|Recovering Forgotten Relics|
Months have passed since Superboy's epic duel with TASK forces and even now the repairs haven't been completely finished. There is a lot to the tower that remains a complete mystery to almost everyone within. Every one in the organization is completely new and has no access to the files of old TASK. Only Gegoshi and her warden Diablo have access to such things and needless to say that Diablo has been less that forthcoming with critical information due to the less than friendly relationship he has with the TASK Director.
But that's all fine and good, Kotal Kahn is nothing if not resourceful, and he has once yet again called upon outside help to assist with the repairs.
Yoiko Hax has been summoned to the Tower as repairmen and members of the Krew helplessly stare at the swirling portals and the banged up teleportation devices. Though all their Kombat prowess is impressive, there is assuredly not a single engineer in the lot.
For all the technology Yoiko brought along for the job, it's rather funny to see her right now standing around with a Starfleet uniform shirt and a trowel in her hands. Wiping her brow on the back of a sleeve, the former first officer stares at the wall before her and shakes her head at it. "Why doesn't anyone ever try the obvious thing first?" Off to the side a tricorder bleeps away happily filling the air with chirps and whirls. This is how she knows it's still safe. An assortment of futuristic tools are set up across her jacket stretched a sawhorse beside her. All of them seeing a lack of use. Glancing at them briefly puts a smile on the engineer's face. None of it was needed. None of that futuristic tech. Just some stone and mortar. She chuckles at herself and steps back to make sure nothing weird is going to happen.
Truth be told she was expecting it to fail, or explode, or magically float away. But it's working, and it seems to be safe. Score one for doing it the old way!
Probably because the obvious thing for most people around here is to start banging machines with their fists. While that does work sometimes, Kotal would prefer it if there's an actual engineer present in case it does happen to open a gateway to hell or something like that, which considering the nature of Twisted, is entirely possible.
The Aztec deity and his cadre of warriors all stand further back and away from Yoiko and her work. Wary that any interference might cause the machines to explode or things of that nature. When the engineer finally stands and seems satisfied with her work, Kotal glances around to the officers and Outworld champions before inquiring. "Is everything working now?"
It's only at that moment that the Trill realizes she's been watched this whole time. As usual she was so focused on what she was doing she blocked the rest of the world out and upon turning around she blushes almost the color of her shirt. "Uh... oh! Oh yeah. It's fine now. Apparently this tower is of similar construction to the Integra's Arms. The outside is just a shell for the-" Layman's terms, Yoiko. "...the portals and stuff. Inside the building." Taking a moment to drop the trowel into the mortar she's made, she then tries to think of a way of explaining it. "It's like the rooms are cut out of the" She gestures towards the building. "portally stuff." She lets out a heavy sigh. That's good enough, right? No one wants to know about the rest of what she found out.
Kotal and his Krew aren't dumb! Well, outside Ferra/Torr that is who are genuinely very simple minded. The rest of them can, however, understand the general lingo of the situation without actually knowing the jargon. Many of them have lived an absurdly amount of time after all, like Kotal Kahn, and have picked up a few things here and there.
Kotal frowns slightly as he senses that Yoiko is coddling him just a tad bit too much and advances towards her. "As I know you are fully aware, engineering is not a particular expertise of mine. That being said, I would like for you to go into further detail about the current situation. It is imperative I know how the tower operates even if I may not fully understand the complexity of it."
He rubs his chin at the mention of Integra Arms. "I am aware that Integra holds some kind of pocket dimension in their room does it not? Does that meant the tower is in reality bigger than it alludes to?" He could certainly always use more space, if anything just where he can put his skull trophies.
"I am merely trying to make certain nothing will come through these blasted portals and assail us when we are unprepared. Please, do not neglect to mention anything that may be important. Lives are at stake here after all."
She shrugs again and goes to pick up her tricorder off the ground and close the top of it so it stops chirping. "Since it doesn't register as proper mass, it can be used to store an infinite amount of mass inside it. So it's /like/ the Integra's Arms pocket dimensions, except bigger. Vastly bigger. You could close off whole areas of the internal floor plan and just let it float in that ethereal substance without ever fearing running into it again. I've got a theory there's something like that in it already..." That last sentence trails off into silence, but very quickly she speaks up and continues. "Anyways, that stuff is what's anchoring these portals here. They're safe, I think. Nothing registers on them. Nothing's going to come through that hasn't already unless it's by accident and that seems to depend more on where the portal opens on the other side. I wouldn't worry too much about it unless it's been a problem once already."
"Incredible." It seems that Yoiko's explanation is not all that hard to follow, or at least that Kotal is of sufficient intellect to understand the implications of all those things. Not too big of a surprise though seeing that Kotal is a deity after all and no slouch when it comes to investigating the fabrics of reality. What was it that Alucard called him that one time? The brains and the brawns.
Huitzilopotchli turns to the walls of the tower with new found understanding of what lays behind those things and looks around. "You speak of infinity pockets. Condensed black holes of infinite nothingness which is the foundation of reality. The primordial substance even before the existence of the Netherrealm.. nay, before the One Being itself." Perhaps now its Yoiko's turn to try and figure out what is Kotal talking about. "It appears that Twisted is more than just a simple inter dimensional prison. There are forces at work here that not even I understand."
