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Antonia

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@feral_nova said:
@xxbelladonnaxx said:

Nova and I were originally supposed to have Lyn and Belle be a ship. IDK how we managed to put Cat and Zoe together. lmao

idk how we keep missing that that ship. We knew from the beginning we wanted Lyn and Belle together but every time we use them in an RP or interaction, it just never happens LOL

They've legit only interacted twice lmao

Also didn't Belle hate her?

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Antonia

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@la-espada:

Though she wanted for Nastya the assurance that'd hopefully lead her to make the right decision of her own accord, the Once and Forever Queen silently approved Santiago's resolution to oppose Amaranth and his cohorts no matter what they tried—and no matter who they were. Atta boy. Even separated by immeasurable quantities of space and time, my most trusted companion for evermore.

She shook her head. "I was just about to release her. You could've left any time you wanted." Then, smiling, "But I'm glad we got to talk. Even if my whole can't appreciate this moment yet, this part of me appreciates it. Just...be patient, and don't be quick to give up on her completely. Even gods must discover wisdom on their own, and even they've never been infallible."

Then giving Nastya her full attention once more, she offered her last consolation. "True, you never asked to be what you are but neither did anyone else. The difference is you get a choice. In this universe virtually every eventevery action of every living thing that ever has or ever will exist—was a predetermined result of a single universal-scale event billions of years ago. But I gave you part of me, and that part makes you an exception to that rule." She stood, and the form started to fade and dissipate, though her voice remained as close as ever, inside Anastasia's mind. "We made you. In that, you're just like everybody else who didn't ask to be here. But in everything else you are one of the freest beings in the entire universe. So yes. In a manner of speaking, you are 'my gift to the world.' But in another, not so far off, this universe is my gift to you.

"You've a lot to consider, a lot to do. I'll see you when this is all over."

And with that, she released Anastasia as well back into the waking world - to wherever Santi had decided to take them.

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Antonia

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@la-espada:

"I understand," she said, phantom hand patting his shoulder. "That's good. Healthy. Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

"I wish I knew," she said with a shrug. Although if she did, she mused, the chances of them having that very conversation would've been astronomically lower. "Guess you'll have to fall back on someone else's good deeds."

That said, she turned her gaze once more to her final project, her chosen successor. The softness of her expression was almost entirely foreign to Nastya. Doña made a point to show appreciation for achievement but the kind of seeming affection she was showing here, Nastya'd felt less than a handful of times before. That was the continual struggle. She was bred smart, conditioned smarter. Enough to understand the inherent manipulation in interpersonal relationships and especially apparent in her own upbringing, but reading into things she was never able to decide whether it was better to resist conditioning on principle, or let it go and buy into the comfortable facade.

"I really am sorry it hurt so much," said the departed Queen of Los Angeles. "The mechanisms were a bit tricky, and several things needed to be actualised automatically and immediately, without additional external catalysts, in a worst-case scenario. But when you awake, you’ll be better for my phenotypic expression within you. Kratesis or not, everyone'll need you in top form to secure the future. I understand your lingering feelings toward me. The resentment…longing.” She knelt, cupping Nastya’s chin and directing her toward her own face. “I wanted to show you I care but I’m not wired nor conditioned that way. I do care. It’s just not quite natural for me, and it – I – didn’t really fit in with your true purpose.

"You aren't just Amaranth's clone. You aren't just designed to be an immortal prison guard, nor even for the comparatively small task of facing the Court of Arcani. You are part of a much larger initiative.”

Another holographic figure appeared, standing beside Antonia. The tall blonde was Kelly Coltaine, the heroine known as Lady Liberty. "Kelly Coltaine. Her DNA is within me, as is mine within you. She was the nGoddess of Progress, until her powers were somehow dampened by Quintus Knightfall. However, she underwent changes which eventually led to her development as the nGoddess of Evolution. But a pantheon, new or old, can’t just exist with vacancies like this. If I have it right – and I do – this change created a void that needed to be filled. With you I hoped to fill that void. Anastasia, you are my attempt to create a new Goddess of Progress."

Finally saying it to someone else, for a woman of science it sounded silly. To a woman of any kind of faith it was the peak of hubris. Were there no boundaries to her god complex? Maybe not, she thought, feeling some not insignificant measure of pride simply for the attempt itself. There was no being and no facet of existence she was not willing to challenge. To place herself at and beyond the same level.

Antonia shrugged, and offered a vaguely self-conscious smile. "With no reliable way to track it, we were never able to say for certain whether I'd succeeded in creating a goddess, but my hope has been that one way or another you'd fulfill that role, with my company as your instrument. You, Nastya, are meant to safeguard mankind for aeons to come, and to guide their progress toward their ultimate destiny, whatever that is. It's yours to decide, if you let it be. But it all starts with this. Amaranth, Kratesis, the Court of Arcani – this is only the beginning of your crucible."

