Legion Tryouts: Introducing Princess Pain
Jacques tapped at the datapad in front of him, selecting the next applicant. "Next up, it says here that your name has been legally changed to Tormentia, and that you'll be operating under the name, Princess Pain?" he said, with a raised eyebrow at the applicants rather sinister sounding choice of superhero sobriquet.
"That's correct," the young woman said, strutting forward like she was on a catwalk, modeling the latest Naltorian sleep-wear. Her outfit, however, looked nothing like that, being a skintight low-cut bodysuit of what appeared to be red-scaled animal leather, with far more black buckles and straps than seemed strictly necessary. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a painfully-tight looking braid, and snapped like a whip as she tossed her head, apparently for effect. "Due to a bargain made with supernatural forces, I have become able to induce overwhelming pain with a single touch." the severe-looking young woman said in a clear confident tone, standing in a commanding pose.
She pointed towards Gim and Gigi, standing to the left of the dias on the demonstration platform, her nails thick and black, sculpted to resemble claws, despite her obvious human heritage. "I am ready to demonstrate the effectiveness of my powers now, if it pleases my hosts." As she finished her statement, she made a strangely formal bow, almost as if issuing a challenge, somewhat incongruously, given the arrogant tone she had assumed only moments earlier.
Gim looked at Gigi dubiously, and she shrugged. "Overwhelming pain, huh?" she said over their private comm.-channel, part of the padded body armor both of them wore for such training sessions and demonstrations. "Joy." Gim responded sarcastically, unable to contain his lack of enthusiasm for testing the abilities of this particular applicant.
At a silent signal, they moved forward, Gigi spinning her training staff, while Gim spread his arms so that his twin batons were over a meter apart, forcing his opponent to divide her attention, and further distract her from Gigi's approach. Princess Pain's eyes narrowed as she crouched and entered a defensive stance, her hands held in front of her like claws, as Gim moved in first and she rushed to meet him, trying to move inside his reach. She evaded the baton in his right arm, but the second one slammed into her ribs with bruising force, which seemed not to affect her at all, as the explosion of breath from her sounded almost like a sigh of satisfaction, not of pain. Her hand closed on Gim's bicep as she took his full-force strike, and his entire body locked up as he was overwhelmed by a paralyzing wave of agony, and something more.
Gigi was forced to pull her staff swing, as Princess Pain had moved into such close quarters with Gim that it was difficult to hit her without also hitting him. She found an angle and struck, attempting to hit the woman in the back of the leg and cause her to fall away from her training partner, but Princess Pain used Gim as a pivot and hurled herself up and over the paralyzed Legionnaire, so that Gigi's blow ended up hitting him in the knee, which was thankfully covered by an armored pad, as the crack was audible. She winced at the impact, and in her moment's hesitation, Princess Pain lashed out with a foot. Gigi raised her arm to parry the blow, but even through the woman's improbable platform boots, and Gigi's arm protection, a wave of pain shot through her arm, causing it to fall limply to her side and gasp in shock at the purity of the sensation, like razors of alcohol-ice shooting through her veins. Before she could recover, Princess Pain had reached out and grabbed her arm, and the pain that followed made the ice-razors seem like a gentle spring rain…
Princess Pain released the two trainers, and Gim and Gigi both sank to the ground, shuddering as their muscles recovered from her paralyzing pain-touch. She bowed to the watching Legionnaires, a smile on her face, and addressed her audience. "I understand that the combat-drones are normally also part of the test, but, like Saturn Girl, my powers do not affect machines."
Violet frowned at the woman's presumption, "And, like Saturn Girl, you will find yourself facing foes that are resistant to your powers. You get to show us what you've got against the robots, Princess, same as anyone else."
For a split second, her poised demeanor cracked, and Princess Pain looked angry, but it was gone in an instant as she turned to face the robots, taking a long, steadying breath as she seemed to take the measure of these blocky mechanical opponents.
As Gigi helped Gim to his feet behind her, unnoticed, the two living trainers left the training platform, as Princess Pain nodded her head and said, "Alright, Sparky, let's dance."
Both combat droids heads came up and the red photosensors they used for eyes flared to life as their arms began crackling with energy. Princess Pain moved forward quickly, again taking the fight straight to the enemy, and she rolled under the stunning taser-charge of the robot she was targeting, while the taser-charge of the second, which should have locked her muscles up as effectively as her own pain-touch, struck her in the side to no apparent effect as she leapt on the first robot and began tearing at its head with her thick-nailed hands, seemingly attempting to tear its head off by brute force. The robot's head pulled from side to side as it attempted to batter at her unsuccessfully, lacking the flexibility to strike her with full force, and it struck her with another taser-charge at close range while she dislodged its head enough that it began to stumbled around. Clinging off of its mechanical body as she was, the taser-charge failed to ground through her, and ended up transferring through her frame into the now exposed circuitry of the machines neck structure, causing it to topple over. Unable to effectively disentangle herself from the grappling arms of the now convulsing machine, Princess Pain was unable to fend off the blows of the other robot, and despite her seeming imperviousness to pain, was clearly dazed by a blow to the head, and went limp.
