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Dusty

[Age of Heroes] Gate Kicker [open!]

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The world was so confusing. Her head was pounding with pain as her eyes tried to focus but failed. Glitching, sputtering as images come and go. Text flashed in useless streams she can't keep up with. It was like being alive in a dream, falling and aware but helpless to stop what was going on. She can feel herself being moved, hurt. Pulled. It hurt! Yet she can not voice it or react. Where was she again? Why was thinking so hard? 

 

-systems damage!-

 

The words pounded in her head, she wanted to hide her head underneath a pillow from them. What was she doing? 

 

-Calling for immediate repairs!-

-ERROR: failed to content to ECCM- 

-ERROR: failed to content to CCNW-

 

Her eyes focused again on the pink shape in front of her… Was she floating? She felt weird… in the air. Limp and lifeless, but alive as her eyes tried so hard to stay focused as danger warnings flared up, glitching in and out as her combat routines try helpless to understand what was going on. Was it talking? She can hear sounds, words buy they all seem so meaningless…

 

Then the crash happened. At first it was good, she felt warm, safe. Like she was filly snuggled up in bed. Than the bed dropped out from underneath her. Her stomach felt like it was trying to claw its way out of her chest as her head had hot nails driven in to it. All the good was ripped out of her body, the masked pain no longer out of view. Why did her legs hurt so much? Why did everything hurt? 

 

-Critical warning! Combat Stims failing! Calling for immediate R.A.R!-

-ERROR: failed to content to ECCM- 

-ERROR: failed to content to CCNW-

-Critical warning! Enforcer at risk of flatline! Calling for immediate R.A.R!-

-ERROR: failed to content to ECCM- 

-ERROR: failed to content to CCNW-

 

The voices! They were like nails on her brain, screaming at her about something! Where was she!? What was going on! Why was it so hard to think! “H-healp…” Soft, faint, Weak. “Me.” She whimpered, forcing words from a muzzle that was not her own for so long. Her will was not broken yet, it screamed for her to do something. “Pea… pllss..” Words fail in her muzzle, it was so hard to speak when she can’t even feel the words. “Plase.” What was this pink thing? Did she know of it? Has she seen it? Can it help her? It was talking to her… it must be.  “Lightning Dust.” A name, was it her name? It was, it has to be. Her name was Lightning Dust! And she… She… oh.

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As the Hexxer managed to bind the cyborg and try to disable he she sensed something amiss. Some spark of life had returned! Inaddition to some activity of consciousness on the par to her bound victim, Lus was going to retract the shadows... but then a blinding blast of furious flame burned away her bindings and gave her body a mean burn. Hexxer leapt backwards reflexively.

The shadowconjuring mare stare down Nerezza as she cradled that pony, "I'm generally not in the business of ending lives and believe it or not, I've not met the sentinel." She looked to the pitiable creature in the dark mirror of cadence's hooves, "I'm sorry for hurting you... If you need help getting your mind and control back, I can send you to someponies who can do more with technology than that Dimestore princess can ever hope to do with you." 

 

"Lightning Dust... Don't look directly at her, There's an even better pink pony who can help you out I'm sure... one that puts this one to shame!"

 

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That wasn't reaction that Ossia was expecting. Even with her magic, cyborgs body seemed to be breaking down and not in condition to accept any 'deals'.

"When I mentioned drugs and wires it was supposed to be a joke...." pink mare mumbled quietly.

Cyborg wasn't even able to form intelligible words. Perhaps there simply wasn't enough of a pony inside left to recruit....

 

On 10/18/2019 at 7:27 PM, Dusty said:

The voices! They were like nails on her brain, screaming at her about something! Where was she!? What was going on! Why was it so hard to think! “H-healp…” Soft, faint, Weak. “Me.” She whimpered, forcing words from a muzzle that was not her own for so long. Her will was not broken yet, it screamed for her to do something. “Pea… pllss..” Words fail in her muzzle, it was so hard to speak when she can’t even feel the words. “Plase.” What was this pink thing? Did she know of it? Has she seen it? Can it help her? It was talking to her… it must be.  “Lightning Dust.” A name, was it her name? It was, it has to be. Her name was Lightning Dust! And she… She… oh.

