2265/Zen and the Art of Killing Brainiac Drones.

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Zen and the Art of Killing Brainiac Drones.
Date of Scene: 29 June 2020
Location: The Danger Room - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: Kate's Danger Room program is ready to show the Titans what they are facing with the Brainiac drones. It's not all doom and gloom, just mostly.
Cast of Characters: Kate Bishop, Samuel Morgan, Victor Stone, Kian, Donna Troy, Rachel Roth, Cassie Sandsmark, Caitlin Fairchild

Kate Bishop has posed:
Kate is messing with the programming for the danger room. She has spent several days getting alll of the media footage in. CCTV footage. Cellphonee Footage. Having the computer render and incorporate the drones and sentinels into the DC landscape.

She used Troia to help calibrate how hard the various blasters, punches, and like actually hit to make it realistic. How durable the things should appear to be in the training scenario.

The hardest part honestly is the tweaks to have the Danger Room learn from the metahuman attacks and adjust its tactics more quickly than usual. Also to adapt to better mimic the ability for Techno or a hacker if they try to take over the constructs systems and only let them get away with it in the scenario a couple of times. I mean yees they could just take over the danger room itself but that is super cheating. So some limits are put in and tweaks to make the scenario adapt.

That isn't going to give Vic any Moriarty worries right. Maybe. Hm..

Anyhow Kate hits a few commands and then gestures for everyone to group up. "Okay on a thirty second delay... going to start us on the Washington Mall right in the thick of all hell breaking loose. One Sentinel still standiing and a whole lot of drones about to enter the fray."

Yeah she knows it isn't pitch perfect replay, but the point is to see how these enemies fight and how to try to take them down right.

She leaps over the command station and rushes to join everyone, drawing two arrows into her hand as she runs. This is going to be going in pretty hot.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    It was probably unwise. But needs must when the devil just scraped an entire neighborhood off the map after destroying a whole nation. After the Washington Massacre, the last place Sam wants to return to is DC. Of course, he'd helped out with data, suggesting a few tweaks from the perspective of an eye witness, and then left Kate to do what she does best. He had a whole technological package to unpick, after all, not to mention getting his suit back up to battle readiness.

    So here stands Techno, suited and silent, fingers flexing at his side. The three lenses are pulsing a bright orange, a clear sign of anxiety. As calm and disciplined as Sam usually appears, there are those who know that there's a shadow side to him that he tends to keep hidden. Out on the fringes, in the spectator space, sits Bear... for once, wearing his hi-vis jacket, which is perhaps a more eloquent statement of what Sam expects to happen than he could ever put into words. And yet... words are a must. So he turns to Troia.

    "Should we take the Sentinel down like we did last time?" It probably wouldn't hurt to show the rest of the team that tactic. Again, his fingers flex by his sides. "I'd feel better for a weapon of some kind. When this is all said and done, remind me to arm this suit."

Victor Stone has posed:
Vic's Moriarty worries are neither here nor there. It's a lot easier to worry that the holodeck is going to become a sentient supervillain at times when there isn't already a sentient AI supervillain making off with whole chunks of the planet's population. At least he's reasonably certain that, given the necessity, he could blow up the Danger Room. Brainiac's dreadnought is another matter entirely.

As the news footage he watched live materializes around him, he grimaces and swivels to face the sentinel. Rocket racks extend from his shoudlers, and he volleys RPGs at the genocide machine. (For training sessions, the Danger Room has been programmed to simulate his lethal loadouts, so as not to endanger the room or its occupants.)

Kian has posed:
    Kían does what he does -- kicks into the air effortlessly.  He has gathered that Sentinels are essentially robots, and that drones are non-sentient, so there are no psychological obstacles to acting against them.
    This does not stop him from looking for a place of cover -- the windows atop the obelisk known to Terrans as the Washington Monument, some place he can cozy himself into while looking for the proper moment to move.  It's a skill from a game played on his homeworld.  An attacker is hard to stop when you don't know where they're striking from.
    And also, using his /rhy'thar/ to destroy things always makes him feel a little queasy.  Like he's taking advantage for no reason other than the luck of his genetics, or whatever stuck him with these powers.  '/Rhy'thar/' -- 'gods-gift' -- seems an unfunny euphemism for them.
    From the best aerial cover he can find, he keys his T-com and quietly asks, "I am await or-der.  Iss p'leas let I know if any prog-ram rep-re-sen' sen-tien' bein'."

Donna Troy has posed:
"Safeties are on, so nobody is going to get worse than a few bruises," Donna adds. "For the sake of simulation, you'll get a blue orb over your eyes making everything look blue to indicate you are injured and have limited mobility. Yellow means you are injured to the extent you are out of the fight. Red means you are dead. In reality, these things hit with several kilonewtons of force, so basically don't let one punch you. In terms of durability, these things are not far from the edge of the system's capability. So you're going to need to hit hard and move fast."

    She gives a nod to Sam, acknowledging his question. "Up to you. You'll find the simulated Sentinel easier to defeat than a real one, limitations of the system. However we are simulating civilians and will be judging on how much damage is done."

    "Hawkeye, we're going to assume every arrow you fire has an armor-piercing high-ex tip for this run through. Kian, anything that looks like a normal human represents a sentient and must be protected. The drones and the Sentinel are not. Please limit your power use to flashes of light, and the computer will simulate an explosive effect for it."

