@rosso:Glad to see Trinity free of Nordok. ^_^
Through her friends in the Green Sentinel Corps, Thunderstorm has learned that King Leo might need a little help with the Imperium. Since she considers herself a warrior through and through, she is a little more willing to kill in times of war than many of her friends would be. She has this vain hope it doesn't come to that, but that's a foolish notion.
Thunderstorm finds King Leo's massive space station, floating in space like some oversized emerald gem. For a split second, she wonders how valuable it is, but that is a moot point. She floats there in space, thanks to the power of her hammer.
Now what? Lara thinks to herself. For all her power, she has no means to communication to let King Leo know she is here. Surely his station's sensors can pick her up, perhaps even her mighty hammer? If not, she might be floating out here for a while, pondering on how to get his attention without resorting to violence. Conflict is the last thing she wants, considering what the GSC told her about how powerful King Leo is.
A low thrum brought life to the vacant hallways of the floating space station - sound waves ricocheting off the walls, ceiling, and floor, overtaking the metallic corridor. The hum was gentle like the voices of the Nine Muses, but as it steadily played and passed through the ears of it's victim, it brought madness to the mind - the wrath of Dionysus. It was no wonder the agents of black and white - the CIA - utilized sounds and music as an interrogation method. Air waves rippled through the fabric of reality as if Zeus was bending the element to his will, creating a portal made from the gas substance.
Emerging from the gateway, the tall-imposing, demigod stepped out into the hallway with nothing but grace and dignity. She wore a long black dress that flowed to her ankles, giving her the appearance of the princess she once was. The top half of her black hair was braided and incorporated into a crown while the rest draped past her shoulders like an oily waterfall bestowed by the Potamoi. Her face was stern - molded and hardened from years of undergoing the various trials and tribulations of life. Despite this, her physiognomy still radiated with the touch of Aphrodite.
From afar, one might speculate she was clothed so elegantly for Leo, but that was far from the truth. Helena had no interest in captivating a man's heart, not in this unfruitful time - not when her family sought her demise for reasons still not clear to her. This dress was purposely worn to send a clear message to those who sought to impose their tyrannical will over her world and civilization. The fabric on the shoulders were broad and keened like epaulettes on a military commander. To add on to the distinctive garb, a crimson cloak draped from her shoulder, falling nicely down her back. If this choice of wardrobe did not signify she was at war and ready to discuss it with those she aligned herself with, she did not know what else would.
Extremely short post. Apparently I have to go to another meeting to discuss this job opportunity and I might have one again tomorrow. This was all unexpected, but sadly my job sucks with communication. Honestly I wanted to write more and go more in depth, but I just won't have enough time to do that without prolonging this. Monday is the day I find out my pay supposedly; so once that's over, I'll make it up to you with a comeback post. Again sorry for the lack of enthusiasm D: @king_leo
Trinity struck again and again and again but Leo gave nothing for free. The first blast caught her off-guard, jolting her head back and almost entirely mitigating the force of her own blow. She felt her power fluctuate slightly. Stronger, though an infinitesimal amount compared to how much she'd already grown. She mentally prepared for the next one but even as she mindfully slammed her head into Leo's, and even as his nose seemed to break, the Azure Son did not. Repeated gamma bursts physically strengthened the Destructor but drained her mentally.
Eventually her aversion to pain won out, and she instead raised her hand to block the rays from her face. Still stunned and blinking the tears from her own eyes, she failed to notice Leo's ploy to remove her from the station.
A mildly hot sensation on her hand brought her back to reality. She looked at it and saw that the blood he left behind was boiling. She was in space.
She looked at her hand.
Leo was nowhere to be found. His energy too had disappeared. Trinity spun this way and that—
—and saw nothing as EM blasts bombarded her from every side, all at once. Straining vocal chords let out a silent scream that in atmosphere would've shaken the surface of a planet, but in space found no one but Trinity and the intruder to her mind (@nordok). Her hair singed and split. Her skin cooked and blistered. A wave of exhaustion hit her. She wanted to break down. Yet fury spurred her on. Now knowing where he was, and unable to sense him, she reacted as combat instincts dictated—throwing up a telekinetic barrier around herself just as a wave of immeasurable energy slammed into the back of her skull.
The inertia sent her flying several hundred miles through space before her body began to coast. She winced in pain, both eyes shut tightly. Damaged, stars dancing behind her eyelids, but conscious. Though the barrier absorbed much in mitigating the damage somewhat, it'd been completely dissipated by the strike.
Still, Trinity did nothing, made no moves to reorient herself. She'd wait until they were back in the station, until she felt the flow of an actual air current on her skin. Til she was sure Leo would be able to hear her. Then she'd spring her trap, opening her eyes to unleash a pair of super-heated, concussive light beams directly into his face.
Trinity was like no other. The Prince of Power knew of few with the power to fracture his bones and scorch his flesh. And even fewer with a strength of character he respected. And yet, there he was, gliding through empty space with one less arm, a shattered nose, and a beaten body. His own blood boiled around him, and his white cape floated in tatters. As Trinity had put it, he'd once been her "person". Yet now as both drifted through the space between galaxies, their faces colored with blood and bruises, and their bodies aching, Leonel no longer had the certainty of mind of what he was to her - and what she wanted him to be.
Friend or foe.
Drifting closer, Leonel felt his brow furrow and his eyes narrow at the sight before him. Trinity, scorched and battered, was unconscious. But her brain spun a different tale as he edged closer. Like the stars glimmering in the faraway galaxies between them, so were Trinity's neurons to Leonel's eyes. They were firing off in a synchronized chorus of bio-electricity. Pulsing in a rhythm danced only by conscious brain activity. Cycles of 10 to 100 per second. She conscious. Thinking. Faking. But why? The Prince of Power could only wonder. Every fiber in his being yearned to help her, to purge the Ancient One from her mind and fight alongside her in the war to come against the Abyssal Imperium. Yet here they were, close as they were, fighting to wound and cripple each other in ways failed even by hearts of stars. And the realization sent the anger flowing through him like a rising tide. Ungrateful. Selfish. Foolish.
