The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry -Adapted from a quote by Robert Burns
The vast expanse of an archaic network; one that stretches out into the distance with titanic figures standing on either side. A dark and closed-in hallway offering no cover, no respite, and no choices aside from the binary of forward and back. The starting point is clear, the end-goal is distant, yet one feature remains clear above all others....
...in order to go beyond the entrance platform of this network, one must first enter a dark orange field that renders only errors if scanned.
In unison, a sort of 'hole' opened up at the archaic setting as a group stepped out of it. At the front was Glint, Magnolia, and Trishula all together. Bringing it in were several that hadn't quite shown up before. A golden and rather large one at 8'feet, yet bulky as well. His arms and legs slightly bulkier than the rest of his body as they went down. Possessing a dome-shaped head with what looked to be a mane as well. Another orange machine at 6'feet tall and having a tail with both of his arms being blades rather than arms. The next standing at 7'feet and being white in color. He had several weapons on his person, but nothing else that stood out aside from this. The next was also 6'feet like the other one and also orange in color, his left arm much larger than the rest of his body. And there was a weird noise that resounded, shuffling about near them but nothing seen to accompany it. That left the last, who was at 10'feet and resembling a tank with a humanoid upper body more than anything else, his legs akin to said tank with his upper bulky frame.
Three more accompanied the group in black and red entities that were only different in terms of height and designs. Were they of a similar model or something? It was difficult to discern. It had closed behind them immediately, Glint taking a moment to look in front of him, and then at the titanic figures that were there. And they each started to move forward, entering the field as a result as they kept forward.
...the field responds to the entry as if nothing more than a fog. Glint would feel nothing, experience no change, see no difference on the opposing side. It would welcome them without interference or bias.
...but it would not remain silent.
The very introduction of Glint's data to the field sounds a raging alarm in the World 3 lab. This would be the second time in history that Gate's sanctity had been breached, but on this occasion he would not be taken off guard. With every blaring alarm, the group could feel the seizing, creeping truth rising up their spines; despite their caution, despite their planning, every second that passes from this moment forward, their goal slips farther and farther out of their desperate grasp. Plans give way to the panic of the moment, and calculations fall to this competition; retrieve the goal here and now, or potentially lose it forever.
Joking aside, the blaring alarms was a sign that Gate certainly didn't like being caught unaware on a regular basis. It was a silent confirmation that it was time for them to pick up the pace. And in unison, they started to bolt forward down the hallway to reach its end as quickly as possible as their first step. But not to the point where they weren't keeping aware of their surroundings. Be it from the side, the front, or even the rear, it wouldn't be too alarming if something was set off the further they progressed. Time was of the essence, and what they were here for was simple.
They had every intention of claiming it from Gate before he could salvage it. That was the job that the twelve of them were assigned to achieve today.
As the group of trespassers begin their dash, the figures on the sides of the hallway begin to stir. All at once, a set of Navi-like beings, each roughly 50 feet tall, activate in unison and turn, facing Glint in particular as they begin to take focus....
...just in time for a titanic claw to cut out from nothingness and rake across the group from behind like a titanic scythe, digging into the ground below as it drags along and disappearing back into nothingness the split second after the sneak-attack launches.
This show of sneak-tactics is followed instantly by a blinding red flash as the untold legion of titanic figures planted in the void below begin unloading a massive payload of plasma, focusing it hard on the group as even the walkway below becomes absolutely charred to black in an instant.
So the statues were enemies after all. As they focused on Glint, the sneak attack that came out was a bit more alarming in comparison. The larger ones jumped into the air, Magnolia on the other hand jumping up on Trishula's shoulder and then off again, taking the lead as the massive payload was about to rain down upon them. And as it did she started to pick up the pace, the others lining up behind her as it all slammed down relentlessly into her and the group behind her.
Or so it would be in a normal scenario, but it was colliding with that same unknown force from before that Magnolia had used. Their plan to blitz underneath the massive giants, that strange claw from before would probably rear its head again in a different fashion. They probably wouldn't avoid it forever thanks to that too, but with what they knew this was an annoying place to trade blows with it at.
But it was because of what they knew that they would take the course of action now. The seven foot tall one in white lifted what appeared to be a shield in the shape of a shell. But from it was its own array of blue plasma balls shot at the giants in front of them while continuing forward.
