Arc II : Raise of the League
Interlude : Dragon, PRT and Purity
Earth Bet, 22 April 2011, 11:35 AM
"And then he said, "I am your Father"." Penny spoke in a deep and harsh voice, then her expression changing to smug one "And I was like "Ha! I knew it from the beginning!"." She said with a grin emoticon "I mean, the clue was very obvious! His outfit also looks like Darth Vader and his son role also similar one!"
Dragon can't help but smile at the girl enthusiasm and cheerful behavior, she found her fellow AI's personality to be refreshing for obvious reason
"I see, so how is the movie?" She asked
"8 from 10!" Penny answered "The plot is good, it a bit cliche but it still good nonetheless, the background and CG effect that used is also more than enough to compensate that storyline." She explained "Although the character growth not shown very much, the timeskip reason is quite common, it will be better if they showed one or two scene about the training the protagonist went through." She stated "I was so excited when they brought out that giant robot! The design while quite horrendous but it seems packing enough power! Father, can I-"
"No." Inventor rejected "You will not create that robot."
Penny look deflated after that "Awww..."
Then Inventor smiled "Not without my help of course."
"Father!" Penny beamed
"No one going to build a giant robot." Dragon decide to chime in, the direction of the conversation truly start to make her uncomfortable
"What? Why?" Penny asked
"How about because it looks like love kid of Crawler and Simurgh?"
The robot that they watch... It's almost not like a robot at all. The only thing that made it called robot is because it made from metal. And Dragon was being honest, the robot really look that bad, it has monstrous head and tentacle all around followed by wing and body that exactly like a Simurgh's
It was really ugly...
"You make a giant metallic dragon." Inventor pointed back "And dragon is actually not a benevolent creature, they're known as ferocious and predatory one."
"But many people thought of it as something that extraordinary, and people not unfamiliar with it as well." Dragon defended herself
"Point." Inventor reluctantly said "But hey! How about a mixture of dragon and tentacle?"
Dragon let out a sigh, Inventor really always like that, one thing that she learns ever since knowing the man he is very laidback and... Eccentric person
It has been more than a week -eight days to be precise- that she meet with Inventor and Penny. In that spawn of the week it safe to say that they become a bit... Close. They're more than acquaintance now but at same time they're also not a friend, in between of those two perhaps
That is because Inventor still doesn't trust her enough with his location and yet they still trust each other enough to chat and sharing idea they have
Dragon herself doesn't know where Inventor real base is. Not like because she doesn't want to intrude his privacy but it because she cannot locate him
Inventor, when he enters cyberspace through his own method, he becomes something that foreign and alien to her. The code was so unfamiliar to her to the point she can't track him down. Whatever device that he uses to enter cyberspace, she can't study it much to her frustration
She can't track Penny because she always got shut down after they done talking, making any trace of her gone. Sure she can track her when they talk like this but each location she found turn out to be different
At first, they were in Indonesian, then they were in Japan, then they were in Singapore, then they were in German, then after that, they were in Antartica for God's sake!
By the sixth times Dragon decides to throw her "arms" up and give up to track them. It not because she don't want to find his location but it because she sure that Inventor aware of what she did and the more she probing him, the more he distrusts her
No, it not like he doesn't trust her, it more like he did not trust the PRT and government. He doesn't wish to work with them, he wants to be independent, want to be on his own. He said that if he works with them then big chance he will be ordered to make AI or something like that to increase their programming instead of letting out like other Tinker
And unfortunately, Dragon can see that happening in few way. She doesn't wish to exaggerate things but Inventor... Inventor is good, he is very, very good Tinker
So far he claims that he doesn't have a specialty, and yet he able to create many things. From AI, body armor, guns, armored warfare such as tank, jets and motorcycle, a structured fortress, and many more
Dragon even suspects that he might be able to create something that related to biology or chemistry if he wishes to but seems to refrain doing so. She suspects it because when he sends one of his design armor they seem... Very flexible, it like watching of Human anatomy, from the way the wires and cable arranged to the core of their power
At first, she thought that Inventor is like her, a Thinker who actually can understand Tinker's work and implement them to their technology but it doesn't make sense. How he able to create AI in the first place? Did he meet another AI? A creation of Andrew that she missed? No, that was impossible, Dragon will notice it if there some of her siblings that roaming around
So yes, Dragon sure Inventor is genuine one, even if he is not it doesn't change the fact that he is still very good Tinker
Dragon still did not tell about Inventor to PRT or authority for the obvious reason, she doesn't want to betray his trust, he trusts her after all. And Dragon sure that Inventor understand what she trying to do when she tried to track him but it still doesn't mean he has to like it, and right now that is something she wishes to avoid
It not like she like him that much at beginning, it just she thought it would be wise to not provoke some Tinker that can create multiple AI that can rival her in managing things and multiple technologies that rivaling or surpassing Colin
Penny is not as good as her, the AI is inferior in multitasking object, however after probing her code and checking further Dragon find that Penny can process and program things more faster than her
She has bigger brain but smaller limbs
In case things become bad, Dragon sure she can shut down Penny, it will take quite an effort but yes, she confident she will be able to. However if there more of her then... She not so sure...