He would take no chances. Not with a force of nature feigning unconsciousness. Leonel's eyes flashed white, and precision streams of electromagnetic energy - lasers, in other words - shot out his eyes at the speed of light. But the precision lasers'd burn no flesh. Instead, their photons'd knock the electrons out their orbits around Trinity's atoms. For when atoms lose electrons, they lose energy and heat. There, orbiting round Trinity like the electrons he sought to prevent from doing the same, the Prince of Power threatened to blast away Trinity's warmth and energy at the atomic level. All in a bid to render her body too weak to move, to project energy that was the envy of stars. In the face of success or failure, the Prince of Power'd do as he intended and teleport them back to the white halls of Augusta. And there, with his wounds worsening and air for their voices to flow, he'd await his fate, be it a weakened Trinity - or a blast that'd scorch his face to the bone.
"This, what we're doing...", he winced, clutching the cauterized wound where his other arm used to be, "I'm done", he declared. "I waste every waking moment for almost a year's time to try and help you get ride of that thing in your head. To help you so you don't have to deal with that monster and it's empire alone. To make your problems mine just like you have mine, but none of that matters to you. The only thing that matters to you are my mistakes. The ones I'm trying to correct. Don't you get it, Trinity?!", he growled, seething, eyes widened. "I'm trying to make shit right! I'm trying to help you. I killed that fool, Ra, for you! But none of this matters! Your only desire is to me suffer for a mistake I'm trying to correct. For you. Because I'm the only person in this funking universe who gives a damn about you! Who loves you!".
"The only one who would go to war for you against an enemy so powerful entire systems refuse to utter it's name! But you don't care. So. Let's cut the bullshit. You want to hate me forever? Fine. I'll get you out of here so you can live the rest of your life alone with that monster in your head. But if you want to make things right, we can move forward from this, I'll get Nordok out of your head and we can work on repairing what our bond used to be. But I am not going to fight you anymore. You've lived your entire life knowing only two things. Pain and anger. I am going to contribute to that. There are other things to feel, better things. Better - than this", gesturing with his remaining. "But fighting you?".
White cape flowing behind him as he hovered through the alabaster halls of Augusta, the Prince of Power kept his arms crossed over his chest, and his eyes trained on the cascade of holographic screens floating with him. "The Imperium's sheer numbers will be a problem. I can outthink their forces, use tactics to force their hand... but the brute power and number's game of their war resources", his head shook, "I'll need a large force". The allies he'd gathered, demigods and sorcerers, wielded a power with a skill learned by few. But power in itself was no key to victory against the Abyssal Imperium and Nordok's cosmic sorcery. Yet as his mind lingered on thoughts of power, Leonel's eyes caught a massive spike of energy outside Augusta's walls, like a rising tide in the electromagnetic spectrum.
And as he soared out Augusta's emerald gates, he glimpsed first at a hammer humming and crackling with incredible energy, then at the woman who commanded it. Cape red like a divine flame, and armor shimmering with starlight, Leonel met her gaze and understood the obvious; she was a warrior. Gliding forward, the Prince of Power rose to meet the woman at eye level. Posture strong, shoulders confident, Leonel held his hand out for a universal greeting and question rolled in one simple gesture. Friend or foe?
With his hand offered and lying in wait, Leonel awaited her response with a smile measured and calm.
A consummate thinker and experienced warrior, Leonel stood not in the main halls of Augusta - but in the hyper-dimensional heart of the Hypercube. There, the Prince of Power hovered with both eyes zeroed in on the back end of his arrow of time. Gazing into his history, Leonel watched not his spectacular birth or the cataclysmic fall of Reality-M. Instead, he studied with a myopic obsession, every single battle he'd ever fought against the Abyssal Imperium. Again and again and again as an alien chorus of hyper-dimensional echoes floated to his ears. Brow scowled and his mind running simulation after simulation, Leonel's trance was broken only by the familiar song of air waves bouncing from wall to wall beyond the Hypercube's borders.
||-Seems you have a visitor, sir-||, Hex pointed out, it's robotic monotone climbing out the imagined throat of a glowing hexeract. "I can see that", Leonel answered, eyes still on his past laid before him by the fourth dimension of time. ||-I believe you mean you can hear it, sir-||, Hex corrected, the A.I.'s tone almost promising it'd be smirking had it a mouth of it's own. "Ah, that's right. I designed you to be a smartass", Leonel returned. ||-Then I believed I am fulfilling my role appropriately, sir-||, Hex added, floating away to manage the machine-smithing elsewhere on Augusta. "Quite", Leonel smirked, teleporting from the Hypercube to the lower halls of Augusta. And there, Leonel locked eyes with Helena, a warrior made of equal parts Venus and Mars - beauty and war. Elegant and with a dress that hugged her waist and hips like silk, Helena drew a smile from the Prince of Power. "Helena", Leonel greeted, stepping forward, long and certain, posture confident and worldly, "You look gorgeous", he paused, his words and smile genuine, "But as they say, you shouldn't feed the lions, so I won't feed your ego", he bantered, as was typical of their playful back and forth.
"I'd have chosen purple", he teased, eyes glancing at the red cloak hanging from her shoulder, "Color of Roman royalty. But you pull it off. All banter aside, it's good you're here, because I've run into a problem". Smile gone and his face sterner, Leonel continued, "Our strategy and the tactics to implement it, is good. Our allies are capable and powerful. But our numbers, our sheer brute number of war resources aren't high enough. Now, I have my warriors, a small army of gladiators I rescued from a colony planet of Eteldan slavers. But they're not enough, we need to recruit more. And funny enough, you're dressed for the occasion", his smile returned. "A goddess dressed like a warrior-queen? Who won't listen to that? Certainly not warriors enslaved on a gladiator planet to fight for the entertainment of others for the rest of their lives".
"There's a planet we can visit. Will visit", Leonel corrected, his eyes yet to stray from Helena's. "It's known popularly as Battleworld, but officially it's called Eristes. I'm... known there. It's full of anti-Imperium warriors enslaved to fight in gladiatorial tournaments. Warriors we can free to help against the Imperium and improve our numbers".
She sensed his approach and her mind spiked. And as he neared, Leo slowed, stopping in front of her. She remained patient, the Siren of Sinister Science, yet the longer he waited the more her suspicions grew.
