Legion Worlds: Myar

Tellus feels data stream against his flanks like the living ocean, caressing him and falling away as his attentions seek ever forward, looking for the patterns he knows must exist. Like a silvery thing, they slip away again, and he returns to viewing the computer readouts the way the humanoids do, as flat lifeless things, sterile and unintuitive. The Ambassador from Myar had arrived, according to the readouts, and he stabs a button with his finger, too frustrated by the mundanity of it all to activate the control telekinetically. He had been on the cusp of realization, of being able to integrate the life he lived here and these cold machines with his people’s experiental way of thinking, but, once again, the machines seemed to resist, holding their secrets back with cold logic and predictable cause and effect. He feared being trapped in these linear alien thought-patterns, two-dimensional and inflexible, if he remained in this place.

A bewildering set of translations occurs, from thought-flash to trans-comm to flight ring to legion HQ comm-system, as Tellus alerts Projectra of her visitors. He can see her respond in his mind’s eye, her guise as Sensor sluicing from her like water, revealing the Queen of Orando, and he almost misses that he’s succeeded, for this shining moment, becoming aware of her position through the headquarters security networks, intuitively, without stabbing buttons or shouting commands. He can feel the flush of success dapple along his back, as he exults in this tiny moment of triumph and in his secret places, he leaps from the water and twists, in the sort of energetic adolescent display one does to impress peers.

In her quarters, Projectra, Queen of Orando in self-imposed exile, sets down a fist-sized crystal with gentle reverence. In the crystal, a woman who she does not recognize as herself is nestled in the strong arms of a serious-looking young man with warm eyes. She remembers the feel of those arms, and for a second, he stands before her, clasping his hands in hers, preparing to speak the words that will bind them together as man and wife for the rest of their lives. The moment passes, and he fades like mist before the sunrise. Face hard, the Queen of Orando makes her way to the conference room for her meeting with Ambassador Javeos, walking with decisive purpose, intending to eke out every possible delay before she must deal with this man.

For his part, the Myaren Ambassador and his party sit patiently in the conference room, having been led there by a tiny floating machine-golem, and left in silence. It seems curious that they have seen no living thing in this great building, only cold, sterile corridors and their mechanical host, and Champion, the anachronistically armed and armored leader of his security detail, has expressed concern that this might be some sort of trap. “Calm yourself, my friend,” the Ambassador councils. “I’m sure the Legionnaires are kept quite busy safeguarding the many worlds of the United Planets. We have but responsibility for a single world, and even that can sometimes keep us too busy for proper decorum.”

Champion grunts his assent, while Status, a lean man who moves with studied insolence, gracelessly samples one of every fruit and candy available on the tray in the center of the table, savoring the alien flavors and textures.

The door slides open, and Projectra strides in confidently, any sign of inner turmoil concealed under a mask developed over a lifetime of preparing to rule. “Ambassador Javeos, my apologies for keeping you waiting.”

“Not at all, your majesty.” Ambassador Javeos says smoothly, rising and flattening out his ceremonial robes of blue and gold. “I thank you for taking the time to meet with us on this matter.” Gesturing to his companions, he makes introduction, “May I introduce members of Myar’s own ‘Legion’ of sorts, the Transformed.” Starting with the leader, a figure in ornate golden breastplate and crimson cloak, with skin of grey granite, “Champion, their leader,” and moving towards a tall, statuesque woman with skin, close cropped hair and impassive eyes of gleaming metallic gold, wearing a simple white jumpsuit and a belt with a large pouch adorning one hip, “and his deputy leader, Vitae.” He gestures as well to a slender man of Asian apperance in the sort of clothing Projectra recognizes all-too-well as a martial arts uniform, tailored to allow ease of movement, “And this is Status,” and another woman, also slender and of Asian appearance, but with an enormous shock of red hair, brightly contrasting with her emerald green outfit. “and our newest recruit, Transition.” Each of them nods respectfully when introduced, although Status’ greetings is mumbled as he wipes his hand on his uniform, having been introduced while sampling a plum. The Ambassador himself is of more Mediterranean stock, by Earthly standards, with a heavier build and a cascade of hair flowing down his back and shoulders in oiled black ringlets.

Concerned that the Ambassador felt it necessary to bring metahuman bodyguards to this meeting, Projectra attempts to take control of the situation. “Ambassador, as I explained to you in our communications, I cannot grant your request. This is not a matter of my being uncooperative, but simple fact. Orando has been moved interdimensionally, by your citizen’s actions, no less, and the body of Hart Druitner is simply beyond my ability to return to you, at this time. You have come a long way for nothing, I fear.”