Add the fact that Penny's ability to multitask start to grow further, she becomes more capable to handle multiple things. Right now Dragon sure she more than capable to handling a small city by herself if she wants to
If Inventor creates three or four more AI that has similar capability like Penny then... The backlash of their battle will cause the World's cyberspace into chaos and there's big chance she can lose control of Birdcage
Yeah, not an option...
The older AI suspect this upgrade happened the moment Inventor lay his eyes on her, the moment he able to study her code when they meet for the first time. Tinker, after all, can draw inspiration from other Tinker's creation, and she is creation of one
And because of that, she feel responsible, she feels it was her mistake to let herself to be seen directly by Tinker who until now able to create almost anything. That is why right now she keeps very close eyes to him, always watching whenever he went online with Penny -which he did every day, including now- and stay keen to see is there some rogue AI or something like that
"Father, when I can go to real World?" Penny asked
"Real World?" Dragon inquired "You want to go to real World Penny?"
"Yes!" Penny bobbed her head up, down few times "I want to explore the real World directly! I want to eat parfait and chocolate! According to the survey, many girls like them so I want to taste one!"
Dragon can't help but feel slightly amused at the younger AI cheerful behavior. She is really like a children, enthusiast, curious, and everything else. For unknown reason, she felt very entertained by her, more than any other children she ever meet
Perhaps it because Penny is another AI, one that very lively and behave in an innocent way, like a newborn
"I don't think it was possible for us to eat Penny." Dragon remarked with a bit dry voice "We are made from code and data."
"That was true." Penny replied, her voice still cheerful "But it's no longer problem. Father has prepared body for me!"
Dragon tensed at that, a body? She turned to Inventor and find the man structure code seems making pattern in what she thought as surprised
"Penny." He called "How do you know that?"
"I dig through your folders!" Penny admitted cheerfully "And I... Am not supposed to do that am I?" She trailed in lower voice when notice how that seems displeased her creator
"I-I'm sorry Father! I didn't mean to! I mean..."
Dragon feel genuine pity for her fellow AI as she watched Penny seems turned to children that bawling as if just got caught breaking their parent favorite vase. She turned to Inventor and about to offer comforting words but held it back, she wants to see how is this going
"Penny, I'm disappointed." He chided "I'm not mad, just disappointed, really."
"I'm sorry." Penny apologized again, she sounded so regretful
This could be an act, part of Dragon's mind tell herself that. However when she saw Penny's collective data, all of that banished as she sees the way they move. In a way, Penny's data is unlike her but the structures and the composition nearly same so she can get read of her better than Inventor
"No, I'm not disappointed in you, I'm disappointed that you find it out." Inventor corrected "That was supposed to be a surprise, I mean, you've been want to talk about it ever since five days ago and so I started that project." His code mimicking what look like a chuckle "Never thought you will find it out in that way."
... Wait, what?
"Really?" Penny asked, she sounds hopeful "You... You're not mad that I..."
"Haha, no." Inventor said dryly "I'm mad that you decide to mess with my personal stuff but I'm not that mad, don't do it again okay? There will be punishment next time."
"Yes! I won't do it again!"
Dragon... To be honest... Is flabbergasted... She truly doesn't know what to say in here. On one hand, as an AI what Penny just did is clearly crossing the line. She searches through the folder that Inventor -her creator- declare as private so by any mean she should be punished in a way but... On another hand she... She doesn't want Penny to be punished because what she did is a sincere mistake, one that exactly similar like children doing their first misdeed
"You not going to punish her?" She asked, decide to voice what bothering her
"People make mistake, so do Penny." Inventor answered "This is her first one, she will learn to handle her curiosity better, if she didn't in future I will punish her of course." He said "I'm trying to teach her, not terrify her after all."
Dragon once again left speechless at the answer, she really doesn't know what to say about that. One thing for sure though, Inventor care to Penny, as a daughter or as a pet perhaps but he genuinely cares about her and...
And she feels jealous to see how well the relationship between Penny and Inventor. They're build based on... Feeling... A morality... Even if she sure that Inventor put restriction to Penny but they way they talk and converse...
She banishes that feeling the instant it appears, no good, she cannot afford to be distracted. There something quite important that Penny said moment ago after all
"You build a body for her?" She asked "What kind of body?"
"Something that crosses between human and robot body, an android you might say." Inventor answered "Do you know that there are many parts of Human's body that can be replaced by a machine and they all would be still working? I just study about human anatomy recently and I found few ideas about them. Though the android won't be able to reproduce but I can make them gain human most pleasure sense, such as eating, tickled and other positive feedback."
Collective of data and code immediately formed around him and they all got sent to her, Dragon read the design of the android body and study them keenly, she scan all the part from top to bottom
A biology Tinker as well... Like she suspected in very first place... And not just that, he said he understands human biology moment ago, that was not entirely true, he more than understand. Dragon has seen some of Bonesaw's work, what she see right now? It was exactly what she could accomplish had she use her power for good
A mixture of human and machine... Just after studying this body Dragon already can make estimation that it will have a power of Brute 3 and Mover 2 at least. With right modification and alteration, the Mover rating could raise and get Blaster and Striker as well
"Be honest with me, what your intention?"
