wind, 5th Column, and Council, efforts to stomp out the Malta group conspiracy, the growing influence and power of Arachnos, the rise of the so called "Illuminati" made out of many once more disparate villain organisations into a new power to be reckoned with,

Much effort is also being spent in preparing the Earth for a predicted Alien invasion by a force known as the Battalion in what they call the "coming storm"; which is believed to be the primary threat to the human species in their cluster of realities and potentially to all others. If the Battalion succeeds at its task of absorbing the Well of Furies, it will absorb the potential, creativity, will, and essence of the human species across all variants of humanity that have a connection to the Well. Hwoever, the Battalion was expected to begin its invasion in 2013, and after several years, no sign of the Battalion has yet manifested besides its advance guard. The reason for the delay remains unknown, but is currently theorised by Primal Earth authorities to be related to the omniversal nexus event.

Primal Earth is not only many years ahead of our Earth; with its present being set in 2021; but has advanced considerably ahead of our own Earth thanks to a greater ease of replicating tinker technology, numerous samples of extradimensional and terrestrial technology to directly reverse engineer, the acceptance of artificially intelligent robots as fully fledged members of society able to contribute as they wish to it, and more robust education systems producing a proportionately higher number of researchers than our own world. Living standards are on average, higher and life expectancy is also greater even with the high density of parahuman violence and abnormal incidents. As markets expand with ever growing trade networks with alternate earths, the economy continues to grow and opportunities for offworld expansion have seen a further flourishing of progress. However, the parahuman population of Primal Earth is far less controlled than our own, and much of the cape community strongly values its independence from the state or formal police organisations.

Our counterpart organisation on this Earth is known as the "Federal Bureau of Superpowered Affairs", established under the Roosevelt administration. It notably takes a far more hands-off approach to managing parahuman affairs than our own, operating no formal team under its wing; rather simply having a number of parahuman agents mixed in with its overall pool of manpower. The most famous parahuman team to operate in America; the Freedom Phalanx explicitly rejects any direct ties to the governments of any state in the world and operates on a strictly non-profit basis. While once lead by Statesman, following his death at the hands of Darrin Wade; a low-level villain who had found a ritual that allowed him to exploit a weakness in the nature of Statesman's powers to kill him and absorb his abilities; as well as Sister Psyche; whom Wade killed with another ritual with the same purpose in the hopes of using their powers to take over the mind and body of Rularuu followed by the departure of Manticore from the Freedom Phalanx; leadership of the Phalanx has passed down to Positron, who together with Ms.Liberty, Penelope Yin (aka Psychward), and Dream Dcotor forms the "big four" of American superheroes.

The Freedom Phalanx's explicit detachment from governmental bodies has lead to them having independent capacity to act, wholly separate from the Primal American government; and the Freedom Phalanx is already observing our own Earth for opportunities to recruit and establish facilities and has offered numerous good-will operations to build trust and solidarity between the Phalanx's parent adjoined organisation; Freedom Corps and our own Earth. Concerningly, the Freedom Corps maintains its own paramilitary outfit known as Longbow, a fully independent supply, research, and development chain, more than one parahuman team, a large number of headquarters and bases spread across the Earth; even including a number of major space stations known as the Acropolis; and has a history of openly defying the American government when it believes that the government is in the wrong. The Freedom Corps must be regarded as an aterritorial loose cannon to no lesser degree than Arachnos itself and the duo of Positron and Ms.Liberty to be as much of a potential danger as the also incarnate powered Lord Recluse and Red Widow.

Primal Earth seems to be broadly optimistic about the potential outcomes of contact with our own world, but remains cautious due to numerous poor experiences with alternate timelines. The prognosis for open conflict between our two incarnations of Earth does not seem to be particularly encouraging as Primal Earth is more populous, advanced, and has a much higher number of A or S tier parahumans as well as a likely larger number of them. While our Earth enjoys greater centralisation and organisation of its parahuman assets; the defeat of the Praetorian Empire urges caution before thinking that this would be enough to offset the advantages of numbers and industrial output. Until this can be reconciled, perhaps through pact with Earth Aleph, Kaph and Ciheit, antagonising Primal Earth is not recommended. And even with such a pact, victory would be far from certain given Primal Earth's far greater experience in waging interdimensional war and its own allied alternate earths. Should the Pro-Peace Rikti-Traditionalists honour their alliance with Primal Earth for example; Thinkers calculate that our chances of victory even in an optimal series of alliances decline tremendously from low to abysmal. Should the "Choirs" and the "Fae" also intervene; chances of victory decline to almost nil.

However, conflict is unlikely to be necessary; as Primal Earth is searching primarily for trade partners and allies against the "Coming Storm" and is willing to offer its assistance in exchange for agreements, pacts, and cooperation. Trade will have to be closely monitored and regulated to ensure that geopolitics are not fatally disrupted by the contact with a higher technology society or by Primal Earth's differing culture. However, as a gesture of good will, the Primal Earth United Nations has proposed dispatching many of its Max security level capes towards fighting the next endbringer attack in exchange for a number of our own capes participating in a "Hamidon raid" against Primal Earth's incarnation of the creature as part of containment efforts to ensure that it does not develop into a more evolved form. Without any strings attached to the offer, it would seem to be ideal to accept the suggestion for the time being; particularly combined with the Autobot offer of lending out many of their soldiers to assisting with these two events themselves.

Though if Laserbolt's performance against Behemoth when empowered by this "incarnate force" is of any indication; where the once midling cape was able to single-handedly drive Behemoth back from her carved out fiefdom in South America seemingly non the worse for wear while Behemoth seemed to be dealt numerous deep injuries it visibly struggled to regenerate due to some force interfering in the process until it withdrew in seeming fear, having suffered severe injuries without causing any damage to Laserbolt herself; the loan of Primal Earth's S-Tier capes might allow for the outright death of one of the Endbringers, which presents an exciting possibility.

Their assistance in arresting Laserbolt herself would also be appreciated, as all attempts to capture or kill her from either the Brazilian government or international community have been soundly repulsed so far.


*Primal Earth terminology prefers to refer to superpowered humans as "metahumans". Directive from PRT Chiefs is to continue to refer to Primal earth superhumans as "parahumans" regardless for convenience.
**Primal Earth has its own version of the Hamidon that arose much later and remains far less developed, being contained in the Hive district where teams of maximum security level metahumans assault it on a daily basis to prevent it from evolving further, though no means to ensure its death have been discovered.
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 13

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[X]: Sleepover at PRT base with Vista

Arne

"Hey, if you want, you two could spend the night with the wards. It'd be fun." Vista offered as you cast your gaze from Samus to her and then back to Samus. A smile started to creep on her face that widened into that characteristic grin, one that made you feel just a little bit better about yourself as you couldn't help but receive a bit of her own optimism.

"Of course we can!" Samus said before you could formulate your own reply, and as you often did you simply nodded and remained quiet rather than interrupt her while she spoke.

"Oh man, seriously? God hold on, let me send a call back home..." Kid Win said focusing for a moment with his new suit before he established a superluminal connection to the American cellphone network, ringing in a call to his parents.

Stormchild, who had mostly elected to just have a look around finally returned to the group with an exaggerated stretch and yawn.

"Where have you been, Lola? You can't just grab the pizza box and run off like that for six hours." Cerebro asked.

"Hey it's a big place you know. Big enough to have its own weather system. Figured I'd check around, show the 'bots how lucky they are to have me on their side." Lola said, flipping her long black hair back a bit and smirking,

"So...these two the ones who dropped out the sky huh?" Lola said, narrowing her eyes on the two of you.

"Mhrm! I'm Samus, and this is Arne. Or will...Dawnchild and Duskguard!" She said, pulling you in and grinning at Lola who gave you two a satisfied once over and a nod before her hands returned to her hips and a nod came from her.

"Looking good you two. Parents must have been champion divers at the gene pool." She said with a "mmhmmm" at the end as you took a second to try and process the compliment. Admission of finding you attractive plus mention of genetics and biological parents meant it was probably a sex thing. Champion plus "looking good" entails positive compliment. Therefore...

"I am unaware of my parents' record of sexual performance, doubly so for Samus'." You said to the sudden dead silence of the room before Raelamiel started to crack and then laugh, Alice and Joseph following suit before Kid Win's fortress of stoicism shattered in seconds and he doubled over giggling. Samus seemed equally confused as well, tightening her lips and then raising an eyebrow as high as it could go. You stopped for a moment as you tried to think about where you misstepped...where you....

"Oh that's...you just meant I inherited my appearance from my...I'm going to...shut up now." You said, looking down and letting your cheeks go red with embarrassment before Raelamiel patted you on the shoulder reassuringly.
"Hey, it's no big space viking dude." She said with a more matronly, reassuring look much closer to what you'd expect from an angel than her usual over the top coolkid antics. "You can make people laugh, that's great Arne my man." She said with a hum as you nodded.

"Don't worry, I was also lost by that. Some of these idioms are a bit obtuse I'm afraid." Samus said, giving you a gentle expression that you returned until she returned her attention to Vista.

"So, what can we expect from the base?" Samus asked, looking down at the much shorter girl as she played around with the skirt of the suit just a little before looking dead on at you, her eyes making contact with yours in a way that would have told you she wanted to hear from you even if you couldn't sense her actual emotions just from her proximity.

"Individual rooms for one. The base has had to be expanded a lot with the wave of new parahumans that keep on popping up constantly. We've had a few security upgrades too, but there's just a lot of stuff there to help kids feel like they belong." She said, tilting her head and trying to study your face for any possible response.

"Individual rooms?" You said. Not ideal but manageable you supposed.

"Mmhrm. We'll just show you to some spare rooms. I'll recommend they keep yours close together." She said with a smile.

"Well...we just have to clear it with the autob-" You said before Samus shook her head.

"Already done." She said, a thumbs up being produced by wheeljack and a beaming smile coming from the young blonde in return as you nodded and exhaled. So be it then.

"Well, I'd prefer to take my ship with me, if that's alright." You said, having Sleipnir on hand always felt comforting. She was an old friend built by your own hands and tools, styled to fit the way you thought a companion throughout the stars ought to be. You thought of her in a way you imagined people thought about horses in the ancient past when they were the primary form of speedy transport. Her S.C was also a pretty good conversationalist when you got lonely, which was admittedly often. You need to work on more friends, especially since you're so far away from the Magnus academy for the ultrasophontic.

"Uh hrm, I think we have an aircraft hangar you can use? It's a recent addition after some tinkers built these whitewasps inspired by the Dragoncraft." She said, shrugging.

"Hey, the Whitewasps took me and the tinkers all summer break to make." Kid Win protested.

"We're still not sure who donated the money and the materials to use but I'm sure if there was any sabotage in the works it'd have appeared now." Cerebro said with a shrug.

"At least, that's what I've been told. Not sure if I buy it." He continued, adjusting his glasses and sipping another can of soda, trying to work his tongue around in his own mouth as if he was trying to find a specific taste sensation before nodding in approval.

"Come on Zach, don't be mister downer all the time." Chris said as Samus gestured to you all to follow her.

"Well; since we're here on diplomatic purposes I think Raela and I should come along." Tyrius offered, getting an eager grin out of Vista and a quirked eyebrow from Cerebro.