    "One last detail," Donna continues, flashing a wink to Raven. She hops up onto the raised walkway, and strides over to the control console. "I'm sitting this one out, I want to assess. My advice is listen to Vic for battlefield guidance."

Rachel Roth has posed:
    "Yes. We will be judging." Raven comments, present seemingly from the aether, in one moment looking so casual as if she'd been there the entire time. In the previous moment, perhaps she wasn't there at all. It's hard to tell, unless one has time travel- but what's important that her presence, and her speech, neither interrupts, nor bothers Donna, the person whom she stands next to.

    "This is mostly a tactical simulation; We can't simulate the reality of it. There were a lot of heavies present in DC, and some of this information might even be outdated, if that thing's broadcast is to be believed... But we will do the best we can with the information we have. Work as a team. Fight alongside one another, not -with- one another. It isn't that -your- lives depend on it, but -theirs.-"

    With that comment, the closest thing to a pep talk Raven can give, Donna hops up onto the walkway. In that flash of movement, Raven is hidden for a moment, and is simply gone when Donna is. On the railing, she's just as suddenly present as she was suddenly -not- present down on the floor, right next to where Donna landed.

Cassie Sandsmark has posed:
"Oh so this is more of a tactical after-action thingy?" Cassie wonders as she enters the control room from the elevators, and then hangs back, remaining near the back of the area while Kate messes with all the setup and programming for the routine that is about to play out. Obviously, they all - or as many were around at the time - got called down for something, but it seems she wasn't one hundred percent clear on what she was agreeing to. Also, she may or may not have been napping off some late-night videogaming. At the very least, she's not in costume, but more a floppy t-shirt and gym shorts sleepy sort of look.

"It's tough simulating the big boys," she offers in some sort of vague agreement or commentary on Donna laying out all the details of the simulation. "Not that I'm quite sure I can imagine what a kilonewton is in my head. Ugh. It's like school." Someone has definitely been getting off a little easy on the tail-end of her Amazonian excursion year-off. Fall is going to be a bit of a nasty wake-up call.

Then Raven poofs in next to her big sis. "Hey Rae."

Caitlin Fairchild has posed:
The intercom kicks on. <<A Newton is equal to the force needed to move one kilogram of mass one meter per second squared,>> comes Caitlin's voice. She waves from the control room. << A kilonewton is the force done by an object weighing one hundred kilos under normal Earth gravity. Like having a grown man stand on you,>> the redhead offers, helpfully.

Kate Bishop has posed:
Kate pauses and then looks up at Donna and Rachel. "Oh for fucks sake..."

Even as Victor fires off his Rockets at one of the Sentinels which takes many direct hits of course. Because Rockets and something the size of a building.

She steels herself, pronbably for the fact that she is going to die in this danger room scenario. She got it mostly setup, she knows what she is dealing with, and she knows exactly how dead she is if one of these things manages to even graze her.

She also knows how many arrows she can carry even with a couple of backup quivers.

Deep breath and she is moving hard for cover and away from Cyborg before the big threat zeroes in on him and returns fire of some form.

There is a roll and a dive for a police barricade, one of those ones setup to prevent cars from being driven onto the Mall proper. Two arrows fly very fast and hit drones explosively, giving her a wider area around her.

Of course more of the drones are beaming onto the simulation of the mall already.

People are running. Screaming. Dying.

It is a mad house of a scenario, which is pretty much just like DC was then.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    It seems as if Sam is about to interject the definition of the unit of force known as a Newton, when the intercom does it for him. The blank-faced suit simply nods, and adds a poignant detail. "That means one of these things hits with enough force to move a car, concentrated in the surface area of a fist. Unless you're actually indestructible, don't get hit." And then he looks around. "I can take the big Sentinel. But he's going to fall, clear me an area... towards the Washington Monument, easiest landmark. Let's call that waypoint Alpha. Any suggestions?"

    But, it seems, there is no more time. Just like it was back then...

    Without hesitation, Techno hones in on the Sentinel that's catching rockets and ineffective pistol and rifle fire from the police and secret service. "Sentinel coming down, stand clear." With a speed and agility as if he wasn't wearing several hundred pounds of armor, Techno sprints towards the Sentinel, skids underneath a drone, and gives the mental command. As in DC, he overrides the behemoth's systems. Unlike in DC, this time it refuses to come down, and he's left in a mental struggle with something far bigger than him. "Unexpected problem... watch my six!"

Victor Stone has posed:
Cyborg drops to one knee and projects a purplish force barrier ahead of himself. "Sentinels are a way lower threat level than the drones we'll see later," he tells the others. "The first job is always to stay alive, which generally means either staying hunkered down at long range or literally climbing up the side of them. They will crush you if you are on the ground close by, and they will blast the hell out of you at medium range. The most reliable way to take one down is to utterly overwhelm it, so watch other people's attacks and do your best to sync up."

Green shafts of light start bringing the drones down from orbit all around him. "The drones... yeah. About the drones." He sounds a bit nauseated. "They are basically invincible unless you're from Krypton. They are too small to climb up. They have extremely focused beam attacks from their eyes that are effective at basically any range. They will murder anything that gets even remotely near them, simply because they can. They deploy spread out, so that you can't form a line against them or concentrate mass fire in an area."