It hit her, not with force, but a subtle pull. One she didn't understand at first, but the Cosmos spoke to her. Its energy flowed through her, and where she lacked any depth of technical knowledge her instincts were stronger than most. But more than that, her body had been forged, the ultimate force of nature. Trinity was no goddess, but within her she held a power not at all unlike the only deity she tenuously revered as true. Independent of her conscious mind, her cells fought, resisting the pull of outside forces as they had before--not entirely without loss, but stimulated nEvolution minimizing its effect as part of a survival adaptation.
Still, she lay. Waited til she felt the air currents brush over her skin. She opened her eyes and slowly stood. Little sluggish, but...I can take him.
But she didn't. Half-listening to Leo, his words modulated by her experience as well as his own mixed messages, there was one thing she understood as clearly as anything she'd been raised in.
"Coward," she spat. Had he been nearly anyone else his words would've effectively sealed his fate but Trinity never wanted Leo dead. Only for him to suffer and to wish that he was, though his words, echoes of the same her own maker spewed, risked changing that.
"Fix this," she said jabbing her finger into her skull. "You owe me that much. Fix this, and we talk."
"Understand this, Trinity", Leonel growled back, always bold, always unafraid, always certain he could defeat her if need be. "I don't owe you or anyone - anything", he stressed, brow wrinkled by a warrior's scowl. Quickly, nanomachines soared through the air and clung to the cauterized wound that'd once been his arm. "I'm doing this because I want to. Because I want to help you. I always have, whether you believe it or not". Like termites in a tree trunk, the nanomachines burrowed into Leonel's flesh and went to work, accelerating his healing factor, building and binding new flesh and bone wherever his wounds lay. "If Nordok is still in there, hold still". A command flowed out his mind, and it beckoned the Hypercube's hand to him.
An immigrant structure from the hyper-spatial bulk, the Hypercube was a doorway into different abodes in space, and different points in time. And it's hand lay near to barricade any tear, any portal through space-time the Ancient One'd conjure in another last ditch effort. His femto-scale computers at the ready, the Prince of Power flung them forward to do as they'd done before; rip the the quantum information that comprised Nordok's consciousness from Trinity's mind. But here, on Augusta's alabaster halls, the femto-machines'd claim their energy from the space station's enormous Exomatter Reactor Core, and use the Hypercube to shackle the Ancient One's consciousness to Andromeda's galactic nuclei.
Now, they'd wait and see.
It is not long before Thunderstorm meets King Leo and he comes off with a strong posture. Confident. Good. She takes a look at him for just a moment. Red like crimson blood and white like the shining stars. Hair, black as midnight and easily blending into the surrounding of space. Skin like a human with the blue eyes of the deepest blue ocean. This man looks like a hero, but he carries himself like a warrior. In those eyes, she sees a heavy burden or is she mistaken? This is no mere man, but a god perhaps? Some may call Thunderstorm a goddess, but she'd be the first to tell you she is no divine being.
The smile comes with the offer of a handshake. Has this man been to Earth, Thunderstorm wonders? Either way, it is a gesture that does not go unanswered. The Master of Thunder and Lightning switches her hammer to her left hand before grasping his in a firm handshake. Her own lips transform into a smile of her own, looking every bit as measured and calm as King Leo presented him to be. The answer to his question: Thunderstorm is, indeed, a friend.
As first impressions go, King Leo has made a good one so far. Thunderstorm hopes she has as well. She knows this is the man she seeks, for the GSC was kind enough to show her a hologram of what he looks like. A new desire forms within the depths of her being, a desire to come inside his home. But she cannot do that without an invitation, but she has a feeling he's about to give to her so that they can talk.
Fareeha Island (Daytonville)
Since becoming one with the fabled Prize Fighter Catalina's success as "The Goddess" was measured by her need to protect her family. She'd defended Daytonville from an alien invasion; apparently the Liafador Matriarch necklace had been the concealing a cosmic gem--The Mind Universal Lavaliere.
The second test to her merit was the reborn Cardinal Demoness Zeon. Zeon returned from the bowels of Cardinal Hell, kidnapped Tassi and Mari to draw her out. In the heated battle between Goddess and Demoness, Cousin and Cousin; Catalina defeated Zeon sending her back to hell. In the aftermath of their fight the demon incarnate dropped a devilish weapon; an item the Prize Fighter took interest in. Since the Daytonville incident it seemed proper to lay low after dodging custody, the news outlets report the return of Ziccarra Liafador; to protect her families location she forbid everyone in the house from island hopping in days after.
"Catalina..." A hum reverberate from a box on the far side of the room. Cat turned in confusion toward the box, it's corruption energy seep through the protective box and begin calling out to Cat. It was hard to dispel it's allure, every time she blink the blade conjure some manifestation from her destructive past.
Dropping her restorative paint brush, Cat moved in what could be considered a trance toward the corrupted blade, her hands extended. The sheer heat was enough to cause an immediate sweat, probably changed the entire temperature in the house too; because the reawakened Power Princess intervened at the right moment--stopping the corruption.
"CAT! what are you doing!" She screamed placing a hex around the box with her mystic energies, preventing the corruption tendrils from lashing out at Cat once more.
"W-What's happening" She asked blinking furiously forgetting the last couple of seconds. Maya, held true to her moniker "The Power Princess" after Cape Tassi fell, Maya had been trapped inside her father's mind, it was only recently when her their brother Leonel made a surprise trip to Earth that she'd been set free. Just in time to save Cat too.
"I think it's safe to say that thing is not safe here. I'd send it to my void but I can't risk it corrupting my energy." She said lighting a candle on the far side of the room. "It's a warding candle, it'll keep the corruption energy at bay for now, but we need to put it somewhere where it won't fall into the wrong hands."
It was honestly a double edge sword, having Maya back. On one had it was nice that Cat had someone "grown" to talk to, but Maya reminded her so much of their father it was almost sickening.
"You've got it all figured out huh" Cat replied already fed up with her younger sister, brushing pass the Power Princess uninterested in the current conversation.
"You forgot, who was taking care of this family while you and dad were asleep." Cat retort dropping her paint brush in water.
"That's not fair, I did everything in my power to give you guys a chance. Since you're standing here alive, I'd say you still need to work on expressing your gratitude."
Cat turned visibly angry, but the stubborn Power Princess wasn't one to back down, both were imbued with relative Goddess, both stubborn in their own right.
