(2017-10-23) Poppet Pals
Poppet Pals
Summary: Star-Lord puts Serenity through a session in the danger room where she uses her ability to precisely mimic sounds to solve a puzzle and retrieve the prize.
Date: 2017-10-23
Related: None
NPCs: None
Scene Runner: Star-Lord
Social/Plot: Plot

When Star-Lord mentioned a session in the danger room, he hadn't bothered to describe what the danger room actually is to Serenity. However she's perfectly capable of assuming things from the name of the room. In deference to the warning that she should wear something comfortable, she pulls her hair back into a pony tail and donned a Black t-shirt with her printed on it in silver and a loose pair of black pants with plain black sneakers. It's the most casual outfit she has now since she burned the clothes she had when she arrived at the school. When she enters the room, she stops and looks around for some sign of the professor who arranged for her to be here. It doesn't look like a place she should be on her own.

Peter is on the danger room floor, across the room near an adjacent exit, instead of the more typical instructor's spot in the control room and observation deck. He's got his acvtive gear on and long coat, but his helmet is currently deactivated.
The room itself is laid out in a recessed circle that fills most of the room. The "curb" of the oval is about three feet high, and ringed with black and yellow stripes. In the center of the recessed floor is a small raised platform, upon which is mounted a sphere that looks like it is made of amber. A spotlight shines down on it from above, creating a spectacular glow. The platform is encircled by a bright red stripe about fifteen feet in radius. Other details of the room may become apparent if inspected closely.
Peter raises his hand, "Welcome, Serenity… are you ready for your challenge? Attempting it will be both training and evaluation." he grins a little impishly.

Serenity slowly walks into the room as she calls out, "I have no idea what we are about to do so I am as ready as I can be I suppose. Evaluation is probably necessary since I am pathetically lacking in actual skills."

Peter walks over to where Serenity entered to give some more instructions. "I think you'll find this interesting, but I've got to give you a couple of warnings. The first thing is, this is a danger room, and partly a physical challenge. It is possible to get hurt, especially if you try something reckless, but there are safeties to prevent injury, and because you're new to this I'll be down here the whole time."

Serenity chews her lip for a moment, "So this is going to be physical challenges?" She pulls off her watch necklace and shoves it into a pocket so it isn't bouncing around.

Peter amends, "Physical and mental, but you've got the right idea there. The next thing is, don't assume anything is not allowed or out of bounds. Be as resourceful as you can—remember about trying to find advantages? That will be essential here. If you start trying something that I really can't let you do, I'll stop you. But I bet we won't run into that. So far so good?"

Serenity is hesitant but finally nods, "Okay. Just take it easy on me okay. I've never had to do this sort of thing before."

Peter just says, "We'll see." and grins, but it's the kind of grin you can trust. "Okay. The objective is simple. Bring me that orb. You put it in my hands, you win." he gestures towards the center of the room, and takes a couple of steps back.

Serenity glances toward the platform. "You mean the pretty little thing in the spotlight?" She examines the room then slowly starts to spiral in toward the center of the area to see if anything reacts to her approach.

As Serenity approaches the outer edge of the yellow striped area, nothing seems to happen. The room is almost silent, with footfalls gently echoing.

Serenity instinctively makes her gait more measured to quiet her footsteps when she can hear them echoing. She ponders the depression in the floor then finally jumps off the edge so she can land in the depression without actually touching the wall.

A hatch on the east side of the circle (about 90 degrees around from where Serenity entered from the south) slides open with a soft whirr. Several small poppet shaped figures start marching out. Each about three feet tall themselves, with large round heads and stubby arms with no hands. They seem alien or perhaps artificial, like a golem. A bright transparent green, they look like they are made of some kind of gel, each step slightly deforming their rounded, featureless legs. More and more continue to emerge, about ten so far, and they start wandering like scouting ants. Once they get a line of sight on Serenity, one or two suddenly charge towards her, very rapidly.

The creatures make grunty sounds, like some sort of alien gibberish. The voices overlay each other to form a low sort of rumble.

Serenity winces the moment she hears the whirr and quickly begins moving across the space between her and the trinket she is trying to collect. She picks up the pace when the little things charge her. Running is something she does really well.

When Serenity gets close to the red ring, an annoying buzzer sounds brefly, and small hatches in the floor open. Slightly larger poppet figures, these with a chrome finish and definitely NOT looking so squishy slide into place from underneath, guarding the center pedestal. These figures don't mutter, but Serenity can hear a faint charged hum coming from them. It sounds elecrical.

More figures spot Serenity and start closing in. There's now about eighteen in the large ringed area and more STILL marching out.

Serenity frowns at the electrical sound. Great. Now she's going to think of being attacked by chrome colored robot dolls any time she hears that hum. She runs around the outside of the red ring as she tries to analyze the rhythms of all the movements and put together a pattern.

The large chrome poppets, about five of them, stay within the red ring positioned roughly evenly around them. The platform itself IS within their reach. For the moment Serenity is able to stay away from the charging green figures, but she's soon going to be surrounded by them.

Serenity picks a position equidistant between the chrome poppets the run toward the central platform and attempt to climb up on it.

