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Chapter Six: All Hands on Deck

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
@Captain Hesperus (tag!)

Hercules was nearing the motionless rider and motorcycle. Just a few more moments and he could have the rider in-hand.

Then the polyphonic nexus inside each of your brains seemed to explode - not with sound though this had much the same effect, but with emotion and pure, raw mental power.

"Hercules!"

It was Professor Stein. The Wild Cards could see his face in their minds. His expression and feelings of frightened alarm were only outdone by an immediate sense of life-threatening urgency. His voice rose an octave.

"Get down! Now!!"

The unmoving rider was perhaps 40 feet away from the Wild Card. The motorcycle lay not 10 feet farther.

What does Hercules do?
 
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Captain Hesperus

On Vacation
Supporter
Hercules' instincts flared and he dove left and rolled across the unforgiving road surface, his armor striking sparks as he went. His hands went to his weapon and prepared it as if it were second nature and bringing it to bear, began to check his sectors.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Hercules slowed to a halt as he hit the deck and brought the Thundercracker to bear. He had just gotten the monstrous weapon aimed when, without warning, a jarring explosion rocked the under-highway. The Wild Cards looked and found the motorcycle the rider had been upon had exploded into smithereens. A second explosion and the first motorcycle was gone into a cloud of orange fire and black smoke.

Then the rider exploded.

From his prone, unmoving position, the entire body just vanished into one great plume - a plume that if Hercules had not paused, would have been right on top of. This last blast produced so much force, Hercules found himself pushed back several feet across the concrete, skidding along the unforgiving surface. When the Wild Cards recovered, there were three smoldering fires where the bikes and rider should have been.

The professor's face became visible in your minds again. While his pained grimace appeared to say, "You are all going to give me a heart attack someday!" his eyes said instead, "Thank God you are are in one piece."

Hercules heard the faint and brief tinkling sound of what could have been rain made of metal. He looked up in the protection of his Cyclone to see the dozens of burning motorcycle bits littered all around him. This time, Professor Stein found his voice. His bushy-bearded face grinned and sounded relieved.

"And that, my lads and ladies, is Chessel Corporation's way of telling you, 'Stay the hell out of our business!'"
 
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Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario ducks instinctively at the sound of the explosion, then slowly stands upright, looking at the roller-bot in his hand as if he were holding a live rattlesnake. The very real possibility that this bot will also explode comes to mind. With a frown, he sends out the thought, "I am wondering . . . if this roller-bot is also a part of the corporation, why hasn't it blown up in my hand at the first indication that it was captured? You don't suppose that this might not be a part of Chessel Corp at all?" He looks at the robot, trying to spot any kind of identifying marks or logos on it.

"And before I forget to say it, thank you, Professor, for the warning! I am sure glad to have you on our side, keeping us all safe."
 

Captain Hesperus

On Vacation
Supporter
Hercules got to his feet, his tension still high. He began a quick 360 security sweep, his weapon turning in synchronisation with his eyes, peering into the darkness of the underpass for any threats.
"This Chessel Corporation sounds like a bunch of really fun guys. And by 'really fun', I mean people I'd like to punch.", he growled, glancing at the burning bike wreckage and fragments of what used to be the riders in disgust.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
"Well," Elinor said as they picked themselves up, mentally if not physically. "They all do that, Professor? Or did you hear it coming?" She looked at the roller-bot in Mario's hand. "I'm wondering about that, too," she added. "Odds of us being able to talk to it? What do you suggest, guys an' gals listening in?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph nods. "We can try to plug into it using the USB port, assuming that it won't be able to corrupt our own terminal. Or, here's a wild idea. We can just try talking to it and see if it responds. If it is not one of Chessel Corps bots, it may be willing to communicate if we ask it nicely."
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario looks over at Toph, then shrugs. "Can't hurt to give it a try, right?" He then directs his attention to the roller-bot and says, "Alright, I don't think you belong to Chessel Corporation, or else you would have probably self-destructed in my hand by now. Can you communicate with us, and give us a reason not to turn you into scrap metal?"
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
With a frown, he sends out the thought, "I am wondering . . . if this roller-bot is also a part of the corporation, why hasn't it blown up in my hand at the first indication that it was captured? You don't suppose that this might not be a part of Chessel Corp at all?" He looks at the robot, trying to spot any kind of identifying marks or logos on it.

"And before I forget to say it, thank you, Professor, for the warning! I am sure glad to have you on our side, keeping us all safe."
Mario seemed to have said something that had liked the professor's mood for his image grinned. "Caution when facing the unknown is a core trait for any species that takes its survival seriously. No, my boy. The answer to your question is simple economics. This branch of the Anti-Unification League cannot afford to put bombs in every single one of its robots. At least, it cannot afford to... anymore."