The Ambassador’s smile doesn’t fade, but she can see his displeasure in the clipped way he walks towards her, very precisely smoothing the pleats of his robe to occupy his hands. “Majesty,” he says, with significantly less respect in his tone than his previous greeting, almost as if he is addressing a child, “surely you can appreciate my position. The Druitner family is powerful and connected, and their son Hart was a champion of our people, who served in the Transformed, and won a competition for the right to petition for Legion acceptance, to represent our world. Whatever his failings, whatever his final fate, his family wishes to honor the hero he was, before his fall from grace. They wish to bury his bones with those of his ancestors, for no matter his faults, he was their flesh and blood.” The Ambassador licks his lips as he continues, “The young man was a genius, having refined an alchemical process that his family had worked upon for generations, with only the most limited of results, and the spectacular success of his internal alchemy brought new status to his family. Even as he has since brought them shame, they still forgive their son, and have tasked me to return him to them.” He pauses to deliver what he considers the telling blow, "And if you could not travel to and from Orando at your leisure, surely you could not have been present here on Earth to greet my arrival, Queen Projectra, former Legionnaire."

Aware that her newly reinstated Legion membership as Sensor is not common knowledge, and not wishing to compromise it, Projectra allows the Ambassador to believe that he has caught her in this small deception, narrowing her eyes for his benefit. Something about the way the Ambassador’s eyes gleam makes Projectra’s skin crawl, as she has grown far too aware that the surface of things is but illusion, and can hide a much less pleasant reality. She surreptitiously activates her ring, so that the conversation is flagged by Computo for recording. She recalls that Tellus is on monitor duty, and hopes that he will recognize that she wishes for him to observe these proceedings. Such subtleties are sometimes lost on the Hyrkrain.

Wishing to test the situation, and see what lurks beneath the false face he presents, Projectra blurts out, “Ambassador, even if I could pierce the walls between worlds and travel to Orando this very second, I left the body of your traitorous Nemesis Kid for the dogs. I doubt even scraps remain.”

She can hear the members of the Transformed react, but the reaction of the Ambassador is the one that interests her, as his face grows first pale and then trembles with concealed rage. He seizes her wrist, “This cannot be true!” he begins, before flying back with a cry, as her foot has exploded into his generous midsection, hurling him back, to fall upon the table, sending fruit and candies in all direction.

“You will not lay hands upon the Queen of Orando, outworlder,” Projectra says, furious at this display, but realizing her immediate danger and subtly weaving an illusion to protect herself.

Champion has stepped forward, his stony hand wreathed in flame. “Enough!” He says in a stern voice, “You will not harm our Ambassador, Legionnaire.” Behind him, Status and Transition are helping their Ambassador down from the table, while Vitae stands quietly, only observing for now.

“I will have the body of Hart Druiter if I must barter for it with your return!” the Ambassador shouts, “Seize her!” he then commands to his team and Status’ body transforms into white bone, all sharp edges and claw-like fingers, as he moves towards her position. For his part, Champion hesitates, and Projectra sees the Ambassador draw forth a tiny golden tube, which he brings to his lips, some sort of blowgun, it seems. She reacts by creating an illusion of Champion’s flames leaping in all directions, out of control, blasting through the room in great sheets of flame, and can see both the Ambassador and Transition flail around, attempting to extinguish themselves. Vitae and Status seem unconcerned, and Status leaps towards her apparent position, only to fly through the image she has left behind, while a half-dozen more of her appear in various positions around the chamber. “Can you seize us all?” the multiple Projectra’s say in unison.

“Merely illusion,” Champion says, recovering from attempting to regain control of his fiery powers, to begin by hurling spheres of fire at the images of Projectra, causing them to disperse one by one. “These flames are real, Legionnaire.” he adds, as he begins to hurl fire uncomfortably close to her true position, forcing her to move behind a wall of illusion that conceals her true location, while avoiding Status, who is still flailing about.

She can no longer maintain the illusion of flames, and the multiple selves, and the illusion concealing her position, and causes the false flames to disperse, replaced instead with an illusion that a great explosion has torn the floor away, inducing a sense of vertigo in the Ambassador, who shrieks and flails on the floor, trapped in the sensation of uncontrolled falling. Transition and Status also are temporarily afflicted, but Status’ bone-hard body shifts and transforms again, becoming gaseous and difficult to see, for someone who lacks the senses that have become Projectra’s new birthright. Vitae looks intrigued by the spectacle of standing upon nothingness, floating above the city, and reaches over to Transition and hoists her by one arm, placing her upon the table, which is incongruously still floating in the middle of nothing. “Another illusion, apprentice. Nothing more. Get control of yourself.” She says. Champion appears to be able to fly, and ignores the illusion completely, hovering towards her, still sending flames in her direction, and getting uncomfortably close.