As Serenity dashes forward, the two chrome figures closest to her approach close ranks and bend their oversized heads down, as if bracing for impact.

Serenity jumps as she approaches the chrome-domes like she was trying to hurdle over them and reach down to the platform the the orb in the process. Hmm. Wonder if these shoes have a rubber sole.

A bold move, but as one of the few good lines in Star Trek V, "Unwise." before she can get her hands on it, the other three cover it with their arm-appendages, and she lands right on them. Ouch! She gets a jarring electrical discharge, the kind that mainly makes one shiver uncomfortably, and then they hurl her out of the red ring. When she is prone on the floor, the green poppets stop charging and start wandering around randomly again.

There are now about twenty-five green ones in the large ring. That seems to be all of them.

Peter comes up to the edge of the circle and looks in, making sure Serenity is OK. The green figures ignore him.

Serenity groans as she lays on the floor, slightly stunned from the impact. Even so she waves off Peter when he starts to come check on her. She's not ready to give up yet. Her head turns to one side and then the other as she notices the curious state of the poppets ignoring her. She slowly lifts her legs enough to put her feet flat on the floor to see what happens.

The eerie green figures continue to wander in seemingly random patterns, grousing to each other in whatever odd language they are using. If it is a language.

Serenity slowly pushes herself toward the red circle as she listens to the green figures. When she thinks she has the "grousing" down, she begins to quietly mimic what one of the poppets is saying.

When she starts moving, the handful around her close on her with the same vigor. Surrounding her, they head butt and pummel her with their gel heads and appendages. It barely hurts at all, but she can feel the pressure and soon there's enough of them to impede her progress, if not actually do harm.

Serenity attempts to grab one of the little gel poppets and toss it at the chrome ones.

A chuckle is heard from Peter. Serenity finds that she's strong enough to pick up one of the wriggling things. It feels like fifteen pounts of the stuff they make Dr. Scholls insoles out of. The green poppet impacts one of the chrome ones, but its low center of gravity leaves it mostly unmoved. The green figure itself actually is disrupted by the impact and melts away. However, out of the corner of her eye she sees a replacement march out immediately.

Serenity repeatedly throws the little green poppets at the chrome ones when they touch her as she gets to her feet. She calls out, "This is gross Professor." She backs away from the center of the room and climbs out of the depression so she can think about the problem from a different angle.

Peter calls out, "Sorry about that," in a sort of taunting amusement. The poppets do not impede Serenity climbing out and go back to wandering and muttering as soon as she is clear of the yellow striped area.

Serenity frowns as she examines the green things and then finally chooses to look around to see if there might be something she is missing, like a way to block the attacks of the chrome-domes.

During a careful inspection of the room, Serenity does notice something—outside the west side of the circle there is something in the floor… a ridge makes a rectangle around the size of a door flat on the ground. There is also a slight gap on one side, that someone could get their fingers into.

Serenity stops for a moment to cast Peter a baleful look before she crouches down and attempts to wedge her fingers into the crack and pull open the supposed door.

Peter just folds his arms and observes. It's not actually a hinged door, but Serenity's fingers reach some sort of contact switch and something large comes sliding up out of the floor. It looks like some kind of control panel or station—complete with some lights and dials, and even a small backlit tank, that contains a suspiciously familiar looking green fluid.

Serenity examines the control panel for a moment to see if she can figure out how to work the controls. She remains as quiet as she can and she reads the controls.

Some of the controls Serenity can figure out right away. An inviting green toggle switch makes a tone sound, which also shows on an oscilloscope in the center of the console. Other knobs are clearly basic sound controls letting her modulate the frequency, add a harmonic, some vibrato, the sort of things a basic sound board can do. Some things she don't quite get yet, such as what the tank is for, and what some indicators on either side of the oscilloscope represent. The left one is blank, the right one has two blue bars out of what looks like thirty.

Serenity considers for a moment and then watches the little green things as she presses the green toggle switch to make the tone. She watches for reactions and shifts the controls up and down to test whether changes in the tone make any difference in the reaction.

The tone doesn't visibly affect them, but she finds that changes start making the blue stack of bars fill up more as you zero in on something specific. The green fluid in the tank starts bubbling a little as the indicator rises as well.

Serenity smiles as the green fluid begins to bubble. She now turns her attention to the tank and watches it as she continues to try variations on the tone. She tries to make the bubbling worse.

It doesn't take long and Serenity finds the right settings. The blue stack of bars is all the way full, and you find that the green fluid is boiling away faster than it can be refilled. She sees some of the wandering green figures start to hesitate near that edge of the circle, but there doesn't seem to be a way to make it louder on the console.

Finding the right tone is all Serenity needs. The relatively pleasant tone is easily mimicked. She begins to sing the tone as she climbs back down into the depression in the floor.

The green poppets begin to swarm Serenity again, but can't even reach her before the sound she's making causes them to dissolve in place and flow away to unseen drains. Replacements start to march out of the hatch again.

Thus protected from the smaller green poppets Serenity moves to the red circle again and considers the problem. She slowly moves toward the pedestal to see how close she can get before the chrome-domes react.

