No...Ven's just challenged in the head XD. And I didn't have to challenge you. I just loved pissing her off lmaooo it was so much fun XD
That's kind of hard to believe when she was destroying every argument that was thrown at her, lol. Anger her? You weren't even in that debate xD. You were there, but you didn't take part in it. Remember when I had Ven explain her purpose for destroying the world? It was a debate between her and the Sentinel's Namor character.
@kaine_reilly: *I meant whistles*
That was So-so's strategy, lol. In all honesty though Alex has only done two things to get under Ven's skin.
1. His heroic speech (First meeting. That wasn't even intended to anger her, seeing as how Alex and her never interacted before. She also got mad at Will for introducing himself before or after.
2. Expecting Juno to thank him
And the second one wasn't even the actual Alex. Now let's go back and see how many times Ven has made both Alex and Alexx look like a fool both in canon and in non-canon. When the true Alex can actually catch up and do some damage, then we can have this discussion, lol.
@soliton: Abigail squinted, head cocked slightly as she tried to work through what exactly Amani was saying, fighting the instinctive urge to pull back in her confusion, and an ambivalent rejection of everything Amani just said. As long as she'd been at it, still Abby could hardly get a pulse on how she herself felt. Once upon a time she'd have accepted it as truth. But that last encounter with Ivana...
Just one more way the veteran heroine had been ruined by her worst foes. Reality was cold. But she needn't be, not to a child. So she fought against the irritation of the spirit inside her and didn't offer a direct retort. "Who is 'them,' Amani? Mutants? Criminals? Were you hurt? Did you hurt someone?"
Why is it different?
Her fist clenched and her gaze had lingered away from Abby's own. The way she saw it, her anger wasn't towards her as it was more so towards some abstract fact. Angry at reality and the way the world really seemed to be. Abby pressed and pressed, so she let it go for now. Amani was the one with a whole lot of questions to answer. Not Abby.
“I did get hurt a few times. I got shot once." She held her hand over her side, and contemplated briefly saying "I deserve it." But something felt wrong about saying that. As though she wanted pity, rather than resolution. To make some kind of sense out of the way she feels. The best she could do was get to the point and speak unambiguously.
She took a deep breath.
"...But I'm here, so that doesn't matter. There was one thing, where I did hurt someone. Undeniably. Blew hos arm off, because I panicked when he shot me." She'd come to understand herself, the nature of her power. It was like a muscle and was at least partially governed by emotion. Like how a person blinks in the face of a fist or flinches to get out of the way. The ambient cacklingnof electricity, like adrenaline surgong through the muscle. "And there was another time. I had the bracelet on and there was a news interview. The lady did me a favor and kept my identity anonymous but, a bunch of people gathered around me asking me questions and then they all dropped. I tried to save all of them but I couldn't."
The word rattled out almost robotically. Instinctively. It was as thought that, she had known all this time what it was she wanted to say.
"I found this." She took out a small, burnt device. "I at least got Elliot to look at it. He told me that it's some kind of powerful electric device. Like an electric bomb."
She sighes and puts the remains of the device in her pocket.
She looks down, knowing what she wants to say, but not saying it. There is a cloud there, blocking her mind. She takes a deep breath, and exhales it from her mouth.
"Abby..." Word comes clear as day. "I thought I could be like you, but I realized I can't be. Maybe I could, with years of practice. But how many lives would that cost? I don't wanna be a superhero anymore. Not like you are. I wanna do something different. Maybe, be able to save lives, like I did before...but it feels like, everywhere I go, no matter what I do, people die. I could be walking in the street as I was and....people die."
Shoulders slump, and the words stop as she looks down, defeated.
"I don't know what to do."
The ice cream she had ordered has long melted into a thick milk.
Clouds of cosmic dust stretched across the blackness of space like strokes of paint on a canvas. In the distance, some stars twinkled as they did in the night skies of planets, and others perished in the brightest spectacles known to man. Racing through space like a hurricane - a solar wind blown by a sun - the Blue Eagle left violent streaks of anti-protons in it's wake. Piloting it as he patrolled the Solar System's cosmic neighborhood for glimpses of an Imperium invasion, Achilles' face caught the cool glow of a holographic screen.
||-Alert. Unidentified high-energy body in close proximity-||, the measured monotone of a V.I. (Virtual Intelligence) warned. "Unidentified?", the American God murmured, brow raised with curiosity. "Deploy the probes", Achilles commanded. Daring not heed it's creator's words, the V.I. deployed a flock of nano-probes. Soaring close, the nano-probes glimpsed at the flaming light of something barreling through space like a rogue star. Their gazes held and their sensors studied while Achilles awaited an answer, his curiosity rising the longer nothing was said.