 

....But just as she turned around, ready to leave this otherworldly pegasus to her fate, she heard words. Well not words really. More like horribly mangled versions of them. But still understandable sounds. Especially the name. There was still some fight left in there. And this display of stubborn spirit moved a chord inside the alicorn long left untouched.

 

"....Very well...." Ossia said and with wave of a hoof, numerous magic circles appeared on ground and in the air.

".....Pain receptors blocked. This would be very uncomfortable otherwise...." she mused. Nerezza was now floating in air, and from her focused expression it was clear that this will require some actual effort on her part.

"...Lifeline, Mental Fortitude, Guardian of Will, Heavenly Warmth Lazurus Sight, Infinity Bloom....." she started reciting spell names aloud, making sure that she wouldn't forget any of them. Those served as life support, crunch for Lightning fragile mind and generally providing some much needed comfort...

 

On 10/25/2019 at 10:49 PM, Pretzelparty said:

The shadowconjuring mare stare down Nerezza as she cradled that pony, "I'm generally not in the business of ending lives and believe it or not, I've not met the Sentinel."

 

Oh, right. The gan ceann was still here to make sure the whole process was more charming. Ossia could only roll her eyes before giving a sharp response.

"Then what was all that prior bluster? Some reaper-mare you are!" pink mare mocked Hexxer for all it's worth. "Una frode! I guess your 'shtick' is like Sunlight's teaching presence. Non-existent. Go buy yourself a voo-doo doll instead shadowmare." Nerezza summed up with some more ridicule. But half-dead mare was not important, she should have all her attention on the 'patient' at hoof instead.

"...von ze Maahh particle decay within norms. So is Planeshift's aeather synchronization." alicorn's gaze ran along glowing arcane runes inside the spell-circles, apparently getting some intel from them. "The problem must've be internal. Che fastidio....." Ossia mused to herself. There were too many things that she had to focus on, to watch for if she was to help Dust keep herself together.

 

So the alicorn did the logical thing. She separated her own mind into three separate consciousnesses, each able to concentrate on different task but able to communicate with each other to exchange information.

One focused on maintaining and casting more spells, while also dealing with possible physical threats. Like that dullahan behind her back. Which kept yapping. Splendid.

 

On 10/25/2019 at 10:49 PM, Pretzelparty said:

"I'm sorry for hurting you... If you need help getting your mind and control back, I can send you to someponies who can do more with technology than that Dimestore princess can ever hope to do with you."

 

"She would fade before they would even arrive, or you move her you clueless nincompoop!" Ossia barked back, while inside she groaned due to the title Hexxer used. Oh the irony! If she ever had a clue!

"Now shut up while I work!" she warned the other mare, feeling that her freshly earned respect for gan cean was slowly diminishing.

 

Meanwhile, second Ossia maintained Dust's body, repairing biological and cybernetic pieces alike on the fly. This left her with no time for a witty banter. Ex or internal. Well, somepony had to do it. Not that it will matter when they merge back together.

 

Third one? Third one cast astral projection magic, preparing to dive into cyborg mindscape. But before that, she decided that the teal mare deserved some explanation.

 

Lightning Dust, was is it? she addressed the pegasus with telepathy

 

I am here to help. I will do all in my power to let you regain control. Nerezza explained.

 

But you have to hold on as well. Long enough so I can see what's wrong and how to fix you. I am sure you can manage. After all you lasted a few minutes against me.

 

Without becoming a blood smear that is. And believe me, that's no mean feat. Even if I wasn't all that serious.

So....ready?

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, outside Hexxer just had to keep. Running. Her. Mouth!

On 10/25/2019 at 10:49 PM, Pretzelparty said:

"Lightning Dust... Don't look directly at her, There's an even better pink pony who can help you out I'm sure... one that puts this one to shame!"

 

"Do you have her on the speed dial?! No?!?!" outside Ossia growled, her patience at it's end. Was it was so oblivious that the cyborg needed help here and now?! Not willing to deal with this anymore alicorn grasped Hexxer's body with her telekinesis. "Well then I guess that settles it. All that talking had to make you thirsty." she mused while 'winding up' for a throw.