Nastya just stared, turning over the new information and struggling to process her own feelings. Was it worth it? To have so much more meaning – to be so much more important…but it was a lofty burden, yet another foisted upon her. Although coming from her maker, she was sure Antonia meant well by the grand gesture of faith. Or at least as close as she can get to “means well for you as a person.” She turned her head to Santi, blue-green eyes scanning for his reaction, and perhaps some measure of guidance.

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Antonia

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@la-espada: "Rest assured, in the real world Anastasia still looks like...herself." Not that it entirely mattered. She could alter her physical attributes and appearance at will, and Antonia doubted reluctance on Abigail's part would be a concern. Not with the Court of Arcani.

Her mind was occupied by another matter entirely. Squinting, the translucent form took several steps toward Santi. "But why so interested in Kratesis all of a sudden? I'd never heard of you mention her before, but here you are, pulling her name from the aether, thrice in a span of less than five minutes. So...?"

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@la-espada:

The fragment of Dain's consciousness smirked. "Oh, you two are friends now? I'm jealous. We never got past colleagues." A bit of grim truth behind her humor. She shrugged. It was only right that she minimized attachments.

"Thank you. Although I must confess my reasons for wanting you here are only partly sentimental. There is information I wish to impart regarding her purpose. You'll be a useful guide. Keep her from being the wrong kind of interested in Amaranth." It was, she'd always considered, the biggest risk with the young immortal. Sympathy. Idealism. A desire to belong that couldn't be satisfied except by her progenitor.

While they spoke, Antonia reached out and pulled the Amazon from his arms. As she transferred from Santi to Antonia, Nastya's form shrank until her astral self had taken the shape of a child, small enough to be carried, a more true-to-life representation of her actual age. She cradled the child, eyes locked on her like those of a lioness on her cub even as she addressed Santi. "Between the two of us, I don't think there's a threat in this universe we couldn't come up with a plan to defeat. Although I could be wrong. I'm incomplete. Maybe talking to a fragment of the woman as opposed to the entity herself is gonna lead you down a dead-end path," she said, flashing a smirk briefly in his direction. "I couldn't say for certain, but in theory your plan might work. It's worth a shot at least. Even if you can't pull his mind we'll want to subdue him. As well as kill whomever is behind his escape.

"That's where you come in," she said, gently shaking the child who then began to stir.

Anastasia looked at her creator, groaned, and shifted to turn over.

The realization hit her so hard she fell out of Antonia's arms. Scrambling back to her feet, eyes frantically darting around, searching for nonexistent context.

"Nastya, I need you to focus."

"What is this?"

"Focus, please."

"Where am I?"

"Focus."

"I am focusedright now, on the confusion you're not giving me answers for." She took a few steps back before registering Santiago's presence, holding him warily in her gaze. She recognized him, but didn't fully trust what she saw. Nevertheless, she turned so she was facing slightly more toward him.

"This isn't a dream. The interbellum is over. The war is back on. You're in your head, piecing together the details of Amaranth's escape. Santi and I are here to help you along. Whoever freed him has the ability to perceive shatterpoints and an interest in his freedom. The obvious answer is the Court of Arcani. Did you see who it was?"

Nastya thought a moment, her own memories playing out before them, but those only extended to moments before the escape. She'd been meeting with an associate regarding a new and interesting information trail when the head-splitting migraine set in. Visual memories ceased and they no longer played out before the three. Nastya took in a deep breath through her nostrils. She turned her head upward and sniffed like a canine having caught a scent wafting over a breeze.

"No. Whoever...gone before I could see them. The containment point nearly collapsed around me. Amaranth...and three others. I don't recognize them, except—!" Her expression cycled rapidly between shock, anger, and giddy anticipation. "I'd have kicked his ass without any more excuses but this is just too sweet." Passing a glance between both Antonia and Santiago, she smirked and an image appeared of a man in a fine Dormeuil suit. "Richard something-or-other. Bitcoin boy, if you've been keeping up with current events," she said in Santi's direction. Her demeanor--her entire spirit--suddenly fell. Angling further away from the fragment of Antonia, eyes cast downward. "I've only met him once, when I...sold off chunks of the company."

Tonia's nostrils and eyes flared. It took everything in her to refrain from eviscerating the young girl's mind, but even diminished from her full consciousness she retained most of her impeccable self-control.

"I didn't know!" Nastya interjected before she could speak up. "He was...an asshole, but I didn't know. I didn't think he was Court of Arcani bad. I kept the main building and some of the subsidiaries," she offered as consolation.