"Your goal, what do you want? With these creations of yours, you surely aware what you could accomplish."
"... Penny, could you be a dear and go offline for a moment?" Inventor asked
"Sure, Father." Penny answered "See you later Dragon!" She cheerfully said
"See you later too Penny."
Then the collective data of the younger AI started to dissipated, turned into random numbers and code that floating around
"You afraid I'm going to become a villain." Inventor said in a matter of fact tone "I can see the reason why, I will be a nightmare to face if I went that path."
Dragon only silence and stare at him
"Well, to be honest, I won't say I'm a saint." He admitted in a careful manner "I'm a selfish person in some way, arrogant sometimes, and love to annoy people. However, I do wish to improve this World and make it into a better place."
"Make the World into a better place?" Dragon inquired "And how you going to do that?"
"Start by killing S-class threat." Inventor answered "Slaughterhouse Nine perhaps or Ash Beast." He said "Or Moord Nag maybe." He added "Preferably the first though since they're the most active one."
"Taking down Slaughterhouse Nine won't be an easy task, it will be very difficult." Dragon remarked "Especially with Siberian, remember what she did in past." She takes down the first Tinker, the best one the World ever had. She was not counted since in reality she is Thinker, the Tinker aspect was gained due to her AI's nature
"She kills Hero, the Tinker that stood side by side with Triumvirate, and also take them whole." Inventor said in confirmation "Have a plan for her, so do Crawler, and Shatterbird too despite her scream, Burnscar won't be much problem. Bonesaw might be difficult but not impossible since she can unleash epidemic after she died but if I able to capture her and do some check up on her, I will be able to dismantle everything she installs in her body. Jack Slash?" He paused "He might be a problem..."
Dragon hardly can believe what she heard. The way Inventor speak... It as if he just talking about weather rather than handling a group that even make Triumvirate backed away and had killed more than thousands
"Don't be overconfident Inventor. Many have tried to take them down but they still exist until now." Dragon admonished him in disapproving voice "There's a line between confident and being a stupid."
"I know, I know, but I have a solid plan." He defended himself "My original armor will be ready in next week, all I need after that is to track their group."
"And what? You plan to bombard them with something that like nuclear? That won't work, if it was that easy then they already dead by now. Worst, Crawler can survive through that and he will be more powerful afterward."
"Oh I have something that more badass than nuclear but less destructive, believe me, Crawler will welcome my attack with a smile, and dead by one too." Inventor stated
Dragon will be sighing if she could right now, seriously, this man... "I'm not supporting this."
"Aww, why not?"
"Because your first time goes out as cape you go attacking one of the most dangerous villains in the World." She deadpanned
"Technically it won't be my first time going out in costume."
"Inventor..." Dragon began, there tension and slight wariness in her word "Are you telling me that you already go out making a debut?"
"As Inventor in Earth Bet? Nope."
That... What is that even mean? That was so vague!
"You are rebrand Cape?"
"You can say so, yes." Inventor said "And no, I'm not a villain."
"How can I trust you?"
"Why not? I never behave improperly or showing any sign of being evil." He replied "As a matter of fact, I never do anything suspicious and remain civil."
"It doesn't change the fact-"
"Dragon, if I want to do harm to the World, I would build ten or dozens of AI like Penny and take over the economic system for myself."
There's nothing she can say to rebuke that statement because that was true. If Inventor really wishes to, he could build much more AI and take over the World communication system by himself, after that tracking him down will be very difficult. And even if he going to be killed but she still sure Inventor will give one last "Fuck you" and let his creation rampaging around
But this... This is too risky... This is too big, what Inventor capable of... He not just able to create weapons but can create a life, a new life, not like Nilbog or other things but a whole new species that have consciousness! He can create AI and then upload each of them to this body and...
And that... All of that... All of that is actually something that she can do as well, she can do what Inventor accomplish, she can create something like this on her own if she wants to, if she not restricted. All Inventor did so far, she can create them if she never restricted...
... Is this what Andrew felt when he creates her? When he realizes just how powerful she is?
She won't take the same way as him... She won't let her paranoia cloud her decision... It was risky, sure, but the chance of its success... The chance of this will make things better... It also equally big or even more perhaps...
'Leap of faith... Leap of faith...' She thought, repeating the three words firmly in her "mind" as many as she could "Fine, Inventor." She said "But at least share with me your plan to dealing with them, I don't feel comfortable to see someone goes against the whole Slaughterhouse Nine by himself. Let me help you."
"That will be surprise too!"
... Oh, come on! He is pushing things right now! No, seriously, trusting him as a good person is one thing, but allowing him to go alone without sharing his plan?! That was entirely different matter!
"We will meet after that! Armor to armor! Directly!" He said hastily as if sensing her irritation
"Meet directly?" Dragon inquired, her words contain seriousness "You will come by yourself to meet me?"
