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|Operator|| The Magikoopa Academy. A proud brick building now surrounded by more modern wings, was once the place where those who would wear the badge and uphold justice were put through their paces. Attaining the peak of fitness, as well as mental and moral aptitude, they would emerge from these halls as New Donk's best and brightest.
But now the academy has been modified into a freakshow. Wires and piping runs out of windows, across the training grounds then into another window. The statue out front commemorating some renowned figure now bristles with satellite dishes and 5G antenna. All the plaques and trophy cases have been dumped out in a haphazed pile to clear the halls for Enfarcerbot construction platforms. The sinister devices close up, hum ominously for a few moments, and a newly constructed Enfarcer rolls right out. Ready to 'protract and sever' as they claim.
As everyone arrives, a great screen above the front door fizzles to life. A teenaged girl is there, clad in coke bottle glasses, red hair a frizzy mess barely tamed by two pigtails. Oil streaks her face, and she wears a white labcoat over a formal police uniform. "Oh, hi there!" she says, her voice tinnily broadcast through speakers. "You're here, that's perfect. Uh, come in, please! Me and Dr. Crygor are at the back. Mind the Enfarcers, they're either in test mode or uh. Broken. So they'll probably attack you. Can't turn 'em off from back here!"
The screen blips off as a familiar sound of helicopter rotors echoes from above. Funky Kong is on the scene again. "Hey hey hey boys, girls and anyone who don't fit those! It's the ape on the tape, Funky Kong here. My boy DK and his crew are down below, about to give the business to our new Chiefs of Police. Take it from one inventor about others, Penny Crygor and her not-so-good grandpa are nuts! They ain't made a single public appearance since they got the job. They've been holed up Magikoopa Academy, making... something. Hopefully nothing that troubles our valiant heroes!"
|Forte||"(In test mode, or broken,)" repeats Forte, quietly.
"... Sure. I absolutely believe that," says Forte, deadpan, bringing his hand up and pointing at the enfarcer bot that just rolled off of the assembly line.
< <AUTONAVI SLOT IN> >
CTRLNFARCR W - EXECUTE
The control program that he absorbed from the mall loads up, and executes, Forte trying to bend the bot to his own will.
|Tina Natsumi||"Well, you heard the lady. Don't wanna keep her waitin'!" Tina blurts out with all her usual bravado minus a decibel or ten, sounding a bit distracted as she rolls right into the Academy donning an appropriately academy-esque outfit: It's an older and slightly ill-fitting school uniform, complete with the insignia of one Drachenblatt Academy, as though she was playing the part of a transfer student for today's viewing of the premises.
Also, a cowboy hat, eye-obscuring bottle glasses that probably don't have any visual improving capabilities whatsoever, and a backpack full of definitely not guns. Eyeing the helicopter, she raises her hand in a firm thumbs-up gesture to the funkiest of Kongs, then slips her phone out of her pocket to aim the selfie camera at herself. She snaps a picture first for her stream viewers and to summon her mechanical Persona into the air in front of her, but keeps that camera rolling to capture what's behind her as she starts walking backwards through those robot-producing halls.
Uncle Sam, sadly, is not dressed for the part. It's still a Persona, and it still just looks like a big America-themed robot.
"Looks like we've got a whole lotta 'bots today. Sure hope they got a good sprinkler system in here, because I Reckon things'll get heated up sooner rather than later. Oh!" Spotting Forte, Tina swaps cameras and points the rear one towards Forte, keeping him and the Enfarcerbot in frame. "Hey, pard! Neat design you got goin' there! Whatcha got in store for the folks here today?"
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| A squad of six Dry Bones heralds the arrival of Baron d'Tarkanan, himself seated upon a white horse. He's dressed like the picture of nobility, with a dash of adventurer sprinkled in to taste--a finely made leather cuirass over an extravagant poet's shirt, tailored pants tucked into matching riding boots. A cloak of red with gold trim ties the affair together, and a sheathed bastard sword bounces at his hip.
His dismount is graceful, placing him squarely in the center of his skeletal honor guard. The horse is hitched to a parking meter a little ways away from the building, so as not to risk it getting spooked by the Enfarcerbots. It's evidently quite used to ambulatory skeletons, however.
"Hello, chums!" A wave of his left arm, which seems longer and paler than the other. He smiles convivially. "Baron Ben d'Tarkanan, of the Sharn Tarkanans, at your service." He offers everyone a bow at the waist, right hand over his hard, left behind his back. "I hope you won't mind some company today, but I'm always eager to know the mettle of artifice compared to my own craft."
With a raised brow, "Did you like that, chums? The *mettle?*" He chuckles lightly, stepping around Forte to enter into the building. No need to be rude or disrupt what's clearly an artist at work!
|Liza Grier|| On the one hand, police academy (no, Liza has no idea why it has 'magic' phonetically in it). On the other hand, no cops, just a literal child. Technically, the literal child is wearing a police uniform, but critical inspection via the welcome-to-city-17 screen proves that they've only thrown an oily machinist's labcoat over it anyways, so the freaky little girl gets points for disrespecting the blues.
The actual contents of the Magikoopa Academy feel to Liza like a softball finally thrown to her awkward navigation of the surreal situation that has taken root here ever since Senator Warior became a thing. Crap robots always count as valid. A mysterious probably-evil doctor somewhere in the bottom, churning them out, exactly like an antisocial scientist with unlimited lab access and too much free time is wont to do, is pretty high up there as well. A little more concerning were he into chemistry or diseases or something, but then he wouldn't be Wario's tinpot dictatorial discipline. Probably.