He takes a deep breath and concludes, "There is nothing you can do to be safe once they target you. Throw everything to offense and gang up on a single target, taking them down one at a time. That's all we've got so far."

Kian has posed:
    The birdman sighs heavily.  Gods only know how much a 'kílo' is, let alone a 'kílog-ram' or 'kílog-new-ton', or for that matter a 'kar'.  Kían shall simply take it as read that you don't want to be hit.
    His first action is to let off several large explosions -- sorry, bright flashes of light -- inside the head of the Techno-immobilized Sentinel, and let the Danger Room decide how much force he used.  His intention was to blow its head clean off: the very idea of a robot that can attack sentients is *deeply* offensive.  It's among the reasons his people always drew back from creating full AIs.  There are other reasons, but this is enough for now.  Robots are tools, the idea of robots as weapons is just /sick/.
    As if he doesn't care what the Danger Room decides, Kían kicks into the air, going as high as he can.  "D'rone iss haf ener-gy weapon, not physical, yis?" he radios down.  That would have probably been a better question to ask before getting airborne, but tactics are not anything the birdman has any real familiarity with.

Donna Troy has posed:
    "Not so much standing on you as balancing on you on their /fist/" Donna adds to Caitlin's interjection. "And I'm not being too specific when I say several. Take Techno's guidance here, he's been punched by one and his armor needed significant repairs."

    Kian's question doesn't need much answering when one of the drones starts targeting, beams sizzling through the air close to where he's flying - the drone has failed to correct properly for his motion though, and it doesn't hit.

    Donna's watching the action very closely when Cassie walks in, so newest Amazon only gets a quick smile from second newest before her focus goes back to the action. "Hey Cass. You can join in on the second run through if you like, but I've got something else in mind for you, along with Starfire. And Supergirl if I can actually get her to stay in one place long enough. Later."

    Drones are starting to appear in larger and larger numbers, and many of them are attacking the screaming bystanders. It's not pretty, and the simulation doesn't shy away from simulated gore.

    Donna points towards Kate, where she has rolled behind a barricade, and says "See what I mean?" to Raven, out the corner of her mouth. "Now watch Sam's approach, and compare..."

Rachel Roth has posed:
    Raven helped with the simulated gore.

    She turns her head momentarily when Cassie approaches. "Cassandra." she offers in this sort of horrible could-be-friendly but is also too-formal greeting. "Honestly, the numbers aren't quite right. Imagine being hit by a truck, but it's a fist, and it hates you, and is on steroids."

    There's this appraising look Raven gives when directed. Watching her watch is eerie in and of itself. Doesn't she have to blink? Why is it that it never seems to happen when anyone is watching? Regardless, she nods a time or two. "Yes." she responds, "We will have to work Robin into these simulations."

Cassie Sandsmark has posed:
When Caitlin comes on the intercom, Cassie outright rolls her eyes at first. "Gawd, I knew it was a measurement and even the units I was just- yes, thank you, the second part. Its hard to /imagine/ a number, off-hand. But like, if you put it on the scale from 'centaur kick to the face' to 'fake Doomsday' that's a bit more helpful." ... Admittedly, not the most scientific or even coherent scale around. But one goes with what one knows!

All this peanut gallery talk is interrupted as Sam does his maneuver beneath the Sentinel. She looks from him upward, taking in the towering holo robot, which is just kind of standing there now. It has definitely not fallen over. "Hmm. Did he get it or not?" For all the sass and snark, even as an observer, she still takes the whole thing seriously as an exercise, and is curious about how the whole thing plays out.

Yet it's when Donna mentions this extra training that she really lights up. It's hard not to feel a bit puffed ego-wise when she ends up in that 'weight class'! Also humility doesn't exactly run in the family. "Oh yeah? Sounds -fun-. I'm totally down for it."

As Raven gives her an alternate assessment of the number, she thinks on it a moment, and then declares: "So about... 'belligerent cyclops who discovered you can wear metal.' Got it." Amazonian units of measurement are fun!

Kate Bishop has posed:
Thing is... Kate knows. She glances towards the control area and it is very clear in those eyes behind the purple shades.

She damn well bloody knows.

Still she is maximizing her actual odds, the concrete and steel baricades designed to stop IEDs or truck bombs from driving full speed onto the Mall are sturdy.

She pops up, fires an arrow at the drone on Sam's six, letting loose the explosive payload but then she is already down and scrambling like mad along the cover that she sought.

She isn't staying put. She is not staying up.

She is hissing a couple of curses under her breath though.

She also isn't actually trying to throw herself in the way of any of the drones and the civilians either.

I mean yes she does pop back up and fire two more arrows past a couple of DC Park Police officers who are being vaporized and into a drone, giving people out there a bit of a hand and a bit more time.

Then she is down and rolling away from the whole barricade since... by her count that is two shots from said cover and it is absolutely fucking worthless as soon as the drones focus on it.

Right now she is desperately trying running slide under a SWAT APC and out the other side.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    Despite his exposed position, Techno is always on the move. Even as he's exerting every iota of will on the thing to bring it down and collapse its legs, he still has an eye on his surroundings. The one drone comes at him from a blind spot, and would have gotten him but good were it not for a sudden well placed arrow. No time even for a nod of thanks, and Kate has to make do with a 'thumbs up' icon appearing on her T-Com. No points for guessing who that's from.