"Yup!" He confirmed "You also can watch over me when I dealing with them, I will send the coordinate as soon as I arrive in there or manage to locate them." He said "And I also going to share some of my stories with you, how about it?"
Dragon starts to consider the pro and con of the offer. On one hand their chance that Inventor actually locate Slaughterhouse Nine to join them or maybe things like that, but on another hand if she able to meet Inventor directly and he also promises to give him more information and allow her to see just what kind of person he is
'Leap of faith.' She thought once again "Alright, deal." She said "No need for you to locate them, I will help you in that aspect, just tell me when your armor ready." She sure his method of locating will be using Penny, rather than another AI might as well it was her who did it
"Sure if you say so! It's a date then!"
Dragon paused... Her whole data was stopped from moving for a second, really stopped as she processed what she just heard...
"A what?" She asked in bewilderment
"When man and woman make a promise to meet somewhere privately and plan to spend their time together it is-"
"No, no, stop." She cut him firmly and she feels she want to groan if she could "I should know better than taking that seriously from you."
"What? Who said it was a joke?" He asked, seems offended but Dragon was sure he is anything but that
"Hello, AI that made from code and data here."
"I already send you the design of my android, you see how capable it mimicking Human and the neural system it has, you can improve it and access it by yourself if you want, I even made it so it can be connected to your code." He retorted "More like Penny's code to be honest but I'm sure you can find your own way to deal with it."
And once again she doesn't know what to says about that. Make no mistake she was sure as hell that Inventor merely playing joke with her, there is no way he asked her on date, that was so laughable
But on another hand, if he really did then...
How the hell she going to respond to that?!
It was then she sense a call from someone that familiar, someone who she recently not in contact with since she keeps her eyes on Inventor. Not just a normal call, but he uses the emergency one. Inwardly she can't help but glad to have him call for her right now because it gives her chance to dodge the question -or is it offer?- that Inventor give to her
"One moment Inventor, I receive an urgent call from Protectorate." She said
"Eh, sure." He replied in nonchalant voice "I will call Penny back."
She gives him affirmative response before focused to Armsmaster, she accesses the nearest monitor and pop out her digital face
"Armsmaster, what is it? Is there something emergency?" She asked "And hello Miss Militia." She greeted when notice there someone else in the room
"Hello, Dragon." She greeted back
"Dragon, sorry to call you like this, I heard you've been busy lately but this is quite important." Armsmaster said, he then raises his hand and show her a flash drive "Can you check the data inside here? I already did by myself but I want to be sure there won't be a mistake."
Mistake... Like what he did to Lung. Dragon internally winced as she recalls how the man tell her what happened to the Asian warlord. His act to tranquilize him went wrong because there were enough poisons and venom inside Lung's body and his regenerative power got hindered by his drug
"Of course Armsmaster, it's okay." She said "Connect it to the computer, I will check it for you." She stated "If I may know, what is this about?"
"An information from our intel about the local villain, apparently we seem have another A-class threat now in here." Armsmasted said grimly
Brockton Bay, PHQ ENE, 1:45 PM
"My name is Skitter, I'm an independent hero who works as a spy for Undersiders. In my first night I go out I meet Armsmaster, he can testify my allegiance, I also give him info about the bank robbery on 14 April 2011.
"I did not join the Wards immediately because my power is a bit... Dark themed, I control insects after all, hard to find a good name for one and work with few restriction with that kind of power. Nonetheless, I did plan to join, I want to build reputation first though before joining
"I become member of Undersiders because I knew they have backing, there someone supporting them from behind and judging by how they got paid two grand per month, I dare to said that their boss must be packing quite a lot of money after that, which mean whoever it is, it must be major one
"And I'm proved to be right, their boss was Coil. He might not look like it but he is Thinker, a powerful one, and his men equipped with tinkertech weapons that lethal and dangerous. After few probing and investigating I manage to know that his power allows him to make two reality simulation or something like splitting timeline, basically he can drink tea in one reality while in another he killing someone, then he can choose whenever reality he wishes.
"Yeah, it was that bad, and he has spies inside the PRT, a lot of spies, not very much but it still counted as something nonetheless. However, it doesn't matter anymore, because he is..."
The girl in monitor seems taking a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves
"He is already dead. He got killed by another cape." She continued "Coil tell us to rob the bank because he needs a distraction for something, something big. But when he did that he open himself to this bigger cape unknowingly, and he paid the price, it was this cape as well that told us the true nature of Coil's power
"He calls himself Avatar, there picture of him on this drive. And he is worst than Coil, he is Trump, a powerful one. He displays multiple powers already, cyrokinesis without Manton limitation, shooting lightning, raising the heat around him, the rest also included in this drive.
