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Frontiersmen: FAILED GOD (edited version)

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  1. <Recommendation: Read Frontiersmen: BRAVE NEW WORLD before reading this for backstory. Edits: Grammar has been cleaned up, and sentences have been moved around to make everything seem more coherent to readers. Timestamps are left there to show where the edits happened.>
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  3. [22:12] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The Globetrotter lurches to a stop, floating high above some distant globe colored like a child's marble. The heroes, fatigued from a recent jaunt saving said world from a rogue metaversal 'pocket', ready themselves to kick back, pat each other's backs, repair or replenish equipment, and record the relatively meager events for future research. As QUARK prepares the vessel for another jump back to a more familiar star-scape, anyone manning communications or in the vicinity of the bridge consoles might take note of a peculiar transmission inbound. Any more inclined to simply stretch sore muscles or fetch a beer are given a moment to do so.*
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  5. [22:15] Time Killer@Otherworlder: (Fire at will on intro emotes---the recent mission was mostly scientific in nature, though some heavy lifting, cagey piloting and plotting were necessary. Feel free to interpret as you like.)
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  9. [22:18] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "Well, that was a bit more stressful than I had hoped. But it went well enough," King sighs and removes his helmet. It stays in the air next to him as he crosses his legs and starts levitating. "There should be enough time to take a bit of a break. No calls." He closes his eyes and seems to go into a trance.
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  11. [22:18] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider is in the middle of his usual post-mission activity of designing and inventing in the Globetrotter lab. When the strange transmission comes in, he picks it up on his holographic display. His eyes still glued to his work, he speaks directly to QUARK.* "QUARK, run analysis on that transmission. Try to determine if it's on a secure communication relay. Please."
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  13. [22:20] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "Right away, Dr. Parton. I shall do so with the utmost enthusiasm."
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  15. [22:19] Watchman@Alstann: Watchman had already taken a seat at the bridge, uploading data from the recent mission into the databank.
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  17. [22:19] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad threw himself straight into whichever empty chair that he was able to find. His claws dragged a bit lower towards the ground than usual as he reclined backwards in his seat, an icy cold beer bottle fresh from the fridge was currently grasped in a large claw. "I never wanna lift somethin' that heavy again." He groaned as he pressed the bottom edge of the bottle against the side of his temple.
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  19. [22:20] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner is kicking in it the breakroom, eating a three course meal. Superspeed meant a super fast metabolism, after saving another universe he needed a good meal.
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  23. [22:21] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The incoming transmission is lost on neither Collider nor Watchman. As it is accessed, a hideous din of white noise and machine-gun-rapid blips assail the ears---some kind of code, perhaps? QUARK hesitantly pegs it as a kind of 'puzzle' with a hundred trillion pieces that are constantly changing shape. The message is not secured, and the source is ambiguous... only two facts are certain: The message seems to be coming from a timeline not your own. And something nearby---VERY nearby---is attempting to jam it. Beyond the starboard viewports----shared by both Ultima's quarters and the breakroom where our two animal friends relax---an object shimmers into view against the stars. A perfect golden orb, the size of a football stadium, with not one discernible feature upon it. Despite its looming proximity, no alarms sound and QUARK doesn't even seem aware of its presence.*
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  27. [22:25] Captain Collider@Swixer: "Captain Collider peers away from his work as the mystery of the transmission is made apparent.* "Hm. QUARK, try to get a lock on whatever's trying to block the transmission."
  28.  
  29. [22:25] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "I live to serve, Dr. Parton. In a manner of speaking."
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  31. [22:26] Watchman@Alstann: Holding down a key on the terminal keyboard, he says, "I assume you've already intercepted that rogue transmission, Parton." He idly adjusted the quiver on his back, still tired from the last mission.
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  33. [22:28] Captain Collider@Swixer: "I should think so. I'm still trying to establish what it means and why it's being intercepted, however."
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  35. [22:28] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad slowly broke away from his brief reverie of ball games and ball park franks to look up and out to the right of him, feeling something particularly bright and large reflecting into the breakroom. "... The hell?" He rose out of his seat, subsequently setting his beer bottle down and plodding closer towards the window.
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  37. [22:31] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: In his trance, King doesn't seem to notice the strange object either! He's either out of it or nothing is tripping his own extrasensory abilities yet. Space was so peaceful.
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  41. [22:29] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Quark begins to assemble the transmission as dutifully and quickly as possible, doing its best to compensate for the jamming. Though scanning thoroughly for the source of the jamming attempt, QUARK inexplicably comes up empty, with verbose apologies.*
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  45. [22:31] Captain Collider@Swixer: "Nothing." *He stands up straight, rematerialising his cape and mask.* "I had hoped to put the finishing touches on the matter transmigrator, but this seems a lot more pertinent." *He looks back to the video feed he's sharing with Watchman.* "Put out the call to the others. We're assembling in the situation room."
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  47. [22:33] Watchman@Alstann: "Understood." The archer released his finger from the key, hit a few different ones, and then pressed it again, activating the intercom: "Frontiersmen. Meet in the situation room. Priority alpha."
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  51. [22:34] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The call goes out across the Globetrotter. Meanwhile, the shimmering golden sphere floats quite harmlessly just beyond the hull, and that garbled future (past?) transmission rattles on.*
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  55. [22:34] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner drops his knife and fork on the table and zooms into the situation room. "Something up?"
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  57. [22:35] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: King's brow furrows as the message came through. He gestures and his helmet slides down over his head before he starts hovering out to meet the others. He pauses a moment as he notices the sphere... Probably going to need to bring that up.
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  59. [22:36] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *As the team begins to file into the situation room (at greatly varying speeds, thanks to Roadrunner) QUARK suddenly chimes in---there's a second transmission, this one clear as a bell.*
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  61. [22:37] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider walks briskly into the situation room after Roadrunner.* "That's what we're going to find out. We received a strange transmission of some kind. It was garbled -- intercepted, and not even QUARK was able to decipher it. However--" *Before he can finish, he is interrupted by QUARK.*
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  63. [22:38] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "Terribly sorry to disturb your briefing, Dr. Parton, but I shall endeavour to make it...brief. It appears as if we've received a second transmission. Playing it on all channels now."
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  65. [22:38] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad was well into just watching the golden anomaly float pass in and out of his viewport before throwing a look over his shoulder at the intercom's message and making a quick jog for out of the room. "Somethin's screwy.." He muttered to himself as he plodded into the situation room.
  66.  
  67. [22:39] Watchman@Alstann: Watchman made his way to the situation room after a number of them already showed up.
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  69. [22:39] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The message sounds like little more than a mathematically perfect series of chimes, echoes,  pauses and other eerie, otherworldly sounds.*
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  71. [22:40] Captain Collider@Swixer: "QUARK, scan for patterns."
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  73. [22:40] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "I dare say I'm the most useful member of this team today."
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  75. [22:40] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "Interesting... we also have a visitor. There is a massive object floating alongside us... starboard side, I believe. I heard no proximity alarms though. Odd, considering it's so close."
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  79. [22:42] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "It's a type of Morse code. If my translation is correct -- which it usually is -- it's a request to board the Globetrotter. Well, I for one have no interest in letting a bunch of unknown variables rummage around willy-nilly in my currently extended physical form."
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  83. [22:42] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider folds his arms with a puzzled expression.* "They want to board?"
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  85. [22:43] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad makes a face at this. "Wouldn't exactly call -this- a pleasure cruise." He darted his eyes over at Collider. "No offense."
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  87. [22:45] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider waves Crawdad off.* "None taken."
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  89. [22:45] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The strange series of chimes and haunting echoes sounds again, identically, repeating the request.*
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  91. [22:45] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: "Can you attempt to send a message back first? Inviting strange floating objects onto the ship probably isn't the best idea without knowing the situation first."
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  93. [22:45] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "They almost seem friendly, though I suppose I wouldn't know much about that, being an emotionless robot and all. I suppose that would be well within my limits, Mr. Roadrunner. Whatever shall I send?"
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  95. [22:46] Watchman@Alstann: Watchman crossed his arms, pondering. The whole situation seemed suspicious.