"You two aren't exactly inconspicuous. I would venture as far as to say that you are in fact, superconspicuous. Your very presence grabs attention like nothing else." Zach said, before Tyrius offered a small shrug and let his wings and pointed ears seem to melt away, his guise taking on a far more human form as he offered a double finger pistol and wink, Raelamiel following suit and pushing her sunglasses up so that they'd glint in the light.

"...Well, we already have autobots there so...why not let them?" Chris said.

"Correction, we have autobots at the PRT HQ. Not the Ward base." Zach responded.

The trip to your ship wasn't very long, and you sat yourself in the pilot's seat like it was an old friend. The interior of your ship was cooly lit and you kept more of your personal effects aboard than Samus did. An Uskarlic good luck charm was fitted ontop of your dashboard, carved magnetostone with glowing runes speaking of honour, togetherness, equality, safety, and liberty with the last rune simply saying "Skjoldr". You weren't the last Skjoldr, no, but you met very few of your cousins and other distant relatives. But this? This let you feel like you were still part of that family, even after eleven years of separation.

Cerebro let out a yelp as the ship scanned him, modified him, and then called up a Grendalk Landvorthur pattern combatsuit from its energy stores; fashioning matter from nothing more than spare energy. He had said he was going to offer his consent to the process, but it still came as a surprise as his genome was quickly "fixed" by the ship to Uskarlyc standards of fitness; born of their demand that all citizens of its culture be ready to fight should the time come and their settlements be faced with attack. For humans, that meant anyone over the age of ten was prepared for the last bastion protocol. Should the remaining adults and synthetics not already committed to the forward defense be unable to hold back the foe; the youth would make the last stand for the very youngest to escape. When defence of clanhomes was on the line; there could be no surrender without fighting to exhaustion.

His suit was coloured primarily purple, grey, and white like his costume was. His t-shaped visor had a kite shield like mouthguard fitted over the lower half of his face, while its turtle shell like top helm swept a bit farther back than his head went, giving his more vital bits greater protection from falling projectiles. Sidescoops like vaguely reminiscent of old hussars went down his face just behind his cheeks, A unipiece chestplate locked into segmented abdominal armour with illuminated white highlights where major plates fitted into each other. A gunmetal arm cannon starting with a Tesla arc gun and largely the same loadout as the federation suit, albeit trading out mini-missiles for a smart grenade generator, the wrist-mounted flamethrower for a corroder gas sprayer, and the cryo-pistol for a sonic beam cutter pistol. Combined with the modules from Samus' ship; it gave him and the newly upgraded Vista and Kid Win at least eight weapon options at range. Stormchild's armour was similar, but styled blue white and yellow instead.

Something which only made Vista once again remark about their "increasing similarity to the power rangers. Just need a Megazord at this rate." You didn't get it, but it seemed funny so you offered her a laugh.

"...Ugh...the warning did not...help at all with that." Zach said as he flopped onto one of your chairs, taking a look at the shelf of carvings you had made over the years; usually working with stone or metal. All working to give you a rustic, almost barbarian like aesthetic and feel.

"Very pagan." He said as he looked around and focused his attentions on a circle of figures you had made yourself to honour your pantheon. Arranged according to the tracings of the Mobius Knot on the floor below it. You had a proper shrine deeper in your ship, but having one here for you to pray at before exiting your vessel saved the time spent walking towards it. Thirty Six figures, Six Masculine, Six Feminine, Six Androgyne, Six Neutral, Six Genderless, and six transcendent. The thirty six major deities; the Valmjorsir. As real to you as the air you breathed or the Spirits and Lords of Creation that Samus prayed to.

"...Very, very Pagan." He said as he examined it in more detail while Raelamiel urged him to stand a bit back.

"Hey, don't touch the guy's religious stuff, mkay?" She said.

"Yes, it's really quite sacred to his culture and I'd be quite upset if you disrupted its matrices." Samus said, a nod coming from Cerebro as the ship shot across the distance between the Earth and the moon so quickly that Zach and Lola barely had any time to gawk out at space before you had re-entered the atmosphere over Brockton Bay.

A quick scan showed you that the portal had been moved to an emptier part of the city where they had already established an embassy thanks to superhumanly fast robot and mage assisted work crews; furthermore establishing security checkpoints to make sure that travel between Primal Earth and Earth Bet went through the proper channels. And another look at the news showed that similar portals had been opened up elsewhere; such as between Primal Earth's city of Tsikhiygrad at the Soviet pacific coast and the Earth Bet city of Frunzegrad at the western arctic coast or Saxshire in Primal Earth Britain and Angleshire on Earth bet.

UN peacekeeper, PRT, BPD, and military Personnel mingled with their primal earth counterparts from Vanguard, the FBSA, the PPD, and the Primal Earth American military. Weird how quickly this country's politics could move when they deemed it necessary despite how slowly it moved nearly any other time.

The Sleipnir and Dormach slid into the open hangar door next to a number of white painted VTOL craft marked with the symbol of the PRT. Having familiarity with the Blackbird, you immediately guessed that the craft's name came from being virtually the opposite of the Blackbird. Squat rather than long, white rather than black, built for agility and lifting power rather than speed and stealth, and with a somewhat wasp shaped fuselage with tilt-jets that would be operated by nonpowered adult crew in most circumstances. A quick look told you the weapon set was mostly less than lethal, though you personally had doubts about whether the microwave pain-ray on the nose wasn't capable of killing someone under the craft's own power. And the missile pods and door mounted auto-grenade launchers could easily have their containment foam warheads swapped out with conventional munitions.

Your craft fitted themselves neatly into available spaces after having pinged and received landing permission; landing struts extracting themselves and the lot of you filing out in full gear. You took another look at your ship and stroked its side before walking away, rejoining the group quickly and keeping to Samus' side.

"Honestly, it's a lot fancier than what we used to have." Vista remarked as she showed you to a few PRT officers at the checkpoint who froze briefly at your countenance. You sensed two things, one was that the insectoid glare of your monocular visor intimidated them, the other was that they recognised you from the fight with the Rikti despite how much your armour had changed since then.

They looked back at Samus with similar recognition behind their visors and then back at you and made a hard gulp.

Vista pulled off her new helmet and then gave a nod to them. "Don't worry, they're friendly." She said, Tyrius offering a friendly wave of reassurance before the PRT Officers parted to let you through.

"You two made a bit of an...impact when footage of the forests and Munich came out to the rest of us." Zach said, Samus looking towards you and smiling beneath her helmet as you kept walking through the relatively spartan hallways. You could just smell the stale air conditioning even with your helmet on, and you didn't even wait to scan the first computer you saw as Vista checked in at a desk.

Most of the files were irrelevant but you quickly grabbed something that caught your eye.

Review of Arne Skjoldr and Samus Aran's combat footage has revealed the fact that attempting to give them a threat categorization is fruitless due to their ability to be argued as fitting into virtually every category and thanks to their powers' ability to change and improve drastically. As such, we kindly ask employees to stop using the PRT intranet to argue about which category and numerical ranking they fit into. Especially utilising such vulgar language. You're better than that.

That made you smirk under your helmet, passing the file to Samus and sharing a quick giggle beneath your helmets while the clearance to the underground ward dedicated portion of the facility was granted.

"Uh...you have fun...kids..." The desk worker said, the woman frowning a bit as she looked at you and Samus, then at Raelamiel and Tyrius. She shrugged and returned to her night shift work while the eight of you piled into the elevator and descended down towards the underground dome where the Wards resided.

"We never can escape elevators...can we?" You said to Samus who shook her head and made a little laugh.

"Just a part of life it seems!" She said as you continued to go down at a pace that was clearly...slower than you'd like an elevator to go.

Out of boredom, Samus tapped her foot to the beat of a song she had stuck in her head for the last few days, your fingers following the beat by rapping against the metal of the elevator's walls. The four earth Bet natives exchanged a few glances in confusion before Kid Win; using his new suit's databases; found the sound, decided it was catchy, and joined in by the whine of his arm cannon shifting modes. Finally, Lola added her own beat in the second she was passed the file into her memory; beat boxing it while Zach's straight-lined face formed an even straighter line.

Raelamiel made up some lyrics on the spot, guessing the vibe of the song with her angelic intuition while Tyrius fluttered his wings to add the backdrop hum. Figuring that it seemed to be fun, Vista started to clap along, and eventually even Zach decided he may as well not be left out as he clanged his soda can along the wall for a heavier drop.

You were, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the biggest bunch of god damn nerds in the history of the Omniverse.

When the elevator finally arrived, someone in a hooded and cloaked robe, a relatively skin tight outfit fitted with some armour padding, and a black painted metal mask. Having overviewed the footage of the fight at Brockton Bay, you recognised her as one of the wards who were the first to get into a fight with the starsetters...except she was the one who...

Shadow Stalker, aka Sophia Hess, is an African-American parahuman with the ability to phase herself and objects in her possession through most forms of matter as long as they do not either specifically block out intangible objects nor have electromagnetic fields in them or between her and the object. Attempting to phase through such objects will cause her significant injury or forcibly solidify projectiles under the effect. Due to Parahuman culture being largely unfond of conventional fire arms, her primary ranged weapon are customised hand drawn crossbows with a wholly conventional and thus extremely low rate of fire and slow projectile speed. While extremely fit and somewhat above standard human limits for strength, endurance, and resilience like most parahumans; she would still be considered extremely weak and frail for a human by the user's reality's standards. As her ability would not be able to function against the user even unarmoured, and she is far weaker, less skilled, and has much lesser senses; she is a non-threat.

Sophia Hess is also regarded as extremely standoffish with a deeply dominating personality and scorn for both people she perceives as dead weight as well as loathing for those she sees as insurmountable stronger than she is. As she is thought of as a rather weak parahuman who could be dealt with by a single fireteam of trained PRT officers were she to go rogue; the latter group forms a quite extensive list. One that drives her to try and push her training as hard as possible in an effort to elevate her body, mind, and powers out of a desperate desire to avoid being seen as weak or lacking in utility herself. Remaining on her good side is largely impossible, even for people she finds attractive. After having nearly killed a man as a vigilante, she was given a choice of either juvenile incarceration or probationary service in the wards, where she tries to guise her attitude with surface level charm to avoid being recommended for ejection by overly antagonising her teammates.

Recommendation: Ignore when possible, assertively force to stop should she persist in attempts to make user uncomfortable.

"Yo, I know you. Angry girl, got tased by Boltdance and sat out the entire fight. Sweet crossbow though." Raelamiel said flippantly as you sensed a sudden boil of anger beneath the girl's surface. She clenched her fist and seethed, breathing out sharply in a way you believed she didn't expect anyone else to hear except she was in front of eight people with superhearing now.

"Angel girl...why are you here?" She asked as Raelamiel dismissed her helmet and armour entirely; changing into a fancy looking blue tux, blue jeans, and trendy shoes out of thin air, her twin-tailed white hair flowing to its normal length while her hands wint in her pockets and an easy smile formed on her elfin face; now unarmoured wings fluttering gently.