"You're bringing that many guns into a school? You know they'll have metal detectors everywhere, right?" Liza deadpans to Tina through the faint distortion of her helmet mic, all the while in the middle of chambering and charging a cr-20 like just right in front of her. When she mentions sprinklers, Liza says, "Good point." Her wrist computer cracks and spits a few extra red crystals, and teleporter light flashes her the assembly frame and valve vanisters necessary to quickly screw together-- yeah that's a flamethrower.
Prepared thusly however, her first course of action is actually finding an aforementioned metal detector up front --or card reader, keypad, et cetera-- and splicing into it, looking to obtain access to the building's original, now-probably-useless security system to get at the camera feeds and door locks.
"Whatever. Broken clocks, right once a day." she mutters at intended audible level in Ben's direction while she works. "Stupid reason, but you do you. Up until you do the opposite of me-- then you stop being you." A pause. "Think we'll see DK later?"
|Operator|| DK rolls up once everyone has reconvened. That is not a turn of phrase, he literally comes somersaulting down the street (pancaking some Enfarcers on the way) and blows through the gates. The reasons for his inital absence are apparent; he is carrying a huge bunch of bananas and snacking away on them. He does however pause long enough the thumbs-up at everyone, including Funky up above.
Liza and Forte get started on attacking the cybersecurity. With the control programme seized, the latter has no trouble taking control of the freshly made Enfarcers. The actual broken ones are a bit trickier, being adequately corrupted enough that the programme just causes catastrophic errors in them. But that alone is enough, either just shutting them down completely or causing harmless looping behaviour like turning in a circle or bumping into walls.
Liza finds the security disappointingly vulnerable. Looks like the new Chiefs didn't touch it at all beyond hooking up those displays so they can broadcast. Giving herself full access and finding the pair is simple, they're in the large gymnasium at the rear of the campus. The girl herself is in the press box, tapping away at a keyboard. She also catches a glimpse of the good Doctor Crygor himself (also wearing a labcoat over the blues, alongside a metal helmet) disappearing under a tarp that is concealing something massive in the middle of the room. This is no-doubt what Funky was talking about, the project that stole them away from the public eye.
While this is happening, DK is laughing at Ben's gag (after the few seconds it takes him to get it) and photobombing Tina's selfie. But once Liza has a location on the two, he immediately comes to life and starts ploughing through the campus to get to the gym. Whether or not he too hates cops or simply feels like taking the most direct route possible remains to be seen.
The gym is a massive building, surrounded by equipment sheds and the outdoor playing field. The door is as good as open now that Liza has access, but there are those windows high up, and a skylight in the roof. But also another screen that broadcasts the young Penny. "Hey, welcome! Come on in, we're just about ready!" They're expected.
|Tina Natsumi||It's a rich guy! Tina doesn't recognize Ben right away, although she does snap her fingers and point his way once he speaks up and the name comes back to her. "Howdy! Didn't know you were pokin' your nose 'round these parts, too. If you're lookin' to test your stuff against these bots, though..."
She glances over at the Enfarcerbots that DK somersaulted through on his way into the academy, laughing at the big ape's entrance and making sure to train the camera on him for a while as well. "I reckon you'll get your chance sooner rather than later, with the kinda you two got goin' already."
"Why not? What's the worst that..." Tina doesn't finish that sentence as she takes a moment to make sure her backpack is closed and secure, then slaps a palm against her Persona instead as if trying to reassure Liza somehow. "Ah, nothin' to worry about. Ol' U.S. here'll solve any problem that needs solvin', anyway! Short of..."
She watches as the red crystals pop out, lifting those prop glasses up to get a better look at what Liza's putting together and snickering after a moment. "Oh, sure, like THAT ain't gonna be a problem. Anyway, let's not keep the good doctors waiting too long."
Tina breaks into a steady jog as the Persona takes huge, leaping steps behind her. "They're invitin' us in, after all! But..." As she draws closer to the gym, she notices the multiple entrances available to her (theoretically). She wastes some time climbing onto Uncle Sam's back to see if her Persona can leap right onto the roof for a dramatic entrance via skylight, but gives up on that after the Persona only barely manages to reach halfway up towards the windows on the side of the building.
Nobody can say she didn't try, at least. Alas, she'll have to settle for the front doors once Liza opens them up, but she certainly makes sure to do it in style: Uncle Sam lets off fireworks-like explosions overhead as the cowgirl-exchange-student-nerd heads in with her arms at her sides, hamming it up for whoever might actually be inside regardless of whether they'd appreciate someone showboating just from walking through a door.
"Howdy, y'all! It's your girl @FreedomWithFries here, and I'm here to check out what's going on in this here Magikoopa Academy! Tonight, we've got our guests of honor, Penny and Doc Crygor!" Somehow, she manages to project her voice way out despite only holding her phone and no megaphone in hand. "So! What kinda projects you got goin' around here tonight? The viewers at home are just dyin' to know!"
|Liza Grier|| When DK literally rolls up, Liza exchanges her greeting of a silent, exaggerated thumbs up, become nearly ritual at this point. It's about then when she's ready to move out anyways. "Old men in charge. Dated and un-up-dated system. Sad stuff. I assume they had no impression that 'the bad guys' would ever try it." she mutters over the click and slap of throwing a plastic dust cover back into place. She double taps her screen, and the security feed blinks on in a corner of her HUD. She takes a glimpse, cycling through views by adjusting a knob like an old TV tuner.