His grin widened and his his eyes held a mischievous look for a moment.

Mario turned the robot around in his hands. The single wheel continue to spin violently and that one hose kept trying to spit at him, but its attempts at Freedom were useless. Mario's understanding of mechanical items and his enhanced strength from his Cyclone prevented that.

Brushing away some of the road grime, Mario saw a logo - a Capital C with a lowercase C inside it.

* * *​

They all do that, Professor? Or did you hear it coming?" She looked at the roller-bot in Mario's hand. "I'm wondering about that, too," she added. "Odds of us being able to talk to it? What do you suggest, guys an' gals listening in?"
"Neither, my dear," Professor Stein transmitted.

"It was a matter of good fortune that I returned to monitoring you when I did. I have some information for all of you once I'm done answering your questions. I can think of thred options concerning the Seeker you have there. Understand; a Seeker records everything it sees and hears including our conversation were we having it out loud.

"First, destroy it so it stops monitoring you. Second, Traverse with it and win it over so it can freely tell you what it can. Third, find a computer with a USB port and a plug-in and try to hack it."


* * *​

"If it is not one of Chessel Corps bots, it may be willing to communicate if we ask it nicely."
Professor Stein gave a mild grimace. "Unfortunately, Little Miss Muppet, that is precisely who the bloody little robot belongs to and who it is giving its data to right now."

"What are your intentions, Wild Cards? Which card do you intend to play in our deadly little game here?"
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph sighs. "Well, the last time we tried to Traverse around here we ended up facing off against a bunch of hostile Cores and it nearly cost Mack her life. Professor, can we safely attempt to access this robot with our limited knowledge of Traversing? If not, I say we destroy it and take its hard drive for analysis later on."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Mario looks over at Toph, then shrugs. "Can't hurt to give it a try, right?" He then directs his attention to the roller-bot and says, "Alright, I don't think you belong to Chessel Corporation, or else you would have probably self-destructed in my hand by now. Can you communicate with us, and give us a reason not to turn you into scrap metal?"
The robot's only reply was to keep spinning its only wheel and spurt what remained of its harmless white propellant onto the chest of Mario's Cyclone.

It sounded like a child sticking out his tongue. "PHLLLBBBBTT!!"
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter
Elinor nodded. "Destroying it sounds like the best idea to me right now. We need to get back on track. And even if we don't talk out loud, it can still tell Chessel where we are, which might be how those biker-bots found us so fast."

She looked over at Mario and Hercules. "Speaking of which, remember to talk to us in the Nexus, everyone. Save your voice for things that aren't in it. No telling what kind of bugs might be around."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
With the decision made, Toph activates the MDC blade on her Cyclone. "Mario, hold it steady, and I'll cut it to pieces. I don't want to hit you by accident." Waiting for his nod of agreement, she pulls her arm back and punches out with the blade out, hoping to spear the roller-bot and destroy it.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario gives his assent. "Ready, LT. Go for it." He braces against the expected force of the impact, making sure that he doesn't lose his grip on the bot and drop the damn thing, or worse, get stabbed by Lt. Kirin by accident.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
The plasma-gas hissed and came alive on Toph's Cyclone blade. Mario stood ready. The roller-bot seemed to sense something bad for its sole wheel spun violently in an attempt to free itself. Mario's grasp and understanding of its vehicular workings combined to give him the best possible grip in the best possible places on the robot.

Toph struck, her strength augmented by the Cyclone and her power aided by her martial training. She speared the robot like a fish and its electronic guts spilled out of its opposite side. In a final act of defiance, it spat one last glob of repelllant out of its nozzle. It smacked Toph right upon her helmet. As the robot sputtered and expired, Toph gained an undignifiying white foamy beard across her visor.

"Oh, how very becoming."

Professor Stein's psychic facial features in your minds nodded in mock-approval. "Not something your mother or father would approve of, but then you always were a special child."

Mario held the robot as its wheel spun and finally came to a stop.
 

Sherwood

Luna's Concubine
Supporter
Mario does his best to keep from sputtering out a laugh, but doesn't do a very good job. In the end, he turns his attention to the now dead bot in his hand and tosses it down to the ground in a heap. He looks up from the thing and sends out the thought, "Do we want to try and salvage the CPU from this thing? It won't take me long to do so."
 

Psychie

Princess Psychie
Toph deactivates the forearm blade before wiping off her helmet and faceplate. "Very funny, Professor. A real laugh riot." She looks down at the remains of the robot, then over at Mario. "A good idea, but do we have the time? We may be able to get some useful intel from it, but just how much information will it have that we can tap into quickly? If it is not worth the time, I say we just ditch it and go."
 

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