"It begs the question." D'vorah suggests from her corner. "Why build the Tower upon such things? Simple stone and steel would have been more efficient than black holes."
"And now that we know what they are, how do we ussse it to our advantage?" Hisses Reptile. "We could store more than jussst equipment there if we learn how to ussse them."
Kotal's lips tighten in thought. If he were not such an old school type of warrior he would look into using these black holes or investigating their purpose. But he just doesn't dare to mess with things he doesn't understand. He thinks these are all questions that he needs to ask Diablo whilst he's bashing his skull in right before hurling him back to the Hells that spawned him.. but that is not something he cares to discuss with his minions in front of Yoiko.
"Food for thought." He responds to D'vorah and Reptile before turning to the engineer. "Just as we are sure everything is safe. I assume that none of the infrastructure was lost within these black holes. I'd hate to realize I've lost floors of the building without even knowing."
Yoiko glances around, trying to follow the conversation as each person speaks in turn. Everyone has their own theories about how the universe is created and she's heard enough of them to last her a lifetime or three. The mentioning of black holes makes her think of how she arrived on Twisted, though. It was a planetoid inside a black hole led to her ending up here. The thought makes her look up at the sky above them and bite her lip in thought. At least until Kotal brings up missing floors.
"Oh, there's something floating around in there, I guarantee it. I could probably generate a low-frequency gravimetric pulse and anchor a piece to an existing doorway, but I can't guarantee how safe or stable it would be. Short term, sure. Long term... Eh, not so much."
"Do it." Commands Kotal Kahn with his usual authority. "Even if you cannot afix the floors permanently I want to see if there is anything that might have been lost there."
"If these black holes are as big as you say, someone might have fallen into them without ever realizing they are stuck in another dimension."
"You let me handle any danger." Says the Kahn as he unsheathes his mighty macahuitl from his back. There could be monsters there too after all, and Kotal is not the type that likes to take unnecessary risks.
"Warriors. Form up!" The Aztec calls up and his Krew begin to ready themselves in case enemies might pour out of the new floors as do the TASK officers.
While Yoiko is taking care of the logistics Kotal makes defensive preparations. According to the engineer, this infinite dimension just needs some kind of entry point to attach itself to the building so Kotal makes sure to find a spot that is very easily defended in order to bottle neck any rushing demons that might try to get out. Those fog monsters do tend to dog pile after all, and that black hole dimension seems like it'd a be a lovely spot for them to live. Or exist, Kotal really wouldn't call that tortured ordeal living.
At any rate. Torr brings over a heavy door and attaches it to a wall before the Krew and the TASK officers fan out and take cover, pointing their weapons at the door. Kotal himself standing in front of everyone ready to meet any danger head on.
When the preparations are ready he nods to Yoiko to do her thing.
Well, that's not what she expected. They seriously just stuck a door to the side of the building after she went to all that work plugging the last hole they made? Yoiko just lets out a sigh and shakes her head. Thinking does not seem to be high on their to-do list. But whatever. She can work with it. Stepping over to the door, the Engineer takes out a small metallic cylinder from one of the compartments on her tricorder and beings to wave it around the door until an audible click can be heard. Don't ask for an explanation here, but when she grabs the doorknob and opens it - that multicolored swirling energy that existed behind the chunk of wall Superboy broke free is now filling a space the shape of the door.
Satisfied, Yoiko closes the door, puts away the hand-held scanner, and begins taking out various tools and using them on the sides of the tower. The process takes a few minutes, but soon there's a device of some kind built onto the wall. It's black with chrome fittings and of course a comically simple button on it with a row or two of blinking lights below it. The 23rd century was not known for overly complicated-looking equipment.
With a smile she comments, "I'd paint it if we had more time." A common joke amongst her crew back on the Vesuvius. Unceremoniously she presses the button and waits, checking her tricorder every few seconds for a sign of a change. Enough time for Kotal to grow impatient will pass before the door makes another clicking sound and swings inwards on its own... But what do we have inside?
Impatience is a sign of an undisciplined mind. Kotal has trained his troops well and they will hold hours if not to a full day on the trigger for something to move before opening fire. And that's just the TASK officers too, his chosen warriors have even far more discipline to that.
Its a good thing that Yoiko doesn't question the Aztec's tactics and gets to work instead. That gives Kotal plenty of time to get more preparations in order.
"Receive the blessing of the God of War." Chants Kotal and raises a pulsing totem from the ground that pulses with the beat of a dull drum. "Skin of Stone!" A barrier covers him along with all the TASK warriors, Yoiko herself being covered with the barrier as well.
Once Yoiko opens the door, Kotal and his fighters seem well prepared to engage any potential enemy. Only that they are greeted by an empty room full of crates and a broken statue. "I do not remember seeing this room before." Muses Kotal and nods to the floating red ninja next to him. "Ermac."
The soul golem steps forth and begins scanning the area for chi signatures.