"Huh. Looks like you did a pretty thorough job. Good job, guy." she says to Forte. She knows his name. It might be an OpSec thing. "I'll call out a route through the least annoying remainders. But what they're doing in the gym-- it looks like they couldn't be assed to fix or clear these out because they've had their necks buried in something more interesting. You know how roboticists get, once they get it in their heads to start slapping together mechs in the garbage bay." Presumably, people do not 'know how they get', but the stereotype carries through tone alone.
It's also probably obvious enough when, after navigating through a short semi-maze of campus corridors that are predominantly short-circuited bots rather than circle-running bots, they can lay eyes upon the enormous tarp on the gymnasium floor. Shortly after Liza kicks the doors in. Even if they were to be unlocked, that's a generally unwise thing to do to your knees with those big metal gym doors every campus ever installs. She slides in with the cr-20 pulled up tight against one shoulder, but the flamethrower clutched in at her side, the ominous green glow of her optics only faintly visible in the bright indoor lighting while she scans the tarp for heat outlines, and maneuvers around the outside perimeter --a safe distance from the giant heap itself-- to try and get a line of sight on Doctor Crygor. Unfortunate that he hadn't just been within convenient view of the doors.
"Ready? You shouldn't have started." Liza crackles through her comms. "Go home. All you're doing right now is sitting bottom on a totem pole of dumb adults exploiting adults slightly dumber than them. This isn't the place for you."
|Forte||Forte glances at the cameragirl, his expression hidden by his poncho as usual. His head turns towards her, the rest of his body remains floating in a stationary spot.
"I'm going to take care of the robot problem in this city," he says, flatly.
Then to the girl on the screen: "Yes, inside," says Forte. "We're headed there right now. Absolutely."
He makes no move to go further inside towards the obvious trap.
Instead, he focuses on the enfarcerbot constructors - trying to access the programming of the constructors themselves, and then from there to get into whatever template the constructors are putting into the robots they build. (He physically goes inside of one of the assemblers if needed, using Battle Network logic, to break into the programming and rearrange the code with his own two 'hands'.)
And from there - a few additional lines of code, to add 'other enfarcerbots that aren't running Forte's version of the programming' to the list of targets to attack, with instructions to act normally if not presented with any targets or if they're outnumbered by unaltered enfarcers. (Forte isn't sure if the AI in the bots is smart enough to handle 'Among Us' impostor logic, but he makes the attempt.)
He also adds a backdoor to the template to make remotely seizing the bots easier for him in the future, if he needs to make alterations, and a hash-scan subroutine of the program to alert him if someone else tries to hack it, and a one-time-pad radio signal the altered bots can use to recognize each other, and a bunch of other things that are very likely overkill for dealing with Wario's crew's level of technical (in)competence.
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| Ben does indeed hear Liza's remark. "A stupid reason?" He frowns, looking over his shoulder. "Goodness, but I do hate to have that said about me. Perhaps sometime soon, you could enlighten me, Goodlady...?"
His spirits are at least a little lifted by DK's laughter--enough so that he can take his mind off of farming clout and get out of the way. His Dry Bones honor guard follow suit.
"Artifice is an expensive calling, unlike necromancy," says Ben conversationally, largely just to whoever will listen, following in the wake of DK's destruction. He beckons with a hand, and a Dry Bones comes front and center, retreating into its shell.
"You can maintain servitors like these with just the slightest bit of 'Tee Ell See...'" With both hands on the grip of his bastard sword, he strikes the shell with the flat, in a golfer's swing, sending the shelled skeleton sailing across the grounds, ricocheting between whatever Enfarcerbots haven't been struck down or hacked into uselessness or subservience. It leaves a trail of icy needles in its wake to harry pursuit. The spinning seems to have disassembled it--but the others rush to put it back together. "And raising them wholecloth doesn't require the labor or infrastructure that artifice tends to imply."
With a second command from him, they all form a bony staircase, each grasping the legs of the one above it. Ben uses it to gain entry into the gym. He ascends this staircase and makes a graceful leap off the top Dry Bones, performing a frontflip midair.
For just a moment, he calls upon the power of his aberrant mark--that scar-like marking on the back of his neck, resembling smoke rising from a fire--and rather than crash through the window, he passes intangibly, assuming it's not built to prevent such things.
The Dry Bones form a goofy-looking rank and file once everyone's over their little staircase, marching into the gym from the ground level just as Ben lands with a flourish of his cloak. A nod towards the tarp, and a grin. "As are myself and my cohorts, I might add," he says, appending Tina's statement, and making a gesture to the Dry Bones. "That is... I believe they died quite some time ago, owing to the coloration on the bones, you see, but I'm sure you take my point."
|Operator|| Forte hangs back to mess with the Enfarcer creators directly. The coding here is a /bit/ more complex than that. Hell, it's even been patched recently with new templates. They all enhance some aspect of the machines while limiting others. Indeed, it looks like the constructors have a 'cost' they're not allowed to exceed per unit, most likely to keep the cost of materials down.