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  97. [22:46] Captain Collider@Swixer: "Ask them to identify themselves. We're not letting anyone onboard unless we have some idea of who they are and what they want."
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  99. [22:47] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "I'll dust off the old universal translator, shall I?"
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  103. [22:47] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *As the message is bandied across space by QUARK, a reply is quick in coming----the chimes sound vaguely discordant now, off-key, almost... irritated?*
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  107. [22:48] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "It's in our best interest to be cautious out here. Hopefully they come in peace." He shakes his head. "Hopefully they don't just try to barge in."
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  109. [22:49] The Crawdad@micromax2000: "Like hell they will."
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  111. [22:50] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "Well, I should think you'll find this rather amusing, Dr. Parton. It appears as if a Mr. Epoch is here to see you about some kind of application. Pursuing another PhD?"
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  113. [22:51] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider narrows his eyes.* "Not likely...Grant them permission to come aboard, QUARK, but keep it contained to the airlock. Ultima King, come with me. The rest of you, be on standby. We don't know what we're getting with these 'visitors'."
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  115. [22:52] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "An... application?" King crosses his arms. "I guess you can't complain about the service. They come right to you." He nods to Collider and hovers after him.
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  117. [22:52] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad makes a weird face at this as he splits looks between QUARK and the Captain. ".. Bit far out of the way to be applying for a doctoral degree, ainnit?"
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  119. [22:53] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "Shall I crack open a bottle of wine? We have the 3032 Scm'loak from Universe 122. A deceptively good year."
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  121. [22:54] Captain Collider@Swixer: "Keep it sealed, QUARK." *He smirks back at Crawdad* "You too, Mack."
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  125. [22:54] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The instant QUARK'S acceptance is relayed between ships, the visitor deigns to wait no longer-----there is an audible CLAP in the situation room, a flash of gold, and a strange being left standing in the doorway, holding a long golden staff of alien design with which it thumps the floor like a gavel. It's head twinkles with some distant star-scape, and its golden robe and wraps flutter in a breeze no one else (save Captain Collider) can feel.*
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  129. [22:56] Captain Collider@Swixer: *As the strange being appears before him, Captain Collider acts with due speed, surging forward to grab him by the neck and hoist him upwards, his eyes burning brightly.* "Who are you?! Where did you come from?!"
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  131. [22:57] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "...well then. Seems they were just waiting for the invitation." King starts at the Captain's sudden movement, but makes no hostile moves himself.
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  133. [22:57] Captain Collider@Swixer: "That energy. It's radiating off of you in waves. What do you want with this ship?" *Captain Collider seems a bit more tense than usual. Something about the being is disturbing him.*
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  135. [22:58] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner jumps at the sudden appearence, but he now keeps close eye on the being. Watching for any sudden movements.
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  137. [22:58] Watchman@Alstann: Watchman was caught off-guard by the sudden visitor's appearance, shielding his eyes from the initial flash of light. His bow had already been unfolded in his hand.
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  139. [23:00] The Crawdad@micromax2000: The Captain's sudden readiness to lunge at the stranger's sudden appearance has Crawdad widening his own stance to be on the wary side of caution.
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  143. [22:59] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The being stands still as the Captain hauls him up by his braided cape clasp----those starry eyes pulse once, dangerously, then fade. It makes no move to resist, and when it speaks each listener hears the voice in a ringing echo designed specifically for his own ears---an accent, manner of speaking, or tone of voice that is most psychologically appealing to that person.* "I am Epoch," the echoes say, overlapping like voices in a vast cave. "I am He who was, He who is, and He who shall be. I am what you seek---'Ad infinitum'." *Again the long, gleaming, top-heavy staff of featureless gold is brought down on the floor with a ringing thoom.* "Rude to refuse invitation to a guest you yourself summoned, Captain..." it says.
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  148. [23:04] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "Quite a proclamation," King mutters, tension cutting through his usual calm.
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  150. [23:04] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The starry eyes drift about the room before going to the hands holding his throat and clasp.*
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  152. [23:05] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad gives a wrinkled upturn of his brow at Collider before returning focus to the visitor. "..Uh-huh."
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  154. [23:05] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "I trust these are your disciples?" the voice intones, an amused edge to it. Again, each listener hears it a bit different.... a familiar accent, a calming tone.
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  156. [23:05] Watchman@Alstann: Narrowing his eyes at the starry invader, his grip tightens on his bow. There was something very odd about this being, and it was putting him on edge.
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  158. [23:06] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner looks to Collider. "Well, Captain? What do you make of this?"
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  160. [23:08] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *On a tabletop display, the jammed transmission continues to spool in, garbled and splintered. QUARK is continuing to silently assemble the pieces, but it doesn't look like anything yet.*
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  162. [23:12] Captain Collider@Swixer: "...I don't know." *His expression is stern as he begrudgingly puts Epoch down and removes his hand, crossing his arms at his chest.* "But I'm eager to find out."
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  164. [23:13] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "Then do join me," Epoch says, gesturing to the table with his staff. Two chairs pull out of their own accord----the rest slide closer to prevent anyone else sitting. As he moves to take a chair, his ringing voice muses: "Sit, Captain. Sit. The rest... prostrate yourselves, kneel or whatever you do in the presence of those to whom you are dust."
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  166. [23:14] Captain Collider@Swixer: "This is my team...Epoch. You'll treat them with respect. They're every bit our equals." *He, nonetheless, takes his seat at the table, his eyes warily watching the newcomer.*
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  168. [23:15] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "And presumptuous as well. Lovely," King tsks. "This will be a fun meeting."
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  170. [23:15] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: "No doubt."
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  172. [23:15] Watchman@Alstann: Watchman stayed silent, tense. His eyes stayed locked onto Epoch.
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  174. [23:16] Captain Collider@Swixer: "Now what do you mean when you said you were here about my 'application'?"
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  176. [23:16] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Eyes that glow like distant nebulas pause a moment on Ultima King... sensing potential?.... then move to the Captain. He rests his staff across his lap as he sits, steepling his fingers before him.* "Your application, Captain. Surely you know why I've come."
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  178. [23:16] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad's jaw seemed rather tense at this less-than-thrilling descriptor. Both of his pincers clicked together several times in irritation.
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  180. [23:17] Captain Collider@Swixer: "Contrary to what you seem to believe, Epoch, we don't all know everything. You'll have to be more specific."
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  184. [23:17] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *There's a smooth, arrogant, superior edge to that cosmic voice... present even in the many specific 'shapes' it takes to calm the others.* "You've met the criteria for my... consortium?.... to take note of you, Captain. Your intelligence, your gifts. You have... devotees, such as they are... AND..." *Epoch looks around the room---even faceless, his disdain for the others is plain as he speaks of devotees. He leans forward* "...you've begun to CREATE," it says meaningfully.
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  188. [23:20] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider tenses up at that last part.* "Excuse me?"
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  190. [23:21] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "Your little world, Captain," it clarifies. "Did you ever come up with a name? Collideworld is passe, but it has a certain ring... You've submitted your application, Captain. To be like us. Use whatever term you like. Deity, Cosmic Power... God. We've heard you. And we are impressed."
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  192. [23:21] Watchman@Alstann: "Don't listen to him, Captain."
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  194. [23:22] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider almost rises from his chair as he places both hands on the table, but Watchman's warning seems to register and he re-seats himself. Nonetheless, his expression is full of thinly-veiled disgust, anger and...perhaps regret?* "I'm no creator, Epoch. And I'm certainly no god. I think you'd better leave."
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  198. [23:23] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Epoch slowly... VERY slowly... pivots his stare to look at Watchman.* "A worshipper does not advise those whose images he ought be painting on the ceiling of a chapel," Epoch says dryly, voice echoing over and over, each in a different tone.
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  201. [23:25] Watchman@Alstann: Watchman noticeably tightens his grip on the bow handle, remaining silent. It was unclear to most if he was irritated or afraid.
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  203. [23:24] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: King watches silently, one finger tapping against his arm in irritation. He lowers his arms and tenses however when Epoch looks over.
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  205. [23:25] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner moves a foot forward, he seems ready to run at a moment's notice.