"Gotta ya know, establish the Starsetter-Ward alliance. Gonna be friends now after all. Ya dig? We cool? I'm cool. I'm cool like pluto." She said making two finger pistols and a clicking sound with her mouth after grinning as Sophia almost started to shake with rage that you could feel as surely as water boiling in a kettle about to explode.

"Fucking...." Sophia hissed.

Tyrius, sensing a fight brewing, followed suit in changing; his armour melting away in a solar light to leave him in a comfortable looking pair of slacks, sweat pants, and a shirt that looked like a short-sleeved shirt worn over a longer one but was really just one shirt in a fashion statement you didn't really understand the point of; his radiant aura issuing out a calming effect on nearly everyone in the room.

Even someone as mean-tempered as she was couldn't fully stay that way this close to Tyrius' Celestial and Fae Aura of resplendance and her anger seemed to melt. She even removed the mask to get a once over with her own eyes and a quick bite of her lower lip as she let go of her current bad mood.

"...Damn, up close pretty boy you really are something else." She said, lowering her hood and giving an approving smirk. "The tin suit doesn't really do you justice." She said, Tyrius shrugging his shoulders gently before looking to Raelamiel as she lowered her sunglasses.

"Great face, shit attitude on you though." She said to the Angel getting a scoff out of Raela as the Angel looked a bit down at her and then shook her head and looked past her.

Your own armour and Samus' also faded; followed by everyone else's; leaving you two in your civvies and the other four in their conventional costumes.

"Damn when did we become the power ra-" Sophia started.

"I have...heard that joke already." Zach said, raising a finger and giving a stern look.

"Mmhrm." She said with an eyeroll while she looked towards you and Samus next, Samus folding her arms in front of her and yourself just keeping your hands at your side, studying her as she moved around.

"Tch, figures that people as good looking as you two would hide in armour as concealing as that." She said.

"It's not meant to be sexually suggestive. That's a silly requirement for power armour." Samus said, hrmphing slightly while Sophia shook her head and then focused squarely on yourself.

"So, which anime did you crawl out of?" She said.

"...None?" You responded, raising a finger and urging her to step back by extending your arm. She'd seen enough of the footage from Munich and the snowfields to know what you could do with your arm, and figured that if you could move like that; even without your suit getting hit by you wouldn't be a fun time. She didn't know the half of it of course, but she exhaled sharply and acceded to your request.

"So...it is pretty late so it's probably time to just...show you to where people sleep in. It's your first time here and you're just visiting so I...guess it wouldn't be too much of a problem if you slumber partied with some of us." Vista said, looking up at Cerebro who gave a nod before binning one of his soda cans.

"I'll go get the sleeping bags." He said, taking a look at his glasses folding them away as he realised he had no need for them. He'd need to ask one of the tinkers around for some computer-goggles to maintain his guise.

Aegis stepped up afterwards; passing through a door and looking at Sophia before looking at the eight of you and then hardening his glare at Tyrius.

"Hey...no hard feelings right?" Tyrius said as Carlos only stretched his face further into a frown.

"I want a rematch at some point." He said coldly.

"Aw shucks, should I hold back for you?" Tyrius said in an attempt at a genuine offer but even you could see how it'd easily be interpreted as an insult.
"Can it fairy boy, maybe you won't be so tough out of sir lancelot's metal plate." He said as the Nymph-Faerie simply gave a frown.

"It's not going to improve your chances but if it makes you feel better sure. I'll try not to break anything." He said as Aegis seemed about ready to get going then and there before you stepped in the way and interposed yourself between the other two boys.

"Let's...not do that right now." You said, flicking your gaze between the two of them.

"Arne's right; it's not really appropriate to get into a fight when we're just trying to get along and be friends. We're all friends here, right?" She said while Lola called to Carlos in Spanish, asking him to calm down and just welcome the guests for the night over. She got a reply in the same language, that Tyrius just had that kind of insufferably noble attitude that rubbed him as insincere. To which she replied that well, he seemed nice so far and he was cute so she wanted to at least give him a chance. Which got Aegis to rub his brow in irritation.

"Hey, I actually understood that!" Chris said, being the only one to stay in his armour since it had melded with his "costume" altogether, simply retracting his helmet and arm cannon and folding his arms.

Lola looked at him with surprise and shock and then an expression of dismay as Carlos wryly remarked that the days of getting to speak together in Spanish to confuse the monolingual members of the team were sadly over. To which you said, in flawless Mexican Spanish yourself that it was kind of awkward to be just standing around here; to which Samus added that she was pretty eager to see the rooms now, taking your hand in her own while Sophia scowled briefly.

Samus

You walked down with Arne, handholding the whole way down, he was a warm soft piece of boy and having someone whose experiences were similar to yours made this all so much easier. Even if it was unlikely you'd get to celebrate a mission well done in...quite the way the two of you were hoping for, having them at your side always gave you someone to talk to at least. Even though you sensed that there was something persistently bothering him that he was afraid to talk about, he was still an anchor of something you recognised as normalcy.

"So anyway, I'm the leader of the outfit here. It's gotten to be a tougher job with all the parahumans triggering these days, but hey, it pays decently and someone needs to do it. Got to say a lot of us were disappointed when you decided to go with the robots and didn't really give us a second look. But hey, I guess Earth might not be all that interesting to someone from...how far into the future was it?" Carlos asked, Chris looking up and replying quickly.

"Forty eight thousand years into the future."

"...Damn." He said after blinking, running a hand through his long hair.

"So just...going in that ship got you a free power suit and a genetic refit?" Aegis asked, getting a nod out of the four.

"How many spare suits you got?" He asked.

"Erm...the ships can just forge them out of energy from their reactors. It's not a complicated process with such simple designs. But please try not to overdo it. I'm not sure how your society would handle that sort of a jump in technology and you'd be very reliant on me for the infrastructure to do major repairs to the suits, and infantry alone won't be enough to avert the crisis ahead." You said, pausing and shaking your head just a bit.

"But...what we could do is offer our help with catching up?" You said, placing your hands on your hips and nodding.

"Think of it like the metaphor with fish." Arne said, getting a nod from Carlos.

"But the genetic thing?"

"Oh it's basically just a better rikti biopod. We could probably start producing them once Positron or someone else has a look." Tyrius said.

"Hrm...going to have to give that a visit ASAP then. I'd like to not have to patch up bullet holes." He said with a wry smirk while Goldberg made a small "tut-tut" as she stepped into the dining room, the young Jewish girl looking rather different without her suit of plate. Rather buff, with wiry golden hair and stark green eyes as well as circle rimmed glasses. She looked like someone wasn't sure whether to present as a nerd or a fighter and decided to go with both; her shirt showing off much of her arms and her stretchy trousers clearly being made for comfort over all other concerns.

She looked at the group and flushed a bit at Raelamiel and yourself but also stole some glances at Arne and Tyrius; focusing on the nymph knight in particular, perhaps out of trying to understand where his strength and power came from.

"You four hardly look as strong as you actually are." She said in a vaguely quebecois accent, clearly having had some coaching to not stand out with her voice but the embers of it remaining.

"Looks are deceiving." Tyrius said as you removed your jacket and tied its arms around your waist to cool off a bit yourself, your sleeveless white top making the strength in your arms quite apparent; lean, powerful, agile, able to move faster than railgun spikes and hit harder too. And perhaps to the surprise of many, completely unmarred by scarring. You healed too quickly and too perfectly to need scar tissue anyway, and breaking your skin was quite the challenge to begin with.

You let your hair down from its low, space-compressed ponytail into its more natural length, spilling far past your shoulders, shoulder blade, the midsection of your spine, and flowing a bit past your hips even. Ah, the sensation of your hair being pulled back gone all at once. You flipped your hair a bit and leaned on a table, giving a cutesy smile and laying a hand on the surface you were propping yourself up on, folding one leg.

Arne had also followed suit, wanting to feel a bit of extra air on his skin. His black shirt also not covering any of his arms save for a small bit of his shoulders. His musculature was a bit more prominent than yours, but he was clearly built for speed rather than brute power. His neck was just the right degree of thickness for his head, and his white hair fell down to a bit past the base of his skull, roughly to the midpoint of his neck in fact.

Your blue eyes met his red eyes and the two of you scooched a bit closer together, moving your vast amount of golden hair a bit out of the way to avoid sitting on it while he sat himself down next to you and only then did you realise that everyone had fallen almost completely silent.

Something only broken up by Raelamiel letting out a prolonged "Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn" while Vista seemed to be in the process of answering the question of what was the reddest possible hue for human skin and Chris almost choked on his drink.

"...You two parahumans or supermodels?" Carlos finally said, trying his best to not seem impressed.

"...Neither?" Arne said.

"So how much Iron do you pump to stay in that sort of shape?" Lola asked.

"You can't pump solid iron, it's not a fluid." Arne said as if she had just spouted absolute nonsense.

You gave it a thought though. Ah the context was body shape so...yes that meant it had to be referring to exercise. Yes, you looked to Skjoldr and tapped him on the shoulder and whispered the news to him as he looked embarrassed and muttered a sheepish "sorry".

"We're not very familiar with all of the...idioms of your era so please forgive us if we make a number of mistakes when trying to decipher your intent. We really do mean no harm, honest!" You said as you clasped your hands together, closed your eyes and made a reassuring smile before opening them again and looking around and flipping open a lid on the cookie jar to grab one and have a sniff.

Hrm...acceptable. Could be much better, but acceptable. You placed it in your mouth and chewed. Chocolate was one of your gravest weaknesses, its rich taste always helped put you in a better mood; and your shared a fondness for it with Arne. Now whether lime or lemon flavour was the superior sort of citrus was something that had started some oft heated debate between the two of you; especially when it came time to cook or prepare juice...like that one time when you were craving something sugary, cold, and sweet and were brought into this fierce debate over...ah more digressions.

"Well, thank goodness you don't mean harm when you can outwrestle something born on a pulsar." Zach said flatly as he helped himself to a pringle.

"Best thing about this place...never run out of pringles." He said after chewing and swallowing with a satisfied expression.

"Zach if you keep on going through pringles cans we're gonna have to rename you Bellyflop." Sophia said with a snide voice that just made Cerebro roll his eyes and continue to eat his chips with a smug expression on his face.

"Thanks to these augments I can control my metabolism so I can burn it all off while sitting down if I want." He said proudly before eating yet another pringle, the smell of salt and vinegar almost cloying in your nose.

"See Tyrius, you might have Lares pizza...but I've got pri-"

"Yo we also have pringles man. It's not unique to your Earth." Raelamiel said as Zach seemed briefly deflated and sulked.

"Can't let me have this one thing huh?" Zach said as Aegis reached for his can only for him to yank it back and stare him down.

"Come on man, there's tons of other cans. You don't need to borrow mine." He said, Vista snorting at the sight while Lola helped herself to some soft-serve ice cream. You couldn't help but wonder...you stepped up and got a bowl for yourself and had yourself a taste with the nearest spoon you could fish out. Hrmmmmmmmmmmmm....this is actually acceptable, especially with the chocolate sauce. You sat back down with Arne and shared some with him, enjoying how his expression seemed to light up as he enjoyed a bit of sweets for once.