Adding the extra lines to create sus Enfarcers is easy enough, as is everything else. Though, truth be told, while the robots were clearly built with pennies (heh) on the dollar, the fact that they managed to get something on this scale running at all is impressive. Leaves one to wonder what these police chiefs could do with a real budget.
Dealing with the busted and hacked Enfarcers on the way to the gym is no big deal. Ben's fanciful shell shot easily smashes through them. Says a lot about their fragility when even ancient rotted shells can rip through them no problem. Tina meanwhile, as she loads up her stream, gets a superchat from one 'fun_key' stating :Heya homegirl, keep an eye on my main man DK all right? Got a bad feeling about this one, he might fly off the handle."
The gym is brightly lit, from both daylight and the lights being at full brightness. Wires snake throughout the bleachers, hooking up to the digital scoreboard hanging above in the middle of the room, and also whatever is under that tarp. It takes up most of the court, an upright blob. From it, more wires head up to the press box where Penny is. "Hey, welcome!" she says bubbly in response to Liza kicking the door in. But when she offers some well-meaning, if harsh advice, she sighs a little.
"Yeah I know. To be honest, I didn't think Wario was smart enough to scam a whole city like this. But he did, so it says more about them than it does him, doesn't it?" She laughs a little, and shakes her head. "But it's okay. To be honest, I've wanted to build something like this for a long time. Only now did I have the money to do it. So I'm okay with being used! Artists need patrons you know? And hey, if you wind up breaking it, you can have the key, no hard feelings. At least I'll have gotten this thing out of my system!"
Liza's heat vision only picks up Crygor's footprints but not the man himself. He must be inside whatever is under there. "Penny! That's the last connection! We're ready!"
"Great! Strap in grandpa!"
"Oh right, I didn't install seatbelts yet."
"Or seats! Oh well, just try to hold on!"
She hits a button, and explosive movement takes place under the tarp. It is cast off dramatically like a cape, and under it is a gigantic robot. It's broad chested, with enormous arms. It's head bears an enormous, rictus grin, and small beady eyes. It slams its chest in challenge, and DK slams the gym ground hard enough to smash it, a look of fury on his face. "BEHOLD! MECHA-DK!" Penny cheers into the intercom as the great mechanical ape sets upon everyone with bulk and fists.
|Forte||Forte catches up, just in time to hear the 'seatbelts' line.
"That's not actually surprising," he says to himself. "This whole operation feels like the planning equivalent of cowboy code."
And then his musings on The Olde Days of being a white-hat pentester are cut short by the thing managing to come to life, throwing off the tarp, and running around to punch everyone.
Forte gets hit by a MONKEY FIST, knocking him back, but he recovers with a well-timed AREASTEAL to get over to the other side of the gym and momentarily out of the path of the rampage.
"Some part of me is going to regret seeing what I can get from this..." he mutters, and then swoops in, brightly-glowing hand outstretched to get a tag on it-
-=--=--=-COSACK INDUSTRIES - AUTONAVI.SYS-=--=--=-
-=--=--=--GETABILITY.BAT READ MODE READY--=--=--=-
It also stings like heck - for however much 'pain' has any meaning to a gigantic robot monkey.
|Tina Natsumi||Ben's jokes are met with a whole slew of conflicting emojis, ranging from the ironic to the actual, and several more calling for bans. Tina, meanwhile, is just snickering at the whole thing!
She's not reading from a screen, though. How's she know about all this? Text to speech, probably. Whatever the case is, she's certainly able to respond to that paid message easily enough. "Oh? Hey, thanks, fun_key! I'll keep an eye on ya boy, don't you worry. Your gal's not the type to leave the crew high and dry, even when the goin' gets tough!"
Alas, it does certainly seem that things are getting tougher for Tina both physically and mentally as Penny sounds outright reasonable with her position on the entire thing, and the streamer actually has to take a moment to figure out how to actually reply to all of that. "It... Does, doesn't it? Crazy guy being propped up by crazier people, and the folks around here just letting it all happen..."
She clicks her tongue, frustration starting to build up again. "Even I could do better than that... Hhhh. Dammit." Tipping her hat back, Tina reaches over to rap her knuckles against her mechanized Persona when Mecha-DK is revealed. "You got a good mind there, Penny. Don't let it go to waste too much hanging around that Wario guy. Otherwise, I'm gonna have to give you... r creations a beatdown!"
She lets out a brief sigh of relief at that save, then yelps as Mecha-DK begins its attack. Uncle Sam swings into position, parking itself between those giant meaty fists and the Persona-user to intercept them with its own bulk. Metal meets metal, the smaller machine-like thing straining to try and hold one of those fists in place to slow down its assault. "Goddang... Get your hits in when you can, folks!"
|Ben d'Tarkanan||"Indeed it does," says Ben to Penny. He's firmly in the 'if you get scammed that's on you' camp.
When the tarp is dramatically thrown aside to reveal Mecha-DK, his eyes gleam. A sweep of his forearm, and his Dry Bones attack.
It's not very effective, at first--their usual strategy of 'remove bone, throw' just results in femurs (it's always femurs, isn't it? Weird.) bouncing harmlessly off of the robot. Attacks like that tend to get you singled out... but that creature he'd fought in Egypt had said that heroes never shut up... so should he be talking? Yes. Yes he should.
"An impressive creation," says Ben, perhaps unwisely, "To be sure--but I shan't be upstaged. Behold!"