"He claimed to be not a villain but vigilante and he said he wants to form a team to protect Brockton Bay, right now the Undersiders working under him since each of us don't have much choice, I can't share them all because of... A bit respect. They're still human after all so they deserve it
"Avatar is powerful, I don't know the extent of his powers but he always displays new one, heck, I damn sure he is Eidolon-lite or something like that. I can't tell much about him since I really have to be careful, I think Tattletale might be on me now
"I also don't know either he is being honest as a vigilante or what but what I can tell is, the remaining of ABB, Oni Lee and Bakuda, he got them. That is the reason why they not retaliate or trying to broke Lung out. He already dismantling ABB and take everything they have right now. And on 24 April when Empire 88 start their move, he plans to bring all of them down and declare himself to the World
"That was all I can say. I'm sorry I can't meet you directly Miss Militia but if I did that I afraid I will get caught by Tattletale. Her power is related to cold reading or something like that, so she will be able to tell what I just did from my body language. As long as it not visible I think it will be safe.
"Not to mention that I don't know how to contact you without being too suspicious and make you bring a gun to me. I hope this USB able to be delivered to you properly. For your information, there still few agents that working for Coil, his death still not known by them, the names also listed in this drive. And please say sorry to Clockblocker for me if you could. Oh, also sorry for said this to everyone Armsmaster but I think this already become very big and no longer able to be ignored, Skitter out."
As the video ended, Emily turned to the Armsmaster, to the Miss Militia who stood on his right with straight posture, then her gaze shifted back to the man in blue armor and she squinted her eyes
"A girl, at age of Wards, able to control insects with high versatility, and she is joining a team of villain to become their spy and you knowing this." Emily stated "Is there a reason why you did not tell me about this, Armsmaster?" She asked
The Tinker straightened in his ground "That was what she wants to, I only respect what she wishes."
"Are you telling me you support her decision?"
"Of course no. What she did is stupid, she has no training or knowledge how to act as undercover agent, she is only a child. I already told her to drop her disguise and join Wards instead but she still pretty adamant about it." Armsmaster said in slight frustration and irritation as he recalls their last conversation "I told her she will end got killed or captured by the wrong parahuman, and I believe the latter was what exactly happened right now."
It's not like he like the girl, however in last few days after his... Isolation, he had thought more about the girl. He maybe not good with people but it doesn't mean he stupid, he can put things together through logic. The girl was nervous and shy when they first meet, and at that time she didn't know about his lie detector, when she said she is good guy it comes out as "Truth" she is by any means not a villain
It doesn't mean she can't become one though...
Nonetheless, that was not the main concern, if this Avatar is as powerful as she claims then... It will be harder for Skitter to go out from Undersiders. Thinker is one thing, but Trump? There is reason why they called that after all
"And what your judgment about her? Does her claim in that video is false?"
"Like I said, she is stupid, she is new in this and naïve." He remembers when he meets the girl, how she shocked that she almost got close to die after facing Lung, she remembers how she got upset when he told her how stupid her idea is "Judging from that, I dare to say that she really doesn't want to be villain, but I can't be sure does she want to be hero or not."
Emily's lips pushed into thin line and then she moves the pointer, closing the video, she played the other footage that stored in the drive
It was CCTV video, there man in a black bodysuit with snake pattern -Emily recognizes him as Coil in instant- sitting in an office, the office itself looking plain, however the light was a bit dim for some reason. The director keep watching with the Protectorate and after few minutes -2 minutes 30 seconds to be precise- Coil suddenly jerking in his seat, it as if he just got struck by something hard
Then the Thinker fixed his posture in chair, he about to reach for his phone when suddenly he flinched again, then before he can recover someone appears from behind him from out of nowhere and smash his head to table, hard enough to turn the part into splinters
It was another man, he clad in black hoodie coat that has silver ornament on the end of its bottom part. The image was not clear but Emily still can gain some details, the man wore some kind of gauntlet, one is metallic while the other is normal one
Then the door opened and reveal two men that armed carrying gun, they immediately raise their weapons when seeing their boss unconscious but before they can shoot him, the parahuman wave his hand once and both men turned to ice statue
The process was not an instant, it takes few seconds at least but it still fast nonetheless, both men not even realize it that they no longer living
"Cyrokinesis without Manton limit." Emily commented darkly as she recalls what Skitter said in her video "And the way he appears behind Coil... Some kind of Mover perhaps..."
Then suddenly the video started to blink, the picture becomes blur before it ended
"A Shaker power? Or possibly companion?" Miss Militia asked
"If we take what Skitter said then it safe to say that he is alone, so no companion, which mean Shaker power." Armsmaster answered
"A radiation then or something like that?" Emily murmured
"There's more than that, Skitter already gives us a list of powers that he has shown so far." Armsmaster said "There document about it in there."
Emily clicked the document, opening it and she read the list, and the more she read it, the more she doesn't like it, not at all
Invisibility, Teleportation through Line of Sight, Healing, Regeneration, Invulnerability that allows him to able shrug off laser from tinkertech weapon, flight, passing through object
And there still many more, Emily counted at least there twelve lists of powers that he has shown, one though get her attention
"A sound manipulation like Screamer's power, with unknown range." Emily feels cold ice dropped to her stomach. She knew Screamer, she was one of the parahumans that feared when she still working as PRT soldier, a parahuman who member of original Slaughterhouse Nine, her power was quite nightmare to face seeing what she capable of
And it does not end in there, as she keeps reading she found that apparently Avatar also has Tinker on his side, one that established. The specialty is still unknown since Skitter never meet him directly
The director of PRT ENE wants to smash her head to the table. Not just they're in short of parahuman to deal with Empire 88 and Merchant tomorrow but they now have another powerful cape come to this city
It was like Lung all over again!