"What do you want me to say Maya...thank you? I've been leading this family since the revolution, while you were somewhere on Apokolips, I was taking care of Tassi. Not only do I STILL have to take care of Tassi, I have my OWN daughter to take care of, plus Lil So-So, not to mention I have to make sure our father fully recuperates; so excuse me if I'm not jumping with glee to have you or him back. My life was so much better when I was the one knocking down buildings."
A silence part them, allowing the power princess time to navigate Cat's mind to decipher what the true problem was. Leonel. He by virtue of age was the oldest child, she felt he should've been here on Earth taking care of his family.
"Of course Leonel is the reason you're mad. I guess it makes sense. You gotta talk to him. When you're doing brooding I suggest you walk through that portal. Take the sword with you." Maya said exiting the room leaving Catalina to her own vices.
Augusta Space Station
This was the second time in her life she'd been in space, the first time she started an intergalactic war; and brought over the likes of Maya Summers and Calamity Ziccarra from different universes.
@king_leo "I know you can see me, you probably knew it was me the moment that portal opened. We need to talk"
Slowly, but inexorably, progress was being made. The Ancient One observed his Destructor as she once again battled a being of divine power, the very sort of being she had been created to vanquish. Compared to her first battle with the Earth goddess, there had been evolution: in addition to the new abilities his ultimate weapon had acquired, she fought with considerable more strategy and even a modicum of predatory cunning, rather than depending entirely upon sheer power. While she did not use her full range of abilities in the manner that her creator would have, had he assumed direct control, she still showed remarkable advancement for having only existed for several baseline solar cycles.
The cosmic malevolence all but growled in frustration, however, as her foe repeatedly sought to bring the battle onto the plane in which he possessed the advantage: words. Emotions. The tools by which living minds were so easily manipulated. His methods proved effective, and once again the Nordok felt the pull of the divine champion's accursed technology, a pull that even his own vast strength could not resist indefinitely.
Well then, if they were going to persist in their methods, the Ancient One could certainly be an obliging sport. Again, tendrils of dark energy reached out and tore a rift in the fabric of space. Rather than the comparatively passive attack that the gateway to the black hole presented, however, this one opened into a small pocket dimension, a. extradimensional stasis space for one of his hordes of Nordemons, hundreds of thousands strong. Jolted out of their unnatural slumber, by the rupturing of their planar cell, they would swarm forth like bloodthristy locusts. Individually, they possessed only the merest fraction of the power of either Trinity or Leonal, but in high enough numbers, the sheer chaos they would create would ideally give the Ancient One some additional space to maneuver.
There, in the blackness of space, the Prince of Power and the Lady of Thunder shook hands. One hand over hers, Leonel held her gaze, issued a nod, space-time folded open to swallow them whole - and spit them out in the ivory halls of Augusta. "I'd have warned you about the teleportation but there's no air in space for sound to travel in, and I don't think you'd have appreciated me prodding into your mind without permission. Or so I hope", he shrugged, voice cool and his words in jest. "Welcome", Leonel smiled, his feet still yet to touch the ground, his cape flowing like a warrior-king's cloak as he hovered about. "Any refreshments? Water? Or would you like to get straight down to business", he asked, arms crossed over his chest, eyes piercing into his guest's like two spears flung by Achilles and Heracles.
"Powerful", Leonel noted, briefly glancing at her hammer before returning to her gaze. "As are you. That hammer is like an ultra-dense well of energy". With his gaze alone, Leonel could see the hammer's very presence casting flares across the electromagnetic spectrum. "A very powerful weapon. Dangerous in the wrong hands, which tells me you're no simple warrior. You're highly skilled and very well-disciplined. So", he paused, his smile returning, "What brings such an impressive person all the way here?".
As much a scientist and machine smith as he was a warrior, Leonel - gloved and masked - was at the helm of a breakthrough invention. Femto-scale machines tethered to his Hypercube streamed out his gauntlets to forge the unique, to make give physical form to the abstract. As the Hypercube weaved and stitched the fabric of space-time together into a hollow sphere, femto-scale machines emigrated into it's heart and triggered unique quantum fluctuations, the kind that allowed information and energy to be manipulated in the absurd. Hands kept close to the sphere, his mask catching it's warm glow as energy crackled in the air, the Prince of Power could feel it; the impossible on the verge of becoming possible.
But it was imperfect, incomplete. Something was missing, a key element that kept it from becoming the trump card he'd need against the Abyssal Imperium. So for now, Leonel withdrew his hands, watched the sphere's flaming heart grow dim and cold, and sighed. "I need more time". Pulling the mask from his head, Leonel felt a ripple humming through space-time, and turned round to lock eyes with a woman he hadn't spoken to in what felt like an eternity; his sister, Catalina.
"I know you can see me, you probably knew it was me the moment that portal opened. We need to talk"
"You're not wrong. I did know it was you", Leonel returned, gloved fingers running through his hair as he glided forward, his feet a foot from the floor. "I'm surprised you didn't bring Maya with you, but I'm glad you didn't bring Tassi", he paused, chin high, eyes on Catalina's. Her resemblance to their mother was uncanny - eerie - and grew stronger each day. "So, if we need to talk", Leonel reminded, arms crossing over his chest as usual, "Let's talk. What convinced you to come all this way? Space has never been good to you".
Around him, ivory walls caught the soft glow of large holographic screens, and Leonel's eyes zeroed in on every stream of information they fed him. Face stern, and arms folded behind his back like a general, the Prince of Power examined the list of allies with whom he'd wage war against the Abyssal Imperium. Helena, the War Goddess. Mister Surreal, the Sorcerer Supreme. Thunderstorm, Master of Thunder and Lightning. And others yet gathered. With a wave of the hand, the screens fell and others rose, displaying his war strategy and tactics. "I need more", he muttered, white cape flowing like a gust of air as he turned away and hovered off. "Hex", his voice echoed, it's strong but measured timbre reaching out to the ear of a glowing hexeract that floated nearby, Augusta's resident A.I.; Hex.
||-May I be of help, sir?-||, Hex asked, gliding round the Prince of Power like an eager servant. "That's what you're designed for", Leonel returned, a subtle reminder of Hex's true nature, that it was forged from the quantum information that once comprised the soul of a slain enemy. ||-In this case, what would that be, sir?-||, Hex asked, subtle sarcasm rising above the robotic monotony of it's voice. "Send Selene a message. Tell her it's urgent", Leonel commanded. ||-A shame that she seems to be the only sibling you maintain correspondence with-||, Hex added. "Maybe", Leonel shrugged, "But that sounds like it's not my problem. Not with the Imperium running loose across the cosmos".