"Well, what do you all want to do at this sleepover?" You asked, swinging your legs a bit as you helped yourself to another spoonful of softserve and hummed a little tune as you let the ice cream melt inside of your moth.

"Well, we're a room full of people who are either nocturnal or don't need to sleep so..." Aegis said with a scratch to the back of his neck.

"What was it like, being raised by aliens?" Vista asked, folding her arms together and helping herself to a pringles can, carefully popping it into her mouth after finishing her sentence and not a moment before.

"They well...they really let me be who I wanted to be. Learn what I wanted to learn, and when they told me of the prophecy of the Hatchling...I wanted to be the person in that prophecy." You said, wistfully and twirling some of your golden hair around an index finger as you reminisced on some of the best moments of your life.

"Huh, usually in like...fantasy books the hero of a prophecy is already kind of predetermined." Chris said.

"Some are, but other prophetic roles are things that you have to decide to fulfil. I could have not been the hatchling, another Orphan might have taken the role but...I thought it was right. That if I was going to be given all these gifts, that the least I should do is help people, so nobody else goes through what I did." You said with pride in your heart, laying a hand over your chest and giving a keen smile to the group as you felt a speech coming. The "Sammy speech" as Ian had come to affectionately call it. "My parents were just miners on K-2L; sure they had their tour in the navy, but I wasn't really born to very special people. I'm not a princess or an heiress of a fortune. I'm just a union worker's girl." You said wistfully, though not being an heiress wasn't entirely true given what the chozo expected you to inherit soon.

"There is a lot of horror and terror in the cosmos, and after losing...everything to it on K-2L. After seeing my mama give her life for me on K-2L, after seeing my papa sacrifice himself to destroy the leading ship of the space pirate fleet...after all the death and destruction....After being given another chance at life...I felt that I just had to use it so that no prayer for help would go unanswered. To become the hero I needed on my homeworld. So I wouldn't just vanquish evil, but help other people be good; solve the problems of society and lift people from the darkness after banishing the monsters that lurk within. Until we can all live in peace and plenty as all things should. So that all may live free and happy." You said, looking towards the ceiling and just imagining the stars lying beyond them, recalling your promise to see everything the cosmos had to offer and helping nearly every soul in need that you could find.

"And I wanted to see it all...to be there to record all the sights of the stars, to adventure to far off cultures full of people in need of my help and to make all the most wonderful kinds of friends. Because that's what life is, isn't it? An adventure waiting for us to take the leap into and pull people in need out of the mire they're in so that they can walk with us. So nobody ever goes poor or exploited, so nobody needs to be afraid or anxious again. So that we can all enjoy the fruits of our work and spend the time that we want with the people we cherish." You said, borderline sappy now as Arne gave you an encouraging nod and Tyrius and Raelamiel gave you encouraging thumbs ups. Vista seemed approving, and Aegis appreciative, but it was clear that Sophia thought it was...corny.

"Some of my caretakers were harder on me for it, wanting to make sure I knew what I was getting into. But I proved to them I could handle it. And most of them stopped questioning me after the Zorant incident." Old Bird and August Wing had accepted your decision sure, but Grey Voice...Spirits and Gods did he always give you such a hard time. You understood now that it wasn't because he didn't want you to go through with it. He just wanted to be sure that it was something you really wanted and understood the responsibilities of. Not something you were just doing on a girlish whim.

"But even the sceptics like Grey Voice or Iron Heart were usually nice to me at the end of the day. The only exception is well...Mother Brain." You said, frowning at the mention of the irksome Synthetic Consciousness and her endless criticisms, her contempt for your sense of morality and her constant demands that you push yourself harder in directions she deemed to be more suited for the cause than what you or Old Bird believed was best. "She's an absolute pain to deal with, always insisting that she's just being logical when she's just as emotional as anyone else really. But I guess she's just doing what she's designed to do, even if it makes me really, really not enjoy talking to her." You said with a sigh.

"Mother Brain is...a computer program I'm guessing? Doesn't sound like well, a normal, naturally born person." Carlos said.

"Artificial cybernetic synthetic consciousness based on zebetite, artificial cerebral matter, and hyperspatial computational software. Has enough brain power to manage every single world and facility under the care of the Kah-Sahmat Chozo simultaneously with orders of magnitude left to spare." Arne said, rattling off the facts that he had memorised as he took in a few scoops of the softserve and nodded in satisfaction. "<Tasty! I'll go fetch some more.>" He said to you in Ka-Sahmat-Bal, the tonal language being your private means of communicating with each other in a tongue that was guaranteed to not be understood by anyone else save for other progenitors.

"Sounds like she has the right idea then. You don't exactly strike me as someone who's as hard as someone given the kind of power you have should be." Sophia said, your eyes snapping towards her as you let out a small growl of discontentment towards her. That boiling sensation of anger was making itself known in your gut, the flames of the phoenix of fury starting to build inside of you as you scrunched up your face.

She looked at you again, at your complete lack of scar tissue, even your decision to apply some cosmetics; bit of eyeliner, a touch of lip gloss. All to help bring out more of the beauty you were starting to take more and more pride in. You looked good, why shouldn't you embrace that? "For a space Amazon, you strut around like a model and talk like a Disney princess. I'm not sure how things work forty-eight thousand years from now, but I'm sure that your high-minded ideals are going to get you hurt. Probably not killed or packing any scars...but sooner or later someone is going to make you cry when you realise that most people are bastards who need to be scared straight." She said as Carlos rolled his eyes, Vista pinched her brow, Tyrius made a straight lined face, Raelamiel snorted, and Chris clearly zoned out.

"Sophia could you please can the peanut gallery for five seconds?" Zach said with clear disdain. "I can tell you I'm much more interested in hearing the future girl speak of her ideals and dreams than hear you being a cynical downer for the millionth time. You're a cool anti-hero who thinks the world sucks. We get it." He said with a roll of his blue eyes before looking back at you. "Well...I'm not sure how much of your ideals will bear out, but it's good to have them." He said with a gentle smirk.

"Not to be a Paladin stereotype, but I fully agree with the sentiment." Tyrius said, placing a hand over his chest. "We need more people like you Samus. If we get enough people to act on that, we could all hang up our capes. Well...not that most of the people here even wear capes." He said with a slightly awkward laugh at the end. "But as someone who swore his life to the ideals of his goddess; her grace, her mercy, and her redeeming light; someone who can look at the darkness and see not despair but a challenge to make right is always going to be righteous in my book." He said, placing his hands on his hips and looking quite proud of himself.

"I'm going to vomit..." Sophia muttered as Vista looked towards him with a bit of impressed awe, placing her elbows on the table, smooshing her cheeks with her hands and leaning in closer.

"Bucket's back there my gal." Raelamiel said, filing at some of her nails and having another look.

"What about you Arne? The whole time at the moonbase you didn't really talk about the...Alimbics right? Always just your biological parents or maybe the one lady; Elmorni? What about the rest of them?" Chris asked, prompting your mood to darken a bit as Arne tensed slightly before he waved you off before you could speak up for his sake. You shared a glance at him, blue eyes meeting red. You wanted to be absolutely sure that he was ready to go through with this. He was...fragile, and you didn't like to see him hurt. Not physically or emotionally, even if he insisted he could handle it. But he seemed ready to speak, so you gave him the space to do so.

"To be honest, I didn't enjoy a lot of it. The leader of the ones who raised me never really cared about my problems or needs. Even when I tried to please him constantly. At first I thought he was just being tough but, thinking about it later, I'm not sure he ever really liked me." He said, still studiously avoiding the mention of the name Zurvduat. Noble-General of the Tetrarch Order, De Facto Elder-Triumvirati of the Order with no higher ranking military official than himself being discovered among the Alimbic remnant populations. And most pertinently to you...

"He was raised by an abusive monster. Zurvduat that..." You tensed with anger, letting the fires coil through you as disgust built itself inside of your heart. Anger was your continual vice and struggle. Rage for the downtrodden, anger for the oppressed, fury for the tormented. Even for yourself; you weren't exactly the most thick-skinned individual. Annoyances dug into you like maggots and wriggled around until the phoenix inside of you spread her wings of fire and sounded her call.

"Awful, smug, horrible, bigoted piece of rubbish...oughta give the awful fecker a..." You said, your Irish accented English starting to get a bit more intense as your mood swung deep towards anger.

"Paddy don't go bombing the British army on me there." Lola said, prompting everyone to break out into laughter for a solid minute.

You sulked and folded your arms with a scowl that got most everyone to stop real quickly as they felt rather...bad for mocking your accent and looked away awkwardly.

"Samus, it's okay...they aren't going to do it again...right?" Arne said, looking towards the group who gave nods, except for Sophia who just swallowed some air.

"Anyway, my parents were special forces in the Omdyni Revolutionary Guards Army who were sent to advise the Ensryn Volunteer Army in their fight for freedom for the Ensryn Supersector." He said, feeling more at ease to speak until Sophia interjected again.

"So your parents were communist terrorists." She said, getting a blank stare out of Arne followed by a pair of blinks.

"Sophia..." Carlos said with a clear stern warning ladened in his voice.

"They were part of the Uskarling Culture, Clan Grendakal. They believed in sharing burdens and rewards so that everyone could enjoy themselves as they wished in their spare time after all that needed doing was done. That included warfare; which they dedicated themselves to. Mom was...champion of the clan, amazing at it really. Even when the attackers came to Cylosis where they made their base; they fought with everything. Everyone older than ten among the human population of the Uskarling advisors was called to form the last line of defense." He said, picking back up where he left off.

"The last I saw of them; they delivered me to Spire. An Alien Freelancer, one of the best, hired to help them explore the Alimbic ship we found Zurvduat and Elmorni in. They said their goodbyes and left to hold the attackers off and even after giving the fight of their lives, they died in the end. Together atop a mound of corpses. Then the Alimbics picked me up and had me adopted as a Page, then a Squire. Like with Samus; they gave me their augmentations and had me build equipment to suit the sort of warrior I wanted to be." He said, looking forlornly at the floor and then back at Vista and then to you before staring ahead at nothing in particular.

"They pushed me incredibly hard in training, but Elmorni always acted like a mother to me. Kept me in touch with my biological heritage. I was planning on doing the trial of maturation once we were done with the mission that lead us here. But well, I guess those plans have to change." He said with a sigh as he went to grab a soda and pulled the tab open before taking a hesitant sip and then wrinkling his nose.

"...Okay two things. First, I'm done with that...second...this is awful." He said, looking at the diet sprite can and making a face.

"Oh, diet sprite is straight-up rhino piss." Raelamiel said.

"It's not made out of Rhinoceros urine it just tastes awful." He said before you mouthed the word "metaphor" to Arne who opened his eyes in realisation and frowned.

"So...two horribly traumatised orphans, one of whom is an abuse victim and the other was raised by space hippies. Do I have that right?" Carlos said as you hissed in displeasure at his expression. There were many ways to say that, that was never going to be one you weren't going to take offense to.

"...Sorry...it's just that you two have clearly been through a lot and I'm kind of concerned for your mental health. How much...normal schooling have you had?"

"One year's worth." You said, the Prodigal Program had been pretty nice to you so far as a whole, but you were going to spare him the long debate on whether Ultrasophontic cadet programs counted as "normal schooling."

