2020-07-02: Analyze This


HeatherF_icon.jpg TheoF_icon.jpg

Summary: Theo and Heather engage in a battle of analysis to discover what each other are capable of.

Date: July 2, 2020.

Log Title: Analyze This

Rating: PG

NYC - Central Park

Once regarded as an oasis of tranquility inside "the city that never sleeps," Central Park has become an effigy to its former greatness. Upturned earth, scorched trees, and broken jogging paths offer a grim reminder of the present while the occasional Sentinel patrol offers a jarring reminder of the future. But even in all of this destruction Nature ekes out her existence, offering a variety of places to conceal oneself from detection by Hunter and Redeemer alike. From burned barren fields to dense forest, you can still find many sites to visit, rest, and battle at.

Central Park. The scarred landscape with sprouting vegetation hasn't been kind to the hunters lately. In fact, no hunters that have entered the park have returned, as if the location was some sort of Bermuda Triangle. Most of them were unable to even signal for help before vanishing, and those that were weren't sure who was attacking, or from where. Some said it was snipers, other said it was something hiding in the bushes, but none of them reported any contact with a mutant. No sentinels have reported detecting a mutant in the area either. It truly is a mystery.

And so, here in the late afternoon, the Park awaits.

A trap being laid, Heather experiences great difficulty doing anything but checking it out. She laughs softly to herself all the while, a high pitched squeal to the average ears. "Beep beep beep," says Heather through her speaker as she arrives at the edge of the park. A moment later, her watch makes a beeping sound, and she simply resets it, looking down to it for a moment before glancing around here.

It's extremely quiet. The sounds of bugs conversing fills the air from the bushes, a clicking and buzzing sound that drowns out the quietest of movements. Perhaps to an advantage, but one that swings both ways. But behold, in the large park, Heather has found herself near one of the 'welcome stations'. About twenty yards in, there is a sign, with a rather morbid display. It's a simple post, with a severed hand flipping off those who enter. A piece of typing paper is tacked beneath it, which doesn't display very well, wrapping around the pole as it folds. The only letters that are visible from its position read…

A wh

Head tilting back and forth at the sign, Heather mumbles, "What are you supposed to be?" She shuffles back and forth to get a better look at the piece of paper and read the words on display, ignoring the gruesome display above. She makes sure not to cross too far into the park for now, instead glancing about with a grin. She seems unafraid to enter, more excited at the prospect of participating in the puzzle and seems to simply savour the anticipation.

Upon closer examination, the sign reads "Welcome, Stay A while". There doesn't seem to be any booby trap that suddenly goes off, it's just a taunt of some sort. Deeper in, there's a cry that goes out for help. It's possibly one of the hunters, having heard Heather's self-talk. "Is someone there? Help! There's a mutant somewhere around here, its tied me up!"

"Helloooo?" says Heather out loud, looking around. She sets another one of her Rolex watches and glances around. She knows that the intention of the trap is to draw her towards the voice. "Who is there? What is the password? Do you know the password? Where is the mutant? Are you the mutant?"

The voice cries out, "Password? I don't remember! Unicorn, or was that Wednesday's. I don't know, but its everywhere at once. I don't know where it is!" There's a sudden scream of pain, as if the captured is being tortured. "Not going to help him?" comes a voice from a bush to the left. Then it's answered by the same voice from a bush dead ahead "It doesn't look like it, Ahab wouldn't be pleased to see a hound letting a mutant torture one of the good guys." It's a man's voice, that speaks. "Ahab doesn't care about his toys, they're all expendable," says a third from behind a scarred tree. Still the same voice.

"Unicorn? Eheh," says Heather, tilting her head slightly, "That's a good password. I think I will set it on this past Wednesday. Today's was Dragon. I thought of filing my teeth to be sharp so I would be a dragon, but that would not feel good." She takes motion as she says this. One might think that she is losing mental stability since becoming a Hound. "Primary objective: Break Theo's left arm. Secondary objective: rescue." But that's just the way she is. Her inscrutable tactical genius is only outshined by her eccentricities. She approaches the sound of the voice, to view it from a distance.