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  207. [23:25] Captain Collider@Swixer: *His insult towards Watchman seems to push Collider another inch. This time, he does stand up, his eyes burning brightly.* "I said 'I think you'd better leave'."
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  211. [23:25] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "Now, Captain---do calm yourself. IMAGINE what might happen if you got angry, hmm?" *The ringing voices are working a faint influence----not mind-control, but something more subliminal... a faint sense that everything might be better if Epoch were obeyed.*
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  215. [23:24] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Reading that the atmosphere of the situation was going somewhat sour with how Epoch was now giving his teammate the dirty eye, Crawdad seems to invite himself into standing alongside Watchman. "Worshipper? Devotee? - Pal, who the hell do you think you're talkin' to? You think this is some little cult that we mindlessly follow around?"
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  217. [23:28] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "Of COURSE you are, you shelled microbe. You obeyed his will and destroyed two worlds to create another. What are you, if not blind acolytes?"
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  219. [23:27] Captain Collider@Swixer: *An armour-penetrating response if ever there was one, Captain Collider's vexed expression softens into one of sudden self-awareness. His look sullen, he sears himself back in his chair and bows his head low.* "That's enough, Crawdad."
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  221. [23:31] The Crawdad@micromax2000: ".. Fine." Crawdad gave a downturn of his head, begrudgingly moving back into the semi-straight line of the team situated around the area.
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  223. [23:29] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Still looking down, Captain Collider raises a fist and slams it onto the table, only slightly. However, the force is enough to cause the room to tremble, leaving a sizable dent in its surface.*
  224.  
  225. [23:30] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "They were merged. We did what was necessary to save that world. And in doing so, possibly save the other," King says. "It was..." he cuts off and looks to the Captain as he speaks up and dents the equipment. Come on, the robots have to fix that.
  226.  
  227. [23:29] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "You should be thankful... when the Captain unmakes this Universe to forge his own, I suspect he'll leave at least SOME of you intact..." Epoch adds, his gaze lingering meaningfully over the mouthier team members.
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  229. [23:30] Captain Collider@Swixer: "You're going to direct all of your attention at me, Epoch. Do we have an understanding? Don't insult my teammates again."
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  233. [23:31] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "I can see you're one of those 'kind and gentle' higher powers, hmmm? Perhaps this conversation is best had---" *Epoch rises, slamming the butt of his gleaming staff into the floor with another deafening CLAP and a flare of gold. In an instant, he and the Captain are alone in the room.* "---privately."
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  237. [23:33] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider suddenly jolts back to life as Epoch slams his staff. Once he notices that the rest of the Frontiersmen are missing, he turns to Epoch with an expression rarely seen on his face pure rage. Standing up from his chair, he brushes the table out of its moorings and into the wall as casually as one would an empty cardboard box and zips towards Epoch, again placing his hand around his throat and slamming him into the wall, hard. Despite his overpowering anger, his voice is only slightly tense, as if struggling to hold itself back.* "Where?"
  238.  
  239. [23:40] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *As the table slams like a toy into the wall of the situation room, Epoch lets out a ringing laugh----again, he doesn't fight back.*   "If your faith in your worshippers is as strong as you say, then consider it a... polite time-out for the children while the adults converse. And we WILL converse. Or they'll never come back."
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  241. [23:41] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider's face is positively contorted with anger. His voice low and menacing, completely unlike anything it usually is.* "I should vaporise you. Scatter your atoms to the cosmos. You're what keeps me up at night. Becoming like you. I should break you apart."
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  243. [23:43] Time Killer@Otherworlder: Epoch begins to speak slowly, firmly, dangerously----he grips the Captain's arms and begins to pull them away; not enough to be successfully, but both men's arms quiver from the match. "You. Presume. A. Great. Deal. You ARE like us, Captain. And once an application is made, there is no shrinking from it. A FAILED God is a far more destructive thing than whatever you believe ME to be," he hisses.
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  245. [23:44] Captain Collider@Swixer: *As he's met with Epoch's strength, Collider grits his teeth and intensifies his grip.* "And you presume too little." *Captain Collider shouts his response, his voice bellowing through the halls of the Globetrotter.* "I AM NOT A GOD!"
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  247. [23:46] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: D-Dr. Parton, perhaps you should remember your meditations...
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  251. [23:34] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Crawdad and Roadrunner are suddenly plummeting from a burnt umber sky full of choking prehistoric fumes toward a landscape of mountains, anceint giant ferns and grassless prairie. Beneath them, a massive herd of what look like... yes, dinosaurs, from triceratops to some kind of enormous apatosaurs all burst into stampede at the sound of the massive CLAP. They're falling right toward a few thousand tons of rumbling muscle and horns.*
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  253. [23:36] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Ultima King and Watchman are similarly transported in a blinding thundercrack---but rather than falling, they find themselves in the mud at the center of a ruinous post-apocalyptic battlefield. The skeletons of ruined cities loom against an ashen sky, and thousands upon thousands of mutant, cyborg abominations and towering engines of war send sizzling bolts of death at each other. As they appear, they are swallowed into the battle as countless post-nuclear monsters both intelligent and mindless overrun them.*
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  257. [23:40] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: "Crrrraaaappppppp!" yells Roadrunner as he falls, he of course notices the prehistoric setting they seem to be in. But right now his concern is not ending up being dino roadkill. He starts spinning his arms downward as fast as he can, creating a helicopter type effect. It's not pretty, but he manages to position himself out of the way of the herd and drops, landing in a pile of ferns.
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  259. [23:40] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad gives a surprised cry as the floor is literally pulled out from underneath him. He couldn't quite remember -when- they had started falling or even for how long, only that the ground would be rushing to meet them in no time flat! Reaching down deep to harness some sense of focus, he threw both arms around his crabby knees and tucked himself inward. The plates of his shell clasping into place and encapsulating him into his spheroid form, the giant man-crab sized ball shoots into the prehistoric earth before rebounding back up into the air in a slightly smaller arc.
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  261. [23:47] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Roadrunner hits a copse of ferns at parachute speed, sending up a puff of dirt and leaves. A nearby baby styracasaur runs with a yelp. Crawdad hits with less grace, startling the stampeding herd and colliding with the shoulder of a rushing apatosaur the size of a building.*
  262.  
  263. [23:55] The Crawdad@micromax2000: "I'm goin'.. uurrnf-UNDA'!" Crawdad tries not to hork as he ricochets off of the poor sauropod's shoulder, sending him into a dizzying topspin that has him disengaging his ball form mid-air, sending him whichever way.
  264.  
  265.  
  266.  
  267. [23:48] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Meanwhile, in some post-POST-future where humans have become barely recognizable engines of death and disease, a towering one-eyed brute with flamethrowers for hands bears down on Watchman---blanketing the muddy battlefield with huge patches of napalm. As countless hideous foot soldiers and gargantuan black tanks roll in all directions, a sizzling death ray splits the sky----aiming to put a crater where Ultima King lies entangled in the limbs and weapons of a dozen mutant-machine freaks.
  268.  
  269. [23:53] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "Well then. I've had about enough of this," King growls, finally losing his cool. A flair of energy erupts around his body to fling away the muck and creatures around him with impressive force! "Watchman, we need to get to a safe spot. I can try to conduct a ritual to get us back." Ghostly energy wraps around his body as he stabs his hands skward. "Seingart! Bring your Unbreakable Barrier!" Strands of golden light erupt around him to form an intricate shell to deflect the death ray! "...easier said than done in this mess."
  270.  
  271. [23:57] Watchman@Alstann: Coughing, Watchman looks up to see the flamethrowing brute march towards him. Immediately, he tries to put some distance between them, saying, "I know, Ultima King! A little preoccupied at the moment!" Just as he finished saying this, a burst of fire nearly singes his armor as he navigates his way through the battlefield towards Ultima King. He attempted to fire a couple of arrows back at the brute while running in order to stall him.
  272.  