    At long last, the brute's legs give out, and he drops down on his metallic ass. More control is sought over internal systems, Sam idly musing that the real thing isn't that tough, but appreciating the extra challenge built into the simulation. Fighting the Sentinel while keeping an eye out for drones is good practice.

    As he vaults over the Sentinel's legs, he lands almost directly in front of one drone that seems to be heading towards a barricade but will happily take a swing at the suddenly appearing Techno instead. He sways aside from the punch, helps it along with his left hand, grabs the wrist, twists as it goes past, pushing the upper arm with his right palm and finishes the fluid motion by ramming his armored right elbow in the drone's face. Now that he knows they adapt, he's not going to use his cyberpathic control until it's absolutely needed...

Victor Stone has posed:
"Physical weapons seem limited to just grabbing two parts of your body and ripping you apart, yeah," Vic confirms. "Which they love to do, so keep your distance." Too late for Techno on that count, unfortunately. At least he's got armor...?

Cyborg's shoulder-mounted launchers ratchet back and fire a barrage of missiles upward. He's programmed them to use Kate's arrows as improvised rangefinders, so that their guidance stystems will bring them raining down to batter whatever targets she has already hit. Force multipliers on easy mode!

Unfortunately, Techno's more personal approach means explosives aren't going to work there. Cyborg leaps up from his force field bunker in a football sprint, driving toward the prospect with his hands up to deliver focused white noise blasts at specific critical joints on the drone's chassis. "Together, people!" he shouts, like a coach shouting at a team whose score is starting to slip. "It's right there in the catchphrase for a reason!"

Kian has posed:
    Energy weapons.  Good, one less thing to worry about, so far as Kían is concerned -- he's yet to encounter an energy weapon that can hurt him.  Huzzah for his /rhy'thar/.  Even so, he does not linger in any one spot in the sky.  That's just not sensible or safe.  And in any case, aerobatics are second nature to the birdman.
    What he doesn't know for certain is the most efficient way of dealing with the drones.  Draw all their energy out, or just blow them up?  He tries both, to see which works better.
    He deliberately does not look to see what's happening on the ground.  He can hear it.  He does not wish to see it.  At a minimum it would ruin his concentration.  At worst... he doesn't want to think about at worst, so he very definitely doesn't look.

Donna Troy has posed:
    "One of the small ones, Cass? Hmm yeah, something like that. Or maybe a minotaur with knuckle-dusters. Hardier, though. Harder to take down that a catoblepas. I'd say about one - point - five on the catoblepas scale" Donna flashes her a quick grin, obviously amused by the system of scales and measures.

    "Robin later," She says to Raven. "It'll be interesting to see how he'd deal with a situation like this though. Overwhelming numbers. I have a suspicion he'd quickly conclude this wasn't the battle to be fighting."

    Kate's glance gets a look of sympathy back from Donna, but that's something that they can talk about later. Right now there are drones to deal with. She knew how fast they can move already from working on the simulation, but facing them in combat just isn't the same - and the drones keep coming, more and more appearing all the time. Behind her, the barricade is being demolished rapidly. In front of her, three are already waiting the other side of the APC. A beam splashes out from the eyes of one, hitting her leg. Her view of the scene flashes yellow.

    Kian's experiments with putting energy into drones is effective the first few times - several appear in satisfying flashes of light. The efforts to draw energy out however, don't seem to go as planned. A number more beams start to target him, and at first he seems to have no problem drawing the energy away, but quite suddenly the simulation seems to ignore his efforts. Four beams hit him almost the same time, and everything flashes red as a 'dead' marker globe surrounds his head. "Kian," Donna calls out. "Come join us over here please." Was the simulation cheating?

    Cyborg had already the attention of the drones due to his forcefield, but the effect of his sonic cannon draws more attention, and suddenly he is target number one. A score of drones charge him from every direction.

    Without using his technopathic powers, Sam has to rely on his physical attributes, and those of his armor. This time without having an Amazon who can actually move faster than the drones keeping laser bolts off his back. So far he's drawing rather less attention than Vic, but the pressure is increasing and he's becoming increasingly surrounded.

Rachel Roth has posed:
    "Both of you are wrong. It's the Hydra." Raven notes, chiming in out of the blue. "One head is difficult, but there are always two more to take its place." Raven falls silent, and nods. "Probably. Nightwing would already be trying to figure out how to get the most people out of harm's way as possible. This is a retreat scenario, especially if it's something we're dealing with. We don't have all the guns they had in DC, and nothing to grab the attention of the drones as effectively as they did."

    There is, though, a shrug. "They will learn. They'll have to. We need to teach them what it means to Win, and why that isn't something out of Conan the Barbarian." Silently, and without any expectation of it being noticed, Raven leans most of her weight on Donna's side.

Cassie Sandsmark has posed:
"Oh. Hmm. I see. Yes, I got it. Wow, that is pretty tough."

This stream of very serious-sounding mm-hmm'ing from Cassie echoes Donna's further dive into the Amazonian measurement system, as... apparently everything the older woman says makes absolute perfect sense. Whatever works, right? Of course, she's more fascinated by the parts of the simultation that aren't easily qualified in percentages of various Greek monstrosities: "Seems like hacker-guy is probably kind of ezmode against this sort of stuff, right?" she wonders, watching some of Sam's continued routine. "Well, at least if his tricks works." And that sends her mind in a related direction: "I gotta figure they're insulated, but to what rating? I betcha if I got one of them looped and I was in a... proper mood, I betcha that'd do it."