The nano-probes swept through every scan till all but two gave them the answer that the American God so desperately sought. The thermographic scan identified heat emitted from organs, from fluid flow, and the bio-electric scan identified electric flares from muscle fibers. The "unidentified high-energy body" so-called - was a living thing. A person. But was it friend or foe? Achilles could only wonder as he blinked the Blue Eagle's lights, flaring them at five second intervals as an invitation for them to board the ship.
A once beautiful planet had been coated in dark grey ash during its final hours. Much of its population had already perished during the initial assaults, and, those who remained, said hollow goodbyes to whatever living beings they could find. The entire world had become deathly silent, marking the macabre end of a once flourishing civilization.
“…we love you…”
A young girl stares helplessly into the eyes of her parents. She watches as her mother chokes backs tears, and her father tries to absorb every detail of his daughter’s face for what might be his last time. The girl does her best to appear strong, to hold out hope even in the hours of complete desperation. She reaches out a hand for them, but is confined to the walls of a compact ship. The ship’s design, millenniums ahead of modern Earth, reflects the technological advancements of the civilization form which it was born. The girl presses her hand against the ship’s clear outer shield, mouthing back to her parents.
“I love you, too.”
Another explosion shakes the entire planet. Ash continues to pour form the sky as a thick, dark, unidentifiable mass continues to break through the planet’s protected outer-atmosphere. Another impact breaks the shield entirely. The girl screams from inside her ship, crying out against all odds that she’ll get one final minute in the life she once knew. Instead, a brilliant white light swallows the entire planet, blinding the girl with the vision of her parents burned into her mind. And then, nothing…
Stardust trickled soft light across the indifferent blackness of infinity. Cold, empty space where everything and nothing existed together. In a limitless universe, nothing truly mattered. Which could only mean that everything, even the smallest detail, had just as much meaning as everything else.
In a particularly unimportant corner of eternity, a figure floated along without any meaningful direction. The woman’s body had remained in this state for only a moment, and also for several lifetimes. Time had no relevance where she drifted. Without anything of interest surrounding her, she had been peacefully at rest for an unperceivable length of time.
Now, something foreign stirred her into awareness. It came back to her slowly, for she had nearly forgotten entirely what awareness felt light. But as a steady light continued to flash on and off in her direction, she finally found the correct muscles to flutter her eyelids open.
As soon as she did, horrific memories flooded her veins.
She sped toward the unfamiliar vessel, her hands and eyes ablaze with concentrated energy. Her last conscious memory had been of her family and home under attack, and now, awake from her eternal sleep without knowledge of the time that had passed since those days, she had every intention of fighting back.
The rhythmic strobe of the Blue Eagle's lights gave color to the black void of space, yet in doing so it drew the ire of a being of fantastic power. ||-Sir, the unidentified body is accelerating towards the vessel with rising energy levels-||, a V.I. warned, it's voice reaching Achilles' ear with an urgency it did not often display. "Right", the American God noted, surrendering control of the ship to the V.I. Rising from his seat, Achilles rolled his armored shoulders loose and strode towards the airlock. "Don't retaliate just yet. Maybe blinking lights at five second intervals is a threat instead of a signal in that alien's culture".
With the Mind Lavaliere in his possession, the American God abandoned the heart of his ship for the cold of the cosmos. A demigod who need not breathe to survive, Achilles soared free by telekinetic flight made possible by the Mind Lavaliere. His super-sight pierced through the folds of space-time, and he glimpsed at the alien racing towards him. It was a woman, with flaming hair and energy crackling round her eyes and hands like a firestorm. They were not of the same world, and unbeknownst to the American God - not of the same universe.
So, Achilles reached out to her in a language known to all things sentient; telepathy. A psychic breeze flowed calm and gentle from the Mind Lavaliere, and from it, the American God's thoughts echoed to the alien's mind, if she would receive them.