The door slides open and Ultra Boy flies into the room with a burst of speed that causes an implosion of air into the sealed room, followed quickly by Wildfire and Tellus. Unnoticed by the Transformed, Projectra can also sense that Phantom Girl is phasing in from beneath the conference room table…

The flames have closed in, and only the arrival of the suddenly invulnerable Ultra Boy intercepts the latest flame blast before it strikes Projectra. She drops the wall of illusion that prevents the Transformed from seeing her side of the room in time for Champion to see Ultra Boy seemingly fly out of nowhere to strike him with enough ultra-strength to send him back into the opposing wall in a heap. “This situation has spun out of control,” Projectra begins, “We don’t need to fight…”

Transition gestures, and the air around Ultra Boy turns solid, remaining transparent, but becoming as hard as steel. With a flex, the transmuted air shatters like glass, but Projectra is too close and a shield-sized chunk of steel-hard air smashes her into the wall, taking the breath from her and causing her last illusion to fade. Between the stars in her eyes, she can see Tellus deflecting a similar chunk of air, and then telekinetically flinging Transition back into Vitae, the two of them going down in a tumble, while Wildfire is hovering above Champion, gauntlets crackling with anti-energy.

The warm breeze that Status had become wafts slowly towards Ultra Boy and transforms again, into a plasmic state somewhere between electricity and heat, striking so quickly that she does not have time to warn him, and with a crack like thunder, Jo falls to the now-visible ground, with Status reforming into his flesh-and-blood state over the unconscious Legionnaire.

Status grabs hold of Projectra’s wrist, his body quickly armoring back into bone, and says, “Enough fighting, we just need her cooperation. We didn’t come here to fight the Legion.”

Projectra smiles and points behind Status, where Phantom Girl now holds the Ambassador in a chokehold, “Yes, this fight is indeed over.”

The Ambassador’s face is flush, and he screams to his Myran heroes, “Kill them! They dishonor our dead, they insult our customs, they are so arrogant as to think that they can humiliate the heroes of Myar? What will stop them from conquering our world and forcing their outworlder traditions upon our people, if you can’t even stand up to them!” Status’ eyes narrow, but Vitae has recovered her footing and steps over to the other side of the room, the first time she has taken action since the melee began. “Let her go, Status.” Champion continues staring at Wildfire, both hovering in place, hands crackling with energy, as he addresses his teammate, “What is going on here, Vitae?”

“Fight, curse you!” shouts the Ambassador, reaching into his robe and producing a tiny blue flask, which he hurls to his feet. A cloying smoke rises around him, and he struggles feebly in Phantom Girl’s grasp, expecting her grip to loosen. “Poison gas, huh?” the Legionnaire asks, “I’m wearing a transsuit, jerkwad.”

Growling his frustration, the Ambassador brings his hand up and from one of the heavy golden rings on his finger, a sharp needle protrudes. He stabs viciously towards her arm around his neck, but Tinya phases her arm at the last second, and he ends up jabbing himself in the neck, falling to the ground with a choked off scream as his face turns bright red.

“Poison!” Tinya says, unnecessarily and Vitae, who had just crouched to examine the unconscious Ultra Boy, turns with a muttered curse and leaps across the room to lay her golden hands upon the stricken Ambassador, her strong features showing signs of concern, making her for the first time look more like a person than an ancient statue of gold. A glow rises, but the Ambassador continues to thrash and her voice shows concern for the first time as she shouts, “It’s an alchemical toxin, I can’t cure this!” Her voice sounds disbelieving, and Champion turns away from Wildfire, the flames enveloping his fists fading away. “Status, use your powers to transform the Ambassador to bone.”

The young man looks at him disbelieving, “They don’t work that way!”

Champion meets his gaze, “Then *make* them work that way. It is a blood-borne toxin. If you transmute his blood to bone, it will slow the process.” He turns back to Vitae, her hands still glowing as she attempts to slow the visible torment the Ambassador is suffering, “Search his body for an antidote.”

Status lays his hand upon the Ambassador’s shuddering body, the tremors growing less frequent as he loses the battle with the alchemically potent toxin, and for a second, the Ambassador’s body grows pale, and then returns to flush, as Status attempts to use his powers as never before, to affect another. “Try again,” Vitae growls, placing her golden hand over his and pouring so much of her own power into the effort that it becomes hard to gaze upon them from the glare and Tellus, Champion and Transition shield their eyes. Only Wildfire and Projectra need not avert their eyes, for very different reasons.