His bastard sword is unsheathed, a thing of simple yet masterful construction, with a blue steel finish. The pommel is a tentacled, multi-eyed monster with a grinning, fanged maw, and when he points the blade at his somewhat comedically ineffectual minions, a drastic change occurs--they're combining into something larger, meaner, with a singular spiked shell and bull-like horns.
The impact of this change is somewhat lost by Ben getting violently shoulder checked, lifted into the air, and thrown so hard into a basketball hoop that the metal portion bends into a Ben-shaped impression and clatters loudly to the floor. "A spirited foe," Ben gasps, getting back to his feet as he clutches his stomach.
Standing in the place of his skeletal goon squad is a brutish skeletal golem, with heavy spiked bracers, eyes that glow like coals, and fists the size of the average koopa's head, which terminate in sharp claws. It rears back its head, opens its mouth, and spews a cloud of green acid-breath in Mecha-DK's direction!
|Liza Grier|| "You look like a rich boy." Liza says to Ben, which might be a reply or just an addendum. "Showing up in the middle of a city in crisis, to the middle of this convoluted operation to get it back, apparently just to turn some cheap robots sideways for validation, isn't a great look. Do you care about what's happening at all?" Well, there's his answer at least.
And at the gym, "See? Mechs." Lowering her weapon for a second, unable to draw a bead on the doctor, Liza audibly surprise-scoffs when repeating "Grandpa? It really is just like that all the way down." She slowly shakes her head. "You're a lot smarter than you should be for your age --I don't mean book smart either. Too smart to still be here, doing this. If you had to build this thing, it should have been to use on the Senator, or at least his ultramax, right away." She makes the motions of jerking her thumb over her shoulder, back at the cluttered hallways, with her flamethrower hand. "A guy that ridiculously rich, and this is the budget he gives you to work with? Come on."
Mecha DK moves considerably better than she'd anticipated from the masterminds of the Enfarcerbot, though. The opposite of Ben in both respects, Liza's only response is an audible "!", tossing the flamethrower back and to the side, igniting the shimmering blue screen of an e-shield over her forearm, and hunching behind it when the massive, mechanical fist blow lands square on it, sending her not just off her feet, but straight into the gym wall, next to the doors, in the blink of an eye. The crunch of the impact can be felt reverberating through the gymnasium floor, followed by the noisy clatter of tumbling bricks.
Having breached the insulation and dented the struts, Liza extricates herself from the dusty crater with the shield held blearily over her head. A translucent barrier flickers around Liza's armour for a split second. She lands back on the floor with a loud thump, but gets back up immediately as the static fades from her visual. Tilting the SMG so that it braces into the small notch in the side of her e-shield screen, Liza begins circle strafing sideways around Mecha DK and firing, staying near the edge of the gymnasium interior and dodge rolling, shield smashing, and action diving away from following fists. Brass sprinkles all over the hard floor in her path, the loud, percussive rattle of a 10mm on automatic matched only by the racket it makes striking the head of the giant robot she intends to hose with weight of fire. Even if it isn't the cockpit, she should get a few good shots on what will likely be sensors. With a few magazines, she intends to deform and break the plating right off its screws and bolts.
|Operator|| Mecha-DK is nothing like the Enfarcers, Forte finds. Running on totally different, actually good software with top-of-the-line hardware. His command codes won't do a thing to it. However, his weapon copy system works just fine, ripping data out of Mecha-DK and...
"Well, yeah. Anyone can be /better/ than Wario! Have you seen the guy? But not a lot of people are that..." Penny muses over the intercom in response to Tina for a long moment. The word she's looking for is in no technical manual, nor any science textbook. "Shameless? What he does, you can't afford to ever flinch when you do it. The moment you cringe, it's all over!"
Uncle Sam enters a contest of strength with Mecha-DK. The great ape strains against the Persona's grip long enough that Liza can begin her counterattack, and Ben can start assemble his superminion. But the big robot ape breaks free and checks the necromancer into the hoop. However, with the budget Dry Bones B*wser now taking up space, the gym is starting to feel downright cozy. The big skeleton turtle immediately occupies all of Mecha-DK's attention, allowing everyone an opening. Given that Penny has her face against the glass with obvious glee, there's no doubt she programmed the thing to prioritize large targets for this exact occurrence. Casing are shot open and acid breath begins eating through its plating.
Regular DK however has climbed up the mechanical one's back, and is now headbutting it in the back of the head hard enough to start caving in the armor. He's always been a reliable, if 'unga' companion, but this behaviour strays into feral. Something about this artificial ape has him pissed.
|Tina Natsumi||"Only on screens, but that was definitely more than enough of the guy." Tina lets out an uncomfortable laugh, sighing moments later while considering Penny's words again. "Being shameless sure looks like it helps for this kinda thing, doesn't it? Sure as hell works faster for gettin' all this done rather than thinking things through or being logical." She keeps laughing, but trails off moments later as though she's thinking a bit too much about what she's saying.
She'll have to leave those darker thoughts for later, though, as Uncle Sam's limbs creak from contending with the mechanical ape. Thankfully, the giant skeleton turtle coming together and grabbing its attention gives her an opportunity to switch to the less defensive pursuits. Spotting DK climbing upon his steel doppelganger's back, she's even cheering him on at first and bolstering his efforts through channeling vague buffing magics through her Persona into the ape, but that quickly shifts into some concern when he starts headbutting machine outright.