My name is Achilles, and I'm not your enemy, his thoughts declared.
I saw you floating here in space, alone.
Do you need help? I can fly you back to your homeworld if you'd like.
I have a ship you can rest in.
Her fist clenched as the muscles in her arms prepared to launch a bolt of searing energy toward the foreign ship. Just before the moment of release, an unfamiliar presence touched her mind. It carried no words understandable to her, but it spoke in the universal language of feeling, one she immediately recognized as friendly.
Her forward projection came to an instantaneously halt just inches before a humanoid figure. Her eyes, an otherworldly green dazzling with the light of stars, studied the figure curiously. It loosely reflected the anatomy of men from her home, with several variations.
In a movement of ethereal grace, she reached forward, placing her hand against the man’s cheek for a brief moment before pulling away.
“Who are you? Where am I?” she spoke hesitantly. Her muscles struggled to relax, their instincts fighting to defend their master against a threat that no longer existed. She had no reason not to trust the man’s welcoming psyche, however, her experience before oblivion had left her permanently wary.
“My name is Candis. My home is—was—the planet Venus.”
A moment ago, she was roaring for his throat with a scorching fury. But in seconds, both reason and diplomacy had prevailed. And there she floated, in the darkness of space with glowing skin and flaming hair, as though she were a star masquerading as a woman. Though as her hand glided towards his face, Achilles fought the instinct to withdraw into a warrior's shell, for what message would resistance send to a stranger as distressed as she? A stranger whose first instinct was to ignite the fires of war. The graze of her fingertips on his cheek was subtle, short - but meaningful.
For a second later, she spoke. Her name was Candis, and she claimed Venus as her home. Curiosity furrowed the American God's brow, for Achilles knew Venus to be a scorched inferno of sulfuric acid. Inhospitable, and poisonous.
"Venus? Second planet from the Sun? I've never known it to have life".
"Clearly, we have somethings to learn from one another. My name is Achilles".
Glancing back at the Blue Eagle as it's light blinked away, the American God continued, "My immediate instinct is to invite you back to my ship. But if that attempted attack told me anything, it's that you're wary and temporarily conditioned to respond to the unknown with aggression".
"Something happened to you, Candis. And for now, I'd rather speak with you here", he gestured - to the stars, nebulae and all things on the cosmos' black canvas, "In open space where you won't feel boxed in with walls and a stranger. So, what happened? You mentioned Venus as your homeworld but the Venus I know is an infernal planet with a very thick atmosphere that rains acid".
"And you mentioned it in the past tense - was - as though it's been destroyed. And you're all the way out here, very far from the Solar System".
His words stunned her. For a moment, she forgot her present circumstances entirely, as she tried to wrap her mind around the possibility of his words. Venus? Infernal planet? She struggled to imagine such a reality. The home she had known had always been vibrant, alive with mountains and lakes and cities born from beauty and love.
“Achilles,” she tested the sound of his name on her lips. It pleased her. “That is a warrior’s name. Strong, and beautiful.”
Candis glowed brilliantly against the dark space surrounding her. It seemed as though she were a sun herself. Growing, collecting light, then pouring it out with a dazzling turn of her head or wave of her hand. It was impossible to comprehend her features in a glance, for her appearance seemed to shift as quickly and enchantingly as the light of the stars themselves. The essence of her soul was the composition of her visage: she was fire, light, power, beauty.
“I apologize for my aggression before,” her head turned away slightly in an admission of embarrassment. “I have misrepresented the values of my people. We are peaceful, loving, by nature. I was merely frightened. I hope you can forgive me.”
Dark clouds marred the beauty of her emerald eyes as he questioned the meaning behind her words surrounding the status of her home planet. Her mind retreated into memories of the past, thoughts that felt foreign and impossible to her but that she knew to be true. Despite the pain burning her chest, she kept her emotions at bay. All she could do now was move forward in this strange new reality, and hope to find meaning in life once again.
“Yes, was. The Venus I was raised on had no rival in beauty or splendors. My people valued love above all. Not merely a romantic love, but a love for existence and all the joys of life. Love for science, for art, for music. It was a haven among the stars.”
Recalling the pleasant memories of her home brought a soft smile to her face. But only for a moment.