She IS confident, there's no question. But then again...

From the vantage of the control room, Cassie eventually catches on to what's happening with the drones. Or maybe it's Raven's quick uptake on the Amazon-jargon. "Hmm. Yeah, I see it. So is this like that Space Trek thing where Gar's captain got that test he couldn't beat? But then he cheated. I never could figure out what the lesson was supposed to be, there." The secret nerd hidden within her 'cool chick' exterior, exposed!

Kate Bishop has posed:
Well there is no running out of the simulation, it is for the Mall. But yeah Kate was basically scurrying very similar to a retreat.

Of course there are three drones right there when she rolls out and there goes her leg. Vaporized probably. She twists and tries to roll with the 'blast' of light trying to make it look like it flung her.... sending her back under the SWAT APC and then just lays there for a moment. Under the scenario rules she isn't going anywhere with her leg injured. She can't fly hover or teleport. None of her teammates who could teleport or rescue her are really in the field either.

There aren't any manholes under this thing conventiently to pull open and drop into the sewers, or anywhere nearby. She curses herself for not having the scenario add sewers right about now.

So she stays still and hopes that Vic is making a whole lot of noise and draws those three drones away from her <<I'm down and trapped.>> she doesn't say good luck.

She knows.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    All of a sudden, thanks to Victor's attack, Sam is holding the disarticulated arm of a drone. Excellent. He uses its reinforced structure to club the next drone that comes at him, switching fighting style on the fly to avoid telegraphing his intentions to the enemy. There are a lot of them though. More than he remembers... and while he's running to Victor to help out with the deluge of drones that comes at Cyborg, a drone tags him in the back with a beam.

    Immediately his HUD flashes blue and the left shoulder joint of his armor seizes up, to simulate a disabling hit to the shoulder. This doesn't stop him from finishing his run and crashing his full weight into a drone ahead of him, and then sending a shutdown command to the secondary processor unit of a third. He's down to using cyberpathy already... this is /not/ going well.

    "Get out of here! I've got their attention, go!" Techno practically shouts at Victor, turning to tag more drones with a variety of disabling commands, always going for a different system, always going for a different command. But there's only so many of those.

    Eventually, the numbers start to tell. Without his left arm, his deflection is clumsier, and one drone catches him full on the cuirass, sending Techno actually flying towards the supine Sentinel, a simulated crack in his armor and his HUD now flashing yellow. Crap. At the edge of his senses, he can feel the one thing he can still do, the ace card. And when Kate calls in that she's down and out, Techno's eye lenses flash a bright, angry red.

    "Cyborg... Run."

    Laboriously, the blank face plate turns to the side, eyeing the seemingly dead Sentinel. "Going Nova!"

    Hail mary.

    He sends a full overload command to the thing's power core.

    "Gehen Sie allen zu Hölle!"

Victor Stone has posed:
Cyborg leaps backward on jet-boot fire as the drones start focusing on him, getting as much distance as he can from Techno, the teammate he was trying to help a second ago. "Kian, I can't get to Hawkeye -- damnit, he's already down. Techno, if you -- agh!" Beams rake over him, and he sweeps another forcefield out between him and the worst arc of incoming fire, then jets off, trying to draw fire away from his teammates.

The first wave of beams sizzle into the shield viciously, but are blocked. Before long, though, they start passing straight through, digging into his armored body -- in simulation, of course. He grits his teeth, inverts, and suddenly dives toward the earth again. He lets fly with every piece of weaponry he has, as much as possible dumbfired or sent on guided fire-and-forget settings that won't need his help to carry them to their destinations.

When he hits the ground, at the center of the largest cluster of drones he could find, the grim reason for this quickly becomes clear. The drones close in, grabbing at his chassis, and then he sees nothing but red.

"Core systems detonated," a simulated voice flatly informs him, and he marches out of the simulator on leaden feet. The crater he leaves behind is damned impressive, simulated or not.

"There's no winning against these things. Best case, we do what they did in D.C. and save as many people as we can," he says. Then, with a /slightly/ lighter tone -- he's still bleary-eyed from days and nights of lab work, so forgive the man his limitations -- he throws Sam the horns. "Bomb twins."

Kian has posed:
    "/Ki-ÁI/!" Kían yelps -- not so much at the concentrated fire, which he expected, but at the red 'game over' globe.
    Well, Kían is a rules-follower, even when they're clearly wrong.  He spirals down to a graceful landing near Donna. Sharply, but not angrily, he /immediately/ begins explaining, "Iss not correc'.  I haf never been hur't by ener-gy.  I am not sure ener-gy /can/ hur't me."  He adds, after a moment's reflection, "If d'rone f'ly in-to me, woul' hur't.  /c'Rhys'yw/, an' hwy am I gif you idea?"
    He shrugs.  What's been said cannot be unsaid.  "I am go back out there, an'...."  He trails off, as he turns to fly back into the simulation, and sees what exactly is going on out there.
    "I..." he says hoarsely, "am s'tay right here."  And he turns away, unable to watch.