"Fetch yourself some drinks then!" pink pony said, while hurling super-heroine into park's water reservoir.

 

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Lightning was a little on the shocked side to hear another voice in her head. She had to many of them as is! But at least it was easy to understand it. Gathering herself she did her best to explain what was going on.

 

-Critical warning! Enforcer at risk of capture! Preparing scuttling! Critical warning!-

 

Just about every cuss word Lightning knew flashed in her head, she had no time to remark on… whatever was going on with that headless mare being tossed in to the lake. “C-code!” she barks, she knew what had to be done yet… saying it was so hard! “G-go-goa” The words just can’t leave her muzzle. She can’t speak them. 

 

All she can do is hope the pink mare can work it out somehow. But she had to gain the override codes and speak them… from there she end the scuttling. And really have the freedom to whatever she wanted to Lightning. Even inprint herself as the new ‘CEO’. but that was a risk Lightning can live with over exploding. After that she can work out what systems got damaged. They can be repaired, exploding can not. 

 

“Can read… thinking… my thinking?” She asked. “Can’t… Tell you. Things. Can’t think of some even… But code. Code in my head. Someware. You NEED it. Whatever it takes.” She explained. Hoping the pink one can understand it. 

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An ominous feeling was rising up in the hexxer's gut. Just before She was telekinetically thrown towards the lake nearby she had a feeling as if something terrible would happen.  This heroine knew she really had no chance of beating back this enemy but she still felt she had to try... even as she was tossed aside like Refuse. While she waited for the contact with the water... it never came. Instead she found her tail yanks as if something bite down and then let her hang in place before setting her back down. 

When she looked up she beheld a white cervine... a caribou maybe? She was a strong looking creature with an intense glare.Her antlers were somehow mismatched, one looking natural and smooth almost with runic carvings along its branches and the other looking black, gnarled and sharp. Her fur giving off some bright, shifting light underneath old and slightly weathered looking armor, "You should stay back." She said as she calmly walked towards Ossia and her ...victim? To this caribou it seemed irrelevant. Oddly enough she didn't seem in any kind of hurry. She had an old looking spear at her side that she set down in front of her once she saw the alicorn with her prize. 

Eyes looked up to Ossia and then to her spear, in a small flash of the light the spear was gone. The owner of the weapon produced a small hollow laugh before soon laying down in front of the alicorn and the ticking time bomb in her hooves. She just sat before them, watching them intently with a tired smile on her face. 

 

Hexxer followed the strange caribou's orders, unsure where she'd seen her before. That bad feeling in her gut told her she should probably go and see if she could find any ponies who might be stuck in this park turned battlefield. 

 

[Exit Hexxer]

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"Oh, splendid...." astral Ossia thought to herself upon hearing Dust's onboard computer's warning. This was something that she needed to pass to her others selves.

"....Soooo girls...the cyborg's AI want's to blow her up." alicorn warned her other consciousnesses.

 

"Wait, what?" 'said the baffled 'Doctor' Ossia.....

 

"WHAT?!" with the 'Outside' Nerezza being just perplexed by the development. "....Any way to postpone this?"

"Well am about to start hacking it, so it will have to wrestle with me. Can't damage it too much though, the goal is to make it subservient to Dust. She mentioned some 'Code'. I believe she means the one that will override the AI's control over her body." astral Ossia mused.

".....I think I can buy some time by blocking the inputs from the CPU to the generator. There are also some nanomachines in her bloodstream. If you get the AI busy, it will be so much easier to hijack them, in turn  making my work smoother." said the 'Doctor'.

"Then I...wait as second, something's amiss...." 'Outside' Ossia said.

 

Where was the SPLASH? There was supposed to be dullahan sized SPLASH!

The physical for of the alicorn turned around. The Hexxer was indeed there, but on land, and not wet at all. Her half-alive rump was quickly receding from the view. Seems that morbid mare wisely decided to bail out of here.

 

And in her place.....