“That was all before the End. I struggle to remember the details of those days, for if I let the horrors flood my mind all at once, I fear I will not be able to bear the pain. When I close my eyes I see only the rain of death and ravaging of my people. It all happened so fast, and our enemies struck without revealing their face. I could not tell you what cowardly force destroyed my home.”
The agony of her loss chilled her bones, but she would not let it weaken her. The only remnants of her home existed in the traditions she carried with her, and she would carry herself with all the poise and strength of a Venusian warrior despite the feelings in her heart. This would be her way of honoring Venus and her family.
She looked curiously at Achille’s ship in the distance. It did not resemble the ships used by her people to travel the galaxies, but its ability to venture into such an empty realm of the universe impressed on her its advanced capabilities. She returned her gaze to her companion, a childlike wonder filling her eyes.
“I am profoundly surprised at your interpretation of Venus. I am not sure of anything at this moment, Achilles. I know not where I am, how I arrived here, or how long it has been since I left home. But I believe the powers of the universe have brought us together for a good reason, and that you can help me learn what I need know for this new life of mine.”
"That is a warrior's name. Strong, and beautiful"
"Thank you", Achilles nodded, the calm blue of his eyes meeting the fiery glow of hers. With every gesture, strokes of starlight gave color to the surrounding void, as though a cosmic sea of radiation and energies unknown flowed just beneath her skin. But as Achilles dared surrender to the curiosity probing his mind, Candis spoke of things alien and exotic to the American God; love. Be it between a parent and their child, friends, lovers, siblings and so on, Achilles had never known it, and had never given it thought. The one constant around which his universe revolved was duty.
His duty to the survival, prosperity and self-determination of man and mutant-kind alike. His duty as heir to Thee Champion. He knew nothing else, was nothing else. Yet as he caught the chorus of emotion rising out Candis' voice, and glimpsed at the passion crackling in her eyes, he could only wonder. What kind of life had she lived? What kind of culture had nurtured that which he had yet to find within his own soul? A soul swarmed to it's boundaries by a hero's duty and little else. Achilles, the American God, had much to learn.
"No need to apologize", he assured, "I understand. You're fresh off a harrowing experience. It'd have been strange if you reacted differently. Nothing to forgive. And Candis", he paused, meeting her gaze more intently as he caught the glint of pain in her eye, "I didn't mean to cause you to relive the traumas of whatever destroyed your homeworld. I was just shocked about Venus being your homeworld. And seeing what my Venus is like, I naturally had some questions. So I hope you can forgive me", Achilles smiled, parroting her previous words.
Following her gaze towards the Blue Eagle, the American God could not help but notice the gleam of wonderment in her eyes. A stark contrast to the cold focus that so often dominated his gaze. "Maybe", Achilles nodded, after all, fate has dealt stranger cards than the ones that brought him to Candis, and her to him. "And there's no way I could, in good conscience, leave you here in intergalactic space. So if you will, come with me. We're a long way from my home planet. Though I wasn't actually born there. In any case, it's called Earth. Third planet from the Sun and just about the same size as Venus".
"And it looks more like your Venus than my Venus does", he smiled, hoping to lift her mood with a subtle jolt of humor. "But the people on Earth are different than your people. They're more warlike, less sophisticated. More ignorant than inherently malicious, but there are a lot of good people there. I protect them. You can stay with me and a group of fine heroes I work with". With a commanding glance his ship's way, Achilles summoned the Blue Eagle to them, it's doors parting open to welcome them both. "Follow me. I'm not quite used to conversation so you'll have to forgive me if I'm not too good at it, but tell me more about your people. What was your life like before everything?".
She delivered a half-smile while placing a hand gingerly on his forearm.
“Your apology speaks highly of you, but it is not necessary. I cannot expect to move forward if I am unable to reconcile with the reality of the past. It will be unpleasant to think on, for a time, but I will eventually learn to look back on the memories of my home with an untainted fondness. Thank you for helping me take the first step in reaching that ability.”
An Earth that shared some of the same qualities as Venus? She nearly laughed out loud at the picture he painted. In her memory, Venus’ neighbor planet was nothing more than a land of giant lizard-like creatures, where Venusians and other intergalactic societies rather bothered to travel. However, it seemed that in this world, Earth was the center of much activity.