Donna Troy has posed:
    Raven's weight may be of little consquence to Donna, but her presence isn't and the proximity certainly doesn't go unnoticed. She reaches her arm out behind Raven, making a light contact that isn't exactly a an arm around her waist but is somewhere in that proximity. Just a little too much to not count as an intimate gesture, while subtle enough to hopefully not make Raven feel too awkward in public.

    "They self-correct, Cass." Donna nudges against Raven slightly with her shoulder, and gestures with her head towards where Kate is, hiding under the APC. "He's effective against them, but they find ways to adjust. You'd be able to zap them good, right up until they grow high enough current rating ground cables or something."

    "Kian? Same message for you. You say energy can't hurt you, but an impact is energy. These things adjust very fast to whatever they are dealing with. We're not certain of their limitations, but it's a good guess that with several of them targeting you at the same time, using different types of energy to make your work harder, you'd get overwhelmed."

    "SIMULATION PAUSE!" Donna's voice is loud enough to be audible even over the chaos as Cyborg comes to join them in the safe zone, and just before Sam's suit can make for a second crater, the simulated combatants freeze in place.

    "Cassie, you said it. It's just like that test in Space Trek. There's no winning this one. Sam and I didn't win in DC, we just held out long enough for them to start leaving. The purpose of this simulation is not to figure out how to win, but to figure out how to keep each other alive. All of us should be training up in this simulator as much as we can over the next few days, just to work out the best ways of doing that, and honestly Vic already said what was missing this time around. Co-ordinating what we are doing as closely as possible is the key to keeping each other alive."

    "Sam, you've had a lot of training. When I suggested Vic take the battlefield lead, that was no slight to your skill and training. I've seen what you can do first hand. It was because Vic is the voice of /experience/ here. He knows how to Titan. Kate, you were thinking on your feet and you were thinking smart. You figured out what was going on fast, and you did the right things - apart from co-ordinating properly with the others. The best barricade available to you was the one Cyborg has. Combined with Sam's talents to interfere with their likely attempts to interfere with it, and Kian's ability to lessen anything thrown at it, you could have been picking off targets and you'd all have lasted longer."

    "Let's not all get gloomy about this though. A speedster on the scene would have made a big difference, for example. There's also the possibilities that magic has to throw in here, because nothing we've seen suggests these guys have any clear answer to magic. Our science team has also found... well it may be going too far to call it a weak spot, but it's at least a vulnerable spot. Vic exploited that with one of his targets, but this is more something for the precision attackers. Vic, would you like to give the briefing on that one?"

Cassie Sandsmark has posed:
Cassie's expression isn't precisely as grim or horrified as it should or would be, because she is well aware this is all a simulation. A very fancy videogame, in most ways that matter. Still, she watches the whole thing with a scrunched brow as the team starts toward their various forms of last-ditch or even heroically sacrificial attacks. And maybe in a way, that pantomime does make her a little visibly uncomfortable, shown in a shifting of stance or defensive crossing of her arms across her chest. "Donna, you may as well-"

And blessedly, she does pause the simulation.

"That makes sense, but, I mean... c'mon, there's gotta be a way to actually win, right? We can't just plan for losing. Because there's a real version out there and the dude wants to take over Earth or something." That may not be the exact goal, but the details of what some evil spacebrain wants seem kind of like a minor detail in comparison to the generally genocidal manner of going about it. "So we don't really have a choice here. Right? It's win or no-home." Dark puns.

After that, she mostly just listens to Donna. All joking and snark aside, she's Amazon big sis, and in the end, there's probably only one person Cassie looks up to more. Except she does seize on something near the end: "We kinda got some magic artillery we could pull in too, couldn't we? Like, if this isn't the kind of thing where we should go and talk to the Queen, or heck, see if I can even bug dad... I don't know what is?"

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    --End Simulation-- ** --Releasing System Controls-- ** --Systems rebooting-- ** --Mobility restored, all systems nominal--

    Yes, Sam has to wait for all that to scroll across his HUD before he can stand up. Linking GAUSS into the Danger Room systems made for a more immersive experience, but regaining control afterwards always took a while. At long last he stands, and the helmet retracts, so that once again Sam has a face... one that is faintly smiling. Victor gets offered a fist-bump "Gonna call you Kamikaze for a while, I think."

    With the simulation over, Bear is allowed to approach and wastes no time in making sure his human is okay. Human has gone all cold and hard again, even if those armored fingers are now stroking the German Shepherd's back, so Bear leans heavily into the GAUSS suit, as if he could transfer his presence through the armor plate.

    "You know I'm happy to take direction from someone else. As much as I've been trained, lately I've started to realise that most of my training in teamwork was how to get a team to get me close to a target. Rescue ops, holding ground... don't have the experience. But yeah... comm work needs some work, but we got thrown in much like it happened in DC. No time to think about it, no time to prepare. We're getting to know each other, but we're not... instinctive yet." A nod to every other Titan "Looking forward to fixing that." Because the only remedy for that? More training.

    "Y'know... in a way I needed this? I've run the scenario through my mind so many times, and I kept thinking of how I could have done better. Never thought about how I might have done worse. And this? This was the worst happening. Kind of liberating, in a way." How often can you mess up so badly that you die, and live to learn from the mistake?

    He's all ears for the AAR.

Victor Stone has posed:
"Sure, can do," Vic answers Donna with a tight smile. He's struggling to stay his usual ebullient self through all the long nights the lab team have been pulling, but he's already blown himself up in front of the trainees tonight -- even Raven would probably agree that that's enough grimness for one training session. No need to layer on more than he has to.