When the glare subsides, the Ambassador is rigid, a pale white sculpture of bone in the shape of a man, and Vitae slumps. “It is done,” she says, leaning back, her skin now a duller bronze hue, as if she has somehow tarnished her golden skin in this exertion. To Status she says, “Search for an antidote.”

Transition helps Vitae to her feet, which visibly requires great exertion, as the gold-skinned woman seems to be as heavy as she looks, as Champion and Status both begin picking through the Ambassador’s robes. Projectra has moved to examine Ultra Boy’s wounds, and can hear them exclaiming as they find various items hidden away, but their words mean little to her, save to reinforce her intuition that the Ambassador was engaged in foul practices. “Alkahest? But this is forbidden!”

Vitae walks slowly back to Ultra Boy, who has a nasty burn mark on his back, and nods to Projectra, who allows her to lay her hands upon his back. Even unconscious, he flinches and moans as her cold, metallic hands touch his scorched flesh, and it is several seconds before a soft glow and a surprising rush of heat emanate from the area, leaving the worst of the burn faded away into an angry red mark. He takes a sudden breath and starts awake. “I’m good, let me at ‘em!” he exclaims, but stops when Projectra pushes him back down. “No more fighting.” She says, and Vitae, visibly weakened from her exertions, agrees, “We have been duped. Is the Legionnaire known as Saturn Girl available?” she asks quietly, before pointing to the Ambassador, “That one has much to answer for, and we have no truth serums to conduct a proper questioning.”

From the other side of the room, Champion produces a tiny silver flask, “We have the antidote,” and stands to disperse a half-dozen other small flasks and items onto the table, all taken from the folds of the Ambassador’s robe. "Who is in charge, here?" he asks, looking between the assembled Legionnaires, noting first Phantom Girl and Ultra Boy, who simultaneously hold both hands up, denying any claim to authority. "I..." begins Wildfire, before pausing and looking to Projectra, who was clearly about to speak as well, "defer to the Pr..., uh, Queen, Projectra, the Queen, on this matter."

Projectra nods to Drake, gratefully, bemused by his once again forgetting her change in status, before replying, “Saturn Girl is currently on Winath, but we do have a telepath at hand.” She says, gesturing to Tellus, who has remained on alert, hovering in midair, awaiting any other call to action.

Vitae regains her feet, with the help of a reinvigorated Ultra Boy, who raises an eyebrow as the golden woman nods down to him from her full height, and approaches Tellus. “I would greatly appreciate the favor of your counsel, Deep Seer.” she says, her hands moving in a series of unusual gestures. Projectra can see a rippling of colors as Tellus replies, but whatever words he has for Vitae, he does not share with the rest of the room. Belatedly, Projectra recalls that Myar and Hyrkraius occupy neighboring systems, and recognizes that the two species clearly have some established diplomatic protocols, of which she was unaware.

Like a wave, Tellus’ mental communication sweeps through her mind, <When the antidote is delivered, I will probe the Ambassador’s mind. Please join us, and share what we find with those who cannot see.>

Champion nods and Status releases his power’s hold on the Ambassador’s body, causing it to once again become flesh and blood, and again begin to convulse as the poison works its course. Pinning the writhing body with unrelenting strength, Champion forces the contents of the silver flask down the man’s swollen throat, while Vitae’s hands once again glow with a warm golden light, speeding the antidote through his body. For a moment, Projectra can feel his pain, like fire burning through every vein and tearing him apart from within, and is angered to realize that this was the fate he meant for Tinya, but Tellus seems to swim through this shared pain without incident, leading them to a memory, floating like a bubble in the waters of his mind. She sees the Ambassador reading and studying the research of Hart Druiter, and understands his true goals. With her powers, she begins to spin this memory into an image that all present can see and share, and within moments, the Transformed understand their Ambassador’s wicked scheme.

Three days later;
Champion, nods to Projectra, “I thank you again, your Majesty, for alerting us to Javeos’ plot to harvest the elixirs from the betrayer’s body, to make his own heirs invincible.” Behind him stand the other Transformed, Vitae having recovered her full golden radiance, and former Ambassador Javeos currently resplendent in shackles of hardened air encircling his wrists, and, mercifully, covering his mouth as well.

“I am sorry that our people came to blows over this matter, and even if his words were false, in every falsehood, there is a shred of truth.” Projectra says, allowing an illusion to fade and reveal the metal urn in her hands. “I sent a message back to Orando, and they were able to magically send to me the ashes of Hart Druiter, whom we knew as Nemesis Kid.”

She hands the urn to the Transformed’s leader and he holds the urn in one hand, regarding it impassively. “How bitter for Javeos. We have what he came for, and it is burned away. Whatever secrets Druitner discovered are lost. All that remains of his legacy is ash.”