“Conversation isn’t too hard, my friend. You just let your heart speak what it wants” she explained with merry enthusiasm as she followed him into the spacecraft.
“Venus, my home, was the most radiant planet in the galaxy. I may be bias of course. But it is still true that peoples of all across the universe came to witness our labors of love. We built cities of pure gold, and crafted music so beautiful the sky would change color to sing along with us. I could never described Venus as perfect as it was.” She now spoke of home with less strain. She delighted in sharing a world so close to her heart with someone who would never have to experience losing it in the way she had. Venus could live on infinitum if she was willing to share it with her new acquittances.
“As for me, I always loved the art of battle. I was trained from a young age to master my physical form. By nature, my people are peaceful, but we do enjoy the beauty of two warriors engaged in combat. Our armed forces also protected us from those who wished to claim the beauty of our planet for their own.”
The inside of Achille’s intergalactic carriage peaked her curiosity. She had never been much of an engineer on Venus, but she could still tell the components that built this ship were very different from those she was accustomed to.
“I want to learn more about Earth, and the people you seem so passionate about defending. They must be immensely worthy to have a guardian such as yourself. What are they like? What do they value? Oh, I just want to know everything about this Earth. It seems so vastly different from the one I knew.”
Inside the Blue Eagle, the air flowed warmer, and the cool grey and brilliant white seemed a luxury compared to the boundless dark of space. Lifting the helmet from his head, the gold of Achilles' hair stood in contrast to the blue of his eyes. "You're very understanding, Candis", he noted, offering her a seat next to his, "Not too many people are. And that's either down to who you are as a person, or the culture that raised you, both of which are good". Setting his helmet aside, the American God waved a hand through the air, and a holographic screen came strobing into view.
"Conversation isn't too hard, my friend. You just let your heart speak what it wants"
Her words and soul were one. What the soul felt, Candis' words expressed, like a painter bringing his passion to life with each stroke of his brush. But for Achilles, things were not as simple. As easy. "I wasn't raised to let my heart speak what it wants. I've never had friends nor any kind of social relationship for that matter. My life's been dominated by one thing and one thing only; duty". Indeed, for Achilles' father and mentor was Thee Champion, a miracle god born from the chaotic fluctuations of entropy in reality. A figure who once stood for hope and justice, but gradually fell to the moral distance of godhood.
Achilles was made his heir, his successor. He was taught a warrior's ways, and given a hero's heart. "Outside of defending my planet and my people, I don't really do much else". With a flick of the wrist, Achilles shaped the holographic screen into a three-dimensional hologram, one that best showcased the best and worst of Earth and it's people. Humanity's greatest cities, achievements and discoveries, and man's greatest shames and evils, against both his world and himself. "The people from my planet don't hold a candle to yours", he smiled, calmly, eyes meeting hers with a subtle glint of humor, "They worshiped the sky more than made songs to change it's color".
"They're different. They're not like you, or even me for that matter. Physically, they're weaker. They're not... you", he paused, holding her gaze as though she were a star in the night sky, "You're like starlight given physical form. Beautiful and otherworldly. You resemble more a sun goddess the people of Earth would've worshiped in ancient times. And they can't do the things you do. Survive in outer space? Fly? Project energy? It's very rare", Achilles revealed, recalling the subtle surge of strength felt from her touch.
"They look more like me, but barring a few mutants and exceptional people, they can't do the things you and I do. And of the ones who can, even fewer can do those things to the same extent that you and I can", he was - after all - a demigod among men. "What the people of Earth lack in strength to lift mountains, they make up for in strength of character. A resilience to understand that when one feels small, it just means that there's so much more to discover and wonder about. They're weaker than your people, I imagine, and not as beautiful. But remarkable in their own way".
"As for what the people of Earth - humans - value. It's memory. Few things matter more to humans than the past. Because only in knowing the past variables that led to an outcome, can we make computations about the future. We learn from our past mistakes to make better decisions in the future. And humans value that more than almost anything. But more than that, they study the past because they romanticize it. They want to preserve the memory of things that were and no longer are".
"To preserve the memory of people who are no longer alive, to preserve an artifact from a civilization that no longer exists, to continue traditions that have no practical benefit but to link people to their memories of places, things, people, whatever they're fond of".