Not enough to stop her from recording entirely (because of course Tina's going to broadcast a giant metal ape fighting a giant bone turtle), but she does have to settle for slipping her phone into her blazer's pocket as she starts scaling the giant herself to get up there. "Oi! Hey, Deeks! Ease up a little!"
It takes her some time to get there even with Uncle Sam doing the bulk of the climbing for her, but Tina's bound to make some okay progress on the way up to the unga ape if she's not waylaid by practically anything. "We need you and those two alive! Ain't no sense getting so jacked up here before we get the rest of the keys and your pops!"
|Forte||"... Barrels?" says Forte, checking the readout. Yes, barrels.
He gets clear - there's a thirty kaiju pileup going on that he doesn't need to be anywhere near melee range of - and gets to whatever ceiling=corner of the gymnasium is furthest away.
"Okay, barrels... Show me what you got, then."
< <AUTONAVI SLOT IN> >
BARLROLLER D - EXECUTE
A large construction barrel materializes in Forte's hands, and he chucks it. It goes rolling and bouncing along the ground, going over obstacles and then improbably bouncing at the end to smack into a spot of the Mecha DK that's not being blocked by the aforementioned 30 kaiju pileup.
"... Okay, barrels, then," says Forte, and starts throwing some more.
He feels the urge to beat his chest after a few more barrels.
He does not do so.
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| It isn't a great look. A normal person would take this as an opportunity to do some introspection, or perhaps get offended now and do that introspection later, after the defensiveness. With Ben...
oO0(I don't understand. Don't people like the rich? Is it not a symbol of status in every world, as in mine? Well... if I must care to earn this woman's esteem, then care I shall. That which is noble is kind and aware... and I can afford to have neither of those in doubt, where I am concerned.)
He couldn't be more misguided, in other words.
<J-IC-Scene> Forte says, "Can we get the... people, out of the mecha?"
<J-IC-Scene> Forte has some hesitation, as if he's unsure that these are actual real people.
<J-IC-Scene> Liza Grier says, "If you can find him. The thing is sensor shielded. I can't pin his signature. Head or chest are a safe bet though."
The mechanized ape seems occupied with the Great Value Dry B*wser, although it's a simple fact that metal is (usually) tougher than bone. Cracks begin to show up in the golem's fists as the two monsters grapple and beat on each other.
If this were a rank and file soldier in his homeland's (not Sharn, by the way) army, it could be mended rather easily, as bone dust is common enough--but they're not in his homeland, and he's no mendicant in any case.
"Say no more!" The prospect of impressing everyone has allowed him to shake off the last of the stupor from being knocked clean across the room, and granted him vigor enough to ignore the pain in his back from the darkening bruise there. In an instant, Ben vanishes.
A few nimble long leaps. Calling upon the power of his aberrant mark once more, he attempts to see just how much expense and effort were spared in the construction of this thing, sticking his invisible, intangible face through the plating to try and spot Crygor within it. It's sensor shielded--is it shielded against this sort of tomfoolery, too?
Even if it isn't, it's difficult work--Mecha DK is fighting not only with his minion, but with Tina's, resulting in a chaotic dance of jukes and weaves just to keep his head in relatively the same position.
*Well... isn't it nice that 'Baron' Ben can just decide to care. Do you know what? When you cast that invisibility spell, I think you're the closest to your real self. People can see right through you, even when they've never met you.*
Ben grimaces, silently, invisibly. Whether he finds Crygor or not, he knows there's a shred of truth in that voice--enough so for him to withdraw from the metallic Kong and from the power of his Dragonmark alike.
Enough so for his mind to be off of the battle, for just long enough to eat one of Forte's thrown barrels, sending him skidding across the floor. He *did* say to look out for them.
Assuming that he was indeed able to spot Crygor within the suit, he'll at least be able to call to the others where the doctor is hidden, as he struggles back to his feet.
|Liza Grier|| "It's called lacking social empathy. Or social ability. Or a conscience. Or pretty much anything that makes a human being worth the time of day. Don't prop it up on a pedestal." Liza manages to say to Penny in the midst of a tactical reload, flicking her spent magazine to slide sideways over the gym floor and retrieving another with the hand free under her shield, then leaping aside from a wayward stomp from the grappling titans.
The fact that the ridiculous thing is designed for giant robot brawling plays to her advantage for now, given that she didn't bring one. With a break in the assault on her battered shield, Liza closes in towards the center of the room, under the broken skylight, then jumps --and jumps again, blue white thrust bursting under the soles of both boots and propelling her acrobatically up through the scenic gap in the ceiling, landing with a lazy backwards flip. From there, she hopes to climb onto Mecha DK's back, however . . .