  273. [0:01] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *As Watchman is singed and charred by weapons fire at all sides, narrowly leaping and rolling over a patch of napalm, one of his arrows lands home in the giant mutant's only eye---it roars and topples searing the battlefield in all directions. King's shield flares to life, the Death Ray hitting with such impact that the world beyond is lost for a moment in a blaze of green light. When it clears, there's nothing but ash and a massive crater around the defensive spell. Watchman is lost in the chaos of smoke and radioactive fire.*
  274.  
  275.  
  276.  
  277. [23:51] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Epoch---with clear surprise----resists the Captain's grip at first, but it's obvious that of the two his physical might is the lesser. He says soothingly: "Go ahead, Captain. Erase me, and see what else ends up on the cutting floor by accident. OR.... humor me."
  278.  
  279. [23:53] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider breathes deeply, his fury bubbling up. With a shout, he attempts to throw Epoch through the wall and into the hallway of the Globetrotter. Through the hole left behind if successful, he flies through and hovers angrily above Epoch.* "Talk."
  280.  
  281. [23:55] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "We ALL fight it, in the beginning---" Epoch begins, before being hurled unceremoniously through the bulkhead. The entire Globetrotter rumbles off its axis as the golden intruder laughs from the floor. "The consortium is SELF MADE, Captain... beings like yourself. But the time comes to surrender the pleasure of simple worship, and EMBRACE your only limit---that you have NO limits."
  282.  
  283. [23:58] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Flying up high, Captain Collider drives his feet down on Epoch, attempting to smash him through three floors and into the hangar.* "If that were true, we wouldn't be speaking right now. I have my limits. I. Am not. A god."
  284.  
  285. [23:59] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Finally rolling out of the path of Collider's attack, Epoch watches as the hero punches clean through down to the hangar. Several decks above he laughs. "Then what are you, Captain?" he answers, and a blur of golden light streaks through the holes to smash the Captain with that golden staff-----the impact very much in the Captain's League.*
  286.  
  287. [0:01] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider is struck by the golden staff, skidding across the floor of the hangar and uprooting the floor in his path before smashing into one of the Peacekeepers. Angered further by the attack he pushes himself to a knee and glares at Epoch.* "YOU DON'T GET TO ASK ME THAT!" *He fires a powerful blast of Collider Vision from his eyes at Epoch with atomic power.* "You want to recruit me to your pantheon of self-satisfied powerhouses? You're going to have to try better than that."
  288.  
  289. [0:07] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The blast of Collider Vision hits Epoch's raised staff with earth-shattering force, the energy pouring from the collision to melt the hull like butter. Epoch skids back, shouting over the roar of it. "Then style yourself a BENEVOLENT God! If you will not make this universe your own, then it WILL be taken FROM you!" *A massive eruption of golden energy pours out to counter Collider's, each stream meeting halfway and damn near erasing any matter nearby.*
  290.  
  291. [0:09] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Almost instantly, the blast of atomic energy stops and Captain Collider stands upright.* "What do you mean 'taken from me'?"
  292.  
  293. [0:09] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The beam fizzles out as the Captain's does as well, and Epoch straightens.*
  294.  
  295.  
  296.  
  297. [0:00] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner pulls himself out of the ferns and groans. He then looks around for his crustacean friend, seeing him tumbling about. He runs over to him and steadies him. "You okay?"
  298.  
  299. [0:03] The Crawdad@micromax2000: It took some decent pulling to heft the seabug man off his back and to his feet from where he had been seesawing back and forth like a grandma's rocking chair.
  300.  
  301. [0:02] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *And then, that ringing cosmic echo is back... smug, arrogant, superior. It carries over both prehistoric sky and future ruins with equal clarity, stunning to silence the hordes around.*  "Proper acolytes do not shackle those they profess to follow. But a hand such as mine does not dirty itself with the removal of dust. For that... there are professionals."
  302.  
  303. [0:06] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad returned a claw to the side of his head as he attempted to set his blurred vision straight. "Uggh... thanks RR." He blinks particularly hard. "..You hear that again?" He said has he trailed up at the sky again.
  304.  
  305. [0:07] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner looks up as well. "Yeah, I did. Get ready, I doubt this is over just yet."
  306.  
  307. [0:10] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *As Crawdad gradually rises to his feet amid the ferns, the rumbling of the stampede continues underfoot.... but... the dinosaurs are getting further away... An alien roar bursts from the prehistoric foliage of fiddlehead-trees and giant ferns as a strange, HUGE alien with an hourglass symbol explodes out, charging straight for the Crayfish-man! Roadrunner, swifter to react, catches a glint of something in the marshy vegetation an instant before a flash of purplish laser begins to pepper the area around him----a flitting, reptilian figure darting amid the foliage barely seen as it fires blast after blast.*
  308.  
  309. [0:13] Time Killer@Otherworlder: (Also, anyone who lays eyes on the hourglass symbol and costume colors might recognize the emblem of the Time Killers... time traveling assassins without peer who've shown up in MC once or twice, tangling with the likes of Thundrax, the Defenders of the Earth, and a few others. They're notorious for always getting the job done, because the moment one fails, another instantly is summoned from the timestream.)
  310.  
  311. [0:14] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Completely caught unawares by the sudden entrance of the charging brute, Crawdad hardly made a conscious decision to move anywhere from where he was standing. Only to bring both of his clawed arms up like a boxer on the defensive. "As per freakin' usual!" He growls as he plants one fanned foot behind the other to give himself more stability. This wasn't going to be comfortable at all.
  312.  
  313. [0:14] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner does as does best and runs. Darting about, avoiding the laser blasts as best he can. Crawdad can handle the big guy until this sharpshooter is taken care of. He locks on to the shooter and bolts on after him, looking nothing like a blur to everyone around him. If he catches up would try to get ahead of his attack and trip him up.
  314.  
  315. [0:17] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The mohawked brute---an alien race called the Holt---plows into Crawdad with a tackle that would make the NFL proud, scooping him up with a roar and thundering straight into a mossy cliffside with enough force to bring the whole thing shearing down atop them both. In the fiddlehead jungle, the reptilian thing hisses through some kind of rebreather as it darts, leaps and climbs with blinding speed----its pistol shots so damn near to prescient that Roadrunner finds himself getting sheared at the edges with laser blasts----not close enough to kill or sever a limb, but inches from just that. As the reptile leaps between two towering ferns, Roadrunner gets in his path and the pair are sent tumbling into a steaming, buggy marsh.*
  316.  
  317.  
  318.  
  319. [0:04] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: King grimaces behind his helmet, arms shaking as he lowers them to his side and takes off into the air. He tries to pinpoint Watchman in the chaos outside of the destroyed area. "Why are there never any nice godlike beings?" He shoots towards Watchman, flinging bolts of pure arcane energy into any threatening mutants along the way.
  320.  
  321. [0:22] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Ultima's magical blasts lay waste to hordes of teeming, warring abominations as Watchman's feathered rain drops tank drivers, giants and infantry alike. Many are sent screaming by Epoch's thundering voice, but in the ensuing quiet of smoke, embers and screams there are others on the move... A different kind of soldier, this one clearly military trained and moving with the kind of precision and speed of a DELTA operator on crack, pops from the smoke in a crouch, unleashing a hail of laser blasts at Watchman even as he moves to take cover behind a massive, burning engine of war. The Hourglass on his chest is prominent. Even as he does, a foul whisper permeates the air, speaking tongues of forgotten magic----a hooded man appears in the smoke, 'sitting' in mid-air opposite Ultima with legs folded. Fingers of purplish black energy 'root' into his magical shell, cracking it as surely as a tree's roots might crack bedrock. This one has been trained in counter magic.*
  322.  
  323. [0:27] Watchman@Alstann: As Watchman notices the lull in battle, he lowers his guard for a split second. In that short moment of time, the Hourglass-wearing enemy scores a shot on the archer's side, causing him to drop his bow and fall off of his perch. Quick reflexes allow him to grab onto a nearby ledge and slowly let himself down towards more cover. "Sharpshooter, huh?" He looked around for his missing weapon.
  324.  