"Send her the message", Leonel reminded.
||-Will do, sir-||, Hex obliged.
And now, the Prince of Power lie in wait, his attention returned to his cascade of holographic screens.
For all their worth to the blonde bruiser, Leo's words - his excuses - might well have been wisps of wind. Everything but his instructions; she understood the importance of getting his machine to work (but maintained a steady tapping of her finger on her leg for the sake of being rebellious).
She felt it again - something changing. Nordok's energy being purged from her system—the machine attempting to overwrite something which had become, for all intents and purposes, an inherent part of her, Trinity herself navigated the maze of her biological ability, she pushed against its inherent tendency to adapt to outside forces, forcing her body not to adapt to the changes being imposed upon it.
But though half preoccupied, unaware of what he planned, through their mutual connection Trinity didn't fail to notice the Nordok taking action. Whatever it was, she sought to preempt him—lashing out at the mind within her mind, she sought to tear him into the Astral Plane itself. Her technical knowledge lacking, there was no telling if she could even force him there, let alone occupy him enough to stop him doing whatever he wanted in the real world. Especially not with her half-focusing on defying her own physical body and infinitesimal depth of both experience and understanding compared to the Ancient One.
Her last stint in the realm was brief. Prior to that she hadn't even known it existed - that there was more to the Shadow Brethren's gift than a vague sense of the Cosmos and power over the physical.
But she understood the power in her passion, her emotions anything but mild. Fury at everyone around her, hatred for her maker.
She banked on that being enough.
Tension hung in the air, thick and with the prominence of a force of nature as the Prince of Power swept his gaze through Augusta, searching for anomalies, for signs of the Ancient One's resistance till finally - there was one. To his right, space-time was torn asunder, and a horde of creatures stormed out it's distorting maw. No. Not this time. A command flowed out Leonel's mind, and the Hypercube listened, folding the fabric of space-time over the rift to close it shut. Still, thousands of the creatures'd swarmed through to attack, but the Prince of Power - too fast, too powerful - would greet them in kind. Nordok'd bested them before, but here, with the Hypercube at his beck and call, the advantage was Leonel's. His eyes flared red, the air crackled, and out his gaze roared an enormous wave of electromagnetic energy that tore through Augusta's ivory halls and threatened to swallow Nordok's army into it's thermonuclear maw a split-second before they could swipe their claws at his flesh.
Part of Leonel's space station'd be in ruin, but it was a price he was willing to pay to leave nothing of the Ancient One's forces behind. Glancing at Trinity, Leonel watched as she hung still, fighting a battle inside her own mind. He needed to help. More than he was now. Again his mind echoed, and the Hypercube listened, exerting it's hyper-dimensional power to wrestle the Ancient One for control of space-time coordinates, to make it so that any portal Nordok sought to open here - would instead open elsewhere, light years away. And while his femto-scale machines lent their hand in purging Nordok from Trinity's mind, Leonel - barring any protest from Trinity - would grab her by the hand and teleport her to another corner of Augusta; Virtus. There, Leonel's eyes'd glance at Grunt, a pet given him to by Trinity. More monster than animal, Grunt was a predator bred for savagery. And had been impossible to train till Leonel'd bent the creature's defiance with science. With a collar that granted Leonel mastery over the ionic currents of Grunt's mind.
"Grunt!", Leonel called out, his strong voice catching the creature's attention. "Bring me your collar". And bring it, Grunt did, flapping it's leathery wings as it soared through the air with the collar in it's mouth. The Prince of Power was quick, eyes firing precision lasers to rewire and reconfigure the collar for a different purpose; to grant it's wearer mastery over the ionic currents between their neurons. "I know you hate me right now, but please trust me, Trinity. This'll help get Nordok out of your mind", he promised, hoping to - barring any protest from her - securing the collar around her right bicep, and granting her full control over her ionic currents. Something he hoped that when combined with the femto-scale machines working to force Nordok out her mind, would truly purge the Ancient One from Trinity.
Her electric blue eyes wandered the hallways of the floating fortress, examining the empty corridor that seemingly stretched endlessly before her. Flanking on each side of the hall laid various doors, leading into different parts of the fortress. If she could compare anything to this floating station, it would be the Labyrinth of Daedalus. But unlike the puzzlingly maze, this place did not seem to be riddled with defensive and counter-offensive measures. She stood, waiting eagerly for an alert system to go off or a defense system to engage her, but nothing but silence plagued the area. She knew better though - to assume anything without knowing for certain was unwise. Leo was a proud warrior - a strategic warrior - one that was bathed in the doctrine of war; he would not be as careless as this to leave his kingdom vulnerable from the inside, unless he was aware of her presence.
Closing her eyes and toning into her senses, Helena attempted to locate the space warrior as if she were a hound hunting her former master, Actaeon, who now hid from her as a deer. From across the hall, her sensitive ears picked up the soundwaves of a roaring generator along with other working machinery. Hephaestus would have made that room into one of his forges. Blocking out the workings of technology; she toned in to the other rooms surrounding her. Using her enhanced senses once more reminded her of her time with the Tribe of Artemis. It was there, the maiden goddess bestowed her the gift of acute senses comparable to those of certain animals. Narrowing in on the room to her right, she heard the artificial voice of a male. "Foun-"
"You look gorgeous",
"But as they say, you shouldn't feed the lions, so I won't feed your ego",
Her eyes shot open, revealing the stunning color of her eyes once more - striking and energetic like when Thor strikes a Jötunn with his mighty hammer, discharging sparks of energy from the impact. If she could release electricity through her eyes, she would have zapped him for teleporting himself in front of her - a feat she did not know he could do. Her hearing reverted back to normal as she now stood face to face with the proud warrior - a smirk still dominating her lips despite being caught off guard to her general surprise as she was not one to be easily startled by man. "How ill-mannered to keep your guest waiting," She playfully said, hoping to divert him from realizing how embarrassed she was to be caught by surprise.