"That's fine," Antonia said, though seriously doubting this herself. "Not your brightest idea but we can't change that now. We'll just have to adapt, like we always do. At least in that meeting you got his scent and you're able to recall. Which means we have a lead. Santi?"

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Antonia

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@la-espada:

She listened as intently as she always had, when he spoke, and a somber expression gripped her face. Gently - hesitantly - she reached her hand out as though to touch his cheek. But, even should Santi remain still and her hand made contact, the most he would feel was a dim phantom of a sensation where her fingers brushed. The barest hint of a smile broke as she mouthed a silent "Sorry."

"The entity you know as Antonia isn't...here. What you see standing before you isI ama fragment of her consciousness left behind inside the mind of the Lazarus. Anastasia," she self-corrected. "To serve as an unconscious guide and, in the event of Amaranth's escape, to help her come to grips with the changes that result. To be a conscious guide, if necessary, on the way to her true purpose. A fragment of Antonia's mind is coded directly into the essence of Nastya's being. And then, in essence, locked behind a doorway that's hidden in a secret passage in the wall. Under the best of circumstances it could serve as a beacon in case I decide to slingshot back to this pocket of spacetime you call home. Otherwise...well, you saw the way she was. When Amaranth escaped, the door...swung open."

Now she mirrored the gravity of his expression and then some, brimming with the same quiet fury as she had when the Tiger of Babylon killed Mr. Cambridge and several other innocent Kamelot employees. "If I could kill him, he would've been killed instead of captured. Subdue him? I'm your girl. Severely wound him? Absolutely. Make him suffer? My life's work and obsession. I know how to damage him in such a way that he theoretically can't recover without external assistance. But I'm not a walking deus ex machina, Santi—that's just an illusion caused by extreme preparedness." In that instant her form seemed to glitch and a vaguely inhuman amusement flickered in her eyes. And as soon as it appeared it was gone.

"That won't work." Her body flickered again. "You may see him, but Amaranth isn't like most of the others. When a mutant or mutate becomes intangible," she explained, "most often this works by extreme mass manipulation, quantum tunnelling, mechanics explicable using principles of physics. They're more easily stopped by, most conventionally, extremely dense materials. Or more unorthodox methods for someone like yourself who enjoys finding the most complex way around a problem just because. But not Amaranth. Dense metals like adamantium and trion, manipulation of mass, these things don't even slow him down. He may be visible or, on a whim, not even light particles can touch him. There is one exception that I know of. Anthony Stark was able to use Source Particles to force Amaranth from intangibility. Through a certain unorthodox kind of processing, we were able to make a unique gene for this and embed that gene into his clone - as you now know, the girl in your arms, inside whose mind you're presently focused.

"This fragment of my consciousness holds many of my 'anti-Amaranth contingencies,' and is embedded within Nastya's subconscious. But the mechanisms, those are all her. She is my most favoured contingency, of those that seemed feasible. A living, thinking, eternal contingency—one that will live forever and is capable of adapting to circumstance, if she didn't do anything idiotic like defecting." Her eyes flashed. There were measures in place for that as well. "She's not the only thing, and it'll take a lot more than bypassing his intangibility - especially now that he's been humbled by defeat"—and refocused, and enraged, no doubt—"but you can think of her as a singular shortcut through which the other paths are more accessible. All that said, I'd like you to stay a little while. Here, in her head. She'll process everything that follows better if you can help her, at least as an anchor. Please don't touch anything - in her mind, or the brain. She'll be fine if you leave that alone. She just needed to...shut down and reboot for 'updates.'"

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Antonia

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From nothing she appeared, as did the plane around her. It'd not been there before, but still had been there all along. Numbers - streams of data - flowed throughout and circled the two weaving just around them like wisps of smoke, present and real but ephemeral.

They were patterns, bleeding from the fabric of reality, cascading both vertically and horizontally. Analyzing the pair.

No Caption Provided

Finally they separated from Santiago and Nastya. They instead began to coalesce and weave about themselves, organizing themselves into feminine curves of a quasi-physical human form.

Her appearance was that of a program more than of a person, but her features were distinguished and familiar. Gradually, hues set and color returned to them, though if one looked closely she looked only a translucent shade of herself. Sharp emerald eyes settled on Santiago, softening with a vague fondness. The Once and Forever Queen looked to her creation, half-slumped in his arms, still distant. Several expressions chased each other across her face—excitement, concern, and disappointment.

She glanced back up. "????????." A nod, and there was approval in the midst of clear and present annoyance. Still she found it in herself to smile. "?'? ???? ???'?? ????."

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Antonia

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God, Batgirl was such a good look. [Y'know, before Babs went all pre-teen.]

It's only been a couple months and I've already gotten almost as many [total] posts with Rosso as Antonia.

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Antonia

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Antonia

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