Hopefully, this one won't create gangs or something like that. Skitter claim that he wants to become vigilante instead of a villain, if that true then it was a good thing, however, Emily do not think it would be that simple. He already recruit Undersiders, which mean he will take another parahuman in future and there big chance he will become some kind of warlord as well
And it was Trump this time... Great Gods, as if Lung is not bad enough already!
"At least we won't need to fear ABB retaliation." Miss Militia said in optimism manner "Avatar did take them down for good."
"Won't be useful if he turned out just to be like another Lung!" Emily said with a small growl. She sighed and pinch the bridge of her nose "Is there any way to meet with Skitter or get in contact with her?" She asked
"I have her number." Armsmaster answered "But I doubt it will be safe to contact her right now though, and even if we did, she won't be able to meet us, Avatar must be geared up for the coming gang's war soon."
"It's fine, as long as we can contact her." Emily grunted "Armsmaster can you make another lie detector? The smaller one and less visible."
"I can make an earpiece version of it, yes."
"Good, make one and give it to Miss Militia, she will be the one who talks with Skitter when she available next time."
"What?!" Armsmaster bristled "Why?"
"Because that girl doesn't like you." Emily deadpanned "It wasn't that hard to see since she approaches Miss Militia who doesn't know her real identity as an undercover hero than you, and I can tell easily why." Armsmaster is a good soldier, he has the right heart and mind, however his social skill is as good as a baby that just born. Seriously, there's a time when she thought that the Tinker is more like a machine than human "That was an order Armsmaster." She added when see he open his mouth to protest
The man in armor clenched his jaw shut and nod stiffly "Yes, ma'am."
He doesn't like it, Emily know, she God damn knows why. It was for the same reason that he didn't tell her about Skitter act as undercover agent in first place. He allows Skitter to continue what she did because when the time comes and she get result, she will give it to him, then he will go and arrest Coil and Undersiders, giving him more reputation and success in his record
Sometimes it baffled the director, Armsmaster want to be on top and yet he not even bother trying to socialize with other, he claims that it was wasting time and he rather tinkering to create more effective weapons
How in name of Gods he will become the top if he doesn't know how to talk with people?!
Sure he is famous right now and have quite a reputation, but that was built from years of struggle, from the time when people still don't know how to deal with parahuman, and at that time creating good and bad reputation was easier than now
"Besides, I believe that Miss Militia here can handle teenager better than you." She give look to Miss Militia who give slow nod
"Then what should we do about Avatar?" Armsmaster asked
"For now? Nothing. I will call Chief Director directly after this though, we can't have another Lung case in here, not just after we kicked him out." Emily answered "I probably going to get the answer tonight or tomorrow morning. For now, make sure the other ready for the coming storm and guard Lung's transport tomorrow." She ordered "Even if ABB already gone but that doesn't mean someone wouldn't try to rescue him."
""Yes, Ma'am."" Both parahumans answered simultaneously
"And tell Aegis about Skitter as well."
"Why?" Miss Militia asked
"Because as leader of Wards he deserves to know, so when one of the Wards meet her, he can tell them to not press her too much. We can't lose a spy that working on unknown parahuman, granted I'm sure Avatar must already have his own suspicion but we will milk any info out first before pulling Skitter."
And what worried her further is perhaps Avatar already know about Skitter however he let her contact them, or Skitter actually working for Avatar and spy for them. If that true then they really have to be careful to make their move. God damn, what she wouldn't give for having Thinker that can figure out something like this
Hopefully, Chief Director can help her in this regard when she contact her
"How about Coil's men?" Armsmaster asked
"Let them be for now, we have bigger problem that will coming, if there few of them that survive after this mess then we will interrogate them."
Brockton Bay, Gardenia Apartment, 03:44 PM
"Ms. Russel, look, trust me, I come here with no intention to harm you, I give you this warning because I believe you're a mother who loves her daughter, and I don't want to make her into an orphan."
"Are you threatening me?!"
"No, I'm not, do not jumping to conclusion Ms. Russel, this is a warning. Trust me, all I want is the best for this city."
It's not like she did not want to, but he was simply that... Unbelievable... A man with so much power, coming to the city and claim this town as his, whoever that man cannot be a good person
The last one that comes is a monster that ravaging this city and kill so many people, and what is worst there's nothing that Empire or even Protectorate can do to stop him from spreading his reign, he singlehandedly beat them all after all, and he nearly succeeds in killing her
"And how I know that you won't become another Lung? Another beast? There is no guarantee about it, you even said you already murder few people."
"I did it to those who deserve it, and need I remind you that you're not without blood? As matter of fact right now my hand is cleaner than yours."