He turns on his heel and heads back out into the freeze-frame engagement area, meeting the freshly unlocked Sam's dap as he does so. Vic strides right up to the nearest of Brainiac's abominations, stuck mid-death-stare. He jets upward a little bit -- these things might be too small to climb, but they're still big, even to him. Turning in midair to face the rest of the group, he puts a metal finger on the back of the thing's neck, right at the base of the skull-like structure, where the bone joins to the metal chassis. "We've found a structural problem spot right here," he says. "If you hit precisely on this spot -- and I'm talking HARD -- you're going to stagger it for real. Not kill it. Not disable it permanently. But you'll do real damage and buy real time."

Kate Bishop has posed:
Kate picks herself off the ground and stretches, working through a very quick routine because she was leaping and rolling and sliding. She doesn't want to regret all that later if she can help it.

She also doesn't address Donna's critique right away either. To Cassie though she notes "There was no way to win and very few ways to live in that scenario. Donna was making a point." and yeah Kate should know she set it up. She is a little salty about Donna hijacking her scenario for lesson time, but not too salty. "We have a lot of artillery we can pull in and apply, we didn't have any of it in that run through though. We had no chance at all." okay maybe a bit extra salty.

She walks off the floor towards the control area and stops near Cassie. "Cyborg's forcefield may be the best defense out there, but he wasn't going to make it off that floor either in this run through. I didn't coordinate because I didn't want to torpedo what you were doing with pessimism while people were trying things or coming to it on their own realization." she shrugs. She didn't miss the sort of compliment on what she got right, but then again she still got dead.

"I think it may be best if I man the comms and coordinate if it turns into another drone ground battle. There is no armor Vic can whip up or arrows I can have that will meaningfully hurt these things or keep me alive after one hit." she shrugs a bit.

Honestly this isn't really like her, usually she is intensely headstrong and determined.

"I'll see what I can pull down as far as information goes and think about some strategies to suggest to everyone."

She does glance at what Vic is pointing out though. That is good for future reference.

Kian has posed:
    Kían sounds gloomy anyway.  "Ener-gy im-pac' iss not same as physical im-pac'," he comments sullenly, clearly unconvinced, but he does turn around again and listen as Vic explains.  After all, they've been doing this a while, and Kían hasn't -- his experience is all disaster recovery, and search and rescue, and he had little more than practice on his own world, little real experience in real events.
    "...*How* har'd?" he finally asks, seeing a possible way to be useful.

Donna Troy has posed:
    "The same thought had occured to me, Cass." Donna looks awkward for a moment, then gives Cassie's arm a quick squeeze. "I'm going to bring it up with Diana, see what she says. I'd guess the big Z knows what's up. I'd also guess that /they/ will only act if /we/ don't. And then they'll be super disappointed. As for what mo... Queen Hippolyta would say... I... don't know. You know how she feels about Man's World."

    There's a quick shrug to Cassie from Donna before she turns to Kate with a nod. "Actually I think we probably can whip up arrows for you that will target that weakness," she says. "This is an area where your accuracy can make a real difference. An expanding tip could mess these guys up pretty effectively, if you're hitting the bullseye. Kian, same with you. Channel smaller amounts of energy faster, and you'll be able to disable these things far more efficiently. Though remember, with these kinds of odds, defense comes first and pick your targets."

    "Another possibility is we may be able to rig up some kind of custom weapon to target this point. Gun rounds that fire miniature bolas style ammunition. Aim at the neck, the cable wraps around it. With a shape guide formed to the neck, it'll snap into place and we can hopefully arrange it so the weights hit on that spot, with a small explosive charge. If we can get something prototyped maybe we can approach Stark with that."

    Finally Donna turns a big smile on Sam, and not just because everyone's favourite Doggo has put in an appearance. "Remember when you first joined up with us, and I said Titans is... different? Now you're seeing why. We aren't trained to a standard, we are each unique. Every member of this team has a huge amount to offer if they are given that chance, and the key to teamwork for a group like this is working out how to maximize /everyone/'s opportunity to contribute. You said it Sam. Training, and training with each other until we all know instinctively what our team-mates are about to do. Trusting each other so when you hear a call from a team-mate, you don't feel the need to second-guess what they are planning. Becoming something greater than the sum of our parts, by working..."

    Donna looks at the gathering and grins wide. "Oh, you all know what I'm gonna say. Come on, someone else say it."

Cassie Sandsmark has posed:
"I've seen the episode, I -get- it," Cassie snaps back at Kate, with a little more anger than might be expected. The irritation is presumably more born out of the uncomfortable scenario than truly directed at her, though. And in fact, she quickly apologizes: "Ugh. I'm sorry. I just mean, like, there's only so much you can get out of something like that. We can train to work together better, and we always do. We can train to survive better. There's no point in training to -lose-." Again, it's hard-edged, frustrated, even a little angry.

Weirdly, out of everything, it's Sam and Vic's weird robo-ritual that actually gets a smile out of her. So cute. BUT:

"Hit them hard and stun them maybe a little bit still kinda seems like 'not nearly enough,'" she grumbles back at Vic's explanation of the weakness, and there's definitely a trend showing in her mood. "Guess it's a start."