It was faint, but the large Navi with the shield in particular would notice something as he charged; for a second, the array of plasma... just doesn't work. As had been explained, the attacks... fizzle away at the moment of action. However, contrary to what had been explained, the suppressing power of this strange field seems almost... confused... by the presence of the warrior's blows. After a moment, he finds himself able to continue his assault as if on normal ground. The plasma array launches out to great effect, nearly pulverizing several of the monolithic figures and opening the way even deeper into the lab.
For a moment even the intruders were a bit surprised by what occurred, though it would only be evident on Magnolia lifting a brow for just a moment. They had planned to play this out as if they were a bit ignorant of how it functioned to appear at least a little unprepared for the raid, but this... Well, it made sense actually. They hadn't quite accounted for that, but in that case... it would be better for them to make this venture as brief and unrevealing as possible. Besides, Magnolia knew this might have been a bit more than just a revelation for their enemy. If one considers what she had said to him when last they met.
It could come off as more that this was something she expected the next time they met. Which meant that it would be more jarring for him than it was for them. Hence their increasing pace. It also paid to keep in mind that flickering first. Before engaging fully, they would have to keep in mind that it would likely fail first before working. Meant the same probably would apply to that too, so best to not expect it to work straight away as well.
....they could feel it; Gate's rage. It's reflected in the sudden increase in attacks from the monoliths, it's reflected in the very feeling of the network. This was not how things were supposed to go today.
The assault suddenly intensifies; the remaining monolithic forms suddenly lurch forward and begin to raise their arms, revealing a set of spiked, mace-like appendages in place of hands. All at once they begin to slam the narrow hallway with a rain of spiked fury, heavily focused on the front of the group.
And amid the chaos of the spiked punches, the claw once again tears through reality, this time in front of the group by roughly 30 feet. It appears at great distance and slashes. But the invading force is not its target this time. Instead, it attacks the very suspended hallway on which they walk, slicing through it like a razor... just like it had done about 30 feet back.
Like a suspension bridge cut free, the 60 foot span of bridge breaks loose and falls to the darkness below as the claw disappears back into nothing.
If anything a showing like this could possibly even serve to deter him from interfering with them in the future. The increased aggression in retaliation to this slight made sense. The spiked fists coming down had Glint move to the fore instead of allowing Magnolia to lead the advance, lifting up his arms. Rather than a defense coming to bear, he took the spiked blows head on instead. But while he was about to drive it back, that same claw had come forth and had sundered the bridge like that. Trying to buy time by either forcing them to split up or stick together... That rascal and his ploys.
"Trishula, Magnolia, you two go together with Cap, Rig, Pal, and Liv. The rest of you with me."
"Sure. Bet we beat you to the goal too."
With a show of brute force he shoved back the spiked fist as their boosters engaged as a collective, Glint and his five for the low road with Trishula and the others for the high one. While Glint didn't verbally reply, from the brief glance he gave her showed that he was pretty certain he would get there first. Ultimately more of a 'take that' to each other rather than a competition.
....there was little else before the group now. The claw had not appeared again, and the monolithic beings now stand in silence. The last stretch of the hallway leads to one final portal... and one final challenge
...at last they reach the portal, and beam through. On the opposing side, onlya few sights stand out on the large platform over the abyss below. The first is a pair of gigantic storage containers set to either side of a large console. One is sealed entirely, while the other is partly opened via a window. Inside, the sight of Alpha can be seen clearly. On the screen of the console is a set of data highlighted in red with a strange, waving pattern bringing up countless errors. And finally, in front of this console stands Gate himself, dressed in his lab coat and purple armor. He leans over the keyboard in silence for a moment, looking on... before finally looking back with a beleaguered anger in his eyes uncharacteristic of his normal, meticulous composure.
They made it to the portal, which meant this 'should' be the right path. She could say suck it to Glint later in return. But at the end it looked like this was the place to be. Two storage containers? Trishula was curious on what was in that sealed one, but his priority first and foremost was Alpha. They could see about the other one after securing that target. Magnolia had eyed it, but had her eyes go to the screen and Gate himself. She had a feeling he was watching them since they arrived, and that screen with errors confirmed that for sure. The anger in his eyes showed for them how well that had gone over for him.
"Oh? What's that? What am I? I thought I overestimated your interest in me? I believe I went over the introductions last time. My designation is Magnolia, someone who's doing her job."