  325. [0:29] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: The wizard staggers as his shell vanishes. His glowing eyes focus on the new spellcaster. "Very well then." King presses his hands together and calls out. "Seingart, open the gates. Send forth the phantom hordes!" Tears form in the air, pouring a horde of shrieking, rotting humanoids that rapidly descend on the Timekiller Wizard! They don't get out much and they seem eager to eat a tasty alien!
  326.  
  327.  
  328.  
  329. [0:28] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Back aboard the Globetrotter, Epoch approaches the Captain and lowers his staff. "You've announced your universe to higher beings, my dear Captain. There is no going back. If you do not claim it...others will. You must unmake it... absorb its essence... and turn it into something irrevocably YOUR OWN. Only then will envious eyes avert...."
  330.  
  331. [0:29] Captain Collider@Swixer: "You want me to unmake an entire universe?"
  332.  
  333. [0:30] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Epoch cants his head, surprised.* "Ah, yes. I remember. Such a thing DID once seem daunting, didn't it?" *He leans close to the Captain.* "Do not presume to fib, Captain. You've wondered if you could." *He waggles his finger back and forth, mock-shaming.*
  334.  
  335.  
  336.  
  337.  
  338.  
  339. [0:32] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad hunkered down to the best of his constrained ability as he was carried and subsequently charged into the cliff face. He wouldn't make this in any way easy for the hulking Time Killer.
  340.  
  341. [0:32] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Out of the pile of cascading rocks, the mohawked Holt pulls Crawdad up, thunders an inarticulate roar, and lays a punch into him that could shatter a tank.*
  342.  
  343. [0:36] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad's seemed to move into the punch for what little he was able to seemingly do to contend with the larger brute's onslaught. Eeeh, blocking punches with your face there, Balboa. The persistent headache at the back of his head that was now starting to become prominent was further aggravated by Epoch's mental taunting, and it only seemed to aggravate HIM even moreso. The Time Killer would be able to enjoy in getting a few more unfettered punches in before Crawdad suddenly swung his claw seemingly off from the side to catch the brute in a red right-claw hook. "A'right, now ya' startin' to piss me off!" He grits out, following through with belting the agent in the gut with his opposite claw if he managed to find the momentum.
  344.  
  345. [0:34] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *As heroes fight for their lives in both the past and the future, all four hear Epoch whispering in their minds:  "You only hold him back. What he did for that earth, he could do for a million MILLION more like it... you are the footnotes at the bottom of a page. Easily. Erased."
  346.  
  347. [0:39] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner does his best to block out the voices. He picks himself up, dripping with swamp water. Gross. He looks around for the lizard, if he's still dazzed from the landing, Roadrunner would rush towards him and start throwing superfast punches into his rebreather helmet.
  348.  
  349. [0:43] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The muddy bog suddenly explodes with motion, jets and clouds of viscous goop flying in all directions as Roadrunner lays into the lizard man's mask----a satisfying, guttural hiss reveals the damage, but as the creature begins to fall it's clear it did its own flailing-----claw marks decorate Roadrunner like a puzzle as the alien falls, slowly suffocating.*
  350.  
  351. [0:49] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner now feels the immense pain coming from his wounds as he looks up at his torn up torso. He limps away from the swamp, leaving the creature to his fate. "Argh." He groans. "Damn it." He limped as quickly as he could, wanting out of the jungle as soon as possible, who knows what could be in here.
  352.  
  353. [0:50] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *As Roadrunner staggers from the marsh, a massive WHUMP sounds and he can see the Holt alien go sailing over the fern-capped hills into the distance.*
  354.  
  355.  
  356.  
  357. [0:39] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Epoch leans closer still to Captain Collider.*   "Your friends fight for their lives... you could save them, if you wish. Make a universe where THEY have the power to overcome any threat. Your everlasting disciples, bending YOUR universe to YOUR will. A universe without cruelty if you like, where the natural order sees the lion cavort playfully with the lamb."
  358.  
  359. [0:40] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider turns away. "You don't know anything about me. I'm not going to unmake a universe. And I'm not going to 'claim' it either. I did what I did to save a dying universe, and I did it with help. With precedent. I don't have the power to create an entire universe or unmake it and I don't want to. I'm not a god, Epoch. Just a man with more power than most. And you know what?" *He turns to face him with an imperious look.* "I'm starting to think that's all you are too." *He advances on Epoch.* "I've seen you struggle. Seen you shout. I've looked at your insides. You're not a god. You're just a very lucky cosmic being on a power trip." *He walks past him with a slight laugh.* "What, did you get drunk on power? Like a teenage taking his first drink? And you think that makes you a god? A god -- a true god -- would see power as merely another facet of the cosmic equation. To you, it is everything. It defines you. It colours the way you view the world. It changed you... 'Absolute power corrupts absolutely'. I think it was a -human- philosopher who said that."
  360.  
  361. [0:45] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Epoch paces slowly around the half-melted hangar, nebulous eyes piercing the Captain. There's a coiled anger beginning to form there.*
  362.  
  363. [0:45] Captain Collider@Swixer: *He doesn't turn back to face Epoch, instead letting his words land.* "But that's strange. I thought you were better than a mere human. Turns out you're just another politician. Another dictator. Another bully on the playground."
  364.  
  365. [0:47] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *A capricious, ringing laugh comes from the would-be deity, Epoch*
  366.  
  367. [0:47] Captain Collider@Swixer: *He looks over to Epoch with a mocking smirk.* "You're not a god. You're frightened of what you don't understand and, in your haste to hide that from the people around you, you pretend that you -are- what you don't understand."
  368.  
  369. [0:48] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "You think Gods are noble? Benevolent? Void of whim and pride? Look to yourself, Captain... look to your FEAR of what I offer. No, I think you're perfectly suited. Perhaps I'll show you what an angry god can DO."
  370.  
  371. [0:49] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Epoch, frustration edging his eerie voice, brings up his staff in a flash and a blast of inky night freckled with stars and wreathed at the edges in glowing blue rockets at the Captain.*
  372.  
  373. [0:52] Captain Collider@Swixer: "You mistake fear for wisdom, Epoch. Don't worry -- you're only human." *With that, he surges forward, attempting to dodge around the inky night threatening to overtake him.* "I wonder how you got you rush of power. Did you stumble upon it and get all excited? Or was it a gift from an -actual- god?" *He gives a genuine, if not mocking laugh* "Wait, don't tell me -- did you steal it like a hungry child?"
  374.  
  375. [0:56] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "I took what was MINE!" Epoch hisses back, his errant blast opening a massive hole in the hull and setting off alarms across the ship----the Globetrotter cants, ships in the hangar begin to slide, and suction grabs them both. As Collider closes with the cosmic being, the staff slings out in an arc to hammer home the point. "YOU are the child who wonders why the cat toys with the mouse and pales when told it is in HIS HANDS to make it different! COWARD!"
  376.  
  377. [0:59] Captain Collider@Swixer: "And you're the cat that thinks it's the master of its own destiny." *Captain Collider is brought towards the swinging staff, responding by sending an atomic blast from his hands at Epoch's chest to knock him back into space.* "Without ever wondering what it'd do without the man who feeds it. Look at you -- seeking out more members for your little club. Does it get lonely? Does it offer you some comfort, pushing them around and flaunting what you've got? How very human."
  378.  
  379. [1:06] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Epoch is struck full on by the blasts, propelled clean out of the Globetrotter. For a moment there's no sign of him in the flying debris and whirling vacuum.*
  380.  
  381. [1:08] Captain Collider@Swixer: "QUARK!" *In an instant, a force field forms over the opening in the hull, stopping the vacuous pull of space. Knowing that it probably isn't over, Captain Collider exhales and walks towards the hole*
  382.  
  383. [1:08] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Epoch's voice rings out in the void of space, over the screaming of decompression and flying debris.*   "Are you any better? You taunt and domineer a guest who comes with gifts... all while your friends struggle...."
  384.  
  385. [1:09] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: I do believe our unwelcome guest is enjoying the great cosmic outdoors, Dr. Parton. Perhaps we should--
  386.  
  387. [1:11] Captain Collider@Swixer: "That's the difference between us, Epoch. I trust my team to defend themselves -- to fight tooth and nail and emerge victorious. Not in spite of their mortality, but because of it. Let me ask -you- something, 'bearer of gifts'. When was the last time you cared? In your haste to be like a god, you forgot what made you a man. And for that, you have my pity."