Which leaves her back where she started, talking Amazon nonsense with Donna. "Don't tell them I said this, but c'mon, in this case? That Man's World stuff is bullshit. They live on this world too. It's the whole place. What's the point of all that eternal readiness and cultural badassery if they're not gonna get up and use it when it matters?" And yes, by now, her voice is raised, and there's definitely something off, something building, until she finally gets there: "And maybe dad'll tell me off. If so? Fine. Then I'll ask someone who -won't-. You know -he'll- help me if I ask."

She lets that hang in the air a second, then turns, and starts for the elevator.

Kate Bishop has posed:
Kate actually flinches, just a tiny bit when Cassie snaps at her, though the quick appology makes her relax pretty quickly. It was just a slight reaction too. "I agree. We can train. We can work on team work. We can do our best. I don't like the point Troia was making but maybe someone needed it."

She gives a bit of a shrug. "I don't need that wake up call. I know just how fragile and helpless I can be if just one thing goes wrong anytimee I go out there so this ... honestly this sort of sucked."

To Troia she notes "I'll take the arrows and I can hit a joint no issue. I can shoot a gun about as well as I can shoot a bow.. I just don't prefer them to the versatility I've gained with the bow." which honestly may be news to everyone, especially Sam.

"I'll do whatever I need to .. but right now I need a shower and to be alone I think." she looks like she is heading that way as well now.

Samuel Morgan has posed:
    Training never stops. Even as he crouches down to fuss over Bear, Sam keeps an eye on what's going on. Weak spot at the base of the skull... noted. But just as instructive are the reactions to the scenario from his new team mates. It was inevitable, really, that they would start to progress from the first phase of team building now that the team is nearly complete. They are done, it seems, with Forming.

    Now comes the harder phase... phase two: Storming. Which, possibly, means it's time to reveal a bit more to the Titans. "With a good pistol, I could hit that spot from about a hundred yards on the move. Simple. Good rifle, I'll happily take that shot at five hundred. I'm not as accurate as some on the team, but then I don't have to be..."

Victor Stone has posed:
Vic gives Kian an odd look, blending sympathy with worry with something else that's harder to define. "With these things, there's never any reason to hold anything back," he answers. "Any time you hit them, you hit as hard as you possibly can."

He lowers himself back down to the ground as he considers the avian's continuing objections about energy, then winces and explains, "You saw them blast through my shield, right? That's adaptation. They analyze what you're doing and they find a way around it. Maybe you can handle EM but not exotic particles. Maybe there's a frequency beyond your range. Maybe they just improvise a railgun out of whatever spare parts they've got rattling around inside them and turn you into soup."

He suddenly realizes he's getting grim again, takes a slow breath to let go of some of the room's tension, then continues in a gentler tone, "The point Donna's making is that you can't rely on your abilities to work the way you expect against these guys. That's the weakness they were built to exploit. Use your powers while you can, but always, always have a fallback ready. She brought up my shields plus Sam's countermeasures plus your absorption because it creates layers of those fallbacks."

He shoots the Amazon a wry look. "I've said it a lot myself, so I should probably let one of the newbies have a crack at it, but yeah. Titans Together -- for a reason, now more than ever."

Unfortunately for the timing of that sentiment, the session is quickly splitting up, and it's obvious that Kate and Cassie are feeling just as ragged as he is about the situation they're facing. He fires a thin smile at Sam, noting the marksmanship as a resource they can use in a fight, and then turns back to Kian and Donna. "I should get back to the lab now, but there was something I wanted to chat with the two of you about, when you get a chance. Keep an eye out for me, and I'll do the same."

Donna Troy has posed:
    "Cassie, that would be a /really/ bad idea. He might..." nobody gets to hear the end of that, because Cassie's decided to make her exit on it, and Donna's not going to explain things to her back. Who the 'he' Cassie was referring to will have to remain a mystery to the others for now. Donna purses her lips and gives a short shake of her head.

    "Kate, you aren't fragile and helpless, far from it. You have better armor than you know, and that armor is /us/. Tomorrow I'd like to do a one-on-one session with you and show you exactly what I mean, okay?"

    "Cy knows. Titans together." She offers Victor a grin and fistbump. "I'll bring Kian down later. Good luck with the lab." She lowers her voice and nods slightly in the direction of the departing Cassie and Kate. "Don't worry. Shock to the system. Better now than in the field. They're both good, I trust them."

    Sam gets a pat on the arm. "I'd kind of guessed. I think we're going to look into some kind of non-lethal rounds for you, after this immediate threat is over. Keep up the good work, Sam."

    "Now... Rae. I... uh. I really better go after Cassie and make sure... of things." Donna gives Rae a helpless shrug. "There are certain added complexities we don't need right now. Please don't ask your father for help in the meantime?"

Kate Bishop has posed:
Kate seems angled to hit the stairs since Cassie angled for the elevators, yanking the door open and calling over her shoulder. "Troia. I said I could be if one thing goes wrong so I train, all the time to limit those from happening. I know my limitations. They are many. I compensate and work around all of them as best I can." there is a pause "Also I didn't have you all out there as armor in that scenario. Lot of you sat it out on the bench today to make a point."

Then she is through the door letting it shut hard behind her, headed up to her room many flights up. Honestly she needs to burn the frustration and salty rawr out of her system and sprinting up stairs is a good way to do that. That or punching something but sprinting is what she has to work with.