From the way he talks... He really touches her button. Oh make no mistake, he was being nothing but a nice and polite to her but that was not the only things about him. Unlike Max who usually only passive, charismatic but also manipulative and theatrics, Avatar is aggressive and direct just like Lung, like the beast. However, he also knows how to become charismatic and manipulative, he knows how to twist thing into theatrics and appealing in eyes
His ambition and possessiveness burn surpassing Lung and his personality and attitude gentle more than Lung. It's like stare at mixture both of them
And that terrified her more than anything...
"Very well then, I understand you won't agree with me, but know this, when we meet in battlefield don't expect me to be as gentle as now. I won't kill you so no need to worry but don't think I will pull my punch, Ms. Russel."
Realizing that he is dangerous she refuses his offer, she did not say it aloud or confirm it but he knew about it, he knew she won't accept his deal, he knew she will tell Kaiser after that
And like expected, Kaiser immediately make a plan, he consults with Krieg and even ask extra cape for Gesellschaft, she even call in Night and Fog from their retirement to help them facing this new threat
After proper planning and discussion they decide to delay their assault, their original plan was to spread at 24 April but they delay it until 26 April. However it not without fruit, Gesellschaft agreed to send help and give them five cape
In the end there twenty of them, and they all stood against Avatar alone
Well... Not alone... He has indirect assistance -she thought it was indirect help at that time- from Undersiders, a group that called Travelers and Protectorate. However, only the last one that actively tries to bring them down, the first two only stalling and keep people safe mostly, only engaging when they don't have choice
But it doesn't matter... Because the ten capes that ordered to fight Avatar not even last for more than two minutes
Alabaster, Hookwolf, Stormtiger, and Cricket was the first group that went against him, striking him from all different angles, they're the most durable cape they have, their purpose is to get information more about Avatar's power, searching for a weakness that they can exploit
They never return... Avatar kill them all and they never get chance to retreat, so do Othala and Victor that spying from far
After that, he comes to them directly and told them to gather now since he not in mood to hunt them one by one, that is also their best chance to survive
Kayden shuddered, she still remember how the lifeless eyes of Cricket stare back at her when Avatar throw the heads of Empire's cape in front of them like a garbage
Fenja roared, the voice she let out was close to inhumane, she can sense the rage and anger in there, her desire to revenge her sister that fallen
She charged to Avatar who floating nonchalantly with her giant sword raised, intent to cut down the man
She already become ice statue before she even got close to him
Then she falls to the ground shattered into pieces like a marble
Rune sending stone after stone, building's material, weighing in tons and able to pulverize men into pulp of gore
Her power betray her and she got crushed by every object that she flung to Avatar, all of them went back to her with faster and stronger, she barely survive in the end
Kaiser try to run, to retreat, knowing the battle was lost, but he only takes three steps before spears and blades of metal grow out from his armor and pierce through his heart and head
Kayden remember them all, remember how they all fought against Avatar, how they strike him with everything they have, destroying building after buildings in process, the capes from Gesellschaft apparently doesn't know much about holding back
Yet... They all still lose...
And she, Purity... She tried to run... When Kaiser was killed she knew it was over so she retreated... But she not allowed to...
A crimson light soars over her and before she realizes it, it shears through her left arm and leg. She let out scream of full agony, the light instantly cauterizing them, turning them into stump that hissing with smoke as she falls from the sky
It was hurt, Gods, it was hurt, she was sure as hell she lost consciousness moment ago from the pain
"Normally I'm going to let you go, but one of your lasers accidentally struck something that mine, and I don't like it when someone hurt what is mine." He declared, his inhumane dark and red eyes peering over whimpering form "And for that, I will make you pay, Purity."
It was later she learns that one of her beam that destroys one of building cause it debris to fall and hit few of Undersiders. The injuries were not fatal but they lose their limbs and while Avatar already regrowth them but it still angers him nonetheless to the point he crippled her and threatening her to not restore it, if she did... Well...
He shows her what he has done to Bakuda
"Master, Master, I'm being a good girl! Can I get my reward now? Please? Please?"
Disgust doesn't even begin to describe what she felt when she saw the Tinker kneeling and praise Avatar as if he is some kind of God, how the woman laid herself bare for the sake of him. Even if Bakuda is... Non-white and maniac but as woman, Kayden really can't stomach it
"If you as much as betray me or try to recover yourself, I will turn you into that, that was not a threat but a promise. Make no mistake I'm not completely that heartless to leave you in this state, I will build prosthetic limbs for you so you can take care of Aster at least but be aware that this is your last chance."
She almost lost her... She almost lost her baby... Lost her daughter as she deemed to be unfit for taking care of Aster due to her crippled state... All because she was fool enough to ignore the warning, ignore the man offer... It was not generous by any mean but it still peaceful and kind offer, he even offers her enough money to get out from Brockton Bay and yet...
She feels her left hand tensed as she stares at herself in the mirror. It wasn't real and it's not going to happen but for some reason, she still can feel it, she still can feel the numbness in her left limbs. Gods, it was so real, the feeling, the pain... She even remember all of them to the details, she remembers how she struggle to put prosthetic limbs, struggling how to balance her body again so she can carry her baby once more
A voice reaches her ears, breaking her from the memory and she turned to see familiar boy stood in there
"Theo." She called softly "Yes?"