  388.  
  389. [1:19] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *There's a long, echoing laugh from Epoch, sourceless and disembodied as he refuses to show himself.*   "Pity? Save that for your 'equals'. Are you aware of the Time Killers, Captain? Limitless in number. Resourceful. I can call them off. End the contract. Nothing else will stop them coming. You've treated me rudely, yes, but perhaps we can yet make a deal..."
  390.  
  391. [1:22] Captain Collider@Swixer: "What's in it for you?"
  392.  
  393.  
  394.  
  395. [0:51] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The horde of flesh-eaters appear from rents in space and time, and though the Time Killer anti-wizard is well versed, he's no Ultima King. He disappears into the throng, screaming. Not far away, the soldier-assassin skulks quietly, spinning around the leaning wall of brick where Watchman drops, seeing his bow in reach. The laser rifle, metres away, readies to fire as the soldier grunts: "Easiest mark I ever saw," and pulls the trigger.
  396.  
  397. [0:58] Watchman@Alstann: As the soldier makes his presence known, Watchman's adrenaline kicks in and he immediately jumps back behind the pillar, the energy blast burning through his side. Gritting his teeth, he fights through the pain, using the opportunity to strafe around the pillar and keep his distance. Better do this old school. Utilizing the shadows of the ruins, he attempts to similarly surprise the rifleman, using his weighted gauntlets to knock the weapon out of his hand and engage him in close combat. His side sports a wound from the blast.
  398.  
  399. [0:59] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Though Ultima's first attacker is swallowed by the zombie horde, shrieking all the while, there's a fizz in the air and the smell of ozone. What looks like a door through time and space telescopes from a narrow line to a wide opening, and another assassin instantly leaps out to pick up the contract. This one huge, cackling, and firing anti-matter blasts from its armored gauntlets. The Future Soldier, caught off guard and assuming his foe must be near-dead behind the wall, has his weapon knocked aside----he engages with Watchman in a vicious, no-holds barred contest of grapples and strikes, the pair slamming into walls and rolling through mud and slain carcasses.*
  400.  
  401. [1:05] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "You should not send an apprentice to deal with a master," King snorts and turns, taking off into the sky. He's forced to spin and shoot to the side to avoid the sudden blasts. "Enough of this." He slices his hands towards his undead horde... and they begin to detonate like bombs, some breaking off and attempting to latch onto the new Timekiller before going up.
  402.  
  403. [1:14] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *In the distant future, the hulking mutant brute in the armor is taken aback and staggers from the explosions, but his cackling doesn't pause. Smoking, he hefts a ruined engine of war and throws all two hundred tons at the sorcerer.*
  404.  
  405. [1:21] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: Ultima King folds into himself and vanishes, doing something unexpected and reappearing close to the armored fiend. He extends his hands and unleashes a swarm of impossibly thin blades from his fingertips aimed towards the brute's head and chest.
  406.  
  407. [1:27] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Ultima King's micro-needles pierce the armored mutant's containment suit in a thousand places to the tune of metallic clinks and clangs. The creature lets out an angry roar, rushing the wizard to try and grab him just as his containment suit explodes in a massive cloud of greenish radiation and noxious gases that would kill a crowd at this range.*
  408.  
  409. [1:30] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: King manages to throw up a shield just in time to save himself from the worst of the blast, but he still ends up getting hurled aside. He groans and rolls over, pressing his hands to the ground. He begins a tracking incantation trying to find where his allies have been sent.
  410.  
  411. [1:34] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Another assassin down----the haz-mat mutie----another one on deck. As Ultima recovers from the blast, he hears the telltale ozone fizz of another door opening nearby. Then another.*
  412.  
  413. [1:35] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: King stands to his feet as he hears the doors begin to open. He extends his hands. "Eluihm. Send your fire." He doesn't wait for the assassins. He fires streams of primal fire, white hot and molten, right into them.
  414.  
  415. [1:09] Watchman@Alstann: As he fights with the soldier, his wound makes contact with the environment, causing him to grunt in pain and lose the fight momentarily. As he gets battered by punches, the archer reflexively slams a switch on his utility belt, causing his gauntlets to spark with electricity for a brief moment. He attempted to backhand the soldier in order to immobilize him.
  416.  
  417. [1:16] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Watchman's soldier-friend throws elbow after elbow into the archer's wound, whispering, "At least you fought like a man. Not like these other faggots and pussies in capes and---YEEARRRRRRRGGGGHHH!!" *The future assassin topples over, wriggling from the shock.*
  418.  
  419. [1:25] Watchman@Alstann: Watchman gets up, letting out a pained sigh. He looked down at the soldier, the electricity from his gloves probably enough to fry his brain. "Not exactly the easiest mark, I'd wager," he mumbled.
  420.  
  421. [1:26] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The soldier-assassin lies twitching, eyes agog, in the mud of a battlefield at the end of time.*
  422.  
  423. [1:37] Watchman@Alstann: As he picks up his bow, Watchman puts a finger to his ear, trying in vain. "Frontiersmen, are you there? Come in!" The shock of his wounds causes him to grunt again.
  424.  
  425.  
  426.  
  427. [1:10] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *In the choking fumes of prehistory, two contract killers fail----and two ozone 'doors' shutter open in thin air to disgorge the next hitters. A pair of aliens, one Malvan with paired energy blades, the other in a dark bodysuit who promptly vanishes into some kind of stealth field. It seems their reputation is true----they may never stop coming. The Malvan, customarily, strikes a pose and waves Crawdad over arrogantly, energy blade at the ready. Roadrunner, meanwhile, would suddenly find himself the target of slashing vibro-knives he can hear---but not see.*
  428.  
  429. [1:15] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner finally emerges from the jungle and nearly collapses, only to be greeted with the sight one two more assassins, one of which disappears. "Oh come on..." He then hears the sound of slashing knives and a new sudden pain comes from his leg as he is struck. He wills himself to run, but he's not as fast anymore. But he is nothing but determined, he starts running all over the place, there doesn't seem to be any method to his madness until the all the dust he is kicking up scatters everywhere. Hopefully pointing out the location of the invisible assassin.
  430.  
  431. [1:24] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The funnel of prehistoric red dust kicked up by the injured Roadrunner bears fruit----the shape of the stealth Time Killer is revealed, a darker blur in the cloud, giving a start of admiring surprise. "Not bad," the assassin grunts, a professional resigned to facts, lowering his knives and waiting for the punch he knows he can't avoid.
  432.  
  433. [1:27] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner pauses a few meters away from the assassin. Noticing his lowered weapons. "How about we call it even, there'll always be another time. Save yourself a headache."
  434.  
  435. [1:32] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The revealed stealth-suit assassin shrugs, answering Roadrunner with: "Sorry. Doesn't work that way. If I don't get the bruises to show I failed, I lose my dues. Do what you gotta'." *His voice is carefully neutral. A consummate professional.*
  436.  
  437. [1:34] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: "Fair enough." Roadrunner steps foward and disappears in a cloud of dust. He could come from any direction. The assassin would suddenly feel an impact before hopefully being knocked out cold.
  438.  
  439. [1:17] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad stumbles out of the sizable cliff alcove that had been created courtesy of the Holt, shoulders hunched over and claws dragging across the ground. "... Alright, you want your time in the ring?"
  440.  
  441. [1:17] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The Malvan responds with a slow nod and a provocative wink, saying nothing through the shroud.*
  442.  
  443. [1:20] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Refuted the Malvan's winking response with a curl of the lip. "Yeah okay, George Hamilton. I ain't got all day!" He snarled as he threw himself back into gear and suddenly dived forward, curling into a ball and shooting across the distance to try and bowl over the cocky Malvan while he was still posturing.
  444.  
  445. [1:23] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *As Crawdad rushes the Malvan, the graceful fighter spins balletic out of the path----his blades, some anti-gravity weapons from a far future, perhaps capable of cutting even the Crawdad's shell---sizzle down to strike home as the Man-Crayfish barrels past.*
  446.  