Programmed to avoid lethal combat, the victorious combat-droid immediately ceased hostile action, and began signaling for a medical unit.
A privacy field shimmered into view, obscuring the view as the Legionnaires watching turned to discuss her performance
Brin started, "Her technique was bold and aggressive, which I'd normally commend, but it wasn't backed up by tactics or experience…"
Violet cut in, "Exactly! She just led with her chin, and got knocked on her ass."
Jacques nodded, playing devil's advocate for the moment, trying to derail the session turning into a purely negative assessment of the recruit's performance, "She could learn tactics, and it's not like many of us were very experienced before we joined the team…"
"True," Brin conceded, "But I'm not thrilled with her enthusiasm about causing pain."
The field shimmered as Gim and Gigi joined in, Gim still limping and favoring an arm that hung cradled in front of him. "Second that. Very much not thrilled with her powers or her attitude," Gigi said. "It was like being flayed alive and then dunked in acid. Cold acid."
Gim just mumbled, something, which only Brin's ears were sharp enough to catch, and his eyebrows shot up.
"What was that?" Gigi asked, closest to him, but still having missed the comment.
A disorienting surge of telepathic energy accompanied Tellus' comment, so unlike the feather-light touch of Imra's telepathy <Her power stimulates nerve endings, to cause pain, or pleasure, at her whim. He did not experience the same paralyzing sensation that you did, Officer Cusimano. His arm isn't…> Tellus' broadcast stopped, as Gim shot up a finger warningly.
"Pleasure, huh?" Gigi said, "Must be nice…"
Gim replied with a grunt, sitting down heavily, "You'd be surprised how much not…"
Violet frowned, "I was just thinking, well, that's not so bad, she doesn't have to be all torture-queen, but that could be even worse, from a legal standpoint…"
Jacques turned to their Hyrkraian teammate, "Already, her powers and the attitude she has presented give us cause for concern. Did you perceive anything within her psyche that would mitigate these qualms?"
The nodules on Tellus' back flared orange, and Brin was the only one conversant enough with what that meant to recognize a snort of derision. <Secure your minds…> the Hyrkraian warned as his telepathic energies surged forth again, this time like an overwhelming tidal wave, leaving the Legionnaires reeling from the totality of Tellus' primal form of communication. While Titanians operated mind-to-mind, though a form of direct contact, Hyrkraian telepathy 'cast a wide net,' and simulated the Great Mother Ocean, with each thinking mind a tiny island of individuality within a great web of telepathic energy surging from all sides, creating a sensation not unlike being swept out to sea to the uninitiated. Gim's embarrassment burned red and raw, while the fading remnants of Gigi's pain tasted bitter and tainted the 'waters' they perceived around them. They felt the tides roll back, and experienced Princess Pain's exultation and contempt as she brought waves of agony slithering down the nerves of Gigi Cusimano, and each Legionnaire felt both her own sadistic thrill at inflicting pain, and a shadow of the pain that Gigi was experiencing. Gim's discomfort was palpable to all as they also experienced the effects of her touch on him, and even the reminder of it filled them all with anger, spilling over from Gim himself, at this shared experience. As abruptly, the melding of souls ended, and Gigi reeled for a moment as the waves of telepathic energy recoiled away, feeling lost for a moment and wondering how someone like Tellus, who lived in such an environment, could possibly ever willingly separate from this sense of connection with his people…
Brin, again, spoke first, flatly saying, "Reject." Violet was right on his heels, "Give her a flight belt, so that we can track her movements, and get her the horizon away from us."
Jacques noticed that Gim and Tellus appeared in full agreement, and looked to Officer Cusimano, "Our liaison agrees?" She nodded curtly, waving her hand as if dismissing Princess Pain from her presence. Jacques nodded his agreement, "It's unanimous, then."
The privacy field shimmered, and Princess Pain was greeted with the sight of six stony faces (well, it was impossible to tell what the fish was thinking, but it seemed to be literally radiating disapproval, in its stupid-eyed fishy way). That nobody who had replaced the last useless Invisible Kid was nodding his head and saying something, but she could barely hear over the shouting in her mind. The nerve of them! The flight belt floated down to her grip, and she was of a mind to hurl it back in their faces, but she knew that the technology was hard enough to acquire, and even harder to get a permit to use, so she forced herself to accept the valuable 'consolation prize' and gritted her teeth as the Legionnaire prattled on about taking this opportunity to use her powers for the benefit of those less gifted before turning on her heel and stalking out, plotting her revenge…