"...Christ. Do you guys have any plans for what you're going to do on school days while you're here?" He asked, hands on hips and clearly not wanting to take an "I dunno" for an answer.

"Keep busy, always something to explore, something to make, or some mission to do. Just head to Paragon or to the autobot base or our ships if everyone else is occupied here." Arne said bluntly as he, deciding that he had already opened the can that he may as well finished it, forced himself to down the rest of it and muttered "horrific" beneath his breath when he finished.

"...Okay what about you two, angel and fairy." He asked.

"Emancipated minors." Raela said, grinning and lowering her shades with a wink.

"...Why did I expect anything else?" He said with a sigh of confusion.

"Well...if you people want; I think it'd be a pretty good time to crash in my room. I've got movies and games." Vista said with a cheerful expression, though the pointed glare at Sophia informed her that it was probably for the best that she consider herself uninvited.

"Sweet, I've got my switch dock and some spare controllers too." Raelamiel said as she unfurled her wings and let them flutter a bit as she reached into her feathers and pulled out exactly what she was speaking of. Curious, she must have some sort of pocket dimension accessible through them.

"Imma bamboozle you with gaming in the future." She grinned.

"Well...I strongly doubt it's going to completely amaze me." You stated. "We have far more sophisticated hologames and virtual reality and a vastly greater capacity to program and design as intended. Though I'm sure that we'll have fun all the same." You continued.

"Mmmh fair but like, Mario kart tho?" She replied.

"Are you going to blueshell me?" Chris asked, fear in his voice.

"Hah...nope." She said, relief briefly flashing on his face. "I'm gonna be too busy being in first place to get any blue shells." She said with a smug grin.

"Oh it's on like donkey kong." Chris said, standing out of his seat while Vista urged everyone to follow her into her room; which Zach had already prepared quite a few sleeping bags around. It was about what you'd expect from a young girl's room; heavily dedicated to her fascination with superhero culture and desire to be one of the best very soon. You weren't really aware of the significance of the various memorabilia relating to her taste in pop culture but you could tell that she was a rather avid watcher of a number of shows and a proud Homestuck fan based on her posters; also into a few bands you had no idea about and something of a bookworm, though most of the books were about cape culture.

Raelamiel hooked up her device to the TV in the room and offered some controllers, while Tyrius set up a laptop and a projector and a number of wireless earbuds. On the other hand, many of the books also looked interesting; or you could just be a bit boring and go to bed right away. Or...you looked to Arne as he was thinking about what to do...you could speak to him about why he had such troubled sleep lately. Not that you were a particularly sound dreamer yourself, but you were much more open about the content of all of your nightmares than he was about a rather specific series of nightmares he kept hush-hush about.

Slumberparty options:

Samus:

[]: Join in on the video games
[]: Partake in Tyrius' movie collection
[]: Read up on some of the books
[]: Find out what exactly is this "Homestuck"
[]: Go to bed
[]: Talk to Chris about his obvious infatuation
[]: Talk to Arne about the Sylux nightmare.

Arne

[]: Join in on the video games
[]: Partake in Tyrius' movie collection
[]: Read up on some of the books
[]: Find out what exactly is this "Homestuck"
[]: Go to bed
[]: Talk to Vista about her obvious infatuation.
[]: Do some work in private on possibly plot relevant leads.
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour. Intermission 1 Part 14 (End of Intermission 1)

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[voteresult]656129[/voteresult]

Samus
[X]: Talk to Arne about the Sylux nightmare.

Arne
[X]: Read up on some of the books


Arne

Given that you were supposed to be sleeping, you were all expected to change into Pajamas and shower off to get any grime off. Separate showers at that, and no amount of arguing from yourself or Samus was going to change that. Especially when it was known that you two were involved. Oh well, always other days for that you figured as you let the water run over you. The water was of course, a bit different from what you were used to at the cadet program, your ship, or the facilities made for you at the progenitor bases you frequented. Faint trace metals leeched into the water, infintisemal to most but very noticeable to yourself. Rather than self-applying soaps and the like, you had to manually scrub yourself down.

"Only to be expected forty eight thousand years ago..." You said to yourself as you washed and rinsed out your hair. Unnecessary since the nanites you had crawling on your skin at all times were constantly cleaning it and making sure it stayed the way you liked in tandem with your control over your own biology, but it felt nice and kept your mind busy. You gave some thought to the day you had. What Samus said about the two of you being meant to be here, right now. If you weren't there...would anything on the planet have been able to both stop the Weltreich at Munich and figure out their plan? Especially on the extremely short notice you had to respond to the scheme once it was in motion?

These people weren't ready for war on this scale. K-2L and Cylosis were...you briefly drifted back to the vision of the grey and green soldiers in skull faced helmets sweeping the streets. The bark of their automatic mini-missile launchers and more exotic weapons loud in your ears, massive transophontic frames encased in sinister power armour and their voices garbled by sinister vocoders while they cut everyone down like animals in some ancient slaughterhouse. No emotion, no remorse, some monstrous brute looming near you with the dead glare of their visor, steam curling out of their mouthguard as they shot people next to you, warm blood on your hands and face, just...you were saved yes...but you were delivered to his clutches. The one eyed-glare of the being you called father in spite of his loathing of the very idea of claiming you as his child burning into you, judging you. All the mistakes you made, the hits you took, the shots you could have landed better...his cold, unwelcmoning voice...you breathed. Hard, fast, shaking.

You survived, you got off lighter than Samus did...you weren't privy to as much animalistic savagery as the Pirates inflicted on K-2L, just an unknown army sweeping for all signs of resistance and calmly butchering all life. But what came after...the cold, the pain, the berating...you had to stop yourself from crying. He wasn't here, you no longer had to worry about what he had to say about you. You no longer had to fear his hand striking you. You briefly checked all of your teeth...still there...unbroken...you were fine.

You finished up and looked at yourself in the mirror as you brushed your hair into its usual style. Simple, somewhat long, just a bit unkempt. You looked good, everyone told you that. Even toned skin, red eyes, white hair, and virtually every muscle group's outlines were traced on your skin. Lean and fast, like you were trained to be. You swished some spittle in your mouth, letting the nanites inside clean anything off your teeth before you went to go get dressed.

There were plenty of spare clothes in the base; but you were hardly much of an aesthetic. You settled on some blue and red sleeping clothes, primarily the first with strips and stripes of the latter in a two toned outfit. Cool and breathy, if hardly the match of the smart fabrics you tended to wear in civilian guise; and you were shown a closet where you could change in privacy. The motions were pretty effortless for you, mostly automatic as you slipped on your outfit and changed out of your prior one.

"So what exactly is the point of Pajamas?" You asked Chris through the wall.

"So you can stay decent while sleeping I guess. Come on, just try some earth clothes Arne. It won't kill you." Fair enough point, though you were briefly concerned at the thought that somewhere in this world was clothing that would kill the wearer...sounds like something people should be more con-oh that was another idiom, you're dumb. Alright, here it goes.

It was comfy enough you figured as your outfit teleported back to your ship; not maintained in a zero point format like your zero suit or your armour. At least, not those sets of clothes. Fairly loose on you too, but you decided you were dressed enough to head out, seeing Chris briefly poke his head out, seemingly surprised.

"Uh...how did you get dressed that fa-"

"Superior reflexes." You said as you headed back to Vista's room and took a look around as everyone else filtered inside; Samus already there due to being closer to the room than you were and Vista due to well...this being her room and all...while everyone else dripped back in one by one. Well, except for Tyrius and Raelamiel who just used magic to change instantly which you were quite sure that Lola told you was cheating; a pointed glare coming from you towards Stormchild who just eyed you up and down and smirked before refinding her seat near Tyrius as he started up some movie that wasn't out yet on Earth Bet but was old news on Primal Earth.

You couldn't help your curiosity as it was drawn inexorably towards the books on the shelves like moths to a flame. You didn't handle paper books too often, unnecessary consumed space in a time of space travel. And the inconvenience of having to pick up another book instead of loading up another file in an era where battery life was a complete non-concern and EMP could do little but temporarily inconvenience most machines was hardly worth any nostalgia for the timelost era of holding paper in hand. Yet there was something to it, a bit of history to a tradition that had died among one of your two species long before you were born or your family or even clan had existed.

Your eyes scanned over the titles. DK Eyewitnesses: Protectorate Parahumans, Knights In Spandex: Heroes of the Modern Age, Visual Guide to American Parahumans, Scholastic's Guide to: Strange Monsters. Just a few out of many dozens of books all on various interrelated subjects, neatly organised into the shelves based on subject. She kept books on more personal subjects of interest such as faerie legends, fiction she was reading through, normal animals; particularly horses which she seemed rather fond of; as well as a bunch of stuff on space and physics. It seemed that she was aware that her powers revolved around space manipulation and was trying to gain a deeper understanding of spacetime.

You didn't really need to take a second look to know that the books on physics were hopelessly obsolete to you; you'd already gone through this universe's understanding of physics the second you got here. But the parahuman stuff was more interesting.

You looked back to the group and saw Samus trying out Mario kart with Raelamiel, Chris, and Zach and offered a small smile. "Hey, uh...you're fine if I read through some of these right?" You said as you looked back to her, a nod coming from the green pajama clad girl with a big grin on her face.

"Help yourself!" She said in a friendly voice as you pulled out the guide to strange monsters. You figured it'd be a few hour long read for someone with normal reflexes, but your reaction time let you literally flip through the book as fast as its paper could withstand and quickly scan through every word and picture to give it your complete thought and analysis.

Many of the most fearsome monsters were called "Endbringers" which you thought was a bit overdramatic given that the planet was still standing nearly twenty years after the first one showed up. But they certainly commanded a great deal of fear from the local populace. The first was Behemoth, a being who manipulated energy around itself and stood about fifty meters tall; able to generate energy inside of targets who lacked protection against such defense bypasses to burn them out, create deadly radiation or electricity, and of course had a great deal of simple raw brute force; tunnelling its way through the earth to reach various population centres to try and destroy them. Then was Leviathan, a beast of the sea that stood thirty meters tall at the shoulders and had the power of mass control over water. Incapable of fine-tuned control, such as over the water in people's bodies or finely shaping it into specific shapes, but enough to swamp over small landmasses like Kyushu and Newfoundland; quite fast too, especially in the water, while also constantly generating its own shadow of more water. Then there was the Simurgh, or Ziz to some who preferred to keep the biblical beasts theme. At fifteen meters tall, her form of an enrapturing nude woman surrounded by wings was the smallest of her kind, but her telekinesis and ability to replicate technology and induce madness to cause further catastrophes made her perhaps the most feared due to her unpredictability, all paired with her ability to perceive past and future but not present.

They were the first, perhaps the most feared and iconic. Behemoth was the brute of all brute and the proverbial immovable object, Leviathan a lightning-fast bruiser who tore through defences with far more speed and cleverness than something of its size should be able to, and...you were going to call her "Ziz" just to keep the theme; a cunning mastermind with ever-changing capabilities and a mastery of technology. Consulting with your scanner in zero point mode...no it didn't seem like Ziz had any understanding of magic. That seemed to be overall, a blindspot in these shards. They may be extradimensional; but they were still beings of the material and physical, not the spiritual and esoteric. Which gave you interesting theories about the proper nature of these beings.