  447. [1:28] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Not able to change direction fast enough away from the path of the blade, Crawdad's eyes widen and his teeth clench as he feels a searing pain shoot across the upper half of his shelled back. While it was moreso on the surface-level of things, a fissure was a fissure. And Crawdad now was sporting a thin line of breakage on his hull. "SHIT!" He bit out as he disengaged from his sphere with a rough landing roll, making a botched attempt at trying to reach a claw up behind him to assess the damage.
  448.  
  449. [1:34] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The Malvan swordsman, seeing Crawdad vulnerable, dashes in silently aiming for a killing stroke*
  450.  
  451.  
  452.  
  453. [1:28] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Back aboard the Globetrotter, Epoch's answer comes---he barrels clean through the side of the hull, creating another depressurizing gash as he slams a cosmic fist into the Captain, pinning him to a wall. He hisses his words, smug and full of imperious offense: "Admit I'm your better. Bow to me, call me the thing you fear to BE, and I'll end it. And MEAN IT." the cosmic would-be God hisses.
  454.  
  455. [1:31] Captain Collider@Swixer: *QUARK closes up the hull breach as Captain Collider stares at Epoch in disbelief. His expression then breaks and he begins laughing a genuine, happy kind of laugh before continuing.* "That's what it comes down to?" *He pauses for a moment, his expression going stern.* "I can admit that you're my better. I bow to you. You're the thing I fear to be. And I underestimated you entirely."
  456.  
  457. [1:36] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Epoch's nebulous eyes flare with anger at the Captain's effortless acquiescence. He had wanted struggle, shame, hesitation----he releases his grip.* "The contract is ended," he hisses, and in both timelines the Time Killers----mid attack, mid knockout (as is the case for Roadrunner) stop what they're doing---ever the professionals.*
  458.  
  459. [1:38] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The Malvan tosses Crawdad another wink before sheathing his blade and stepping into one of those eerie crack-turned-doors that suddenly opens near him.*
  460.  
  461. [1:41] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad's jaw remained tense with a certain dreaded anticipation which turned moreso to demeaned relief. He just gave the Malvan an imparting scowl as he retreated.
  462.  
  463. [1:40] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Ultima's powerful magic turns the environment to magical flame, but if any enemies appeared long enough to feel it, they're long since incinerated. There's another clap of golden light.*
  464.  
  465.  
  466.  
  467. [1:39] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Epoch begins to fade from sight, but his voice lingers.* "Would you like to know what the universe of a FAILED god who denies our help resembles, Captain?"
  468.  
  469. [1:40] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider doesn't answer the question, instead he utters something that's almost inaudible in its flippance.* "It hurt you. Everything I said. Every point I raised. It hurt you. Bruised your fragile ego. In the end, all you needed from me was an ego boost. Imagine: a god with an inferiority complex. Remember that as you rule whatever you call your domain, Epoch. Remember the time you gained 'victory' by admitting your own humanity."
  470.  
  471. [1:42] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "Do you know another kind," Epoch answers, his tone dripping sarcasm. "We DO so quarrel, Captain. Perhaps you think yourself BETTER than a god, hmmm? Imagine that..."
  472.  
  473. [1:42] Captain Collider@Swixer: "I don't believe in gods, Epoch. Especially not ones like you. But I do believe in the weak hiding behind their strength. And I believe that you'll never be half of what you think you are. But me? I'll always be a hero. And no amount of tired rhetoric from the likes of you will change that."
  474.  
  475. [1:43] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The shimmering form continues to fade, its voice whispering only this last:*     "Whatever you think of me, Captain... you'll beg for our help when you see what you'll become...."
  476.  
  477. [1:45] Captain Collider@Swixer: "Maybe. I wouldn't know." *He looks up to the holes above and buckles his knees as if preparing to fly. At the last moment, however, he seems to think the better of it and instead walks towards the situation room. "I'm only human."
  478.  
  479.  
  480.  
  481. [1:43] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Each hero is suddenly back aboard the ship, scattered throughout the damaged vessel haphazardly, as if Epoch couldn't be bothered to place them where they left from.*
  482.  
  483. [1:44] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: King lowers his hands, barely managing to stay standing. "...he's gone, I take it," he breathes and leans back against a wall. "Are we all intact?" He asks over the comms.
  484.  
  485. [1:45] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: With himself now back on the ship, Roadrunner lays down on his back and looks up at the ceiling. Breathing slowly. What a day. "Somewhat..."
  486.  
  487. [1:46] Captain Collider@Swixer: "Frontiersmen: report to the situation room for a debriefing. We've got a lot to discuss."
  488.  
  489. [1:46] Watchman@Alstann: Watchman sat down with his back against the wall, remaining silent as everyone spoke over the comms. At Collider's request, he limped towards the situation room, pondering the effects of this battle.
  490.  
  491. [1:47] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: King takes a deep breath and manages to lift himself up to hover once more as he makes his way towards the meeting. It's easier than walking.
  492.  
  493.  
  494.  
  495. [1:48] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The interior of the Globetrotter looks as if a giant hand used it for a plaything. Walls are dented, entire batteries of equipment are popped loose, sections are sealed off from depressurization... The entire ship is off-axis, Quark trying to restore it's orientation after the cosmic blows that took place in and around.*
  496.  
  497. [1:49] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner begrudgingly gets up off the floor and limps to the situation room, leaving bits of blood here and there over the nice clean floor. He pretty much collapses as he enters the room, he seems quite content to stay where he is once he hits the floor.
  498.  
  499. [1:49] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Crawdad gives a grunt of discomfort as he propped himself up by the shoulder against a doorway frame. His headache was back, and he had the joy of contending with the newly made fissure in his suit. "Wheres m'beer." He mumbled hazily to himself as he made for the situation room at a less than record pace.
  500.  
  501.  
  502.  
  503. [1:49] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Once everyone is seated in the wreck of the situation room, Captain Collider raises a hand wreathed in atomic rings. The table, as if being tugged by the atoms, replaces itself in its moorings and buffs out its dents.* "I'm sorry about the damage, but I'm a little more concerned with any damage you all might have received."
  504.  
  505. [1:51] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Meanwhile, QUARK also puts out an urgent summons for the team surgeon, presently on earth visiting Particle Man.*
  506.  
  507. [1:51] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "I'll live to see another day," King nods. "Good to see you aren't off to Olympus just yet."
  508.  
  509. [1:51] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "Contacting Dr. Mannheim now, Dr. Parton."
  510.  
  511. [1:52] Captain Collider@Swixer: "It turns out Mt. Olympus is made of cardboard and painted with false ideals. At least it is if Epoch was any indication. Thankfully, he broke the contract we formed when we merged those two universes, which I believe means it'll be allowed to continue existing without any interference from myself or the Time-Killers.*
  512.  
  513. [1:56] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: King chuckles. "Good news. We'll see what the future holds though." A shiver of energy brushes the remaining dirt from his costume before muttering. "Hopefully not radioactive super mutants."
  514.  
  515. [1:53] Watchman@Alstann: As he takes a seat, Watchman grunts in pain. With QUARK's announcement of Mannheim, the archer replied, "QUARK. I have a request."
  516.  
  517. [1:54] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "I've been getting quite a few of those recently."
  518.  
  519. [1:56] Watchman@Alstann: "I'm not sure if you will understand me, but make sure it's Leland that you bring on the ship, and not another god." His eyes glance towards Collider, his comment not entirely for QUARK.
  520.  
  521. [1:57] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "Yes, I believe we've had quite enough gods for one lifetime. I've never seen the appeal, myself."
  522.  
  523. [1:58] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Collider meets Watchman's gaze with a slight nod before continuing.* "I'll call in a few HADRON units with supplies to repair the damage to the Globetrotter. For now, I think we've all earned a rest. Everybody take some personal time."
  524.  
  525.  
  526.  
  527. [1:59] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *On the table's center display, the transmission finally completes----it resolves into an image, pixelated and not entirely complete.*
  528.  
  529. [1:59] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "I believe you're forgetting the transmission, Dr. Parton. Bringing it up now."
  530.  