It seems the basic problem still remains—the chrome golems seem indifferent to the sound, and always at least one advances towards Serenity or protects the pedestal when she or a part of her crosses the red circle.

Serenity hmms. She stops singing for a moment to let the green ones reach her again. When one is in range, she picks it up and attempts to knock the orb off the pedestal with it.

The defense of the pedestal remains uncannily efficient. The green poppet is again deflected and disrupted before it can touch the orb.

Serenity begins singing the tone again as she lifts her shoe to consider whether or not the soles seem insulating. She prepares herself for the possibility of getting shocked and gets a rather grim, determined look on her face as she simply walks over to the red circle. She goes directly at one of the chrome domes and firmly kicks it with the bottom of her foot to attempt to shove it out of its spot so she can reach past it and collect the orb.

The kick is fast enough that no electrical contact is made, and *CLANG*, it's a nice solid hit. It shifts the golem just a little, but it remains stalwartly balanced and reaches towards Serenity to try and shock her.

Serenity ignores the fact that it didn't move as much as she wanted other then moving slightly away from it as she reaches in to grab the orb. She knows she's getting shocked. A little sacrifice is sometimes a part of life.

Once again the others move to protect the orb as Serenity tries to grab - her hand lands on the arm of one of those, just as the one she's facing manages to reach her - again, zap, toss, thud. She squishes a green poppet as she lands, so it's not so hard.

Serenity lays flat on her back for a moment then gets up and goes over to sit dejectedly on the side of the depression. Her dejection at not being able to figure out the scenario is quite obvious but she says nothing.

Peter for his own part looks agitated… his teeth are gritted like he wants to call out something.

The green golems continue to wander towards Serenity from their entry hatch, though near the edge by her they are not aggressive, just gathering.

Serenity reaches down into the depression to grab one of the greenies and try and shove her hand into it.

It winds up rather like trying to push her hand into a balloon. The part she applies pressure to compresses, another part bulges, and this one pops in her hands. Another one crawls out of the open hatch.

Serenity gets up and goes back to the control panel to see if there is anything she missed.

There are a couple of things that Serenity hasn't found a way to mess with yet. There's the unlit indicators on the other side of the oscilloscope from the blue bars. Also, this time she sees a small slot that looks like you might push something into.

Serenity looks around for something that might be small enough to go into the slot on the controls.

Making an even more thorough inspection of the ring area, this time on the east edge where the little green things respawn, she DOES see something inside whenever the hatch opens.

Serenity begins singing the tone that melts the green poppets again so the hatch will open and she can reach in to pull out whatever it is.

Serenity finds herself in possession of a green key card with a red smiley face on it.

Serenity calls out, "You are a sick, sick man, Professor Quill." She walks back to the controls with the keycard and tries to slide it into the control panel.

Peter bows, genuflecting, and stands back up again. He seems to be fiddling with something on his belt.

The card slides partway in and clicks. You see one red bar on the left side of the oscilloscope.

Serenity watches Peter for a moment then purses her lips at the red bar as she begins trying to tonal controls again.

Serenity notices that it seems to be lower tones working this time… in fact it's sounding a little familiar as she fine tunes the results.

Serenity knows basically what she is doing this time or at least she thinks she does. She is capable of singing the lower tone as easily as the higher one. Then she frowns as she realizes it sounds like what the little goops are muttering. She looks over at Peter and repeats a certain baleful glare before she begins singing the goop tone as she crosses to the red circle on the floor then begins to mimic the muttering of the little greenies as she approaches the chrome domes.

Having perfected the purest version of the low tone, when she approaches the center making the sound, all the green poppets within earshot suddenly get a glowing red smiley on their "faces". Then they turn and charge the chrome figures.

Peter starts some music, speakers on his modified player putting the song into the room. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_2D8Eo15wE (Ram Jam - Black Betty)

Serenity waits as the greenies charge the chrome domes to see what happens as she moves toward the pedestal now.

The crowd of green poppets doesn't quite overwhelm the tough chrome ones, but being swarmed has their hands quite full, and as the greens are pushed aside or disrupted, their respawned brethren join the fight just as eagerly. The two forces are roughly in stalemate.

Peter starts tapping his heel and nodding to the music, watching the finale of this exercise.

Serenity collects her prize then hurries back out of the depression zone as she walks over to Peter and holds out the orb. "You have a deranged mind."

Peter accepts the orb and looks it over, "Yeah, that'll teach me to hit the Spartoi hootch before bed. You did it! How do you feel?" he asks.

Serenity thinks about it for a moment then admits, "I think I hurt as bad as when Jason repeatedly tackled me as I tried to run away in the park."

Peter nods, eyebrows up, "Yeah not surprised. I recommend a nice hot soaking and then probably some stretching later would be good." he offers the amber sphere back to her, "This is yours." he says.

Serenity takes the orb back and considers it before asking, "Is it anything more special than a pretty trophy?"

Peter shakes his head. "Just what it looks like. You won it fair and square, after all." he lets the music fade and looks around, "Guess I should let it recycle all this. Easy cleanup," he chuckles.

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