But on the endbringers were capable of great feats of regeneration, and the deeper one bored into their bodies the more durable they became. Few attacks had managed to cut all the way through, until Laserbolt sliced one of Behemoth's arms off in Northern Brazil which seemed to make Behemoth lose any stomach for the continued fight and withdrew, especially as something about her energy was interfering in Behemoth's regeneration. It resulted in the Endbringers avoiding any area she was likely to visit afterwards rather pointedly, and from the list of capes that facility had conducted its incarnate experiments on, you noticed that the Endbringers tended to try and pull away as soon as one of them showed up and that they seemed to be outright invisible to Ziz. The sample size wasn't that big but...hrm.

More Endbringers had been created since then. but most too recent for this edition of the book to keep track of in the same degree of detail about the rise of a time manipulator, a shard power mimicker, and a terrain absorber and shifter. Of course, the book raised the question as to whether Laserbolt was a monster in and of her own right as she ruled her fiefdom mostly like a petty tyrant, and it speculated that her victory perhaps came less through raw power and more some capacity to interfere in the Endbringer's increasing internal durability and their regenerative powers that made them increasingly weak to her attacks until she could dice off an arm with her beams.

Fascinating stuff really. It did give you ideas though...some sort of enervation weapon would be ideal for enemies that need to be softened up before they can be properly beat down. Ah, your clan for something to sketch out your ideas on; you thought as you scratched at your nose before taking another book. This one on the theory of parahuman powers, quick highlights were that most powers had some more limited effects on living beings or the possessions of living beings, potentially to stop them from harming the user as theorised by the now dead Professor Manton. There were some exceptions, usually among "double triggers" who had some sort of limiter removed in the process. But this wasn't a hard and fast rule. As far as you can tell though, most of the theories they had made were decent enough guesses with the tools they had but...not quite on the mark.

"Well...extradimensional symbiont would be pretty far-fetched." You said to yourself before scanning through another text. A computer would not have been able to process the information you were absorbing as quickly as you were; the pages flying by in a blur to outside observers as you moved through the words limited only by the material limits of the strength of the books. The DK Eyewitness book was mostly fluff, entry level stuff to get kids excited about a topic with large pictures and diagrams and the sort of vocabulary a younger school student could grasp. Even the briefest glance told you they were skimming over all manner of moral quandries and complexities in favour of simpler narratives. Strongly in favour of heroes who worked closely with law enforcement and more condemning for vigilantes or militias.

"Not sure what else I expected..." You muttered, taking another second to check on Samus who seemed laser-focused on her game. Hrm, competitive as usual but she was about to win...enough time to go through one last book before she called for your attention.

Putting the book exactly back where you found it, you started on another text, your fourth in a minute. Not terribly interesting, again mostly just fluff about the fineries of how costumes are put together, a dozen more were consumed similarly quickly over the course of a few minutes but right on cue; someone's destiny had intertwined with yours through interaction just as you had seen coming. Yep, there she was.


Samus

Your experience with Earth cleansing rituals was rather smooth. The water was a bit foul, but you held your tongue since it was being freely given. The chief annoyance though was that the water was never quite the right temperature you wanted. Something that annoyed that fiddly part of your brain that craved certain sensations and perfection. This almost made you not want to try this out again, especially if you were supposed to do this completely on your own. Someone to help reach all the spots on your back and your enormously long blonde hair at its full length would have been hugely appreciated. But being alone did give you time to think.

You had just joined a bunch of giant robotic life forms who have been busy fighting a civil war since the middle-triassic with seemingly no end in sight that has lead to the complete fracturing of their society and the destruction of its golden age and the onset of a long slide towards decline and technological stagnation. They seemed nice, pure of heart, noble of purpose, and most of their agents here seemed to be hugely dedicated to the cause of protecting life from beings they were not ready to face themselves. But so far you had seen nothing of their enemies; not the Decepticons of Megatron nor the Imperioids of Imperator Nova. You suspected that'd change sooner than later.

But these people...Primal Earth, Earth Bet...this planet had a wormhole junction built by the Space Pirates situated over it. The mysterious army that devastated Cylosis were fighting with the Confederates in a gruesome skirmish. Fleets with dozens of capital ships and hundreds of screens, millions of soldiers. An infintisemal fraction of what either could do. Fighting through them was hard, it tested you and your relatively middling loadout, and while the...monsters didn't recognise you, they recognised what you wore. They knew you were one of the inheritors.

Though they were of a different Armada than the Inferno Pack whose lead fleet scoured K-2L; they were hardly any less vicious or savage. Gruesome, horrible cannibals who gladly smothered themselves in bloody feasts. No quarter given or taken, any attempt at mercy being met with the fatal wrath of their superiors. You still could see one of the brutes; more than twice as tall as you, pushing themselves through the arm blade you had shoved into their heart to try and bite you. The berserk lust for violence overpowering even the failure of their biology; even burnt from the inside out with electricity and power fields; they were still trying to kill you.

You faltered then, took hits you didn't need to; broke the tempo of your movement as you realised that this space pirate who had never met you in their life was still clawing at you like a hateful, rabid beast. You faltered until...you succumbed to your own hatred. You hated them, you hated their barbarism, their monstrous love of cruelty and their scorn for all things weak. At least the raiders were cold and professional, these beasts, these Pirates; those of them who believed in their cause were just monsters.

They killed for fun and a chance to pick on something weaker than them and they didn't feel the slightest remorse. They tore apart people who couldn't fight back for their diseased amusement, filled their bellies with the flesh of their foes, slaughtered their own weak like flies and they laughed about it. You hate them! HOW CAN THEY ACCEPT SUCH CRUELTY WHEN LIFE IS SO PRECIOUS?! WHY DO THEY ENJOY THE WORST THINGS IN LIFE, DON'T THEY HAVE FAMILIES, LOVED ONES?! HOW CAN THEY LAUGH ABOUT TAKING THOSE THINGS AWAY!?! WHY K-2L?! WHY BILLIONS OF FRENZIED BERSERKERS AGAINST THOUSANDS OF TIMES FEWER MINERS?!! WHY! WHY CAN'T THEY GO AWAY?!! YOU HATE THEM! HATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATE

You realized you crushed the bar of soap you were using in your hands faster than it could have slipped out of it.

...That's not getting put back together.

You felt embarrassed, anger had once again overtaken your thought process. You had to think rationally. You were alive because one Space Pirate militia trooper couldn't bring themselves to kill you on K-2L. Because they took pity on you, pointed you to a safe passage, and lied to their superiors about what they had seen. Many of the pirates were just too scared of their superiors to act better, especially with the...you remembered a surrendering Pirate's upper body detonating before they could tell you who sent them or why they were here...

Viscera from something pleading for its life all over your shielding; scalded away the next instant.

Monsters even to their own.

You hadn't really changed since arriving here after a look in the mirror. You were intensely defined and toned. Skin completely even, your face girlish and heart shaped, blonde hair spilling to your hips. You figured yourself well proportioned, and with a few brushes, your hair was all nice and proper. An aura of gold. You covered yourself in cyan and orange pajamas with eagles printed upon them, a noble bird whose visage you were only happy to have decorating the outfit you wore. You smiled at yourself, and decided to make good on the time you spent showering.

You beat everyone besides vista to the room, your changing room being rather closer to her bedroom than everyone else. Well, except for Tyrius and Raelamiel who just magicked their way into fresh pajamas, Raelmaiel in a t-shirt and breathy shorts with her hair down and Tyrius in...the same except red and gold instead of blue and white.

"Yo, Sammy, you ever hear of Mario kart?" Raela asked.

You definitely had not.

"No, but based on the name...it would be a game about racing yes?" You said as you eased yourself into a spot close to her as she offered you two spare controllers. Hrm, they definitely felt natural in your hands, though you should be careful with them; you'd shatter them with a squeeze.

"Deffo, got everyone unlocked and all the DLC. Just gonna wait for some scrubs to show up." She said as you scanned around the menu for a bit before settling on the blonde in the blue outfit. Chris and Zach joining in shortly afterwards.

The controls were pretty quick to grasp, nothing struck you as particularly odd about them. But you set yourself the goal of winning. After all, if you were going to be here...you may as well master it. Now this was something of a challenge, you might have superior reflexes and precognition, but you were against someone who knew the ins and outs of the game better than you did. Still, precognition and knowing which were the right and wrong ways to do something were powerful tools.

It even let you dodge the dreaded blue shell reliably, something that raised an eyebrow from Raelamiel for managing on your first try.

But after Arne had entered and found himself a spot on a beanbag chair, you couldn't help but feel the need to speak to him about something you felt from him as soon as you landed here. His dreams were troubling him as of late, more than usual, and he was so afraid to speak to them amongst people he knew; though you knew that he had confided in them to Elmorni and Spire. You weren't going to be left out of that, but you needed to observe tact when approaching him. He could very well shut himself down. But he was someone special to you, and you had an oath to help those in need who couldn't help themselves.

Against a DC of 97 or above to see whether Arne is going to be evasive or, if under this more relaxed environment; he might open up in a way that will greatly increase his odds of averting his Saga!Canonical destiny to descend into the lonely path of Sylux. At the very least ensuring he won't be adopting it as a secret identity where he hides behind shame, resentment, and pain.


Well I'll be damned.

That takes a hefty chunks of points away from Arne's fall mechanic, in fact erasing all of his current progress towards it.

You walk towards him, handing the controllers to Vista who wanted to have a turn and sitting yourself next to Arne on the bean bag chair as you looked at him, gently lowering the book in his hands with a touch from your fingers and looking straight into his eyes. He seemed to be bright, enjoying himself, though still looking around the room's other inhabitants as if any of them might turn on him if he makes the wrong move. Paranoia always eating away at him.

"Arne, we need to talk." You said, briefly noticing the attentions of Tyrius who looked over with a flash of concern on his face before turning back to the Kaiju movie about Pyrantis.

"About what?" He said, pretending to not know exactly what you wanted to talk to him about, perhaps hoping he could avoid his everlasting fear of being a burden for you.

"Arne, you've been having persistent nightmares. The same figure haunting your farsight and your worst dreams. Who is he?" You said, pointedly using the pronoun. You knew that the figure was male at the very least, based on words that slipped from Spire's craggy mouth in a few conversations with the Freelancer.

"Just a figment, nothing to worry about. I'll be fine..." Arne said, but you shook your head.

"You're not fine, Arne. Something has you afraid for the future."

"It's...it's not something you should worry about. I need to be able to handle it. Pl-" You placed a finger on his lips to hush him briefly before pulling it back and nodding at him to let him try again. "I'm just...afraid you won't understand. Because you worry so much and I don't want you to worry about me too. You already have so much on your shoulders...it wouldn't be fair for me to ask you to add my problems onto that. Just...I'll handle it, I can, I must..." He said, trying to do his best to say that without hitching, failing occasionally but putting on a brave show of it.

But you could intuit what he was saying. You almost hesitated to speak, afraid of making him back away, shelter himself in his armour of reclusion. But you didn't have to be the first to take a crack at his fortress gates.