TASK Ground Floor
There's a strange tonal change in Yoiko's Tricorder when they enter the doorway. It drops several octaves and paints a worrying expression on the young woman's face. Kotal's statement about not recognizing the room doesn't help matters - especially given the size.
Ermac will definitely sense something alive in here and will probably turn to the locked door in the back of the room about the same time Yoiko does. "There's a faint reading coming from behind that door..." Sorry Ermac. It's not human if that counts for anything.
The sensing of chi is not an exact science.. that's the whole point of chi, it fluctuates with many variables that sometimes don't seem to make a whole lot of sense. Therefore, even Ermac will admit that a machine that registers life forms is far more reliable than trying to sense chi through sheer force of will.
However, there is something the floating red ninja can do about this situation. He turns towards the door where Yoiko is pointing at and begins to open it from the other side of the room with telepathy. Kotal and his warriors standing at the ready in case the life form behind proves to be hostile.
Yoiko will completely stop and stare at her Tricorder when Ermac starts using his telepathy. "...you're an esper?" Stories of people bestowed with amazing psychic powers are prevalent in her future as well, especially after one such incident nearly destroyed one of the Federation's flagships. She eyes the mummy-ninja with a newfound sense of awe as she inches closer to the door to peek inside. Behind the door appears to have once been some kind of office, although some sort of technology was installed giving it more of a feeling of a prison cell. Well, the technology and the green alien bound by his hands and feet looking at them with giant red eyes. The engineer promptly takes a startled step back and moves out of the way to let everyone else by first.
The alien creature just watches silently, his eyes blinking only once in response to anything said to him. "Come to let me out finally? It's okay. Zim forgives you." He smiles happily and the antennae on his head wiggle back and forth. It's the best he can do in this position.
"Some that are within us are espers." Answers Ermac who as always refers to himself in plural. What Yoiko might not realize is that the person she's talking to is actually thousands of souls fused together and not actually a single individual, but that's a conversation they both can have another time.
Right now, what's behind door number one is what has everyone on edge and Kotal peers curiously in when the door is opened and Yoiko steps ever so close inside.
As she gasps, the Aztec dashes forward only to see a tiny green creature bound by the wrists. Golden glowing eyes of Huitzilopotchli stare strangely at the little bug like thing as he asks the obvious question. "Who are you?"
The alien laughs at the question, and Kotal in general. "HA-HA-HA-HAAA!! Who am I??" His expression suddenly turns to one of rage, "I AM ZIIIIIIIIIIIIIM!!!! GREATEST OF THE IRKEN INVADERS! ENSLAVER OF WORLDS!! DESTROYER OF THE ONE NAMED 'Dib'." He looks up at the mighty green man addressing him and smiles, "But you, oh tallest, should know this by now. I was hired to join TASK after fail-uhhhhh.... after SUCESSFULLY ATTEMPTING TO TRAVEL TO AN ALTERNATE REALITY!!" Zim's gaze suddenly falls to the floor. "I am the GREATEST MEMBER of the organization known as TASK." He looks up with a renewed shimmer of pride in his eyes, "At least until they BURRIED ME HERE TO KEEP ME FROM MAKING THEM LOOK LIKE THE FOOLISH FOOLS THEY WHERE!!" He adds under his breath in an afterthought, "...and maybe something to do with GIR unlocking that door with all the Scotts behind it after we finally got them under control..."
Yoiko stands silently in the door frame. This doesn't seem like the thing to get involved in...
Well, this little one is pretty loud isn't he? Perhaps he is compensating for his miniature size, which seems to be a running theme since the gnome known as Doommuffin also wanted to talk Kotal's ear off that one time.
The Aztec says little in comparison to Zim. He merely makes a face at the bug alien thing when he begins to talk in machine gun speak. His head tilting ever so lightly to the side as he tries to make sense of what he's saying.
Kotal doesn't quite get all of it. But he does understand two crucial things.
Zim recognizes his authority and he was also a member of the old TASK. That means that whoever put him here has no authority anymore.
Huitzilopotchli raises his mighty macahuitl up in the air looking as if he's going to cleave Zim in half.
Instead the razor obsidian blades laced with chi slice through Zim's bonds and free the Irken invader in two swift swipes.
"The TASK you once knew is no more." Kotal offers. "Many things must be explained.. but not here, for the energy that binds us to this reality wanes. Come, warrior. Let us leave this place."
The Irken screams, "EH?! EEEEEEEEH!?!?!" SLICE! "AHHHHHHH!!!!!! ...oh." He looks down at his former bonds and kicks them. "Yes, my Tallest. I shall of course follow your lead." Wait for it... Wait for it... "...for now." He doesn't even hide that he said this. He doesn't lower his voice. He just blurts it out. Because of course he does. He's Zim.
Missing from the doorframe is Yoiko who's strayed back into the main area to scan more things. At the base of the statue she picks up a large disk with a face carved into it like a giant coin. Placing it into the base of the statue makes it shake and move, eventually dropping an old key from the vase it holds. Bizarre. The Trill grabs the key as they make their way back and raises her brows. "Time to go already then?" She glances down at the Tricorder. "Probably wise..."