The same smile that was ever present with Magnolia was on her face now as well. Cap, Pal, Rig, and Liv as they were named each held out their hands, forming a piece of a container of sorts that put itself together. And Trishula's own weapons flared to life. She would be fine fighting by herself, but they were here together. That meant he would have to deal with them together. And it was here where as before, the violent surge of energy came from her left arm. Better to get that out of the way now rather than later.
"And like I said before... the price for learning about us is steep, Gate."
Gate didn't care about the forces around Magnolia, he didn't care about their strange powers, he didn't care about their goal. Right now, he only had on thought on his mind; making this new pule piece fit into his plans. Gate fully rises and turns to face Magnolia, standing with a defiant glare in his eyes as he looks through the girl before him, still obviously unwilling to give her the recognition that she expects in turn.
Gate: I did not ask who you are.
Gate's glare hardens as he looks past Magnolia and out to the group before him, studying the strange shapes on the edge of the platform while obviously probing the situation for understanding.
Gate: But you are completely correct. The price for my learning about you is terribly steep....
Behind Gate, a massive gash tears open in the network, raked from reality by the same titanic claw that had been assailing the group just moments before. From the tear comes a blast of frigid winds, enough to break concentration, but not even enough to cause Gate to so much as flinch.
Gate: ....and it's a debt that I fully intent to collect.
Gate steps back through the torrential winds and into the rift, making room on the all-too-small platform for a behemoth foot to crash in from the nothingness, dragging itself into sight with a metal-shearing roar.
No less than 40 feet high, a green, dragon-like, robotic being takes center stage in the lab. Its wings emerge from the rift and stretch out over the void below, framing the sight as its wicked, razor-sharp claws reach out in an invitation to death itself. Its wolf-like head turns to each of the beings on the field in turn, glaring at them with brightly lit red eyes that match the "W" on its forehead perfectly as its massive, robotic tail swings to the side and slams into the ground with enough force to shake the entire network. This was the being that had assailed them, this was Gate's answer to their invasion.
Eregion World 3 Coding Disassembler •Eregion's is capable of disassembling any data at will in order to re-assemble it at a different location •Eregion's claws and tail can open rifts in the network that allow its attacks to appear at any point at any time •Entrance to Eregion's rifts by a non-WWW Navi is unavoidably fatal
She couldn't help a small grin at the first returning statement. It was true that he didn't. Who and what were different things. But she was what she was. Gate's glare caused Trishula to look toward the edges too, as he was curious whether Gate had examined them just then or if they also had some significance right now. But then gash presented itself with that same claw was the same one that had shown up several times on their way here, the frigid winds causing Magnolia's eyes to narrow slightly, Trishula standing tall. Gate made his way through that rift, but he wouldn't have done so if he was confident they could follow him. Because that was how they would do it as well. She didn't think he was one to pull the same trick twice, but then they did arrive sooner than he expected, so...
"Nobody likes debt collectors... The two of us have this covered. Pick up what we're here for as soon as you can. And be careful examining the other storage container there considering last time."
Last time it very literally exploded in their faces. Seeing if they couldn't get some of the data on the console that wasn't destroyed this time was their other task. That meant the two of them would have to do this in a cool enough fashion. Or get it done, as Trishula would say. No fun guy that he was...
"Well, it's a step up to that D-Rex I'd say."
"Don't be too relaxed, Magnolia. I have an idea already."
It was here that Trishula lifted both arms, the rest of their team moving at once save Magnolia who stayed by his side. Trishula aimed to fire from both weapons knowing these would sizzle out on his first attempt. But he simply repeated the attempt again, several azure lasers being released in a stream aimed at the head of the gigantic disassembler. Meanwhile three made for their way toward Alpha to contain it, the other making their way to the console. Odds were much of it would have already been dealt with much like last time, but that didn't mean to not make certain of that fact.
Eregion leans in and bares its teeth as Trishula begins his assault, raking its claws in a wide arc forward as it does so. Along its slash, it opens a new rift that completely covers the area in front of itself and absorbs Trishula's lasers, closing a second later. Erigon then raises both arms and slashes them to either side, opening two more rifts to knock back the advancing forces before slashing back up into those rifts and closing them up a few seconds after. The disassembler then reaches forward and performs a swipe past Trishula and into Magnolia, not opening a rift this time as it attempts to disembowel its target, but definitely tearing at the data of the network as the sound of shearing metal resounds with the massive steel claw's approach.
Wackoguy: Hello there, Rego.
Mar 17, 2020 14:38:15 GMT -8