"I traded gan ceann for this?!" Nerezza sized up horned Whitescar hobo cow that sat before her. One that was seemingly part light-bulb. Or irradiated. Not that it mattered.

"You may, or many not noticed, that I am a bit busy right now. So get yourself a newspaper and wait your turn. I have to prevent this mare, and everything in vicinity of three city district from disappearing in aeather balefire."  irritated Ossia said to this new arrival while dropping a good ol' 'Forcecage' around her for good measure. This should prevent the caribou from interfering too much.

 

While this was going, the astral part of the alicorn was diving down to the cyberspace/mindscape part of the Dust. It was interesting that AI described the self-destruct procedure as 'scuttling' Did they even remembered what sea was in their world to use the nautical term?

"Yes Sweetie I can hear you. From all sides actually. By the way, are there any hormonal glands you want to regrow back? Whoever robocized you, they cut unnecessary amount of them." astral mare answered to cyborgs question, just as she touched down to the cyberspace.

"Don't worry, I will just smash through some firewalls* and get to this Code in no time fla....."

Just as he said this, Ossia was hot by tackled by something that resembled the mix of locomotive, tree harvester and octopus.

"Ohhh the big bad AI itself!" she commented while grappling with four of CPU avatar's arms, while using her magic to keep the saw blades at bay. "Time to put you in your place. Befitting any other calculator." she mocked, not intimidated at all by  the 'mechanical' monstrosity

 

 

Spoiler

Ossia is big follower of Lorgenome school of hacking.

 

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Lightning can’t help but note the new face showing up, really she hoped this one will leave them alone as well. She will happy let them battle it out LATER when she is not going to die from her hardware glitching out or you know... blowing up and taking part of this city with her. Why was she in this city? Why was her past such a mess? So many big holes… But that’s a problem for later. She knew well what was going on now and that was all that matters. “Do not interfere! Ple-” Her words cut off half way as her own muzzle was hijacked. “Security breach. threat level red. Weapons: free!” she spoke in a cold tone, her eyes darting about very aware of the fact that she was not the one speaking now. 

 

She felt as if something was shoving her down, out of the way. But this was normal wasn't it. This happens every time she saw a window of freedom. But she was not letting it go this time, this was the longest she was ever free and she wanted more of it. She WILL NOT allow herself to be used like some puppet again! “I have sustained a head wound. Core systems damaged. Begin tactical withdrawal until successful scuttling.” After a few moments of trying to move in the magic holding her she spoke more… Well, not Lightning. “New assessment. You must die. I will limit the pain I inflict, if possible.” She says well trying to aim her front legs, and the guns on them, at the pink mare. 

 

Lightning for her part was struggling to hold onto what free will she still had and found it more easy than it ever was before. Her mind was sharp, clear and ready to battle tooth and fang as she and the AI tusseld over her own body well. The AI having too deal with Ossia was helping as well. It was never programmed to deal with such an unusual predicament for ‘hacking’ like this. 

 

-Scuttling in 30 seconds!-

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The glowing caribou remained seated, responding to Ossia's warning with only an unimpressed stare. She then looked down to the dirt she sat upon and began to draw some pattern on the earth in front of her. It was a tic-tac-toe board and she was starting up with the xs. "Take your time. " She said with an unusual calm, "I'm in no rush. Once you are finished with the Toy soldier... we can have words." Just like that her gaze went back to the grid she made on the ground. 

Lightning's quickly cut off warning did managed to bring the cow's attention back up for a moment, "Hm. The toy soldier can speak... maybe someone at the academy can help you later. If you manage to live through this... I promise that any punishment you recieve will be foals play compared to her." While Lightning's core was building to a possible explosion, the core of the mysterious cow's being was burning hot with something else: purpose. Her divine sphere of influence lent itself towards revenge on behalf of the wronged.  Many ponies were hurt in that freak hurricane earlier. The pale huntress couldn't quite tell the full scale of the damage, but the very need for retribution was fueling her to act in this moment... If this explosion happened and by some measure Ossia and this cow survived, things could become quite harrowing very quickly.

While she laid on the ground, continuing her game. The cow's muscles were tense and ready, her glow slowly raising in intensity until she was ready to strike.

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