"So if you ask me, which you did", Achilles laughed, now assuming control of the Blue Eagle, "I'd say, humans value memory. Because the greatest human fear is to be forgotten".
"You told me your people value beauty and love. But what was their dream? What's your dream? Because the human has always been, and still is, exploring the unknown".
The blue light of the holograph reflected in her eyes as she gazed intently at its contents. She watched the most notable events in human history take place, the best and the worst of one species’ legacy. Her face remained inscrutably focused, revealing no indication as to her opinions on the things she saw. She listened to Achille’s testimony quietly.
“I see no difference between us,” she finally spoke softly. In her eyes, the holograph reflected the imagery of a mother being ripped from her child amid the chaos of what Candis would come to learn was World War II. The light in her eyes gleamed with a compassion born from pain.
“On Earth, humans act out of love. Love for family, for country, for friends,” she turned to look at Achille’s, her wide eyes appearing much older than the youthful features of her face and body. “They may not have the understanding that my people have, the intellect behind their actions, but the motive is no different. They want to love, and be loved in return. I think this is why they value memory. Sometimes, the things we love exist only in memories. And there is nothing more worthy of being preserved than love.”
Her head turned to shift her focus to the stars racing past the Blue Eagle. She pondered on the question he had presented. Her dream? She had never considered such a thought. On Venus, life had been idyllic for all people, without any barriers separating desire from achievement.
“I suppose we don’t have dreams on Venus. We have anything we could want or need. But, from what you’ve shown me, it seems the people of Earth exist solely for their dreams. I like that about them. It is another form of love, you know, to live and act on a hope for the future. Despite horrible circumstances, humans never lose sight of their love. It makes me want to help them, to show them love without the confusion and conflict they ignorantly attach to it. Perhaps this is my new dream.”
Achilles' mind and soul were joined in silent song. Together, they marched to the beat of duty, heroic and otherwise. Yet as Candis spoke with a calming wisdom, the American God's certainty in the values that drove - unraveled. Perhaps it was as Candis believed, that it was love that spurred him to raise his shield in defense of others. After all, does a hero not love his people? His home, adoptive or native? Meeting Candis' eyes as the holographic glow of human history stroked their faces, Achilles felt the steel soften in his face. "You're very wise, Candis", he smiled, soon standing to his feet.
"Come with me", he insisted, "You'll have a better view of the stars from the chair upfront next to the pilot seat". Easing back into the pilot's seat, Achilles wrapped his hands round the controls that handed him mastery of the ship. All about them, the transparency of shielded glass welcomed the twinkling light of faraway stars. Galaxies spiraled in the distance, renegade stars raced about the cosmos, and nebulae glimmered with gases, cosmic dust and all that which will one day be stars new and different. "There was once a human philosopher, Ayn Rand. She died years ago, but her work is still controversial to this day. And my father made it a point for me learn about her teachings".
"Ayn Rand's philosophy is an attack on altruism, on the notion that we're all born with a preexisting moral debt to one another. She argued that doing good, that living for others because of a preexisting moral contract, is not true goodness. Because if you're taught that people must live for the sake of others, then not only are you expected to live your life for others, but you then come to expect others to live for you", he paused, guiding the Blue Eagle through a gleaming sea of cosmic dust, "Something Ayn Rand argued to be inherently selfish. That it was not true goodness, it wasn't coming from the heart. It was coming from the teaching that you must love anyone and everyone".
"Even if it's not true in your heart".
"My father had me read this so that I'm under no illusion of what I'm doing", he continued. "I was mentored by him, raised to be a defender and protector of the people, but I wasn't told that this was my only purpose, that I must do this", it's why Achilles' sibling - Orion, the 9th Wonder - roams the stars ready to step in should Achilles step out. Why Thee Champion chose the American God as his heir? Because his sense of duty stems from his passion, his love for Earth and it's people. "Duty was instilled in me, but I can choose to do other things. I can choose to find a different planet, and live an easier life. But I honor my duty and continue to do what I do because it's what I feel in my heart".
"I follow my duty out of love for the people and world I protect". For a moment, he chuckled, his smile reserved but true, "I guess I should thank you, for helping me speak from the heart more. Because it seems we now share the same dream".
"We arrive soon".
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