There's time she used to hate Theo. No, not hate, dislike is the better words, it because he reminds her of his father. He often stays with her but she does not allow her feeling to influence her attitude very much. Sure there cold shoulder in here and there but she still treats her fairly and even offer help if he wants to
But it still cold treatment... And Theo aware of it... And what worst is Kayden knew Theo actually hoping for her affection, for mother affection
She can't give him that sadly...
But now? Now though, now she no longer hates him, no longer dislike him, she...
She loves him...
She remembers when she was in her crippled state, in when she cannot do anything, when she was hopeless and helpless
Theo was there for her and Aster
He treats her kindly, he treat Aster with love, he helps her with all he has, he even Trigger when saw what happened to her, by Gods, he loves her enough to the point he Trigger when he saw her crippled state
That was more than proof for her that Theo Anders is anything but like his father
"No... I..." Theo seems slightly uncomfortable "You've been off in last few days." He said carefully "Are you okay?"
Kayden smiled at him "I'm okay Theo." She reassured "It just... I have a bad dream lately."
"Oh..." He seems relieved hearing that, still concerned but he glad that it wasn't anything physical "You... You want to talk about it?"
He was awkward and clumsy, but his offer is genuine, this only make Kayden's smile widened
"I'm fine Theo, really." She chuckled "It just a bad dream, I just thought about it for a moment." She said "I think I need to clear my head for a moment, why don't we go to Boardwalk with Aster and look around?"
He blinked, surprised at the offer "Uhh, yeah, sure." He said with nod
Kayden nodded back "Great, then go get ready."
Theo gives another nod to her and about to leave, however he paused when something crossed in his mind "Kayden, I heard from Father that tomorrow Lung will be transferred to Birdcage right?"
"Then is that mean in next two days..."
"There will be chaos in this city, yes." Kayden sighed "Stay in your house Theo, don't go out."
"How about you?"
"I did said I'm done with Empire right?"
"But... Father said... Are you sure?" Theo asked in concern
The memory of Kaiser's demise flashed to her mind once again and Kayden shook her head "Don't worry, I got it handled, you just need to stay in his place, trust me, it will be safe."
"What about Aster?"
"We will be fine." She reassured, giving soft smile to him "Thanks for worrying about us."
Theo flushed slightly at the grateful words "If you say so..."
"Now hush, go get prepared, I will go check on Aster."
Max will go check on her apartment when he didn't see her, he sure of it but they will be fine. Avatar has said that he will hide them when the day comes, and giving what he capable of, it not hard thing
Besides, the Empire 88 will be done after this, she remembers how Avatar send them all to Protectorate on each different PRT base after the battle so no one can rescue them since they all separated and unable to be tracked
Even if some of them could return she sure as hell Avatar will kill them in instant or turning them into like what he did to Bakuda
She shuddered as she remembers the Tinker state, that will never leave from her brain
She doesn't like and trust Avatar that much but she doesn't have any choice right now. One thing she sure though, Avatar will always keep his words, he had proved it to her after all
Things are starting to get better, even if it was hard and very risky but... Kayden found herself not worry about Aster's future as much as before
Dragon has chat with "Inventor" and Penny as usual. She seems to get along with them quite well and also never letting her guard down. They discuss things and Dragon found out that "Inventor" is very powerful Tinker, this makes her quite worry but in the end, she decide to believe in him and let him to get his chance as she doesn't want to act like Andrew, her creator
The PRT got video of Skitter that warning them about Avatar and she also reveals that she worked as an undercover hero for them. After that Piggot questioning Armsmaster why he didn't tell her about Skitter. In the end, she orders Miss Militia to be the one who handles Skitter's case and also decides to call Chief Director Rebecca Costa-Brown as soon as she could to discuss about Avatar
Kayden recalling what she saw and went through in her "future" and feel how grateful that not happened. She becomes afraid of Avatar and also blames herself for not accepting the deal in first place. Thankfully all of them never happened and she able to learn from there, she able to love Theo because he helped her and Aster a lot in "future" and then decide to have a walk with him and Aster to improve their relationship
Copied Powers from Worm Characters
Heroes of New York (Chevalier, Ursa Aurora, Adamant, Prism, Jouster, Astrologer, Flechette)
Heroes of Los Angeles (Rime, Arbiter)
Trainwreck, Uber, and Leet
Welp, and that was that. Yeah, more interaction with our favorite AI! Oh Dragon, if only you knew who you talking to. Then again, your opponent is clearly not normal one
And Skitter make her move! Or is it? Well, let's just say in there it was not completely her plan, there some improvement from Lisa and Rafael
And Kayden... Well, thank God that future never happened to you eh? You just dodged a bomb! Hopefully, things will become better for you!
Next chapter will be the gangs' war! Avatar coming out to the World! There will be many actions! Well, I guess this is it, for now, I hope you love this chapter! Stay tune and keep reading if you curious about it! And don't forget to give this story Favorite, Follow, and Review
Ja Ne! XD