The real thing appears to be going *off*. Liza briefly considers the drawbacks of tranqing the big guy, then diverts to considering whether she cares what he does in this situation. Around the time she figures she probably doesn't, Tina is already up there, leaving her with no room to maneuver and less reason to approach. So she drops to her stomach, keys in a new code in the blink of an eye, and recieves a splash of red teleporter light from above in both hands, showering a dozen dull, cracked crystals through the skylight. From her higher vantage, she slaps the steel bipod of an anti-material rifle down on the corner of the window edge, and tilts the barrel by degrees. Linking the scope to her helmet rather than trying to stare through it, Liza tilts until she has a clear shot at one of Mecha DK's legs, then fires without a moment's hesitation. The thunderous boom cracks the skylight frame with the recoil, and echoes horrendously in the open gymnasium below, though the sparks and fire of a penetrator designed to punch through engine blocks comes first. She aims a second shot for the other knee when she can. Ideally, as one of those barrels rolls under.
|Operator|| Ben does, in fact, easily phase through Mecha-DK, and quickly finds Crygor inside the belly cavity, being bounced about by the fight. The poor guy looks pretty battered, but he's not wounded or anything. If nothing else, the wires and parts that make up the big robot are well-insulated.
DK keeps slamming his head against the robot, harder and harder thanks to Uncle Sam's buffing influence. The giant robot has now sustained enough damage that it can't turn its head anymore. Tina tries to caution him, and he looks at her with a mad gleam in his eyes. Mecha-DK, at this moment, reaches up to try and swat him. Had he continued his assault, DK would have been pasted against the mechanical monkey's hide. But instead, he leaps off and passes between its fingers to land on the bleachers, looking for his moment to go back in.
Liza goes up high and calls in an anti-material rifle. It does exactly as promised. The high penetrating power plus the explosion rips into Mecha-DK's leg, annihilating it and leaving the whole machine unbalanced. It stumbles, and one of those copied barrels from Forte manages to slip under its remaining foot, sending it sprawling. Its hand reaches for purchase, slamming into the bleachers and wall of the gym as it lands on its remaining knee.
This is the moment DK goes back in, arm cocked.
Mecha-DK sees the attack coming, and pulls back its other hand to punch back. Its fist is bigger than all of DK. But in spite of that, they clash, and the shockwave cracks the glass of the press stand, blows out the windows, creates a deafening bag.
And then every rivet, every screw and bolt in Mecha-DK's arm pops out, the metal crumbling like an accordion against DK's fist. It's in shambles. Time to finish the job.
|Forte||Forte throws the barrel he's holding, and then pauses. Ben goes in to find the people inside the mecha - who are guilty of collaborating with all of this at *least*, but don't deserve to die at the hands of Anger Monkey. (At least, not today.)
And when Ben finds their location, Forte's ready.
< <AUTONAVI SLOT IN> >
AREA_STEAL A - LOADING
< <AUTONAVI SLOT IN> >
UFOCATCHER A - LOADING
< <AUTONAVI SLOT IN> >
AREA_STEAL A - LOADING
"Alright, wait for the right moment..." Forte says to himself, floating down a bit to make sure he's lined up, focused squarely on the location of the pilots...
And as soon as the cockpit is exposed... "... now!"
< <AUTONAVI SLOT IN> >
BBUFFERHIT BB - EXECUTE
Some TIME BBULSHIT occurs. Three things happen - sequential events that get bbunched up into one singular timeline event. Forte teleports in. Simultaneously, Forte grabs both pilots. Simultaneously, Forte teleports out.
These three things should have seperate spots on the timeline, since they need to happen in order, but who has the time for that, these days?
|Ben d'Tarkanan|| >It's called lacking social empathy. Or a conscience. Or pretty much anything that makes a human being worth the time of day.
Tossing the heavy barrel off of him without so much as a complaint--again, Forte did offer warning--Ben is back on his feet, the invisibility removed thanks to the impact with the aforementioned barrel. Keep talking. That's what heroes do, right...? He lifts his left arm before his face to shield himself from the shockwave. His boots scrape against the floor of the gym as he's pushed back slightly, but his unnatural strength is enough to see him through. "A fine showing, old chap," he offers, congratulating DK on that earth-shattering punch.
Though the necromancer managed to withstand it, the same can't be said of his minion, which was already flagging. It's shaken apart in the aftershock, crumbling to the floor into its constituent parts. Don't worry, folks! Just give it a minute and they'll reverse-xylophone themselves back, after the fight.
In the mean time... why not work on this 'caring?'
<J-IC-Scene> Ben d'Tarkanan says, "He's in the belly of the device, chums!"
<J-IC-Scene> Ben d'Tarkanan says, "It might do to remove him quickly--the young miss was quite right about the absence of any straps, and its flesh-and-blood inspiration seems most distempered."
<J-IC-Scene> Forte says, "Alright. I'm on it."
If he... pretends enough, perhaps he'll come to practice it sincerely. This barrel-throwing fellow will extricate the doctor--so why not make it easier?
With a swipe of his sword, thick cobwebs fly through the air with a concerning hissing noise. They envelop Mecha-DK's remainging leg and arm, cementing both to the polished floor of the gymnasium, immediately following the Time BBullshit.
It wouldn't do to have Crygor freed, only for that empty metal husk to collapse on his old man body, now would it?
|Tina Natsumi||That gleam reminds Tina of who she's working with. She's barely familiar with most of these people, but they're all powerful individuals at best and dangerous adversaries at worst. With the right prodding, could they also become like Wario did? Could she?
No, probably not. Removing that concern from her mind, she's about to shout a word of warning to DK as Mecha-DK brings that arm back, but her worries are for naught as the biological ape leaps away from the mechanical one. Tina stays where she is with her Persona, although they have to scramble a bit in trying to stay on the side of it that isn't falling into the bleachers once Liza and Forte take its feet out from under it.