"It's a vision of your future self, isn't it?" Tyrius said, turning from his movie as the flaming giant mantid in the film swatted at some manner of elephantine walrus monster that breathed frost.

Arne seemed to go cold as he looked at the Fae with almost disbelieving eyes. You were also caught somewhat off-guard, having not studied his pathways in destiny too deeply. Rookie mistake, but then you were by Chozo standards essentially an infant fresh from the egg.

"When you deal with gods, faeries, and the well of furies as often as I have; prophecies are something of an old hat. Especially divination." He said, turning fully away from the film for a bit and looking at Arne as you held onto his hand.

"But Samus, you're not going to get him to admit it by cornering him. You two clearly care for each other but you still need to work on communication." He said with an easy smile and an encouraging hand gesture.

"So when did you become a marriage counsellor?" Lola asked, turning towards him as he shrugged.

"One of my parents was a Nymph, its a bit inherent to me." He said, relaxing a bit.

"Well, what about what you see is troubling you to the degree it does?" You decide to ask, gently this time rather than trying to dig your way in. Arne tensed slightly, but relented.

"I see a tall figure in a suit of two tones of blue with blade like pauldrons, armour sectioned by green lines, a helmet with few features and no eyes but divided in half by a single green line down the middle. He fights a lonely war against the Federation, against the army that took Cylosis, even fighting you sometimes..." Arne admitted, noting that everyone was now starting to look towards you at least on occasion.

"Fighting me? How." You leaned into him, you tried to lower your guard to not give him the impression you'd be mad or reject him for it. You knew that your anger was something terrifying and frightening, and that he was ultimately somewhat meekish and fearful of confrontation. But you let your hand assure him that he was safe among friends. And perhaps to assure yourself that you were more than simply a warrior without peer, but someone who could care and nurture too.

"I don't know. But the road that leads there is full of pain, grief, and heartbreak. And a project called...Sylux. On a world I know but cannot perceive, by someone I trust but cannot foresee. Then I wear the eyeless crown and take the mantle of Sylux and our paths separate for years...maybe even forever." He said with soldierly monotone, just trying to push through a briefing with as little emotion as he could manage, to combat his fear of revelation and his terror of disapproval.

You felt briefly mad at him, hiding something like this from you. The possibility of breakup, throwing the inheritor prophecy into deep risk of subversion or delay, trading blows and even attacking the Federation directly? Telling Spire but not you? Why was he so afraid of just telling the truth? Did his father really leave him that afraid of speaking openly about his feelings to...yes...he did, you realised. He had seen your rage, and how it made his cold fury seem paltry in comparison. He was wrong to keep this hidden from you...but you were scarier than you admitted. Especially when he already had such a small circle of friends he hadn't built in a workshop specifically to be his friends.

"Arne. I..." No, there you go again, making it about you.

"We aren't going to let that happen. We decided to fill the inheritor prophecy. And we'll try to find out what leads down this road, I promise. We aren't going to fail." You said, brushing some of his white hair out of his face and staring into his eyes for a moment. He wasn't the best with words, but he did respond all the same with a lingering kiss that seemed to last an eternity.

Warmth, togetherness, knowing that you two would face armageddon as one surrounded by friends old and new. A moment in time that stretched far beyond its duration. His body soft and smooth beneath his shell, just as yours was full of warmth and passion. The road was dark, but you would shine a light down that path, and he would be there to not simply assist, but to shine his own radiance down the oncoming shadow engulfing the paths of destiny.

You should probably write that down in a poem somewhere, maybe even show him some when you felt a little less embarrassed by them.

The activities lasted well into the night, though eventually it was decided to have a short sleep. At least just to pass the time until morning. You snuggled into a sleeping back and flopped close by to Arne while Raelamiel simply draped herself over Tyrius and started snoozing like someone had hit an offswitch. Vista stayed in her bed and put some covers and earmuffs over her eyes and ears. Chris tiptoed out, mind still burning with ideas, Zach dozed off in the corner, and Lola rolled over in her sleep onto her side.

For once, your dreams were pleasant and...normal.

Having strange new alien friends over for tea. Random nonsense like that.

When you next awoke. The day was rather normal. Arne was still sleeping, seemingly intent on catching up to a rare chance to take time off without being beset by nightmares or prophetic dreams. You couldn't blame him, you yourself were of much the same mood. You even slept a whole eight hours.

You decided to take a quick look at the situation monitor via your ship, reaching through your armour's zero-point form to get a quick readout.

Most things weren't all that unusual. The weather was clearing up at least and the snow was finally being cleared out so much of the city was coming back online; especially as trade with Paragon City was starting to flow.

However, it seemed that there was some trouble leaking in from Paragon. The Clockwork, golems made of random junk given power and animus by the incredibly powerful Psion known as the Clockwork King; had pushed through some portals opened by the power of the Cyborg's mind. Spontaneously animating junk in the rough shape of mechanical men with powers of electricity and psionic attack and unnatural resilience and strength were mostly engaging in random vandalism and metal theft; making a mess in the junkyard chiefly. Nobody had been killed so far, but they seemed to have driven some of the local gangs out of their territory out of an understandable reluctance to fight scrap-metal people who could shoot lightning.

One of the local religious groups was also accused of the abduction of a missing person; the fifth this week for the group. Yet every time the police investigate they always report nothing is suspicious and everything is fine no matter what their opinions were beforehand. Which in and of itself, is suspicious.

Paragon was reporting a number of strange break ins stealing items of mystic power as well as some new villain who could turn into a dragon making a ruckus with the Hmong dominated mysticist gang known as the Tsoo; seeking to absorb them.

A new cape known as "Black Moth" had also made a name for herself by driving out the Empire-88's presence near one of the suburban malls, bashing multiple highly feared villains on her own and demonstrating powers you identified as Nictus.

Bumblebee had found a possible lead on the computer virus worming its way through the computer systems of many earths and was tracking what he felt was likely to be an alien presence, but as of yet had yet to establish any concrete leads as well as some newfound beings he identified as non-native to the universe; fast and deadly.

And also back in Paragon, the Phalanx had offered an extension of a chance to do a patrol with them and investigate some spooky mystical secrets in the buried city of Oranbega, where the Demons and Ghosts of that lost civilisation were growing particularly restless in the face of a new apparent rival to the presence of the Prince of All Demons.

Of course, all of these were pretty low priority. The phalanx's offer was a general one given to the whole of the protectorate and the autobots, Bumblebee just sent a general autobot message, all the other things could be dealt with by the local authorities while you got a chance to explore around or get to know some friends better.

Options:

[]: Mop up the Clockwork and whatever else might be leaking from the Primal Earth portals the Clockwork King is making
[]: Investigate that cult.
[]: Go to Paragon and see what the Tsoo are so busy with
[]: See who this Black Moth is.
[]: Join up with Bumblebee's investigation
[]: Head to Oranbega in Primal Earth and see what might be having Demons show worry.
[]: Have a more relaxing day, check out what normal children do outdoors in this era.
[]: Have a deeper tour of the base to get a better understanding of some of your allies.
 
Arc 1: Fourfold Endeavour: Act 1: Mission 2: Aliens in Brockton

Princet Valiant

Nonbinary Judeo-Bolshevik
Pronouns
Fae/Faer
[voteresult]657665[/voteresult]

[X]: Investigate that cult.

Samus

The Clockwork could be handled by the local heroes for the most part. The Clockwork King was more of a nuisance than a deadly threat in most cases that you knew. Though you took a moment to look at what was known of him. He used to be a scrawny teenage mutant with a tremendous psychic presence that he was able to use to among other things; breathe life into metallic constructs. Born in the late nineteen eighties and coming into his powers on puberty, he started assembling the Clockwork army; having his newfound friends and minions go out and scavenge for more metal with which to create more of themselves. A nerd playing out a fantasy of being a king with a court of followers. The law enforcement eventually tried to stop the clockwork from its nuisance raids and eventually, one officer was killed when a Clockwork that didn't seem to understand human fragility broke his neck in a grapple.

The resulting manhunt lead to Blue Steel; a superpowered police officer; to eventually track down the young king to his hideout where he was animating more clockwork and in a fight that killed three more officers and set the building on fire; grabbed and beat the boy to seeming death before leaving his body in the burning building out of disgust for losing control. Apparently the Clockwork saved his brain, implanting it into a clockwork body, but his sanity crumbled after losing his flesh; retreating entirely into his fantasy world. He latched onto Penelope yin, essentially adopting her as his daughter after being drawn by her psychic power, and when the Rikti tried to kidnap her to use her as a psychic battery and she called for his help, he unlocked more of his power and created far more powerful clockwork able to go toe to toe with max-security level threats to save his princess; forming an army spontaneously around the Rikti base and taking on both the Rikti and eight max-level capes also sent to save a teenage Penelope. All at the cost of much of his remaining lucidity.

You felt saddened, almost outraged on his behalf. Someone who had so much potential reduced to what Paragonites now mostly just saw as a deranged monster while to what you could see; Blue Steel remained completely free. Even still holding his job. Penelope was in large part, responsible for ensuring nobody tries to outright kill the King, instead hoping to placate him by letting him linger in junkyards and play around in his own fantasy world, speaking to intelligences born entirely of his own. It was sad, and you for a moment wondered; could he still be turned to good?

Nevertheless, it didn't seem like something that needed your help. The King himself had not made his appearance and the scrap legions were mostly considered annoying by the Bay.

The Tsoo were a gang famous for a few things; their heavy usage of magic, their ability to punch at virtually all weight categories of criminal activity, their consumption of the Triads in New England, and their no-nonsense attitude. Founded by the Hmong expatriate Tub Ci who fled from the Indochina wars, they would come to overcome the larger and more traditional Asian gangs through the usage of Magic tattoo ink that could grant incredible power to their recipients; as well as a collection of tomes on magic that Tub Ci had to give his associates a superpowered boost. They even had incarnate grade ink to give their most elite incredible power that they used in the Astoria district of Paragon City to fight the forces of the Death God Mot for years until the situation in Astoria was finally dealt with and Mot banished for good; though it seems most of that incarnate ink was lost in that fight. It seemed that the Dragon Man was set on usurping the Tsoo and claiming their ink for himself; drawn by the power vacuum that has existed in the gang since Tub Ci submitted himself to arrest following the events of Astoria.

The thefts were likely all being done at the behest of the Tsoo from the rival magic using gang known as the Warriors, but this also seemed like a street-level incident that didn't exactly need your help.

Black Moth seemed to be a very recent new vigilante, having only started being seen since yesterday. She operated largely alone, and was still learning how to manage her abilities as a warshade. While interesting, you didn't exactly want for friends right now, you thought as you chewed on a pinky nail slightly.