There's nothing obviously visible in any of the three locations Theo's voice came from. The voice speaks again, from yet another location, closer to the trapped hound. "Hardline now," the voice corrects Heather. "Theo's been gone a long time." The hunter screams again, making the technopath's next statement difficult to hear. "I do hope you'll reconsider your priorities. His noise is starting to bother me. And you know what I do with people who bother me."

"Dead-Theo Whatshisface, codename: Hardline, break his left arm," declares Heather over her tape recorder. She stays where she is for now while another instantiation of herself appears to investigate the Hunter being tortured while the original looks more carefully in the area that one of the voices came from. "How are you, Hardline? It is a pleasure to talk to you after so long. You were like me," she says conversationally.

A large seven foot robot stands over the pained hunter. His cause for screams are obvious. His arms have been cut open, like husks on corn. The robot that stands over him looks up at Heather, and the red single eye examines her for a moment. It doesn't make any aggressive moves, however. It seems to be waiting for something. Perhaps for Heather to make the first move. A blade protrudes from the wrist, covered in blood from the hunter, who is now starting to lose consciousness.
"Hardly," Hardline answers from a visible location this time. His long hair flows down across his shoulders, and he has appeared on just the other side of some foot high brush. He studies Heather for a long moment. "Don't seem to remember you leaving the school. Turns out the humans really were out to get us. And to think that Scott tried to convince us in all those danger room sessions that we could live in peace, and only use our powers for good, and all that jazz." He folds his hands behind his back calmly, as if Heather posed absolutely no threat. "No, I don't think we were much alike then. Maybe a little more now, only I answer only to myself, while you are someone elses lapdog."

"I did leave. I went to St. Louis. I joined with my parents. Cheryl Brown, codename: Upgrade. Deceased. Dan Brown, codename: Mindbender. Deceased," says the more conversational Heather. Her parents were supervillains before they were killed soon after the regime change. She laughs softly and says, "Lapdog? I may have been taken as a Hound, but that changes nothing but the colour of the piece." A smile appears on her face and she shrugs, "Theooo, I want to check something. You look so confident." At the same moment in time, she and the Future Heather toss a stone from their respective bags. Current Heather tosses it towards Theo, and the Future instantiation tosses it towards the robot. Because of her speedshift, the rock is launched like a bullet except much heavier.

The rock heading for Theo passes straight through him, as if he were air. Meanwhile, the one heading for the robot hits its mark, knocking the heavy beast backward. It recovers, though it bears a heavy dent from the rock. It's from somewhere else, though that the attack against future Heather comes. It's far enough away that there's no sound, but a shot pierces the air, aimed at the future Heather's right arm. It's not a lethal shot, Hardline doesn't want to kill Timeslip.
"You know I only engage a fight I know I'll win," he reminds her. "Some people might call it cowardice. I prefer the term prudence." He sweeps his hand through a bush, and the image distorts, clearly showing that he is intangible. "I can borrow quite a few powers with the technology I possess. But you know, there's one power I can't borrow yet that I so desperately want."

A watch alarm goes off for the future counterpart, and the future Heather shifts slightly to the side and then directly towards the fallen Hunter, dodging the shot made against her. If she's successful in touching the Hunter, she will timeslip him back to a moment where she knows the park is not booby trapped to bring him to safety. Current Heather only makes a small motion to set a watch alarm before she shrugs at Theo. "I thought so. Just a hologram. How booooring you are. But I am the same way. I am boring, but at least my boringness is exciting."

Theo laughs. "To each their own," Theo says with another playful grin. The robot suddenly responds as Future Heather makes a move for the hunter. From it's shoulder a small gatling gun adjusts, and fires, though just to the left of her actual position, and then sweeps toward her. He looks to one side for a moment, and then two more shots come toward the present Heather, one to either side of the girl, as if testing how she'll respond. "But don't worry, you're not all that boring. Ahab's not the only one who has plans for you. Isn't it nice to be so popular?"

"My memory is hazy. I think even I have designs for myself. It is frustrating to be everyone's favorite piece," says current Heather. This time, she makes no adjustments to her watch at her future self coming under attack. Current Heather doesn't react much at the bullets coming towards her. "I feel like I am back in school, where everyone wants to be my friend." This is clearly sarcasm, though the tone does not carry.
Future Heather seems a little bit more graceful in her reaction to the machine's shots, zipping aside according to the motion of the gatling gun, her motions fairly random, though in general taxis away from being hit. She spins and tosses another rock up at the robot from the ground before making another grab for the Hunter, her intent the same.