It's not that she suffered from hubris that caused her to be embarrassed, but the fact that a man was able to startle her so easily after everything she encountered and tackled in life. "If only that were true. You know. I might feed you to the lions den if you continue to acknowledge this so called beauty of mine." Her face now stern, but she made sure to keep a hint of humor in her tone.
Now that the two stood in front of each other, examining each other's eyes as if trying to anticipate each other's next move in a game of chess - Helena pushed the playful banter aside to focus on what was important: the downfall of the Imperium. She despised what Leo brought out of her because it was everything she could not have or be again. He acknowledged her cloak in a playful manner, but not wanting to succumb to her desires, she chose to focus on why she accepted his invitation. If only he knew how much she despised the Roman Empire.
"Our strategy and the tactics to implement it, is good. Our allies are capable and powerful. But our numbers, our sheer brute number of war resources aren't high enough. Now, I have my warriors, a small army of gladiators I rescued from a colony planet of Eteldan slavers. But they're not enough, we need to recruit more. And funny enough, you're dressed for the occasion",
"A goddess dressed like a warrior-queen? Who won't listen to that? Certainly not warriors enslaved on a gladiator planet to fight for the entertainment of others for the rest of their lives".
She listened carefully, absorbing every detail in her mind as he expressed his concerns for their lack of logistics and manpower. His face now as stern and focused as the Artemision Bronze statue. He must of noticed the change in her mood because the mischievous smirk usually plastered across his mouth was no more as if Zeus reduced his smug expression to ash with a bolt of lightning.
The left function of her brain - storing speech, language, complex calculations, and fact retrieval, operated vigorously as she thought of a solution to their war effort problem. She felt like her mother, standing before a round table - discussing, planning, and conducting military campaigns with multiple strategos standing beside her. She remembered sneaking past curfew just to sneak into the war room as a young princess to play war games with a relative of hers
"A goddess dressed like a warrior-queen? Who won't listen to that? Certainly not warriors enslaved on a gladiator planet to fight for the entertainment of others for the rest of their lives".
"You wish for me to lead a company into the heart of battle?" She looked more stunned and uncertain by his statement than accepting. Her striking blue eyes darted away from his as she contemplated both a solution to their problem and a response to his declaration. Childhood memories restored by Mnemosyne flooded her mind like the incursion of saltwater into freshwater - a battle between Poseidon and the three thousand Potamoi. Her heart and mind accelerated as if Hermes struck his caduceus upon her essence. Reminding herself that now was not the time to allow her past sins to haunt her, she regained her composure and reverted her gaze back to his. "If that is what you wish." She gave a half-heartedly smile. In truth, she did not want to lead - not after losing her men - her companions. It was because of her, they fell to a mischievous man and a sorceress. Her mother - her people, all said she was not to blame - she was tricked they said. Yet, she still blamed herself. Mustering all the mental strength she could, Helena broke free from the mental confines of Phobos - at least temporarily. She reminded herself that the world was in grave danger - the cosmos trembled before the might of the Imperium and it's ruler - a vital war needed to be won - and Leo needed her services to win that war. Now was not the time to dwell in regrets and cower in fear.
"There's a planet we can visit. Will visit"
"It's known popularly as Battleworld, but officially it's called Eristes. I'm... known there. It's full of anti-Imperium warriors enslaved to fight in gladiatorial tournaments. Warriors we can free to help against the Imperium and improve our numbers".
"Will that be enough to muster for war against the Imperium? That we must be certain of. If not, I am willing to make an arrangement with the people of Eristes in exchange for their service," She revealed - her eyes sparkling with desperation, and her face as grounded as ever. Nothing was going to sway her decision. "Wait," The demigod warrior held up her finger before lightly pushing past him. "I might have a solution to our logistic problem," She said as she began to pace back and forth in thought - Her red cloak trailing behind her. It was a risky solution - one she thought of during their meeting on top of the Cretan mountains. "We must summon Hephaestus. Now."
It's like a wave of energy passes over her as she feels herself folded into space and time and then sucked down a hole a body part at a time. All of this in quick succession. It feels strange, but not painful. Almost like a tingling sensation with momentary G forces pulling her in one direction. That is if gravity was involved to begin with, but even if it wasn't, Thunderstorm feels as if it tugged away at her. The cold vacuum of space vanishes only to be replaced by the inside of his space station. Upon hearing his apology, Thunderstorm gives him a warm smile as she looks up into those baby blues of his, "That's alright and you guess correctly."
Thunderstorm has messed with telepaths in the past. With Leo and K'arin as the only exception, most have tried to intrude in her mind and control her, or worse. So, she is grateful to meet someone who is so thoughtful to her privacy. Lara doesn't mind feeding someone her hammer, being the warrior that she is. But it's nice sometimes not to have to swing it. When the word of welcome is spoken, she says, "Thank you." She may be a warrior, but she can be polite. She is not some unthinking brute as is sometimes believed. She's more intelligent than she looks. She has a PhD after all.
As Thunderstorm is about to answer his questions about any refreshments, she notices his eyes. They bore into her own like weapons from the ancient gods. Although she stares back, undaunted, she wonders if he thinks of her as a threat? Crossed arms, holding unknown, but unfathomable, power. He's on guard, but willing to listen. At least, that is what Lara is guessing. Understandable. Thunderstorm can be intimidating, she's a warrior with a dangerous weapon in her hand. With a single thought, she can command her hammer to do a lot of damage before Leo can think of stopping her. But no, Thunderstorm is not here for that, she is an ally and possible future friend. Attacking his home now would compromise both of those things. She is not his enemy.
Before Thunderstorm can respond to his questions, he makes a note about her hammer and how impressive she is. It is not often she gets words of praise from someone, nevermind a man who claims to be a god. High praise indeed, but Lara grins, knowing she has been at this hero thing for a long time now. She's made a lot of sacrifices, lost loved ones and suffered losses that would break lesser beings. Through it all, she pushes through because she must. Briefly, she wonders if King Leo is worthy to lift her hammer, but she casts that thought aside as she answers his first two questions before finally answering his third, "No water or refreshments, thank you for the offer, though."
She stares down at her hammer, "I call it Lightning Strike, no idea where it came from."