Normally spelunking into the haunted ruins of long buried civilisations was straight up your alley and everything you learned about Oranbega; its ancient war with Mu over devotion to antedeluvian gods, its early forrays into magic, its pact with a Great King amongst Demons to turn the tide of the war and damnation by refusing to slaughter the non-combatants of Mu that lead to them being reduced to ghosts until they honoured their pact by slaying all Mu descendants and its rediscovery by the esoteric society of the Circle of Thorns and alliance with Baron Zoriah's cult all were very interesting. One of the most feared villainous organisations on Primal Earth due to their mastery of magic, legions of demons, ability to simply swap bodies as one gets worn out or captured, and the often mind-bending architecture of the buried city all made them a terror to behold. And they were afraid of something, rivals poking into their domain that they hoped to contain. And a magical war brewing beneath the largest city in America that Positron hoped to contain...ah but you were still so new to magic...

Bumblebee was tracking some definitely extraversal beings. Four warriors with fleshmetal suits that they seemed to be remote controlling through some manner of extradimensional energy that they could channel through these frames engineered for battle. Hunting for a number of strangely designed robots capable of rapidly adapting to damage dealt to them unless struck with a purer format of this extradimensional energy; usually by some projection of the suit controllers teleporting into the fray; small and child like; and striking these bizarre-looking machines. So far they were largely keeping out of sight, but it seemed that the robots were onto some possible repository of infected mainframes for the worlds spanning computer virus, clustering around it as if trying to comprehend it until the four warriors drove them off and pursued them in a relentless chase. Bumblebee was also hoping to scout out these mainframes, noting that many of the occupants didn't seem to react to the brief, high-velocity brawl near them as humans should.

Continuing your break was out of the question. You needed something to do for now, keeping a bit busy. But the Cult...that caught your eye. How did they spread so fast? Why did they command such loyalty? And how was it that all members displayed such similar behaviour?

You quickly scoured the internet for anything you could about the so called Cult of the Star Traveller this fine 14th of January. It was a Friday morning, roughly eight-thirty. Their internet presence was surprisingly quite clean. Even their discussion boards seemed largely innocent. Even the private and out of the way ones that you sliced into were utterly devoid of anything suspicious. Which was...in and of itself, suspicious. Too coordinated. You checked some of their published religious writings on the site.

Who are the Star Travellers?

By Andrew Kyme

A question that is often asked of our faith is who exactly are the Star Travellers that we say will bring the salvation of our world? A question that I'm very happy to report to you has a clear answer. They are those who have achieved divinity, a perfection of the flesh that we all must strive for, transcending merely the material into something that offers fundamental understandings of the cosmic truths we all yearn for. They are offerers of eternal life and the reward of a world free of sickness, strife, and want. One need only look to our own record of virtually perfect health, increased vigour and physique, and contentment to understand that the gifts that these Gods of the beyond offer are very real and material.

They who travel in the beyond as a great multitude will welcome all into their immortal whole regardless of station or colour. When they come to offer us the promised salvation, divisions of nation, class, religion, race, wealth, and even powers will all vanish. All who welcome them will enjoy a real, tangible form of eternal life amongst their kind. Perfect, beautiful, together, part of a whole we can scarcely imagine. As our innumerable fellow members of the Ecumene of the Gods of the Beyond have attested to; the coming of these deities is very near. Just as the armoured ones fell from the sky and the metal men who guise themselves as your vehicles have appeared exactly according to our prophecies, we can guarantee you that we are making no manner of empty promises.

The genetic research and the development of many new technologies that our fellow churches in our Ecumene have helped to fund is based purely on the scripture that out coming saviours have passed down to us. And already we are seeing cures to diseases that have vexed our world for far too long. No more will we need to rely on the good graces of parahumans with healing powers or the hopes that tinkers or scientists will be able to craft treatments for what ails us. And we of course, take immense pride in the support that AsclaCorps and Vornil Incorporated have given to us in return for all the donations we have made to their great work in helping the world be ready for the day of transcending.

And how is it that the Star Travellers could provide us with such tangible miracles? Even the presence of stable, reliable parahuman enhancement among us? That is simple, that is because the Star Travellers have knowledge beyond imagining. No mere promises of omniscience or empty claims of prophecy here; the Star Travellers have provided us direct, incontrovertible proof of their wisdom through the revelations given to us that have allowed us to cure diseases, create new technologies, and even imbue powers upon those who desire them. For they understand all the grand mysteries of life in a way that no human can and certainly no religion of unreal and distant gods of misty shadow could ever back up any claim of having.

And why would they give us this so freely? My friend, it is because they love and treasure us so dearly. That they command us to exalt in our flesh and be the best that we can be rather than make ourselves suffer for some original sin or prostrate ourselves in slavery. They want us to greet them in as perfect a form as we can be, so that when the time comes that they take us with them in their endless voyage of enlightenment; we will be as ready as possible so that the completion of understanding and the achievement of eternity will be as graceful as possible. It is a taste of salvation, so that when it truly arrives we will look upon the skies with a smile and understand that this has always been our place as a species.

Curious about our Church? Chat with LIVE adherents here and have YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED.

Want to support us? Donate to our cause HERE and receive a free VOUCHER FOR ASLACORPS OR VORNIL INC PRODUCTS

Single? Our Church is one of LOVE AND TOGETHERNESS. Sign up now for our DATING SERVICE.

Balding? UrdaMedical has the Solution for you in THREE EASY STEPS

This is uhh...hrm. It seems nice but every part of your distant sight is screaming out loud about the warning signs here. Something vast, something old, something hungry poking a few cells into the skeins of some worlds to make ready for its arrival.

You knew it wasn't good, and you quickly tugged at Arne, making his red eyes blearily part their lids as he sat himself up and murmured, yawning a bit and getting a similar reaction out of yourself.

"Arne, there's something I need to show you." You said, showing him the evidence you'd gathered as the "I just got up" feeling quickly disappeared from his eyes which snapped to attention and concern as soon as he looked at the message and felt the presence it had in the causeways of destiny.

"We should get some allies and head in as soon as we've got a good plan. Come on." You said to him as he unzipped the sleeping bag more completely and extended his legs while you hugged your own knees to your chest.

"If they're infiltrators, how can we be sure they don't already have agents here?" He said, drawing his lips into a fine line as you gave it a thought.

"We could scan people, make sure there's no obvious signs of alteration." You said, though admittedly..."Though we can't really be sure what we're looking for at the moment." You said with a sigh as you tried to give it a think. "Well...just looking for any sort of anomaly that we don't already know might work perhaps?" You suggested.

"Orrr..." You gave it a thought. "We could ask the autobots for information?" You said as he tapped at his lips and gave it a thought.

"Both would work. Give me a second." Arne said as he used his armour's zero point form to quickly wire a connection to the Autobot Teletran A.I to get all relevant datalogs he could. But the number of possible matches was quite simply ridiculous. Lots of organisms the Autobots knew fit the pattern presented here. Some from your reality even such as the Socioraptors of the Klarisian Galaxy or the Sinistra of the Ylakrin Swarm. But there was a file specifically on this Ecumene.

Threat Category: Alien infiltration cult
Primary vectors: Alienated Suburbanites, Idle Rich, B-List celebrities, neglected slums and homeless
Degree of Infiltration: Heavy, many prominent members of society are open members.
Presence: Organisations with similar modus operandis appear to be present in all linked realities.
Strengths: Extreme cooperative capabilities and telepathic link in a large gestalt mind, highly adaptable, large numbers, appears to be able to pass along technological knowledge between sects, counter-infiltration impossible
Counter-Infiltration: Nil
Monitoring Status: Difficult, coordination allows for Ecumene to quickly become aware of monitoring efforts and frustrate them.
Assets: Unknown
Threat Level: Unknown

The Ecumene of the Gods of the Beyond has continued to frustrate efforts to study it, but appears to have originated from the Warphammer Metaversal cluster where Autobot reconnaissance teams found the largest number of similar organisations amidst local populations that could not be discounted as simply other reality organisms that happened into similar niches per covergent evolution. Due to their telepathic link, ability to alter their own evolution, hive mind coordination, and extreme devotion; we have not been able to properly counter-infiltrate these organisations; while risking masterforce troops for this purpose remains forbidden by Optimus Prime out of fear of losing them to subversion as well. Autobot pretenders typically are discovered shortly after introduction, have their comms jammed, and are found destroyed later; frequently via claws driven forward with incredible force into amazingly sharp and hardpoints. Decepticon Pretenders are often found in this state as well, ruling out Decepticon involvement. The organisation appears to be mutually hostile with other infiltrators, spending much of its time competing with them for recruits, resources, and territory.

After he relayed the information to you, he quickly stood himself up and manifested his zero suit over his body, followed by you repeating the gesture yourself; orange and blue light filling the room while Tyrius and Raelamiel stumbled into wakingness, rolling off to the side and letting out a blurt as limbs crashed into each other while Lola rubbed at her eyes and pushed herself onto her feet.

"Huh...wuz goin' on?" She said as you quickly cracked your knuckles.

"We've found some possible trouble with the Church of the Star Travellers. We're going to head to their primary compound in the city and find out where a person last seen with them went." You said, using the sigil on the back of your zero suit hand to project the image of the missing person; Emma Barnes. Though why they'd want her was beyond you.

"Itz...snowday...I'm gonna...go back to be-...wait...that Sophia's friend?" Lola said, gradually coming to her senses as her eyes slowly snapped open and she let out a whistling sound through her teeth that startled Cerebro awake.

"GAH WHAT WHY!?" He said, shaking his head quickly and looking around.

"Yo, Sophia's bestie is in deep shit." She said as Zach frowned.

"...Who cares?" He said as he fixed his glasses back onto his face.

"Come on, you really want to deal with her if we don't do something about it?" She said with a sigh.

"Point taken."

"Come on, meet us at the cafeteria and we'll discuss what to do." Zach said as he dusted himself off while Arne looked back at you.

"This is going to take too long, we should enter the mission area ASAP. Send out a call if you want to, but the longer we wait, the longer Emma is at risk." Arne said with a sigh.

"Okay...anime boy." Zach started with a harrumph and a serious look.

"My name is Arne Eriksen Skjoldr. Not "anime boy"." He hissed.

"I know; you can't just break into a religious facility without a warrant. We could get reprimanded if you go charging in." He said before Raelamiel raised her FBSA card.

"This baby here lets me investigate on reasonable suspicion even in other universes." She said proudly as she dolphined herself onto her feet with a brief slap while putting her sunglasses back onto her face at the same time in a gesture that struck y ou as trying entirely too hard.

"...What the fuck is with your legal system?" Zach said in bewildered disbelief.

"Honestly like, you two ain't with the legal system. You can just go with whatever. Whatever those cultists do messes with people's heads man. I dunno if I'd feel safe calling randos to my side to deal with 'em." Stormchild said,s shaking her head while Vista pulled her earmuffs and blinds off and yawned, taking a second to check around and sleepily wave.

It was once again, up to you

Actions:​

[]: Go to the site entirely by yourself (just you and Arne, any backup that you get would be incidental and discovered)
[]: Go through the proper legal channels to rush a warrant (Allows you to call in Wards, Protectorate, and PRT help plus autobots, vigilantes, or paragonites)
[]: Go to the site but send out a call for help (Allows you to call in vigilantes, autobots, and paragonites)
[]: Inform the Autobots and Starsetters that you'll be heading there (Just autobots and paragonites will be available as possible team options)
[]: Inform only the Autobots (Only autobots will be available as starting allies)
[]: Write in
 
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