The robot is knocked backward again, this time the gun is struck, and it is set off its bearings, giving Future Heather the opportunity to make off with the hunter. "It'd be a shame if your watch was to give you bad information," he says. "Perhaps go off at the wrong time, or not go off at all," he suggests. "What would you do then?" he asks, as Proto emerges from behind Heather, rising up from a pile of debris he had been hiding under. "You remember Proto, don't you? I hope he's not too boring for you. Think I'm close enough that I could play with your watches? Maybe I'm too far away, though. That's more likely. But still, if I'm not…" Proto crouches on all fours, and the two arms on his back lean forward, preparing for a grab. He hasn't launched yet, though.

"I am uncertain of your abilities. I can always provide biological backup, if needed," states Heather. She wants to evaluate what sorts of machines Theo is capable of manipulating, how complex it has to be before being considered a 'machine'. She spins to face Proto, raising her eyebrows slightly, "Look who got fat. I hope there is no emotionality attached to your little left hand man." Her grin goes wide as this statement finishes outputting from her speaker.

Proto lunges forward. He's fast for a fat robot, reaching out with a broad sweeping grasp, his back mounted arms and his forelegs both try to capture Heather in a tackle. "I'm uncertain of yours as well," Theo answers. "I suppose that's why we are in this little dance," he suggests. "You always did like puzzles."

"So here is the game," says Heather, dashing to the side from the dodge. She is still extremely fast because of her perpetual timeshift, even faster now than she used to be at the school. She sets one of the alarms on her wristwatch and continues, tossing dust and pebbles up towards the robot, "We discover things here. But ultimately, who will discover more? It is only unfortunate that I am on both sides. I move unseen. So frustrating. Secondary objective: achieved."

"Well," Hardline answers, calmly watching the scene before him. He seems to rather enjoy being the spectator. No potential harm for himself. "It's not quantity of knowledge I'm after," he comments, the hologram passing forward a little to get a better perspective. Something rustles in the brush underneath, if Heather has time to pay attention to that. Probably whatever is emitting the hologram. "I prefer quality of knowledge."
Proto lands solidly as Heather dodges him, and he continues to pursue. The thick armor of the robot deflects the dust and pebbles, and is largely ignored. Meanwhile, another shot comes piercing the air toward the wristwatch Heather set. "Do you like what you've learned about me so far?"

Another Heather appears. A quick whisper from this new self and the current version of her vanishes along with her watch. This new incarnation is armed, likely so that she can engage Proto without actually harming her fleshy bits, with two heavy rods, pieces of scrap from fallen sentinels. "Quality and quantity are dimensionalities of moreness," says the battle-ready Heather. This incarnation's watches are all set to various times in the near future. She swings her pipes towards Proto. The attacks are powerful, the ends of the bars moving past the speed of sound. "Today, destiny has called this a minor victory for both of us, but there are costs."

The large robot brings up its forelegs to defend itself, the metal striking metal causing a severe vibration to be sent back through the pipes. It dents his armor slightly, it's clear that his armor is tough, but not invincible. Hardline cocks his head to one side. "Indeed there are," he agrees, rubbing his chin. "Proto, that's enough," he says. The large robot leaps up into the air, and backward, landing solidly despite an uneven location. His rear legs land on top of an old rotted log, which splinters into pieces under the impact of his weight. The slit eye goes from a red glow to a blue one. "Certainly," the robot answers. "Though I would like to repay her for my battle scars," "In good time," Theo answers. "Heather, you may go in peace. Unless of course you want me to find out just how long you can keep up with my friends. I personally would rather you stay alive."

"You are arrogant, Theo," says Heather, the severe vibrations seeming to make her flinch, but no more than if a normal person hit something metal with the same rods, "And you are more arrogant than you should be. You are a builder, but I am a planner. This is just a dance which I let you lead." She throws her pipes forcefully towards Proto and says darkly, "Primary objective:" but the sound of her voice is cut off as she timeslips away.

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