"Just the limbs, remember! We don't want this thing exploding before we get everyone clear!" Tina shouts in warning even as she tumbles right off the beast in the process, landing in a clumsy heap onto what's left of the bleachers. Uncle Sam holds its position and busts out a pair of heavy shotguns, meanwhile, joining the offensive in earnest as one of Mecha-DK's arms gives out. Aiming for the other arm, Tina's Persona starts blasting away at it in an effort to punch holes into that arm, destroy it, prevent it from generally getting back up or even taking another swing at the group.
|Liza Grier|| Scoring jackpot on the mech's leg, and timed very nicely with Forte's bizarre choice of power that she isn't even going to question for now, Liza considers the anti-mech tactics a success for now, and leaves the rifle where it is, vaulting back down with another double jump midway to cancel momentum, and land next to DK. The real, angry one. Not the robot.
With Mecha having fallen completely to pieces and the group moved in on their capture routine, Liza remains out of it for the time being, just to see what exactly the hell is going on with the great gorilla. Clapping him on the shoulder while moving past, she says "You feeling okay big guy? Haven't seen you this riled up in any of the past areas. Not even during that ridiculous race. You know this guy? Or is it just the robot defamation?" She stands vaguely, non-confrontationally, between DK and the robot, in an off to the side kind of half-measure way. Close enough to get between, not enough to be overtly blocking him.
|Operator|| Even now, the great machine is trying to get up. Even as Forte phases in and out, carrying Dr. Crygor in his arms. ("Oh thank you!" he says). Even as Uncle Sam drills shell after shell into its shoulder, even as Ben ties it down with cobwebs, it struggles. But eventually, the red light in its eyes dim, and it shuts down.
DK looks on, looking frustrated for once at his inability (or unwillingness) to speak. He points to Mecha-DK, then himself, and shakes his head, forming a cross with his arms. He then produces one of the keys to Cranky Kong's chains they've already retrieved, points at Mecha-DK, then the keys, and thumbs up. He seems to be saying, 'It's not based on me. It's based on Cranky,' in response to the question as to why he's so worked up.
"Aw dang. I guess a robotic imitation is no match for the bloodline of the real thing! And also bone giants, big guns, and barrels." Penny has emerged from her hidey-hole, and tosses her key to DK. "But I'm satisfied. We surrender. Here you go." She wanders over to Forte holding her grandpa and dusts him off. "But... one more thing, okay? Don't underestimates Wario. He won't be on the ropes once you knock him off that chair or anything. He's tough. Really tough."
And with that, a teeny remote somehow whisks the two away through teleportation. That's four keys down. Three to go.
|Tina Natsumi||Upon closer inspection, Tina certainly notices some visual differences between the Mecha and real DK. She does take note of the facial differences, though, stroking her chin after a few moments. "Huh... Looks a little off, doesn't it? Not a bad effort, though." She tries to reassure Penny, chuckling after a moment and berathing a sigh of relief when the keys are tossed over.
"We won't. Wario's going down once we get the old guy out. That guy's got a whole lot to answer for, and even more to explain." There's a troubled look on her face as she says that even with the coke bottle glasses obscuring her eyes, and DK's prior anger isn't completely lost on Tina even if she hasn't quite made the connection between the machine and Cranky. She watches as Penny and Crygor teleport to (presumably) safety, whistling after a few moments of getting her thoughts sorted after just seeing that up close.
"Really gotta get one of those for myself... Hm. But just how much money does this guy have packed away? I mean, if he can get folks with this kinda tech in their back pockets, the city, the police, all these robots..."
She doesn't finish that thought. It's already getting somewhat distressing to think about.
|Liza Grier|| "Huh." That's as eloquent as Liza is, for a moment, with Donkey Kong. Especially while putting the context cues together. "That's weird. There's no way that kid is old enough to remember him, right? I assumed it was a kind of 'the only thing that can beat DK is another DK' logic. Like a weapon designed to fight you. Why is it a copy of him then? It doesn't look like they were intentionally trying for psychological warfare. But then, the Senator's goons paying homage to someone he has in jail feels like a stretch. Do you think they were studying him? You can never rule out anything with scientists." Not that she really expects DK to answer. Thinking and talking about it pads out time.
If it weren't for the faceless helmet, Penny would see her frown. She can probably tell just by Liza's voice though. "Not what I wanted to hear. But I'm grateful I heard it, at least. I wouldn't expect that fat bastard to put up much of a fight otherwise. Especially if he spends that much money on a shielded, anti-gravity *mobility chair*." She doesn't seem to disbelieve the kid scientist at least, though perhaps she still believes Penny is overestimating the adults a little.
To Tina, she just says "Too much. Once it hits nine digits, you might as well just stop counting. The amount itself doesn't matter then; the shape of the cash itself creates a form of influence. A 'force of wealth'. The kind where they don't really have to spend it to get what they want. Just threaten to spend it. It's also a fact that there's a vertical limit to how much you can achieve with money alone. And we're not tackling him any more horizontally than his gut. It seems he can't be assed to rally and direct his outside talent, so just keep taking them one at a time. Don't be intimidated. That's what people with money want."
Gathering up her discarded items with a few wrist bleeps and several flashes of red, streaking up into the sky, Liza makes sure to give Donkey Kong one last thumbs up before converting into an orbit-bound flash of scarlet as well, leaving Tina extra super duper out of the teleporter loop.