And now she answers his final question as she looks back at him, "I'm sure you've heard of the Green Sentinel Corps. I have some friends there who said you needed help with the Imperium. That's why I've come here, I want to help you."
But there is more to her visit than just an offer of help. She proposes to him an idea that Hal Knight himself planted in her head, "But I also came with an idea. Have you heard of the Plutonian Empire? It might be possible to negotiate with the Empress to help you against the Imperium. If you could convince Empress Nairah to become your allies, you'd have an entire empire and an army to help you."
Cat's eyes gravitate towards Leonel's hulking figure as he glided down, it became apparent the moment he owned his mouth that he'd changed. He was far from the flannel wearing boy she used to know.
"Well, Maya's still too weak to make a trip of this distance; and Tassi has daycare." She retort holding Zeon's demonic blade in front of her concealed in a box protected by Maya's mystic energies.
She came for numerous reasons, number one was finding a safe place for Zeon's blade. It's corruption powers were faintly calling at the Prize Fighter even with Maya's warding spell. Before she answered, her circled the wonder that was the Augusta space station; it was evident with all it's majesty that this place was his home. "Well I came for numerous reasons, namely to see how your extra-terrestrial family was treating you" She started pretentiously.
"I mean that could be the only explanation for why I haven't seen my older brother in years" In actuality it hadn't been years, the last time the two had actually saw each other Catalina couldn't recognize him.
"Then I get here, and see just you with, presumably an A.I; and I realize that you've isolated yourself from us by choice; and that this single "parent" routine that I've somehow fallen into is from a lack of participation on your part."
It truthfully boiled Cat's blood the thought of him seemingly abandoning the family, so much so that she physically fought the urge to transform into the Prize Fighter. How could he? they rescued him spared him from the disastrous end to his universe, but when they needed him the most Their Champion, Leonel Pettis never arrived.
"What did we do, to make you hate us?"
The Ancient One was growing aggravated. This Prince of Power's advanced technology was of a subtle complexity that made it difficult to resist. Though confident that, given time, he would be able to analyze it, find a weakness to exploit, and triumph, this interference came with exceedingly poor timing, as far as he was concerned. He was finally molding his ultimate weapon into a usable form, and preparing her to enact his malevolently grand designs on the unsuspecting cosmos; his usual patience was simply not in attendance, at least in regards to interruptions.
In a twist, however, the solution to the device that sought to rip him from Trinity's mind came from Trinity, herself. Though his Destructor's astral techniques were...unrefined, her rage gave her pulling a power sufficient to tear them both fully onto the astral plane, a dimensional shift that, while it may not stop Leonal's technology indefinitely, should cause it to require calibration to this sudden shift, which gave him an additional window of opportunity he did not intend to waste.
Gauging that the time for subtlety had passed, the usually nebulous psychic form of the Ancient One coalesced into a massive, monstrous figure, one that fairly accurately reflected his unwholesome and considerable telepathic power. Muscled arms reached out and attempted to latch onto the "throat" of Trinity's own astral form, seeking to completely smother and subsume her mind.
Enough was enough. When the Destructor next opened her eyes, it was Nordok's intention that, rather than simply being an alien presence hiding within her mind, he would become the dominant force of her consciousness. He was attempting to seize total control.
Glancing at the blade Catalina held in front of him, Leonel felt his eyes trail along it's twisted edges, catching no spike in the electromagnetic spectrum but feeling the subtle hum of energy nonetheless. Keeping his curiosity at bay, the Prince of Power locked eyes with his sister, and smirked at her jab. White cape draping over his strong arms like a king's cloak, Leonel hovered a foot above the floor, and never broke his gaze from Catalina's. Smirk replaced by something stern, Leonel - finally - landed. Feet touching Augusta's ivory floor, Leonel stood calm and steely, the ice to contrast Catalina's fire. "I don't hate you. In fact, I love you all, believe it or not", he began, "But I understand who I am".
"On Earth, I have a dead mother - my fault, according to some of you", he reminded, "A father with whom I disagree on such a fundamental level that we just don't get along anymore. He loves me and I love him, but we don't like each other. He expects me to believe in having a preexisting moral obligation to strangers, save kittens and give second chances to the kind of people that'd eat their own children", Leonel continued, his brow wearing the wrinkle of a scowl, "Two sisters who think like our father does, and would think me a monster for not thinking like him, like them. And finally you. You didn't just inherit mother's appearance, you inherited her sudden moral shifts. I never know if you're good or bad or something in between. When you're good, well, you're the one Liafador I can relate to. But when you lose your mind, it feels like you're a second away from trying to turn this universe into the next Reality-M".
"A universe you all saved me from, I know. And I know that you are - or were - sick. But so am I. I'm sick of losing my family to madness. If mother isn't going crazy and evil, it's you, sometimes even Maya. And I've been through this before. It cost me a universe. So why am I here? In space? Staying ready. In case one of you truly loses it and dooms this universe, I'm ready. Not to flee, but to stop it. To reserve it. So I've been here. Getting stronger, learning, building, preparing. I don't want to have to get ready for when things are too late. So I stay ready. I discover sciences that I can't break down to even Earth's greatest genius because I don't have the millions of years it'll take them to evolve the brain to understand them. I train and seek out every powerful tyrant so I can test myself against them, see if I'm ready in case shit truly hits the fan".
"And the risk I run?", Leonel paused, "Alienating my family. A family where more than half the people don't relate to me and I don't relate to them. So I'm here. Because if I'm there with all of you, I'm arguing with a father who thinks I'm a bad influence to Tassi and even Maya, and always looking over my shoulder because I don't know which one of us'll be the next one to go crazy and try to end the world. If you want me to return to Earth, I won't and can't. The people on Earth, humans, are too... little. They think too slowly and not enough. So weak that I have to mortify myself when I'm in their atmosphere because if I snap my fingers too fast it's an explosion in a city. Just look at father, a god pretending to be a man. Denying himself his true nature because if he's free, it means he's destroying their environment".
"But I'm not like father. Because I understand that gods don't live among men".
"We live above them".
"So I'm here, above them, in space. If you think I'm wrong or arrogant or letting the power get to my head", he almost laughed, "You're not the first and certainly won't be the last goddess to think so. But this is why I'm the only one fighting the Abyssal Imperium. But, let's cut the bullshit. You're not just here for answers. You're here because you're angry. So, go ahead. Hit me", he encouraged, arms folded behind his back, face turned to expose his chin.