  531. [2:00] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "Of course. I should probably spend some time reconnected with the Kings of Theon after this. I suppose that means the helmet must stay on for a bit longer..." He glances towards the image, curious.
  532.  
  533. [2:00] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *A newspaper clipping---not entirely obvious if it's paper or a web image, or something else entirely. Scribblings are all over the margins in pen, by a mind near equal to Parton's own.*
  534.  
  535. [2:01] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Collider takes a close look at what's written on the clippings, attempting to decipher them.*
  536.  
  537.  
  538.  
  539. [2:01] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *At least, judging by the advanced math on display. The date of the image is some two years from now, month and day unclear. The broken image shows the Globetrotter, crashed directly into the middle of Renaissance Center----recognizable only two standing buildings. The rest of the city appears to have been annihilated by fallout from the Globetrotter's fusion engines. The caption is unclear, but a huge scribble in the same urgent handwriting reads: "FAILED GOD FAILED GOD FAILED GOD" *This repeats over and over until it scrawls off the page. The other scribblings appears to be temporal calculations and a LOT of advanced physics.*
  540.  
  541. [2:04] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider narrows his eyes at the now deciphered message, taking a step back from the table both mentally and physically.*
  542.  
  543. [2:05] Watchman@Alstann: Upon recognizing the image and reading the newspaper, Watchman clenches his fists and fails to hide a grimace. One would think this would have been personal to him.
  544.  
  545. [2:05] Captain Collider@Swixer: "QUARK. Delete the file."
  546.  
  547. [2:05] Watchman@Alstann: "QUARK. Do not delete the file."
  548.  
  549. [2:05] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "Um, there appears to be a conflict of interests here."
  550.  
  551. [2:05] Captain Collider@Swixer: "Delete the file, QUARK."
  552.  
  553. [2:06] Watchman@Alstann: "QUARK, belay that command."
  554.  
  555. [2:07] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "I'm...obligated to obey Dr. Parton, but I've also been told to give priority to the Frontiersmen. I think this conflict should be sorted among yourselves before--"
  556.  
  557. [2:07] Captain Collider@Swixer: "It's mind games, Watchman. You know this. Don't let him push you. You saw what he could do. It's all a crock of lies. Cheap tricks passed off as real power."
  558.  
  559. [2:08] Watchman@Alstann: "What did he tell you, Parton? Because whatever he said, he probably didn't mention this." He pointed at the hologram. "Cheap tricks? He teleported the entire team like it was nothing!"
  560.  
  561. [2:08] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *The fidgety, hurried form of Doctor Mannheim hurries into the room, bald and stuttering and looking gravely alarmed at all the blood and injuries. He hurries to Roadrunner where he sits against the wall, saying nothing but muttering to himself---and his OTHER self.*
  562.  
  563. [2:08] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: King looks over the file, face unreadable thanks to the mask. "There are many beings that claim to be gods. But the real world is not theirs. Not anymore."
  564.  
  565. [2:09] Captain Collider@Swixer: "He's a cosmic level being. He isn't a god. You're panicking. You're letting him push you where he wanted to push you."
  566.  
  567. [2:10] Watchman@Alstann: "Well then I'm glad it's only that then." He said this, dry sarcasm. "I'm not panicking. -You- were his target. Maybe you should be panicking, Parton."
  568.  
  569. [2:11] The Crawdad@micromax2000: The cold atmosphere that was the situation room could only be offset by the even colder red beer of Killian's that made a sharp popping sound when Crawdad flicked the bottle cap off in the midst of the two's back-and-forth.
  570.  
  571. [2:11] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Leland begins dressing Roadrunner's wounds and staunching the bleeding, glancing at Crawdad as well----entirely uncertain if there's anything he could do for him even if he could tell whether he was hurt at all.*
  572.  
  573. [2:12] The Crawdad@micromax2000: Silently just ushers the Doctor along with a small dismissive wave of the claw and a dull but directionless expression that said something akin to 'S'fine.'
  574.  
  575. [2:11] Captain Collider@Swixer: *He turns his attention to Watchman, a twinge of anger rising in his voice.* "He's a manipulator. He manipulates time, space, people. He came for me because he thought he could manipulate me into playing by his rules, but I'm better than that -- I'm better because I have you at my side. Real people, self-sacrificing people who know how to -be- better!"
  576.  
  577. [2:12] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "This is only a possibility." King says calmly. "While it would be foolish to deny it entirely, it would be equally foolish to let it sway your resolve. Any of you. Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst."
  578.  
  579. [2:13] Captain Collider@Swixer: "What you see here? It may not even be -our- timeline. It may not even be us. You're being manipulated."
  580.  
  581. [2:13] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Leland notes the crack in Crawdad's 'hull' but gives a stilted nod all the same. He kneels beside Roadrunner, asking gently and with some stammering if he needs a stretcher to med-bay.*
  582.  
  583. [2:14] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunner nods appreciatively to the doctor as he dresses his wounds. He looks up to the argument going on. "QUARK, save the data. You're right, it may not affect us. But I'd rather keep what information we do have. Rather than toss it aside flippantly. Keep it in the archives for now."
  584.  
  585. [2:14] Captain Collider@Swixer: "...Save the file, QUARK."
  586.  
  587. [2:15] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "Yes, Dr. Parton."
  588.  
  589. [2:15] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Leland glances up finally at the display, noticing the image and hand-scrawled words hovering there in hologram. He blanches even paler than before, and stammers into silence.*
  590.  
  591. [2:15] Watchman@Alstann: Were it not for his gloves, the constant clenching of the fists would have probably made his hands bleed. Collider's words gave him a brief moment to pause before turning around, making his way towards the teleporter. "Leland. We still need to have our chat." He says this, making sure his voice carries over.
  592.  
  593. [2:16] Time Killer@Otherworlder: "I-Is anyone---wh----are there other in-injuries?" he forces out quietly, a haunted look in his eyes. He can't seem to pull them away from the words 'FAILED GOD' scrawled over and over. The old surgeon sighs----he's not sure why, but he is sure he wasn't looking forward to it. He notes the nasty wound on the archer and barks: "Infirmary!"
  594.  
  595. [2:18] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Captain Collider watches him go, his expression unreadable.* "...Everyone take some personal time. We've...earned some personal time."
  596.  
  597. [2:18] Ultima King@GeneralFreedom: "My wounds will mend on their own." King bobs his head towards Leland. "Take care of your patients." He glances towards the Captain a moment, almost as if he's going to say something, but he simply vanishes in a flash of light.
  598.  
  599. [2:18] Roadrunner@Oboeshoes101: Roadrunners gets himself up and looks over to Crawdad. "Scotch and cigars later?"
  600.  
  601. [2:19] The Crawdad@micromax2000: "Hm." He intones audibly at Roadrunner's proposal and shook his head once. "Yeah, sure. I need to take my mind off some shit."
  602.  
  603. [2:19] Captain Collider@Swixer: *With that, he walks to look at the image on the screen, wordlessly.*
  604.  
  605. [2:19] Watchman@Alstann: A piercing glare is all he could offer to Leland before the teleporter transports him off of the battered ship.
  606.  
  607. [2:20] Time Killer@Otherworlder: *Leland gives a start, surprised by the glare---with a wounded, worrisome expression he moves to help Roadrunner to the infirmary, scolding him over the cigars and alcohol.*
  608.  
  609.  
  610.  
  611. [2:20] Captain Collider@Swixer: *Once everyone else has left, QUARK pipes up.*
  612.  
  613. [2:20] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "Will you be quite alright, Dr. Parton? I have to say that was all rather dramatic."
  614.  
  615. [2:20] Captain Collider@Swixer: "I hurt him."
  616.  
  617. [2:20] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "Dr. Parton?"
  618.  
  619. [2:21] Captain Collider@Swixer: "Epoch. I hurt him. He called himself a god, and I hurt him."
  620.  
  621. [2:21] Captain Collider@Swixer: QUARK: "You said it yourself, Dr. Parton. He was no true god."
  622.  
  623. [2:22] Captain Collider@Swixer: "That's right. He can't be." *He hunches over, his hands resting on the table.* "Because if he was, what would that make me?"
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