"I call it Lightning Strike, no idea where it came from"
"Charming name", Leonel noted, his eyes gleaming at the hammer with a scientific curiosity, "And anything's better than Thunderclap, I suppose". Lifting his gaze from the hammer, the Prince of Power once more locked eyes with his guest and smiled, "So, we know what you call your hammer. What do you call yourself?". Uncrossing his arms, Leonel glided forward, chin high, posture strong, shoulders worldly, and presence regal. "And yes, your friends from the Green Sentinel Corps are right. I do need help with the Imperium. Even I can't destroy it on my own. It's leader, Nordok, is too powerful and has too many resources. I could destroy an entire planet the Imperium is mining for resources and it wouldn't make a dent".
"As for the Plutonian Empire", he paused, his mind drifting off to thoughts of every civilization he'd come across in the cosmos, "I've never heard of it. Not until just now, at least", Leonel quipped, lips curled into a subtle smirk, neck rolling as he considered the woman's words. "Since you're more familiar with the Plutonian Empire than I am, is there anything important I should know about? Cultural norms I should be aware of? Things I might unconsciously do that runs the risk of offending this empress? Because it'd be counterproductive if I went to her planet to ask for help against the Imperium and somehow ended up her mortal enemy because... I don't know... I blinked three times in her direction?", he shrugged.
"Beyond that. What is the empress like? Having a head start on the type of person I'll be dealing with is beneficial to any negotiation".
"How ill-mannered to keep your guest waiting"
"Fashionably late. I hear it keeps one's guests wanting more", Leonel bantered, mouth curled into a smirk, strong arms crossing over his chest like a general surveying his army. "As for the lions, toss me to their den", he challenged with a shrug of his caped shoulders, "They may be in need of a new king anyway". Though as quickly as their banter'd risen, it fell, and a warrior's daring returned to the Prince of Power. No smile. Only ice, nerve and steel. "Don't doubt yourself, Helena", he disapproved, uncrossing his arms as he held her gaze, "You stand like a warrior, have the strength of Greek gods, the skill of a general, you carry yourself like a queen, and you're not known on Eristes. Is there anyone else more qualified to lead a company into battle than you?".
Eyes sharp like daggers, the Prince of Power'd caught the weakness in Helena's smile, and pressed. Landing, his feet touching the ground as he strode forward, his eyes gazed into hers to catch a glimmer of guilt. "Something happened to you in the past that's making you doubt your ability to lead. I don't know what it is exactly, and I won't ask. But no commander or general is perfect. Hannibal made mistakes. Napoleon made mistakes", humans true, but generals with enough sharpness of mind and enough accomplishment for even Leonel to respect. "So whatever doubts you have, confront and defeat them. After all, you're a warrior aren't you?", he reminded, his smile returning. "It won't be enough for war against the Imperium, not yet. There's still one more force we'll need by our side. Then, we'll be ready. In any case, whatever arrangement you can make with Eristes' people, is fine with me".
Though as Helena held her finger up, the Prince of Power raised his left brow, and his eyes followed her stride. "Hephaestus? Can't hurt I suppose", he shrugged, "A bit early to be meeting your family", he teased, bold and shameless. "In any case, summon him. This should be interesting, to say the least. I think he and I could work well as machine smiths. In fact, he could be instrumental in smithing armored suits for the allies who'll need it. The ones who cannot breathe or otherwise survive in space".
As much as she wanted to send a punch across his chin, she refrained, It wouldn't achieve anything; and without the power of the Goddess flowing she'd probably only break her hand.
"You really think you have us all figured out don't you?" She scoffed, having previously taken a deep breath to calm her nerves.
"Maya and Tassi love you, they don't care that you're different from them. They care that you're apart of their lives you teach them things no one else can. That's the first thing. The second thing is, you hold Ziccarra to such a high standard, but Leonel, she was a horrible bitch. I don't care how good she was once YOU came into our lives; she'll always be the person that tried to have me killed, she'll always be the person that tried to murder Tassi and blackened Maya's heart. The fact that THAT'S the person you're comfortable with causes some concerns. I think it's both evident that I look like mom, but I damn sure didn't like her; hell I know I didn't love her. So yeah, your argument, you tried it."
She could feel the swelling anger starting to subside, her body was returning to it's natural state. She didn't need to fight him she needed to say what was on her mind. Catalina and Leonel were sort of the same, neither of them were born into this family, Leonel adopted and Catalina was created. The fact that he got to be on his own and discover what it meant to be Leonel; while she was stuck taking care of the family was a source of jealousy. Sure Maya and Alexis were woke, but how long would it take the both to be at 100% could they defeat Zeon if they had too? Probably not.
She could've left along time ago focus on raising HER daughter, but she would never be able to live with herself if anything happened to them in their vulnerable states.
"I don't know about these moral shifts, but I do know the only time I acted out of character was because the person I loved was being held in the balance, and I made a choice to save them. But you're right, I am going to cut the shit, you isolated yourself from your "family" She said using the air quotes, (which was a clear indication of her anger cause Cat hated air quotes)
"You isolated yourself up here because you're a funking coward, Earth has way too many emotional ties for you. So you sit up here dealing with space conflicts with people I'm assuming don't know your exact origins and you pretend to be some savior. Because on Earth the people that can hurt you the most you have an emotional tie too. You may have these aliens fooled with that High School Musical confessional but you're not fooling me"
Exhaling deeply Cat's eyes tilt down toward the decorative box containing Zeon's demonic blade. Cat's eyes and demeanor told two conflicting stories, her eyes show sadness or betrayal, never in a million years would she figure the two of them would be at odds. Her demeanor was just as strong as the Goddess she harbored. Once she realized meeting him would achieve nothing she'd made a choice and was fully prepared to standby it.
"I came here, because I was going to ask you to keep Zeon's blade. It's powerful and has the power to corrupt" She explained, through her time here her grasp on the box became tighter, at first she was going to part with it...but not anymore.
"But, this is a Liafador problem. So I'll handle it. If you're ever near Earth don't forget Tassi. I wish you well" She lied the Prize Fighter had no intentions of speaking to him again.
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